This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fear in the Dark (1991)

"From the earliest fireside ghost stories to big budget blockbuster horror movies of today, we have entertained ourselves with terrifying visions drawn from our darkest nightmares."
-Christopher Lee


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I suppose I have always loved the horror genre. Every Halloween growing up, I always enjoyed watching classics such as the 1931 gems Dracula and Frankenstein. I remember wanting to see Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) when they were originally released, even though I didn't actually watch the films themselves until I reached high school. But when The Silence of the Lambs (1991) came out, my love for the genre seemed to increase ten-fold (some say Silence isn't a horror film, but the rest of us know better). Maybe it was because I was a teenager, but I started seeking out more and more horror entertainment after seeing that classic. Eventually, I even sat down and, over time (not in one sitting, because I had other priorities), watched all the Friday the 13th entries. Like Star Trek: Voyager, that series is too non-sensical to be classifed as 'good,' but it can be fun to watch. But this documentary on the horror genre, which was televised on the BBC the same year Silence appeared in cinemas, is definitely good, as I found out after purchasing it on VHS (remember those?). It discusses the beginnings of the genre, which, at the time, emphasized vampires and other supernatural figures. The references to McCarthyism in such classics as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is also referenced, as are the 'nature gone amuck' genre which, in the 1970s, was reinvented by Jaws (1975). There is also reference to Jack the Ripper and how that case eventually led to the influence of Psycho (1960). That film, of course, led to the slasher film genre such as Halloween (1978) and its subsequent ilk. Ed Gein, a farmer from Wisconsin who was imprisoned for killing a number of women in 1957, is also mentioned, as it was his story which would inspire Psycho, Silence, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Other notable highmarks of the genre include The Exorcist (1973) and the EC comics, such as Tales From the Crypt, which would sadly fall victim to McCarthyism. The emphasis on then-recent release Silence is also nice (I wonder how this documentary would have played out if it was televised after its well-deserved Oscar wins). Directors such as Dario Argento, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and William Friedkin, writers like Kim Newman, and Saul Bass (who worked on Psycho's shower sequence) give wonderful insight. Christopher Lee's narration is the icing on the cake.