4 flicks from an All Night Horror Marathon DVD

cellar-dweller-contamination-7-catacombs-and-dungeonmaster

You have to love these cheaply priced compilations that cram 4 to 8 movies on 2 or 3 discs, often movies that would never have made it onto DVD otherwise but may have been one of your favorite video rental or cable TV favorites back in the day. This Scream Factory marathon DVD gives us a mixture of 80s and 90s flicks, with mixed results.

CONTAMINATION.7 (1993)

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Contamination.7, also known as Creepers, The Crawlers and…TROLL 3, is about killer tree roots. Could be fun, right? A whole movie made out of the Evil Dead tree scene?

For the first hour of the film, we see a chick come back to her small hometown and rekindle her romance with her scorching hot blond boyfriend, who seriously knows how to wear a pair of tight jeans. There’s also a boring side story about nuclear waste being dumped at a nearby plant. Occasionally, we get a killer POV of something crawling through the weeds in the forest to drag someone away.

contamination 7 gore

Finally, at the one-hour mark, the homages to the Evil Dead tree scene really begin, but only ONE kill has any gore. And it’s some pretty good gore. The tree roots start breaking into houses. The townsfolk get together to find the barrels of nuclear waste—and in a Hallmark moment, they welcome the local hooker into their ranks.

These smart radioactive roots stop cars in their tracks and take down entire helicopters faster than Jaws 2. But they’re no match for an army of bulldozers, which I guess are just…burying the roots?

The absolute best part of this film (aside from the boyfriend’s ass) is the final scene, when a Christmas tree leaves us with a promise of a sequel….

CELLAR DWELLER (1988)

 cellar-dweller

Don Mancini, the openly gay man who fricking created Chucky, went under an assumed name to write Cellar Dweller, and seems to express embarrassment about the movie in Sean Abley’s book Out in the Dark.

The only problem Cellar Dweller has is that it’s too long, even at an hour and fifteen minutes. The tone of the movie and the payoff are more worthy of a Tales from the Crypt episode or a segment of Creepshow. It’s even ABOUT horror comic artists and is loaded with interspersed comic book panels. So awesome. But there’s more.

cellar dweller jeffrey

It has Jeffrey Combs as an artist from the 50s who brings an awesome werewolf/vampire/demon/ghost hybrid monster to life by drawing it! It has Yvonne De Carlo running an art institute in the 80s—in the very house where Jeffrey Combs died! It has Brian Robbins from Head of the Class. It has some chick from Eureka as the new artist who brings the monster alive again. There’s blood. There’s boobage. And it has a delish twist near the end and a campy solution to eliminating the monster…both of which I totally guessed. Comes from watching too many 80s movies as a kid.

I LOVE Cellar Dweller. Good old-fashioned creature feature.

DUNGEONMASTER (1984)

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Also known as Ragewar, Dungeonmaster is bad 80s sci-fi horror at its best. Man is it bad. This really hot actor Jeffrey Byron (who gets shirtless and wears short 80s shorts) plays a dude so wrapped up in his computer that he gives little attention to his girlfriend. So this wizard (played by Richard Moll) kidnaps her and challenges the computer geek to a series of battles to get her back.

Basically, this dude gets sucked into various fantasy worlds where he has to battle different monsters, like little demon trolls, zombie warriors, a big stone statue that comes to life, a Mad Max gang, a serial killer, and even…brace yourself…the heavy metal band W.A.S.P. as they perform their song “Tormentor.” WTF???

 

Oh wait. It gets better. In each segment, each of which is directed by different horror directors and all of which run about five to ten minutes long, he basically meets his new enemy, runs away for a minute, and then zaps the enemy with his special laser shooting wristband. That’s it. Over and over and over. Every segment.

dungeonmaster lead

I guess I may have liked this if I’d seen it on cable when I was fourteen. Actually, I would have loved it because Jeffrey Byron gets shirtless and wears short 80s shorts.

Some of the directors of the segments include Full Moon Features mastermind Charles Band, John Carl Buechler (Troll, Cellar Dweller, Friday the 13th Part 7, Miners Massacre), Peter Manoogian (Demonic Toys), and Ted Nicolaou (TerrorVision, Subspecies).

CATACOMBS (1988)

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Filmed in 1988, this film was apparently not released until the 90s, so it got slapped with a Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice title in some markets even though it has nothing to do with the other Curse movies. I couldn’t even find box art for the film as Catacombs.

The whole movie takes place in a monastery with celibate monks. I really just can’t relate. All the Omen­-esque music aside, this movie is so BORING. Nothing happens…except a couple of failed attempts at jump scares.

A chick comes to stay at the monastery and study. There’s another chick who is friends with one of the monks. There’s a monk who believes there’s a demon locked away in the catacombs beneath the monastery (there is). There’s a young priest caring for an elderly dying monk.

catacombs jesus

There are a couple of cheesy Exorcist rip-off attempts, but the guy who’s possessed only appears at the beginning and end of the film. There are some deaths, but no real gore. The best scene is when Jesus on a statue of the crucifix pulls out his spikes and comes down to kill a priest with them. But the big question about all movies like this one—WHO lights all the candles that are always burning and never melt down in the underground caverns???

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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