There has been something of a resurgence of horror in recent years. As a genre that for decades has been riddled with cliche and repetition of the same archetypal characters and cookie-cutter plot lines, it’s just in time. These modern horror movies are characterised by the fact they are uncategorisable — they defy the conventions of the genre within which they reside and bring each bring something new to the table, whilst integrating plenty of the tropes of the horror genre.
Favourite ten horror movies of the last ten years?
Ah, the good old days: younger, more afraid, less jaded; staying up to participate in the pleasure mum took in those vintage horror classics once purveyed by Hammer and RKO pictures. Knowing who Bela, Boris, Christopher, Lon, Peter and Vincent were, by the age of ten.
Often disappointed with how un-scary some films turned out to be; wanting to be spooked witless. Titles that promised so much, but in execution seemed tame. Not much in the way of cowering behind the sofa at that age; plenty of, “Is that it?” And yet there was enough intrigue to ensure that I would remain a horror devotee into adulthood; a true believer.
In Joseph L Mankiewicz’s All About Eve, the character Addison de Witt describes a moment in the theatre – the arrival of a great star – for which all true believers wait and pray. Year by year, waiting patiently for the next great horror. A rare thing these days when taste-makers are less convinced that they can get bums on seats with the supernatural; viewing monstrous violence and vulgar CGI as better box office guarantors. On occasion, it behoves horror fans to be more creative in their thinking.
These movies enthralled me on first viewing, and did the same on subsequent viewings.
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Terrifier at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event on Sat 23 Oct, director Damien Leone talks about the ’Art’ of extreme clowning, his debt to Tom Savini and a terrifying Halloween experience.
Art The Clown initially appeared in your 2008 short The 9th Circle, then the 2011 award-winning short Terrifier and in your first feature All Hallow’s Eve. What made you decide to give him a fourth outing?
DAMIEN: Up until this point I never felt like I fully showcased Art’s potential. I believe between the short films and All Hallows’ Eve, there only exists about 20 minutes of Art the Clown screen time. For a character who’s done so little, he seems to really resonate with horror fans. After all of the positive feedback, a full length film that focused solely on Art was inevitable.
The dark opening sequence hangs heavily over the rural idyll shown in 3rd Night. Somewhere between B-movie and video nasty, a little girl is running around the woods, with the industry standard grisly event; but the soundtrack is brilliantly disturbing and unearthly, and the pace is well-judged. The nursery rhyme the child is singing drives everything else that unfolds in this movie.
Making its European premiere at this year’s Horror Channel Frightfest, Radius is a new horror scifi feature directed by Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard. Although offering an intriguing premise and a genuinely promising storyline, the film sadly fails to live up fully to expectations, but don’t let that put you off too much, because there is plenty more to like in this ambitious production which is likely to please genre and indie fans alike.
As intelligent horror movies go, It Comes At Night isn’t so much senseless blood and gore, but rather a film which will inject a sense of fear, paranoia and utter despair in its audience. Written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, the film manages to play on its audience’s deepest fears by using clever devices which will make even the most seasoned horror fans jumped out of their skin. Playing on the whole tried and tested “cabin in the woods” trope, Shults manages to bring something fresh and classy to the proceedings without ever resorting to cheap tricks or tired clichés. Borrowing from Romero, Carpenter and even from John Hillcoat’s The Road (2009), the film cleverly plays on the idea of trust in a bleak post-apocalyptic envirement, all the while treating its audience like adults and never spoon-feeding them.