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!

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...)

Cold Reads: Vampire Junction by S. P. Somtow

Vampire Junction book

By all appearances, Vampire Junction looks to be just another addition in a tirelessly long line of mediocre paperback fare that was spewed forth by both talented and hack writers alike during the 1980s. It's hard to go into a tale detailing the trials and tribulations of immortality with a straight face when the cover to the book shows the powdered face of a young boy (looking somewhat similar to Justin Bieber) singing his undead heart out while wearing a velvet cape and baring his fangs. But somehow author S. P. Somtow manages to downplay the ridiculous notion of a vampiric teeny-bopper singer and delve into some fertile ground that explores the deeper psychological themes surrounding the vampire myth. (read more...)

Review: Altered States (1980)

Altered States poster

What does it mean to be human? The question turns out to be far more interesting than the answer in Altered States, written by Paddy Chayefsky (Network) and directed by Ken Russell (Tommy). On a technical level, Altered States is a well-made "body horror" film, replete with some of Ken Russell's finest psychedelic sequences, but ultimately the movie fails to deliver satisfying answers to its own tantalizing questions and a lapse into Hollywood-drenched heteronormativity in the final act reduces an intellectually engrossing setup into a mundane resolution.(read more...)

The Fruit Cellar: "All My Power… All My Beauty… All My Life"

Lesley Gilb as Lemora

It's a traditional criticism of the modern horror film that the world represented is sexist in nature. It's a simplistic argument, but one that a surface-level analysis of most horror films would confirm. After all, don't most depict women in peril -- from Halloween to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to Suspiria? While it might seem like the most obvious of possible assessments, what this criticism fails to recognize are the areas in which the horror genre upends conventional depictions of women as victims.(read more...)

Review: Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974)

Silent Night Bloody Night poster

Silent Night, Bloody Night is an eerie and disturbing little proto-slasher. Filmed in 1972 and arriving in 1974, it predates even Black Christmas, yet features several elements that have become familiar today: the holiday setting, the menacing phone calls, the nebulous identity of the killer, the "final girl". At the same time, its Gothic-style focus on the tragic history of a big, creepy house places it at the intersection of classic and modern approaches to the horror genre. At worst, it's a curiosity; at best, it's a forgotten minor classic. (read more...)

The Disused Fane: Night and Day of the Dead

Pumpkins in Trick 'r' Treat (2008)

One Halloween night when I was a teenager a friend and I decided to walk to the cemetery a quarter mile from my mom's apartment and wander around. It was pretty spooky. The cemetery in question was huge, with a dead gnarled tree near the entrance, and odd little stone steps - we imagined that they were perhaps gateways to Hell - leading from the pathways to the fields where hundreds of gravestones sprawled. One almost expected to see Colin Clive and Dwight Frye skulking about with shovel and lantern. Another friend of ours had declined to come. He was quite religious, and what we were doing he found both offensive and frightening, regarding it disrespectful of the dead and vaguely "evil" as well. As the two of us got increasingly creeped out I suggested that we should have forced the third guy to come with us - if we were attacked by angry specters, I said, we could have ritualistically sacrificed him to placate them.(read more...)

Review: Zontar: The Thing from Venus (1966)

Zontar: The Thing from Venus title Card

We're still a bit tired from our long month of covering all things Texas Chainsaw Massacre, so enjoy this guest review from The Uranium Cafe's Bill Dan Courtney.

By the mid-1960s, American-International Pictures, once a struggling outfit that churned out low-budget but profitable movies for drive-in movie theaters, had become perhaps the most successful and powerful of the independent film companies in Hollywood. A logical step it seemed was to move into the now lucrative syndicated television market and so AIP-TV was formed. One of the projects AIP-TV took on was to remake a handful of AIP's earlier film and release them in color to a new generation of movie viewers. They hired legendary Z-movie shlockmeister Larry Buchanan, who made movies with a bare minimum of money and talent, yet still managed to at least break even if not turn a small profit. Buchanan produced eight films for AIP-TV with his Azalea Pictures company based out of Dallas, Texas. Zontar: The Thing from Venus, a remake of Roger Corman's It Conquered the World, is considered by many to be the best of his AIP-TV productions and even has B-movie icon John Agar in the role played by Peter Graves in the original film. Of course one can hardly say that the best Larry Buchanan film is anything that is going to excite the masses; they are films for the cognoscenti of camp and cheese only and rise to the quality of an Al Adamson movie at best.(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...)

Texas Chainsaw Video Jukebox

Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974 Dark Sky DVD

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. When you're thinking about something all the time, as we have been thinking about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series this month, you start seeing it everywhere. I started noticing a lot more Texas Chainsaw related videos on Youtube lately. They've always been there, I guess, but they were just waiting for me to notice them. Most of them were, frankly, awful, but I picked a smattering that amused me, along with trailers for all six Texas Chainsaw films. You can view what I came up with after the cut.

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Marilyn Burns ("Texas Chain Saw Massacre") Interview

Marilyn Burns Interview

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. Last year at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix, I had the great opportunity to chat with Marilyn Burns, who played final girl Sally Hardesty in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Our talk focused exclusively on her career in the 1970s and resulted in some great stories about the Texas film industry, the dangers of making a Charles Manson biopic, and why Eaten Alive may not be the film to take home to mother and father.(read more...)

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