Fire in the Sky
Based on Travis Walton’s reported alien abduction experience in 1975, Fire in the Sky casts D. B. Sweeney as the ill-fated Travis. Spotlighting a truly terrifying scene where Travis finds himself in an alien spaceship, facing a battery of tests, the movie instead focuses on his disappearance and what happens with the secondary characters during the five-day span between his reappearance.
One of the Universal classic horror films, and one of the most notable films of 1931, Frankenstein gave us Boris Karloff as the monster himself. A rendering of Mary Shelley’s novel of the same name, the film was directed by James Whale who would go on to direct other classics such as The Invisible Man and Bride of Frankenstein. Highly regarded, this film has stood the test of time.
This is a little-known film made in 1932 about the sideshow performers of that age. Most of the cast was carnival performers, and Tod Browning, the director, had also been employed by a traveling circus in his past. The spin on the plot is that it doesn’t highlight the performers for their oddities, but instead puts light to the dysfunction of the “normal” carnival employees who are vindictive and murderous. The movie was met with considerable resistance due to the graphic nature of showing the performers and their unique maladies, and consequently Browning’s career came to an unfortunate halt.
Friday the 13th
Made in 1980, two years after the wildly successful Halloween, Friday the 13th was a film that was supposed to ride the coattails of Michael Myers, sidling up to the popularity and money there was to be made. There was not disappointment as Friday the 13th had a budget of $550,000 and it pulled in, worldwide, over $59 million dollars. Everyone wanted to see this new hockey mask wearing, impossible to kill homicidal maniac, Jason Voorhees. The story goes that Jason was at Camp Crystal Lake when he was a kid and he died in the lake due to neglectful staff. He exacts revenge on teenagers and current staff alike. The movie went on to spawn several sequels, a tv show, various merchandising and even comic books.
In 1985, Tom Holland wrote and directed a fun horror film titled Fright Night about a boy named Charley and his strange next door neighbor. No one expected it to become the second highest grossing horror film of the year. Chris Sarandon plays the neighbor, who is really a vampire, and Roddy McDowall plays the would-be vampire hunter. The film went on to win three Saturn awards, garner a novelization, comic book series and a computer game as well as one sequel.