Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Head Hauntresses Favorite Horror Movie(with special guest Mrs. Elizabeth Kathryn Gray)

Sup Reaps, Eric here. If you've been following Head Hauntress Mrs. Elizabeth Kathryn Gray of the Halloween Horror Movie Marathon Madness  then you know she has been counting down her 10 favorite horror movies. She has certainly had an electic mix from older Universal movies, NOES 3, Lucio Fulci, etc. We know come to her #1 king so without further aideu, we turn the blog over to her...

ATTENTION ALL MANIACS - The HEAD HAUNTRESS and her TOP TEN FAVORITE HORROR FILMS continues!! We Made to to NUMBER UNO!! Without further adieu…

The horror genre is a place of large variety. There are a lot of duds, but because there are so few boundaries, creativity thrives. Any subject can be explored. Horror can be a place of subtlety or a place of excess, offensive to the mature or even friendly to children. It can even be bad and still be enjoyable. Horror is one of the only genres that can survive total dismissal and still lands on its feet. The Horror genre itself is the true final girl. There is always one film that crosses over every year. Most of the greatest directors have either a horror film or documentary lurking in the back of their closets. It is only a matter of time for another great film from the newest great director surfaces. This leads me to my horror favorite film directed by one of my favorite directors of all time.
One Halloween, I rented a film that a local newspaper, in Berkeley, CA, kept going on and on about, using words like “visionary”. It also mentioned the most blood used in a film ever. So I picked up this film directed by a kiwi named Peter Jackson, worried about what I was going to see..


DEAD ALIVE aka BRAIN DEAD (1992) dir Peter Jackson – It just knocked me off my feet from frame one. I had never seen a film this gory before. Still haven't. Heck in this film the gore becomes a character. This not a metaphor; actual sentient zombie entrails gets its own story arc. This film is balls to the wall and could easily have become an incoherent mess. But with Jackson on the helm and the awesome power of WETA Workshop, this Zombie romp is one of the grandest, grossest times I have ever spent.

WETA and Jackson brought two great things, fantastic production and witty writing. The zombie design is unlike anything I had ever seen before and still rivals all films since. They use a combination of everything from make-up, stop animation and practical puppetry, to bring to life the undead of all shapes and sizes. The writing team has a dark sense of humor about its own outrageousness but never quite mugs directly at the screen. A parable on growing up and leaving home, this film is funny as hell but is no spoof. So yes, it may be a comedy but to the characters it’s their worst nightmare. You end up caring for everyone despite how horrible some of the human characters are. This situation is something you would never wish on your own enemy or insane family member. The comedy touch is much needed and so well timed that you can almost stomach the gruesome carnage. If this was straight horror, it would be too unwatchable. Jackson understands, even if you want to torture your characters, you should never torture your audience (At he least did until THE HOBBIT). However it’s perfectly fine to make them squirm like little girls and maybe even vomit.

This movie crosses limits that are rarely traversed even in horror, including a guy cutting himself out his own mother womb, a zombie priest defiling a zombie nun, and a women regurgitating a German Sheppard. This is one of the only films to ever make me gag. That is why it wins. Even this jaded film geek was handed her ass on a platter. And it wasn't the guy getting his rib cage ripped out or the zombie baby ripping a girl's face from the inside out. It wasn't even when the zombie that showed his victim her own heart as she died. No, the moment that made me nauseous was a simple blood gag. And as I choked, Jackson walloped me with something far worse. To this day I cannot eat anything that looks like yellow custard without flashing to DEAD ALIVE.

I could go on and on about DEAD ALIVE. I am so glad that I stumbled across that article in a cafe on Shattuck Avenue. Because after I read it, right across the street, the poster starred at me in all its depraved glory. DEAD ALIVE was the beginning of a love affair with amazing director. A man who clearly speaks to me and later went on to make my favorite books of all time into the greatest fantasy trilogy ever put to film. And it all started with a horrid little Sumatran Rat Monkey who bites a very nasty old lady. (Jackson and I will have a discussion about THE HOBBIT later.)

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