If you watched TCM last night around 7:00 central time then you watched Night at the Movies with Stephen King. I being a King fan was delighted to watch the program and learned more about his favorite and least favorite horror films. If you missed it here’s a little recap with my commentary.
Part 1: Discovering Horror
Bambi surprisingly was the first film that ever scared him. When he was ten in 1957 he watched Earth vs. The Flying Saucers in the theater and actually during that time they stopped the movie and were told about Sputnik being in orbit.
He talked about Val Lewton and how he appreciated him and about how wonderful black and white films are which I totally have to agree with that statement. Though I love modern horror films especially Cronenberg I think that a lot of black and white horror films have better effects.
Part 2: From Axes to Zombies
Dementia 13 absolutely terrified him as a kid. For me I never did see it as a kid but like two or three years ago I watched it and thought it was terrifying. Night of the Living Dead King had no clue really what it was going to be about and he was in college and went to see it. Like two or three people plus him were in the theater. He called it a evil genius piece of work.
Part 3: Monsters and Creatures
Basically he explained on how every good horror film in this subject as that one person that you know will take care of everything for example Sheriff Brody in Jaws and the mom in Cujo.
Thing from Another World he talked about how it’s beautifully made because of the isolation which I agree with.
King talked Frankenstein and how the 1931 version makes audiences feel pity on the monster while the Hammer films you have this mangled looking creature and the creature and doctor are equally monsters. The Wolf Man and other films about transformations he spoke on how he was wasn’t the biggest fan of them. His big affection goes to the B films of the 50s and the 60s. He admired William Castle and his gimmicks.
Part 4: Haunted
The Haunting while he likes it but talked about how there is a debate about it being a horror film. To him Japanese horror has the U.S. run for their money, he liked both Ring versions. One thing that I found was neat the ghost film that scared him the most was The Changeling which is also the film I think was the freakiest. Amityville Horror he liked but the one thing that made the film was James Brolin snapping.
Part 5: They Bite
King stated that the scariest vampires for him were in the 50s horror comics. He wasn’t scared of Bela and thought that Christopher Lee was much more sinister. Though he finds that vampires should not be dashing and very good looking instead of like Tobe Hooper’s vampires in Salem Lot. Which in order to be a horror film vampires should be freaky. He was impressed with the film Near Dark and how the vampires were shown as nomads and a little bit crazy like a Sam Peckinpah film. It’s very much it’s own thing. I have to say that I think it’s a little too underrated.
Part 6: To the Devil
King said that John Cassavetes best role was in Rosemary’s Baby. He enjoyed the ending and said that it was a wonderful piece of work. The Omen was good but the sequels lose interest. Here’s a good story about him talking about his first time seeing The Exorcist, his wife and him went to the late afternoon show and decided to take a nap before it but they couldn’t sleep because of the talk about the film. He said that his wife acted like a paratrooper going to war.
Part 7: Slashers
Stephen King said that Psycho was the granddaddy of slashers. Texas Chainsaw Massacre not really a gory film but it’s the first film to affect people by just showing meat hooks and chains. It made people to think that they saw it everything that happened even though you didn’t. Said that Nightmare on Elm Street concepts is a work of genius.
He made a really point which I’ve made many times also about talking about slashers, that there is always one woman that is always standing and that a lot of pictures show strong woman. There are so many examples out there.
Part 8: King at the Movies
Carrie terrific work and the great acting. Every walks of life likes it and that amazed him. He did have a little problem with The Shining him and Kubrick had fundamental differences. In Creepshow he was flattered for a role in that film and likes to be in bit parts of his films. For the Dead Zone thought that Christopher Walken best first role was as Johnny Smith. He even gave David Cronenberg a good word about being the best modern horror director of our time. For Cujo he thought that Dee Wallace’s best performance was in this film. Maybe even should have deserved an Oscar.
Part 9: New Blood
He was afraid and enjoyed The Blair Witch Project. He also said that 3-D films weren’t going to help horror films any and I agree because gimmicks like that don’t make a horror film. A solid plot and freaky characters are what makes a horror film.
I must admit I don’t remember what Part 10 was and I can’t read my handwriting. But I can read what I wrote below the title. King told his reasons why he goes to horror films and it is because it’s a place where you can just lay down your fears. That horror films are apart of our culture and will always be.
So that is the recap of King’s Documentary that was on TCM last night. I really liked it and will like more documentaries from other authors.