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 Kevin Nickelson

Review: Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Island of Lost Souls

With the installation of the Motion Picture Production Code in February 1930, Hollywood, suffering from a damaged image through much of the silents era due to off-screen star scandals and production of some risque films, finally bowed to political pressure for increased censorship. Full enforcement of the code, however, would not happen until 1934, when the chief censoring body, the Hays Office, was finally given final editing authority over the studios. Until then, many juicy gems, like Paramount's 1932 horror classic Island of Lost Souls were able to sneak past editor's chopping block with all the delightfully overt and lurid elements intact. (read more...)

Review: The Uninvited (1944)

The Uninvited (1944) poster

At some point in its history, Hollywood decided that more eye-popping effects, blood, violence, and nudity were needed to bring more viewers to theaters and put more money into industry coffers. Unfortunately, this often led to a lazy, less-nuanced approach to filmmaking. Fans of the haunted house chiller, in particular, saw first-hand how the new, in-your-face angle negatively impacted their favorite horror sub-genre. Where you now see the ghosts and supernatural forces through optical and computer trickery, the ghost stories of filmdom's golden age relied on simple sound, lighting, and wind machine effects to get the viewer's already active imagination to scare the pants off them. One of these subtle gems of yesteryear is 1944's The Uninvited, a sumptuous-looking, superbly directed and acted hair-raiser of the highest caliber.(read more...)

Review: The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

The Creeping Unknown (The Quatermass Xperiment) poster

From 1957 to 1973, Hammer Film Productions reached iconic status within the genre of Gothic horror, with such entries as The Curse of Frankenstein, The Horror of Dracula, The Mummy, and The Vampire Lovers among others. However, the film that helped launch Hammer's successful, 16-year run as the king of the horror box office was, in fact, a contemporary science fiction film. Based on a 1953 BBC television serial written by Nigel Kneale, the superbly crafted and acted The Quatermass Xperiment put Hammer on the worldwide financial map and added to the sci-fi lexicon a new scientist-hero, Professor Bernard Quatermass.

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Review: Twice Dead (1988)

Twice Dead poster

With the boom of the Beta/VHS industry in the early 80's, there was a need for lots of film product to fill video rental store shelves. Video distributors filled the quota with cinema that either had a limited theatrical release or were made straight-to-video. While this meant a lot of titles for consumers to choose from, it was often a dice roll as to level of quality. For every gem, there were ten films that were such mis-fires they were best left collecting dust bunnies on the shelf. One such dirt magnet is Twice Dead, a film replete with a two dollar budget, amateurish direction and even worse acting. (read more...)

Review: Deranged (1974)

Deranged poster

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. It would be hard enough to make a horror movie where the audience is asked to connect with the villain if he or she sticks merely to bloody butchering. Throw in some necrophilia, and it becomes a whole new level of difficulty. Deranged, from Karr International Pictures, delves into that subject in addition to offering both a thinly-disguised take on Ed Gein and his exploits as well as an exploration of the theme of compassion for the killer.(read more...)

Review: Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

Exorcist II poster

Are you one of those growing numbers of horror film fans inflicted with sequel-itis? That is the condition, caused by money-hungry studio execs, that affects the areas of the brain that block impulses to see a movie, no matter the quality level, just because it has a favorite returning character and a number added to the title. If you're looking for a cure, you won't find it with Exorcist II: The Heretic, a good-looking film with a big budget and even bigger name cast that still manages to be a mess on so many levels.(read more...)

Review: Sleepless (2001)

Sleepless (Non ho sonno) poster

The serial killer formula is ripe horror fare for film studios looking to grab big money from easy-to-please gorehounds. In fact, the low expectations from slasher film fans provide a perfect excuse for studios to focus less on quality and more on marketing. All a director needs is a flashy look, a decent soundtrack, a lot of blood, and a script that merely serves to connect the gore set-pieces. The problem with Sleepless is that it's directed by a master of suspense films, Dario Argento, and yet still fits the form.(read more...)

Review: Nightmare Castle (1965)

Nightmare Castle poster

When you look at the history of horror cinema, there are few actors whose name is synonymous with an entire sub-genre. There's perhaps Boris Karloff and the mad scientist film or Christopher Lee in the Dracula/vampire realm. There's one actor who doesn't often get mentioned amongst the elite group of horror icons, and that's Barbara Steele. With her exotic, striking beauty and graceful physicality, she could move from playing icy villainess to strong but vulnerable heroine with incredible ease. Steele's popularity reached its peak in the 1960s with gothic chillers like Pit and the Pendulum (1961) and The Horrible Dr. Hichcock. One of Steele's lesser films is 1965's Nightmare Castle, a visually sumptuous entry that manages to hold interest despite a wildly silly plot.(read more...)

Review: The Face of Fu Manchu (1965)

The Face of Fu Manchu poster

One's enjoyment of The Face of Fu Manchu depends on how highly one regards Saturday afternoon serials or at least the formula which made up those multi-chapter adventures. I am an unabashed fan of those old reel-to-reel cliffhangers: the cut-and-dried characters, the huge doses of action, and the simplified good-versus-evil plots. There's no significant subtext, characters in shades of gray, or convoluted writing to get in the way. The Face of Fu Manchu is perfect homage to those B-level time-fillers: stream-lined, stripped-down, "Boys' Life" derring-do at its best.(read more...)

Review: Premature Burial (1962)

Premature Burial poster

Of the myriad number of authors in the realm of horror fiction, none have been better at examining and exposing the powerful demons within the human psyche than the legendary Edgar Allan Poe. Few filmmakers have been more adept at transferring Poe's stories to the big screen than Roger Corman. After huge financial successes with Fall of the House of Usher (1960) and Pit and The Pendulum (1961), it was little surprise that Corman would continue to mine Poe for box office cash in 1962 with the intense and disturbing Premature Burial.(read more...)

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