Are you in the market to find something different to watch THIS Christmas season? Well if you’re like me you’re likely a bit cautious on all of these new holiday horror movies they churn out every year. None of them seem to be all that entertaining! Well don’t fret because I’m here to do the dirty work for you and hunt down the weirdest recommendations this holiday season anywhere on the Internet.
Today’s pick is an unlikely 2004 Christmas horror flick featuring Corey Feldman & a bunch of nasty pissed off puppets! ‘Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys’ the Full Moon features horror crossover is in my opinion is a pretty damn good moronic time!
Corey Feldman stars as the descendant of the legendary toymaker who brought the deadly “Toulon” puppets alive from the iconic ‘Puppet Master’ franchise. He and his daughter together perfect the legendary serum using their blood to bring them back to the world of the living on Christmas eve. However, unbeknownst to him, Vanessa Angel who stars as the sexy but villainous corporate bombshell is also hell bent on getting her grimy hands on the serum for her own evil intentions. To make matters worse she’s also in control of the ‘Demonic Toys’ and has a wicked deal with a demon to unleash evil living toys to the population on Christmas Day.
Yeah, so there you have it, not necessarily the most intelligent plot to a movie but I think it makes for a pretty good albeit stupid little holiday movie that’s largely flown under the radar over the years. Corey Feldman is ridiculous, as he plays the toy makin’ father of a teenage girl and sports the most ridiculously stupid spray on grey hair I’ve ever seen in a damn movie. He also teams up with a sexy cop who helps the two of them along with the “Puppet Master” puppets to infiltrate the corporate headquarters were the Demonic Toys roam. In this one the Puppet Master dolls are clearly the good guys with Feldman as their “fearless” leader.
This one also holds some street cred in the genre because it’s not just merely set at Christmas time but features the holiday front and center throughout the entire movie. It’s just a bunch of idiotic holiday fun but to be honest calling this movie ‘Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys’ you might expect some insane bloody doll battles throughout the movie to occur, sadly that never really happens until the film’s final 5 minutes where we get a bit of a lackluster “show down”. So don’t go into this expecting a big bloody puppet battle.
That all being said I find it to be oddly charming and a worthy addition to the holiday horror cinematic experience, especially for people who like stupid shit. The inclusion of Corey Feldman into this production makes the whole experience a lot more fun and Vanessa Angel as well is a treat to see in this type of low grade trash.
The special effects aren’t anything to write home about either and frankly were done better in the earlier movies but still this installment has a degree of Xmas charisma that’s perfect for the holiday season.
I definitely recommend tracking this one down and giving it a shot if you’re looking for something new and are a fan of cheezy bad holiday horror!
A good Thanksgiving horror movie has always been quite hard to come by, sure there are few out there but aside of something like 1987’s ‘Blood Rage’ the pickens are slim. Well I decided to take a chance yesterday on a brand new one called ‘Black Friday’ and was quite surprised how much I enjoyed this comedically gory and ultra gooey little horror flick. To be honest I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot even though it co-stars Bruce Campbell as the manager of a lame ass modern toy mart on Thanksgiving evening. I wasn’t particularly 100% sold on the trailer but I really wanted to see something different this year that brought some possible holiday horror cheer.
I’d at first thought this might be just another trashy low level zombie movie but right from the get go it’s clear this one’s got something more sinister going on which was immediately a relief. We start off with the discovery of a strange small glowing pulsating blob like creature discovered inside of the store by a late night maintenance man. My assumption: it must be some sort of alien, whatever it is, I’m in!
We quickly turn to our rather diverse cast of characters (whom I think are all pretty interesting) as they ready themselves for Black Friday of course! As the ravenous line of impatient shoppers grows outside of the toy mart we can see a few of them are definitely not looking too fucking healthy & the employees on the inside are gonna encounter something a lot more challenging than the average filthy greedy shoppers this year.
The plot here is about as simple as it gets, gang of ridiculous employees has to survive the night against a horde of monsters. But that’s not to say this movie doesn’t have a bit more going for it. I guess the best way to describe this one would be almost like if you took ‘The Breakfast Club’, mashed it up with ‘Evil Dead 2’ and set it inside a modern department store. There’s a lot of great character development too that adds some sweet charm & heart to the experience as well as upping the stakes for survival. Plus like I said, we get the treat of Bruce Campbell arriving to add that extra bit of b-movie legitimacy to it all.
One of the best aspects here are the monsters and the slimey, gorey effects on display. From what I could tell, almost entirely done via practical effects. It’s also got a nice lean run time of around 80 minutes, with a brisk pace, plenty of action, funny characters, gore and some pretty well done comedy. Also it’s really anyone’s guess who’s gonna survive this thing.
Yet, that’s not to say this is a perfect film, the actual toy store that it takes place in is a pretty ugly generic looking set piece. Even less fun to look at than a freakin’ Walmart. A more interesting environment could have really added a lot, a uniquely spooky looking toy store to add that extra layer of creepiness to the atmosphere. And although some of the effects towards the final standoff were pretty cool in regards to the creature, the general execution of it all felt quite clunky and a bit lazy. It could have really wowed in those final moments but fell a bit short of the mark for what had been executed quite well before, for me personally. However these are small qualms in the larger scheme of a relatively high grade creature feature. For me my favorite genre of horror.
Doubling as a Thanksgiving horror movie as well as a Christmas one ‘Black Friday’definitely delivers on many of its promises and if you’re looking for something that might be a nice double feature with say ‘Gremlins’ or ‘Krampus’ then I think there’s a decent amount here to fully enjoy. Definitely check it out if you’re feeling frisky this holiday season for surprisingly fun holiday themed horror flick jam packed with monster mayhem..
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!
Of course, everybody’s looking for the ultimate Halloween viewing this year and it just so happens I’ve got a couple recommendations here that are a MUST see for anyone who’s a fan of those spooky “Amblin* films of the eighties! A lot of people seem to have forgotten about or never even heard of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series ‘Amazing Stories’. That’s truly a shame because many of these episodes are classic “Spielbergian” gems that are indeed quite freakin’ amazing. Better yet, there are a handful of episodes that are absolutely perfect for the Halloween season. Today I’d like to mention two of my all time favorite episodes of the series that just so happen to be quite perfectly spooky and utterly charming.
Easily one of the best episodes of the series comes from the 1st season is called ‘Mummy Daddy’. It’s directed by William Dear who’s most well known for one of my all time favorites ‘Harry and Hendersons’. This features an actor on a creepy fog laden swamp of a movie set who’s dressed in an elaborate mummy costume that’s virtually unremovable. When he suddenly gets a phone call that his wife is about to give birth, he bursts frantically from the set to head off to the hospital, In full mummy garb. What he doesn’t realize is that the backwoods locals are restless as they fear the legend of an actual evil mummy rumored to roam the forest in search of innocents to prey upon is alive and well.
There’s a lot of unique twists and turns in this half hour episode, the mummy fx look incredible and the sets and fog filled moonlit locales are top notch. One thing is clear Steven Spielberg had a movie level budget for the show and he was willing to put it all on the line. This episode features the perfect blend of spooky comedy & horror as well as some excellent supernatural action sequences.
Not to mention one of my favorites, Brion James in the role of the aggro head hillbilly, who’s hell bent on ridding their small town of the mummy’s curse forever! This one is a must see for the Halloween season!
Next up is my absolute favorite episode of the entire series which comes from season 2 called ‘Go to the Head of the Class’.
It’s directed by ‘Back to the Future’s’ own Robert Zemekis, features Mary Stuart Masterson and of course Christopher Lloyd! This one is slso a double length episode, it easily could have been made into an excellent horror flick and would have easily been one of the best episodes of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ if it’d been included in that series, where to be honest it feels like it belongs! In a nutshell it’s a story of two teenagers who who plan an elaborate revenge scheme on their asinine school teacher. However this isn’t your average tale of revenge, they instead employ the powers of the supernatural playing a record backwards and performing a ritual in the cemetery late one night after school that will supposedly put an end to their least fave douchebag headmaster!
Christopher Lloyd shines in the role of the evil teacher and like the last episode I mentioned, the special effects here are done by Stan Winston and all of the horror set pieces are utterly breathtaking in the spookiest way imaginable. It’s jam packed with the perfect blend of comedy, genuine scares and familiar faces of the eighties that are certain to put a smile on your face.
These two episodes will pack the perfect double duo punch and give you something different to check out this Halloween season. Yeah horror from a much simpler time from the golden era of horror! Do not snooze on these this year!
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!
I’m a big fan of the 1989 cult horror flick ‘The Laughing Dead’, If you’ve never heard of it and are a1980’s gore horror fiend, well I’ve a feeling that it’s gonna be your new favorite “lost” 80s gem. Rumor has it that it just might be getting a fancy blu ray release?! I hope that’s true! Well it’s director/cult horror novelist/composer extraordinaire S.P. Somtow is back after a long hiatus starring in and writing the latest creepy outing all the way from Thailand with ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’.
The tale of a musical genius haunted by his past and pushed into a state of pure insanity, The Maestro tells the story of a mentally unstable man named Arun (S.P. Somtow), a dedicated composer who attempted a run for fame in Europe but ultimately finds himself deeply depressed, back in Thailand teaching rich kids music at a local shopping mall. Behind the scenes though, he’s been secretly planning a wildly dark magnum opus called ‘The Tongues of Angels’, his ultimate goal: premiering it to the entire world on a livestream during the Covid 19 pandemic. His wildly demented ambition however may induce a lot more than musical madness but also death to those who threaten his journey.
So yeah I’ve been quite excited to check this out, but also had hoped Somtow would be at the mantle as director on the project. I really enjoyed his campy approach on ‘The Laughing Dead’ and the comedic elements incorporated with the heavy effects work of legend John Carl Buechler made it a total blast. That all being said ‘The Maestro’ does definitely deliver some of Somtow’s signature tones, but perhaps with a more artistic approach. Director Paul Spurrier does a decent job behind the camera, giving the movie at times a more slick approach then what I’d ultimately prefered. It combines lighter elements of horror with tense hypnotic dark classical music but also has a few more deeply disturbing psychological aspects at hand here as well that at times made me a bit uncomfortable. The lush locales of Thailand combined with Somtow’s intensely creepy musical compositions sonically assault in a truly unique way.
To be quite honest, his beautifully dark score is probably the biggest star of the entire movie. I’d been expecting something quite a bit different, with more old school fx leaning in on much more on the horror side of things. Instead this one plays out more a psychological thriller and is the first movie I’ve seen that takes place actually during the Covid 19 era. We finally see people on screen irritated with and fussing with their masks as well as trying to navigate life through these current bizarre times. But that doesn’t stop the shamed Maestro from seeking out his pawns, a crew of young musicians gathered from his mall class and the even from the streets.
Most of the madness takes place at a stunningly creepy decrepit mansion In the countryside where the symphony of horror begins to take shape. The Maestro has one thing on his mind: his music and will let nothing get in his way of composing the ultimate dark symphony.
This one’s definitely worth a watch, it’s got a great cast of young actors and Somtow shines again as the villain in a similar way he did back in ‘The Laughing Dead’.
I’m glad that S.P. has again returned to his horror roots, overall I think this is a pretty solid return to form. Going forward I’d like to encourage him to get back behind the camera again, I think he’s got the chops that the people thirst for today with the 80s cult camp fanatics. If anything ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’ must be watched for it’s incredible musical finale, which blew me away. I’ll be hunting down the soundtrack for sure!!
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of The Descendents, so you can imagine how damn stoked I am for their latest release ‘9th & Walnut’. Long story short, all of these songs from the new album are from the late seventies and early eighties. Lost tracks the band demoed but never released, instead produced a batch of new songs that became their iconic album ‘Milo Goes to College’.
Well in 2002 the original line up recorded this lost album and in 2020 lead singer Milo Aukerman finally recorded the lead vocals for it. What we end up with is a bonafide classic brought back to the future, literally a lost punk rock time capsule. It oozes of eighties goodness with the sound and type of songs that I feel have been missing largely from the band’s last two albums.
It also Clearly is oozing with teen angst, nowhere to be found are songs about getting too old or not being able to eat the greasy food you want anymore. Instead we get a batch of snotty love songs and angry punk ragers clearly fueled by a hefty dose of caffeine & french fries. This is the exact way that I love my Descendents, drenched in the 1980s sunshine and no filter. It’s also notable that the sound comes full circle with the original lineup intact even though sadly guitarist Frank Navetta passed away not long after this was recorded.
Jam packed with classic guitar riffs with plenty of their nostalgic attitude & the sweet melodies of their original bassist Tony Lombardo bring me back to simpler times. This album IMO is an absolute dream come true for hardcore fans who grew up listening to them in the 1980s. The anthems of those awkward teen nerds come alive one last time with this latest release from the Descendents! Mmmm…TOTALLY!
Anthrax’s 1987’s thrash metal epic ‘Among the Living’ was always one of my favorite albums of the genre! I used to listen to it all the time back then and it was the soundtrack to many skateboarding sessions I’d have with my friends. I even had the Among the Living t-shirt with Judge Dredd on it, who they had written a song about on the album. So now Anthrax & Z2 comics have developed a rad new way to explore the album with an original anthology graphic novel comic book! Come July 6th, each song on the album has been given it’s own unique story from an impressive creative team, with a new NOTMAN design by Greg Nicetero of Walking Dead fame!
The album is infectiously catchy, with choruses that stick in your head for years and iconic metal riffs galore, It’s an album of anthems and most uniquely known for it’s songs bases heavily in pop culture of the time. So I’m stoked to take a journey with this when it comes out and give the album a spin while I jump into these new stories.
With big names like Brian Posehn, Corey Taylor & Rob Zombie involved it’s certain to be worth a walk down metal memory lane. The album which a fan favorite, definitely deserves a new audience and I’m ready to mosh like it’s 1987 one more time!
So I was at 7 Eleven the other day and thought it was the time to finally check out the most recent effort from Nic Cage, Willy’s Wonderland. Yes it was RedBox time yeeehaw!! I’d been looking forward to this movie for a while now, I mean Nic Cage spends the night at a haunted Chuck E. Cheese style pizza place funland and battles the animatronic cartoon band? SIGN ME THE HELL UP!
Well this little horror flick most definitely did NOT bring anything remotely wonderful to the damn party! Just like the 2019 ‘Banana Splits’ movie, 2021’s Willy’s Wonderland makes another attempt at a live action “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and somehow manages again to deliver a shit sandwich. I mean how can Nic Cage battling killer cartoon robots be so fucking boring? It’s almost like you have to be working hard to make this concept suck so bad. Plot? Barely any, but basically Nic Cage is a “cool guy” who drives around a lame sports car really fast (you know cuz that’s what bad asses do) & gets a flat tire. He then has to get it fixed (tuff guys can’t change tires), but the city has no ATM so he makes a deal to work off the car repair by working a graveyard shift cleaning ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ which is basically a low rent version of the much sweeter ‘Showbiz Pizza’.
Ok so Nic Cage’s character also apparently doesn’t speak, I’m not sure why, maybe tuff guys don’t like to talk or more likely Cage didn’t want to waste his time memorizing lines for a movie he knew was giant steaming turd. Everything about this movie basically sucks. Willy’s Wonderland (the actual place) should have been the major draw of the creepy fun, but here this funland restaurant looks like it was cobbled together in 15 minutes with bad props found in some dipshit’s garage. It’s a boring, ugly, sterile set piece that should have been a uniquely awesome creepy place for a horror adventure to take place. The acting also sucks and not in a good way. It tries way too hard to be edgy & make Cage’s character some sort of cool ass modern horror icon but instead just makes him look like some mega lame ass middle aged numbskull. If you like seeing Cage beat up furry robots over and over and over and defeating with no effort while drinking generic energy drinks this one is for you. Zero tension and zero shits given for any of the annoying characters easily make this one of the worst & most disappointing movies I’ve seen in quite some time.
Like I said, the battles are super duper boring and while the cartoon robot monsters don’t look particularly bad, any chance of them being a threat is ruined early on by showing how weak they are when Nic Cage easily “beats them up” early on. They at least try to weave in some lame recycled plot they stole from ‘Child’s Play’, but by the time that arrives in the movie it’s just too late to give a damn. Then they decide to try even harder to make Cage’s character memorable by having him do a lame “sexy” dance sequence while he plays pinball but it’s just so pathetic that it almost tarnishes his brilliant more recent performance in ‘Mandy’. I know Nic takes pretty much any role he’s offered these days, but I personally thought he was on some sort of sweet comeback? Nope Cage still makes plenty of horse shit and Willie’s Wonderland is a prime example of just that! Please, for the love of God, no more ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ themed “horror” flicks! Let this put the nail in that coffin!
Sometimes I feel like I’m just raining on everyone’s MCU parade! I really don’t want to be THAT guy. However as a fan of the comic book as a kid in the 1980’s I can say if you’d shown me the trailer with no mention of what I was seeing I’d probably wouldn’t have guessed it was Shang Chi “The Master of Kung Fu’ I’d grown up to love!