TUBI TERRORS: back to the 80s and 90s

I dug up four I’d never seen before from the end of the 20th century, but as much as I love the nostalgia and pride myself on owning pretty much every horror flick that came out in those two decades on disc, I don’t see any reason to add any of these to my collection. Let’s find out why.

CATACLYSM (1980)

I’ve finally stumbled upon the full-length cut of one of the movies that was eventually edited down for the horror anthology film Night Train to Terror. Odd thing is that although I’ve seen that movie numerous times and own it on disc, I barely recognized anything that happens in this feature beyond the freaky looking dude playing the devil. He’s great.

I can imagine the short version made even less sense than the long version sure. I think the general idea is that the Devil, who was previously inhabiting the body of a Nazi during WWII, is back to terrorize a small group of people, including a doctor who has visions of him, her atheist author husband (played by Bull of Night Court), a detective trying to solve a murder case (played by Cameron Mitchell), and a ridiculously stereotypical old Jewish man who is trying to convince the detective that he recognizes the Devil character as a Nazi he encountered firsthand in the 40s.

It all sounds really cool, but this movie looks and sounds like it was made for no budget in 1973 despite being timestamped 1980. The good news about that is that there are a handful of freaky, 1970s acid trip horror sequences focusing on hell and the Devil, and they’re the only moments that stand out in this mess. Not only do they stand out, but they are worthy of a better movie with a stronger script.

THE DEMONS OF LUDLOW (1983)

I was excited to see this one for the first time because it came from the director of the 80s slasher Blood Harvest. However, it is so different and so cheesy. I probably would have been a fan if I’d seen it as a teen, and visually it gives me all the 80s feels, but it’s just so goofy (and yet I’ll probably add this crap to my collection in an instant if it ever hits Blu-ray).

We meet the people in a town right out of 2000 Maniacs. The locals are celebrating the 200th birthday of the founding of the town, which is gifted an old piano, and a reporter and photographer are present to cover the festivities.

There’s a sleazy reverend, his young hot piece of ass, a creepy mayor, an awkward young woman who talks to her dolls, and her mother—the local piano player who unleashes a bunch of colonial age ghosts by playing the piano at the event.

This is sort of like a supernatural slasher, with people getting attacked and killed by a combination of ghosts, a shotgun (do ghosts have guns?), a disembodied hand glowing low budget 80s effects neon green, and levitating objects, including a fireplace poker that misses its mark when swinging for the kill, which made me laugh. In fact, several of the horror scenes made me laugh.

It all culminates in the piano taking its turn trying to kill the reverend, and the colonial ghosts also coming after him for revenge. Basically, it’s The Fog if The Fog was a killer piano…

GHOSTWATCH (1992)

If what they say is true, I guess you had to be there when this mockumentary first aired in Britain on Halloween night and had viewers thinking it was real…and terrifying.

Presented as live television, this movie focuses on a family living in a haunted house, and jumps between a reporter at the house for a sensationalistic experience, another reporter talking to people on the street, and guests being interviewed on the TV show back at the studio.

While there are moments that could easily have inspired Paranormal Activity movies, this film is generally super boring. If I had been watching this on television when it aired, I would have changed the channel after about fifteen minutes. The most interesting thing to me was that the mother of the house kept referencing a glory hole…which apparently means something different in England.

67 minutes in to this 91-minute movie, one of two young girls living in the house gets a rash and it seems like an attempt to flirt with an exorcism theme. Then one daughter goes missing with only fifteen minutes left, and the family, reporter, and cameraman run around the house looking for her, even delving into the…um…glory hole. This movie couldn’t even make a glory hole exciting.

The final moments are such a letdown. Most intriguing to me was a brief conversation with a viewer that calls in and tells a story of a guy who was possessed by a woman and began dressing in female clothing. Now that would have been a movie.

STORMSWEPT (1995)

This could have been a fun erotic horror film…if only it had delivered some actual horror.

It’s a classic setup. A film director, crew, and actresses go to stay in an old plantation mansion to make a movie. Everyone is pretty, making the sex scenes extra delicious, and it’s a rainy, stormy night, creating the perfect atmosphere for a haunted mansion movie.

Little do they know—and we never find out why—but there’s a sadistic dude and his woman living in the basement. Their occasional appearances fail to give any explanation for their presence.

Anyway, all the pretty people spend a majority of the film (which is way too long for what little it has to offer) sitting around talking about their sexual fantasies. They are always together, so there are no chances for anyone to go off and have any scary supernatural experiences. WTF? There are, however, lots of writhing women feeling themselves up, and there’s one sex scene with a guy who has a fantastic butt.


I’ve never been more jealous of an actress’s index finger than this

It seems that the ghost of a sexually charged slave owner is making everyone horny. That’s it. That’s the story, and it’s barely clarified. Do we ever see the ghost? Nope. Is there any explanation for why everyone, including the men, isn’t jumping the bones of the guy with the fantastic butt? Nope.

Eventually the guy in the basement comes into play for a hot minute, abducting some of the girls and chaining them up, but if ever a final scene felt like an afterthought, this is it.

About Daniel

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