WARNING: gross scary stuff ahead. Don’t play any of these clips if you’re easily spooked, offended, or prone to frowing up.
With Halloween rapidly approaching, I have been indulging my horror jones with near-nightly doses of creepshow goodness.
My mother is 100% to blame for my insatiable hunger for the ghostly, the gory, and the just plain gross. While fairly strict in most matters (no you can’t bring your brother’s trumpet for Show & Tell, yes you can say that word but not in front of company), she was entirely permissive regarding horror movies…I am not exaggerating when I say that as far as that went, nothing was off-limits to me and my siblings. If it went bump in the night, or spewed green goo, it was a go. I’m sure most of the other mothers gave mine the side-eye when I would cheerfully announce to my peers that I’d spent the weekend watching all manner of grim nastiness. And Halloween, natch, was a very big deal at my house. Really, my mom was pretty awesome. Did YOUR mom make you watch Plan 9 From Outer Space as a “learning experience” when you were 10? I didn’t think so.
The other night I watched The Shining for the 1,264,975th time. I mean the Kubrick version. The miniseries that came out like nine years ago? That shit was for the birds, man. As a writer, I can understand Stephen King wanting his story shown the way he intended. As a horror film fanatic, I say he should have let it be. The Kubrick version may not even be a quarter faithful to the original material, but it’s still awesome, a really deeply unsettling movie, and my sister and I have been obsessed with it since we were kids…although I’m ashamed to admit that a couple of years ago, on a family trip to Oregon, my dad drove us up to the Timberline and I was like, “Why am I so creeped out by this place? Why?!” and my mom looked at me and said, “It’s where they shot all the exterior scenes for The Shining. Dumbass.” Oops. But, really, my sister and I have pretty much analyzed this frame-by-frame, and the GREAT QUESTION we’ve never really had a satisfactory answer to is: WHY, if Scatman Crothers shined so hard that he could pick up Danny’s vibes all the way down in Florida, was he NOT ABLE TO FIGURE OUT THAT JACK WAS AROUND THAT CORNER WITH AN AX?!
My favorite double feature for people who haven’t seen a lot of horror movies is Murnau’s Nosferatu, followed by Shadow of the Vampire. I’m also fond of pairing the deliciously awful Dracula that Coppola did a bunch of years ago with Interview With The Vampire. That is high bloodsucker camp at its finest. I have ZERO INTEREST in any of this Twilight foolishness. I’d like to throw that sparkly Edward in with the fiends from 30 Days of Night and see how long he’d last. I enjoy the foppish vampires up to a point, but Danny Huston as Marlow is an ANIMAL. There’s no romantic struggle with the last vestiges of humanity there. He’ll rip your throat out without a second thought, unless he wants to play with his food first.
Gah. So awesome. Is it wrong that I find him oddly attractive? Don’t answer that.
The big news for me, though, is The Thing, which opens this Friday. I had thought this was a remake of the remake, but in fact it’s a prequel, taking place in the Norwegian encampment that Kurt Russell and his crew checked out in the ’82 version, which – if you’ve seen it (and if you haven’t – what the HELL is wrong with you) – is where the Thing is first discovered and thawed out, where it purportedly wreaks all kinds of disgusting havoc before it finds its way into Richard Masur’s dog and makes Wilford Brimley go crazier than a rat in a coffee can.
I give the producers big props for going the prequel route, because there’s no way you could remake Carpenter’s version, unless you just make it MORE gross, and that’s sort of like throwing additional splatter on a Pollock painting. You don’t do it. I mean, you can’t improve on perfection:
Mommy? Come up from Florida and come see this with me?