Category Archives: Wes Craven

Keeping Up With The Loomis’

Deadly Movies | Connections

The surname Loomis has unwillingly become the name of choice in slasher films and, like so many Deadly Movies connections, it can be traced back to the master’s Psycho (1960). Sam Loomis, played by John Gavin, was Marian Crane’s boyfriend, hopelessly searching The Bates Motel for clues to the whereabouts of his AWOL girlfriend. The Loomis family would return to the Psycho universe in Psycho 2 (1983). This time Sam’s widow Lila Loomis (Marian’s sister no less, now a Loomis) and daughter Mary Loomis turn up to exact some bitchin Loomis revenge on Norman.

John Carpenter’s 1979 Halloween utilised elements of Psycho to create a template that would become the modern slasher blueprint, but this wasn’t all he borrowed. He also grabbed his leading lady from Psycho stock, Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet Leigh (Marian Crane) and he directly borrowed a character name, Sam Loomis. Although rather than the grieving boyfriend, his Loomis was a child psychologist and obsessive nemesis to serial killer Michael Myers. Like Psycho before it, one film in a franchise is never enough for a Loomis. Dr Sam Loomis would return to Halloween in four more films and two remakes. It’s also worth noting that the character of Annie Brackett is played by Nancy Loomis.

Then it would be the turn of another horror legend, Wes Craven, creator of horror cornerstones The Last House on The Left (1972), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). In 1996 Craven’s Scream would reference and parody the forefathers of horror, especially Halloween of which both score and movie feature directly in the film, as does the name Loomis. Here however Loomis is on the wrong side of the knife handle. Billy Loomis is the mastermind behind the ‘Ghost Face’ killings, while his mother Mrs Loomis (going all Mrs Voorhees) would take up the knife and mask in Scream 2 (1997). Although the Loomis’s would get name checks in Scream 3 (2000) and Scream 4 (2011) no actual family members reappear. 

50 years, 12 films, 8 actors, 6 characters, 1 surname

Sam Loomis (John Gavin, ‘Psycho’ 1960)

Lila Loomis (Vira Miles, ‘Psycho 2′ 1983)

Mary Loomis (Meg Tilly, ‘Psycho 2′ 1983)

Sam Loomis (Viggo Mortensen, ‘Psycho’ 1998)

Dr Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence,Halloween’ 1978, ‘Halloween 2′ 1981, ‘Halloween 4′ 1988, ‘Halloween 5′ 1989, ‘Halloween The Curse of Michael Myers’ 1995)

Dr Sam Loomis (Malcome McDowell, ‘Halloween’ 2007, ‘Halloween 2′ 2009)

Billy Loomis (Skreet Ulrich, ‘Scream’ 1996)

Mrs Loomis (Laurie Metcalf, ‘Scream 2′ 1997)

What are They? They are Them, Know What I Mean?

Friday Midnight Movie | ‘They’

They is a great little sleeper scare movie of the early 2000s. Of it’s period it’s a bit of a rarity, it’s not a Scream style parody and it’s not a remake. It also comes with some decent Deadly Movie heritage; director Robert Harmon bought us the outstanding Hitcher (1986) and leading lady Laura Regan was hot off her first Final Girl performance in My Little Eye (2002) and has subsequently built up a bit of a Deadly Movie CV which includes Hollow Man 2 (2006), Dead Silence (2007), and How to be a Serial Killer (2008). One note of caution, it comes ‘presented’ by Wes Craven, who it seems had absolutely nothing to do with the making of the film on any level pre or post. That saying, ‘presenting’ often means that a big name director is happy to put his name to the product to aid distribution, so we can take some comfort in the knowledge that Craven would seem to like this.
At it’s core They has a clever and relatable theme – being afraid of the dark. Children who were terrorised by ‘night terrors’ (these are the They if you see what i mean) are revisited by their demons as twenty-somethings. What are ‘They’? They are CG grayish nocturnal quadrupeds who exist in the eternal darkness of a sort of nightmarish other dimension…, I think. The night terrors can only exist in the dark, and therein the film does well to prey on our primal fears of the dark, it’s unknown, and it’s isolating properties. There are a few very tense scenes as all sources of light begin to fail around the film’s victims. It’s a fairly blood and gore free affair, going for sustained tension and shocks instead. There’s also an effective ending to be had and the DVD version comes with an equally interesting alternative ending. It’s not remarkable groundbreaking stuff by any means, but i bet you think twice about turning the light off when you go to bed afterwards!
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Linda Blair Exorcises Freedom of the Press

Deadly Movies Cameos | Linda Blair in Scream (1996)

Twenty three years earlier she was vomiting on priests, doing very bad things in front of her mother, and 360’ing her swede, then in 1996 Wes Craven deployed Linda Blair in the best of the Scream franchise cameos. It’s fantastically short, as good cameos should be, lasting less than 10 seconds. Blair plays ‘Obnoxious Reporter’ strutting up to Sydney (Neve Campbell) and belting out the great line ‘how does it feel to almost be brutally butchered?!’. How Wes Craven must have enjoyed waking up for this day of shooting. There’s always something very cool about seeing different generations of final girls sharing a bit of screen time.

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