man is the warmest place to hide.

eighties horror you might have missed

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...

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I assume that you've seen most, if not all, of this series, but Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (aka Friday the 13th: Part IV) is my favorite and well worth revisiting. Creative kills, Corey Feldman, and Crispin Glover are just a few reasons...

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Above: early round comp for the Chopping Mall poster by Corey Wolfe

Last week I wrote about the amazing poster for Chopping Mall (1986) and a little bit about the artist behind it, Corey Wolfe. Corey was actively involved in creating artwork for movie posters and VHS covers for various film companies during the eighties. He also painted the original (non-photographic) poster for Re-animator (1985). In our first interview here at Man is the Warmest Place to Hide, Corey talks about how the Chopping Mall poster came about and gives us a glimpse into what it was like to be a poster artist at that time.

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Above is one of my absolute favorite eighties horror posters. It is so iconic that I'm sure most of you remember having seen it on the video store shelf (you might have even rented it, based on the box art alone). There is something so perfect about the combination of robot hand, body parts, bad pun, and drippy red font (with matching shopping bag). I'm not sure that it can be surpassed, actually. And like many a horror poster (and VHS cover) from that period, it has pretty much nothing to do with the film it represents.

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Painting by Jan Šerých

The Overlook Hotel is a beautifully designed site that explores all aspects of Kubrick's The Shining, through continuity and behind-the-scenes photographs, conceptual artwork...

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The Initiation provides some great stuff: creative kills (garden tools, bow-and-arrow and spear gun), a hip parapsychology professor (with an awesome nerdy assistant), plot twists and even a little roller-skating! It does...

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Cart photo from Atari Mania

In 1983, Wizard Video started a short-lived division called Wizard Video Games, capitalizing on a brief boom in third-party Atari games that started with Activision's defeat of an Atari lawsuit in 1982 and ending with the the video game crash of 1983. Wizard only managed to release two games, both based on iconic horror films: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween...

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While I might occasionally write about films that I've seen more than once, most of the things featured on this blog I'm seeing for the first time. As with anything else, the most fun comes from discovering something new (and then sharing it, of course). That was definitely the case with The Hitcher...

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Anyone who loves the original Psycho is going to be at least a little hesitant to see something called Psycho II. The idea of creating a sequel to (or remake of) any Hitchcock film seems like a very bad idea - especially during the eighties. Originally, the plan was...

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Synth photo from Prophet 5 Tribute Site

I think we can all agree that synthesizers are an integral, defining element of late seventies and early eighties horror (so much so that vintage synths are being used in current films to reference that period). This alternative (or augment) to a traditional symphonic score offered a new palette of textures and at a cost that even modest sized productions could afford. As with all horror film music, these instruments were used to establish mood, heighten tension, and enhance the visceral impact of onscreen gore.

In 1977 Sequential Circuits (based in San Jose, CA) released the Prophet 5 synthesizer...

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"I wrote it to democratically offend every group on the planet" - Roy Frumke (Street Trash screenwriter)

I love goopy horror movies - there just doesn't seem to be enough of them. And that's part of what makes Street Trash so wonderful. It contains by far...

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Herein lies a totally enjoyable combo-movie - an amalgam of Alien and The Thing, but taking place underwater, rather than in space or in the snow. There are huge, ridiculous weapons, as well as...

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The score for Halloween III is my favorite John Carpenter (and Alan Howarth) soundtrack. If you've seen the film, you know that it has little to do with the rest of the Halloween franchise and trades Michael Myers for a more sci-fi-evil-mad-scientist approach; it was the first in the series not to be directed written by Carpenter. He did compose the soundtrack, however...

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The Stepfather tells the story of John Blake (played by Terry O'Quinn), a man murdering his way from one family to the next, changing his identity each time before moving on; it is loosely based on the true story of John List. The film starts with a fantastic and creepy transformation scene, in which O'Quinn prepares his next persona, then calmly walks past his murdered family and out the door, in search of his next target. It's not long before he finds a new family, but quickly finds them lacking as well...

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Wolfen belongs to a special, exclusive subgenre which I will call "werewolf procedural". Albert Finney and Gregory Hines (!) play a detective and a medical examiner who have teamed up to investigate a series of unusual murders in New York. They're assisted by a non-bald Tom Noonan, and Diane Venora (who you may recognize from Heat). Edward James Olmos plays a Native American "on the steel", who occasionally removes all of his clothes, and may or may not be the creature that they are hunting. I had pretty much no idea what was going to happen next as I watched this film for the first time...

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During the seventies, actress Barbara Steele appeared in Piranha (1978), Caged Heat (1974), and most notably David Cronenberg's Shivers (1975) (or "They Came From Within", if you prefer). During the eighties, she only appeared in a single film: Silent Scream, directed by Denny Harris and written by Jim and Ken Wheat (who would later...

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If you're at all a fan of the Evil Dead trilogy, then you need to see Intruder. It's directed by Scott Spiegel, and was made shortly after he co-wrote Evil Dead II with Sam Raimi. Sam and his brother Ted both appear in the film, as does Bruce Campbell, although it's more of a cameo. The entire film takes place...

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The poster for Squirm (shown in a horizontal version above) was created by Drew Struzan, who would go on to do posters for The Thing, Star Wars, Back to the Future, The Muppets and Indiana Jones. In that same year he also did posters for Food of the Gods and Tentacles.

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A summer camp slasher with all sorts of great stuff, including a synthy score from Rick Wakeman, special effects by Tom Savini, and starring Holly Hunter and Jason Alexander!

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From Critical Condition:

"During the early 80's, when home video was in it's infancy, an influx of video companies were created to keep up with demand in the burgeoning VHS rental market. [...] They turned out splashy covers, outrageous plot synopsis and hours and hours of visual enjoyment to the renting market."

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At first you might think this one is a slight variation on Halloween with a tiny bit of The Excorcist thrown in - that's what I thought too, until I got about halfway through. At that point, it becomes something much more; we get to see some pretty great ideas ...

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I wish they had made trading cards for The Shining. Since they didn't, I made my own. This is the first in the series, with more to come soon!

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