Tag Archives: Creature Features

“The Exorcist” Behind The Scenes Clips That Are Even Scarier Than The Movie!

I will NEVER forget the first time The Exorcist was seen by my eye holes.

Like everyone in the 80s and 90s, we had a stockpile of recorded movies on various blank Maxwell, Scotch, and Polaroid cassette tapes that held three or four films on each one. My Uncle Pat, who was the VHS Wizard Master for our family, would rent various movies from the video rental store and transfer said films onto the blank VHS tapes- conning the system in the 80s’ form of piracy rather than recording them off the television- which of course we still did, however.

Anyway, one of these tapes, in particular, was my absolute favorite at a young age and stayed that way well until it finally disappeared into the VHS Twilight Zone. I mean, realistically it probably got thrown out by someone in the family when the DVD era overthrew the VHS status quo. In any regard, this tape was a translucent light blue and stood out from the other black cassettes, shining like a piece of treasure among a sea of home-recorded films; and a treasure indeed it was as it held some of the most fantastic horror movies therein. In the exact order: Frankenstein, The Exorcist, and Halloween.

For visual purposes, I found the closest thing on the interwebs that resembles what this tape looked like. Also worth noting, I would give my right tit to be in possession of said cassette today.

Dreamstime.com

As stated numerous times here on NN, the Universal Monsters legacy films and Halloween were a pretty massive deal in our home and really laid down the foundation for my love of horror films via my dad and Grandfather, whom this tape belonged to rightfully. So, of course, I watched those two films rather religiously. Halloween, in particular, had to be accessed through fast-forwarding through The Exorcist and for the most part, only caught the last 2 or 3 minutes of the movie along with the end credits of Tubular Bells, of which even at the young age of six totally rocked out to. It wasn’t until I was around eight years old that I happened to stall on the infamous exorcism scene and I honestly had no idea what the hell I was looking at except I was like, “Wow those are hella dirty words!!” Then the thought came, “Should I be watching this?” The rebellious little shit in me was intrigued enough and went back all sneaky like to watch it.; at least I thought I was being slick anyway. This was dangerous and I thought it was like watching a porn or something so it was super thrilling to someone of my age. I mean, taking into account the masturbation scene, I’d say that was a pretty good analogy for someone of my age at the time.

I was always a hardcore kid that didn’t scare easily, and The Exorcist was no exception. I grew to adore that VHS blue tape in its entirety and the film has become a favorite since that adventurous day at the tender age of 8. However, the behind-the-scenes clips taken from the BBC documentary, “The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist”, are goddamn more creepy than the film itself. Kind of like that one banned trailer from the film that was almost more horrifying than the film itself. The makeup tests alone from the series of videos are from the stuff of deepest, darkest nightmares. Thanks to the Youtube channel, The Exorcist Online, we have confirmation that The Exorcist indeed, is the scariest film ever made- quite literally.

Each video is looped to the next to avoid uploading eight different vids here. Enjoy Nostalgic Nuggets!

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch Is The Imperfectly Perfect Halloween Film

If you would have told me ten years ago I’d be writing these following words, I would absolutely say you were out of your fucking mind. HALLOWEEN III: THE SEASON OF THE WITCH is finally recognized by most fans as a worthy entry in the beloved horror franchise; and honestly I couldn’t be more pleased that SOB Colonel Cochran is part of the inclusive horror legends club.

Now, John Carpenter’s Halloween and it’s sequels, particularly 2 and 4, are of course amazing and essential Halloween viewing. However, Season of the Witch is an entirely different bag of dicks in the franchise as we all know and although the fans have been much kinder to the red-headed stepchild of the series in recent years, the hatred still exists for those unwilling to accept a non-Michael Myers Halloween movie.

To that, I just have this to say…

Which brings me to a very good point that we can only watch Myers gut up teenagers so many times before our brain sensors tell us enough; we want something else. Which is precisely what John Carpenter had in mind when studios were pushing for another Halloween film from the director after burning Michael alive in Halloween II. The Shape was dead and Carpenter grew tired of the story- hence Season of the Witch came to be with the idea of a Halloween horror anthology series focusing on different and terrifying urban legends and folklore surrounding the holiday. The main idea of the film would be “witchcraft meets the computer age.” They brought in Joe Dante ( Gremlins) to direct, and hired the remarkable Nigel Kneale (the Quatermass films) to pen the script, which focused on modern-day Druids practicing Halloween in the old-fashioned way. Oh and well, with a couple of androids thrown in. After all, the early to mid-eighties movies focused a LOT on technologic advances; peering into the future with slave robots and such.

Now get Pauley that beer SICO.

Dante dropped out of the project when Steven Spielberg and John Landis offered him a chance to participate in Twilight Zone: The Movie. Even though Halloween III was a box-office bomb, I’d much rather be associated with Season of the Witch than a movie that contributed to the death of three people. Anyways, in stepped in Tommy Lee Wallace to direct who also helped Carpenter coin that Silver Shamrock jingle that is forever imbedded into our brains as some sort of fucked up version of “London Bridge Is Falling Down”; which is exactly what the tune was modeled after.

Halloween III may be the most “halloweeniest” of all the movies in the franchise- yeah, I just made that word up for all intents and purposes. It takes every aspect of the beloved holiday and throws it all together in this film like a delightful bowl of Halloween candy varieties. When you think of Halloween, you think costumes, children, trick or treating- and this installment has it all and then some. Along with aheavy dose of old-world style witchcraft. For the longest time, society has paired witches and Halloween together in an unholy matrimony. It’s sort of problematic to practicing witches, as they are who they are all year round, and they are certainly not evil, but that’s an argument for another day. It’s never been a deal breaker for me so let’s move on.

While, other films in the franchise may have scenes involving Trick or Treating that set the nostalgic Halloween mood, Halloween III focuses on the premise of DEATH by trick or treating and their beloved masks. That’s pretty fucked up and to boot, the film had the balls to kill a kid very brutally in front of us. It was trailblazing at its finest.

As for atmospheric settings, one could never forget the montage near the end with that Silver Shamrock jingle going off in the background like some sort of death march for the children decked out in their Silver Shamrock masks rushing through a night of candy- collecting all in an effort to get home in time for “the big giveaway”. Beyond the opening credits and nighttime neighborhood scenes in Halloween 4, this movie gives off the some of the most Spidey-senses worthy moments of the holiday ever captured in these films. My favorite moment, and maybe the most iconic, is the group of children trekking across a dark landscape, silhouetted against a pumpkin-orange sky. Few images in the Halloween series better sum up the spirit of Halloween night as much as this one moment right here.

It’s a true aesthetic pleasure to say the very least.

Then, there’s Conal Cochran: the most underrated horror villain of Halloween… EVER.

I don’t use the word “underrated” lightly, however, I feel it’s quite appropriate here. Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), the proprietor of Silver Shamrock Novelties and sworn allegiance to the dark arts of Witchcraft make him for a dangerous enemy to have indeed; especially if you’re a kid. Cochran, presumably has way more kills under his belt than not only his film predecessor Myers, but the holy trinity of slashers themselves – Freddy, Jason, and Michael. And think about this: The ending is open-ended and leaves us to speculate whether the final commercial ran its full course. If it did, then Cochran would have succeeded in committing mass genocide of children across the United States.

What a dick, eh? Cochran, who uses his success of his company to coordinate the largest Samhain sacrifice to appease the Celtic Gods on the glorious night of Halloween, is as evil and terrifying as they come. As if his ominous stare downs weren’t creepy enough, his monologue alone is chilling to the bone (the thrill and absolute madness in his voice sells it completely). Cochran is hardcore. But as tough as he was, he was no match for Tom Atkins: The Man, The Myth, The Mustache. If anyone can save the world from a Pagan madman, beer guzzling- womanizing Dr. Challis was gonna be that guy.

While the movie has gained moderate success over the past few years, maybe the key factor in acceptance of the bastard installment is our own maturity and longing for the nostalgia aspect of what Halloween once represented. As children, we hated it. As adults, we embraced it as the perfectly imperfect Halloween film it is. What a grand joke on the children, eh?

Creature Features: Facts and Trivia Behind The Special Effects of Poltergeist II: The Other Side

Whether you’re a fan or not of the follow up to Hooper/Spielberg’s 1982 paranormal pleasure Poltergeist, it goes without saying the special effects are spectacular and well-known throughout the industry as a majestic staple of the effects community. Hell, even the snooty Academy Awards recognized the visual terror of the film when it was nominated for Best Visual Effects during their 1987 award season.

While I can agree some of the plot points in The Other Side are a bit questionable, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s probably one of my horror movies period. Most of that credit goes towards Julian Beck’s portrayal of the malevolent reverend, Henry Kane; who basically traumatized a seven-year-old Patti into being terrified of old people for the next three years. Quite a feat and a legacy to leave behind as this was the actor’s last film role, and most likely, his most memorable. Just to refresh, Beck was suffering tremendously during shooting with pancreatic cancer and in terrible pain- which would account for his deathly appearance on screen and twisted look. It’s quite sad to think about it actually. However, at least we can take heart into knowing it wasn’t in vain as his character, at least in my own stupid opinion, is held in the highest regard as one of the most perfect villains’ in the horror universe.

I’m sure he’s smiling with his 10,000 teeth beyond the grave with that statement.

Tentacles seemed to be a recurring effect in the movie.  H.R. Giger, who provided the special effects designs, created several prospects but only two made it into the film, the vomit monster and “The Great Beast”. While I’m perfectly fine with these looks personally, some books on his art report that Giger was “very unhappy” with how his designs were translated to the film.

Before we get into the obvious scenes you’re expecting to see here, there were some other simple things like a dream sequence in which Diane is pulled into the ground by rotting skeletons, or another quick shot of dozens of ghostly spirits appearing all over the lawn that weren’t as recognized but looked visually stunning on film.  Then there was the part where Stephen and Taylor are having their warrior session and the smoke attacks him before entering his nostrils. And of course, the creepy toy scene where all the kids’ toys are possessed by Kane and his minions.

The movie was at one point to have been filmed in 3D. Several scenes such as the appearance of the Beast and the cheesy flying chainsaw during the garage escape were filmed to take advantage of the process. This idea was eventually abandoned after seeing the failures of other gimmicky 3D horror films of the decade such as the likes of Jaws 3-D (1983), and Amityville 3-D (1983), which were previous flops for studios. Speaking of the garage scene, it was originally written to have the infamous clown doll come back for a scare, trying to smash its way through the car windows! Even more cheesy? Maybe. But I’m ok with saying it would have been the most awesome cheese.

Those are all notable mentions, but the effects in the film really kick off with attack of the braces! The orthodontic horror kicks off the tentacle special effects theme throughout the film with poor Robbie getting nailed to a ceiling in a cocoon of metal thanks to his dental genetics.

Boss Film Studios, namely Richard Edlund, John Bruno, Garry Waller, and William Neil, was the design company handling the effects. They animated the magic through a mold that was placed over actor Oliver Robins’ head. The team placed straws inside the kid’s nose so he could breathe properly and a device attached to the mouth that would shoot out the metal tentacles through a remote. In the original script, Robbie was to be attacked by bees. However, the actor noted he had a debilitating fear against the insect. So hence, we get this glorious scene instead.

Moving further down toward tentacle terror, is the most recognizable scene from the film- The Vomit Creature. Kane was able to get into the house by possessing the worm in a bottle of tequila.  When Stephen swallowed the worm, it possesses him briefly until his body rejects the evil spirit. Out slithers this huge, slimy, H.R. Geiger inspired creature that quickly grows into a legless ghoul resembling the preacher.  That part was pretty horrifying.  It continued to grow until it resembled a massive column of evil, complete with monster claws that lifted Stephen off the ground; and then scare it off with that warrior smoke!

The creature, played by Vietnam veteran Noble Craig, was a triple amputee due to his war services. However, Craig is unsung in the horror community as playing multiple roles you might not even know about! Such as what is credited as “The Puddle Soldier” in 1988’s The Blob, “The Sewer Monster” in Big Trouble in Little China, and one of the very few people who got to play Freddy Krueger on the big screen in Nightmare 5: The Dream Child; in the scene where Freddy is bursting out of Alice’s body- that’s Craig.

The final few minutes of the film encounter the vomit creature Kane in it’s final form- The Great Beast. Unfortunately, the battle with the beast was originally much longer as with the rest of the film (a full forty minutes is said to have been cut from the movie), but nonetheless made its impact.

On the script sent to HR Giger, there was a scene in the entrance to the other side that involved a tunnel made with arms, bones and worms; and the Great Beast evolves into a massive living landscape that covers the other side. Which would have been cool to see but I’m guessing production budgets were an issue here. The ‘Beast’ itself was apparently a nightmare build for the team; so I suppose he sure does live up to his name.

Now, those are all fine concepts that looked great on film. But the most horrifying scene for me, was this goddamn transformation of Carol Anne becoming one with the beast.

And for the record, this just as creepy prop is the restoration of the Carol Anne bust that was partly used in that scene.

Tom Spina.com