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Two Upcoming Collections Explore Classic Horror

8 Mar, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Elite Entertainment, a 13-year-old independent supplier known for restoring and distributing horror, science-fiction and cult DVD titles, is about to unmask some of the horror genre's most despicable villains.

The company is turning the cameras inward with the upcoming release of two documentaries on the horror genre.

The Fearmakers Collection, a triple-disc set featuring 10 half-hour episodes spotlighting the works of such director as Tobe Hooper, Roger Corman and Roman Polanski, is out May 8. The program is based on the book The Fearmakers, by John McCarty.

A month later, on June 12, Elite will release Creature Features, a documentary that explores the history of monsters in cinema through three installments: “The Beasts,” “The Machine” and “The Dead.” Each installment features an assortment of film clips from appropriate movies; “The Dead,” about killers who come back from the dead, has clips from such classic films as Nosferatu, The Mummy and Night of the Living Dead. Creature Features originally aired on the Bravo Network.

Vini Bancalari, president of Elite Entertainment, said it's a natural progression that a DVD company known for its horror movies should venture into documentaries about the genre.

“I think that due to the vast amount of special effects usually involved in horror films, fans are very curious about ‘how they did it,’ Bancalari said. “There is also the history behind the genre, which fans find very interesting. Everyone has their favorite movie monsters, but to learn about their roots is quite amazing.”

Bancalari said Creature Features, in particular, is like a class on the history of horror movies.

“You can learn so much about their history and evolution over the years,” he said. “For example, everyone knows Frankenstein, and we all associate that character with Boris Karloff. But to see scenes from the 1915 film Der Golem, you come to realize that this creature was the original Frankenstein monster, just as 1922's Nosferatu was the very first Dracula.”

Bancalari notes that the horror genre is enjoying one of its periodic bursts in popularity now, thanks in large part to the theatrical success of such edgy slasher films as the Saw trilogy and Hostel. He considers these types of films, in which the killer is a human being, a lot scarier than traditional monster movies.

“These are people who could live in the house next door to you,” he said. “Think about that. When you see a horror movie that feature this type of monster, you can't help thinking that this could really be happening … somewhere. Films like Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects really get to me.”

Accordingly, Bancalari said, “as these documentaries gain in popularity, I'm certain that you will be seeing more volumes that delve into the bloody and disturbing world of the slasher film.”

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