Friday, August 23, 2019

10 Mostly Bad Movies From The 80s- 69 Days to Halloween

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1983)
Dir- Tommy Lee Wallace
It appears that a toymaker (Dan O Herlihy) has gone wrong and made a load of killer Halloween masks. When it seems like someone is getting closer to learning his secret, a group of assassins appears to kill them outright. There is also a backstory about a missing part of Stonehenge, but that element is only briefly mentioned. Why does this movie get so much hate, first, the film does not have Jamie Lee Curtis. Second, No Donald Pleasance and third no Michael Myers. Hell, it isn't even set in Illinois. In recent years it has found a new audience and appreciation given that the story was pretty good, but it was cursed by having tied to the Halloween franchise. 

Humongous (1982) 
Dir- Paul Lynch
This one starts with a flashback of a brutal rape and subsequent death of the rapist at the hands of the victim's dogs. The assault resulted in the birth of a crazed killer mutant man-beast (Big Surprise!). Years later a group of generic teens goes boating and end up on the island where the flashback sequence occurred. They discover the house and the remains of dog bones. Once there they are taken out one at a time by the dark beast-man. Nothing more than a cheap copy of Friday The 13th with every dumb cliché, no suspense or any creative effort. With most of the action occurring in the dark, the creature is never even seen in any detail.

Pieces (1982) 
Dir- Juan Piquer Simon
One of those horror films that teetered on an X rating. Your standard mad slasher film begins with a little boy putting together a puzzle of naked women circa 1945, only to be caught by his mother. He then dispatches his mother in an ugly way. Years later, we are on a college campus, and we see many brutal deaths and mutilations, all young women with big breasts and shapely figures. All in an attempt to piece the perfect lady, a la Bride of Frankenstein. The standard who done it with a lot of gore and some graphic violence. The conclusion is most tacky as they try to make it into a double twist style ending that is most unconvincing. A Spanish production which is at times unintentionally funny while being brutal in its violence, we also see a few significant goofs like a touch-tone phone in 1945.

The Prey (1984) 
Dir- Edwin Brown
Another Friday the 13th clone which has a group of teenagers being stalked and killed by a huge disfigured forest man. Besides the usual clichés and predictable plot, we have a film which would pass as a decent nature documentary due to its magnificent nature shots and plenty of bugs crawling all over the place. I might also add the creature was played by Carel Struycken, who would appear in Addams Family as Lurch and Star Trek TNG as Mr. Homm. A film which I best remember for its rather icky shock ending and complete rendition of Edgar Allen Poe's The Monkeys Paw.

Street Trash (1987) 
Dir- James M Muro
One of my favorite splatter movies and one of the grossest films to come from the eighties. We get a terrible neighborhood, scary pimps, crazed drug thugs, ugly prostitutes, and some crazy drunks who get a real treat when the local store sells a newly found box of cheap wine for a buck. The stuff is so hot that it eats you up. Not much plot except for some cruel deaths, some necrophilia, a few violent shoot-outs and an amusing keep away game involving bum's severed penis. Another memorable scene has a victim melting into a toilet and flushing himself literally down the can. One of the best sick films and a real treat to all bad movie gore fans.

Student Bodies (1981) 
Dir- Mickey Rose
First, there was Halloween, then Friday The 13th, what next Jamie Lee Curtis's birthday? Seriously, this horror parody is about as memorable as the last Troma film, but for some odd reason, I am drawn to it. It stars pretty much no one worth noting, and I guess those who were in it leave it off their resume. A psycho breather preys on those typical stupid teens and uses every piece of office supply as his deadly weapon. Everything points to the shy virgin Toby, who is allergic to sex. It is up to the virgin Toby and her friend Hardy to prove her innocence. This movie is SILLY. It incorporates every cliché imaginable including nude bathroom scene, stupid trick ending, and a weird janitor named "Malvert." For a bad movie, it is somewhat addictive, and I must admit this is one of my favorites.

Trick or Treat (1986) 
Dir- Charles Martin Smith
A good idea that does not quite make it. Marc Price (Skippy on Family Ties) plays a loner teen who idolizes a heavy metal rocker who dies before the release of his next album. It seems that the local DJ (Gene Simmons of Kiss) has the last record and when played backward summons the evil spirit of the rocker. The slasher deaths follow as the loner teens find his enemies being taken out one at a time. The only highlights being the numerous cameos by notable rockers including Ozzy Osborne as a preacher condemning rock music. Way too much MTV influence followed by direct rip-offs of other more modern horror flicks.

Vamp (1986)
Dir- Richard Wenk
A trio of college frat brothers needs a stripper for a stag party, and they turn to an exotic dancer named Katrina played by Grace Jones. Katrina appears in a unique black and white motif and drives the guys wild yet little do they realize that Katrina and her friends are vampires. This little known vampire film lacks the big-budget feel of Dracula but does offer a cool story, great dance sequences, and your usual blood-sucking gore.

Watchers (1988) 
Dir- Jon Hess
I once stated that many a novel could not translate well on film, and this is very much the proof needed. What is viewed as an excellent book by Dean R Koontz is a grotesquely bad film which seems to be more of a vehicle for that annoying twerp Cory Haim then a decent horror film? The government creates the ultimate weapon in the form of a smart dog and icky monster. Well, the dog escapes, and the beast gives chase. This film was gutted so much one wonders why they spent money to adapt the book. Michael Ironside appears as a psycho bounty hunter and is the only thing likable about this film.

Witchboard (1987)
Dir- Kevin Tenney
Ever wanted to play with one of those Quija boards, well a group of friend's huddle together and find the game is more than what they expected when they suddenly find themselves dying one at a time. Tawny Kitaen stars as a teen that gets possessed by a spirit of an evil ghost when she uses the board alone. A medium which is called in discovers the spirit is an evil magician who was killed by police years ago. A few typical deaths and murder by sundial made this film a surprise hit when it was released. Not too bad and with Kitaen, you have a generic teen who is worth watching.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Bad Movies That Are Great- 70 Days to Halloween

Alligator (1980)
Dir- Lewis Teague
Flushing those little alligators down the toilet seems a lot less likely when you see the carnage laid by this genuinely pissed off reptile. Fed on sewer rats and who knows what, the gator grows to enormous proportions and busts out of the sewer to eat politicians, pimps and all sorts of assorted scumbags. Henry Silva is hired as the big game hunter to deal with this pesky reptile. With plenty of blood, guts and a fun wedding scene, you have a film that will keep you from snoozing, at least for about 20 minutes.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)
Dir- John De Bello
You must be a from another planet to have not heard of this classic baddie. The world is held at bay by killer tomatoes which have a terrible attitude. Along the way, we get every imaginable swipe and cliché from some of the most famous horror films. Not only a staple at every Bad Movie Festival but considered by many to be the worst movie ever made, if not the most comically fun. With a cast of thousands (tomatoes) and a song that is just as famous, Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes was infamous enough to get three sequels and a television cartoon series.

Basket Case (1982)
Dir- Frank Henenlotter
One of the most famous low-budget horror classics of the eighties is also one of the coolest cheese films to come in a long while. Kevin Van Hentenryck plays a shy young man who travels with a wicker basket in hand through the streets of New York City. What is inside the basket is his twin brother, a telepathic mutant who was once attached to the shy boy. The pair is on a quest to find the doctors who separated them years before and take them out in most cruel ways. With a look and feel of a small budget film, Basket Case is that rare horror film that uses its bare-bones budget to craft a movie that looks and feels like an early film by John Waters and David Lynch. Not a bad movie but a cheese film that has attracted a cult following and a sequel.

The Crazies (1973) 
Dir- George Romero
An army of soldiers clad in gas masks and chemical suits storm into a town that has encountered a contaminated water supply due to a plane crash, turning the village into murderous psychos. Many weird folks are running around stabbing each other and turning into crazed zombies. Ultimately it seems the soldiers that are sent in become just as nuts as they shoot everything in sight. George Romero's first significant follow-up to Night of The Living Dead, and it is one of his most underrated films. The low budget look and great costumes add to a movie that is not as gory as Living Dead but just as much fun to watch.

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972)
Dir- Bob Clark
A team of actors travel to an island to film a horror movie; they play practical jokes and engage in a foolish supernatural ritual. The result is their unlikely death as they awaken a pack of wild zombies who rise from the dead. This spoof of Night of The Living Dead is half horror/half humor and is surprisingly more gory than one would imagine, yet its hokey look makes it a significant cheese classic.

Children, The (1980)
Dir- Max Kalmanowicz
A toxic cloud over a country road turns a school bus full of kids into a pack of deadly killers. They return to their folks and fry them like bacon. This exploitation shocker packs nothing but fresh grade cheese and reused music from many other horror films. A genuinely creepy film that will make you reconsider moving next to chemical plants.

C.H.U.D. (1984)
Dir- Douglas Cheek
Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, that's what the government calls those weird and slimy creatures who are dwelling in the subways of New York. It seems the homeless have yet another problem to make their miserable lives worse as the monsters come up to feast on them and anyone else they encounter. It is up to a homeless, Daniel Stern and photographer John Heard to discover the real truth behind these creatures. A real grimy and gory horror film that attracted hordes of fans with its cool title and icky monsters. Followed by a sequel that sets new bounds for suckiness.

Eaten Alive (1976)
Dir- Tobe Hopper
Tobe Hopper's follow-up to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was this silly film about a Florida Tourist Trap owner who has a hungry crocodile that he uses to dispose of bodies. His guests are just as weird as he has visits from Freddy Krueger and Morticia Adams, well not really but the actors who play them are. Not too bad as a horror film but I think Tobe Hopper's best effort was used up by Chainsaw Massacre.

Frankenhooker (1990)
Dir- Frank Henenlotter
Ever wish you could have the girl of your dreams, well a young scientist has a great one until his latest lawnmower invention cuts her head off and kills her. He then becomes obsessed with rebuilding her and dopes prostitutes with an explosive form of crack for their body parts. He then pieces her together in a Bride of Frankenstein style, yet her hooker tendencies come out, and she ends up killing her tricks. More of a parody than a straight horror film, the real gag is that the cartoonish gore and stitched up the body are pretty decent. The director Frank Henenlotter was also responsible for Basket Case and Brain Damage, and with the film's wildly funny direction and outrageousness it shows.

The Ghoulies (1984) 
Dir- Luca Bercovici
I recall when this one was released, it was such a blatant rip-off of the hugely successful Gremlins movie that it got some people to watch it. A guy inherits an old house and finds the evil Bible that his Satanist father used to worship. He then becomes possessed, and after reading it, we get a mixed group of little demons. The Ghoulies are a slightly sick and creepy looking set of puppets that invade the house and reap havoc. What we then get is a standard fight them back into hell showdown with lots of blood and guts. I guess they wanted us to think the ghoulies were cute and cuddly, but most were just plain ugly.

Ten Canadian Horror Movies From the 1970s- 71 Days to Halloween

Black Christmas (1974)
During the Christmas holiday, a group of sorority sisters is stalked and murdered one at a time by someone in their house. One of the first slasher movies, Black Christmas is also one of the best Christmas horror movies ever made.

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)
A young teen lives alone in a house with no apparent supervision or family.  She hides the truth of her situation while trying to ward off the advances of her landlady's creepy older son. This movie was one of Jodie Foster's next roles after her appearance in Taxi Driver.

The Brood (1979)
A doctor uses a bizarre mental treatment to encourage his patients to manifest their suppressed emotions. One patient uses this technique to birth dwarf-like figures who act on her rage.

Deathdream (1974)
A Vietnam soldier comes home despite his family being informed he died in combat. Once there a series of murders occur that seem to affect his behavior.  Causing his family to wonder what is going on with him.

Deranged (1974)
A middle-aged man living in a rural community commits a series of murders after the death of his religious mother. One of a number of films inspired by the crimes of Ed Gein. Deranged was released the same year as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Shivers (1975)
The murder of a young girl and a scientist leads investigators to a posh apartment where the scientist was experimenting with parasites. Another tenant soon realizes that the parasite is loose, causing the tenants to behave in a violent and sexually aggressive manner. 

Rituals (1977)
A group of doctors on a weekend camping trip discovers that they are not alone and that something intends to hunt them. One of the lesser-known films on this list, Rituals was inspired by Deliverance utilizing the remote setting to amp up the tension faced by the men.

Rabid (1977)
After nearly dying in a motorcycle accident, a young woman receives an experimental skin graft that saves her life. Afterward, a bizarre stinger like appendage emerges from her armpit that she uses to attack people and spread her disease.

Full Circle (1977)
After the death of her young daughter, a grieving mother seeks a new home away from her husband. Once settled, she begins to see signs that convince her that her daughter is reaching out to her. The film was also released as The Haunting of Julia and based on a novel by Peter Straub.

Death Weekend (1976)
A couple travels to a lake house but encounters some local thugs who decide to break into the house and hold them prisoner. After they torture them and vandalize the home the couple try to escape but are thwarted in their efforts. After raping the woman, she fights back in a film that borrows heavily from Last House on the Left and Straw Dogs. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Giant Insects of the 1950's- 72 Days to Halloween

Them! (1954)  
One of the first and best giant insect movies, "Them!" capitalized on the fears of atomic bombs and the unknown effects of radiation.  "Them!" is a terrifying story that remains one of the best sci-fi thrillers of the era.

Tarantula (1955)  
Jack Arnold directed this giant monster thriller that features a science experiment gone wrong, resulting in mutated creatures. "Tarantula" used camera tricks and forced perspective to make the tarantula appear larger than life instead of fake spiders. Tarantula also features an early appearance by Clint Eastwood in a small role.

Beginning of the End (1957)     
A plague of giant locusts attacks a nearby city when they eat vegetation exposed to radiation. "Beginning of the End" capitalized on the success of giant insect movies but lacked the budget and creativity of "Them!" and "Tarantula." The film is notable for laughably bad special effects and poor writing. 

Monster From Green Hell (1957) 
A rocket carrying wasps intended to test the effects of space radiation crashes in Africa resulting in scientists being sent in to confirm reports of giant wasp attacks on natives. 

The Black Scorpion (1957)  
A volcanic eruption opens up a hidden cave containing giant scorpions that attack victims in a Mexican border town. "The Black Scorpion" made use of stop motion animation and a giant scorpion head for close up scenes. The movie is parodied on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Deadly Mantis (1957)  
After a volcano erupts and ice caps shift a giant frozen mantis thaw and attacks outposts from the North Pole to the US capital. The Deadly Mantis utilized a giant paper mache mantis with hydraulics to extend its arms.

Earth vs. the Spider (1958)    
A giant spider emerges from a cave and attacks people prompting the Sheriff to use DDT to kill it. The body is dragged into town only to have it awaken during a high school dance. This creature feature would be mocked and ridiculed on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Fly (1958)     
The death of a scientist leaves his wife as the prime suspect, but her brother-in-law listens to her tale about his brothers work with a matter transporter. An accident fused his body with that of a housefly leaving two creatures with body parts switched. One of the best sci-fi thrillers of the era. The Fly, made use of a great script, decent special effects and excellent casting with Vincent Price standing out in one of his best roles.

The Strange World of Planet X (1958)
Experiments in magnetic fields cause insects and spiders to mutate into giant man-eating monsters. A cautionary tale about fears of technology, "The Strange World of Planet X" would use plot elements of more famous sci-fi films such as "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

Return of the Fly (1959)     
Vincent Price returns in this sequel to the 1958 sci-fi thriller. This time his nephew continues the work of his father but discovers that nefarious parties want the technology for themselves. The movie was an adequate sequel, followed by a third film called "Curse of the Fly" in 1965.

The Wasp Woman (1959)  
A cosmetic company owner agrees to fund research in wasps hoping that the experiments yield a youth serum that she can use on herself to fight off aging. However, the serum turns her into a murderous, wasp creature. The film is noted more for the creative looking poster than its creature effects that are nothing like the movie poster.

Monday, August 19, 2019

It Came From the Depths of 1989- 73 Days to Halloween

The Abyss (1989)
A team of underwater oil workers is conscripted to search for a missing US navy sub. Once below, they encounter unknown creatures that emerge from the depths, putting the crew at odds with Navy personnel who fear its a Soviet ploy. Directed by James Cameron, The  Abyss was one of the significant summer blockbusters of 1989, but the complicated special effects delayed the release until August 1989. Unlike the many films listed below, The Abyss is the only pure science fiction film and would be a commercial success as well as the winner of an academy award for the visual effects.

Leviathan (1989)
A team of underwater miners find a sunken Soviet vessel and salvage some cargo including a secret experiment that puts the crew at risk. Leviathan was one of the numerous movies set underwater that were released in 1989.  Leviathan was one of the better films with a great cast that included Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, Ernie Hudson, and Daniel Stern. FX master Stan Winston designed the creature effects and was one of the highlights of the film. Leviathon was released March 17, 1989.   

DeepStar Six (1989) 
A group of marine construction engineers unleashes an ancient creature which soon attacks the aquatic habitat. The giant monster which resembles an enormous lobster is the real thrill of this blatant copycat of the MANY underwater films of 1989. Starring Miguel Ferrer, Matt McCoy, and Nia Peebles. The only reasons to watch this movie are to watch McCoy get munched by the lobster and to watch Ferrer get a severe case of the bends. Made by Sean Cunningham who should have known better. DeepStar Six was released January 13, 1989.

The Evil Below (1989)
A charter boat captain is hired by a tourist to seek a fortune in buried treasure in a sunken ship called "El Diablo." They encounter trouble from a crime boss and a businessman who warns of a supernatural presence that guards the treasure. The Evil Below was released on video in July 1989 a full month before the release of the Abyss. Of the many other films released that year, this one is one of the lesser-known films.

The Rift aka Endless Descent (1990)
A NATO crew is sent to investigate the disappearance of another underwater vessel. After finding the black box, they discover a rift with an underground cave system that harbors some illegal genetic experiments. The Rift was the only movie in this group that did not release in 1989. The film featured Jack Scalia, R Lee Ermey, and Ray Wise 

Lords of the Deep (1989)
Scientists in an underwater lab discover a mysterious creature that they fear may be dangerous after a relief crew disappears. Produced by Roger Corman, Lords of the Deep was released on April 1989 with a cast that included  Bradford Dillman, Priscila Barnes, and Daryl Haney. Lords of the Deep featured in the twelfth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Final Movies- 74 Days to Halloween

Here is a collection of horror films that were billed as "Final", for some it was not the case.

Final Exam (1981)

The Final Conflict (1981)

The Final Terror (1983)

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992)

Dust Devil: The Final Cut (1992)

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994)

Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994)

Final Destination (2000)

Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

Final Stab (2001)

Final Destination 2 (2003)

Final Examination (2003)

Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

Final Destination 3 (2006)

The Final Destination  (2009)

Saw The Final Chapter (2010)

The Final (2010)

Final Destination 5 (2011) 

Final Girl (2015)

The Final Girls (2015)

The Final Wish (2018)