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’ve joked with friends for many years about Steven Spielberg’s classic film E.T. having a sequel made, that was only released for audiences overseas. I mean of course I’d want a sequel to the movie, but not some pile of shit that’s made today where they fuck everything up with bad “special” overblown fx, a cut and paste recycled plot and a cast of terrible new characters “who are passed the torch” from the beloved but neglected older now sidelined classic ones. Well come to find out that Spielberg was indeed planning a sequel to E.T. back in 1982! He even wrote a story treatment for it that he actually turned in and while it’s not at all what you’d expect, it’s something just weird enough to have been the WTF cult classic E.T. deserved!
While The A.V. Club recently stated we should “be glad the cancelled sequel never got made” I say we should be downright enraged the cancelled sequel never saw the light of the silver screen. Officially titled ‘E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears’ you can tell this thing would have been right up my damn alley. Yep, think of more of an alien abduction horror tinged adventure for Elliot & fam this time. In Steven’s sweet nine page treatment, he amps up the Amblin “kids in danger” factor to eleven. Elliot, Michael and Gerty are sorely missing life without E.T. by their side, they still long to reunite with him again someday often gazing into the night skies. Well just as their world seems to turn mundane, they once again discover an alien craft at night in the woods nearby. Baffled, they assume it must be E.T’s return to them. However, what’s on board this time around are not so friendly, something far more terrifying: white skinned humanoid extraterrestrial carnivores, sporting huge red eyes and razor sharp fangs.
It’s not by coincidence either they land in the woods nearby, as they’re in search of their old pal E.T. & a few steps behind him in pursuit. It turns out they’re at odd’s with E.T.’s race and have come to Earth for any information on his whereabouts. Oh yeah the creatures also mutilate cattle and raise hell in the suburbs. Elliot, Gerty and Mike are pursued relentlessly by them in a game of cat and mouse and are eventually captured, where they’re tortured for info on their pal E.T.’s whereabouts. Elliot is so traumatized by their wicked methods of interrogation that at one point his blood curdling scream sends a emotional signal deep through the outer reaches of space to his old alien friend. Of course E.T. wastes no time and immediately rushes back on a mission to save his human companions from the clutches of his evil alien rivals. It’s also revealed E.T.’s real name is ‘Zrek’! Yowza COUNT ME SO IN!
The A.V. Club obviously doesn’t know a cult classic 80’s sequel if it punched them in their freakin’ face! Apparently Spielberg decided to back off the sequel because he thought it’d ruin the innocence of the original movie. Deeming it too dark and simply based too much in horror. Take a look at the concept designs for Rick Baker’s evil aliens, for the unmade ‘Night Skies’ that were also rumored to be considered for ‘Nocturnal Fears’:
So this is clearly to me at least an awesome sequel, and in an alternate reality would’ve been a classic, though likely a box office bomb. Spielberg could have had Tobe Hooper direct this thing too! Part of me wishes they’d pull this treatment out of the old dusty file cabinets and just give us THIS sequel today! Keep the same basic story, but have the original cast reunite, older now with their families deal with this identical situation and reunite with E.T. , I mean Zrek, sorry! As much as I’d love this I can only assume some greedy Hollywood execs would step in to trash the story, killing off Elliot, Gerty & Mike in the opening scene or something lame and then throw in a bunch of shitty CGI aliens and have E.T. die before he can see his old friends. There’d also probably be a new “E.T.” in his place that was more in line with current online trends somehow. So for now ‘E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears’ will just have to get a special place in my mind as the ‘what if’ sequel that should have been. Check out this extensive look at Steven Spielbergs story treatment in this Youtube video, beware though this Youtube channel also seems to think the script sucks(WTF?), clearly this person doesn’t know a sweet sequel when he sees it – c’mon people!!:
Oh and if you’re still craving an E.T. sequel here’s that weird Xfinity commercial they decided to make instead of a real sequel:
I just checked out this trailer (released today) for the upcoming “Banana Splits” feature length film!! I know a lot of people out there don’t have any idea what hell a The Banana Splits are, but being someone who was born in the 1970’s (it aired from 1968-1970) I saw lots of this one on reruns!
Before the success of “H.R. Pufnstuf,” (who most probably don’t know what that is either anymore) Sid and Marty Krofft cooked up this wacky, live action, slightly psychedelic puppet themed Hanna-Barbera children’s series. Its theme tune, “The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)” is still iconic amongst many who grew up in the 1960’s, 70’s and even the 80’s. Check this original footage out from the show, it’s clearly perfect to inspire a horror flick:
Well this new trailer is quite a welcome surprise, I’ve always kinda thought the characters from the tv show were slightly creepy and it seems someone else was in agreeance. The Banana Splits are now entering the horror genre and I’d guess it must be because for years there’s been talk of a “Five Nights at Freddy’s” live action horror movie that’s been in developmental hell. So hey why not let the Banana Splits steal the damn spotlight? It looks like they’re maybe mechanical / animatronic puppets like Chuck E. Cheese or the “Showbiz Pizza dudes” who are also creepy as hell! I’m all for this and I think the trailer looks like a ton of fun! My childhood nostalgia has returned via the SyFy network(?!) to possibly quench my horror movie thirst! Check it out!!
Well here’s a bit of interesting news, it seems that James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) is looking bring back everyone’s favorite spooky spider film ‘Arachnophobia’ with a brand new “sequel”. 1990’s family friendly horror flick is one of my favorite, most underrated little Amblin movies. This is great news and Wan’s already eyeing up John Goodman to return in his role of master exterminator Delbert Mclintock to fight another pack of pesky spiders.
If this movie indeed does happen I hope they amp up the spider mayhem ten fold and again incorporate the use of real spiders on set. The main reason why Arachnophobia was so effective was because the real thing is just so much more creepy than CG arachnids. Let’s hope they don’t rely too much on CGI to create the spiders and hopefully there will be yet another even bigger spider to face off against in the end.
This could really be a ton of fun and even though most sites are calling this a reboot Wan’s already confirmed that this will indeed be a sequel. Maybe we could see Jeff Daniels come back too? Either way I think this could be awesome and since the ‘Roseanne’ canceling/controversy it seems Goodman may indeed have the time to come back and kick some spider butt once again….
It’s December 2016 is a time for some serious holiday celebration! Sure I’ll be watching a ton of the usual classics like Santa Claus: The Movie, Elf, Rudolph, Gremlins etc etc. However I’m going to be busting out the Christmas horror movies again this of course and hopefully here I’ll be able to give you a few ideas of some movies to check out if you’re feeling like mixing it up a bit this year. We all know about the classics like Black Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night, last years instant classic Krampus. Well here’s a few you may have never heard of but you should definitely seek out this season!
3615 code Pere Noel / AKA ‘Deadly Games’ (1989)
A true lost & forgotten gem of a movie. If you search the net for Christmas Horror movies, you for some crazy reason won’t find this one on any of the lists. However this french film, which I first saw last year, is easily one of the best Christmas horror movies of all time. It’s a rare one and finding a version of it with subtitles can be pretty difficult, I got a copy off of Ioffer.com.
Searching this one out is totally worth it though as it plays out like the ultimate 80’s Amblin style “Home Alone” hybrid of a film. It screams of the 1980’s and features a super cool kid obsessed with action movies who lives in a gigantic castle style mansion. During a snow storm on Christmas eve, he finds himself home alone with his grandfather where the house becomes under siege by a crazed maniac who is convinced he’s Santa Claus & is hell bent on punishing all those who’ve been naughty. This one deserves a proper release and then it rightly deserves to be a new addition on ALL Christmas horror lists.
The Christmas Tale (2005) Continue reading
“Stranger Things” is the series to binge on this summer, I absolutely loved it. Secondly it’s very obvious that The Duffer Brothers are fans of The Goonies, E.T., Poltergeist, Gremlins, Close Encounters and fully succeeded in replicating the nostalgic vibe of those movies for the Netflix series this summer. They gave us that special feeling we’ve all missed for so many years, especially if you grew up in those times. People are already clamoring for a second season, so what are we all supposed to do in the meantime? Well I’ve put together a list of some movies that I think likely were an inspiration to the hit series that you might have totally missed out or haven’t seen in a while!
Most of these flicks follow the “Amblin” formula. Amblin cranked out a lot of the spooky 80’s Speilberg style movies. It was a formula that seemed to put kids on dangerous adventures, most often supernatural ones, usually in small towns or the suburbs and most often trying to prove to their parents some crazy story to be true with often times unlucky results. These stories were filled with wonder and most of all they were so undeniably fun to watch that to see a series like Stranger Things in this day and age is a breath of fresh air. So here today in response I’d like to honor 10 of the lesser known movies you’ve gotta hunt down if you dug Stranger Things as much as I did.
1. The Gate (1986) To say they weren’t influenced by this movie when making Stranger Things would be a crime!!
Well it looks as if Netflix has done it again with the totally awesome new ‘Stranger Things’ series! I’ve gotta say thus far being on episode six it’s easily one of my favorite shows ever. I’m hoping these last three episodes will totally deliver the goods. A lot of new movies have tried to replicate the classic 80’s adventure, movies like Super 8 & even the X-men: Apocalypse. None of these movies have really been able to fully channel the vibes of what it was like to be a kid back then but then comes along this series and they NAIL it. It’s thus far the perfect blend of movies like E.T., Firestarter, Poltergeist & The Goonies all wrapped up neatly in a box. Everything down to the wardrobe, the music and the sheer adventure captures that old Amblin/Speilberg vibe perfectly. It’s not a carbon copy tho they’re also bringing the scares in a big way.
Also awesome is to have Winona Ryder back front and center, she of course is a big 80’s crush of mine (duh right?) AND Matthew Modine too, so that definitely adds to the 80’s authenticity of the show. I’m curious what Netflix’s plan is for the series? Is it a one off or are they looking at more seasons? I guess I need to finish it and see where it’s left off. Here’s what The series creators and directors The Duffer Brothers had to say at this time about a possible second season:
“We wanted to do a couple things with this [first] season. We didn’t want to do The Killing thing. We wanted it to resolve that main thing of Will going missing in the first season. So in that sense, it is like an eight-hour movie. Now, we don’t answer all the questions by the end of the season — there are definitely some dangling threads. The hope is that it feels satisfying but that we left room and that if people respond to it we can go back into this world. But if we do get to go back, it’s not a second season as much as a sequel.”
A sequel season sounds great to me, perhaps they could find a few other 80’s icons to flesh it out? Hmmm..Molly Ringwald or Ralph Macchio anyone?! The possibilities are pretty amazing if you think about it. Continue reading
I’m quite excited about this cool new Netflix original series coming out July 15th! ‘Stranger Things’ has all of the vibes of those amazing Amblin style adventures that I grew up with as a kid. Judging from the trailer we’re getting a bit of an E.T., Poltergeist, Close Encounters and even a bit of a Goonies feel to this series.
The kind of movies where the heroes were kids in danger, the adults just wouldn’t believe a word they’d say, kids would cruise around unsupervised on BMX bikes trying to solve crazy mysteries. There’s something special about those movies that many directors over the recent years have tried to capture in movies like JJ Abram’s ‘Super 8’, Krampus and recently ‘The Midnight Special’. Add one of my biggest 80’s crushes, Winona Ryder to the mix and it so far looks like a surefire hit.
I just heard about this today as it kinda just came out of nowhere it seems but it’s one series I’ll be checking out the day it drops see the trailer for yourself and lets cross our fingers that this one captures the mystery of those old Stephen King classics!
I’ve been trying to find some cool different movies this week for a Christmas horror movie night this weekend and I’ve gotta tell ya’ aside from the go to standards like (Black Christmas, Rare Exports, Silent Night Deadly Night, etc.) the pickin’s are pretty dang slim! There’s a serious shortage of cool weird ass fun Holiday flicks out there (however there are quite few unwatchable messes) but doing the research I’ve found two that I need to see, hopefully before Christmas is upon us this year!
First up is an odd movie way back from 1984 called “Tales of the Third Dimension”. This anthology was apparently released originally in 3-D & from what I gather the third and final story “Visions of Sugar Plums” which just happens to be the Christmas story is the only segment that’s well worth watching.
It involves two kids being dropped off at their Grandma’s house during Christmas the bad news is that Granny’s almost out of meds! So Granny loses her mind and then all sorts of crazy shit goes down, I could only find one clip on Youtube but it’s a damn good one. I’d like to get my hands on this full episode I’ve only seen it for sale on Amazon but it’s got a cool ass movie poster as well. This one could be worth the trouble of hunting down if you’re looking for something new this year!
Second I found a french movie from 1989 that looks pretty amazing called “Deadly Games” or “Game Over” or “3615 Hide and Freak” or it’s original title “3615 code Pere Noel”. This one looks pretty incredible and I actually tracked down a copy online and I’m hoping it gets here before Christmas.
This movie’s pretty unknown here in the USA but many see it as a darker version of “Home Alone” even though this one was filmed and released before. It’s described as a mix between Home Alone and Rambo boasting some dynamic action sequences.
The main character is rich kid who’s mansion home is invaded by an incredibly creepy down on his luck psycho in a Santa costume. The kid gets suited up in his army duds and paints his face all camo as he sets up deadly traps all over and tries to protect his Grandpa from the attacker.
It looks like quite an adventure and I’m always game for a cool 80’s flick done in that old school Amblin style. You can watch the whole thing on You Tube, but unfortunately it’s all in German. Check out this rad trailer!
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!