Thursday, December 27, 2012

202. NIGHTMARES IN RED, WHITE & BLUE: THE EVOLUTION OF THE AMERICAN HORROR FILM (2009)

Andrew Monument directed this useful documentary, based on a book by Joseph Maddrey, about the American horror film and what it has expressed, over the decades, about America, its people, its headlines and its changes of government. Narrated in warm, rough-hewn tones by Lance Henricksen (a good choice), it's heads above most of its kind throughout, full of sharp observations and good clips, but it's particularly insightful once the periods under discussion catch up with onscreen commentary by its creators, including Joe Dante, George A. Romero, Larry Cohen, Mick Garris and John Carpenter -- who isn't always the most eloquent or loquacious guy in the room, but is in top form here. It's occasionally guilty of overstating a film's historical importance to repay input from a couple of handy commentators (Tom McLoughlin's ONE DARK NIGHT, for example), but it never feels like it's wasting your time or repackaging information that's already been chewed to death.

Viewed on Netflix, but available on DVD from Kino Lorber.

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