Author: Tyler Mitchell Blakslee


(William Crain, 25 August 1972)

“Make it…a Bloody Mary.”

August of 1972 unfurled an impressively self-reflexive cape, filling the night air with an intelligent intersection of genre where the popular blaxploitation sub-genre met the horror film on it’s own fertile ground, reversing traditional tropes and re-examining the concepts of monstrosity and race as depicted in the cinema of post-antebellum concern. …

The Gorgon

(Terence Fisher, 18 October 1964)

Overshadowing the village of Vandorf stands the Castle Borski. From the turn of the century a monster from an ancient age of history came to live there. No living thing survived and the spectre of death hovered in waiting for her next victim…”

Undoubtedly one of the most atmospheric of the Hammer films and purportedly one of director Terence Fisher’s favorite projects, 1964’s THE GORGON has a uniquely unnerving quality, rife with potent imagery, an eerily ethereal score, and superb performances from all involved. Subsequently, Fisher’s film was released to U.S. markets on 17 February 1965 as part of a double-bill with THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB. The TWHFFC has made no secret that, despite not featuring Cushing or Lee in what would be considered “lead” roles or that the creature featured is not exactly of iconic pedigree, THE GORGON is a treasure of the genre, and ranks incredibly high on our “Best of Hammer Horror” lists. …


(John Carpenter, 25 June 1982)

“Nobody trusts anybody now. And we’re all very tired.”

It is no secret that on the 25th of June 1982, John Carpenter’s THE THING was released to bewilderingly negative, even scathing, reviews. Described by critics as “instant junk” and “a wretched excess,” Carpenter’s existential exploration of extraterrestrial infiltration amidst an Antarctic research outpost wasn’t quite what the summer-blockbuster audiences were ready for, especially when we consider the the context of its release; the summer of 1982 had already been taken by storm by a far more gregarious, family-friendly extraterrestrial who was more content to “phone home” than he was contemplating the wholesale eradication of the human race as we know it. …

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

(Tommy Lee Wallace, 22 October 1982)

“I do love a good joke and this is the best ever: A joke on the children.”

Perhaps you’re like us and you’ve defended HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH your entire life — often making you the butt of horror-jokes and taunts of “8 more days, Loser!” — and you eye all those Johnny-come-lately’s who now see fit to proselytize its pure autumnal majesty with just a little more than overt suspicion. We don’t judge, we don’t hold grudges…so welcome to the party, everyone; we’ve been waiting for you since 1982. …

Chopping Mall

(Jim Wynorski, 21 March 1986)

“Have a nice day…”

The intensely troubled times of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic has us all looking at the concept of shopping quite differently — the very act itself seems almost a distant memory, and what recent experiences we do have are peppered with existential questions regarding gluttony, scarcity, vulnerability, and exposure…proving that it’s becoming increasingly harder for many of us to “Have a nice day.” …

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death

(John D. Hancock, 27 August 1971)

“Dreams or nightmares? Madness or sanity? I don’t know which is which.”

High on atmospherics and ambiguity, but low on budget, John D. Hancock’s directorial debut — the strangely mesmerizing LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, released in the summer of 1971 — evokes a pathos and dread that are one-million Connecticut country miles from the jump scare. …

Creature from the Black Lagoon

(Jack Arnold, 12 February 1954)

“Centuries of passion pent up in his savage heart!”

Though it first premiered in Detroit on February 12, Jack Arnold’s 3-D thrill-fest, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, was released regionally to most markets on this day in ‘54. Our torrid love affair with the film and its eponymous monster is no secret: it’s a timeless tale of obsession and conflict, of evolution and of Devonian throwbacks, and it is most certainly a tale of callous environmental destruction. …

In the Mouth of Madness

(John Carpenter, 3 February 1995)

“Reality is just what we tell each other it is. Sane and insane could easily switch places if the insane were to become a majority. You would find yourself locked in a padded cell, wondering what happened to the world.”  

An arcane circus of meta-cinema, metalinguistics, frame narrative, cyclical repetition, Lovecraftian homage, and serving as the closing chapter in Carpenter’s “apocalypse trilogy,” IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS is a film that failed to connect with a majority of audiences (and thus, a financial disappointment), but its reputation has thankfully moved from misunderstood gem to beloved cult classic. …

The Gate

(Tibor Takács, 15 May 1987)

“In a time before the earth, before the sun, before the light of the stars… when all was darkness and chaos…the old gods, the forgotten gods, ruled the darkness…”

Released on this day in 1987, Tibor Takács’ directorial debut got somewhat minor attention upon release, although it’s most certainly developed cult notoriety. A story of suburban boredom, heavy metal darkness (and, admittedly, “dorkness”), and teens left alone only to be torn asunder by demonic peril, THE GATE is a creature-feature which still casts an alluring spell and unabashedly rules our world. …


(Mark Herrier, 1 February 1991)

“Buy a bag…go home in a box.” 

The oddly disturbing — and borderline hypnotic — artwork adorning the original one-sheet for Mark Herrier and Alan Ormsby’s 1991 foray into the cinematic ballyhoo of horror’s yesteryear, POPCORN, is, no doubt, indelibly imprinted in the minds of horror fans over the age of 35. …