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!

The 2009 International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Fest Starts Thursday!

International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival 2009

One of the highlights of the Phoenix horror scene is the annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival. This year's iteration runs October 15-18, 2009, at MADCAP Theaters, the festival's new home in downtown Tempe. Running the show once again is Andrea Beesley-Brown, the Midnite Movie Mamacita, and she's put together an amazing line-up of features and shorts. The IHSFFF opens on Thursday, October 15th with a 7:15PM screening of one of my favorite underrated sci-fi action flicks, Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997). Star Casper Van Dien, Johnny Rico himself, will be in attendance, answering questions after the movie and then signing autographs in the lobby (all proceeds from Van Dien's signing go to Childhelp USA).(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: The Virgin Spring (1960)

Virgin Spring poster

The Virgin Spring takes characters of complete innocence that are spiritually devout and forces them into situations of unadulterated evil, then questions the believability of a faith whose God would allow for such atrocities to occur. But Bergman isn't just questioning Christianity with his film; he's looking for answers from his audience. What he's putting on screen are scenarios that remain unfiltered; Bergman presents both scenes of rape and violent retribution without an opinion or without shying away from one or the other. He knows that both actions are reprehensible and that's the point. He leaves the audience with the gavel to decide the fates of his characters. Is the revenge that is sought (and had) in the film morally just because of the actions that come before it or are the characters that commit heinous crimes in the film all linked together as murderers of the same flock?(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 Devil Commands (1941)

The Devil Commands poster

It's hard to imagine the history of film or literature without mad scientists. We'd never have encountered Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Moreau, or a host of other colorful, enduring characters that have captivated our souls for decades. The Devil Commands is a testament to that prototype's allure.

As a popular narrative trope, mad scientist stories appear, on the surface, simple. Enter your typical mad scientist. He's crazy and consequently initiates a firestorm of chaos. Hell breaks loose, innocents die, he's hunted down and eventually caught, punished, or exterminated. However, underlying these conventions lurk crucial thematic and generic questions that defy cursory analysis. Is the scientist's "science" scientific? What drives him mad: his inherently evil intentions or the science itself and his quest for knowledge? Is the chaos intentional or accidental? Is the chaos a result of the scientist or his science?(read more...)

Review: The Company of Wolves (1984)

Company of Wolves poster

A werewolf film like no other, The Company of Wolves is a radical reinterpretation of the story of Little Red Riding Hood through a primarily feminist viewpoint.  With it's rich and beautiful symbolism, Neil Jordan's 1984 film is based on a collection of short stories originally written by novelist Angela Carter, who collaborates with Jordan on this film's script.  While it is not terribly frightening, this film can make one marvel at its beauty and also think carefully its allegories of leaving childhood behind and embracing maturity. (read more...)

Review: The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Most Dangerous Game poster

In the 21st century, when just about any kind of sex and violence can be downloaded at the click of a mouse, and torture-packed films such as Saw pull in plenty at the box-office, I often have a tendency to forget how brutal and kinky horror films have always been to some extent, even those made nearly 80 years ago. The Most Dangerous Game is a classic example, a tightly paced mix of cruelty, grisly horror, and deviant sexual desires.(read more...)

Pictures from the Phoenix First Friday Zombie Walk and Scavenger Hunt

Zombies Walk

Last Friday, during Phoenix's monthly First Friday Artswalk, the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival and the AZ Ghostbusters teamed up to throw a Zombie Walk and Scavenger Hunt. The turn-out was excellent, with some really creative zombies and ghouls on display (including the Frankenstein monster and his bride!). Classic-Horror was on hand, taking pictures and tabulating scores. The best of our pictures can be seen in the slideshow below:(read more...)

Review: The Sorcerers (1967)

The Sorcerers poster

"How long do you think all this can last?" asks a bored Mike at a swinging 60s happening. And this throwaway line becomes the central thread of Michael Reeves's stunning second film The Sorcerers, the movie that would pave the way for his masterpiece Witchfinder General in 1968. While on the surface offering a seemingly carefree world of mind altering drugs, free love and promiscuous sex, Reeves instead probes deeper and suggests a darker side where moral laxity leads not to joy, but to destruction. For the characters who abandon responsibility, death is waiting.(read more...)

Reminder: Zombie Walk and Scavenger Hunt Tonight in Phoenix

Dawn of the Dead 1978 review still

Edited to give more accurate directions to the Scavenger Hunt registration. If you're in the Phoenix area and you're looking for something to do tonight, the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival is hosting a Zombie Walk and Scavenger Hunt as part of downtown's First Friday Arts Walk. Heck, even if you already have plans, drop 'em, because this is going to be a ton of fun.

The Zombie Walk will gather together at the Arizona Ghostbusters booth at 501 E. Roosevelt by Pravus Gallery and begin shambling at 7:00PM.

At the same time, registration for the Zombie Scavenger Hunt opens at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival Booth, which has been moved to Spot #40 in Vendor Village (Garfield St., east of 5th St). You can do both the Walk and the Scavenger Hunt, however, because the Hunt itself doesn't start until 8PM. 

Full scavenger hunt rules and details are at the IHSFF website.