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?
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.
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.
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 Death, The Ogre, Dinner 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.
Jeffrey Obrow is a stellar screenwriter and director — who teaches at USC’s film school — who should be a horror household name, but alas. . . . He gave us the Daphne Zuniga Friday the 13th rip that is The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982), which served as his feature film debut, the hag n’ trollsploitation two-fer starring Rod Steiger and Kim Hunter that is The Kindred (1987), the pretty cool Dean R. Koontz adaption of Servants of the Twilight (1991), and what I thought was a pretty decent take on Bram Stroker’s “Jewel of the Seven Stars” with Legend of the Mummy (1998). Each are highly recommended watches for your this year’s “30 days of Halloween” watch schedule.
Here, in his second film, a group of people come into possession of an ancient, Aztec clay doll. However, the doll is possessed by an evil spirit. . . .
Cry (low budget) havoc and let slip the (meh acting) mayhem by way of a class project as four high schoolers research the trinket — in a graveyard with a Ouija board, of course. Modeled after Destacatyl, a Mexican god, the idol was acquired by one the student’s parents from their own South of the Border excursion to learn of its myth. Jerry (Warren Lincoln, over and done after the 1986 pseudo-U.S. giallo, Torment) soon becomes obsessed with learning more about the idol . . . then becomes obsessed by the idol’s trapped spirit.
Let slip the stalking. . . .
Is the inanimate-objects-possessing-the-souls plot a bit derivative? Does the concept of possessed idols, which are knock offs of the ol’ “genie in a bottle” stories of yore, date back to the Hammer/Amicus drive-in ’50s and ’60s? Sure, but what movie in the John Carpenter and Sean S. Cunningham ’80s backwash, doesn’t?
However, thanks to Jeffrey Obrow — along with his usual partner, Stephen Carpenter — while the acting isn’t that great, the script is production-solid, the film is effectively spooky n’ atmospheric (with a truly shock-scaring arms-out-of-the-bed pisser), the film score does its job, the effects are low-budget but Fangoria gooey-goo great, and the ending has a decent didn’t-see-it-coming twist.
Sadly, The Doom That Dripped Blood, The Power, The Kindred, and Servants of the Twilight, while each are well-made, valiant efforts, they were not the box office bonanzas Jeffery Obrow and Stephen Carpenter hoped; each went their separate ways. All four are fine films. I wished they would have made more. . . .
Jeffrey Obrow, as result of his transition into academia, slowed down his career, but came back with the aforementioned Legend of the Mummy and three more horrors (not as effectively-distributed): They Are Among Us, The Perfect Host, and One by One; his latest, currently-in-production writing and directing effort, is the Molly Ringwald-starrer, Pursued (2022). If you like to know more about Jeffrey Obrow’s work, look for his August 1991 Fangoria interview with Anthony C. Ferrante, “To Serve the Twilight,” in promotion of his Koontz adaption (sorry, no online scans; copies abound on eBay, however).
Stephen Carpenter eventually hit box office gold penning the Martin Lawrence action-comedy Blue Streak (1999) and the Samuel L. Jackson comedy, The Man (2005). Did you see Eliza Dushku in Soul Survivors (2001)? Well, that’s Stephen behind the Brother processors and Canon Reds. Then, between 2011 to 2017, he created and scripted the 123-episode run of Universal/NBC-TV’s Grimm.
And in production backstory twist: While Obrow and Carpentet co-penned and directed The Power, the initial concept and story draft was done by John Penney: he gave us the box office failure Zyzzyx Rd. (2006), a film that made a lousy $20 bucks in its brief theatrical run.
Oh, and one of our students, in her debut, is Suzy Stokey: she became a go-to actress for our beloved Fred Olin Ray (A Christmas Princess) in his films The Tomb, Star Slammer, and Deep Space.
Maybe you’re up in the Cannuck neck of the TV movies woods and you saw this Lifetime “Shocktober” entry under its original title of Cradle Robber. Maybe you stumbled into this non-shocker on streaming home video as Dating to Kill. . . .
Wait a sec . . . the IMDb states this is a U.S.-production filmed in Los Angeles. . . .
Hey, it’s not my fault, for when you have a channel such as Lifetime drowning U.S. audiences with a wealth of Great White North productions, the land were Toronto can double for “Anywhere U.S.A.,” you naturally assume everything Lifetime distributes, is Canadian in origin. These are U.S. and not Maple Leaf’ed thespians, you say? One was born in Atlanta, Georgia, trained and based in Los Angeles?
Regardless of where it was made: This is just another Lifetime “Damsel in Distress” romp of the non-shocking, bloodless-horror variety. You know, the schlock the channel marathons under their yearly “Shocktober” banner to compete with the likes of the Micheal-Chucky-Freddy fetishists over at AMC and the SyFy Channel.
What Seduced by a Killer — or whatever title you give it — is, is really just another of their single-mother-hates-man flicks where all of the men are evil. Well, at least not the men who can take you to 4-Star joint to “clink” champagne flutes (but, in some plot twists, they are). Yeah, just like Olivia Benson and Amanda Rollins over in the SVU squad room: women can’t be strong and independent . . . if they’re in a stable, nurturing relationship with a man. Oh, by the way: mom is totally devoted to her ingrate of daughter, so well, she’s “strong,” so cue up the Helen Reddy homage and hear her roar.
“You’re never home, you’re always working. It’s like you don’t want to be here!” hotter-than-her-daughter mom browbeats her hardworking husband who put two, fully-loaded SUVs in a double-wide circular driveway of their two-story Colonial spread, as their perpetually-ingrate, ne’er-do-well, social-media obsessed daughter trots off to private school in the one-year-old sports car model that instills the furrow-of-eyebrow of among her “friends.” Then daughter goes home to scream at mom, “I’m eighteen! Let me live my own life! Look at this! I’m over my data, again. If you can’t at least get me a new car, you could buy me a decent cell phone!”
And boy, oh boy. The actress (Mia Topalian of LMN’s Stalking My Mother and The Nanny Murders, if you dare) as that bitchy teen is just awful. Awful to the point that when her whiny voice screeches, “What, what do you mean?” to the swing of her pony tail, you leave your protagonist sympathies at the door as you root for her unhappy end. Even I want to give Tessa a smack into some adult wisdom — and I deplore violence against women and using physical abuse as behavioral control. I don’t care that Teesa is in therapy to deal with her “issues” of being a well-to-do rich kid.
And Jessica-the-hot-mom, aka the-not-winning-any awards Clare Kramer (*loved for her work in the cheerleader flick, Bring It On, as well as Glory in TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer), well, she ain’t inspiring a rescue, either. You’re the worst salon operator, ever, Jessica. Why do you keep walking away from your clients in mid-hair cut to do other things?
I give up Lifetime-Canadian production houses. I have a “Y” chromosome, therefore, I am inherently chauvinistic. The females of the species have one more “X” than I, so, like the Amazonian warriors of old: single-motherhood is cool and it’s socially valiant to raise a kid without a father figure to instead leave the child raised by babysitters (talking to you, Olivia and Amanda), as you go off to “pursue your career,” sans any pesky male hindrances.
Bad Husband. Bad Boyfriend. Bad Son. Bad everything is the ongoing plot in these Lifetime flicks and I am annoyed as f**k with them. As I am annoyed with these . . . where are all of these 18-year-old girls that fall for 40-plus men? Where? Not that I want to date an 18 year old . . . oh, if “life” were only like a Lifetime movie, where I’d have an 18-year-old girlfriend, an ex-wife who hates me, and an estranged daughter who loathes me. Well, two out of three ain’t bad (and the 18 year old ain’t one of them). So goes the vagabond life of a radio jock.
Anyway, down the predictability road we go, with cops who can’t help unless either A) 48 hours or B) 72 hour pass, cloaked strangers — in the days of doorbell cams and every other cam imaginable hanging over garage doors and from eve-soffits canvasing a neighborhood — can sneak and lurk undetected, as they — in the case of this shocking potboiler — induce heart attacks in the healthiest of persons (By oleander. No, not kidding. Flower extract poison.)
Yeah, this is the type of movie, where, after a fight with, and knocking down the killer — and the killer is out cold, or rolled down a hill, etc. — the damsel doesn’t pick up the weapon or kick the s**t out of the person that just tried to kill them: they run, leaving the errant weapon next to the body of their stalker. Well, why not: Nancy, aka the hot, man-hating single aunt, instead of getting her gun from house’s kitchen drawer, follows the stalker’s muddy footprints for that climatic fight scene, you know, where she runs and leaves the weapon next to the killer because, we haven’t quite reached the 80-minute end-mark of the film. Oh, and Nancy? Pay more attention in your law classes, as your “law advice” is as inaccurately-bad as the scripted-advice from this film’s keystone cops.
So, the movie . . . if you made it this far. . . .
Jessica owns a salon.
Tessa’s running wild and in need of a father figure.
Along comes Eric (David Fumero, the only other recognizable face — and shining light, here — as we know him from Power and L.A.’s Finest), the troped “older man” (aka a DILF for the ladies) trolling online for a new, buoyant squeeze. “He’s old enough to be your father,” the story goes, although mom is diggin’ that bad-boy aroma permeating off his GQ suave-body and she’d rather have a hot guy with a tee n’ tats than a hard-working guy with collared shirt and tie.
How hot is Jessica?
Well, Christian, the hot doctor she’s dating, you know, the one that treated Will, the oleander-poisoned-to-death boyfriend, violates all medical ethics to do a medical history search on Eric because, as it turns out: Eric has a psychiatric hospital history. Ugh, Jessica, look in your old college year books! You know your daughter’s boyfriend. He attacked you on campus, way back when. (And I think the irritating and dumb Tessa is Eric’s daughter, was the eventual “plot twist” that I missed because Dating to Kill turned into white noise as I cleaned the cat box and refreshed the water and food bowls.)
Whatever. Welcome to the Lifetime neighborhood, Lady Aberlin.
It’s running on Lifetime all this month, but there’s a few uploads on You Tube, if you dare.
* Credit to Melanie Novak (visit her own little slice of movie review heaven) for reminding me about Claire’s work. I had that factoid noted, but I punched this review out — today — so quickly, right before press, I forgot to put it in there. So, if you have some Buffy nostalgia, you just may “dare for Claire” — and dig this flick more than I.
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.
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.
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.
The same Richard Franklin that made Psycho II and Cloak and Dagger made Patrick, Fantasm 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.
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.
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.