It’s fair to say that us horror fans are a nostalgic bunch. We hold certain films close to our hearts.
We love horror films here at the Lair, because ‘Mad About Horror’ isn’t just the name of our business. And we love speaking to you guys about them. I know that some of you started watching horror movies from quite a young age. Personally, my love of horror movies didn’t really start until my late teens.
And so it began…
My parents weren’t fans of horror movies, so I didn’t get to watch them at home. Having said that, I did have a few early encounters with the genre.
My Uncle introduced me to ‘Alien’ when I was around 10… on laser disc! It gave me nightmares, but it’s now one of my favourite franchises.
Another Uncle played my younger brother and me his pirate copy of ‘An American Werewolf in London’. However, the dream sequence in the woods proved too much for me and I begged for it to be switched off. My 8 year old brother was not happy with me. (As a side note; as brave as he was then, my brother no longer watches horror movies!)
My Dad who introduced me to ‘Gremlins’ around the same time. He had watched it first to decide whether it was suitable or not. It now stands as one of my favourite movies and as I type I have my full size Stripe replica from Trick or Treat Studios watching over me.
And that was pretty much it until I became an adult and had my own space.
With my later introduction to the horror genre there were a number of “classics” that I missed out on. Recently I have being spending some time trying to catch up on some of those older movies. Working in this industry I get the opportunity to watch movies and claim it’s work!
I thought I’d let you guys know what I’ve been watching, in no particular order, and give you my thoughts as someone who is watching these films with clean eyes and no nostalgia to hold onto.
The first film I want to talk about is ‘Re-animator’. Stars Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton attended HorrorConUK last year but it was a film that I still hadn’t seen. I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much and I was surprised. I really enjoyed the story and the dynamic of the film; setting up Herbert West as the primary villain, only to be surpassed by Dr. Hill who loses his head was really good fun. I was impressed that the comedy didn’t over-shadow the horror elements of the film. All too often I get frustrated with horror movies employing comedy, I find that this can detract from the terror. I thought they got the balance right.
A film that I often saw on the shelves of my local video rental store, Ritz (other video rental shops are no longer available) was ‘Phantasm’. The cover art always intrigued and terrified me. The silver ball that drilled into people’s heads was a horrific thought. My video store being strict and my parents stricter, I could never rent it, but part of me expected I’d be too scared anyway. The other day I was having a rummage through Neal and Louise’s DVD collection and came across it so I found a perfect excuse to give it a go.
I wish I hadn’t bothered. The expectation was so much more exciting than the dull offering I encountered. Those terrifying silver spherical instruments of torture? Where were they? Once. I found the film neither scary nor entertaining. I kept hoping that something would happen. And as for the monsters? Nothing more scary than a few Jawas stolen from the Star Wars universe. I won’t be recommending it anytime soon.
The other film I found during my peruse of their DVD collection was ‘Pet Semetary’. This is the film I’d actually gone looking for. I’d been chatting with one of our customers via Instagram who was shocked that I’d never seen it and he told me it had always been one of his favourites. I was a little sceptical, but particularly with the remake coming out soon, I thought I should educate myself.
Well, I have to say that I really liked it. I will say that not all of it makes sense to me. I’m not sure why Jud would take him to that place when he knows what is going to happen. I find that Stephen King stories don’t always make sense, but I was entertained. I jumped, and I cringed. All I’m going to say is that there are a few things in films that never fail to “get” me; finger nails, knees and Achilles tendons. I’ll just leave that there! The remake is looking promising, but I’m really pleased that I watched the original, I can understand why people love it.
Although I rarely got the opportunity to rent the horror titles from the video rental shop I always loved looking at the titles. Absorbing the cover art and devouring the horrific images on the back. Little did I know that nearly 30 years later those titles would become part of my job!
If there are any recommendations of movies I might have missed that you guys consider must-see titles, then fire them my way!
Oh, and before I go, views stated within this article are my own and not the views of Mad About Horror as a whole. I cannot and will not speak for my colleagues, they can look after themselves!