SMOKE & MIRRORS: The Story of Tom Savini - "A Look at The Godfather of Gore Himself"

If you’ve watched horror movies at all for the past few decades, it is very unlikely that you are not familiar with the works of special effects legend, ambitious director, prolific actor and renowned stuntman Tom Savini. From "Dawn of the Dead" to "Friday the 13th" to "Maniac" to "Creepshow", the man is this century’s Ray Harryhausen or a modern Jack Pierce, and possibly on the same level as Chaney.

Tom Savini, the King of Splatter himself, is a man who needs no introduction in the world of horror, but I found the documentary "Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini" to be just as entertaining as it is comprehensive, spanning his whole career up to the point in time this film was made, from "Deathdream" all the way to his appearances at conventions in later years, as well as his more recent endeavors. The documentary about the gore powerhouse tells the tale of Savini, from his humble beginnings as a young Halloween-lo…

SCREAM, QUEEN!: My Nightmare on Elm Street - "Horror...The Genre For Outsiders...All Outsiders"

Horror has always been the genre of outsiders. Since its early days, horror movie monsters were treated as misunderstood outcasts or beings that needed to stay hidden away from the outside world. As the genre evolved, the films themselves became associated with all that was decidedly outside the mainstream so naturally, outcasts and misfits were the people most likely to gravitate towards it. But what happens when a film appeals to outsiders who are even excluded from the larger horror community? People in the gay community for example? What happens when a film's Queer subtext is so overt that it becomes impossible to deny or ignore. Such is the case of "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge" and as a result of its intentional or unintentional gay undertones, it became the albatross around the neck of star Mark Patton. The new documentary "Scream, Queen!: My Nightmare on Elm Street" follows Patton's journey from social outcast to horror icon as…

THE HORROR OF IT ALL - "It Might Even Horrify You – A Look Back at the 1983 TV Movie"

IT MIGHT EVEN HORRIFY YOU - A Look Back at the 1983 TV Movie "The Horror of it All". I recently came across this documentary while looking up silent movies in the public domain. I was in the mood for something elusive and ethereal, such as infamous Lon Chaney works such as "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", or one of the seven versions of "Nosferatu" that exist (eight, if you count the unofficial one that replaces the original soundtrack with Type O Negative songs). There are times where I find myself wanting to watch the classics, with their allure and their charm still intact many decades later. I stumbled upon a documentary titled "The Horror of it All" in the list of videos that came up when I typed “classic silent horror” in the search bar. And what I saw was both informative and immersive for the time it was released.

It begins with the immersion of the horror genre into film in its infancy, for exampl…

LEVIATHAN: The Story of Hellraiser & Hellbound Part 2 - "It Could Have Gone Much Deeper"

Two years ago I reviewed the first part of "Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellraiser Part II". In the review I mentioned that it seemed unfair to criticize a documentary that only covers half the story. Well, now Shudder has finally released the second part and I can now say with all certainty ... that I have a lot of the same problems that I had with the first part.

Like before, this film covers the various stories and anecdotes that went into the making of "Hellbound: Hellraiser II" featuring interviews with several actors and technicians who worked on the film. Plenty of the individual stories can be interesting but the way the documentary is shot leaves much to be desired. Hearing talking heads telling their stories one after another interspersed with random scenes from the film or production footage wears out its welcome fast. And once again, the exclusions of both Clive Barker and Ashley Lawrence from these films are very jarring omissions. The ins…

SCARY STORIES - "Essential Viewing For An Entire Generation"

It never ceases to amaze me how humans begin their life journey seemingly smarter than the much larger and supposedly wiser adults who raise them. They set limitations on children to protect them from the dangers of the world, but wouldn’t you say they sometimes go overboard? For the millions of children who’ve read comic books thought the near century they’ve been in print, how many of them have actually thought they could follow in Superman’s levitating footsteps and tried to fly? The numbers are pretty low aren’t they? My point is that sometimes adults don’t give kids enough credit. They know right from wrong and they can tell the difference between Wile E. Coyote cartoon violence and reality. But that won’t stop grown-ups from their crying foul and over protection.

One such example of parental over reacting is with the collected tales of Alvin Schwartz’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”. Originally printed in 1981, Schwartz wrote ghastly short stories for children, working in…