Tagged: grindhouse

Netflix’s DVD B-Movie Mayhem: Amok Train!

Unlike a most people I’ve STILL got the dvd mailers from Netflix coming my way. Let’s face the facts folks most movies online on Netflix watch instantly kinda suck, it’s crazy how many movies I’ve started and never finished on that damn website! So I’ve been combing the DVD version of the site trying to find cool old b-movie movies they’ve got in their ample reserve. Surprisingly I’ve found some decent lil’ gems there, most of said movies have terrible reviews and super duper low star ratings. I’m going to chronicle those here, the first one I’m recommending is a movie from 1989 called “Amok Train” or as it’s also known “Beyond the Door III”. Keep in mind this movie actually has nothing to do with either of the two previous ‘Beyond The Doors’ but even the Amok Train’s title screen calls it ‘Beyond the Door III’ in the actual movie.

 

Directed by Jeff Kwitny, who only directed four movies, one was the 1988 ski horror flick “Iced” that I now need to see as well. I wasn’t expecting a god damn thing from “Amok Train” to be honest but this movie actually delivered all the glorious 80’s cheez I personally crave on all levels! From it’s start I could tell just from the odd setting alone, as it was shot in Serbia and actually features some stunning locations that it had some promise going forward. The plot follows some American college students who head off on a class trip to Yugoslavia and witness some crazy ass pagan rituals, after traveling on a creepy ferry, which were surprisingly effectively pulled off. After most of the students survive the deadly encounter from the crazed locals they frantically run off into the woods and come across a moving train that’s barreling through the countryside. Of course they are able to just barely hop aboard (most of them at least) to their “safety” and of course that’s where the rest of the flick’s craziness mostly ensues.


I totally dig the setting of “the trapped on a train with evil forces” aspect of this one. The movie moves along at relatively fast pace as well. It’s got it’s fair share of impressive but ridiculous special effects,  as well as some of the most idiotic “train out of control” sequences I’ve ever seen out on film. These scenes though, for me at least, enhance this C-level cinematic experience to higher levels of fun as the train seems to have an evil mind of it’s own. It switches course to evil paths on randomly appearing moving “possessed” train tracks. There’s some pretty cool yet cheezed out shit going on here, like the fact the train’s engine suddenly begins feeding on people rather than coal and the train is on a tight schedule to get one of the “virgin” college students on a perverted play date with the devil himself.

There’s also this cool 80’s badass soldier lady that joins the gang on the train who talks a lot of tuff guy shit and a killer scarf..yeah a killer scarf! The cast who’s got a It’s got some good gore also and stars Bo Svenson for anyone who gives a shit. For a flick I had zero expectations for it made for quite a fun evening of tokin’ and boozin’ it up a bit. If you dig obscure horror stuff that’s not on anyone’s radar then seek this out especially if you’re like me and still get pumped when you see that red and white Netflix dvd envelope in your mailbox!!

 

Advertisements

‘Superstition’ from 1982 = Good Ol’ Retro Scares Galore!

You ever have those movies that sit in your Netflix dvd Queue forever and then after years FINALLY arrive?! First off yeah I still got a dvd account with Netflix, the selection is totally way better and I also have the streaming too-so there. Anyway, get over it people, my point is I’ve got like 200 movies in that damn thing and most of em’ I probably will never get the time to check out. Surprisingly a movie snuck it’s way into the mix, ahh yes….’Superstition’ from 1982. I was pretty happy when it came in the mail, I’m always down for a good 80’s flick but I’ve been under the assumption these days that if I haven’t heard about a movie by now then it probably isn’t anything to write home about. Yep, I watch way too many movies, a lot of clunkers but every now and again I see something pretty damn cool that takes me by surprise.

superstition-2

‘Superstition’ (AKA “The Witch”) is one of those movies, from the opening scene it’s clear that you’re in for a bit of a treat. It’s essentially a haunted house movie, with some creepy witch business cleverly thrown in. The opening sequence has a some numb nut teenagers making out near a creepy old house in the woods, their sexy times get cut short by some meddling pranksters who give them a scare with some creepy props they’ve fastened in the trees above. After the two lovebirds flee for safety of course the pranksters can’t resist going into the house to fuck around. What follows are some impressive over the top gory kills, one of them gets thrown up into the ceiling, then winds up decapitated with his head in a microwave oven & eventually we get to see it explode. The other kid witnesses this and ends up being severed in half by a closing window. This opening sets the stage for a pretty entertaining little horror story. We have a bunch of religious nonsense as our main character is a priest who decides to fix up the property which belongs to the church readying it for a family to move into. Weird shit goes down almost instantly but you guessed it, the show goes on with little worry from anyone!

This one is definitely worth a watch, it’s only about 80 minutes long too, which I love, because one thing I’ve been noticing is there are a lot of  movies from the 1980’s that would be fucking fantastic if you just cut 20 minutes out of their run time. Superstition succeeds in bringing some cool ass scenarios to life while trimming all the usual boring 80’s B.S. plots that go nowhere out of the mix. It’s a lean mean super solid retro haunted house movie, with some cool old school 17th century possessed witch flashbacks neatly inserted to give you the scoop on just what the hells going on. It’s got a ton of ridiculous characters in the frenzy of things as well with some comedic moments sprinkled in for good measure. I also think it’s got a pretty rock solid finale where the priest runs around with a magic cross he uses to ward off evil and blast open doors. Anyway I could go on but hey if you’re looking for a good gory 80’s haunted house movie look no further Superstition has got the goods! 

 

Best of VHS Box Art: Mutant Hunt!!

Hey here we are again for the second installment of The Best of the Box where I’m listing some of the best VHS box cover art of all time! Well this time I’m showcasing Mutant Hunt, which is a pretty fucking hilariously awful movie from 1987. However they really did the right thing when hired the artist for this one. As a kid I’d alway dug this one, but it wasn’t until more recently that I actually saw the movie. Cyborgs were the shit in the 1980’s and with the success of The Terminator it seemed that everyone and their uncle was trying to cash in on  the man machine phenomena! Track this one down and watch with a rowdy group you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover in this case! 

 

Best of VHS Box Art: A Company of Wolves!!

Have you noticed the overload of retro style throwback movies that have been coming out over the last ten years or so? You surely seen all those retro style movie posters that seem to to borrow so heavily from those cult flicks of yesteryear. Well here I’m going to start a weekly post where I’m going to give you some of my personal favorite VHS box covers of all time. Most of these are ones as a kid in the 80’s I’d see when visiting the video store, some of those incredible covers will oddly always bring back great memories of being a kid. So for the first installment I picked one of the coolest from a bizarre werewolf movie from 1984 called “A Company of Wolves”. Seeing this one at Bricco’s Video Vault (I think that’s what it was called) back in Neenah Wisconsin back in the 80’s kinda freaked the shit out of me! It makes me wanna revisit this movie as it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. But here it is in all of it’s crazy glory….    

 

 

VHS Verdict: ‘Thunder Run’ Proves That in the 80’s Old Guys Kick Ass!

I dusted off a VHS copy of ‘Thunder Run’ from 1986 last night and we got to see a hotshot 67 year old action star kickin’ major ass in his  souped up semi truck! Yeeehaw! Yep this one was a total blast, if you’re looking for some seriously over the top action and crazy car chase trucker mayhem then you just won the fuckin’ lottery!

thunder20run20vhs20box

Forrest Tucker is the man here, a retired truck driver named Charlie who’s asked by an old friend/ Gov’t operative to drive a load of plutonium across a barren Arizona highway to lure out some psychotic terrorists and take them out once and for all. Sounds like a fool proof plan huh?

Nope this one doesn’t give us Jean Claude Van Damme or a Chuck Norris type kicking ass, instead you get an elderly bad ass geezer who tricks out his rig with a bunch deadly secret weapons he can activate via dashboard flip switches. We’ve got some classic bad guys too, their leader, a poor man’s Michael Ironside look alike with a nasty attitude and of course naturally a nasty facial scar (because we all know evil people sport nasty facial scars) does his best to be the perfect evil 80’s villain. The best part of the flick though is when the actual dangerous drive cross country begins and Charlie discovers his grandson is hiding in the cab and is fully ready for duo tag team terrorist ass whoopin! 

So once the action kicks into high gear it really just does not let up. Nope this one has crazy terrorists coming after the big rig from every direction on motorcycles, fake cop cars, weaponized Volkswagon Beetles & rival semi trucks. Charlie and his grandson get down and dirty roasting terrorists with flame throwers that they’ve installed into the sides of the semi, battering rams and some truly outrageous big rig road antics.

This is the type of flick where it don’t take much more than a scratch to blow the fuck out of car with huge amounts of fire shit flying everywhere. It’s nice to actually see real explosions again in a damn movie that’s for sure. One scene in particular where they jump the 18 wheeler (with plutonium in back mind you) over a moving train! Oh and the finale through the ridiculous laser tunnel is a total blast as well. So check this one out if you’re jonesin’ for a different type of action flick and action hero as ‘Thunder Run’ will deliver the goods on all cylinders and then some! This one’s worth hunting down!

Fortress – Awesome 80’s Oddball Australian Survival Adventure at it’s BEST!!

So you’re looking for an awesome 80’s survival flick huh? Well look no further because “Fortress” from 1985 delivers the goods big time!! This one seems to be somewhat of a forgotten gem, it was released on HBO back in the 80’s and later in 86′ in theaters in Australia where the movie was produced. I take great joy in watching awesome (or bad) movies from the 1980’s that some slipped under my radar for some reason and this one pretty much non stop awesomeness. It tells the simple story of a school teacher who’s class comes under attack by shotgun wielding masked psychos hell bent on taking everyone captive and hiding them in a cave in the Australian outback.

All goes as planned until the teacher (Rachel Ward) decides to take matters into her own hands. You got a ton of action, some truly awesome locales, creepy bad guys (one who with a Santa Claus mask) and a bit of an Amblin “kids in danger” style film making here that was surely missed by the masses.

Right around the third act the movie gets pretty intense when the teacher and her students become a major force to be reckoned with. Almost transforming into bloodthirsty “Lord of the Flies” type savages the finale of this film is awesome.

Then add in the shocking end scene the movie becomes even  more perplexing and unforgettable! Trust me if you’re a fan of weird 80’s  horror/thriller/kids movie hybrid flicks then this one will not disappoint!! You can get this one right on Netflix too!

Crazy Crazy Cat Man: “ROAR” Finally Gets It’s Debut in the USA!

Holy shit! I had the pleasure of seeing a screening last night of one of the most insane flicks I’ve ever seen at the Hollywood Theater right here in good ol’ Portland, Oregon! Yep “Roar” from 1981 has been called the most dangerous film ever made. This is hardly an exaggeration- It took about five years to make. It’s story revolves around Tippi Hedren and Noel Marshall, (writer, director, actor in the film)  along with Hedren’s real-life daughter Melanie Griffith and Marshall’s real-life sons John and Jerry.

Oh yeah and it also stars their real life adopted family of over 100 dangerous lions, tigers, panthers and cheetahs!! This movie is seriously insane, and had me cringing in fear around every corner as Noel Marshall is surrounded by these giant cats for nearly the entire movie. The plot is simple Marshall lives in Africa in a Swiss Family Robinson style house along with all of these man eating cats and a giant pissed off African elephant. The rest of his family (like in real life, Tippi in the movie, is his wife though they’re separated in the film) decide to drop by unexpectedly, only problem is dad isn’t there when they arrive….but the CATS are!

This movie is utter mayhem, filmed with just a loose plot, most all of the one million feet of footage shot depended on what the cats decided to do while shooting. These cats in the movie are considered Marshall’s harmless buddies, though he’s tackled, smothered and in the middle of raging giant cat fights pretty much nonstop throughout the film. To see these actors deliver their lines while in the midst of these beasts is quite a hilarious feat to say the least!

Now onto the other crazy fact of this film, no animals were harmed in the filming but over 70 cast and crew members were!! Much of the injury can be seen on film, though carefully edited. Here’s a list of exactly what when down via the Wiki page:

“Cinematographer Jan de Bont had his scalp lifted by a lion, resulting in 220 stitches. Tippi Hedren received a fractured leg and also had scalp wounds. This occurred after an elephant bucked her off its back while she was riding it. She was also bitten in the neck by a lion and required 38 stitches. This incident can also be seen in the film. Melanie Griffith(Hedren’s daughter) was also attacked, receiving 50 stitches to her face; it was feared she may lose an eye but in the end the wound was not disfiguring. 

Jan de Bont after the lion attack!

Noel was attacked so many times that he eventually was diagnosed with gangrene. One of those incidents, he was clawed by a cheetah when protecting the animals during a bushfire that occurred in 1979. All animals were evacuated, though it took several years for him to recover from his injuries. Due to the injuries, turnover was high as many did not want to return to the set. Some of the lions also suffered from illnesses that reduced their population. John Marshall was bitten by one of the lions and required 56 stitches. His brother Jerry was bitten in the foot while wearing tennis shoes. He later jokingly said the lion had a “tennis shoe fetish.” Assistant Director Doron Kauper had his throat bitten open, his jaw was bitten, and one of the lions attempted to rip an ear off. He was also injured in the head, chest, and thigh. Although it has been reported that the attack nearly proved fatal, the Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 9, 1978 printed a quote from a nurse saying his injuries were acute. He was also reported as being conscious and in a fair condition.

Sound pretty unbelievable huh? Well after watching this movie, which was never officially released in the US until now it’s pretty clear how the insane list of injuries is totally accurate with what you witness before you! There’s a ton of crazy stunts and an angry elephant scene that will scare the pants off of you! The cats were adopted by Hendren and Marshall from defunct circuses, zoos & irresponsible owners and given refuge at The Shambala Preserve  just about 50 miles outside of Los Angeles which they started together. in fact you can still visit the preserve today. Before you do though make sure you do not miss this movie it’s a truly incredible piece of cinema and one experience you’re likely to never forget!