Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review - Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

Okay, so I saw Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III back in 2002 or 2003 because I had mistaken it for Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I had seen a horror movie tribute on television and they showed clips of Leatherface holding his chainsaw and I knew it wasn’t the original so I found the 3rd movie and I watched it all the way though, thinking that was the movie they used. It wasn’t. However, I really enjoyed the movie back when I was 12. Now, I had a chance to see it again and I can honestly say… “What the fuck was I thinking?”

The film is about a young couple that ventures across the desert when they stop at a gas station only to be greeted with a mysterious hitchhiker and an insane gun-toting gas station attendee. Well, after a gunfight the couple leaves (without the hitchhiker) and takes a side road the hitchhiker recommended. Then, a maniac in a truck pushes them off the road. Elsewhere, a survivalist gets driven off the road by hitchhiker. The three of them meet and find themselves thrown into the middle of a cannibalistic family that lives in the woods that want them for dinner.

Leatherface is not quit as serious and brutal as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre but not nearly as funny, ridiculous and over the top as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre II. The film is just really corny in a bad but pretty entertaining way. What I mean by this is, there are scenes that are just so ridiculous and weird it’s just campy and the scenes that I am talking about are like the one where the little girl kills the guy with a sledgehammer and then high-fives her older brothers. The over exaggerated design of the chainsaw (Thought it was pretty cool) or the four minutes of screaming and chainsaw dancing before Leatherface finally approaches the girl to kill her. It’s cheesy but so entertaining.

That’s one thing that saves this movie is that it’s very entertaining. I mean, when you have Ken Foree shooting an old lady in a wheelchair with a machine gun… it just spells “awesome.” From the time it started to the time it ended I was captivated by how ridiculous it was. And, that’s another thing that is pretty cool to see; Ken Foree and Viggo Mortensen star in this movie and it’s pretty cool seeing Viggo act like homicidal mama’s boy. It’s trying to be almost as serious as the original but you can’t really take it serious. The entire land surrounding the house is decked out in militia-type booby traps and not to mention the giant searchlights and the monster truck that the family has in their front yard.

The movie is not good and I did nitpick here and there (like, why did Leatherface have a metal brace on his leg?) and I did have problems with out idiotically funny they portrayed Leatherface (as shown when he was trying to relate a clown to food on a kid’s game). However, despite all these critiques, I did enjoy the movie and it was very entertaining. The acting will piss you off but if you listen to some of the dialogue that the characters say… it’s quit funny and fucked up. If you are a Texas Chainsaw Massacre fan and you enjoyed the first two, I am sure you can stand this movie but don’t go in thinking that it’s the best TCM movie out there. IT’S NOT. It’s terrible compared to the first one but the kind of terrible that you can watch over and over.

Note: Pay attention to the random electric guitar score that plays throughout some of the fights, and how much of a pussy the cleanup guy is. He goes down after getting punched in the chin. AND, also look at how much of a tank that Ken Foree is. He get's beaten up, he get's sliced by a chainsaw, knocked out from the butt of a gun and he i still able to kick ass.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Look At Our Childhood Fears

A while ago I proposed a question on Twitter asking “why are kids so terrifying in horror movies?” I got this idea after I watched the film The Children. Well, the idea for the post was for somebody else to take a chance and write the answer to this question because I didn’t know it. Well, my question was answered but I also received an answer that wasn’t really what I was looking for BUT it answered a question that I had always secretly asked myself.

“Why is it, that when we see somebody get their arms and legs chopped off we don’t flinch… but when we see a needle go into somebody’s arm or we see somebody get their fingernails pulled back, we are immediately terrified?”

It’s a question of childhood and primal fear that was answered quit well by a buddy of mine on Twitter known simply as… ANGRYSAM.

Here is his take on this question:

“A Child's Fear: Special Post for Paradise of Horror

By: “Angry” Sam Lucchese

So you're sitting there watching a great horror movie with blood and guts and gore exploding, chain saws cutting off limbs, humans and zombies dying gruesome all over the screen and yet you're not scared. Not really shitting in your pants scared. Somebody's head implodes blasting brains out both ears, and you're thinking, "What a cool effect, I wonder how they did that?" Then a cute little kid, girl or boy, it don't matter, appears in a scary spot and the child whimpers or giggles or cries out in fear, and suddenly you feel afraid. A stupid kid is standing, innocent, singing a song, as a killer sneaks up behind with an axe, and you're freaking out of your skin. Finally you're left thinking, "Why the hell did that just scare the hell out of me?"

Fear is not suffering or pain. Fear is the memory of past pain or the anticipation of a new, unknown suffering. But technically, fear can't hurt you. It is an instinct intended to help us survive a dangerous situation. And, as far as horror movies and thrillers, a lot of people who love watching them aren't afraid of freaks with chain saws. I mean how many times in your life has that happened to you? For me, the answer is never. But, when I hear that kid I remember fear. I was a kid. I was afraid, of simple things, the dark, thunder, and strange noises, whatever. I'm not saying I was this frightened little whining kid crying for mommy, but yeah, there were moments when I was about 6 or 7 and thought I was gonna die. And no matter how old or tough we are, it is that base fear, primal instinct that kicks in, making us remember a child's fear of a killer sneaking around the corner, smiling a toothless grin as he prepares to lop off our head with a rusty shovel.”

“Angry” Sam has brought up several great points and ides in this short essay that he has written and I agree with him 100% on them. Realistically speaking, how many of us have ever had our limbs cut off by a maniac or have been tortured by inbreeds? None of us but we have experienced needles, toe stubbing, eye surgery, broken legs/ankles and small infections. We can relate to these incidents and we know the pain and when we see them on film… we remember that childhood fear and pain. It’s a great study in psychological fear and what makes us so afraid of the small things in horror movies.

I am not sure if “Angry” Sam is a huge horror fanatic but I think the he really banged the nailed on the head with this and whether or not he is a horror fan, it was a pleasure to post his idea up.

Follow “Angry” Sam on Twitter by clicking here.
Add "Angry" Sam on MySpace by clicking here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Old Music in Horror

I have seen The Shining well over 20 or so times and every time I see it, it freaks me out or reminds me of that time when I screamed when I saw the twin girls in the hall. However, one thing that has always given me the chills was at the end of the movie when the camera zooms in on the portrait and a specific song plays over the scene. That song was ‘Midnight, the Stars and You’ sung by Al Bowlly in 1934. It got me thinking of other movies that incorporated really old songs as part of their soundtracks and I started to wonder why these songs sound so creepy in horror movies but not in real life.

I think one of the reasons why the Al Bowlly songs was so creepy in The Shining is because of the way it was recorded. It sounds really muffled, very low key, Al Bowlly’s voice is echoing and it sounds so ominous. The intentions of the song are very chipper and very romantic, however, when it’s played… it sounds like the song is actually coming from the hotel. When I hear it, I immediately think of the tragedy that happened and how long ago it was and yet the hotel keeps replaying what happened. It’s repetition.

Another movie that does this quit well is Stephen King’s Rose Red. I will admit that this movie was pretty creepy and sometimes pretty intense. The one scene that I will always remember, among many, is the scene when ‘In The Mood’ by Glenn Miller starts playing out of the flowers. Now, the original recording wasn’t recorded like Al Bowlly’s song but what made it chilling was how the house took such a festive song and made it play out of a flower. I am sure any normal person would freak out over something like that.

Jeepers Creepers was brought up to me by somebody on Twitter as a movie that incorporates such a whimsical song into a dark and sadistic horror movie. I have to agree because the song plays over a tour of the Creeper’s lair. This chilling feeling is somewhat like that feeling of remorse, sorrow and horror in Apocalypse Now when ‘What A Wonderful World’ was playing over the bombings. It’s a They are contrasts of two vastly different feelings and seeing a dark, watery, silent, cold-feeling, eerie basement while hearing an echoing song is pretty terrifying. Plus, since you are the camera, you don’t know where you are headed and it only adds to the horror.

The other example that I have comes from a trailer for a horror themed video game called Bioshock. In the trailer we hear ‘Beyond the Sea’ (1959) sung by Bobby Darin play over while the protagonist tries shooting and destroying the Big Daddies, killing mutated monsters and blowing shit up. The reason why this song is so eerie is because of the same reason why the Al Bowlly song sounds so creepy. The editors tuned it up to make it have an echoing sound and pipe-sound. This tuning makes the song sound as if it was recorded under the ocean and it fits perfectly with the dark and threatening atmosphere.

There are plenty more that I am missing and I only talked about the more prominent ones. I know there is ‘Jazz Traditional – Charleston’ from The Evil Dead and Creepshow and a few in See No Evil. I think the reason why these horror movies are so creepy in horror movies is because of the context that they are used in. Plus, back then, they didn’t have such great audio capturing devices so a lot of times they are muffled, echoed or distorted… giving the song the perfect mood for that horror movies.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

R.I.P. Zelda Rubinstein

Today marks a very sad day for film fans and horror fans alike. Zelda Rubinstein died at age 76 while at the Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles. From what I read, it was complications from kidney and lung failure, however before she was moved to Barlow she was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

She will always and forever be immortalized as the character Tangina Barrons, the lovable medium from the Poltergeist films and she created character that was both original and memorable. She was a great woman and she became a staple in cinema history. Her role in Poltergeist has been parodied, influential and even Simpsonized. However, she has done other work besides Poltergeist. She has done voiceover work in various cartoons and TV shows and recently she had started in Southland Tales and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. She has done a number of television shows ranging from “Hey Arnold” to “Tales from the Crypt” to “Scariest Places on Earth.”

I can say, on my end, that I am actually really sadden by this news because she seemed like a really nice person and it was always my dream to pick her up and give her a hug. I will say that she will be dearly missed, not just by her family but by her many fans as well. We will always remember her for what she accomplished and what she has given to film. With that said, rest in peace Zelda Rubinstein.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Paradise Profiles: Day of the Woman

Today’s profile was actually requested by a friend and a fellow horror blogger. That person is “BJ-C” of the blog Day of the Woman. Her blog was one of the few blogs that inspired me into my blogging interested and her she focuses her attention on feminism in horror. As I once stated to a friend, ‘you need to check this girl out because she knows her horror… possibly even more then me.’

So, tell me why you go into horror? (Out of all the genres, why was this genre so appealing?)
The horror genre is something that I was raised on. If we want to go psychoanalytical, it reminds me of my family and growing up. It was the one thing that my mother and I really connected with and its one of our biggest connection factors. If we're speaking realistically, because its the one genre that seems to continue to re-invent itself and keeps coming back bigger and better. There's no boundaries, no rules, and I love everything about it.

I noticed that you are a zombie fan. What makes zombies so appealing towards you?
Zombies are the most complex of any horror character. I love them so much because they can be anyone. A zombie can be a parent, a friend, a lover, an enemy, the sweet old lady down the street who brings you cookies for your birthday. They're simple creatures and arguably stupid creatures and yet for some reason they scare the living daylights out of us. They can barely use their motor skills and have terrible hand eye coordination and they still have the ability to make the strongest men scream like little girls.

Has there been anybody in the horror film business that has influenced you? If so, in what way?
Sam Raimi has always been a huge influence to me. I find his films to be brilliant and he's a huge advocate with censorship and he seems to do what he wants, how he wants, and doesn't apologize for it. His films follow his own rules and his directing style always showcases his personal touch on a film and I enjoy the fact that he shoots his films the way that he wants to. It takes a lot to keep your signature style in a world where people seem to hate change.

We all know that certain horror movies have a strong lead female or a heroine, but a lot of times that doesn't count as a feminist movie. What do you count as a feminist horror film?
A feminist horror film is one that shows a female in an empowering state. Day of the Woman is my favorite example because it shows a woman who would have every right to completely roll over and die and yet she over comes the odds. Feminist films can be the cliché female role where its Ripley in Alien where she's overcoming the odds and being an "i am woman hear me roar" type of a character, or in a sense something like Teeth where the woman is using her god-given female attributes to her advantage.

Aside from B_Sol, who else influenced you to go into blogging?
B_Sol was definitely my biggest inspiration but Kate from Love Train for the Tenebrous Empire was a huge influence on me. She's a smart, sassy, opinionated woman who sticks it to the man by being a woman and being damn good at what she does. I stalked horror blogs for months before i really got into it and The Vault of Horror & LTFTTE were definitely big ones for me

Tell us a little about Day of the Woman's background design.
The background design is actually a threadless t-shirt! The original image is blue and yellow and while I love the colors (I own the shirt) I felt that for my blog i wanted it to be a little more feminine. So I made the image black and white and then rendered the colors pink and black so it was dark with the black but the pink gave it a girlier feel.

What has to be the most rewarding thing that came out of blogging?
Ha! There is no way I can answer this without sounding like a beauty queen...The most rewarding thing that has come out of blogging is all the fantastic people I've met. I've said it many times before that the horror blogging community has become my family and I trust/care about most of the bloggers I've met through here more than I care/trust te people I see on a day to day basis. They know me better than most people do and they understand me on a level that most people won't ever understand. As far as the blogging community is concerned, from the outside looking in, its impossible to understand and from the inside looking out, it's impossible to explain.

In your spare time, what do you like to do? How do you like to relax?
In my spare time I'm a student at WIU as a Theatre and English literature major. I love reading, coloring in coloring books, volunteer work at domestic violence shelters, competitive baton twirling, beauty pageants, acting, singing, writing plays, and to relax… I watch trashy TV like the Jersey Shore. I absolutely love to dance and as much as I hate to admit it...I'm a sucker for tearjerker movies. I can't really explain it, I guess it’s my estrogen actually showing through. I love taking care of little children and my schnookums! She's a furry hamster named Starling. I'm also quite fond of spooning and skyping with my boyfriend Billy :)

Visit Day of the Woman by clicking here.
Follow Day of the Woman by clicking here.
Become a fan of Day of the Woman on Facebook here.
Friend Brittney on Facebook by clicking here.
Add Day of the Woman on Myspace here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Horror... IN SPACE!

The term ‘jump the shark’ referrers to an episode on Happy Days when Fonzie attempted a jump over a shark after a challenge against his bravery. The term often describes when a TV show has reached a point where the story spins off into absurd story lines, adding new and weird characters or twisted the story. It often marks when a TV show reached its prime and the show continues despite low ratings and viewership. It often marks when a TV show is nearing the end of its run. The same can be said for horror movies too… when a franchise has reached it’s prime but the greedy studios want to dish out even more to keep the franchise thriving. I found that the ‘jump the shark’ moment in most horror movies is when the franchise goes to space.

The more infamous franchise that has gone to space was the Friday the 13th franchise when Jason is frozen at Crystal Lake Research Facility and makes his way to space and slays everybody aboard. Why is this movie ‘jumping the shark?’ Because Jason went from a psychopathic killer at a camp in the middle of nowhere to goddamn “Uber Jason” in space! Plus, one of the corniest moments is when one of the people aboard the ship states, “What is this hockey?” C’mon! Now that is stupid. The story is pushed to space, which doesn’t make sense, and then they change the look and the character of the killer… two indications of when a franchise is dying out. However, the series was jumping the shark in Friday the 13th Part V and so on.

I can’t really say much for Critters 4 because I haven’t seen it in a while but it’s not really complain worthy because they did start off in space. The only thing that is ‘jump’ worthy is the idea that they returned back to space. The movie was great because it took place in a small town but in a dramatic turn of events they end up back in space. They couldn’t just leave it alone after taking over New York.

Another notorious franchise that went to space was the Leprechaun series. Now, the second and third and fourth one were all pretty bad and cheesy but to see the Leprechaun running around in a space station was just comedic and not even horror. It was nice to see Davis reprise is role as Leprechaun but this movie swerves into the world of DNA, mutations and computers… three things that never needed to be in the Leprechaun movies at all. However, they didn’t stop there… they went ahead and jumped the megalodon with Leprechaun: In The Hood.

It seems as though space is the final frontier in horror, when the series has become boring in landscape and more and more ridiculous in plot… so they move to space because there is so much to play with in space and a chance of landscape. What they don’t understand is that space is probably one of the cheesiest place for a killer to wind up. How can you explain a killer, who originated in Podunk, Iowa, end up in space without creating an absurd plot turn? You can’t! When a franchise goes to space, it normally means that they are running out of ideas and can’t keep the franchise alive that long.

What we can expect for future films? Well, thank God Nightmare on Elm Street, Phantasm and Texas Chainsaw have not gone to space but I am sure we can expect Saw eventually leading to space. It honestly won’t surprise me. However, I think the Power Glove scene in Nightmare on Elm Street was the jump the shark moment.

I still hang on the idea that they should make A Nightmare on Elm Street 8: Nightmares In Space; when Freddy goes to space in the Bernal Sphere Space Colony where Elm Street has moved. Then he kills all the teenagers of the people who work on the space colony because their ancestors were the kids of the kids of the kids of the kids of Elm Street. That is cinematic gold!!

Note: I think the Freddy In Space image is actually from the Freddy In Space blog.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Small Towns in Horror

I had recently seen a really good horror made-for-TV movie called Storm of the Century and after watching it saw the ’88 remake of The Blob and then topped it off with The Faculty. I then realized something that I am sure many of you have already caught onto; small towns are always a haven for really bad and supernatural things to happen. I’ve often thought about this and I often thought about small town horror movies like Gremlins, The Blob, Critters, Slither and Children of the Corn and wondered what makes these small towns so targeted.

I want to start off by stating a quote that deals with sci-fi horror movies and small towns. I think it is really boils thing down.

“If you were going to take over the world, would you blow up the White House Independence Day style, or sneak through the back door?”
- Casey (The Faculty)

This is a very great quote and I think it really tackles this issue straightforward. When we have movies like The Blob or Critters or Slither or even Signs (to some extent), they all have aliens that conveniently land right in the middle of a small town. Why is this so? Well, people in small, small towns keep to themselves and when an alien menace comes down and kills half of them or more than half… not many people from the big cities or bigger neighborhoods will even recognize that they are gone. (Ex: There is a small town in Illinois called El Paso; it’s about a mile long and about a 1/3 a mile wide. The population barely goes outside of the community for shopping and if they do it’s for the hospital.) These kinds of towns are goldmines for alien invaders. They are out in the middle of nowhere so nothing could be heard when they decide to attack. As they make there way towards a big city they destroy the lesser-known towns and defeat them. You also have to factor in the population. Most of these towns have a relatively small population so it won’t be too much of a hassle when dealing with uprisings. With everything, you mostly have to start off at the bottom and make your way up the ladder to the top.

“I’m her because island folks know how to pull together for the common good when they need to… and island folks know how to keep a secret.”
- Andre Linoge (Storm of the Century)

Though this quote does specifically relate to ‘island folk,’ I think that it can also be said about small towns in general. Storm of the Century is like a satire on small towns and people’s roles in these small towns. When a tragedy happens, the entire town knows about it and half of the town is outside of the crime scene. Everybody knows everybody in the town and because of this there is a lot of gossip and tension. It’s sort of like how "Desperate Housewives" is a satire on suburbia.

To address the quote above, small towns always pulls themselves together to help solve a problem and they always have secrets that end up biting them back in the end. Most of the time the idea of a secret coming back happens in movies set in suburbia such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, but if you think about it… the people in small towns look as though they are innocent but when you break it down, they are never really as innocent as they appear. It would be a great example of this. The parents are always abusive or they have done something in the past that will haunt them. I can vouch for this because my mom grew up in a small town and she told me some of the things that townsfolk are capable of doing.

In most small town horror movies, be it Gremlins or Children of the Corn or even Village of the Damned… the children are always in danger or end up causing the danger and the adults never seem to believe them. This happens in most horror movies but in these small town set flicks, it’s more pronounced. Eight Legged Freaks nailed it with this quote:

“No one's going to believe me, cause I'm a kid, and they never listen to kid.”
- Mike (Eight Legged Freaks)

Hell, you can even assume that this quote is directly relating to most horror movies where the kid ends up being the protagonist. Although, I find small town horror movies way scarier then city based or even (sometimes) suburbia based because I have small town blood in me. I was born in the city but I have spent enough time in Central Illinois to be generally creeped out by small town horror movies.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My First Rant: Horror Forums

Much in the style of Bloofer Lady’s “Rants on Horror,” I feel the need to address something that has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks now. However, I feel as though I must tell the story before I can tell the problem so I will condense the story into a quick paragraph and not get into the gory details.

The Story
A while ago I joined a forum (which will remain unknown) that I decided to join because it was my first forum. After being banned for standing up to one of the moderators (he promised to put my friend’s pictures for a contest) I joined another forum. This forum was the best. There were only about 10 or 15 of us that really posted a lot and we were a family and my friend from the other forum joined me. It was nice, we bullshitted one another and we talked about horror and we had a good time. I was banned after getting into a fight with somebody but the administrator was kind enough to take me back and I settle my differences. One of the Moderators was somebody from Fangoria and he came to this forum to seek refuge. We didn’t mind because he was our friend. Soon, things took a turn for the worse and members started to join on the forum and began to start fights with all of us. I remained neutral and so did my friend. They began to drive away some of the members and by the end of it there were only about 5 of us left.

The administrator (a very nice guy) told us that the forum was dying and that he tried to contact the guy who owned the forum and the website but he never responded back and he stepped down from his administrator status. He left because of all the 20+ trolls that decided to flock over from Fangoria. Why did these 20+ trolls flock over from Fangoria… because our chief moderator had bad chemistry with them and they decided to rile up things. I stopped posting there for a while to let things simmer but when I logged on I found that my mailbox was filled with messages (15 to be exact) all of them were from the new members and they began to harass, domineer and bash me for no reason. Soon, they started to attack me on my website (this one) by sending me message through my contact tab and I started to get nasty emails from them. It spread to Twitter and I had several tweets from people calling me names and threatening me.

The Point
See, I never cared to know what the chief moderator’s beef was with Fangoria and I claimed ‘plausible deniability.’ The mere idea that I even talked to this guy was enough for them to verbally attack my family and I through Twitter, my website, the forum, MySpace and Facebook. Normally, I don’t ever take any of this stuff to heart and I move on but there use of words and the way they said things about me just got me so pissed (I am not going to post what they said cause I’ll only be adding to the fire). I am sick and tired of people like this and I never make big issues on small things like this but honestly… if you have no other time on your fucking hands but to go from forum to forum harassing people and calling them names then you are the one that is a fucking waste of a human body!! If you think you are so tough because you can talk shit about somebody behind a computer then that’s pathetic!! REAL PATHETIC!!!!!

I assume that people like that don’t feel useful in real life or they probably push-overs in real life so to compensate for that they go around on the internet and start trouble. Again, I did not want to start anything on this but I am because in the past 3 days I got 20 or so emails that were just to harass me!!!!! FUCK OFF!!!! You want to send me harassment emails… FINE!!! I’ll just delete them and not read them so you’re wasting your time and my time!!!!! AND… I’LL REPORT YOU TO FUCKING YAHOO AND BLOGGER ABOUT THIS!!! I don’t want to say fuck you to all the Fangoria members because that’s not the issue; the issue is the people that got banned from Fangoria to troll around said horror forum.

Forums are supposed to be for people who sincerely love horror and love to talk about horror with an occasional brawl here and there, but that’s it!!!! If your going to come on a forum and smash and bash people for no reason then you are the ones that have no life. You are the ones that need the reality check. You are the ones that obviously have some diluted idea that you are tough shit because you are bashing over the Internet. Ooooo you so big and mighty. Say that to somebody’s face and see what happens… I guarantee that you’re not just going to get banned.

People wonder why I don’t participate in forum discussions on big sites like Bloody Disgusting or Dread Central… it’s because I am done with forums! I have been banned from 2, left 3 and now I post on another site that is very super small with only like 5 people posting. I lost faith in big forums and I don’t care to come back to any of the ones that I left or were banned from.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Paradise Profiles: Jeff Farley (Special Effects)

So, as many of you may already know, my second favorite horror movie of all time in the 1988 remake of The Blob. A few months ago I did a video review of The Blob on the blob and Jeff Farley, who was the creature effects crew for The Blob, commented on my video. I asked him if he would do an interview through Facebook about his role in The Blob as well as his website and his other works. He agreed to and I am thrilled and pleased to bring you the longest interview that I ever had. I also want to thank Jeff Farley for agreeing to do this.


IMDb states that your job on The Blob was 'creature effects crew.' What sort of jobs does that include?
Well, on THE BLOB, the crew was broken up into two separate units. Tony Gardner was hired to provide any makeup effects related to the bodies being "digested" and Lyle Conway was brought in (obviously because of the reputation of his work with the Henson's and the amazing "Audrey Jr." from LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS) to come up with the concepts for the title creature. Since we were directly fabricating the actual "Blob" itself and puppeteering it, our title was quite naturally, Creature Effects Crew. At least that's what my crew jacket says. I recall spending quite a bit of time going to the shop in Hollywood in the mornings, working a few hours there, then driving to first unit in Valencia to work for a few hours and then diving to Simim Vally to end up at Dreamquest for the rest of the day to work on the puppet crew. I must have done this every day for a few weeks. It was nuts, but we got through it.

How was working with Shawnee Smith and Kevin Dillon?
I only worked with Shawnee and Kevin a few times on set directly. They were quite nice and professional from my recollection. But we never really talked or anything. I do remember talking with Bill Mosely Erika Eleniak and Ricky Paull Goldin though. Just stuff you do on set to relieve the boredom. I worked a few years ago with Kevin on some Sci Fi Channel film and we had a good laugh about our experiences on THE BLOB.

When we first see the blob in the meteorite, what exactly was 'the blob' made out of?
The meteorite scene was shot on location in Louisiana while I was in Italy on Empire Pictures ARENA.

The hospital scene when Meg sees her boyfriend get devoured by the blob, how exactly was that scene pulled off?
The effect were Meg's boyfriend is devoured was accomplished mostly by Tony Gardner's crew. They did it with a combination of full-scale rigs built for Donovan Leitch and miniatures. Our unit may have provided the skins that were pulled over the body at different speeds creating a unique effect. The skins or "quilts" as we called them were created by using silk bags sewed onto silk sheets. These were then dyed, airbrushed and then each bag would be injected with methocel. That, along with hot melt vinyl and other more traditional techniques, were how the Blob was created.

What were the hardships of that scene?
Luckily, I wasn't involved with particular scene, but I'm sure it, like most everything else was "not a walk in the park".

For the kitchen scene, how on Earth did you manage to get a guy's head down the drain?
It's funny that picked out the drain sequence because I was involved with that. Andy Workman and I were tasked with building the kitchen sink (so yes, I have done everything) and it had to work with the collapsing head that the makeup effects crew built. The understructure looked somewhat like an eggbeater with a mechanism in the center that would cause the head to collapsed and fit down the drain. It was really quite ingenious.

Now, for that theater scene, what had to have been the hardest thing you had to do?
For the theater scene there were many things to do, but I recall being involved in the scene where Frank Collison's character is on the ceiling and gets Pons Marr. It was a very difficult setup.

In the end scenes, where we finally see the full blob, are any of the movements done in stop-motion or is all puppetry?
Everything from my recollection (it has been 20 years) was achieved through good old "blood, sweat and tears". Oh, and some elbow grease and intestinal fortitude were thrown in for good measure. No CGI at that time folks! To be honest, it was all puppetry.

One scene in particular (reference point 1:26:43) it seems as though there are layers to the blob and one layer came out of another. How was that done?
This was achieved by layers of quilts with slightly varying colors being fitted together and a puppeteer would thrust out their arms inside the bags to separate them. There was not a day when the puppeteering crew would not go home covered in slime. We would wear plastic garbage bags to try to cover ourselves, but it never worked.

While on the set for The Blob, what was the hardest thing that you had to do or help with?
The most difficult project I was involved with on set was the scene where Ricky Paull Goldin and Erika Eleniak are in the car. That included many days of prep, puppeteering and special rigs. The point where the Blob covers Ricky was achieved by harnessing him into a car mounted on a gimbel and turning the car on it's side. We then got to pour five gallon buckets of slime on him. That's show business kids!

How was it like working with Chuck Russell?
Working with Chuck was an interesting experience. He is a very focused, talented and detail-oriented individual. He is also prone to fits of screaming in your face when you haven't done what he wants you to do. I had one direct experience with him on the previously mentioned sequence where I was chosen to double Ricky for the slime tests. Well, here I am lying on a board between two ladders and someone pours five gallons on slime on me. I felt this was rather absurd and laughed. Well, Mr. Russell would have none of that! He gets one inch from my face and screams at the top of his lungs "THIS THING IS ABOUT TO FUCKING KILL YOU AND YOU'RE FUCKING LAUGHING? YOU SHOULD BE SCREAMING YOUR FUCKING LUNGS OUT! CLEAN HIM UP AND LET'S DO IT AGAIN!" So I had to do it a second time so he would be satisfied. To be honest though, I saw the same thing happen to the leads and even the director of photography, Mark Irwin. So I kind of feel as though I joined some kind of weird club.

What was the best memory you had?
The above mentioned memory.

While working on Carnosaur, what was your role?
I sculpted the small scale Tyrannosaurus Rex puppet for the original. It was then used for all of the sequels.

On Alien vs. Hunter, was it difficult to not copy to heavily off of Alien and Predator?
Oh yeah, when you work for The Asylum, you try not to tarnish the good names of any classic film! They rely on having some type of hook and if it's familiarity, that's not too bad I guess.

How was working on the set of Tropic Thunder?
I never made it the set on TROPIC THUNDER. I was brought in by Ed French to sculpt and mold Jack Black's Fatties character prosthetics. The molds were then shipped from my studio to Spectral Motion where the foam was run.

After reading some of your referrals, how does it feel to be so highly regarded in your prosthetics, creature and makeup design?
To be honest, it feels a bit strange. I started out as a fan going to conventions and hanging out at Forry Ackerman's. One of my neighbors was an editor of STAR WARS.and I spent my teenage years hanging around guys like Denneis Muren, David Allen, Jim Danforth and a number of others who so generously gave their time to help myself and others out. Now, I try to give advice to anyone who is interested in this as a profession.

What got you interested in makeup and creature design effects?
I was bitten by the bug early. My earliest memories must be from when I was about 3 or 4 and seeing the Cyclops fall off the cliff in SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD and KING KONG. My brother also had an Aurora Frankenstein model kit. I knew I wanted to do special effects when I was 8 when EQUINOX was released. I recall seeing our local morning news show and Dennis and Davis were on with some of the puppets. It also turns out I grew up where the film had been shot. The Green Giant sequence was shot where my father was a member of the local archery club. I ate my lunches off the picnic tables the Green Giant stood on! How cool is that for a young monster fan? I actually started to move towards makeup effects around the time DAWN OF THE DEAD was released. That film (quite literally) "blew me away"! At that time there where so many great technical innovations happening that I felt that was the place to be. More than gore, I was interested in the artistic and technical challenges. I try to use that philosophy in all of my work.

Where did you get the name 'Obscure Artifacts?'
I came up with the name Obscure Artifacts one day when I was giving some copy for Kit Builders magazine. I was doing some EQUINOX kits at the time and needed to come up with some moniker. As Lee Van Cleef said in MEAN FRANK AND CRAZY TONY, "It's a nice name, you should keep it".

Was there one time, in your whole career, where you were so frustrated with a project?
I could fill a thousand pages with all of the times I've been frustrated. But you have to get the job done and move on.

What is your favorite horror movie?
Without a doubt, EQUINOX!

For all the people who want to get into this field, what do you have to say to them?
Well, Jim Danforth gave one word of advice about getting into the business... "DON'T"! Actually, I would encourage anyone to pursue their goals, but to be aware that to achieve them, can mean some very long hours and to always try to keep improving the work you do constantly. Be satisfied with your work, but never enough that you don't grow. And just be the best person you can be. Confidence is good, but ego can get you kicked out the door.

What do you do to relax in your spare time?
Answer questions!

You can visit Jeff’s website by clicking here.
You can add Jeff as a friend by clicking here.
You can become a fan of Obscure Artifacts by clicking here.
You can visit Jeff’s IMDb page by clicking here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Top 10 Original Horror Songs

I was thinking, while I was listening to #6 on this list, about original songs in horror movies. I realized that there are some amazing songs out there custom made for horror flicks. I did my best to create a list of my favorite horror songs and I know I am missing a lot but these are only the ones that I have heard so far.

Note: I wanted to include audio players so that you can hear the songs but the video uploader in Blogger was giving me shit. Instead I decided to upload crappy pictures. Sorry about that.

1. Don’t Bug Me – Jimmy Buffett (Arachnophobia)
If you don’t know me, than you honestly don’t know that I am a megafan of Jimmy Buffett and after I found out that he made a custom song for Arachnophobia I almost went insane. It’s almost a novelty song and it has a great beat and it’s pretty funny. If gives you that real small town feel when you listen to it.

2. Cry Little Sister – Gerard McMann2 (The Lost Boys)
This is a very dark, very gothic and very foreboding song. It has that 80s feel and Gerard has a very brilliant voice, but what I think makes this song so chilling is the synthesizers that give it that edgy darkness. Plus, there is an organ solo and a great children choir for back up. It’s a very catch tune that also alludes to the Bible.

3. Fright Night – J. Geils Band (Fright Night)
I remember this song so fondly as a kid and I remember having this profound love for this song at the end credits at the end of Fright Night. The song is a great example of a 80s club song and the lyrics are spot on with what the movie is about. Once you hear it, it’ll only make you want to watch the real ‘Fright Night.’

4. The Ballad of Harry Warden – John McDermott (My Bloody Valentine)
With a great and very twisted laugh to kick it off, this song is a ballad. It’s very quiet and it sounds like a folk song, which it should considering its making a legend out of Harry Warden. It really gives you the feeling of a small town story turned legend and it’s a very depressing but very brilliant written song.

5. I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me – Pino Donaggio (Carrie)
This is probably one of THE best romantic songs from a horror movie I had ever heard. It’s so touching and it really emphasizes what Carrie’s emotion was like when she was asked to the prom. As you listen to it, listen to the lyrics and it really makes you shed a little tear for Carrie and her mismatched love.

6. Beast Loose in Paradise – Lordi (Dark Floors)
A lot might disagree with this, but I find this song very catchy with a great beat. Thought the lyrics have nothing to do with the movie, it’s a great hard rock song with piano (surprisingly) and the bridge of the song is pretty epic.

7. Too Bad You’re Crazy – Jerry Whitman (April Fool’s Day)
The epitome of every clown song; the lyrics are hysterical to listen to and it’s such and odd song. It’s random but it can get really catch after a while. I found myself whistling the tune after watching the movie. Listen to this song here. (Courtesy of The Horror Digest)

8. The Blob – The Five Blobs (The Blob)
Oh, what a great and very funny song this is. The lyrics are so great because it’s exactly what the blob is. It has that great acoustic guitar and with a jazzy sounding theme, it really is fun to listen to.

9. Tonight (We’ll Make Love Till We Die) – SSQ (Return of the Living Dead)
Now this is a pretty tripping sounding song. The voices are somewhat distorted, it has a great guitar rift and saxophones. The title is very appropriate and if you like good hard rock… you’ll love this.

10. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes – Lee Lewis (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes)
Having a song where a farmer sees tomatoes in his trees then end ups dying because they attacked him just spells awesome. The lyrics are hysterical and it’s catch but the song itself takes killer tomatoes to a serious level. I love it!!

Honorable Mention Songs
Killer Klowns – The Dickies (Killer Klowns from Outer Space)
The Monster Squad – The Monster Squad (The Monster Squad)
Love Song for a Vampire – Wojciech Kilar (Bram Stoker’s Dracula)
We Are Going to Eat You – Fabio Frizzi (We Are Going to Eat You)
We Accept the Challenge – Thor and the Tritonz (Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare)
After Dark – Tito & Tarantula (From Dusk Till Dawn)
Dream Warriors – Dokken (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)
He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask) - Alice Cooper (Friday the 13th Part 6)

Honorable Album mentions – Instances where all the songs are more than one song is good and the whole album is composed of different songs.
Trick or Treat (1987) – Fastway
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987) – Thor and the Tritonz

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pediophobia: Children in Horror

A couple days ago I posed the question to some of my readers, “why are we, as an audience, so scared of kids in horror movies?” After seeing The Children, I was genuinely terrified of little kids, how they smile, how they look off into the distance with an emotionless expression and it got me thinking. Two people responded to my question, one of them took a whole new approach to it (I will post his answer later) and the other was Rachel Fariss. I think she really nailed it on this one and it's open to much discussion. I let her make this post so here is her answer:

“Guest poster RachsMedia here, of Rach's Media Opinions. Rick has kindly allowed me to post a discussion on children in horror. Actually it's less a discussion, more a collection of musings and opinions from yours truly. The question I'm asking is what is it that makes kids so creepy? I've decided that the answer to that question depends on what horror movie we're talking about. See, there's a few different ways to make a child scary. I'm going to go through some examples throw some ideas around about what's scary about each.

1. The Advanced Intelligence Children
These are the children that can outsmart or possibly control adults. The best example of this is The Village of the Damned. These creepy, glowing-eyed rascals are too clever for their own good. So what makes them creepy? Lines like this don't help:

"Why do you think your own survival depends upon emotion from us? Should we pity you? Empathize with your plight?" - Mara Chaffee

I think what makes these kids creepy is that they personify a fear that many parents deal with. "Are my kids going to be emotionally stunted? And what happens when I can't teach them anymore? Will they leave me for dead?".

2. Genuinely Evil Child
Here I'm talking about kids that understand that they're committing atrocities and are happy with that. Some good examples of this are Damien from The Omen, Henry from The Good Son and Micheal from Halloween. The images of these nasties go against the commonly held notion that children are innocents. They are atrocities, violations of our preconceived ideas. Hence, creepy as all hell.

3. Accidentally Evil Child
These are children that commit evil due to an external force. Regan from The Exorcist is probably the best known of these, but the one I want to discuss is the more recent example of The Children. These kids are suffering from an illness that causes them to take delight in murdering the adults around them. The idea is chilling. No matter what you do, no matter how well you raise them, they could still turn on you. There are scenes where the motherly, nurturing instinct is crushed (I mean proper crushed) by the survival instinct. *shudder*

4. Evil Infants that still require nurturing.
Two examples spring instantly to mind, Rosemary's Baby and Grace. In Rosemary's Baby, Rosemary finds herself with Satan’s bun in the oven. In Grace, Madeline wills her stillborn baby back to life, only to find that she doesn't require breast milk so much as breast. The intensely creepy moments in both these films are the moments when you realize that both of them have every intention of caring for their little monsters and raising them to adulthood. The scariest things the infants do is tap into the maternal instincts of some very strong women.

That's what I got so far. Feel free to get the discussion going on anything I've missed or anything you disagree with. Thanks for reading and thanks to Rick for allowing me to guest-post :)”

I want to thank Rachel for going out of her way to make this post and for providing me with some images. I also want to take this opportunity to say… if you want to make a guest post, please, feel free to contact me.

Follow Rachel on Twitter here.
Check out Rachel’s blog here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Paradise Profiles: Amanda Norman

Today, I had the pleasure of talking to somebody that I met online and after checking out her website and her photography I was entranced into it. The noir-ish qualities of her photography capture my eye and I wanted to know more about her. Much like her, I too am attracted to that architecture and quietness of cemeteries so i knew we had something in common. Below is my 'interview.'

Note: This was such a great interview and she told me some very powerful things and this was by far, one of the best interviews that I conducted and it was so hard for me to edit this interview.

What got you into photography?

I grew up in a small English village that had a very old church and graveyard by the coast. Behind this church up on the headlands lay the ruins of an old 6th century chapel and alongside that are some rock cut graves. (links to all images below attached). I grew up playing around these graves and on the beach and it was beautiful and peaceful until I was ripped away from it. To cut a long story short, at the age of 9, my mother married a vicious alcoholic who constantly tortured her and abused me and my sisters. Eventually, me and my sisters were placed into a children’s home for our safety and the only way my mother could have us back was to move away and go into hiding. This she did! I’m always drawn to my childhood haunt and it is a special place for me and I wanted to try and capture the atmosphere and beauty of it to show everyone just what it means to me. This is what got me into photography.

What made you so interested in the atmospheres of graveyards and cemeteries?

Graveyards and cemeteries are the resting ground of the dead and therefore they are peaceful places to escape to when I want to escape the stresses of everyday life. Personally, it’s where I feel safe and away from harm’s way. I was happy until my step dad came along and I had to grow up fast to survive. Therefore I find graveyards to be somewhat comforting. I probably sound like a loony now, but it is quite hard to explain. Another favourite pastime of mine when visiting graveyards and cemeteries is looking at the headstones and tombs and wondering what the people must have been like when alive. Some headstones tell a story, such as two sisters drowning or a young couple in love who died in a motorbike accident. If I come across an old decrepit tomb, I wonder if I’ll see a rotting casket or even a skeleton by peeking through the cracks. My imagination runs riot and so do my emotions.

While looking through your pictures, I can see how vampires and Universal Horror has influenced your work, but elaborate on how Hammer Horror has been an influence.

Nowadays when watching Hammer Horror, I think that they are such cheesy films with the bright red paint used to imitate blood, but as a young impressionable teenager, these films were scary and intriguing at the same time. Hammer Horror also got it right with their Gothic scenes, graveyards that the vampires rose from and the old castles. Universal Horror were masters of setting the atmosphere of graveyards and spooky scenes with the drifting smoke and long shadows that could be hiding a number of monsters. They really knew how to set the atmosphere for a good horror and I miss the effects of lighting and shadows in modern day horror. I hope to achieve the same atmosphere when taking photographs.

A lot of people are attracted to the architecture and layout of cemeteries and their headstones, why do you think that is?

Every headstone and tomb tells it own story. You instantly know if someone was wealthy by their elaborate tomb and you know if someone came from a big family if there are numerous graves clustered together with the same surname. From looking at the symbols used on the headstones, you can tell if that person was a sailor, mason, carpenter etc… Victorian cemeteries are my favourite because they seem to celebrate death with elaborate carvings and fancy architecture. I saw an old Victorian coffin in a museum and it was black with brass studs and really fancy. It was beautiful!

Can you tell me a little bit about 'Strawberry Massacre?' What was your intention?

I was bored one afternoon and couldn’t go out with the camera as it was raining and dull. My creativity was running a riot and this is when I thought of Strawberry Massacre. I wanted to see what it would be like ripping the juicy flesh of the strawberries and letting the juices run freely, just like blood would if it was human flesh. I also thought that the red would look striking against the gleaming silver of the grater and I achieved my objective. Now I have to say that I wouldn’t like to grate human flesh as I’m very squeamish and wouldn’t want to inflict pain on someone let alone have their blood on my hands.

Every photo seems to fit a theme but 'Styles & Co Chartered Accountants' seems out of place. What was the attraction to this building?

There was a local photography competition ran by ‘Styles & Co Chartered Accountants’ and the theme was to take a photograph of something local for their office walls. I decided to take a photograph of their building, which got a runners up prize and it’s on the site because I like it. I entered 3 photographs in total and the ‘Millenium Gate’ photograph came second and is framed on their boardroom wall.

Do you have a favorite horror film? If so, why?

It has to be Stephen King’s original Salem’s Lot with David Soul. OMG, this actually terrified me as a teenager so badly that I cried because no one would let me share a bed with them and told me to grow up. In the UK, they played Salem’s Lot on BBC1 over two nights. When it came to the second night, I had to beg my mother to let me watch it and she kept on saying no, because I’ll cry again, but she gave in when I told her that I wouldn’t, but I did! I believe that Mr Barlow influences my dark portrait photography today as I love to create portraits of friends and family simply by asking them to pull an evil face without the effects of make-up. Salem’s Lot had such a good story line and David Soul was fantastic. King has an excellent talent of making you believe and feel the emotions of his lead characters and I never tire of watching Salem’s Lot.

In your spare time, what do you like to do? How do you like to relax?

I’ve recently become a grandma and I’m not even 40 GOD DAMN IT! I love to hold my granddaughter Holly and look after her. At the time of writing, she’s only 3 wks old and she’s beautiful. Other than that, I like to chill out on Twitter and read Richard Laymon books.

Click here for Amanda's wesite
Follow Amanda here on Twitter.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jerry's Lament: Romanticism in Fright Night

Tonight, I want to talk about a movie that modernized the vampire mythology and puts it into modern suburbia. That movie is Fright Night. It’s a movie that I love very much and though I am not a huge vampire fan, I find the movie highly entertaining and pretty scary… for younger audiences. However, I want to discuss the main antagonist Jerry Dandrige. Yes, for a bulk of the film he is an arrogant prick, a bastard and he loves torturing Charlie both mentally and emotionally but I want to focus on something that many people seem to pass by. He is really, in fact, a tragic hero.

Aristotle defines a tragic hero, in Shakespearean works, as a character who is of noble birth, has a tragic flaw, a victim of reversed fortune brought on by the tragic flaw, as a result he is self-aware and as an audience we feel pity or fear for this character.

In the movie, when Jerry confronts Charlie in the bedroom and shows him what he is capable of doing he says to him “I’m giving you something that I don’t have, a choice.” I think as a viewer we can assume that, in his previous life, he was a very wealthy man or a man of high stature who probably was a little greedy and therefore he was given the chance to be immortal… but it came with a price. There are several different interpretations of this but this is the one that comes to mind. Or perhaps, you can interpret it as he was born with this fatal flaw and that he had no choice in the matter.

About midway into the movie it is revealed that Jerry has a portrait of his lost love that looks suspiciously like Charlie’s girlfriend Amy. When Jerry’s henchman states, “She looks just liker her,” we can assume that Jerry has been around for a very long time and that Amy may have been Jerry’s love in a past life. We then realize that Jerry was once in love with somebody. I am positive that he loved this girl to no end but because of A) he was born a vampire B) he was turned into a vampire; it prevented him from coupling with her. Something happened to her that probably made him such a bitter person and turned him into the non-romantic vampire that he was all these years until Amy came along.

It’s because of this attraction and hints to the past that we immediately feel some sympathy for Jerry and at the same time we fear him. I think by leaving the bulk of the romance out of the film and only alluding to it, Tom Holland effectively created a great comedy horror flick. It still retains the classic vampire mythology but in a different way. I guess, you can say that skewed and indirect sequel to Dracula. I mean, Jerry may be a dick… but you have to admire his cockiness.

Note: I really looked in depth with this movie but rest assured, I spent most of my life watching this movie and enjoying it. I never looked this far into a character before.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

VHS Horror Memories

Have you ever looked at an old VHS copy of an even older film and thinking to yourself “man, I remember when I saw that… on VHS?” Today, I want to talk about something that should only be discussed with people who love nostalgia and to those who can respect the olden days for what they were. I am talking about VHS horror memories. Back when us horror fans would pop in a tape into the VCR and we would watch an obscure horror movie as though it was playing in a theater. I am a strong advocate that VHS is somewhat superior to DVD but I also believe that the only way to truly watch some horror movies are by watching them on an old dusty VHS tape back from the 80s or 90s.

See, the way I see it… DVDs are good when you want to watch for clarity and when you want to watch a more modern horror movie or even an action movie. Some people like DVDs because they take up less storage, there are features, it has a menu and the sound is good. All good reasons and I agree with it. But, when it’s a dark stormy night I think that watching a horror movie on a scratch VHS tape is the best way to go. Think about it; when you watch a VHS tape, you get that grainy effect that you often see in theaters and don’t forget the sudden audio jumps. Most people would look at these as though they were flaws, which they are, but us nostalgia guys look at it as a trademark for that format. Vinyl’s scratch and when a vinyl guru hears a record scratch, its music to his ears. Film collectors love the sound of reel changing and VHS collectors love the sound of audio jumps and dial tone sounds.

The other day I popped in Fright Night into the VCR and as I watched it I remembered the time when VHS or even Betamax (My dad had all this old stuff) dominated. I loved how VHS used to start the movie off in widescreen then shift to full screen, those periodic film scratches or the thin slanted heading at the top of the screen. Here is my argument: you have a really shitty movie, or a really cheesy movie that you love and you watch it on DVD and the transfer is so bad because the original print was bad. The movie that comes to mind is Bloody Birthday. It’s a case like that where I would recommend seeing it on a VHS because the quality won’t change but at least with a tape you can feel vintage for a bit.

There was a discussion on a forum that I belong to and one of the members stated that it takes a certain bad, cheesy or classic horror movie to be watched on VHS. He went on to state that he retains the idea that some horror movies need to be watched on VHS tape. I agree with this statement. Even movies like Halloween or Fright Night are VHS kinds of films because you cannot beat the graininess.

Some might even ask me why I like VHS, to a degree, more than DVD… and that just goes with the way VHS is. With a DVD, if you get tired and you want to stop the DVD you have to stop the whole movie then when you wake up find the place that you left off and watch the rest. With a VHS, you stop, turn off the set, wake up and then start where you turned it off. Little mundane things like that. I still have more DVD then VHS but I still enjoy the format

I asked around and a couple of people gave me some of their movies that they would like to see on VHS or they would rather see on VHS than DVD and here it is:

Last House on the Left
Blood Diner
Bloody Birthday
The Video Dead
Garbage Pail Kids (though not horror)
Street Trash
80s slasher movies
Any Italian horror movie

Side note: A vast majority of the horror movies that people would rather see on VHS belong in the slasher, cheesy grindhouse genre. Surprising? I think not.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Horror Diner: A Look At Food In Horror

So I decided to do this because… well, I love food and I love seeing food in movies so I decided that it would be fun if there were a Horror Diner where you can buy food based on horror movies. Also because a lot of Twitter users were giving me ideas. Granted, not every choice on the menu was featured in a horror movie but I think this would be a great start to a horror themed diner.


The Howling - Four Juicy flame-broiled USDA approved meat patties slapped onto grilled honey based bun. Cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions are optional. Must be ordered 'rare.'

Famous Hague's BBQ Ribs - Smothered in zesty and sweet barbeque sauce, grilled over an open flame; this juicy, tender rack of ribs is the perfect dinner for you and your family. Made with the secret Hague recipe before he died.

5 Alarm Chili
- This award winning chili is home made from Drayton Sawyer's own kitchen. Lightly seasoned, made from chipotle and habanera peppers and mind the peppercorns. This chili will cut its way into your heart.

Aunt Mei's Dumplings - Tenderly made with soft powdered dough and packed with the most succulent and youngest of meats. They are said to rejuvenate you after ever bite and they'll keep you asking for more.

10 Piece Grilled Shrimp - Grilled over an open flame, marinated with honey butter and seasoned with spices. Served or garnished with marinara sauce, we guarantee the spell alone will grab your mouth.

New England Clam Chowder - Cooked with fresh potatoes, onions and bacon, lightly garnished with salt and made with the finest clams of the Atlantic Ocean. Once popular on the Antonia Graza.

Vincent's Own Fritters
- These tender, juicy, smokes sausages lightly seasoned with peppers and made at Vincent's own farm. They have been proclaimed to be the most tasty and delicious in the surrounding area. It takes all kinds of people to be Farmer Vincent's Fritters.

The Plan 9 - This cheese bowl comes with 20 different cheeses: Cheddar, Mozzarella, Swiss, Pepperjack, Limburger, Colby, Monterey Jack, Muenster, Bre, Bra, Blue Stilton, Blue, Parmesan, Bruges, Asiago, Edam, Ricotta, Bleu, Provolone, Brick and Farmer cheese all put together in a hollowed out Gouda wheel.


The Stuff - Lightly fluffed to a cream whip and flavored with vanilla, this yogurt will make you go crazy. Served with chocolate chip cookies from Chocolate Chip Charlie's.

Lemke's Pies - Backed to perfection with a crispy, flakey, buttery crust (The secret is in the crust) and your choice of cherry or apple pie; either way, it's to die for.

Rocky Road
- This wonderfully soft served ice cream is made with gentle care and insanity from Gregory's own ice cream truck.

Cotton Candy and Popcorn - Get your taste buds ready for an out of the world experience of sweetness and fun.


Soft drinks: Coke, 7-Up, Dr. Pepper, lemonade, Ed's coffee.
Jack's Banana Smoothie,
Tenafly Viper

If I am missing anything on this menu, please, tell me. I know that I am and these are based on movies that I have seen so leave a comment below if you think I should put something on the menu. Who knows, I might actually ‘publicize’ this menu. Also, again, this is just for fun and there are now zombie related entrees or desserts because apparently there is a zombie related diner somewhere. You're also probably wondering why I didn't write an article on food in horror movies... simple, because I would rather be really weird and do a menu instead.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Review - The Howling (1981)

So, I finally got done watching a film that I tried watching so many times but always fell asleep. Possibly because, back then, this movie was boring for me but now I finally made it all the way through The Howling. I actually really enjoyed this movie and I do agree that it is the greatest werewolf movies out there. It’s about a new anchor named Karen who suffered a very traumatizing incident with a serial killer/stalker. Her psychiatrist then recommends that she should loosen up and attend a secret retreat known as The Colony. But, her friends soon discover that her killer, Eddie, is connected with The Colony and the Colony may be associated with werewolves.

I think the reason why I thought this movie was really boring was because of its really slow build up to anything scary. It’s not until the 30-minute mark where you get anything that’s really werewolf related, but when it does it delivers a punch. As the story progresses it build up the tension and really studies on it’s main heroine an after a while you begin to somewhat go as crazy she is after seeing all of her dreams. You begin to feel for her and you want her to try to express herself. The film puts you right there in the mood.

I really liked the look of the werewolves because they look sort of like hairy, man-sized jackals… sort of like the ones seen in The Mummy Returns. You can tell they are men in costumes but this is the 80’s, however, I think it does have a very strange and painful transformation scene. It’s not like American Werewolf in London but it is quite painful when you see Eddie’s skin bubble up. The film came out before American Werewolf so you can’t really say it’s a rip-off but it’s still good.

The Howling owes a lot to classic werewolf cinema as well and there is even a slight homage to Corman’s Bucket of Blood. Many of the characters are named after famous directors who have made werewolf related films such as Waggner, Fisher and Francis. They even make a slight but foreshadowing reference to Wolfman Jack. They are funny little in-jokes that many horror fans would love and it was pretty cool to see Dick Miller in another horror film.

As far as setting goes, I like it. Again, I want to mention American Werewolf for one reason: when the group is out walking around in the moors of Scotland… it seems like they are in their own little world as does this retreat in The Howling. The tall trees, the picturesque beach front and the campfire parties, it’s all secluded from big towns and cities but in the same way it’s in its own world. Plus, Dante really manipulates the woods to the point of creating a sense of isolation and fear. Honestly, there were times when I swear I could smell pine.

Dante’s The Howling is a great movie and it is one of the best werewolf movies out there because it’s a werewolf movie done right without having ritz and glitz. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly encourage you to do so however, I know a lot of the younger generation of horror fans may find it boring and slow paced so be warned. I was once like that once. Look at the movie as part horror and part drama and for me the best part, and possibly one of the scarier parts in the movie, is when Slim Pickens shows his fangs and a horde of werewolves attack the heroine’s car.

Note: The coincidental similarities that The Howling has with American Werewolf in London.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Award to Some Amazing Bloggers

Today, I received an award known as the One Lovely Blog Award by Brian over at The Vault of Horror. Thank you very much Brian, I really appreciate it and you deserve this award as much, or more, than I do! With that said, it is my duty to take this award and pass it on to 15 other blogs that deserve this. Unfortunately, I do not have 15 blogs to give this to because most of them have been mentioned by other bloggers. So, I will give this award to 5 other people who, I think, have not been properly recognized.

Note: One blogger may not see it but I will do my best to promote it.

The winners of the One Lovely Blog Award are:

James Rolfe - Cinemassacre
Corey (?) - Evil on Two Legs
Steve Jencks - Lost Highway
Mike Bracken - The Horror Geek
Alison (?) - The Screamstress

These people deserve this award because... well, they have one lovely blog and I want to acknowledge that! Now, your task, should you choose to accept it, is nominate 15 other blogs... however, this is optional. Again, you guys deserve it and I don't have any other awards to give you.

Horror vs. Psychological Thriller/Drama

What exactly is a horror movie? Well, as much as many people don’t like Wikipedia as a source, I have to agree with their definition of a horror film… they “are movies that strive to elicit the emotions of fear, horror and terror from viewers. Their plots frequently involve themes of death, the supernatural or mental illness. Many horror movies also include a central villain.” However, there are movies that use elements of horror to further stretch the plot or to make the movie more realistic. Normally, they are called psychological thrillers or just thrillers but something that has always caused controversy are the movies the fall on both the horror side of genre and the drama/thriller side of genre. There are some movies that I want to point out, to me, that should not be considered horror movies.

I do want to note that not every horror fan will agree on these charges. These are based on some research that I have done and looking on top 10 ‘horror’ movies lists.

First there is the psychological drama or thriller films that seem to always have a reputation of being a horror film. Films like, The Silence of the Lambs, Frailty, American Psycho and Hard Candy seem to be associated with the horror genre. Though I will agree that Silence does have depictions of blood, cannibalism and some jump out moments I don’t think it’s a horror movie. It’s a drama, it’s a crime drama and crime often involves these sorts of things. Hard Candy, I didn’t really get scared at all and the only shock value of that movie was the castration. American Psycho, it has lots of blood and violence but I see it more of a drama or a character study.

When you have films like Frailty or Seven, sure they have some pretty creepy imagery and some haunting scenes but in no way should it be a horror. I think it’s a horror themed drama/thriller. It’s real life horror but I don’t think it provokes the audience as much. However, Frailty is pretty close.

Then we have a confusion of sci-fi with horror, which, I can’t blame because some sci-fi crosses over smoothly with horror like The X-Files, Virus or Alien but movies like A Clockwork Orange, Aliens, Cloverfield and District 9… they are mainly sci-fi movies or sci-fi action movies. Alien is really a slasher in space and it keeps all the elements of a slasher but Aliens is more along the lines of action then anything else. I don’t know why Clockwork Orange appears in so many horror film entries when it’s really a sci-fi about a dystopian society much like Logan’s Run or Bladerunner. Cloverfield and District 9 are really just sci-fi action movies and as much as Cloverfield does have some jump out points, it’s more action than anything else.

Another thing that always seems to find it’s way into the horror section are films like Shaun of the Dead, Scary Movie and the recent film Zombieland. Though I am not even going to talk about Scary Movie, films like Shaun and Zombieland are really only comedy movies. They make you laugh more than they scare you and they have more comedy elements than anything else; they horror themed comedies no comedy themed horror films. An example of a comedy themed horror movie would be Scream or in some cases A Nightmare on Elm Street.

The only reason why I did this post is because I wanted to clarify some things and to state what I thought. Of course, if you look at it, a lot of movies have horror elements to them and I pointed that out in a beloved cartoon called Toy Story… but there is a fine line between having elements of a genre and being solely part of the genre.

Other movies I don't consider horror:
Donnie Darko
King Kong
Earth vs. The Flying Saucers
War of the Worlds
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Pan's Labyrinth