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VHSaturday:: Cousin Wil on Hard To Die (1990)

March 4th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment

: Hey, look! Our old pal Cousin Wil sent in a love letter to his HARD TO DIE tape! If you have a favorite VHS tape you’d like to write about feel free to do the same and we’ll feature you in a future installment of VHSaturday! Here’s Cousin Wil…

During the blogging boom of 2006 an alleged clip from an unreleased sequel to Sorority House Massacre hit the internet. I owned a major horror website at the time and decided to investigate the clip which led me to an email conversation with Jim Wynorski. I had planned to write an article about Wynorski’s career, and not knowing what I was doing I decided I needed to do a full interview with the director. Since I had already planned the article I actually didn’t have any questions for Wynorski except about the clip. So I emailed him a bunch of silly questions just to say I had interviewed him.

Around the same time my roommate produced a VHS copy of the film Hard to Die, which is kind of a spiritual successor to Sorority House Massacre II. This was before VHS had been totally replaced by DVD, and while the movie wasn’t readily available I wouldn’t really call it rare. While I was watching Hard to Die for the first time Wynorski had actually responded to my email, and he wasn’t pleased with my simple questions. Wynorski graciously completed the interview because he said he knew I was a fan of his films, but he only gave one-word answers. I eventually scrapped my planned article and I never got to the bottom of the alleged clip. Today I still have no idea if there is an unfinished sequel to Sorority House Massacre floating around, but I did come away as a fan of Hard to Die.

Fast forward ten years later and distributors like Scream Factory and the internet have all but killed the collectible movie market. Most hard to find out of print titles have now found new life as expensive collectible Blu-rays. Movies like Slumber Party Massacre II and The Video Dead are now only a few clicks on a computer away for anyone to purchase, and the fun of hunting for rare VHS titles at video stores is all but a distant memory. However, this doesn’t mean collecting physical media is a totally dead art. A few nostalgic hunters such as myself still enjoy digging through old dusty thrift stores for rare DVDs and VHS.

In Philadelphia we have a local shop called Thrift for AIDs. It is a thrift store that sells donated items to help fund AIDs research. Outside the shop everyday there are several green totes full of free items the shop can’t sell. One day while walking by I decided to quickly check out the free items and to my surprise there was a VHS copy of Hard to Die at the bottom of one of the bins. Most of you reading this probably understand why this was a big score. To my knowledge Hard to Die has never even made the transition from VHS to DVD. There may be some kind of bootleg version floating around, but I’m pretty sure there has never been any official release. Hard to Die has also escaped the likes of Scream Factory, Synapse and all the other distributors currently releasing old cult films to Blu-ray. Hard to Die can occasionally be found on Amazon and eBay listed at insane prices, making it one of the rarer VHS tapes floating around.

My copy of Hard to Die on VHS is very special to me. Not only does it remind me of my ill fated Wynorski interview, but I rescued it from the trash. The tape is in good condition for being a dumpster baby, and it even has a “remember to rewind” Blockbuster sticker on its side. This allows me to know where it originated from and it gives my copy some backstory. Hard to Die is a great VHS classic and a must see for all Wynorski fans. It stars most of the same actresses from Sorority House Massacre II, and Peter Spellos reprises his role as Orville Ketchum. It has been called both a sequel and a remake, and it has a strange history surrounded by many rumors. I encourage all Wynorski fans who have never heard about it to do a little googling to learn more about this mostly forgotten film.

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The Evil Within (2016)

March 3rd, 2017 by unkle lancifer · No Comments

Wow, I just woke up from the craziest, most impossibly elaborate dream(s) and I’m definitely blaming super bonkers THE EVIL WITHIN rather than the LAVERNE & SHIRLEY marathon I chased it down with. THE EVIL WITHIN was written and directed by the late ANDREW GETTY (grandson of billionaire Jean Paul Getty) and it’s one of the strangest, trippiest and relentlessly peculiar movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s like PHANTASM meets DOMINICK AND EUGENE splashed with the uncomfortable intimacy of THE ROOM and dipped in the headache-baiting insanity of 1971’s maddening MICKEY ROONEY monstrosity, THE MANIPULATOR. It took me too close to places I didn’t want to go and it hurt my poor little head! Is there enough time on the doomsday clock for this flick to become a cult movie? Apparently this oddity was filmed about ten years ago (there is a startling scene in which the late MATTHEW MCGRORY (Tiny Firefly!) shows up and he passed away back in 2005!) but went unfinished due to GETTY’s untimely death. To all those involved with making sure this flick finally saw the light of day I say thank you! You are great people!

I know the world wasn’t asking for a movie about a mentally challenged man (a fearless FREDERICK KOEHLER! Yay, Chip from KATE & ALLIE!) who befriends an evil entity he meets in a mirror (horror legend MICHAEL BERRYMAN of THE HILLS HAVE EYES and DEADLY BLESSING fame) that convinces him that murder makes you smarter but here it is! No, I did not appreciate the first victim being an orange tabby but I was able to move past that thanks to the presence of the delightful KIM DARBY as a snippy caseworker named Mildy. Heck, this movie has got all types of folks running around in it! You’ve got your SEAN PATRICK FLANERY (SAW 3) as rather self-centered brother John, DINA MEYER (Dizz from STARSHIP TROOPERS) as his long-suffering girlfriend Lydia and then comedic actor TIM BAGLEY randomly shows up to make things even more off kilter. The real star of this movie though is its anything goes mind-bending visuals and its impressively persuasive surrealism. Sure, the script wanders towards the verbose a few too many times but that didn’t stop me from rewinding a few scenes in awe or my jaw from hitting the floor during the flicks baroque and beyond bizarre grand finale (which kinda reminded me of the ever creepy auditorium scene from THE REDEEMER: SON OF SATAN aka CLASS REUNION MASSACRE (1978).

THE EVIL WITHIN is available on your favorite VOD services and on ye old timey DVD format today. If you dig strange, artsy, hallucinogenic, one of a kind flicks, this is for you! Heck, just check out the trailer below! Nuff ‘said!

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Name That David DeCoteau Movie!

March 3rd, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 9 Comments

Here are ten images from ten movies directed by the ever prolific David DeCoteau! How many can you identify?

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Sunday Movie:: Strange Invaders (1983) (Via Comet TV)

February 26th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment

I’ve got a fantastic flick for y’all but I better tell you about it fast because it’s going to be on soon! At 2pm today, good old COMET is going to be airing 1983’s STRANGE INVADERS and you can watch it for free just by clicking HERE! I’m not going to lie to you, even though it’s always spot on with the smoky pastel visuals and appreciative winks towards 1950’s sci-fi, STRANGE INVADERS starts out kinda syrupy slow (I’m not down with the droopy score or milquetoast lead PAUL LE MAT)… BUT if you are patient you will be rewarded with absolutely awesome eighties make-up effects and the infatuating likes of WALLACE SHAWN, FIONA LEWIS, LOUISE FLETCHER and most importantly, the worship-worthy NANCY ALLEN! Seriously, as soon as ALLEN shows up it’s like you’re watching a whole new movie! Now if you should happen to come by this notice late, don’t fret; at 4pm COMET is airing KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE! What a great double feature!

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VHSaturday :: Screams of a Winter Night (1979)

February 25th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · No Comments

This may just be my number one most prized VHS possession! This tape may even be worth a pretty penny. Sure, it probably wouldn’t fetch enough cash to pay for a single cable bill but it’s worth something just the same! Seeing SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT on the big screen was a monumental moment in my horror education and you can read all about that business HERE but for today, let’s gawk at the VHS tape itself and all of its humble beauty…

I’ll never forget finding this puppy in a video store that was closing in the late eighties. The big deal was that this was before the Internet and so basically you either stumbled across a tape or you didn’t. If your video store didn’t happen to order a tape of a movie you wanted to see, you might not know if it was even released. I remember searching for 1981’s THE BOOGENS for years until it was mercifully distributed in the nineties. I had a similar experience with SCREAMS. I saw it in the theater and then it seemed to fall off the face of the Earth without much evidence (besides possibly a clipped newspaper ad) that I didn’t dream it. Back then you could ask around about a title and folks would just shake their heads and scowl at you as if you were begging for change. It sounds sad, I know, but there was also something poetic about allowing fate to decide which movies entered your life. You kids don’t know how easy you have it with your low hanging Google fruit (shakes cane, dentures fall out).

Back to the tape! It’s a clamshell! Oh boy, these were a bitch to shelve! It’s hard to believe that for a while, big-boxed VHS tapes fell strongly out of favor (except in the adult room) because now they are hip as hell (which reminds me, I saw a dude wearing a fanny pack the other day). Geez, they’re really courting with a Christmas card look here with the dark green background and red lettering complete with snow garnish, aren’t they? Even though there’s no snow in the movie, I do enjoy that snow font because it reminds me of a friendly motel ice machine. The central image is straight from the movie poster and I’ve always loved its swampy Golem vagueness. And I dig all of the tagline wording too because it so swiftly relays that this flick is all about the ancient art of telling ghost stories. Oh and it’s VCI Home Video! Those guys sure put out some great titles back in the early days (CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, HORROR HOSPITAL, TOWER OF EVIL) and I guess they saved a lot on ink with their penchant for using a limited color palette!

As much as I love this old tape, this is one movie that I cannot wait to upgrade on either Blu ray or DVD. Having only seen this flick in the grittiest of fashions, I’m planning on a staggering experience. What’s even better is that word on the street is that the fine folks at CODE RED are reinstalling for the first time ever, a previously excised segment of this awesome anthology! I know I can be kinda annoying with the exclamation points but:!!!!! That’s some horror Holy Grail stuff right there (at least for me)! Still, I’ll be holding on to this cherished tape. There ain’t no law saying I can’t have this longtime favorite in multiple formats.

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Kindertrauma Funhouse:: Name That Tagline!

February 24th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 10 Comments

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Kinder-Gallery:: The Fine Art of Vestron CEDs

February 23rd, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

Now I might be kind of obsessed with VESTRON flavored SelectaVision CED cartridges. I’ve always appreciated a good CED (Capacitance Electronic Disc) as a decorative wall hanging (I’ve got a few like the often paired together EVILSPEAK, POPEYE and CRUISING) but the VESTRON type takes the coolness to a whole new level on account of it features that groovy futuristic rainbow stripe framing device (kinda like the side of a KEY VIDEO VHS tape)! Here, allow me to share some fine examples I scrounged up (mostly) on ebay…

→ 4 CommentsTags: For The Love of:: · Kinder-Gallery · Kinder-Pix

Traumafession:: Unk on the Masks in A Gun in the House (1981)

February 22nd, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment

I’m currently trapped in a scary mask spiral and the swirling center of said spiral seems to be the year 1981. After being reminded of the hosiery-headed creep in THE BOOGEY MAN (or THE BOOGEYMAN depending on where you live) I had a flashback to the fateful night I recorded SNL as a kid and accidentally captured the terrifying commercial for NIGHTMARE (or NIGHTMARE IN A DAMAGED BRAIN depending on where you live) which concludes with a dude in a grubby mask hammering down a splintering bedroom door (HERE).

But for my money the scariest 1981 masks of all just might be the ones found in the TV movie A GUN IN THE HOUSE. Although AGITH ends up being rather wishy-washy and long-winded, it sure has its share of harrowing moments especially for a small screen affair. I mean, if I never see SALLY STRUTHERS being forced to crawl on her knees while masked intruders (whose relationship seems directly lifted from THE HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF THE PARK (1980)) laughingly pour peach brandy on her head again, that will be fine by me. There’s no doubt this dramatization of the perpetually hot topic of the pro and cons of gun ownership was strongly influenced by the plethora of masked slashers then currently stalking cinemas (one of the masks even looks like it could be a left over prop from the previous year’s TERROR TRAIN). In any case, I know I was one kid who got a little bit more freaky strife than he bargained for tuning into to this flick way, way back in the day. So let’s make your old UNK squirm in his seat and check out the frightening masks from A GUN IN THE HOUSE below….

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Name That Trauma:: Jackball74 on a Blue Glass Ghost

February 21st, 2017 by unkle lancifer · No Comments

One fine Saturday morning back in the early ’80s I jumped out of bed, bolted for the living room and promptly switched on the TV, thinking I would get in a couple of cartoons before everyone else woke up – the usual weekend routine. This morning, however, I was met with a jolt.

The (color) image that faced me showed a man, then cut to a woman, both looking somewhat surprised. I cannot recall who the actor and actress were, but they were middle-aged and the setting looked to be a nicely-appointed house sometime in the ’30s or ’40s. There was a knock on the door, and one of the individuals turned and answered it.

Standing on the threshold was a ghost, but, instead of seeing a semi-transparent actor, the phantom looked like it was made of blue glass and had very vague features (there were no eyes, for instance). And man did it freak me out. I jumped up, ran to my parents’ bedroom and began yelling about what I had seen.

I can’t recall a good deal about the details, other than that the movie seemed to have been made several decades before. It was also probably playing on our old local South Florida channel, WCIX 6. Was anyone else startled by this scene?


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Sunday Streaming:: The Boogey Man (1980)

February 19th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Hold up now, did you realize that there is absolutely nothing to stop you from watching 1980’s THE BOOGEYMAN for free on super swell and generous CRACKLE (HERE)? Please don’t tell me you’re one of those people trying to rewrite history and claim this movie doesn’t rule. That’s nonsense. C’mon, if being derivative of HALLOWEEN and THE EXORCIST is a crime than you’re going to have to lock up my entire movie collection! I know director ULLI LOMMEL went on to squander his talent churning out lamentable chaff but I’m going to forever contend that there’s some creepy as hell miasma emanating from this partially silly motion picture. The opening theme alone is enough to make me feel like I walked into some sleazy, unfathomable supernatural hive of unmitigated wrongness. Plus, what about that crazy shish kabob car kill? What about that annoying kid being rightfully guillotined in the bathroom window? What about that scary dude with the panty hose on his head? Eh, I give up. Watch it for the soundtrack alone for heavens sake! So good!

→ 3 CommentsTags: Sunday Streaming