My Bloody Friday the 13th Matchmaker Dating Game

What a special weekend this is going to be, today is Friday the 13th and tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I was thinking about doing a post about great horror romances but then I remembered we already did THAT so now you’re stuck with this mess. Since today is a day for horror and tomorrow is a day for love I thought I’d do some matchmaking for our beloved horror icons. I know that sounds dumb but don’t you feel sorry for our horror pals who spend so much time alone with so little to do between murders? I know I do and so I’m setting them all up on dates. This is me as horror matchmaker…

Freddy Krueger and Angela of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS

These two have the same wicked sense of humor and both have been known to transform into giant snakes. How could they not get along?

Michael Myers and Angela Baker of SLEEPAWAY CAMP

These two could bond over their traumatic childhoods and I’m convinced Angela is just the jolt of outgoing enthusiasm that Mike needs to break out of his shell.

Leatherface and Annie Wilkes

They both share a down home country aesthetic and are known to grunt like pigs. Plus they can trade clothes.

Carrie White and Jason Voorhees

I’m setting Carrie up specifically with PART 2’s depiction of sensitive “baghead” Jason. She is bound to accept him just the way he is and they both understand the pain of not fitting in. I know that Jason famously does not get along with telepathic Tina in PART 7: THE NEW BLOOD but did you ever stop to consider that it could be because she reminds him of his true love Carrie?


They are adorable together. I have faith that THE THING is patient enough to look past THE BLOB’s tendency towards attention seeking. Aw, just think of the squishy possibly crab legged babies! A match truly made in heaven (as in outer space).

Pinhead and Baby Firefly

He’s snooty and she’s tooty fruity but in the words of MC Skatcat, opposites attract! It’s like Dharma and Greg but with likable characters!

PHANTASM’s “Tall Man” and Tangina from POLTERGEIST

I know, she’s not an evil killing machine like all of our other contestants but somebody’s gotta help her reach things on high shelves.

Dolly Dearest and Fats from MAGIC (1978)

I was going to set up Dolly with Chucky from CHILD’S PLAY until I remembered that he was spoken for. I don’t want to get on Tiffany’s bad side.

Rumpelstiltskin and that wooden guy “Morty” from THE FEAR (1995)

This list is getting a little too heterocentric for my tastes so now I’m outing these two. Look for the new reality show “Rumpelstitskin Loves Morty” on Bravo soon.


In addition to all of the above I also recommend with my incredible expertise in matchmaking that all of the tiny walnut head creatures from DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK should get married to all of the Boogens. I don’t have the time or the inclination to pair ‘em all up individually so if you are a walnut head, please just grab the closest Boogen that strikes your fancy and roll the dice. Love is a many splendored thing.

Name That Trauma:: Eric D. on a Late Night Killer Caller

I remember seeing a movie a few years ago from either the ’70s or ’80s about a killer who calls and stalks this woman who is working at night at a call center or radio show or answering service or something in this big building. She starts getting calls from some guy which start to freak her out and she wants to leave but she is either unable to or she calls her boss but gets talked into staying. I remember it being very good but I completely forget the name. I don’t have much else to go on. Any help on this would be much appreciated.

Thanks a lot.

-Eric D.

UNK SEZ: Thanks Eric! Your NTT description sounds an awful lot like “All Night Messenger” the last segment of the 1989 horror anthology AFTER MIDNIGHT starring MARG HELGENBERGER. Check out the clip below and see if it clicks or read our full review HERE. On the other hand, I keep feeling like I’ve seen a very similar storyline in another movie that I can’t remember so I may be wrong. If anyone has another idea, please let us know!

Sunday Streaming:: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

It’s sad that I never go to the movie theater anymore. Seeing films in the theater used to be such a big part of my life. There are fewer theaters now and I live farther from them than I used to but I can’t entirely blame that. The problem must lie in the fact that my urge to see something as soon as possible has completely evaporated along with my concept of time. It doesn’t help that the last few movies that I dragged myself out to see underwhelmed, that the picture quality on my TV screen is possibly superior to that at the local theater, that I’ve grown to have zero patience with people and their cell phones and that at this point for the price of one movie ticket I could buy about ten used DVDs.

I bring this glum state of affairs up because I just watched THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN on Netflix Streaming and ironically, it is the type of movie that I would have actually left my house to go see if given the chance and, more remarkably, I’m convinced that I would have left the theater happy for a change. Oh well. Nobody should really court me as an audience attendee anyway because I come alone, I’ll never spend money on popcorn and am likely to smuggle in beverages.

It would be difficult for me not to like TTTDS because it operates more like a classic slasher than even some classic slashers. You can point out many a cliché or trope if you so desire but to me pointing out a cliché in a slasher movie is like pointing out mustard on a hot dog. Mustard is why I’m eating this thing. What makes this one a cut above what you might expect is the filmmaker’s relish (ha, sorry) for atmosphere and the establishment of setting. The horror here belongs to an entire town rather than a cursed few and you get the feeling that the town’s dark past is as much a source of pride and excitement as it is a source of fear. The film’s title is taken seriously and when night falls you really do get the sense that there is something dangerous lurking in the darkness. A playing board is created where the past itself is the enemy and nowhere feels safe.

The folks we encounter are the type you’d expect but there’s a bounty of exceptional character actors on hand (VERONICA CARTWRIGHT, GARY COLE and the late EDWARD HERRMANN particularly) to make sure they stick. The cast in general comes across as real and grounded rather than the glossy model types that inhabit the usual modern revisit to seventies horror fare.

It has to be said that there is a semi-major fumble near the end of the film involving the identity of the threat. It’s not so much terrible as it is inappropriate and a betrayal of the mystery created. Luckily the foul up is late in the game and not toxic enough to unravel what’s come before. That trip-up aside, TTDS has some beautifully done stalking set pieces, loads of convincing nighttime atmosphere, an intimidating killer and a fascinating interest in memorabilia both morbid and cinematic. Plus it goes politely out of its way to honor, crystalize and not step on the toes of the original and simply offers itself as a humble companion piece that just might surpass the film it spawned from if you look at it in the right light. Check it out. It might not be a hit out the ballpark for everyone but for me it really hit the spot.

View From a Binge:: The Horror of Ami Dolenz




It started out innocently enough. Having recently enjoyed the sequel to NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, I thought it would makes sense to revisit the follow up to another classic KEVIN TENNEY flick, WITCHBOARD 2. I wasn’t a big fan when I caught it eons ago when it was released on VHS but maybe it would work better now thanks to lowered expectations and my newfound charitable feelings towards hackneyed, mid-nineties horror.



As it turns out my vague memory wasn’t too far off, WITCHBOARD 2 isn’t exactly on par with the film it spawned from. The supernatural threat isn’t nearly as threatening, LARAINE NEWMAN’s grating hippy character is a poor substitute for KATHLEEN WILHOITE’s eccentric psychic Zarabeth and there is a howling void where once stood ROSE MARIE.



But wait! WITCHBOARD 2 does contain a charm that the original film can’t boast, a sparkling effervescent light that will guide you through the entire inconsequential affair! The adorable creature I speak of is actress AMI DOLENZ! In fact, DOLENZ is so fetching in WITCHBOARD 2 that I forgot I was watching horror and instead found myself admiring her character’s swell new apartment, rooting for her career as an artist and strangely invested in the outcome of her romantic entanglements. Yeah, yeah, Ouija boards are dangerous doorways to hell, that’s yesterday’s news. I want to know if DOLENZ’s “Paige” is going to end up with her controlling yet admirably protective ex-boyfriend Mitch or the landlord’s creepy but sensitive brother Russell. In the end I had a fine time with the serviceable WITCHBOARD 2 and more importantly it inspired me to go on an AMI DOLENZ binge. Which lead to…




Again. I was very unaccepting of PUMKINHEAD II when I first saw it and I don’t blame myself because it discards the wonderful southern gothic atmosphere of the first film and offers in exchange for broody LANCE HENRIKSEN, a gaggle of mostly annoying partying teens. DOLENZ plays a relatively likable gal who is new to town and inexplicably ends up hanging out with a bunch of delinquents with no respect for their elders (I think that’s a fair assessment because they run over an old lady in their car, break into her house, physically assault her and leave her to burn to death.)



The only positive thing I can say about this group is that they at least have the good taste to include SOLIEL MOON FRY in the shenanigans (although I’d prefer to see her put her Punky-power to more constructive use). Even as the central non-demonic character, poor AMI doesn’t have much to do here and gets sort of lost in the shuffle. It doesn’t help that the cast is over-bloated enough to include HELLRAISER’s ANDREW ROBINSON, LINNEA QUIGLEY, KANE HODDER and BILL CLINTON’s brother as the Mayor, among others.



There’s no way around the fact that PUMPKINHEAD deserves a better sequel than this hobbled together headache but on the plus side, the monster looks handsome enough, there’s at least one striking visual (involving the demon looming over DOLENZ while she screams from a bed) and I have to admit the opening which involves teen bullies killing a physically deformed peer, is surprisingly disturbing.



Director JEFF BURR was several times saddled with the thankless task of sequel-izing beloved horror flicks (STEPFATHER 2, LEATHERFACE, PUPPET MASTER 4 & 5) all of which were doomed to pale in comparison to their predecessors. If you want to see his best work, make sure you check out the awesome anthology THE OFFSPRING (aka FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM) featuring legends VINCENT PRICE, CLU GULAGER and SUSAN TYRRELL. And between you and me and the fencepost, I also recently discovered that I have a soft spot for his totally loopy 1995 non-sequel NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW. I had a lot of fun watching it and only wish it opened with the disclaimer “No franchises were harmed in the making of this picture.”





TICKS (1993)

I’ll be honest, DOLENZ is stuck with a one note, spoiled brat role in TICKS and it’s probably not her finest hour but it doesn’t matter because I love TICKS! I loved it when I first saw it, I loved it when I last saw it and I loved it every time in-between. TICKS concerns a mutant parasite infestation at a nature retreat for wayward youth run by PETER SCOLARI but all you really need to know is that ALFONSO RIBEIRO portrays a street tough named Panic (Because he never does) and it’s a wondrous thing to behold.





I hate to say it but what I really adore about this movie is the incredibly effective special effects. I’m not the easiest person to gross-out but this movie truly gets under my skin in a way many other movies have tried and failed. Eventually you even get a big giant deluxe-sized monster tick and frankly, it’s nearly THING– worthy. So, not the best showcase for DOLENZ (that would be WITCHBOARD 2) but this one I truly recommend. Just prepare yourself for phantom itching. (NOTE: Extra points rewarded for brandishing a rare in the world of horror (outside of THE FLY 2 and ANNIE) ginger protagonist in the form of a young SETH GREEN.)



ALSO: TICKS director TONY RANDEL (HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II) worked with DOLENZ previously on the 1991 horror flick CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT. I’m not going to cover that one because I don’t have access to it and I’ve already given it a couple tries and it never worked for me. It looks like it would be great but it’s like it exists on some frequency my brain can’t register. You know what I mean?



MURDER SHE WROTE: Season 10, Episode 6:Bloodlines

IMDb kindly let me in on the fact that AMI DOLENZ did an episode of MSW and thanks to Netflix, it was on. Can you believe this episode also features one of my other favorite actresses, the equally binge-able SHAWNEE SMITH? Plus it’s got TIPPI HEDREN playing DOLENZ’s mom!



May I just ruin this episode for you? I need to tell you who the killer is. I know that goes against everything MSW stands for but it must be done. It’s too good not to share… not only is AMI DOLENZ the killer but her murder is sublime; she beats MICKEY ROONEY to death with a flashlight! Who would have guessed that my journey through the DOLENZ oeuvre would lead me to witnessing my lifelong fantasy of beating MICKEY ROONEY to death with a flashlight, late at night, on a lonely country road, finally enacted on screen?!




We have exhausted all of the titles in which AMI is surrounded by murder and mayhem but fret not, as there is still one kinder-friendly flick to inspect. How on Earth did this gem go unnoticed by me for so long? In this offering DOLENZ plays a magical genie named Jeannie and the object of her affection is none other than DEAN CAMERON of BAD DREAMS, ROCKULA and SUMMER (and SKI!!!!) SCHOOL fame! This is a fine one to close out with because MIRACLE showcases DOLENZ at her most peppy and plucky and by film’s end we finally get to see her walk off into a California sunset with a well earned happy ending.







Note: At one point in the film DOLENZ’s character Jeannie is shown watching a movie on TV that features a purple furry monster with one eye and one horn. With my Jessica Fletcher detective skills I was able to discern the oddity was 1988’s PURPLE PEOPLE EATER. It stars a young NEIL PATRICK HARRIS and an even younger THORA BIRCH as his sister and it’s all about an alien from outer space teaching Earth kids to appreciate old folks like NED BEATTY, SHELLY WINTERS and CHUBBY CHECKER. The purple monster’s mission is a success because he wisely avoids trying to sell anyone on MICKEY ROONEY.



And so we come to the close of our spotlight on AMI DOLENZ. What have we learned besides the fact that I have a fervent aversion to MICKEY ROONEY? I’d say it’s pretty clear AMI DOLENZ is one underrated scream queen. She did so much in so little time and she brought something different to each performance. She comes off better in some roles than others, but that’s true for everyone, and I’d suppose it’s more in the hands of the writer or director than her.



It’s also worth considering that she dove into the horror pool at a resistive time too late for one boom and too early for another. The genre was floundering in the awkward, early nineties. The decade had yet to find it’s own flag to fly and instead tended to feed on scraps left behind by the one before it. DOLENZ’s mostly straight to video flicks can be seen as the last gasp of goofy eighties fantasy driven horror right before the nineties decided to get sober, savage and snarky. And I guess that’s what I see in AMI DOLENZ the kind of a breezy un-cynical, optimistic vibe that gets more and more rare or hard to come by.



Hmmm, you know you’re getting old when you start ranting about how movies have changed or how the world has changed and you’re too busy shaking your cane to realize that you are projecting and the thing that has changed is you. But that’s life, folks! The past will always look like AMI DOLENZ and the future is all MICKEY ROONEY. Whaaaaaaaaa! Where’s a flashlight when you need it?





Name That Trauma:: Gary O. on a Melting Face and a Time Trip Witch

I hope you can help me find a traumatizing movie from when I was a kid. I think it was a ’60s movie. All I remember is that it was set in the early 1800s, had something to do with a witch and at the end a soldier dies and his face melts. I kind of sorta remember something about a time trip between the 1800s and current day, but I may be mixing that up with another movie. Hope you can help.