Make no mistake about it: this was a great year for horror fans. It was so good, in fact, that making a list of “favorites” is almost impossible because there’s just too much I want to talk about.
As a lifelong fan of the original Creepshow—one of the first R-rated horror movies I ever saw as a kid and still my favorite horror anthology of all-time—it has taken me years to come to terms with the fact that Creepshow 2 is not bad. In fact, it’s quite good at times.
As years go, 2016 has been a rough one. The movie that’s helping me get through it more than any other right now is Beyond the Gates.
If/when aliens land on Earth and demand to know what horror films best represent the 1980s (priorities, people), it is our duty as a society to show them C.H.U.D. It’s not one of the best horror movies of that decade—I don’t think it even cracks the top 50—but it is so prototypically ’80s in both its construction and the fears it suggests that it is an essential part of the genre’s fabric from that time period. Not bad for some Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a man with special abilities to enter the dreams of sleeping clients and influence their subconsciouses is hired by a high-profile client to investigate his dreams and find out important information, but encounters pushback both external and internal that could lead to him never being able to escape the dream world. I’m talking about Inception, right? Wrong. That’s the plot of 1984’s Dreamscape, an underrated sci-fi horror fantasy that’s coming out on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from the good people at Scream Factory.
Given just how lousy with zombies our current pop culture climate has become over the last decade or so, it’s hard to remember that the walking dead were out of favor as recently as the 1990s.
It’s a funny thing, watching David Cronenberg’s early films now with 40 years of work to his credit. He’s a director whose movies have a reputation for being cold, clinical, and cerebral. He is known for his fascination with body horror, but approaches it from the remoteness of a distant observer rather than as a fellow human being. And while some of this characterization may be correct, very little of it accurately describes his early efforts, including 1977’s Rabid, Cronenberg’s second-ever horror movie (following Shivers, aka They Came From Within) and his fourth feature film overall, now out on a special edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory.
The thing I miss the most about the heyday of the ’80s slasher movie is that there were so many of them that eventually filmmakers had to start finding ways to shake up the formula and continually introduce weirder and weirder stuff.
Not all C.H.U.D. are created equal.
Within weeks of Arrow Video’s special edition Blu-ray of the original C.H.U.D.—still the best movie ever made about New York’s homeless being transformed by toxic waste into cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers—Lionsgate’s new(ish) Vestron Video Collector’s Series adds its 1989 sequel, C.H.U.D. II: Bud the CHUD, to its growing library of collectible Blu-rays.