Are you looking for something truly bizarre to watch this holiday season? Well you’ve definitely come to the right damn place, as I recently ran across a movie from 1998 that takes place on Christmas Eve and is just about as wildly perplexing and insane as they come!
‘Fantastic Games’ is a movie that’s passed through the years almost completely unwatched by anyone, save for a few die hards of weird-o cinema on Letterboxd! Director Alvaro Passeri crafted a cool little practical effects heavy monster flick from 1994 called ‘Creatures from the Abyss‘ AKA ‘Plankton’ that much like ‘Fantastic Games’ has also gone many years oddly without a cult following, it’s a pretty fun stupid little practical fx heavy creature feature that deserves a much wider audience in my opinion.
Fantastic Games (which is only available to watch on YouTube for some reason) revolves around a family during a snowy Christmas Eve trying to take care of their sick daughter. Her father on top of it all is missing, trapped out in the cold winter night somewhere and a weird family “friend” pops in during the snow storm with some clearly ulterior motives.
Her brother insists on reading her a crazy colorfully cosmic adventure story from a strange book that materializes on screen in all of it’s wacky epic glory & barely makes a lick of freakin’ sense. About 15 Minutes into this movie I didn’t know what the flying fuck was going on! However it’s such a delicious visual treat to lay your eyes upon it really doesn’t matter. Basically it involves a teenage girl who flies on a surfboard through space with her dog companion Toby. Sort of mirroring a “Dorothy and Toto” type a trope.
She gets mixed up in some sort of “live action” video game I guess you could refer to it as a “fantastic game” set forth by some weird ornery horned alien villain with a shiny plate glass face who loves to yell at people any chance he gets.
I’m guessing it’s trying to replicate the magic of ‘The Neverending Story’, to intensely up the ante with its cadre of creatures, satanic skeleton filled caverns, creepy puppet faced space wizards and just about any reason to display some sort of fever-dreamlike special fx sequence.
The amount of effort the director must have put in to this truly inventive yet incredibly incoherent little visual feast is really quite ambitious. Viewing this for the 1st time left me scratching my head on just how this strange psychotronic nineties oddity has passed everyone by for so many years without a peep from genre fanatics.
I’d say this one’s in desperate need of a blu ray restoration and a big modern day cult following. It’s the type of movie you wanna watch with a gang of cinema junkies & plenty of merry drinks during the holidays! It features more than enough Christmas visuals too to qualify as a bonafide holiday gem.
However it’s easily one of the most perplexing and confusing pieces of cinema I viewed in some time. Get ready to behold some weird shit, like the meek little dog companion Tony extinguish a raging fire in the pits of hell with his own pee! All bets are off on how these two are gonna survive and further to the finish line of the sinister “Fantastic” game. The events that happen in this creepy world also seem to be mirroring the fever of the sick girl and troubling family events on Christmas Eve.
It’s a pretty interesting to watch how this all unfolds- even though it doesn’t make really sense. Imagine a sort of D-list Terry Gilliam style wacko cinescape that thrives to be bigger and more boisterous visually but plotwise more incohesive while not giving a damn. Director Alvaro Passeri is either a madman or a incredibly underrated visionary waiting for a legion of fans who salivate for something straight out of a nightmare.
Check out his website and you tell me that this guy isn’t perhaps a secret genius: He’s clearly a master of practical effects and an inventor of some of the weirdest shit I’ve seen in a long time, check this out if you doubt me:
Clearly a Renaissance man of bizarre proportions, I see good things on the horizon for Paserri once word finally gets out about his unique secret cinematic achievements and oddball inventions. So this Christmas season why don’t you take a trippy trip into his strange holiday nightmare world of Fantastic Games. You can watch the whole movie right here!
Wild and weird New Years flicks are not easy to come by. But god damn do I have one of the most WTF movies taking place on New Years Eve you will ever see to recommend! ‘Last Ghost Standing’ from 1999 is essentially a night in the life of a young couple on a New Year’s Eve date to a creepy theater that’s showing it’s very final picture before closing forever…
It doesn’t take long however for things to get downright dirty, spooky and simultaneously zany when evil forces from the netherworld descend from from the depths of hell to kill everyone who has purchased a ticket to the final show at the theater. Basically a mix of ‘Demons’ and ‘Evil Dead 2’ with even more senseless comedy and insane goopy antics. Yes, this one dials the idiotic insanity up to 11 with a barely cohesive story holding this creature together by the withering tendons. I’d make sure you’re a few drinks in or stoned outta your gord before checking this one out on New Year’s Eve. You’ve been warned!
It’s jam packed with awesome cheap-o B-movie fx & gross out moments a’ plenty. Particularly a scene where a group of wild raver teens are attacked by a disgusting toilet poop monster in the restroom. Barely any of this late nineties gem makes a lick of sense either, I think it’s all there just to give our eyes a visual feast & at the same time make you lose a brain cell or two just from watching.
Things get so out of control in the theater that they eventually have to call in a mock Jackie Chan type character with a fake prosthetic nose to come and try to settle the supernatural score with the demons. The funny thing is it would appear that the demonic forces in this movie aren’t fully satisfied with the state of modern cinema at the time and are ready to rip it’s existence entirely from our world. The essential reason for their attack on the patrons.
If you’re a horror fanatic and looking for something truly bizarre on New Year’s Eve today, this is definitely going to deliver the goods right to your damn doorstep. It’s silly, gross and a lot of frenetic fun & I can certainly guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it before! Happy 2022!!
Ok so here we are again, doing the whole John Carpenter Halloween “sequel” reboot hype machine again! But to be honest I’m not at all that hyped yet again this time around. As I stated In 2018, I found ‘Halloween: H20’ to be my favorite finale of the Laurie Strode vs Michael Myers saga.
It was exciting way back in 1998 to witness their epic familial final confrontation unfold on the big screen. It was a big deal for horror fans. Sure the movie was made during the hype of the “Scream” phenomenon and is a bit of a sign of the times of what horror was back then stylistically. The same could be said of horror movies set in the 1970s and 80s really, so I can’t really fault it for that. What it did bring was its own uniquely original story and wasn’t a basic retread of things we had already seen in the very first film. I like to refer to ‘H40’ as the “Force Awakens” of the franchise. I don’t consider that a big positive either, rather a sign of Hollywood’s continual laziness.
So now we get the supposed long awaited sequel to the “sequel”, of an amazing movie that in my opinion ALREADY had an amazing sequel directed by John Carpenter himself. So already it seemed a bit pointless to me. Watching ‘Halloween Kills’ I continuously found myself wondering what really is the point of this all? What was this movie actually adding to the mythos of the Halloween franchise? To me it just seemed like more backtracking for no real reason and began to remind me of recent tired Hollywood retreads like ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’.
If you simply came to observe Michael Myers back in action, hacking and slashing random people to bits, then you were likely somewhat satisfied. To me though, my level of engagement started to quickly wane to the lows of the Rob Zombie era Halloween which ends up just being a boring flat downer. I also don’t think that this current sequel reboot features any real likable characters at this point either. Sure it was cool to see Anthony Michael Hall back in a movie again, and I guess it was exciting(?) to see Jamie Lee Curtis again? Not sure if I give a damn anymore. Basically I feel like this movie simply took all of the most unique elements of Halloween 2 & Halloween 4 and squashed them into one bleak, brutal somewhat generic package. Nothing new to see here. If you’re going to go through this much trouble to re-tell a sequel series you’d better damn well make sure you’ve got something interesting and fresh going on in the plot.
To me ‘Halloween Kills’ offers nothing really. Just a collection of brutal kills, most feeling completely random and senseless. It left me completely underwhelmed for what was to come in the supposed final installment. However it also again completely improves the staying power, charm & heart of ‘Halloween H20’ as it ages like a fine bloody red wine.
I already got my Laurie vs Michael finale when it was a fresh idea, now it just feels like ‘Halloween: Ressurection’, completely unnecessary….then again not surprising when a horror movie franchise is rebooted by the guy who directed ‘The Pineapple Express’ I guess. Well that being said if you dig H20 check out this new sweet video that really puts into perspective how much Hollywood screws with good ideas from Jamie Lee Curtis herself!
Hey I gotta admit, I love the old Goo Goo Dolls stuff and what most peeps don’t realize is that they started out as a punk rock band! Yep they had a very different sound in the late 80s and even in the early 90s were essentially an extension of sound to Minneapolis’ pop punk icons The Replacements. What even more people have forgotten is their horror themed music video they pumped out back in 1991 for ‘Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare’!
They indeed appeared on the soundtrack with a song called ‘I’m Awake Now’, this was when they were still brilliantly ripping off Paul Westerberg’s sound and touring with The Replacements on their final tours.
As it turns out The Goo Goo Dolls actually have 3 songs featured on the soundtrack as well as others by Iggy Pop & The Junk Monkeys.
No wonder why I liked them so much back then they obviously were super down with Fred!
And then there’s this super awesome fan made Freddy’s Dead video as well, that really highlights the movie’s insanity nice work OCPcommunications (a cool Youtube channel) on putting that together-A sweet little Halloween morsel!
I wanted to take a moment here to mention a couple brand spankin’ new blu ray releases coming out this month just in time for Halloween that I’m absolutely stoked for! If you’re looking for 2 amazing horror films plucked right from the golden age of the eighties and early nineties then these two will NOT disappoint! Both of these flicks are filled with just the right amount of gory practical effects ridden horror and the perfect doses of comedy from their uniquely charming casts. So without further ado here are 2 blu rays you need this Halloween that are coming out this month! You can pre-order them now!
The Laughing Dead (1989)
I actually just did my last blog post about the director of The Laughing Dead’s new movie ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’. But this long lost eighties slice of a horror is a must see for anyone who’s a big fan of stuff like Evil Dead 2 or Re-animator. It never got an official release here in the United States so this one’s kinda special. It’s jam packed with monsters, zombies, gooey gore and plenty of absurd comedy as well as some genuine frights! Don’t let the title fool you, This is most definitely NOT your average run of the mill eighties zombie flick! You can preorder this thing right now via Vinegar Syndrome!
Hiruko the Goblin (1990)
Hot damn! I’m so pumped on this one too, Hiruko the Goblin is being released by Mondo Macabro. This one would be a perfect double feature with The Laughing Dead as well, It’s jam packed with amazing practical effects and super awesome monsters! It’s also got some heart as well, as it features a family affair, with a teenager who teams up with his eccentric oddball demon hunting uncle to face the forces of evil in an abandoned Is boarding school. From the director of Tetsuo: The Iron Man! This is perfect for the Halloween season! Keep in mind none of these trailers are the new 4K transfers, Hopefully they’ll release those soon!
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!!!
I’ve been flying through a ton of VHS tapes lately which can be a ton of fun and also a total drag sometimes! A lot of these old 80’s horror movies have pretty impressive VHS cover art, they look like they’re gonna be a lost fucking gem, however you truly just can’t judge a book by it’s cover, or in these particular cases, a movie. Anyway it’s always a gamble and sometimes you do indeed end up with a hidden gem or at least something that’s so damn stupid that it’s a thoroughly entertaining shiny cinematic terd. So here’s the verdict on some VHS tapes I’ve scored recently! CHECK IT!!
Nightmare at Bitter Creek (1988):
Here’s a little movie that turned out to be a ton of fun, we get a psycho killer/survival flick with instead of annoying teenagers, we’re treated to a group of middle age ladies on a camping excursion with a middle aged Tom Skerritt as their hard drinkin’ tuff guy guide. Oh and he also has this rad dog named “Buster” that everyone seems to be a bit too obsessed with. Anyway, they all head of into the woods of the Sierra Mountains, sounds like fun huh? Well there’s also a crazed group of Neo-nazi killers who’re hellbent on shooting everyone in sight roaming around the woods. This one’s got some pretty decent characters (Buster included), super breathtaking locations, creepy atmosphere and for a PG-13 flick a good amount of action & violence especially in it’s final act. Not entirely a horror movie, it’s still got enough going for it to please fans of the genre, I dug it for sure! Here’s the whole damn movie via Youtube:
Here’s another one that was a pretty fun time as well, especially if you like cheezy 80’s ski movies and also idiotic horror. I know I do! So yeah, this one is 80’s as hell, totally over the top fashion, big hair, bad ski moves on the slopes, bad editing, idiotic characters and even a wannabe “mystery” at it’s core. It’s also basically one quarter soft core porno as well, there’s a bunch of “steamy” sex scenes strewn about Iced’s messy story. It’s all in all a really stupidly entertaining watch, directed by Jeff Kwitney who also directed “Amok Train” aka “Beyond the Door III” from 1989 which I love. ‘Iced’ turned out to be a good ridiculous party movie filled to the brim with stupid shit and an opening credits scene that looks like it was put together by a high school AV club. In this case though instead of being a total bore this one delivered enough schlocky fun to make it a fully worth while view. If you like dumb movies, this one surely delivers – and that final scene is a total treat!
I was pretty excited to check this “horror” flick out when I ran across it, basically it’s about some mysterious tombs that are discovered in the catacombs beneath Rome that release an evil force and also stars Donald Pleasance! Sounds like a damn good time huh? Unfortunately this one is a total bore, lots of character development and bland dialogue for uninteresting characters and lots of roaming around in dim caverns. Like lots of it. At one point I decided to watch the movie on fast forward until FINALLY something happened at the end that seemed somewhat interesting, however I’ve already forgotten what it was. This ones a real winner, if you’re having a hard time falling asleep it’ll bore you into a serious slumber. Here’s the trailer, trust me it’s not as cool as they make it out to be..
Here’s a sweet little movie that’s a ton of fun if you’re not expecting a heck of a lot! Invader features a dude who works at an over the top tabloid paper reporting on weird stories who gets involved in a ‘wicked’ mysterious Alien conspiracy. The dude sneaks onto an air force base and witnesses some ultra secret super powered jet being tested and ends up paired with a bad ass military Captain when he’s caught there snoopin’ around. From this point on the movie features a pretty rad “buddy style” team up with the two and really from the start it’s totally entertaining albeit dumb sci-fi romp full of pretty ridiculous action sequences as well as some pretty surprising well timed comedy. I had zero expectations so perhaps that’s why this one seemed like such a fun time? Still there totally were some impressive yet cheezy fx work at hand and the “final boss” battle features some radical old school stop motion animation to look forward to as well! Gotta love it, check this out sometime if you’re looking for a entertaining cheez-filled early 90’s sci fi adventure!