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
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!
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!
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!
‘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 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!
“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!
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!
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!
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.
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.