Articles on this Page
- 11/26/13--10:00: _Terrifying 'Mega-Pr...
- 11/26/13--10:30: _One Way Static Reco...
- 11/26/13--10:45: _800-Pound Monster S...
- 11/26/13--11:00: _Real-Life Overlook ...
- 11/26/13--12:30: _Gift Guide: 'The Sh...
- 11/26/13--13:00: _This Cave-Dwelling ...
- 11/26/13--14:00: _Gift Guide: 'Walkin...
- 11/26/13--17:00: _Celldweller Release...
- 11/27/13--08:00: _TV Recap: 'The Orig...
- 11/27/13--08:30: _'Bela Kiss: Prologu...
- 11/27/13--09:00: _TV Recap: 'Supernat...
- 11/27/13--09:30: _Would-Be Ghost Hunt...
- 11/27/13--10:00: _Ephel Duath: 'Hemme...
- 11/27/13--11:00: _The Real Story of '...
- 11/27/13--11:30: _'Raze' Trailer Star...
- 11/27/13--13:00: _Our Favorite Not-St...
- 11/27/13--14:00: _Gift Guide: Vintage...
- 11/27/13--15:30: _T Bone Burnett Vows...
- 11/27/13--16:00: _Return of the 'Myth...
- 11/27/13--17:00: _Marvel Zombies vs. ...
- 11/26/13--10:00: Terrifying 'Mega-Predator' Dinosaur Unearthed in Utah
- 11/26/13--10:45: 800-Pound Monster Stingray Caught in Florida
- 11/26/13--11:00: Real-Life Overlook Hotel Hosting Writer's Retreat
- 11/26/13--12:30: Gift Guide: 'The Shining' Ugly Christmas Sweater
- 11/26/13--13:00: This Cave-Dwelling Sea Creature is a Lovecraftian Nightmare
- 11/26/13--14:00: Gift Guide: 'Walking Dead' Survivor's Bath Robe
- 11/26/13--17:00: Celldweller Releases 'Zombie Killer' EP from 'Dead Rising 3'
- 11/27/13--08:00: TV Recap: 'The Originals' Episode 108 - 'The River in Reverse'
- 11/27/13--08:30: 'Bela Kiss: Prologue' Trailer and Release Info
- 11/27/13--09:00: TV Recap: 'Supernatural' Episode 908 - 'Rock and a Hard Place'
- 11/27/13--09:30: Would-Be Ghost Hunters Burn Down Historic Plantation
- 11/27/13--10:00: Ephel Duath: 'Hemmed by Light, Shaped by Darkness'– Album Review
- 11/27/13--11:00: The Real Story of 'American Horror Story's Axeman of New Orleans
- 11/27/13--11:30: 'Raze' Trailer Starring Zoe Bell and Rachael Nichols
- 11/27/13--13:00: Our Favorite Not-Strictly-Horror Films
- 11/27/13--14:00: Gift Guide: Vintage Skeleton Pocket Watch
- 11/27/13--16:00: Return of the 'Mythic Beasts' Retro Travel Posters!
- 11/27/13--17:00: Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness Fan Film is Incredibly Groovy
Just like VHS tapes, the past couple years have seen a big time resurgence in vinyl records, and companies like Mondo and Death Waltz Recording Company have been working hard to give us horror fans incredible releases to stick the ole needle on. One of the newest companies on the scene is the Belgium-based One Way Static Records, which was just launched this year and has already made a huge impact with a release of David Hess' Last House on the Left soundtrack - made available on not just vinyl but also CD and even cassette. As of yesterday, the company made their second release available for pre-order, and they've once again found vinyl inspiration in the early works of Wes Craven.
Don Peake's motion picture soundtrack for 1977's original Hills Have Eyes is One Way Static Records' second offering to their waiting audience of fans, and just like their Last House release it will also be available in a few different ways. A standard Black Vinyl Edition is limited to 1,400 copies and can be purchased for approximately $27, while the Limited Vinyl Edition will cost you about $35, limited numbers of the soundtrack being pressed on amber/glow in the dark vinyl as well as clear/solid amber 'splatter vinyl.' Both releases include liner notes from Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman and composer Don Peake, among other members of the cast and crew.
A mere 300 copies of the soundtrack on cassette are also available, which are selling for approximately $10. If the Last House release was any indication, those won't last long, so be sure to snatch one up while you can.
Head over to One Way Static Records to learn more, listen to samples and place your pre-orders. Orders will begin shipping out January 14th of next year!
If early exposure to Jaws instilled in me a lifelong fear of the water - and it most definitely did - then pictures like the one you see above have ensured that it's a fear I will never get over, as long as I live - and they most definitely have!
As reported by Grind TV, Florida fisherman Mark "The Shark" Quartiano hooked himself this unexpected catch last Saturday, while out hunting for sharks off Miami Beach. Hoping to catch a shark while being documented by a Japanese filming crew, Quartiano was fishing at around 500 feet when something massive snagged the line, and fours later he pulled up the monster-sized 800-pound stingray seen above. A veteran of the sea who's no stranger to finding giant sea creatures at the end of his line, Quartiano described the catch as looking "like some kind of dinosaur," and says he has never in his life seen anything like it.
George H. Burgess of the Florida Museum of Natural History has identified the monster as a Dasyatis Centroura, a type of stingray that is apparently often seen by anglers who bottom-fish in the deep waters of the United States' East Coast.
... In other words, they're out there. Many of them. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Best known for serving as inspiration for The Shining, and its fictional Overlook Hotel, Colorado's Stanley Hotel made the news back in October of this year when the owners of the allegedly haunted building announced plans to dig up and relocate the on-premises pet cemetery, which naturally upset and terrified many. The Stanley Hotel is once again in the news this week, though this time around we've got a much happier story to report!
A huge fan of The Shining, writer R.J. Cavender is on a quest to help other writers get inspiration from the Stanley Hotel the same way that Stephen King did back in the 70s, putting together and hosting a five-day writer's retreat at the iconic locale. The retreat is set for October of next year, with several different packages available for writers that include daily critique groups, nightly dinners and even tours of the infamous Room 217. The retreat will correspond with the hotel's annual 'Shining Ball' and Murder Mystery Dinner party, making this the ultimate getaway for the Shining fan who loves to write.
The retreat has already been fully funded through Indiegogo, but you can head over to the campaign to learn more and book your stay!
In our society's neverending quest to make weird random things cool, ugly Christmas sweaters have in recent years gained massive amounts of camp appeal. While once exclusively worn by senior citizens out of touch with any and all sense of style, they're nowadays as hip as hashtags, as spectacular as selfies and as tubular as twerking. Generation Random is in full effect, and it doesn't get much more random than rocking grandma's hideous holiday wardrobe.
If you've been invited to one of the many ugly Christmas sweater parties being hosted around the country this holiday season, and you don't quite know what to wear, we've got ya covered.
Designed by Stephen Anderson, this gloriously hideous Shining-inspired design is screenprinted onto super soft jersey knit sweatshirts, iconic imagery and quotes from the film getting an ugly Christmas sweater makeover. The absolute perfect sweatshirt to keep you from freezing to death like Jack Torrance this holiday season, and/or the most unique gift you could possibly give the horror fan in your life!
$25 from The Yetee - design also available on t-shirts!
If there is ever a time to be warm and cozy, it is during the zombie apocalypse. Maybe this "tattered" Walking Dead robe will confuse the zombies into thinking that you have already been turned, and they will leave you alone. Or wear it as the world's laziest Halloween costume. Bonus: it has "bloody" claw marks on the sleeve.
The Originals Episode 108
“The River in Reverse”
Written By: Declan de Barra and Julie Plec
Directed By: Jesse Warn
Original Airdate: 26 November 2013
In This Episode...
Marcel introduces Tyler to his inner circle. Tyler explains about the hybrids, their strengths and weaknesses, how Klaus slaughtered them all, and how his unborn child will be Klaus’s way of creating an army. Rebekah interrupts the proceedings, but she is not there to rip out Tyler’s heart; she is there to help. “The last thing Klaus needs is to sire a superior species.” Rather than rip out Tyler’s heart, she snaps his neck. She is not there to kill her unborn niece; she is there to take care of Klaus. Marcel stows Tyler in “the garden” while he and Rebekah discuss where they will store Klaus.
Klaus does not know that Josh has reaffirmed his loyalty to Marcel, so he takes the newbie vamp at his word when he tells Klaus that Marcel has the one remaining dagger which he is so desperate to obtain, and that Marcel is clearing out his compound for a date. Klaus is pleased with this information, but before he confronts Marcel, he must first talk with Father Kieran. He confesses without hesitation to compelling Cami (something that Kieran has suspected, though he didn’t know which vampire was behind it) and even admits that, at first, the compulsion was to use her as a spy, but now it is for her own safety. Klaus has become fond of the girl and worries that if she keeps digging into her brother’s rampage, the truth will get her killed. He wants Kieran’s help to get her out of town willingly so he doesn’t have to compel her out.
On to the good stuff. Klaus shows up in the courtyard of Marcel’s compound and sure enough, it is completely empty. Marcel appears, with the dagger - and Rebekah. A handful of his vampires appear, and Klaus scoffs at this meager showing - until Marcel whistles and a hundred more come out of the woodwork. Klaus mans up to the new challenge and drops a coin on the ground. Whoever picks up the coin will pledge their allegiance to Klaus and forever be in his favor, meaning they won’t be tortured for all eternity. Not a single vampire moves forward. Burn! Then all the vampires start to move in, a mob attacking him. Klaus dispenses with a dozen or so easily, but the mob grows and he is overcome. A couple vamps wrap chains around his wrists to control him. He is dropped to the ground, beaten, dragged, stabbed. It is a frenzy of violence, one that is almost medieval in its verve. Then Rebekah appears, dagger in hand, and Klaus is enraged in a way I have never seen before. It seems that the werewolf side (which he rarely lets loose) has come to play. Rebekah is so scared she drops the dagger. Klaus breaks free and starts killing everyone in his path. Rebekah rushes to Marcel and insists he grab the coin or else Klaus won’t stop until everyone is dead. Marcel does, and calls for the carnage to end. He pledges allegiance to Klaus and offers him back his family home. Klaus accepts - plus he now has that dagger.
But Klaus is far from happy. He is waiting at the plantation when Rebekah returns home, and immediately puts her in a choke hold - until Elijah comes home. (We will get to Elijah’s adventures in a minute.) Klaus releases Rebekah and throws a mighty temper-tantrum, revealing his jealousy over Hayley and Elijah’s closeness. Rebekah is offended by Klaus’s persecution complex, until he opens up, raw and teary. “I make no excuse for past sins, but you two could have stood by me, believed my intentions for my child were pure. You chose to stand against me.” Both siblings look guilty - they really had been unfair, thinking the worst of Klaus. Klaus has decided that he will move back into his family home; Elijah and Rebekah can stay at the plantation and rot. In a final, perfectly manipulative move, Klaus hands over the dagger to Elijah - hilt first. Outside, Klaus sees Hayley sitting on the porch and demands that he come with her. “That baby is the only thing that matters to me.” His passion and ferocity bring her to the car without complaint.
So Elijah. Hayley insists on caring for him out in the bayou while he suffers through the werewolf bite-disease that Klaus left him with. It won’t kill him, but it will take longer to heal than a normal wound. Elijah is nervous about Hayley staying there. At first it seems to be because he doesn’t want her to hear any of his hallucinatory ramblings (and, as it turns out, he invited her in to see his thoughts) but then it turns out that the fever can - and does - turn him violent. He is hallucinating about a particularly vile memory of Klaus and he jumps up, throwing Hayley against the wall. The mystery woman who has been spying on Hayley comes out of nowhere, stakes Elijah, and runs. Hayley follows her and finally concedes to some answers.
The woman is Eve, and she claims to be following Hayley because she brought Originals to town. When asked about the family tree in the bible, Eve reveals that Marcel killed most of those in the tree. Those that managed to survive were subjected to a reversal spell: their new natural state would be as wolves; they could only be human on the full moon. The werewolves were all hunted based on the crescent moon birthmark on the shoulder. Eve had hers removed; she recommends the same for Hayley. Elijah interrupts. The fever has broken, he has healed, and he is pissed about having been stabbed in the back. Hayley calms him and takes him home, but vows to Eve that she will be back.
Hayley and Elijah head back to the plantation. Hayley wants to know about Celeste, the woman that dominated Elijah’s fever dreams. She was the love of Elijah’s life (or at least one of them), but she was also a witch. It seems that Klaus, 200 years ago or so, in one of his trademark temper tantrums, had been going through New Orleans, killing people for sport. Elijah begged him to stop for fear it would catch the eye of their father. Klaus shrugged off Elijah’s concerns, saying he pointed the finger at the witches. He does warn his brother that they are rounding up the witches. By the time Elijah gets back to the house, Celeste had been killed, drowned in her own bathtub. The saddest part about that story is that, as Elijah relates it to Hayley, he blames himself - not Klaus - for Celeste’s murder, because he “abandoned him for my own happiness.” She lets her fingers brush against Elijah’s, and despite the desire in his eyes, he begs her not to, for fear that Klaus will kill her out of jealousy. Even still, he squeezes her hand for a moment.
And finally, let’s check in on Cami. When not with Klaus, she has no idea of her time with him, and it is eating her up. She is missing time and starting to think she is going down the same path that Sean did. But then she finds a sketch in her pocket, something she doodled while working on Klaus’s memoirs (and therefore not compelled). When Klaus saw the doodle she claimed it was a tattoo design, but when she shows it to Kieran, she tells him it was a secret code that she and her brother developed as kids. She decoded the swirls, which led her to a newspaper clipping from 1919. There, on the front page is a society photo of Klaus and Marcel.
Dig It or Bury It?
The opening was pointless. This episode opened with Rebekah confessing to Father Kieran for being a “liar, betrayer, and conspiring against my own blood.” Then we get a title that says “24 hours earlier” and the episode starts. I understand why Rebekah felt the need to confess, but the episode ends in church with Father Kieran and Cami. Not with Rebekah. In fact, I didn’t even remember that silly confessional opening until I went back to my notes to write up this recap.
So this is... what, like the fourth or fifth episode of the season in which Klaus cried? Klaus the hardass has now spent half the season crying. At least he has a good cry, a manly cry. He doesn’t sob like a baby. (You know who has the worst on-screen cry? David Duchovny. Seriously, it is embarrassing.)
I love the idea of reverse werewolves. I haven’t seen anything in lore about it, so it is nice to see a new take on an old monster. I also wonder if, perhaps, they are setting up Klaus or Marcel (or both) to be the Axeman, the serial killer who terrorized New Orleans in 1919, and who is now a central focus in this season’s American Horror Story.
Klaus declares war on the remaining werewolves. I bet that Eve will turn out to be Hayley’s mom or aunt or maybe even her sister.
Shock Till You Drop has announced that their acquisition, Bela Kiss: Prologue will be released digitally and on demand beginning December 3rd.
Bela Kiss continues the story of Bela Kiss, a Hungarian serial killer who was said to have killed at least 24 young women at the beginning of the 20th century, drained them of blood, and stored their bodies in metal barrels on his property. He evaded capture at every turn and to this day, the date, location, and cause of his death have never been discovered. This is where Bela Kiss: Prologue steps in. The film is set almost a century later: "Five bank robbers search for a hideaway in a remote hotel as they flee from the police. Brutal and unforeseen events take over and build a bridge to the past. The assumed safe house turns into a nightmare...is Bela Kiss still alive?"
Supernatural Episode 908
“Rock and a Hard Place”
Written By: Jenny Klein
Directed By: John MacCarthy
Original Airdate: 26 November 2013
In This Episode...
Jody Mills calls the boys up about four sudden disappearances in her otherwise quiet town in South Dakota. Witnesses reported seeing a bright blue flame at the time of the kidnappings. So the Winchesters roll into town and find that the only connection between the victims is that they were all members of the Good Faith Church. A visit with church leader Bonnie reveals that all four victims were members of APU: the Abstinence Purifies Us group. Dean mocks it lightly (“You can’t unring that bell”) but Bonnie doesn’t get it. In the end, Sam and Dean sign the purity pledges and apparently become born-again virgins.
The APU meeting is led by a pretty blonde named Suzy, who Dean thinks looks familiar; Sam just thinks he is trying to use that as a line to hit on her. The Winchesters are the only two men in the meeting, which leads to the inevitable “why do you want to reclaim your virginity?” questions. Sam’s reason is that every woman he has been with has not ended well. Dean has a harder time coming up with a reason and starts talking - in detail - about all the reasons he loves sex. The girls in the group are getting turned on, and Sam motions for him to cool it.
After group, Dean goes over to Suzy, ostensibly to hit on her. She offers him individual counseling (for real - she is a “virginity counselor,” whatever that is) and invites him over to her house to check out some virginity books. Naturally Dean takes her up on this offer, but when they get there, she starts crying about her missing friends and asks Dean to pray with her. It doesn’t help matters that she takes off her sweatshirt and reveals an awesome pair of tits. She loads him up with chastity books and heads to the bathroom. Dean finally answers a call from Sam, who has been trying to reach him all afternoon. But Dean is distracted when he sees a porno in a not-quite-closed drawer. This is where Dean recognizes Suzy from - she used to be a porn star.
The reason that Sam has been frantically calling Dean is to warn him that it is not virgins who are being taken; it is virgins who broke their purity pledge. Honor, the most recent victim, was having an affair with her pastor; the other two victims were an engaged couple who gave in to temptation.
It would take a pack of wild dogs gnawing Dean’s junk to get him to stop hitting on Suzy at this point. He confesses he found out her dirty little secret. Suzy changed her name and moved to put her past behind her, but she doesn’t seem too upset at being found out. It doesn’t take Dean long to get her into bed. When they are done, Dean says goodbye, but when he opens the door, he and Suzy are knocked backwards by a blinding wave of blue flames. When they wake, Dean and Suzy are in the same underground bunker that Honor, Neil, and Barb are locked in. Pastor Fred was in there too, but he was starving to death and the blue flame whisked him away.
Meanwhile, Sam and Jody have done more digging on this blue flame. Jody has determined they are dealing with Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth. Virgins were presented as sacrifices to keep her flame alive. If the “offerings” broke their vows of 30 years of celibacy, they were buried alive. Dean manages a brief call to Sammy, but the reception is terrible (he is underground, after all) but it is enough to know Dean is alive, underground, and may be near a train. (Sam hears a whistle in the background.) Sam and Jody scope out the town and decide that Dean is probably at an old farm. The only weapon that will kill Vesta is an oak stake rubbed with the blood of a virgin. Sam offers up his blood, but it needs to be from a real virgin. They hit up the church and ask for blood from another APU member, Tammy. She rants about how they are pagans and Jody punches her in the face. Blood = got.
Jackpot. Sam finds a metal hatch in the ground and bangs on it - Dean responds. He can’t do much else, for Vesta uses her blue flame to knock Sam out. She then turns her attention to Jody, and we see who Vesta is: Bonnie, the church leader. This should surprise no one. Bonnie/Vesta isn’t happy that she has to take born-again blood (it’s not as pure as real virgin blood) but she takes what she can get. She prepares to stab Jody, but Sam wakes and lurches at her, causing Vesta to stab Jody anyway, but her attentions are now on Sam. She tries to eat his liver (her favorite part of a body) but finds Sam is essentially dead inside. “What is wrong with you? It’s like you are held together with duct tape and safety pins.” She is distracted enough that Jody manages to free herself and stake Vesta.
By way of wrap-up, Sam is very concerned about the “dead inside” comment from Vesta. Dean tries to blow it off as blowback from the trials, but Sam is not easily swayed. He thinks this is just the way he is now. Dean can’t stand seeing his brother like this and seems ready to tell him. Zeke appears and urges Dean not to do that. “He isn’t ready. I promise it won’t be much longer.” Zeke recedes, and Dean backtracks. “If something is wrong, it’s not your fault. We will deal with it.” Dean looks heartbroken.
Dig It or Bury It?
I appreciate this episode if only for the “making fun of born-again virgins” aspect. I do not understand that whole phenomenon. Maybe it is because I am not religious. Maybe it is because the whole idea of virginity is such a vague notion and means something different to everyone. Or maybe it is just because Supernatural takes such a hilariously blasphemous take on everything. Whatever, I enjoyed it immensely, but I am very ready for the maudlin “what’s wrong with Sam” crap to be over with. It’s a broken record.
Next week is the last episode of the year. The angel war begins, and Zeke appears to be taking over Sam.
Located just south of New Orleans, the LeBeau House was built on land that had been used as a plantation in the 1700s, and had over the years been converted into a hotel and even an illegal gambling casino. Unoccupied since the 1980s, the historic locale has been the sight of many reports of paranormal activity, local residents alleging that they've seen lights going on and off inside the building - a strange thing to see, given the fact that there's been no electricity running through the house in decades.
These are the stories that resulted in a group of seven would-be ghost hunters spending a night inside the LeBeau House last Thursday, carrying out an amateur investigation that included tools like weed and booze, rather than the usual infrared cameras and EVP recorders. As reported by the website Roadtrippers, the so-called investigation took a turn for the worse in the early morning hours when a massive fire broke out in the building, burning the entire structure to the ground. Though it was originally reported that the fire was a freak accident, more recent reports suggest that the men actually set the building ablaze intentionally, frustrated with the lack of paranormal activity they were experiencing.
The seven men - who range in age from 17 to 31 - have been arrested and charged with arson, burglary and criminal damage. They all escaped the building unscathed... aside from the charges and hefty fines.
Way to give the entire ghost hunting community a bad name, fellas!
Two weeks ago, American Horror Story: Coven introduced a new villain into a season filled with villains (or, at best, anti-heroes). The Axeman. Like Delphine Lalaurie and Marie Laveau, the Axeman is based on a real serial killer that haunted New Orleans early in the century. The Axeman was never caught, nor was he ever identified.
The killing spree began in May of 1918 with the murder of Joseph Maggio and his wife Catherine. Both had their throats slit (Catherine’s so deep she was nearly beheaded) and their heads were bashed in with an axe. Joseph’s brothers discovered the bodies and one of them, Andrew, was considered the prime suspect in the case, but there was not enough evidence to hold him. Ten more victims would follow over the next year, but curiously, murder did not seem to be the goal of the Axeman. Of those ten victims, only three died; the rest survived their injuries.
Motive seemed to be completely lacking. At each crime scene, not a single thing was stolen, so it wasn’t money. The attacks spanned age and gender, and the Axeman didn’t always kill everyone in the house, as in the case of Joseph Romano, whose two nieces lived with him at the time of the attack. They were not injured. Some hypothesized that the Axeman was seeking out Italian immigrants because many - but not all - were Italian. Local papers at the time even suggested a mafia connection.
No, it seems the Axeman was just a sick individual - with a penchant for jazz. Episode 306 of American Horror Story: Coven, in which we are introduced to the Axeman, opens with a voice over of a letter the Axeman wrote to the local newspaper. That letter was real, published in local papers on March 13, 1919, and though some of the language was rewritten for the series, the meaning remained in tact. In the letter, the Axeman brags of never being caught, writes from “Hell” and addresses it to “Mortals.” Throughout the letter, the Axeman references supernatural creatures like “His Satanic Majesty” and being in “close relationship with the Angel of Death.”
The most famous passage of that letter - the one that makes up the basis of the episode “The Axeman Cometh" - is where he gives the city of New Orleans a chance to protect themselves:
Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people. Here it is:
I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.
That night, every jazz hall in New Orleans was filled to capacity; every jazz musician had a gig. And no one was murdered.
It was several months after the publication of that letter before the Axeman struck again, and he attacked three people in a three-month span. Then, as suddenly as it began, it stopped, and there were no further attacks that could be credited to the Axeman of New Orleans.
A clandestine organization dating back to ancient Greece emerges from the shadows every five years to abduct 50 women and force them to fight to the death in hand-to-hand combat — knowing that if they fail, their loved ones will meet an end even more terrifying.
Raze stars Zoe Bell & Rachael Nichols
A lot of our favorite genre films are categorized explicitly as horror. Films like Halloween or Friday the 13th fit pretty neatly under the horror heading. However, there are a lot of quality horror titles that are more readily classified as science fiction or thriller than horror. There are myriad reasons why films with obvious horror overtones are marketed and classified as something other than horror: horror pictures often do lower box office number than sci-fi and thriller films; also, horror titles generally appeal to more of a niche audience, so studios appear to favor leveraging the thriller or science fiction elements of a film in order to attempt to interest a larger audience.
In the name of appropriate classification and equitable marketing practices we are spotlighting five films that aren’t always explicitly categorized as horror but we fondly regard as such.
One of the greatest films of its kind, Alien is near perfect in every aspect: the pacing is brilliant; the performances are top notch; the script is air tight; the cast is brilliant and the atmosphere is about as intense as it gets. Alien is often recognized as a science fiction film but viewers seem less likely to attach the horror label to the film. It’s curious that Alien isn’t more commonly classified as horror, seeing as how it takes the guise of a conventional haunted house film and relocates it to space, with the supernatural entities being replaced by the titular alien character. Our hats are off to this 1979 Ridley Scott classic for deftly blending horror, science fiction, and suspense to create a pitch perfect film.
This often overlooked Dennis Quaid 1980s horror/science fiction hybrid is almost always lumped in to the sci-fi category, rather than labeled a horror film. The surprising thing about Dreamscape being so closely associated with science fiction is that it could be a second cousin to A Nightmare on Elm Street. Like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dreamscape features a killer that stalks his prey in their dreams and also explores the idea of people being killed by way of dying in a dream. However, Dreamscape came out just a few months before A Nightmare on Elm Street, so the films were likely in production at the same time and any similarities are almost certainly due only to happenstance.
This low-budget ‘90s flick follows the horror template much closer than one might realize upon initial inspection. While Cube is set to a science fiction backdrop, it explores familiar territory by pitting its characters against a violent adversary that picks them off until only one of them remains. The deaths are brutal and considering the film’s limited budget are quite well done. Cube does veer from standard horror conventions in as much as the adversary is a series of traps as opposed to a person or entity wielding a weapon. This tactic was later made popular by the Saw series and has often made me wonder if Cube was a loose inspiration to the Saw franchise. The Internet Movie Database categorizes Cube as a Mystery/Suspense/Thriller; however, it’s impossible to ignore the film’s adherence to horror film tropes.
The Hitcher (1986)
The Hitcher is another title that doesn’t brand itself as a horror film, but anyone that’s seen the picture knows that it defies the parameters of a run-of-the-mill thriller by upping the ante; The Hitcher veers in to horror territory with both the infamous French fry scene and the highly imaginative semi truck scene. The Hitcher expertly blends taut atmosphere with strong horror overtones and a highly effective cat and mouse style dynamic between Rutger Hauer and C. Thomas Howell. TheHitcher made drivers think twice before picking up hitchhikers, much in the same way that Jaws served to curb coastal tourism in the months after its release.
Funny Games (1997 and 2007)
In an almost unheard of turn of events, Michael Haneke was tapped to direct the U.S. remake of his own film. The end result was a surprisingly well crafted – albeit unnecessary - reboot. Funny Games, regardless of which incarnation you watch, is absolutely relentless and unapologetically brutal. The films up the ante significantly when compared to conventional home invasion thriller fare. I was absolutely horrified by both films’ sadistic tone and the sheer evil that inspired the actions of the perpetrators in both films. The ‘games’ that the captors force their victims to play are difficult to watch at best and neither film shies away from explicitly depicting the violent and heinous acts carried out by the lead characters. Funny Games goes far beyond what we are used to seeing in a home invasion film, it liberally intersperses strong horror overtones and all brands of torture.
What are some of your favorite films that aren’t always recognized as horror but should be? Let us know in the comments below.
I love old-fashioned pocket watches. A classy accessory from a bygone era. But sometimes, well, classy is boring. This skeletal pocketwatch maintains that old fashioned charm with a little edge. The watch face is enclosed with a skeletal rib cage, while a skull dangles eerily from the chain. The jaw of the skull is moveable for that extra charm.
If acclaimed music producer T Bone Burnett has his way, his gothic musical collaboration with Stephen King and John Mellencamp will find more life on the road.
The trio's Ghost Brothers of Darkland County recently completed a 20-city tour across the country that kicked off in Mellencamp's home state of Indiana. It played such cities as Nashville, Tennessee, and Minneapolis, Minnesota (on Halloween night) before wrapping up Nov. 6 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. But Burnett, who has already produced an album based on the musical, wants more dates to come from the touring production, which stars actor Bruce Greenwood.
"The production is talking about it and I just heard about some potential dates," Burnett told me in a recent phone interview from Los Angeles. "It's my aim to continue it. I'm going to stick with them on it. I love the piece."
King wrote the libretto for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, while Mellencamp penned the music and Burnett supervised the music.
The story follows the ghosts of a pair of brothers in Mississippi dead after an apparent murder/suicide, and their living nephews who appear to be heading toward a similar fate unless secrets can be revealed to prevent another pair of deaths.
According to Mellencamp's website, the project began when the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer told King about a cabin on his land and a story about how one brother accidentally killed the other when they got into a fight over a girl. A short time later, the surviving brother and a girl died in a car crash.
Burnett, who just wrapped up his musical supervisor duties on Joel and Ethan Coen's latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis, told me he was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with King and Mellencamp on such a unique project.
"The whole thing has been very interesting and it's a long way from ending up in its final resting place," Burnett said with a laugh. "I was happy to do it and have an opportunity to work with those guys. They're both very interesting guys."
A CD/DVD version of the Ghost Brothers soundtrack was released in June. The album includes several prominent artists, including Mellencamp, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow and Ryan Bingham – whose song with Burnett "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart" earned the duo a Best Original Song Oscar in 2010.
The Ghost Brothers soundtrack also includes snippets of dialogue from the musical, featuring the voices of actors Matthew McConaughey, Meg Ryan and Samantha Mathis.
Though it simply wouldn't be true to say that most fan films are worth watching, there's nevertheless something about them that is endlessly alluring. In the world of fan-made films, absolutely ANYTHING is possible, allowing for fun mash-ups and crossovers that the studios would never be able to provide for us. Want to see Leatherface battle Jason? Freddy go toe-to-toe with Michael Myers? Your wish is YouTube's command!
Though Evil Dead's Ash has never crossed over with any other franchise characters in the world of movies, he has encountered Jason, Freddy and even Herbert West in the world of comic books. A five-issue comic series was also launched in 2007 called Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, which pit the chainsaw-handed one-liner spouting badass against zombified versions of Marvel's most iconic superheroes. Though it's highly unlikely that we'll ever see such wild imagery leap off of the page and onto the screen, at least in an official capacity, one talented fan has taken it upon himself to make such a dream a reality.
Directed by Brian Rosenthal, the 8 1/2 minute fan film Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness is hands down the coolest thing you'll see all week, a comic/horror nerd's wet dream come to life. Fan films don't get much cooler than this, and I encourage you to take a few minutes out of your day to enjoy it!
Update: Looks like the clip was yanked from YouTube, sorry! We'll update if and when it reappers.