Artist Interviews 2023
CULT CLASSIC FILM REVIEWS
By Jessica Jerskey
Evil Dead 2
This was by no means the first horror movie I ever saw, but I think this was the first horror movie that had a massive impact/influence on me and my love for cinema. I remember watching it for the very first time, not fully understanding what the terms ‘B Horror’ or ‘Camp Horror’ meant. The poor guy who was introducing me to the movie probably felt awful when I had a small panic attack mid-movie. I don’t know if it was the maniacal demon deer head relentlessly laughing, or the decapitated girlfriend who manages to pull off a whimsical ballet number with her head in hands, but this movie sent me psychologically all over the place, and everywhere in between. Even though I was experiencing panic and dread, I found myself absolutely fixated on the screen. How could this film which, in theory, is really disturbing, make me laugh and cower at the same time?
So, here’s the plot in a nutshell: Ash and his girlfriend, Linda, return to a remote cabin (because this is a sequel, to what exactly I’m not entirely sure, Evil Dead is essentially the same movie but there is plant rape) where they find a tape recorder containing incantations from the Necronomicon (BOOK OF THE DEAD for those of you who do not know). Playing it releases a malevolent force from the woods, turning Linda into a zombie. As others arrive to help Ash, they too fall under the evil force's influence, leading to a deadly struggle for survival in which Ash realizes that he quickly must evade death by dawn.
Directed in 1987 by Sam Raimi (whom you may or not have heard of, but he’s a pretty big deal in the Horror community), starring Bruce Campbell (also legendary), and a cabin filled with demonic freaks, Evil Dead 2 delivers some prime 80’s/90’s nostalgia.
Sam Raimi was very much influenced by the Three Stooges, and what a shocker, this movie is filled with scary slapstick, as well as the “shaky camera effect”. The practical effects, such as stop motion for the supernatural elements, are done impeccably. Watch this movie because it’s amazing and ridiculous at the same time and I can’t think of a better movie to help initiate someone into the horror world. Oh, and its ‘groovy’
Who doesn’t love a good ‘demented-roadside-museum-owning slasher-thriller’? No? ok then add a dash of supernatural and a sprinkle of sexy. I know I want some of that! Tourist Trap is such a special little treasure because not only does it have that late 70’s cinematic charm, it also has the most incredible use of mannequins in a film that I have ever seen. You might disagree with me on this one, but there is something about a decrepit room filled with creepy mannequins, all moaning and sighing in harmony that really unsettles the soul.
Picture this, a group of very attractive young friends are stranded at a creepy, and conveniently isolated roadside wax museum. They begin to feel a strange stalking hostility from the owner of said museum. Oh, and does he perhaps have the ability to control his mannequins with telekinetic powers? I don’t know…! MAYBE… yes, yes, he does.
Directed in 1979 by David Schmoeller, (yes that’s right! He directed PUPPET MASTER!) “Tourist Trap" holds a special niche among 1970’s horror classics, clearly drawing inspiration from "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" but establishing its own distinct identity. Despite its moments of absurdity, it maintains a consistently creepy tone. The visuals alone are worth a watch and add to the element of terror (and hotness). Leave your rationality at the door and come on in!
Death Becomes Her, 1992
Okay, can we talk about how this underrated film has the most incredible casting? Starring mega talents like Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, and Isabella Rossellini, it just so happens to be a supernatural comedy-horror about potions and eternal life. Who would-a thought?
Directed by Robert Zemeckis in 1992, ‘Death Becomes Her‘ became an obsession of mine. With its dark humor, AMAZING CAST, supernatural elements, and of course, eternal youth and beauty! I’m sorry but I think that everyone loves a good, “drink this and you will be young again” story. Especially when you can see the transformation with your own eyes. We are all fixated with the idea of eternal youth, or the fountain of youth... etc. ‘Death Becomes Her’ satiates that craving, adding its own spices to the recipe.
After novelist Helen Sharp loses her husband, Ernest Menville, to famous movie star and former friend, Madeline Ashton, she ends up in a psychiatric facility (which, prior to, gives us one of the most awesomely iconic scenes of a rather large Helen who has let herself go and is surrounded by cats, obsessively watching Madeline’s on screen death, over and over and over… until the cops break down the door) Several years later, she comes back home to shock and awe Madeline and Ernest, exuding radiance. That she does. The unapologetically narcissistic Madeline suspects something is fishy with how ‘Helen got her groove back’. One thing leads to another, and we are met with magic potions (cue Isabella Rossellini as a STUNNING sorceress) , dead coming back to life, and a very entertaining battle between friends; immortality comes at a cost.
It’s so perfectly absurd, and who wasn’t sold at ‘Meryl Streep’?