Happy Halloween! We'll be live on Pittsburgh NPR station WESA today talking about Pennsylvania horror films with "Essential Pittsburgh" host Paul Guggenheimer. Special effects artist/actor/director Tom Savini will be on from Noon to about 12:30; I'll step in at that point to explain why you should run out and watch Toxic Zombies as soon as possible.
When I first started working on my regional horror films book, I had
no idea I was tapping into some latent fascination with organizing
horror films geographically. Apparently, a few film programmers also
share this affliction. First there was the Doc Films festival a few
years ago, and now Cinefamily (a Los Angeles theater) offers up its "United States of Horror" festival the entire month of October (I'm a little late to the party, so you've already missed some of the films).
Every night at Midnight, the theater is showing a film from one of (almost) 30 different states. While a few of the selections are not the type of independent regional films we concern ourselves with on this blog, the line-up is outstanding.
Among the highlights so far were a screening of Chester Turner's Black Devil Doll From Hell and Tales From the Quadead Zone, with the director in attendance (sorry, it happened back on Oct. 12), as well as screenings of Death Bed (Michigan), Homebodies (Ohio), Abby (Kentucky), and Winterbeast (Massachusetts).
If you are lucky enough to be in L.A. at any point the rest of this month, check out the upcoming schedule:
Oct. 17 - Dark August (Vermont)
Oct. 18 - Last House on Dead End Street (New York)
Oct. 19 - Basket Case (New York)
Oct. 20 - The Deadly Spawn (New Jersey)
Oct. 21 - The Alien Factor (Maryland)
Oct. 22 - Squirm (Georgia)
Oct. 23 - Shakma and Shock Waves (Florida)
Oct. 24 - If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (Mississippi)
Oct. 26 - The Evil Dead (Tennessee)
Oct. 27 - The Town That Dreaded Sundown (Arkansas)
Oct. 28 - Eaten Alive (Texas)
Oct. 29 - Endangered Species (Colorado)
Oct. 30 - The Brotherhood of Satan (New Mexico)
Oct. 31 - Chopping Mall (Southern California) - with an appearance by director Jim Wynorski
Richard Hilliard is the credited director, although Connecticut impresario Del Tenney was behind the camera much of the time. Tenney's debut feature included a shocking amount of blood and nudity for the period.
DVD distributor Dark Sky Films disabled the embed feature when they posted the promotional clip, but you can view it here.
I don't know if I'd call it "more terrifying than Frankenstein," but Del Tenney's Curse of the Living Corpse served as a much more low-key co-feature than the director's other film from that year, Horror of Party Beach.
Just a reminder that the Cinema Wasteland event is this weekend in Cleveland, and this fall's show features a number of important regional horror filmmakers on the guest list.
Daniel Boyd, the West Virginia director/writer of Chillers (1987) and Invasion of the Space Preachers (1990) will be on hand to promote the 25th anniversary of Chillers (a great little anthology film), as well as the upcoming graphic novel version of the film. He'll be at the Troma booth.
Chester Novell Turner, the warped mind behind the notorious SOV flick Black Devil Doll From Hell (1987) and its obscure follow-up, Tales From the Quadead Zone (1987) will also be on hand, despite rumors surfacing a few years ago that he was actually dead. Turner will host a screening of Devil Doll, and Massacre Video will have a double-feature DVD of his films available at the show.
There's also going to be a screening of the VHS collector documentary, Adjust Your Tracking (2013). Trailer below:
The Dead Next Door is a blog about regional or "backyard" horror and science fiction films made from the late 1950s to the earlyl 1990s (and beyond). These films were released during the peak years of independent film production, created by a motley crew of seasoned pros, gifted amateurs, and enthusiastic genre fans, along with dozens of eccentric dreamers -- doctors, lawyers, insurance salesmen, publishers, commercial filmmakers, TV production crews and moonlighting pornographers -- all looking for their big break or a fast buck or both.