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Frame Of Mind
One of the most tried and tested ways that Hollywood has found to sell horror movies to the public is to bill them as “based on a true story” or “inspired by actual events.” This piques the interest of moviegoers, no matter how dubious the claim may be. Case in point: the 1979 classic The Amityville Horror.
Cinema Fearité Presents ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’ – Horror Oscar Gold Twenty-Six Years Before ‘The Shape Of Water’
Horror fans everywhere are celebrating the Oscar success of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which won best picture and best director (among a handful of other honors), and Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which took best original screenplay, at this year’s awards. Horror(ish) movies at the Oscars are rare, but not unheard of. The last (and only, until now) horror(ish) movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture was 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs.
Fueled by the success of the Friday the 13th and the Evil Dead franchises, the cabin-in-the-woods motif has become a staple of the modern horror movie. Sometimes it’s played for gore, as in Cabin Fever, and sometimes it generates real horror, as in Misery, but the trope itself is one of the most recognizable in cinematic history, even garnering a parody, simply called The Cabin in the Woods, which turned out to be one of the best movies of 2012. Because of its familiarity, however, the archetype is usually played for laughs, even way back when it was in its infancy in 1990 and Demon Wind was made.
Sometimes, science fiction horror movies are subtle, like the modern classics Ex Machina and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Other times, they’re pants-poopingly frightening, like Alien and Event Horizon. Still other times, however, they walk the line, becoming so crazy that the viewer is unsure as to what to think, like Phase IV and Prophecy. And then, there are movies like Embryo.
Cinema Fearité Presents The Awesomely – If Inaccurately – Named ‘The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?’
What’s in a name? For movies, it can be a lot. Would Life have been better if it were called Space Station Massacre? Would The Spidery Double have made a better title than Enemy? In the world of B-movies, exploitative titles are almost a badge of honor – just look at Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungles of Death, or Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers for examples. But, back in 1964, way before any of those movies, the bar was set by The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?
Canadian horror, sometimes referred to as “Canuxploitation” movies, are fascinating. Sometimes, they are cinematic masterpieces like David Cronenberg’s The Brood, Scanners, or Videodrome. Other times, they are brilliant head-scratchers like Deranged or Cathy’s Curse. But no amount of Cronenberg classics or low-budget cult flicks can prepare a viewer for the Canadian enigma known as Beyond the 7th Door.
Hampton Lansdon Fancher. You may not recognize the name, but you are no doubt familiar with his work. His biggest claim to fame is that he wrote the first drafts of the script for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, but he also had an extremely prolific career as a b-level character actor. But even behind the scenes, Fancher has led a fascinating life. So fascinating, in fact, that his filmmaker pal Michael Almereyda (Experimenter) made a movie about him. That movie is called Escapes.
In a post-The Blair Witch Project world, it’s difficult to fool the public with a faux-documentary, but before 1999, people were gullible. Orson Welles caused panic with his radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds back in 1938. In 1980, Cannibal Holocaust was so convincing that director Ruggero Deodato was brought up on murder charges. And in 1992, the BBC scared the hell out of an entire country by broadcasting the simulated news report Ghostwatch.
Oscar season is here again, and that means Hollywood gets to tell you what movies are good. Of course, I do that year-round, so you can trust me. The 90th Academy Awards Ceremony is March 4th, but you can place your bets on the nominees right now. And, as always, I’m here to help you sort your way through them.
Gothic horror is usually thought of as a period subgenre, with lavish costumes and grand sets. Gothic horror movies are also generally considered to be older classics, like Nosferatu or Frankenstein. Even modern gothic horror movies are either set in past centuries, like Crimson Peak or The Woman in Black, or deal with the making of those older classics, such as Shadow of the Vampire or the appropriately entitled Gothic. But every once in a while, there comes a modern gothic horror movie set in its actual time. Flowers in the Attic fits into this mold.
Cinema Fearité Presents ‘Rollerball’ – A Slightly Futuristic Dystopian Movie From The Seventies That Could Have Been Made Today
Science fiction is a nebulous thing. It can be heavily futuristic, or it can take place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” Or sometimes, it can take place just barely in the future, giving the audience a glimpse of almost an alternate timeline of history. It is one of these worlds in which 1975’s Rollerball takes place.
Documentaries about subcultures are usually fun because they give the viewer a glimpse into a world that they might otherwise have never even known existed. The new film from Jon Manning, Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe does just that, and does it in a way that is both informative and entertaining.
Cinema Fearité Presents ‘Shadow Of The Vampire’ – The ‘Real’ Story Of The Making Of A Horror Classic
In the years after the writer’s passing, Bram Stoker’s estate was very protective of his intellectual property. So, in 1922, when German expressionist filmmaker F.W. Murnau was denied the rights to do an adaptation of Dracula, he did one anyway – but he had to change the name of his lead character from Count Dracula to Count Orlok, and had to refer to the count as a Nosferatu instead of a Vampire. And the silent classic Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror was born. More than seventy-five years later, in the year 2000, music video director E. Elias Merhige (who, appropriately enough, worked with Marilyn Manson, among others) made a movie about the making of Nosferatu called Shadow of the Vampire.