Among his loyal readers, blogger Dennis Cozzalio — he of the wonderfully titled Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule site…that’s not him pictured above, btw — is well-regarded for his in-depth film knowledge and thoughtful essays he gladly shares. The L.A.-based signore remains one of my long-time reads, a good friend, and drive-in conspirator. His musings on the moving picture, along with his semi-regular movie quizzes I try never to miss.
For October, he’s teed up another exam just in time for the Halloween festivities.
Personally, I regard these as interview questions, myself. Anyone interested in cinema is invited to partake. As Dennis encourages, you can paste the questions and craft your answers into Google’s sometime temperamental Blogger comment system over at Dennis’ post [link below]. Been there, done that (thank you very much). Or, do as I’ve learned to do: post your answers on your own blog, if you have one, and leave a comment on his post to link back to your answers.
Would have thought he’d have themed this installment along the lines of the recently and sadly cancelled Hannibal TV series he and I held in high regard. Oh, well. I guess his motif featuring the FX cable series, The Strain, will have to do. As he expressed:
“Given all that, how nice for Professor Setrakian to take a moment to quiz us on the horror genre during this Halloweenie time of year, yes? He has rather gruffly agreed to do so with only two conditions, both of which are completely in line with past SLIFR University policy.
With all that in mind, let’s get #2 pencils in hand, sit up straight and get started!”
PROFESSOR ABRAHAM SETRAKIAN’S VIRULENTLY VAMPIRIC, MALEVOLENTLY MONSTERIFFIC SUPER-STRAIN HALLOWEEN MOVIE QUIZ
1) Edwige Fenech or Barbara Bouchet?
Going for giallo-fare this season, I see. Then it would have to be Barbara Bouchet, since I witnessed that duck being tortured awhile back.
2) The horror movie you will stand up for when no one else will
Underrated and thoroughly underappreciated!
3) Your favorite horror novel
You can look here, if you want to know why.
4) Lionel Atwill or George Zucco?
I’ll go with Paul Lynde for the block, Peter.
5) Name a horror film which you feel either goes “too far” or, conversely, might have been better had been bolder
Frank Darabont couldn’t leave well enough alone with this adaptation. Specifically, that ending he insisted tacking on and upon fans of the original novella who waited years for “The Mist” to finally be translated to the big or small screen. All for the sake of gut-punching those watching this tale in an attempt to out-Stephen-King Stephen King. Though few agree with me, and I personally don’t care if the author gave the director his blessing to amend this (see here for my reasoning). There, I said it.
6) Let the Right One In or Let Me In?
Yes the former, the Swedish original, is great. No question, but I have to admit, it’s inevitable American remake, Let Me In, sucked me right in with its quicker-paced treatment of the John Ajvide Lindqvist novel. So unlike me, I know, but the latter is my preferred pick, if given a choice. Then again, I’m a sucker for William Friedkin’s Sorcerer over its Wages of Fear source, too.
7) Favorite horror film released by American International Pictures
8) Veronica Carlson or Barbara Shelley
Oh, it’s got to be sweet Barbara.
9) Name the pinnacle of slasher movie kills, based on either gore quotient, level of cleverness or shock value
Would this count?
10) Dracula (1931; Tod Browning) or Dracula (1931; George Melford)?
Okay, I’ll go with the original English-language version by Browning here, though Melford’s remains quite undervalued.
11) Name a movie which may not strictly be thought of as a horror film which you think qualifies for inclusion in the category
Oh, that’s easy:
12) The last horror movie you saw in a theater? On home video?
I plan on seeing Crimson Peak in a theater by the time this piece posts, but watched the following yet again just the other night. This time via the Shout! Factory’s dazzling new Blu-ray disc of this John Carpenter classic:
13) Can you think of a horror movie that works better as a home video experience than as a theatrical one?
No kidding. I dare you to watch the following at home…alone, with the lights off…and you’ll see why this so qualifies:
14) Brad Dourif or Robert Englund?
I’ll have to go with Brad.
15) At what moment did you realize you were a horror fan? Or what caused you to realize that you weren’t?
The when was childhood; watching movies during the ’60s, especially those Saturday afternoon or evening sessions. The why involved the giddy feeling that came over me as I watched the classic ’50s monster movies, or those haunted house stories that creeped-the-hell-out-of-me. The good ones scary, yet the great ones strangely life-affirming, which is what essentially hooked me. I knew right then I was a fan of horror. My kids ask to this day (their mother gave up long ago), “Dad, why are you watching that?!?” Here’s their answer.
16) The Thing with Two Heads or The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant?
Neither! Total Recall‘s two heads still beats them both!
17) Favorite giallo or giallo moment
Haven’t seen as many I should have to this point, but this comes readily to mind as my answer.
18) Name a horror remake, either a character or an entire film, that you prefer over its original or more iconic incarnation. (Example: Frank Langella’s Dracula/Dracula > Christopher Lee’s Dracula/Dracula)
I’ll take Christopher Lee’s first stint as Dracula over Bela Lugosi’s every time. Sorry.
19) Your favorite director of horror films
20) Caroline Munro or Stephanie Beacham?
With SPECTRE right around the corner, has to be the Bond girl, Caroline Munro.
21) Best horror moment created specifically for TV
What Dan Curtis, the still very much missed Karen Black, and one Zuni warrior doll pulled off in 1975 with Trilogy of Terror surely counts.
22) The Stephen King adaptation that works better as a movie than a book
23) Name the horror movie you most want to see but to this point never have
I can’t tell why I haven’t as yet [hangs head in shame]:
24) Andre Morell or Laurence Naismith?
Andre Morell, if for nothing else than keeping Peter Cushing’s Sherlock in line with The Hound of the Baskervilles.
25) Second-favorite horror film made in the 1980s
Your favorite, Dennis (of course, An American Werewolf in London still edges it out 😉 ):
26) Tell us about your favorite TV horror host and the program showcasing horror classics over which he/she presided/presides
For me, it’ll forever be Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Yes, her’s was a re-imagining of the iconic Vampira and The Vampira Show that featured mostly low budget horror films, which set the standard and format for all the “horror host shows” that followed. Yet, Cassandra Peterson did it with a certain and unmistakable verve that both paid homage to the original, and carved out a niche thoroughly her own. A TV personality with a delightful self-deprecating sense of humor, flaunting an impressive bustline (perhaps, rivaled only by Victor Mature), with the brains, to go along with that beauty, that milked the genre for all it was worth.
We Love You, Elvira!1
- And I’m not saying that because my father’s mother was named Elvira, either. ↩