Horror films are dope, plain and simple.
Not dope as in heroin, but drugs and films can have similar mind- and body-altering effects. Did you avoid claustrophobic stairs after watching the The Exorcist, or become tangibly itchy while squirming through a Cronenberg flick? That’s your brain on horror.
The Macabre Brothers love being scared stupid and talking about it afterwards. But we also enjoy the technical and artistic flourishes that make horror one of the oldest, most malleable genres around. (Fun fucking fact: In 1895, Thomas Edison filmed the first-ever horror flick, “The Execution of Mary Stuart,” an 18-second short which showed a woman being beheaded. That’s only four years after he invented the original motion picture camera – horror has its blood-spattered hands on the whole of cinema history.)
From Edison to Eli Roth, the oft-derided genre is a case study in the essentials of film and fiction. Horror boasts memorable characters, rich mythologies, experimental cinematography, weird set-pieces and rule-bending narratives – not to mention plenty of blood, guts and gore. Even the sketchiest offerings tap into our darkest fears and deepest anxieties, whether through legit frights or B-grade laughs. Let’s see a Michael Bay film do all that with a budget under $300 million.
And maybe that’s another reason we enjoy horror: It’s about underdogs prevailing over grotesque odds, at least for the folks behind the camera. Along with sci-fi, horror has long been a proving ground for many of history’s most respected directors and actors, including Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Johnny Depp and Bruce Campbell. It’s sort of a gateway drug to that elusive Oscar high, or in Campbell’s case, cult status. (Swear to god we don’t do drugs – they just make for useful metaphors.)
Our weekly film reviews aren’t limited solely to classics and recent releases. We’re feverish cinephiles (not blind fanboys), and like anyone dedicated to a particular subject, our canon could use an overhaul. Thanks to monthly challenges from the horror buffs at Kitley’s Krypt, we’ll explore some of the most bizarre offerings from a slew of sub-genres and figures: Italian cannibal films, director H.G. Lewis, actor Paul Naschy, artistic director Bernard Robinson and much more.
We’re giddy to discover genre gems and, as is occasionally the case with horror, unearth entirely new levels of blow (again with the drug references). So turn off the lights, pop whatever you like to pop, and get ready for a world of horror. Things could get weird.