Archive for horror movies

Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990

Posted in Books, Film with tags , , , , , on November 21, 2017 by roarvis

For Part 1 of this series, go here.

Regional

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As defined by author Brian Albright, regional horror films are movies that were made and distributed outside of the Hollywood system with predominately local casts and crews. It’s easy to assume that the bulk of these are low-budget films of varying quality, and that assumption is largely correct. Yet they aren’t all obscure.

While it takes a hardcore horror nerd to talk shop about Don’t Go in the Woods (1981, Utah) or Don’t Look in the Basement (1974, Texas), many of the films discussed in Regional Horror Films are popular and extremely influential. Night of the Living Dead (1968, Pennsylvania), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974, Texas), and The Evil Dead (1981, Tennessee/Michigan) are three of the most famous horror movies ever made, and their impact on the genre has been substantial.

StreetTrash

The book is organized into two sections. The first consists of interviews with specific regional filmmakers, including J.R. Bookwalter from Ohio and William Grefe from Florida. Albright is good at coaxing stories out of his interview subjects, and the ensuing conversations make these a fun and fascinating read.

The second part consists of entries on specific films, organized by state. The author points out that these are not critiques. He gives you the details, a brief synopsis, and maybe some trivia – enough to decide for yourself if you want to hunt down a copy. This aspect of the book reminded me of The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film by Michael Weldon (1983), an early classic that sent me spiraling down the corridors of movie madness as a young teenager.

I was pleasantly surprised to find an entry on The Wednesday Children (1973, Ohio), a film by Kent State University professor Robert D. West. West taught a class on Cult Films, which was one of the few courses I achieved perfect attendance in during my time at KSU. I’ve never seen his film, but will be sure to track it down now.

If there’s a central thesis to Regional Horror Films, it’s that the locations and communities that spawned these films were as important as the script or cinematography. None of these movies could have been made in Hollywood. Surely the characteristics that make them so terrifying and memorable would have been sanded down or altered beyond recognition.

Next up: Made for TV Movies!

Four of the Apocalypse: A Holiday Guide to Horror Non-Fiction Books

Posted in Artwork, Books, Film with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2017 by roarvis

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Recently I picked up four excellent non-fiction works related to movies and books in the horror genre. I was all set to take a photo and post it to Instagram, complete with relevant and witty hashtags. Then I remembered that once upon a time, I was a writer who wrote about other writers writing about things. This was before I grew disillusioned with the world of pop-culture commentary and gravitated toward projects that enable me to afford groceries (and books). My woefully neglected blog was still floating around on the internet like a discarded Angelfire homepage, generating the occasional insightful comment or spammy back-link. It deserved better.

With renewed resolve, I dusted off the old keyboard and composed a series of posts examining these four publications.

Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990 by Brian Albright

Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999 Edited by Amanda Reyes

Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix (with Will Errickson)

Death Count: All of the Deaths in the Friday the 13th Film Series, Illustrated by Stacie Ponder

I’ll break the reviews into individual bite-sized chunks for easy digestion.

First up: Regional Horror!

I Think of Demons

Posted in Film with tags on December 6, 2008 by roarvis

I can’t remember the last time I filled out a Myspace survey, but this one was very in depth. It also took longer to complete than most of my blog entries, so I decided to repost it here.


Endless Horror Movie Survey


1. Do you prefer slashers or zombies?

Zombies. I only watch slashers because my girl likes them, and there is a 50% chance I will see tits (in the movie, people!).

2. Craven or Carpenter?

Carpenter. No contest here.

3. Who is your favorite final girl?

I can’t think of one, most of them were cheapened by lousy sequels.

4. Do politics and horror mix?

Yeah. The ending of Night of the Living Dead comes to mind.

5. Favorite horror score/soundtrack?

Goblin’s Profundo Rosso theme. I also love the early Carpenter soundtracks, Giorgio Moroder’s Cat People, and Bruno Mattei’s Virgin Among the Living Dead.

6. Favorite Full Moon movie?

I think Meridian (the one where Sherylin Fenn gets naked), was a Full Moon production. And if you meant werewolf films, it also fits. And any other interpretation of the question probably fits as well…

7. What is your favorite of Romero’s Dead films?

Probably the first one.

8. Are there any trends in horror you don’t like?

Yes. The whole “clever” drawn-out torture scene thing that’s popular now is a drag.

9. Zombies: fast or slow?

Slow and low, that is the tempo. Bonus points if they come out of the water.

10. If you could meet any horror director, who would it be?

Not that into meeting famous people, but it would be fun to get drunk with Jess Franco.

11. Favorite film in the Alien quadrilogy?

The first one is in my top 5 favorite films of all time, and I really hate all the sequels.

12. Who is your favorite Dracula?

Bela, but Klaus Kinski gets special mention.

13. Creepiest scene in any horror movie?

Recently saw Black Sabbath, and the last third of that scared the crap out of me. I was also deeply disturbed by the unexpected ending of Don’t Look Now.

14. What is your favorite horror movie remake?

The Thing (1982). I also like the 1978 Body Snatchers.

15. What horror movie should be remade?

As long as they stick to pre-1965 films I’m ok with remakes. They should leave the 70s and 80s alone.

16. Favorite modern day director?

Larry Fessenden and Guillermo Del Toro are interesting. Also, the guy who did Slither (James Gunn?)

17. Most underrated horror movie?

Shivers (Cronenberg).

18. Most overrated?

I think all the popular horror filmmakers are overrated, because they have rabid fans who will not accept that most horror films have flaws. Very few are perfect movies (but they are still enjoyable). Horror fans should demand more than gore and violence.

19. What scene in a horror movie makes you a little queasy?

The exploding pustule in the custard from Dead Alive.

20. Favorite Friday the 13th movie?

I have never seen any of these all the way through.

21. Favorite horror parody/satire?

Return of the Living Dead, if that counts.

22. Jason or Freddy?

Screw those guys.

Ok…Freddy was pretty cool for awhile.

23. What is your favorite Troma film?

The Toxic Avenger (1984). Watched a censored version of this the other day. Not much left, but still entertaining.

24. Do you have a horror movie you only remember a scene or image from, but don’t remember the title of? If so, what is it?

I’ve managed to solve most of these mysteries through the use of the Internets.

25. Favorite Made-for-TV horror movie?

Bad Ronald.

26. How long should a horror movie last?

90 minutes tops.

27. Do you like comedy in your horror movies?

Yes, if it’s actually funny.

28. Do you mind having CG effects in horror movies?

Yes, unless it’s done really well.

29. What is your favorite “Universal Monster” movie?

Dracula.

30. Scariest cinematic memory from your childhood?

There were quite a few. Didn’t sleep for a week after watching Carrie on TV.

31. Argento or Fulci?

Back to the overrated question. I guess I lean toward Argento because I’ve seen more of his work, but the zombie vs. shark scene in Fulci’s Zombi 2 is the greatest moment in Italian film history.

32. Favorite Texas Chainsaw movie?

Haven’t actually watched those, but I have the original in my queue. I am a fan of Tobe Hooper’s other films, which are really bad and really good at the same time. Eaten Alive holds a special place in my heart.

33. Shockumentaries/Mondo movies: Yay or nay?

Nay.

34. What was your favorite horror movie of the last year?

Probably the closest thing I saw to a horror movie that came out this year was Hellboy II.

35. Do you mind shot-on-video/digital horror movies?

No, but I’m over the whole “reality” gimmick with the shaky camera.

36. What is your favorite foreign horror movie-producing country?

Canadia.

37. David Hedison or Jeff Goldblum as The Fly?

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched any fly related movies, so I can’t say.

38. Is nudity necessary for a good horror movie?

No, but it is necessary for a bad horror movie.

39. Which remake would you rather suffer through: The Fog, Prom Night, or Shutter?

I will probably watch The Fog eventually because I like the idea behind the original enough to sit through a bad remake. The one I refuse to watch is the new version of The Wicker Man.

40. What is your favorite holiday-based horror movie?

Black Christmas, which somehow gets overlooked often but came before Halloween. And also came from Canada!

41. What is your favorite horror movie of all time?

Alien, Jaws, The Thing, The Shining, Shivers…