I’m willing to bet that even if you’re a huge fan of fx legend Tom Savini that you likely never knew in 1982 he was flown to Hong-Kong to do special fx on an obscure horror comedy called ‘Til Death Do We Scare’! I never heard of it until a month ago & was completely intrigued. For good reason too, this is one wacky bizarre little mess of a damn movie!
Directed by Lau Kar-wing this essentially follows the story of a down on her luck widow whose husbands keep dying in mysterious & slightly stupid ways on their respective wedding days. For instance one dies by way of random bird flying directly into his freaking mouth at the altar!
Well, I guess, lucky for her the ghosts of her 3 dead stooge husbands all meet in the afterlife & team up vowing to watch over her. What we get here is a totally moronic misadventure, with her 3 former lovers for some reason trying to set her up with a wacky yet I’m assuming unintentionally creepy radio DJ dude. Yep he does his fair share of stalking the beautiful widow, with surprisingly positive results! Who knew stalking could be such a turn on?!
For some reason the three zany ghosts spend a lot of the time in the movie fucking with him, moving chairs around and making him physically unable to take off his pants when getting ready to get some sexy action! They also spend a little time scaring him thank god and that’s exactly where the film’s real star imo, Tom Savini finally enters the scene with those impressive 80s special effects and creepy makeup stylings everyone loves him so much for. In fact part of me kinda wondered, maybe Tim Burton watched this one, because some of these ghost’s wild scare antics combined with Savini’s make up effects bring to mind his classic film Beetlejuice.
On second thought I’m pretty certain Burton never saw a peep of this one! The film kind of shifts gears in its 3rd act and involves our creepy lover boy along with his pathetic best buddy being exiled off to an extra dimensional island of the dead. There everything seems strangely to be made of paper mache(?), paper mache cars, paper mache walls, paper mache staircases, which are NEVER a good thing. But none the less a full on paper mâché nightmare!
So there the two of them (for some unknown reason), face off against the dead’s annoying overlord who’s followed by a gang of well dressed partying ghosts. The finale of the movie is where Savini clearly unloads his trunk of extra props from Creepshow! OOOOH YEAH! Where he helps bring to life a giant blue Chinese vampire and his horde of wicked zombies! I’m guessing Mr. Savini was working with a shoe string budget here, as the fx work is fun, it def does look a bit unfinished. I’m not sure if I was just too stoned to understand the plot correctly or if this thing was just a crazy giant mash up of weird lost in translation mayhem! By the time it was done I was so confused with what I’d seen, but at the same time completely satisfied. Sure I’d hoped Savini was working on a bonafide gem of a lost Hong Kong horror flick of the 1980’s that I could shout on the mountain tops to my fellow cinefiles! Instead I just relished in all the fun Tom Savini must have had while filming this ridiculous mess in 1980’s Hong Kong….
Happy Friday the 13th! Lookin’ for something spooky to listen to? Well here’s the latest episode of The Movie Melt Podcast featuring yours truly where we cover 1988’s midwestern forgotten no budget horror flick ‘Back From Hell’! Yep take a listen right HERE for the scoop on all sorts of useless cinematic information to fill your brain with and a shitload of cool movies you should be checking out right now!
This sweet little horror flick follows a renegade priest who teams up with his old highschool buddy, who just so happened to sell his soul to the DEVIL to try and make it big as an actor in Hollywood!! They battle the undead, possessed cops & killer bibles!! Directed by cult Michigan director Matt Jaissle better known for his gross out horror classic ‘The Necro Files’ this episode is a must for fans of backyard film making and just loads of cinematic fun facts and nonsense Check out MOVIE MELT & The Companeros Radio Network!
Check out the trailer for ‘Back From Hell’!
Ok so you probably have all realized how much I love me some damn VHS tapes! Yeah those relics from decades ago still provide me perhaps even more excitement today than they did way back in the 1980’s & 90’s. When I’m out there in the wild at a thrift store and spot a unique horror, sci-fi, action flick or weird 80’s comedy on VHS my heart literally races.
Ahhh the endless quest for the hidden cinematic gem on tape is a great adventure in these crazy times! So I got interviewed at my shop, Hollywood Babylon, here in Portland Oregon about all the crazy ass VHS tapes we sling there for the movie maniacs in the ‘city of roses’. Check this out and if you want follow the shop on Facebook or better yet Instagram, with the handle @hollywoodbabylonpdx
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!
Yowza!! On Thanksgiving I decided to finally check out my “Bloody Valentine 3-D” DVD on my new giant TV. At least for me it’s quite big measuring in at 50 inches, it’s one of those new ones that spies on you for the government! But oh well that’s life in 2020, as long as the thing is BIG who cares right? I also have to note it’s NOT a 3D TV, so I was watching it from a relatively old dvd with the old school blue and red glasses.
Anyway I originally saw the movie back in theaters when it was released in 2009 and boy was it a bloody good time, the crowd was literally going wild at the insane 3-D effects and this one being the first of the new wave of 3-D films it was designed to awe audiences. Back when we had theaters to go to, it seems like every movie for a while was being released in 3-D and really didn’t have much to offer except a few too many extra bucks to your damn ticket price. So with my new TV I decided it was time to see if this flick held up or if the 3-D even worked at all as the DVD came with those classic old red and blue glasses they used to give you back in the 80s!
Before this the only movies I’ve ever seen in 3-D were ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ which was shown on TV back in the 80s and also I was lucky enough to see ‘Jaws 3’ in 3D in the theater as a kid with my older brother along with ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street- Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare ‘ with the wild 3-D ending. Anyway to my surprise I was pretty damn impressed with what a second at home viewing of ‘My Bloody Valentine 3-D’ had to offer on DVD on my new Big Ass TV. I’d say with confidence, If you’ve never seen this one you should probably check it out ASAP!!
You like classic alien abduction flicks as much as I do? Well the recently released ‘Dark Encounter’ brings to mind movies like ‘Communion’, ‘Fire in the Sky’, ‘Close Encounters’ but also brings some new dramatic plot points to the traditional alien abduction story. Basically we’ve got a small town scenario here where a family’s 8 year old daughter suddenly goes missing one sunny afternoon while home alone. A year passes, with no clues of her whereabouts and the family, along with some close friends gather at their home for a memorial, still trying to come to terms with what happened to her. As the night descends upon their gathering so does a seemingly sinister alien force. Mysterious lights in the sky are seen and soon members of the family begin to go missing in the woods that surrounds the house. It’s not long before the strange lights fill the home and the remaining must try to survive the night while piecing together the very mystery for which they gathered.
It all takes place in the 1980’s and much of it’s imagery is clearly influenced by those classics like ‘E.T’. & ‘Close Encounters’ but it still manages to set those similarities apart by going in unexpected directions. It starts off as the classic extraterrestrial abduction story but ends up with revelations far more disturbing to the family dynamic set up earlier. It looks great too, beautifully shot with plenty of tense scenes set out in the woods while strange colors shine through the trees. They capture a sense of a looming alien presence that’s purely unsettling and mysterious creating some great scenes of raw tension. There’s some great acting here as well, everyone’s quite convincing in their roles which lends tremendously to the mystery of it. As far as those little green men though, people waiting for alien mayhem might walk away a bit disappointed from Dark Encounter. While I ultimately appreciated the movie at it’s end for different reasons I was of course hoping things were going to climax with some human vs E.T. action. I still think someone needs to churn out a bonkers gray alien vs human abduction flick, I know it was attempted by ‘The Vicious Brothers’ with their 2014 film ‘Extraterrestrial’ and again with “Dark Skies” but somehow in my opinion just missed the mark.
That all being said I think Dark Encounter is most definitely worth watching for fans of the “Alien Abduction” film genre. It’s got an intriguing mystery at it’s core and goes in some surprising directions that also land it firmly into the family drama category as well. Hey if I’m going to watch a family drama this is the kind of move I want to do so with. It will leave you with a bittersweet feeling but it’s definitely an interesting encounter with visitors not of this Earth.
‘Tenement’ AKA ‘Game of Survival’ is the third movie from Roberta Findlay I’ve seen and so far she definitely knows how to serve up the grimy goods in true grindhouse flavor. Yeah, Roberta understood how to make a truly sleazy horror flick that’s for sure. Even though Tenement might be considered more of a low budget action/thriller, it’s got plenty of horror and gore to go around. Findlay surely didn’t give a damn if she offended anyone, even though this came out in ’85 it’s jam packed with scenes that you’d likely not see put to screen in 2019.
Playing off a bit like John Carpenter’s ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ except in a run down inner city apartment building, Tenement features a pretty diverse cast of characters who face off in a violent battle of life or death. The bad apples in this one look like they stepped right out of ‘The Warriors’ and are just about the meanest most over the top street gang put to film. These drugged out leather clad assholes are ready kill nearly anything in sight, and when one of the tenants of the apartment complex tires of them hanging around in the basement he calls the cops, all hell breaks loose. Just when the residents decide to throw a party in celebration of the gang’s arrest, they’re let loose into the night by police. Hellbent on revenge they head back to the “tenement” to get bloody revenge on each and everyone who lives within it’s sweaty spray painted walls.
The film moves at a brisk pace and it’s not afraid to get ugly quick. There’s a shocking brutal scene of rape, beatings, drug overdoses, guttings and that’s just the damn start. As crazy as this sounds at the same time the production quality is pretty low, the acting often pretty flimsy/over the top and it’s all sorta hard to actually take seriously. That all being said, for a female film maker back in the 80’s (and especially today) it’s got more bite than most films of this genre made by men. The action and gore is pretty ambitious and luckily the blood here, looking basically like red paint, tames some of the it’s sheer brutality making it a bit more consumable for genre newbies. I really dug a lot of the characters as well, though some may seem a bit stereotyped but the protagonist, a grumpy loner bad ass hero named ‘Washington’ (a cool add to black horror heroes) gets the job done once the gang begins to wreck havoc on his turf, the tenement. It’s quite glorious actually once the surviving apartment tenants decide to band together and fight back, revenge is well served here for sure and it’s quite worth sitting through the earlier nastiness for some sweet revenge. Also never ever underestimate a pregnant woman in danger!
One of the best things about this mean little movie is the actual setting itself. The run down apartment building is a dirty gritty mess of a place. The perfect place for an inner city showdown to occur, with no help of course from the local police. A lot of Roberta Findlay’s movies, at least what I’ve seen so far, have this totally sleezy city vibe going on and it she works that angle quite well. When people bring up grindhouse films this one is actually the perfect example of the genre and for what it is this one’s easily one of the best out there. Her movies feel like they were made a decade earlier as well and have much more of of 70’s feel to them in look and style. A dark yet entertaining action packed urban battle that might not be the most digestible piece of cinema in 2019, but it’s surely something you likely won’t forget anytime soon!
With the recent announcement of ‘American Horror Story: 1984’ looking to cash in on success of 80’s throwback series like ‘Stranger Things’ and Stephen King’s reboot of ‘IT’ I thought it’d be nice to give a shout out to a great flick from 1983 called ‘The House on Sorority Row’ I watched a couple days ago. ‘American Horror Story: 1984’ is going to be fully immersed in the 1980’s slasher genre. That being said here’s a pitch perfect Slasher flick I recommend they watch before releasing the new season, they likely’ll need all the help they can get by trying to convincingly tackle the genre. This mysterious little flick from 1983 deserves a helluva lot more praise than it’s gotten throughout the years. Director Mark Rosman brings one of the best to the genre!
The House on Sorority Row’s filled with a pretty tightly knit little mystery that’s full of fairly unpredictable twists and turns that never lag in it’s execution. Hitting all the slasher tropes in a pretty unique way, considering it was released back in 1983. First off we’ve got a full cast of great characters, almost entirely female as well and rather than giving us a troop of the usual moronic teenagers for the killer to prey upon, we get ones who you just might care about getting off’d. Our gang of sorority sisters here are a pleasure to see onscreen and most definitely take the plot into some fascinating territory. There’s the old seemingly mentally unstable sorority house mother who desperately wants the girls out of the house for the summer. However determined to throw one final grand graduation bash at the house, the sorority sisters get into a heated argument with her that quickly escalates to uncomfortable levels. They devise a plan to play a wicked prank on her, and in doing so set into motion a night of terror as they try and cover up their actions from the public. Deciding the show must go on they reluctantly continue with the big bash and soon find them being stalked by a ruthless slasher out to put the kebosh on their festivities.
Sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye, the set up to this one is pretty awesome as the girls quickly prove they can be just as nasty and cunning as any 80’s frat boy. The acting for the most part is rock solid here too, but don’t fret, as there’s still plenty of 80’s cheez to go around. One of the highlights being the grad party and it’s totally rad live power pop band ‘4 Out of 5 Doctors’ who perform there that boost the level of fun up a few notches alone. It’s the kind of party that makes you wanna jump into a time machine to attend & get down in the 1980’s. We’ve also got a great final girl here that’s totally worth rooting for as she slowly throughout the evening puts the pieces of the bizarre mystery together while her & her friends are stalked on the spooky campus. It feels a bit like a demented Scooby Doo mystery that takes itself fully seriously in the best way possible.
It’s also not afraid to get nasty with it’s gore fx there’s plenty of inventive kills scattered about to revel in as well. The finale really ramps things up and keeps you for the most part guessing til the end about what the fuck is actually going one here. The killer is pretty awesome too and the last 5 minutes (which I wish would’ve lasted longer actually) are filled with tension, thoroughly impressive camera work & the reveal of the maniac in the flesh is pretty iconic in it’s own right. This one’s really got it all as far as slashers go, a stunning orchestral score from Richard Band, great spooky sets, sweet fx, excellent characters, a cool mystery and a pretty sweet ass slasher villain. If you’ve never seen this one and are a fan of the genre this one hits a home run!
Yesterday we heard the news of master special effects artist / director John Carl Buechler’s passing & it reminded me once again of just how amazing his work in the industry was and just how many of the movies he was involved with have been a huge part of growing up. From cult classics like Troll, Dolls & The Dungeonmaster to arguably the best installment of Friday The 13th, Part VII: The New Blood to Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade, his work has brought me soooo much joy throughout my life as a movie maniac.
As one of the biggest fans of monster movies, he brought some of the best to the big and small screen. It led me to comb Youtube for some choice clips of his that feature some of my favorite creations of his. They just don’t make em’ like this anymore, Mr. Buechler you will be missed but your incredible creatures will live on forever, that is for sure…