Local Elections: With so much attention paid to national and state-wide races, voters may forget the importance of local races like county commissioner. Host Melinda Penkava talks with Cecil Bothwell, senior writer for Asheville’s Mountain Xpress newspaper, about the importance of local elections. (12:00)
Putumayo: Three of Putumayo’s “Women of Latin America” (Putumayo World Music / 2004) pass through North Carolina this week as part of their national tour. Host Melinda Penkava talks with Chilean-born singer-songwriter Mariana Montalvo. (20:00)
Halloween: Essay: WUNC’s Brent Wolf recalls a purer, simpler time – when he still knew how to be scared. Also, host Melinda Penkava talks with Starr Jones, one of the producers of The Original Hollywood Horror Show a haunted house in Alamance County. We also hear from Matt Pennachi about his favorite horror film picks. Matt is the Director of Operations at Carolina Theatre in Durham, and the founder of the Retrofantasma Film Series, a monthly film series at the Carolina dedicated to showing classic horror and cult films on the big screen. (17:30)
Matt Pennachi’s Top Horror Films:
For horror fans who want to see how good a remake can be:
John Carpenter’s THE THING (1982)
While it was a box office disappointment and critically panned upon its initial release, this is Carpenter’s greatest effort (yes, even surpassing “Halloween”). The script is terrific, the performances strong, the paranoia real, and the special effects are out of this world (no pun intended).
For horror fans who want to see a “beautiful” horror film:
Dario Agrento’s SUSPIRIA (1977)
Not necessarily his strongest script (that honor belongs to “Deep Red”), but an incredible anamorphic horror film drenched in color and style, wrapped with one of the creepiest (and loudest) scores in horror film history. Every frame of this film is like a great painting, a true work of art.
For horror fans who want a little religion with their horror:
Robin Hardy’s THE WICKER MAN (1973)
Everyone knows about THE EXORCIST, but this forgotten 1973 British film starring Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee contains a third act that packs the same kind of whallop. The viewer’s initial confusion about the story will eventually be rewarded in truly terrifying fashion. A terrific drama about faith and fear.
For horror fans who love Black and White:
Mario Bava’s BLACK SUNDAY (1960)
Bava was one of the greatest cinematographers in film history, and this film is atmospheric and beautifully crafted. “Night of the Living Dead,” “Psycho” and “Carnival of Souls” also come highly recommended in this category, but for those who may have seen all of those films this is a great one to seek out.
For horror fans who want to see a 30+ year old film that has lost none of its impact:
Tobe Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1973)
Never ceases to amaze me how scary this film remains, despite its age and being copied to death. If you can see this one on a big screen you’d be doing yourself a huge favor. Truly a frightening experience
For horror fans who want to see a perfect mix of comedy and gore:
Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD II (1987) or Peter Jackson’s DEAD ALIVE (1993)
Before becoming two of the biggest, most important filmmakers in the world (with the Spiderman and Lord of the Rings films, respectively), both of these young maverick directors proved their true talent with these low budget, yet deliriously entertaining films. Buckets of blood and belly laughs abound in both
For horror fans who want to see a B-grade slasher film they may not be familiar with:
Tony Maylam’s THE BURNING (1981)
Before Miramax was the mega studio it is today, the brothers Weinstein released this campground slasher shot in and around Buffalo, NY. Notable for great special effects from Tom Savini (mostly edited, unfortunately) and for being the screen debuts of Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter AND Fisher Stevens! Not necessarily a great movie, but fun
Finally, for the most jaded gorehound who thinks nothing could shock or surprise them:
Ruggero Deodato’s CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1979)
Shocking, disturbing, unsettling and likely vomit inducing, this late 70’s Italian cannibal film is so violent and disgusting that it was banned in several countries around the world and the director and special effects guy did some JAIL TIME before having to prove in an Italian court that everything was a special effect, and it wasn’t a real “snuff film”. All of the animal violence in the film IS real though, and it is likely to make you lose your lunch. They certainly don’t make them like this anymore…
James Whale’s FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
A great film for younger fans who think old, black and white horror films are stodgy or boring. A terrific effort from Whale (and Karloff, in Jack White’s very famous makeup!), a true classic that has stood the test of time and spawned BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935), a rare sequel that is every bit as good as the original!
…and for Dracula films, I have to go with HORROR OF DRACULA (1958). Granted, I know the Bela Lugosi film is considered the classic, BUT despite his tremendous performance the film is slow and tedious. However, Britain’s Hammer Studios made their glorious adaptation of the classic Bram Stoker tale in beautiful Technicolor, and it is my personal favorite Dracula film of all time. Technicolor, Hammer Films, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee….’nuff said. Hammer Studios made some other great vampire films too (1966’s KISS OF THE VAMPIRE is a good example) but this one is the granddaddy.