Tagged: best horror movies of the 2000s
The Best of Netflix DVD: Reggie Banister Enters the CEMETERY GATES!!
Reggie Banister of “Phantasm fame” is one of my favorite horror heroes-hands down! The horror franchise is my all time favorite of the genre, Reggie is one of the main reasons why it resonates with me so hard. What I’ve noticed though is Reg really doesn’t take center stage in any other movies I can think of, it’s usually just brief cameos in things like ‘Bubba Ho-tep’ or even ‘Kenny & Company’. Well that’s what I was led to believe but low and behold through the Netflix “red envelope” dvd mailer program (that’s sadly coming to an end soon), I received a movie from queue that’d been sitting there for years! The 2004 (or 2006?) horror flick CEMETERY GATES finally arrived in the mail, I really had quite low expectations and quickly noticed Reggie Banister was appearing, I figured he’d likely be doing another “horror cameo” in a low budget production. Well I couldn’t have been more wrong!
I was pleasantly surprised, Reggie is one of the main characters in this one & better yet even the movie is somehow a total gem-a gore soaked, practical fx creature feature with heart and a heroic dose of humor while also a somewhat intriguing story at play. Yeah I was expecting a steamin’ load of shit and what I got was one of my new favorites of the 2000’s horror movies. It’s filled with a cast of fun characters, many of which are total boneheads, which make this little gnarly flick even more of a blast. It’s the story of an escaped lab animal-a giant mutated Tasmanian devil named “Precious” who goes on a muderous rampage in the countryside when set loose by some numbskull animal rights activists.
The lab Precious came from is owned by……Reggie Banister, a seasoned scientist who’s sad about his son moving out on his own. His son an aspiring horror filmmaker is heading out to the country with his horny numb nut buddies to film a zombie film, little does he know his childhood now mutated “pet” Precious (who was experimented on) is running wild in the vicinity.
Precious though is not the only threat, there’s some horny braindead hillbillies, who look like the perfect lunch for a tasmanian devil, also raising hell. Reggie and his sexy scientist buddy soon discover the missing creature and set out to the countryside to try and track it down before it goes completely bonkers on the local population.
Cemetery Gates has got a lot going for it, Reggie pretty awesome in it and there’s a certain bit of idiotic charm to his relationship with his son AND his son’s relationship with the former lab pet turned mutant. It’s also a load of fun to see all these utterly moronic characters get ripped to shreds by Precious. We’ve got the idiotic hillbillies, some middle aged stoners, Richard Elfman as an insane fisherman, the bonehead amateur actors and a few random hikers that suffer the brunt of the gore. The fun is really had when we see Precious in the flesh on it’s killing spree. She tears limbs, decapitates and rips apart a ton of people all in gloriously gooey practical fx and real onscreen “blood” galore. The creature looks pretty damn good too in that sorta 1980s style monster mayhem.
It’s so absurdly charming looking in the flesh and when the final confrontation goes down with Precious it becomes a “family affair’. Reggie, his son, his girlfriend and Reggie’s hot lab partner go all in on taking down the mutated ‘taz in a dark subterranean lair beneath a cemetery. There’s some real heart here at it’s core that sincerely shines through all of the moronic antics that occur and I really appreciate the entire fiasco.
It to me, hits all the right beats, finally another film essentially featuring Reggie front and center to love. He’s here in all of his hair dyed glory to kick some monster booty once again & who’d have thought it’d be again in the mid 2000’s? There’s some good atmosphere and plenty of mischief for Reggie & co to get into as well. If this thing had been released in the 80s it’d be a bonafide cult classic. I’ve NEVER heard anyone speak a peep about Cemetery Gates, so I’m taking it to my platform to get the damn word out.
It’s the perfect midnight movie to rock with some starving cinemaniacs-they may doubt it’s merit by it’s cover but chances are it’ll quench any gorehounds thirst as well as tickle their funny bone. Cemetery Gates is true 2000’s cult classic in the wings….
80’s ‘The Hitcher’ Director’s Other Creepy Wild Road Flick: HIGHWAYMEN!
So I still use than damn red envelope Netflix service! Yes, it’s true, DVDs still come to my residence regularly. Yes, I may be one of the last people in the country but hey let’s be honest, the selection of DVD’s they have are far and away better than the forgettable movies & bland series they churn out onto their streaming service. Well, yesterday they delivered an interesting one to my mail box: 2003’s ‘Highwaymen’ from Robert Harmon the director of 1986’s ‘The Hitcher’, easily one of the best highway horror movies of ALL time. Well it turns out Harmon had another trick up his sleeve that he saved for the 2000’s, between his run on the Tom Selleck ‘Jesse Stone’ movies (ok that I was surprised to find out about). Hey that’s besides the point because Harmon clearly has some skills when he gets into his element of car related horror, at least I think so!
I had very, very low expectations for ‘Highwaymen’, the early 2000’s aren’t exactly my choice era for movie viewing and my discovery of his ‘Jesse Stone’ flicks didn’t exactly add to the excitement (or maybe I’m missing something? Are the Jesse Stone movies actually totally RAD?!). However from the opening of this one my interest was peaked and a weird movie that hung around in my queue for ages began to transform into somewhat of a forgotten gem before my very eyes. Jim Cavezial stars as traumatized husband who witnesses his wife murdered in broad daylight, while walking on the side of a country road from a clearly intentional hit and run. From there we skip ahead in time and it seems the same 1972 Cadillac Eldorado is back on the road and out for some more deadly “hit and run” fun, this time targeting two women driving at night on the highway. From behind the beastly car’s wheel we can see a strange man with crude prosthetic limbs aggressively shifting the gears and enjoying the roadway terror all too much.
Only one of the women survives the encounter and ends up meeting Cavezial seemingly “by chance” and the two embark on a creepy road adventure to get revenge on the maniac serial killer driver. I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining this one was and that might be because of just how absurd this one’s plot really is and how straight it’s all played. You’re going to have to suspend your disbelief for pretty much every action sequence here, as I said it’s totally absurd but in the best ways possible.
That’s not say they’re not totally enjoyable, action packed and thrilling, Harmon’s got the chops here and jam packs some crazy ass shit into a barely 80 minute run time and it’s all beautifully filmed. There’s some epic road battles here and the psycho villain (who’d probably hung out with Rutger Hauer’s character from the Hitcher back in the 80’s), simply referred to as “Fargo” is a bizarre creation as he’s essentially merged with his vintage car to cause ultimate terror on the highway. Throw in a little ridiculous backstory and you’e got a pretty unique little highway horror flick that’s pace never lets up.
If you’re looking for a quick, action packed, car based horror thriller this one is a pretty fun one that’d be perfect to pair up as the opening act for a double feature with the 1986 cult classic ‘The Hitcher’! It’s not gotten much love over the years, probably because no one’s really heard of it or given it a chance (damn you Jesse Stone!). However as far as road based horror goes I think Highwayman is on it’s way to becoming a cult classic as it’s, at least in my opinion, in my opinion aged quite well over the last 17 years! Give it a shot!