Since the internet has been flooded with notices about this a few days ago, everyone I’m sure has heard of the passing of actor Max von Sydow. Even though he only made less than a dozen films you could consider horror, you couldn’t be a fan of the genre and not know who this man was, because of The Exorcist (1973). Granted, like a lot of us, we always assumed he was already an old man because of the incredible aged makeup he wore in that film, thanks to Dick Smith. But no matter what role he had, like a small part in Conan the Barbarian (1982), the over-the-top role of the Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon (1980), to even the humorous role of Brewmeister Smith in Strange Brew (1983), he always commanded your attention, as well as gave a very memorable performance.
From his early days with Ingmar Bergman to Dario Argento in Sleepless (2001), to even working with Martin Scorsese in Shutter Island (2010), he always had a captive audience with his talent. He is one that will definitely live on and be remembered for all of those incredible characters. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
I know I may be a little late to the party on this one (and kind of pissed at myself that I’m just finding out about this) but there is a book about this amazing composer out now, called Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words. Whether you are a fan of western soundtracks, horror, and any of the other genres Morricone worked on, you know he created an unbelievable amount of magic through his music. For me, going back to films like Nightmare Castle to the work he did with Dario Argento, his scores are always amazing.
According to the description, Morricone and Alessandro De Rosa had a years-long discussion of “life, music, and the marvelous and unpredictable ways that the two come into contact with and influence each other.” Published by Oxford University Press last March, this 368 page book covers the Maestros work and those he collaborated with, names like Leone, Carpenter, De Palma, Almodóvar, Polanski, and many more. According to Morricone himself, this is “beyond a shadow of a doubt the best book ever written about me, the most authentic, the most detailed and well curated. The truest.” How can you argue with that?
I know this will be among my next order with Amazon and I can’t wait to dig into it.
End of another year. Another decade. I know one thing for sure that this last decade will not be remembered as one that didn’t produce any good horror movies! Just look at 2014 and you’ll find a ton of amazing films, from here in the US to around the world. As a horror fan, I feel pretty blessed with these last ten years of terror. Let’s hope the ’20s bring us another long list of great cinema.
I had thought that this would be a personal low when it came to films watched, only because it didn’t feel like I had watched that many. In fact, there were a couple of months were I only got to a handful of films. With my book coming out, doing another retrospective for HorrorHound, and the usual holidays, it takes time away from being able to sit and watch movies. But once the tally was done, it turns out that I had watched more in 2019 than I did since 2013! The final number was 236, with almost half of them, a total of 115, being first time viewings. There were a few trips to the drive-ins, some movie marathons, a couple of Turkey Days, and other mini-marathons with friends or just by myself. And I intend to do it all over this year! Really going to try and hit 250 viewings in 2020. Continue reading
With Axe-mas right around the corner, I’m sure everyone is starting to compile their own wish list or thinking about what to get others. I’m going to give a few suggestions to help not only find a great gift, but to also help increase the knowledge for the person receiving it, as well as maybe showing support for those out there that are putting their blood, sweat, tears, and talent into their work. We need to show our support for them, to let them know what they are doing is worth it.
For those out there that are looking for the special gift for the horror obsessed fan in their life, or to add it to your own personal list, let me start with a shameless plug and humbly suggest picking up a copy of my book, Discover the Horror? While it is available on Amazon, if you order it directly from me, you’ll get it personally signed to you, or whoever you request. How cool would it be to surprise your special someone with a personalized autograph copy? You can read what some people have thought about it on Amazon or some of the reviews I’ve posted on the link to the right.
But…this isn’t just about my book, but the countless titles out there that would make wonderful gifts to any horror fan. Here are some examples. Continue reading
I swear, if it’s not all the new books coming out that is trying to get my money, it is the soundtracks! Between the scores I already ordered for titles like The Last Shark, The Witch and The Lighthouse (even before I’ve seen it?!?!?), I came across these two that I had no choice but to order! I mean, how can a lover of Italian horror and classic Universal monsters not have these two in your collection?
The first one is for Michele Soavi’s film La Setta (1991), also known as The Sect, or The Devil’s Daughter, depending on which release you got a hold of. With the score by Pino Donaggio, part of this was released on an earlier version by Cinevox, this release now contains 9 more tracks that have never been released before. It also focuses on Donaggio part of the score, where he even plays violin on it. This release is also limited to 500 copies, so if you’re a fan of this movie and/or the composer, I wouldn’t wait too long. The price is $19.95 and is available through Screen Archives Entertainment. Continue reading
Fear: The Autobiography of Dario Argento
Published by FAB Press, 2019. 288 pages.
By Dario Argento
No matter what you have to say about Dario Argento, he is a powerful voice in cinema, with a staggering amount of pictures that will be discussed at length, at movie conventions and film schools alike, for many years to come. So when news of his autobiography, which was first published in Italy in 2014, was going to see its first English version thanks to FAB Press, I immediately pre-ordered a copy.
Autobiographies can be a bit tricky, especially coming from someone as high up as Argento is. Sometimes they can be very self-indulgent, filled with self-praise, or even though while entertaining, you question the legitimacy of some, if not all of the stories. So I went into this volume with a slight trepidation as to what I was going to get. What I did get was something that felt completely honest and written from the heart. If there is one thing that is filled within each and every page, it is passion. Even in the opening chapter, when he touches on his thoughts of suicide, you can tell he is not holding back with his stories. Continue reading
Totally forgot about posting this last week! But better late than never. Last week, while we were at the Music Box Theatre for our book launch, I had the great opportunity to sit down with Ian Simmons from Kicking the Seat podcast. The first part of the podcast, we talk about the book and what keeps me busy. But after that, if you’re a lover of Argento and the giallo, then you’re going to want to continue to listen!
After I get done rambling, you’ll get to hear Ian, along with Aaron Christensen (Horror 101 with Dr. AC) and Bryan Martinez from The Giallo Room YouTube series, as they discuss Argento’s 1982 film Tenebre. Ian and Aaron have been discussing a lot of Argento over the last few months so check out some of the older podcasts to hear more.
Click HERE to listen to the podcast. Enjoy!
FAB Press is now taking pre-orders for the Exclusive Collector’s Edition, limted to only 1000 individually numbered copies of the English edition of Argento’s autobiography, which will be shipping in September. This is a limited hardcover edition, which is priced at £20.00 (UK) / $30.00 (US). There will be a trade edition later on at some point, but they have not listed a date yet.
After many years and many books, we’ve been able to read about this master filmmaker, but now we have the chance to hear it from the maestro himself. According to FAB Press’ website, “With candor and honesty, Fear lifts the lid on the trials and tribulations of Argento’s glittering career during the sensational Golden Era of Cinecittà. From his childhood mixing with glamorous Italian movie stars thanks to his noted photographer mother and his film industry father to his start in the fledgling field of cinema criticism, Argento shares compelling anecdotes about his life growing up in La Dolce Vita Rome.”
The book was adapted from the Italian translation, edited and annotated by Argento expert/author Alan Jones, with plenty of rare photographs from his collection.
So if you want a hardcover edition of this book, don’t waste time and head over to the FAB Press website HERE and place your order.
Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980-1989
Published by McFarland, 2019. 232 pages.
By Roberto Curti
Being that this is the 3rd book in the series by Curti involving the gothic horror films of Italy, this latest one, covering the ’80s, it’s sort of a nice little walk down memory lane for me. The ’80s is when I started to become aware of these films. With the boom of VHS tapes, the horror section was filled with these flicks from Italy, promising (and usually delivering) the bloody and gory goods to us eager viewers. So getting to read several pages on some of my favorites, namely the ones from Argento, Bava, Fulci, and Soavi, there is plenty to be learned here.
Not only will you get to read about some of your favorite classic Italian horror flicks like Argento’s Inferno (1980) or Fulci’s City of the Living Dead (1980), The Beyond and House by the Cemetery (both 1981), as well as Claudio Fragasso’s Monster Dog (1985) and Luigi Cozzi’s Paganini Horror (1989), you will get so much insight and information that I bet you’re going to want to re-watch some of these if you haven’t seen them in a while. You’ll learn maybe why Monster Dog turned out like it did, which could make you give it (and Fragasso) a little more credit. Maybe. Continue reading
150 Movies You Should Die Before You See
Published by Adams Media, 2010. 290 pages.
By Steve Miller
This one had me really confused, especially the title. I first picked it up because I thought it might give me a few ideas for some future Turkey Day viewing. But as I read through it, I became really confused at just what Miller was trying to do here.
Each film has a very short synopsis along with cast and crew listing. Then a paragraph under the Why It Sucks moniker, a ratings of how many Thumbs Down, then a Crappies Award for whatever he didn’t care for.
In his introduction, Miller writes that there is “something magical about bad movies. Something that makes them worth the sometimes considerable effort to sit through.” Now while I really don’t like the term “bad movies” when you’re talking about a film you enjoy watching (same goes with “guilty pleasure”), I’ll let it slide here because that is an discussion for another time. But if you’re talking about movies that you do enjoy watching, then why are you putting them in a book with the title telling people NOT to watch them? Continue reading