5 out of 5
covers season 1
What a loving tribute to that most lovable of film genres: horror.
The Core is ostensibly a talk show – and yeah, it is – but with some pseudo-meta scripted elements and segues into tangential informational blocks (makeup how-tos; studied examinations of that episode’s theme), it’s so much, much more and such a good show because of it. Now, true enough, what I’m about to say can really be applied to any niche genre, but specific to film, horror is this weirdly pigeon-holed scene where it makes money, has had some seriously influential contenders (in genres far outside of itself) over the decades, can require an intense grasp of manipulative skills not necessarily required for more “straight” film styles, and yet always seems cast as the red-headed stepchild of the movie world. That’s changed a lot over the years, since people that grew up loving this stuff are now the tastemakers, but that our screens are littered with just as many cash-grab trash attempts as there are legitimate scare fests easily keeps the horror tag swimming in the mire. And though there’s this ravenous fanbase that helped to push a show like Walking Dead to big buckaroos, there are just as many viewers of that who “love horror” and have seen Evil Dead and Dead Alive but haven’t traveled much further than that hallowed circle. Horror attracts a type that loves to boast “I’ve seen X, Y and Z EXTREEEEME” – again, not necessarily helping the ‘legitimacy’ of the scene (although it could be argued that the mix of filth and non-filth is part of what defines it…) – but doesn’t always get the patient, self-aware-of-its-limitations study that The Core offers.
In other words: a lot of websites, movies, mags, and more, claim to be horror-obsessive depots for horror fans. Some are. But many fall into that boast camp: drop a reference to Nightmare On Elm Street V and you’ve convinced enough people. The Core is the real deal.
Horror guy Mickey Keating talks to horror or horror-tangential directors, actors, and producers, with each episode circling around a particular concept – psychological horror, Romero horror, gross-out horror, etc. – and plucking the guests’ brains for their motivations, their recommendations, and more. There’s generally some kind of “realism” breaking horror gag – Mickey gets beheaded, a hand chopped off, etc. – with the show’s makeup artist coming to explain how they pulled it off, and then always ending with some truly excellent film / show recommendations from a Shudder bigwig. Yeah, in part you could see this as an ad for the channel, but the recommendations are legit; “Shudder exclusive” isn’t just a nyah-nyah badge when the stuff being suggested is totally worthwhile, and absolutely supportive of whatever the focus of that episode is.
So the simple tag – a horror show for horror fans – is very, very true in this case. Funny, fascinating, and will undoubtedly add to your already too-long watch list. More of this show, please.