“Stranger Things” is the series to binge on this summer, I absolutely loved it. Secondly it’s very obvious that The Duffer Brothers are fans of The Goonies, E.T., Poltergeist, Gremlins, Close Encounters and fully succeeded in replicating the nostalgic vibe of those movies for the Netflix series this summer. They gave us that special feeling we’ve all missed for so many years, especially if you grew up in those times. People are already clamoring for a second season, so what are we all supposed to do in the meantime? Well I’ve put together a list of some movies that I think likely were an inspiration to the hit series that you might have totally missed out or haven’t seen in a while!
Most of these flicks follow the “Amblin” formula. Amblin cranked out a lot of the spooky 80’s Speilberg style movies. It was a formula that seemed to put kids on dangerous adventures, most often supernatural ones, usually in small towns or the suburbs and most often trying to prove to their parents some crazy story to be true with often times unlucky results. These stories were filled with wonder and most of all they were so undeniably fun to watch that to see a series like Stranger Things in this day and age is a breath of fresh air. So here today in response I’d like to honor 10 of the lesser known movies you’ve gotta hunt down if you dug Stranger Things as much as I did.
1. The Gate (1986) To say they weren’t influenced by this movie when making Stranger Things would be a crime!!
My Christmas wishes were answered yesterday as I headed off into the chilly night with a bunch of friends to check out Michael Dougherty’s holiday horror flick ‘Krampus’! I’ve been waiting for a proper Krampus movie for ages and the wait is finally over folks, this movie was awesome. Dougherty has proven he IS the master of holiday horror as now he’s got two incredible movies under his belt, his first being ‘Trick ‘R Treat’ from 2007 which has already become a cult classic. So why did I enjoy Krampus so damn much?
First it’s the perfect movie for the season at hand as it has a true heart of gold at it’s core. We start out seeing a crazy sort of Black Friday shopping experience on screen where insane Christmas shoppers fight in slow motion in greedy hordes for their gifts. It really kinda sets the mood for the rest of the movie, Christmas has become ugly. No one really has the holiday spirit anymore and our main characters who’re basically your average modern day family have forgotten what’s really important in life. We’ve got a great comedic cast here to and once all the relatives arrive for Christmas dinner it’s evident they’re in for a long weekend.
Krampus has a great cast going for it, Emjay Anthony really shines as Max a young boy who finally gets fed up with everyone’s selfish, negative attitudes and decides to rip up his Christmas letter to Santa chucking it out into the winter winds. Soon after a dark looming storm cloud settles above his neighborhood and hits it hard with one helluva winter storm. This is where all hell begins to break loose. From this point the neighborhood feels disconnected from reality and the way the winter transforms the landscape is a sight in itself to behold. Suddenly odd sinister snowmen begin appearing all around their house. Soon the family is entrenched in a fantastical fight for their lives against an evil hulking force with more than a few frightening tricks it up it’s shaggy sleeve.
The first time we see Krampus is an excellent sequence and form that point on we’re taken on a continuous roller coaster ride that brings to mind the best about movies like Gremlins and The Gate. This movie really feels like a lost movie from the 80’s that Speilberg produced, not directed. In fact this one feels like an old Joe Dante flick. The sets are incredible yet centralized in mainly one location and the monsters are a true spectacle to behold. Feeling a bit like if Charles Band (Puppetmaster/Full Moon) had a big budget back in the 80’s to make an X-mas flick. Also the effects are almost all practical with every bit of CG used exactly the way it should be. The costumes too of Krampus and his crew are quite impressive as well, simply put this one didn’t feel like your average mainstream horror movie and that’s a damn good thing.
Lastly we do have the big baddie Krampus who looks simply amazing, though maybe not quite like what you may have been expecting. My only real problem with this movie was that I really was hoping for more of the actual Krampus and maybe a bit of his true mythology. Most of the mayhem here is brought on by his minions and Krampus is more of an evil presence watching the shit hit the fan than a big bad guy like the Predator or Alien. I was hoping for a game of cat and mouse with the family squaring off directly with Krampus but in the end I really enjoyed the finale equally just in a different way. So that being said, I’m going to say this was easily one of if not my favorite movie this year so far. I’m actually quite happy as well with the PG-13 rating and some of the family friendly tones of the movie, besides with all the ugliness in the world right now it’s nice to have something to warm our hearts a little this Christmas season! I’m already hoping for a sequel where Krampus truly meets his match!
Great werewolf movies are pretty damn hard to come by these days but it looks like we finally have a winner coming our way soon! ‘Late Phases’ looks like a full on no BS old school werewolf movie just the way they were meant to be. The last truly great werewolf flick I saw was the incredible Dog Soldiers, which I can say without a doubt is one of the best werewolf movies of all time. The wait may be over though as Late Phases already looks like it’s got the genre by the horns, boasting incredible practical effects with a downright freaky ass looking werewolf!
The movie was written by Eric Stolz who also penned the impressive monster flick “Under the Bed” a couple years ago and directed by Adrian Garcia Bogliano who directed the creepy ass “Here Comes the Devil”. I am excited to see if this one can bring back the genre to the classic feel of movies like The Howling & An American Werewolf in London. The synopsis goes something like this:
“Crescent Bay is not the ideal place to spend one’s golden years, especially since the once-idyllic retirement community has been beset by a series of deadly animal attacks from the ominous forest surrounding it. When grizzled war veteran Ambrose McKinley (Nick Damici) is forced into moving there by his yuppie son Will (Ethan Embry), the residents immediately take offense to Ambrose’s abrasive personality. But that take-no-prisoners attitude may be just what Ambrose needs to survive as it becomes clear that the attacks are being caused by creatures that are neither animal nor man, and that the tight-knit community of Crescent Bay is hiding something truly sinister in its midst…”
Count me in! It’s been too long, I can’t stand anymore handsome CG werewolves!! Look for this one in limited theaters November 21st!
I’ve been out doing a ton of cool summer stuff lately and decided to take a break from the blogging for a couple weeks, kind of summer break. It’s tough to find cool shit to write about everyday that’s not just regurgitating stories from Ain’t it Cool or Bleeding Cool and sometimes I feel like adding even more hype to huge Hollywood blockbusters is an uninteresting, uninspired waste of time. I mean what’s Hollywood done for me lately?! So I was waiting until something cool that’s a little more under the radar got me pumped to do a blog again. Well it came in the form of bad ass little flick called “Under the Bed”!
This cool little monster movie is brought to you by director Steven C. Miller who brought us Automaton Transfusion, The excellent Aggression Scale and more recently the Silent Night, Deadly Night remake. I honestly have been looking forward to Under the Bed for a while now and thankfully it delivered the goods. The movie is described as a ‘suburban nightmare’ which rings true, however I see it as a more Dante-esque style “kids in danger” monster movie. It’s basically a tale of two brothers who go to battle with a vicious creature who lives under their bed.
Older brother Neil, comes back to live with his father, his new wife and his younger brother Paulie. After a two year leave of absence trying to deal with the death of his mother and his previous battle with the monster he returns to his small hometown where everyone thinks he’s bat shit crazy and his father is on the verge of a mental breakdown himself. He soon learns that his younger brother Paulie has also been terrorized by the same evil force for the last two years.
The movie takes it’s time to get to the real action, but the movie doesn’t lose steam at any point. It’s well shot, well acted and pretty dang creepy. Once the boys decide to make their stand the movie changes direction drastically and the films third and final act suddenly delivers a heavy dose of unexpected gore-which was a welcome surprise! The monster also looks great and the film is pretty much devoid of CG which gives it a much more organic old school feel which I personally love.
Once the creature appears the film jumps into hyper drive, without giving away too much it seems to have hatched from films like Poltergeist, The Gate & Insidious while still bringing something fresh and new to the suburban horror genre. I will definitely be looking for this on dvd when it’s released and I’m quite sure it will be one of my fave horror films of 2013. Right now you can see it VOD, so if you’re tired of the usual overblown, glittery, hype stuff summer blockbusters maybe it’s time to get back to the basics with a good old fashioned creature feature….
Let me guess, the answer to that question above is you’ve never been there? Well I recently caught up with this short lived little show the other night and it was a whole lot of dumb fun! The show originally aired in 1991 and was canceled in 1992. It’s a pretty fun little show that follows two pre-teen boys as they try to solve the supernatural mysteries that occur in the small Indiana town of Eerie.
What I didn’t realize is that the show’s creative consultant was none other than Joe Dante, who actually directs a handful of the 19 existing episodes. If you’re looking for a fun forgotten throwback tv show check this out- the opening here will give you a good idea of what you may have “missed out” on!
So today I will be getting a movie in the mail I have been looking forward to for quite some time now- Machete Maidens Unleashed! This documentary tells the crazy story of the Grindhouse movies of the 60’s and 70’s.
Following the stories of the actual stars and the crazy locations they shot these films at with a shoe string budget, Machete Maidens looks like the film for all of us Grindhouse fanatics. It looks like they have some cool commentary from the likes of Joe Dante one of my all time faves and Roger Corman. Check out this trailer is doesn’t get any better than this!
So I’m here to tell tell you a few things today, as you guessed “Super 8” is the movie to see this summer, I loved it. Secondly it’s very obvious that JJ Abrams was a fan of The Goonies and E.T. and was trying his best (he succeeded) in replicating the nostalgic vibe of those movies for the big screen this year. He gave us that feeling we all have missed for so many years in our summer movies. But most of all it was a formula that had been used many times throughout the 80’s not only in E.T. and The Goonies but many more that have been all but forgotten.
It was a formula that seemed to put kids on dangerous adventures, most often supernatural ones, usually in small towns or the suburbs and most often trying to prove to their parents some crazy story to be true with often times unlucky results. These stories were filled with wonder and most of all they were so undeniably fun to watch that to see a movie like “Super 8” or even Joe Dante’s latest movie “The Hole” in this day and age is a breath of fresh air. So here today in response to Super 8 I’d like to honor 8 more movies Abrams was likely heavily influenced by when he made his latest
1. The Gate (1986) To say JJ wasn’t influenced by this movie when making Super 8 would be a crime!! Continue reading