Horror’s Not Dead is a niche blog. I don’t mean that in a reflexive sense of the genre it covers, rather an introspective look at its own culture. It has a decent sized reader base (larger if some stats are to be believed), but an even smaller base of regular, vocal commentators. The loudest of these brave crusaders goes without deliberation; R. J. Sayer. It only makes sense, of course, that I would ask him to write Guest Reviews.
Believe me, the request was not out of respect for the man’s editorial prowess. I’m not just sure, I’m HIV positive that the man must have a fatal allergy to capitalizing proper nouns and using full sentences that may, oh how they may, one day form paragraphs. I asked him to do so because he clearly has the bar stool fire, the liquored rage in him that only real fans do. I could tell from his many, many (Christ, they are legion!) comments that R. J. Sayer (pseudonym, of course) is the kind of foe that does a lot of arm waving and cursing when he gets into it. The kind of passion that, were you to observe it sans sound from across a room, you’d think he was leading men on an humanity saving suicide run into the molten core of Earth.
Until you walk over and realize that all that spittle, all that rage, all that concussive passion was because someone made a joke about, say, Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers – who we all know are NYC’s unsung souls destined to never get a fair shake.
Sayer has written up an Introduction to his first review, which on its own breaks the 1,000 word hymen. I will post the raving verbatim after this and his review some time tomorrow. Until then, let me preface the first of what I hope to be many Guest Reviews with the following: I in no way edit what is given to me. That is either a clever way to mask sloth on the part of me with the ruse of editorial freedom or it is a nice way of saying R. J. Sayer lays the profanity with the same abandon as a brick layer building his family’s bomb shelter while the missiles are flying. Whatever the case, give his review a shot when it goes live tomorrow. It’s long, yet somehow still sharp and more concise than expected (which is, of course, a compliment). Even has capitalization and punctuation to boot!
“So, like, a million years ago Peter asked me to write a guest review of Doomsday for this here site (or maybe I asked him, I can’t remember exactly). I was all geared up for it, because, well, the movie pissed me off. Correction: goddamn pissed me right The Fuck off.
And you know how critics can get. We love to write negative reviews. It’s our magnum opus (or some shit). We get to use clever metaphors and bust out all the ridiculous hyperbole we’ve been saving up and feel all superior and – as an added bonus – maybe feel like we make a difference of some sort. Our time to shine and what-have-you.
So, I was (as my kinfolk in The Great Midwest would say) a-rarin’ to go on that shit.
But something happened.
A couple days passed and my anger subsided. Then, I discovered that most of the reviews online said the exact same things about the film that I would’ve said (minus my indispensable style, that is). And then, I remembered the audience I saw it with: almost everybody loved it. The appearance of the end credits was met with applause.
Applause. Clapping hands, whistles, and hollered statements akin to “BEST MOVIE EVER! OMG!!!11!!” Hell, even the friend I went with (who I agree with about 96.666% of the time) reacted with “Meh, it was better than I thought it would be. I was entertained.”
And that audience was no Tuesday matinee of three or four random misfits and the developmentally disabled on a field trip, my friends. It was a Friday night at the Arclight in Hollywood. I mean, fuck, I even went into the parking garage looking for half-sized orange schoolbuses after exiting the theatre. Nothing doing, pal.
So, reflecting on that, I thought, “what’s the fucking point?” Why write a review that most people are going to ignore anyway? Am I that out of touch with the average moviegoer?
A deep, terrible depression set in. And I vowed to never write another movie review again.
Sorry, kids. Sorry, Peter. Sorry, Mom and Dad. Sorry, Jesus.
Cut to a little while ago.
I sobered up and realized that not writing reviews would not fix the problem. Assholes like Neil Shit-for-brains Marshall would still get obscene budgets to jerk off on celluloid (or digital or whatever it is these fuckwits spray their poison semen on nowadays). And the people would still overlook the true gems of genre cinema without a voice to guide them.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
A friend of mine owns a video store. And when I say video store, I mean Video Store. VHS. Old-Fucking-School style. And sadly, he’s shutting the entire operation down. Moving back to The Great Midwest and all that.
The silver-lining, to me, was that I could go in and buy up some of the out-of-print Horror I’ve been missing from my collection and maybe get serious about the book I’ve been planning to write for the last two fucking years. I took action.
And – despite that dude in the biker shorts who grabbed up BOTH Happy Birthday to Me (with the original fucking score) AND The Haunting of Harrington House (you lousy motherfucker) – I was pretty successful in that mission.
So, with all this “new” VHS sitting on top of the pile of my “old” VHS, I got to thinking…
Great Flaming Holy Fucking Shitballs in Heaven, I HAVE A GODDAMN IDEA!
I can write reviews, afterall!
So here’s The Plan, kids. And listen good because I’m not going to repeat myself:
For as long as Peter allows this farce to continue, my reviews will PRIMARILY focus on obscure or out-of-print horror films. I will try, as often as possible, to limit my ramblings to those glorious movies that have either, to-date, never been officially released on region 1 DVD or at least not in any edition currently available (or easily obtained). Every now and then I may review something that is in a DVD release that can be found at Best Buy or some shit, but only if it is a film that I personally feel has been ignored or is otherwise under-recognized by the horror community at large. This is going to be done according to my own judgment, however, which is sometimes a bit flawed. After all, who’s to say whether or not “enough” people have seen Bad Dreams?
And if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Maybe just as many people have seen To Kill a Clown as have seen Puppet Master 2. Whatever. Just don’t get bent out of shape when I go from Next of Kin (no, not the one with Swayze) one week to Brain Damage the next. Yeah, I’m droppin’ names, sucka.
That’s another thing, I’ll try to keep it weekly. That’s one review every seven days (give or take) for those, like me, who reach for a bottle of whiskey everytime somebody tries to qualify numbers. If I let a week or two slip here and there, go easy on me, guy.
Also, I’ll try to keep it restricted to that most glorious of decades (for our beloved genre, at least), The Big ’80s. Once in a while, I may stumble and grab something from 1978 or 1991. Quitcherbitchin’.
I promise I’ll go no earlier than ’76, and no later than ’94. Okay? Pinky swear and a spit’n'shake and all that.
Oh, and it won’t always be “straight horror” (that’s content-wise, not fucking-wise). Sometimes, I’ll throw in a sci-fi or a comedy with horror elements or some shit. Hell, maybe even I’ll go batshit fucking crazy and review a full-on action movie just to watch you purists squirm (as long as Peter approves). Deal with it.
So, that’s The Plan, ladies. Sorry for the confrontational nature. I just get crotchety when I’m hungover. Attitude problem and what-have-you.
And with that, I’ll have a bit of the dog’s hair (boilermaker, anyone?) and step up to the proverbial plate (baseball, not dinner) for my first review…
Oh, one more thing, just so you know, these probably won’t all be glowingly positive reviews. A lot of these films I will be watching for the first time. Sure, some of them will be personal favorites I’ve seen 348,987,542.67 times. But, not all of them. Probably not even the majority. So expect some disappointments. And feel free to disagree with me (vehemently and with unmasked hostility if at all possible). I’ll try to mix it up.
Okay, back to the program.”