October Interim – DR. ANTON PHIBES’ ABOMINABLY ERUDITE, MUSICALLY MALIGNANT, CURSEDLY CLEVER HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE QUIZ

I’ve got a confession. I’m so backed up on work that tonight’s 31 Nights of Halloween will probably not be published until 12 pm.

And since I figured I’m gonna be taking that long, I may as well have something worthwhile… So it will be another Motorbreath video for you guys.

The subject? Well, lets just say it was teased in the Lynch video, assuming you have a really fast eye.

In the meantime to make up for it, I will be filling out one of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule‘s surveys (this one from about three years ago), since I am an immense admirer of the blog and its surveys and find them fun, but until now, haven’t had a proper forum to fill them out. I’d really recommend you give them a look. Anyway, let’s begin…

1) Favorite Vincent Price/American International Pictures release.
Not to make it obvious from the name of this survey, but The Abominable Mr. Phibes. He’s just such a supervillain in a horror movie forum, I could easily see him coming out of a comic book or appearing in a Bond film.

2) What horror classic (or non-classic) that has not yet been remade would you like to see upgraded for modern audiences?
I was so excited about getting a white trash version of The Blob from Rob Zombie that I’m still open to it. Or, y’know, a decent version of The Phantom of the Opera, because I just don’t feel Joel Schumacher’s touch (not to mention that it isn’t scary).

3) Jonathan Frid or Thayer David?
I don’t at all watch Dark Shadows, but I will have to say Jonathan Frid is the more iconic and known to my mind.

4) Name the one horror movie you need to see that has so far eluded you.
I have yet to see Cat People. Either version. There. I said it. Now to get to watching it with David Bowie playing in the background… and GASOLIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!!

5) Favorite film director most closely associated with the horror genre.
Oof, so many to choose from. Guillermo Del Toro is, from what I’ve seen, today’s rising star. George Romero, Dario Argento and Brian De Palma really crafted the medium culturally, but they’ve not as powerful today as they once were. I’d really really like to say F.W. Murnau, but that’d be disregarding the brilliant dramatic work he gave us and Rob Zombie is on the tip of my fucking tongue if his movies weren’t so hit or miss.
I’m going to have to go with Sam Raimi. I have a place in my heart for having an independent mindset well after you’ve made it in Hollywood and I especially love his work’s personality of being in-your-face wackiness that makes you chuckle after you scream. And this hasn’t really left him either, when he made Drag Me to Hell it felt like a bigger budget Evil Dead and even his other films like Darkman, the truly amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2 and even the despondent Oz: The Great and Powerful had these moments of cheap scares and thrills that were vintage Raimi.

6) Ingrid Pitt or Barbara Steele?
Barbara Steele. Probably one of the few things to once make Roger Corman seem classier than he is.

7) Favorite 50’s sci-fi/horror creature.
You fucking know the answer is Godzilla.

8) Favorite/best sequel to an established horror classic.
Dawn of the Dead. It’s just such a very fun film with black humor to it and satire alongside its pretty intimidating scenario.

9) Name a sequel in a horror series which clearly signaled that the once-vital franchise had run out of gas.
I definitely feel like the ending of Hellbound: Hellraiser II should have signified that immediately for the soon-to-be Hellraiser series. And not because it was a bad movie – it was a surprisingly good one – but moments of it really showed for the imagination of Barker had fizzled out… the design of Hell for instance as a labyrinth is just so… safe. As well as answering the origins of the Cenobites and the entire third act involving the battle between the Cenobites and Dr. Channard onward. And the film seemed to understand this to by making such a finite third act of a sequel.
Then a loophole was a found, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth was made, and nothing could save what was once an interesting concept by Clive Barker.

Oh, you meant “once-vital” as in a franchise had begun already… Hmm? House of Frankenstein? Or whichever of the classic Universal Monsters had begun shoving them in the same movie. It’s just so obviously a gimmick.

10) John Carradine or Lon Chaney Jr.?
Carradine. And I really enjoy Lon Chaney Jr., but he was quite the haunted man. Usually such ghosts invade and elicit amazing performances but Chaney Jr. just never got the hang of it beyond The Wolf Man and Of Mice and Men.

11) What was the last horror movie you saw in a theater? On DVD or Blu-ray?
In theaters: Kevin Smith’s Tusk and goddamn was that a tease. On DVD, I just finished up re-watching Obayashi Nobuhiko’s House.

12) Best foreign-language fiend/monster.
I’ve already said Godzilla for one of the questions. But you know what? I’m gonna lean in this question to “Steve Buscemi” (which is what director Bong Joon-ho calls the creature) from The Host. I mean, just look at his movements, he’s so fucking sloppy.

13) Favorite Mario Bava movie.
Black Sunday. I’ve actually been writing my own script – loosely based on the same short story, ‘Viy’, but more as a gothic family drama that also happens to be horror.

14) Favorite horror actor and actress.
KARLOFF THE UNCANNY for actor. For actress… I’ll lean towards Jamie Lee Curtis just because it’s hard to pin down Rose McGowan or Sigourney Weaver as horror icons, while if I say Jessica Harper, you will all go “Who?”

15) Name a great horror director’s least effective movie.
Dario Argento, why the fuck do you make this so fucking easy? Dracula 3D.

16) Grayson Hall or Joan Bennett?
Again, I don’t watch Dark Shadows and so I am only doing this on the most superficial level of looks, but for me, Joan Bennett is the winner.

17) When did you realize that you were a fan of the horror genre? And if you’re not, when did you realize you weren’t?
In 2009, I was a lot more secluded from Miami’s civilization than I cared to be (and I cared to be very secluded, so this meant a new degree of loneliness). And I was sitting down watching horror movies by myself in order to pass the empty time, staying awake late nights with Scream marathons or Tales from the Crypt episodes in the dark.
The first horror movie to actually open my eyes to how horror as a culture actually attracts me, rather than just being a sloppy distraction like how I used it in middle school with my listening of Slipknot or replaying Freddy vs. Jason over and over, was Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, which I saw that same year of 2009. And I was completely engrossed by how I could recall all the cliches and tidbits that they kept jesting about and marking them down in my mind, before the movie actually treats you with a third act that is a straightforward traditional slasher film all the way through. Then I looked at my bookshelf and saw how a majority of the books were horror and recalled how much I was obsessed with The X-Files as a child, that my very first thought after the movie (other than “THAT was fucking fun for me. Probably more fun that I had with that movie” was “What fucking month is it?”
It was getting to the end of “November”.
And all I could think was “I can’t wait for it to be fucking October.” I just realized that this was a feeling I always had every November before the fact.

18) Favorite Bert I. Gordon (B.I.G.) movie.
It’s not horror, but The Amazing Colossal Man gets my vote.

19) Name an obscure horror favorite that you wish more people knew about.
FaustFaust Faust Faust Faust you fucking motherfucker, sit your ass down and watch F.W. Murnau’s 1926 Faust. I particularly enjoy watching it with a soundtrack of Kamelot’s two albums Epica and The Black Halo, which are also based on the original tale (Much like I mentioned Daniel Gildenlow once on this blog, Roy Khan is also a favorite vocalist of mine). So if you’re a fan of symphonic power metal, go ahead and take that leaf from my book. If not, fucking watch Faust anyway, punk.

20) The Human Centipede— yes or no?
It certainly disgusts me, but I’m going to go ahead and say yes. Because, why not? It’s a shit movie, very stupid, only as popular as it is for its moronic yet disturbing premise, but it’s still a movie that, while it doesn’t ought to exist, it has a right to.

Unless you’re asking for my opinion of the movie, which is no, because it’s not a good movie.

21) And while we’re in the neighborhood, is there a horror film you can think of that you felt “went too far”?
I really don’t think I can. Antichrist gets in that ballpark, depending on what stance you take (ie. if you accuse it of misogyny, misandry, or both), and I honestly think that division of genders and accusations of each for certain roles they choose to take above each other is the point of the movie.
And y’know, the scene that won’t be mentioned in the middle of the movie.

But I otherwise can’t think of one. A Serbian Film was making a point with its content, Salo as well, A Human Centipede comes from a place of revenge fantasy and even the exploitative points of the genre – I mainly think of Italian cannibal films of the 60s and 70s – pretty much are just following a movement and if it garnered enough of a following to become a movement, my guess is, if it’s not tasteful, we at least know people can take it.

22) Name a film that is technically outside the horror genre that you might still feel comfortable describing as a horror film.
Ugetsu, absolutely. I still swear on my life that it’s not fucking horror. A ghost story? Yeah. Scary? Pretty much. But is more of a horror film than Ugetsu, since has an absolute focus on a very violent unfamiliarity while Ugetsu sort of has a parallel plot alongside the ghost story that sucks both stories together as more of a class drama than a horror film.

23) Lara Parker or Kathryn Leigh Scott?
Still ain’t watched Dark Shadows. Still on looks. Lara Parker.

24) If you’re a horror fan, at some point in your past your dad, grandmother, teacher or some other disgusted figure of authority probably wagged her/his finger at you and said, “Why do you insist on reading/watching all this morbid monster/horror junk?” How did you reply? And if that reply fell short somehow, how would you have liked to have replied?
My dad had reprimanded me as a child for discussing the concept of nightmares with my brother. He once got worked over me talking about Spock’s death on Star Trek and then interrogated me about a curiosity in the Dexter book series. He refused to have me talk about Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein. This was when I was a child, but it put me off ever discussing it in the same room as him ever again. So I don’t reply or say anything. Largely because at those ages, I was significantly more headstrong than I am now (which people claim I’m still way too headstrong for my own good), so my reply would probably be less “Horror, besides being the source of mere thrills or a suggestive influence towards darker mentalities like you’d see it, gives a unique perspective on the human condition s comedy and drama and romance do before it. That perspective reflects how there are some things humans have to face within themselves – fear, uncertainty, lack of control, war, violence, sexuality, drugs – and it applies them less directly and more in the form of intense circumstances, sometimes with monsters just to up the inhumanity and imperfections of life”

or less Guillermo Del Toro’s AMA answer “We live or die under the tyranny of perfection. Socially, we are pushed towards being perfect. Physically, beautiful to conform to standards that are cruel and uncommon, to behave and lead our lives in a certain way, to demonstrate to the world that we are happy and healthy and all full of sunshine. We are told to always smile and never sweat, by multiple commercials of shampoo or beer. And I feel that the most achievable goal of our lives is to have the freedom that imperfection gives us. And there is no better patron saint of imperfection than a monster. We will try really hard to be angels, but I think that a balanced, sane life is to accept the monstrosity in ourselves and others as part of what being human is. Imperfection, the acceptance of imperfection, leads to tolerance and liberates us from social models that I find horrible and oppressive.”

and more of a “Fuck off, dad” and a re-enactment of the opening scene of Creepshow (By the way, I know I shouldn’t be surprised since Stephen King co-directed the movie, but is anybody else surprised to discover that boy is Joe Hill? Wow, he came a long way).

My mom hasn’t been quite as much this problem as she was sort of my gateway into horror. But, as my Lynch announcement video said, we didn’t see eye to eye on Eraserhead. And her complaints were mainly along the lines of “this is depressing” or “only a crazy person would make this” while I just reply “exactly.” And that’s all I’d need.

25) Name the critic or Web site you most enjoy reading on the subject of the horror genre.
I constantly look forward to Timothy Brayton’s Summer of Blood posts on Antagony and Ecstasy for how much they reflect my opinion in a better communicated manner than I could have ever done and how thorough they seem to approach facets of moviemaking that other film reviewers neglect.

26) Most frightening image you’ve ever taken away from a horror movie.
Evil Dead II‘s deer head looking at Ash and laughing at his misery. That whole scene is a wonderful hilarious trip, but there’s something about that one image (and it’s maybe the eyes and how the deer’s neck twists) that I have to have a chill in my spine before I realize it’s ok to laugh along with Ash and the cabin.

It sucks that you had to say horror movie, because the most chilling image I’ve seen in a movie yet is the ending moment where a doorbell in answered in The Public Enemy. I won’t go any further into detail.

27) Your favorite memory associated with watching a horror movie.
This is going to be hard. Both have to do with watching a classic horror film in theaters but they are each for different reasons.
So, earlier when I was in college, I had managed to convince not one, but two of my friends to accompany me to see Halloween in a nearby revival theater (later to be closed down and converted to an AMC to my dismay) walking distance away from where we all lived. I took them only to find that the theater was done showing Halloween, which was in the middle of a double feature the theater was having and the second movie (which we were there to catch). It was Night of the Living Dead and that was quite a fun little romp to see on the big screen. It was past midnight by the time the movie was finished. And it seemed everyone enjoyed it (although I was dismayed that they cut off the credits – the very final shot is one of my favorite moments of cinematic nihilism).
But of course, my other one… because I’m such a misanthropic recluse, my other big one is just going to the same theater about a year later to see Evil Dead II on the big screen and THAT was quite a joy to be in the same room as people laughing and watching it projected on anamorphic film. The other reason that it makes me so happy is how the reel that the movie played off of apparently still had the attached trailers of the time, which really made it feel more genuine to me. Well, that and the unabashed Sesame Street fanatic in me got to witness this great intro to theater etiquette before the movie.
I kind of want to show this video to all my friends before I make another screening and if I ever own a revival house, that shit is playing before every movie.

28) What would you say is the most important/significant horror movie of the past 20 years (1994-2014)? Why?
Scream for making audiences everywhere think they were smarter than horror films and only proving that they really aren’t as smart as they think. And Grindhouse for reminding people that throwback cinema is still a fucking thing.

29) Favorite Dr. Phibes curse (from either film).
Y’know, just the poetry of the finale of Darkness makes me go “well damn” in the original.

30) You are programming an all-night Halloween horror-thon for your favorite old movie palace. What five movies make up your schedule?
Ok, that’s very easy…
We’d go with Suspiria to start the night, followed by a double feature of Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, then House (though if I had room for one more, I’d make it the first two Frankenstein pictures) before finally ending on the note of Halloween. Usually when I do screenings at my house (as I am doing horror screenings this month) for my friends, they’d be themed double features, but this is just all the horror films that strike my fancy and so I was feeling these four pictures and Halloween because goddammit, it’s Halloween!!!

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