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Perfect posters for the genius comedy-horror TV series ‘Inside No. 9’

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If you aren’t already, then you really should be watching Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith‘s masterful series Inside No. 9, which is currently rolling out for a third season on BBC television.

Shearsmith and Pemberton, alongside Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson formed the finely-tuned quartet of young writers and performers who saved British television comedy from near irrelevancy in 1999.

Together they called themselves, and their comedy series, The League of Gentlemen. In the long history of British comedy, these guys were the most important new arrivals on the telly since say The Comic Strip Presents…, or The Young Ones or even further back to Monty Python. Their show was a fearless mix of horror and comedy which became an international cult hit leading to the inevitable book, movie, and stage production. Along with The Office, the three series of The League of Gentlemen are the crown jewels of this generation of BBC comedy productions. The best of the best.

In 2002, when The League of Gentlemen finished their run on television.  Dyson went off to write very good novels and stage shows. Gatiss sharpened his nib working on Doctor Who and then stunned the planet by co-devising and writing Sherlock. The Lennon & McCartney of the band, Pemberton and Shearsmith continued in their own wicked ways writing and starring in the much darker sitcom Psychoville and most importantly Inside No. 9 in 2014.

Inside No. 9 is an anthology series, much in the style of those masterful compendium horror films produced by Amicus Productions in the sixties and seventies like Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), Tales from the Crypt (1972), and From Beyond the Grave (1974). Each episode offers up one complete mini-movie written by and starring Pemberton and Shearsmith alongside such renowned actors as David Warner, Gemma Arterton, Rula Lenska, Sheridan Smith, Jessica Raine and Roger Sloman. The tales range from haunting ghost stories to Gothic horror to troubling psychological thrillers—all neatly laced with the deadliest of black comedy. And as with the Amicus films, each 30-minute drama has an unnerving and genuinely unexpected twist.

The third series has already started—and it’s utterly fantastic. Which understandably explains why the BBC have already commissioned a fourth one for 2018.

Inside No. 9 is promoted by a lovingly produced movie poster which captures the style and genre of each production. As a fan of the show (and all the work of Messrs. Pemberton and Shearsmith), I thought these posters are something well worth sharing. The first was designed by Graham Humphreys who produced the knock ‘em for six poster for Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. Each of these beautiful artworks is a mouthwatering appetizer for the main dish—which, as said, if you aren’t already watching then you should be feasting on them right now.
 
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Sardines’ Season One #1, February 5th 2014, poster by Graham Humphreys .
 
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A Quiet Night In’ Season One #2, February 12th 2014, poster by Matt Owen.
 
More posters promoting the god-like genius of Pemberton & Shearsmith, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Two Star Movies, Five Star Posters: The B-movie artwork of Albert Kallis

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‘The Beast with a Million Eyes’ (1955).
 
Albert Kallis was working as a graphic artist with Saul Bass when the twentysomething B-movie director Roger Corman met him at a poster exhibition sometime during the mid-1950s. Corman liked the high-end artwork Kallis was putting out for the big Hollywood studios like Paramount and 20th Century-Fox. He wanted to know what it would take to have Kallis come and work for him? Kallis said he’d be only interested if after any “general conversations about the approach to the picture” all decisions on the poster’s artwork and style was left entirely up to him. Corman agreed. And that’s how he bagged the talents of one of the greatest movie poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s.

Corman made B-movies. Exploitation. Cheap thrills. Schlock horror. He knew he could make a ton of money if only he could get the teenagers to come and see his films. This was the time of the drive-in when movies came into town for a week and then were gone. When the film houses would only take on a movie if they could guarantee a hefty profit. What Corman needed was someone to sell his pictures with a poster that made the audience say “I gotta see that!” Kallis fully understood this. He produced artwork that made even the trashiest z-list feature look like it was the Citizen Kane of cheap thrills.

Kallis spent some seventeen years working as art director for Corman and then at American International Pictures—-going on to share responsibility (with Milt Moritz) as head of advertising and publicity. Kallis’s artwork exemplifies the best of movie poster technique and composition, taking key elements from a film to draw in the viewer and excite them enough so that they create their own mini-narrative. One look at these beauties and it’s more than apparent no movie could ever live up to the thrills of Kallis’s artwork.
 
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‘The Day the World Ended’ (1955).
 
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‘The Phantom from 10,000 Fathoms’ (1955).
 
More cheap thrills, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Satan teens, blood, guts, LSD, murder and chaos: ‘Where Evil Dwells’ has it all but a plot

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“Ricky was of the devil. When he was on acid, he’d go back into the dark woods, up in Aztakea, and he would talk to the devil. He said the devil came into the form of a tree, which sprouted out of the ground and glowed. I tried to question him about it, but he said, “I don’t like to talk about it. People think I’m nuts.”

Ricky would take ten hits of mesc in a night. He would take three; ten minutes later he’d take another three; and two hours later he’d take four more. He’d figured it out in his mind how to take the most without ODing Ricky is the acid king. “

—Mark Fischer, friend of “Acid King” Long Island teen murderer Ricky Kasso, in Rolling Stone magazine.

What the fuck did I just watch? is often the response to Tommy Turner and David Wojnarowicz‘s cult 1985 no wave/transgressive film Where Evil Dwells. Not because some viewers of this splatterfest are uncool dickheads but because there is no real cohesive story or structure to Turner and Wojnarowicz’s film—and people really do prefer things like structure and stories. Just ask James Patterson. Our savvy public are none too appreciative of being buttonholed by a would-be weirdo rambling incontinently about conspiracy theories, Satan, murder and devil dolls—people get enough of that shit on the evening news.

Moreover, to give 28 minutes over to watching this is a considerable investment of time for something that may not be that good after all—especially true in a world that’s marked out in 140 characters or less. But wait, let’s not be too hasty or too cynical, for there’s a reason there is no real story to Where Evil Dwells. It is (apparently) because this is all that remains of a much longer intended feature length project which was lost in a fire. The only footage that survived was put together for the Downtown New York Film Festival in 1985, which makes Where Evil Dwells interesting for what it could have been. And it certainly does contain some very interesting things.
 

 
Where Evil Dwells was loosely based on the PCP-fuelled murder of young Gary Lauwers in Northport, New York, on June 16, 1984. His killer, 17-year-old hesher Ricky Kasso was painted by the press as an occult dabbling, drug-addled Satan freak, and not without good cause. In an attack that went on for longer than an hour, Kasso burned Lauwers, gouged out his eyes and stabbed him somewhere between 17 and 36 times. At some point during the attack, Kasso is said to have commanded Lauwers to “Say you love Satan,” but Lauwers is said to have replied, “I love my mother.”

After Kasso bragged about Lauwers’ murder to several of his friends, claiming the killing was a “human sacrifice” that Satan (via a black raven) had commanded him to carry out, even taking some of them to see the decomposing body, an anonymous tip was made to police. On July 7, two days after his arrest, Ricky Kasso committed suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell.

The Long Island Satan teen murder case was made famous nationally in a widely read 1984 Rolling Stone article (”Kids in the Dark” by David Breskin in the November 22 issue) and in the (nearly fictionalized) lurid “true” crime novel Say You Love Satan. Kasso—basically a troubled AC/DC loving idiot who became a very sucessful fuck-up—was almost made out to be the “new” Charles Manson by the likes of Sonic Youth, Big Audio Dynamite, the Electric Hellfire Club and the Dead Milkmen. Where Evil Dwells is not the only film or documentary to be made about Ricky Kasso, although it was the first.

More murder, LSD and Satan teens after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Macabre, gothic illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination’

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There are few volumes more suitably macabre for dipping into at this time of year than Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I had for many years an old Pan paperback of Poe’s stories—one I’d treasured since childhood—until this fine dog-eared friend started setting loose its pages. When I replaced it, I was fortunate to find a battered old volume with fabulous illustrations by Harry Clarke. An original edition of this book can set you back a few hundred bucks. Thankfully, the thrift store where I chanced upon my 1928 edition was more than charitable in its pricing and I paid no more than the cost of an average family-sized coffee.

Clarke’s beautiful, intricate—and yes, at times—rather grotesque illustrations are a perfect fit for Poe’s weird tales. Clarke (1889-1931) was a prolific artist and illustrator. An Irishman who produced over 130 beautiful and ornate stained glass windows for churches all over Ireland and in England and France. Yet, for all their magestic beauty Clarke’s greatest fame came from his book illustrations—most notably for the Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (1916), the Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault (1922), Goethe’s Faust (1925), and especially the two editions of Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination in 1919 and 1923.

The 1919 edition of Poe’s collected stories were accompanied by a series of Clarke’s monotone illustrations. The 1923 edition was further enriched by the addition of eight color plates. I never tire of looking at Clarke’s illustrations. They are incredibly rich and filled with small intricacies that delight even after far too many viewings. Sure, he may have dipped his pen in the well of Aubrey Beardsley’s blackest ink but Clarke’s penmanship and artistry are singularly his own.
 
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The Fall of the House of Usher.’
 
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The Fall of the House of Usher.’
 
More dark delights, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Night Gallery: A connoisseur selection of bloody, gruesome & sexy Giallo and horror movie posters
10.27.2016
12:45 pm

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
horror
posters
giallo
Westgate Gallery


7 Deaths in the Cat’s Eyes  (Italy/France/West Germany, 1973)    d. Antonio Margheriti     Italian 4F Manifesto     55x78

You may recall last month, when—against my better instincts as a collector of these things—I recommended my new favorite online movie poster shop, the Los Angeles-based Westgate Gallery. Why spoil one of the least picked-over bastions of high-end movie posters on the entire Internet for myself, right? Well anyway, I did share it with our readers and apparently y’all turned out in force and picked the place clean.

But fear not, Westgate’s deeply knowledgeable self-described “poster concierge” Christian McLaughlin has unleashed over two hundred new sophisticated eye-popping wall coverings for your perusal and purchase. He obviously had to turn over a lot of rocks (many of them in Italy, from the looks of things) to find posters like the ones you see below. Trust me, you can search through eBay for thousands of pages—I do it all the time—and not find the gold like this passionately persistent and proficient poster prospector can.

And right now—as in right now and for the next seven days only, there is a 30% off Halloween sale—every item in stock—going on at the Westgate Gallery. Just enter the discount code HFS30 at the checkout.

Here’s a selection of some of the best from the latest crop of rare posters at Westgate Gallery...


Slasher Is the Sex Maniac  (Italy, 1972)  d. Roberto Montero     Italian 4F Manifesto       55x78
 

Jack the Ripper   (Switzerland/West Germany, 1976)    d. Jess Franco     Italian 2F Manifesto   39x55
 
Many, many more after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Photographer uses his owns kids to create terrifying pictures of our darkest nightmares
10.05.2016
03:02 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art

Tags:
photography
horror
Joshua Hoffine

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Kids are smart. They know that thing lurking under the bed is just waiting to grab their ankles and feast on their flesh. They know behind the closet door—the one that always drifts ajar—is a monster watching for its moment to pounce. They know that’s not the wind turning in the eaves, or mice shifting across the basement floor. It’s monsters, man!

Photographer Joshua Hoffine likes horror movies. He is a horror movie buff. Taking his inspiration from such horror tropes as the monster under the bed or the creature in the closet, Hoffine creates terrifying pictures of our deepest, darkest fears.

Hoffine was also inspired by reading bedtime stories to his daughters and works with his five daughters to produce his candy-colored nightmares.

He believes a horror story is “ultimately concerned with the imminence and randomness of death, and the implication that there is no certainty to existence.”

Horror tells us that our belief in security is delusional, and that the monsters are all around us.

His daughters enjoy working with their father on these nightmarish visions and are more interested in getting a free cookie than in being scared by the terrors being depicted around them.

Hoffine is currently compiling a book of his Horror Photography and more of his awesome work can be seen here.
 
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More scary and disturbing family horror, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Even after 16 years, Chris Morris’ ‘Jam’ is still the sickest, darkest, bleakest TV comedy EVER made
08.31.2016
03:19 pm

Topics:
Television

Tags:
comedy
horror
Chris Morris
Jam


 
It’s quite something that what was undoubtedly the oddest, most extreme and certainly the most sinister “comedy” series of the year 2000 would still be all of those same things when revisited over a decade and a half later, but this was the conclusion that I invariably came to last week when I re-watched Chris Morris’ legendarily fucked-up Channel Four series Jam. Nothing’s come even close to dethroning it in the intervening years.

Based on audio material that had initially been worked out for a late night radio show called Blue Jam that was broadcast from 1997 through 1999 on BBC1, Jam often had the actors who’d done the original radio work lipsync those same bits for the camera, giving the show an organically disturbing element that was difficult to pinpoint. Indeed, from the very first seconds of Jam, it’s patently obvious that the viewer is about to witness something that’s not only meant to fuck with their heads, but that’s going to accomplish this goal quite successfully. I first caught an episode of Jam in a London hotel room (I was there doing publicity for the second series of my own Channel Four show) and I was utterly flabbergasted by not only what I was seeing before my astonished eyes, I was also gobsmacked (as the Brits are fond of saying) that something like this, something this post-post-post modern, this forward-thinking, this incredibly bleak, moody and just plain fucked-up had made it to television in the first place, having been green-lighted by the very same people who foolishly allowed little me to have a TV show around the same time.

Someone I knew at C4 mailed me VHS tapes of Jam back in New York, and I became an evangelist for it, forcing joints into mouths and making all of my friends watch it. Some of them even thanked me. (One person I’ve not heard from since…)
 

 
But enough of these… words, it’s not like one can “explain” Jam, so let’s take a break now and roll tape. Here’s the first episode of Jam. I know you’re busy, we all are, but for your sake—I’m not doing this for me—watch at least the incredibly brilliant opening sequence and the first sketch, where a worried couple at their wits end (Amelia Bullmore and Mark Heap) lay something quite dark and heavy about their son on his godfather (Kevin Eldon) and ask for a rather big favor.
 

 
Breathtaking, is it not?

Much more ‘Jam’ after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
These horrifying posters make great gifts for all of the freaks (and dope fiends) on your Xmas list
12.09.2015
07:18 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
horror
posters


‘Syphilis: L’Hecatombe’ (“The Mass Slaughter of Syphilis”) by Louis Raemaekers, 1922.  Dutch soldiers returning home from the front with “The French Pox” caused a massive spike in STD-related deaths in the years following the war.

My pal Thomas Negovan owns the Century Guild gallery. Originally founded in Chicago in 1999, in December 2012 he opened a location in the Culver City Arts District of Los Angeles. Tom specializes in Art Nouveau and Symbolist works from Germany, Austria, France, and Italy done between 1880-1920, and includes the lithography of significant artists such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Alphonse Mucha, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; important Symbolist Artworks; and artifacts from the silent film era and German cabaret. Works from his collection are on permanent display in The Art Institute of Chicago, The Detroit Institute of Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

This Christmas season, the gallery has selected some of their most macabre and fantastic posters to be printed as limited edition Patronage Prints. Priced under $50, they’ll certainly make… unusual presents for all the weirdos (and drug addicts) on your shopping list…


‘Shadows and Light’ by Walter Schnackenberg is a 1919 Munich cabaret performance depicting a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ theme.


Fritz Lang wrote the silent film script of a woman leading men to their demise in ‘The Dance of Death’ (1919).


A poster advertising the The Grand-Guignol theater, a legendary landmark of terror.  Performances there ran the gamut from horror to comedy, stimulating both extremes of human response.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Thrill to the covers of Boris Karloff’s ‘Tales of Mystery’ comic

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E.C.‘s Tales from the Crypt was long dead and buried by the time I’d picked up my first Spider-Man comic and attempted web-slinging off the garage roof. If I’d known about Tales from the Crypt then, I would have abandoned Peter Parker to life as a useful flyswatter and hung my star to the Crypt Keeper. All things horror were a childhood obsession—and though with hindsight some graduate of Psychology 101 might give my predilection for nasty thrills an asshat theory about using horror movies as a means to control personal fears—the truth is—I just fucking loved ‘em.

Of course, the possibility that out there—somewhere—was a happy marriage of comic book and horror story was a pre-pubescent fantasy as remote as the coupling between Cinderella and Prince Charming. Then one day I discovered Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery at the back of a rack of comics and knew the Prince’s luck was looking up.

Ye gods, the covers alone were enough to put my imagination into overdrive—like a hyperactive kid popping bubble wrap—the images of prehistoric beasts devouring fishermen on storm-tossed seas, gruesome subterranean creatures clambering out of crypts, devils torturing unrepentant souls, and a viscous ooze devouring all. The fact that each cover had a passport photo of the debonair Mr. Karloff—a man who looked like he worked at a bank or sold life insurance to the over 50s—only made the thrills more enjoyably fun, as I knew this kindly old man would never, ever, go overboard with the horror. Or would he?

Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery was originally a spin-off from his TV series Thriller. When the series was canceled, publisher Gold Star re-titled the comic as Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery. It continued to be published after Karloff’s death in 1969, and ran into the seventies—around about the time when I picked-up on it. If you want to have a swatch of the whole set of covers available have a look here or here.

This little bundle of goodies culled from everywhere and beyond brings back fine memories of the pure joy to be had imagining the possible terrors that were about to unfold—and appreciating the best thrills are all in the mind.
 
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More fabulous Karloff kovers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bloody Geography: Horror maps that detail what fright flicks were set in your home state
05.27.2015
09:42 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
horror


 
This week someone sent me this really cool map of the United States, in which an imgur user has placed visual representations of horror films set in each state. It’s quite a piece of work:
 

Click on image for larger version.
 
I did some searching to learn more about this map and the work that went into it, when I accidentally stumbled across THIS even more detailed, meticulously researched, map which lists around 250 horror films for all 50 states (and Washington, D.C.).
 

Click on image for larger version.
 
The host website horroronscreen.com clarifies:

The map represents where the stories take place in the movies, not where the actual filming locations were. Nowadays, most horror movies are filmed in California, but the setting could be totally different. For example, Halloween was filmed outside of Los Angeles but the movie is set in Illinois.

This is a true labor of love, and I actually learned about a couple of new movies when I checked out my own home state.

So peep both of these bloody good horror maps and let us know: What’s the scariest state?

Via Horroronscreen.com and Bloodydisgusting.com

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Fear on Film’: Three masters of horror—Landis, Cronenberg, Carpenter all in the same interview


 
If you were living in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, you might remember this interview which aired on that “magnificent obsession,” the legendary Z Channel, a local cable channel that catered to film nuts until its inevitable demise in 1989. The host here is Mick Garris, a renowned expert in the horror genre.

The early 1980s were such a great moment for the horror genre, and these three men were right at the center of it all. This interview was probably conducted in early 1982—Landis had recently come out with An American Werewolf in London, and was a year away from releasing the video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which anyone who lived through the era will tell you was not just any ordinary music video—it was a 13-minute horror movie on the zombie theme, and both song and video featured a memorable vocal bridge by Vincent Price. Carpenter, of course, had kicked off the Halloween franchise in 1978, had recently come out with The Fog, and would release The Thing in the summer of 1982. Cronenberg, whose previous two features were Scanners and The Brood, was promoting Videodrome, which would come out in 1983, the same year as The Dead Zone. And that’s not even counting something like the first Evil Dead movie, which came out in 1981, or Alien, which came out in 1979. The Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises started in 1980 and 1984, respectively, and that same period saw a whole lot of Stephen King movies too, like Firestarter, Cujo, Creepshow, and Christine.

It’s a pretty interesting interview—Carpenter insists that movies don’t scare him but then admits that seeing It Came From Outer Space when he was 4 years old did scare him. Landis thinks that there’s been a change in horror movies—back in the day, the movies were fairly good but then the effect is ruined by the appearance of a shitty-looking monster; by 1981 the movies had gotten worse but the monsters actually look pretty convincing. The names Rick Baker and Roger Corman are bandied about liberally. Both Landis and Carpenter bemoan the need for entire days being spent to make a single effects-heavy shot. Cronenberg complains about censorship in Canada and points out several positive aspects of the U.S. system (this was taped before the introduction of PG-13, which precisely mirrors a suggestion made by Cornenberg). Cronenberg shows decent self-knowledge when he says, “My films tend to be very body-conscious”—an understatement, to say the least.

Above all, this is a great video if you are a big fan of brown jackets.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Tales from the Crypt’ starring the Cramps, 1980
04.07.2015
03:08 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Cramps
horror


 
Given the Cramps’ love of trashy Americana and vintage monster movies—witness their adoption of Cleveland’s legendary schlock-horror TV host Ghoulardi—it perhaps isn’t so surprising to stumble across this fabulous photo spread they did for The Face in the July 1980 issue. Give The Face credit: The Cramps had been bouncing around for a while but their only LP to that point, Songs the Lord Taught Us, had come out in May. The pictures repurpose lines from the Cramps’ song “Voodoo Idol,” which didn’t even make it onto an album until a year later, when their I.R.S. debut Psychedelic Jungle came out. The cover of the issue had Bryan Ferry on it, and the same issue also had items on Ian Dury, John Cooper Clarke, Howard Devoto, and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Not bad.

The title of the photo essay (?) is “Tales from the Crypt,” which of course calls to mind the comic book series that inspired the band’s creeptastic logo. The photographs were by Alain de la Mata, who went on to produce some interesting movies a couple of decades after this shoot, and the series of pictures was “scripted and performed by the Cramps,” which is certainly an unusual credit. “The Underestimator,” whose Tumblr I spotted these on, speculates that these marvelous pics may have been taken during the “Garbageman” promo video shoot at the Shepperton film Studios, in Middlesex, UK.
 

(Click on the above image for a larger view.)
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Stephen King: ‘I sleep with the lights on’
12.31.2014
02:35 pm

Topics:
Books
Television

Tags:
horror
Stephen King

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I find it reassuring to know that Stephen King has sold over 350 million books—not because it’s a sales target young hopeful writers might choose to aspire to or because the earnings probably keep Mr. King in a lifestyle the vast majority of us can only ever dream of, but because this incredible number means that most of us have probably read at least one Stephen King novel or story—or at worst have seen one of the numerous films based on his work.

350 million in book sales make Stephen King an ice-breaker, a conversation starter, a shared interest that connects people with whom we may have thought there was no common bond. Unlike the pitfalls of talking about politics or religion or whether your team is going to win the league (of course they will!), talking about Stephen King, or rather talking about books, brings us together through a shared pleasure of reading.

I was late to Stephen King but quickly made up for the lost time and have now read everything he has ever published. And like the other 350 million I have remained one of his “Constant Readers” through all his seasons whether good or fair or poor.

I’ve often posited the suggestion that Stephen King should win the Nobel Prize for Literature, which may cause some to be aghast, but why not? He has created a gallery of memorable characters; has written some of the more imaginative stories of the past five decades; and perhaps most radically King’s tales of terror have encouraged people to read, which in turn has nudged his readers towards other authors, other books, other ideas. Who knows—maybe one day it will happen—and wouldn’t that be a positive endorsement of those 350 million + readers?

For a man who has terrorized many an imagination it may be comforting to hear that Mr. King himself sleeps with the lights on to keep monsters away, as he explains in this his first “up close and personal” TV interview with Henry Nevison for UMO (University of Maine Orono) in 1982.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Vampire Lesbians of Hammer
12.27.2014
12:28 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
horror
vampires
Hammer Films

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With all the hubbub about sexy vampires these days, courtesy of Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, it’s time to take a short stroll down memory lane to the “golden age” of vampire lesbian cinema with Hammer’s so-called “Karnstein Trilogy.”

 

 
The first of the series, The Vampire Lovers, starred beautiful Polish actress Ingrid Pitt, who had previously played Elizabeth Bathory in Countess Dracula for Hammer. In The Vampire Lovers, Pitt played Carmilla Karnstein, the literary prototype for all vampire lesbians, a character created by author J. Sheridan Le Fanu in 1872. I saw the film on a late night “chiller theater” TV slot in the mid-seventies and while it’s actually a pretty decent, serviceable period piece horror film, uh, whatever... let’s get real here, the real attraction were the bare breasts of Ms. Pitt and crew! Without them no one would probably remember this film at all.

But ask any guy who grew up in the seventies —and a few gals, too, of course— who watched horror movies and they will know all about this film and its two sequels, which were often aired—astonishingly—with the nude scenes intact. Back in the seventies, this was a cause for celebration for teenage boys. I used to scour the TV Guide searching for weird things to watch and whenever there was a screening of one of these films, I can assure you that I didn’t have anything better to do that night!
 
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The second film in the Karnstein Trilogy was 1971’s Lust for a Vampire starring blond Danish hottie Yutte Stensgaard. Again, ask any middle-aged guy in America or England who watched horror films as a kid and… they will know the name Yutte Stensgaard, who is seen bare-breasted and smeared with blood in the film.
 
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A still from this scene made frequent appearances in monster movie books and magazines devoted to the genre, providing somewhat unwholesome masturbatory fodder for an entire generation of horror film geeks (Sidestepping the implications of this matter entirely, here Stensgaard is seen signing it at a fan convention).
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Before there was ‘The Babadook,’ there was ‘Monster’ the ‘baby Babadook’
12.08.2014
01:01 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
horror
The Babadook
Jennifer Kent


 
There’s a reason why the critics and all your friends who’ve seen it are raving about the new horror movie, The Babadook: It’s because it’s really well-done and fucking scary. For the most part, I find horror films extremely uninteresting, but this one, about a young boy with a pop-up book from Hell, grabbed me immediately with its stylish sense of anxiety, claustrophobia and unease. It’s genuinely frightening and it doesn’t rely on the cliched tropes of “found video” that’s been getting old since The Blair Witch Project or sudden loud noises for its scares.

The 2014 Australian indie horror, written and directed by Jennifer Kent has a nearly perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes and currently has a score of 87 out of 100 on Metacritic, which seems about right. Last week William Friedkin director of The Exorcist tweeted “Psycho, Alien, Diabolique, and now THE BABADOOK” adding “I’ve never seen a more terrifying film than THE BABADOOK. It will scare the hell out of you as it did me.” Stephen King tweeted “Deeply disturbing and highly recommended. You don’t watch it so much as experience it.” If you won’t take my word for it, take theirs.
 

 
The Babadook inhabits a place where the Zuni devil doll from Trilogy of Terror meets Roman Polanski’s The Tenant meets Mommy Dearest meets David Lynch meets Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves meets Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages meets Georges Méliès meets… Papa Lazarou from League of Gentlemen? I think you’ll know from that mouthful of a sentence whether or not The Babadook is the film for you. Six-year-old Noah Wiseman is a revelation in his role as the difficult son of an emotionally disturbed single mother and Essie Davis, as his mom, is simply terrific. Surely she’s going to find doors opening up to her in Hollywood, she’s great in this. It’s basically the two of them who carry the entire film.
 

 
I’m not going to spill any of the beans, it’s best to see it without knowing much more than this. What I do want to point out is that The Babadook‘s critically-lauded first time feature director Jennifer Kent, who did an apprenticeship with Danish director Lars von Trier on the set of his Dogville, made a short predecessor to The Babadook in 2005 called “Monster” which she refers to as a “baby Babadook.”
 

 
After the jump, ‘The Babadook’ trailer…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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