Author Archive | Lee Camp

Stingy Jack and the Legend of the Jack O’ Lantern

Jack-o-LanternIt’s Halloween.  Time to help your kids develop their bed-wetting habits.  Time to buy a ton of candy, claim it’s for trick-or-treaters, turn off the porch light, and gorge yourself on waxy chocolate.  Time to carve the ol’ jack-o’-lantern.

One of my favorite Halloween myths is the origin story of the jack-o’-lantern: the trickster legend of Stingy Jack.  This folk tale comes from Ireland, which was also a major cultural center for the Celts, who observed the festival of Samhain, which serves as the root from which our modern Halloween sprang.

According to the story, which may be centuries old, a drunkard known as Stingy Jack was infamous throughout Ireland as a liar and a cheat.  He was especially despised for his love of trickery, his favorite pastime.

One day, while bored and lounging lazily around Hell, Lucifer happened to overhear some horrible stories about Jack’s devious skills, which were apparently even more dastardly than his own.  Not to be outdone by a mere drunken Irishman, the Devil decided to find Jack and see if the stories were true.… Read the rest

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How to Make a Massacre: Tobe Hooper on Masters of Horror

Texas Chainsaw MassacreAfter seeing Night of the Living Dead, Tobe Hooper was inspired to make a horror movie of his own with the goal of giving fans as much scare for the buck as he could. Standing in front of a chainsaw display in a department store, surrounded by a rude throng of Christmas shoppers, Hooper had an idea that became a legend.

For my money, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the queen-mother of all horror films. The hulking brutality of Leatherface combined with the grimy realism of the low budget production values makes the movie feel more like a documentary than a horror film — the results are as chillingly real today as they were at its 1974 debut.

This segment from the horror film doc Masters of Horror puts Hooper and his cast in the spotlight, remembering the grueling labor of love that became one of the most enduring horror films ever made.… Read the rest

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Head to Head with Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski at WorkFilm director Barbet Schroeder’s nearly four hours of interviews with the late poet Charles Bukowski have taken on an air of legend since their initial release on VHS in 1987. Various segments from the captured conversations have appeared on YouTube in the past, but this is the first time I’ve found the entire interview available as one streaming video, connected by the somber piano score that accompanied the original — the music was the sign-off tune for the German television station that aired the footage in 52 separate segments.

Schroeder shot the interviews over three years leading up to the filming of Bukowski’s autobiographical screenplay Barfly, which was also released in 1987. This version was culled from a reported 64 hours of footage, and it finds Schroeder and Bukowski talking about alcohol, violence, writing and women, and even includes a tour of Buk’s childhood home. Some of this footage ended up in the excellent documentary Born into This including the infamous scene of Bukowski kicking and chasing after his future wife Linda.… Read the rest

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