Saturday, October 28, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 22

Day 22 was one of revisiting old favorites for the most part. At least it turned in to that after I had to deal with CHEERLEADER MASSACRE. This Jim Wynorski movie is far from his best or most entertaining. Hell, it's far from entertaining. The best part of this movie is the recycled footage from Slumber Party Massacre used in the context of a flashback. Otherwise it's naked women getting killed in an unbelievably boring slasher. There's really no cheerleaders either, at least we don't see the girls doing cheer related things like shaking pom poms or you know, cheering. There's a better cheerleader related slasher from the 80s called Cheerleader Camp. And I watched a better snowy setting slasher film the day before in Iced. Watch those.

I needed a bit of positivity in my life so the next three movies were all old favorites like TROLL 2. I've talked about this film numerous times over the years so what else can I say. It's ridiculous and it makes the bad things in life go away for 90 minutes.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP is one of the best slasher films ever made. The kills are interesting and no two are alike, it has good character development and writing and the performances are believable. Oh and the ending that at this point everybody knows about. Well that ending was a world shaker the first time I saw it. And I first saw the Sleepaway Camp movies young. If you somehow haven't seen Sleepaway Camp and haven't had the ending ruined for you get off of the internet go find a copy of the movie and watch it! It's a fun movie from start to finish and I love it.

And for as good as Sleepaway Camp is SLEEPAWAY CAMP 2 is that much fun. The tone completely shifts from a serious slasher film to a tongue in cheek, campy affair (no pun intended) where the victims are disposed of in some comical but gruesome and nasty ways. There's a lot more humor and silly shit going on here like the "Happy Camper" song that is the perfect song to annoy your friends with all summer long. Or anytime of year for that matter. This movie holds a special place in my heart and I love everything about it.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 21

Vlad The Impaler was an infamous ruler and anyone even slightly familiar with his story would agree that a movie based around him could be a wildly entertaining horror movie. Or it could be a really choppy and slopped together TV movie such as DRACULA: THE DARK PRINCE. I'll give credit where it's due; the movie looks fantastic and there are glimpses of that insane violence he was known for and  the but the writing sucks, and the breaks for what I assume were originally commercials have this thing all over the place. It goes from one scene to another set years apart without any warning. If you're a giant geek for all things Vlad Tepes then maybe, maybe you check it out. Otherwise I suggest finding something better.

And that something better could be CURSE OF THE FACELESS MAN. This is a pretty standard 50s creature feature with a monster freshly released from his burial in the ashes and ruins of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The monster of a man has been encapsulated in this crust that covers his entire body and though he's blinded he has a sense that draws him to our leading lady who may be his lover reincarnated and he'll stop at nothing to get to her, killing anyone in his way. Is it something groundbreaking? No. It's a pretty standard mummy/gill man type creature feature but it's well made, the acting is good, has an original ending and it's just a fun time.

Someone needs to release ICED on Blu-ray ASAP. This movie is so stupid that it made me laugh continuously. "You invited a dead man!" "And he accepted..." - Best part of the movie. The only acting in this movie is overacting. It's a slasher set in a ski resort and we have enough of a body count to keep it from being ALL unintentional laughs but this is like going to The Melting Pot for dinner... it's all about the cheese.

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 20

I've had the urge to watch CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON for a few weeks since I met Ricou Browning who played the Gill Man in all of the underwater scenes. Jack Arnold's signature creature feature remains a favorite of mine with a cast that turns in good performances, some excellent cinematography and a lush, exotic location the film is a joy to watch. The Gill Man is also one of the most violent and dangerous of the Universal Monsters. He can damn near sink a boat and he can absolutely dispatch of everyone on board with his clawed, webbed hands. To put it simply, if you've never seen this one then what the hell are you doing with your life?

After years of seeing the VHS cover and loving the title (come on, this title is fucking awesome) I finally got to see HACK-O-LANTERN and found it to be an enjoyable piece of campy Satanic horror plucked straight from the heart of the 80s. The characters are caricatures of regular people which makes it all the more silly but I was hoping for something better. I was hoping for more of a heavy metal horror movie but we only get one real scene of that and it does happen to be one of the best scenes in the movie. The world needs more heavy metal horror. HACK-O-LANTERN is decent but now that it has been plucked from VHS obscurity I think it will soon be a title that loses it's notoriety of being a rare VHS only movie and becomes destined to be just another title on movie collector's shelves.

THE INTRUDER from 1975 is a proto slasher that was lost for years until Garagehouse Pictures rescued it and put it on Blu-ray a few shorts months ago. I'm glad it was found and released but there's nothing special about it. It's a tedious affair with melodramatic moments that seem to stretch on and on. I wouldn't call it awful, that'd be unfair but I didn't have a good time watching it and I'd be hard pressed to even tell you what it was about. Something about gold.

There are instances where you build up an idea in your head of what a movie is going to be like based on the title and you're wrong. Then there's times the title describes exactly what a movie should be about and when it doesn't deliver on that you're left puzzled. That was sort of like watching AMERICAN MUMMY. This is a very low budget movie that was released right around the same time as the new Mummy film starring Tom Cruise (which fucking honks) and the artwork has a similar feel to the ad campaign used on that huge budget picture from Universal. This is a case of Asylum syndrome... but it's understandable - Anything to get an audience for your film. I actually had a bit of fun with this one but when some students on an Archaelogical dig in New Mexico find a Aztec (or Incan? Or Mayan?... It doesn't really matter) mummy and one of the stranger students performs a blood ritual that involves dry humping the sarcophagus and a bloody make out session and ancient curse is unleashed that you would think would reanimate the mummy but no... instead various students start puking up green slime and turning into crazed zombie-like creatures. I wanted a mummy. I deserved a mummy. I had fun watching blood and guts get tossed around and the doctor from Eastern Europe giving his most stereotypical Russian stereotype impression but I wanted a goddamn mummy. They even went through the trouble of creating a colorful and creative burial mask for the mummy that I would have loved to see shambling around the campsite picking off college students and vodka drinking stereotypes. It was nothing special but it was much more entertaining than I expected and I'd watch it a hundred more times before revisiting that pile of shit starring Tom Cruise.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 19

Are you in the mood for a painfully generic, been-there-done-that post-apocalyptic survival movie? Well then you're in luck because that is exactly what HERE ALONE is! Some sort of viral outbreak has wiped out large amounts of the population and it has left a woman all alone in the woods. During flashbacks we learn of the outbreak and what happened to her husband and new born baby. Eventually a father and daughter cross paths with her and they survive together for a while before they decide to stray from what has been working for them to try something new which nearly leaves everyone dead. The acting is good, the direction is competent and the movie looks good but there's not a single solitary thing that makes it exciting or stand apart from the hordes of similar films. It's like watching a feature length film version of the absolute worst stretches of The Walking Dead TV show.

There's plenty of Bigfoot movies out there but how many Yeti movies? Well there's at least one good one in the Hammer production of THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN from 1957. Now, I will admit this one left me a bit disappointed. I really wanted to love it. I even expected to but the movie lacks a couple signature moments that would have brought it from good to great. Also I think it would have benefitted from being made a few years later. I consider 1958 to be the year Hammer broke big with Horror Of Dracula and their studio flourished in the years following it. I think the bigger budget would have allowed for those signature scenes that come to mind whenever you think of the film. I also think had it been filmed in color would have made it more interesting visually even if the majority of the film takes place in the snow covered Himalayas there are plenty of scenes in towns that would have screamed with color. That said, it's a really solid horror movie that uses plot devices I wouldn't have expected from a Yeti movie. It's well made and the cast is excellent (no surprise there).

And for what may be the biggest surprise of the month so far... HAPPY DEATH DAY. I hated everything about this movie's ad campaign. I hated the Groundhog's Day time loop plot, I hated the killer's stupid baby mask, I hated the 50 Cent ringtone that was played over and over and I was sick of that song a decade ago. I hated that the movie felt dated, which I came to find out was for good reason since the development of this movie started 10 years ago until it was actually made. This looked like it would be painfully boring, generic watered down bullshit and the PG-13 rating certainly didn't help ease my fears but we live in a time where I can see as many movies at the theater as I want for the low price of $9.99 (how much!?) so I'm pretty sure I literally said "Fuck it" to myself and went to see it. And you know what? It wasn't awful. It's no classic and I wouldn't sit through it again. It is watered down and I still hate the mask but they at least made an attempt to give that mask some sort of meaning. And somehow they found a more annoying ringtone to play a hundred times than the one used in the trailers but this movie has a sense of humor and a good one at that. It was a fun movie to sit and watch even if I had it all figured out pretty early on. The cast was decent and the lead guy and girl had good chemistry together. It was nice to see actual character development from a slasher film and have a couple characters actually worth getting invested in. You can tell that any edge the movie may have had was taken away by the PG-13 rating but maybe an unrated cut will be different (you'll have to let me know). I wouldn't suggest rushing out to see it but I  got some good chuckles in and was never bored. That's way more than I ever expected.

Unfortunately news broke early the morning of day 19 that Italian director Umberto Lenzi had passed away. Lenzi had directed some really fine films in many different genres including a few great gialli, some of the goriest cannibal and horror pictures you'll ever see and perhaps the best of the best Euro crime films. Seriously, if you're to seek out anything the man did give his polizziotteschi a look. I had to give the Maestro a memorial viewing and I decided to go with one I hadn't seen in probably a decade. The gory tale of racial revenge, BLACK DEMONS. This one was released in 1990, a few years after the golden years of the Italian splatter period so it gets a bit overlooked, it's also not an amazing movie by any means but it gets the job done well enough to set up the kill scenes that we're here for. A group of blinded and murdered slaves in Brazil have returned from the dead to avenge their deaths on 6 white victims and they're not nice about it. Hooks, chains, cleavers and more are used to blind, maim and kill. It's a bit slow in chunks but I have fun with it and think the payoff moments make it well worth your time.

Monday, October 23, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 18

Have you ever watched a movie for the first time (presumably) and thought "wow, this is all really familiar to me."? That's the case with ZOMBIES ON BROADWAY for me. I don't vividly remember watching this before but it all felt so familiar that maybe I have and just don't remember and haven't found any record of it. Either way it's an entertaining comedy romp as a comedic duo who wishes they were Abbott and Costello are forced to go to an island to find a real life zombie to debut at their mob boss' new nightclub. They find a gorgeous blond singer to bring home along with a lot of stories of voodoo zombies, mad scientists and haunted houses... It may sound better than it is. It's decent but some of the comedy falls flat and the horror side of things, including Bela Lugosi's performance is all too silly and easy even for its time.

If you're wondering about Zombies On Broadway well then... YOU'LL FIND OUT! YOU'LL FIND OUT is horror, comedy, musical mashup featuring a starring role from Kay Kyser who was a big band leader and famous radio personality in the 30s and 40s. This is a murder mystery haunted house tale featuring performances from Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Peter Lorre, what a trio. They're all quite good and the movie lives up to the legendary trio's performances. I wouldn't call it anything new or special but it features some solid scares and chills in typical 40s form. The film relies too much on Kay Kyser and his musical performances to the point that it almost feels like advertisements for his program at times ("Do you know who that is? It's Kay Kyser!") and it definitely pads the runtime but when the movie is left to be a chilling horror picture it is pretty decent and certainly elevated by our legendary trio.

Then there was the directorial debut of Paul Naschy, INQUISITION. A phenomenal witch hunting religious horror film filled with gore, nudity, sleaze and a leading role from El Hombre Lobo himself, Paul Naschy. Naschy had starred in dozens of films before he got to direct one but he certainly proved to have picked up on the craft. INQUISITION feels like a cross between the Roger Corman films that starred Vincent Price and the Euro sleaze that was all the rage across the European horror scene in the 1970s. I loved this and would put it among my favorite Naschy movies. Naschy does his best Witchfinder General impression while being the sleazy sex pot we know him to be. There's a bit of plague gross out, supernatural horror, despicable humans, and really solid filmmaking. It has a gross out factor, a bit of a downbeat tone even though we're given perfectly fine antagonists to cheer for, and a skin factor that only the 70s could provide. The blu-ray from Mondo Macabro is far from perfect but its quite attractive at its best and decent at its worst with the scale tipping toward the better side of things.

And we finished off with the short film by Pete Tombs of Mondo Macabro and Andrew Starke, which was an episode of their Eurotika series, Blood And Sand, a documentary short about the history of Spanish horror. I think it is far from definitive but it does provide a nice timeline of notable films and film characteristics. Any newbie to Spanish horror will benefit from watching this short film.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 17

Snake horror is cool. Snakes can be scary and sexy which makes them perfect to base a horror movie around. The movie still has to be good though, snakes can't carry the whole thing, at least not in a movie like NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN which features a priestess using special cobra venom to stay young while she sucks the life out of men she sleeps with. She sheds her skin like a snake which makes for some of the grossest moments of the movie. Just imagine peeling a scab the entire length of you leg... ew. The movie has a couple snake bite moments, some nicely designed sets and a lead that fits her role perfectly but there's really not much going on. I certainly didn't hate the movie but this 75 minute movie feels like two hours and there was plenty of room to add some more schlock, especially for a movie produced by Roger Corman. At least we get to see Vic Diaz lurking around being a creep like nobody else in the Philippines could.

A pair of Boris Karloff films were up next starting with THE WALKING DEAD from 1936. It's better than the AMC show. Karloff stars as a man framed for murder of a judge that sentenced him to ten years in prison a decade earlier. Shortly after being put to death scientists bring him back but he's far from the same man that went to the chair. He's in a zombie like trance with only revenge for those that wronged him in his mind. It's a straight forward movie from Michael Curtiz filled with solid performances. Not a classic but a very solid mid 30s horror flick.

FRANKENSTEIN 1970 is a movie I was long curious about and finally getting to see it I can't say I'm disappointed. Boris Karloff stars as the last living Frankenstein and in true Frankenstein tradition he is carrying on the science experiments that his ancestors began a couple centuries earlier. The problem? He's broke. So he rents out use of the Frankenstein estate to a movie production company and uses the ample supply of bodies for his experiments. This one was made in 1958 but feels like a movie from at least a decade earlier. It has all of the traditional creepy mansion/castle tropes like hidden passages, creepy family crypts, spy pictures, and of course a laboratory. The lab is the part of the movie that is distinctly late 50s with a very space age design to the set pieces to a film that has an otherwise eerie gothic feel. The biggest disappointment of the film is the monster's look which is a man who is covered in bandages and shambles around with a giant square head that essentially just looks like $20 worth of gauze wrapped around some cardboard boxes in the shape of a person. It certainly doesn't ruin the movie that I'm surprised I don't hear more about.

Friday, October 20, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Days 15 and 16

Two days in one update today because I only got to a single movie on day 15... deal with it! Sorry I flew off the handle there.

The lone film for day 15 was HORROR HIGH from 1974. The story of a high school geek concerned only about his biology experiments and his guinea pig Mr Mumps that he's been giving chemical concoctions that he hope will turn Mr. Mumps into a violent little monster. When Mr. Mumps ends up dead the kid takes the chemicals himself and it turns him into a Mr. Hyde type character and he goes on a killing spree of his bullies including various students and teachers. The plot is better than the execution but it's still a decent movie that is played totally straight unlike the more popular Return To Horror High that is a parody comedy film. It's nothing incredible but definitely worth a look. 

Moving on to day 16 and we start with a doozy...

DEAD STORY is a 2017 film released on DVD by Wild Eye Productions who I have great respect for as they give many films a chance to get nationwide distribution that are extremely low budget independent affairs. Some of them are surprisingly great movies while others as you'd imagine are awful. Most fall somewhere in between those two extremes but DEAD STORY falls firmly on one end. I'll sum it up for you like this - If you are a wrestling fan then superkick that piece of shit into the ocean. If you're a football fan then punt that hunk of junk into the ocean. If you're a baseball fan then have a friend lob that garbage over the plate and hit a home run into the ocean. If you're a basketball fan then slam dunk that dumpster fire of a movie into the ocean. My point is just stay away from it and if you have it near you flush it down the crapper. If it doesn't fit down the crapper then sell the house and move. 

THE BABYSITTER is getting all the hype on Netflix right now so I had to give it a look even though I really have no desire to watch anything McG does. This turned out to be a pleasant surprise from the 3 letter man who is too cool for a first name. While highly flawed and a bit too cute for its own good THE BABYSITTER is a fun coming of age movie in a horror setting that has great chemistry between many of the characters. It lingers too long with side characters during the second act and leaves us wondering where our main antagonist is but it's a silly, gory romp that is a nice break from more straight forward deadpan horror movies like Shit Story up there. 

TRIP WITH THE TEACHER was next, a nasty little exploitation classic I've seen several times before but wanted to check out on the new Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray which I'll be giving a full review very soon so hold tight for that. 

Finally was the 1951 alien invasion movie THE MAN FROM PLANET X which was pretty cool. The alien looked like a cracked out version of Robin Williams' Bicentennial Man and I loved it. The movie had a moody look and feel reusing sets from 1948's Joan Of Arc starring Ingrid Bergman and covering them in fog. It was simple, cheap and effective. The acting is typical of the period but believable. This is probably my favorite of the 50s sci-fi horror that I've watched this month.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 14

Day 14 starts with INVISIBLE INVADERS which was a rather familiar and typical martian invasion horror movie from the 50s. These moon men have demanded Earth's surrender and because they're invisible they inhabit the bodies of recently deceased humans to terrorize Earth to get their way. John Agar stars as one of the scientists in charge of finding a way to stop the invaders and he's always a nice addition to these cheesy sci-fi casts. I had enough fun with this one and there's some memorable moments, mostly involving the zombies, but it isn't anything groundbreaking. If this is the type of movie that speaks to you I highly recommend it otherwise it's fun for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Greg McLean is the closest thing we have to Ozploitation these days with his Wolf Creek films and the movie I watched nearly a decade after becoming interested in it -ROGUE. This giant killer crocodile film is set on a scenic river in the Australian wilderness where a tour boat enters an off limits area to respond to a flare that was sent up and that's when they encounter the super aggressive 30 foot croc that sinks their boat and strands them on a small island that disappears with high tide. With only hours to figure out a plan before they're stuck in that water with the croc tensions rise, people get eaten and people act like dickheads. It's a lot of fun to choose sides from the comfort of your chair and cheer on the good people in the group while hoping the croc munches on the more annoying characters like Koboyashi at a hot dog eating contest. Yes, I know Koboyashi hasn't held the world record for hot dogs in a decade but that was reference was funnier than a Joey Chestnut reference. The movie stumbles a bit in the last 20 minutes when we enter the croc's lair but ROGUE proves there's plenty of life left in movies we've seen dozens of times before when it's done with skill.

The Friday The 13th fan film by director Vincente DiSanti NEVER HIKE ALONE is probably the best fan film I've ever seen. This is a fan film that looks like a studio production if the F13 series took a bit of a found footage turn. This movie breezes by at just over 50 minutes and it's a perfect runtime for this movie that follows hiking enthusiast and vlogger Kyle as he stumbles upon the remains of Camp Crystal Lake and Jason Voorhees. Slickly shot, well acted and featuring some well done practical special effects I don't have much bad to say about the movie until the last few minutes that felt like unnecessary fan service meant to get a cheap pop from the audience and add to the body count. There's nothing wrong with the way that it's done except that it really adds nothing to the movie. It's a minor gripe on an otherwise stellar fan film that fits in perfectly with the franchise.

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 13

I like Jean Rollin's films but I can see why someone wouldn't. The majority of them are very slow without much in the way of action. They're dreamy, visually poetic affairs dealing in metaphor and style over traditional storytelling. I love the style and look he gets his films, and his penchant for using absolutely stunningly beautiful women isn't bad either. THE IRON ROSE may be the least exciting of his movies that i've seen but I loved it. A lustful young couple spend their day in a sprawling old cemetery and find themselves stuck inside after dark. The night shows a slow changing of personalities as the nihilistic, arrogant boy begins to crack and panic while the girl who was a bit reserved and nervous inside the cemetery begins to become entranced with the night and the dead, losing any inhibition and letting herself be taken over. That is what makes this movie an engrossing experience to watch because again, not much actually happens but it's a beautifully shot film and was yet another moody experience from Rollin.

I needed to find something that I could watch while getting some work done and Dario Argento's Masters Of Horror episode JENIFER fit that bill. I've seen it before but it has been a long time since I last saw it andddddd it's pretty much exactly as I remember. It's gory, a little bit sexy but it's largely a soulless affair devoid of Argento's style. That doesn't make it a bad film but it could have been made by anyone. Thankfully Argento would add some of his signature flourishes to the season two episode Pelts.

Next up I was excited to check out EVIL TOONS for the first time on the new Blu-ray that director Fred Olen Ray has released. Well it turns out I have seen the movie before. I'm not sure where or when but I was familiar with everything going on so this wasn't the first time viewing I thought it would be but I still had a good time watching this schlock involving a cartoon demon that comes straight from the pages of a demonic book and possesses a sexy young coed who is cleaning an old house with a group of other sexy young coeds. Add in doses of Dick Miller and David Carradine looking like he's doing his best Vincent Price in Witchfinder General impression and you've got yourself a bloody good time filled with lots of boobies. Otherwise there's not much that sets this movie apart from anything else. There's actually not much animation especially for a movie called "EVIL TOONS" and this movie could have just as easily not had any at all. It's an interesting and sleazy idea to turn Roger Rabbit into a bloody horror film filled with nudity but what else would you expect out of Fred Olen Ray?

Seeing as this was Friday the 13th I couldn't possibly let the day pass without watching a Friday the 13th film could I? Well I suppose I could, I have seen the entire series plenty of times but I figured who better to tuck me in to bed for the night than sack head Jason. That's right, I watched my favorite entry of the franchise, Part 2, which features my favorite Jason as well. The machete to the face on Paul which sends him and his wheelchair down the steep flight of stairs outside is my favorite kill in the movie and is a truly iconic slasher scene. And mean spirited as hell too. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 has everything you want out of a slasher film of the 80s and perfectly embodies the summer camp body count films. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 12

What's there to say about BUTTCRACK. It's a movie called BUTTCRACK where gazing upon an evil undead buttcrack will turn you in to a zombie. Sounds stupid, right? Well it is. It's really fucking stupid. And it's pretty damn funny. Mojo Nixon is great as Preacher Man Bob and did a good job handling the music. If you're a fan of stupid fart joke comedy horror films, from Troma in this case, I recommend it.

Then it was time to revisit a couple films that I haven't watched in a decade or more. First was TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION, the much maligned fourth film in the series that stars a young Renee Zelwegger and Matthew Mcconaughey. Well, the film didn't get any better and it's actually duller than I remember. There's a couple of things I enjoyed about it like the RV chase scene which is really just a lesser version of opening bridge scene from part 2 but I'll take what I can get here. I also thought Mcconaughey gave a really good performance as the main antagonist. Otherwise the movie is pretty crappy and that's all I have to say about that.

CAMP BLOOD was next, a 1999 shot on video slasher film from Brad Sykes who is no stranger to the shot on video world. There's really nothing about this movie that I should like, it's a generic Friday the 13th ripoff with a janky looking clown mask killer stalking the woods surrounding a camp that have been nicknamed Camp Blood which apparently nobody enters but are covered with graffiti. The acting is poor but the special effects are okay. Something about this movie works for me at least on a minor level. I'm certainly not a lover of this movie but to my own surprise I still found myself entertained by it all these years later. It may be the rawness of it and how it looks and feels like something I would have made with friends in high school if we could organize anything but no matter what it is about it that speaks to me I think it's an okay watch even if its not a good movie at all.

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 11

Do you want a safe, do-nothing, go-nowhere, piece of shit anthology? If so this is for you. The first story takes entirely too long to wrap up, the second is the only half decent thing about it and by part 3 I was tuned out. Apparently it was made for TV which would help explain why it is so void of anything even mildly exciting but that couldn't be the entire reason. 

THE SPELL was also made for TV in 1977 and this Carrie-esq movie (I didn't plan on watching this many Carrie ripoffs in such a short span) manages a few excitingly memorable moments of death but otherwise is a quite a melodramatic family drama based in a bit of black magic. And I dug it. Rita's family and schoolmates give her shit for being fat which she's not, maybe chubby or husky but certainly not huge, and keeping to herself and her needlepoint projects. They make all sorts of shitty off handed comments and then those turn into deliberately awful and loveless remarks. Her bratty younger sister played by a young Helen Hunt is a daddy's girl and gets her way in that regard but her mother is a bit more down the middle or at least tries to be. For my money it's nice to see at least some support for Rita but it's pretty empty and shallow when she's also trying to tow the line with her father. This slow burn build tension until a few people involved with the family fall sick or die and eventually Rita's family decides to send her to England but Rita has other plans. THE SPELL isn't terribly exciting but it has good performances, a central character you can really empathize with and one very memorable death scene. I think the finale was fun even if my hopes for the outcome didn't get realized I think this one is an above average ripoff. 

Do you ever watch a movie that gives off a feeling that movies of today just don't give off anymore? That's what happened to me with LADY IN WHITE. It gave me this warm feeling of nostalgia even though I'd never seen the movie before. It made me feel like this movie was going to be an old friend, something I was strangely familiar with even though I had never even watched a trailer. From the opening credits sequence riding bikes through a small town main street as store owners prepare their storefronts for Halloween I knew I was going to like this. And I did. The horror elements are fleeting here showing up sporadically across the two hour runtime but they play an integral part of the plot. The film deals with a child murderer, ghosts, the afterlife and the potential loneliness of death, race relations in the 50s and 60s, family dynamics and coming of age maybe a bit too soon. It features effects that were dated even for its time in 1988 but I like to think director Frank LaLoggia made a style choice with those because it added to that familiar, warm feeling the whole thing gave me. That does sound a bit weird saying about a movie that centers around a movie that deals with a serial killer who focuses on children but if you've seen the film and appreciate it you'll know what I mean. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Comet TV October Lineup and Giveaway

This October there is so much happening on COMET TV!
First up, The Robocop trilogy is airing Saturday, October 21 and Thursday, October 26! Who doesn’t love Robocop, talk about classic sic-fi!
Then, there’s the Underground Horror series airing throughout the month of October! Check out the schedule at
There is something for everyone!

The Comet TV October pack pack has:
1 -Robocop Omni Consumer Products T-shirt: A perfect T-shirt for out and about and to show your Robocop love. It sports the famous Omni Consumer Products logo on the front and looks amazing on!
1 -Limited Edition COMET TV Card: You’ll get 1 of 3 limited edition designs that feature one of the Underground Horror Titles showing this month on COMET TV!
1-Limited Edition COMET TV Pin Set: There’s nothing better to add a little flair to any ensemble that this limited edition COMET TV pin set. It features six different designs including Stargate and Andromeda.
1 -COMET TV Syringe Pen: Oh the horror! This green liquid syringe pen will have you the envy of everyone in your office. I mean let’s be real, who else has a COMET TV green liquid syringe pen? The answer… It could be you!

1. Send an email to and include your full name and address (US only!)
2. Tell me your favorite scene from any Robocop movie!
3. Winner will be selected on Halloween!

About COMET TV - October 2017
Robocop (1987) 
Robocop 2 (1990) 
Robocop 3 (1993)
Saturday, October 21 Starting at 10P/9C 
Thursday, October 26 Starting at 4P/3C
Classic Space Opera is coming to COMET! Based on materials from sci-fi legend Gene Roddenberry, Andromeda stars all action hero Kevin Sorbo as the Captain of the Andromeda Ascendant, a highly advanced ship whose crew is charged with restoring power and stability to the Systems Commonwealth. But, to succeed the Andromeda crew must battle one of sci-fi’s weirdest looking bad guys....the sinister Magog! 
Weekdays at 2P/1C and 10P/9C
Stargate: Atlantis 
If you thought gate-hopping action was fun in the Milky Way, just wait until you see what it’s like in the Pegasus Galaxy. Stargate: Atlantis sees a team of international scientists unlocking the secrets of a legendary ancient city, discovering a whole new stargate network in a whole new galaxy, and bringing them face to face with the Wraith, a powerful enemy who are best summed up with the term 'Evil Space Vampires'! 
Weekdays at 3P/2C and 11P/10C
October, demons, blood guts and gore, that’s what the month will bring to viewers. Join COMET TV for a horror retrospective of some of the most ingenious films, sure to scare the most die- hard fans of the genre. From classics to contemporary, COMET TV has them all.
Airing daily throughout October, check schedule at

Friday Primetime Movie 8P/7C 
Saturday Encore Presentation 8P/7C
Real Genius (1985) 
Friday, October 13 at 8P/7C
Lord of Illusions (1995) 
Friday, October 20 at 8P/7C
The Silence of The Lambs (1991) 

Friday, October 27 at 8P/7C

Thursday, October 12, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 10

Sometimes Netflix will surprise you and you'll stumble across something unexpectedly good. That happened with DON'T KILL IT. Dolph Lundgren stars as a demon hunter tracking a demon that moves from victim to victim whenever the person it is inhabiting is killed and it moves on to the killer. This makes it tricky as the demon has superhuman strength and isn't afraid to die, you must trap the demon to stop the carnage. And there's a lot of carnage. The kills in this movie send blood splattering everywhere. It has a good energy, Lundgren is funny but tough, and Kristina Klebe is a good co-star to him. The demon is a bit generic in its screeching screams, black eyed presentation but the movie is a good way to turn your brain off for 90 minutes and watch a fun action horror flick that absolutely flies by.

Next was THE SLAYER, a slasher with its feet planted in psychological horror set on an abandoned island in a creepy old beach house. It's a bit slow with a small body count but it has a good eerie feeling, a naturally creepy setting and some nasty kills. I hate to say that I let my preconceived notions of what to expect were wrong (thanks to the artwork) and I did find myself a bit let down because of that but still liked it. Knowing what to expect on future viewings will definitely allow me to settle in and watch it for what it is instead of waiting for what I expected it to be to not happen.

The Slayer may not have been what I was totally expecting then came DEADLY GAMES from 1982 that I just don't have a fucking clue what anyone in this movie was thinking or why it was made. This is a mystery slasher where Keegan Lawrence (don't worry, every character in this piece of shit is constantly referred to by their full name) returns home to solve the murder of her sister. That's the plot but good lord it's a disaster. Chicago Bears legend Dick Bitkus is here with a speaking role and plays football. There's a character that reminds me of Kelly Leak from The Bad News Bears who is a constant third wheel on dates. The copy I watched randomly broke in to German and Spanish language tracks but it doesn't matter because there wasn't a damn good thing about this piece of shit. DEADLY GAMES feels like it is at least 2 and a half hours and it's as dull as a dollar store knife. What a pile of shit.

More Tim Ritter is always welcomed, especially when I was righting a wrong and finally seeing TRUTH OR DATE: A CRITICAL MADNESS - something I had only seen a handful of scenes from before. What is there to say? It's mid 80s shot on video madness. Gory, stupid, cheesy and just a fantastically fun time.

The night came to a close with TALES OF HALLOWEEN, the 10 part anthology film from 2015 that I liked a lot on my first viewing. The good news is that I still like it. The bad news? Well I guess it's not really bad but I don't like it quite as much as I did. It tries to put together a similar look and feel to Trick 'R Treat but it's not on the same level as that modern classic. It's still more hit than miss and I suggest checking it out this Halloween season.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 9

Most Bigfoot movies suck. The world needs more quality Bigfoot movies. In an effort to find fun movies involving the legendary creature I've come across some trash and it happened again with 2002's SASQUATCH starring Lance Henriksen. How bad can a Lance Henriksen be, right? Well he's not too bad but the rest of the movie goes over like a wet sasquatch fart in a crowded elevator. The Sasquatch suit is laughable looking like black pleather with a bit of fur randomly glued around. His face looks okay though. The only scene worth a damn involves pleather Sasquatch fighting Lance Henriksen with a tree stump. Otherwise the acting sucks, the characters are grating and the effects remind me of a shitty episode about ghosts from Unsolved Mysteries. And for the record Unsolved Mysteries rules but SASQUATCH certainly does not.

The suckage continued but this time it was a much bigger let down with Tobe Hooper's NIGHT TERRORS starring Robert Englund. I like Hooper and Englund a lot and their previoius collaboration Eaten Alive is fantastic. Sadly this collaboration is poorly realized. Englund plays a dual role as the Marquis de Sade and in present day as a descendant of the Marquis. When he's the Marquis he spends his time chained in a dungeon being tortured and whipped in shitty makeup and hamming it up way too much. The dungeon looks damp and dark and is my favorite part of the movie but I don't think I've ever liked a Robert Englund performance less than this. As his present day character he's still over the top and irritating. The rest of the cast including Zoe Trilling and Alona Kimhi are perfectly suited for day time soap operas with the range of a 2x4. The cult scenes are bland and everything about it felt like they didn't have the money to really produce what they wanted. At least it was better than Sasquatch.

The day wasn't a total loss... JENNIFER is an entertaining ripoff of Carrie. Jennifer is a new girl at a private school where money is all that matters. The rich kids have all the privilege over the scholarship kids and most of the popular girls give Jennifer all sorts of shit for no real reason even though she's a perfectly nice and kind person who isn't even all that weird despite having a father deeply devoted to the bible and Jennifer's past involving the deep south snake churches where she was able to control the snakes and had "the power". He pesters her about the bible and the snakes and his dinner but never really comes across as the psychological threat that Piper Laurie did in Carrie. Eventually they fuck with Jennifer too much and she loses it, reverting back to her Godly snake powers and punishes her tormentors. The movie is a bit of a slow burn and makes you sit around with a lot of spoiled bratty girls that deserve everything they get which makes it all worth it even though it's not the most exciting or expertly crafted film in the world. I think this could have been some serious 70s exploitation gold had they made this trashier and more violent with the snakes instead of trying to compete stride for stride with Carrie and keep a sense of "class" about it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017 October Horror Challenge Day 8

Day 8, the day where nothing was amazing but then again nothing was particularly awful. The worst of the bunch was the first of the bunch, MURDERDROME. This Aussie production from 2013 features a lot of roller derby girls fighting with other roller derby girls about ex-boyfriends, on-rink beef and whatever else they fight about. Then the roller derby girls get to fight more roller derby girls... from hell. It's intentionally campy as you can imagine but much of the attempts at humor aren't funny and the acting is rough. The special effects are okay and it's not offensively bad. If you have a fetish for derby girls you might even enjoy the thing. Thankfully it doesn't last too long at 75 minutes and features a handful of decent kill scenes.

DEADLY DREAMS may not have been the slasher film I expected. Hell, it was barely the horror film I expected. The movie spends most of its time feeling more like a soap opera than anything else but it works for the psychological aspect of driving the main character to the brink of insanity mixed in with some sporadic moments of horror. I don't know why I liked this one, it's nothing special and the multiple twists worked for me but don't do anything new or surprising and there's nothing memorable as far as horror goes. There was something about it that I latched on to and enjoyed it a bit.

I finished with my favorite movie of the day which is made solely on the lead's performance - the 2003 remake of WILLARD featuring Crispin Glover as the titular character. Glover's performance is perfectly offbeat, sympathetic and creepy all wrapped into a rat burrito where he plays a brow-beaten mommy's boy with a shithead boss who hates him and fires him as soon as his mother dies. Willard gets revenge with his pet rats and then the rats take over and it gets as crazy as you think a movie about a thousand rats being led by a fat one named Ben and taking over a man's shitty life would be. The movie isn't very violent or gory, there's no nudity and it has a dark sense of humor. It all comes down to Crispin Glover getting the audience to care about him and we do. We might not want to hang out with the guy or get a beer with him after work but you can care about him and hate his boss who is out to destroy his life. R. Lee Ermey plays Willard's boss and is definitely an unlikeable dickhead but he's playing his same old Full Metal Jacket schtick that worked in that movie but feels so out of place here. That said, Glover is so great that I really did enjoy this one.