“I Heart Monster Movies”: Tyler Benjamin’s 2012 documentary is a “love letter” to horror movies

By on July 18, 2018

I Heart Monster Movies is avid horror movie fan Tyler Benjamin’s documentary about what it means to be a horror movie fan, providing viewers with a range of unique perspectives on horror movies and showing us the lengths they’re all willing to go to in order to show off their love for the genre.

Benjamin’s 77-minute documentary — produced by Trionic Entertainment and available on DVD from Cheezy Flicks — was filmed over a period of eighteen months, between 2010 and 2012, and you can now watch this “love letter” to horror movies tonight or any time you like on Night Flight Plus.

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I Heart Monster Movies also features interviews with iconic celebrity actors, musicians and notable people who mostly work behind-the-scenes, including:

David J (ex-Bauhaus/Love & Rockets legend); Ivan De Prume (drummer for groove metal band White Zombie); b-movie “Scream Queen,” film producer, model, singer, and author Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living Dead); Doug Bradley (who starred as “Pinhead” in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser franchise); actor, stunt performer, film director, and prosthetic makeup artist Tom Savini (From Dusk til Dawn); adorable Venezuelan actresses Electra Amelia Avellan and Elise Isabel Avellan (best known for their roles as the “Crazy Babysitter Twins” in the 2007 film Grindhouse and as Nurses “Mona and Lisa” in 2010’s Machete).

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Benjamin also talks with actor and musician Bill Moseley (who has starred in a number of cult classic horror films, including The Devil’s Rejects and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2); legendary horror actor Sid Haig (who in addition to starring in Jack Hill‘s exploitation films of the 1970s is best known as “Captain Spaulding” in House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects); Alex Vincent (known for his role as “Andy Barclay” in the Child’s Play franchise); and Michael Gornik (producer and director, best known for Day of the Dead, Creepshow, and Martin).

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You’ll also see interviews with b-movie actress Elissa Dowling; John Amplas (who has acted in a number of George Romero’s films, beginning with Martin); and actress Dee Wallace (who despite having 238 film credits as an actress is probably still best known as “Mary,” the mother, in the 1982 blockbuster film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial), and there’s even more besides these.

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Mostly, though, Benjamin wanted to get the points-of-view from people who didn’t work in the movie business.

Benjamin talked to lots of convention attendees — including those he filmed at Crypticon: Seattle,  held at the Seatac Hilton Hotel in Seatac, WA, and also at a “Zombie Prom,” held in Portland, OR — all of whom offer up interesting commentaries on how they became interested in their lifelong love the horror movie genre, and how their favorite films feed their obsessions, their fears, and their personal philosophies on life.

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These interviews really run the gamut, and include zombie cosplayers (some of whom say things like “I don’t actually like horror movies”), musicians, horror-themed pin-up models and photographers, body modifiers and tattoo fiends, haunted house and hearse owners, just to give you an idea of the variety you can expect to see, from the average elementary school teacher all the way to the hardcore horror enthusiast with horror movie-themed tattoos.

These horror freaks have — many of them dressed up as their favorite characters — have come to meet their favorite celebrities (actors, authors, etc.), buy gifts and collectibles, learn the latest makeup techniques, meet other fans, and enjoy macabre-themed party events and panels.

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Have a look at the film’s trailer:

Read more about I Heart Monster Movies below.

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One of our favorite parts of I Heart Monster Movies is Benjamin’s cleverly-edited interview with Sally Skelding, a retired teacher, whose comments about how horror movies may potentially effect children negatively are cut together with some of the more enthusiastic interviewees, which gives us a few moments of much-needed levity.

On occasion, Benjamin also adds in short clips from horror movies like It, The Hunger, and Nightmare on Elm Street, but they’re mostly provided as segues between the interviews themselves.

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The soundtrack music was provided by Voltaire, with original music by Toxic Zombie, and a live performance by David J, all of whom also appear on-camera to discuss their own love of monster movies.

Toxic Zombie’s “Gypsy” music video, directed by Tyler Benjamin

Another of Tyler Benjamin’s documentary titles is Walking Dead Girls, a behind-the-scenes look into popular zombie film culture that has “infected” the country (sorry!), and, in particular, the obsession with “Sexy Female Zombies,” sometimes called “Zombie Bimbos” or “Zimbies” by those in the know.

We see footage from a Cheezy Flicks zombie pin-up calendar photo-shoot — Benjamin works for Cheezy Flicks — mixed with interview segments with cult icons like the late great George Romero, and cult movie stars Bruce Campbell and Linnea Quigley, filmed at ZomBcon 2010.

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Some of the footage promotes a feature called Stripperland, which follows what happens when a strange virus causes the majority of the female population to turn into lethal carnivorous zombie strippers. A small band of survivors make a dangerous cross country trek to get to the safety of their grandma’s house in Portland, Oregon.

Tyler Benjamin worked as a first-assistant director and producer on the film (Sean Skelding was the director; he’s also the owner of Cheezy Flicks).

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Watch I Heart Monster Movies and other horror-themed documentaries and features over on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.