Leaping zombies! Chas. Balun ("Blood Hound," Orange County Life, Jan. 16) of Westminster has got to be the most authoritative horror movie critic this side of the legendary Texan Joe Bob Briggs, who like Balun began his career as a horror movie analyst in 1982.
While Joe Bob had his "vomit meter," which measured such things as dead bodies, blood spilled and limbs severed, Balun analyzes movies from a more serious, professional perspective, taking such things as artistic merit, carnage and ability to frighten into consideration.
In fact, he got into the horror movie review business because most professional critics shunted such movies aside, not taking them seriously, and Balun, being an ardent fan of this genre of movie, objected to this stepbrother type of treatment.
In a stylish, witty, sometimes humorous fashion, Balun meticulously differentiates between the well-made and the abominable horror flicks. For example, he describes "Day of the Dead" as "a thinking man's zombie film" while "The Howling" is the "funniest, sexiest, hippest werewolf film of them all."
I admire his candor (he doesn't believe such films incite people to violence), his insight (he blames the excessive number of trashy, shoddy horror movies on the abundance of businessmen in the field out to make a "quick buck" by exploiting cheap thrills), his morbid sense of humor (he says he enjoys Sundays by "painting, collecting books and chainsawing puppies"), and his adept way of comparing things ("blood is to horror what the kiss is to romance").
He is in the process of directing his very own horror flick. Maybe he could entitle it "Attack of the Horror Movie Critics." I hope it rates a "10" on the "Gore Score."
--Kenneth L. Zimmerman, Cypress