October 26th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments
October 25th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · No Comments
I picked up a VHS copy of NORMAN J. WARREN’s TERROR a bunch o’ years ago and for some reason, I never gave it a spin. The other night I finally decided to dust it off and give it a looksee and just when it was starting to get good, the darn thing konked out and went on the fritz! I know that sounds tragic but don’t worry, there is a happy ending because that very same movie is contained on a compilation DVD I own from MILL CREEK called GOREHOUSE GREATS!
So I put the DVD in and instantly realized that I should have been watching it in the first place because the picture was all of the sudden sharp and lovely. Anyway, I just want to congratulate myself for learning the obvious lesson that sometimes VHS looks like crap and can’t be trusted even though I know I’m destined to forget that lesson within a few days.
Also let me say that TERROR (1978) is not such a great movie. I think it’s about a witch’s curse that ruins things for random people and there’s some possession business taking place but mostly I had little idea what was going on (although maybe I should blame my cough medicine for that). I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt anyway because I was never bored and it looked pretty. The general vibe is agreeable and the death scenes stand out. It’s like there’s about a half dozen really cool horror vignettes that, taken in separately, really work but when they’re strung together as a whole, they turn into a muddled mess. In fact, it left me thinking that if you just ripped out the annoyingly foggy plot, you’d be left with one awesome trailer and so I Googled that notion and yep, I was right, the trailer is fantastic…
But this is Sunday Streaming so I’m leaving you with the whole movie. Like I said, it doesn’t all make sense or gel together but if you enjoy late-seventies supernatural horror mixed with some slasher elements, it’s well worth checking out. There’s a stalking scene mid-way through (featuring the guy who played Chewy McWookie in STAR WARS) that doesn’t exactly pan out but is pretty nifty while it lasts and the climax, which apparently was inspired by the splashy, fluorescent visuals in SUSPIRIA is at least kind to your peepers even if it ends up feeling kind of detached and incidental. Oh, and there’s some funny bits in this flick too involving the making of a trashy movie and wait, wasn’t there a flying car too? Hmmm, maybe I liked it even better than I think I did. Yep, I guess so. It’s kinda the perfect thing to watch from bed when you are high on cold medicine.
October 23rd, 2015 by unkle lancifer · No Comments
It’s that time of year when I tend to watch every movie in the HALLOWEEN series and yes, that does include ROB ZOMBIE’s 2007 stab and especially its profound 2009 sequel. With the news announced that the next HALLOWEEN installment will be a direct continuation of 1981’s HALLOWEEN II, I guess I’ll have to get used to the fact that I won’t be seeing ROB ZOMBIE’s HALLOWEEN 3 anytime soon.
That’s just what you naysayers would like, isn’t it? Well, it just so happens that I am not bound to the laws of your puny reality and in fact, I have already carved out my own dimension in which ROB ZOMBIE’s HALLOWEEN 3 does indeed exist! What’s more, it’s standing right there under your pointy nose and it just happens to be called THE LORDS OF SALEM! You heard that right, from this day forth I’m just going to watch TLOS as if it were a very loose remake of H3:SOTW. Go ahead, try and sue me! No professional lawyer in his or her right mind would take your case! To be on the safe side though, let’s look at the mountains of spurious evidence I’ve haphazardly compiled. Shall we?
Let’s get the most obvious similarity out of the way first and that similarity is the overall lack of similarity! LORDS OF SALEM is to ROB ZOMBIE’s two back-to-back HALLOWEEN films as H3: SEASON OF THE WITCH is to the original HALLOWEEN films in that they both feature a completely different storyline. Not for nothing, both movies directly focus on witchcraft and the pestilential use of black magic. And hey look… TLOS and SOTW have only one letter that differentiates them in the initials of their respective titles too! That probably doesn’t seem like a big deal but when it comes to witchcraft, stuff like that matters. I think.
*Both films feature an actress who appeared in the first two installments (alive in the first, dead in the second) now playing a completely different role and sporting a hairstyle I’m not entirely on board with.
*HALLOWEEN 3 famously features a song that has the power to corrupt and destroy (The Silver Shamrock jingle) and yep, that’s a pivotal part of TLOS too.
*Yikes! Silent, robot-like henchmen are seen roaming about!
*Look at these three darling ladies! They look harmless enough but that’s not the case! They are wearing masks, so to speak, and should not be trusted!
Stand warned, troikas are powerful and the most powerful troikas fit a somewhat particular design. There is the grounding mother/boss (witch) symbolizing birth, there is the more jovial prankster (pumpkin) representing life and the final is the darkest, death (skull) representing conflict, closure and the proverbial kicking of the bucket. These three can be found in the duplicitous witches in TLOS and they appear in baser forms as H3‘s iconic Silver Shamrock masks. Here are some other examples:
(In some cases there may be overlapping characteristics here and there but you get the idea.)
It is important to note that in both the case of SEASON OF THE WITCH and THE LORDS OF SALEM, the nefarious plan to utilize witchcraft to trigger devastation can be deemed successful and that our heroes’ attempts to alter the outcome are for naught. In one flick, the darkness seeps in thanks to a door left open by a nationwide addiction to consumerism and in the other, a more personal rekindled drug addiction is to blame… but what’s the difference when the end result is pretty much the same?
Still not convinced? Neither am I! Oh well! What can I say; I enjoy a facetious fan theory every once in a while. I guess my point is that a fellow needs to watch something after they’ve finished the entire HALLOWEEN series and THE LORDS OF SALEM hits the spot for me because….witches! You can’t do Halloween without witches! Nope, there’s no replacing the one of a kind insanity-mobile that is H3: SOTW but I still hold strong to the belief that two films concerning witches scheming to cause mayhem on a massive scale can stand side by side in harmony! If witches have taught us anything it’s that there’s strength in numbers!
October 18th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · No Comments
I have nothing very original to offer today BUT I don’t mind reminding you that if you neglect to watch THE PAUL LYNDE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL right about now you are doing this entire month wrong, more wrong and super wrong.
October 16th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments
Hey, today is the day that GOOSEBUMPS comes out! I can’t go to the movies because the ceiling collapsed and movies are for people with roofs but don’t let me stop you! Meanwhile, there are TEN differences in these two posters so use your eyes to find them!
October 14th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment
There I was sitting on a curb waiting for a waaahhhm-bulance because it was almost mid-October and I had no reliable prospects as far as a new, decent horror movie went. CRIMSON PEAK looked splendid but it was yet to be released and the only horror representative playing in the theater was GREEN INFERNO which I’d heard was OK-ish but still looked about as appealing as a LIMP BIZKIT reunion to me. But then Mr. Aunt John suggested we watch THE FINAL GIRLS because, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, it was available on demand for way cheaper than any movie ticket and guess what?! It turned out to be better than so very much of the stuff I shelled out twice as much for and I didn’t even have to leave my house and court bedbugs! In fact, I just invited a chum over to watch it again before it expires!
I’ll be for real with y’all and admit that I’m not the biggest fan of reductive terms like “final girl” especially when attached to bogus slasher “rules” about characters needing to maintain their virginity in order to survive. I know it makes folks feel clever and academic to speak of such things but I’ve got shelves of movies that tell a different story. I’m putting that out there to let you know that I had that little hurdle to jump over before me and THE FINAL GIRLS got cozy. I suppose somebody was going to utilize the popular buzz term as a title eventually (2015 also saw the release of a non-plural FINAL GIRL movie with ABIGAIL BRESLIN) and it’s good news that this movie makes it such an easy pill to swallow by being so genuinely funny, heartfelt and all around affable (i.e. non-douchey).
As it turns out, THE FINAL GIRLS is far from your standard condescending mockery of the delicious slasher tropes some of us authentically adore. It does make light of several clichés but its main interest is affectionately pointing out how blurry the line between our lives and movies sometimes get. Anyone who has ever used a movie to escape from life’s darker realities is going to have zero problem connecting with this flick. It’s kind of THE WIZARD OF OZ of horror films and the way it speaks about relationships, loss and even the ability for people to break out of the limiting way they might view themselves is truly noteworthy. Gosh darn it, something got in my eye when I watched this and that’s my favorite thing in the world.
I do have two complaints though and I’m going to share them because it’s important to remember you don’t have to like every single thing about something in order to love it. Firstly, there was a giant missed opportunity here to get some laughs from over-the-top gore. Due to most of the action taking place in a false, dream-like reality I’d assume the movie could get away with more than most and I for one would have enjoyed that. Secondly, and I know I’m being persnickety here, but I really hated the killer’s mask! Is that too incidental to complain about? I dunno. The rest of the movie was so spot on visually that it was kind of a glaring lack of taste in my book. Making it worse, the killer carved the mask himself, which means the sky was the limit as far as what it looked like and it ended up looking like a froggy-tiki mask. Maybe it will grow on me. I plan to return to this jaunt many times in the future, so we’ll see.
Those little qualms aside, there’s not much to complain about here. The script by JOSHUA JOHN MILLER (Yay, TEEN WITCH!) and M.A. FORTIN is rather brilliant in the way it juggles the familiar while still bringing something uniquely its own to the table. TODD STRAUSS-SHULSON’s direction too is a breath of fresh air and it’s so nice to catch something in the genre that is so colorfully epic looking rather than relentlessly poseur gray.
Horror comedies are famously difficult to pull off, so in the future let’s say we all take a tip from THE FINAL GIRLS and cast people who are actually funny? ADAM (WORKAHOLICS) DeVINE, THOMAS (SILICON VALLEY) MIDDLEDITCH, ALIA (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) SHAWKAT and especially ANGELA (HALLOWEEN II) TRIMBUR basically hit everything thrown at them out of the park. AMERICAN HORROR STORY’s TAISSA FARMIGA is the real deal and somehow able to convincingly alter her age three years using little more than a pony tail and facial expressions and I gotta say the MVP award goes to MALIN ACKERMAN (who is also great in another comedy/horror, 2013’s COTTHAGE COUNTRY). She’s pretty much the heart and soul of the movie and like the movie itself, she’s hard not to love.
NOTE: YOU can see THE FINAL GIRLS! If it’s not at a theater near you or available on your cable service, it’s all over your computer on iTunes and Amazon and Google and such. Trust me, it’s the cure for whatever ails ya and the treat that horror fans deserve this Halloween.
October 11th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments
Critter peeps, I’m happy to say we’ve got quite the Streaming bonanza today. Have you all heard about the PARAMOUNT VAULT channel (HERE) that just popped up on our beloved YouTube? It’s a brand new joint where you can watch a ton of great movies for the mere price of withstanding a few commercials!
I’m taking back every derogatory thing I’ve ever said about Paramount Pictures and officially forgiving them for not always treating the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise like the invaluable contribution to world of cinema it obviously is. Their new channel is the coolest and here’s hoping other folks are kind enough to follow suit.
As a lifelong movie lover who has shelled out every extra dollar that ever came my way to the industry, I’m getting pretty tired of being treated like a thieving flea-ridden freeloader every time I should happen to catch something for free online. I’m much more likely to purchase a movie once I’ve seen, enjoyed or at least been made aware of it! Movie viewing begets more movie viewing says me and frankly, fans deserve to be thrown a bone once in a while. Good on you PARAMOUNT!
Anyway, from what I’ve heard, the films on the channel will change form time to time so make sure you watch stuff while it’s there and that you check back for new titles. We’ll try to keep you up to date around these parts and here’s some currently available movies (links in titles) that I’d recommend….
THE LOVED ONES (2009)
I don’t think we covered this one enough around here because I caught it rather late but I’m pretty sure this disturbing gem from Australia showed up on a couple of our reader’s underrated lists. I’d certainly file it under “must see.”
You’d think director Mark Jones had done enough for humanity by gifting the world with LEPRECHAUN (1993) but nope, he went one step further and dropped this hilarious bad boy on our laps too. What a guy!
IN DREAMS (1999)
Sure it’s all kinds of flawed and nonsensical and it may be the only film in existence not helped in any way by a ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. performance but it’s fascinating nonetheless, and we all know director NEIL JORDAN rarely skimps on the arresting visuals.
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986)
I admit that I find the second half of this flick kind of dull but the first half terrifies the living crap out of me, so it’s all good. As a rule of thumb, you should just watch anything with the word “chainsaw” in the title anyway. Enjoy.
October 9th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments
October 8th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment
Inspired by Mathew A’s recent Five Underrated List, I figured I’d do another 5 Underrated List myself this time focusing on slasher films because they are non-stop joy machines in my book. Plus I like doing lists because it’s like writing with all the hellish torture parts removed!
Absurd (AKA Monster Hunter) & Nightmare (both 1981)
ABSURD is the kinda/sorta the sequel to ANTHROPOPHAGUS (aka THE GRIM REAPER) but not in any way that matters. Yep- it’s directed by good ol’ JOE D’AMATO and yep it stars lovably lanky GEORGE EASTMAN but any other connection is, I guess, more to do with marketing. In the world of my tiny mind, it’s known as MONSTER HUNTER and it stands alone as adorable, Italian HALLOWEEN wannabe. This is one of those movies I suspect I enjoy more than I’m supposed to but I’m in no way strong enough to resist the bare bones synth score, the bonkers pseudo science that abounds or a poor victim trapped in a cringe-worthy head brace. My feelings toward this far too forgotten gem perfectly coincide with my feelings toward the equally simple and sleazy NIGHTMARE (aka NIGHTMARE IN A DAMAGED BRAIN), a film I think it shares a lot more in common with than its previously mentioned sibling. Watch these two disturbing and tastefully tasteless twins back to back while eating a Burger King Halloween burger and then feel free to worry about what’s wrong with me that I would suggest such a thing.
Flashback (2002) & Madhouse (1981)
The best slashers always have to concern crap from the past that isn’t going anywhere no matter how hard you try to bury it and long suffering put upon ladies who are all types of sick of suffering the psychosis of others. Nobody ever mentions FLASHBACK (full slobbering review HERE) or the delicious MADHOUSE (full equally slobbery review HERE) enough to satisfy my needs! I don’t understand why.
Cold Prey 1,2 & 3
The greatest slasher series this side of whatever decade it no longer is! I’m just going to go ahead and call the first two masterpieces and then add that reports that the third one ain’t so hot are greatly exaggerated. Sure, Part 3 regrettably has to stumble along without the series’ grandest asset, its charismatic lead (INGRID BOLSO BERDAL) but the sad truth is, it’s still miles better than any American horror flick I’ve seen in the theaters since what seems like roughly forever.
Just Before Dawn & The Prowler (1981)
Isn’t it sad that these two other slashers films from 1981 were somehow never seen by me in my youth? I do remember eyeing the newspaper ad for JBD on the day it came out in the weekend section of the Philadelphia Inquirer but alas, that was the closest I got! For some reason no video store I ever belonged to carried either and frankly I was not terribly keen on checking out THE PROWLER anyway because the title was so boring and just made it seem like it was about some sneaky guy who roamed around looking in windows. Fate would have it that I would catch up to these two fine flicks somewhere around ten or so years ago whenever they hit DVD.
Point is, I think they are both great examples of exactly my favorite thing to watch and I’ll add a bonus compliment to JBD and say I dig its color palette especially that groovy florescent orange that shows up from time to time (full review HERE).
My Bloody Valentine & The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2009 & 2014)
I can understand why people hate remakes like PROM NIGHT (2008) because that one sucks horribly, has nothing to do with the original and every attempt it makes to pander to contemporary audiences reminds you that we can never go back to a time when people weren’t super annoying. On the other hand, both MBV and TTTDS are awesome and wonderful tributes if you ask me. I’m just going to point out that both of these remakes seem to respect the originals and have a real interest in their respective small town settings and have the capacity to acknowledge various variant characters. I’d say in the case of both films too that when they ended, I didn’t feel like I had just been talked down to or treated like a complete idiot for the sin of wanting to see them. I don’t know, I guess what I’m talking about is that there’s a real lack of audience disdain that I find super pleasing. Ya know? I dig that. Gold stars, kisses, thumbs up and kudos on a decapitated head.
October 7th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · 8 Comments
It is hard to believe Fright Night is thirty this year! I was not lucky enough to see this fantastic film in the theater. I had to wait until it was released on VHS (sometime in 1987). The movie is a classic for many reasons. It has a great blend of comedy and horror. William Ragsdale is great as noisy neighbor, Charlie Brewster. Stephen Geoffreys is fantastic as Charlie’s sarcastic friend, Evil Ed. Amanda Bearse is exemplary as Charlie’s skeptical girlfriend, Amy Peterson. Roddy McDowell is perfect as the non-believing vampire hunter, Peter Vincent. Jonathan Stark is quite humorous as Jerry’s daytime guardian, Billy Cole. Dorothy Fielding is believably flaky as divorced mom, Judy Brewster.
But let me cut to the chase by saying the real reason I have watched this movie repeatedly over the years is Chris Sarandon‘s portrayal of the ultra sexy vampire, Jerry Dandrige. I have a problem. I cannot get enough of a particular scene from Fright Night…the nightclub seduction scene. I guess it is sad, but I have been waiting for that to happen to me since I first saw the movie. The thought of having Jerry Dandrige possess me on the dance floor is very appealing. Don’t judge me because this is my biggest fantasy (I know, I’m sad). Let’s examine the scene…
*Jerry expertly entices Amy to the dance floor.
*Jerry begins dancing with Amy, while she appears to be in a trance of the vampire persuasion.
*Jerry drops Amy; giving her the chance to escape, and seconds later, she turns around transformed.
*Hot dancing between Jerry and the newly transformed Amy ensues.
*Then that dolt, Charlie, tries to foul up this sexy moment by attempting to punch Jerry. Hope you enjoy that crushed hand, Charlie!
UNK SEZ: Hey, is it getting warm in Kindertrauma Kastle today? Aunt John and I would like to thank Alabama’s favorite daughter Mickster for taking time off of her busy teaching schedule (Yay teachers!) to stop by our humble abode and share this killer scene. If you have a favorite scene from a horror film, traumatic or not, feel free to send it in!