💀 Of Bargains and Basements | THE TERROR TELETYPE

December 4, 2020
The Terror Teletype is back to fill your inbox with that good horror content! But before you dig in, this is important: TODAY is the last day to subscribe to Fango in time to get Issue 10, featuring a gorgeous cover illustration by Gary Pullin! This one’s a keeper. Head to our shop TODAY to get it in time, and use the code MARYLOU to get 30% off a one-year subscription!
There’s a big virtual Texas Chain Saw Massacre event happening tonight and tomorrow with the cast and crew of the 1974 classic, courtesy of Exurbia Films. Friend of Fango Joe Bob Briggs (who, under his alter ego John Bloom, wrote a wonderfully comprehensive piece on the film some years back) will host the Q&A. With Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Jim Siedow, Paul Partain, Bob Burns and Tobe Hooper all now gone, these events become bittersweet but even more essential for fans of the film and fans of film history in general. Head here to get tickets!
Universal is taking another swing at Van Helsing, this time from Underworld director Julius Avery and producer James Wan. One assumes this one will not end with the title character turning into a CGI werewolf, but we’re not fortune tellers over here. Why not a prequel about the unhinged Anthony Hopkins version from Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Just sayin’.
Looks like the Toxic Avenger remake from writer/director Macon Blair is moving along, and this week they’ve cast Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, but are as yet unspecific about Dinklage’s role. We’ve reached out to Blair, who promises to keep us posted…
Eventually we’re going to digitize the entire vault, but it’s gonna take a while and sometimes we find something that we can’t wait to share. So here’s a quick look at Barbara Crampton on the set of From Beyond, bloody but relaxing after having bitten off Jeffrey Combs’ pineal gland.
“I was in Halloween: Resurrection. 20 years ago. I’ve never seen this movie.” Katee Sackhoff, folks. Enjoy her enjoying her first-time viewing of the 2002 film.

We’re incredibly proud of our Fango holiday shirt, designed by Gary Pullin! Hurry up and order to get it in time!

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Here’s what Fango has going on this week. Join us or else!
Sunday, December 6

Join Fango fam Phil Nobile Jr., Meredith Borders, Anya Stanley, Michael Varrati and Death Proof star Tracie Thoms for a Final Girl themed Adult Spelling Bee! It will be ridiculous.

Streaming live here at 8PM ET.

Sunday, December 9

Many teams will enter, only one will emerge victorious in…THE TRIVIADOME. Fango guest round!

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Wednesday, December 9

Convo x Fango: Scored to Death: Composers Panel (John Massari, John Harrison, Brad Fiedel, Charlie Clouser, Holly Amber Church, and J. Blake Fichera).

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Friday, December 11

9PM ET Shudder, Scener, Deadly Grounds and Fango present a LOST BOYS watch party! We’ll have some vault exclusives, a giveaway by Deadly Grounds and more!

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Don’t Look In The Basement

By Phil Nobile Jr.

As I sit home for another d̶a̶y̶ ̶w̶e̶e̶k̶ month, finishing up a year of such sitting, I’m picking up on my domestic migration patterns, and noticing which parts of the house to which I tend to gravitate. And my findings show a clear, definite conclusion: I just flat-out avoid the basement.

I love my house, and I’d go so far as to say I’ve been thriving in this quarantine. As editor of Fango I’ve worked from home since 2018, and what the pandemic has mostly meant for me is that I don’t have to travel anywhere for work anymore. I’m also saving money on restaurants, and avoiding crowds is very much second nature to me. Sitting at home is not a problem. But why do I hate the basement?

Maybe I was traumatized by the flooding that occurred our first year in the home, water seeping up through cracks in the foundation, leading to 3am Shop Vac sessions, much panicked mopping, and an eventual spend on a drainage solution that was a bit of a sucker punch to the wallet. Or maybe I’m afraid of seeing a new architectural problem – why is that part of the wall crumbling? Was this beam always like this? I’ve got a real head-in-the-sand approach to home improvement; maybe I avoid the cellar out of mental health self-care.

Or maybe it’s because The Movies have taught me that the cellar is the most terrifying damn location in the house. Nothing good happens in cellars in movies. Dracula rising from his coffin in the dirt-floor catacombs beneath his castle. The last stand of The Incredible Shrinking Man’s eponymous hero, where ordinary homeowner nuisances like a basement flood and a household spider become lethal threats. The cellar is cemented as the cinematic Bad Place in 1960’s Psycho, as Lila Crane finds Mrs. Bates’ shriveled husk in the fruit cellar.

And it did not stop there. In Night of the Living Dead, the cellar – despite Harry Cooper being technically correct about it being the safest spot in the house – is where zombie Karen Cooper garden trowels her mom to death before gnawing off Harry’s arm. (After giving his protagonists more room to groove in Dawn of the Dead, Romero sticks EVERYBODY underground in 1985’s Day of the Dead. It ends badly.) 1973’s Don’t Look In the Basement knew what was up, and it put it right in the title. And 1981’s The Unseen is all about a deadly basement surprise. The People Under the Stairs weren’t the main threat of that Wes Craven film, but they were creepy nonetheless.

The cellar has become lazy shorthand for scary lately. Various Chainsaw sequels, when tasked with trying to make that iconic house of horrors even scarier, could only think to give it a basement. (Logical assumption, but Texans will tell you their houses almost never have basements.) The cliched underground space, with its sparse lighting and moldy environs, has become defanged by cinematic overuse. So can cellars still be scary in 2020? Or in real life? One corner of my basement holds provisions in case the occasionally threatened “supply chain interruption” happens, and I guess looking at that shelf is not what you’d call a safe feeling. Other sections of my basement contain unfinished projects, things I once had plans for but are not likely to ever get to, and that’s a sobering if not scary thought. But my basement is mostly a Museum of Me, housing the accumulation of decades of living: childhood items, work materials, things my deceased parents left behind. All reminders that not only can I not take it with me, but when I go, someone else is going to have a hell of a time sorting through all the debris I’ve amassed. Or maybe they’ll just put it in their own basement where they don’t have to think about it, an existential can kicked down someone else’s road.

I should probably clean the basement.

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JimJam

Founder/Co Owner of TN Horror News Co Host of The Horror Basement Podcast

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