It’s a Horror to Know You: Robert Wray of There’s Something Following Me!
1. What is the first film that ever scared you?
This is unquestionably Night of the Living Dead (1969). It was around 1978 when my Dad and I watched a television broadcast of this film. We were probably about 30mins into it when my Mom entered the room and started freaking out because my Dad was letting me (age 6-7) watch Night of the Living Dead. She claimed that all of the people die in the end and I shouldn’t be watching it. My dad reluctantly agreed to turn it off. So I had to wait until the advent of home video (about three years later) to finally see the full length film. Until then my mind tried to comprehend how and why would everyone die in this film.
Up to that point the horror films that I watched were almost all creature feature/after school/ late night movies on TV. The films were usually Hammer, Universal, or American International films in which the protagonists always defeated the monster or at least lived to fight another day. How did these people in Night of the Living Dead die? Did the zombies get inside? Did they try to leave and die horribly that way? What about the cellar? How could everyone die? Why would that happen in a movie? Why would the filmmakers do that? Heavy thoughts for a 7 year old.
Well a few years later I saw the very first video release of the film at the local video store (on Media Video with hand drawn artwork) and I wasted no time in getting the cassette into the family VCR. As the film progressed I was sure that I was witnessing hell on earth. I was much to proud to admit that I was scared to death as my palms were sweaty and my heart raced. I became inducted into the world of nihilism. Everyone dies, daughters murder mothers horribly, feed off of the corpse of the father, brothers pull sisters to an excruciating death, plans fail, help doesn’t come, hope disappears as the lights go out, the last survivor dies due to a stupid mistake, and even death doesn’t offer solace. This stark black and white film shook me and my sensibilities. Never again was I to be taken on such a hell ride and Mr. Romero I thank you. And I thank you again for making Dawn of the Dead (1978)!
2. What is the last film that scared you?
28 Days Later (2002). A zombie apocalypse scenario made frighteningly plausible. Probably tied into my initial Night of the Living Dead trauma.
3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.
Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971)- One of the best horrors of the 1970’s. Subtle, strange, poetic, & creepy with a sense of pathos.
Zeder: Voices from Beyond (1980)- I’m sure that Mr King borrowed from this for his Pet Semetery or maybe the other way around? This Italian film has a intriguing premise and a cool morbid tone mixing science, alchemy, conspiracies, and the living dead. A little talky but it’s one of the most original zombie films you can find that favors creepiness over gore.
Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)- Great little 70’s gem. Not really a horror movie but a tight thriller. Great performances from Foster, Sheen, & Smith. All top notch. This could have only come from the 1970’s. I remember seeing it on TV as an after school movie! Watching a kid handle murder and threatening situations as a kid made for some gripping entertainment.
4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.
Slithis (1977) – A 70’s version of the swamp/ocean monster movies from the 50’s and 60’s.
Frogs (1972)- Menacing amphibians lead an army of lizards, snakes, spiders, alligators, leeches, and snapping turtles as they assault a group of humans living on a southern island. Throw in Ray Milland and Sam Elliot and you’ve got a gem!
The Child (1977)- A wicked little girl with psychic powers communicates with a group of ghouls residing in the local cemetery. She uses them to exact revenge. I remember reading a review that compared this to a movie version of the old spook-house albums that we used to listen to in the 1970’s/1980’s and that’s what is fun about it.
5. Send us to a place on the Internet!
A group of friends and I used to build and run a haunted house for over twenty years. We also managed to make a few short films. These links are to the last film we made called, “There’s Something Following Me“. It’s split into four parts. We tried to make it in the vein of a Night Gallery/Tales from the Darkside episode. It’s a tribute to Halloween and being a 1970’s monster kid as you will be able to see many items from that era. It was made with zero budget but our hearts were in the right place. It’s a flick designed for this time of year. Hope you enjoy it. Happy Halloween!
There’s Something Following Me
“Cody Richards decides to walk home from school on the afternoon of Halloween. She had no idea that something would soon be following her every step, something intent on making this Halloween her last.”