A new horror news and reviews Web site called Legless Corpse launched in February, and one of its goals is to provide exposure for independent films and other projects.
Legless Corpse is the brainchild of editor-in-chief Chad Armstrong, a freelance graphic and web designer based in Huntsville, Ala.
Armstrong says his passion for film and filmmaking spawned the site, leglesscorpse.com.
“Horror is my favorite genre, and if it wasn’t for it, I wouldn’t have such a passion for film,” says Armstrong, a native of Long Beach, Calif. “Our site is different because we will write about any horror project, no matter how big or small nor media type. Soundtracks, comic books, novels, even a tabletop RPG.
“A lot of the bigger sites won’t give an indie film or project the time of day. We support the small projects … help give exposure to new filmmakers with crowd-funding campaigns, etc. That’s why I started the site.”
Not surprisingly, a ‘Nightmare’ sparked Armstrong’s lifelong interest in horror.
“I watched ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ as a kid,” he recalls. “It had a big influence on me as far as makeup effects. My cousin and I started a makeup FX company, Slaughter Spree, worked on a few films, and then I got into filmmaking in general.
“I shot a few short films in my day, but financially it wasn’t an avenue I could pursue. But my love for makeup FX, horror and film certainly stayed with me.”
Armstrong actually named his website for a character in one of his favorite horror films.
“One of my favorite movies, ‘Return of the Living Dead,’ has a legless zombie in it attacking the paramedics outside the mortuary,” he says. “One day I was watching the credits and that actor was credited as Legless Corpse. I thought that was hilarious and it stuck. I actually used Legless Corpse as one of my production names when I was shooting my short films.”
Like any die-hard horror fan, Armstrong shares his list of favorite films, while admitting it’s difficult to whittle down.
“There’s so many,” he says. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ for introducing me into the genre, ‘Return of The Living Dead’ for makeup FX and a great cast of characters, ‘Exorcist III’ for all the subliminal spooks and Brad Dourif's performance, ‘Re-Animator’ for the makeup FX, and of course the ‘Evil Dead’ films 'cause they are just awesome.”
Armstrong’s list of favorite horror icons features a number of makeup artists alongside more familiar names like actor Brad Dourif and directors John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Alfred Hitchcock.
“I have to add makeup artists because they were the stars of the films that influenced me as a kid,” he says, specifically noting Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, KNB and Screaming Mad George.
Armstrong says effective horror films generally have the same ingredients for him.
“There are two main things they should include, one or the other,” he says. “First is tone. If the film sets a creepy tone and gets under my skin, it’s golden. ‘Exorcist III’ for me is a perfect example of that. Second is makeup FX. Either a really cool-looking villain or creature like Pumpkinhead or Cellar Dweller, or cool makeup stuff like ‘Evil Dead,’ John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ or even the original ‘Friday The 13th.’”
As a website which reviews movies, Armstrong often sees or hears about upcoming horror films, particularly independent projects, before mainstream audiences do.
“Some that have crossed my desk recently are ‘Death Do Us Part.’ I’ve already had the pleasure of viewing ‘Wolf Creek 2,’ which was a lot of fun. Very excited about ‘Phantasm 5.’
“It’s funny. I used to watch a lot of trailers, but I don’t anymore as a reviewer. I want to review films without having any notion of what they are about. It makes for a better review I think.”
Armstrong hopes his website is a tool to help support independent projects, but he’s more than ready with his horror movie pitch if Hollywood calls.
“A genetically created creature has been manufactured to warden a prison planet. An innocent detective has been wrongly sentenced to that planet where prisoners roam free. Given no food or shelter, the prisoners are left there to survive on their own. They resort to murder, cannibalism and torture. The detective must find a way to not only survive the prisoners and alien creature, but to defeat the warden and return to Earth to clear his name.
“If I ever get millions of dollars,” Armstrong says, “you might actually see that one day.”