Lovecraft Reviews: A Horror Interview
[box_info]Who is RG Lovecraft, you ask? RG Lovecraft aka Ryan, is one of the best horror film reviewers I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Is he related to the great author Lovecraft? I never asked but maybe in the comments section he will grace us with that answer. [/box_info]
DCC: What is YOUR definition of horror? Because it’s a bit ambiguous and different people have different fears. What I may consider scary may not scare you.
RG Lovecraft [Ryan]: Oh man, that is a question that I could ramble about for hours. For me, horror is my life. Horror is a living entity though, it is ever-changing and it is ever evolving. It is a silent beast that appears differently to all those who come across it, which is why I love the genre. It is that thing that goes bump in the night, it is that thing that brushes against your leg in an unfamiliar environment. More than anything it is the emotion that we are most in touch with. Everybody has felt fear, while some may not have felt love, or true genuine happiness, we have all experienced it and it something that binds us all together. In one way or another. There is no true way to define horror though. As you said, what scares one person may not scare the next.
DCC: What is your criteria in judging how good or bad a horror movie is?
Ryan: There are several things that I look at when I watch a horror film, I think the main aspect being predictability. This can make or break a horror film for me. It’s no secret that horror fans are ravenous about the genre, they’ve seen most everything, so being surprised is a big part of making the experience a good one. If a film is built on tired jump scares, then it loses a lot of points in my book.
I also look at originality, execution and the thought process behind a film. You can tell when a film is well thought out, or if it has been tossed together hastily to contribute to a franchise to make a few quick bucks.
More than anything it’s a gut feeling. When a film brings me to the edge of my seat, gripping the arm of the chair with anticipation of what’s to come then it’s doing it’s job. If a film actually makes me speak (or scream) at the screen, then, well… that’s a 10.
DCC: What do you consider scary?
Ryan: I’ve written about this before. I am on a perpetual quest to find scary. I’ve found that these films no longer terrify me the way they did when I was a child, but I get an immense adrenaline rush out of them. But to answer the question: what do I consider scary? Real world terror. Things that can actually happen in this world, can actually happen to you. A madman breaking into your home at night. Getting stranded in the wilderness and hunted down by someone who means to do you harm. While some of my favorite horror films fall under the realm of supernatural terror, I do not necessarily find those scary. I find films like The Strangers and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre scary. It’s easy to put yourself into the position of the victims in those scenarios.
DCC: Who are your favorite literary horror writers and why?
Ryan: I have one, and his name is Stephen King. The man is a genius, not only in his ability to create terrifying situations, but his character development is out of this world. You can’t help but completely connect with the characters he’s writing, which makes the stories that much more terrifying. He also employs a lot of real world issues, both psychological and physical, into his work that also help to draw you into the story and help you connect with what’s going on.
DCC: What made you decide to start blogging about horror movies?
Ryan: My “About Me” on the blog pretty much sums it up, but more than anything I think it was a desire to have an outlet to discuss all of my thoughts about the films that I love (and hate) without driving my friends and family crazy. I love being able to sit down, express all of my thoughts and share them with people who may, or may not, feel the same way that I do.
DCC: If you had an unlimited budget, who would you have Write, Produce and Direct your ultimate horror movie?
- Writer: Kevin Williamson. He wrote the Scream franchise (minus half of Scream 3). He was able to completely re-invent a genre and he did it in 3 hours when he wrote the first installment of the franchise. It was original, it was reminiscent, and it was a perfectly crafted tale. I have immense respect for him as a writer.
- Producer: Quentin Tarantino. While he may not be a part of the horror community, although he did produce Eli Roth’s Hostel, the man is a genius and he understands the important role that art plays in genre films. He doesn’t make films just to make films, he makes pieces of art, and that is exactly what a great horror film is. He also knows how to help fully craft someone’s vision without stepping on toes, which I feel is important in the role of producer.
- Director: Alexandre Aja. He’s a French filmmaker, really exploded into the minds of American horror fans with High Tension in 2005, and later with The Hills Have Eyes in 2006, which is a remake of Wes Craven’s original. He really knows how tastefully balance gratuitous gore with storyline and tension and I feel that he would really compliment a script by Kevin Williamson as well.
DCC: Who do you think are the best new up and coming horror film makers?
Ryan: The Mumblegore Crew. I’ve discussed them in small detail on my blog, and plan on posting a larger piece about them, but they are a group of directors who write, direct and star in eachother’s films. Simon Barrett, AJ Bowen and Ti West are at the top of my list, they are behind the best horror films of the past 5 years in my opinion: You’re Next, The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. I think that Fede Alvarez also has a lot of potential, however I would need to see more than his remake of Evil Dead to place any credence behind that statement.
DCC: What is your favorite horror movie of all time? If it’s too difficult, name your top 3.
Ryan: The Shining. The book is also my favorite novel of all time. While I feel that the film is probably one of the worst adaptations of all time, the film itself still tops my list. It’s hard to even describe why I love the film so much, aside from the fact that I get chills every time I watch it and I never tire of watching it. I think that alone qualifies it as my favorite. Indescribable love.
DCC: Zombie Movies, Books and Games are very popular at the moment, apart from the classics of course, what is your view on the resent Zombie mania? Do you have any predictions for future classics?
Ryan: Now it’s zombies, a couple of years ago it was vampires. This is the cycle of horror in pop-culture. Zombies have always been around, even before George A. Romero, and they always will be although in a year or two they will drop out of the spotlight that they are in now. What is my opinion on zombies? I am not exactly what you would call a huge fan of the zombie subgenre, but there are some that I do love. Night, Dawn and Day of the Dead (with Day topping) are definitely favorites in my list.
DCC: How you feel about remakes? Do you think that film itself benefits from remaking already brilliantly done movies or is it an homage to the classic horror movie to remake it?
Ryan: Most horror fans will tell you that they hate remakes and that they think they are the bane of horror’s existence. I’m not one of those people. There have been a lot of awful remakes, but I think that horror is genre that can benefit from a remake that is well thought out. It’s a terribly fine line to cross though, as horror is also a genre that has a cult like following. However, I think that films that suffered due to their time (i.e. The Evil Dead) can greatly benefit from a remake. Does that mean the remake will go over well? Absolutely not. It’s a crapshoot.
DCC: Which actors do you think have given great and memorable performances in horror movies and why?
Ryan: Well, I guess I’ll have to start with Jack Nicholson. His performance as Jack Torrance extends so far beyond the horror realm that his infamous Johnny line has been recreated in every format under the sun. Sissy Spacek also delivered one of the great horror performances as Carrie White in Carrie. Of course, we also have Anthony Hopkins as the eloquent cannibalistic Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. Each of these performances have gone beyond the realm of horror and have simply become a part of the pop culture echelon in modern society.
Some of my personal favorites are Sherman Howard, who played Bub in George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead. He did so much with so little, it was a SPECTACULAR performance. Jeffery Combs as Dr. Herbert West in the Re-Animator trilogy tops my list, as well as Doug Bradley as the infamous Pinhead from the Hellraiser franchise.
I should stop myself.
DCC: Why do you think that Horror Film in general gets less credit from the film industry than most other movie types?
Ryan: More than anything, I think that horror suffers from cash-grab-syndrome. “Let’s make a Nightmre on Elm Street 8!” I think that the horror industry has suffered from this since its inception, but it really came to prominence in the seventies as the horror industry in general seemed to grow. Nigel Floyd, described it best as “Cattle Prod Cinema”, i.e. films that rely on a moment of silence and the sudden introduction of a jump scare to incite a response. Films like Insidious and Sinister place all their eggs in this basket, and to me, it is lazy and insulting to the core horror audience. Where is the thought behind this approach?
What I mean by all of this, is the integrity of horror films was sacrificed to create franchises, thus bringing in more money. Less thought was put into these films, and as a result people began to take them less and less seriously. However, there were always b-rate shock films. This does not help the credibility of the horror genre either.
There will always be great horror films though. Will we see another Exorcist? Well, I don’t know. That’s hard to say, but if you seek them out, there are great films to be found.
DCC: What are your horror anticipations for 2014? (Could be movies, games, books, haunted houses, etc)
Ryan: It’s hard to say right now, there are several exciting things in production and several more being talked about. I am excited about a new influx of horror conventions (Days of the Dead, Monsterpalooza). I am excited about the development of the remakes of Poltergeist, IT, Hellraiser and for more news about the eventual sequel to Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead. There is always exciting news about the world of horror leaking every day, and I think that’s what I look forward to the most in the new year, is simply seeing what’s going to come next!
[box_light]DCC: Thank you Ryan for the interview! We hope you liked it as much as we did![/box_light]