Look, I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say that 2017 was a garbage year for a lot of people, but it’s important to note that periods of turmoil often produce meaningful horror movies. For what it’s worth, it looks like 2017 has done just that, with a myriad of terrific movies from a variety of sources. So, without further ado, here are some of my horror highlights from the last 12 months:
By now I’m sure you know the formula for this column. I introduce one of our beloved horror icons as a means to steer you toward one of their lesser-known works. Nothing too complicated, but I’ve found it works. This time around, however, I worry that my usual spiel will bury the lede, as I’ve made a profound discovery in the made-for-TV horror fairy tale Snow White: A Tale of Terror, featuring Sigourney Weaver. This movie, ladies and gentlemen, is the silliest horror movie ever made.
After a little over a year of doing this column, I think you and I have a pretty good thing going. If you’ve come this far and are still willing to follow my incessant ramblings, I think our relationship can survive a wee confession: hard as I try, I just cannot get into the Universal Monsters movies. Don’t get me wrong, I value them for laying the foundations of the horror genre, but when it comes to actually watching them, I just don’t find them as engaging as more modern films.
[To get you into the spooky spirit, the Daily Dead team is spotlighting double features that we think would be fun to watch this Halloween season. Keep an eye on Daily Dead for more double feature recommendations, and check here for our previous Halloween 2017 coverage.]
This October, get ready to rock (queue bending guitar notes). Because Daily Dead productions brings you the rock event of the season with Heavy Metal Halloween (queue random explosion noises). Live, from whatever venue you want to call your house, we’ve got two face-melting, pants-dropping flicks that are sure to leave your guests on their knees worshipping at the altar of the gods of rock (queue the Rob Halford knock-off kind of, sort of, not really hitting a high note).
I’m not sure if you heard, but there was a minor announcement made recently that Jamie Lee Curtis will be reprising her role as Laurie Strode in Blumhouse’s upcoming installment to the Halloween franchise. While the majority of the response has been positive, there have been some concerns, such as the need to once again retcon the series to resurrect Laurie Strode as well as the usual skepticism about the need for another Halloween movie. While I understand these concerns, I do have a retort: they’re bringing back Jamie Lee freaking Curtis.
This past weekend I traveled up to the Northeast United States to check out Salem Horror Fest, a brand new horror festival whose mission is “to examine the themes of Fear and the American Experience within the horror genre.”
This month marks the one-year anniversary of Catalog from the Beyond! I thank those of you who have followed along with my inane babbling for the last twelve months, and to celebrate, I’ve decided to do an extra large edition featuring not one, but two movies that I’ve been circling since I started this column. I’ve said before that I was a latecomer to the Psycho franchise, with my rationale being that the movie was so ingrained in pop culture that I assumed I knew what it had to offer without needing to actually watch it. Now, of course, I know that I was very wrong. But after finally coming to my senses, I subsequently noticed a sizable portion of the horror community that also sings the praises of the two sequels that it spawned in 1983 and 1986.
All right, gang, I’m going to need for you to bear with me as I take an abrupt left turn for this month’s column. I’ve been wanting to do a John Carpenter movie for a while now, but the problem is that he doesn’t have many “B-sides” that people haven’t talked about ad nauseum. Our very own Patrick Bromley recently covered one of his more relatively obscure entries with Prince of Darkness, and Scott Drebit gave his take on that one with the William Shatner mask. So, to find new territory, I had to go back to 1979, a year after Carpenter released his breakthrough masterpiece, but just before he churned out a series of classics in the early ’80s that would cement his legacy as one of the greatest horror directors of all time.
How does one start a piece about their favorite horror movie of all time? I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with the words that will evoke the visions of hellish trumpets and demonic halos that dance in my head whenever I think about Clive Barker’s feature film directorial debut masterpiece, Hellraiser.
Universal’s explosion of the horror genre in the 1930s gave us two legendary actors in Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Lugosi, who I’ve covered before in this column, was the leading-man type in that whomever he played, he was still pretty much Bela Lugosi (arguments could be made either way as to whether this was to his benefit or his detriment). Karloff, however, often had a tendency to get lost in his roles. Granted, part of this was done via the magic of FX. In movies like Frankenstein and The Mummy, Jack Pierce covered Karloff in enough prosthetics to make him unrecognizable.
A lot of well-known actors get their start in low-budget horror flicks, but Kevin Bacon happened to cut his teeth in one of the most well-known horror movies of all time, Friday the 13th. Few actors star in a classic horror movie out of the gate and then find mainstream success on their own the way Bacon did.
I’ve waited a long time for this (cracks knuckles). This argument has been a long time coming, but I know that I’m ready (cracks neck). I’m ready to make a case for an overlooked, often derided film from the Friday the 13th series (tapes fists). That’s right, I’m here in defense of Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood. And you know what? I’m confident that I’m going to sway at least a few of you (does series of calisthenics so as not to pull a muscle).
In a femme fatale performance as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh is such a compelling leading lady in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, that it’s that much more shocking when you find out in bloody fashion that she, in fact, isn’t the leading lady. So, you can imagine my excitement when I realized that one of the other movies on Leigh’s résumé features killer rabbits. With Easter Sunday coming up, I figured what better way to celebrate Jesus coming back from the dead as a giant bunny (I’m assuming that’s what happened) than by checking out a flick about massive rabbits terrorizing the Southwest?
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more attractive to an anglophile. With gaunt, angular features and a proper aristocratic accent, Peter Cushing could just as easily sell you a first-edition Charles Dickens novel as he could read a line of dialogue. Inserting those proper English characteristics into tales of bloodthirsty creatures is part of what makes Hammer films so entertaining. In the case of Val Guest’s 1957 creature feature, The Abominable Snowman, those admirable characteristics are also integral parts of the plot.