Here’s a pretty neat little modern throwback horror movie I took a chance on recently that turned out be quite a bit of fun. ‘Book of Monsters‘ is a low budget British creature feature that clearly makes it’s best attempt to harken back to the gory glory days of 80’s horror flicks like ‘Evil Dead 2’ & ‘Night of the Creeps’. It takes place on the main character, Sophie’s 18th birthday, when she reluctantly decides to throw a birthday party at her house. Her and her two friends are hardly the cool kids in school and aren’t even sure anyone will actually show up. To their surprise the birthday bash attracts a whole crew of unruly teens and even a few of the school bullies. Well it doesn’t take long before some weird supernatural shit goes down due to meddling with a necronomicon type of book. A full on bloodbath occurs when some creatures emerge from another dimension, invade her house and begin to slaughter the rowdy party guests. Sophie and her pals must band together to fend off the attack and protect their classmates from monster carnage.
It’s a simple story to follow and with a short run time of 84 minutes it’s a perfect party movie (literally) to watch on a Saturday nite with a gang of old school horror fans. One of it’s strongest parts is the protagonist Sophie, who’s a totally likable heroine who struggles with self esteem, teenage sexuality and the strange events of her past which tie into the supernatural events that occur. She’s also one of the only gay horror hero’s I can really recall seeing and they present this aspect of her character in a way that doesn’t feel fully forced into the narrative. Sure we got some bigoted bullies and typical teen jerks but those were always prevalent in the 80’s teen horror movies that likely inspired this one.
Now onto the horror aspect of things, though I liked the movie, I’ve got to admit I’m a bit tired of the ‘evil book/necronomicon’ angle of things, it feels pretty played out and I kind of wish they’d have used a different reasoning for the summoning of the monsters. Hardly a complaint really as once things get going here it’s pretty fun & action packed. The monster & gore effects are pretty ambitious for the most part. For the budget they had to work with they deliver a fair share of cool practical fx work avoiding for the most part cgi entirely (if my memory serves me correctly). The monster designs are pretty good too, one looks a bit like it was ripped out of M. Knight Shyamalan’s the village, one’s like a standard slasher dude and the other is kind of like a “Natasha Henstridge” Species/cenobite type-o creature. They all do a decent amount of gory, goopy damage too & it’s all executed in a fairly cartoonish way so it could easily be digested by the light weight horror fans. Oh yeah some evil garden gnomes are thrown in as well, that with a little more budget could have been far more crowd pleasing- but still an “A” for effort. There’s lots of chainsaws and general ass kicking done by the three female leads and even though most Hollywood blockbusters are trying to currently shoehorn girl power into movies ‘Book of Monsters’ does it in a tasteful way that doesn’t feel like it’s blatantly pushing some agenda for brownie points.
If ‘Book of Monsters‘ had been released in 1987 it’d have been a bonafide cult classic, it’s a nice switch from all the shoddy CGI & digital blood of modern horror movies. It leaves the door open for a sequel and I think if it gets one with more cash behind it, there’s a possibility the second installment could very well end up as a modern day cult classic. For the meantime though I think the best crowd for ‘Book of Monsters’ are those who miss the glory days of 1980’s schlock, goofy gore & teen horror flicks!
One of the most wild & unpredictable filmmakers of all time hands down has got to be Hong Kong’s Lam Ngai Kai aka Lam Nai-choi, Most well known for his mega cult classic ‘RIKI-OH/The Story of Riki’ it’s clear this guy is, in my opinion one of the most underrated directors in the horror genre. Imagine if Sam Raimi made movies as consistently awesome as the Evil Dead trilogy, well that’s a good way to sum up this guy’s catalogue of crazy ass films. I’ve been fully surprised at how many people love ‘Riki-Oh’ yet aren’t familiar with anything else this guy’s done.
It probably doesn’t help that he completely disappeared off the movie map in 1992 for unknown reasons. Perhaps he realized he’d unlikely ever be able to top the craziness of his back catalogue of bizarre flicks. I’d love to know what he’s up to today and what I’d love even more would be his return to filmmaking. There’s however, literally zero info on why he stopped his film career and what the dude’s been up to these days. That being said let’s take a quick look at some of his coolest flicks you may not have even known existed! First if you’ve never seen Riki-Oh from 1991 it’s easily one of the wildest action/horror hybrid movies out there and totally on par with the awesomeness of Evil Dead 2. It features some of the most over the top action/gore of all time:
Next is another equally crazy ass flick from 1986 called ‘The Seventh Curse‘ which is like Indiana Jones on acid fighting monsters and exploring some truly epic locations. It features Chow Young Fat in a small role and continues with totally frantic action sequences that never slows it’s pace right to the very end. A true hidden gem of a movie that many 80’s horror fans have completely missed out on over the years. Seek this out asap as it’s more proof this guy’s got chops on par with the likes of early Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi & Don Coscarelli.
Kai’s got more under his belt too if you want another horror adventure that’s a true spectacle to behold check out ‘The Peacock King‘ from 1988. A totally unique movie that’s also a full on FX extravaganza. This one literally utilizes nearly every 80’s special fx in the book, from stop motion monsters, to animatronic creatures etc. etc. etc. you name it, this movie will take you on tour of the bizarre set to a super fun, dark yet equally light hearted adventure. Check it out: Continue reading
‘Bubba Ho-tep’ is easily one of my favorite movies and one of, if not Bruce Campbell’s best performance of his career. It’s also helmed by the legendary ‘Phantasm’ franchise’s creator Don Coscarelli and the two make an incredibly awesome combo together. So now there’s word that Joe Lansdale who wrote Bubba Ho-tep in novella form way back in 1994 has finished writing the prequel ‘Bubba and the Cosmic Blood Suckers’ a book that will be available this coming October from Subterranean Press. This is exciting news for fans of the novella and also for fans of Bruce Campbell & the movie.
For years there’s been talk of Don Coscarelli doing another “Bubba” movie, it even had a working title, ‘Bubba Nosferatu: The Curse of the She-Vampires’. This as awesome as it sounded however never came to be, though Coscarelli was totally down to make it Bruce Campbell refused to do another film unless Joe R. Lansdale wrote it. This led to rumors of Bruce being replaced by Ron Perlman which would have been pretty cool as well. That never came to be either dammit! Well now it seems the right ingredients have arrived as Lansdale’s book could lay the groundwork for us to finally see the sequel/prequel to the 2002 cult hit.
Bruce played an elderly Elvis in Bubba Ho-tep & could easily now step into the role of the younger middle aged character seamlessly for the prequel. I’m thinking that the possibility of seeing this one materialize on the big screen is pretty damn strong. Check out the synopsis here, this book sounds pretty fucking awesome and a movie version of this helmed once again by Don Coscarelli would be the icing on the cake:
“Part of a secret government organization designed to protect civilians, Elvis Presley and a handful of hardcore warriors set out to save the world from an invasion of hive-minded, shape-shifting vampire-like creatures from a dark dimension who have taken up residence in a New Orleans junkyard.
Besides Elvis, among these righteous warriors is a hammer-wielding descendent of John Henry of railroad fame, a Blind Man who sees more than those with sight, Jack, a strategic wizard, and Elvis’s right hand man and journal writer, Johnny, all thrown in with Raven (real name Jenny) a female recruit who is also a budding pop star, and like Elvis, high on the charisma chart.
Their leader is none other than Colonel Parker, Elvis’s cutthroat manager, and a warrior himself, directly in contact with President Nixon, or possibly one of his doubles.
It’s an unnerving peek into a secret world, and a possible delusion. It’s what happened before Elvis, aka Sebastian Haff, found himself in an East Texas rest home, mounted on a walker, fighting an Egyptian mummy and worrying about a growth on his pecker.
Strange monsters, wild fights, sex with a beautiful ghost, a drug-induced trip into another dimension, and all manner of mayhem ensue, along with a Mississippi riverboat ride on a giant paddle wheel, and of course, there will be 3D glasses, fried peanut butter and ’nanna sandwiches, and a few hard working zombies.
Bring the kids, but plug their ears and blindfold them. This is one wild and nasty ride to the dark side, but with laughter.”
Let’s get on Bruce Campbell & Don Coscarelli’s ass about making this a movie ASAP!
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
Bruce Campbell is horror icon & ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ is definitely here to stay now with season three announced recently. Heck, season two was even BETTER than the first and gave a more detailed look at just who Ash really is as we hung out in his hometown for the majority of the show. This all got me thinking about other horror franchises and their unique heroes who haven’t quite gotten the level of respect that Bruce has gotten over the years. I recently re-watched the entire ‘Phantasm’ series and found myself drawing parallels between Bruce’s ‘Ash Williams’ and Reggie Bannister. Heck I’d say that Reggie from ‘Phantasm’ is just as badass as Ash and that the two of them would likely end up being good buddies if they ever met up to kick some evil monster booty.
Interestingly enough I ran across a petition online that someone had made that actually proposes the idea of getting the Phantasm’s Reggie into the ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ series on Starz. It hasn’t gotten much publicity yet but I actually think it’d be an incredible idea to incorporate characters from other similar franchises into the series. I guess it’d be a little bit like an ‘Expendables’ of horror with some grizzled, aged heroes teaming up together. I think a cool place to start would actually be introducing ‘Reggie’ into the series to give Ash a hand. Both have a lot in common and it’d be comic gold to have these two older ass kickin’ dudes team up and let’s face it, I think fans would eat something like this up. To be clear I’m not just proposing that the actor Reggie Bannister makes a small cameo, I’m saying he should appear as the character ‘Reggie’ from the ‘Phantasm’ series.
Reggie’s got the attitude and even in the somewhat lackluster “Phantasm: Ravager” he proved he’s still got what it takes to kick evil right in the ass. Ash may have his boomstick but Reggie’s got his signature quadruple barrel shotgun and can use a chainsaw like the best of ’em. Yep this retired ice cream man still’s got the moves & the charm with the ladies (or so he likes to believe). Another thing him and Ash have in common. He’d be a perfect addition to the Starz series and Ash could pay him a visit hearing lore about another older dude who’s spent his life fighting evil while hopping into different dimensions. It might take some convincing from Ash, Pablo & Kelly to get him on board but I could see the four of them teaming up being quite a incredible little slice of horror history in the making.
How likely is this idea? Probably slim to none, but let’s consider at least that Don Coscarelli (The mastermind behind Phantasm) has already worked with Bruce Campbell, giving him one of his best roles of his career in ‘Bubba Ho-tep’. To my knowledge the two of them are friends despite not ever being able to agree on how to proceed with ‘Bubba Ho-tep 2’ which for a while was going under the title of ‘Bubba Nosferatu’. It’d be amazing to see Don Coscarelli direct a couple episodes of ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ as well wouldn’t it? We also saw a cameo in ‘Bubba Ho-tep’ from Reggie Bannister so it’s very likely the two of them already know each other. Bannister is also still working in horror, in 2016 he starred in Phantasm: Ravager, The Obsidian Curse & Bonejangles. I’ve gotta check out the latter two.
I even took a moment to send Reggie a message on Facebook about the possibility of an appearance on ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ and got a response saying “Anything could happen but no one has approached us”. So it sounds like he’d be open to it but really fans have to make a stir in order for anything like this to actually ever materialize. What do you think? Would you like to see Reggie and Ash team up? Are there any other horror icons you think would fit nicely on the series? Share this post if you wanna see Reggie & Ash together!
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?!
This year has been a good one for hyper crazy thrillers that kick your ass all over the theater- seeing two movies so far that successfully beat the tar out of the audience. The first was the incredible ‘Green Room’ and second being ‘Don’t Breathe’ the new movie from Fede “Evil Dead” Alvarez. Let me tell ya his new movie released this last weekend is a nonstop nail biter! It lives up to the hype. It’s got the grimy goods and then some and you’re not likely to find anyone able to dose off during this crazy ass thriller.
The story is simple, set in the desolate, barren areas of Detroit Michigan, three young burglars plan to rob a down on his luck blind man who’s recently gotten a six figure payment for the death of his daughter. As you might guess things don’t go quite as planned because by now everyone knows blind people are all total badasses. I guess that’s the way it goes down in the movies anyway right? Well this particular blind guy should face off with Daredevil sometime cuz he’d likely give him a serious ass whoopin!
I really don’t want to give away much of the plot as it is full of some interesting twists and turns. What I will say is Alvarez pulls no punches here, much like his ‘Evil Dead’ reboot this one rarely gives you a chance to breathe, only this one to it’s advantage has a much more likable cast. It’s a dark and gritty tale that really excels because of it’s completely convincing actors and incredible set piece. Yeah, the blind man’s old decaying home is a perplexing dark labyrinth of nooks and crannies with plenty of surprises tucked away. You’ll never feel more frustrated about trying find an exit out as this one unfolds. This movie’s got one helluva “final girl” too played by Jane Levy, she’s definitely got the chops!
The “villain” is played with amazing ferocity by Stephen Lang who’s hulking presence gives him an almost superhuman quality. It’s strange too how this movie turns the concept of facing off with a blind person into an incredibly menacing experience. You’d think the opposite but here the fact that he IS blind is one of the most terrifying things about the whole experience. Never has sneaking around been more nerve wracking! This is easily one of the most intense movie theater experiences I’ve had in quite some time.
I highly recommend this one for people who like being on the very edge of their seats with a racing heart for 90 minutes. For those who can’t hack it this one definitely won’t give you the warm fuzzies. The movie isn’t really full of crazy gore or anything like that but it’s a tightly packed mega tense cat and mouse game unlike anything you’ve probably seen before. It’s really one giant epic battle. I’d also like to ad that this ones likely going to go down in history for making you never look at turkey baster the same. That I promise – check this out if you’re feeling like a challenge!