A Horror Film Is Up For Best Picture. Get Over It!

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Possible spoiler for Get Out below.

I’m currently a few months away from turning 53 years of age. I’ve been watching horror films as long as I can remember. As you can imagine, for many years I had no idea that horror had any sort of stigma attached to it. I loved the genre, so, of course everyone else did as well, right? This impression lasted until I was at least 20 years old. This is when, after seeing Richard Liberty’s performance in George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead, I was convinced he would be nominated for best supporting actor at the Oscars. I know, foolish, right? Not only was the film horror, but it was also an independently released film. Hollywood never liked those kind of films. That’s why they did their best to kill those kind of releases. Sadly, they were a successful in that endeavor.

Of course, it was easy for me to think that horror had respect due to the boom in its popularity during the early 1980s. Packed houses for films like CreepshowReanimator, and the latest Friday the 13th film; unrated gorefests from Italy, as well as domestic releases, expanding to more “respectable” theaters than the local trashy movie house that was walking distance from my home. A young person who grew up with an unquestionable love for the genre could be easily fooled.

Of course, being a long time fan of Siskel & Ebert (their first review that I caught was for the 1979 mutant bear epic Prophecy) I learned early on not to go to them for views on horror. Still, they did like their fare share of scary flick, so I really can’t count them as pure horror haters. 

The fact that there was a section of the public that had a pathological hatred for this beloved genre really hit home in the late 1980s. I was watching some news show, if memory serves. A man was being interview that started calling horror porn. I don’t really have much of a problem with pornography, but this was clearly meant to be as derogatory in its meaning. Up to this point, this would prove to be the worse attack on horror I’d ever witnessed. I have since become very defensive of the genre especially in a time when the horror hating term, torture porn, has been inexplicably embraced by The Horror Community.

But, we also live in a time when an blatantly obvious horror film, Get Out, received multiple Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Of course, there’s a large portion of the public that make their way to the theater to see buzz worthy films. Months before the nominations rolled in for the film, Get Out became one of these movies. And I’m sure that a large majority of these trend chasers are horror haters. I had no contact with their views on the film until the Oscar nominations were announced.

And it went like this:    

One left leaning page on Facebook posted about the nominations for Get Out. The responses made it clear that many, if not all followers of this page, were in denial that the film was in fact horror. Because of it being trendy and Oscar worthy, suddenly Get Out isn’t a horror film.

Those who look down on horror don’t like to admit they actually lowered themselves by liking a horror film. So they have to call it something else, like a thriller. I hate to openly state a spoiler, but at the heart of this film, it’s a mad scientist flick. The 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari could be the first of these types of films (unless you count Edison’s silent short of Frankenstein). H. P. Lovecraft came out with Herbert West–Reanimator the next year in a series of short stories. But it was Universal Picture that popularized the trope. Get Out is just adding to this long line of mad scientist stories, only with a social satire subtext.

Of course, this social satire subtext is taking direct aim at many of those same left leaning people who deny that Get Out is a horror film.

We all should remember this quote from the film: “Black is in fashion.”–Charles T. Cochran

 

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Top Ten Favorite Horror Films 2017

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As usual, I didn’t get to see all the films released in 2017 that I wanted to that would be considered for this list. But, I did my best.

So, here it goes. A little less lazy this year since there’s more than just picture.

 
The Girl With All the Gifts

There are periods in my life where it seems I get sick of zombie films. The first one was in my high school days in the early 1980’s when it seemed like there was a glut of unrated Italian walking dead films making it to theaters near me. The fact is that I only real got into Lucio Fulci films of this type. I think I’m in the second sick-of-zombies period. But I’m always open to be proven wrong. That’s where The Girl With All the Gift comes in.

This turned out to be the rare zombie film that seems to actually add to this subgenre. The horror is there, but the base is very much science fiction. The virus infection is played as a new step in an evolutionary process.

It’s hard to say why this film won me over above my number 2 choice. But it did. I think it had something to do with the story and the film-making that helped tell it. I was sucked into it unlike any other film on this list.

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Get Out

This is one of the most intelligent social satire horror stories I’ve even seen. Paranoia rarely is so effectively realized in a film. Jordan Peele has his work cut out for him on anything he has in store for us in the future. I wish him well.

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Gerald’s Game

One of my favorite Stephen King novels was turned into an excellent Netflix original film by Mike Flanagan, the best in the new breed of horror filmmakers. That’s all I need to say.

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The Void

This was a great mix of Lovecraft, Barker, Fulci, Carpenter, and I’m sure a nice handful of other influences. And, thank you very much for proving that practical effects still make a huge impact on an audience.

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The Devil’s Candy

What’s at the core of this film is a realistic and likable family unit in peril. And this peril runs deeper than the mentally disturbed man that shows up at their door one day.

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Raw

If you know me well enough, then you know there has to been at least one quirky film on any of my lists. This is the first of two. And of course the story of a veterinary student who prefers a meatless diet, like the rest of her family, starting to believe she has a proclivity for consuming human flesh sure does qualify as quirky.

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The Blackcoat’s Daughter

This is the second quirky one as presented to us by Anthony Perkins’ son Oz. I’m not a big fan of the term “slow-burn”, but this is actually the best example of that style of storytelling. Two female students are stuck on campus waiting for their respective parents to pick them up for winter break while another young lady seems to be headed the same campus for reasons unknown. There’s a building of tension until some disturbing stuff happens.

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1922

This is another great adaptation of a King story, a novella this time. A haunting fueled by extreme guilt. The story plays much like a tale straight out of EC comics, but Stephen King style.

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It

Well, looky here! Another King adaptation does well for itself. If this keeps up, this young man may have a career to write home about.

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A Cure For Wellness

Despite, maybe, being a touch too long, it was sure good to see something this twisted being made with this much love. We really do need more mad scientist films, don’t you think?

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Honorable Mentions: XX, The House on Willow Street, It Comes at Night, Split

–Charles T. Cochran

A Story For Father’s Day

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As long as I can remember my Mother took me to movies. It seemed like a weekly event, much like how I do it now on my own. That’s probably why it’s my preferred way to view films, on the big screen.

 

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Now, on the other hand, My Father rarely went to the theater to see a movie. When he did it would be my Mother and I would be there as well. Most of these pictures would be comedies like Airplane! or the latest Pink Panther flick. But, one time we three went to see Visiting Hours. Odd choice, really. Still, it scared the hell out of my Father. It didn’t do much for me, though. A fact that was not lost on my Father.

 

There was only one time, just one time, when my Father took me to see something as Father and Son. That was for my birthday for that year. I would’ve been turning 16 years of age in 1981. At that time it was rare that many movie theaters cared if you were 17 or older to see R rated (or even unrated gore fest, for that matter). I could’ve seen it on my own or with friends. But, this was for my birthday and my Father wanted to take me to see anything I wanted to see.

And, that film was An American Werewolf In London.

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Needless to say we were both impressed. I had already saw The Howling earlier that year, so I had experienced that style of transformation effects. But, my Father was floored, to say the least. He went on about how he was used to The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney Jr. He wasn’t expecting what was presented to us that night.

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The thing is, that was the first and last time we ever went to see a movie together as Father and Son. The film was released in 1981. Eight years later, in 1989, my Father died. An American Werewolf In London isn’t just a fun and scary horror film, it holds a special place in my heart for the reason stated above.

Thanks to John Landis, David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter, and Rick Baker for a fond memory of my Father.

–Charles T. Cochran

 

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Anton Yelchin (1989-2016)

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It was a lot like the time I had ordered David Bowie’s latest album online, then the next day we all were informed that he had died. I was watching Star Trek on MeTV and Chekov (Walter Koenig) could be heard over the ship’s intercom system. I then thought of Anton Yelchin and how he took the part and made it his own. I had thought of Mr. Yelchin the day before they told us all that he had died. Both these times it was like a kick in the stomach.

 

I didn’t just think about this young man’s take on a classic science fiction character. No. I thought about how good of an actor in general he was. And, how likable of an actor he was. (Was? Wow; it’s going to get hard to get used to that). I’ve liked Mr. Yelchin’s work for a number of years before his entrance into the Star Trek universe. It really was his likability that sealed the deal with me. He came off as approachable and down to Earth with his characters. A nice guy actor like Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, or, even James Steward. And, the acting chops to boot. By all the  accounts that are coming out from people that knew him, that worked with him, who loved him, he was very much the nice guy that he came off as on screen.

 

Based on Imdb there are five more of his films coming out, including the new Star Trek film. Five more times we as fans can catch this talented actor perform for us. He will be missed. But, it’s important to remember, no matter how much we fans will miss him, his friends and family will miss him so very much more. Respect.

 

To keep this post topic regarding the theme of this blog here’s a list of genre related titles for you to revisit.

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Terminator Salvation

The Smurfs (voice: Clumsy) This includes the sequel,a couple shorts, and video games

Fright Night (a remake that doesn’t suck)

Odd Thomas

Only Lovers Left Behind

Burying the Ex
And, even though it’s arguably a crime thriller, Green Room has as many frightening sequences as any horror would want to have.

–Charles T. Cochran

My Top 5 2015 Horror Flicks

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Here’s just a quick look at my top favorites in Horror Cinema for 2015. In my opinion it wasn’t a great year for Horror. There’s some outstands films, but not much more than small handful of them. And, it should be noted that I was not able to see every film in release.–Charles T. Cochran

1. Goodnight Mommy

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2. Bone Tomahawk

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3. What We Do in the Shadows

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4. We Are Still Here

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5. Crimson Peak

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FRIGHT METER AWARDS SEEKING SHORT HORROR FILM SUBMISSIONS

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SEEKING SHORT HORROR FILM SUBMISSIONS
(June 29th, 2015)—The Fright Meter Awards Organization is seeking submissions to be considered for the “Best Short Film” award. To be eligible, the short film must be submitted to a film festival or available on social media outlets such as YouTube, Vimeo etc. between December 1st, 2014 and November 30th, 2015 and be available for the Fright Meter Awards Committee to view.
Now in its eighth year, The Fright Meter Awards are presented annually by the Fright Meter Awards Organization, dedicated solely to honoring and recognizing excellence within the horror genre. The nominations and winners are determined by members of the Fright Meter Awards Committee. Past winners of the Fright Meter Award include John Cusack, Chloe Grace Moretz, Rutger Hauer, and Marcia Gay Harden.
The Fright Meter Award Committee consists of horror fans, bloggers, actors, producers, directors, and others involved in the industry. The aim is to select and nominate worthy films regardless of budget, means of release, or popularity. The Fright Meter Awards Organization intends to make the Fright Meter Award one of the most prestigious horror awards given.
If you are interested in having your short film considered, please contact us.
Individuals can visit http://www.frightmeterawards.com for more information about the organization.

Michael “Mad Mike” Nagy – Senior Committee Member
naggerz69@hotmail.co.uk
Troy Escamilla – President
troy@frightmeterawards.com
563-528-2048
Fright Meter Awards Organization