Tag Archives | Horror

The Psychology of a Horror Movie Fan

THE CONJURING

via Pacific Standard Magazine:

Scientists have tried to figure out the appeal of axe murderers and creepy dolls, but it mostly remains a spooky mystery.

Earlier this year, the horror movie genre was pronounced dead. None of the six horror films released before September managed to break $20 million on opening weekend at the box office, and none ended up earning over $32 million total domestically. The ruling was dramatic and preemptive, of course—full of the same kind of foolishness that makes it possible to say things like “Nobody wants to see movies with women in them”—but still, horror filmmakers and fans alike were worried. It’s doubtful anyone truly believed the genre wouldn’t eventually bounce back, but peak scary movie season comes just once a year.

And then there was Annabelle, the spinoff from last year’s The Conjuring. Critics thought it might break 2014’s horror slump, but the film far exceeded those expectations: It earned $37 million on opening weekend, a higher draw than any horror movie in years, and one of the largest openings for a horror movie ever.

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Connecticut’s Museum of the Occult

If you’ve seen the Hollywood horror films, The Conjuring or Annabelle, then you’re probably aware of Ed and Lorraine Warren. But I’m willing to bet that some, if not most, are generally unfamiliar with their work and past. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met Lorraine Warren a few times (I actually went with her and some neighbors to see The Conjuring when it was released) because my boyfriend’s friend (we’ll call him Jake, for the sake of privacy) lives next door to Lorraine.

Yes, he lives next door to the Museum of the Occult.

(The above video shows a tour of the Museum. The quality is bad, but they tell an interesting story about the Annabelle doll.)

Their website is extremely outdated and hard to read with the black background and flashy graphics, so I’ll copy their bio for you here:

For over fifty years now, Ed and Lorraine Warren have been considered America’s preeminent experts on the subject of spirits and demonology.

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Acid Powered UFO’s From Hell: The Psychedelic Horror of Phil Mucci

thedukeAnyone that knows me knows that I’m an enormous fan of the band Monster Magnet. Maybe this has to do with a friend of mine playing Dopes to Infinity on repeat the first time I ever took LSD. Maybe it’s because Dave Wyndorf is a supernatural space wizard from outside of time. Whatever the reason, to this day I still probably watch the Negasonic Teenage Warhead video at least twice a year and have always been of the opinion that it’s up there with the best ever made. Unfortunately, they’ve never really had the budget to match that insanity until about a month ago when they dropped a new video for The Duke, from their brilliant 2013 “comeback” album Last Patrol. Just genius level shit going down there, and after finding myself watching it like 10 times over the period of a few weeks I was like, wait, who is the guy who directed this and more importantly, has he done anything else that’s equally as mind bending?… Read the rest

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The Difference Between a Great Horror Movie and a Great Halloween Movie

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via Screen Crush:

I never watch ‘Halloween’ on Halloween.

That’s not to say that I dislike John Carpenter’s slasher classic. In fact, it’s one of the best horror movies ever made and a masterpiece that I find myself revisiting at least once a year. But when I do revisit it, I tend to watch it in December. Or February. Or even in the heat of the July. The moment October rolls around, I shelve any interest I have in it.

And it’s not alone. You won’t find me revisiting a lot of famous, respected and beloved horror movies when the season of the witch rolls around. No ‘Exorcist.’ No ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’ None of those brutal French or Japanese movies that horror buffs like to spring on their unsuspecting friends. The Halloween season brings out something different in me. It focuses my tastes for 31 days. I don’t spend my October watching tons of horror movies, I like to spend my October watching tons of Halloween movies.

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The Immortal Ed Wood

Ed WoodContinuing our string of spooky October posts, this month we celebrate the birthday of filmmaker Ed Wood who was born on October 10, 1924. Wood passed away prematurely at the age of 54 due to a heart attack. During his short life, he made a series of science fiction and monster films that weren’t so much scary as they were scary-bad.

Wood also challenged social taboos like transgenderism way back in 1953 with his first film Glen or Glenda which was based on the life Christine Jorgensen and Wood’s own predilections for transvestism — if Wood’s monster movies failed to spook his sympathetic treatment of LGBT issues at the dawn of the Eisenhower Era it would have been a true shocker.

Wood’s camp aesthetics have garnered him a cult following, but here at Insomnia we love Wood because he was a true Hollywood dreamer who imagined himself to be an immortal filmmaker before actually becoming one.… Read the rest

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“Don’t mention the war.” – Some thoughts on H.P. Lovecraft and Race

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Editor’s Note: This essay was first published on David Nickle’s blog, “The Devil’s Exercise Yard.” It has been republished with permission.

When I went down to New Orleans last year to visit the World Horror Convention, I had just a few things on my to-do list. I wanted to see the town, sample its cuisine and take in some jazz–promote The ‘Geisters, the book that I had coming out that year, as much as was graceful–and also, talk a bit about race.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about race as it pertained to H.P. Lovecraft’s writings.

It seemed like the thing to do. The organizers of World Horror had found me a panel to sit on, moderated by Lovecraftian scholar, critic and anthologist S.T. Joshi, called Lovecraft’s Eternal Fascination. My first novel, Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, is the only pseudo-Lovecraftian book I’ve written, and one of my aims with that book was to deal with Lovecraftian xenophobia from a post-Martin-Luther-King perspective–to tie Lovecraft’s horrible eugenic notions together with the genuine and just as horrible eugenic fallacies that were making the rounds in early 20th century America.… Read the rest

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The Cultural Impact of ‘The Exorcist’

I’m not sure if we’ll ever see this level of intensity again. Though, The Blair Witch Project created quite a stir, albeit for different reasons.

via The Film Stage:

Thanks to inflation, box-office records seem to get broken every few weeks, but looking at the adjusted highest-grossing films list, one of the top ten features sticks out more than any other: William Friedkin‘s 1973 horror The Exorcist, considered by many to be the scariest film of all time. Besting even Avatar when it comes to adjusted domestic grosses, the film racked up $232 million in the U.S., which is over $900 million by today’s standards.

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Remembering H.P. Lovecraft

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As many of you probably know, H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday was yesterday (August 20). To celebrate this venerable master of horror lit, I’ve compiled some quotes and links.

Quotes

“I screamed aloud that I was not afraid; that I never could be afraid; and others screamed with me for solace. We swore to one another that the city was exactly the same, and still alive…”

– “Nyarlathotep” (1920)

“Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species — if separate species we be — for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world.”

– “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family” – written 1920; first published in The Wolverine, No.

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VIDEO ESSAY: Our Scary Summer: 1979

I’ve often been asked why I have such an affinity for the horror genre. My answer is always this: Because it reflects the fears that are currently haunting society. There is simply no other genre better at making social commentary than horror.

The film essay, “Our Scary Summer: 1979,” outlines precisely this. You should watch the entire thing, but if you can’t, you can read the transcript here.

via Press Play:

The cover of the June 1979 issue of Newsweek featured an image of Sigourney Weaver from Alien. The caption read: “Hollywood’s Scary Summer.” I was thirteen. The horror movies released that summer would form a grotesque carnival that mirrored my own and the world’s anxieties.  Earlier in the spring there was the disastrous nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. That summer, major oil spills polluted the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic Ocean. This year, oil prices doubled, Margaret Thatcher was elected, and the Ayatollah Khomeini rose to power.

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