October Hammershow: The Quatermass Xperiment, aka The Creeping Unknown

The Curse of Frankenstein may have been the first huge payoff for Hammer Film Productions after they made the transition to horror, but it was The Quatermass Xperiment (released in the United States as The Creeping Unknown) that started the company down the path to becoming a legend in the horror genre. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Quatermass Xperiment, aka The Creeping Unknown”

October Horrorshow: Eight Legged Freaks

Sometimes horror films can be a downer. In preparing for this month of reviews, I watch a lot of horror. For every film that makes it to the Horrorshow, I probably watch two others that didn’t interest me enough to write about. That means I spend a lot of evenings listening to young women scream in terror, watching grievous bodily injury, and living in a state of general anxiety brought about by all that scary stuff on the screen. Sleep is no respite, as we tend to dream about things that are on our minds. It’s not uncommon for me to watch yet another gory horror film followed up by a night of dreaming about the zombie apocalypse or a demonic presence in my home. Good grief. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Eight Legged Freaks”

October Horrorshow: Creepshow

I’m about to write something that will call into question my credibility as a reviewer of horror films. I believe Creepshow is the best film George Romero directed. Blasphemy! What has led me to such low depths; to such sacrilege against Romero’s groundbreaking classic, Night of the Living Dead? How could I possibly elevate Creepshow not just above the incredible Night, but also above Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead? It might have something to do with the writing. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Creepshow”

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 readingOctober Horrorshow: Bug (1975)”

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 readingOctober Horrorshow: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem”

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 readingOctober Horrorshow: Alien vs. Predator”

October Horrorshow: Alien 3

Alien 3This is the film that started the long decline of the Alien franchise, but much of the bad feeling this film generates is misplaced, I think. There’s a lot of love out there for the first two films in the series, so any continuation of the story is going to face both closer scrutiny and higher expectations. I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with that, so long as opinions aren’t magnified beyond a reasonable consideration of a film’s quality. Luckily for the filmmakers of Alien 3, it was made in a simpler time — the 1990s — when a franchise flick wasn’t judged with any sort of finality before it was even released.

Alien 3 hails from 1992, and was director David Fincher’s first feature film. He worked from a screenplay cobbled together by David Giler, Walter Hill, and Larry Ferguson, after the project had been bouncing around in development since shortly after Aliens hit it big at the box office. At one point, sci-fi legend William Gibson was hired to write a script by Giler and Hill (who also served as producers on the film). Gibson’s script was wildly different from what was eventually filmed, so much so that he received no writing credit. For the curious, Gibson’s screenplay can be found online. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Alien 3″

October Horrorshow: The Hallow

The woods can be a scary place for some people. The strange noises, the closeness, the environment being the antithesis of cities or suburbia — being in the woods can be weird. Maybe that’s what makes the woods a great setting for horror films. That, or the woods is just a convenient setting when budget dictates plot and cast have to be small. Either way, the forest primeval is an oft-used setting in the horror genre, in both good and bad films. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Hallow”

October Horrorshow: Indigenous

The Darién Gap is one of the more interesting natural locations on earth. It’s an area of forbidding jungle and swampland straddling the border of Panama and Colombia. The terrain of the gap is so treacherous that its expanse marks the only break in the Pan-American Highway’s 19,000-mile length. It’s a land of native tribes and Marxist guerillas (truly a land outside of time — who still wants to be communist?). The Darién Gap is also the setting of today’s film, Indigenous. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Indigenous”

October Horrorshow: The Relic

I love a good monster flick. Hell, I love a mediocre monster flick. Which is good for The Relic, because, while it’s a passable diversion, it’s not the second coming of Alien.

From way back in 1997, The Relic, from director Peter Hyams, features one of the more complicated beasties I’ve encountered in my decades of watching horror flicks. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Relic”