Itâ€™s a Horror to Know You: Josh Gregal of The Ungodly Warlocks Horror Podcast!
1. What is the first film that ever scared you?
This is kind of a tough one; I was exposed to a lot of horror films at a very early age that all made a pretty huge impact in traumatizing the hell out of me. An older cousin showed me The Texas Chainsaw Massacre while she was babysitting me when I was six and I had another babysitter who would set up a projector at her place and showed us Friday the 13th and Halloween II on film. Which is pretty friggin’ cool. Honestly, though, the first real memory I have of any of those films is the title sequence from Friday the 13th. The way it comes flying at the screen, breaking the glass as the music starts shrieking…yeah, that’s probably the one. It still makes me feel a little uneasy to this day.
2. What is the last film that scared you?
Iâ€™m going to have to sing the praise for Insidious (2010) along with everyone else. My friend and I went expecting very, very little, and both walked out in awe. Really fun, creepy movie with a great old-school vibe. That little â€œboyâ€ they find in their new place after relocating… *shudder*
3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.
I Sell The Dead (2008) – I caught this at a film fest a few years ago and kept waiting for the rest of the world to freak out over it the way my friends and I did, but I still haven’t heard much buzz. Extremely funny, clever, creepy and endearing, it’s a perfect example of how to make a comedy deeply rooted in the genre without needing to get all meta.
The Prince of Darkness (1987) – People really love to hate this one, which is pretty unfair. Carpenter arguably created a few of the best horror films of all time, but as a result I think people judge some of his other offerings a little too harshly if they are a bit off-mark. The Prince of Darkness is possibly a bit more ambitious than its means, but it still delivers some of the creepiest, most original scares I’ve ever seen. The possessed, crying/laughing guy singing “Amazing Grace”, the pizza-face anti-Mary, and the woman getting trapped on the other side of the mirror all give me the chills, no matter how many times I’ve watched them. Extremely solid cosmic horror, which isn’t something you see very often in film.
Scarecrows (1988) – An eerie, nightmarishly freaky movie I’ve loved for years. Scarecrows is a perfect reason why I’ve always loved movies that take place over the course of a single night. It feels so claustrophobic and full of impending doom, and the building terror grows more and more palpable as time passes. Really great stuff.
4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.
I’m going to rephrase this question to “Name three horror movies you enjoy and nobody gets why”, since I feel no shame in liking these gems.
Neon Maniacs (1986) – So inane, so poorly thought-out, so 80s, so full of monsters. I rented this so many times in my teenage years I more than likely bought it three times over. An evil zombie super-team wreaks havoc on Bay Area teens, and only some nice girl, a nerdy rocker, and a precocious horror-obsessed pre-teen can stop them from…killing more people, I guess. Which they kind of don’t pull off. But so many questions remain: who made those awesome Neon Maniacs trading cards that guy finds in the beginning? How did the Maniacs come to be, and how did they all decide on their costumes? If water is their weakness, WHY DO THEY LIVE UNDER A BRIDGE? I am absolutely fascinated and delighted by this movie every time I put it on, and when I grow the stones to do so I plan on penning a sequel that answers these very questions.
Gang Wars (a.k.a. The Devil’s Express) (1976) – Often a movie I mention in the same breath as Neon Maniacs. I have no idea how this 70’s kung-fu/blaxploitation/horror epic actually got made, but the world would be a lot less cool if it hadn’t. Extremely memorable (and poorly-delivered) dialogue, some of the sloppiest and most hilarious fight-scenes ever, lots of awesome 1970’s New York City, a cameo from Brother Theodore (who you may remember from the classic, The Burbs, a climactic final battle that takes place in an almost entirely dark subway tunnel, and motherfucking Warhawk Tanzania. Seriously, this thing rules, and I don’t get why more people aren’t as nuts about it as me.
Nightmare City (1980) â€“ Man, this movie rules. Absolutely absurd, non-stop insanity. Next to the classic Romero-style zombies, these guys (which I refer to as â€œmeat-face zombiesâ€) are probably my favorite. Theyâ€™re just crazy-ass dudes running around with hamburger on their faces, theyâ€™ve got guns and knives, some of them (*ahem*) seem to have an affinity for boob-grabbing, they (maybe) fly planes, and they rule. This movie is packed with so many weird little moments my brain keeps coming back toâ€”the zombies pouring off the plane, the scalpel-throwing doctor, the exploding television, the knife-stabbed statue, the way that one zombie kind of flourishes the knife in front of him when the protagonists escape by automobile. Brilliant.
5. Send us to five places on the Internet!
Marble Hornets â€“ An awesome web-series scarier than about 95% of the horror films coming out these days, in my opinion. Really great, nightmare-inducing stuff.
The HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast â€“ Two smart, funny guys reviewing Lovecraftâ€™s fiction, story by story. Iâ€™m a huge Lovecraft fan, and this is the first podcast I ever really listened to. Great, great stuff. Be prepared to marathon the shit out of it, Lovecraft nerds!
Teleport City â€“ Great review site, and it played an integral role in my discovery of non-Euro foreign horror way back when. Lots of humor and insight, and I am forever in Teleport Cityâ€™s debt for introducing me to Wild Zero.
WTF, D&D? (http://www.somethingawful.com/d/dungeons-and-dragons/) â€“A side-splitting retrospective on the hilarity of old gaming manuals of all genres.
The SCP Foundation â€“ The archives of a fictional group that secures, contains, and protects the world from paranormal objects and entities. I get lost for days reading entries on this site. Thereâ€™s some truly eerie, brilliant stuff on here.
Too Much Horror Fiction – Itâ€™s been mentioned on here already, but another massive shout-out for Too Much Horror Fiction, too!
And, of course, check out The Ungodly Warlocks Horror Podcast , where Issac Williams and I do in-depth discussions about some of our favorite films!
Scarecrows was kinda cool… although I think I would have enjoyed it much more as a teenager watching it with friends late at night.
I can’t believe I’ve only listened to the HPL Podcast a couple times. Maybe my saturation level for HPL has reached its limit?
And once again, thanks for the shout-out to my blog! Much appreciated.
I’m glad to see some love for Scarecrows. I tell everyone that will listen (and some that won’t) about that movie.
I really liked I SELL THE DEAD and am a big fan of PRINCE OF DARKNESS – but I haven’t seen any of your against-your-better-judgement movies and they all look freaking cool!
I’m so sad I’ve never seen Neon Maniacs! I thought I had but I was confusing it with something else and that trailer set me straight.
I am now on a mission.
I also see that the first Ungodly Warlocks podcast is on Night Breed (!), I’ll be giving that a listen in about three seconds.
I have seen the light and it is Neon!
JG, last night I watched Neon Maniacs on Youtube and found it to be just as extraordinary as you described! I think it changed my life.
It makes zero sense but I like that in a movie. It’s so much fun and I love the special effects. It’s kinda like Phantasm meets Night Breed meet Spookies meets Night of the Creeps.
For some reason I think the woman who played the youngest character (Paula) may have been the oldest in real life? Did they not try to make her look more like a kid by simply putting a hat on her
head and tilting it sideways? Amazing. And the music!!!- I was hypnotized!
About half way through the movie I had to go to Amazon and order a copy on DVD so that I can force others to see it.
Thanks so much for letting me know about this movie.
And the podcast on Night Breed is excellent. I’ll be listening to the others soon and you guys must do Neon Maniacs at some point and let me know!
Prince of Darkness is one of Carpenter’s best. I couldn’t get in to I Sell The Dead. It just starts off way too slow for me and I caught myself dozing off in the first 20 minutes. I definitely have to check out Neon Maniacs and Nightmare City.
Will: The HPL Literary Podcast is great! They’re nearing the end of Lovecraft’s works, but they’re going to keep on going. I don’t know if they’ve confirmed it yet, but I think they might move on to related authors…I’d love to hear stuff on Chambers, Machen, Howard and Clark Ashton Smith!
Uncle Lancifer: So glad you like Neon Maniacs! And Ungodly Warlocks! I think Neon Maniacs might be in the pipeline…Scarecrows is definitely on deck.
You know how I feel about Nightmare City but in my weird insomnia last night, i made it through a chunk of Gang Wars AND I kinda liked it?? Weird, absurd action (and horrible acting) fits neatly in my range, I have no idea why you didn’t forced me to watch this before.
Also, your Prince of Darkness review is spot on and “pizza-face anti-Mary”? STILL gives me nightmares.
I want to give thanks and praise for directing me to Marble Hornets! I just lost my morning watching the whole thing and it definitely got some gasps! 🙂