Tagged: 1980’s horror

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!

VHS Verdict: The Steamy Sexy Shenanigans of ‘The Invisible Maniac’!

Forget about ‘Hollow Man’ (I’m sure you probably already did) cuz ‘The Invisible Maniac’ was in town waaaay before him in 1990! Yes I had the pleasure of viewing this wild little, sexy horror comedy this week from director Adam Rifkin (The Dark Backward, Detroit Rock City, The Chase) and it really did not disappoint. That is of course if you’re in the mood for some wildly perverted antics from it’s completely deranged villain, so damn proficient at killing hes like the “Bullseye” of slashers. You’ve never seen someone killed with a submarine sandwich before huh? Well look no further because this dude indeed performs the deed!

We do get a bit of a retred on the “invisible man” storyline, but this goes some wild and wacky places and even though it’s equal parts sex comedy, it still manages to keep a certain degree of horror firmly intact. Definitely at times ‘The Invisible Maniac’ feels like a solid Jim Wynorski movie, not a total farce but something like ‘976-EVIL 2’ or ‘Chopping Mall’.

 Luckily this one does feature sweet B-movie scream queen Melissa Moore, as beautiful as ever of course and a cast of “teens” who are more than ready to misbehave. When an insane professor (who recently escaped from an asylum) & has been working on an Invisibility serum, arrives to teach her summer school class all hell breaks loose and plenty of sexy and spooky shenanigans follow.

 The Professor goes on his low profile rampage after the sexiest principal of all time makes some seriously unwanted(?) advances on this is this lil’ pervert. It left me scratching my head as to why he got so angry being such a full on “class A perv” himself? Come on maniac, that might be your only chance to get some!! 

Nobody is safe in the school as he creeps around classrooms, locker rooms and of course……the women’s showers! It’s up to the kids, who actually look more like adults in their thirties, to ban together to take this guy out before he slaughters the entire cast. One of the best things about this 1 is observing some of the most idiotic and ridiculous invisible “fist fights” as people try their best to fend off the wild transparent whack job. 

You really can’t do much better if you’re looking for a weird horror sex comedy to liven up the party. The Invisible Maniac definitely delivers some great scenes of terribly excellent acting, legit comedy, sexy babes, a few thrills as well as some ridiculous charming special effects. Hunt this down if you’re feelin’ frisky, it’s a ton of fun! 

Hunks, Babes & Ass Kickin’ in Prison: 1990’s CAGED FURY on MOVIE MELT!!

Are you ready for ass kickin’ HUNKS, sexy BABES, Prison Drama, M. Night Shyamalan style twists and Erik Estrada’s incredible on camera booger? Well then look no further because we just showcased 1990’s CAGED FURY on the latest episode of MOVIE MELT!

 Yes we decide to get deep into the corrupt prison system of Caged Fury as we follow a gang of women wrongfully locked up against their will and tormented by a bizarre team of villainous sex crazed prison guards. 

Beware when going to LA looking for fame & fortune cuz what you just might end up with is a case of Caged Fury! Don’t fret though, you might also end up meeting Eric Estrada and his crazy ass martial arts master, best friend Richie Barathy for some romance, bar hoppin’ and a hefty dose of ASS kicking! 

We get down to the nitty gritty details of this Intense action adventure film filled to the brim with twists and turns. We also give you some cool suggestions of movies you might want to check out if you dig stuff like Caged Fury as well as a “battle of the movie bands” competition! Check it all out and let your brain fill with more useless cinematic junk than you imagined humanly possible! LISTEN HERE TO THE MOVIE MELT PODCAST! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80s Stop Motion Mayhem: Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires!

A sad fact for me to admit is that sometimes when I watch a movie at home, all by myself I’m easily tempted to be distracted by my phone while “watching”. Usually it’s a sign that the flick I’m watchin’ just ain’t cutting the damn mustard! It’s probably also a sign of phone addiction, but that’s another depressing topic in itself. So imagine how pleased I was at the first viewing of ‘Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires’, probably my favorite new movie of the last few years hands down, I never even looked at my phone ONCE the entire time!

This one was released overseas in 2018 but just this year hit streaming services. But before I get ahead of myself, a lot might wonder just what the hell is this thing? Well to put it simply it’s probably one of the greatest stop motion animation full length features I’ve ever seen. Easily one of the most unique movies stylistically. There’s literally been nothing quite like it before. It’s essentially a stop motion version of a 1980s action movie / horror/sex comedy hybrid mash up for all you fans of those midnight B-movies of yesteryear! 

Chuck Steel is a full on meat-head, numbskull cop who’s fully proficient with just three things: martial arts, big guns and his big bad attitude. A self proclaimed loner, he pretty much handles every situation with his fists or a gun, a hardened heroic dipshit, losing the only woman he ever loved to an evil ninja crime syndicate of course! 

Chuck’s pretty much able to finagle his way out of any situations with sheer brute force, until an occult menace comes to town, bringing a slew of bizarre creatures called trampires to roam the foggy night streets. He’s soon forced to adopt new buddy cop partners to work with and also teams up with a “Peter Vincent/Fright Night” type old guy vampire slayer to try the rid the city of this supernatural scourge.

Along the way of course we get a ton of insane martial arts brawls, spectacular explosions, car chases, crazy gore & a load of ferocious monsters to feast our eyes upon.

To say this movie is ambitious would be an understatement as this took years to film, building dozens of stunning miniature sets and using all practical puppets to create some of the most breathtaking stop motion animation I’ve ever witnessed.

Everything looks absolutely incredible and this is a literal cult horror b-movie fanatics dream come true! As I understand it the director, Mike Mort, had created the character when he was a teenager and & just now finally bringing the adventure to the big screen and eventually getting a funding of 20 million dollars, and boy does the effort and money show.

I’m honestly quite surprised that this movie hasn’t gotten WAY more attention. It does of course feature some very un-PC humor, nothing incredibly offensive, but definitely the kind of jokes you would hear directly in a classic, raunchy eighties comedy. The character in a nutshell emulates the same type of humor you might expect from Ash in Evil Dead or Johnny Lawrence from Cobra Kai. 

Perhaps that’s why this one hasn’t garnered major attention so far? I’m perplexed! Whatever the case ‘Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires’ is a true spectacle to behold and a loving tribute to everything that us weirdo movie maniacs appreciate about about the 1980s and the golden era of horror.

Check this out if you’re a fan of B-Movies that drip of over the top characters, action, monsters, martial arts, crude comedy and one liners galore!

Lost Gems of the 80s: The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents!

I’ve been delving deeply into old 1980s horror/fantasy television shows and lovin’ it, because one thing I’ve noticed is nobody does it quite like they did back then in the “golden era” of horror- Even when it comes to TV shows!

After watching the totally radical ‘Amazing Stories’ series and the Twilight Zone 80s revival I was sooo ready for more. Digging deep back into my memories of my childhood I clearly remember the obvious choice: ‘The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ that ran from ’85-1989.

I have some fond memories of this show and one episode in particular that stuck in my mind all of these years right up to today. Part of me was wondering if I’d maybe in fact dreamt up this particular episode of the show? Not the case. In fact upon watching the 1st few episodes it was clear, this was going to be a fun ride of full on nostalgia done to perfection! I imagine remembering an episode plot from well over 35 years ago is a good sign of a memorable show? I think so!

This series, at least for me. way back then was paired in a sort of “power hour” with Steven Spielberg’s ‘Amazing Stories’. The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents is full of twists, turns, star studded cameos and now famous directors. A mix of horror, suspense and most importantly MURDER, fuel this nearly forgotten gem. It originally aired on NBC but was canceled, later being picked up on the USA Network thankfully!

Nearly every episode has a familiar face, which really makes half of the fun here and every so often a surprise director comes comes on to the scene, like a particular episode called ‘The Jar’ which  is helmed by Tim Burton himself and drips with his signature tone and style.

There’s also some great star studded appearances featuring the likes of Mark Hamill, Mia Sara, a VERY young Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Sheen, Michael Ironside And many more.

One of my all time favorite episodes is ‘Night Creatures’ one of the only 100% supernatural fueled episodes. It plays out more like an incredible schlocky neon drenched 1980s tv pilot than a single episode. It features a punk rock goth rock star who’s secretly a bloodthirsty vampire and would be a welcome entry into any 1980s heavy metal horror anthology! 

There are so many excellent episodes here to behold, I really can’t recommend this series enough for those those eighties horror hounds in search of some memorable cheez. Of course there are some misses among the 40 plus episodes of 4 seasons.  The show covers a lot of interesting but disturbing topics too like “kids playing with guns” in one of the most unsettling episodes you’re likely to see in the series and  of course that classic episode that always stuck with me featuring a woman who’s been brutally assaulted and her husband heads off on his own to stalk the perp. The twist here is one of the most chilling of the entire series! 

Lastly Martin Sheen shines as a crazy aging actor who’s hellbent on landing a role so much so that he goes to the extremes of murder to get what he wants! His performance is so over the top and enjoyable It’s by far one of the standout performances of the series.

This elusive little series deserves a sweet blu ray release, I found a bootleg copy of the entire series on eBay which has been a truly fun ride over the past few weeks!  Luckily many of the episodes can be actually found right on YouTube. Hunt this long lost gem down and treat yourself to the golden era of mystery and horror with the new Alfred Hitchcock presents! Here’s a  great episode to start you off!

Cult Flicks in DESPERATE Need of a Blu Ray: Crazy 80s Australian Gem ‘FORTRESS’!!

I’m back again continuing the second installment of nearly forgotten cult gems that desperately need a fancy blu ray release! Here’s one from 1985 that’s definitely ripe for the picking, a movie that I’ve owned on VHS for quite some time now that’s shockingly underrated and underseen by most cult classic cinemaniacs!

‘Fortress’ was released on HBO back in 1985 and later in 86′ it hit theaters in Australia where the movie was produced. It tells the simple story of a teacher (Rachel Ward) who’s tiny countryside shoolhouse comes under attack by shotgun wielding, masked psychos hell bent on taking her and the children captive, hiding them in a cave in the Australian outback.

All goes as planned until the seemingly mild mannered teacher decides to take matters into her own hands. The tension & level of suspense are through the damn roof as it becomes abundantly clear that their captors are no push overs and aren’t afraid to pull the trigger. We’re treated to plenty of action, suspense, some truly inspiring outback locales, creepy masked bad guys (one who dons a Santa Claus mask) and a bit of a darker Amblin “kids in danger” / coming of age style shocker here as well. It becomes an epic tale of cat & mouse survival where no one is safe and its anyone’s guess who’s going to bite the bullet.


Most notably, right around the third act the movie goes pretty off the rails when the teacher and her students become a major force to be reckoned with. Almost transforming into bloodthirsty “Lord of the Flies” territory in the shocking action packed, blood soaked finale. It’s got some excellent twists and turns that are likely to satisfy both fans of 80s action as well as horror.

The shocking end scene becomes even more perplexing and unforgettable cementing this firmly on the forgotten list of cult gems. It’s a real treat how dark this one goes. Trust me if you’re a fan of weird 80’s horror/thriller/action hybrid flicks then this one will not disappoint! There was a DVD release of this movie a while back that’s out of print now, this makes the need for Fortress to receive a special edition blu ray even more necessary. Plus with fan favorite Rachel Ward (The Final Terror/Night School/Against All Odds) as the film’s trusty heroine you get an added edge of star power.

Fortress packs a powerful punch and in many cases leaves you stunned and shocked by the roll of the credits. It’s a well executed unpredictable
Ozploitation film that more genre fans need to check out, just waiting to be someone’s new favorite cult classic!

 

 

 

Cult Flicks In Desperate Need of a Blu Ray: 1988’s ‘WATCHERS’!

I’ve been looking at my VHS tapes lately and have been compiling a list of some of my favorite cult horror flicks that for some god forsaken reason have still gone without an official fancy new blu ray release! One of the first movies that comes to mind is one of my all time favorite underrated gems of the late 80s, featuring Corey Haim in the lead role in this nostalgic, yet largely underseen creature feature ‘Watchers’ directed by Jon Hess (Alligator II).

 I definitely consider this to be “prime” Cory Haim and quite frankly the perfect addition to a double feature with ‘The Lost Boys’. In some ways it almost feels like an extension of Haim’s character “Sam Emerson” in The Lost Boys. He’s got his rad eighties fashion, comedic licks and hair dialed up to an 11 and really is perfectly in line with the tone of The Lost Boys. In my opinion at least, it’s a perfect campy 80s creature feature/coming of age adventure featuring teen heart throb Haim on the run with with a canine who possesses human intelligence thats escaped from a secret nearby research facility. If you’re a fan of dogs in leading roles in horror movies this is definitely a gem!

What are they on the run from? Well, Michael Ironside and a savage mutant beast dead set on reuniting with the dog and literally destroying anything in its path of course! To put this in a nutshell, this flick is the epitome of what a series like Stranger Things is trying to desperately replicate. The Watchers is the real deal & it’s naturally got the authentic 80s “kids in danger” charm down perfectly to a T. Like an R-rated Amblin production.

 I actually also really dig the special effects on display here, there’s some cool gore and also a pretty sweet realistic, yet slightly stupid looking savage hairy monster! I really don’t mean that to be a negative either, I like the monster, he just looks kinda like a moron!

A very realistic stupid looking monster, hey I’ll take that any day of the damn week! This movie was based on a Dean Koontz novel and spawned several sequels. My second favorite of them is 1998’s ‘Watchers Reborn’ the 4th installment which features Mark Hamill in the leading role. I’d love to see all of the sequels get a Blu-ray release as well and hoping that someone like Vinegar Syndrome or Shout Factory can grab this and give it some new gas in it’s tank.

It was released on VHS and also an out of print combo DVD with the sequel that features “Beastmaster” Mark Singer included which is very hard to find now. So all kick ass blu ray labels out there take notice, The Watchers is the perfect movie to get into the grimy hands of some hungry horror hounds and ripe for the picken!

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 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!