man is the warmest place to hide.

eighties horror you might have missed

wes craven

Mark Irwin is responsible for some of the best horror cinematography produced during the eighties. His earliest work was on low- and no-budget films (including many documentaries for the National Film Board of Canada, NFB), so it makes sense that he would become known for his usage of low-light, lens flares, and other vérité techniques. Coming up through the ranks in the late 70s, he worked on many genre films, including those with Wes Craven, William Fruet and Ed Hunt, but his crowning achievement during this period is his work with David Cronenberg. Starting in 1979 with Fast Company, Irwin was the director of photography for all of Cronenberg's work into the mid-80s: The Brood, Scanners, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, and The Fly...

There are few really good books on 80s horror and this is one of them. This is despite the fact that the only true 80s film it discusses is Friday the 13th (1980). Actually, Shock Value is more about the pre-80s period that recreated horror cinema, and caused an explosion of the genre in the early eighties...

Not to be confused with Wes Craven's later film Deadly Friend. No, this is Deadly Blessing, starring Athena from Battlestar Galactica (Maren Jensen) and Sharon Stone (in her first speaking part). Ernest Borgnine (fresh off of Escape from New York) and Craven-regular Michael Berryman both play Amish-like members of the nearby "Hittite" village, who fear their neighbor Martha (Jensen) may be something called "the incubus" (which is odd because an incubus is a demon in male form; a succubus is a demon in female form, but whatever). To my wife: don't read any further - I'm going to talk about spiders...

In 1984, Charles Bernstein composed the score for Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street and established what is probably the most recognizable theme of 80s horror film. During his music career, Charles has worked on over 100 films (in a variety of genres), won an Emmy, scored a documentary about Maya Lin, taught courses at USC and UCLA, and written two books on film music. Quentin Tarantino has used cues from his scores in Kill Bill Vol.1 and Inglorious Basterds. Some of the other horror films he has scored include: The Entity (highly recommended), Deadly Friend (which we discussed a few weeks ago), April Fools Day, and Cujo. Charles was kind enough to take some time to discuss his score for A Nightmare on Elm Street with us, including some details about the synthesizers and unique sound design he used to construct it...

When the first shot of a film shows a robot gripper strangling a car thief, you know you're in for something special. Deadly Friend is a Wes Craven film that I hadn't heard of until just recently...