I just had to do a post about this cool little short horror film most genre fans missed out on, it’s something I’ve been waiting years to check out, especially since it features the late great Rowdy Roddy Piper in the lead role! ‘Portal to Hell’ was one of Roddy Piper’s the last projects he filmed back in 2015 just before he sadly passed away. This crowd funded short was originally supposed to be the pitch for a feature film. Unfortunately that never happened for obvious reasons. At least we have this rad little 12 minute horror comedy which really should’ve been included in some sort of larger horror anthology feature film as I think it’d made for a sweet little installment.
I’ve always suspected Roddy would have made for a great “Ash” type horror hero and this could have been the spark that ignited that flame. For years I’d check to see if the short film had been released anywhere but never could find much info about it at all. The other day I randomly did a Youtube search and the whole thing popped up for all to see just nine months ago. On on minuscule budget, I think they did a great job with this little horror story and but I’m even more bummed Roddy wasn’t able to become the star of his own unique little horror franchise. If you’re a Lovecraft fan or just love Rowdy Roddy Piper you’ve gotta check this out! Spread this around, it should have way more than just 900 views!
Been on a VHS binge lately watching tons of old forgotten movies, some are of course are steamin’ turds but every now and again you come across something that’s a total delight! I ran across a copy of 1991’s ‘Children of the Night’ and was fairly certain it was again going to be another crapper, however this one proved to be a totally sweet romp of a horror comedy. I’m a giganto fan of 80’s horror and this one while being from 91′ has still got that great old school vibe and charm coming off the tail end of 1980’s. In my opinion a lot of flicks up through 1994 more or less continue to keep that feel in tact. That being said, I had a good feeling about this one when I’d seen that Peter Deluise of ’21 Jump Street” fame was billed as the star, I watched the shit out of that show as a kid in the 80’s and he was one of my favorite characters from the series for sure. Then I noticed Karen Black also starred and then that the director was Tony Randel of ‘Hellraiser 2’ & ‘Ticks’ fame.
Well I’m pleased to say from the start of this one (which I found out later was actually a Fangoria production) it fully delivered the goods and then some in all the ways I’d hoped for. Playing much more like a horror comedy we get a sweet little story of of teenage girl played by Ami Dolenz (also in ‘Ticks’ from 1993) who lives in a small town and accidentally awakens a wicked vampire lord while swimming in an underground pond below a church. Yeah that’s what she and her buddy do for fun…..well schoolteacher played by Peter Deluise later comes to town to see what’s up and ends up in the thick of a vampire attack where he teams up with the teen girl and a local town drunken preacher played by vinatge SNL alumni Garrett Morris. I gotta say when he arrived it was the icing on the damn cake, he’s known also as “Chocolate Chip Charlie” from the horror classic ‘The Stuff’ from 1985 and in this movie he drives around town at night drinkin’ mad amounts of whiskey in a crazy van that’s got a giant glowing cross spear mounted on the front it it to impale vampires with. By that point in the movie I was already in, but this solidified the deal for sure.
At the end of the ‘Children of the Night’ day plays a bit like ‘Evil Dead 2’ none of it can be taken too seriously but it’s not a full on spoof either. There’s a lot of cool FX work going on here as well as cool spooky inventive sets and locations. It’s a neat little horror adventure that’s not afraid to add some heart to it either. A lot like gory teen horror comedy that’d fit quite nicely along with 80’s cult classics like ‘Vamp’, ‘Critters’ or the highly underrated ‘Night Life’ from 1989. There’s also some cool ass action sequences and you also get some Karen Black super weird vampire lung moments to ponder upon! If you’re looking for some super fun lost nostalgia to watch with a gang of movie maniacs ‘Children of the Night’ is a prime choice in my opinion!
We’re getting closer to the big day-yep Christmas will be soon upon us, from now until then though what’s out there worth a view on the ol’ tube? It can be tuff to find new things each year to check out, sometimes the usual traditional movies and specials need a break.
I mean you can only watch the ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ so many times right? That being said here’s a few ideas this year of some Christmas movies worth a spin from Universal Dork! Let’s get the holiday party started already!!
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
I checked out this new Christmas movie which you can stream on Netflix last night and thought it was actually a ton of fun. We’ve got Kurt Russell as slightly rough around the edges Santa, who’s sleigh gets into an accident when a brother and sister sneak aboard it while he’s out delivering presents. It’s a sweet little holiday movie with some decent comedy & fun adventure. Russell’s Santa teams up with the two kids and they try and help him save Christmas after he loses his gift sack in the sleigh crash. For new Holiday stuff this one was WAY better than what I was initially expecting.
Silent Partner (1978)
This is an interesting one that I just discovered this year while searching for forgotten holiday movies, a Canadian thriller set during Christmas. A mild mannered bank teller gets wind of a bank robbery plot ahead of time and steals the cash himself before the thieves arrive. When the psycho robber, who’s also a mall Santa realizes he’s been tricked, he hunts down the teller with a serious bone to pick to try and get the cash for himself. This one’s a forgotten Holiday gem of a thriller!
The Children (2008)
This one’s on my list for a revisit over the next week or so, I remembered thinking it was a pretty effective British holiday themed horror flick when I saw it back in 2008. Taking place during the Christmas season it follows two family’s who get together for a snow filled weekend of fun. Things take a turn when their children become psycho killers after contracting some sort of disease. Check it out if you’re looking for something truly scary this Christmas!
Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo (1995)
Here’s one that’s a ton of fun, Frostbiter was filmed back in the late 80’s but wasn’t released until 1995 when Troma decided to finally get it out there to the public. It’s a snow packed, low budget, splatter filled tale that’s in the same arena as Evil Dead 2. It also stars Ron Asheton, famed guitar legend of The Stooges, has a bunch of cool puppets, bad ass stop motion monsters and takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, where “It’s a Wonderful Life” takes place. It’s got a pretty cool soundtrack as well and for a budget of ten thousand bucks this one is way more fun that it should be! Watch the FULL movie here…
Life & Adventures of Santa Claus (1985)
Total forgotten Rankin Bass weirdness, this stop motion production looks like it could take place in the RB Rudolph universe however it’s somehow got more in common with The Lord of the Rings! A weird adventure that follows Santa’s early years as he hangs out with forest Wizards and battles orc like monsters who want to put the kibosh on his plans of toy making! One of my favorites, it’s a pretty bizarre Christmas production from Rankin Bass that many people haven’t heard of!
Night of the Comet (1984)
It’s been sooo long since I’ve watched this one but the other day I’d remembered that ‘Night of the Comet’ is somewhat of a holiday movie, taking place around at the time of Christmas. This year it’s on the watch list. This cult classic features a group of survivors of a zombie attack triggered by a strange comet find themselves on the run from mad scientists as well. There’s a ton of Christmas references and it’s filled to the absolute brim with 1980’s goodness-give this a whirl this year too!
I’ve never been a gigantic fan of Kevin Smith, but I’ll admit I did like his two Clerks movies (yeah both of them). I’ll also admit I was totally surprised that he made an excellent thriller, Red State. Yep those were all good movies, but as a whole I’m really not a big fan of much else he’s done. With that being said, after he made Red State I was fully convinced he just might have found his niche by way of horror movies and was pretty excited to check out ‘Tusk’. That movie, in my opinion, was truly a painful watch. It just plain sucked in every way. It was a wasted attempt at making what could have been a unique horror movie.
Tusk was a complete 180 from ‘Red State’ that had me a bit confused about what I thought was his new found talent dabbling in the horror genre. Well things got even worse last night when I decided to give his latest movie “Yoga Hosers” a shot on Netflix. It’s streaming there if you’re looking to waste your time & lose a few brain cells while you’re at it. ‘Yoga Hosers’ is the second installment of his “True North” horror trilogy and was meant to be an homage to movies like Critters & Gremlins. The end result is far from coming anywhere close to the magic of those movies. I can honestly say Yoga Hosers is easily one of the worst movies I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s so bad I had to stop it 3/4 of the way through. I just couldn’t take how much it sucked (and I LOVE bad movies) but there’s just nothing worse than a totally bad comedy. It’s not ammusing watching jokes fail over and over and over.
Smith seems to think he’s totally dialed in to the pre-teen / millennial comedy too but during the experience you see a cast of characters who’re just extensions of his dated sense of humor. His daughter, along with Johnny Depp and his daughter star in this wretched horror comedy that get’s more irritating with every passing minute. We’re given a horde of flat repetitive Canadian “humor”, bad cg, idiotic senseless plot and some incredibly stupid “monsters” for the main characters to face off against. Through all of this you can picture Kevin Smith behind the scenes secretly thinking he’s somehow created the next cult horror comedy classic. Far from it. This is some of the worst attempts at comedy I’ve seen in ages and it led me to the question: should Kevin Smith call it a day?
My first thought was a solid yes but after thinking about his last two movies and just how much they sucked it got me thinking the exact opposite. I mean Red State was a really good movie and seeing that Kevin Smith does indeed have one more film left in this trilogy called “Moose Jaws” I’m actually thinking that he could really change direction here and give us something truly memorable. I only say this because Smith has gotten a LOT of shit from critics and fans on how fucking bad Yoga Hosers turned out to be. It seems a bit of a long shot since most of the cast from Yoga Hosers will be again returning for the next movie. ‘Moose Jaws’ is said to be an homage to Jaws but with a giant pissed off moose. I say let’s give it one more try Kevin, shift the tone of Moose Jaws and give us something intense and scary. Hold off on the humor and make these terrible characters from the last two movies iconic. I’ll give you one more try Mr. Smith but after this trilogy it just might be time to call it a day. For good….
I’ve been looking forward to checking out the new horror comedy “Night of Something Strange” for quite some time and finally this week I decided to check it out via rental on Google Play. From what I’d heard about it and seen in the trailer, it looked liked a super fun homage to splatter flicks of the 1980’s with an unhealthy dose of comedy splashed in for a good time. I’m all about a good indie horror comedy, in fact the horror comedy is easily one of my favorite genres. However ‘Night of Something Strange’ just really didn’t do it for me. I give them a serious ‘A’ for effort but when you’re making a movie like this it’s extremely important to nail down the comedy aspect of the horror first. That can be a hard task & precisely where this movie really falls flat, at least for me.
This one is all about grossing you out in every middle school way you can imagine. That’s perhaps who this movie’s comedy might truly appeal to. For me though gross out poop, pee and sex humor gets old real quick. NOSS is jam packed with potty humor and as the movie plays on it continuously tries to top last the poop, pee-pee, gross out sex scenario with something more “outrageous”. It simply tries way too hard to get a reaction, kinda like if Seth Rogan wrote the script for this when he was thirteen years old but with “gross out” dick jokes and zombie rape scenarios sprinkled throughout. Yeah the movie has a lot of undead raping & it’s not really the kind of stuff that’s offensive, since clearly it’s incredibly unrealistic looking and it’s actors aren’t exactly out to win an academy award with their performances. So none of it will stick with you for days or scar you as the scenes aren’t even the least bit convincing. That’s a good thing, because I’m not a fan of the rape-y horror movie. It’s all just too damn stupid, and though I do like me some ridiculousness this one tries way too hard.
This flick is essentially an 80’s horny teen throwback movie with even more horny undead creatures roaming around the grounds of a spooky motel. There’s a few scenes that are actually pretty well done and the practical effects here are at times actually pretty impressive. It also looks pretty nice too, it just suffers from a ton of stale comedy. I don’t know, maybe when I was twelve years old this would have been funny? However it’s just trying way too hard to gross us out with farts, poop, dirty tampons, boners & nasty sex humor around each & every corner. It’s also maybe about 20 minites too long. I haven’t got much else to say about this one, (I really like the poster art at least) but if you dig this kind of mega excessive potty humor then hey, this movie delivers the goods and then some!!
Well last night was the night, the wait was finally over, twenty three years after the release of “Army of Darkness” we were given the first episode of the sequel television series “Ash vs. Evil Dead”! It seemed like an eternity and to be quite honest I was never fully convinced we’d ever see Bruce Campbell return as his iconic character Ash Williams. I’m a huge fan of the original trilogy, this was a bit like seeing Harrison Ford return as Indiana Jones back in 2008-it kinda gave me the chills. Yeah Ash is that legendary to me and countless others. So after a rip roaring near perfect trailer for the show the question must be asked was it indeed worth the wait?!
The answer is a solid you betcha! The first episode was awesome and it was truly an incredible moment really seeing Bruce return to his legendary role. He didn’t miss a beat and I’ve gotta say Sam Raimi did quite a nice job directing the pilot episode. We even got a longer run time as well clocking in at around 40 minutes or so. This first episode “El Jefe” didn’t have one dull moment and did a excellent job of giving a bit of Ash’s history once again with the Book of the Dead, while oddly not mentioning any of the events from ‘Army of Darkness’. This is only due to the fact they don’t have the rights to that movie as it stands, and can’t make mention to it in the show because of legal issues. But still that’s fine, us fans all know it clearly happened and the version of Ash we’re getting here is a direct continuation of the Ash we all fell in love with in Army of Darkness.
We notice he no longer works at “S-mart” and instead a similar place called “Value Stop” but after 23 years it’s totally plausible that he made a serious career move(in reality another problem with legal issues from AoD). What made this all even better though is now we really get to know just who the hell he really is. He’s not just simply some smart ass with a chainsaw hand, we get to see what a normal night in the life of Ash is really like. We get to see where he lives (surprisingly similar to My Name is Bruce), where he hangs out, his work life and just how much the guy likes to party down. This tv series idea was the perfect way to really humanize Ash and I’m pumped to see how this all plays out for him and his new companions.
The episode wasted no time with any B.S. and really jumped head first in the blood, guts and comedy galore. We get a nice introduction to several interesting supporting characters and subplots as well, all so far played pretty straight and serious. We also got some scares, most delivered with real fright behind them. We’ve got a pretty seriously freaky world with our bumbling anti-hero smack dab in the middle of the mayhem. Well done. As far as action and gore go the first episode gloriously delivers that classic frantic 80’s Raimi style. Bruce is definitely giving it his all and it’s clear he knows it’s finally his time to shine in the spotlight again! So we’ve got a neat, simple plot that’s turning into one hell of a road trip adventure. Perfect. I can’t wait to see the next episode!
The special effects were also pretty fucking awesome, we got a ton of blood and some really excellent make up for the new Deadites that appeared. Much of it really did feel like an extension of the original movies. However I was bit surprised to see the amount of CG used on the show. My only real gripe with it was the shoddy digital effects used. The doll scene in particular had some downright horrible CG and we got more digital blood and gore than I would ever want near anything Evil Dead related. I just knew Raimi wouldn’t be able to resist.
Give me puppet or some stop motion animation instead any day of the week. I only say this because it detracts a bit from the tone of the original and honestly if you’re going to CG some shit in 2015 it better look good. But alas, in the end though it delivered on all cylinders and then some proving the charm of Bruce Campbell just cant be contended with. Here’s a series that I’m gonna find a way to see every week, it was a bit of a dream come true. Nice work Mr. Raimi I honestly didn’t think you had it in you….
So it’s been confirmed it seems by several sites that not only is Bruce Campbell set to reprise his role as Ash in “Army of Darkness 2” but now that Sam Raimi will indeed be directing it and is now hard at work on completing writing it’s script with his brother. So this is all WONDERFUL news right?! Another adventure with Ash is something I’ve really only ever dreamed would happen. So now that it that it’s going to happen let’s figure out what it really means. First, when was the last really good Sam Raimi movie? Personally I’d say it’d maybe have to be “The Gift” way back from 2000 or maybe “A Simple Plan” from 1998. Anything since then to me really either hasn’t aged well, was very mediocre or just plain sucked!
So really let’s be honest here, is Raimi really that awesome? Or did he happen to get lucky a few times and land a dream job directing the Spider-man movies? He tried to prove himself to his Evil Dead fans with “Drag Me to Hell” but an honest comparison to other more legitimately awesome current horror/ horror comedies revealed it really wasn’t anything that special. A decent attempt but still a flawed one. So what are the chances that we’re going to get the Evil Dead / Army of Darkness sequel we have all been waiting for? What are the chances it’ll be “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” of the Evil Dead franchise? I’m gonna say 50/50.
One of the problems is that Raimi seems way too far removed from that the genre he basically created that so many others have tried to copy. He’s a bit out of touch, as he’s so used to cranking out big glittery CG stuffed blockbusters I’m not sure he’d really know what to do with Ash this time around. Hopefully he keeps it old school-perhaps this recent Evil Dead reboot will give him a basic outline to follow of what he should do to give the fans what they want as he’s stated that this next Army of Darkness is really for the fans. I think a good sign is that Bruce Campbell seems to understand more than anyone what made the movies all so fun. So perhaps he can guide Raimi into not making a total pile of shit. Perhaps Fede Alvarez who directed the reboot can also talk some sense into the guy.
The fans want Ash plain and simple at least in Army of Darkness 2. Not some young hip side kick to accompany him. He’s the star and he doesn’t need anyone else there trying to make the movie more accessible to the teen or tween masses. The fans want to return to that old school vibe, they don’t want the movie to look like Ash green screening around Oz the Great & Powerful. Give the fans some ridiculous gore and DON’T resort to anymore wretchedly bad CG anvil scenes like we saw in Drag Me to Hell. That was fucking pathetic.
Do it right and don’t try to score a giant Hollywood hit with this movie, show everyone that deep down inside you’re still that hungry independent film maker of the 80’s. Set the new standard for all those newer directors who think they’ve one upped you at your own game. You’ve seen other big film makers try and revive their franchises and fail miserably, pissing off their fans and eternally tarnishing their greatest bodies of work. Let’s do this shit the right way this time! What do you think? Does Raimi still have it?!