Wednesday, October 17, 2018

30 THEATRICAL TERRORS: Salem's Lot (Day 15)

I was all of 8 years old when I saw SALEM’S LOT on television in 1979. I’m sure it is the reason for my love of and fascination with horror. It took my little brain, and even with the restrictions of television ratings, and terrified it. But, I think, because of Lance Kerwin as young Mark Petrie, it heartened me to see even a kid show an ability to resist the darkness that was descending.

Tobe Hooper will be forever known for his monster indie flick that changed the face of horror films, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but tonight I thought we should take a look at his adaptation of Stephen King’s superb novel, SALEM’S LOT, because it had such an impact on me.

When David Soul’s Ben Mears returns to his hometown as a successful writer, he finds the town undergoing a terrifying transformation. Richard Straker, played by James Mason, has bought the Marsten House and is opening a store in town. This is when the deaths begin and the strange curse of vampirism begins to plague the town.

What follows is a battle between good and evil for the soul of the town and the lives of it’s people.

It is a superior television movie.
It is a great horror film.

Here’s a bite-sized taste:

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


You take Jaws and The Exorcist, combine them with Detroit steel and you have 1977’s The Car.  Throw in Spielberg’s DUEL and Corman’s Death Race 2000 and you have a little more of a feel for the market this movie was put into.

The movie is about a car that stalks the desert southwest killing all it comes across, while James Brolin is the Sheriff’s Deputy who does all he can to stop it and save the small town he lives in.

The most compelling scenes in The Car clearly show the vehicle balking at the opportunity to freely murder those chased into the consecrated ground of a graveyard. And, later, when Brolin’s character confronts the car after it kills five fellow deputies he realizes his bullets haven’t even put dents into the demonic auto.

Leader of the Church of Satan at the time, Anton LaVey was given a “Technical Adviser” credit on the film and his quote, “Oh great brothers of the night who rideth upon the hot winds of hell, who dwelleth in the Devil’s lair; move and appear”, appears in the opening credits—taken from the “Invocation of Destruction” in the Satanic Bible.

Clearly, Christine is a superior film, but The Car is, effectively, the first time a movie convinced anyone that an automobile could be doing the work of the devil.

That car was a customized 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III made by George Barris.  Four cars were made for the film, but all but one were destroyed in the course of making it.

Take a look at the sweet ride that is… The Car:

Monday, October 15, 2018

30 THEATRICAL TERRORS: The Innkeepers (Day 13)

Ti West’s 2011 film, THE INNKEEPERS,
is an interesting and powerfully haunting tale.
And I’m not quite sure how it’s as good as it is.
Although, thinking about it, it must be the script and performances because, at the end of the day, that’s really all that counts.

It’s a pretty basic story of two young employees at a regal old hotel on the verge of closing it’s doors for the last time. These two are ghost hunting enthusiasts who have documented a few of the hotel’s supposed hauntings. The most famous of which is the legend of Madeline O’Malley, a bride who hanged herself in the 1800s when her fiance jilted her at the altar and whose body was hidden in the basment by the owners of the hotel.

Claire, played pitch perfectly by Sara Paxton, is a sincere true believer; while Luke, played quite well by Pat Healy, we discover, is a non-believer. From there, we meet a few guests, do some ghost hunting and delve into the meat of the movie and learn that this old monster of a hotel ain’t giving up it’s ghost quite yet.

I can’t stress enough how easy it is to fall in love with Sara Paxton’s Claire in this movie—that’s how good she is.

Ti West has made another fine film here,
perhaps a great one?

It’s quiet.

It’s subtle.

It’s dark.

It's smart.

Here, take a peek: