Category: Horror Whore

‘WARRIOR: Predator’ The 2019 Fan Film ‘PREY’ Ripped OFF?!!

‘Prey’ the surprise Predator prequel hit of 2022 was that great original idea right? Not so fast. I was a bit shocked to come across this eerily similar 7 minute fan film from 2019 the other day! Maybe I’m late to the party and this is common knowledge but I’ve heard no one mention this short film at ALL when ‘Prey’ hit the scene recently. 

 The short film ‘Warrior: Predator’ was released 3 years before Prey and was surely conceived and filmed much earlier than that. Director/writer Chris R. Notarile  apparently has received no compensation or admission of conceptual ideas at all from the major studio from what I understand.  Who knows perhaps the fan film project got wind of the major studio film and ripped them off? Or maybe they knew each other and this was meant as some sort of early promotion? Check out this interesting little film and let me know what you think? It seems Prey director Dan Trachtenberg and writer Pat Aison might have some explaining to do?!!

Crazy 80s Aussie Rock Opera: SONS OF STEEL!

I’ve been stating lately here that I’m just not a big fan of movie musicals. BUT perhaps the type of musicals I’ve seen my entire life just don’t bring the fucking goods to the dance floor! I recently viewed 1988’s Australian musical oddity ‘Sons of Steel’ at a double feature movie night & paired it up with ‘The Legend of the Stardust Brothers’ from 1985! It was a gloriously cheezy musical combo!  

 If you were to ask me to really explain to you the plot of Sons of Steel I’d have a big problem trying to do so. It’s basically a “Dee Snyder” (Twisted Sister) look-a-like who sings a buttload of cock rock songs and also travels into the future or something where he meets some weird barbarians to try to try to stop an evil genius with a “mini-me” sidekick from destroying the planet?!  I guess that’s the gist, but who really gives a damn, it’s one giant awesome mess of a rock opera with a TON of foggy, neon atmosphere, bizarre characters, a meandering wild plot, jam packed with terribly excellent heavy metal songs!

 If you’re looking for a tubular 80s party movie this is definitely a BANGER! It’s sure to get the juices with it’s unusual plot & wild fashion, however, this like many other Aussie genre flicks of this era (Razorback, Fortress, Road Games, The Quest) have some truly stunning cinematography and rich atmosphere that amplify the onscreen antics to eleven. Simply said as dumb (and fun) as it’s story is, this movie looks far more fantastic that it has any right to. Easily one of the aspects here that make this such enjoyable viewing aside from the leather clad wardrobe, roaring motorcycles and two tone proto punk hairdos soaked in loads hairspray.

It’s leading musclebound  man, Rob Hartley, (who portrays Black Alice) is a real joy to watch. He overacts and grunts his way through most of the strange dialogue as well as belts out some mindnumbing musical numbers. Apparently trying to save the world from a nuclear holocaust, he’s not quite the person you want to put the fate of the planet in the hands of. That being said Black Alice gets into some good trouble and there’s some pretty impressive action scenes to chomp into as well. I was excited to check out director Gary Keady’s  filmography, however Sons of Steel remains his sole, one and only contribution! What a pedigree! Lucky for us all this one received received a snazzy fancy new blue ray release last year from Future Video-if you wanna ROCK check this shit out!

1980s Cine-MAGIC From Japan: The STARDUST BROTHERS!

I’m willing to bet you’re just like me and never heard of this near “forgotten ’til now” 80s gem from Japan: The Legend of The Stardust Brothers! This incredible movie from 1985 is most definitely one of the most unique oddities I’ve stumbled upon in quite sometime. An incredibly ambitious musical gem, packed with practical effects and eighties fashion that will likely knock your neon socks right off!

It tells the tale of  two struggling rival musicians: one a rowdy punk rocker and the other an egotistical wanna be popstar who meet a mysterious man while sharing the same bill  at a seedy night club. He offers them the contract of a lifetime, claiming that within one week, if they follow all the rules, the two of them will be rocketed to full blown pop super stardom. That is as long as they join forces, from that point on become The Stardust Brothers and tell the world they are indeed real bonafide brothers.

Now admittedly I’m not a real big fan of musicals, there’s only a few that I really love (Popeye, The Wizard of Oz & Little Shop of Horrors immediately come to mind). However this one has now EASILY made the list as a must watch and it’s something I’ll be watching over and over again. Essentially it’s the wildly unpredictable story of the bizarre rise and fall of this pop duo. It’s firmly glued together with a series of incredible little musical vignettes that are a visual and sonic feast.

A sweet mixture of punk rock, powerpop & some cool new wave numbers, connecting a series of incredibly ambitious music videos within one insane narrative. There are touches of the supernatural as well as a ton of amazing special effects, stop motion & practical monster effects that really impress, especially if your a fan of the 80s. It’s also filled to the brim with some of the best Japanese fashion of the era to go along with the catchy songs. As I write this, their theme song is still stuck firmly in my brain. I’d love to get my hands on some vinyl of the soundtrack. Aside from the cool music, luckily it’s got a pretty unique story that blends elements of scifi, horror and even a bit of romance. It’s unexpected twists and turns deliver a frenetic, action packed finale that will  leave you pondering the events of the entire film. Its all done with a heroic dose of heart too.

Just how far do you really go to live the life of a superstar without any of the hard work required to get to the top? The Stardust Bros go the distance and the musical journey is definitely a wacky one worth taking. Apparently director Makoto Tezuka tried to catch lightning in a bottle a few years ago by producing a direct sequel, but after doing a little poking around it doesn’t seem like he was quite to able to recreate the neon electromagnetic magic of the first.

In the meantime I highly recommend picking this one up on a newly released blu ray from SRS Cinema. The Legend of the Stardust Brothers is packed with pure charisma, tons of vibrant youthful energy and shows you exactly how inventive some directors in the 1980s were in Japan with a limited budget!  Don’t sleep on this one!

 

NOPE: Easily One of the BEST of 2022!!

I’m not gonna waste too much time reviewing the hell out of ‘Nope’ because I know that it’s soooooo 2 weeks ago! But being as finicky as I am about new new Hollywood  summer blockbuster movies I’ve got to take at least a moment here to tell you how fucking much I enjoyed the new Jordan peel movie!

I went into this one with no real expectations except that I might get another tale covering ssome sort of allegory about race or modern culture.  However with the modern “culture war” and basically the world at each other’s throats, falling apart I’ll have to be quite honest, I really wasn’t in the mood to think more about real world injustices or real life human struggles as I entered the theater. 

Thankfully Jordan Peele decided to give us a mysterious compelling monster movie  with no real strings attached but with plenty of layers to peel and dissect. Nope will leave you pondering all of the unique plot points sprinkled about for days. Our duo of well crafted main characters are black ranchers and he doesn’t need to make some sort of big statement about it. They’re just great characters who happen to be black. It also features some very curious and intriguing supporting characters one being a fairly convincing CGI chimpanzee that almost steals the show!

Nope really harkens back to the golden era of Stephen Spielberg movies in the best way possible  But adding a much more sinister, brooding touch. After trying to make it through his rebooted Twilight Zone series I was beginning to have my doubts about his next film as I wasn’t a big fan of ‘Us’ , that being said, trying to follow up the brilliant ‘Get Out’ seems like an impossible feat. Fortunately he was able pull it off with ease with his 3rd full length movie which is just as mindbending in my opinion at least as his first.

A beautiful looking movie filled with A super solid cast, great locales and an excellent creature design make this a truly engaging movie to see in the theater and so much more than I was expecting. It’s a different animal altogether than the summer Hollywood blockbuster you might be expecting.

Don’t go in thinking you’re gonna get Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness type effects either. Peele uses CGI sparingly and perfectly to create something that feels visceral, real and highly imaginative in today’s landscape of bloated big budget sludge. If you haven’t seen Nope yet go into the movie completely blind if you can, the less you know the better. What plays out on screen I think is one of the best cinematic events of 2022 hands down.

MCU’s M.O.D.O.K. Misses the Mark!

After getting a good look at what is supposedly the MCU design for iconic Marvel Comics villain Modok I can honestly say my childhood fantasies have been smashed! Easily one of my favorite villains of all time for his bizarrely offputing look, Modok deserves so much better than THIS!

 That is what is supposedly his design for the upcoming Ant-Man movie. His big movie debut look unfortunately does not feature any of the grotesque charm of the classic villain.

My hopes here are that he is merely wearing some sort of protective helmet. I’m also fairly certain that they will be featuring the character as some sort of ridiculous joke Instead of utilizing him as a terrifying monstrosity that he truly is.

I also think if they were to have designed the character using practical animatronic effects just how amazing he could really be on the big screen. Time will tell but in the meantime here are a few of my favorite images of one of Marvel’s most grotesque creations!

‘PREY’ Brings the Goods But Can’t Top ‘PREDATOR 2’!

[OK so it seems everyone is flipping out over the new ‘Predator’ prequel ‘Prey’ just released yesterday on Hulu! Most are claiming it to be the best of the franchise since the original 87′ masterpeice, some even boldly claiming it better than the original. Well I’m here to clear things up because in 1987 Predator was the very first ‘R rated’ movie I ever saw in the theater and I snuck into it at the age of 13!!

At this point I’d pretty much lost any enthusiasm for another Predator movie after 2018’s pathetic sequel ‘The Predator’. However I’m quite happy to report that 2022 has brought us the latest movie in the series, ‘Prey’ and it’s overall a sweet breath of fresh air finally. I’m gonna put it slightly above ‘Predators’ which I thought mixed things up nicely with a unique plot that deviates from the others. Prey goes back to the basics and it essentially works, the time setting of 1719 and the physical setting of the Great Plains combined with its unique Native American tribal characters make for a visually stunning survival adventure. I gotta be honest though, the dialogue of the tribe felt way out of place and took me out of the movie’s supposed era several times, it felt WAY too “modern America”, if like the tribe were actually modern day cosplayers from LA or something. They really could have done better to make them feel a bit more convincing vocally because they looked amazing.

 But one of the best things though was indeed the setting, beautiful locations that of course make me wonder how much of what we saw on screen was actually real or created via CGI? I hope it was filmed on actual location. Whatever the case it really worked in this particular situation, at times rivaling the jungles of the original film. Of course the basic plot set up does feel a bit heavily treaded as of late at least, it features a young, strong female lead who’s marginalized by her male tribe members who believe she doesn’t have what it takes to be a true warrior. However she’s a total badass master hunter, fighter, tracker & her male peers just refuse to accept her. 

The lead, Naru, like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch is a force to be reckoned with. However when Dutch finally becomes the hunted it’s clear his macho-man antics are simply not going to save his ass from the Predator. Nope, he’s going to have to massively reevaluate everything he’s learned in order to survive the Predator’s attack. I felt Prey lacked much of that visceral tension, urgency and nail biting suspense of the original. Perhaps because Naru seems more than capable of besting The Predator in hand to hand combat right from the get-go. I personally would’ve prefered a bit more character struggle that let the tension rise to its boiling point. I never really feared for Naru’s life at any point in Prey. It could’ve featured her crafting some inventive new tricks to outwit the Predator but instead felt like it lacked the clever hero’s ingenuity humans normally need to come out on top against an alien force. Instead it relies more on her just facing it straight on with hand-to-hand combat. The action scenes were quite well done but I wish there would’ve been a little more to her having to “Macguyver” her way to victory. Given the script though, Amber Midthunder, who portrays Naru, did a great job as our new hero. She’s cool but maybe just a bit too badass at times for me to truly believe that she’s ever in any actual legit danger. Still the whole vibe, time period, dazzling looking characters and her awesome dog companion made this a real welcome surprise when put neatly all together.

I also had some issues with some of the CGI work done with the animals in the movie. It’s a cool concept to see the Predator go one on one with a bear and a wolf but the way it was executed took me out of the movie again as the CGI sadly just wasn’t convincing enough. I also have somewhat of a problem with the Predator’s new look this time around as it was clear there must have been some sort of wonky CGI going on with it’s normally amazing practical animatronic face. Something that cannot be topped from the first 2 movies at least. Still though it managed to breathe some much needed fresh air into a fully dying franchise and at no point in the movie was I ever bored. So all in all I can admit this is a pretty damn solid entry in the franchise, one of the best installments but I can also say quite firmly that imo it’s NOT the best sequel to Predator.

I recently rewatched ‘Predator 2’ on Blu-Ray and it’s aged like a fine wine. Danny Glover is an amazing charismatic lead and the city setting/concrete jungle created a whole new creepy exciting scenario for the brutal carnage. PREY In my opinion doesn’t come close to besting Predator 2. Perhaps if the it was released in the early nineties it might have felt much more fresh than it does now today but sadly the franchise just doesn’t feel anywhere near as interesting as it used to no matter what scenario you might want to introduce.  In many ways the Predator franchise has simply run out a gas.

But if you still find yourself a die hard thirsty fan of the franchise looking for something new, you can’t go wrong with this new installment. It delivers enough of what we loved about the original to make it a worthwhile survival adventure flick! It’s a fairly unique little creature feature that would have been fun if it’d shown up in theaters…or 32 years ago!

VHS Verdict: 1990’s ‘WHEELS OF TERROR’ Goes The Distance!

I had a super sweet VHS swap at my store, Hollywood Babylon, in Portland Oregon a couple weeks ago and picked up some pretty promising picks on tape- Most notably ‘Wheels of Terror’ from 1990. A movie that luckily lives up to its sweet VHS cover!

 Originally an R rated, made for TV movie appearing on the USA Network, I admittedly didn’t have very high hopes for what would unfold on screen. As a big fan of road road horror I’m happy to report that this one really went the distance. Directed by Christopher Cain, most notably known for ‘Young Guns’ and ‘The Next Karate Kid’, I’d have never suspected he’d be capable of such a taut and effective tale of terror.  This would be a great  one to pair up with ‘The Hitcher’, ‘Duel’ or ‘Road Games’ for one helluva solid double feature.

 ‘Wheels’ pulls no damn punches and UPS the ante for some real high stakes horror!  In a nutshell it is the story of a single mother and her daughter who move to a small town in the desert. Mom’s a school bus driver, trying to get into the swing of small town life, it should be a simple adjustment right? WRONG! This small town has a BIG problem, a psychotic child predator is on the loose, abducting kids in his super fucked of sketchy demonic looking black car. Pretty messed up place to live huh? You bet!! Bad move Momma!

Well luckily the local mechanic souped up Mom’s school bus with a freakin’ race car engine, how’s that for foreshadowing?  Things get super tense real fast as the psycho driver begins to target the town zeroing in on the Mom’s daughter, arriving at their house reving his screechin’ engine in the dead of night. 

 At times it almost appears like the psycho is some sort of supernatural presence as no one seems to notice this bizarre freaky ass car driving around in broad daylight with no goddamn muffler! There’s a lot of suspension of disbelief that you might need a to really take this movie seriously but what it lacks in “grounded reality” It more than makes up for in tension. 

It would be one thing if it was simply a mass murderer driving around in a car but the fact that it’s a creepy sex offender makes the stakes shoot through the roof.  And once you get to the real meat and potatoes of the movie the final act is a goddamn balls to the wall action packed literal demolition derby thrill ride! Filled with great stunts, unexpected twists and fucking unrelenting killer road rage.

It’s lean run time of under 85 minutes also makes this one pack a powerful punch and is the perfect movie to watch with the rowdy gang of hungry cinefiles! I’d say my only real problem with ‘Wheels of Terror’ is the promise of some sort of mysterious reveal that might rear its ugly head in it’s finale that never comes sadly. Still its a bonafide lost hidden gem, full of action a’ plenty, strong characters and one wickedly terrifying villain! Hunt this little gem down and please someone give this nasty little flick a sweet blu ray release!!

 

VHS Verdict: The Hippies and Horror of ‘HIGH DESERT KILL’!’

I just recently ran across a pretty promising looking VHS tape, at least from the cover, ‘High Desert Kill’ from 1989 has all the right ingredients for one hell of a horror flick!


Marc Singer, The Beastmaster himself, rounds out the cast in this intriguing tale of terror in the deserts of New Mexico. However don’t be too dead set on blood-and-guts in this tale of survival. There’s really not a lick of gore to be found anywhere on screen for it’s entire run time.

It actually plays out like a bit of an extended episode of the X-Files (minus the Mulder and Scully type aspect) and I mean that as a compliment. I guess this was indeed a made for cable TV movie, don’t let that deter you though, cuz there’s a lot of forgotten gems in that category. We’ve got a great setting with 3 manly dudes who head out on a camping/hunting excursion deep in the desert in honor of their long lost deceased friend. There’s plenty of testosterone here going around as these sweaty often shirtless guys begin to almost immediately encounter some eerie occurrences upon arriving the first evening as well as some hot “hippie” babes (At least that’s what they seem to think they are for some reason) to liven up the party.

But things quickly go South as they start experiencing hallucinations and begin to believe they are being stalked by some unseen malevolent force. The desert of New Mexico is the perfect place for this creepy tale to unfold, it’s filled with plenty of mystery and the stunning beauty showcasing its natural surroundings..

To be honest the setting here is really the star of the show, there’s not a hell of a lot of spectacle to behold otherwise visually. No real flashy special effects or balls to the wall action sequences. However what it seems to lack in spectacle it makes up for with atmosphere, cleverly mixing a sense of dread and mystery at play with these old friends as the plot begins to slowly unfold and reveal it’s ugly details. The cover of the movie however does reveal perhaps a little more than it should with an alien spacecraft high in the sky, but don’t expect too much of that either and don’t expect too many skeletons to be rearing their ugly heads.

Despite those minor quibbles there’s plenty to love here and the cast of characters makes this weirdo trip one worth taking.  It also features a pretty interesting backstory, shrouded and Native American mythology. If you’re in the mood for a simple slowburn with a pretty satisfying twist to it ‘High Desert Kill’ will be more than sufficient watch for any fanatic of erie eighties sci fi. I also see that currently Kino Lorber has a preorder for this one on blu ray– check it out!

MOVIE MELT Heads Off to Michigan’s Lush & Legendary ‘WEREWOLF ISLAND’ !!

So I went back on the Movie Melt Podcast to cover yet another pretty impressive vanity project from 2018! This time we’re headed off to ‘Werewolf Island’ AKA ‘The Legend of ‘Dog Lady Island’ (a way better name imo) for some truly ridiculous midwest horror shenanigans straight out of Michigan!If you’re into stupid but ambitious low budget horror films then this episode will definitely NOT let you down- as a native Wisconsinite myself I’m fully on board for this voyage that takes us to a place where movies are rarely produced and rarely talked about-deep into the heart of the midwest. Director/star Michael James Alexander might be considered past his prime but he don’t give a DAMN, he’s gonna make his acting AND directing AND writing fantasies come TRUE whether you like it or not!

That’s what’s most exciting to me, cinematic dreams can sorta kinda come true even as you get older. It’s sorta somewhat inspiring as Werewolf Island kinda shows me that anyone with enough ambition and elbow grease can sorta produce, write, direct and start in a damn movie! So who knows maybe I’ll be next?!! 

Yeah…so this is NOT from the movie but what the hell, there aren’t any other photos from it online! This’ll do!

So I suggest you grab a few drinks, sit down and chill out here for some mind numbing movie madness with more useless cinematic information than your brain can humanly comprehend! 

Also some serious trash movie recommendations as well as some bonafide bangers, of what’ you might wanna be checking out if you’re a crazed mutant movie fanatic like myself! LISTEN TO MOVIE MELT RIGHT HERE!!

4th of July Horror Explosion: 1996’s ‘UNCLE SAM’ is a Bloody Blast!

All these years I’ve sorta avoided ‘Uncle Sam’ from 1996, assuming it was some sort of idiotic throw away, direct to video waste of time. The VHS cover was unforgettable, a wild lenticular evil Uncle Sam in glorious 3-D! Still for decades I never checked this out kind of on purpose.

This 4th of July however I was looking for something in the horror genre that might take place around the holiday and of COURSE there was good ol ‘Uncle Sam’ front and center. I almost passed on it yet again, but this time I noticed something that I def hadn’t before. It was directed by William Lustig famed for the brilliant ‘Maniac Cop’ franchise and written by one of my genre favorites Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, The Ambulance, Return to Salem’s Lot, Q: The Winged Serpent). Why the Hell hadn’t I realized this sooner?! 

Well Uncle Sam indeed delivered everything I’d hoped it would and much more! It’s a great horror flick with some razor sharp comedy/social commentary, just what you’d hope it would have being written by Larry Cohen. It’s a wild story about a kid who’s freakishly  obsessed with becoming a soldier, kickin’ ass for the USA & doing whatever the fuck President tells him to!  He’s also obsessed with his Uncle, who’s real name is Sam, who tragically dies in the Iraq war from “friendly fire”.

When his body is shipped back to their home(?) to sit until his grave is dug, bizarre events lead to his dead decaying body reanimating and donning an Uncle Sam outfit which he strips from a peeping Tom on stilts after after murdering him!

 At this point Uncle Sam embarks on a full on “Jason Voorhees” killing spree during the 4th of July as the small town starts to celebrate. I’d always assumed that this movie was a total farce/spoof, but far from it. It’s got a cool fast paced story, plenty of obnoxious patriotic humor and even a strong social commentary about the US government and war itself. There’s also some inventive kills (with fireworks of course!), cool make up effects and a cast which stars fan favorites Robert Forster and Isaac Hayes.

Probably one of the most ridiculous aspects and enjoyable parts of the whole movie is the kid and his crazy ass obsession with the United States and his over the top ludicrous patriotism on full display. It’s pretty gut busting and as a whole Uncle Sam is a total delight that somehow eluded me for almost three damn decades.

As far as 4th of July viewing you really can’t do better than this, the most “4th of July” horror movie of all time thankfully has got all the right moves and the talent behind it is evident in the final product. I got this bad boy on blu ray from Blue Underground! But now I want that damn 3-D lenticular VHS too! Hunt down Uncle Sam THIS 4th of July!!