Tag Archives: George A. Romero

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?

 

 

 

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.

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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.