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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Blair Witch Project (1999) - Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez


After the 31 Movies of Halloween review spectacular I had a few months back I decided to take a few  months off from writing. I scribbled out a review or two since then but I haven't figured out a schedule. But for now here is my review of the Blair Witch Project.

In 1999, I begged a group of adults to buy tickets for my friends and I to see the Blair Witch Project. We gave them the money and they bought each of us a ticket. It was amazing. I was about to walk into the most hyped movie of the fall; yeah... I admit it, I was taken by the publicity that surrounded this movie. It was like the first viral marketing campaign. Everyone had some sort of sneaking suspicion that this movie was real. That all of the events were real.

Coming out of the theater that night I realized that I was terrified. It wasn't just hype. It was the way the movie was filmed, and that ending. That ending scares the crap out of me. I really don't like it. It stays on me. Because of that I didn't want to re-watch the movie, but I decided that it was time to revisit the wood of the Blair Witch as seen through the shaky camera lens of three unwitting amateur documentary filmmakers. So, I dusted off the old DVD case and pulled out The Blair Witch Project. I actually received the DVD as a gift years ago and hadn't opened it. Its been sitting in my closet for the longest time.

The Blair Witch Project is a found footage movie about three college students that go into the woods in Burketsville, Maryland to document the tale of the Blair Witch. Needless to say, they run into some trouble and have to try and survive... each other...I mean the Blair Witch! I think... maybe... who knows?

First the bad, the movie runs about fifteen minuets too long. I didn't remember the movie having all of this senseless dialog padding out its run time. Its not horrible, but it could do without.

The movie is creepy all the way from the beginning to the end. There is no soundtrack and the movie just jumps into it. You have, what appears to be raw found footage. The subtle noises in the background are the scariest parts. In the scene where the tent gets shaken, there is someone saying something very faintly in the background but it's not quite audible. You have to really lean in to try to hear what they are saying and then you can hear children laughing and playing. That whole set-up and scene is the second greatest part of the whole experience.

The ending is the best part of the entire movie. The body of the film works solidly enough to lead up this really scary ending. The entire sequence is one of the best  planned out pieces of horror cinema in a long, long time. The movie leaves you with all sorts of questions and that is the beauty of it, the viewer isn't supposed to figure anything out about the Blair Witch, we are only seeing what the young adults in the movie are seeing.

The gore in the movie is pretty non-existent. The film relies mostly on the subtle scares to get you. There is a scene with a few pieces of what looks like a molar and something nasty but its really fast.

If you haven't seen The Blair Witch Project then you should. It is a solid film. It didn't need a sequel and it doesn't need the Scottish remake that is currently being produced. The movie is a perfect piece of horror cinema and stands alone. Anyone who says otherwise is just butt-hurt that they were taken in by the ruse the movie played pre-release. I can safely say this movie gets a good 8 in my book. This is a scary f'ng movie. It definitely has a place in the 1001 horror movies you need to see before you die.

TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE JOSH!!!

S!D


  • The actors were given a 35 page overview of the film. All of the lines in the movie are improvised and all of the surprises were real to them. It was actually the directors, scaring the actors at night.
  • In the promotion for the film, the producers claimed that the film was real.
  • The film reached the highest grossing independent movie of all time, and beat out Halloween. However, it was surpassed in 2002 by My Big Fat Greek Wedding.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Prom Night (1980) - Paul Lynch


I am dedicating this review to Leslie Neillsen who passed away recently at the age of 84. He was one of my favorite comedians and he will be missed. I am a huge fan of not only his comedy but also his more serious roles. Roles like Mr. Hammond. I am providing a link at the bottom of this review. The link is going to take you to my review of Creepshow that also features Leslie Neilsen.


There might be spoilers...

I figure that in order to honor Leslie Neilsen everyone is going to be watching Airplane! or Naked Gun and since I review horror movies, and I didn't want to be left out, I decided to watch Prom Night. This film facilitates my favorite Leslie Neilsen role; he is so calm and collected as a killer and his straight-man shtick is perfect. It is beyond reproach.

Leslie Neilsen does a great job of nailing home the sad father role. He plays a Principal whose child is murdered and now six years later someone is picking off the people who were responsible.

The movie was brutal and realistic, that is what I really liked about it, but some of the acting is sub par. It felt like the majority of the actors in the film didn't care about being there.

Aside from the horrendous soundtrack, that was mostly made up of crappy disco tunes, and the fact that you have obvious twenty-somethings playing seniors in High School; and the acting of some selected individuals, and aside from the fact that Leslie Neilsen needed more screen time; Prom Night was pretty good. The movie is decent but it is a tried and worn skin that the film is wearing. I guess it was the height of Slasher pictures though.

Here's to you Mr. Neilsen
  • This was the first of three sequels and one remake.
  • Part of Jamie Lee Curtis' scream queen horror movies.
  • The soundtrack is a huge hit with disco fans.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween (1978) - John Carpenter


October 31st 2010
So this is it, the cream of the the crop for Halloween horror movies. The final movie of my 31 horror movies of Halloween is none other then the original, I repeat original, Halloween from 1978. This is John Carpenter's masterpiece, he hasn't really done anything worth a damn since this movie. I mean it look back at the movies that he has on his record and put them up against this... Well I guess that the Thing stands up there pretty good, but thats just about it. I am a huge fan of this series and I think that this is a great start point for the consistently depreciating franchise.  

The movie is about a girl named Laurie that is being stalked by Michael Myers. Myers is being stalked by his short, stocky, and bald psychiatrist. The psychiatrist blows into town and takes over as the head sheriff.  He does little to help anyone actually find the killer, but he does shoot him. Well that is kind of what happens, but if you don't know then you should really just forget about watching movies. Seriously, if you haven't heard of this movie or you think I am talking about an over acting one note comedian then I have no advise for you. 

The thing that really gives this movie its vibe is the awesome score that was composed by John Carpenter himself. The legendary piano theme is known like world wide and makes me instantly think of the William Shatner masked killer Michael Myers. The movie is legendary because it started the whole horror movie rules that Randy told us about in Scream. The movie also started the first real slasher franchise. Even though we have to stomach our way through Halloween III (Which has nothing to do with Michael Myers or Laurie Strode) 

The movie cast is pretty minimal they are all pretty fresh. We do have Donald Plesance as Dr. Loomis but we see Jamie Lee Curtis in her first role as Laurie Strode. She is surrounded by her high school friends the wet blanket Nancy Kyes and the spunky slut PJ Soles. They do a great job of being three helpless chicks running from a killer, while loosing articles of clothing along the way. Not that this movie is trashy in any way. It just started the whole, if a girl takes her top off then they have got to go. The movie also has a really incredible ending letting you know that the killer is going to always be there watching the entire time. 

The movie has its little quirks and comedic parts. There are scenes that you have to get just by watching quickly and catching something. There is a hilarious scene where Michael wears a giant ghost costume with a pair of glasses on. That is classic! 

The movie leaves me with a ton of questions, the biggest one being who taught Michael Myers how to drive a car. The movie is also not that scary anymore for me. I have seen this movie literally like 200 times. It looses its scare factor when you anticipate the scary parts. Never the less I am going to really give this movie a 9 of 10. Halloween will forever go into the record books as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Is it on my list, yes. Is it in the top of the list, no. It is definitely in the top 10. 

He came home!

S!D

  • The mask used is a William Shatner mask painted white.
  • There were 5 people used to play Michael. 
  • Inside Laurie's bedroom there is a poster of a painting by James Ensor (1860-1949). Ensor was a Belgian expressionist painter who used to portray human figures wearing grotesque masks.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Carrie (1976) - Brian De Palma


Carrie was not at all scary in the way a horror movie is usually scary. I felt incredibly sorry for Carrie the entire film; constantly getting picked on and having to deal with her ultra-religious-to-the-point-of-insanity mother. She is so happy when she finally gets asked to go to the prom, and things start to look up, then... well... we all know what happens. If you don't know what happens I am going to spoil the movie for you a bit further into the review. You can continue to read on or you can just come back tomorrow when I have the final movie up for the 31 movies of Halloween.

I chose Carrie to be the lead up to my final movie because what I've heard about it has always sparked my interest, but I had never seen it before. I feel that the movie has a certain relevancy today with the bullying epidemic that seems to be going on in our society; especially at the High School level. Also I am a huge fan of Brian De Palma movies (Scarface, The Phantom of the Paradise, Carlito's Way, etc). The movie is so depressing. Carrie is constantly mocked throughout the entire film, and even when people try to help her things tend to go south and she is humiliated again. All of the humiliation, name calling, and bullying take a tole on her and she ends up killing the entire student body. The famous prom scene is both heartbreaking and terrifying. The acting from Sissy Spacek is so stupendous that you can actually see the joy in Carrie's face as she accepts the win for prom queen...and then the pig blood happens. That joy transforms to embarrassment and confusion and eventually forming into intense rage and fury.

The movie has a overlaying Hitchcock-ian value to it. The soundtrack and sound-effects are all very close to something that he might have had in his movies. It sounds like they are sampling actual clips from the Psycho soundtrack. Don't get me wrong, it works here, the sound really makes the movie. From flying knives to Carrie's entire school's gymnasium going up in flames the sound effects are awesome. This is a really well written and well made movie. I was not at all disappointed. The movie had a job to do and it surpassed expectations with flying colors. The movie has been remade and spawned a sequel already, and in both instances they have not been able to match the originals quality and caliber. This is the best version of Carrie.

The soundtrack, the story, the acting, and the way the movie actually made me feel for the down and out Carrie all combine to merit a 9 out of 10 from me. A lot of critics out there panned this movie for being too depressing and not scary enough. I think that this movie is all sorts of depressing and that is what makes it so scary, can ya dig? If you haven't seen Carrie do me a favor and watch it. I just watched it on Netflix and I am sure that you can find it at your local video store, that is if you even know what a video store is anymore. Carrie finds its way onto my list of 1001 horror movies that you need to see before you die.

Also I just realized that I hadn't said anything about the creepiest looking Jesus Christ figure I've ever seen. That thing is scary. It has light up eyes and it is all pudgy in places. Weird. Also that scene where Tommy and his friends are picking out tuxedos is one of the funniest scenes in a depressing horror movie ever. Oh and John Travolta's mullet is pretty slick. That being said... Watch more horror movies.


Director: Brian De Palma
Country: USA
Style: Dramatic Supernatural Thriller
Did ya know...
They were right in Scream when they said that the pigs blood was made of corn syrup and food coloring. Linda Blair auditioned to be Carrie but turned it down.


Friday, October 29, 2010

The Lost Boys (1987) - Joel Schumacher



The Lost Boys is the quintessential eighty's horror movie. It has everything from a bad-ass soundtrack to starring the legendary Corey's; even the saxophone guy in the beginning is pretty bad-ass. The movie is a traditional Halloween time horror movie, it has comedy and suspense. I remember the first time I saw this movie I was completely enamored by it, I wanted to be a frog brother so bad, workin' in a comic book store and killin' shit-sucking vampires!

The movie is about two brothers that move to the fictional town of Santa Carla, California. They end up fighting vampires. Vampires ruled by your standard vampire lore: you have to invite them inside your home before they can come in, you can fight them with holy water, and you can kill them with a stake to the heart, however if you kill the head vampire the vampire's he/she's sired turn back into regular people. They also control the wind...and plumbing for some reason (i.e. When one of the vampires dies the plumbing goes all crazy). Weird. 

This movie is a complete star studded event. Right off the bat you have horror movie veteran and child actor Corey Feldman, you also get Corey Haim (RIP), Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Alex Winter, Jami Gertz, and Dianne Wiest as the sometimes annoying mother. Jeez, she annoys me sometimes. I already commented on the soundtrack, it has some really awesome groups like INXS, Echo and The Bunnymen, Lou Graham, and Tim Cappello (The super sweaty saxophone guy).

Lost Boys is a pretty solid movie, it's hardly spooky, I think the fanboy humor really overshadows the scary parts. The storyline is really good and the acting compliments it. I really enjoy the comedy in the movie, especially the punchline at the end. I am going to give the Lost Boys an 8 out of 10. 

S!D

  •  Filmed in Santa Cruz, CA
  • Kiefer Sutherland wears gloves the entire movie to cover up a cast. He broke his arm while messing around on a motorcycle behind the scenes.
  • Michael is uttered 118 times.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Fly (1958) - Kurt Neumann


1950's era monster movies rule. Whenever I watch one I imagine myself going to the Drive-In movies on a Saturday night with my best girl so she can have an excuse to play overly distressed damsel and hold on to my arm during the scary parts, and so I can play tough guy flex that shit out. Most horror movie producers of the era probably realized their films were just part of a teenage mating routine and so the horror flicks of that time usually ended up being forgetful B-Movies with a stupid monster in a bad costume performing to the minimalist of horror movie standards. This movie was very different. I can't even go as far as to say that this movie has a bad guy...well, maybe Vincent Price swooping in on his brother's wife in the end of the movie, but that is another kind of bad guy.

This film is far less frightening than its 1980's remake. The movie deals with a scientist who isn't mad or anything cliche like that, however, he discovers a technology to teleport matter from one location to another, and problems arises when the scientist attempts to teleport himself. He teleports successfully at first, however then on his second try he is horrifically disfigured when a fly makes its way into the teleportation pod while it is activated.

The movie does a great job of maintaining an atmosphere of suspense the entire time as the movie is well acted and the plot is pretty well planned out. I was pretty relived when I watched this movie and didn't see a guy in a bad costume with a visible zipper.

The ending of the movie is legitimately frightening and I can't seem to get the voice at the end of the film out of my head. It gives me the willy's. The movie does a great job with using sound to intensify the scares and peaks at incredibly high levels. This same technique is used in more modern movies like Aliens. The dialog is low, but still audible, and then when something exciting occurs it gets incredibly loud. This sort of made me jump even when the situation wasn't even particularly scary. Good technique.

This movie is timeless and fun to watch, hell its a classic. I would suggest that you make a big bowl of popcorn and watch this movie as it is a good stepping stone for horrorphiles out there who want to ease themselves into older horror movies. I am going to give The Fly a 7 out of 10.

HELP ME!!!
  • The director died two weeks into the general release of the film. He never got to see it become the success that it was. 
  • Filmed in Los Angeles, CA.
  • This movie was remade in 1986 by David Cronenberg

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dead Alive (1992) - Peter Jackson

Before the Lord of the Rings trilogy Peter Jackson spent his time directing some really gory, really funny horror movies. Dead Alive has some of the grossest and most disgusting scenes I've ever witnessed, it is really not for the feint of heart. The movie is a zombie film of sorts, but it is more of a comedy zombie movie than anything else; the thing that makes this movie so interesting is the incredible camera work Peter Jackson employs.

The movie is about a guy and his mother, and his mother is bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey and turns into a zombie. The guy has to figure a way to keep his quickly, graphically deteriorating mother from escaping and creating more zombies. The movie features a ton of incredibly cheap special effects and home-made models. It is really a cool feature, there are all sorts of things going on, from people having their entire faces ripped off to pus dripping out of just about everywhere. This movie is awesome!

The movie is really silly and incorporates slap-stick humor to make things work. There is a scene where a priest fights off three zombies exclaiming "I kick ass for the Lord!" The film has tons of memorable scenes and is incredibly quotable. Dead Alive stands to be one of Peter Jackson's greatest works, this film is a classic; I really wish I had seen this in a theater full of people.

I am going to give Dead Alive a 8 of 10. The film's effects and camera work are so good that I found myself not really caring about the storyline, I just had a lot of fun experiencing the visuals.

"Stand Back Boy! This calls for Divine Intervention!"
  • In New Zealand this movie made more than Batman Returns. 
  • Regarded as one of the goriest movies of all time.
  • The rental version of this movie came with barf bags.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dawn of the Dead (2004) - Zack Snyder


Zack Snyder has a knack for knowing exactly what an audience expects to see coming into a movie. This reworking of the George Romero classic is an amazing piece of cinematic work: the movie is beautiful, it is one of the cleanest looking movies I have seen in a while; the movie doesn't forget about its roots, there are tons of cameo's from actors of the original; the movie is a perfect zombie film, and does a great job of making its own niche in a genre that has gone off of the deep-end.

The movie has the greatest opening sequence of any horror movie; the beginning of the film could stand on its own as a short film and it would blow most zombie movies right out of the water. The movie starts following a woman having a  tough day at the hospital, and the  reason, unbeknown to her there is a frigging Zombie Apocalypse is going on out side. We don't have to know any back story, we don't have to know why there are zombies popping upeverywhere, it just happens and Zack Snyder knows that this is what people are coming to this movie to see.

The movie is about a small pocket of survivors that take up shelter in a... slightly abandoned mall. Together they all have to figure out what their next move will be, and that is really what I liked about this movie, there is a ton of room for character development via the way each individual deals with the undead situation. You get to see these "survivors" holing up and making the mall into their own private community so the storyline is pretty different from the original but I think that it does it justice.

Accompanying the cool storyline is a spectacular soundtrack. The music is done by Tyler Bates who has also provided music for movies like 300 and Watchmen, along with Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects, Halloween, and Halloween 2. The music provides a perfect sonic backing for a really fun movie montage in the middle of this horrific ordeal, which I find very humorous.

There are a few problems with the film and I found myself loosing interest around the one hour mark. The movie does a great job up until that point and then I start to feel like I am watching an over produced video game. I found myself not caring for the characters as much as I should have at that point. I still really like the movie it just gets kind of... blah. Also I don't like the sprinting zombies idea. I hate that.

The movie is a visual orgasm. The gore is great and the humor is there, it just falls a little in the end.

You can take your ass over to the Quality Inn if it's still there, Shaq!

S!D

  • Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, and Tom Savini all make cameo appearances in this movie. They were all in the original. 
  • The WGON helicopter from the beginning of the movie is the same chopper used in the original movie.  
  • They never use the word Zombie in the film.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Black Sabbath (1963) - Mario Bava


Black Sabbath from 1963 is an Anthology Horror film that is both corny and frightening in parts. The movie is dated and some of the material doesn't really hold over well, however the movie has become an inspiration for film-makers like Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery. The movie features three parts that are introduced humorously, albeit a bit morbidly, by Boris Karloff; the movie was made in the early sixties and it has a sort of psychedelic aesthetic and art to it. 


The three stories: "The Drop of Water" is a tale of terror about a woman who steals a ring from a dead woman only to be haunted by the deceased woman. "The Telephone" is a creepy tale about a woman being watched by a crazed ex-pimp who was thought to be dead. The last is "The Wurdulak" about a man who becomes a vampire and turns his family and the people close to him; this tale is the weakest in the line up. 

The movie's art direction is very 60's acid-trip inspired, with the introductory sequence featuring the disembodied head of Boris Karloff floating and changing colors. The other introductions that come before and after each story are also very strange, and feature bizarre camera angles and crazy shots. 

The scariest story would have to be "The Drop of Water" the effects are nothing to write home about, but the tone and delivery are what really set this apart. "The Telephone" is actually pretty nuts and could have been done with a bit more terror. "The Wurdulak" is the weakest, it does incorporate some really cool shots and the story-line is decent but it doesn't carry over well by today's standards. It is also the longest of the three stories. 

The movie is an Italian horror film, so it features some really bad dubbing, but I for one, think that the dubbing is all part of the charm of these older films. The effects are nothing more than just elementary props, and I believe in one scene the "Specter" is nothing more than a mannequin on a moving platform. Its pretty laughable but they deliver it well by using a decent story and building it up with the music. 

It is one of the better horror movies from the 60's I have seen so far. The movie would be paired well with something like Creepshow or Tales of Terror backing it up. If you enjoy the whole ghost story movie experience this movie does it well. 
I Tre volti della paura


  • This film served as the inspiration for the band Black Sabbath.
  • There are numerous trimmed sequences between the Italian version and English version.
  • Filmed in Italy

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Brood (1979) - David Cronenberg


The Brood is a disturbing and thought provoking movie that is brought to us by David Cronenberg. Some of the imagery he uses is just so intense and violent that it makes you shudder to watch it. You have to be in a certain mind set to really dive into this thing. The movie has the ability to incite all sorts of emotions in your brain, some parts of the movie are incredibly depressing and other parts are mortifying. Cronenberg does a great job of making his viewer feel a certain way when you watch his movies; I had never seen The Brood before and I didn't know what to expect, but suffice to say I became immersed in it.

The movie is about a man who is raising a little girl on his own and dealing with a divorce. His ex-wife is undergoing a radical new therapy that physically manifests itself as deformities on the patients body. Her therapist is a tyrant who keeps her in isolation and has many lawsuits against him claiming psychological damages; throw in some tiny little kid-like assassins that do the doctors bidding and you have quite the movie. The story line is key to this movie, it is a genius mix of drama with a perfect pit of horror and gore. The movie is like a bad tribute band, it gets you in the door and throws in some horror when you're not expecting it.

The acting and special effects are pretty standard for its time, there isn't anything that really stand out in that category. The gore is really disgusting though, there are some scenes that just stick with you, you can't shake 'em. That is really what makes the movie what it is, it is so unique in that way, it is almost psychological.

This movie is disturbing and stays that way all the way through to the core. The Brood is mentally haunting in such a way that I almost don't want to see it ever again. Its like an actual event that happened in your life and you don't want to relive it.
Don't make her angry!


  • While making this movie David Cronenberg was going through a nasty divorce.
  • Bravo Channel rates this movie as one of the scariest of all time. 
  • A remake is in the works by director Breck Eisner. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Amityville Horror (1979) - Stuart Rosenberg

October 23rd, 2010
If it is possible this movie is terrifying and boring all at the same time. There are some choice scenes in this movie that really take the cake, they are really scary, and then there are scenes in this movie that are really dull and bland. The movie has this formula of long, drawn out scenes broken up with something creepy or scary. The movie doesn't get repetitive, which is a good thing, its just that some of the scenes that have to do with James Brolin are boring, until the end where the movie picks up again. 


If you didn't know, this movie is supposedly based on a true story about a family that moved into a house where a mass murder occurred the year prior. Soon after the family moves in they realize that the house itself is evil and is trying to drive everyone insane. The scariest element in the movie has to be the sound, with the first scare being a booming voice screeching GET OUT! From there you get other big uses of long silent scenes broken up with a really loud, sudden noise. This seems to be their main method for manufacturing scares and it gets pretty stagnant pretty fast. 

The movie starts out really promising with action and suspense from the beginning, but from there it just starts to become this weird drama where little is developed or discussed. I will spoil a bit of the movie if you haven't it so beware. It's really hard to figure out if George Lutz can understand he is acting like an ass the entire time or even if he comprehends something creepy is happening. You see bursts of recognition sweep across his face, but then he is right back to being a dick to his family. There is an entire portion of the movie where Lutz knocks out a wall in his basement to reveal a ghostly figure, and then the family just stays the night! WHAT? Why doesn't Kathy Lutz just take her kids and leave? She has to stand by her man? I don't get it. 

The movie is a staple in the horror movie community, and I think it holds this spot because of the "true story" angle. The movie could have done so much more and it could have been the creepiest movie ever, unfortunately the movie is sticks to the book and it doesn't even attempt to venture outside of that realm.

The acting in the movie is pretty decent. Margot Kidder and James Brolin are really good in their roles as newlyweds; the movie also stars Rod Steiger and Don Stroud.


Oh, mother of God, I'm coming apart!

S!D

  • Both stars of the movie James Brolin and Margot Kidder say they don't believe the Amityville story.  
  • Originally made as a TV movie.
  • James Brolin claims he couldn't get work for two years because his character was so cruel in the movie.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Trick or Treat (1986) - Charles Martin Smith



October 22nd, 2010
While looking over the VHS section at my local Goodwill I happened upon this little number, Trick or Treat from 1986. The movie boasts that it stars Ozzy Osborne and Gene Simmons where in truth they are only in the film for like 5 minutes combined. The story is hilarious, it is definitely an 80's movie that captures the horribly terrific  hair metal of the time. I would say that this movie was worth the 99 cents I paid for it. Pure eighty's trash in all of its glory.

The first thing that I noticed is that this movie is distributed by Lorimar home video, the same company that released such hits as Family Matters, ThunderCats, Full House, and yes... Hangin' with Mr. Cooper. That alone made this a must watch right off the bat. The story is about a devil worshiping dead rock star, Sammi Curr, who perishes in a hotel fire. His number one fan gets his hands on a rare demo that Curr made and actually summons the rock star back from the dead to do his bidding over the radio waves. A pretty stupid storyline and pretty forgettable movie.

The soundtrack is provided by Fastway, a go nowhere band from the eighties. Go look them up if you want too, I think their biggest hit was Say What You Will from 1983. The movie doesn't star Ozzy or the Demon, it stars Marc Price from Family Ties, Doug Savant, Alice Nunn, and Tommy Fields (A Chorus Line and Solid Gold dancer) as Sammi Curr.

The movie is full of unintentional comedy. If you are in the mood for a crappy eighties movie then I suggest that you pull up a seat and get ready to laugh at this one with some of your friends. The special effects in this movie are passable, it gets the job done. The movie is just so stupid that it really overshadows anything that would be a good remark about it.

I am going to give Trick or Treat a 1 of 10. The movie has a fun laughable quality to it and that is about it. There is nothing here that would ever make me want to watch this again. Like I said though it was worth the 99 cents to add to my VHS collection. Watch it with some of your friends before you watch something like Slumber Party Massacre, they're in about the same league.

RAGMAN!!!

S!D
  • The songs in the movie are preformed by Fastway which consisted of members from Motorhead, UFO, Humble Pie, and Flogging Molly (Thats right Flogging Molly)


  • The film was ready to be released on DVD but they couldn't get the rights to any of the music so they had to scrap the whole thing. 
  • Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. was originally slated to play Sammi Curr but declined. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Roger Corman

Masque of the Red Death by Roger Corman is more of a work of art than a film. The movie has beautifully colored sets and perfectly constructed costumes; the acting from Vincent Price is superb and is equaled by the beautiful actress Jane Asher. However, the problems begin when we get into the storyline; the short story the film is based on by Edgar Allan Poe is, just that, short; and Roger Corman adds a few interweaving stories to drag the movie up to 89 minutes. He adds a certain flair to the movie and makes the story more his own and less of Poe's.


The story is about the satanic and tyrannical Prince Prospero who rules his land and its subjects through fear. When the Red Death breaks out the Prince holes up in his castle with his "friends" for a five year long party in order to avoid the infection, however the self imposed quarantine is only effective for so long. The movie depicts Prospero and his growing paranoia, shunning friends and actually killing some of them. The movie has a few interweaving, separate storylines so it took awhile for me to actually get interested in the narrative. Once it picks up the movie is really good, but it really drags in the beginning.


The acting in the movie is superb, but of course it would be when you have a veteran thespian actor like Vincent Price at your helm. The film also stars Jane Asher, Hazel Court, David Weston, and Patrick McGee. The acting in the movie is less hollywood-ish and more like a broadway production. I have no problems with that.

The art is what really struck me here. The sets are amazing. The use of color in the film sets the feeling for the scene; Corman doesn't just use color as a cheap way to appear artistic. One scene that stands out with me where the corporeal manifestation of the Red Death visits Prospero and he stands in a pitch black room with a red light shining on him. The shot is so powerful it is actually kind of frightening. If you want to see how to use a camera to show pure art you should see this movie.

 As I mentioned before the story is the only real drawback, I don't really like when someone takes a short story and adds his/her own content to fill up the remaining time. The interesting thing here is that Corman uses other Poe tales to fill up the movie and ties them all together. The downside is that there is a lot of dragging scenes that rely on the actors. This is one of Vincent Prices finer roles and if you are a fan of the actor then you should pick this up. If you are looking for a smart movie to impress a girl on a date night then you should pass this up, your gonna have her yawning.

There is no other god! Satan killed him!
  • Paul McCartney was on set for some of the filming. 
  • The film was shot in the UK to take advantage of their laws. 
  • The film used over two miles of sets that filled three sound stages.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An American Werewolf in London (1981) - John Landis


If you know me then you should come to no surprise when I say this: werewolves are stupid. I find the whole lore behind them dumb. John Landis, however, directed this movie and in my opinion it is the greatest werewolf movie to date. I love his use of subtle humor fused with a perfect storyline sprinkled with bits of brain and guts. This movie to me is horror movie perfection. It touches everywhere you want to be touched. It has suspense and it even has a few jump out/in-your-face scares. It is a great mix. 

This movie is about a guy named David who is backpacking with a friend through England. During their travels David and his friend are assaulted by a werewolf; his friend is killed, but David escapes with a bite. With this bite the werewolf curse is passed to David, and having been killed by a werewolf his friend is stuck in limbo, constantly haunting David, provoking him to kill himself.

David meets a hot nurse while being treated for his werewolf inflicted wounds, and hits it off with her. While under observation he decides that things might not be that bad: haunted by murdered friend, hospitalized, but hey...hot nurse. What he doesn't know is that night its going to be a full moon and shit is about to get complicated. There are so many things that I love about this movie, but here are three big ones:  

One, the special effects in this movie are beyond reproach and they really show some creativity. Its no wonder Michael Jackson wanted John Landis to be involved in Thriller after seeing this. The movie has one of the greatest transformations scenes that I have ever seen; non-stop from beginning to end you are in pain while you watch this poor guy turn into a wolf. The make-up and costumes used in some of the cut-scenes are also amazing for their time. This movie was definitely at the top of its game when it was made. 

Two, the soundtrack for the movie is classic and goes down as one of the greatest for a horror flick. The soundtrack is in complete contrast to what you are viewing; every song is up beat and the songs have something to do with the moon like, "Bad Moon Rising", "Moondance", "Blue Moon" , etc. They are all pretty smartly inserted into the movie as well. 

Three, the humor in the movie is very smart and fun and really adds to the charm of the movie. I haven't watched it with anyone who didn't like it. I guess I am saying that this is a charming horror movie. 

I am going to give American Werewolf in London a 9 out of 10. This movie has it all, but lacks a bit towards the end. It just seems like the ending happens so fast that you don't really get to enjoy it. Maybe if there was more of a showdown at the end of the film it would have served a lot better. This movie did its job and has secured a spot on the 1001 horror movies list. Again if you haven't seen it then I suggest that you go out and do so, you will not regret watching this masterpiece. 

Wouldn't you like to be a werewolf, too?
  • The ending credits congratulate Prince Charles on marrying Princess Diana. 
  • Studios wanted Landis to cast Dan Aykroyd as David and John Belushi as his friend Jack. 
  • Because of this movie, Special Effects and Make-Up are now recognized and win awards at the Academy Awards. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Madman (1982) - Joe Giannone

I really liked Madman even though it is just a repackaged Friday the 13th. The movie does away with Jason and replaces him with an overweight old crazy redneck named Madman Marz. Seriously this guy is scary because of how insane he looks; he has wild grey caveman hair, a crazy beard and a scar over his right eye. No wonder he is so angry. While looking him up on Google I saw that someone compared him to Harry from Harry & The Henderson's. They look almost identical.

The movie begins with some camp councilors telling the tale of Madman Marz: a crazy dude that got axed in the face and hung, but he survived and ran into the woods. If you say his name above a dull roar he will come back and kill everyone in the camp. So what happens? Well one of the stupid teenagers decides to yell the name at the top of his lungs and well... you can pretty much guess what happens. Crazed killer kills stupid teens in the woods.

The movie is full of your usual slasher movie killings. Axes, nooses, a car hood, his bare hands, pretty much anything he can get his nasty grey bloated hands on. He targets everyone that at the camp from the councilors to a poor cook. The actual killings are extremely low budget and look horrible, aside from one, the hanging. According to the internet the actor actually choked himself during the filming and turned a nice shade of blue and purple. That is dedication.

The music is that really creepy synth that people used back in the 80's to make movies scary and aside from the killer, and some of the victims, everything else is just passable for a good horror movie. There is one girl in the movie who screams so much she literally gives her self away each time she hides. It is frustrating to watch. She is hiding in the shadows and it looks like Madman Marz might just walk by without noticing her, then she decides to let out a bloodcurdling scream and he finds her with an axe to the chest.

Lets call a spade a spade and just say that this movie is a complete rip-off; it is hardly original and there are numerous things that drag this movie down. The only real thing that I respect about the movie is the dedication the actors put into making this film. This movie would be a fun addition to any slasher marathon; it would fall in great along side movies like Friday the 13th or Sleepaway Camp. The creepiest thing is the credits at the end, and well if you're creeped out by a crazy redneck then this might be just down your alley.

It all started during a campfire at North Sea Cottages, a special retreat for gifted children...

  • The movie was originally based on the cropsy killings, however they made a movie about that in 1981 called The Burning. This movie was just a rip off from day one. 
  • The movie serves as the inspiration for the song Escape from Hellview by cKy.
  • The movie is currently out of print and is very hard to find.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Haunted Honeymoon (1986) - Gene Wilder


Haunted Honeymoon is a comedic look at those Vincent Price era Haunted House pictures of the late 50's. Directed by and starring Gene Wilder, this romp around the horror genre feels more like a Mel Brooks picture than any original piece. However, Wilder does pretty well with it. Gilda Radner and Dom Deluise do their best to put over some really hilarious scenes. Of course the film is not scary in any way, shape, or form. It is just a satire that meanders around the scene taking landmarks from here and there. It is quite charming. 

This movie is set in the 1930's. It's lead by Larry Abbot (Wilder) and Vicky Pearle (Radner), two comedy radio stars in New York that just happen to be engaged. Decide to be married at Larry's childhood mansion. They also have to get some light electro-shock therapy done as well. You see, Larry suffers from panic attacks electro-shock therapy is the only solution. Why not right? Well, It turns out that the childhood mansion is really creepy and castle-like. The fun really begins when Vicky gets to meet Larry's really strange and bizarre family. Enter Dom Deluise for the win.

This movie has everything from Mel Brooks-ian Musical Numbers to Hilarious and over-the-top Werewolves. If you are looking for something to put on for the kids (or for some guests that don't like scary movies). This movie is just what you are looking for. Explore this movie if you love Mel Brooks. You know, Blazing Saddles, Space Balls, Young Frankenstein. Also if you like movies like The House on Haunted Hill and The Haunting. 

I know that one of you is a werewolf.




S!D 

  • The movie was a box office bomb, only lasting a week in theaters 
  • Dom Deluise won a Razzie for his performance in this movie 
  • This was Gilda Radner's last film before dying of ovarian cancer in 1989

Sunday, October 17, 2010

ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction (2009) - Kevin Hamedani


Zombie movies must be the easiest things to make, they are being pumped out nowadays much like vampire movies post-Twilight, and I am starting to get a little tired of them. I wish the people making these zombie flicks would take some time and pride in their craft, unfortunately they don't. This zombie movie is full of gay jokes and redneck humor; its comedy/horror that pokes fun at politics with useless discussions about how democrats are pussies or how America is Islamaphobic. This movie is a terrible excuse for a zombie film and I wish I hadn't seen it. 

The movie is about a zombie outbreak that occurs on the small island of Port Gamble. According to a news broadcast the outbreak was caused by a terrorist attack. Now the island has three Muslim people that live on it: our sort of main character Frida (Janette Armand), her father and some other guy mentioned in passing. Throughout a big chunk of this movie Frida is tortured by a deranged racist redneck for "obviously being a terrorist". The other main characters are Tom and Lance, a gay couple that have come to the island to "Come Out" to Tom's mother. All of these characters fend off the undead for the entire movie. 

The movie has plenty of blood and guts, it is really bloody, and the effects are pretty good. The usual effect is just blood spraying from zombies biting the necks of their victims, however there is a pretty cool scene where a guy gets his face ripped off. The acting leaves a lot to be desired and I found myself actually getting pissed off when Frida's father came onscreen; his acting bothered me to no end. I am going to have to give this movie a 2 of 10. The effects are cool but the movie is horrible. 


Try Again

S!D

  • This movie is part of the After Dark Horrorfest
  • A budget of $1 Million 
  • Tagline is: The New War on Terror

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Child's Play (1988) - Tom Holland


Brad Dourif is a legend in the horror movie business and he has this movie and its numerous sequels to thank for that title. Brad Dourif has been the voice of Chucky for every film in the series. It looks like he is even going to come back to voice the iconic doll in the Michael Bay produced remake of this movie too. Brad Dourif is Chucky. He does an amazing job voicing one of the most psychotic and demonic dolls known to man. This movie is freaky, plain and simple.

The story is about a psycho-killer named Charles Lee Ray (a combination of Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray) who, before dying in a shoot-out with a cop, plays "Hide the Soul" with a Good Guy Doll. After Charles transfers his soul into the toy he finds his way into the home of an unsuspecting child Andy, and his mother. When the possessed doll begins killing people and terrorizing the family the young boy and his mother try telling the police, but as usual no one believes them.

Aside from Brad Dourif as Chucky the movie also stars Chris Sarandon (the guy that looks like Tony Danza from Fright Night), Catherine Hicks as Karen Barclay, and Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay. The acting in this movie is pretty standard for a horror film, what actually makes the show is the Chucky Doll itself. It is frigging scary. And the final showdown is one of the scariest pieces of 80's horror ever produced. The movie has a lot of fright horror, a lot of scares that jump out at you. The soundtrack helps too. It has one of the coolest themes, and I use it a lot in the Horror Mixes that I make around this time of year.

When you think about it though this movie is pretty dumb; this is a doll these people are fighting and not once does someone just punt the damn thing and be done with it. I would love to face off with Chucky. All I'd need to survive is a pair of steel toed shoes. Another thing that I don't like about Chucky is that he has this human size strength. He's a doll but he can overpower you, he can jump on you and knock you over; this doll is too strong.

The movie is entertaining enough to watch just about every year around Halloween and it is scary enough to make people want to cover their eyes. This movie does what it was made to do: scare you. That's it. I think that there are a few places where the movie lacks and I can't really decide if its the producer's fault or the lack of technology available at the time of its production. Anyway, this is a good Horror movie and its fun to watch.
Did ya know: Working title for the movie was Blood Buddy. Filmed in Chicago, IL and Culver City, CA. Good Guy Dolls were biased on Cabbage Patch Kids and My Buddy Dolls











Thursday, October 14, 2010

Return of the Living Dead (1985) - Dan O'Bannon


Return of the Living Dead is quite a gem and is one of my favorite horror movies; this movie does exactly what you want a zombie movie to do. The acting is completely sub-par and the story is so full of holes that it makes me just laugh the entire time. There are tons of things in this movie that make me appreciate it more and more every time I watch it. I really like the details, for example I like that in one shot there is a poster in the background that says Burt is a slave driver and a cheap son of a bitch who's got you and me here. I like that the zombies can talk and interact with people. It is completely poking fun at the entire zombie genre and they get away with it so well. 



The story is really simple, a group of people (punks and three blue collar workers) are terrorized by zombies after one of the workers accidentally lets toxic gas out of a sealed Army barrel. The zombies in this movie are reanimated once this gas touches them, apparently the gas seeps into everything and when you burn a zombie it releases the gas into air. Now you have this airborne cloud of reanimation gas making dead bodies come back to life all over the place. The zombies are really smart too, at one point in the movie they actually set up an ambulance and ambush it, killing the paramedics and then use the ambulance's radio to call for more paramedics. Normally I would have a really big problem with these zombies, but this movie is too ridiculous and great to get mad at.




This movie is classic 80's all the way to the end. Even through the end credits, I just enjoy the ending music; you have groups like The Cramps, 45 Grave, T.S.O.L, The Damned, and SSQ. The movie stars Return of the Living Dead series alums James Karen and Thom Matthews who would go on to star in ROLD II & III; then you have scream queen Linnea Quigley who was also in Night of the Demons. The movie just makes you love it up to and including the cop out ending. 

This movie also has one of the greatest zombies of all time: The Tarman. I have never seen a zombie more well done than this. I do have problems with the holes in the movie, and you'll have to watch it to understand what I am getting at here. I don't really know if they purposely wrote the movie in this way or if they were just lazy, regardless it is definitely the best of the entire series, and by series I mean 1 & 2. The rest of the movies suck. You have to add this movie to any horror movie play list that you have going on. I couldn't pass up watching it this year, it gets better every time I see it. 


Director: Dan O'Bannon
Country: USA

Did ya know...
The history of the movie is really interesting. John Russo and George Romero teamed up and came up with the original Night of the Living Dead. Then they split over differences and Russo ended up getting the rights to any film with Living Dead in the title. So Romero had to end up calling his zombie movies Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, etc. In a way this movie is the true sequel to Night of the Living Dead. This movie is based partially on the book Return of the Living Dead by John Russo. Tobe Hooper was supposed to direct this movie and put it out in 3D but he left the project to work on Lifeforce.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fright Night (1985) - Tom Holland

Fright Night is a really cool 80's movie that has tremendous re-watch value. I like how this movie is set in "The Real World" and things like Vampires, Werewolves, Mummies, and whatnot only exist in the "Movie world". The movie stars Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, Steven Geofferys, William Ragsdale, and Amanda Bearse (Marcy D'Arcy from Married With Children) as the love interest and damsel in distress. The entire film has this whole John Hughes feel to it that makes it really fun to watch. You could really watch this movie back to back with something like Ferris Buller and be pretty content. 

The movie is about a boy that knows that his new neighbor is a vampire. He tries to get everyone around him to believe it but, of course, they don't. He knows that its only a matter of time before this blood sucker next door pays him a visit and he has to do something about it, and he enlists his girlfriend Amy, friend Evil Ed, and former vampire movie actor Peter Vincent to help him before its too late. 

The movie pulls themes from older vampire movies and incorporates them with a more contemporary teen overtone. The acting is what you would expect from any mid-eighties teen movie so the thing that really stands out here is the storyline. The story here is fantastic and makes for one hell of a film, however the movie is really tame on the blood and guts scale aside from a few choice scenes. The soundtrack is really awesome too featuring artists like J. Giles Band, Devo, Sparks, and Autograph. 

Aside from the ending of the movie, which I found just a bit confusing, I really enjoyed Fright Night and I wish that I could have seen it on the big screen. If you like vampire movies (not Twilight) then this is a must see; if you like quirky eighties teen movies then this is a must see. 

"Jerry Dandridge is vampire!"
  • The movie is being remade with Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Imogen Poots. It is slated for a 2011 release. 
  • Both Steven Geoffreys and Chris Sarandon spent over 20 hours combined having makeup applied
  • The movie spawned a sequel Fright Night 2, which has become a cult classic

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tales from the Hood (1995) - Rusty Cundieff



Tales from the Hood's narrative is broken up into four short stories that tell haunting tales of child abuse, police brutality, racism, and black on black violence. The movie is an anthology horror movie like Creepshow or Tales from the Darkside with a central hub storyline tying together several stand alone narratives. The producer for the film is Spike Lee and it stars Clarence Williams III (Samson), Joe Torry, De'Aundre Bonds, and Samuel Monroe Jr.

The main storyline follows three gang members who have been called to a local mortuary to retrieve a cache of drugs the mortuary's owner, Mr. Simms, has found. However, before Mr. Simms will agree to hand over the drugs to the three gangsters he forces them listen to a number of horror stories, each one with a moral. There is an African American cop who wants to turn the tables on some dirty cops that killed a prominent leader in the community, there is a story that deals with an abusive step-father who turns into a monster and beats his wife and step-child, there is a story of a corrupt politician who is a former member of the KKK and lives in a plantation home, and the last story is about a gang banger that gets busted and is sent to an extreme rehabilitation program. Each story ties into the main storyline somehow which is pretty cool.

The writing and acting in this movie are really awesome. The first three stories are the best ones, with the last story being the weakest and weirdest. My favorite is the tale of the abusive step-father with David Allen Grier acting like you have never seen him act before. He gets really hardcore. The failing factor here is that the monsters in the movie are all exaggerations of real life people and situations; which kind of transforms this movie from being a horror film to a sort of public service announcement. 

The movie is really well done and the effects are spectacular, however the movie is not scary and I think it goes about one story too long. They could have cut out either the racist politician story or the rehabilitation story; which would have made the movie more concise and enjoyable.

This ain't the Terror Dome, This is Hell!

As of Oct. 2010 this film is out of print with no plans to release it again. 
The soundtrack topped the Hip-Hop charts in 1995 with the single "Tales from the Hood" by Domino and Chill 
Filmed in the beautiful South Central, Los Angeles.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Night of the Demons (1988) - Kevin S. Tenney


After a number of requests I had to give in and watch Night of the Demons from 1988. This movie is the definition of an Eighties horror movie through and through; it has an awesome soundtrack, hilarious one liners, terrible outfits, cheesy special effects, dorky dudes, and hot chicks galore. The movie is not very creepy, but it is really fun. It would make a perfect addition to any Halloween party playlist.

The movie stars Amelia Kinkade, Lance Fenton, and the hot scream queen Linnea Quigley. The acting in the movie is by no means good, but that adds to the charm. Its not supposed to be any good. The characters are all pretty typical too; every high school stereotype is represented: the tough guy, the token black guy, the goth, the slut, the nerd, the dick, the jock, the princess, the hot girl, and well the other jock... It was kind of like the Breakfast Club of horror films.

The story is simple, a group of teens decide to have a party at a crazy house on Halloween. They all get drunk and dance and everything looks like its going pretty well; that is until they accidentally wake up a demon that had been trapped in the house they chose as their party spot. Now they have to get out before the demon spreads its... demon-ness to each one of them.



Its a pretty solid story-line backed up with a cast that can't act. I will give Night of the Demons a 6 of 10 for being so "rad." I could see this movie being played back to back with movies like Sleepaway Camp and Fright Night. So watch this movie to fulfill your need for that familiar 80's taste. Throw on your members only jackets and mousse up your hair. This is going to be a really fun ride.

Director: Kevin S. Tenney

Country: USA

Did ya know? 
The movie was a box office success making twice what it cost to make. It had a very limited release opening in Detroit and moving to New York to close out the year. All in all the film took in $3.1 Million.
Linnea Quigley goes nude in this movie, as she did prior in Return of the Living Dead.
Bauhaus is the biggest band on the soundtrack providing the song "Stigmata Martyr"