Tagged: Horror

Hong Kong Horror Gems: 1985’s ‘Those Merry Souls’!

Here’s a sweet little Hong Kong horror/action/comedy hybrid from 1985 that really put a BIG smile on my face, ‘Those Merry Souls’. Yeah this all but forgotten flick has some serious star power, featuring the likes of martial arts legends like the charming Yuen Biao & the late horror icon “Mr. Vampire” himself Lam Ching Ying (RIP) together for one spooky comedic action packed romper. 

Now as you can see the poster here. makes it look maybe like a full on comedy, and in many ways ‘Those Merry Souls’ plays out like one. However it also has a serious supernatural aspect and threat that slowly rears it’s head to the final genuinely creepy action packed finale. This one tells the story of two stuntmen one a wildly talented martial artist and his bumbling whiny cousin who’s obsessed with a beautiful local club singer. Oh yeah and their uncle has recently developed a rare creepy ability to astral project and has been helping people who die find their way to the other side. He helps those merry souls but during his waking life doesn’t remember a lick of it ever happening.

The two bosom buddy stuntmen spend most of their time trying to ridiculously find romance and getting into trouble while doing so, one of the best scenes takes place on a beach where Yuen Biao shines showing his kick ass martial arts skills taking on a gang beach bullies in only his skimpy little swim suit. Biao really should have been an international star, he’s got the skills and a similar raw charisma of Jackie Chan. Things do get a bit dark and scary here though and what starts off like the perfect 80’s Hong Kong buddy comedy morphs into a pretty thrilling little supernatural tale.

This happens when their uncle, while in his astral form is instructed to take the soul of his own nephew when he’s injured doing a wild stunt on a movie set. At the moment of truth though he decides to let him live & spare his soul a mistake that costs him his own life and sets forth an evil entity upon them. In a way it’s a tiny bit Final Destination and when they employ the help of their other uncle, played by Lam Ching Ying, who’s of course got some secret magic skills of his own to ward off evil, things get really interesting.

The film’s finale is joyous as the whole gang along with their girlfriends all face off the evil entity along with their taoist priest uncle in an action packed final showdown. The stakes get high and the action is off the rails bonkers in true Hong Kong fashion as the entity possesses members of the group and soon things erupt into a crazy supernatural kung fu battle.

We even get to see Lam Ching Ying and Yuen Biao go at it full force, which is treat to behold. Bottom line here, ‘Those Merry Souls’ is a damn good time balancing out the comedy, kung fu & supernatural elements in all the right ways, something I’ve noticed many Hong Kong films of this era seem to fail at in my opinion more often than succeeding. If you’re looking to get in 80’s Hong Kong Horror I highly recommend ‘Those Merry Souls’ as the perfect party movie to share with a hungry gang of movie maniacs!

And for fans of Yuen and LamChing Ying check this out too..

The Crazy Killer Muppet: Benny Loves You!

I just checked out this wild little trailer for what looks like promising horror comedy-Benny Loves You! What if your childhood stuffed animal had a mind of it’s own and didn’t handle being rejected well when you finally outgrew him? Well Benny is here to show you just that as he goes on a rampage when he’s thrown away by his longtime now grown up friend.



“After the accidental death of his parents, Jack’s comfortable lifestyle comes to an end and he must sell his family home. Desperate to improve his life, Jack throws out his childhood belongings including his beloved plush, Benny. It’s a move that has disastrous consequences when Benny springs to life with deadly intentions!”

It definitely looks like something else is going here as well in this one as we see a killer doll and what looks like a toy robot battling Benny. This looks like a super fun little crazy ride, I’ll definitely be checking this one out soon. Benny Loves You was written and directed by Karl Holt who also stars in the film. This one’s out on VOD beginning May 11th.

 

Willy’s Wonderland: Nic Cage vs Evil Chuck E. Cheese = Cinematic Food Poisoning!

So I was at 7 Eleven the other day and thought it was the time to finally check out the most recent effort from Nic Cage, Willy’s Wonderland. Yes it was RedBox time yeeehaw!! I’d been looking forward to this movie for a while now, I mean Nic Cage spends the night at a haunted Chuck E. Cheese style pizza place funland and battles the animatronic cartoon band? SIGN ME THE HELL UP!



Well this little horror flick most definitely did NOT bring anything remotely wonderful to the damn party! Just like the 2019 ‘Banana Splits’ movie, 2021’s Willy’s Wonderland makes another attempt at a live action “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and somehow manages again to deliver a shit sandwich. I mean how can Nic Cage battling killer cartoon robots be so fucking boring? It’s almost like you have to be working hard to make this concept suck so bad. Plot? Barely any, but basically Nic Cage is a “cool guy” who drives around a lame sports car really fast (you know cuz that’s what bad asses do) & gets a flat tire. He then has to get it fixed (tuff guys can’t change tires), but the city has no ATM so he makes a deal to work off the car repair by working a graveyard shift cleaning ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ which is basically a low rent version of the much sweeter ‘Showbiz Pizza’.

Ok so Nic Cage’s character also apparently doesn’t speak, I’m not sure why, maybe tuff guys don’t like to talk or more likely Cage didn’t want to waste his time memorizing lines for a movie he knew was giant steaming turd. Everything about this movie basically sucks. Willy’s Wonderland (the actual place) should have been the major draw of the creepy fun, but here this funland restaurant looks like it was cobbled together in 15 minutes with bad props found in some dipshit’s garage. It’s a boring, ugly, sterile set piece that should have been a uniquely awesome creepy place for a horror adventure to take place. The acting also sucks and not in a good way. It tries way too hard to be edgy & make Cage’s character some sort of cool ass modern horror icon but instead just makes him look like some mega lame ass middle aged numbskull. If you like seeing Cage beat up furry robots over and over and over and defeating with no effort while drinking generic energy drinks this one is for you. Zero tension and zero shits given for any of the annoying characters easily make this one of the worst & most disappointing movies I’ve seen in quite some time. 

Like I said, the battles are super duper boring and while the cartoon robot monsters don’t look particularly bad, any chance of them being a threat is ruined early on by showing how weak they are when Nic Cage easily “beats them up” early on. They at least try to weave in some lame recycled plot they stole from ‘Child’s Play’, but by the time that arrives in the movie it’s just too late to give a damn. Then they decide to try even harder to make Cage’s character memorable by having him do a lame “sexy” dance sequence while he plays pinball but it’s just so pathetic that it almost tarnishes his brilliant more recent performance in ‘Mandy’. I know Nic takes pretty much any role he’s offered these days, but I personally thought he was on some sort of sweet comeback? Nope Cage still makes plenty of horse shit and Willie’s Wonderland is a prime example of just that! Please, for the love of God, no more ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ themed “horror” flicks! Let this put the nail in that coffin! 

The Wolf of Snow Hollow: Scooby-Doo Meets ‘The Howling’!

Yes it’s 2021 and I’ve STILL got the old skool big red envelope Netflix by mail service! Deal with it peeps! In fact the DVD service is so much more superior and satisfying than the boring vanilla streaming service I suggest everyone go back to simpler times and try waiting a few days for a damn movie to arrive. That being said going into 2020’s ‘The Wolf of Snow Hollow’ (yep on DVD) I’d assumed it was going to be some flimsy-ass modern werewolf tale I’d likely forget an hour after viewing. Not the case, this one was a total gem and really defied all expectations which admittedly were pretty freakin’ low. I personally find most modern horror movies to be a chore to get through lately, but every now and again one hits all the right beats.  

What starts out as a simple tale turns into something quite complex, then somehow morphs at the end into something completely different than what I’d expected to unfold. It tells the tale of a small mountain town that’s gripped by horror, when mauled bodies are mysteriously discovered apparently after each full moon. Small town cop, Officer Marshall is hot on the case and stressed the fuck out. While raising a teenage daughter and covering for his aging father, Robert Forster (who also happens to be the Sheriff), he’s losing lotsa sleep, trying to solve the murders while desperately trying to convince the the town that there’s no such thing as a killer beast on the prowl. Most importantly NOT werewolves. But what are his true motives? Does the small town cop have bigger secrets he’s trying to hide?

This sweet little horror comedy has a lot to offer, some charming characters work their way through this unique little mystery while the creep factor is cranked up with the presence of a menacing monster who shows up to shred his victims for all the town to behold. Officer Marshall is a pretty hilarious character and following him as he seemingly tries to solve the caper is a true delight, the clues subtly placed out there for the audience make this a unique little tale of terror. The cozy little winter ski town of Snow Hollow is the perfect place for the mayhem to unfold, giving this one a slightly “Scooby Doo-esque” vibe to it all. It can also double as a holiday movie as it’s clearly the Christmas season in Snow Hollow when the animal attacks hit their stride. The werewolf aspect of it is also pretty compelling with a menacing hulking monster on the prowl of the dark snow bound streets of the small town. There’s no bad CGI werewolves to rain on the parade here either, instead an impressive creature who doesn’t wear out his welcome by remaining fairly elusive never fully revealing his full form too clearly in the moonlight.

This one doesn’t follow the traditional tropes of older werewolf tales or the trending formulas newer horror films that are trying to work in any sort of political angle. Like I mentioned before, it’s really like a violent Scooby Doo mystery with a dash of 1985’s ‘Silver Bullet’ that knows how to keep the audience guessing until the very end. As soon as you think you’ve got it all firmly figured out it throws a loop that send the viewer down a different trail. Director Jim Cummings, who also plays Officer Marshall, has does great job here bringing this offbeat werewolf tale to life and making his character a memorable one for the modern horror genre-check this one out if you’re looking for a wildly fun, gory little mystery!       

U-Dork on the Movie Melt Podcast: Revisiting 2019’s Weird Ass ‘BUTT BOY’!

I never thought I’d go back and give 2019’s ‘Butt Boy’ a damn re-watch, butt here I am back on the damn ‘Movie Melt‘ podcast where I was invited to give my two cents worth on the weird ass movie I review right HERE! Yeah for some reason ‘Butt Boy’ was nominated to be the feature presentation on the podcast, probably because of it’s totally bizarre premise that really has to be seen to be believed.

That being said, this flick is most definitely not for everyone imo and I’ve stated here before I’m still not quite sure if I liked the damn thing myself. Even so I’ll state again if you don’t know what the hell I’m even talking about with this movie, that I suggest just going into it completely cold and letting things unfold. It’s an interesting experience to say the least. If you’re a fan of the movie we’ve got more info on the film and the director than anywhere else on the net. 

So check out the ‘Butt Boy’ or just listen to Movie Melt where we all discuss movies you should be checking out, do some wild cinematic trivia and of course talk about one of the most perplexing movies of the last decade, Butt Boy in all of it’s glory…

‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’ A Bizarre New Genre of Horror Cinema!

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’! 

 

 

Spielberg’s Awesome WTF Sequel Treatment – ‘E.T. 2: NOCTURNAL FEARS’!

I’ve joked with friends for many years about Steven Spielberg’s classic film E.T. having a sequel made, that was only released for audiences overseas. I mean of course I’d want a sequel to the movie, but not some pile of shit that’s made today where they fuck everything up with bad “special” overblown fx, a cut and paste recycled plot and a cast of terrible new characters “who are passed the torch” from the beloved but neglected older now sidelined classic ones. Well come to find out that Spielberg was indeed planning a sequel to E.T. back in 1982! He even wrote a story treatment for it that he actually turned in and while it’s not at all what you’d expect, it’s something just weird enough to have been the WTF cult classic E.T. deserved!

While The A.V. Club recently stated we should “be glad the cancelled sequel never got made” I say we should be downright enraged the cancelled sequel never saw the light of the silver screen. Officially titled ‘E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears’ you can tell this thing would have been right up my damn alley. Yep, think of more of an alien abduction horror tinged adventure for Elliot & fam this time. In Steven’s sweet nine page treatment, he amps up the Amblin “kids in danger” factor to eleven. Elliot, Michael and Gerty are sorely missing life without E.T. by their side, they still long to reunite with him again someday often gazing into the night skies. Well just as their world seems to turn mundane, they once again discover an alien craft at night in the woods nearby. Baffled, they assume it must be E.T’s return to them. However, what’s on board this time around are not so friendly, something far more terrifying: white skinned humanoid extraterrestrial carnivores, sporting huge red eyes and razor sharp fangs.

It’s not by coincidence either they land in the woods nearby, as they’re in search of their old pal E.T. & a few steps behind him in pursuit. It turns out they’re at odd’s with E.T.’s race and have come to Earth for any information on his whereabouts. Oh yeah the creatures also mutilate cattle and raise hell in the suburbs. Elliot, Gerty and Mike are pursued relentlessly by them in a game of cat and mouse and are eventually captured, where they’re tortured for info on their pal E.T.’s whereabouts. Elliot is so traumatized by their wicked methods of interrogation that at one point his blood curdling scream sends a emotional signal deep through the outer reaches of space to his old alien friend. Of course E.T. wastes no time and immediately rushes back on a mission to save his human companions from the clutches of his evil alien rivals. It’s also revealed E.T.’s real name is ‘Zrek’! Yowza COUNT ME SO IN!

The A.V. Club obviously doesn’t know a cult classic 80’s sequel if it punched them in their freakin’ face! Apparently Spielberg decided to back off the sequel because he thought it’d ruin the innocence of the original movie. Deeming it too dark and simply based too much in horror. Take a look at the concept designs for Rick Baker’s evil aliens, for the unmade ‘Night Skies’ that were also rumored to be considered for ‘Nocturnal Fears’:

So this is clearly to me at least an awesome sequel, and in an alternate reality would’ve been a classic, though likely a box office bomb. Spielberg could have had Tobe Hooper direct this thing too! Part of me wishes they’d pull this treatment out of the old dusty file cabinets and just give us THIS sequel today! Keep the same basic story, but have the original cast reunite, older now with their families deal with this identical situation and reunite with E.T. , I mean Zrek, sorry! As much as I’d love this I can only assume some greedy Hollywood execs would step in to trash the story, killing off Elliot, Gerty & Mike in the opening scene or something lame and then throw in a bunch of shitty CGI aliens and have E.T. die before he can see his old friends. There’d also probably be a new “E.T.” in his place that was more in line with current online trends somehow. So for now ‘E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears’ will just have to get a special place in my mind as the ‘what if’ sequel that should have been. Check out this extensive look at Steven Spielbergs story treatment in this Youtube video, beware though this Youtube channel also seems to think the script sucks(WTF?), clearly this person doesn’t know a sweet sequel when he sees it – c’mon people!!: 

Oh and if you’re still craving an E.T. sequel here’s that weird Xfinity commercial they decided to make instead of a real sequel:

Movie Melt: 1989’s THE LAUGHING DEAD Gets Some Cult Classic Cred!

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…

Mexico’s Sweet Forgotten 80’s Horror Franchise: “VACATION OF TERROR”!

                          

Are you truly ready for a 1980’s “Vacation of Terror” to Mexico?!! Nope. this ain’t Cancun folks, this here is a sweet horror franchise that started in 1989, starring legendary south of the border pop star turned B-movie horror icon Pedro Fernandez. Yes the lesser known Fernandez, appears to be a sort of “Ricky Martin-type” singer, who started his music career at the tender age of seven and later in the 80’s had a string of rad horror flicks like Trampa Infernal, Panic on the Mountain & this two part creep-out, Vacation of Terror (1&2). Check out his music as a kid when he went by the name Pedrito Fernandez:

1989’s Vacation of Terror is a pretty sweet little horror flick that follows a wealthy family’s visit to the countryside to fix up a crusty old cabin in the woods. Along for the ride is teen daughter’s hot shot occult investigating BF Pedro Fernandez along with his impressive mullet! The family starts to notice a few truly strange things happening in and around the property, and their youngest daughter soon falls down into a creepy ass well. Oddly there’s no water down there, but rather what seems to be some sort of lived in cavern den, with a freaky old doll and a few other odd antiques scattered about. Of course the daughter wants the weird ass doll, so they bring it up to the cabin where it begins to have an evil mind of it’s own that starts to manipulate and possess the young girl.

Good thing Pedro is there to combat the evil forces because this doll is hell bent on destroying the family and any furniture in the way of her telekinetic powers. You’ll see this doll’s evil eyes whisk from side to side about a hundred times as she “uses her powers” and her schtick does get a bit tired by the finale, but still strangely satisfying. However it’s imperative to see this first movie to set you up for the far superior sequel, where only one cast member returns-of course Pedro Fernandez!

1990’s ‘Vacation of Terror: Diabolical Birthday’ (directed by Pedro Galindo III who also did the excellent Trampa Infernal) is one helluva good time-but oddly there’s no damn vacation going on anywhere here. But that’s ok, we’ve got a wild ass halloween themed birthday party to attend instead this time! The best thing is Pedro returns, now a single man (who maybe had enough of the family’s creepy cabin and odd shenanigans), who runs an antique shop and meets by chance a cute lady pop star, Mayra who’s played by real life Mexican pop star Tatiana who wanders in. After some chit chat she ends up inviting him to attend a party later and when she’s about to split he notices a her little sister in the back seat of her car holding the same creepy ass doll from the first movie! Naturally Pedro swings into action at the sight and has a new reason to attend other than being crushed out on his sweet date-to fight evil! Of course part of the fun is to go to the party, where it’s either taking place on Halloween or the little girl just loves horror decor. We also get a super sweet performance from Tatiana of course doing her sweet hit song “Chicos Chicos” check it!

 Luckily Pedro gets there just in time to see her rock out! However there’s bigger fish to fry as he’s hot on the trail of the doll. However the there’s a wild birthday cake that just by “chance” gets some blood on it and soon the creepy living doll goes missing and eats the blood soiled cake, transforming it into human sized demon that resembles Angelica Huston’s wicked persona in “The Witches” mixed with Freddy Krueger.

From this point on the creature is out to terrorize all the party goers and it’s now up to Pedro & Tatiana to stop evil from spreading and maybe even find some romance? This one is a lot more fun then the first installment, it’s got a lot more going on, faster paced and a bit of a more playful element at it’s core . However director Pedro Galindo doesn’t skimp on the horror, there’s some great gore and colorful kills to behold as well as the setting. The decaying old deserted Mexican village they end up being chased around in is an excellent place for the spooky shenanigans to occur.

While some may say this is the Mexican “Troll 2” I just think it’s yet another super fun, campy horror movie that fans of the 80’s have got to check out. These two movies certainly need to receive a cleaned up blu ray release with some sweet special features. Otherwise horror fans will certainly miss out, these days it feels like a company like ‘Vinegar Syndrome’ releasing these unknowns gems gives them a sort of sudden street cred/seal of approval. Well you heard it here first though, before the ‘Vacation of Terror’ blu rays are suddenly all the rage-get ahead of the curve and head back to the 80’s to take your own “Vacation of Terror” to Mexico before all the tourists arrive!! You can get it on dvd as a double feature right here at World Cult Cinema!     

 

Hollywood Conspiracy: The SINISTER Emerald GREEN LAMP in Almost Every Movie!

Ok everyone, let’s finally address the giant elephant in the room, over the years, particularly in the 80’s and 90’s, I’ve noticed something quite curious in the movies I’ve been watching: the appearance of THIS particular green lamp in nearly every Hollywood production. You think I’m kidding? Well from this point on I’m asking you all to keep your eyes peeled for it’s appearance in the movies you watch! You will be astonished how often this thing appears, so much so it’s starting to get a little creepy, once you see it you can’t ignore how often it appears like magic.

So I had to take a short moment here to address just what the hell is up with this odd green lamp? Why is it seemingly everywhere? Just WHAT is this green lamp conspiracy all about? Well let’s take a closer look here, this thing is officially known as “The Banker’s Lamp”. It’s thought to have a psychologically soothing and calming effect on the mind and supposedly increases concentration and brain focus. This lamp also known as Emeralite, is one of the most iconic lamp designs in the entire world. Used initially libraries, banks and business offices to improve work and brain power. It was given the green shade due to the old belief that a green light source was soothing to the mind and therefore improved productivity. So is this the secret power of actors and directors to maximize their brain focus to make the ultimate movie making profits?



When we dig deeper into this lamp’s history we discover that there’ve been conspiracy theories about this mysterious lamp for many decades in Hollywood. Some think that perhaps the ones used in Hollywood productions used ancient magic emeralds that not only enhanced the cast, crew and directors brain power & focus abilities but also mystified audience’s brainwaves through actual theater screens when the lamps appear. There’s also rumors of the lamp being powered exclusively by odd generators on set, ones that only seem to power the banker’s lamp. Some reported that the emerald green shades used on these productions were imported from remote locations on the globe, one report suggested places not located on any known maps. Other reports suggested the actual bulbs being used had been shipped from NASA to production lots in Hollywood.

The most strange report was that every green “banker’s lamp” seen on the silver screen is indeed in actuality the SAME lamp. Meaning this one lamp you see in all of these Hollywood productions is the exact same fixture used for over a century, that’s being passed around in a fortified protective titanium case and it for some reason renowned among Hollywood elites as priceless. Often times green prop lamps would be set around the original. Likely all far fetched rumors? Who knows…but whatever the case, please take note of all of this next time you see it pass in and out of frame in a movie, you’ll notice it sneak by in the background and never be able to un-see the emerald green shine…here it appears in Se7en, and so many more than this..

Here’s a very shortlist of just a few of the movies it appears in if you keep your eyes on the prize, but soon you’ll find it’s nearly everywhere on the big screen: