Mexico’s Sweet Forgotten 80’s Horror Franchise: “VACATION OF TERROR”!
Are you truly ready for a 1980’s “Vacation of Terror” to Mexico?!! Nope. this ain’t Cancun folks, this here is a sweet horror franchise that started in 1989, starring legendary south of the border pop star turned B-movie horror icon Pedro Fernandez. Yes the lesser known Fernandez, appears to be a sort of “Ricky Martin-type” singer, who started his music career at the tender age of seven and later in the 80’s had a string of rad horror flicks like Trampa Infernal, Panic on the Mountain & this two part creep-out, Vacation of Terror (1&2). Check out his music as a kid when he went by the name Pedrito Fernandez:
1989’s Vacation of Terror is a pretty sweet little horror flick that follows a wealthy family’s visit to the countryside to fix up a crusty old cabin in the woods. Along for the ride is teen daughter’s hot shot occult investigating BF Pedro Fernandez along with his impressive mullet! The family starts to notice a few truly strange things happening in and around the property, and their youngest daughter soon falls down into a creepy ass well. Oddly there’s no water down there, but rather what seems to be some sort of lived in cavern den, with a freaky old doll and a few other odd antiques scattered about. Of course the daughter wants the weird ass doll, so they bring it up to the cabin where it begins to have an evil mind of it’s own that starts to manipulate and possess the young girl.
Good thing Pedro is there to combat the evil forces because this doll is hell bent on destroying the family and any furniture in the way of her telekinetic powers. You’ll see this doll’s evil eyes whisk from side to side about a hundred times as she “uses her powers” and her schtick does get a bit tired by the finale, but still strangely satisfying. However it’s imperative to see this first movie to set you up for the far superior sequel, where only one cast member returns-of course Pedro Fernandez!
1990’s ‘Vacation of Terror: Diabolical Birthday’ (directed by Pedro Galindo III who also did the excellent Trampa Infernal) is one helluva good time-but oddly there’s no damn vacation going on anywhere here. But that’s ok, we’ve got a wild ass halloween themed birthday party to attend instead this time! The best thing is Pedro returns, now a single man (who maybe had enough of the family’s creepy cabin and odd shenanigans), who runs an antique shop and meets by chance a cute lady pop star, Mayra who’s played by real life Mexican pop star Tatiana who wanders in. After some chit chat she ends up inviting him to attend a party later and when she’s about to split he notices a her little sister in the back seat of her car holding the same creepy ass doll from the first movie! Naturally Pedro swings into action at the sight and has a new reason to attend other than being crushed out on his sweet date-to fight evil! Of course part of the fun is to go to the party, where it’s either taking place on Halloween or the little girl just loves horror decor. We also get a super sweet performance from Tatiana of course doing her sweet hit song “Chicos Chicos” check it!
Luckily Pedro gets there just in time to see her rock out! However there’s bigger fish to fry as he’s hot on the trail of the doll. However the there’s a wild birthday cake that just by “chance” gets some blood on it and soon the creepy living doll goes missing and eats the blood soiled cake, transforming it into human sized demon that resembles Angelica Huston’s wicked persona in “The Witches” mixed with Freddy Krueger.
From this point on the creature is out to terrorize all the party goers and it’s now up to Pedro & Tatiana to stop evil from spreading and maybe even find some romance? This one is a lot more fun then the first installment, it’s got a lot more going on, faster paced and a bit of a more playful element at it’s core . However director Pedro Galindo doesn’t skimp on the horror, there’s some great gore and colorful kills to behold as well as the setting. The decaying old deserted Mexican village they end up being chased around in is an excellent place for the spooky shenanigans to occur.
While some may say this is the Mexican “Troll 2” I just think it’s yet another super fun, campy horror movie that fans of the 80’s have got to check out. These two movies certainly need to receive a cleaned up blu ray release with some sweet special features. Otherwise horror fans will certainly miss out, these days it feels like a company like ‘Vinegar Syndrome’ releasing these unknowns gems gives them a sort of sudden street cred/seal of approval. Well you heard it here first though, before the ‘Vacation of Terror’ blu rays are suddenly all the rage-get ahead of the curve and head back to the 80’s to take your own “Vacation of Terror” to Mexico before all the tourists arrive!! You can get it on dvd as a double feature right here at World Cult Cinema!
Comic Cover of Week: Charles Vess’ Web of Spider-Man!!
I never could get enough of the classic black Spider-man suit! Back in the 1980’s it was quite a controversy to give Peter Parker some new duds especially something as bold as the black costume! I loved it and it’s no wonder it was brought back several times through the years despite it becoming one of his most famous villians, Venom! Anyway here’s a favorite cover of mine from Web of Spider-man Annual #2 way back in 1986!! Charles Vess has done some truly stunning work and anytime he tackled Spider-man you knew you were in for a treat! Check it out!
Check Out Netflix’s ‘Little Evil’ If You Liked ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’!
I highly recommend the brand new Netflix Original movie ‘Little Evil’, especially if you’re already a fan of the modern cult classic ‘Tucker & Dale vs Evil’. It turns out ‘Little Devil’ is the newest & second movie from that very director, Eli Craig. That explains a lot about why the movie’s comedic horror charm is so damn spot on. It’s a great concept that puts a unique spin on The Omen and the “birthing of the antichrist” sub-genre of horror movies. We follow a newly married stepfather (played brilliantly by Adam Scott) as he struggles to bond with his new son Lucas while appearing to be the perfect dad to his new wife (Evangeline Lily).
It doesn’t take long before he notices his new son’s incredibly creepy & bizarre behavior and weird ass style of dressing. Most of the laughs revolve around just how crazy the kid acts while the plot ridiculously thickens as the stepdad slowly begins to accept that his new son is a god damned demon spawn. There are a shitload of memorable scenes here to relish and Craig proves once again he’s one of the best when it comes to horror comedy (damn that goat puppet is awesome!). So many attempt to pull it off usually with mixed results. The movie explores some familiar horror tropes too while adding just the right amount of eye winking to fans of old school horror.
The movie has a ton up and coming comedians & familiar faces (Watch for “Tucker” in an amazing scene) that add to it’s charm, my fave being Clancy Brown as a mysterious priest who you might remember from his role on the incredible cult classic series ‘Carnivale’. The movie’s a helluva good time (no pun intended) and has a ton of heart to it. It’s also got some genuinely creepy moments as well mixed in which is a nice touch, with all the absurdity the movies got going for it already. My only complaint is a minor one, near the final act the movie gets a little bit too cutesy, when I was really hoping they might build upon the terror of the creepy kid that was already brilliantly established. However things go in a bit in way of ‘major Hollywood style feel good comedy’ which I’m not against necessarily but was hoping for something a bit more off beat in the final act. All in all though this one’s a great Netflix original movie that’s filled with something for everyone and a second win (although not quite as good as Tucker & Dale) for director Eli Craig. Check it out!
Comic Review: Rise of the Black Flame #1
Rise of the Back Flame #1 is another totally solid debut straight from the Mignolaverse. This one traces the origins of the legendary villain, The black Flame from the pages of Hellboy/BPRD and gives us an excellent set up for an intriguing jungle horror adventure that I’m sure Indiana Jones would most certainly sign up for. The setting is Burma and there’s been a series of disappearances of young girls that the locals believe to be the devilish work of a near by cult.
On the case are two Brittish detectives who’re on the case searching for clues, quickly meet Sarah Jewell and Marie-Therese Lafleur who tell them they’ve got an expedition set up to find the Temple of the Black Flame. Sarah Jewell goes on to tell them of some of her incredible supernatural adventures she’s shared with The Witchfinder himself Sir Edward Grey. I’m getting the feeling we’ll be seeing much more of these characters in the future of the Mignolaverse….if they can survive this expedition that is.
Here we have again everything I love about reading comics, grand adventure set in exotic locales with a supernatural mystery brewing. Like I’ve said before Mignola’s books to me are the best on the scene, whether it be Hellboy, BPRD, Witchfinder or Lobster Johnson. They’re always a helluva great time to read and are all connected by a deep lore that’s been running strong for decades. So here we have the opening of another chapter in the saga and a true prequel for fans of the villain of the BPRD’s ‘Hell on Earth’. I’m certainly going to be back for issue #2 as it’s bound to be filled with some excellent storytelling and some creepy jungle adventure, for a good time check out this debut!
Badger #2 Brings Back The Crazy!
The Badger has definitely returned to form in the latest second issue from Devil’s Due / 1First Comics! It’s always nice to read a solid debut these days but it means a lot when the second issue in many cases is better than the first and this is the case in the latest reboot of the legendary Badger series from creator Mike Baron. You can read my review of issue #1 right here.
Anyway the second issue brings back a more familiar feel to the cult 80’s indie icon. We’re really seeing more of a modern retelling of the origin story of Norbert Sykes, which is thus far packed with the perfect amount of that familiar Baron style of quirky comedy and a degree of realism that make this comic thus far one of my favorite recent monthly titles. I actually think the current writers of Deadpool could learn a thing or two from Baron’s tasty recipe on this title.
So what do we get this issue? Well Norbert and his buddy Ham are mysteriously released from the mental ward, partly due to Ham’s “magical” abilities as an ancient druid. Ham also purchases an old castle on the outskirts of Madison Wisconsin where the two of them plan to live. Ham however reveals he’s got a a serious problem with a powerful wizard rival none other than Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Or could Ham just be batshit cray?!
Well things get worse when a Russian enforcer breaks into the castle ready to kill, good thing Norbert Sykes has got multiple personalities, one of which is the Kung Fu ass kicker The Badger! Lastly we get a glimpse of Putin himself as he and his crew of scientists are thawing out a prehistoric mammoth in a glacier. Yeah it’s crazy shit and also a ton of fun.
I’m really happy this character is being given a chance in 2016, so far the series has great potential, I’m not a huge fan of the artwork in issue two, I personally think Badger deserves better. It looked a bit rushed, I wish they could land someone like Paul Pope or old schooler Mike Zeck as a regular on the series. Aside from that I totally dig it as a whole and will definitely be back for issue #2. Ask your local shop to carry Badger as I don’t think this series is getting enough attention!
Cool Comic Debut: Paper Girls #1 Brings us an ‘Amblin’ Style 80’s Mystery!
I just finished ‘Paper Girls’ #1 by hotshot writer Brian K. Vaughan and it’s one of best debut issues I’ve read in a long time. What’s even better is at it’s $2.99 cover price it’s a double sized issue filled with a great little story just waiting to burst into a retro ‘Amblin’ style adventure set way back in 1988. Not only do we get an intriguing story here but also some great artwork by Cliff Chiang. We follow twelve year old Erin as she heads out onto the streets to do her paper route in wee hours of the A.M. after a extremely peculiar dream, involving apples, aliens, winged astronauts and classroom demons speaking what seems to be gibberish. I love the way the dream sequence is played out in the pages here, with a ton of strange symbolism, conversations that seemingly make no sense and some frightening creatures, it really feels like an actual dream which is quite nice.
The setting in the morning is the night after Halloween, so as Erin hits the streets with her sack of papers she encounters some neighborhood bullies still roaming. Luckily three other paper girls arrive on rad bmx bikes to the scene to her defense. From this point Erin decides to ride with the girls on her route and discovers that the three of them too had been jumped by some strange “people” dressed as ghosts who stole one of their walkie talkies.
I don’t want to spoil any of the story as there are some cool surprises that develop along the way. But what I will say is this has the perfect setting for a lost 80’s flick and puts some cool supernatural elements in the mix that leave you longing for issue #2. A super solid debut and just the kind of comic book story that I love even if for some reason we get a bit of prominent product placement by the way of Apple computers. Check this one out, this issue gives you more bang for your buck too as it’s twice the normal size. A great scheme to get people to drop their hard earned cash these days on a comic book!
Sal Buscema’s Greatest Hits: Anatomy of the Most Powerful Comic Book Punches!!
Sal Buscema has been one of my all time favorite comic book artists ever since I was just a little kid! His name is synonymous with The Incredible Hulk as one of the longest artists ever on the classic book as well as drawing much of the Hulk-ified Defenders comics way back in the day. The guy is a legend. Period. Well one of my favorite things about his artwork in the comics is the classic Buscema powerful punch! He loves to draw incredibly painful punches that send both heroes and villains flying upside down in the air straight at the reader! It’s really his trademark, so let’s take a good long look at some of Buscema’s greatest hits in all their glory!!!
And finally just a few non-flying Sal Buscema punches that totally look like they hurt big time!
Phew! My head hurst just looking at all these painful punches! Thanks to 80 Page Giant Blog for many of the images!!
Turbo Kid: Old School VHS Style Apocalyptic Bliss!
Who doesn’t love an old school apocalyptic survival flick these days?! I know I do an after seeing Mad Max: Fury Road yesterday and having my mind completely blown with awesomeness I’m most definitely ready for more!! I’ll go on record here to say I was a bit underwhelmed with Avengers: Age of Ultron. It just didn’t really stick. The story was lackluster and it felt a bit too much like a repeat of the first flick in nearly every way. So I was pleased to see Mad Max kick the movie going experience back into high gear with amazing stunts, breathtaking action, incredible costumes and old school special effects as well as some awesome CG. I call it the blockbuster of the year. Well now today I witnessed a trailer and promo video for “Turbo Kid” and well it looks fantastic! Check out this awesome poster..
“In a post-apocalyptic future, THE KID, a young solitary scavenger obsessed with comic books must face his fears and become a reluctant hero when he meets a mysterious girl named APPLE. Despite their efforts to keep to themselves, ZEUS, the sadistic and self-proclaimed leader of the Wasteland, plagues THE KID and APPLE. Armed with little more than blind faith and an ancient turbocharged weapon, THE KID learns of justice and friendship and embarks on an incredible journey to rid the Wasteland of evil and save the girl of his dreams.”
This one is a true homage to the apocalyptic flicks of the 1980’s that were all a direct result of the success of George Miller’s Mad Max series. You know the movies where it was like 1995 and the world was nothing more than a wasteland? Anyway I’m really excited for this one. It looks like a ton of dumb fun and so far it look s like it could have come out in the 1980’s. This cool flick from New Zealand should be on your radar!
Check out this short that inspired the feature film:
And the new trailer:
And a great interview with the directors!
Toe Tag Riot: Punk Rock Zombie Mayhem!
If you’re a fan of punk rock and old school 80’s style horror there’s a good chance you’ll get a kick out Black Mask’s “Toe Tag Riot” a new rowdy zombie comic book adventure! This one reads more like an installment of the “Return of the Living Dead” movie franchise than “The Walking Dead” and that’s a good thing because we really don’t need any more comic books hitting the shelves these days trying to capture what Robert Kirkman has so gloriously accomplished. Written By Matt Miner and illustrated by Sean Von Gorman we get bloody good tale of a touring punk rock band with a zombie curse mysteriously cast upon them. They fight with the urges to eat flesh as they spend only part of the time as undead (from what I can tell thus far it seems right before they hit the stage) and when they do turn into flesh eaters they spend much of their time ripping apart Nazi Skinheads, angry moms and pissed off bible thumpers!
This series so far really reminds me of something you might have found in a punk rock fanzine back in the 1990’s, full of crude humor & gore, while hitting on several political and social issues like racism, homophobia and nut job religious groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. It follows the bands exploits while giving us brief flashbacks of how the band came to be and just how they developed into zombies. If you’re looking for a serious zombie epic you’ll most likely be a bit disappointed here, but if you’re looking for a good tongue in cheek comedy you’ll probably dig Toe Tag Riot quite a bit.
The first read really reminded me of a canadian vampire flick called “Suck” which had a pretty similar premise but not hitting on issues Toe Tag Riot delves into. If you’re familiar with that movie, the band, like in Toe Tag Riot are struggling with their popularity & end up tragically becoming Vampires. They use their unique new attributes to their advantage to hit the big time. Still I found the first two issues to be a pretty sweet little ball of mayhem and I’m curious to see where the next couple take us.
A fun read which would go down nice with a few stiff drinks, the only part of it I wasn’t particularly keen on was the odd inclusion of the main dude from ‘Fall Out Boy’ into the story-not exactly screaming punk rock to me at least, I’m actually kinda hoping that guy gets eaten by the band (nothing personal, I just think that’d be kinda cool)….. either way Check it out! A cool zombie comic that’s quite a bit different from the herd!
The Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer: Did it Deliver?!
I know, The Avengers: Age of Ultron probably doesn’t need any more hype, as it’s clearly on it’s way to probably being the most successful movie of all time. But to not chime in a little on this one would be a crime right? I was a big fan of the first one, it was a damn fun movie, I finally got a pretty decent Hulk (though I still am not a fan of an entirely CG character) and it merged all the other Marvel movies together seamlessly. Now I’ll say this I’m not sure that The Avengers with all of it’s slick computerized fx will age very well and I to be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of Loki & The Chitauri as the films main villains. But regardless now we have the first trailer for the second installment and it looks pretty damn awesome! So here it is again, like this fucking thing needs any more attention with it’s near thirty million views in like 2 days…
It’s clear the movie is going for a darker almost apocalyptic vibe to it. It’s tone is much more serious and the trailer clearly lets us know this movie is filled with secrets and clues to future Marvel movies. The first look at Ultron was chilling too, he’s a creepy ass robot the way he should be, so I’m tickled pink that they got that right. It promises to an epic battle between The Hulk and Iron Man (or possibly Iron Man’s armor under the control of Ultron?) that I can’t wait to see. It’s clear there’s some sort of problem with Tony Stark in this one that I suspect could set up the movies for the Civil War plot they have been talking about. I also see potential for maybe a Planet Hulk flick coming out of this one. I cannot wait to see the Vision! And this messed up romance!
Now as cool as Ultron looks I wish and hope that there’s more to flick in way of super villains. I love Ultron, but the whole idea of The Avengers fighting another huge ass group of guys who look the same (ahem the Chitauri in the first film and army of Ultrons this time)) again might be the one thing that I am not too thrilled with. I really would love instead to see some Avengers villains really get into the next movie. Give me The Masters of Evil, Baron Zemo, The Super Skrull, The Absorbing Man, The Leader, M.O.D.O.K., The Wrecking Crew for cryin’ out loud!! Where are all these great villains dammit?
I wanna see the Avengers take on a team of bad guys like in the comic books-Let’s get a roster of great actors for the third movie with a final superhero/villain battle unlike anything we’ve ever seen on film. I cross my fingers for part three to deliver this and more. In the meantime though I am pretty damn pumped about The Age of Ultron, it somehow looks leaps and bound more exciting than the first one. It seems Marvel just can’t be stopped, let’s see Fox or Sony or hell even DC top this! It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the superhero…