I didn’t see My Bloody Valentine when it first came out; in fact, until last night I had never seen it. In 1981, My Bloody Valentine was a violent and somewhat original film. In 2014, it comes off as just another slasher film.
My Bloody Valentine borrows almost every film trope seen previously in Friday the 13th. Both films feature a child who grew up to be a killer. Both killers wear masks. If you have sex during the movie, you’re probably going to die. Both like sticking sharp objects through people’s chests. Sure, one of them prefers machetes while the other wields a pick ax, but that’s really splitting skulls — er, straws. It’s hard to remember a time when these staples of the horror genre hadn’t been beaten to death (both figuratively and literally).
The film takes place in Valentine Bluffs, a mining town that also happened to be the site of a horrible mining tragedy twenty-years prior. Harry Worden, a miner, was trapped underground and forced to eat the bodies of his co-workers to survive, an act that made him insane. Valentine Bluffs hasn’t celebrated Valentine’s Day since the day of the accident, but when they decide to, Harry Worden (OR IS IT?) returns with an ax to grind. Again, literally.
Worden, who appears wearing a miner’s mask to hide his identity, has a habit of cutting people’s hearts out and leaving them in heart-shaped boxes (along with tacky poems) for the local authorities. Once the sheriff realizes Worden is back he tries to call off the local Valentine’s dance, but the townsfolk go around his back and have a party anyway… with bloody results.
There’s a love triangle and a whodunnit mystery going on amidst all of this, but the real stars are the kills — brutal and realistic, especially by 1981 standards. So brutal and real in fact that the MPAA cut somewhere between 3 and 9 minutes (depending on who’s telling the story) to get the film down to an R-rating. The 2009 DVD release has the cut footage reinserted. Again, by today’s standards it’s rather mild, but at the time it must have been over the top.
I didn’t think My Bloody Valentine was bad, I just felt like I had seen before — and if you’ve watched more than a couple slasher films, you have too. I felt more like I was paying respect to the film by watching it than anything. My Bloody Valentine is considered to be a classic of the slasher genre… I just wish I hadn’t seen 100 rip-offs before watching the original first.
I suspect that The Little Girl Who Lives Down the lane will be one of the least bloody and least violent films I’ll watch this holiday season. It may also end up being the most unsettling.
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the lane stars a thirteen-year-old Jodie Foster as Rynn, the titular girl living down the lane. Rynn claims to live with her father in a rent house, but a few nosy townsfolk realize that none of them have actually met the girl’s father. Rynn’s father is always conveniently out of town, working in his study, or upstairs sleeping when people drop by.
The film feels like a play, with one major location (Rynn’s house) and a small cast of characters. The few people Rynn interacts with are Mrs. Hallet (the landlord), her grown son Frank Hallet (the town pedophile), police officer Miglioriti, and his fifteen-year-old nephew, Mario.
In all of Jodi Foster’s childhood roles she comes off as being wise beyond her years, and this movie is no exception. Rynn is always quick with a story as to where her father is and handles herself as an adult throughout the film. She remains one step ahead of everyone, and by the time they realize it, she’s three steps ahead.
This movie is not your traditional horror film. In fact, although we learn about four deaths during the film, none of them take place on screen and we only end up seeing one dead body. The horror in this film does not come from traditional gore or scares; instead it comes from a thirteen-year-old girl being actively hunted by a sexual predator who no one is either willing or able to stop.
The film also includes a sexual relationship between thirteen-year-old Rynn and the slightly older (fifteen) Mario. There’s a brief nude scene apparently featuring Foster’s slightly older sister that’s not terribly explicit, but it’s enough to make you wonder how this film earned a PG rating. The 70s were a different era, that’s for sure.
I don’t know that I would call this a Halloween film or even a horror film (it’s more “psychological thriller,” if anything), I would definitely recommend it.
When you’re used to films with budgets of tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, sometimes it’s nice to scale things back to their roots.
I’d guess Kottentail had a budget of approximately $28.75, and that’s assuming they paid full price for the bunny costume.
In Kottentail, a couple of hot girls free a (stuffed) rabbit from an animal testing lab. The plot quickly shifts to cover four hot sorority girls, the two hot rabbit liberators (one of whom is a prostitute), and a hot female cop. You will never believe this, but one hour into the movie, most of these girls end up having a pillow fight. I digress…
Once freed, the rabbit bites Hans Kottentail, who turns into a giant killer rabbit. This causes him to eat a few random people for no real reason.
Eventually five of the hot girls team up and come up with a plan that involves putting on hot bunny costumes in an attempt to lure Kottentail in. It works, and he promptly mauls one of them to death.
There’s some sound effects that sound like they came from 16bit arcade games, there’s some cheesy music, there’s some T&A, there’s a disemboweling, and there’s a killer 6′ tall rabbit in overalls on the loose.
Twenty-four hours ago, Jack Frost was my favorite “bad” Halloween movie. Today, Kottentail knocked it down a rung.
Most of the horror icons of the 80s — Jason, Michael Myers, and so forth — were cut from the same fabric. They were big and mean and, for the most part, silent. They rarely spoke, and when they did it wasn’t to crack jokes. Freddy Krueger was the first of the pack to break that mold. In the original Nightmare on Elm Street he was mostly just evil, but with the second film came “You’ve got the body, and I’ve got the brains!” (as he peeled back the top of his own head), and by the time part 3 rolled around he was uttering an evil catch phrase with each murder. (My favorite was when he said “Welcome to prime time!” right before shoving a girl’s face through a television.) Soon after there were dozens of copycat murderers hacking their way through slasher films, doing bad things while offering up bad puns. A match made in Hollywood, for sure.
1997’s Jack Frost begins with the demise of a serial killer named Jack Frost. On the way to his execution, Frost escapes, only to get blasted with an unknown chemical as part of an auto accident. The chemical (which we later learn is experimental genetic chemicals) physically bond’s Jack Frost’s soul with the snow, turning him into a wise-cracking killer snowman.
Jack Frost vowed revenge on Sheriff Sam Tiler, the man responsible for his capture. Frost makes his way back to Snowmonton (ugh) to get his revenge against the Sheriff. By all counts, Frost has the upper hand: he moves silently, he has the ability to melt and reform a’la Terminator 2, and he comes armed with a few weapons and even more bad puns. I’ll give you three guesses what happens right before Jack Frost says, “I only axed you for a smoke…”
After “the world’s most pissed off snow cone” begins hacking his way through town (killing several locals along the way), Frost finally makes it to the police station to face off against the Sheriff, his deputy, and a couple of yahoos from the chemical company who have been posing as FBI agents. The sheriff’s initial plan is to melt Jack Frost, which seems dumb as both we and they have seen Frost melt and reassemble at will. At one point the faux-FBI agents try shooting at water puddles. They even blow up the police station in an attempt to melt Jack Frost, which they learn the hard way won’t work. Frost quickly assembles himself, although he doesn’t look quite right for a bit.
“Look ma, I’m a Picasso!” -Jack Frost
After unconventional weapons fail the cops turn to hair dryers and antifreeze, which work to an extent although knowing there’s a Jack Frost 2 out there (and a third one was planned) makes their solution seem temporary at best.
With a couple of beers and the right friends, Jack Frost might be one of the best worst movies I’ve seen in quite some time. If you’re going in expecting horror or dialogue or anything to make sense, keep on sledding. if you’re looking for a movie about an evil snowman armed with killer icicles and an amorous carrot, boy did you hit the jackpot.
In 1999’s Idle Hands, a perpetually stoned teenager named Anton Tobias murders his parents. When his two stoner friends (Mick and Pnub) discover what he has done, he murders them too. It is soon revealed that Anton’s hand has a mind of its own, and soon it wants to kill the love of Anton’s life, Molly. Unable to stop his hand from killing, Anton severs it from his body. Unfortunately this does little more than free it; now, Anton, Mick, and Pnub must stop the hand from killing Molly before it’s too late.
And yes, I included Mick and Pnub. Despite the fact that Anton’s possessed hand stabbed a broken beer bottle into Mick’s forehead and cut Pnub’s head clean off with a well-thrown saw blade, the two of them return from the grave and help Anton in his quest.
Unfortunately the more the writers try to explain why all of this is happening, the worse they make things. We don’t need to know why Anton’s hand is doing these things and frankly the little backstory we get about a high druid priestess chasing a spirit that inhabits only the most worthless of individuals just leads to (a lot) more questions. I wish they hadn’t bothered. The film is funny enough with Mick and Pnub wandering around like undead versions of Bill and Ted while Anton bumbles his way through his quest. Spending brain cycles wondering why any of this is happening is a waste of time.
The special effects in Idle Hands were impressive. Obviously a substantial chunk of the film’s $25 million dollar budget went toward animating Pdub’s severed head and Anton’s wandering hand. In theaters the film earned $4 million. I’m sure more killings took place in the boardroom after the closing credits rolled.
I liked Idle Hands. While the violence is cartoony (Mick reattaches Pnub’s severed head to his body with a meat skewer and a roll of duct tape), the language and drug use would keep me from letting my kids watch it. I didn’t jump while watching the film but I did laugh more than once, which makes Idle Hands better than the film’s 16% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes implies.
The last time I saw Motley Crue perform live was January 3rd, 1990. I was sixteen years old, and the band was touring in support of their fifth album, Dr. Feelgood.
After 33 years together as a band, in 2014 Motley Crue announced their farewell tour and publicly signed a contract stating that they would no longer tour together as a band after 2015. While many bands have announced “farewell tours” only to renege later (KISS’s farewell tour was in 2000; they played Tulsa last month), I’m taking the Crue at their word here and assuming this is the last time I will ever have the opportunity to see Vince and his buddies Sixx, Mick, and Tom perform live.
For their farewell tour Motley Crue brought along “very special guest” Alice Cooper as an opening act. Alice Cooper is 66 years old and I did not expect much from his show. I was wrong. Despite the fact that most members of his touring band weren’t even born when Alice first took the stage, they performed each song as if it were their own. (Lead guitarist Nita Strauss was born in 1986, the same year Alice Cooper released his sixteenth studio album, Constrictor).
It was great to finally see the father of shock rock and the predecessor of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie do his thing on stage. Throughout the show we got to see Alice Cooper strapped into a straightjacket and tortured by a demented nurse, electrocuted, and ultimately, beheaded in a guillotine. After Cooper was “electrocuted,” the band was joined by a ten-foot-tall monster. Check out this “not from our show but it looked just like this” clip. Jump to the 2:15 mark for the good part.
I was disappointed that the band didn’t play anything from Raise Your Fist and Yell (my favorite Alice Cooper album) but they certainly ran through Alice Cooper’s most classic material.
Alice Cooper Setlist
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
Welcome to My Nightmare
Feed My Frankenstein
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead
School’s Out (with “Another Brick In The Wall”)
After roughly 30 minutes, Motley Crue took the stage, opening the show with the title track from the latest (2008) album, Saints of Los Angeles. People cheered not for the song but for the band. This was our last time to see Motley Crue perform live. People wanted the band to rip through their entire discography, and that’s exactly what they did. The band didn’t waste any time playing less popular songs from “those years,” completely omitting all material from 1994’s Motley Crue (1994), Generation Swine (1997), and New Tattoo (2000). Instead they stuck with their biggest hits, giving the crowd exactly what they wanted.
There were three breaks in the action. The first was Tommy Lee’s drum solo, an event that has been evolving since the early 90s. Back then, Lee’s drum kit would spin 360 degrees as he played to the crowd. For the farewell tour, his entire drum kit is connected to a roller coaster track that carries him out into the audience as it spins him 360 degrees. Gimmicky, decadent, and over the top? You’ve just described Motley Crue.
I wouldn’t watch this entire clip, but you should watch the first minute of it.
The second break in the show came from Nikki Sixx, who asked the entire crowd to sit down and get ready for story time. Sixx spent the next five minutes telling the story of Motley Crue; how the band members met, how they struggled, and what decisions we all made to get us all in that arena at that time. It was pretty deep. Moments later he strapped on a bass guitar with a built-in flamethrower and shot fire over the crowd as 20,000 people pumped their fists in the air and screaming “Shout at the Devil” at the tops of their lungs.
The final break in the show was Mick Mars’ guitar solo. Mick Mars’ health has seriously been on the decline for the past decade, but you wouldn’t have known it from last night. Note for note, Mars ripped through every song and every solo, nailing every note. Unfortunately, and maybe it was where we were sitting, but his solo sounded like a muddled mess to us. The stage amps were in competition with the house speakers, causing enough of a delay to make the whole thing sound like muddy noise. The guy can still shred though.
Vince Neil did what Vince Neil does, running around the stage, hitting most of the words while working the crowd. Perhaps it’s nostalgia that makes him sound better than he really is at this point. If you’re going to see the band perform one last time you need to see it perform with all four original members and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
As the show closed and the band made their way through their biggest single (“Home Sweet Home”), a slideshow of pictures (starting with the guys’ high school yearbook photos) was projected on to a screen and I have to admit I got a little teary eyed. I have followed this band for as long as they’ve been a band and saying goodbye, as silly as it sounds, felt like saying goodbye to an old friend, a real friend.
As the lights came up, Tommy Lee stood at the edge of the stage shouting, “I’m gonna miss you guys.”
We’re gonna miss you too.
And now… on with the show.
Motley Crue Setlist
Saints of Los Angeles
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Looks That Kill
On With the Show
Too Fast for Love
Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
Mutherf**ker of the Year
Anarchy in the U.K.
T.N.T. (Terror ‘N Tinseltown)
In the Beginning
Shout at the Devil
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Too Young to Fall in Love
Girls, Girls, Girls
Kickstart My Heart
Home Sweet Home
Someone is murdering beautiful young women in London using creative and dangerous inventions. We witness one of these murders within the first two minutes of the film when a young woman receives a pair of binoculars in the post. As she places them up to her eyes, sharp spikes shoot out and into her eyes, killing her instantly.
She never saw it coming, yuk yuk yuk.
Cut to a conversation between members of Scotland Yard and Edmond Bancroft, a local writer/reporter/author. Bancroft makes reference to Scotland Yard’s museum collection of murder weapons that have been collected of the years. Little does Scotland Yard know that Bancroft has put together his own “Black Museum,” one that contains deadly weapons far superior to anything the Yard has collected.
If you ever visit someone’s basement and it looks like this, run away.
At first it seems obvious that Bancroft is the murderer, as he appears to be purchasing the murder weapons from Aggie, a local shop dealer who specializes in antiques and weapons. Moments later we witness one of the murders taking place (guillotine, swish!) and it’s not Bancroft! What is going on here?!
Soon, the plot is revealed; Bancroft is behind the murders; after committing them he writes about them in his newspaper articles and books. When Aggie figures this out, she gets a pair of ice tongs to the neck; when his psychiatrist figures it out, he gets electrified and then tossed into a vat of acid until nothing remains but his skeleton.
Soon we learn that not only is Bancroft behind the murders, but that he has invented a serum that when administered allows people’s dark side to come out. Bancroft has been injecting this concoction into his young assistant Rick who has been helping him carry out the murders. Just like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Bancroft’s magical solution turns Rick temporarily evil and allows him to commit heinous acts of murder, which Bancroft then writes about.
Unfortunately the serum doesn’t also boost Rick’s intelligence. After stabbing his girlfriend (for “knowing too much”) at a local fair (in the Tunnel of Love — nice!), Rick climbs the Ferris Wheel and, before leaping to his death and stabbing Bancroft while landing, shouts, “I did what you told me!”
Based on this sentence, Scotland Yard determines that Bancroft planned the murders, Rick committed them, and the mystery has been solved. The end.
I like old horror movies and Horrors of the Black Museum is no exception. I like the plot device of the mystery writer committing the murders and writing about them. I loved the acting and the sets. All of that was great.
I hated the ending. It reminded me of King Kong, when the police and reporters were just standing around Kong’s corpse, making comments. I don’t think Scotland Yard can close a case based on a single line yelled by a crazed maniac hanging from the Ferris Wheel. Maybe they do, what do I know.
These old horror movies focus more on plot and twists than special effects and gore. It’s almost a different genre, but I like it. Worth watching if you’re into old school horror.
Almost every horror movie contains something shocking. The most shocking thing about 1984’s Ghoulies is how little the Ghoulies appear in it.
Ghoulies isn’t even really about Ghoulies — it’s about Jonathan Graves, the son of a self-avowed Satan worshiper who inherits his father’s home, book collection, and interest in the occult. (Jonathan was only a baby when his father tried to sacrifice him during an evil ceremony; fortunately, he doesn’t remember that.) At a housewarming party of sorts, Jonathan, his girlfriend Becky, and the rest of their friends decide to hold a seance using the old books found in the home, because hey, that’s what people did in the 80s at housewarming parties. The seance appears to fizzle and everyone leaves while mocking Jonathan, but moments later we as viewers discover that it did actually work as an evil puppet materializes.
Fast forward a few minutes and we find Jonathan — now with glowing green eyes — dropping out of college and spending all of his free time reading books on the occult and practicing incantations. Eventually his hard work pays off and he conjures up “the Ghoulies,” most of which look like slimy Creature from the Black Lagoon babies, but a few of which look like rats. While there are a few variations of Ghoulies, they all look like really bad puppets. Remember the first time you saw Gremlins as a kid and wondered, “How did they do that?” You won’t be wondering that while watching Ghoulies. You’ll just think, “Huh, look at all those puppets.”
Eventually Jonathan conjures up a couple of little people wearing brown coats and metal helmets named Grizzel and Greedigut, two names so awkward to pronounce that even they have trouble saying them at times.
Grizzel and Greedigut, along with Jonathan and all his old friends, perform another seance. This time, Jonathan’s father is resurrected from the grave. And not to make things obvious, but Jonathan’s father’s name is Malcom. Malcom Graves. Subtle, the film is not.
Malcom takes control of the Ghoulies and uses them to kill all of Jonathan’s friends, which is not a particularly nice way to thank people for bringing you back from the dead. He then attempts to sacrifice Jonathan to the devil, again, but things won’t be so easy as Jonathan is joined by Wolfgang, a good sorcerer who also happens to be the caretaker who has been watching over Jonathan his whole life. Just go with it.
By the end of the battle, excluding Jonathan, everyone involved in the battle is dead and everyone who was dead prior to the beginning of the battle is now alive. This includes a few of the Ghoulies, who show up near the end to let us know there will probably be a Ghoulies 2. And there was, followed by parts 3 and 4.
Ghoulies was part of a wave of movies that capitalized on the success of Gremlins, including Critters, Munchies, Troll, Hobgoblins, Beasties, Kamillions, and others. All of these movies copied the “little creatures attacking people,” but none of them were able to capture the wit or charm of the original.
“The astronauts were killed for food. The alien ate their flesh and drank their blood. And that is a real problem!” -Professor Hertz
I can’t remember who first introduced me to world of Troma and their horrible stable of films, but once I had seen one or two of them I went directly to eBay and purchased 25 of them on DVD. I probably have 50 Troma DVDs now. Most of them were not filmed by Troma but rather simply released by them, but regardless of whether we’re talking about Redneck Zombies, Beware: Children at Play or Igor and the Lunatics, if it has the Troma logo you know it’s going to be a terrible film. In a good way.
This review feels disjointed. The movie itself is disjointed. I’ll do my best to tie things together better than the movie does.
The film opens with a shot of a cardboard spaceship and is followed by 90 minutes of cardboard acting.
In the beginning of the film astronauts make contact with a “massive” alien ship. One of the aliens hitches a ride back to earth and begins eating the fine people of New Jersey. On the monster’s tail is the local police department, Riggs (the astronaut that inadvertently brought the creature back) and Sandra Lynn, a psychic who has visions each time the creature kills. Which is a lot.
The director loves close-up shots and many times while people are speaking their face fills the entire screen and then some. These extreme close-ups make the bad acting hard to avoid. The acting in this movie is so bad that not a single person utters a single line that sounds like normal conversation. When a couple thinks they may have hit a pedestrian with their car, the wife says “I hope you didn’t hit anyone,” with the same amount of enthusiasm one might utter “I hope it’s not cloudy three years from next Tuesday.”
And if the acting is bad, the dialogue is worse. My favorite line in the film comes when two police officers discover a severed head lying in the middle of the road. Says one cop to the other, “We better call this in.”
In this middle of all of this, a convicted rapist and murderer named Savino Fink (aka “Chop Chop”) escapes from prison and is picked up by a couple of boneheads who mistake him for John Belushi, even though they acknowledge that John Belushi is dead. The hitchhiker cuts his arm up with a razor blade before stealing their car. What does this have to do with the plot? I have no idea! It would be literally as if you were speaking with someone and for no apparent reason they began rattling off the ingredients of their favorite pizza in the middle of your conversation.
The creature eventually makes his way to a local heavy metal club where he eats a series of male and female headbangers. And I don’t care what year this DVD was released, this movie was filmed in the mid-to-late 80s, I’d bet a dozen severed heads on it. There are a lot of silly scenes of fake-looking violence here. There’s also some nudity as many of the girls take long showers before going to the club and after coming home from the club.
I hope you get all your laughs out of your system because ten minutes later Sandra the Psychic gets raped by her boss, her daughter gets killed, and Sandra slits her own wrists. And the most tragic part of all is she didn’t see any of it coming, which means she is also a terrible psychic.
In the last sixty seconds of the film, the creature eats Riggs’ brain and Sandra detonates a small nuclear device that destroys the monster, herself, and much of New Jersey. If knowing that makes you feel like you now have to reason to watch this film… you’re welcome.”
Did I mention Flesh Eaters from Outer Space was filmed on video? There’s also a sequel, Invasion for Flesh and Blood, although based on how the first one ends I can’t imagine it features Riggs or Sandra the Psychic. Or New Jersey. I found copies of both films bundled together on DVD for $3.93 on Amazon. Sounds high to me. The DVDs actually contain commentary tracks and several documentaries about the making of these films, so if you’re into learning about how low/no-budget films are made, it might have some insight for you.
Also, this film only contained one flesh eater. Singular. That bugged me.
As a kid I never completely understood the relationship between the first two Evil Dead films. Was Evil Dead II a remake? A re-imagining? A sequel? Who knows. I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter and I should just enjoy the films on their own merits.
Twenty-one years after the third Evil Dead film (1992’s Army of Darkness) fans were treated to a fourth: 2013’s Evil Dead. Is Evil Dead (2013) a remake? A re-imagining? A sequel? Who knows. I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter and I should just enjoy the films on their own merits.
In Evil Dead (2013), a group of twenty-somethings staying in a remote cabin in the woods accidentally summon an uncontrollable evil force by reading a passage from the Necronomicon. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, this is the same plot as both 1981’s The Evil Dead and 1987’s Evil Dead II. If viewers learn but a single lesson from these films it should be to stop opening opening books wrapped in human skin and randomly reading mystical words written in blood over pictures of the devil found within.
This time around our five victims have gathered to support Mia as she attempts to kick her drug habit cold turkey. Joining Mia in the cabin is her brother David, David’s girlfriend Natalia, and their friends Olivia and Eric. Fortunately the five of them each have unique hairstyles so they are easy enough to distinguish as they are being extinguished. Also joining the quintet is an ancient evil that enjoys possessing them one at a time (beginning with Mia) and alternating between attacking the body it has possessed and whoever happens to be nearby. Fortunately whenever the evil spirit possesses someone their eyes turn yellow and red, which makes it easy for us as the audience to tell who is evil and who isn’t.
Similar to Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead (2013) forces characters to kill people they were once friends with. At least with zombies the person’s personality is gone and all that remains is the person’s shell. In this film, the evil spirit knows what the possessee knows and uses that information to tease and torment his/her/its victims. I’m not sure any of us really know how we would react if a family member became possessed and tried to kill us, but if their eyes turn yellow and red and they begin speaking in a demonic voice while shooting a nail gun at me and it begins to rain blood, I’m going down swinging.
Evil Dead (2013) delivers blood by the bucket. Knives stab, heads get smashed and blood squirts. Limbs are removed. In fact, two people even remove their own limbs. And, the chainsaw from the original three films even makes an appearance. This film pulls few punches. If you’re not into blood and gore, this one’s not for you.
The most important survivor of the film is the Necronomicon, which no doubt will be found (again) by a group of unsuspecting victims (again) who will read the spells contained within (again) and summon the evil force (again) with which they will do battle (again).