'THE ALL-TOO-RARE SEQUEL/REMAKE THAT BLOWS THE ORIGINAL OUT OF THE WATER' ONE-TWO PUNCH!HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II (1987, 97 min.) on Amazon Prime for the first time.How do you make a sequel to a perceived-to-be-seminal early 80's horror classic? Simple: (a) make your own feature with tangential similarities to "Prom Night," (b) have the studio marketing department work out the rest, and (c) spend a huge chunk of change reshooting scenes to make what's already in the can work. Voila! "Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II" liberally borrows and steals from then-trendy ("Nightmare on Elm Street") and classic horror ("Carrie"), but does so with manic, creative delight. I hope the casting person that chose young Steve Atkinson as a dead ringer for Michael Ironside got an extra $20 for his/her troubles. Add to this movie's improbability pile not only that the most important character in the story turns out to be a middle-aged man, but that tough-as-nails Ironside nails his Bill Nordham role by projecting weakness over his usual manly bravado.Forget the gimmick of having characters named after horror/cult directors. That's the menial stuff you highlight when there's nothing else about your movie worth mentioning, which isn't the case with "Prom Night II." It keeps surprising and teasing us with what we already know it's going to happen, its leading ladies aren't afraid to give us the full frontal, and many of its supporting characters (Louis Ferreira's worried boyfriend Craig, Beth Gondek's compelling-in-her-very-few-scenes Jess, etc.) are genuinely likable. You can feel the MPAA (or its Canadian equivalent) trample on the violence whenever things start to get groovy, but "Hello Mary Lou" is the right kind of 80's horror sequel we were always teased with but rarely gifted. Highly recommended.CHILD'S PLAY (2019, 90 min.) in theaters for the first time.WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS... skip this review if you plan to see this in theaters. Also, LOOPHOLESPLOITATION! :-PTalk about a Junesploitation! miracle. Not only is the new "Child's Play" not a bad movie or terrible remake, it's actually pretty good and charts its own path without trampling on your memories of the original. Are the classic Chucky doll design and Brad Dourif's voice sacred? Keep 'em. I'll be over there playing with the 'looks like "Halloween 4" Michael Myers' mask' new redesign of Chucky (ugly-as-shit hair, but works for the movie) and embrace Mark Hamill's dialed-down Joker voice. And what's better than having Bear McCreary composing the score for a "Child's Play" remake? Having a creepy new 'Buddi Song' with Hamill and McCreary singing together! :-D For a movie set in '19 I have no qualms reviewing this for 80's Horror! because, well, "Child's Play" is knee-deep in 80's references. At one point the new Andy (Gabriel Bateman) recreates Zach Galligan chasing after Stripe in "Gremlins." There's an all-too-brief moment when a gang of friends arm themselves and start beating on not-the-real Chucky, ala "The Goonies." And, in what can only be labeled as a GIANT FUCKING GIFT for Patrick Bromley by the exploitation movie Gods, TOBE HOOPER (at least his one movie the malfunctioning Chucky is exposed to) is the reason the doll learns to kill and goes on a bloody rampage! It probably has more to do with what the producers at MGM/UA had access to than an outright homage to Hooper, but for a new "Child's Play" to have this direct a link to this site's founding father is nothing short of miraculous. Not quite a 'DING! DING! DING! WINNAH, WINNAH' (it's a little too stylized and sanitized for my horror tastes), but it comes awfully close. Highly recommended, worth a matinee ticket price or (at the very least) one of your AMC A-List weekly slots.
Is it Halloween yet? I think I am ready for it.PROM NIGHT II: HELLO MARY LOU (1987) – For a good time call Mary Lou at..., or just watch Prom Night II. I loved everything about this. As Mr. Vargas points out, Prom Night II includes elements from several prominent horror films, but they are put together in a totally unique 1980s package. The film has a great cast, good pacing, wonderful practical effects (Mary Lou’s emergence), and some creative visuals. For horror or exploitation (watch for that locker room scene), Prom Night II delivers. This is the most fun I have had watching anything so far this month. HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE (1980) – Has anybody who watched this found it more of a comedy than a horror film? Probably best known as the first credit in Tom Hank’s career, HE KNOWS is a Halloween knockoff that copies Halloween’s structure and shots in such a playful manner that I could not help laughing. The tongue-in-cheek manner in which the film opens indicates a less than serious intent for the proceedings, anyway. Though not a good film, even by the somewhat low standards of the genre, I did have a good time with it. The one aspect HE KNOWS excels in is the characters. Amy, the lead character, is well-rounded and very likeable. I even cared about her romantic dilemmas, which occupy a significant portion of the film. Her friends are quite likeable as well.
Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's RevengeWhat can I say about this movie that hasn't already been said before. Probably nothing. I enjoyed it, it's a hoot - the complete lack of euphemism was refreshing in a way, even if poor Jesse is sweating constantly - its a fittingly musky and stickly/sweaty movie. But my favourite thing was the look that Englund gives to the kid who is tring to reason with him near the end of the movie. It's perfect.
Alone in the Dark (1982)Well I turned this in Jack Shoulder Double! While I was disapointed in the lack of multiple flying balls in Alone in the Dark, everything else was great. And I am quickly learning that Martin Landau and Jack Palance losing their minds in the early 80s is becoming a favourite genre. But this is a lean horror movie that I know I am going to revisit again and again.
"Slumber Party Massacre II" 1987, Dir. Deborah Brock.You'd think the greasy rockabilly driller killer would wait for things to get a bit sleazier before ruining everyone's fun. Alas...
Time Walker (1982)A bizarre mummy tale. An interesting and creative script, with a decent production, completely undercut by a tacky, "to be continued.." ending. If not for that wretched conclusion I would rate this higher.
Shocker (1989, dir. Wes Craven)Craven's attempt to make another Freddy feels almost like a remake of Nightmare and wasn't commercially successful, but I had fun with it. The concept isn't bad and Mitch Pileggi (who I previously knew almost exclusively as a good guy from The X-Files) plays a great villain. The final "set" piece (as in TV set) (see what I did there?) rides the line between stupidly great and ridiculously bad. And Ted Raimi plays a guy whose name for some reason is Pac-Man.
Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981)What a strange, offbeat tone. This movie has the tone, pacing, staging, and even opening credit font of a late-70s/early-80s made-for-tv movie, but then it’s filled with nudity and over-the-top violence and incest and all kinds of things that would keep network TV as far away from it as possible. It’s a bit reminiscent of Bad Ronald, only infinitely sleazier. Jimmy McNichol plays Billy, a teenager who has been living with his aunt Cheryl (an absolutely unhinged Susan Tyrrell, only a year after Forbidden Zone and giving a performance that has to be seen to be believed) since his parents were killed in a car accident (OR WAS IT?). Cheryl has an attachment to Billy that astute viewers (read: those with pulses) might recognize as unsavory. Throw in a local sheriff (Bo Svenson) who has the family in his sights and you’ve got a big bowl of exploitative bloodshed that I could not possibly recommend enough. It’s batshit in all the best ways and is a total blast if you’re on the right wavelength. A Junesploitation treat.
Almost Human! 2013!Yes I know this is not 80sBut I genuinely feel this is the closest film to a 80s homage to my favourite 80s film ever. The look. The feel. The practical effectsThis film is the best sequel to Xtro I have ever seenJoe Begos is a massive Xtro fan and you can tell watching thisIt gets better everytime I watch this film
Are we talking "Xtro" or "Almost Human" getting better with repeat viewing? :-P
Xtro is already the best 80s film everHow can the best get better? I do genuinely love Almost Human Did you see it JM?
Yeah, a while back for another Junesploitation! day. As we say here at FTM, "Almost Human" is fine. Carpenteresque-as-hell, from the fonts and anamorphic widescreen to the premise and very early 80's execution of the special effects. I dug it, but it's no "Xtro." ;-)
Your right. Nothing is like Xtro My point was saying this is a better version of a sequel meaning this is a better version of an Xtro movie than Xtro 2 is
Bride of Re-Animator (1989)I haven't seen this in years and barely remembered it. I really enjoyed this movie! The plot works well for the sequel. Nice to have so many actors return for this one, though the absence of Barbara Crampton is a dark mark on this film to be sure. Very entertaining, especially Dr. Hill's head flying around in the third act.
NECROMANCER (1988) This movie is so sleazy I think it gave me a rash. A college girl uses black magic to enact sexy revenge on the men who wronged her. Problem is, dabbling in black magic has consequences, and now we’ve gone from a revenge flick to a demon possession flick. If you’re okay with the naughtier and ickier aspects of the movie, you might have some fun with this one. Bonus #Godzillasploitation: GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS (2000) If the series’ continuity wasn’t broken before, it is now. The movie starts with an alt-timeline take on Godzilla’s attacks, and the people’s response to them. A lot of time is spent on scientists developing a “black hole gun” to stop Godzilla. This one has a lot of gags you don’t see in the other films, like a human riding on Godzilla’s back, and Godzilla fighting a swarm of bugs. AND, this is the one that gave us the Godzilla body-slam meme. It’s a lot of monster action in 90 minutes, and I love it.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)Kind of the textbook example of "sticking to the bit."
Ghoulies (1984)I love the Richard Band score, but that's about it. Thank God for...Bad Dreams (1988)Holy shit, I really loved this movie. One of the highlights of the month for me.
FRIGHT NIGHT PART II (1988) – Though lacking the charm and cohesiveness of Fright Night (a classic of the genre and the era), there are aspects of Part 2 to appreciate. The primary one is that the sequel builds from the events of the original, moving ahead with a different tone and agenda. Charley Brewster, older yet still an awkward fellow, is now in college. He is troubled by the memories of his encounter with Jerry Dandrige. Unfortunately, he believes he has stumbled upon vampires again. Is that by accident? Fright Night II does possess engaging moments, but the film overall is uneven. I did like how Charley is presented as growing up through his ordeals. The look and style of the film is pure late 1980s horror, and the bowling scene is certainly fun. There is more I liked about Fright Night PART ll than I disliked.
Bloody Birthday (1981, dir. Ed Hunt, First Time Viewing)I really don’t like the killer kid genre. Children of the Corn, Per Sematary, etc. I don’t find them threatening and I can’t help thinking any adult should be able to handle these little scamps no problem. That being said this movie was still pretty entertaining. Lower tier Junesploitation for me.
The Stuff (1985, dir. Larry Cohen)Not bad, but not for me. I did like Michael Moriarty and Andrea Marcovicci though. Glad I finally watched it.
Sorry, this was my mistake that can be deleted.
Brain Damage (1988, dir Frank Henenlotter)Boy, Henenlotter sure has a type, doesn't he? Some great scummy New York settings, and characters you'd recognize from Basket Case. Wild ending, could use more singing "Elmer", though.
The Watcher in the Woods (1980)Certainly not the sleaziest movie I could have come up with for today, but Bette Davis in a horror movie is always a must see.
Spookies (1986)I've been holding onto this one for awhile, waiting for the perfect time to watch it. I had a feeling this one would be special. Holy shit! It was amazing! I am still reeling from it. I thought nothing could top Riki-Oh but I'm not sure anymore. There is so much thrown into this. I can't wait to watch it, again.
Epitaph (1988)Sure, mom is crazy and likes to kill people but we can't turn her in. They would put her in jail. That is most of the movie yet I still sort of enjoyed it. I have no good reason for slightly not hating it, yet, here we are.
Murder in Law (1989)We haven't seen my mom in 10 years. She just showed up and said she was in France. I can't just kick her out of the house. She's still my mom. My wife doesn't like her. My kids are weird and kind of gross but they make fun of her. I'll give her a couple of days. I'm sure everything will be fine until then.
Society (1989)We all want to be a part of something. We also want to be respected. We don't want to feel lesser than anyone else. Maybe we are who we are. We should strive to do something different. Be an individual. Don't just do what you are told. You are not your parents. Unless you want to join them in becoming one big pile of goo.
Saw this at a sold out screening at Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn a while back. By show of hands before it started, more than two thirds of the audience (myself included) had not seen "Society." Though most of the movie is pretty uneven and typical Brian Yuzna (great premise undermined by questionable execution and across-the-board weak acting), when that final act hits its stride everybody in the theater was screaming wildly. Say what you will about Yuzna struggling to find his horror voice after he parted with Stuart Gordon and Charles Band. When he lined up all his ducks in a row Yuzna could create something as special and unique as "Society" like few people in showbiz. :-)
New Year's Evil (1980) on Amazon PrimeThat theme song kinda slaps.
Splatter University (1984) on Amazon PrimeTurned it off halfway through and I'm extremely confident this was the right decision.
Scream for Help (1984)Wow... insane on so many levels. Seems like a live action Scooby Doo movie with graphic sex and violence that turns into Home Alone for the last 10 minutes, and a score that is from a totally different movie than the one I just watched. I also loved it, naturally. The lead actress is delightful; I’m not sure why she didn’t do anything after this. I watched it by myself, but it would probably kill with a crowd.Contamination (1980)My second Alien franchise rip off of Junesploitation. Not quite blatant thievery as Shocking Dark was, but also not quite as fun. Still, the Cyclops is pretty cool, and I watched this with Joe Bob Briggs' commentary from The Last Drive In, so that usually bumps up a movie at least a half star. That bathroom scene seemed to go on for ages though.
BAD TASTE (1987):Or: HARRY POTTER AND THE MULLET MONSTER ADVENTURE
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987, dir. Bruce Pittman)Seems like a lot of people watched this today. We watched the Joe Bob version so we could finally catch up with his season finale and see Darcy crowned Prom Queen.