Posts tagged ‘horror movie’

Julia Marchese’s Movie List 2019

These are the movies Julia Marchese watched in 2019 (in case you care about such things)

 

 

Shout out to all of the insane, terrific cinema I attended this year (especially when shown on film) and all of the folks who programmed & made it happen –  courtesy of  The EgyptianThe AeroThe El Capitan, Voyager Institute, Beyond Fest, Friday Night Frights, Secret Sixteen, The Nuart, Dynasty Typewriter, the BFI, Maltinfest, Alamo Drafthouse DTLA, and the incredible Somerville Theatre. 

 

 

and to all of the friends who watched this movies with me/because of me. 

 

 

Key:

MN – Movie Night – my weekly movie night I have had with friends for over 8 years – (name in parenthesis chose the movie that week).

 

HMSG – movie watched for and talked about on my podcast Horror Movie Survival Guide.

 

BC – Brian Crewe‘s movie night, a friend who shows a wide variety of cinematic gems in his unbelievable home movie set up 

 

 

  1. Maid to Order – MN (Teri)

  2. The Haunting – HMSG 

  3. Poltergeist 2 HMSG 

  4. Unbreakable – BC

  5. Split – BC

  6. Fried Green Tomatoes – MN (Melanie) 

  7. Freaks – HMSG

  8. Private Parts (1972) 

  9. The Recordkeepers – BC

  10. Bingo Long and his Traveling All Stars & Motor Kings – MN (Julia)

  11. The Little Mermaid (El Capitan) 

  12. All is True

  13. The Parallax View 

  14. Dressed to Kill (Egyptian) 

  15. Paddington 2 – MN (Paul)

  16. Oculus – HMSG

  17. Purple Rain – BC 

  18. Soapdish – MN (Eric)

  19. The Stay Awake – HMSG

  20. Happy Death Day – HMSG 

  21. The Shining – HMSG

  22. Ready Player One

  23. Putney Swope – MN (Matt)

  24. Creep

  25. Mr Deeds Goes To Town 

  26. I Am Not Your Negro – MN (Teri)

  27. Sleepwalkers – HMSG

  28. The In Crowd

  29. Poor Little Rich Girl – BC

  30. Sparrows – BC

  31. Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House

  32. Harold and Maude

  33. Martin HMSG

  34. The Gang’s All Here – MN (David)

  35. Let the Right One In HMSG

  36. Ju-On HMSG 

  37. Live.Die.Repeat (Edge of Tomorrow) – MN (Julia)

  38. Cruel Hearts

  39. Sorry, Wrong Number (BFI) 

  40. Night Train Murders

  41. Island of Death

  42. Juliet, Naked

  43. Slaughterhouse Rulez

  44. The Darkest Minds

  45. A Simple Favor

  46. The Favourite

  47. Paper Towns – MN (Melanie)

  48. Us

  49. Alien – HMSG

  50. The Thing– HMSG

  51. Fire in the Sky – HMSG 

  52. Event Horizon – HMSG

  53. Secret History of UFOs – (MN) – Eric 

  54. Pet Sematary (2019)

  55. Hollywood Shuffle – MN (Teri)

  56. The Omen – HMSG

  57. 28 Days Later – HMSG

  58. The Kiss – HMSG 

  59. Wall-E – MN (Melanie)

  60. The Love Witch – HMSG

  61. Blood and Sand – MN (David)

  62. Sing Street (Maltinfest)

  63. The Death of Superman Lives (Maltinfest)

  64. Songcatcher (Maltinfest)

  65. Absolute Beginners (Maltinfest)

  66. Mr. Deeds Goes To Town – MN (Julia)

  67. Howard the Duck

  68. Gremlins 2 (Egyptian)

  69. They Look Like People HMSG

  70. The Ritual – HMSG

  71. The Taking of Pelham 123 – MN (Eric)

  72. The Woman – HMSG

  73. Slither – HMSG

  74. Booksmart

  75. Doctor Sleep

  76. The Quiet Ones – HMSG

  77. Rocketman

  78. Sister Sister – HMSG 

  79. The Perfection – HMSG

  80. The Descent – HMSG

  81. Gypsy 

  82. Rocketman

  83. Jennifer’s Body – HMSG

  84. April Fools’ Day – HMSG

  85. The Great Buster – BC

  86. Battling Butler – BC

  87. The Bees – MN (Matt)

  88. Phantom of the Paradise

  89. Easy A

  90. The Book Thief – MN (Melanie) 

  91. Yesterday

  92. Rocketman

  93. Do the Right Thing

  94. About Time

  95. Playtime – MN (David)

  96. Happy Death Day 2U

  97. Slumdog Millionaire

  98. A Field in England

  99. The Aristocats

  100. Yesterday

  101. The Sword in the Stone

  102. Under the Silver Lake

  103. Clowns & Robbers

  104. Glass

  105. Isn’t it Romantic?

  106. The Devil’s Rain – HMSG

  107. Amityville 2: the Possession  – HMSG

  108. Detention – MN (Matt)

  109. The Wicker Man

  110. The House on Haunted Hill (B&W 35mm marathon at Egyptian) 

  111. The Thing From Another World (B&W 35mm marathon at Egyptian

  112. Freaks (B&W 35mm marathon at Egyptian

  113. Them! (B&W 35mm marathon at Egyptian

  114. The Haunting (B&W 35mm marathon at Egyptian

  115. Cat People (B&W 35mm marathon at Egyptian

  116. The Legend of Billie Jean – MN (Julia)

  117. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

  118. A Woman in Paris – BC

  119. Souls for Sale – BC

  120. Terrorvision – HMSG 

  121. Midnight – HMSG

  122. From Beyond – HMSG

  123. Right At Your Door – HMSG

  124. The Id – HMSG 

  125. The Stuff – HMSG

  126. Annihilation – HMSG 

  127. Wizards – MN (David)

  128. Swiss Family Robinson – MN (Melanie) 

  129. Ladyhawke – MN (Eric)

  130. It Chapter 2

  131. Season of the Witch – HMSG 

  132. It Follows – HMSG 

  133. Apollo 11 

  134. Never Too Young To Die – MN (Matt)

  135. It Chapter 2 (All Clown Screening at Alamo Drafthouse

  136. Breaking Away (Egyptian)

  137. Shaun of the Dead – HMSG

  138. Three From Hell 

  139. Step Up 3D – MN (Teri)

  140. Firestarter

  141. Nightmare Before Christmas (El Capitan)

  142. Tootsie – MN (David)

  143. Dreamcatcher – HMSG 

  144. Puppetmaster HMSG 

  145. Joker

  146. Absentia– HMSG

  147. Don’t Look Now – HMSG

  148. Tales from the Crypt – (16mm Horror Anthology Marathon at Dynasty Typewriter)

  149. Creepshow 2 – (16mm Horror Anthology Marathon at Dynasty Typewriter)

  150. Twilight Zone: The Movie – (16mm Horror Anthology Marathon at Dynasty Typewriter)

  151. Asylum – (16mm Horror Anthology Marathon at Dynasty Typewriter)

  152. Black Sabbath – (16mm Horror Anthology Marathon at Dynasty Typewriter)

  153. The Skeleton Key – MN (Julia)

  154. Zombieland (All Zombies Double Feature Screening at Alamo Drafthouse)

  155. Zombieland Double Tap (All Zombies Double Feature Screening at Alamo Drafthouse)

  156. Oculus

  157. The Monster Squad – MN (Melanie)

  158. Crazy Stupid Love 

  159. He’s Just Not That Into You

  160. Ju-On – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  161. Battle Royale –  (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  162. Fade to Black – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  163. Cutting Class – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  164. Psycho – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston)  

  165. Firestarter – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston) 

  166. The Dead Zone – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  167. Carrie – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  168. Nightmare on Elm Street (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  169. New Nightmare – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  170. Frozen – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  171. Freaks – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  172. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – (my Halloween Hullabaloo programming series at the Somerville Theatre in Boston

  173. Rocky Horror Picture Show (Somerville Theatre) 

  174. Plus One

  175. Moonstruck 

  176. Bridesmaids 

  177. Doctor Sleep

  178. Hour of the Wolf– HMSG

  179. The Fly– HMSG

  180. Carnival of Souls HMSG

  181. Tapeheads

  182. Gymkata – MN (Matt)

  183. The Invitation – HMSG

  184. Ladybug, Ladybug (Joe Dante’s personal 16mm print at Egyptian)

  185. Green Room – HMSG

  186. 7Up – MN (David)

  187. 7 Plus 7 – MN (David) 

  188. Knives Out

  189. Jojo Rabbit

  190. Charlie’s Angels (2019)

  191. Parasite

  192. 21 Up

  193. 28 Up

  194. 35 Up

  195. 42 Up

  196. 49 Up

  197. 56 Up

  198. 63 Up

  199. Big Hero Six – MN (Melanie)

  200. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (Aero)

  201. The Force Awakens

  202. The Last Jedi

  203. Miracle on 34th Street 

  204. Rise of Skywalker

  205. Firestarter

  206. Blow Out

  207. In Fabric

 

Here’s to LOTS more fantabulous movies in 2020!! 

 

 

Julia Marchese’s All Killer No Filler Halloween Hullabaloo!

 

 

Halloween is my favorite holiday – I love dressing up, getting candy, listening to ghostly tunes and watching scary movies. (I mean, I always like these things, but especially around Halloween!) 

Every year I try to do special things and really enjoy the holiday to its fullest – and this year is certainly going to be my best Halloween yet. 

 

The incredible Somerville Theatre in Massachusetts (who I have programmed film series for the last two summers – The Summer of Love series in 2017, and the female half of their Play it Cool series in 2018) asked me to program the week leading up to Halloween this year, and I am simply over the moon about it – a horror hounds dream! 

 

The best part about it is I will be attending the screenings as well! I’ve never been to the theatre so I am chuffed beyond belief to be able to watch all of these wonderful films with you! 

Ladies and gentlemen, won’t you join me for my All Killer No Filler Halloween Hullabaloo?! 

 

 

SCHEDULE:

 

*Thursday Oct.24: BATTLE ROYALE at 7:30 , JU-ON: THE GRUDGE at 9:45

 

*Friday Oct. 25:  FADE TO BLACK at 7:30 , CUTTING CLASS at 9:40 , PSYCHO at 11:45

 

*Saturday Oct. 26: FIRESTARTER at 7:30 , THE DEAD ZONE at 9:45 , CARRIE at MIDNIGHT

 

*Sunday Oct. 27: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST at 6:30 , WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE at 8:30

 

*Monday Oct. 28: FROZEN (2010) at 7:30

 

*Tuesday Oct. 29: FREAKS, with short subjects at 7:30

 

*Wednesday Oct. 30: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE at 7:30

 

 

 

 

Battle Royle & Ju-On – J-Horror Double Feature

 

 

The the early 2000’s, Japan was crushing the new horror wave with its violent, unique, terrifying visions. Battle Royale (2000) smashed its brutal way around the globe, shocking everyone with its barbaric premise and dark sense of humor,  influencing countless other movies.  If you’ve never seen this film on the big screen before, hope you’re ready for an intense ride! Ju-On (2002) is my absolute favorite of the J-Horror craze – with disturbing images that won’t leave your mind and a new spin on the old haunted house trope, this film is scrumptiously frightening.

 

 

 

 

Fade to Black, Cutting Class & Psycho – Killer Crushes

 

 

 

These three fantastic films are linked together by the fact that I have an intense crush on each of the killers in the film – I know, I know, kinda weird to admit – but when you see the actors portraying each one, you’ll understand. Dennis Christopher plays the shy cinephile loner Eric Binford in 1980’s Fade to Black, an under seen film that I show to everyone I meet, with a great concept and terrific lead performance. Another under seen gem, 1989’s Cutting Class, might be best known for being one of Brad Pitt’s very first lead roles, but I’m more interested in Donovan Leitch’s off kilter, bowling shoes wearing teenage psycho Brian Woods. And lastly, but certainly not leastly, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece Psycho, with that voyeuristic mama’s boy that gets my heart beating a little bit faster, that adorable psychotic Norman Bates, played by the incredible Anthony Perkins.

 

 

 

 

Firestarter, The Dead Zone and Carrie – Stephen King Pyro/Telekenesis

Triple Feature 

 

 

I am, to put it mildly, super obsessed with Stephen King (ask me about my Dark Tower quest!) and his stories of people with special powers they can’t quite control are some of my very favorites. We start off with 1984’s Firestarter, with Drew Barrymore giving a powerhouse performance as the pint sized pyrokenetic Charlie McGee – this movie is so good – and there would be no Stranger Things without it. Then we flip on over to Cronenberg’s 1983 film The Dead Zone, where Christopher Walken stars as harmless school teacher turned paranoid psychic John Smith – whose visions are terrifying, but not as terrifying as the fact that he can’t quite see if they’ll come true or not. We end with Brian de Palma’s 1976 classic Carrie, starring Sissy Spacek as the bullied, broken Carrie White. The film is meticulously crafted and directed, with star turning performances and is the movie that launched Stephen King’s name into the stratosphere, so we should all give it the mad respect it deserves.

 

 

 

 

Nightmare on Elm Street & Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – My Favorite Final Girl 

 

 

My podcast, Horror Movie Survival Guide, is all about how to survive horror films and become the final girl, and all of that final girl love stems from one character – Heather Langenkamp’s fiery Nancy Thompson from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Nancy in 1984’s Nightmare on Elm Street (my very favorite horror films of all time) is such a terrific role model – fearless, loyal, smart, and most importantly – self-reliant – Nancy is always fun to watch and admire, but watching Heather Langenkamp play herself in the superbly meta 1994 film Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is even juicier, and watching them back to back is absolute perfection.

 

 

 

 

Frozen

 

 

Adam Green’s 2010 film Frozen is super potent and packs a powerful punch – a hyper intense watch, this film brings out of control amazing performances, a tight, super inventive script and Green’s fun directing style to create a nonstop white knuckle ride from beginning to end. To me, the best horror films are those that focus on strong characters that I like and identify with, going through trying situations and pushed to their limit, with lots of deep dialogue – this film is all of that and more.

 

 

 

 

Freaks 

 

 

Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks is a classic for a reason. Yes, it’s scary, but not for the reasons you might think and it’s also charming, heartbreaking and life affirming. Browning himself performed in the circus as a youth and had great affection for his cast, which comes through in the finished film. A wonder to behold (especially on the big screen), this film is so well directed and a must see for every film fan. And because Freaks is only a little over an hour, we’re gonna throw in some short Halloween themed surprises before the movie!

 

 

 

 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 

 

 

I’ve watched hundreds of horror films in my lifetime, and I can say with great confidence that Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the scariest horror film ever made. No other film matches the grainy, gritty, dirty, snuff film feeling of this movie, with its unknown actors, bare bones budget, lack of soundtrack and some of the most intense villians ever put to screen. If you’ve never seen this film on the big screen with an audience, get ready for a whole different experience than watching it at home. And if you’re looking for the perfect horror film to scare the hell out of you and get in the mood for Halloween, this is the film. 

 

Fifty Episodes of Horror Movie Survival Guide!

 

When my best friend Marion Kerr and I were ensconced in our Irvine apartment during our senior year of college, slurping Tab and watching one of the latest batches of horror movie VHS’ rented from nearby Gold Star Video, little did we think that so many years later we would a.) be doing a podcast about the whole shebang b.) that we would be at episode 50 already!

 

It baffles my mind to think of anyone wanting to listen to us rabbit on about scary movies, but talking about them with Marion is one of my very favorite things to do and I think it shows in our enthusiasm when recording.

 

Thank you to Teri Gamble, our producer and my duchess, for suggesting this podcast in the first place to producer Adam Bowman. Adam, thanks for making us the first podcast on Indie Popcorn FM. An honor in itself! You both have been so supportive, and I’m so grateful for you both. You’re good people.

 

 

Thank you, too, of course, to Miss Marion, for letting me show her hundreds of horror movies not once but twice during our friendship, even the gory ones like Hellraiser. We knew when we were writing the horror movie notebook back at UCI that it would become something else, but just didn’t know what – now we know! It’s Horror Movie Survival Guide!

 

I also just want to say thank you to everyone who listens to my show, and especially my friends who listen to support, even if they don’t like horror that much. I love hearing everyone’s thoughts on our episodes, or a film, or theory  – it delights me to inspire people to watch Final Exam or Lady in White for the first time. Sharing movies I love with others makes me so incredibly happy (that’s why I love film programming) and introducing folks to Radish and Wildman makes my gory horror hound heart so content.

 

 

SO thank you all for making this Final Girl happy, and here’s to delving into the hundreds of other titles still waiting to be discussed in the horror movie notebook!

 

https://www.buzzsprout.com/104713

 

What I love about cinema.

 

 

 

I recently moved to a new pad right in the heart of Hollywood, and yesterday I finally used my new location to its full advantage. I live within walking distance to several movie theaters – and yesterday I set out to go to one, and ending up going to three. 

 

 

 

 

It was my first time at the Arena Cinelounge on Sunset and although I was a little nervous at first about a cinema in a office building, it turned out to be a wonderful place. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the theater itself is spacious, with comfortable seats and plenty of leg room. I went to see an incredible documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being the cinephile and lover of film history that I am, this film was absolute magic to me. Bill Morrison has crafted a love letter to cinema and film itself, done with next to no dialogue and constructed in an experimental fashion.

 

Canada’s Dawson City was a mining town that experienced brief fame from a gold rush in the 1890’s, and became a place that launched not only several movie chain moguls, but also preserved much of film’s history itself. Being the end of the line for film prints making their way north, Dawson City ended up inadvertently collecting thousands of film prints, since the distributors & studios didn’t want to pay to ship all of the prints back. Although many of the prints were destroyed, some were preserved underneath an ice rink for decades, and discovered in the 1970’s. Many of these were the only living print in existence for hundreds of lost silent films.

 

 

 

You get to see hundreds of these films in Dawson City: Frozen Time, and they are the definition of cinematic magic. The distortion and damage done to many of these films from the years of neglect become part of the film and adds to the beauty of it. The music is stellar as well, incorporating the sound of the damaged film running through a projector as part of the score in places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And amongst these findings were several newsreels – documentary footage taken in the 1890’s of prospectors rushing to Dawson City to stake their claim. Watching these men walk through the streets of Dawson City in 1897, smiling and looking curiously at the camera, is the only kind of time travel I will ever know.

 

 

 

I get to see how the world looked through their eyes at that captured moment, and that feeling, more than anything, is what I love about watching old films. I am traveling back to see people who lived and breathed and hoped just like I do. They worked hard to get to a remote city in Canada to possibly find some gold. Many did. But not one of them knew that a few seconds of  their lives would be forever immortalized and would, over a hundred years later, be watched by a girl in Hollywood, California, wearing a Fight Club T Shirt. And yet, that happened. And for a few moments those men were alive again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This film gave me everything I want a film to give me – an opportunity to see the beauty of the world, the wonder of it, and hope for mankind. That through art, we can show our true selves to each other – even if only for a few hours. It’s the feeling I chase when I go to films, like a junkie craving my next fix. Often the film disappoints, and I’m then ravenous to find it again. Someone asked me recently to describe my perfect moment of joy, and I said the moment in a cinema right before the film begins. The moment when there is absolute quiet, when no one is talking or breathing, and the possibility of the film is infinite. It could be as great as you imagine it in your own version in your head, or lacking sadly. But the times when the film is better than you could begin to imagine it, when the audience is taken along and the feeling of enjoyment in the theater is palpable – this is what it all boils down to as why I adore film so much. 

 

And that’s why I saw IT twice this weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read It when I was in junior high – I was the girl on the bus listening to mix tapes on her walkman and reading Stephen King novels. As such, I have read a lot of his books, and I honestly think It is his best novel. His writing is at its absolute peak, the characters are vivid and full, and the depiction of horror is raw, evil and at its most terrifying. I forced the book onto several friends in junior high and high school, and one friend and I called each other Eddie (me) and Bevvie (her) after our favorite characters in the book, for the entirety of high school. I’ve read It dozens of times.

 

 

 

 

I was very dubious of this film, as I am of all remakes  – especially horror ones. The stupendous performances Tim Curry and Dennis Christopher in the 1990 version make it wonderful,  but I did find that version a bit…lacking. So I was willing to give this one a go. And I loved it.

 

 

 

 

 

The film is warm and fun, scary and horrifying, with terrific performances from all of the kids. Its hard to construct a large central cast in which all of the acting is on an equal level, but they’ve done it here. I felt each one really captured the character from the pages of the book, and although a great amount of trimming and a fair amount of changes were done to the novel, I didn’t mind the choices they made. The film is obviously made with a lot of love.

 

 

No one can EVER top a Tim Curry performance, natch, but I really really enjoyed Bill Skarsgard’s  performance as Pennywise. Although gruesome and intense, I found the character so captivating that there was something almost slightly appealing about him at times, which made him even more creepy. I only wish there was more of him in the film! The special effects were spooky and fun, and a good time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so few modern horror movies that I want to see that I am now rarely in an excited opening night audience, but circumstances made it so that I was a the 9:30pm opening night show, Friday night. I’m such a horror hound that I don’t scare easily anymore, but I love seeing horror movies with an audience so much because it heightens your experience a hundred times.

 

 

 

The audience fucking loved It. They were squirming, gasping, giggling nervously from fear after every big scare. The girl next to me hid her face every time Pennywise came on screen for the entire film. She was fucking petrified.

 

And being part of the to audience go through all of that – that indescribable feeling of a room full of strangers as one is the most joyful thing I know. But it is indescribable. How do I, a human with only five supposed senses, feel a room full of people? How can the air seem thicker in the moments when the monster is on screen? How can it feel suddenly lighter when the danger has passed and everyone breathes normally and giggles at how frightened they were just moments ago? I don’t believe in god. I don’t believe in magic – but these moments are ones that make me think there may be something that really does connect people on some level. It gives me hope.

 

 

 

So I went to go see It again on Saturday at the Dome in Hollywood – because I wanted to experience it again – with even more people this time. The Dome seats over 800, and while not to capacity, the theater was quite full. And it was the same as the night before – the screams and gasps, the nervous laughter, with people hiding behind their eyes and squeezing onto their neighbor. Amazing.

 

 

When people tell me they don’t like being scared, when they can’t watch a horror movie in the theater because it freaks them out so much, I understand.  But I secretly think they are missing out on a wonderful human experience. To be with hundreds of strangers and feel the fear in the room, then the explosive release when the villain has been bested, when everyone feels safe because they are all together, watching these things as one, and don’t we know in the end everyone will be all right? That the credits will roll, and the rush you have felt for the last 2 hours will be buzzing in your system while your heart beat slows, and the terror is over. You can walk back out into the bright sunlight, and think – wasn’t that a fun ride? It’s the experience that It gave me twice this weekend, and I think Stephen King would be very proud because somehow I think he knows all about that feeling too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, walking home, I stumbled upon a screening just beginning at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard – The Witch Who Came From the Sea. It is an exploitation movie from 1976 by director Matt Cimber, starring Millie Perkins – both of whom were there for a Q & A session afterward. The film (on glorious, crackling 35mm) was quirky and odd, with a dreamlike quality unlike most of its grindhouse ilk. Here I got to experience the audience in a difference way. There was a back story of the heroine where she was sexually abused by her father – with some uncomfortable flashback scenes. And such a different feeling when the entire audience is ill at ease, shifting in their seats and averting their eyes to avoid the images on the screen – not out of fear, but out of shame and embarrassment. That feeling, amplified by dozens of people is such an infrequent, uncomfortable feeling that I can see a certain beauty in it.

 

I know of several directors whose trademark seems to be exploiting this feeling – making the audience feel shame or humiliation or embarrassment. I don’t dig it. It doesn’t float my boat (down into the drain with Pennywise). The Witch Who Came From the Sea (great title) was a bizarre film that I had never heard of, but that I am glad that I saw.

 

I often wonder what it is like for other people to go to the movies. I know everyone doesn’t have the nearly holy experience it can be for me. I think back to going with friends to see movies completely indiscriminately in junior high, often seeing terrible films just because that’s what the local multiplex is playing, and I can’t really remember any of the experiences at all.

 

I certainly didn’t watch the film that way I do now – after years of studying film at university, which completely changed the way I saw movies, and after the thousands of films I have seen since then. I maybe knew who the actors were (and the boys name, definitely, if he was cute) but that was about it. Didn’t know many directors, didn’t think about all of the craft and artistry and sweat and blood it takes to get every single film on that screen. How many people work behind the scenes on all of these films, in pre and post production, on the set, distributing it, booking it, projecting it, all the way to your screen.

 

I do wish sometimes I could time travel back to that junior high me time frame and see films the way she would have. And sometimes I think to myself  I haven’t learned much from my time living in Hollywood. Then I look at the way I see movies now and that the cinema going experience delights me in a way no other media can.  That it is in my bone marrow.  I fucking love cinema.

 

Three different cinemas, three completely different film experiences, all within doorsteps to my house. It may be cramped, and without air conditioning, but I suppose this new place might have some perks after all.

 

 

 

Horror Movie Survival Guide

 

 

 

When I met my best friend, Marion, in college, she had never seen a single horror flick in her entire life.

 

 

 

 

I was the girl showing friends Pet Sematary in junior high, and was appalled she had shunned a genre so beloved to me.

 

 

So I made her a deal – watch Nightmare on Elm Street with me – my favorite horror film, and the best horror film ever, in my opinion – and if she wasn’t blown away by it, I would never force her to watch another horror movie again.

 

 

 

 

She consented after some debate, and we sat to watch it, me with overwhelming excitement at getting to share one of my favorite films with one of my favorite people, her with extreme trepidation for the upcoming first time experience.

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, Marion absolutely loved Nightmare on Elm Street – especially Heather Langenkamp’s number one badass Final Girl, Nancy, and her determination to live and beat big bad Freddy Krueger. A character who, when questioned why she is perusing a book on booby traps, obliquely quips “I’m into survival”. 

 

 

 

And with that one line, Marion was sold.

 

 

She asked me if kick ass women besting the villain was a theme in horror, and I said yes. So, we could watch these films as a kind of training course in how to survive, she posited. And I said absolutely. The more movies we watched, the better chance we had at becoming the Final Girl.

 

 

 

And that’s how the two of us decided to spend our senior year of college watching every horror movie in the horror section of our local video store, Gold Star Video. We ended up watching over 200 films that year.

 

 

Not just watching, mind you, but keeping them all tracked and logged in our Horror Movie Notebook. We covered the notebook with our favorite horror movie images and filled it up with page after page of obsessive horror nerd rantings, creating our own rating system and noting down our favorite lines and moments in each movie.

 

 

 

 

And now, thanks to the Indie Popcorn Network, Marion and I will be co-hosting a weekly podcast called Horror Movie Survival Guide – where we revisit our Horror Movie Notebook and re-watch the films from our senior year of college, covering a different film each episode.

 

 

 

I am so excited to dip back into the notebook, and talk about the films I love so dearly, and specifically what lessons each film teaches on survival.

 

 

 

 

You can listen to the first episode, “I’m Into Survival”, discussing Wes Craven’s 1984 masterpiece, Nightmare on Elm Street, at the link below. 

 

 

 

You can also follow Horror Movie Survival Guide on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where we will be posting new episodes each week.

 

 

Give it a listen and send in your opinions – always happy to hear from fellow horror hounds! 

 

Listen here: 

 

 

http://horrormoviesurvivalguide.buzzsprout.com/104713/532361-nightmare-on-elm-street-i-m-into-survival

 

 

Horror Forever

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My senior year of college, I lived with (still) my best friend, Marion Kerr. We lived in Irvine (which I am convinced is the Hellmouth), near a little video store called Gold Star Video, run by a sweet-faced woman named Peru. We decided to challenge ourselves to watch every horror movie in their horror section that year. We watched a lot of terrible films (Halloween 3, Dead End Drive In), but also found some unheralded gems (Fade to Black, Final Exam) and we officially became horror junkies. Since she and I are pretty angel faced, we confused people with our  blood lust – Peru was perplexed, and even Jackie Joseph, who we spoke to at our first Fangoria convention felt compelled to ask, “What are you nice girls doing here?”

 

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We kept a notebook and wrote down info on every film – cast, quotes, popular horror themes (lead girl’s name ending in Y, someone calling “who’s there?”, topless chicks, etc). We clutched each other in abject horror during Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Last House on the Left. Marion fell off the couch she was so scared when Johnny Depp got sucked into his bed in the original Nightmare on Elm Street (still my have horror movie of all time). We were scared, but we also felt that with every horror movie we watched, we had a better chance of survival in case of actual events. We knew not to run down that blind alley, not to check the hallway with only a candle to light the way, to never say “I’ll be right back!” We felt proud that we sat through all of the Nightmares, Halloweens, Friday the 13ths, Hellraisers and Child’s Plays – even if most of them sucked.

 

 

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To be honest, becoming a horror fan is one of the smartest things I have ever done. I’ve made incredible friends and gotten several jobs because of my enthusiasm for horror – including one at Second Spin, and one of the leads in Delta Delta Die! back in 2003.  A Full Moon Feature, I was overly excited to get covered in a bucket a blood, and that I got to deliver possibly the best line in the film – (watch below at 1:30). Sadly, my career as a scream queen has yet to take off. (Even though I have a FANTASTIC horror movie scream).

 

 

I’ve never particularly understood why horror – nay, all film itself – it’s mainly a man’s game. At the New Bev I am constantly perplexed by the man/woman ratio (90% men on 90% of nights) – where are the other Julias? I understand that not everyone enjoys being frightened, but I find being scared a delight – it makes me feel alive –  my heart pounds, my breath quickens, my hands clutch each other in anticipation – I love it. And, of course, watching horror films in the theater with an audience is the BEST way to see them.

 

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I have been so disappointed in horror films lately – I have been trying to keep up, more or less, with modern horror but I hadn’t seen any movie within the last five years that had really rocked my socks – until this week. I decided to take in a double of The Quiet Ones and Oculus – two recent horror films I knew nothing about, save the posters I had seen around town. I was ready for disappointment – everything I had seen recently had been reductive, CGI filled and boring. Luckily, I was wrong.

 

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The Quiet Ones gets extra points off the bat for being a new Hammer Film. Set in England in 1974 and “inspired by true events”, the film follows a small crew of students helping a slightly dastardly Oxford abnormal psych professor while he tries to prove that the young girl in his psychiatric care is merely insane, not possessed. Jared Harris does a snakily wonderful job as the professor, and Olivia Cooke is hauntingly beautiful as the disturbed girl, but it is Sam Claflin that stars as the shy cameraman, Brian, that steals the film. Because of the time period & set up, half the film is shown in 16mm – as we look through Brian’s camera – which of course delighted me. The film has some decent scares, and some nice twists – I look forward to seeing what else Hammer will be offering up in the next few years. And I am officially crushing on Sam Claflin. Hubba Hubba.

 

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But the film that I really want to write about is Oculus – which blew my goddamn mind. It is one of the scariest, cleverest and well written horror films I have seen since 28 Days Later. And, of course, knowing absolutely nothing about it made it even more fun. (I am going to try to not spoil too much here, but some plot points will be revealed.)

 

Not since my favorite final girl Nancy kicked Freddy’s burnt butt has there been a heroine as incredible as Karen Gillan’s Kaley. She is beautiful, smart, and has spent 10 years devising a fool-proof plan to kill the demon that lurks inside the Lasser Glass – an antique mirror that has killed over 40 people in a very personal and horrific manner over the last 400 years, including her mother and father. Or is Kaley crazy, and did her parents just lose their minds? Either way, she has more booby traps and kill switches than you can shake a stick at, and she ain’t backing down for no one – not even her younger brother, Tim, who has been getting brainwashed at  mental institution for the last decade. But she’s believably awesome – she hasn’t turned into a Sarah Connor type, but is going to win using her intelligence and street smarts.

 

M90 Karen Gillian stars in Relativity Media's OCULUS. Photo Credit: John Estes ©2013 Lasser Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

The film jumps back and forth between two timelines – Kaley and Tim as children going through their parents downward spiral, as well as their present attempt to kill the evil – and it does so seamlessly. There are several astounding gore effects in the film that are terrifically squirm worthy, but the thing that makes the film so terrifying is that it locks into a fear I think every child has had at some point .What if your parents – the people you trust wholeheartedly for your security and well-being – went crazy. Like REALLY crazy. By tapping into this primal fear, the film knocks you off-balance and puts you back into the child’s mind – where monsters lurk around every corner and you wouldn’t dare leave the closet door open at night. Brilliant. And genuinely horrifying.

 

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I had also never seen Karen Gillan before and I think I am in love. I am a straight woman, but she might be the most beautiful girl I have ever seen and she KILLS this role. I know Doctor Who fans are already on board her train, but I am signing up for a ticket here and now. I hope she becomes a big star because she fucking deserves it. Also, she chews an apple cuter than anyone else I have ever seen in my life.

 

 

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I highly recommend Oculus – it got me excited for horror again, and that’s saying a lot. It’s inspired me to write a horror script myself – something I should have done years ago – that pulls from all of the horror knowledge I have accrued over the years. And if a movie can do that, i’d say it’s worth your $14 bucks.