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
Horror in Space
Published by McFarland, 2018. 248 pages.
Edited by Michele Brittany
The book’s subtitle is “Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre” and boy howdy, it sure is. If you’re looking for an easy read, one that might bring up some easy but not-too-deep thinking ideas about these movies that we love, then you might want to look for another book. When you have the words “Critical Essays” in the book’s title, that is a big hint at the kind of writing that you’ll find within those pages. The collection of authors that have been gathered here for this volume are all very intelligent scholars, from sociology teachers, doctoral candidates, to professors, so they know their stuff. So please don’t let my comments about their opinions and theories seem like I’m trying to say they are uneducated. That is not the point I’m trying to make.
Like a lot of these theory essay books, I’d make a guess that some of these are from a collage thesis or part of a future book. But I still stand by my own theory that sometimes a duck is just a duck. I know there are some films where the creators are weaving different subtext within the story, such as any version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But I feel a lot of these scholars take a subject matter and form into something that then fits a particular movie or sub-genre.
Next weekend we will be heading out the Midway Drive-In for their annual Dust-to-Dawn Horrorfest, and this year they have one hell of a lineup. Then again, they always do! This year’s lineup consists of the following titles:
- The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter’s incredible remake that has never lost its impact!
- The Blob (1988) – Chuck Russell & Frank Darabont’s excellent remake of this great classic, and one that still holds up.
- The Funhouse (1981) – One of Tobe Hooper’s lesser known films but that is a great chapter to his long career.
- Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988) – With a title like that, can you tell it was directed by Fred Olen Ray? Starring Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, and Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen. As the ads say, “They Charge an Arm and a Leg!”
Mark your calendars! September 22nd is the day for this year’s Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorfest at the Midway Drive-In, in Dixon, IL. If you haven’t ever experienced an all night horror movie marathon at a drive-in theater, then now is your chance.
As I mentioned in my earlier report, I had already met Argento years before and gotten a couple of items signed for free. So kept pondering why did I need to do it again, especially since I’d be paying $60g $60 this time? I had brought along my copy of Alan Jones’ book Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths, & the Magic to get signed if I decided to, but was really struggling with it. Lucky for me, that debate was easily decided when a dealer friend of ours graciously offered some extra dealer badges since we hadn’t purchased our tickets yet, which saved us exactly the same amount needed for the Argento signature. So…it was really hard to pass up then since we had just saved that much, right? Funny how fate works out that way.
Granted, the real reason we were here was for our buddy Bryan Martinez to meet the Maestro, since he is not only a fan of Argento’s work, but because this director was a huge influence on him, which would later come out creatively with Bryan’s show The Giallo Room. To say that he was a little excited is a slight understatement. We decided that getting in line right away Friday would be the best bet, since it was early, the line wasn’t that big with maybe a dozen people already in line. Plus, you want to get to Argento early before he gets worn out by all the people coming to see him. I mean, the guy is in his mid-70s after all. Once Argento came down and started, it went pretty quick. I went first and held out my book to him. He paged through it a bit, signed it, then looked up and said “Very good book!” I then sat down next to him for the photo. The guy handling the camera shots was very nice about the whole thing, taking several shots to make sure he got a good one in there. Very different than some of the cattle drives that I’ve seen/heard of before. Argento seemed to be full of spirits and really happy to be there.
Once again, the Skyline Drive-In Theatre in Shelbyville, IN, will be having their annual Super Monster Movie Fest, which is two nights of four classic features. This year’s lineup definitely has a theme to it and looks just amazing, as usual. We’ve been to this event for the last 3 years have had a blast each and every time, and plan on being there again. They have another great list of films that will be awesome to see on the big screen, especially some of the older titles. Here is what they’ve announced:
Okay, let me just say that I really hate when someone asks me for my top ten horror films, simply because it is pretty much impossible for me to narrow down such a huge list of films that I love to just ten titles. This list may change and change again, depending on my mood, the time of day, the weather, and any other number of factors. That being said, one title that would always be on that list, no matter what, would be John Carpenter’s version of the John W. Campbell’s story, Who Goes There?….more commonly known as simply The Thing.
Coming this September, Shout Factory will be unleashing their 2-disc collector’s edition of this 1982 (now) classic. Did we really need another edition of this, since the previous release from Universal Studios back in 2008 was a pretty stellar release? Even more so that you can still pick up copies for well under $10? I guess it really remains to be seen, but the list of new extras on this one are pretty impressive. Here they are, right from Shout Factory’s website: