Looking for a ridiculously entertaining Halloween “party movie” this year to watch with a group of friends and a few cold ones? Well look no further, ‘Empire of the Dark’ from 1990 is one helluva great time for a gang of rowdy cinefiles. It’s written, produced, edited & directed by it’s star, the highly unlikely action hero Steve Barkett! Yeah Barkett’s vision here is obviously to put himself smack dab in the middle of full on ridiculous, over the top action, horror, drama and ultra cheez’d out romance. As the true jack of all trades in front of and behind the camera Barkett admittedly has a certain undeniable charm about him, an almost vintage Shatner-esque way of moving through the mayhem. He’s certainly NOT your typical action hero, the slightly out of shape, sweatpants wearing, ass kicker doesn’t need to fit the mold as he’s clearly got enough passion in the project to prove all the naysayers wrong. At least he tries his damndest!
Everything about this movie is highly ambitious, as he clearly didn’t have a gigantic budget, he fully utilizes every trick in the book to attempt to make this one as epic looking as possible. Sometimes it actually works too, he’s got monster cult members, a huge stop motion/puppet demon and a few set pieces that have me scratching my head wondering just how the hell he pulled some of this all off at all. The plot too is pretty sweet as well, we’ve got heroic policeman (Steve Barkett of COURSE!) who steps through a time vortex to a different dimension to save the woman he loves (whom he was having an affair with) and her newborn baby from a “sinister” satanic cult.
He escapes the cult saving only the baby, leaving his lover behind to die and we flash forward 20 years later. Barkett is now an ex-cop master swordsman, who still longs for his past love. That doesn’t stop him from being quite the ladies man of course, Barkett has surely got some pick up lines that wouldn’t fly today. We follow him as he slowly becomes convinced his lost love is somehow still alive and that the sinister cult has indeed returned to wreck havoc in the small town. From this point on things get even more ridiculous in the most charmingly idiotic ways. Bad sword fights, a terrible training montage, “steamy” sex scenes, supernatural encounters and utterly moronic dialogue make this one the perfect Halloween party movie.
Barkett clearly had a solid vision for this little ridiculous adventure as it’s jammed packed with “interesting” characters, some surprisingly solid special fx for the time, babes, monsters and even some sweet gore. Barkett even goes the distance with the romance making sure his character has plenty of it on display as well as some solidly stupid attempts at drama. The whole thing is a giant damn ball of idiotic fun, a full on Steve Barkett vanity project that was a true pleasure to watch for the first time. If you’re a fan of stuff like ‘Troll 2’ or ‘The Room’ then you’ve got to hunt this one down, it’s a better great bad movie than both!! Grab a copy on dvd HERE!!
I for some damn reason checked out this shoddy sequel to the 1990 horror flick ‘Mirror Mirror’ the other night & the one surprise greater than anything this film could muster up was Mark “Incredible Hulk” Ruffalo in his first “real” movie appearance! So ‘Mirror Mirror 2: Raven Dance’ came out in 1994, though it really feels much more like a mid 80’s movie with it’s special fx work/plot. It starts off pretty strong actually, showing a lot of cheezy promise, that is if you’re a fan of low budget 80’s horror stuff. We’ve got creepy nuns in a convent along with a “terrifying” giant vintage mirror that’s some sort of portal to another dimension of evil. It emits that 80’s style energy electricity fx I love so much, all over the damn place turning a bunch of nuns into piles of burnt ash, it’s admittedly a pretty sweet opening making me for a second think I’d unearthed some sort of forgotten gem of a horror flick!
Well we then switch to “present day” 1994 where we meet a bad ass alternative rock band on tour, who seem to be channeling the Red Hot Chili Peppers and for some reason they’re rehearsing for a gig in town at the old church. There’s a random teenage girl there hanging out with them, who ends up being the main focus of the movie and of course the douchey band members can’t resist uncovering the giant haunted mirror & are sadly destroyed all too soon by the evil mirror’s supernatural energy blasts. I was hoping these idiots would be present most of the movie but alas…Anyway Roddy Mcdowell also stars in one of his most boring roles and the movie slogs along at a snail’s pace until Mark Rufflo emerges as some sort of “mysterious” character who might be evil but it also some sort of “sexy” love interest. That actually was pretty unexpected!
Throw in a weird crazed handyman, a useless subplot with a greedy stepsister trying to extort some big money from the main character and eventually about 30 seconds of a pretty cool monster, more energy bursts from the mirror and well….ah…ok…who gives a shit, let’s not waste anymore time trying to explain this crappy ass mess, so here’s Mark Ruffalo’s first movie appearance in this boring pile of shit waste of time horror flick!!
I recently checked out a pretty sweet little horror anthology from 1985 called ‘Night Train to Terror’ on VHS and it did indeed deliver the goods, especially in that oh so ridiculously sweet 80’s way. It’s not always easy to find a decent horror anthology but this one had a certain charm about it especially with it’s rather ambitious special fx & visuals that really made it such a damn good time.
The movie certainly kicks off with a total bang as we’re thrust into a full blown dance party on a train, with crazy 80’s fashion, a super cheezed out band rockin’ performing a totally “rad” third rate pop song. Now that’s a train I want to reserve a seat on! Anyway, soon we realize that God and Satan are also on a train that’s flying through outer space and trying to determine who will live on the party train as it’s going to crash. This is where we see the frightening tales of evil materialize on screen as it sets the stage for the stories involving some of the more questionable passengers.
So what we’ve got here are a few cool tales of terror, what’s really interesting is these stories here are all apparently edited versions of different horror films: Death Wish Club, Cataclysm and an unfinished movie project with Richard Moll (of Night Court fame) called Scream Your Head Off. Yeah and if you’re for some reason a big Richard Moll fan you’ll be pleased to know he stars in two of the segments! Also while we’re on the hot topic of Richard Moll flicks, you’ve got to check out ‘The Dungeonmaster’ from 1984, which is easily one of the most ridiculously fun horror/Sci fi flicks of the 80s. So back to the Night Train, it would seem one reason why these segments work so well is that they’ve likely trimmed out all of the excess fat from these movies and got to get straight to the damn point. So many obscure 80’s horror flicks would be bonafide cult classics if they’d trim 20 or so minutes from their run times. That’s a fact!
Yep, Night Train has got a lot to offer in it’s spooky entries, but don’t expect shit to make a heckuva lot of sense. The stories are actually kinda confusing, probably because they’ve been majorly butchered to pieces. That being said, there’s some cool shit going on, there’s one about a dude who drugs women, then kills them only to collect their organs. There’s a ton of nudity and some gore and of course Richard Moll shows up. The next segment’s about a freaky ass death club, whose members are obsessed with near death experiences, not the “out of body” stuff but like putting themselves into elaborate death traps to see if they can survive it. This one’s also pretty damn confusing, but there’s some cool ass traps and a rad killer insect that they let out of a bottle to fly around them at a dinner table..oh yeah and then some killer big hungry monster bugs! Lastly the third one was fucking fantastic, It had some weird ass Nazi guy who never ages, you guessed it…more Richard Moll, monsters a plenty and a totally excellent stop-motion animation creature sequence. This one’s story is super confusing as well, or maybe i’m just stupid, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s all 80’s gory goodness. I’d say just drink some booze and smoke a joint before watching, as it’s not there to wow anyone with a well crafted story that’s for sure!
So check this one out if you’re in the mood for a sweet 1980’s horror party flick, it delivers on all levels and you really don’t have to pay much attention to what’s going on, just sit back and enjoy the goofy ambition of it all…
There are movies way back from when I was a kid that I never thought would see the light of day on dvd. I’ve fond memories of going to the video store (back in the 1980’s when everything was VHS or Beta!) on the weekend and picking out movies with my friends on our parents video store cards. Mostly what I remember most are the amazing VHS box cover art from the 1980’s and how excited I was to get back home and watch the movies! We had to be sneaky around our parents because a lot of these movies they would’ve never allowed us to watch. It’s funny to, looking back because most of these movies we were sneaking around with were incredibly cheezy horror, action or sci-fi flicks that most people today think are nothing more than laughable cinema. To us though that shit was fully legit!
So years have passed and many of those flicks have been forgotten right? WRONG!! Thanks to Shout! Factory we are getting a LOT of those classic movies released now on DVD! I recently had some extra money to blow and found two movies I’d thought would remain on VHS only forever. However not only did they have them both on DVD but they also came with three other movies each that I have never seen before, but fondly remember their cover art from back in the 1980’s!! First up is one of my faves as kid, The Eliminators!
This movie was featured a couple times at our Bad Movie Nights we have here in Pdx and it delivers the goods above and beyond every damn time! If you are looking for the ultimate movie to get wasted with your friends and laugh (and love at the same time) this is IT!
The DVD of this one also includes three other movies which I have never seen, “Arena” from 1989, America 3000 from 1986 & The Time Guardian from 1989. So for a mere $9.99 you’ve got quite an exciting quadruple feature!!
Second I found that they released “The Dungeonmaster” from 1985 which was also one of my all time favorite movies as a kid. Being eleven years old and seeing this one for the first time back then was a real treat. The movie is downright ridiculous but it’s jammed to the brim with stop motion monsters, puppets, animatronics, crazy action, adventure, Richard Moll in a cloak & a rock and roll battle against the heavy metal band W.A.S.P.!
This one should really be viewed as a double feature with Eliminators but the DVD also features 3 other flicks two of which I have never seen before! “Cellar Dweller” from 1988 which is a pretty cool little monster flick, “Catacombs” and “Contamination 7” from 1993. So if you love those old video store movies of the 1980’s as much as I do but don’t have a VHS player or access to these on video do yourself a favor and spend some time exploring the Shout! Factory website!
The year was 1988 and it was time to finally bring the family house cat to the forefront of modern TERROR!!!! Yeah watching “Uninvited” for the first time was quite a treat. This is one that will most definitely be making the cut for Bad Movie Night!
The story is simple a shady laboratory is doing some strange experimenting on a cute little orange house cat and have determined that this little fur ball has a weird tumor growing inside of him. However these numb nut doctors accidentally let him escape, it doesn’t take much as the cat strolls out of the lab pretty leisurely while the security team is frantically on it’s trail. This is when we all first get a glimpse of the “univited” early on, this darling little cat has some crazed devil rat cat living inside it’s body. Whenever this cat gets pissed off it crawls out of it’s mouth and gives an ass kicking to anyone who steps in it’s damn way!
Pretty fucking rad huh? Well when you see this little pathetic monster who looks like he’s been swimming in Crisco cooking grease all day you may think otherwise. Every he graces the screen though I guarantee you’ll have a big fat fucking smile on your face. Anyway this cat, who’s constantly meowing without his mouth opening, ends up hopping aboard a yacht owned by a dirty money hungry gangster and a bunch of wise ass hot shot college kids. The year is 1988, that sure is clear in this flick, you get an ultra second rate music score that sounds like it was written by Boy George’s stepbrother’s cousin, impromptu dance parties, skanky 80’s babes who invite strange random dudes on a weekend sea cruise after only meeting them for literally sixty seconds. This sets the stage for an ocean boat ride of sheer idiotic terror!
We’ve got a boatload full of irritating eighties jerk offs and a cute cuddly kitty, who always looks like a completely different cat every time he shows up, with a belly full of evil ready to go ballistic anytime it gets mildly annoyed. Greydon Clark, wrote this movie must have had some serious feline issues as it’s hard to believe this concept was stretched into a full feature length film.
Still when you see the Crisco drenched devil rat cat crawling in and out of the puppet house cat’s mouth again and again it makes this shiny terd of a movie a worthwhile treat. Next time I view it I’ll make sure it’s with a room full of friends and a LOT o’ booze. Don’t miss it as it’s out on a double feature dvd now with another movie called Mutant from 1984 originally called Night Shadows, which I can only hope is as rad as Uninvited….
Well it’s that time of the year again where we have our sporadic but traditional BAD MOVIE NIGHT! Myself and fellow blogger Sheaehs are gearing up to show some real stinkers once again this Friday. It definately takes the right person to enjoy Bad Movie Night I will say. First you just have to have a sense of humor, second you gotta have some serious patience and third some wit to throw at the screen. Though it’s not neccessary you might also wanna have a six pack to make the experience more bearable if the movie is just a flat out stinkin’ flaming turd! So far we’ve had some good picks that were pretty damn enjoyable! Some features included: She, The Guyver, Dungeonmaster, My Demon Lover, Mac & Me, The Roger Corman version of the Fantastic Four and The Eliminators just to respectively name a few.
This time we’re gearing up with two movies that will hopefully have the audience’s brains melting! My selection thus far is Abraxas: Guardian of the Galaxy, starring Jesse The Body Ventura! Now I have never actually seen this movie but have wanted to for years and just recently acquired it on dvd at the local Goodwill. This movie looks pretty damn bad and I might have to do a sneak peak before hand just to make sure it really delivers the suck. This is what the 1990 movie poster looked liked: