REV-ELATIONS (CLASSIC HORROR TV/FILM)

Cosmic Rock

Rev-Elations #6

   Long time no see my beloved bloodthirsty freaks! As we say in the wrestling business "If you're hot going into the summer, you're made in the shade and the momentum will continue. If you're cold going into the summer, well... you're fucked." The horror world is white hot going into the summer of 2018. The horror genre won big at the Oscars this year (Get Out, The Shape Of Water). Horror had it's biggest financial year in history in 2017 and is on a pace to do similar numbers this year. Conventions and Festivals are growing by leaps and bounds. Indpendent and international horror is ripe with amazing talent and there is an overabundance of cutting edge movies with something relevant to say and a great story to be told and if you want to check some of them out, the "Shudder" streaming service has a fantastic selection. Anticipation is also now at a fever pitch for several movies coming this year and next (Hereditary, The Nun, Rob Zombie's 3 From Hell, Happy Death Day 2, the Blumhouse "Halloween" movie, The First Purge,  The House That Jack Built, Get Out 2, New Mutants and Pet Semetary, Predator and Susperia remakes to name a few). It is most definitely a good time to be a horror fan. The entire genre from the top to the bottom is experiencing a resurgence. All except for television.

 

    There have been some AMAZING horror tv shows in the last decade, no doubt. Stranger Things is one of Netflix's biggest hits, American Horror Story remains a powerhouse on FX, The Walking Dead continues to reign on AMC and has for the last 8 years and Channel Zero is a huge hit for Syfy but many more outstanding horror shows are cancelled before their time. Hannibal, The Exorcist, and Ash vs Evil Dead were 3 of the greatest horror tv achievements ever, and that couldn't save them. Lucifer was a huge hit for Fox and they still wouldn't renew it. A CW version of Friday The 13th nor a "Tremors" series with Kevin Bacon made it past development. Even popular franchises aren't safe. There are some things to be excited about such as a Child's Play series and a Purge show on FX, but knowing how likely they are to have long shelf lives keeps excitement to a mininum. Just continue to support these shows if you want to see them. In most cases the networks listen to ratings. Horror fans are a small audience compared to their overall demographic so the viewership has to exceed the cost.

 

I speak of TV because that's what I focus on in this column. Hammer House Of Horror is the first series I'm reviewing here but far from the last. Anthology horror is one of the foundations of TV.  With such poor luck for horror recently in the world of television, will we ever see another Twilight Zone, Outer Limits or Tales From The Crypt? Some would argue The Black Mirror is a spiritual successor but it certainly leans more towards creepy sci fi than out right horror. Guillermo Del Toro has signed a deal to produce an anthology horror series for Netflix that could end up being the answer to that question, however. On to the episode...

 This week we're looking at one of the most popular episodes of "Hammer House Of Horror" and a truly creepy tale..."The House That Bled To Death."

 

We get the setup out of the way immediately as an old man hacks his wife up into itty bitty pieces while she's sipping on what looks like some tea. Fast forward to the new home owners moving in. Here we meet William and Emma Peters (Nicholas Ball from British TV hits Eastenders, Red Dwarf and The Young Ones and Rachel Davies from Dr Who, Boon, Band Of Gold and The Chase) and their daughter Sophie played by Emma Ridley. Ridley is very much worth mentioning. She was Princess Ozma in return to Oz, and also a re-occuring star on Boy Meets World. She was a controversial 80's wild child who overcame her struggles and is still working today.  The Peters' are your stereotypical suburban, middle class family. This is intentional. Things are chipper in their lovely new home until Sophie sees blood dripping from her bedroom wall, and if that isn't enough the cat gets it's throat cut, and chaos ensues. The Peters ain't afraid of no ghosts. They maybe should have been. They persist through the weirdness until it spills out onto someone else. Ok, well a LOT of someone else's. It's actually at Sophie's birthday party and a pipe busts open and gives the entire room of 8 year olds and their judgy PTO mom parents a head to toe blood bath. This is the breaking point. Emma Peters suffers a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized. Her neighbors come to check on her but she is gone and they say William came with their daughter and they escaped in the night.. We later learn William sold the rights to their story for a movie and they became millionaires. It ends with a happy ending....PSSSHHH yeah right. We think so for a moment, but Sophie has other plans. It looks like she may resent dear old mom and dad for financially exploiting her trauma? I'd say so. Sophie stabs her dad in the face as her mom screams and we fade to the end.

 

I thought this episode absolutely ruled. The acting again was really up a level and all of the leads had great star presence. It check's the "Hammer essentials" boxes - beautiful women (Rachel Davies is stunning), tons of bright flowing red blood, and the class and creepiness combo. We also got the signature anthology horror "twisted morality tale" trope once again. William's own hubris and greed cost him. The "Reaping the soured fruits of neglecting your parental responsibilities in favor of chasing your own glory" theme re-occurs again in this episode and is becoming a staple of HHOH. Put this one at the top of your lists folks. It is a must see.

 

Next week we'll check out "The Carpathian Eagle" which is a good old fashioned completely insane spirit possession fulfilling death prophecies story featuring a young Pierce Brosnan. Stay weird and stay true to you. Until next time.

 

The Rev