The witch is a towering figure in the history of horror. The archetypical evil witch is everything mainstream religion tells believers a woman should not be--and that unapologetic, very female power ...
Sometimes disgusting, body horror films make audience members question their prejudices against physical difference, their attitudes about sex and gender, their fear of disease and contamination, and...
In general i appreciate this series. admittedly, it is a "good watch", despite all it's flaws. nevertheless unfortunately it falls flat on a couple of aspects.
Overall it is a somewhat solid "slideshow" through the history of horror and there you already have the first problem: it feels exactly like that - a slideshow. They start with shortly introducing the genre, which always spreads over one episode, sometimes 2 and then it just goes ... well we had this, then this, then this, then this ... very rapidly.
i am sure this is fine for people that are new to the genre, but i doubt that's the target audience, so filmwise it does not tell you a lot that you don't already know.
in between that you have the actually interesting part: the interviews. they brought in a huge amount of horror legends for interviews from all aspects of horror: writers, directors, actors, special FX people and musicians. some of them you don't see every day and some of them that you haven't seen in ages and are delighted to see back, which unfortunately leaves you BEGGING for more.
so first you kinda bore yourself through the actual movie footage and voiceover and then ... WOW, that's Heather Langenkamp from nightmare on elm street ... aaand she's gone, then movie footage again, then OMG, that's Katharine Isabelle from ginger snaps 1-3 and hannibal ... aaand she's gone, sequences of film footage again and then ... holy christ, that's TOM SAVINA ... aand he's gone.
it is almost like they throw those short interview clips in there as a reward. here, you made it through all that footage you have seen a thousand times bore with the voiceover of info that you knew already, have a little treat, gooooood boy.
and since we just were at katharine isabell, the choice of movies represented are at times extremely weird. i understand that they want to pander to a wide audience, that's why they chose films raging from the 20s until today, but sometimes you just shake your head in disbelief, especially in combination that every "genre" only gets one episode for the most part.
i am taking katharine here as an example, because at one point they have a werewolf episode and sure they bring up some movies that have to be in there, but seriously there was no space left for the ginger snaps series? like it or not, it had it's impact on the scene, was massively succesful and had it's own spin on the genre.
and on a later episode they bring katharine in, because of her film american mary. while american mary is beloved by many, it is not even close in comparison to ginger snaps. nothing against the film, but is that really a film that you have to have in a documentary where you give yourself so little runtime per genre to begin with? and then you just ignore a whole cult series, but bring one of the main actresses in for something with a much lesser impact.
and then we have the hannibal part for example. sure, the anthony hopkins film is the "most important", but not a single minute about the fuller tv series, that she was also in? but then you even have bryan in there talking about basically everything else. i don't get it.
what surprised me the most was when they talked about stephen kings "it". look, i get it, they want to draw in the younger crowd as well, but talking exclusively about the recent 2 films and acting like the tv-mini-series never happened, feels just wrong. i mean tim curry's clown has traumatized generations, what is wrong with you people? that's like talking about the 2016 rocky horror picture show as if that was the first and only version in existence.
as some other reviewers pointed out, this is even worse when it comes to the zombi(e) genre. first of all the film history of that genre would have AT least deserved 3 episodes. at least. and then they quickly rush through a couple of classics just to talk about the walking dead for ages, as if it was the be all and all.
at times you have some films in there that just don't belong. crimson peak? are you serious? that HAD to be in there? sure, if every episode runs 6 1/2 hours, you can throw that in there, but with a running time THIS limited? why?
shape of water? it is a great film, but this needed to be in the history of horrors?
twilight? really? i am one of the few male adults that actually enjoyed the series, but out of the rich and long history of vampire films, twilight had to be in there?
look, if you really have to make the genre coverage so short, at least stick to what actually counts as essentials to the genre. personally i would be fine with 5 episodes per genre, the more the better. i understand, they had to do a "crunchy" first season to test the waters and see how it goes to decide possible future series, but did they really do themselves a favor with this? would fewer people have watched it if this was a 15 episode run that only covers 3 genres? doubt it.
for me they painted themselves in a corner there, because what will they do once they run out of genres and people demand more season? just start over and be like "oh and what we also wanted to say about werewolf films.."?
let's also talk about the 3 hosts for a moment.
i could not find out who the actual showrunner for this series was, but it seems safe to assume that it was eli roth himself, being in the title at all. so it's legit that he'd be in there. i am also sure that he has all the right contacts to make the interviews we see happen. furthermore while a bit on the edge for me he counts as a cult horror producer for cabin in the woods and hostel alone.
then we have special fx guru Greg Nicotero. ok, legit. no questions asked.
but rob zombie? apart from the fact that i personally don't consider him that talented, is there anything he has done filmwise that he is a must for THE HISTORY OF HORROR? i mean, you already have one director in there and since you also have a special f/x guy, why not go with an actor as a third host. i am sure Kane Hodder would have been delighted to be there.
so yeah, as i said it is an entertaining overall watch, but at times almost unfferable superficial, you will at times choke because of some really off choices and it seems to be for the most part a vehicle to lure you into spending your cash on the hours of interviews that are included as bonus material on the BDs and DVD sets.
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