‘Hiruko The Goblin’ from 1990 has got to be one of the best horror movies from Japan I’ve ever seen. It hits all the right beats for me in what I personally love from the late 80’s early 90’s genre movies. Directed by the iconic Shinya Tsukamoto, most well known for his epic, bizarre cyber punk horror oddity ‘Tetsuo: the Iron Man’ he delivers another slam dunk here a couple years after with this. However, this particular movie of his has gotten a lot of criticism for being so totally different from ‘Tetsuo’. Haruko spends more time on character development, humor and over the top monsters, as well as a heavy dose of heart. For me this is a much better formula than the grimy bleak mood of most of this directors other work.
This plays out way more like ‘Evil Dead 2’ meets ‘The Ghostbusters’ then his cyberpunk Cronenbergian/ David Lynch tinged outings. The story is simple yet truly bizarre: a school has literally been built on a gate to Hell behind which hordes of demons await the moment they will be freed to wreak havoc on the physical plane. Hiruko is a powerful and cunning creature sent to Earth on a reconnaissance mission, he decapitates humans in order to assemble their heads on demonic spider like bodies and command them to do his wicked deeds. Eventually this gory predicament falls into the lap of an archaeology professor, who’s dramn to the abandoned school during summer time to investigate the supernatural shenanigans and stop this demonic onslaught.
One of my favorite aspects of this movie are the two protagonists a teenage high school student and his odd demon-lore obsessed archeologist uncle. When the boy’s father goes missing while exploring the caverns beneath the school, his eccentric uncle arrives on the scene to help him search the school armed with some nifty demon busting equiptment. From here it leads them on an epic surreal journey facing off with creatures in the creepy empty corridors of the school. It also explores family dynamics, all with a slightly light-hearted comedic edge to it amidst the mayhem.
The other big star of the show here is most definitely the special-effects showcased, if you’re a fan of 80s monster movies this one will definitely be right up your alley Hiruko and his minions are a true sight to behold and the director uses almost every 80’s style effect in the book to bring them to life. From animatronics to stop motion animation, it’s all here and the creepy aesthetics and setting of the film are the perfect place for this all to unfold. Also the movie’s got a relatively lean run time I’d less than 90 minutes, so it’s not something that’s going to put you to sleep. A true visual treat as well, with a little bit of everything for everyone. It’s ambitious horror film from what I consider the tail end of the golden age of the genre that more audiences in the U.S.A need to view. A cross between Ghostbusters, Evil Dead II, Poltergeist & The Thing done by way of Japanese brilliance. Also a perfect movie for this Halloween season that you might not have seen before! Physical copies of this can be pricey and hard to track down but I’m certain it must be streaming somewhere?! This need a deluxe blu ray release badly!!
Hey I’m back & I’m coming at you with 5 badass movie recommendations for everyone who’s staying home as much as possible due to the crazy ongoing crisis in the country. It’s definitely been a strange summer so far and it’s looking more and more likely that many states might go back on lockdown. So with that being said I think it’s a good idea to have some cool shit planned for those days ahead whether or not it ends up happening. I’ve got 5 flicks that you’ve got to check out if you’re a fan of 80’s and early 90’s cult/cinema/horror goodness! You know, movies that took place in far simpler, more totally rad times in general! So let’s get down to business-it’s been too long!
Miracle Mile (1988)
Damn this movie was a great surprise, especially if you are obsessed with the 1980’s. Right off the bat, It’s got one of the coolest soundtracks around from the masters Tangerine Dream. It’s basically the story of a guy in L.A., in a brand new relationship, who late one evening randomly answers a ringing pay phone. He has a bizarre conversation with a soldier who claims to have secret info of a nuclear missile that’s currently headed there for a collision course with the city! There’s so much tension as he tries to figure out what the hell to do next and if the threat is even real at all. If it is he’d better come up with one helluva plan to get out of dodge, save himself and his new love before the city is turned to a big pile of rubble. It’s filled with thrills ‘a plenty, true heart, action, comedy, romance and a looming sense of impending doom that’s hard to shake! Track this down if you’re looking for a nearly all but forgotten pitch perfect 80’s gem.
Full Eclipse (1993)
Yeah, Mario Van Peebles kicks major ass in this awesome early 90’s horror/action hybrid cult classic. It’s got a full on “Blade” vibe to it too as Mario plays a cop who bites off more than he can chew when he meets an elite group of vigilantes who get jacked up on a weird drug that mutates them into wolf like super humans. He eventually gets tricked into getting a dose of the drug and finds himself conflicted in the ranks of his new gang of “crime fighting” friends. Filled with frenetic action, lots of blood, cool fx and a big hairy ass werewolf, Full Eclipse is 90’s horror action gold. It also showcases Mario’s skills as an action hero that really deserved much more cred back in the day. I love that he basically becomes Wolverine with a gun! You can’t go wrong with this one, it’s kind of like werewolf vigilante version of The Lost Boys meets the X-men!
Web of Deception (1989)
This rad little creepy Hong Kong thriller is a ton of fun! It’s got an all female cast of women who get tangled in a true “web of bloody deception” filled with evil double crossing and plenty of murder. A high profile business woman finds herself being blackmailed by a mysterious stranger right before she’s to relocate to Canada for a new job opportunity. Becoming more than obsessed in finding out who the crook is she’s soon stalked inside of her dimly lit mansion by the money hungry perp. Things get fully out of control & over the top as several “friendly” acquaintances find themselves wrapped up in the drama as well and soon no one is to be trusted. This absurd, darkly comedic thriller takes so many unbelievably fun twists and turns that you’ll have to turn your own suspension of disbelief up to 11, all the way to it’s crazy finale. Great sinister atmosphere & awesome evil females really prove that the ladies can be just as terrible as the men. It can be tuff to find, but it’s definitely worth the trouble to track down..
The Aftermath (1982)
Have you ever seen ‘Empire of the Dark’? If so you’re likely a big fan of Steve Barkett, the most unlikely of action heroes!! If you’ve never seen “Empire” you’ll likely wanna check ‘The Aftermath’ first, though not as ridiculously over the top as it’s predecessor it’s a great intro to the “younger” more “fit” version of Barkett. The Aftermath was written, directed, produced by & stars Barkett and you can definitely tell it’s the case because he’s always way on top of his damn game. It’s got a sort of ‘Planet of the Apes’ type of thing going on, as he plays an astronaut who returns to Earth after a nuclear holocaust to encounter evil gangs, mutants, beautiful women (of course right?) & main diabolical villain, Sid Haig! Barkett pours his heart and soul into making himself the best at damn near everything he attempts and really goes the distance with his limited budget to recreate a demolished cityscape. It’s a grimy world but Barkett is there to clean it up, save the ladies and take no prisoners. It’s a perfect midnight movie, filled with stupidly awesome action sequences and some sweet gore to boot! Double feature this one with Empire of the Dark from 1990 for the full “Barkett Experience’!!
Def by Temptation (1990)
Here’s probably the best Troma release outside of the ‘Toxic Avenger’, a great horror flick that simply deserves more love. One of the few early all black cast/directed horror movies make this a pretty unique viewing experience. The simple tale of an evil succubus who hangs out at a local big city bar to pick up skeezy womanizers and feed on their sinning souls! With a bit of a “Fright Night” vibe going on & a cast of interesting characters (plus a cameo from Samuel L. Jackson!) Def By Temptation def has a lot going for it. The ultra charismatic Kadeem Hardison leads this movie along with James Bond III (who’s sadly the weak link here) as two friends who become involved in the twisted web of the demonic woman, both falling hard for her one night while out at the bar. Add the awesome Bill Nun to the action and you’ve got a pretty well rounded cast of characters looking to get to the bottom of the mysteriously evil barfly. There’s some great 80’s fx here, comedy, gore and plenty of sexy exploits to behold. Much of the movie has a sort of dreamlike feel to it as well and the whole thing just looks fucking great. Super sleazy totally fun horror romp that many fans missed the first time around!
I headed out to the local video store the other night (yeah in Portland we still got an amazing one called Movie Madness) to rent some movies, just like we used to do back in the good ol’ days. Let’s face it folks, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the bland streaming services like Netflix and physically roam around a video store in hopes of stumbling across something entertaining. I decided this time I’d check out some new stuff I haven’t seen streaming out there.
First up was ‘Gags The Clown’ a movie I’d wanted to check out for quite some time now, being a Wisconsin native for much of my life & knowing this horror flick takes place in Green Bay (a place I’d personally hung out so many times in my teens & twenties) made this a no brainer rental. The cover art alone is pretty awesome and would look lovely gracing an old VHS.
Anyway I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a giant fan of “found footage” horror movies and it’s been pretty played out these days in my opinion at least. But in this case I was lured in mainly because I’m just downright intrigued by movies made in ‘The Dairy state’. So the idea of ‘Gags’ was inspired by the whole creepy clown roaming the streets in real life viral video phenomenon a few years or so back. The interesting thing here is that creator of ‘Gags’ actually took advantage of this using his character to supposedly fool local Green Bay residents and the local news to report on it, eventually gathering up some worldwide interest in the creepy clown. A pretty brilliant marketing move to say the least. Continue reading
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!!
Wow, my mind has officially been blown by Panos Cosmatos’ second feature film ‘Mandy’! I was lucky enough to catch it this crazy ass flick last Sunday evening at Cinema 21 here in Portland with a rowdy packed theater. I’m damn glad I decided to make a run to the cinema rather than renting this online ‘cuz in my opinion that’s the absolute best way to see this one for the first time. After watching the steaming pile of crap that was ‘The Predator’ at a matinee Friday, a movie like Mandy was a complete and total breath of fresh air. I guess the best thing to say here is this movie may not be for everyone, but if you’re ready to take one of the craziest mind bending cinematic journeys of the last couple decades then you’re gonna fucking love it. Hell even the poster is awesome!
Mandy is a completely insane revenge flick set in the early 80’s and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before. I’m so used to seeing big crappy Hollywood blockbusters in the theater, so this was a bit of of a welcome shock to my noggin. The whole movie plays out like an uncomfortable fever dream, with Nicholas Cage as a logger named “Red” who lives out in the Pacific Northwest with his beautiful but eerily mesmerizing girlfriend Mandy. They live a quiet, serene life in an incredibly strange home in the middle of the woods, with large glass walls that bring to mind elements of a real life fairy tale. Everything’s dark yet overly drenched in vibrant hues of reds, purples & thick lush colors creating a surreal landscape that feels like a dream put right on the screen in front of you. It’s a spectacle to behold and it’s clear from the start that Red & Mandy have been through a lot together, sharing a truly special bond in their secluded life. Mandy works at a nearby convenience store, wears cool heavy metal tees and loses herself in fantasy novels while Red spends his time chopping down trees with his chainsaw. The two of them are pictured intently watching 80’s horror flicks together (NIGHTBEAST!), chatting about what their favorite planets are, showing they’re living a rather sweet, simple and innocent life together at this point.
Well shit majorly hits the fan when a crazy van full of uber religious cult members roll into the area and their leader spots the oddly beautiful Mandy walking on the road one day. The cult leader is seemingly hypnotized by her and quickly declares that he must have her for his own. The first hour of the movie is pretty slow moving but in the best way possible, though we don’t get much backstory, we do get a clear picture of the love Mandy & Red share for each other, which makes what follows all that more intensely heartbreaking. I don’t want to spoil anything here, but let’s just say this cult goes the full distance to send Nicholas Cage into a fully batshit crazy journey that’s part Evil Dead, part Hellraiser and part LSD drenched revenge fantasy. I know people have a sort of ironic love for Nicholas Cage these days but seriously Cage fully shines here in easily one of his best performances of his career. He’s awesome and not in some ridiculous sort of way. The movie goes to some truly bizarre places, the violence plentiful and there are a ton of oddball surprises all along the way.
The movie even has a sense of humor as well, though it feels like an unsettling waking nightmare most of it’s run time, there’s something truly comforting about having Nic Cage there with you as your guide through the mayhem of it all. It gives you a sense of hope that just maybe you’ll make it out of it all alive somehow. There’s also a strong heavy metal vibe to film, not just in it’s imagery but also in the score, which is completely breathtaking in it’s thunderous doom metal delivery through the hellish otherworldly landscapes. The music here is incredible and liley half of the charm of why Mandy works so damn well honestly.
There’s also cool hand drawn animated interludes that bring to mind the 1981 cult classic “Heavy Metal” in the best ways possible. Add in amazing practical fx work, crazy gore, epic weapon crafting, chainsaws, Goblin Mac & Cheese (just wait and see), drugs galore, demonic cenobite like bikers and a sweet ass cameo from Predator’s Bill Duke and you’ve got yourself one truly freaky epic horror masterpiece unlike anything you’ve like ever seen before. I can’t say enuff good things about this movie, it’s still floating around in my head four days after viewing it. I can though easily say that Mandy thus far is my favorite movie of 2018!
I finally got a chance last night to check out the latest Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider, The Gravedancers) ) horror movie starring none other than one of my fave 80’s action icons Mr. Dolph Lundgren! What we’ve got here is a pretty sweet lil’ horror / action hybrid that’s likely to please any fan of good ol’ Dolph. This one puts Jebidiah Woodley (Lundgren) front and center as grizzled demon hunter who strolls into a small town where a recent string of murders has got the folks in a panic. He tries to convince the local cops that something supernatural is afoot but of course they all just think he’s some crazy ass dude and end up locking him away for a night in jail. They soon figure out though Jebidiah ain’t all that crazy after all as they come face to face with a creepy possessed killer while he’s locked up. Lundgren is quickly freed and leads the police on a bit of a wild goose chase to find the pesky demonic killer.
It’s a nice simple plot, short and sweet. The movie’s barely 80 minutes long but packs a fair amount of excitingly gruesome scenes into it’s short run time. ‘Don’t kill It’ is a damn good time, it’s an old fashioned 80’s style movie that borrows a bit from the Denzel Washington/John Goodman horror thriller ‘Fallen’. Heck this one could almost be considered some sort of sequel despite the tonal differences of the two. Lundgren totally shines here and is utilized in exactly the way I hoped he’d be, more like an Ash type anti-hero who cracks his fair share of one liners while thoroughly kicking evil ass. He’s easily the best thing about this one and I’m already hoping that we see him return for a sequel that brings him into the fold of even more insane mayhem. The only real problem is that the movie maybe peaks a little to soon as it’s shining moment takes place about one third of the way through. A town hall meeting gone incredibly wrong becomes an insanely grotesque show of over the top action, comedy & gore. Continue reading
I haven’t even heard of ‘Stan Against Evil’ the latest horror comedy series debuting on IFC this coming week but one thing is for certain someone is trying to give Ash Williams a run for his money. I’m not sure this series will hold a candle to Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead BUT I do love me some John C. Mcginley that’s for sure! Anyway I had a feeling that someone would come along and try something similar to Campbell’s hit series sooner or later.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think from the preview that the show actually looks like something I’ll totally like and the premise sounds promising too:
“STAN AGAINST EVIL follows Stan Miller (McGinley), a perpetually disgruntled former sheriff of a small New England town who was forced into retirement. Stan has trouble relinquishing his authority to Evie Barret (Varney), the tough and beautiful new sheriff in town, but they form an unlikely alliance when both begin to realize things are not quite right in their quaint New England town. Together, they valiantly fight a plague of unleashed demons that have been haunting the town, which just happens to be built on the site of a massive 17th century witch burning.”
The show looks promising and I’m excited to see exactly what it brings to the table, perhaps some hyper crazy HP Lovecraftian adventures?
Well whatever the case count me in, Mcginley has been in a ton of cool flicks over the years and he deserves his time to shine again, I hope this is it!! What do you think? Does this look like competition for Ash?!
Here’s an incredible piece of artwork from an awesome 80’s horror movie called The Spookies. I’ve always loved this cover and remember it from waaaaay back when I was a kid in the video store. I only recently saw the movie and it was a damn fun time. I come to find out that the movie was actually supposed to be called “Twisted Souls” and had financial problems causing post production on the movie to come to a halt in 1984. A year later the movie was pieced together with a different director filming additional story lines to finalize the movie in a somewhat cohesive manner with the existing footage. If you get a chance to check out The Spookies it’s worth it, especially if you were a fan of the video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. It feels like these guys must have been big fans for sure!
Looking for a cool new Halloween Horror flick to watch this year and are all out of new ideas?! Well I’ve got a fun one for you, ‘Deathgasm’ will deliver the mayhem and then some as the perfect Halloween party flick this year. This new movie, straight out of New Zealand delivers the blood and guts in the same vein as Peter Jackson’s classic splatter flick ‘Dead Alive’. Yep what you’ll get here is a full on black metal gore fest brimming with comedy and heart. This one would play quite nicely next to the 1986 classic “Trick or Treat” as it’s quite similar actually in many ways. Which is always a good thing of course.
It’s the story of teenage metal head who’s mom goes crazy and he’s sent to live with his uncle in a small town. His new surrogate family thinks he’s a total freak and his meathead cousin has got in in for him big time. At school he’s picked on and develops a crush on his evil cousins preppy girlfriend. Totally down on his luck he finally meets a fellow metalhead and starts a metal band eventually leading them to playing an ancient song that awakens vicious demons that run rampant all over town. From here things get super crazy as the band must find a way to reverse the spell and send the pesky demons straight back to hell!
As you might guess this is no easy task and the band has to slaughter of fuck ton of demons in the process. There’s a ton of crazy gore, heads flying, bodies sliced in two, weaponized twenty sided dice, dildos and of course anal beads. Yeah you heard that correct. This is a party movie above and beyond being a gory ass horror flick and is really the perfect flick for a wild crowd at a Halloween party this year. The movie delivers some pretty excellent practical effects as well and doesn’t skimp on the laughs either. It’s really more of Comedy than anything else which might be my only real gripe with it.
I totally dig horror comedies but I think this one might have benefitted a bit more in playing it’s story a bit more heavy handed. Sometimes the modern horror comedies play a bit too heavily to keep the fans too in on the joke. However this is one of the stronger flicks of the genre I’ve seen recently.
It reminds me a bit of the awesome 2007 flick Jack Brooks Monster Slayer (another great choice of a movie for Halloween), especially a scene in Deathgasm that’s almost a total rip from Robert Englund’s amazing performance in ‘Jack Brooks’. Lastly any fans of true metal will likely dig the music and the references to many classic death, grindcore and black metal bands. So if you’re in the mood for the perfect movie to crowd around with your buddies and a bunch of weed and booze this Halloween make no mistake Deathgasm IS your flick!!
Some good news for fans of metal music and horror flicks! Yeah the power of real metal isn’t showcased enough these days so this is a sweet bit of info for all you headbangers! First is the trailer for New Zealand flick “Deathgasm”! This one looks like a throwback to movies like “Rock & Roll Nightmare”, “The Gate” and “Trick Or Treat” from the 1980’s with a bit of Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive thrown in for good measure. By the trailer and a few recent reviews it’s sounds like this one is gonna be full on shock rocker!
Here’s the synopsis:
“After his mother is institutionalized, misfit Brodie is sent to live with his Uncle Albert and Aunt Mary, whose son David torments him. A heavy metal fan, Brodie forms a band called DEATHGASM with his friends Zakk, Dion, and Giles. When bandmates break into a local house, they discover that one of their idols, reclusive musician Rikki Daggers, lives there. Daggers gives the band magical sheet music, which a cult later murders him to find. Skeptical of the sheet music’s power, the band plays it, only to summon a demon. With the help of his crush, Medina, and his bandmates, Brodie must find a way to defeat the demon.”
This one looks gory, creepy, action packed and super cheezy- here’s the trailer:
So I say Deathgasm took a nod from the movie “Rock & Roll Nightmare” I mentioned earlier and if you’ve never seen that movie then you’re by no means a fan of cheezy 80’s heavy metal horror! It’s star, metal musician Jon Mikl “Thor” was quite a guy back in those days and kicked the Devil’s ass in the cult flick. But not without and epic battle!
The final battle between the two is one of the most ridiculous movie battles of all time! Thor has been at it since the mid 1970’s and today is back at it again enthralling die hard metal fanatics with his crazy stage shows. So now I hear there’s a new documentary coming out soon about Thor and it looks totally lovable in every way. We’ll finally get the full scoop on the legend himself!
Check this out:
Still not convinced Thor is the real deal well then take gander at this classic music video from Thor, which many deem the worst music video of all time! I however disagree, it just might be one of the best!!
Oh and here’s the trailer for the epic 80’s classic Rock & Roll Nightmare: