12 items from 2015
Horror comics and magazines filled my shelves as a kid, titles such as Creepy, Eerie, House of Secrets and The Witching Hour weakening my eyes and troubling my sleep. I simply could not get enough of them. However, when I discovered that there were films made in the same multistory, blood soaked spirit, well, I forgot about sleep altogether. My first stop was Creepshow (1982), and delighted with that, I made my way back through earlier (and gentler) excursions of terror. Step right up ladies and gentlemen! Enter the Torture Garden (1967), a carnival exhibit where the evils of man are laid before you…for a price.
Released by Columbia Pictures November ’67 in the U.K. and July ’68 in North America, Torture Garden was the second film of Amicus Productions (Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (’65) being the first) that followed the omnibus format. Amicus, started by producers Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky, »
- Scott Drebit
Over at my other haunt, Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, there is currently posted, in honor of Halloween week, what I think are two very special treats (and possibly tricks). The first is a very challenging frame grab quiz in which readers are asked to guess the titles of 31 movies based on eerie images that may or may not be so easy to identify. The other is a special edition of the traditional interview-type quiz I occasionally come up devoted entirely to the harrowing world of horror. It features the usual batch of questions for which there are no wrong answers, only your answers, which makes it much more fun to fill out and especially to read. As usual, it’s taking me a while to get around to submitting my own answers to the quiz, but in the creeping shadow of the approaching holiday I thought I »
- Dennis Cozzalio
Special Mention: Un chien andalou
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Genre: Experimental Short
The dream – or nightmare – has been a staple of horror cinema for decades. In 1929, Luis Bunuel joined forces with Salvador Dali to create Un chien andalou, an experimental and unforgettable 17-minute surrealist masterpiece. Buñuel famously said that he and Dalí wrote the film by telling one another their dreams. The film went on to influence the horror genre immensely. After all, even as manipulative as the “dream” device is, it’s still a proven way to jolt an audience. Just ask Wes Craven, who understood this bit of cinematic psychology when he dreamt of the central force behind A Nightmare on Elm Street, a film intended to be an exploration of surreal horror. David Lynch is contemporary cinema’s most devoted student of Un chien andalou – the severed ear at »
- Ricky Fernandes
*Updated with new film and TV show listings.* Happy October, everyone! Our favorite month is finally upon us, which means everyone is getting into the Halloween spirit, especially when it comes to upcoming TV programming over the next 31 days. Trying to keep track of everything that’s playing throughout October can be a hellish affair, so once again Daily Dead is here to help make sure you know about everything Halloween-related hitting cable and network airwaves over the coming weeks.
* All Updated & Additional Listings Are In Bold (all times listed are Et/Pt)*
Thursday, October 1st
9:00am – Halloween Crazier (Travel Channel)
4:00pm – Firestarter (AMC)
6:00pm – The Last Exorcism (Syfy)
6:30pm – Pet Sematary (AMC)
8:00pm – My Babysitter’s a Vampire (Disney)
10:00pm – Dominion Season 3 Finale (Syfy)
10:30 pm – Cujo (AMC)
- Heather Wixson
Special Mention: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
Directed by Dario Argento
Screenplay by Dario Argento
One of the most self-assured directorial debuts of the 70’s was Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Not only was it a breakthrough film for the master of Giallo, but it was also a box office hit and had critics buzzing, regardless if they liked it or not. Although Argento would go on to perfect his craft in later films, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage went a long way in popularizing the Giallo genre and laid the groundwork for later classics like Deep Red. A difficult film to discuss without spoiling many of its most impressive and famous scenes, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is a fairly straightforward murder mystery, albeit with many twists, turns and one of the best surprise endings of all time. But »
- Ricky Fernandes
Val Lewton’s third horror film, The Leopard Man (1943) initially seemed promising. Based on Cornell Woolrich’s novel Black Alibi, it had more pedigree than Lewton’s previous movies. He reunited his previous team: director Jacques Tourneur, writer Ardel Wray, even Dynamite, the black leopard from Cat People. Forced again to film on the Rko lot, he sent Wray to photograph Santa Fe, New Mexico and crafted meticulous sets around her snapshots. Despite this attention to detail, The Leopard Man is one of Lewton’s weakest efforts.
The plot is simple enough. Nightclub entertainers James (Dennis O’Keefe) and Kiki (Jean Brooks) arrive in Santa Fe with a leopard in tow; Kiki’s rival Clo-Clo (Margo) scares the cat, which escapes into the city. The leopard kills a Mexican girl, sending the city into a panic. Several other women die, but James grows convinced that the leopard isn’t behind them. »
- Christopher Saunders
When I was a kid, I used to love a scary movie. I remember catching the original The Haunting (1963) one night on Channel 9’s Million Dollar Movie when I was home alone. Before it was over, I had every light in the house on. When my mother got home she was screaming she’d been able to see the house glowing from two blocks away. The only thing screaming louder than her was the electricity meter.
That was something of an accomplishment, scaring me like that. Oh, it’s not that I was hard to scare (I still don’t like going down into a dark cellar). But, in those days, the movies didn’t have much to scare you with. Back as far as the 50s, you might find your odd dismemberment and impaling, even an occasional decapitation, but, generally, the rule of the day was restraint. Even those rare dismemberments, »
- Bill Mesce
Every year, we here at PopOptiq celebrate the month of October with a series of articles we like to call 31 Days of Horror; and every year, I update the list of my favourite horror films ever made. Last year, I released a list that included 150 picks. This year, I’ll be upgrading the list to 200 movies, making minor alterations, changing the rankings, adding new entries, and possibly removing a few titles.
Note: Since there are so many great horror films and so much to choose from, I am including documentaries, short films and animated films as special mentions in order to make it easier for me to decide what to include.
Special Mention: King Kong
The granddaddy of all monster movies is arguably King Kong. Decades after its release, no other monster »
Written by Alan Moore
Art by Jacen Burrows
Colors by Juan Rodriguez
Letters by Kurt Hathaway
Published by Avatar Press, Inc.
The thing about privilege is that it affords you the ability to ignore the things that make you uncomfortable even when those things are absurdly apparent. This isn’t to say that the privileged are free from merely acknowledging the plight of those without privilege, but it does allow them to more easily overlook the reasons for things being the way they are. In the fourth issue of Providence from writer Alan Moore and artist Jacen Burrows — a horror comic as much about issues of racism, bigotry, and social unrest as it is about the eldritch and the weird, perhaps even more so — the creators manage to weave the issue of privilege in and around some classic genre fiction tropes, giving us an exploration of the topic while »
- Luke Dorian Blackwood
From title changes to the addition of rubber demons, here's a selection of some rather strange movie alterations from cinema history...
The course of film production seldom runs smooth, and even the greatest films can suffer from all sorts of behind-the-scenes problems. For a very recent example, just look at Fantastic Four, a film with which suffered the kind of difficult production that will no doubt inspire books on the subject in the near future.
At any rate, the movies on this list are all examples of strange (and sometimes last-minute) changes, often imposed by producers or executives. In some unfortunate cases, the changes haven't been particularly beneficial, but one alteration turned out to be a pioneering moment in cinema history.
In every instance, the changes are unusual, surprising, or sometimes downright baffling ...
The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari (1921)
A classic of German cinema, Robert Weine's silent horror film is widely »
If you are anything like me and were told that the cast of a film was Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone you’d be handing over your money to see it without question. Add to this cast a director like Jacques Tourneur famous for films like The Cat People and Night of the Demon and this has classic written all over it. Arrow Video have released Comedy of Terrors on Blu-ray and DVD, while it may not be a perfect film, there is a charm that is undeniable and infectious that make it hard not to fall for.
- Paul Metcalf
Welcome to another horror/thriller round-up! This time around we have details on Backstreet Boy Nick Carter’s in-the-works zombie western movie, release details for Arrow Video’s UK Blu-ray / DVD of the Vincent Price-starring The Comedy of Terrors, and an update on Warner Bros.’ and Team Downey’s in-development film based on the real-life sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the subsequent shark attacks on the surviving crew members.
In an interview with Noisey, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter revealed that he will be directing and starring in a zombie western called Dead West (not to be confused with Joe R. Lansdale’s 1986 zombie western novel, Dead in the West) for Asylum this March. Carter also co-wrote the script and has a couple of potential cast members in mind (excerpts from Noisey via Shock Till You Drop):
“It’s called Dead West. [Laughs.] It’s a zombie horror western movie. »
- Derek Anderson
12 items from 2015
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