They came from another planet in the middle of the 80s

They also come from my collection as I chip away at my goal of blogging about all the movies on my shelves.

ALIEN PREDATORS (1985)

In recent times, director Deran Sarafian has directed episodes of The Strain, Hemlock Grove, and The Exorcist, but back in the mid-80s he brought us this almost forgotten film that has finally been released on Blu-ray.

You never see the kind of intimate cattle slaughter scene this alien film opens with—normally it’s just some farmer finding the aftermath. Not only is the attack intense, but two dogs then come to eat the leftovers and things get worse.

Which is how our trio of friends in an RV ends up getting involved in the whole alien situation. They almost run over one of the dogs.

The super fun trio includes Dennis Christopher of Fade to Black, Martin Hewitt of Endless Love and Killer Party, and Lynn-Holly Johnson (Ice Castles, Where the Boys Are 84, Watcher in the Woods). The guys are cute and goofy and like referencing movies and TV shows. They’re also competing for the girl.

Meanwhile, there are some rogue scientists up to no good, and they eventually drag the threesome into it.

The film sticks closely to the alien trend of its time, with a sort of icky alien parasite using bodies as its host, eventually deforming the body before bursting out of them…with no CGI. Ah, those were the days.

Not scary, but action-packed with plenty of blood, this is the epitome of 80s sci-fi horror.

LIFEFORCE (1985)

It’s directed by horror master Tobe Hooper. It’s loaded with big special effects (for its time). It’s an epic sci-if/horror hybrid. It’s got some major sexual situations.

Yet I’ve never actually been a fan of Lifeforce, and these days I only relish it for how it takes me back to when I watched it on cable in the 80s. I even thought the 15-minute longer cut on Blu-ray might help me better appreciate it, but it’s more boring than before.

The big Hollywood space mission at the beginning goes on way too long. The team discovers bat-like creatures just floating in space.

Then they find three capsules with naked people in them, so they bring them home.

 

One of them, a chick with huge tits, soon rises in the lab and starts sucking face with men to steal their lifeforce.

Pretty cool, but let’s be honest. These dead dudes simply turn into the zombies from a better 1985 film…Return of the Living Dead!

Sure the other two pretty boy alien vampires who look straight out of a Jeff Stryker porn come back to life, but they never show their tits like she does.

And the movie focuses on a team trying to locate her after she escapes. Steve Railsback, who was on the mission, seems to have a telepathic connection with her, so they use him to help track her down…for the whole movie.

Highlights include Railsback sucking face with Patrick Stewart—but the editing makes sure to never really show it.

Also, one alien vampire turns into a cool bat creature.

But overall, this movie is still too overblown with no real thrills as it moves towards the big Hollywood final showdown with the female alien vamp.

INVADERS FROM MARS (1986)

What a difference a year makes. Tobe Hooper directs this remake of the 1953 film, retaining the spirit of 1950s sci-fi while capturing the essence of Spielberg’s kid-centric films of the 1980s.

A young boy—who would go on to play Bud in the unaired pilot of Married With Children—enjoys the mysteries of astronomy with his parents (Timothy Bottoms & Laraine Newman) as they star gaze one night.

But when he goes to bed, he witnesses a spaceship land outside his window. The film jumps right into it…anyone who goes over the hill comes back all Stepford Wifey. The film even feels like an early version of The Faculty for a while, with the boy realizing his teacher, Louise Fletcher, is one of “them”…and eats like the Visitors from V: The Miniseries.

He seeks help from the school nurse, Karen Black. Before long the two are deep in it, being chased around the town by converted locals…which eventually leads them to the underground lair of the goofy looking aliens and their turtle-like master.

At least this time they’re all actual monsters, not just men in costumes as in the original.

The film for me loses steam—as most do—when they go to the military for help, lead by James Karen from Return of the Living Dead. Yeah, the military invading the alien lair for the second half of the film really takes away from the nostalgic fun of the first half of the film. And the twist at the end is such a scam!

STRANGE INVADERS (1983)

The director of Strange Behavior shifted to Strange Invaders for this absolutely classic 1980s cable favorite. Hell, one of the aliens even plays a game of Defender Stargate at an arcade.

A man’s ex-wife asks him to watch their daughter while she goes back home after her father’s death. Trying to be the good ex, he heads to the small town to support her…and steps knee-deep into an alien takeover!

Louise Fletcher, who flew over the cuckoo’s nest to land smack dab in the middle of these cheesy 80s sci-fi and horror flicks, plays the authority figure who laughs off his claims. A journalist, played by Nancy Allen, also laughs off his claims.

But then a mysterious, fembot-esque woman in dark sunglasses begins chasing Nancy, and after an incident involving green blood, Nancy starts to believe.

Strange Invaders is a simple, fun ride with some awesome 80s morphing effects, since the aliens, like those in V: The Miniseries, are disguised as humans.

And just like Invaders from Mars, this is one of those sci-fi lite films of the era that has a 1950s sci-if vibe and a non-threatening conclusion.

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Getting inside these twins and realizing they’re fraternal, not identical

Almost a decade ago, the brutal French home invasion film Inside blew away horror fans (hard to believe the directors went on to make the lame Texas Chainsaw prequel Leatherface).

An American remake was released for reasons unknown, especially considering that even for those who don’t want to read subtitles, the English dubbed version of the original uses excellent voice actors, so the intensity isn’t lost in translation.

Not surprisingly, there have been some changes in the remake, leading me to watch the original again do some comparing and contrasting for a blog! Note that there aren’t any major spoilers here as long as you know the basic plot—a psycho bitch breaks into a pregnant woman’s home at Christmas time and attempts to get her baby out of her—but I do chronologically touch upon a few specific differences in each film.

Let’s start at the beginning. Both films open with a car crash.

The remake crash (aside from, um…flipping things a bit) is more involved leading up to the impact and does allow us to have more mixed feelings about each of the two women by the final scene.

In the remake, the pregnant woman’s friend is distinctly rewritten as a gay guy with a partner…so it’s no surprise he gets it in the rear.

In the original, the pregnant woman is a photographer, and it plays a role in her actions. All of that is scraped in the remake.

The pregnant woman has a cat in the original, a dog in the remake. The fate of the dog is implied off screen in the remake, in the original, the cat’s fate is horribly depicted on screen.

The original gives us a stronger sense of the baby “inside” her belly by literally showing it reacting to what’s happening to its mother periodically throughout the film. Cool concept that plays into the title, but the computer-generated baby is jarring every time it suddenly appears on screen.

It kind of reminds me of the creepy dancing baby from Ally McBeal, which doesn’t exactly make me hope for its safe birth. The pregnant woman in the original also has a bizarre dream that makes the baby seem like something parasitic out of Alien. Doesn’t happen in the remake.

The arrival of the psycho bitch outside the door is virtually identical right down to the dialogue. However, in the original, her initial terrorizing of the pregnant woman is way creepier, including an amazing moment at French doors (unfair advantage because it’s a French film?).

Overall, the actress playing the psycho bitch in the original just looks and acts so much more terrifying than in the remake, where she’s kind of prim and proper.

On a related note, the murders of the various people who show up at the house are way more brutal and heinous in the original. The remake wimps out, softening everything about the evil of the psycho bitch.

When the pregnant woman has a confrontation with her mother, the actress playing the pregnant woman in the remake has a much stronger, believable reaction to it. The actress’s response in the original is a little melodramatic.

When the cops arrive, it’s much more weird and complicated in the original, especially with one cop bringing a perp in the backseat of the squad car inside with him…on a leash. There’s also the infamous scene I still don’t understand in which one of the psycho bitch’s victims seems to come back as a zombie and attacks the pregnant woman!?!?!?!

There’s a whole scene in the original in which the psycho bitch ties the pregnant woman to a bed and gets bizarrely lesbian with her.

The vicious final battle between the two women is completely different.

The original takes place entirely in the house with the psycho bitch eventually looking like a…zombie (!!!).

The remake goes wild with a car ride, a visit to the psycho bitch’s lair and an underwater fight in a pool.

The women come to a weird kind of understanding in the remake leading to a much more positive conclusion and birth. The original remains queen of the horrific, downer ending, but at least each film does give you a somewhat different experience before all is said and done.

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I have an excuse for watching each of these four films…

Not that I need an excuse to watch cheesy horror flix, because that’s all I do, but this is a combination of director fandom and sequel…obligationom? Conveniently for my OCD, this foursome spans a perfect decade’s time, from 2007 to 2017.

BATS: HUMAN HARVEST (2007)

Bats: Human Harvest has its moments, but it’s missing the fun of the first film, which I just blogged about recently. And because it’s a made-for-SyFy film, it is just the typical template—military men on a mission encounter monsters that attack mostly in CGI form while the military men are busy trying to accomplish something else we don’t really care about, but which monopolizes most of the plot.

This time it’s the U.S. military trying to abduct a doctor from Russians. It’s just so weird to watch movies from the days when Russia was the enemy instead of running our country. It’s actually heartbreaking.

Leading the team is (always shirted) Davis Chokachi of Baywatch and horror queen Polly McIntosh in the early days of her career.

Most of the battacks look like something from a video game, with army men shooting digital blurs out of the air in bursts of digital blood.

There are rarely close-up moments with virtually motionless bats as in the first film. In the original, the bats were essentially a main character; here they’re background noise.

Some of the kills are funny, with cheap Halloween store body parts being tossed at military men (and a woman).

So to go from that to swarms of bats suddenly taking down helicopters is just absurd. At least the helicopters bring some action to this worst of the worst SyFy films.

VAMPIRE IN VEGAS (2009)

Director Jim Wynorski has been around forever making some of the best of the bad movies of horror: Chopping Mall, Not of This Earth remake, The Return of Swamp Thing, Transylvania Twist, Sorority House Massacre II, 976-Evil II, Ghoulies IV. Holy crap do I have a lot of his trash in my collection.

Unfortunately, after watching it, I can say I won’t be adding Vampire In Vegas to my Wynorski collection, although it does have its charms. You would never expect a vampire flick starring Tony Todd to look this direct-to-video rough, but it does.

If you can adjust to the cheesy feel and effects (bad vampire red eye and fast moving vamp effects), this is a watchable film. At least the blood effects are better than the effects of the vampire drinking it.

Tony is an old vampire that has a scientist working to figure out a way to stop vampires from burning in the sun. They decide their best cover is a strip club in Vegas.

Meanwhile, three cute guys head to the strip club for a bachelor party. There’s some stripper action, and then the guys are divided by three strippers…because Tony wants to turn the guys vamp so they can be lab rats in the sun experiments!

Horror hottie Paul Logan appears as his henchman/bouncer, and the main guy gets some funny fights in with the lady vamps before going up against Todd, complete with goofy flying—seriously, Tony sprouts wings.

Hey.

It’s better than Ghoulies IV.

And sexier.

LUMBER vs. JACK (2014)

Before Jack vs. Lanterns, there was Lumber vs. Jack, Yep, I went back for more Jacking having just blogged about the second film here. This is the film that started it all. It’s Jack taking on killer trees!

It’s just as cheesy as the sequel, but I definitely like the sequel better…obviously because of the Halloween vibe.

Debbie Rochon is Jack’s ex-wife and a scientist whose team runs into some trouble in the woods. So Jack comes to help out.

Before long, everyone who enters the forest is attacked by low budget, howling Evil Dead branches.

Laughable gore effects abound, and Jack has his funny moments later in the movie when taking on the killer trees, but the real stars are two girls who get attacked early on then spend the rest of the movie getting into comic situations while trying to escape the forest.

And just when you think the Jacking fun is done, we get a teaser for the killer pumpkin sequel! 

DEMON HOLE (2017)

You wave Demon Hole in front of my face, I’m gonna bite. Even better if it’s attached to the director of Salvage, one of the cherished indies in my collection. That’s why I blind bought this one.

Demon Hole does actually show its demon in the opening scene, which is kind of surprising, after which there’s a scene inside a little boy’s closet that I didn’t understand at all.

Then we meet our group of kids heading for a cabin in the woods…to do community service on a fracking site.

Oh yeah, it’s a “fuck fracking” movie. Why can’t demons come out and kill fricking frackers in real life?

The kids hang, party, and have sex, complete with a montage featuring the track “Why Can’t You Just Be” by The Gang, which I will totally be playing on my Future Flashbacks show.

 

Really weird shit starts to happen, including the kids tripping and acquiring special powers. Then it’s demon-turning time! As they slowly begin to realize there’s a demon in their midst, the black guy gets all the funny lines.

That is until they run to the fracking site for help, which is when…another black guy gets all the funny lines! It turns way too briefly into a fast-paced slasher, with some major killing. Naturally the violence, gore, and demon action intensifies, complete with a journey into the demon hole. Eek!

Fun and fast, this flick seems surprisingly restrained when all is said and done. There are some great moments of horror and sexual humor, yet the film holds back instead of giving us tons of the best it has to offer. I would have been fine with that weird closet scene being omitted for more time with the kids and the demon.

I’m also a little annoyed that now I can’t name one of my Comfort Cove novels Demon Hole

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I came to see ghouls, ghosts, and demons…

…and this triple feature didn’t let me down in those areas. But which film was the most satsifying: Gehenna, The Night Shift, or Darkness Reigns?

GEHENNA: WHERE DEATH LIVES (2016)

Gehenna shoehorns several plots you’ve seen before into a single story that didn’t quite grab me. It’s like all the horror boxes are checked and I like aspects of what I was seeing, but the results never click—and there’s just way too much going on.

Businessman Lance Henriksen sends a small band of his employees to scout a location for a new resort. Why they end up going into a creepy cave in the jungle is beyond me. And why they keep exploring when things get ominous is even more beyond me.

They find corpses. They find a nearly dead man who tries to warn them of something.

Everything quakes, lights flicker. Then each individual is terrorized by a mishmosh of demonic versions of deceased loved ones they feel guilt over losing and the people in the group who die then come back from the dead.

The movie is all over the place, riddled with orchestral stabs to make you jump, has a painfully cliché self-centered asshole, and is perhaps too well lit for a cave setting to deliver the kind of atmosphere that keeps me on edge (meanwhile, if it was all too dark I’d be bitching that I can’t see shit).

It’s also an agonizing hour and forty-five minutes. Editing it down by about twenty minutes and watering down the increasingly ineffective number of cheap scare attempts might have made it flow a bit better.

THE NIGHT SHIFT (2016)

Director Massimiliano Cerchi (Hellbilly, Carnage Road, Insane, Satan Claus) puts his low budget style to work on a general plot that has become a staple these days—a security guard left alone in a haunted location.

This short movie focuses incessantly on the guard as he walks around the house he’s been assigned to, getting scared by visions of robed figures and talking out loud, which becomes hard to take seriously after a while.

He also gets calls from the mysterious owner of the house and attempts not to fall asleep, which he’s been warned several times not to do.

Horror queen Sadie Katz eventually shows up for some sex, and the guard begins getting chased around by robed ghouls.

It’s cheesy satanic cult fun complete with a goofy demon voice that sounds like something out of an 80s movie, but I think it would work better if it were shortened and included as a story in an anthology.

DARKNESS REIGNS (2017)

Having just watched Haunting of Cellblock 11 by director Andrew P. Jones, I didn’t hesitate to check this one out as well. Jones is “kind of” giving us found footage films, but adds a little something more to break the mold.

Darkness Reigns begins with a movie director at an event, introducing his film and recalling where it all went horribly wrong…

The film is comprised of footage of a behind-the-scenes documentary that was being made while he was making a movie in a supposedly haunted hotel.

Aside from the whole cast and crew, on hand is a consultant medium dude to ensure authenticity, as well as the film’s big name star…Casper Van Dien playing himself! As a bonus, he plays with his furry cleavage while another man watches.

Smartly, after a small amount of touring the set (which also provides effective hints of ghostly happenings), the guy with the camera begins interviewing Van Dien…and the shit hits the fan! Casper’s big scene rocks, after which the entire crew is immediately attacked by an unknown force.

There’s some brief possession, flies are vomited, and demons terrorize the main characters as they try to stay alive and figure a way out.

The plot twist is definitely devilish, although you might guess parts of it before all is said and done.

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A tale of 2 low budget collections of tales

The headline says it all, so let’s get this over with.

WOMEN OF HORROR: MOTHER’S DAY TERROR TALES (2018)

I guess this short anthology is celebrating women directors in horror, hence the title. Mother’s Day is mentioned by a goth chick sitting next to her dead mom while hosting the film, but these aren’t shorts centered around the holiday.

Also, many are about as good in quality as short films you might see posted online by aspiring director. At least half have that “blink and you won’t understand the attempted clever twist” effect, and most of them just go for a quick horror zinger rather than telling a story. But you’ve got to do what you can with just a 64-minute running time. Here’s the breakdown:

1st tale – A boy in his bedroom is terrorized by someone at the door asking to be let in.

2nd tale – This is a quick, fun twist on the idea of being afraid of the dark as a man tries to change a light bulb.

3rd tale – Cliché scary clown shtick in a super brief short.

4th tale – This is quick horror fun that’s like “The Tell-Tale Heart”…with a tongue.

5th tale – This has a clever little twist as a man talks lovingly to another man bound to a chair.

6th tale – A young man struggling to land a job as a puppeteer gets an offer he can’t refuse. Much of this story focuses on the puppets.

7th tale – Girls have a séance on Halloween, complete with lesbians and a demon scare.

8th story – A guy is all paranoid on Christmas in a short that attempts to make Jack Frost the next Krampus.

9th story – Two girls find a hole in the floor under their bed. Another cheap scare short you might see on YouTube.

10th story – A cool twist on a tale of a woman who constantly sees a man out of the corner of her eye.

TERROR! DEATH!! REVENGE!!! (2018)

At first I found inserting trailers for old black and white horror flicks between tales in this anthology annoying, but they actually work with the overall midnight movie tone. It’s another short, 65-minute anthology with only three tales, and they’re all better than the usual below average indie anthology quality.

1st tale – A couple calls in a specialist to help their young son, who is terrified of their basement.

An extremely unorthodox approach to curing him unleashes the truth of what he’s really scared of.

The dad is really cute, the creep is really cheesy CGI, but it’s a fun one overall.


There’s blood everywhere, and I’m like, “Damn that daddy’s ass is fine.”

2nd tale – While the plot is simple and the twist totally predictable, the gruesome gore scene makes this one stand out.

A young woman is interviewing potential roommates.

A friend calls and says she’s sending someone she knows over to check out the room…

3rd tale – This is my favorite, even if it also is pretty predictable despite being a fresh twist on the backwoods psycho cannibal family plot.

A pair out on a date runs into trouble. A dude in a pickup truck with a “Ted Nugent for president” bumper sticker on it offers them a ride. As well versed as I am on what happens to city folk who accept a ride from a hillbilly, my first thought in this case would be, “How can I dump the bitch before I get in the pickup with this sweaty piece of white trash?”

However, it’s the bitch I would have left stranded on the side of the road who steals the show by the final frame.

And yet I’d still be like, “Okay, I get it. I’m your dinner. But could you eat my ass before you kill me?”

Meanwhile, there’s also some sort of interlude story…about a dude who seems to have a fetish involving a Purdue chicken. No, I don’t understand what it means.

And stay tuned after the credits for a classic Halloween safety PSA. Awesome.

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HP Lovecraft déjà vu with these two

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Re-animator and Dunwich Horror. Okay, don’t stop me, because I’m getting into them either way.

HERBERT WEST RE-ANIMATOR (2017)

If you’re a fan of Lovecraft, definitely check out this serious, stylish Italian adaptation. If you’re checking it out because you’re a huge fan of Re-Animator, forget completely that this film comes from the same source material…and that it has the name and the main character mentioned in the title.

This is a dark, artsy film that branches off in various directions that I found confusing at times. Even so, it really captures the gothic, macabre tone of genuine speculative horror rather than the crass camp of the 80s film.

More engrossing as a family focused horror, this one sees West trying to perfect the art of bringing his dead daughter back to life…by killing her over and over and over again until he gets it right.

But he doesn’t, and the daughter grows up to be…not right. She’s kind of psycho…

Making things even more complicated is the appearance of a few more family members, which leads to the experiments getting totally out of hand.

Just when you think things are trippy already, we end up in some sort of limbo—a desert setting featuring some freaky stop motion undead and a blood tub.

Won’t say I totally get it in the end, but it’s visually cool as hell.

WITCHES: THE DARKEST EVIL (aka: The Dunwich Horror) (2009)

As in the 1970 The Dunwich Horror, everyone in this film is looking for the Necromonicon. Even more similar…Dean Stockwell, star of the 1970 film, also stars in this one! You sucked me in with that stunt, filmmakers.

Not sure why it has been retitled to distance itself from the source material, but Witches: The Darkest Evil can’t seem to focus as it follows what are essentially separate storylines.

It also takes place in present day but looks half the time like it’s taking place in colonial times. Or maybe it does? Maybe there are different timelines between subplots? Or time travel? Or alternative planes? I don’t know, because I had as much success staying focused on this one as I do anything involving Lovecraft.

It opens with a pregnancy apparently gone gruesome, not that we get to see it.

10 years later, a couple moves into the same house, and their daughter becomes possessed. There’s a brief exorcism with demon eyes, demon voice, demon wall crawl, and a pyramid box found in the floor.

The exorcists go meet with an expert on the occult—a college teacher played by cutie Griff Furst of Dead Men Walking, Haunted High, and Monsterwolf.

While they’re busy looking for the Necromonicon (I think to exorcise the possessed girl?), Jeffery Combs kidnaps a woman from a gas station.

Then he…I seriously couldn’t follow his story at all so I’m done talking about it other than to say I think a witch comes into play, although she just looks like Lady Gaga on the set of one of her music videos to me.

The movie kind of comes together at the end when the main group faces off against a cheesy creature that is guarding the gates to hell.

The effects are super cheesy 80s, which actually works for me, because it brings back memories of all the Lovecraft adaptations of that era.

Of course, other than them being awesome simply because they came from the 80s, I always found Lovecraft films of the 80s annoying.

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Triple horror comedy blind buy: demon, zombies, and werewolf

Well, it wasn’t as much of a risk as it might sound. One film is by a director whose every movie is a must-have for me, a second has hot guys on the cover, and the third is a sequel to a film I have, so I was pretty satisfied. Here’s how it panned out.

PARTY BUS TO HELL (2017)

Nearly 30 years into his horror career, Rolfe Kanefsky hasn’t lost sight of who he is and what he does as a director (I blog about his other films here and here).

He’s still blending sex, horror, and humor like he just made There’s Nothing Out There yesterday. And I’m still eating it up.

Tara Reid is totally in manic Sharknado slaughtering mode in the first few scenes in which she appears, which definitely set the tone for the film but are also extraneous and unnecessary. Feels just like an excuse to put a familiar name in the credits.

The main party bus is on its way to a Burning Man music festival, and it’s all tits and lesbianism until they are forced to stop temporarily in the middle of the desert.

And then a satanic cult attacks in an insane bloodbath!

Those who survive lock themselves in the bus…where they are trapped without the key.

The bus driver eventually reappears with the key and she fricking rules. Actress Sadie Katz (Wrong Turn 6, Blood Feast remake, The Night Shift) is hilarious and just completely goes for it.

Meanwhile, John Molinaro (Pool Party Massacre) is a delicious devil daddy as the cult leader.

And his cult is hilariously horny, eventually delving into a bloody orgy like none other.

Why are there so few directors like Kanefsky willing to push the limits and go wild like this?

Meanwhile, the group stuck on the bus gets into their own devilish trouble when they try to stop a satanic ritual from going into effect using sex as a weapon…and fail miserably, unleashing a demonic beast from hell.

If anything, I wish her arrival would have come sooner, and she had wreaked more havoc. She comes a little late in the game, and the part of the film involving the cult goes on a little long before getting to the good stuff.

ATTACK OF THE SOUTHERN FRIED ZOMBIES (2017)

Strictly for fun, Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies sticks with a simple plot—like most zombie films should.

A chemical is being sprayed on crops to kill an invasive vine. It infects people at a country fair. They turn into gnarly zombies. If they bite you, you turn.

The film kind of defies everything you’d expect from a “southern fried” movie. First of all, it’s a small hick town yet there are black people and interracial relationships EVERYWHERE.

I really think this pair should have had something going on. They’re so sexy together playing with their meat.

There’s also a completely open and out lesbian couple that kisses without any bashing beyond one dude making a comment that is quickly countered by another dude who likes what he’s seeing.

Look, I’ve never been to a hick town, but I know for a fact they sacrifice blacks and queers to their god and then hack them up and eat them for dinner…but only after all the men in town have an orgy with the corpses of all the male sacrifices.

I mean, this redneck daddy is so hot you just know he loves bashing fags…

Anyway, what I love about this film is that it dares to take place completely in daylight and totally pulls it off.

The zombies are cheesy awesome, some of them even grotesque, the gut munching and gore is a great blend of practical effects and fun CGI, and the humor is not dependent on comic lines but nuanced comic moments between the characters and the zombies.

The boys are cute, the lesbians kick ass, and even the mayor rox, smashing zombies with a guitar. He’s probably a repugnican, but I still like him. Hell, he even makes a Brokeback joke.

The only disappointment is the deceiving poster art…the cuties barely show off their guns in the movie! I’ve been duped!

ANOTHER WOLFCOP (2017)

I have to say, my favorite scene of this sequel to Wolfcop is the opener—Wolfcop takes on the boys from Astron-6!

It’s cameo heaven and they should have been the bad guys for the whole film.

Okay, my other favorite scene is when we get to see Wolfcop’s dick. Wolfcock…

This time around, a rich dude is opening a brewery, and Wolfcop and his friends discover that drinking the beer causes you to grow a monstrous talking dick.

There are some funny scenes when his best buddy suffers from the condition and can’t get his talking dick to shut up, but I actually think there’s a surprisingly missed opportunity to take these talking dicks to a totally different place.

Hell, I’d love to see a crossover movie in which the talking dicks get together with Bad Milo for a party in Wolfcop’s ass.

Kevin Smith has a brief cameo…

…there’s more wolf sex (only this time Wolfcop fucks a she wolf while he’s in human form)…

…and it’s sort of a Christmas flick that even opens with Twisted Sister’s rockin’ “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

 

There’s also a trip to the strip club (every exploitation flick has to have a strip trip) in which the ghoulish baddie of the film slaughters everyone.

The final showdown feels oddly like Michael J. Fox’s Teen Wolf basketball scene…on a hockey rink, especially with the faux 80s tune playing in the background.

There IS a talking penis breakout scene, but overall, I feel like Another Wolfcop was more subdued than the first film.

But sexy leading monster Leo Fafard will always keep me coming back for more hairy wolfcock.

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STREAM QUEENING a SCREAM QUEEN: It’s a triple Dee feature!

NIGHT OF THE DEE-MON

It was time to catch up on any Dee Wallace movie appearances I missed, and Prime came through with three of them—one featuring Dee in a starring role so juicy it scored a place in my collection.

CURSE OF THE WEEPING WOMAN: J-OK’EL (2007)

Unless you can guarantee your movie kicks ass, you should steer clear of having the word “joke” embedded in your title.

It’s not that this film is a joke, it just doesn’t have any punch (line). I feel like I blogged about a film based on the same legend in the past year—a woman who drowns her children by the water and now haunts the lake, crying over the loss.

In this film a cute guy comes to his mother’s home in Mexico after his young half-sister disappears. His mother is Dee Wallace, and here she’s no E.T. mom—she’s cold and distant with her son.

Despite her asking him to leave, he sets out to find his sister, and is soon embroiled in loads of talk as he meets the locals and tries to unravel the mystery of who is abducting kids in town.

We very rarely get to see a silhouette or fleeting glimpse of the woman with creepy hands.

Seriously, barely anything intriguing happens here, nor does anything scary.

Only after the main guy goes to the legendary lake at the end does the twist add a little excitement, but you’ll probably figure out what’s going on by the time you get there.

 

HAUNTING OF CELLBLOCK 11 (2014)

This is Dee’s smallest role of the three films, but she once again gets to be something other than the mom hero.

She plays a totally bitchy TV producer in what is the most humorous scene in this otherwise serious ghost flick.

But the film stands on its own even after Dee is done doing her thing. Haunting of Cellblock 11 makes the brilliant decision not to be a found footage film despite ghost hunters filming at an old prison for a TV show.

It’s such a relief to not have the characters filming every single pointless moment of their trip to the prison. The only camera POV scenes happen when they’re filming or watching on their monitors.

The plot is pretty cliché, with the group getting background about a crazy doctor that did horrible experiments on inmates. I’d say yawn, but at least this guy also raped them.

There’s a creepy ghost inmate who is also vicious and does some possessing as well, so the scary parts are a lot of fun. Plus, the ending is deliciously devious.

Yet since it’s so well done, the film feels like it could have used more scares, action, and victims! When all is said and done, you want more! Seriously, it feels underdeveloped because it does everything right and isn’t just another poor man’s found footage haunting flick. 

HANSEL & GRETEL (2013)

Anthony C. Ferrante, director of BOO!, Headless Horseman, and alł the Sharknado films never fails to entertain, but he definitely scored highest for me with this one.

Forget the recent Dee leading role in Red Christmas. Ferrante, who had Dee make an appearance in BOO! years ago, taps her again for this one, giving her the opportunity to soar above her dastardly performance in The Frighteners. Dee goes from 0 to 100 throughout this film.

Cujo, is that you?

All you really have to get past is the fact that there are two contemporary 20-somethings named Hansel and Gretel.

Gretel works for Mrs. Claus…I mean…Dee at her Gingerbread House sweets shop.

Her cute brother Hansel storms out after their dad announces he’s remarrying. Gretel chases after him, and the pair ends up crashing at Dee’s house in the woods.

Pretty soon the horrors begin, and Hansel and Gretel discover they’re dead meat if they don’t escape the house. Actually, dead, cooked, eaten meat! 

Gore, murder, witchery, and Dee at the top of her game made this an instant buy for me.

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It’s back to the 90s for a foursome of mostly fun and fear

It’s no secret that the final decade of last millennium almost killed the horror genre (in my and most other people’s opinions), but the 1990s does have its moments. So here’s what went right and wrong for me in this marathon viewing session.

ARACHNOPHOBIA (1990)

It’s a classic for sure, but Arachnophobia is definitely critter feature lite, especially in this day an age. It gives me a nostalgic feeling more than a horror rush, and I appreciate it for its great cast and practical effects more than for any thrills and chills.

The plot is tried and true—a privileged American asshole travels to the jungle and accidentally brings the threat back to the states when a deadly spider stows away in his bag.

The spider ends up at a farmhouse in the country, where Jeff Daniels and his family are just moving in. He’s the new doctor in town. He’s deathly afraid of spiders. The spider sets up home in his barn and spawns babies.

Everything you’d expect to happen does. Dogs and cats are terrorized. Old people turn up inexplicably dead. There are itch-inducing close calls with spiders—shower, child’s room, popcorn bowl, etc.

And then we get the usual suspects. Julian Sands is the serious expert, John Goodman is the comic relief exterminator.

But in the end it’s up to Daniels to face his fears to save his family…in the barn…against a wickedly smart mother spider.

ASWANG (1992)

Not to be confused with the 1994 Aswang, this Aswang simply shouldn’t be two hours long. Fun monster stuff is weighed down by too many characters and way too much talking.

This family comes to a town where everyone is being murdered, the locals claim they brought the death, and so they try to prove that it’s the legendary Aswang.

Considering the legend this movie is about, it’s surprising that there’s only one scene of the Aswang sucking a woman’s baby from her belly.

In general, the horror scenes are cool, but it’s balanced with so much whimsical crap involving the kids, their nanny, and the driver of their car that it just kills the creepy tone.

In fact, by the end of the film when one kid and his nanny take on the monster, this kind of feels like a kid’s horror movie.

ED AND HIS DEAD MOTHER (1993)

Ed and His Dead Mother feels like a lighthearted, bloodless take on the Dead Alive premise.

Still trying to cope with the loss of his mother a year ago, Steve Buscemi lives with his uncle (Ned Beatty). When John Glover of Gremlins comes selling a re-animation service, Steve jumps at the chance.

Just as Steve is beginning to make progress with the hot woman next door, his mom comes back.

Naturally she isn’t exactly right, but she’s really not wrong enough to make this a thrilling horror comedy. Beatty is determined to send her back where she came from, so that’s really the big challenge for Buscemi…until finally mom does start to do some killing.

The movie isn’t as funny as it is cute, and I definitely would have liked it better if it were a bit edgier or funnier. Either more gore or more laughs—or both—would have made this a classic. As is, it’s kind of forgettable. Wait, what was I just talking about?

BATS (1999)

Director Louis Morneau is like the sequel king: Carnosaur 2, The Hitcher II, Joy Ride 2, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us.

Louis Morneau didn’t direct Bats: Human Harvest, the sequel to this film…

For a silly bat movie, Bats kind of kicks butt. And if you compare critter feature Arachnophobia from the beginning of the decade (and this blog) to this film from the end of the decade (and this blog), this is really the more thrilling movie, right from the opening bat attack.

Lou Diamond Phillips is the sheriff who brings in an expert, Dina Meyer of the Saw franchise, and her assistant, Leon of the Madonna “Like A Prayer” video.

They quickly learn a rare species of bat is infecting other bats, but before they can do much about it, all bat out of hell breaks loose as the whole town is ravaged in a crazy scene!

It’s all very reminiscent of The Birds, right down to the flying POV from the sky and our main character trapped in a movie theater ticket booth rather than a phone booth.

It’s nonstop action from there, and the only scene that got on my nerves was the montage of them setting up a protective fortress…to opera music that was more shrill than the screech of the bats.

Even the hokey plot twist was cheesy stupid good, and the final frame threatening a sequel even gets a campy twist. This is definitely my favorite throwback viewing of this foursome.

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Despite the calendar date, it’s always Halloween to me

But my choice of double feature made this Independence Day a disappointing Halloween…that was slightly saved by some double feature daddy bear action.

THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 (2017)

The Blu-ray of the first film, which I blind bought when it was released, has been sitting in my discard pile, its removal dependent on me seeing if the sequel would somehow create a story arc that made the first worth keeping. Now, after watching Houses October Built 2 on Hulu, I’m ditching the first and won’t be buying the sequel.

100 minutes? TOO LONG. And that’s just for starters. I really don’t even remember (or care) how the first film ended, but I guess they all survived? Most importantly, daddy bear survived.

In this one they’re back and decide to go on a tour of attractions again, only this time for money because everyone is fascinated that they escaped the horrors the first film.

So you basically spend another entire movie watching footage of haunted attractions in action…a “Thriller” flash mob…a zombie run montage set to techno music.

That’s not a horror movie, that’s a documentary about haunted attractions.

Eventually, the one character that didn’t want to go in the first place experiences a trauma so close to what happened the year before that…you can’t believe that person is convinced by the others to forge ahead. Okay, maybe I can believe daddy bear’s mere presence is persuading enough.

Immediately after the mistake to continue is made, the real horror begins.

Sure the doll girl makes an obligatory appearance, but the twist at the end will make you realize just how bamboozled you were in watching this “horror movie.”

On a side note, the best part is when they visit an extreme adult attraction. There’s drag, there’s some sexual perversion, plus I imagine the creators discovered that the bearded bear cutie has a gay following.

He gets some special attention as the adult attraction…

…and the camera even gives us a nice long look at his bear butt when he’s walking up steps.

JACK vs. LANTERNS (2017)

Director Jason Liquori (Death Plots, The Lunar Pack) brings us a sequel to his movie called Lumber vs. Jack that, despite the clever plays-on-words in the titles, I won’t be watching having seen this one, which runs way too long at an hour and forty-five minutes.

I was purely in it for the Halloween, and there’s plenty of that. Loads of pumpkin action, and Jason drenches scenes in Argento’s rainbow.

Plus, mutant pumpkins start taking over people’s heads and making them pumpkin-headed killers.

However, there’s also so much other extraneous stuff going on I didn’t bother following most of it. Some woman has her dead husband reanimated or cloned or something.

I imagine the killer pumpkins and the reanimation are related, but the shifts from one subplot to another were extremely jarring. It feels like two different movies.

Sure there are some goofy, funny moments, but I just didn’t have the patience to focus on anything beyond the genuine horror feel of some of the pumpkin head scenes.

The awesome main girl being chased through her house by a pumpkin head even feels like it’s from a much better movie.

In fact, I think there is a pretty fun, low budget indie supernatural killer pumpkin head slasher film here if all the other stuff was cut out and this was a 70-minute film. Hell, there’s even a dog next to a pumpkin, which instantly makes it a better movie to me.

Instead, Jack vs. Lanterns starts to revel in its cheap, cheesy effects and silliness—seriously, the pumpkins are like papier-mâché and there’s a dance montage—and then exploits them as if to say, “We did all this on purpose.”

Hell, perhaps they did considering this is a sequel to what appears to be the continuing exploits of the main character: JACK.

Jack is the other highlight.

Jack is a cute bear daddy who takes on the pumpkin heads…and happens to be director Jason Liquori himself!

I find him adorable and charming, which means I’ll probably end up watching Lumber vs. Jack. I’m such a fricking horror whore. Now, can I get a taste of that warm toast…with butter?

 

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