In his four plus decade long career as a reviewer of film, Roger Ebert has courageously sat through many a horror movie that he probably wouldn't have sat through if it weren't his job. Over the years he's made no bones about the fact that, though he is a fan of some horror movies, he is also prone to being totally disgusted and outraged by them, if he feels the violence is being put on the screen for no apparent reason other than to shock normal folk and put a smile on the faces of the sickest most vile people in the theatre. Thanks to the fact that Ebert has spent many hours of his life not only watching these films that he deems to be pure and utter trash, but sitting down and reviewing them as well, we've gotten some really hilarious horror movie reviews from him over the years.
Here are some of my favorite excerpts from Roger Ebert's musings on horror flicks!
After former partner in crime Gene Siskel reads out the names of the writer, director and producer of Silent Night, Deadly Night, saying they "have nothing to be proud of" and that their "profits truly are blood money", Ebert chimes in ...
"I'm glad you mentioned those peoples names because quite frequently they think 'gee we'll make this exploitation film, we'll be able to buy our Mercedes and live in Bel Air and nobody will ever know what we did', but I would like to hear them explain to their children and their grandchildren that 'it's only a movie'."
Describing the atmosphere in the Chicago theatre where he saw I Spit On Your Grave, a screening which he described at the time as "one of the most depressing experiences of my life" ...
"It was not just a large crowd, it was a profoundly disturbing one. I do not often attribute motives to audience members, nor do I try to read their minds, but the people who were sitting around me on Monday morning made it easy for me to know what they were thinking. They talked out loud. And if they seriously believed the things they were saying, they were vicarious sex criminals."
"Just think of the message this film offers to its teenage audience ; this world is a totally evil place, this movie says, it'll kill ya, it doesnt matter what your dreams, hopes and ambitions are, it doesn't matter if ya have a new boyfriend or a new girlfriend or you've got plans for the future. You can forget those plans, because you're gonna wind up dead."
I'm sorry Ebert, but that's the real world, not just the world depicted in a Friday The 13th flick. Should we teach teenagers instead that sick psychopaths won't harm them if they have plans for the day or if they just got a new girlfriend?
"This sucks on so many levels."
I'm with ya on that one!
"The theaters are crowded right now with wonderful, thrilling, funny, warm-hearted, dramatic, artistic, inspiring, entertaining movies. If anyone you know says this is the one they want to see, my advice is : Don't know that person no more."
"I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and it occupies a world where the stars don't shine."
After giving Hatchet 2 unintentional praise of the highest degree by saying it "plays less like a slasher movie than like the highlight reel from a slasher movie", Ebert goes on to say ...
"There are many good movies opening this weekend. "Hatchet II" is not one of them. Tickets are not cheap and time is fleeting. Why would you choose this one? That’s a good topic for a long, thoughtful talk with yourself in the mirror."
Ya just gotta love the man. To read all of these reviews in full plus slews of others from the past several decades, head over to RogerEbert.com!
*Credit to artist Peet Gelderblom for the above drawing of Ebert*