This is Horror is a sampling of Horror Movies, Art, Fiction, and Gaming, and more. A little bit of everything to make the horror hound in you feel all fuzzy and warm. Or tingle with anticipation. Whatever works for you. Hope you enjoy!
Horror Movie Suggestion for the Week
Your horror movie suggestion for this week is Stitches. Stitches is an offbeat dark comedy/horror about a clown that comes back from the dead. Its not scary, and most of the time it’s outright ridiculous, but it somehow manages to be funny without trying too hard. And we all need a laugh right now.
Stitches Synopsis: A clown comes back from the dead to haunt those who took his life during a fatal party mishap.
Opening this Week (May 5th):
Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Trailer to Watch:
It Comes at Night drops June 9th, and the trailer is getting a lot of positive attention.
Featured Horror from DeviantArt
It had Cthulhu in it. The selection for this week’s horror art took about 3 seconds. From the author’s post, it didn’t seem like they were very happy with it, but I think they did a solid job! Make sure to click the picture and go leave them a compliment if you like their work too!
Notable Events in Horror History
5 Horror Actors Birth / Death (April 22nd – May 5)
William Castle – b. April 24 (House on Haunted Hill)
Mario Bava – d. April 27 (The Evil Eye)
Alfred Hitchcock – d. April 29 (Psycho)
Oliver Reed – d. May 2nd (Burnt Offerings)
Lance Henriksen – b. May 5 (Aliens)
5 Horror Movies Released (April 22-May 5)
House of Wax (1953)
The Beyond (1981)
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Creepshow 2 (1987)
The Craft (1996)
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson has become one of the giants of haunted house fiction. It regularly pops up on ‘Best of…’ lists and just as regularly as suggestions for people looking for a good haunted house story. It has all of the requisite items: a strange, luxurious mansion that loves to get you lost, a group of intrepid ghost hunters (two of whom have psychic powers) and isolation.
I’m not going to go into the plot too much but I will link to the Goodreads synopsis here. Although I feel I should warn you. If you get the e-book version with the foreword and haven’t read it before, do not read the foreword until you’ve finished the book. It gives away many plot elements with no warning. It really should have been an Afterword instead. The cover links to the IMDB page for the movie.
I’m here to share a few tidbits of trivia from the 1963 movie, The Haunting. Directed by Ray Wise and starring Claire Bloom (Theo), Julie Harris (Eleanor/Nell), Richard Johnson (Dr. Markway) and Russ Tamblyn ( Luke Sanderson).
– Although it is a pretty faithful adaptation there are still some minor changes. Dr. Montague’s name was changed to Dr. Markway for the movie. Eleanor’s last name in the book is Vance, not Lance. Dr. Markway is also portrayed as much younger in the movie and the object of Eleanor’s crush. This is actually an improvement to me as it makes sense she would have some father figure issues. In the book Dr. Markway’s wife is not a skeptic but just as eager in contacting spirits as her husband but in a different way. Also, in the book, Theo’s probable lesbianism is much more vague. She lives with ‘a friend’ with whom she has what’s described as (but not named) a lover’s quarrel. The ‘friend’ is never mentioned by name or gender so it could be a woman or it could be a man since living with a man wasn’t exactly smiled upon at the time.
– The camera used for some of the scenes was an experimental camera from a company in England. It created a slight warping of the scenes (mostly exterior and non-character inside shots) that make them appear to ‘bend’ a bit. Wise was thrilled with it because he believe it made the house seem more sinister. Because it was a non-finished camera Wise had to sign an agreement that he knew about the defect before they would let him use it.
– Wise also went to see Shirley Jackson because he wanted her take on the house, if it was haunted or if it was all in Eleanor’s head. Jackson reportedly said that she always though of it as haunted. Since the title was so long he also asked her if she’d ever had any other ideas for a different title. Her reply was that the only other title she ever considered was “The Haunting”.
– Claire Bloom once said that she was very interested in playing a woman attracted to another woman because it would be a different kind of role for her. Even though there are hints the movie is quite subte about it except for two scenes.
– Julie Harris suffered from depression while making the movie and used it for her character who was supposed to be a bit of an outsider to the group and stayed a bit aloof from them.
– Russ Tamblyn did not want the part at first and turned it down until MGM threatened to resign his contract. Later he decided that Luke Sanderson was one of his best parts. Luke’s character was also made more glib than in the book, possibly to complement Tamblyn’s acting style.
– While staying faithful to the book, for the most part, many of the supernatural parts of the book were either kept somewhat off-screen or cut altogether. Such as a moment when Eleanor and Theo are walking and arguing the shades shift from black to white, like a film negative. They also see a spectral picnic and Theo sees something that sends them running back to the house. It’s never revealed in the book either, unfortunately. This may have been Wise’s approach to keeping faithfully to Shirley Jackson’s haunting atmosphere and yet trying to give it the psychological bent which he wanted and which the book also lends itself to.
– Wise also wisely (he he) confined most of the action to the house to accentuate the isolation and claustrophobia of the house.
– While writing the book Shirley Jackson found a picture in a magazine of a house that she would use as inspiration for her Hill House. Later she would find out that her grandfather (or great-grandfather) had built the house she’d been using for inspiration.
– This isn’t really trivia but the movie has one of the best, quietly funny openings. When speaking of the house Markway narrates that “The house was built ninety-odd, very odd, years ago”. I don’t know why but I love that phrase and it always makes me giggle.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s trivia. Almost all of the details here are from the commentary of the movie by the actors and director. It’s very good so if you have the chance to get the DVD (or Blu-Ray, or whatever) with the commentary I highly recommend it. Are there any other movies, books, music or anything else you’re curious about just let me know! I’m always open to suggestions.
New Horror Releases (covers go to Goodreads)
Dogs of War – Joe Ledger #9 – Jonathan Maberry – April 25th, 2017
Dogs of War: Robots are no longer science fiction. Autonomous, programmed to react like animals: fast, relentless, deadly. From microscopic nanobots to massive self-guided aircraft. This technology is here, it’s assessable, and it’s dangerous. What’s even scarier is that almost anyone can get their hands on it.
A freelance terrorist uses the latest generation of robot dogs to deliver WMDs into cities across America. Ultra-realistic robots in the sex industry are used to spread designer plagues. Sophisticated military weapons systems turn on their human masters. A technological apocalypse is coming and we may be too late to stop it.
Joe Ledger and a newly rebuilt Department of Military Sciences square off against this new and terrible threat. Dogs of War pits Joe against a merciless new enemy and an army of techno-terrorists in a race to prevent a global destruction.
Let loose the Dogs of War. – Goodreads
Psst: If you’re going to read Joe Ledger, start with Patient Zero. You can read my review here.
The Boy on the Bridge – The Girl With all the Gifts #2 – M.R. Carey – May 2nd, 2017
Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.
The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.
To where the monsters lived. – Goodreads
Final Girls – Mira Grant – April 30th, 2017
What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?
Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they’ve been missing their whole lives—while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But…can real change come so easily?
Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father’s life. She’s determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb’s budding company. Dr. Webb’s willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther’s not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other’s only hope of survival. – Goodreads
I Koontz think of anything, so I went with something simple.
Horror on the Web
- The first annual Overlook Film Festival was a … shining … hit says Timeout
- Here’s a neat little horror poem called Demon Looking In from Blooming Lotuz
- Like horror games? GMA network recommends Little Nightmare
- Variety has some news about the cast of The Nun (spinoff of The Conjuring 2)
- A review of Resident Evil 7 from Zakatak Gaming.
- 10 Horror Films You Can Watch With Your Kids from Blastr
- And here’s a review of I Am Zozo from Really Awful Movies.
- The Verge reviews The Endless “A Creepy Indie Horror Film”