Not too long ago I finally got a subscription to Netflix and since doing so have been wading through a plethora of films that I would otherwise never get to see. If there is one thing that a Netflix account is very good for its locating and watching rare films that your local video store doesn’t care for and will never carry.
The latest film I watched is actually a documentary on our favourite genre of them all, the horror genre. The film I watched is called Nightmare in Red White and Blue. Horror and sci-fi veteran Lance Henriksen (Alien) narrates this fascinating look at the history of the American horror film, examining the earliest monster movies of the silent era up to the scariest modern-day masterpieces.
Highlights include interviews with genre masters Roger Corman, John Carpenter and George A. Romero, plus clips from classic films like The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead and Rosemary’s Baby.
Nightmares in Red White and Blood is a look back through the years at the horror genre from its birth to its explosion in the 70’s and 80’s and its rebirth in early 2000 and its recent tendency to be commercialized and watered down or worse yet simply rehashed by Hollywood producers looking for a quick cash in on a built in audience, ala the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The documentary is fascinating and features some of our favourite genre masters including George Romero who is an absolute delight to listen to, Larry Cohen, John Carpenter, Darren Lynn Boussman and many more. It looks at the genre not just from the angle of the filmmakers but also from the viewpoints of the audience over the generations, the political scene at the time, things that had the world captivated at that time and more importantly what scared us on screen and off screen. From Reaganism to racism and the need for society to empathize with a villain it is all covered in this in-depth documentary on the oldest genre of them all. Nightmares in Red White & Blue really does open your eyes with interesting commentary from some of the sharpest minds in horror and will make you reflect on Disney classics like Pinocchio in an all new light.
Nightmares in Red White and Blue looks back at the various sub genres of horror and dabbles in the question of what kind of freaks like horror films and who are the diabolical fiends who make them. More importantly it asks the question of whether horror fans and horror filmmakers are turning the camera on society and the reason that so many horror films and their fans are ostracized is because they are a direct reflection of society at the time. Is Hostel truly torture porn and needless sexual violence is it a look at North American arrogance and a feeling of superiority and how quickly reality can crush it.
Are horror fans truly the freaks or are the freaks the people who refuse to accept the evils in society and choose to look away or hide them behind the Saturday morning cartoons.
Nightmares in Red White and Blue is a fantastic documentary and one that every horror genre should see. Whether you are new to the genre or have loved it since childhood you will find something new and worth reflecting on in this highly though provoking look at the genre and its impact on America and the world. Nightmares in Red White & Blue is 96minutes you won’t regret spending.