To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Reviewed in the United States on December 21, 2020
What better time than the month of Halloween to discuss all things horror? The horror film has been around since movies began, as far back as the silent film. Film students still study movies like NOSFERATU (1922) and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) finding the frights in them as effective today as they were when released. But horror has come and gone, changed over the years and at present earning more respect and dollars than ever before.
Eli Roth has been a part of the resurgence in horror. As the director of films like CABIN FEVER, HOSTEL 1 & 2 and THE GREEN INFERNO, Roth has delivered his own share of scares. Now he takes a look at horror films through history in the AMC series ELI ROTH’S HISTORY OF HORROR. The first season aired last year with the second airing currently. But that first season has just been released on disc and it’s one worth adding to your collection.
Each episode focuses on a different subgenre of the main horror concept. For example the first episode deals with one of the most popular currently “Zombies”. Roth sits with various guests like Greg Nicotero the executive producer and effects manager of THE WALKING DEAD and Rob Zombie who made HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. The three of them discuss how the zombie film changed from the hypnotized zombies seen in old films to the living dead with the granddaddy of them all NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968). Footage of the late director George Romero is included here as well as interviews with numerous actors, producers and directors discussing the genre. In addition to that are clips from many movies that have been made over the years.
The second episode focuses on “Slashers” and is the first of two parts. It’s easy to understand why as the subgenre nearly took over horror films beginning with HALLOWEEN in 1978. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis is on hand to discuss the film. Some may consider PSYCHO (1960) to be the first slasher film but it was HALLOWEEN that started the ball rolling. These films began the franchise effect and the episode ends discussing the character of Chuck from CHILD’S PLAY (1988).
The third episode continues with “Slashers” and the two main characters here are Jason Voorhees from the FRIDAY THE 13TH series and Freddy Kreuger from the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series. Also included is CANDYMAN (1992), the SAW series and Roth’s own HOSTEL films which ushered in what became known as “torture porn”. With each new generation the boundaries were pushed to new levels.
Fourth up is “Demon’s Inside” with films revolving around the Devil and possession like THE EXORCIST (1973) and ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968). Fifth is “Killer Creatures” which focuses on werewolf and out and out monster films like THE THING (1982). Sixth is “Vampires” which talks about blood suckers from Dracula to the TWILIGHT films. And lastly is “Ghost Stories”, the one menace that every culture around the world has in their fright night mythology.
So what makes this series enjoyable? To begin with it’s interesting to listen to the take that these film makers have on the genre that they’ve all chosen to leave a mark on. They discuss things that frighten them, that scared them as children and that they then used to create images and stories that now frighten us. Stephen King is one of the many celebrities who talks in nearly all of these genres since he’s written so much of what has made it so popular. There are times in these discussions when things we may not have considered become clearer as they speak. A great example is various female directors and writers talking about how the slasher film was noted as misogynistic and damaging to women but how instead they found the genre liberating with woman in lead roles and coming out ahead.
The second thing that makes this series great is that it brings back so many memories of these movies at just the right time of year. You watch and then remember the first time you saw DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) and the effect it had on you. You remember the first time a more subtle film like THE HAUNTING (1963) frightened you and stuck with you for days. Seeing the various clips and hearing them discussed makes you want to seek out these movies, to go back through the shelves of movies in your collection and pull them out to be watched again. Or even better to share them along with your own stories with younger viewers in your family.
One person interviewed says that they think showing movies like these to you kids is something that prepares them for life and the frightening things we all experience. He says that to not do so is actually not setting them up in how to deal with life. I think there is some truth to that. But at the heart of it all let’s admit, we all enjoy a good scare now and then. If you’re looking for some good suggestions on where to start or memories to be brought back this is a good place to start.