It’s a Horror to Know You: Fishmodes
1. What is the first film that ever scared you?
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Yeah, it’s not a horror film, but there were two scenes that terrified me. The first was when Large Marge told Pee-Wee the story of the truck crash, and then ended it by showing him what the face of the driver looked like when they were pulled out of the wreck, all in state of the art claymation effects. If that wasn’t bad enough, my fear of clowns wasn’t helped when Pee-Wee dreams of the clown doctors trying to save his broken bike. Then a sinister, but somewhat normal looking doctor walks in with a mask covering the lower half of his face. You know by the close up and the music you don’t want him to pull that mask off, but he does, revealing a mouth and teeth painted around his own mouth, and he laughs. It was so weird and terrifying for a kid. Those two scenes scared me to death!
2. What is the last film that scared you?
June 9. I’ll elaborate on that one below.
3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.
Terrified (1963). I feel this one hasn’t gotten it’s due, yet. The premise is a young man looks for a killer in a ghost town. The killer plays a game with him, some of which involves scaring him, and choking him to the point of passing out, then letting him go without actually killing him. The opening scene is particularly horrific. It does have a few B-movie trappings, mostly involving a subplot of two characters going to the police to help the main character and taking their sweet time for a calm little chat, and the ending is a bit weak, but overall it’s pretty unique and worth a look.
June 9 (2008). June 9 is a found footage movie, and owes a debt to The Blair Witch Project, but has enough up it’s creepy sleeve to stand on its own. A group of teens hear legends of some creepy things going down in a nearby town. This, of course, is the perfect place to party and record their deviance and debauchery on camera. This movie sets itself apart by setting up many different unsettling moments, and they do this brilliantly. Rarely are you scared in the same way twice. There are blink and you’ll miss them scares, tense moments as the teens return again and again, and odd occurrences that amp up the tension. The ending is admittedly chilling, but is unfortunately completely out of step with the rest of the movie. However, it doesn’t distract from the rest of this truly scary movie. June 9 is Blair Witch with a touch more of Lovecraft and a hint of David Lynch.
The Resurrected (1992). Also known as “Shatterbrain,” this movie is a somewhat forgotten Dan O’Bannon film, and the only other one he directed, after Return of the Living Dead. RotLD is fun as hell, but this movie is fantastic. It is a loose riff on The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, by H.P. Lovecraft, and it is possibly the best Lovecraft adaptation to date. The Resurrected stars Chris Sarandon in what I think is his best performance as Ward, a man who locks himself in an old house as he obsesses over his secretive experiments. Lovecraft, O’Bannon, and Sarandon. How can you not be on board with those three names alone?
4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994). This sucker boasts an over the top performance by Matthew McConaughy and his remote-controlled, mechanical leg. It plays boxed wine to the original’s Dom Perignon. Some days you just prefer that old boxed wine to make you dizzy.
Mother of Tears (2007). Yeah, it’s not Suspiria or Inferno, but really, what is? It does have it’s flaws, as does every Argento film, if we’re being honest. It is about the awakening of an angry, vain witch, who is no longer interested in hiding away in some old building. What I liked about this film, is you actually see a villain with world domination aspirations actually doing something about it. People are acting strange, possessed followers are running around, and she actually seems like she may pull it off. There are some great, tense moments, and Argento even gets a few classic kills in here, though I was saddened by the use of CGI blood. It isn’t his best by a mile, but in my eyes, it’s still the bee’s knees.
The House on Haunted Hill (1999). How do I love this movie? Let me count the ways. Dark Castle mostly gives me a headache, but man, this is how you remake a film. Or maybe not. This era of horror was not my favorite, but this movie kept my dark heart beating through those rough, post-Scream years. Geoffrey Rush channels Price and chews scenery with great line after great line. Chris Kattan was funnier here than in probably any other film he’s been in. And do we need to dote upon Jeffery Combs? It’s not exactly a classic, but I love it.
5. Send us to five places on the Internet!
Kindertrauma sends me to most of the places I go on the internet! However, I do have one.
Darkweb Online: This isn’t really an endless resource, but their top 100 horror films is, with the exception of the rather predictable top 5, as well thought out as they come. I love it for introducing me to the great Night Must Fall (1937) alone.