Let's Talk About Horror Fiction and Film

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Spaceman Spiff, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. NileQT87

    NileQT87 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    If you want one of the most unique and touching (it's quite empathetic and puts you firmly on the side of the "freaks") "horror" films ever made (it's more accurately a drama), watch Tod Browning's 1932 film, Freaks.

    It's one of my favorite films.

    The wonderful performances by Olga Baclanova (Cleopatra), Wallace Ford (Phroso), Angelo Rossitto (Angeleno), Johnny Eck (himself, the Half-Boy), Daisy & Violet Hilton (themselves, the Siamese twins) and Harry & Daisy Earles (Hans & Frieda) stand out.

    The film was banned in England for 30 years and pretty much destroyed Tod Browning's career (the director of several Lon Chaney, Sr. films and Dracula). The film is notable for having real people with deformities as the cast (and they're the heroes). 30 minutes of the film, including much of the fates of the "normal" villains, have been lost to history (it's now only an hour long). The film helped bring about the Hayes Code.

    [​IMG]

    "You'll laugh at them, shudder at them; and yet, but for the accident of birth, you might be even as they are."

    [​IMG]

    "We'll make her one of us! A loving cup! A loving cup!"
    "We accept her. One of us. We accept her. One of us."
    "Gooble, gobble. Gooble, gobble."

    --The famous scenes--
    The Wedding Feast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c43Sa4dztk
    The End: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sALWUsvL4X4
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  2. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    I love that movie. I wish somebody would stumble on that lost footage. The film historian in the DVD Extras is great, too; he seems to have such a genuine love for the Freaks.
     
  3. NileQT87

    NileQT87 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    I actually wrote the Wikipedia article for Johnny Eck[hardt]. I adore him. He was very multi-talented (he had talents and abilities well-beyond being a sideshow act--orchestra conductor, artist, model-maker, illusionist, etc...) and a total sweetheart (you'll notice he smiles a lot all through the film). Tod Browning actually wanted to do a follow-up mad scientist picture with Johnny and his full-bodied, would-have-been-identical twin, Robert. He was also the Gooney Bird in the Tarzan films. It's a shame what happened to him at the end of his life. In his old age, he was robbed by two thugs, sat on and humiliated. He lost his faith in humanity despite having been known for being friendly and upbeat. He was fond of talking on his porch with visitors and he made a living off of his screen paintings. He became a hermit during his final years after the robbery. Leonardo DiCaprio has the rights to the Eckhardt brothers' story for a biopic and Caroline Thompson (screenwriter of Edward Scissorhands) has already written the script.

    Angelo Rossitto is my second favorite. His performance during the Wedding Feast with the Loving Cup, getting the brunt of the humiliation (what a tough scene) with the wine splash and his peaking through the window at Cleopatra's treachery (amazing expressions)... He just gave a very moving performance. Another film I've spotted him in is the 1934 Babes in Toyland (March of the Wooden Soldiers). He's the 2nd Little Pig (black armband) and the lead dwarf with the Sandman during the "Go to Sleep, Slumber Deep" number. He sold newspapers outside of one of the studios for decades and the studios would just come get him when they needed him. He was in tons of films from 1927, when he was discovered by John Barrymore, up to 1987 (his last notable role was the villain in Mad Max 2: Beyond Thunderdome with Mel Gibson).

    Of course, Harry Earles is quite famously the Lollipop Guild Munchkin wearing blue in The Wizard of Oz. His three sisters were also Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. They were known as the famous "Doll Family". Harry Earles was the one who brought the short story that inspired Freaks to Tod Browning's attention, as it was one of the few chances he had for a meaty role.

    One of Bob Hope's first acts was a tap-dancing routine by Daisy and Violet Hilton. They were born out of wedlock and given away to a couple, who, while gave them a top-notch education along with music and dance lessons, were abusive and used them as a meal ticket. They had a famous emancipation case and spent many years trying to get marriage licenses for sham marriages in various states (which they were allowed in 1936). When vaudeville and sideshows dried up, they opened up a boardwalk hot dog stand and were accused of drawing too much attention. After that, they ended up being stranded and got jobs bagging groceries. The grocer paid for new clothing for them because they only had show clothes. They died of the Hong Kong flu.

    That cast was truly a fascinating group of people.

    A few other horror films that I truly appreciate are Night of the Living Dead, House of Wax and The Bride of Frankenstein. I like the good old classics.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  4. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    ^^ Those are all great films, especially Bride. I love all the old Universals and have the Legacy collections.

    It's pretty depressing to hear what happened to Johnny Eckhardt. There are some pretty horrible people in this world. :(
     
  5. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    You'll find several like-minded fans in here, NileQT87. Welcome!

    Speaking of the Universal Legacy series, I'm sure you guys have seen the newer ones for Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy. I just found out they'll be releasing one for The Wolf Man around the time of the remake's release.

    Most of them probably aren't worth the double (or actually triple) dip, but it's worth it to have at least one, because they all have a decent Universal horror documentary narrated by Kenneth Branaugh. Depending on the film, some of them have a few more features, too. Some of the Amazon reviews specify which features aren't on previous editions.

    Speaking of The Wolf Man (2009), I recently caught this reveal of an action figure design. I have to say, if that's how he looks in the movie, Rick Baker did a phenomenal design. Even if everything else about the remake ends up sucking, it'll be a pleasure to see that make-up onscreen.
     
  6. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    ^^ Rick Baker always does great work, and I'm glad they're sticking with a classic Wolf Man design. I'll probably end up getting that new Wolf Man Legacy DVD, since that's my favorite of all the Universals.
     
  7. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    It looks like Trick 'r Treat, which was mentioned upthread, is finally getting a DVD release, probably around October, as well as playings around the festival circuit. Ever horror site I've seen reviewing it seems to love it, and it definitely looks like fun Hallowe'en viewing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  8. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Let's see... a horror anthology movie that's compared glowingly to EC and Creepshow. Yeah, blind buy. :rommie:
     
  9. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Here's another potential market for you that I heard about on a horror writers' site: Shroud Magazine.

    Due to the economic problems right now, they don't pay very well ($25 or so), but it's yet another way to get your name out there. They're only open for submissions until June 30th, though, so send it to them as soon as possible.

    Here are their submission guidelines.

    The magazine looks pretty good. I've ordered a copy, and I'll judge from there whether I want to subscribe.
     
  10. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Excellent, thank you. I'm going to look into both of these links today. My problem, of course, is that I seem to have very few stories where I can say, "This belongs in Analog" or "This belongs in Weird Tales." Most don't seem to fit any specific markets. But I'd love to find a home for my "Last Talbot" poem; everybody seems to love that one. You've read that, right?

    Heh, that's all right. I'm used to being a Starving Artist. :rommie:

    And they take electronic submissions. That's a plus. :bolian:

    I've already ordered Monstrous; it jumped right to the top of my Shopping Cart list. :D
     
  11. pookha

    pookha Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Location:
    pookha
    wolfman is also my favorite of the univeral creatures.

    the book i may read for halloween..
    robert mccammon's The Queen of Bedlam .
     
  12. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    No, I don't think so.

    I thought you might like that one. ;) I haven't cracked it open yet, so I hope it's good. It has pretty good reviews, at least.

    Did you read the first one, Speaks the Nightbird? What'd you think?

    I have it, but I'm holding onto it for when I feel like something historical. Same with Dan Simmons's The Terror.
     
  13. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    You have good taste. :bolian:

    Sorry, sometimes I forget who's read what. I'll send you a PM. :cool:
     
  14. Goliath

    Goliath Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    The Fifth Dimension
    I just watched a terrific old B & W horror film, Night of the Demon (1957), directed by Jacques Tourneur.

    This film was intriguing in all sorts of ways. For starters, the DVD includes two versions: the original British film, and a shortened American version, Curse of the Demon. It was interesting to see what changes the distributor thought were necessary for an American audience.

    Once you see it, too, you can see its influence in all sorts of unexpected places. It was obviously an important inspiration for Sam Raimi's recent Drag Me to Hell, but its central concept was also strongly reminiscent of the cursed videotape in Ringu. One of its optical effects was even copied in an episode of DS9, "The Storyteller."

    Highly recommended for fans of classic horror films.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2009
  15. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    I've been meaning to check out Night of the Demon, which is a (very loose) adaptation of M.R. James' classic ghost story "Casting the Runes."

    Speaking of which, I've been reading James Hynes' Publish and Perish, a set of three satirical horror stories set in the academic world. The third is a modern take-off on "Casting the Runes." I'm looking forward to it.

    I've also been reading The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton. They're pretty good ghost stories in the classical mode.
     
  16. pookha

    pookha Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Location:
    pookha

    no drat ....
    i am really backed up on the reading after the eye issues..:lol:
    so add it in to the other book.

    right now i am reading emma bull and frost's shadowbridge plus a short
    story collection.

    oh liked the terror though not as much as summer of night and winter of haunting. though my favorite simmons is the first hypericon.
     
  17. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    I saw Night Of The Demon a while back on TMC; I'm pretty sure it was the British version. Good movie.

    I've been reading Monstrous. It's been amusing, but I'm dismayed by the low editorial standards. A couple of the stories are rather amateurishly written. There are tons of Internet-level errors, such as leaving the -ed off the end of words ("renown" instead of "renowned," for example) and "loose" instead of "lose." In one story, there was a major continuity error: Two kids go off into the woods because their dog has run away and suddenly the dog is just with them as if they had been together all the time; I know it's not fashionable to care about continuity these days, but I find that sort of thing jarring. It's unfortunate, because overall the book is a good idea and pretty entertaining; but laziness and low standards are, sadly, becoming more and more common.
     
  18. Pingfah

    Pingfah Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pingfah
    That's not a huge amount then, I do remember knocking out 20,000 words over night once when I was undert some desperate pressure.

    However, now it has taken me almost a month just to come up with an idea that doesn't make me want to cut my own hands off to prevent me from writing anything :lol:

    Anyway, just thought i'd recommend a 50 movie pack I picked up last time I was in the states to those who like old low budgeters. There's actually a surprising number of classics in there, although none of them are great transfer quality, hell, they probably DLed some of them off archive.org.

    Some of the best and worst in the collection:

    The Corpse Vanishes starring Bela Lugosi
    Night of the Living Dead starring Judith O'Dea
    The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney, Sr.
    The Indestructible Man starring Lon Chaney, Jr.
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame Lon Chaney, Sr.
    Nosferatu starring Max Schreck
    The Little Shop of Horrors starring Jack Nicholson
    Tormented starring Richard Carlson
    A Shriek in the Night starring Ginger Rogers
    Bloodlust starring Robert Reed
    The Bat starring Vincent Price
    The House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price
    The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price
    Dementia 13 starring William Campbell
    Carnival of Souls starring Candace Hilligoss
    Invisible Ghost starring Bela Lugosi
    One Body Too Many starring Bela Lugosi
    White Zombie starring Bela Lugosi
    The Terror starring Boris Karloff
    The Fatal Hour starring Boris Karloff
    Metropolis starring Gustav Frolich

    And assorted other movies with such interesting names as Atom Age Vampire, some unwatchable crap, some B-movie heaven.

    You can get it from Amazon for just $12.99.

    http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Classics-Movie-Pack-Collection/dp/B0001HAGTM
     
  19. NileQT87

    NileQT87 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Not surprisingly, quite a few of those are in the public domain. I recognize the public domain titles.

    I had a friend who had a collection of the 50 worst horror movies ever made. I'm still trying to scrub Eegah! out of my brain. It wasn't the horrible caveman that was frightening, but the lousy attempt at rock'n'roll singing by someone who can't sing or act around a poolside.

    Kind of reminds me of the "Johnny" A-story parts of Alan Freed's Go, Johnny, Go! It's a "classic" only if you skip everything in between the classic oldies performance segments. The rest was cringe-inducing. It was clearly an attempt by Alan Freed to create a new teen idol out of a talentless individual by having famous legends talk about how great he is. Suffice to say, the kid didn't get anywhere.

    And I'm saying this as someone who actually enjoys Elvis movies. These movies make his look fantastic (and I'm well aware of their faults). For rocksploitation flicks, those are among the best. You don't even want to see Beach Blanket Bingo or Go, Johnny, Go!

    Also, Ed Wood has got nothing on Eegah! Ed Wood films are charming next to some of the things I've seen.

    Haven't checked out Manos: Hands of Fate or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, but I've heard they're supposed to be epically terrible.

    Seen Turkish Star Wars before? That's easily the worst thing I've ever seen. It makes the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers look high quality. You'll never look at trampolines and strapping rocks to your legs the same way again. Not to mention the stolen Star Wars space footage and the Raider's March as the theme. Oh, and while you're at it, check out Turkish E.T. and the Turkish Wizard of Oz. The Bollywood musical version of Superman, complete with Spidergirl, is also spectacularly bad.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2009
  20. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2001
    Location:
    Behind Enemy Lines
    Night of the Demon is one of my all time favourite horror films, part of the reason I loved Drag me to Hell was because Raimi was obviously riffing on this (even down to the railway track ending!). Just try to ignore the demon (which Tourneur was forced to put in) and enoy the wonderful atmosphere of dread that permeates the entire film.