By far, the most popular post I've ever written for this blog was the Creeping Unknowns list of rare and lost regional horror films. Since those original posts (here and here), a handful of the films have turned up for either legit DVD releases or at least a screening or two.
In the meantime, tips from readers and my own research have led me to a few more obscure treasures. A couple of these are fairly easy to see, although most people have never heard of them, and a few are truly MIA.
As always, if you have any additional information or images related to these films, feel free to pass them along!
Southern Shockers (1985): I've written extensively about this Mississippi
shot-on-video anthology, which was only released on tape in Spain. It's since
gotten some press in Tape Mold, and there is still hope that producer David Hopper
can pull together the English-language elements so someone other than this
writer can watch it.
The Black River Monster (1986): We discussed The Hackers (1988) in the last "Creeping
Unknowns" post, even though the film had, by that point, been released onDVD by original production company Camelot Studios. We were so excited about
that DVD that we completely overlooked the company's other horror DVD, The
Black River Monster. This one was
made at the Black River Farm and Ranch (a local summer camp), and features a
bigfoot-style creature. It's part kiddie flick, part promotional film, and all
Satan Place: A Soap Opera From Hell (1990): Directed by comic book artist Alfred Ramirez (who also
published a comic of the same name), this cheapo, Florida-lensed anthology
hasn't completely slipped through the cracks. As I noted in previous posts, Joe
Bob Briggs reviewed it, and it has turned up on some torrent sites. Still, this
one remains unknown to most fans.
Blood of the Wolf Girl (1989): When director Harry Preston (Harry Pimm) passed away in
2009, his only horror credit as far as most regional horror fans were concerned
was the goofy Texas slasher film Honeymoon Horror
(1982). But he made one other fright flick, the unreleased Blood of
the Wolf Girl (1989) about a stripper who
transforms into a werewolf, which he would occasionally screen for friends and
Road Meat (1987): Shot in Ohio by Bill Bragg, this features an early credit by
director Jay Woelfel (Beyond Dream's Door) as director of photography. And
that's about all I know of it. Copies of the apparently unfinished film do
allegedly exist. (Thanks to Adam Jeffers at Trashnite.com for bringing this
one to our attention.)
The Men in Black (1990): Another lost Ohio film, this one shot in Columbus and
Sandusky. OSU grad Bradley Lee directed the 16mm film (Walt Burbach produced),
which is about MIBs trying to intimidate a UFO witness. It had a single
screening in Mansfield in 1992. Excerpts from it wound up in a comedy called
Films That Suck: The Movies of Read Ridley, in 1999. There was a VHS release at
some point, and that tape is listed in the holdings of some local libraries
here in Columbus, although so far the actual tape has yet to turn up. I found some information on the film here. (Thanks
to Timothy L. Mayer for pointing this one out.)
Way back in 2010, we first wrote about The Wednesday Children, an Ohio-made religious horror film that, as it turned out, was directed by one of my old Kent State University professors, Bob West. If we'd been paying closer attention, we could have alerted to an October 2011 screening of the film (from the only existing 16mm print), with West and some cast members in attendance, at Cleveland's Cinematheque. Fan Jorge Delarosa cut together a trailer, and a DVD was in the works via some of the folks at Slow Mutants, but we're not sure what happened with that.
I posted a newspaper ad for the premiere of The Brides Wore Blood awhile back, courtesy of former Florida filmmaker Fred Olen Ray. A few months later, Fred sent me the fantastic artwork below, which he originally commissioned for some advertising, but ultimately never used. ("I think people were turned off by the idea that a pregnant woman was stabbing herself in the stomach," Ray told me.) It looks much closer to the image in the original film (but not much like what was used on the video box above). The artist was Chet Collom, who also did work on Satan's Cheerleaders, The Phantom Empire, and Cycle Vixens.
The Dead Next Door is a blog about regional or "backyard" horror and science fiction films made from the late 1950s to the earlyl 1990s (and beyond). These films were released during the peak years of independent film production, created by a motley crew of seasoned pros, gifted amateurs, and enthusiastic genre fans, along with dozens of eccentric dreamers -- doctors, lawyers, insurance salesmen, publishers, commercial filmmakers, TV production crews and moonlighting pornographers -- all looking for their big break or a fast buck or both.