A Q & A WITH BILL OBERST JR.

bill-oberst-jr-pictures

Emmy and Lon Chaney Award-winning actor Bill Oberst Jr. is without a doubt one of the hardest working and incredibly talented actors to ever come out of the modern day era of horror. His intensity and dedication to his craft elevate any production that he’s a part of to a higher level. After Bill made a comment on one of my posts I decided to reach out to him for a couple of questions and lo and behold he said yes. Not only did I get (in my humble opinion) an excellent Q & A, but a new friendship was formed and my respect for this man grew even stronger. The only thing that Bill asked for was that I put up a link to his official website at www.billoberst.com. How easy is that?

Let’s start with an obvious one, Bill. Your IMDb.com entry lists a whopping 157 credits since you began with Sherman’s March in 2007; or was it Gilded Cage, which has no year of release? Where did it all begin and more importantly how did it all begin?

The History Channel docudrama Sherman’s March (2007) was my first on-camera role. For 16 years prior I was a working east coast stage actor with no ambition to be on-camera before I stumbled into the boots of General Sherman. On the first day of shooting I fell off my horse. A very kind director, Rick King (of Shark Week fame) helped me look reasonably heroic, and the program was highly-rated and well-reviewed. On the strength of it, I came to Los Angeles in 2008 for a two-week stay to see if I could land an agent. I ended up staying for 8 years and killing many, many people. It has been a bizarre and wondrous experience.

Ha ha. People unaware of your chosen profession might raise eyebrows at that next to last statement, Bill. You came to the audition for Sherman’s March in an authentic Civil War uniform. In addition to that you were spat upon and assailed by passersby when you wore an SS uniform for your audition as Adolf Eichmann for The Glass House, also in 2007. Auditions, Bill! What inspired this dedication to your chosen craft?

Acting is a personality disorder disguised as a profession. One of the less-toxic symptoms of this disorder is a compulsion to play dress up. In my case, it’s history that I get off on, so for any role involving a distinct time-period I am compelled to dive in wardrobe-wise. The fact that this comes across as dedication to craft is a fortunate occurrence.

Like all actors, I am dedicated to the idea of escape from the reality of actual life. Welcome to the curse. It is not curable.

You remind in a lot of ways of Christopher Walken. He’s said in interviews that he’ll take any role that’s offered him and with your immense list of credits it seems you may be the same way. In addition your dedication and preparation brings to mind actors like Robert De Niro, an actor well known for the lengths he would go to to become the characters he’s portrayed; driving fifteen hour days in a taxi and studying mental illness for Taxi Driver; living in Sicily for months for The Godfather Part II.

You’ve been described as gentle and with an interest in things spiritual in your personal life (I stole that from your IMDb page); quite a contrast to the menacing characters you portray in your films. How do you keep the two separate; or do you find that one complements or strengthens the other?

I think about this question often. This morning I go to church to hear about God’s love. Next week I start a film in which I play a man who sacrifices children. What to do?

My defensive inclination is to say, “It’s a job;” to absolve myself of any responsibility. But in my heart, I know I do have a responsibility. I’d love to play the angel, but if it falls to me to play the devil, I’m going to play the Devil with a capital “D” – the lying sonofabitch who said to Jesus, “Behold the kingdoms of the world; they are mine and I can give them to anyone I wish. They’re yours if you worship me.” I strive to play evil with conviction and purpose, because I know evil is an actual, living force in this world.

I want to disturb. I want to play the darkness to show the light.

End of sermonūüôā

I couldn’t hope for a better answer, Bill.

Before you stepped in front of a camera you were a stage actor. Would you care to tell me about working in theater?

Oh yes. Theater is a beautiful blind date. Every single performance is a new encounter with a collective stranger. You get to know the audience and to understand what moves them. When the time is right, you go in for a goodnight smooch, and (on the magic nights) part ways with a little yearning still intact in both parties. It’s a very chaste thrill. The camera, on the other hand, is a voracious lover who demands that you touch it in the way it wants to be touched by you. If you don’t get that touch just right, the camera happily looks at someone else. A wronged theater audience may deny you a goodnight kiss, but a wronged camera will take cash out of your wallet, laugh and toss you outside naked. In both cases, it’s your own damned fault.

Please pardon the sexual metaphors. They keep me honest. This profession is prone to pretensions.

That’s perfectly fine, Bill; you’re giving me your most honest and personal answers and how you see fit to do that is alright with me.

Were you often the villain or heavy when you were onstage; or did that evolve during your time in front of a camera?

An evolution, and a welcome one as an actor. It took several failed attempts at playing the villain to realize that the old quandary “I do not understand myself, for the good I want to do I do not do, but the wrong I hate, that I do” applies to all of us. It is interesting that the word “heavy” is used to describe these characters – it actually is a physically heavy feeling to live inside them. It feels isolated and very alone. I think that a lot of what we call villainy springs from being alone; from seeing our desires as the center of our universe. After playing these people it is hard to get back to being a part of a community again. Loneliness and isolation are very seductive and very dangerous – bad for the soul.

What about influences? There must have been someone, actor or otherwise, that has influenced you and inspired your performances.

My earliest inspiration was Forrest J. Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Forrey introduced my generation to the old masters of horror and, above all, to Lon Chaney Sr. In those days, the only way to see these performances was to order 8mm clips by mail, so I was introduced to them all in silent form projected on a sheet in my bedroom. I was mesmerized by their movements: (Boris) Karloff’s Monster reaching upwards towards the light; the wounded rage in the unmasked face of Chaney’s Phantom; the play of (Bela) Lugosi’s fingers as he pushed aside cobwebs. I studied them and ignored my homework.

Even today, my favorite moments on camera are the ones alone and with no words. That’s why Take This Lollipop will always be close to my heart; it’s my little contribution to that tradition of non-verbal horror.

I just had to click on the link for Take This Lollipop and now I’m afraid to step outside my door for fear that you are waiting menacingly for me, Bill! To be honest I get the feeling that the man you portray in that short interactive film would not let doors stand in his way at all.

On the subject of scaring people my wife and I watched your performance in the ‘Blood Relations’ episode of Criminal Minds. As soon as I saw your name in the credits I told her that we were in for a treat. With the show over I asked for her thoughts and all she could say was “that man scared the hell out of me!”. I told her “you have no idea how many people this man has scared.” Do you find that you get a sort of, and this is for lack of a better word, perverse satisfaction out of scaring people or creeping them the hell out?

Tell your wife that my Criminal Minds killer just needed love and he’d have turned out better!

Seriously, I hope she was able to feel some empathy for him. That is what I strove for in that characterization, as did the whole team behind creating that poor little killer – director Matthew Gray Gubler kept encouraging me to be more childlike in speech and movement, and Dayne Johnson and Christopher Allen Nelson, who created the make-up, were influenced by the humanity-infused monster make-ups of Lon Chaney Sr. I consider the character to be an homage to Chaney. The series’ producer and writer Breen Frazier signed my script “To the most heartbreaking serial killer ever.” That meant a lot.

I had a hard time getting a handle on the Take This Lollipop guy. Without Jason Zada, who wrote and directed it, I would have been over the top. But Jason kept whispering in my ear, “Just go darker into that basement of the mind. Go deeper.” There, too, we tried to lay in some bits that would create an empathy; moments where you see him trying to resist the compulsion. I must agree with you, though: doors wouldn’t stop him.

Sorry for the prelude there.

To your question: Do you find that you get a sort of, and this is for lack of a better word, perverse satisfaction out of scaring people or creeping them the hell out?

Yes. I personally hate roller coasters, but I see the perverse pleasure that people who know this get out of trying to goad me onto them. In the same way, my skill set as an actor includes a bit of knowledge about what makes people’s skin crawl and I justify my enjoyment of it by thinking “Well, it’s good for them to be scared – it makes them feel alive,” which is the exact same rationale my friends use to justify trying to terrify me! Boy, humans are just nefarious by nature, aren’t we?

You ask me that question and today I might agree with you and the next day I may not or be on the fence. I guess I am of the opinion that there are good people in this world capable of doing bad and vice versa. Does that make sense?

The main reason that we came into each other’s radar is because of your role in the excellent short werewolf film, The Beast; how did you become involved with the project?

I feel very fortunate to have been involved with The Beast. I loved werewolves so much as a kid that I used to sneak out of the house late at night and ride my bike out to the railroad tracks where I could safely howl at the moon, just to know what that felt like. They remain my favorite classic creature. I met Peter Dukes, writer and director of The Beast, online and then went to his house to read for him. Peter said “We’re going into the woods for one night with very little money, but with a group of pros who love old-school horror…and werewolves.” We shot it in one crazy night. I was really blown away by the intensity of Peter and Alexander Le Bas, who remain the only father and son acting team I have ever worked with.¬†The Beast¬†is an example of extreme class in a small-scale production.

Werewolves have also always been my favorite monsters so I can perfectly understand wanting to howl at the moon, Bill.

To me, The Beast was a perfect example of a group of people with a passion for a project-and werewolves-that used that passion and their imaginations to make a twelve-plus minute film on a low budget seem more alive than a lot of the feature-length movies that Hollywood is passing off on us.

I’ve posted nearly fifty short films since I began my Short Film Saturday showcase at Written in Blood. I’m leading to a question and I guess what it is is do you feel like short films are a good way for up and coming independent filmmakers to make their mark and get a foot in the door, so to speak?

Yes, and the shorter the short¬†the better! When people see that video load bar go past¬†the 10 or 15 minute mark, you lose them before you’ve¬†grabbed them, The three shorts that I’ve been involved with which have gotten the most attention and have¬†won the most awards – THE BEAST, ASSASSINS and HEIR – were all under 15 minutes. There’s little money in a short, but if you do it right and tight¬†there’s a lot of potential for making a mark.

I get what you mean about losing your audience for a short film. I’ve skipped over quite a few films because they were 20-30 minutes long and I didn’t have the time (or patience) to give them my full attention.¬†

Let’s wind this Q & A down with a couple of questions, Bill.¬†
First of all, you mentioned in an apology for your delay in answering a question that you were killing teenagers in the woods of Pasadena for 12 hours a day this week; can you tell me a bit about what you’re currently working on?¬†
Second and final question, Bill and bear with me it’s one of those that we have all heard before: If you weren’t acting what do you think you would be doing with your life?
The feature film I’m shooting at the moment in the LA area is Death Camp.¬†The great Courtney Gains of Children Of The Corn is in it too. My role is an ex-military hero who also happens to be a hermit Satanist. After this shoot I head to South America, then to Georgia, then to Germany. The business is truly global now – it is amazing how decentralized it has become.
If I wasn’t¬†¬†an actor I would be a preacher. I’ve known some good ones and some lousy ones in my time – I’m not entirely sure which kind I¬†would be – but ever since I heard about Jesus as a boy I’ve wanted to talk about him. But churches can be his worst enemy, you know?¬†I toured churches for a decade with a solo show of the words of Jesus. After one of these performances, an old man came up to me and said “I don’t give a damn for religion, but Jesus is alright.” I’m with him.
Bill, thank you for your time and I hope we can stay in touch. 
I’d like to stay in touch, too.¬†I’ve really enjoyed this!¬†I think we share some of the same tastes and opinions on movies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALT-POSTR-MONDAY FOR MAY 2, 2016

April 26, 2016 was Alien Day and I kinda, sorta missed it. That’s why I have a few pieces of artwork here in commemoration. I hope you like them and the rest of what I have for you this week. Enjoy.

Alien by Angel Trancon Arts

Alien by Angel Trancon Arts

Alien by Kilian Eng

Alien by Kilian Eng

Alien by Laurent Durieux

Alien by Laurent Durieux

Alien by Michael Saputo

Alien by Michael Saputo

Batman 66 by Mark Summers

Batman 66 by Mark Summers

Dazed And Confused by Vance Kelly

Dazed And Confused by Vance Kelly

Dragon Age: Inquisition by Dan Mumford

Dragon Age: Inquisition by Dan Mumford

Live and Let Die by Mike Mahle

Live and Let Die by Mike Mahle

Pet Sematary by Mike Saputo

Pet Sematary by Mike Saputo

Silver Bullet by Matt Ryan Tobin

Silver Bullet by Matt Ryan Tobin

Suspiria by Matt Ryan Tobin

Suspiria by Matt Ryan Tobin

Taxi Driver by Paul Shipper

Taxi Driver by Paul Shipper

The Abominable Dr. Phibes by Ghoulish Gary Pullin

The Abominable Dr. Phibes by Ghoulish Gary Pullin

The Bear by Laurent Durieux

The Bear by Laurent Durieux

The Dark Knight Rises by Mark Juhasz

The Dark Knight Rises by Mark Juhasz

The Last House on the Left by Ghoulish Gary Pullin

The Last House on the Left by Ghoulish Gary Pullin

The Phantom Of The Opera by Nicolas Delort

The Phantom Of The Opera by Nicolas Delort

ALT-POSTR-MONDAY FOR FEBRUARY 8, 2016

I searched high and low from the comfort of my ManCave, which I need to get off my ass and clean up, and I found some cool posters for this week’s installment of ALT-POSTR-MONDAY. Here’s hoping you enjoy them.

The Exorcist by N.E.

The Exorcist by N.E.

The Bride of Frankenstein by Nicolas DeLort

The Bride of Frankenstein by Nicolas DeLort

Gremlins by Joshua Budich

Gremlins by Joshua Budich

Creature from the Black Lagoon by Nicolas Delort

Creature from the Black Lagoon by Nicolas Delort

Taxi Driver by Martin Ansin

Taxi Driver by Martin Ansin

Dracula by Nicolas DeLort

Dracula by Nicolas DeLort

Labyrinth by Sam Smith

Labyrinth by Sam Smith

Frankenstein by Nicolas DeLort

Frankenstein by Nicolas DeLort

Metropolis by Ken Taylor

Metropolis by Ken Taylor

The Invisible Man by Nicolas DeLort

The Invisible Man by Nicolas DeLort

Alien by s2lart

Alien by s2lart

The Wolf Man by Nicolas DeLort

The Wolf Man by Nicolas DeLort

X-men Days of Future Past by s2lart

X-men Days of Future Past by s2lart

Godzilla by Marie Bergeron

Godzilla by Marie Bergeron

Fear the Walking Dead by John Aslarona

Fear the Walking Dead by John Aslarona

Christine by Mainger Germain

Christine by Mainger Germain

Beware the Moon (from An American Werewolf in London) by Mark Chilcott

Beware the Moon (from An American Werewolf in London) by Mark Chilcott

 

 

 

 

 

ALT-POSTR-MONDAY: TAXI DRIVER

Taxi Driver is, in my opinion, not only one of the great films of the 1970’s, but one of the great films of all time. I love the use of black and yellow in the majority of these posters.

ALT-POSTR-MONDAY: TAXI DRIVER

Ulla Virtanen

Ulla Virtanen

Tim4

Tim4

Me, Myself and I

Me, Myself and I

Matthew Bartlett

Matthew Bartlett

malevolentnate

malevolentnate

lafar88

lafar88

jackdaw78

jackdaw78

herrowley

herrowley

David O'Daniel

David O’Daniel

Daniel Norris

Daniel Norris

Chris Nygaard

Chris Nygaard

Bruce Yan

Bruce Yan

AZRainman

AZRainman

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

ab

ab

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

 

HOLY SHARK! IT’S SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE

SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE-United States-95 Mins. 2014

????????????

Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard in Sharknado 2: The Second One

Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard in Sharknado 2: The Second One

Tara Reid as April Wexler in Sharknado 2: The Second One

Tara Reid as April Wexler in Sharknado 2: The Second One

Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard and Vivica A. Fox as Skye in Sharknado 2: The Second One

Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard and Vivica A. Fox as Skye in Sharknado 2: The Second One

Mark McGrath as Martin Brody in Sharknado 2-The Second One

Mark McGrath as Martin Brody in Sharknado 2-The Second One

Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante

Written by Thunder Levin

IT’S SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE!

SEE!

THE SAME PLOT AS THE FIRST MOVIE! ONLY IT TAKES PLACE IN NEW YORK THIS TIME! IAN ZIERING VS SHARKS IN THE BIG APPLE! WITH A CHAINSAW!

SEE!

CAMEOS FROM THOUSANDS…I MEAN HUNDREDS…I MEAN A WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE:

WIL WHEATON!

BIZ MARKIE!

JARED FROM SUBWAY! ON THE SUBWAY!

KURT ANGLE! IT’S TRUE! IT’S DAMN TRUE!

TIFFANY SHEPIS! HOT!

BILLY RAY CYRUS AS A DOCTOR! WHO’DA THUNK IT?

AND MANY MORE!

SEE!

ALLIGATORS IN THE SEWER! NO KIDDING!

SEE!

TARA REID! IF YOU’RE INTO TARA REID.

SEE!

KELLY OSBOURNE DECAPITATED BY A FLYING SHARK!

SEE!

GREAT WHITE SHARKS! HAMMERHEAD SHARKS! TIGER SHARKS! EVEN A FRIGGIN’ WHALE SHARK! ALL OF THEM COMING OUT OF THE SKY IN A

SHARKNADO!!*

Okay, all kidding aside. I now understand why John Bloom felt the need to create the persona of Joe Bob Briggs to review exploitation, B-Movie Horror and other genre films. A film like Sharknado 2: The Second One-and its predecessor-are in a class by themselves. You can’t help but find yourself watching them with a shit-eating grin on your face while the synapses in your brain misfire because you can’t help but thinking that this is the dumbest effing movie you have seen in your existence and still you just can’t look away. The term ‘so bad it’s good’ was created exclusively for a movie like Sharknado 2: The Second One. In fact I propose that a new category be created at the Academy Awards: The Sharknado Award. It would be awarded to the movie that is so unbelievably horrendous that it transcends its Z-Movie Status to become something extraordinary. Wait a minute. Did I say extraordinary? I meant

EXTRA-EXTRAORDINARY!

TRIVIA

Robert Hays played a pilot in the beginning and said he has “been through worse” flying through a storm. This was a reference to him flying and landing a plane in the movie Airplane!

The characters played by Mark McGrath and Kari Wuhrer are named Martin and Ellen Brody. Those are the same names as Roy Schieder and Lorraine Gray’s characters in Jaws. Their son is named Vaughan, which was the name of Murray Hamilton’s character as the Mayor in Jaws.

Judd Hirsch played a cab driver. This is a nod to him co-starring in the series Taxi.

Wil Wheaton’s appearance in the film had originally been a joke in The Big Bang Theory: The Gorilla Dissolution (2014) where he gets the opportunity to audition for it after getting fired from another bad horror film.

When the cab drives through a flooded Manhattan, the camera pans to reveal the name Bickle on the passenger side front door. That’s a nod to Taxi Driver‘s character Travis Bickle played by Robert de Niro.

Although the movie is set in NYC in July, it was actually filmed in NYC in February of 2014. During that time NYC was experiencing record snowfall and unseasonably cold weather. The cold weather had to be worked into the story as you can see the actors cold breath in scenes and in certain scenes such as Liberty Island, you can see snow on the ground.

Most of the soundtrack songs were co-written by Robbie Rist. Rist was a well known child actor. One of his most famous roles was Oliver from The Brady Bunch.

5of5

 

Ian Ziering also appears in Sharknado and The Legend of Awesomest Maximus.

Tara Reid also appears in Sharknado and The Big Lebowski.

Vivica A. Fox also appears in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Independence Day.

Mark McGrath also appears in Scooby-Doo and Pauly Shore is Dead.

*2: THE SECOND ONE!

 

 

AFTER 10 EDITIONS OF “WHAT’S THEIR BEST FILM?”, WRITTEN IN BLOOD WEIGHS IN

Wow, I’ve done ten editions of “What’s Their Best Film?” already. In that time I have received great response from some of my regular¬†and¬†my non-regular commentators. I’m sure that a lot of you have voiced your opinion of¬†not¬†what you thought a particular filmmaker’s best movie was; but listed your favorite film from said director instead. Hey, that’s cool; because in order to accurately give an opinion of a director‚Äôs best movie you would have had to have seen every film in their catalog. I love movies, but I will not and cannot watch movies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are more important things such as work, supporting a family and figuring out ways to get Honey Boo Boo off the air. Damn what an annoying kid and her equally annoying mother!

So why am I babbling on and on? I shall tell you. In the last ten editions of “WTBF?” it has been¬†you, dear reader, who has voiced your humble opinion. Now it’s my turn to give you¬†my¬†opinion. I will list each director below and I will tell what I think is their best movie or my favorite movie; whatever you want to call it.

Let’s begin:

MARTIN SCORSESE

Is it any surprise that I’m going with Goodfellas for this one? In my opinion it’s the greatest gangster flick ever made.

Runner-up: Taxi Driver

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MICHAEL BAY

Most of what Bay puts out is complete shit; but if I had to choose a movie of his to watch I’d go with Armageddon . At least it got the Criterion Collection treatment.

Runner-up: Transformers

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Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho. It’s my favorite “Hitch” film and in my humble opinion it is also his best. The shower scene alone is worth the price of admission.

Runner-up: Rear Window

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STEVEN SPIELBERG

Schlinder’s List. Spielberg may have given us the first summer blockbuster with Jaws; but with Schindler’s List he gave us his first and finest masterpiece. Ralph Fiennes is chilling as Amon Goeth.

Runner-up: Jaws

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QUENTIN TARANTINO

Two words: Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2, Okay, so that’s six words. That’s because these movies rock so hard they blow up two words and turn them into six!

Runner-up: Pulp Fiction

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PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON

I loved Magnolia and watch it at least three times every year. There are just so many great performances in this film from Julianne Moore to John C. Reilly. Tom Cruise was robbed of an Oscar for his role as informercial sex guru Frank ‘T.J.’ Mackey.

Runner-up: Boogie Nights

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JOHN CARPENTER

Do you honestly think I would choose anything other than The Thing?

Runner-up: Halloween

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

DAVID CRONENBERG

Jeff Goldblum had the role of a lifetime in Cronenberg’s vision of the George Langelaan short story The Fly. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Runner-up: The Dead Zone

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BRIAN DE PALMA

Some might say Carrie, some might say Scarface; I’m going with Blow Out as De Palma’s best. Travolta’s performance is one of the key reasons Tarantino wanted him for Pulp Fiction.

Runner-up: Carrie or Scarface (tie)

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

ROBERT ALTMAN

I loved Short Cuts the first time I saw it and every time after that. Fantastic ensemble acting.

Runner-up: M*A*S*H

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ

Not only is Sin City Rodriguez’ best film; but it is also the single most faithful adaptation of a graphic novel from page to screen that I have ever seen in my entire life. It’s also the movie that once again made a contender out of Mickey Rourke.

Runner-up: From Dusk ’til Dawn

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CLINT EASTWOOD

Unforgiven is one of the greatest westerns ever made. It was directed by Clint Eastwood; who in turn learned a few tricks from one of the greatest filmmakers, Sergio Leone.

Runner-up: Million Dollar Baby or Mystic River (tie)

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SAM RAIMI

This is cheating, but I’m going with the entire Evil Dead trilogy for this one. Who needs Spider-man when you’ve got Ash? Bruce Campbell rocks!!

Runner-up: Spider-man 2

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DARIO ARGENTO

To be honest, I’ve only seen three Argento films: Suspiria, Mother of Tears and Opera. Of the three of those I suppose my choice for his best would be¬†Suspiria. What a creepy and atmospheric film.

Runner-up: Opera

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DARREN ARONOFSKY

I have to go with The Wrestler¬†on this one. I’ve been a fan of the squared circle for quite a long time and it’s the first film to take the subject matter seriously. Mickey Rourke was amazing as Randy “The Ram” Robinson.

Runner-up: Black Swan

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WES CRAVEN

I could be a complete asshole and go totally against the popular choice of A Nightmare on Elm Street as Craven’s best; but that would just be stupid. He gave us Freddy Fucking Krueger with this one, for crying out loud!

Runner-up: The Last House on the Left or Scream (tie)

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TOBE HOOPER

Just as Craven brought usFreddy Krueger with his greatest film A Nightmare on Elm Street; so did Tobe Hooper bring us The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Leatherface 10 years prior. Watch this movie and you’ll think twice about picking up hitchhikers and eating Texas Bar-B-Que.

Runner-up: Poltergeist

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ALEXANDRE AJA

It may seem like a strange choice, but I pick his remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes over High Tension (aka Haute Tension aka Switchblade Romance) as Aja’s best film. It’s close though; both movies are fucking brutal.

Runner-up: High Tension 

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ROB ZOMBIE

Some people seem to love Rob Zombie’s films and other people seem to hate his films and his fucking guts. There’s no middle ground. What’s his best film? That’s easy: The Devil’s Rejects.

Runner-up: Halloween

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JOE DANTE

What have I said before? The Howling is the greatest werewolf movie ever made; so the choice here is a no-brainer.

Runner-up: Gremlins

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STUART GORDON

Re-animator, of course. Those of you who disagree can get a job in a sideshow. This film brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘giving head.’

Runner-up: From Beyond

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GUILLERMO DEL TORO

I haven’t seen everything by Del Toro, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Devil’s Backbone. It was an amazing little ghost story.

Runner-up: Hellboy

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GEORGE ROMERO

There is no question that Night of the Living Dead is Romero’s greatest film; the trouble is that Dawn of the Dead is every bit as awesome. Folks, we have a tie! Zombies everywhere have Uncle George to thank for their popularity.

Runner-up: Day of the Dead

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BRAD ANDERSON

I loved Session 9 and The Machinist¬†on equal terms; but if I had to choose I’d have to go with the latter based simply on the strength of the performance from Christian Bale. The Machinist is a brilliant film about guilt and how it can affect us so deeply.

Runner-up: Session 9

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WILLIAM FRIEDKIN

William Friedkin

The Exorcist. Nothing else need be said.

Runner-up: The French Connection

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LUCKY MCKEE

Lucky McKee

I choose May as McKee’s best for one simple reason: the deliciously disturbing performance from Angela Bettis. She deserved an Oscar for that movie.

Runner-up: The Woman

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EDUARDO S√ĀNCHEZ

Eduardo Sanchez

It’s going to take Sanchez a long time before he gets out from under the shadow of The Blair Witch Project. He’s been making heavy strides with films like Altered and Lovely Molly. Still, it is the witch who holds sway over all.

Runner-up: Altered

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MARIO BAVA

I’ve only seen one Bava film and that is Black Sunday. I do want to see more.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LUCIO FULCI

The same goes for Lucio Fulci and Zombie. I know, I know I need to watch more Fulci and Bava.

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SERGIO LEONE

The man who gave us The Man with No Name. It’s hard to pick one great Leone film. A Fistful of Dollars? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Once Upon a Time in the West? Once Upon a Time in America? Nope, I just can’t do it.

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There you go; my choices. Some are your choices as well and some are not. Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one and they make the world go ’round.

THE WRITTEN IN BLOOD EDITION OF DESERT ISLAND FILMS

I was asked, by my friend Tyson at Head in a Vice, if I would submit my list of eight movies, one book and one luxury item that I would want to have with me if I were stranded on a desert island. I must say that I am glad that he finally asked as I was feeling left out and would soon resort to stalking and glaring menacingly at him while cleaning my fingernails with an ice pick. Just kidding, Tyson. Maybe.

I got to thinking about what to include on the list. I’m not a professional critic; I don’t know all about the various techniques that filmmakers and actors use to make a great film. I don’t use fancy words to describe a performance or a scene. I am just a guy from California by way of South Carolina who has watched movies since he was six and knows what he likes when he sees it.

So, here’s my list. As you can guess most are horror movies but with a few non-genre films tossed in for balance. I don’t think my choices will surprise anyone; but who knows. There is no particular order to the selections.

1. The Thing (1982)-John Carpenter

Alright, I told a little white lie. There is no way that I was not going to put this movie anywhere but Number 1. The Thing is the best film of John Carpenter’s long career and is a perfect example of how hand-made special effects are far more convincing than something a four year old could do on a fucking computer. Isolation, paranoia and a creature that can assume any form; what more could you ask for in a movie?

2. The Howling (1981)-Joe Dante

Best werewolf movie ever made! Best werewolf transformation ever! These are not your daddy’s Lon Chaney Jr. werewolves. These are werewolves whose sole purpose is to keep you, me and Little Red Riding Hood in therapy for the rest of our lives. I fell in love with Dee Wallace in this movie. There was no way I could have shot her; it would have been like shooting Ole Yeller.

3. Hostel and Hostel Part II (2005 and 2007)-Eli Roth

I’m cheating quite a bit with this selection as Hostel and Hostel Part II are two entirely different movies. But then again, how different are they? Both feature dumb Americans in foreign countries who get in way over their heads. Both feature torture and gore. Even the Bubble Gum Gang makes an appearance in both movies. Why do I love these two sicko movies so much? I have no fucking idea! Best line goes to Natalya (Barbara Nedeljakova) for “I get a lot of money for you, and that makes you MY bitch.”

4. Goodfellas (1990)-Martin Scorcese

Where do I start? I take nothing away from The Godfather; but in my humble opinion Goodfellas is the definitive gangster movie. I could, and did, write an entire post on this one movie. Give me time and I could write 10 more. There are so many great scenes in this film; Henry and Karen’s first date and that masterful tracking shot, Tommy’s death and Jimmy’s heartbreaking reaction. Last but not least there’s that great scene:

Henry Hill: You’re a pistol, you’re really funny. You’re really funny.
Tommy DeVito: What do you mean I’m funny?
Henry Hill: It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy.
[laughs]
Tommy DeVito: What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
Henry Hill: It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy DeVito: [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What’s funny about it?
Anthony Stabile: Tommy no, You got it all wrong.
Tommy DeVito: Oh, oh, Anthony. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
Henry Hill: Jus…
Tommy DeVito: What?
Henry Hill: Just… ya know… you’re funny.
Tommy DeVito: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Henry Hill: Just… you know, how you tell the story, what?
Tommy DeVito: No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said I’m funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!
Henry Hill: [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
Tommy DeVito: [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.

5. Taxi Driver (1976)-Martin Scorcese

Taxi Driver is one of the most perfect American movies ever made and by far the greatest performance of Robert De Niro’s career. It is a paranoid journey into the seedy heart of New York City. It is a film that the lonely can understand and that the rest of us can be awed by. The scene where Travis is pleading with Betsy over the phone is one of the most heart wrenching in movie history.

6. Role Models (2008)-David Wain

What? Did you seriously think I wouldn’t take a comedy with me? If I watched the other movies on the list without having something to laugh at I’d go insane. This goofy movie about two losers forced into community service at a Big Brother type program makes me LOL and ROFLMAO every time I see it. So take that, Reindeer Games. I know; you’re not Ben Affleck. You know something? You white, you Ben Affleck.

7. Inside aka¬†√Ä l’int√©rieur (2007)-Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury

I had heard that the French were making some brutal horror movies lately. I didn’t believe it at first; and then I saw Martyrs and this movie, Inside, and my eyes were opened. Brutal does not even begin to describe this movie. Be√°trice Dalle is fucking terrifying in this film about a woman, her unborn child and the woman who will do anything to make it her own. Inside is intense!

8. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (2003 and 2004)-Quentin Tarantino

The Kill Bill films are my absolute favorite Tarantino films. QT pays homage to nearly every genre that he can cram into the narrative of his tale about a vengeful bride and Bill, the son of a bitch who shot her down. You’ve never met anyone quite like The Bride, Bill and the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.

My one book would have to be Ghoul by Michael Slade. This was Slade’s second novel and the first that I read. After that I haven’t missed one since. Slade’s books are mystery, history and bloody horror all rolled into one brilliant little package. Ghoul is a masterpiece.

As for my luxury item that would be a toothbrush. If she were with me my wife would at least want me to have healthy teeth and gums.