LA-based rockers Starcrawler not only wear their ’70s musical influences proudly on their sleeves, but they also make clear their love for the horror films of the same era. The band’s first two album covers make inferences to vampirism, while some of their videos invoke specific horror titles including “Let Her Be” (demonic possession, as seen in The Exorcist and The Omen), “Chicken Woman” (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and the recent “Roadkill” (The Car) from the band’s third and newest album, She Said.
Meanwhile, vocalist Arrow de Wilde has mimicked the Exorcist-inspired spider walk onstage, and used to spit blood at concerts. And the rocker who originally inspired singer de Wilde to get behind the mic in the first place? The musical Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne. Arrow says she even used an illustration from Japanese horror manga master Junji Ito for one of the band’s Halloween gig fliers.
The animated singer is up for being in a good horror movie herself, but she’d prefer a supernatural, Grudge-type role—“Like a nasty demon basement chick”—over a zombie movie. She suggests portraying a ghost might help her conquer her fears of those types of supernatural films—it’s the one genre that can really get under her skin and linger in her mind. “I would definitely want to be the villain,” she adds. “I’d want to be one of the evil things.”
Below are de Wilde’s picks for her current favorite horror movies, including some refreshingly esoteric titles. Be sure to check out Starcrawler’s new LP She Said, and catch them on their current US tour which runs through December 8.
My dad played this for me when I was in middle school. It’s Japanese. There’s different stories, and they’re all really good. There’s one where the guy gets tattooed everywhere except his ears and then the [spirits] rip his ears off. It stuck with me for so long. I haven’t watched it since, and I really want to [revisit it] because I only remember several images from it.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
My favorite classic standard that I could just watch as a comfort movie. It’s just so beautifully shot. I guess when they were filming it in that house, it was in the middle of summer in Texas and all those dead animals were all real dead animals that they’d found and had been baking in there all day. It’s pretty fucked up. The actors didn’t know, or they thought that it was fake when they first saw it. That scene where she walks in and sees the house for the first time—she was reacting to the smell of the place. And it was so disgusting that she started crying and throwing up.
House (1977) and Carrie (1976)
This one doesn’t count as horror—it does, but it doesn’t—but that Japanese movie House. It’s not [fully] horror, but it kind of turned me on. It’s beautiful—the lighting, everything looks like it’s in a studio when they’re outside. That movie and Carrie were the ones that first turned me on to horror, because I could relate to them in a way and they’re pretty. Carrie is not the scary part of that movie. It’s her mom. I remember watching when I was little and I wasn’t scared of Carrie with the blood. I thought that was cool. But that mom was just so scary and has such a good persona for a villain. The book is really good, too.
Guinea Pig: Mermaid in a Manhole (1988)
I do really love Japanese [horror]. They just know what they’re doing—they get to you. There’s this series of horror movies called Guinea Pig. They’re really hard to find because the FBI actually had to confiscate a lot of them, so you have to download it from a weird website. I bought a DVD off eBay of this one that I wanted to watch called Mermaid in a Manhole about this guy who finds this mermaid in the gutter. She has all these boils, and he takes care of her in his bathtub. The FBI investigated it because the effects makeup, the gore, was so good that they thought it might be snuff. They thought it might be real. It’s not real, it’s just really fucking good makeup.
I like gore. One of the only movies that really fucked me up for a week after—I don’t want to hype it up too much, because everyone’s different—but Martyrs, the French movie. There’s an American remake, but it’s bad. Don’t watch it. That [original] movie is a torture movie, so it’s hard to watch. But there’s so much mental, psychological shit in that movie, too.
I actually watched it again when we were doing research for the “Chicken Woman” video. My boyfriend Gilbert [Trejo] directed it. When you watch a really scary movie, and then you watch it again, you’re not going to be as scared [the second time]. So it was actually easy to rewatch it because I could just pay attention to the shots and be less invested in the story. That one and Frontiers are two that are so dark that it’s hard to watch. And then there’s some I’ve avoided watching, like A Serbian Film. I’m just not down for the trauma dumping. At a certain point it gets excessive.
I actually saw a really good new movie the other day called Barbarian. Again, horror movies are different for everyone, so I don’t want to hype it up—everyone hyped up Hereditary, and I didn’t think it was that scary at all. I don’t want to say too much because I kept thinking I knew where the story was going, and then I didn’t. It just kept turning, and I had no idea what was happening. But I love it. It’s not crazy, fucked-up scary, but it is scary. It’s also funny—the comic relief in it is good. I [also] really like Jordan Peele’s films, but other than that, I haven’t really seen a lot of new horror that’s good. I love Blumhouse stuff.
Discount Bin Flicks
If I watch a horror movie, it’s only with people who like it. The only one in the band who doesn’t like horror movies is [guitarist Henri Cash]. The rest of us like watching them even if they’re bad. Sometimes it’s funny to watch one that you know is going to be bad, because it’s fun to laugh at. I [used to] love truck stops where they would have five [DVDs] for $3, these really shitty horror movies that are in these little packages. We would just look at those and find the most absurd looking ones and watch them in the van because they’re so hilarious and so low-budget—like it’s filmed on someone’s camcorder. It’s so good.