"THE SHAPE OF WATER" directorGuillermo del Toro’s omnivorous storytelling stretches beyond just movies. A trilogy of novels he co-wrote became the basis for the television series “The Strain.” The “Trollhunters” book he co-wrote became an animated series. And Del Toro often expresses an ongoing interest in video games.
So at a moment when there are more ways than ever to tell stories to frighten, to provoke and to entertain, Del Toro seems just the person to turn to regarding how the medium impacts the message, the ways in which how you tell a story can impact the story itself.
The Beverly Hills offices of KatzSmith Productions are filled with the kind of treasures one would expect from the company that helped create “It,” currently the highest-grossing horror film of all time at the global box office.
Haunting the conference room is an immense cineplex standee for “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” the 2012 film made from the mash-up novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, who partnered with David Katzenberg to form KatzSmith.
The S.S. Georgie, the paper boat whose maiden voyage into a sewer led to the gruesome death of its tiny owner in “It,” is perched atop a first edition of the Stephen King book that inspired it all. A “Keep Calm and Carry On” sign, among the “E.T.” and “MacGruber” posters, is marred with blood splatters so it just says “Keep Calm.”
IN ONE OF THE SCARIER moments of “It,” Andy Muschietti’s smash-hit movie adaptation of the 1986 Stephen King novel, seven kids survey a map of their Maine hometown, searching for clues that will help them battle the child-murdering clown known as Pennywise.
The slide projector they’re using suddenly starts behaving like a demon-possessed zoetrope, and to the kids’ horror, the sharp-toothed Pennywise himself lunges into and out of the frame, obliterating the boundaries of the screen.
It’s a potent illustration of the idea that cinema can take on a terrifying life of its own. Or, indeed, that life can suddenly turn into a horror movie, as it no doubt feels for those who have interpreted “It” as a thinly veiled parable of life in Donald Trump’s America.
LIKE CHARACTERS IN AN OLD blues song, horror and I met at a crossroads decades ago. I went one way, horror another, and lately, I've been trying to figure out the reasons why.
It's not just the deaths of two of modern horror's founding fathers, George Romero of "Night of the Living Dead" and Tobe Hooper of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," that got me thinking. Though that played a part.
Equally crucial is the way horror finds itself positioned at this moment as the genre of choice for audiences as well as critics, the sensibility that is front and center in keeping the movie business afloat. ...
John Carpenter is best known for his prolific directing career, with a body of horror and sci-fi films that includes “Escape From New York,” “They Live” and the original “Halloween.” What fewer people remember — or ever realized — is that each of those films featured an original score by Carpenter, and in the last few years he’s taken his love for music into the recording studio — and on the road.
On Oct. 31, appropriately, Carpenter will perform music from “Halloween” and other scores, along with tracks from his recent “Lost Themes” I and II concept albums at the Hollywood Palladium. He’ll be backed by a heavy metal band composed of his son, godson and the rhythm section from Tenacious D.
Unholy alliances between children and clowns, evil scientists performing diabolical experiments, zombies, monsters, skeletons, haunted houses, possession and gore: For fans of pulp horror fiction, the ’70s and ’80s were a golden era. A new book aims to rediscover cult classics of the genre all too often relegated to collecting dust on thrift store shelves.
“Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction” (Quirk Books) traces the story of mass-market horror’s rise and demise, with such a razor focus on cult authors that Stephen King barely gets a mention.
THE TWO HOTTEST HORROR commodities right now have two things in common: A band of kids in distress and Finn Wolfhard.
In Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” Wolfhard broke out as Mike Wheeler, dungeon master and leader of the bike-pedaling gang seeking to solve the mystery of their missing friend. More recently, he was the profanity-punctuated comic relief Richie in Warner Bros.’ hit horror film “It.”
In the world of nostalgia-baiting entertainment, Wolfhard is the king of the scabby-kneed army.
THEY TAP INTO OUR DEEPEST fears as we sit in the dark and remind us, in brutal bursts and jump scares, how fleeting life can be. They give us bogeymen to rally against, heroines and heroes to root for. They teach us not to run away up the stairs or ever promise, as the shadows creep closer, “I’ll be right back.” ...
The translators, filmmakers who speak to us in the language of horror, are each in their own way part of a grand pop-folkloric tradition. It is the job of these macabre orchestra conductors to play our fears like violins, to choreograph our sense of dread as we sit in front of screens and spook us in the process — all in the name of entertainment.
“I learned the language of horror as a child at the movies and reading books,” says horror master John Carpenter, whose genre-blending career includes not only “Halloween,” “The Fog” and “They Live,” but “Escape From New York” and “Starman.”
SIX YEARS AGO, director Eli Roth pulled on a costume from his film "Hostel" and staged an impromptu performance inside the film's maze at Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights.
"He showed up, he had the costume from the movie, and he acted in every single scene in the maze for over an hour," recalled John Murdy, creative director at Universal Studios Hollywood and executive producer of Halloween Horror Nights. "When I came down, he had gone backstage afterwards and hung out with the cast, took a million selfies, thanked everybody and as he was coming out he gave me a big bro hug."
Of course, Roth was still drenched in fake blood from the performance.
Stephen King's "It" has just become the highest-grossing horror movie ever, earning more than $305 million so far at the box office — an unexpected result from a movie genre that constantly produces unexpected results.
Since the film genre’s inception — generally thought to be the 1896 French short silent film "Le Manoir du Diable" (The House of the Devil) by French director Georges Méliès — audiences have been captivated and repelled. Whether it's a physical menace — from Frankenstein to Freddy Krueger — a psychological thriller like "The Haunting" or the tension of a found-footage movie like "The Blair Witch Project," horror continues to evolve. Here are 25 pivotal moments in horror with films that have touched a nerve in the public and influenced the industry.