Category: comedy

Mexico’s Sweet Forgotten 80’s Horror Franchise: “VACATION OF TERROR”!

                          

Are you truly ready for a 1980’s “Vacation of Terror” to Mexico?!! Nope. this ain’t Cancun folks, this here is a sweet horror franchise that started in 1989, starring legendary south of the border pop star turned B-movie horror icon Pedro Fernandez. Yes the lesser known Fernandez, appears to be a sort of “Ricky Martin-type” singer, who started his music career at the tender age of seven and later in the 80’s had a string of rad horror flicks like Trampa Infernal, Panic on the Mountain & this two part creep-out, Vacation of Terror (1&2). Check out his music as a kid when he went by the name Pedrito Fernandez:

1989’s Vacation of Terror is a pretty sweet little horror flick that follows a wealthy family’s visit to the countryside to fix up a crusty old cabin in the woods. Along for the ride is teen daughter’s hot shot occult investigating BF Pedro Fernandez along with his impressive mullet! The family starts to notice a few truly strange things happening in and around the property, and their youngest daughter soon falls down into a creepy ass well. Oddly there’s no water down there, but rather what seems to be some sort of lived in cavern den, with a freaky old doll and a few other odd antiques scattered about. Of course the daughter wants the weird ass doll, so they bring it up to the cabin where it begins to have an evil mind of it’s own that starts to manipulate and possess the young girl.

Good thing Pedro is there to combat the evil forces because this doll is hell bent on destroying the family and any furniture in the way of her telekinetic powers. You’ll see this doll’s evil eyes whisk from side to side about a hundred times as she “uses her powers” and her schtick does get a bit tired by the finale, but still strangely satisfying. However it’s imperative to see this first movie to set you up for the far superior sequel, where only one cast member returns-of course Pedro Fernandez!

1990’s ‘Vacation of Terror: Diabolical Birthday’ (directed by Pedro Galindo III who also did the excellent Trampa Infernal) is one helluva good time-but oddly there’s no damn vacation going on anywhere here. But that’s ok, we’ve got a wild ass halloween themed birthday party to attend instead this time! The best thing is Pedro returns, now a single man (who maybe had enough of the family’s creepy cabin and odd shenanigans), who runs an antique shop and meets by chance a cute lady pop star, Mayra who’s played by real life Mexican pop star Tatiana who wanders in. After some chit chat she ends up inviting him to attend a party later and when she’s about to split he notices a her little sister in the back seat of her car holding the same creepy ass doll from the first movie! Naturally Pedro swings into action at the sight and has a new reason to attend other than being crushed out on his sweet date-to fight evil! Of course part of the fun is to go to the party, where it’s either taking place on Halloween or the little girl just loves horror decor. We also get a super sweet performance from Tatiana of course doing her sweet hit song “Chicos Chicos” check it!

 Luckily Pedro gets there just in time to see her rock out! However there’s bigger fish to fry as he’s hot on the trail of the doll. However the there’s a wild birthday cake that just by “chance” gets some blood on it and soon the creepy living doll goes missing and eats the blood soiled cake, transforming it into human sized demon that resembles Angelica Huston’s wicked persona in “The Witches” mixed with Freddy Krueger.

From this point on the creature is out to terrorize all the party goers and it’s now up to Pedro & Tatiana to stop evil from spreading and maybe even find some romance? This one is a lot more fun then the first installment, it’s got a lot more going on, faster paced and a bit of a more playful element at it’s core . However director Pedro Galindo doesn’t skimp on the horror, there’s some great gore and colorful kills to behold as well as the setting. The decaying old deserted Mexican village they end up being chased around in is an excellent place for the spooky shenanigans to occur.

While some may say this is the Mexican “Troll 2” I just think it’s yet another super fun, campy horror movie that fans of the 80’s have got to check out. These two movies certainly need to receive a cleaned up blu ray release with some sweet special features. Otherwise horror fans will certainly miss out, these days it feels like a company like ‘Vinegar Syndrome’ releasing these unknowns gems gives them a sort of sudden street cred/seal of approval. Well you heard it here first though, before the ‘Vacation of Terror’ blu rays are suddenly all the rage-get ahead of the curve and head back to the 80’s to take your own “Vacation of Terror” to Mexico before all the tourists arrive!! You can get it on dvd as a double feature right here at World Cult Cinema!     

 

Movie Melt: 80’s Summer Camp-sploitation Insanity…..ODDBALLS!

Yowza!! Are you in the mood for the wildest and craziest summer camp antics from the great white north of Canada? Well look no further as Universal Dork headed back on the Movie Melt podcast to talk about some seriously idiotic 80’s trash cinema! This time covering 1984’s slapstick summer camp cult classic Oddballs. Yes, you’ll find more worthless movie knowledge than your brain can humanly comprehend!

Oddballs is one weird ass forgotten comedy and if you’re a fan of stuff like ‘Top Secret’ or ‘The Naked Gun’ then there’s more than enough of that schtick here to quench your thirst. Inspired by the classic ‘Meatballs’ this one’s so dumb you’re likely to lose a few brain cells just by simply viewing it’s raunchy cover!

Check out the whole PODCAST RIGHT HERE!

https://movie-melt.zencast.website/episodes/mm-122-oddballs-1984

Oh yeah and if you’re reaaaaaally feelin’ the summer heat you can watch the damn movie on Youtube!

LOVE AND MONSTERS: A Sweet Escape from Reality into the Monsterpocalypse?!

One of the sweetest, feel good movies in recent memory, ‘Love & Monsters’ came as a totally welcome surprise! And that’s all being said as someone who’s normally pretty tough on newer horror/fantasy/sci fi movies. Love & Monsters which came out last year may not have the most original plot but it more than makes up for any shortcomings with its impressive special effects and it’s truly heartwarming adventure. I guess I’d at first glance describe this as having somewhat of a “Zombieland” type of a thing going on and it might be easily dismissed as just some wimpy copycat. On the contrary, Love and Monsters buries ‘Zombieland’ (and especially the sequel), with what I think are just plain more likable characters who embark a much more compelling and colorful adventure in general.

Roughly seven years after the Earth was subjected to a mysterious monster invasion, the rather cowardly Joel Dawson has been living underground with a small pod of people trying to avoid what lurks above. He spends his time reconnecting over the radio with his high school girlfriend, Aimee, whom he was separated from when the tragedy hit and also cooking his signature soup for his crew. When the feelings of isolation and cabin fever finally get the best him he decides to muster up the courage to head to the world above. Seeking to finally reunite with his lost love who resides 80 miles away at a coastal colony, as he surmises that there’s nothing really left for him underground anymore. As he heads out alone he soon realizes he’s hardly prepared for the dangers all around him in the outside world. Mutant monsters are hungry and lurking around nearly every corner.

One of the high points here is the inclusion of charming canine character named “Boy”. Lifting a bit from ‘A Boy and his Dog’ (minus the weird sex plot) in a much sweeter way, we get the best of both world’s here for this little apocalyptic adventure. ‘Boy’ proves to be the show stealer here imo and his bond with Joel makes dealing with the dangers a bit less frightening, all things considered. The two make an excellent team against the creatures and it’s clear that they both need each other more than they likely ever realized for piece of mind in a crazy world. He also meets a few other interesting characters, a pair of wandering scavengers, Michael Rooker along with the ruff and tumble little girl named ‘Minnow’. Joel soon learns the tricks of the trade from them and has to make a big decision on the outcome of his journey. One of the best scenes involves a strange AI intelligence, who brings even more unexpected meaning to his travels.

The whole thing is a great exercise in escapism during these real life uncertain times we all face at the moment. It also shows just how important real human (and animal) connections will hopefully always be to us here on the planet as we move forward. As we’re feeling isolated to certain degrees currently, Love and Monsters showcases some parallels to the current state of affairs. I guess we can all at least be relieved that big mutant monsters aren’t waiting to chomp us to bit when we head outside at least?

Let me get to the monsters here as well, I was half expecting some sort of chintzy fx work here to spoil the damn party. Not the case, the creatures here though mostly CGI are a treat to behold and for the most part are pretty convincing threats to our heroes. As a HUGE fan of monster movies I think it hits that sweet spot quite nicely. There’s also some cool plot twists and of course some admittedly hokey ones that otherwise might not have worked without such strong characters at the forefront. If you’re looking for “Calgon to take you away” (80’s kids you know the reference) from the worries of the real world, I can’t think of a better new fantasy adventure flick to visit than ‘Love and Monsters’, easily one of my faves of 2020!

Movie Review: THE LAUGHING DEAD is a Cheezy Ball of Top Notch 80’s Horror!

So if you’re like me, feeling a little blue these days and looking for some solace in cinema to pick you up, I recommend checking out this gory, gooey, giant ball of cheesy 80’s horror goodness, 1989’s ‘The Laughing Dead’ a whirl. I’m always out searching the Golden Era of horror for forgotten gems, and have had plenty of misses throughout the years- but this offering from the Thailand born S.P. Somtow pretty much brings everything that I love about the genre and mashes it into one big package. Somtow’s debut film, which he also wrote, directed, scored and executive-produced is an ambitious project from someone who was first and foremost known for several standout horror novels during the 1980s and 90s. I guess this’d be his ‘Maximum Overdrive’ (Stephen King’s first shot behind the camera).

So he finally took a stab at filmmaking here with the Laughing dead and though the movie was panned way back when, I think it’s time that it finally gets the respect it deserves. The plot is quite a doosie: Father O’Sullivan is a Catholic priest who has recently lost his faith and has arranged a bus trip to the Mayan ruins of Mexico, bringing along a cast of truly hilarious characters for the adventure. However lurking around the ruins is an evil doctor who seeks to transform himself into the Mayan Lord of Death by kidnapping innocent children & ripping out their hearts. Yeah the guy is one evil son of a bitch with major ass maniacal plans for himself and the unsuspecting locals.

Well Father O’Sullivan leaves Tucson, AZ in a cool beat up tour bus and picks up a sweet cast of characters including hilarious new age couple and most importantly an ex-nun whom he had a most scandalous affair with. Oh yeah and her and his unsuspecting son, who’s got the most incredibly filthy mouth you’ve EVER heard on a kid! This kid’s droppin’ f-bombs like nobody’s fucking business making it quite clear from the start that the tone here isn’t to be taken too incredibly serious. Yeah I really enjoyed the characters in this one, the new age couple are a great addition, as I’ve never seen characters quite like this in a horror flick that work so well. They bicker and argue but also dabble with fancy ass crystals and weird-ass meditation techniques and actually add something to the story. Charming characters can make a super low budget movie legit and it’s got some pretty charming ones at it’s heart to root for.

Another thing that’s great about it is every damn thing that’s jam packed into this sweet little production. Firstly the unique plot and setting in 80’s Mexico separates this one from the usual genre fare of the time and when the shit begins to hit the fan you’re definitely in for a spooky unpredictable treat. Exorcisms, zombies, gore, mystical magic and radically cheezy monsters are all on the table here. There’s even a beheading scene that sends said head flying straight into a basketball hoop mid game! Though the tone is quite playful, it for the most part plays the horror and weird ass plot points pretty straight and even manages to give all the characters their moments to shine, at least those who make it out alive! If you dig something like ‘Evil Dead 2’ or say ‘Re-animator’ you’re bound to be charmed by the Laughing dead and all the ridiculous scenarios sprinkled throughout.

They also pull out a trove of sweet 80’s practical fx too, throw it on the wall and most of it sticks. So there’s lot’s of eye candy to behold as well as some great attempts at drama. Nope it’s not all just monster nonsense either, I love how Sumtow manages to give the movie some real heart, even if it’s done with some seriously subpar acting skills, it’s just a giant ball of cheezy fun that hit’s all the right beats and imo has all the right moves. It was never officially released in the USA so I really hope that someone like Vinegar Syndrome or Arrow pick this little comedic horror gem up and give it a proper release. It desperately needs one. The director’s career pretty much ends right here but damn I wish he’d have given it another shot behind the freakin’ camera. I found a decent copy of it on dvd on Ebay or it’s also up on Youtube but it doesn’t look quite as good. Check it out if Covid’s got you down, by the time the movie ends you’re bound to have a smile on your face if you like 80’s cheez as much as I do.  

U-Dork Returns to the MOVIE MELT Podcast to talk 1987’s BLOODY NEW YEAR!

So I’d say one of the weirdest damn holiday horror flicks of all time has just got to be 1987’s ‘BLOODY NEW YEAR’! Have you seen it?

Well whether you have or not take a moment to check out the Movie Melt podcast as we talk about some sweet under appreciated odd ball movies and get straight into the new year with this classic slice of weird-o 80’s British horror film.

It’s easily one of the most surreal and ambitious micro budget movies I’ve seen a long time and it’s perfect for the holiday seasons, if you’ve seen it you likely know how bizarre this wild little flick truly is! Check out MOVIE MELT and this episode for Bloody New Year!

ELVIRA Mistress of the Dark’s “Rankin Bass” Style Scary X-MAS Short!!

Elvira, ‘Mistress of the Dark’ made a BIG return this last Halloween to try and save the holiday from the pandemic. BUT let’s not forget about a decade ago Elvira returned to Christmas for a little spooky holiday cheer!

We all love the classic Rankin Bass animated movies like Rudolph, Nestor the Long Eared Donkey & The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, well let’s revisit the Elvira holiday short ‘Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scary X-MAS’ Done in that same classic style from her official Youtube page. Here she heads out in search of a Christmas trees and along the way encounters some horrific holiday creatures: Merry Christmas Eve! See you tomorrow!!

 

U-Dork on the MOVIE MELT Podcast: Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker!

So I was just on one of my favorite podcasts out there on the interwebs: MOVIE MELT! If you’ve never checked it out and dig stuff like Red Letter Media or lots of the cinematic oddities I cover right here then you’re bound to really get some kicks outta this podcast. They really go the extra distance there covering weird flicks often even the likes of RLM’s “Best of the Worst” wouldn’t dare touch & their unique format blends in some brilliant comedy as well.

Anyway I was lucky to be able to chat in length about one of my favorite Holiday Horror flicks: Silent Night Deadly Night Part 5-The Toymaker!! We also cover more weird Christmas stuff that might tickle your fancy for holiday viewing this year, check out MOVIE MELT HERE!!!

Comic Cover of the Week: Elvira’s Creepy Christmas Adventures!!!

Who knew everyone’s favorite Mistress of the Dark, Elvira was also down with the Christmas holiday cheer?! Yeah! Well back in 1987 DC comics indeed released her special holiday adventures, ‘Elvira’s Haunted Holidays’ part of her “House of Mystery” series. This however is not only a collection of spooky X-mas tales but they also feature the iconic bombshell as the main character of the creepy adventures! This classic cover, drawn by José Luis García-López kicks off the month here with some true Christmas spirit of this largely forgotten one shot comic book!

Charlie Brown & The Peanuts Take on John Carpenter’s THE THING?!!

As if 2020 couldn’t get any weirder!!! Charlie Brown & The Peanuts have come face to face with their greatest threat this winter! Snoopy has been replicated into an alien monstrosity ala John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’! Oh the horror Charlie Brown!!!

 

Happy Thanksgiving: Cooking in the 1970’s with the Marvel Superheroes?!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all Universal Dorks out there!! Today hopefully people will be able to at least cook up some good food to take the edge off of the pandemic worries we’ve all felt lately? Well if that’s the case perhaps you’d consider a few recipes straight from the classic Marvel superheroes themselves! Yes in 1977 Marvel released the ‘Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cook Book’!!

This was way back when things were a bit simpler and people had more of a sense of humor about stuff in a way that people of the Earth in 2020 can’t quite seem to comprehend. Now I’m not quite sure just how tasty these recipes actually are but they’re certainly fun to check out. It’s got the art of Joe Giella who also did the Marvel fitness book which is awesome too. Anyway take a gander at some of these hilarious recipes when superheroes were still full of wonder and just plain fun..