December 30th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 15 Comments
December 29th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments
Now seems like a good time to award the infamous SUSPIRIA TV commercial with the coveted OFFICIAL TRAUMATIZER award! I mean, what could be more 2016 than a benign, almost comforting image that spins around to reveal a shrieking death skull? Seriously- what gives with this evil commercial? You don’t have to be Don Draper to know that television ads don’t traditionally threaten the viewer with their own demise. What’s more impressive is the fact that this TV spot is so wickedly brazen that it doesn’t even deign to derive its power from one of the most visually stunning films in the history of horror! Moreover, by most accounts this seething slap of psychosis was broadcast willy-nilly and any time of the day scarring unsuspecting kids across the country (for which we thank it). Here are just a few choice trauma-testimonials we’ve harvested thus far….
When SUSPIRIA first came out, I remembered seeing the trailer for it on TV. All you would see is a woman brushing her hair from behind and her singing, “Roses are red, violets are blue, the iris is a flower…..(something, something) SUSPIRIA!! After that, every time it came on, my sister and I would run from the room. Needless to say, since my mom was a horror lover we ended up seeing it at a matinee. I was 9 and my sister was 6.
Father of Tears:
I was “introduced” to this TV trailer back in 1977 during a commercial break for “Welcome Back Kotter”. I first thought it was some surreal shampoo commercial until “she” turned around! It was one of those “heart leap into throat” scares! I was 10 when that came out and every time it was on I would run out of the room while my 7-year old sister would RUN into the room to watch it!
For the above reasons and more the SUSPIRIA TV commercial deserves to be recognized as an audacious, self-standing trauma-inducing device of the highest order and for that we salute it! Of course, words can never do it justice so make sure to watch the menace to society below….
December 28th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments
Maybe you can help me! I’m looking for a movie I saw 25 years ago and I can’t remember the name. Here is the story I remember: a couple of adventurers (speleologists, I think) go into some caverns where they discover humanoid inhabitants. These people have all white hair and skin. As I remember, they don’t speak (maybe a few do) and they use their mouth sounds to kill or whatever. I remember also that they use a slingshot to kill… I think that at the beginning of the story they are friendly but became angry for some reason, I forget… Plz help me. I’ve been looking for this movie for ages and can’t find it on the net … bleedy holidays to you!
UNK SEZ: I asked Vincent if it could be THE TIME MACHINE (1960) based on the white creatures but he said the movie must be from the 1980s. After a little more searching I found somebody else looking for a similarly described film and the correct answer turned out to be WHAT WAITS BELOW (1984)! How have I missed this movie all of these years? It stars ROBERT (ASYLUM) POWELL and the great LISA (DEAD AND BURIED) BLOUNT! Hey, it’s on YouTube! While I wait to hear from Vincent, let’s check it out below!
December 25th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · No Comments
Merry Christmas kindertots! My plan today is to watch MICHAEL DOUGHERTY’s KRAMPUS (2015) over and over again in a perpetual A CHRISTMAS STORY-style loop! KRAMPUS was my very favorite movie last year and now somehow I am miraculously discovering that I enjoy it even more than I previously thought! How is that possible? Why, it gets better with each view! To tell ya the truth, I was having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year on account of the weather sucking and the world stinking and people everywhere being horrible. But that’s exactly what makes KRAMPUS even better and more relevant than it was last year!
KRAMPUS begins as a stocking full of Xmas angst and soulless consumerism and the type of familial division that our entire country seems to be suffering from right now. It’s one relatable shit-storm after another even before the nightmare shenanigans begin. I won’t give any more away for those who haven’t seen it but suffice to say that after the parade of horror has passed, what’s left standing is a sturdy reminder to stand your ground, not allow anyone to crush your spirit and maybe give other people a break every once in a while too. Don’t worry! It’s also very creepy and very weird and pretty damn scary in places too. When KRAMPUS first shows up and he’s hopping across the rooftops, I get an ice blast down my spine every time. In any case, watching KRAMPUS late last night with cats and vodka put me in the mood I needed to be in and not a minute too soon. Henceforth I shall refer to it as the night that KRAMPUS saved Christmas (with maybe a little help from that vodka). Here’s hoping everybody has a stellar day. May the road rise with you and may you always have the upper hand in any interactions with gingerbread men.
December 24th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments
This is a public service announcement created to inform you that the classic 1972 TV-movie HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS is secretly available on DVD! The indispensable gem is discreetly hanging out in one of those cheap-o twenty movie combo packs you might easily overlook at your local Walmart! Check out the cover below and scan it into your brain for future reference…
This is important news for folks like me who watch this movie every December and have been concerned that their VHS tape is become increasingly exhausted. I watched this very DVD last night and the flick looks the best I’ve ever seen it. It might not be up to the meticulous standards of the more persnickety collectors but I wouldn’t count on a better release before the Apocalypse. Personally, I like a couple scratches and dust particles floating around when I’m watching a TV movie. It adds flavor! It’s rustic, and weathered and all kinds of shabby chic! Here are a few screen shots to give you an idea …
In case you didn’t know, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS is wonderfully atmospheric, takes place during Christmas time and operates much like your favorite paranoid mystery killer slasher flick (which it probably predates). Sure it’s a little dry in the blood department but who cares when you’re hanging out with the likes of THE HAUNTING’s JULIE HARRIS, PLAY MISTY FOR ME’s JESSICA WALTER and SYBIL’s one and only SALLY FIELD! Not only that, It was written by JOSEPH STEPHANO of PSYCHO fame and directed by JOHN LLEWELLYN MOXEY who crafted the stellar classic HORROR HOTEL! Why, I could go on and on and in fact I do go on and on about this favorite flick in the upcoming book ARE YOU IN THE HOUSE ALONE? A TV MOVIE COMPENDIUM edited by MADE FOR TV MAYHEM’s globetrotting AMANDA REYES which you can preorder right HERE!!!
I realize I’m delivering this information kinda late. How are you supposed to secure this DVD in time for Xmas? Don’t fret! HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS is available (albeit in a fuzzier state) on YouTube and you can sample it out below. Don’t worry; we can be friends if you don’t like it. We just can’t be GOOD friends. More importantly, Happy Christmas Eve to you fine folks! Drink stuff!
December 23rd, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments
Hey kids! Would you like to render every horror movie you’ve ever seen into a relatively benign, shrug-worthy snore-fest? Just watch THE DAY AFTER (1983)! You’ll wish you were being stalked by a mutant serial killer, tormented by devil worshipers or mercilessly hunted by space creatures when you get a glimpse of the very real devastation of nuclear radiation! Witness how after a nuclear attack, everyday concerns like paying bills, your home team winning the big game or the slavish upgrading of your home media collection take a backseat to worrying about obtaining uncontaminated water while your skin, hair and teeth painfully dissolve into puddles of toxic sludge.
THE DAY AFTER aired on November 20, 1983 and was watched by so many viewers that, to this day, it remains the highest watched TV movie in history. Many folks who were too young to watch the initial broadcast were later shown the brazenly kindertraumatic reality-check in school (like your Aunt John for example). No matter where they caught it, a generation was forever changed by the searing nightmare scenario that hit a little too close to home. THE DAY AFTER has been brought up too many times on these pages to count them all but feel free to revisit these two classic traumafessions HERE and HERE!
And watch the movie below! I know it seems like it could never happen but trust me, lots of things that seem like they could never happen, do. I mean, you wouldn’t think a movie that features the super talents of both JOBETH “Get away from my babies!” WILLIAMS and STEVE “Get away from my VILLAGE PEOPLE!” GUTTENBERG could ever happen but lo and behold, here it is…
December 23rd, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 13 Comments
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas because our old pal Mickster has stopped by to host the annual holiday funhouse! This year she’s picked various versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Good luck!
December 22nd, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments
Waaaay tooooo long, no talk.
Many moons ago you posted a few confessions from me (Reader Walt – way back in 2008). I’ve been away for a long time, but I haven’t forgotten you guys! Over this time I had a complete trauma happen that finally put a button on a nightmare from when I was a little kid. This was really a “Name That Trauma” for me for years until recently.
I remembered watching a movie when I was REALLY young where a man’s face crashes through a car’s windshield and scares a boy sitting in the car. I know I had nightmares for years because of this. This image was seared into my brain. It wasn’t until a few years ago when my wife wanted to re-watch “Burnt Offerings” with me (of course I married a horror movie fanatic). We get though most of the movie OK until the end when Oliver Reed jumps out the house window and “spoiler” crashes through the car’s windshield with his son in the car.
At this moment, I stood up, moaned and pointed at the screen, much like Donald Sutherland in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” ‘That’s it!” I yelled. “That’s the scene!”
My wife stared at me, unaware of the childhood trauma that was caused by this movie and how this almost cathartic moment has brought both closure and utter dread to me.
After explaining how this was an ever-running scene in my head and how I never quite knew if it was something I made up or an actual movie my parents let me watch when I was 7 years old, she was actually more upset that I hadn’t watched such an iconic movie like “Burnt Offerings” in the last 25 years than the impact it had had on me.
I was just glad I had solved this KinderTrauma mystery.
I’m back to reading your site regularly and want to atone for being away from my favorite Aunt and Uncle for so long. Assume that Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s aren’t going to be enough…
December 21st, 2016 by unkle lancifer · No Comments
Long time reader, first time submitter. I thought of you guys recently when my kids were watching The Secret of NIMH. I had forgotten how frightening the giant owl is in that movie. I remember being terrified of him as a kid. There’s something about those glowing yellow eyes. My children (who are 7 and 9) watched him totally unfazed. I guess they are not scaredy-cats like their mom. What is wrong with them?
Thanks for listening,
UNK SEZ: Leslie, I love me some SECRET OF NIMH! I agree, that owl is scary and he should be because he’s voiced by horror legend JOHN CARRADINE! I say, you are right and your kids are wrong.
December 20th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments
About a month ago I was trekking home from a dead-media hunting excursion when I happened upon a granny-esque abode with a LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY-style sidewalk-level basement window. Behind the glass stood a bird but not the type of bird you’d expect to see indoors. It wasn’t a colorful pet shop parakeet that escaped from its cage but more like a common sparrow that lost its way. As I paused in my tracks to stare, it turned around and disappeared behind ancient sun-bleached pom-pom trimmed curtains. It couldn’t belong there; something was off. It must have gotten trapped inside? I was compelled to knock on the front door to let the homeowner know but nobody answered…the place was as dead as a tomb. My bags were heavy so I vowed to come back later when hopefully lights would be on.
That bird was going to starve and the whole house would smell of death and worse of all this was a TERRIBLE OMEN of future catastrophe! I went back to the house a couple times but nobody was ever there. What could I do? Who do you call? Maybe I should just smash the window, run and hope for the best? How did this even happen when a closer inspection of the window revealed that it clearly had a screen? Did I imagine the bird (I don’t always hallucinate but when I do, I hallucinate animals in peril)? I began to rationalize and think, “Hey, isn’t it better to starve in a basement than to get eaten by a cat or hit by a car or freeze?” Maybe this bird was lucky. Also, I’m being a hypocrite; how dare I feign concern for this one bird when I’m likely to be chomping on a chicken in the very near future? What does one bird matter on this conveyor belt of ruin we call existence anyway?
The answer to that question is in THE SHALLOWS. Yes, this is still a film review! THE SHALLOWS is supposed to be about a surfer gal (BLAKE LIVELY) trying not to be eaten by a CGI shark but it’s actually about how facing your own demise can clarify your understanding that all life has value.
Let me tell you, there are some humans in this movie and there are a bunch of assorted sea creatures as well, but rising superstar SULLY SEAGULL (who portrays injured bird “Steven Seagull”) effortlessly waddles away with the whole darn show. When LIVELY’S character Nancy finds herself stranded on a rock in shark infested waters slowly frying to death all seems lost. Luckily, a felicitous twist of fate lands a sidekick-ready bird with a broken wing and a buoyant disposition upon the same precarious perch. The two develop a bond based on their mutual desire to eat lunch rather than be lunch and medical student Nancy even mends her new pal’s wing without any hope for financial gain (!!!). It’s as if Nancy is lost in a pitch-black cave and her basic humanity towards a creature more vulnerable than herself provides enough light for her to find her way out. Or maybe I just adore this seagull. He even gets a featured star picture on the back of the DVD! Right on!
I’m no oceanographer or seagull specialist but I feel safe in assuming that THE SHALLOWS plays fast and loose with anything regarding science and/or reality to the point of being borderline preposterous (especially in regards to how the menace is ultimately eradicated). I’m way OK with that though on account of it is gloriously pretty and borderline poetic in places and can therefore be digested as an expressionistic anxiety dream. The important thing is, no matter how over the top and unlikely it sometimes gets, THE SHALLOWS is consistently suspenseful and if you allow it, maybe even semi-deep (see what I did?). Plus it’s from director JUAME COLLET-SERRA who gave us HOUSE OF WAX (2005) and ORPHAN(2009) so it’s got that going on too. Right?
It’s possible I’m just an easy mark for this type of flick. It pretty much swims the same laps as survival favorites like BLACK WATER, THE REEF and both of the OPEN WATER jaunts and that’s fine by me. I certainly would have liked to have been able to connect with LIVELY’s opaque character a bit more but maybe that’s her fault for ignoring the age old advice on never working with animals or children. Anyway, there’s no resolution to my bird trapped in a basement window story that I started this post with. I’m going with the convenient (for me) theory that I imagined the whole thing (or more likely, caught a reflection in the glass?) while also vowing to spread breadcrumbs in the park for any possible bird relatives- just in case. The bitter truth though, whether it’s imagined or not- it’s still a BAD OMEN. Anyway, Sully, wherever you are, nice work! Hope to see you in a seagull-centered sequel!