Posts Tagged ‘Horror Movies’

A lot of people treat the word “remake” attached to a project as an automatic sign of a bad product. Some people- often people not realizing that some of their favorite movies are remakes –will also greet the news of remakes with declarations about how remakes are automatically inferior to the originals or are automatically devoid of any level genius or originality. One of my favorite remakes, 1986’s The Fly, is a film that puts a lie to both of these statements.

Admittedly, many remakes can be horrible. Typically, bad remakes come about because someone somewhere in a studio in Hollywood wants to remake or reboot a popular film or TV franchise just to try to jump back onto a money train. There’s often seemingly very little love or passion for the original versions, and some great deal less thought seems to be put into executing a new version thanks to the laziness of thinking everyone will just know what they’re supposed to know once the movie starts. There’s also an issue created when the original property is a hugely popular film or franchise with generations of fans. Of course, one way to get around that last bit is to let people who love the less than well-loved films get a shot at doing some remakes or reboots based on those. 

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This week a look at the classic holiday horror film, Black Christmas.

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After two rather successful forays into the world of the Blind Dead, Amando de Ossorio decided to change the formula up a bit and introduce some new twists into the mythos. Not all of this worked as well as he had hoped it would. The Ghost Galleon (also more commonly known as Horror of the Zombies in the 50 films for $20 public domain movie DVD sets) would move our decaying blood drinkers out of their scenic Spanish countryside home and into a broken down vessel drifting on the ocean waves. It also tried to introduce the weird, paranormal pseudo-science that was showing up in a lot of low budget (and the occasional bigger budget) horror films of that time. The former concept was actually enjoyable on a cheesy, so bad it’s good level once the film got past all of the mumbo jumbo buildup of the latter concept, but, still, enjoyable as hell or not, this film was a turkey and then some.

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It is perhaps one of the most unfairly maligned horror movie sequels ever made. It was the victim of a franchise creator and the creator’s fans not being on the same page when it came to the creation. Thankfully, Halloween III: Season of the Witch has been experiencing a resurgence in fandom and a new appreciation by fans over the last decade. But back in 1982, Season of the Witch unfortunately had a bit of an uphill climb with horror fans when it was entering theaters. It was meant to be a new direction for the Halloween franchise; one greatly desired by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Fans however wanted none of it.

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“11:55, almost midnight. Enough time for one more story. One more story before 12:00, just to keep us warm. In five minutes, it will be the 21st of April. One hundred years ago on the 21st of April, out in the waters around Spivey Point, a small clipper ship drew toward land. Suddenly, out of the night, the fog rolled in. For a moment, they could see nothing, not a foot in front of them. Then, they saw a light. By God, it was a fire burning on the shore, strong enough to penetrate the swirling mist. They steered a course toward the light. But it was a campfire, like this one. The ship crashed against the rocks, the hull sheared in two, masts snapped like a twig. The wreckage sank, with all the men aboard. At the bottom of the sea, lay the Elizabeth Dane, with her crew, their lungs filled with salt water, their eyes open, staring to the darkness. And above, as suddenly as it come, the fog lifted, receded back across the ocean and never came again. But it is told by the fishermen, and their fathers and grandfathers, that when the fog returns to Antonio Bay, the men at the bottom of the sea, out in the water by Spivey Point will rise up and search for the campfire that led them to their dark, icy death. “

That is, of course, the opening to John Carpenter’s The Fog, and the late John Houseman doing one of the best versions of the traditional old man around the campfire telling ghost stories and scaring the spit out of the children type of character. Depending on how old you may be and where you grew up; that scene may have been something you actually grew up with in real life. Stories of the local spirits roaming the material plane just waiting for you to wander unknowingly into their path and become their victim were plentiful for many a generation’s upbringing. They were a part of our childhood, they were something that created the local color of a region, and they were a great deal of fun back in the day.

The local ghost story still exists even as it seems like the interconnectivity of the World Wide Web is making more and more ghost stories and paranormal urban legends less local in nature. However, even the old local stories, as much as I loved them, were originally really not quite as local as they seemed to us back then. As a matter of fact, the truth is that many of them were just variants of stories brought over from the old countries by settlers and immigrants and remade into a local legend. Some would start as stories from back in the home country, but, eventually, they would incorporate local settings and characters into their telling and end up being told by people who swore that they knew the sorry souls involved or knew the now old man or woman who knew those sorry souls way back then or witnessed it with their own eyes in their youth. Then the years of “witnesses” and “documented events” (sometimes complete with names, ranks, and serial numbers) would enter into the tale, and the story would become firmly rooted in the area you lived in.

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This series is going to look at the movies that are out there that don’t make everyone’s list every year and that some of you may have overlooked in the annual avalanche of horror DVDs on the market.

Today we look at The Flesh Eaters.

The Flesh Eaters (1)

Yeah, I know. Some of you are wondering if you opened the wrong column or not and maybe you’ve hit my “They’re Not Bad…” column by mistake. Well, you didn’t click the wrong link. This movie is an old one with a number of elements in the film that are showing their age badly and you have some wild overacting by some of the actors portraying main characters. But I just can’t put this one on that list. For one thing, this movie pretty much came out the way it was supposed to. This is what it was intended to be. Also, it’s not a “so bad they’re good” type of film because it’s not really bad at all. If anything, The Flesh Eaters is a very enjoyable classic from the era of the mad scientist films.

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