Staff picks

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 10)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 10)

October is the perfect month for watching horror movies. In fact it’s the month when a horror nerd can almost feel “normal”, as millions of people temporarily become horror fans. But hey, horror has always been welcoming, and I;m not knocking anyone who gets into the Halloween spirit. Horror is a big blanket and and we can all hide under it during the scary scenes. So for a whole month of spookiness, how could I only suggest five films to watch? So I asked and begged if I could do a second “five horror films to watch in October”.

After asking, of course I had problems picking out the five films. The problem being picking five out of all the great possible Halloween viewing. However after deep thought, head scratching, and perusing my personal collection, I picked my next five. In my first five I set rules for my selection. No zombies, no serial killers and it had to be supernatural. Which I kind of broke the last rule with The Wicker Man. Fuck the rules tho, amirite? So no rules on this one, other than I like the film and think it would be a fum Halloween watch. While I wouldn’t call the list “family friendly” I did shy away from any extremely gory or disturbing films. As always make your own decision on your family’s viewing, and hope you enjoy the list!

1.Event Horizon
Event Horizon is probably the best example of horror and sci fi crossing over near seamlessly. It stars Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neil and is the story of a rescue crew sent out to investigate the reemergence of the interstellar ship Event Horizon. Event Horizon has rightfully been called a haunted house story set in space, which is why I’m making it a must see during the Halloween season. I’ve also argued it could almost be set in the Hellraiser Universe as it deals with self mutilation and inter-dimensional travel to “hell”. It’s also the goriest film on this list

Event Horison

Event horizon

2.Psycho
Way back in 1960 the horror world was introduced to Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) by director Alfred Hitchcock. The film was groundbreaking in the horror genre, featuring what was assumed to be the main star being killed early in the film. It was also responsible for, or helped define horror tropes such as the “slasher” and the “scream queen”. Not only that it made people afraid to use motel showers.
So far Psycho has spawned three sequels, a remake, a TV pilot (Bates Motel) in 1987, and an ongoing series (Bates Motel, not connected with the 1987 pilot) on A and E Network. While it doesn’t have a supernatural element, it is a horror classic, and perfect for October viewing.

3.Tombs of the Blind Dead
Amando Ossorio’s 1972 Spanish horror film was my first introduction to the Knights Templar. Since then I have, luckily discovered more about the legendary Templars, but this movie still holds a special place in my black heart, and it can still give me chills. In real life the Templars were accused of witchcraft, arrested, and executed, Tombs of the Blind Dead takes it further. In the film the Templars, guilty of human sacrifice and turning their backs on god, have returned from the dead. Since ravens pecked out their eyes while they hung from the gibbet, they are now blind and hunt by sound. It’s a great gimmick, and twist on the still new zombie genre and provides some incredibly tense moments. Tombs of the Blind Dead is an old film and at first might not seem to hold up well. However pop it in the DVD player (or VCR) late Halloween night, turn off the lights, grab a blanket, and I bet it will still give you a chill or two. It’s OK, blame it on the cool October air, I wont tell.

4. The Witchfinder General
The legendary Vincent Price enters the list with Witchfinder General. Honestly Vincent could have had five movies on this list, and probably five in my last list. However, in trying to spread the love I decided to pick one, and I picked Witchfinder General. One because this is a list for the Halloween season and witches play such an important part in Halloween, so why not a film about the persecution of witches? Witchfinder General, also known as The Conqueror Worm, showcases Price at his most nasty. For those who only remember him from more lighthearted roles, or as sympathetic characters, this may be a shock, but it’s still a must see. The film is very, very loosely based on the real life story of Matthew Hopkins, the self appointed Witchfinder General of East Anglia during the English civil war.
The gruesome and disturbing content led to critical panning, even while it was a box office success. Over the years, opinions have changed and many critics now consider it a classic. It has always been one of my favorite film from Price, but it still manages to disturb me. It’s the perfect film for a dark, cool, October night.

5.  Last Shift
I really had a hard time picking recent films for these lists. Not that there haven’t been recent horror films that I enjoyed, it’s just none seemed right for this list. Then I re-watched 2014’s Last Shift by director Anthony Diblasi. The film is set, appropriately on the during the last shift at a police station on the last night before it is shut down. A rookie officer is assigned to work the last shift, and comes face to face with supernatural forces. The time of year is never specified (That I noticed) but damn if it doesn’t feel like it’s Halloween. Think of it as a twist on Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, but with the assault coming from within and being supernatural. Throughout the film we come face to face with ghost, re-animated cultists and a the spookiest homeless person since Alice Cooper in Prince of Darkness. The end leaves you wondering just how much of what we seen was real, and what was in the protagonist’s mind. Last Shift is perfect for Halloween viewing, just expect to have a few nightmares after watching it.

Last Shift,

Last Shift

So that’s my second five for October. Hope you get some ideas and enjoy some horror this Halloween.

Posted by Allen Alberson in Categories, HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 3)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 3)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

By Dixielord

Halloween is upon us. Halloween a time of trick or treats, bright costumes, women dressed in sexy attire and of course, The Great Pumpkin. But Halloween is an ancient celebration, and it wasn’t always so happy and cheerful. Halloween was the harvest festival. Leaves were falling, plants dying, the days were getting shorter and the nights longer. And there was something lurking in those nights. Death. As winter approached, so did hardships, cold, lack of food and always on the periphery, death waited for the weak.

Halloween was a time when the veil between living and dead was particularly weak. A time when the people appeased the spirits, or tricked them, in order to hopefully survive the coming winter. Winters no longer hold the same dread as they once did, thus Halloween has lost some of its power. But we still celebrate, and when the air first starts to chill, sometimes, we can feel a little of that old fear that’s imprinted in our souls.

So when I was asked to pick my five favorite films for Halloween viewing, I wanted my list to reflect those old fears. I wanted movies that held some fear, movies of the supernatural. Also I wanted movies that “felt” like Halloween, or at least the fall and encroaching winter. So I made some rules, for one, no zombies. Zombies, as we think of them now, are a modern creation, and honestly they aren’t very scary anymore. So sorry Walking Dead and/or Romero fans, no zombies. No slashers. Slashers for the most part aren’t supernatural or at least didn’t start that way, and again, they aren’t that scary. Rule three, I wanted films that were scary and supernatural. No comedies or serial killers (see the last rule). So, with that in mind, I bring you my picks for Halloween viewing.

The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Long before Paranormal Activity there was a movie about a supernatural investigation that was actually scary. That movie, The Legend of Hell House, is hands down the best haunted house movie of all time. It’s a movie that has stood the test of time and, over 40 years later, it is still scary, creepy and a perfect movie for the Halloween season. The movie, based on the book Hell House by Richard Mattheson, revolves around four investigators paid to investigate the possibility of life after death. To do this they prepare to stay a week in the Belasco House, reputed to be the most haunted place on earth and referred to as Hell House. The house is indeed haunted and doesn’t take well to the interlopers.

What you don’t see is more frightening than what you do see in Hell House. There are no rotting demonic figures or floating CGI ghosts. But unlike Paranormal Activity, it isn’t an hour of nothing but the occasional moving chair and table. There’s real horror in Hell House, and we see that through the reactions of the cast. No silly CGI, no jump scares, just a creepy vibe, excellent acting, and disconcerting sound effects. That’s what makes it such a great film for Halloween. There’s a real sense of menace and doom throughout the movie. This isn’t a tongue in cheek, laugh at itself movie. This is a horror movie, and you can almost feel that it’s set in the Halloween season. The Legend of Hell House stars the legendary Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes), Pamela Franklin, Clive Revill, and Gayle Hunnicutt and was directed by John Hough (Twins of Evil).

The Wolf Man (1941)

With my second pick we go back to the Universal Classics and The Wolf Man. Long before vampires sparkled and werewolves were emo boy toys, there was Larry Talbot and his wolf. The moonlit, mist shrouded English moors are the perfect setting for a Halloween movie. And if you remember the poem, the werewolf transformed not under the full moon, but under the autumn moon. “Even a man who is pure at heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf, when the wolfs-bane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright.”

The Wolf Man may seem dated in a lot of ways, and, hey, it was only released in 1941. But watching it today, late at night, alone, with the lights low, that howl can still send a chill down your spine. The Wolf Man starred Claude Raines, Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi and the legendary Lon Chaney Jr.

The Wicker Man (1973)

Okay, so there’s no actual supernatural element in Robin Hardy’s classic horror tale, but it still is a must see for Halloween viewing. The film stars Edward Woodward as Sgt. Howie, a stern, yet devout police officer and Christian. He answers a call for assistance to a small Island off the coast of Britain. There his investigation leads to paganism, murder and ritual sacrifice. It also stars the legendary Christopher Lee in a role he has called one of his favorites.

The Wicker man Bees, fair use polciy

Not the remake, Oh God, not the remake.

So why is this a film for Halloween? Especially since I mentioned wanted films dealing with the supernatural. Well for starters, The Wicker Man is all about the old traditions – sacrificing in hopes for a bountiful harvest. The movie is set on (and just before) May Day but you have a similar feel to harvest festivals and their traditional trappings. The biggest difference being May Day is more focused on rebirth where Harvest is on death. Plus the location, off the coast of Britain is very near where Halloween is thought to have originated. The end of the film is what horror movies should be, unrepentant, disturbing and brutal.

The Lords of Salem (2012)

Okay, time to send hate mail to Dixie. I’m not going to sit here and try and convince you this is a great movie. I wont even go so far as to say it’s Rob Zombie’s best movie. However, it is Rob’s best film for the Halloween season. While I don’t hate his take on the classic Halloween, his movie has little to do with the season other than surface trappings like masks and pumpkins. To me it never had a Halloween or even an autumn feel. Lords of Salem has that feel. Watching it I can almost feel the chill in the air.

The more I watch Lords of Salem the more I find I like it. Yes, it’s slow and the plot can be confusing, but Rob tends to pay more attention to style and visual than to plot. Just listen to the eerie and unsettling musical score. It puts you into a state of unease early on and never lets you off till the ending crescendo. Plus it’s about witches and witchcraft, with goats and weird creatures and nightmares and murder. It’s Halloween for Gods sake.

Okay, yeah, just post your hate mail in the comments.

The Witch (2015)

I really had a hard time with the fifth choice. So many movies over so many years, so many choices before I finally settled on The Witch. It’s the most recent film on my list, and possibly the second most controversial. It’s a super slow burn, but really so is every film on my list with the possible exception of the The Wolf Man.

Black Phillip from The Witch Fair Use Policyh

Black Phillip from The Witch

Set somewhere in New England in Puritan times, The Witch details one family’s fight against the forces of Satan. Or possibly insanity. The Witch definitely wont be for everyone with it’s pace and at times almost indecipherable Puritan dialect. But it’s a great film for adults on Halloween. The true star of the show, the goat Black Phillip, is near iconic already, and let’s not even talk about those creepy ass kids. Like the other selections The Witch unsettles the viewers from the first images on the screen, and never lets up, even when the pace seems plodding.

So that’s it. My list of five films for Halloween viewing. I hope you like them, or at least give them a chance.

Posted by Allen Alberson in STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Top Five Films To Watch In October (Part 1)

Top Five Films To Watch In October (Part 1)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

By Mike Donlon

#5: Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

I saw this film years after its release. I had the preconceived notion that it was a movie geared towards teenyboppers and fake-ass horror fans. I am grateful my knee-jerk judgments finally gave way after continuously hearing about how great this movie was, and I finally gave it a chance. Even when I first threw it on, I wanted to hate it. Needless to say, the film flipped the script on my opinion. I have seen it many times since and had a blast every time.
Image: Theatrical poster. Fair use doctrine.

 

#4 Donnie Darko (2001)

Image: Theatrical poster. Fair use doctrine.
Donnie Darko could be considered horror, sci-fi, drama, comedy, even romance. It is this genre bending quality that makes this film one of my favorites of all time. However, it goes beyond this. The characters and acting are as real as can be. The soundtrack could not be more on point. And the story itself is nothing short of brilliant. I love this film.

 

#3 Evil Dead 2 (1987)

What can I say about Evil Dead 2 that has not been said before? If you can’t appreciate this film, we probably will not get along. The whole time you were talking to me, I would just be thinking in the back of my of my mind, “This motherfucker doesn’t like Evil Dead 2? What is wrong with them?” Then you would ask me question, and I wouldn’t know what to say because I was too busy silently judging you instead of listening to whatever you blathering about. You would slowly realize I’m an asshole and we would go our separate ways. And that’s cool.
Image: Theatrical poster. Fair use doctrine.

 

#2 The Shining (1980)

Image: Theatrical poster. Fair use doctrine.
Oh, The Shining. Real original pick, right? Yes, I admit this a terribly cliché movie to include on this list. However, to omit this film would not only be dishonest to myself, but would be doing you, the reader, a huge disservice.

 

#1 Psycho (1960)

The film that started my fascination with the horror genre. The definition of timeless. If you have not seen Psycho, I am jealous, for you have yet to experienced one of the best films ever made.
Theatrical poster. Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Mike Donlon in HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
NEW FEATURE! CROWDFUNDING PICK: Baphomet

NEW FEATURE! CROWDFUNDING PICK: Baphomet

By Dixielord

Crowdsourcing is becoming a more and more popular way to finance films although it was once almost exclusively the territory of low budget and Indie films. Now, however, directors from the likes of Spike Lee to Rob Zombie have used the public to fund the budgets of their films. While there has been some outcry among fans concerning established filmmakers using this avenue, it, nonetheless, remains a lucrative way of funding a film. In addition to freeing filmmakers of studio restrictions, crowdfunding enables them to connect with the fans via special offers for different levels of donations.

With crowdfunding here to stay, House of Tortured Souls has decided to do a “Best of Crowdsourcing” series. It will have an irregular schedule to start, but we hope to grow into a monthly article. HoTS writers will scour the popular sourcing sites, Kickstarter and Indiegogo (and any others that may exist or come to exist), and find horror projects that look interesting to report back on for our followers. We also welcome suggestions from our followers. Just comment on this article as well as the upcoming articles and let us know what hidden gems you’ve found.

I’m going to kickstart this (Heh, heh, heh) with a little movie I found late one recent Friday night. The name of the film is Baphomet, and it drew me in right away. The story concept kept me there. It’s still early in the crowdsourcing for Baphomet, so it’s still anybody’s guess on how it will come out. But I’m really hoping this one is successful. After all, I already put my money where my mouth is.

Baphomet the movie

Promotional poster for Baphomet
Art courtesy of Stu Schuckman

According to the Kickstarter page, Baphomet is

THE STORY OF HANNA, a beautiful and cold-blooded murderer, a born sociopath with no concern for societal expectations. While living as a drifter on the highways of the east coast, she meets a sensitive young musician and begins a relationship that will blur the line between victim and accomplice.

Director Alex Sinesi describes it as a Southern Gothic road movie, and he means Gothic in the traditional way, not the Hot Topic way.

The crucial lead role of Hanna will be played by Hannah Elizabeth Smith, an award winning film and theater actress. Apparently Hannah isn’t afraid to get bloody with roles like Carrie (Carrie the Musical), and Lady MacBeth in her past. If that ain’t enough, just check out her photo on Kickstarter.

Hannah Elizabeth Smith as Carrie White, in Carrie the Musical from the Baphomet Kickstarter page

Hannah Elizabeth Smith as Carrie White, in Carrie the Musical

Along with Smith, Baphomet will star Nicholas Reed and Christopher Marino. All three members of the cast come from East Coast theater backgrounds.

There’s a lot that drew me to Baphomet. While the idea of a female serial killer might not be new, it’s far from common, and it’s relatively fresh ground. Plus, the idea of a Gothic road movie is appealing. I grew up in the South, on Faulkner, and there was always a darkness in his stories. They always made me feel uncomfortable. I think Baphomet may strike that same chord in me, and that makes me excited.

Baphomet- Never Behave again courtesy Kickstarter

Baphomet- Never Behave Again
Courtesy Kickstarter

The director promises that it will be bloody, but it wont be cheap gore. Sinesi promises that we will see the effect the killing has, even on the killer. I’m trusting he will have the skill to follow through on those promises, and make Baphomet more than a cheap horror film. So give it a look, and if you agree that this is an interesting project consider giving them a hand. There’s more information to be found on the movie’s Facebook page or on the Kickstarter page If it looks interesting, consider chipping in and helping what could be a great Indie horror film get made. House of Tortured Souls, and I, personally, will be keeping our eye on Baphomet and updating everyone on any major happenings.

Posted by Allen Alberson in Crowd funding Pick, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

The Return of the Living Dead

By Amy Lynes

Retro ROTLD poster

Directed by: Dan O’Bannon
Starring: Clu Gulager, Thom Matthews, Jewel Shepard, Linnea Quigley, Miguel Nunez, Beverly Randolph, James Karen, Don Calfa, Mark Venturini, John Philbin, Allan Trautman and Brian Peck

 

The Return of the Living Dead has long been one of my most revered horror films. It hit the theaters the day after my 13th birthday. I can remember the trailers alone, which would always be played right before bed, giving me panic inducing nightmares and terror unlike any I had ever experienced.

At this point, I was still cutting my teeth on horror and I had never seen anything with zombies in it before. I had never even heard of them, and I am telling you, the idea of them scared the living shit right out of thirteen year old me. I became obsessed with seeing this movie. I BEGGED my parents to let me go see it but my efforts were all in vain. My mother, having been thoroughly repulsed by George A Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, wouldn’t hear of it.

Flash forward to my Freshman year of high school and my parents leaving me alone for the weekend to go to a high school reunion. I, at long last, had a copy of the film in my hands. Victory was mine! I watched it near the Halloween season, home alone, in the dark. I was both horrified and humored. It was a delicious balance. Just when I got so freaked out I thought I couldn’t handle anymore, the comedy would come full force and it kept me from totally freaking out. I think I must have watched it at least five or six times that weekend. I was totally unlike most horror films I had seen and the zombies scared me shitless, but I fucking loved it. As scared as I was, I loved every damn minute of it and it spawned an intense fascination with zombies that would last a lifetime.

There was nothing, and I mean NOTHING, I didn’t like about this classic. From the wardrobes to the soundtrack, the zombie make-up, the comedy and the gore, I was completely and thoroughly hooked. It ALL pretty much rocked my thirteen year old world. And you know what? At 43, it still fucking does!

The film may be set in early July, but I will forever equate it with the Halloween season because of my first experience watching it. Halloween just wouldn’t have the same feel for me if I didn’t watch it this time of year. And I recommend you do the same. For me, it is definitely a must watch. If you have not seen this, and I can’t imagine how the hell that would have happened, do it. Now.

Rating: 10/10 Paramedics

Posted by Amy Mead in HoTS HALLOWED HALLOWEEN HORRORS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Angel Heart (1987)

By Dixielord

Angel Heart DVD cover

Angel Heart

My first selection for required Halloween viewing is Angel Heart, a supernatural detective story set mostly in my favorite city, New Orleans. It features Micky Rourke as Harold Angel, a sleazy, down and out New York private detective. Angel is approached by an attorney for a wealthy potential client, offering him a job he should probably refuse. The job, track down missing musician Johnny Favorite, who owes the client a debt of some sort. The client Lou Cypher, played by Robert DeNiro, sends Angel off to find Favorite, or find proof he is dead. The trail leads him deep into the world of New Orleans voodoo, into the arms of Lisa Bonet and maybe into insanity.

While Angel Heart is a detective story, it is heavily rooted in the supernatural. It also is one of the best horror movies dealing with voodoo. The fun is trying to figure out exactly what is going on, what’s the deal with Johnny Favorite, and why is everyone around Harold dying a gruesome death.

I love this movie and watch it almost every Halloween, and honestly every chance I get. When I’m asked to suggest a horror movie, this is high on the list. There is a heavy, dark foreboding that runs throughout the film. It feels hot and sweaty, just like New Orleans in the summer, or the fall for that matter. It’s never gets extremely gory, most of the deaths take place off screen, but it has a sense of dread, a sense that something bad is always just around the corner, and bad shit keeps happening. Every clue seems to lead to another corpse and dead end.

Angel Heart is also worth watching because of its 19 year old co-star, Lisa Bonet, known best as being one of the Huxtable clan from the Cosby show. In fact, it’s heavily rumored, and believed by most that her performance in Angel Heart cost her the job on Cosby. Long before the current Cosby rape allegations, this was the most controversial sex scandals involving the show. Bonet’s love scene with Rourke was one of the hottest, and most talked about sex scenes in a major film of the 80s. The love scene was also the bloodiest thing seen on screen in Angel Heart. The scene was so wild, that at least ten seconds of the sex had to be cut to keep the movie form getting an X rating.

There’s just so much I love about Angel Heart. A lot of people familiar with Rourke’s later movies might not realize he was once a handsome leading man. This was before his dalliance with the boxing ring lead to numerous facial injuries, and a botched plastic surgery left his face “a mess”. Then there is DeNiro, who comes across as a very subtle and sinister…..,well look at his name, Lou Cypher, I shouldn’t have to tell you who he is really playing. He plays it with a casual aplomb, that is way more frightening than the usual cackling prince of darkness.

Then there is Lisa Bonet. Wow. Bonet was at the prime of her beauty. She is smoking hot and her sexuality bleeds from her skin like sweat in the hot New Orleans sun, If you are a fan of the Huxtable’s and Denise, you might feel a little dirty every second she is on the screen. It’s okay, I wont tell, I felt that way when I first watched it.

The Cosby Show's Lisa Bonet in Angel Heart

Lisa Bonet in Angel Heart

Then there is the story itself. A detective film with a Faustian element, and dripping with the trappings of voodoo. There’s a bit of a twist, but it’s what’s makes Angel Heart special. I figured out what was up about five minutes before the reveal, and I spent those five minutes yelling “No” at the screen. It’s not a cheat or cheap move, and director Alan Parker littered clues throughout the movie. After it’s over you feel like you should have known all along. The ending is so dark, I was just left cold. And I felt that way the second, third, and fourth times I watched Angel Heart.

That’s my first selection for this Halloween. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to check it out. It’s a great little detective horror film, and it’s a throwback to a different time. A time when Micky Rourke’s movies were scarier than his face, and most scandalous thing about The Cosby show was seeing Denise topless.

Angel Heart was directed by Alan Parker, based on the novel Falling Angel, written by William Hjortsberg. It stars Mickey Rourke, Robert DeNiro, Lisa Bonet and Charlotte Rampling. Now go watch it!

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

By Kev B.

scarecrow

Dark Night of the Scarecrow

This obscure, family friendly, made-for-television horror classic instantly takes me back to Halloween’s long past. It is a tale of violence, bloodshed, and vengeance from beyond the grave. It originally aired way back on October 24, 1981 as a CBS Saturday Night Movie, when I was just 9 years old. Its’ known as one of the best made for t.v. horror films ever, right up there with Salem’s Lot and It.

In a small town deep in the south, a mentally challenged man with the mind of a child is wrongfully accused of terrible crime. Before he can be exonerated, the local good ol’ boys form a lynch mob and set out after him. The mob (led by the town postman) find, kill, and plant a weapon on our hero Bubba. When faced with the fact that Bubba was innocent, the postman and his crew lie on the stand and are found innocent due to lack of witnesses and evidence.

When fatal accidents start to befall the members of the vigilante group, ringleader Otis the postman is forced to commit even more crimes to cover his bloody tracks. But are they really accidents? Who is behind them? And who’s next? Dark Night of the Scarecrow is a tense, creepy little Halloween gem. For a long time, it was a difficult film to find in any format (as it pre-dated VCR in my house) and for years it remained only a fond memory. Now it is readily available on demand, on DVD, and even on YouTube.

I suggest if you’ve never seen it, watch it first, but I recommend owning a hard copy of this one! The film builds on tension and the end is an awesome pay off. Charles Durning (The Fury, The Muppet Movie) is despicable as Otis, and Larry Drake (Darkman, Dr. Giggles) is heartbreaking as Bubba. It’s a well made movie (especially considering it was made for TV), and what it lacks in gore it makes up for in creepiness.

So get some of that Halloween candy, gather the family, turn down the lights and get your spot on the couch… It’s time for the Dark Night of the Scarecrow.

Posted by Kevin Belyski in HoTS HALLOWED HALLOWEEN HORRORS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: The Fog (1980)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: The Fog (1980)

By Nick Durham

the fog

John Carpenter is my fucking spirit animal. So many of his films have wormed their way into my heart since my youth, and around this time of year, I usually end up binge-watching quite a number of his films. Of course we all watch the original Halloween, because that’s just part of life during the season, but there’s others that usually fit the bill too: The Thing, They Live, Prince of Darkness, In the Mouth of Madness, and even Body Bags come to mind, at least for me that is. One film in particular of Carpenter’s that always manages to be the first one I pop in when October hits however, is his always dreadfully underrated The Fog. I swear, even though it received a great Blu-ray release from Scream Factory and an unbelievably shitty remake in 2005, it’s always seemed to me like this was one of the few Carpenter films from that early 80s era that never really gets the kind of recognition as his other work.

The story of The Fog revolves around the harbor town of Antonio Bay, which is getting ready to celebrate their centennial. Things start to go awry when some really spooky shit starts going down, and even a few bodies start piling up. There’s murderous ghosts afoot, and they want some serious fucking revenge…and trust me when I say that these guys do not fuck around either. Then again, neither would you if you were murdered and a whole town was founded on the blood money drawn from you, but I digress.

Featuring a wonderful cast of genre stalwarts and future Carpenter favorites (Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers, mother and daughter Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis, and legendary actors Hal Holbrook and John Houseman), the original The Fog is one of the absolute spookiest films of its era. The atmosphere alone is enough to creep you the fuck out. When the titular fog starts appearing and slowly rolls in, it’s like creeping death. Just the pacing of everything here is nearly pitch perfect in its delivery. If Halloween was what announced Carpenter to the world as a master of suspense and dread, The Fog perfects it. That’s right, I said that.

To close things up, I’ve always found it a damn shame that The Fog hasn’t gotten the widespread recognition that I feel it deserves. Maybe it’s just me, which very well could be. It’s rare that I’ve met anyone who has enjoyed this film as much as I have. That being said, every October I pop this sucker in like clockwork, and I still manage to enjoy the holy living hell out of it today as much as I did when I first discovered it in my youth. Go check it out and discover it all over again.
Rating: 5/5

Posted by Nick Durham in HoTS HALLOWED HALLOWEEN HORRORS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MOVIE REVIEWS, RETRO REVIEWS, 0 comments