The Hills Have Eyes

Robert Joy is a name that might not be instantly familiar to cult/horror fans but he has over 100 film and TV credits and has been in such classics as George Romero’s Land of the Dead, The Hills Have Eyes (2006).

Robert Joy

Currently fans can see Joy as Polonius in an excellent production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet starring Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), Alan Cox, Madeleine Potter (Red Lights), Oyin Oladejo (Star Trek Discovery), Keith Baxter, Ryan Spahn, Kelsey Rainwater, Chris Genebach, Gregory Wooddell, Avery Glymph and directed by Michael Kahn at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC. I saw it, and it was very impressive.
Joy has taken time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about his craft and the genre films he is beloved for as well as the play he is currently in and what he has in store film-wise.
House of Tortured Souls: You got your start on the stage, were you exposed to many theatre productions as a child?
Robert Joy: I didn’t have an opportunity to watch much theater. When I was older I saw a few things, I remember my mother took me to a musical of The King and I that was done really well. And when I was in my late teens, I worked at a canoeing summer camp for kids in Northern Ontario, and three of us from the staff went down to Stratford. We hitchhiked for adventure, and then after that summer, when I got back to St. Johns Newfoundland, I got involved with the amateur theatre scene which was really sophisticated. And I started doing Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespeare and a wide range of other things.
HoTS: Your first huge break was starting out in the play The Diary of Anne Frank (1979) with heavy hitters like Eli Wallace. What was he like to work with?
RJ: That was an amazing experience I had admired his work on television and I had seen a movie of his called The Tiger Makes Out and it was Eli Wallace and his wife Anne Jackson. It (the film) was very funny but it was also very emotional; the comedy was mixed with heartbreak. And I was floored by their acting, and it was amazing years later I got to act with them in The Diary of Anne Frank. Its only because of him and his family that I’m in the United States at all, really, because he invited me down to New York when The Diary of Anne Frank came from Toronto to New York.

Robert Joy

HoTS: The film Ragtime was an early breakthrough role where you worked with the legendary Milos Forman (One Flew Over a Cuckoos Nest, Amadeus, People vs Larry Flynt) What was he like as a director?
RJ: He was an amazing guy, he’s not with us anymore is he?
HoTS: I believe so, yes.
RJ: He’s an amazing fellow; he’s very smart and very fun loving, so the atmosphere on this huge production, the logistics of which were daunting, the sense that it was all a big party was palpable (laughs). He had bought a puppy. I think it was a lab. The puppy was on the set the whole time, pooping and peeing (Both laugh). There was this atmosphere you were living in some very big-hearted fun-loving guys’ home (laughs) shooting this enormous movie. But yeah it was a lot of fun to work with Milos Forman. He wouldn’t hesitate to sort of indicate any way he could what he was looking for, and you had to be careful not to do exactly what he did because he would sort of act the scene for you. Like he’d say (in a Czech accent), “More eyes! More crrrazzy”. Stuff like that. It was almost like being directed by one of the Muppets and you had to take one he said and interrupt it into what you knew he wanted. He was a very wonderful and supportive director.
HoTS: It’s an incredible film with an incredible cast. What memories do you have of that shoot in regards to the cast?
RJ: James Cagney wasn’t in the best of health, and he couldn’t take airplanes. I can’t remember exactly why, but a friend of his came over on I think it was the Queen Mary from New York to London because he shot it in London. All my scenes are in London and Oxford that part of England. Donald O’ Conner, Pat O’ Brien, and Pat O’Brien’s wife, and what I remember most is how down to earth everybody was and friendly and approachable. It was very moving to see these old friends being old friends, and, you know, they were open-hearted about including a young actor like me. In the film, Pat O’Brien plays my lawyer, and I had admired him, his movie career was amazing. His wife, whose name I’m sorry I can’t recall (Eloise Taylor), she played my mother (laughs) in that movie. I couldn’t believe my luck.
HoTS: I watched an old interview with youon YouTube actually – it must have been mid-eighties – for TV, and you mentioned you turned down Amityville 2: The Posession on grounds of the violence. I’m guessing you’ve softened you’re stance since, with being in films such as The Hills Have Eyes and Land of the Dead?
RJ: Well that’s interesting I didn’t realize I had done that, I was in an Amityville film it was Amityville 3D.
HoTS: Yeah.
RJ: So had I turned down Amityville 2, I guess. I very rarely turn anything down so I might have had another job at the time. As an actor, especially early in your career, you can only really afford to be fussy about what you expect when you have income. It might have been I was disturbed by the excessive violence. I’m not a fan of really violent movies, and as you say The Hills Have Eyes was probably the most violent I’ve ever been in. I have mixed feelings about it, I think it’s very skillfully made and ultimately I think it makes a very interesting premise behind it and as a cautionary tale  about what happens when people are marginalized or when things go bad and human beings are so separate from each other that they almost mutate away from each other. It had that kind of parable element to it. I remember reading the script of The Hills Have Eyes, and when the father character is crucified on the flaming cross, I thought this was too much, but I did it. It was one of those things I did because my daughter was about to go to university, and I didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing. But I’m proud of it. It wasn’t an easy part to play, and there were a lot of challenges in the making of it. I’m proud we all pulled together an made what turned out to be in its own way a high quality of example of that kind of movie. The director, Alexandre Aja, the principal director, would say, “It has to be brutal and uncompressing”. And that’s what it was.

Robert Joy

HoTS: You also have a great role in George Romero’s adaptation of The Dark Half. Had you read the book before filming?
RJ: No, I hadn’t read the book, but I feel like the opportunity to work with George Romero was one of the great opportunities in my life. The Dark Half has violence in it, but you have a mixture of Stephen King and George Romero, and the range of the material in it is wide and deep. And I was very happy to do it based on the screenplay, but, no, I did not read the novel.
HoTS: So safe to assume you were very familiar with his body of work?
RJ: Yeah. I was most familiar with Night of the Living Dead. It was one of those one-of-a-kind kinds of movies because at the time it hadn’t really spawned that much of a collection of movies by the time I did The Dark Half, at least not that I was aware of. It just seems like subsequently that zombie genre has exploded. But back then it was like he was a one of a kind artist and it was such an interesting role. Like that scene where I come in and basically come in and try to extort Tim Hutton’s character and it’s one of the most interesting scenes. The character on the surface is so playful but under the surface menacing, and the politics of the scene goes up and down. One person has the power, then you wonder maybe the other person has the power, and its really good screenplay writing. And, of course, it’s beautifully directed by George. And when I met George in Pittsburgh, I was struck by courtly he was; it made me think of this old-fashioned gentleman. And he was so welcoming. I didn’t feel like I was just being hired to be in a movie; I felt like I was being welcomed into a community. That’s very important in a profession that is very gypsy-like where often you’re just hired, and when the job is over you never see the people again, so it was very special to be a part of his team.
HoTS: The character of Fred is so wonderfully cocky. Is a role like that enjoyable because it seems like you’re having a ball playing him. Do you enjoy those types of roles?
RJ: Well, you know that was the first role of that kind I had ever played. The other thing based just on the audition I did, I guess I auditioned for him in New York, and I didn’t have the reputation for playing that kind of part. I was so appreciative of George for saying, “Oh yeah, he can do it”. Whereas a lot of other people try to keep you in a pigeonhole, so he’s an actor’s best friend.
HoTS: Was George a fan of rehearsing his actors?
RJ: Yes. It was very interesting. It started before rehearsal with George, and it happened again with Land of the Dead. It starts with the audition in a funny way. You start to get an idea what he’s after, and he’s very involved in the costume and makeup, the costumes, in particular. The costume becomes a kind of rehearsal even though you’re not doing the scene at all. But you get an impression of George’s input where every visual detail that you’re going to present to the camera goes through the filter of his vision. Take Land of the Dead for example. He thought that Charlie should have a cap – you know a wool watch cap they call them – and then when they put one on me, he said, “Ah, no, but it should have a hole in it. Here is where the hole should be” (laugh). So every visual detail had a significance – a storytelling significance, and then in the rehearsals he would have on the shooting day, I don’t think we had separate rehearsals like on other days, but he would rehearse on the day. And for the most part, what I appreciated was that he would respond to what the actors brought and support what the actors brought. Every now and then he would just have just one thing to say, a detail or one turning point in the scene, and he would give his one note that would be an enormous contribution. He wasn’t a control freak. He wasn’t a puppet master. He was wanting to know what you brought, and then he could help you take it a step further.
HoTS: So he gave you the freedom to find the character yourself?
RJ: You gotta remember that during the auditions he saw basically what he wanted, but then when he would see it on the shooting day, he could refine it, improve it, and enhance it. He was a real connoisseur of what the actors brought. He was one of those people who would be really encouraging. His contribution and his notes were in the middle of a kind of cheerleading capacity, like a great coach really.
HoTS: Speaking of Charlie from Land of the Dead you give the character of a real depth and pathos, I was wondering if you drew inspiration from anything specific?
RJ: Not really, no, but the character is written beautifully, and he has a backstory that was very easy to get behind. I mean it was painful, but the idea that to go through a trauma and then come out the other side with a loyalty to the person that saved you, I never had that kind of experience but it was easy to get behind it. It’s weird somebody asked… You saw Hamlet the other night, right?
HoTS: Yes.
RJ: So somebody asked the actor playing Hamlet, Michael Urie, how do you feel those feelings? He said, “Well, you know, it’s what we have to do as actors. I never killed a king or seen my father’s ghost or anything like that, but you have to imagine what it would be like”, and that’s how I feel about Charlie. He wrote a backstory and situation for Charlie that was so rich that it was so easy to get behind it. It’s what we do when we read a novel or see a movie. We, as an audience, as readers and viewers, we enter that situation. And as actors, it’s an extension of that same thing. We go there, and the material takes you there.
HoTS: You’ve done several make-up heavy movies. Do you feel like it informs your character similar to a costume?
RJ: Oh my god, yeah. Because the makeup alters your face, it’s even more significant than a costume. I remember when I’d be sitting in the chair for three or four hours with Chris Nelson who applied the prosthetics and painted them. What a genius. He’s an actor as well. He’s in Kill Bill. He plays The Groom in the wedding scene. While I was in that makeup chair watching it happen, it was incredible. It’s incredibly helpful to the actor’s imagination because you’re watching it [take shape] in the mirror. You are becoming something else, and it takes a lot of the burden off of the actor because the makeup is doing much of the work. I mean I certainly don’t have to ask my way into communicating Charlie’s history if half of his face is a burn scar. That trauma is there, and it’s enormously important. Same with The Hills Have Eyes. That mutation is present. There’s so much less effort required. It’s still a lot of work in the acting, but there is such a thing as bad effort as when a performance becomes effortful instead of natural, and what the makeup does is let the extraordinary be natural.
HoTS: How long did the makeup take on Land of the Dead, and can you walk us through the process?
RJ: It took about four hours. It was two large pieces on the right side of my face, and when they go on in a kind of an approximate pinkish flesh color. The application is very important and takes time. The first thing is you have to have your hair plastered back under a cap, but the painting is amazing. With the painting, he would paint red and blue first. Then cover it with the kind of skin tone and add layers of paint so that even though all you see is flesh color underneath, it is hints of veins and arteries and such. It took a long time.
Robert Joy and Tess Harper in Amityville 3D
HoTS: You are currently playing Polonius in the Shakespeare Theatre Company of DC’s amazing production. First of all, I saw you in this and thought you were incredible, as was the entire cast. What did you think of the modern re-imagining?
RJ: I am totally excited by this re-imagining because sometimes a modern re-imagining doesn’t fit a classic play but Michael Kahn has imagined this play. Not only does it fit, but it enhances the text. You know that scene where I enlist my daughter to spy on Hamlet. Classically that’s done where Polonius and the king are watching behind a curtain, but to have a listening device in the book she’s reading… I mean, Shakespeare put the book in the scene and somehow that book was going to be a clue I imagine. Because he doesn’t put props into his scenes very often, so 400 years ago that book would have been some kind of a clue to Hamlet that she is spying on him. But to have a listening device in it makes it relatable, and that is just one example. Some of in the play lends itself to this depiction of a surveillance state and authoritarian kind of East German State.
HoTS: Yes. I thought it was really interesting how they dealt with the politics which is rife in the play. Now you are, of course, no stranger to performing Shakespeare. In fact, I read you and Ruby, your daughter, acted in The Tempest together?
RJ: That’s right. That was really the highlight for both of us, I think. She had been auditioning in Canada and got the role of Miranda in The Tempest, and as they were talking to her after she was hired, they asked her about her last name and if, by chance, she was related to me because they knew me from CSI: New York. She said yeah he’s my dad, and they asked if it would be alright if we asked him to play Prospero. It was a miraculous turn of events because it turned out to be one of the most amazing things each of us ever did. And it’s so rich with implications for our current world as well. The weird thing is Ruby and I were just talking about it last night because she is working with a group of academics in Toronto. Even now they are doing this kind of symposium about The Tempest, and its implications on colonialism and immigration and the attitude having different cultures in the one place. Like Caliban, Ariel, and Prospero were like different species of humans. But it was a fascinating play and we had a great time doing it.
HoTS: Do you think you’ll ever do a film together?
RJ: We are always looking or possibilities. We keep imagining it will happen on stage maybe playing King Lear and she could play one of King Lear’s daughters or any combination where I get to play her dad again or just be in the same project. But you know, these things can happen, but they are hard to force. But we certainly both want to work with each other again.
HoTS: Great! Finally, I wanted to ask about your latest film, Crown and Anchor, and if you could tell us what it’s about and a bit about your character in it?
RJ: Yeah. I really like this film. You’re introduced to this a police officer in Toronto, and he has rage issues. He gets a call from his hometown that his mother has passed away, so he goes back to his hometown and you realize where all his rage issues come from. It’s a very complicated family with a father who’s in prison and a brother who is going down the wrong road and getting involved with drug dealers. My character is his uncle, the imprisoned brother’s father, who is trying to be a leader figure in the family but can’t quite manage it because he’s a drinker and has flaws of his own. It’s a fascinating character because on the one hand there are comedic elements. He’s a bit of a mischief maker and an eccentric character, but then it becomes clear he is really trying to save a very bad situation. It’s a complex and nuanced film, and I loved playing that part. I just got another part you might be interested to hear about. I don’t know if you know of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Gold Finch?
HoTS: Yes. This is filming now or in post-production?
RJ: Yes. It just started filming last week, and I am playing the part of Welty in that. Jeffery Wright plays the part of Hobie, a man who has an antique shop and antique restorer in Manhattan. I play his partner who goes through trauma at the beginning of the film. I don’t want to give too much away, but the part of Welty will involve a wound in makeup. I did the fitting, and when you were talking about prosthetic makeup, I thought about that because I had to do one of those life casts. It’s going to be a horrific head wound.
Asia Argento, Simon Baker, Joanne Boland, Robert Joy, Shawn Roberts, and Pedro Miguel Arce in Land of the Dead (2005)
I once again want to thank Mr. Joy for his time and sharing insights into his craft and touching on some of his amazing and varied body of work. Also a big thank you to the fine people at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC.
If you are in the area its an incredible production with a brilliant cast and director. It runs now until March 6, 2018. Please visit the website below for more info.

Vinessa Shaw, Emilie de Ravin, and Robert Joy in The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

INTERVIEW: Land of the Dead & The Hills Have Eyes star Robert Joy

INTERVIEW: Land of the Dead & The Hills Have Eyes star Robert Joy

Robert Joy is a name that might not be instantly familiar to cult/horror fans but he has over 100 film and TV credits and has been in such classics as George Romero’s Land of the Dead, The Hills Have Eyes (2006).

Robert Joy

Currently fans can see Joy as Polonius in an excellent production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet starring Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), Alan Cox, Madeleine Potter (Red Lights), Oyin Oladejo (Star Trek Discovery), Keith Baxter, Ryan Spahn, Kelsey Rainwater, Chris Genebach, Gregory Wooddell, Avery Glymph and directed by Michael Kahn at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC. I saw it, and it was very impressive.
Joy has taken time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about his craft and the genre films he is beloved for as well as the play he is currently in and what he has in store film-wise.
House of Tortured Souls: You got your start on the stage, were you exposed to many theatre productions as a child?
Robert Joy: I didn’t have an opportunity to watch much theater. When I was older I saw a few things, I remember my mother took me to a musical of The King and I that was done really well. And when I was in my late teens, I worked at a canoeing summer camp for kids in Northern Ontario, and three of us from the staff went down to Stratford. We hitchhiked for adventure, and then after that summer, when I got back to St. Johns Newfoundland, I got involved with the amateur theatre scene which was really sophisticated. And I started doing Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespeare and a wide range of other things.
HoTS: Your first huge break was starting out in the play The Diary of Anne Frank (1979) with heavy hitters like Eli Wallace. What was he like to work with?
RJ: That was an amazing experience I had admired his work on television and I had seen a movie of his called The Tiger Makes Out and it was Eli Wallace and his wife Anne Jackson. It (the film) was very funny but it was also very emotional; the comedy was mixed with heartbreak. And I was floored by their acting, and it was amazing years later I got to act with them in The Diary of Anne Frank. Its only because of him and his family that I’m in the United States at all, really, because he invited me down to New York when The Diary of Anne Frank came from Toronto to New York.

Robert Joy

HoTS: The film Ragtime was an early breakthrough role where you worked with the legendary Milos Forman (One Flew Over a Cuckoos Nest, Amadeus, People vs Larry Flynt) What was he like as a director?
RJ: He was an amazing guy, he’s not with us anymore is he?
HoTS: I believe so, yes.
RJ: He’s an amazing fellow; he’s very smart and very fun loving, so the atmosphere on this huge production, the logistics of which were daunting, the sense that it was all a big party was palpable (laughs). He had bought a puppy. I think it was a lab. The puppy was on the set the whole time, pooping and peeing (Both laugh). There was this atmosphere you were living in some very big-hearted fun-loving guys’ home (laughs) shooting this enormous movie. But yeah it was a lot of fun to work with Milos Forman. He wouldn’t hesitate to sort of indicate any way he could what he was looking for, and you had to be careful not to do exactly what he did because he would sort of act the scene for you. Like he’d say (in a Czech accent), “More eyes! More crrrazzy”. Stuff like that. It was almost like being directed by one of the Muppets and you had to take one he said and interrupt it into what you knew he wanted. He was a very wonderful and supportive director.
HoTS: It’s an incredible film with an incredible cast. What memories do you have of that shoot in regards to the cast?
RJ: James Cagney wasn’t in the best of health, and he couldn’t take airplanes. I can’t remember exactly why, but a friend of his came over on I think it was the Queen Mary from New York to London because he shot it in London. All my scenes are in London and Oxford that part of England. Donald O’ Conner, Pat O’ Brien, and Pat O’Brien’s wife, and what I remember most is how down to earth everybody was and friendly and approachable. It was very moving to see these old friends being old friends, and, you know, they were open-hearted about including a young actor like me. In the film, Pat O’Brien plays my lawyer, and I had admired him, his movie career was amazing. His wife, whose name I’m sorry I can’t recall (Eloise Taylor), she played my mother (laughs) in that movie. I couldn’t believe my luck.
HoTS: I watched an old interview with youon YouTube actually – it must have been mid-eighties – for TV, and you mentioned you turned down Amityville 2: The Posession on grounds of the violence. I’m guessing you’ve softened you’re stance since, with being in films such as The Hills Have Eyes and Land of the Dead?
RJ: Well that’s interesting I didn’t realize I had done that, I was in an Amityville film it was Amityville 3D.
HoTS: Yeah.
RJ: So had I turned down Amityville 2, I guess. I very rarely turn anything down so I might have had another job at the time. As an actor, especially early in your career, you can only really afford to be fussy about what you expect when you have income. It might have been I was disturbed by the excessive violence. I’m not a fan of really violent movies, and as you say The Hills Have Eyes was probably the most violent I’ve ever been in. I have mixed feelings about it, I think it’s very skillfully made and ultimately I think it makes a very interesting premise behind it and as a cautionary tale  about what happens when people are marginalized or when things go bad and human beings are so separate from each other that they almost mutate away from each other. It had that kind of parable element to it. I remember reading the script of The Hills Have Eyes, and when the father character is crucified on the flaming cross, I thought this was too much, but I did it. It was one of those things I did because my daughter was about to go to university, and I didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing. But I’m proud of it. It wasn’t an easy part to play, and there were a lot of challenges in the making of it. I’m proud we all pulled together an made what turned out to be in its own way a high quality of example of that kind of movie. The director, Alexandre Aja, the principal director, would say, “It has to be brutal and uncompressing”. And that’s what it was.

Robert Joy

HoTS: You also have a great role in George Romero’s adaptation of The Dark Half. Had you read the book before filming?
RJ: No, I hadn’t read the book, but I feel like the opportunity to work with George Romero was one of the great opportunities in my life. The Dark Half has violence in it, but you have a mixture of Stephen King and George Romero, and the range of the material in it is wide and deep. And I was very happy to do it based on the screenplay, but, no, I did not read the novel.
HoTS: So safe to assume you were very familiar with his body of work?
RJ: Yeah. I was most familiar with Night of the Living Dead. It was one of those one-of-a-kind kinds of movies because at the time it hadn’t really spawned that much of a collection of movies by the time I did The Dark Half, at least not that I was aware of. It just seems like subsequently that zombie genre has exploded. But back then it was like he was a one of a kind artist and it was such an interesting role. Like that scene where I come in and basically come in and try to extort Tim Hutton’s character and it’s one of the most interesting scenes. The character on the surface is so playful but under the surface menacing, and the politics of the scene goes up and down. One person has the power, then you wonder maybe the other person has the power, and its really good screenplay writing. And, of course, it’s beautifully directed by George. And when I met George in Pittsburgh, I was struck by courtly he was; it made me think of this old-fashioned gentleman. And he was so welcoming. I didn’t feel like I was just being hired to be in a movie; I felt like I was being welcomed into a community. That’s very important in a profession that is very gypsy-like where often you’re just hired, and when the job is over you never see the people again, so it was very special to be a part of his team.
HoTS: The character of Fred is so wonderfully cocky. Is a role like that enjoyable because it seems like you’re having a ball playing him. Do you enjoy those types of roles?
RJ: Well, you know that was the first role of that kind I had ever played. The other thing based just on the audition I did, I guess I auditioned for him in New York, and I didn’t have the reputation for playing that kind of part. I was so appreciative of George for saying, “Oh yeah, he can do it”. Whereas a lot of other people try to keep you in a pigeonhole, so he’s an actor’s best friend.
HoTS: Was George a fan of rehearsing his actors?
RJ: Yes. It was very interesting. It started before rehearsal with George, and it happened again with Land of the Dead. It starts with the audition in a funny way. You start to get an idea what he’s after, and he’s very involved in the costume and makeup, the costumes, in particular. The costume becomes a kind of rehearsal even though you’re not doing the scene at all. But you get an impression of George’s input where every visual detail that you’re going to present to the camera goes through the filter of his vision. Take Land of the Dead for example. He thought that Charlie should have a cap – you know a wool watch cap they call them – and then when they put one on me, he said, “Ah, no, but it should have a hole in it. Here is where the hole should be” (laugh). So every visual detail had a significance – a storytelling significance, and then in the rehearsals he would have on the shooting day, I don’t think we had separate rehearsals like on other days, but he would rehearse on the day. And for the most part, what I appreciated was that he would respond to what the actors brought and support what the actors brought. Every now and then he would just have just one thing to say, a detail or one turning point in the scene, and he would give his one note that would be an enormous contribution. He wasn’t a control freak. He wasn’t a puppet master. He was wanting to know what you brought, and then he could help you take it a step further.
HoTS: So he gave you the freedom to find the character yourself?
RJ: You gotta remember that during the auditions he saw basically what he wanted, but then when he would see it on the shooting day, he could refine it, improve it, and enhance it. He was a real connoisseur of what the actors brought. He was one of those people who would be really encouraging. His contribution and his notes were in the middle of a kind of cheerleading capacity, like a great coach really.
HoTS: Speaking of Charlie from Land of the Dead you give the character of a real depth and pathos, I was wondering if you drew inspiration from anything specific?
RJ: Not really, no, but the character is written beautifully, and he has a backstory that was very easy to get behind. I mean it was painful, but the idea that to go through a trauma and then come out the other side with a loyalty to the person that saved you, I never had that kind of experience but it was easy to get behind it. It’s weird somebody asked… You saw Hamlet the other night, right?
HoTS: Yes.
RJ: So somebody asked the actor playing Hamlet, Michael Urie, how do you feel those feelings? He said, “Well, you know, it’s what we have to do as actors. I never killed a king or seen my father’s ghost or anything like that, but you have to imagine what it would be like”, and that’s how I feel about Charlie. He wrote a backstory and situation for Charlie that was so rich that it was so easy to get behind it. It’s what we do when we read a novel or see a movie. We, as an audience, as readers and viewers, we enter that situation. And as actors, it’s an extension of that same thing. We go there, and the material takes you there.
HoTS: You’ve done several make-up heavy movies. Do you feel like it informs your character similar to a costume?
RJ: Oh my god, yeah. Because the makeup alters your face, it’s even more significant than a costume. I remember when I’d be sitting in the chair for three or four hours with Chris Nelson who applied the prosthetics and painted them. What a genius. He’s an actor as well. He’s in Kill Bill. He plays The Groom in the wedding scene. While I was in that makeup chair watching it happen, it was incredible. It’s incredibly helpful to the actor’s imagination because you’re watching it [take shape] in the mirror. You are becoming something else, and it takes a lot of the burden off of the actor because the makeup is doing much of the work. I mean I certainly don’t have to ask my way into communicating Charlie’s history if half of his face is a burn scar. That trauma is there, and it’s enormously important. Same with The Hills Have Eyes. That mutation is present. There’s so much less effort required. It’s still a lot of work in the acting, but there is such a thing as bad effort as when a performance becomes effortful instead of natural, and what the makeup does is let the extraordinary be natural.
HoTS: How long did the makeup take on Land of the Dead, and can you walk us through the process?
RJ: It took about four hours. It was two large pieces on the right side of my face, and when they go on in a kind of an approximate pinkish flesh color. The application is very important and takes time. The first thing is you have to have your hair plastered back under a cap, but the painting is amazing. With the painting, he would paint red and blue first. Then cover it with the kind of skin tone and add layers of paint so that even though all you see is flesh color underneath, it is hints of veins and arteries and such. It took a long time.
Robert Joy and Tess Harper in Amityville 3D
HoTS: You are currently playing Polonius in the Shakespeare Theatre Company of DC’s amazing production. First of all, I saw you in this and thought you were incredible, as was the entire cast. What did you think of the modern re-imagining?
RJ: I am totally excited by this re-imagining because sometimes a modern re-imagining doesn’t fit a classic play but Michael Kahn has imagined this play. Not only does it fit, but it enhances the text. You know that scene where I enlist my daughter to spy on Hamlet. Classically that’s done where Polonius and the king are watching behind a curtain, but to have a listening device in the book she’s reading… I mean, Shakespeare put the book in the scene and somehow that book was going to be a clue I imagine. Because he doesn’t put props into his scenes very often, so 400 years ago that book would have been some kind of a clue to Hamlet that she is spying on him. But to have a listening device in it makes it relatable, and that is just one example. Some of in the play lends itself to this depiction of a surveillance state and authoritarian kind of East German State.
HoTS: Yes. I thought it was really interesting how they dealt with the politics which is rife in the play. Now you are, of course, no stranger to performing Shakespeare. In fact, I read you and Ruby, your daughter, acted in The Tempest together?
RJ: That’s right. That was really the highlight for both of us, I think. She had been auditioning in Canada and got the role of Miranda in The Tempest, and as they were talking to her after she was hired, they asked her about her last name and if, by chance, she was related to me because they knew me from CSI: New York. She said yeah he’s my dad, and they asked if it would be alright if we asked him to play Prospero. It was a miraculous turn of events because it turned out to be one of the most amazing things each of us ever did. And it’s so rich with implications for our current world as well. The weird thing is Ruby and I were just talking about it last night because she is working with a group of academics in Toronto. Even now they are doing this kind of symposium about The Tempest, and its implications on colonialism and immigration and the attitude having different cultures in the one place. Like Caliban, Ariel, and Prospero were like different species of humans. But it was a fascinating play and we had a great time doing it.
HoTS: Do you think you’ll ever do a film together?
RJ: We are always looking or possibilities. We keep imagining it will happen on stage maybe playing King Lear and she could play one of King Lear’s daughters or any combination where I get to play her dad again or just be in the same project. But you know, these things can happen, but they are hard to force. But we certainly both want to work with each other again.
HoTS: Great! Finally, I wanted to ask about your latest film, Crown and Anchor, and if you could tell us what it’s about and a bit about your character in it?
RJ: Yeah. I really like this film. You’re introduced to this a police officer in Toronto, and he has rage issues. He gets a call from his hometown that his mother has passed away, so he goes back to his hometown and you realize where all his rage issues come from. It’s a very complicated family with a father who’s in prison and a brother who is going down the wrong road and getting involved with drug dealers. My character is his uncle, the imprisoned brother’s father, who is trying to be a leader figure in the family but can’t quite manage it because he’s a drinker and has flaws of his own. It’s a fascinating character because on the one hand there are comedic elements. He’s a bit of a mischief maker and an eccentric character, but then it becomes clear he is really trying to save a very bad situation. It’s a complex and nuanced film, and I loved playing that part. I just got another part you might be interested to hear about. I don’t know if you know of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Gold Finch?
HoTS: Yes. This is filming now or in post-production?
RJ: Yes. It just started filming last week, and I am playing the part of Welty in that. Jeffery Wright plays the part of Hobie, a man who has an antique shop and antique restorer in Manhattan. I play his partner who goes through trauma at the beginning of the film. I don’t want to give too much away, but the part of Welty will involve a wound in makeup. I did the fitting, and when you were talking about prosthetic makeup, I thought about that because I had to do one of those life casts. It’s going to be a horrific head wound.
Asia Argento, Simon Baker, Joanne Boland, Robert Joy, Shawn Roberts, and Pedro Miguel Arce in Land of the Dead (2005)
I once again want to thank Mr. Joy for his time and sharing insights into his craft and touching on some of his amazing and varied body of work. Also a big thank you to the fine people at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC.
If you are in the area its an incredible production with a brilliant cast and director. It runs now until March 6, 2018. Please visit the website below for more info.

Vinessa Shaw, Emilie de Ravin, and Robert Joy in The Hills Have Eyes (2006)


Posted by Mike Vaughn in INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
HISTORY OF HORROR: JULY

HISTORY OF HORROR: JULY

By John Roisland & Woofer McWooferson

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in July. Click on thumbnails for full images.

July 1 - 7

 

July - Trilogy of Terror-1975 Karen Black07/01/1942
Karen Black (actress in many horror films) born

 

July - Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window (1954)07/02/1997
James Stewart (actor in Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Vertigo (1958)), (b. 1908)

 

July - Day of the Dead07/03/1985
Day of the Dead released theatrically

 

July - Silent Hill 3 video game07/03/2003
Silent Hill 3 released on the PlayStation and PC in Japan

 

July - Adam Brooks07/03/????
Adam Brooks, known for Astron-6, Manborg, and Father's Day, born

 

July - Scary Movie 207/04/2001
Scary Movie 2 released theatrically

 

July - Battle Royale II07/05/2003
Battle Royale II: Requiem released theatrically

 

July - Janet Leigh07/06/1927
Janet Leigh, actress in Psycho, born

 

July - Blood Feast07/06/1963
Blood Feast released theatrically

 

July - The Descent07/06/2005
The Descent released theatrically

 

July - The Mummy's Ghost07/07/1944
The Mummy's Ghost released theatrically

 

July - Scary Movie07/07/2000
Scary Movie released theatrically

July 8 - 14

July - The Raven07/08/ 1935
The Raven released
theatrically

 

July - Phantasm 207/08/1988
Phantasm 2 released
theatrically

 

July - Dark Water 200507/08/2005
Dark Water released
theatrically

 

July - Dean Koontz07/09/1945
Dean Koontz (writer Phantoms (1989), Odd Thomas (2013)) born

 

 

July - Fred Gwynne07/10/1926
Fred Gwynne (actor in The Munsters (1964) and Pet Sematary (1989)) born (d. 1993)

 

 

July - Michael Rosenbaum07/11/1972
Michael Rosenbaum (actor in Urban Legend (1998) and Cursed (2005)) born

 

July - Tod Browning07/12/1880
Tod Browning (director of Dracula (1931) and Freaks (1931)) born (d. 1962)

 

July - Lon Chaney, Jr07/12/1973
Lon Chaney, Jr. (actor in Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971) and The Wolfman (1941)) dies (b. 1906)

 
July - Michelle Rodriguez07/12/1978
Michelle Rodriguez (actress in Resident Evil (2002) and The Breed (2006)) born
 

July - Halloween: Resurrection07/12/2002
Halloween: Resurrection released theatrically

 

July - Stellan Skarsgard

Image courtesy WireImage.com

07/13/1968
Stellan Skarsgård (actor in Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)) born

 

July - Sid Haig07/14/1939
Sid Haig (actor in The Brotherhood of Blood(2007), The Devils Rejects (2005),
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)) born is born

 

July - The Chronicle07/14/2001
The Chronicle premieres on television

July 15 - 21

 

July - Larry Cohen07/15/1941
Larry Cohen (writer, director, producer known for of Phone Booth (2002), A Return to Salem's Lot (1987), The Stuff (1985)) born

 

July - Kingdom Hospital07/15/2004
Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital ends its run on television

 

July - The Fly07/16/1958
The Fly released theatrically

 

 

July - Jaws: The Revenge07/17/1987
Jaws: The Revenge released theatrically

 

 

July - Eight Legged Freaks07/17/2002
Eight Legged Freaks released
theatrically

 

 

July - Prom Night07/18/1980
Prom Night released theatrically

 

July - Aliens

07/18/1986
Aliens released theatrically

 

July - Arachnophobia07/18/1990
Arachnophobia released theatrically

 

 

July - Hideo Nakata07/19/1961
Hideo Nakata (director of Ringu (1998), Ringu 2 (1999), and Dark Water (2002)) born

 

June - Tales from the Crypt (original)07/19/1996
Tales from the Crypt ends its run on television

 

July - The Frighteners07/19/1996
The Frighteners released theatrically

 

July - The Breed07/19/2001
The Breed released theatrically

 

July - The Conjuring07/19/1964
The Conjuring released theatrically

 

July - The Devil Rides Out07/20/1968
The Devil Rides Out released theatrically

 

July - Dracula07/20/1979
Dracula released theatrically

 

July - Castlevania Dracula X07/20/1995
Castlevania: Dracula X released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in North America

 

July - The Haunting07/20/1999
The Haunting released theatrically

 

July - Jeepers Creepers07/20/2001
Jeepers Creepers released theatrically

 

 

July - Castlevania Dracula X07/21/1972
Castlevania: Dracula X released
on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan

 

 

July 22 - 28

 

July - James Whale07/22/1889
James Whale (director of The Invisible Man (1931), Frankenstein (1931), and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)) born (d. 1957)

 

July - The Hills Have Eyes07/22/1977
The Hills Have Eyes released theatrically

July - Orca07/22/1977
Orca released theatrically

 

July - Jaws 3-D07/22/1983
Jaws 3-D released theatrically

July - The Devil's Rejects07/22/2005
Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects released theatrically

 

 

July - Castlevania Chronicles - Japan07/23/1993
Castlevania Chronicles released on the X68000 in Japan

 

 

July - Chris Sarandon07/24/1942
Chris Sarandon (actor in The Sentinel (1977), Fright Night (1985), and Bordello of Blood (1996)) born

 

 

July - Ileana Douglas07/25/1965
Illeana Douglas (actress in Cape Fear (1991) and Stir of Echoes (1999)) born

 

 

July - Michael C. Williams07/25/1973
Michael C. Williams (actor in The Blair Witch Project) born

 

July - Night of the Seagulls07/26/1976
Night of the Seagulls released theatrically

 

 

July - The Amityville Horror07/27/1979
The Amityville Horror released theatrically

 

 

July - Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan07/28/1989
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan released theatrically

 

July - Deep Blue Sea07/28/1999
Deep Blue Sea released theatrically

 

July 29 - 31

 

July - Zombi 307/29/1987
Zombi 3 released theatrically

 

July - Cherry Falls07/29/2000
Cherry Falls released theatrically

 

July - The Blair Witch Project07/30/1999
The Blair Witch Project released theatrically

 

 

July - Mario Bava07/31/1914
Mario Bava (director of Black Sunday and The Girl Who Knew Too Much) born (d. 1980)

 

July - Invisible Agent07/31/1942
Invisible Agent released theatrically

 

July - Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man07/31/1951
Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man released theatrically

 

July - The Lost Boys07/31/1987
The Lost Boys released theatrically

 

July - Buffy the Vampire Slayer07/31/1992
Buffy the Vampire Slayer released theatrically

Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments

REMAKES : The Never Ending Battle

remakes%20collage

By : John Roisland

For a few years now, more and more recently a huge topic has been a large debate amongst horror fans new and old, REMAKES! Now, I’m not hear to end any arguments, nor do I have the power to do so. But I am here to try to discuss this never ending battle between good and bad!

Such classic and iconic horror films have been remade:

Maniac, Psycho, The Omen, Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Thing, Mother’s Day, Last House On the Left, Halloween, Nightmare On Elm Street, Fright Night, Carrie, Dawn of the Dead, I Spit On Your Grave, The Hills Have Eyes, The Fly, The Town That Dreaded Sundown , My Bloody Valentine, The Fog  and the list goes on, and on and on,  not to mention foreign films that are becoming bastardized by American film makers with Old Boy, The Ring,  and coming soon Martyrs (which has been label by many as the best horror film ever!

All these films listed above, are pretty much all house hold horror names, which is  why everyone kept asking the same one worded question: WHY!?

Some argue that some remakes are better than the originals. Maybe some of them are…I personally don’t think so, although there are those that with newer technology, and possibly a larger budget, that are presented as a better film. But my issue is wheres the artistic value in remaking something that someone else has already put their name on.

Some directors  claim they love the original film and wanted to share their vision of how they saw it. Case in point is Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s classic Halloween; of which Zombie said he wouldn’t make the film without Carpenter’s blessing. Well he got it,  and the film made boo-coo bucks at the box office, and has seemingly made its own new Halloween franchise. Some it seems to jump on to a known franchise just to make a few dollars off of a sure thing. Others sadly  seem to be to afraid to show the world their own original visions of horror to the big screen, so they hide behind someone else’s work,  and do a remake.

My own personal favorite The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, done and redone…supposedly done again. I’ve actually lost track of what was called a remake, and what was called a continuation. But some I’ve enjoyed…others I was ashamed and almost embarrassed to say it was part of the franchise. But that’s only my opinion.

I can’t say I welcome a remake  with open arms, as I would much rather watch something original  but some I have enjoyed and have appreciated their views and their concepts.  A few I have thought were actually good enough to have stood as its own film, if not having been a remake. Which is a shame, because imagine what it could have been if it was an original. Others fall far from even crossing the finish line.

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A Few remakes I have enjoyed and  I have almost been ridiculed for some, such as A Nightmare On Elm Street. When the remake came out in 2010, I enjoyed a more serious approach to the film, and loved Jackie Earle Haley’s portrayal as Freddy Krueger, not saying anything bad against Robert Englund, Just thought Haley’s approach to the role was scarier and less comedic. Something I enjoyed…but again, that’s just my opinion, and I suffered greatly for it.

While with others, some have agreed with me. 2013 Evil Dead remake, while the original is a true cult classic, many have felt that the remake was an incredible horror film, one that could have been its own, and was also a huge success at the box office.

This is a discussion that will carry on for years. It’s like figuring out who has the better pizza: New York or Chicago. It will never end, and those who are putting their artistic vision in a remake… don’t. We want your original thoughts, your dreams, your NIGHTMARES!

A remake to me, is just about the money. No matter how many, and how big the names are that you get to star in them, it’s still a remake, its still someone else’s original work. It can be good or it can be bad, but  the horror community is a very close, very tight knit family and are very loyal…make a bad movie, they will respect you more, because its yours!

…But this is just one guys opinion.

Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in EDITORIALS, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: Remembering Wes Craven

TRIBUTE: Remembering Wes Craven

We Honor Genre Legend
Wes Craven

2 August 1939 - 30 August 2015

Wes Craven
When we here at House of Tortured Souls heard the tragic news about Wes Craven losing his battle with brain cancer, we were stunned and instantly saddened. It made us all realize what an indelible mark he has made in the film industry and with his fans and ourselves. And like many other sites, we decided to honor this revered master of horror and suspense and all say a little something about what the man and his films meant to us...

JOHN ROISLAND: When I was very young, I remember hearing adults talking of this horrific film called The Last House on the Left. I recall pieces of TV and newspaper ads for it and still more and more discussion about how disturbing and gross the film was, yet these ads and talks never seemed to have gone away. The funny thing was that the film came out the same year I was born, so that should give you some idea as to how long the impact of this film was. This was my first introduction to Mr. Wes Craven.

Moving forward a few years, I was in the 6th grade and had a few friends of mine staying the night. We had stayed up late watching this new horror movie on VHS called A Nightmare on Elm Street. To this day I remember how vivid my dreams were that night. This guy with knives for fingers chased me through this huge maze. This guy became one of the horror genre's most popular horror icons, as well as Wes Craven's most notorious character - Freddy Krueger.

For years to follow, Craven's films became the blood that flowed through my veins. The Hills Have Eyes, Shocker, The People Under the Stairs, and let us not forget one film that I thought was absolute genius: Scream. Who else would have used a story about horror films, to create a horror film?

Many years later, I caught up with my past and finally watched The Last House On The Left. The movie was, by this time outdated, and the special FX that one has grown to expect in movies weren't there, and ya know what? It didn't matter. The film stands on its own and is one of a kind. I can honestly say that all the things I had heard all those adult voices saying when I was just a little kid were true. Love it or hate it, it is one of the most powerful and disturbing films I have seen to this day!

I'm not going to lie and tell you the Wes Craven was/is my favorite writer/director, because he isn't. What I will say is that this master of horror deserves a huge amount of credit for his hand in shaping the horror film genre into what it is today. He was an inspiration and set filmmaking standards that will take many, many years for anyone else to match.

Thank you, Mr. Craven, for the beautiful nightmares.

 

AMY LYNES: I was in the seventh grade when I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street in the theater, and I was beyond terrified. I had truly never been that scared in my life. There were parts of the film where I couldn't even breathe, and I think I jumped out of my seat at least five times. And the terror didn't end when the credits rolled either. I was unable to sleep right for WEEKS. All these years later, I can honestly say that I have never had a film scare me the way ANOES did. The only other horror film that came even remotely close was also one of his films - Scream.

At the time, I had no idea that the director for ANOES and one of my childhood favorites, Swamp Thing, were one and the same. Swamp Thing showed me that appearances aren't everything, and it made me the type of kid who always rooted for the underdog and stick up for the kids who were bullied. That is something that has stuck with me my entire life, and it's huge part with who I am today.

While Scream isn't one of my favorite films, it did genuinely scare me the first time I saw it. It was the kind of thing every girl who has ever been home alone or has been a babysitter in someone else's home fears. Not since ANOES had a film given me nightmares and Scream did just that.

In the late 80s/early 90s, horror got boring for me. Everything seemed to lack originality or a formula that worked, and everything seemed SO predictable. Sadly, I kinda gave up on the genre for a while. Then in '94, Wes Craven gave us New Nightmare and he gave Freddy back to the fans. He got rid of all the cheesy lines and he made Freddy scary again. He instantly reignited my love of horror with one film.

Wes Craven seemed to have a way of honing in on what scared me the most, and his films have had a huge impact on me becoming the horror fan that I am today. His passing was truly a loss to the horror community and its fans. He will be missed - by myself and countless others - for decades to come.

RIP Mr. Craven. You will live on through your countless masterpieces and in the hearts of your fans. Thank you for all the screams.

 

STEPHANIE ROISLAND: I was very young the first time I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street. My family was not into horror at all with the exception of my older brother. I always knew I was different. I wasn't afraid of Freddy, he made me giggle. I was scared of the The Wizard of Oz, but The Hills Have Eyes intrigued me.

Wes Craven helped open my eyes to a world where everything twisted was acceptable and nightmares can be made into a reality on film. I loved the independent thoughts and freedom of his writing and movies. He, along with a handful of other directors/writers, gave me insight into a world where I fit in.

When I heard of Mr. Craven's passing this is what I blogged and it is still how I feel: "The goal of life is not to live forever, but to create something that will". And he accomplished just that. He will be immortal, not in the flesh but in his works. He has created a legacy that will live on and on with each generation. We will show our grandchildren his cult classics just as we did our children and show them how true horror really should be.

Rest In Peace, my friend, and here is to the immorality of Gods and Monsters.

 

DIXIELORD: Like so many horror fans, I first discovered Wes Craven with A Nightmare on Elm Street. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Freddy Krueger was no hulking, silent stalker, no shambling zombie, and no Gothic Victorian creature of the night. Freddy was something entirely new, a laughing, wise cracking demon from hell, and he was always waiting in your dreams. With him, Wes Craven had made my nightmares something to really fear. Those harmless nightmares might not really be so harmless. Over the years, Freddy became a pop culture icon as the films got more campy, and people knew that Freddy was really Robert Englund. Then, when Freddy was posing with babies, and riding on parade floats, Wes took him back, and made him scary again. In New Nightmare, Wes Craven crashed through the fourth wall at full speed, making Freddy more real and more terrifying than ever.

Thank you, Wes, for making my youth more fun and more exciting. Thank you for giving me nightmares and for inspiring my imagination, while reminding me it's all just a nightmare, and I can always wake up.

 

NICK DURHAM: Other than maybe John Carpenter, no other horror maestro's films have had the effect on me the way Wes Craven's had. Granted my feelings on The Last House on the Left are one thing, but that has its place in history and it set the stage for the greatness that would come. There was a time when nearly everything Craven touched turned to gold. Well...almost everything. Despite that though, a majority of his films have had quite an impact on me personally.

The Hills Have Eyes and, of course, the original A Nightmare on Elm Street are two of my all time favorite horror films in the history of ever. Not to mention the fact that he somehow managed to reinvigorate life into Freddy with New Nightmare and an extremely original and interesting premise that no other slasher franchise would dare take on. As much as I love John Carpenter to death, he's never gone down that road. That, in itself, really made me believe that anything could be possible in the horror genre besides the typical and tired tropes we see again and again.

Wes Craven breathed life and fresh air into so many different elements of the horror genre with his films. Granted his later work didn't do a whole lot to twist my knickers, but there's no denying the effect a majority of his work has had on me personally and how I view the horror genre in general. There's damn few other people in the genre that spoke to me like Wes Craven did, and all of us are worse off without his presence.

 

KIM RICKETTS: Early on in my journey into horror I was introduced to A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was young, probably first grade or so, and I remember sitting near my mom watching that gloved hand breach the water and get closer and closer to a dozing Nancy. I was terrified and captivated at the same time. I so badly wanted to look away but I couldn't. I was hooked.

The actual killings didn't scare me half as much as the psychological scares that Wes Craven put into his work. My whole life I've never been so much afraid of what I could see but what was lurking out there unseen and ready to get you at your most vulnerable time. The fact that you were less safe sound asleep and dreaming than when you were wide awake was a complete mind screw. I came to love the campy wit and pure genius that was Freddy Krueger. He became one of the bad guys that I wanted to win over and over.

The concept of New Nightmare was brilliant to me. To take Freddy from the screen and bring him into "real life" was frightening. Having Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund as themselves rather than Nancy and Freddy and then interact with a much darker, scarier Freddy made it seem like it really could happen.

With the Scream series, Craven hooked me again. I was in high school when the first film came out. I could relate. Sidney and her friends weren't all that different from my friends and me. We felt invincible and didn't follow rules for nothing. The fact that these kids were following horror movie rules that were basically every typical horror cliché was genius. This could happen in my town, and to my friends and me, and that just wasn't cool. We were indestructible, after all, and too young to die. It made it even scarier.

And that's what Wes Craven did so well. He scared you with what was in your mind. Whether it was Scream or The Last House on the Left, it could happen.

His scares will transcend time and his works will continue to frighten people for generations.

 

Dyametric 13: Wes Craven will be missed so much, by me and many others. As a director he wowed me. The second horror film I saw was A Nightmare on Elm Street. This film sparked something big in my heart for horror. It kept me wanting more. The first horror film I ended up seeing in the theater was Freddy's Dead. I actually talked my mother into buying tickets for me and a friend, and it was amazing.

The People Under the Stairs was another big film for me. I can't even tell you how many times I've watched it. "Fool" was a true hero in this film and the way he got the name, always makes me smile. The reason is a past story of my own.

A little known movie by the name The Fear (1995) was a film Wes didn't direct, but acted in. My name (Dyametric 13) comes from that film. I already knew what diametric meant, but watching this film made me love the word more. Dyametric 13 (with a slight spelling change) just stuck with me from that point on.

Even the Scream franchise has had some impact on me as a horror fan. It's not one of my favorites, but every now and then, I will still give it a watch.

The Serpent and the Rainbow truly terrified me. This film still gives me chills. I imagine waking up in a coffin, buried alive, now a living zombie, and it freaks me out. Knowing that this kind of stuff happens in real life? It makes the whole film just a bit more terrifying.

In my eyes, this man will never truly die. He has earned his place in horror history, and he is a true legend.

R.I.P. Wes Craven, you will be missed.

 

MACHETE VON KILL: I thought it would be easy to sit down and write about what Wes Craven and his movies meant to me. I thought it would be easy to put his impact on my life into words. I was wrong on both accounts, but I’m trying…

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the name Wes Craven is Freddy Krueger! I was 10 years old and at a slumber party the first time I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddy scared the shit out of me! I had nightmares for weeks! I had a rounded plastic bird cage in my bedroom window, and at night it cast a shadow on my ceiling. That shadow looked just like Freddy’s famous fedora. I was positive that Freddy was going to come out of that shadow and get me in my sleep! I don’t scare easily (other than a few embarrassing phobias). I never have. Freddy got me good and, in the long run, I liked it.

Over the years I've watched many of Craven’s films. The Serpent and The Rainbow, The People Under the Stairs, and the original The Hills Have Eyes are among my favorites.

I have to admit, by the mid 1990s I was bored with the horror genre. I didn’t have access to much in my small town, and what I did have access to was mostly CRAP. It was played out, lame, and had no story. I gave up on my beloved genre until Craven gave us the gift of Scream. That movie brought me back to the genre. Wes was able to remind me why I fell in love with horror movies in the first place. He brought back masterful storytelling, enhanced with gore, rather than gore just for the sake of gore. It was a love letter to the fans, and for that I can never thank him enough.

 

WOOFER McWOOFERSON: When I started this piece, I thought I would talk about the two Wes Craven movies that I like most. The more I think about it, though, the harder that has been. His impact on the horror industry is undeniable, so I decided the best course was to discuss 10 things Wes Craven taught us.

1) The Last House on the Left (1972) taught us that revenge isn't always a dish best served cold.

2) The Hills Have Eyes (1977) taught us that being on guard is never overrated.

3) Swamp Thing (1982) taught us that even plant monster men can love.

4) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) taught us that sleep really can be a bad thing.

5) Invitation to Hell (1984) taught us that Susan Lucci plays evil like nobody else.

6) Deadly Friend (1986) taught us to fear basketballs.

7) The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) taught us that Bill Pullman was more than a one trick pony.

8) Shocker (1989) taught us that the electric chair is not our friend.

9) The People Under the Stairs (1991) taught us that a lovely exterior can hide a hideous interior.

10) Scream (1996) taught us that there are rules to horror, and if you want to survive, you'd better know those rules and follow them.

Thank you, Mr. Craven. RIP.

 

KEV B.: We recently lost one of the brightest and most original minds in horror… Wes Craven who (among his other accomplishments) gave us Freddy Krueger and Ghostface. This is my posthumous praise for Mr Craven and his legacy. I was born in 1971 and raised in what I consider the greatest era of the horror genre. A time (in my opinion) of unparalleled awesomeness and the best time to be a young horror fan.

When I was about 12 years old my mom and I went to see A Nightmare on Elm Street on opening day, and I would venture to say it changed modern horror movies forever. I remember vividly, after the credits rolled, a man running out of the theater and projectile vomiting as Mom and I laughed.

It was unlike any other slasher of its time and gave us a new horror icon for the 80s... Freddy Krueger. Armed with a glove of knives for fingers and a killer wit, he slashed his way into our dreams and our hearts and established Wes Craven as a formidable force in the genre. After a few sequels, Freddy’s one liners became increasingly corny and he lost his initial menace, but the original is a true horror classic.

In the years to follow, Craven released The Serpent and the Rainbow and The People Under the Stairs, both of which are among my all time favorite movies and a departure from traditional horror. The Scream franchise was his big return to form, and he created a new icon for a new generation. Ghostface was a new kind of slasher with a whole new take on an old theme.

Wes Craven changed horror in my eyes, and with his passing horror will never quite be the same... Mr. Craven, you will be missed.

Wes Craven

Gone but never forgotten.

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