6 Horror Performances That Deserved An Oscar Nomination


Despite making some inroads as of late, horror films still never quite get the respect that they deserve when it comes Oscar time.  That’s especially true of the performers who regularly appear in horror films.  If it’s rare for a horror movie to receive a best picture nomination, it’s even rarer for someone to get nominated for appearing in one of them.

And yet, it takes as much skill to make a monster compelling as it does a historical figure or a literary character.  In fact, it may take even more skill.  After all, everyone knows that Queen Elizabeth I actually ruled over England and that Atticus Finch was an attorney in the South.  However, everyone also knows that there’s no such things as vampires and that the dead cannot be reanimated or raised as a zombie.  It takes a lot of skill to make a monster seem human.

With that in mind, here are 6 horror performances that deserved, at the very least, an Oscar nomination:

1. Boris Karloff as The Monster in Frankenstein (1931) and The Bride of Frankenstein(1935)

The great Boris Karloff is perhaps the most egregious example of a deserving actor who was consistently ignored by the Academy because of the type of films in which he appeared.  In the role of Monster, Karloff was never less than brilliant and he set the standard by which all future monsters are judged.

Dracula (1931, directed by Tod Browning)

2. Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931)

When viewed today, it’s perhaps a little bit too easy to be dismissive of Lugosi’s grandly theatrical interpretation of Dracula.  But, if you can ignore all of the bad imitations that you’ve seen and heard over the years, you’ll discover that Lugosi’s performance is perfect for the film in which he’s appearing.  Indeed, Lugosi’s best moments are the silent ones, when he goes from being a courtly (if vaguely sinister) nobleman to a hungry animal.  In those moments, you see why Lugosi’s performance endures.

3. Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960)

Ah, poor Anthony Perkins.  Before he played Norman Bates, he was considered to be something an up-and-coming star and even something of a neurotic romantic lead.  As with Lugosi’s Dracula, we’ve seen so many bad imitations of Perkins’s performance that it’s easy to overlook just how good he is in the role.  He was so perfect as Norman that spent the rest of his career typecast.  And, sadly enough, he didn’t even get a much-deserved Oscar nomination out of it.

4. Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man (1973)

Christopher Lee was one of the great actors and, though he may be best remembered for his horror work, he actually appeared in almost every genre of film imaginable.  Lee was often dismissive of the Dracula films that he made for Hammer so, as much as I’d love to argue that he deserved a nomination for The Horror of Dracula, I’m instead going to suggest that Lee deserved one for the role that he often cited as his favorite, the pagan Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man.  Lee brings the perfect mix of wit and menace to the role and, in the process, shows that not all monsters have to be undead.

5. Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween (1978) and Halloween II (1981)

Much as with Lugosi and Anthony Perkins, it’s important (and perhaps a little bit difficult) to separate Pleasence’s performances in these two slasher films with all of the imitations that have followed.  In both films, Pleasence does a great job of playing a man who has been driven to the verge of madness as a result of having spent too much time in the presence of evil.  As potentially dangerous as Sam Loomis sometimes appears to be, there’s no way not to sympathize with him as he continually tries to get people to understand that he wasn’t the one who left Michael escape.  If nothing else, Pleasence deserved a nomination just for his delivery of the line, “As a matter of fact, it was.”

6. Betsy Palmer as Pamela Voorhees in Friday the 13th (1980)

“I’m an old friend of the Christys.”  AGCK!  RUN!

4 Shots From 4 Films: City of the Living Dead, Friday the 13th, Night of the Hunted, The Shining


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 1980 Films

City of the Living Dead (1980, dir by Lucio Fulci)

Friday the 13th (1980, dir by Sean S. Cunningham)

Night of the Hunted (1980, dir by Jean Rollin)

The Shining (1980, directed by Stanley Kubrick)

Belatedly, here’s the trailer for Friday the 13th: Vengeance


Did y’all know that there’s a new Friday the 13th film coming out?

Well, kind of.

Friday the 13th: Vengeance is a crowdfunded fan-made film that takes place 30 years after the conclusion of Friday the 13th: Jason Lives!  It features C.J. Graham, who previously played Jason in Jason Lives, as Elias Voorhees, the father of everyone’s favorite hockey mask-wearing, Oedipal complex-having zombie.  When Elias returns to Camp Crystal Lake, people start dying once again.  After Tommy Jarvis goes missing, his daughter launches an investigation of her own.

This film is currently in post-production and, if nothing else, it’ll probably be better than the Friday the 13th reboot that was released a few years ago.  This trailer was released a while ago but, given the date, today seems like an appropriate time to share it here on the Shattered Lens!

You can read more about this project over at Movies and Mania!

 

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Friday The 13th Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

Admittedly, the Friday the 13th films aren’t exactly known for being the most visually impressive horror films ever made.  That’s especially true of the first 8 films, which were all shot on a low budget and in a hurry.  That said, today is Friday the 13th and there’s no way that I, as a lover of the horror genre, couldn’t use the 4 Shots format to pay a little bit of tribute to one of the most successful and influential horror franchises of all time.

So, with that in mind, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Friday the 13th Films

Friday the 13th (1980, dir by Sean S. Cunningham)

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984, dir by Joseph Zito)

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986, dir by Tom McLoughlin)

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989, dir by Rob Hedden)

Back in 2012, I reviewed every single film in the Friday the 13th film franchise!  It was a lot of fun!

My Friday the 13th reviews:

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Happy Friday the 13th From The Shattered Lens!


To all of our readers,

Happy Friday the 13th from the humans and the cats of the Shattered Lens!

Today is a very special day.  It’s the first Friday the 13th of 2019!  It’s the unluckiest day of the year so take our advice and be careful out there.  In fact, maybe don’t go out at all.  Are you reading this at work?  Well, make up an excuse and go home.  Are you reading this at home?  Well, get out of there and go some place safer, like maybe work.

Have you broken a mirror today?  If yes, it’s time to go into hiding.

Have you knocked on wood?  If no, get to knocking.

Have you thrown salt over your shoulder?  If yes, please be aware that the effectiveness of salt in warding off evil spirits has been greatly exaggerated.

Today is Friday the 13th so we advise you to either stay inside and watch the movies or maybe go camping and live them for yourself.  But, most of all, be careful and enjoy this day!

Maybe it would be safest for you to just spend today exploring this site.  We’ve been doing this for nearly ten years and there’s a lot of good reviews to be found in the archives.  Go back and read Lisa’s game-changing essay about why she loves grindhouse movies.  Or maybe the post that started it all, Arleigh’s review of Avatar.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Horror Scenes That I Love: The Ending of Friday the 13th


Since today is October 13th, I figured that today’s horror scene of the day should be one of the best endings ever!

I’m talking, of course, about the ending of 1980’s Friday the 13th.  You can say what you want about the rest of the film (though, personally, I think the film’s underrated) but the ending is brilliant.  No, it doesn’t really make much sense, both in the context of the film and in the Jason-dominated sequels that followed.  That’s probably because the ending was a last-minute addition.  It wasn’t designed to make sense.  It was designed to make audiences scream and hopefully set the groundwork for a sequel.

But no matter!  I still love everything about this scene.  I love how thing sopen with that serene lake.  I love the calming music in the background.  I love the feeling that everything’s going to be safe.  And then suddenly …. AGCK!  It may not be as effective today because we all know it’s going to happen but I bet this scared the Hell out of people back in 1980.

“He’s still out there.”

 

Book Review: Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th by Peter M. Bracke


A few years ago, when I reviewed the entire Friday the 13th film franchise for this site, one of the main resources that I used in my research was the 2006 book, Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th.

As you can probably guess from the title, the book is a nearly complete history of the Friday the 13th franchise.  (I say nearly complete because the book was published to coincide with the release of Freddy vs. Jason so there’s no information about the later reboot.  That’s okay, though, because the reboot sucks and deserves to be forgotten.)  What sets this book apart is that it’s an oral history so you’re learning about the history of the Friday the 13th films from the people who were actually involved.

It makes for compelling and interesting reading, providing a portrait not just of the franchise but also of what it was like to be involved in the world of low-budget, genre film making.  Friday the 13th may have started out as an independent American giallo just to then become a studio slasher franchise but the one thing that remained consistent was that, no matter how much money the films made, they weren’t ever given much respect.  One of the recurring themes in the book is that the actors who were cast in the films were often happy for the work but it was rare that getting killed in a Friday the 13th film ever led to stardom.  (Kevin Bacon, of course, is the exception to that rule.  Though Bacon isn’t interviewed in the book, everyone who worked on the first film seems to agree that he was fun to work with.)  Some of the actors interviewed are just happy to have been a part of an iconic franchise.  Some of them display a commendable sense of humor while other seem rather annoyed to know that they’ll be forever associated with Friday the 13th.  Some, like New Beginning‘s Jerry Pavlon, worry about the franchise’s subtext while actress Barbara Howard jokes that she calls her annual Final Chapter residual check her “blood money.”

Another recurring theme in Crystal Lake Memories is that of the bitter screenwriter.  For the most part, the people assigned to write the scripts for these films come across as being a uniformly bitter lot.  It’s actually understandable, as the majority of them attempted to add a new twist to the franchise just to be told that the studio just wanted more scenes of Jason killing camp counselors.  That gets at a larger frustration shared by almost everyone interviewed.  How do you add your own personal touch to a set of films that are specifically designed to be as impersonal as possible?  That’s the question that everyone involved with the franchise had to answer for themselves and it makes for an interesting and relatable read.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the book deals with the lengthy development of the Freddy vs. Jason film.  We’re told that one of the executives involved with the film believed that, if she added an environmental subtext to the story, Freddy vs. Jason would be the first slasher film to win an Academy Award.  As for the films themselves, it sounds like Friday The 13th: A New Beginning had the most out-of-control set while Friday the 13th Part 2 was the fun set.  The set I would have wanted to avoid would have been Friday the 13th 3D, where everyone was apparently too stressed out over the special effects to actually have any fun.

This book is a must not just for Friday the 13th fans but for movie lovers in general.