What is it about film production company bumpers at the beginning of movies circa 1984-1993 (roughly) that just strikes a chord so deep in some of us who were alive to experience them first hand?
It’s truly Pavlovian, in a way. We hear a certain bumper and we begin to salivate. We know the quality of the film we’re about to receive when we hear those opening notes. We can even guess the genre with overwhelming accuracy, thanks to the logo that materializes on the screen.
When the glimmering, metallic logo for Cannon Films assembles before our very eyes—the letter C and an arrow shape, joining to create what’s come to be known as “the Cannon Hexagon”—and those synth notes fuzz to life, backed by electronic drums, what movies come to mind? Delta Force? Death Wish 3? Or perhaps some other Golan-Globus display of excess? For me, it’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Continue reading Every. Video Bumper. Ever.
This piece originally appeared in No Friends Magazine. Parts have been edited for clarity.
VIDEO STORE DUST MEMORIES aka A WALK DOWN THE AISLES aka TERROR IN THE AISLES aka A WALK TO DISMEMBER aka EVERYBODY KILLED THE VIDEO STORE aka POSTCARDS FROM THE VIDEO STORE’S EDGE.
I wish I had a time machine to go back and see what the first video I rented was. I wouldn’t stop any fascist rulers, I wouldn’t make any bets on the World Series. I just wanna see what that first tape was. Continue reading VIDEO STORE DUST MEMORIES
Based on sheer unanimous appreciation alone, Creepshow may be one of the greatest horror films ever made. Truly: I’ve never heard one disparaging comment made about it. Inquire, and those who’ve seen it will excitedly describe their favorite segment, their eyes alight and hands animated. For those raised on it, it’s like a plateful of comfort food. And, due to its fall-tinged intro, it has become a Halloween staple. Needless to say, it’s a horror classic.
One of the things that helped cement Creepshow among horror royalty is its incredible score. Composed by frequent Romero collaborator John Harrison (using only a Prophet V synthesizer), the score successfully manages to craft a hauntingly Gothic aura punctuated by goofy camp – no easy task, but one that compliments the vibe of the comic book-inspired film perfectly. Romero himself has said that Harrison’s score delivers on the promise the tagline of the film avows: “the most fun you’ll have being scared”. Continue reading THE MISSING “CREEPSHOW” MUSIC CUES!
When the athletic Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) is tragically paralyzed in a freak jogging accident in George A. Romero’s masterful Monkey Shines, things – at first- seem hopeless for the injured Allan.
After the accident, Allan withdraws. He becomes a shell of his former lively self. He grows distant from his girlfriend. And most tricky of all, Allan hates his live-in the nurse, Maryanne – the only one who can actually physically assist Allan.
All is reversed, however, when Allan’s speed-freak med student buddy, Geoffrey (John Pankow, looking like Elvis Costello’s twin here), delivers him a surprise package in the form a cute little capuchin monkey, lovingly nicknamed “Ella”, after the famed jazz singer. Continue reading HORROR PET OF THE MONTH: Ella!
I love talking about the ’80s for nostalgic reasons of course, but more and more I find that I like talking about that decade because I’m awed at just how archaic it seems now; compared to today’s Instant Everything culture where omnipotence is just a click away, the 1980s feel downright Paleolithic. And it’s especially hard for me to remember that the ’80s were 30+ years ago while we as a culture are stuck in this perma-’80s & ’90s closed circuit loop. I’m sure people in 1970 felt light years ahead of 1940, but 2016 feels like it could still be 1983-1997. It’s all very weird. Okay, okay, this old man’ll stop yelling at you to get off his lawn and get to the point. Continue reading The Weird World of WATCH AND WEAR!
If, like most Americans in the mid to late-’80s, you quit your law firm in the city to move to the boonies and open a video store amid the Great VHS Boom, you were probably fairly clueless on the subject and immediately found yourself struck with the most imperative decision of your new business venture: what do you stock your shop with?
You turn to your family for answers: your boy says “Freddy”, whoever that is; your daughter suggests anything with Johnny Depp; your wife offers something classic. All fine suggestions, but what do the people want? At a retail price of $99.95 a piece, video cassettes at the time were too pricey to simply buy blindly. That’s where promotional videos come in. In a pre-Google world, movie distribution companies — wanting to secure some video store shelf space — would send these promotional tapes directly to video store proprietors. Continue reading Horror VHS Promo Videos!