Episode 28. Horrorwood: The Haunting (1999) and World War Z (2013)

Blockbusters are as much a part of summer as sunburns and mosquitoes. In this episode, Andrea and Alex explore what it means when the billion dollar industry that is Hollywood casts its evil eye on the horror genre during their most profitable time of the year.


The Haunting. Dir Jan De Bont. 1999.
World War Z. Dir Marc Forster, 2013.


Brad’s War. Vanity Fair’s in-depth look at the plagued production of World War Z.

Conclusion to Culture and Society by Raymond Williams. The conclusion to the cultural theorist’s book, containing his insights on community, “the masses” and the myth of common culture.


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9 thoughts on “Episode 28. Horrorwood: The Haunting (1999) and World War Z (2013)

  1. Antonis Dervenis says:

    I found The Faculty of Horror about 2 months ago and by now I’ve listened to every episode. I developed a love for horror when I was about 6 but because I was born in 1995 the first horror movies I saw were pretty shitty. I think the first “horror” film I saw was Anaconda. I also have pretty strong memories of The Haunting(1999) in that it scared me to death. I had nightmares for weeks. A few years ago I rewatched it and couldn’t understand how that piece of CGI shit scared me so mush. It’s interesting how it all seemed so real when I was a six year old.
    Anyway I agree with most of what you guys said about horror blockbusters in this episode. The last few years we had a revival in horror blockbusters: the conjuring, the purge, insidious, the lazarus effect, paranormal activity,… Some of them good. Some of them horrible. But we also had a slew of great indie horror movies: the babadook, a girl walks home alone at night, it follows, starry eyes,…
    So Alex and Andrea, I love your podcast, I look forward to the next episode and greetings from Belgium!

  2. Kevin Wadlow says:

    I remember being initially really excited by hearing that there would be a movie made of Max Brooks’ “World War Z.” I liked all of the differing perspectives that came together to tell a cohesive story. I’m sure there are similar books out there (or are now) but, at the time, it was a needed departure from a clogged subgenre of the horror novel. And then I saw the first trailer and was confused. What I saw had nothing to do with the book, other than the inclusion of zombies. If it hadn’t made its way to Neflix, and quickly at that, I still wouldn’t have seen the movie. Even a few beers didn’t help. :p

  3. Talicia Tarver says:

    Sorry that this isn’t related to the subject matter, but I did want to comment that I always enjoy the music you guys select for your episodes – I haven’t heard a song yet that I didn’t want to download and listen to on its own merit. Most of the songs I know, but quite a few I don’t. Would it be too much trouble for you guys to assemble a playlist? If so, what is the name of the songs used for the ending of The Assessment Part 2 episode (January 18, 2015)?

    I’ll be sure to leave a more intelligent comment next time. Thanks for your work. I really enjoy your podcast.


    • Andrea says:

      Thanks for your message, Talicia! We closed that episode with a track called “Where I’m From” by a Canadian vamp-rock outfit called Nim Vind. It’s off their latest album Saturday Night Seance Songs, which is available for sale and digital download here.

  4. Kerrima says:

    Nerd alert! The World War Z ending was actually filmed in the south east of England in a pharmaceutical plant there. My mother was working those days and a lot of the workers were told they couldn’t go to various parts of the site because of the actors and the film production going on.

  5. Joshua says:

    Lili Taylor played Nell, not Lily Tomlin. Although I’d rewatch this movie right now if Lily Tomlin was in the lead role. I haven’t seen it since I watched it in the theater. I always confuse bits of The Haunting with 1999’s other big “horror” movie, The House on Haunted Hill. When you were about to mention who played Nell, I was picturing Lili Taylor, but the name Famke Janssen was stuck in my head and I knew that wasn’t right. Having just looked, she was in House on Haunted Hill. I just know that I’ve probably completely mixed those two movies up.

    I think I also lump in 13 Ghosts with those two, but I remember actually liking that movie though.

  6. Ahab Dent says:

    I have always be a Horror Fan since I was a kid. I watched Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc at a quite young age. I was the kid who brought all the crazy movies to the movie nights we had as kids. Of course I was sometimes scared and the Grady-Twins freak me out to this day but lets say I had/have a pretty high tolerance when it comes to horror films. I remember very vividly how my friends and me watched The Haunting at one afternoon. We where about 12 or 13 at the time we watched it. There is a scene in the movie where the main character is in a room with mirrors. And that sceene where her face is all weird when she is looking in the mirror, scared me to death. I remember all my friends kind of laughing at it and I was deeply freaked out. It was soo weird because it touched something in my mind that my response was veeery strong. I didnt really show my emotions at the time but I couldnt focus for the rest of the movie…I was so fascinated by my reaction. I did watch the movie some more times (..you know to get the kick) and the scare got less and less…but that first reaction though…wow!
    It funny to hear you guys talking about the film and you are absolutely right about it…still that movie holds a special place in my heart because it did something that no other film could do to my mind. You can watch the mirror scene on youtube if you dont know what I am talking about.


    P.S. I love your podcast

  7. I have just discovered your podcast – thank you! I have a 40 mile commute through construction and you’ve saved me going bonkers! I learned a lot about World War Z in this podcast – I will read the book. I had a thought about the nature images at the beginning – I thought they were creatures that exhibit symptoms of “hive mind” which is what the zombies seemed to have. Just a thought – the way insects work together or birds flock along magnetic meridians (fields?). I had hoped that would come up in the film – or any film for that matter. Does a zombies body work like a “hive mind?” Is that why you can sever their spine and they keep walking? Maybe some film maker will explore that angle 🙂

  8. FictionIsntReal says:

    This was too early for you to compare Mike Flanagan’s Hill House miniseries. By now you could cover even more Shirley Jackson: We Have Always Lived in the Castle got an adaptation, and the film Shirley was about a fictionalized version of Jackson (I didn’t care for that, but others differ). You refer to Luke being a good guy who just has a financial interest in the house, but the book identifies him as a liar & thief. That inspired some of his different characterization in the miniseries (where he’s a heroin addict instead of an heir).

    It’s possible that white Americans are more into American patriotism than other racial/ethnic groups… but it doesn’t make sense for “heterosexuality” to be associated with one race rather than another. That’s the norm for every race.

    Finding a home where she feels she belongs IS Nell’s plot in the original, even if her belief strikes the audience as mistaken & tragic.

    The Lanes in World War Z didn’t strike me as “suburban” even if their home did have plenty of space. Their commute instead appeared to take place in a city (per Wikipedia, Philadelphia).

    I didn’t have a problem with the characters using the word “zombie” but then not discussing zombie movies. They had other things on their minds than pop culture. At the same time, I don’t think it was a particularly good movie, I don’t mind that it never got that sequel, and I only watched it because you covered it and I’d already seen The Haunting.

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