Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Creature Week - The Hell Born

Creatures born of hell and mysticism. Monstrocities of darkness and unholy terror. They are the demons, the witches, the cultists and supernatural beasts that connect themselves with the Otherside. The creatures of hell have been a horror genre staple for over a century. Appearing in the fantasy filed early silent films to the most recent possession dramas.
I'm not usually drawn to these creature films as much as others (though they rank higher than ghost stories in my books). Often I find these films rely a lot on the premise of belief for their scares. After first viewing it at the age of ten, I found The Exorcist, laughable. It is fantastically written, and well executed, but the scares just fell on deaf ears with me. But just as my love of other bad horror movies provailed, I still can find enjoyment in these films. But it is truly my love of the creatures than the genre. Simple possession just won't do.

I love this series, even the sequels, which degrade in quality with each subsequent one. But really it is the first few that really stand out. The great performance of one of my favorite genre actors Lance Henrikson and the FX work of Stan Winston are enough to make these classics. After losing his son, a man summons a vengeful demon to terrorize those responsible. Its a great blend of gruesome kills, cheesy dialogue, oblivious teens and one really cool anamatronic demon. And with a name like Pumpkinhead, it just sounds perfect for halloween!

The Gate
This movie used to disturb the heck out me as a kid. There was something weird about the odd creatures that bothered me. The thought of little things running around the house, still gives me the willies (which is why Little Brothers, was on yesterday's list). The Gate is about two kids, who in their infinite wisdom, play with powers beyond their control and open a gateway to hell, right in their own backyard. They race to close the hell-mouth before too many ungodly things spill forth. Featuring an incredibly young Stephen Dorff, this film is both laugh-enducing and rather creepy. Make it the last movie of your marathon so it's good and late, and when you finish, go hang out in the yard! And even more frightening, the director of the god-awful Bill and Ted sequel is working on a remake!

Midnight Meat Train
I get too many giggles everytime I bring up this film. Yes, the title is rather ridiculous, but when you watch the film, it makes too much sense. Probably one of the best Clive Barker adaptations (I still lie in wait of someone willing to take on one of his more masterful works like Imajica). If you want brutally gory kills, great cinematography and a bizarre ending, this is your film. Ignore what the title may make you think. This is proof that good creature feature horror can still be made. It doesn't have to be all zombies, ghosts and demon possession, sometimes you just need to abandon the usual and take a subway train straight to hell.

Dante's Divine Comedy
If we are talking about hell-borne creatures and literature I have to at least mention the Inferno. Not a lot, just a mention...that is all.

The Rising
One of my favorite horror authors, Brian Keene will probably get more than a few mentions on here. But this is the novel that started it all for me. It was my introduction to Keene, and after reading it, I picked up and read everything the man had in less than a week. Now years later, I have most of a book shelf full of the man's work. His blending of Lovecraft lore, suburban characters and gruesome creatures repeatedly sucks me. Though lately his works have begun to become a bit too mysoginistic for my tastes and his troubles with his last publisher has him reprinting old books and new short fiction with a new publisher. A publisher I at one time worked for. Anyway, The Rising, is a zombie novel, but Keene puts a new spin on the zombie tale by having the undead possessed by the highly intelligent spirits of ancient demons, suddenly unleashed from the bounds of hell. Its a simple premise twist, but it makes for an incredibly unique take on the zombie genre.

No comments:

Post a Comment