VHS Verdict: The 1990s Fairy Tale “Horror” of RUMPELSTILTSKIN!
I saw ‘Leprechaun’ IN the theater back in ’93, my girlfriend and I were the ONLY ones in the entire theater! Of course I had a damn good time and believe that ‘Leprechaun’ sort of kick-started a little mini genre of “fairytale horror” in the 1990s. While the director of the original Leprechaun also made another movie a few years later 1995 Rumpelstiltskin! Yep Mark Jones the writer and director of the ’93 cult classic also gave the a similar treatment to this weird little one without the “success” of the Warwick Davis fronted franchise.
Well last night I Pulled out my cool promotional copy of the VHS along with my projector, some friends, drinks and checked it out on the “big” screen. In all honesty I’m not entirely sure that I’ve ever really seen this movie before (even though I could have sworn that I had). Nonetheless Rumpelstiltskin delivered the same ridiculous goods in the same fashion as the original Leprechaun. The best way to describe this one would be a sort of “Terminator style” road chase movie- but instead of an imposing hulking cyborg you get a gimpy numb-nut fairy tale villain, who cracks ridiculous one liners while he chases a woman down trying to steal her baby to suck it’s soul!
In other words it’s a god damn good time! Our main mischievous villain here, Rumpelstiltskin, looks like he was plucked right out of Stephen King’s horror anthology ‘Cat’s Eye’. He wakes up from a 1000 year slumber and dropped into the 1990s. This all after being turned into a small stone sculpture after a group of villagers hunt him down after he steals one of their babies. You might think that this guy would have a hard time navigating the ’90s, but quite the opposite. Rumpelstiltskin seems to be quite adept in nearly everything he tries, Whether it’s riding a Harley or driving a stick shift semi truck- ‘ol ‘Rumpy can do it! The funny thing is he comes across more like a character that might appear in ‘Ernest Scared Stupid’ than a wicked soul sucking goblin!
It’s your fairly standard “being chased through the countryside road trip” horror formula (which I FUCKING love)- but it definitely does have a few really fun tricks up its dirty little sleeve. Our main character is a widowed single mom (Kim Johnston Ulrich) with a baby of course and some of this actually plays out a bit like a “Sex in the City” episode. She hangs out with her horny female friends, drinks wine and tries to navigate being single in the era with a baby…the last thing she needs is THIS weirdo throwing a wrench into being a mom!
There’s definitely a certain degree of unpredictability to some the characters we’re introduced to which makes this an even more interesting watch. Particularly when we’re introduced to a sleazy, cheezy, sexist TV host, who comes across a bit like a second rate Howard Stern. The type of character you won’t be seeing “rise to the occasion” in any movie coming out in 2023 that’s for sure.
However I’m a sucker for an unlikely pairing of characters ‘on the run’ from true danger in horror movies and this one really BRINGS it. You’re never quite sure who’s going to suffer the consequences from an encounter with ol’ Rumpy! If you’re a fan of the original ‘Leprechaun’ there’s definitely a lot right here to love, Some cool make up effects, pretty sweet action sequences, explosions and like Warwick Davis’s character, some great idiotically witty banter! Rumpelstiltskin is prime candidate for a sweet new blu ray. It’s really long overdue that he gets a cult following and the true recognition he deserves-this is a really sweet totally 90s horror comedy, jam packed with ridiculous fashion of the time and characters you’re likely not to see anytime soon on the big or small screen. A great example that the 90s indeed does have some horror gems hidden within the decade! Track down this weird little fairy tale & turn off your brain to thoroughly enjoy the ride..
Needs to be BLU: Brigitte Neilson’s 90s Sci-Fi Ass Kicker GALAXIS!
Today I’m starting a new series on U-Dork called “Needs to be Blu” Where I’m going to start documenting all of the movies that I’ve seen that most desperately need a fancy ass blu ray release! There are still some real gems out there that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve, are out of print on dvd or have only EVER been released on VHS format.
Today my recommendation to all those fancy labels out there like Vinegar Syndrome, Culture Shock, Arrow video, Visual Vengeance etc is Brigitte Nielsen’s sci-fi actioner GALAXIS aka Terminal Force released in 1994. Brigitte Nielson stars as a inter-galactic space babe who kicks a lot of ass coming across like Dolph Lundgren’s lady action counterpart. Check it out:
I wish she’d have had more cheesy roles like this(I’ve got to check out BODY COUNT still), she’s such charming presence and iconic femme fatale. In this particular film she really looks the part too, she dwarfs most of the men in height and doesn’t take a lick a shit from a single one of them. It’s a bit of a mix between The Terminator and Highlander and feels like it was shot in the late 1980s. It hits all the right beats for me- the fish out of water, light romance, charmingly idiotic characters, some genuinely fun special fx as well as a good sense of humor throughout. Plus Moll here who’s a great B-movie villain (check out ‘Dungeonmaster’ from 1984 for more proof of that) is of course a lot of fun to watch ham it up!
A cool little sci-fi “run for your life in a big city” adventure where Brigitte is your guide and Richard Moll reprises his “bad guy” role again as a sort of Darth Vader type villain. Top top it all off Sam Raimi even shows up for some of the fun early on and so do some stop motion robots thankfully. Lots of lasers, dark steamy alleys, ridiculous bad guys and of course Nielsen looking all sexy as the amazonian leather clad lead, just legit dumb fun that I’m always all in for.
Aside from Brigitte the co-lead John Brennan plays a charismatic numbskull treasure hunter who’s on the hunt for some strange artifact, one that Brigitte and Moll are on the hunt for as well. Along the way he of course gets mixed up in a boatload of shenanigans that Nielson usually has to solve by kicking someone’s ass.
The lucky guy gets to join forces with Nielson, and the two slowly fall for each other, too bad the evil Moll always seems to arrive before anything can ever really happen for the two! As far as dumb bad guys go too there’s a really over the top mob boss guy played by Fred Asparagus who somehow manages to be a major player in the action all the way up to it’s boiler room style finale. Obviously this is prime cheez, it’s fun, fast paced and largely forgotten- Someone release this on blu ray!
90’s HK Ass Kicker ‘TEENAGE MASTER’ has got the MOVES!!
I just gotta love a crazy 90s Hong Kong action flick, especially one where the main character is a ten year old master of martial arts who beats the snot out of anyone who steps to him or his damn dad! I’m not entirely certain why this sweet ass kicker from 1995 is called “Teenage Master” when the master is not a teen, but hell just go with it!
This is easily one of the most fun Hong Kong flicks I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s non stop fun, action and legit laughs!! I’m sorry to report however the kid doesn’t actually don a Superman costume at any time in this movie! Just on the poster…
This witty actioner Is totally ALL over the freakin’ place like many Hong-Kong movies of this era can be. One minute It’s spoofy slapstick comedy, the next it’s a dangerous highstakes buddy flick featuring a father/son duo who excel at one thing: kicking all the ass!
A kung fu obsessed father (Collin Chou) and son (Tse Miu) are like two peas in a pod, living out in the country all by themselves. They hang out all day practicing martial arts, playing tic-tac-toe and eating tons of rice. That is until they’re lured into the big city of Hong-Kong to take care of some family business with their elderly martial arts master, who’s locked up in a mental ward.
However it doesn’t take long for these two to get mixed up into some risky business with some truly evil murderous gangsters. Luckily these guys Aren’t anywhere prepared for the frenetic skills of THIS wild father and his 10 year old son the “teenage master” (for some reason)!!
Amidst a kick ass crazy confrontation in an apartment building the father and son get separated during the mayhem and goes straight to jail. The movie at times doesn’t make a lick of sense but anything lost in translation doesn’t matter much once the action kicks in and you get your witness the wild child deliverr some of the most hyper intense Kung Fu craziness set to screen. The teenage master wanders the streets by himself and is of course quickly adopted up by ridiculously idioticly entertaining family.
Yes some of the shenanigans in this movie are truly bizarre, sometimes veering into the Airplane/Naked Gun territory. Teenage Master however seems to seems to execute it’s strange tonal shifts almost perfectly And imo a lot of the jokes seem to for the most part stick to the wall. I suppose this might be fitting in style with something like ‘Shaolin Soccer’.
The main attraction here is seeing “teenage master” Tse Miu going nuts on the bad guys with his dad. The fight choreography is nuts and a total blast to behold. The comedic details sprinkled in each confrontation is the extra icing on the cake here to. Wheelchair chases, steroid drinking, crazy mental ward murders & insane acrobatics make this a truly forgotten diamond in the rough.
There’s so much going on in this movie comedically visually and physically to love for true fans of obscure, bizarre cinema it’s well worth it to grab a copy or find it somewhere streaming. I got a copy on DVD from Far East Flix, for a mere $8! Grab s case of beer and your best buds, cuz Teenage Master is a full on Kung fu hyper-blast!
X-MAS Mayhem: 5 Holiday Themed Horror Flicks You Probably Missed!!
Well it’s the Christmas season yet AGAIN! One of my favorite times to watch movies and every year I always try and hunt down the odd or forgotten Holiday themed horror movies to throw into the mix. Who doesn’t love a good holiday horror movie on rotation during this time of year right?! Well this season I’ve got 5 horror films I’m givin’ my stamp of Universal Dork approval for holiday viewing. That doesn’t mean that the theme of the movie is related to Christmas or the Holidays directly, but more so the events at the very least occur during this festive time of the year!
So here they are for 2019, track these down and pair ’em with some candy canes and spiked egg nog to get the damn party a started!!
The Oracle (1985)
Here’s a great 80’s supernatural horror flick from Roberta Findlay that takes place during the holiday season. It showcases a cold, snowy and mega sleezy NYC during Christmas time. There’s Christmas lights everywhere, holiday parties going on and christmas trees. It’s a pretty sweet little low budget horror movie that’s also pretty fun stylistically (it looks like it’s 1975 instead of ’85) and fully ambitious fx wise. Ouija boards during christmas is NEVER a good idea! It’s a movie it seems most holiday horror fanatics have missed out on over the years, so if you dig grimy supernatural holiday cheer, track this one down!
Dangerous Game (1988)
This awesome Aussie movie is brought to you by the director of Judgement Night, Predator 2 & Nightmare on Elm St Part 5. It takes place around Christmas time and features a gang of teenagers who decide to spend the night inside of a mall after one of them pisses off a mentally unstable psycho cop! The mall is decked out in X-mas decorations and makes for the perfect place for a tense game of cat and mouse! This one’s a ton of fun, filled with awesome action, great characters and even a healthy heroic dose of Christmas scenery, a crowd pleaser for sure!
The Day of The Beast (1995)
A Christmas Tale aka Cuento de Navidad (2005)
This is a great little Spanish Christmas horror flick from the director of ‘REC’. If you’re watching it for the first time in 2019 it might seem like it’s trying to capitalize off ‘Stranger Things’. However this one came out well before the craze of the Netflix series. It takes place during the 80’s, features a cast of kids who cruise around on their bikes who discover a woman in a Santa Suit stuck in a hole in the ground. They soon figure out she’s wanted by the police and refuse to help her out, things get interesting when voodoo magic is added to the mix and the kids find their holiday turned into a walking nightmare!! Track this one down, it’s so much fun!
Tales from the Third Dimension (1984)
So this is a rare horror anthology from 1984 that’s trying to do a Twilight Zone / ‘Tales from the Crypt’ mash up type of thing as evident by the awesome second rate “Cryptkeeper” character we meet at the start of the movie! Now I’m not going to recommend that you watch the entire movie as the first two segments really aren’t much to write home about, but the third and final 40 minute segment is definitely worth checking out. A full on Christmas themed horror story featuring two kids who stay at grandma’s house that kind of reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Visit’. But wait there’s more, as Santa himself shows up in the flesh to push the story to wild holiday extremes!! A uniquely bizarre, largely lost and forgotten Holiday horror movie….here’s the whole thing on youtube if you can’t find a physical copy!
VHS Verdict: 1995’s ‘Children of the Corn 3: Urban Harvest’….is Awesome?!
I’ve been burning through a stack of late 80’s/90’s VHS tapes lately I scored and while there’ve been a lot of stinkers in the lot there’ve been a few I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised about! I found the first five of the ‘Children of the Corn’ movies and I’d never actually watched any of the sequels so I thought what the fuck? Well the second movie was pretty much a total bore and I’d figured they’d likely just get more dull with each installment. Boy was I wrong!
Yep! ‘Children of the Corn Part 3: Urban Harvest’ is now one of my favorite sequel horror flicks! This movie’s a ton of seriously fun horror schlock. It’s premise is awesome too, we’ve got a couple weird-ass ‘Children of the Corn’ who get adopted and move from the bloody cornfields of Nebraska to the urban streets of Chicago. Their new parents are a couple of yuppies who’re stoked to have two new amish kids of their own. But little do they know one of them has some weird ass supernatural abilities and a one track mind for planting a new crop of corn right there in the city. Things quickly get awesome as their sent off on their ‘first day’ of class at a diverse inner city school and have to fend for themselves as everyone makes fun of their weird clothes and equally odd mannerisms.
Well the new setting seems to be a good one for one of the ‘Corn kids’, soon the older of the two is dressing like he’s the coolest new dude on the block and quickly discovering he’s got a fav new interest that quickly replaces corn: girls!! This new style doesn’t sit well with the younger ‘corn obsessed’ brother and soon he goes on a mission to find a vacant lot to plant some new evil corn, hell his yuppie stepdad even tries to get in on the corn action too. He find’s his stepson’s new utterly incredibly delicious crop of corn flourishing in some shitty soil in a vacant lot between two crumbling warehouses and immediately sees dollar signs! Yeah, he eagerly talks to his new kid about selling out his new breed of corn to a big corporation so it can be eaten all over the world. Naturally the evil kid’s elated and then moves on to convince the local gang bangers and school bullies to start listening to his crazy corn sermons! Soon their all hooked on his schtick and it’s up to his older, newly hipper, formerly amish brother to put and end to his evil plan.
This one never lags, it’s pretty much non stop fun and is chock full of stupid dialogue and some seriously awesome old school horror. I was totally surprised to at how bad ass the special effects are here too, come to find out Screaming Mad George (Predator/The Abyss/Curse II: The Bite) is responsible for the onscreen awesomeness. There’s a bunch of super unique kills, living killer corn, evil scarecrows, corn zombies & even an awesome giant monster at the end!! I was certain being it was ’95 we’d likely have some shitty ass CGI in the mix but instead we get George’s incredible practical fx work. Even the giant monster is a blend of animatronics and stop motion animation and the movie never stops charming the pants off of an old school horror hound. I love these surprisingly well done sequels that are many times completely overlooked by most. The ‘Urban Harvest’ is super action packed, fun filled horror flick, the kind most these days continuously try and replicate. I like how this one appears to be totally trying to play it’s ridiculous plot totally straight, It’s a true gem that’s been lost in the corn field for far too long!! Check this shit out!!
VHS Verdict: 90’s Remote Control Radio Shack Robots Gone Psycho in ‘EVOLVER’ !
Hey there I’m back for a whole NEW year in 2018!! Yeeehaw!! I’m starting off with a little review from a recent batch of VHS I bought while thrifting around Portland, Oregon. In my huge stack of weird movies I’ve been burning through, was a movie called ‘Evolver’ from 1994. From the cover of this one I was more than certain this was gonna be some total bull shit show that I’d likely not be able to make it all the way through. HOWEVER I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually dug Evolver!
Let me be clear though, this movie is totally stupid, but in the best way imaginable. It starts off with some shitty virtual reality video game being played in an arcade by our lead character, hot shot video gamer Kyle played by “teen heart throb” Ethan Embry. He’s basically on stage in the arcade and of course there’s a big crowd there cheering him on, becuz in the 90’s that’s what people did dammit! Anyway he’s a computer hacker as well and uses his skills to make himself the prize winner of a new real life robot called “Evolver” a prototype game system that plays laser tag with you in your own house. Evolver kinda looks like the baby of the robots in “Chopping Mall” as he’s only about 3 feet tall, oh yeah and he’s voiced by none other than William. H Macy! At first Evolver is easy to beat but at each new level of household combat that he’s defeated he gets better and even transforms a bit so he can be “more menacing” to his foes. Continue reading
Comic Cover of the Week: Wonder Woman vs. The Joker!
With all the excitement over the latest movie sensation that is Wonder Woman I thought it’d be cool to show off a couple of my favorite covers by the master himself Brian Bolland. It’s no secret that Bolland is easily one of the best comic book cover artists of all time and of course after his classic artwork in The Killing Joke it’s apparent no one can capture the clown prince of crime quite like he can. I dig these two Wonder Woman covers as well because it’s not every day that you see Diana facing off against The Joker.
The first one Wonder Woman #97 is from 1995
….and the second a bit more recent #41 from 2015.
A couple of my favorites!
Movie Review: ‘Mosquito’ the Proper Sequel to ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’!
I finally hooked myself up with a copy of ‘Mosquito’ from 1994 and was quite pleased to find it was worth the effort tracking down. I’d been curious about this movie for a long time, I actually have owned a ‘region 2’ dvd for years but never could get it to play on any player. So recently I found a proper American copy of the movie, which boasts a couple interesting people in major roles. Ron Asheton (R.I.P.), legendary guitarist for The Stooges as a heroic but bumbling park ranger & Gunnar Hansen (R.I.P.), the original Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a tuff guy military dude. What a random combo huh? That alone was enough to peak my interest.
Being that this movie was released in 1994 I was always a bit skeptical on whether this one would rely on some horrendously shoddy amateur CGI for it’s pesky monster insects. Boy was I wrong, Mosquito ended up being a comically inspiring practical effects creature feature that could have easily been released in 1984. It feels like it’s an 80’s flick in every way imaginable. We get some nifty fx here done by way of puppetry, animatronics, cartoons and full on stop motion animation. Talk about utiltilizing all aspects of the fx spectrum, Mosquito goes the distance or at least tries it’s hardest with the budget it had. That’s not to say the special effects are amazing, quite the contrary, however the movie has some serious charm for the effort it goes to try an make this as epic as possible. This is clearly because the film’s director Gary Jones has been an fx who’s worked on films like Evil Dead II & Army of Darkness. There’s also cool RV crash and a real exploding house too. So yeah they were trying to cover their bases here on the action.
The plot is your basic ‘ufo crashes near a small town and pesky monsters attack the locals’ and that’s a good thing because it’s trying it’s best to be on par with movies like Critters or The Blob. It’s pretty heavy on comedy but at the same time really tries it’s damnedest to be fully bad ass. I really dig Gunnar Hansen in this movie too, he’s a total asset and they make sure to give you exactly what you want from him. A wise choice to give Gunnar his trusty signature chainsaw to do battle with the blood sucking beasts. There’s a line where he comes busting out with his chainsaw and says something like “Man, I haven’t handled one of these babies in 20 years”.
As Hansen never reprised his Leatherface role in a sequel you might be able to say perhaps the man behind the mask made good and helped fight off some killer mosquitos 20 years later! Hey maybe this is cannon in the Texas Chainsaw universe?! The further adventures of Leatherface…Anyway This is a super fun, totally cheezy 90’s monster movie if you are looking for a good party movie ‘Mosquito’ delivers the goods and then some!
C’mon People this Halloween Give the 90’s MISFITS Another Chance!
It’s Halloween….TOMORROW! The time of the year has never been more ripe than now to be cranking one of my favorite bands of all time..The Misfits! Yes I’ve been playing the shit out of the classic Danzig Fronted Misfits albums but I’m also giving the 1990’s Michale Graves version of the band some play as well!
I get it, I get it, The Misfits will always really be with Glenn at the forefront but come one, the 90’s Misfits deserve some cred too! They released two super fun horror punk albums “American Psycho” and “Famous Monsters”, with a compilation called Cuts from the Crypt as well.
Ok so they aren’t lyrically as vicious or evil as the Glenn stuff but who can resist cheezy songs about 80’s flicks like Pumpkinhead, Poltergiest and weird obscure 80’s horror like Boxing Helena and Hell night from 1981?
Hell they even appeared in the George Romero movie “Bruiser” (ok yeah so that movie kinda sucked but still!) and also had Romero direct their video for the song “Scream” and also had the legendary Basil Gogos of Famous Monsters magazine & Pushead do their cover art!
Anyway 2015 marks 20 years since this version of the band formed way back in 1995. I saw them in 1997 and well as much as I kinda wanted to diss them they were pretty great live…
So bitch all you want about The current version of The Misfits fronted by Jerry Only but how about this year giving the classic Misfits the usual play and also adding the 90’s ‘Fits to the mix! It’s been 20 years now..get over it people! Crank this shit!
Hubba Hubba: Remembering the Marvel Swimsuit Specials!
Am I the only one that remembers those Marvel Comics Swimsuit issues?! Yeah, these were as weird as they sounded it was basically Marvel’s version of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues except with all your favorite characters posing for sexy shots! These were put out by Marvel Annually from 1990 to 1995 and often had funny articles and fake advertisements. It was a strange idea but I’m gonna be honest there were quite a few characters I was kinda pumped to see posing 😉 These are definitely worth hunting down, they’re super funny and ultimately amusing. Anyway here’s a some pictures from those very issues as we look back to those Superhero bikini days!! Yeeeeeah!!