As part of 2019’s 13 Days of Halloween, we here at Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life thought it would be fun to see if some of the bands and artists we love had any interest in horror. It turns out quite a lot do so we turned it into an interview.
1. First things first…introduce yourself please!
Hi, I’m Asa. I play Bass and do Vocals for Technical Thrash act Elyrean. I love Thrashy riffs and have been a fan of Metal and Horror for almost as long as I can remember.
2. What are your top 3 favourite horror movies and why?
Halloween: I’ll expand upon this answer a bit later but to put it shortly, it got me into Horror, and film in general, from a fairly young age. It’s still my favourite film now, I love the build-up, the kills, the acting and Michael Myers has never felt as terrifying since this first film. It’s Horror perfection that has been often imitated but never matched. Carpenter proved himself a masterful director to the masses (though I still believe Assault On Precinct 13 is almost as excellent) and to many, this is his greatest work.
The Evil Dead: This is the original version, so not to be confused with the re-imagining. I love this film, it’s so bonkers and full of chaotic energy! Whilst Bruce Campbell isn’t the Ash we all love today, there’s something special about this film. It’s gruesome as hell and darkly comedic at times, I remember this being one of the rare instances where I actually had nightmares after watching it. Since then, my love for it has only grown over the years and Raimi has been a personal favourite of mine since.
The Beyond: Now this is a curve ball! Whilst my previous two picks are Horror classics, this one is definitely more cult classic. I know a lot of Horror nerds know of this film but to the more casual audience it’s lesser known. I can’t really explain why I love this film as much as I do… I love Lucio Fulci’s work and this is his pinnacle. Whilst Zombie Flesh Eaters, City of the Living Dead and Don’t Torture A Duckling are all fantastic, this one is miles above the rest. It’s like a vivid, violent nightmare that doesn’t end. The first scene is a man being whipped with chains and then being dissolved by acid! You’ve got killer tarantulas, zombie dogs, the undead that literally ooze and crumble… Plus the Fabio Frizzi score is a thing of beauty. I could talk about this film, and Fulci in general, for hours on end but if you aren’t familiar with his work… This is the film to watch. Gory, nightmarish and insane.
3. Do you remember your first experience with horror? Was it at a young age?
Going back to Halloween with this one as I remember the first time perfectly. Now, before this event happened, I hated scary films. I don’t remember liking them much and don’t recall really remembering much about them either, bar a few things here and there. However, this film changed my perspective on that and made me fall in love with Horror and film as a whole. I was 7 years old and my dad made me and my brother’s watch it because… Well, I assume we really pissed him off! So watching Halloween was our punishment. The joke is on him though as I loved it instantly. Everything about it clicked and I was glued to the screen, transfixed to this ominous shape stalking those poor young girls. I wanted to be a director for years, until I changed my path to music, and this film is the reason why.
4. What era of horror is your favourite & why?
I’m going to say the 70’s and 80’s. This is the time period where Horror was at its most experimental and bloodiest peak. You had Italy releasing zombie, cannibal and Giallo films aplenty (giving rise to a personal favourite of mine, Dario Argento), Europe in general had Who Can Kill A Child, Island Of Death and Possession.
England released the best British Horror with The Wicker Man, and America was redefining the Horror experience with all sorts of goodies. Alien, Halloween, The Thing, Friday The 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Last House On The Left, Dawn Of The Dead, The Exorcist.
There was just an explosion of Horror masterpieces, and the underground thrived with cheap thrills too. It was a revolutionary time for Horror cinema. Long gone were the werewolves and Frankenstein monsters, now the horror could be anything, anyone, at any place. It might be the person next door, in your house or inside of you… Even going to sleep could get you killed. Cinema wasn’t safe, and that was reflected in how the audience reacted to these films, and how we continue to do so to this day.
5. What frightens or creeps you out in horror?
Any film that deals with creatures from the deep. I have a huge fear of the ocean, it’s so vast and we know so little about it. In that great vastness, we aren’t the alpha’s. If a Great White is coming for you, you’re screwed. And that’s not even the worst of it. You’re cold, you’re alone and isolated. You have no idea what waits for you below the depths and whilst all of this can also apply to space, I think what makes the ocean so terrifying is that it’s on our planet. That honestly scares the hell out of me.
6. Who is your horror inspiration? Be it a director/actor/author etc.
There are quite a few but I have 2 main ones: John Carpenter and H.P Lovecraft.
Carpenter has made some truly amazing Horror experiences. Halloween and The Thing are the most popular, but even then you have the creepy ghost story of The Fog, the scientific-meets-religion cult classic Prince Of Darkness, then there’s They Live, Christine, In The Mouth Of Madness… The guy just had an eye for Horror and really varied the type he did. He wasn’t a Slasher director or a supernatural one, he could do anything thrown at him and it almost always worked. There’s some duds but for a filmography that impressive, I think we can forget about the little bumps.
As for Lovecraft, he wasn’t the greatest person and his writing certainly isn’t for everyone… But his fear of the unknown, of insanity and cults and all mixed into some scientific nightmare makes him the greatest to me. He has influenced so many and it’s easy to see why. His work really gets under your skin, with a whole mythology that feels so rich yet still feels like we know nothing at all. He’s the father of Cosmic Horror and the stories he told have influenced me greatly.
7. Do you enjoy modern horror or do you look to the past for your fix?
I love modern Horror! There have definitely been some duds, and some films people love don’t cut it for me, but there has also been some incredible feats of terror too. I really like The Witch, It Follows, The House of the Devil, We Are Still Here, IT Chapter 1 and Us, to name a few. There’s some incredible new directors creating visions that feel fresh and different and that excites me as Horror fan. The old is gold but the new is just as great.
8. What horror movie is universally beloved that you just don’t like?
Hereditary. I’ve seen this film 4 times and still don’t get the love it has. Sure, the acting is pretty good and there’s some nice looking shots but you can’t polish a turd, and this one is a stinker. I just don’t see what everyone else does and if you like it, awesome! But I just can’t stand it. The scene that shocked everyone makes me laugh at how stupid it is and I can’t take it seriously after that. Wish I watched Class Of Nuke Em High instead.
9. If you could shoot one horror cliché/trope into the sun to never be used again. What would it be?
Fake scares. You know when you think something scary is going to jump out at you (which is already annoying anyway), only to have a cat or a friend jump out instead? That. I HATE that. Most jump scares are cheap anyway, but this is the same thing only cheaper, useless and wasteful. Who needs well earned scares when instead douchebag boyfriend can just scare his girlfriend for no reason?
10. Same question but about type/style. What type or style of horror would you happily never watch again?
Found Footage. Luckily that trend has died down a lot, and there have been some okay releases in this format, but for the most part… It sucks. It’s just shaky cam and jump scares. The characters are almost always unlikeable, the scares are tasteless and predictable and digital distortion and crap thrown on in post is not scary or realistic, it’s just annoying. There are some exceptions (Grave Encounters and Troll Hunter), but most of them just suck and waste my time. I’d rather be forced to watch the Killjoy films again.
11. What gets you excited when watching horror?
Gore! Lots of it! I want to see blood everywhere. Atmosphere, writing, acting, cinematography… All great and essential for great films. But honestly, nothing gets a better reaction than seeing gallons of blood and gore everywhere as a guy gets axed to death. I’m here for the disgusting death scenes, the bloodier the better.
12. Have you had any real life scary experiences? We’re talking supernatural or something that can’t be reasonably explained.
I’ve had quite a few, my old house was haunted when I was child, and I have also had some encounters with friends too. There’s too many to talk about but I remember one time, my mother was walking downstairs and I could hear a second set follow her down. She turned around and called my dad, thinking he was somehow messing with her, only for him to respond from downstairs. My brother’s were downstairs too. She continued down and the secondary steps followed her the entire way. I could hear it all from my room and it scared the hell out of me. There’s a lot more, and even worse, but this still sticks with me.
1. Favourite overall franchise (3 or more movies)?
The Evil Dead.
2. Most memorable character death?
The guy who gets his face eaten off by tarantulas in The Beyond (go watch this film!).
3. Best horror twist?
The last 20 minutes of We Are Still Here. First time I watched it, I was stunned. Still amazes me.
4. Favourite Stephen King book?
IT or The Stand.
5. Best remake of a horror movie?
John Carpenter’s The Thing, if that counts. If not, the 1978 version of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.
6. Worst remake of a horror movie?
There are many, but I really hated The Fog remake.
7. Favourite horror villain?
The Deadites from the Evil Dead franchise. They’re both scary and hilarious. Best of both worlds.
8. It’s Halloween night…you settle down with some popcorn to watch…what?
Halloween. Obviously. This isn’t even a question! And Trick ‘r Treat, because that’s an under-rated modern classic. Screw it, we’re having a marathon so throw Creepshow and Halloween III on there too!
We’d like to thank Asa of Elyrean for taking the time to speak with us. You can find our more about the band by checking out their Facebook Page here.