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The Bite

The Body Horror Of SUSPIRIA (2018) And BLACK SWAN, An Instagram Nightmare And MORE!
The Bite #103

The Body Horror Of SUSPIRIA (2018) And BLACK SWAN, An Instagram Nightmare And MORE!

One of our most ironic cultural misperceptions is that dancing, as a sport and a profession, is easy and frivolous, a thing “for girls”. Dancing is for everyone, but that doesn’t mean everyone can excel at it. The world of dance is gatekept by the white and wealthy, and dancing professionally is a grueling endeavor. There’s no shortage of films about dancers, but few that showcase the real horror of a body pushed to the limit in the name of passion and perfectionism like Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

The Indelible Impact Of EYES WITHOUT A FACE 60 Years Later, A New Plan And MORE!
The Bite #102

The Indelible Impact Of EYES WITHOUT A FACE 60 Years Later, A New Plan And MORE!

For the European audiences of 1960, Les yeux sans visage went too far. Jean Redon’s original novel, about Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) replacing the ruined face of his daughter Christiane (Edith Scob) with those of kidnapped young women, was troubling enough. But in his adaptation, director Georges Franju shows the heterograft process in full, forcing viewers to witness Génessier and his assistant Louise (Alida Valli) remove the face of the captured Edna (Juliette Mayiniel).

Yielding To Temptation: DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE At 100, Max Von Sydow And MORE!
The Bite #101

Yielding To Temptation: DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE At 100, Max Von Sydow And MORE!

It all started with a novella. Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde brought the iconic titular characters into our world back in 1886. There’s no way he could have known that his monster would become one of the top twenty-five adapted stories in history. Over two hundred films, shows, comics, songs, and plays would spawn from the original story’s seventy-one pages. Since this is a newsletter for a film streaming service, I can imagine you know which medium we’ll be focusing on today.

A Year After HORROR NOIRE And The State Of Black Horror, Friday The 13th And MORE!
The Bite #100

A Year After HORROR NOIRE And The State Of Black Horror, Friday The 13th And MORE!

A year ago, Shudder’s Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror trended on Twitter on the night of its red carpet premiere, which brought out Hollywood’s horror royalty: icons Tony Todd (Candyman), Rachel True (The Craft), Rusty Cundieff (Tales from the Hood), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead), Ernest Dickerson (Demon Knight), Keith David (The Thing) and others who appeared in the documentary, alongside original Candyman director Bernard Rose, actress Heather Langencamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and all manner of horror heads in a feel-good event I’m still smiling about.

A Year After HORROR NOIRE And The State Of Black Horror
BIGGER BITES

A Year After HORROR NOIRE And The State Of Black Horror

A year ago, Shudder’s Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror trended on Twitter on the night of its red carpet premiere, which brought out Hollywood’s horror royalty: icons Tony Todd (Candyman), Rachel True (The Craft), Rusty Cundieff (Tales from the Hood), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead), Ernest Dickerson (Demon Knight), Keith David (The Thing) and others who appeared in the documentary, alongside original Candyman director Bernard Rose, actress Heather Langencamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and all manner of horror heads in a feel-good event I’m still smiling about.

The Wrathful Onryō Of J-horror, ARMY OF ONE And MORE!
The Bite #99

The Wrathful Onryō Of J-horror, ARMY OF ONE And MORE!

We all remember the scary movie, book, or image we saw as a child that still turns our guts to ice. I should be in therapy from the art in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark alone and, growing up, it was Halloween. Micheal Myers’ unstoppable slasher was a personal boogieman for years.

Until I saw The Ring.

Believing Is Seeing In H.G. Wells’ THE INVISIBLE MAN, DEATH STRANDING On Vinyl And MORE!
The Bite #98

Believing Is Seeing In H.G. Wells’ THE INVISIBLE MAN, DEATH STRANDING On Vinyl And MORE!

More than a century has passed since H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man questioned what man might do with the power of invisibility. Knowing the answer reflects glaring truths about today’s society, and Leigh Whannell’s adaptation centers on a victim of domestic abuse left to reckon with the validity of her voice and the consequences — or lack thereof — when powerful men commit unspeakable crimes. They say that seeing is believing, but when evil hides in plain sight, how can the truth be brought to light?

Tod Browning And The Inherent Humanity Of FREAKS, X-ray Art And MORE!
The Bite #97

Tod Browning And The Inherent Humanity Of FREAKS, X-ray Art And MORE!

I doubt Dracula director Tod Browning could ever have fathomed that when he convinced MGM to buy the rights to Tod Robbins’ story, Spurs, it would change not just his life, but those of the audiences who encountered it. He certainly could never have known how much it would affect a disabled girl living Sacramento who wanted to write about movies but never expected to see herself represented.

Nicholas Vince On NIGHTBREED, PARASITE Makes History And MORE!
The Bite #96

Nicholas Vince On NIGHTBREED, PARASITE Makes History And MORE!

A couple of years ago I spoke to someone who explained why Nightbreed was so important to them as a gay teenager. They said the film gave them hope because someone else understood what it felt like to be an outsider. It was different from other horror movies where the monster is pure evil and is trying to stalk and slash you, or where they’re simply a misunderstood victim. In Nightbreed, a community of monsters are the “good guys”.

The Tribes Of The Moon Embrace You
Bigger Bites

The Tribes Of The Moon Embrace You

I’m going tell you a story about Clive Barker’s film Nightbreed, conversations since its release 30 years ago, and a secret…

THE TURN OF THE SCREW’s Reliable Narrator, Sea Creatures And MORE!
The Bite #95

THE TURN OF THE SCREW’s Reliable Narrator, Sea Creatures And MORE!

With last month’s lackluster reception of Floria Sigismondi’s The Turning, it’s easy to wonder if the film’s source material – Henry James’ gothic novella The Turn of the Screw – has any lasting relevance in today’s society. With a culture as obsessed with Halloween and all things spooky as ours, gothic romance should be considered a timeless genre worthy of our recognition (Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak certainly deserved a better shake than it got at the box office, for instance). But The Turn of the Screw has more going for it than its enduring scares. There’s an urgency, a nowness, to the story’s crucial question: can we believe the woman narrating this ghostly tale?

Lovecraft’s Frightful Messenger
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Lovecraft’s Frightful Messenger

“West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut.”

So begins H.P. Lovecraft’s masterpiece The Colour Out of Space, a novella written and published in 1927 that Lovecraft himself considered his best short story. It tells the tale of the Gardner family, onto whose farm lands a meteorite from outer space which unleashes a mysterious, otherworldly “Colour” that first drives the inhabitants mad, then destroys and alters the land itself, finally changing the family into monsters.

Lovecraft’s Frightful Messenger: THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE And MORE!
The Bite #94

Lovecraft’s Frightful Messenger: THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE And MORE!

“West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut.”
So begins H.P. Lovecraft’s masterpiece The Colour Out of Space, a novella written and published in 1927 that Lovecraft himself considered his best short story. It tells the tale of the Gardner family, onto whose farm lands a meteorite from outer space which unleashes a mysterious, otherworldly “Colour” that first drives the inhabitants mad, then destroys and alters the land itself, finally changing the family into monsters.

The Horror Of Empathy In Lucky McKee’s MAY, The Original May Queen And MORE!
The Bite #93

The Horror Of Empathy In Lucky McKee’s MAY, The Original May Queen And MORE!

Human beings like to use the word “inhuman” to describe those who have done terrible things. We have to. To acknowledge the humanity of someone who could, say, stab a stranger in the neck with a pair of scissors is to acknowledge your own potential for violence, as well as that of everyone around you. And how are you supposed to go about your day like everything is fine when the guy squeezing kiwis at the grocery store could have human heads in his freezer?

Why TEETH Still Bites Back And MORE!
The Bite #92

Why TEETH Still Bites Back And MORE!

In 2007, Mitchell Lichtenstein’s Teeth premiered at Sundance, and audiences had no idea what to expect. Centered around an abstinence advocate who discovers she has sentient teeth inside her vagina, Teeth was a film that horrified and disgusted the majority of the cis men who saw it and was overwhelmingly loved by just about everyone else. Lionsgate and The Weinstein Co. immediately purchased the film, an irony that cannot go unnoticed.

DEMON And The History Of The Dybbuk, Zombie Warhol and MORE!
The Bite #91

DEMON And The History Of The Dybbuk, Zombie Warhol and MORE!

An endless stream of ghosts, demons, and monsters have been lifted from the realm of religion and adapted into on-screen terrors. Though these are often taken from Christianity, there are ruthless baddies that have been lifted from Judaism. The most common of the Jewish spooks is an old one known as the dybbuk.

Shudder Filmmakers’ Favorite Horror Of The Decade
The Bite #90

Shudder Filmmakers’ Favorite Horror Of The Decade

As we say goodbye to 2019 and the 2010s, and all those “Best Of…” horror lists keep coming in, the Shudder team thought we should contribute some of our favorites of the last decade. Well, our filmmakers’ favorites, that is. That’s right, as a special year-end Bite for all our devoted readers, we decided to ask some of the filmmakers on Shudder to share their favorite horror films of the past decade.

Bear Witness To The END OF DAYS, A Killer Mashup, And MORE!
The Bite #89

Bear Witness To The END OF DAYS, A Killer Mashup, And MORE!

After a risky heart surgery in 1997, Arnold Schwarzenegger took some time off from making movies, which lead to considerable audience anticipation for his big return. So it makes sense that he opted for End Of Days because he’d be fighting the actual Devil to save the world – the stakes had rarely been higher. But the movie was also a timely one when it was released in November of 1999 because the Devil had to pull off his plan by midnight on New Year’s Eve, and, at the time, we were all worried about the same moment; specifically, what might happen when the future threat of “Y2K” became the present.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Krampus, A CHRISTMAS CAROL And MORE!
The Bite #88

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Krampus, A CHRISTMAS CAROL And MORE!

Some activities will forever be associated with the Christmas season: Roasting chestnuts over a fire; waking up early to catch the morning snowfall, with presents by the tree; dressing up like a horned demon-goat-man and threatening to shove bad neighborhood kids in a sack. You know, Christmas classics.

Strange Christmas Horror, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT And More!
The Bite #87

Strange Christmas Horror, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT And More!

‘Tis the month of December on this edition of The Bite;
And here comes Donato, who’s pro festive fright.
You may know Krampus, psycho Santas, elves undead;
And evil jolly demons who’d paint the North Pole red.

THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, Junji Ito, Gift Guides And MORE!
The Bite #86

THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, Junji Ito, Gift Guides And MORE!

The Night Of The Hunter (1955) is, simply, one of the iconic films of the 20th century. Visually enigmatic, it’s inspired some of cinema’s great auteurs from Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers to Spike Lee. It defies genre, working deftly as a psychological thriller, a horror movie, a family drama, and a staple of Film Noir. Though now recognized as a masterpiece, it is the only directing venture for prolific actor Charles Laughton; its failure so demoralized Laughton that he refused to get behind the camera again.

The Deaths That Inspired A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, A Gingerbread Overlook And MORE!
The Bite #85

The Deaths That Inspired A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, A Gingerbread Overlook And MORE!

“Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep” might be reasonable enough for Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), who understood that falling asleep meant falling prey to a knife-gloved man in a dirty red and green sweater. But what do you do when the threat awaiting you on the other side of sleep isn’t Freddy Krueger, but something more horrifying?

The Legacy Of DR. CALIGARI, Noirvember Horror And MORE!
The Bite #84

The Legacy Of DR. CALIGARI, Noirvember Horror And MORE!

It’s November which, for some film fans, means it’s time for the ultra-hashtaggable month-long celebration of all things Film Noir: #Noirvember. Folks tend to think of the genre as smokey bars, jazz, and dangerous dames, but it’s actually far more complex. With its roots firmly planted in German Expressionism and Horror, Film Noir can be traced back to a microbudget studio film from Weimar Germany that would completely change the face of cinema – The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Revisiting Tim Burton’s SLEEPY HOLLOW And MORE!
The Bite #83

Revisiting Tim Burton’s SLEEPY HOLLOW And MORE!

Fairy tales have long served as a moral guiding light for children. The works of The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, among others, have been cannibalized repeatedly throughout film history, each new adaptation attempting to outdo the last. We grew up on these stories, following Alice down the rabbit hole, flying with Aladdin over the Arabian Desert, and swimming in the depths of the ocean with Ariel. For many of us, our imaginations were molded by the Disney iterations of these fables. But most of the original stories feature some of the bleakest and most horrifying moments in literature.

HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL Revisited and MORE!
The Bite #82

HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL Revisited and MORE!

Haunted houses are a seminal setting within the horror genre. Their histories range from violent murders and demonic possession to witchcraft, ancient burial grounds, and insane asylums, all of which provide a menacing backdrop for tales of terror. This particular subgenre possesses a vastly experimental playground for technical execution and storyline that allows its visual aesthetic to thrive while the film’s characters spiral into madness, questioning the very fabric of life and death. Enter House on Haunted Hill.

October 29, 2019