Odds and Dead Ends : Gothic influences in Wes Craven’s Shocker

When people think of Wes Craven and supernatural slasher films, they think of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Perfectly justified, of course, as Freddy is one of the biggest icons of horror cinema. However, often overlooked however is his 1989 film Shocker, for some justifiable reasons including awful 80s CGI and an incredibly messy second half with little regard for laws of its own unreality. But at its core, and especially for the first third of the film, the gothic elements of the story are undeniable, and it’s a genuinely interesting case of a modern ghost story in the urban gothic vein.

There are gothic influences all over the film, but what tipped me off was the police invasion of Pinker’s TV shop. We head past the initial lobby of televisions playing visions of war and death and enter a dimly lit series of dusty hallways, hardware packed into the shelves on either side. We’ve dispensed with the creaky castle library and entered a modern equivalent of television sets. Noises in the dark. Turn around. Nobody there. We feel a presence nearby but can’t see them. This is classic haunted house stuff going on here.

And then we get the big tip-off as to the influence. We get a POV shot, very Hitchcockian (thinking especially of Norman Bates peering through the peephole into Marion’s room in Psycho), of Pinker’s eye up to a gap in the shelf, peering into the shop. The monster’s hiding in the walls. A policeman stands guard nearby. Nothing. And then hands shoot through the shelves, catches him. He’s pulled back against the shelves, and the whole thing pivots in on a hinge. The cop is dragged inside and the shelf snaps back in line, never to be considered again.

A few minutes later Jonathan (the MC) and his father appear, none the wiser save for a smoking cigarette on the floor. And then they discover the horrible truth when they see blood pooling out from underneath the shelf, like those ghostly legends of old mansions where the walls drip red. Breaking their way in they find cats flayed and dead-on hooks, red lighting from the cinematography department reinforcing the demonic aspect. And then there’s the body in the middle of the room, throat cut, blood on the floor.

This is classic gothic stuff. The secret passageway in the walls is complete Scooby-Doo, Agatha Christie, even some Sherlock Holmes (I’m thinking here of The Musgrave Ritual in particular). The Cat and the Canary did it as well. We’re in the middle of a slasher movie, and we’ve got secret panels and hiding places? We might even claim that these secret passages go even further back, to the origins of the gothic, in Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, the story we take the term ‘gothic’ from in its now traditional literary application.

And yet somehow it doesn’t feel out of place, doesn’t feel corny, because we can understand that Craven is deliberately drawing upon these influences to create a gothic atmosphere. This is important, as it subtly clues us into the paranormal parts of the film that come into play when he is electrocuted in the chair, turned into a horror version of the Phantom Virus from Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase (those movies were great, Cyber Chase an underappreciated meta gem of Scooby-Doo lore for the final third act).      If the ghost aspect had come out of nowhere, we might have complained that it was too much of a shift from straight serial killer to paranormal horror, but here these elements help to ease the transition over. Not much, because it’s still a jolt switching subgenres, but it helps nonetheless. I’m not sure how the blood pooled all the way from the chair to spread under the shelf because it’s a hell of a long way. Perhaps this is faintly paranormal in origin, the cop’s spirit doing what it needs to do to alert the living to its final resting place in a bid to stop his killer? Most likely it’s a goof and I’m reading way too much into it, but it’s certainly a possible reading if you wanted to go that far.

Let’s also remember that, even after the electrocution, the film is in essence a ghost story. Whereas in centuries before a spirit might have inhabited a suit of armor, or roamed the walls of the courtyard in which they were executed, here we have a modern updating, inhabiting the electricity that we have harnessed for our own ends. This criticism of our device-ridden society which wasn’t as prevalent when the film came out, but certainly on the rise, was inherent in genre storytelling of the time. Cyberpunk arose as a subgenre a few years before to question our reliance on technology.

And a few years after Shocker, we see the influx of films from Asia that combined a malevolent spirit and technology to demonstrate new fears of a society rapidly flying into the future. Films like Ringu, One Missed Call, Shutter, Noroi, even The Eye to a certain extent (the elevator scene is my example here, with the apparition not appearing on the security camera), would be films that take this concept and run with it, infusing into their tales a very gender-based morality tale of using a stereotypically male industry (technology) and using it as a vehicle for the classic avenging female spirit of folklore.

Could one orient Shocker as a modern gothic gateway to these tales? I suspect most would argue against it, but as has been critiqued in countless essays, articles, and books, there is not one film history, but multiple readings of film histories. As it stands, the genre itself is also fluid and a very pliable concept in itself. I’m not using any of these arguments to state that Shocker is a great film, because although fun, it’s most certainly hovering just in the ‘mediocre’ range of horror films. However, that these more traditional elements find their way into divisive and forgotten films might go some way to showing that it’s not just the revered masterpieces of regarded canon that have interesting literary facets to their makeup.

-Article by Kieran Judge

-Twitter: KJudgeMental

Movie Review: RED EYE

“Red Eye” is a legend Gage Barker use to be told as a kid. When he found out there was some truth behind this legend he gathered a group of friends to hike in the backwoods of Black Creek, WV to help him use this as the basis for his first film project. To what extent will they go to make this project a reality? Will their passion bleed through? Or cross the line?

 

Details

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date: 2017 (USA)

Filming Locations: Kentucky, USA

Box Office

Budget:$10,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co: Cyfuno Ventures

Technical Specs

Runtime: 73 min

 

Going into the movie, I knew right away this was a low budget film. With that said, I was pleasantly surprised at the Special FX. I love when they get creative and it looks good on film. Thumbs up to them and their FX persona for a job well done.

I was a little put off at first at the chemistry between actors in the very beginning. Everything seemed a little disjointed until the actors got comfortable with each other. I’ve seen worse, but it made the first few minutes of the film a little slow in my opinion.

Once the movie began to pick up, it wasn’t half bad at all. I take low-budget horror movies with a grain of salt because it’s not how much money you have, but what you can do with it. The story of RED EYE was an urban legend Gage Barker had been told growing up. He and one of his friends, loving horror and wanting to document it on film, decide to take along two female friends to give the documentary a little more drama. The opening of the movie discloses a secret love triangle and we know this is going to be all bad as the film plays out.

While I appreciate well-thought out and fleshed out back stories, I did feel it went a little overboard. You know that person you just meet, who gives you their whole life story? Yeah, that’s kind of the feeling you get sometimes with this film. I would’ve preferred they went back to the legend … speaking of the legend … my only gripe about this film was the conclusion.

SPOILER ALERT BELOW!! DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE OR DO NOT ENJOY SPOILERS

In the conclusion of the film we discover Gage brought his friends out to the remote spot and was “improvising” so he had an “authentic” film. Plot twists are cool, but I feel there was a complete disconnect here. Maybe less attention to the Urban Legend, especially in the title? I am not sure how I’d personally handle it, because I’m not a film maker, I’m only the audience. To me it felt like a build up with a fizzle. I kind of felt something was up because of the type of killing and violence against the teens. It didn’t match up with the legend.

Anyway, that all being said, I didn’t hate the movie, but I feel with a little more experience, Director and Writer, Tristan Clay will go further in his career. I hope to see more from him and his team.

Morbid Meals – Sanguinaccio Dolce Gelato

Oh the weather outside is frightful, enough to make us melt. What we need is some ice scream. I have just the bloody good treat for us all. That is, as long as you are not squeamish. Why? Because the time has come for a recipe featuring pig’s blood. That’s right, we’re making a “Sundae, bloody sundae”.
 

EXAMINATION

Sanguinaccio dolce is an Italian pudding that was traditionally made with pig’s blood. It was a common treat during festivals held before Lent, like Carnivale, as the goal was to use up everything rich and sweet before fasting for Lent. Pancake Tuesday is another such celebration, and then there’s Mardi Gras, of course.
 
Sanguinaccio dolce is a sweet chocolate sauce that when cooked long enough can be as thick and rich as your favorite package pudding. Blood is a perfect thickening agent and brings a natural earthy flavor that perfectly complements the cocoa without overpowering it. The truth is, with all of the sugar and honey in this recipe, you can’t taste the blood or the salt used to cure it.
 
There are many recipes out there and for 99% of them they exclude the blood (because of various kosher and safety laws as well as modern folks’ general avoidance of consuming blood). That’s understandable, but then it isn’t sanguinaccio — that would just be “Italian” chocolate pudding. The other recipes cheat by using a lot of dairy to dilute the blood and don’t have the right sweetness, so they often add solid chocolate. Those recipes tend to have a smoother taste and feel to them, but still seem like an apology for using blood. This recipe instead is blood and sugar and cocoa and there’s no denying the key nature of blood to the recipe. I find it to be more traditional as well as a tastier pudding.
 
So the big question is probably where to buy the blood. Blood banks typically frown on withdrawals. Thanks to the prevalence of frozen blood that has already been salted, it is readily available and safe to eat. Some gourmet stores sell it, but I always find it at my local “asian” market freezers. In fact, you can find pork as well as beef blood in many stores. I find that the flavor is stronger in beef blood, so I prefer pork blood especially in a sweet recipe like this.
 
If you do know a local butcher who can save some blood for you, you can get it cheaper that way, and you’ll know it is fresher as well. Make sure they salt it (and they’ll probably add vinegar, too) so it will be safe to cook with. Notice I said safe “to COOK with”. Whether it is fresh or frozen, I do not recommend drinking blood. There are just too many unknowns and frankly from what I’ve been told, it just isn’t very tasty. So do me a solid and cook it, don’t drink it. Thanks.
 
This recipe presented here is actually for two things: sanguinaccio dolce pudding and sanguinaccio dolce gelato. You’ll need to make the pudding first because it is the base for the gelato, but it also makes the perfect chocolate syrup for a sundae. If you want to just enjoy a traditional sanguinaccio dolce pudding, throw in the flavorings and top with the garnish and enjoy. I however think a “sundae, bloody sundae” is the best application here, especially for a hot summer day.
 
ANALYSIS

Makes: 1.5 quarts of Sanguinaccio Dolce, or 2 quarts of Gelato plus sauce

 
Sanguinaccio Dolce
24 fl.oz (3 cup) pork blood
24 fl.oz (3 cup) golden syrup or honey
16 oz (1 lb) sugar
4 oz cocoa or carob powder
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
 
Optional Flavorings
1 long stick cinnamon
5 cloves
1/4 cup raisins
grated rind from 2 oranges
1 shot of Crème de cacao liqueur or Kahlúa — skip if making gelato or it won’t set
 
Optional Garnish
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or whole roasted pinon nuts
1 strip lemon peel, thinly sliced
 
For Gelato
3 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
 
Apparatus
Double boiler – or a large pot with a large bowl that sits snug on top
Ice cream or gelato machine
 
Procedure

To Make Pudding

  1. In the top vessel of your double boiler, add the cocoa powder and gradually mix in the blood. Make sure you have no lumps.
  2. In the bottom vessel, add water to whatever marked point it may have, or just about an inch below the bottom of the top vessel.
  3. Stack the vessels and turn the heat on to medium.
  4. Into the cocoa mixture, add the golden syrup/honey and mix thoroughly, then mix in the sugar and melted butter.
  5. If you are using any of the flavorings, add them in now.
  6. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens beyond syrup and hot fudge to a pudding thickness, at least 30 minutes. Depending on the size of your double boiler and heat of the water, there is a magic point when all puddings go from watery mess to luscious, viscous goodness. Resist the urge to crank up the heat to a boil, as the pudding will curdle and separate. Have patience, you will be rewarded.
  7. If you are only making this for pudding, pour it into serving dishes and garnish as you like, but allow it to cool completely. Chill in your refrigerator if you like.

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To Make Gelato
  1. Once you have a thick pudding like sauce, remove from heat and transfer one quart of it (4 cups) to a container to chill. If you have the room for it in your fridge, feel free to use the ice cream machine’s bowl to save yourself some trouble. Your ingredients need to start off very cold. The remaining sauce can be reserved as a topping or a pudding to enjoy separately.
  2. When the sanguinaccio is chilled as cold as your milk and cream, then into the bowl add the milk and half&half, and mix thoroughly. Resist the urge to drink this ambrosia as it will be the BEST CHOCOLATE MILK YOU’VE EVER HAD. Seriously, if you drink this, you will have no gelato, and that will make you sad.
  3. Setup your ice cream maker per instructions and start churning. I hope you have an electric one. As quaint as those hand-crank models are, I’m not THAT into period reproduction.
  4. After about 40 minutes, the gelato should be done. You would normally let an ice cream go until the motor stops, but this is too firm for gelato.
  5. Scoop out your gelato into cones or serving dishes.
  6. Top with some of the reserved sauce, some homemade whipped cream, and bright red cherry, and you have a “sundae, bloody sundae”.

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DISSECTION
There is a difference between ice cream and gelato. From what I have read, it is primarily in the milk/cream ratio. You want 8% or less fat for gelato. Ice creams are on the heavier side. There are also differences in the freezing and traditions between “American” ice cream and “Italian” gelato. When it all goes into a churning machine though, unless you are buying specific equipment, then the machine will make either recipe the same way. Typically if using an “ice cream machine” to make gelato, when you hear those first tell tale signs that the churning has resistance, stop it there. Gelato has a smoother feel because there aren’t as many ice crystals as formed by letting the machine go until it seizes up and stops, as you would for ice cream.
 
It is possible to make this without an ice cream machine. Instead, you will need a 2 quart freezer-safe container with a lid. Just pour your mixture into that and cover tightly with the lid. Place the container into your freezer and let it freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. You might want to stir it every hour. Not aggressively but enough to make sure it freezes evenly.
 
When you buy the frozen blood, once you thaw it, you have roughly 24 hours to use it, and that is with refrigeration. If you have fresh blood, you will have even less time to use it, and you have to be even more careful about preparing it with the right amount of salt and vinegar, and how long you cook it, etc. Trust me. Frozen blood. A modern vampire’s best friend.
 
On another ingredient point, do NOT use corn syrup. Not only is that just outright bad for you, the pudding will not set. Golden syrup aka treacle is the best choice, if you can find it. Here in the states I can find it in most import shops. (My local chippie — yes in Phoenix, AZ, thank you very much — actually sells it and lots of stuff for the expats.) Honey will do in a pinch. I’ve thought about trying this with molasses or with fruit preserves, but haven’t yet.
 
 
POST-MORTEM
How fun is this recipe? Seriously! I’m not even a huge fan of chocolate, but this has been my favorite thing EVER since I started making it. We don’t make it often because most people cringe when I tell them what it is. Trust me though when I say this stuff is an excellent chocolate gelato and you will never look at ice cream the same again. No other chocolate ice cream will compare. Sure others are a heck of a lot easier to make (or just buy, psh) but as I’m hoping you’ll agree, these Morbid Meals are worth the extra effort.

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber

vampire_kisses-v1The Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber has been a staple of the YA horror community for quite some time and now, you can read it in manga form.  Though I have not read the books in this series, the manga can stand on it’s own as a work of art.

Vampire Kisses #1: Blood Relatives is a cute, teenage romance about an adorable goth girl named Raven and her gorgeous vampire boyfriend.  Raven reminds me of a young Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics.  They added just a dash of chibi to make you forget you are reading an American produced manga.  The art, by REM, is gothic and modern with a beauty all it’s own that will have any gloom cookie loving it from cover to the last scene.

This is the first successful book adaptation turned manga I have seen.  The art is well done, the story is edited well, and it accomplishes what it is meant to, which is encourage you to read the book series.  I can say confidently that this team “gets it” and I give them credit because not many trying to break into the manga market do.

We manga fans have come to expect extras in the back and we are not to be disappointed here.  They have included some cool behind the scenes sketches of all the characters.  I adore the goth-loli-punk sketches of Kat.

My only complaint with this little book is that it is too short.  It is a measly 98 pages while most mangas run 150-200.  Considering the novel this manga represents is on the slim size, I suppose they didn’t want to stray from the series format and make it larger.  I am, however, hopeful for an all-encompassing omnibus of these mangas like TokyoPop did with the Princess Ai series.

I have high hopes for this series to continue in like style.  If you’re looking to move from traditional manga into book-inspired manga, this is a great way to start.

 

Horror Addicts 077, JRD Skinner

Horror Addicts Episode# 077
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini
————————
jrd skinner | project juggernaut | hellnight

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

| dracula song | master of macabre | hellnight |
| events | top 10 movies contest | location |
| deadmail | books | shane ryan | gothhaus spoof |
| project juggernaut | jrd skinner |

#77 HorrorAddicts.net eStore
http://astore.amazon.com/horroradnet-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=23
Dracula Music
Hell Night
Alice’s Sexual Discovery in a Wonder Land
The Unincorporated Future
Outworld (old music newer link below)
Gothic Blue Book
The Cemetery Club
Marysvale
Sips of Blood
Project Juggernaut
——————————
New Outworld Music
http://soundcloud.com/outworld-1

Flash Pulp Podcast
http://flashpulp.com/

h o s t e s s
Emerian Rich
s t a f f
Knightmist, Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Audrey Sabin, Marc Vale
Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com
c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s
http://www.horroraddicts.net
m u s i c
http://www.graveconcernsezine.com
t a p i n g . s t u d i o
Quills, A Place For Writers
13 Nightmare Lane, Awen, Second Life
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/168/179/23

Horror Addicts #064, 1950’s

Horror Addicts Episode# 063
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Saints Of Ruin
————————
1950’s | 1950’s TV | House of Wax | Horrorfall
Find full show notes at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

Listen below by clicking the play button.

| 1950’s music | house of wax | closet treats | 1st horror film |
| books | blood of the broken | mach fox | rise of nightmares |
| glimpses | frozen sky | pendragon variety | killing my boss |
| haute tension | horroraddicts con | gothhaus | weston oches |
| albion castle | best horror party | events | www challenge |
| horrorfall | leave it to meatcleaver |

Quills – fans name the address poll! Vote!
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/vote-for-quills-new-address-on-second-life/

Closet Treats
http://www.podiobooks.com/title/closet-treats

HA Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/208379245861499

blood of the broken

glimpses
http://www.podiobooks.com/title/podioracket-presents-glimpses

Frozen Sky
http://www.amazon.com/The-Frozen-Sky-ebook/dp/B0047DX0UI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311309521&sr=8-1

Pendragon Variety

weston oches

Click to access dani_kollin_group_sampler.pdf

albion castle
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/san-francisco/hunter-point-albion-castle-keeps-coming-back-dead-145216860.html

www challenge – vote!
http://wickedwomenwriters.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/wicked-women-writers-challenge-is-on/

Killing My Boss

Mach Fox Zwaremachine
http://www.zwaremachine.com

Having trouble with the audio button above? Try this direct link:
http://m.podshow.com/media/18914/episodes/289283/horroraddicts-289283-07-21-2011.mp3

h o s t e s s: Emerian Rich

s t a f f
Knightmist, Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Ed Pope, Dan Shaurette
Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email emzbox@sbcglobal.net
c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s
http://www.horroraddicts.net
t a p i n g . s t u d i o
Quills, A Place For Writers on Second Life
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/168/179/23

Episode 63: British & European Horror Events

Film4 Frightfest 2011, full schedule announced:

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/london-frightfest-2011-full-schedule-announced/

www.frightfest.co.uk

Alex Chandon and “Inbred”:

http://www.alexchandon.com

http://www.inbredmovie.com

Leeds International Film Festival:

http://www.leedsfilm.com/news/

Grossmann Fantastic Film and Wine Festival:

http://en.grossmann.si/news

Horrorthon Evening With Clive Barker:

http://www.horrorthon.com