Episode VIII: Welcome To Horror Business, MF’ers, or: This Is What It Sounds Like When Liam And Justin Cry
Greetings, friends and neighbors, and welcome to another spine chillingly hilarious episode of Horror Business, the podcast that would make you happy if you only believed in it. Thank you again for checking us out, and if you ruined a first date by rambling about this, the newest and hottest horror podcast, we love you. We love you no matter what.
This episode we delve into the concept of the anthology horror film by as always watching two films and then comparing them. This is the eighth episode, people. You know how we do. The films we chose were 1993’s Necronomicon: Book Of The Dead, and 1995’s Tales From The Hood. For the untutored, an anthology film is one film divided into separate segments that each tells a different story. Some of the classic anthology horror films were Tales From The Darkside, Creepshow, and The Twilight Zone Movie. More recent ones would include the V/H/S films and the ABCs Of Death films.
Before jumping into the meat and potatoes of this week’s episode and dissecting these two films, we took a moment to reflect upon the life and career of Prince, who unexpectedly passed away on April 21st. Both of us are huge fans of Prince’s music, and we only felt it was appropriate for us to talk about what that music meant to us. It was grimly fitting that we watched Tales From The Hood, in which starred Clarence Williams III who portrayed Prince’s father in the classic Purple Rain. We were lucky enough to catch Purple Rain in a local theatre the Monday after Prince’s untimely passing, and without a doubt it was one of the coolest things we’ve ever been to. Prince’s shadow was a long one and his legacy will continue to be unpacked and talked about for decades to come. He will be missed and his music will forever be a reminder that there is beauty and love and good good things in this world.
Up first is Brian Yuzna’s Necronomicon: Book Of The Dead. In the beginning of this discussion, our opinion of what makes a good anthology film is laid out: there must be a good wraparound story and there must be some kind of common connective tissue that is present in each of the segments. Again, using an example, a wraparound story is what the little boy telling the stories to the witch in the beginning of Tales From The Darkside: it is literally the story that wraps around the others and binds them together for the sake of the narrative tale.
We begin the actual discussion on the movie by laying out the plot of the film: three separate stories each loosely based on a different story by H.P. Lovecraft. The look and feel of the film, particularly the visual effects, is discussed, and how that look is typical of horror films from that time period is brought up. The gloomy and tragic nature of the segments is discussed, and how that feels plays into the nature of Lovecraft’s fiction. The simplicity of the wraparound story, which is H.P Lovecraft himself (played by Jeffrey Coombs) reading the tales from the fabled Necronomicon, is discussed as possibly taking away from the movie as a whole. The strengths and weaknesses of each segment are discussed, along with the advantages and disadvantages of having different directors for each segment. How the segments exemplify the “weirdness” of Lovecraftian fiction is briefly discussed as well i.e. the concept of some ancient being coming back into this realm to regain power, a cult worshipping extraterrestrial creatures, science delving into what ought not to be delved into, forbidden knowledge being brought into light, and so on. The style of Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, two filmmakers whose work is often considered “Lovecraftian” in both influence and direct adaption, and how it relates to this film is discussed. Similarly, Liam’s newfound “mixed emotions” on the work of Brian Yuzna comes up and is briefly touched upon.
Up next we talk about 1995’s Tales From The Hood. The wraparound story of this film is the tale of three drug dealers who visit a funeral home at the call of a funeral home director (played to the absolute hilt by Clarence Williams III) who has found a parcel of drugs in a back alley and is looking to sell them. However, before agreeing to the sale, the funeral director gives them a tour of the funeral home and shows them some recent “clients” of his and how they got there. The background of each “client” is then a different segment. The social and political background of the film is heavily discussed, in that each story relates to a different social theme: police corruption and institutionalized racism, child abuse, white supremacy, and gang violence. The perceived shortcomings of the film, namely the handling of black on black crime, are discussed, as well as the film using Clinton era views on crime as a background. The “folksy” look and feel of the film, particularly that of the third segment, as well as the concept of each segment being varying takes on the classic morality tale. That is, each segment is a story in which characters learn a lesson in some way. This being a horror film this idea usually has gruesome results. And once again, the wraparound story ties in with this theme of morality and consequence. Likewise, the sort of gray area when it comes to the “villains” of the story is discussed, in that they’re not really villains but more teachers or avengers of sorts. The technical aspects of the film (acting, cinematography, writing, story) are all examined in detail.
As always thanks to everyone and anyone who checked this episode out. We love you forever for listening. Any questions, comments, suggestions for movies and guests, or if you yourself want to join us for a movie viewing or even an episode, can be sent to [email protected]. Thanks again to Justin Miller and Doug Tilley for their technical contributions, and also thanks to Josh “King Fedora” Alvarez for the theme song. Follow us on Twitter at @thehorrorbiz666, like us on Facebook, and remember to rate, review, and subscribe to us on ITunes! Thanks!