I’ve been delving deeply into old 1980s horror/fantasy television shows and lovin’ it, because one thing I’ve noticed is nobody does it quite like they did back then in the “golden era” of horror- Even when it comes to TV shows!
After watching the totally radical ‘Amazing Stories’ series and the Twilight Zone 80s revival I was sooo ready for more. Digging deep back into my memories of my childhood I clearly remember the obvious choice: ‘The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ that ran from ’85-1989.
I have some fond memories of this show and one episode in particular that stuck in my mind all of these years right up to today. Part of me was wondering if I’d maybe in fact dreamt up this particular episode of the show? Not the case. In fact upon watching the 1st few episodes it was clear, this was going to be a fun ride of full on nostalgia done to perfection! I imagine remembering an episode plot from well over 35 years ago is a good sign of a memorable show? I think so!
This series, at least for me. way back then was paired in a sort of “power hour” with Steven Spielberg’s ‘Amazing Stories’. The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents is full of twists, turns, star studded cameos and now famous directors. A mix of horror, suspense and most importantly MURDER, fuel this nearly forgotten gem. It originally aired on NBC but was canceled, later being picked up on the USA Network thankfully!
Nearly every episode has a familiar face, which really makes half of the fun here and every so often a surprise director comes comes on to the scene, like a particular episode called ‘The Jar’ which is helmed by Tim Burton himself and drips with his signature tone and style.
There’s also some great star studded appearances featuring the likes of Mark Hamill, Mia Sara, a VERY young Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Sheen, Michael Ironside And many more.
One of my all time favorite episodes is ‘Night Creatures’ one of the only 100% supernatural fueled episodes. It plays out more like an incredible schlocky neon drenched 1980s tv pilot than a single episode. It features a punk rock goth rock star who’s secretly a bloodthirsty vampire and would be a welcome entry into any 1980s heavy metal horror anthology!
There are so many excellent episodes here to behold, I really can’t recommend this series enough for those those eighties horror hounds in search of some memorable cheez. Of course there are some misses among the 40 plus episodes of 4 seasons. The show covers a lot of interesting but disturbing topics too like “kids playing with guns” in one of the most unsettling episodes you’re likely to see in the series and of course that classic episode that always stuck with me featuring a woman who’s been brutally assaulted and her husband heads off on his own to stalk the perp. The twist here is one of the most chilling of the entire series!
Lastly Martin Sheen shines as a crazy aging actor who’s hellbent on landing a role so much so that he goes to the extremes of murder to get what he wants! His performance is so over the top and enjoyable It’s by far one of the standout performances of the series.
This elusive little series deserves a sweet blu ray release, I found a bootleg copy of the entire series on eBay which has been a truly fun ride over the past few weeks! Luckily many of the episodes can be actually found right on YouTube. Hunt this long lost gem down and treat yourself to the golden era of mystery and horror with the new Alfred Hitchcock presents! Here’s a great episode to start you off!
I’m back again continuing the second installment of nearly forgotten cult gems that desperately need a fancy blu ray release! Here’s one from 1985 that’s definitely ripe for the picking, a movie that I’ve owned on VHS for quite some time now that’s shockingly underrated and underseen by most cult classic cinemaniacs!
‘Fortress’ was released on HBO back in 1985 and later in 86′ it hit theaters in Australia where the movie was produced. It tells the simple story of a teacher (Rachel Ward) who’s tiny countryside shoolhouse comes under attack by shotgun wielding, masked psychos hell bent on taking her and the children captive, hiding them in a cave in the Australian outback.
All goes as planned until the seemingly mild mannered teacher decides to take matters into her own hands. The tension & level of suspense are through the damn roof as it becomes abundantly clear that their captors are no push overs and aren’t afraid to pull the trigger. We’re treated to plenty of action, suspense, some truly inspiring outback locales, creepy masked bad guys (one who dons a Santa Claus mask) and a bit of a darker Amblin “kids in danger” / coming of age style shocker here as well. It becomes an epic tale of cat & mouse survival where no one is safe and its anyone’s guess who’s going to bite the bullet.
Most notably, right around the third act the movie goes pretty off the rails when the teacher and her students become a major force to be reckoned with. Almost transforming into bloodthirsty “Lord of the Flies” territory in the shocking action packed, blood soaked finale. It’s got some excellent twists and turns that are likely to satisfy both fans of 80s action as well as horror.
The shocking end scene becomes even more perplexing and unforgettable cementing this firmly on the forgotten list of cult gems. It’s a real treat how dark this one goes. Trust me if you’re a fan of weird 80’s horror/thriller/action hybrid flicks then this one will not disappoint! There was a DVD release of this movie a while back that’s out of print now, this makes the need for Fortress to receive a special edition blu ray even more necessary. Plus with fan favorite Rachel Ward (The Final Terror/Night School/Against All Odds) as the film’s trusty heroine you get an added edge of star power.
Fortress packs a powerful punch and in many cases leaves you stunned and shocked by the roll of the credits. It’s a well executed unpredictable
Ozploitation film that more genre fans need to check out, just waiting to be someone’s new favorite cult classic!
I’ve been looking at my VHS tapes lately and have been compiling a list of some of my favorite cult horror flicks that for some god forsaken reason have still gone without an official fancy new blu ray release! One of the first movies that comes to mind is one of my all time favorite underrated gems of the late 80s, featuring Corey Haim in the lead role in this nostalgic, yet largely underseen creature feature ‘Watchers’ directed by Jon Hess (Alligator II).
I definitely consider this to be “prime” Cory Haim and quite frankly the perfect addition to a double feature with ‘The Lost Boys’. In some ways it almost feels like an extension of Haim’s character “Sam Emerson” in The Lost Boys. He’s got his rad eighties fashion, comedic licks and hair dialed up to an 11 and really is perfectly in line with the tone of The Lost Boys. In my opinion at least, it’s a perfect campy 80s creature feature/coming of age adventure featuring teen heart throb Haim on the run with with a canine who possesses human intelligence thats escaped from a secret nearby research facility. If you’re a fan of dogs in leading roles in horror movies this is definitely a gem!
What are they on the run from? Well, Michael Ironside and a savage mutant beast dead set on reuniting with the dog and literally destroying anything in its path of course! To put this in a nutshell, this flick is the epitome of what a series like Stranger Things is trying to desperately replicate. The Watchers is the real deal & it’s naturally got the authentic 80s “kids in danger” charm down perfectly to a T. Like an R-rated Amblin production.
I actually also really dig the special effects on display here, there’s some cool gore and also a pretty sweet realistic, yet slightly stupid looking savage hairy monster! I really don’t mean that to be a negative either, I like the monster, he just looks kinda like a moron!
A very realistic stupid looking monster, hey I’ll take that any day of the damn week! This movie was based on a Dean Koontz novel and spawned several sequels. My second favorite of them is 1998’s ‘Watchers Reborn’ the 4th installment which features Mark Hamill in the leading role. I’d love to see all of the sequels get a Blu-ray release as well and hoping that someone like Vinegar Syndrome or Shout Factory can grab this and give it some new gas in it’s tank.
It was released on VHS and also an out of print combo DVD with the sequel that features “Beastmaster” Mark Singer included which is very hard to find now. So all kick ass blu ray labels out there take notice, The Watchers is the perfect movie to get into the grimy hands of some hungry horror hounds and ripe for the picken!
I’ve mentioned S.P. Somtow here recently several times after discovering his long all but lost 1989 horror cult classic flick ‘The Laughing Dead’. If you’re a fan of gory, gooey 80’s horror comedies ala ‘Evil Dead 2′ then I definitely encourage you to track that film down asap. It sits in that sweet spot of the golden era of horror that I love so damn much and it’s desperately in need of a real release here in the good ol’ USA, as back in the late 80s for some reason it was only released overseas. A cool blu ray release would immortalize it as a bonafide lost genre favorite!!
Apparently the director has sadly stated he’s lost track of the film’s original prints over the years and even mentioned if he could find it he’d like to make a new cut of the movie. That doesn’t necessarily mean the print doesn’t exist anymore, but perhaps there just needs to be some sleuthing around perhaps to find them! Ok, so not only was he responsible for ‘The Laughing Dead’ but also much more in the horror genre, he’s also a cult horror novelist. Known primarily for his 1984 book ‘Vampire Junction’, which I’m planning on tracking down soon. Well now it’s come to my attention that he has a new horror movie in the works, “Maestro: Symphony Of Terror” that is currently in production in Thailand.
“The Maestro is a loving tribute to the cult classics of the past, that was conceived by acclaimed filmmaker Paul Spurrier and bestselling author and musician S.P. Somtow, It’s shot with the speed and energy of the classic horror thrillers while maintaining the wild inventiveness, ironic tone and relentless imagery that made those films immortal. It’s a story of a genius provoked and pushed into madness and beyond, The Maestro tells the story of Arun, a composer and conductor who tried to make it in Europe but has ended up teaching high society children in a Thai shopping mall. For years, he has been composing a magnum opus, The Tongues of Angels, and dreams of premiering it under his own baton. It is a work of transcendence, of wildness … and a touch of madness.” Here’s a sneak preview recently released:
I’m excited to check this one out it and see just what this bizarre horror flick has to offer! In the meantime let’s track down the original prints of ‘The Laughing Dead’ for a slick blu ray release and let that build the hype machine for ‘Maestro: Symphony of Terror’!
Hey horror hounds! I’m willing to bet top dollar that you have probably never heard of or seen 1989’s bonker’s horror comedy ‘The Laughing Dead’?! I reviewed it right here not too long ago but enjoyed this weird wild cinematic journey so much I chose it as the feature presentation to cover for the latest episode of the Movie Melt Podcast!
So if you dig 80’s horror flicks like Evil Dead II, Re-animator or Terrorvision and haven’t got the scoop on this one you should check out the podcast for sure. With FX legend John Carl Buechler (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Friday the 13th VII, Troll ) bringing the gooey gore & monsters to life along with the offbeat horror story set in Oaxaca, Mexico, it’s a shame this movie never saw an official release here in the USA.
Written & directed by Splatterpunk cult horror novelist/composer S.P. Somtow, makes it a guaranteed treat for 80’s horror fanatics. Check out the episode RIGHT HERE for the scoop on ‘The Laughing Dead’ as well as a whole heap of crazy shenanigans and useless movie info! Here’s the trailer for the movie…
It seems like cult movie connoisseurs are finally catching wind of just how awesome some of the 1980’s Mexican horror flicks truly are! Just a couple months ago Vinegar Syndrome released Ruben Galindo jr.’s three nearly forgotten creepy classics, ‘Don’t Panic’, ‘Grave Robbers’ & my personal favorite ‘Cemetery of Terror’. I’ve been yammering on about those same movies right here, years before Vinegar Syndrome got wind of them. Not to toot my own horn too much but hey give me some damn street cred! So I’m here to give you the scoop on yet another 80’s Mexican horror cult classic that I’m certain must get a fancy ass blu-ray release ASAP. 1989’s ‘Trampa Infernal’ AKA ‘Hell’s Trap’, is definitely worth tracking down!
With a lean runtime of 74 minutes, this one’s never a bore and frankly never skimps on bringing everything you love about the 80’s slasher front and center in a way they can only do south of the border. Director Pedro Galindo III introduces us to a a couple of ultra competitive rival macho men, who make a bet on catching and killing a wild bear that’s been tormenting the countryside. Of course they gather some friends for this sweet camping trip & when they arrive to their destination it’s clear that the forest is housing something much more sinister than a damn bear. We’re introduced to one hell of a slasher villain, he wears the glove of Freddy Krueger, sports a mega creepy emotionless mannequin mask with a wild hairdo and carries an arsenal of firearms with him wherever he damn well pleases.
This asshole’s copletely compelled to kill anyone who steps in his freaky neck of the woods. Yeah the plot is pretty damn flimsy just the way I like it sometimes. We’ve got a pretty sweet gang of colorful characters who go head on into battle with this weirdo, along with some well executed inventive kills mixed with plenty of action and a handful o’ cool explosions to boot. Plus who doesn’t want to spend some action packed time in 1980s Mexico? Sign me up any time! Oh Yeah and the amped up 80’s fashion sense is worth the price of admission alone, this gang of campers can sell me cool vintage clothes for my vintage shop any day of the week. So moving on, this here turns into one deadly game of cat-and-mouse that really benefits from the beautiful setting of Mexico’s woodsy backdrop. It’s fierce villain who appears to be some sort of ex-soldier with an extreme case of PTSD is bound to generates his own cult following here in the US amongst fans of icons like Leatherface and Michael Myers. This guy’s a total badass! See for your damn self:
He’s kinda got an Owen Wilson type o’ thing going on? Well director Pedro Galindo, I can only assume must be related to Ruben Galindo jr. The Galindo’s must have had some sort of stranglehold on the horror genre back then there as they’ve put out some pretty excellent movies. Pedro Galindo III also has a couple other movies on my radar, ‘Panico en la Montana’ and the sequel to ‘Vacations of Terror’. So if you’re longing for something different in the horror genre, take a trip to Mexico in the 1980s and make sure to check out ‘Trampa Infernal’. There’s a whole treasure trove of cool horror films just waiting to be discovered by American audiences from our friendly neighbors. So you heard it here first Vinegar Syndrome, Arrow, whoever! Jump on this one ASAP as it’s another true forgotten cult classic..
So I’d say one of the weirdest damn holiday horror flicks of all time has just got to be 1987’s ‘BLOODY NEW YEAR’! Have you seen it?
Well whether you have or not take a moment to check out the Movie Melt podcast as we talk about some sweet under appreciated odd ball movies and get straight into the new year with this classic slice of weird-o 80’s British horror film.
It’s easily one of the most surreal and ambitious micro budget movies I’ve seen a long time and it’s perfect for the holiday seasons, if you’ve seen it you likely know how bizarre this wild little flick truly is! Check out MOVIE MELT and this episode for Bloody New Year!
Yowza!! On Thanksgiving I decided to finally check out my “Bloody Valentine 3-D” DVD on my new giant TV. At least for me it’s quite big measuring in at 50 inches, it’s one of those new ones that spies on you for the government! But oh well that’s life in 2020, as long as the thing is BIG who cares right? I also have to note it’s NOT a 3D TV, so I was watching it from a relatively old dvd with the old school blue and red glasses.
Anyway I originally saw the movie back in theaters when it was released in 2009 and boy was it a bloody good time, the crowd was literally going wild at the insane 3-D effects and this one being the first of the new wave of 3-D films it was designed to awe audiences. Back when we had theaters to go to, it seems like every movie for a while was being released in 3-D and really didn’t have much to offer except a few too many extra bucks to your damn ticket price. So with my new TV I decided it was time to see if this flick held up or if the 3-D even worked at all as the DVD came with those classic old red and blue glasses they used to give you back in the 80s!
Before this the only movies I’ve ever seen in 3-D were ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ which was shown on TV back in the 80s and also I was lucky enough to see ‘Jaws 3’ in 3D in the theater as a kid with my older brother along with ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street- Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare ‘ with the wild 3-D ending. Anyway to my surprise I was pretty damn impressed with what a second at home viewing of ‘My Bloody Valentine 3-D’ had to offer on DVD on my new Big Ass TV. I’d say with confidence, If you’ve never seen this one you should probably check it out ASAP!!
YOWZA!! What the hell did I just watch?! 1990’s ‘Erotic Ghost Story’ is exactly what you’d expect from Hong Kong director Lam Nai-Choi, responsible for the 1991 cult classic ‘Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky’. If you’ve ever seen that bonafide bonkers gorefest then you’ll likely want to experience his attempt at a sexy softcore! I’m not by any means a seasoned cinematic softcore fanatic, but if I was, I’d like this director to be at the helm of more of it. ‘Erotic Ghost Story’ has got it all, three ultra sexy ghostly babes, a heaping of “steamy” sex and “hunky” dude who turns into a hideous three headed monster of COURSE! It’s also manages to add some sweet action scenes, some wild magic and a solid dose of those charming 80’s fx I love so much.
It tells the story of three beautiful sex obsessed fairies who’s live in solitude out in the forest. They all take an interest in a young, handsome scholar who moves into the woods nearby in a cozy little cabin. Curiosity soon gets the best of them and each one decides to make a visit to meet this sexy studious stud in his messy book infested cottage.
All three of them find themselves oddly fantasizing about him, and each take it upon themselves to seduce him. Each believing they’ve scored the relationship of a lifetime until they discover his wicked dark secret, this seemingly innocent sex machine is actually a hideous horny three headed demon in disguise!
Things get pretty gosh darn sexy and the fairies soon discover that each of them has “gotten down and dirty” with the guy causing some hefty drama between them to go down. But their jealousy is really the least of their worries as soon they all find themselves growing thick hair on their chests! What a bummer! They seek help from a local magic priest to help cure themselves of whatever supernatural STD they managed to all catch from the guy but find that it’s up to them to face him one final time with their own special powers and try to destroy the horny beast.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one, I’d figured it was just going to be some guy getting it on with three sexy ghosts. But to my delight this one delivered that and THEN some. It’s really no wonder that Lam Nai-Choi couldn’t resist throwing some wild shenanigans and a three headed demon into the mix! There’s clearly an over abundance of sex on display as the guy gets lucky more than anyone has any real right to with three beautiful women, it’s just too bad for all involved that he was literally such a wild and crazy sex freak. I guess this softcore would be sort of a genre mash up, a wuxia (chinese fantasy), sex-filled, horror creature feature.
It gets a lot sexier than most softcore movies I’ve ever seen, but the true charm of it all is that the director took a stab at a odd choice of a genre movie and added his bizarre trademark bonkers touch to the whole damn thing. If you dig his other work like Riki-Oh , The Seventh Curse or The Cat you’re going to want to track this one down as well for sure for the sheer absurd spectacle of it all….
Well the quarantine rages one! So naturally I’m taking advantage of the situation by watching as many cool movies as I can get my hands on! I checked out some pretty excellent Japanese movies from the late 80’s/early 90’s the other night and I won the jackpot as somehow BOTH movies delivered the damn goods! I mean that rarely ever happens when blindly grabbing two oddball movies I’ve never heard anything about.
First up was was 1988’s “Cyber Ninja”, which obviously by the title showed some true promise! This wild sci-fi action film tells the story of a cyborg ninja who’s battling an evil empire that uses giant dinosaur like robots along with a gang of robotic ninja’s of their own to wreak havoc upon a kingdom of samurai warriors. Yeah basically that’s the story, nothing fancy here just a bunch of wild action and robot ass kicking for a lean 80 minutes. There’s some cool martial arts as well and really sweet robot designs at play here that mix feudal japanese elements into their look. There’s these giants mechs in particular that have a sort of Japanese tree house melded as the control center, kinda of like a play on a Star Wars ATST walker. There’s also a ton of that ultra colorful hand painted laser/electricity/energy blasts fx that accompany the martial arts mayhem. It’s a ton of fun and it seems this was perhaps an inspiration for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? The movie was release by Namco, which later merged with Bandai, both famous for their video games. Cyber Ninja is must watch if you dig weird, 80’s action and fantasy stuff & was great little viewing surprise that doesn’t require your attention span to be in full swing either.
Next was 1991’s Mikadroid, also known as “Mikadroid: Robokill Beneath Disoclub Layla”. With a title like that you know you’re at the least in for something quite unusual and yeah it brings quite an intriguing little tale of terror to the screen. It’s super lean run time of 73 minutes also makes it much less of a commitment and the perfect companion to Cyber Ninja in more than one way. I’d say at it’s core, it’s really more of a horror movie, and go as far to even call it a “proto-slasher”. It follows a World War II soldier who was experimented on along with two others for a super soldier program.
However they went a step further in a secret underground bunker to transform him into a cyborg/droid and ends up looking like something straight out of a Hellboy comic. We flash forward to 1991 to a discoclub that was built on top the hidden bunker where some electrical issues awaken the WWII super solder robot from his long slumber (I guess a real Captain America kind of thing going on here more than I originally realized). The droid heads up into the parking garage where he conducts his killing spree on the oh so stylin’ Japanese party animals after their wild nights of drinkin’ and dancing the night away.
This movie’s certainly a unique slice early 90’s cinema. It’s quite beautifully shot as well as having a pretty kick ass looking robot and some really stunning underground locations. I was hoping for a bit more from some of the kills but the strange story is the true highlight. Enough so that this little oddity by it’s end unfolds into something truly unique for it’s time and relative obscurity. Released by Toho, it was originally intended to be a full on horror film for the straight to video Japanese Market. Originally set to be a a zombie horror film having the WWII soldier an undead killer instead of a robot . The day before filming began a child murderer was arrested, who had an open passion for horror films, and it resulted in almost all horror movies being essentially blacklisted from production at the time. The film’s plot was frantically reworked into a “sci-fi” film while still keeping the basic premise intact. That all being said, the changes made I think likely added to the movie’s bizarre but ambitious plot. If you go into the movie with few expectations you’ll find a truly charming little feature that firmly lands it in a league of it’s own for the time.