Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Salem's Lot (1979)
Trilogy of Terror (1975)
Return to Oz (1985)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Two friends recently challenged me to identify two different horror movies that they saw ages ago as kids and God damn, I was completely stumped. Any chance you fine folks can crack these mysteries? All I've got to work with is some scraps of information:
* The first horror movie would have been an eighties flick available as a VHS rental. The story featured a crazed mental patient who built lots of killer dolls. The dolls were made of flesh-colored clay or plastic (like Barbie and Ken) and one of them was armed with a scalpel. The dolls were done through stop-motion animation.
* The second horror movie would have been a late eighties/early nineties VHS title. The plot featured a serial killer who could either turn himself into electricity or possess machines (or both). The movie featured a scene in which the killer hides inside of a light bulb.
UNK SEZ: Thank you for writing in, Enzo! I hope I have your answers!
The first film you mentioned is probably the Amicus anthology ASYLUM. It's from 1972 but had a theatrical rerelease in the states in the early eighties as HOUSE OF CRAZIES. There were at least two VHS editions, one used the original poster art and the "ASYLUM" title and the other had a more modern look and went by ASYLUM: "The House of Crazies".
ASYLUM's tales are all based on stories by ROBERT BLOCK. The one your friend should be interested in is called "Mannikins of Horror," it very much fits your pal's description. Here it is on YouTube…
This very same story though was used for an episode of the horror series MONSTERS so that could very well be what they are thinking of too. Luckily that also is on YouTube…
The second film you mentioned, I would think is WES CRAVEN's SHOCKER from 1989. That definitely involves a killer who has electric-centric powers. I don't remember him hiding inside a light bulb but I wouldn't put it past the guy. That one seems almost too easy to be correct so if any of our readers know of any other titles that fit the description, please let us know! Hmmmm, wait a minute, I suppose 1993's GHOST IN THE MACHINE might fit just as well… Here are both trailers just in case…
Today is the day for ENCOUNTER WITH THE UNKNOWN. I have no excuse for not watching this regional anthology sooner as it has been creeping around these pages for some time. Our buddy Crafty Pants Carol included it in her "It's a Horror to Know You" and "Creepy Lady Faces" posts and it has been the sought after answer in Name That Trauma's from as far back as Bigwig's in 2010 and as recent as Steve Q's from earlier this week. What was I waiting for, a written invitation? And so watch it I did and now here I am all in your face pressuring you to follow suit…
Narrated by the legendary ROD SERLING, this TWILIGHT ZONE inspired grab-bag of supernatural yarns is admittedly tame by standards of both today and yesteryear though that doesn't necessarily curb its ability to offer a few chills. Anyone who grew up in the seventies is likely to get at least a nostalgic buzz from the film's overall eerie vibe. I myself felt right at home with this flick or more specifically, right at home in my backyard, in a tent, at the age of twelve, holding a flashlight in my shaky hand. In other words you could probably knit this together with faves THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK and SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT into one big five hour long scarf of a movie and I doubt anyone would notice the seams.
Oh sure, its flawed up the wazoo, it shamelessly pads its running time by showing the same scenes over and over again but you're either charmed by such things or you wouldn't be watching it in the first place. I believe the movie's persistence in showing up time and again around these parts is proof enough of its effectiveness. It may be shoddy and makeshift but there's something spooky enough going on here to make it sticky. Maybe its pure nostalgia, I could almost hear the theme to "IN SEARCH OF…" while I watched and that's good enough for me. You won't believe any of these "true stories" but you'll be reminded of when you might have.
ENCOUNTER was directed by HARRY THOMASON who has several semi-forgotten Arkansas â€“set drive-in spookers under his belt (REVENGE OF BIGFOOT, SO SAD ABOUT GLORIA, THE DAY IT CAME TO EARTH) and remarkably went on to great television success as a producer, director and writer (THE FALL GUY, DESIGNING WOMEN, and not so much with EMERIL) and a prolific partnership with his wife LINDA BLOODWORTH THOMASON. Believe it or not, 20 years after the release of ENCOUNTER, THOMASON would be all kinds of chummy with the President of the United States Bill Clinton and even testifying on his behalf before the Grand Jury during the Lewinsky scandal. Who'da thunk?