UNK SEZ: Today we have a super special guest host for STREAM WARRIORS, the fearfully fascinating CHRISTINE HADDEN of FASCINATION WITH FEAR! Not only is HADDEN knowledgeable as all get out, but she’s also got something special you can’t learn anywhere…exquisite taste! Honestly, I couldn’t wait to see the selections she scrambled up for you guys! Let’s see what she’s got up her sleeve!
CARNIVAL OF SOULS is a movie that just doesn’t get enough play. For some reason, it seems as though the majority of casual or budding horror fans see it is from 1962 and balk, choosing instead the latest redundant slasher extravaganza. When I first saw Carnival way back in… well, longer ago than many of you have been alive….I was blown away by the atmosphere of sheer terror that hovered over it and caused me more than a few nights lost sleep. Every time I would close my eyes I would see that ghoul’s face. What ghoul, you ask? The plot revolves around a young church organist, Mary, who after a hasty joyride with friends is the sole survivor of a plunge off a bridge into a watery grave. Mary has difficulty adapting to her life after her brush with near death and moves to a new city. On the way there, she is repeatedly frightened and harassed by the aforementioned ghoul (actually the director, Herk Harvey), who seems to be following her – beckoning her to join him. Of particular note is the haunting score, with all that creepy organ music you can get a taste of in the trailer. I can’t begin to express my love for this film, and I beg anyone who hasn’t seen this highly influential piece of cinematic history to watch (instantly!) and learn.
So everyone has heard of Full Moon Features, right? The production company responsible for such gems as the PUPPET MASTER series and a personal favorite of mine, CASTLE FREAK – yeah, you know the name. Campy good horror by way of silly effects and at times, fairly bad acting… but I’m here to tell you, if you haven’t seen SUBSPECIES, you’re totally missing out. TOTALLY. First off, though it sounds like a flick about underground-dwelling mutants, it’s a vampire film. Yes, you heard me. The title references the tiny stop-motion creatures who are the lead vamp’s (fittingly named Radu) minions, helping him in his goal to take over his late father’s kingdom. There’s a whole lot of hokey to be had here – besides the ridiculous subspecies creatures, we have a trio of inane young women delving into Romanian cultures and superstitions (never a good idea!), a special stone of the blood-producing kind, a sexy half brother to Radu’s profoundly unattractive mug, continual vampire clichés that never end, and Angus Scrimm in a seriously absurd white ‘fro wig. But I’ll tell you what else it has. Atmosphere, and a ton of it. Filmed entirely on location in Romania, it just oozes ambiance. Dark, gothic castles, foreboding alleyways and ominous shadows abound. Combined with the over-the-top yet somehow endearing performance of Anders Hove (Radu), it’s a can’t miss. And guess what? It spawned four sequels. Guess what else? I own the entire boxed set!
If you are looking for some serious quality entertainment and don’t mind subtitles, look no further than director Guillermo del Toro’s THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE. Many people are so enamored of his better-known masterpiece PAN’S LABYRINTH that they forego this very special film. Also written and produced by del Toro and set in the late 30’s, Backbone presents the story of a young boy forced into an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War. Mistakenly thinking he is only there temporarily, Carlos tries to fit in as best he can but is taunted and bullied by some of the other boys. Adding to his anxiety are the sightings of a young boy, transparent and by all accounts a ghost. The other orphans explain that the apparition is most likely Santi, who arrived about the same time that a huge bomb fell into the adjacent courtyard but didn’t explode. The bomb has since been defused but like the inert shell of the explosive, Santi remains. As is per usual in most ghost stories, the specter is simply trying to obtain justice and understanding in his premature death, and the reasons that force Santi to remain at the orphanage are at the heart of THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE. Beautifully shot and truly unforgettable, this film is one of the finest ghost stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, and there’s no excuse for everyone not to see it now that it’s streaming FREE.
UNK SEZ: Thanks a zillion CHRISTINE! Allow me to inform any of you horror fans out there that don’t already know that every Sunday over at FASCINATION WITH FEAR you will find a great feature called SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY where CHRISTINE closes off the week with an assortment of gloriously gruesome images from your favorite horror films! I’ve made it a must see and you should too, check it out HERE!