In Search of Darkness (2019) Movie Script

Well, the good thing about the '80s is that
there was such a cornucopia of great horror
films that I remember.
The Shining.
Pet Sematary.
The Halloween movies.
A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The Thing.
Child's Play.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
The Company of Wolves.
Jaws 3 in 3-D.
The Howling.
The Hunger.
Basket Case.
The Lost Boys.
Near Dark.
Friday the 13th.
Evil Dead.
Evil Dead 2.
The Return of the Living Dead.
Day of the Dead.
An American Werewolf in London.
Monster Squad.
The Fly.
The Changeling.
Sleepaway Camp.
Pumpkinhead and Friday 13th Part 4.
In the '60s and '70s, horror was looked down on.
The Hollywood community has always looked
at it as the redheaded stepchild.
There was a huge blossoming of creative energy.
The '80s had a lot of really good horror films
It's a time of such artistic freedom that
you could make anything.
It was a free-for-all for concepts.
Visual effects got incredibly elaborate in
the '80s.
There was this strange sort of rebellious
It started to be normal to have really kick-ass
women in great parts.
We were getting creature movies, we were getting
vampire movies, we were getting more slasher movies.
Everybody realized that horror could be fun.
Like the lid was off man.
Like you could do and say and create whatever
you wanted.
We would just like completely nerd out about
all this stuff.
It might have been cheesy but it was also
like holy crap.
We have such sights to show you.
I think every single person on this Earth
has a little bit of darkness in them.
A horror film is a good avenue to really let
some of those feelings out.
Being confronted with your fears in a movie
is so safe.
Like the old clich about the roller coaster.
You get on, you're terrified, you know you're
not going to die, you get off, you went through
something that you can share with your buddies
or your girlfriend or whomever and say
"Wow, we did that."
But there's also the confrontation of psychological
fears and most of us particularly as our hair
grays, the fear is more about mortality than
it is about anything else.
Why do we make up horror when we have so much
horror in the real world?
And I think it's because it's a coping mechanism
for a lot of people.
People love to watch horror because it's
a way of sublimating their own fears.
Even though as a kid I couldn't watch them,
I was too afraid but there's something of
I'm glad that's not me.
They can enjoy someone else doing it and get
a little bit of a release.
In everyone when they're watching a horror
movie likes to think of what they would do
in that situation.
That's why you always have the stereotype
of people yelling at the screen of like, "Don't
go in there, don't go up the stairs"and
it's so fun to watch that and think about
would I survive this horror movie?"
The greatest war between good and evil always
takes place within our own souls.
Horror tries to resolve that, tries to contend
with that.
That's what all those stories are about.
It's classic mythology.
One of the reasons I think horror movies appeal
to a younger audience, there's a sense of
They don't think about life or death and so
the body being rent asunder is more entertaining
than it is personal.
I think the more painful and the more genuine
the fears are that are confronted in horror
movies the more therapeutic and more deeply
enriching the experience can be.
So much stuff going on in the '80s - mind blowing
when you think back of you know,
how much stuff there was.
Movies or music or radio or we started the MTV
generation which led to a million other things
that influenced movies and influenced
television and influenced more music.
MTV was the hottest thing on Earth.
You just had it on all the time.
You know Cyndi Lauper of course, Torn Petty
and Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen.
I knew the words to everything.
The top 4O stuff was off the chain.
I mean it was hit, after hit, after hit.
Great group after great group.
And there was a lot of good metal music in
the '80s.
You know Metallica and Ozzy.
Really saccharine Olivia Newton-John, romantic
ballads on the one hand and you had punk
on the other hand.
We had slicker action heroes.
A lot of '80s hair going on.
It was a lot like Mel Gibson's hair in Lethal
Not sure I liked it.
Yeah, it wasn't pretty.
We all had this big huge hair and Aqua Net.
The hair was beyond teased.
It was bullied.
I remember Jane Fonda Workout watching people
walk down the street in workout outfits
which to me was like completely bizarre.
Big hair, big shoulder pads and cocaine.
Lots of cocaine.
Maybe Ronald Reagan inspired all the horror.
You had the fuddy-duddy sort of older generation
saying no we let the kids play long enough
at the wheel and now we're going to take the wheel
back over.
And that was really the Reagan era.
And it was a very oppressive and dark time.
It was hard to be gay in that era, it was hard to state
certain political views in that period.
Because the '80s were an era of excess in every
conceivable way.
Drugs, disco, sex, the tragedy of the AIDS
There were a lot of very heightened things
going on in that decade and the horror movies
were an absolute reflection of that.
And they say there's a theory that horror
thrives when there's a repressive government.
What scares us says a lot about the society.
After Halloween I had a deal with AVCO Embassy to
make two films and
the first one turned out to be "The Fog".
It was a ghost story conceived on a trip to
England and Stonehenge.
I said to Debra Hill, man it's really amazing
here. And it's a fog bank at the time was off
in the distance.
"I wonder what's in there?", we said.
I was gonna get hired for horror films.
That's what was gonna happen because that's
where I had a hit.
So, off we went.
You know, it's kind of an old-fashioned ghost
It's not big, gory, scary stuff.
The Fog was shot up in Point Reyes, California.
It was a beautiful area.
My dear friend Adrienne Barbeau.
She spent the entire time up in that tower
and so, we were never ever on-screen together.
Jamie Lee.
She's hitchhiking and the first thing she says
when she gets in the car is, "Are you weird?"
Are you weird?
And then I offer her a sip of beer and then they cut
and there we are in bed.
Just like that. It's that easy because I'm
I don't think it bothered her to get on that
scream queen path as long as she thought she
might be able to get off of it.
And she did.
The Fog has Nick Castle as the lead.
That's the name of the character in it.
I also remember that very fondly because as
you pan across inside Adrienne's room, she's
holding a baby and that's my son.
The guys that come out of the fog at the end
into the church, take Hal Holbrook to heaven
or hell, somewhere.
The seaweed dudes, did not like.
I did not like the seaweed dudes at all.
They look great in their own
seaweedy oogy outfits.
Big box fans and fog machines at the end of
a street trying to make enough fog to look
eerie and creepy, threatening.
The slightest breeze took it all away and
then to start over again kind of build it
up and get it going.
That was re-vamped after we finished it as
it didn't work and the script was changed.
It didn't get going quick enough somehow.
I was (sighs)... that was a nightmare.
I don't ever want to do that again.
In the Changeling, George C. Scott discovers
something's rotten in Seattle while investigating
the death of a young child who used to live
at his creepy new mansion.
He plays John Russell who's a composer recovering
from the tragedy of losing his family and
he actually stars opposite his real-life wife
Trish van Devere as he comes to realize that
the underage ghost wants to do more than just
It's a brooding melancholy tone poem and I just
really you know, I was hypnotized by that movie.
You think its sort of a haunted house movie
but it's about so much more.
It's so interesting and deep.
The acting in it is incredible. The house
that they shot that film in is gorgeous and
you think it's a real house but it's not.
That was a set.
And the exterior of that film was built over
another house that was existing.
It's very mood inducing and anxiety producing
the whole way through.
There's plenty of classic ghost story chills
in this one and The Changeling makes for a
nice companion piece to Peter Straub's Ghost Story
adaptation which came out the following year
I can remember seeing John Carpenter's Halloween
which unlike some sort of British horror
you know, ghosty movie, it was very real feeling.
I thought very well acted, extremely well shot.
The idea that you could create a really simple
story that had scary elements connected to it
opened the door to Friday the 13th.
A lot of people make their first horror movies
because they're cheap, they don't require
stars or anybody familiar and particularly
in the 1980s all you needed was a string of
creative kills to make a successful movie
thanks to Friday the 13th in its ilk.
We didn't have a clue that it was ever going
to be successful or going to be changing horror
or anything like that.
What we were trying to do is come up with
a credible movie that would run 9O minutes
and have sound and words coming out of people's
mouths at the right time and hope that it
worked out okay.
That was our entire ambition.
I think we were all flying by the seat of
our pants having a good time doing this.
My death scene was really, really fun.
Tom Savini made the mold of my neck and when
I lifted my head back like that,
you know it would open up perfectly.
There was the POV of the killer but you never
saw the killer.
All you knew was like wow, this person's upset.
When the music comes in then you're seeing
what the killer sees as opposed to just
a shot with the camera.
Everybody loves the Harry Manfredini signature
Friday the 13th, Ki-Ki-Ki, Ma-Ma-Ma.
He says it's ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma...
Because it's "Kill" and Mom" but I always
hear "ch, ch, ch, ah, ah, ah".
But maybe it's my hearing.
I thought it was "ha, ha, ha, ha"
but it's really"kill, kill, kill, kill."
Ch - Ch - Ch. Ha - ha - ha. That's how I do it anyway.
So many gory, scary moments but the one that
really comes to mind is Kevin Bacon's kill.
So sick.
Oh, it's horrible.
The brilliant Betsy Palmer.
I mean she was in Mister Roberts.
She was a very good actress.
How in the world does she become
the crazed killer?
She smiles when she says it, meanwhile they've
cut to the little Jason drowning and I'm going like
you're crazy.
You know you're crazy and you don't care.
That's one scary personality.
Shooting Friday the 13th was a piece of cake.
A bunch of us having a great time and you know
making this movie and it wasn't scary at all.
But the first time I saw it, I actually
had some nightmares.
The end scene I did not know was coming.
Alice is in the canoe so relieved and Jason
the kid he jumps out of a lake and looking
so weird and distorted.
Thank you Tom Savini for scaring the hell
out of me.
The fact that it became as successful as it
did was mostly luck.
Being at the right place at the right time.
It just all came together.
It was a scary film ya know for what it was
at the time but I don't think anybody thought
there was going to be uh,
I don't know what are we at?
Like 12 of these things?
The Shining is an incredibly powerful movie.
The reviews when it came out were absolutely
terrible across the board.
There may have been the occasional exception
but it was not a well-liked movie.
However, it connected with a young audience
in such a powerful way that it became iconic.
And I was so crashingly disappointed with
it because I loved the book and it's not the book.
It was something about Kubrick's take on that
that was just so arch.
Sometimes it takes you a few watches before
you gain appreciation for something.
But it has that Kubrick quality of hypnotic
fascination that you can't get away from and
if I happen to click on it,
I'm gonna watch it.
I think The Shining is probably the best
performance in any horror film, maybe ever.
Boy, does he go off the rails in that one.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Shelley Duvall looks honestly terrified and
Jack Nicholson honestly looks like
he can't stand her.
I mean to the point where I'm thinking, "Am I
seeing the characters or am I seeing the actors
on set like freaking out?"
And that's just how good they were.
That's always the hardest part to play is
the wife who has to like make the decision,
is my husband nuts or is it just me?
And I think every woman on the face of the
planet wants to give their husband the benefit
of the doubt until the very last minute when
it's like ah, I got to get out of here.
The two twins.
I mean I'll never forget that image.
And the woman in the bathtub.
That's something that was seared into my brain
forever and ever and ever.
The scene that always sticks out to me is
when he's at the bar.
He's talking and then we cut and there's actually
a bartender there.
Every line every like beat in that whole scene
he just chews it up.
It's just you can't take your eyes off him.
I think any movie where a parent is a villain
is really hard to watch.
It really hooks into for me this feeling of
trusting the men around you and how it would
feel to all of a sudden be scared of the person
that you love.
It's so scary.
The big ending is out there in the maze.
Now you look at that movie, what's missing
in that sequence? It's supposed to be out in the
freezing cold but they shot it on a soundstage.
They didn't get any oxidation of breath.
Kubrick is such a stickler for detail and
everything's got to be just right and how
much money does it cost doesn't matter. Let's
get it right and yet no oxidation of breath.
The Shining was promoted as a Stanley Kubrick
movie, not a Stephen King movie.
There was a long period of time when the name
Stephen King was avoided by marketers because
it identified the movie as a horror film and
a horror film was still considered disposable trash.
Stephen King himself said he hated it.
King had actually written a script for Kubrick
for The Shining which Kubrick just tossed aside.
I think it was painful to King to see this
because it was such a personal book to him.
When Kubrick turned his hand to The Shining,
I think it sort of was like well, you know
now anybody could make these pictures.
It became a very viable genre for all budget
levels which was not true before.
Dressed to Kill was pretty obviously even
though I think DePalma denies this.
I think DePalma says he had never seen an
Argento movie and that may in fact well be
the case sometimes these things just sort
of seep into the consciousness.
But it did seem like he was bringing certain
aesthetic concepts of the Giallo into American
horror films.
You know how he used the star filters first as like
reflections would show up and they'd go
"ping" and just like this sort of gliding
cinematography and everything felt sort of
It has a sexual feel to it even more than
most horror films.
I was really interested in the contrast between
the depiction of violence and an incongruously
beautiful presentation.
Fade to Black starring Dennis Christopher
it's a reaction to the burgeoning slasher genre.
So, it's about a horror nerd who dresses
as different classic monsters to kind of enact
these sort of revenge murders.
People that have wronged him
throughout his life.
It's finale takes place on top of Grauman's
Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.
It's a very weird time capsule portrait of
people living on the fringes of Los Angeles
in 1980.
And it's a nice illustration of the horror
fan as outcast which is a pretty big shadow
hanging over the '80s, I think.
In one corner people are going to say Motel
Hell is complete garbage.
Violent, gruesome, sickening and perverse.
In the other corner people are going to defend
Motel Hell saying it's a comedy that achieves
a kind of demented satirical genius in the
way it criticizes such other sleazoid trash
as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Genius in how they got the title because it
was Motel Hello and the neon was burnt out.
It blew my mind, I thought it was so awesome.
Then you get into a movie that you're like
wow, this is creepy and scary.
You know, to be buried up to the neck and
you're just like that got me.
Two great villains.
One who wore a pig head and wielded a chainsaw.
That was really great.
This was one of the last pictures of cowboy
actor Rory Calhoun who was very skinny and
I think probably had cancer at the time.
That chainsaw fight at the end.
The chainsaw is the worst weapon you could
ever use for any kind of fight.
All you have to do is throw anything into
the web of a chainsaw and it stops.
So, it's about the worst weapon you could
ever use.
If you want to go to something that really
catches the spirit of the '80s don't look any further.
Also, quite a great title.
Oh, I love Maniac.
The thing that makes Maniac a true stand apart
film is the quality of the performances.
Top-notch casting, top-notch storytelling,
amazing editing.
That movie moves like fucking lightning.
When he slows the movie down, he does it for
a reason, to set you up for the next thing.
It's a little strong for my tastes.
It's a testament to its power.
You have Tom Savini doing the makeup effects
who had come from Vietnam and knew all about
what bodies rent asunder looked like.
You've got scalpings in that movie that are
incredibly effective because they're so real.
That's a very independent movie that could
not get on movie screens today.
But there was a small but hungry audience
for that and that's the precursor to torture
porn that you know, Hostel came along much
later and started a whole new sub-genre.
The VHS era is hard to convey to someone who
grew up in the post Napster digital era when
everything is available by some means.
You suddenly had access to a world of cinema
beyond just your hazy memories of the Hammer
films they played when you were a kid on Channel
It was the age of the video store and there
was one on every street corner.
You could browse forever and watch things
that no normal person would ever normally
watch and this was a goldmine for young indie
directors who had no budget but had a good
Everybody went to the video store.
That was the way you started your evening.
Running down to the local rental store to
see ooh what can I get away with renting without
my mom here.
And we had the Beta versus VHS battles.
It was like the Coke - Pepsi battle of the
video tech world at the time and obviously
VHS won out and that's what the stores had.
There was a certain magic to the VHS tape.
I remember the first one we rented was A
Nightmare on Elm Street and Critters
and something for my mom.
And then you had the personal curation aspect.
I could collect videos.
Now I could have the equivalent of albums
but in film form.
Suddenly I felt a kind of ownership of the
content in a way that I never had felt before.
Nobody cares about owning movies anymore now.
No one covets holding it.
It's all just like in the cloud.
Everything's through your digital device,
your phone, your iPad and there's definitely
a certain coldness to the process.
We were the first generation to really
discover all this stuff
through cable which meant we
got it earlier which meant it was even more
taboo than like the earlier generations that
had to kind of sneak into theaters and whatnot.
Now all of a sudden it's being beamed into
my house.
I'm by myself for three hours because my mom
works, ooh what's on Cinemax?
What's on HBO?
I had the benefits of cable and I had the
benefits of the rental system.
You had to make some decisions about what
you wanted to watch that night.
It would have everything from a Universal
Picture that you know, Tobe Hooper got tapped
to make to stuff that was shot on video.
Like the Ripper. Tom Savini starring in the Ripper.
We rented that and
I thought I was gonna get a real movie and
it was like shot on video.
I couldn't believe I was watching,
like I just paid the same $3 that I would have
paid for a studio release and it was Tom Savini
running around in a shot on video thing.
You suddenly had this great outpouring of
poorly written, poorly directed, poorly acted
films but then you would have the occasional gem.
Guys like Charlie Band, guys like Roger Corman
found a whole new life on home video after
the VHS explosion happened.
Charlie Band really invented direct-to-video.
Charlie was churning them out.
Empire Pictures and Charlie Band at the time
provided opportunity to up-and-coming talent
to make their mark.
They're chasing trends that the bigger guys
are doing and trying to get there more quickly
and more cheaply.
Charles Band provided this sort of unending
flow of product and some of it had real worth.
They're cheesy.
A lot of blood and gore bad effects and bad
acting and ridiculous storylines.
They were right up my alley and I loved them.
A lot of fans have said to me that saw Hellraiser
for the first time because they were browsing
through the shelves of Blockbuster and they
paused when they got to the image of Pinhead.
He's making very direct eye contact with you.
What the image says is, look what I did to
Now imagine what I could do to you.
Video cover art didn't seem that important
initially and until some of these key horror
films started appearing.
And on the base of their success then suddenly
those covers became quite important.
Obviously the brighter and the more shocking
it could possibly be than the better and
more chance of that video being picked up.
They had to have that art there to get you
to grab an unknown title as opposed to something
you might be familiar with from its theatrical
Back then you really had to go looking for
You had to be willing to take chances and
if it had a really cool poster on the front
or cover art I was hooked.
It's the staff pics that usually would pick
something that would be like, you want to rent this.
Don't rent that.
You'll always be able to rent that. You want this.
Those people knew.
They knew what the good films were because
they had access to them.
One of my sort of Bibles of '80s horror was
the poster for Terror in the Aisles because
the skull on the front of Terror in the
Aisles was made up of all the titles of the
names of the movies in it.
So, I would go pick up Terror in the Aisles
in the video store and I'd start to go through
and I'd walk through and I try to find different
But it really opened me up to a lot of movies
I would have never rented otherwise.
I worked for the company that did the Halloween
posters, that fabulous iconic knife going through
the pumpkin of the jack-0'-lantern.
That kind of said it all without saying anything.
I thought that was a brilliant, brilliant
ad campaign.
The Nightmare on Elm Street poster features
Nancy's face and she's lying in bed.
It's a great poster.
I mean it's art.
It's not a photo, like a lot of movie posters
are nowadays.
You just have like a photo of the stars and
they're like in a cute position
and that photo art is now kind of dominant but
back then they really commissioned someone
to create a painting.
Matthew Peak was able to do all of the posters
for A Nightmare on Elm Street which is rare.
There's a continuity and they're really beautiful
and unique.
That reflects to me the high level of artistry that
went into all parts of A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Even though it was a really low budget movie.
I have a memory of driving on Sunset Boulevard
and there was a high-rise building and the
whole side of it was the painted poster of
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 like on a giant
building. I remember being very impressed with
Kit Carson, it was his idea to make a Breakfast
Club parody.
I thought that was brilliant. I think that also
let people know that we were not as serious as they
maybe wanted Chainsaw 2 to be.
The original poster art that Tobe wanted to
go with was not going to be The Breakfast Club.
He ended up going with The Breakfast Club
to sort of trick a lot of exhibitors into
putting it up in their displays because it
looks very innocuous.
It doesn't look like a horror movie really.
It looks like a Halloween movie. It looks
like a costume movie.
You have to remember that advertising very
seldom actually represents the movie correctly.
Had I seen the artwork for Chopping Mall,
I also would not have rented it.
It has nothing to do with the movie.
The gimmick with The Howling was that we wanted
to position it as a normal slasher-ish kind
of movie and not give away the fact that it
had supernatural elements and werewolves.
Eventually, they came up with what I think
was a very clever poster of a clawed hand
ripping the poster and behind it is
a woman screaming.
And in Europe for whatever reason they decided
they didn't want to use the woman, they wanted
to use a snout for the werewolf.
So, in the British ads, it's the same ad but
instead of a woman's face, it's a snout.
You wanted to try to differentiate your product
from movies that were aimed at a somewhat
lower market and the idea was to try to vault
over the expectations and be able to appeal
to a wider audience.
You try to get them in, through whatever means
you can.
However you have to misrepresent
the movie and then by the time they've seen it
it's too late.
They can't get their money back.
Well, back in the '80s the slasher films
not withstanding,
they weren't really ruled by trends so much.
I mean there are a lot of people doing all
different kinds of horror.
You had a lot of directors who had kind of
started off in low budgets in the 70s getting
discovered by semi majors like AVCO Embassy and
being given a chance to do bigger films.
You had John Carpenter going from Halloween
to The Fog, Escape from New York and The Thing.
You had Joe Dante going from Piranha to The
You had David Cronenberg who went from Rabid
and The Brood up to Scanners and then
The Dead Zone.
So, you really saw a lot of kind of star directors
coming up.
Scanners was one that I saw probably too young.
My friend and I rented it because of course,
the cover art alone.
Michael lronside like this on the cover.
I thought we need to see this movie.
Well, I didn't know what I was getting into.
You can't talk about '80s horror and not mention
the Scanners head blowing up.
When that happens, it is so gruesome and visceral
that even as a kid I was like this is the
coolest thing I've ever seen.
Obviously, this is before CGI.
And all of a sudden homeboy with the glasses just...
As a kid I just went...
What the...
Cronenberg, dude.
And just stuff is flying everywhere and I
know they took a shotgun and they used, they
filled it up with bunch of l think chicken
livers or something and just shot it out.
But oh, my goodness, did that look so real.
That explosion is probably the shot across
the bow of the old guard.
Just basically saying, Okay, we'll take
it from here."
So much of those performances in Scanners
work because the actor's face has to sell it.
So, you have Michael lronside.
He's got to basically take all of these themes
from the movie and project it through his face.
It all hinges on whether or not we believe
him, right?
And he's so great at it.
My Bloody Valentine might be my favorite slasher
of 1981.
It's just this culmination of characters whodunit
and at the time especially it's unique.
It's just the minors and Valentine's Day.
The interesting thing about My Bloody Valentine
is that it was really graphic with awesome
practical effects but they cut 9 minutes of them
out of the film.
My favorite kill is definitely one that was
cut for the theatrical release.
It was this character named Happy, this old
drunk guy at a bar who went out to visit the
mine to inspect what was going on.
He gets a pickaxe swung up through his chin
and just the effect is so gnarly and it's
one of those kills where I watched it and I'm like,
"How did they even fake this?"
One of the things I love about this movie
is how authentic it feels and part of that
is because they shot in an actual mine
Apparently the mine owners when they found
out that the movie was going to film down there
spent a lot of time cleaning it up which
is the opposite of what the film crew wanted
so they had to re-dirty this actual mine to
get the look that they want for this movie.
Of course, it's cheesy.
It's a slasher.
All the tropes are there but there's something
about that one that just grabs me.
I mean, My Bloody Valentine's got a lot of heart
what can I say.
The early '80s had a shape-shifter trend.
Everybody's making transformation monster
movies -The Howling, The Beast Within.
All this other stuff.
In The Howling we were trying to get away
from the traditional villagers chasing the
werewolf template.
We wanted to actually position it as a slasher
movie because they were very popular at the
time and supernatural movies were kind of
They were kind of considered a little old hat.
So, in the first half hour of the picture there don't
seem to be any supernatural elements at all.
And so when we finally did introduce
the werewolf angle I did it through watching
The Wolf man on television which is a pop culture
reference that audiences can immediately get.
That was really kind of the first time that
had been done and then it eventually became
very popular with the Scream movies to have
characters who were aware of the tropes of
the genre. It became a sort of a genre staple.
Joe Dante loves to put his friends in his films.
So you can find his mentor Roger Corman,
Famous Monsters icon Forrest J. Ackerman,
Howling screenwriter John Sayles, good pal
Mick Garris and his lucky charm Dick Miller.
I remember seeing the Howling and just thinking,
"Oh, finally" like somebody has created
a werewolf and done an on-screen transformation
that is just absolutely mind-blowingly great.
We had told the studio that we can do a
transformation all in one take. Which we learned for
various reasons was impractical and also it wasn't
particularly dramatic.
We ended up shooting it conventionally with
cutaways and stuff.
The character of Eddie Quist, we finally
see his full Rob Bottin assisted transformation.
Holy shit, look what is happening to this guy.
There's always going to be the great debate
between The Howling and An American Werewolf
in London and as amazing as the effects in
American Werewolf in London are, I think at
that scene, I mean it's all very brightly lit
with a lot of close-ups and
to me it's kind of a special-effects reel
and not really a dramatic scene.
And in The Howling, you have this great shadowy
lighting in that scene, you have Robert Picardo's
character who is not a victim, he wants to
transform, he wants to show Dee Wallace's
character what he really is and I think that
gives it a lot of power.
What we didn't want to do was what had been
done before but that iteration of a guy
who has a werewolf head and the werewolf hands
and a tucked in shirt
didn't seem to be modern to us.
I was always eager to do something new and
different and we tried it man and then it
ended up photographing like a bear.
So, we ended up using a combination of puppets
and separate legs and indeed a guy in a suit
but you had to shoot it in such a way that you
didn't see his waist.
We managed to pull off a pretty good illusion.
I love The Burning.
I didn't know about it for years and then
when I found out about it, I was like where
is this been all my life?
It's a slasher film at a camp like I need
to see this film.
Well, first of all it's got Jason Alexander
and Holly Hunter in it which is just mind-blowing
considering the careers they've had since then.
The writing, the way the kids interacted and
of course
Tom Savini's effects.
I mean that whole scene when they're
coming up on that raft and he just comes up
in front of the sun and it just plunges down in
the guy's neck.
It's one of my favorite slashers.
I love John Landis movies. In general, I just love
But there's a particular movie like Animal House
and An American Werewolf in London
where he was so skilled at recreating a real
environment and a real snapshot in time.
It was totally engrossing to me.
A perfect comedy-horror hybrid because it
starts off light-hearted.
There's sheep shit on my pack.
It's a couple pals they're walking around and the
next thing you know the one friend is eviscerated
by a werewolf and the other one is slowly
transforming into a werewolf.
Jack is a zombie corpse that keeps reappearing
in front of David and it's continually becoming
more and more decrepit every time it shows up.
It's a hilarious performance.
The makeup is just absolutely gross.
I remember seeing his trachea and feeling like I was
looking at an anatomy book.
Jenny Agutter plays a nurse who takes in David
Naughton and their love story really gives
an added layer of heart and soul to the film.
Not to mention some added scares.
It's got certainly horrific moments in it.
The end where he's just in the streets of
London running around.
I mean that's scary.
And that was done so well.
And of course, Rick Baker's werewolf
can't talk about the movie without talking about that
of course.
Rick Baker was originally going to do Joe
Dante's werewolf work in The Howling but
John Landis kept him to a promise and scooped
him up at the last minute.
If you're going to go see a werewolf movie
in the '80s, you're going to see a werewolf
become a werewolf out of a man.
I actually got queasy at the scene of his
foot extending into a paw.
It was all fleshy and was stretching and there
was. .. nothing like that had been done before.
It was startling to me to see that transformation.
In my mind it will always be a level that really
changed the look and the appeal of '80s movies.
It's a classic and they both came
out the same year along with Full Moon High
and Wolf en.
I mean it was it was a lupine year.
I thought I was making the only werewolf film.
Except for I Was a Teenage Werewolf which had
been done 2O years before in black and white
and AIP owned it so they weren't going to sue me.
I told them I wanted to make a comedy version of it.
I don't think it was what they really wanted.
I guess if you're going to make horror movies
you got to make scary horror movies.
Funny horror movies... I don't know.
Is the horror audience going to
like this? ls anybody going to like this?
I liked it. I had a good time.
I got to work with Adam Arkin and his father
Alan Arkin.
Wonderful actor.
I told him to make the werewolf look like
Henry Hull did in Werewolf of London.
And that's what they did. It was simple.
We had a wonderful cast of comedians and I
had a good time making the picture.
I can say it now.
Evil Dead scared the crap out of us.
Sitting down to watch it, it really unnerved us.
In the Evil Dead a very young Bruce Campbell
has his first starring role.
Campbell and Raimi were high school pals who
made short films together before going all
in on the 30-minute super 8 film Within the
Woods which is kind of like the first version
of Evil Dead and it was designed to attract
The effects, the practical effects, just
the nastiness and just her in the basement
it's like. .. with the trapdoor going up and down
and screaming and the way they tracked the
camera through the house. It was just so unnerving.
I love the claymation stuff that they did
with the melting bodies in there.
Seeing Ellen Sandweiss get like essentially raped
by tree branches.
That's a fairly clear analogy of that idea
of nature itself being a malevolent force.
The sincerity of it is impossible to fake
because this was just a bunch of kids going
out to a cabin in Tennessee and filming what
they could with no budget.
They were doing things that you didn't think
were possible on such a low budget.
I mean they were so creative.
The most interesting thing about Evil Dead
is it came out after the invention of the
Steadicam but they couldn't afford a Steadicam
and so all those shots running through the
woods they just strapped a camera to a couple
of two by fours and had guys on either end
of the two by fours running through the woods
with the camera.
And it works!
The shakey cam is actually scarier than the
This cinema verit effect and the grittiness
to it, makes it feel almost like a documentary.
The Evil Dead is a perfect example of cult
film creative genius born out of low-budget
Halloween was conceived by not just John
Carpenter but by Debra Hill.
And you had a very strong woman and her voice in the
development of the characters and I think that has a lot
to do with why you like Jamie beyond her own
inherent skills which she is obviously very talented.
After Halloween was a success, partners that
I had in the movie wanted to make a sequel.
I just didn't think there was any story left.
I couldn't stop them from making it.
So, I figured well, might as well go along
with them. I wrote the screenplay.
It wasn't very good. I didn't do a great job.
And now you're repeating gags and youre just
repeating what's happened in one.
This worked once, not this time.
I wasn't scared in Halloween 2. I was just
grossed out.
You know, it's ironic that the original Halloween
inspired so many countless dozens of imitations
and for two years we got nothing but movies
in which their only ambition was to litter
the screen with dead teenagers.
Now we get Halloween 2 and it's a pale imitation
of the imitations.
It's not worthy of the original film.
Not until the very last sequel recently, did
we have actually a new story to tell.
So, I was disappointed in it and disappointed at
what I did.
I didn't want to direct Halloween 2.
Rick Rosenthal is now directing instead of
John Carpenter and Dick Warlock replacing
Nick Castle wearing the Shatner mask.
Nick Castle was not asked to return as The Shape.
One of the big flaws.
I think by that time I had already directed
so yeah, I don't know, they had no even reason
to think I'd want to be the shape again so,
and nor would I have probably done it
at that point.
Debra came to me and said, "Nick, do you have
the mask from the first one?"
Because for whatever reason we've tried to
redo it again and we can't get it right.
So, I said, "Oh yeah, I got it here."
It's in my living room.
She took it and never gave it back unfortunately
but I'm sure it would be powder by now anyhow.
So, what the hell?
Jamie Lee Curtis was a real sport in this
film since she essentially had to go it alone
without the support structure she had in
her breakout hit in 1978.
Plus, since she cut her hair for another movie
she had to wear a wig that once you notice it,
you can't unsee it.
Contained mostly in the Haddonfield Hospital,
the film follows the standard slasher formula
much closer than the groundbreaking original
with more creative kills and much more gratuitous
I think the most memorable kill from Halloween
2 is probably the nurse who gets her head
dunked in the boiling hot, hot tub.
But for me my personal favorite is actually
the other nurse who gets the scalpel in the back
and just raised off the ground.
My buddy from The Last Starfighter, Lance
Guest plays a prominent role in there.
I didn't realize until I saw it again how
big a role he had and he survived, I think.
I guess Michael Myers had to take a break
to recuperate after getting torched at
the end of Halloween 2.
But he'd come back after the collective what
the fuck of Halloween 3.
Ghost Story is based on the Peter Straub novel
and it stars Hollywood legends Fred Astaire,
Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman and Douglas
Fairbanks Jr. as the chowder society.
Basically, a bunch of old dudes sharing horror
Of course, John Houseman similarly tells ghost
stories by a campfire at the beginning of
John Carpenter's, The Fog.
Maybe that's why I grew up loving stories.
That movie is like such a great marriage
of old-time stories.
It brought that into the '80s.
At a time that we weren't really seeing that.
The transition of Alice Krige throughout that
movie is absolutely horrifying where she starts
off as this beautiful woman sort of fluttery
and flirty and full of life and very much
sort of just a carelessness to her carriage.
And by the end once things are revealed with
her functionality in this film, it's such
an interesting descent.
Ghosts in movies are so hard to pull off.
And I don't think anybody had pushed this
idea of ghosts the way that Dick Smith had
pushed them in Ghost Story.
Dick Smith who is a guy who's best known for
his work on The Exorcist or even The Godfather.
At this point in the '80s, like he was stepping back
a little bit while this new talent was coming
forward but yet still was out there making
memorable creations and though obviously,
we see that in Ghost Story. It was something
completely different than we had seen before.
Yeah, I love that movie a lot.
One of the really great things about 1980s
horror movies was that everything happened
in front of the camera.
There was no such thing as CGI yet.
An actor was interacting with either an actor
covered in latex or puppets or things that
were really in the frame with them.
There was an artistry of the special makeup effects
geniuses of the time, the Rick Baker's and
Tom Savini's and Steve Johnson's and all
of these people who really launched their
careers during that time.
You get your first Oscar for makeup and it
was An American Werewolf in London in 1981.
First of all, I'd like to thank the Academy
for creating this new category and I'm very
proud to be the first winner.
When I think of 1980s horror, that's to me
one of the best things about it.
Once they saw what you could do it was like
all bets were off and everybody wanted to
go out and make horror movies which is exciting.
Filmmakers realized that the tools that they
had at their disposal allowed them to create
bigger and bigger worlds, bigger and bigger
It's just such a vibrant, alive, new time because
we had materials and we had techniques and
we had all of these movies that were being
made that gave us an opportunity to push the
I love the magic of the movies and the magic
of theater.
How we take a situation and make it look how
we want it to look.
To make you believe what I want you to believe.
What sticks in your mind the most is how did
they do that?
You become interested in the illusion and
the magic that's happening behind the scenes
and that gets you interested in film making.
And the reason that Torn Savini, the reason
that Stan Winston, the reason that Rick Baker
and Rob Bottin were the visionaries
that they were and still are, was because they
approached all of these effects as if they
were magic tricks.
And a lot of it is misdirection.
In-camera effects are always much more, more
However, they're very expensive to do.
They're very, very time-consuming.
If you do them right, practical effects are
much more powerful.
How do you build a better werewolf?
How do you build a better decapitation?
I mean these are things that still obsess
30-some years later this is still my work.
There's an almost sort of childlike aspect
to what we do that I feel very grateful for.
This is impressive art; This is impressive
stuff and it drives and propels the story
and those visceral reactions that you have
to horror.
I'm always trying to sort of push things beyond
the realm of good taste in it and sometimes
even beyond the realm of possibility.
You want to do the impossible things.
You shouldn't be limited to what's possible.
You should be able to make the audience believe
something that's impossible is happening
right in front of them.
Everything was on the table.
You could really do whatever you want.
The only thing that you would have to contend
with was the ratings board.
It was always a fight because the directors
felt they had creative freedom to tell the
story and do whatever they wanted to do.
And of course, there were people that found
some of the subject matter and some of what
we did offensive.
For a certain amount of blood, you get an X
and an X means the distributor can't release
in almost all the theaters that wants you.
You've got a very small release which means
it's a very small profit.
So, you have to be mindful of that.
I've helped several films get X ratings because
of the violence and the blood.
Often they'll resubmit it, they'll cut out
a few frames here and a few there.
Finally, you might get an R - rating.
It was often that this fear of getting an
X - rating so they would go with blood that
wasn't red right from the beginning like
in Phantasm or Evil Dead 2.
There's such a focus on blood and gore particularly
in movies in the '80s and to be honest with you
I never quite got it.
Once filmmakers got into that whole blood
thing and the bloodletting and it became bigger
and bigger and like who can outdo the
other person?
And yeah, that's fun but to me it wasn't quite
as realistic as what happens in real life.
The effects artists creating stuff usually
knows best how to shoot it.
Some things are going to be shot from a certain
angle, they work best not from this angle.
And a good director is going to trust their
effects people but if you shoot it from something
a little bit different it's going to reveal
itself to be the magic trick and you don't
want to ever show the rabbit in the hat.
There was so much work that everybody was
keeping busy and it never felt like competition.
It felt more like a coexistence.
We all had the same backgrounds, we all grew
up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland,
we all grew up making movies with our Super 8
There was a sort of a shared heritage in
what got us to where we were at that point.
In the early '80s, Fangoria magazine came out
and now we had a group of people that were
celebrating the actual special effects makeup
of those movies.
Before it was like yeah, you're a guy, you
do special effects, that's cool.
But then Fangoria really made this like cool
personality around them because they really
focused on the work they were doing because
it was so innovative and so different and
also so graphic.
They printed the pictures that no one else
would print.
It wasn't the fangs that the kids wanted it
was the gore.
And they had pictures of bloody corpses and
people with slashed throats and tongues coming
hanging out and stuff.
I wouldn't exactly call it porn but it had
the same effect in a way because it was a
high for kids because it would seem so forbidden
and it was so transgressive.
Fangoria was the authority on what's about
to come out and what do you need to see.
Without an internet, without an endless resource
of images at your fingertips you would stare
at that fucking Fangoria until the pages fell apart.
Fangoria had a lot of trouble in the early
days getting taken off of news stands and things
like that because the imagery was too shocking
or bloody or whatever.
Fangoria, Cinefantastique, Cinefex
and American Cinematographer.
Yeah, those were my little Bibles every
It was a wonderful way to see how other
effects were being done, what films are being
A great teaching tool.
Everybody in special effects and special
makeup effects was reading all those magazines.
It actually generated more interest because
somebody would watch that movie, or they'd see
some behind the scenes story and they say,
Wait, what?
You did what with yak hair?"
And they'd go see the movie and they'd suddenly
realize, "Wow, that's cool.
I understand how it all comes together and
look and I'm seeing it now and I'm believing it
and it's a monster and I'm buying it...
I think a lot of the special effects in the
'80s movies have aged well.
You're doing it live really, essentially in front of the
camera, ya know they're practical effects.
There's something about CG that I think makes
it seem distant and not really, it's not really
happening in front of you.
Actors would prefer to work with something
they can see and react to rather than a green
ball on a stick.
I would be hard-pressed to pick the all-time
great '80s practical effect but chances are
Rick Baker did it.
Cat People is an unusual moment in '80s horror
because it's this attempt at legitimacy.
You've got all the horror guys doing their stuff
but then you've got Paul Schrader who had
written Taxi Driver and American Gigolo and
And he's more or less a respectable filmmaker
and here he is getting in on the shapeshifter
trend that was started by An American Werewolf
in London.
So, that's very interesting to me.
He cast it with Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm
It's like raising the game a little bit.
That movie brought a sort of euro sensibility
into American horror that I found really,
really interesting.
Cat People takes the sort of barest lift from
the original's premise and makes it more about
these siblings who have this sort of borderline
incestuous relationship.
The transformation is actually almost like
watching a work of art.
It's very different in its purpose.
They'd seen what had happened in The Howling
and in An American Werewolf and so they're
taking it into this other space.
And what I like about the Cat People transformations
is that they're both kind of different.
Malcolm McDowell likes being the cat and so
it's kind of a different thing but in Nastassja
Kinski's transformation is painful and she's
not into this.
Tom Berman and his crew thought about that
and sort of worked the characters feelings
into the transformation and made it a very
painful and uncomfortable thing.
And it was just an interesting pivot from
where we had been just a year before
with Baker's stuff and Bottin's transformations.
Basket Case is an amazing super low budget
I Love New York at that period as well and
that's one of the last movies that captured
Time Square as it was.
That really grimy place that you would not
go to unless you're looking for drugs.
There's a lot of weird, seedy New York stuff
that you don't get to see any more on screen.
When Belial throws his tantrum in the hotel
room and suddenly we're in stop motion and
we're smashing TVs and stuff. That's when like
we kind of all went...
That's when you learned that you're in this
unsafe space.
They're like oh, this guy is not playing by
anybody's rules and he needed stop motion
for this scene and he's going to do it.
That's where Basket Case crosses over into
greatness for me.
Frank Henenlotter, the director of Basket
Case once said to me, "I'm a strange little man."
And he is.
There are things that he would put in a movie
that most people would recoil from.
And in fact, there are scenes in Basket Case
that are so sexual and violent and gross that
the crew of the film actually walked off and
left the film.
There's one shot at the end of Basket Case
where Belial the monster is actually on top
of the female lead. She's completely naked
and he's obviously doing something that you
don't want to think about a little scrawny
monster doing to a beautiful woman.
But I think the shot has to be in the movie.
By that time, you have to see that.
Thank God that Henenlotter got to make those
movies when he got to make them, where he got
to make them, because they were maybe the last
gasp of that grindhouse thing.
There's a certain kind of horror film that
says big studio production, big studio budget.
That means it's safe for people in the suburbs
to go see it and Poltergeist was one of those
No matter how scary it gets, it was okay to
take the family to see that particular movie.
Another movie that kind of just highlighted
that horror could be just as much fun as
any kind of other rollercoaster tentpole movie
you were seeing at the time
like Indiana Jones or something.
What is this little girl in the front of the
TV with nothing on it?
Because when we used to actually snap our
channels and you hit the snowy UHF channel
or the Channel 4 or whatever didn't come in
your region, you're like get off of that.
This girl is sitting in front of it intrigued
by it.
What is this about?
Anything that dealt with kind of suburbia
dealing with like aliens or the old ghosts'
spirits, I don't know those really appeal
to me.
I just felt like all of us live in some form
of suburbia now and who knows what Indian
graveyards we're all like living on top of.
Poltergeist takes an old staple of the horror
movie which is the seance, the communication
with the other side and amps it up about a
hundred times.
That's the genius of that movie, I think.
Let me set the record straight.
Tobe Hooper directed Poltergeist.
There was a horrible scurrilous myth that
it was ghost directed by Steven Spielberg
because it was executive produced by Steven
Spielberg because it has that Spielberg glow
about it.
But every Robert Zemeckis film was executive
produced by Steven Spielberg and had that
Spielberg glow about it.
Tobe was a really good friend and I miss him
every day.
I got to watch him work on Poltergeist.
I was on the set.
His mark on the movie is indelible.
Steven Spielberg is a very powerful producer.
He hired Tobe because he loved Texas Chainsaw
When the storm is happening and all of the
coffins are coming up and spilling out all
the corpses and the like, it's very surreal and very
That I think is probably the most Tobe Hooper
scene in the movie.
And yet it's a collaboration of two incredibly
powerful and unique filmmaking minds who come
to the same destination from opposite directions.
I never wanted to remake The Thing From Another
That was one of my favorite movies.
I was a big fan of Howard Hawks.
I just never wanted to touch it and
along it came and it would be my first studio film.
I couldn't say no.
I thought well, what am I gonna do that's different?
And then decided well, one of the things is I can
go against the clich and actually bring
the monster out into the light and show it.
I can do the imitation part of this story
which was not done in the first movie.
Childs was like your strong silent type.
He didn't have a whole lot of words.
To have Roger Mosley to thank because I believe
he was the first consideration for the Thing
and then he got Magnum, P.l. and that changed
his world and mine.
Rob Bottin's work in The Thing was amazing
but it came at a huge cost to us.
Rob Bottin did an extraordinary job creating
the Thing that was morphing into this and
morphing into that.
It could look like anything that they wanted.
So, when they started designing the effect
sequences, they thought about it in terms
of this thing's been to a thousand different
The DNA contains stuff that looks like tentacles
and crab legs and spider legs.
That was just miles beyond its time and just
throwing all the rules out.
The most fun was Norris's head hitting the
floor and out come these little legs and eyeballs.
The best part of that scene isn't even the
It's everyone's fucking reaction as they just
They all turn and they're just like, "Are you seeing
this shit?"
And then they light it up but it's that moment
of like a real human reaction that sells that
whole scene.
The first time I saw the movie I went whoa...
The special effects and them being so out
front and explicit were the reasons that I
got criticized for The Thing.
The barf bag movie of July.
I have some problems with it.
The story is totally implausible and the movie
just basically is an excuse for this very
gruesome and repellent creature to gross us
It is the most nauseating thing I've ever
seen on a movie screen.
They wanted me to be more like the original
or classier.
The blood test scene is my favorite scene
in the movie.
It's just a great suspense scene.
The strength of one person or one group's paranoia
can spread.
It makes everybody look at everyone else
In fact, even the way you look at yourself.
It was a great Donald Moffat moment.
The first time that we heard, "Gentlemen, I know
you've been through quite an ordeal.
But when you find the time, I'd rather not spend
the rest of this winter tied to this fucking couch!"
We cracked up but we were also like Oh, like
freaked out.
That's my favorite moment in the movie.
I thought I don't think there's any more story
in the Halloween movies.
Why don't we veer off and do something
And that's what we did.
It shows you how wrong I can be.
There were a whole lot of people who
were deeply disappointed to put it kindly
that Michael Myers was not in it.
Everybody wanted more of the same.
And what do you get?
You get this kind of like company that's creating
Halloween masks that melt children's heads off
and turn them into like worms, snakes
and spiders.
I mean it is incredibly dark, man.
It's that whole plot to take over the world
through a holiday that everyone loves.
Torn Atkins in Halloween 3 is very interesting
to me because he's like a '70s anti-hero in
an '80s post-Spielberg plot which is an interesting
We find this den of iniquity and evil in the far north
reaches of California with (Zonal Cochran.
When we were driving through that town, we
felt like we were being watched.
It was really spooky creepy kind of town.
Garn Stephens, my first wife is in that movie
and she is Marge who's face is eaten in the
motel room while she's sitting there reading
and Stacy and I were in the next bedroom and
she was in this bedroom.
I always thought that was kind of awkwardy.
Three more days till Halloween, Halloween,
Three more days till Halloween Silver Shamrock.
Boy, did we hate it by the time
we were finished shooting it.
After Halloween 3 came out that sunk any idea of
doing Halloween as anthology stories.
That was the end of it.
But Halloween 3 was not a very big hit with
They wanted to see the guy with a mask and
the knife. So...
We'd already been conditioned to think
that Halloween equals Michael Myers.
If Halloween 3 was Halloween 2 it would have
been a hit and we would have a whole different
Halloween franchise today.
It should have never been called Halloween 3.
It should have just been called Season of
the Witch and it might have done better.
If John was able to mount a yearly or every
other year Halloween anthology, let's just
call it John Carpenter's Halloween. The expectation
was that John was going to give you yet another
iconic character.
That could have worked out just fine.
It just didn't work out that way.
Well, Tommy Lee Wallace I thought he did a
wonderful job directing and putting together
Halloween 3.
Nobody sets out to make a bad movie.
People have very much rallied to it and embrace
it, it's a good standalone movie by itself.
It doesn't need Michael Myers and never did,
and if they're disappointed tough.
Q is perfection to me.
I love seeing Q the winged serpent flying
over New York in all his stop-motion glory.
There's just some great Larry Cohen-isms where
there's like somebody on the rooftop doing
push-ups and there's a guy just going okay,
he's counting them off and then Q comes in
and steals one of them. It's so good.
It's such a weird campy movie. I love it.
We went to New York, I had one day's prep.
We got the helicopter the next day, we shot
all the helicopter stuff and when I brought
the picture to the special effects people,
they said to me oh, you did this all wrong,
you're supposed to come to us first.
And we outline it and we draw everything for
you storyboards and tell you where to put
the monster and where to put the actors and
everything is all planned in advance and you've
come in and shot the whole picture, all the
footage and now you expect us to put the monster
into it? And I say yes.
He shot with Dave Allen doing his stop-motion...
So poor David.
He had all these helicopter backgrounds bouncing
like this.
And he's got to try to figure out it how to put his
monster in it. But it works out great.
These guys who do these effects they're meticulous
guys but they have a very narrow focus
and not much of a sense of humor.
Creepshow is the reaction of the sort of the
Spielbergification of horror from two guys
in the cheap seats in Bangor, Maine and Pittsburgh.
So Stephen King and Romero get together and
they're going to make their funhouse horror movie.
It's unlike anything Romero had ever done
and it's unlike anything King had ever done
and I think that informs the energy of that movie.
It's five short stories, there's not a dud
in the bunch.
They are all moral fables.
Every single one of them.
The one with Leslie Nielsen deals with greed.
He wants to get revenge on the man who's
seducing his wife and stealing her away from him.
E.G. Marshall who wants to remain closeted
in his little insular cocoon.
Viveca Lindfors whose father treated her badly
but she still shows up for Father's Day and
she still goes to his grave.
Nathan crawling out of his grave is amazing.
The musical sting when the hand comes out.
It's magic.
Beyond the fact that has great effects in
"I want my cake."
You can't not talk about that segment and
not talk about Ed Harris's dancing.
It's the greatest thing ever.
I think that's one of the fun things about
'80s horror is you see a lot of actors who
now have gone onto do like prestige movies,
these big things but they're all in these
like weird quirky little roles in '80s horror
and you're like "Wow, that's kind of cool".
And just getting to watch like somebody like
Adrienne Barbeau who I knew from The Fog
playing like this crazy, ditzy, drunk lady yelling at
her husband all the time.
She was nervous about playing such a bitchy
Then you get to watch her get eaten by this
beast in the crate.
It's a movie that offers a lot for everybody.
I love Fluffy, I love the creature in the
box, I love Bedelia and her birthday cake.
And I loved seeing Ted Danson buried in sand
and all of that.
But the most memorable part of that is Stephen
King covered in meteor shit.
Yeah, meteor shit.
George Romero said is there anything in there
you would love to do?
I said yeah, I would love to play Jordy.
He said well, Stephen King's going to play
that role.
Would you do me a big favor and play the dad
in the wrap around, the beginning and the end?
Stephen King's son Joe King, he played my
son and I threw that comic book into the garbage
can out front and then he voodoos me to death
at the end over my cornflakes but I had to
smack him early on and Stephen was never out
of the room.
Tom, you're not going to hurt him, are you Tom?
You're not going to really hit him, are you
He is my boy, you're not going to, he's only
9 years old Tom.
And I said Stephen come on, I'm a professional
How do you wrangle the hundreds of cockroaches?
Some exotic cockroaches were allowed to escape
into the wilds of Pennsylvania.
Don't tell anybody.
It's such a pivotal movie that didn't get
them the credit they deserve I don't think.
Because in the years following that Twilight
Zone: The Movie comes out the next year and
then Tales from the Crypt comes out as
a series but I think it all stems from Creepshow.
With the success of John Carpenter's Halloween,
we did see a lot of films sort of come out
in response to that idea of well, if we have
this holiday and we can turn it into this moment
in the genre why not capitalize on that?
And we did see the onslaught of My Bloody
Valentine, April Fool's Day, Leprechaun basically
cashing in on St. Patrick's Day.
We saw a ton of Christmas horror come out especially
in the '80s with Silent Night, Deadly Night.
The recurring theme with having a holiday become
a horrific experience.
It's an obvious grab whether it's Carrie or
Night of the Creeps, these are prom night movies
but they go horribly different than
what you're expecting because it's supposed
to be your coming-of-age and celebration and
like prom night movies are transitioned into
adulthood almost.
Valentine's is supposed to be all about your
significant other and that smashing together
of that juxtaposition of what's supposed to
be good and light-hearted and celebratory
into holy crap, this is bloody and evil and
people are dying.
That idealism and that adolescence that comes
to a screeching halt when it slams into something
There's a universality to these moments in
the year and I think that's a good way to
sort of bring the genre into that fold.
The relationship of body to mind is a potent
one in Cronenberg's world and I think particularly
in the '80s he attacked it with quite a bit
of relish.
Cronenberg had a history of really getting
at the psychic horror around physical afflictions.
Videodrome was a step further.
Sort of saying we are entering a period of
humanity of human existence, cultural existence
that is going to fuse technology and the body
in organic ways.
One of the most potent sequences to me is
when James Wood's character sticks his hand
in the vagina-like slit in his stomach that
has developed.
His hand becomes a flesh gun.
You have a very Gigeresque image of machinery
and flesh and metal becoming one and shooting
out cancer bullets basically that cause a
decay of the flesh of the victim which you
shoot with these bullets.
And it's unbelievably imaginative and potent
and allegorical and repellant all at the same
time but devilishly entertaining.
It's all about videocassettes and you look
at it now and you just think gosh, it is so
like arcane but it's really genius because
it really was predicting in many ways where
culture was going and how much more involved
the average consumer was going to become
pre-sort of where things went in the
information age.
And Oblivion is this kind of cross between
a cult leader, a political figure and a complete
low-grade huckster.
It's predictive of the darkest side of the
Reagan era of like where those types of people
would lead us as a culture.
The movie really encapsulates the beginning
of the transition of global culture from analog
into digital, from how the consumer took in
their media and what impact that had on you.
No matter how often you see it, it will get
under your skin.
Well, horror films of the '80s even the ones
made on slightly higher budgets still had
that kind of down and dirty feel about them.
They didn't feel like commercial movies even
if they were being made by the studios.
And you had a lot of directors like Tony Scott
for example doing The Hunger and bringing
a very different kind of European aesthetic
to a big-budget studio assignment.
The Hunger was such a sensual, sexy movie.
It was just melding this scary, creepy vibe
with you know vampires.
And it was all so kind of sexual and creepy
at the same time.
A lot of people dismiss The Hunger for being
nothing more than style.
I disagree because I think the movie is specifically
about style and about emptiness.
What's scary about it is the disposability
of relationships and how Catherine Deneuve
as soon as her lover becomes too old, she
can't even bear to touch him or kiss him.
Just puts him in a box stows him in the attic
moves on to the next one.
That's extremely horrifying and a universal
horror that all of us have experienced if
you live long enough.
You don't think of Psycho as a slasher movie
but that was what kicked it all off.
That's what inspired Halloween which inspired
everything afterwards.
Psycho was the beginning of my love of movies.
It was psychological, it was visual in ways
that you'd never seen before.
Before Norman Bates, Anthony Perkins, there
wasn't a serial murderer.
There wasn't a killer that had psychological
That's all Hitchcock and Joe Stefano.
It was inevitable that he would return in
the '80s because that was an era of cinematic
horror that celebrated the serial killer,
the slasher and he was the original, he was
the granddaddy of them all.
Richard Franklin came to me, an Aussie director
who'd done Road Games and said let's do Psycho 2
and I said you are crazy.
This is prior to sequels being a way of life
in the movie business.
Nobody wanted to do it because you knew you
were going to get ripped apart by the critics.
In Psycho 2 Norman Bates was afforded a great
deal of humanity and sympathy.
He's been released from prison.
He served his time, gone through his therapy
and he sincerely kind of apologetic for having
snapped and killed all of those women and
his mother.
And he's just trying to make a go of it, trying
sincerely to be the best version of himself
but society won't let him be.
And so, they turn him into a monster again
so by the end of that movie he is sort of
returned back to square one.
Everybody's dying around him but he doesn't
kill anybody but we don't know that to the end.
He finally does kill somebody, this little
old lady who had missed that she's his mother
and she's been doing some of the killings
and he serves her poisoned tea.
And as she starts to gag and die in the poisoned
tea, he picks up a shovel and brings it smashing
down on the back of her head.
And it's the first time that he's killed
in the entire movie and you realize that
he's totally now totally insane.
I remember having to audition and screen test
for a movie off this giant book that intimidated
the crap out of me.
I was supposed to read before I auditioned
and was like this is a movie about a mom
and a kid are stuck in a car with this dog?
It's like oh, yeah, that's actually pretty
For 2/3 of the movie it's two people in a
car, right?
If you get out,you're dead and if you stay in like no
one's going to find you and you're dead.
And it's sort of like the original Escape Room.
Anytime we put a young kid in a scary story
it really brings it home because you never
want harm to come to a child and I think that
resonates on a biological level with every
human being.
I was more terrified of Cujo than I was of
The terror felt real, the panic felt real.
You could feel the heat, the stifling stagnancy
of being inside that car with them and the
desperation of well, how do you get out of this?
And as an adult it's interesting because now
I watch it and I feel kind of bad now for
Cujo where as a kid I was like you know,
screw that dog and like now, I'm like oh,
but he got bit and I feel bad for him now.
So, it's interesting but as a kid Cujo was
And I think that's what makes Stephen King's
stuff so great is that he knew how to prey
on your fears and it wasn't always the same
Sleepaway Camp is such a great little film
because you're not expecting a lot from it,
you're thinking oh, it's another campground
killer film.
It's mostly like younger kids that are getting
killed and that's such a big no-no today.
It's really scary. It's really done well.
It's got some amazing effects for such a small
little film and it's just really entertaining.
Sleepaway Camp breaks all the rules.
It's an upside-down slasher and I think that's
part of its appeal.
All the males are sex objects.
Look at those camp counselors in those booty
shorts that cut off all the circulation in
their you know genitalia.
The females in the movie are all monsters.
And of course, it has that final shot that's
one of the most memorable moments in all of
horror history.
I remember watching it with a bunch of friends
for the first time.
We knew nothing about it.
Before the internet was spoiling everything
and back then we had no idea.
We are like hey, this Sleepaway Camp a horror
movie in the woods and we're watching it
and enjoying it and then the end came.
Me and all my friends were just, What?"
Christine came along after The Thing and it
was a Stephen King novel haunted car movie.
It just seemed right to do.
Do we live on? Do we have a spirit?
Can it live on in a 1958 Plymouth Fury?
That was taken on by Carpenter and he made
it his own.
It's so lean, it's mean, it really gets to the
nitty-gritty of what you would want out of
a movie about a killer car.
And I think Keith Gordon actually gives one
of the best performances that we've ever seen
in a horror movie of the '80s.
There's a scene in Christine where the bullies
had just destroyed the car and the kid is
standing in front of the car and he says, "Show
me" and just the music kicks in and it's like...
Show me.
Christine put itself back together again.
We had to figure out how that worked and was
convincing so we pull the car in and shoot
it in reverse.
We've got hooks on the car and you just crush
it and then in reverse, it opens -
it becomes.
It worked out pretty well for us.
It's an amazing effect for something so simple
but it's done so well and matching that up
with his score.
It just works perfectly.
I'm getting like goosebumps thinking about it.
It's so good.
I never wanted to work in 3D.
It's just a gimmick deal, it always has been.
I was always intrigued about what 3D could
be and I'm still waiting for it.
The first 3D horror movie I saw was actually
one of the 1950's classics, Creature from
the Black Lagoon.
The Gill Man had a huge impact on me as a kid.
3D lasted only a very short time in the 1950s.
There was this revival of 3D that began with
the movie Comin' At Ya!
That kind of kicked off this whole wave of
new 3D movies that were done in the 1980s.
Producers saw this as one more way to make
a little more money.
You had a number of franchises that happened
to be up to their third sequel.
So, it just seemed to make sense that hey,
we'll do version 3D.
I like where things come at you, popcorn
comes at you, harpoon comes at you,
and it was spectacular.
Really notable first off because this was
the first time that Jason Voorhees actually
put on the hockey mask.
Every few minutes something pokes you in the eye.
There are so many 3D moments in this movie
they find reasons for characters to have yo-yos
and baseball bats and all kinds of fun stuff
that they can stick into the camera and then
there are some really great 3D deaths.
It messed with the storytelling because you
had to wait for the 3D gag so people go oh, look
there at the machete.
There's a character who gets speared on a
Probably the greatest moment in the film is
when Jason squeezes a character's head so
hard that the guy's eye pops out right into
the camera.
The first horror 3D movie in the '80s wave
was Parasite.
It marked one of the first screen appearances
by a very young Demi Moore.
I have a pair of Parasite glasses here.
It was shown in polarized 3D.
Directed by Charlie Band released by Embassy
This is a promotional kit that they put out
for the movie, a pop-up promo that shows you
the Parasite.
Also released in 1982 was a picture called
Rottweiler also known as Dogs of Hell or Rottweiler
The Dogs of Hell.
Genetically modified dogs that have been trained
to be military weapons that end up in this
small North Carolina town where they go on
a killing spree.
These are Rottweiler glasses.
3D can enhance a good movie but if you're
already starting with a dog the 3D isn't gonna
really do much for it.
Amityville 3-D came out in 1983 directed by Richard
An early screen role for Meg Ryan.
There's a pit in the basement that apparently
leads to hell.
There are some really good 3D moments in the
And the pipe comes right through the windshield
and ends up sticking right into your face.
There's a swarm of flies that's sort of composited in
and meant to look like it's coming off the screen.
The moment that everyone remembers, this demon
pops up through the hole in the basement floor and
grabs one of the characters.
The big three of the '80s 3D horror films were
the ones that were all the third sequels.
So, the studios found interesting ways to promote
these 3D movies and Jaws 3-D was no exception.
Another pop-up where the shark comes right
at you.
The third dimension is terror.
Which I think this would have been a better
movie if it wasn't called Jaws and they just
called it like Sharks in 3D or a Shark Attack -
Coming at You.
Young Lea Thompson made one of her first screen
appearances as one of the water skiers
who gets attacked by the shark.
The plot takes place at this aquarium sort
of Sea World kind of place.
Probably the best 3D moment in the movie the
shark has already eaten Simon MacCorkindale
and he was holding a hand grenade.
The arm with the hand grenade is still in
the shark's mouth so they reach in and pull
the pin and the grenade goes off, blows up
the shark and all these shark bits come flying
right at the camera including the shark's
Having a giant, bloody underwater explosion
in 3D that may be why I give that 3D movie a pass.
I don't think that the 3D really helped any
of these movies improve their box office.
For the most part the studios were using it
just as a gimmick.
I should note that in 1991 the sixth movie
in The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise
Freddy's Dead, the big climax of the movie was a 3D
It's kind of a shame that they waited until
the sixth movie to do it rather than having a
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3D back when they
could have.
Children of the Corn has taken from the Nightshift
Stephen King short story and stars a pre-30
something Peter Horton and pre-Terminator
Linda Hamilton as they find themselves in
the wrong the Nebraska town at the wrong time
with the wrong kids.
If you're a kid who grew up in the '80s and
somebody says to you Malachi or Malachi you
knew exactly what they meant.
The idea that kids would band together to
kill an entire community of adults at the
behest of this other entity, that's horrific.
I never saw people my age as a threat and
that was a movie where I realized like oh,
people my age can do horrible things.
In the whole movie they're talking about he
who walks behind the rows and when you finally
see him it's just a big mound of Earth that's
moving around and its actually kind of impressive
for 80's effects. How'd they do that?
The effects in the climax are kind of cheesy
but if you're a King completist there's enough
in here to make it worthwhile.
It goes back to Lord of the Flies kind of the same
type of story - kids unsupervised are evil.
It's automatically scary.
In the fourth installment of Friday the 13th
we get Joseph Zito directing a new cast of
fresh meat ready for slaughter by Jason who's
now in his full hockey mask mode after picking
up his new look in the last installment.
It's a great cast that features Kimberly Beck,
Peter Barton and Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis
who's a recurring character that we will see
two more times.
It's also got a pre-Back to the Future Crispin
Glover who's got the best dance moves I've
ever seen this side of Footloose.
Crispin's dance is just one of the greatest
moments ever.
He gives it his all and I appreciate that.
Amazing, like one of the greatest scenes in
all of cinema history.
I don't know if anyone could do that dance
but it's something like...
It's something like that. I don't know man.
Ask him.
I love that little Corey who was obsessed with
like monster masks and he has his little computer
like whoo, he's like a monster nerd like me.
That's pretty cool.
Ted White takes on the Jason Voorhees chopping
chores and I know everyone loves Kane Hodder
and so do I but Ted White might be my favorite
Little monster man found courage and took
Jason out in a big way.
I mean who knew shaving your head would have
that effect?
Corey did.
The effects work of that machete going into
the side of Jason's head and then he falls
on it and his head like slides down the machete.
That has got to be some of my favorite special
effects in any horror movie.
I love that machete face slide man.
So, there was a kid in the candy store kind of thing
happening in the early '80s with Stephen King adaptations.
Everybody's got to do a Stephen King adaptation.
We're going to do The Shining, we're going
to do Christine, we're going to do Cujo
and Firestarter was part of that wave.
John Carpenter decides he wants to make Firestarter
because it's got an anti-authoritarian streak in it,
it's a road movie and he's a westerns
guy so he loves that.
It's got a father-daughter dynamic - an emotional
He's super excited about that.
But The Thing was received poorly.
The Thing bombed and John Carpenter got
Firestarter taken away from him as a result.
Universal fired me from Firestarter because
by the time The Thing came out the horror movie
market at that time had shrunk.
Teenage boys who couldn't get in, they were
too young.
That was the market for horror films.
You couldn't do a big budget horror movie,
you had to do a little tiny one.
And I couldn't do Firestarter that way.
Dino De Laurentiis comes in, puts in I think
Mark Lester as the director.
Firestarter has its moments and all of the
behind the scenes stuff can't take away from
those exchanges between Drew Barrymore and
David Keith.
George C. Scott is in there doing his
whole crazy ponytail blind eye thing and it's
a lot of fun to watch.
Art Carney and Louise Fletcher as the kindly
It's really well cast, it's a nice-looking
film and the pyro effects are pretty good too.
It's just, I will always lament what could have been.
Gremlins made a huge impression on me.
It took place at Christmas and the father
gets the gremlin for his son as a gift.
That influenced me with Child's Play.
The obvious takeaway for me personally was
the animatronics and just how sophisticated
they were.
Those puppets Gizmo, Stripe etc...
They all had distinct personalities.
It became obvious to me with that film, there's
nothing that a writer could write that a good
animatronics team and team of puppeteers
couldn't actually put on camera.
Gremlins is a kind of an anarchic movie.
It started out as a low-budget horror film
because Spielberg wanted to create his first movie
for Amblin and he wanted to do it in a genre
that he knew would be successful.
But as the picture went on and he got studio
backing for it, it became apparent that it
was going to have a smaller audience the more
gruesome it was.
We shot material we didn't use.
There are shots missing in the kitchen where
morn stabs the gremlin with a knife,
There was a shot of the gremlin writhing with a
knife in him. They took that out.
When Glynn Turman, the science teacher gets
killed by the gremlin in the movie you just
see his rear end with one needle in it but
in what we shot was his entire face covered
with needles like Hellraiser.
Once you look at what you've got, you say
well, okay, what kind of movie is this becoming?
And it was obvious that this was a much more
whimsical movie than a slasher horror movie and
so we toned all that stuff down and even then,
got lots of criticism for like you're making
a horror film for children, it's horrible.
But kids like it.
And it's remained remarkably popular.
The problem with the Gremlins was that we were
inventing the technology as we went and so
many things that were called for in the
script were impossible to do.
Gizmo, the little fuzzy character who originally was
supposed to turn into Stripe the bad gremlin and
then at the last moment Steven Spielberg got
the brilliant idea which I am convinced is
one of the reasons the picture still is popular
that Gizmo should be in the whole picture
and he should be a hero's pal and we had no
way of making him work.
He was made to run for one reel and then all of a
sudden it was like now he's the star of the movie.
So we had to do a lot of quick R&D to try
to figure out how to make him a character.
The one scene that was really complicated
was the scene in the bar with Phoebe Cates.
We had to have her there and so we waited
and shot it at the end of the picture after
everybody had gone home and we just spent
one week in this bar with these puppets soaked
with beer and popcorn, making up gags basically.
Well, what would happen if there was a flasher
What would happen if there was a Frank Sinatra
And it took forever.
I mean it was really a long time and the smell...
I can't tell you how awful it smelled.
Of the three great slasher villains of the '80s,
Michael, Jason and Freddy people argue who's better.
There's no question that the best character
was Freddy Krueger.
Wes Craven created a well-rounded villain
that comes out of the nightmares of children.
He's a child molester who can also kill.
There's nothing scarier than that.
Wes was a visionary.
A Nightmare on Elm Street was so brilliant.
It came at the right time when the slasher
film was really starting to get a little tired.
All of a sudden it just wasn't a guy running
around with a knife killing people.
That really changed the direction of horror films.
The reason I think that it has such a powerful
effect on people it's because there's not
one person that doesn't have a dream but doesn't
have a nightmare.
So, it was a reality there.
Wes Craven was a very well-read and intellectual
I would say every scene has a much greater
significance philosophically and a worldview
that talks about the loss of innocence,
how you approach fear,
the subconscious and the power it has over
everything that we do.
I don't know of any other character that has
the wits and the intelligence that Freddy has.
When I read the script, it didn't occur to
me that he was that evil.
Like oh my God, this is hideous.
I think Tina's death scene might be the one
scene that makes Nightmare on Elm Street not
only really scary but really great.
It was so sad and heartbreaking that when I saw it, I
realized like wow, we're in a totally different league.
And there were shots that were shot that Wes
didn't include that just went over the top
and I think Wes realized they can't go between
the young girl's legs more than once in a movie.
He does that in my bathtub scene which was
completely like crazy at the time to think of that
shot. The camera just where it's located was
extremely provocative and menacing but also it was
definitely raising the bar for kind of the sexuality
and brazenness of that young girl situation.
So, Nancy Thompson as a character is incredibly
virtuous but she's by no means perfect but
I think the virtue she embodies the most is
her ability to face fear which everyone is
struggling to do that every day of their lives,
Robert Englund, everything he did was studied
and measured and he did it for a reason.
He used the glove really carefully and it
was always choreographed exactly when he would
open up his fingers when he would clank
them together.
He was just so generous as an actor.
He never wanted to be in the spotlight ironically.
It backfired obviously on him because everyone's
watching Freddy.
You want to think if everybody was gone that
you would figure out a way to survive.
Tom Everhart when he was writing this, he
took some of his daughter's friends out and
he said okay, it's the end of the world what
would you do?
And this is a lot of stuff that they told
him that they would do.
He swears to God that this is not a social
Of course it's a social commentary.
It was a low-budget movie.
I thought this script was very funny.
I had no idea we were going to end up
encapsulating the '80s.
It put me in bright colors because I was the
last thing alive that was pretending like
everything was okay.
It was red and fuchsia and turquoise and they
had Catherine Mary Stewart who played my sister
in drab outfits because she knew what had
All those fashions, I mean that's just what
we wore.
They built that cheerleading outfit for me
so that it fit like a glove first of all because
cheerleading outfits...
The one I wore in Fast Times at Ridgemont High did
not fit me that way.
Cheerleader with an Uzi.
I don't know that I can explain that.
When I did it, it made perfect sense to me.
In that scene where I start to cry. We're gonna cut
that scene.
That's her arc.
That is the point when she admits that she
knows, because at one point they were just
going to kill her.
She's just going to be annoying and
she was going to die.
They went no, because she's like one of the
most relatable characters.
There's a magic on a movie where everything
could be right but it just lays there flat
and then you can have unknowns and $5 to make
something with and just the chemistry or whatever
weird thing that is... boom! And that's why I
think we all love it.
One of the most scary things about horror
movies is having this villain who you can't
reason with and you're sure that you're going
to die.
They're going to kill you.
Oh, there were so many villains in the '80s
cannon that you were really into.
I gravitated to a little bit of the silly
so I thought the Critters were really cool.
Gremlins were cool.
I always loved monsters.
The Tall Man kind of came into his own in
the '80s, didn't he?
Phantasm always had that kind of cult status
but when Phantasm 2 came around
that was rock and roll.
'80s horror was a good time for villains because
it started to get a little heightened.
It started to get a little cartoonish and
maybe little campy, a little colorful.
Greg Stillson in the Dead Zone.
He's very much on my mind these days.
I love the one-two punch of Dr. Hill from
Re-Animator and Dr. Pretorius from Beyond.
Real old-school almost Karloff-like in the
way that they come across.
Norman Bates is a guy who lives next door.
Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees,
they were all exaggerations and they were
mythologized Slashers.
In the case of Freddy Krueger, he was burned
in a fire and is scarred.
And Jason Voorhees also horribly scarred but
hidden behind a hockey mask.
And Leatherface is literally wearing the faces
of victims that he killed. But in Norman Bates
he's the boy next door but capable of the
most horrendous murders to protect himself
and his family.
He was a little mad and we all go a little
mad sometimes
was his motto and it should be his T-shirt.
Mentally unstable people with childhood traumas
who then manifest those traumas into real
life horror shows.
For me Norman Bates was kind of a real reflection
of things that could happen and that is scary.
My favorite '80s villain is Edward Herrmann
from Lost Boys.
It was M. Night Shyamalan before M. Night
It was that twist where you're like, Nooo...
Out of nowhere, he is the main vampire.
What the fuck?!"
You watch that movie now with that knowledge
and it changes everything.
Everybody else is just so overt in their evil
whereas he... he's the cunning guy.
If the killer wasn't over the top then the
kills were.
The Friday the 13th films are the backbone
of horror in the '80s.
The fact that there were so many of them in
the '80s, that's pretty impressive.
Audiences wanted that character back so many
Throughout the series of the films the makeup
is completely different but you know what?
The fans don't give a shit.
They just want to see Jason again and that's
why there has been twelve Friday the 13th films
basically and they got to do one more.
Michael Myers has spanned over several films
It's evil personified.
Yes, you could go off all day about how the
sequels are and whether you like Part 5
or 6 or whatever or the Rob Zombie films
or anything but still that character just remains.
It's an iconic image that just is part of
the Horror Hall of Fame.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
There's me and Freddy and whatever and whatever
that come out and that people just loved to
revisit the characters and stuff like that.
This is what made them happy.
Pinhead's like an incredible character in those
movies because he's genuinely terrifying.
I mean here is a guy that has like a hundred
nails stuck in his head, comes from hell,
dressed in like BDSM leather outfit and just
wants to play with you until you've been ripped
to pieces.
He's not hiding around a corner waiting to
jump out on you with the stiletto blade.
There's a whole process that goes on here.
You have to be interested in the idea of exploring
pain and pleasure.
You have to have the right motivation behind
the thumbs to make Pinhead ultimately interested
in you even then he wants to stop and discuss
the weather and the price offish with you.
It's the dark dirty corners of your mind and
your heart and your soul that he's really
interested in.
Then we might get down to the hooks and the
The '80s spawned a lot of franchises.
I mean Chucky was kind of a badass bad dude
and super funny and fun to hate.
Chucky hides in plain sight.
He just sits in the scene with all of the
other characters and they have no idea that
there is a ticking bomb in the room with them.
Who was the better antagonist?
Jason, Michael Myers or Freddy?
In my opinion there's no question the most
complex and the most well-written of the three
is definitely Freddy Krueger.
How do you not love Freddy Krueger too?
I mean come on, he started out as something
different in the first movie then they moved
away from that.
He killed children and yet we held him up
on this pedestal and there were dolls and like
all these things that were for kids,
marketed for kids.
A talking Freddy doll.
This is a child killer people.
Obviously, he runs the gamut from being really
scary to being really corny across all the
different films.
But Robert Englund really brought a sense
of style and charisma and just this attitude
to this character.
I respect how hard it is to create an iconic
figure and marketing it to kids is the best
way to do that and certainly with Freddy that
is a giant piece of his successes.
The marketing, the records, the gloves, the
shirts, the hats, the costumes the...
Gosh, you can buy a onesie that has Freddy
on it.
You can buy so much with Freddy on it and
that really was the key to his success.
And then everybody else were like oh, there's
the formula for that.
And the hockey masks, the chainsaws, it all
becomes this big marketing extravaganza and
it works to make iconic characters, it really
does work.
Company of Wolves is magical.
It takes little red riding-hood and turns
it into something really provocative and Freudian.
It has to do with red dresses and menstrual
bleeding and werewolves.
In this one the wolf head emerges out of the
human mouth and that transformation takes
place in a totally different manner than you've
seen before.
It's still makeup effects and it's still puppetry
and change-o head type technology but in a
totally different way.
It's a really special movie that not enough
people have seen.
Company of Wolves was I thought a really
interesting movie.
I was a little miffed when Neil Jordan said he didn't
want to make a piece of shit like The Howling.
So, it kind of prejudiced me a little bit
but it's a good movie.
The Stuff which is a blob movie basically
is about killer yogurt and it eats you.
It manages to be hilarious and scary at the
same time.
It's a comment on consumer society except
you're not consuming the stuff out of the can
the stuff out of the can is consuming you.
It's terrific.
If you want to make a movie about American
industry producing products that poison
the public that would be a wonderful movie but
nobody would go to see it.
Then you take the same idea and you may get
ice cream that they're putting out in the
marketplace that consumes you from within
and now it's an entertainment movie.
Sell your message at the same time as you
The whole idea of our picture was that people
go out and buy this product and eat it and
become addicted to it and love it.
So, it was about everything else that's addictive.
Michael Moriarty was remarkable in the first
picture we did together which was Q and
nobody could have been better.
So, naturally I would want to work with him
We did the same thing as Fred Astaire and
that famous dance routine where he danced
on the ceiling.
They turned the room; we turned the room 360
degrees upside down.
The only difference is that in this one it
was on fire.
I beat this stuff with a stick.
When it didn't want to do what I told it to
do, I didn't care.
When no one was looking, I'd give it a couple
of whacks and that got it's attention and
it pretty well did what it was told after that.
With actors it's one thing because they have
feelings and they have agents and they have
lawyers but the stuff was totally mine.
I could beat the shit out of it.
My father was one of the first horror hosts in the
country in Pittsburgh, his name was Chilly Billy and
he had a show called Chiller Theater. And Night of
the Living Dead, my father was in it.
George was a master and he was always ahead
of his time.
As everybody says a giant of a man, a tall
teddy bear.
He was approachable, he loved the actors,
he gave us freedoms.
Sarah was holding it tight, trying to hold
it together.
She had to hold it together.
She was a scientist trying to figure this out how to
deal with all these jerk guys in the military.
She had warmth and compassion but mostly you
don't get to see that.
You see her harder exterior.
At the time people were trying to compare
Day of the Dead to Dawn of the Dead.
It was a completely different movie.
They were very disappointed and it was too
they would say or not enough gore although
at the end
Tom Savini and his crew did a beautiful job.
The practical special effects on Day of the
Dead are remarkable.
Greg Nicotero was a young guy on the show
and he was like 19 years old but obviously
very talented.
Dawn of the Dead changed my life forever just in terms
of never knowing where George was going to take us.
I was basically Tom's assistant so I ran
the department for him and ordered all the
supplies, hired the crew, all that kind of stuff.
He always wanted to use real intestines as
often as we could.
You can't get better than the real thing so
we would use pig intestines.
The big showstopper in Day of the Dead is
when Rhodes is torn apart.
The culmination of everything that we did
in that movie led to that moment.
Then they just have a feast on his guts and
his body and his fingers and his mostly the
guts inside.
When we shot that scene, we used rancid rotted
And I remember a couple of the zombies actually
took earplugs and stuffed them up their noses
because the smell was so bad.
When George yells cut everybody's doing this
to wave the smell of the rotting intestines
away from Joe Pilato's face.
We didn't know any better to just go out and
buy new guts.
We didn't want to spend the 8O bucks I guess
I don't know.
I think that the gore in Day of the Dead is
actually very appropriate.
It's over-the-top at the end of course it
is, that's George's humor.
That's what was so remarkable about George's
They get better and better with age.
Hot off the success of his Psycho 2 screenplay.
Tom Holland wrote and directed Fright Night
and took everyone by surprise.
It left the great movie monsters behind and
I wrote Fright Night in reaction to that and
also because I had grown up loving the Hammer
AIP vampire films.
I love Christopher Lee.
It stars William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse,
Stephen Geoffreys and Roddy McDowall opposite
Chris Sarandon.
What you do is to have a gonzo horror
fan look out the window and see his next-door
neighbor a vampire chomping down on somebody.
And then of course, if he's a horror movie
fan running around saying vampire, vampire
next door.
Nobody's going to believe him.
You can't make the villain all bad.
You have to add the ambivalence where there
are saving graces to the villain to make him
a three-dimensional character.
He's been given eternal life but he always
loses the one he loves.
Roddy McDowall kills it as Peter Vincent who's
a B-movie horror host named after Peter Cushing
and Vincent Price and he's forced to take
on the real deal.
It was a cool movie that actually had a sense
of history as well.
It had everything you wanted.
There was great gore, there were hints of
nostalgia with McDowell and that kind of hit
towards the Hammer movies.
I had the best effects crew extant in Hollywood
at that moment and Fright Night is full of
in-camera effects.
There's that final scene where Charlie and
Peter Vincent confront Jerry Dandrige in the
basement and Amy gets in the way.
And she says Charlie you told me that you'd
save me.
And then she comes back to him and when she
came back to him, I realized there was a huge
scare that was there.
I went to Steve Johnson and I said Steve give
her a shark's mouth that will scare the hell
out of every kid.
Then it ends up being the definitive image
on the one street and has become cosplay.
Who knew?
The Return of the Living Dead I think is such
a great horror comedy because it never stops
being horrifying but it's so gut-bustingly funny.
I remember a very significant moment of watching
The Return of the Living Dead when they brain
the thing and it doesn't work because then
everything you think you know is out the window.
And it's one of the first maybe meta zombie
movies that's playing with those expectations
where they take a moment to explain all the
rules that they learn from watching
Night of the Living Dead.
I'd thought you said if we destroyed the brain
it'd die?
It worked in the movie.
Well, it ain't working now Frank.
You mean the movie lied?
And then when those rules don't apply to the
situation you're in, it suddenly becomes...
very anything could happen.
They weren't the mindless flesh eaters.
They were fast, they were smart, they were
not what you were expecting.
They're killing the paramedics; They're killing
the cops.
And one of them gets on the CB radio and is
like Send more cops."
And it's just hilarious because you've never seen
that in a zombie movie before.
The Tarman scene,
I remember looking at it and thinking I had
no idea how they did it because something
so specific is happening with the anatomy
of that thing.
It's just one of those accidentally iconic
moments of horror with the design,
with the actor, with the way he was carrying
It's an indelible image of '80s horror.
That woman corpse that they cut in half, it
was made by a friend of mine Tony Gardner
who has done Chucky for the last few movies.
They tie her down and have this conversation
with her. They say, "Why do you want brains?"
And she says...
"It makes the pain go away."
That to me is one of the most horrifying concepts
I've ever heard in a horror movie and so hilarious
at the same time.
I find that movie fascinating.
What can I say about Howling 2?
I can say that Christopher Lee apologized
to me for being in it.
I can say that to whatever Phillippe Mora was
thinking, I don't think it probably got on film.
It does have however Sybil Danning's dropping
her dress 72 times during the end credits
which you know, that counts for something.
The problem with Howling 2 is that it just
doesn't make any sense.
Particularly in that it completely blows the
ending of Howling 1 in which the newscaster
turns into a werewolf in front of the entire TV
audience and then in Howling 2 nobody saw it.
It's like it must have been the lowest rated newscast
in history.
And it was shot in Transylvania or someplace
like that. Ferdy Mayne is in it.
I mean there are things about it that are
interesting but it just doesn't make any sense at all.
When Stephen King focuses in on small-town
stories that's what I love as a fan.
Well, Silver Bullet was done by Dan Attias
who was one of my assistant directors.
It's a werewolf picture.
Another one of those movies '80s movies with
a kid hero.
Yeah, it's a pretty affecting movie because
a lot of these movies much like I Was a Teenage
Werewolf are parables about adolescence and Silver
Bullet it fits into that category I think much
more so than like something like The Howling or
An American Werewolf.
The Coreys were kind of everything in the
Silver Bullet was my first-time seeing Corey Haim in
anything and I just fell in love with that kid.
And I thought there was something very special
about him in that movie.
And of course, Gary Busey, he knows Uncle
Red with all his little Uncle Red-isms, you know?
And it made me scared of the dark again because
there's something out there.
Everett McGill as Reverend Lowe it's such
a great performance.
And it's interesting to me that in that movie
he didn't even have to be the guy in the werewolf
costume but he did it because he was so method.
I had no idea that Re-Animator would become
a cult classic.
We needed to find a way to separate our film from
so many of the others because everyone
was making horror films then.
Basically, Lovecraft doing his version of
Frankenstein it's about someone who has a
dream that's a very positive thing that turns awful.
It's sort of like be careful what you
wish for.
The idea of bringing the dead back to life
is something we all wish that we could do.
I like movies where the heads talk and The
Brain That Wouldn't Die.
I just think there's something about that
that's real horror to me.
Herbert West, he's so full of himself.
And yet we can't help but like him because
he's so enthusiastic and he always makes a
choice you didn't guess it.
I think the unsung power of Stuart is his
storytelling ability.
Stuart's gloriously outrageous, he just
goes for it.
It's big and it's brave.
So, we had to invent a female character for
Re-Animator and we invented the dean's
daughter Megan Halsey that Barbara Crampton
plays in the film.
And of course, the scene that got all the
attention is the scene in which we sometimes
call it the head gives head scene.
We knew that no one was going to do a scene
like this.
It was a funny thing that they were doing,
this visual pun.
And I thought I can't turn this down because
of this moment on screen that I'm going to
have to do.
If I knew then what I know now I don't know
if I would have been able to go through with
what I went through on Re-Animator.
It was quite exploitive.
It was really groundbreaking in a way.
That scene is still shocking and taboo.
The fortunate thing is it stopped before it
really gets bad.
It just goes right up to the edge there.
There wouldn't be Re-Animator without that
damsel in distress like that.
We wouldn't be talking about it.
Stuart Gordon's maybe signature achievement
in horror is the ironic tone, the over-the-top
pleasure of the horror.
The fun of it.
He brought kind of an experience to Re-Animator
that showed that a cheap horror movie
can be really good.
I honestly thought no one will ever see this
bloody thing.
What did I know?
Ash played by Bruce Campbell.
He was one of the first actors who become famous
in horror for playing a hero rather than a villain.
Horror stars from the 30s on down through
to Vincent Price and Christopher Lee etc...
were tended to be known for playing the monsters,
the villains.
The male horror stars were known for being
the antagonists and Bruce Campbell's a little
He was the Bruce Willis of horror.
He was just that every man who was like stuck
in a situation that was way out of his league.
He just said screw it, I'm not going to die.
He was known for being the guy fighting back
against the evil so that made him kind of
unique in horror history.
Every boy in the world must have wanted to
be Kurt Russell in The Thing.
He battles an alien creature in sub-zero
He's still badass all the way through even after
everything he's been through.
Tom Holland's Fright Night.
I always wanted to be like kind of a mix between
Charlie Brewster and Evil Ed
where I wanted to be the super horror nerdy kid but
I also wanted the girlfriend.
In Phantasm 2,
Reggie Bannister is a likable, relatable character
because he's basically playing himself.
He talks that way off set, "Hey, dude, man
how is it going?"
He's the same way.
I think that's why people like him.
Tom Atkins is awesome.
He's always like a reliable presence.
You see him turn up and a lot of Carpenter
stuff and then Romero borrows him for Creepshow
and then he's in Night of the Creeps as the cop.
He's great.
'Mo' Rutherford from The Stuff.
He is awesome.
On first glance you're like this guy's kind
of a scumbag and he plays himself a little
like aloof but then as the movie goes on you
really fall in love with him because you see
where he's coming from.
A lot of people will misunderstand him and think
that he's the doofus but really, he's outsmarting
He's such a good character.
So, when I think of '80s specifically and heroes,
I think of movies like The Monster Squad and
The Lost Boys.
These are movies that I could relate to as
a kid.
It's these cool kids that I wanted as my friends.
I wanted that tree-house.
I wanted that club.
Like I really wanted to have a Monster Club
and ride around on my bike and try to actually
take out monsters if I could find them.
In Lost Boys you've got the Frog Brothers.
They hung out at this comic shop and they
were vampire killers.
I was like man, this is me.
I've got my bike.
After this movie I'm going to go ride around
with my friends and try to recreate these things.
In the '80s the central character certainly
Friday the 13th and Nightmare, and Halloween,
you started to see really strong women who
start out to be victims possibly but at some
point, it turns.
They find a way to win the day.
Some guy doesn't come in and save them.
Yeah, it was not a time for kick-ass guys.
It was a time for kick-ass gals.
And it wasn't about women running away from
It was about women confronting it.
The '80s was a great decade for women and I
think people just sort of misconstrued what
horror was trying to say about female characters.
So many people who look at the genre outside
they think it's just about victimizing women
and I think they think it's about basically
living out these like lurid fantasies of violence
against women.
But for me as a kid growing up watching '80s
horror it was about watching women persevere.
Horror has a love-hate relationship with women.
They glorify it but at the same time completely
objectifying and slashing the girl in the nightgown.
So, there's something going on there.
I don't know what it is.
What is it?
I love Jamie Lee Curtis in the original Halloween.
You think she's just a babysitter...
Oh, no.
She has a quality of both being tender and
strong at the same time and that's a very
attractive combination.
How she became iconic I think is that when
she survives, she's there to protect the young
ones that she's in charge of and she survives
trying to save other people too.
She was very vulnerable but still strong enough
to fight back.
She was a fighter and so that was also something to
aspire to. But I can sort of hook in to
the idea of like oh, yeah, I'm a fighter too and
I can stand up for myself and I can take care
of myself and I can be brave.
So, there's a lot of that in there that I
think is really cool for women and for everyone.
The beauty of being a woman in horror is you're
an action figure.
You're running, you're jumping, you're playing,
you're proactive, you're taking command of
plot situations and scenes that women in ordinary
movies don't get to do.
For as much as people like to look down on
say the Friday 13th movies when you really
look at it, Friday 2 was about Ginny and it
was about Amy Steel being smarter than every
other person at that camp.
And she knew how to get into Jason's head.
She knew how to defeat the monster so to speak.
Barbara Crampton, the queen of low-budget
horror throughout the '80s.
She just came across as someone that's like
really strong.
She goes from a traditional girlfriend role
in Re-Animator to the de-facto protagonist
of From Beyond. She becomes the seeker of
that story which is a pretty cool transition.
Pretty emblematic of what Barbara has done
with that legacy since which is pretty cool to see.
Somebody like Nancy Thompson who basically
open arms at the end of Nightmare on Elm Street
is like come get me Freddy, let's do this.
And it was really Heather Langenkamp's movie.
She was an amazing force in that movie and
that performance is really strong and one
of the best renditions of the final girl ever.
She creates all these traps and she plans
out how she's going to trap the killer.
It's like some fucked up Home Alone style
horror nightmare.
So, she decides to lay the booby traps around
her house using an army manual called Booby
Traps and Anti-Personel Devices.
There's something so childlike about it that
I love it.
It's effective.
And you see that now in conventions people
dressing up as Nancy and drawing power from her.
There's like a real serious threat of women
who have survived PTSD and have survived sexual
trauma and have gravitated to these heroes.
It makes perfect sense. It's amazing.
If you look at something like Hellraiser with
Kirsty, her whole family life is just
one big Shakespearean mess between Julia and
her Uncle Frank and her father.
But in the end it's her resilience that ends
up sending the Cenobites back.
Are you going to be the type that does the
wrong thing and makes the wrong decision
or are you going to buckle down and think it
through and be a leader?
And I think those are our heroes and our heroines
and that's who you remember.
You remember the final person or the final
girl or the final hero or the heroine.
That's the leader that made a struggle, came
through, but these are all just iconic
hero stories anyway.
This is just our new literature.
The '80s were about the people surviving the
monster and somehow or another that got twisted
around where the monsters the star and the
people were incidental.
And that's what the term final girl reared
its head and it makes me sound like I'm
100 years old but I said in my day we call that
the star of the movie.
It's almost like we had to qualify making
these women the protagonist of the movie by
saying well, we're adhering to this formula
and she's the final girl and she's a scream queen.
But really what you've got is a genre full
of women protagonists which is pretty cool.
So much so that when it's a guy like Jesse
in Elm Street 2 or Charlie
in Fright Night, it's almost an aberration.
Scream Queen, Final Girl, it's just fan shorthand.
It doesn't really mean anything to me.
My gender is specific.
I am a woman.
I love living my life as a woman.
I love living my life in horror films as a
woman because the decisions and the instincts
and the actions I take are predicated on my
I don't act like a guy and I don't want to.
The fact that I'm physical, that I'm sexual,
that I'm an intellectual, that I'm spiritual,
all of those things are grounded in the fact
that I'm a woman so I don't necessarily want
equality of public perception or public acceptance.
When I think about the term final girl I wince
because it's still differentiating between
a final boy and a final girl.
We're going to be judged about how we fought
the monster and not because of the gender
that we were when we fought him.
Wes Craven was brave maybe to have a girl
be his lead but I don't think anybody would
give him any credit for it today.
Equal opportunity ass-kicking is what I'm
all for.
The openness of what gender means now is so
It is how fluid it is and how people don't
want to be identified by gender.
I'm so curious how this will play out in film
and the horror genre.
I look forward to seeing more transgender
more LGBTQ figures in horror and what they
will bring that will really bring an entirely
new dimension to horror movies.
That's what's going to be exciting.
I want to see that.
Well, we're going to shoot at the Beverly
Center and I went oh, this is going to be a
class act.
Chopping Mall is a movie with these robots in a
mall that are security bots.
The building gets struck by lightning and
it changes their algorithm and so they go
on a murderous rampage and there's a bunch
of teenagers that are in the mall.
They've broken into the one store and they're
all staying in there so they can drink and
have sex and whatnot.
They're then trapped in the store by the killbots.
It was called Robot.
I remember us all standing around hearing
that it was going to be called Killbots
and we all went...
We didn't sign up to do Killbots.
Then they ran that title in it and didn't sell.
And when we heard it was Chopping Mall, I
think that we all just died inside I guess.
Chopping Mall makes you think oh, people are
chopped in a mall and that sounds really cool but
nobody got chopped at all.
They got lasered by the robots but I guess
that's a moot point.
When we were all cast, we were friends in
a mall having a party sort of living the movie
that we were making.
They didn't shut down the mall.
We had to wait for the stores to close.
When everybody was out of there, we set up
really fast.
We shot until it was time for the stores to
Doing a movie at night, how do you even do
I've never stayed up like all night for a
month in a row.
How am I going to sleep during the day?
Suzee Slater's head had to explode from
being lasered by the robot.
That was a really cool kill.
If we want to get gleeful about kills.
My favorite kill is when I kill the killbot.
I definitely feel like I got the last laugh
in Chopping Mall.
The Toxic Avenger is basically a satire.
The movies that Michael Herz and I have made
it's all about the underdog.
We like comedy and we like social issues and
politics and we like naked people, men and
women of course, and we like mixing the genres.
So, The Toxic Avenger is not a horror film.
It has elements of horror.
It probably has the first full head crushing
scene in history.
The thirteen-year-old boy has his head crushed
by the wheel of an automobile.
The MPAA made us cut I think 2O minutes out
of the original Toxic Avenger.
The Toxic Avenger is a hideously deformed
creature of superhuman size and strength.
His weapon unfortunately is only a mop and
he can jump.
That's about it.
We thought that was amusing because the mainstream
movies of that time have all sorts of super-duper
weapons and sound effects and special effects
and we thought it would be funny just to have
it be a mop.
And the movie is an environmental movie.
So, what better weapon than a mop?
A guy wandered in here looking for a job.
I showed him the rough cut in the editing room.
He said you should call it, The First Super-Hero
from New Jersey.
A guy off the street.
Great idea. People loved it.
They're back.
It's almost like they're trying to capture
lightning in a bottle again but this time
it's the toy phone that has voices for Carol
Anne as the otherworldly Poltergeist forces
follow the Freeling family to Phoenix, Arizona.
Britt director Brian Gibson was trying to
make sense of this movie since Tobe Hooper
was out of the picture and Steven Spielberg
was focused on making more serious fare like
Empire of the Sun with a kiddy Christian Bale
and also probably wondering why the Academy
dissed him over The Color Purple.
This time they recruit Will Sampson as a Native
American shaman to show the white folks how
to triumph over cult creatures.
HR Giger designed two of the film's creatures
including the killer who knows what it is
that Steven barfs out after he swallows the
worm and gets possessed.
But don't we all get a little possessed when
we drink too much?
Poltergeist 2 definitely has its flaws but
it's worth checking out alone just because
of Julian Beck as Reverend Henry Kane.
He's so creepy with his little hat and sing-songy
You'll never forget that performance.
Next stop, Chicago.
Tony was probably the smartest actor that
I've ever met but he had a European art film
So, when they came back for Psycho 3, he insisted
on directing it.
Psycho 2 is a very respectful film.
It's sort of tiptoeing around a giant legacy.
Psycho 3 is crazy.
Psycho 3 is Anthony Perkins deciding that
he's not going to tiptoe around that legacy
anymore and he's going to go to 11 with it.
Where Psycho 2 is very sort of measured and
calm, Psycho 3 is colorful and garish and
weird and he bashes Jeff Fahey's
head in with a guitar.
It was sort of well-received at the time but I think
Psycho 3 is due for a massive reconsideration
because it's Anthony Perkins grappling with
this thing that he's had to live with for
20-some odd years at that point and decided
to own it which I think is a significant moment
in the genre.
Psycho 2 and Psycho 3 are miles better than
the remake of Psycho which is I wouldn't say
an abomination but I think it's just one of
the most misguided ideas for a movie
I've ever heard of.
Not that it's terribly made or anything like
that but it's just such a non-movie.
It's like, why?
And somebody said well, it's because kids
won't watch black and white.
And you know what I say? Fuck em if they can't
watch black and white. You have to remake the
movie with other actors? That's ridiculous.
What happens when a movie is made completely
driven by cocaine?
Maximum Overdrive has Stephen King directing
from his Night Shift short story Trucks.
His one and only time behind the camera as
a director King has since said publicly that
he was coked out of his mind for the duration
of the shoot.
He didn't know what he was doing and it shows.
Still, there's lots to love about this over-the-top
And of course, Emilio Estevez coming off the
Brat Pack and seeing him at the forefront
of Maximum Overdrive like look, I know it's
not a great movie but boy is it fun.
A comet passes by bringing all machinery to
life with a mind to kill naturally.
You have coaches getting pelted with soda
cans and just ridiculous over-the-top moments.
It's also fun because the cast features a
pre-Simpsons Yeardley Smith.
If it's anything great that came out of this
movie it's that killer AC/ DC soundtrack.
I'm the biggest supporter of Maximum Overdrive.
People hated the movie but listen, I derive
pleasure from watching that film and as well
as a lot of other bad movies and I think as long as I
recognize those flaws and can admit that,
Just let me have my thing man, I like it.
Tommy Jarvis had his own kind of three picture
arc in the Friday the 13th franchise.
He was played by different actors. Friday 6
begins pretty fast.
You got Tommy Jarvis, you got his friend and
a pickup truck.
They're going to the grave site to go dig up
Jason and make sure he's dead and I'm like,
why would you do that man?
Jason gets a resurrected in a very Universal
monsters fashion with the bolt of lightning
and he becomes zombie Jason.
When Jason returns and there's all these kids
at the camp, I was like, oh my God, Jason's
going to kill all these kids.
But when Tommy finally faced Jason in the
lake of fire and then like he drops to
the bottom of lake I was like yeah man, you
saved the kids.
That's all that mattered to me, just save the
kids because I was about the same age as those
kids and I went to summer camp.
So, I didn't want Jason killing me.
And if I knew Tommy took care of Jason everything
was going to be okay.
So many performances in horror in the '80s
were slept on because horror was disreputable.
Seth Brundle is one of the great anti-heroes.
I mean he's a hero but he's his own worst enemy.
Seth Brundle's speech in The Fly about his insect
politics may be the pinnacle of the decade for me.
Insects don't have politics.
They're very brutal.
He's hero and villain and he's victim all-in-one.
But I think a horror protagonist that gets
really overlooked in the '80s is Veronica from
The Fly.
She goes through a very powerful arc of falling
in love of a breakup.
There's an abortion subplot in there which
is pretty hot button for the '80s and she's
essentially euthanizing her life partner at
the end of the film.
And her sobs at the end of that are maybe
one of the most real moments of '80s horror
I've ever seen.
She's one of the most complex and most
well-rounded women protagonists in the genre.
Cronenberg's always rife with allegory.
The Fly, he will tell you and I agree, it's
not about AIDS, it's about death and dying
and watching someone who you love become a
different person by degrees.
And whether that's about disease and aging
or whether that's just about a relationship
running its course, I find The Fly to be a
super powerful allegory.
I think what's interesting about Night of
the Creeps, it's Fred Dekker's attempt at
making a current slasher kind of monster movie
but he's still jamming some things together.
I mean it starts with aliens for crying out
loud that get into your brain so now you've
got a zombie movie basically started from
alien origins and Jason Lively running around
on prom night. It's coming of age, it's sex, it's
dressing up, it's staying out late but now
you got to fight zombie aliens, slither
monsters in your brain that have killed your
best friend.
It was just so bonkers and so '80s.
My personal favorite of any film that I've
It's sort of like the Invasion of the Body
Snatchers only it isn't.
These little creeps, they look like slugs
and they shoot into your mouth when you open
your mouth to go ah, they're in and then they
eat you out inside and you're a zombie.
My job is to destroy them.
The girls are all waiting for their dates to arrive.
I walk to a window and I look out and I
say, well girls...
I've got good news and bad news girls.
The good news is your dates are here.
What's the bad news?
They're dead.
They're dead.
Anything that Tom Atkins says in that is probably
the best.
Creepy crawlies...
and a date for the formal.
This is classic, Spanky.
And of course, you got "thrill me."
So, that's just like what is that?
Thrill me.
Thrill me.
Thrill me.
Thrill me.
Thrill me.
That's an iconic statement that everybody
knows now that we can use at anytime that
you want to.
In the bathroom scene, there's a Monster Squad
easter egg.
On the back of the wall that was sort of I
guess the week that Fred had learned that
Monster Squad had got a green-light and so we
had his art department graffiti
Go Monster Squad on the back tile of that
We had the best time shooting that movie.
The biggest treat of all is an action figure
of Detective Ray Cameron with the shotgun
and a beer.
How about that?
Atkins - Man of action.
Tobe Hooper for me is a monumental figure.
He took risks as a filmmaker and he was making
a sequel to his original classic that was
not lost on me.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
It's just those three words just had such
power especially when combined.
But when I came out of Chainsaw, I was completely
dumbfounded. lt just completely blew my mind
and I realized that the cure for Chainsaw
was not to see it a hundred times and try
to dismiss it, but it was basically to join
the Sawyer family.
He had already been hired off of a little movie
he had made a parody called The Texas Chainsaw
A copy of it got to Tobe and Tobe hired Bill
off of that film.
And I was shocked that Chop-Top was a big
Now the idea that Chainsaw 2 had a great sense
of humor to it, I think really took people
by surprise.
One of my favorite scenes is the introduction
of Chop-Top and I come in to threaten Stretch,
Caroline Williams, the DJ.
She's back on the record vault getting terrorized
by Leatherface and I.G. Lou Perryman comes
in and l jump out of the record vault and
start pounding his head in with a claw hammer.
The hammer itself was foam rubber.
When Tobe would call action, I started pounding
on I.G.'s head.
And making up stuff like if I had a hammer
and a one and a two and a three
and just pounding away.
We've done about 12 takes and Tobe goes yeah,
yeah, that was great that was great.
Let's just do one more take.
I looked at Tobe and I said Tobe, "Am I doing
something wrong?"
And he looked at me and he goes oh, hell no,
Bill, I'm just having fun watching you.
Undoubtedly the signature moment in the whole
movie is the chainsaw between my legs.
Considered to be at the time an anti-feminist
moment, to the contrary I consider it to be
the quintessential feminist moment.
This is a woman who is being almost raped
with a chainsaw with an implement.
She manages to take that moment in hand and
turn it as much to her advantage as she can
saving her own life.
If she's killed in that moment the movie is over.
What does she do?
She's is going to go after him.
It sort of launches the rest of the action
for the rest of the film and that crazy inverted
bloody, nutty trip through Oz.
It's one of the moments I'm proudest of.
At the time we shot it all I could think is
I don't want my mother to see this movie.
In From Beyond, Stuart wanted to prove that it
was going to be a more serious movie.
The humor element of Re-Animator perhaps took
him a little bit by surprise so he wanted
to make sure that the tone of the next movie
didn't replicate that.
I remember getting that note a lot that this
is serious business this movie.
It's a very cinematic idea.
The idea that you can't trust your five senses.
That our senses are so limited, we're not
even aware of all this stuff.
There's these other dimensions and things
that are around us all the time.
It's a really great concept.
Lovecraft, he was a hypochondriac and the idea
of these invisible things that are in the
air that can kill you.
In From Beyond, Barbara plays the mad scientist
And Jeffrey Combs is the victim in a way From
Beyond reversed the roles that they played
in Re-Animator.
I was able to do a lot in that characterization in the
space of one movie because of the Resonator
I was able to get in touch with my deep urgings
and repressed feelings.
There's certainly more sadomasochistic kinky
kind of - that the whole movie is about stimulating
the people's sexuality.
All of that pent-up comes roaring out.
Barbara Crampton used to say and I used to
say I don't understand the expression
less is more and I used to say, I think it should
be more is more and she said no, Stuart with you
it's more is not enough.
Look at Jeffrey Combs coming out of Pretorius's
blobby figure and trying to save Katherine
McMichaels and then being absorbed by the
monster and it was all this gooey slime.
I had it all over me, Jeffrey had it all over
him,Ted Sorel as the monster had it on him
and it was just this grotesque disgusting mass.
And at one point the monster was like over
my head and trying to absorb me and suck me
inside and it was a dirty business I got to say.
I never felt so ugly or hideous like Quasimodo
in this makeup and you're in it all day.
Crawford has the pineal gland sticking out
of his forehead.
Stuart used to say, well it's a red asparagus spear.
No, it's a dog dick, that's what it is. It's a dog dick.
Each movie carries its own signature.
It's the sounds that begin to intrude on the
silence and on the darkness that create the
biggest element of fear in a horror film.
It builds the sense of anticipation that something
is about to happen.
Sound design is really what gives the movie
that kind of creepy feel.
For instance, just that image of Freddy in A
Nightmare on Elm Street 1 walking down the alley.
The knives against the wall and it just like
goes through you.
That's what creates really memorable lasting
memories of movies.
It's not just the image.
It's like a bass player in a band if he does
it right you never notice him but if he does it
wrong, you're like mad at them the whole time.
So, I think the sound design is the same way.
It's supporting this story and so you get
lost in the story maybe you don't really notice
the sound design.
We talk about the point of view camera in
Friday the 13th.
One of the things that makes that really work
is that there was a sound that went with that
point of view.
Every time you were around Jason that sound
would be there it'd be in the fabric of the music.
If you watch Friday the 13th or any movie
without sound, it wouldn't be that scary
but oh boy you put that music in, it's everything.
Our first screening of Friday the 13th which
was pretty much close to the final cut seemed
endless and so long and tedious because nothing
Cut to a month later and we had laid in the
sound, we'd mix the whole thing and it became
exciting... same footage.
But somehow or other your emotions get involved
because the music goes straight to your heart,
straight to your guts and it just, it tells
you how you're supposed to feel and where
you're going and whether you can relax, or be
afraid or whatever.
That's the vital, vital element of a very
good score.
A creepy scene can be so much better with very
cool music and Harry Manfredini is a genius.
The music delivers the drama.
Every film has tension, chase, kill.
Your job as a film composer in general you
have to deliver the story.
Whether it's a scare or a laugh, a kill or
someone crying.
Is it a better scare if it just jumps out
at you or is it a better scare if I'm really
leading to it?
Those are actual mechanical compositional
things that you deal with.
If you've already got the audience at a seven
like they're really agitated and they're really
nervous, the biggest hit you're going to get
is a three because you can only go to ten.
But if you pull the music out and you let
the audience calm down then you hit,
then you've got a chance of getting a seven on
the Richter scale of jump, ya know?
I think Harry doesn't get enough credit for his
discofied Friday the 13th Part 3 score.
Well, the piece of horror music I'll always remember
was John Carpenter's opening theme
from Halloween because I remember sitting
in that theater and the lights go down and
that music comes on with that pumpkin on the
side and that scared me.
Just the music got me frightened.
That was my first encounter with music that
really set a mood and got me creeped out before
the movie even began.
Well, I don't know if John invented using the
synthesizer for horror or something like that
but I mean he certainly capitalized on it.
We were both in a rock-and-roll group coming
out of film school so I know his background,
his father was a musician and he grew up knowing
how to play the piano, the guitar, the bass
and all kinds of things.
So, he's very accomplished.
He said he wrote that, the score to Halloween
for instance I think in an afternoon.
He just had an idea and this 4/5
time was the clever way of approaching it.
If you have that skill you can think in
pre-production about the music, you're thinking of
it when you're shooting.
The score then becomes a part of the life
of the movie to you, I think.
It started out as economics.
When you have a little tiny budget, you don't
have a budget for a big-time composer and
an orchestra.
You have to do it on a synthesizer and that,
I could do it myself.
So, it started in Halloween and then it became
a creative choice after a while.
Although, I worked with Ennio Morricone on
The Thing and he was just a brilliant composer.
What they ended up with was a very
Carpenteresque score that is very minimalist and
it's about the last thing you would have expected
from the maestro Ennio Morricone and it works.
That's some spot-on stuff.
If you've seen the movie and I play you that
opening, it just takes you someplace.
You're transported into this world that you
remember from that experience.
And it just builds that feeling of dread, the same
thing in Jaws.
They know how to get you.
After all this time I'm still moved by those
different elements of craft.
Sound design and in composition, the differences
that makes in your movie-going experience.
I really got into soundtrack collecting in the '80s.
Probably why I didn't get into pop music as
much because I was collecting soundtracks
and listening to a lot of that.
The Shining soundtrack has a snowed-in ambience
and you can't get out.
It kind of rolls over you and your captured
within the sound of the movie.
Haunting, very dark, it's a sound-scape throughout
the whole movie and I think the movie in itself
is also very cold.
They reinforce each other very well.
Super effective.
I think my favorite soundtrack that doesn't get
brought up a lot is Halloween 3.
I'm not talking about the little jingle on
the TV, I mean like the score that's in it.
It's one of the best John Carpenter scores
in my opinion.
Music is very important to horror and very easy to
get wrong in horror.
There's films that we watch that have just
been carpeted with stock music and you can
tell and there's music that has been more
carefully curated for a film and when you're
in the hands of say Howard Shore
with Cronenberg stuff.
That's an unexpected union that really works.
Howard Shore goes very operatic with
Cronenberg's scores
which you wouldn't think would be the case with
some of these films.
Every horror picture is different. There's the essence
of it, certain chord structures that appear
in all of them and many of them come from our
friend Bernard Herrmann.
I can go through film after film and tell
you how much he's affected the way music works.
So, when someone says to me that sounds like
Bernard Herrmann, I go thanks.
In Re-Animator when it opens with that kind
of sort of jaunty for want of a better word
rephrasing of Bernard Herrmann's Psycho theme.
I know a lot of fans have criticized Richard
Band for ripping off Psycho but it was always
intended as a homage.
There's supposed to be a credit at the end saying
with apologies to Bernard Herrmann or something
like that.
But that was another one where that music
comes up and right away I could kind of tell
that this movie was going to have kind of
a satirical kind of anarchic take on horror.
Just the way it used that music.
Bernstein's score for A Nightmare on Elm Street
is mostly electronic.
It sounds very basic but it's a theme that
sticks to your mind.
Simplicity and repetition is a great formula
when you don't overdo it of course.
I also really like some of this smaller super
low budget soundtracks.
So, The Slumber Party Massacre for instance,
the entire soundtrack was made on a thirty-dollar
Casio keyboard and three crystal glasses that
they would just sort of ping.
It cost nothing to make.
I don't think Giorgio Moroder is sitting here
thinking about let me make an '80s synth horror
score but in congress with David Bowie he makes
maybe one of the quintessential synths driven '80s
horror scores with Cat People.
It sticks in your mind and lingers in the
memory in a way that a more traditional horror
score would not.
It was almost like a musical version of passing
the torch.
Going from analog to digital, going from the
past to the '80s where everything was expanding
and that fingerprint, I think is on all of
those '80s movies.
The Day of the Dead score is just one of those
really haunting electronic scores.
Now at first when you listen to you think
is quite simple but there's actually
quite a lot of layers going on underneath that
main refrain.
It's got a very clinical feel Day of the Dead
and I think the music adds to that because
it's very stark kind of synth work and it
makes it almost more alienating like as the
movie if that had like an orchestral score for
instance, the whole feel of the film would
have been thrown off.
As far as the soundtrack of Hellrasier goes, it is to
me by a distance the best horror
score of the decade.
It's beautiful, it's monumental, it's a requiem
I have no idea why heavy metal was so prevalent
in 1980s horror movies.
I mean there was a glut of movies Slaughterhouse
Rock and Trick-or-Treat, they were based on
heavy metal characters and bands.
And then every sort of hair metal band in
America decided that they had to get a song
on a horror movie.
Rock and horror, they live so closely together.
For all its flaws the soundtrack to Trick-or-Treat
is fucking amazing and I will fight anybody
who says differently man.
All of those songs are insanely catchy and
really, really good.
Whether there was Bauhaus's Night of the Demons,
Tangerine Dream and The Keep
The Lost Boys had such a great soundtrack to it.
Dokken in Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Alice
Cooper in Friday the 13th Part 6.
These were speaking to the times.
They're speaking to the punk rock kids, they
were speaking to the new wave kids, they
were speaking to the pure kids that were growing
up on classic rock like I did.
It became the soundtrack to your own
life growing up.
The third Nightmare on Elm Street film Dream
Warriors has Heather Langenkamp returning
as Nancy Thompson to assemble a bunch of
dream warriors.
Kids who are in a mental institute who battle
Freddy Krueger in their dream with their dream
I feel like this is the Nightmare movie that
everyone thinks of when they think of the
series because the first one's a classic but
this one has all the fun and games of people
engaging with Freddy in their dreams and
fighting him.
The Dream Warriors were collectively all pretty
And I played the role of Kincaid, the first black in A
Nightmare on Elm Street to kick Freddy's ass.
Kincaid represented the minorities, not just African
Americans but he represented the minorities
all over the world and he was a hero.
Heather and Robert Englund was like big sister
and big brother to all of us.
She was a connecting dot to the Nightmare
on Elm Street movies that was needed.
It's got so many standout special effects
in it and one of my favorites is the giant
worm with Freddy's head especially because
that's when he first sees Nancy Thompson again.
We had three units shooting.
Two were for the principal actors with two
cameras. Chuck Russell the director would run
back and forth between each set.
And the third unit was specifically just for
special effects.
Kevin Yagher did Robert's makeup on the second
and the third one.
Rodney Eastman in Nightmare on Elm Street
3 he's stuck to a false bed with a false chest and
Bob Kurtzman and I had to rig all the
letters to say come and get me bitch and that
took hours and hours and hours.
There was a lot of creative killings.
My absolutely favorite scene was when Freddy
put Jennifer's head through the television
and said, "Welcome to prime-time bitch."
This is also the movie where the quippy almost
fun Freddy Krueger comes into his own.
The brilliance of a lot of it was Robert.
Robert really came up with a lot of those lines.
Robert Englund was the boogey man.
He was the Mummy, he was Dracula, he was all
of them because he could be in your dream.
My favorite Kincaid line was...
Let's go kick the motherfucker's ass all over
Wes Craven had his own style and he made sure
that an African American was the first to
survive a horror film and return to a sequel.
He had a great influence on horror.
Now we don't get killed.
I've always been kind of afraid of dolls.
I remember when I was a little kid somebody
brought a ventriloquist dummy to my house
and took him out of a suitcase and I was like
out of that room in a second and a half.
The thing I've discovered with dolls was of
all the movies that I've done a lot of people
consider it the scariest.
Dolls certainly was a poster before it was
a movie.
The little female doll that's holding her
own eyes.
That's just wrong.
And we made sure that we shot that scene because
of the poster.
I was not expecting to make that movie at all.
I was working on From Beyond and had a meeting
with Charlie Band and he said we'd like you
to make another movie using the same sets.
And he tossed me a script for what was called
The Dolloriginally by Ed Naha.
Stuart's idea was to do it all practically and to do
regular nice dolls but not scary dolls.
And he said well, it's what they do
that's scary.
You had literally hundreds of dolls coming
to life in this movie.
An army of dolls.
It wasn't just one doll.
It wasn't just like Chucky.
That turned out to be major undertaking
and we used to just about every technique
we could.
We used puppets, we used mechanical dolls and
we got Dave Allen to do stop motion for the
scenes where we couldn't get it done any other
way. It ended up taking an extra year to make
that movie.
It came out after From Beyond because the
effects were so difficult.
Well, the big scene in Dolls is the one where
the evil stepmother is killed by the dolls.
That's the first time you really see the dolls
in action and that was my wife Carolyn played
that part.
My own kids came to the set when I was working
on that movie.
The idea that I was taking their toys, their
dolls and turning them into killing machines
did not sit well with them at all.
There is one scene in particular.
The characters hear a rustling in the woods
and it's a teddy bear.
It's a kind of goofy teddy bear comes up out of
the woods and the character is like no, not
Then the teddy bear like transforms kind of
into a real bear and devours them.
It kind of sums up the appeal of what
that movie is.
Evil Dead 2 was a blast from the minute that
we landed in North Carolina to the minute
that we left.
Working with Sam Raimi was just a complete
experience that I'll never forget.
He was so imaginative, so funny. So much of
what he loves and what he does is based on
the comedy.
If you look at the original Evil Dead it's
pretty terrifying.
I think when we did Evil Dead 2 a lot of us were
assuming it was going to be as relentless as the
first movie just a lot better special-effects
makeup and Sam was a much more seasoned
director at that point.
He was really specific which helped me a lot
because there was no doubt in my mind what
I had to do for each shot.
He had the whole script planned out to a T.
I remember we got the draft of the script.
There was a rewrite and it's the scene where
Linda's head is in the vice in the tool shed
and the door flies open and Linda's headless
corpse comes in with the chainsaw over it's head.
And I was like this is the most terrifying
thing I've ever read. Because we shot that
early in the schedule,
I really hadn't at that point really understood
Sam's sense of humor.
The fact that every time blood would spray
it wasn't like you would never use just a
little syringe of blood.
You would use like a fire extinguisher.
I had like a couple of big trucks outside
the stage with hundreds and hundreds of gallons
of colored liquid.
Let 'er rip boys.
It must have been thousands of gallons and
Bruce was down there, there was no dummy,
there was no stuntman.
Very physical role.
Bruce Campbell was game for damn near anything
in fact.
We're shooting the scene where he's smashing
himself with the plates and he ends up by
flipping himself completely and that was all him.
That was not a stunt person.
He was up for anything and he did his own
makeup for the cuts and all that, that he wore
for most of the movie.
That was his own makeup.
The first one he was just kind of this hapless
guy just trying to survive any way he could
and then he became this very active and also
snarky hero in Evil Dead 2 and then
Army of Darkness later on.
I guess with Ash we just get the sense that
he's having a really bad day.
You don't feel like he's going to be scarred
for life because of what's going on.
Like losing his hand, his reaction is just
like oh, you bastards.
Everything in Evil Dead 2 is a very quotable
moment from groovy to who's laughing now and
he's like chopping off his hand with the chainsaw.
We were such nerds in high school.
I mean we would quote that movie till our
faces turned blue and no one knew what the hell
we were talking about.
When the hand comes off then it's running
around and flipping him the bird and then
I think it was the moment where he puts it
under the bucket and puts A Farewell to Arms
on top of it.
That's what I got what Raimi was going for
and that's also kind of a perfect moment in
horror comedy history.
Oh, we got to shoot the evil hand doing this
today and oh my God which one do we use?
We had a radio-controlled hand, we had stunt
hands, a hand that would come up palm up on
the floor where it had a prosthetic stump
glued to a guy underneath.
We had a palm down version with the same thing
another stunt coming out so the hand can move
I don't think you've ever seen anything before
that, that handled that kind of bridge of comedy
and horror so well.
Raimi was the first person who I think with
legitimate genius blended those things together.
It ushered in a completely new genre.
That was when a lot of us perked up when oh,
this is a masterpiece.
Rick Baker had been working with me ever since
I started making films.
So, naturally when it came time to do the monster
for It's Alive, I would give the job to him.
We didn't show it much.
I figured the more we showed it the less scary it
would be and the more it was in your imagination.
I wanted to make The Return to the House
of Wax and Warner Brothers said we can't give
you that title but if you want to make another
It's Alive movie you can.
We had a lot of adventures on the picture.
Michael Moriarty was yelling into the bushes
to the monster come on out, don't be afraid,
come on out.
And at that moment a wild boar ran out of the
bushes right at him right into the camera crew
everybody running for their fucking lives
and I'm yelling to the cameraman shoot it.
Get it on camera, get it but they didn't get it.
So, what the hell?
The monster was supposed to come up from a
pond so he put the guy in the rubber suit
into the pond. On action he submerged and he's
supposed to count for 1O and come up so we're
waiting a minute, minute and a half and the
monster has not yet come up.
One of the actors runs into the pool and dives
in and pulls him out.
His suit had filled up with water and he couldn't
come up so he would have drowned.
So, he was rescued right on camera.
Daniel Pearl Lee, the cinematographer and his
crew had this running joke of hiding a rubber
chicken in the scene.
I had to be on the lookout every day for a
rubber chicken before we started rolling.
One day I missed it and the chicken showed
up in the movie.
And that's what I like on this set is having
a good time and I want everybody to have fun.
With Lost Boys it was almost impossible
to see it working because it was such a bold
and almost audacious gambit which is let's
take all of these standard rules of vampire
lore and let's squeeze them through almost
like a big gaudy '80s teen sex drama, right?
And I was like that doesn't work.
That's like going to not work in spades.
It was Joel Schumacher and Richard Donner.
Donner was producing it.
I think we were lucky in the end that Joel, we
got somebody who had like such an ironclad
vision for how to actually make that work.
He wanted the horror.
What Joel did was he took those tropes and
he's like bridging the cinema of Nick Ray
and '80s horror and he's going to pull all
of this stuff together.
The vampires represent the dark side of the
other characters psyches.
Take all of the anxieties of being a teenager
coming into your own as an adolescent and
your sexuality, isolation of being the loner
in a new town.
I would argue an undercurrent of the AIDS
epidemic and just to some of the phobias that
were afflicting the country at that time,
the gay community and other communities and
then the sort of garishness of the
80's culture itself.
He's commenting on the garishness, he's not
just showing you the garishness.
With Lost Boys you have sort of the perfect
storm of horror meets rock and roll.
They were vampires that women wanted to be
with, guys wanted to hang outwith, everybody
wanted to be with the Lost Boys.
What I think is really great about a lot of the stories
in the '80s is there was a lot of stories
about single parents and there was a lot that
I really enjoyed about Dianne Wiest in Lost
Boys in terms of the struggles she was facing
raising Sam and Michael played by Corey Haim
and Jason Patrick.
There was something very realistic about the
struggles she was facing in this very sort
of fantasy world of vampires.
To play this character who doesn't really
say much, he's just this kind of teen, probably
a runaway, probably had a really fucked up
background and then just gets to eviscerate
people sort of like gets to expunge all of his own
anxieties like in these monstrous ways.
It was really satisfying.
We shot nights for a lot of our shoot.
We were vampires, we would go to bed in the
morning and get up at night and we had blankets
taped over our windows and we were sort of
treated like rock stars by the town.
So, we got up to a lot of trouble.
You have somebody like Ve Neill who comes
in to do these vampires with the assistance
of Greg Cannom and Steve LaPorte.
They're all dressed up like glam rockers
intentionally because she wanted to sort of emote
that 70s rock coolness of like Led Zeppelin but she
was like well, if they're gonna explode and
do these cool things like I want glitter in there.
So, if you go and look at them,
they're glittery vampires.
We had a full body cast of me that had like
the blood pumping through it.
If you actually watch the shot of Corey staking me
you can see the division of where it's going to
Pre-CGI days now they would just clean it up
in three seconds.
And then Corey staked me and then they drop
the body double, the rubber dummy and then
I landed in the dirt and then all the kids
proceeded to kick so much dirt into my face
that I went to the hospital with a scratched
So, my screaming is real.
I like to tell Corey Feldman whenever I see him
that uh, thank you for sending me to the hospital.
Being on the sets or just goofing off with
the other guys is a really good memory.
The old clich and the old kind of warning
is don't work with kids, don't work with animals
and don't work with special effects.
And Monster Squad, that's all it is.
You're having this kind of swell of these
slashers and villains and Dream Monsters and
guys in hockey masks which is awesome but
then I think there's that question.
It's like how did we get here?
Where are the origin stories?
Where are the original monsters?
Fred Dekker what he did was take the original
monsters that launched this whole thing.
Let's bring those back and pay a little tribute
to those.
Characters who are meant to be Dracula,
Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon,
they managed to skirt the Universal copyright
through some clever dodges.
I actually think that improved them because
you weren't recreating something.
Tom Woodruff Jr. is working with Stan Winston's
shop at the time and he actually designed
the Frankenstein applications redesign.
My favorite man in a monster suit always was
and still is the Creature From The Black Lagoon.
I wanted to be the guy in the monster suit
and Stan gave me my first role when I played
the Gillman in Monster Squad.
Somebody else in the shop said well, have
you worked out your walk yet?
And I'm thinking uh-oh. Not only is there a walk
to figure out apparently but I haven't learned it
and now I'm thinking and I could feel my
confidence now starting...
I'm thinking what did I do?
I said, I don't even know the terms.
The fascinating design done unlike any other creature
design suit and build and actual application
of it than anybody had ever done at the time
and then now Tom's zipped up and glued into
this one-piece suit and has to figure out
how to be this character.
We're on the back lot at Warner Brothers and
climbing out of the fake manhole cover and
going through a fight with some very enthusiastic
stuntmen with hard rubber clubs and then having
to move in on the store with Horace stuck out
front with his shotgun and that's when I finally
thought now it's time for my walk.
It was sort of like a monster effects buffet.
I got to sample everything.
Some stunts here and some squibbing and falling
and my walking and breathing.
All that stuff.
And I got to die on screen.
I don't think I will ever be able to relive
those glory days because it was pretty high up.
Monster Squad has a lot of memorable one-liners.
Other people have great lines like I wish
I had that line but obviously Wolf man's got nards
is the line from that movie.
The problem with Monster Squad I think was
a couple things.
The subject matter and the story and the action
and the kind of monsters were a little too
much for the 8-9 to 10-year olds and it
was too kid-like for the 15-16-17-year olds
that went to see the Lost Boys and dug that.
So, like I'm not going to go see a kid's movie.
So, really when he left a small sliver of
an audience in there that couldn't go because
of the rating or their parents wouldn't take
them so they got left out twice.
But we kind of made the first tween movie.
Hellraiser was written and directed by Clive
Barker adapted from his own novella,
The Hellbound Heart.
Central to a lot of Clive Barker's work is
the idea of the monsters being the good guys
or at least being more complicated than simply
being the bad guys.
Pinhead is not the monster in the film.
The monsters in Hellraiser are Julia and Frank.
The humans are the ones causing the trouble.
I increasingly saw Pinhead as an impartial judge.
As far as Clive was concerned, he was not
to be the focus of the film.
Clive's focus was all on Julia.
For Clive, Hellraiser was about creating the
first great female horror monster.
I feel as though there's an element throughout
the 1980s of people being given a chance.
Clive had never directed a film.
So, I knew absolutely where his imagination
was but it is true that he arrived on set
on day one on Hellraiser and said, "So who's
in charge here?"
He was extremely lucky I think in having Robin
Vidgeon by his side as director of photography
who's no small part of the success of Hellraiser.
He worked with Clive and met Clive's imaginative
vision head on.
I was blessed with a lot of wonderful lines.
We have such sights to show you.
There was one line that I highlighted and
I wrote next to it - laugh.
And people ought to laugh but they ought to
laugh slightly uncomfortably because
as well as being a joke, it's a threat and that line
was, "No tears, please."
I've always said that Pinhead is a horror
monster who would be perfectly at home at
a garden party with Noel Coward and Oscar
Wilde trading epithets.
Kathryn Bigelow is probably one of my favorite
Particularly her work on Near Dark is incredible
and I'd never seen a vampire movie like that.
She leans into sort of this western style -
is a coolness to it.
It's a bunch of vampires that are traveling
across the country and they bring in this
new kid into their fold.
It's so different because it really messes
with vampire lore and you've got an incredible
cast with it.
You've got Lance Henriksen, you've got Bill Paxton.
It's so well done.
For as much as I'd grown up sort of trusting
somebody like Lance Henriksen, seeing him
transformed into this creature with no set of morals.
Like he's just out to eat and to exist and
to survive with something else.
The vampires take over this bar and they're
just slaughtering everybody and laughing.
Normally, it's your vampire comes in bites
somebody and this it's like no, they're reveling
in it that they're murdering people.
To see Bill Paxton becoming this sort of unhinged
crazy man of a character was so awesome.
It's just such an interesting and different
take on vampires than anything we saw during
the '80s.
Horror goes directly to our primal nerve centers
and the things that are most basic about being
human and that's fucking and killing.
You get sex and nudity on screen and it's just
as much of a hook as the violence was.
Nudity has never seemed that gratuitous to
me in horror films.
It's always seemed part of it.
I mean if you look at the old movies from
like the '60s and early '70s in Spain and Italy.
I used to show them on my show Movie Macabre
and we'd have to cut out three-quarters of the
movie because everybody was naked.
I guess vampires and witches just run around
naked all the time I don't know.
It's interesting to me how society during
the '80s sort of projected their own especially
U.S. cultures projected their own hang-ups
on nudity on to this genre of films when it
really wasn't, I don't think that much of
an issue.
Oh, I think I'll take a shower now, it's hot
in here.
I mean it's just out there with it and
I think it was completely gratuitous and
I think it was used only to sell the movie and
I think it was completely unnecessary but
you have to get young guys in there to see
the movie and how are you going to do that?
They asked a lot of girls to be naked in these
films, myself included.
But at that time it was a little bit more forbidden
and felt more base and a lot of men were writing
the movies and so they were writing what they
wanted to see and yeah, they wanted to see
naked ladies.
For me, it sort of felt like here it
is again, okay.
And it felt like it was a rite of passage okay.
If I keep saying no to these roles, I'm not
going to be able to work so I said yes and
it was fine as long as the script was good.
A lot of women were exploited for exploitation
purposes just to see it because they would
say yes.
The nudity helped get the butts in the seats.
Like if I had two videos in my hand and one
said nudity and one did not, which one do you
think I'm watching?
I do think they need to have more male nudity.
Even way back I was like I never see a penis
ever in a movie.
And even now it's still rare although getting
a little better.
But I feel like if you have a naked lady then
have a naked man.
Halloween 3, I think you see my ass.
I had an ass then.
I don't have an ass anymore. I'm too old, it's
all gone away.
I don't know why an audience of teenagers
would think that over sexed teenagers deserve
to die but that's what was happening in the '80s.
So, we must have had a lot of undersexed teenagers
enjoying the death of
oversexed teenagers in these movies.
America has always been very schizophrenic
in that
it's a puritanical place.
And so a lot of the movies, if you had sex you would
die, that was kind of the Friday the 13th model.
Anyone who would have sex you knew was going
to be dead by reel three.
I think a lot of people were trying to equate
sex with sinning and you're gonna go frolic
and you get what you get, you know?
It's kind of how in Scream they
talk about the rules.
You had sex, now you're going to die.
Maybe not the healthiest message to send out
to people.
It's a kind of old-fashioned, isn't it?
Especially after the freedom and outrageous
goings on of the 60s and 70s.
And that was so ingrained that it was a rule
that they deliberately had to start breaking.
And reviewers pointed it out, they had sex and
they lived.
That's how strong that was.
I like that women have sexual power over men.
A lot of the time in horror.
No matter how the male antagonist or the
villain may try to subjugate and victimize
the woman, she has always been able to very
proactively and aggressively act on her own
behalf and get her revenge on the bad guy.
That works for me.
So, it's like different kinds of nudity in horror.
There's plenty where it's used for shock value,
I guess.
Like lots of violence is happening on top
of it and you're really confused because if
you're getting aroused as this is going,
it's like am I a terrible person?
It's like maniacs like slaughtering people.
At what point are you allowed to enjoy it
and what point is it kind of disturbing?
I really liked Critters.
I had a good time with it.
It was very Spielbergian.
Sort of a modern-day western but with little
And one of the things I really like about
the Critters world and in particular Critters 2
is one of my favorite themes of Norman Rockwell
goes to hell.
So, this is taking the idealized small-town
America and just kicking it in the balls.
My main job was try to create some characters
who were memorable and just not fodder for
little puppets.
The cast was wonderful Lin Shaye and Scott
Grimes and Liane Curtis and Barry Corbin.
A really good group of people.
And the Chiodo Brothers were amazing.
They made these amazing creations on no
Another memorable moment in Critters 2 that
stretches the boundaries of the PG-13 rating
is when one of the alien bounty hunters picks
up the Playboy magazine and sees the fold-out
and transforms into Roxanne Kernohan naked.
A really great idea that Bob Shaye, the head
of New Line Studios had when we were doing
the scene with the fold-out.
When she transforms and plucks the giant staple
out of her navel that was Bob's idea and I
have to give him credit because it's so good.
The most complicated scene maybe to this day
that I've ever shot is that chase between
the pickup truck and the giant critter ball
because there are several different versions
of that critter ball.
One of them must have weighed a ton and was
on an axle connected to the pickup truck and
it had all these remote-control puppeted faces
that are biting on it.
There's another version, it's just a bunch
of critter pelts on an inflatable ball that
when it first comes into town you can see
two of the Chiodo Brothers' legs behind
it as they're pushing it.
That's real high-tech visual effects.
But when the critters ball is rolling, one
of the people running away from it gets rolled
over and reveals the skeleton of him immediately
after you hear gobble, gobble, gobble and it's away
and there's the skeleton with a little meat left on it.
That's a favorite moment of mine and always
gets an amazing reaction.
Friday the 13th Part 7 -The New Blood is
the first one with Kane Hodder as Jason which
is surprising that the most famous Jason came
in during the seventh movie.
The really memorable thing about this movie
is of course the psychic character Tina who
serves as the first person who can actually
stand up to Jason and fight back.
And it was directed by the late John Carl
Buechler who did a fantastic job with it.
The single reason I ever became Jason was
his insistence that I play the character because
nobody was against C.J. coming back from Part 6.
He had done a good job.
I still think he did a good job but Buechler
was adamant that I play the character.
Unbelievable honor.
I said I have to do whatever I can to do this
character justice.
Tina has a vision of me killing Bill Butler
with the tent stakes.
So it's sticking out of him and I'm standing
behind him and he's going like that.
That's the very first thing I ever shot with
the hockey mask on.
So, that'll always be a cool memory.
My favorite fire stunt I've ever done is as
Jason in Part 7 because there is so much
fire on me.
I'm on fire for so long.
Just an amazing looking stunt.
Everybody's afraid to offer me a fire stunt
because one almost killed me.
I was in the hospital five and a half months.
It took a year to fully recover and get back
to a somewhat normal life.
Even though it almost killed me I always looked
back and said man, I just liked doing fire
stunts because they were so scary-looking.
With Kane Hodder behind the mask, Jason
undergoes a ton of punishment.
He gets a house falling on him and electrocuted
and nails stuck in him but then his ultimate
death comes from the hand of like a zombie
dad coming out of the lake and dragging him
It's totally bizarre and a little rushed but
you definitely remember it.
One of the movies I would point people to
is Killer Klowns From Outer Space by the amazing
Chiodo Brothers.
This is a movie that is not long on plot but
is rich and intimate.
The designs for the Killer Klowns, clowns let's face
it, always being kind of creepy
are really, really, really disturbing.
The horror is there, the comedy they keep
it consistent.
They're killing people with pies.
They're taking people and wrapping them up
in cotton candy.
Lon Chaney once said that the clown is funny
in the circus ring but he's not funny at your door
at midnight.
These guys are at your door at midnight and
even though the story is ridiculous it's filled
with strange slapstick violence.
It really, it gives it a special place in my heart.
When I got the script of Phantasm 2, it wasn't
called Phantasm 2.
It was called either American Gothic or
It went through different versions.
It was top-secret.
You get page two and it says the Tall Man
and I'm like yeah, I think I can figure out what it is.
Angus Scrimm and his Tall Man character couldn't
be further apart.
Angus was the sweetest most gentle human being,
a wonderful actor.
Just a sweet gentle soul.
When he becomes the Tall Man he just switches it
And then switches it off and he's Angus.
Yeah, I love working with him.
It's so clear that they had a big budget on
the sequel.
They were able to do a lot of the concepts
that Don Coscarelli had had with the original
that he couldn't fully flesh out because he just
didn't have the money.
Steve Patino created a ton of different
spheres for the film.
He did a wonderful job.
Spheres were flying, spheres were dropping,
spheres that had a little blade come out and
start spinning and spheres just for blood pumping.
He had dozens of these things for different effects.
Anytime you got that completely shiny chrome
ball on set, it's basically a mirror reflecting
everything around it including the film crew.
So, you had to be very clever about how you
shot it like through a hole in the wall or
something so the camera wouldn't be seen.
We had a lot of fun with them.
I even tried one on myself.
My favorite scene has to be when the ball
is chasing the dude through the mausoleum
and it just comes up right in his head and
you're like ah, that sucks and then the drill
comes out.
Not expecting that at all and just... and
his blood flying everywhere. It drills through
the guy's brain.
It's insane. It's so well done.
Phantasm 2 in terms of its effects takes the
whole franchise to a completely different
level and I don't think any of the films since
have ever touched what the work in Phantasm 2
was like because I think that really set
a bar for that whole series.
The Blob is a film that I think deserves to
be up there with The Thing and The Fly as
one of the great '80s remakes.
It's really an example of how you can take
an older film and use the new cinematic technology
and really tell the story in the best possible way.
It's a monster that doesn't really get quite
the recognition that it deserves.
They had a much bloodier story it was different
from the original it made The Blob an even
bigger force to be reckoned with.
Here you have this thing from outer space
that is just a mindless killing machine.
It's just carving a path of destruction across
this town, eating everybody in its way.
It kills a theater full of children. It's
just something that they would have a hard
time getting away with today.
The 4th Nightmare on Elm Street film The Dream
Master picks up where The Dream Warriors left
off and then quickly just kills all the survivors
from that movie.
Kincaid is the first African American to ever
survive a major horror film
and return to a sequel but I think they forgot
because in Part 4 they killed my black
ass off during the credits almost.
So, I used to tell people if you want to see
me don't get popcorn, don't get no drinks,
go straight to the theater and after about five or ten
minutes then you can go get some drinks.
We actually filmed that in a junkyard and
it took us a week to film that scene.
It was where Freddy came back to life and
it was because of my dog that was named Jason.
And the dog pissed fire so... and that's what
brought him to life.
If you go back and look at it Robert Englund
had develop a swag about himself and he just
put on his hat and he said, "You shouldn't have
buried me."
He stuck his razors into my chest and grabbed
my heart.
I think he was supposed to pull it out but
that was going to be too gross.
It goes on to feature a new bunch of kids
fighting Freddy in their dreams including
The Dream Master which is an all-new thing
that this movie came up with.
My favorite effect from the movie is done
by Screaming Mad George who's really good
with bug effects and it's when Debbie becomes
a cockroach.
We're talking full-on Gregor Samsa here.
She just turns into this gross, gooey, icky
cockroach who's got antennae and limbs popping
out before she's ultimately crushed in a roach
motel by Freddy with a one-liner.
Ken Russell was a very distinctive filmmaker
who had a very distinctive point of view that
was slightly mad.
He took on a Bram Stoker short story called
The Lair of the White Worm.
Amanda Donohoe plays this priestess of the
white worm, sort of.
It's crazy, it's funny, it's really haunting
and spooky.
The Lair of the White Worm also has one of
the first performances of Hugh Grant and he's
the fumbling, charming guy that we all expect.
But it's in the British countryside and it
has to do with curses and ancient religions
and things and it's very much a Ken Russell special.
A really wonderful, unique movie that you would
never expect came from a short story written
by the same guy who wrote the book, Dracula.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark was like a dream come
We finally get to see Cassandra Peterson do
an extended version of Elvira and some of her
little hosting snippets.
We get to see her personality and we were
not disappointed.
It became such a great way to make the character
three-dimensional, myself and the two writers
that I worked with John Paragon and Sam Egan.
It was like a discovery every day, kind of about
myself. It was almost like a therapy session.
Here she is this woman that looks like something
between some kind of a sorceress vampire witch,
we don't know what, and she wants to be a
showgirl in Las Vegas.
It actually came from my real life so...
It was fun discovering who Elvira was.
She just went on a road trip where she's like
a fish out of water and the townspeople just
want to crucify her. But we all know she's
super cool.
I put my life on the line in that movie so
many times being surrounded by fire
first on the pyre up there and then later when the
house is burning down.
That fire is real.
I mean my wig would have gone up with all
that hairspray, like a bomb.
So, I was covered from head to toe in
flame-retardant which they failed to tell me made
you itch like mad and I have my hands tied behind
my back so I couldn't scratch myself.
I was wanting to tear my skin off.
It's making me itch right now.
We had the casserole monster's scene we call it.
The pot monster was a puppet, the
guys that were under the table had to get
very, very close to me and I was like oh,
no just come on sit right here between my
legs and I guess they had a great time down there.
It's such a good movie. It's so well done
and she was just a hero
to little horror girls like me, it's like...
So Pumpkinhead is an amazing film.
It has Lance Henriksen as the dad who loses
his adorable little kid and understandably
wants revenge.
So, he brings back this crazy monster which is my
favorite all-time monster ever and revenge
It's makeup effects legend Stan Winston's
directorial debut and Tom WoodruffJr. as
the dude in the pumpkin head suit.
People ask, "What was your favorite movie?"
And I always tell them it was Pumpkinhead.
And he turned over the design aspects of that
entire show to us, his guys and we were going
to design Pumpkinhead and Stan was busy
So, that was an affirmative nod from Stan
to let us do that.
We always wanted to make sure that we were
delivering something to the audience that
didn't seem like the guy in a rubber suit.
We would do things like extend the legs with
a leg extension to make them long and skinny
and the suit was very thin in places so it
didn't add a lot of bulk.
It was all practical but it was a little bit
of puppetry, it was a little bit of man in suit
but I just love the design of what
Pumpkinhead was.
There he was with this kind of bulbous head
but he was very demonic, he had this long tail,
he was able to climb trees and take out people.
Whenever Pumkinhead was walking around you
can hear this weird chittering noise
in the background.
It sounded like cicadas and you always knew
if you heard that, you were doomed.
It was always hard for me in the suits to
communicate but when Stan would get close
I'd say can we do the King Kong thing? And he
goes the thing with the T-Rex.
So, we both knew exactly what we're saying
and that was thing where you pick up Joel's
head and kind of move it around a little bit
and play with it.
Even though this was an '80s movie it extended
much further before that from when we both
had each had seen King Kong and we brought
that into some kind of life for a moment.
After Halloween 3 confused the hell out of
everyone and bombed at the box office,
they resurrected everyone's favorite slasher.
Halloween 4 has Michael Myers returning to
Haddonfield this time to stalk his niece
Jamie Lloyd played by a young Danielle Harris.
My favorite kill in this one is mostly because
of the victim who is played by Kathleen Kinmont
wearing a very memorable shirt that says,
"Cops do it by the book.
Michael just takes a shotgun and instead of
using it to shoot her, he impales her into
the wall with the barrel of the shotgun.
I think Halloween 4 is really the movie that
made Michael into one of the iconic slashers.
Michael Myers you're just like Jason Voorhees.
One of the things about the '80s it was just different
than my belief system as the unrestrained
capitalism that came into being,
Reagan brought it in.
The things that he implemented I felt were
not real great for people.
Especially low-income folks.
This greed is good business was just...
I just couldn't...
I couldn't believe it.
They Live was the response.
John had upped his game as a director by the
time we got to They Live.
It's political significance and resonance is probably
more acute today than it was even then.
I had to come up with a visual device that showed
the audience the hidden reality around them.
And so the sunglasses were a perfect metaphor.
Jim Danforth did these matte paintings and they
would work in black and white with sunglasses.
Perfect for our low budget.
Subliminal messages put in advertising.
They Live addressed it head bang on.
You don't know what messages are being
broadcast to us today.
That's not necessarily an alien concept.
The fight in They Live was fun to stage.
We rehearsed it for quite a while.
Roddy's a wrestler and he fights for a living,
so we had to put a big fight in.
The guy I'm impressed with is Keith.
He did great.
We rehearsed it for like two weeks.
It was very well-choreographed, very well
designed, fashioned after the fight in
The Quiet Man.
We had such, such fun.
I never felt safer in a fight in my life.
It was Roddy, he taught me more about selling
it with a few great moves.
Roddy gave me a notebook of his that had lines
that he would give for interviews
and at wrestling matches.
That was one he had written down and made
up for I think Playboy Buddy Rose in a match
they had together.
So I just used it.
Roddy and I became good friends and over the
years we would see each other and hang out
every once in a while.
One of the sweetest, most gracious human beings
I've ever known.
I don't think there's been a movie quite like
They Live.
It stands alone and in terms of its reference
to the politics of the times and so forth.
I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass
and I'm all out of bubblegum.
I wanted to do a killer doll movie and I saw
the commercial potential there.
When we were little kids all of us had thought
to ourselves wouldn't it be cool if our toys
and playthings came alive...
or wouldn't it be terrifying?
You saw it in Poltergeist with Tobe Hooper
with the clown coming out from under the bed
and it was like the biggest scare in the movie.
That moment made me want to do Child's Play
if I could pull it off.
I wanted Chucky to be a darkly humorous figure
and in a way, you can sort of reduce Chucky's
appeal if you're so inclined to a cute little doll that
says fuck a lot and knifes you to death.
There is something amusing about that because
it's inherently absurd.
Who's going to believe a little seven-year-old
kid about his doll coming alive?
With any kind of movie like Child's Play in
order to make it believable you have to add
that moment where you say, "Look ma, no wires."
The scariest moment in Child's Play is probably
when Catherine Hicks finally realizes that
her son, her little boy has been telling the
truth and the doll is malevolently alive
and she opens the compartment and there are no
batteries in there.
Okay good, but then you get The Exorcist.
The head does 180-degree turn and looks up
at her and says,
Hi, I'm Chucky wanna play?
It scares the hell out of her.
And I put Brad Dourif's voice behind it
and Brad had played the villain for me in
Fatal Beauty.
It's the fiendish glee that Chucky has.
Chucky subverts the status quo and he goes
after authority figures and he has his way
with them.
I think the appeal of the killer doll trope
is partly primal and maybe Freudian.
I think as long as there are flashlights and
you can turn them on under a chin, under a
doll, it's sort of a no fail prescription
for terror right there.
Hellbound is really the story of Kirsty's
descent into hell to look for her father.
Dr. Channard who was well as being a brain
surgeon has also developed his own fascination
with lament configurations.
The blood brings Julia back to life out of
the mattress.
She becomes Dr. Channard's kind of pet.
I had talked to Clive obviously a lot about the
character of Pinhead and I knew he had been
a human being.
I developed the idea that he was in mourning
for a humanity that he couldn't remember clearly.
The opening sequence with Elliot Spencer acquiring
the box and being transformed into Pinhead.
At the end of the film we see the transformation
back when Kirsty confronts him with that
photograph of Elliot Spencer and he remembers
the humanity that he had lost.
Hellraiser 2, it gave you an insight into the
Cenobites that wasn't really there with the
first one.
Favorite scene from that is when the doctor
is being turned into a Cenobite and then after
he comes out of the chamber he's like...
And to think, I hesitated.
It's so amazing because it's like he went through
this hell and he didn't want to but then he
comes out afterwards and he's a Cenobite and
it's like oh, this is what it's all about.
Shift in the exchange rates shaved a substantial
chunk off the budget and it was decided to
go ahead in compromised form.
And it's a shame, it would have given us that
insight into where Clive's notions of this
realm, this place where the Cenobites are
and the idea of Leviathan that is introduced
in the screenplay but never really fully explored.
Troma is a classic cult movie studio we're
the last one.
We're the only ones who've been able to survive
and the reason is our fans.
We've got a fan base who are very devoted and
they're very active.
And now of course with the internet we've
got 500,000 people every month with whom we
are interacting.
So, that's the secret.
Even if the horror film is cheaply, badly made,
horror fans will support you.
The fans, they're the best.
It's like you're meeting your people, you're
meeting your tribe.
They are the most loyal, the most knowledgeable
fan base that anybody could wish to have.
I feel like horror fans are some of the most
self-actualized people because they allow
themselves to see and experience the darker
aspects of life.
We're all kind of the misfits.
We're all of cultural misfits.
A lot of us share the same sort of sense of
not being the popular one, being the nerd
or the geek, which sometimes nowadays is sort
of cool, back then it was not cool.
So, you bond over these things.
So, as we get older and we find these groups
of people on social media or at conventions
you have an immediate understanding and a
bond over the genre.
Horror fans who love horror and who passed
it down to their children are some of the
most open people that I know.
Somebody will show me a picture of me at a
horror convention holding an infant.
They go, "That's me", and they're now 25 years old.
I held that person at a horror convention
when they were still shitting themselves.
And now, they're standing in front of me with
their own kids.
I've had people come up to me and have me
sign my name and then a couple hours later
they've gone and tattooed my name on there.
So they're like fans, those are the real fans.
I've met horror fans from all walks of life.
There is no stereotypical one, I don't think.
That's why it's hard to almost describe the
average horror fan because you can see someone
walking down the street with a black shirt that has
a horror design on it or ink or whatever
and then you can also see someone who just came
from a business meeting in a suit and tie
but then they'll pull up their pants a little
bit to show you their horror socks.
A horror fan can be anyone, they're everywhere.
I'm a fan who found his way into the profession.
I've went to my first convention in 1975 in
Pittsburgh and it gave me a really unique
sense of being connected with something
that I love.
I still go to shows as a fan and sometimes
as a guest.
We celebrate it, we love it, we're passionate
about it.
What I love about horror, it's this unifier.
You can be from any walk of life.
You can be straight, you can be gay, you can
be white, you can be black.
It doesn't matter.
Horror knows no race. It knows no sex,
it knows no age.
Horror is this universal thing that we all
come together over.
I think The Burbs is a very unique film.
It is a comedy but it's dark, and that commercially
was a problem.
It was marketed like a light Tom Hanks comedy
at the time when Tom Hanks was just doing
very light, fun, enjoyable romps.
And it has a really dark kind of mean streak
to it, that I think was embraced by Joe Dante.
The Burbs is nominally a horror film in that
it's about creepy neighbors.
And when I was a kid, we had people in the
neighborhood who people thought were creepy
and we would make up stuff about what was going
on in there and you couldn't go there on Halloween
because then we wouldn't come out
and all that nonsense.
It's a movie about the way these people behave
when they're basically bored in their suburban
setting and need to invent some excitement
for themselves.
In the original script it wasn't explained
what the Klopeks were up to.
The audience had to imagine it and so all
of these clues of the strange noises at night
and lights and people digging all that stuff
was just blithely unexplained.
But then when Torn Hanks was cast the studio
said you can't do the ending we've got now,
they take him off on an ambulance and he's going
to die. You can't kill Tom Hanks.
Then we shot three different endings.
One of which is on the laserdisc and then
one of which got destroyed where they open
up the trunk and the garbagemen from earlier
in the movie, Dick Miller and Bob Picardo
are in the trunk.
And there is another ending where it was full
of cheerleaders.
So, that was a topical joke and none of which
made it.
We had ended it up being a bunch of skulls which
we shot later.
976 - EVIL was Robert Englund's directorial
debut and a lot of people don't know that.
Especially because it's such a corny idea
for a film but back then 976
and 1-800 collect and all that like they were a thing.
Toll numbers were kind of a big deal.
You would call 976 - EVIL and you had a
line in to the devil.
You murder this person and I will make you
You had this one kid who's this social outcast
and he's kind of nerdy.
He is giving the devil what he wants and he
is turning into a demon.
His friend is trying to stop him.
It's actually kind of a sad really like neat
movie and not as well-known as it should be
especially for something with Robert Englund
attached. Because at the time, he was huge
with A Nightmare on Elm Street.
My favorite part of that, he's at his house
and he has since killed his caretaker.
His friend and his teacher are coming to the
house to try to either stop him or save him.
It opens up a gateway to hell and the whole
house freezes because hell froze over.
So it was kind of a funny little thing that Robert
Englund threw in there.
Pet Sematary was directed by Mary Lambert.
One of the few female directors in horror
at that time and it scared the crap out of me
when I was little.
I literally slept with the lights on for like months.
It's based on a novel by Stephen King and
he had to draw from some aspects of his life.
Probably not the cat coming back.
But I know that they live on a country road
and his son actually went out in the street
and he had to save him from a big old truck.
Gage getting run over is just still to this
day the most traumatizing thing ever.
Like just tears every time I see that little
foot and his shoe and he's so sweet.
Pet Sematary is one of those interesting projects
because it touches on a lot of different fears.
You have Mary Lambert going into the fear
of death and the fear of what happens next.
Mary Lambert also confronts these things that
a lot of us don't really talk about.
These deep, dark family secrets.
Of course Zelda who terrified a whole generation
of horror fans.
The best thing about this movie for me is
Fred Gwynne and his Maine accent he's doing.
Sometimes dead is better.
Well, then why you taking all these bodies
up to the pet sematary Fred?
Why are you doing that?
When little Miko Hughes like jumps out of the attic
with his little knife that was a great scene.
I mean there's some really great scenes in
that movie.
He's the one who basically does most of the
This tiny, little, adorable child.
When Dale Midkiff basically injects Gage with
the drugs to essentially kill him at the end,
I love when he's walking down the hallway
and Gage looks at him and goes, "No fair."
You don't hear Freddy Krueger when he's getting
killed saying no fair.
It was towards the end of the '80s where you
were starting to see a little bit of a shift
in the genre and there was a little
bit more of a heaviness.
And I think Pet Sematary perfectly reflects that.
Friday the 13th Part 8 is Jason Takes Manhattan
and people were so excited for him to finally
leave Camp Crystal Lake and go to the Big
Apple, New York.
Except he spent the whole movie on a boat
and then when he got to New York it was actually
Vancouver most of the time.
My favorite kill from this one is actually
kind of a low-key one.
It's when he kills Kelly Hu.
That's another kill that I like.
See I've done so many kills I forget about some
of my favorites.
Killing Kelly Hu in the disco it made me look
so much better because it was a very low ceiling
on the dance floor.
So that we came up with the idea of picking
her up by her neck and choking her against
the ceiling. Very creative.
She was so game to do whatever we needed to
do to make it look good because that couldn't
have been comfortable.
When I throw the stunt girl, she has to hit
the ground without breaking her fall.
So, those sometimes are the hardest stunts
to do because you just have to hit
however you hit.
They did do one day in New York City in Times
Square and that's the best part of the movie.
This wide circling shot of Jason Voorhees
in the middle of Times Square.
We have the entire Times Square area right
in the middle as where we're shooting.
Hundreds of people are watching, the NYPD
is holding people back.
I felt like a rock star, man.
I never took the mask off that whole night
because I didn't want to destroy the image
of people watching.
The Stepfather was another one of those great
I went to an early screening of it knowing
nothing about it and was just so impressed
by how well it was written, how well it was pulled
off, Terry O'Quinn's performance in the lead.
It just surprised me in so many ways.
If you've seen the original film, Joe Ruben
arranges the bodies of his movie family in
a tableau of blood and body parts and gore
and stillness and silence.
What I liked about our script in Stepfather
2 the continuation of it, is it had an extraordinary
macabre variety of humor.
A very black, sick, twisted sense of humor.
The scene I like best in the film is when
he puts the body of Meg Foster's suitor.
He murders him.
Rolls him up in a rug, puts him in the trunk
of the car and then he takes the guy's car
to the wrecking yard to dump it. And he spends
his time in the wrecking yard wrecking the
the car, running into things. So it can be
camouflaged and stay in the wrecking yard.
And we came to the point where we were going
to shoot my death scene.
The death scene that was originally scripted
and shot, shows my character going to light
a fire in her fireplace and Terry O'Quinn
shoves her head into the gas jet.
And for whatever reason I don't think it necessarily
worked very well.
I think they wanted something a little more
They want to hang you from your wind chimes
in your kitchen.
It was the prop man's hands that you see around
my throat strangling me.
And I had to wear a rig and they hung me up
and there's a cat and there you go.
Society is directed by Brian Yuzna.
It looks like it's a 90210 Beverly Hills rich
person type of problem situation but it turns
out that this kids' problems are a lot worse
than you might expect.
The script was written by Woody Keith and
Rick Fry.
It was so paranoiac.
It's not just about a secret society, it's
about class.
I never could quite call it a horror movie.
It was just kind of weirder than that.
It's a sucker punch of a movie because of course,
it pretends that it's some kind of a mystery
and then it turns into something else.
This movie's got conspiratorial elements, some
incestual things and a lot of body transformation
courtesy of Screaming Mad George and it all
culminates in the shunting.
What's the shunting?
You kind of just have to see it to understand.
There are so many images that stick with you.
Like I can see it all in my head.
Like everybody's joining and it's just madness.
An orgy of amazingness.
The wettest, goofiest movie I've ever seen
because it's just like people turning people
inside out.
It definitely showed you that flesh could
be super fluid.
The most fun I ever had on a set was doing
the shunting because I just felt like I was
doing what I wanted to do.
The kid calls his dad a butthead because
back then in the '80s butthead was like
a big term.
And we thought yeah, his dad's a butthead let's
make his dad a butthead.
We had a lot of outtakes that were hilarious.
I think everybody thought their dad maybe
was a butthead at one time or another.
Brian really hit it out of the park with that film.
It's now finally getting the recognition that
it deserves.
A lot of my friends were actually kind of
embarrassed for me when I showed them Society.
I thought it was great.
People think horror movies are kind of mindless
but in actuality they're a way of making statements
about things that people really are afraid
to talk about.
I always think that horror movies are very
healthy because they're a way of taking those
fears and exorcising them in a way
from your system.
I think the whole reason for repeated viewing
of horror movies particularly the '80s horror
movies was that it was very cathartic.
They speak to the emotions.
This variety of emotions not just the
dark emotions of fear and dread.
It's adrenaline, it's a drug.
You know, it's people love that.
The level of artistry is impressive undeniably
and I think that if you look at the filmmakers
today that are working hard to uphold some
of the more organic aspects of that work that
came out of the '80s. It is definitely homage
and it is definitely growing completely out of
boundary-pushing and advancements that
came out of the '80s that hold up if you go
back and watch them today.
The great thing about genre directors in the
'80s, they were thinking what can we make?
Not what can we remake?
We're in a degenerate era today where all
they think about is what can we remake?
Often titles from the '80s.
They were all about the original script.
They were all about the original idea, they
were all about what hasn't been done before,
they were all about what will Hollywood
refuse to make?
That's what we want to make.
There's nobody willing to get down and dirty
the way they were in the '80s.
The problem today is everybody's trying to
please all the people at all the same time
and you get baby food.
You can live on baby food but it's very boring.
Troma is the jalapeo pepper on the cultural
pizza and there are a lot of people who want
jalapeo peppers on their cultural pizza, right?
I think as I get older, I don't subscribe
to the term guilty pleasure, maybe when I
was a kid just because I was trying to defend
myself and my tastes a little bit more.
Now that we have social media and everybody
is a film critic, we all have these really
oddball tastes and we should all understand
that while I might like Chopping Mall, I could
definitely understand why you wouldn't like
Chopping Mall.
Just love what you love man.
It's nostalgia.
It's just well, I saw it when I was 11 so
it's great because there's a certain lizard
part of your brain that's never going to be
able to look critically at that movie that
did it for you at that certain age.
And we all have that movie.
By that same token, the classics are decided
upon by the masses.
It's cool to watch these movies that we liked
at the time get this critical reassessment
after a number of years and to see what gets
sort of like decided as canon.
There's a real dilemma right now in terms
of what I've been calling the digital divides.
Stuff was on VHS in the '80s and if it didn't
make the leap to DVD then the odds are that
much less that it's going to make the leap
to Blu-ray and now the odds are even much
less that somebody's going to like sell that
transfer streaming rights somewhere.
And there is stuff that has vanished almost.
It's film history.
We talk about how the silent film era, how
75 or 8O percent of the films are all gone.
How could that happen?
But we're letting it happen again.
It's almost our duty as human beings to carry
forth stories and not only as history but
as just talking about the human conditions.
It gives generations the opportunity to transfer
Regarding what we think is bad and evil and
what good society looks like, what bad society
looks like. I think that information is crucial
to pass down.
Maybe that's the job of the horror movie.