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: Psycho II (1983)

Psycho II poster

Psycho II should never have been made. The original, crafted by a master, cut deeply into our collective pop-psyche, being all things to all people - and thus unique. Scholars loved its Freudian take on sexual paranoia (where a knife was no longer just a knife) and its narrative insurgency. Meanwhile mainstream cinema-goers had never before seen a film so delightfully lurid - focusing as it did on black negligee, flushing toilets and blood spiraling down the plughole. With Psycho, the modern horror film was born. A sequel then, especially one coming so many years later, shouldn't work. Yet somehow, director Richard Franklin defies expectations. Uniqueness is replaced by nostalgia, but this remembrance is used to open new doors, creating a twisting story that is at once evocative and seditious.(read more...)

Cold Reads: Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper by Robert Bloch

Yours Truly Jack the Ripper and Other Tales by Robert Bloch

More so than perhaps any other serial killer in history, Jack the Ripper has been molded into a figure of almost mythical proportions over the years since his gruesome crime spree. This may be because he was never apprehended by the law and, most importantly, that he was never given a human face for the public to identify him with. This has distorted an already warped soul into something greater, a demonic creature whose existence still remains a mystery. Robert Bloch, a literary mastermind who knows how to craft a fine psychopath, offers up his own serving of Red Jack on a bloody platter.(read more...)

Review: Mill of the Stone Women (1960)

Mill of the Stone Women poster

Following the release of Riccardo Freda's I Vampiri in 1956, the Golden Age of Italian horror cinema exploded onto the international scene. Over the course of the next twelve years, several films, which are now considered classics, were released within the genre. From monochrome masterpieces such as Black Sunday, Castle of Blood, and Nightmare Castle to kaleidoscopes of stunning color like The Whip and the Body and The Horrible Dr. Hichcock, the stream of creativity seemed endless. With the wealth of quality features that hit the screens during this time, some exceptional films are bound to be somewhat overlooked by fans of this glorious era.(read more...)

Kevin McCarthy (1914-2010)

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy, an actor famous for his role in Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), died Saturday, September 12, 2010, at the age of 96, according to the New York Times. In Invasion, McCarthy perfectly captured the creeping paranoia of his character, Dr. Miles Bennell, as he discovers that his friends and neighbors are being replaced by emotionless pod people. His wild-eyed cries of "They're here! They're here! You're next!" in the film's prologue are today part of the sci-fi geek patois. In 1978, McCarthy appeared in a cameo in the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, yelling the same paranoid warnings. That same year, he appeared in Joe Dante's Piranha, marking the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between the actor and director. McCarthy would eventually appear in seven Dante films, the last being 2003's Looney Tunes: Back in Action.(read more...)

Cold Reads: Afterward by Edith Wharton

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

For those of you dedicated deadites who have been reading these weekly reviews, you have perhaps taken notice of an ongoing, vital factor of horror fiction that I have mentioned several times now. I am referring to that slow build up of dread and foreboding that writers use so potently in their stories. It is my belief that this is where the true terror and tension of weird fiction exists and, when in the manipulative, crafty hands of a talented scribe, it can be used to torment the reader's mind with a sense of perfect horror that is not easily forgotten. In "Afterward", a ghost story almost like no other, Edith Wharton provides us literary masochists with a great, spooky high.(read more...)

The Fruit Cellar: "Why Don't You Lay Back and Enjoy Being Inferior?"

Last House on the Left: Krug's Boys

Some years ago (before I became fully entrenched in the horror world), my father mentioned The Last House of the Left (1972). He didn't tell me what it was about or whether or not he even liked it. He just told me I should see it. Naturally, Best Friend and I went to the video store post haste. (It is a fervent belief of mine that watching a film like this on VHS is better than watching it on DVD.) We pulled the tape out of its translucent plastic case and popped it into the VCR. And it was an experience unlike any I'd had up to that point.(read more...)

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...)

Cold Reads: Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

One of the best things about writing literature reviews for Classic-Horror.com is getting the chance to expose readers to writers who may have previously gone undetected on the horror fan radar. Fritz Leiber is just such a scribe that many will most likely admit to having never heard of. Getting his start in those lovely pulp magazines of the 1930s and 40s, Leiber was a talent whose unique emphasis on supernatural horror occurring in modern society was considered revolutionary in its approach. If you go in expecting to hear of morbid gents digging around in eldritch tombs or fearless heroes slaying monsters in Gothic castles, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised (and frightened) by Leiber’s prospect of evil lurking right next door. This idea is apparent in one of Leiber’s greatest works, Conjure Wife, a tale of the hazy line that bridges the world of reality and the realms of darkness beyond. (read more...)

"Slumber Party Massacre Collection" Arriving on DVD in October

Slumber Party Massacre Collection DVD

I wouldn't usually post about another series of low-budget 80s slasher movies arriving on DVD, but the Slumber Party Massacre series (1982-1990) has always piqued my interest. The slasher movie has long been derided as chauvinist at best, misogynistic at worst, so a trilogy of such films written and directed by women bears closer scrutiny, especially when one of the women involved is noted feminist Rita Mae Brown (she wrote the screenplay for the first Slumber Party Massacre film). (read more...)

Review: Twisted Nerve (1968)

Twisted Nerve poster

The hypnotic whistle echoing at the beginning of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 1 can pique a person's curiosity. When I looked into it, I discovered that this theme was composed by Bernard Herrman for a 1968 psychological thriller from England entitled Twisted Nerve. One would expect, after hearing such a haunting tune, that this film would be suspenseful and tense -- an impression only reinforced by the film's rather ghoulish trailer. Twisted Nerve disappoints these expectations. Roy Boulting's film may contain some moments of tension, but it more or less fails to spark a sense of fear and helplessness in its audience. In fact, it is an adequate thriller at best; most of its horror, or at least what horror there is to be found here, comes on the psychological level rather than the visceral one.(read more...)

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