SLASHER MONTH: The Resurrection of Michael Myers Part 2 (1989)

One night at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, the nurses and doctors throw a party, but you just know that that dude with the darkest eyes, the devil’s eyes, is going to show up, right?

But what if Jason Vorhees showed up?

And what if Leatherface came over?

Then a zombie looking for a copy of the original film in this series?

Sure.

It’s wild, because these guys seem absolutely unhinged compared to the ways they’ve killed before. Leatherface saws off a woman’s leg and beats her to death with it. Jason pours acid in a guy’s face. And then Michael does everything from scissor stabbing to shoving a broken bottle in a woman’s face. He saves his best or grossest or most creative kill when his BM gets ruined when a victim wonders in, so The Shape drowns the guy in the brownest of water.

Then everyone raps.

There’s no way this movie isn’t better than Halloween Kills.

You can watch this on YouTube.

SLASHER MONTH: The Resurrection of Michael Myers (1987)

Look at that featured image and bask in the blobby look of a fifth-generation video and know that the people who made this — Mike Beck (who was also the chief editor of the Swedish edition of Hustler and had suspected Olof Palme-killer Christer Petterson pose naked in an issue), Richard Holm (who directs TV today) and Henrik Wadling — had a great time.

As an audience watches Halloween, a killer awakens in an office building and begins killing everyone in his path before one of the victims comes back from the dead, Freddy shows up, a karate fight gets started and everyone decides to just give up and dance to “I’m Your Boogeyman” years before Rob Zombie started playing that song.

Depending on your love of SOV movies, you’re either going to be absolutely in love with this or see it as amateur hour junk. Not only is there a sequel, but the VHS tapes of this movie appear in that movie, which is the kind of meta that Scream would like you to believe that it invented.

You can watch this on YouTube.

2021 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 14: Graveyard Disturbance (1987)

14. SPOILED ALERT!: Watch something with grotesque eating in it. Or at least some expired food. Yuck.

I have a complicated relationship with Lamberto Bava. And by that, I mean that for every Demons, there’s a Devilfish. But then I realize that I kind of like Blastfighter, love Macabre and even kind of dig Delirium. I always give him another chance and I feel like someday, I won’t feel like Lamberto is going to let me down every time I see his signature on a film.

In July of 1986, Lamberto was hired to create five TV movies under the title Brivido Giallo (Yellow Thrill). Of course, none of these were giallo and only four got made: Until DeathThe OgreDinner with a Vampire and this film.

Originally titled Dentro il cimitero (Inside the Cemetery), this spoof of Italian horror is about five twnetysomething teenagers who make a bet with an entire town — which is literally referred to as the kind of place from An American Werewolf In London — to see if they can survive one evening inside a series of catacombs. Not only are there zombies and vampires in there, there’s also death itself.

It all starts off with plenty of promise, as our gang of young punks has the most 80s van ever, complete with an image from Heavy Metal, U2 and Madonna. After the crew shoplifts, they go on the run and straight into supernatural trouble.

The person they’re stealing from? Lamberto. Which is only fair, as he uses this movie to rip off everything from — sorry, spoof or pay homage to — Carnival of Souls and Phenomena to his father’s Black Sunday and any number of zombie movies.

So where does the eating come in? Well, there’s one great scene in here where an entire family of multiple eyed creatures all dine on rotten food. This moment had to have inspired Pan’s Labyrinth, if only for Guillermo del Toro to try to make something good out of, well, another movie where Lamberto lets me down.

SLASHER MONTH: Marilyn Alive and Behind Bars (1992)

First off, that 1992 that this was made? That’s a misnomer. Much like Terror, Sexo Y Brujeria, this movie was partially made years before and then finished a decade or more later. And you’ve seen it before. And the fact that this movie was actually finished makes me overjoyed beyond belief.

Yes, Marilyn Alive and Behind Bars is really Scream Your Head Off, which was started by director John Carr and writer Philip Yordan in the early 80s. And yes, you guessed it, it was one of the segments in the infamous Night Train to Terror, a movie that has obsessed me enough to write about it more than a few times (example a and example b). While it was an unfinished film, it somehow had enough footage to make it into that bonkers anthology and even be released as its own standalone movie, which is probably all the proof you need to know just how much content needed to be out there for the dual-headed beast that was the video rental and nascent cable industry.

So even though this movie was already somewhat released twice — and shot twice, as there were nude and non-nude versions of some scenes — Carr decided to go back, grab Danger: Diabolik star John Philip Law despite the fact that he looks much older than he did in 1981 and make the movie that he always intended to film.

He also got Francine York (Secret File: Hollywood) to play Marilyn Monroe, who has been kept in an asylum for thirty years.

Obviously, the sheer weirdness of Night Train does not go away when you break it down into smaller parts.

Anyways…

Harry Billings (Law) was driving home with his new wife when he got sideswiped and she died, which leads to him sleeping barefoot on her grave. He tries to jump off a bridge on the very same road where this accident happened and gets brought to the asylum of Dr. Brewer (Arthur Braham, whose only other role is the mad scientist in the adult movie scenes within another Night Train component, Gretta AKA Death Wish Club AKA The Dark Side to Love), who uses his assistant Otto (Richard Moll, who has hair in one segment of Night Train and does not in this story) to abduct women and do whatever it is that evil geniuses do to ladies. And in that movie, that would be lobotomies and white slavery.

Oh yes, I neglected to mention that this movie willy nilly leaps from film footage to SOV back to film not caring about mixed media or taking you, the viewer, out of the experience.

The doctor also has a female partner, Dr. Fargo (Sharon Ratcliff, who only did this film), who has made a deal with an Arabic suit-wearing man to take all of the mind erased women and sell them to some harem on the other much more evil side of the world.

And then, after he himself is mind-wiped to serve as their slave, Harry finds Marilyn, who has been kept in a room filled with posters of herself and given to saying long moments of exposition: “The story they told me here was, when the studio dropped my contract, I was signed by an independent company to do a film. I didn’t know that it was owned by powerful people! They never intended to make the film! They insured my life for millions of dollars, and then they murdered a lookalike Marilyn Monroe, and left her in my bedroom!”

Of course, she could just be an insane woman in a mental asylum who thinks she’s Marilyn, but every time Harry steals away a new blonde for the evil powerful people, he stops in, visits her and falls in love. Most of the movie is Harry going to comical lengths to kidnap blondes, who are then electrocuted and then he goes back to try to woo the most famous blonde of all time. That’s a lot of blondes.

I mean, this is a movie in which John Philip Law goes to church and doses a believer right in the midst of mass, then takes her back to the asylum.

This movie is a mess, packed with continuity, time lapse, sound quality, film to video and just plan weird errors. Yet it has moments of great fun, like Marilyn’s long soliloquies and Moll looking through jars of decapitated heads, including one that has Harry’s name on it just waiting for him to screw up.

Now, my quest will take me to find the VHS version of Scream Your Head Off, but even then, I don’t feel like I’ll ever get off the Night Train.

SLASHER MONTH: Bruiser (2000)

For all the times that George Romero did so much with so little, there are just as many times that he did so little with so much.

I mean, Peter Stormare is in this. And, strangely, The Misfits, so if you ever needed a point to connect Jerry Only to Kevin Bacon, this film will help. I mean, Tom Atkins is in this movie and I still struggled to remain awake.

I feel like I should honestly go back and watch this again, but so much of Romero’s post-Creepshow output leaves me incredibly cold. There’s definitely an Argento-like line between the films that work and the ones that should. There are some great ideas here — a man driven insane by corporate America has a face that turns blank white — but that’s it. There’s no real ending, there’s no real reason and no something extra to it. It’s perfunctory and if I never saw the credits, I’d have no idea Romero touched it.

There’s also an incredibly bad cover of Take On Me over the end credits and I just shook my head and it compounded the sad sense of loss that this movie instilled in me. Also, this was the first Romero movie not shot in Pittsburgh, but hey — plenty of local pro wrestlers are in it. So there’s that.

I just always got the feeling that Romero could do better and at some point, he just thought that he couldn’t. There’s absolutely no comparison between this and Martin. I mean, it’s certainly better than There’s Always Vanilla, but his Calgon commercials were more gripping than that film.

It’s probably super unfair for me to wish for greatness every time. I mean, the gulf between Dracula 3D and Tenebre is incalculable, too.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll like it better. It’s on Tubi.

 

SLASHER MONTH: Road Games (1981)

The same Richard Franklin that made Psycho II and Cloak and Dagger made PatrickFantasm and this movie and this fact makes me beyond happy. All of these movies are so far apart and different from one another and I just love that they all came from the same director.

While making Patrick, Franklin gave Everett De Roche a copy of Rear Window as an example of how he wanted the script typed. De Roche loved what he read and wanted to make a similar movie but within a moving vehicle, so the dup worked on the first draft while Franklin was producing The Blue Lagoon.

Franklin wanted Sean Connery, but the budget couldn’t handle that, despite the $1.75 million cost making it the most expensive movie yet made in Australia. No matter — Stacy Keach is beyond great in this. However, casting Jamie Lee Curtis to appease Avco Embassy led to politics between actors’ equity groups and nearly shut down the movie.

Patrick Quid (Keach) is driving the lonely highways of Australia, delivering large quantities of pork, and forbidden to pick up the many hitchhikers he sees along the road. And there’s also the matter of a killer (Grant Page, Stunt Rock) on the same roads that the police haven’t been able to catch. Before the end of the film, Patrick will be suspected of these killings more than once.

Quid has his own suspicions, as a green van and its driver have gotten in his way more than once and even attacked the dingo that Quid keeps for company for the long drives. His suspicions are shared by a hitchhiker he finally decides to pick up, Pamela Rushworth (Curtis), the daughter of an American politician.

This movie failed in Australia and the U.S., but it found the right audience to make it a cult classic. I’d not watched it — saving it for just the right time — and I was floored by it.

The Ultraman (1979)

Originally airing on Tokyo Broadcasting System from April 4, 1979 to March 26, 1980,  the fifty episodes of The Ultraman are the eighth story of Ultraman and take place four years after Ultraman Leo’s adventures.

The first animated version of Tsuburaya’s iconic superhero, The Ultraman was one of the earliest cartoons from Sunrise, which is better known for the other cartoon they released the same year as this, Mobile Suit Gundam.

At some point in the 21st century, the Earth Defense Forces form the Science Guard Agency led by Captain Akiyama. Their goal is to solve the strange glowing objects in the form of letters from an unknown language that are appearing in the sky. Earth Defense Forces member Choichiro Hikari is making his way back to Earth to join the team when he encounters and bonds with Ultraman Joneus.

Beyond the monsters, the bad guys are the Heller Empire, a renegade faction of Ultra People who have learned how to use the Ultra Mind for evil.

If you’ve seen this before in America, it may be because it was condensed into two movies, 1981’s The Adventures of Ultraman and 1983’s Ultraman II: The Further Adventures of Ultraman. The fourteenth episode also aired on New York superstation WOR as part of their Japan Tonight! seven-hour event which was hosted by noted Japanese actor Telly Savalas. I kid, I kid.

Sponsored by Bandai, the episode was introduced by Japanese actress/author/talk show host Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, who told American audiences that Ultraman was “very, very popular in Japan. He’s like your Superman.” Plenty of geeks like me knew all about Ultraman, as the show aired in syndication here from 1966 until the mid 80s.

Now you can get the entire series — all in one gorgeous package — from Mill Creek. I love that they’ve been putting so much love into these releases. They also look incredible all sitting on one shelf.

You can buy this set from:

2021 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 13: Alison’s Birthday (1981)

13. THE RUBY ANNIVERSARY: Watch something that came out in 1981. The redder the better, right Ben?

How many movies have I seen from 1981? I mean, has there ever been a better year for movies? PossessionScannersEvil DeadEscape from New YorkHeavy MetalDead and BuriedJust Before DawnThe House by the CemeteryEyes of a StrangerAn American Werewolf In LondonButcher, Baker, Nightmare MakerHell Night, Mystics In Bali, even Carnival Magic. Ahh — also Dark Night of the ScarecrowPiranha 2AbsurdDemonoid, MadhouseMy Bloody ValentineThe Monster ClubShock TreatmentNight SchoolThe BeyondThe Other HellHappy Birthday to MeThe ProwlerThe FunhouseBurial GroundOne from the HeartDon’t Go Into the WoodsEvilspeakFear No EvilThe HowlingThe BeyondKnightridersLadies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous StainsRaiders of the Lost ArkHalloween II Friday the 13th Part 2Porky’sThe Road WarriorExcaliburBody HeatCannonball RunStripesThe BurningBlow OutThiefMs. 45Mommie DearestCannibal FeroxGalaxy of TerrorNighthawksInseminoidGhost StoryThe Pit Christiane F.RoarPennies from HeavenSharky’s MachineBloody MoonEnter the NinjaThe Incredible Shrinking WomanThe FanThe NestingThe Black CatNight of the WerewolfFirecrackerMad FoxesThe Man Who Saw TomorrowCentrespreadYears of the BeastHome Sweet HomeDead Kids and man, so many more.

1981 was a great, great time to be alive and excited about horror movies.

On the other side of the world, Australian folk horror was taking root, at least with this film, which starts with 16-year-old Alison playing with a spirit board and we all know just how well that works out in film. It doesn’t work out in minutes, not hours or days, as Alison’s dead father begins to warns her that ‘s she in trouble and that she shouldn’t go home for her birthday through possessing one of her friends, who is then killed dead when a bookcase falls on her.

Years later, Alison and her boyfriend visit her family, who instantly keep them apart and Alison begins having vivid nightmares. The plan is to keep slowly drugging and gaslighting them both, ending with the spirit of a demon named Mirna being moved from Alison’s grandmother into her body, as has been the tradition for two hundred years.

Director and writer Ian Coughlan also made Stones of Death and Cubbyhouse, another movie about devil worship that supposedly has a connection to this movie. I’ve heard that it’s near unwatchable and has Joshua Leonard from The Blair Witch, so I leave it up to some other brave soul to watch it. Who am I kidding — I’ll probably update this post sooner or later with my findings.

As part of the All the Haunts Be Ours box set from Severin, this modern folk horror will finally be seen by a larger audience. It may not be the fastest moving story, it may not have all the gore of the slasher yeat of 1981, but it has a definite dark mood that makes it unlike anything you’ve seen before, even if you know exactly where it leads. You can also watch it on Tubi.

The Old Ways (2020)

Talk about going pretty far for a story. Cristina Lopez, a Mexican-American reporter, has come back to her hometown near Veracruz — do I needlessly need to remind horror movie characters to never go home again — to write about witchcraft when she became the story itself as the bruja believes that Cristina is possessed. Well, you know, when your mother was possessed and that demon left you all scratched up too, you kind of become a suspect.

That demon could also be her heroin addiction. Just maybe.

Or maybe it is the demon Postehki, who makes her throw up hair and black ooze.

Or maybe it’s both?

Regardless, Cristina must live up to the title — the old ways — to become the bruja of her village and successfully repel the demon — and others like it — once and for all.

I really liked how this film blended Mexican folk horror with the traditional possession film moments. Director Christopher Alender and writer Marcos Gabriel worked together on Memorial Day way back in 1999 before returning to their horror roots. With the success of this film, I can say that some people can go home again.

There’s an amazing moment when teeth and snakes get pulled out of Cristina. It only gets wilder from there.

You can watch this on Netflix.

SLASHER MONTH: Gutterballs (2008)

With 516 uses of the f word, massive amounts of gore, a version that has hardcore inserts,  alternate titles including The Bowling Horror and Big Balls, a long and violent assault scene and attacks on everyone of every sexual persuasion, Gutterballs is exactly the kind of movie that parents thought that their kids were watching and needed to be protected from in the video nasties era. In fact, it goes way beyond anything you think that it’s going to go past.

After said opening assault, a killer named BBK is hiding within the Xcalibur Bowling Centre, looking for revenge on the gang that attacked Lisa. The film blends slasher attacks — with a bowling theme — with a giallo-like killer with a bowling bag over his or her face.

Seriously, if you are at all squeamish, I would avoid this one. There’s a graphic penis destruction scene that will hurt even the hardiest of gorehounds. After saying that, I have to admit that I liked the humor of this film, as it brings in some good references, like the phone number for the bowling alley being 976-3845 (976-EVIL).

There’s also a sequel known as Balls Deep.