A scary thing happened on the way to the Movie Forums - Horrorcrammers

Tools    





I have a friend who has never watched much horror because she thinks it's too scary. So we started Sunday Afternoon Horror Club and watch together over Zoom.

We watched The Innocents two weeks back and then today we watched Vampire Circus.

We are both having a blast. I made an IMDb list of horror movies that I think are fun but don't involve overly gory stuff or are too scary.

I wonder what I would suggest to a friend not much into horror, but willing to give it a go. My inclinations are, of course, mostly diabolical, but I think Fright Night is an easily digestible bit of genre. I don't think it's too scary. It's got a clearly defined shape and plot. Likeable characters. And probably about as good as (sort of) traditional vampire films go.


Innocents is good too. My gf is not a horror person, and I pretty easily convinced her to watch that one night. And she agreed, it made continuing watching the awful version on Netflix pointless. Which had been my hope, all along, because I couldn't stand to watch another episode.



The Last House on the Left (Craven, 1972)



Decided to give this one a rewatch this past weekend, partly because I stumbled across it on streaming and partly because Iíve spent a bizarre amount of time defending it in the corners of the internet Iíve frequented over the years despite not actually liking it very much. I think my original take on the movie is basically accurate, but partly because Iíve been feeling easier to please and longing for familiar comforts these days (even if those familiar comforts are grimy exploitation movies like this one) and partly because the parts that do work weigh heavily enough over the movie to drown out the parts that donít. I think of Ebert describing the impact in his review: ďthe audience (mostly in the mood for just another good old exploitation film) was rocked back on its psychic heels.Ē Thatís a good way to put it. (I saw it both in a theatre, in a tattered print with a not entirely appreciative audience from my memory, and now at home in a nice HD transfer on streaming. I would recommend both. Thereís something to be said for seeing a trashy genre movie on the big screen, but also seeing something so grainy in a version so crisp.)

We had a good version of this material with The Virgin Spring and the good exploitation version of this material with The Night Train Killers, both of which I think are excellent, but I think thereís plenty of value in a good ďbadĒ version of this material, one which still carries a level of moral seriousness. I confess I think about those other films less, as their obvious quality presents less of a challenge. I also feel a little weird batting for this movie like itís an underdog, but for an iconic and influential movie, it doesnít seem to be liked very much by most people Iíve discussed it with. (If you want a morally bankrupt version of this material, I will cautiously recommend The Story of Prunella, the extremely vile but potent hardcore roughie which borrows heavily from Last Houseís template, down to the bumbling cops. Watch at your own risk.) The grime suits the subject matter, and the technical roughness creates the effect of the heinousness of the central acts rupturing the fabric of the film. (Despite knowing full well what to expect this time around, those scenes were no easier to watch.) Cravenís execution of this dynamic I still find uneven, Iím just more willing to concede now that it doesnít need polish to work.

Now for other the things that work. Even aside from David Hessí tremendously evil performance, the villains are repulsive in an almost visceral way, with Marc Sheffler looking like heís struggling with a bad case of heartburn and Fred Lincoln somehow looking sleazier than when he became an actual pornographer. (The kazoo-heavy music by Hess that accompanies them makes them unpleasant to multiple senses. I also only realized this viewing that the music basically narrates the movie, which feels like it belongs in the parts of the movie with the cops and chickens and not the parts with the rape and murder.) And thereís the booby-trap-heavy climax, a Craven staple. It isnít pulled off with the level of finesse and catharsis he would bring to later efforts like Nightmare on Elm Street, thereís something to be said for its gut level impact, the assaultive use of sound matching the brutality onscreen. The audience has been made complicit in the savagery, and no one is left clean at the end.




Sounds like she's ready for Final Exam!
Is anyone every ready for Final Exam?

I wonder what I would suggest to a friend not much into horror, but willing to give it a go. My inclinations are, of course, mostly diabolical, but I think Fright Night is an easily digestible bit of genre. I don't think it's too scary. It's got a clearly defined shape and plot. Likeable characters. And probably about as good as (sort of) traditional vampire films go.
Oh, Fright Night is on the list. And knowing her, Chris Sarandon in his sexy knit sweater is going to blow her mind (she appreciated the intersection of fashion and absurdity).



He's wearing a sweater...over a turtleneck. That's it, I'm calling the fashion police.



Okay, this monstrosity is the one I was thinking about. Don't know why I remembered it being white.



I appreciate that the actress is trying to shield us from a full frontal view of it.

You know, for when you go clubbing in your . . . open-necked sweater?



When youíve got a voice like Danny Elfman, you can wear whatever kind of turtleneck/sweater combo you want!



The trick is not minding
Oh, Fright Night is on the list. And knowing her, Chris Sarandon in his sexy knit sweater is going to blow her mind (she appreciated the intersection of fashion and absurdity).
I got to meet Chris Sarandon in Pittsburgh during the Steel City Con where we fist bumped. We spoke about Fright Night, but he seemed like he was most proud of his role in Tale of Two Cities. He spoke about that with another fan at length.



I got to meet Chris Sarandon in Pittsburgh during the Steel City Con where we fist bumped. We spoke about Fright Night, but he seemed like he was most proud of his role in Tale of Two Cities. He spoke about that with another fan at length.
Neat!

I don't have much of a sense of him as a person., but obviously enjoy many of his performances.



I used to dress like that literally every day.



Is anyone every ready for Final Exam?



Oh, Fright Night is on the list. And knowing her, Chris Sarandon in his sexy knit sweater is going to blow her mind (she appreciated the intersection of fashion and absurdity).
I assume this person has a Mirror Mirror screening in her future. Or is the death-by-steam-bath too much?
__________________
Captain's Log
My Collection





Prime keeps recommending this to me. It looks like all of my 80s nightmares made flesh, but I feel like it's only a matter of time before I give in and watch it. Surely one of you has seen this?



Aw ****, Wooley's a vampire.
Well, you've never seen me in a mirror, have you?





Prime keeps recommending this to me. It looks like all of my 80s nightmares made flesh, but I feel like it's only a matter of time before I give in and watch it. Surely one of you has seen this?
I haven't seen it myself, but I do appreciate the shoutout you made to the second Bloodbath record anyway!