Way Bad Stone (1991)

I thought The Song of the Sword was the only SOV LARP movie, but between Masters of Magic and this movie, I’ve discovered that just because horror made up the majority of camcorder-made movies, the sword and sorcery genre was big enough in the late 80s and early 90s for people to try and make some themselves.

Shot in Ellenton, Bradenton and Rubonia, Florida and populated by RPG enthusiasts and members of the Asolo State Theater, the Riverfront Theater in Bradenton and the Sarasota Medieval Fair, Way Bad Stone somehow takes $3,000 and turns it into medieval magic. There is quite literally a way bad stone in this and it’s bonded to a maiden named Arith. Now, a whole bunch of adventurers want her — and it — for their own ends.

Have you ever played D&D with bloodthirsty slasher movie fans all hyped up on Mountain Dew and pages of Playboy found in the woods? Then you have an idea of what this movie has for you, a non-stop series of gore-drenched battles punctuated by sensitive scenes of lovemaking soundtracked by the finest in nascent dungeonsynth.

There’s also a demon that’s kept hidden within the stone itself and man, she’s only in the movie for just a few moments but it really makes it all so much better.

A movie with spraying blood, organs outside the body, so much death that you may think Shakespeare wrote it and perhaps extras still wearing jeans, this is the shot on video movie that I dream of, a place where people keep renting Italian post-peplum Joe D’Amato movies and decide to make their own.

Directed by one-time-only creative Archie Waugh, who co-wrote this with Jan Kafka (who also performed some of the film’s soundtrack and wrote Ionopsis, another Florida-made low budget high concept sword and sorcery movie), Way Bad Stone is why I watch movies.

You can download this from Rarefilmm and learn more from the official Facebook page.

Science Crazed (1991)

Doctor Wilbur Frank is so passionate about his job that he keeps on doing it even when he gets fired for performing experiments against nature. You have to respect that drive, I mean, other than the fact that he’s started kidnapping women to be the experimental subjects for a human growth serum that as far as I can tell only makes human beings pop out fully grown Xtro style. Well, again, human beings is kind of questionable, as whatever crawls out isn’t human and soon flips out and kills the unkind doctor before heading off into the institute where a cop and two of Wilbur’s assistants have to track it down and destroy it. Or, you know, they could just let it go but then we wouldn’t have a movie.

Director and writer Ron Switzer was a one and done contributor to the world of shot on video — well, 16mm in parts and as you know, if it came out on video and looked cheap, often people just lump it all in — and what an entry he gave us.

Between the droning bleats of the synth soundtrack that are punctuated by breathing, endless breathing there is also editing that at best can be described as inadequate; an eight-minute plus aerobics sequence; a setting that can include not just a mad scientist lab but also a parking garage, a gym, a theater and a chemical weapons company; the creature being named The Fiend; endless repetition of said Fiend wandering down the same hallway again and again; more of that deep breathing (the most Canadian deep breathing since Black Christmas); incredible lighting and shot composition that is soon followed by amateur errors like The Fiend literally walking into the camera and nobody cutting that from the film; The Fiend slow-motion drowning a woman and nobody stopping it because, well, who knows; and again, more wandering down that same hallway.

Either you’re going to love this as it gives you the same feeling of taking narcotics and not having to work for several days and just staring at the same scenes so much that you don’t know where the movie begins or ends or you’re going to hate it and feel like it’s not even a movie.

Isn’t that how it should be?

You can download this from the Internet Archive or order a limited edition DVD from Videonomicon.

Zombie Army (1991)

In the same way that Bikers versus the Undead exists for those that want more of the Dawn of the Dead end scenes of lawless motorcycle club members against zombies, Zombie Army says, “What if the army guys in Day of the Dead were a bit more heroic?”

Thanks to The Schlock Pit — one of my favorite sites — I learned that the writer of this movie — Roger Scearce — is actually its producer John Kalinowski, who had the actual military mission once of discovering if a former insane asylum could be repurposed as a military facility. While there, he saw that it was the perfect setting for a horror film and the army actually let him use the facility for The Zombie Army. One imagines plenty of the soldiers and the equipment they go into zombie combat with also came from Uncle Sam.

Director Betty Stapleford was actually a drama coach who had several students in the cast. She helped Kalinowski with their performances and to her surprise, she ended up being credited as the director.

The lessons here are that if you’re turning a sanitarium into a military base do a sweep for mad scientists and that an experimental battalion of women soldiers can die against zombies just as effectively as an old fashioned battalion of men and for 1991 that was progress.

There’s also a sex scene that is potentially still going on downstairs in my movie room weeks after I stopped watching this.

Also: If any viewer had spotted the continuity errors in this, they were able to win a Jeep. As far as I know, nobody has claimed this vehicle.

You can download this from the Internet Archive or purchase it from Makeflix.

Scream Dream (1991)

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read another article about this movie here.

How did I get this far into SOV movies without more Donald Farmer?

The band Rikk-O-Shay is trying to get big in the heavy metal business and you know what would help? If their lead singer Michelle Shock (Carol Carr) wasn’t biting off their male groupies’ cocks and draining them of their blood. She tries the same thing to Derrick (Nikki Riggins),  who is one of the band’s two backup singers and let’s just stop there and say that no other hard rock or metal band seemed to ever have dedicated singers outside of Motley Crue and their Nasty Habits backup singers and dancers (the fact that I knew they were named Donna McDaniel and Emi Canyn maybe says something about how much I read Hit Parader as a teenager). This already seems unrealistic.

Well, Michelle invites Derrick over for some demonic fellatio and he ends up nearly dying too, so they replace her with a new singer named Jamie Summers and she’s neither the Six Million Dollar Woman or the Brat. She’s played by Melissa Moore, Glaze from Vice Academy Part 2 and Angelfist. She’s soon overcome by the same demonic possession thanks to Michelle.

The fact that a full demon-suited monster is coming after a band because they screwed with their demonic leader, well, this is the kind of movie that seems like a Jack Chick pamphlet come to life. As I watch years after I was a Rip! obsessed lover of metal, well, I found it all so very charming. So much blood, so many puppet demons, Tennessee instead of the Sunset Strip, video in the place of film. This is at the center of so many of my loves — devil movies, SOV, heavy metal, gore — all within one great compilation. Rock on.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Soul of the Demon (1991)

Joey and Toby are doing what all delinquents did in 1991 and that’s racing their BMX bikes instead of learning in school. Soon, they discover a miniature coffin with a statue of the demon Asteroth inside and even when a spirit that looks like a younger Reverend Henry Kane appears and tells them to just stop, then laugh and keep it. Where do you find a coffin in the Nevada desert? Anyways, later that night, Joey’s brother Josh has a seance party — seriously, what else is there to do but try and drive into the middle of nowhere to find a generator-powered Kyuss performance? — and like a bunch of kids playing Sabbath in their garage and sounding not that bad, this movie decides to riff on a cover of Night of the Demons.

Joey also is cool enough to have a poster of the remake of The Blob in his bedroom, so I was on his side.

Then this movie delivers what its body and eyeball-strewn credits promised: demonic possession and relentless gore. Seriously, a Fulci-worshipping eyeball decimation, heads literally rolling, a saw through the crotch and bodies literally shredded in half.

Director and writer Charles Lang also made High Desert, in which partying teens run into a biker gang. Also, IMDB lists the wrestler Taz in this and honestly, you’d think I’d remember if Taz was in this. I think whoever did the IMDB saw that a character named Rocky is played by someone named Tazz and went with it.

Stick through all the 90s dude talk and basketball scenes. You are about to see something special.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Bad Karma (1991)

Before Alex Chandon made Cradle of Fear, he made this and wow, I love every bit of this grimy movie way better than that. It starts with a barbecue party being destroyed by shape-shifting Hare Krishnas who can become monstrous beings that feel like they belong up on the stage with Gwar but here they are destroying the suburbs.

Those monsters have just two days to worship their god Kalimah — the Kalimas are the basic beliefs of Muslims all around the world, so don’t come here for actual religious class — but they run into a biker gang given to giving chainsaw enemas — I mean, the same guy made Chainsaw Scumfuck — as well as a gang of BDSM enthusiasts and even some rednecks complete with a banjo player.

F bombs, British punk energy, monsters that look like they could parade about your town for Halloween, an up-close castration via garden shears, a Death Wish 3-looking gang, Frisbee-fu, a pole right to the face, bad acting and at least one part that had to be shot in a hotel room and I bet they ran out and didn’t use one of their own credit cards to pay for the damage to the room.

It’s cheap, messy and will take up about 1/6th the time that that new Avatar will waste and it cost a fraction of that movie’s budget that I am in no way good enough at math to comprehend. Most of the money on this was spent on FX and the rest on beer. As it should be.

Again, altohippiegabber has kept this alive and on YouTube.

DISMEMBERCEMBER: Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was first posted on December 24, 2019.

Mickey Rooney famously decried the original Silent Night, Deadly Night. He said that the scum who made it should be run out of town for having sullied the sacredness of Christmas. Yet here he is, starring in the fifth installment. Hollywood is funny that way.

Neith Hunter, Clint Howard and Conan Yuzna — who played Kim, Ricky and Lonnie in Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation — make cameo appearances, but as far as I know, they aren’t the same characters.

One night in December, Derek Quinn finds a gift on his porch. His father yells at him for being awake so late and opens the gift himself, which has an orb shaped like Santa inside it. Soon, it unleashes some tentacles which strangle dad and make him fall down on a fireplace poker. His wife Sarah soon finds his body.

Two weeks later, Derek’s mom takes him to the toy store of Joe Petto (Rooney) — get it, JOE PETTO — to pick out a toy. Petto’s son Pino — yes, Pino Petto — is a weird duck who tries to get Derek to pick Larry the Larvae. Derek rejects the toys and Joe begins screaming at Pino, blaming him for the toy store failing. While all that’s going on, Noah Adams has followed the family and takes that worm toy, which he gives to his landlord. Larry the Larvae crawls into that dude’s mouth and out his eyeball, proving that this movie isn’t screwing around when it comes to holiday gore.

The next day, Sarah takes Derek to see Santa, who ends up being Noah. There’s also another gift on the porch and if someone didn’t want a gift any more than this kid, I have no idea who that person is.

So that gift ends up being rocket skates and a kid ends up getting hospitalized by them. And oh yeah — Pino gets beaten into oblivion by his dad. And oh yeah part two — Noah is really Derek’s real dad.

What follows next is a sequence where the babysitter and her boyfriend are accosted by a toy hand and then annihilated by an entire army of toys that basically dissects them. Joe steals Derek and Noah reveals that the old toymaker hurt a whole bunch of kids after his wife died by selling them toys that would hurt them.

As they get to the toy store, Noah is knocked out and Pino reveals that he is a robotic boy created by Joe to replace his dead son, but that he can never live up to being a real boy. Joe beats him to the point that he dies time and time again, but now he wants Sarah to be his mom, so he sexually assaults her. Yep. This movie is taking no prisoners.

The end of this movie is completely out of control. The robotic kid — who has an asexual body like a Ken doll — gets chopped in half and his head stomped on, as he cries for his father. You really have to see it to believe it.

Director Martin Kitrosser has had an interesting career, writing starting as a script supervisor on the first Friday the 13th before eventually writing the third and fifth films in that series. He also wrote Meatballs Part II and has gone on to be a script supervisor for nearly all of Quentin Tarantino’s films, with his credit in Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood listing him as Martin “The Cobra” Kitrosser.

Brian Yuzna, who produced Re-Animator, was also on board for this. The effects, by Screaming Mad George, are incredible, with tons of gore and some really inventive deadly toys. Actually, this whole movie is way better than it has any right being, seeing as how it’s the fifth movie in the series. To be honest, it’s several cuts above the other ones all put together.

You can watch this for free — with commercials — on Tubi.

You can also get it on the Vestron Video Silent Night Deadly Night set which you can buy from Diabolik DVD.

DISMEMBERCEMBER: Ten Thousand Points of Light (1991)

This movie has become a holiday tradition in our home, a short documentary by George King about the Townsends, a family that opens its Elvis loving God-fearing home to their Atlanta neighbors, and we get to meet everyone from Grandma Margaret, who loves the King so much that she has a Fantasy Room with lit-up black velvet paintings and Gloria, who flirts in line and shows off the ring her ex-husband gave her but she’s not getting back together with him. Then there’s Raymond, keeping order outside and telling people to not make any backtalk while fully strapped with a gun and plenty of seasonal goodwill.

The family has been asked to leave Atlanta for Charlotte, NC and you wonder why. Is it because thousands of people line up outside their house every Christmas? Could it be that they told visitors that the power company will give you back the money you spent lighting up your house? Who can say.

What I love is that everyone smokes, non-stop, even when they’re making cookies or a Nativity with a candy Jesus that someone is going to eat. Yet what I love the most is that this movie never makes fun of them or calls them rednecks or denigrates the South. They’re good people who open their home to others and give a part of themselves that other families can take home with them. Even on their last night, they’re giving the lights away and trying to part with some of the decorations. You can say that this is kitsch and look down on these folks, but that makes you the fool.

This movie makes my holiday season right.

You can watch this on the best movie YouTube channel there is, White Slaves of Chinatown 3D.

Voodoo Dawn (1991)

Based on a book by John Russo, this was directed by Steven Fierberg and had a script by Jeffrey Delman (Stuck On You!Deadtime Stories), Thomas Rendon and Evan Dunsky (the creator of Nurse Jackie). It has Tony Todd as Makoute, an evil voodoo priest transforming his workforce into zombies. I mean, it’s cheaper than a health plan.

Gina Gershon plays one of his employees and man, she has some great stories to tell. For example, before this movie, she had just gotten back from New Orleans where she said she met a weird voodoo girl” and came home to a black cat just as the script came. With some reflection, she said that’s not the best way to choose a movie. She also claims that one of the producers didn’t want any chanting in the movie, saying “I don’t want any of that voodoo shit in here.” She asked him why the movie was called Voodoo Dawn.

This also has Raymond St. Jacques, who became the first black actor on a TV series when he was on Rawhide. There’s also Theresa Merritt from The Wiz, the recently deceased Kirk Bailey who was Kevin “Ug” Lee on Salute Your Shorts and Gloria Reuben from ER.

This is much closer to the pre-Romero zombies of White Zombie, so go in with that mindset. And keep in mind that this is not the 1998 Voodoo Dawn which has Roseanna Arquette and Michael Madsen.

PITTSBURGH MADE: Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Silence of the Lambs is a movie that more intelligent writers than me have discussed, so let me speak on where it was made instead.

Yes, that really in Quantico, Virginia and Clay County, West Virginia, but a lot of this movie was made throughout Pittsburgh, including scenes at the Old Allegheny County Jail (our jail looks like a castle), Hannibal Lecter’s (Anthony Hopkins) impromptu cage being inside the Soldiers and Sailors Museum and Memorial (you can go there every year before Halloween and watch the movie) as well as locations in Canonsburg, the Bradford Court apartments in Crafton, the Grieg Funeral Home in Rural Valley, a house in Glenwillard, Moxley’s Drugs being located in Homestead and Buffalo Bill’s (Ted Levine) house in Perryopolis, which is now a bed and breakfast where you can stay in.

Here’s what’s wild. Levine is from Bellaire, Ohio and he was amazed to discover that the house being considered for his home in the movie was not only in the town where he grew up, but next door to the house of his high school girlfriend.

Based on the book by Thomas Harris and adapted for the screen by Ted Tally, this movie was such a big deal all over the place when it opened in 1991 but man, it has become even a bigger deal here. It even has a cameo for George Romero as a janitor, that’s how much it embraced being made in Pittsburgh.

If you ask me — and you just might — I love Manhunter more than this, but I can admit that everything about this movie is quite good, including the acting from Hopkins, Levine and Jodie Foster. You know who doesn’t agree with that? John Carpenter, who said that the movie focused too much on Clarice and that he could have made it “much more frightening and gripping.”

At first, this was going to be a direct-to-video release as studio executives felt that the film’s subject matter was too gross for a mass audience. Then there was the idea that it win some awards — more on that in a second — and Orion Pictures banned Fangoria from covering the making of the movie.

In closing, allow me to give you some trivia-contest winning info: Silence of the Lambs is one of three films to win all five major Academy Awards, which are Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay. The other two are It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.