CURSED FILMS And The Power Of Myths, All Hallows’ Eve And MORE!
In this Issue:
- Horror History: Cursed Films And The Power Of Myths
- Halfway To Halloween: 🎶200 Days ‘Till Halloween🎶
- Image of the Week: This Is Halloween
- Tiny Bites – This Week’s Best Horror Headlines
- Things We Love: Stay Out Of The Shadows
- Hey, That’s Us! – Shudder in the News
Cursed Films And The Power Of Myths
By Jay Cheel*
How do you make a documentary series based on a number of unexplained, unsubstantiated, practically impossible to investigate claims that have been told and retold ad nauseam by horror fans around the world? You focus on the people.
There are a number of ways to explore the “greatest hits” of cursed legends connected to the production of these films, so the goal with Cursed Films was to offer a perspective you wouldn’t find on YouTube or BuzzFeed. Despite the show’s name, these inexplicable circumstances work as an entry point for an honest and sometimes difficult discussion about the impact these events had on those directly involved.
Horror films prime even the most skeptical thinkers to entertain magical thinking, but where do we draw the line? While I’m not personally a believer in the supernatural, I’m certainly attracted to the stories they inspire. I grew up hearing about the various legends attached to these films, and it’s undeniable that the rumors that circled them actually enhanced their legacy.
Our interest in perpetuating these stories likely stems from the same place that drew us to the horror genre to begin with; the mystery of the unexplainable and a flirtation with the liminal zone between the rational and irrational. It opens us up to the idea that there might be something beyond our realm of understanding that could offer meaning to our seemingly futile existence; if there is a devil, then there must be a God.
Horror films prime even the most skeptical viewers to engage in magical thinking. But when it comes to the supernatural, the idiom “seeing is believing” rarely applies.
Hundreds of ghost hunting shows across a number of desperate cable channels have provided nothing but a collection of grainy night-vision shots that often disappoint. That which is implied is often more frightening than that which is shown, much like horror films. I think the same could be said for stories surrounding these cursed films; the more you investigate, the more you demystify the legend.
I can’t say I was any more persuaded after having personally witnessed black magician E.A. Koetting cursing the production of ________. In fact, it raised more questions than it answered. The same goes for Vincent Bauhaus’ hotel room exorcisms. While I’m convinced the people receiving his services believed they were actually possessed, I can’t help but feel he was doing more harm than good. It’s a divisive moment that has some viewers questioning its inclusion, but beyond the thematic relevance, the act of boldly confronting supposed metaphysical or supernatural events offers the ability to be discerning about such claims.
It’s like calibrating an internal scale; when dropped too deeply into the esoteric, our rational instincts kick in and we refuse to believe. Suddenly the idea of some medical supply skeletons cursing the set of Poltergeist is equally as ridiculous as an ex furniture salesman conducting exorcisms over FaceTime. When we pull back the curtain, what’s on the other side is often completely underwhelming. This is the tension between the rational and irrational that we set out to explore with Cursed Films.
This week we’ll close this season with our episodes on The Crow and Twilight Zone: The Movie. While both films have often appeared on “Top 10 Cursed Films” lists around the internet, the tragedies connected to them are so real that you can’t help but reevaluate the cursed stories we’ve been telling about them for so many years.
*Jay Cheel is an award-winning filmmaker from Toronto, Canada. His feature films Beauty Day and How To Build A Time Machine have played a number of festivals around the world, and he is the co-host of the Film Junk Podcast. He is the writer, editor, and director of Cursed Films, the five-part documentary series on Shudder.
HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN
🎶200 Days ‘Till Halloween🎶
Our Halfway to Halloween celebrations continued last Friday with yet another installment of the Horror Hotline. Meanwhile, Geeks Who Eat cooked up a storm with some special Shudder menu items. So this week, make yourself Pinhead’s Pizza, stir up a Miskatonic Reviver, and watch one of Sam’s recommendations.
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
This Is Halloween
Let the Halfway to Halloween celebrations continue with this gorgeous print from Chet Zar that’s giving us serious pangs for our favorite holiday.
We know, this “vacation” sucks. But new members can try Shudder free for 30 days when they sign up online with promo code: SHUTIN
NOBUHIKO OBAYASHI, TWIN PEAKS AND MORE
Last week marked Twin Peaks’ 30th anniversary, so Kyle MacLachlan and Mädchen Amick celebrated with a live-Tweet watch party of the pilot episode.
Meanwhile, Consequence of Sound explored the show’s impact on cosmic horror and the legacy of the Black Lodge.
Legendary Entertainment and Nerdist have coordinated to bring you a 3-film, 3-week MonsterVerse Watchalong that continues this Thursday at 5:00 pm PST with Kong: Skull Island.
Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust is getting the video game treatment from Fantastico Studios with the maestro himself onboard to write and direct.
Country Living has this list of 22 kid-friendly spooky movies to keep the whole family entertained, theoretically nightmare-free. Clearly they’ve never seen Arachnophobia.
Crawley, Louisiana police accidentally used the siren from The Purge to signal the start of their 9:00 pm quarantine curfew.
In more news about postponed horror releases, Nia Dacosta’s Candyman will now be released this fall while Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and David Slade’s Dark Harvest should hit theatres in fall of 2021.
Get your weekend plans lined up with The Bram Stoker Awards Presentation this Saturday, April 18th at 8:00 pm EST.
And if you’re looking movie recommendations, Entertainment Weekly has a list of killer aquatic horror flicks to check out…
Sadly, last week we had to say goodbye to Nobuhiko Obayashi, the prolific filmmaker behind the iconic Hausu. He was 82-years-old and passed after a long battle with lung cancer.
THINGS WE LOVE
Stay Out Of The Shadows
As an extra special treat for all you aspiring filmmakers stuck at home right now, check out Sandberg’s making-of video detailing how he and his partner, Lotta Losten, made the short.