Posted by: John Gholson
Here’s one for zombie completists – Jean Rollin’s The Grapes of Death aka Les Raisins de la Mort, so much better at being a zombie movie than his actual zombie movie Zombie Lake (reviewed here). Some bad, bad grapes are producing some bad, bad wine, making anyone who drinks it into a rapidly-decaying murderous psychopath. Elisabeth (Marie-Georges Pascal) gets on the wrong train at the wrong time and finds herself stranded in the French countryside, defending herself against wine-crazed villagers. It’s simple, and for Jean Rollin, certainly more on the accessible side than many of his dreamy, sexed-up, cheapie chillers.
I can’t help but think it has some subtext too, just going off of French stereotypes as a people obsessed with wine. I don’t know how regularly Rollin drank, but a strong case could be made that The Grapes of Death has a message about how drinking to excess transforms us into monsters. In a country where table wine is as ubiquitous as water, The Grapes of Death may have had more meaning and weight than its lurid monster movie approach would suggest. As an American, I can only guess at it, without providing any deeper thoughts than, “Huh. That’s interesting.”
Posted by: John Gholson
I don’t know where horror fans got the idea that “you can’t go wrong with Nazi zombies.” In my estimation, there’s one decent one – 1977′s Shock Waves – and everything else is bunk. Case in point, the one-two punch of Zombie Lake and Oasis of the Zombies (aka Treasure of the Living Dead), staples of many a public domain DVD horror set, now brought to life in high-definition on Blu-ray by Kino. These are the best discs possible for a pair of clunkers that are of interest only to zombie aficionados and Jess Francophiles.
Posted by: John Gholson
I assume that anyone reading a White Zombie Blu-ray review in 2013 is asking themselves one question, whether they’ve seen the film or not, “is White Zombie worth owning on Blu-ray?” The scrappy film has survived the ages through public domain proliferation and for providing the name for the band that made Rob Zombie famous. It has almost never looked or sounded good in the years since its release, so the job falls to Kino Classics to make White Zombie a relevant purchase when you could just as easily nab a crappy DVD version for a few bucks or stream it on YouTube for free.
Posted by: Seth Hall
A great horror film doesn’t have to have flowing blood and the splatter of guts, but it certainly helps. The twisted minds of screenwriters and directors have brought some memorable moments of bloodshed to the screen for our retinal pleasures. Sometimes, they carnage is spread over the entire film, and sometimes, in one glorious fountain of red. Sometimes, the body count is high. Sometimes, it’s just the horrifying manner in which our victims meet their demise. And so, I bring you my Top 10 Horror Film Bloodbaths.
Posted by: Seth Hall
Last week, we brought you our review of the horrors that lurk beyond the doors of the House of Torment in Austin, Texas. But, mighty Cthulhu demanded more. I got the opportunity to sit down with Jon Love, the Vice President of House of Torment to answer some of the Ancient One’s burning questions.
Posted by: Noah Lee
When asked to put together a top whatever list for the site, I knew I didn’t want to do another October/Halloween “Best Horror Movies of 2012” or even worse the “Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Heard Of” because inevitably, any decent horror fan has heard of all of the movies but one and the whole thing is absolutely insulting. Instead I’d rather showcase movies that I personally hadn’t known anything about until this year, whether old or new, and spotlight them as something I found particularly outstanding.
1. Mikey (1992)
Little Mikey is a troubled kid. So much so that he keeps killing off his adoptive parents. I’m a huge sucker for killer kid movies and this one came up on my radar thanks to Horror Movie Night (which our own Brian Kelly runs and Damon Swindall covers). The film itself was banned in the UK, although not as a “video nasty,” due to its featuring a murderous child, and the paranoid notion that kids could learn from this. Whatever the case, the movie is dark and effective, and the titular character played by Brian Bonsall does a bang up job of being a little creep.
2. Possession (1981)
I’m not sure how I heard about this, but it should be much more lauded than it is. It feels very much like a Cronenbergian nightmare and features stand out performances from the always excellent Sam Neill and his co-star Isabelle Adjani. A young wife grows increasingly restless and distant from her husband and leaves him. After sending out an investigator to find out what is going on, it’s learned she’s involved in something much worse than an affair. And it’s completely mind-bendingly weird! You will never view milk the same way again. I’m not going to spoil the ending but what I love is how effectively Possession builds its drama and how much of it is focused on the characterization and performances before it gut punches you into a bizarre black hole.
3. The Sentinel (1977)
A movie like this couldn’t even be made these days. Check out this list of actors in the movie and if this alone isn’t a prompt to see it right away, your taste has to be questioned: Chris Sarandon, John Carradine, Jose Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Jerry Orbach, Beverly D’Angelo and Tom Berenger. The Sentinel tells the story of a fashion model, played by the so stunning Christina Raines, who gets her own apartment in New York and then discovers that the apartment is full of scary occurrences that eventually build to a climatic, insane ending. This is another slow burn of a movie, but one that’s so effective and the payoff is so great that I instantly considered it a lost gem in my viewing list.
Watch it on Netflix!
4. Absentia (2011)
A movie I had picked up randomly off Netflix Instant Watch and then as soon as it was done made sure to recommend to friends. Absentia takes its low budget and creates a very eerie atmosphere and delves into a balls-out crazy horror story. It features all no name actors and through a very effective sound design and corner of the eye scares, makes for an uncomfortable and enjoyable watch. It tells the story of a woman who has lost her husband when he went out for a run one day, and now when she’s about to declare him dead learns the tunnel near her home may house something more sinister. Courtney Bell, who plays the lead, was actually pregnant through the shoot and puts forth a very convincing and terrific performance. I can only imagine what Mike Flanagan, the director, will come up with next, but I can’t wait to see it.
Watch it on Netflix
5. Dead Dudes in the House (1989)
I’m not going to claim that I found this to be a lost classic by any means. In fact, there really is nothing contained within Dead Dudes in the House that hasn’t been seen before, but what I really loved about it was the absurdity of how everything plays out. When watched to enjoy more for it’s lost comedic genius, I think it’s quite a winner. A bunch of jocks, who can’t seem to open any doors or windows for the life of them, go to help a friend fix up an old house they discover something sinister, the previous owner’s ghost! Okay, yeah, it sounds awful and many will find it so (and many will be turned off by it being a Troma release), but when watched at Horror Movie Night we had a blast laughing along with it. Even more ridiculous than the movie itself is the cover art which has absolutely nothing to do with the movie.
6. Twisted Nerve (1968)
One of the craziest things about Twisted Nerve is that it stars Haley Mills who is well known for being a darling of early Disney family movies. In Twisted Nerve she plays a lovable young woman who takes pity on a young man whose family is dysfunctional to say the least. Her kindness is rewarded with him pretending to be mentally disabled so he can get close to her. A strange, off kilter film that at times is a bit disjointed but overall is well worth the time to watch.
Posted by: Seth Hall
The Halloween season is upon us. You can feel it in the air like a dark, heavy mist, carrying the creatures of your nightmares into reality for one entire month. What a shame that it only lasts one month.
Now is the time when every shadow holds a secret, every bed hides a monster, and every house is haunted. With that, we bring you House Haunting, a new feature where we review haunted houses for your benefit, that you may get the most fear for your buck.
All houses will be rated on our SCREAM Scale:
Posted by: Brian Salisbury
Horror’s Not Dead and Warner Brothers are teaming up to bring you a fiendishly fun prize pack just in time for Halloween. We’re giving away not one, not two, but four horror Blu-rays. First, Tim Burton’s film adaptation of the 1960s TV series Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Eva Green. If that’s not enough, we also have the extreme-tourism-gone-wrong-horror-film Chernobyl Diaries. Still not enough? Damn, you’re greedy. Ok then, we also have Blu-rays of two of the early films based on the Dark Shadows series: House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.
That should be plenty to keep your Halloween season filled to the brim with creeps ans shrieks. So how do you win? Simple!
In the comment section below, we want you to create a new trick-or-treat candy based on your favorite monster, slasher, or psycho. What would it be called? What candy components would make up this sinister snack? The best creation will will. You have until 10/30.
Get crackin’ boys and ghouls!
Posted by: Brad McHargue
It’s no surprise that we here at Horror’s Not Dead love Fantastic Fest (I’m still not ok with having to wait another year for it), so we figured we would bring a little bit of Fantastic Fest to you! Horror’s Not Dead is proud to bring you four video episodes of Dead Wrong! recorded at Fantastic Fest. In these little mini-debates, I go mano-a-mano with four individuals over the relative merits or deficiencies. Moderated by an impartial third party who would decide the winner, the loser was forced to chug a Lone star beer while the winner relishes in the sweet sweaty glow of not being forced to chug down an awful beer.
First up is Livide, the follow-up to Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s Inside. I personally was not a fan, but Tim Buel, co-host of The Golden Briefcase and all-around swell guy, absolutely loved it. As such, he agreed to debate me one warm summer’s evening outside the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX. Who do you think wins the debate? Chime in and leave a comment!
Note: Our sincerest apologies not just for the horrible lightning, but for my inability to give a coherent or well thought out introduction. And my voice. God, please ignore my horribly shrill voice.
Posted by: Rod Paddock
One day per year there is a holiday wherein kids can be kids and adults can…be kids too. This is a holiday enjoyed equally by all ages. That holiday, of course, is Halloween! Candy, costumes, and celebrations abound! For some it’s a day to be scared, but for others it’s a day to SCARE! And what better scare medium is there than a haunted house? The American Scream is all about the scare; all about the people that create those haunted houses.
The American Scream is the product of Michael Stephenson , creator of the universally loved Best Worst Movie. Set in the small town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, this documentary tells tells the story of three unique families who spend months preparing for an event that has a single day’s payoff. We have an obsessive-compulsive computer systems manager, a father-son team, and a construction worker. Each of these families has a unique vision of what a haunted house should be, and during the film we watch them implement their distinct visions.
This movie provides a unique insight into how complicated and detail intensive these haunted house constructions can be. A person wanting to construct his or her own haunted house must have a multitude of skills. You must have the eye of an artist, design skills of an architect, the steady hand of a carpenter and the constitution of Rasputin. It take a special person to be a “house haunter” as they are called.
Posted by: Rod Paddock
Mary Mason is a surgical student with financial problems. In order to solve these problems, she answers a advertisement looking for a “dancer”. Arriving at a grungy strip club, Mary meets Billy Barker, the manager of this fine establishment. As Billy is checking out Mary’s “wares”, a problem develops in the basement of his club. He returns and immediately and offers Mary a quick $5,000 in cash for some help. The job ? Patching up a thug with razor cuts extending the length of his body. Job completed, Mary returns home where she is immediately contacted by an affiliate of Billy’s. The job this time is body modification and the price tag is $10,000. Mary is no longer a starving student but a entrepreneur with a successful side business.
Soon after, Mary’s instructors take interest in her and invite her to a party being thrown by a bunch of doctors. It does not take long to realize that Mary is out of her element, and soon after she is the victim of rape at the hands of her surgery instructor. From this point forward Mary is a changed person. She decides to drop out of school and enter the world of body modification full time.
Posted by: Brian Salisbury
“True there are more than just horror films at Fantastic Fest, but this site isn’t called Charming Quirky Foreign Comedy’s Not Dead.”–John Gholson
Mr. Gholson is quite right, while we enjoy making discoveries across genre lines at Fantastic Fest, we are forever devoted to the category to which this site’s existence is beholden. Every year, cinematic scares from all across the globe come pouring into Austin, into the Alamo Drafthouse, for a week of pure geek consumption. We have collected the Horror’s Not Dead hive mind to give their thoughts on the horror films they are most anticipating for FF 2012. Read on, should you dare…