Tagged: Horror

Movie Review: The Gooey Gory Greedy Horror of ‘BLACK FRIDAY’!

A good Thanksgiving horror movie has always been quite hard to come by, sure there are few out there but aside of something like 1987’s ‘Blood Rage’ the pickens are slim. Well I decided to take a chance yesterday on a brand new one called ‘Black Friday’ and was quite surprised how much I enjoyed this comedically gory and ultra gooey little horror flick. To be honest I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot even though it co-stars Bruce Campbell as the manager of a lame ass modern toy mart on Thanksgiving evening. I wasn’t particularly 100% sold on the trailer but I really wanted to see something different this year that brought some possible holiday horror cheer.

I’d at first thought this might be just another trashy low level zombie movie but right from the get go it’s clear this one’s got something more sinister going on which was immediately a relief. We start off with the discovery of a strange small glowing pulsating blob like creature discovered inside of the store by a late night maintenance man. My assumption: it must be some sort of alien, whatever it is, I’m in!

We quickly turn to our rather diverse cast of characters (whom I think are all pretty interesting) as they ready themselves for Black Friday of course!  As the ravenous line of impatient shoppers grows outside of the toy mart we can see a few of them are definitely not looking too fucking healthy & the employees on the inside are gonna encounter something a lot more challenging than the average filthy greedy shoppers this year.

The plot here is about as simple as it gets, gang of ridiculous employees has to survive the night against a horde of monsters. But that’s not to say this movie doesn’t have a bit more going for it. I guess the best way to describe this one would be almost like if you took ‘The Breakfast Club’, mashed it up with ‘Evil Dead 2’ and set it inside a modern  department store. There’s a lot of great character development too that adds some sweet charm & heart to the experience as well as upping the stakes for survival. Plus like I said, we get the treat of Bruce Campbell arriving to add that extra bit of b-movie legitimacy to it all.

One of the best aspects here are the monsters and the slimey, gorey effects on display. From what I could tell, almost entirely done via practical effects. It’s also got a nice lean run time of around 80 minutes, with a brisk pace, plenty of action, funny characters, gore and some pretty well done comedy. Also it’s really anyone’s guess who’s gonna survive this thing.

Yet, that’s not to say this is a perfect film, the actual toy store that it takes place in is a pretty ugly generic looking set piece. Even less fun to look at than a freakin’ Walmart. A more interesting environment could have really added a lot, a uniquely spooky looking toy store to add that extra layer of creepiness to the atmosphere. And although some of the effects towards the final standoff were pretty cool in regards to the creature, the general execution of it all felt quite clunky and a bit lazy. It could have really wowed in those final moments but fell a bit short of the mark for what  had been executed quite well before, for me personally.  However these are small qualms in the larger scheme of a relatively high grade creature feature. For me my favorite genre of horror.

Doubling as a Thanksgiving horror movie as well as a Christmas one ‘Black Friday’definitely delivers on many of its promises and if you’re looking for something that might be a nice double feature with say ‘Gremlins’ or ‘Krampus’ then I think there’s a decent amount here to fully enjoy. Definitely check it out if you’re feeling frisky this holiday season for surprisingly fun holiday themed horror flick jam packed with monster mayhem..

Weird, Forgotten Thanksgiving Themed Viewing Straight from the 80s!

So if you’re like me you’re most likely quite sad that the Halloween season has finally ended. Now we head quickly towards Thanksgiving and very rarely do we see much in the way of kick ass Thanksgiving themed viewing that us huge Halloween horror fans can get behind! Don’t fret though because I’m on the case to solve this crisis! In this first installment I’ve got three  recommendations that will make your Thanksgiving nice and weird and slightly creepy as well. Check these out to switch things up this year…

Amazing Stories (1986) ‘Thanksgiving’: 

 This is hands down one of my favorite shows from the 1980s. Steven Spielberg brought the star power and the budget to craft some of the coolest TV episodes of all time. This episode, takes place right around Thanksgiving, hence the title and features David Carradine and Kyra Sedgwick in a strange little tale that takes place in the barren, lonely desert. It involves a bizarre hole in the ground where it appears, far below, lives a strange race of beings who they accidentally begin communicating with. Carrdine though let’s his greedy tendencies get the best of him  when he realizes these beings offer treasure for random items they lower below the surface on a rope to them. An intriguing and creepy episode that is a true delight to watch around the Thanksgiving season!

 

Tales From the Darkside (1986) ‘The Last Car’:

‘Tales from the Darkside’ is probably the best horror themed TV show of all time in my opinion. Luckily they produced an episode in Season 2 called ‘The Last Car’ that features a young woman on her way home from college to meet family for Thanksgiving late one night. One of the standout episodes of the second season this one oozes with dread as she rides rides a the last creepy train car into the night and meets all sorts of bizarre characters along the way. The true question though is will she make it back for that sumptuous turkey dinner? Slip this creepy atmospheric horror tale into rotation this year for the whole family!

 

The Incredible Hulk (1979) ‘Homecoming’: 

Why not brighten things up a bit with an awesome episode of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ series from the late seventies? I just can’t get enough of the big green guy and had to add this this one to the festivities. Lou Ferrigno remains my favorite on screen Hulk and Bill Bixby my favorite Banner, who’d have thought huh? This episode we see Banner head back home for Thanksgiving to a small town where he ends up on a mission to save his family farm. Of course we know that there’s someone who’s gonna be fuckin’ with Banner. We’ll of course get to see the Green Goliath once again kick some ass on the holiday, you just can’t go wrong mixing The Incredible Hulk with Thanksgiving!!

Halloween 2021: Who Won? CHUCKY or MICHAEL MYERS?!

It’s been a bit of a “David & Goliath” horror showdown in 2021, two iconic slashers went head to head this Halloween and as far as I’m concerned the little guy has emerged as the clear victor! ‘Chucky’ stomped ‘Halloween Kills’, continuing the horror saga with no need to cancel ANY of it’s sequels, no matter how ridiculous they may have been! Not an easy feat, but Don Mancini has stuck to his guns and once again breathed some fresh air into the fanchise.

 Mancini also deserves a lot of credit for clearly how much love he still has for Chucky. He clearly doesn’t need to erase the sequels, keeping everything cannon, something I really respect that oddly works in his favor here with the new Syfy series. He’s built an entire world within his sequels and it becomes even more interesting as some of the most ludicrous plot points of the earlier ones remain intact with this darker toned series that feels much more akin to the original.

 ‘Halloween Kills’ however is clearly being pushed imo for a different reason, what I believe to be more of an IP “cash grab” reboot thing. ‘The Pineapple Express’ director doesn’t bring much new or interesting to the table for someone who’s erased all of the sequels and replaced them with basically the “Terminator: Dark Fate” of the Halloween franchise. Hey, If you’re going to revise the existing lore, that is beloved by a lot of fans, you better have something bad ass planned for your new time line. ‘Halloween Kills’ personally left me completely underwhelmed & unexcited for whatever comes next. At this point who gives a shit about yet another Halloween timeline?

‘Chucky’ however has introduced us to a whole new cast of (so far) interesting characters, Don Mancini has finally brought us a gay horror protagonist to root for that doesn’t feel forced. ‘Cult of Chucky’ left us with also quite a fresh twist on things, Tuesday night we hit mid season with episode 4, though I’m at the moment starting to slightly feel some padding in the series, I’m hoping that the final 4 episodes will increase the mayhem as they introduce Tiffany and whoever else mysteriously pops in for the story.

Looking at the end of the last Chucky film there’s a lot of interesting directions this current story could now go in. I really hope they take some chances here like they were doing in the last Chucky film rather than trying to just stick to the original basic slasher formula. ‘Chucky’ now has the chance to go completely bonkers and throw the fans a bloody curve ball they’ll never forget. If they continue to incorporate some wild voodoo rituals, human possessions, multiple Chucky’s and one mean mysterious motive for the mayhem, the first season will be off to a sweet start. As it stands Chucky has cut Michael down to size with the authenticity of the original creator at it’s helm who’s clearly hungry to tell a new fresh story. Let’s see if he can deliver a home run in the last four episodes or if it’s flame fizzles into the realm of the tired reboots and bland cash grab “sequels”. Fingers crossed!

 

Halloween Nite Party Flick Pick: NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2!

So can you believe it?Halloween is finally here and if you’re like me you’re probably planning on watching something frightfully awesome tonite that will get the party PUMPIN’! Let’s face it, this decision is a BIG one, most people decide to go with one of the classics they’ve seen countless times cuz you don’t want to chance it all on some shitty clunker. One movie that gets a lot of rotation during the Halloween season Is ‘Night of the Demons’ from 1988. But a lot of people (me included) seem to have missed over the years it’s incredible 1994 sequel, a movie that I dare to say is just as good if not actually BETTER than the original!!

Yes I said it. This week I re-watched ‘Night of the Demons’ again and also viewed part 2 for the very first time, really not expecting much at all. What I got from Aussie director Brian Trenchard-Smith (also responsible for the likes of ‘Dead End Drive In’ & ‘Leprechaun 4: In Space’) far surpassed what I’ve been secretly hoping for. So again we get the perfect setting and time for the sequel, Halloween night baby! We also see the return of horror icon “Angela” from the very first movie in all of her horrific glory.  But the two things I think make this stand out above the original is the even more wildly imaginative special fx and especially the charming cast of characters this time around. We really get a gang we can get behind and root for in the sequel.

Part 2 plays out a bit more like ‘Mean Girls’ meets ‘Evil Dead 2’, the setting here is a Catholic boarding school filled to the brim with horny ass teenagers who’re ready for a goddamn rager on Halloween night. Two of the standout characters, a teenage boy obsessed with exorcisms and demonic possessions, as well as a bad-ass ruler wielding nun, hell bent on making sure these teenagers have a kosher evening that only Jesus would find entertaining.

But alas, we all of course know nothing can stop the raging hormones of teenagers in the 1990s! Similar to the first movie, this gang heads out to the same abandoned house from the first installment to get down to some risky bizness and then once again encounter the demonically filthy Angela! She’s ready to have a party of her own filled with blood-and-guts a’ plenty.

 If you’ve never seen this before I definitely don’t want to spoil any of it. There’s just too much damn fun to be had as well as a few “twists”. The special effects are gloriously gooey, and this chapter offers legit frights by upping the ante on some monster mayhem via some spectacular practical effects work that caught me by surprise. For a movie made in 1994 it bleeds of the eighties in all the best ways. With a plentiful amount of TNA and a perfect blend of comedy mixed with some genuine scares. In my opinion it’s the perfect Halloween party movie that’s bound to have people cheering.

 I can’t believe that it took me this long to finally check it out. The first movie is such a beloved Halloween horror classic that I figured there’s no way in hell it could live up to its predecessor.

 So if you’re looking for something totally bad-ass to watch tonight and are a fan of the original You can really do no wrong with Night of the Demons 2!  I’ll say it again it’s better than the first. Deal with it! Now I’m even more curious if lightning can strike 3 times?  I’m gonna have to check out part 3 next. In the meantime you can find this one streaming and rental on most of the major platforms.. So grab your booze, blaze up the ganja and grab your closest cinemaniacs for a night of 90s horror gold!

Halloween Comic Cover of the Week: New Mutants Nightmare!

It’s getting so damn close to Halloween!  So of course we have to honor some of the greatest creepy comic book covers of all time! As a kid this one spooked me, when I think of classic creepy comic book covers this is one of the first ones that always comes to mind, New Mutant’s #3 from 1983! Bob McLeod lays out this brilliant nightmarish horror themed classic cover. The New Mutants had its fair share of frightening freaky storylines going on in the early eighties when they first made their debut,  This easily remains one of the scariest-Happy HALLOWEEN weekend!

Trick or Treat with BIGFOOT during SQUATCHTOBER!

U-Dork’s Back on the Movie Melt podcast where we are celebrating this Halloween season by covering some spooky obscure Bigfoot flicks: We call it Squatchtober! Let’s face it a good freakin’ Bigfoot movie is hard to find but when you stumble across one you gotta call it out to feral forest gods and inner city Sasquatches alike. We’ve been discussing the best & the worst Sasquatch related horror movies this month And it led us down a path to the ‘Black River Monster’ from 1986!

What? You’ve never heard of this one?  What do you live in a cave or something? I guess not ‘cuz if so you probably would have already seen it! Well this one’s pretty much flown under everyone’s damn radar but don’t let that deter you in your quest for the big hairy fellow’s greatest roles in cinema!

Lots of discussion on what ‘Squatch related movies you should be watching this Halloween during Squatchtober and so much more useless cinematic information  to cram into your brain! All hail the truly elusive original party animal this Halloween and check out our tribute to him on the LATEST EPISODE OF MOVIE MELT!! 

Must SEE Halloween: Spielberg’s Spooky 80s AMAZING STORIES!!

Of course, everybody’s looking for the ultimate Halloween viewing this year and it just so happens I’ve got a couple recommendations here that are a MUST see for anyone who’s a fan of those spooky “Amblin* films of the eighties! A lot of people seem to have forgotten about or never even heard of  Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series ‘Amazing Stories’. That’s truly a shame because many of these episodes are classic “Spielbergian” gems that are indeed quite freakin’ amazing. Better yet, there are a handful of episodes that are absolutely perfect for the Halloween season. Today I’d like to mention two of my all time favorite episodes of the series that just so happen to be quite perfectly spooky and utterly charming.

Easily one of the best episodes of the series comes from the 1st season is called ‘Mummy Daddy’. It’s directed by William Dear who’s most well known for one of my all time favorites ‘Harry and Hendersons’. This features an actor on a creepy fog laden swamp of a movie set who’s dressed in an elaborate mummy costume that’s virtually unremovable. When he suddenly gets a phone call that his wife is about to give birth, he bursts frantically from the set to head off to the hospital, In full mummy garb. What he doesn’t realize is that the backwoods locals are restless as they fear the legend of an actual evil mummy rumored to roam the forest in search of innocents to prey upon is alive and well.

 There’s a lot of unique twists and turns in this half hour episode, the mummy fx look incredible and the sets and fog filled moonlit locales are top notch. One thing is clear Steven Spielberg had a movie level budget for the show and he was willing to put it all on the line. This episode features the perfect blend of spooky comedy & horror as well as some excellent supernatural action sequences.

Not to mention one of my favorites, Brion James in the role of the aggro head hillbilly, who’s hell bent on ridding their small town of the mummy’s curse forever! This one is a must see for the Halloween season! 

Next up is my absolute favorite episode of the entire series which comes from season 2 called ‘Go to the Head of the Class’. 

It’s directed by ‘Back to the Future’s’ own Robert Zemekis, features Mary Stuart Masterson and of course Christopher Lloyd! This one is slso a double length episode, it easily could have been made into an excellent horror flick and would have easily been one of the best episodes of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ if it’d been included in that series, where to be honest it feels like it belongs!  In a nutshell it’s a story of two teenagers who who plan an elaborate revenge scheme on their asinine school teacher. However this isn’t your average tale of revenge, they instead employ the powers of the supernatural playing a record backwards and performing a ritual in the cemetery late one night after school that will supposedly put an end to their least fave douchebag headmaster! 

Christopher Lloyd shines in the role of the evil teacher and like the last episode I mentioned, the special effects here are done by Stan Winston and all of the horror set pieces are utterly breathtaking in the spookiest way imaginable. It’s jam packed with the perfect blend of comedy, genuine scares and familiar faces of the eighties that are certain to put a smile on your face.

These two episodes will pack the perfect double duo punch and give you something different to check out this Halloween season. Yeah horror from a much simpler time from the golden era of horror! Do not snooze on these this year!

Crazy New HORROR Blu Rays for Halloween you NEED!!

I wanted to take a moment here to mention a couple brand spankin’ new blu ray releases coming out this month just in time for Halloween that I’m absolutely stoked for! If you’re looking for 2 amazing horror films plucked right from the golden age of the eighties and early nineties then these two will NOT disappoint! Both of these flicks are filled with just the right amount of gory practical effects ridden horror and the perfect doses of comedy from their uniquely charming casts. So without further ado here are 2 blu rays you need this Halloween that are coming out this month! You can pre-order them now!

The Laughing Dead (1989)

I actually just did my last blog post about the director of The Laughing Dead’s new movie ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’.  But this long lost eighties slice of a horror is a must see for anyone who’s a big fan of stuff like Evil Dead 2 or Re-animator. It never got an official release here in the United States so this one’s kinda special. It’s jam packed with monsters, zombies, gooey gore and plenty of absurd comedy as well as some genuine frights!  Don’t let the title fool you, This is most definitely NOT your average run of the mill eighties zombie flick! You can preorder this thing right now via Vinegar Syndrome!

 

Hiruko the Goblin (1990)

 Hot damn! I’m so pumped on this one too, Hiruko the Goblin is being released by Mondo Macabro. This one would be a perfect double feature with The Laughing Dead as well, It’s jam packed with amazing practical effects and super awesome monsters! It’s also got some heart as well, as it features a family affair, with a teenager who teams up with his eccentric oddball demon hunting uncle to face the forces of evil in an abandoned Is boarding school.  From the director of Tetsuo: The Iron Man! This is perfect for the Halloween season!  Keep in mind none of these trailers are the new 4K transfers, Hopefully they’ll release those soon!

Movie Review: Classical Thai Horror of ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’!

I’m a big fan of the 1989 cult horror flick ‘The Laughing Dead’, If you’ve never heard of it and are a1980’s gore horror fiend, well I’ve a feeling that it’s gonna be your new favorite “lost” 80s gem. Rumor has it that it just might be getting a fancy blu ray release?! I hope that’s true! Well it’s director/cult horror novelist/composer extraordinaire S.P. Somtow is back after a long hiatus starring in and writing the latest creepy outing all the way from Thailand with ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’.

The tale of a musical genius haunted by his past and pushed into a state of pure insanity, The Maestro tells the story of a mentally unstable man named Arun (S.P. Somtow), a dedicated composer who attempted a run for fame in Europe but ultimately finds himself deeply depressed, back in Thailand teaching rich kids music at a local shopping mall. Behind the scenes though, he’s been secretly planning a wildly dark magnum opus called ‘The Tongues of Angels’, his ultimate goal: premiering it to the entire world on a livestream during the Covid 19 pandemic. His wildly demented ambition however may induce a lot more than musical madness but also death to those who threaten his journey.

So yeah I’ve been quite excited to check this out, but also had hoped Somtow would be at the mantle as director on the project. I really enjoyed his campy approach on ‘The Laughing Dead’ and the comedic elements incorporated with the heavy effects work of legend John Carl Buechler made it a total blast. That all being said ‘The Maestro’ does definitely deliver some of Somtow’s signature tones, but perhaps with a more artistic approach. Director Paul Spurrier does a decent job behind the camera, giving the movie at times a more slick approach then what I’d ultimately prefered. It combines lighter elements of horror with tense hypnotic dark classical music but also has a few more deeply disturbing psychological aspects at hand here as well that at times made me a bit uncomfortable. The lush locales of Thailand combined with Somtow’s intensely creepy musical compositions sonically assault in a truly unique way.


To be quite honest, his beautifully dark score is probably the biggest star of the entire movie. I’d been expecting something quite a bit different, with more old school fx leaning in on much more on the horror side of things. Instead this one plays out more a psychological thriller and is the first movie I’ve seen that takes place actually during the Covid 19 era. We finally see people on screen irritated with and fussing with their masks as well as trying to navigate life through these current bizarre times. But that doesn’t stop the shamed Maestro from seeking out his pawns, a crew of young musicians gathered from his mall class and the even from the streets.

Most of the madness takes place at a stunningly creepy decrepit mansion In the countryside where the symphony of horror begins to take shape. The Maestro has one thing on his mind: his music and will let nothing get in his way of composing the ultimate dark symphony.

This one’s definitely worth a watch, it’s got a great cast of young actors and Somtow shines again as the villain in a similar way he did back in ‘The Laughing Dead’.

I’m glad that S.P. has again returned to his horror roots, overall I think this is a pretty solid return to form. Going forward I’d like to encourage him to get back behind the camera again, I think he’s got the chops that the people thirst for today with the 80s cult camp fanatics. If anything ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’ must be watched for it’s incredible musical finale, which blew me away. I’ll be hunting down the soundtrack for sure!!

U-Dork on The MOVIE MELT Podcast: The Horror of ‘PROM NIGHT 3’!

So in preparation for the Halloween season I joined the Movie Melt podcast to yet again discuss another cinematic oddity! This time we covered the largely forgotten 1989 cult horror gem ‘Prom Night 3: The Last Kiss’.

This one’s even better than the original Jamie Lee Curtis slasher classic! A great sequel to the Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou, which is also a MUST see this ‘Ween season.

Anyway this episode though covers sooo much more than just ‘Prom Night 3’ take a listen to find out what flicks you should be checking out right now and learn even more useless, but epically awesome movie info you can share with everyone and your cat. Listen here for the scoop on the horror cult comedy and melt your mind with cinematic mayhem! LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE!

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