Other wordly vampires took center screen this day 1985 with the US release of Tobe Hoppers Life Force. The film combines classic elements of science fiction and horror in a film that tackles the very serious threat of Space Vampires! The film is actually quite good and has a nice cast attached to it, with names like Steve Railsback, Mathilda May, and Patrick Stewart. Its become a bit of a cult classic over the years, with the beautiful Space Girl sucking the life force out of unsuspecting smitten men. This is a film that when it came out was a bit sexy, although to look at it now the effects definitely date it, it is still a fun movie to watch, so pull this one out for a dust off and visit the past.
Today we celebrate the 39th anniversary of the release of Jaws! Adapted from the story written by Peter Benchley, who also helped write the screen play, and directed by Steven Spielberg, Jaws was the film that almost wasn't. Most of us have heard the stories about all the behind the scenes problems with the mechanical shark, that forced some quick thinking to salvage the film, much to fans appreciation!. But did you also know that the film was based on a series of real shark attacks that happened off the Jersey shore in 1916? The attacks happened over a 12 day period resulting in 5 victims, 4 fatalities, with one victim that escaped with serious injury. The film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, winning 3 Best Film Editing, Best Sound , and Best Original Dramatic Score, it was nominated for Best Picture but lost to One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.
1954 we saw THEM take over the screens with the nationwide release this day in history. For those unfamiliar with this great sci fi classic, its the story of mutated giant ants gone amuck after being exposed to radiation from atomic testing in the New Mexico desert. In an age when many families were prepping for the eventuality of atomic war with shelters built in their yards our under their homes, and school children being taught to take cover under their desks in the event of the bombs dropping, these types of films were both popular and frightening in the possibilities of what nature would do to take her revenge on us. I remember watching this one as a child and have seen it several times since it truly is a classic of the age, if you haven't watched it you really should its fantastic, the sound effects alone are priceless! on a more serious note though it is an interesting film as it truly does reflect some of the very real fears of the time, and is a reminder of our own recent history as a nation.
Jeffrey Dahmer takes his first victim this day in history in 1978*. 18 year old Steven Hicks was last seen hitchhiking to a concert that was being held in the Chippewa Lake Park. He however never made it there, instead somewhere along the line he came into contact with Dahmer who took him back to his families home, where he was temporarily living alone, due to the recent separation of his parents. Steven Hicks was one of two victims that Dahmer killed in his family home, and after murdering the young man he disposed him in the woods behind his home. It wasn't until after Dahmers arrest in 1991 that Hicks would be found and identified by police, Dahmer did admit killing Hicks back in 1978 in his confession to police in 1991. Hicks was the first of at least 17 known victims that Dahmer would take before his eventual arrest. Our hearts go out to the family of Steven Hicks and to the families of all the other victims of Dahmer who will most surely be remembered for generations to come as one of Americas most disturbed serial killers.
*There is some discrepancy in dates with some claiming his death to be later in the month but generally it is believed to have been the 18th w some putting it as late as the 25 of the month.
Today we honor and celebrate the life of the other "Godfather of Gore" Lucio Fulci born the 17th, 1927 in Italy. Known for such films as House By The Cemetery, The Beyond and of course the Zombi series, Fulci was actually a fairly diverse film maker, with comedies, Giallo, and even Italian spaghetti westerns. Fulci passed away at the age 68 in 1996 due to complications of Diabetes. Some believe his death was intended and argue that his, at that point failing career, and long standing battles with personal demons due to the suicide of his wife almost 30 yrs earlier and the death of his daughter in an accident a year after losing his wife put him in a state of mind where he intentionally stopped taking his medications resulting in his death. Whatever the case intentional or not his passing was a great loss to fans of his extreme style of films worldwide.
The shower became a source of terror this day 1960 with the US premier of Hitchcocks iconic film Psycho, starring Janet Leigh, Vera Miles and Anthony Perkins as everyones favorite momma's boy Norman Bates. The film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, however didn't win in any of the categories nominated. Psycho was loosely based on the crimes of Ed Gein, made on a budget of just over 800k it is reported to have made more than 60 million! The film was so successful in fact that it was re released in theaters just five years later, 1965! This film still stands up today as an important and pivotal moment in film making history, and is on numerous top 100 lists. I suggest celebrating this films 54 anniversary (wait... did I just say 54th?!) by revisiting this classic film, the one that started the franchise, and introduced us to the loveable and scary Norman Bates!
Godfather of Gore, Herschel Gordon Lewis celebrates his 85th birthday today! Born this day back in 1929 in Pittsburgh, Pa, many may not realize he holds a Masters degree in Journalism, and taught English Lit as a professor. Best known for his over the top effects that helped create a sub genre in horror/exploitation called "Splatter", Mr. Lewis is credited with over 30 films, 2 of which are childrens which will probably come as a surprise to most (myself included). He helped pave the way for numerous movies and directors that followed in his footsteps, such as Lloyd Kaufman, Eli Roth and John Waters just to name a few. He is credited with the first and only Nudie Musical, Goldilocks and the Three Bares, as well as the first "gore" film Blood Feast! Some of my favorites of his include Gore Gore Girls, 2000 Maniacs, Blood Feast 1& 2 and Wizard of Gore. The fan base continues to grow for this great innovator of the genre, and rumor has it he will be taking another turn behind the camera with a new film in the near future. We at The Horror Nation would like to take a moment to tip our hats and lift our glasses in a cheer to Herschel Gordon Lewis for all he did to improve and expand our favorite genre! We wish you a very Happy Birthday Sir, may you have many more!