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On Wednesday, August 22, 2018 Other Worlds Austin will present the World Premiere of THE PERFECT HOST: A SOUTHERN GOTHIC TALE. The screening begins at 7:30pm at Flix Brewhouse and will conclude with a Q&A from director/co-writer Derrick Sims.

In the film, a young woman, while sorting her dead grandmother's affairs, stays in an eerie, southern mansion and soon discovers the matriarch may desire more than just her company.

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Inspired by the World Premiere, Debbie Cerda, OWA Programmer and Hospitality Director, offers her favorite horror films featuring prominent buildings:


At a recent book signing, I picked up a copy of literary and film writer C. Robert Cargill's "We Are Where the Nightmares Go: and other Stories," devouring the mesmerizing and horrifying stories in a matter of days.

One story in particular stayed an played back in my brain -- that of "A Clean White Room" which features an apartment building with ever changing doors, hallways, and tenants. What intrigued me the most is the idea of a building as sentient being, and how buildings themselves serve as a character. Whether through the ambience and mood, inhabitants that seem to stay long after their corporeal existence has ceased and affect their surroundings, or the structure itself being capable of metamorphosis, I find it a fascinating sub-genre of horror.

In light of this topic and our impending screening of THE PERFECT HOST: A SOUTHERN GOTHIC TALE which features a Gothic manor as its setting, I share a few of my favorite horror films of this subgenre:


BURNT OFFERINGS -- This 1976 horror film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Robert Marasco was co-written and directed by Dan Curtis. The film starred Karen Black, Oliver Reed and Bette Davis, and Lee H. Montgomery, along with with Eileen Heckart, Burgess Meredith and Anthony James in supporting roles. 

A family moves into an old house that is capable of regenerating itself by twisting the life force of the occupants. They become violent and kill each other, but one member of the household survives, possessed by the house's spirit and serving as the next sentinel. Watch the trailer if you dare...

BURNT OFFERINGS was the first movie to be filmed at Dunsmuir House in Oakland, California. The neoclassical-revival architectural style house was built in 1899,  and is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.


CRIMSON PEAK -- Directed by Guillermo Del Toro, this tale of an aspiring author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is caught in a love triangle between a childhood friend and a mysterious outsider. As she struggles with her personal and professional dilemmas, she finds herself captive in a house that breathes and won't let the past be forgotten. Production designer Tom Sanders collaborated with Del Toro on the hauntingly beautiful sets, which ranged in locations from Buffalo, New York, to the hillsides of England.

The centerpiece is the darkly opulent Allerdale Hall, the Gothic family estate of Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Sanders stated in an Architectural Digest interview that “The whole house was designed and built in layers. I felt I could bring the history of the family into each layer and show how each generation changed what the previous one had done.”


THE LIVING AND THE DEAD -- Director and screenwriter Simon Rumley delivers a deeply personal and disturbing story of a family struggling with terminal and mental illness. Donald Brocklebank (Roger Lloyd Pack) must leave his disturbed adult son James to take care of his wife Nancy in their large and decrepit manor, Longleigh House. James barricades the two of them into the house for a series of ever more panicked home treatments, mistakenly protecting her from the arrival of  outside help.

While some may argue that THE LIVING AND THE DEAD is more a psychological thriller than horror, I'd have to disagree due to the personalized horror of delusions experienced by its characters. If I recall, the house used for filming was an old abandoned school quarters. Its ambience plays an instrumental role in the degradation of mental and physical states of the story's characters. 


THE SHINING -- Seriously, what can I say that hasn't already been described, dissected, and argued amongst film critics and Stephen King fans over the years? I'm sure full dissertations are available as well, but in a nutshell THE SHINING offers the penultimate in settings for cabin fever sufferers. From the antiquated bar to the furnishings in Room 237, the interiors support a sense of the hotel as a living entity.

THE SHINING was shot almost entirely at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England, where the hotel interior was constructed. The he exterior of the Overlook Hotel is the Timberline Lodge located near Mount Hood, Oregon. It's been claimed that the film was shot at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, so much so that you aren't allowed on upper floors unless you are a registered guest or on a paid tour. The Stanley Hotel served as an inspiration to King who stayed there in 1973.