Monday, November 29, 2010

Fear Clinic: Season 1 (2009)

Fear Clinic

Written by Aaron Drane
Directed by Robert Hall

Dr. Andover...Robert Englund
Villatoro...Kane Hodder
Nurse Owens...Lisa Wilcox
Garcia...Angel Oquendo
Susan...Danielle Harris
Jackie...Kate Nauta
Jonte...Tory Kittles
Ajax...John F. Beach
Brett...Lucas Till

Five pretty young people--yes, they're all pretty and young; this is a web series, but it is still for all intents and purposes TV--visit a psychiatric hospital and misguidedly put their trust into Dr. Andover, a mad-scientist type whose specialty is the treatment of phobias.  Each of these patients have an irrational fear of one thing or another, although each fear is grounded in some trauma from their past.  In each episode, one of the patients undergoes an experimental therapy (which includes psychotropic drugs and a casket-type device known as the Fear Chamber), in which their fear manifests itself as gruesome hallucinations.  In order to conquer their fear, they must face these hallucinations head-on...and survive to tell the tale.

But what if the hallucinations aren't really hallucinations at all...?

Episode 1: Hydrophobia
In the pilot episode, we meet Brett, who is afraid of water.  His hallucinations take the form of his waterlogged mother, as she tries to drown him in the bathtub.  There are a few creepy moments, as his mother's form glides across the surface of the floor, leaving behind a slimy, fleshy residue.  The ending comes abruptly, though, a problem that plagues all five episodes of the series.

Episode 2: Scotophobia
In this episode, Susan's fear of the dark materializes as hoardes of demons who are relegated to the shadows.  There's a tense (but perhaps too-brief) scene as she attempts to reach safety, forced to stick to a narrow beam of light which permeates the center of the room she is in, monsters grasping for her on both the left and right side.  I guess she was being honest when she said, "It's not the dark that scares me.  It's what lives inside it"

Episode 3: Entomophobia
Jackie, who is terrified of bugs, has an emotional breakdown.  Villatoro injects her with a sedative, but she's fully convinced that he injected her full of spider eggs, and that the newborn arachnids are crawling around beneath the surface of her skin.  Her desire to rid herself of the critters makes this the most stomach-churning episode of the series.

Episode 4: Misophobia
Ajax has a paralyzing fear of germs, so much so that he even wears a bottle of hand sanitizer around his neck like a charm.  He hallucinates that he has become infected with some sort of flesh-eating virus, culminating in a finale that didn't honestly make a whole lot of sense to me.  The weakest episode in the series.

Episode 5: Claustrophobia
Jonte is claustrophobic, and he finds himself simultaneously being buried alive and confronted by zombie gang members that he once knew.  The zombies wield handguns made out of bones and sinew, perhaps a last minute effort to appeal to the "Urban Audience" that theoretically flocks to movies like Zombiez and Vampiyaz in droves.  The final moments leave the series open to a second season, which would hopefully take less of an anthology approach and instead continue to explore the themes already set in place.

Overall, a pretty enjoyable series, although more episodes would have been helpful as it feels as if I've just watched the first third of a movie before the projector died.  It's nice to see some genre vets together, even if it is on the small screen, and it was a thrill to see Englund and Hodder facing off against each other sans makeup.  With Englund in the role of the not-so-good Doctor, it's nearly impossible not to make comparisons to Nightmare on Elm Street, so imagine the hospital setting of Dream Warriors with the rationale of The Dream Child, and you've pretty much got it.

Each episode averages about 7 minutes or so, so you don't have to have a lot of time to invest.  Just perfect for the ADD-riddled masses!

You can view the episodes for free at Fearnet.com.

--J/Metro

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Raw Meat (1972)

Raw Meat

In 1892, a cave-in caused a large number of co-ed miners to be trapped deep beneath the surface of London.  The rescue efforts were expensive, causing the mining company to go bankrupt.  With no funds available, and no proof of survivors, the decision was made to let the dead stay buried.

But there were survivors, those who fought off the ravages of starvation by consuming the flesh of their fallen compatriots.  They even procreated--and why not?  There's not much to do down there in the dark, and sex was probably their only form of entertainment.

Eat, screw, die and be eaten.  It's the circle of life, my friends.


Flash forward to "modern" day, however, and the number of deaths has surpassed the numbers of birth, until one disfigured descendent of the original miners finds himself without food and without family.  The cheese, as it were, stands alone.  His secret and forgotten world breeched by the subway system, he travels to the surface for the only type of sustenance he has ever known.

Human flesh.

Alex and Patricia are college students who inadvertently find themselves in the midst of both the cannbial's hunt for food, and the missing persons cases that it turns into.

Although this sounds pretty damn good on paper--or on computer screen, as the case may be--it's not nearly as entertaining as it should be.  It sounds like an unreleased John Skipp novel, but it plays out like a watered-down, made-for-TV adaptation of same.  The acting is good, the special effects are passable, and the opening theme was as badass as they come--even if it was decidedly at odds with the rest of the score.  Unfortunately, there are only a few brief moments of gore, and not many more moments of outright horror.  Much of the time is spent with the characters yammering on about the police investigation.  Which is fine for an episode of Poirot, but it doesn't cut the mustard in what is supposed to be a horror film.

This movie is set in London, so it makes sense that it has a Brittish vibe to it.  But it is very Brittish, the stuffy sort of Brittish that devolves the legendary Dr. Loomis into a prissy bitch who throws a hissy fit when he learns that his tea is made with tea bagsTea bags? Can you even imagine!?

Overall, the filmmakers took too tame of an approach to a theme that should have been extreme.  A movie like this should have kicked me in the crumpets--but, alas, my scones have escaped unscathed.

1972
Rated R
87 Minutes
Color
English
UK

Quite right.  Tut-tut.  Cheerio and all that.
--J/Metro

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pickman's Model by H.P. Lovecraft

Pickman's Model
by H.P. Lovecraft

Narrated by an author penning a book about macabre art, as if in conversation with his friend Eliot (i.e., we the reader), this tale involves a gifted subversive artist named Pickman. Pickman's paintings are so brilliant and life-like that the viewer must remind himself that he is not glimpsing through a window, but rather gazing upon a painted canvas.
"You recall that Pickman's forte was faces. I don't believe anybody since Goya could put so much of sheer hell into a set of features or a twist of expression"
The narrator is familiar with both the man and his art, and he notices that as Pickman's disposition grows darker, so do his subjects. Hideous and unspeakable monsters populate his latest works, each of them more disturbing than the last.

How does Pickman create something so unimaginable and yet so realistic at the same time? If you're patient enough, and willing to listen to his dark theories, Pickman just might show you.
"You know, it takes profound art and profound insight into Nature to turn out stuff like Pickman's. Any magazine-cover hack can splash paint around wildly and call it a nightmare or a Witches' Sabbath or a portrait of the devil, but only a great painter can make such a thing really scare or ring true. That's because only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear — the exact sort of lines and proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness."
It's fairly obvious that Lovecraft was using this story as a soapbox to discuss his own craft, with Pickman's artwork as a stand-in for his writing. In fact, many of the sentiments on display here later found their way into Lovecraft's famous essay Supernatural Horror in Literature.
"It's my business to catch the overtones of the soul, and you won't find those in a parvenu set of artificial streets on made land. Back Bay isn't Boston — it isn't anything yet, because it's had no time to pick up memories and attract local spirits. If there are any ghosts here, they're the tame ghosts of a salt marsh and a shallow cove; and I want human ghosts — the ghosts of beings highly organized enough to have looked on hell and known the meaning of what they saw."
Despite being viewed by some as a rather prosaic or generic entry into the canon, I found this story to be greatly enjoyable. Maybe it's the sensibility that I was raised with--both my parents were artists of sorts--but I'm always drawn to the mad artist archtype, which I feel is the spiritual flipside to the mad scientist coin.

Pickman...Horror Hipster?

Hmm.  Could be.

--J/Metro

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movie Review: Squirm (1976)

Squrim

Written & Directed by Jeff Lieberman

Mick...Don Scardino
Geri...Patricia Pearcy
Roger...R.A. Dow
Sheriff Reston...Peter MacLean

City boy Mick (looking like a younger version of Dexter) is visiting the lovely young Geri Sanders in the backwoods town of Fly Creek, Georgia.  Obstensibly he's there to do some antiquing, but you get the feeling that he's less in the market for a Victorian era rocking chair than he is for some pretty little bumpkin booty.  But that's besides the point.


As Mick arrives, the town is just recovering from one doozy of a storm that knocked out the electricy from swamp to shining swamp.  Unknown to everyone but the viewers, a downed powerline has landed on the Grimes family worm farm, pumping thousands of volts of electricity into the slimy bastard bloodworms beneath the surface.  This mutates them into deadly predators who are quick to attack and even quicker to digest, leaving behind nothing but a skeleton picked clean.

Mick and Geri are, obviously, our heroes here, and the only ones who know what's going on.  Sheriff Reston is the prototypical smalltown lawman, a Southern-fried "Alpha Male" who won't trust anything that an outsider like Mick might say.  He's more of an obstacle than a villain, though.  That role is reserved for Roger Grimes, son of the worm farmer, who is obsessed with Jeri and is enough of a threate even without the killer worm angle.


I'm not normally much for these Nature-Run-Amok horror flicks, aside from Hitchcock's The Birds--but that's Hitchcock, for Christ's sake!  But Squirm, along with its younger sister Slugs, both hold a special place in my heart due to their cheesy, slimy, slithering goodness.  I mean, one worm?  That's no big deal.  Ten, twenty worms?  Gross, maybe, but nothing to write home about.  But, say, one-hundred-thousand worms, all squirming around in a massive tidal wave rolling through the house?  Now that's what I call a party!  Look for the unrated or R-rated version for a minute more of gooey grossness than the PG version.

Good, gross, graphic fun full of great lines like, "I'm not a tourist.  I'm a Libra," and the immortal "Hey!  There's a worm in my egg cream!"


1976
Unrated/R
93 Minutes
Color
English
United States

"This was the night of the CRAWLING TERROR!"
--J/Metro

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Columbia's Screen Classics by Request

About two months ago, Sony Home Entertainment unveiled their Screen Classics by Request program, which allows fans to purchase print-on-demand DVDs of films from Columbia's backlog that have never been available before.  There's approximately 100 flicks currently up for grabs, each one priced at $19.94--plus shipping, natch.  You can view the entire catalogue by clicking HERE, but I've included links and synopses of some of the titles I thought you all might be interested in.  Check 'em out.

10 Rillington Place: Based on Ludovic Kennedy’s investigative book, this is the true and horrifying story of serial killer John Christie, chillingly played by Richard Attenborough. When Timothy Evans (John Hurt) and his wife (Judy Geeson) move into Christie’s tiny flat, they do not know that they are now part of the latest plan Christie has hatched to lure yet another woman to her death and pin the blame on Evans, who is soon afterwards hanged. It is only when fate exposes the crimes of the death-house at 10 Rillington Place in London, that Christie is brought to justice and all of England rethinks its views of the death penalty. Newly remastered.

The 27th Day: Gene Barry (War of the Worlds) stars in this unique, intelligent sci-fi thriller. Five ordinary humans are summoned by an alien (Arnold Moss, Gambit) who gives each a box containing capsules capable of killing millions of people. If they can refrain from using the capsules for 27 days, the Earth will be spared. Will they be able to stand firm, especially when word leaks out and a panicked and furious population starts to hunt them down? William Asher (I Love Lucy) directed this seldom-seen sleeper, adapted by John Mantley (Gunsmoke) from his own novel; the cast also includes Valerie French, George Voskovec, Paul Birch, Mel Welles and legendary voice actor Paul Frees in a rare onscreen appearance as a newscaster. Newly remastered.

30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock: In his final film (and only starring role without partner Bud Abbott), the one and only Lou Costello plays Artie Pinsetter, a would-be inventor who needs to create something in a hurry when his girlfriend (Dorothy Provine, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World) is mysteriously turned into a giantess. This wacky spoof of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and other sci-fi “growth” epics of that era is skillfully helmed by veteran actor/director Sidney Miller (Babes In Arms) and features such beloved comedy greats as long-time Lucille Ball foil Gale Gordon as Dorothy’s pompous uncle, plus Charles Lane, Jimmy Conlin, Joey Faye, Peter Leeds and Doodles Weaver. And it’s “Wonder filmed” in the miracle of “Amazorama!” Newly remastered.

Address Unknown: The legendary production designer William Cameron Menzies (Gone With The Wind) produced and directed this startling drama, made during World War II. Academy Award®-winner Paul Lukas (1943, Best Actor, Watch on the Rhine) and Morris Carnovsky (Dead Reckoning) star as German immigrants and art-dealers in San Francisco whose lifelong friendship is threatened when Lukas returns to Germany and comes under the sway of Nazi beliefs. The daughter and son of the two men, engaged to be married, are also caught up in the crisis. This riveting Hitchcock-style thriller, stunningly photographed by Rudolph Maté (Foreign Correspondent), blends suspense, romance, action and a powerful message into a unique and exciting film. The cast also includes K.T. Stevens, Carl Esmond, Peter Van Eyck, Emory Parnell, Frank Faylen, Charles Halton and Frank Reicher. Newly remastered.

Birds Do It: In his only starring feature film, legendary TV comic Soupy Sales plays a top-secret janitor at Cape Kennedy who dreams of becoming an inventor and has, in fact, created devices to help him keep the place clean. Then one day he walks into the wrong room, and before you can say “Up, Up and Away!” he has the power to fly. Naturally, the bad guys want him even more than the NASA folks. This zany comedy for all ages features Tab Hunter in a dual role, many popular TV comedy actors, and a gag cameo by a very famous singer. Also features Arthur O’Connell, Beverly Adams, Edward Andrews, Frank Nastasi, and is directed by Andrew Marton. Newly remastered.

The Canterville Ghost: Sir John Gielgud stars as a 300-year-old cantankerous ghost who finds a new unexpected friend in a modern American teenager in The Canterville Ghost. When an American family comes to England to claim their inherited ancient ancestral castle, the restless spirit of Sir Simon, refusing to share his home, instigates all manner of fiendish tricks intended to scare the new owners off the premises. The daughter of the new owner (Alyssa Milano) has her own objectives for wanting to make trouble for her father (Ted Wass) and new stepmother (Andrea Marcovicci). This updated retelling of the classic tale (first filmed in 1944) is a fantasy full of fun for the whole family. Newly remastered.

The Case Against Brooklyn: Based on a true story, this gritty, brutal drama traces how the police, empowered by the D.A., go about smashing a violent betting syndicate. Darren McGavin (Kolchak: The Night Stalker) plays the lead cop on the case, while Warren Stevens (Forbidden Planet) has one of his best roles as the mob’s sadistic enforcer. Maggie Hayes and Peggy McCay co-star alongside such veteran tough guys as Tol Avery, Emile Meyer, Nestor Paiva, Robert Osterloh and Joe Turkel; Paul Wendkos (The Burglar) directs from a script by blacklisted writer Bernard Gordon (billed as Raymond T. Marcus). Newly remastered.

Cell 2455, Death Row: Based on the autobiographical book by Caryl Chessman, this fictionalized account of how a boy becomes a brutal criminal is both shocking and sensational. William Campbell plays Whit Whittier, who begins with petty crime, escalating to violence, and finally convicted on charges of robbery and rape, is sent to San Quentin’s Death Row. While awaiting execution, Whittier studies law and manages to successfully represent himself in appeal after appeal. The real story of Chessman was controversial for the prosecutor’s use of the Lindbergh kidnap law, in an unorthodox way, resulting in Chessman’s death sentence for crimes that did not amount to murder. A gripping, shocking film, particularly for its time, which explores the problems of juvenile delinquency and the justice system without shying away from controversy. Directed by Fred F. Sears (Earth vs. The Flying Saucers and Rock Around the Clock), with Marian Carr, Kathryn Grant and Vince Edwards. Newly remastered.

Contract on Cherry Street: Frank Sinatra and Martin Balsam are lieutenants on the vice squad investigating motor vehicle chop shops which lead them to a wider investigation of the mob. After the murder of one of their own, the cops decide to take justice into their own hands, no matter where that dark road takes them. Location filming in New York takes Sinatra into Studio 54 and the backroom of a Jewish deli, which enhances the atmosphere of this procedural/thriller. Great performances from the squad room cops and the mob characters including Jay Black, Verna Bloom, Joe De Santis, Martin Gabel, Harry Guardino, James Luisi, Michael Nouri, Marco St. John, Henry Silva, Richard Ward and Johnny Barnes keep this tale moving at high speed. Written by two-time Academy Award® winner Edward Anhalt (Best Writing, Motion Picture Story, Panic in the Streets, 1950), (Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Becket, 1964), from a novel by Philip Rosenberg and directed by William A. Graham. Newly remastered.

Crash Landing: Nancy Davis (aka Mrs. Ronald Reagan) made her last feature film appearance in this gripping Sam Katzman production. As a trans-Atlantic flight bound for New York develops engine trouble, flashbacks reveal what brought the passengers and crew to this fateful moment. (Relax — they don’t land on a weird island with smoke monsters.) A fine cast adds spark to this unusual entry in a familiar genre, written by future Star Trek producer Fred Freiberger. Directed by Fred F. Sears (The Giant Claw) and starring Gary Merrill, Irene Hervey, Roger Smith and Richard Keith. Newly remastered.

Detour to Terror: O.J. Simpson plays the driver of a tour bus on its way to Las Vegas hijacked by a gang of men in a dune-buggy. The crazed men are intent on kidnapping one of the passengers, an heiress, and force the tourists into a harrowing detour in the middle of the desert. Lorenzo Lamas is excellent as one of the villains who will stop at nothing to get their way. This classic made-for-television thriller also stars Anne Francis and Arte Johnson. Newly remastered.

Duffy: Academy Award®-winner James Coburn (1998, Best Supporting Actor, Affliction) is at his coolest and suavest in this delightful caper that brings back the Swingin’ Sixties in all their groovy finery. He’s a retired master thief who agrees to steal $2,000,000 in bank notes from one of tycoon James Mason’s ships, said loot to be turned over to Mason’s venal sons (James Fox and John Alderton). There’s also an added perk in the comely person of liberated Susannah York. Lovingly filmed in Spain by director Robert Parrish (The Mob) and co-written by Donald Cammell (Performance), this is sexy escapism at its psychedelic finest. Newly remastered.

The Executioner: When a covert operation in Vienna goes awry, British Intelligence operative John Shay (George Peppard) suspects his colleague, Adam Booth (Keith Michell), may be a double agent. Despite help from his girlfriend, Polly (Judy Geeson), a clerk at MI6, Shay fails to convince his superiors of his theory. Undeterred, Shay learns from scientist Philip Crawford (George Baker) that Booth has been trying to steal top-secret documents. Appointing himself executioner, Shay kills Booth and then assumes his identity to obtain conclusive evidence that Booth was a traitor, only to discover the dead man’s wife (Joan Collins) is now Crawford’s mistress, and Soviet Intelligence has set him up. Newly remastered.

Fragment of Fear: David Hemmings (Blow-up) stars in this incredibly creepy thriller as an author (and reformed addict) who attempts to investigate the recent murder of his elderly aunt. Unfortunately, given his past, no one is interested in his theories — except, of course, the killer. Directed by Richard C. Sarafian (Vanishing Point) from a script by Academy Award® winner Paul Dehn (1951, Best Writing, Seven Days to Noon), this smart, twist-filled mystery will keep you guessing till the very end. The distinguished international cast includes Gayle Hunnicutt, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Flora Robson, Adolfo Celi, Roland Culver, Daniel Massey, Mona Washbourne and Arthur Lowe; it was photographed by Academy Award® winner Oswald Morris (1971, Best Cinematography, Fiddler on the Roof) and scored by famed jazzman Johnny Harris. Newly remastered.

The Guilt of Janet Ames: Rosalind Russell stars in this complex psychological drama about a woman whose husband is killed in World War II while saving the lives of five comrades. She sets out for some sort of revenge, but when she is struck by a truck and paralyzed, a boozy reporter (Melvyn Douglas) thinks she can walk again and uses psychology to help her. But what she also doesn’t know is — he’s one of the five men on her list! Richly photographed in a gauzy style by cinematographer Joseph Walker to heighten the dreamlike quality of the story, with excellent support by Sid Caesar, Betsy Blair, Nina Foch. Directed by Henry Levin (Genghis Khan). Newly remastered.

The Long Haul: Harry Miller (Victor Mature) is an Ex-GI living in a tiny, rundown flat in Liverpool with his English bride and young son. Harry feels trapped in his life there: the best job he can get is driving a truck for his wife’s uncle, and his desire to return to the States is a constant source of friction between the couple. When he lends a hand to the gorgeous, petulant girlfriend of big-time racketeer Joe Easy (Patrick Allen), Harry finds himself tempted by more than just the lovely Lynn (Diana Dors). Similar in theme to They Drive by Night and the great Thieves’ Highway, this little known noir gem has more twists and turns than the English countryside; written and directed by Ken Hughes (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Casino Royale) who specialized in British suspense stories (or Brit Noir) before resettling in Hollywood. Newly remastered.

The Love-Ins: Not even hippies were safe from the headline-scanning eyes of beloved B-movie producer Sam Katzman. When two San Francisco college students (James MacArthur, Swiss Family Robinson and Susan Oliver, The Disorderly Orderly) are expelled over the contents of their underground newspaper, they find an unlikely supporter in a philosophy professor (Richard Todd, Oscar® nominee for The Hasty Heart, 1949), who resigns his teaching post in protest and styles himself as the love children’s new “Messiah.” From Todd’s Timothy Leary-like endorsement of LSD to a zonked-out interview with talk show host Joe Pyne to Lost in Space’s Mark Goddard as a pusher to the most jaw-dropping production of “Alice in Wonderland” you’ve ever laid eyes on, this campy masterpiece will have you rolling on the floor… or rolling something else! Newly remastered.

The Mad Room: This compelling remake of the classic Ladies In Retirement stars Stella Stevens as Ellen, a woman living as a companion to her future mother-in-law, wealthy and very irascible widow Mrs. Armstrong (Shelley Winters). Soon after, Ellen’s younger brother and sister, one of whom murdered their parents (they can’t remember which one of them did it), are released from an asylum and come to live with them. And thus begins a chilling mystery loaded with twists and thrills, as director Bernard Girard (Dead Heat On A Merry-Go-Round) keeps tightening the screws brilliantly. The fine cast also includes Michael Burns and Barbara Sammeth as the kids, plus Skip Ward, Beverly Garland, Severn Darden and Lloyd Haynes. Newly remastered.

Man Who Turned to Stone: When a new psychiatrist (William Hudson, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman) is hired at a women’s reform school/prison, he and social worker Carol Adams (Charlotte Austin) begin to puzzle over some recent suspicious deaths among the young inmates. The prison warden (Ann Doran) and doctor (Victor Jory) seem to be behind a centuries-old evil plot to steal the life force of young women to extend their own unnaturally immortal lives. A bizarre and diabolical sci-fi premise has an extremely creepy crew exploiting the bodies of their young charges, but as always, the more flesh the scientists consume, the more they need! Newly remastered.

The Mind of Mr. Soames: This fascinating sci-fi thriller prefigures the rise of reality television and modern day questions of medical ethics, as the progress of a recently awakened coma victim is nationally televised. John Soames (Terence Stamp) has been surgically awakened by the neurosurgeon Michael Bergen (Robert Vaughn), and then goes through a rigorous training program to cram thirty years of education and experience into a few weeks' time. Will this experiment prove successful or will Soames’ accelerated education neglect the essentials of true maturity? Newly remastered.

New Orleans Uncensored: William Castle directed this Sam Katzman production, a gritty crime thriller about a newly-discharged sailor who gets a job as a longshoreman in The Big Easy. He swiftly discovers mob corruption throughout the docks, and when a friend is killed by the gangsters, he convinces the police to let him go undercover and take matters into his own hands. Filmed on location on the docks and in the French Quarter; stars Arthur Franz (The Sniper), with Beverly Garland, Michael Ansara, Ed Nelson, and Mike Mazurki. Newly remastered.

The Night the World Exploded: With his assistant, Laura Hutchinson (Kathryn Grant), Dr. David Conway (William Leslie) develops a device to advance the fledgling science of earthquake prediction. After forecasting a large temblor that will rock California within twenty-four hours, Conway cannot persuade the Governor to act. When the prediction proves true and further tests indicate that there are more quakes to come, Conway and Laura seek to perfect their device. Subsequent tests deep within Carlsbad Caverns discover an unknown element - E-112 - that is responsible for the earthquakes and threatens to destroy the globe if it ever reaches the surface. The team determines that with only four weeks until Armageddon, the race is on to neutralize the killer element before it takes a devastating toll. Newly remastered.

Nightwing: At the rock hovel home of Abner Tasupi (George Clutesi), a 92-year-old high priest of the Masakai, tribal deputy Youngman Duran (Nick Mancuso) finds the old man trying to bring the world to an end by summoning Yewah, the monster god of the Masakai who guards the gates of life and death. Called to the Mamoa ranch, Duran is puzzling over the strange razor-sharp wounds and smell of ammonia coming from a dead horse when a helicopter soon arrives bearing Walker Chee (Stephen Macht), a wheeler-dealer politician from the neighboring Pahana tribe, accompanied by a veterinarian who underscores Duran’s observations as he takes samples to determine what killed the animal. After going to see Anne Dillon (Kathryn Harrold), a health service nurse with whom he's romantically involved, Duran returns to Abner's shack to find the old man dead, his flesh stripped raw like that of the Mamoa ranch horse. Meanwhile, when Anne takes four foundation missionaries out on a camping trip, as they are gathered around an evening campfire, they hear a strange keening sound just before thousands of bats come swarming down upon them. Newly remastered.

Otley: Born loser Gerald Otley (Tom Courtenay) is a freeloader living off the nearly exhausted kindness of friends and former lovers. One night, Otley is drunk and asleep when his host is murdered. The next morning, before the police arrive, he is kidnapped by a beautiful woman he met the night before (Romy Schneider) and her partner, who attempt to extract information from him but eventually determine he’s clueless. Realizing he’s in the midst of an espionage conspiracy and also wanted for murder, Otley stumbles from one near-crisis to another, incapable of distinguishing friend from foe, and unable to extricate himself. Set in swinging London, the story is propelled by Courtenay’s charm and a sense of humor informed by the best of British spy films; co-written and directed by Dick Clement. Newly remastered.

Reflection of Fear: Renowned cinematographer William A. Fraker (Bullitt) directed this perverse, dream-like chiller. Sondra Locke (Sudden Impact) plays a reserved young woman living in a remote New England house with her grandmother and mother. Her already fragile world is further shaken when her father (Robert Shaw, Jaws) turns up with a woman he introduces as his fiancée! Needless to say, murder soon rears its ugly head, leading to a truly jaw-dropping ending. Sally Kellerman, Mary Ure (Mrs. Shaw), Signe Hasso and Mitchell Ryan co-star; co-scripted by Lewis John Carlino (Seconds) and photographed by Laszlo Kovacs (Shampoo). Newly remastered.

Shadow on the Window: Musical-comedy legend Betty Garrett (My Sister Eileen) has a rare dramatic role in this incredibly tense thriller. Lisa Atlas (Garrett) and her seven-year-old son Petey (a pre-Beaver Jerry Mathers) witness the murder of her boss during a botched armed robbery by psycho Jess Reber (John Barrymore, Jr., While The City Sleeps) and his two pals. Stunned by what he saw, Petey wanders off, leaving the thugs holding his mom hostage. But what they don’t know is that her husband is a police detective (Phil Carey, TV’s Laredo) and will stop at nothing to get her back safely. Corey Allen and Paul Picerni co-star in this seldom-seen gem, skillfully directed by William Asher (Bewitched). Newly remastered.

The Soul of A Monster: Esteemed actress Rose Hobart (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1931) stars in this moody horror film reminiscent of the classic chillers of Val Lewton. A noted surgeon (George Macready, Gilda) lies terminally ill, but a strange woman appears and announces she can cure him; she succeeds, but the good doctor now behaves a little bit… differently. Creepily photographed by Academy Award®-winner Burnett Guffey (1967, Best Cinematography, Bonnie and Clyde), this seldom-seen thriller is a must for those who like their fright a little bit… different. Will Jason (Movie Pests) directs from a script by Edward Dein (Lewton’s The Leopard Man). Newly remastered.

The Spiritualist: Turhan Bey (The Mummy’s Tomb) plays the mysterious spiritualist who convinces a beautiful widow (Lynn Bari, Orchestra Wives) and her young sister (Cathy O’Donnell, They Live By Night), that her dead husband is trying to contact her from beyond the grave. Richly photographed by famed cinematographer John Alton (Border Incident and The Big Combo), the dark, smoky interiors and fog-swept beaches give this a gothic feel that elevates this B-picture to a favorite of noir fans. Co-starring Richard Carlson, Donald Curtis and Virginia Gregg, with stylish direction by Bernard Vorhaus (Bury Me Dead); sadly, this was one of his last films in the U.S. before being blacklisted. Also known as THE AMAZING MR. X, this is the first and only DVD release of this film mastered from original 35mm elements. Newly remastered.

A Study in Terror: Three of 19th Century England’s most famous characters come together for the first time in this sumptuous, exciting mystery, as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson set out to bring down history’s most notorious serial killer: Jack The Ripper! When a suspicious package arrives at the master sleuth’s Baker Street home, he and his old friend must join the hunt before more murders are committed... even though the trail may lead to places they’d rather not go. John Neville is one of the most authentic Holmes portrayers ever, and he’s ably supported by Donald Houston as Watson, as well as such British acting royalty as Anthony Quayle, Robert Morley, Frank Finlay, Barbara Windsor, Cecil Parker and, in one of her earliest screen roles, Academy Award® winner Dame Judi Dench (1998, Best Supporting Actress, Shakespeare in Love). If you like your Holmes straight up and unadulterated, then adding this thrilling, sexy, witty, colorful adventure to your collection is... oh, come now, do we really need to say it? Newly remastered.

The Take: Terry Sneed (Billy Dee Williams) is a well-known cop brought by police chief Ray Berrigan (Eddie Albert) to quell a crime wave that has gripped Paloma, New Mexico. Already on the payroll of local businessman and crime chief Victor Manso (Vic Morrow), corrupt police Captain Frank Dolek (Albert Salmi) finds it hard to control Sneed. But in fact, Sneed is in business for himself, and even has his own “business manager” (Sorrell Booke) to help him shake down anyone he can for a payoff. Directed by Robert Hartford-Davis; also stars Frankie Avalon and Kathleen Hughes. Newly remastered.

Terror Among Us: Ted Shackelford (TV’s Knots Landing) plays a rapist on parole who threatens the lives and safety of five women who previously testified against him. This thriller is rounded out by a cast including Don Meredith as a cop who’s out to catch the rapist and Sarah Purcell (TV’s Real People), Jennifer Salt (TV’s Soap), Kim Lankford (TV’s Knots Landing) and Sharon Spelman as potential victims. Airing on television in 1981, this film is full of suspense and a cast of familiar favorites. Newly remastered.

Valley of the Dragons: Based very loosely on a story by Jules Verne, two men, about to undertake a duel, are thrust into an alternate universe. Finding themselves the only “civilized” men in a world of cavemen and savage beasts, the two realize they’ll have to put aside their differences to help each other survive in this strange new world. Cesare Danova and Sean McClory star, with Joan Staley (The Ghost and Mr. Chicken) and Danielle De Metz (The Magic Sword) starring as the love interests. Directed by Edward Bernds (Queen of Outer Space and The Three Stooges In Orbit), who also wrote the screenplay. Bernds likely saw the comic possibilities in the implausible Verne story, just one of the many reasons that this bizarre adventure is a one-of-a-kind fun-filled science fiction film without the earnest, straight-forward tone of many of its era’s sci-fi classics. Newly remastered.


--J/Metro

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Puppet Master 2: His Unholy Creations (1991)

Puppet Master 2
His Unholy Creations

Written by David Pabian
Directed by Dave Allen

Lance...Jeff Celentano
Wanda...Charlie Spradling
Carolyn...Elizabeth Maclellan
Patrick...Gregory Webb
Camille...Nita Talbot
Eriquee Chanee/Andre Toulon...Steve Welles

Following close on the heels of the original, this sequel has a group of government-sanctioned paranormal investigators arriving at the Bodega Bay Inn seeking out whatever ghosties or ghoulies caused Alex, the sole survivor from the first outing, to lose his mind so thoroughly.  What they find instead is that they are the latest offerings for the animated puppets of the deceased Andre Toulan.


Even without the puppets, they're not alone at the inn.  There's another mysterious and uninvited guest who has taken up lodgings there, a bandaged old man who calls himself Eriquee Chanee.  We, of course, are in on the secret:  Tis actually old Toulan, reanimated from the dead by his beloved puppets.

This film follows the familiar sequel formula by offering up more boobs, more blood, and yes...more puppets.  The flame-throwing Torch joins Jester, Blade, Pinhead, Leech Woman, and Tunneler in the murderous mayhem.  And if you ask me, the more the merrier.  We're also offered a glimpse at Toulan's backstory, which I liked, including some hints regarding Toulan's method of bringing life to the inanimate.  One step backward for every two steps forward is a good way to keep the interest alive.


This time around, Toulan seems to be a walking, talking reference to classic horror movies.  Observe:
  • His alias is Eriquee Chanee (pronounced, by one character, Erik Chaney), as in the first name of the Phantom of the Opera, and the last name of the man who portrayed him in 1925
  • His bandaged visage is clearly reminiscent of the Invisible Man
  • His blend of science and sorcery to instill life makes him a Frankenstein archetype
  • He believes that Carolyn is the reincarnation of his deceased love, a plot point taken from The Mummy
  • The name of his dead love is Elsa, as in Lanchester, who played The Bride of Frankenstein
Or am I crazy?


With better special effects, a more involved backstory, subtle nods to genre greats, and a deepening of the mythology involved, this is, in my opinion, one of those rare instances where a sequel equals the original.  In fact, it may even surpass it.

The only major flaw I see is in characterization.  Following the death of her brother at the hands (well, head) of Tunneler, Carolyn continues her work relatively unfazed.  I mean, my sister and I rarely speak, and it's even rarer that we get along...but I'm pretty sure I'd put in for a sick day if I found an action figure burrowing into her brain.

But that's just me.

Visit the FULL MOON DIRECT website, get it from AMAZON, or rent it from NETFLIX.


1991
Rated R
88 Minutes
Color
English
United States

--J/Metro

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Colour Out Of Space by H.P. Lovecraft

Colour Out Of Space
by H.P. Lovecraft

Our Unnamed Narrator is sent to Arkham to survey an area outside of town that is scheduled to be turned into a resevoir. He discovers a large patch of land that supports no life and fills him with an inexplicable sense of dread. Curious, and not just professionally so, he seeks out answers to this phenomenon, which come in the form of homespun rumors and second-hand accounts.

Some years ago, a meteorite landed on that patch of land, bringing with it some mysterious form of alien life. The alien manifested itself as a shimmering color (excuse me, colour) outside of our known spectrum. Its presence destroyed all the crops in the area and even drove people into the depths of madness.

It seems to me that this was Lovecraft's truest expession of "cosmic" horror to date. His description of extraterrestrial lifeforms is interesting in that he stays away from the tried and true sci-fi staples. This is not a humanoid alien, or a monstrous beast, but rather a barely definable creature. In fact, we don't know for sure if the blight it brings is purposeful, or a mere side effect of its presence, much less if it possesses what we know of as intelligence.  It's also interesting to view this story as an early example of the nuclear paranoia that wouldn't truly grip the nation until the 1950s, some two decades after this story was written.

Lovecraft himself was particularly fond of this tale. While I did enjoy it, it wasn't one of my favorites. Much of the story wasn't concerned with the story, but rather devoted to describing the negative effects the colour had on the area surrounding it--the grass died, the flowers lost their blossoms, leaves fell off the trees, a squirrel developed a migraine and got all foamy at the mouth, etc. Which may make for great embellishments to a tale, but you can't make a tale out of embellishments.

--J/Metro

Friday, November 19, 2010

Puppet Master (1989)

Puppet Master

Written & Directed by David Schmoeller

Andre Toulan...William Hickey
Alex...Paul Le Mat
Megan...Robin Frates
Dana...Irene Miracle
Clarissa...Kathryn O'Reilly
Frank...Matt Roe

The movie starts off at the Bodega Bay Inn on the California coast during World War II, where refugee Andre Toulan (part-time puppet maker and last of the living alchemists) is hiding out from the Nazis.  His peace of mind doesn't last long, however, as two German officials pound on his door.  Rather than put his fate in their hateful hands, Toulan quickly stashes a few prized possessions and takes his own life.


Flash forward to "modern" day:  A group of psychics scattered across the United States have assembled at the partially-remodeled Bodega Bay Inn, brought together by the death of one of their former associates.  The psychics, and the dead man's wife, quickly find themselves hunted--not by Nazis, as Toulan had so long ago, but by the living marionettes that he had left behind.


Puppet Master was Full Moon's first film production, and is easily the franchise most closely associated with the label.  I have particularly fond memories of staying up late at night to watch the film on cable, many of which came flooding back as I sat down to watch this 20th anniversary reissue DVD.


And it still holds up reasonably well.  The storyline isn't the strongest, but the concept is solid (even if the science, or in this case metaphysics, isn't).  The puppets are creepy and well-constructed, each with their own mini-personalities despite their lack of voice.  They are animated surprisingly well, which is a relief as lesser effects could have killed the film.

A solid low-budget entry that, in its own minor way, is a classic of the genre.


Visit the FULL MOON DIRECT website, visit the OFFICIAL WEBPAGE, or rent it from NETFLIX.


1989
Rated R
90 Minutes
Color
English
United States

"I am not a cynic. I prefer to think of myself as a...nasty bitch."
--J/Metro

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Seduce Your Childhood Icons

This isn't a horror post, but I just couldn't resist.  I recently posted pics of some genre-related tee-shirts available over at 80sTees.com.  Well, while browsing the myriad products available at the site, I also stumbled across these "Sexy"/"Sassy" costumes of some of our beloved childhood icons.  Did you ever want to have sex with a muppet?  No?  Well, now you can--assuming you can get your significant other to play along.  Pervert.

It doesn't have to be Halloween night.  It just has to be night.

Click on the images to enlarge, or the description for ordering information.






(also available in Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Haunted Casino (2007)

Haunted Casino

Written by August White
Directed by Charles Band

Matthew...Scott Whyte
J.J. ...Robin Sydney
Emily...Lily Rains
Jimbo...Wes Armstrong
Skeeter...Kavan Reece
Paige...Kristyn Green
Roy "The Word" Donahue...Sid Haig
Gil Wachetta...Michael Berryman

Young dreamer Matthew inherits an abandoned Las Vegas casino from his uncle, and with the encouragement of his girlfriend J.J., he plans to fix the place up and return it to its former glory.  Four of their friends accompany them on a road trip to the new digs, only to find that it's not just a marketing slogan:

What happens in Vegas really does stay in Vegas.  And that includes the dead.


The Mysteria Casino was the site of a notorious massacre forty years prior, in which mobster Roy "The Word" Donahue, his henchman Gil Wachetta, and three of their cohorts were gunned down by Matt's uncle in an effort to protect his property.  Donahue and the Devil are relatively tight, it appears, because the massacred mafioso and his bloody buddies all crop up in search of a bit of vengeance.

This is an unabashed, low-budget riff on Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, with just a change of scenery to mix things up a bit.  Despite its meager origins, it is a relatively well-made film.  But that isn't to say that it doesn't have its problems.

There are a couple of plot points that never pan out to full fruition, including a mention of a buried stash of silver, and a burgeoning lesbian romance.  Now allow me to state here that a horror movie does not have to have sex and nudity to be entertaining (although, speaking as a red-blooded male, it sure doesn't hurt), but the entire movie is over-sexualized, so it seems quite out of place that there is no nudity, and very little sex.  Two of the characters consistently pretend to be having sex in order to hide the male's impotence, and the movie seems to be mirroring that.  When it comes to T&A, this is just one big cock tease.


The characters often behave in unbelievable ways--Matthew and J.J. seem completely unfazed by the fact that they're holding a conversation with a ghost.  The special effects are sometimes goofy, too, as when a ghost appears and her eyes turn into the wheels of a slot machine like a character in a Warner Brothers cartoon for no discernable reason other than the fact that this movie does take place in a casino.

Is it too much to ask to find a low-budget feature that at least tries to take itself seriously?


However, any movie with Sid Haig and Michael Berryman has got a few things going for it.  Berryman is perfect as the strong and silent type, saying very little but commanding the screen just the same.  Haig is impressive as always as the loudmouthed mobster, and the pair of them together constitute a dynamic duo that I would hate to meet in a dark alley at night.


Most of you have already seen Full Moon movies before, so you know what you're getting into if you sit down to watch this one. 

Down and dirty.  Cheap and cheesy.

Depending on your tastes...perhaps deliciously so.

Visit the FULL MOON DIRECT website, visit the OFFICIAL WEBPAGE, or rent it from NETFLIX.

ALSO KNOWN AS: Dead Man's Hand

2007
Unrated
80 Minutes
Color
English
United States

--J/Metro

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Vampire Flick - Midnight Son- Trailer, etc.


I'm sure that a lot of you horror hipsters are already in the know regarding this indie vampire flick, but the filmmaker dropped me an e-mail, asking me to check out the trailer.  I always try to do what I can to help out the hardworking independents--and it doesn't hurt that the movie looks hella cool.  Sort of makes me think of The Basketball Diaries meets The Lost Boys.  And that ain't a bad combination!

From the website:
MIDNIGHT SON is the story of Jacob, a young man confined to a life of isolation, due to a rare skin disorder that prevents him from being exposed to sunlight. His world opens up when he meets Mary, a local bartender, and falls in love. Tragically, Jacob’s actions become increasingly bizarre as he struggles to cope with the effects of his worsening condition. Forced by the disease to drink human blood for sustenance, he must control his increasingly violent tendencies as local law enforcement narrow their focus on him as a suspect in a series of grisly murders.


Monster High (1989)

Monster High

Written by Roy Langsdon & John Platt
Directed by Rudy Poe

Dume...Robert Lind
Glume...Seain Haines
Norm Median...Dean Iandoli
Candice Cain...Diana Frank
O.D. ...Doug Kerzner

Twin brothers Dume and Glume, a third-rate rap duo from outer space with aspirations of galactic domination, crash land on earth and inadvertently release Mr. Armageddon from the basketball in which he has been imprisoned for centuries.  (No...seriously.)  Armageddon chooses as his base of operations an average american high school, where he seduces and slaughters the girls in alphabetical order and unleashes a hoarde of monsters upon the student body, all part of his master plan to bring about the apocalypse.


Hence his name.

Average American high school student Norm Median is chosen to be this century's doomsday prophet, but rather than being content to merely scrawl cryptic prose like that bitch Nostradamus, Norm decides to fight the power by enlisting the help of three other teenage archetypes:  Candice Cain, the sultry foreign exchange student; O.D., the pot-smoking burnout; and Paul Smith, the straight A student.  Together, they battle aliens, demons, zombies, mummies, cyborgs, trolls, and even a killer canabis plant (long before Scary Movie ever toked up the idea).


I went into this film with a bit of cautious optimism, hoping for a Teenage Frankenstein meets Teenage Werewolf in the halls of an institute of higher learning.  What I got instead was a cross between Monster Squad and Louis Sachar's children's book Sideways Stories from Wayside School, with a penchant for toilet humor and a handful of bare breasts. 

Calm down.  It's not as cool as it sounds.

Pathetic jokes, shoddy special effects, and a poor script make this forgotten 1980s comedy-horror effort best left forgotten.  Not even the ridiculous Man vs. Monster basketball game, seemingly inspired by The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island, could make me stand up and cheer.


There's a certain level of immature parody here that I may have once been fond of.  It's just too bad that I wasn't old enough to watch it when I was young enough to enjoy it.

1989
Rated R
84 Minutes
Color
English
United States

--J/Metro

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Genre Goodies from 80sTees.com

80sTees.com has a HUGE selection of tee-shirts inspired by everyone's favorite decade--cartoons, movies, music, you name it.  You could get lost in those pages for hours, browsing all the cottony goodness...which is precisely what happened to me.  Scattered throughout, there are also a number of horror-themed goodies that I thought you might be interested in.  Here are just a few that caught my eye.  Click on the pic to make bigger, and click on the description for further information.

And, once again, I have no ties to this website.  I receive nothing if you order these items, blah blah blah.

Enjoy.










Friday, November 12, 2010

Horror Hotlist of Dr. Dale Seslick (Zombie Dictionary)

Dr. Dale Seslick, author of the awesome survival guide The Zombie Dictionary, has agreed to take part in Midnite Media's Horror Hotlist feature, in which we turn the spotlight over to a member of the indie horror community and allow them to shine in where they see fit.  What follows is Dr. Dale's "Top Ten in No Particular Order!"  Consider these the horror flicks you should see before the inevitable zombie uprising.

Make with the clickity-click HERE to read my review of the book, HERE to view the offical webpage, or HERE to order it already.  Better get rush delivery--the apocalypse could be here sooner than you think!

Enjoy!

STAGE FRIGHT (1987)

This one holds a place in the list because it’s the first true horror that I actually remember watching in a friends house, in the middle of the day when I was about 10 years old. One of the older girls in the group had hired it from the corner shop – and I actually haven’t watched it again since, but my obsession with horror must have started somewhere and I’m guessing this is it. The only things I do actually remember vividly is the killer wearing an owl mask and someone being ripped completely in half whilst being pulled through some rafters (or the floor) but it must have made an impression as I’m still into horror now – I might check it out again just to see.

THEATRE OF BLOOD (1973)

Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! I work in theatre so this one had to go on the list – an actor killing off his critics in increasingly bizarre ways that are all linked to Shakespeare is just genius and there was never a better actor than Vincent Price to play the killer. It’s as Camp as Christmas, but the pure inventiveness of the whole film is just brilliant from the insanely over the top hairdressing scene to the use of the homeless meth addicts as his ‘chorus’. It may not be as gory as some of the films of the day (although according to Vincent Prices autobiography 6 galleons of blood were used) but it’s certainly one of the better examples of the originality and fun that were coming through the horror scene in the early 70s. Plus – it’s an absolute who’s who of well known Brit Actors of the time.

THE MIST (2007)

If anything, from reading the list, the one recurring theme you’ll get is that I love the kind of movie that starts with a large group of people who get killed off one by one in increasingly bizarre ways until only the few remain – if I could have included disaster movies like Poseidon and Towering Inferno then they’d have rated pretty high too! This film has all the ingredients for that kind of movie but never really plays on it. Yes, there’s a large group of people trapped in a Supermarket, and there are deaths but the reason this film goes onto the list is because of the ending. I’m not going to reveal it, so don’t worry – but before seeing the film I’d read the Stephen King Short Story – and the film followed it pretty much to the letter up until the end. I actually didn’t think a movie could pray on my mind that much but I dreamt about it for about a week after. This film put Frank Darabont up into my list of genius’s so watch it!

FINAL DESTINATION (2000)

This follows that line of thought that I love seeing guys being killed off one by one and the genius of this film is that there isn’t actually any way that they can beat the bad guy. There is no conceivable way that you can actually beat death. The bus death was a truly great scene and was used before the shock death became standard fare – as most deaths in films had used these really slow builds and tension prior to that. There was also this Loony Toons underscore to it – and another of my favourite aspects to films is the cartoon humour. The very final scene in Paris was just like one of Wile E Coyote’s traps going into action. I think sometimes you’ve gotta make your death’s funny as well as gory otherwise they just become boring. Although the sequels have kind of devalued the whole franchise too I still think that they’re worth watching for the cheese factor and only if you’re just going to watch the set pieces of the mass deaths at the beginning. (I especially like the Roller Coaster one as I used to be the manager of the Big One on Blackpool Pleasure Beach)

THE BIRDS (1963)

Hitchcock really was the master of suspense and there are a lot of his films that I class as my favourites including Psycho and Rear Window – but I’ve listed this one again because it holds another great memory for me as it’s the first ‘horror’ that I watched with my son. Some of the imagery in it is iconic – such as the scene with the climbing frame and the fact that it uses something that is quite possibily unbeatable as the villain (would we really be able to win if all the birds in the world suddenly turned on us) Plus – whenever I see it these days I’ve always got the episode of The Animaniacs in my mind when the Goodfeathers get involved in the making of it and one of them gets attached to a phonebooth by a piece of elastic to film the famous attack sequence!

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)

I Couldn’t rightly do this list without including a Romero Film and sorry to be obvious but this has got to be the best by far. Not only does it tick my survivalist horror box, it’s got zombies in it too and it has that great ending that you don’t see coming. You can’t say you love the zombie culture if you haven’t seen this film.
ZOMBIELAND (2009)

With the undead being so popular at the moment and there being so many films being churned out it’s great when something original comes along and Zombieland ticks every box for me! Again – it’s got zombies. It’s got the slapstick and the comedy. It’s got a theme park and it’s got one of the greatest film cameos of all time. We have a segment in our live show where we ask the audience if they’ve seen Zombieland and everytime at least 80% of the audience puts their hand up – as they should. Ignore all the fanboy hype of rule quoting etc. This is a very smart, funny film and is destined to be a classic.

HELLRAISER (1987)

I’m a big Clive Barker Fan, especially The Books Of Blood, (I loved the original story to Lord of Illusions but the movie was such a disappointment!) Hellraiser is a favourite of mine, though, purely because of the Cenobites and the concept of the puzzle box. If horror is my first love then mysteries have always been my second (I should be a member of Murder She Wrote Anonymous and I’m a sucker for Monk!) so the concept of a puzzle that will release hell is an exciting one. Plus – in the original film there’s not really much you learn about these legions of hell. (I think that’s where the later films fall down – much like some of these recent remakes and sequels) If you learn to much about the bad guy – it makes it less fun. I’m just happy to know that they’re bad! I don’t need an origin story. Although, I do remember watching one of the later Hellraisers which had a cameraman and a DJ in it they were turned into Cenobites utilising their equipment that I quite enjoyed. I suppose it’s all down to this over use of the imagination again (I also used to have a T-Shirt when I was about 14 which had the ‘I am in hell, help me’ blood splatter across it.)

DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004)

This is one of those films that splits zombie fans, firstly because it’s a remake of a classic and secondly because it has fast zombies. You can’t fault it for it’s pure fun, though. It has some truly great set pieces. Some great tension. Some inventive kills and a spot on ensemble cast. It also introduced me to the music of Richard Cheese and I’m determined to use ‘Down With The Fever’ in one of our live shows. Plus I love Jake Weber as an actor – his so completely relaxed, chilled and easy. All that horror and panic going down and he makes you feel completely at ease. I don’t care if it splits people from the celebrity shoot off to the zombie baby this is just good clean undead fun.

DEEP RISING (1998)

I’m not even sure if this one fits into the horror genre as it’s sold as an actioner or it ould even be sci-fi. People die in wonderfully weird ways, though and there’s gore so it’s going in. This is my ultimate Guilty Pleasure Movie. It may not be likely to ever win any awards but I sit and watch this one when I need a good dose of brainless entertainment. The accidental axe in the head. The toilet Death. The half digested guy. The cast getting killed off one by one. It just appeals to my sense of humour. Even the final moments of the film where the remaining survivors land on a remote island just amuses me. In fact, I haven’t watched it for a while. I might settle down with this one tonight – just to remind myself how good mindless entertainment can be!


When you get down to writing a top ten you realise just how many movies out there you could list and these are the ones that span this massive genre that didn’t quite make it in (there will be more that I’ll forget to put and regret not mentioning but maybe they’re for another time!) House on Haunted Hill, Aliens, Gremlins 2, Saw, Carrie, The Shining, The Exorcist, Carry On Screaming, Scream, The Evil Dead (all of em!) Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street I, II, and New Nightmare, Creepshow, The Fly (both original and remake) American Werewolf in London, 28 days later, etc., etc., etc.….

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails