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The Horror of The Love Boat!

December 16th, 2013 · 15 Comments

Did you realize that before they appeared together in THE FOG, legendary mother daughter horror icons JAMIE LEE CURTIS (HALLOWEEN) and JANET LEIGH (PSYCHO) took a cruise on THE LOVE BOAT? It’s true! In fact it was CURTIS’ first post Haddonfield venture and notably the only time the two played mother and daughter on screen.

Do you remember when FRIDAY THE 13TH’s mega momma BETSY PALMER appeared in the same episode as head-turner LINDA BLAIR albeit in separate storylines? Who could forget that once in a lifetime horror star configuration?

For one fantastic decade, whether one was climbing up or down the ladder of fame, there were two places they could always rely on finding themselves welcome, in a horror film or on “The Pacific Princess” better known as THE LOVE BOAT! Hey, why not let’s check out a few more horror pals who tested their romantic sea legs? Who cares if it was before, during or after this amorous ship sailed? I have a feeling this is going to be exciting and new! Come aboard! We’re expecting you!

JULIET MILLS of BEYOND THE DOOR

LAURIE WALTERS of WARLOCK MOON

ROSS MARTIN of DYING ROOM ONLY

PAMALA GRIER of SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

DENISE NICHOLAS of BLACKULA

SLIM PICKENS of THE HOWLING

DIANE LADD of THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER & WILD AT HEART

KENT McCORD of THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3

MAUREEN McCORMICK of RETURN TO HORROR HIGH

MORGAN BRITTANY of THE INITIATION OF SARAH

RICHARD GILLILAND of BUG

JAYNE KENNEDY of MS.45

ELKE SOMMER of LISA AND THE DEVIL & FLASHBACK

ROBERT VAUGHN of C.H.U.D. 2- BUD THE CHUD

HOWARD KEEL of THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS

BELINDA J. MONTGOMERY of SILENT MADNESS

JOSE FERRER of BLOODY BIRTHDAY & THE BEING

JENILEE HARRISON of CURSE III: BLOOD SACRIFICE

KATHERINE HELMOND of LADY IN WHITE

MICHELLE PHILIPS of SCISSORS

BRITT EKLAND of THE WICKER MAN

JOAN VAN ARK of FROGS

RICHARD BASEHART of MANSION OF THE DOOMED

LESLIE EASTERBROOK of THE DEVIL’S REJECTS

JOAN FONTAINE of REBECCA & SUSPICION

PATRICK LABORTEAUX of GHOULIES III & SUMMER SCHOOL

MORGAN FAIRCHILD of THE INITIATION OF SARAH

JESSICA WALTER of HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

DARROW IGUS of THE FOG

AUDRA LINDLEY of SPELLBINDER

ANNE MEARA of HIGHWAY TO HELL

DARYL ANDERSON of MOSTER SQUAD

ELINOR DONAHUE of FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE

ELAINE JOYCE of MOTEL HELL

ROBERT ALDA of THE BEAST WITH 500 FINGERS

LUCILLE BENSON of HALLOWEEN II

ROSE MARIE of WITCHBOARD

HENRY JONES of ARACHNOPHOBIA

MARY McDONOUGH of MORTUARY

JOANNA CASSIDY of NIGHT CHILD

BERT CONVY of JENNIFER

LYNDA DAY GEORGE of PIECES

JOHN PHILIP LAW of NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR

TANYA ROBERTS of TOURIST TRAP

LYDIA CORNELL of BLOODTIDE

JUDY LANDERS of HELLHOLE

VERA MILES of PSYCHO & PSYCHO II

DICK VAN PATTON of THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

FABIAN of KISS DADDY GOODBYE

PRISCILLA BARNES of STEPFATHER 3 & THE DEVIL’S REJECTS

DOUG BARR of THE UNSEEN and DEADLY BLESSING

SONNY BONO of TROLL

WOODY BROWN of KILLER PARTY

JARED MARTIN of AENIGMA

JOANNA PETTET of THE EVIL

PAUL WILLIAMS of THE PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE

KEVIN BROPHY of HELL NIGHT

SUSAN STRASBERG 0f SCREAM OF FEAR & THE MANITOU

DAVID HEDISON of THE FLY

KIM DARBY of DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK & HALLOWEEN VI

CHRISTOPHER GEORGE of PIECES & GATES OF HELL

SHELLEY HACK of THE STEPFATHER

JOSEPH COTTEN of THE HEARSE

OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND of LADY IN A CAGE

JOAN PRATHER of THE DEVIL’S RAIN

SYLVIA SIDNEY of DAMIEN OMEN II & BEETLEJUICE

CINDY MORGAN of THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

BARBI BENTON of HOSPITAL MASSACRE/X-RAY

PETER HASKELL of CHILD’S PLAY 2 & 3

SAMANTHA EGGAR of THE BROOD

VINCENT VAN PATTON of HELL NIGHT

JENNIFER LOPINTO of HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE

STEVE MARACHUK of PIRANHA 2: THE SPAWNING

RON PALILLO of FRIDAY THE 13th: PART 6 & HELLGATE

MARIE LAURIN of CREATURE

TRISH STEWART of MANSION OF THE DOOMED

DANA WYNTER of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS

LISA HARTMAN of DEADLY BLESSING

BARRY VAN DYKE of ANTS!

ZSA ZSA GABOR of PICTURE MOMMY DEAD

ERIN GRAY of JASON GOES TO HELL

MELISSA SUE ANDERSON of HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

TROY DONAHUE of HARD ROCK NIGHTMARE

FARLEY GRANGER of THE PROWLER

BETTY WHITE of LAKE PLACID

BART BRAVERMAN of ALLIGATOR

GAYLE HUNNICUTT of THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE

MAREN JENSEN of DEADLY BLESSING

LANI O’GRADY of MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH

ROBERT CULP of SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 3 & SANTA’s SLAY

DARREN McGAVIN of KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER

ERIN MORAN of GALAXY OF TERROR

DAWN WELLS of THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN

DENNIS COLE of ZOMBIE DEATH HOUSE

TOM HANKS of HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE

VIC TAYBACK of BLOOD AND LACE

LARRY WILCOX of DEADLY LESSONS

PHYLLIS DILLER of THE BONEYARD

ERNEST BORGNINE of THE DEVIL’S RAIN & WILLARD

SHELLEY WINTERS of TENTACLES & THE TENANT

KIM RICHARDS of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13

ADRIENNE BARBEAU of THE FOG & CREEPSHOW

And don’t forget your perky cruise director Julie (LAUREN TEWES) battled for her life against a deranged psychopath in EYES OF A STRANGER!

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Tags: General Horror · General Insanity

American Gothic (1988)

May 23rd, 2013 · 7 Comments

If anyone ever asks me to name an underrated horror heroine, remind me that I want to say Cynthia (SARAH TORGOV) from AMERICAN GOTHIC (1988). It’s not hard to guess why she’s never gained much traction with the horror crowd; she’s not butch, bookish or boob-centric. In fact, she starts out as kind of a drip. It’s not where you begin but where you are going that matters though and glum Cynthia is going to the best place of all…crazy town!

When we first meet her, she is being released from a mental hospital! Is there a better time to meet a person? It’s no wonder she’s a mess and a half, it turns out she’s committed the ultimate blunder! One day she was giving her baby a bath when the phone rang and she just left for a second and then…zoinks! That’s some pretty heavy baggage and that’s why I don’t give my cats baths. In the interest of taking it easy and getting her mind off the fact that she killed her baby so that she could answer a stupid telephone call, Cynthia jumps in a plane with a bunch of people she has no business being friends with and takes a trip! Only God must truly hate Cynthia because he places her plane down onto an island whose inhabitants are super counterproductive to her recovery.

Talk about your island of misfit toys. There’s fair weather religious nut Pa (a fire breathing ROD STEIGER), prudent Charleston fan Ma (a hard not to love YVONNE DeCARLO) and their three less than adorable moppets: Fanny, Woody and Teddy (JANET WRIGHT, the legendary MICHAEL J.POLLARD and WILLIAM HOOTKINS, respectively). The kids are pushing fifty but act like they are twelve and please remember this was released in 1988 way before Facebook made such behavior the norm. Cynthia’s pals make the deadly mistake of scoffing the backwards ways on display while I only wish I could book a weekend stay. No cars, no lights, no motorcars… not a single luxury, unless you consider having a giant swing next to a cliff so that can you push people to their doom a luxury, which I do. If Cynthia would open her eyes maybe she could learn something here. As somebody who is having trouble letting go of the past she might take note of how that same approach to life has hardly benefited her demented hosts. Are these frozen-in-time, perpetually stunted human defects her future if she doesn’t get a grip? Yes. In the meantime her snotty friends must die one by one in increasingly gratifying ways.

(Kinda spoiler-y) Perhaps the only reason that Cynthia survives longer than her buddies is that darling Fanny takes a liking to her. Cynthia’s emotional state so closely mirrors the family’s folie a cinq that she glides smoothly into ponytail-enhanced Stockholm syndrome. This is a great turn of events…for me! What nobody has bargained for is that Cynthia’s secret power is insanity and Fanny owns the exact key to click her switch to berserker mode…oh you know, you might have one around the house too… a dried up baby corpse! Cynthia’s resulting transformation is better than your average slasher-chick metamorphosis from dishrag to ShamWow. It’s as if a crazed understudy has pirated the part. It’s not the first or last time a horror character has switched sides mid-game but it’s one of the few times where it’s handled in a way where it makes absolute sense. Ultimately Cynthia is not playing on any team. What’s she’s raging against is the same thing Pa renounces when he’s presented with the death of his own offspring, the absence of a higher power who cares enough to stop such horrible things from happening.

Fittingly JOHN (INCUBUS) HOUGH’s AMERICAN GOTHIC borrows freely from the classic horrors that walked before it while indulging in whatever eighties excesses it cares to. Although it’s a kissing cousin to many films from PSYCHO to THE BABY to MOTEL HELL to maybe even JOHN WATER’S PINK FLAMINGOS, it probably shares its strongest kinship to WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? In both cases we’re dealing with eccentric outsider characters that are somewhat comical on the surface and downright tragic at their core. As amusing as AMERICAN GOTHIC’s billowing black comedy antics often are, it’s only one hopscotch jump away from hitting upon something deeper. When it’s not dealing with infant death and the questioning of God, it puts forth a generational clash between old and new ways that exaggerated though it may be, is recognizable as a true American constant. This movie has more than its share of mentally ill oddballs bouncing around yet in the end, it seems the big baddie looming in the shadows might be cruel, heartless time itself and the ambivalent way it tends to make mincemeat out of those who lag behind. It’s not the scariest movie in the world but this is one baby you should not throw out with the bathwater! I’m sorry; I just had to do that.

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Tags: General Horror · General Insanity · Trauma-Daddies · Trauma-Mommas

The Incubus (1982) He is the Destroyer!

May 11th, 2013 · 10 Comments

Once upon a time, one of my favorite video stores was closing and selling off its stock and so I went to feed upon its carcass like a slobbering vulture. I had a limited amount of funds and so many a Sophie-esque choice was made that day, one of which would come to haunt me in shameful, near psychotic ways. My haul was to be complete after one final DVD decision. I could either get AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS (1973) or THE INCUBUS (1982). I had not seen the former and I owned the latter on VHS and so in the spirit of open mindedness and expanding my horizons, I left doe-eyed THE INCUBUS behind. What kind of a person does that? A fool.

As it turned out I had severely underestimated my love for THE INCUBUS and richly overestimated my giving a crap about AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS! In order to rectify the situation, I jumped over to Amazon to rescue my mistake only to find it out of print with its price tag soaring by the minute! To buy it at three or five times the amount that I had recently snubbed my nose at was impossible! I was an idiot and suddenly my life was incomplete. There was a hole in my heart that went all the way to China and that howling abyss could only be filled by one thing. It was as if I had lost a leg in a war and was now cursed with a phantom ghost leg except for the war and the leg part. (Please note that while all of this nonsense is going on there are actual real tragedies taking place all over the world.)

What was wrong with me? By my calculations this behavior was the exact opposite of Zen. I was acting like one of those horrible record troll people who hang off of cardboard boxes at garage sales with crazed looks in their eyes prepared to strangle anyone who gets in the way of their precious Gollum prize! I had to snap out it. I had to stop checking Amazon every week with the sole purpose of torturing myself! Why was my sense of well being tied to something so trivial and why did I feel like I had somehow betrayed a part of my youth? I’m not what I own and yet I can’t help thinking nobody deserves to have this DVD more than me! I might have just stopped the madness and bought it at any price but you know…you just know… as soon as I did that it would become available again and I’d be a chump again.

I had to get off the merry go round and so I gave up. The dust settled, the cuckoo went back in the clock… and soon, as predicted, THE INCUBUS was rereleased on DVD! See miracles really do happen when you set your sights low and happen to be the pettiest person on Earth! I even waited (the hubris!) for a used copy and got it super cheap! Victory was finally mine! It came in the mail and I welcomed it with open arms and I was contented for exactly one second! Hooray for me.

I really do like THE INCUBUS more than I lead on in THIS review. Now that we’ve been through the ringer together our relationship has grown even stronger. It’s got some hammy acting, at least one instance of truly horrendous dialogue (I don’t want tenderness!) and a less than stellar script (based upon a book that probably shouldn’t have been adapted in the first place) but Lord love a duck, the general vibe of it sings my wretched song. How are you are not going to love this perfect bubble of time when the eighties were becoming the eighties but were not all bright and wacky yet? Is there anything better than a movie that wants to be a slasher and a gothed-out supernatural tale at the same time? I want to be both those things too!

I know some folks find this movie super sleazy on account of all of the wall-to-wall demon rape going on. I guess it is but it’s all presented as so grim and depressing that it’s hard for me to see it as exploitive. Personally, I’m more interested in the oppressive wall of monstrous sexual angst I believe it shares with the same year’s AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION and THE BEAST WITHIN. Seriously, what is it with that year? Where the planets aligned in some specific way? Anyway, in my book, director JOHN HOUGH is criminally underappreciated. He’s done great stuff (TWINS OF EVIL, LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, the excellent AMERICAN GOTHIC), some noteworthy stuff (WATCHER IN THE WOODS, the WITCH MOUTAIN movies) and even a lovable stinker (HOWLING 4: THE ORIGINAL NIGHTMARE). Really, what DVD collection is complete without all of his movies? Oh no.

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Tags: General Horror · General Insanity

YellowBrickRoad (2010)

January 7th, 2012 · 10 Comments

I was just saying that although I truly enjoyed THE INKEEPERS, it didn’t really scare me as much as I wanted it to. On the flip side, here is a movie that I didn’t really care for that somehow freaked me out. YELLOW BRICK ROAD sports an an inviting premise; way back in 1940, the entire town of Friar, New Hampshire got it in their heads to abandon their homes and take to a winding trail in the woods. (The assholes even left their pets behind!) They were all later discovered slaughtered or frozen to death with zero explanation. Now, a group of smarty-pants psychologists and the like decide to follow the trail themselves and see what they can find while documenting their journey. Terrible and frustratingly ambiguous things ensue. YELLOW BRICK ROAD is an oddly fascinating movie especially considering that I hated the way it looked, how it was executed and nearly everybody in it. I’d tell it to go climb a tree outright but the damn movie got under my skin even in the face of all my resistance.

I don’t get it. Tacky effects, inconsistent acting, dishwater visuals, moronic behavior, poor and random use of black and white stills, inexplicable wardrobe choices, you name it and it’s present and accounted for and busily agitating me. Still, if you tried to turn YBR off while I was watching it, I would have chopped your arm off. When it finally slunk away after one last dubious image, I realized that remarkably it had left me with a feeling of dread the size of a Rose Bowl float. I was reminded of one of those terribly done reenactment educational films you’d see in Jr. High School about the winter at Valley Forge but laced with grisly f-ed up imagery achieved on a Goth teenager’s laptop. No matter what, the truth remains, it achieved a level of wrongness that made me cringe.

Here are my excuses for being scared by a movie that I found aesthetically appalling; first of all, getting lost in the woods, as I’ve stated before is a real fear of mine. It’s not so much the disorientation that gets to me but the idea that nature itself is an ominous force that is trying to stomp me out that turns my hair white. (This is where most would cite THE BLAIR WITCH but where I, trying to convince you that I read occasionally, cite “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood.) Secondly, in the course of this movie some dum-dums eat poison berries that make them trip their brains out and that idea is a nightmare to me too thanks to GO ASK ALICE and that urban legend about trick or treaters who were given LSD laced candy and are still hallucinating in a mental asylum to this day. Thirdly, this sneaky movie has that SESSION 9-ish vein running through it where you realize that the space between sanity and madness is the length of one thought. I hate that. Lastly, there’s this whole stagnation thing going on where you feel the exhaustion of being in the same place for so long that you forget there was ever any other place. Basically we’re talking about a cinematic K-hole.

I guess I like this movie more than I’m ready to fully admit. I don’t feel like owning it, or seeing it again or hanging a poster of it on my wall and buying the lunch box but it did sufficiently poke my head. On a base level, I still think horror films are like campfire stories and I’m not sure you have to like every sentence the storyteller utters to be taken to the place that you need to go. I’m going to coin my own phrase and call this a “green light bulb movie” in reference to SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT. There’s no rationale why the middle story in that flawed, shabby anthology wigs me out- it just does. I may never use that term again but a “green light bulb” movie is bigger than the sum of its parts. Dissected it looks like nothing but it makes reference to a bigger horror, a horror of indescribable nonsense, of losing your bearings and slipping into a pit where you disinherit yourself completely. I know some people will probably check this one out (it’s on Netflix Streaming) and think, “What are you talking about?” but that’s a big part of what makes a green light bulb movie so unnerving. Frustratingly, not everybody can see it glow. Then again, maybe I’m just creeped out by old-timey forties music.

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Tags: General Horror · General Insanity · I Have No Idea What This Is · Trauma Au Courant

Kinder-Quiz :: 10 Signs Your House Has The Hots For You!

October 12th, 2011 · 6 Comments

If you jump on over to MADE FOR TV MAYHEM, you will find our kinderpal Amanda By Night is currently celebrating one of her favorite made-for-TV movies, 1981’s THIS HOUSE POSSESSED with a week(s)-long investigation labeled THIS BLOG POSSESSED!

We here at Kindertrauma feel compelled to back up her enthusiasm because although THIS HOUSE commits the crime of indulging in the questionable musical stylings of one PARKER STEVENSON, it still stands as one of the most unusual haunted house flicks ever made. Just because I can’t make heads or tails of what takes place in the film does not mean I don’t like what I see.

One message that the movie conveys, that did not float over my head, is the idea that as nice as it may be to fall in love with a house, one thing you’d probably want to avoid is a house falling in love with you. There just doesn’t seem to be a way for such a thing to work out well, especially if said house is omni-powerful for no discernible reason.

In the interest of public safety, let’s take a closer look at some of the signs provided by THIS HOUSE POSSESSED that may indicate that your home may be harboring a super-bad psychotic crush on you.

For each “YES” answer below please add one point…

10. Is your house so in love with you that it scares fornicating teenagers off your lawn with an animated garden hose?

9. When your house watches TV, is it really just watching you at your job?

8. Does your house collect pictures of you as a child?

7. Does your house thwart your employer’s sexual advances with a fire alarm?

6. When your employer’s sometimes girlfriend comes to stay, does your house treat her to a shower of blood?

5. Have there been any instances of a librarian being crushed in the front gate of your property and being burned to death in her car?

4. Have any oldster doomsayers been boiled alive in your indoor pool?

3.Have you either come across a Raggedy Ann doll lately or accepted an offer to take a tandem bicycle ride with PARKER STEVENSON?

2. Has SLIM PICKENS offered to repair a mirror from your home and has the resulting outcome been an exploding mirror and a dead SLIM PICKENS?

1. Does your house have a pulsating chimney?

NOTE: Please now add three extra points if you are prone to writing important messages on stray napkins.

KINDER-QUIZ ANSWER KEY:
0 points or below: Sorry, but your house does not love you.
5 points or under: Your house thinks you are doable but not worth calling later.
6 points or over: Your house is in love with you. Dress accordingly.

UNK SEZ: For even more THIS HOUSE POSSESSED, check out our buddy VICAR OF VHSMad, Mad, Mad, Mad review of it HERE and don’t forget to drop by MADE FOR TV MAYHEM!

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Tags: Amanda By Night · General Horror · General Insanity · Great Moments In Kindertrauma History · Kinder-quiz

Kinder-News :: Evil Children Double Feature!

July 1st, 2011 · No Comments

UNK SEZ: Possibly the most Kindertraumatic double feature of all time has been put together by our pal KEVIN MAHER! Folks who attend will delight in both the twisted wonder that is the 1980 cult favorite THE CHILDREN and one of my favorite TV movies ever DON’T GO TO SLEEP! There shall be trivia and there shall be prizes! This festival of fiendish tots will be held Thursday, July 7th at 92Y Tribeca, 200 Hudson Street in the land of NY, NY! Failure to experience this event will result in tears! Get more info at THISKEVIN and buy your tickets HERE!

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Tags: General Insanity · Great Moments In Kindertrauma History · Kinder-News · Kinder-Spotlight

The Rapture (1991)

May 21st, 2011 · 9 Comments

Is the world over yet? Is it okay if I am disappointed either way? I don’t mind being left behind and unchosen as long as I get some answers. I’m used to being picked last and if God turns out to be some giant bully in the sky collecting belief and love like lunch money, I’m fine with that. Honestly if I were God, I wouldn’t care if anyone believed in me at all, I’d stomp out the human race as a failed experiment regardless and leave the Earth to the plants and animals. I wouldn’t stand for modern culture mucking up my terrarium. I’d ferment all the fruit in the trees and let the monkeys and elephants get wasted! It’s not like they have to drive home or anything. If God created drunk caterpillars, willow trees and fish tacos then I certainly do love him but am I really expected to worship an entity who is more passive-aggressive than me? It’s difficult.

1991’s MICHAEL TOLKIN film THE RAPTURE is simply unforgettable which makes it all the more strange that it is mostly forgotten; I guess asking questions and not saying exactly what people want to hear isn’t the best way to be popular-who knew? MIMI ROGERS brings new meaning to the word revelation as Sharon, a woman bored out of her skull by her stupid job who has a bunch of random sex because it’s almost like not feeling bored anymore. One day she notices that folks who have found God are even happier than folks who have foursomes that include DAVID DUCHOVNY and so she decides to get born again. God’s love has a price though and soon the invisible taskmaster is forcing her to jump through many a hoop. I’ve watched enough Oprah to identify a toxic relationship when I see one. Face it Sharon, he’s just not that into you.

When I first saw THE RAPTURE it shook me like a shake weight. No matter what your personal beliefs are it is sure to challenge them. Rather than painting Sharon as a loon waiting for a ship that never comes in, it pushes her smack dab into the middle of the apocalypse, trumpets blaring and all. Yes, the end of the world does arrive as predicted but not before Sharon has lost everything that made the world’s destruction worth giving a crap about. I think Sharon’s spiritual journey is rather an admirable one. What’s infinitely less admirable is the fact that once she has a child, she drags her offspring along for the ride too. She’s not a bad person, it’s just that her belief system has painted her into a corner where critical thinking is no longer an option. To even question God is an act of treachery. Her faith is strong just not strong enough to withstand a moments scrutiny.

Because it concerns religion, THE RAPTURE is sure to offend some folks but writer/director TOLKIN is hardly being provocative for the sake of being provocative. The film takes its subject matter seriously and has a sincere curiosity about exactly what the unequivocal existence of God would mean. THE RAPTURE bypasses the usual stalemate of belief vs. non-belief and jumps ahead to the next ladder rung. God exists alright but he has some serious explaining to do. Judgment Day arrives but, in a crazy switch-a-roo, it is God who is judged. It may seem blasphemous to some but if the act of wondering and questioning is a sin then damn me now. I don’t know what God you believe in, but mine can handle some constructive criticism without a hissy fit.

You really do not have to believe in anything to enjoy THE RAPTURE besides good storytelling and the power of film. Somehow its low-budget makeshift end of the world is emotionally devastating on an epic scale. TOLKIN’s insistence that the demolition of one spirit be accountable for, coupled with ROGER’s undaunted performance is ultimately as moving as any hymn. If THE MIST got you hot under the collar than you might want to take a rain check but if you welcome an investigation into the spiritual without the usual cowardly boundaries I say step forward, there’s no reason to linger in limbo.

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Tags: Caution: I break for geniuses! · General Insanity · My own personal Jesus · Tykes in Trouble

Jaws of Satan (1981)

March 15th, 2011 · 10 Comments

I have to stop listening to other people because I almost lived a life with no JAWS OF SATAN in it. A cursory scan of other folk’s reactions to the film had me wrongly assuming it was just another bad movie. You know the drill, “Some movies are so bad they’re good, not this one! This one is so bad, it’s just bad.” First of all, I’ll be the judge of that and second of all, wrong. JAWS OF SATAN is not just another bad movie; it is a perfect amalgamation of everything that makes movies not good. I also find it highly entertaining and worth my time because there is never a second of it where it is not doing exactly what it shouldn’t. I stand a bit amazed, here is a film that wasn’t satisfied with being simply a failure of a Satan film, it had to take a crap in the animals run amuck cage too. Just think about the title for a moment, it tells you everything that you need to know.

A snake attacks a couple of men in the cargo area of a train, which naturally causes the entire train to quietly come to a halt. (Don’t worry, a “train wreck” of another kind is imminent.) It’s no ordinary snake because it is…Satan! The Satan snake is on a mission to kill a priest because well, priests burn brighter in hell apparently and this priest is extra special because he comes from a family of druids who kill snakes, so there’s that. Maybe the less we get into that swamp the better, the point is the snake who is Satan hates the priest and wants to bite him and chase him around a graveyard. (Silly Satan, you don’t have to chase priests these days, you can just sit back and they’ll come to you!) I’m not sure what will happen once the snake catches the priest but in the meantime other snakes are getting rowdy and biting non-priests all over a small town in Alabama.

Thankfully Dr. Sheridan is on the case and don’t assume like other people in this movie do that because I said “Dr.” that I’m taking about a boy either because Dr. Sheridan is A GIRL! (Did you just spit your coffee out in shock? Sorry.) Yes, Dr. Sheridan (GRETCHEN CORBETT of LET SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH) is a new type of woman who is a professional doctor and don’t you forget it! She’s a real poster girl for women’s lib too especially when after two people are bitten by snakes she exclaims, “It’s an epidemic and I can’t cope with it!” and then a snake shows up after she takes a shower and she calls a guy on the phone she just met to run over to her house to shoot it and then she breaks down crying hysterically and has to be slapped in the face before he sleeps with her and she makes him breakfast and then midway through the film for no reason whatsoever another guy on a motorcycle forces her car to the side of the road so he can make her fellate his hand gun until she is rescued by….a priest? No, a snake!

Considering the non-stop pilfering you’d think we’d end up with something that resembles a movie more than this mush but nah. We have a mayor who wants to keep the snake issue under wraps so as not to wreck the grand opening of a fancy dog racing track, a coroner who eats chicken right next to a corpse and ye old “It was only a cat!” routine. It’s like a who’s who of movie clichés. I don’t want to complain too much about the clichés though because it’s when then the movie decides to get creative that it really humps the daggit. As dumb as everything is throughout the course of the movie (the list of offences goes on and on) it’s toward the end when we really fall into an almost abstract experience with weird shoehorned dubbing, people appearing in two places at once or out of nowhere and a climax that plays out like a battle between man and mop handle. Did I mention that Satan snake likes to stand straight up on his tail? Adorable much?

There’s one great shot of Father Farrow (CREEPSHOW’s FRITZ WEAVER) strolling past a gnarled tree but most of the film looks ho-hum which is astonishing considering the cinematographer is DEAN CUNDY who you might remember from such films as every movie I ever loved. (HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, THE THING, PSYCHO 2 etc.) Personally I’m comfortable throwing all the blame on director BOB CLAVER’s lap on account of he went on to poke eyes out and scramble brains via television by directing two of the most lunatic series in the history of forever, SMALL WONDER and OUT OF THIS WORLD. Besides being hilarious as hell, one of the other things going for JAWS OF SATAN is that it marks the debut of CHRISTINA APPLEGATE as a tyke who gets locked in a closet with a snake at a dog race opening. Aw, how can you not like APPLEGATE after growing up with her as Kelly Bundy? Her real life mother NANCY PRIDDY even portrays her mom in the film. PRIDDY is apparently responsible for a well regarded psychedelic folk album and sang back up for LEONARD COHEN!

All in all, this movie does deliver on the bad movie front in spades. There’s always something perplexing going on and the snake-eye view cemetery chase is an absolute ridiculous must see. This movie ssssssssucks but if you have a taste for terrible, you really couldn’t beat it with a stick.

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Tags: General Horror · General Insanity · I Have No Idea What This Is