Ginger Nuts of Horror
I first saw this gem when I was a kid and have held a copy of it close to my heart ever since. Whether it was in VHS format, or Blueray the only thing that’s changed over the years is the quality of the pictures.
It was written by Nigel Kneale, released by Hammer in 1967 and was the third film in the dotty professor versus the unbending ignorance of the establishment trilogy, that was originally a BBC screenplay, dating from 1958. It’s also the genre directorial debut of the acclaimed Ray Ward Baker. The film was released in America under the much less evocative title: Five Million Years to Earth.
I remembered looking at the timer on the VCR, it said just over fifteen minutes had elapsed. Fifteen. In that time, my eight year old eyes had witnessed a man’s head being blown clean off with a shotgun, a strange bluey-grey man who I thought was going to hug someone, instead decide to rip a chunk out of a woman’s throat. In a few minutes more, I’d see one of those weird people get the top of their head cut off with a rotor blade.
Dawn of the Dead was awe inspiring, it had things in a film I had never seen before, it wasn’t until Peter said the Z word two thirds of the way through that I even knew what these things were called. They seemed weird, how can something that moves so slowly, with no real obvious superpower manage to take over the world?
Few films can have had such an effect on the Sci-fi / Horror genre as Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece, Alien. It was the perfect antidote to the benign vison of aliens seen in Speilberg’s Close Encounters, or the Saturday matinee popcorn confectionary of Star Wars and the family blockbusters that came after it - the quasi-religious ‘lost tribes of Israel in search of a home’ Battlestar Galactica, the anodyne adventure of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, or Disney’s The Black Hole and Superman - The Movie. Alien may have been set in a galaxy far, far away, but it was no fairy tale in space. Rather, it was a nightmare. It eschewed the formulaic ‘Us versus Them’ scenario of Star Wars, pitting cartoon villains against lightweight leads (I may be going against the grain here, but I quite liked the Empire and wouldn’t have minded them blowing the too good rebellion off the face of Dantooine), and presented us with the ultimate ‘Us versus It’. And what an It, it was! The advertising slogan for the film (one of the best ever) said, ‘In space no one can hear you scream’. The auditorium certainly could. Nothing prepared us for this Lovecraftian-inspired horror, and nothing since has come close. The Xenomorph became an instant archetype the moment it hit our screens.
Synopsis: John Carpenter’s They Live (1988), stars pro wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as an unnamed lowly transient (identified in the credits as “Nada,” and in the script as “John Nada”) who discovers a stash of sunglasses, which, when worn, reveals an Alien manipulated and driven world. Chaos ensues.
Sadly, in the annuls of horror and sci-fi classics, I don’t believe They Live receives the amount of attention that it should. They Live is timeless and iconic movie, yet it’s also one of the most under-recognized, over looked and under-appreciated. They Live is scary, it’s shocking, it’s thoughtful, it’s masterful … and in many ways, aspects of They Live have become a reality. Considering how important They Live is to me, coupled with the important messages it contains, I’m always amazed at how many people haven’t seen this film … or even heard of it. I find it just wrong … and I always enjoy describing and discussing They Live and demanding that it be viewed as soon as possible.
Before this film came out I had maybe watched some Hammer horror through my fingers. I never did get to see Frank Langella's Dracula for years because the first time we tried to watch it we reached the part where Dracula comes down the wall head first and my sister screamed so much we had to turn it off.
It wasn't until I was 15 and The Lost Boys hit cinemas that my vampire obsession, and from there, other horror type obsessions started. My twin sister and I travelled to town on the train and walked to the cinema and when we came out I don't think we stopped talking about it for days.
This film has everything, teenage angst, humour, a love story and evil vampires. These days I'd be more likely to ship Michael and David, but back then I was so into the Michael and Star love story. This is the first movie I ever wrote fanfic for. Luckily for me there was no internet at the time so it is in a note book in a drawer and will never see the light of day, but I still wrote it. It inspired me to create.
Thanks to The Lost Boys the vampires got inside my head and never left. These vampires are not sparkly and they are not heartsick, they are vicious and unrepentant and glorious.
David: "You'll never grow old, Michael, and you'll never die. But you must feed!"
I also love Sam and the Frog Brothers as they provide the comic relief. Sam has to walk the line between sympathetic younger sibling and the outright humour that is the Frogs and his characterisation is spot on.
Sam: "Burn rubber does not mean warp speed!"
My sister and I have the soundtrack, the book (yes still) and it was the first VHS tape we tried to buy (and failed since it wasn't out for general release when we tried). This was even before we had a VCR, we were just lucky enough to borrow one every now and then. We needed to own that movie so badly.
It was the film I most wanted a sequel to for years, until we actually got one and it was so bad I fear to mention it's name (however, the third one is pretty good). I can still quote a good half of The Lost Boys even so many years later and we didn't have the internet to help us do that at the time. It's up there with Star Wars and The Princess Bride as most quotable movie. This film is a classic and I thank it so much for my obsession with the undead.
Natasha Duncan-Drake is a British author with Wittegen Press (wittegenpress.com) and has been publishing genre fiction since 2011. Her work includes everything from horror to young adult fantasy and she has never met a genre she didn’t like. A prolific producer of short stories and novels alike, Natasha currently has over twenty five titles in her back catalogue with further releases always imminent.
She is a big fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror in all their forms and is a big advocate of fanfiction as a great tool for writers to polish their skills in a welcoming and supportive community.
Blog - Tasha’s Thinkings: http://tashasthinkings.blogspot.co.uk/
The Film That Made Me would have to be Rosemary's Baby. That movie is REAL, scary, gets under your skin, but is also ridiculous and SURREAL. Before Rosemary's Baby I thought all horror movies were schlock (I love schlock by the way). After Rosemary's Baby I sought out all things Polanski, including Repulsion, which has to be The Second Film that Made Me, followed by Freaks, and then that whole wave starting with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Back in the day there were no video stores, no internet, no cable. If you wanted to see a film you had to actually go to a theatre! To see something like all of Ingmar Bergman's films or all of Fellini's films or Bunuel's, you had to go to a lot of work and be a real nut…which I was. Those three were the true greats at telling stories that incorporate both the conscious and subconscious. I still watch their films regularly and I'd put Polanski right up with them.
Fifth grade. Heather’s sleepover birthday party. I was a book nerd and surprised I’d been invited. This may have still been in the years of my giant, pink-framed glasses. Maybe it was sixth grade. I don’t remember before yesterday’s lunch-o-guacamole and coffee (sucks to that assmar of a combo), let alone uber specifics on prepubescent parties. What you need to know is that Heather’s parents totally let her rent HORROR MOVIES.
A basement tween squall was quieted by Heather holding up a black VHS case that featured a skull with EYEBALLS. The movie was Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn and it changed my brain.....
A gaggle of girls sat down for a scare. When next I looked up, no one was there.
No one gave a shit about Evil Dead 2. Fifteen minutes into the movie, ladies started leaving. Snacks were to be had, nails to be glitterized, there was probably a Ouija board somewhere, and oh my GAWD did you know Heather had a hottie older brother in high school who wore his jeans sagged off his ass and spiked his hair? ::MEGA BLUSH:: All of these things – I cared about them when I was 10, but I cared more that this movie…this Evil Dead 2…it was something my dad would’ve never allowed me to watch.
A brief, incomplete list of what my dad would’ve hated about Evil Dead 2:
A chainsaw hand
A head in a vice
A bulbous-eyed cellar ghoul
A maniacally laughing deer head
Blood filling a light bulb
No. He would’ve been more pissed about the blood ENDLESSLY GUSHING from a wall that a disembodied hand scampered behind.
I didn’t love Evil Dead 2 because my dad would’ve hated it. I mean, that didn’t hurt, but I loved it because it made horror – a genre I had formerly been taught was AWFUL and for BAD PEOPLE – and made it hilarious, relatable, and so violent that the brutality became surreal camp. Dave Kehr, of the Chicago Tribune, said in his ’87 review that Evil Dead 2 is “…a ghoulish splatter comedy that uses wildly excessive gore to provoke the kind of shock that lies between a laugh and a scream.” To continue and paraphrase through Roger Ebert, some folks (like my dad) would think that the movie is in bad taste. Others know it is about bad taste.
What horror movie had the most influence over my writing? The Exorcist? Beetlejuice? The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari? Nothing But Trouble? The Thing? I dunno, but Evil Dead 2 was the first horror movie I can remember watching and I felt changed. Rewired. Suddenly, I had Dark, Obscure Knowledge and the world felt Bigger and Full of Weirdoes Like Me.
I salute you, Evil Dead 2. You are one of the main reasons I am drawn to camp, filth, excess, inside jokes, the outrageous, and art that stylistically pushes boundaries.
P.S. – Holy crap. Have you seen Lee Hardcastle’s claymation Evil Dead 2 homage starring cats? It is frikkin fabulous. <3
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Author Bio: PATTY TEMPLETON is roughly 25 apples tall and 11,000 cups of coffee into her life. She wears red sequins and stomping boots while writing, then hits up back-alley dance bars and honky tonks. Her stories are full of ghosts, freaks, fools, underdogs, blue collar heroes, and never giving up, even when life is giving you shit. She won the first-ever Naked Girls Reading Literary Honors Award and has been a runner-up for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. Her first novel, There Is No Lovely End, was recently released.
Say hi to her over at her site, Tumblr, or Twitter.
Believe? If you believe you are gullible. Can you look around this world and believe in the goodness of a god who rules it? Famine, Pestilence, War, Disease and Death! They rule this world
In a dark and fog shrouded forest, an old woman meets a red robed man. He hands her a white rose, which as he passes it, changes to red. “Take this to your village and tell the people the day of their deliverance is at hand,” he says. She takes a few steps away, then suddenly turns and bows to him.
In her village, Prince Prospero, (Vincent Price) tells the villagers they’re invited to a feast; but a young man sneers at the offer of crumbs from his table, crowing the old woman has met a wise man who’s said they’ll be delivered from Prospero’s tyranny. An older villager supports him. Prospero’s answer to this insolence is simple. He orders them garroted.
Could A Grown Woman Ever Fall In Love With A Midget?
For Christsake, I know I shouldn’t be but I’m in absolute stitches – I’ve been reading articles on a well known search-engine written about this amazing film and I’m really belly-laughing? Let’s see if I can find something suitable. Oay– how about:
“Gobble gobble...accept her...”
“I think she likes you...but he don’t...”
“They’re going to make you one of them, my peacock...”
And of course, probably the most well known:
The film version of The NeverEnding Story made a big impression on me when I was young and undoubtedly influenced my future career as a writer.
First of all, The NeverEnding Story is a damn weird movie, directed by a German named Wolfgang Petersen in 1984 and filmed mainly in West Germany (remember when Germany was totally bi-polar?) except for the Bastian scenes (aka the “real world scenes”) which were filmed, for some reason, in Vancouver. The film itself is a story within a story that hinges on a fantastical world bleeding into the “real” world (very meta) and has a funky 80’s electronica soundtrack—its theme song undoubtedly haunts a lot of people to this day. Even the fact that the E in The NeverEnding Story film title is capitalized is a little weird (the book’s title is simply The Neverending Story.)