Chris Alexander is a Canadian-based, internationally published writer, filmmaker, and editor-in-chief of such magazines as Fangoria, Gorezone, and Full Moon Entertainment's house magazine, Delirium. He discussed movies in the horror genre and why we continue to be fascinated by them. "Horror movies have been popular since the dawn of cinema," Alexander said, noting they help us deal with the illusion of control for situations over which we have no control. "The reason we watch things that are otherworldly and bizarre... is to ease the tensions and anxieties surrounding our own mortality," he added. As an example, he pointed to Steven Soderbergh's biological disaster movie Contagion (2011), which became the number one movie on Netflix at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Alexander talked about the influence of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, Psycho. "It changed everything in 1960, not just by its structure of killing off its heroine in the first reel of the film, but also the level of violence you could show in a film," he explained. According to Alexander, Psycho ushered in a new dawn for horror films with the way it was shot, its jarring soundtrack and unusual Norman Bates reveal, and it was the first time a toilet was shown on screen. He listed some of his favorite horror movies including George Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978), Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now (1973), David Cronenberg's Shivers (1975), and Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), which he credited with hooking him on the genre. Alexander also announced his virtual 7-week course, Fear On Film: The History of Horror Movies, which starts on online on March 8, 2022.
Open Lines followed in the latter half of the program. Jim in Santa Monica, California told George he is good friends with filmmaker Mel Brooks, who he described as sharp as a tack and active despite being in his mid-90s. "He remembers something I said to him forty years ago and I can't remember what day it is," Jim said. He also talked about writing a book, The Diary of a Manic OCD Bookseller, which has chapters on Brooks as well as George. Bill from Los Angeles recalled sitting by author Ray Bradbury in 1986 at a Hemingway contest. Bill expressed his distaste for Bradbury's writing style and suggested he borrowed heavily from George Orwell.
Frequent caller Louise in Louisville, Kentucky, talked about Hannibal's crossing of the Alps and the Punic Wars, and connected the word 'afraid' to the origin of the name 'Africa'. "Today the people of Africa do not know the meaning of the word when the people say, 'I'm an African American' they're calling themselves a scared American," she explained. Louise also revealed how she learned she was reincarnated Cleopatra after hypnotherapist Bruce Goldberg triggered her past life memories.