I have a confession to make, I am incredibly jealous of those who get to see first run Broadway shows. Whether it is because I hate to hear of an arts conversation that I cannot be part of, or because I am jealous of the reactions of my peers who do get that first hand experience, I have, in the past, and in an immature fashion, slagged off Broadway presentations as if they weren’t important cultural moments. It was purely spiteful and I own that.
Night of the Living Dead is a flash-point in film history, one of the most successful and influential horror movies of all time. The success of Night of the Living Dead can be credited with the horror boom that followed in the decades after it was released. For the first time, Hollywood executives, especially those in the world of film distribution, were forced to sit up and take notice of the horror genre for the first time since the heyday of the Universal monster movies of the 1930’s.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show was remarkably ahead of its time. This bizarre burlesque of science fiction and monster movie tropes, by way of the musical, anticipates an entire subculture of sexuality and entertainment. Screenwriter Richard O’Brien was a genius and an outsider whose unique vision was perhaps too far ahead of its time in 1975 when the film was released to modest acclaim.
Attempts to remake Universal Pictures’ iconic horror movie The Mummy fail repeatedly because they cannot come close to topping the artistry or the popcorn movie excitement of the 1932 original starring Boris Karloff. If I were a filmmaker and my assignment was to make another version of The Mummy I would probably retire and take up another profession because you’re asking me to do the impossible: there will never be another movie like Karloff's The Mummy.
I’ve long had problems with zombie movies. I had tried to couch these problems in aesthetic issues or complaints about the lack of believability in the notion of the dead rising from the grave but I was aware that that was a silly argument. The reality of my issue with zombies is quite simply knowing that I am the last person who would ever survive the zombie apocalypse. I am hopelessly, woefully unprepared for any apocalypse really, let alone one that involves the dead rising from their graves.
Carnival of Souls is one of the great anomalies in film history. For many reasons, this movie should not have happened and even if it did get made the chances of it being seen by a mass audience and remembered for 50 plus years is some kind of miracle. Carnival of Souls was conceived by a filmmaker from Lawrence, Kansas, Herk Harvey, who had a minuscule budget and zero experience in anything outside of industrial films and educational film strips.