The rest of Vincent Price in the 80s

The king of horror left his mark on the 1980s simply by leaving his mark on the title track from the king of pop’s massive album Thriller. But he also continued to appear in horror flicks, most of which I’ve already covered: The Monster Club, Dead Heat, House of the Long Shadows, and From a Whisper to A Scream.

At last, I take on what I believe are the final two Vincent Price horror flix from the 1980s that I’d not yet blogged about – horror comedy Bloodbath at the House of Death and horror anthology Escapes.


bloodbath at the house of death cover

This British horror parody manages to deliver touches of the slapstick humor of American comedies like Airplane. It also accomplishes something American horror spoofs fail to – it actually includes genuine horror elements, including gore! The goofy shenanigans do not detract from the gothic atmosphere and finely crafted horror setups, so you’re never allowed to forget that you are indeed in the horror universe even though you’re watching a comedy.

bloodbath at the house of death axe man

The intro scene has robed figures totally annihilating everyone sleeping inside a mansion.

boodbath at the house of death opeing gore

Decades later, scientists gather at the mansion to investigate strange occurrences surrounding the massacre. Little do they know a sinister cult led by Vincent Price was behind the killings and is out for more blood!

bloodbath at the house of death cast

Much like Clue, Bloodbath at the House of Death features quirky characters delivering deadpan lines as they contend with the insanity of the mansion. Among them is a pretty boy with amnesia, a scholar with a prosthetic leg, a woman with a tormented religious past, and a handsome gay couple.

bloodbath at the house of death gay couple

And the horrors include dead bodies, an incubus, a bleeding bathroom, a killer Teddy bear, and of course, that evil cult.

bloodbath at the house of death vincent

Vincent Price’s presence is large, but his role is contained to his scenes instructing his cult members in their plot to destroy everyone in the mansion. This is Price at his campy horror best – he should have gotten his own horror sitcom after this performance. There’s a particularly funny exchange that was way ahead of its time. Out in the woods, Price repeatedly orders his minions to gather up all the faggots to burn, and one of the men keeps expressing how uncomfortable he is with Price saying it. Price’s reaction has me convinced if he were alive today, he would totally be a guest host on an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

 bloodbath at the house of death bathroom

Price is the icing on the horror cake in this comedy. It’s astounding how much detail is put into the horror. A scene parodying Carrie has a woman beheaded with a can opener.

bloodbath at the house of death can opener

A “mole” bursts open to reveal something gruesome inside. A botched surgery is both darkly comic and bloody. Plus, there are classic comic moments poking fun at horror, like tension-building orchestral stabs actually coming from a man playing a cello, and a woman screaming at the sight of a bat in a dark tunnel, which results in a baseball bat falling from the ceiling and hitting her male companion in the head.

bloodbath at the house of death corpse

If there’s any flaw to Bloodbath at the House of Death, it’s that more and more strange “twists” are tossed in as the story progresses and never quite come together. Yet, considering this is a parody, it kind of makes perfect sense that it’s so fricking weird in the end. However, it’s not even funny weird. It’s more like, “that shit was bizarre” weird. And that once again reminds us – at the last moment – that we were immersed in a horror universe, not a comedy universe.

ESCAPES (1986)

 escapes cover

While this isn’t exactly the most memorable “anthology film,” it definitely has some notable aspects. For starters, it didn’t originate as an anthology film. A bunch of short films were just lumped together so it could be marketed as a movie. These days, gathering short films together for release as an anthology film has become standard practice.

Also, the film revolves around stories originating from a videotape. Yes indeed, a horror anthology about stories seen on a V/H/S…. Plus, the wraparound that was filmed featuring Vincent Price as a mailman that delivers the videotape has all the baddies from the short stories come back to get the main guy who watches the tape, another twist used very often in horror anthologies these days.

escapes remote
The face we used to make when we hit play on the VCR remote.

Price is not a “star” of any of the stories here. His role is extremely minor. He does serve as “host” of the stories – when the young man who gets the tape pops it into the VCR, it’s an anthology film called Escapes hosted by Vincent Price (trippy).

escapes price

The Twilight Zone hook of the wraparound is befitting, because these stories aren’t exactly “horror.” Some are eerie, but I’d say they’re mostly like low budget attempts at Amazing Stories episodes. Here’s the breakdown:

“Hobgoblin Bridge” – This is one of my faves and a perfect Spielberg wannabe. Bratty boys warn another boy that the hobgoblin will get him if he tries to cross the covered bridge on his bike. Little monster time!

escapes bridge

“A Little Fishy” – A quick and silly nature strikes back tale.

“Coffee Break” – This one has a good 80s horror vibe, complete with neon lights at just the right moment, but the creepy townsfolk plot is nothing new. It feels like one of the weaker Tales from the Darkside episodes.

escapes rednecks

“Who’s There” – This one starts out with promise of horror. Something has escaped from the nature preserve. But after some POV in the woods and a chase scene with a jogger, the big confrontation turns whimsical!

escapes woods creature

“Jonah’s Dream” – This is definitely a sappy Amazing Stories clone about a woman waiting for the moment her deceased husband’s dream from years before about finding gold on their farm will come true.

“Think Twice” – Another Amazing Stories plot, this one is about a homeless man finding a magic crystal.

escapes tape

Now that I’ve outlined each story in Escapes for this blog, I must say…my “fave” is pretty much the only story I really liked here, with “Coffee Break” being a welcome addition because at least it’s a horror theme. And the Vincent Price VHS tape hosting job in-joke is a bonus, as is him closing out the film with his diabolical laugh.

escapes TV

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Weird shit through the 80s

From January 1st, 1980 – December 31st, 1989, I didn’t miss a moment of the 80s. I had cable. I worked at a video store. And yet, there are still horror flicks from the decade that I haven’t yet seen. Hopefully, the supply will remain unlimited…despite shit like these four films being the bulk of what I missed back then.

SCREAM (1981)

scream 1981 cover

Before there was Scream 1996, there was…Scream 1981! It’s probably better to call it by its other title, The Outing, because you won’t scream once.

The intro is plenty intriguing and creepy. It’s just a shot of a wall clock and a bunch of figurines with their heads chopped off while perfect 80s horror theme music plays.

scream 1981 dolls

All that is shot to shit when the next scene shows people rafting to some sort of Hill Street Blues theme song knockoff crap. That’s one way to remind you this movie is from 1981. Anyway, this group of rafters hikes into an old ghost town for the night. Initially, there’s some great 80s slasher atmosphere as night falls—the shadows, the lighting, the POV, the sound effects. And while we don’t see the first kill, the shot set up and reveal of the body are uber cool and eerily effective.

scream 1981 ghost town

Unfortunately, an eerie moment here and there is the extent of it. The kills are infrequent and happen off screen, mostly because this movie is the poster child for why everyone should make the stupid decision to split up in horror movies.

scream 1981 wall cleaver

These people DON’T split up and nothing happens. They all stay in a building for a majority of the film, and whenever there’s a noise or odd occurrence to check out, they go together. How fucking boring!

The only one who seems to keep ending up on his own is the chubby guy they all pick on, and for some reason, he still survives! Plus, his scenes are accompanied by whimsical, cheesy 80s music that kills the mood.

scream 1981 chubby guy

Finally, some mysterious cowboy rides into town and the simply bizarre twist as to what’s really going on comes to light.

scream 1981 group

There are finally a couple of halfway decent kills—mostly because we at least get to see them on screen—before the film comes to a head-scratching conclusion with tons of survivors.

scream 1981 axe

It’s fascinating that a movie can have atmosphere and a creepy theme going for it, but nothing else.


 born of fire cover

How do you torture a dark soul? Make it watch Born of Fire. Imagine all the slow pacing and symbolic visuals in the archaeological opening sequence of The Exorcist filling an entire film, and you have this snoozefest.

A flutist and astronomer team up because they’re both hearing strange music and a volcano has erupted in Turkey where the flutist’s father died and some sort of supernatural Master Flautist awaits. So they decide to head there to investigate…despite the MFer making his freaky presence known during a drive in the rain.

born of fire windsheld

Within the depths of cavernous Turkish structures, the pair tries to uncover the truth of the father’s connection to the Master Flautist – a demonic figure (aka: man with bad skin) plotting to destroy the world.

born of fire fire small

born of fire water

In an effort to keep us entertained, there’s a little deformed man, irritating ancient rituals, endless water and fire imagery, a sex scene with bugs and skeletons, and a bug birth, pretty much the highlight for this horror fan—which is saying a lot, because I find bug births to be repulsive.

born of fire bang

born of fire birth


incident at ravens gate cover

Sleepy time continues despite a promising 80s vibe.

incident at ravens gate leads

An ex-con comes to work on his brother’s farm in a rural area. He fucks around with the brother’s wife. He fucks around with the local cop’s lady. A football trophy is stolen from a local bar. A Close Encounters style light attack on a house promises something momentous down the line.

incident at ravens gate door light

incident at ravens gatg crop

There’s a distinct edge to the atmosphere in this film that keeps you watching and waiting, sensing something horrific is going to happen as hints of odd occurrences slowly build around the main characters.

incident at ravens gate cop

45 minutes in, we see a flash of a freaky creature attacking the cop’s car. But don’t expect much more than that.

incident at ravens gate windshield

It seems from that point on any threat to the two brothers comes in the form of some sort of alien beings mimicking or taking over the bodies of humans.

incident at ravens gate gun

incident at ravens gate corpse

It feels and looks suspenseful and I guess there’s a hint of “body snatchers” going on here, but the initial slow burn that feels like it’s holding on to something terrifying just never delivers and it’s really hard to determine exactly what the hell is going on.


las vegas blood bath cover

The biggest thrill in this shot-on-video exploitation flick is the sexy 80s daddy in the black Speedo during a sex scene at the beginning.

las vegas blood bath daddy

Next, we learn that the daddy was banging some clean-cut dude’s wife. So the guy goes on a rampage, driving around and calling women sluts and whores.

las vegas blood bath lead

First he ties a prostitute up in an alley, sticks a knife through her chin (looks pretty nasty), and then rips off her limbs by tying them to the bumper of his car.

las vegas blood bath arm rip

After that, 80s chicks sit around a living room talking, trying on swimsuits, playing cards, watching female oil wrestling on TV, and ordering pizza for at least thirty minutes.

las vegas blood bath girls

FINALLY the killer comes in with a gun and begins to take the girls upstairs one at a time, where he does a variety of disgusting things to them…like cutting open one chick’s belly, ripping out her unborn baby, and throwing it against a wall!

las vegas blood bath baby

As bad as it all is, the killer has a couple of really funny and campy moments near the end. His reaction when a Jehovah’s Witness comes knocking on the door is hilarious. 

las vegas bloodbath jehovah

But his shining moment comes when a hot cop in jeans and a tank top busts in while he’s…um…taking a bath. The whole movie should have gone for this level of dark, twisted humor.

las vegas blood bath tub

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Slashing scarecrows and cabin creatures in the 90s

If I’ve gotta do 90s horror, slashing scarecrows and cabin creatures are a good way to go. I missed both of these back in the day, so I was in for some surprises.


dark harvest cover

A shot-on-video slasher from 1992, this one left me with no expectations, and for quite a while, it lived up to them beautifully. For starters, I have no idea why so many people are out in the middle of a desert (or why a scarecrow is either, for that matter), but a bunch of college kids is driving through the desert.

dark harvest skull

They take an ominous warning by a black dude pumping gas as just hillbilly talk. I didn’t even know black guys could be hillbillies. Damn, I really am one ignorant educated white metropolitan dude.

dark harvest cast

The group’s van breaks down, they set up camp, tell scary stories by a fire, confess their most secret dreams, go off for sex…

dark harvest off for sex

…and then start getting killed by not one, but several scarecrows!

dark harvest intro scarecrow

On top of that, there are some fucked up encounters with some really queer hillbillies (white ones).

dark harvest hillbillies

It’s a bizarre mess for a while. Then suddenly, the movie finds a surprisingly good groove…crazy scarecrow madness hilarity.

dark harvest sex stab

Seriously, I believe the prominent horror comedy aspects are all totally intentional. I mean…scarecrows even start talking.

dark harvest scarecrow face

The shining star of this shift in tone is hilarious actor David Zyler.

dark harvest leading man

If I had been the director of this film, upon initially viewing the final cut, I would have gone back and reworked the first half to match the second part and made Zyler the star from the start.

dark harvest final three

I’m glad to see that among the many faceless cast credits for this film on imdb, his name has a face and he has remained in the business to this day—as a voice actor.

dark harvest strung up

I can guarantee that if he had been around a decade earlier and started his career in a 1982 horror flick, he would have had a streak of roles in a handful of 80s teen flix and horror flix and would be a household name with GenXers to this day.

TOTEM (1999)

totem cover

By the end of the 90s, Charles Band’s partnership with David DeCoteau working on Full Moon films was coming to an end, but DeCoteau was apparently obligated to direct this one—and is apparently embarrassed by it. And yet he finds no shame in continuing to pump out those 1313 movies…

totem strings

I didn’t hate Totem. Yeah, it’s really cheesy and you can see the strings on the little totem creatures, but this shit is horror brilliance compared to the nonsensical Evil Bong/Gingerdead Man/Ooga Booga mashups Full Moon is shamelessly pumping out these days.

totem totem pole

The truth is, despite the film featuring silly creatures coming alive off a totem pole, the general premise Charles Band created is one that would become a mainstream horror cliché by the end of the 2000s—a group of people is stuck together in an enclosed place, and the way to survive is to kill the others.

totem cabin

Six young people find themselves trapped in a cabin in the woods, unable to actually travel past a certain point on the land outside.

totem tank

They do find an old cemetery with a totem pole in it.

totem monster face

An ancient curse says that before the night is through, three of them will kill the other three, and in doing so, release the creatures from the totem.

totem zomb weapon

totem tiedguy

Laughable b-movie flying puppets, pretty people turning on each other in an effort to stay alive, cute boys, smoke machines to give it that good old hokey horror atmosphere, a ridiculous zombie scene in the graveyard at the end—Totem is entertainment without the logic.

totem zombie attack

While the original running time is 80 minutes, this goofy movie is available to stream in a 68-minute edit. Perhaps those missing 12 minutes are the key to clarity?

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Hide and Go Kill…winner gets to play again!

The Hide and Go Kill series (aka: Creepy Hide and Go Seek) had a major impact on me – it highlighted that I’m so old that even Ringu and Ju-On movies are now being copycatted by directors who grew up on them…


hide and go kill cover

The premise of the series is really kind of creepy. Lonely kids learn online about playing Hide-and-Seek Alone—essentially playtime with a ghost. The risk is, if you don’t follow the rules properly—which include a ritual involving a doll, a knife, rice, salt, etc.—you die when you play. Sounds like a recipe for a lonely person to commit suicide to me. If you’d like more info on how to play an extremely dangerous version of the game, click here.

hide and go kill 1 doll

Anyway, the first film is only 72 minutes long and actually feels more like an anthology of sorts, as there are 3 individual tales of victims of the game. The first involves a girl who plays in an attempt to reconnect with a BFF who has become distant after playing the game. The second tale has a group of friends deciding to film while playing the game. And the last tale has a young woman playing totally alone.

hide and go kill 1 attack

While the urban legend gets under your skin, this film feels like a cheap The Ring/The Grudge knockoff, complete with online clips of a ghost girl crawling out of a closet and up to the camera.

hide and go kill 1 crawl viddéjà vu mashup – ghost girl crawls from closet
while a TV glows nearby.

The final tale even has the main character being chased around her house by the crawling girl, but it’s so damn dark you can’t see much.


hide and go kill 2 cover

The second film essentially feels like a remake of aspects of the first film with more money thrown behind it—and an even more unapologetic cloning of The Ring and The Grudge. It deliberately builds more tension through slow and suspenseful terror sequences like classic Asian horror, but the whopping hour and 42-minute run time is still a bit much and it begins to drag near the end.

hide and go kill 2 nails

Once again, a schoolgirl’s friend disappears from her life, so she sets out to uncover what the Hide-and-Seek Alone game has to do with it.

hide and go kill 2 doll

So naturally, she plays it…and spends the rest of the film running away from a grudge girl, grudge noises and all! Exhausting. So exhausting it eventually lands her in the hospital.

hide and go kill 2 crawl

I’m pretty numb to these ghost girls at this point, but the final appearance is pretty effective, with the grudge girl slimed to the max as she crawls from a tub in the hospital, croaking things like, ”Ready or not!” and ”Found you!” EEK. Fricking…EEK.

hide and go kill 2 ceiling“I’d like to see them Sadako and Kayako bitches do this!”


hide and go kill 3 cover

Just like The Ring films, this series becomes ridiculously repetitive. Yet of the three films, this is probably my favorite, even if it is kind of the most absurd in that it strays farthest from the original plot. Running a perfect 90-minutes, it’s evenly paced, and the derivative scares are just right.

A schoolgirl’s brother goes missing thanks to the initial “Hide-and-Seek Alone” opening sequence, which is nice and creepy. When she visits his place, she finds info about the game, and so she starts to look into it with the help of her boyfriend.

hide and go kill 3 doll

Now for the dumb part. They don’t even play the game and the damn grudge girl starts showing up and chasing after them in various places. They also get ominous phone calls and scary messages through television screen static. They eventually discover they need to find a particular resting place in order to put the grudge girl to rest and stop their own deaths. Yeah, it’s The Ring.

hide and go kill 3 crawl

This time, the grudge girl is totally white and pretty much looks like a corpse when we get the full Monty in the final confrontation. But before that, there is one much scarier scene in which the main girl mistakes a coat hanging in a closet for the grudge girl…kind of. Best scene in the whole franchise.

hide and go kill 3 coat

Actually, I can’t say that for sure, because there is at least one more film, but I haven’t been able to hunt it down yet. It involves students in a movie club shooting a film about the “Hide-and-Seek Alone” game.

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Direct to DVD: the horror of William Butler

william butler

Makeup, special effects, acting, writing, directing. WILLIAM BUTLER is one of those “under the radar” horror guys that has done it all for decades, from the 80s to today.

He has appeared in loads of horror, including:

Terror Night (aka: Bloody Movie)

Friday the 13th Part VII

Ghoulies II


Buried Alive

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

Night of the Living Dead 90

Watchers III


Freddy’s Nightmares TV show episodes

He has even appeared in gay films Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel and David DeCoteau’s Leather Jacket Love Story.

He has written films like:

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis, Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave, The Gingerdead Man, and Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust.

And finally, he has directed films like Demonic Toys 2: Personal Demons, Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver (in which he also voices Gingerdead Man), and these two films – Furnace and Madhouse.

FURNACE (2007)

furnace cover

I’m going to save the best for last, so I’ll cover this one first. Despite its sizable cast, Furnace feels much more like an indie film than Madhouse. Great horror cast aside, it just looks like the usual direct-to-DVD digital effects supernatural ghost flix they pumped out for a quick buck back in the first decade of the 2000s.

furnace paul

The plot revolves around mysterious deaths/suicides at a prison. Rapper Paul Wall – yeah, the white guy who rapped on Brooke Hogan’s “About Us” track back when she was hot for a hot minute and saying “hot minute” was hot and Paris Hilton used to say “That’s hot” – gets the opening suicide, then Michael Paré is a detective on the case. Yeah, that Michael Paré, the white guy who starred in Eddie and The Cruisers but didn’t actually sing “On the Dark Side,” which was performed by John Caf—eh, fuck it. I could do this all day.

furnace leads

Paré begins poking around the spooky prison with the help of a psychologist (Sharon Stone-esque Jenny McShane of The Devil’s Dozen) and forensics expert (Kelly Stables, who played Samara in The Ring Two!). Inmates include Danny Trejo, Ja Rule, and hottie Taylor Kinney (The Vampire Diaries, The Forest), and Tom Sizemore works at the prison.

furnace ja rule trejo

There are some creepy exploration scenes of the dark basement, and it all keeps leading back to the furnace area, plus there are good, cheap jump scares provided by two freaky ghosts—a man and a girl.

furnace choke

But like I said, they’re mostly presented in cheesy digital form. Also, these ghosts have a weird ability to travel outside the prison, which is kind of ridiculous.

furnace girl ghost bed

However, it does make for probably the scariest scene in the film in Paré’s bedroom…with the added bonus of Paré being shirtless.

furnace pare

The film is rather slow as Paré investigates and the truth of what’s going on at the prison begins to unfold, but the final act is kind of fun, with Trejo and Ja Rule at last getting some screen time, a thrilling chase scene in the tunnels of the basement, and a total riot in the prison.

furnace ja rule trejo

But overall, Furnace won’t wow you, and you won’t feel a need to ever revisit again. And yet ironically, you’d probably watch it every time it comes on cable and there’s nothing else to watch.

furnace man ghost


madhouse cover

Now this is my kind of horror flick. Madhouse opens with a nightmarish sequence of clips that puts The Ring video to shame.

madhouse window freak

Our main man is none other than Josh from The Blair Witch Project. He plays an intern at a mental institution where the staff is almost as off as the patients.

madhouse prisoner grab

Lance Henriksen is the sinister head of the hospital (of course he is), Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace, American Horror Story) is a doctor, Dendrie Taylor (Sons of Anarchy, True Blood) is the evil head nurse, and Jordan Ladd (Club Dread, Cabin Fever, Grindhouse; Death Proof, Hostel: Part II) is a staff nurse.

madhouse leslie

Josh immediately notices things are weird at the hospital. Patients reference some sort of unseen presence (particularly Natasha Lyonne, who has a small role in the film), there are strange noises, Josh keeps catching glimpses of a little boy, he finds literature about the supernatural, and…staff members and patients starts getting gruesomely murdered!

madhouse body drop

Along with some wickedly eerie supernatural visuals, there are some whacked death scenes in this film! Plus there’s a hellish basement where the most disturbed patients are kept. Josh begins to consult with a mysterious patient down there that chooses to stay hidden in the shadows, but seems to know a lot about what goes on in the hospital.

madhouse boy

The film is atmospheric, suspenseful, and fast-paced with some great twists and a classic final chase. Imagine being chased through a mental hospital by someone with an axe, and no one gives either of you a second glance because they’re all fucking crazy!

madhouse trans

From a queer POV, there’s a patient down in the basement listed in the credits as “Trannie” that makes it a habit of talking dirty to the guys and disgustingly licking the glass window on the door of her room. There’s also an adorable bearded patient who it can be presumed is gay by a few simple lines of dialogue.

madhouse gay

First, the evil nurse actually calls him a faggot, and second, when he’s speaking with Josh and reminiscing about his childhood, he recalls being really bad at dodgeball and getting hit with the ball a lot. On top of that, his character is a gentle, kind soul and very protective of Natasha Lyonne, the ultimate fag hag…

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STREAM QUEEN: boys behaving badly, but who did it best?

This triple feature I checked out on Amazon Prime isn’t your usual scarefest. These are indie flix about young men who lose their shit for various reasons, leading to violence and bloodshed. So which one kept me most entertained?


blood was everywhere cover

I’ll answer the most obvious question first. Was there blood everywhere? No. No, there wasn’t. There really wasn’t. But there was a lot of white. A whole lot of white. White trash. White trash everywhere.

blood was everywhere trash

Following an opening scene of a guy getting clocked while changing a tire on the side of the road, Blood Was Everywhere gives us 25 minutes of a few white trash guys bickering back and forth about buying and selling drugs.

blood was everywhere bikes

We watch some girls ride bikes around the small town in which the movie takes place. We spend a load of time watching personal drama unfold at a local bar. I’ve never watched Duck Dynasty or Honey Boo Boo, but I imagine they’re not much different than watching most of this film.

Just before the final 20 minutes, a woman sitting on a toilet bowl gets her throat slashed, as does the drug seller (who looks like a younger Iggy Pop, so he’s probably around 90).

blood was everywhere drug dealer

The killer then barges into the home of the two girls who were riding their bicycles for the whole movie, kills a handful of people there, then heads over to another house and beats an older couple to death with a bat before the credits role.

 blood was everywhere boy stabbed

While we never see the killer’s face, it’s just a dude in a T-shirt and jeans—hence the horror is that anyone could be a killer for no apparent reason, and could get away with it.

blood was everywhere killer

The kills are very simplistic, with little in the way of gore effects. Really, there’s just nothing to nourish the horror soul here.


as night comes cover

This is the most “polished” production of the bunch, and yet the script goes nowhere. We are pretty much thrust into the middle of it. An outsider has already moved into town and is already in with the wrong crowd. Myko Olivier (Fun Size Horror: Volume One, a Warbler on Glee) is the new kid (with absurdly sleazy slick hair), and Luke Baines (The Possession of Michael King) is the absurdly queer leader of the gang for someone who is supposedly straight. The underlying homoerotic relationship between these two is about as interesting as it got for me (the deep throating image on Myko’s Iggy Pop shirt in the pic below says it all).


The gang causes trouble, the leader gets pissy whenever the new guy talks to the girl that he likes, and they have conflicts with the high school jocks. And throughout the entire movie, the new guy just stands on the sidelines and watches with shock and dismay whenever the leader does bad stuff. It’s absolutely impossible to care about this loser for not walking away from this gang, especially when he has a sweet girl urging him to.

Eventually, finally, on the night before Halloween, they take mischief night to a more disturbing level that’s still pretty damn lame in the new millennium—as is the lack of Halloween spirit in the film. They put on skull makeup and beat up one jock with bats…in broad daylight…on his front lawn…on a suburban block. NO ONE comes out. NO ONE calls the cops. It’s a small town, so I have to add that NO redneck comes out a shootin’.

as night comes beating

They go to another jock’s house and pull a Carrie while the jock is in the pool with his girlfriend then beat him up.

as night comes pool blood

Things escalate from there a bit and the new kid and the leader and up in a lovers’ quarrel…I mean…turning against each other. But really, everyone in this film is so pathetic I was left feeling nothing for anyone and was hoping both boys were put out of their misery (they aren’t, sadly).


victimzed cover

Victimized, written and directed by Michael Kenneth Fahr, who also stars in the film, is essentially a gay revenge slasher. However, the structure is slightly different than your standard slasher after the usual “killer is cruelly treated by peers” intro flashback scene.

victimized intro attack

A good portion of the first half of the film focuses heavily on how deeply the main character’s abuse at the hands of his parents, his brother, and his peers has led to him completely snapping. The heavy-handed subject matter (much of it handled through flashbacks) might strike a nerve in some gay viewers, while others will be itching to get to the revenge.

victimized hot brother 1

Horror hottie Cuyle Carvin (Mind Morgue, Fog Warning, Assault of the Sasquatch) plays the extremely hateful anti-gay brother, who plans to spend some time at the lake house with his girlfriend, played by Sarah Nicklin (Abandoned Dead, Flesh for the Inferno, Fun Size Horror: Volume One, The Haunting of Alice D, The Disco Exorcist).

victimized brother and girlfriend

Little do they know the gay brother is skulking in the shadows, plotting payback for the years of suffering he was put through.

What may come as a surprise is that once the facts are presented, the revenge segment of the film is fairly tame and the body count relatively low.

victimized red face

A couple of friends do stop by—literally a couple—and Fahr’s character keeps Sarah Nicklin tied up, which makes for some good escape and chase scenes.

victimized shovel to head

His disposal of the other characters ranges from semi-brutal to quick and virtually painless. But despite his level of insanity and the seriousness of the torment he went through, the film has fun with his murderous revenge. It shifts into darkly comic territory.

victimized girlfriend bruised

Notable campy highlights include the standoff between Fahr and Nicklin, as well as the arrival of a drunk, horny neighbor. She rules, and she ups her comic game when a handsome cop comes on the scene.

victimized neighbor

victimized cop

Personally, I’m more about the campy killer flick Victimized becomes in its second half than the “portrait of a serial killer” feel of the first half. I would have welcomed more victims and kills at the hands of a psycho homo, because I prefer Fahr’s vengeance over his victimization. However, the film is called Victimized, so I’ll just have to deal with it. And regardless, this one is definitely my favorite of this trio of films I streamed on Amazon Prime.

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THE HYPE MONSTER: The Void vs. Bloody Muscle Body Builder In Hell

Word of Internet mouth can be a horror flick’s best friend or seriously oversell it. So here’s a look at two films that were getting major attention on the Web, leading to me blind buying both of them. Do I regret having either of them in my collection? No, but I definitely have a favorite.

THE VOID (2016)

void 2016 cover

The two men who brought us the Astron-6 exploitation flick Father’s Day go full-on horror flick with The Void. That alone raised my expectations even higher than the Internet alone could. This one had the potential to be a really wild throwback creature feature, but instead tosses in many different horror elements…then kind of pushes each aside to toss in more. It’s like a ride through a haunted attraction where, well, the scary shit you just saw…forget it ever happened, because there’s other scary stuff ahead.

 void cast

That’s not to say there’s no plot. The reason for all the horror havoc eventually unfolds—or rather, it’s kind of force-fed to us by the party responsible for all the horror. This isn’t a movie in which the characters slowly discover the truth on their own. After we’re initially thrilled with some fantastic, fast and furious horror action, the presentation of all the facts is dumped on us in the middle of the movie, creating a stretch of exposition before the horror returns for a thrilling finale. Still, the formula remains the same: fleeting new horrors are presented then quickly forgotten.

 void monster

Essentially, The Void is an alternate reality in the alternate reality that is Silent Hill—it could easily have been marketed as a third film in the franchise. There’s a hospital. There are gruesome, deformed creatures. There’s a husband looking for his wife. There’s a creepy cult. There’s a journey to a hellish basement, and a portal to another dimension. There’s a doctor delving into the occult to “rebirth” his daughter.

 void pregnancy

As a fan of everything Silent Hill, I welcome the similarities, but The Void initially promises something beyond that. A small group of people is trapped in a hospital and it appears individuals are suddenly going mad. Then all of a sudden shit reaches The Thing level insanity within seconds! It’s tentacle monster madness! WTF? Is everyone going to start turning into these thing? Nope. Now there’s a cult in white robes and hoods standing outside. Creepy and violent if challenged, but beyond making sure the characters remain in the hospital, they don’t pose much of a threat for most of the movie.

 void cult

So as the characters try to determine their next move, there’s a lull in monster activity, and all plot points start pointing to a basement rescue mission. The mad doctor’s lair has some macabre surprises in it, but characters pretty much just need to turn a corner to leave them behind for good.

 void zombie

Even after the doctor finally unleashes his ultimate creation—what would be considered the final boss in a Silent Hill video game—it simply meanders out of the room to tussle with a couple of guys and the doctor is already on to a new dastardly plan. WTF?

His underwhelming reaction is infectious, for the climax takes an oddly hokey 80s sci-fi/horror route. The good news is, there’s so much going on here and it’s such a mixed bag of horrors that you’re bound to find something about it you like. Keep an eye out for an appearance by Art Hindle of the original Black Christmas, Invasion of the Body Snatchers 78, and The Brood.


bloody muscle body builder in hell cover

With a title like Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell and described as “the Japanese Evil Dead,” this one delivers. What I didn’t expect was the history behind it. It was actually filmed in 1995 but didn’t reach full completion for release until 2009! It was just released on DVD by Terra Cotta in 2017. As of this writing, it’s for sale on and listed as a region 2 PAL DVD, but I reached out to Terra Cotta after reading somewhere that it is an all-region DVD, and they verified it is, which I can attest to having purchased it from Amazon UK. It plays without a problem on my U.S. Blu-ray player and PS3.

Never has a film been more right to the point than this 62-minute comic splatterfest. Ridiculously adorable director and writer Shinichi Fukazawa is also the star of the film.

bloody muscle body builder pumping

He plays a weight-lifting cutie who takes his ex-girlfriend, a photographer researching haunted houses, to an old house once owned by his father.

bloody muscle body builder cast

Joining them is a psychic, who immediately picks up on a female presence with a grudge against the body builder.

bloody muscle body builder with hand

Seriously, this film takes place in a grudge house and is about an evil female entity with a grudge, and it was filmed 5 years before Ju-On/The Grudge became a thing.

 bloody muscle body builder ring face

However, the pissed off chick in this one isn’t crawling around on the floor. Bloody Muscle Body Builder In Hell is a combination homage/spoof of Evil Dead that still manages to deliver a uniquely wacky and wild horror experience.

 bloody muscle body builder psychic

The psychic becomes possessed by the spirit of the body builder’s dead mother. The body builder’s father is able to send him a message from the other side informing him that the only way to defeat her is to chop the psychic up using a special weapon in the basement.

 bloody muscle body builder face gore

Unfortunately, when the blue-faced, blood-drooling psychic starts attacking, the bodybuilder and his ex-girlfriend slice and dice him using whatever weapons are handy, making for some hilarious and gory battles…which only get better when the psychic’s body parts begin to meld back together in any way they can.

 bloody muscle body builder head hand

The guy playing the psychic totally rules, camping it up to the max in his demonic possession form. He carries a majority of the film as the only demonic threat, but don’t worry. Although there are only 3 characters in the entire film and the production is simple, Fukazawa makes the most of the compound situation.

bloody muscle body builder mother behind him

Shit gets crazier near the end, with more demonic monstrosities and our sexy muscle stud finally tapping into his inner horror hero and pulling out the big guns.

It’s nonstop midnight movie horror fun from start to finish, and a special treat for those who grew up on VHS horror of the 80s and 90s and fans of the Evil Dead franchise. There are references to the film and generous borrowing of Sam Raimi’s directing techniques and Bruce Campbell’s acting style by Shinichi Fukazawa.

bloody muscle body builder mother

The over-the-top gore and special effects are a cheesy combination of techniques, including stop motion, bad early 90s throwback computer effects, and classic practical effects. I can’t help but wonder how much of it was intentionally mocking the techniques…and if some of it was added much later in post-production, considering production wasn’t completed until almost 15 years after initial shooting.

bloody muscle body builder eye gore

I just wish this film had been released back when it was made, because 1990s horror really could haves used a movie like Bloody Muscle Body Builder In Hell. And I sure could have used seeing a lot more of Shinichi Fukazawa in horror films…

bloody muscle body builder pose

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Back to the 90s with monsters, a killer clown…and the cannibal dead?

This trio isn’t exactly the cream of the 90s crop (very few films were), but it sure did keep me entertained with a mix of creature feature cheese, slasher slop, and backwoods bizarreness.


terror within 2 cover

A while ago, I blogged about the 1989 creature feature The Terror Within. Well, the creature returned in 1991, and so did star Andrew Stevens (who also directs this time). And it’s back to the bunker for both monster and man…eventually.

In the first film, a group of survivors living underground after chemical warfare has destroyed the planet takes in a pregnant woman…who gives birth to a mutant monster that infiltrates the ventilation system. This time, a majority of the film takes place above ground. The virus has gotten into the bunker, so a small team is sent up top to locate a plant needed for a vaccine. Problem is, there are mutant monsters roaming the desolate planet now.

There’s some hilarious crap going on here. We don’t really see monsters at first, just arms coming from off screen to slap attack victims. Assault rifles make plenty of noise, but there is absolutely no sign—neither smoke nor spark—that any of them is releasing any kind of bullets.

terror within 2 rock push

A chick crushes a monster by single-handedly pushing a huge boulder off a cliff, and the man she’s saving is none other than Pepe/Enrique Mas from The Golden Girls! He’s actually one of the stars of the film. Awesome!

 terror within 2 pepe

But of course the true star is Andrew Stevens’s beard. Sadly, he shaves it off after he saves a young woman from a monster.

terror within 2 beard

He never learns, because he plans to bring her back to the bunker! Along the way, he has sex with her, they meet a psycho cult, the girl is raped by a monster…and Stevens still brings her back to the bunker.

 terror within 2 stevens vs man

So essentially, the last part of this film is the first movie all over again. Stevens pretty much even makes that point after the baby monster is born and hops up into the ventilation system.

terror within 2 baby

However, due to other complications, there are now two monsters, and they look more like deformed humans than the genuine monsters in the first movie.

terror within 2 monster

But it’s still stupid creature feature fun, and Andrew’s real life mom Stella Stevens even gets in on the action.


clown at midnight cover

This lost slasher of the post-scream era gets more DVD love overseas than in the U.S., where it only finally got released in a double disc set with the 2009 film Phantom Racer…and is already out of print. The fact that it would have only been worthy of a direct-to-VHS release in the dying days of that format back in 1999 may have something to do with it…

clown at midnight tatayana

Hey, this might be a really bad slasher, but the late 90s nostalgia factor totally overpowers that. Tatyana “Ashley” Ali of Fresh Prince convinces her friend to join her in a project to clean up an old opera house…even though it’s the same opera house where the friend’s mom was murdered years before by a clown. The friend, our main girl, is played by Sarah Lassez, who has since gained some scream queen status with a list of films like Mad Cowgirl, Lo, LA Sucks, The Dead Inside, and The Wicked Within.

clown at midnight james duval

Joining them are Ryan Bittle of Sweet Valley High as the pretty boy asshole with the bitch girlfriend, Kea-no Reeves James Duval as the mysterious outsider weirdo, the geek girl, the flamboyant gay guy…you get the picture.

clown at midnight kidder plummer

Running the show is Margot Kidder and Christopher Plummer, who immediately tells the kids about the ghost of the opera house…the main girl’s mother.

And yet she still stays to help.

And then the kids decide to break into the room where her mom was killed.

And yet she still stays to help.

There are still bloodstains on the floor from the murder years before.

And yet she still stays to help.

She immediately has visions of her mother’s murders.

And yet she still stays to help.

They find old love letters revealing dirty secrets about her mother’s past.

And yet she still stays to help.

clown at midnight head split

Really, it doesn’t get any dumber than this. Anyway, the usual happens: cheap scares, a cleaning montage, the gay guy flirts with the straight guys (spanks one during a mock sword fight) and gets called a freak and other not so pleasant names, people go off to have sex, and eventually, they start dying.

clown at midnight sword spank

The kills range from average to pretty good (Tatyana’s encounter with the killer clown is my fave, and at least the gay guy fights back—with his spank sword). There are some body reveals and newspaper clippings to fill in story details, and this R&B groove from Camille Douglasis featured to remind us The Clown At Midnight could only be from one decade.



blood massacre cover

This low budget film looked like it was going to be crap, so I was shocked by some of the surprises it threw my way by the end of its short 73-minute length.

blood massacre first kill

An opening kill scene has a fairly decent low budget grindhouse feel before we get a bit of boring introduction to the characters—a girl who came to visit a friend and a group of thieves rolling through town to wreak havoc. They rob patrons at a video store, which made me all nostalgic.

blood massacre kim carnes

One of the thieves is wearing a Kim Carnes “Mistaken Identity” shirt and one shooting victim slides down a poster for Endless Love. Don’t ask me, imdb says the film was made in 1991, not 1981…

blood massacre endless love

The thieves eventually abduct a young woman on a desolate road and force her to bring them to her home in the woods, where they hold her family captive…but not for long.

blood massacre captive family

Turns out the family is a bunch of freaks that turns the tables on the thieves.

blood massacre love bite

The look and feel of the film gave me The Last House on the Left flashbacks, only this film is better. Sorry, Wes, but I said it. That crap film is an amateur mess. Blood Massacre ends up being way more entertaining despite its budget limitations.

blood massacre spear red light

Shit gets weird and surprisingly bloody! People are beheaded, sliced up, speared, eaten, the girl visiting her friend at the beginning of the film randomly reappears in a closet and just runs out of the house screaming, there’s some Evil Dead shaky cam POV through the woods, one of the thieves is able to build weapons to turn the tables back on the family…and shit actually TURNS Evil Dead! WTF???

blood massacre evil dead girl

If Blood Massacre had just cut down on some of the boring crap at the beginning and expanded on the horror in the second half, it would be a total winner.

blood massacre evil dead guy

As is, it’s still an undeniable curiosity that shall remain in my collection even though it’s in a 6-in-1 DVD collection I got for free with 5 other films I have no use for.

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Blood, brutality, and sick sex in the 21st century

This was a rather perverse triple feature for a 3-day holiday weekend. I sure know how to pick ‘em. All three films are from the first decade of the new millennium, and interestingly, they decrease in shock value as time goes by…


 murder set pieces cover

I put off streaming this film for so long because it sounded like nothing more than a repulsive piece of torture porn…and because the only version available for streaming cuts out all the repulsive shit. The unedited version – banned in many places – was at some point available on DVD, but it’s long out of print, worth a pretty penny, and not something I’d want to have in my collection because it sounds really heinous.

 murder set pieces pig

So despite my curiosity to know just how loathsome the director’s cut of Murder-Set-Pieces is, I’m glad I went with the censored version, because it actually gave me throwback vibes to the video nasties of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s about a psycho rapist/killer photographer who isn’t exactly good at hiding what a freak he is in his daily life. He won’t have sex with his pretty girlfriend and says some fucked up shit in front of her young sister, yet the girlfriend acts like there’s absolutely nothing disconcerting about it. The little sister, on the other hand, is pretty convinced he’s a sick fuck, so he eventually sets his sights on killing her.

 murder set pieces lick

At least…that’s the rated cut of the film I watched. I read an extensive comparison between the R-rated cut and the uncut versions, and they are really two very different films. Several of the stills I’ve included here aren’t even in the version I watched. Most of the vile torture and murders are completely left out of this cut, scenes are rearranged or missing completely, and there are even some character-focused scenes in this version that aren’t in the uncut version.

murder set pieces chair

The edited version seemed to me like an edgier take on the general The Stepfather plot, with plenty of focus on the young girl as the main girl. It sounds like the uncut version is much more focused on the revolting acts of the killer, which highly offended viewers who felt the excessive, over-the-top graphic content failed to explain why he did such awful things.

 murder set pieces jack in box

Um…neither did Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What the fuck do people want from gore porn about a guy who violently rapes, beats, mutilates, and kills women (and apparently eats their corpses in the uncut version)?

 murder set pieces boobs

Are these gore whores looking for a built-in excuse for watching such perversion? “Well, yeah it’s sick and twisted, but these scenes are an integral part of the plot because they help me better understand the emotional state of the character and the role a cruel and uncaring society has played on his development.” You don’t have to go into torture porn looking for a social message—there are plenty of old After School Specials on YouTube.

murder set pieces pushup

Besides, even the edited version offers more than enough of a look into the killer’s mind. The dude’s grandfather was a Nazi. He has PTSD-like reactions to nightmares about catastrophic events such as the Twin Towers attack (yeah, it went there in 2004). He has trippy dreams of playing on train tracks as a little boy, being beckoned by sexy women, and playing with dolls. He doesn’t make love to his girlfriend, but violently rapes women then mutilates them. He pumps iron and has a photo collage of his own flexed body plastered on his torture dungeon wall.

murder set pieces self collage

I definitely picked up some suggestions of classic repressed homosexual tendencies here. Even a brief scene of him visiting a mentor, played by original Leatherface Gunnar Hansen, has a weirdly queer undertone. And because I didn’t watch the version in which we see lead actor Sven Garrett doing truly vile things to women, it’s much easier for me to look at him through a very homoerotic lens at various times during the film considering he’s so damn pretty.

 murder set pieces garrett

That’s not to say there’s no horror in the edited version. It’s just watered down to more standard levels of modern slasher gore—although, the killer’s torture dungeon was plenty gross and macabre. There’s also implied brutality, such as the killer inserting rows of sharpened human teeth into his mouth (nasty) before approaching his victim. It’s very easy for our minds to fill in the blanks when the scene cuts at that moment.

 murder set pieces teeth

There’s also a scene in a porn shop that feels oddly out of place, yet is one of my faves. The killer comes in asking for a snuff film, store shop owner Tony Todd tries to kick him out, and suddenly some manic thieves bust into the store and shoot the fuck out of everyone and everything! WTF? Shit just goes full-on exploitation crazy! And in true exploitation flick fashion, this insane moment (and every insane crime the killer commits in the uncut version) seems to be taking place without getting any attention from the authorities.

 murder set pieces tony todd
The look Tony Todd gives you when you ask him for a snuff film.

As a self-referential in-joke, the snuff film the killer asks for by name is actually the title of director Nick Palumbo’s first low budget horror flick Nutbag, a similarly themed movie about of a violent psycho killer who also gets onscreen beefcake and blood moments…


The final act of Murder-Set-Pieces goes pretty dang old school. It’s Halloween, the killer is stalking the younger sister at school, and she ends up hitching a ride with the mother of all hitchhikers, Edwin Neal of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s pretty awesome to see a young girl playing such a strong final girl. The scene of the killer chasing her comes complete with a cool 80s-style synth score, she ends up in his disgusting lair, there are body reveals galore, and she fights back hard.

murder set pieces sister

But best of all has to be the jump scare when he first pops out at her, covered in blood, and literally…LITERALLY…barks, “RAWR!” Like, the killer totally brings the scares down to tween level terror. This final segment alone made me a fan of the film. And even former Power Ranger/scream queen Cerina Vincent (Fear Runs Silent, Cabin Fever, Intermedio, It Waits, Sasquatch Mountain, Return to House on Haunted Hill, Freaks of Nature, Tales of Halloween) makes a last second cameo.

 murder set pieces t and jeans

However, I know for sure that if I had seen the uncut version it would probably have been too late to save the film for me, because the stuff that goes on is really, really bad.


thirst 2006 cover

Director Jeremy Kasten (All Souls Day, The Wizard of Gore remake, Attic Expeditions) brings the vamp clan mentality of The Lost Boys and Near Dark into the 21st century with this quirky, blood soaked sex romp featuring an awesome cast. Any movie that starts with a vampire deep throating a prostitute with a lamp has a lot to live up to, and The Thirst definitely does.

thirst 2006 lead beard

Adorable Matt Keesler (Psycho Beach Party, Scream 3, Jekyll, Cold Storage) is a druggy in rehab. Clare Kramer – aka: Glory of Buffy fame – is his stripper girlfriend, but not for long. She dies.

thirst clare kramer

After giving him some time to mourn, Matt’s friends, including cutie Erik Palladino of Dead & Breakfast, drag him to a club, where he is greeted by a submissive boy who takes a liking to him, played by another Buffy alum, Tom Lenk (aka: gay Andrew).

thirst submissive boy

thirst submissive boy tops

So Matt has an “in” to the forbidden back room when he catches a glimpse of his late girlfriend in the club, looking more beautiful and apparently alive than ever.

thirst sisto

Turns out the club is just a cover for a good old vampire restaurant run by another Dead & Breakfast alum, cutie Jeremy Sisto, and his evil sidekick, Neil Jackson, who happened to play the big bad vamp in the Blade TV series!

thirst back gore

Because Matt witnesses the fucking awesome back room splatterfest feast from hell, the vamp clan gives Clare an ultimatum…turn Matt or kill him.

thirst belly gush

She turns him and creates a monster, which means loads more gore.

thirst belly eat

This movie is bathed in blood and guts, Matt Keesler is shirtless a lot and even shows off the booty.

thirst butt 1

thirst butt 3

There are also some moments between Matt and Jeremy that are totally filled with delicious sexual vampire tension.

thirst guys

It’s up to Clare to rescue Matt from the dark side, by which I mean his new addiction…to blood. The Thirst is my kind of b-movie trash. And the scenes in which lovers completely surrender to allowing their vamp partners to turn them are some of the most stomach-turning explorations of trust and commitment I’ve ever seen on celluloid.


 red canyon cover

Several years after a brother and sister are victims of a horrible attack in the middle of some The Hills Have Eyes wasteland that’s supposedly their fricking hometown, they return to face their past, and bring along a bunch of friends. Naturally, they are about to go through that shit all over again.

In a confusing effort to make the big reveal at the end of this film a shock, the first half constantly bombards us with flashbacks the sister is having that we are never sure are flashbacks because they seem to be happening at the moment. And because she has formed a mental block as to what she experienced, they are also false memories. Frustrating, obnoxious, and makes the first half of this film pretty unbearable.

red canyon pretty bod

And of course we have some dipshit friends and other backwoods slasher clichés (or back desert in this case). The group gets stopped by a cop, the arrogant asshole in the group – who’s from Jersey with a hot bod and drugs stuffed down his crotch – mouths off to the cop, the cop turns out to be the main girl’s ex-boyfriend, the group has a run-in with the local bad boys, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…

Oh. One of the local bad boys is Norman Reedus, and his hair is already greasy and in need of a washing, two years before The Walking Dead even started.

red canyon norman attack

Then all of a sudden, Reedus is arrested for harassing them and a chunk of the film gets really good right in the middle. The kids are terrorized by a masked psycho in the house at night.

red canyon mask

The lights go out, some of them are brutally killed, there are some suspenseful chase scenes that end up in underground tunnels…

red canyon head spear

Then just as suddenly, it’s daylight, there’s a really lame unmasking, and true flashback reveal what really happened that horrible day several years before…and why the sister blocked it out and the brother didn’t. Let’s just say someone could write a thesis arguing that Red Canyon is actually a prequel to The Hills Have Eyes that gives the backstory of just how those deformed freaks came into existence. No, I’m not writing it.


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Slashing, scratching, and spoofing through the body count in the early 80s

Every once in a while, a batch of films I select for a blog remind me that not even nostalgia can save a 1980s triple feature.


shadows run black cover

I can honestly say I had no idea what the hell was going on in this movie. It appears to have been marketed as a crime thriller back in the day because it’s essentially about a cop trying to track down a killer, but it’s structured mostly/sort of like a slasher film. I never saw it back then, and we did not carry it in the video store at which I worked, so I never laid eyes on the VHS box art to determine which section it should be shelved in.

shadows run black costner

The claim to fame for the film these days is that a young Kevin Costner is the main suspect. He really isn’t. Kevin Costner is in two scenes. He appears once in a party scene so we know he exists when he’s being interrogated by police later. Just like everyone else in this film.

shadows run black costner interrogate

People simply come and go…or get killed. There’s barely a character to cling to…including this stud, around just long enough to pump some iron and carry beer into a house from a pickup truck.

shadows run black muscle

But there are a whole lot of naked woman walking around showing off boobs and bush, an unnecessarily long magic show, lesbianism, major drama over an interracial relationship…. Hello, people! This is no time for fun! There’s a fricking killer on the loose!

shadows run black magic

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of blood.

shadows run black mask

Most of the kills aren’t shown on screen, even though buildups to them deliver classic 80s slasher atmosphere.

shadows run black feet

But there are a couple of awesome death scenarios, including a cleaver through a door and the killer making a surprise appearance from a bed.

shadows run black cleaver

The killer also makes threatening calls to the main girl and eventually kidnaps her, which makes for a messy series of twists and a chase scene in an abandoned building at the end.

shadows run black kidnap

Sadly, this climax fails to deliver any shocks, suspense, or scares.

 shadows run black crawl


 black cat 1981 cover

Before Stephen King’s killer canine Cujo could make it to the big screen, Lucio Fulci’s feline The Black Cat clawed its way through a bigger body count!

black cat face attack

Yes, it’s a stalking psycho cat that can open doors, steal keys, dismantle air conditioners, and of course, scratch your eyes out, all with killer POV.

 black cat cat

There’s also a medium dude attempting to communicate with the dead who has somehow established a volatile psychic connection with the evil cat, a crime scene photographer that begins to follow the trail of claws…I mean, clues…to the possible paranormal angle, and a detective who buys her theory.

 black cat missing eyes

This is the kind of film I only could have swallowed if I’d seen it back in the early 80s on cable before I reached the age of, say, fifteen.

black cat open door

By the end of the film, Fulci seems so desperate to make this film somehow scary that he throws in a random scene of the reporter being attacked by a swarm of bats.

black cat bat attack

And at the very last second, the movie throws in a concluding scene that lets it get away with calling itself an adaptation of Poe’s short story “The Black Cat.”


class reunion cover

Slashers became so popular so quickly in the early 1980s that even National Lampoon lampooned the craze…as it’s second film, following Animal House!

Class Reunion was written by a man who would soon virtually define the era of 80s teen high school films: John Hughes. However, Hughes has gone on record saying he was fired from the film and was horrified to see when it was released that his script had been terribly rewritten but he was still being credited.

The first half of the film most closely spoofs the slashers of the time. It begins in 1972. Teens at a campfire play a cruel sex prank on one kid, convincing him he’ll score if he first puts a paper bag over his head. When the bag is removed, the reveal of who is pleasuring him lands him in the loony bin…

class reunion prank

10 years later, everyone from Lizzie Borden High School is back together for the class reunion. EVERYONE. The kid they pranked has escaped from the mental hospital, is wearing the paper bag and a schoolgirl dress, and hides in the shadows just waiting to enact his revenge. He also happens to be played by the father of Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers.

class reunion killer

There are plenty of familiar faces in the film, including Gerrit Graham (Chopping Mall, It’s Alive III, CHUD II: Bud the Chud, Child’s Play 2) as the main prankster, Michael Lerner (Strange Invaders, Anguish, Vibes, Omen IV) as the killer’s doctor, and Anne Ramsey (Deadly Friend, Love at Stake, Dr. Hackenstein) as the lunch lady.

class reunion stars

Plus, rock ‘n’ roll legend Chuck Berry is the reunion entertainer and even does his classic “My Ding-a-Ling.”


But the person who steals the show and saves this movie is one Zane Buzby. All the returning students have their stereotypes—the bitch, the popular one, the stoner, etc. Well, Buzby is the psycho bitch from hell, literally. She’s possessed! And she’s fricking hilarious.

class reunion crazy lady

Shockingly, she has very few acting roles under her belt, and most of them are bit parts, because she went on to direct, with episodes of many popular sitcoms in the late 80s and early 90s on her resume.


The problem with Class Reunion is that while it gets some good slasher spoof momentum going at the start—the Anne Ramsey kill scene is a highlight if not a little too short, and there’s also a funny scene of the killer taking on a blind victim—it quickly begins to feel more like a mostly unfunny spoof of a conventional mystery.

class reunion killer chainsaw

All the major players end up sticking together on a stormy night, exploring their creepy location while there’s a killer on the loose. Considering when it was released, it falls flat both in terms of its National Lampoon humor and from a slasher standpoint.

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