25 October 2014

Sometimes it's best to eschew the critics, the armchair reviewers, the online blowheads. Sometimes it's best to simply sit down and peruse thoughts on horror directly from those who create it.

The following are some of the more interesting quotes we've come across.

HITCHCOCK

My main satisfaction is that the film had an effect on the audiences, and I consider that very important. I don't care about the subject matter; I don't care about the acting; but I do care about the pieces of film and the photography and the sound track and all of the technical ingredients that made the audience scream. I feel it's tremendously satisfying for us to be able to use the cinematic art to achieve something of a mass emotion. And with PSYCHO we most definitely achieved this. It wasn't a message that stirred the audiences, nor was it a great performance or their enjoyment of the novel. They were aroused by pure film.
- Alfred Hitchcock

He was macabre. When I was a little girl he sent me a gift of a replica of my mother Tippi Hedren in a coffin. That was his idea of a joke. He had a sick sense of humor. After that, mother never worked for him again.
- Melanie Griffith

We went in just as Janet Leigh's sister is descending into the apple cellar at the end of PSYCHO. She's going down the stairs and we know that Mama - or rather we don't know - that Mama Bates is at the bottom of the stairs, in fact. So the first four or five minutes of any horror movie I ever saw was her going down into the apple cellar, Mrs. Bates turning around, her knocking the light - all that stuff - and then Norman comes to the door dressed as Mummy and I thought, shit! Is it all like this?
- Clive Barker

I think the feeling of empathy for killers has escalated since the making of PSYCHO and the unfortunate Ed Gein case
- Janet Leigh

THE DIRECTORS

I like women, especially beautiful ones. If they have a good face and figure, I would much prefer to watch them being murdered than an ugly girl or man. I certainly don't have to justify myself to anyone about this. I don't care what anybody thinks or reads into it.
- Dario Argento

When I discovered that Ed Gein really did some of these things, that he actually used meat hooks and was a cannibal, it truly surprised me. My relatives that lived in a town close to him told me these terrible stories, these tales of human skin lampshades and furniture. I grew up with that like a horror story you tell around a campfire. I didn't even know about Ed Gein, I just knew about something that happened that was horrendous. But the image really stuck.
- Tobe Hooper

I really don't like to expose too much of what's behind my films. I work in a surrealistic way, like being in a trance. Sometimes I wake up and begin writing when I'm still almost asleep. When I finish a picture I'm always surprised by the things I see. It's like automatic writing, as though someone else suggested ideas. Like a schizophrenic. As though I have a second soul.
- Dario Argento

It is human nature to be fascinated by the horrible, the forbidden. We seek it out and we challenge it. The horror film is unique because it is a shared involvement; the audience feels common emotions. Ultimately, it's a test of ourselves: 'Can I stand what I'm about to see? Will I make it through this?' Of course, deep down, they know they're safe and the experience gives the audience a tremendous release of tension and anxiety.
- John Carpenter

I think Dario (Argento) is a great artisan who considers himself an artist, as opposed to Hitchcock who was an artist who considered himself an artisan. This is the flaw which will make Argento go on repeating the same things. He's very good on the public relations side, creating a rapport with young people and putting music into his films that not even the Americans use.
- Lucio Fulci

Horror , as a genre, is about what really scares you. There was a wonderful catchline, I remember, for Wes Craven's Last House on the Left, where it said in big, bold type: To avoid fainting keep repeating 'it's only a movie...it's only a movie!' I mean, that's great. What a way to sell.
- Joe Dante

THE FILMS

The Exorcist, by the way, is definitely a horror movie. You can't possibly call it anything else. I haven't seen it and I have no desire to see it. I don't say that I disapprove of it, it's just that I have no particular desire to see the possession of a very young child, with her using that kind of language and doing those sorts of things.

- Christopher Lee

A large section of the audience probably came [to The Exorcist] because something that shocking and vulgar could now be seen on the American screen. Bill Friedkin always said that would be the case; that they would come to see the little girl masturbate with the crucifix...At the time I didn't believe it; I thought he was destroying the film. But when I perceived that he was absolutely right, I thought it was terribly depressing.
- William Peter Blatty

In a very real way, in spite of fine acting, fine direction, and the marvellous black and white photography of David Boulton, what we have in the Wise film is one of the world's few radio horror movies. Something is scratching at that ornate, panelled door, something horrible... but it is a door Wise elects never to open.
- Stephen King on The Haunting (1963)

Clive's original wish was that Julia from Hellraiser would be the monster. She'd be the Freddy Krueger of the Hellraiser series, and Pinhead and the Cenobites would sort of be background monsters... What happened, of course, was the public got in the way. They fell in love with Pinhead.
- Peter Atkins (writer, Hellbound: Hellraiser II)

Unlike the standard slice-and-dice, which implies that the only consequence of orgasm is violent death, A Nightmare On Elm Street lays the guilt not with the teenagers, but with their parents, whose vigilante past created the vengeful Freddy.
- Clive Barker

While Dario (Argento) was writing a film in Los Angeles, a madman started phoning him day and night paying him loads of compliments and then, one day, he left him a death announcement on a cab, and so Dario thought that it would be best for him to leave! That's how the story of Tenebre began, inspired by this strange case of love/hate that we'll never understand.
- Daria Nicolodi

The good horror director must have a clear sense of where the taboo line lies, if he is not to lapse into unconscious absurdity, and a gut understanding of what the countryside is like on the far side of it. In Night of the Living Dead, George Romero plays a number of instruments, and he plays them like a virtuoso.
- Stephen King

INSPIRATION...

Giger's paintings had a profound effect on me. I have never seen anything that was quite as horrible and at the same time as beautiful as his work. And so I ended up writing a script about a Giger monster.
- Dan O'Bannon

I don't ever remember a time that I wasn't genuinely interested in horror in some form or another. It was always the grisly bits of fairy tales that I was interested in. I've always liked fantastical literature of some kind, and I've always liked the darker aspects of that.
- Clive Barker

One of the most interesting things that I ran across was a newspaper article about young men who were dying in their sleep after having severe nightmares. Not just any nightmares, but nightmares where they would tell their family: 'I've never had one like this before, it's totally different from anything before.'

The most extraordinary example was that of a man who had such a nightmare, told his family and decided to stay awake for as long as he could because he was convinced he was going to die if he slept again. Finally he collapsed into sleep. In the middle of the night, everybody is sleeping when suddenly there are these horrible screams. His family runs back to his room, and he is thrashing in his bed. They get to him and try to wake him up. But he falls still - dead.

- Wes Craven

When I was 12 years old, I saw Man Of a Thousand Faces - the story of Lon Chaney. Lon Chaney was an actor, a makeup artist and a stuntman and I simply wanted to be him. Seeing Lon Chaney's story sparked the idea in me because 'till then, the Creature from the Black Lagoon really existed for me, as did Frankenstein, whereas watching Man Of a Thousand Faces I thought, 'Ah, of course, somebody has to make this stuff...' and I decided I wanted to be the person who made these effects.
- Tom Savini

THE ACTORS

I think that there was a bad connotation with the name "Black." It sort of struck a chord in people where they made that connection, and it's a shame because it's just not me. I don't like horror because of the blood. I don't care to see people bleed. I know they're going to bleed when you cut their skin, I don't have to see it. I don't think that's interesting. And I'm not really interested in "fear."
- Karen Black

I got hurt when I had to go up and down so fast [on the bed]. I was strapped up with a metal thing that came loose and I was hitting it. I'm supposed to be yelling "Make it stop!" And that's what I was yelling. But nobody realized I meant it. My back was damaged during The Exorcist.
- Linda Blair

I was the Queen of Scream, that was what they called me and I'm not sure I had a sense of humor enough about it at the time to be able to really play it. I've recently accepted the fact this was something fantastic. I certainly would never have found a niche for myself had I not made horror movies.
- Jamie Lee Curtis

If I were to be typecast in a genre, I would be very happy to be in my favorite one, that is horror, rather than, say, in Italian comedy films. Shooting horror films is a wonderful experience.
- Daria Nicolodi

I believe children can rid themselves of feelings of hatred and violence while watching us on the screen, instead of taking it out on their parents, friends, and schoolteachers.
- Vincent Price

I usually played these roles where I represented the dark side. I was always this predatory bitch goddess in all of these movies, with all kinds of unspeakable elements of necrophilia and rising from the dead and perpetuating curses.
- Barbara Steele

JUST PLAIN YIKES!

A clown is funny in the circus ring. But what would be the normal reaction to opening a door at midnight, and finding the same clown standing there in the moonlight?
- Lon Chaney Sr.

I used to love being a clown. It meant you could get away with murder.
- John Wayne Gacy
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