Suggested Audio Candy:
Rob Dougan “Clubbed To Death”
The title pretty much says it all don’t cha think? That’s right Grueheads, it’s fingers on buzzers time as I have decided in wisdom far from infinite to conduct a little self-compiled Q&A comprising posers based around the theme of my beloved horror just for the sheer bloody helluvit. Coud it be that I’m some sort of narcissistic twat masquerading as the oracle? I’d prefer to use the term “chatty chappie” but whatever tickles your pickle gives mine a stroke also. With that little dispute settled, and only if you’re ready, then let’s play Loaded Questions shall we? Guys?..Guys?
What is your favorite kill from any horror past or present?
Hardly the most effortless of openers I have to point out. Nevertheless, I’d make a lousy politician as my poker face just so happens to be identical to my funny one. It’s a close call for sure and the glorious nitrogen face smash from Jason Isaac’s Jason X is but a mosquito’s pube from assuming pole position. However, the dangling delectation of grue-sodden naked flesh dangling precariously over a self-gratifying scythe-wielding vixen courtesy of Eli Roth’s Hostel Part II edges it by a blood spattered minge whisker.
What is the worst horror movie you have ever endured?
This one’s a tough ask too. You see, all signs pointed directly towards Troll 2 until realization set in that Claudio Fragasso’s five bob Z-lister was so downright diabolical that it was actually more than a little awesome. Philippe Mora’s Howling III: The Marsupials takes some beating so I think I shall stump with that instead on account of some of the most inept creature design this side of Birdemic. I prefer the term least favorite however as far be it from me to piss on the craft of another. Besides, should you grab me a six-pack beforehand and scratch my balls at fifteen minute intervals throughout the duration, then even that bilge need not amount to 98 minutes wasted.
What is your biggest bugbear with horror films in general?
Shell: Stanley?..STANLEY?..Where did you say you wanted me again?
Stan: Over there by that wood chipper you cunt!”
This one’s a no-brainer as nothing boils my broth more than hateful characters with neon lights above their air-filled heads, denoting their upcoming reprisal. I also host a spot of bad blood regarding Shelley Duval not getting her brains bashed in by her long-suffering husband during The Shining. There was unrest between her and director Stanley Kubrick during filming and she snivelled with just the same authenticity on-set as Wendy Torrance, making me desire only to beat Jack to the punch and melt her down into slag. When Robert Altman cast her (ingeniously it has to be said) as Olyve Oyl for his 1980 film Popeye, it felt like a personal pop in my direction. I reckon our sailor man needed more than a can of enchanted spinach to get it up once date night loomed.
Name five sequels which you prefer to their forebears.
I could plump for The Godfather Part II but wouldn’t that just be painfully predictable? Besides, I’m all about the signposting baby and horror has plenty of less celebrated cases far more worthy of divulgence. So here goes – Curse II: The Bite, 976-Evil II, the aforementioned Hostel Part II, Nekromantik II and, I’m just gonna put this out there, Richard Franklin’s Psycho II. Feel free to pummel me with rotten vegetables for the last one but I don’t recall suggesting that it’s a better overall film. That said, it’s a lot closer than it had any right whatsoever being and far less laborious to revisit. What can I say? I’m a whore for the eighties.
What is your favored weapon of dispatch in horror?
Duh! Without a solitary sniff of question it is the scythe. It’s rare that this savage slice stick earns a run-out and the only films that spring to mind are Twitch of the Death Nerve, Unhinged and of course Hostel Part II. Not entirely sure why it’s so habitually overlooked but, if I were to make a horror film tomorrow, then it’d be the scythe all the way for me. Fuck it, I’d even throw a hand sickle in there for the more “personal” touches.
Do you prefer films which go for the jugular or leave everything to the imagination?
This would depend largely on the film in question. As a self-confessed splatter junkie, I’d ordinarily say the more deep red coulis the better. However, if you asked me whether I would have preferred The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween to contain more of the splash tonic then the answer would be a resounding no. I think quality plays a major role in my decision here as recently I had the ominous pleasure of viewing Olaf Ittenbach’s The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine and, had there not been some decent bloodletting on exhibit, then I would likely have needed defibrillating around the half-hour mark.
What is your opinion on Master of Horror John Carpenter and the decline in quality of his works since the nineties?
Clearly the eighties was this man’s heyday and every work he released in that decade was fabulous so it saddens me that his output hasn’t boasted quite the same level of consistency since. That said, I think that a lot of what has transpired during this less flourishing period has been the result of uncomfortable working relationships with studios as a number of his nineties features were affected largely by his hands being tied. He showed with Cigarette Burns and The Ward that he still has it, albeit not to the degree possessed when he was younger and, regardless of any blips he has endured along the way, any director who can knock out Halloween, The Fog and The Thing in a handful of years (not to mention Escape From New York), deserves to be held in lofty-esteem forevermore don’t cha think?
What kind of shape would you say the horror industry is in at present?
I stubbornly believe that we are approaching a new age of horror as we speak. Films such as Matt Farnsworth’s The Orphan Killer have shown that indie horror is alive and well and there are numerous filmmakers coming through presently who I have an ocean of respect for. Ti West, Jason Eisner, Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, Sonny Laguna, Gareth Evans and Jessica Cameron have all impressed me and that’s not to mention the likes of Alexandre Aja, Guillermo Del Toro and other high-profile names. The nineties were a turgid time with it appearing that the genre may have run out of steam after it rode the crest of a wave through the eighties. The last five years or so has seen a massive upturn in both quantity and quality so right now I’d say it is in the best of health. If only someone would inform the fucking studios.
Do you scare easily?
Does a grizzly insert a well lubricated paw in its bottom box when lounging about the thicket unsupervised? You’re sure as furry bear balls it does. I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions previously that I believe any true horror aficionado should offer the same reply, after all, what’s the point of investing your time into a genre that leaves you unmoved? I am unashamedly lightweight with regards to what chills my spine but my response is to view horror films alone, in a darkened locale, with earphones firmly in place to maximize the fright factor, and there’s nothing lightweight about that in my opinion.
Are there any works you feel have been harshly received that you wish to set the records straight on?
My cup runneth over. Indeed, where do I possibly start? Having just waxed Carpenter, I feel obliged to throw Prince of Darkness into the ring for starters. While not regarded as an outright stinker, it nevertheless came under a lot of fire, much of which was entirely unwarranted. I’m not suggesting it to be one of his finest but do believe it’s a more noteworthy piece of celluloid than has ever been credited. Meanwhile, Tommy Lee Wallace’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch doesn’t receive anything like the love it so richly deserves and how a marvelous little number such as that warrants such unanimous hate is beyond me. Other than that I would have to say The Orphan Killer. Fangoria, a publication I used to consider the voice of reason crucified Farnsworth’s film and a lot of other “respected” critics shared their lack of compassion. When you look at the aggregate scores it received it makes you wonder about the so-called experts people place their faith in.
What is the most embarrassing omission to your list of watched horrors?
Okay I must state from the offset that I do own every last one of the films I’m about to reel off and have every intention of getting to each in due course. Indeed I’m sure that, by the time you read this, I’ll have this delectable dozen in the bag. For now however, are you ready to feel utter disgust towards your Keeper? The Devil’s Rejects, Martyrs, Stake Land, The Orphanage, Insidious, Antichrist, The Devil’s Backbone, Inside and more recently American Mary, Berberian Sound Studio, The Lords of Salem and The Conjuring spring straight to mind. Also I openly admit to not having seen The Walking Dead although I am pleased to report I’m at Season 1 Episode 3 so the tide is turning on that one. Needless to say, so far it’s utter plutonium.
What is your opinion on the insurgence of zombie and found footage movies over the past few years?
This response may surprise some as I think it’s a positive thing. That’s not to say I’ve invested a great deal of man hours into either genre of late, but at least there’s a wealth of choice when I do. It pleases me that horror is making waves again so, while I may grumble about over-saturation occasionally, the truth is that I wouldn’t change it for a thing. Bottom line is that we as consumers make our own decisions on what to watch and we know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Ultimately the quality shit comes floating to the top anyhoots so why bite the hand that feeds you just because you’re struggling to burn those excess calories?
What is the least pleasurable aspect of the appraisals you scribe?
Apart from the laborious exercise of wading through reams of cast and crew to source the correct information for those amongst us who wish to learn of the editor or the production company responsible, I would have to say the overall score that I award pleases me least. I find it a distraction more often than not and, as a firm advocate of forming one’s own opinion, don’t wish to pass judgement. Instead, I urge folk to gain their perspective from the body of text rather than the score given as quite often the rating doesn’t tell the whole story. My case in point is Harry Bromley Davenport’s Xtro which received an 8/10 and, in my heart of hearts, is possibly my all-time favorite horror movie. So I should have lavished it with a perfect mark then right? Hell no, it’s a fucking mess of a movie. When scoring I have to use my head every time which pains a man whose soul speaks with far more eloquence. Should I dish out a ten and some poor sap go into it expecting perfection then I will start making people’s death lists. I have to apply logic and, for someone who scribes from deep within, logic doesn’t hold any great appeal to me if I’m honest.
Have you any burning confessions you wish to make?
There is one come to think of it and the following confession may well provoke fits of rage, bouts of uncontrollable Tourette’s, and profuse hemorrhaging from the peepers. I’ve actually got to build up to this as I can’t seem to get the words out you know ….. Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness. There I said it, no turning back now. Alas, I was never particularly enamored with this particular fanboy favorite. Allow me to elaborate, it’s a decent film and I would never be intentionally mean towards it as I fully appreciate its quality. For me however, I wanted my deadites raising merry hell in that decrepit shack, not some medieval fortress. A little of me died with that bold move although it has recently come to light that Raimi didn’t actually intend it to be the third in the trilogy and is planning a true conclusion with none other than Bruce Campbell himself reprising the role that made him as I scribe this. Therefore I can now ponder Army of Darkness with a smile as opposed to the grimace I’ve sported ever since its release.
What do you believe is the most valued tool a horror buff can have in their armory?
Adaptability, an adjustable scale of expectation. The ability to form your own opinion and not let hype dictate your film experience. I would never go into a low-budget slasher movie expecting Shakespeare, never expect a sequel to exceed its forebear, and never ever waste my hard-earned time reading a review that focuses solely on the negatives. Ultimately we all have our own minds, expectations, hopes, fears and, most critically, our own voices so I believe the most priceless asset we own is that uniqueness.
[PARPED BICYCLE HORN DENOTES THE IMMINENT CONCLUSION OF OUR QUICK-FIRE ROUND]
In true Keeper fashion I wish to bounce a lil’ question back at y’all. Think of the comments box below as a church donation tray of sorts, except you won’t be required to put your hands in your pockets to leave a donation so everyone can still be a winner. I’m intrigued to learn your answers to the following poser and it couldn’t be more elementary my dear Watsons. Everybody loves a top ten so please humor me and reveal your all-time favorite horror movies in whichever order you desire. Stalk you later Grueheads.