1984 is one of my favorite horror years. Again, horror was seeming to fall from the graces of movie fans, as evidenced by the diminishing number of genre releases that year. But again, most of the releases were again of high quality, we got the best F13 installment and the best and inagural installment of NOES, here are some faves:
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
1983 is really an underrated year in horror. The films that were coming out were moving further away from the traditional slasher formula's, and dare I say, they were becoming more classy. Although not many were released that year, most of the films were of a high calibre. Here are a few of my faves:
Sunday, December 27, 2009
By the time that 1982 arrived, we had seen a lot of slasher/horror films come and go. The filmmakers started realizing that they needed to change up some things to attract the audiences. So in 1982 we started to see some variety in the typical horror productions. Ghost films, or supernatural Horror was making a comeback(Amityville Series, Poltergeist, The Entity). While the typical slasher films were still in vogue(F13 Series,The Prowler, Etc), it was a heyday for us slasher fans, and you will still here those of us who were old to remember, wax very nostalgically about those days. Here are a few of my faves from 1982:
Depending on how you looked at things, the deluge of slasher films that really began in 1980, was either a good or a bad thing, or both. I think that it was both. Firstly, I liked that there was a new slasher/ horror film in the theatres every week. Hell sometimes, there were 2 or 3 new ones debuting in the same week. Some folks claimed that they only liked "quality" films, and all of these "knockoff" films somehow cheapened the genre. I was and still am to this day, a fan of all horror. I love the cheap, bottom of the barrel stuff, in the same ways that I like a film like The Exorcist, which is one of the pinnacles of horror cinema. The detractors were right in a way, the more of these films that were successful, 20 more came out that weren't. The public grew tired of these films, which eventually led to it's downfall in the late 80's. We also know that the hardcore fans stuck by, through dreary times, by re watching these early 80's classics. And, a decade later, the genre was resurrected by Wes Craven, a die-hard from the first generation of slashers. These films are like treasures to me and many other fans, there is something so charming about the way a Horror nut can pontificate about Radish from Final Exam being the prototype for Craven's Scream character Randy. Or the life of Pamela Voorhees before she became the mother of Jason, it's a way for us to live vicariously through these movies and characters, and who doesn't wanna escape reality, every now and again? Enjoy these images from some of my favorites from 1981:
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I am of firm belief that there is no better decade for horror than the 1980's. Sure, there is great horror from every decade, but the 80's were the most consistent for having the best, most cheesy, over the top, gory, fun, fright flicks! 1980 in particular, is a favorite of mine. Back then posters were still a work of a art, that lured unsuspecting movie goers into the theatres. Now all we get are horrible photoshopped images slapped onto DVD releases, with no thought for art, or buying appeal. Here are a few examples from 1980, of my favorite films, and cool poster art:
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
If you are like me, you don't need an excuse to watch a horror movie. But holidays make it all the more fun to try an unearth some horror devoted to the holiday that you are celebrating. Christmas in one of the most prolific horror month, as their are tons of Christmas themed horror out there. Most of them are horrible(Jack Frost, Santa Claws), there are a few notable exceptions out there. This time Christmas means a 4-day weekend, so what better to do than lie around and stuff your face and watch movies. Here are some of my Christmas faves:
Monday, December 21, 2009
Well, another day, and another celebrity dead. I kind of liked Brittany Murphy, she always seemed to be a rebel and a recluse among the Hollywood Elite. I didn't really dig a lot of her films, aside from Clueless, and Spun(check that one out!). But it's sad that a life so young is lost. Early reports are saying that she died of normal causes, and that it was Cardiac Arrest. Well, there is nothing normal about a 32-year old dying from a heart attack. Lots of reports say that Brittany was involved with drugs, so that sounds the most legit. Either that, or she was seriously anorexic! Recent photos she really look that way, and that could definitely put a strain on her heart. Well, as they say, only the good die young!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Damn, if the horror community aren't losing a lot of valued folks lately. On December 17th Horror director/writer extraordinaire Dan O Bannon died. He directed the classic film Return Of The Living Dead, that is in my opinion, the best Zombie film ever made! He also wrote the screenplays for the majority of the Alien films. Dan you will be missed.
Usually, I am not a fan of comedies, especially comedies made by major studios. Sure there have been guilty pleasures along the way, but a comedy is usually the last thing that I reach for. Gone are the days when major studios released films like the Porky's franchise....I mean good raunchy fun. In honesty, I only wanted to see The Hangover because Zach Galafianakis was in it. His strange brand of stand-up left me enamoured a few years ago, and in my opinion, he is very easy on the eyes. Well, last night I watched The Hangover, and I really wasn't expecting much. I can proudly report that I was VERY wrong! I haven't laughed this hard in a film in a long time. That's usually the reason that I dislike comedy, because 90% of it.....is NOT funny! Men sticking their dicks into pies does not pass as good comedy to me.
I really am not familiar with much of the cast of The Hangover, aside from Zach G, and Heather Graham(whom I adore), the only people I recognized were Jeffrey Tambor, and the guy who played Day-Day in the Friday sequels(Omar Epps, if I am correct). That did not stop this film from being a non-stop roller coaster ride of laughs. I am really hesitant to go into any kind of detailed plot description, because I hate major spoilers. Let's just say that it's a bachelor party in Vegas gone horribly wrong! This makes the 80's Bachelor Party look like child's play. If you really like comedy, or hell, if you don't like myself, chances are, that you will love this film. Go on, take a chance!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Sometimes I still see films that shock me, yes me, the most hardened of horror movie fans. Hanger absolutely shocked the shit out of me! Not because it's a great film by any means, but by the boundaries that Ryan Nicholson and the gang over at Plotdigger films consistently shit all over and bring new and shocking cinema back into the light. I really enjoyed Gutterballs, and this is made by the same guys, so I had really high hopes for this film. Then I read that Ryan said that this film was his homage to the films of Lloyd Kauffman(Troma), and the my expectations were suddenly lowered. It's not a horrible film, I can say that I liked it, and will surely watch it again(if only to gross out my friends), but don't go into thinking that this is the same beast as Gutterballs.
The film begins with Rose, who is a prostitute, and also very pregnant. Her pimp is very pissed at her for not aborting the baby, thus causing him money problems, because in his own words, "nobody wants to fuck a fat bitch". So one night he decides to abort the baby on his own, although it's readily apparent that she is at least 8 months along. He performs a very visceral abortion on Rose with a hanger, which kills Rose, and deforms the baby beyond belief. The kid, who they also call Hanger, was raised by a homeless man until he was 18 years old. Until his real father(Dan Ellis from Gutterballs) shows up and gets him an apartment and a job at a trash compacter. He lives with another mutant named Russell, who has a big preoccupation with porn, but it never seems to explain why there are a large number of mutants in the film. I guess just to make it more Troma-esque.
The father and Hanger decide that they are gonna get Leroy The Pimp back for killing Rose, and they will stop at nothing, and no one will get in their way. I don't wanna give to much away, and I want to stress that this film isn't for the average horror fan. It's almost like if John Waters would have made one of the "Guinea Pig" films. There are lots of sexual moments like in Gutterballs, you straight boys will love the 6-8 minute masturbation scene of Candace Lewald. There is something to offend everyone in this film, the aforementioned abortion scene is horrible, but it has nothing on the scene where a Mutant fucks Hanger in the hole where his Colostomy bag goes! Or where the said bag is emptied in the Mutant's face......uggghhhhhh!! You will know if this kind of thing is for you. If it offended me, I know you will be sickened, proceed with grace. 7/10
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Holy Crap!! A new contender for the biggest "shit pickle" of all time. I mean that in the nicest way possible. I knew what I was getting myself into with a movie called Thankskilling in the first place. Let me say that I usually do not like "Horror-Comedy" or very many Troma films. I prefer horror films to be atmospheric and devoid of humour, but I enjoy one from time to time.
This movie is:
But......it is also LOADS of fun!! C'mon a murdering turkey that is resurrected every 505 years to kill white people! That same turkey also talks, curses, rapes women, makes like Ed Gein and sews a flesh mask! It's too much fun to miss out on because of it's limitations. If you are a bad movie aficionado like myself, rush out and rent a copy! The acting is SO bad that it rivals Tommy Wiseau's now-famous performance in The Room. Plus, it only clocks in at an hour, so it doesn't have time to get on your nerves as much. Go on, I dare ya.
Yesterday, the horror world lost an important icon. Paul Naschy(born Jacinto Molina) passed away from cancer. He was the Spanish equivalent to Vincent Price, or Boris Karloff. He starred in hundreds of genre films throughout his career, even directing many of them. He was handsome and talented, and I am definitely gonna miss him. At least we have a vast amount of work to revisit and appreciate Paul's talents, if you are not familiar, rent one of his films. You are definitely up for a fun night of horror......RIP Paul!
So far, I haven't used this blog for anything personal, maybe here or there. So for those who do not know me personally, my Mom Helen, had a massive stroke 3/4 years ago. Aside from Jeff, my partner, my Mom is my world. She raised me alone, we never had much money, but she overcompensated for those shortcomings with love. Sometimes she worked as many as 3 jobs, to make sure that us kids had what we needed. She always encouraged me in everything, be that horror movies, playing in bands, or being gay. She was always like my best friend.
After the first stroke, she suffered many other small strokes, and finally was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Jeff quit his job and gave up his entire life to stay at home and take care of Mom. I have never met a more selfless person than he, not many people would do that for their own Mom, let alone someone else's. Mother's condition kept on deteriorating, until we could no longer keep her at home. She needed 24/7 supervision, not to mention being lifted and carried everywhere she went. I knew that she needed to be in a Nursing Home, but I had promised her earlier that I wouldn't do that to her. So it caused me great grief to do so, although I knew that is where she had to be.
She has now been in the Nursing Home for almost two years. Her health always goes up and down, a few good days here and there, then 2 weeks of catatonia. I feel for anyone who has a relative with Alzheimer's, it tears families apart, and watching your loved ones fade away so rapidly is devastating. They forget who you are, some days Mom doesn't even know my name, and I can't begin to describe to you how that feels. I am the youngest of her children, and she left me in charge of everything. This is not a good thing, I have 8 other siblings, and there are only 3 of them that will even help me at all, and go and see her. Some of the siblings have never even went to visit her. They always have excuses like "I don't want to remember Mom that way", well how do they think it makes her feel? This saddens me so much.
Well recently, a new round of experimental drugs, have made her memory sharpen up. I am happy, but this opens up a whole new barrel of problems. She gets some brain function back, and she thinks she is well. Every visit she begs me to come home. I try to explain to her that she is in no condition to be at home, but she is like a child in this manner. She now gets nurses to call me at work, so she can talk to me, and beg me to come home. This is the hardest thing that I have ever dealt with. Try to imagine telling your Mother, that she can't come home with you. It is horrible, she has lost all reasoning and takes it only as rejection. If there is a higher power of some sort, I hope that there is an end to her suffering. She lived her life"the christian way", and I have listened to her for hours, begging for her god to take her home. Yet, she still lies there, almost 4 years later, in the same condition.
There really isn't a "moral" or "point" to this story, I just need to unload from time to time. I also hope that people take this disease seriously, because it is no joke! It could happen to anyone in your family as well. Please make donations to charities and medical funds that support the cure for Alzheimer's. If it hits your family, it will test all boundaries, so make sure your family foundations are strong. If it weren't for Jeff, I do not know where I would be today. I damned sure couldn't have done it all alone. Today, was an extremely bad day, and he stepped up to the plate, and handled things when I fell apart, and for that I love him.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I am not one who usually gets into holidays and all of their trappings. But, Thanksgiving is a holiday that everyone can get into! First, you get to eats tons of delicious food, get to see family & friends, and you have a few days off. Remember after you feed your face and are relaxing, it's a perfect time to watch a movie, or listen to some good music. Enjoy your day, and make good times!!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Dutch horror films? Can't say that I really recall seeing any other ones. I happened to catch the trailer for this film, and saw that it takes place in a mine. I am sucker for any horror film that uses this location. Of course we all know My Bloody Valentine, but I'll even search out the more obscure ones like this film, and Trackman(don't bother). This was released as SL8N8 in other countries, and I can't really see what that means, because instead of sounding like Slaughter Night, it comes out as "sleight-neight"???
Well on to the film. Years ago a notorious child murderer/occultist named Andries Martienes was killed by police, after killing and collecting the heads of 8 children. It was said that he could travel back and forth from Earth to hell, by performing this ritual with the heads. He was supposedly visiting Hell to see his parents, who hold the secret location of all the family fortune in gold that Martienes is always searching for. He had a location in an old mine, that he used for his "rituals". The police decide that he will be the "fireman" for the miners, as his punishment. This entails wearing a suit of wet rags and carrying a torch into the mines to search for Methane leaks. He is blown apart, and the police think this is the end of Martienes. Ha Ha, this IS a horror film we are talking about.
Cue to the present day, and 8(how ironic, huh?) kids go on a tour into the mines. One of the girls involved father, wrote a book on Martienes, and was recently killed in a auto accident. The daughter is picking up her manuscript for the book, and knows a little about the serial killer and his exploits. Where this film plays it different is, instead of the killer rising from the grave, to kill the intruders, his spirit travels between the bodies of the kids, leaving them to do his dirty work. This adds a Demons sort of element to the film, or perhaps The Hidden, or Jason Goes To Hell? I thought it was a very cool change from the typical slasher film. The gore is done really well, although most of all the kills are be headings, they very effective and realistic. It has a really cool "shovel in the mouth" kill that has been used in several other movies, but always impresses me, when done right. Like I said, it's a Dutch film, so you have to read subtitles, but a real film fan wouldn't complain about that. There a few plot holes, and inconsistencies, but again, this is a slasher film. I think it's a real fun film, and really shocking that it was made in this decade, one of the driest and tamest decades in horror history! It's available on DVD, and I got my copy from Netflix, so check it out! 7.0/10
Sunday, November 15, 2009
There is something amazing and transcendent about the perfect mix tape. Even though that mode of media has long since fallen from grace and we now use CD's. I will always refer to them as mixtapes. I was a teenager in the 80's, and us children of the 80's love our mixtapes. They can capture a certain period of your life, better than a photograph. What's better than throwing on an old mix that you have made, and revisit that time in your life? When you are going through something difficult, the mix can be your only friend. So tonight, I was feeling a little down in the dumps, and decided to make a new mix, something that always makes me feel better. The result was so fantastic, it flows, and nothing is out of place, and I haven't stopped listening to it since. I decided I would share the track listing, make one for yourself, and share the results.......you will feel better.
"The Trapeze Swinger"-Iron & Wine
"Cold Water"-Tom Waits
"Oslo Novelist"-Grand Archives
"Made For TV Movie"-Clem Snide
"Game For Fools"-Jamie Lidell
"Teenage Dad On His Estate"-Morrissey
"Poison Moon"-Elvis Costello
"After The Fall"-Castanets
"The Ship Song"-Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
"Where To Strip"-Phosphorescent
"Stung/Goodnight Irene"-Deer Tick
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Here's a new one for all of you "sleeper-slasher" fans. Well, it's not really a slasher film per se, but you get what I am talking about. The House Of The Devil actually looks like a film that was shot in the 80's(aside from a few minor blunders), and sits comfortably among the great "quiet" films of that genre(The Unseen, Madhouse, Unhinged, Silent Scream). This film was just released in October to an obviously low number of screens, and is playing simultaneously on VOD channels. But if you are an Internet troll, you can find several places to watch it online for free.
The story concerns a young college student named Samantha, who is hard up for cash and is persuaded into a very strange "babysitting" job by the promise of a big paycheck. As I said before this is a very slow-building kind of film, and for the first hour nothing much happens except for Samantha wandering around the creepy old mansion, being scared by creaks and groans. Although I love gore, I do not feel that a horror movie needs to be loaded with it in order for me to enjoy. Just the promise of what might be there, is sometimes scarier than what is actually there. The weird couple that hire her(the female being the great, Mary Woronov), tell her that she is sitting with an elderly woman, and that she probably will never even see her. Things definitely get tense as Samantha discovers the reason that she is really there.
This is actually the first "throwback" film that I have been really impressed with. Everything about it screams 80's, right down to grainy look of the film. If you are one of the few who relish an actual scary story over gore galore, track down The House Of The Devil, you won't be sorry you did. 7.5/10
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
So for the few "regular" readers that I have, you have probably figured out that I am an aficionado of bad cinema. I will go out of my way to see a film that I heard is "the worst movie ever", before I search out a good one. So when I heard rumblings about The Room, I have to say that I was interested. Then on a news show, I think 20/20, there was a story about people in metropolitan cities lining up for miles to see this horrible movie, and I definitely had to see it. C'mon people were mentioning it in the same breath as Troll 2 and Manos, I was ready to give my left testicle to see this atrocity. Imagine my surprise when I saw that Netflix was picking it up and it would be out soon(yesterday). I added it to my que and bumped it up to the top!
So did it meet my expectations.....a resounding Hell Yes!! I had already explained the backstory to everyone who was watching it with me. I think it is better to witness this film with friends, don't worry, you won't stop laughing for days!! The Room is the brainchild of French actor/director(I use those terms loosely), Tommy Wiseau. He looks like the damaged child of Fabio, Stallone, and has the voice of Ah-nold(yes, that's Conan to you). Upon completion, he had imagined himself some sort of Tennessee Williams type genius, and that the Room was going to win many Oscars. Well, when this film hit the screens, the audiences were laughing throughout the entire run time, this was due to overwhelmingly bad performances from the actors, not anything intentionally. As the word spread, people started dressing up like characters, and bringing props to the movie, and memorizing lines ala' Rocky Horror Picture Show. After all of this buzz, Tommy Wiseau states that the film is supposed to a "black comedy", and all of the laughs were intentional. What a load of horse shit!! I am glad this film is so bad, I already want to see it again, as I missed several quotable scenes, and it will probably take a few views just to soak in the audacity of it all.
Oh, the plot?? Not much of one here, Johnny(Wiseau) is marrying Lisa, but Lisa is cheating on him, and doesn't love him anymore. What shall he do?? Sounds simple? Yes, but please see this, well....only if you are a fan of bad cinema. I promise you, you will thank me later, I thanked Wiseau all night long!!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The last installment of the list is one of my favorites, Funeral Home. It's a very creepy, atmospheric, old dark house type horror film, that doesn't really have any slasher trappings. In fact, I would say that it is most influenced by Hitchcock's classic Psycho. It stars Lesleigh Donaldson, who was almost a scream queen back in the 80's(Happy Birthday To Me, Curtains, Deadly Eyes).
Lesleigh stars as the teen aged Heather, who goes to the country to help her grandmother run her bed & breakfast for the summer. Almost immediately, Heather hears voices in the cellar, is grandmother talking to her dead grandfather? The director really knows how to utilize slow-building suspense in his favor. As the guests start disappearing, you mind will wander through all of the red herrings. There is a particular flashback scene that is really effective, it's one of the real scares in the film. This is another of the slow, atmospheric films that I love so much! It is out on budget DVD now, so please check it out.
Oh The Prey.....other than Don't Go In The Woods, is probably the most lambasted slasher film ever! It's definitely a love it or hate it kind of film, and even if you hate it, you might end up loving it for all of ineptness. But what most people fail to realize is, there are two versions of The Prey out there. I know most people don't believe it about the "unedited" version, but I have seen said version twice, and I assure you its real. Someone actually has a copy posted over at Cinemageddon if you are interested in seeing it.
The Prey is your standard kids going mountain climbing and camping, then getting killed slasher film. But there are several elements that set it apart. First, after the film was edited down from 95 minutes to 79, the filmmakers added in a bunch of stock nature footage to pad the running time. While it's not annoying to me, people endlessly bitch about all the shots of animals throughout the film, what do they think lives in the woods........animals??? The edited version just has a little mention at the beginning of the film that there was a fire in these North Point woods in the 40's and many people died, that's it. Then cut to the kids going camping, with no further mention of the back story. In the unedited version, at the campfire, when they are telling stories, Steve Bond's character tells the whole back story of the Gypsy's and the fire that killed them all except one. The scene is inserted right there, and it's 25 mins long. It gives the film a completely different feeling all together. Even though it does seem like it was shot at a different time, and then inserted in the film, you can finally understand the motive behind the killings. It also excises some of the stock nature footage, and a few little scenes, here and there. I thought it was cool to see the unedited version, but I still prefer the "classic" version.
So if you like very cheesy woodsy slashers, fix yourself some cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches(tisk tisk), and laugh for the next 80 mins. I love it!!
The Final Terror has always gotten a bum rap! I've never quite figured out why people dislike it so much. Some claim that it's too dark to see what's going on(hello, Prom Night), but I have never had that issue with it, the DVD clears that up quite a bit. Some other naysayers say that it's boring, it's not, it just allows you to actually get to know the characters before they are slaughtered. Another cool thing about it is, there are several faces in it that went on to become pretty big stars. It features Daryl Hannah, Rachel Ward, Adrian Zmed and Joe Pantoliano, and surprisingly they all put in decent performances.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's not easy describing a simple slasher in the woods film without giving away key plot elements. So on paper, it sounds like every other slasher film that you have seen. Again, this one has loads of cool atmosphere(always a must for my horror faves), and probably the coolest looking killer that I have ever seen. The appearance still gives me the creeps after all these years. Several forest rangers and their girlfriends travel in the Redwood forest to clear some land, and run into all sorts of nasty deaths at the hands of a camouflaged killer. Not much more that I can say about this one, you'll know if that's your cup o' tea. It has been issued on budget DVD, and you can pick up a copy for 5-10 bucks easily. I am hoping that one day, one of these specialty horror companies will put an Anamorphic Wide screen version of this, but until, the budget DVD will do me fine.
Aside from The Prey, this is probably the most hated film on my list. It's definitely a "sleeper slasher", I can understand why some people don't like it. It has a small body count(but effective), there are long scenes where not much is going on, and the acting could have been better. What people fail to realize is that Unhinged is more atmospheric than most horror films from the 80's, and the shocking "twist" ending was ripped off by a much better known film.
The story involves 3 young ladies who are travelling to a jazz festival, when they encounter bad weather. Their car ends up in a ditch, and one of the girls is hurt. A man finds them and takes them to a huge, scary mansion inhabited by a crazy old lady and her spinster daughter. They agree to put them up, but there is no phone for them to call for help(imagine that?). After a day or two in the house, one of the girls decides to walk a few miles through the woods to the nearest village for help. Needless to say, she doesn't make it that far, she is attacked in the woods by a scythe wielding maniac. Back at the house, one of the girls starts hearing a mans voice at night, making sounds which could be accompanied by masturbation. She even gets a glimpse of this man out of the window, and the spinster tells her it's her retarded brother that is forced to live outside, because the Mother has a deep hatred for men. Then a second girl is murdered, and it's left up to the last girl to solve the mystery, and it's definitely not what you think it is. The twist ending is the best part of Unhinged, it's definitely a WTF moment.
You can get Unhinged on DVD for relatively cheap, and if you don't have to have a huge body count to enjoy atmospheric horror, check it out. It is a bit dramatic though.
The Mutilator(aka Fall Break) is a very polarizing slasher film, you either really love it, or really hate it! I was one of the fortunate few that caught this at the theatre, because it was a very limited opening. Luckily, the south has a reputation for loving sleazy horror films, so we used to get all of the new cheezy treasures. In the theatre, everyone was hooping and yelling at this little film, with really bad acting, and some of the most inventive ways to kill people ever captured on screen. I couldn't imagine any slasher fan not loving The Mutilator, and if you don't, maybe you are not a slasher fan?
The story is a irrelevant as any slasher film, young Ed decides to clean his father's gun collection for a birthday present. Accidentally Ed fires a gun, and it goes into the next room killing his Mother instantly. Cut to 10 or 15 years in the future, and Ed and his friends are headed to the beach to close up his father's condominium. When they arrive they notice that several of the weapons that Ed's father has collected are missing. Before long the kids start getting picked off one by one. Now the acting may be horrible(Morey Lampley, I am talking to you), but the special effects are amazing!! That is where The Mutilator excels, we get the infamous "fish gaff in the girls cooch scene", there is a boat-motor massacre, a machete rammed in the face, fishing weights thrown into heads, bodies being severed, I promise you won't be let down.
The masters of horror, Vestron Video released this on VHS back in the day, in R-rated and Unrated cuts(don't even attempt to watch the R rated), and Code Red was supposed to release this on DVD last year. Sadly, that never came to fruition, in true Code Red manner, they are holding out for a better transfer of the film or something. If you haven't seen it, and really want to there are import discs that you can order, but most are missing the gaff scene. Maybe Code Red will get off of their asses and release it this year, because I am in dire need of a Fall Break!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Just Before Dawn, is the holy grail of the "killer in the woods" sub-genre! Forget the films made by the major studios, and their zillions of sequels, Jeff Lieberman accomplishes in this film, what they couldn't do in 10!! On paper, it may seem like every other film in the genre, but on screen it drips with more atmosphere than you could imagine.
Shot in the forests and National Parks of Oregon for maximum beauty and atmosphere, Just Before Dawn has the best cinematography of ANY slasher film. The story concerns a group of five teenagers that go to check out some land that one of their fathers own. Somewhere along the way, kids start dying, we meet inbred families, and drunken men babbling about demons. Lieberman, instead of taking influence from Halloween and it's ilk, seems more influenced by Deliverance, and Poor White Trash. This, along with the beauty of the setting, and the acting all make Just Before Dawn the cream of the crop!! It also features one of the most shocking ways to dispose of a mass murderer ever caught on film. Do yourself a favor and Netflix it now!!
Night Warning is one of the strangest entries in the early 80's slasher boom. Like Silent Scream, it's really more of a thriller than a slasher, but it definitely uses a lot of the trappings of the genre. The most amazing aspect of Night Warning can be summed up in two words: Susan Tyrell!! She is an absolute maniac in this film, she is completely OTT, and one of the best horror villains I can think of.
The story begins with Tyrell watching her baby nephew while her sister and husband go on a trip. They find the brakes have been tampered with, and end up smashing into a logging truck(awesome beheading scene!). This leaves Tyrell with the infant as her own, and she raises him as her nephew, but acts like a doting mother at every turn. Billy(Jimmy McNichol) notices that Aunt Cheryl is getting to be a bit too controlling as she forbids him to leave home for college, then tries to discourage him from seeing his girlfriend. One night after she makes the moves on a TV repairman(who is also gay), and he declines, she stabs him to death. She tells Billy, who arrives immediately afterwards, that the man tried to rape her, and she killed him in self defense. Bo Svenson, in his usual redneck role, shows up as the Sheriff, and he knows that the TV repairman is gay, and was dating Billy's basketball coach. This leads the Sheriff to believe that Billy is gay, and he killed the man, not Aunt Cheryl. Things get really crazy after that, and Tyrell goes completely bat-shit crazy, it is definitely a sight to behold. There isn't a high body count, but when there is a kill, it's high quality. Definitely one of the best films of the genre!
I am happy to announce that the aforementioned Scorpion Releasing will be putting this out on DVD next year, under it's alternate title, "Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker", and I can't wait to replace my worn-out VHS!!!
I still remember going to see this movie back in the day and it scared the shit out of an 8-year old me!! Silent Scream is a little different than most films on this list, as it is more of a thriller, than a slasher film. Actually, to me, it seems more of a variation on the "old dark house" films, of the 40's & 50's, than a straight up slasher film. But because of the time of it's release, and the marketing strategies, it has always been labelled as a slasher film.
Boasting an incredible cast including Barbara Steele(horror-queen extraordinaire), Yvonne DeCarlo(that's Lilly Munster to you), and Rebecca Balding(the "almost" scream-queen), the acting helps elevate this film over others released at the time. The story concerns Scotti(Balding), who arrives too late to college to receive a dorm, and is forced to take up residence in a gloomy old mansion. Presumably only occupied by the teenage Mason, and his mother(DeCarlo), and 3 other students. When things start getting weird and a couple of the students end up mysteriously dead, Scotti and her new beau, stumble upon one of the creepiest settings in horror movie history. They are not alone in the house, and someone doesn't want them there!!
I am so happy to announce that Silent Scream will finally receive a DVD release by Scorpion Releasing(???) at the end of November, please check it out, you won't be disappointed.