Test your horror mettle with VHS Revival’s second annual bumper Halloween quiz
It’s that time of the year again; I can feel it in the air. Lanterns are burning, leaves are plentiful and everyone is feeling just a little devilish as they dust off their favourite costumes and prepare to embrace the darkness. Halloween is a time for fun and thrills, an occasion to bask in the opulence of candy-laced nightmares. More importantly, it is a time to celebrate the rich and wonderful annals of horror cinema, and what better way to prepare for your annual frightfest than with a little horror trivia?
Think you know your horror movies? Test your mettle with VHS Revival’s second annual bumper Halloween quiz.
Don’t get scared now!
Released a whole 17 years before Roger Corman’s Tales of Terror, this 1945 Ealing Studios classic would feature five deliciously dark tales contained in a memorable framing sequence involving several guests at a country cottage.
Coming in at number 11 on Martin Scorsese’s all-time scariest horror films, Dead of Night would prove hugely influential, even inspiring astronomer Fred Hoyle’s 1948 steady state model of the universe, which suggested that the universe could be eternally circling on itself without beginning or end.
A collaborative effort featuring filmmakers Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Robert Hamer, Basil Dearden, the film is most remembered for Cavalcanti’s The Ventriloquist’s Dummy, a supernatural tale about a troubled ventriloquist (Michael Redgrave) driven mad by his seemingly sentient dummy.
Due largely to RKO’s budgetary restrictions, Lewton would forge a brand of horror that terrified by showing the audience very little, instead playing on the power of suggestion through the use of light and shadows.
In 1942’s Cat People, hands-on producer Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur would terrify audiences with the simple sound of a bus pulling into the frame. This followed a tense sequence in which Simone Simon’s Irena Dubrovna was seemingly being followed by an absent presence.
The technique of dissipating tension with an innocuous jump scare, one now essential to the horror genre, would thenceforth be known as the “Lewton Bus.”
Philip Kaufman’s classic remake of Don Siegel’s original Jack Finney adaptation was actually made in 1978.
Though shot using Warner Bros.’ proprietary 3-D camera rig, the gimmick was quickly dropped by theatres after audiences began exiting in their droves. After only four showings, permission was given to switch to the flat 2-D version, marking the end of the era’s brief flirtation with primitive 3-D technology.
Peeping Tom‘s lurid depiction of sexually-motivated murder did not sit well with the censorship powers that be.
Though British director Michael Powell’s infamous proto-slasher is now considered a seminal classic, the backlash it inspired would have a colossal impact on his career, the director quickly ostracised from the filmmaking community.
In the first instance of slasher-related censorship, the Italian Committee for Theatrical Review rated the movie VM16: not suitable for persons under 16 years of age.
This gorgeous slice of promotional art belongs to Bava’s Gothic horror debut, a film so graphic it was banned in the UK until 1968, an incredible 8 years after its release.
Talk about being ahead of your time!
Roman Polanski’s first English language film, Repulsion, was the first to feature a female orgasm that was passed by the UK censors, though the film used audio only.
The sounds were not made by protagonist Carol (Catherine Deneuve), but by her sister, Helen, (Yvonne Furneaux), her sexual antics contributing to Carol’s complete emotional breakdown.
Davis purposely had a Coca-Cola machine brought to the set as a thinly-veiled snipe at real-life enemy Crawford, who was married to the chairman of Pepsi.
No wonder the film, a macabre tale of an aging former actress who holds her paraplegic ex-movie star sister captive in an old Hollywood mansion, was so eerily effective.
Though the first to be released and therefore the comparative victim of inflation, William Friedkin’s hugely controversial supernatural horror, The Exorcist, was the most financially successful of the four by some margin, grossing $193,000,000 domestically and raking in an additional $39,900,000 from two director’s cut releases in 2000 and 2010 for a total sum of $232,900,000.
The movie’s worldwide box office gross totalled a staggering $428,214,478
In second place is Richard Donner’s The Omen with a US domestic gross of $60,922,980. Halloween, which would become one of the most successful independent films, comes in 3rd with a US domestic gross of $47,000,000, though it did outdo The Omen internationally, managing a total worldwide gross of $70,000,000.
Last but not least is Tobe Hooper’s hugely influential The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which still did incredible figures for such a meagre production ($30,859,000 on a budget of approximately $140,000).
The poster belongs to Alfred Sole’s anti-Catholic slasher film Alice, Sweet Alice, and what a striking image it is!
Alice, Sweet Alice was the feature debut of Brooke Shields, who was only 11 at the time of filming.
Disney regular and future Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs star Foster puts in an incredible, against-type performance as a mysterious young girl with a deeply unsettling secret.
Speaking at a 2010 book event in Fort Myers, Florida, King admitted to receiving only $2,500 for the rights to his debut novel.
Adapted by screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen, Brian De Palma’s split-screen classic would go on to make a not-too-shabby $33,800,000 on a budget of only $1,800,000
This choice excerpt was taken from Ted Post’s mind-blowingly exploitative horror-thriller The Baby, the twisted tale of a man-sized baby who has his development suppressed through a harsh regime of emotional and physical abuse.
The line is directed at Baby’s confused teenage babysitter after she’s caught breastfeeding him in a truly gobsmacking moment of depravity.
Regularly cast for his unique appearance, Berryman would prove the stuff of nightmares for a generation, also appearing in his fair share of spoof and comedic roles.
With this in mind, The Toxic Avenger would have been the perfect role of him, but Berryman was a busy boy in 1984, starring in James Fargo’s absurd sci-fi musical Voyage of the Rock Aliens and Wes Craven’s made-for-TV supernatural horror Invitation to Hell.
These were the words of estate agent Mrs. Townsend, who did a rather fine job of selling the notorious murder house to the Lutz’s, who clearly weren’t the slightest bit superstitious.
Townsend was played by bit-part screen veteran Elsa Raven, who you might remember as the ‘clock tower fund woman’ from Back to the Future.
Though probably not.
Though one of the most explicit the sub-genre had to offer back then (at least in its full, uncut form), George Mihalka’s unique, coal mining slasher, dubbed the Deer Hunter of the genre, didn’t make the cut.
Absurd, one of two D’Amato films to make the grade along with 1980’s Anthropophagous, was most infamous for a rather graphic bandsaw kill and man’s decapitation at the hands of a child.
Thanks to Tom Savini’s finger-chopping magic, The Burning also qualified, as did Bloody Moon’s much fabled circular saw death.
Argento’s bloodthirsty giallo classic Tenebrae, one of 72 movies to qualify for the Video Nasties list in the United Kingdom, was released in a heavily cut form in Germany before promptly being seized by authorities.
In the 28 years since its release, it is still to be released in its full, uncut form, and according to German censorship body FSK, it never will.
After making her name as Elliot’s adorable kid sister Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi smash E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a young Ms. Barrymore would land prominent roles in Steven King adaptations Firestarter and Cat’s Eye, playing multiple characters in the latter. She would also land a smaller role in Ken Russell’s sci-fi horror Altered States, playing headliner William Hurt’s fictional daughter, Margaret. Barrymore wasn’t cast in Children of the Corn, yet another Stephen King adaptation, but you’ve gotta think she would have been perfect for it.
Tom McLoughlin’s meta massacre features an incredible 19 deaths, including a triple kill which sees a trio of paintball douchebags decapitated with one swing of Jason’s machete.
Hot on its heels in 2nd place is the heavily cut but irresistibly goofy Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood with 16 cruelly censored deaths, though that sleeping bag kill worked beautifully as a single swing as opposed to several.
In 3rd place is 1984’s mooted series closer Friday the 13th Part IV: A New Beginning with 13 deaths (14 if you count Jason, but we all know how that turned out). The Final Chapter is followed by 1981’s Friday the 13th Part 2, which comes in dead last with only 10 deaths, but Jason was still something of a rookie back then, so let’s cut him some slack, eh?
Christopher Young, perhaps best remembered for his doom-laden Hellraiser score, would replace Bernstein, who was busy working on Wes Craven’s first major studio film, the commercial and critical disaster, Deadly Friend, as well as Paramount’s gimmicky holiday slasher April Fool’s Day.
Bava’s gore-laden affront to horror movie censorship had something of an MTV punk aesthetic, and a fairly decent soundtrack to boot, though there was no room for Benatar’s scintillating pop flourish.
Heartthrob Pitt was just the ticket for Rospo Pallenberg’s blackly comedy slasher Cutting Class (get it?).
Pitt’s character, Dwight Ingalls, manages to get out alive too, even after spending much of the movie as the main suspect. He even has his head shoved in a vice and almost succumbs to what would have been a rather nasty death by drill.
I suppose fortune favours the pretty.
The direct-to-video sequel to New Line Cinema’s low-key smash Critters was a then 16-year-old DiCaprio’s debut feature.
Working with the likes of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Taranatino, Leo would go on to win the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s epic western The Revenant.
We all gotta start somewhere.
A house inhabited by one of TV’s most nauseatingly moral families was later home to an incestuous pair of vampiric shapeshifters.
Good night, Jim Bob!
Mwah ha ha!
Starring Carpenter himself as a (admittedly brilliant) Tales From the Crypt style host named The Coroner, Body Bags would feature Cameos from Craven (Pasty Faced Man in ‘The Gas Station’), Hooper (Morgue Worker #2 in ‘The Morgue’) and Raimi (Dead Bill in ‘The Gas Station’). And it wouldn’t end there.
Body Bags is full of familiar faces in roles of all kinds, including The American Werewolf in London’s David Naughton, The Omen’s David Warner, Prolific movie producer Roger Corman, Mark Hamill, Stacy Keach, Tom Arnold, Debbie Harry, Sheena Easton and Twiggy.
Luckily for Romero, he wasn’t involved, though I’m sure the wrap-up party was a total blast.
It is Craven himself who makes a brief cameo as the character who changed his life forever.
After penning the screenplay for the slasher-reiving Scream and the hugely successful I Know What You Did Last Summer, Williamson was hot property in Hollywood, and was approached by Dimension Films to pen a treatment for H20.
So enthusiastic were Dimension to have a talent of Williamson’s stock on their marquee they even offered writer Robert Zappia more money to share the writing credit, though Zappia refused.
Williamson ultimately went unaccredited in accordance with Writers Guild of America (WGA) rules, which state that additional writers must be responsible for at least 33% of a script to receive an on-screen credit.
Carpenter was originally scheduled to direct until money issues and the refusal of a three-picture deal saw him pull out.
The above image was the promotional poster for William Malone’s House on Haunted Hill, an underwhelming remake of William Castle’s 1959 movie of the same name.
Thirt13n Ghosts, an effects-heavy remake of Castle’s 1960 movie of the same name, was actually released in 2001.
1999’s The Haunting, directed by Die Hard cinematographer Jan de Bont, was a reimagining of Robert Wise’s 1963 supernatural horror.
Jamie Blanks’ 1998, Post-Scream slasher, Urban Legend, wasn’t a remake at all, though it was sure familiar.
Like A Nightmare on Elm Street before it, Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs was inspired by real-life events, in this case the story of a suburban family who were prosecuted after alerting the police to an attempted burglary at their home.
Instead of finding the perpetrators in question, the cops discovered a series of locked doors containing children who had never been allowed to leave the house, a grim sub-narrative that typifies the movie’s unholy matrimony of genres.
So determined were Lion’s Gate to cast DiCaprio they went as far as announcing the Titanic star’s involvement at Cannes in the summer of 1998, which came as a shock to both Bale and Harron.
So convinced was Harron of Bale’s suitability for the role that she purportedly refused to meet with DiCaprio after he was offered the lead without her knowledge.
In 1987, Paramount Pictures approached New Line Cinema with the idea of uniting two of horror’s most iconic figures, but the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement.
Friday the 13th Part VII, a Carrie rip-off pitting Jason against a final girl with telekinetic powers, was released a year later under the sub-heading The New Blood, which would prove the company’s poorest instalment to date.
That same year, New Line Cinema would release A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, which would remain Freddy’s most successful instalment until the release of Freddy vs Jason a whole 15 years later.