My, How the Times Have Changed: A Nostalgic Look at Horror’s Past Gems

“Where’s your son, Roger?  You’ll never find him.  He’s dead!”

Ah, eighties horror… What a fun time for movies in our favorite genre of splatter, sex, chainsaws, walking corpses, blood drinkers and madmen.  We all have fond memories of our first horror films.  Who introduced you to yours?  Was it Mom or Dad?  Your best friend?  Maybe Joe Bob Briggs with Monster Vision?  Whatever the case, you’re here because you enjoy horror, both on screen and on paper, but for this blog I want to focus on the visual medium of scary movies–particularly my favorite scenes from the eighties.  Why the eighties?  Think about it.  In that particular decade, most of our favorite horror movie icons were spawned.  Jason Voorhees leapt up from his watery grave in 1980.  In 1984, a blackened boiler room gave birth to our worst nightmare, Freddy Krueger.  1988 gave us a not-so-Good Guy to play with in “Child’s Play.”  And new crops of directors were taking something that was already amazing (Ridley Scott’s “Alien”) and creating something even bigger and better (James Cameron’s “Aliens”).

The eighties were also a time of experimental film making.  Puppets and stop-motion animation, though dying in the mainstream, were still holding true in horror.  We as horror fans are able to take a lot when it comes to movies.  Though most would look at a movie like 1986’s “House” (picture above) with a wide-eyed, slack-jaw expression, we can appreciate the humor and the offbeat use of puppets and people in ridiculous, fat lady, demon suits that many movie makers wouldn’t touch now.  It’s unfortunate that movies with practical effects, such as 1982’s “The Thing,” have been replaced with massive amounts of CGI.  Would “Pumpkinhead” or “Puppetmaster” been the same movies?

To me, “The Thing” is more or less my favorite film of the eighties.  It has everything: an amazing cast, the sci-fi element of the unknown alien species, the graphic and practical special effects.  I remember the first time I saw this movie, and I still get those very same chills every time I watch it.  I hope everyone out there reading this gets those same feelings when they pop that disk into the player, turn the lights out and relives those memories time and again.

Because, isn’t that what the movies are all about?  Kurt Russell throwing a stick of dynamite at a form-shifting alien then yelling, “Yeah, well fuck you too!”?


Below are some screenshots from some of my favorite eighties horror films.  As a part of this Coffin Hop celebration, if you can correctly guess all of the titles of the films shown, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win two signed books from myself.

  1. A signed copy of Cover of Darkness Magazine June 2012, which features my short story “Between Those Walls.”
  2. A signed copy of Grindhouse, which features my novelette (co-written with author Nikki McKenzie) “Home Invasion.”

Just put your answers in the comment section, and make sure that the email address you use is correct, because it will be the one I will contact the winner through on November 1st .  Participants from USA and Canada only.  And please be sure to check out the rest of the blogs on the Coffin Hop 2012 tour, which features over 100 authors–all throwing their own giveaways!  To find the link to the other blogs, just click on the Coffin Hop poster on the upper right side of this webpage or visit

Good luck, everyone, and have fun!

Book Signing Reminder

Just a quick reminder that author Brent Abell and myself will be doing our first book signing tonight (10-20-12) from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at Comics Unlimited (654-B Diamond Avenue, Evansville, Indiana 47711).  We should both have plenty of books for sale, and there will be snacks and whatnots to munch on.  Hope to see you there!