Eight Nights of Horror: Celebrating Jews Who Have Brought Us Terror - Dread Central
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Eight Nights of Horror: Celebrating Jews Who Have Brought Us Terror

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Tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish holiday centered around the Maccabean rebellion against Antiochus IV, who pretty much made being a Jew illegal. There ya go. That’s your history lesson of the day because this article isn’t going to be about Hanukkah. Rather, it’s going to be a celebration of eight Jews in Hollywood who have been a major part of horror in some way, shape, or form.

I’m going to highlight people like Daniel Radcliffe, who embraced horror with films like Horns and The Woman in Black, Jon Bernthal and Lauren Cohan from “The Walking Dead,” Lizzy Caplan of “True Blood” and Cloverfield, and Jane Levy from Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe.

And while the names I just mentioned have done some incredibly important work of their own, it’s the following names that have helped shaped horror in some truly astonishing ways over the past few decades.

So without further ado, join me in lighting the first candle, spinning a dreidel, eating some latkes, and let’s get Hebrew up in here!


Jamie Lee Curtis

Often referred to as the first “scream queen”, Curtis has terrified audiences for a while now, starring in such classics as Prom Night, Terror Train, The Fog, Roadgames, Virus, and, of course, the Halloween series, where she played Laurie Strode. Curtis delighted horror fans the world over when she announced that she would be returning to reprise her role as Strode in Blumhouse’s Halloween, which will be coming out in October of 2018.


John Landis

The director of An American Werewolf in London as well as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, which has been hailed as one of the best music videos of all time and was the first of its kind to be inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, Landis also brought us Twilight Zone: The Movie, Innocent Blood, and the ghoulish black comedy Burke and Hare. He’s also done cameo appearances in films like Darkman, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Vampirella, and Attack of the 50ft Cheerleader. He got his start with the low-budget horror comedy Schlock at the age of 21!


Steven Spielberg

Perhaps one of the most esteemed names on this list, Steve Spielberg’s influence on horror simply cannot be denied. The director of Jaws and Jurassic Park, the producer of Poltergeist, Gremlins, Arachnophobia and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and the story writer of The Goonies, Spielberg’s impact on Hollywood is unmatched.


Neve Campbell

Here’s an interesting one as Campbell is a practicing Catholic. However, she has stated that when someone asks if she is Jewish, she says “yes”. But putting that to the side, Campbell led the Scream franchise and, in doing so, helped revitalize the slasher genre. Her strength and perseverance as Sidney Prescott has inspired countless people and we love her for it. Plus, she was in The Craft. ‘Nuff said.


Sarah Michelle Gellar

She’s Buffy. Do I really need to say anything else?

Okay, let’s go a bit deeper. She helped bring about the J-horror remake craze when she starred in 2004’s The Grudge and starred in two slasher franchises, Scream 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer. But Gellar’s horror influence isn’t just for late teens and older. She was Daphne in both Scooby-Doo films, which brought a delightful taste of horror to younger audiences, setting a foundation upon which to love the genre for years to come.


Danielle Harris

One of the most vocal supporters of horror on this list, Harris’ work throughout the genre is staggering. On top of being Jamie Lloyd in the Halloween franchise, she starred in Urban Legend, Hatchet II and III, Stake Land, Inoperable, Night of the Living Dead: Darkest Dawn, and Rob Zombie’s Halloween films. She is a director, producer, and voice actor, specializing in kids shows like “The Wild Thornberrys” and “Rugrats Go Wild”.

She has embraced her horror status and proudly appears at conventions and other horror gatherings.


Danny Elfman

One of the most recognized and lauded composers in cinema history, Elfman’s music has been heard in films such as Before I Wake, Goosebumps, Army of Darkness, Red Dragon, Dolores Claiborne, The Frighteners, Darkman, Nightbreed, and much, much more. But where most people know his work is his multitude of collaborations with director Tim Burton, such as Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, and others.

Elfman was also a member of the 80’s rock group Oingo Boingo!

Photo by Brian Averill


Sam Raimi

When it comes to horror royalty, a few names immediately spring to mind. There’s George A. Romero, whom we thank for essentially creating the modern zombie as we know it. There’s Wes Craven, whose multitude of horror films challenged viewers and pushed the genre every step of the way. There’s Tobe Hooper, whose Texas Chain Saw Massacre influenced countless independent filmmakers. And then there’s Sam Raimi, the man who brought us the Evil Dead franchise. It’s because of this man that we have the grooviest of heroes, Ash Campbell. We also give thanks to Raimi for Darkman, The Gift, and Drag Me to Hell.

Raimi and his frequent collaborator Rob Tapert founded the production company Ghost House Pictures in 2002. Some films under their company include Don’t Breathe, Evil Dead, 30 Days of Night, and The Grudge.


Did we miss any of your favorites? Chime in below!

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Poster Debut: Nicolas Pesce’s Piercing Starring Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott

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One of the films that I’m most interested in hearing the feedback about during this year’s Sundance film festival is director Nicolas Pesce’s psychological horror-comedy Piercing.

Not only did Pesce’s last flick The Eyes of My Mother impress the hell out of me but his new film boasts a killer premise and cast including Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) and Christopher Abbott (It Comes at Night).

The movie will be premiering at Sundance this weekend and today we have the film’s poster to share with you guys. You can click on the poster to the right for a higher-res version.

After checking it out let us know what you think!

Piercing is based on the critically acclaimed cult novel by Ryu Murakami and directed by Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother) and stars Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) and Christopher Abbott (It Comes at Night).

The film hosts its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival Saturday, January 20th.

Synopsis:

Reed (Christopher Abbott) is going on a business trip. He kisses his wife and infant son goodbye, but in lieu of a suitcase filled with clothes, he’s packed a toothbrush and a murder kit. Everything is meticulously planned: check into a hotel and kill an unsuspecting victim. Only then will he rid himself of his devious impulses and continue to be a good husband and father. But Reed gets more than he bargained for with Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), an alluring call girl who arrives at his room. First, they relax and get in the mood, but when there’s an unexpected disruption, the balance of control begins to sway back and forth between the two. Is he seeing things? Who’s playing whom? Before the night is over, a feverish nightmare will unfold, and Reed and Jackie will seal their bond in blood.

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First Details on Eduardo Sanchez-Directed Supernatural Episode 13.13 – Devil’s Bargain

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The upcoming 13th episode of the 13th season of “Supernatural,” titled “Devil’s Bargain,” is notable for two reasons: (1) it’s directed by none other than Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, Lovely Molly), and (2) it features a guest appearance by series star Jensen Ackles’ wife, Danneel Ackles (“One Tree Hill,” The Roommate).

The CW has released the official synopsis for the ep, which you’ll find below.

Are you still a fan of the show after all these years? Looking forward to seeing how Sanchez leaves his mark on the Winchesters? Sound off in the comments section or on social media!

“Supernatural” Episode 13.13 – “Devil’s Bargain” (airs 2/8/18)
Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles), and Castiel (Misha Collins) search for Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), who, meanwhile, strikes an unlikely deal with a local faith healer named Sister Jo (guest star Danneel Ackles). Asmodeus (guest star Jeffrey Vincent Parise) inches closer to finding Jack (Alexander Calvert). Eduardo Sanchez directed the episode written by Eugenie Ross-Leming & Brad Buckner.

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George A. Romero’s Daughter, Tina, Wrote a Script For Queens of the Dead

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The loss last year of director George A. Romero was a huge blow to the horror community, as well as the filmmaking community at large. The passing of the man responsible for creating the modern day zombie and whose work influenced “The Walking Dead”, Dead Alive, 28 Days Later, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out was felt far and wide but we take solace knowing that his work and legacy will live on forever.

Something that brings a smile to my face is hearing that his daughter, Tina, who DJ’s under the name DJ TRx, has written a screenplay for a zombie film that is called Queens of the Dead. And yes, it’s very gay! Romero has not only written the script but also plans on directing the film herself.

Romero tells The Saunder Blog about the film, saying, “Queens of the Dead is a fusion of two huge parts of my world: zombies and Gay nightlife. It’s a tribute to my father as well as my entrée into the genre he grandfathered. I can’t say too much yet, but what I can tell you is that this film will have all the hallmarks of a George A. Romero classic: farce, politics, heroes, assholes, and most importantly, herds of silly and slow moving walkers that you can’t help but love. But I’m doing it Tina-style, and bringing the glitter, choreography, queers & queens.

Romero’s father always brought some sort of social message into his work, so to hear that she will continue that tradition is inspiring, especially since it comes on a topic that is so discussed and topical.

If you want to read more about Romero and her DJ career, click on the link above.

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