It’s a Horror to Know You:: Crankenstien of Theater of Guts!

It’s a Horror to Know You: Crankenstien of Theater Of Guts!

1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

Creepshow, I saw it at eight years of age at a friend’s house whose parents spoiled him with every ’80s toy imaginable (He-Man, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Thundercats) and let him watch all kinds of craziness (Playboy Channel, Amityville Horror and we even watched Fulci‘s Zombie). There was some abuse going on in that household! After I saw Creepshow I couldn’t tell anyone in my family, because I didn’t want to spoil a good thing, but I had an underlying feeling of dread and couldn’t sleep. I would go over to his house thinking that Creepshow was a TV show and didn’t understand that it was an anthology, so every time it repeated on HBO I figured it was a new episode and kids in my elementary school would even lie to me and make up fictional episodes.

I had a mirror in my grandma’s bathroom that looked like the Jordy Verill one and thought maybe a creepy old farmer would appear in it and tell me to slit my wrists. I think that’s where my relationship of being repulsed and attracted to horrific movies came from.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

Under The Blossoming Cherry Trees (1975) directed by Masahiro Shinoda. I wanted to see it because it had the guy from Lonewolf and Cub. So I watched it late one night on Huluplus and did not expect to jump out of my skin! You’d never know how scary it is, because the frightening scene comes out of nowhere. Tomisaburo Wakayami the heavy set samurai plays a mountain man who’s beheaded his many wives and fears nothing except looking up when the blossoms begin to fall during the season, because anyone who does so will lose their mind! It was 3 in the morning when he finally looks above (in my house) while the leaves fell and as he lifts his head,he sees the most hideous demon riding on his back and I was so alarmed and freaked out, but tried not to react in the middle of the night and wake anyone up, the image was so strange that I wondered if I dreamt it. It was very disturbing and I don’t scare easily!

3. Name three horror movies that you believe are underrated.

The Incident (1967) directed by Larry Peerce. This isn’t technically a horror film, but is a subway terror film and pretty grimy, it still has yet to come out on DVD. Tony Musante and Martin Sheen are two punks that hold all these various characters on a New York subway hostage and berate and humiliate everyone, its gets really explosive and ugly. Ed McMahon, Beau Bridges and Brock Peters are some of the passengers and give it some kitsch value and The Terry Knight score, the guy who terrorized Grand Funk Railroad and held their records hostage is super creepy.

The Changeling (1980) directed by Peter Medak. I never hear anyone mention this creepy ghost flick with George C. Scott, who’s always a great addition to any movie for me. I was expecting to find it laughable and was genuinely freaked out by the poor ghost boy submerged in a death bath. It has a political edge too and a cover up of a murder that no one was supposed to figure out. The ghost led Scott to solve his murder and without the grief brought on by his own family dying in a car accident he never would have solved the case.

Dr. Butcher (The Snuff Maximus Cut) My friend Skunkape who is a long time best friend, genius film maker in his own right and contributor to my blog brought to my attention that the dusty VHS cut of Dr. Butcher is a lot better than the newly restored Zombie Holocaust. Having just watched Holocaust and finding it pretty lame from what I remembered, I felt I should see what the deal was and check out the video version (he hooked me up with a copy). I have to attribute the Walter Sear score as injecting life into Dr. Butcher, it sounds like a hyper violent Atari game and is both laughable and disturbing, which goes well with the subtext of the film! It reminds me of the truncated versions of classics that would turn up in the 80’s and the foreign versions, which in many cases were better, for me its the complete opposite and even though I love Nico Fidenco, his score sounds totally phoned in by comparison.

4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.

The Manitou (1978) directed by William Girdler. This one is notorious for being so ridiculous and out of control and it is, a classic bomb that I never get tired of watching, I could see it over and over and not get bored. Tony Curtis is so unhinged as a bad psychic down on his luck, the script seems like it was written by a third grader. All electronics and typewriters have their personal Manitou according to this film. Things that make absolutely no sense happen as Susan Strasberg, topless on a hospital bed in space, shoots lasers out of her fingers! John Singing Rock the Syrian Indian is the only one who can save the universe from a pint-sized, demonic bacne baby (hatched out of Strasberg‘s back). you gotta love that her father is the famed acting teacher Lee Strasberg.

To The Devil…. A Daughter (1976) directed by Peter Sykes. The first movie where Nastassja Kinski appears completely naked, but there’s no way to enjoy it because she’s like 14! Satanists are trying to get her to have the devil’s spawn, which looks like a goldfish inbred puppet that slithers around, looking like that wobbly octopus prize you used to find in a cereal box. Its’ pretty lame but very entertaining and anything with Christopher Lee is worth checking out.

Ilsa, Harem Keeper Of the Oil Sheiks (1976) directed by Don Edmonds. This one is wrong on so many levels but is a lot more fun then the first movie! It’s got all the giant breasted Russ Meyer women (Haji, Uschi, etc.) and its got the dude with the bizarre features from Slacker (Jerry Delony)! This movie is a hard sell for most, but if you are like me and constantly tuned into the mindset of a 14 year old watching late night Cinemax, just throw in some torture and campiness and you’ll be able to stomach some of the mayhem! There’s a weird kind of political jab against Arabs and the U.S. making secret deals, this was made by Canadians who were ahead of their time and the next sequel, Tigress of Siberia is awesome too!

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

1. F THAT S. The sadly gone but not forgotten radio show of Joe Preston (Thrones, Melvins, Earth). This radio show is amazing with some of the best soundtrack mixes and metal comps ever assembled, one episode was an all metal all/ pizza radio ad show and was incredible! Another show was dedicated to the death of his dog with all rare and haunting Morricone tracks. Joe is the reason I now know that the early Bee Gees and Scorps are worth checking out.

2. Netflix Retrieving Screen. This is my sister’s blog who is a great writer and a rock and roll drummer in a band with her husband, they are called Hot Hands. She is as obsessed with movies as I am.

3. Illogical Contraption Tumblr. I’ve contributed for these guys before and they are the funniest people on the planet, their non-picture blog has everything from alien conspiracy theories, metal and hardcore albums worth downloading and there’s so much talent goin’ on, they have a radio show now too. This one however is all pictures and there is some disturbing junk, but its a lot of fun, some of it is NSFW so watch out kiddies!

4. Dave The Spazz Radio. Here’s another favorite radio show that is just incredible. It has everything from the worst novelty songs to the greatest current garage bands, old country, old r&b groups and some of the best holiday themed shows of rare vinyl songs that Dave finds at different flea markets and puts on the turn table. There’s a couple of weird hillbilly episodes with guest record collector Greg Germani who stops by and plays the rarest zaniest tunes in the Chainsaw Massacre/ Motel Hell style.

5. Loogyhead on Redbubble. This guy has the most incredible designs on Redbubble and even though it’s pricey (25. w/o shipping), they are really worth it, especially for someone like me who loves cult movies but wants more of a choice then only uncomfortable black t-shirts that shrink after a while. I recently bought a C.H.U.D. one and want to get the Pray For Death one next!

Traumafession:: David M. on Aunt Harriet’s Railroad System in the Sky

My mom is an elementary school teacher, which was great for me as a kid because I loved to read. One book, though, disturbed me more than I could say. It’s called “Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky” As far as I can remember it was about a girl who falls out of a train and meets up with Harriet Tubman, who gives her a tour of the chattel slavery system and the Underground Railroad. There were two main problems I had with the book. First, was the stark tone of the storytelling. The first page had, in big block letters, “GO FREE NORTH OR DIE”. The slave characters all had blank, expressionless looks on their faces. It only got grimmer from there.

The second and most influential factor was the ever-present menace of slave catchers. They lurk in virtually every door-frame, peek through every window, and hide in every bush. Their faces are paper-white, as are their hands. They stare straight out of the book at the reader, threatening to capture and enslave them too. I’ve only looked at the pages available in the Amazon preview, but I have a vague memory of the white masks floating menacingly in midair, hiding in trees. They’re like the face of the devil in that creepy Mark Twain claymation (HERE) .

I guess the author did her job, because it made a Hispanic guy living in New York in the ’90s very disturbed by the horrors of slavery. But man, it made me scared of white people peeking in my windows for a long while.

Name That Trauma:: Duckofthedead on an Unidentified U.F.O. Book

Hi. I currently peruse the site under the user name “duckofthedead.” I’m not a prolific commenter but I enjoy reading everything.

Anyway, I’m searching for a book. It was a book about UFOs and I am 99% certain I got it either at a school book fair or through the mail order book lists we got at school. It would have been between 1980-1985 because I know I got it while in elementary school. The book had a lot of the usual UFO photographs but one stood out and gave me the creeps. The photo in question was of a sculpture of sorts of an “alien.” What makes it different from everything I have seen since is it had three legs and looked like it was covered in foil (I thought for years it was connected to Hopkinsville, KY incident but when searching online I found nothing connected to that remotely resembles the photo I remember). I know it’s not a lot to go on but that picture stands out. In the years since I have remained intrigued in all things paranormal and have never seen that picture again. The book itself was paperback with black and white photos. I think the cover was primarily dark blue at top of the cover with grayish on the bottom half of the cover. The title may have been in yellow but I could be wrong.

Thanks for any help and thanks for your site.


Name That Trauma:: Mindy J. on a Treehouse & Children Sucked Into Walls

Hi! I have a question. I saw a movie when I was younger and to this day can not figure out what it is. I saw it on TV so I don’t know if it was a TV movie or an actual film. But this is what I remember:

-it’s most likely from the late 80s

-the children in it had some sort of tree house

-the monsters or spirits in it sucked the kids into the walls or ceiling.

I know that’s not a lot to go on. But I thought you may have a clue since you all seem to know so much and I very rarely watch horror films.

Thank you so much for your time!

UNK SEZ: I have only a guess for this one based on the time period, the presence of a treehouse and folks getting stuck in walls. Could it possibly be 1987s THE GATE? Check out the trailer below Mindy and if anyone has another theory please let us know in the comments!

Sunday Streaming:: The Devil’s Rock (2011)

First off, allow me to thank our pal Chuckles72 for guiding me towards this movie on Netflix Streaming. I would have never watched it on my own accord because the poster art representing the flick (at least on Netflix) stinks. I know that sex sells but it grinds my gears when a dumb image is used to sell a smart movie because what better way to repel the people who might actually enjoy the film while also disappointing those who fell for your mislead? Unlike the advertising art, THE DEVIL’S ROCK is not about a sexy Nazi lady and my apologies to the actress in the film who does an excellent job of not slipping into Velveeta only to be photo-shopped swimming in it later. I also have to admit that adding to my aversion is the fact that I’m a hard sell when it comes to war movies. The way some folks feel about horror (Why would anyone choose to watch that?) is how I generally feel about war movies (with the lone exception of FULL METAL JACKET because…KUBRICK). I tell you this only to underline that Chuckles had his work cut out for him in swaying me but being aware of his exceptional taste based on his IAHTKY, I knew I had to trust him!

And he was right. THE DEVIL’S ROCK is a well-acted and bewitching occult thriller and I’m all for a movie being compact and dialogue-driven while still having zero qualms about letting the heads roll. Turns out as much as I hate me some Nazis, my interest cannot resist getting piqued when they are making the foolish mistake of dabbling in the black arts. I forgot all about the “RAIDERS” rule which is, Nazis are great…when their faces are melting off! THE DEVIL’S ROCK tells a tale that takes place on D-Day when two kiwi soldiers attempt to take over an island isolated German bunker only to find that most of its inhabitants have already been ripped to shreds. There is a beautiful woman chained to a wall and quicker than you can say SATAN’S TRIANGLE we are given the gist that she is much more than she seems. Since we’re talking about a streaming movie here, I’m loath to give much more away but comparisons never hurt do they? This movie reminded me a lot of THE KEEP in its themes and it also brought to my mind CLIVE BARKER’s HELLRAISER in its theatric sparseness and fascination with how deep into the pit some may be willing to go when evil uses love as bait. The acting really is exceptional and if you desire atmosphere, you’ll get a strong dose right from scene one. Check this one out and if you like it, remember, don’t thank me, thank Chuckles72!

Name that Trauma:: Dustin in Minnesota on a Comic Book Pit

Greetings friends of all things creepy!

Here’s one that hopefully one (or more) of you will be able to answer.

When I was growing up, I was a fan of horror comics. Although they would give me terrible nightmares, I would keep buying and reading them.

One of them that stands out in my mind I didn’t buy, but found in my grandparents’ attic. I am assuming it had belonged to one of my uncles. I am estimating this to have happened some time between 1977-81. I don’t recall the title of the story or the comic in which it appeared, but I remember vague details from the story line. It involved a creepy house that the main character was curious about. In one of the panels toward the end of the story, it showed him standing outside of the house in the daytime, thinking about going inside. He finally did, and at the end he fell into a pit. I think the final frame showed him falling, his face either screaming or frozen in horror. There may have been a “spiral” he fell into — either that, or I’m confusing it with the intro to Lidsville. I am positive on him falling into a pit, though.

Do any of you horror comic fans know either the comic or the story title I’m semi-remembering?


Dustin in Minnesota

Mash Up:: The Birds Vs. The Fog

People like to talk about how JOHN CARPENTER’s HALLOWEEN carries a torch for HITCHCOCK’s PSYCHO but how come folks rarely gossip about the mad crush THE FOG clearly has on THE BIRDS? I say these two coastal calamity movies need to get a room! Bays Antonio and Bodega are totally doing it and out of wedlock, I might add! THE FOG is so smitten it can’t resist name-dropping Bodego Bay within the course of the film but I believe the goo-goo eyed flattery extends further than that.

Stevie (ADRIENNE BARBEAU) Wayne’s windy, twisty roofless car ride echoes a similar drive taken by TIPPI HEDREN’s Melanie Daniels and Stevie herself, could easily be siblings with raspy-voiced, fellow nicotine fiend, Annie Hayworth (SUZANNE PLESHETTE).

JAMIE LEE CURTIS’ hitchhiking, free spirit Elizabeth Solley seems worlds away from HENREN’s trickster socialite Melanie but they have one important thing in common, it is implied in one form or another that the arrival of both into a previously peaceful haven may be exactly what attracts the horror to come.

In both films the terror more or less, comes from the sky and the malevolent force masquerades as a harmless routine part of nature. The nightmares modus operandi is to, like the tide, surge and ebb, bombard then retreat and always with the unsaid threat that the next attack will be ten-fold. Each flick cradles large casts who huddle together to face the onslaught and quickly learn the benefits of barricading doors and windows with furniture. Both movies share a mutual concern for how the crisis affects community members both old (JANET LEIGH, JESSICA TANDY) and young (VERONICA CARTWRIGHT, TY MITCHELL), all the while, happily ignoring the more typical recipient of horror’s attention, teenagers.

Where the two films diverge the most dramatically is with their explanations and conclusions. CARPENTER has no problem naming names. It is thanks to the corrupt actions of our forefathers that we suffer, the false lights of hope and understanding that hang above the jagged rocks of greed and prejudice are to blame. Simply put, we reap what we sow. You could even say that the dense swirling mists of THE FOG represent the cloudy confused view one has before they put their truth exposing THEY LIVE glasses on.

HITCHCOCK, with his devilish understanding of human behavior, throws implications towards everything from chicken seed to God’s wrath, to repressed (specifically female) jealous rage allowing the audience (represented by the hysterical mother in the diner?) to burn any witch that suits them. He stands back silent, knowing that no tragedy is scapegoat-free for long. If he has any slant it appears to be that terrible things are simply a part of nature itself and that no attempt to fortify against them will suffice.

CARPENTER’s accusation is tempered by his coda; Antonio Bay returns to normalcy and things are put back in their place with a stern warning to remain mindful. In HITCH’s world there is no miraculous clean-up, no redemption after dues have been paid, no understanding the baffling events. The sun comes up as it always did but the world is forever scarred and changed. For the record, I prefer CARPENTER‘s outlook, that salvation is possible through accountability even though I sadly suspect HITCH‘s nihilism may be closer to the truth. In any case, I only wish that at some point during THE FOG that somebody called up the KAB radio station and requested Stevie play the “Risselty Rosselty Now Now Now” song, that would have made this love affair complete.

Traumafessions :: Unk on David Bowie and the Monster in the Closet

DAVID BOWIE had a birthday a bunch of days ago and that made me remember the first time I was made aware of him, as a youngin’ staying up late watching SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. In a few short years I’d be a huge fan, my first stadium concert experience would be seeing his “Serious Moonlight” tour but that SNL performance did nothing but freak me out. I think I was sadly raised with a rather concrete understanding of what was normal and what wasn’t and it was truly alarming for me to witness someone acting so wildly bizarre. He was shamelessly strange and my little brain couldn’t comprehend. I decided I should find the episode on Netflix Streaming and so I did and appropriately enough the often unnervingly intense MARTIN SHEEN was the host.

Fast-forwarding through the episode to find the musical portion, I spotted a skit that I had completely forgotten about but recognized at once and it’s so kindertraumatic in theme that I have to share it here. SHEEN plays dad, JANE CURTIN plays mom and GILDA RADNER expertly portrays their excitable daughter Jenny. Dad has just finished reading POE’s “The Raven” to Jenny and now it’s time for her to go to sleep. He turns off the light, leaves the room and Jenny is soon terrified, imagining she sees a bear. She calls to her parents who come in to calm her and inform her that it’s all in her mind. Next an intruder (GARRETT MORRIS) enters the room and Jenny screams. It’s just a handyman returning for his tools the summoned parents reveal and so it’s lights out and back to bed she goes. Next her bed starts to shake EXORCIST-style and the child yells again for her parents who return exasperated and explaining that they rented out the underside of her bed to a family of gypsies. Left alone once more, poor Jenny decides to put her mind at peace by making sure there is nothing in the closet. When she opens the closet door she sees this…a bloody-faced man with one eye falling out of his head, holding a hatchet!

How did I ever forget this? It was 1979, I was mad into horror and gory special effects and now I recall how amazed and fascinated I was by this figure! I remember how excited I was when she opened the closet door for a second time so that I may get another view! This was live television, I couldn’t rewind it, I could only ogle heartily and try to gather as much detail as possible while I could, chances were I might not ever see it again! Jenny calls to her parents one last feeble hysterical time and their angry, frustrated voices are all she needs to know. Rather than call them back into the room and face their wrath, she’ll take her chances with the psycho in the closet. I know how she feels. I realize it’s highly unlikely that it was BOWIE under all that make-up doing double duty as the scary monster in the closet but I don’t care, I’ll imagine it was him anyway.

Name That Trauma:: Mark S. on a Bricked Up Bad dream

I remember as a kid, turning on my little b/w tv set and seeing, what was either the ending of a movie, or an episode of anthology series. It had to have been around 81 or so. In it, a woman wakes up and upon opening her bedroom window and door, discovers that she has been bricked in! But this was apparently a nightmare. When she wakes for real, she opens the bedroom window and sees trees and hears the chirps of birds. Opens the bedroom door and nothing… But when she opens the front door to the house, it has been bricked up!

I may have the events scrambled a bit. (It has been 30+ years ya know!) Any leads would be greatly appreciated!

Keep up the great work on this AWESOME site!