STREAM QUEEN: these six slash, but do they satisfy?

Holiday slashers, supernatural slashers, silly slashers. I got a bit of all of it with this streaming marathon, but which ones tickled my slashy bone most?

COTTONTAIL (2017)

 

Damn me for feeling obligated to watch every holiday horror film in existence.

Seriously, just watch any one of the other bad Easter selections on my holiday horror page.

This film is virtually all talk, and most of that is narration by the killer. We never see his face, but we do see his rocking bod during an exercise montage.

While planning his annual “Easter egg hunt” with his fans (called Honey Bunnies) helping, he starts to fall in love with one girl, which realty cuts into his killing time.

So much in fact that there are virtually no kills in the film.

Even the clever setup of Cottontail painting his victim’s body parts like Easter eggs and leaving them in baskets on the steps of the victim’s relatives is quickly forgotten.

FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS (2017)

This is one of those movies that begs the question—is a ruthlessly unlikable main character and a head-spinning chain of events in a film excusable if it’s all explained in a simple, tidy clarification scene at the very end?

The bigger question…will you be able to sit through all those issues to make it to the end? That is the danger for a filmmaker when pulling this kind of plot stunt.

In Friends Don’t Let Friends, a young woman kills her boyfriend, and your first frustration will be that he was a big guy sitting on this wobbly chair, yet when she started choking him from behind, he never bothered to just tip off the chair to take her with him so he could get the upper hand.

In fact, as hard as she’s pulling backwards to choke him, she would have pulled him and the chair over. Well…it’s all excusable if you make it to the end.

She calls three friends to help her come bury the body in the desert, treats them like shit, and won’t give them any explanation as to what happened. Again, excusable if you make it to the end.

After tons of talking, the film actually gets quite creepy for a while as they are hunted down by some sort of mutated version of the dead boyfriend.

But even that simple plot becomes a confusing mess. And you guessed it…it will only be excusable if you make it to the end.

NAILS (2017)

Having just recently seen Cursed to Kill, about a woman trapped in a hospital room where she’s terrorized by a supernatural presence, I kind of wished I’d known this movie existed so I could have made it a double feature blog.

The Nails woman is paralyzed and left voiceless in an accident, so she finds it infuriating when she can’t communicate with anyone that a tall goon is coming out of the closet in her room at night to try to kill her.

The suspension of disbelief blocker for me is…why is this woman in a hospital that looks like it should be in Silent Hill? Don’t they have any lights in this place?

This is total run of the mill supernatural horror for most of its running time. FINALLY, at the very end, the woman’s daughter tries to get her out of the hospital in a wheelchair, and they are chased by the creepy killer, who also slaughters a few other people along the way.

In other words, the entire thrilling supernatural slasher this could have been is jam-packed into the last ten minutes. Although, I did laugh when the killer levitated the paralyzed woman and started rolling her around the walls. That shit looked hilarious.

The main woman in this film looks exactly like Toni Collette when she cries, to the point that I should have just gone to see Hereditary.

 

WHAT LIES BEYOND… THE BEGINNING (2014)

Going into this, it’s helpful to know that the first hour has more of a chill Meatballs comedy feel than horror.

There’s some talk about kids dying a year before on the same excursion a group of college students is going on, but that’s it.

After some dull setup scenes before we actually get to the camp, the film becomes entertaining mostly because the guys are so cute and natural in their banter as they all hope to hook up with some girls…and take care of things themselves when they don’t…

There’s a slow mo dance montage, a major lesbian couple storyline, and the boys getting into adolescent trouble, like stealing one guy’s clothes while he’s showering.

We get hints that someone is filming intimate moments (and we don’t blame them).

55 minutes in, the masked, hooded killer appears. The kills come swiftly and are well shot, but they aren’t particularly scary.

The biggest issue with the film is that after a good surprise twist with the killer, there are fifteen minutes of flashbacks revealing a motivation that has absolutely nothing to do with everything that preceded it. Argh!

RETURN OF THE SCARECROW (2018)

If you’re going to do a low budget comedy slasher, it’s always a good idea to bring something fresh to the mix, as Return of the Scarecrow does time and again.

Yeah, yeah. The plot—kids go camping, killer scarecrow starts hacking them up—sounds as cliché as it gets. But it’s the execution that makes this one a hoot.

After an intro kill and cool scarecrow POV opening credits accompanied by old school 80s style synth horror music, we meet kids heading for a camping trip. Everything seems as predictable as can be…

Then comes a devilish, awesome twist I won’t ruin for you.

We also have some local rednecks that decide to dress up like scarecrows, adding a slapstick comedy duo angle to the situation and complicating things for the scarecrow, as well as a sexy silly sheriff.

The final confrontation with the scarecrow—a lynch mob with pitchforks—had me giggling, plus there’s a great tag after the closing credits, featuring the last person you’d expect…

DEAD END 2 (Dead End Demon) (2017)

Damn. I gotta hand it to director Jordan F. Ghanma. As I wrote here, I liked both the supernatural and slashers elements of his Valentine’s horror Dead End  despite some issues with them fully melding as one.

Not only does he bring the killer from that film back, but he sets this one on Halloween and delivers a tighter slasher…along with some more fun bit silly supernatural stuff.

The first scene alone is perfectly executed and chilling (you just have to overlook the part when the ghost girl blinks).

It could stand on its own as one of these cheap thrill quickie horror shorts you see all over YouTube.

Then we get right into the killer’s return. He is thwarted by a ghost girl, and even though the special effects are a little rough, the gist comes through and it’s pretty dang clever.

Meanwhile, a bunch of girls getting in the mood for Halloween remind us of what happened in the first film. It’s so uncool when one girl bad mouths Halloween III

There are actually several references to classics, including the killer not taking kindly to a dude mistaking him for Jason. The death scenes are all presented well, as long as you’re okay with the fact that many of them are not integral to the main characters, just random people being killed on the streets on Halloween as they encounter the masked psycho…to a Halloween rip-off score.

Finally, we get to our main girl and main detective on the case. A medium helps them track down the killer, and the final confrontation is a goodie, with a rockin’ battle and several clever surprise elements thrown into the killer’s booby trap.

Not to mention, the killer is unmasked and he’s a hottie.

The third film is already on the way, and I’m so there.

 

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Actors in peril: a pseudo slasher and a Giallo

I discovered two films in my Prime watchlist focusing on thespian protagonists, which meant it was double feature time! Jack Rio and Masks are very different films, though. So which did I find more entertaining?

JACK RIO (2008)

The beginning of this film is intriguing enough; Matt Borlenghi (Bloody Mary) plays a man sick of being “Jack Rio,” the character he is known for on a popular TV show. But his agent won’t let him break his contract.

While Rio is grudgingly attending a Hollywood party with industry friend, played by Sean Kanan (Hack!), a bartender is slaughtered (off camera), his face removed.

Pretty soon, others lose their lives (and faces) to a killer, and people begin to suspect Jack Rio. As he gets more and more frustrated with not being able to escape his career, we see nothing much beyond the killer wearing face trophies and a blonde female wig.

It’s simply not as macabre or creepy as it could be.

In fact, there’s only one good horror scene, when Rio goes up to a hotel room to party with a couple that is super excited to party with their TV hero.

The movie needed more of this.

Problem is, we learn the identity of the killer early on, making this feel like a cheesy made-for-TV melodrama. It also runs about 20 minutes too long at 100 minutes and has a pretty absurd twist at the end…at least the way the scene is executed.

For what it’s worth, Brian Krause of Charmed is needlessly cast in a small role that could have gone to any no name actor.

MASKS (2011)

If you want to get in the mood for the new Suspiria, don’t hesitate to see the Giallo homage Masks. Also don’t hesitate if you want to watch a much better thespian horror than Jack Rio.

A young woman who blows an audition (as she apparently has all of them) is directed toward a special secret acting school.

Naturally it’s in the middle of nowhere. And…your cellphone is confiscated when you enroll…to keep you focused, of course…

As with any Giallo, there are confusing cuts to seemingly disjointed scenes…happily, there are some gruesome kills within them, as well as a rainbow of neon lighting.

The killer uses a fencing sword, and the piercings of various body parts are FUCKED! There are also mysterious paranormal elements, resulting in intriguing Giallo perfection.

Mysterious details and situations pile up. The head teacher at the school is a bit overly appreciative of the main girl’s potential as an actress. There’s an old building where classes used to be held, but it’s now off limits.

The founder committed suicide and was known for using some unorthodox methods to teach acting. The main girl befriends (and sucks face with) another female student who seems to know more than she’s letting on….

And finally…she learns “the method.” Clear plastic tapestry abounds in the final act…because nothing says trippy, terrifying Giallo horror than victims screaming their way through a maze of plastic shower curtains.

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The colors of Boys, Bears & Scares horror pride, pages 2 keep U up all night…

DICK TO ENLARGE…or rather, CLICK to enlarge…

It’s always gay horror time on the Boys, Bears & Scares site! Here are some of the gayest horror reference pages on the menu. Just click on a page title to go exploring your darkest fantasies.

DIE, GAY GUY, DIE! Horror flix that have a little something gay going on…

HOMO HORROR MOVIES. Horror flix that are…um, “straight up” gay!

SCARY SEXXX. Horror fliXXX.

FROM MEN TO MONSTERS. Guys who’ve transitioned from gay porn to torture porn and beyond!

SAUSAGE FEST SCARES. Boy and bear beefcake, buns, and balls in horror flix.

STUD STALKING. Horror flix loaded with a whole cast of man meat!

HOMO HELL-EVISION. Small screen gay horror if you’re not a size queen (depending on how big your TV is).

DAVID DEHOMO. The films of homoerotic horror master David DeCoteau.

MOVIE IMAGES IDENTIFIED:

BLOOD RED LEFT: Sacrament

BLOOD RED RIGHT: Otto, Or Up With Dead People

PUMPKIN ORANGE CENTER: my book Wet Screams (left and right are just naughty pix I got off the Internet)

PUKE & PUS YELLOW LEFT: Violence of the Mind

PUKE & PUS YELLOW RIGHT: Vampires: Lucas Rising

MONSTER GREEN LEFT: My book Rise of The Thing Down Below!

MONSTER GREEN RIGHT: Rock & Roll Frankenstein

MIDNIGHT BLUE LEFT: Hor Taew Tak

MIDNIGHT BLUE RIGHT: Cruising

GOTH-O-WEEN PURPLE LEFT: The Hunger TV show

GOTH-O-WEEN PURPLE RIGHT: The Pit and the Pendulum

HOT HOLE PINK LEFT: Bear Creek

HOT HOLE PINK CENTER: Amazon Prime series The Hotel Barclay

HOT HOLE PINK RIGHT: Seven Dorms of Death

BLACK LEATHER LEFT: Bloody Knuckles

BLACK LEATHER RIGHT: Chillerama

Posted in Johnny You ARE Queer - Gay Thoughts, Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Tagged | Leave a comment

OCD Told Me to blog about the rest of Larry Cohen’s movies

After recently covering director Larry Cohen’s Full Moon High and Wicked Stepmother in a blog and realizing I’d already covered Q: The Winged Serpent, A Return to Salem’s Lot, and The Stuff, I figured it was time to round out my Cohen coverage. So now I take on two of his odd releases and his It’s Alive trilogy!

IT’S ALIVE (1974)

The original classic hasn’t aged well, but it is still a great nostalgic flick that captures the spirit of more fucked up, dark and gritty horror of the early 1970s.

A couple going into labor sends their son off to stay with a male friend (WEIRD) then heads to the hospital. The delivery goes awful, with “It” popping out and slaughtering all the doctors and nurses in the delivery room before taking off.

The doc informs the father that when they find It, they need to kill It. We get an early, quick full Monty of It baby face when It first attacks someone.

But as the father struggles with the horror of the trail of bodies It’s leaving behind and the cops hunt all over town for It, we really don’t get to see much of the murderers or It beyond blurry “It POV”.

All the awesome insanity and gore comes in at the end when we learn where It has been and everyone follows It when It heads for the sewers.

But, just when you thought it was safe to get a sperm douche again, we learn…another “It” has been born somewhere else.

GOD TOLD ME TO (1976)

god told me to cover

The Crazies go to church.

god told me to church

Beginning with an eerily contemporary scene of people running and screaming in panic on a city street as a sniper shoots at them, God Told Me To focuses on detectives looking into cases of people committing murders and then saying “God told me to.”

god told me to tower

While it starts more as a police procedural, it eventually turns into…religious horror.

god told me to statues

Blech! And it just keeps sinking deeper and deeper into the hell hole of faith as one detective uncovers an apocalyptic plot involving birth, sex, and…God.

god told me to religious figure

I’ll stick to It’s Alive for my dose of 1970s Larry Cohen.

IT LIVES AGAIN (1978)

At this point in time, I prefer the second film over the first because it is so fricking bad it serves a slice of trashy 1970s horror with extra bubbling cheese.

The dad from the first movie crashes a baby shower. After disappointing a woman who assumes he’s a queer for not hitting on her, he tells the expecting couple (including the awesome Kathleen Lloyd of The Car) that their baby is probably an “It.”

He insists they need to plot a getaway from the hospital because authorities are now standing with guns aimed at the vaginas of birthing mothers in case there’s an It inside just waiting to tear her a new one.

The couple goes right along with the plan! And to think we still have parents who hate their queer children almost as much as the rejected woman from the baby shower.

Would you believe It kills everyone in the back of the getaway truck the mom delivers in?

The rest of the movie takes place at a special facility for “Its,” run by specialists who think they’re misunderstood. That’s why the specialists…keep them locked up in cages. Even better, they plan to mate these caged Its.

The Its are getting more action than the couple, who comes to live at the place, but fights over not wanting to have sex anymore…which means the Its are scoring more than the couple.

The first movie dad is still lurking around to interfere when the Its break free and start a lot more slaughtering than in the first film. YAY! We also see a lot more Its, too. And to add to the absurdity, an It goes for a piece of cake at a kid’s birthday party that appears to be taking place in the middle of a fricking meadow. But the It isn’t what scares them away…it’s a snake. WTF? The only thing that could have made this moment any better if it had been a setup for a film called It vs. Sssssss that would have closed out the 1970s horror era in 79.

IT’S ALIVE III: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE (1987)

Just when you think the franchise can’t get any worse, it’s resurrected at the end of the 80s, which means it’s perfectly craptastic.

Cohen’s 1980s leading man Michael Moriarty is the perfect weirdo to still be defending the rights of these freaks (against Bud the CHUD in court, no less), managing to get them exiled to a remote island to live out their lives.

That’s gonna leave a hole.

He goes there to help his It get settled in comfortably…just as a bunch of hunters arrives for an entirely different reason.

Just when you think all the ridiculous, fully grown “It” chaos and gory slaughter is going to be on the “Island of the Alive” for the full duration of the film, the Its run out of victims and hop on a boat to pull a King Kong back in the real world…at a punk rock club where Moriarty’s ex-wife works. She happens to be Karen Black, who wants nothing to do with her little monster…but It definitely wants to reunite with mommy.

As if Karen doesn’t bring enough white trash elegance to the film, there’s an insane new wavers vs. punks battle on the street that puts Valley Girl to shame. We can only hope that when the 1980s fairy dust settles, Moriarty and Black reconcile and decide to raise their little monster. It really is the perfect family.

THE AMBULANCE (1990) ambulance cover

The Ambulance is so quirky I could see Larry Cohen wanting Michael Moriarty to once again play his lead. Instead, Eric Roberts handles the duties perfectly.

ambulance eric

The film opens as he’s flirting with a girl on a city street (the #MeTooing someone of its day) when she collapses. An ambulance takes her away and then she kind of disappears. This sets Roberts’s motivation in motion—he spends the rest of the film trying to find her as more and more people who get picked up by an ambulance go missing.

The film would be so much more intriguing if it didn’t immediately show the audience that the victims are simply being kidnapped by a mad doctor (The Young and The Restless icon Eric Braeden).

ambulance doctor

So yeah, it’s all a mystery to Eric and the various characters he teams up with along the way (the likes of James Earl Jones and Red Buttons), but it’s all spoiled for the viewers.

ambulance james earl

Instead of making us think it’s some sort of supernatural ambulance, we regularly witness Braeden’s henchman loading people onto It…I mean it. So we just watch and wait for Eric to figure it out.

ambulance smash

For me, the highlight of the film is a scene near the end in which Braeden goes psycho behind the wheel of the ambulance, trying to run Roberts down.

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STREAM QUEEN: Talking serious trash

Now that I got the trash that’s trash for trash’s sake out of the way from my weekend marathon, it’s time to cover the “serious” horror trash. Here are 5 that didn’t disappoint in disappointing. Not even familiar horror names can save some of these.

ALMOST INVISIBLE (2010)

almost invisible cover

This movie is so unwatchable I couldn’t stop watching.

almost invisible nipple play

almost invisible boys in hot tub

No, that’s not why (I’m lying). Whether experimental or just incompetent I can’t say, but everything happening here makes the viewer as tripped out and confused as the kids in the movie.

almost invisible class video

They go to party at the home of the weird goth girl they all hate, start trashing the place, and then begin to get pulled into weird vortexes as she floats around the house (an effective highlight for me).

almost invisible floating

There are weird flashes of sex acts, bizarre shit happens like them all getting swarmed by flies and getting trapped in the house with no way out, and they never seem to react appropriately to what they’re experiencing. All the while, a hypnotic rock soundtrack plays in the background.

almost invisible guy moves on goth

Are they on drugs? Is she a witch who’s cast a spell on them? Have they entered another dimension? Someone please watch the movie and explain it to me…

almost invisible shirtless guy hallucinates

Oh. And in case my blog didn’t make it obvious, there are loads of girls running around in their bikinis in this film.

DEAD OF THE NITE (2013)

dead of the nite cover

I have to say, I didn’t expect the movie I got following the animated intro to Dead of the Nite.

dead of the nite animated

I went in assuming Tony Todd’s appearance in the film was just for name recognition…and for the poster art that could probably get the filmmakers sued by the Candyman people… His role is virtually pointless and could have been (probably was) added as an afterthought when he was brought on board.

The film starts at the end. The police interrogate Todd about what happened, and then we spend the rest of the movie with…

dead of the nite cast

…a group of ghost hunters that came to a house where a man killed his family then cut off his face with a sickle. Now, his faceless ghost supposedly haunts the place for more victims.

dead of the nite guyDon’t you just hate guys who look hot even in night vision?

What transpires is the most generic found footage film you could imagine. It’s mostly talking and fake scares as they explore, fight, use a Ouija board, make us yawn…

dead of the nite ouija

50 minutes in someone in a hoodie and a faceless mask who is clearly not a ghost turns this into a found footage slasher for the second half, eventually pushing the final girl to try to outdo Heather with her confessional sob story all up in the camera.

dead of the nite confessional

And by the way, their isn’t even a slight surprise as to who the killer is.

dead of the nite killer

But there are a few fun moments watching a slasher in found footage format.

BLOODSHOT (2014)

bloodshot cover

I was excited to see Danny Dyer back in “horror,” but I had my suspicions about this one based on a mixed bag of genre tags.

This really isn’t a horror movie. It’s a psychological something…romantic thriller perhaps?

The beginning was intriguing, mostly because Dyer is jogging in a park at night, runs into a weirdo wrapped from head to toe in a blanket, and takes her home to stay the night.

bloodshot park

Seriously, he essentially brings a mental homeless person home for all intents and purposes.

bloodshot brought home

Then they both act weird for most of the movie, and you expect one of them to turn out to be a psycho who’s going to go all Glenn Close on the other. Or even better, both of them.

bloodshot danny with model

But the backbone of the story relies on Danny being a special effects guy who has horrific samples of his work—mostly mutilated women models—in a room the homeless guest is violently freaked out by because she hates violence towards women and feels his job perpetuates it. So…

They start a love relationship.

bloodshot danny blood

Things just continue to be weird, and the only horror sequence—and it’s a goodie filled with gore and demonic overtones—is a nightmare Danny has.

You can save yourself a lot of time by just watching that scene if it shows up on YouTube, supplemented with this pic…the one moment when you see Danny’s ass.

bloodshot danny butt two

NIGHTWORLD (2017)

nightworld cover

The director of the totally bizarre Hidden in the Woods (both original and English remake) brings us a movie that is nothing like that film.

This is like The Legacy, Nightwatch, and The Sentinel all rolled into one. So…you’d think it would be good.

Jason London is an ex-cop grieving from the loss of his wife. He takes a job as a night guard at a creepy apartment building, is told by the two men who hire him to call if anything “strange” happens. When he does, Robert Englund shows up. Call again, something strange just happened.

nightworld englund

Other than that, London has one scary dream after another. You know how it goes…when your film isn’t scary, you fill it with scary dream sequences.

nightworld wife

Eventually there’s a trip to the basement where the gates of hell are about to break open, and it’s up to London to prevent it from happening…with a gun?

THE SUFFERING (2016)

A hot man takes a job appraising an old farmhouse, befriends the old man who owns it, and begins to experience a bevy of supernatural clichés.

Mostly, he sees creepy people who just disappear without him even looking away then looking back, which is a maddening pet peeve of mine in horror. Plus, he has visions and dreams of a woman from his past.

As things make less and less sense, random characters are thrown in, and nothing comes together. As I was subjected to torturous, predictable cheap scares for an hour and 45 minutes, I had a really strong feeling this movie was going to piss me off in the end.

***COMPLETE SPOILERS***

OMAgnosticism, I’m so fucking done with movies in which the person is dead the whole time. And making it a religious message at the end is even more offending. There should be a warning on every movie in which the main character being dead is the big reveal twist, so we know that we’ve heard this one before. And we should be given a bigger warning when your horror movie is actually shoving religion down our throats.

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STREAM QUEEN: Digging Through The Trash

When you catch a spring cold, nothing’s more important than staying home and getting lots of rest on the couch…while drinking plenty of Cherry Cola and watching bad horror movies nonstop. And no one’s a better magnet for them than me. I watched so many dang films I’m breaking this into two separate blogs, beginning with the comedy/dark comedy/exploitation stuff.

THE SASQUATCH GANG (2006)

sasquatch gang cover

Goofy flick The Sasquatch Gang isn’t even a horror comedy, but I’m covering it because it’s about a hunt for Bigfoot…and it’s totally 80s.

I’d describe it as Napoleon Dynamite meets Stand By Me. In fact, Napoleon and Uncle Rico both appear in the film, so it’s clear the goal was the same style of “nothing really happens during a day in the life of small town rednecks” humor.

sasquatch gang animation

A trio of geeky friends hangs out doing totally 80s stuff like going to the video store and the arcade and listening to a boom box…

sasquatch gang videos

Then they find piles of poop in the woods that they believe belong to a Bigfoot.

sasquatch gang long

Meanwhile, Justin Long and Joey Kern (Big Bear, Cabin Fever) are their redneck neighbors and enemies, and pretty much steal the comedy show, especially Kern. There’s even a lot of flirtation with him being hot for Justin Long, but it’s never fully confronted.

sasquatch gang carl

Other familiar faces include Mr. Action Jackson himself Carl Weathers, Ray Santiago of Ash vs. Evil Dead, and Jeremy Sumpter (Animal, The Culling, Excision) as the lead character.

sasquatch gang boys fight

If you’re a fan of Napoleon Dynamite, definitely check this one out.

DEAD MOON RISING (2007)

dead moon rising cover

Indie horror king Jason Crowe is the lead and narrates this zomcom, sort of Zombieland style.

dead moon rising bearsDon’t feed the bears…

He also carries the movie with the comic duo help of his boss at the car rental place.

dead moon rising duo splatter

Once they realize there’s a zombie apocalypse outside their store door, they hit the street, fight zombies that stay mostly faceless in fast clips to hide the lack of makeup, meet a crew of other survivors, and hole up in a warehouse.

dead moon rising eye pop

dead moon rising dream eat

Sure, it’s low budget and follows the typical zombie flick plot, but there’s plenty of gut munching, girl-on-girl action, and mockery of conservative values that applies more than ever today.

dead moon rising holy roller

Plus, Crowe whips out an awesome funny zombie gun at the end, and, there’s a fricking Tommy Tutone reference slipped in.

dead moon rising gun

NO SOLICTORS (2015)

When this film began with chipper music and footage of a charming suburban neighborhood…then cut to a bound woman getting her clearly fake boob (and I don’t mean implants) sliced off, I got the sense I was in for a cheesy good time.

That feeling continued for a while. Eric Roberts is a doctor.

His campy wife (Beverly Randolph’s first role since Return of the Living Dead in 1985) and grown daughter and hot son help him harvest body parts to sell…while they eat everything not used.

They have “patients” tied up in their basement, including Felissa Rose.

They torture and mutilate them with extremely graphic precision. Kincaid from Elm Street 3 makes a disappointingly brief appearance.

However, while some bad movie plots circle the drain, this film can’t even find the drain. It just goes on and on with no real point or story arc. And the fact that it’s almost an hour and forty minutes makes it even more grueling to get through.

But if you stick around until the end, there’s suddenly a new killer in drag tossed in. Don’t ask me why.

HOOKER WITH A HACKSAW (2017)

hooker with a hacksaw cover

If you can’t figure out what you’re getting based on the title of this film, then you’ve really labeled yourself a diehard fan of the wrong genre of film. So what are you getting? A film that looks like it was shot on a camcorder in 1985 in the director’s hometown.

hooker with a hacksaw hat

We get right to it, with our main girl watching a dude using a hacksaw make lewd gestures…which ignites her desire to grab the hacksaw and go to town on his head.

hooker with a hacksaw head saw

She gets a call from a John and goes to his house…where he makes her ride a skull’s face while he jerks off.

hooker with a hacskaw crowe

And then she has a run-in with Jason Crowe (of Dead Moon Rising above), gets away, and spends the rest of the film hacking up his goons in various ways.

hooker with a hacksaw masks

Needless to say, phallic death scenes abound. It’s over the top special effects and 1980s style low budget horror music throughout.

Eventually our hooker faces off against Crowe. In other words, he has less screen on time in the movie than a fan would hope for.

SOFT MATTER (2018)

soft matter cover

It all begins with a really bizarre and cheesy low budget sci-if experiment as scientists try to discover the key to immortality…and create a human/fish head in a bucket in a cleaning closet…

soft matter bucket

Meanwhile, two artists break into the lab, assuming the building is abandoned. You would hope for a good old killer creature feature and a body count, but nothing of much interest happens until near the end, when human fish head finally turns into a full human fish person…that can shoot cheesy 1980s laser effects from its fingers.

soft matter fish monster

I would have been able to totally get into the human fish creature shooting cheesy 80s lasers if it had more camera time and more kills throughout the film.

soft matter neon

But it all happens at the end, concluding with a battle in the dark with just black light makeup and lasers creating a very cartoonish sequence set to a techno beat.

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A bloodsucking teen and a home invader to mess with your mind

It’s not every day that I sit through slow-burning, cerebral horror and find myself totally drawn in and exceptionally freaked out, but this double feature really got under my skin. And thinking about it now, there are some curious parallels in terms of commentary on socioeconomic status and lifestyle.

THE TRANSFIGURATION (2016)

If Vampire’s Kiss had been a fascinating movie, it would have been The Transfiguration.

This dreary, depressing, disturbing film somehow makes you feel bad for the main character while being rather terrified of him.

From the very start, we know that this young black teen who lives in a rough neighborhood with his older brother kills people then drinks their blood. In his spare time, he’s obsessed with vampires and watches mutilation videos of animals.

He’s also lonely, bullied by peers, and terrorized by the local gang.

Then he befriends a white girl who is also lonely and a little weird…but not as weird as him. Even though he’s not actually a vampire, it’s hard not to see this film as an urban take on Let the Right One In. To highlight that similarity, he mentions to the girl that the film is one of his faves.

Contrasting character and gender differences and outlooks, the girl tries to get him to read Twilight. For yes, just as his world is getting darker and darker, she brings light into his life.

As much as I rebel against smart horror, The Transfiguration is a film I couldn’t stop watching because it’s such a compelling approach to exploring social, racial, and even sexual issues. While nothing is spelled out, there are layers here. For instance, the young man almost exclusively targets white men he lures in public spaces like restrooms and parks, and then steals their money after killing them. Even though it’s never presented directly, it gives off both a hustler and rough trade vibe.

And when you see odd glimpses of humanity in the teen, from compassion for others to inner struggles to resist killing, it makes you all that more confused on how to feel about him.

For unlike many horror films presented from the perspective of the killer, which I find takes away the element of fear during kill scenes, this quiet, sad kid becomes terrifying when he goes for the kill. You actually feel scared for victims when you know he’s coming for them. The writing and directing have a lot to do with that, but huge props to young actor Eric Ruffin for his chilling /sympathetic performance.

TWO PIGEONS (2017)

Based on some remarks and comments I saw about this movie online before watching it, I was expecting it to be funny and gross. The gross part is accurate as hell, but I don’t get how anyone sees this as funny, or even a dark comedy. It’s downright disturbing, unnerving, and icky…and gives a whole new meaning to the term “home invasion horror.”

I don’t want to give much away, so I’ll just say a few things. There’s this cute realtor living in a nice apartment, going about his daily business like getting ready for work, eating, jerking off, and showering. Yummy.

Little does he know that when he goes out or goes to sleep, an eerily emaciated man in underwear comes crawling out of the woodwork to live in his space.

But it’s worse than that. This creep does gross things, like using his toothbrush, drooling in the mouthwash bottle, wiping a face towel over unthinkable parts of his body…and it gets worse from there.

And the other invasive things the creep does begin to have a negative impact on the realtor’s existence—using his phone for all the wrong reasons, putting gay porn on a laptop computer, and setting the alarm clock to go off at the wrong times, just to name a few.

 

We witness the realtor’s life unravel, plus we see some of his most intimate moments being watched by the creep, who is around ALL THE TIME, hiding in the most obvious places.

Seriously, this is a huge part of me always wanting dogs in my home.

It is really chilling to watch, and you just wait for that moment when their paths finally cross—and to find out what this creep’s story is.

If you’re going to check this one out, note that there is a tag at the end of the film after the closing credits.

 

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Dante dabbling in the fun side of horror

With faves like Gremlins, Piranha, and The Howling under his belt, Joe Dante found a way to channel his love of horror into more mainstream flix for a general audience while still appealing to his fan base.

For me, Matinee and The ‘Burbs both have a lot to offer for horror nostalgia. At the same time, viewing them again for the first time since the days when I worked in a video store back in the late 80s/early 90s, I find the more commercial aspects of each film rather…commercial. Here’s what I got and didn’t get out of each.

THE ‘BURBS (1989)

Sort of like Fright Night Lite (without the vamps), the great thing about this “family friendly” suburban comedy is that it has you expecting a perfectly logical explanation for all the creepy things going on around the new neighbors’ home. Instead, it doesn’t back away from being devilishly dark in the end.

Couple Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher along with their quirky friends, including the likes of Bruce Dern and Corey Feldman, become suspicious when one of their neighbors disappears…and they see the weirdos in the creepy house on the block doing strange things like digging holes in their yard at night and dumping overloaded trash bags in the garbage.

Flirtation with horror abounds. The house looks like it could be The Munsters’ place, one of the new neighbors is fricking Malachai from the original Children of the Corn (recycling the same wardrobe?), Corey Feldman makes reference to the 1977 horror classic The Sentinel, Hanks watches The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre on TV…

All this spooky fun and comedy works best up until the point when the gang finally decides to go confront the new family.

As soon as they enter the house and we meet the weirdos at last, the mystery loses its impact.

The film goes through the hokey mainstream motions, and it wasn’t until the final confrontation that I was really feeling the fun again.

Not to mention, I think this is perhaps one of my favorite performances by Cory Feldman, yet his character is sorely underutilized.

MATINEE (1993)

On the infamous day that every sign of Roseanne was wiped from the face of syndication existence, it was the first day in at least 10 years that there was no John Goodman in my life, so I got a dose of him in Matinee, in which he stars as a horror director inspired by the real William Castle of House on Haunted Hill fame (with some nods to Hitchcock thrown in, as well as plenty of visual references to Vincent Price).

My mother introduced me to the original House On Haunted Hill when I was a kid, describing to me that when she saw it in theaters, a skeleton flew down the aisle just as one rose up from the acid pool in the movie. Little did she know she was a piece of horror cinema history—and sadly, I never thought of showing her this movie, which she would have loved.

Matinee revolves around the director’s plan to bring his immersive horror movie experience to a theater in Key West the week before Halloween, 1962. However, much of the focus is on the kids who plan to attend (it’s sort of a coming of age film), the protestors who think the movie is offensive, and those who believe banning it is against the first amendment. In other words, things just don’t change in this country.

While there are a few hints of Halloween decorations around, it would have been so much cooler if the film had focused heavily on the holiday, making the premiere of the film actually take place on October 31st. Also, considering it takes place in Florida, it doesn’t exactly look like autumn. So I’m saying the film should have been set in New England…

The focus instead is on the 60s, and the spirit of the times is captured with references to JFK, Russians, and bomb drills…not to mention it features an awesome 60s soundtrack including Little Eva’s “Loco-Motion”, “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels, “The End of the World” by Skeeter Davis, “The Great Pretender” by The Platters, and more.

It’s not until about the last 40 minutes of the film that it totally recreates the horror novelty at the theater. In this fictional take on Castle, Goodman’s character is promoting a movie called MANT! The opening of the movie puts us in the theater, filled with horror props, and we get to see a good chunk of MANT!, which is clearly a nod to The Fly.

But everything that can go wrong on opening night does, making the final act of Matinee the part to watch for. And just like Feldman in The ‘Burbs, Cathy Moriarity, who plays Goodman’s wife and the star of MANT!, kind of steals the show…yet she’s totally underutilized.

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STREAM QUEEN: 5 times the Asian horror

Prime gets a load of Asian horror films, so I figured it was time to catch up with a bunch of them while I was sick all Memorial Day weekend. Between slashers, the supernatural, and creepy creatures, I was pretty entertained. Here’s the blow by blow.

TIYANAKS (2007)

tiyanaks cover

When a movie opens with the best cheesy demon baby intro ever, it has a lot to live up to. And although it takes a while to get there, Tiyanaks delivers an onslaught of cheesy awesome demon babies. Actually, they’re Tiyanaks.

tiyanaks first baby

What is a Tiyanak? It’s a pissed off baby that died before it could be baptized.

tiyanaks monster

Who better for it to target?

tiyanaks gang

A group of kids after their van breaks down on the way to a religious retreat.

tiyanaks pool kids

They end up crashing at the creepy home of some weird lady, are spooked by sightings of child ghosts, are spied on by demon baby POV, and eventually start getting attacked by the maturing demon babies, which can even fly.

tiyanaks water attack

The “babies” are an awesome blend of demonized makeup on children and whacky CGI.

KILLER CAR (aka: Ju-on Car) (2008)

killer car cover

What’s so cool about this film is that it is totally not just another The Car or Christine knockoff. It is instead all about the ghost girl in the car.

killer car ghost girl

How did she become a ghost? The opening kill scene begins with car POV on a dark road at night. The soundtrack actually does sound like Carpenter’s Christine score, which enhances the effect.

Then we see an abducted girl tied up in the back of the car. When the killer gets out and murders her, it is one of the most sexually perverse kill scenes ever, and takes its time delving into the nastiness of it all.

killer car first kill

So it’s shocking how tame most of the film is after that. Actually, aside from good horror atmosphere, there’s not much excitement for a majority of the 72-minute running time. Kids rent a car to go travel to some waterfalls, and it turns out it’s the car the girl was killed in. Thing is, she doesn’t start killing anyone until 40 minutes in!

killer car boy dead

She’s a pretty typical Asian horror ghost girl with the brooding looks and the creepy hair, but even the kill scenes are restrained…until she gets her ultimate revenge on the person who deserves it in the same manner she got it in the beginning.

And yes, the car does drive by itself, but only once.

SLAUGHTER ISLAND (2010)

slaughter island cover

This island slasher apparently needed to be shaved down for pacing before it was distributed to American audiences, because it’s an 83-minute film that runs only 64 on Prime. Based on some of the feedback I’ve read on the film, I guess that time needed to be lost. Saves me from saying itshould have been cut by 20 minutes.

Even at 64 minutes, there are several overly long partying montages on the beach.

slaughter island boat

There are also a load of seemingly disjointed things going on here. The kids do the campfire thing and talk about an uninhabitable island. Something moves under the sand (and is never explained).

slaughter island bloody hand

One dude tries to rape one of the girls.

slaughter island tied up

They pull a Cabin Fever on one girl, tying her up in a tent…where she appears to get attacked by one of those Asian girl ghosts with lots of hair.

slaughter island attack

And they all start getting killed off by…those they think they can trust. Some fun kills are really the most I took away from this.

ASWANG (2011)

aswang cover

I blogged about the 1994 Aswang here, but this is apparently a remake of a 1992 Aswang that I’ve not seen—but will soon since it’s also on Prime.

However, the creatures in this film aren’t actually the mythical Aswang, but a subspecies of them called Abwak—which I only learned from reading the IMDb description  (after not understanding why characters were calling them Abwak).

To be honest, they’re basically Bava’s demons…that can transform into animals, fly, and burrow underground like Tremors Graboids.

aswang 2011 main guy attacked

The film is about a hit gang hunting for two children that escaped during a home invasion.

aswang 2011 kids

However, one of the hit guys is unable to do the shooting, so when they arrive in the small village where the kids are hiding out, he has trouble following through with the orders to kill them.

Making it even more challenging is the fact that he meets a young woman he really likes…who is doing everything in her power to protect the children.

aswang 2011 girl and kids

So, the demon people are creepy cool, the guys are uber hot…and the main guy gets shirtless.

aswang 2011 main guy front

aswang 2011 main guy back

However, the movie is 110 minutes long and feels like it’s never really going to get to the horror! When it finally does, it’s good times as the bad hit men take on the demon people in the wilderness.

aswang 2011 monster face

Then the movie totally goes rogue and gets into this overblown side story about the family of the young woman trying to protect the kids. Wasn’t loving that part.

HAUNTED MANSION (2015)

haunted mansion cover

If only this movie didn’t run almost 2 hours long it would have been a new fave of mine. As the movie stands…and stands…and stands, it’s over an hour before someone gets attacked and killed by a ghost.

Our main girl lost her father in a mystery “accident” that she believes was her fault. She now sees ghosts, which makes for a convenient ghost girl scare in the first 10 minutes of the movie.

haunted mansion ghost girl

She goes on a retreat with her classmates, they stay the night at a creepy house with a tragic past of rape and murder, there’s a load of teen drama and romantic jealousy that leads to clashes between the kids, there’s a prank played…

haunted mansion girl fight

Then when we reach the 68-minute mark, victims finally start getting their tongues ripped out. It’s like a throwback to the supernatural slasher killers of the 2000s when we at last meet our killer—a freaky witch corpse ghost.

haunted mansion ghost in back

She rules for the sorely short period of time she takes over, chasing and killing everyone. And her battle with the final girl is awesome. I’ll just never understand why she was withheld from the movie for so long.

haunted mansion ghost face

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Dancing to Death: Rave Party Massacre vs. Zombie Spring Breakers

One’s a slasher, one’s a zombie flick, both titles sound like a total blast. So which party would I rather attend?

RAVE PARTY MASSACRE (2017)

rave party massacre cover

Running only 77 minutes long and centering on kids stalked by a masked killer with an axe at a rave in 1992, Rave Party Massacre could so easily be a nonstop slasher party.

rave party massacre dead wall paint

It’s visually crafted in classic slasher style with perfect horror atmosphere and tone. The rave scene alone is a fun throwback, complete with the spirit of the day—dancing, drugs, sexual desire, and even a gay couple slutting it up on the dance floor together to torment a horny girl.

rave party massacre gays

Oh how I wish these pretty boys had been a part of the full cast and not just a couple of extras.

rave party massacre dancing SKULL

Problem is the film attempts to delve into a much bigger story than it needs to—or is capable of living up to. The underlying theme is politically charged, delving into conspiracy theories and the threat of the New World Order.

rave party massacre killer appears

It’s such a major undertaking to present in a simple slasher setting that the entire point has to be spelled out by a news reporter during a voice-over sequence after the closing credits begin.

rave party massacre pill

Why would a huge political plot lead a killer to stalk kids at a rave, you ask? Well, don’t. It would actually be easier to overlook the whole message of the movie and just enjoy it for the slasher elements.

rave party massacre throat slice

But even in that aspect, the kids spend the first 40 minutes of the movie freaking out as they try to get out of the hospital where the rave took place…before they’re even aware there’s a killer after them.

Finally a masked guy with an axe shows up. Yet despite the kills being handled expertly, there’s more chasing in the film than death sequences, so in the end not even the slasher elements deliver…or live up to the title Rave Party Massacre. If only those gays had stuck around, they could have brought more life to the death party.

rave party massacre killer in red

The film was originally titled DeadThirsty…which would explain why the title was changed before release, because it also doesn’t live up to the original title! The film essentially paints itself into a corner.

ZOMBIE SPRING BREAKERS (aka: Ibiza Undead) (2016)

zombie spring breakers cover

Next it’s off to Ibiza, for the after hours club scene…when it’s always best if the straights go home and leave the real partying to the gays. Unfortunately, the straighties in Zombie Spring Breakers step into gay territory…

zombie spring breakers leads

zombie spring breakers gay and zombie at club

The zombie outbreak has begun, and a bunch of buddies decides to get away from it all by traveling to the exotic island…where the gay owner of the club has zombies shipped in to use as part of the attraction (the very first zombie attack is gay on gay!).

zombie spring breakers gay abductee

So when our lovable, horny main boys go out to party, they get to witness everything from dancing zombies in cages to bodacious babes hacking zombies up on stage with a chainsaw. What could go wrong?

zombie spring breakers first zombie

The dance floor outbreak is awesomely crazy thanks to the flashes of colorful club lights.

zombie spring breakers horde

The zombie makeup is cool and there’s even an underwater zombie scene (but no shark).

zombie spring breakers underwater

There are plenty of funny moments, including good old teen sexploitation humor, and the gay club owner gets the hots for one of the main guys. Plus, there’s a hottie with a body.

zombie spring breakers hottie body 2Don’t move a muscle! And keep your mouth just like that…

zombie spring breakers hottie body 1

There’s also a gnarly arm sawing scene that goes on forever!

zombie spring breakers arm saw

The only issue is that the action is a little slow for quite a while, and the film is almost an hour and forty minutes.

zombie spring breakers first zombie

Losing 10 to 15 minutes early on could have quickened the pace and really tightened up the fun flow. But I still had a good enough time with this one to add it to my movie collection.

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