Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!

Posts by Julia Merriam

Review: The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

Curse of the Cat People poster

A modern retrospective look at Val Lewton's films reveal a master of suggestion. Lewton's films rarely offered up well-defined horror or blatant supernatural elements. Instead, Lewton skillfully suggested danger, allowing the viewer's imagination to fill in the blank. Using lighting and shadows to create dark, broody atmosphere and shadows to suggest the shapes of threats, Lewton's films played on psychological fears and human emotions, allowing the audience to essentially scare themselves, and laying the groundwork for later horror masterpieces such as The Innocents and The Haunting. However, even a master can have a bad day. The Curse of the Cat People, which exemplifies Lewton's style of horror while failing to actually coalesce into anything resembling terror, probably accounted for a bad week.
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Review: Planet Terror (2007)

Planet Terror poster

I'm going to preface this by saying that I'm not going to be reviewing the film. If you want that, I suggest you go check out Nate Yapp's review of Grindhouse, the double feature experience of which Planet Terror was one part. Instead, I will be reviewing Planet Terror as a DVD release. Why does this film deserve its own DVD review? Well, aside from the fact that the DVD includes 10 minutes of added footage and a noticeable lack of fake trailers, Planet Terror truly shines in a DVD format. Stripped of the big screen experience, the care and skill with which director Robert Rodriguez composed Planet Terror becomes more apparent, and his use of exploitation-esque special effects more ingenious.(read more...)

The Film Crew Interview

The Film Crew - Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

If you miss "Mystery Science Theater 3000", the daring cable program that followed Mike Nelson and his two robot compatriots (voiced by Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett) as they cracked wise at bad movies, never fear. Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett have banded together for a new project with the same basic idea: making fun of the dredges of cinema. This new venture is called The Film Crew, a direct-to-DVD series featuring the trio as a bunch of bozos tasked with making sure every film has its own commentary track. The "plot," however, is just an excuse to get these three comic minds together for some more of the riffing they do so well. Shout!(read more...)

Review: Believers (2007)

Believers Unrated

It's easy to write about good movies. The reviews practically write themselves, as the praises flow onto the page as the film's intricacies start to unwind. Conversely, bad films are also easy to write about, as the film slowly shreds beneath a critical eye, the condemnation surging forth with wicked satisfaction. Competent, boring films, however, are a bitch to review. What do you say about something that lacks interest, and, further, how do you sound interesting while doing it? I'm really not too sure, but thanks to Daniel Myrick's new film, Believers, which was released to DVD on October 16th, I have to try and find out.(read more...)

Review: Shock (1977)

Shock poster

By 1977, the nature of the horror film had already changed significantly. Instead of the Gothic mood pieces of previous decades, the genre had become more dynamic, seeking shocks rather than heady atmosphere. Italian horror auteur Mario Bava's final theatrical film reflects this change. Partially directed by his son, Lamberto Bava, who trained under such directors as Ruggero Deodato and Mario Lanfranchi, Shock is inconsistent, pairing the trademark style of the senior Bava with the new sensibilities of the junior. Jumbled and mildly disappointing, Shock still boasts some singularly breathtaking and unnerving moments, courtesy of both father and son.(read more...)

Review: Black Sabbath (1963)

Black Sabbath poster (AIP)

Anthologies, movies that are composed of a series of short films, are always hard to characterize. If the film is considered as a whole, does a particularly bad sequence besmirch the merit of the others? Or does a well-shot segment bolster one that's floundering? Considering each segment individually also presents certain challenges, particularly if each segment was directed by the same person, or starred the same actors. How do you explain trends in performances or cinematography, or persistent themes and plot lines? Mario Bava's Black Sabbath is no exception to this conundrum. While each segment is a work until itself, each showcasing a particular subset of Bava's talents, together they work synergistically, showing a linear progression of time, theme and cinematography.(read more...)

Review: Black Sheep (2006)

Black Sheep 2006 poster

Not a week goes by that I don't ask our Editor-in-Creep if we can have a sheep here at the office. Unfortunately for my ovine aspirations, not a week goes by where I am not told that, no, we cannot have a sheep here at the office. It's a shame really; I like sheep, and there is enough fiber and fleece at Classic-Horror headquarters to prove it. So, it's no surprise that when I caught wind of a new film coming out of New Zealand featuring flocks upon flocks of man-eating Merino, I was deliciously delighted. The New Zealand Film Commission has funded some of my favorite films, and Black Sheep may just join their ranks. A campy bit of ecohorror crossed with comedy, Black Sheep boasts some fantastic gore-effects, interesting and occasionally witty characters, and, of course, one of the most unexpected, disturbing monsters to grace your television screen. Who knew something without any upper incisors could be this dangerous?(read more...)

Review: Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)

Don't Torture a Duckling poster

When done correctly, giallos have two components – a horror-thriller component and a mystery component. Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling has neither. However, despite its failed attempts to muster the trappings of giallo, it is not bereft of intrigue. Rather than gory shocks and heart-stopping suspense, Don't Torture a Duckling is a brilliantly complex social commentary on the effects of mob mentality on a small town and the arrogance of modern thinking.

Children are being murdered in the small town of Accendura. As Italian police, as well as a few reporters, attempt to find the killer and stop these savage crimes, the town begins to fall into panic and paranoia. A number of suspects, mostly female, are paraded before us and yet, one by one, they are discredited and the kids keep dying. Finally, a small girl who doesn't speak may prove to be the key to mystery, but can our heroes get to her before the murderer?(read more...)

Jeffrey Combs Interview

Jeffrey Combs newsreel picture

You probably know Jeffrey Combs best for his role as mad scientist Herbert West in Stuart Gordon's cult classic Re-Animator, but the actor has brought so many more great performances to the genre. In July, at San Diego Comic-Con International, he sat down with us to rap about his latest -- reprising the part of Dr. Vannacutt from 1999's House on Haunted Hill for a new, direct-to-video sequel Return to House on Haunted Hill, being released on October 16th, 2007.

Classic-Horror.com: Tell us a little bit about your character [in Return to House on Haunted Hill]. We saw him in the first film…

Jeffrey Combs: Vannacutt is back… Vannacutt is a scientist from the 20s. We do find out in this one that at one point, he wasn’t such a bad guy. Brilliant scientist, Nobel Prize winner, and then something went terribly dark.

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Review: Summer of Fear (1978)

Summer of Fear poster

As I watched Wes Craven's television movie Summer of Fear, I couldn't help but think of cabbages. Yes, cabbages. Those noble, leafy denizens of the garden, those stoic vegetables whose nutritional value is so often overlooked. In particular, as the scenes from Craven's film flashed across the television and the dialogue assaulted my ears, I couldn't help but think how cabbage might have done a better job making this movie.(read more...)

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