Category: Films

More often than not, horror education (or at the very least, an introduction to the genre in its myriad of derivations) is anchored in a frisson for film, where the indelibly phantasmagoric images are imprinted upon one’s mind, all haunting, elating, and expanding the subconscious. Included for your ravenous consumption are a few analytical ruminations regarding some notable entries in the horror genre. Certainly not intended as an exhaustive resource by any means, the TWHFFC merely offers the following explorations of sinister cinema for your casual perusal in order to spread the dark gospel of the genre, as well as serve as a modest academic resource for our students… Enter if you dare, Fiends.

Gaslight

(George Cuckor, 4 May 1944)

“That house comes into my dreams sometimes – a house of horror. Strange – I haven’t dreamed of it since I’ve known you. I haven’t been afraid since I’ve known you.”

For today’s installment of our month-long MAVENS OF THE MACABRE series celebrating some of our favorite films (several of which tend to be lesser-celebrated titles) featuring dynamic female characters — compelling women of the genre, whether protagonist or antagonist — we decided to delve into what is, for many, merely a horror-adjacent film and yet one that potently deals with an everyday, visceral horror: the 1944 production of GASLIGHT. …

Dracula

(Tod Browning, 12 February 1931)

“The Story of the Strangest Passion the World Has Ever Known!”

Rich in influence and historical import but perhaps — in hindsight — the least effective of the original Universal monster films, Tod Browning’s DRACULA had its New York premiere on this day in 1931 before receiving wider release, two days later, on Valentine’s Day. …

The Birds

(ALFRED HITCHCOCK, 28 March 1963)

“I hardly think a few birds are going to bring about the end of the world.”

Released on March 28, 1963, and based on the 1952 cautionary tale with eco-implications by Daphne du Maurier — the English author and playwright of such notable genre works as REBECCA and DON’T LOOK NOW, among others — THE BIRDS is a doom-laden exercise told through image and editing, though some may find the premise more horrifying than the result. …

Son of Dracula

(Robert Siodmak, 5 November 1943)

“Isn’t eternity together… better than a few years of ordinary life?” 

On this day in 1943, and in a highly-stylized credit sequence, a giallo-esque glove wipes at cobwebs to reveal the title card of Siodmak and Siodmak’s SON OF DRACULA, perhaps hinting at the melodrama and fatalistic nuances to come. …

The Fog: Santa Cruz Premiere

(John Carpenter, 1 February 1980)

“To the ships at sea who can hear my voice…look across the water, into the darkness. Look for…the fog!”

It’s 11:55…almost midnight…and today marks a murderous milestone for the TWHFFC. It has been an honor to discuss and explore so many of our favorite genre films on the anniversary of their original release, and we’ve finally hit 100. From the outset, the Teenage Werewolves Horror Film Fiend Club has placed great emphasis on a “horror celebration through horror education” approach, and our mission of #savinghorroronekidatatime has afforded countless opportunities for academic autopsies of the cinematic variety…and today marks the initial release of an intensely beloved film: John Carpenter’s THE FOG. …

The Dead Zone

(David Cronenberg, 21 October 1983)

“Blessed me? Oh, God’s been a real sport to me!”  

On this day in 1983, Cronenberg finds his initial taste of mainstream success through one of his first explorations of complex, three-dimensional characters. THE DEAD ZONE sees Cronenberg channel King’s haunting novel via Jeffrey Boam’s screenplay and the haunted face of Walken’s Johnny Smith. …

Scanners

(David Cronenberg, 14 January 1981)

“We’re gonna do this the Scanner way…” 

On January 14, 1981, a band of genetically superior men and women, cursed with the exposure to the intimate thoughts of the population surrounding them, found themselves in an all-out war of mind vs. mind. …

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

(Chuck Russell, 27 February 1987)

“In my dreams, I’m beautiful…and BAD.” 

 Released on this day in 1987, and arguably one of the best horror sequels of all time, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS was a risk as far as producer Bob Shaye and New Line Cinema was concerned, as the previous entry in the franchise was a seen as a critical failure and the colloquial “house that Freddy built” stood upon shaky foundations. Fortunately for genre fans, Krueger’s return was an unmitigated success and heralded a definite continuation of the series. …

Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn

(Sam Raimi, 13 March 1987)

“We are the things that were and shall be again! We want what is yours…life!”

Yesterday, in 1987, we all took a trip to the woods with nothing but chivalric romance on our minds…and instead had our souls completely swallowed. A cinematic chimera of vaudevillian pratfalls, visual puns, and multi-colored viscera, EVIL DEAD II is a departure from continuity due to a loss of rights to the original, but easily becomes its own entity from the first frames to the last. …

Creepshow

(George A. Romero, 12 November 1982)

“The Most Fun You’ll Have Being Scared!” 

 On this day in 1982, two masters of the macabre — George A. Romero and Stephen King — joined forces for a festive match made in Hell, gleefully delivering a compendium of universal (and delightful) terrors that for many of us genre fans, was an exercise in “gateway horror.” …