Friday, February 10, 2012

Take a Seat for the RDHP Funeral

Everything dies at some point.
If horror movies have taught us anything, it is this.
Such is the case with the RDHP. Welcome to its funeral.

Actually, let this be more of a wake. The best way to honor a life well lived is to think of the good times, not the pending days dead and rotting.
Below, we take a final look at the RDHP before throwing that first shovel of dirt on its coffin.

But save those tears for another blog funeral, friends. Because if we learned another thing from horror movies, it is that what dies doesn’t always stay dead.
True, we will not be posting new content and we will no longer time-travel with you through horror history. But we do hope the rotting bones of the RDHP still manage to occasionally kick off that funeral dirt, shuffle into reader’s brains, and bite down for a snack.

We invite you to read old posts you may have missed, reread the ones you liked, and continue to spread the infectious word of this project. Next week a post will appear on this site that offers links to each of our movie reviews – this time in chronological order from 1920 to 2011. 

Why the listing post? We invite you to take on this project yourself! Watch these 92 films spanning 92 years, and then check out the corresponding blog entry for some reflection and fun.

We will be there with you in ghostly, haunting, murdering and sliming spirit.
But for now pick up that dirty shovel… we have a project to bury. 
The funeral begins with this video retrospective on the RDHP:

RDHP Highs and Lows
We have seen Academy Award Best Pictures and Golden Turkey Award Winners alike during the project. Below, some of the high and lowlights based on our average C and N Ratings (on a scale of 5), followed by our personal eulogies for the RDHP.

RDHP Highlights
Top Five Rated Movies of the Project

1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Average rating: 4.9

2. (Three-way-tie)

Let the Right One In (2008)
Average rating 4.85

King Kong (1933)
Average rating 4.85

The Thing (1982)
Average rating 4.85

3. (Two-way-tie)

Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Average rating 4.65

The Exorcist (1973)
Average rating 4.65

4. Session 9 (2001)
Average rating 4.6

5. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Average rating 4.5

RDHP Lowlights
Bottom Five Rated Movies of the Project

5. Voodoo Island (1957)
Average rating 1.7

4. Faust (1926)
Average rating 1.2

3. Phantasm (1979)
Average rating 0.7

2. Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)
Average rating .065

1. The Haunted Castle (1921)
Average rating 0.25

RDHP Eulogies

Chris Dimick's last words:
“Horror movies reflect life.
Sure, it’s not often we have malevolent ghosts booing in our faces, or are chased through high school parties by knife wielding maniacs.
But the core of most horror movies do reflect the various conditions of this crazy thing we call life: jealousy, revenge, selfishness, greed, survival, love, humor, fear, camaraderie, sacrifice, perseverance, loss.
These attributes may be so coated in blood it is hard to see them at first glance in some horror flicks. But they are there, and sometimes in a more powerful fashion than their more “serious” film counterparts.

This fact is one of the reasons why I so loved embarking on the crazy experiment that was the Rich-Dimick Horror Project. You never know what you are going to feel during a horror movie, but you always know you are going to be entertained.
That made returning to the RDHP week after week, for 112 weeks, not only bearable but honestly one of the highlights of existence.

I tried to highlight these lessons and teachings of the horror movies we screened in my weekly reviews.
There is nothing wrong with just watching a movie for pure brain candy, but it never hurts to get something meaningful out of them either.

Horror is not a throwaway genre only interested in eliciting screams and vomit. When done right it is among the highest art forms, and tugs on our basest dreams and fears. If you take only one thing away from the horror project, I hope it is that.

Nick and I didn’t do this project out of a lust for money (we got none) or fame (we got little). We watched the movies because we deep down love horror and were interested in seeing it from all time periods and points of view. We accomplished this goal.

We wrote the blog because we not only wanted to chronicle this journey for our own amusement, but hoped other people who loved movies would enjoy coming along for the ride.
We hope we accomplished this goal, and will continue to as new readers find our blog floating through cyberspace like a living-dead-rising meteorite.

The RDHP has taught me many things about film, and life. While I have gained a new appreciation for movies from all time periods, I also learned a few things about myself through this experience. There are too many to mention all, but here are seven:

-Silent movies are fun, but you need to be in a calm and open minded mood to enjoy them. Many don’t translate to modern times (1921’s The Haunted Castle), but when they do they can serve as a literal time machine back to a time that seems almost alien (1920’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.)

-No matter how intellectual you try to be about film, you’ll always find yourself reverting back to childhood and crushing on movies released during your formative years. For me, it was the films of the 1980s that I couldn’t get enough of during the project. Films like “The Stuff,” “The Gate,” “House,” and “Cujo.” Where they cheesy? Sometimes. Were they fun? Always.

-Speaking of 1980s movies, they seem to have never heard of political correctness. And that is why I love them. They are raw, real and in your face… even in the kids movies! People today are so sheltered, even in their media. The 80s was the last film decade to get it right.

-Modern American Horror has not croaked. It has just gone underground and independent. Going into the project, I personally felt that the 2000s didn’t have much to offer American horror fans other than lame sequels and Torture Porn. But through the project I found that films like 2001’s Session 9, 2002’s May, 2006’s Altered and 2009’s Paranormal Activity completely machete chopped this assumption.
Only problem is besides Paranormal Activity, no one saw these films.

The moral of the story, don’t be afraid of independent horror. I used to think it was just a bunch of hack story lines and fake looking murder set pieces ala the 1950s B horrors. But independent film (just a nice name at times for B-movies) have become much more sophisticated in modern times. In fact, it is the only hope for the horror genre.

-There were years that NO horror movies were even made! I wouldn’t have guessed this, but it is true. It made for some creative scrambling here at the Rich-Dimick Horror Project, seeing as we committed to watching one horror movie from each year between 1920 and 2011.

For example, not a single horror movie was released in 1938, which is strange considering the early part of the 1930 ushered in a golden age of horror with films like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy. You’d think studios would still be cranking out genre fare!
To accommodate, we watched “Son of Frankenstein,” which was filmed in 1938… but officially released in 1939.

-Murder is horrible, and people can do some horrific things to each other if given the chance. You would think that watching all these horror movies would desensitize a person to the blood, guts, violence, and scares that come in the usual horror movie.
But the project has actually made me MORE sensitive and sickened by murder and other violent behavior.

Why? Because we just didn’t watch these movies… we thought about them. In order to write the blog, I needed to really think about the content of the films, the situations, the behaviors, the reasoning… you had to mentally live the horror.

In turn I’ve become more disgusted with violence, not less. I’ve also become more easily frightened, not less. And I’ve become even more devoted to my personal moral beliefs by witnessing the countless immoral actions on the screen.
You might think I’d resent the project for this. But it is the opposite. I no longer watch films with my mind closed. While the movie lows feel much lower, the highs also feel much higher.

-Excellent horror movies will give you chills and/or leave your mouth gapping open at some point. Either of these happened in the following films:
2008’s Let the Right One In (chills/mouth); 1961’s The Innocents (chills/mouth); 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (chills); 2001’s Session 9 (chills/mouth); 1977’s Eraserhead (mouth); 1958’s The Fly (chills); 2006’s Altered (chills); 1982’s The Thing (mouth); 1950’s Sunset Boulevard (chills); 1968’s Night of the Living Dead (chills); and 2002’s May (mouth).

Let these physical measurements be a guide for whether a horror movie is just good, or great.”

Nick Rich eulogizes:
“Dearly beloved we are gathered here today...

Hello, I, Hello, do, Kitty Kitty!

No wait, that's not right! Let's try this again.

It's been a long, hard road we've traveled class of 2012...

Disclaimer: real zombies don't only feed on brains!

Geez! What is wrong with me? Why can't I do this? What's stopping me from starting this eulogy off right? Oh, wait... I know what I need:

Phew! That helped tremendously. Let's try this one final time.

It's difficult to find the words to say in times like these. Words have a way of falling short when loss is so near, so palpable... especially when they are spoken about one who was taken away from us too soon. 

Psst! No one was actually sad when he died!

RDHP was a vibrant star that shone in the night for just over 2 years... two magical years that took us to so many different times and places and ultimately gave us more than we could have ever dreamed. Some people come into your life and change you just by being there; RDHP was like that. I can't speak to how RDHP touched your lives (as I'm not you), but perhaps I can help you to cope with the grief you're invariably feeling by sharing with you how it touched mine:

-RDHP taught me that it's OK to fall asleep to a film from time to time; there's no shame in it. Ever since childhood I have always been terrified of dozing off during a film unintentionally. RDHP showed me that sometimes life is just to full to warrant staying awake during a movie... and that sometimes a movie deserves it.

Leave your shame at the door!

-Movies were awesome since ever! RDHP showed me that old is good! So many people only enjoy the films, music and media from their own 'glory days'... but every decade was someone's 'glory days'! Sure there are bound to be some duds, but don't let that stop you (it doesn't today after all). So go ahead, open your mind and see what all the fuss was about!

Cheaper than a time machine (and more practical).

-I learned that it's not a bad thing to have a closed mind about some things. More specifically, RDHP showed me I hate perverse slasher films (I'm talking to you Maniac). The climate in my generation is that one has to be open-minded about everything and give it a chance. No way Jose! There are some things you are simply the poorer for experiencing and would be better off avoiding all together.

Think before slashing!

-Technology is awesome! RDHP opened up a new way for Chris and I to actively continue our friendship even while geographically challenged. How many other people (WoW players notwithstanding) can say they hang out and talk to their friend who is 2,000 miles away more than the one who lives just down the block?

It's nice to keep in touch.

-I can really commit to something! Sure I'm coming up on 8 years of marriage and, yes, I graduated from university and there are many other examples in my life of my ability to make a commitment... but for some reason watching a movie a week and blogging about it for 2.2 years feels like a monumental accomplishment. Unlike most things I've committed to in my life, RDHP wasn't life or death, it was just something fun I started on a whim. I could have quit at any time and there wouldn't have been any dire consequences (well, except for Chris' angry tears), but I didn't. And that's just cool.

And so closes this chapter of my film-viewing life. I'm not going to lie RDHP, you weren't always the easiest companion to live with. The hours of lost sleep... the locked down schedule... the times when I fantasized about watching something, anything else... but we had our good times too. Times when I was surprised, shocked and amazed. Above all, however, we had the journey... a journey which took us through 92 years of cinematic history... a journey I will probably never see the likes of again.

Rest in peace RDHP, you were epic. Now you're over. May you be as epic in death as you were in life (as a good ghoul should be).

The Final Skinny: Try the RDHP journey for yourself if you have ever wondered what life would be like if there were 5 days in a week or if you want to see how much your significant other really loves you.”

Things You Might Not Know About the RDHP:
-The idea to blog about the horror movies we watched in the RDHP came from our wives. They both made the suggestion separately that people might want to read about our horror-time journey.

-Nick and Chris wore the same T-shirts during each RDHP screening. The shirts were made by Nick for the 2009 Music Box Massacre, a 24-hour horror movie marathon in Chicago.


-Chris never washed his shirt during the project, as was part of a project pact. But Nick’s shirt got washed three months into the project “accidently” by his wife.

-Chris and Nick met in college while both working as editors at the Western Michigan University newspaper, the Western Herald. Oddly enough, they never talked about horror movies until well after college.

-There was a precursor to the official RDHP. Nick and Chris first watched horror movies based on the present day season or holiday (e.g. "Uncle Sam" for 4th of July; "Prom Night" for May prom season. "April Fool's Day" on, well April Fool's Day; "P2" on Christmas).

-The webcam Chris used for the horror project was a 2008 wedding present from Nick.

-Chris is a Taurus, Nick is a Capricorn… and yet they still get along.

-Favorite horror movies: Return of the Living Dead (Chris); Dawn of the Dead (Nick).

-Netflix Instant View went out twice on scheduled RDHP days. The result was the unfortunate viewing of Puppetmaster II on March 22, 2011 and the fortunately fun viewing of House on Haunted Hill on August 2, 2011.

-The horror project started on Nov. 16, 2009 with a Guillermo Del Toro produced film, 2007’s The Orphanage. The project finished 2 years and 2 months later on February 7, 2012 with another Del Toro produced film, 2011’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Bookends, yo!

-Between the two of us, we have lived and performed the RDHP in five different houses/apartments since the project started.

-RC Cola is an unofficial sponsor of the project. Why? Because it is delicious.

RDHP Presents: 
Thank Yous
We couldn’t have done the project without the love and support of the following people.

Thank You to Our Wives
If it wasn’t for Mel and Molly, this blog wouldn’t exist... for several reasons. First of all, as mentioned, they were the ones who suggested we create a blog around the Rich-Dimick Horror Project viewing where we wrote about our progress. Smart gals, seeing how the blog became nearly as important to this experience as the movies themselves.

Chris is also thankful to Molly for taking care of all the house duties, meals and other business on those many movie viewing and blog writing nights over the last 2.2 years. Even as someone who hates horror movies, she always read the blog and offered her support.

Nick is also thankful to Mel for lovingly and patiently enduring the loss of her husband on two weekday evenings (to watch and write) for 2.2 years - especially while pregnant and later caring for a newborn! As someone who tolerates the occasional horror film and loves to read, she surprised Nick and didn't read many blog entries. By no means is he upset or disturbed by this, on the contrary Nick finds in quite amusing... besides, now that Mel is a stay-at-home-mom he suspects the zombified RDHP will be sinking its rotting teeth into her before too long.

Thank You to our Blog Followers
We’d love you if you read just one blog post, but to the blog followers who publically pledged their support by becoming a Follower, double thank you! Your encouragement and great comments/emails routinely reminded us that we weren’t just posting for our own amusement.

Thank You to Jim, Our #1 Fan
A personal thank you goes out to Jim Meals, who not only wrote a great fill-in blog post of us on The Shadow, but from the very beginning offered unwavering support of the project. Jim, your emails discussing the weekly’s project entries were always encouraging, informative, enlightening and fun. We enjoyed them as much as the project itself, and cherish the friendship we’ve formed with you along the way.
If you are into Western detective stories, and you should be, check out Jim’s own blog at

RDHP Explains:
What's Next?!
How are we going to follow up the RDHP, besides crying and rolling into the fetal position for three weeks? Here's two initial ways how we plan to get through our mourning period:

Nick Post-RDHP
-Nick will focus on being a daddy, which he became in December 2011 with the birth of Baby Noel. Time will be spent giving attention to his 2-month-old baby.


Chris Post-RDHP
-Chris will focus on his house, which he bought in February 2011, Baby Hamtown. Time will be spent conducting home improvement projects and otherwise giving attention to his 110-year-old baby.


It’s daylight. The Rich Dimick Horror Project ambles through the abandoned online farmhouse after 26 months of surviving flesh and time-eating horror movies.

The sounds of civilization, normal civilization, make a racket outside.
“It’s over,” RDHP thinks. “We’ve made it.”

With a smile the RDHP looks out the window, then the shot hits. They’ve been mistaken for a ghoul... their faces pasty white after nearly 200 hours of watching horror movies has drained the pigment from their computer bleached faces.

 Internet Sherriff: “Good shot! OK, he's dead; let's go get 'em. That's another one for the fire.


Sincerely, your horrific friends,
Chris and Nick


  1. Bravo fellas. How am I going to kill my Friday afternoons at work with no RDHC to entertain me?

    You will be missed

  2. Thanks brotherman! Glad you enjoyed the project!

  3. Aww sadness. I'd only just discovered you all and not I have to say goodbye. Thanks for producing such an awesome blog.