Please welcome back Derrick Kinnison for his 3rd year of the Halloween Horrors series. For his 2018 entry, Derrick will be looking at 2 films from the year of 1984. One of these films is unarguably one of the biggest horror films ever released, while the other is quite possibly one of the biggest cult sensations of the decade that was the 1980’s. However, I’m not going to talk about the films. Derrick will handle that himself.
I am going to talk about Derrick though. He is, most certainly, one of (if not THE) biggest supporter of our Halloween Horrors series each and every year! Now, that is not a slight against our other contributors, nor an oversight. It is, however, a statement based on my own personal observations when it comes to this series and the lead up to it. No one gets as excited for this series as he does. I mean, most of y’all aren’t messaging me about it in June. And with the growing amount of work that this series hands me every late September, I know that I surely don’t look forward to it as much as he does. What? I’m tired, damnit!
HORROR OF 1984
The year was 1984. Some might say that it was a great year for horror. Others might say that it was terrible. Regardless of what anyone says, to a horror fan such as myself and others who are reading this, each year is an opportunity to await any type of horror film . . . especially for a horror fan! 1984 was, in fact, a great year in its own right, especially since out of the horror films that were released, one of them (being quite underrated, but very entertaining) was C.H.U.D., released on August 31st, 1984. Following that title later the same year, a titan of horror, the infamous Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, released on November 9, 1984.
There were many other titles released that year, but it is these two that have stood out, at least for me. Sure, there were many other great titles such as: Children of the Corn (King’s classic), The Company of the Wolves (a fantastic take on the Little Red Riding Hood story), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (another titan of a horror film, as it was also the beginning of the Tommy Jarvis saga), Gremlins, Monster Dog, (cheesy, but GREAT!) and Razorback (frightening aberration horror film; a one of a kind). These are just some of the other few greats that 1984 had to offer.
Cannibalistic . . . Humanoid . . . Underground . . . Dwellers! For years as a kid, this movie plagued me with fanatical nightmares as I would force myself to stay away from the manholes along the street, much like a superstitious person will avoid cracks on the street. But isn’t that what makes this genre so much fun? To test your fears, no matter what they might be?
C.H.U.D. starred an array of good actors who, at the time, probably didn’t know just how important to the acting field they would soon become: John Heard, Daniel Stern (who starred together in the Home Alone films), John Goodman, Kim Greist, Christopher Curry, Sam McMurray, and J.C. Quinn. These are a few who starred in this underrated horror film and would eventually go onto greatness.
About five years later, it was followed by a sequel: C.H.U.D. 2: Bud the C.H.U.D.. Now, this was nowhere near the horrifying success that the first film was. Not by a long shot! However, it does have some comedic elements that I have to admit that I do enjoy, but not as much as the first, I can tell you.
C.H.U.D. begins on the menacing streets of New York as a woman is walking her dog at a late hour, looking about the noisy streets in a sort of panic. Little does she know that instead of searching the area that surrounds her, she should be looking down. It is at the street’s center that she stops. Within a matter of seconds, we are fantastically horrified by a ghastly hand reaching out from the sewers below, from underneath a manhole cover, and dragging her and her dog to the depths below, where we then listen to her horrified screams!
It was this beginning that had me hooked, and to this day I am enthralled each time I sit down to watch this fantastic horror cheese fest. From beginning to end: the story, the acting, the wonderful creature effects, and the very makings that went into the completion of this film, I believe was the level of dedication―regardless of the reviews or what people thought. How can one go wrong when taking the very lives of the homeless and throwing them literally to the gutter, making it even harder for them by becoming infected by the illegal contamination hazard that had been secretly stored under the city for years?
These monstrous creatures fascinated me as a child and still do to this day. What more could a kid want than to be face-to-face with the screen of a television set on Halloween night (or any other night for that matter) and watch as these monsters terrify the sewers, as well as the city streets above, thirsting for flesh and blood! And to think that at one time or another these very creatures that horrify were once the homeless victims, left forgotten by the busy world and shunned to the gutter as if they were vile citizens, no better than the trash that gets thrown away―as if their life isn’t hard enough. Because of the illegal toxic waste stored underneath the city streets, we can see the effects it has made upon these people, literally turning them into monsters, soon to enact their revenge on the same people who shunned them in the first place
And yet again, I can still imagine myself those many years ago, watching this movie, wide-eyed and occasionally terrified, sitting there in front of the television, (just as I do now in my older age) still fascinated and still occasionally frightened . . . .
One . . . two . . . Freddy’s coming for you. . .
It’s the beginning of one of the most iconic rhymes. No matter if anyone has ever seen the movie, they have at least heard this rhyme from somewhere. There are many movies out there like that. None so iconic as this, but regardless what year they were made, they have all had an impact on people and how they interpret or even relate to it.
In yet another pick in this years Horror and Sons’ Halloween Horrors, I have been given the opportunity to finally do a piece on a certain film that I hold very dear. My second choice for this year is the iconic A Nightmare on Elm Street. Now, many horror fans already know pretty much everything there is to know about this film (and then some), but a few things can still be shared . . . .
“Three . . . four . . . better lock your door . . .”
Recently, my wife had found something and was excited to share it with me, as she always does when it comes to horror. It just-so-happened to involve this particular movie. Now, I am sure there a few, if not most, who already knew this, but there had been a deleted scene that had surfaced. It involved Nancy’s mother finally taking her to the boiler room and explaining the frightening history of what the parents had done to Freddy, just after their justice had been stripped away from them. I was blown away by the reveal that, in the deleted scene, not only had they killed Freddy because he was a dirty child killer, but that the parents, Nancy’s in particular, had a son or possibly another daughter they had lost to Freddy’s unspeakable crimes.!
Again, this was extremely exciting as I began to think about the movie. Soon, an idea had come to mind. I thought: ‘What if the kids who were singing the rhyme and jump roping were not just random victims of Freddy’s, but were the direct siblings to Nancy, Tina, Rod, and Glen; all warning each of them of their doom!’ I can tell you that this brought a chill over me, and I immediately had to watch the movie again, with an all new perspective from this newly acquired knowledge! This is yet another reason why this genre means so much to me; because there is still much more to learn about the horror movies that we have come to love and the ideas that we can share on this event, for everyone to read and learn alike.
And so, origins in mind, with A Nightmare on Elm Street it basically stems back to when I was a kid. Like most kids who look up to someone, it was this particular movie that allowed me to look up to two individuals that had a huge impact on my life. These two particular people were Robert Englund and Wes Craven.
Robert Englund, who we all know IS Freddy Krueger, immediately became the “Santa Claus” figure in my life and has been ever since. From the first original Nightmare and on through Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Freddy Krueger has been an absolute marvel to me, as well as becoming a world icon… which is funny because here was an individual that became loved by many people and Freddy was nothing more than a dirty child killer. How ironic! Yet, Freddy would have been no one if it hadn’t been for his creator, the genius behind the film, the father to all our sleepless nights,… the late Wes Craven.
“Seven . . . eight . . . gonna stay up late . . . “
Everyone who was a fan of the original Nightmare and shared the same passion as I, more than likely shared the same blow as I with the shock of hearing of Wes’ passing. I can tell you that August 30, 2015, was one of the worst days I have ever had, as it was like losing someone very close to me; someone whom I had never met, let alone talked to, but somehow seemed as though he were a much better father figure than of my own.
The point of fact, A Nightmare on Elm Street became the one movie that allows me to disappear within its every frame and play right along side the characters, evading the deathly clutches of Freddy Krueger’s knives for fingers! But wait, let’s be honest, most of us rather cheer on the deaths of the teenagers. So . . . yeah, more like myself wielding those deathly knives and wanting gore . . . more blood . . . and obviously more horror! And that’s exactly what we get, especially from the demise of Glen (Johnny Depp), when his untimely death fascinates us from our seats as he is forcibly dragged into his bed and immediately afterwards . . . BLOOD and more BLOOD floods the ceiling of his room. What more could a horror fan want?
Basically, when it comes down to it, I am not going to say that A Nightmare on Elm Street is my “all time favorite movie”, but it’s damn close. To me, as I said before, this movie is something very special in a way that possibly no other movie can do. I know most would constitute that as being someone’s favorite, but this is more than that, it’s like something of a heartbeat―the one thing that can’t be lived without. And so, as I have now come to the end of this, I just want to say once again that it’s more than appreciated that I get this opportunity to share just how much I love this wonderful genre, as well as this wonderful movie that is so dear to me. The two films that I have shared with you are strictly from passion and like all other films that were released in 1984, all have a special place for every horror fan who shares the same passion as I, regardless the year they were released.
And finally, to all of you, which I am sure most of you have experienced, I leave you with . . . .
“Nine . . . Ten . . . NEVER . . . SLEEP . . . AGAIN!”