Behind the Monsters Episodes 1-3 Review (Shudder)

Episodes: Michael Myers, Candyman, Chucky

Plot Summary: “In the history of film, only a handful of stars and characters like Mickey Mouse or Marilyn Monroe have risen to the heights of fame to become instantly recognizable the world over. Yet somehow, a small group of monsters who got their start in low-budget horror movies have transcended their humble beginnings to become international pop culture icons. Behind the Monsters will tell the story of their unlikely rise to fame, from the ideas that inspired them to the indelible mark they’ve left on the world,” said Craig Engler, Shudder’s general manager.

CANDYMAN, featuring interviews with the original Candyman (1992) Director Bernard Rose and stars Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen; Candyman (2021) Director Nia DaCosta; and Horror Noire’s Tananarive Due, among others. CHUCKY, with interviews with Child’s Play (1988) Creator/Writer Don Mancini, Director Tom Holland and star Catherine Hicks, along with the voice of Chucky, Brad Dourif, among others. JASON Voorhees, including interviews with Kane Hodder, actor/stuntman from Friday the 13th Parts VII & VIII, Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X, and Tom Savini, special effects creator on Friday the 13th Parts I & IV, among others.

CHILD’S PLAY, Chucky, 1988

MICHAEL MYERS, featuring interviews with actor Nick Castle from Halloween and the new Halloween films from Blumhouse, as well as Halloween (2018) stunt actor James Jude Courtney, among others. FREDDY KRUEGER, including interviews with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) stars Heather Langenkamp and Lin Shaye, as well as Special Effects Designer Jim Doyle, among others. PINHEAD, including an interview with Hellraiser actor Doug Bradley and others.

Other experts from the within genre set to appear throughout the series include Drac & Swan Boulet (The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula), Horror Noire documentary writer and producer Ashlee Blackwell, The Last Podcast on the Left hosts Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski, Blumhouse producer Ryan Turek and filmmakers Jeffrey Reddick (Final Destination), April Wolfe (Black Christmas, 2019), David Bruckner (Hellraiser reboot), and filmmaker and drag artist Peaches Christ.

Shudder’s latest series is Behind the Monsters focuses on behind the scenes of horror’s most iconic villainous icons known the world over. Halloween (1978), Candyman (1992) and Childs Play (1988) spawned countless sequels and have each been rebooted/re-imagined throughout the years. Not to mention a mountain of merch and a legion of diehard fans of every walk of life. Breaking these monsters down into bite sized episodes less than an hour long cannot be an easy task yet, Shudder series Behind the Monsters does just that. So far, each episode is a nicely produced and incredibly all-encompassing deep dive into the making of and cultural impact of these films. I have to say that my favorite episode thus far is Michael Myers. I think I liked this one the most because they not only talked about the first film but covered a lot of the sequels. I was also pretty impressed by the key figures they were able to get, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Castle and the team behind the new trilogy.

Likewise, I loved how the Candyman episode had a nice cross section of the creative team behind the original ’92 film and the 2021 spiritual sequel/reboot. Chucky was great as it gave some nice information on the original inspiration for the character and how the film has been embraced by the LGBTQIA community. Interestingly, the Chucky episode doesn’t mention the real life “Childs Play” inspired murders. I can totally understand not wanting to include this which would maybe come off as exploitative and in poor taste. Not to mention these real-life tragedies would no doubt ruin the overall tone.

Diehard fans might be wondering, does this offer any new information or insights? I would say no, but I think that seeing how entire documentaries and books have been written on these movies it would be hard to unearth any new information. Having said that, I think that having a wide range of historians, filmmakers and critics adding context and commentary gives it a fresh and interesting approach.

Behind The Monsters is both an excellent introduction to new fans and a wonderful refresher for “died” in the wool horror fiends. I would consider it a must watch!

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