NEW ACQUISITIONS: from 88 through 07

My collection just keeps growing, and my Dan cave just seems to keep getting smaller as a result. But the good news is it gives me more movies to blog about, so let’s get into these four.


Also known as The Gates of Hell Part II: Dead Awakening in order to be considered the sequel to Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead wherever it was known as The Gates of Hell (confused yet?), this film deserves a life of its own, because it is as perfectly U.S. 80s as a low budget horror movie can get.

After her sister goes missing, a woman gets drunk, gets kicked out of a bar, gets picked up by a hot cop, and then asks him the next morning to help her find her sister.

I’m convinced the director of this film had the hots for the cop, because the camera sure makes love to him.

Anyway, there’s this seedy cult trying to conjure a beast, the cop and the main woman enlist the help of a professor who knows about this kind of thing, the cult pursues them, they pursue the cult right back, there’s a funny scene involving a cat in a freezer (the reactions of the characters are funny, not the cat in the freezer), and then the main characters track the cult to their secret hideaway, where they seem to turn into some sort of zombies or demons.

In other words, most of the horror is packed into the last half hour, and it is so totally 80s VHS rental material.


J.R. Bookwalter, the director of The Dead Next Door and Witchouse 2 and 3, brings us a low budget, direct-to-video trailer park horror film that feels like an 80s film, and therefore has a quite a bit of charm.

Gary is a romance writer who can’t sleep at night, He’s also an everyday kind of dude, which makes him a really likable character. He starts to see red flashing eyes at his window at night, and becomes convinced there’s something coming for the residence of the trailer park…especially after the first death.

A bunch of oddball characters add to the fun, including his weird cousin, who is written into the film as crashing in his trailer at the beginning and then quickly forgotten completely for the rest of it. But at least he sticks around long enough to call someone an ass wipe. Ah, those were the days.

There’s also a crazy Vietnam vet, who babbles on and on about “The Sandman”…which of course proves to be real. The Sandman looks like a cross between the Grim Reaper and a big Jawa surrounded by fog machines, and has a demonic voice. Cheesy awesome. He sneaks into the trailers of sleeping people, sticks a tentacle with a suction cup to their heads, and makes them have horrible nightmares before killing them with his scythe.

I don’t know that younger horror fans would like this one, but it gave me all the feels because it’s so old school. What it did need was a bit more humor throughout, because there are some funny moments at the end, including the entire battle, in which Gary and the Vietnam vet have a shootout with The Sandman in a trailer home.


There are plenty of enticing horror elements in this backwoods horror indie that should appeal to fans of Texas Chainsaw and House of 1000 Corpses (that would be me), but there’s also so much messy absurdity that it could also really spoil the horror for the same fans (that would also be me).

The opener feels like this is going to be a genuine throwback to disturbing 80s direct-to-video horror, with an old redneck being terrorized by a masked killer driving next to him on a truck at night…with a hook on a chain. Eek!

What makes things a little odd are the flashes of a flexing muscle man body in between the horror sequence…

Then we are introduced to a family on a road trip. They meet a couple of strange locals, have car trouble, accept an invite for dinner from a creepy old lady working at a diner, go to her house, which is more of a freak show than the Texas Chainsaw family’s humble abode…and yet don’t seem to bat an eye until the masked killer pops out and starts hacking them up.

The teen daughter ends up in an underground lair right out of House of 1000 Corpses and spends the rest of the movie trying to escape the psycho family as we are subjected to trippy footage and edits, disorienting muted sound, and gory practical effects just for the hell of it. I was particularly offended when the daughter stumbled upon her father’s body and puked. I would never puke at the sight of a dad bod.

It really feels like there’s no actual script or plot, just a director filming a bunch of random ideas, editing them together, and calling it a movie.

There are a lot of weird characters, particularly the family. The masked killer could be so damn scary if it wasn’t for the rest of them. The maternal head of household is the funniest and quite creepy thanks to her odd performance. Another guy has a big deformed brain on his head and daydreams about running naked through New York City (kudos to him for going full Monty when they filmed it).

And Warwick Davis’s character is obsessed with throwing plates, yet he seems to keep forgetting he’s not actually starring in yet another Leprechaun sequel.

And finally, there’s the hunky, muscle bod flexing in the underground lab…without a head.

I don’t get this movie. I don’t get it at all. And I dare you to try to sit through the closing credits, which are accompanied by continuous, irritating, agonizing screams.

CLOSURE (aka: Straightheads) (2007)

This rape/revenge flick isn’t the type of film I’d usually watch or blog about, but it was included on a triple feature Blu-ray I purchased and stars horror cutie Danny Dyer, so I’m having a go at it.

Gillian Anderson of The X-files is a successful businesswoman who needs a date to a party…so she asks Danny Dyer, the guy installing her security system in her home that day.

They go, they have sex in the car after, they have a run-in with a vehicle on a dark, desolate road, they hit a deer, and then the vehicle catches up with them…

This isn’t one of those exploitative rape scenes that goes on way too long, and it’s not graphic. More disturbing is what becomes of Dyer and Anderson after. He is totally emasculated and can’t perform sexually, and she becomes hyper aggressive and hell-bent on revenge.

The film mostly explores how the two of them deal with PTSD, until they finally close in on getting their revenge on the men who victimized them. They focus mainly on one man, and there are some very disturbing elements here, including a dog killing and them focusing on the man’s daughter, which causes great conflict in their minds.

There are some unexpected twists at the end, and the most brutal part involves their revenge on the main guy. Let’s just say his hole will never be the same.

About Daniel

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