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!
I’ve been looking forward to this new Nic Cage horror flick for a long time and the trailer for ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ has finally dropped. Sure like the 2019 ‘Banana Splits’ movie this one is essentially another version of the ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’, which has been in developmental cinematic hell for years. ‘Banana Splits’ was pretty underwhelming, so I’ve been hoping that this Nic Cage lead film would get it right as I do quite love the idea of the creepy ‘Chuck E. Cheese/Showbiz Pizza’ style animatronic cartoon characters coming to life at night and causing bloody chaos. So yeah, we have Cage here hired as a handy man at a cursed amusement park where the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” scenario busts wide open. Check out this sweet poster!
From the trailer I’ve gotta say I was a teensy bit let down, I know this isn’t academy award fare we’re dealing with, but after starring in the incredible ‘Mandy’ I’ve high hopes for Nic to return with another modern horror classic. This however, from the trailer at least looks kinda chintzy, reminds me of something Cage churns out quickly to pay his mound of back taxes rather than a quality B monster movie. Of course I’m checking it out when drops but I was hoping for a thicker atmosphere of spookiness and the general vibe of it all feels slightly like a flimsy Cage cash grab. Even the cinematography feels a bit cheap at this point. But hey I guess having high hopes for another ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ copycat should NOT have been that high! Dammit Cage please prove me wrong here! What do YOU think?!
If you wanna go down the animatronic cartoon character rabbit hole from way back in the day for some real chills check THIS out:
And this for the WHOLE history on the restaurants from yesteryear that inspired ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’:
First let’s get this out of the way-HAPPY DAMN NEW YEAR! Let’s hope 2021 is leaps and bounds better than 2020, I mean things can’t get worse can they? Well back in 1973 Batman had one shitty ass New Years in issue #247. He and Robin had their hands full trying to stop a weirdo in a holiday sweater who’s planted canisters of nerve gas all around Gotham! Phew I’m glad I’m only suffering from a hangover and not doing THAT today. Check out this blast from the Caped Crusader’s troubled holiday past with this sweet classic cover drawn by Dick Giordano & Gaspar Saladino!
So supposedly we’re going to be getting a 5th installment in the next few years of the beloved Indiana Jones film franchise. It’s said to be Harrison Ford’s final portrayal of the character, as he’s going to be 77 years old next year. Many have been ranting about how unrealistic it is that good ol’ Indy would be running around exotic locations beating up Nazis at that old of an age. Sure it’s an unlikely scenario and it’s rumored well that he’s expected to pass the torch to a younger actor or even gender swap his character altogether making Indy a female adventurer much like ‘Laura Croft’. I’m a HUGE fan of the movies and at the end of the day whether Indy becomes a woman or not I just want the story to be a ton of fun and feel like whatever happens, happens naturally. This leads me to what I think would be an incredible idea for Harrison’s final movie IF they were indeed wanting the character of Indiana Jones to live on as the one we’ve seen throughout the years.
There’s a cool story that could be told that’d make perfect sense for one last hurrah in the world of an old Indiana Jones. What if an almost 80 year old Indiana Jones was suddenly given some sort of definitive proof that the fountain of youth does indeed exist and that he just might be able to find it? Now that’d be the news that I think could inspire him and his wife Marion Ravenwood to get up off the couch, grab the whip and head out into boonies for an adventure that to the both of them could feel as urgent & important as they come. For the 5th installment it’s important to have an excellent reason that’d inspire adventurers of this age to rally one last time and attempt to go the distance. Now imagine he enlists some of his old pals to join him and his wife, get Short Round back for this one give Sallah a call as he’d likely be down for a drink from the fountain of youth as well. Then get ready to recast the whole crew of actors as the odds look good they’ll indeed find what they’re looking for.
This could be an incredibly compelling & heartfelt tale to tell for the whole gang, they could legitimately amp up the nostalgia as well, as the older characters all long for their youth once more, reminisce about the old adventures and like most of us all, to some degree don’t want to face death. This last adventure could be one of Indy & crew’s most desperate and they could also this time around give us a spectacle that feels & looks more in line with the first three movies. Real locations, practical effects, real explosions the whole shebang. It’d also have to take place in the 1960’s as we’re now 10 years past Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (which I do like-but also see it’s major flaws) which would also be a whole new time period to play with. Lastly, imagine say in the last 20 minutes or so, our heroes indeed do find the fountain after a crazy adventure thus far and are actually able to drink from it. This is where we pass the torch and the real supernatural aspect of the movie really kicks.
I know to many Star Wars fans Alden Ehrenreich wasn’t the person they’d initially hoped to see cast as a young Han Solo. The buzz for actor Anthony Ingruber was huge amongst fans, especially after he’d been perfectly cast as a young Harrsion Ford in The Age of Adaline. In these scenes Ingruber captures the likeness of Ford to pure perfection and also looks uncannily like him at the same time. Check it:
Now imagine Indiana Jones finally drinks from the fountain, we cut to some other characters in danger of being captured by Nazi’s or whoever the villains are this time around, and next we see Indy emerge from the shadows only this time Ingruber in the role stepping forward into the light. Now of course near the end of the movie perhaps all of his companions are offered a drink and we can then recast whoever does indeed partake of the mystical liquid. It’d be fun to throw around casting ideas as well for the rest of the gang and I think this would be a seamless and intriguing way to pass the torch to a younger generation. That would also leave adventures in the future to take place in the 60s, 70s and 80s as well. It’d also finally utilize the actor who was once thought to be the perfect choice to portray one of Ford’s most iconic roles. If they do indeed stick with a continuation of the classic character this would be a great way to do so otherwise I guess they could go the whole Mutt Williams route once again and say Indiana has yet another child, this time a daughter he doesn’t know about that could continue his mantle. What do you think? P.S. Lucas & Spielberg feel free to rip me off! I wanna see this shit done right!!