Cazador de demonios (1983)

Horrific murders are happening every night in a small rural Mexican village — heads are ripped off their necks, arms are ripped off and bodies are destroyed — and may be the work of an ancient legend known as the Nahual. Sheriff Aguilar (Roberto Montiel) and Dr. José Luis (Rafael Sánchez Navarro) hope to keep their town safe, but as Mexican Dr. Loomis might say, “¡La muerte ha llegado a tu pueblito!

The moral of the story? Never murder a shaman. I mean, the guy was slicing a chicken in half and dripping its blood all over a farmer’s pregnant wife like he was in that Danzig video for “Mother” that MTV only played once and Bob Larson lost his mind over. And when his wife’s baby is stillborn, I guess you can see why the guy went nuts.

Extra points to Padre Martin (Tito Junco), who takes all of the church’s silver and gets it turned into ammunition. Someone has to do something, right? He also has this amazing blast of dialogue:

Dr. José Luis: Who’s that?

Padre Martín: Asmodeus. Leviathan. Beelzebub. Call him as you like.

Dr. José Luis: Satan?

Padre Martín: Lord of darkness, prince of shadows, king of hell and of the black side of the Universe.

José Luis: You talk about him as if you had a lot of respect for him.

Padre Martín: Satan has to be respected, son. He’s a very powerful being, and infinitely cruel.

There’s also that moment that happens in all Mexican Satanic movies where God has had enough of this and decides that all the antics have to come to a stop. It happens here when a throwing knife has a crucifix of light appear on it before it flies toward the demon. You’ve had your fun, Satan. Now let’s wrap this up.

Tales from the Dark Side episode 2: “I’ll Give You a Million”

Duncan Williams (Keenan Wynn) and Jack Blaine (George Petrie) are both businessmen who have destroyed lives to get where they are. As they grow older, they rely on one another to have someone to argue with. Their latest issue? Duncan has offered one million dollars for the soul of Jack.

Oh what a contract! Within 24 hours of death, all rights to Jack’s soul go to Duncan. If Duncan dies before taking the soul, the contract is null and void. The only exception? If Duncan dies of foul play, the million has to be paid back with interest because Jack may have previously been involved with killing someone.

Seeing as how Jack is an atheist, he takes the wager, but when he learns that he has a short time to live, he tries to cancel the contract. Except that Jack learns that his liver is giving out and that he’ll soon die, so in a panic, he buys his soul back and Duncan makes a million dollars on the deal.

The next day, Duncan learns that Jack died and his telegram was not sent until after he died, which fulfills Jack’s end of the contract. Because 24 hours have passed, Duncan is now the official owner of Jack’s soul and unable to profit on the deal. But what if someone who is an expert on signing away souls wants them both?

Director John Harrison, who also directed the movie for the series, also wrote the story, which was turned into a screenplay by David Spiel and Mark Durand.

This may be a humorous story, but it uses the time well and doesn’t seem like it ever gets slow.  There’s nothing like rich and evil people getting destroyed by their own schemes.

Tales from the Dark Side pilot: “Trick or Treat”

“Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But…there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit…a dark side.”

Back in the mid-80s, the success of Creepshow led to the thought of making a continuing TV series. The problem was that Warner Bros. owned part of that film, so Laurel Entertainment just changed the name and avoided the comic book look of the movie while basically making a weekly live-action E.C. Comic-themed TV show, something HBO wouldn’t even consider until 1989.

Syndicated weekly by Tribune Broadcasting, with most stations airing it after midnight — it aired at the witching hour on Sundays and sometimes even later, keeping me awake and frightened before middle school — it played throughout the 80s and is now owned by CBS Television Distribution.

There are some great episodes of this show, with episodes based on stories by Stephen King, Frederik Pohl, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker and Robert Bloch. And because it was executive produced by George A. Romero, Richard P. Rubinstein and Jerry Golod, it attracted some great talent. And yes, like most anthologies, there are some real stinkers. There are also some great episodes as well and hey — they’re only 20 minutes each, so you aren’t wasting much time.

This pilot episode aired on the very appropriate date of October 29, 1983 and tells the story of shopkeeper Gideon Hackles (Bernard Hughes, Grandpa from The Lost Boys), who puts the town through his Halloween fun. All year long everyone runs up huge debts buying his supplies and on October 31, their children try to pay those debts by finding the IOUs hidden in his house of horrors, always disappointing their parents.

Hackles hates the town he lives in, hates the people and has one night of joy, a night of abusing children. He’s turned generations into slaves to his general store and also ones that are left with nightmares of the scares that live within his home. One child has been coached by his father all year long, only to fail. But one other has promised himself that he will free his family from the crushing yoke of owing, owing, owing. I get it. Trust me, I get it. I’d go into any number of haunted homes to try and get out from under all that we owe.

Written by Franco Amurri (the Italian director of Flashback and Monkey Trouble, as well as the writer of the Jodie Foster-directed episode “Do Not Open This Box” which was part of the Stephen King’s Golden Tales VHS release that collected all of that author’s stories on this show) and Romero, this episode is directed by Bob Balaban, the director of My Boyfriend’s Back and an actor you may remember as Dr. Theodore W. Millbank, III in Best In Show, Jonathan Steinbloom in A Mighty Wind and Lloyd Miller in Waiting for Guffman.

The pilot was a big ratings hit and the show was on the air. Future episodes may not have had this one’s budget or quality, but the fact that we had a weekly horror show to watch was a big deal back in the early 80s. And hey — Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie is the movie that Creepshow 3 should be.

Stay tuned — now that Circle of Fear/Ghost Story is done, I’ll be watching a new episode every week. Would you like to cover one? Just let me know!

Strange Invaders (1983)

Directed and co-written — with Bill Condon and Walter Halsey Davis — by Michael Laughlin, Strange Invaders was to be the second part of a trilogy that started with Strange Behavior AKA Dead Kids. The third film was going to be The Adventures of Philip Strange, a World War II spy adventure mixed with science fiction.

1958: Centerville, Illinois (shot on location!) is invaded by aliens, transforming humans into blue orbs and taking over their bodies.

1983: College lecturer Charles Bigelow (Paul Le Mat) learns that his ex-wife Margaret Newman (Diana Scarwid, Mommie Dearest) has disappeared after last being seen in Centerfield. Along with journalist Betty Walker (Nancy Allen), he heads to the town to find her and protect their daughter Betty Walker (Lulu Sybert, who was the daughter of production designer Richard Sylbert and writer Susanna Moore, who left Sybert for Laughlin), a half-human, half-alien being that the aliens want to bring back home.

Along with June Lockhart and Mark Goddard from Lost in Space (and Kenneth Tobey from The ThingStrange Invaders also has Louise Fletcher (Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Wallace Shawn, Fiona Lewis (who was also in Strange Behavior ), Bobby “Borris” Pickett (the maker of “Monster Mash”) and Dey Young (Kate Rambeau from Rock ‘n Roll High School).

Strange Invaders is a movie that tries to remind audiences of the Cold War science fiction of the 1950s. Audiences weren’t really all that into it — I mean, even The Thing struggled — but it remains a movie I watch every few months and always enjoy.

You can watch this on Tubi.

KINO LORBER BLU RAY RELEASE: Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This 3D movie appeared on the site during Cannon Month on March 5, 2022. Kino Lorber has released a special 3D blu ray complete with new commentary by film historian Jason Pichonsky, a new interview with Tony Anthony conducted by filmmaker Douglas Hosdale, a newly mastered 2K version of the trailer, the movie in both  BD3D polarized and anaglyphic (red/cyan) 3D versions and a pair of anaglyphic 3D glasses. I’m beyond elated to have this in my collection. 

You can write this movie off as a ripoff of Raiders of the Lost Ark — and it is, right down to the scene with the boulder — but come on. It has an Ennio Morricone score, is a spiritual sequel to Comin’ At Ya! and most importantly it’s in 3D.

Made in “SuperVision” and “WonderVision,” the film was actually shot using the Marks 3-Depix Converter, the same camera that had been used for Friday the 13th Part III. This system stacked its Techniscope-sized left and right images one above the other on a single band of 35mm film. It was projection using the Polarator projection attachment offered by the Marks Polarized Corporation, allowing the audience to watch the film through color-neutral linear polarizers, a system that lead actor Tony Anthony may have invented.

J.T. Striker (Anthony) has been hired to assemble a group of professional thieves to take two of the gems that will open the last two Mystical Crowns. To get there, he’s going to make your eyes hurt with pop out skeletons, the soldiers of Brother Jonas (Emiliano Redondo) and tons of booby traps which pretty much wipe out everyone in his team, which includes the drunken Rick (Jerry Lazarus, who is also in Cannon’s Hot Chili), a dying circus strongman named Socrates (Francisco Rabal, Nightmare City) and his daughter Liz (Ana Obregón, who was Catalina in Bolero).

Roger Ebert himself broke down what gets thrown at the viewing in this one: “knives, spears, darts, bones, jeweled daggers, balls of fire, laser beams, boulders, ropes, attack dogs, bats, shards of stained glass, a set of dishes, a large kettle, a stove, a corpse, a python snake, an empty glove, birds (both real and artificial), arrows, unidentifiable glowing objects shot from guns, keys, letter openers, several human heads, skeletons, large sections of an exploding castle, one bottle of booze and assorted spoons.”

This movie doesn’t tease you with its 3D. It punches you right in the face with it.

By the end of the movie, Striker has the other gems and his ead spins around, gets all burned up and he starts shooting fire out of his hands melting all of the bad guys, then a giant sludge monster jumps out of a swamp and right into your lap, teasing a sequel that never came, as well as a space 3D movie that was announced, Seeing is Believing.

Director Ferdinando Baldi also made BlindmanDjango, Prepare a CoffinGet MeanWarbus and Ten Zan: The Ultimate Mission, all deliriously strange movies that I wholeheartedly recommend.

Perhaps most amazingly, both Francisco Rabal and Emiliano Redondo are in Pedro Almodóvar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, so the Spanish film industry really does come together to make a movie.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 1980s Collection:Blue Thunder (1983)

Directed by John Badham (Saturday Night FeverDraculaStakeout) and written by Dan O’Bannon (AlienDark StarReturn of the Living DeadLifeforce) and Don Jakoby (The Philadelphia ExperimentDeath Wish 3Double Team), Blue Thunder stands between the conspiracy thrillers of the 70s and the big budget action films of the 80s.

O’Bannon and Jakoby began lived together in a Hollywood apartment where low-flying police helicopters kept them awake all night. Their original take was even more political with the police state controlling the population of Los Angeles through high-tech surveillance and military-level weapons. They also got extensive script help from Captain Bob Woods, then-chief of the LAPD Air Support Division.

What emerged was a movie with a totally awesome helicopter — I owned the toy as a kid — designed by Mickey Michaels. They’re a combination of Aérospatiale SA-341G Gazelles and Apache military helicopters with alterations that made them so heavy that they could barely fly much less pull off the moves in the battle at the close of the film.

Frank Murphy (Roy Scheider, who made this so he wouldn’t have to be in Jaws 3D) is a Vietnam War vet with PTSD who flies a helicopter for the Metropolitan Police Department — you know, the LAPD — along with observer Richard Lymangood (Daniel Stern). Together, they help police forces on the ground in Los Angeles. They’re invited to check out — and even pilot — a special helicopter known as Blue Thunder that can help protect the city during the Olympics.

It all seems too good to be true and Murphy figures that it’s a conspiracy to lead to more police militarization and illegally spying on civilians. He learns that the copter is part of T.H.O.R. Tactical Helicopter Offensive Response) and is being used to kill any politician that is standing in its way. It will eventually be piloted by U.S. Army Colonel F.E. Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell, who hated flying and looks incredibly upset during the fight at the end), the same man who gave Murphy all those bad memories from the war.

When Murphy and Lymnangood film evidence of this conspiracy, the pilot takes Blue Thunder and the observer is murdered by hitmen. Murphy gets the videotape to his girlfriend Kate (Candy Clark, who is awesome in this) and escorts her via the super copter to a TV station while more hitmen are in pursuit, as well as more copters, F-14s and Cochrane come after him.

This was one of the last films Warren Oates made and do I even have to tell you how incredible he is in it?

Somehow, a movie about the dangers of the LAPD getting these machines led to a series where they did and it was sold as a good thing and the dark movie that inspired the movie gets forgotten. James Farentino flew Blue Thunder along with Dana Carvey with Dick Butkus and Bubba Smith working as the ground crew. It lasted eleven episodes. However, another show about a futuristic helicopter, Airwolf, lasted 79 episodes.

“The hardware, weaponry and surveillance systems depicted in this film are real and in use in the United States today.”

Just imagine what’s out there 39 years later.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1980s Collection has a ton of great movies at an affordable price. It also has Punchline, Who’s Harry Crumb?Vice VersaThe New KidsRoxanne, Little NikitaSuspect, Band of the Hand and Like Father, Like Son. You can get this set from Deep Discount.

La casa del tappeto giallo (1983)

You know, Becca sells a lot of things on Facebook Marketplace and this movie is why I get worried every time that someone comes here to buy something, because in The House of the Yellow Carpet, Franca (Béatrice Romand) and Antonio (Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Car CrashLa Orca) sell the yellow carpet in the title to a man known as The Professor (Erland Josephson, Fanny and Alexander), who reveals that he killed his wife on that very same tapestry many, many years ago. Even stranger, he claims to know secrets about her family, as the carpet was a gift from her stepfather.

Director Carlo Lizanni also made Crazy JoeThe Last Four Days and The Violent Four. In this film, he turns a single location into a suspense-filled setting and also has a good turn from Milena Vukotic as a psychiatrist. It was based on a stage play, Theatre at Home, which was written by Aldo Selleri. It was adapted by Filiberto Bandini (the two Indio movies) and Lucio Battistrada (AutopsyThe Dead Are Alive!).

For a very late in the game giallo, The House of the Yellow Carpet has something new to say. And it also boasts a strong score by Stelvio Cipriani, who also did the music for The Lickerish QuartetA Bay of BloodHighway RacerDeported Women of the SS Special Section and Piranha II: The Spawning.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 26: Flashdance (1983)

As someone from Pittsburgh, it’s kind of amazing that I’ve never watched this movie, perhaps the most famous movie shot here not in the horror or action genre.

Adrian Lyne was not the first choice to be the director, as both David Cronenberg and Brian De Palma turned it down. But Lyne came from commercials — his ads for Brutus Jeans are pretty much proof of concept for this movie — and he knew the right look for the film.

Paramount was so unsure of the movie’s potential that they sold 25% of the rights before it came out. Joke was on them — it made over $200 million worldwide and was the third highest-grossing film of 1983.

For the lead, there were three front-runners: Jennifer Beals, Demi Moore and Leslie Wing. As this was the first collaboration of producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, they were quite hands-on. Writer Joe Eszterhas* — oh man, I need to do a week of his films — claims that Eisner took a survey from “two hundred of the most macho men on the Paramount lot, Teamsters and gaffers and grips.” He asked one very important question: “I want to know which of these three young women you’d most want to fuck.”

Lyne used dark cinematography and montage music video editing to hide one important fact: that isn’t Beals dancing. Her body double is Marine Jahan and also male dancer Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón, a member of the Rock Steady Crew who is also in Style WarsWild Style and Beat Street. Gymnast Sharon Shapiro also doubled during the audition scene.

Alexandra “Alex” Owens (Beals) works as a welder in a steel mill by day — kids, learn a trade because welders are seriously always in demand and Alex is pretty smart to know this — and a dancer at Mawby’s by night. She dreams of being a professional ballet dancer, but dreams are in currency at that establishment, with Jeanie (Sunny Johnson, who sadly died not long after making this from a brain hemorrhage) wants to be a figure skater and her short-order cook boyfriend Richie (Kyle T. Heffner) wants to become a comedian.

Alex is in demand. Her boss Nick (Michael Nouri) is smitten with her while Johnny C. (Lee Ving!) wants her to dance at his strip club Zanzibar. She keeps thinking about applying to the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory but is too afraid of the tryout. And then, one night, she and Richie are attacked by Johnny C. and one of his henchmen, Cecil (Malcolm Danare). Nick saves the day and they finally fall in love.

Things get tough, though. Richie makes it to Los Angeles, but Jeanie falls twice in her big skating competition and decides that Zanzibar is where her future is. Alex drags her out at the two cry in the rain. And Nick’s ex-wife (Belinda Bauer) complicates the love story for some time, but things work out and Alex nails her audition, using the rough edge of dance she did on stage mixed with the classical form.

Pittsburgh is just as much a character as anyone else in this movie. Alex rides the Duquesne Incline like a good Yinzer, which also doesn’t make sense because her apartment is miles away and near the home of her mentor at 2100 Sidney Street. Kind of like how she rides her bike all through Fineview and somehow ends up on the Smithfield Street Bridge, as close to a “Take Bigelow” moment as Flashdance gets. The Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory is obviously the Carnegie Museum, which is one of my favorite places (the nearby Carnegie Library is gigantic, has a hidden window to check out the dinosaurs in the history museum, is heated with old radiators and has an amazing DVD collection with so many out of print films).

Sadly, Alex’s loft is actually Los Angeles. And Mawby’s was a vacant warehouse on the corner of Boyd Street and Wall Street, even if it looks a lot like Jack’s on East Carson Street. The idea of Mawby’s is wild to me. It’s obviously a working class shot and a beer bar, yet it has dancers on stage who bring their own props and dance some incredibly intricate dancers of sultry near performance art whereas you’d expect gyrations and nudity. There was never a place like this in 1983 Pittsburgh that I know of — to be fair, I was 11 and would have been kicked out of the Edison Lounge, so maybe it was the Moon Township-based Fantasy’s Showbar while Zanzibar is closer to the Edison, Casino Royale or the frankly intimidating Chez Kimberly — but hey just add it to the list of strip club establishments in movies where no one gets naked. That said, Tina Tech (Cynthia Rhodes, who is also in Staying AliveRunaway and plays Penny in Dirty Dancing) dancing to the song “Manhunt” is pretty incredible.

Zanzibar** is really Star Strip Gentlemen’s Club on 365 North La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood — thanks Movie-Locations.com — which is gone.

You can also see a lot of Pittsburgh, like the Southside clock — once owned by Duquesne Brewing — as well as a lot that’s gone, like the mills, the once glitzy world of Station Square which is mostly office space now (I spent years of my life working there and the nightclub Chauncy’s would blast bass into our advertising office while we worked all night, I was a maniac, maniac pasting up ads) and Vic Cianca, a Pittsburgh icon who was a dancing traffic cop who conducted the gridlock of dahntahn like it was a symphony. When he retired, The Pittsburgh Press — also gone — said “A downtown traffic jam without Vic Cianca is a traffic jam with no redeeming qualities.”

Debra Gordon, who was Rita in Effects is a ballet dancer in this. And always, a movie cannot be made in Pittsburgh without Chef Don Brockett being in the cast. Never change, City of Bridges.

The music of Flashdance is the last character we need to discuss.

Bruckheimer had collaborated with Giorgio Moroder on American Gigolo and sent him the script as soon as he had received it to give him a sense of the music they needed. The composer was busy while the movie was being shot and only had time to do a rough version of the theme song. Moroder had not committed to the project by the end of filming, but when he watched the movie, he decided to work on the score.

Moroder wrote the “Love Theme from Flashdance,” “Lady, Lady, Lady” and “Seduce Me Tonight,” as well as the movie’s main theme, “Flashdance… What a Feeling.” Session drummer Keith Forsey was assigned to write the lyrics and had help from Irene Cara after they watched the audition scene. Moroder wanted Joe Esposito to sing the theme, but Paramount wanted a well-known female singer. And after all, Cara had stipulated that if she wrote the lyrics, she would get to sing the song.

So many of the lyrics match how Alex feels about dancing in front of the drunks at Mawby’s. She says, “I never see them. You go out there, and the music starts, and you begin to feel it. And your body just starts to move. I know it sounds really silly. But something inside you just clicks, and you just take off. You’re gone. It’s like you’re somebody else for a second.” This freedom she describes is reflected in the lyrics, “When I hear the music, close my eyes, feel the rhythm wrap around, take ahold of my heart, what a feeling.”

Another song that was a big deal in the movie is “Maniac” by Michael Sembello. It was written with Dennis Matkosky and inspired by a story about a serial killer on the news and had some of its original lyrics written after a viewing of Maniac. Lyne heard a demo and wanted to use the song, saying “One of the tunes I’d heard had a kind of a chime in it, that kind of ‘bing-bong-bing-bong-bing-bong’, like that, and I said, “Let’s use that. Let’s use that as a kind of a motive, as a kind of a driving thing for a dance.””

*Flashdance was inspired by the real-life story of Maureen Marder, a construction worker and welder by day and dancer by night at Gimlets, a Toronto strip club who wanted to be a professional dancer. Tom Hedley wrote the story outline and Marder signed a release giving Paramount Pictures the right to portray her life story on screen for $2,300.

Sadly, her attorney was present for that and despite the movie making so much money, she was not entitled to more when she sued.

Paramount also went to court over the movie as the Jennifer Lopez video “I’m Glad,” which was directed by David LaChapelle, went a bit further on the side of ripoff than tribute. Her label, Sony, agreed to pay a licensing fee for the video.

**Monique Gabrielle is one of the dancers there.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 22: Rush (1983)

Tonino Ricci never met a genre he didn’t like or try to make a movie in, so when Tito Carpi — who wrote some of the best Italian post-nuke movies ever like Warriors of the Wasteland and Escape from the Bronx — brought a script that combined Max Rockatansky with John Rambo it was a perfect match.

Rush is the kind of lone survivor that these movies need. He’s played by Ricci’s frequent lead, Bruno Minniti, and when he finds out that Yor (Gordon Mitchell!) is hoarding all the plants and water, he decides to go into one-man war like he’s a disaffected Vietnam vet and Yor’s Untouchables are the Hope, Washington police.

This is the kind of end of the world movie where Gordon Mitchell has the most obvious stuntman ever and the soundtrack isn’t afraid to play a sax solo over the non-stop death and destruction. Speaking of Yor — the real Yor — Rush is nearly as bad of a hero as that prehistoric dude, because he gets nearly everyone but himself killed.

You can watch this on YouTube.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 10: Strange Brew (1983)

I was 11 years old when Strange Brew came out and my excitement was like an average kid felt about jedis. SCTV was — and will always be — the best show ever created, after all.

Stars Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas created Bob and Doug McKenzie out of necessity. When SCTV moved to CBC, each episode has two minutes more time than those syndicated in the United States.

To make up the difference, the CBC network heads asked the show’s producers to add specifically identifiable Canadian content for those two minutes, in line with government broadcast regulations.

Moranis and Thomas thought that this was totally ridiculous, as the show was already taped in Canada, with a Canadian cast and crew, but then they decided to make a sketch that was as Canadian as it got: The Great White North. At the end of a day’s shooting, with just Thomas, Moranis, a single camera operator and lots of Molson, everything was improvised and the best two minutes would air.

Thomas said, “Rick and I used to sit in the studio, by ourselves — almost like happy hour — drink real beers, cook back bacon, literally make hot snack food for ourselves while we improvised and just talked. It was all very low key and stupid, and we thought, ‘Well, they get what they deserve. This is their Canadian content. I hope they like it.”

They did.

They even did in America, where NBC specifically requested more Bob and Doug on the show.

There was even a Bob and Doug McKenzie comedy album, The Great White North, which sold a million copies.

Based on this success, they considered a movie. After all, John Candy had made Going Berserk. Then Andrew Alexander, executive producer for SCTV, reminded them that he had exclusive contracts with the two men and that if they wrote a script, he would sue them.

So how do you take a two-minute sketch and make a movie?

You remake Hamlet.

Moranis and Thomas were not going to direct or write the film — Steve De Jarnatt (Cherry 2000FuturesportMiracle Mile) is credited with some of the scripting —  but ended up doing both with help from executive producer Jack Grossberg.

The movie starts with an angry mob destroying a theater, enraged over the quality of Bob and Doug’s movie Mutants of 2051 A.D. before going all in on a new plan: placing a mouse into a bottle of Elsinore beer — Molson and every other brewer in Canada wanted to be the beer for this movie until they learned that mice would be inside their brews — and getting free beer for life. Beauty, eh?

This plan ends up with both of them working at Elsinore for the mad Brewmeister Smith (Max Von Sydow), who has been brainwashing the patients of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Mentally Insane, using special beer and music to make them into killers.

The brewery’s former owner, John Elsinore, has passed on under some level of chicanery, leaving his daughter Pam (Lynne Griffin) to be in charge — and Smith to take over — and the truth lies in a Galactic Border Patrol video game. Also, a hockey player who had a nervous breakdown, Jean “Rosie” LeRose (Angus MacInnes), is one of the men under the control of Smith.

So much more happens — van crashes, flying dogs, Bob growing to massive size after drinking an entire brewery — and writing about it makes me want to watch it again.

Speaking of Max Von Sydow, the role of Brewmeister Smith was written with him in mind even if that seemed like a quixotic ask. Freddie Fields, then-president of MGM had just produced Victory, so he sent the script. Von Sydow showed it to his son, who was a huge SCTV fan and that’s how it all came true.