It’s a Horror to Know You: Dr. Future of Future Quake Radio!
I have been a daily reader for some time now, and have been remiss to submit, because my life plans have derailed my consumption of yummy horror for many decades, and I am just trying to catch up in the last year – I’ve collected about 1000 or so on DVD, and I am just starting to watch them with many I have yet to see, so my current experiences are limited!
My submissions here are based upon my earliest experiences with horror, and my current re-viewing of these titles after 40 years or so will see if they still rattle my cage. Born in 1964, I grew up in a “golden age” of being spooked in the early 70s, and was traumatized as a five year old by having my older brother literally throw me into the arms of the monsters in the Halloween Haunted House in Louisville, KY. In 1971 we got a new UHF station, with the “Fright Night” show hosted each Saturday by The Fearmonger – no more than a head lit up by a flashlight below – but his face taunted me on my bedroom wall every night!
I was traumatized by Trilogy of Terror (like all of my classmates), movie trailers for ”Deranged” and “Beyond the Door” on the black and white set, and even public service announcements for TIP (Turn In a Pusher) and the Chautaqua Society, with the exploding head animation!
Even the taboo Jack Chick gospel tracts I’d find in the public restroom my mom told me not to read, featured hideous demons dragging unlucky souls off to Hell (often shooting them full of drugs in the process). My brother (born 1952) lived through the drive-in “golden age”, and as a small tyke I’d wait up late to hear what unspeakable horror he had seen that Friday night. In this era of sensory-saturation and discovery-at-the-fingertips of the Internet Age, we’ll never again feel the excitement of unexpected discoveries (and sudden shocks) of that magical time in the same way. I’ve also produced my own feature length movies – “Nightmare on Neptune”, “Lord of the Shadows” and the post-apocalyptic “What Now?” in the late 80s and 90s, so I have a soft spot for the brave no-budget varieties.
1. What is the first film that ever scared you?
Since my youth has melded into an amalgamation of simultaneous groundbreaking shocks and taboos experienced, it is difficult to point out which one came first. One that sticks out with me is the still-unsettling view of the fly with the human head stuck in the spider web in The Fly, with the spider closing in. Why did the man wait so long to smash the spider? My early scares were based on whatever my local TV chose to show at the time. Other honorable mentions go to the chilling outer space movie, Mission Mars, with the unearthly alien that incinerated the astronaut in his suit – I’ll never forget it. The robot from Venus in Target Earth, seeking humans on the desolate streets of Chicago, also sticks in my mind, and those dreaded Killer Shrews (I never forgot those protective metal pots)!
2. What is the last film that scared you?
I have not partaken of horror again since my teenage years until recently, and frankly I’m a little harder to scare at this age (car repairs and plumbing problems keep me up at night these days!). However, I rediscovered the dread I felt when I first saw Night of the Living Dead in 1976 as a 12 year old at the midnight movie (it had been banned since the late 60s until then in my town, with the reels confiscated from the drive-in my brother frequented in the 60s), when I saw The Mist a few years ago. As a Christian prophecy buff, I find I veer toward apocalyptic, Lovecraftian fare vs. the gothic stuff, so The Mist was a strike down the plate for me (it best gives the feel of what is described when the Abyss is opened in the Book of Revelation). I also am not too fond of spiders (although snakes are fine), so the characters trekking into the spider-infested drug store (with acid-spinning varieties, to boot) made me wince like I hadn’t in years, and having the spiders lay eggs in my body is definitely NOT the way I want to go!
3. Name three horror movies that you feel are underrated.
Another tough call – there are so many I value that others do not appreciate, but I have so many more yet to see!
a) In the Lovecraftian vein, I still am amazed at the overall atmosphere of dread and abhorrence created in the simple movie The Fly (1958 version, of course), and the tragedy the scientist experiences the unspeakable, as well as his wife. It just keeps crescendoing in intensity, in a natural way.
b) Just like John Carpenter’s The Thing is a “grown up” horror film (no kid’s stuff – stupid teenagers, screaming maidens, etc.), I find The Wicker Man an intellectual’s horror film, particularly those of us who espouse a Christian cosmology. Sgt. Howie’s warning to the singing pagans was as chilling as anything he experienced at Summerisle! The Curse of the Demon has the same grown up sensibility, and even Village of the Damned.
c) I movie I recently viewed, Pontypool, I think should be talked about much more – a very adult treatment of a chillingly feasible premise. It was worthy of my time to ponder its story, and its implications.
d) An honorable mention goes to the quirky movie Dagon, which seemed to start like a Jeffrey Combs spoof, but then got more and more disturbing, until it “out-Lovecrafted” Lovecraft, and all hope was lost!
4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.
a) A movie I consider a classic of the 60s drive-in golden age is a movie with the best title of the era – “The Undertaker and His Pals” (I can’t say it without smirking)! Even as a comedy (ala Little Shop of Horrors), it has all the great stuff of 60s low budget films – garish, washed out colors, crackly audio, “cool” motorcyclists (with skulls on the jackets, and carving knives!), goofy organ music, wonderful misogyny, ridiculous violence, nonsensical plot, with the fun lasting through the closing credits! My dream is to see Kelsey Grammer reprise the role of the Undertaker, in a camp Hollywood remake!
b) A recent contribution to humanity I discovered was the penultimate contribution to the horror genre of the medium – Al Adamson’s 1971 Dracula Vs. Frankenstein! It features my favorite ever Dr. Frankenstein (with loose false teeth, and lines like “If it wasn’t realistic, it wouldn’t be an illusion”), a Dracula with an unexplainable voice echo and a flaming ring and a Frankenstein monster with a face like a burnt marshmallow, not to mention hippies with fright wigs, washed-up hipsters (who really say, ”It’s not my bag”), badly staged LSD trips, misplaced cycle gangs (somebody stole Russ Tamblyn’s movie!), and Lord knows what else (of yeah, don’t forget the midget with the worst death scene in screen history)! It made me fall in love with all things Al Adamson. Tell your family you’ve got a traditional Halloween movie for them to see with Lon Chaney, Jr., and then watch their jaws drop!
c) Last but not least is what has to be the strangest religious film ever conceived, much less completed – “If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do” (1971). It was conceived by no less than the “first family of drive-in exploitation”, Ron and the Ormond family (who gave us “The Monster and the Stripper”, “The Mesa of Lost Women”, etc.). After their conversion to Christianity after a brush with death, they wanted to apply their “talents” to their faith, and hooked up with firebrand Mississippi Baptist preacher, Estus Pirkle, who was famous for a sermon warning of the invasion of America by Cuban communists if it did not repent. He thought they were going to just film his sermon, but instead he got an Ormond bonanza of re-enacted violence, including Baptist parishioners getting massacred by machine gun-toting Ruskies, a father tortured with pitchforks, and even a child being decapitated (by the main antagonist, “The Commisar”, as played by Cecil Scaife, best known as the PR man for Elvis Presley and Sun Records). This bizarre film, which could NEVER be made today, filled the altars with repentant youth everywhere it was shown (resulting in the largest mass ”Kindertrauma” in history!). The Ormonds went on to make some similar pictures, such as “The Grim Reaper” and “The Burning Hell”, and his son, filmmaker Tim Ormond, can be heard in an interview on my Future Quake radio show archives.
5. Send us to five places on the Internet!
a) I invite all Traumateers to join me at the site of my recent radio program, Future Quake! It has seven years of archived interviews and shows with people like filmmaker Tim Ormond, Joe Bob Briggs, and REAL horror topics like the Nephilim, occult workings in society, mind control, and similar topics by real experts in the field, all while having a great time! Like I and my co-host Tom Bionic say, “There’s something there to offend everybody!” It comes from a Christian perspective, but it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard from a pulpit, featuring topics and guests you wish they would talk about but never hear. Afterwards, drop an email to ol’ Doc!
b)If the topics on that site are not scary enough for you, then check out the shows on the web site where REAL horror hangs out, at SHATTER THE DARKNESS. This pastor is an expert on Satanic cults for the FBI and police, and regularly deals with submerged sub-personality people in mind-control cults, sleep paralysis, the demon possessed and much worse. Nothing rattles his cage! Listen to him explain the awaiting “Black Awakening” the demon-possessed warn will soon come. Find out how much horror is REAL, under our noses, and more horrible than our imaginations! Listening to his show will be informative, but forget sleeping for a few nights afterwards. If the “dark stuff” has got you down, he is DEFINITELY the man to see!
c) Another friend runs a podcast a little more “kindler and gentler” – Adam Sayne’s “Conspirinormal”. If ghosts and the paranormal are your thing, Adam is well educated in the field, and his guests are first rate. His discussions stay cutting edge in the field. Good luck stumping him on the topics! Worth a regular listen.
d) For a different kind of “horror”- the real kind administered by thuggish police and authority forces run amok – check out the best writer on the Web, Will Grigg and the “Pro Libertate” site [www.freedominourtime.blogspot.com]. With a razor wit and insight, he will show you the REAL horrors in your own community, and challenge YOU to be the hero or heroine in this story. A warning – his writing is addictive.
e) The last recommendation is frivolous, on a lighter note – it’s a page I am truly addicted to, but pertinent to this site – “The Worst Ever Halloween Costumes”. If you are not familiar with it, you will make it a regular visit, at least every Halloween!
That’s all for Doc for now – come drop by my website when you can, and until then, I’ll keep “Traumatizing” every day here with each of you!