Time For A #31DaysOfHorror Double Bill!
As I look at some of the greatest horror films of all time, this double bill came to mind: a “no-budget” classic and a Canadian shocker – both films growing in cinematic importance over the years!
Horror movies fans were stunned when George A. Romero, Director of the seminal 1968 horror film “Night of the Living Dead”, died at 77 of lung cancer.
Romero broke all the rules of low-budget filmmaking when he created “Night Of The Living Dead” – a film that has inspired filmmakers and movie lovers for decades – a Halloween classic…
“Night Of The Living Dead” has grown more famous over the years, but almost never got made at all! It is a testament to the tenacity and ingenuity of Romero that he managed to get this film made! It was completed on a $114,000 budget and premiered October 1, 1968.
Here is the classic trailer:
The plot is straightforward: A shocking phenomenon has occurred: throughout the country, the dead have suddenly come back to life. A small group barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt the remain safe from these “walking dead.”
“Night of the Living Dead” is a master class in low budget filming. The script is razor sharp, the characters become clearly defined over the course of the movie, and the gore – well, let’s just say it was heavily criticized when it came out, because it was presented in a “reality” style that was shocking for its time!
The film has grown in critical stature over the years, and was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry, as a film deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Here’s another interesting fact: the word “zombie” is never used in the film. According to IMDB, the most common euphemism used to describe the living dead is “those things,” or “ghouls.”
According to the George A. Romero commentary track on one of the many special edition DVDs of the film, the original working print and working elements and materials for the film no longer exist – they were destroyed as a result of a flood that filled the basement where the materials were stored (which was the same basement used in the movie).
Next up on our horrific double bill:
“IF THIS PICTURE DOESN’T MAKE YOUR SKIN CRAWL – IT’S ON TOO TIGHT!”
What a great tag line! Time to share one of the most shocking horror classics of the 70’s – and yes, your skin will crawl!
A classic 70’s horror film that has been rediscovered thanks to home video, “Black Christmas” is a tight, vicious thriller that is one of my top five horror films of all time!
Let’s look at the original trailer, which is not only lengthy at four minutes, but scary as hell as well:
The plot is straightforward: It’s time for Christmas break, and a group of sorority sisters make plans for the holiday – but then the horrifying anonymous phone calls begin. Olivia Hussey stars in the film…
Hussey starred in “Romeo & Juliet”, but this is no love story…one of the reasons the film works so well is that her performance is so grounded in reality – she is very much like Jamie Lee Curtis in “Halloween” – a “real” person who makes the horror all the more real…
Margot Kidder also stars as one of Olivia’s sorority sisters, and she’s got a wicked sense of humor and an acid tongue…this was just prior to her breakout role as Lois Lane in “Superman”…
Kidder really elevates the film with her caustic wit…and the film is full of familiar faces…
What A Cast!
Kier Dullea also stars in the movie – Dullea of course was in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, “2001: A Space Odyssey…”
Great character Actor John Saxon also stars – and action movie fans will always remember him showcasing his kung fu moves in the Bruce Lee classic “Enter The Dragon.”
Since this was a low budget film, Keir Dullea worked only for a week, and never met Margot Kidder! He barely met John Saxon either, but the film is edited in such a way that he appears to be present throughout the film…
“Black Christmas” Fan Steve Martin!
Around 1986, Olivia Hussey met Steve Martin for a role in “Roxanne”, and Martin said “Oh my God Olivia, you were in one of my all time favorite films”. Hussey assumed it was her role in “Romeo and Juliet” – but she was surprised to find out it was “Black Christmas!” Martin claimed he had seen it over 20 times!
What’s amazing is that the Director, Bob Clark, also made one of the holiday’s greatest films – a beloved comedy!
That’s right, Clark also directed this classic – oh, and “Porky’s” as well! Read all about this under-appreciated Director here:
Need more shocks this month? How about this cult French horror?
“Fascination” is a moody, bloody, nudity-filled shocker – see the trailer here:
Here’s to #31DaysOfHorror!
Categories: 70's Cinema, Action Films, Art, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Great Films, Grindhouse, Halloween, Hollywood, Horror films, Independent Cinema, Movies, Obscure Movies, Pop Culture, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities