Movie Review: The Gooey Gory Greedy Horror of ‘BLACK FRIDAY’!

A good Thanksgiving horror movie has always been quite hard to come by, sure there are few out there but aside of something like 1987’s ‘Blood Rage’ the pickens are slim. Well I decided to take a chance yesterday on a brand new one called ‘Black Friday’ and was quite surprised how much I enjoyed this comedically gory and ultra gooey little horror flick. To be honest I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot even though it co-stars Bruce Campbell as the manager of a lame ass modern toy mart on Thanksgiving evening. I wasn’t particularly 100% sold on the trailer but I really wanted to see something different this year that brought some possible holiday horror cheer.

I’d at first thought this might be just another trashy low level zombie movie but right from the get go it’s clear this one’s got something more sinister going on which was immediately a relief. We start off with the discovery of a strange small glowing pulsating blob like creature discovered inside of the store by a late night maintenance man. My assumption: it must be some sort of alien, whatever it is, I’m in!

We quickly turn to our rather diverse cast of characters (whom I think are all pretty interesting) as they ready themselves for Black Friday of course!  As the ravenous line of impatient shoppers grows outside of the toy mart we can see a few of them are definitely not looking too fucking healthy & the employees on the inside are gonna encounter something a lot more challenging than the average filthy greedy shoppers this year.

The plot here is about as simple as it gets, gang of ridiculous employees has to survive the night against a horde of monsters. But that’s not to say this movie doesn’t have a bit more going for it. I guess the best way to describe this one would be almost like if you took ‘The Breakfast Club’, mashed it up with ‘Evil Dead 2’ and set it inside a modern  department store. There’s a lot of great character development too that adds some sweet charm & heart to the experience as well as upping the stakes for survival. Plus like I said, we get the treat of Bruce Campbell arriving to add that extra bit of b-movie legitimacy to it all.

One of the best aspects here are the monsters and the slimey, gorey effects on display. From what I could tell, almost entirely done via practical effects. It’s also got a nice lean run time of around 80 minutes, with a brisk pace, plenty of action, funny characters, gore and some pretty well done comedy. Also it’s really anyone’s guess who’s gonna survive this thing.

Yet, that’s not to say this is a perfect film, the actual toy store that it takes place in is a pretty ugly generic looking set piece. Even less fun to look at than a freakin’ Walmart. A more interesting environment could have really added a lot, a uniquely spooky looking toy store to add that extra layer of creepiness to the atmosphere. And although some of the effects towards the final standoff were pretty cool in regards to the creature, the general execution of it all felt quite clunky and a bit lazy. It could have really wowed in those final moments but fell a bit short of the mark for what  had been executed quite well before, for me personally.  However these are small qualms in the larger scheme of a relatively high grade creature feature. For me my favorite genre of horror.

Doubling as a Thanksgiving horror movie as well as a Christmas one ‘Black Friday’definitely delivers on many of its promises and if you’re looking for something that might be a nice double feature with say ‘Gremlins’ or ‘Krampus’ then I think there’s a decent amount here to fully enjoy. Definitely check it out if you’re feeling frisky this holiday season for surprisingly fun holiday themed horror flick jam packed with monster mayhem..

Movie Melt Your Brain with 1982’s Totally Bananas ‘SPLITZ’!!

Universal Dork has once again joined the ‘Movie Melt‘ podcast Is to discuss, in waaaaay too much juicy detail, the oddball weirdo sex comedy ‘Splitz’ from 1982!

You’ve never seen it? I didn’t think so! Is there a reason for that? LIKELY! Hear about all the hi-jinx and sexy dipshit shenanigans that occur when when a female college rock band gets involved with some wicked sorority mayhem! If you dig the eighties you better get on your acid wash jeans & check out this episode.

It’s jam packed with way more idiotic cinematic information than your brain can inhumanly comprehend! Listen HERE And make sure to call into the show and leave us a voicemail!!!

Get Some 70s Marvel Comics “Pizzaz” in Your Step!

True believers! I know that I always seem to mention here the simpler times of yesteryear. But hey that’s only because of how fucked up the world has felt for the last couple of years or so. These days people seem to fight about everything even in pop culture demonizing each other politically becuz of it! There was a time though where things just were not this damn polarizing, believe it or not!  So let’s take a moment to go back to the seventies and take a quick look at the Marvel Comics publication called Pizzaz!! OH YEEEEAH!

“Pizzaz” was a pop culture magazine Marvel Comics put out that dealt with important things, pop stars like Shaun Cassidy for instance and even more important characters like The Incredible HULK! Only running for 16 issues I guess it just didn’t have enough drama for even the 1970s! But man if this commercial doesn’t bring back bring back some memories of simpler less dramatic times…

Weird, Forgotten Thanksgiving Themed Viewing Straight from the 80s!

So if you’re like me you’re most likely quite sad that the Halloween season has finally ended. Now we head quickly towards Thanksgiving and very rarely do we see much in the way of kick ass Thanksgiving themed viewing that us huge Halloween horror fans can get behind! Don’t fret though because I’m on the case to solve this crisis! In this first installment I’ve got three  recommendations that will make your Thanksgiving nice and weird and slightly creepy as well. Check these out to switch things up this year…

Amazing Stories (1986) ‘Thanksgiving’: 

 This is hands down one of my favorite shows from the 1980s. Steven Spielberg brought the star power and the budget to craft some of the coolest TV episodes of all time. This episode, takes place right around Thanksgiving, hence the title and features David Carradine and Kyra Sedgwick in a strange little tale that takes place in the barren, lonely desert. It involves a bizarre hole in the ground where it appears, far below, lives a strange race of beings who they accidentally begin communicating with. Carrdine though let’s his greedy tendencies get the best of him  when he realizes these beings offer treasure for random items they lower below the surface on a rope to them. An intriguing and creepy episode that is a true delight to watch around the Thanksgiving season!

 

Tales From the Darkside (1986) ‘The Last Car’:

‘Tales from the Darkside’ is probably the best horror themed TV show of all time in my opinion. Luckily they produced an episode in Season 2 called ‘The Last Car’ that features a young woman on her way home from college to meet family for Thanksgiving late one night. One of the standout episodes of the second season this one oozes with dread as she rides rides a the last creepy train car into the night and meets all sorts of bizarre characters along the way. The true question though is will she make it back for that sumptuous turkey dinner? Slip this creepy atmospheric horror tale into rotation this year for the whole family!

 

The Incredible Hulk (1979) ‘Homecoming’: 

Why not brighten things up a bit with an awesome episode of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ series from the late seventies? I just can’t get enough of the big green guy and had to add this this one to the festivities. Lou Ferrigno remains my favorite on screen Hulk and Bill Bixby my favorite Banner, who’d have thought huh? This episode we see Banner head back home for Thanksgiving to a small town where he ends up on a mission to save his family farm. Of course we know that there’s someone who’s gonna be fuckin’ with Banner. We’ll of course get to see the Green Goliath once again kick some ass on the holiday, you just can’t go wrong mixing The Incredible Hulk with Thanksgiving!!

DESCENDENTS/ALL Fans: Sign the Petition Demanding a New ALL Record!

I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while now as I’d recently seen someone had made a super cool petition to get one of my favorite bands, ALL to record a new damn record!

If you don’t know who ALL is, you should probably be ashamed, but hey no worries, let me give you the scoop, basically they’re the Descendents minus Milo Aukerman and formed after he left the band in 1987. Similar sound but with several different singers through the years and basically the soundtrack of my teens and beyond! Pop punk perfection. However they never quite got the recognition of the Descendents yet had definitely made a stronger run for “rock stardom” in the nineties then the ‘Dents ever did, even signing a major label record deal.

Over the years we’ve luckily gotten a good amount of new Descendents material, and don’t get me wrong, I’m fucking stoked about that! But let’s get serious and most importantly let’s get ALLULAR! It’s going on 22 years since ALL’s last record, ‘Problematic’ and we’re well past due for a new one.

Over the last two decades the band has also played shows with ALL three of their singers, Dave Smalley, Scott Reynolds & Chad Price, which has led many legions of fans to request a new ALL album that features ALL three of them on lead vocals! The best way to decide who’s gonna sing on this epic-ness is simply to get them ALL! Like a sort of 3-way split full length divided up equALLy, In fact I was so pleased to see that the maker of this petition had the same idea!

Has any other band in history ever made a brand new album featuring ALL of their previous vocalists? I’ve never heard of it happening. How epic would that be for the fans? So not only would I like this post to circulate around with THE PETITION to get the band to make a new freakin’ album, I also am hoping the 3 headed monster of ALL will indeed return and merge ALL vocalists onto one new album, in other words: ALL of ALL!

So if YOU’RE a fan of the band please get this out there and let’s make it happen, I think this petition needs and deserves WAY more fucking signatures! Kudos to whoever put that together you’re totally ALLULAR! So maybe this thing can get the attention of the core band members, Bill Stevenson, Karl Alvarez & Stephen Egerton. When I first came across the petition on Facebook it was slightly confusing what the petition was for if you didn’t click on the actual link, so I’m hoping with this to clear up any confusion and get more people to sign it! Let’s get the band to know we want this dream album to manifest! ALL? Yes ALL!!! SIGN THE PETITION HERE!

Halloween 2021: Who Won? CHUCKY or MICHAEL MYERS?!

It’s been a bit of a “David & Goliath” horror showdown in 2021, two iconic slashers went head to head this Halloween and as far as I’m concerned the little guy has emerged as the clear victor! ‘Chucky’ stomped ‘Halloween Kills’, continuing the horror saga with no need to cancel ANY of it’s sequels, no matter how ridiculous they may have been! Not an easy feat, but Don Mancini has stuck to his guns and once again breathed some fresh air into the fanchise.

 Mancini also deserves a lot of credit for clearly how much love he still has for Chucky. He clearly doesn’t need to erase the sequels, keeping everything cannon, something I really respect that oddly works in his favor here with the new Syfy series. He’s built an entire world within his sequels and it becomes even more interesting as some of the most ludicrous plot points of the earlier ones remain intact with this darker toned series that feels much more akin to the original.

 ‘Halloween Kills’ however is clearly being pushed imo for a different reason, what I believe to be more of an IP “cash grab” reboot thing. ‘The Pineapple Express’ director doesn’t bring much new or interesting to the table for someone who’s erased all of the sequels and replaced them with basically the “Terminator: Dark Fate” of the Halloween franchise. Hey, If you’re going to revise the existing lore, that is beloved by a lot of fans, you better have something bad ass planned for your new time line. ‘Halloween Kills’ personally left me completely underwhelmed & unexcited for whatever comes next. At this point who gives a shit about yet another Halloween timeline?

‘Chucky’ however has introduced us to a whole new cast of (so far) interesting characters, Don Mancini has finally brought us a gay horror protagonist to root for that doesn’t feel forced. ‘Cult of Chucky’ left us with also quite a fresh twist on things, Tuesday night we hit mid season with episode 4, though I’m at the moment starting to slightly feel some padding in the series, I’m hoping that the final 4 episodes will increase the mayhem as they introduce Tiffany and whoever else mysteriously pops in for the story.

Looking at the end of the last Chucky film there’s a lot of interesting directions this current story could now go in. I really hope they take some chances here like they were doing in the last Chucky film rather than trying to just stick to the original basic slasher formula. ‘Chucky’ now has the chance to go completely bonkers and throw the fans a bloody curve ball they’ll never forget. If they continue to incorporate some wild voodoo rituals, human possessions, multiple Chucky’s and one mean mysterious motive for the mayhem, the first season will be off to a sweet start. As it stands Chucky has cut Michael down to size with the authenticity of the original creator at it’s helm who’s clearly hungry to tell a new fresh story. Let’s see if he can deliver a home run in the last four episodes or if it’s flame fizzles into the realm of the tired reboots and bland cash grab “sequels”. Fingers crossed!

 

Halloween Nite Party Flick Pick: NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2!

So can you believe it?Halloween is finally here and if you’re like me you’re probably planning on watching something frightfully awesome tonite that will get the party PUMPIN’! Let’s face it, this decision is a BIG one, most people decide to go with one of the classics they’ve seen countless times cuz you don’t want to chance it all on some shitty clunker. One movie that gets a lot of rotation during the Halloween season Is ‘Night of the Demons’ from 1988. But a lot of people (me included) seem to have missed over the years it’s incredible 1994 sequel, a movie that I dare to say is just as good if not actually BETTER than the original!!

Yes I said it. This week I re-watched ‘Night of the Demons’ again and also viewed part 2 for the very first time, really not expecting much at all. What I got from Aussie director Brian Trenchard-Smith (also responsible for the likes of ‘Dead End Drive In’ & ‘Leprechaun 4: In Space’) far surpassed what I’ve been secretly hoping for. So again we get the perfect setting and time for the sequel, Halloween night baby! We also see the return of horror icon “Angela” from the very first movie in all of her horrific glory.  But the two things I think make this stand out above the original is the even more wildly imaginative special fx and especially the charming cast of characters this time around. We really get a gang we can get behind and root for in the sequel.

Part 2 plays out a bit more like ‘Mean Girls’ meets ‘Evil Dead 2’, the setting here is a Catholic boarding school filled to the brim with horny ass teenagers who’re ready for a goddamn rager on Halloween night. Two of the standout characters, a teenage boy obsessed with exorcisms and demonic possessions, as well as a bad-ass ruler wielding nun, hell bent on making sure these teenagers have a kosher evening that only Jesus would find entertaining.

But alas, we all of course know nothing can stop the raging hormones of teenagers in the 1990s! Similar to the first movie, this gang heads out to the same abandoned house from the first installment to get down to some risky bizness and then once again encounter the demonically filthy Angela! She’s ready to have a party of her own filled with blood-and-guts a’ plenty.

 If you’ve never seen this before I definitely don’t want to spoil any of it. There’s just too much damn fun to be had as well as a few “twists”. The special effects are gloriously gooey, and this chapter offers legit frights by upping the ante on some monster mayhem via some spectacular practical effects work that caught me by surprise. For a movie made in 1994 it bleeds of the eighties in all the best ways. With a plentiful amount of TNA and a perfect blend of comedy mixed with some genuine scares. In my opinion it’s the perfect Halloween party movie that’s bound to have people cheering.

 I can’t believe that it took me this long to finally check it out. The first movie is such a beloved Halloween horror classic that I figured there’s no way in hell it could live up to its predecessor.

 So if you’re looking for something totally bad-ass to watch tonight and are a fan of the original You can really do no wrong with Night of the Demons 2!  I’ll say it again it’s better than the first. Deal with it! Now I’m even more curious if lightning can strike 3 times?  I’m gonna have to check out part 3 next. In the meantime you can find this one streaming and rental on most of the major platforms.. So grab your booze, blaze up the ganja and grab your closest cinemaniacs for a night of 90s horror gold!

Halloween Comic Cover of the Week: New Mutants Nightmare!

It’s getting so damn close to Halloween!  So of course we have to honor some of the greatest creepy comic book covers of all time! As a kid this one spooked me, when I think of classic creepy comic book covers this is one of the first ones that always comes to mind, New Mutant’s #3 from 1983! Bob McLeod lays out this brilliant nightmarish horror themed classic cover. The New Mutants had its fair share of frightening freaky storylines going on in the early eighties when they first made their debut,  This easily remains one of the scariest-Happy HALLOWEEN weekend!

Will James Earl Jones Return as Darth Vader in ‘KENOBI’?!

So all I seem to be hearing about these days from Star Wars fans is how damn excited they are that Hayden Christiansen will be returning, now as Darth Vader in Disney Plus’s upcoming Kenobi series. As someone who’s admittedly still not a real gigantic fan of the prequels (though I do like the story), I can at least admit that I am genuinely excited to see the return of Hayden and most importantly importantly Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. I find it quite intriguing that they’ll be getting another chance on screen to somewhat vindicate their characters from the (imo) poorly directed/executed prequels. I’ve always thought both of them were great actors and I do look forward to seeing what they bring this time around  under new direction. But now as the dust settles there’s a giant elephant in the room that I think needs to be talked about. With the return of Darth Vader we must all be eagerly expecting the return of James Earl Jones right?! 

You’d think this would be all over the Internet and commentators on YouTube would have have lots to say about the original voice of Darth Vader returning perhaps one last time as Mr. Jones is now 90 years old. Yet I really haven’t seen a peep out of really anyone. Perhaps they are hoping that Hayden will be doing the voice of Darth this time around even with the helmet.on? I wanted to throw it out there that NOT having having Jones return to the role would be an absolute damn crime against Star Wars entirely! But what surprises me most is the lack of interest in Star Wars community on this topic altogether so far.

 I guess the questions that need to be answered are is he interested in doing it at all? And do fans want him to return? Given his age I would imagine having him voice the character one last time would be a top priority. It would also give this Disney Plus series the much needed credibility that it seems to have lost from the “Sequel Trilogy” and the many disappointments surrounding it. I think not connecting him to this performance would be a giant mistake.

The answer is obviously simple, the role of Darth Vader should be shared by both Hayden and James, Hayden voicing Vader without the mask and of course Jones with the mask on, it’s a no brainer. So to all of you Star Wars fans out there, is this something that concerns you at the moment?! Let’s get some hype around this topic and make sure we get James Earl Jones back one at least one last time for an iconic performance as Darth Vader!!

Halloween Party Tips: How to Make a True MONSTER in the 70s!!

It’s time to take a spooky trip down memory lane! Not everyone is an artist but literally anyone can make a monster using using the Monster Maker Kit that was released way back in the late 1970s by Tomy! Yeah you could mash up a whole variety of creepy monster villains with this nifty toy, and as a kid I definitely made my fair share of them.

Interchange the head, the abdomen and the lower body to create some wild weirdos by rubbing your pencil over the top of your chosen creations. It was a ton of fun back in the day, though after. a short period you might discover it slightly redundant-but who gives a shit when you’re making monsters! So check out this sweet little blast from the past with this creepy forgotten little commercial, simpler spooky times must NEVER  be forgotten!