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 Robert Ring

Review: Audition (1999)

Audition poster

Audition is a devious film, the kind that draws you in with well-developed characters and a patiently-paced plot but that eventually begins hitting you unapologetically with scenes of horror before finally bludgeoning you at its climax. Made by Takashi Miike, a master of inserting obscene levels of violence into well-measured stories, this is a film that builds up to an explosive finale that is virtually impossible to be perfectly unspoiled (assuming the viewer looks at the DVD packaging or poster art before watching the film) but nevertheless hits with such unexpected force that it can leave you sick. Aside from simply setting you up for a punch in the gut, however, Audition also quietly illustrates the extent of our acceptance of male dominance in society. (read more...)

Review: The Descent (2005)

Descent poster

The Descent could be seen as a textbook guide to instilling horror in viewers. However, to view this film in such a way would be to consider it a mere genre exercise when instead it is a jarring metaphor for the pain of exploring our darkest thoughts. The horror here, which is accomplished as perfectly as it likely could have been, does not exist solely to frighten but to evoke the terror of such a journey into the subconscious. Specifically, the film follows one character's descent into an unexplored cave system, which almost inherently becomes a metaphorical descent into the unexplored recesses of her own mind. The Descent is merciless, but more importantly, it never falters from its attempt to tell the story of a character's confrontation of the hidden aspects of her psychology. (read more...)

Review: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Texas Chain Saw Massacre poster

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. I was a late bloomer in my appreciation of horror cinema. Aside from sporadic outings to see mass-market horror films, I did not discover the true joys of the genre until I was in college. As I journeyed through classics like Alien, Halloween, and Rosemary's Baby, I was occasionally frightened or unsettled in various ways, but it was all enjoyable horror, the kind that can be intense but that ultimately leaves the psyche unscarred. Then I saw The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. As I watched this film, a deep-seated, almost unidentifiable anxiety began to build within me from the opening scenes - scenes which contain very little horror. Then, as I watched the characters experience physical and psychological torment later in the film, that building anxiety exploded into outright dismay. I was so disturbed by this movie that it would be six years before I watched it again, and even then it retained a potent effect. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is not so much creative in its approach to instilling horror as it is merciless, breaking down viewers' defenses before hitting them on all sides with unimaginable terror. This is one of the most horrifying films ever made.(read more...)

Review: Spirits of the Dead (1968)

Spirits of the Dead

If you're familiar with the works of Edgar Allan Poe, you know that amongst his most prominent themes is that of the past's ability to terrorize you. The three loosely adapted Poe stories in Spirits of the Dead - "Metzengerstein," "William Wilson," and "Never Bet the Devil your Head" - are about exactly that. Though they are each helmed by a different director, the continuity and quality that flow through them are perfectly consistent, creating an experience that is well-told, layered, and haunting. (read more...)

Review: The Old Dark House (1932)

The Old Dark House 1932 poster

In the horror genre, when a house stands out as a primary component, it is often going to be haunted.  In The Old Dark House, however, director James Whale uses a house in a different, more rewarding way: as a metaphor for the psyche.  Things like seldom-visited rooms, locked closets, and at-odds inhabitants provide rich ground for such use. The fact that these elements succeed in achieving a level creepiness on par with that of your average haunted house film says something rather unsettling about the way our heads work.  The Old Dark House is a house-as-head movie that examines repression, fear, and the role of the new, constructed with the adeptness one would expect from the great James Whale.(read more...)

Review: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

Beast from 20,000 Fathoms poster

You know those guys that make videos and fake movie trailers out of bits and pieces of other movies?  I wish someone would do that with the films Ray Harryhausen has worked on.  Here is a guy so good at visual effects that most of the directors he worked for counted on him alone to carry the team to victory.  If you took the best parts of the movies he worked on and spliced them together in some sort of coherent way, you would get a really cool video.  If we're going to sit our butts down for a film-length runtime, though (even one as short as those of the 1950s), there has to be more to it than special effects, no matter how good the monster looks. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms yet again proves that there are limits even to what a visual effects master like Harryhausen can do for a movie.(read more...)

Review: The Beyond (1981)

The Beyond poster

The Beyond can be difficult for people to "get," often feeling like a linear narrative that is thrown together without any sense of "how" or "why," but in reality the events' lack of logic is exactly what makes them horrifying. Combine this purposeful lack of logic with deceptively adept pacing, and you have a true horror masterpiece.(read more...)

Review: The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)

Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake poster

This is the hardest type of movie to write about: one that has no particularly good or bad aspects.  The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake is simply there.  The only bad thing about it is it doesn't do what it aims at particularly well.  The only good thing about it is it has some elements that may have been frightening when the film was first released but that are not anymore.  If you're on a mission to see every horror film there is, watch it.  If you aim to watch only good movies and ones that are enjoyable awful, skip it.  It treads the middle path of monotony.
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Review: Un Chien Andalou (1929)

Un Chien Anadalou poster

Since its release in 1929, Un Chien Andalou has remained one the best and most famous examples of surrealist cinema.  It does exactly what surrealist works are supposed to do: sequence random images and events so as to touch its audience in a way that logic cannot.  Though it is not a horror film per se, in which the viewer is threatened by a monster, a madman, or some other tangible force, the film does contain a number of horrific images, and its dreamlike construction can at times instill a fear beyond rationality. Director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí compile images and scenes that will make you cringe, laugh, vomit, and cock your head - and they compact them into seventeen unforgettable, never-boring minutes that constantly seem to draw from the most hidden depths of our unconscious. Put succinctly, Un Chien Andalou is a masterpiece.
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Review: 28 Weeks Later (2007)

28 Weeks Later poster

In 1979, Roger Ebert called George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead “an ultimate horror film” and, in a separate review a few days later, cited its horrifying, satiric, and well-crafted elements as combining to make it such. I am a huge Dawn of the Dead fan (as I write this, there is a Flyboy action figure on my desk), and ever since first watching it in college, I have waited for another zombie film with insight and terror comparable to that of Romero’s masterpiece. Enter the sequel to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's 28 Weeks Later, another ultimate horror film.(read more...)

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