Tucson "Scream Queen" and horror-flick aficionado Elske McCain is an expert on cinematic blood and gore. We asked this lover of all things scary for 10 of her favorite movies, and, in the process, learned that hacking and slashing can be oh-so-sexy.
Fright Night (1985)
"It's the combination of the atmosphere and the music, and it's just got a really sexy tone that goes through the whole movie. It's very erotic, for not really showing any nudity. Vampires are sexy."
Favorite Scene: The disco scene where the vampires have a dance-off.
"I love it so much more now after seeing the remake earlier this month, which I just heard broke all the records at the box office. (It set a new standard for an opening on Labor Day weekend.) But with the original Halloween
, it's just the simplicity of the shots (and) John Carpenter's score. It's the way you don't know the killer, and that's what makes a good serial killer."
Favorite Scene: P.J. Soles' bedroom scene. She's the only one who gets topless.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
"The cool thing about that series is that you never know if you're in reality or you're in dream land. (Freddy Krueger) made a really good character."
Favorite Scene: Johnny Depp's death scene. McCain had walls plastered with Depp's Teen Beat photos as a girl, so this was a natural choice for her. Sadly, you don't get to see him naked before he's sent to meet his maker.
Friday the 13th
"It's a classic slasher: Teenagers go out to the woods, and they all die in the order in which they have sex, smoke pot and drink." You'll be happy to know the movie didn't make McCain afraid to have sex, she says.
Favorite Scene: Kevin Bacon's death scene, when he gets stabbed in the throat upward through the bottom of a bed after getting some action.
The Return of the Living Dead
"It's my favorite zombie movie. It's a good mix of horror and comedy from the early '80s, back when they weren't doing it as much. It stars Linnea Quigley, one of my favorite Scream Queens."
Favorite Scene: When Quigley does a striptease on top of graves right before the zombies attack. "It's sexy," says McCain.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
"That was one of the first movies that really scared me when I was kid. I couldn't even make it past the scene in the van with Edwin Neal. It was so scary that my friends and I could only make it through the first two minutes before we had to pause it. It was back when we were like 12, you know. We thought we could handle scary shit, but when it came down to it, we were pussies. It kind of looks like a documentary the way it was shot, so it makes it feel a lot more real."
Favorite Scene: "The shot where they go from under the swing set toward the house. They had some sort of camera rig so they could make it one smooth shot, and it's almost like you could see up this girl's shorts as they go toward the house. It's really scary."
--the ultimate tale of revenge."
Favorite Scene: "The very last shot, where the lone survivor goes to Carrie's grave, and she goes to put down flowers, and Carrie reaches up and grabs her. It catches everyone off guard, because the music is very calm and soothing, and once that happens, it scares the shit out of you."
Night of the Demons
"It's the perfect Halloween movie, because it takes place at a Halloween party, and everyone's dressed up, and they get possessed by demons." It's also a horror-comedy featuring the aforementioned Linnea Quigley.
Favorite Scene: "When Angela dances to Bauhaus' "Stigmata Martyr." She does, like, a striptease to it. It's really scary and sexy at the same time."
"Oh, yay--it's definitely my favorite Troma movie of all time. Watching it is like having a family reunion. (McCain has appeared in productions by Troma, a film and distribution company.) The whole premise of the movie is about people making a movie. It's kind of like Scream 3
, where you don't know what's real. There are lots of in-jokes for low-budget filmmakers."
Favorite Scene: The part where the Toddster dies after a bong is shoved up his ass. "It's a really creative death scene that they come up with," McCain says. "It also serves as an anti-drug scene, I suppose."
"You like it for a lot of the elements of Friday the 13th
, and it's an '80s time capsule. There are sweatbands, big hair and knee socks."
Favorite scene: The final moments, which McCain refused to even talk about for fear of spoiling them. "It disturbed me when I was a child for real," she says. "It was definitely the movie I hated as a child until I was 14, and then I could appreciate it." It has homosexual elements, which made it the Brokeback Mountain of the horror genre. "That's what makes it stand out from movies of that era," she says.