The Mad Killer: Dial 1119 (1950)

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Recently escaped from the hospital for the criminally insane…the Mad Killer, Gunther Wyckoff

So one of the librarians was processing a group of donated DVDs, and I just happened to spot Film Noir Classic Collection, Volume 5. It had eight films on it: Cornered (1945), Deadline at Dawn (1946), Desperate (1947), Armored Car Robbery (1950), Backfire (1950), Dial 1119 (1950), The Phenix City Story (1955), and Crime in the Streets (1956). 

After I mentioned it would be a good film to watch, they let me be the first one to check it out. Some of the films were good and some were okay. That happens in a collection.

Oh well

Oh well

I thought this movie was really exceptional and all because of Marshall Thompson, who plays Gunther Wyckoff. He was phenomenal in playing his part. He was able to be cold, calculating, creepy; but then have moments of appearing almost innocent and a troubled boy. Not as good as Anthony Perkins in Psycho, but close.

keanu Whoa

I haven’t found a lot of pictures so this will mostly contain ones from other films and reviews. But I don’t let that stop me, let’s begin our review.

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

The film starts off with gruntled newspaperman, Harrison “Harry” D. Barnes. Harry is tired of being paid so little and working his whole life to only be in the exact same place as he started. He tells his pal that he is quitting and heads off to the Oasis bar to drink up his troubles. Because of his early departure, he misses an important announcement that Gunther Wyckoff has escaped from his institution.

OMG gasp

Elsewhere in Terminal City, Helen is leaving to go on vacation with a friend of hers. She lives with her mother, taking care of her as she has a weak heart, but is sorely in need of a break. She heads out but instead of meeting up with a her girl friend, she instead is meeting Earl at the Oasis Bar. Earl is a married salesman and the two are planning to go away for the weekend.

Mmhm great gatsby

Meanwhile, Gunther Wyckoff is headed to Terminal City. Three years ago he murdered a woman, was found to be insane, and instead of being executed, resided in the institution. But now he is out.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Next to him is a women traveling as well to Terminal City ands she notices that something is off about Wyckoff. Like most psychopaths he has no “normal” ways of interacting with other people.

Something about you just doesn't seem right.

Something about you just doesn’t seem right.

At the front of the bus, the driver has a gun for protection. They all take a five minute break to stretch and use the bathroom, and when they return to their traveling, the woman notices the gun is missing; and that the man next to her was the only one to remain on the bus during the break.

This is bad

This is bad

They reach Terminal City, the woman stays as long as she can and warns the driver in their native tongue about what has happened. After she leaves the driver approaches Wyckoff, and tells him to return the gun and clip. Wyckoff shoots him.

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Wyckoff is extremely creepy and scary as he is so emotionless, cold, and calculated. He doesn’t freak out, break a sweat, or worry; just demolishes what is in his way.

Gilmore girls creep

Wyckoff heads out to Dr. John E. Faron, police psychologist. When no one answers his knock, he decides to go to the nearby bar to wait. The Oasis Bar.

dun-dun-duuuun

In the bar we have Harry, Helen, and Earl; as mentioned before. Also there is Chuckles the extremely pessimistic, sarcastic, and grumpy bartender/owner. His assistant/waiter Skip is the exact opposite, pleasant, kind, and optimistic. Today he is extremely worried and frantic as his wife is about to have a baby and he doesn’t want to miss a thing. In fact he didn’t even want to come to work, but his wife made him go as the baby won’t be coming for a while. She’s going to regret that decision.

ouch Hermione

There is also Freddy, a bar floozy who is drunk all day and night on anything she can get and hits on any young guy that moves.

Laura what I want No good

All are talking while Wyckoff waits. Freddy tries to hit on a big, strong, young man; but when he leaves She turns toward Skip. Skip keeps calling to see if the baby has come yet, but no luck. Helen is trying to justify what she is doing as she is lonely and unsure about if she really wants to go away with a married man. Earl is trying to get Helen drunk so she can “relax” and “settle down.” Harry gets the call about the dead bus driver, but as he has “quit” his job, he decides not to go. Too bad.

This is bad

This is bad

Meanwhile as the newsmen and police are going crazy as they are worried about Wyckoff killing again and searching for him. They locate the woman who was sitting next to him to get confirmation, and when they do flash his picture on TV.

Ringu Watch TV

Chuckles is the only one who notices the TV news flash, and knows it is Wyckoff in his bar. He looks at his gun under the bar and heads down “cleaning” to grab it. But at the last minute he changes his mind and tells Skip to take over, while he “heads in the back to get Vermouth”. Big Mistake.

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He goes to the phone, but doesn’t count on Wyckoff being paranoid and very suspicious. He follows Chuckles and shoots him.

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Body count is at two already.

#2

#2

Afterwards, he shuts down the bar and gets the rest of the people together, they are now his hostages.

This is bad

This is bad

A couple of people walking by hear a scream from Helen, and tell the police. When an officer goes to investigate, Wyckoff shoots him in the leg.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lieutenant “Whitey” Tallman heads out to handle the situation. They set up barriers on the street and try to figure a way in.

suspicious Hmm

Wyckoff calls the police and tells them he wants Dr. Faron in 25 minuetes or he will kill everyone in the bar.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

Lt. Whitey is very upset over all this. He was the arresting officer, he worked hard to get Wyckoff convicted for his crimes; and to have him sent to a hospital instead and be out in three years is extremely upsetting. He is furious with Dr. Faron who was the one who provided the evidence and testimony that sent him free to the hospital rather than prison and the death penalty. He has no intention in trying to get Dr. Faron involved, but in finding another way to free the hostages.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

Dr. Faron is out walking when he comes upon the huge crowd of police, newspapermen, and bystanders. He finds out that he is needed ad goes to Lt. Whitey, but Whitey doesn’t want him involved at all.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Meanwhile the group inside is trying to figure out what to do. They recognize that the gun he has holds eight rounds, two of which have been used on killing Chuckles and shooting the policeman (the earlier third one hit the bus driver but they don’t know about it). They believe him to have six (really five) left; but then he pulls out another clip and puts it in. They discuss charging at him, but think that it is not a good idea and will get them all killed.

I don't know what to do

Outside the police have come up with an idea to sneak a smaller policeman into the air conditioning to shoot at Wyckoff. Which is a bit strange to go about it.

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Dr. Faron wants to go in and speak to Wyckoff, as he believes that he won’t harm him ad that he will be able to shock him out of his delusions ad bring him into reality. The Lt. says no.

You-serious?-Not-happening-babe!

Inside the bar Harry tries to get Wyckoff to let him go, as this is the story of the year; just like his previous exploits were. Wyckoff says no and starts going on about how the government is to blame for making him this way. They gave him a gun and uniform, trained him to kill,and expected him to come back into society. He is a killing machine because of them.

While that is going on, the police work hard to get through the air conditioning. But unbeknownst to them, Wyckoff has been looking at it all night, and when it turns off suddenly he notices, and shoots at it;

0dial_1119cshootgun

killing the policeman.

#3

#3

Freddy tries to seduce him, but no dice. Wyckoff sees right through her.

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Wyckoff has them turn on the TV so that they can see what is happening outside. They see that the Dr is there but that the Lt. won’t let him in. Harry convinces him to let him call the newspaper, and that they will get the public going and force the police to let the doctor  in. Wyckoff lets him, but the newspaper ignores him, because of his earlier conversation, they think he is just drunk and going to mouth off.

really?

really?

Wyckoff s extremely angry and trying to determine what to do next. Outside the Lt. has decided to blow open the bar and cut the lights. While they are planning, Dr. Fanroe goes in to speak with Wyckodff.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

Dr. Fanroe tries to get Wyckoff to put down the gun down but he won’t listen. You see the only reason Wyckoff came to Terminal City was because he wants to kill Dr. Fanroe.

This is bad

This is bad

Wyckoff makes everyone sit at the bar while he deals with Dr. Fanroe. Freddy notices Chuckles’ gun under the counter.

Hmm...

Hmm…

Dr. Fanrie tries to bring Wyckoff back to reality, and here Thompson shines in his acting. We discover that Wyckoff was not a soldier. He always dreamed of being one and wanted to, but they wouldn’t let him as he didn’t pass the psych evaluation. He went crazy upset and killed.

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Wyckoff argues with Fanroe and kills him.

#4

#4

Afterwards he looks at his hostages trying to determine who is next. While doing so the phone rings. Skip afraid that it might be his wife, rushes at Wyckoff to knock him off balance. Meanwhile the cops have set the charge blown up the door and cut the lights. Wyvkoff picks up his gun and intends to shoot them all when before he can, Freddy shoots him.

Whattheheck

 

I have to admit I never saw that one coming. The drunk saving them all? Pretty cool ending as I never would have guessed that.

Oh geez

Oh geez

Afterwards the cops come in and the people all go their separate ways. Skip to the hospital to see his newly arrived eight pound baby. Helen goes home as she believes the whole thing was an intervention from God to keep her from sinning. Earl tries to pick up Freddy and she tuns him down flat, heading to a different bar. Harry calls the desk and starts to relate the story of all that occurred. The mad killer is dead.

TheEnd_Title_2

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to How To Survive A Horror Film

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For more film-noir, go to I Do Think You Are Confused Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

For more “mad killers”, go to We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

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What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?: Scream (1996)

So this Horrorfest, I am going to be doing something a little different. We are going to have “Screamtastic Saturdays”. Every Saturday in October going to be on a different Scream movie. So let’s kick it off with:

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What’s your favorite scary movie?

*Spolier Alert*

So I really loved this movie. I have to say that Wes Craven as one of the horror kings totally tanked on Nightmare on Elm Street. This was by far, much better. One of the coolest things about this film is that it is a parody of horror films, while still being its own horror film.

So the beginning starts off with Drew Barrymore cooking popcorn and preparing for a fun night in watching scary movies with her boyfriend. Just like When A Stranger Calls, she receives a strange phone call and is at first into it, thinking it is just a joke.

scary movie mansfield park Scream

 

However, it slowly turns as the caller threatens Casey that he is going to kill her and her boyfriend.

Scream-Casey-Becker-drew-barrymore-31896958-2560-1088

But she has a chance at being saved, all she has to do is answer who was the killer in Friday the 13th.

“Phone Voice: Name the killer in Friday the 13th.

Casey: Jason! Jason! Jason!

Phone Voice: I’m sorry. That’s the wrong answer!

Casey: No, it’s not. No it’s not. It was Jason.

Phone Voice: Afraid not. No way.

Casey: Listen, it was Jason! I saw that movie 20 g******* times!

Phone Voice: Then you should know that Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees was the original killer. Jason didn’t show up until the sequel. I’m afraid that was a wrong answer.

Casey: [Weeping] You tricked me.

Phone Voice: Lucky for you there’s a bonus round, but poor Steve… I’m afraid he’s OUT!”

So Steve is murdered and Casey runs throughout the house trying to get away from the killer. Of which she doesn’t make it out and finds herself victim #1.

victim

And thus the body count begins…

So the killing of Drew Barrymore holds two significant things. One, she was one the most famous actress in the film, and was killed first. This was supposed to be a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), in which the most famous actress of the film, Janet Leigh, was only in the movie for a short while before she was killed. This was also supposed to be a parody of Craven’s film Nightmare on Elm Street, when the first character we meet, Tina (played by Amanda Wyss),is killed. Craven also had his character Casey wear white just like Tina in Nightmare on Elm Street.

The next day, the town Woodsboro is just ravanged by reporters who are eager to find out more about this murder, especially since it occurred almost exactly a year after their little town experienced a murder just as gruesome. The murder of Maureen Prescott by Cotton Weary.

Meanwhile, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is trying to cope with everything that is going on.

Scream

She is having a really hard time with the anniversary of her mother’s death. When she hears about the murders and sees the reporters it brings the mess of the past year back to her. The memories just come flooding back.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

One of her other big issues is her boyfriend Billy Loomis.

Billy-From-Scream-scream-1804906-547-342

 

Okay, I just have to go off on a tangent here: Billy is sooooooooooooo creepy looking. When I first saw this I was like he is toooootally the killer. I mean LOOK AT HIM! He has killer written alllll over him. Those eyes, they are super frigtening. And the way he talks? He tells Sidney that he was watching Silence of the Lambs and that made him think of her and want to come over and get funky. What a freak!

Certified Creepo Ribbon

IDon'tTrustHimGreatGatsby

(BTW it is another Psycho reference. Billy Loomis is a homage to Sam Loomis, Marion Crane’s boyfriend in Psycho; and Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween.)

Anyways, so the two have been having issues since Sidney’s mom died. She was so traumatized by the event that she has isolated herself and found it hard to let anyone in again. Her best friend Tatum is cool with it as she understands she needs time to grieve, but Billy has been having a hard time backtracking from third base to the benches. Ladies, let me just say that if any guy ever tries to pressure into having sex when you aren’t ready, junk punch him and run away. You don’t need that loser in your life.

That day her father has to go out of town, leaving Sidney all alone in a big house.

Yep, gonna make references all night.

Yep, gonna make When a Stranger Calls  references all night.

She makes plans to meet up with Tatum and stay at her place, but falls asleep. Tatum is late picking her up as her cheerleading practice went way over. While Sidney is waiting she gets a phone call from the killer who starts harassing her. And she stupidly calls throughout the house trying to find him.

Killer Scary Movie

“Sidney Prescott: Can you see me right now?  Ah, okay. [puts a finger in her nose] What am I doing? Huh? Huh? What am I doing? Hello? [takes finger out] Nice try, Randy. Tell Tatum to hurry up, okay? Bye now.

Ghostface: IF YOU HANG UP ON ME, YOU’LL DIE JUST LIKE YOUR MOTHER! Do you want to die, Sidney? Your mother sure didn’t.

Sidney Prescott: F*** you, you cretin!”

Soon the killer comes in her house and she has to run away from him and try to get the police there. Billy shows up, climbing through her window. Sidney sees that he has a cellphone and freaks out, having the police cart him away.

Gilmore girls creep

So there are a couple places that were filmed in Santa Rosa, CA. One was the bathroom scene in which Sidney is attacked, the other is Tatum’s house which is right across the street from the house used in Pollyanna (1960). It is also across the street from the house used in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943). The house in the opening scene was next door to the house used in Cujo (1983).

Sidney spends the night at Tatum’s house and the next day is completely crazy. Billy was released as they had nothing to hold him. And they still are unable to find her father as he never checked into his hotel. Plus Gale Weathers, a reporter who has been harassing her for a year,  and all the other reporters are driving her crazy!

“Gale: There she is! Sidney, hi, what happened? Are you alright?

Tatum: She’s not answering any questions alright. Just leave us alone.

Sidney Prescott: No, no Tatum it’s OK. She’s just doing her job, right Gale?

Gale: That’s right.

Sidney Prescott: So how’s the book?

Gale: Oh it’ll be out later this year.

Sidney Prescott: Oh, I’ll look for it.

Gale: I’ll send you a copy.

[Sidney turns around a punches Gale in the face]”

Scream-Punch

Also at the school we have a little Wes Craven easter egg, as he dresses up as a janitor in a Freddy Krueger sweater.

So the principal decides to suspend school until further notice as it is just too risky for the students. After they all have left, he finds himself joining the body count as well, victim #2.

victim

The death of the principal was actually added to the film late into production. Bob Weinstein noticed there were 30 pgs in the script were nobody died and they decided that they needed another victim.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Billy’s friend Stu decides to throw a party and have all the kids in school come. I don’t understand why anyone’s parents would allow their kids to go out like that with A FREAKIN’ KILLER ON THE LOOSE. Come on people, Parent!!

hmm_yes_i_see_youre_a_moron_trollcat

At the party, the kids are chillin’, drinking beer, watching horror films, etc. Billy and Sidney go upstairs and talk, resulting in the two having sex.

Meanwhile downstairs everyone is chillin’ while Tatum goes off to the garage to get more beer. The scene in the garage is the only weak link in the film. First of all when Tatum walks over to the garage door and it almost closes on her, that would never happen. My dad is a contractor and I remeber when I was a kid I thought the garage would close on me too. However, they design garage doors specfically to not do that. In fact they have a certain radius that if someone was to walk within that radius the door would stop. And come on she IS IN A FREAKIN’ GARAGE!!! Do you know how many weapons there are in that thing? She passes over a hoe, rake, and a shovel! You see all kinds of tools throughout their fight too. She could easly find something to attack him and win. Although I do have to give props to Wes for allowing Tatum to to put up such a great fight.

Victim #3

Victim #3

Back in the living room,  Randy is giving a rundown on how to survive a horror film,  (* are the rules that are given by the killer).

  1. You will not survive if you have sex
  2. You will not survive if you do drugs or drinks
  3. You will not survive if you say “I’ll be right back.”
  4. Everyone is a suspect
  5. *You will not survive if you ask “Who’s there.”*
  6. *You will not survive if you go out to investigate a strange noise*

While all this is going on, Gale and Tatum’s brother Officer Dewey, have been spying on the party. Gale has snuck a camera into the party, so that she can view everything from her van. She and Dewey both take a break though, “walking off” together where they come upon Sidney’s father’s abandoned car.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Everyone back at the party gets the news that the principal is dead and had been strung up on the football field. Almost everyone leaves; with just Randy, Sidney, Billy, Stu, and Gale’s cameraman Kenny (in the van) staying behind .The killer comes out and starts attacking.

ghostface_scream

One of the best scenes is the scene where a drunk Randy is telling Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween to turn around while the killer is behind him. He constantly repeats, “Jamie, turn around. Turn around, Jamie!” as the killer is slowly creeping up behind him. The actor who plays Randy is also named Jamie (Jamie Kennedy) and the killer was currently behind him. This is also the only scene in which the  killer is actually one of the actors. Skeet Ulrich had asked specifically if he could wear the costume for one scene.

So Kenny and Dewey fall victim to his knife.

Victim #8

Victim #4&5

After Sidney and Billy are done having sex and have placed their clothes back on the killer charges in and stabs Billy. Sidney manages to run away and finds Tatum’s body.

As she continues running away she ends up getting in the way of Gale who was fleeing the killer from her van. Gale swerves to miss Sidney and crashes, getting knocked out. Sidney goes back to the house, taking the gun from the dying Dewey. She runs into Randy and Stu and is unsure who is the killer. She then runs into a wounded Billy and gives him the gun. Billy immediately shoots Randy and stands up.

Say What

Yep, Billy isn’t injured at all. In fact, it was all a ploy he is the real killer.

dun-dun-duuuun

Corn Syrup

Billy: Corn Syrup, just like in the real movies.

Yep, the whole time Billy and Stu have been the killers. From Sidney’s mom to everyone else.

“Sidney Prescott: Why? Why did you kill my mother?

Billy: Why? WHY! You hear that Stu? I think she wants a motive. Well I don’t really believe in motives Sid, I mean did Norman Bates have a motive?

Stu: No.

Billy: Did we ever find out why Hannibal Lecter like to eat people? DON’T THINK SO! See it’s a lot more scarier when there’s no motive, Sid. We did your Mom a favor, Sid. That woman was a slut-bag whore who flashed her s*** all over town like she was Sharon Stone or somethin’.

Stu: Yeah, we put her out of her misery, ’cause let’s face Sidney, your mother was no Sharon Stone,hmm?

Billy: Is that motive enough for you? How about this? Your slut mother was f****** my father and she’s the reason my mom moved out and abandoned me. [Sid looks astonished] How’s that for a motive? Maternal abandonment causes serious deviant behaviour. It certainly f***** you up. It made you have sex with a psychopath.”

Yep, and not only that the planned the whole thing out so that her father would take the blame, make it look like he had a mental breakdown on the anniversary of his wife’s death and started killing people. They had kidnapped him and bring him out for their final act. Billy and Stu planned that attack on Sidney to make any second arrest look false and questionable.

you're evil

Of course their plan will not be complete until they make themselves look like victims. Stu stabs Billy, and Billy stabs Stu. While the two are monologing and arguing they have seemed to forget one important thing.

 Sidney and her father have disappeared.

“Stu: S***…

Billy: What?

Stu: Oh, s***.

Billy: [They go into the kitchen to find Sidney and Mr. Prescott gone] Where are they? Where are they?

Stu: I don’t know, Billy, but I’m hurtin’, man!

Yep, just like they say in Dial M for Murder (1954), you can never plan the perfect murder. What sounds good on paper can never transfer to real life, because in real life there are just too many things that can go wrong.

“Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?

Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.

Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?

Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.”

So here Stu and Billy find themselves completely off script, and unsure…

[the phone rings]

Stu: Should I let the machine get it?

Billy: [answers it] Hello?

Sidney Prescott: Are you alone in the house?

Billy: B****! You b****, where the f*** are you?

Sidney Prescott: Not so fast, we’re going to play a little game. It’s called: Guess who just called the police and reported your sorry motherf******* a**!

[Stu is slowly collapsing to the floor]

Billy: Find her, you dips***! Get up!

Stu: I can’t, Billy. You already cut me too deep. I think I’m dying here, man!

Billy: [Billy gives Stu the phone] Talk to her. Talk to her.

Stu: Hello?

Sidney Prescott: Ah, Stu, Stu, Stu… What’s your motive? Billy’s got one. The police are on their way. What are you going to tell them?

Stu: Peer pressure. I’m far too sensitive.

Billy:[Billy takes the phone back] I’m going to rip you up, b****, just like your f****** mother!

Sidney Prescott: You’ve gotta find me first, you pansy-a** momma’s boy!”

Now the game of cat and mouse has changed with the hunted becoming the hunters.

Gale-Randy-Billy-and-Sidney-scream-23148646-499-198

 

In the end Gale, Sidney, Dewey, Mr. Prescott, and Randy survive.

So that was Scream one of the best horror-parodies ever made. For more fun check out Scream in 30 sec with bunnies. And How It Should Have Ended

This film really brought back the slasher genre, as after this slasher remakes and slasher film numbers escalated. It also brought up the debate on whether or not violence in movies affected people and caused them to become more violent? The most important thing is that this film increased the use of caller ID and made such phone harassment much harder. Although not for me.

The other thing I realized in this film is that I am soooooo Randy.

Randy

I also realized that just like The Cable Guy, I’m only a few steps away from the crazy.

screamBilly

Well, that’s Scream. Tune in next Saturday for Scream 2.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

To go to the previous post, go to In Their Proper Place

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For more on Scream, go to When Horror Doesn’t Stay on the Screen

For more on Wes Craven, go to Krueger Town

For more on phone harrasment, go to It’s Coming From Inside the House

For more films influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, go to Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare

For more on serial killers, go to Hello? Is There a Killer in My Kitchen?

For more on slasher films, go to Camp Blood

For more films that spanned numerous sequels, go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows