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Entries from July 2012

Time After Time (1979) by Kinderpal Mickster

July 31st, 2012 · 8 Comments

Is TIME AFTER TIME a thriller, a romance, or science fiction? The answer is yes! TIME AFTER TIME (1979) delves into all three genres. I distinctly remember watching TAT on HBO at my older sister’s apartment back in 1980. My clearest memories of the film involve Jack the Ripper, of course. I have been fascinated with Jack the Ripper as long as I can remember (see my JACK’S BACK post), so this movie was right up my alley. I received the movie on DVD a couple of years ago and finally got around to revisiting it this summer.

Mickster’s Memorable Moments:

*Jack’s special pocket watch with his tune for murder.

*Wells finds a young boy (Corey Feldman) at the museum is staring at him.

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Tags: Kinder Loves Mickster! · Special Guest Stars

It’s a Horror to Know You:: GCG!

July 30th, 2012 · 5 Comments

It’s a Horror to Know You: GCG!

1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

I’ll have to distinguish between being scared and being disturbed. The former has always been purely pleasurable, while the latter is something I can only appreciate now. As a kid, being disturbed messed with me, made me feel a little hopeless. But today I value that experience in horror films. The first things that disturbed me were scenes of humans being eaten. It’s hard to figure why that would upset a child, but there you go. I could only answer this question directly since last week, because only by that time was I able to source a childhood movie-watching memory, something that rarely happens, but of course, does happen more and more frequently as the giant Internet brain helps us use fleeting images as keywords. In this case, the film in question turned out to be War of the Gargantuas, a dandy 1966 Kaiju film featuring two giant simian creatures—one born from a piece of hide torn off the other, which is how they reproduce. Sanda, the progenitor, has brown fur, a gentle disposition, and lives on a mountain. Gaira, the offshoot, has green fur, a mean streak a mile wide, and lives in the sea. Gaira likes to eat humans and spit their clothes out. As a child, I knew a cat who lived in the woods and brought rats to the porch as a kind of tribute to the boss-man, right before eviscerating the rodent, eating every last bit except for the stomach and intestines, which the cat would daintily push to one side before unhinging his jaws to devour the rest. I saw WotG as a child on television and watched Gaira grab a young attractive Japanese woman from an airport terminal and chew her up, spitting out a wad of something that I thought, at the time, were the unsavory parts of her human anatomy masticated into a cud and summarily expectorated upon the tarmac. I didn’t catch the fact that they were merely her blood-stained clothes; I was still too young to register every plot point. Instead, I saw a young middle-class woman transformed into a gob of human remains. It was like driving past a road accident and catching the leering bug eyes of a well-dressed man with a crushed skull flopped on the hood of his own car—something exceedingly normal made ghastly. Wikipedia tells me that this hock-a-human-loogie moment was actually added to the version of the film that was distributed in the U.S., as if this film wouldn’t be successful here without it. It also tells me that Brad Pitt was inspired to act after watching this film and that the creatures are not giant apes but “Frankenstein” monsters.

Years later, some UHF channel around Halloween 1976 gave me this opportunity to crap my corduroys:

I swear that’s Ted Knight, the Superfriends narrator, speaking in that trailer. He did a lot of voice-over work in the ‘60s. Notice how he pronounces “terror” toward the end, like a man who can only console himself with drink and blurt out random words in the face of the zombie apocalypse. I also like the final wait-for-it moment between “night” and “of the living dead,” leaving room for some dissonant piano punching. And if you don’t believe me that it’s Ted Knight, imagine that voice drawling out, “Mon-ROE!”

2. What is the last film that scared you?

I can watch A Serbian Film, yawn, and say to myself, “Oh, puhlease, with your coitus-eye-socketus,” but put me all by myself in my study late at night watching reruns of the ghost episodes of Unsolved Mysteries on Youtube, and that’s it. I’m done. I’m fetal. There’s a cupola on an old Victorian home just across from where I live on a third floor—it’s the old governor’s home of our state before it moved to Sacramento—and after hearing Robert Stack muse on the odds of there being a Tallman’s Ghost, I’m peeking out the window toward the silhouetted cupola, waiting for some green glowing eyes to appear within a Miss Havisham veil along with that perfect scream from the Disney Haunted Mansion sound effects album.

The last scene from a feature-length horror film that gave me the willies was the night vision sequence at the end of [REC]. When that tall skinny girl-thing with the long face swung around blindly, I got a healthy dose of follicus erectus. Of course, I kept checking the cupola to make sure she hadn’t made her way from Spain to my neighborhood to escape the austerity laws in Europe.

3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.

Monkey Shines (Romero 1988) Vulcan mind meld with an evil monkey. I bet THESE GUYS watch the movie on a regular basis for a good laugh.

Night of the Living Dead (Savini 1990) Barbara whupping ass in a wife beater. Tom delivers the goods, and it’s coming out on Blu-ray later this year, albeit at an extortionary price, if we can judge by Twilight Time’s previous releases!

Dark Eyes of London (The Human Monster) (Summers 1939) Bela Lugosi at his nastiest, abusing blind people, defrauding life insurance holders (by killing them, of course),
throwing bodies in a mud bank while laughing.

4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.

Bloody Pit of Horror (1965) A sadistic murderer who fancies his own well-oiled Charles Atlas physique. It’s a kitschy version of master race arrogance, starring a man who spent more time on the covers of fitness magazines than in films, and had regular sex with Jayne Mansfield before she migrated from buxom bombshell to vehicular death totem. Here are the two faces of Mickey Hargitay:

The Thing That Couldn’t Die (1958) MST3K can kiss my ass. Gideon Drew’s mutely mouthing severed head is a thing of genius. Water-dowsing, voyeuristic cowhands, and Sir Francis Drake!

The Black Raven (1943) When a storm forces several people to stay in a mysterious house… I don’t care what happens after that, and this film is the litmus test of my love for such a premise, because what happens is just stolen money and murder and even that description over-complicates it. It’s so public domain, that there’s probably a sun bleached VHS copy covered in sticky dust and stuck like hard candy to the edge of a splintered wood veneer entertainment console, broken and tossed beside a dumpster down the street from where you live, right now, no matter who you are or where you live. I was introduced to it via the good folks at Viking Video in the early ‘80s, a copy sold at a drugstore on a spinner rack.

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

I already sent you to monkeyhelpers.org! What more do you want from
me! OK, here’s four more:

THIS will be helpful when the wild roving bands of cannibalistic post-apocalyptic thugs require us to use more discreet forms of communication in order to escape their notice.

I enjoy THIS young Brit’s take on all things exploitative:

THIS guy knows how to aggregate and do insanely obscure research for no remuneration, except my long-distance affection. His site covers all things Lugosi only as they pertain to the time he spent in England (including the Dark Eyes of London production).

If you are into noise and experimental music, I’m loving THIS new
label out of Seattle. Beautiful vinyl and cassette releases. Use
Hellvete or The Story of Rats as background music the next time you
watch Häxan or Nosferatu!

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Tags: It's a Horror to Know You!

Ghost Fever Funhouse!

July 27th, 2012 · 13 Comments

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

It’s a Horror to Know You :: Aunt John of Kindertrauma!

July 26th, 2012 · 13 Comments

AUNT JOHN SEZ: Well hello there! Now I know what you are thinking, “Long time, no write Aunt John” and you are correct to feel this way. Rather than bore you again with the gory details of my super crap-tatsic retinal detachment and the two awful surgeries that accompanied it (I know, get out the little violins), I am just going to say that today is my birthday and it’s one of those milestone ones that warrants its own section of Mylar balloons at the party store. That’s right, I am 40 and I am taking full ownership of it unlike that big old liar-pants KATE BECKINSALE who seems to be reverse ageing on July 26th. She started out two years older than me and is now a year younger than me. Happy 39th KATE! Also co-celebrating my birthday today are such luminaries as enchanting Olympian DOROTHY HAMMILL, adult film star HELEN MIRREN, and some guy named STANLEY KUBRICK, whoever that is. Before we get to my answers, I just want to let everyone know that I have recently rediscovered the joys of Twitter (@auntie_john) and can be found there most days trying to engage the elusive unicorn that is Faye Dunaway. Oh, and I also have a Tumblr devoted mainly to pictures of my cats and stuff.

1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

In terms of film, if my memory serves me correctly, I believe it was the scene from the 1977 made-for-television classic SNOWBEAST where the titular monster popped up in the window at the 50th Annual Winter Carnival. I have never in my life been to a ski resort or a Winter Carnival for that matter due, in large part, to this movie. (Spike a mug of cocoa and watch the whole thing HERE).

2. What is the last film that scared you?

Not to sound all jaded, but nothing really “scares” me movie-wise per say. I did however, have a visceral reaction to TURISTAS (2006) and had to leave the room out of sheer disgust. I’m the kind of guy who really enjoys tropical locations and the delicious tropical libations associated with them. The last thing I need is some really bad movie to insert the theme of organ harvesting into this equation. Thanks, but I’ll stick with lime in my coconut.

3. Name three horror movies that you believe are underrated:

1. THE FURY: Whenever I find myself sucked into conversations about classic DePALMA, everyone wants to discuss CARRIE or DRESSED TO KILL or BLOWOUT. Sure, this film might be lacking in the NANCY ALLEN department but it has an atomic bomb up its sleeve named AMY IRVING. Whatever happened to her?

2. THE STUFF: Don’t let the goofy premise fool you, LARRY COHEN serves up a big helping of biting social commentary in the form a tasty frozen treat!

3. ROMEO IS BLEEDING: Granted, it’s more of a sexy thriller/misguided noir mess than a horror movie but when it comes to riding in cars with cold-blooded psychopaths, nobody can match the backseat driving prowess of LENA OLIN. Nobody!

4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.

1. LIQUID SKY (1982): Despite ANNE CARLISLE‘s star-making turn as androgynous, twin fashion models and a soundtrack that could drive Kronos Quartet to drink, ALICE SWEET ALICE star PAULA E. SHEPPARD shows up and steals every last scene she is in. Seriously, whatever happened to her?

2. PANDEMONIUM (1982): A basic cable staple of the early-to-mid ’80s, I adore everything about this slasher comedy.

3. THE FAN (1981): “I need hearts, not diamonds!”

5. Send us to five places on the Internet! (Include the URLs!)

1. WishBook Web: Growing up, the Sears Catalog was seasonal porn that had me and my siblings drooling and counting down the days to December 25th.

2.Landers Sisters Galleries: Can there ever be enough Audrey and Judy?

3. Requiem for a Dream (Official Site): Every once in a while, someone on the Internet uncovers forgotten movie web sites (I am looking at you YOU’VE GOT MAIL) and everyone gets excited and then forgets about it until the same dust is blown off the same old websites some years later. Can we all take a few moments to B-E E-X-C-I-T-E-D for this now 12-year-old relic?

4. Plan 59: All of those vintage images of creepy kids in creepy ads that you’ve probably seen all over the web originated here. Pack a lunch!

5. Untied/Undone: An exhaustive collection of Siouxsie & the Banshees concerts and rarities available for download.

6. Scandals of Classic Hollywood @ The Hairpin: I would love nothing more than to go out for birthday drinks and gossip with Anne Helen Petersen.

7. How Was Your Week With Julie Klausner: What can I say? I am not really a podcast person, but I do have a thing for gingers, especially the funny ones.


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Tags: It's a Horror to Know You!

The Haunting of Julia (1977)

July 25th, 2012 · 5 Comments

I’m going to forgive myself for not fully getting THE HAUNTING OF JULIA (a.k.a FULL CIRCLE) when I first watched it many years ago. I knew nothing about grief back then and chances are great that I was under the influence of cheap beer and surrounded by wisecracking knuckleheads. I’m also sure the pan and scan VHS presentation did it few favors. Watching it late last night in HD (on Fearnet On Demand) it struck me as easily worthy of being included among the best ghost stories ever put to film, so much so that I watched it again this morning to confirm. See, it’s important to forgive yourself whenever you can, otherwise you risk being left behind in an ever darkening “once was” while the rest of the world blooms ahead. It’s like being one of those tiny marshmallows that stink up the Jell-o. You should especially take it easy on yourself if you are a failure at giving your child an emergency tracheotomy or if you are not familiar with the Heimlich maneuver because it’s the mid-seventies and not all that popular yet. These things happen. If you don’t let go of the past you just attract more of the same but worse.

Julia Lofting (MIA FARROW) watched helplessly as her kid Kate choked to death while she and her husband Magnus (KEIR DULLEA) had what appeared to be a contest to see who could be the most spazzy and useless. After a brief stay in a mental hospital, Julia decides that without her daughter she has no one to pretend she likes her husband for, and so she moves into a place of her own to clear her head. As fate would have it, Julia picks the exact worst place in the world to move into for someone who is trying to get over the death of a child. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 closely linked mysterious child deaths and a great view of her impending madness! Is the place really haunted or is Julia losing her marbles? Remember folks, those two things are NOT mutually exclusive. Understandably Julia begins to believe that if she can help the troubled spirit in her house, she can make up for that crappy day she played OPERATIONwith her daughter’s neck and lost big time. It’s a plan that backfires when everyone in her vicinity begins to die tragically and she slowly becomes the unwitting semi-possessed tool of an evil presence so heinous it has no issue putting into service, a wind-up clown doll with sharp clashing cymbals.

THE HAUNTING OF JULIA demands to be seen more than once to read its vaporous code. It trudges lethargically at times but that’s all the better to conjure a melancholic tsunami. Look closely and a figure darts past a mirror or an intangible shadow spills across the screen, for long moments you are kept in pitch black with only a glimmer of an eye as your guide. Allow yourself, and there are intense moments of anticipation for what might break through- yet never quite does. It’s subtle, probably too ambiguous for most but it seizes territory larger than itself, where anything in the imagination might materialize and the usual mental guardrails disappear. At one point Julia decides to visit the ghost girl’s crazy ma in the nuthouse and the crone is wheeled out with purple hair and a smile that’s impossible to pin down. Is she pretty, hideous, happy, evil, or insane? It’s like an ever-changing Rorschach smile you wouldn’t think possible outside an animated cartoon. Finally she lets the cat out of the bag, “I’m dead! And safe! Safe and dead!” That’s not what I wanted to hear. I’m sorry but old ladies are the scariest. If you are an old lady you should just know that and try to refrain from cackles and grimaces.

THE HAUNTING OF JULIA scarcely solidifies its spectral presence but who needs ghostly effects when gauzy MIA FARROW is wraith-ing up the joint? Apparitions in the know realize that it’s not what or why you haunt but whom. FARROW is always an interesting screen presence, even if I’m not sure what’s going on with her only sometimes British accent. Her translucent skin and abandoned eyes beg the question “Who haunts who?” and lo and behold, that’s much of the point. As is often her way, she goes through the emotional ringer here and it’s difficult not to feel something while witnessing her crippling heartbreak become eclipsed by cold solace found in an impossible goal that leads nowhere but down. I also need to praise the consistently dank and maudlin cinematography with its no fear attitude toward tenebrosity and the supremely mesmeric score by COLIN TOWNS that I could easily spin in an endless loop when playing solitaire or whist working on filing off my ankle bracelet. Maybe it just comes down to seeing a movie at the right time and in the right frame of mind in the end but I’m grateful this one didn’t hold a grudge due to my first impression and selected to creep back in my life. Maybe once long ago it flew over my head but this time it crashed right into it.

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Tags: Darkness · General Horror · Kids Who Kill

Name That Trauma!:: Atomx11 on a Babysitter and a Breathing Door

July 24th, 2012 · 6 Comments

Ok, this one has been bugging me for years…

As a young child in the 70’s, I seem to remember a scary movie (or was it a television show?) I saw that really freaked me out. With a lot of childhood memories, I may be completely wrong in some details, but I believe it was a story of a babysitter in a haunted house. The ultimate creep out was when the door (to the basement?) was ‘breathing’ and moving in and out, like it was made of rubber… swelling and contracting with the breathing noises. I just knew there was something behind that door, that if I saw it, I would never sleep again!!

I’ve asked all my friends and co-workers about it and they seem to think it was The Haunting (1963)… I’ve watched it recently and that sure doesn’t seem like it. I am almost sure my trauma was in color, plus the ‘babysitter’ angle seems pretty strong in my mind.

Perhaps it was a show about ghosts or hauntings, i.e. “In Search Of“, etc… but I don’t know. I’ve been scouring “In Search Of” lately too, but to no avail.

Can you help??

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

It’s a Horror to Know You:: Duncan!

July 22nd, 2012 · 5 Comments

It’s a Horror to Know You: Duncan!

1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

One of my dear Dad’s famous-in-our-house phrases in reference to horror films was “They have no socially redeeming value”. (Someday I’m going to make him say it into a recorder and put it to a techno beat.) That being said, our babysitter loved scary movies more than Charlie Sheen likes winning. The upside of the babysitter was I’d get to stay up and watch the movies, the downside was when my parents would walk in the door and find the babysitter sound asleep, and me sitting pinwheel-eyed in front of the t.v., practically needing a change of Underoos from what I just witnessed. The most horrific for me was undoubtedly “Damien: Omen II” (1978). How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways — a nosy reporter whose eyes are pecked out by a crow before being turned into Dinty Moore by a Mack Truck, a drowning beneath the ice, a crushing between two railroad cars, and Old Scratch himself. I almost joined the monastery for protection after that movie, but knew I wasn’t long for that life since it meant I had to be silent.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

The Strangers” (2008). This flick has the suspense ratcheted up to an 11. That scene with sweet Liv Tyler in the kitchen as the bagheaded axe-wielding misanthrope just watches her… My inner voice suddenly changed into Raven-Symone screaming “Hells to the no!”. The hand brushing Scott Speedman’s neck in the car, the outline of the missing axe in the shed, the knock on the door at 4 a.m. It all seems plausible enough, making me ask — what the hells bells would I do in this situation? Special shout-out to “Quarantine” (2008). Drink all the Haterade you want, and I love the original as well, but the remake has some great scares and performances too. One more for my homegirl Nicole Kidman in the astonishing and atmospheric “The Others” (2001), an easily re-watchable and smart fright flick.

3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.

(01) “Black Christmas” (1974). Sure, horror fans know this movie, but no one else I know seems to. It’s so good. There’s no other way to describe it. The pacing, the performances, the tension, the phone calls, the characters, and especially the eye peering through the crack in the door — that old saying “They don’t make them like they used to” is so appropriate here. My Grandma also says “When life gives you lemons, don’t cry over spilled milk on the molehill with the mountain” or something like that, but you get my drift — some cliched sentiments do apply to this classic film.

(02) “Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3” (1990). I willingly admit this is a really flawed movie, but it’s enjoyable, fast-paced, and has a vicious streak. No sequel to the classic original can ever live up to it’s madness, but nonetheless, this is a disturbing, crazy ride. Kate Hodge, as the heroine Michelle, is completely convincing and carries the movie with a genuine and strong performance. Her final confrontation with loony Alfredo is pretty memorable, and I was rooting for the luminous Miss Hodge (who also starred in the underrated and deserving-of-love series “She-Wolf of London“) all the way. The girl gets her hands nailed to a chair and still gets back up to fight for her survival (cue “Eye of the Tiger” right now and play it while you read this!). Yes, so much is wrong here — the new family, the engraved saw, the implication that Leatherface copulates, even the ridiculous real-life MPAA chainsaw massacre on the film itself. However, it was one of my first horror movie experiences as a grown-up, and I’ve developed an affection for this uneven but entertaining screamfest.

(03) “Shock Waves” (1977). Nazi zombies that live underwater. Stranded tourists with awesome, groovy 70’s fashions and hairdos. The claustrophobic Chuck, with his most excellent Will Ferrell-esque afro curls and short shorts. A deserted, desolate, run-down resort with no access to escape. These reasons alone make this movie worthwhile, but it’s also suspenseful, tense, and creepy. It’s slow at times, but it has a lot going for it. Most of the stalking scenes take place in broad daylight, the characters are relatively relatable, and the backstory told by the legendary Peter Cushing about the origin of the zombies is chilling. My biggest complaint is that Rose, our heroine (although well-portrayed by the lovely Brooke Adams) is rather passive and hardly on the same wavelength as my girls Sidney, Gale, Alice, Ginny, Chris, Trish, Nancy, Sally, or Laurie. If only Ripley could’ve shown up, back from space, and lent Rose a helping hand.

Honorable mentions: “The Changeling” (1980), “Frontier(s)” (2007), “Hell Night” (1981), “Just Before Dawn“(1981), “Session 9” (2001), “Tourist Trap” (1979), “Wrong Turn” (2003), “You’ll Like My Mother” (1972).

4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.

(01) “The Grudge 2” (2006). Yes, it’s sort of incoherent and could’ve been a way better film, but there are some excellent performances and stand-out fright scenes to be found amongst the plodding mystery. Amber Tamblyn is so believable and likable that I felt for her the whole way (her fate is quite tragic). Plus, I always like seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar (who will always be Buffy to me). The croaking noise that Kayako makes is worse than the sounds of a thousand screaming children running loose at Target.

(02) “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” (1998). The script, direction, and entire set-up is a bigger mess than Snooki, I know. I can’t help it, I like that adorably plucky Jennifer Love Hewitt and her genuine scream. The Fisherman is actually quite an imposing killer when he’s not too busy giving lengthy monologues explaining why he’s so vengeful (Hey, Gorton Fisherman Guy — we saw the first one, save the speeches!). But this movie has some intense chase scenes, particularly once The Fisherman takes off after J. Love and her crew, relentlessly hunting them through attics, over glass roofs, and into storm shelters. Sometimes, as the characters in this movie will attest to, it’s nice to not have to use your brain to enjoy something.

(03) “Killdozer” (1974). It’s a t.v.-movie about a possessed bulldozer trying to kill people. I repeat — it’s a t.v.-movie about a possessed bulldozer trying to kill people. That should be all I have to say to make you feel my love (as Billy Joel would say).

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

(01) Atlantic Works.

(02) The Gallows.

(03) Ghosts & Gravestones.

(04) Katie Trotta.

(05) Not For Sale Campaign.

Many thanks for reading and for the incredible work you guys do on this site! Peace, love, and hair grease, Duncan.

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Tags: It's a Horror to Know You!

The Nesting (1981)

July 20th, 2012 · 16 Comments

Hold onto your hats because I’m about to blow your minds. There’s a movie about a neurotic woman spending time in a glorious gothic mansion that’s haunted by GLORIA GRAHAME (BLOOD AND LACE, MANSION OF THE DOOMED) and, here’s the crazy part, I don’t particularly care for it. Does that even make sense? How on Earth is that even remotely possible? I’ve investigated this phenomenon from every possible angle and it still remains true. It’s a genuine paradox. Here’s another thing, and I feel justified playing this card because I rarely do, I really dislike the main character. I’d blame the actress (ROBIN GROVES) entirely, because she does get on my nerves in a distinct way, but I have to give her some slack as the script relentlessly demands that she act like a persnickety crab. She probably would work as a snide side-character but being handcuffed to this self-absorbed harpy for the entire run of the film becomes laborious. I found myself fantasizing throughout most of THE NESTING that a bus would appear out of nowhere a’la FINAL DESTINATION and just erase her from the screen in a honking blur. Is that normal? Maybe I need to get one of those EXORCIST brain scans. I’m starting to think I have contracted that mental disorder you get from cat poop.

Speaking of mental disorders, our story begins with self-proclaimed “brilliant” novelist Lauren Cochran (GROVES) experiencing a panic attack while walking the streets of a city. Her shrink says she has agoraphobia, which she has never heard of. I would have diagnosed her with whatever is the opposite of agoraphobia due to the fact that throughout the film she acts in the exact opposite way that an agoraphobic would unless agoraphobics are known for moving into towns they’ve never been, climbing on very high roofs and visiting people alone they are warned not to in the middle of nowhere. Truth is, I’d overlook all that contradictory behavior if our hero were capable of any facial expression besides, “I smell Limburger.”

I’m not a stickler for authentic human reactions when we’re dealing with a movie that focuses on fantastic events, but after Lauren is chased by a murderous bug-eyed hillbilly and is cornered and forced to murder him by slitting his head like a melon with a scythe, I expect her to respond in some other way besides running home to wearily curl up with a smoke. I also have a hard time believing her love interest when he shows up and says something along the lines of, “Don’t worry, I talked to the police (about the guy you killed) and it’s cool.”

On the other hand there’s something delicious about a movie that so steadily delivers elements to disapprove of. I derive no joy hallucinating I’m somehow superior by passively pointing out flaws from the couch and yet the mongrel in my brain can’t resist gnawing on a bone this succulently aggravating. So in a way, I do somewhat enjoy NOT enjoying THE NESTING. Luckily, the already mentioned memorable house, the overall overgrown, run-down rural setting and the early eighties time period make this exasperating pill easier to swallow. It’s too bad it doesn’t work better though; there are worse ideas than stealing shamelessly from THE SHINING, GHOST STORY and THE CHANGELING.

The biggest sin of all has to be its squandering of GLORIA GRAHAME in her final film role. She’s barely on screen and when she is, most of her quirkiness is gauzed over. They even slap her with a dubbed, ill-fitting high-pitched laugh, what a waste! Maybe I’ll give it some worthless extra credit for at least trying to be more cerebral and less teen-friendly than what was popular at the time, even though it is probably that exact higher goal that allows it to fall on its face as hard as it does.

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Tags: General Horror

Traumafession:: Kinderpal Turnidoff on Strange Invaders

July 19th, 2012 · 3 Comments

I just watched this film again recently and lo and behold, the strong influence of seeing my life though Kindertrauma eyes reeled its ugly head. Your influence on me is chilling.

This film is standard small town inhabited by space aliens Sci-fi formula. The plot is very similar to Fulci’s ZOMBIE 2 (1979) but with an 80’s Spielbergian flare. It’s a PG film, but PG back in the day wasn’t PG at all. More like a hard PG-13.

There is plenty of traumatic scenes for a 10 year old to stumble upon. The worst is when one of the aliens “absorb” the essence of a small boy. The boy looks with terror as his feet shrivel up and screams as his body caves in on itself. All goopy and gory like.

The effects actually hold up. The aliens are still pretty damn creepy looking with their black obsidian eyes!

The one problem with the film is lead actor Paul LeMat. He has about as much charisma as a floor lamp. He is void of any actor qualities. Even his name is dull. Fortunately the lovely braless chain-smoking Nancy Allen comes to the rescue. Everything she touches, she makes that much better.

If you love Nancy Allen and goopy 80’s gore, (and who doesn’t? I can’t think of anyone) you can’t go wrong with STRANGE INVADERS.

(place zillion pics of Nancy Allen here)

UNK SEZ: If you’re looking for gratuitous NANCY ALLEN you have come to the right place! The only person that I know of who holds her in higher regard than myself is your very own Aunt John! Thanks a zillion Turnidoff! Any day that starts with a traumafession from you is bound to be a good one!

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Tags: If Loving Nancy Allen is Wrong... I Don't Want to Be Right! · Traumafessions

It’s a Horror to Know You:: Carl of The Devil Made Me Watch!

July 18th, 2012 · 4 Comments

It’s a Horror to Know You: Carl from The Devil Made Me Watch!

1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

The first one I remember losing sleep over had to be Evil Dead 2. Weird when I think back about it now as that one is hilarious. But back then 8 year old me did not get the humor at all. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and checking out my bedroom window looking for a dead female corpse to pop up on my lawn and dance around. Honorable mention goes to The Dark Crystal. Brian Froud is a genius. The characters he created still disgust and terrify me to this day. I can’t believe Jim Henson was aboard on this one. It’s such a weird and dark movie. I use to come home from school everyday for months and watch it. I’ve probably seen it more than any other movie.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

It seems to be everyone in these interviews mentions Insidious…and I won’t be any different. I’m so numb to most scares now a days. I look for quality of special effects etc. when scares happen and that’s such a movie geek thing to do. But when I watched Insidious I jumped up so many times and got very weirded out at least five or six times. Too bad the ending wasn’t anything special but what can you say, this movie was about the ride to the ending more so than the ending itself.

3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch: I get shit for this constantly every time I bring it up but the fact of the matter is, had this not been called Halloween 3, it would have been a hit (in horror circles anyway) and could have spawned sequels. Unfortunately, the Michael Myers fanbase demonizes this movie and do nothing but shit on it. It’s a great movie and should be given a second chance by everyone.

WestWorld (1973) – Not sure if it’s really a horror movie but if what happens in the movie happened in real life, it’d be pretty horrific. This one is written directed by Michael Crichton. It’s about a place called West World that is similar to a theme park. You can go there and pretty much act however you feel as most of the people in character are all robots. You can go to one place that’s in medieval times or the wild west etc. James Brolin and Richard Benjamin get to West World to relax and end up getting into a quarrel with one robot played by Yul Brynner that ends up with Brynner’s robot getting gunned down. Brynner’s character keeps coming back for Brolin and Benjamin after there’s a malfunction with the robots all over the park. What follows is basically an early version of The Terminator. The tension is so thick it’s almost suffocating.

The Dead Next Door (1988) – some people love it but I find they are few and far between. When you read up the story behind J.R. Bookwalter’s struggle to make this movie over several years, it gives a certain appreciation. Sure the acting and story are awful but you can see the love and effort that went into the effects. Too bad this kind of time and effort wasn’t put into zombies movies now a days instead of people just regurgitating they’re favorite zombie movies growing up. No one uses practical effects anymore and I believe it’s really hurting horror movies in general. Studios are throwing small amounts of money at young film makers and just sending it direct to DVD for us all to piss and moan about. I’m sure most budgets for direct to video movies now are being spent on the cover art in the hopes that random suckers (like myself) will rent them without any background info. But I digress…

4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.

The Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf – This movie is so goddam ridiculous how can you not love it? Weird rituals with the werewolves themselves, strange midgets, terrible effects, Christopher Lee actually taking it seriously and what about the final credits?? Absolute garbage and I love every minute of it.

Chopping Mall (1986) – A Jim Wynorski classic. This movie is so terrible but in a classic 80’s “so bad it’s good” way. The robots aren’t scary at all and the characters are so dumb but there’s so many classic scenes. Kelli Maroney’s expoding head starts off the killings and it’s non stop from there. I could watch this one over and over as the feeling of the 80’s is palpable.

X-Ray (AKA Hospital Massacre) (1981) – Unbelievable. So over the top ridiculous I can’t even describe it. Barbi Benton is going to get some test results from the hospital but there’s a killer from her childhood trying to mess with and kill her. The first 15 minutes are spent trying to get you to think everyone that appears on screen could be the killer. It’s humor straight out of The Simpsons or something. Janitors giving the “evil eye”, shifty looking doctors, basically everyone looks guilty. The movie just steam rolls with the absurd from there. I don’t think once does Barbi Benton even try to leave the floor she’s on. Watch out for the scene of the three guys in traction. Priceless. I’m hoping the makers were in on the joke because if not, they made the most unintentionally hilarious horror movie in existence. Well….next to Pieces (1982) although I’m pretty sure Joe D’Amato was in on the joke there.

5. Send us to five places on the Internet! (Include the URLs!)

A Slash Above -Luisito Joaquin Gonzalez does an awesome job of reviewing slashers. A past contributor to The Hysteria Lives! website, I think he’s grown a bit beyond that site as he still is pumping out the reviews. Justin seems to have slowed down and mainly focuses on the slasher “hey days”

Horroretc – Great podcast. Ted and Anthony’s love of horror is so painfully obvious. The personalties of both guys manage to even each other out. I could listen to them all day.

The Hysteria Continues Podcast – Amazing podcast about slasher only movies. I believe you interviewed Justin from the Hysteria Lives! already. Four guys take each podcast and discuss a slasher movie. Funny, interesting with innuendos that makes me laugh every single time.

The Monster Club – site hosting old radio horror shows from the 30’s, 40’s and up. There’s some great stuff there and I’m surprised no one does this anymore. Says something about leaving horror to the imagination instead of having it served to you visually.

Made for TV Mayhem – cool little blog specializing in TV. It covers a lot of the made for TV horror that really isn’t being made these days. Just an overall appreciation for TV from the past.

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