5 movies—3 decades of horror nostalgia

A slasher, a big rat sequel, aliens, a vampire, a mummy, and even some man hotness along the way. I take a look back five ranging from 1982 through 2006.

ISLAND OF BLOOD (1982)

An 80s slasher so obscure I didn’t even know it existed. Seriously, if there’s a movie we didn’t have in the video store I worked in, which opened in 1981, that shit is way obscure.

Island of Blood ticks off all the right boxes for 80s slashers, but it’s not a very good movie. However, it’s a pretty awesome flick if you missed it the first time around because it gives you the early 80s video store trip feels big time.

A low budget film crew heads to an isolated island to film a movie, then a killer we never see (so there’s no mask) starts killing them off, leaving a Walkman playing a horrible attempt at new wave. Seriously, they should have spent the whole budget licensing a song by The Knack or The Romantics.

While the opening kill has a great 80s POV setup with a good horror score, it’s a fricking gun kill! What the hell?

Luckily the kills get better—acid, hot water, machete, chainsaw—but everything in between is just filler. I seriously had no idea what was going on, and the terrible lighting leaves everything dark, which didn’t help. However, there is a long final girl chase, body reveals, and a knife through glass jump scare that fails miserably to scare.

I must say though, the fact that the killer throws the Walkman in a pool in one of the first kills and then it still works for every other kill is pretty damn impressive. They just don’t make shit like they used to.

GNAW: FOOD OF THE GODS II (1989)

Can’t imagine why they would decide to make a movie based on a title from almost 15 years prior, but it was the end of the 80s, the height of the anything goes horror era. And this silly fun movie just lets it all go.

Forget the island from the original Food of the Gods, not to mention the origin of how the rats grew. This is a fresh story revolving around experiments in a college lab and a bunch of student animal rights activists.

The hot leading man is trying to help a scientist woman who accidentally created a growth hormone that turned a little boy into a bit of a giant. Naturally, that stuff is so going to get to the lab animals. Sadly, there’s no animal variety here as in the original. It’s ALL giant rats. And the animal protestors accidentally unleash them while braking into the lab to trash it. This includes smashing a case of floppy discs. I seriously still have the exact same case.

While there’s some good rat attack fun, what makes this one even better is that it’s totally late 80s crap and doesn’t take itself seriously. Some of my favorite scenes include a dude doing the penguin walk to get away from a rat that just bit him in the ass…

A fricking synchronized swimming montage that turns into a massive rat attack in a gym…

And an amazing sex scene in which the dude proves to be a major grower while he’s inside a girl.

PROGENY (1998)

Director Brian Yuzna offers up an alien abduction film that doesn’t go for the unnerving, frightening tone of films like Communion or Fire in the Sky, but for a simple cheesy, sexualized, icky, exploitative tale of invasion and violation.

Sexy Arnold Vosloo (Brendan Frasier’s mummy buddy) shows plenty of his fantastic ass…

I mean, he plays a doctor who has a lot of sex with his wife. Eventually she gets pregnant.

But both of them are having disturbing PTSD about—this is so awesome—him being lifted out and off of her mid-coitus so that aliens can do nasty things to her.

Much of the alien stuff is shown through hypnosis sessions at a therapist, and they really are just drive-in trashy fun.

Eventually Vosloo enlists the help of an alien expert, played by Brad Dourif, to, well…let’s just say this is an alien abduction abortion flick.

Is it a mind-blowing film? No. Is it super scary? No. It’s a fairly standard 90s direct-to-video film. but the invasion scenes are disturbing and, well, there’s that ass.

COLD & DARK (2005)

Luke Goss has carved quite a career as a horror hunk post-Bros music career. This is one of his earlier films, but it delivers both the horror (with some awesome gore and mutant man hand), and the hunk (Luke’s pert nipples on display during his soaking bath tub scenes).

Too bad the plot is such a drag.

The concept is cool. Goss is a detective who teams up with another detective to fight crime using the partner’s secret weapon…the worm with teeth that springs from his palm to suck the blood he needs from victims to stay alive.

So what better way to kill two birds with one stone than to feed on evil bad guys?

Of course, something is bound to go wrong with that plan…

That’s all totally awesome, but what gets in the way is that I have no idea what the fuck was going on between the kills. And I swear it wasn’t because of my attention span’s extreme demands—I watched it with my hubba hubba and he was asking me if I could explain what the hell was going on.

It just feels like random, disjointed confrontations with unrelated bad guys go on with no clear story arc, and each scene is super boring. Even Goss learning of his partner’s issue was weakly presented and underplayed, especially considering we learn of it in a rockin’ glory hole scene!

Watch it for the great horror scenes, but be prepared to be bored between them.

PETRIFIED (2006)

It’s crazy that I’m now nostalgic for bad Charles Band Full Moon movies from the early 2000s. I think it’s a result of craving the vibe of any time before the awful state of this country now—a time when there was hope for all and we weren’t quickly heading towards a Christian led dictatorship spearheaded by one of the biggest enemies of the U.S.

Therefore, this ridiculous movie is essentially getting a heavily skewered appreciation from me. An attempt to illegally sell a mummy goes wrong when the mummy comes to life in a blaze of green light.

Next, a bunch of people end up at the home of a not so scary evil scientist trying to perfect immorality using sexuality. In this case sexuality refers strictly to all the lesbians running around his home hooking up.

it’s trashy, it’s not scary, the pacing is terrible, and there’s too much talking…not to mention way too many lesbians…but the mummy looks way cool, and there’s a great line about muff diving an old hag.

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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