Less than a week away and we’ll be packing up the Kryptic Van and heading to Cincinnati for HorrorHound Weekend! And just looking at the huge guest lineup, it looks like this is going to be one hell of a show, as always. There is going to be someone there for all fans of the genre, from a Hocus Pocus reunion, a Killer Klowns from Outer Space reunion with the Chiodo Bros., stars Grant Cramer and Suzanne Synder, as well as Harrod Blank & Mike Martinez who played a couple of the Klowns, to so much more. You have Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Anthony Michael Hall, Quinn Lord, Dana Delorenzo & Ray Santiago, and so many more. They even have Milly Shaprio from Hereditary!Continue reading
While we all wait for news of this year’s Music Box of Horrors, Chicago’s best 24-hour horror movie marathon, there are more than a few interesting screenings coming up there that might peak the interests of local fans!
This Wednesday, at 9:15pm, they are screening the 1982 epic Boardinghouse, one of the earlier shot-on-video films that actually did play theaters. I know this for a fact because it played at the theater I worked at and was both confused and blown aways by it! Plenty of nudity and gore, as well as a lot of W-T-F moments, it is definitely like nothing else you’ve seen. And getting to see it on the big screen is a whole other experience! There will be an introduction to the film by author and film critic Preston Fassel, author of the book Landis: The Story of a Real Man on 42nd Street, the first ever biography of Sleazoid Express found Bill Landis. There will also be a post screening conversation as well.Continue reading
The Thing (Re-Release)
Released in 2011 by BuySoundtrax Records
16 Tracks with a total running time of 61 min.
Music by Ennio Morricone & John Carpenter
I can’t believe I had never reviewed this score here! Next to Carpenter’s score for The Fog, this has been my favorite of his work. Yes, this is a collaboration between him and Ennio Morricone, but since I’m not sure either of them came out and said specifically who did each of the bits of music, I’m going to concentrate this review on the score as a whole. Though, I will say that when I first bought the LB soundtrack to this, listening to it over and over again, I do remember thinking “damn . . . there are some parts in here that sound a LOT like something Carpenter would have done!”Continue reading
Assault on the System: The Nonconformist Cinema of John Carpenter
Published by WK Books, 2020. 460 pages.
By Troy Howarth
The latest volume from our buddy Troy Howarth is on one of my favorite directors. Next to Romero, you’d find at least two John Carpenter’s films in my top 15 films of all time. So how could I not dive into this once I got it? Yes, Mr. Howarth is a friend of mine, full disclosure here, but I think you know me by now not to pull any punches, no matter what I’m reviewing. But honestly, I never have to worry about that with his books because they are always so enjoyable to read, always feeling like a conversation with an old friend. Filled with wonderful stories, great information, and just an easy-going way of telling us this information that it just sinks in.
After a couple of chapters introducing us to Carpenter, giving us his upbringing and background (which really shows the impact on his later life, with his love of film and music), we start to go over his film career. Starting off when he is in film school in California, we do get a lot of information about each of the projects, while Howarth throws in other information about other things that are going on at the same time. It doesn’t just cover the films he directed but the scripts that he wrote, as well as the films he almost made or was even the slightest involved with. It really does show the range that Carpenter had in the different projects that “could have been”. Continue reading
Since I just started reading Troy Howarth’s latest book, Assault on the System: The Nonconformist Cinema of John Carpenter, I thought it might be an interesting (though probably an easy one to call) question to see what your favorite John Carpenter film is. Now, as I said, I know there is going to be a lot of answers for the obvious choice, which would be Halloween (1978), which is fine because you can’t be wrong in what is your personal favorite. I’m sure The Thing (1982) is going to be up there as well. But I am curious to see if there will be any other titles named, such as The Fog (1980) or maybe even In the Mouth of Madness (1995). Continue reading
Author Troy Howarth, in his free time between all the amazing and informative audio commentaries he’s been cranking out, has finished his newest book, this time focusing on the one and only John Carpenter. Few directors these days can have more than a few titles in their filmography that are considered classics, not to mention damn good films, but Carpenter is definitely one of them.
This book “charts Carpenter’s trajectory from screenwriter-for-hire to director of low-budget oddities like Dark Star (1974) to his meteoric rise and fall within the very system he came to distrust. All of Carpenter’s films are analyzed in detail, including his forays into made-for-TV fare, and his various sideline projects as a writer, a composer, and a producer are also examined.”
It also contains brand new interview’s with actor/director Keith Gordon, Carpenter’s wife Sandy King-Carpenter, as well and Carpenter himself. It also features guess essays by Matty Budrewicz & Dave Wain, Lee Gambin, John Harrison, Randall D. Larson, Robert Russell LaVigne, Francesco Massaccesi, Paul Poet, and Nick Smith.
The book is now available on Amazon in the color edition, but soon will be available in a black and white version as well. I can’t really see how this could not be a welcome edition to any film fan’s library. I know it will soon be in mine!
Born: March 12th, 1946
If you are a fan of horror movies from the ’70s and ’80s, then you just might have seen Cundey’s work. If you’re a fan of the early works of John Carpenter’s, such as Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), and The Thing (1982), then you definitely know his work, as well as his talent! Cundey is now one of the top rated cinematographers in the business. But before all of that, he was working quite often in the horror genre, shooting some classic titles and making them look better than they ever should have.
Just look at his early resume and you’ll see a lot of favorites listed there, such as The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976), Creature from Black Lake (1976), Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976), Satan’s Cheerleaders (1977), Without Warning (1980), Jaws of Satan (1981), and the list goes on. But it probably his work with Carpenter that he is most known for, making five pictures with him, which now are all considered essential titles in the genre.
So even while he may have gone on to work more in the bigger budgeted Hollywood films, we owe this man a lot of thanks for the way that some of these great films looked.
The film industry has lost another true and great talent with the passing of Wilfred Brimley. While he only appeared in a few horror films, if I saw his name in the opening credits, I knew he was going to be interesting to watch. I think I first became aware of him in the Paul Newman film Absence of Malice (1981) because that played at the theater I worked at. So while it wasn’t a film I would normally see, I got to see a lot of it during the working hours, so I remembered his character. And then came John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). It threw me for a bit with him without his mustache, but his voice is just as recognizable as this facial hair. As well as his incredible performances. In 1985, he appeared in another favorite of mine, Remo Williams, which I was so bummed they never made more of those. Continue reading
Wow. This one is a bitch to accept. Yes, the Maestro was 91, but for the hours and hours that I, as well as millions of other film lovers, have been entranced by his music, it still hurts. Even if we just talked about the scores he did for horror and giallo genres, from Dario Argento’s first trilogy of films, Fulci’s A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Mario Caiano’s Nightmare Castle, Aldo Lado’s Short Night of Glass Dolls, to even John Carpenter’s The Thing, his scores always made an impact. That is not even getting into what he did for the western. Even if people didn’t know Morricone’s name or what movies he scored, if you started to play the opening theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, they would know it.
So when we read of the news yesterday morning of his passing, I immediately had the opening music from his score for Argento’s Phantom of the Opera in my head. I’ve always thought it was a beautiful and sad piece of music so it just kind of fit today.
There really isn’t much more I could say, other than thank you, Maestro, for the countless musical memories and emotions that you’re work has given us fans. Rest in Peace, and know that your legacy will live on for as long as people are watching movies.
Fecund Horror: Slashers, Rape/Revenge, Women in Prison, Zombies and Other Exploitation Dreck
Self-Published in 2016, 158 pages.
By Noah Berlatsky
This was a tough one. I had a feeling that this might fit into one of my Psycho-Babble categories, and boy, was I right. Granted, when you have the word “dreck” in your title, after naming a few sub-genres, it kind of gives you the feeling that these are not spoken with any fondness. Which is even stranger because it does seem like Berlatsky likes a lot of the films he’s writing about.
As with many of these types of books, the authors are very smart, educated, and like to quote a lot of different material, giving credibility to their speculations and theories. But once again, I feel a lot of what is read into these films is just pure Freudian fiddle-faddle, trying to point out anything that could remotely be taken for or looked at in a sexual manner. Therefore, anything that is long and hard is always going to be taken as phallic symbolism. I’m sure it might be in there in some cases, but for the most part… I still call bullshit. Continue reading