Let’s celebrate the release of the restored CATHY’S CURSE on Blu-ray & DVD with a possession puzzle! Here are ten images from ten possessed movies. How many can you identify?
April 21st, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 7 Comments
April 19th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment
I’m super old and slightly cranky but that didn’t stop me from turning into a giddy 12-year-old the other day when I fortuitously found myself walking into a Philly subway car that was taken over from top to bottom with ALIEN COVENANT advertising. It was even on the roof! To the chagrin of my fellow passengers who seemed even crankier than myself, I took some photos to share with you guys. How cool is this? I only wish this subway was taking me into the future to MAY 19th so that I could go directly to the movie theater and get my full dose of ALIEN COVENANT.
April 17th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments
1.) What is the first film that ever scared you?
The first film that ever scared me had to be The Wolfman (1941). It was the first horror movie I ever saw as well as one of if not the first movie I ever saw. My father had a copy of the Gene Shalit Critic’s Choice VHS with it’s goofy pictures of Gene on the bottom which has always stuck with me.
The movie itself had an atmosphere exuding dread, provided courtesy of the heavily fogged woods, sad and yet harrowing score and disturbing Jack Pierce make up. I think what scared me was the idea that a person could transform into some sort of grotesque violent beast and something about that tip toe walk he did was just uncanny.
Even though I love all the Universal monsters, the Wolfman has been my favorite Universal monster and no matter what anyone says he’ll always be tops in my book; so suck it Drac and fall to pieces Frankie.
2.) What is the last film that scared you?
Horror films tend not to scare me anymore, more so they mostly either get me imagining about the world in the film and/or disgust me with gore; but there is one I’ve seen recently that not only did all of this but in so doing deeply unsettled me and that is City of the Living Dead (1980).
My favorite of the Gates of Hell trilogy and my favorite Fulci movie overall (No I don’t think The Beyond is his best; I don’t even think it’s all that good and I don’t understand why it’s seen as his best film- get over it). The atmosphere in this one is the most doom laden, nihilistic and cosmically anti-human I have ever encountered in a film.
No one is safe anywhere, no matter what you do, it’s all over, there is no hope, we’re all going to die-end of story. The gore is top notch and absolutely raw and vicious and that priest! That priest is to my mind the most menacing antagonist/figure in the history of film.He wants to literally unleash hell on earth and do all kinds of nasty things to human bodies and souls.
I know everyone makes a big deal about narrative in Fulci‘s films, but I don’t watch them as normal movies with a linear plot progression. Shut up and suspend your disbelief. I see them as filmed nightmares, with all the sometimes chaotic aspects that entails. That is what this movie is to me; pure unadulterated nightmare.
3. Name three horror movies that you believe are underrated.
I’m just going to go ahead and cheat here and talk about more than three horror movies I think are underrated. Eerie is the name of the game with me and all of these evoke an eerie feeling in me.
How Awful About Allan (1970)
One of the few TV movies I actually like. Anthony Perkins is absolutely fantastic here; for my money this just edges out Psycho II as his best movie (no I don’t like the original Psycho and yes, I think the sequels-especially part II- are superior). I heard about this one from Phil Anselmo and I’m forever in his debt for turning me on to it.
This isn’t some scare fest but the atmosphere is what does it for me (atmosphere is what endears me to a film and is far more important to me in a horror film than blood and guts and stupid jump scares, which is why modern movies and modern horror in particular, suck).
This film to me is the essence of autumn; it evokes the altogether not unpleasant and oddly cozy feeling of overcast suburban cold and desolation, I as city folk experienced on excursions to grandma’s house as a child (Don’t know if anyone knows what I’m talking about).
Where Are the Children? (1986)
Provides a similar experience for me as the aforementioned How Awful About Allan. This one has a damp, dank feeling to it; a perfect overcast, rainy Saturday morning/afternoon film. Frederic Forrest is great as a real son of a bitch in this one. No one seems to talk about it, give it a watch.
The Norliss Tapes (1973)
The Norliss Tapes gave me a really uneasy feeling. I love the set up; a rainy day (if you can’t tell by now, I’m big on those) a reporter stumbles onto the supernatural, goes missing and leaves behind a series of baffling tapes which chronicle his horrific discoveries. This was supposed to be the pilot to a television series in the tradition of Dan Curtis‘s better known Kolchak: The Night Stalker that unfortunately never got made.
The premise, the zombie, the unsettling voice over narration from the tape all combine to create something which to me is quiet, strangely contemplative and unnerving. The ending with the demon is cheesy and weakens it somewhat, but other than that, it is pretty creepy and is another (almost) perfect rainy day movie.
Remakes can’t work nowadays but I think this would have been perfect for a movie remake circa the 1970’s or 80’s and had it been done in this era, would have worked. This movie got my imagination going and I have continued David Norliss’s investigations in my head for my own edification and amusement many a time. This way nothing can be mishandled by modern film making.
A Warning to the Curious (1972) and The Signalman (1976)
Two English ghost stories for Christmas made for TV movies; Did you know the British tell ghost stories at Christmas? I didn’t. A scary Christmas? sign me up. Both at once engaging, entertaining, atmospheric and unsettling. I highly recommend both.
Schalcken the Painter (1979)
Another British TV movie. On the whole, it seems to me that the British make better TV movies than us colonists. Some mighty strange happenings in this one. Slow and eerie with one hell of an ending.
The House by the Cemetery (1981)
The third in Fulci‘s Gates of Hell trilogy but my second favorite of his films. Again, like City of the Living Dead, this one had the power to frighten me at times sitting there alone in the dark. The first time I saw it, you can bet your life it did just that. I, like Fulci, have a thing with eyes and when Dr. Freudstein’s eyes peered out from the darkness of that basement, I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat. Glowing eyes peering out of the darkness has always been a scary thing to me.
The movie overall has a sense of impending doom about it different than the aforementioned City of the Living Dead; this is a much more localized doom, to be visited only upon those unfortunate enough to enter the house and so it does not have the same scale and scope intended for us by Father Thomas in City of the Living Dead. Dr. Freudstein is a nasty piece of work quite literally and he isn’t averse to hurting you badly with sharp objects.
This film taught me something as well. I learned there is a fate worse than any of the death’s suffered by the characters in this movie, one that is infinitely more dreadful than anything imagined in the twisted inner workings of Dr. Freudstein’s mind- my own private vision of hell- ‘Bob’; god I hate ‘Bob’.
Beyond the Darkness (1979)
This movie is more disgusting than scary. One scene in particular created an extreme aversion to eating in me. The scary aspect is the thought that people like the main characters can exist in this world or at the very least someone seemingly sane can think them up. The whole of this movie from the as usual excellent score by Goblin to the acting and carnage being depicted emanates something terribly nihilistic, depressing, hopeless and empty.
Not scary but it has a cool premise, great super gory special effects (I can’t believe what they did sans CGI) no one talks about this one and I have no idea why.
The first Jesus Franco movie I ever saw. I had never heard of this one before so I had no idea what to expect and this one shocked me which is no easy feat. It is surprisingly good and the gore so effective you feel the pain the characters must be experiencing. 1987 wasn’t an altogether bad year for horror movies.
4.) Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.
I’ll cheat again here (I’m a cheater, it’s a character flaw; nothing can be done about it) but because I both was long winded in the previous section and I can’t watch anything I don’t genuinely enjoy, I’ll skip this question. If it’s a bad movie, it’s a bad movie and I don’t enjoy it, ya know?
5.) Send us to five places on the Internet!
I’ve cheated my way through the majority of this so I see no reason to stop now. I’ll send you to six places on the internet.
SOILED SINEMA. Nothing else like it on the internet. These guys do the best movie reviews anywhere. You definitely haven’t heard this perspective on cinema before, I promise. Check it out.
HYSTERIA LIVES! 408 slasher movie reviews and counting! Who knew there were that many? Slasher movies are my favorite sub-genre of horror and I’ve seen a lot of them but I haven’t even heard of most of these. For my money, one of the best horror websites out there.
RETRO SLASHERS. Another great slasher movie site. Definitely worth a perusal.
ROTTEN COTTON. Like Spicoli said, “Awesome, totally awesome!”
SHITCASECINEMA. Some really great (and hilarious) reviews of some terrible yet entertaining movies as well as the occasional good one. Zardoz approved!
WeWatchedAMovie. Movie reviews/news, humour and Michael Myers parodies? What’s not to love? I said GOTDAMN!!!!!!!
April 16th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments
Hey it’s Easter Sunday so it’s likely many of you are hanging out with a giant bunny. But just in case some of you fine folks need something to watch later, let me inform you that our pals at COMET TV will be airing a favorite of mine this afternoon, STUART GORDON’S 1987 masterwork DOLLS! Oh how I love everything about this movie! I love the old dark house atmosphere, the beautifully done stop-motion special effects, the cast of charming character actors, the well-timed appearance of video vixens, the creepiness, the music box score and I love that it’s short, sweet and to the point like any good fable. I also love that it’s all about the tragedy of transforming into a douchebag and losing touch with hope, imagination and your inner, not a narrow minded selfish jerk yet, child. I wrote a review for this gem way back HERE but I think I like the movie even more now than I did back then. In fact, I’d dare say it’s in my top twenty favorite horror movies- I love it that much. I mean it’s got a giant killer teddy bear in it for crying out loud. Giant killer teddy bears are way cooler than giant rabbits! If you haven’t seen it before give it a watch and if you have seen it before know that it holds up to infinite viewings and watch it again! You’ll find it RIGHT HERE at 4pm ET! Hop to it! You’ll be hoppy you did!
April 15th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · No Comments
Sometimes you worship a VHS tape simply because you have no other options and SCREAM FOR HELP (1984) is just such a tape. Due to the death of righteousness caused by the extinction of unicorns (or more likely, music rights issues) this difficult to categorize teen thriller has yet to find its way to DVD let alone Blu-ray. In other words, if you ever come across a VHS tape of SCREAM FOR HELP and a brick of 14k gold hanging off a cliff and you can only save one- choose the tape! Trust me, there is NOTHING in the world like this movie. It’s completely in a lunatic class all by itself to the point that it basically exists in its own dimension. There is life before you see it and there is life after you see it and watching it is an experience you’ll treasure forever. It’s gloriously its own thing and surges with a blatant disregard to subtly, good taste or anything resembling mundane sanity. My advice: If you meet anyone who doesn’t like this movie run as fast as you can away from them unless that person is TOM HOLLAND. It is said screenwriter HOLLAND (of brilliant PSYCHO II fame) was anything but pleased with how director MICHAEL WINNER (of kooky THE SENTINEL fame) handled his screenplay and who can blame him? It’s clear from the opening scene that something is seriously (and sometimes hilariously) amiss. But I thank heaven above for everything that screeches, clanks and rattles in this indescribable misfire. Sorry, I much prefer a highly original failure to a soggy routine success. This movie simply rules.
Let’s look at the tape! Geez, with all of poor SCREAM FOR HELP’s erratic identity issues (Thriller? Horror? Soapy Drama? Afterschool Special From Hell?), it sure could have used an ad campaign that didn’t suck Nilla Wafers. Its title is certainly no prize in the memorability department, so the least they could do is grant it some eye-catching imagery. I don’t know if I mentioned it before but I furiously despise white box art. Seriously, it looks like it’s just begging to fade to gray or turn yellow and as an oldster horror collector, my peepers are permanently magnetized to black and red (is it psychotic that I still remember how the boxes for DEAN KOONTZ’s WHISPERS (1990) and RELATIVE EVIL (1994) would wreck the uniformity of my video store’s horror section? The only white box I ever forgave was THE WEEKEND IT LIVES (1992)). And the sappy cursive handwriting doesn’t help either. It looks like somebody was jotting down a grocery list while the tape just happened to be by the phone. Sadly I also have the SCREAM FOR HELP soundtrack album and its alternate artwork isn’t any improvement. But hey, this means we can learn a lesson today! The cover art doesn’t matter! Bad art doesn’t mean a bad movie- or even a good one in this case. Bad art doesn’t mean anything. Some magical movies defy description, illustration or even explanation. They have to be seen to be believed (or not believed as is the case here). In closing, if you have to kill someone to see SCREAM FOR HELP– you should totally consider it (or you can rent it for three bucks HERE). One things for sure, you can’t borrow my tape.
April 14th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 7 Comments
April 13th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments
Hello, Unk! The twitch to write about horror movies doesn’t hit me often, but when it does I immediately think of you. You are forever my #1, Kindertrauma.
I started to write another piece about underrated horror flicks (I have LOTS of thoughts on Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2), but then I realized there was something else I needed to get off my chest. That “something” is a love of final girls who don’t necessarily get their due. If you are like me and inherently understand that Sarah Michelle Gellar should’ve been the final girl in IKWYDLS instead of whiny Jennifer Love Hewitt, then you are awesome and you probably see where I’m going with this post. If not, don’t worry. You might still be awesome. Perhaps you just have a soft spot for J-Love. I will forgive you.
As I’ve mentioned before, “underrated” is a term that doesn’t mean much; what I consider underrated might be totally different than what you consider underrated. It doesn’t really matter. It gives me an excuse to write about horror movies and the final girls who might be a little under the radar compared to Laurie Strode, Sydney Prescott, Nancy Thompson… the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I love Laurie as much as the next horror fanatic, but we’ve been there and done that to death. Let’s dig in. Oh, and SPOILER WARNING, obviously.
Rachel Carruthers (Halloween 4-5)
Played perfectly by actress Ellie Cornell, Rachel is the best unsung heroine in the Halloween franchise. To be honest, Halloween 4 is an underrated movie in general. It was actually the first Halloween movie I saw, so nostalgia might be fueling this a bit. I don’t care. I’m telling you, this movie holds up. And a big reason for that is the character of Rachel. She has the unenviable task of filling the shoes formerly filled by Laurie Strode, and she is more than up for it. She’s equal parts tough and kind, and she’s more responsible than any teen in her situation has any right being. Most of all, she’s just incredibly likable. If you’ve seen her in action, hopefully you understand what I mean. There’s just *something* about her that makes you root for her and willingly follow her to the depths of Haddonfield Hell.
P.S. Halloween 5, while enjoyable in parts, kinda did Rachel dirty. SHE DESERVED MORE, I tell ya!
In the mid-2000s, French horror films had quite a moment. Remember Inside and High Tension? Martyrs? They were bloody, nihilistic, and pretty grim, especially compared to their American counterparts. While I enjoyed these films, I don’t really find myself coming back for repeated viewings, mostly because I look at horror films as an equivalent to comfort food. That being said, let’s give Yasmine (Karina Testa) her due.
Frontier(s) seems influenced by Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its ilk, and much like poor Sally from the abovementioned classic, Yasmine is PUT THROUGH THE RINGER. She takes a beating, both literally and figuratively, to the point where it almost makes you want to stop watching. Luckily for us, Yasmine is way stronger than she looks. Right when you think she’s at the point of giving up, she digs in her heels and brings forth some spectacularly bloody vengeance on her captors. Speaking of…
Erin Harson (You’re Next)
I know, I know… this movie is more action/thriller than horror, but don’t think I’m letting that stop me. Erin (played by the most beautiful woman in the world, Sharni Vinson) is a force to be reckoned with, and I appreciate that. The “home invasion” genre in horror is certainly popular, but I for one don’t love it. The protagonists typically make terrible decisions, and rarely do they fight back against the intruders in a way that is cathartic. The movies might be more realistic in that sense, but I don’t watch horror films for realism, nor do I watch them to see average people getting tortured throughout the length of the movie. I LOVE that the filmmakers gave Erin a reason for being a badass, and it actually made sense! She’s a charming, one-woman killing machine, and it’s glorious to behold. Thanks to Erin and her survivalist skills, I would much rather watch this movie than other, more popular home invasion flicks (e.g., The Strangers) where the homeowners are pretty much intruder fodder. Please don’t hold it against me.
Chris Higgins (Friday the 13th Part 3)
This might be a controversial choice, and it’s what got me thinking about this topic in the first place. Chris Higgins (played by Dana Kimmell) is not discussed very often. Perhaps she is overshadowed by Ginny Field, the (admittedly awesome) final girl from Part 2. Yes, Ginny is super smart and spunky, and the way she used Jason’s mother issues against him at the end of that film was genius. But I feel like you already know that. Most horror fans have come to this realization. Chris, on the other hand, never really gets the recognition she deserves. Hear me out.
I will admit that Chris is not very likable. Don’t get me wrong, I know being likable and sweet is not a requirement for a great final girl. I’m just thinking of reasons why other people might not appreciate her. Chris comes off as slightly cold and distant, which is either part of her character or just the way Kimmell was as an actress. I happen to appreciate it, but I naturally gravitate towards cold or slightly unlikable characters. Also, let’s not forget, Chris was dealing with past trauma involving Jason. It’s an icky subplot in the movie, but it also gives you all the more reason to root for her when she kicks his ass during the climax. And HOLY HELL, kick his ass she does!
I can’t think of any other Friday the 13th heroine who gets the best of Jason quite like Chris Higgins. I won’t give you a complete rundown of every little thing she does to take Jason down, but believe me; she earns her “final girl” title like no other. It’s fun to watch, and it’s thanks to Chris that I find myself coming back to Part 3 more often than the other sequels.
Well, there you have it, folks. Can you think of any other underrated ladies in the “final girl” pantheon? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
April 9th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · No Comments
I swear I had every intention of broadening my horizons beyond COMET TV this weekend but how can I when they perpetually insist upon showing such awesome stuff? I can’t escape! Tonight they are showing this weird obscure cult-ready fiasco called THE IMMORTALIZER from 1989 (1990?). From what I can tell everybody and their mother hates this movie except me. I caught it on MGM HD in the wee hours about two or three years ago and it was basically everything I wanted it to be and then some. It’s got that weird uncomfortable tortured captive thing that you might find in HELLHOLE or MANSION OF THE DOOMED but it’s also got that campy search for eternal youth plotline that you might recognize from DEATH BECOMES HER, ETERNAL EVIL, SKELETON KEY and this year’s critically acclaimed GET OUT. Plus it’s pretty darn hilarious in its brazen ineptitude and slightly sleazy vulgarity. Did I mention it takes place in the same building as SORORITY MASSACRE PART 2 (More on that HERE)? In any case, the important thing here is that this may be your last chance to see THE IMMORTALIZER for a while. It doesn’t seem to be readily available in any format and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be building a demand for such a thing any time soon. Check it out while you can right HERE at 6 (ET/PT) before it sips away! You’re not getting any younger!
April 8th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments
Somebody needs to make gold Popsicle stick thrones for these two VHS tapes to sit on. Did I mention they are married and should never be separated? Both THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE and BAD RONALD had an immeasurable impact on my youth. Although I’m sure I was born attracted to horror, I can’t say that I became a true horror freak until I caught HALLOWEEN as a teen and therefore my love of both of these gems can be said to predate my more ravenous fandom. Why does that matter? It doesn’t. It just blows my mind that I’ve known Rynn and Ronald longer than I’ve known Laurie Strode. It seems impossible.
These two crazy kids helped me to forge my identity and their example always made me feel less alone. I know I’ll never be as cool as TLGWLDTL’s Rynn (JODIE FOSTER) but I understood at an early age her desire to live by her own rules, in her own house, separate from the toxic notions and shallow values of the outside world. I understood instinctively her attraction to animals, books and the ownership of her own free time and I easily recognized the enemies who wanted to control her (Mrs. Hallet!) or exploit her for sport (her entitled son Frank). And oh how I related to Mario (SCOTT JACOBY) who admired Wren the same way that I did and leaned on illusion to escape the body that so betrayed him. JACOBY of course, also stars in BAD RONALD and although Ronald certainly has his creepy side I can’t help but respect his boundless and self-reliant creativity. Furthermore, I can’t say I ever blamed him for losing his temper when he was pushed too far (and yes I know I’m starting to sound like an impressionable lunatic gushing over a J. D. SALINGER book).
But wait! This is a post about the VHS tapes and not the movies themselves! I will save that worship for another day! Naturally, I’ve got the DVD upgrades for both of these (BAD RONALD even sports a quote from yours truly on the back!) but I shall never discard these tapes that have meant so much to me (and are kind enough to rewind themselves when done). Truth is, both of these VHS covers are sort of oatmeal bland and borderline frumpy. TLGWLDTL’s illustration is basically from Mars and poor BAD RONALD’s sun damage renders its very title nearly invisible. Luckily they both are adorned with quirky stickers that answer questions that nobody asked like the vaguely judgmental “previously viewed” on TLGWLDTL and the equal parts cajoling and insufficient “horror” and “mystery” badges on BAD RONALD.
In both cases there are no images from the actual movies to be found on the back of the box and in both cases, it’s a missed opportunity. Let’s check out the inside tape of BAD RONALD! Oh, look it’s got a shiny silver U.S.A. HOME VIDEO label! Plus a security sticker claiming it belongs to VIDEO WORLD in North Carolina? Wrong! It belongs to me! TLGWLDTL’s inside looks like a bomb went off in there. I’d like to think I was the type to reattach a label with some thinly and evenly spread glue but apparently at one point in my life I though clear plastic tape would suffice?!! Huh, well, at least that dispels the myth that I haven’t grown over the years. Ok, back up on the high shelf with you two tapes! Settle down and curb the killing! Don’t make me separate you!
April 7th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments
We’ve gone to the dogs! Below are ten images of ten dogs from ten horror films. How many can you identify? While we’re on the subject, there’s a brand new book coming out all about the making of the classic movie CUJO ! It’s called NOPE, NOTHING WRONG HERE: THE MAKING OF CUJO and it’s written and edited by good old LEE GAMBIN! There’s no need to beg- you can pre-order the hardcover HERE or the softcover HERE!