THE SKELETON DANCE, The History Of The Danse Macabre And MORE!
This year marks the 90th anniversary of Disney Cartoons’ innovative Silly Symphony series debut, The Skeleton Dance. Directed by the mouse man himself and drawn by Ub Iwerks, the short film features midnight mischief as a group of skeletons rise and dance a gruesome jig in a howling graveyard. Playing tunes on each other’s ribcages and stacking their skulls together, the dead unite for one night only, all to the cheeky tunes of composer Carl W. Stalling.
Tobe Hooper’s Haunted Houses, The Man Of A Thousand Faces and MORE!
Life (and death) lessons from the late great Tobe Hooper: meat is murder, monsters wear human faces (some more literally than others), and the haunted house is where you find it. From the ode to nihilism that is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the slow-burning dread of Salem’s Lot to the niche favorite that is Lifeforce and beyond, Hooper returned to the haunted house more often than any other director in our beloved genre. Despite this, he never once made an entirely typical haunted house movie. Eschewing cobwebs and bats, he was able to mine new terrors from an old archetype by knowing its essence so intimately.
Shock ‘n’ Roll High School: The Origins of Shock Rock and MORE!
History crowned Alice Cooper the king of shock rock a long time ago, and rightly so. But it’s always fun to remember who paved the path for our modern music monsters. So, with our holiest of holidays on the horizon, let’s look back at Cooper’s great-granddaddy of shock – Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins.
Extreme Haunts, Halloween Movie Picks and MORE!
The world of extreme haunts is fueled by curiosity and controversy. I’ve crawled through electrified shock tunnels, been locked in coffins, and covered in real cockroaches. People go to extreme haunts to either learn something about themselves, to try to overcome their worst fears, or for the therapeutic value of being scared, what I like to call “scareapy”. But how did we get here? When did haunted houses for Halloween go from mazes where monsters yelled “BOO!” to hands-on, full-contact experiences?
The Birth, Death, & Resurrection of American Horror Comics and MORE!
The war was over, the American Dream was dreamt once more, and comic books were sold by the millions. Pre-WWII comics were sanitary ordeals, but, by the late 1940s, post-war sensitivity was settling and publishers began exploring adult-oriented content inspired by rising fears. And so, in the final years of the 1940s, the Golden Age of horror was dawning.
The Terrifying Normalcy of Stephen King and MORE!
It’s rare that one writer shapes an entire generation or two, and rarer still when one shapes the cultural and literary landscape of an entire country. The United Kingdom has J.K. Rowling; Japan had Soseki Natsume; Nigeria had Chinua Achebe.
In the United States, we have Stephen King.
Pascal Laugier’s MARTYRS, a HELLRAISER Birthday Cake and MORE!
Notorious is a good word to describe Pascal Laugier’sMartyrs (2008). Notoriously violent, bleak, and, on its initial release, hard to get a copy of, Martyrs is made for the horror fan who needs to experience everything.
A Queer Celebration Of SORORITY ROW and MORE!
When Sorority Row was released a decade ago, the film appeared to be just another misguided, run-of-the-mill slasher remake among a glut of similar movies. It retold the story of 1982’s The House on Sorority Row, about a sorority house prank gone wrong that precipitates a revenge-oriented murder spree. A year after it premiered, Sorority Row was DOA with a less-than-enthusiastic response from critics and an opening weekend gross of just $5 million on a $12.5 million budget. It was labeled a flop and quickly forgotten.
BASKET CASE, Hitchcock’s Head, and MORE!
The films of Frank Henenlotter will always hold a very special place in my grimy, trash-loving heart. Basket Case specifically is one of those movies you can watch any time and just let the over-the-top acting and blood-splattery goodness wash over you. Henenlotter’s first feature, it prominently showcases the body horror, campy comedy and over-the-top (but never mean spirited) gross-out gore we’d come to associate him with.
Practical Effects and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and MORE!
There are many critical factors to a horror film surviving the test of time. Arguably, few are more important than the use of practical effects. Today we frequently see practical effects pushed to the side in favor of CGI. Though technology has come farther than we could have ever imagined, it stands to reason that even today’s impressive digital artistry will look questionable forty years from now.
Dig into THE MONSTER SQUAD and MORE!
Scary stories have been around since the dawn of civilization, often used as cautionary tales that taught us life lessoms. Humans have used cave drawings, oral traditions, religious manuscripts, folk dance, paintings, and classic literature to spook one another, but cinema changed horror into a truly immersive and multi-dimensional experience.
Remembering Wes Craven and More!
Where do I begin with Wes Craven? Even though he wasn’t fond of being called a “horror master,” that’s exactly what he was. He changed the genre by exploring what horror does to people and turned our nightmares into something real. August 2nd would have been his 80th birthday.
Remembering Lon Chaney Jr., a look at the Upcoming Book MONSTER, SHE WROTE, and More!
Lon Chaney Jr. was singular among great horror actors in that he was the only one to have played all four of the iconic Universal monsters. He portrayed Frankenstein’s Monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein(1942), Dracula in Son of Dracula (1943), and the Mummy in three films starting with The Mummy’s Tomb (1942). But the role that he would forever be remembered by was the Wolfman.
A look at James Whale, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and MORE!
Who’s your favorite Universal monster? Though she isn’t even shown until the tail end of the film, the Bride of Frankenstein just hits all the right notes for me. This week, we celebrate the birthday of the Bride’s filmmaker, the legendary James Whale.
Happy MIDSOMMAR, an Ode to THE FRIGHTENERS, and More!
The mid-90s were a weird time for cinema, and horror was not exempt from the madness. The studios had lost track of what audiences wanted and were throwing whatever they could at the wall to see what would stick. Supernatural slasher films had run their course and become little more than a parody of themselves, giving way to self-aware, post-modern, super slick teen horror.
DEAN KOONTZ’S Birthday, GREMLINS Cartoon Prequel, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS Vinyl, and More!
As a Southern California native, I’ve always been a fan of Dean Koontz’s work, especially since he is to SoCal what Stephen King is to Maine. He frequently uses real-life Southern California locations (including a McDonalds that still has a framed page fromWatchers hung on the wall), and harnesses the spirit of each one in order to elevate his stories.
Why BLACK CHRISTMAS is an Iconic Slasher, Is the Future of Horror in Comedy? and More!
Did you hear the one about the sorority with the dead bodies in the attic? If you aren’t already familiar with Bob Clark’s iconic cult slasher Black Christmas from 1974, chances are you’ve heard about Blumhouse’s upcoming remake.
The Legacy of LAND OF THE DEAD, Bruce from JAWS Gets a Makeover, and More!
I first met George Romero during a private party at a convention. Greg Nicotero handled the introductions, and I was nervous. But George was gracious and friendly and quickly put me at ease. I told him about growing up on his films. He asked me to sign a book for him. And then we talked shop.
Horror Slaycations, BLACK CHRISTMAS Reboot, and More!
Tolstoy claimed that all great storytelling falls into one of two categories – a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town. If you base a scary movie around a vacation, you get both! Tension builds as characters contend with problems like culture clashes, unfamiliar landscapes, language barriers, baggage both physical and emotional, and that’s before the bodies start to pile up.
Jason Vorhees’ Birthday, Sigourney Weaver Confirms Return for GHOSTBUSTERS Sequel, and More!
On June 13, 1946, Jason Voorhees was born, and so today we celebrate his birthday … and also his death day, since we learned in the first movie based on the arc of his infamous life (Friday the 13th, 1980) that he drowned in 1957 at Camp Crystal Lake. Even though it was actually Jason’s mother knocking off all those kids who tried to get the camp going again in 1980, it was Jason who haunted the dreams of survivors.
Why POLTERGEIST Still Scares Me, How Watching Horror Films Can Help Your Relationship, and More!
Even at the time of release, June 4,1982, that line (so heavily used in the marketing) had become more of a pop culture catchphrase than something genuinely spooky. But audiences soon learned Poltergeist more than delivered the scares.
The King of Kaiju, 1960s-era GHOSTBUSTER Prequel, and More!
We only got a few more days until Godzilla: King of the Monsters unleashes King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra, and Godzilla in theaters around the world. For 65 years, that raging reptile has arguably been the most famous of kaiju. But he’s not the only giant monster to rampage through our hearts.
Horror TV’s Fear-Filled Finales, How THE EXORCIST Changed the Sound of Horror Movies Forever, and More!
Series finales are on our minds this week, thanks toGame of Thrones. That’s all anybody can talk about, on news reports, around water coolers, and at super market produce sections. All are abuzz about whether or not Game of Thrones gave fans the send-off they wanted, deserved, or felt entitled to. Coincidentally, this week also marks the 16th anniversary of “Chosen,” the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Why Small Budgets Work Well for Horror Movies, IT: CHAPTER TWO Trailer, Geeks Who Eat, and More!
With advances in video technology and digital editing tools, filmmaking has never been more democratic — the door is open to anyone with an idea and the guts to max out a few credit cards. Considering the average American is already $137,000 in debt, what’s another $11,000? That’s how much it cost director Oren Peli to make 2009’s Paranormal Activity, which grossed more than $193 million worldwide.
Horror Musicals, Frank Frazetta Art, Upcoming CANDYMAN Movie, and More!
There’s a lot more to horror musicals than doing the Time Warp or feeding Audrey II. When it comes to the theater, horror musicals on Broadway tend to be big and serious, while those off-Broadway (or off-off-Broadway) are sometimes so crazy they issue ponchos to audience members in the first three rows (aka “the splatter zone”).
Banned Horror Movies, 10 Reasons THE SHINING is the Greatest Horror Film Ever Made, and More!
There is nothing quite as legendary as a banned horror film, which marketing teams would love you to think happens more often than it actually does. TheFaces of Death series practically built its marketing campaign around bannings that, for the most part, never really happened … especially not in the United States, where it’s extremely rare for a horror film to be banned.
11 of the Scariest 3D Moments in Horror Film History, RIP LORRAINE WARREN, and More!
Long before “immersive” became a buzzword — all the way back to this week in 1953 when the 3D House of Wax opened across the U.S. — audiences have loved movies that promised that third dimension of thrills. Who doesn’t love the feeling of being right in the middle of the action? Add in the element of horror, and you’ve got a movie experience like no other.