Once again John Landis has proven why he is the master of mixing horror with comedy. He did it first in 1981 with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and he was back at it eleven years later with INNOCENT BLOOD. Things that worked in his werewolf film…things like a recognizable cast, amazing effects, fun cameos and just the right mixture of horror and comedy…work just as well when he takes on vampires. Why he isn’t making more films I will never know.
During the first official DAYS OF THE DEAD convention, guests were treated to a panel of “Scream Queens” which included PJ Soles (HALLOWEEN & CARRIE), Linnea Quigley (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, & NIGHT OF THE DEMONS), Mark Patton (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE), and Heather Langenkamp (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET parts 1, 3, and 7). The event was hosted by Nasty Neal from WITHOUT YOUR HEAD who encouraged guests to walk up to the stage and ask questions of this unique gathering of screamers. For those unable to attend, below is an overview….
It was a ride for dear life as we headed down to Indianapolis for the first annual DAYS OF THE DEAD horror convention! One could not ignore the FINAL DESTINATION like signs as we made our way through a torrential Midwest thunderstorm, a near collision with a semi truck sporting a decal reading “Drive Safely: Heaven can Wait,” and a large, ominous wooden sign with the words HELL IS REAL glaring at us. The irony of these sights while traveling to an event named DAYS OF THE DEAD was not lost upon us.
Despite these “omens,” we did arrive safely and the only collision I encountered was bumping shoulders with actor, Tom Sizemore, in the hotel lobby. Indeed, celebrities were in no short supply at this convention and were located throughout the three main convention halls. The event was run by a young man named Adolfo Dorta who admitted that this was not only the first DAYS OF THE DEAD convention but his first venture in running one. Judging by the positive reactions from both the celebrities and fans I heard throughout the weekend, it is certain not to be his last.
There are so many types of horror movies out there…slashers, vampires, werewolves, inbred families, etc. It seems like most of these come and go in cycles. One successful movie will come out and then all of a sudden you will be inundated with similar movies and television shows. One type of movie though doesn’t seem to subscribe to this…the zombie movie. It seems that they have always been there, lurking in the background ready to strike at a moments notice. With the exception of a period during the 80’s, we have never really been overwhelmed with zombie films. They are sporadic and there certainly seems to be more hits than misses. The movie I am talking about here is certainly one of the hits!
As 2010 winds its way down, I can’t help but notice all the great new movie titles I’ve added to my collection this past year. The future remains bright as horror films never go out of style and movie makers, both foreign and domestic, continue to present new genre films with no signs of letting up. This is not to suggest, however, that “new” necessarily means “original.”
Remakes of older titles continue to flourish with little sign of stopping. 2011 promises newer versions of DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, STRAW DOGS, MOTHER’S DAY, and FRIGHT NIGHT. For genre fans this tends to be a mixed blessing. Remakes do generate sufficient “buzz” and may also inspire a revisit to an oldie but goodie we’ve allowed to collect dust on our video shelves. On the other hand, this also invariably leads to an outcry for Hollywood to leave well enough alone!
For those keeping score, let’s take a look at this past years entries and judge 2010’s horror remakes, the hits and misses.