It’s a Horror to Know You: Brother Bill of The haunted Closet!
1. What is the first film that ever scared you?
Jaws (1975). Sorry for not coming up with something more obscure or original, but my parents took me to see Jaws in the theater when I was 5 years old, and for two weeks afterwards I had nightmares, convinced that a shark was going to somehow swim into my bedroom and eat me.
2. What is the last film that scared you?
Insidious (2010). It has its flaws and gets a flag for unnecessary silliness, but I was on the edge of my seat for most of the film, and unlike some critics, I thought the surreal alternate universe, which looks like a drug-induced stage play of Our Town, was thoroughly creepy and original. … although I’d also like to toss the TRAILER (that’s right, the trailer) for the upcoming Prometheus. Saw it in Imax 3-D (okay, I just outed myself as having seen Titanic 3-D) and the rapid-fire editing under the sound of that bone-chilling screeching siren had me clinging the armrests. Can’t wait to see the whole film.
3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.
Three Women (1977) Robert Altman’s strange, dreamy study of the unusual relationship between Shelly Duvall and her new roommate, Sissy Spacek, who slowly assumes Duvall’s identity. Utterly captivating from frame one. Who can forget the creepy moment when Duvall accidentally walks in on Spacek’s elderly parents making love in her bed?
The Forbin Project (1970) A technology-run-amok Cold War thriller where the U.S. government has put a supercomputer name Colossus in control of the nation’s defense, only to have it contact and ally with Russia’s version and hold the entire planet hostage to its whims. Colossus also becomes obssessed with its creator, Dr. Forbin, and makes increasing demands on his personal freedom and privacy. I think I may have projected my own anxiety about adult authority into this when I first saw it as a kid.
The Machinist (2004) A worker in a machine shop suffering from insomnia finds himself questioning his reality after several disturbing coincidences. A study in paranoia and guilt, with atmospheric photography and an amazing Bernard Herman-esque score. From the director of Session 9, and starring that guy from Batman, The Machinist seems to have quietly faded into obscurity.
4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.
Squirm (1976) A freak lightning storm mutates normally harmless earthworms into ravenous flesh eaters. There’s no reason to distinguish this from any other by-the-numbers-nature-gone-wild film, but they nailed the atmosphere by shooting mostly on location in the backwoods of Georgia, and there’s plenty of gross-out encounters with hundreds of REAL, LIVING worms.
The Baby (1973). Blatantly exploitive bizarro film about a grown man forced to live as a baby by a psychotic family of women that refused to allow him to mature mentally. One scene using real disabled children crosses the line of what little good taste the film may have pretended to have. But The Baby plays its ridiculous premise totally straight (no tongue-in-cheek winking at the camera here) and the twist ending still gets me.
Hot Rods to Hell (1967) I love films that pit the squares against the troublemakers, and this one has the squarest square of them all, Dana Andrews, as a humorless father who moves his family west to take over a hotel only to find himself terrorized en route by a band of no-good teens in hot rods. There’s plenty of preaching and moralizing for all, and a great ending where Andrews finally finds his courage and faces off against the lead punks with a nail-embedded two-by-four. “How would you like these nails in your face?” he taunts. Yes, please!
5. Send us to five places on the Internet!
Pumpkinrot. Incredible photography of Halloween decorations and the like, updated frequently.
Vintage Kids Books My Kids Love. Galleries of classic children’s picture books, like stumbling into the ultimate used book store.
Long Forgotten. Until a university starts teaching a class in Haunted Mansion-ology, you’ll just have to study from home using this website as your textbook. An anthropological study of all things Haunted Mansion related.
The Sinisters. My OTHER little side project
Music video: “Name In Stone” by Dead Man’s Bones. Haunting song with a great one-shot video of the group strolling through a cemetary (and yes, that guy in the band is Drive‘s own Ryan Gosling).