The Horror! The Horror! My Reluctance to Embrace Horror and How Scream Factory and Pure Cinema Podcast May Change My Movie-Watching Life While Sucking My Bank Account Dry

(How’s that for a title, huh?)

v3CjPBEO

I have a very unusual relationship with horror movies. I own very few of them and most of the ones I do own are from Hollywood’s “classic” era, including several of the Universal monster films and later more “psychological” horror films such as The Innocents (1961) and The Haunting (1963), films that suggest more than they show. Most of the horror in those films comes from implications and a sense of dread rather than actual physical danger and mayhem. These are the elements that – at least to me – offer the best justifications for rewatchability. Yet after listening to the latest Pure Cinema Podcast, I might be picking up more horror.

scream_fac

In their most recent show, Episode 6: Scream Factory, I came away with at least 16 titles I absolutely must check out:

Miracle Mile (1988 – Kino Lorber)

The Car (1977)

fun

The Funhouse (1981)

I, Madman (1989)

Ghosthouse (1988)

from_beyond

From Beyond (1986)

Prince of Darkness (1987)

The Exorcist III (1990)

Nightbreed (1990)

night_comet

Night of the Comet (1984)

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Death Valley (1982)

fog

The Fog (1980)

Update: Just ordered!

Without Warning (1980)

Two titles from the guys’ lists of films they hope to see get the Scream Factory treatment someday:

Vice Squad (1982) Available on DVD only

The Black Room (1982) As far as I know, currently available only on YouTube

Except as noted, all of these are Scream Factory/Shout Factory releases, but hosts Brian and Elric also mentioned several titles from other companies.

Some of these films I’ve seen: Death Valley, The Fog, From Beyond, and one they mentioned that I didn’t list above, The Hitcher, which I have fond memories of and would pick up in a second. The others I’ve never seen.

Of the three I have seen, it’s been at least 30 years since I saw them. Again, the rewatchability factor on most horror films seems fairly low to me. I suppose the reasons to watch a horror movie again would be the same for any type of movie: to appreciate how the filmmakers did their thing, the actors’ performances, or just how the films impact you. Do they give you something new to appreciate or think about each time you see them? The scares certainly won’t be the same, so there has to be more to it than that. Maybe it’s simply because they’re cool movies.

I think one of the things I suffer from with horror films is a stigma brought on by two ways of thinking, one of them unintentionally mentioned in the podcast by Elric. But first, I should mention that I spent a good bit of the mid-80s watching horror movies with my best friend Terry. In addition to The Hitcher, Death Valley, and From Beyond, we also watched Re-Animator, Texas Chainsaw Massacre II, The Toxic Avenger, The Fly, Creepshow, Videodrome, The Entity, Return of the Living Dead, Fright Night, House, The Lost Boys, and probably several others. Yet other than a few isolated scenes from those movies, I couldn’t tell you what most of them were about. I think (And guys, don’t hate me…) that I really considered those horror movies as sort of throwaway movies. Which leads me to my second point…

In those days, the critics I trusted most were Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, watching their TV show every week. On their Scream Factory podcast, Elric mentioned that those guys were rarely kind to horror films, which is true. I can remember Gene Siskel reviewing John Carpenter’s The Thing, stating that it was the most disgusting thing he’d ever seen. As much as I disagreed with his assessment of The Thing (which I have always considered a great film), I began to think, “Well, other than The Thing, these really aren’t serious movies,” reinforcing my “throwaway” way of thinking of those films. So perhaps these two ways of thinking about horror films continue to get in my way of enjoying them now? I don’t know. But I do know these are films I want to enjoy.

Part of the reason I want to enjoy them is the enthusiasm of Elric and Brian, which is infectious. They’re certainly passionate about these films, films I certainly want to see, but also want to be able to enjoy more than once. I want them to connect with me beyond the basic level of a good scare. Part of me feels like ordering all of the (available) movies listed above, but I can’t justify that. Maybe I can chip away at them, though. Some of them (sadly very few) are available on regular DVD releases from the library or through interlibrary loan. I actually just ordered one of the Scream Factory titles a few minutes ago: The Fog. We’ll take it from there and see how it goes.

I should also offer this disclaimer: I already own two Scream Factory releases: Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) and John Carpenter’s aforementioned masterpiece The Thing (1982), two movies I absolutely love and could watch over and over. Both of these films hit on themes that keep coming back to me, very personal themes that go beyond mere entertainment. Maybe the other films have them as well. We’ll see. But I do know that Scream Factory does a stellar job of producing releases with exceptional picture/audio quality with amazing supplements unequaled by anyone, even Criterion. As far as the level of product, I know I can’t go wrong with any of the Scream Factory releases.

So stay tuned. We’ll see… Maybe Elric and Brian can cure me of my horror movie hangups. And please feel free to share your experiences with horror movies in general and Scream Factory releases in particular.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s