The general pattern for b-movie horror movie trilogies is, to my mind, a relatively established, disappointing and inevitable one. The first film is a success, frequently because the people involved in making it are new to the business or coming in as outsiders so don’t know/care about the preconceived notions of “how to do it right” (Evil Dead, Ginger Snaps, Night Of The Living Dead). The second, often not planned when the first was made and often with a bigger budget, is often made soon after as an attempt to cash in on the success of the first by building on whatever part of the mythos or scares stuck with the audience the most (Friday The 13th Part 2, Hellbound, Evil Dead 2). The third part is normally where the wheels come well and truly off the bus in spectacular fashion, as the core talent moves on (Halloween 3), the budget falls away as the makers realise the core audience will buy anything with its name on it (Wishmaster 3), or it shifts into a new direction (Army Of Darkness). Continue reading →
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has, over the 134 years since it was first published, earned its place as a work of horror fiction so ubiquitous within pop culture that most people know the basic story without having needed to read the book. However, unlike it’s more camera-friendly equals of Frankenstein or Dracula, it’s also one that an audience is unlikely to have seen on the big screen in anything like its original form. Modern world retellings, comedy twists (normally involving the perceived hilarity of a gender switch), and outright plot bastardization abound, to varying degrees of success (and If you must watch The Nutty Professor then for god’s sake make it the 1963 Jerry Lewis one!) Continue reading →
When most people think of a 1930s Hollywood Horror, they think of some drawn-out gothic classic like Dracula, Frankenstein, or The Invisible Man. Well, beyond glitzy stages and novel reworks, filled with mortality-play tales of man’s inner struggle, the 1930s brought us the first works of exploitation cinema by plying its trade to a titillated audience (whilst also ushering in the Hayes Code). Tod Browning’s Freaks shocked audiences by showing disabled people, Erle C. Kenton blended sensuality with cruelty in the Island of Lost Souls, and Michael Curtiz gave us this technicolour body-horror nightmare with Doctor X – a film so ground-breaking and debauched that it got a name check in The Rocky Horror Picture Show!
It’s a truth well accepted that there are three truisms of the works of HP Lovecraft. Firstly, that they were pivotal in creating modern horror and, to a great extent, modern sci-fi. Secondly, that they often show quite how much of a bigoted dickhead he was. And, thirdly, that they shouldn’t be committed to film because he was all about the cosmic horror of what you couldn’t see (and not that he hit on a cheap way of making the reader do all the work). Well, Stuart Gordon (Director) and Jeffery Combs (actor) put paid to that, twice!, with 1985’s Re-Animator and, ridiculously quickly, 1986’s From Beyond. Re-Animator is, justifiably, more known, but From Beyond is more “out there”, plus it’s on Netflix right now and I wanted to use it as the first Trash Or Treasure LIVE! Continue reading →