ByAmy Martin, writer at
Amy Martin

I think documentaries are great. They offer behind the scenes photos, trivia, interviews - what more could a horror fan want? Today I checked out a reasonably new one, called "Nightmares In Red, White and Blue - The Evolution Of The American Horror Film" and it was pretty damn good.

So basically, the documentary focused on American made horror films, from 1910 all the way up to 2009. We were shown HUNDREDS of clips from different movies, and they certainly didn't hold back with their content! It was organized so that we started learning about the very first horror films in the early 1900's, and then every ten or so minutes, it'd change onto the next decade, until we eventually got up until present day.

This doco had a LOT of big names in it, including George Romero, John Carpenter, Larry Cohen, Roger Corman, Tom McLoughlin and Lance Henriksen as narrator. Each director spoke about their different films and their effect on society, and discussed why horror is such a popular genre.

I think the thing I liked the most about this documentary was that we were given a LOT of facts. Why films were popular, original concepts and scripts behind these now classic movies, how things were originally meant to turn out etc. It was quite good to see some of the directors talking about the influence of these type of movies, and how some of them - although violent, do have good strong morals.

There was also one scene that I found really funny, where they had the three teens from Jason Goes To Hell in a car together - "We're going to Camp Crystal Lake!" "Oh, yeah? Planning on smoking a little dope, having a little premarital sex and getting slaughtered?" - and then it shows about 50 - 60 of Jason's kill scenes, before it cuts back to Steven Freeman saying "Haha... just joking"

But it wasn't all about the big blockbusters like Friday the 13th, Halloween etc - in fact there really wasn't a whole lot on movies like that, which was nice for a change. The directors actually spoke about the less popular films, some of the old monster movies, and there were actually quite a few that I had never even heard of before - so if you need a list of horror movies to watch, give this a documentary a go and you'll have literally hundreds!

If I had any complaints I would say this - it would have been nice to perhaps add an extra 30 - 40 minutes to the documentary, and be able to show longer clips from the films. Some of the clips we were shown were pretty short - less than 4 - 5 seconds in length, so I couldn't really tell if it was a movie I would be interested in seeing. They also spent a lot of time on the older movies, which may be good for some people, and bad for others. Me personally, I'm most interested in the time frame of the 60's - 90's which is when all the best films came out (in my opinion).

Another complaint I have (but maybe it's just because I'm a nerd) is that twice they dated two of the films wrong. They said that Halloween was made in 1979, and there was another one which I actually can't remember, but I know it ticked me off at the time of watching. Why? Well.... I don't know why actually, I guess it's just how I am! It's not a big deal, but I guess I just find it a bit unprofessional if they've added the wrong dates? Perhaps it's just me.

So to sum things up. Is it a good documentary? Yeah... I guess so. I'd give it 7/10 skulls. It's a good one for people who are really into the older ones, dating back in the 1910's - 1940's, because it does focus on those ones a fair bit. I wouldn't advise watching it if you have a weak stomach, because it DOES show a fair few graphic and gory scenes, so don't say I didn't warn you.

What's YOUR favorite horror documentary?


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