The Last KnockCome into black-and-white madness with some great music, cool sets, and pre-code storytelling with horror films from the silent era. Sure, we’ll take a bite out of NOSFERATU, but we talk about THE STUDENT OF PRAGUE, THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, GOLEM, FAUST, THE MAN WHO LAUGHS, and other great features from early cinema – and why their preservation is vital to horror art.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS go to: @EW @lizzyerwin @GTGMcast @DawnHillDesigns @deadgoodscreen1 @M_FOneTT @dkarner @palkodesigns @sg_lee_horror @TimothiousSmith @NOTLP @SamesCarolyn @LolaTarantula @FriscoKidTX @LoudGreenBird @ThisIsHorror @newo394b @OwenMcCuenQuest @Tammysdragonfly @BleedingCritic @RiiTiger @300mushrooms @EmilieFlory @RealJillyG @AnnThraxx @Mel_McBoutin @Theladyphantom

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with Carlette Norwood

The Last KnockThe phenomenal Carlette Norwood is a podcaster, narrator, writer, and filmmaker, among other amazing ventures. Her latest project is the radio-like serial “The Burbs” – a weekly horror spectacle beginning October 1, 2015 that will bring you terror in intimate form. Find out what may have been haunting her, and how the show took shape…

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS go to: @MichaelFrostChi @TheresaSnyder19 @EmilieFlory @Mel_McBoutin @AnnThraxx @Theladyphantom @RealJillyG @deadgoodscreen1 @palkodesigns @VicsMovieDen @1Brandonwyse @CurtisSchurer @noelpershinger

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Cannibals

The Last KnockThe two top taboos in just about every culture on the planet is incest and cannibalism. We discuss the latter on the show and engage CANNIBAL FEROX, DERANGED, RAVENOUS, PARENTS, WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, DELICATESSEN, and much more. Just remember: Don’t eat clowns – they taste funny.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS: @Annie_Acorn @AAPublishingLLC @Talk2Cleo @Tammysdragonfly @Mel_McBoutin @BleedingCritic @PromoteHorror @MelanieMcCurdie @RonGizmo @AnnThraxx @RealJillyG @Theladyphantom @TheDeadCanWrite @OklahomaWard @nicolemalonso @areucrazy @aicforever @RiversofGrue



Crash Analysis Support Team: The 1990s: Horror’s Lost Decade Part III: The Final Chapter

2-in-the-mouth-of-madnessPlease allow me one last time to preface this article with a warning and a statement: Beware! Dozens of movies are discussed and spoilers may exist, so please keep that in mind as you read.

And, I’m not a movie historian or expert; I’m just a cinephile, probably like you, who enjoys horror movies. I also like to reflect upon times and situations in our history and ask: why? I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic, as well.

1990’s Horror: Autopsy Results

So, we’ve established the who, what, where, when, and how, which leaves us with the most elusive question: why? Why, in my assertion, the dearth of worthwhile horror movies in the ‘90s?

Dear readers, I’ll spoil it and reveal the ending: I don’t have an answer, at least not an objective, definitive one. I can only speculate subjectively. Maybe as the 1980’s horrors, particularly the slashers, became more and more ridiculous and unforgiving about their profits, movie-goers cooled on horrors for a while. Maybe the real-world scared us enough and we didn’t want our films to.

My speculation, and sorry to say it ain’t that sexy: Maybe it’s just the cyclical nature of life. The yin and yang, ebb and flow of everything. The 2000s did produce some awesome horrors, no?

Sadly, this week as I write this, Wes Craven has passed away. As earlier stated in previous parts of this article and as Mr. Craven has lamented in the past, he was somewhat of a reluctant “icon” of horror movies and maybe would have wanted to spread out more, directorially. Unfortunate, but not the end of the world, of course. No matter what he thought, it’s what he did: spanned several decades with movies that we’ll be talking about for several more decades, and most importantly: he scared the shit out of us.

One penultimate thought: I’d like to mention some movies I neglected to in the first two parts. Honorable mentions: THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, John Carpenter’s 1995 Lovecraftian horror, a box-office bomb at the time, but has become a bit of a cult classic; EVENT HORIZON, a 1997 sci-fi/horror which also didn’t break the bank upon theatrical release, but has become more appreciated two decades later; and perhaps my biggest omission: INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, Neil Jordan’s 1994 commercial and critically successful adaptation of Anne Rice’s 1976 novel. And further apologizes for other movies that I have failed to mention at all. Please let me hear your thoughts.

Finally, I’d like to thank Crash Palace’s proprietor and someone who knows a helluva lot more about horror movies than me: Billy Crash. It was July 2014 when I asked Bill if I could research and post an article on my thoughts on 1990’s horror movies. What was originally planned to be a two-thousand word essay completed in a month turned into three parts published over the past year and a half.

During this odyssey, not only did I learn more about movies of this decade, I learned a lot about myself and some reasons why I haven’t written many horror screenplays and have produced no horror movies to date. See, I grew up on horror movies, particularly ‘70s and ‘80s horror. I remember reading FANGORIA magazine, sneaking into the movies with my friends to see NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4, living for Halloween time to arrive, and eventually writing terrifically bad horror stories as an adolescent.

As adulthood hit, so did the 1990s, and for me, out went horror and in came the crime-dramas. This, along with the other career path I chose, is probably why I’ve become a crime-thriller writer/filmmaker and not a horror one. Too bad, in some ways.

But, who knows, maybe one day…

Paul J. Williams is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer. Also a decorated law enforcement officer of eighteen years, he currently serves as a police officer in Morris County, New Jersey. Paul previously served with the U.S. Department of Justice as a federal officer and the Newark Police Department, where he was awarded the Medal of Honor, the department’s highest award, and responded to Ground Zero in New York City after the 9/11 attacks. CASE #5930, the short film he wrote and produced, will be released in early 2015.

(IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS photo from Bloody Disgusting.)

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with Oklahoma Ward and Nikki Alonso – CRAWL OR DIE II

The Last KnockWriter/director Oklahoma Ward and star Nikki Alonso come back to talk about CRAWL OR DIE II, pre-production, Hollywood deals, distribution efforts, merchandise – and we even learn how Tank got her name.

And if you haven’t seen 2014’s best sci-fi/horror, CRAWL OR DIE, now is the time!


THE LAST KNOCK presents: Horror Getaways

The Last KnockThere’s nothing worse when you want to go on vacation to kick back and relax – until the werewolves, vampires, cannibals, and other nightmares show up to ruin your damn trip. We look at some of our favorites, including THE RUINS, AFFLICTED, SHOCKWAVES, ZOMBI, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, EATEN ALIVE, and more. And remember, next time the kids in the back say, “Are we there yet?” Just turn around and say, “Maybe you don’t want to be.” Include a maniacal laugh and tell them the story of 2000 MANIACS…

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS: @L_Roy_Aiken @TheDeadCanWrite @moon_of_remorse @aicforever @MindyOgg @Tammysdragonfly @TheresaSnyder19 @DawnHillDesigns @exiledinNJ @AFiendOnFilm @derekailes @Jenn75Boyd @peterkidder @i_far @palkodesigns @FriscoKidTX @LoudGreenBird @wilkravitz @TBRList @issyblack @nicolemalonso @OklahomaWard @M_FOneTT @shellandjeff @isaacthorne @TimothiousSmith @BleedingCritic and filmmaker Justin Benson

Top Ten Ghost Tales


the-orphanageI recently watched an absolutely lame, formulaic, and vomit generating ghost tale called Dream House, starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, and Elias Koteas. Sure, the cast is fantastic and the acting is decent for the most part as one would expect, but in short order the predictable plot shined through and the tale was awash in PG-13 ho-hum cliché. By the time the movie comes to its conclusion, the one we could easily see thanks to a big act two reveal, seasoned horror audience members will either be sleeping, or really ticked that ninety-minutes of their lives was wasted on such a mundane venture.

Excellent ghost tales, however, have far much more to offer. As always, we need a great story inhabited by vibrant characters, but we also require that element of suspense to keep us riveted. After all, these are horror movies, not vapid melodramas with happy endings (see Dream House if you prefer a watered down narrative). An oppressive tone certainly adds to the flavor of the film, and if we have a solid theme or two, even better.

As always, my top ten is based upon the life experiences I brought to these films, as well as paying attention to story, transitions, themes, tone, and more. Enjoy:


The Haunting (UK/USA, 1963)

Nell (Julie Harris) enters Hill House with three other souls to find definitive proof that hauntings occur. The film complements Shirley Jackson’s wonderful novel, “The Haunting of Hill House”, and delivers psychological horror in profound ways.

The Legend of Hell House (UK, 1973)

A group of investigators are hired by a rich man to prove there’s life after death in the notorious Belasco house. Roddy McDowall and Pamela Franklin lead the way in this vibrant, intense tale of the macabre.

The Changeling (Canada, 1980)

Still one of horror cinema’s most frightening ghost tales, The Changeling follows George C. Scott as he settles into a haunted house where a ghost has an agenda. Follow the bouncing ball, hold hands in a séance, and watch your back.

The Shining (1980)

Many who hate Kubrick’s masterful horror miss the point that the Torrance family is screwed up and bonkers from the beginning. And this intense film follows them on their deeper journey into madness, mayhem, and murder.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

A mesmerizing and well-calculated psychological horror, The Sixth Sense follows Bruce Willis as he tries to save Cole (Haley Joel Osment) from seeing dead people. A profound mystery with stellar acting and pacing, you may cry at the end as I did.

The Ring (Japan/USA, 2002)

Unlike the original that put me to sleep, Ehren Kruger penned a phenomenal mystery that’s gripping. Beyond excellent performances (Naomi Watts, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, and Jane Alexander), take note of the color and incredible special makeup effects from the legendary Rick Baker.

A Tale of Two Sisters (South Korea, 2003)

Death lingers long after lives are claimed in the hapless Bae family. One of the most beautiful looking horror films thanks to cinematographer Mo-gae Lee, the film’s foundation is intense psychological terror and unease.

Shutter (Thailand, 2004)

After an accident, a photographer (Ananda Everingham) discovers shadows and ghostly images in his pictures. Unsettling and relentless in story and style, this fantastic original outshines the dull and pathetic American remake a thousand fold.

The Orphanage (Spain, 2007)

One of cinema’s greatest and most profound dramatic ghost tales, Belen Rueda leads the way as a mother who brings her family back to the orphanage where she once was raised, with disastrous and gut-wrenching results. Yes, this one made me cry as well.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

This much maligned, low budget found footage phenom relies on sound and pacing to deliver suspense and terror, as a young couple tries to determine if they are being haunted in their home. Curiosity killed the… well, you know.


Ghost stories have probably existed since early humans contemplated their own demise and pondered about what comes next. In all cultures, ghost stories abound, but in Asia the concern that the dead are treated with respect has led to a multitude of haunted tales with no end in site. Ghosts are everywhere in horror, but finding those new narratives with unique foundations is what keeps this well-established subgenre a potent mainstay.

Feel free to leave comments about your favorite ghost tales. And remember to check out THE LAST KNOCK horror podcast on Sunday nights at 9 PM on this site and on iTunes.

Other cool ghost films of note: The Innocents (USA/UK, 1961), The Fog (1980), Poltergeist (1982), The Devil’s Backbone (Spain/Mexico/Argentina, 2001), The Innkeepers (2011), and Paranormal Activity 3 (2011).

Most over-rated ghost films: Ringu (Japan, 1998), Ju-on (Japan, 2002), and The Conjuring (2013).

(Photo of The Orphanage from Heave Media.)

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with Author Fay Simon

The Last KnockAuthor Fay is one of the rare breed who supports the arts and its creators on a grand scale. Known as @Theladyphantom on Twitter, “Fabulous Fay” has given her time and commitment to many a writer, filmmaker, artist, and musician – including me. It is my honor to not only interview this wonderful woman to discuss writing and horror, but to also promote her new novel Behind the Mirror

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS: @triciakitty @BobMacabre @ZedKosnar @issyblack @TheresaSnyder19 @Mel_McBoutin @Heyman_Bigbooty @L_Roy_Aiken @AnnThraxx @KEVONSTOVER @Jan_Marshall @LastMinuteUSVac @moon_of_remorse @Annie_Acorn

Guest Fay Simon has shout outs of her own: @palkodesigns @DonRiemer @roguephoenixpre @1Brandonwyse @BleedingCritic @EmilieFlory @RonGizmo @ThatRayKlein and Casey Ryan



THE LAST KNOCK presents: IT FOLLOWS (2015)

The Last KnockWe take a look over our shoulder and give IT FOLLOWS its due in regard to story, characters, theme, cinematography, editing, special effects, and more. Let us know what you thought about this year’s big indie horror: champ or chump or somewhere in between?

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS: @_k_man_movie @12orphans @sg_lee_horror @urnextbook @FriscoKidTX @aicforever @L_Roy_Aiken @M_FOneTT @noelpershinger @deadgoodscreen1 @TBRList @BleedingCritic @inthenightdoc @MichaelFrostChi @TimothiousSmith @MissDeAnnah @Talk2Cleo @THE_NAM_NATION @ACFullerAuthor @ben_seims @Mel_McBoutin @AFiendOnFilm @RealJillyG @areucrazy @SiaraTyr @karinm37




THE LAST KNOCK presents: Hodgepodge Horror VI

The Last KnockHoly Hell! Jonny and I take a look at some of the latest horrors – and some you might haven’t seen in a while. We discuss THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE, THE PYRAMID, RESOLUTION, [REC] 4, NEXT DOOR, and many more! Oh, and yes, we fight a lot over several movies’ merits.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS: @leon_flemming @M_FOneTT @OrsonGalore @PollyIyer @_k_man_movie @12orphans @RealJillyG @RiversofGrue @TheDeadCanWrite @EmilieFlory @PromoteHorror @Theladyphantom @aicforever @AFiendOnFilm – and from Facebook: Heather Free, Mel McBoutin, and Dave Koenig