FINAL EXAM (1981, 89 min.) on Amazon Prime for the first time.After a decent opening three minutes (a quarterback doesn't score with his latest gal pal before they're both done away in the former's convertible), "Final Exam" commits a cardinal sin for an early 80's slasher: nothing interesting happens for almost an hour as its many soon-to-be cannon fodder characters talk, talk, talk and keep on talking. If writer/director Jimmy Huston (who wrote Peter Hyams' "Running Scared") had made the kids and adults at fictitious Lanier College remotely interesting, the final act bloodbath would have been (barely) worth the wait. Not only are the characters a collective sorry lot, though, but their unimpressive deaths are mostly bloodless stabbings done by a stocky stuntman with helmet hair. A killer that has no reason for going on a massacre, no animosity toward anyone that wronged him, no presence and no personality... even though he's on-camera every time we see him!If you lower your Junesploitation! expectations to almost nothing "Final Exam" might match or barely exceed them. Sheriff Quentin (Sam Kilman) is so rednecky he's funny, and it's rare for a movie coach to be as nice as the one here (Jerry Rushing). Final girl Courtney (Cecile Bagdadi) is decent, especially when flirting with drunk and over-his-head nerdy Radish (Joel S. Rice). Too bad the a-holes of the movie (particularly Ralph Brown's Wildman) don't get a demise worthy of their douchery, but that's the detours life throws you. You know, like having 350+ Scream Factory titles to pick from and choosing the cinematic equivalent of a two-inch guppy. I-HAVE-CHOSEN-POORLY-SPLOITATION! :'(
Evilspeak (1982)Producer: Let's do Carrie. But instead of a girl, let's make it a boy. But not just any boy, Opie's little brother.Other Producer: Clint Howard?!?Previous Producer: Fuck yeah.
Damn Evilspeak is awesome.
Lord of Illusions (1995 - dir Clive Barker)Even though I don't think this movie ever really gets the tone of detective noir and theatrical fantasy right, I still love it because of the combination. The third act is awesome when all the practical effects come together and the best use of a random fu ck you I have seen in a while. Also it's movies like this that remind me how beautifully stoic she can be.
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Welcome to Willits (2016, dir. Trevor Ryan)A group of teenagers camp in the woods, not knowing that nearby is the house of a conspiracy nut convinced he's being visited by aliens. Some weird shit ensues.It's a strange mix of stoner comedy, conspiracy nut comedy and scifi horror. The basic idea is kinda interesting and the movie takes a few unexpected turns (some of them fun, others really really not), but it ultimately amounts to very little. Dolph has an itty bitty role and steals the show.
Q: The Winged Serpent (1982 - dir Larry Cohen)Firstly, Candy Clark's New York Appartment is awesome.This is my first watch, so I am not entirely sure how I feel about Q being a B plot in it's own movie. But I adored Michael Moriarty's manic performance, every time he's on screen he gives the movie energy that I doubt another actor could do. He gives it a jazz improv quality to the movie, you don't know what he is going to next and everyone else is reacting to him. It's great in that way.I would have liked more Q and maybe was expecting a more traditional monster movie. The kills have this quirky quality to them and it is great idea that there is a Monster hiding out within the skyscrapers of NYC. The more I think about, the more I think I like this movie.
Have you seen The Stuff? Michael Moriarty brings the goods there too. He’s so much fun to watch.
Don't forget the third chapter of "It's Alive!" Moriarty + Larry Cohen writing/directing = a guaranteed good time. And who can forget Michael getting jiggy with it 1986's "Troll"? :-)
I have some more movies to purchase 😀
Session 9 (2001, dir. Brad Anderson, 2nd Time Viewing): Sorry to PCP and fans in general but I didn't love it. It's a good movie, well directed, shot, and acted, but I didn't think it was the least bit effective or scary. Heck, 60% of the movie is shot in the brightly lit sun-dappled grounds of the beautiful New England location. The Scream Factory Blu Ray is amazing looking, and I'm interested in digging into the special features but I was left very disappointed by this.
Lifeforce (1985 - dir. Tobe Hooper)They don’t make movies like this anymore. Despite being such a slowly paced movie, it’s a lot of fun to watch. Reason #1: The special effects. Dust particles! Modern CGI still can’t touch the tangibility of the models of the 80’s.Reason #2: Everybody’s terse, tense Englishness - stress has never been so softly spoken. Stiff upper lip and all. Reason #3: Henry Mancini’s score. Reason #4: Mathilda May.Tobe Hooper is the bomb.
I like the avatar Gil!
The existence of Lifeforce is some kind of insane miracle.
Q- The Winged Serpent A monster melodrama in the style of the classic 50s creature features, keeping the talky, don't show the monster style but replacing the quintessentially Old Hollywood studies of well-oiled, tight-knit groups of capable combatants with a very '70s portrait of a loser.
Phantom of the Paradise (1974 - dir Brian De Palma)This movie is wonderful in everyway. I could watch Jessica Harper dance for another 90 minutes.Whispers ..... Winslow......
The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007, dir: John Erick Dowdle)I remember first seeing this on YouTube because it wasn't available anywhere, and in retrospect, that was kind of the best introduction to one of the creepiest found footage films I've ever seen. It really enhanced the lo-fi graininess and obscurity of the production. When Scream Factory announced they'd be releasing it, I was worried the move to Blu-ray would ruin the atmosphere. Thankfully, it didn't have too big of an effect. Some of the acting is amateurish, but there are still a lot of legitimately unsettling moments and one of the most devastating cases of Stockholm syndrome put to film. Still one of the most effective serial killer movies out there, right there with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
The Evil (1978)This isn't due for release through Scream Factory until September, but I couldn't wait; I really wanted to see it.Richard Crenna move into an old mansion with his wife and begin fixing the place up with some friends and former psychology students of Crenna's (like Andrew Prine). And for awhile it's a pretty damn creepy yarn, with strange occurrences that lead to a trap door in the basement being breached and evil taking over, shutting up the house and refusing to let anybody out. But this film takes such a wacky, bonkers left turn in its final moments, it qualifies for midnight movie status. (And may even work as the first feature in a double with The Visitor.)
Final Exam (1981, dir. Jimmy Huston)I'm so glad I took a chance on this little slasher that doesn't seem to have a great reputation. I loved it. I thought it had a really good script and fun actors so I was totally entertained for the long time before the slashing even started. I recognize the killer isn't very interesting, and it is lacking in gore. But the killer is still a giant hulking figure that was totally menacing, and I was completely satisfied by the kills. This movie is what I love about '80s slashers.Another Junesploitation win!
The killer's jacket adds an unspoken layer of motivation to his murders in my opinion. Perhaps it's a commentary on the Kent State shootings?
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one, as I found the flick extremely wanting. I feel like the filmmakers wanted to emulate "Halloween's" uneasiness of having 'The Shape' be a destructive force without an ounce of humanity. But Carpenter made that work by making us see Michael Myers as a little kid before we see him again as an adult. This dude is just driving around and choosing colleges at random? I agree the jacket the killer wears probably means he's ex-military or a snapped veteran, but that still doesn't make him any more interesting than if he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt.I'll admit that I have a soft spot for Radish, as he's the only one that shows concern and calls the sheriff when the "shooting" started. And holy crap, did you flip a little when you saw "Final Exam" stage a terrorist shootout in the middle of a college campus? Times were so innocent back then. :-(
Well in the movie's defense, every slasher post-Halloween is trying to emulate Halloween and almost all fall short. So I wouldn't fault the movie for that. I think the killer is semi-explained when Radish talks about how some people just wake up one day needing to kill someone. I think that's what they're going for. And I really don't need a backstory or have it explained. Just having a dude killing people can be enough to me for a slasher.I love Radish. I love how he's a nerd, but has self confidence and isn't scared of any of the frat boys. That's better than a lot of 80's nerd characters.I even liked Wildman and the "slutty girl". Wildman is a douche, but I thought the actor was doing a great job with that character. And the slutty girl was a little more complex than that character would have been in another slasher. She's fooling around with the professor because she wants to feel like she's older and can "get what she wants". I really liked the cast of characters in this one.
And yes, the joke drive-by was NUTS. Love how chill the faculty were with it. "Oh I thought it was funny!" What a crazy different time!
Agree, Daniel Epier, Lisa, aka DeAnna Robbins, could have been made into a really bitchy slut, but she's also sweet to Courtney and gets along with Radish and everyone else. BTW, click the IMDB link of DeAnna's name and whose face is on her IMDB picture? The douchebag Gamma frats boys from "Final Exam," Wildman and Covertte-driving Mark. :-)
Uggghhh that's awful.
Dreamscape (1984)Dennis Quaid, Christopher Plummer, David Patrick Kelly, and of course George Wendt! What more could you ask for in a sci-fi/horror thriller? Interesting and at sometimes funny premise where the president must be saved by entering his dreams with cool, practical effects. Not too bad in length either. “Do you guys like Bruce Lee Movies? I’ve seen Enter the Dragon six times?” It would also be fun to imagine this as a prequel to Frequency in some strange, shared universe. Anyone else wonder if Quaid and Harrison Ford have ever hung out?
I just watched this and immediately thought that Dennis Quaid is playing Han Solo. haha
Night of the Comet (1984)An apocalypse teen zombie movie. It has three of the best things from the 80s. What's not to like?It even has a montage to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", and did I mention it stars two girls? In a time with almost only teenage boys starring in these kind of movies. A movie so far ahead of it times it's almost a time traveling movie as well.
I love this movie!!
Slither (2006)This is my first time revisiting Slither since I saw it in the theater. No idea why it's taken me so long, but glad I chose it today. Great cast and fun effects. It's better than I remembered.
Ever since i started buying blu-rays, this one was near the top of my wanted list. When Shout finally decided to release it, i jumped on it. The movie's great, the blu-ray is great. All i hoped for, and more
First high-definition movie (on HD-DVD actually) that I ever bought back in 2007. Still have it, still plays on my Toshiba. And I still get junk emails from Target from the one time I ordered online from its website. Don't regret the purchase, but I do regret getting "Slither" from Target. :'(
Lady Frankenstein (1971)Rosalba Neri wants so much to contribute to The legacy of her father, the Baron Frankenstein (Joseph Cotton), and she gets her chance when his creature kills him. She creates her own monster she hopes will kill her father's creation... and just might take him as her husband.Trashy and wonderful. I'm sure Rob Zombie's a fan: narration from the trailer found its way into his song Living Dead Girl. And the Baron's creature reminds me of Ted White's Jason. I watched a pretty torn up, washed out print of this, but it only added to my enjoyment of the film.
Sounds awesome! And scream factory released this?
It was part of a Roger Corman 4-pack including The Velvet Vampire, Time Walker and Grotesque.
Oh nice. I love those Roger Corman packs.
Eve of Destruction (1991)Gregory Hines is one of those actors where I’ll watch anything at all just because he’s in it. Sometimes that works out great, and other times like this one...not so much. Not that he’s bad in it (he’s too good an actor to be bad in anything), he’s just pretty miscast as a military terrorist-hunting badass whose prey is now a murderous cyborg (Renée Soutendijk) modeled after the scientist who created her (also Soutendijk, who’s solid in both roles).There are some good ideas in this female-centered Terminator riff, but it never goes quite as nuts as one might hope from a movie like this. Then again, the terminatrix does bite the dick off of a guy who looks like Chuck Norris sooo...probably worth a rental, at least.
Night of the Comet (1984)Started this one last night for zombie day and had to finish it today. This one never grabbed me like Night of the Creeps. Maybe one day it'll grow on me.
Also I was listening to the Pure Cinema podcast on Scream Factory and there was an appearance by one Patrick Bromley plugging, of course a Robe Hooper film.
I didn't know Tobe Hooper had a kissin' cousin named "Robe" that was also a director. :-D
Man this new phone is killing me. It'll autocorrect things that are fine and let me send the worst misspellings.
The Sentinel (1977, dir: Michael Winner)Following a bunch of recommendations, I also took in 1977's THE SENTINEL for day 3 of Junesploitation. It's that classic 70s formula of 100 minutes of brooding unease capped off by 20 minutes of batshit insanity. A lot of early appearances by classic 80s actors, too. Christina Raines is so stunning and watchable that she alone makes it worth a viewing.
I was grinning when the freaks from Basket Case 3 showed up!
Phantom of the Paradise (1974)A glaring blindspot of mine. Absolutely loved it. What a bizarre mix of genres, and, in all of its chaos, De Palma seems like he is in complete control.
....Winslow.....Your right about De Palma being control in the middle of the chaos, it's a glorious spectical to watch.
My first hamster Aggie ate some of my poster of this movie, she had great taste 🐭 I forgive her of course. I still have my DVD after all
I did a Carpenter steelbook double feature for today. Unlike most of my picks for the rest of the month, I've seen both of these before. It's been long enough though since the last time I'd seen either that it felt like a good opportunity to watch them since I've been picking up all the Carpenter steelbooks Scream Factory has been releasing.The Fog (1980):It's not without it's flaws obviously. It would be easy to point out Atkins in full Wooderson "I get older, they stay the same age" mode but aside from the abrupt cut to him and JLC in bed it's not overly distracting I guess. Up until this rewatch I had actually seen the 2005 remake more recently (in the theater), although I couldn't tell you much about it aside from it now standing out as one of the better career moves from one of the leads in Smallville.Prince of Darkness:A movie I can appreciate more with age, not that I ever disliked it. Seeing Dennis Dun and Victor Wong together is always nice, but the fact that their filmographies overlap so much in the 80's is also a sad reminder of how little opportunity there was for Asian-Americans in Hollywood at the time (and it could still use a lot of improvement now).This may be my favorite Carpenter film that doesn't have Kurt Russell in it but I'll have to rewatch In The Mouth of Madness when the Scream Factory blu-ray comes out to be sure. Obviously many of the others are great as well, but there's just something thought-provoking about Satan as green liquid.
I watched Prince of Darkness at the drive-in this weekend. John Carpenter's films were being shown on 35 mm. With this second viewing, Prince of Darkness grew on me, yet I cannot say it is one I really like. The idea of evil being a physical presence in the world is an interesting idea.
Red, White & Rock (2002) Made for PBS music documentary/videos/live performances from 50's/60'sSince I've seen most of the Scream! Factory releases I figured I'd go back to the origin. The first release from the foundation of what would become Shout! Factory. As I musician, I love it, but it's nothing I haven't seen before. This isn't exploitation though you say? From Bruce Eder of All Music: "with all due respect to the producers, Red, White & Rock seems like the very worst kind of exploitation -- prepared in collaboration between WQED in Pittsburgh, PA, and Rhino Records, it was conceived as something of a musical statement of rock & roll Americana in reaction to the attacks of September 11, 2001, a feel-good collection for people who felt that they or their country had been victimized. Released a year later, it repackaged a lot of generally upbeat and classic rock and rock & roll; as a piece of exploitation, it wasn't so bad except perhaps that no one seemed to care much about it, the recording business having gone to hell in the interim, and listeners didn't need more copies of Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'" or the Monkees' "I'm a Believer" in their collections."
FINAL EXAM (1981)I’m somewhere in between JM Vargas and Daniel Epler’s aforementioned reviews. Final third tanks it imo, but it’s a fine watch. The most shocking part is obviously the frat prank, which in 2018, is chilling to even think about because you know you could easily turn on the news and see that happening, and to think then it was really unthinkable and a punishment-free prank.
I, Madman (1989): Pulp-meets-slasher-meets-cops-meets-The NeverEnding Story-meets-well, a lot of things. My first Pure Cinema Podcast Challenge entry for Junesploitation did not disappoint!
Tentacles (1977)Tentacles is a passable Italian Jaws ripoff directed by Ovidio Assonitis of all people, so of course it's not surprising that it becomes utterly batshit at times. As the title obviously suggests, it concerns a killer octopus rather than a killer shark.John Huston might be this film's Brody, although like most films of this era (era), he's really just playing John Huston. He's a journalist investigating disappearances and deaths in public waters.Shelley Winters is Huston's wife, overacting her way through two thirds of the picture. (And if there's such a thing as a 90 gallon hat, she's wearing it in one scene and sells it well.) I think we're also meant to believe Huston and Winters have a ten year old son. Henry Fonda is the head of a company that built a tunnel that gave the octopus entry into those public waters. I guess that makes him the Mayor Vaughn of this film, since he's in some way responsible for the attacks. But none of them seem to really matter much to the plot besides a lead-upto the eventual hunt for the octopus. The real star of this film has to be Bo Hopkins, our Hooper (and maybe even our Quint), a water park employee who brings his killer whales along to kill the beast. Although the film clearly appears to take place in the States, several Italian actresses have parts in the film. One is even playing Bo Hopkin's wife! Another is the mother of Huston and Winters' son's friend. No explanation is given. But hey, it's an Ovidio Assonitis film. It figures.
I have watched parts of Tentacles on TV. The similarities with Jaws are inescapable. John Huston and Shelley Winters appeared in Assonitis' next film, the astoundingly bizarre The Visitor. He must have liked working with them.
I love The Visitor so much...
Me too. There are a lot of great moments in it.
THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971) Exposition, shmexposition. The movie opens with long stretches of dreamlike weirdness, taking its sweet time before cluing the audience in on what the plot is. Vincent Price plays the titular doctor, enacting elaborate revenge on those who wronged him. Interesting how little he speaks throughout the film, when he’s so well-known for his distinctive voice. All the trippy visuals and gorgeous set design makes up for it. DR PHIBES RISES AGAIN (1972) Phibes is back, now caught up in international intrigue as he travels to Egypt. A lot of people love this sequel, but I’m not feeling it. It felt like trying too hard to recreate the look and feel of the first. The supporting cast isn’t as interesting this time either, as I found myself missing the bumbling cops from the first one. Vincent Price is still great, though.
I love The Abominable Dr. Phibes. I find the art deco sets and whimsical narrative very endearing. Although he does not talk much, Vincent Price communicates so much through his face and body language. It definitely is one of the strangest films American International Pictures ever made, verging on being an art film at points.
Whimsical is a good word for it, even if it is horror. I liked it a lot. I wonder if I'd have enjoyed the second one more if I hadn't watched it right after the first.
Dog Soldiers (2002)Pretty good werewolf effects but the military aspect ruins it for me. It's mostly guys stuck in a house shooting at scary hands reaching in. The werewolves are slightly scary and there's some decent gore. One bright spot is a cameo from Davos. #yourgrace
Psycho II (1983, dir. Richard Franklin)Psycho III (1986, dir. Anthony Perkins)Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990, dir. Mick Garris)All three were first time watches for me. Making a sequel to Psycho 20 years later must've been seen as sacrilegious, but II was great! Did not expect that. The movie earns that Hitchcock shadow. Meg Tilly's cute as a button and you can always count on Dennis Franz to play a complete sleaze.Then we move from II's great thriller to III's mediocre 80's slasher, complete with nudity and gore. Too crazy to be a "respectable" movie, not crazy enough to be a Junesploitation classic. It's not a bad movie but maybe II raised my expectations too high.And Norman: A Psycho Story felt just... unnecessary. But then again, Olivia Hussey...I'm really glad I finally took the time to watch all of these, even though only one of them really grabbed me.
Invaders from Mars (1986, dir. Tobe Hooper)Sometimes your Junesploitation pick is determined by what you can put on with kids around. I'm always happy to revisit this one, at least, which is Tobe Hooper's demented take on a kids sci-fi horror. I still think the movie could use tighter editing and the performances are inconsistent, but I'm past the point where I can really see the flaws in most of Tobe Hooper's work. I'm glad Scream Factory has treated his filmography well over the years.
The Fog (1979 Dir. John Carpenter)I've said this before, but I think the Fog has my favorite horror movie premise: Zombie pirates returning to avenge themselves upon the town that built their fortune on their graves. It's simple and unique. The visuals are top notch, but the screenplay itself leaves much to be desired. Theres still a lot of fat here that keeps the Fog from joining the ranks of other Carpenter classics like The Thing or Halloween. However, it does still have a very awesome Tom Adkins (he must've been freezing without his moustache tho) doing what he does best: bedding chicks 30 years his junior
Deadly Eyes (1982)I always past the case for this on the VHS rental wall when I was a kid and never chose to watch it. Now I know why. It saved me from a major rat phobia. Or, at the very least, a dog-in-rat-suit phobia.
Psycho IIConsidering it didn't really need to be made Psycho II is a really cool mystery movie that establishes its own identity. Props to Anthony Perkins for reviving Norman Bates over 20 years later.
Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf (1985)Finally got the nerve to give it a go. Left me baffled and bemused, but in a good way... I think. Words can't really do it justice (does it even deserve justice, who's to say)I'm actually from the Dark Country aka Transylvania, Romania. It's so nice to see your country faithfully presented on screen. Sadly, the werewolf population is not what it used to be, what with all the deforestation and opening of creepy places to tourists.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Tobe Hooper, 1986)First time viewing, on PrimeI sort of like that this sequel came so long after the original, in a whole other era of horror. I mean, nothing can compare to that 70s surreal terror masterpiece. So here, a dozen years later, you get 80s gore and insanity. It's not nearly as scary, though it has moments (to include a jump scare that crushed me), but it is unsettling at times. But, it's also silly. Bonkers even. Hopper does his thing, and that's a treat. And lots of credit to Caroline Williams who carries this thing pretty well. I was digging the set design of the underground. Grade: B
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)I decided to use today to shore up my Carpenter blindspots. And this was one of the films I was most looking forward to when the month was announced. It's a bit rough but all that Carpenter charm is there. I did an audible "ohhh shit" when a certain character is shot early in the movie that told me this wasn't the typical adventure.
Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre (2015)The title told me what to expect. I shouldn't have been surprised by a cgi corpse in the first few minutes. This movie felt cheap throughout. But it's cardinal sin is being boring. Not worth tracking down.
DOCTOR BLOOD'S COFFIN (1961, dir. Sidney J. Furie)This is a modest British horror production about a doctor with no scruples concerning experimenting on humans. When Dr. Peter Blood is thrown out of a research program in Vienna, he comes back home to England to continue his experiments. Doctor Blood's Coffin is a respectable effort that is more like a thriller than a horror film for most of its running time. The horror elements sometimes seem like an afterthought, especially at the conclusion. In keeping with the era, there is a lot of dialogue, yet I did not mind spending 90 minutes with these characters. The casting is excellent, with Hazel Court (The Curse of Frankenstein) giving a compelling performance. Having a fondness for these 1960s "chillers", I found much to enjoy here. If you like the European horror productions of the 1960s, Doctor Blood's Coffin might be of interest. It is, admittedly, not the best of its kind.
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) In a world without parents, character arcs and bras, the natural outcome of any gathering of young sexy teens inevitably spells death. But then... Surprise, that's exactly what happens! And that's about it, save for some gnarly drill-kills and hotdogs applied to a face. Never did find out how they scored 6 in one inning, though...
The Crush (1993) aka Chekov's PervertYou know how they say "a movie for our times"? This is the opposite of that. It's super trashy and very watchable.
They Live (1988, dir. Carpenter)First time watch. I’m a big wrestling fan, so I’m not sure why Piper’s performance surprised me so much. Great stuff. That fight scene (which I didn’t know about going in) was pulled directly from the short films I made in high school, I’m sure of it. My favourite part of the movie. The actress wh played Holly was great, too.
From a Whisper to a Scream (1987)I don't know what I was expecting, but I know I didn't expect this movie to be what it was, a very macabre portmanteau of stories chronicling the shady past of Oldfield, Tennesee. Makes me wonder what kind of skeletons are buried in Spring Hill. As I understand it, this film has its own storied journey to completion. The film just left me feeling grungy, but I'm super interested to pick up the blu ray and dive into the special features.
In the Mouth of Madness (1995)Well that was a mind fuck. Not really sure what to think. This and Prince of Darkness are definitely not my favorite Carpenter flicks, but I'm glad I did watch them. Would like to hear some thoughts on this one.
It's really close to being my favorite Carpenter. I think it's incredible and it makes me so happy.
Glad to hear you love it. What makes it such beloved Carpenter for you?
Well, I'm a huge Sam Neil fan, so that helps. I also love things that are lovecraftian. I love all the monsters and wild practical effects. I think it's one of Carpenter's most imaginative films. I think it feels so fun, while being bleak and scary at the same time.
Dreamscape (1984, dir. Joseph Ruben)Dennis Quaid is an even better Han Solo than Alden Ehrenreich.I just don't know what else anyone could need out of a movie. It's got an amazing cast, a motorcycle chase scene (I'm a sucker for those), and a flat out special effects extravaganza. I mean, those dream sequences are incredible and absolutely feel like a dream. It's funny, exciting, spooky at times, and I'm flat out in love with it.Now I want to do a Dennis Quaid 80's sci/fi double with Innerspace!
REC 3: Genesis (2012 dir. Paco Plaza)This is sort of a cheat because I saw on the Scream Factory wiki that they will be releasing a REC box set later this year. This could easily be dismissed as a cash-grab sequel but you should give it a chance. It continues the REC story/mythology but there is a nice shift in style and tone that makes this a really fun film. It begins in found footage style, through the lens of a wedding video, but then very quickly switches to a normal perspective. The move indicates that the movie is somewhat self-aware and gives it a playful feeling right off the bat. Combine that with a fast-paced story, fun gore gags (wait for the hand-blender) and effects, very good photography, and you've got a super fun Junesploitation gem. I think this movie is underrated and deserves more love. Check it out!
Fender Bender (2016, dir. Pavia)I wish it wasn’t so concerned with creating an iconic horror villain. Seems like the script was turned into a film thirty years too late. Works fine as a typical slasher, and the direction and lead performances elevate the material, but it ultimately feels dated rather than retro.
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)You don't need the NBA Finals if you've got a copy of this laying around.
Motel Hell (1980)Like a goofy, ill-structured elseworlds story for "what if the Sawyers were the protagonists?" Not the good guys, mind you, just the drivers of the plot. Also, the appearance of John Ratzenberger begs the question, which Cheers character would be best to eat? My money's on a tender, lean Woody.
Deadtime Stories (1986)This is what you get when Peter Falk isn't around to tell Fred a storybook story. Uneven but fun, with some cool stop motion effects during the opening titles and in the first short tale.
Motel Hell (1980)Pleasantly surprised by this one. Really enjoyed it as both a dark comedy and a pretty good horror flick. Has a real TCM2 vibe, and the Rory Calhoun performance is incredible.
Halloween (2007) Dir. Rob ZombieWatched this again for the first time since I think 2008. I know a lot of people like it, but I can't stand this film. I don't mind a remake of any movie, but Zombie doesn't seem to have anything new to say. Meyers is given a backstory, but its not interesting. The chubby blonde kid in the first act does nothing to inform the chiseled monster in the third act. The characters are all so thoroughly unpleasant; miserable and angry. He's updated Carpenter's timeless, relatable teenagers to be mid-2000s jerks. The cinematography is bad, a bunch of shaky shots that last for 3 seconds.
How do you feel about Halloween II?
I haven't seen it yet. I'm going to watch it for Slasher Day. I know Zombie had more control over the story in II so my hopes are a bit higher.
Jack's Back (1988)I miss '80s James Spader. I also miss '80s Cynthia Gibb.
Shocker (1989)Saw this underrated (IMO) Wes Craven in the theater when I was 12 and loved it. Rode my bike to Kmart a few days later and spent what was supposed to be my school lunch ticket money on the soundtrack cassette. Glad to see Scream Factory give it some love.Maybe it’s my nostalgia goggles, but it remains a fun movie that is now so amazingly ‘80s.
Night of the Demons (1988) Missed yestserdays so I thought I’d knock two out with one viewing. This one was not so great. It had a few solid moments (the creepy dance scene was great) and some good effects but not much else. I found every character unlikeable and every non horror scene was just boring. But hey at least there’s always tomorrow!
Robot Jox (1989)As a kid I always remember the trailer for this on VHS tapes but never got to see the movie, until now. Really good fun that could do with more Robot battles.
The Dark Half (1993)I only ever saw Romero's dead movies and Creepshow until now. After seeing this I feel I have to rectify that as soon as possible. Good performances, great effects, some very neat imagery. George Stark was wonderfully awful and the sparrows thing was quite impressive, plus the whole "fighting your evil side" stuff always resonates with me. Really enjoyed this one!
Ghosthouse (1988)I think Leigh Whannell may be a fan. I can see bits of this in the Insidious films and The Conjuring, and that's pretty cool.
Body Bags (1993) Cool little anthology that is worth watching for two reasons (amongst others); the delightful little casting surprises in the first story...and Mark Hamill's INSANE performance in the last.
The House That Dripped Blood (1971)Interesting but not always successful horror anthology. I liked the Peter Cushing sequence the best, but... Duh. Always nice to see Ingrid Pitt popping up for a glorified cameo. Denholm Elliot plays a horror writer with a cool sweater collection...
Evilspeak (1981) - first watchMy friends all said it was spam, but I KNEW it was Satan sending e-mail requests for unholy water.This movie is great! I had never heard of it, so thanks to Brent Petersen for posting the awesome looking poster on twitter.
The Burning (1981) - with F This Movie! commentaryI’ve never had the nostalgia for 80s summer camp horror movies like a lot of people. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit younger (30), and so I missed the time when they were coming out AND I ignored them on cable since all the good parts were cut out, rendering them boring time slot fillers. I was always way more attracted to horror that was more visually enticing or had great stories to tell. Since seeing a ton of films in this sub-genre, uncut, I get where people’s love is rooted and can certainly appreciate people’s enthusiasm for this flavor of horror. It’s still not something I gravitate to. That said, I did enjoy watching this film again with the guys all goofing in the background. The Savini effects are great, the movie does look better than most in this sub-genre, and it’s fun to see such a disparate group of future stars in their teen years. The kills are slightly uninspired but definitely gruesome. The story is about what you would expect from this type of film; paint-by-numbers plot with no real twists, at least none that aren’t completely telegraphed for you. I agree with Patrick that one thing setting this film apart from it’s peers is that you aren’t completely annoyed by or hate ALL of the characters (just some). Overall, this film lacks the DIY/WTF/OMFG quality of gems like ‘Sleepaway Camp’, but it’s certainly better than most of the sub-genre, even eclipsing many of the weaker films in the Big Bad’s franchises simply by the virtue of possessing more competence in the filmmaking.