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Viewing Party:: Night Vision (1987)

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!

  • I spied the large clamshell box for THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN. Yay for me.
  • They have the same plastic embossed FROM BEYOND ad I used to have hanging on my bedroom wall. Weep.
  • Do they really have a poster for the YVONNE DeCARLO flick VULTURES (1987) posted by the door? That has to be rarer than a hen’s tooth!
  • Why is there a VHS copy of the GOLDIE HAWN and BURT REYNOLDS vehicle BEST FRIENDS in the SCI-FI section? I feel like that is a subliminal message.
  • Good lord, is that the same VHS copy of BLOORAGE (1979) that Craftypants Carol sent to me but with its title altered to BLOOD NYMPHS?!?!
  • 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!

    1987–NIGHT VISION-HORROR FILM from Jonathan Moser on Vimeo.

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    Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse · Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert!

    Sunday Viewing:: Thriller’s Parasite Mansion (1961)

    July 20th, 2014 · 12 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.

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    Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming · Uncategorized

    Sunday Viewing:: The Babysitter (1980)

    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….

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    Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

    Sunday Viewing:: Unk’s Youtube Ghost Hunt

    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.

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    Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

    Sunday Viewing Suggestion:: Billy V. on Tim Burton’s Hansel & Gretel

    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.!

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    Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

    Father’s Day Viewing:: Haunts of the Very Rich (1972)

    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.

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    Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming · Telenasties · The Seventies mushed my head

    Sunday Viewing :: The Last Shark (1981)

    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!

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    Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

    Sunday Viewing:: Encounter with the Unknown (1973)

    June 1st, 2014 · 5 Comments

    Today is the day for ENCOUNTER WITH THE UNKNOWN. I have no excuse for not watching this regional anthology sooner as it has been creeping around these pages for some time. Our buddy Crafty Pants Carol included it in her “It’s a Horror to Know You” and “Creepy Lady Faces” posts and it has been the sought after answer in Name That Trauma’s from as far back as Bigwig’s in 2010 and as recent as Steve Q’s from earlier this week. What was I waiting for, a written invitation? And so watch it I did and now here I am all in your face pressuring you to follow suit…

    Narrated by the legendary ROD SERLING, this TWILIGHT ZONE inspired grab-bag of supernatural yarns is admittedly tame by standards of both today and yesteryear though that doesn’t necessarily curb its ability to offer a few chills. Anyone who grew up in the seventies is likely to get at least a nostalgic buzz from the film’s overall eerie vibe. I myself felt right at home with this flick or more specifically, right at home in my backyard, in a tent, at the age of twelve, holding a flashlight in my shaky hand. In other words you could probably knit this together with faves THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK and SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT into one big five hour long scarf of a movie and I doubt anyone would notice the seams.

    Oh sure, its flawed up the wazoo, it shamelessly pads its running time by showing the same scenes over and over again but you’re either charmed by such things or you wouldn’t be watching it in the first place. I believe the movie’s persistence in showing up time and again around these parts is proof enough of its effectiveness. It may be shoddy and makeshift but there’s something spooky enough going on here to make it sticky. Maybe its pure nostalgia, I could almost hear the theme to “IN SEARCH OF…” while I watched and that’s good enough for me. You won’t believe any of these “true stories” but you’ll be reminded of when you might have.

    ENCOUNTER was directed by HARRY THOMASON who has several semi-forgotten Arkansas –set drive-in spookers under his belt (REVENGE OF BIGFOOT, SO SAD ABOUT GLORIA, THE DAY IT CAME TO EARTH) and remarkably went on to great television success as a producer, director and writer (THE FALL GUY, DESIGNING WOMEN, and not so much with EMERIL) and a prolific partnership with his wife LINDA BLOODWORTH THOMASON. Believe it or not, 20 years after the release of ENCOUNTER, THOMASON would be all kinds of chummy with the President of the United States Bill Clinton and even testifying on his behalf before the Grand Jury during the Lewinsky scandal. Who’da thunk?

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    Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

    Sunday Viewing:: Siesta (1987)

    May 25th, 2014 · No Comments

    I say it’s high time we have a “Be Kind to SIESTA (1987) Day” around here. Poor SIESTA never gets enough love. I guess that’s what a movie gets for being so insane. If only it were on DVD I’d feel fine placing it on the shelf right between fellow trippy brain scramblers, JACOB’S LADDER, ANGEL HEART & MULHOLLAND DR. but sadly it is not (at least not in these parts). SIESTA is directed by MARY (PET SEMATARY) LAMBERT and you can tell because it sorta visually resembles a MADONNA music video. In fact , I believe it shares some footage with LA ISLA BONITA. The tone is something else though, it’s got a creepy nightmare vibe enhanced by a haunting and hypnotic MILES DAVIS score. Rumor has it that LAMBERT asked her pal MADONNA to star but she said, “Nope” which is fine because that’s how we get ELLEN BARKIN.

    BARKIN stars as Claire who is having one of those mornings. You know the kind where you wake up on the side of the road remembering nothing wearing blood-soaked clothes. The rest of the film she staggers around Spain trying to figure out if she killed somebody while encountering every single person you wouldn’t expect to see hamming it up in a movie together. Are you ready for GABRIEL BRYNE, JULIAN SANDS, ISABELLA ROSSELLINI, GRACE JONES (!), THE YOUNG ONESALEXEI SAYLE and a near LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE reunion in the form of MARTIN SHEEN & JODIE “My House!” FOSTER? Wait, maybe this movie actually is based on a dream I once had. Some folks make bigger fools of themselves than others but I’ll let you judge for yourself who escapes with the most dignity. Of course critics for the most part attacked this film like a pack of rabid dogs but the bizarreness that makes it so easy to rip to shreds is exactly what makes it such an interesting and unique view. I heart me some SIESTA and am listening the soundtrack as we speak. Make sure you check it out if you’ve yet to…

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    Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

    Sunday Viewing:: Basket Case 2 (1990)

    May 18th, 2014 · 1 Comment

    I forgot to tell all you critters that while I was rummaging through HULU‘s boss freebie pile I spotted an old pal, BASKET CASE 2! I love this wonderfully bizarre, surprisingly thoughtful, highly hilarious sequel so much that my brain now tends to think of the original BASKET CASE as a prequel. Who can blame me when SUPERMAN 3‘s reluctant robot lady ANNIE ROSS rules so hard in BC2? She really should be forced to star in everything forever for the benefit of mankind. If you have a mind to, you can read my full crusty & dusty review HERE, catch the snappy trailer below and then happily skip on over to the HULU joint to watch this fine feathered freak-fest for the sensational price of zero plus zero clams! Make sure you tell them Unk sent you so that you may marvel at the profound indifference that statement yields!

    TOTALLY TRUE TID-BIT: Here’s ANNIE as a kid in an OUR GANG short!

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    Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming