4 Shots From Horror History: The Fly, Near Dark, Evil Dead 2, The Church

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 Shots From 4 Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we complete the 80s!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Fly (1986, dir by David Cronenberg)

The Fly (1986, dir by David Cronenberg)

Near Dark (1987, dir by Kathryn Bigelow)

Near Dark (1987, dir by Kathryn Bigelow)

Evil Dead 2 (1987, dir by Sam Raimi)

Evil Dead 2 (1987, dir by Sam Raimi)

The Church (1989, dir by Michele Soavi)

The Church (1989, dir by Michele Soavi)

Horror on the Lens: Carnival of Souls (dir by Herk Harvey)


Much like watching Plan 9 From Outer Space, Night of the Living Dead, Treevenge, or Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, watching the 1962 independent film Carnival of Souls is a bit of a holiday tradition here at the Shattered Lens.

And you know how much I love tradition!

Directed in a dream-like fashion by Herk Harvey (who also directed several of the educational short films that I’ve occasionally shared on this site, including Cheating, The Show-Off, andThe Gossip), Carnival of Souls tells the story of Mary (Candace Hilligoss) who, after a car accident, finds herself haunted by visions of ghostly figures.  Independently produced and distributed, Carnival of Souls did not get much attention when it was originally released but it is now generally acknowledged as a horror classic.  Reportedly, David Lynch loves this movie and, when you watch it, you’ll be able to see why!

It’s October.  It’s 9 more days ’til Halloween.  It’s time to watch Carnival of Souls!

Music Video of the Day: Joan Crawford by Blue Öyster Cult (1981, dir. Richard Casey)

I have never seen Mommie Dearest (1981), so I can’t speak to the tie-ins with that film. Wikipedia does assure me that the music video is inspired by both the book and the film. That’s actually kind of interesting. I say that because the song can only be inspired by the book since the album this was on came out two months prior to the release of Mommie Dearest. The music video was released at the same time as the film. That means the song and music video were only inspired by the book. This is according to Billboard magazine, circa September 19th, 1981

Going purely off of the music video, it seems to be doing several things. The first being that Joan Crawford was a force to be reckoned with that should strike fear into people’s hearts if she were to suddenly come back to life. I wouldn’t say that part is explicitly directed at her daughter Christina, but people in general. The second thing would appear to be a commentary on stable studio actors who are all waiting to be stars or struggling to hold on to stardom (Crawford and Davis), and having no problem killing off anyone who got in their way. That part being represented by the Catholic schoolgirls who act like vampires. However, that could also all be part of the way Christina was raised by Joan Crawford. That’s what some sites imply. The music video also seems to be saying that the greatest horror is that she lived so much under the watchful eye of her mother that she became her until we see her broken free to be left silently wiping the makeup off her face by the pool. It could be that the entire video is supposed to be one of Christina Crawford’s nightmares. Of course it’s all speculation based on the music video. I have not seen the movie, nor read the book. I just couldn’t resist spotlighting this during October.

The music video was filmed at Beulyland in Los Angeles that was allegedly the former home of silent film star Mabel Normand, also according to the aforementioned release of Billboard Magazine.

Richard Casey directed it, and appears to have only done a handful of music videos before going on to do other work in film.

George Harrison produced it, but mvdbase assures me this is a different George Harrison than that of The Beatles.


Halloween On Hulu 2016 : “The Crying Dead”

Trash Film Guru


Maybe I’m just beaten down.

Like a stone weathered away to nothing by a constantly-running stream over time, I’ve absorbed so many third-rate “found footage” horror flicks in recent years — particularly in the past few weeks thanks to Hulu’s “horror and suspense” offerings — that anything even slightly more competent than the usual drivel starts to look like a work of comparative cinematic genius.

All of which, I suppose, is my way of saying that I know that writer/director Hunter G. Williams’ 2011 indie offering The Crying Dead (or, as it was known during production, The Whispering Dead — don’t ask me what prompted the last-minute, and frankly rather stupid, title change) really isn’t all that great — but damn, coming after to a lot of the absolute shit I’ve subjected myself to lately, it might as well be Citizen Kane.


Sure, every done-to-death cliche is present and…

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Halloween On Hulu 2016 : “Dead Genesis”

Trash Film Guru


One of the more interesting-sounding flicks I stumbled across in the “horror and suspense” section on Hulu right now, at least by my admittedly off-kilter standards, was the ultra-low-budget 2010 Canadian production Dead Genesis, a Romero-esque (minus most of the Master’s skill) socio-/politically- conscious zombie flick shot for 15,000 of those rather funny-looking dollars they use north of the border in and around Barrie, Ontario that admittedly was pre-destined to reek of amateurism but nevertheless seemed to promise more by way of thematic ambition than most essentially homemade numbers of this sort typically have the stones to even attempt, much less actively offer. I was also reliably informed by a handful of sources I trust that the opening scene was a real motherfucker, so what the heck — earlier today I decided to give it a shot.


The first thing worth mentioning, I suppose, is that, yeah —…

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Channel Zero: Candle Cove Episode 2, ALT Title: Choosy Tooth Monsters Choose Teeth


Cold Open: There’s an Old Man walking around who sees corpses of kids on the ground and in a tree and doesn’t seem to care.  Frankly, this is kind of how I felt about this episode.  It wasn’t great.  It had popping moments, but an overdose of sighs, pauses, and stares. I mean Twilight levels of stares.  The pilot and episode 2 were written by Don Mancini of Child’s Play and Halloween Wars Season 6.  I was really surprised that Don wrote episode 2.  The pilot was creepy and popped, but episode 2 fizzled.  This was a missed opportunity for a good show.  Here we go.

Katie is back home and watching Candle Cove on the tv and then stabs her brother with a hook.  Then, the show slows down to a crawl again.

Mike’s mom investigates the show and we get a lot of exposition about how the show was pirated onto RF signals and such.  Honestly, this was the nadir of the show, but it still has promise, if the writers decide to stop feeding the story shots of nyquil and turkey sandwiches with gravy.  

Hospital: Katie is under observation and their son Dane is in surgery.  This will be an awkward Hallmark Card! Jessica (Katie’s mom) asks Mike to come back and talk to Katie. The Cop kinda doesn’t like this, but doesn’t put up much of a fight either.  This is the theme of the whole episode…build up…fizzle…light random pop…fizzle.  Mike goes to talk to Katie and sees a crayon picture on the wall depicting Candle Cove. He shows Katie the drawing, which….doesn’t achieve much.  However, out of nowhere, Mike breaks the touch barrier with the kid, sending the dad into WTF-mode?!   The action happens through a screen: once Mike leaves- the tooth monster snuggles Katie.  This is creepy and gross, but not connected to the scene before it.  Therefore, the discourse between Mike and Katie didn’t need to happen and was a time waster!

Mike goes back home and shows his mom the drawing.  She believes it’s an “abandoned” cement plant.  Mike and Mike’s Mom (MM) go to cleanest and still seemingly operational cement plant- No graffiti, no beer bottles, no trash, nothing to indicate that the cement plant is not kept up and will be turned back on in 30 minutes.  In fact, it’s clinically clean. The art department really dropped the ball on this one.  Mike goes into the spooooooky cement factory and finds his brother’s corpse.  Then, Mike flashes back to stabbing his brother with a hook and burying him.

Mike goes to bed and sees the One-Character from Candle Cove who looks a lot like the lobster-thing from Futurama – upon research, it’s called Zoidberg and that’s what I’m calling this One-Eyed thing- Hi, Zoidberg.  Zoidberg causes Mike to flash again to his mom talking to her beat up son.  She says that when she told the bully’s parents, the bully’s mom laughed at her. This was not my upbringing.  My mother, a 12 Generation Tarheel, is perpetually armed. If someone laughed at her after they had just ganged up and beat me up,  I’d be visiting my badass Mom in Prison.  

Mike goes to the kitchen and tells his mom, ‘BTDubs, I killed my brother.’ [paraphrased] She tells him to leave, he won’t, she cuts him with a big knife. Then, Mike takes a nap. I’m starting to wonder if any of these writers grew up with human families.  The Cop shows up purportedly to arrest Mike, but not really.  It’s very vague as to what he plans on doing besides putting him in the backseat of his car.

They make a big deal out of this backseat thing; therefore, I will address the stupidity.  A cop needs to maintain control of a suspect for his safety and the safety of suspect.  The car did not have a partition, therefore, having Mike in the back is stupid and dangerous. Furthermore, Mike is not restrained in any way.  In this instance, the cop has a confessed murderer in custody and just has him in the back, with no cuffs, a clear shot taking out the cop, and relieving him of his service weapon!  This show really needs to think sometimes with a bit of commonsense.

Cop doesn’t take Mike to the station; instead, Cop just keeps driving … for some reason. It’s not spooky, it’s just kinda dumb.

The show ends with Mike’s former English teacher feeding the tooth monster teeth. GROSS!  Maybe, it’s Steve Martin under all of those teeth?!!  HA HA!

The episode has some good creepy parts, but it seems to lack a strong reality through story to contrast the weirdo elements of the story.  Channel Zero really needs to keep the real elements of the story real or this show will turn into a steaming pile very soon.  I have a lot of faith that this was just a bad second episode, which is not uncommon if your pilot had so much meat that second episode seemed like leftovers.  It would’ve benefitted from some sort of side-quest for Mike to accomplish.

Happy Halloween- it’s just around the corner!