1. What is the first film that ever scared you?
I can't quite remember the first film that ever scared me properly, so maybe this is a Name That Trauma too. I was 3 or 4 years old (I guess this age because my family moved into a new home in 1989 when I was about to turn 5 and this was two houses before that). I remember hiding under my mother's bamboo coffee table (which she still has in her living room today) with some glow in the dark legos. In this film I remember something with a single walking corpse roaming around an apartment building hallway. I got so scared I actually spilled Ecto-Cooler in my own eyes. As far as fully formed memories with movie titles, I can remember seriously avoiding the VHS box art for THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW and EVIL DEAD 2 (I swear that skull's eyes follow you around the room) as a kid in video rental stores. And my mother, in her infinite wisdom, took me to see PET SEMETARY in theatres. I must have been 4 or 5 years old! Zelda was….. very scary. But I didn't cry until I got home.
2. What is the last film that scared you?
I hate to say it because I don't really care for the film but the first half of INSIDIOUS was very interesting, jarring at times. However, once the "astral projection dream walking" was introduced to the picture the tone changed entirely and it became a hokey, disappointing mess. But early in the film when the mumbling over the baby's monitor suddenly let out the throaty screaming "I WANT HIM!", I dropped my drink all over the floor. I recently watched the 1980 Isabelle Adjani film POSSESSION for the first time and I can not stop thinking about it, trying to dissect it. It is very unsettling to say the least and has stayed with me for months.
3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.
MANIAC COP 2: Officer Matt Cordell definitely isn't a top tier boogeyman the likes of Freddy, Jason or Michael Myers but this sequel was the best in a trilogy of slasher movies from the late 80s/early 90s. In this one, Supercop Cordell has returned from the dead (for a second time) to seek vengeance on the crooked police force who sent him to his grave. He's an undead killer but he's totally justified (unlike Freddy child killer or Michael Myers brooding psychopath). Robert Z'Dar, Bruce Campbell, Robert Davi, Claudia Christensen – what a line-up! I had a chance to meet Robert Z'Dar before his passing and he was optimistic about a MANIAC COP 4 and even a remake! (RIP Z-Man)
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 4: THE NEXT GENERATION. There is nothing that any of you can say to sway me the other way. This film is A-MA-ZING fun. Stop taking yourselves and B-movies so seriously for a second and accept that someone made a Leatherface movie that wasn't a gory slasher picture. That it IS funny. VERY funny. The all-time great lines that Matthew McConaughey's Vilmer character gave to us. Beautiful pieces of dialogue that everyday folks like you and me can use daily. Things like, "First I'm gonna kill ya… AIN'T NO FUCKIN' BIGGIE." "I got a mind…. TO SLIT YOUR GOD DAMN THROAT!" and "WE GOT LOTS MORE FUN TO HAVE TODA-AYYYYYY!" This movie is hot nonsense. Wonderful stupidity. The wall full of keys? Remote control body parts? And the Illuminati, now? Renee Zellwegger tells Leatherface to "sit the fuck down" even! I love it.
TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME: Though maybe not a horror film per se, it still falls into some kind of supernatural thriller category. Using monsters/devils as a metaphor for child abusers, this film packs some punches in the upsetting scenes department. This film probably isn't underrated by the Internet's standards but among every day, real life people its hard to find a TP:FWWM fan. Also, I have some special edition Cinescape magazine that was a horror encyclopedia and somewhere under movie devils/Satans it said that TP:FWWM is the most potent horror film of the 1990s. Not bad praise.
4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.
Well, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 4: THE NEXT GENERATION, I guess.
POPCORN. "Buy a bag! Go home in a box…." This movie could have been so great but it just fell short. I basically watch it and think about where I would have taken the plot if I had been in charge.
RAWHEAD REX. Okay, so the monster's rubber suit was odd, his face was frozen and he couldn't close his mouth. And no one in the town questioned why there was a stained glass window in the church of a monster demon getting buried under a statue. And the monster's name is Rawhead Rex (a Clive Barker dick joke?). But the monster baptizes a priest in urine! So, you take the good with the bad.
5. Send us to five places on the Internet!
retroCRUSH – Former X-Entertainment contributor Robert Berry's now largely un-updated site is a lost treasure trove of old pop culture lists and articles such as The Top 100 Coolest Monsters and The Top 100 Scariest Movie Scenes.
OSW Review – Three Irish lads (grown men! husbands! doctors!) provide humorous audio commentary to old 1980s/1990s pro wrestling pay-per-view specials with in-dept facts and figures such as performers salaries, then backstage gossip, event attendance/buyrates, and "whatever happened to?" updates. Very funny stuff if you watched this stuff at all as a kid.
Intoxica Radio with Howie Pyro – Longtime punk outsider musician Howie Pyro's podcast featuring some of the best garage, exotica, rockabilly, surf and other strange records from his vast collection. It's bad music for bad people (RIP Lux. Come play with us, Ivy)
The Cryptkeeper Five – Trenton, New Jersey's greaser gang may very well be the best "living" band in the world today. Are they rockabilly? Punk? Swing? Well, yes and no. So, what do they sound like? Like Glenn Danzig & The E-Street Band. Or The Sonics Horton Heat.
Disney's 20,000 League Under The Sea Ride – An extensive, masterful tribute to the now defunct 20K ride from Walt Disney World. Wow!
Let's talk about the best dollar bill I ever spent. Recently I snagged 1990's METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR (not to be confused with the other movie called METAMORPHOSIS released the same year without the ALIEN FACTOR part) at my usual used VHS haunt simply because it was horror/sci-fi and I thought it would be swell to fall asleep to. I recognized the bland box art from my video store days and to say my expectations were low would be to wrongly suggest that I had any expectations to speak of. Anyway, I ended up being rather blown away by it. In fact, I was left with the desire to strangle any and every person who had seen this hidden treasure and had failed to recommended it to me.
I don't get how this movie isn't a horror household name/fan staple by now. The plentiful special effects are so fantastic and creative and all around glorious that I wanted to rewind them again and again. Honestly they left me feeling rather sad and nostalgic, not for a time period left behind but for a way of seeing things that we've lost the ability to. I'm guessing modern audiences would mostly see the multiple creature beasties in this flick as phony rubber puppets, whereas once upon a time they might have used their imagination to blur the lines and make them real. Dang, this blast from the past is even kind enough to serve up heaping ladles of stop-motion animation (!!!) and that's like chicken soup for this horror fan's soul! Why, I think it has even reversed my balding!
How have I lived this long without the knowledge that METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR began life as a sequel to one of the greatest monster fests know to man, THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983)? How? The two films may no longer have any connective tissue plot wise but they certainly remain kindred spirits on a DNA level. And even beyond the ambrosial special effects, this here is a rollicking good time stuffed with some hilarious lines and what the local actors lack in talent they more than make up for with adorably awkward charisma.
You know what? I'm just going to blame the misleading nondescript artwork on the tape for all of this movie's woes. Some dingbat in marketing made the bad call of selling this squishy creature feature like some somber dirge and the history of sci-fi horror has suffered the consequences. I wag my finger at that person as they burn forever in hell.
This is Sunday Streaming so I'm leaving you with the flick on YouTube below in hopes that you develop a taste for it. The smudgy picture doesn't do it any favors but hopefully it will be enough to push you toward Amazon to grab a copy on DVD (It can be yours for less than 10 clams!). Normally I'd temper a gush with a, "It may not be for everybody" but if you frequent this site and you've read this far then trust me, this is for you! Would a face like the one below lie?
OR BETTER YET: Here are some choice scenes in higher quality:
Today was made for watching something terrible and movies don't get much more terrible than 1988's heavy metal dipped, killer-in-scrubs slash-a-thon THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY. It's easy to confuse this title with any number of SLUMBER PARTY and/or SORRORITY HOUSE flicks but trust me, this one is in a class all by itself and it should stay in a class all by itself until it is properly vaccinated.
What can I say? Atrocious movies are an important part of my horror diet! I've got news for anyone who thinks that crappy horror movies are a modern scourge: the truth is the ratio of good to bad has always been wildly uneven. But hey, if you are too thin skinned to withstand mind-numbing artlessness and soul stomping banality you have no business scouring the halls of horror with the serious adventurers. Personally I learned early on renting from video stores that for every MANIAC there were a dozen SCHIZOIDs and for each well built HOUSE there were blocks of BLOOD SHACKs. It's O.K. though because the bad movies make the good movies shine all the brighter. To fully appreciate PROM NIGHT you just have to endure GRADUATION DAY and taking a long walk across a parching BLOOD BEACH only makes the menthol coolness of THE FOG that much more of a relief.
Anyway, back to the garbage heap that is THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY… I advise all who attempt a watch it to first place a nice comfy pillow on the ground so that your jaw has a comfortable space to land when it inevitably drops. Now, I've always hated the clichÃ© of complaining that characters in a horror movie are so unlikable that you can't wait for them to die (because really you shouldn't have to like a person to not want them to die) but in this case, the sentiment is on the nose apropos. As if TLSP didn't have enough going against it with every possible factor of it being substandard, every person, including the final girl we're meant to route for, behaves like a perpetually obnoxious cretin. At the risk of being labeled too PC, I'm going to admit that I can imagine a couple thousand things more endearing than the male lead calling his girlfriend a stupid bitch every chance he gets and she countering with every derogatory homophobic slur under the sun. Seriously, the dialogue is so gay-bashy, it could have very well been written by my sociopathic older brother when he was 14, a severely brain damaged bigot or an uncredited ELI ROTH.
Not that tellingly repetitive slang is anywhere near being TLSP's greatest offense by a long shot. It's actually way more insulting towards the art of film, the discipline of screenwriting, the medical profession, the orange juice industry, XANADU fans, TOM SELLECK's mustache, the entire state of Louisiana and whoever invented the ladder. It's so bad I'm trying to figure out a way to trick Aunt John into watching it for more than ten minutes even though I know he'll tap out at five. It's so bad that I'm passing it on to you like a hot potato covered in cooties. Listen, I wouldn't even post about this if it was your standard static wall of boring ineptitude, the truth is this flick is pretty remarkable in its ability to consistently deliver things to shake your head at and be appalled by throughout its entire runtime. So enjoy! Or maybe just endure.
Hello, this is Kevin from HouseofMysteriousSecrets.com; my girlfriend is trying to track down the title of a movie she saw when she was a young teen. Below is her memory of it, do you think your team of experts might be able to figure out what this one is? Thanks!!!
Okay, so the one memory I have from a movie I cannot identify is something I saw on VHS when I was about nine years old. I probably only saw ten minutes before my mom flipped out and we went to bed. It was a man being beaten to death with a hammer. The killer was a fully visible older male (not a faceless stone cold killer). He was verbally mocking his victim while he was trying to run away. The setting was outside. I think in the scene they show them exiting a house into a back yard (?). The kill happens outdoors in daylight. I remember it being ultra violent compared to anything else I had seen at the time. It is very possible they showed the hammer to head impact. It was super low budget and grainy. Could be 80's but it didn't look like typical 80's slasher style, more exploitation gore. It was a memory that stuck with me because it was one of the first times after I started watching horror that I actually closed my eyes and had not wanted to watch. Also the fact that my mom was so upset by it.
Hmm… since I was nine years old and only watched ten minutes it isn't a very clear memory, many details could be inaccurate. If I get at least one significant detail correct someone might be able to figure out the movie based on that… if they take into consideration that my memory might be off or blended with a memory of another movie I had seen. I felt like there was some obvious exploitation element to it… like the killer was a preacher or the guy he killed was mentally challenged or something super disturbing.
A few years ago I had come across the film on youtube in a gore compilation video. Somehow I managed to lose the title of it. I remember it having a striking title that I would probably recognize if I came across it again (perhaps multiple word title). Also in my research of the film I found that it had a small fan base and at the time they were excited that there was word about it getting a DVD release; I'm uncertain if this ever happened. It also seemed that rest of the film was a pretty extreme gorefest so the film may be know for it's low budget practical efx. I since spent hours on youtube trying to locate clips and doing google searches and I have not yet been able to identify. Most likely this film is underground and very obscure. Hope someone can help. I'd be very impressed and curious to see how much of my description is accurate.
You'll never catch me disparaging PG-rated horror films because that would be like slapping good ol' ONE DARK NIGHT (1982) right in the kisser and I would never do that because I have to live with myself. ONE DARK NIGHT is one of the first horror movies that this once budding fright fan got to see in an actual theater rather than on TV and so it holds a special place in my mausoleum of a heart. I remember being grateful for its less restrictive rating because it meant that I could check it out without the worry of being humiliatingly dejected at the door to the delight of my scowling, satin-jacket clad, toothbrush-gnawing peers.
As it turned out, I totally related to the teenage shenanigans on screen; I found it truly suspenseful and could not get enough of the morbid special effects. I can think of a zillion R-rated horror flicks that are not nearly as creative or engaging. Director TOM McLOUGHLIN went on to direct one of the best FRIDAY THE 13TH installments (PART IV: JASON LIVES), star MEG TILLY went on to the excellent PSYCHO II, scene stealer ELIZABETH DAILY went on to steal PEE WEE HERMAN's heart and sing the greatest song ever, "Mind Over Matter" and I went on to write this old review HERE. ONE DARK NIGHT is currently unavailable on DVD so don't be left out, watch it below…
Remember back in the good old days (three months ago) when I was all inordinately excited about a cheap-o DVD set that included the sadly underappreciated killer bat flick NIGHTWING? Those were good times. Who can blame me for trying to recapture that feeling of fleeting contentment by snagging yet another modestly priced four-movie collection from the fine folks at MILL CREEK entertainment called WATER MONSTERS!?
Yay WATER MONSTERS! It's not news that I love monsters and don't even get me started on water! I don't mean to go overboard but I sometimes think I couldn't live without that stuff! Let's say we take a closer look at this gift from God that you can probably find at your local Best Buy or Target or K-Mart or what have you. Maybe even Caldor? Does Caldor still exist? Come to think of it, one of the reasons I like these sets is that they remind me of the bins of mass-produced VHS tapes that they used to have at the center city Woolworths here in Philly back in the early nineties. That probably shouldn't be a fond memory on account of that is how I was exposed to the abominations NUKIE and BOOGEYMAN 2 but fond it is.
Let's talk picture quality. All four movies in this set are on one disc. They all look fine for casual viewing. If you pause them you'll notice some sketchiness but it's not all that bad. I'll be honest with you; I'm not the biggest stickler about such things. In fact, I ended up not being very interested in Blu-rays at all. I figure as long as I have visual masterpieces like BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN, THE THING and maybe THE FUNHOUSE on Blu that's enough. In all other cases, my Playstation 3 upconverts garden variety DVDs just fine for me. Also, and I may be insane here, but HD has a glassy, synthetic quality to it that reads a bit sickly to me whereas your standard DVD is all warm and toasty and snuggly like a carpeted den. I don't know, maybe I'm bonkers. In any case, I'm more about filling the holes in my DVD collection than needlessly upgrading that which I already own. I guess I've got agreeable peepers is all (I also ate a filet-o-fish sandwich today so maybe I'm just hopelessly lowbrow). Moving on…
Aw, look the first movie is ANACONDA! Cool! You know, some people like to dismiss this flick because it's called ANACAONDA and it concerns at least one ANACONDA but I've always enjoyed it and back in 1997, it was a wonderful B-movie throwback when there weren't that many to be found. It really owes a lot to those beloved seventies-era disaster flicks with its extensive multigenerational cast and deliberate build-up. It's got an agreeable epic journey vibe and I have to say the jungle location is actually convincingly oppressive. Yeah, yeah the CGI is dated but they don't really take on anything too complicated and there's a fair share of practical effects too. It's simply a fun movie and JON VOIGHT's off-the-rails performance alone makes it worthwhile. The weird thing is how likable and down to Earth JENNIFER LOPEZ is. This movie is so old it's from before she became a phony-baloney media gadfly.
BLACK WATER (2007)
I just realized I'm senile and the undeniable proof is that this movie that came out eight years ago, is in my mind, a recent release. Oh well, I certainly don't mind having a hard copy of this effective Australian killer croc picture one bit. I'm not quite in the mood for a re-watch just yet, but the urge is bound to strike me one day in my limited future. Check me out unabashedly batting my eyelashes at this unassuming gem in a full review way back HERE.
RED WATER (2003)
This, I'd say is the lone dud of the pack. There isn't a whole lot to differentiate it from any other made for TV shark movie you might bump into. On the plus side, LOU DIAMOND PHILIPS and KRISTY SWANSON are present, so that might be fun if you don't get depressed thinking about how likely they're wishing they were anywhere else. I guess this one is good for people who don't get the SyFy channel and want to pretend they do for an hour and a half.
SHE CREATURE (2001)
This is the one that sealed the deal for me. SHE CREATURE (listed on IMDb as MERMAID CHRONICLES PART 1: SHE CREATURE) was the first (and as I recall, the best and possibly the only worthwhile installment) of a CINEMAX series known as CREATURE FEATURES which consisted of original films inspired by preexisting AIP (American International Pictures) movie titles. It stars RUFUS SEWELL and CARLA "The lone member of TROOP BEVERLY HILLS who starred in a #1 movie the summer of 2015" GUGINO as an easy to look at carnie couple who kidnap and plan to exploit a mermaid who is far more formidable (and sympathetic) than she originally appears.
The late great STAN WINSTON supplies the flick's super slick monster effects and the whole deal seeps with a dank, waterlogged atmosphere. In fact, in my mind this is a suitable companion piece to the brilliantly briny DAGON of the same year. Everything about it is enjoyably old school right down to a Matte painting establishing shot of a seaside mansion (that I'm guessing was lifted from a classic AIP flick. Does anybody recognize it above?). Did I mention it takes place for the most part on a boat? Who in the world can resist boat horror? Oh, and the multitalented COLLEEN CAMP is a producer! I have to give COLLEEN a high five…
So there you have it. What a deal! This cornucopia of slippery sharp-toothed water mongrels can be yours for cheaper than a bottle of Perrier. Moreover, and I swear I do not work for MILL CREEK, I just found out they have a new batch of affordable sets including a HAMMER FILMS COLLECTION featuring the used to be impossible to score SCREAM OF FEAR (!!!) and a WILLIAM CASTLE COLLECTION with HOMICIDAL, and even the elusive THE OLD DARK HOUSE remake among other classics! That's some slobber worthy cinema that won't leave your poor wallet feeling defiled!