Ginger Nuts of Horror
The Film That Made Me would have to be Rosemary's Baby. That movie is REAL, scary, gets under your skin, but is also ridiculous and SURREAL. Before Rosemary's Baby I thought all horror movies were schlock (I love schlock by the way). After Rosemary's Baby I sought out all things Polanski, including Repulsion, which has to be The Second Film that Made Me, followed by Freaks, and then that whole wave starting with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Back in the day there were no video stores, no internet, no cable. If you wanted to see a film you had to actually go to a theatre! To see something like all of Ingmar Bergman's films or all of Fellini's films or Bunuel's, you had to go to a lot of work and be a real nut…which I was. Those three were the true greats at telling stories that incorporate both the conscious and subconscious. I still watch their films regularly and I'd put Polanski right up with them.
A university helps—before the video revolution I saw so many wonderful films both at the University of Kansas and USC.
The economics of horror films have also vastly changed and gone through so many cycles. At one time a $500,000 film was considered as low as you could go, then $100,000, with some volunteer labor involved usually. Now, who knows what's the bottom? Producers look for something with 2 characters and a room. Yeah, Polanski did it with Repulsion, and kind-of with Knife in the Water, and then there's Elevator to the Gallows…okay, it can be done! But with all due respect to the Paranormal people, it can also get a little old.
In some ways the 80s were the heyday of horror filmmaking to my mind. The VHS revolution meant that with a certain amount of blood and nudity, a film could make its money back. Here in the US, the "horror" section of the local video store was generally the most popular. In the UK, these "Video Nasties" were banned and burned, which only made them more popular worldwide. I loved those films from directors like D'Amato, Argento, Lenzi, Deodato and Bava. Cheesy, yeah, sometimes, but full of invention and energy.
I babble on—discuss among yourselves.
Dave Eisenstark (aka Burford Hauser) has been writing professionally and working in the film industry in various capacities for more years than he actually remembers. Nine of his feature film scripts have been produced, including the award-winning comedy Monkey Love (starring Jeremy Renner) and the horror classic Creepozoids.
Like film producer George Lucas, Dave graduated with a degree from USC Cinema; unlike Mr. Lucas, everything else.
Dave's first novel, The Video Killer, is probably vile, tasteless trash, but possibly amusing, and currently available from Spanking Pulp Press.
Dave lives in Los Angeles with his wife, a production sound mixer on major motion pictures. His daughter resides in the San Francisco Bay area and speaks both English and Chinese for some unknown reason. Yes, he has pets, who asked not to be mentioned.
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