October Horrorshow: Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Clowns are creepy. But I didn’t realize this until I got older. Back when I was a kid, I remember my old man and his brother loading up our families in a van to head out to Richfield Coliseum to see Ringling Bros. We only went a couple of years — at most three in a row. Hardly a family tradition, but there are still parts of those outings I remember vividly, and clowns creeping me out is not one of them. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Killer Klowns from Outer Space”

October Horrorshow: Jaws

I couldn’t say how many times I’ve seen Jaws. It’s been so many times that the film feels like a familiar presence in my life. My first viewing was so long ago that it’s mostly faded back into the ether, consisting of little snippets that have been distorted by time. I remember that I was young, maybe five or six years old, and that my old man was there to make sure I covered my eyes during the gory bits. Was it irresponsible to let someone so young watch a movie featuring such gruesome scenes of death as Jaws? Well, it was rated PG, for Parental Guidance, and that’s just what I got. I was too young for the gore, but there were about 120 minutes of really good movie that wouldn’t cause nightmares, and that I got to see until I was old enough for the rest. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Jaws”

October Horrorshow: Lake Placid

Giant animal flicks have had a resurgence of late, thanks to the adventurous executives over at SyFy. Every week seems to see the introduction of a new Asylum or Roger Corman b-movie with gruel-thin plots and awful CGI. These movies fill a niche, sure, but while some viewers find these movies’ intentional cheapness a main draw, endearing even, most are such amateurish productions that they are unwatchable. That’s a shame. Flicks such as Dinoshark or Mega Python vs. Gatoroid share a pedigree with Them! and The Beginning of the End, but while Bert I. Gordon could never be accused of being a great filmmaker, his silly movies are still watchable 60 years later. These newest monster flicks are just putrid, marring what can be a very dynamic subgenre of sci-fi/horror. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Lake Placid”

October Horrorshow: Bug (1975)

This isn’t the original trailer, but this is the video that made me want to see this movie.

This movie had such shitty promise. For one thing, it was produced by William Castle, whose lasting contribution to film history was a series of horror flicks with gimmicky contraptions placed in theaters to enhance the experience for viewers. Much of the silliness of something like House on Haunted Hill doesn’t translate into a restrained living room viewing, but it’s still a well-regarded b-horror flick nonetheless. Bug is the last film in Castle’s filmography, and while it had the potential to be a spectacle of shitty proportions, it falls short. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Bug (1975)”

October Horrorshow: The Shining

Every single scene in The Shining, the classic horror film from Stanley Kubrick, is unsettling, sometimes deeply. From the opening montage, a series of beautiful helicopter shots of the Rockies, rendered menacing by the music of Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, to the final slow zoom before the end credits, there’s not a single moment’s respite from the tension of this film. That makes The Shining somewhat unique in comparison to other horror films. There is no lighter side of the Torrance family’s lives that is upended by the goings on at the Overlook Hotel. They were doomed regardless. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Shining”

October Horrorshow: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem

In the canon of the Alien franchise, it’s always been assumed that if the aliens made their way to civilization, they would be an unstoppable force, toppling everything we’ve built. Such was the case among the small pocket of colonists in Aliens. But that film took place in the future, far away in time and place from contemporary earth. The first Alien vs. Predator film took place in modern times, but writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson went to some lengths to ensure there was no plausible chance the aliens could threaten civilization, placing the action in his film on a remote Antarctic island under 2,000 feet of ice. Why such reluctance to show aliens tearing up Times Square, say, or climbing the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge? Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem”

October Horrorshow: Constantine, Rhymes with Tangerine

Back in 1993, DC Comics, under the direction of editor Karen Berger, took six of its mature readers titles and placed them under a new imprint — Vertigo. The Sandman, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol (after a legendary run by writer Grant Morrison), Animal Man, Shade the Changing Man, and Hellblazer (featuring John Constantine, rhymes with clementine) were titles that had grown beyond the core superhero titles of DC’s lineup. Berger had been responsible for much of this, bringing aboard creative talent which would have been wasted penning yet another year-long superhero crossover designed to simplify DC’s bloated continuity, or spending day after day drawing just the right amount of ripples in Superman’s abs. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Constantine, Rhymes with Tangerine”

October Horrorshow: Alien vs. Predator

Alien vs. Predator, the 2004 film that brought together the two franchises for the big screen, has its roots way back in the 1980s. In 1989, Dark Horse Presents ran a short Aliens vs. Predator story for three issues, written by Randy Stradley with art by Phill Norwood and Karl Story, which served as an introduction to a standalone miniseries Dark Horse subsequently published. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Alien vs. Predator”