March to the Grave: The Dual Vision of Romero and Fulci

Welcome back my little nasties! Just can’t get enough of the dearly departed, now could you? Well, that’s perfectly alright with me. I love the dead too, don’t you know? Oh and what a maggoty treat have I in store for you this time around!

Today we’ll be delving even further into the dripping depths of this rancid crypt of  living death. The worm dieth not here as we expound upon the very threshold of Hell’s widening maul. The lights are dim and Death is restless as we take a look back at two extraordinary horror masters and the connection between both of their nightmarish visions. The original infection that began in the mind of George Romero spread across the globe to mutate in the fetid imagination of Lucio Fulci, and zombie mania became unstoppable thanks to both men’s fiendish contributions.

In The Beginning, There was NIGHT

 

The late George Romero managed to do something few creative minds in the field of horror ever have the good fortune to accomplish. He invented a new monster, a monster that tore away taboos and desecrated the sanctity of the restful grave. Without explanation, the dead rose from the cold soil and stalked friends, lovers, and family without prejudice. We, the unfortunate living, were prey for a fresh new nightmare, a nightmare that took the globe by storm and essentially gave way to an entire sub-genre. That same sub-genre persists to this day with no sign of hesitation in sight.

 

Mondo Tees
image via Mondo Tees

 

It should be noted that Paw Paw Romero was well aware that zombies had already appeared in cinema. However, those zombies were worlds apart from what we now know them as. Growing up, Romero saw movies involving Haitian zombies, men or women, unfortunately, who have fallen victim to some very dark voodoo magic. They were will-less slaves lumbering about with wide-eyed abandon to serve their master’s beck and call.

Did Romero intend to reinvent these helpless creatures? Aw hell no, and he would be the first to correct us should we argue any differently. George Romero did not set out to create a zombie movie, but rather he wanted to create a whole new kind of monster – ghouls! Being the learned man that he was, Paw Paw Romero was quite aware that ghouls in folklore were known to haunt mist-shrouded graveyards and feed their sensational gluttony among the dead. It was his genius to bend the rules (just a  little bit) to his own liking and make the ghouls of his movie be the actual dead freshly risen from the graves and set about with an insatiable craving for warm human flesh.

With that idea in mind Night of the Living Dead was made and a new genre was begotten. Romero’s ghouls were an instant hit as audiences screamed their lungs out and watched under a veil of tears as the victims on screen desperately fought a hopeless battle for their very lives, with increasing fever to just survive the dire night of merciless carnage.

Audiences embraced Romero’s monsters, but with one condition. By and large, people accepted them as zombies and not as ghouls. Ask most people today and even still they’ll say it’s a zombie movie. I’ve never really heard Romero had any qualms with that either. His vision was a success and he did accomplish creating a new type of nightmare to scare us shitless.

With the insistence of fellow horror genius – Dario Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red) – Romero was invited to Italy where he would sit down and lay the groundwork for what many (even still to this day) consider the greatest horror movie of all time – Dawn of the Dead. For many fans, Dawn of the Dead became their favorite scary movie, and for good reason. The movie includes a little bit of everything for anyone.

 

Night Gave Way to DAWN Something Darker Still

 

Relentless, cruel and still good-natured, this was Romero’s answer to his original vision of dread. The movie would be in color this time around meaning all the blood would be quite noticeable. It would also feature the ingenious work of special FX legend, Tom Savini who has spent a lifetime exploring ways to show us death in the most visually violent ways as possible.

Romero welcomed us all to the Apocalypse!

 

Nightmare on Film Street
image via Nightmare on Film Street

 

From the very opening scene, Romero impresses upon the audience a world that has lost all control. We are introduced to the Apocalypse from a news broadcasting room livid with very real human reactions. The movie wastes no time and drops the viewer into this world where you now must follow a band of characters who are ill-prepared to deal with the world’s ending at the hands of the zombie plague.

This isn’t something anyone can prepare for, and it certainly proved to be something no audience at the time was prepared to handle. Savini’s gruesome work splashed across the big screen like foul art, a thing no one wanted to see but nobody could look away. It was a violent array of popping headshots, flesh-eating, and ghoulish fun.

Romero struck gold and genre fans couldn’t get enough of the simple formula he used.

This formula is repeated even still. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead or Resident Evil you have George Romero and his Dawn of the Dead to thank for that. Once again, the man reinvented himself and the monster he brought to life.

 

The Italian Echo of Living Death

 

When Dawn of the Dead was released overseas, in Italy the movie was simply titled Zombi. The film had a definite impact on one particular viewer – Lucio Fulci.

 

Film International
image via Film International

 

It’s been said that the screenplay for (what would become) Zombi 2 was written before Romero’s classic DotD was released. What is fact though is Lucio’s movie served as the unofficial sequel to Dawn, or Zombi, and hence the name Zombi 2.

 

VHS Archives
image via VHS Archives

 

Fulci’s contribution is brilliant. This is not some half-assed movie either, something quickly cooked upped to cash in on an internationally acclaimed hit. This movie has heart, a swollen, blackened heart beating with putrescent awe and terrible beauty.

 

Amazon
image via Amazon

 

A few years ago Shriek Show was kind enough to releases an incredible 25th-anniversary edition of Lucio’s cult classic. This is the edition you’ll want to pick up if you’ve not seen the movie, love zombies, and have even the smallest bit of interest right now. To be honest this is my all-time favorite zombie film. Yup, even though I love Paw Paw Romero, Zombi 2 is my favorite out of all the great many zombie flicks to choose from. When asked why I always refer to one simple reason – this movie has everything I’d expect out of a zombie film. Lots of gore is a given, as well as actual visuals of the dead themselves rising from their graves. And these are rotting zombies too, so foul you can almost smell their ripe decay. Not to mention we get some pretty ladies running for their lives and heroes who don’t really stand a chance. This movie is chilling of its own accord and the slow pace build up is powerfully executed.

 

Mondo Digital.jpg

 

The one scene that stands out most to me – and if you know this movie you’ll probably already be guessing which one, but you’d be surprised to find you’re wrong – is what I call the’ zombie picnic’ scene (not the shark scene, although it’s also amazing). It’s just a scene featuring some zombies seated around a freshly dead victim. Her body is in oozing pieces. Blood is pooling everywhere and the living dead help themselves to the meaty morsels of her organs and muscles. Like I said it’s a great (and chilling) scene. One that takes a moment, hits pause on the action and just focuses on why we are afraid of zombies. We fear them because they feed off of us. Your spouse, your children, your best friend, should they die, will come back with a need to feed off of you. Or you, should you go first, will ultimately eat your own loved ones. That is the terror of zombies, that inescapable march to the grave, and not even the grave is safe anymore thanks to them. Weirdly it’s sometimes overlooked in so many other zombie movies.

 

The Series (?)

Now, wait, if we take this seriously, that would make Dawn of the Dead, Zombi 1. Sooo would that mean Night of the Living Dead is Zombi the Prequel? It’s kinda fun to let that be true. To imagine these movies are all connected. (And Disney tries to act like Marvel was first to do a shared universe)

There were follow up movies after Zombi 2 made its mark. We might get into those at a later time, but that’s going to be it for now. I hope you enjoyed our little visit with these flesh eating monstrosities. As always be sure to keep checking in to get all those warm thrills or eerie chills, all right here at Nightmare Nostalgia! I’m Manic Exorcism, and I bid you all farewell for now. Go while you still can, dearies. Hehehe.

That Random Car In the Title of ‘Tales From the Darkside’

One of my fondest memories from childhood was staying up late and watching the many glorious horror-themed shows late-night TV had to offer us back in the 80’s. My mom was pretty cool about that back then. I was no more than five and I still recall the greats I spent many nights watching. Twilight Zone, The Hitchhiker, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Unsolved Mysteries – just to name a few, and their themes still ring loud and clear in the shadowy halls of my memory.

One thing these spooktacular shows all shared was a riveting opening title accompanied by a haunting score. You all know what I’m talking about. The Twilight Zone sports a pivotal theme that remains timeless to this day. And who can deny the impact Danny Elfman’s immortal theme from Tales From the Crypt had on our generation? Remarkable!

All of that is to bring us to the subject at hand revolving around one of my favorite creepy shows, Tales From the Darkside!

From horror maestro himself, George Romero came this grizzly collection featuring beloved short horror tales from the mind of Clive Barker and other renowned writers of horror, Tales From the Darkside brought scary stories to life in various comeuppance morality tales.

The opening always gave me the chills as a kid. That eery as Hell music playing over visions of lovely fields, a country farmstead, a rippling brook and a covered bridge. Sights that should convey a welcoming sense of warmth and meditation, something the dark mind of Paw Paw Romero intentionally planned just so he could pull the rug out from underneath our feet. The sights change as the title is revealed and all of a sudden the pleasant world we have been introduced to is malformed into a sinister realm of shadows and dread, just like the genuine dark world which awaits behind the placid world we live in. Darkness is always just only one bad day away.

Right before the title shows, and I mean like a second or so before, we see in the bottom left corner a car that gets swallowed up in the Darkside. It never was anything I gave much of a thought to until an ex of mine mentioned the car was a blooper. Like it was a mistake and wasn’t supposed to be caught on film. Like while the studio was filming the opening shots some random car photobombed the process.

Funny, because I never once got that impression. I told her that too and explained how I always assumed the car was meant to be there. As if whatever family was in that car had just suddenly been sucked into the void. The idea startled her, because that’s how Hell works, right? One moment you’re out enjoying a lovely drive out in the countryside and the next the Darkside consumes you, your day, and possibly you’re entire life.

A flat tire lands you stranded in the middle of the shadowy woods where you can hear a distant banjo playing.

You’re out by yourself hoping to get some sun by the lake when local rapists come zooming by with oogly eyes all over your body.

The Wolfman Cometh
image via The Wolfman Cometh

You get a puzzle box and suddenly awaken the wonders of Hell.

You have a nightmare that lures the dream demon to your helpless state of mind.

That’s what horror has always been about! The normal and everyday world being consumed by the Darkside. That little car in the opening credits epitomizes what we love about horror. I don’t know who was in that car – and that’s part of the charm, it could be anyone of us in it – but I thank them for providing such a wonderful (but underrated) visual for us.

Ok my Nasties, this has been your good pal, Manic Exorcism once again. I’ll be back later to over-analyze even more things no one in their right mind would give a second thought to. But hey, that’s what we do here.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment below? Was it a simple photobomb, or perhaps there was something more sinister afoot?

 

 

 

Shout Factory Just Made My Day – ‘CREEPSHOW Collector’s Edition’ to be Released!

Welcome back my Nasties! Gather close and snuggle up with a corpse because we have some ghastly goodness to discuss. I’m your host, Manic Exorcism, and today I, once again, am being forced to bid farewell to some more hard-earned cash. That’s because our friends over at Shout Factory just gave us some of the best damn news ever, and frankly, I’m a bit shocked. Earlier today the team responsible for giving us some of the finest horror Blu-rays ever just announced that we will be getting a CREEPSHOW Collector’s Edition. It’s finally happening!

It’s about fucking time too! For the longest while, we had to settle for an inferior, bare-bones release of one of the most beloved horror titles of all time. CREEPSHOW is the pinnacle example of how a horror anthology should be done. Certainly, this movie wasn’t the very first horror anthology, but it’s certainly the favorite among many. It’s my personal favorite one.

 

amazon
image via Amazon

 

The masterminds over at Arrow Video did give us a brilliant release of CREEPSHOW 2, and I’m very happy with that edition. Nevertheless, I still wanted the set to be complete (CREEPSHOW 3 can eat shit and die because it doesn’t exist to me) and hoped to see the original movie (FINALLY) get a proper Blu-ray treatment.

The movie deserves it.

The fans deserve it.

Jordy Verrill gave his life to see this finally happen.

And by God, we’ve waited long enough!

“Romero and King have approached this movie with humor and affection, as well as an appreciation of the macabre.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

That’s the charm of this movie. It’s spooky fun, something modern horror needs to be reminded of.

No matter what kind of day you’re dealing with this movie will make you feel better.

Hollywood Reporter
image via Hollywood Reporter

It’s also something you can watch with your kids, just in case you’re wanting to raise them to be proper horror fanatics. It has everything! The dead rising from the grave,  Joe Hill getting the shit slapped out of his face, Leslie Nielsen being a dickhead to Ted Danson, and a drunk Adrienne Barbeau – this movie is fun for the whole family!

I’m curious to see what kind of Special Features we’re going to get with this one too. I’m really hoping it mirrors the UK DVD edition that came out a while ago. Regardless this is the Collector’s Edition and given Shout Factory’s past record I know we can expect some great things.

Preorders are limited right now, and they boast:

EXCLUSIVE LIMITED-EDITION OFFER FOR SHOUTFACTORY.COM – ONLY 1,500 AVAILABLE – INCLUDES:

A rolled 28.5” x 16.5” lithograph of the new slipcase art by Laz Marquez
A rolled 18” x 24” poster of an alternative art illustration by Laz Marquez
– Shoutfactory.com

 

https://www.shoutfactory.com/product/creepshow-collector-s-edition?product_id=6868

INTERVIEW-FU: Grab Your Tall Boys, Joe Bob Briggs Dishes on “THE LAST DRIVE-IN”

The devoted and demented believers of the drive-in oath have patiently awaited the triumphant return of Joe Bob Briggs since the cancellation of MonsterVision nearly twenty years ago, and thanks to Shudder, that patience is about to be rewarded.

The Drive-In Jedi is set for one last gig as television horror host when Shudder live streams The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs on July 13.

Before life comes to a screeching halt for that 24-hour marathon complete with blood, breasts and beasts, drive-in totals and, of course, the new mail girl, Nightmare Nostalgia had the opportunity to conduct an email interview with the man himself to discuss memorable guests, Briggs’ thoughts on “post-horror,” and the selection process for the big night.

And Joe Bob had us laughing before we even got to the first question, noting “First of all, Landon, I appreciate your doing this, even though being featured in Nightmare Nostalgia makes me a Retro Guy. Retro Guy is one step away from Lifetime Achievement Award, which is the last thing that happens before you go to that Vincent Price crematorium in East L.A..

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs will live stream on Friday, July 13 at 9 p.m. EST, only on Shudder.

Last Drive-In logoNIGHTMARE NOSTALGIA: Not unlike fans hounding Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell for more Evil Dead (which resulted in three seasons of Ash vs. Evil Dead), your followers had been clamoring for your triumphant return to television since MonsterVision came to an end at TNT. How did this 24-hour marathon come to pass, and why Shudder?

JOE BOB BRIGGS: Many clamor, but few have the key to an executive washroom at a TV network. Many producers, some of them quite mighty, have come to me over the years and proposed a new show, but it’s difficult to get people in television to repeat the past. After all, the show got canceled, there must have been a reason—or so goes the reasoning. (In my case the cancellation was caused by a re-branding of the network.) At any rate, one of those producers was Matt Manjourides, a Troma veteran who is also producing the final film of George Romero, and he approached me in the fall of 2017 and asked if he could promote a MonsterVision reboot to Shudder. I said yes, of course, as I always do, and promptly forgot about it. Then a Shudder executive showed up in New York, met us for lunch, and we were off and running with various ideas of how to do it. We eventually hit on the marathon idea, since fans of MonsterVision were accustomed to a long, unstructured show that kind of ran forever. (At TNT we had no restrictions on length or time, we just had to be finished by 6 a.m.) Hence The Last Drive-In, 24 hours, 13 movies on Friday the 13th, and actually it’s likely to run anywhere between 26 and 28 hours because I talk too much.

NN: Tell us about the selection process for the films. And can you tease any of the titles as appetizer?

JBB: Shudder has a library of about 600 titles, some of which are licensed for long periods, some not so long, and so the first pass through that library was made by myself and Austin Jennings, a South Carolina guy whose normal job is heading up post-production at MTV but he was hired by Matt to direct the marathon. Austin is eminently qualified as a) a pop culture maven, and b) an expert on MonsterVision. (He remembers things I did that I don’t remember doing.) I just marked all the titles that were either intriguing to me or the ones that had personal stories attached to them. (After all these years, I’ve met just about everyone.) Then we tried to make it a mix of classics, cult films, so-bad-they’re-goodies, etc. For example, Tourist Trap is an extremely odd supernatural slasher from 1979 that I’m very fond of, and I thought we could make an attempt to upgrade the film’s reputation. I will be talking about how star Chuck Connors’ plan to become “the modern Boris Karloff” didn’t work out, how director David Schmoeller’s innovative supernatural effects were the inspiration for the later “Puppetmaster” series, and how the performance of Tanya Roberts was completely eclipsed by less famous actresses. But mostly I’ll be talking about how it never should have flopped in the first place. Basket Case has always been one of my favorites, but I’ve never really told the story of how I helped save it from oblivion by sponsoring a world drive-in premiere in Dallas, an event that led to a lifelong friendship with Frank Henenlotter, the Greenwich Village mastermind horror director who calls himself –correctly– “a strange little man.” So the selection process was a combination of the personal and the curatorial, if I can be allowed to use that extremely fashionable but overused word.

NN: You haven’t enjoyed the luxury of unfettered “blood, breasts and beasts” since the days of Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater at The Movie Channel, so how excited are you that there won’t be any “edited for cable” restrictions for the films you’ll be presenting for Shudder?

JBB: Well, fortunately we’ve moved beyond the era of heavy-handed editing of horror films. I’m more worried about the breasts than the blood or the beasts. There seems a ridiculously heightened fear of nudity—especially female nudity—among  programmers, executives, anyone involved with television or streaming, and that’s a regression in a direction I could never have predicted. In a world where they’ve eliminated the bikinis in the Miss America pageant, nekkid bodies are considered “lewd” and gratuitous. We’re just three years away from the 400th anniversary of Plymouth Rock, and yes, the Puritans have never left us.

PiperNN: Over the years, you had special guests stop by to chat about pictures that you were presenting – Tom Savini, Roddy Piper, Linda Blair, and a particularly memorable conversation with Brad Dourif – so, aside from guests’ fear of filming-as-live, give us an exchange that, whether it shocked you or cracked you up, you just didn’t see coming. And who might drop by this coming Friday the 13th? Because we know it won’t be Ted Turner. 

JBB: Landon, you gotta go easy on me, that was an extremely complicated question and I’m a Retro Guy. By the way, that interview was not with Brad Dourif, it was with Chucky the Doll. But the most memorable interview, I would have to say, was Sally Kirkland, dressed in lingerie, and the two of us were in bed together—you may remember we had a bedroom in my set, and for this interview we were partially under the covers so you couldn’t see exactly how nekkid we were. And in the course of the interview Sally said something about sleeping with Moammar Quaddafi, but I wasn’t quite sure what she had said, so it was one of the rare times we stopped filming and I went back to her and said, “Sally, did you just say you had sex with the Libyan dictator?” And she never did quite answer the question but talked about doing her part for world peace. I was never sure with Sally because she tends to talk in these greats waterfalls of verbiage, run-on sentences that can end up confusing you. Gary Busey was another one. He forced me to stick my fingers into the giant dent in his skull so he could convince me that his motorcycle accident had altered his brain. And he was, of course, correct. As to the upcoming marathon, we programmed Sleepaway Camp so that I could bring on Felissa Rose, because I wanted to ask her some basic questions about gender confusion in that movie that, believe it or not, I don’t think have ever been properly addressed.

NN: You once shared frustration with critics who talk about dramas and thrillers with “horror elements,” and wondered why a horror movie couldn’t simply be a horror movie without qualifiers, so it’s clearly not a new issue, but with some suggesting that films like IT (2017), Get Out (2017), Hereditary and (2018) aren’t horror, however, we’re seeing it more and more. In fact, the term “post-horror” continues to surface, so why do you feel so many mainstream critics are so reluctant to offer a tip of the cap to the genre when executed exceptionally well?

JBB: I’m not exactly sure when academic jargon and elitist attitudes started taking over the field of horror criticism, but I hate it. I got a copy of a book on I Spit On Your Grave published by Columbia University Fucking Press. I have nothing against Carol Clover’s Men, Women and Chainsaws, published all those years ago. Carol is a Berkeley professor, which is about as elitist academic as you can get, but she was the first to explain how the transgender killer in slasher films allows the adolescent male to identify with a female heroine, and that single insight has helped to defend these movies against censorship. You mention Get Out. I loved it, but there was a completely ridiculous cover story in the New York Times Magazine essentially calling it the Citizen Kane of our times, and I was just “Really? You’re gonna ruin this one for us, too?” Thank god an out-and-out monster movie won the Academy Award this year, and Guillermo del Toro is not ashamed of calling it that. There’s no such thing as post-horror, just good horror and bad horror.

NN: Not to beat a dead horse about mainstream media, but the past few years have also found critics focusing on social commentary within the genre. Some proclaim such commentary has brought a depth to horror films that, to their thinking, hasn’t been there before. One need look no further than Frankenstein (1931) or George Romero’s Dead films or Saw VI (health insurance) and The Purge franchise of the recent past for societal analysis, so why does it appear acceptable that mainstream critics lack historical knowledge of horror?

JBB: Well, you’ve answered your own question. I would use another example. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was the first true counter-culture film, about the youth of America facing the darkness of the entrenched grown-up way of doing things. Leatherface vs. Sally, and neither of them win, they’re condemned to eternal strife. Without social context horror has no meaning at all, and so it’s kind of weird that they separate out the subtext and dredge it up to the surface and essentially disembowel the film when they talk about it. And after a hundred years they’re just discovering that—gasp!—Mary Shelley was a girl? Yawn.

Briggs podiumNN: You’re not shy about presenting your political viewpoints in your columns, and I have no intention of splitting our readers into red or blue allegiance right now, but I am very curious to gauge your thoughts on how you believe those in our nation can actually begin to converse and view one another as countrymen and women once again?

JBB: I grew up in Texas and Arkansas, but mostly in Arkansas, and whenever I would go home to visit, I would always run into slackers from my youth who had benighted opinions because they’d never traveled anywhere, and so I would say, “Cletis, you really have to go to Europe once in your life, or just go to New York or Chicago or something—you need to meet a few Yankees.” And then we’ve had this complete reversal in my lifetime, because Cletis is no longer the problem. The problem now is that both coasts have no clue about why their fellow Americans became dissatisfied. So today I would say, you people on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and you people in West Hollywood need to get your asses out to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and educate yourselves about the rest of the country. We can’t go on like this, too much hatred on both sides, and the reason I’m called “controversial” is that I often write about issues as a moderate—the guy in the middle—and everybody hates the guy in the middle. One way we can start loving each other is to start calling ourselves Americans again instead of giving ourselves narrow labels like conservative, progressive, black, white, Hispanic, gay, pro-life, whatever, like we’re constantly saying to one another, “Okay, here’s what I am, what the fuck are you?” We’re all Americans. Stop sending me those polls about my race, age, gender, whatever. Stop labeling.

NN: All right, that’s enough of the serious questions. Your glee could be felt through the screen when you presented The Legend of Boggy Creek, which has always left us wondering, of all the films you presented for MonsterVision, how many were you thrilled to talk about, and how many were a struggle to keep interesting?

JBB: The only films I ever had a problem with were the cynical ones, films that seemed to be made by guys who had a contempt for exploitation. The hollowness at their core—just a bunch of kill scenes strung together—make them no fun for anybody. But a film can be totally inept and yet be made with passion, an example being The Howling 7, the movie that killed the Howling franchise but then became a minor cult hit when we kept rerunning it.

NN: Walk us through the process of your host script for a single movie. Did you watch it before writing anything or simply go off of memory from having seen and reviewed it in the past? From start to finish, how much time did it take for you to have a script that was ready to shoot?

JBB: I always rewatch the movie, no matter how many times I’ve seen it, and of course I need the commercial-interruption time codes to know at which points I’ll be talking. It’s a little bit more fluid process than what you’re describing here. I might spend a day and a half deciding exactly what I want to say—I do a lot of background research, and in some cases I know the filmmakers so I have information from them—and then what I end up with is an outline that I can depart from as the situation arises. So two days per movie, but of course I’m doing other things during those two days. I also try to be loose enough to go totally off topic if that’s what will be the most entertaining option. We’re really getting into the weeds here. One reason I hate writers’ conferences is that a) writers are boring, and b) writers talking about writing is boring even to writers.

Briggs pumpkinNN: You once noted that Donald Pleasence made the Halloween movies work, so despite the absence of Dr. Loomis, there’s no way we can have this conversation without us picking your brain to get your impressions of Blumhouse’s return to Haddonfield, due October 19.

JBB: As you probably know, I don’t get too excited about remakes, sequels, or, in this case, a 40-years-later “reimagining.” I would assume that Loomis is dead and that there’s a new quasi-Loomis, but I don’t know anything about it except that there were three—count ‘em—three writers, so I have to assume it’s complicated.

NN: We know you have laughs in store for us, but dare we hope you eclipse your evisceration of the absurdity of Orca (1977)? Just a reminder of what I’m referring to, quoting you: Richard Harris then gets out his harpoon gun, misfires, wounds the female killer whale instead of the male, hauls it up on the ship, witnesses a whale miscarriage, then washes the dead fetus overboard like a heartless abortionist, causing mommy and daddy Orca to both roar like wounded jaguars. Daddy Orca is so mad that he jumps up and eats Keenan Wynn, then gives Richard Harris the big killer whale evil eye before he swims away, signaling ‘I’ll be back,’ with his bloody, wounded fin. Does that about sum it up? Wouldn’t want to exaggerate or anything.

JBB: Wow, you’re really dredging up the classics, aren’t you? And all this time I thought I would spend the rest of my life without ever having to think about Orca again.

NN: Finally, you busted out the Mountain Dew and Starbucks energy drinks for the Halloween dusk-till-dawn Friday the 13th marathon at TNT back in the day, so we have to know, will this Shudder marathon be highly caffeinated, or can we expect your coozie to contain Old Milwaukee Tall Boys?

JBB: We’re going with Lone Star for the full span. We’re sticking to the classics, on screen and off.

From Shudder’s press release for The Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs:

Characterized by an outrageous worldview and trademark “Drive-in Totals” lists, Joe Bob’s film critiques amassed a loyal fanbase through his long-running TV series Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater and, later, MonsterVision. For 14 years between the two shows, Joe Bob was the ultimate fan, a voice of authority with an unconventional, affable approach. Ahead of his time then, Joe Bob is now a legendary voice within the horror community, and THE LAST DRIVE-IN WITH JOE BOB BRIGGS reminds audiences of the host’s singular perspective on the genre.

THE LAST DRIVE-IN WITH JOE BOB BRIGGS is packed with 13 films curated to suit Joe Bob’s signature brand of color commentary. The following is a sneak peek of what’s in store for horror fans during Shudder’s exclusive programming event, with the rest of the line-up to be announced in the coming weeks:

  • Tourist Trap (July 13) Five friends are hunted by a creepy killer after stopping to visit a roadside museum in this slasher that counts Stephen King as one of its biggest fans. After car trouble, the doomed group goes to visit an odd attraction filled with eerie mannequins that seem to be alive. Tourist Trap is an off-kilter thriller that will have you rethinking any stops on your next road trip.

 

  • Sleepaway Camp (July 13) Angela Baker, a traumatized and very shy young girl, is sent to summer camp with her cousin. Shortly after her arrival, campers and counselors meet their ends in a series of grisly murders. This bloody “who done it” features a shock ending that stands the test of time.

 

  • Basket Case (July 14) In a tale of revenge with a demented twist, a young man and his basket-bound, hideously deformed twin brother seek vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.

“Joe Bob is a horror icon and raconteur whose signature wit and insightful commentary entertained viewers for 14 years on TV,” said Craig Engler, general manager of Shudder. “We’re delighted to bring him back for this exclusive Shudder event where new fans can discover him, and old fans can rediscover him, as he takes on some of the greatest low-budget horror movies ever made.”

Shudder members will be encouraged join the conversation with Shudder’s Twitter account @Shudder during the marathon, which will include special guests, surprises, and prizes for participation.

Other initiatives centered around THE LAST DRIVE-IN WITH JOE BOB BRIGGS include an upcoming Reddit AMA on July 10th, as well as screenings hosted by Joe Bob at the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn, NY on July 11th and the Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas, TX on July 12th.

START YOUR FREE 7-DAY TRIAL AT Shudder.com.

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube: @shudder

 

 

Eibon Press and the Future-Past of Horror Comics!

It’s time to crack open the forbidden tomes of Eibon, faithful followers. Here we bid a long farewell to our flesh. Beyond this point, there shall be no return. The mind will melt and the soul filleted as such oozing spectacles assault our vision from the Beyond.  Forsake ye all hopes for a restful grave at the sure ending of life, because a hideous power, one of wickedness and dread, this way quickly comes. Eibon has been reopened forthwith ushering us into fresh circles of Hell.

 

. . . The Book of Eibon, that strangest and rarest of occult forgotten volumes … is said to have come down through a series of manifold translations from a prehistoric original written in the lost language of Hyperborea.
—Clark Ashton Smith, “Ubbo-Sathla”

 

Eibon Press is proving themselves to be the unrelenting future of horror comics. With a lethal eye trained for macabre details, they are undoubtedly the undisputed masters of their craft. By blending gruesome art with fiendish tales they masterfully weave new layers of terror into some of our most cherished exploitation films and cult classics, thus ensuring their secured place in horror history.

 

EPFbP 1
image via Eibon Press Facebook Page

 

Horror naturally prospers in comic book form, mainly because the MPAA can’t step in with their bitchy attitudes and erase away any sight of blood, guts or sexuality that might make them blush with a bad case of the vapors. Many of our favorite horror franchises have suffered needlessly beneath the rigorous afflictions of uptight censorship, thus ruining some perfectly good horror movie opportunities in terms of those messy little meaty details. Friday the 13th, at least the later films, were systematically abused by the righteous endeavors of the MPAA. Luckily, the grimy halls of comic books are unspoiled by such convictions and their haunted halls are rife with maniacs who freely kick down our doors, raise their chipped hatchets and cleave our puny good sensibilities into a bloody and gurgling pulp.

 

Eipbon Press
image via Eibon Press

 

Now, if you’ve had a chance to read anything from Avatar Press – I’m thinking especially Wormwood, but especially Crossed – or just about anything by Garth Ennis, you’ll know immediately what I mean here. Comic books are not safe, and woe to any who thinks differently. No one who appears in such macabre volumes shall be spared. Their eyes will melt and their flesh decay, no one, not even our most beloved of heroes, are safe beneath the ink of those given to this expression of Art. These writers and artists will not hesitate to shove us down and kick our teeth in.  Oh no, horror comics are not safe, and they never should be.

 

EPFbP 4
image via Eibon Press Facebook Page

 

This is an unshakable fact Eibon Press knows about very, very well. In the hands of these master sadists, the Art has taken a new form in order to distribute the Evangelium of terror. To gross someone out is honestly not in the least bit complicated, and believe me, many have (failingly) attempted to gain an audience by simply defiling their readers’ eyes through shocking gross-outs. But to craft an engaging story, to make the Art come to life, to beget something that will continue in the minds of their audience long after the reader puts away the book is only a thing masters of the craft can accomplish.  It takes truly insidious talent to breathe something into existence that invades our normal everyday lives, plaguing us with visceral images and ghoulish scenes we won’t soon forget. Not just anybody can achieve this level of the Art. Junji Ito is able to do this effortlessly and has been my reigning favorite horror artist until I met with Eibon Press and witnessed what they have to offer.

Just like horror movies have many genres, the same is equally true of horror comics. In the case of Eibon Press, they’ve skillfully dominated the sodden field of exploitation experiences. Be it a grimy alleyway with dripping echoes of sweltering lust and shame, perhaps the humid gates of everlasting Hell, or a restless cemetery where the rotting dead rise out of the mire and mold – Eibon Press depicts some wonderfully dreadful landscapes you will traverse once you crack open their pages. Violence awaits and there will be no turning back once you enter. It is a horror fan’s paradise.

 

Eibon press
image via Eibon Press

 

They make gritty somehow beautiful. Ascetically brilliant, they make full use of color to accentuate the full volume of gore at hand. I can guarantee gore hounds will not be disappointed! And as for tone, well this is like the equivalent of your favorite death metal albums in illustrated form. There will be slaughter and lots of blood.

But all is not just blood, guts and eroticism. These guys are better than that and build upon plot and focus on the characters who must face all the horrors Hell has to offer. If you think this is just an-all out splatterfest…well, you’d be correct! It gets very sticky as you turn the pages, but I assure you it’s the stories they’ve released that will keep you turning those pages.

Eibon Press specializes in embellishing upon the beloved cult classics of Lucio Fulci, and I love them for that! I’ve always been a Fulci fan so I approached these comics with a critical eye. I was not disappointed, but very much the opposite. I was impressed by how much love and care they handled the material with. It didn’t take long to realize these guys love Fulci’s work as much as I do.

 

EPFbP
image via Eibon Press Facebook Page

 

I did say they embellish on the stories. For example, when reading Gates of Hell (City of the Living Dead) we get a lot more details of the evil priest who hangs himself at the beginning of the movie. With the use of some good narrative, the team gives us a fuller and broader story to the lores we already love and know. If you think you know everything there is to know about Zombi, think again. There is so much more to glean from that vicious story, and with the comic Zombie, Eibon proves this to be true. For example, you know how Zombi 2 ends? Well, Eibon extends the story and takes us right into the chaotic-strewn streets of the city. Put on your big boy pants because it just keeps getting more and more savage.

In case that’s already not enough to have you ready to order their entire line of comics, let me tempt you even further. In their epic Gates of Hell title, not only is Eibon giving us the hellish story of City of the Living Dead, but this is only the start of the Saga of the 7 Gates line. A series that begins with CotLD and will involve both The Beyond and House By the Cemetery, mummy! And I’m pretty sure Bob won’t be anywhere near as annoying in comic form as that little shit was in the movie. “Mummy, I see a girl in the window, Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”

Ok I got it out of my system. That fucking voice though! Screw you, Bob!

They have also adapted both Maniac and Laserblast into comic form. Laserblast, people! I never in my sickest fever dreams would have ever expected that to be a comic storyline! Oh, you’re uninitiated into the silliness of Laserblast. Here, check this out.

 

 

Isn’t that just glorious? Only diehard fans of horror would take the time to adapt a movie this spectacularly cheesy into an art form and share it so a new generation may discover it. And after a speaking with these guys, I know they are indeed fans of the genre.

As a bonus feature for both of these (Maniac and Laserblast) you can get a truly unique VHS sleeve. Oh, that’s another thing, not only are we treated to some of the best gore in comics today, but, just like any great DVD release, we are also given loads of bonus content with every comic purchase. Bookmarks, fliers, collectible cards and (in some cases) music tracks. Yeah, they give codes for exclusive music content relating to the comics. When’s the last time Marvel did that? These guys treat the fans!

I can’t kiss the publisher’s ass enough. And no, I didn’t get a special deal from them. I’m still paying full price plus shipping, and that’s fine by me. I’m just a fan who wants everyone else to know what they’ve been missing. So let’s hurry up and fix it.

 

The Dead Walk
image via The Dead Walk

 

Eibon also has a totally original run called Bottomfeeder which is as pretty as a truckstop outhouse. That’s not a criticism either. It’s a story set in the 80’s and features some all-time favorite cult faces who regularly make cameos throughout the story. You can call it detectivesploitation as our asshole anti-hero is set against Roger Corman’s Humanoids From the Deep. Holy shit! Just typing that line was exciting.

 

Eibon Press Facebook Page 2
image via Eibon Press Facebook Page

 

These guys go for the jugular and never apologize for it. These are wickedly dangerous comics and you’ll need your manliest pair of britches to get into them, but you will not regret it. Fair warning these are in no way safe for work or around kids. There is explicit nudity in them all. And if child death affects you I would advise you stay away. Like in any good Fulci film kids are known to get a bad case of dead here.

 

Eibon Press 2
image via Eibon Press

 

Out of all the horror comics to choose from out there these guys are my absolute favorite. You cannot find these titles in stores, however, so be sure to visit their website here and don’t be scared to buy. Already Zombie is in its third printing and sells out like mad. Pretty sure I’ll be doing a review of that run fairly soon.

I’ve been talking with Eibon on the possibility of there being a Madman comic, and the idea is out there. So fingers crossed.

This has been Manic Exorcism once again hoping you stay scared and dare to open these forbidden Gates and unleash a little Hell.

 

 

The Office, Horror Digs Deeper than John Krasinski

So John Kransinki’s A Quiet Place raked in over $50 million in its initial weekend, further solidifying the horror revolution that we’ve enjoyed for more than two years. Kransinski was so effective as a father doing all he could to protect his children and pregnant wife, that it occurred to me that Jim Halpert was not the only alumnus of The Office to make a dent in the world of horror.

Here are just a few who’ve also made a lasting impression.

RAINN WILSON

“Question.” No one was as painfully and rudely inappropriate as Dwight K. Schrute, nor could any inhabitant of the Dunder Mifflin branch irritate Michael Scott quite like our favorite beet farmer. Well, maybe Andy. That said, the fact that the Assistant to the Regional Manager’s queries never came to an end, it was altogether fitting that what made Wilson’s appearance in House of 1000 Corpses so memorable (and ultimately sealed his doom), was that his curiosity could not be quenched.

KATHY BATES

She rode in as Jo Bennett,  a no-nonsense southern belle, which wasn’t exactly in keeping with the shenanigans of Scranton, but American Horror Story aside, we’ll never have the capability to see Bates and not think about Annie Wilkes. Don’t get us wrong, Bates’ brilliance allows her to fully embody any role she chooses, but her turn as Paul Sheldon’s biggest fan was, well, a sledgehammer.

LESLIE DAVID BAKER

Let’s face it, Stanley’s monotone aggression and disdainful glances were part of his charm, but every day cannot be pretzel day. At first glance, about the best we could do was note that Baker appeared in an episode of Key & Peele. As we all know, Jordan Peele’s Get Out provided us with the most important horror film since George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), but this isn’t six degrees of Kevin Bacon, so instead, let’s turn to Dwight’s display with the CPR mannequins, because no one was more terrified of that Lecter moment than Stanley.

CRAIG ROBINSON

Big man admitted that he’d be upset if he didn’t at least get a bite of the Milky Way in This is the End, but no one who’s seen Tragedy Girls can say that they A) didn’t absolutely adore the Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp-helmed hit, or B) elicit a squeal upon seeing Robinson on-screen pumping iron and rallying the community.

JENNA FISCHER

Pam’s relationship with Jim felt so real that it has become the goal of everyone who desires to live the dream. The foundation of that love was achieved whilst Fischer sat at her desk taking calls and conspiring with Halpert to mess with Dwight, so it’s rather perfect that Fischer rocked a phone headset as a bunch of creepy crawlers entered the equation in Slither. And don’t call her Pammie.

giphy

TIMOTHY OLYPHANT

Brief though his appearance as Danny Cordray was, Olyphant is part of The Office universe, and as such, we can look past David, the heroic cop in Romero’s The Crazies (2011), and instead revel in his crazy stance that Ewoks blew in Scream 2.

IDRIS ELBA

Charles Miner couldn’t determine what would motivate The Office’s workforce, but for our purposes here, let’s look past his appearance as Roland in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, and instead take pride in the fact that Elba appeared in the Prom Night (2008) remake, as well 28 Weeks Later. And if we could go back to Fischer for a moment, “how do you confuse 28 Days with 28 Days Later?”

STEVE CARELL

In case you’d forgotten.

Arrow Video March Releases Include 30th Anniversary Edition of “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” and Much More!

Sure it might be nice outside, but those damn Spring allergies may just prompt for a day indoors cuddled up with a favorite horror movie. If that sounds like it could be you, the ever-so-awesome Arrow Video has you covered with a FANTASTIC March collection of retro horror releases that are sure to soothe that pollen-induced headache. Including, a newly restored version of the 80’s cult favorite, Killer Klown From Outer Space!

 

From Arrow Video:

Donnie Darko

Release date: 3/6/18

Fifteen years before Stranger Things combined science-fiction, Spielberg-ian touches and 80s nostalgia to much acclaim, Richard Kelly set the template – and the high-water mark – with his debut feature, Donnie Darko. Initially beset with distribution problems, it would slowly find its audience and emerge as arguably the first cult classic of the new millennium. Donnie is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days 06 hours 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank’s maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum. Described by its director as “The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick”, Donnie Darko combines an eye-catching, eclectic cast – pre-stardom Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, heartthrob Patrick Swayze, former child star Drew Barrymore, Oscar nominees Mary McDonnell and Katherine Ross, and television favourite Noah Wyle – and an evocative soundtrack of 80s classics by Echo and the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran. This brand-new 4K restoration, carried out exclusively for this release by Arrow Films, allows a modern classic to finally receive the home video treatment it deserves.

Bonus Materials

  • Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release supervised and approved by director Richard Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster
  • Original 5.1 audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary by writer-director Richard Kelly and actor Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Audio commentary by Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick and actors Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross and James Duval
  • Brand-new interviews with Richard Kelly and others
  • The Goodbye Place, Kelly’s 1996 short film, which anticipates some of the themes and ideas of his feature films
  • Twenty deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by Kelly
  • Trailer

Donnie Darko

 

The Crazies

Release date: 3/13/18

After the experimental outings of There’s Always Vanilla and Season of the Witch, Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero returned to rather more distinct horror territory with his 1973 infection opus The Crazies. When a plane carrying a secret biological weapon crash-lands in the vicinity of a small, rural town, the area descends into chaos. Infected with a virus that sends them into a homicidal frenzy, the locals turn on each other in an orgy of bloody violence. As the army cordons off the town and government agents clash with scientists over the appropriate course of action, a small band of survivors attempts to make their way to safety. Starring cult icon Lynn Lowry (Shivers, I Drink Your Blood), the influence of Romero’s The Crazies can be felt in everything from the director’s own subsequent work – many commentators have noted the stylistic and thematic similarities to his zombie classic Dawn of the Dead – right up to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and beyond.

Bonus Materials

  • Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Mono Uncompressed PCM Audio
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford
  • Romero Was Here: Locating The Crazies – Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz takes us on a guided tour of Evans City, PA and the locations used in The Crazies
  • Crazy for Lynn Lowry – cult star Lynn Lowry discusses her early career including her role in The Crazies
  • Q&A with Lynn Lowry filmed at the 2016 Abertoir Film Festival
  • Audio interview with producer Lee Hessel
  • Behind-the-scenes footage with optional commentary by Lawrence DeVincentz
  • Alternate Opening Titles
  • Image Galleries
  • Trailers & TV Spots
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx’

Crazies, The

 

Season of the Witch

Release date: 3/13/18

Perhaps the most unclassifiable of filmmaker George A. Romero’s works, 1972’s Season of the Witch sees the Night of the Living Dead filmmaker returning to the realm of the supernatural for this bewitching tale of a housewife driven to an interest in the dark arts. On the surface, Joan Mitchell has it all – family, friends, and a beautiful home equipped with all the latest appliances. But when a neighbor educates her on the practice of witchcraft, Joan believes she’s discovered the perfect antidote to her monotonous suburban existence and embarks upon a dark path that will lead to a shocking conclusion. Filmed as Jack’s Wife and subsequently cut down and retitled Hungry Wives for its theatrical release in an attempt to market it as a sexploitation film, Season of the Witch is arguably one of Romero’s most overlooked films – an intimate and thought-provoking character study that serves as the perfect companion piece to his later Martin.

Bonus Materials

  • Brand new 4K restoration of the original theatrical version from the camera negative [90 mins]
  • Alternate extended version [104 mins]
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Uncompressed PCM Mono Audio
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford
  • When Romero Met Del Toro – filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro in conversation with George Romero
  • The Secret Life of Jack’s Wife – archive interview with actress Jan White
  • Alternate Opening Titles
  • Location Gallery with audio commentary by Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz
  • Memorabilia Gallery
  • Trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

Season Of The Witch

 

There’s Always Vanilla

Release date: 3/13/18

Available for the first time on Blu-ray, Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero’s second feature film, There’s Always Vanilla – a biting satire of early ’70s American society and an unjustly overlooked entry in the late director’s filmography. When young drifter Chris meets beautiful model Lynn by a chance occurrence, the pair hit it off and a romantic relationship ensues. But with their wildly contrasting outlooks on life, it soon becomes clear that the coupling is doomed from the outset. Starring Judith Streiner (born Judith Ridley) from Night of the Living Dead and Ray Laine, who would go on to appear in Romero’s next film, Season of the Witch, There’s Always Vanilla is a unique entry in the director’s canon and one that’s ripe for reappraisal.

Bonus Materials

  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Uncompressed PCM Mono Audio
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford
  • Affair of the Heart: The Making of There’s Always Vanilla – brand new documentary featuring interviews with producers John Russo and Russell Streiner, stars Judith Streiner and Richard Ricci, and sound recordist Gary Streiner
  • Digging Up the Dead – The Lost Films of George A. Romero – archive interview with Romero discussing his early films There’s Always Vanilla and Season of the Witch
  • Location Gallery with audio commentary by Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz
  • Memorabilia Gallery
  • Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

There

 

Killer Klowns From Outer Space

Release date: 3/27/18

Step aside Pennywise… These Killer Klowns from Outer Space are outta this world – literally! – and they’re packing deadly popcorn guns and cotton candy cocoons! When Mike and his girlfriend Debbie warn the local police that a gang of homicidal alien-clowns has landed in the nearby area (in a spaceship shaped like a circus big-top, no less), the cops are naturally skeptical. Before long, however, reports are coming in from other anxious residents detailing similar run-ins with the large-shoed assailants. There can no longer be any doubt – the Killer Klowns from Outer Space are here, and they’re out to turn the Earth’s population into candy floss! Written and produced by the Chiodo brothers – knowns for their work on a host of special-effects-laden hits such as Team America: World Police and the Critters movies – Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a cinematic experience unparalleled in this galaxy, now newly restored by Arrow Video for this stellar edition.

Bonus Materials

  • Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Newly remastered stereo 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio options
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Archive audio commentary with the Chiodo Brothers
  • Let the Show Begin! Anatomy of a Killer Theme Song – an all-new interview with the original members of the American punk band, The Dickies
  • The Chiodos Walk Among Us: Adventures in Super 8 Filmmaking – an all-new documentary highlighting the making of the Chiodo Brothers childhood films, from the giant monster epics made in their basement to their experiments in college
  • New HD transfers of the complete collection of the Chiodo Brothers 8mm and Super 8 films, including Land of Terror, Free Inside, Beast from the Egg, and more!
  • Tales of Tobacco – an interview with star Grant Cramer
  • Debbie’s Big Night – an interview with star Suzanne Snyder
  • Bringing Life to These Things – a tour of Chiodo Bros. Productions
  • The Making of Killer Klowns – archive production featurette
  • Visual Effects with Gene Warren Jr. – archive interview with co-writer/producer Charles Chiodo and visual effects supervisor Gene Warren Jr.
  • Kreating Klowns – archive interview with Charles Chiodo and creature fabricator Dwight Roberts
  • Komposing Klowns – archive interview with composer John Massari
  • Klown Auditions
  • Deleted Scenes with filmmaker’s audio commentary
  • Bloopers
  • Image galleries
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck

Killer Klowns From Outer Space

 

Robert Altman’s Images

Release date: 3/20/18

The early seventies were a period of remarkable activity for Robert Altman, producing masterpiece after masterpiece. At the time he came to make Images, MASH and McCabe & Mrs. Miller were behind him, with The Long Goodbye, California Split, and Nashville still to come. Originally conceived in the mid-sixties, Images concerns a pregnant children’s author (Susannah York, who won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival) whose husband (Rene Auberjonois) may or may not be having an affair. While on vacation in Ireland, her mental state becomes increasingly unstable resulting in paranoia, hallucinations, and visions of a doppelgänger. Scored by an Oscar-nominated John Williams, with “sounds” by Stomu Yamash’ta (The Man Who Fell to Earth), Images also boasts the remarkable cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Bonus Materials

  • Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original English mono audio (uncompressed LPCM) soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Audio commentary by Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger
  • Scene-select commentary by writer-director Robert Altman
  • Interview with Robert Altman
  • Brand new interview with actor Cathryn Harrison
  • An appreciation by musician and author Stephen Thrower
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Carmen Gray and an extract from Altman on Altman

Robert Altman

 

SACHA GUITRY: FOUR FILMS 1936-1938 LIMITED EDITION

Release date: 3/27/18

Four Films 1936-1938 brings together a quartet of 1930s features by Sacha Guitry, the celebrated French filmmaker, playwright and actor of the stage and screen, each based on his earlier works. Indiscretions (Le Nouveau testament) follows a holier-than-though physician who is scuppered by his own hypocrisy. My Father Was Right (Mon père avait raison) tells off a man who, after being left by his wife for another man, raises his son to be wary of women. Let’s Dream (Faisons un rêve…) is another story of mistrust, between husband, wife and lovers. And the history of one of France’s most famous streets is retold in Up the Champs-Élysées (Remontons les Champs-Élysées), featuring multiple performances from Guitry himself. Available for the first time on Blu-ray this set presents some of Guitry’s earliest and most enjoyable works.

Bonus Materials

  • Limited Edition Dual Format Collection [2000 copies]
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original French mono audio (uncompressed LPCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Two French television documentaries: Cinéastes de Notre temps: Sacha Guitry (1965) and Thèmes et variations du cinéma: Guitry (1967)
  • An interview with Guitry from the 1959 television series Magazine du théâtre
  • 60-page limited edition book featuring new writing on the films

Sacha Guitry: Four Films 1936-1938 Limited Edition [Blu-ray + DVD]

 

ERIK THE CONQUEROR (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Release date: 3/9/18

Arrow Records proudly presents the original soundtrack to Mario Bava’s swashbuckling epic of treachery, heroism and forbidden love, Erik the Conqueror! Previously unpublished on vinyl, Roberto Nicolosi’s rousing film score evokes romance and adventure with a selection of compelling and varied musical cues that truly bring Bava’s Viking spectacle to life. This limited, translucent yellow, double-vinyl edition has been newly mastered from the original analog tapes by James Plotkin and is presented on 180-gram wax, housed inside a 350gsm sleeve. Featuring newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys and accompanying film notes by Tim Lucas.

Erik The Conqueror (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

 

DEATH WALKS ON HIGH HEELS (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Release date: 3/9/18

Arrow Records proudly present the original soundtrack to Luciano Ercoli’s sexy, stylish giallo Death Walks on High Heels. Scored and conducted by Stelvio Cipriani, a prolific and underrated composer who worked across a variety of genres with directors including Sergio Martino, Jose Larraz, and Mario Bava, Death Walks is a majestic giallo soundtrack combining jarring, staccato suspense themes with luxurious lounge jazz arrangements. This limited, translucent red double-vinyl edition has been newly mastered from the original analog tapes by James Plotkin and is presented on 180gram wax, housed inside a 350gsm sleeve. Featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx and accompanying film notes by Lovely Jon.

Death Walks On High Heels (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

 

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT by Russell Gomm (Book)
Release Date: 3/20/18
As the Millennium approached, horror was becoming an unusual commodity. Low budget horror films flooded the home video market while their big budget counterparts took hold at the box office. It seemed that a balance could not be found that would please everyone. In the final months of 1999, horror was saved by a film that became a turning point in many aspects – including film production, film marketing, and film distribution. One film was a revelation of cinema which shook the world at the time and created such panic and fear that the effects of the film can still be felt today. Film-maker Russ Gomm takes a look at the phenomena of The Blair Witch Project through the eyes of a fan who was captivated by the unusual promotional strategy that led up to the release. This book takes a trip back in time to the 1990s to uncover the history of the production of the film including a unique making of and its path to success. Through conversations with fellow fans, filmmakers, and other industry professionals, the book also examines the lasting effect that this seminal film had on not only the audiences but the film industry itself and indeed the future of the horror genre. Cover illustration: Peter Strain.
Russell Gomm - The Blair Witch Project

 

Happy Dirty 30! The 15 Best Horror Films From 1988

Call me an old dried up fart-face, but it’s just so hard to accept that the legion of films we’re about to dive into, turn the dirty 30 this year. However, here we are in 2018 and our beloved movies first discovered by young horror fans at our local corner video store, are hitting a major anniversary milestone- and I’m a throwing a party for these glorious horror classics.

The wonderful years of ‘86 and ‘87 are pretty much unanimously considered from all of us, important years for the horror genre. Churning out such classics such as The Fly and Hellraiser throughout those time periods, paved the way for another banner year for horror fans in 1988; giving us a ridiculously awesome amount of films that still manage to give us cinematic boners thirty years later.

Speaking from the gut here, the year of ‘88 may just be one of the greatest years for the genre unofficially dubbed the “Slasher Decade”. From the beautifully constructed sequel to the above- mentioned Hellraiser, to the introduction of one of horror’s greatest tiny terrors in the form of a plastic doll, these movies filled our little horror hearts with all the fuzzies. For some even, opened up the door to the wonderful world of horror cinema upon seeing the hypnotizing VHS artwork that lined the horror shelves. Because as we know, video rental stores were all the jazz in this era and served as our savior from the word of mouth for the next cool movie to check out. So without further adieu, let’s retro rewind back to 1988 and look at some of the year’s best and brightest of horror!

 

15. “Night of the Demons”

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Night of the Demons is universally well-known among horror fans, especially from this tubular decade. Even if you haven’t seen this gem, you sure as hell remember that unforgettable VHS cover art from the video rental horror shelf. Hell, it’s what prompted me to rent the damn thing as a kid. Anyway, I feel like this delicious slice of cheesy horror isn’t mentioned nearly enough. So on the list this Linnea Quigley masterpiece goes!

Demons mixes up the perfect blend of dark humor and campy horror the ‘80s era is known to churn out. Night of the Demons pulls off this combo so well that it’s almost like the perfect example of a classic ‘80s genre film that we’ve see parodied over and over again. (Like the countless titles involving the fantastic word massacre). We have a basic set-up of a bunch of teens partying it up on Halloween night at, well, of course, a funeral parlor-duh. Because nothing bad can come of that in a horror movie, right? Even better, they perform a séance and a glorious chase between humans and demons ensues throughout the movie. Also worth mentioning is the movie’s kick-ass soundtrack which holds one of my favorite intro instrumentals of any ‘80s horror film. Give that one a listen sometime!

 

14. “Maniac Cop”

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If you can’t appreciate this little 1988 treasure starring the man, the myth, the mustache, Tom Atkins and equally legendary Bruce Campbell, I don’t think I want to know you- period. The movie even has the cheesiest and greatest self-titled rap song that can only rival Fat Boys’ “Are You Ready for Freddy” tune. If that alone doesn’t sell you off the bat, nothing further will so just skip this entry entirely.

In a sort of twisted Toxic Avenger/ Robocop mash-up, a no funny business cop is sent to jail on, really a minor technicality, and is mercilessly beaten to death (or so we think anyway) by the housed inmates he had sent there. A little private justice inmate style if you will. After being moved from the cell to the morgue, enter the king of chins Bruce and a dead wife that has been pinned on him. Along with a fair amount of strange murders of both criminals and innocents alike. Well, the Bruce is an adamant one and sets out to prove his innocence beyond reasonable doubt. And finds an old, thought to be dead colleague now a vengeful disfigured nutbag, behind the murders. Beautiful, isn’t it?

 

13. “Phantasm 2”

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Plainly speaking, I’m not a huge fan of the whole Phantasm franchise. (Cut me some slack, we all have different tastes.) However, if I were to choose only one from the series to watch, Phantasm 2 would most definitely be the winner.

Continuing with returning characters Mike and Reggie, Phantasm 2 picks up several years later with Mike institutionalized on the belief that the events in the first film were nothing short of his own wild imagination. Oh, if only it were that simple Mike. After being released from the asylum and reunited with Reggie, the pair embark on a journey that leads them straight to the forever now iconic, Tall Man. And if you know anything about the Phantasm movies, you know damn well it’s time to get weird- and it sure does. But in the greatest of ways.  

Almost ten years later and a larger budget the second time around, the effects gave away a greater nightmarish look to those epic, murderous spheres. Which I think we can all appreciate.  Aside from the elevated effects, Angus Scrimm is the glue that holds it all together with his snarlish expressions and the feeling of uneasiness in his presence as the Tall Man. What a legend and is still sorely missed by us all.

 

12. “Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear”

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Infamous for his zombie films, George Romero gave us something different, and quite special in 1988- Ella the homicidal monkey. Also, goddamn if this one isn’t underrated and not talked about nearly enough. This adorable little monkey was absolutely terrifying and I frigging love it.

 

Ella is brought about when an athlete turned quadriplegic due to an accident, needs some help with daily duties and a little-added cheer in his now forever changed life. Enter Ella, an experimental monkey injected with human brain tissue turned service monkey. At first, the pair are actually adorable as hell. They really seem to take a shine to each other. However, Ella’s infatuation with her human friend takes a dark turn into some Marky Mark Fear type jealousy and she becomes a homicidal ball of fur and cuteness. She might be batshit insane, but she’s  pinch-the-cheeks delightful doing it. Which makes the idea that much more terrifying. She’s even adorable when she takes an angry piss on her once master and he calls her, “a slime” Actually, I laughed pretty damn hard at that.

 

11. “Waxwork”

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Ok, seriously: Fuck Madame Tussaud’s. Let’s hit up a Waxwork!

Imagine stepping into your favorite monster’s world. What would you do, and are you even prepared for it? Waxwork answers these questions for a couple of college students, (Zach Galligan-Gremlins, and Deborah Foreman- April Fool’s Day) among the crew. The six friends visit a Waxwork exhibit run by none other than David Warner (The Omen) that displays some iconic horror wax figures in all its glory. However, this magical house of wax can also give you a run for your money and life if you step inside one of the displays. You’ll end up in your favorite monster’s world and possibly become a part of it forever in the form of wax.

1988’s Waxwork is campy fan service entertainment at its damn finest and should be treated as such. If you love the classics Night of the Living Dead, Dracula, and Frankenstein, it’s kind of hard not to crack a satisfied smile during a viewing of Waxwork. Sure, it’s no masterpiece, but I dare you not to have some fuzzy feelings towards it after a watch. It just makes you feel you damn good about being a horror fan.

 

10. “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers”

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1988 brought about the much-anticipated return of a horror icon from a seven-year hiatus, and after a foul outcry from fans who were pretty displeased with Season of the Witch. Welp, studios gave in and resurrected Mikey from the dead to unleash hell in Haddonfield once more. And although I have no issues with Halloween III personally, (in fact I frigging love it), I’m forever glad The Return happened as well.

The Return brings a once vegetable Myers awaken by the mere utter of the word “niece” and back to Haddonfield to finish off his one remaining family member. We get another dose of Donald Pleasance back as the ever-persistent hunter of Myers, and we’re introduced to one of today’s modern scream queens, Danielle Harris as Michael’s niece. It doesn’t hold that same type of magic as the original two sister films, but has its own spark of charm that has kept it a fan favorite with Halloween fans.

It may not be everyone’s favorite chapter of the life and times of Myers; but in between the Autumn essence of those beautiful opening credits that continues its feel throughout the film and Reverend Jackson P. Sayer, lies a pretty damn good sequel to the Halloween films.

 

9. “The Blob”

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Not everyone loves a remake of a true classic. But, in the tradition of The Thing and The Fly, once again a cinematic remake proves that it can be better than the original. Chuck Russell’s The Blob not only is superior to the 1958 sci-fi film, but more grotesque and memorable as well. Russell deserves all the praise here guys. Think about it for a second; how the hell do you take a campy B-Movie monster that looks like a mound of Jell-O and make it scary as fuck? Throw in some horrific death scenes at the hands of the Blob, have it swallow a child, and fling some body parts around the screen. Also, instead of using the “it came from outer space” gimmick, the thing was a government biological experiment. Which sort of makes it that much more horrifying. As the saying goes, “No beast on land, sea, or in the air is more dangerous than the man who rules the land.”

With a pre-Saw Shawnee Smith and Kevin Dillon taking on the ever-growing eater of children and star quarterbacks, The Blob is a gruesome step-up from its predecessor. There are a few cheese moments that take away from the more serious tone of this version. Like for example, Meg (Smith) shouting one-liners at the blob with a machine gun in hand. But hey, it’s the ‘80s. A slice of cheese is to be expected and especially when dealing with a man-eating, two-ton wad of Bill Cosby endorsed dessert.

 

8. “Friday the 13th 7: The New Blood”

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The seventh chapter of The Friday series brings about super zombie Jason and the man who breathed new life into the Crystal Lake slasher, Kane Hodder. Which makes The New Blood something really special when you look at the bigger picture. You can easily pick apart Hodder’s Jason from all others who have played the icon.His deep breaths, the menacing stance plus the way he moves around, make Hodder’s portrayal the most memorable, and a favorite among us fans. This being the first time Hodder slipped on the hockey mask, makes for a monumental moment in horror history indeed.  

The New Blood introduces us to Tina, a telekinetic teen brought to Crystal Lake for some therapy per her asshole doctor. During one of Tina’s episodes, she manages to raise Jason from the depths of the lake, and thus we can begin our official Friday the 13th film. The premise of a Carrie-like foe for Jason may seem a bit silly to some. But in the same breath, we’re talking about an undead being that has been resurrected FIVE times to maintain his excellent teenage kill record. So, come on. It’s not that bizarre really. Plus, I think it’s pretty funny to watch Jason struggle to kill this broad.

 

7. “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

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You’re probably noticing a pattern of slasher sequels here. The jig is up- I’m a big-time sucker for the continuations of our horror icons. And Dream Master is no exception.

Aside from Dream Warriors, Nightmare’s fourth movie in the franchise is definitely my favorite of the batch. The Westin Hills survivors return in Dream Master along with a new group of fine, fresh meat attempting to carry on with a normal life. But hey, nothing is normal about being an Elm Street kid. Freddy is awoken once again, by the mighty power of flaming dog whiz no less, and picks off the kids one by one.

Dream Master has everything going for it in a great sequel. A strong, likeable female lead (Lisa Wilcox), and a vengeful Freddy with just the right amount of sense of humor, (I’ll never NOT laugh at,“How’s this for a wet dream?!”). The soundtrack kicks all the ass, and we got some really unique and memorable teenage kills. Sheila’s death and sunken in dummy stand-in inside the classroom gave me nightmares for weeks. Also, a chick turns into a cockroach. What more can you ask for?

 

6. “Pumpkinhead”

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Yet, another 1988 film with the balls to kill a kid, and the birth of one of horror’s coolest looking monsters. Add in the mix a vengeance-seeking Lance Henriksen and one crazy looking witch, and we got ourselves a national horror treasure.

Henrikson plays a grieving father, Ed Harley, who is hell-bent on making the reckless jerks who killed his son pay dearly. In doing so, he visits a supposed witch to seek help. The witch warns him that vengeance comes with a price, but Ed gives no fucks. On the witch’s orders, Harley digs up a disfigured corpse, brings it to the witch who revives it with blood from both Harley and his deceased son, and boom- Pumpkinhead on the loose!

What makes Pumpkinhead so damn special aside from Henrikson and a unique new monster movie, is the feeling that no one really gains a victory in this film. It’s all rather, sort of depressing when you think about. This isn’t your typical good vs evil horror flick. I see it more or less as a grotesque Aesop Fable that genuinely evokes emotions of the viewers. A monster story that makes you…feel things. Can’t really say a lot of horror movies on this list can pull that off. But Pumpkinhead is sure one of them.

 

5. “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”

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Before I say anything else, I just want to express my great sadness that there’s never been a sequel to this glorious festival of cotton candy cocoons and toxic cream pies. Such a travesty.

The title says it all really. A flying circus tent of horrors lands in a small town full of extraterrestrial painted nightmares looking to feed. Only a select few are hip to the fact that a race of alien clowns have invaded and are harvesting civilians of Crescent Cove for supper, so it’s up to them to stop it.

For a little B-movie about alien clowns no less, becoming such a cult-smash over the past 30 years, is something that cannot and will not be ignored. Made from the minds of the Chiodos Bros, Killer Klowns is raunchy, silly, and damn enjoyable whether you’re on your first or 100th viewing. I’m pretty sure we’ll still be talking about this ridiculously amazing movie in the next thirty years. All hail the mighty Jojo Klownzilla.

 

4. “The Serpent and the Rainbow”

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Of all of the wonderful index of film from Wes Craven, it seems odd to me that The Serpent and the Rainbow often gets the shaft. Not today friends, not today.

The black voodoo magic movie starring President Alien ass-kicker Bill Pullman as a professor in search for “zombie powder”, was inspired by the novel from Wade Davis. The Harvard scientist Davis dug deep into the culture of Haiti’s rich history of voodoo, with a specific focus on the undead. The movie inspired by the intriguing novel slowly burns with magnificent detail about the voodoo culture. So much so, there really hasn’t been anything since quite like it. Over the years, fans and critics have slammed the film for its inaccuracy in regards to the source material, but I feel like that’s just a bit unfair. The deal was made for a fictional horror movie loosely based on the book, not a documentary. And in my humble opinion, tops the pops as far as psychological thrillers go.

The imagery is entertainingly gruesome and my skin crawls every time I revisit this Craven joint. If you’ve yet to see this gem, be warned claustrophobes. There’s a coffin scene you won’t soon forget for years to come.

 

 

3. “ Hellbound: Hellraiser II”

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In regards to horror sequels, there isn’t too many out there that rival the original. However, Hellraiser’s sequel Hellbound certainly lives up to its predecessor and dare I say, slightly improves on it as well.

Director Tony Randel takes us into Cenobite hell with the continuing saga of Kristy; this time around in a mental institution. (Recalling the events from the first film, that would drive anyone to the edge of pure insanity.) Of course, we don’t stay in that setting for long and Kristy is granted access to a grand tour of Hell and an incredible visual expansion into Clive Barker’s beautiful Hellraiser universe. Speaking of which, is so wonderfully crafted, it’s ridiculously hard not to view it as a true piece of art in motion. The makeup effects are the excellence of execution. A great example is the manufacturing of cenobites, particularly the scene where Julia pushes Channard into the labyrinth elevator. In addition, we get to see Doug Bradley in pure form, as we get to witness Pinhead’s origins. It’s just straight up incrediballs.

I’d also like to note, if you plan on revisiting this gorgeous piece of work this year for it’s dirty 30, I highly recommend the uncut version. There’s only three minutes more of the film, but trust me. Those 180 seconds make a huge difference.  

 

2. “They Live”

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Simply stating John Carpenter’s cult classic They Live was ahead of its time, might just be the goddamn understatement of the cinematic century.

Starring the Rowdy one the late Roddy Piper, Carpenter’s film about the world’s elite and society’s blindness towards an underlying evil is absolute brilliance. Based on Ray Nelson’s short story “Eight O’Clock In The Morning”, They Live is one of those rare films that forces us as viewers to question our world and surroundings. A homeless drifter named Nada, (Piper), discovers that the upper class of society are in fact aliens incognito and manipulating society to spend money, breed, and blindly accept their status in the world with subliminal messages. Via the mass media and advertising, constant commands are hidden to obey and conform. In other words, the truth.

They Live is just as relevant today as it was then. In the film, the rulers are portrayed as a completely different race that perceives humans as inferior – something that can easily be correlated to our elected politicians. The presence of these strong messages is one of the reasons They Live became somewhat of a cult-classic, despite the fact that it was panned by movie critics upon its first release. 30 years later, the movie’s statement still holds plenty of ground; and quite frankly, freakishly realistic. Now that my friends, is some scary shit.

I really struggled here not putting this at numero uno. Alas, there’s only one little guy who could possibly obtain that kind of voodoo power over me and my love for the Hot Rod…

1. “Child’s Play”

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Well actually, it’s no surprise really that Chucky is, the greatest attribute to horror to come out of ‘88. Spawning six sequels over the span of thirty years, Chucky and the Child’s Play series has managed to capture our hearts, (and souls), with his wise-cracking, murderous shenanigans. And we can’t seem to get enough of this Good Guy.

We’ve seen the whole killer doll plot before Chucky’s debut, but never anything quite like this. We have to give a lot of credit to the casting of Brad Dourif as the voice behind the two-foot Lakeshore Strangler. Dourif has a strong, menacing presence in his voice (remember the Gemini Killer), yet in the same breath can be quite comical as well. The moment Chucky lets Karen know he’s indeed alive paired with various obscene insults, made you jump out of your seat initially, then slump back in a goddamn giggle.

“I’ll teach you to fuck with me!”

Almost as good as that super random, “Fuck you” in the elevator.

Originally titled “Batteries not Included”, and then “Blood Buddy” before the decided name of Child’s Play, 1988 gave birth to a legendary icon in the genre we love and cherish so deeply. Apart from the iconic status, the film truly holds its place firmly as a horror classic. Directed by Tom Holland and written by Don Mancini, Child’s Play raised the stakes and opened the door for the deadly doll genre to come out and play once again.

 

Happy dirty 30 you wonderful, ugly little shit.

 

 

I just couldn’t help myself.