Psycho (1960)

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

10/10 – 1996: SCREAM/FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

1996…It was a draw for me; too tough to narrow down the list of all the great flicks I had to choose from. I finally managed to whittle it down to two: SCREAM, and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, and even then, I just couldn’t bring myself to choose between them. Both are as important and influential to the genre during this time, yet both are certainly unique: one redefined what fans had thought of the teen slasher genre, while the other took vampire lore to a whole new place unconsidered up to that point.

Legendary director WES CRAVEN had always been an innovator of modern horror, re-establishing himself in several sub-genres over the course of many decades. With LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, he’d done things that most directors in the field never achieve over the course of their entire careers. So when he was looking for the next big thing, he wasn’t even considering sticking with horror, when he crossed paths with a brilliantly subversive script by DAWSON’S CREEK scribe KEVIN WILLIAMSON; a nicely-nasty little number called “SCARY MOVIE”, which was soon to beretitled…SCREAM.

Snarky, self-reverential, almost to the point of being a bit too “nudge-winky” at times, nevertheless, SCREAM never once forgot to bring the laughs, the scares AND the gore in ample supply.  A slasher of teens begins to decimate the youth population of the little bedroom community of Woodsboro, but if that wasn’t bad enough, said killer seems to be every bit as smart as the “Scooby Gang wanna-be” group of horror-loving kids, who soon realize that their stalker not only knows the ‘rules of horror’ as well as – if not  better than they do, and he’s not only using the playbook to take them out one-by-one, but he (or she?) is even bending and changing the rules! Much like Williamson’s TV creation, the cast couldn’t have been more suited as an ensemble, even though the standout was DREW BARRYMORE, if only for the mere fact that she pulls a “Janet-Leigh-in-PSYCHO” on the audience in the first few moments of the film – a shock that has since become legendary, even though people still remember where the idea came from!

NEVE CAMPBELL, SKEET ULRICH, ROSE MCGOWAN, JAMIE KENNEDY, MATTHEW LILLARD, W. EARL BROWN, LIEV SCHREIBER, COURTNEY COX and DAVID ARQUETTE (who married and divorced over the course of the franchise); JOSEPH WHIPP (who could’ve been playing the same character from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – and probably was!), plus unexpected cameos from LINDA BLAIR and HENRY WINKLER going way out-of-typecasting as an asshole of a principal…It didn’t get any better than this! Plus Craven’s direction, with tongue firmly-in-cheek the entire time, could have you rolling your eyes and chuckling one minute, and yes, SCREAMING the next! This film helped usher in a new age, where the movie and the characters were as smart – if not smarter than the audience that eagerly made SCREAM a box office smash!

Meanwhile, thanks to buddy and sometime collaborator QUENTIN TARANTINO, cinematic ‘one-man-band’ ROBERT RODRIGUEZ was having fun playing “Dr. Frankenstein”, by smashing two unexpected sub-genres together, if not three: serial killers, true crime…and vampires.  FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is the kind of film you never expect…until it bops you upside the head from seemingly out of nowhere!

The notorious Gecko brothers, handsome and sarcastic Seth (GEORGE CLOONEY) and ‘quiet, reserved’ Richard (no less than TARANTINO himself) are cutting a swath of robbery, assault and murder across the Southwest.  The “murder” part of their spree is owed mostly to Richard, who just can’t curb his impulses to kill and rape people. Well, to be a bit more specific, he kills and rapes womennot the men, let’s be clear on that (as Richard would probably say himself.)

Their antics – but especially Richard’s body count – has made it necessary to hotfoot it South of the Border, and maybe lay low somewhere in Mexico, until things die down…If they do. Along the way, as they change vehicles, they hijack an RV and the vacationing family inside it and skip town.

The intent was to just keep on going until they reached their objective, but all that changes when they make a fateful detour to a truck stop on the way.  But not just ANY truck stop: The “TITTY TWISTER.” A blood-and-guts dive that definitely lives up to its name…in more ways than one. And its hours of operation are…well, you know the title.

The bar has some of the most gorgeous dancing girls you ever saw, but they’re all woofers compared to the luscious, insanely beautiful main attraction, a hypnotic dancer who goes by the name of ‘SANTANICO PANDEMONIUM’.  No one into women could possibly resist her, and all men should, as Seth and Richard quickly discover, along with the rest of the hapless ‘Twister’ patrons, when the girls, the bouncers, the bartenders, everyone who ‘works’ there, finally reveal their true faces.  They’re all flesh-and-blood hungry vamps, and less the TWILIGHT variety than the FRIGHT NIGHT kind.

Rodriguez knew exactly what the fans wanted from Quentin’s script, and together, they sure gave it to us…stylish, sensual, sexy and soaked in red. And the Tarantino/Rodriguez combo attracted a cast that was instant boxoffice catnip, right down to the cameos: HARVEY KEITEL, JULIETTE LEWIS, FRED WILLIAMSON, TOM SAVINI; the stunning SALMA HAYEK as “SANTANICO”; everybody’s favorite badass, DANNY TREJO, plus CHEECH MARIN, MICHAEL PARKS, JOHN SAXON, KELLY PRESTON, MARC LAWRENCE; even a special appearance by Robert’s favorite “Hell House band”, TITO AND TARANTULA…Hell, you just knew that if he wasn’t already starring in it, Quentin would have probably directed this one, too!

The “Titty Twister” sequences – especially the gore-soaked fight scenes – are now a thing of legend, (check out Savini’s “special weapon” and the reason why his character’s nickname is “Sex Machine”!) and the closing shot is as breathtaking as any iconic final scene from the best and most unforgettable horror films, (I’d compare it for impact to the last shot of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT; in fact, DAWN’S final shot is probably a tad better.)

But for thrills, chills and maximum blood spills, whether you’ve seen these movies a hundred times or not even once…you can’t go wrong with these choices for a monumentally successful Halloween Night of Frights!

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, VAMPIRES, 0 comments
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 10)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 10)

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

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

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

Event Horison

Event horizon

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

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

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

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

Last Shift,

Last Shift

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

Posted by Allen Alberson in HALLOWEEN, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
HISTORY OF HORROR: JUNE

HISTORY OF HORROR: JUNE

By John Roisland & Woofer McWooferson

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in June.

June 1 – 7

June - Phantasm

 

06/01/1979
Phantasm released theatrically

June - Poltergeist (original)

 

 

06/04/1982
Poltergeist released theatrically

June - Robert Englund

 

06/06/1949
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street actor) born

June - The Omen (remake)

 

06/06/2006
The Omen (remake) released theatrically

June 8 – 14

June - Hostel 2

 

06/08/2007
Eli Roth’s Hostel Part II released
theatrically

June - Damien: Omen II

 

06/09/1978
Damien: Omen II
released theatrically

June - Poltergeist III

 

 

06/10/1988
Poltergeist III released theatrically

 

June - Tales from the Crypt (original)

06/10/1989
Tales from the Crypt premiers on TV

June - Rosemary's Baby

 

06/12/1968
Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby released theatrically

June - Jason Voorhees

 

06/13/1946
Fictional mass
murderer
Jason Voorhees is born

June 15 – 21

June - Herschell Gordon Lewis

 

06/15/1929
Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast, The Wizard of Gore) actor, filmmaker, and Godfather of Gore born
June - Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

 

06/15/1948
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein released theatrically
June - Gremlins 2: The New Batch

 

06/15/1990
Gremlins 2: The New Batch released theatrically

 

June - Psycho

06/16/1960
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho released theatrically
June - Jaws 2

 

06/16/1978
Jaws 2 released theatrically

June - Lucio Fulci

 

06/17/1927
Lucio Fulci
(The Beyond,
City of the Living Dead
writer, director) born

June - The Exorcist II: The Heretic

 

06/17/1977
Exorcist II: The Heretic released
theatrically

June - Willard

 

06/18/1971
Willard released
theatrically

June - Haute Tension

 

06/18/2003
Haute Tension
released theatrically in France

June - Daria Nicolodi

 

06/19/1950
Daria Nicolodi (Dario Argento’s Opera actress) born

 

June - The Twilight Zone06/19/1964
The Twilight Zone original TV series ends its run

June - Jaws

 

06/20/1975
Jaws released theatrically

June - Frenzy

 

06/21/1972
Frenzy released
theatrically
June - Lifeforce

 

06/21/1985
Lifeforce released theatrically

June 22 – 28

June - Bruce Campbell

06/22/1958
Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead (1981), Army of Darkness actor) born

June - Elvira's Haunted Hills

 

06/23/2001
Elvira’s Haunted Hills released
theatrically

June - Land of the Dead

 

06/24/2005
George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead released theatrically

June - The Omen (original)

 

06/25/1976
The Omen released theatrically
June - The Thing

 

06/25/1982
John Carpenter’s The Thing released theatrically

 

June - Peter Lorre06/26/1904
Peter Lorre (The Comedy of Terrors
actor) born

June - Dark Shadows

 

06/27/1966
Dark Shadows premiers on TV

June - Blade the Series

 

06/28/2006
Blade: The Series premiers on TV

June 29 – 30

June - The War of the Worlds (remake)

 

06/29/2005
War of the Worlds released theatrically

June - Vincent D'Onofrio

 

 

06/30/1959
Vincent D’Onofrio (The Cell actor) born

 

Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
Geena Davis cast in small screen adaptation of classic The Exorcist

Geena Davis cast in small screen adaptation of classic The Exorcist

By Kev B. 

geena-davis

What an excellent day for an exorcism! It’s the Captain Howdy show!

The Exorcist is known to be one of the greatest, most beloved, and iconic horror films ever. The book it was based on is considered required reading for any serious fan of modern horror literature. It is number 3 on the American Film Institutes list of 100 most thrilling films, after #1. Psycho and #2. Jaws. It was one of the first 3 movies I ever owned (along with A Nightmare on Elm Street and A Clockwork Orange) back in the 80’s when my parents finally gave in and got a VCR. It’s a piece of horror history, and has been praised by some of the harshest critics as being a nearly perfect film.

Then why would anyone want to remake or re-imagine it? I assume because they’re money hungry and they’ve run out of original ideas, but we already knew that. They remade Psycho shot for shot, in color, with Vince Vaughn as Norman. More recently, and as part of horrors resurgence on television, they remade (another classic) Rosemary’s Baby into a mini-series with Zoe Saldana in Mia Farrow’s role. Not sure why, but they did. Norman has his own show Bates Motel, and Ash fights the Evil Dead weekly also, both of which I personally love. I believe Hannibal has been canceled last I heard, and I haven’t seen Damien yet, but for some reason I’m not too optimistic about that one.

The Exorcist has been the subject of discussion for a re-whatever for quite some time now.. Most recently it was rumored to be getting a big screen remake, but news just broke and it turns out we are getting a pilot episode for a series or mini-series. Details are vague at best, but everywhere I looked I found the following copied and pasted on every entertainment site I checked.

“a modern reinvention inspired by William Peter Blatty’s original book, The Exorcist is a propulsive, serialized psychological thriller following two very different men tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession, and confronting the face of true evil.”

The good news is, Geena Davis is supposedly in a starring role as Angela Rance: (more copy and paste) Naturally beautiful, regal and proud but weighed down by stress, Angela does everything she can to stay positive and keep her faith even though her family is currently struggling. She can’t help but think, however, if perhaps her nightmares about a demon are a sign of what’s wrong.

Geena Davis

Now most of us old farts fell in love with her in the mid-80’s when we met her as Odette in Transylvania 6-5000 and opposite Jeff Goldblum’s Brundlefly in David Cronenberg’s classic re-make of The Fly. Oh, and obviously Beetlejuice and Earth Girls are Easy. Her long list of accomplishments include, of course acting, film producer, writer, former fashion model, Olympics archery team semi-finalist, and a member of Mensa. Yep, all that and she’s smart too.

Now, as I said, details are scarce so this is all I could find at this time. As more news is released, we will keep you posted here at House of Tortured Souls...

Posted by Alan Smithee in CAST AND CREW NEWS, HORROR NEWS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments

REMAKES: The Never Ending Battle

By John Roisland

remakes%20collage

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, The Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Thing, Mother’s Day, The Last House On the Left, Halloween, A 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.

untitled (2)

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 guy’s opinion.

Keep it Evil…

Posted by John Roisland in EDITORIALS, 0 comments
Abnormal Musings and Freakish Facts #2

Abnormal Musings and Freakish Facts #2

Abnormal Musings and Freakish Facts #2

By Stephanie Roisland

1) Psycho was the first movie to show a toilet flush.

Halloween

2) The original title for Halloween was The Babysitter Murders. It was not chosen for the
official title because the story was to take place
in only one night for budget reasons.

scarymother-in-law

3) Pentheraphobia is the fear of a mother-in-law.

Ribbon_worm_-_Nemertea

4) Some ribbon worms will eat themselves if they cannot find food.

Five senses numbered

5) When a person dies, hearing is generally the last sense to go. First is sight, then taste, and touch.

Andrew Jackson and his parrot

6) In 1845, President Andrew Jackson's pet parrot
was removed from his funeral; he was using
excessive swearing.

Edward Cruisehands

7) Tom Cruise was offered the role of the titular character in Edward Scissorhands; he turned it down because he wanted a happier ending.

alien-like-human-1

8) In 2003, the skeletal remains of a human that measured 6 inches was found in a Chilean ghost town. A definition of the size, mutations, and origin have not yet been found.

5401288692_cdc3790b4f_o

9) A human body decomposes four times faster in water than on land.


Texas Chain Saw skeleton

10) The human skeleton at the end of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was, in fact, a real skeleton
bought from India.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, 0 comments