[The Super Five] 5 Horror Documentaries That Know Their Stuff


Welcome to a brand new weekly feature here at HOG called ‘The Super Five’. This is a different take on the ‘Top 10’ or ‘List’ style features, where I take a subject and simply name five things. It isn’t a top list, just simply five things for your enjoyment! Enjoy the debut column!

For research with my bi-weekly Dissecting The Director column over at Arrow In The Head, I decided to re-watch and seek out a bunch of film/horror related documentaries. This led to me watching a bunch of doco’s in general, but for this weeks Super Five I decided to focus on the the horror related ones. There are a lot of fluff pieces out there when it comes to the genre, but the following five are ones I found actually delved into the subject and weren’t afraid to get down and dirty with it. Highly recommended for fans and non-fans alike.

5.) FLESH AND BLOOD: THE HAMMER HERITAGE OF HORROR (1994)

I am a bit of a noob when it comes to Hammer Horror, and this is something I want to change. Keep your eyes peeled on the site for a new feature, but back to business, I was curious about Hammer and this film came recommended to me by A.J. Hakari a good friend and podcast guest. I trust his recommendations when it comes to matters such as these, and he wasn’t wrong. Sure this is an old documentary but they do cover a lot of ground, from its inception to its last days, it goes over everything you need to know about Hammer. It is thorough, narrated by Christopher Lee with a lot of great and entertaining interviews, I especially liked the Peter Cushing stuff. New to Hammer or if you are a seasoned veteran of their films, this is a great watch.

4.) AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE (2010)

Now this one covers more than just horror, but a majority of it falls into the category. American Grindhouse is about films that I really enjoy, exploitation pieces. I can’t really explain my love for them, but this film kind of shows why and it really takes a look at its long history and development over the years. The interviews are great, the films covered are very much worthy and they go over so many sub-genres and ones you might not have even thought of. Its fun, its informative, it is great for Grindhouse/Exploitation fans and a good place to start if you are keen to get into them.

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

This is a fun film, narrated by Lance Henriksen, this goes through the history of horror in America. From the early days with Universal horror, to the likes of Night Of The Living Dead and Halloween it goes over all the fazes and crazes, the films that made an impact and the ones that didn’t quite get there. It shows a lot of interesting things, talks to some great names and really gives the audience a love and understanding of the genre. This is more for people who might not be too familiar with the genre as a whole but fans will get a lot out of it as well.

2.) GOING TO PIECES: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SLASHER FILM (2006)

I absolutely love this doco, the slasher sub-genre is where I really first took notice of horror and it was films like Scream, Halloween, A Nightmare On Elm Street that really got my juices flowing as young kid. I owe a lot to these films, they really shaped who I am as a horror fiend. This is so informative, the interviews are very frank and everyone is open about the subjects. I really loved the censorship stuff, and Felissa Rose really gets a great point across and I certainly share her feelings. Could not have asked for a better look at this sub-genre, made by fans for fans, a truly awesome piece.

1.) THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE (2000)

My good buddy Jason Bene recommended this one, I hadn’t heard about it and I wasn’t sure what to expect. This is a fantastic piece, it really is, it takes on a different look and way of thinking with horror films. It covers the films from the likes of Romero, Carpenter, Landis, Craven, Hooper, Savini; you know the usual suspects who emerged from the 60’s and 70’s. It shows these films in light with the events that were happening at the time, and motivations behind the films were revealed. I especially found it fascinating to hear Savini talk about his time in Vietnam and how it inspired him to do what he has become famous for. If you can track this down it is well worth the ride, it is well made and expressed and there is nothing quite like it out there.