In SVB Halloween Theater, we asked various musicians and fellow bloggers to talk about some of their favorite horror films.
The Vanishing (1988) – George Sluizer
This is as film that haunts me, mainly for the idea than the actual film. It’s about a couple biking in Europe and at a rest stop the woman vanishes. On the other side of the film is the man who takes her as an ethical test. I think its terrifying to muse on what makes someone a sociopath, but also the devastation of losing someone and not having closure. It’s a good one.
Carnival of Souls (1962) – Herk Harvey
Such a moody and atmospheric film about a woman between the world of the living and the dead. So many images are just really creepy and atmospheric, with the end at this strange abandoned carnival. It really works, and has such strong and evocative images, with an excellent droney organ score by Gene Moore.
The Beyond (1981) – Lucio Fulci
Absurd, grotesque and surreal. I absolutely love this film, it makes no sense, and that’s the point. This is surrealism applied to horror and it works, I think. With a great score by Fabio Frizzi and a painting that become a real landscape, after it bleeds. There’s so many ideas in this that it almost makes sense.
The Witch (2015) – Dave Eggers
I am obsessed with horror soundtracks and not only is this film brilliant but the soundtrack is as well. A story of witch conversion told from 17th century America, kind of a siege film if you think of it, but the instruments are drones set from strange instruments of the period. Absolutely beautiful and actually a film that scared me.
Night of the Living Dead (1968) – George Romero
For me it isn’t the zombies, it isn’t the house under siege or the feuding tactics for survival. It’s the ending, the grainy stills like some cold document of a lynching. It’s the indifference of the deputized, their surety at their actions. I saw this when I was very young and it set me into horror films, and I’d be remiss to not include it.
Martti Hill – Barrowlands
I consider myself very fortunate to live in Portland, Oregon. Not only do we have a great music scene, but our movie scene is pretty stellar too. One of our theaters often shows original 35mm prints of hard to find horror films and hosts the HP Lovecraft Film Festival and the Portland Horror Film Festival (both Festivals that I actively volunteer with). The first year of the PHFF, Barrowlands was asked if we could provide a song that would play prior to the films and when the opportunity arose again this year, we felt like it was a great way to give people a sneak preview of our new album ‘Tyndir’ (coming out October 27th on Vendetta Records). Choosing just a few horror films to talk about is a pretty difficult task. Do I talk about my favorite Hammer film? My favorite giallo? An underrated slasher? Ultimately I decided that I could tie this both into my love of music and horror and even a little bit of the HP Lovecraft Film Festival.
“Possession” by Andrzej Zulawski.
When I saw this movie for the first time, one of the things that really stuck out to me was the soundtrack by Andrzej Korzynski. So when I found out Finders Keepers issued it in 2012, I just had to have it. And it kind of became my gateway into collecting soundtracks on vinyl. There’s something about soundtracks on record that work for me in a way that they don’t on CD. CDs become background noise, while with vinyl I feel much more engaged and can visualize scenes from the film as I lay on my bed listening to it. The movie itself is one of those films like ‘Funny Games’ that I found myself thinking about for days after viewing, searching the Internet for every bit of info I could find. On the one hand, it’s clearly a horror film of the Lovecraftian variety with a monster that is practically indescribable and the effect it has on the 2 lead characters. On the other hand, it is clearly a film about the dissolution of the marriage of the 2 main characters. If you like your horror films to have layers of meaning, I highly recommend this film.
‘The Wicker Man’ by Robin Hardy.
Folk horror. Christopher Lee. What more needs to be said really?!?!? A film I can watch over and over and over and never get tired of and again a movie whose soundtrack is just as wonderful as the film.
For me, the idea of dropping a few musical numbers into this film didn’t detract at all from the overall experience. I would say that in this case it was actually a benefit to the film, separating it from the likes of ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’ and ‘Witchfinder General’ that came before it.
“From Beyond” by Stuart Gordon
Before I knew anything about Lovecraft and that this was an adaption of one of his stories, I knew this film. Just an over the top ’80’s horror film with wonderful performances by Jeffrey Combs and Barbra Crampton.
Mad scientists and creatures from another dimension floating through the air? Perfect!!! And not only is it one of my favorites but in 2016 I got to add a great memory to it. It was my first year volunteering with the HP Lovecraft Film Festival and this was the main feature that year with Stuart Gordon in attendance. Major excitement, right? So I’m sitting in the theater right before the movie is about to start and the guy to my right has never seen it, so here I am gushing about why it’s so wonderful when one of the other volunteers ushers a man into the seat on my left. Who is it? None other than Stuart Gordon! So here I am watching one of my favorite films with the director RIGHT NEXT TO ME. Starstruck and got to thank him for giving us such a terrific movie.