On August 30th, 1972, Deathdream was released to American theaters. Not the standard Halloween release month, but close enough to it. This second Tombstone Tuesday pick is unlike any other zombie flick in terms of its storyline and technicalities. This movie features one zombie, in one town, with only one purpose to kill.
31 Days of Horror
Over the years, Canadian film and television has gotten a reputation for being something that leaves a lot to be desired. It’s often depicted as low budget productions with mediocre acting, and a film grain to make you cringe. Except more and more, outstanding Canadian cinema is making headlines in Hollywood for being cutting edge, artistic, meaningful, not to mention downright funny. From the classic Quebec film C.R.A.Z.Y., the franco-anglo production Bon Cop Bad Cop to The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Canadian films are more than just bad film stereotypes; they’re innovative, imaginative, and a joy to watch.
A young couple moves into their new home in a well-to-do neighborhood in San Diego. This would be the happy ending to most films, but unfortunately for Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloan) it is just the beginning of their troubles. Shortly after moving in bumps, whispers and general disturbances at night keep the couple awake at night. Rather than shrugging these odd occurrences off, Micah decides an investigation is in order. If this presence is active in the middle of the night as they sleep, then that is when Micah will record.
In the 1950’s, at the birth of the atom age, the content of horror films shifted from the supernatural horrors like Dracula and the Wolf Man, to science-based atrocities. Frankenstein’s monster, which was a patchwork of body parts given life by the mysterious power of lightning, became the Colossus of New York, a giant robot with the brain of a brilliant scientist who goes mad. The gypsy curse that turned Lon Chaney Jr.’s Larry Talbot into a Wolf Man becomes a medical experiment that transforms Michael Landon’s Tony Rivers into a Teenaged Werewolf. The monsters were no longer mythological creatures but scientifically created horrors to reflect the place science had taken in our lives.
Even before Emma Watson took the stage at the UN to give a speech about feminism, and before the video was shared by everyone you know on Facebook, and everyone was talking about her and whether she should be the face of modern feminism…before all that, she was still our boss ass witch. Throughout all eight Harry Potter films, Watson played Hermione Granger, the female member of the Holy Trinity that also included Harry and Ron Weasley. Though Harry is ostensibly the hero of the series, considering it’s named after him, Hermione is the ingenious character and the one that saves the day more often than not. Many have pointed this out, but it’s worth saying it explicitly: Hermione Granger is the hero of the Harry Potter series.
When looking at horror films, there’s something about Canadian horror that helps it stand out and apart from its American counterpart. While most of the blockbusters out today depend on cheap thrills and scares alone, Canadian horror aims to make you think while trying to scare the pants off you. Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral (2012) is one such film that doesn’t try to scare you by having monsters jump out at you at every turn, but lets the audience’s imagination do all the work.
Music and hell have been closely associated since at least the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church strictly controlled the use of the tritone, or Devil’s Interval. A wide range of musicians, from Nicolò Paganini to seminal bluesman Robert Johnson, are among those said to have made Faustian bargains to attain their talent and fame. These stories are, by now, so familiar as to be clichés.
Three film students go out to Burkittsville, MD to make a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch, who supposedly haunts the area. Heather (Heather Donahue) is the director, and accompanying her on the trip is cameraman Josh (Joshua Leonard) and Mike (Michael Williams) does the sound. As they go about asking the locals about the witch they get a tip about the cemetery up in the hills where the seven children who disappeared after outing Elly Kedward as a witch are supposedly buried.
It’s hard to imagine that the house of Usher actually acts as a “house”. There’s very little in terms of warm, domestic quality about it: the halls are long and foreboding, the rooms are empty and grand, and it doesn’t seem accustomed to guests. Rather, its ornate decorations and intense lighting suggest something more of an Arthurian castle, full of fairy-tale supernatural qualities lurking in its grounds.
A word of advice: If your significant other loves creepy dolls… run! And you should always avoid letting a murder doll babysit your newborn child. Sadly, these aren’t the stupidest things you will see in Annabelle, the prequel to last year’s wildly successful, The Conjuring. Inhabited by bland characters being terrorized by a bland demon, Annabelle blandly goes where all supernatural horror movies have gone before. You can count the number of original ‘scares’ on one finger. Which finger you choose is entirely up to your discretion.
When someone hears the title The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, they might just pass it off as just another inane slasher flick, but in fact Texas is much more; it’s a relentlessly agonizing, bleak masterpiece of horror cinema. Texas isn’t merely interested in scaring its audience; it’s an intelligent and visceral experience which examines the darker impulses found in people, a movie where unspeakably horrific acts take place mostly outside of the frame.
Wes Craven intended Nightmare to be an exploration of surreal horror as opposed to just another stalk-and-slash horror movie, and not only did Nightmare offer a wildly imaginative, inspired concept, but it was a solid commercial genre entry for the dating crowd. Elm Street was New Line’s first genuine mainstream cinematic venture (after Alone In The Dark), and made the company a huge pile of money. The film was shot in 30 days at a cost of roughly $1.8 million, but it made back its figure and then some on opening weekend. New Line Cinema was saved from bankruptcy by the success of the film, and was jokingly nicknamed “the house that Freddy built.” Perhaps the most influential horror film of the ’80s, Craven’s 1984 slasher about a quartet of high school kids terrorized in their dreams by a torched boogeyman in a fedora hat and dusty pullovers spawned countless sequels and even a TV series.