Steven Davies of Horror Asylum – Critical Juncture Interview
Based just outside of London in the UK, Steve Davies sits alone in the dark pondering on why he spends most of his days sifting through endless amounts of horror-genre feces. Steve is the Chief Editor at the Horror Asylum and has been for nigh on 9 years now. Striving to bring the latest horror news, reviews, interviews and giveaways to the site’s audience, he stands as one of the last true heroes of his generation. With the strength to endure hours of mindless b-movie-esque twaddle and painfully unoriginal horror concepts, this man will stop at nothing to convey his redundant opinions to his viewing public. Jesting aside, he is a self-proclaimed “horror enthusiast” whose unhealthy and unnerving interest in the genre will one day have him oozing horror excrement from his very pores.
Luckily, Steven also checks his email from time to time, and he was more than willing to participate in this special Halloween edition of Critical Juncture. In case you’re new to this series, Critical Juncture asks a dozen indentical questions to members of the critical community, allowing you to compare and contrast their answers. When you’re done here, be sure to check our archives for even more interviews in the series.
Ladies and gentlemen…Steven Davies.
OnlyGoodMovies: What’s the first movie that you remember seeing?
Steven: Mmm, that’s not easy to remember. I do, however, recall my first cinematic experience. And that was Big Trouble in Little China, which, in 1986, was incredibly just PG-rated here in the UK at the time. Maybe my first taste of horror elements and the truly bizarre?
OGM: What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
Steven: The Final Destination. It’s one of the few movies I skipped when it was in cinemas and on DVD and decided just to wait for it to arrive on cable. Glad I didn’t spend any money on it, as it was about as original as my Ramones t-shirt. Non-horror would have been Ali G in da House.
OGM: Is there a particular film that you feel is criminally underrated?
Steven: Frank Oz’s 1986 version of Little Shop of Horrors. Hands down best musical ever! I always feel that District 9 should have been received slightly better, too. I think horror remakes get a bad rap, too. If you sift through the shit you can always find an admirable gem. Alexandre Aja’s The Hills Have Eyes or Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead.
OGM: Which director do you feel has turned out the best overall body of work?
Steven: Without a doubt, the late, great Stanley Kubrick. Taking on a multitude of genres, displaying incomparable creativeness and provoking visuals. A true powerhouse in cinematic history. Alfred Hitchcock follows a close second.
OGM: From an artistic standpoint, which film do you think is most important?
Steven: 2001: A Space Odyssey – Kubrick’s finest hour. Absolutely light-years ahead of its time. Truly turned science fiction on its head. For the horror genre, you need a catalyst movie from time to time for others to feed off of. And every now and again you get one; Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, Halloween, The Shining, Scream, The Blair Witch Project. Just think of the “other” movies that wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for these.
OGM: All artsy considerations aside, which movie is your personal favorite?
Steven: Jaws. Without a shadow of a doubt, always has been. It’s fun, entertaining, tense and brilliantly acted. I do also love Fargo, Pulp Fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Fight Club, Donnie Darko and a ton of horrors – too many to mention.
OGM: In your opinion, which film is entirely overrated?
Steven: Inglourious Basterds – despite good performances, I still can’t stomach repeat viewings. Controversially, I also have issues with The Godfather. And don’t get me started on the sandy ass-fest that is Gladiator.
OGM: Have you ever walked out of the theatre during a film? If so, what movie was playing?
Steven: I’m there to the bitter end. No matter how bad it gets, I can’t bring myself to abandon any movie before it finishes. I think it’s better to berate a movie critically if you have seen every single second of it.
OGM: In your mind, what’s the ultimate goal of a movie critic?
Steven: To bitch about movies that don’t meet our personal standards and to praise the pretentious. Attitudes change though, and all critics’ opinions should be taken with a pinch of salt. One man’s over-the-top action flop is another man’s Oscar-worthy fun-fest.
OGM: Time to look into the future. Do you predict any major changes for the movie industry over the next 25 years?
Steven: For how quickly 3D has taken over our local multiplex it surely won’t be long before an even bigger visual treat will kick it to the back row. Perhaps holograms? Perhaps 360 degree movies? Perhaps we’ll return to William Castle-like interactive cinema experiences!
OGM: Here’s another chance to predict the future. Name a relatively unknown actor or actress who’ll be a huge star within five years.
Steven: Even though he’s been on TV forever, Michael C. Hall can make one hell of an impact if he chooses the right roles. I see big things for Brit actress Talulah Riley as well. There’s also Kick-Ass stars Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz. Joseph Gordon Levitt is absolutely fantastic, also. He’s done the independent stuff and now gets a bit of mainstream work here and there, but he is surely a future Oscar nominee.
OGM: Who’s your favorite movie critic to read?
Steven: I absolutely love British critic Charlie Brooker. No-holds-barred, down-your-throat reviews verbalized brilliantly in his Screenwipe TV shows. He’s like a bitter, middle-aged man who generally says what most of us are thinking.
If you’d like to learn more about Horror Asylum, be sure to head over to Facebook or Twitter. It’s the perfect place to connect with gorehounds and people who like torture porn just a little too much, and you’re bound to run into Steven Davies along the way.
Until next time…