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 Nate Yapp

Review: The Vampire Bat (1933)

Vampire Bat 1933 poster

Genre is cumulative. Successful elements of one film are picked up, refined, and tweaked by the next. Sometimes the result is an improvement or even an advancement, other times it is imitation or homage. In many cases, a film will combine the perceived successes of its predecessors, synthesizing them into something familiar but new. These are the places where genre evolves. Take the case of The Vampire Bat, which borrows two of the stars of Doctor X and Mystery of the Wax Museum, but more importantly, it carries forward some of the themes and genre trappings of Universal's 1931 horror hits, Dracula and Frankenstein. In doing so, the film shows some innovation of its own, resulting in an entertaining, if occasionally slipshod film.(read more...)

Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. Back in 1974, Tobe Hooper changed the horror game when he made the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre as an independent auteur. However, like many of the horror wunderkinds who made their mark in the 1970s, Hooper eventually found himself working for The Man. In the mid-1980s, Hooper was under contract to mini-major The Cannon Group, for whom he had already made two box office disasters that saw more than their fair share of post-production meddling. Making a sequel that lived up to the daunting legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre would be difficult in any circumstance, but with Hooper now beholden to short-sighted corporate overlords, the task became impossible. Hooper tried, though. In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, he tackled (or attempted to tackle) such diverse topics as the socioeconomic landscape of 1980s America, the absurdity of family values, and the destructive effects of vengeance, all while trying to make a movie that Cannon would deem commercially viable. With so many different goals, it isn't surprising that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is uneven, a mish-mash of interesting ideas and missed opportunities, great moments and bizarre tonal shifts.

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Review: Nightmares in Red, White and Blue (2009)

Nightmares in Red White and Blue poster

Horror is important. If you asked me to sum up the entire point of Classic-Horror.com, it would boil down to that. Horror is important. Horror matters. When done well (and sometimes when done poorly), horror reflects the unconscious group mind of its particular era and culture better than any other genre. Horror reaches into the dark place in all of us, pulls out truth, and forces us to look it straight in the eyes. Andrew Monument and Joseph Maddrey, the director and writer, respectively, of Nightmares in Red, White and Blue appear to agree with this sentiment. In this insanely informative and fascinating documentary, they draw lines between American history and American horror to show how eerily one tends to reflect the other.(read more...)

Review: It Conquered the World (1956)

It Conquered the World poster

In the 1950s, the Cold War was steaming up and alien invasion movies were making big bucks at the box office. Combining the two was a natural pairing that emerged throughout the decade . One of the more intelligent efforts to come from that era is Roger Corman's It Conquered the World. Written by Corman's friend and frequent collaborator Charles B. Griffith, the film uses its alien antagonist to play on the fear of Communism as a external force bent on brainwashing and depersonalizing humanity, while simultaneously exploring a very human debate about the pros and cons of the "Red Menace." The result is a deeply satisfying, thought-provoking viewing experience. (read more...)

Review: Dying Room Only (1973)

Dying Room Only DVD

The 1973 television movie Dying Room Only concerns itself with the tensions between the modern suburb dweller and those who make their living along the highways that run between "civilized" places. Writer Richard Matheson tackled similar subject matter in 1971's Duel, where he explored the conflict between a salesman and a faceless, homicidal truck driver. Here, he moves off-road to a diner to examine who, exactly, makes the rules out in the middle of nowhere.
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Review: Bad Ronald (1974)

Bad Ronald VHS

Between 1969 and 1975, the television network ABC was king of the TV movie scene, running up to two movie-of-the-week series at a time, supplemented by the occasional miniseries event. Tales of horror accounted for roughly 20% of these. The shorter running time (75 minutes or less) and lower production values were perfect for concise chillers that might have strained to fill the scope of a theatrical feature. Bad Ronald, which originally aired October 23rd, 1974, has that kind of a story - a quirky bit of creepiness that succeeds in its general aim to entertain and thrill in the same way a fast food cheeseburger succeeds in satisfying hunger.(read more...)

Review: Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971)

Dracula vs. Frankenstein 1971 poster

What a glorious mish-mash this is! Dracula vs. Frankenstein began life as Satan's Bloody Freaks, a standard mad science flick featuring J. Carrol Naish as a mad scientist and Lon Chaney, Jr as his faithful servant. However, the completed film was not to the liking of producer/co-writer Samuel M. Sherman, and the movie went back into production to add new scenes with Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster. However, the new ending didn't have the "punch" that Sherman wanted, so a new one was shot with a different actor in the Monster's makeup. As a result of its wacky production history and somewhat shabby (read more...)

Review: Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th 2009 poster

Marcus Nispel's Friday the 13th (2009), a "reboot" of the popular slasher franchise of the same name, is a frustrating cypher of a film. A critical nonentity, it is neither especially commendable nor particularly condemnable. Few elements stand out as objects of worthy discussion and even those that do provide extremely meager returns. The filmmaking is professional but uninspired, resulting in a vaguely familiar smorgasbord of pastiches and rehashes, reconfigured just enough as to not raise any ire from those keen-eyed enough to recognize the inspirations. In short, it's a truly terrible movie, for it takes no risks and asks for no involvement from its audience. (read more...)

Review: Gojira (1954)

Gojira 1954 poster

For his size, Godzilla certainly gets around, having attained a certain pop cultural ubiquity in the fifty-five years since his creation. He's been the star of several dozen Japanese films, an American remake, video games, comic books, cartoons, shoe commercials and even a series of novels for young adults. Godzilla references also pop up in sources ranging from the Friday the 13th series to The Simpsons. However, in his debut in Ishiro Honda's Gojira (1954), Godzilla is not a lovable icon, but a solemn and powerful force of devastation - a far cry from the image we have of him today. Ironically, it is in this film that Godzilla is at his most effective.(read more...)

Review: Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster (1964)

Ghidorah (Ghidrah) poster

When I was in the third grade, all I wanted for my ninth birthday was a copy of Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster. Why this film in particular held such fascination for me, I couldn't say for certain. I suspect that two factors spurred my desire: the majestic still of a rampaging Ghidorah (or Ghidrah as it's sometimes spelled) in William K. Everson's Classics of the Horror Film and an entry in Leonard Maltin's 1988 Movie Guide that informed interested readers that the flick featured four monsters, including the legendary Godzilla, for the price of one. What boy could pass that up? When I finally received my cherished VHS tape, I was not disappointed. It had monsters and they fought each other (and the human stuff was okay to pass the time between monster appearances). Watching Ghidorah today, I feel like I'm sitting with that kid right next to me, the seventeen years of distance reduced to the length of my couch.(read more...)

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