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Sunday, September 17, 2017

JOHN CARPENTER'S THE FOG- ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK

     The score for John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN gets all the hoopla, but Carpenter as a composer is sorely underrated. His brilliantly moody score for THE FOG rivals that of HALLOWEEN, if not more rich and atmospheric. And it's on Spotify! Perfect for listen to while the leaves fall outside.


IT

 

       Guys, we saw IT last night- and although I was slightly afraid going into it because of all the hype, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the movie. I truly did. It was a perfect scary movie to see to kick off the Halloween season with.


     Okay, first and foremost, let's get the Tim Curry thing out of the way. Here's what I have to say about all that. Tim Curry is absolute legend, royalty- and he made Pennywise his own iconic triumph for the small screen in the 90's tv version. Yes, we all know that film had its faults, but Tim Curry scared the living shit out of millions of kids with that performance, and he will forever be linked to it.


     Bill Skarsgard has certainly given us his own interpretation of Pennywise, already equally as memorable as Curry's legendary role. I have to admit I had doubts at first, I really did. But he fucking nails it- he's completely nightmarish and over-the-top and just perfect. Bill makes a powerful vision on screen, and his evil clown is the stuff of nightmares.


     The 90's tv version, being made for the small screen, simply couldn't show all the more gruesome and shocking events in King's novel on television, like the new film does wonderfully. I don't see it as a comparison or competition between the two actors as both are excellent in their own ways and the fact that a Stephen King book can give us not one but two iconic portrayals of the same monster is pretty damn remarkable, if you ask me.


     The kids. As creepy as Bill Skarsgard is as Pennywise, the film wouldn't work without the Losers Club- and that's some fine child acting going on there. Those kids give it all they've got, and watching I couldn't help but get traces of STAND BY ME, POLTERGEIST, STRANGER THINGS, and countless other homages to classic horror and tv films. There's a lot of fun 80's touches throughout the film- one of the kids has movie posters of GREMLINS and BEETLEJUICE on their bedroom walls. Another kid is wearing a t-shirt with CHRISTINE on it. BATMAN and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5 are playing at the local movie theater. The film takes place in 1988/89 and the filmmakers capture that 80's feel to a T.


     IT is like a grand funhouse of horror. All your childhood fears are deliciously represented here- the haunted house, the spooky cellar, clowns- it taps into all those boogeymen of our youth rather brilliantly, and it makes the movie a hell of a lot of fun to watch. The 80's setting only makes it all the more nostalgic and fun.


     This film is a worthy addition to the world of classic Stephen King film adaptations, and is right up there with CARRIE, THE SHINING, CUJO, MISERY, PET SEMATARY, and THE MIST, if you ask me. It's perfect for this time of year- with touches of haunted houses, ghosts, clowns, and more blood than you could dump on Carrie at the prom. Yes, I enjoyed it that much, and I was afraid I wouldn't. I'm glad I did enjoy it, and I already want to go see IT again.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

THE RETURN OF LAURIE STRODE

    I don't know about you, but yesterday my facebook was literally out of control once the news broke that the ultimate Scream Queen, Jamie Lee Curtis herself, was returning to Haddonfield one last time, with John Carpenter himself confirming this monumental news. And this picture definitely won the internet yesterday and sent fans hearts' a flutterin', mine included. (I had no idea Jamie Lee and HALLOWEEN had such devoted gay followings, but that's a whole other story...)


     I mean, isn't this just amazing news? This is the kind of shit horror fans go absolutely nuts over. This is already the stuff of legend- people will be talking about this until the damn movie comes out a year from now. You know what was so cool about this news yesterday? It brought many people together on facebook and Instagram and all that jazz, many who've never met in person before, all to share the excitement of one of our heroines- one of the people who influenced us and made us the horror movie fans we are today- returning to one of the most beloved franchises in film history.


     This was hands down the topic on social media, still is actually. This is big news, kids. Big indeed. I'm not sure if I can wait a whole year to see this! And if I'm not mistaken, is John Frigging Carpenter doing the score this time around and loves the script? Am I getting the tingles again?  Yes, yes I am...


Thursday, September 14, 2017

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET- BEHIND THE SCENES


     How about some on-set photos of the original A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET?


















Monday, September 4, 2017

Classics From the Crypt

     Here's my personal Spotify playlist of classic horror music, kids!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

RIP GEORGE A. ROMERO/TOBE HOOPER

     Guys, in the past few weeks we've lost two giants in the world of horror- George A. Romero and Tobe Hooper. They're only two of the most ingenious and original horror film makers of all time, contributing such legendary films as NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, CREEPSHOW, and POLTERGEIST, just to name a few.


     George A. Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was a game-changer, kids. Released in 1968, it changed the face of horror movies forever.  It was low-budget, bleak, and violent- NOTLD told audiences that "safe" horror movies of the past were forever gone. Horror was now dangerous, dark, and gritty. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is a perfect time capsule of the tumultuous 60's as America was smack dab in the middle of the Vietnam War, racial tensions, the counterculture, and so forth.



     NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, with its low-budget and grainy filmstock, almost seemed like a documentary to audiences of 1968, and completely shocked the world with its graphic depictions of corpses rising from the dead to devour the living. Audiences had never seen anything like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD before, and it quickly and rightly so became a cult classic and a Halloween staple. This weird, low-budget fright flick would pave the way for another nightmare that would become just as infamous in its own right. That film was called THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE...


     Released in 1974, Tobe Hooper's masterpiece of  horror, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, hit theaters. I can absolutely say that this is hands down the scariest movie I have ever seen in my life. It's just so twisted and disturbing- like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, it seemed as if we were watching a documentary or a snuff film. Both movies had completely unknown actors, both shot on cheap film, and both told simple yet absolutely terrifying stories. Based on the story of Ed Gein, TTCM is unrelenting and can still reduce a jaded viewer to cold sweats today. It's that powerful of a film. You believe every single frame of this movie, and that's a testament to director Tobe Hooper who absolutely makes the most of his camera and actors. The late Marilyn Burns gives a bravura performance, by the way- she's fantastic.



    The brilliance of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is that there's actually very little blood and gore to be found in the film- it's all mood, tension, and camerawork. Gunnar Hansen is absolutely the stuff of nightmares here, as one of horror's biggest icons was introduced to audiences in the form of Leatherface- yes, before Michael Myers, before Jason Voorhees, before Freddy Krueger- Leatherface was haunting our nightmares. Even today it's a hard film to sit through. That's the power of Tobe Hooper.


     Most directors might hit a home run once in their careers and it's a rare occasion to live up to or surpass that home run- but George A. Romero went and did that exact same thing ten years after his ground-breaking masterpiece NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD terrified and shocked the world. 1978's DAWN OF THE DEAD continued the story of NOTLD as it told the story of how the undead have taken over the country with only a handful of survivors left in a shopping mall, of all places.


    Romero ups the ante here though, as the film's graphic violence is now presented in full color, and with the help of horror effects maestro Tom Savini, present some truly nightmarish scenes of gore. DAWN OF THE DEAD went through the fucking roof when it was released, and was immediately branded a masterpiece of horror. Just like the original, we are treated to wry social commentary, on top of some outlandish gore effects.


      Both NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DAWN OF THE DEAD are immensely important horror films that forever cemented the name of George A. Romero in the annals of horror history.



         As if introducing the world to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE wasn't enough, Tobe Hooper went on to deliver two more iconic frightfests. In 1979, after the immensely successful adaptation of the Stephen King novel CARRIE, Hooper brought SALEM'S LOT to the small screen as a television mini-series, which would go on to frighten anyone who caught it both on tv and video.



    SALEM'S LOT offers the scariest vampires ever put on film, period, and I'd easily put this made-for-tv film not only in the top ten best Stephen King adaptions of all time, but also one of the best horror films of the 1970's, period. Reggie Nalder's lead vampire Barlow is the stuff of nightmares, and who could ever forget the little vampire boy floating outside the window?



     In 1982 director Tobe Hooper teamed up with Steven Spielberg to deliver one of the most famous haunted house movies of all time with POLTERGEIST. Even though the film was rated PG and has Spielberg's touch all over it, the brilliance of Tobe Hooper shines through, and POLTERGEIST easily went on to become a bona-fide horror classic.


    Hooper and Spielberg crafted some truly iconic scenes here- that damn clown and the infamous line "They're here..." instantly come to mind. POLTERGEIST is one of the most beloved horror films from the 1980's, and it's easy to see why. Tobe Hooper did it right, kids.



     These two giants of the horror genre will certainly be missed, but their contributions speak for themselves. A director is lucky to deliver a classic horror film once in his or hers career, but these guys made it look effortless and did it a few times over. So RIP George A. Romero and Tobe Hooper- you may not have been immortal yourselves, but the nightmares you gave us will live on forever.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

JAWS 2


     I'll never understand why so many horror movie fans seem to disregard the JAWS movies as not being "true" horror movies, whatever the hell that means. The original JAWS terrified millions of people around the globe- even people living in Kansas for God's sakes! If that's not a scary movie, then I don't know what is, kiddos.


    A sequel to one of the biggest blockbusters of all time was inevitable, I suppose- but I'm not going to re-hash the millions of things that's been said about JAWS 2 over the years. Yes, we know it wasn't Spielberg directing this time- nobody could compare to him anyways and Jeannot Szwarc does a damn fine job with the material and makes it his own and that is THAT. I love the original film, and it would be virtually impossible to replicate Steven Spielberg's style and techniques.


   Jeannot Szwarc obviously paid attention to what made the first film work so well and wisely brings some of that to the sequel. JAWS 2 certainly had a lot to live up to, but it's foolish to compare the two. The film has faults to be found, sure- the pace could be a bit tighter in parts and the residents of Amity seem to have dreadful memories except good ole' Chief Brody, but overall JAWS 2 is a damn near perfect summer fright flick.


     Spare me moans and groans about the script- we watch JAWS 2 (and JAWS 3-D and JAWS: THE REVENGE, for that matter...) for one reason only. We want to see a Great White terrorizing folks, plain and simple. And this film delivers that in spades.


     I love how most of the main cast of the first film returns, and it's downright fun to re-visit Amity again. Pesky film snobs love to make fun of the special effects of these films, but they look far better and more realistic than anything you'd find in ANACONDA or DEEP BLUE SEA, that's for sure.


     JAWS 2 has many great, memorable scenes that rival anything found in the original- the two divers discovering the Orca at the first of the film, the infamous water-skiing scene, the burnt shark rising up to almost devour an unconscious Mike Brody, and the climax of course. Not to mention hands down one of the greatest taglines in all of film history- "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.."- brilliant is all I'm saying.


     JAWS 2 was cool and scary enough to be featured just as prominently as the original in the wonderful TERROR IN THE AISLES, and all you wacky horror nerds out there be sure to look for a very young Bryan Norton, who appears in a small role.


     I love this movie. I think it definitely holds its own and has carved its own niche in the annals of horror, and seems to be growing a rather loyal fanbase over the years, which is always great to see. Now there have been some pretty good recent shark movies- I for one enjoyed the first OPEN WATER, THE REEF, and THE SHALLOWS- but they ain't no JAWS 2, guys. C'mon. When I was a kid I rented these damn movies all the time and the JAWS marathons were just as special to me as a marathon of HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, or THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. Plus the trailer is kick ass.


THIS IS MY SHRINE TO ALL THINGS SCARY- MOVIES, BOOKS, MADE FOR TV, SOUNDTRACKS- I LOVE IT ALL.
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