Daily Horror History, July 26th: Happy Birthday, John Farris; Happy Night of the Hunter Day

John Farris began his career in 1956, with the suitably gruesome sounding, brisk mystery novel The Corpse Next Door. His most famous work, however, came in the midst of the 70’s horror boom, with the novel The Fury, a story of telepathic / telekinetic teenager terror that, fittingly, had a feature film adaptation directed by Brian DePalma, who also brought Stephen King’s Carrie to the big screen (although The Fury is a bit more proto-Firestarter than Carrie knock-off, if we’re sticking with the King comparisons).

Farris also wrote and directed one of the more gruesome, campy and crazy psycho-biddy flicks of its era, Dear Dead Delilah, his only directorial effort. “How gruesome, campy and crazy?” you may ask. Picture a movie deserving of the following poster…

Unfortunately, I’ve only had the pleasure of reading one Farris novel, which I’ve reviewed here, and while the writing was impressive, the work as a whole didn’t gel for me. Still, it was enough to make me want to look into more of his work, starting with The Fury, which I swear I’ll get around to sometime soon.

John Farris was born today, in 1936.

Today also marks the date that that the classic stalker/thriller The Night of the Hunter had its world premiere in Des Moines, Iowa in 1955, at the since-demolished Paramount Theatre, months before it made its way to Los Angeles, then New York, and then the rest of the U.S. This unusual premiere location was due to Des Moines being the hometown of the film’s producer, Paul Gregory.

A darkly beautiful classic that deserves every word of praise ever devoted to it, The Night of the Hunter turns 63-years-old today. I’d love to elaborate on my love of the movie, but can’t think of a single original thing to say, so I’ll just leave off with what might be one of the most brilliantly chilling images of all time.

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