This past Halloween season, many of us physical media devotees proudly assembled our favorite horror films to watch during the month of October. Under normal circumstances, my watch list would consist of such obvious choices as Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), and The Exorcist (1973). This year, however, I challenged myself to watch horror films I’d never seen before and were available via streaming services. Although I saw some interesting flicks (God bless Shudder) I was never more grateful for my DVD/Blu-ray/4K collection come November 1st!
Despite skipping over William Freidkin’s masterpiece, I did indulge in its source material. William Peter Blatty’s 1971 book, “The Exorcist,” not only spawned the cult classic film but also helped usher in the golden age of “Paperbacks from Hell.” Its success (along with “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Other”) sparked the horror paperback craze by inspiring more publishers to also try cashing in on the demonic craze.
I honestly can’t say how many times I’ve seen the movie but I can say I’d never picked up the book; something I decided to rectify after coming across a copy of Blatty’s 2010 “40th Anniversary” updated version at Goodwill this past summer. This slight revision featured minor adjustments in dialogue and the addition of a hardly mentioned side character named Father Lucas (more on him later). In other words, it was an obvious cash grab but still had plenty of other insights and differences between the book and film worth noting. BTW it should go without saying that there will be spoilers for both, so proceed with caution…
I’m pleased to welcome back Mark Spangler who graciously submitted this spectacular retro-review of a film I haven’t seen since it hit theaters twenty years ago. It’s been a few years since his last piece on Once Upon a Time in the West and, if you read that brilliant bit of writing, you know why I was delighted when he reached out again!
At first glance, the raps on Roman Polanski’s 1999 devil-worshipping opus The Ninth Gate ring true… slow pacing, shopworn material, and most importantly, uninspired acting paired with an unsatisfying ending. This reviewer, at first glance, had to agree, but a chance encounter with a two-dollar DVD at a second-hand store provided an opportunity to replay the movie and allowed for some second thoughts on this Johnny Depp oddity. This film, upon further review, it would seem, has aged well and is a worthy successor to the embattled director’s 1968, near-classic Rosemary’s Baby.
I recently hunkered down with my new Blu-ray copy of Night of the Demon (1957) from Indicator (Powerhouse) Films and held my breath while pressing “Play.” As it was a British import, it cost more and I’ve had my fair share of disappointments with so-called “upgrades” of Black & White classics. 96 minutes later, I was grinning from ear to ear.
The following was transcribed from audio recordings taken at the Evil Dead II panel. It took place at the 2018 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend and consisted of Bruce Campbell (Ash), Kassie Wesley DePaiva (Bobby Jo), and Dan Hicks (Jake). Campbell, himself, acted as the moderator which made the occasion seem less a standard Q&A and more of a conversation between friends. The result was a hilarious 45 minutes that proved that after three decades the chemistry was still there.
With the recent remake of Suspiria, I’ve been rewatching many of my Italian Giallo films. Although this distinct film style originates in Germany, it was the Italians who really took it away, and in no short thanks to Maria Bava and his film The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) – a not so subtle nod to Hitchcock. The word “Giallo” translates as “yellow” and was inspired by popular paperbacks that were Italy’s version of American pulp. These murder/mystery novels often featured lurid covers with women being terrorized by a masked killer. Though the stylish influence of Giallo films can still be glimpsed today. e.g. The Neon Demon (2016), their finest examples were in Italy from the mid ’60s to mid-’80s. Rather than just go back and watch my favorites such as Deep Red (1975), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), Tenebrae (1982), and New York Ripper (1982) I decided to track down ones I’d never seen before. Thanks to Arrow Video and their recently restored issue of Mario Bava’s colorful follow up to The Girl Who Knew Too Much, 1964’s Blood and Black Lace.
By Jason Schoolcraft
A few weeks ago, I saw a list of someone’s “Top 31 HORROR/HALLOWEEN Films” (coinciding with the 31 days of October) and thought I’d make one of my own. It took some time but I decided to challenge myself and watch ALL 31 films during this hallowed month. I own most of the films on my list but, with the help of a few friends, was able to obtain the rest. The BIG question was – would they hold up? Some are new (2010 being the most recent) and some old (1931 the oldest ) and I didn’t watch them in any particular order. My list, as you’ll see, is pretty varied and comprised of eight zombie flicks, eight slashers, seven monster movies, three generalized horror films, three vampire features, and two films featuring the Devil, himself. So let’s dive in…