Category Archives: scary film
I’ve been busy all summer long and never got a chance to post, but it’s Back To School time for the kiddos, and in honor of that, I’m doing a Back To Scares blogging event!
On today’s agenda: The Dirty Dozen: 12 Most Memorable Black Horror Movie Characters
Horror cinema would benefit from more black characters. We don’t see it enough. The following is my list of the most MEMORABLE black horror movie characters. Not all are lead characters (some had very little screen time but stole the show). This isn’t about Best Acted Roles or even Best Characters. These are the most memorable… because there is just something about the character that makes us connect with them, remember them…
Some of you will argue genre: “Scary Movie is a comedy” and “Seven is a crime thriller.” Look, just sit back and let me entertain you, okay?
There’s an Honorable Mentions section at the bottom. I’ll let you in on a little secret: This is my way of keeping the “Dirty Dozen” theme without actually narrowing it down to 12! So tough! And you know what? There’s actually more in the Honorable Mentions section than on the list! LOL.
So here we go….
Fool – People Under The Stairs
When young Fool (Brandon Adams) breaks into the home of his family’s greedy and uncaring landlords, he discovers a disturbing scenario where incestuous adults have mutilated a number of boys and kept them imprisoned under their stairs.
Peter Washington – Dawn of the Dead
Peter Washington is a member of Philadelphia’s SWAT when the walking dead crisis has reached critical condition. He saves the life of a fellow SWAT member of another squad, and he is offered a ride out of Philly and so joins the party that ends up at the notorious Monroeville Hyper-Mall. And that’s only where the drama begins!
Jeryline – Demon Knight
Demon Knight is a feature-length film presented by the HBO series Tales from the Crypt, and features scenes with the Crypt Keeper, but what really drives the plot forward is the strong and beautiful character Jeryline, played by Jada Pinkett Smith. A must-see, if you haven’t.
Detective Lt. William Somerset – Seven
What more do I need to say? Morgan Freeman is amazing in every role he plays, but the sheer intensity of the plot in Seven kicks his acting up another notch. This is such an engrossing film, and – like I said in my intro – you can argue that Seven is a “crime-thriller” all you want. This movie scared the shit out of me. I say horror!
Lance Shroeder – House on Haunted Hill 1999
A millionaire with theatrical tendencies invites a number of people to stay in a vast creepy building that used to be an insane asylum. Lance Shroeder, played by Taye Diggs, is one of the unfortunate crew to accept this invitation. He’s so darn likeable, guys, you just have to root for him the whole time. Gotta love this character.
Maximillian – Vampire in Brooklyn
Maximillian is the only survivor from a race of vampires on a Caribbean Island, and he must find a mate to keep the bloodline from ending. Horror comedy at its finest. Directed by Wes Craven and starring Eddie Murphy, this is definitely a memorable character.
Sara Tidwell – Bag of Bones
I know a lot of people did not enjoy the film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1998 novel Bag of Bones. It was a two-part miniseries, which appeared on regular TV. Maybe I’m lucky I hadn’t read the book, because I really enjoyed it. Sara Tidwell is a vivacious singer and a lost soul who does not get much screen time, but she stuck in my mind long after the credits rolled. Actress Anika Noni Rose was hauntingly gorgeous in this role.
I love Tony Todd, and you’ll see him twice more in the Honorable Mentions. His portrayal of Candyman is horrifying, with a genuinely creepy voice that invades your mind like the sweetest of poisons. For real. You’ll almost want to call upon the Candyman yourself, though you know it’s a bad idea. There’s something so alluring and so revolting at the same time about this character…. malicious to the core but with such a sad backstory.
Russell Franklin – Deep Blue Sea
On an island research facility, a scientist is harvesting the brain tissue of DNA-altered sharks as a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease. When the facility’s backers send executive Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson) to investigate the experiments, a routine procedure goes awry and sharks start attacking the researchers. As you can imagine, Russell snaps and screams, “Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfuckin’ sharks on this motherfuckin’ island!” Oh wait… nevermind, nevermind. That was a different movie… 🙂
Brenda Meeks – Scary Movie 1, 2, 3, and 4
Brenda Meeks cracks me up. She’s the only character who kept me coming back to the Scary Movie sequels. Watching her fight Samara from The Ring in #3 had me rolling, some of her one-liners in #4 were even funnier, and really… she had me from the start in #1. Brenda Meeks is lively and sweet, and she is anything but “meek” if you light her fuse.
Chris Washington – Get Out
Chris Washington is a young photographer in an interracial relationship, and when it comes time to meet his girlfriend’s family, he is hesitant. He worries that her parents won’t accept him. He’s in love, so he agrees to the trip anyway, and while staying at his girlfriend’s family home, he discovers things are much worse than he feared. The character of Chris played on the heartstrings of audiences worldwide. We really felt for him.
Andre – Dawn of the Dead 2004
From the moment we meet Andre, we understand he has a lot to protect. His girlfriend’s belly is swollen, and he’s nervous to protect the child inside. That’s easier said than done in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies and untrustworthy humans, but he is determined. There’s one scene in particular that is unforgettable.
Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” I don’t know about that, but I know laughter is one of my favorite things in the world. Life can be grueling. Humans need comedy. For my next countdown, here are 12 movies that will keep you laughing AND sate your hunger for horror. Most of us have seen Army Of Darkness, Tucker & Dale Vs Evil, and Dead Alive, but here are a dozen you might have missed.
COTTAGE COUNTRY (2013)
When a man accidentally kills his brother with an ax, his fiancé is determined not to let even murder stand in the way of their happiness.
THE PERFECT HOST (2010)
A criminal on the run cons his way into the wrong dinner party where the host is anything but ordinary.
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014)
Undead housemates try to cope with the complexities of the modern world while showing a newly turned hipster some of the perks of being a vampire.
THE VOICES (2014)
A likable guy pursues his office crush with the help of his evil talking pets, but things turn sinister when she stands him up for a date.
ZOMBIE STRIPPERS (2008)
A zombie epidemic spreads throughout a strip club in Nebraska.
LET’S KILL WARD’S WIFE (2014)
Ward’s wife is a bitch and everyone in his life wants her dead, Ward most of all. But when his friends’ murderous fantasies turn into an (accidental) reality, they have to deal with a whole new set of problems.
BUBBA HO-TEP (2002)
Elvis and JFK, both alive and in nursing homes, fight for the souls of their fellow residents as they battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy. Starring Bruce Campbell and based off a short story by Joe Lansdale.
KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM (2013)
Live-action role players conjure up a demon from Hell by mistake and they must deal with the consequences. Starring Ryan Kwanten (who played Jason Stackhouse in True Blood).
MURDER PARTY (2007)
A random invitation to a Halloween party leads a man into the hands of a rogue collective intent on murdering him for the sake of their art, sparking a bloodbath of mishap, mayhem and hilarity.
DEAD BEFORE DAWN (2012)
A group of college kids accidentally create, and then unleash, a curse that makes anyone they come into contact with kill themselves and then turn into zombie demons.
MONSTER MAN (2003)
Two guys and a female hitchhiker are terrorized by a monstrous looking man driving a giant monster truck.
BLACK SHEEP (2006)
An experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a sprawling New Zealand farm.
So there you have it. Twelve movies people never seem to recognize when I mention them but are truly horror comedy gold. Feel free to comment with more titles!
Welcome back! It’s day ten of our 12 days of X-mas celebration.
The “ten lords a-leaping” ran away when they saw this next film, but I’m sure you can handle it, horror fans. Please, enjoy.
The Ten Steps.
DEADLY TELEPHONE BOXES
by: Dene Bebbington
A telephone box isn’t scary. Well, not unless you’ve seen the short surreal horror called La Cabina – translated to The Telephone Box in English. Dating back to 1972, this Spanish TV production by Antonio Mercero demonstrates perfectly that an innocuous fixture in the public sphere can become a source of terror. And the only monsters making an appearance in the film are human.
Horror writer Stephen King once likened reading a novel to having a long and satisfying affair. He contrasted that with a short story being like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger. This metaphor can be carried over to films. La Cabina at a mere 35 minutes long leaves a lasting, and disturbing, impression because of its short and surreal nature. Like any good short horror story it provides no explanations for the situation that the victim finds himself in.
Only read on if you’re prepared for spoilers!
The story begins with four workmen in a phone company truck arriving at a plaza surrounded by apartment buildings. They unload a red telephone box from the back of the truck and install it in the middle of the plaza and leave its door ajar. A human venus fly trap has been set.
Shortly afterwards a middle aged suited man sees his son off to school and then decides to go into the telephone box to make a call. He soon finds that the phone is out of order, but while trying it the door has closed behind him. Initially puzzled that the door won’t open he then becomes agitated and tries to force it open, to no avail. He doesn’t have to wait long before two men walking by on their way to work spot his predicament and fruitlessly try to pull the door open. Unfortunately they can’t stick around and have to leave. More people have noticed what’s going on and a crowd starts to gather – obviously this is entertainment in a town where nothing much normally happens.
The mood of the film so far is fairly lighthearted, though it’s easy to feel sympathy for the man whose discomfort and embarrassment has become palpable now he’s also an object of curiosity and amusement. The next few minutes are played mainly for laughs as several people, including a couple of policemen, try to pull the phone box door open only to fail and fall over backward with the door handle in their hands. The crowd itself becomes a source of curiosity too. There’s a tall man stealing cakes from a tray a boy holds on his head; an old woman is invited to sit on a chair a man was taking somewhere; a couple of workmen stand around with a big mirror; and children taunt the trapped man.
Symbolism and homages quickly emerge. For instance, we notice that two of the onlookers are women sat chatting and knitting. This is presumably a reference to Madame Defarge who sits knitting while people go their deaths in Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities.
Eventually a fire truck arrives and the firemen decide to break the glass of the phone box. One of them gets on top of the box and is just about to smash the glass with a sledgehammer when the phone company truck comes back, its horn beeping for attention.
The phone company workmen proceed to load the phone box onto their truck. It’s at this point that the man inside realises that something is more than a little amiss with the situation. Despite his obvious panic and gestures to the workmen to get him out, the crowd wave him off with cries of “Good luck”. Having been so close to escape his fate is getting even more puzzling.
Like some kind of peculiar mobile freak show the truck drives through the town with the trapped man eliciting jokes by passers by and lots of friendly waves. Much to his chagrin, people continually misunderstand his gestures for help. On the way out of town they come to a halt in traffic and by the side of the road is a funeral party standing around a glass casket containing a corpse on display. This is an unsubtle way of signalling the man’s own fate. A little later while stopped at traffic lights another phone company truck pulls up alongside and on it is an identical phone box with a man stuck inside it. Looks of empathy and questioning pass between the two men before the other truck pulls away. Our man then becomes even more panicked and desperately tries to get the workmen’s attention to let him out. This is the first indication that he’s caught up in more than just an unlucky accident.
A neat touch is when we see a man briefly struggling to get out of a phone box by the side of the road. But in his case the door soon gives way, and he walks away little knowing what may have otherwise happened to him.
So now we know there’s a concerted effort to capture people. For what purpose we can only guess at, and will never find out. Around this time the soundtrack becomes portentous with low register rhythms. Driving out of the town there’s one final and meaningful encounter with other people. When the truck has to stop again some circus dwarves near the road look on, and they are the only ones to simply look and not laugh or wave. In return the man earnestly looks back at them. Maybe the dwarves who are used to being stared at because of their appearance identify with the man’s situation in which he’s an object of curiosity and fun. Then blatant symbolism enters when the camera focuses on a ship in a bottle held by one of the dwarves.
The journey continues on winding mountain roads, first up and then down. For no obvious a helicopter joins in following the truck from the air. Eventually the final destination gets closer as a tunnel into the mountainside is reached. The helicopter lands just outside and the pilot gets out to wave at the man as he disappears into the tunnel.
As the truck continues into an underground complex the soundtrack changes to sinister chanting in Latin somewhat like that used in The Omen. They pass men cleaning out phone boxes, and also a truck going the other way full of empty phone boxes. By this time the man is more anguished, but despite frantically banging on the glass he’s continually ignored. At this point I started to wonder, are the four workmen a metaphor for the four horsemen of the apocalypse, or is it just coincidence because four are needed to load and unload the phone box?
Soon after, the truck yields its unlikely cargo to an overhead crane that takes it away and passes it to a series of conveyor belts. The man’s bizarre fate is then made clear when he’s taken past corpses in telephone boxes identical to his own.
The man’s phone box comes to a halt next to one containing the other victim he saw earlier. That man has strangled himself with the phone cord rather than endure a lingering death.
It’s all over for the man. He now knows it yet still makes a last effort of banging on the glass hoping to be let out. Desperately aware that he’s doomed the final shot of him is slowly sliding down the glass of his coffin in despair and resignation. What started out as an ordinary day for an ordinary man has turned into the kind of thing that nightmares are made of.
Turning full circle the film ends at the plaza where a shiny new telephone box is installed and its door left open. We are left wondering how long it’ll be until some other hapless person attempts to make a call.
I first saw this film on TV late at night over 30 years ago and it’s been stuck vividly in my memory ever since. It’s truly terrifying, playing to archetypal fears like people ignoring your pleas for help and being buried alive. The trapped man is brilliantly played by Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez, a Spanish actor with a substantial list of acting credits to his name.
The film can be watched here:
About the author:
Dene Bebbington works part-time in IT but feels more at home writing horror fiction. He’s had short stories published in various anthologies (Dark Corners, Dark Light III, Behind Closed Doors, and Disrupted Worlds to name a few), three stories as podcasts at The Wicked Library, and is the author of the ebook novellas Zombie Revelations and Stonefall. He lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and a tank of greedy tropical fish.
For more info visit:
Hello kiddos! Welcome to Dirty Little Horror’s holiday celebration:
The Dirty Dozen: 12 Days Of X-mas!!!
It seems someone has MURDERED the 12 drummers drumming, the 11 pipers piping, and the 10 lords a-leaping. The 9 dancing ladies and 8 maids a-milking got it, too, and the horror goes down the line right to the stinking carcass of a dead partridge in a burning pear tree.
But fear not! (Or maybe you should get really, really scared…) We will make our own 12 days of X-mas, perfect for horror fans. Who needs turtle doves and french hens anyway?
To kick off DAY ONE of our nearly two week celebration, we shall start with a short film: The Seamstress. I’ve also posted a schedule for our next eleven days in case anyone is curious what’s in store. Enjoy. And see you tomorrow!
Day One: The Seamstress, a short horror film
Day Two: La Cabina, a movie review by Dene Bebbington
Day Three: Spotlight on Adam Pixel Horrography
Day Four: Still Life, a short horror film
Day Five: Spotlight on Death March Studio
Day Six: Spotlight on Flatline Photography
Day Seven: Long Weekend, a movie review by Dene Bebbington
Day Eight: Great Holiday Gifts for the Hardcore Horror Fan
Day Nine: The Naughty List – X Rated Horror Fiction
Day Ten: The Ten Steps, a short horror film
Day Eleven: Spotlight on Devlish Photography
Day Twelve: Get your horror calendar by John J Dick to ring in the new year!