One of our most basic and Primal needs as babies is to be protected. It’s not very well understood why we would seek out the very thing that leaves us open and vulnerable scared and excited at the same time.
To glean some answers on this subject, we turn to Ria Pierce who claims she is not a professional on the topic but she unabashedly will bring her ‘larger-than-life’ self to this interview to help us discover what it is about horror films that make us love them, or not…So, enter if you dare.
Ria has been working with Michael Pierce, Owner and Hubby, of Monsters Among Us since about 2009. They buy sell and trade movie and TV memorabilia at conventions and on eBay. Their website can be found at monstersamongus.net
BU: Ria, I have been following you on Facebook for some time now, and I have concluded, you must be THE expert in Horror Films. Would you agree or disagree with this?
RIA: I disagree. I only consider someone an expert if they know a lot of facts or behind the scenes details about a film. I think how you feel about it is a totally personal experience. Now, do I think I have Ab Fab* taste in horror movies? Yes! I like what I like. (*just for clarity…AB FAB…..absolutely fabulous).
BU: <laughs> Well, personal opinion or not, you DO know your horror and you do know what you like…that I am certain of.
BU: Do you have a favorite era? If so, why? If not, what is it that most attracts you to this genre? Horror is not for everyone, but it seems to suit you well.
RIA: I guess the bulk of the horror movies I love are from the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. These films attracted me from the start. I find I enjoy a film more for its atmosphere than the storyline. And as much as I love horror, I don’t really care for Slasher films. For example, I like The Shining because of the visuals. A huge hotel in the middle of nowhere. I can handle gore if there is a purpose for it but not the main point of the film. I heard that the SAW series is good with a great storyline but I have never seen them.
BU: I saw ‘SAW’ <snickering> and I didn’t care for it. I’ve only seen ‘SAW’ one, and one was too many. I also have a disdain for people in horror flicks who inflict pain in a psychotic manner. It is very disturbing to me. However, The Shining is indeed one of the all-time great horror movies. It has everything…. including Stephen King as the writer (Novel) and Stanley Kubrick as screen writer and director. This is not always the case as we have all discovered at one time or another. Many films that start in a well-written book bring something to the table that others don’t. So, when you say “Atmosphere” I am thinking this is what you’re referring to. Original horror movies started out as gruesome tales, (Albeit they did lack the cinematography we are used to today). But are you saying the movies more of us are familiar with from the 60’s and 70’s create an atmosphere, meaning a story?
RIA: Yes and no. For me, the audio and visual create the atmosphere. (As opposed to the storyline or dialogue). For example, Fright Night has a fabulous soundtrack. Brad Fiedel (HORROR SOUNDTRACK GENIUS) created a wonderfully creepy film score that keeps me engaged all through the movie. Another example is LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE. I think the score is way different than Fright Night because it uses creepy sound effects more than it does actual music, but it’s just as creepy and eerie. Can you imagine a horror movie without all the nuances such as music and the timing of how certain shots are filmed? I love watching films about old houses. With this type of film, I am definitely more focused on the look of it as opposed to the storyline. The storyline is kind of simple and it’s not heavy with dialogue but it’s the atmosphere that rates this a classic in my book. As far as the timeframe being better or worse than the stuff out now? It’s a personal preference but I love the old houses and the way they come across on film. They add depth and allurement.
BU: Sounds like you are a traditionalist. I can understand that. I think a lot of people who grew up in the era of The Tingler and some of the other greats have that same notion.
BU: The older movies like Psycho and even Frankenstein had a story to tell. Even a moral to the story. As you said, we don’t find that very often in horror films of today. And the music score, yes definitely. It goes without saying. I remember reading something about how films felt to people when the music was removed. Totally different emotional response. That point alone is critical. I guess you could say we could write SCORES about it~
*Just a little factoid here: There is a difference between a SCORE and a SOUNDTRACK.
A SCORE IS ORIGINAL MUSIC SPECIFICALLY WRITTEN TO ACCOMPANY A FILM.
A SOUNDTRACK IS RECORDED MUSIC USED and SYNCHRONIZED TO A FILM DURING PORTIONS OF IT FOR EMPHASIS.
BU: Is there one horror movie that towers over the rest as THE horror flick?
RIA: I think saying “I have one all time fav horror movie” is a little Sophie’s Choicesque if you know what I mean. (Oddly, I do! And what a powerful way of putting it). I do have a bunch of staples that I watch over and over and over again. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the 1985 film FRIGHT NIGHT! And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the 1973 Film LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (this is the film that I nabbed my hubby with, but that is another Q&A). OH, and I love ROSEMARY’S BABY from 1968. They are 3 very different films but I love them equally. For different reasons.
BU: This is a valid point. Many movies of a specific genre can be very different from one another. For example, we have slasher movies, psychological thriller, (i.e. ‘Misery‘ with James Jan and Kathy Bates…wow!), stupid horror, gore, and then the horror films that delve in to the DARK genre…..
BU: The point is true also for Rosemary’s Baby*. I think that was my first REAL horror movie. It was frightening for sure and is considered a classic among most horror aficionados, and devotees.
BU: That did surprise me because I had not considered that particular movie one that would have been chosen by The National Film Registry**, but then again, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is among one of the chosen.
BU: HOWEVER, Rosemary’s Baby gave us a glimpse….no, more than a glimpse, a real look in to what could be a real-life situation. Mia Farrow was excellent in the film and it is still considered today as one of the top films in horror that changed the genre….or should I say, opened the door more?
BU: Why do you think people are attracted to horror movies?
RIA: Again, I think what attracts someone to a horror film, or any genre for that matter, is different for each person. Someone may enjoy seeing blood and guts. Someone may enjoy the creepy atmosphere of film. And someone may like that they can see boobs without all the romance. (HA! I never thought of that, but yes. I am sure that is true).
BU: Do you think people like the idea of being frightened?
RIA: Yes, but it is in a safe way. Clowns in a movie? Scary in a safe way. Clowns in real life? Scary in an unsafe way. It’s real about clowns. They can totally kill you.
BU: You heard it, CLOWNS CAN KILL. But we hope not in real life. One thing we do know that won’t kill anything is acid free sleeves and boards for your posters…..whether or not they are ‘The Shining’ or the antithesis of it…..sleeves and boards save lives. Can you imagine the ‘Red Foxx’ heart attack you would have after seeing your autographed poster of THE SHINING disintegrated by time? It ain’t pretty, so, I am assuming you use acid free poster sleeves and boards?
RIA: Oh, yes, I believe we have been ordering from you for about 10 years now. Posters, lobby cards, and other memorabilia need to be protected. Acid free sleeves and boards do that job very well, especially from your company Bags Unlimited. You have all the right sizes we need. When we are doing shows, it’s very important to keep fingerprints off the products and to prevent bending and tearing which is the real horror for the types of products we sell.
BU: Speaking of selling, you had a show in Buffalo, recently, did you not?
RIA: Yes! Right near you. Buffalo Comic Con. Monsters Among Us attends anywhere from 12 to 36 shows per year across the country. We proudly deliver the finest in Horror & Sci-Fi & Movie & TV Collectibles to our customers via our shows and the internet and eBay. My husband is more the aficionado, but I am knowledgeable as I said on many of the films because I know what I like……and I like the older movies.
We have been selling magazines since the mid 80’s and started Monsters Among Us Inc. in January of 1990. Since then we have helped thousands of customers with their collecting needs and have produced two Collector’s Guides on the subject.
The newest (#3 TBA). The guide is meant to be exactly that…. a guide. Many people do not know what certain posters or memorabilia are worth and having some guidelines can be invaluable. Literally. We have 1000’s of Comic Magazines in warehouse ranging from Conan, Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, Skywald Publications, to Mad, etc. We will be adding new items each week as time permits. Check out our other categories of wonderful collectibles. If you don’t see what you’re looking for please contact us or send a want list.
BU: Vampirella! What a character! She brings the bad and good together with a splash of naughty. It’s no wonder everyone seems to love her!
RIA: A lot of our eBay items are back issue magazines specializing in RARE and out of print Monster Magazines, Fanzines and Foreign titles, and more. Our website needs a little updating, but we are happy to answer all questions both about our products and our shows.
BU: Thank you Ria
RIA: Thank you
*Rosemary’s Baby earned almost universal acclaim from film critics and won numerous nominations and awards. In 2014, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
**The original National Film Preservation Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-446) was part of an appropriations bill for the United States Department of the Interior. The law specified three tasks:
- Directs the Librarian of Congress to establish a National Film Registry to register films that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
- Prohibits any person from knowingly distributing or exhibiting to the public a film that has been materially altered, or a black and white film that has been colorized and is included in the Registry, unless such films are labeled disclosing specified information.
- Directs the Librarian to establish in the Library of Congress a National Film Preservation Board.”
Some of the other films chose can be found here: https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/complete-national-film-registry-listing/
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