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Entries from July 2012

Traumafession:: Reader Machete on The Rifleman Episode “And The Devil Makes Five”

July 17th, 2012 · 2 Comments

When I was a very young child I saw an episode of “The Rifleman” that frightened me more than anything I have ever seen on television or at the movies. I am a life-long fan of horror and science fiction and yet an episode of a western TV series made it a struggle for me to sleep for a long time after I viewed it. The episode involves Chuck Conners as part of a posse that captures an outlaw. As they are far from town they have to set up camp outdoors and sleep in their bedrolls. When morning arrives Conners’ son approaches him. Conners is sitting bolt upright in his bedroll. His face is covered in sweat. His eyes are wide open and staring fixedly straight ahead. His son says, “Pa, What’s wrong? At that moment the sound of a rattle is heard. A rattlesnake has crawled into his bedroll during the night. Conners is afraid to move or make a sound for fear of being bitten. The episode ends happily with the snake dead and Conners (as series star) very much alive and well. As for me, well, I didn’t sleep so well that night and a few more. When I went to bed the folds and furls of the blankets and sheets felt like snakes in the bed with me. I got over it though and now I watch mostly horror and science fiction, but I’ve never forgotten how the most unlikely of TV series frightened me so much. The name of the episode was And the Devil Makes Five. It was the last episode filmed. It was shot in all outdoor settings as a way to save money as the series’ budget was depleted at this point.

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Tags: Telenasties · Traumafessions

Name That Trauma!:: Reader Michele on a Predatory Vacuum Cleaner Cartoon

July 16th, 2012 · 2 Comments

There was a cartoon I used to see in the early sixties, black and white, probably old even then, maybe 30’s or 40’s. It had some kind of discordant jazz music in the background, no speaking, and there were these creatures who were essentially an eyeball on top of a vertical metal pole, with a wheel at the bottom. These damn things were, I think, chasing something or someone inside a building. I think there might have been predatory vacuum cleaners in it too.

I would love to be able to identify this and view it again as an adult. It absolutely terrified me.

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

Kinder-Flix :: Be Kind to Animals!

July 15th, 2012 · 1 Comment

UNK SEZ: Thanks to reader gcg for introducing me to this cartoon! Folks, if you are mean to an animal today please remember before you go to bed tonight to punch yourself as hard as you can in the face for me! Thanks! Critter Power!

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Tags: Kinder-Flix

It’s a Horror to Know You:: JDC Burnhil Author of Nightbird Descends!

July 14th, 2012 · 2 Comments

It’s a Horror to Know You: JDC Burnhil, author of Nightbird Descends!

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

That all depends on what you consider a film (and yes, that is going to be my excuse for giving multiple answers.)

The first filmic thing I can remember terrifying me is just a short film they used to play on our local PBS station between shows, fairing early computer graphics (moving ellipses of the kind that might make a simple screensaver now) with the piano tune “Music Box Dancer.” Every time it would come on, I would run to the other room, breathless with fear, hiding until it was over. Why was it so terrifying? Even now I can’t give a rational answer; it was something about the crisp, cool precision of the tinkling piano notes, matched with those geometric images so distant from anything my young brain had yet learned to process as “natural” that just sent me toddling away as fast as my legs would take me, convinced I had just barely escaped alive from my brush with the uncanny.

Later my father, wanting someone to watch his favorite TV shows with, discovered to his chagrin that his youngest spawn was a wuss: the closing credits of “Star Trek” with the eerie high-pitched theme song and the terrifying still of the huge-headed alien, pushed panic responses in me, and as for “Doctor Who” airing on PBS, they were in the middle of the Tom Baker era when the serials had names like “Horror of Fang Rock” and featured terrors like Mr. Sin, a pig-faced ventriloquist dummy that came to life with no one touching it and chased you into sewers occupied by rats the size of buses. But even if those weren’t disqualified, as TV rather than film, it somehow seems wrong to give them pride of place when I, ahem, barely saw them.

I really have to fast-forward a few years, to a school assembly just before a holiday, where the principal thought it would be a wonderful treat to give the students a movie to watch … Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Despite all the creepy things that happened in the movie, such as the first appearance of the sinister Mr. Slugworth, I managed to keep watching … until the point where piggy Augustus Gloop, having tumbled into the chocolate river due to his greed, was helplessly sucked up a huge transparent tube and away from sight. At that point I could not control my terror any more, and I had to wait out the rest of the movie back in the classroom. My best friend even left the movie and came to the classroom to reassure me that it was okay, Augustus Gloop was okay, he wasn’t really dead, but I would not believe him: as far as I was concerned, we had seen Augustus Gloop erased from existence in the universe before our eyes. Everything he had been before, everything he might have done with a life afterwards; these were all gone, sucked into oblivion up that transparent tube, vanished from all he had loved and all that had loved him. Even finding out later, as an adult, that yes indeed Augustus Gloop and the other children were okay (or so Willy Wonka said, and if you can’t trust a candymaker who starts off your very first meeting tricking you into thinking he’s crippled and you’re about to see him fall and be hurt, gosh, who can you trust??) didn’t erase the power of that memory, that vivid cognizance that yes, you could be a living part of the universe one minute and the next minute, just a lifeless clog moving slowly through a pipe.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

That all depends on what you mean by “scared” – okay, okay, I won’t overuse that. If we defined “scared” as “scared enough to have troubled sleep afterwards,” I would have to go back to The Blair Witch Project. It’s a shame that the backlash against the movie’s hype, and its sequel, and all the awful imitators that followed, have erased the memory of what an effective film it really was. Being lost forever, never coming home – the movie tapped into some childhood fears that I had no idea still burned with such intensity, and most of my dreams that night were an eerie replay of the three student filmmakers’ doomed journey.

Honorable mention to Lonely Water. I still can’t believe that there was no producer out there who saw these two minutes of terror on a television screen and immediately tracked down writer Christine Hermon and director Jeff Grant, forced large piles of money into their hands, and said “You make me a feature film. Now.” Imagine what those two could have done on a larger canvas with a larger budget.

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

Hausu.You wouldn’t think a Victorian-era artist with a career built on funny cat pictures would get much mention in discussions of a psychedelic Japanese horror film from 1977. The name of Louis Wain seems to always come up, though, and for good reason. You see, Wain also suffered from mental illness, and while the cats that made his career are jovial, whimsical fellows “playing human” in amusing ways, the cats he painted during his troubled periods range from those who stare at the viewer with clearly sinister intent, to phantasmagoric explosions of intense color and sharp-edged shape where only a keen eye can detect that the idea of ‘cat’ once figured in its genesis.

There is, of course, Hausu‘s plot element of a painting of a cat (which may be the witch-cat itself) that we get to see in both “ordinary cat” and “demonic cat” incarnations, and this is why Louis Wain always seems to come up. Even beyond that, however, Wain’s sad life story is echoed in important ways by the remarkable trick that Obayoshi’s film pulls off.

Hausu starts in an atmosphere of artifice amplified to eleven: one of the moments I found most jarring in the early part of the movie is when the girls walk past a painted backdrop of blue skies and smiling people, and as they turn the corner, it’s revealed to actually be a painted backdrop, even within the girls’ world. That cloud of kitsch, carefully built up, is the camouflage within which the shape of horror lingers, and from which it slowly emerges to claim each victim. From among Wain’s jolly, furry fellows emerge, in time, the feline demons of his madness. From out of Hausu‘s deliberately stagey acting and all its camera tricks and its characters who don’t even possess any name but their single identifying trait emerges, in time, a chilling story of the dead, grieving past devouring the innocent future.

Messiah of Evil. I recently read a review of this film which complained that it was too slow-moving. That’s enough for me to call this one underrated, and I have to wonder if the reviewer somehow missed what was going on, or perhaps didn’t have the cultural background to process it. After all, when was the last time you heard someone complain that a telling of the Nativity story was too slow-moving? and that’s just what this movie is about, a dark Nativity. An unlucky girl comes to a small town in California in search of her missing father, and quickly discovers that she’s come in the midst of the season of miracles and wonders that precedes the coming of The One Foretold. Except this One Foretold is not bringing a new light of hope to the world, but a terrible shadow, and the miracles and wonders are less in the “babies quickening in the wombs of women thought barren” mold and more along “bleeding from your eyes as you become a cannibalistic zombie” lines. Slow-moving? Please. When there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, “slow-moving” just means the suspense is dragged out longer.

Phenomena. This isn’t my favorite Dario Argento film; that honor belongs to Suspiria, which is in all honesty the better film. However, this one just doesn’t get the love it deserves for all the things it does right. I love the bonding between Jennifer Connelley’s boarding-school misfit and Donald Pleasance’s avuncular entomologist. I love the wonderful moment when Jennifer’s tormentors at the school stand perplexed at her declaration “I love you all,” perplexed until they realize she’s not talking to them … I love the terrifying last act of the movie, where Jennifer has fallen in with exactly the worst possible people, and must exert every bit of physical strength and inner courage she has to get away from the horror.

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

Pieces. Oh, I just love Pieces to pieces. It’s so bad, but it never fails to make me feel better when I watch it. Its acting is terrible, its plotting irredeemable, its sense of taste atrocious … but for all that, I love it so much that after my very first viewing I knew I had to own my own copy. Whenever I get down and start wondering if there’s anything actually good in the world, I try to think of Lynda Day George’s line delivery of “Bastard! … Bastard!! … BASTARD!!!” and it cheers me up to no end.

I’m thinking of making it my ringtone.

The Curious Dr. Humpp. Director Emilio Vieyra’s film Feast of Flesh is actually significantly better than this one, and the grotesque mask of its mysterious killer certainly lends a certain horrific touch, but all things considered Feast is more of a thriller. Dr. Humpp is more of a horror movie, with two mad scientists (one of whom is but a brain floating in a tank) and monstrous servants (one of whom simply walks around in nightclubs and stores, with a blinking light in the center of his forehead!) kidnapping people for perverted experiments in draining life-force-slash-sexual-energy.

Now, since most of the footage of those sex experiments is actually new footage inserted into the movie by the North American distributor, and the same distributor gave it a dub audio track written on the philosophy that “matching lip movements is far more important than correct grammar or accurate word usage or sounding natural,” it’s certainly not a great movie. But it can be a great movie to just sit back and absorb, like a celluloid fever dream, and I dare anyone to say there isn’t something hypnotic and haunting in Vieyra’s visual compositions.

Axe. A 1977 regional horror by Frederick R. Friedel that moves slowly but can really reward the viewer who invests their imagination. The true horror is not the criminals who come to the farmhouse but lies with those who are already there: Lisa and her paralyzed grandfather. We get only brief glimpses of the blood and chaos that goes in inside blank-faced Lisa’s unstable mind, but dwell on it a bit more than the movie does and the movie becomes that much more chilling. Now imagine that her grandfather knows what we the audience know about how fragile Lisa’s grasp on sanity is, and knows that this poor insane girl controls his fate entirely, every minute of every day. That’s some horror for you.

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

Thrillbent – Some brilliant creators including John Rogers (creator of the excellent pulp TV show “Leverage“) and Mark Waid (writer of the seminal graphic novel Kingdom Come) reinventing digital comics quite successfully.

Danbooru – Frequently (almost always, considering the ads) NSFW archive of mostly fan art for Japanese media. Thought-provoking to see just which moments and details capture fans’ attention, and inspire their creativity.

Good Bad Flicks – One of the best video-format B-movie review shows out there. Cecil Trachenburg understands a very important principle many others don’t: listening to someone bitch about a bad movie is not automatically better entertainment than the bad movie itself.

The B-Masters Cabal – One of the longest-running B-movie reviewer supergroups on the web, in existence for over twelve years with over forty themed “roundtables” under their belts.

Bantam Street – Home page of Bantam Street Productions, most famous for the straight-faced spoof of 50’s sci-fi B-movies, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. Their blog features frequent movie reviews by Robert Deveau, “The Doomed Farmer” (the role he played in Lost Skeleton.)

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Tags: It's a Horror to Know You!

These are a few of my favorite FRIDAY THE 13th things!

July 13th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Look at the date! It’s Friday the 13th once again! Please allow me to present to you my 13 most favorite things in the Friday the 13th series…

# 13: THE GALLOWS HUMOR (PART 6) “What were you going to be when you grew up?” Look, I know precocious children are borderline intolerable but something about these kids being so blasé about the impending eradication of all their future plans really cracks me up.

# 12: THE JUST DESSERTS (PART 7) Bringing a whole new kind of camp to the series, THE NEW BLOOD offers not one but two highly satisfying love-to-hate-you character deaths. It helps that shady doctors and spoiled snobs rank high on my own personal hit list. Dr. Crews goes from pesky to deplorable when he throws Tina’s mom under the Voorhees bus to save his own skin and bitchy Melissa makes her clobbering all the more delicious by delivering some choice lines right before meeting her fate.

# 11: LEARNING TO SWIM (PART 8) I’m not such a big fan of this entry these days but this flashback scene involving young Rennie’s evil Uncle teaching her how to swim by throwing her overboard seconds after telling her the Jason Legend is just way too kindertraumatic to ignore.

# 10: THE HERO TAKES A FALL (PART 4) Although hunky do-gooders rarely fare well in the series, something about Rob seeking to avenge his sister’s death and his clear awareness of Jason makes you think he may have the chops to survive. Not going to happen. Rob is clearly shocked by not being invited to the final round as well, screaming “He’s killing me!” as Jason grants him a bitch-slap of a poorly lit undignified death.

# 9: THE LIGHTENING FLASH (PART 7) Yes, more love for NEW BLOOD! What can I say; I’ve got to follow my heart. There’s a great moment in this entry that takes place in a completely dark room but then there’s a flash of lightening and you see ol’ Jason standing in the corner. I know it’s simple but I’m a simple person.

DANCE BREAK! (PART 4 & PART 5) This is me both pandering and desperately trying to find a way to include PART 5.

# 8: LIKE THE CORNERS OF MY MIND (PART 3) One way to quickly endear a new character to fright fans is to insist that they have been a part of the story for some time. Chris Higgins reveals she’s no scream newbie when she recalls her first encounter with the Legend of Crystal Lake via blurry double exposure flashback. Unlike Jason’s more typical precision takedowns, this rough and ragged confrontation gets dangerously close to resembling an actual assault. Jason’s identity mostly being hidden in shadow and Chris’s spotty incomplete recollection only add to the disturbing tone.

# 7: TIME FOR YOUR CLOSE UP (THE ORIGINAL) Look at poor Marcie with an axe in her skull! Has there ever been a more straight forward and (pardon the pun) in-your-face kill? Could this be accomplished any better today? Nope. Most kills these days look all rubbery and clean but damn, this is all gritty, messy and excuse the understatement, impolite.

# 6: THE CHANGE OF PLANS (PART 2) Mark’s death works for me simply because it is so incredibly cruel. Football jersey wearing Mark has got this All-American (actor TOM McBRIDE even appeared in Marlboro ads), can-do spirit about him. An accident requires that he use a wheelchair but he’s determined that someday he’ll walk again. A girl named Vicki totally throws herself at him and instead of being mortified by her desperation, he agrees to meet up with her later. That’s when Jason smacks a machete into his face and, it gets worse, his chair rolls down a flight of stairs! Who thought of this? They have mental problems. Kudos.

# 5: HELP ME! (THE ORIGINAL) Sometimes I think the eeriest scene in the entire series is when Brenda curls up with a paperback and begins to hear a high-pitched indistinct cry for help. Nobody wants to be the kind of dummy who walks into their own death but what kind of person wouldn’t investigate just in case? At this point we have no idea who the killer is and the ghostly voice lost in the storm adds a vague supernatural flavor to the brew.

# 4: A ROOM WITH A VIEW (PART 3) Monster faces fill my heart with joy so why is there a millisecond or so at the end of FRIDAY PART 3 when Jason appears in a window that to this day gives me hella heebie-jeebies? Who knows why but some of the most haunting images I’ve ever laid my eyes on involve just a figure in a window looking out. This may have them all beat because after a moment of static confusion Jason springs into destroy mode and begins pawing at the glass like a trapped ravenous beast. I don’t care that the rest of the movie is mostly a goofy 3-D lark; I go “yikes” here.

# 3: A DREAM OF BLOOD. (THE ORIGINAL) There’s a storm coming and Marcie’s senses are picking up something not quite right. She barely recalls having a dream where the rain turned to blood. Ack! How can this be any creepier? Is there anything worse than that foreboding feeling that somebody just walked over your grave? The simple idea of sensing your own approaching death as you unknowingly circle the drain freaks me out. Laugh if you want but this blink and you’ll miss it moment captures for me the exact same existential dread that curdled my soul in LAKE MUNGO.

# 2: THERAPY IN SESSION (PART 2) Alice who? Plucky final girls are a dime a dozen but our pal Ginny Fields takes girl- power to a higher level by throwing some emotional intelligence and empathy for the plight of “frightened retard(s)” into her survival kit. Standing before the shrine Jason built for his beloved mother, Ginny Freud illustrates the healing power of role-play and sweater transference therapy. It doesn’t entirely succeed but that’s what she gets for making the rookie error of attempting to cut the session short with a machete.

# 1: ALICE’S RUDE AWAKENING (THE ORIGINAL) I don’t care if it wasn’t in the script, whose idea it was, or if it was an abashed rip off of CARRIE. This is just one of the greatest moments in any movie horror or otherwise. With the picture perfect postcard setting and the chiming pre-TWIN PEAKS soap opera score, we’re lead to believe that all is well in the world and than BAM, a fucking rotting corpse basically rips right through the idyllic cornball landscape. What was once a relatively grounded murder mystery about tangible revenge instantly and permanently nosedives into the less graspable realm of the uncanny. They can say it’s a dream all they like, we know better. I can’t think of too many moments in film that capture so fully what horror is all about.

BONUS: MADDY’S MAKE OVER (PART 7) Is it wrong that I delight in the sad fact that Maddy re-invents herself only to be killed moments later? That’s what you get for changing yourself for a guy. If only THE BREAKFAST CLUB ended the same way.

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Tags: General Horror · Holidays

Willard (2003)

July 12th, 2012 · 8 Comments

I don’t mean to alarm anybody but it appears that at some point between the time I watched WILLARD back in 2003 and yesterday, somebody magically changed the tone of the entire film. What was once a quirky, dark-humored revenge flick concerning adorable critters is now a morbidly tragic character study that mercilessly kicked my heart in the crotch. I didn’t even know my heart had a crotch. Now I understand why this wasn’t a huge hit. Honey, I shrunk the cathartic payoff! I feel horrible right now thanks to WILLARD but that’s not saying I’m not happy about it.

One thing that has not changed since my first viewing is the fact that CRISPIN GLOVER is wonderful in the title role. I’m not just saying that because he’s weird and I mistake weirdness for talent. I don’t buy into that stuff. I was voted most likely to feel apathetic towards JOHNNY DEPP seventy million times in a row! GLOVER just IS Willard. He’s owns it like a birthright. He’s fearless and gracefully awkward and heartbreaking and you want to save him but you can’t. And what a face…he’s like a twisted male GARBO!

Modern science will never be able to explain my penchant for stories concerning abuse-baiting social misfits failing to connect with the world but not failing to reside in big creepy houses with fantastic furniture. It’s one of those mysteries that will never be solved like why does the Loch Ness monster always leave the cap off the toothpaste and how come I woke up barefoot in an alley? Focus. Poor Willard is trapped in life. In fact, there are tons of gates, bars and cages everywhere he goes. People treat him poorly and are remarkably unmoved by the fact that he has the coolest nose ever captured on film. Life pretends not to be a nightmare for a brief time when he makes a new friend in a rat he names Socrates. Unfortunately, caring for something breeds vulnerability and the road to hell is paved in cheese. Willard may be the low man on the totem pole at work but in his basement, he becomes a God or at least relatively tall in comparison to his followers. He builds an army of rats and my dream is he’ll take over the world.

But then there is the problem of Ben. Ben is the shadow rat. He’s dark where Socrates is snow white. The pair make like a little angel and a little devil standing on Willard’s shoulders and whispering in his ears. You could say one represents good and the other evil but who still believes in such outdated things? I think Socrates represents the hopeful dream and big fat Ben represents reality. Willard goes to sleep at night cuddled next to Socrates imagining a friend-filled future free from the cage but every morning, no matter what, he wakes up with that darn Ben staring back at him. Ben reminds him of his suffocating mother (the delightfully corpse-like JACKIE BUROUGHS), his battle-axe boss (R. LEE ERMEY, you know the drill) and his absent by way of suicide Dad (an image only cameo by original WILLARD (1971) star BRUCE DAVISON). He underlines with a black marker the truth Willard does not want to face; his fate is in the hands of others and that he’ll never steer the ship. Ben’s not all bad news though, because he’ll also chew the face off anyone he’s told to. But ultimately Willard betrays Ben and, in doing so, he betrays his own dark side and his own latent power. He fails to merge and become whole. I sympathize but it’s frustrating.

One thing that’s nice about WILLARD the film is that it’s remarkably old fashioned. It’s thoughtfully shot and nobly spends quality time setting up the party and handing out the nametags to all the guests. Sadly though, I think its archaic nature also demands that Willard find comeuppance for his deeds and I’m not feeling that. I know, I sound like a hypocrite because I usually say happy endings are for cowards but in this lone case, I’m making an exception. This is my thing but it fails to be my super-thing by not doing what I’m telling it to do nearly a decade after its release. My recipe would be: more human death, less animal death! Yes, I’m proud to be one of those shameful folks who hold the lives of animals in higher regard than the lives of humans! Surprisingly that even includes rats. I’m supposed to feel bad about that? I’m sorry humanity but I think if you reflect on your behavior over the last thousand years, you’ll collectively realize you’re not so hot. What I’m saying is get over yourself humans and don’t feel bad when I tell you that I’d rather watch a bunch of you being slowly skinned alive than witness one rat stub its toe! Gee, no wonder I have so few friends.

WILLARD was directed by GLEN MORGAN who also did the needlessly harassed BLACK CHRISTMAS remake. Both films are visually sharp, are thrown off balance by apprehensive storytelling, boast genius scores by SHIRLEY WALKER and were born completely immune to audience appreciation. I think he’s really underrated and maybe just has a curse on his head, so I send out apologetic karma balloons in hope that it helps. WILLARD is a good movie, it’s just not always a good time but keep in mind that’s coming from somebody who would have chosen Ben over Socrates in the first place.

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Tags: General Horror

Jury Duty:: Psychophobia!

July 11th, 2012 · 3 Comments

UNK SEZ: Can you believe I have to go to jury duty today? If you were an innocent person would you want me deciding your fate? If what I’ve learned from a zillion sitcoms is true, this could last all day. Worse yet, I have not finished any of the posts I was working on and now you dear reader are screwed and left empty handed. But wait! I wouldn’t do that to you! I’m going to leave you with the horrifying chiller PSYCHOPHOBIA! This movie has the worst (meaning best) dubbing you will ever hear and it is sure to make you as happy as a not very terrified clam! Take care, be good and jump over HERE!!

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Tags: General Horror · Holidays · I Have No Idea What This Is · I'll watch anything

It’s a Horror to Know You:: 4throika!

July 10th, 2012 · 6 Comments

It’s a Horror to Know You: 4thtroika

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

The Fly (1958). The ending completely freaked me out. The Fly’s voice is the vocal equivalent of nails on a chalk board. Vincent Price actually thought this was funny?

2. What is the last film that scared you?

Requiem for a Dream (2000). Forget the war on drugs, just make everyone watch this. It has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer between the eyes. People don’t consider this a horror movie? Ha! Give me Jason or Freddy or Chucky any day!

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

1. The Call of Cthulhu (2005). Some would say this movie has three things against it: black and white, a silent movie, and completely faithful to Lovecraft’s story (no gore, no T&A, no CGI acid trip, etc.). I say those are the things it has going for it.

2. The Baby (1973). The first time I tried watching this, I shut it off after the first 18 minutes and wouldn’t touch it for two weeks. This is one of those movies that gets under your skin and never leaves.

3. Sssssss (1973). I first saw this one years ago on the CBS Late Movie. It was rarely shown back then and I sometimes wondered if I’d hallucinated it. It’s a really good movie and one of Universal’s overlooked gems. The makeup is very effective.

Official Runner Up: Slither (2006). This movie really needs more love. Another overlooked gem from Universal.

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

1. Blood Freak (1972). Don’t do drugs or the turkey man’ll getcha!

2. Five Across the Eyes (2006). The dialogue in this movie is laugh out loud hilarious. So bad it’s hysterical.

3. Beach Girls and the Monster (1965). A.K.A. Monster From the Surf. Where else are you going to see a beach babe and a lion puppet sing a song by Frank Sinatra Junior?

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

1. Svengoolie.Com. The home site of Chicago’s beloved horror movie host, now shown nationally on the ME-TV Network.

2. The Scriptorium. Lots of cool fonts to purchase and download.

3. Seventh Sanctum. Here you’ll find a collection of ‘generators’ that make random characters, plots, ideas, and more to use in your writing, games, art and more.

4. Gitchy. An indie horror comedy about an evil clown that tickles people to death.

5. A Voice For Men. Take the red pill.

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Tags: It's a Horror to Know You!

It’s a Horror to Know You:: M. Yowhan!

July 9th, 2012 · 2 Comments

It’s a Horror to Know You: M.Yowhan!

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

Earliest horror movie memory would be the twins in the hall scene from The Shining, even though I didn’t see the entire film until years later, in my 20s. Pet Sematary (I read the book as a preteen, and then later saw the move. Zelda to this day horrifies me). Also, while it’s not a film, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video would horrify me everytime it came on TV. I would just run out of the room.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

Insidious. This film was built up to me by my sister, who also loves horror films, and BOY did it deliver. And close second, Paranormal Activity 2. I thought the first one was a complete waste of time with very little thrills, but somehow the second one turned me around and genuinely freaked me out.

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

The Others – Beautifully shot, great acting by the children, beautiful production values and at the same time creepy)

Terror Train – Great cast, lot of fun death scenes and costumes, and something about being trapped on a train with a murderer, that claustrophobic feel of cant’ really escaping really makes the film.

The Blair Witch Project – One of those 90s films that you either love or hate, that I find genuinely mind-screwing. I don’t recall any other film that was like this before it came out, but it has been the most mimicked since then.

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

Tourist Trap – Have a weird love/hate thing with this movie. It’s not a GREAT movie, but the creepiness, the beautiful/eerie score by Pino Donaggio, it somehow works.

The Legacy – Roger Daltrey, people that morph into cats, and the British countryside. Love this movie!

The Giant Claw – Not really a “horror” movie, but one of the most underrated monster movies I think of the past. Aside from the ridiculous effects of the Giant Claw bird/creature itself, the rest of the film is actually pretty well done, and well acted. But I do have a special love for that goofy prehistoric bird on a string.
5. Send us to five places on the Internet! (Include the URLs!)

5. Send us to five places on the internet!

O.T.I.S. (Odd Things I’ve Seen)…This site ran by JW Ocker is a lot of fun. He covers everything from sites where Stephen King based his films on, to outlandish burial places and weird museums around the world. Really fun with a lot of great photos from all his travels.

Dinosaur Dracula – run by the awesome Matt of former X-E site, Matt focuses on fun, sometimes gross toys of the 80s, rare low budget movie collectibles (everytime he features an item from “CONGO“, I’m a happy girl) , and expresses his love for Tim Curry and The Golden Girls. What more do you want?

The Digital Bits – Great DVD reviews and news about upcoming releases of all kinds. – An Opie and Anthony Show message board, nothing else to say. Great place if you’re a fan of the show.

Colin Kane – an up and coming comedian who’s hilarious and hot at the same time. Check him out!

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Tags: It's a Horror to Know You!

The Prey (1984)

July 8th, 2012 · 5 Comments

Even though I’m programmed to blindly adore all killer-in-the-woods flicks, I too can decipher the difference between a competent movie and one held together by gum and prayers. THE PREY (1984) ever so slowly leans, if not loiters, towards the latter. Director EDWIN BROWN is clearly hell bent on shaking me off his trail but I won’t quit. I keep hanging on. Every time I find myself losing steam and ready to pull the plug he does something so perplexing I must stick around. This is what I love about unpolished, lowbrow movies. When somebody does not know what they are doing, they end up places nobody else would go. There’s a scene in which a handsome yet borderline imbecilic park ranger (played by SHAZAM!’s JACKSON BOSTWICK) comes across a corpse being devoured by vultures that just squeals lunacy. The camera shows the ranger, the corpse & the vultures in rotation with screeching blasts of music and it’s so puffed up and relentlessly overemphasized that it feels pulled from a comedy sketch. I wouldn’t want to miss something like that even though I did require toothpicks to hold my eyelids open by the time that particular bit dropped like a sack of wet laundry.

As adrift and lackadaisical as THE PREY may be, I have to be honest and admit that it also looks exactly like the inside of my mind. When things are peaceful, random furry animals appear and prance around and when things are bad, you get squirming centipedes and army ants eating worms to an alarming doorbell buzzer score. On the film’s behalf, around the time I had finished knitting a sleeping bag in my mind to count sheep in, a semi-worthy monster does indeed show up! Eureka! He’s played by CAREL STRUYCKEN, “Lurch” of THE ADAMS FAMILY (1991), which is fitting because JACKIE COOGAN, “Uncle Fester” from the original T.V. series can also be found in this movie reluctantly learning to love cucumber sandwiches. The monster’s oatmeal ugliness comes courtesy of JOHN CARL BUECHLER and who can resist a lumbering oaf with a giant bumpy head and choking paws? Is he enough to save the film?

Well, no. But THE PREY does close on an effectively ghoulish note and has at least one worthwhile kill. Plus everybody knows this time of year is perfect for its man vs. nature (not to mention mutant wielding an axe) motif. In addition, there’s just no denying that it’s endearingly good-natured not counting the off-screen rape. For example, the park ranger who I should probably not have found as charismatic as I did, tells a really long, hopelessly unfunny joke to a baby deer in this. A baby deer! I had to watch THE PREY on YouTube so maybe the picture quality hampered my enjoyment a little. I can’t believe I’m typing this but I’d actually, God help me, love to try it again cleaned up on DVD if ever the opportunity arose. That makes me sound like a masochist but I’m not-ish. Really what’s a little torture in exchange for a few sparkling moments of distinct eccentricity? Lameness abounds but it’s so hot this summer that camping via YouTube is not such a bad idea at all. Maybe there’s a monster in these woods but at least you won’t die from heat stroke! Aw, look! There’s a little baby raccoon washing his hands! How cute is that?

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Tags: General Horror · I'll watch anything