Having RANDI ALLEN stop by the site this week had me remembering that I may have first viewed CATHY’S CURSE in the late eighties but the first time I ever heard mention of it was when I rented TERROR ON TAPE some years earlier. Are you guys familiar with the one and only TERROR ON TAPE? It’s the crazy compilation of clips from movies all of which happen to be on the long defunct CONTINENTAL label and it’s hosted by your pal and mine CAMERON MITCHELL! Can you imagine a better place to visit than a video shop that exclusively carries those old school giant box videos? Take some time out to watch TERROR ON TAPE today! It’s goofy and sleazy and it’s going to be released on DVD exactly never in my estimation and I’d say that’s more than appropriate and fine by me!
October 4th, 2015 · 1 Comment
September 27th, 2015 · No Comments
In the autumn a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of watching THE MIDNIGHT HOUR (1985) on YouTube…
September 20th, 2015 · 2 Comments
When we first started doing “Sunday Streaming” posts years ago, it was all about picks you could find on Netflix Streaming. Then somewhere along the line I started worrying that not everybody had Netflix Streaming and so the focus switched to YouTube and freebies on Hulu. This week I say we jump back on the Netflix wagon because it’s been a while and I figure the important thing is getting the titles out there. If you don’t have Netflix Streaming, keep your eyes peeled for these…
House at the End of Time (2013)
I’m going to blame my not being able to shake this Venezuelan haunted house flick for the existence of this entire post. If you dig ghost movies or mysteries, this is a must see that is likely to become a new favorite. There’s something genuinely haunting about this flick and what’s even more stunning is just how moving it ends up being. Check it out. It left me feeling like I’d just finished a hearty book.
Starry Eyes (2014)
I can’t help taking high praise for an indie horror film with a grain of skeptical salt. I get the feeling that reviewers are overly generous and more interested in patting themselves on the back for their noble support than being forthright. Starry Eyes though, actually deserves any and all praise it gets. It fascinating, circling the drain, character study about false hope and self-obliteration and it has the power to disturb you right down to the marrow of your bones.
The less you know about this fun flick from New Zealand concerning a snotty girl confined to a house full of secrets, the better. Most of the joy here comes from never being able to pin anything down and having your expectations turned on their head at every turn. My hat’s off to any movie that can pull off being hilarious without losing the steam of its scares and this rollicking coaster ride does just that. Watch it on Netflix but do yourself a favor and order a hard copy too just in case it disappears. I’d say this a keeper worth more than a few visits.
Late Phases (2014)
As a rule, you should probably watch anything that stars Nick (STAKE LAND) Damici because he could possibly be the coolest person who ever lived and I decree, the lone heir apparent to Charles Bronson. On paper, LATE PHASES is almost too good to be true. It’s a werewolf movie that takes place in a retirement village directed by the guy who did HERE COMES THE DEVIL and not only does our man Damici play a blind war vet with an adorable seeing eye dog, the film also sports the likes of Ethan Embry, Lance (HALLOWEEN II) Guest, Tom (MONSTER SQUAD) Noonan, Rutanya (AMITYVILLE 2) Alda and Tina Louise. It’s not nearly as fierce of a beast as it could have been but that cast, especially the Damici, make it well worth taking a bite out of.
I thought maybe I hated this movie but then I realized it was just insanely overrated and presented in an aggressively misleading way. It’s weird and uncomfortable at times but I think my day-to-day life is more horrifying than the concept of being hired to do a job and having high-end whiskey thrown at me by a guy who is trying too hard to be my friend. CREEP isn’t my idea of horror; it’s more of a cross between a parody of OLD JOY (2006) and a budget remake of THE CABLE GUY (1996). It has a few unsettling moments but they’re pretty much doused by how unconvincing it all is. Still, it’s memorable and Marc Duplass is amusingly shameless and there’s enough quotable lines to reference to easily earn it a comfortable corner on the cult couch.
September 13th, 2015 · 6 Comments
Often I’ve revisited a movie that I wasn’t too keen on originally to find that I have a new fondness for it. In the case of 1983’s FRIGHTMARE, nearly the opposite is true. It bowled me over upon first view and now I think that was more of a right place, right time sort of thing. It just goes to show you how outside factors can really influence a person’s feelings about something and how the old thumbs up or thumbs down, “good” or “bad” system of rating movies (or anything) is pretty dumb (or at least shortsighted and limiting).
If I remember correctly, I saw FRIGHTMARE sort of spur of the moment. My Dad took my brothers and I to see some action movie (I’m picturing BLUE THUNDER in my head but I could be wrong) and once we got to the theater, I saw the poster for FRIGHTMARE and naturally had a strong pull toward that instead. (No shade toward BLUE THUNDER intended). Somehow I was able to finagle my way into seeing FRIGHTMARE by myself while everybody else bonded over explosions in the theater next door. Seeing any horror movie in the theater was pretty exciting in those days but there was something especially thrilling and liberating about seeing one by myself. It felt like a fence had been trampled over and I was standing over a cliff and if I leaned too far over, I had nobody to pull me back.
FRIGHTMARE is about a group of crafty kids who are such big fans of celebrated horror icon Conrad Razkoff (played by slightly less celebrated horror icon FERDY MAYNE) that they steal and desecrate his recently deceased corpse and trigger supernatural shenanigans that insure their own doom. What’s great about FRIGHTMARE is how it’s all about horror films and fandom and how it marries old school gothic horror with the popular tropes of the day and (most especially) how it features a mansion and a decapitation. The effect looks pretty standard today but in 1983, I remember it being quite the money shot.
What’s NOT so great about FRIGHTMARE is that it’s way too dark (was it always this dark? I can’t believe that) and it has a frustrating habit of mumbling and meandering. I don’t mean to be an ingrate to this B-movie that once gave me shelter when I was green, it’s just that JEFFREY COMBS is in it (rumor has it, he was cast for his resemblance to the already-made decapitated head prop) and once you realize that in two years he’d be put to full, impossible-to-ignore use in RE-ANIMATOR, the whole affair starts looking even soggier by comparison.
FRIGHTMARE is available to watch free online thanks to TROMA. It’s doubtful it’ll rock your world but it’s got some cool ideas even if their execution is wanting. (There’s also a CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS moral flapping around which I’m totally down with and adamantly adhere to. You really shouldn’t force a dead body to dance with you without expecting it to kill you later). In any case, it’ll always have a special chair at my table for initiating me to the fine art of going to the cinema solo. I’m also granting it one extra flapjack for featuring the guy who played Porky in PORKY’S and one extra peanut butter pinecone birdfeeder for being so thrifty as to borrow its poster art off of FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE.
July 26th, 2015 · 1 Comment
Let’s talk about the best dollar bill I ever spent. Recently I snagged 1990’s METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR (not to be confused with the other movie called METAMORPHOSIS released the same year without the ALIEN FACTOR part) at my usual used VHS haunt simply because it was horror/sci-fi and I thought it would be swell to fall asleep to. I recognized the bland box art from my video store days and to say my expectations were low would be to wrongly suggest that I had any expectations to speak of. Anyway, I ended up being rather blown away by it. In fact, I was left with the desire to strangle any and every person who had seen this hidden treasure and had failed to recommended it to me.
I don’t get how this movie isn’t a horror household name/fan staple by now. The plentiful special effects are so fantastic and creative and all around glorious that I wanted to rewind them again and again. Honestly they left me feeling rather sad and nostalgic, not for a time period left behind but for a way of seeing things that we’ve lost the ability to. I’m guessing modern audiences would mostly see the multiple creature beasties in this flick as phony rubber puppets, whereas once upon a time they might have used their imagination to blur the lines and make them real. Dang, this blast from the past is even kind enough to serve up heaping ladles of stop-motion animation (!!!) and that’s like chicken soup for this horror fan’s soul! Why, I think it has even reversed my balding!
How have I lived this long without the knowledge that METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR began life as a sequel to one of the greatest monster fests know to man, THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983)? How? The two films may no longer have any connective tissue plot wise but they certainly remain kindred spirits on a DNA level. And even beyond the ambrosial special effects, this here is a rollicking good time stuffed with some hilarious lines and what the local actors lack in talent they more than make up for with adorably awkward charisma.
You know what? I’m just going to blame the misleading nondescript artwork on the tape for all of this movie’s woes. Some dingbat in marketing made the bad call of selling this squishy creature feature like some somber dirge and the history of sci-fi horror has suffered the consequences. I wag my finger at that person as they burn forever in hell.
This is Sunday Streaming so I’m leaving you with the flick on YouTube below in hopes that you develop a taste for it. The smudgy picture doesn’t do it any favors but hopefully it will be enough to push you toward Amazon to grab a copy on DVD (It can be yours for less than 10 clams!). Normally I’d temper a gush with a, “It may not be for everybody” but if you frequent this site and you’ve read this far then trust me, this is for you! Would a face like the one below lie?
OR BETTER YET: Here are some choice scenes in higher quality:
July 19th, 2015 · 2 Comments
Today was made for watching something terrible and movies don’t get much more terrible than 1988’s heavy metal dipped, killer-in-scrubs slash-a-thon THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY. It’s easy to confuse this title with any number of SLUMBER PARTY and/or SORRORITY HOUSE flicks but trust me, this one is in a class all by itself and it should stay in a class all by itself until it is properly vaccinated.
What can I say? Atrocious movies are an important part of my horror diet! I’ve got news for anyone who thinks that crappy horror movies are a modern scourge: the truth is the ratio of good to bad has always been wildly uneven. But hey, if you are too thin skinned to withstand mind-numbing artlessness and soul stomping banality you have no business scouring the halls of horror with the serious adventurers. Personally I learned early on renting from video stores that for every MANIAC there were a dozen SCHIZOIDs and for each well built HOUSE there were blocks of BLOOD SHACKs. It’s O.K. though because the bad movies make the good movies shine all the brighter. To fully appreciate PROM NIGHT you just have to endure GRADUATION DAY and taking a long walk across a parching BLOOD BEACH only makes the menthol coolness of THE FOG that much more of a relief.
Anyway, back to the garbage heap that is THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY… I advise all who attempt a watch it to first place a nice comfy pillow on the ground so that your jaw has a comfortable space to land when it inevitably drops. Now, I’ve always hated the cliché of complaining that characters in a horror movie are so unlikable that you can’t wait for them to die (because really you shouldn’t have to like a person to not want them to die) but in this case, the sentiment is on the nose apropos. As if TLSP didn’t have enough going against it with every possible factor of it being substandard, every person, including the final girl we’re meant to route for, behaves like a perpetually obnoxious cretin. At the risk of being labeled too PC, I’m going to admit that I can imagine a couple thousand things more endearing than the male lead calling his girlfriend a stupid bitch every chance he gets and she countering with every derogatory homophobic slur under the sun. Seriously, the dialogue is so gay-bashy, it could have very well been written by my sociopathic older brother when he was 14, a severely brain damaged bigot or an uncredited ELI ROTH.
Not that tellingly repetitive slang is anywhere near being TLSP’s greatest offense by a long shot. It’s actually way more insulting towards the art of film, the discipline of screenwriting, the medical profession, the orange juice industry, XANADU fans, TOM SELLECK‘s mustache, the entire state of Louisiana and whoever invented the ladder. It’s so bad I’m trying to figure out a way to trick Aunt John into watching it for more than ten minutes even though I know he’ll tap out at five. It’s so bad that I’m passing it on to you like a hot potato covered in cooties. Listen, I wouldn’t even post about this if it was your standard static wall of boring ineptitude, the truth is this flick is pretty remarkable in its ability to consistently deliver things to shake your head at and be appalled by throughout its entire runtime. So enjoy! Or maybe just endure.
July 12th, 2015 · 2 Comments
You’ll never catch me disparaging PG-rated horror films because that would be like slapping good ol’ ONE DARK NIGHT (1982) right in the kisser and I would never do that because I have to live with myself. ONE DARK NIGHT is one of the first horror movies that this once budding fright fan got to see in an actual theater rather than on TV and so it holds a special place in my mausoleum of a heart. I remember being grateful for its less restrictive rating because it meant that I could check it out without the worry of being humiliatingly dejected at the door to the delight of my scowling, satin-jacket clad, toothbrush-gnawing peers.
As it turned out, I totally related to the teenage shenanigans on screen; I found it truly suspenseful and could not get enough of the morbid special effects. I can think of a zillion R-rated horror flicks that are not nearly as creative or engaging. Director TOM McLOUGHLIN went on to direct one of the best FRIDAY THE 13TH installments (PART IV: JASON LIVES), star MEG TILLY went on to the excellent PSYCHO II, scene stealer ELIZABETH DAILY went on to steal PEE WEE HERMAN’s heart and sing the greatest song ever, “Mind Over Matter” and I went on to write this old review HERE. ONE DARK NIGHT is currently unavailable on DVD so don’t be left out, watch it below…
July 5th, 2015 · No Comments
I gotta get out of the house today because I forget what the sun looks like (a shiny moon?) but don’t worry, I wouldn’t leave you fine folks with nothing to watch on a Sunday! Today I thought we’d take a break from HULU and give some other joker a chance and so today’s entertainment bounty comes from an online joint called CRACKLE. The best horror movie those folks are offering is undoubtably NIGHT OF THE CREEPS. I’m old enough to remember when nobody gave a flying fig about this wonderful piece of art but it has grown to become a beloved cult classic and that makes me proud for the little guy! Read my musty review HERE and my dusty DVD review HERE and check the flick out HERE if you enjoy enjoyment.
June 28th, 2015 · 1 Comment
Isn’t it sad that, once upon a time, I had to visit several video shops before I found a joint that carried THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW and even then, I could only dream of renting it rather than owning a copy of my very own? Boy, have times changed. These days you can watch it for FREE on HULU with your gay spouse! As the great YAKOV SMIRNOFF once said, “What a Country!” It’s no secret that I love me some SORORITY ROW because I said so back HERE and I even got extra geeky and made fake sequel posters that are stored over HERE. If you’ve never seen it before there may be something seriously wrong with you, so get on the right side of history and check it out below!
June 24th, 2015 · 4 Comments
I stumbled across the strangest movie. It’s my most favorite view since THE MEDUSA TOUCH and it flew into my hands in much the same way. I was at an indoor flea market and this guy had a giant grey plastic tub of used VHS that he was selling three for five bucks. I found two that I wanted and had to take a gamble on a third. I was pretty sure I had seen 1991’s THE RUNESTONE before, as I had a vague negative feeling toward it, but I figured I’d give it a second chance because at least it looked semi-horror related. I didn’t already own it and it was in very good condition (the tape inside was tightly wound, laying flat and mold free! You gotta check for mold, I tells ya! It’s an epidemic!!) Anyway, after watching it, I doubted there was any way I had seen it before, as I would surely have remembered something so idiosyncratic. I guess, due to the cover art so proudly boasting the presence of the late ALEXANDER GODUNOV, I was unfairly associating it with WAXWORK 2? On the other hand it’s not impossible that exactly what makes THE RUNESTONE charming now made it forgettable back in its day. Some films need to sit and ferment.
I’m going to reference a ton of titles now as a kind of shorthand, so stand warned. RUNESTONE starts off as some sort of archeological adventure like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and there’s an all-consuming myth-dipped puzzle vibe that sorta reminded me of INFERNO. But then it gets to be so very much like THE RELIC except instead of a larger than life, difficult to register creature to deal with, there’s an old-fashioned, in-your-face dude in a rubber suit deal (think PUMPKINHEAD or RAWHEAD REX or especially HUMANOIDS OF THE DEEP). Jumping back even further, the soundtrack does its best to ape the sweeping, over the top dramatics of B-movie horror films from the fifties like THE CREATURE OF THE BLACK LAGOON.
I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that it’s like watching THE DAVINCI CODE do the cha-cha with SPAWN OF THE SLITHIS (1978) and I say that having never actually finished watching either of those. I should also mention it’s got a too big for its britches, would–be epic if not for its staggering lack of plausibility quality as per 1979’s THE DARK or the same year’s batty THE VISITOR. What’s it about? Let’s just say some jealous guy finds a rock in Pennsylvania and it brings out his worst.
Writer/director WILLARD CARROLL based his screenplay on a novel by MARK E. ROGERS but the entire affair has an intoxicating lunatic auteur feel to it, as if everything was obsessed over in some seriously unhealthy way. In fact, the concentrated visuals and often clunky dialogue reminded me of FRANK De FILITTA’s adorably self-indulgent insanity dispenser SCISSORS of the same year (and I mean that as a compliment). What’s extra odd is that RUNESTONE has its heart set on being funny, so you have to endure lead balloon joke after lead balloon joke until finally you begin to look forward to them. Weirder still, it actually is funny on at least two occasions.
You’ll never catch me saying, “It’s so bad, it’s good” but I have no issue saying it’s so awkward, it’s stimulating. I can’t help feel a tinge of exhilarating embarrassment for THE RUNESTONE. It’s goofily earnest and it knows no shame and it’s willing to throw anything against the wall in the hopes that it’ll stick and somehow, against all odds, some things do. For example the line, “Where am I when I need me the most?” is shoehorned into a scene for no good reason and now I can’t get it out of my head and there’s an extended bit that skewers a New York art gallery that somehow ends with the creature in question sporting a police hat that I won’t forget too soon. (Don’t get me started on the sex scene involving an impossible moon, and the battling silhouettes of a woman in the throws of passion and a swiping monster claw. It has to be seen to be believed).
Anyway, I know a keeper when I see one, there’s never something not going on, the misses are as fascinating as the hits and there’s no doubt you’ll see different things popping out upon multiple visits. I wish I could entice you better with the cast but that’s not going to work unless you are a big fan of PETER (ANIMAL HOUSE) RIEGERT, JOAN (BLACK SCORPION) SEVERANCE or the guy who looks exactly like the guy who was on that early FOX sitcom DUETS but is not that guy on account of he’s his twin brother (MITCHELL (not MATTHEW) LAURANCE).
What I CAN do (and what may be my sole purpose for being born), is to reiterate, highlight and underline that THE RUNESTONE is a MONSTER movie! To me, that is crucial, game-changing information previously neglected to be declared properly in the movie’s advertising art. In my book, monster movies are allotted a certain amount (acres and acres) of extra leeway to be somewhat off the wall. I’m not saying it’s part of their appeal, I’m just saying I’ll happily overlook a few zillion questionable choices to see a guy in a rubber suit rip some other guy’s arm off. I can’t help it.
So there my job is done. THE RUNESTONE is available to watch on YouTube. The picture quality is not the best (I can tell right away by how off the red hue is in the opening credits) but it’s not available on DVD or Blu-ray, so what are you going to do? Personally, I’d order a VHS from Amazon while supplies last. This is a cult hit waiting to happen and all it needs is somebody with more clout than me to say so.