Tag Archives: horror

13 Days of Sequels: SLEEPAWAY CAMP II

With 13 Days of Sequels I’ll be reviewing horror sequels every weekday for the last two weeks of October. You can view all entries HERE.

Thanks in part to the massive success of Friday the 13th, the early ’80s saw a surge in horror movies set around the campfire, lovingly known as “backwoods slashers”. The Burning, Mother’s Day, Madman, Don’t Go in the Woods…Alone!, Just Before Dawn, The Forest, The Final Terror, and The Prey were all released before the decade had even reached its halfway point. The trend would all but dry up by the end of the ’80s, the only real notable exceptions being the franchises that had fostered the sub-genre and had outlived the random copycats.

One of those enduring films was Sleepaway Camp, the cult shocker from 1983 that became a surprise success (making $11M off its $350K budget) thanks largely in part to its bizarre climax – which is still being talked about today. Continue reading 13 Days of Sequels: SLEEPAWAY CAMP II

HORROR NERD OF THE MONTH: Randy!

As much as it pains me to say, I feel like I have a lot in common with Scream‘s resident nerd, Randy Meeks (played by Jamie Kennedy). In fact, I kind of consider him a gasp!choke!…kindred spirit. He’s a high-strung horror fanatic*, the oddest within his friend circle**, who works part-time at a video store*** and bores those around him with his endless pontifications on horror rules and theories****. We’re almost two peas in a pod really. Continue reading HORROR NERD OF THE MONTH: Randy!

ARTISTS BEHIND THE IMAGE: Robert Tanenbaum

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ARTISTS BEHIND THE IMAGE is intended to put a name (and sometimes face) to the talented men and women who created the most iconic images to adorn horror VHS boxes and posters from ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Their art is vital; it’s the reason I (and many of you, certainly) fell in love with horror movies in the first place. This is not only intended as a tribute, but also a minor compendium, meant to collect their works in one single spot. Corrections, additions, or other info? Email me.

Prior to college, Robert Tanenbaum had no formal art training – but that didn’t stop him from winning first place in the portrait competition while only a freshman at Washington University. His innate talent for portraiture took off from there, and he hasn’t stopped to look back since.

Adept at watercolors, oils, and acrylics – and with a distinct style reminiscent of Norman Rockwell – Tanenbaum has been in constant demand since his career began. He’s been commissioned over 200 times to paint the portraits of various movie stars, sports figures, and even heads of corporations. He’s painted many several collections of Franklin Mint collector’s plates. He is a Signature Member of the National Watercolor Society; one of 22 members out of 1300 members to be nationally certified by The American Portrait Society;  one of only 350 that has been elected as an Artist member of the California Art Club and an artist member of National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and art shows. Continue reading ARTISTS BEHIND THE IMAGE: Robert Tanenbaum

SUMMERTIME SCARES! (Barry Foster)

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And last but not least – the final entry in this year’s SUMMERTIME SCARES! is from my buddy Barry. Like me, he too is a lifelong horror nut and appreciator of all things nostalgic and trashy (and those precious gems that meet somewhere in the middle). So who better to wrap this thing up than him? Barry shows his love for a couple of perfect summertime flicks: a Drew Barrymore one-two punch of Motorama and Far From Home. Without further ado…take it away, Barry! Continue reading SUMMERTIME SCARES! (Barry Foster)

SUMMERTIME SCARES! (Cinema Crazed)

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While I didn’t have as many guest submissions this year as I did last, one cool thing was some new Felix Vasquez Jr., who runs Cinema Crazed. It’s a cool blog, and if you dig Camera Viscera, I’m sure you’ll dig plenty of the stuff Felix is putting out over there. For his SUMMERTIME SCARES! submission, he tackles the sweaty, drippy, oozing, uncomfortable Hellraiser franchise, specifically Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

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Admittedly, the first “Hellraiser” film I’ve ever seen was “Hell on Earth,” the 1992 sequel to Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser” series that arguably killed all cache the first movies established. It wasn’t until almost twenty years later when I finally sat down to see the superior “Hellraiser” predecessors. When my building was finally wired for cable in 1994, my brother and I sat down to watch “Hellraiser III” on Cinemax late one Saturday night during the summer. For a long time it remained a very vivid and fond memory of horror cinema. It was also my introduction to Doug Bradley as the iconic pinhead.

Anyone who knows a lot about the “Hellraiser” movies, know that the first two Clive Barker movies are complete tales in their own right. “Hellraiser” was a twisted love story about a sordid love affair and the evil Julia Cotton who led men to her house to feed to her undead lover Frank. In the first film, Pinhead only appears in the movie for ten minutes, and the movie is not even about him. But Doug Bradley’s performance is so gargantuan in presence and gravitas that Pinhead became the face of the movie series, despite Julia being the villain of the first two films. Pinhead is a name bestowed upon the character by populace as Clive Barker never really liked the name. Pinhead in the literature is a sexually ambiguous character that Barker called “Hell Priest.”

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But with “Hellraiser,” it cemented the direction, allowing for a more Pinhead-centric follow up. Though he appears for a longer duration, he is still only in the film for a small period and Julia Cotton is still the villain. She’s now a cenobite who seduces a sadistic doctor to feed her mental patients in an asylum so she can rebuild her body again. After Clare Higgins dropped out of the movie series, the studios naturally took the film series in the direction they wanted. Pinhead became the true persona of “Hellraiser,” and in “Hell on Earth” he became the primary antagonist who literally wrought pure havoc on Earth, massacring people, and creating his own gimmicky cenobites.

Where the original two films comprised cenobites out of willing subjects with dark sexual desires, Pinhead would take literally any victim and make them in to a twisted foot soldier. “Hell on Earth” is now mostly about Pinhead where he’s essentially the main character, even. After revealing his humanity in “Hellbound,” the studio gives a good excuse to turn Hellraiser in to the pure villain, as he’s been split in to two personas. The human persona battles to maintain his station within Pinhead and is stuck in limbo, while the pure evil Pinhead begins roaming our world using his magic to bathe the streets in blood. The symbolic monolith we saw in the final scene of “Hellraiser II” is turned in to a literal plot device where Pinhead is a part of a writhing pillar bought by a sadistic night club owner.

The pillar now looks like some cheap European art project made in a loft, and it comes to life thanks to Pinhead’s devious hooks that proceed to skin alive a jilted lover of JP Monroe’s. Pinhead’s head, now peeking through the statue like an episode of “Laugh In” demands that JP lure women up to his loft to get sucked up by the statue. With enough lives Pinhead is freed and feels compelled to unleash darkness upon humanity. Where the first two “Hellraiser” films thrived on delivering still iconic imagery and instances of terror, “Hell on Earth” attempts to compensate for its goofy take on Pinhead and convoluted story by delivering its own iconic imagery for Barker fans to chew on.

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There’s Pinhead invading a church and presenting Christ symbolism, and his massacring of JP’s night club, which shockingly cuts away when it’s about to get really splatterific. At least Hickox delivers some money shots which involve mostly the conception of his own army of cenobites. “Hellworld” defies the concept of the cenobites and goes full on gimmicky for this outing, delivering a cenobite that shoots fire, has a deadly zoom camera lens in their head, and one that even shoots deadly CD’s for some reason. Back then my brother and I thought it was the coolest thing we’d ever seen. These days it breaks the rules of the first two movies, but is at least some goofy fun.

“Hell on Earth” is unofficially considered the final chapter of the “Hellraiser” saga. It takes an unnecessary glimpse in to Pinhead’s back story and transforms a once enigmatic and mystifying monster in to a silly scowling movie monster for what is a pretty typical nineties B movie that I fondly recall grinning through as a young boy. After finally watching the first two films almost four years ago, I still not quite sure if “Hellworld” turned Barker’s saga in to B movie fodder, or if the “Hellraiser” tale was B movie fodder painted in an arthouse gloss the whole time.

SUMMERTIME SCARES! (Horror and Sons)

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As strange as it sounds, there are cliques among horror (&sci-fi&exploitation&et. al.) blogs. Not in the mean-spirited high school sense of the word, but simply peers who made their entry into the blogosphere at the same time as you. People who began with zero followers and slowly built an audience while you did the same. People who you chat with and share ideas and pointers with. I spot other longer running horror cliques on Twitter and Facebook all the time. And yes, believe it or not, Camera Viscera has many contemporaries, too. 

One of them is Horror and Sons. I can’t recall the exact moment we landed on each others radar, but I’ve kept them in my Rolodex ever since. (I’ll probably be adding them to my list of Emergency Contacts soon.) They submitted a great piece for my Drive-In Double Feature last summer, and I am thrilled that they decided to participate in this year’s whatever this is. Check out their piece from last year; I think you’ll notice a theme. Continue reading SUMMERTIME SCARES! (Horror and Sons)