Double, Double Toil and Trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble…
While some know of the witch-hunts in the Colonial America times, with the famous trials in Salem, or even all the witch-hunting that took place back in Europe from the 1400s to almost the 1800s. Some were accused because the god-fearing folk that feared “natural science” or didn’t want anything to go against their own religion or beliefs. Or they just wanted someone to blame for any bad luck that had befallen them or for any other countless human weakness. But witches and witchcraft goes back far beyond that era, even centuries before Christ and the birth of Christianity. I guess it just shows that humans have been persecuting each each other for quite some time, either out of sheer ignorance or something as simple as being different, or these “outcasts” were felt to be a threat to the “normal” way of living.
Back on Sept. 2nd, 1963, George Wallace, the Governor of the state of Alabama, attempted to forcibly halt the integration of public schools by surrounding the building with state troopers. Thankfully it was only temporary and soon schools in Alabama were the first to be integrated with both colored and white students. Wallace stated that he wasn’t racist but claimed Blacks were inclined to “atrocious acts”. Hate to say this, but I think all races have participated in that. Just asked the “witches” that were burned at the stake, or innocent people tortured to death by the church because they didn’t follow their religion.
Being fans of the horror genre, we always know the stigma it receives from most, mainly because it is always akin to titles like Friday the 13th and their ilk. But even decades before Jason ever picked up a machete, the horror genre was still the red-headed step child. Even some of our horror heroes didn’t particular care for the word “horror”, often times preferring the word “terror” to be used, since it was meant to scare you, not horrify you. But what is the difference?
One of the things that I’m always preaching here is to open up your comfort zone to different types of movies. I know to most of you reading this, I’m probably preaching to the choir, but there are newer fans to the genre, or film in general that don’t care for subtitles. “I want to watch a movie, not read it!” is the best response that I’ve gotten over the years. But the funny thing is that the more subtitled movies you watch, the faster you read them, to the point where you’re not even reading them but just glancing at the words at the bottom of the screen and your brain does the rest. True story. Well, at least I believe it. But it will get easier.
The haunted house goes back to the very beginning of the horror genre, from literature to the earliest of cinema. Whether the evil within the place is supernatural in nature or just plain old human, it still causes fear into those entering the dwelling. Unless, they go in unknowing what lies inside for them. But we all know that they will soon discover for themselves. The word “house” is often used in horror movie titles to let the audience know that in this one particular location, something bad has happened, or continues to happen to whoever decides to go in.
On May 14th, 1973, NASA launched the first United States space station, called Skylab. This was occupied by a series of 3-man crews for about 6 months, before it was left unmanned. By 1979, the station’s orbit was decaying, meaning it would soon fall back to Earth, which it did on the 11th of that month, crashing across the Indian Ocean and western Australia. I actually remember when this happened because my sister was terrified and convinced it was going to hit her house and made her kids sleep in the basement, just in case! Good times.
Deviant little children, whether being possessed by demonic forces, or just born bad, they have been a part of horror cinema for a very long time. One of the earliest, if not the first, was little Patty McCormick in The Bad Seed (1956), that was based on the successful stage play of the same name. McCormick did so well that she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as the evil little Rhoda Penmark. But these evil little offspring didn’t stop there. We had alien invasions in Village of the Damned (1960) to all sorts of nasty tikes in the ’70s, most notable little Damien Thorne in The Omen (1976).
Every March, one of the most popular tournaments takes place, with a single elimination rounds that comprises of 68 college basketball teams.
Now our mission has nothing to do with basketball, or sports in general. I’m only stealing the title of March Madness for this month’s topic of movie watching! And that would be madness. The horror genre has long been filled with characters wrestling with their sanity, either caused by natural defects in their brain, or due to something horrific event that they have witnessed and just can’t deal with. Or it could even be due to outside force or influence that is creating the delusions or is twisted their way of thinking. No matter what the reasoning is, they are usually kept in the same type of place. Continue reading
Tod Browning’s Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, opened in theaters on Feb. 14th, 1931. As we already know, the success of this started the formula that over the next decade would become known as the Universal Classic Monsters, including along with Dracula, there would be Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), and The Wolf Man (1941). Yes, the Creature from the Black Lagoon is considered as part of that team, but for this mission, we’re only going to focus on those first 5 character. Over the years, there has been many remakes, continuations, re-imaginings, and whatever else they want to call it these days when they take a character or story and twist and turn it into something they are looking for. Continue reading
Welcome to 2021, Soldiers! Hopefully if you’re seeing this, you have survived New Year’s Eve and are at least capable enough to still read! Obviously, we have decided to continue our tour of duty for another year, to hopefully inspire you out there to continue to seek out and watch some films that you haven’t see yet, maybe ones that have been on your “Need to See” list for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to them. Maybe this will give you that chance. Continue reading