It’s a Horror to Know You: Kevin Sommerfield of Slasher Studios!
1. What is the first film that ever scared you?
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was the first horror movie I ever saw at the tender age of 5. It scared the bejesus out of me so much that I refused to go to bed that night and stayed up for nearly thirty hours. It took me nearly a decade before I was able to watch the film again. Twenty+ years later and I’m still looking to recapture that wonderful experience.
2. What is the last film that scared you?
Silent House (2012). I know the film was mangled by both critics and audiences alike but I enjoyed this little gem thanks to a great lead performance by Elisabeth Olsen and some frightening imagery. Without giving too much away, let’s just say the scene in the car with the rear-view mirror gave me the chills for a few days.
3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween II. I know that most horror fans seem to despise this movie but I find it to be a beautiful shot, misunderstood gem of a horror film. I admire Zombie for not doing a straight up remake of the original sequel and I like how you actually are able to see the emotional grief that the first travesty has caused its characters. We are able to see Laurie and Annie as real, flesh and blood characters that are each trying to deal with this travesty the only way that they know how. It’s not a perfect film (the horse imagery is out of place to say the least) but it is an ambitious film and that’s more than you can say about most horror movies today.
Deadly Blessing. I cannot possibly oversell “Deadly Blessing”. The cinematography is pitch perfect, the deaths are extremely suspenseful, and the ending, while a bit “out there”, stays completely true to the story. It is with this film that Craven showed the film world that he could make a horror movie that relied on actual intelligent filmmaking as opposed to cheap scares. While it is true that the film is a bit slow and meanders a bit in its middle act, it is still a fine horror movie that deserves far more acclaim than it has received. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out immediately. It is getting a brand new Blu-ray release from Scream Factory soon.
Humongous.“Humongous” is a fun, homage filled 80’s slasher that rips off a dozen other, better slasher films but still manages to be a lot of fun. Remember the scene at the end of “Friday the 13th Part 2“; where Amy Steel pretends to be Jason’s mother? This film sure does as the exact scene is repeated here to lesser effect. That being said, the kills are fun and characters are a tad bit better developed than most of the other 80’s slashers out there. David Wallace is particular is quite strong as our lead twin Eric. Most of the time in 80’s slasher, guys are given nothing to do but not so here. He almost becomes the final girl by being smart, likable, and even given a chance to emote. Lead Janet Julian possesses similar qualities and has a lot of fun with her “last girl standing” appearance. This is a must watch for fans of the early 80’s slasher genre. I can’t say that everyone is going to enjoy the film as much as I did as the film is quite slow and repetitive at times. Nonetheless, it is one of the better examples from the under-appreciated genre.
4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.
Chopping Mall. “Chopping Mall”, one of the best named slashers of the 80’s, and one of the best premises too. “Chopping Mall” is the kind of movie that couldn’t have been made in any time except the 1980’s. Killer robot security guards taking over a mall by night? Sound like a good time? It does to me. The beauty of a cheesy horror movie like “Chopping Mall” is that you will either buy into this wacky, overblown premise or you won’t. Chances are that if you are in the mood to rent or buy a movie called “Chopping Mall”, you will probably have a good time with it. The film is a camp delight from beginning to end with just enough laughs and gore to make the whole thing watchable. Is this great cinema? Hell no. Can you do a lot worse than this little gem of a slasher flick? You bet.
Cabin Fever 2. “Cabin Fever 2” is a messy, gory, bloody cherry on top of a demented sundae. From the opening (poor Rider Strong) to the blood bath of an ending, nearly everything about this sequel works. This is one of those slasher movies where I just don’t understand the hate. Had this movie been made in the 1980’s and directed by Sam Raimi, horror fans would be praising this as the next second coming of horror. The gore is demented, the kills are extremely disgusting, and the central love story is actually quite sweet. I was actually touched at the sacrifice that one friend gave so another could live. So the epilogue doesn’t really work (poor Ti West got his movie taken away from him and had his ending completely butchered just to go in some producer cameos) but this is splatstick at its very best. If John Waters directed a horror film in the 1980’s, it would look something like this. Bloody recommended!
My Soul to Take. The story is overly complicated and doesn’t always seem to know where it is headed but there is a sense of dread in this film that has been missing from most of horror today. The cinematography is lush (nobody can make a run through the woods as scary as Craven) and the performances are all quite solid. I also quite enjoyed the high school dynamics that are played out throughout the film. There is an ever running thread throughout the movie that if you grin and take it, it will make you a stronger person. It is a lesson that Bug learns throughout the course of the film and, in the end, he is finally willing to stand up for himself. The end may be a bit over-the-top for many hardcore horror fans, but this movie has a big heart hidden behind the bloody exterior. I can’t say that this is a perfect film but it is an entertaining one that tries to bring back the slasher genre. Give it a chance and go in with an open mind and you may find yourself giving your soul up to this film as well.
5. Send us to five places on the Internet!
Final Girl. Although it isn’t updated as regularly as it used to be, Stacie Ponder is awesome and the reviews on this site are some of the best you’ll ever read.
Forced Viewing. Excellent horror reviews from a team that clearly loves the genre. Some of the best “bad” reviews you will ever read.
LA Horror. I gotta give a shout out to a fellow horror fan from Wisconsin, even if he doesn’t now live in California. Great reviews and lots of passion.
Horror Mansion. An excellent forum for a little bit of everything on the world of horror.
Blu-ray.com. Before a waste a dollar on any Blu-ray “upgrade”, I always check out this site first.