I think we can all agree that if Cylons landed on Earth on Halloween night it would be particularly devastating, as folks would naturally assume that they were costumed revelers rather than robots committed to the final annihilation of the life form known as man. If this concept chills you to the bone fear not, the entertaining yet borderline atrocious two part episode of GALACTICA 1980 entitled “The Night the Cylons Landed” is here to assure you that there’s nothing a clown, a microwave oven, a few verses of “The Goodship Lollipop” and Wolfman Jack can’t fix. As the Cylons take Manhattan, keep your eyes peeled for PETER MARK RICHMAN as crabby Colonel Briggs who’d go on to portray crabby chaperone Charles McCulloch in FRIDAY THE 13th PART 8.
October 19th, 2014 · 1 Comment
October 12th, 2014 · 1 Comment
Way back in 1982, right smack in the heart of the slasher craze, the TV show SQUARE PEGS did a Halloween episode inspired by the then current furor entitled HALLOWEEN XII. It would behoove you to watch this classic episode below and then go ahead and order the entire series HERE.
October 5th, 2014 · 4 Comments
Halloween is coming up swiftly so stop messing around and get in the mood by diving into the best ABC WEEKEND SPECIAL ever known, THE TROUBLE WITH MISS SWITCH (1980). Featuring some of the greatest voice talents of all time (JANET WALDO, JUNE FORAY, NANCY McKEON), and showcasing the most impressive animation this side of THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN, discriminating viewers should have no trouble being enthralled out of their gourds by THE TROUBLE WITH MISS SWITCH.
Come for the talking cat, stay for the terrifying “comput-o-witch”! When it’s over, you’re sure to feel your life is over too but fear not, the characters you have fallen in love with return in the outstanding equal-sequal, MISS SWITCH TO THE RESCUE (1982).
July 25th, 2014 · 5 Comments
We have something real cool today and it’s all thanks to our pal Darkko who shared this flick with me. It’s called NIGHT VISION and it’s from 1987 and it’s directed by the apparently late and clearly great MICHAEL KRUEGER. Now, if you’re NOT the type who digs zero budget flicks that lean toward the long winded and feature only short spurts of sanity, you may want to run in the other direction, feel free, nobody blames you. But if you, like me, go gaga for the blessed confetti explosion of idiosyncrasy such outsider efforts frequently supply, you may have just entered heaven and not just any heaven, hog heaven, the best heaven of all! To bait his hook, Dan H. cleverly advised me to simply watch a short scene on YouTube knowing full well it would seal the deal…
Did you see that? This movie largely takes place in a corner Mom and Pop video store sometime in the eighties! I feel like I’m seeing something that was filmed in some beloved home I once lived in and in a way I am. I don’t have to tell you that this little gem has many flaws but so do we all and flaws really aren’t so bad if you simply embrace them. Scraggily though it may be, NIGHT VISION is rather imaginative all things considered and was ambitious enough to go against the grain during a time when many horror flicks were marching in line. Also this film is basically about a haunted videotape which makes it quite the early precursor. Or maybe this KRUEGER guy just liked VIDEODROME a lot, I don’t know. If nothing else it fearlessly exposes the seedy underbelly of Denver.
So here’s the thing, I have to go away for a little while because I gotta do something that I said I was going to do that I never did. You know how it is. I need to focus because I can only do one thing at time and multitasking is for chumps. So I’m leaving you with this movie to view and here is my challenge to anyone who wants to participate…
Watch this movie and identify as many VHS movie boxes that appear on the shelves at the video store that you can.
I’ll even start you out!
All right, I gotta get started on the thing I said I’d do that I never did. I’ll check back in the comments section when I can. Have fun, play safe!
July 20th, 2014 · 13 Comments
I can’t believe I’ve never seen a single episode of the BORIS KARLOFF-hosted anthology series THRILLER before. I have several excuses as to why not but they make me sound stupid, so I’d rather not share them. Thankfully the fates stepped in and forced the issue. I was watching something on YouTube the other day when an episode of THRILLER popped up as a suggested next watch on the side. All I saw was a title card which read “Parasite Mansion” and I was sold. I can’t resist a title like that, it sounds like the name of my new favorite band. Well, I must have watched the best episode first because I find it hard to believe there’s another one better than “Parasite Mansion.” It’s all downhill from here. It’s like a swampy pitstop between THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932) and THE HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (1932) and it features SPIDER BABY‘s (1967) BEVERLY WASHBURN as a tortured waif plagued by a poltergeist who is holed up in a decrepit room clinging to a rag doll and scribbling gibberish on the walls. The word “jackpot” comes to mind.
Like all great stories, this one begins with car trouble, the kind of trouble that occurs when someone blows out your tires with a shotgun while you’re driving through the woods on a dark, rainy night. PIPA SCOTT plays Marcia, a thoughtful woman with (Ginny Field-style) psychology on her side who wakes up in a cob web strewn, Southern gothic mansion and is kept against her will by a family of lunatics all bent on keeping a supernatural secret. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to ruin anything but I must add that JEANETTE NOLAN as bonkers ringleader Granny Harrod is through the roof, over the moon, one for the books, phenomenal. I found her so mesmerizingly hideous that my pupils turned to hearts. I love a good hag and Granny Harrod is like the haggiest hag who ever hagged. It’s so sad she can’t be in every episode of THRILLER.
July 13th, 2014 · 2 Comments
Is there any possible chance that there are people alive on this planet who have never seen THE BABYSITTER (1980)? I would rather that not be the case. THE BABYSITTER has everything! It has WILLIAM SHATNER, PATTY DUKE, STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST, JOHN (fresh off THE FOG) HOUSEMAN and QUINN CUMMINGS! The only thing it doesn’t have is an actual babysitter on account of the lunatic in this is really more of live-in nanny but who cares about that? Can you believe this slice of excellence was directed by PETER (ROMEO IS BLEEDING) MEDAK the very same year he directed the super-classic THE CHANGELING? It’s true because that is what my nice computer just told me. Read our dusty old review back HERE and save your day from becoming meaningless by watching the spectacular full movie below….
June 29th, 2014 · No Comments
We were the recipients of a thunder and lightening storm the other night. Naturally I turned off all the lights in order to obtain the maximum effect. Don’t you love it when you can’t see a thing until the lightening illuminates the room, and you half expect to see JOHN CARADINE with SENTINEL–eyes staring at you but you don’t? Well, I wasn’t about to let this fortuitous spooky backdrop go to waste, I needed to watch a ghost movie and quickly. I had no time to go rummaging through my collection of films because I knew very well that would lead to much side stepping, second guessing and ultimately alien abduction level lost time. So I hit the youtubes in search of uncharted paths. I went on a YouTube ghost hunt…
First stop, HASTA EL VIENTO TIENE MIEDO (1968) aka EVEN THE WIND IS AFRAID. Now that’s a title, ain’t it? The contents of this movie are so scary the breezes’ kneezes are bucklin’! This Mexican import was written and directed by the great CARLOS ENRIQUE TABOADA who is guilty of gifting many a gem including 1984’s POISON FOR THE FAIRIES, which we spotlighted on these pages earlier. This one concerns a haunted boarding school and so we’re pals right out of the gate, as it never hurts to remind me of THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED or THE FACTS OF LIFE.
A student named Claudia is having creepy dreams about a tower on the school grounds and a young lady hanging on a robe therein. When she and her friends investigate the tower, which is strictly forbidden, they are caught by their oppressive headmistress and punished. The girls are told their upcoming vacation is canceled and they are to spend the winter holiday at the school. This is bad news for the girls and good news for any ghost who appreciates a captive audience. It turns out the headmistress knows more than she’s telling and that the ghost is more interested in revenge than simply spooking bystanders. If you like inappropriate dance numbers, catfights, suicide, possession, random owl sightings and plenty of wind, look no further. This is a perfect rainy night movie with plenty of old fashioned, SCOOBY DOO chills and at least one unusual twist. The ghostly appearances are rather well orchestrated too so you might just get a jolt if you’re lucky as well.
HAUNTED: THE FERRYMAN (1974)
JOHN IRVIN who appropriately enough, went on to helm 1981’s GHOST STORY directed this British TV production, which is based on a story by KINGSLEY AMIS (THE GREEN MAN). It’s about a novelist (JEREMY BRETT) who has written a book involving the ghost of a killer/rapist ferryman who haunts an inn. He and his wife jump in a car to avoid a press party, get caught in a rain storm and take shelter in an inn that is way too much like the one in the guy’s book for comfort. The name is nearly the same; the employees are nearly the same and the whole joint looks just like the one he made up in his head. This leads him to rightfully fear that the goings on in his yarn may likely take place too, which means an upcoming appearance of a killer/rapist phantom ferryman. There’s a great build up of dread here and it’s hard not to be curious about what exactly is going on and how. The ending kind of leaves you in a lurch though it’s forgivable on account of when the title ghoul does show up he’s scarier than you’d expect and kind of resembles the scarecrow from FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES. At less than an hour long this is an eerie thought-provoking side dish perfect to gulp down between lengthier movies.
DEATH DREAMS (1991)
How I ended up here, I don’t know I just did. I thought I was signing up for a hokey laugh fest and found myself totally engrossed instead. This was swell. Well, at least until they get to the courtroom stuff. I hate courtroom stuff unless it’s GENE HACKMAN vs. MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO. This TV movie finds MARG ( AFTER MIDNIGHT!) HELGENBERGER living the dream with new husband CHRISTOPHER REEVE and a daughter from her previous marriage to a guy who kicked the bucket. The fun doesn’t last though because her daughter drowns in a lake and then comes back as a ghost and is all about pointing her finger at her possessive control freak step daddy! OK, I know we all love REEVE because how can you not? But I gotta say I always found about 9 to 10 percent of him super duper creepy. Maybe it’s the piercing eyes, maybe it’s the missing upper lip, maybe it’s the fact that he looks like a robot or an illustration in a Sears catalog, I’m not sure. The wonderful thing is REEVES snags exactly that 10 percent I always saw and drags it to the forefront for his performance here. He’s really super (!) good in this.
DEATH DREAMS is based on a book by WILLIAM KATZ and directed by MARTIN DONOVAN who also directed APARTMENT ZERO and wrote DEATH BECOMES HER. DONOVAN‘s got a fantastic eye and there are several clever visual flourishes that stand out. He seems really good with actors too as both leads come off extremely well and he allows FIONNULA FLANAGAN of THE OTHERS free reign to pull off a highly memorable nearly over the top turn as a psychic doctor. She’s a real hoot and would fit right in on AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Again, the courtroom stuff towards the end is a bit of a snore but this is definitely a fun and worthwhile ghost tale. Just when you think it won’t go as far as it might it does and the final scene provides a impressive well earned comeuppance for creep-master REEVE.
So there you have a night of hopefully off the beaten path ghostly YouTube viewing. I enjoyed all three of these flicks. I’m sure none of them will exactly terrify you but who cares? I live in the city, if I want to be terrified I can just walk two blocks in the wrong direction. Ghost movies are more about opening the doors in your head and seeing who or what pops in and allowing yourself the possibility that there may be more to the world than the concrete boundaries we’re fed. It may be comforting for some to imagine life after death but for me it’s simply comforting to imagine that my revenge has no expiration date! Gee, I hope we have another thunderstorm soon.
June 22nd, 2014 · 5 Comments
Reader Billy V. wrote in and suggested that we feature TIM BURTON’S HANSEL & GRETEL today for our weekly Sunday Viewing and that’s just what we’re going to do. Legend has it that this short flick aired only once on the Disney Channel way back in the greatest year that ever happened, 1982! It’s not hard to see why BURTON‘s vision was quietly hidden under Micky Mouse’s rug, it tastes like it’s marinated in Kindertrauma sauce! Yikes, that witch looks like the lead singer for THE CULT and acts like SEAN YOUNG pitching for a part in a movie! She really gives JOAN COLLINS in the SHELLEY DUVALL version a run for her money! And don’t get me started on that gingerbread man. Ya know what? This is so wacked-out and off the wall that I find I am now finally ready to forgive TIM BURTON for being behind the lowest point in cinema history, the breakdancing Mad Hatter scene from ALICE IN WONDERLAND. I’m just going to forget it ever happened! Thanks for the treat Billy V.!
June 15th, 2014 · No Comments
Happy Father’s Day! Today I submit for your viewing pleasure the very father-tastic made-for-TV flick, 1972’s HAUNTS OF THE VERY RICH. It stars the father of JEFF & BEAU BRIDGES, LLOYD BRIDGES, Mary Richards’ father figure ED ASNER, America’s most favorite dad ROBERT REED as a reverend (or father), TONY BILL who fathered one of my favorite movies, FIVE CORNERS, CLORIS LEACHMAN who played somebody who shared the same father as Mrs. Garrett on THE FACTS OF LIFE and the father of Julie’s baby on ONE DAY AT A TIME, MICHAEL LEMBECK.
This sorta reads like a precursor to that show by TORI SPELLING’s pop, FANTASY ISLAND although it’s sadly HERVE VILLECHAIZE-free. It’s about a bunch of rich people who get trapped on an island and thanks to forces beyond their understanding, come to realize how wretched existence is when hopes are dangled in your face like carrots on strings and repeatedly snatched away. If I could throw us all in a time machine back to the days when this flick’s SARTRE-lite rug-pull was still a mind blower, I would but Father Time just won’t allow it. Thankfully, seventies era slo-mo shots and background music brandishing hellish death sirens singing “ahhhh-ahhh” will always retain their eternal creepy power ‘round here. Enjoy, and have a mutha of a Father’s Day.
June 8th, 2014 · 1 Comment
Here’s a nice beginning of summer treat for y’all. It’s like a delicious Italian water ice with a tasty shark fin sticking out of it! I’ve wanted to chomp on this one for a while but the copies I found were always too murky. Happily, this particular upload looks semi-sharp. Poor little adorable LAST SHARK (aka GREAT WHITE) played in theaters back in 1981- that is until it was yanked out due to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS being big babies and crying “copycat” while sucking on their greedy, humorless thumbs. I guess I do kinda see their point, LAST SHARK does indeed like to pretend it’s JAWS but how many other films can that be said about? I guess the rub is that LAST SHARK‘s parroting hits uncomfortably close to the mark. Ironically enough, it reminds me a lot more of what I love about JAWS than either JAWS 3-D or JAWS 4: THE ORGIN OF HOAGIE. It’s got all the primary colors, stark backdrops, super swank swim fashions and satisfying doses of mutilation that JAWS’ crustier later entries sorely lack (not that I don’t have affection for those dummies too).
Plus this movie is amiable enough not to tease. The giant shark here doesn’t coquettishly bat its shark eyelashes from behind a wave; it gets all up in your grill Italian-style like it’s inventing the selfie (at least near the end). Importantly, the creature’s scene chewing talents are exactly zero match for our born for this kinda thing hero VIC MORROW. Obviously UNIVERSAL was just jealous! How else can you explain the fact that those sue happy vestiges of originality went and swiped this film’s explosive climax and used it (and the shark’s inexplicable roar) in their insane 3-D sequel? Of course this also swam is no JAWS (duh) but it’s the only shark movie I’m aware of that has a line the likes of, “One thing’s for sure, it wasn’t a floatin’ chainsaw.” Yum!
NOTE: Allow me to add too that unlike any official JAWS film, this flick has a killer opening theme song! Even if you don’t watch the movie listen to the groovy tune below! It will make you happy for approximately 24 hours…
NOTE 2: Hey look! The hand on the teaser poster is the same hand from the MORTUARY ad (not to mention THIS book cover). Silly hand, stop getting into so many dangerous predicaments! It’s your own fault, hand!