Shock Value: How Dan O'Bannon and Some USC Outsiders Helped Invent Modern Horror | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Shock Value: How Dan O'Bannon and Some USC Outsiders Helped Invent Modern Horror

A new anthology compiles student short films from O'Bannon, John Carpenter and others

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This new anthology compiles some of the student film work done at University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts in the late 1960s and '70s, with an emphasis on horror and sci-fi-ish films. The title argues that these short features presaged and were influential on the horror films of the late 1970s and early '80s, but you'll have to bring your own knowledge. There is no narrator, or any explanatory material.

Thus, horror fans will most appreciate these recently uncovered short films, including works by Dan O'Bannon (known as screenwriter for Alien, Total Recall), John Carpenter (director of The Fog, Halloween) and Charles Adair. Some films are better than others — Adair's desert-set spooker "The Demon" was clearly influenced by Night of the Living Dead — and one short by Terence Winkless will be familiar to even the most casual horror fan: A babysitter is menaced by a knife-wielding psychopath.

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