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!

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Roy Ward Baker (1916-2010)

Roy Ward Baker

Roy Ward Baker, who directed several British horror films in the late 1960s and early 1970s, passed away in his sleep on Tuesday, according to Guardian.co.uk. He was 93 years old. Born in 1916, Baker worked his way up the the ranks of the British film industry in the 1930s and 40s, moving from minor jobs to assistant director (he worked with Hitchcock on The Lady Vanishes). In 1947, he made his directorial debut with The October Man, which he made for Two Cities Films in 1947. He directed a number of notable pictures in the 1950s, including Don't Bother to Knock (starring Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe) and A Night to Remember (which documented the sinking of the RMS Titanic). As part of his extensive television work in the early 1960s, Baker helmed the episode of The Avengers which introduced Diana Rigg's Emma Peel to the world. (read more...)

The Disused Fane: Who's Next?

Tales from the Crypt poster

"DEATH LIVES," states the trailer for Tales from the Crypt (1972), and with its pervasive images of skulls and corpses, one is inclined to agree. Revisiting this film I am struck by how morbid and vicious it really is. It deals not just with the fear of life's end, but with the fear of what comes after life's end. From their earliest days horror films and stories have dealt with death. The imagery of decay is repulsive, and the finality of loss (Grandma isn't coming back, ever) is terrifying. We all must die. How are we to accept this? The management of this terror has been one of mankind's greatest tasks, and frequently it has fallen to one of mankind's oldest institutions: religion.

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month (October 2010)

Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

It began, legend says, at Christmas time. Tobe Hooper, a film director whose only feature credit had been a hippie drama called Eggshells, was standing in a Montgomery Ward, trapped by the bustle of last-minute shoppers. As he contemplated how to get through the mass of consumerism, he found violent inspiration in a display of chainsaws. Thankfully, he didn't act on his carnage-filled fantasy of bloody crowd control. Instead, he channeled the idea into his second feature, a low-budget horror flick about a quintet of young people who are beset by a family of cannibal hicks in the sweltering Texas summer. Although produced with working titles such as Headcheese and Leatherface, it was released in 1974 with the only name it would ever need: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. This brutal cacophony of terror would go on to spawn three direct sequels, documentaries, a video game, several comic books, an official fan club, and countless pieces of collectible merchandise. Its imitators are innumerable. In 2003, New Line Cinema and Platinum Dunes released a remake which spawned its own prequel, merchandise, and comic books.

Cold Reads: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

turn-of-the-screw-cover.jpg

Spooky children have always been favorite stock characters of the horror genre. Starting as early as The Village of the Damned, blossoming in The Exorcist and The Omen, and bringing us to times as recent as the ones that witnessed Orphan, evil-natured children have always sparked our imagination and our worse parental fears. Henry James' novella The Turn of the Screw presents this now cliché story trope in a setting that may or may not be inhabited by the damned, creating an atmosphere of dread and terror. Although at times a bit of a tough read, The Turn of the Screw remains an icon of psychological horror in literature. (read more...)

The Terrophile: Love Shack of the Evil Dead (Fanvid)

Evil Dead poster

Sometimes when I'm coming up with my fanvids, I think of the movie or television series I want to work with, and then come up with a song. Sometimes I like of a song and try to find a fandom to vid it to. However, with my latest creation, the song and source came at the same time in a burst of inspiration: The B-52's "Love Shack" paired with The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. In hindsight, it's an obvious pairing. However, the actual editing process was less obvious. From start to finish, this video was a year and a half in the making. I hope you enjoy it.

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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...)

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...)

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...)

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