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Horror and the Oscars

Horror and the Oscars

Horror and the Oscars?

The history of genre cinema (horror, fantasy, science fiction) and the Oscars have been a spotty one at best. For example, in 1931 Fredric March took home the golden statue for his masterful duel role in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (and my personal favorite adaptation). It wouldn’t be until Anthony Hopkins portrayed the cannibal Hannibal in 1991’s Silence of the Lambs that another actor would win for a horror movie in that category. The Oscars have always looked down on genre films, most specifically horror and science fiction, with most of the awards going to dramas or indie darlings. However, it seems of late that maybe this is a trend that is slowly changing and voting members are finally taking the horror genre seriously. It’s not totally unheard of for the genre to get some love though. On the technical side, films like for example Alien and Aliens won both Oscars for visual effects. The Fly, An American Werewolf in London, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula and won Best Makeup (just to name a few). In addition, Sleepy Hollow won for Best Art Direction, and Ruth Gordon and Kathy Bates won Best Actress awards.

Daniel Kaluuya in Jordan Peele’s Get Out

he Shape of Water poster

Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water

However, when you realize The Exorcist never won Best Picture but did win for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. Get Out the psychological satire horror film kicked down some doors not only in its frank and sobering commentary on race relations but proves that a genre film can be smart, meaningful, and scary as hell. The 90th Oscars were very genre forward in many ways. Guillermo Del Toro mentioned The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Julie Adams, and on the red carpet, clips from various horror films were shown in a montage including most surprisingly a chainsaw swinging Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And of course, the break out horror hit Get Out from Blumhouse won for Best Screenplay. In addition, trailblazing filmmaker George A. Romero was paid tribute at the Oscars in Memoriam, though sadly Tobe Hooper was left off for some baffling reason. It’s no shock that a lot of people in the horror community don’t like the Oscars, and I totally get that. When I look back at the countless great horror films to get snubbed, it’s hard not to be bitter. But this year proved that a perhaps a new attitude is emerging within the Academy, after all, this year also saw a greatly diverse group of nominees and winners. Sure we are unlikely to see a Halloween film win any golden statues, but I really feel like Get Out and The Shape of Water are great starts in showcasing the importance of genre cinema.

Mad Monster welcomes George Romero

George Romero




Posted by Mike Vaughn in EVENT REVIEWS, HORROR NEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Original Pennywise Designer Bart Mixon

INTERVIEW: Original Pennywise Designer Bart Mixon

You may not know his name, but if you are a horror fan, you’ve seen his work. Bart Mixon is best known for creating the now iconic makeup for Tim Curry’s dancing clown Pennywise. Among the other movies to his credit are RoboCop, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Rings, and the Netflix film Bright. Bart, along with Heather A. Wixson, Steve Johnson, Michele Burke, Gabe Bartalos, Tom Woodruff, Jr., Jennifer Aspinall, John Goodwin, and Rick Lazzarini, will be doing a book signing at Dark Delicacies this Saturday, and I was granted an exclusive interview with Bart Mixon about his epic career.
House of Tortured Souls: I read in an interview that the hardest part of the job is just getting it. With your amazing resume, does the work ever just come to you now?
Bart Mixon: When I did that interview, I owned my own shop so I was trying to bid on shows, and I think that was more in reference to that. Lately (in the past twenty years), I have been doing mainly set with application work for other guys, such as Rick Baker on The Grinch, Planet of the Apes (2001), and Men In Black 2 and 3, so I’m not key in the show as much anymore. But yeah, I get work from a lot of my friends these days. Like I was just doing Bright a year ago, but it just came out, and I got that job from a friend Chris Nelson whom I’ve known for twenty years. When he got that show, he was like, “Hey, wanna help me apply it?” So it does seem like a lot of it these days is more either contacts I’ve made or I guess I have enough of a reputation that the work comes to me. It’s not to say if something cool is going on that I won’t make a few phone calls or make a few suggestions, but yeah, it doesn’t seem like I have to beat the doors down like in the 80s or 90s.
HoTS: How much interaction with the directors do you have? For example, you just did Guardians of the Galaxy II by former Troma alumni James Gunn. I could see him being a fan of your past work.
BM: Actually I didn’t have much contact with him. Depending on the show I’m working on, for example on Men in Black 3, I was doing the main villain Boris for Rick Baker, so I was with Rick and Barry Sonnenfeld and others. But a show like Guardians, I was on it for about 12 weeks or so but pretty much I was just doing midground and background characters, so I really didn’t have a chance to interact with Gunn that much. I mean, Legacy was in charge of the prosthetics for part two, and they put the teams together for who was doing the Nebula or Drax. By the time I got on set, I was just doing mid ground characters. But no, I didn’t have much contact with Gunn. However, in that same vein, when the new IT came out, Chris Nelson (who I did Bright with) was doing a virtual reality promotional film for the film (IT), and he (Nelson) asked me to apply the Pennywise makeup. Then, when the director heard that one of us had done the original Pennywise, he was very interested in talking with me. He was a fan of the original and was like, ‘Oh cool you worked on the first one’, so I showed him my notebook with all my Pennywise photos – that sort of thing. So in that instant, he was a fan and that was flattering.
HoTS: Your first big project was A Nightmare on Elm Street 2. Where you did the Freddy coming out of Jesse’s body? Do you recall how long that sequence took to pull off?
BM: I think we had about 11 weeks from start to finish – when we did our first meetings and storyboards and what not to when we shot. Most of our effects were shot were on the last two days of filming the movie because it was all the Freddy bursting out of Jesse, and we had so much to build that we basically told him that it had to be the last stuff they shot because we needed every day that we could get. I recall staying up 40 hours straight getting everything ready for the first day of that two-day shoot.

HoTS: Did you work on anything else or just that scene?
BM: We also did the mechanical tongue that Jesse has when he’s making out with his girlfriend, so things like that we did earlier in the shoot, and there might have been one or two other little things that worked prior to that transformation, but 99% of what we built was that sequence.
HoTS: You’ve worked on bigger budget films and lower ones. Would you say having a bigger budget is easier or do you have more freedom in the small production?
BM: Defiantly on a small shows either time or money can certainly be more of an issue, but I guess you have to be a little more creative, like when I was doing stuff in Texas before I moved to LA, I might have known the right way to do something, but I maybe couldn’t either find the material or have the money to do it that way, so I would have to come up with an alternatives. I guess it forces you to be more inventive and resourceful, but sometimes too if they don’t have the time or money to do it, then it doesn’t get done at all and that can be frustrating. I think I’ve become a little spoiled working on the number of Rick Baker shows that I did because he always saw to getting things scheduled and having the time and budget to get do the project right. And, of course, after you get used to doing things the correct way and you get thrown into other situations where you don’t have that luxury, it can be frustrating. For example, the prosthetics that came out of Rick’s shop or other shops, like Vincent Van Dyke, they make beautiful prosthetics, and when you are on set applying their stuff, 99% of the time it’s going to be a nice piece, whereas, and I can’t name any names (laugh), but some other shows things might not be good such as the edges might not be what they should be or whatever and your kind of like, ‘Why is this made this way?’ And that can be frustrating – like being handed a pile of ‘whatever’ and trying to make it work. Like I said, I don’t want to name any names because a lot of these guys I’ve worked with are my friends and whatnot. But sometimes that’s due to budget and sometimes it’s just how things are designed, and you don’t always have input on how things go together. That was one of the nice things on Bright. You’ve seen Bright?

Bright (2017)

HoTS: Yeah. I really liked it.
BM: Oh good, I did too. Well, the initial test that they did on that, everybody wants to do everything in silicone these days. That’s just like the go-to material. But it would have been very impractical to do that movie with silicone, and when Chris did the first test, he made the prosthetics out of silicone and quickly realized that this was going to be more of a headache. Then whatever advantage you might have been getting from silicone, which I don’t know if there really was any. So after that first test, they decided that foam latex would be the better way to go, so thankfully the shop listened and that’s what we did. So when you get into a show early enough and where you can have input on the ways things should be executed, that’s always preferable. Again, some shows will afford you that luxury and other shows don’t, quite frankly. So, like on Bright, there was enough time to retool their thinking to go to foam latex and, again, when we did a couple of tests, for example, the way we were doing ears on Joel [Edgerton], we changed those after the second test just to make them more user friendly. They were very concerned about not getting the makeup applied in a certain amount of time, so we came up with suggests which would expedite it whereas the makeup might not have been originally designed that way. So some shows you know you have the schedule and budget to try things and rethink things and other shows you don’t.
But in general, yeah, it’s great to have a budget. Another example: I had the job of (the character) Vision on the new Avengers movie, and we had the time and the budget to rework the cowl that Paul Bettany wears because there were some comfort issues on Civil War that we were able to address in this new Avengers movie. But, then again, some of the most fun I’ve had, like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, were smaller budgets – especially compared to things I’ve worked since then (laughs). Or the Rob Zombie movies with Wayne Toth. I had a pretty good time because I was working with friends.
HoTS: Speaking of iconic 80s films, you worked on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. How did you get hired for that job?
BM: I was part of Tom Savini’s crew and I was living in Houston at the time. I had been corresponding with Savini since before Creepshow, so I was trying to get on the show but wasn’t having much luck. But my brother was living in California at the time and knew some of the people on Tom’s crew, and they’d already been in Austin for a week or two setting up, and I believe it was John Vulich who suggested that, “Tom isn’t going to hire you over the phone, but if you go to Austin and have a meeting with him, he’ll hire you”.
HoTS: What specifically did you do for that job?
BM: By the time I came on, which was a week or two into it, the main characters like Chop Top had already been doled out to various artists, so I was doing lab work. I ran a lot of foam latex, made some molds. In the film, somebody gets their hand cut off. We did a prosthetic on an amputee, and we sculpted the pieces for that. The guy had recently lost his hand, so when John Vulich applied the severed stump to him, the guy freaked out and literally ran away so we weren’t able to shoot him for the movie. I also helped Shawn McEnroe  apply makeup to Chop Top, and I also did a lot of set work. Probably the most visible thing I did in the movie was on Leatherface, doing work above his eyes and mouth before we put the mask on him. I was mainly watching set, so I would do the day to day makeup like the sores on his lips. That was like an out of the kit makeup, this material which is like a scar plastic you can build up wounds and stuff.

Tobe Hooper on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

HoTS: This was the first and, I believe, only time you worked with Tobe Hooper. Any special memories of working with him?
BM: I remember he said I looked like Stephen King. I thought that was cute (laugh), and at the time, just the length of his hair and goatee, I thought he looked like Rick Baker. So we were like, “Hey, you look like Stephen King” and “Oh, you look like Rick Baker”. I remember I was removing the Chop Top makeup once, and I was working a brush under the prosthetic to loosen it, and Tobe was there, I guess talking to [Bill] Moseley and watching what I was doing. And I remember poking the brush through the prosthetic and it looked like it punched through the skin, and Tobe was kind of grossed out by that. I was like, “Really? Out of all the stuff we are doing in this movie (laugh), this seems odd that this would affect you.” I also remember there was this one shot where we were doing a scene where the girl (Caroline Williams) was tied to a chair at the end of the table and her makeup artist was coming in and giving her water in between takes because she was screaming so much. She left a cup of water on the table for one of the takes, and Tobe was really pissed off, understandably, about that. I remember him telling the script supervisor, “Make a note to the editor that his preferred take was the one with the cup in it” just to emphasize how displeased he was with it left in. I try to remember anything else, nothing more specific. I remember Dennis Hopper had a birthday on the set, and the little cake and a mini chainsaw that he was cutting the cake with was spitting oil all over the place, and nobody wanted to eat the cake because it had oil all over it. I think Dennis Hopper might have been a little high once and awhile. I remember the makeup girl trying to do his makeup, and she comes at him with the sponge and he flinches like kind of recoils, and he said “What are you doing?” and she was like “I’m doing your makeup”. He was like, “Oh, okay” and settles down. And she goes to do it again, and he flinches and again said, “What are ya doing?” and again she says, “I’m doing your makeup” (laughs), and he’s like, “Ohh, okay”, and this must have gone on for 15 minutes. (Laughs) I was thinking, ‘Yeah Dennis might be smoking something before he came to the trailer’ that day. But yeah, Tobe was a cool guy and seemed to know what he wanted. I was impressed with him and how he handled the set and whatnot, so it was defiantly a good experience.
HoTS: Now the thing you probably get asked about the most is designing Pennywise for the 90s miniseries. I read you started designs before Curry was cast?
BM: Yeah as much as I could. I mean, once I read the script, I started just kind of doing some doodles and some rough conceptual stuff. I know there are some pictures that showed up online of some of my early sketches. But I quickly found that without having the actor’s face that you are working on, it was kind of pointless at least in terms of specifics. I think I might have gotten some board strokes before Tim was cast, but a lot of that, especially a makeup like that, much is dictated by the actor’s face. So you can sit there and draw for weeks, but once you get your actor, you’d be like, “Okay, this isn’t going to work on him”. Again, I did a few just board strokes, concept type things, but luckily they cast Tim fairly early on, and I was able to focus my attention on making it work which is the features.
HoTS: And Curry wasn’t the first choice if I am remembering that correctly?
BM: Tommy doesn’t remember this, but maybe he wasn’t yet on board, but originally this was going to be a three-part six-hour miniseries, and at that time, I remember going [to] Fantasy 2 and asking who was going to be Pennywise. I remember at the time saying it was either going to be Tim Curry, Malcolm McDowell, or Roddy McDowall being considered. Tommy has since said in interviews he doesn’t recall that, but again it might have happened before he got on board. But certainly, I never did any design work for anybody but Tim Curry.

Bart Mixon concept art for Pennywise in 1990 IT miniseries

HoTS: Curry was not a big fan of prosthetics from what I read?
BM: He previously did the character Darkness (for Legend) and wore more prosthetics. I guess, yeah, he probably wanted to keep it as simple and as little as possible. I know at one point he was saying that he wouldn’t mind just having a rubber bald cap instead of the foam latex cranium that I had for him. I guess his whole concept of Pennywise was a little different than mine. For example, he was okay with the edges showing on the bald cap, like he was a guy wearing a clown makeup. But for me it was never a guy wearing a makeup; it was an illusion this creature was projecting, so it didn’t make sense to me to include flaws like that. The makeup that we used in the movie had a headpiece and a nose, and then, in additional tests there were cheekbones also. We tested both of those, and I could tell that Tim wasn’t too thrilled about wearing the cheeks, and again in hindsight I think it was the right decision, but I thought he looked good with them in the test. At the time, I sculpted the battery acid, he was going to be wearing those, but once we tested, we decided not to use them. And we didn’t have time to re-sculpt the makeup, and, for a while, they weren’t going to use it anyways. So yeah, he wanted to wear as little as possible. We had to have the headpiece on him, and plus I wanted the light bulb head, and Tommy Wallace wanted that, too. So we needed to build up his head a little bit. Also, to his credit, the whole battery acid look… we almost didn’t shoot that. When we did principal photography, we didn’t have time to put it on him, so we shot the scene without it and used the regular Pennywise look, and then Tim expressed some disappointment and said, “Well, you did this beautiful prosthetic. It’s a shame we aren’t going to be able to use it”, so they scheduled a day of additional photography at Fantasy II and Tim said if we could get it all in one day, that he would wear the battery acid look so we could do the inserts for that sequence. So it wasn’t that he was totally flat against prosthetics, otherwise he wouldn’t have volunteered to wear that, and the only reason that’s in the movie is because he graciously offered to wear it for that day. And I am forever grateful to him for that and, of course, that is a very memorable piece in the movie. Its almost as iconic as Pennywise himself, and that came very close to not being in the movie. Tim was a great guy, and I cannot say enough nice things about him. I’m glad they choose him.

Tim Curry as Pennywise in IT 1990 miniseries

HoTS: Had Curry not minded a lot of prosthetics, would you have gone another direction in the look?
BM: I did three designs, or what we call clay sketches, once we had Tim cast. Then we did a head cast of him, and I did three different designs. One was very heavy and almost covered his whole face. It was almost like one of those tramp or hobo clowns with the sculpted frown, and it had a lot more character in the face. The second was the one that we went with, and the third was somewhere in between, and just in conversations with the director, we choose the one we went with. Of the three looks, that’s the one that was picked, but it was originally supposed to have cheekbones to the chin. It was like a stylized Lon Chaney from The Phantom of the Opera, which is what I was going for. So had Tim been more open, we would have gone with the cheek and the chin, but we already eliminated the heavier makeup in the design process.

 

HoTS: King, I heard, wasn’t on set.
BM: I don’t know why he wasn’t on set. I’m not sure if nobody invited him or he didn’t want to go. And I know he was around The Stand and some of these other miniseries of some of his books, so I’m not really sure why he didn’t show up on ours. Maybe he was busy at that time. I don’t know.
HoTS: Did you meet him prior to IT?
BM: I never met him.
HoTS: So, I am dying to know what you thought of the new IT and the design of Pennywise.
BM: It was cool. I’m certainly fond of mine, but I thought they did a nice job. I did get to apply that one day for the promotional thing, and there were certainly some similarities to my makeup which probably couldn’t be avoided [with] it being a clown, but I thought it was different enough. I don’t envy [Bill] Skarsgård just having to follow Tim Curry. That must be a pretty daunting task for him, but yeah, I thought it was interesting as a makeup. I’m glad they did their own take on it, that they didn’t just copy mine even though I have friends that thought they copied it a little too much. I guess it has the bulbous head like mine, but that’s where the similarities end. Just as a movie, I thought they did a pretty good job. Mine was a TV movie from 1990; theirs is an R-rated feature in 2017, so obviously they can do stuff we weren’t allowed to do. For what I did, I think it was about three hours and five minutes long. By the time they do part two, it will probably come into about four and a half hours to cover the same territory, so I am kind of envious that they got another hour and a half to tell the same story and they are not restricted by the 1990 TV censorship as I was. But I’m really looking forward to part two. I got a lot of crap on mine for the spider at the end of ours, so I’m kind of curious to see what they do or if they are even going to do a spider, or if they are gonna chicken out and not do it at all. (Laughs) I have a feeling with all the references to the turtle in the first one, we are going to see the spider and turtle fight. That was in the book. So I wish them luck with that, but yeah, I’m looking forward to the second one. Actually, after the director met Chris and I, he said, “Oh maybe we should get you to do part two”, and I was like, “Hey you know where to find us”. So [we] will see, but I thought they did a good job. Some of the visuals in there I thought were really cool, like the scene with Georgie in the flooded basement and he’s standing in like ankle deep water and Pennywise comes up out of the water, which I thought made a nice supernatural element since obviously the water wasn’t deep enough for him to be completely submerged and yet he was. Or like when he was working Georgie like a hand puppet or when he ripped Georgie’s arm off – which is a scene we could only hint at. In our version, he is missing an arm but you can’t really tell.
HoTS: You’re doing a book signing at Dark Delicacies on Jan 13, 2018. The book is entitled Monster Squad about the art of monster makeup. Is this going to be a reunion for you with the other guests?
BM: Well, it depends. I’d have to look at the list to see who’s on there. Like I think Tom and Alex from ADI are going to be there, and I just saw them recently at Creature Features for a promotional thing. But most of these guys I’m certainly casual friends with but, unfortunately, with everybody’s schedule, we probably don’t see each other as much as we would like to. Certainly, there are some people that I’ve seen more recently than others.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

You can meet Mr. Bart Mixon at the Dark Delicacies book signing Jan 13, 2018.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, 0 comments
In Remembrance:  Tobe Hooper

In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper didn’t just change the face of horror, I credit (or blame, depending on who you talk to) him with changing the direction of my life. I don’t say that lightly. Not many movies or directors have impacted me as much as his films.
I grew up during the video rental craze of the 80s. I also grew up in a house where horror wasn’t a popular genre. So anytime we went to the local video rental place, I would always browse the horror section looking at all the boxes of all the movies that I would rent if only my mom would let me.
Not too many of those boxes stood out or left a lasting impression on me. Except two. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the first of those two. It was like the Holy Grail of horror movies in my opinion. Even when my parents started letting me rent scary movies, they always told me “No” when it came to that one. I still remember the first time I got the okay to rent The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was a defining moment in my young, impressionable life. It also changed my life forever.
Up until that point I had not seen a lot of horror, and a lot of what I had seen was pretty straightforward stuff. Universal classics, 70s Hammer horror, and Roger Corman cheapies. I had no idea what I was getting into when I popped in the video tape after everyone else in the house had gone to bed.
This was the first movie that caught me by surprise. It blew me away. I had never seen anything like that before. The brutality and the stark tone set it apart from anything I had ever seen before. I remember rewinding and re-watching scenes over and over. For a movie with very little blood, it came across as one of the most gut-wrenching watches I had seen up until then.
That was the moment I knew that I wasn’t going to just be a fan of horror. I was going to be one of those “horror people”.
After that, I knew I had to seek out the other works of Mr. Hooper. I watched every single one I could find. Poltergeist and Salem’s Lot both left lasting impressions on me. The Fun House and Lifeforce were enjoyable and interesting. But nothing seemed to grab my attention with the same force as the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
It’s a fair bet that no movie will ever have the same impact on me as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And as much as I wanted to discuss how much I loved Poltergeist and The Apartment Complex, I really don’t think anything I could say will compare to how I feel about that one film.
Although I never met the man, I feel as though his contribution to entertainment helped shape who I am. His legend and legacy will live on in all of the filmmakers that continue to be inspired by his work.
Posted by Richard Francis in EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, 0 comments
In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper: Gone But Not Forgotten

It is with heavy heart that we report the passing of the ever so great Tobe Hooper - the man who brought us many, MANY great horror flicks, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Poltergeist, The Fun House, Lifeforce, Salem's Lot, and Toolbox Murders - among others. His legacy of horror films are what spawned fear and intrigue on several levels for all of us here at House of Tortured Souls. We will be paying tribute to him, so stay tuned to find out how his work has influenced our work and our lives.
Here's a list of his directorial credits alone:

  • Djinn (2013)
  • Destiny Express Redux (2009)
  • Masters of Horror (TV Series) – “The Damned Thing” (2006)
  • Masters of Horror (TV Series) – “Dance of the Dead” (2005)
  • Mortuary (2005)
  • Toolbox Murders (2004)
  • Taken (TV Mini-Series) (1 episode) – “Beyond the Sky” (2002)
  • Night Visions (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Cargo” (2002)
  • Night Visions (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “The Maze” (2002)
  • Crocodile (Video) (2000)
  • The Others (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Souls on Board” (2000)
  • Dark Skies (TV Series) (1 episode) – “The Awakening” (1996)
  • Nowhere Man (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Turnabout” (1995)
  • Nowhere Man (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Absolute Zero” (1995)
  • The Apartment Complex (TV Movie) (1999)
  • Prey (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Hungry for Survival”: Unaired Pilot (1998)
  • Perversions of Science (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Panic” (1997)
  • The Mangler (1995)
  • Body Bags (TV Movie) (segment “Eye”) (1993)
  • Night Terrors (1993)
  • Tales from the Crypt (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Dead Wait” (1991)
  • Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories (TV Mini-Series documentary) (1 episode) – “Ghosts R Us/Legend of Kate Morgan/School Spirit” (1991)
  • I’m Dangerous Tonight (TV Movie) (1990)
  • Spontaneous Combustion (1990)
  • Freddy’s Nightmares (TV Series) (1 episode) – “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1988)
  • The Equalizer (TV Series) (1 episode) – “No Place Like Home” (1988)
  • Amazing Stories (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Miss Stardust” (1987)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
  • Invaders from Mars (1986)
  • Lifeforce (1985)
  • Billy Idol: Dancing with Myself (Video short) (1983)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • The Fun House (1981)
  • Salem’s Lot (TV Movie) (1979)
  • The Dark (replaced by John Cardos, uncredited) (1979)
  • Eaten Alive (1976)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • Eggshells (1969)
  • The Heisters (Short) (1964)

Now, pop in a classic, grab your favorite snack, and celebrate the scares that he gave us.

Poster Gallery of Some of Tobe Hooper's Films

Click for larger image.

Posted by Schock in TRIBUTE, 0 comments
History of Horror in January

History of Horror in January


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

January 1 - 7


1/1/1940 – Frank Langella (actor in Dracula (1979) and The Ninth Gate) born

19400101_Frank_Langella_Deauville_2012 / Image: Georges Biard



Cuba Gooding Jr. / Image: WireImage.com


1/2/1968 – Cuba Gooding Jr (actor in American Horror Story) born



1/2/2004 – Tremors 4: The Legend Begins released on DVD

20040102_tremors-4-the-legend-begins / Fair use doctrine.



19590105_Clancy Brown / Image: Frazer Harrison - © 2011 Getty Images

1/5/1959 – Clancy Brown (actor in many horror films) born



1/6/2006 – Hostel released theatrically

20060106_Hostel / Fair use doctrine.



20060106_BloodRayne / Fair use doctrine.

1/6/2006 – BloodRayne released theatrically



1/7/2005 – White Noise released theatrically

20050107_White Noise / Fair use doctrine.

January 8 - 14


19470108_David Bowie / Fair use doctrine.

1/8/1947 – David Bowie (actor in Labyrinth, The Hunger, and other horror movies) born



1/8/1988 – Return of the Living Dead Part II released on VHS

19880108_Return of the Living Dead Part II / Fair use doctrine.



20050111_Resident Evil 4 / Fair use doctrine.

1/11/2005 – Resident Evil 4 released for the Nintendo GameCube in North America



1/12/1940 – The Invisible Man Returns released theatrically

19400112_The Invisible Man Returns / Fair use doctrine.



19650112_Rob_Zombie_Comiccon / Image: Lindsey8417

1/12/1965 – Rob Zombie (musician, singer, artist, director of House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and Halloween (2007)) born



1/12/1990 – Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III released theatrically

19900112_leatherface_texas_chainsaw_massacre_3 / Fair use doctrine.



19390113_Son of Frankenstein / Fair use doctrine.

1/13/1939 – Son of Frankenstein released theatrically



1/13/1974 – The Satanic Rites of Dracula released theatrically

19740113_ Satanic Rites of Dracula / Fair use doctrine.



19950113_demon-knight-title / Fair use doctrine.

1/13/1995 – Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight released theatrically



1/14/1981 – Scanners released theatrically

19810114_Scanners / Fair use doctrine.

January 15 - 21


19150115_Der Golem / Fair use doctrine.

1/15/1915 – Der Golem released theatrically



1/16/1948 – John Carpenter (director, screenwriter, producer, and composer of scores for many horror films) born

19480116_John Carpenter 2010-Nathan Hartley Maas / Image: Nathan Hartley Maas



19650116_the-outer-limits / Fair use doctrine.

1/16/1965 – The Outer Limits ends its run on television



1/17/1962 – Denis O’Hare (actor in American Horror Story) born

19620117_Denis O'Hare / Image: Alexander Berg - © 2006



20020118_Long-Time-Dead-Poster / Fair use doctrine.

1/18/2002 – Long Time Dead released theatrically in the United Kingdom



1/19/1809 – Edgar Allan Poe born (d. 1849)

18090119_Edgar_Allan_Poe;_a_centenary_tribute / Fair use doctrine.



19900119_tremors / Fair use doctrine.

1/19/1990 – Tremors released theatrically



1/19/1996 – From Dusk Till Dawn released theatrically

19960119_From Dusk Till Dawn / Fair use doctrine.



20020119_Dark Water (Japan) / Fair use doctrine.

1/19/2002 – Dark Water (2002) released theatrically in Japan



1/20/1970 – Skeet Ulrich (actor in Scream) born

19700120_Skeet_Ulrich_2010 / Image: Thomas Attila Lewis



19870120_Evan Peters / Image: Allen Berezovsky - © 2012 Getty Images

1/20/1987 – Evan Peters (actor in American Horror Story) born



1/20/2006 – Underworld: Evolution released theatrically

20060120_Underworld-Evolution-2006 / Fair use doctrine.



19560121_Geena Davis / Image: Steven D Starr - © gettyimages.com

1/21/1956 – Geena Davis (actor in Beetlejuice, The Fly) born



1/21/1998 – Resident Evil 2 released on the PlayStation in the United States

19980121_Resident_Evil_2 / Fair use doctrine.

January 22 - 28


19320122_Piper Laurie / Image: Theo Wargo - © WireImage.com

1/22/1932 – Piper Laurie (actor in Carrie) born



1/22/1959 – Linda Blair (actor in The Exorcist) born

19590122_Linda Blair. / Image: Rebecca Sapp - © WireImage.com



20000122_ring-0-birthday / Fair use doctrine.

1/22/2000 – Ring 0: Birthday released theatrically in Japan



1/23/1981 – Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror released theatrically

19810123_Burial Ground / Fair use doctrine.



20040123_the-butterfly-effect-original / Fair use doctrine.

1/23/2004 – The Butterfly Effect released theatrically



1/25/1926 – Ted White (Jason in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) born

19260125_Ted White / Fair use doctrine.



19430125_Tobe Hooper_Cannes_2014 / Image: Dark Attsios

1/25/1943 – Tobe Hooper (director of numerous horror films) born



1/25/2000 – The Dead Hate the Living! released on DVD

20000125_Deadhatetheliving / Fair use doctrine.



20050125_All Souls Day / Fair use doctrine.

1/25/2005 – All Souls Day released on DVD



1/26/1999 – Castlevania 64 released on the Nintendo 64 in the United States

19990126_Castlevania_N64 / Fair use doctrine.



19400127_James Cromwell / Image: Ryan Rogers http://ryan-rogers.com/ - © Copyright 2011, Ryan Rogers Photography

1/27/1940 – James Cromwell (actor in many horror productions) born



1/27/2005 – Resident Evil 4 released for the Nintendo GameCube in Japan

20050127_Resident Evil 4 (Japan) / Fair use doctrine.



20050128_Creep-2004 / Fair use doctrine.

1/28/2005 – Creep released theatrically



1/28/2005 – Hide and Seek released theatrically

20050128_Hide and Seek / Fair use doctrine.

January 29 - 31


19980129__Resident_Evil_2 / Fair use doctrine.

1/29/1998 – Resident Evil 2 released on the PlayStation in Japan



1/30/1976 – Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma released theatrically

19760130_Salo / Fair use doctrine.



19980131_ringu / Fair use doctrine.

1/31/1998 – Ringu released theatrically in Japan



1/31/1999 – Silent Hill released on the PlayStation in North America

19990131_Selent Hill PS1[ntsc][front] / Fair use doctrine.



20030131_final-destination / Fair use doctrine.

1/31/2003 – Final Destination released theatrically

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 6)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 6)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

By John Roisland

To understand my top five, you must first close your eyes and think back to a night where the skies are the deepest darkest blue but are still crystal clear. The night is lit by a million stars and the glow of the moon as it dances in and out behind bare trees. It’s a cool crisp night where you hear the slight wind whispering through and rustling the leaves that have fallen and in the distance the sound of children giggling and laughing as they run from house to house yelling trick or treat as the doors. And the smell, the smell of burning leaves in someone's bonfire now fill the autumn air.

These are the memories that I have that sticks with me so vividly during the entire autumn and Halloween Season. This is still today after 44 years on this planet, my favorite time of year! Which is why it was so important for me to share with you my everlasting memories of Halloween night, as well as share with you my top five favorite movies to watch at Halloween.

Now when I first came up with this idea and I shared it to the staff I figured top five, it's going to be a piece of cake, and then I started taking some time and mulling over what my personal favorite movies are for Halloween. Keep in mind this isn't any of our top five horror movies, this is just the top five movies to watch at Halloween. It then dawned on me Wow, I'm a real ass because this is really hard to do! There are a million horror movies out there to watch, especially during the Halloween season, and to narrow it down to the top five has become quite a chore.

The movies that I have to present to you, I am somewhat basing around the Halloween season in the movie itself, not all of them but a few of them. As much of a horror buff as I am, I have actually always enjoyed movies that have taken place on Halloween.

So you might be surprised when don't see any of your top iconic Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street installment - or anything of that nature.

I do thoroughly enjoy Halloween - all aspects - the sounds, the sights, even the smells! Nothing to me is more invigorating then walking outside at night and smelling burning leaves in the Autumn air. So, when picking my top five movies, I try to incorporate my love for Halloween with them.

My top five - not in any order, just my top!

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

sleepy_hollow-preview

The legend of The Headless Horseman has always been my all time favorite story ever since I was a child. Fist hearing it when i was young, the story stuck with me to this day and age. Tim Burton‘s rendition of it, in my opinion, did it proud. With its dark images and setting, it is a must watch for me!

John Carpenter's Halloween (1978)

How can you not?! Not only is Carpenter personally my favorite director, but this film raised the bar and set standards for horror films….and it’s at Halloween, so score!

john-carpenters-halloween1


Monster House (2006)

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I first saw this film as a rental for my kids. The day it was returned to the store, I bought it! This animated kids Halloween film has a very dark overtone to it that I love, and brings out the Halloween spirit in me! Sad thing was that I enjoyed more than the kids…

The Houses October Built (2014)

Now, those of you who know me know that this movie had a profound impact on me. I love every aspect of this film, and it has become one of my top movies. The film is based at Halloween and centers around local haunts. Brought to you by Zach Andrew and Bobby Roe, this film is a must for the Halloween season.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

texaschain1974_21

Now, the last film I bring to you may not have anything to do with Halloween in any way, shape, or form, and as a matter of fact, it is not only my all time favorite horror movie, it’s my all time favorite movie – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This 1974 Tobe Hooper film blew the door off the horror film industry and has remained an all time classic. This gets a watch every Halloween!

I do hope you enjoyed my list and as founder and president of House of Tortured Souls , I do sincerely wish you and your entire family for all the generations to come, a very Happy Halloween!

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

Boogeyman 2: Masters of Horror

By Woofer McWooferson

Boogeymen 2-1

 

Director: Mike Mendez, Dave Parker; Writers: Curtis Bowden, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Gary Shenk; Stars: Dario Argento, Bruce Campbell, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Guillermo del Toro, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, George A. Romero; Rating: U; Run Time: 90 min; Genre: Documentary; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2002

“Their movies gave you nightmares. Now the most diabolical minds in horror are coming together in the ultimate Halloween horror special – Masters of Horror.”

The 2002 documentary Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror is hosted by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.) and features some of the greatest names in horror movies, from Dario Argento to Guillermo del Toro. Divided into three parts, it asks the great questions all horror fans have:

Part 1: Why Do We Like to be Scared?
Part 2: What Scares Us?
Part 3: (Where Do They Get Their Ideas?)

Parts one and two are rather brief and hop from director to director as each answers why we like to be scared and what scares us. As to why we like to be scared, answers range from “why do some people like to ride roller coasters” to “preparation for our own deaths” and all are equally valid since why we like to be scared is as unique as each of us. When it comes to what scares us, however, most of our fears are the same, from death (of self or loved ones) to the dark (or what lies in it), and this is the bread and butter of these directors.

Wes Craven

Wes Craven

Part three, however, is much longer and divided into six sections with each section focusing on one director. These sections and the featured directors are:

The Reality of Horror (Wes Craven)
The Horror of Innocence (Guillermo del Toro)
The Rebel of Horror (John Carpenter)
The Horror of Society (George A. Romero)
Transforming Horror (John Landis & Rick Baker)
The Beauty of Horror (Dario Argento)
Living the Horror (Tobe Hooper)

Highlights of the documentary include:

• Craven discussing the making of The Serpent and the Rainbow and how The Last House on the Left managed an R rating.

• del Toro recounting his introduction to the supernatural while still in his crib, the influence of Universal monster movies on him, and how he established a special effects company in order to create Cronos.

• Carpenter talking about the change in audience sensibilities and the effect it had on the horror industry in the 70s and 80s.

• Romero revealing his fear of being typecast and his eventual return to the dead films.

• Landis and Rick Baker explaining how they created Schlock and why An American Werewolf in London is a watershed film in special effects work.

• Argento discussing his films as works of art where each shot is framed for both beauty and horror.

• Hooper recounting the horrors behind the scenes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, including the effects that the gruelling shot had on the cast and crew.

Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper

Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror also includes commentary from Gunnar Hanson, Tom Savini, and KNB Effects and is full of clips from the movies being discussed as well as movies that exemplify the topics being described.

Is this for everyone? No, but it is damn good fun and a must for horror lovers.

7/10 claws

Posted by Alan Smithee in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Spontaneous Combustion (1990)

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Spontaneous Combustion (1990)

Spontaneous Combustion

By Woofer McWooferson

Director: Tobe Hooper; Writers: Tobe Hooper (story and screenplay), Howard Goldberg, Stars: Brad Dourif, Cynthia Bain, Jon Cypher; Rating: R; Run Time: 97 min; Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 1990

Spontaneous Combustion movie poster.

Spontaneous Combustion movie poster.

Best known for 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, writer/director Tobe Hooper decided to take a stab at the telekinetic phenomenon of pyrokinesis in 1990 with Spontaneous Combustion. The script was written in three weeks, or so says IMDb, but it plays like it only took three hours. Indeed, there is little to recommend this movie beyond Brad Dourif's performance for it has been done before and done better. Six years prior, Stephen King's Firestarter, hit the big screen with names such as Martin Sheen, Louise Fletcher, and George C. Scott attached, and Hooper's inevitably fell short of the admittedly mediocre King adaptation.

The spontaneous combustion begins.

The spontaneous combustion begins.

As with King's story, two young people allow themselves to be guinea pigs, resulting in a child born with pyrokinetic powers. In Spontaneous Combustion, they agree to be treated for radiation resistance and then are purposefully exposed to an atomic blast. Though they survive long enough for their child to be born, they are incinerated via spontaneous human combustion shortly after greeting their son. The movie then fast forwards twenty years to reveal their son Sam (Brad Dourif) has been raised by the man responsible for their deaths. Seemingly from nowhere he begins to exhibit the pyrokinesis that begins to burn him from inside. Eventually he finds out the truth about his family and exacts the revenge we all know is coming.

Brad Dourif Exacts Revenge in Spontaneous Combustion

Brad Dourif exacts revenge in Spontaneous Combustion.

Dourif pours everything into the role, but even his intensity is not enough to elevate this movie to repeated viewings. Fraught with bad dialogue, a predictable storyline, an unnecessary love triangle, and horrifically dated 80s fashion, Spontaneous Combustion leaves much to be desired. Although Tobe Hooper has been directing since the 1960s, his most acclaimed film, as noted earlier, remains the 1974 watershed of horror The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Because of this groundbreaking film, Hooper's films tend to be more harshly judged than might be fair to the director. Still, I don't think it's too much to say that Tobe Hooper's Spontaneous Combustion probably should have spontaneously combusted before distribution.

5/10 claws – For hardcore fans of Hooper and Dourif only.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment
MOVIE REVIEW: Djinn (2013)

MOVIE REVIEW: Djinn (2013)

Djinn_poster

By Nick Durham

What the fuck happened to Tobe Hooper? That was my first thought when watching Djinn; the long delayed Arab/English horror film that has been sitting on the shelf since being originally filmed in 2011. But then throughout the course of watching the film, I remembered something: Tobe Hooper hasn’t been the same director that he was in decades.  Here’s the thing: Hooper will forever be a horror icon for crafting the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, along with Poltergeist and Salem’s Lot. He’s helmed some super enjoyable films as well, including The Funhouse, Lifeforce, and Spontaneous Combustion; but over the past couple decades, he’s been a shell of his former self with his work. Djinn is not excluded from that sad, sad fact.

Djinn revolves around an Emirati couple who return home from America after the death of their infant child. Their glorious new high-rise apartment building though appears to be built upon a part of land that also houses some very, very malevolent spirits that have ties to the local culture. Soon enough our couple realizes that things aren’t all what they seem with their home, or with their new neighbors either. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that some very bad things are going to happen, and no one is coming out of this one hundred percent intact either.

Djinn actually features a ton of promise from its first shot onward. There are some genuinely creepy images and moments peppered throughout the film, but sweet fucking Christ does it ever plod along. Seriously, the pacing of this film is all over the fucking place. One minute things are moving at a brisk pace, the next minute they slow to a crawl. It feels like a decent amount of footage was left on the cutting room floor, which would explain the erratic pacing. Considering this film sat on the shelf for a few years (released in some parts of the world in 2013, and the rest over the following two years), this wouldn’t be much of a surprise.

The acting isn’t too bad (mostly), but despite the creepy moments that Djinn does offer, it doesn’t pack nearly enough scares, tension, or suspense. Back in the day, no one could do scares, tension, and suspense like Tobe fucking Hooper. Until you’d see his name in the credits, you would never know that he helmed this, that’s why it’s so hard to believe that this is the same guy that graced us with a handful of classic films decades prior.

So yeah, Djinn is a stinker, but in all honesty, I didn’t really expect it to be much else given Hooper’s previous few works. It’s available on Netflix right now, though I can’t say I really recommend it, no matter how bored you may be. What happened Tobe? Seriously, what the hell happened?

Rating: 2/5




Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

EDITORIAL: Remembering Mr. Hansen

By John Roisland

images (5)

Early this morning, my wife Stephanie woke me up to tell me of the heart breaking news of the passing of Mr. Hansen. As most or many of you know, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my personal favorite horror film, and at that, Leatherface is my favorite horror character. Mr. Hansen, to me, IS Leatherface. There are others who have played the role, but, I'm sorry, none compare to Mr. Hansen's portrayal.

Now, I, as many of you have, had the chance to meet him. Mine was at Spooky Empire in Orlando in 2007. I was there with a group of friends from Florida, and this was my very first convention. It's kind of funny. It was about six on a Friday evening, and the convention was rapidly filling up. I was getting tattooed by my good friend Kelly Rogers, who owns and works at Gearhead Tattoo out of Cape Coral and we were all taking a smoke break outside. While out in the hallway, here comes Mr. Hansen, a mountain of a man, headed my way. I can still remember yelling OH SHIIIIT!!!! as I ran back into the the tattoo room, literally diving over the vending table, knocking all kinds of shit over, digging through my backpack to get my camera. I made it back to the corridor just in time as he had just got to where I was.

Out of breath I said said his name, he stopped, turned and looked down at me, "Yes?" was all he said. I kindly explained what I had just done, and asked if I could trouble him for a moment of his time . He agreed, the photo was taken, I said, “Thank you, and it was an honor to meet you, sir”. He looked down and stared at me for a second with that deep look of his, and disappeared into the crowd.
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Was I a bit star struck? Yeah I guess I was, but also know that Mr. Hansen was the first celebrity that I had met at the convention...I also know that I could have honestly gone home after that. It couldn't have gotten any better. And yes, I did go and actually visit Mr.Hansen at his table later during the convention, spoke with him, and had apologized if I had made a spectacle of myself earlier. He just smiled and we shook hands. I don't think I will ever forget meeting him, nor will I ever forget Mr. Hansen.

Feeling broken by this news...

You are deeply missed, sir.

Stay Evil

Posted by John Roisland in EDITORIALS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments

OBITUARY: Gunnar Hansen

RIP Gunnar Hansen

By Woofer McWooferson

Gunnar Hansen

Actor Gunnar Hansen passed away from pancreatic cancer at his home in Maine on November 7, 2015. Hansen, who is best remembered as the original actor behind the human mask face of iconic killer Leatherface in Tobe Hooper's original The Texas Chain Saw Mssacre. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, Gunnar moved with his parents to the US at age 5 with the Hansen family settling in Maine. At age 11, they moved to Texas, where Hansen attended high school at Austin High School and college at the University of Texas at Austin. In college Hansen doubled majored in English and mathematics, pursing graduate work in English and Scandinavian Studies.

Although he dabbled in theater in college, it wasn't until 1973 that he was interviewed by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, eventually landing the role as Leatherface, the iconic chainsaw wielding cannibal in 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. This was followed by The Demon Lover in 1977 after which Hansen took a decade-long break from acting. During this break, Hansen worked as a magazine writer and a magazine and book editor. Hansen returned to film in the horror spoof Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and has worked steadily in film since. Because of his imposing size (Hansen is 6' 4" or 1.93 m), he was usually cast as bad guys in horror movies, further endearing him to the horror fandom.

1controversial-gal-texas-chainsaw-massacre

In addition to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), The Demon Lover (1977), and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988), Hansen has starred in Campfire Tales (1991), Freakshow (1995), Mosquito (1995), Repligator (1996), Chainsaw Sally (2004), and Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre (2009).

Freakshow

In 1993 Hansen published a nonfiction travel memoir, Islands at the Edge of Time: A journey to America's Barrier Islands. From the description:

Islands at the Edge of TimeWeaving in and out along the coastlines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina, poet and naturalist Gunnar Hansen perceives barrier islands not as sand but as expressions in time of the processes that make them.

In 2013 he wrote the nonfiction book Chain Saw Confidential: How We Made the World’s Most Notorious Horror Movie, detailing the making, distribution, and reception of 1973's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. From the description:

Chainsaw ConfidentialA critically acclaimed poet and author, Hansen tells the real story of the film, debunking myths, giving behind-the-scenes details, and offering insights on the film's reception and our enduring fascination with the horror genre today.

 

RIP, Mr. Hansen, you will be missed.

Posted by Alan Smithee in EDITORIALS, HORROR NEWS, OBITUARY, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Poltergeist (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Poltergeist (2015)

They're Here...

And if you're a fan of the original, it's going to piss you off

By Amy Mead

Poltergeist poster

Directed by Gil Kenan

Starring Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie Dewitt, Kennedi Clemens, Jared Harris, Jane Adams and Saxon Sharbino

The Bowens are a family of five, consisting of Mom (Amy), Dad (Eric), and three kids (Kendra, Griffin, and Madison). They move into a new suburban home due to some financial woes and the children do not seem pleased about it. Meanwhile, Eric and Amy appear as though they are under a great deal of stress.

Almost immediately strange things begin happening within their new home. Strange noises in the walls, the electricity keeps flickering, cell phones are burning out, and there are "people" appearing in the TV talking to the youngest member of the family, little Madison. The whole family wakes up and Madison announces that "They" are here and the family soon discovers that the cemetery was "moved" when their subdivision was built, which of course, it wasn't. Their house does indeed rest upon the unmoved bodies, but they don't know that. Yet.

Shortly after moving into their new home, Eric and Amy attend a dinner party one night, leaving the three children at home, and in short order, Madison is lured to her bedroom closet and taken by unseen entities, clown dolls are coming to life, and trees are attacking poor Griffin, while a viscous goo seeps out of the floor, sprouting hands and attacking Kendra. It seems as though the attacks were a diversion by the spirits so that they would be able to get to Madison alone and lead her into the spirit world with them. Eric and Amy return home to find Madison missing and, after hearing her voice emanating from within the television, the family are forced to seek help from paranormal experts to find out if there is a way to get Madison back to her family where she belongs.

If you've seen the original, you pretty much know the rest, and how it all shakes out for the most part...

Poltergeist 2015 is an extremely watered down version of the beloved Tobe Hooper classic from 1982, that had almost no scares, thrill, or apprehension to it whatsoever. The scares are weak and seriously lacking in tension. It's almost as if the producers were holding so fast to that precious PG-13 rating that they forgot there was supposed to be a certain element of fear involved, making for a far less dramatic impact. I felt like there was no art behind it, they were just here for the cash cow that remakes invariably seem to be.

The acting is pretty much the only thing that wasn't a complete let down in Poltergeist 2015. There were some damn good performances, particularly from the younger cast members, ALMOST making it worth a one time watch. ALMOST.

I am not usually a remake snob and am generally willing to give almost anything a chance...This is one where I wished I hadn't watched it at all, let alone for $7.99 on VOD. But watch it I did, and I fucking HATED it. I should have known better, but for whatever reason (I think it must have been due to Sam Raimi's involvement), I had to see how big of a trainwreck it was. And holy shit, was it ever. I still want my time and money back and it's been a week.

There was nothing about this film that resonated with me in any way, shape, or form. Even going in expecting next to nothing, I was still a bit disappointed. One of the reasons I don't bitch too much about the endless stream of remakes is because I believe that they have the potential to gain the original films new followers. This version was so extremely unentertaining that I just don't see that happening.

Give me the brilliant Tobe Hooper version over this pointless, steaming pile of crap any day of the week. It's the only one worth watching.

I give this one 3/10 and that's only because I crush on Sam Rockwell and I am in a good mood.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Eaten Alive (1980)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Eaten Alive (1980)

By Nick Durham

eaten alive

When you find a movie called Eaten Alive, there's probably two thoughts as to what kind of movie it is that pop in your head: is this a cannibal movie, or is it a fucking porno? Wait what? There is a cannibal movie called Eaten Alive? Okay, that makes sense I guess. What else is it? There's like over a hundred porno movies that have some variation of the phrase Eaten Alive in it? Okay, that makes sense too I guess. No matter what type of Eaten Alive strikes your fancy, I think you'd be better off with either the cannibal one, or any of the porno ones, than you would be with this fucking thing.

Anyway, Eaten Alive is Tobe Hooper's 1977 follow up to his landmark smash hit The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Only instead of revolving around chainsaw-wielding inbred hillbilly cannibal maniacs, this revolves around...well, inbred hillbilly maniacs and a giant fucking crocodile. The crocodile lives next door to a run down hotel owned by the mentally deranged Judd (Neville Brand), who often supplies the croc with fresh victims of those that cross his path. We get to meet a variety of people, including a fucked up couple (William Finley and Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre lead Marilyn Burns) and a dude named Buck (a pre-A Nightmare on Elm Street Robert Englund) that likes to do stuff that begins with the letter F and ends with -uck.

Okay, let's just get this out of the way: Eaten Alive is a terrible movie. I know this film has its fans, but holy fucking hell I can't stand this flick. Usually I wholeheartedly enjoy this kind of shit, but there's always been something about Eaten Alive that has rubbed me the wrong way. Whether it's the overall tone of the film to the fact that when compared to the magic Hooper made with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, this thing just can't compare. It almost comes off as being an ill-conceived parody of monster movies and backwoods living...without any laughs. Plus, it just drags on and on and on and feels like that it is NEVER going to end.

Now I could spend all day shitting on this movie, but I won't, because somehow this managed to get a wonderful Blu-ray release. Arrow Films, whom I worship day and night, has provided Eaten Alive with a fantastic physical media release here, more than this fucking movie deserves. The film's picture and sound have been remastered, a commentary by one of the film's writers and a couple actors (curiously nothing on the commentary from Tobe Hooper or Robert Englund), a new introduction from Hooper, new and vintage interviews with Hooper, Englund, and Marilyn Burns, and a featurette about the story of Joe Ball; the real-life Texas bar owner that the film is loosely based upon. Yes, Arrow has packed in a shitload of features for this fuckfest for some odd reason, don't ask me why.

To wrap things up here, I really dislike Eaten Alive something fierce. That being said, if you are a fan of this film, this Blu-ray release from Arrow Films is definitely worth picking up just for the special features alone. There's no denying that Arrow has given this film a treatment that it really doesn't deserve, but if you somehow enjoy this flick, by all means pick this release up. For the rest of us, we can keep pretending this movie never happened, just like Tobe Hooper has been pretending the past few films he's directed never happened either.

Rating: 2/5 (but the Blu-ray is super-mega-crocodile-tits)

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments