I recently found a copy of the rare horror movie ‘The Keep’ from 1983 and finally checked it out for the first time last night. I’ve wanted to see this one for a long time, mainly because of how damn awesome the movie’s cover/poster artwork is, the it’s VHS cover always stuck with from when I was a kid hanging around in the horror sections of the videos stores while my parents were distracted.
The Keep was directed by Michael Mann, who I’ve always loved for his 1986 movie Manhunter, which was the first big screen appearance of Hannibal Lecter. So it seems this particular movie has been kinda shoved under the rug as Mann has admitted that he’s not a big fan of it. At least not a fan of the cut that was theatrically released. Apparently his version of the movie was originally 210 minutes long! Whoah! Supposedly Paramount told him to edit it down to just two hours, that version still didn’t sit well with test audiences so they edited the movie down even further to a mere 96 minutes. Of course that’s one of the main reasons why the movie is admittedly pretty hard to make any real sense of. It’s a slow burn, but I knew that from the start, and knew it wasn’t really your typical horror movie. Instead I viewed it for what it really is, a surreal, dream like horror fantasy and it really works well as exactly that.
It’s based around a group of Nazis who are sent to guard an huge, old, mysterious fortress in a Romanian mountain pass. One of them releases an powerful force trapped within the walls while thinking they’ll discover some sort of treasure behind them. A weird stranger senses this from his home back in Greece and travels to the keep to try and destroy the sinister force. As Nazi soldiers are eliminated, a Jewish father / daughter duo who both have information on the secrets of the bizarre stronghold arrive on the scene to make sense of the ghostly happenings. It’s a cool set up, but it’s a bit hard to comprehend as it’s filled with plot holes and many unanswered questions, likely that’d been explored in the mega extended version.
It’s also more of an art film really than a horror flick at the end of the day. It’s filled with ripe, hazy dream like atmosphere from start to finish, it’s a visual treat with a mostly quiet pace to it. When the creature though arrives on the scene from the walls of the keep it does get pretty intense and the finale is filled with a ton of great sequences that surely must’ve influenced a modern film maker like Panos Cosmatos (Mandy, Beyond the Black Rainbow). There are some amazing set pieces here, most filled with creepy fog, a pretty impressive hulk of a monster and some really excellent special fx work to behold as well. It certainly excels in it’s creation of a portal from another dimension spilling into our reality.
The cast also is pretty awesome as well, Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne and a much younger Ian Mckellan make this whole experience that much more enjoyable. Byrne plays a crazy Nazi and Mckellan shines as a sort of hero of the movie, being forced to work alongside the Nazis. Yeah folks, Ian was at one time “young” even though he’s still oddly kinda old even way back in 1983! I also have to mention the totally epic score from soundtrack legends Tangerine Dream, I gotta track the soundtrack down. The Keep was a delight to finally see after all these years, this movie desperately needs a re-release on blu-ray/dvd this time with the full 210 minutes of Mann’s vision!!
Here’s another pretty neat little creature feature from 1991 I’ve been wanting to see for a while now, well luckily I scored a cool VHS copy of the movie at thrift shop. As I’ve said before my favorite type of horror flick’s a monster movie and that’s exactly what this here is nothing more nothing less. Though released in ’91 it feels like a full on ’80’s movie, with tons of neon, cheezy dialogue and a big savage man in suit Bigfoot type of creature running around the city offing people. Yeah and it also features one of the bad guy henchmen from ‘Die Hard’, Alexander Godunov, who’s the heroic handsome Nordic godly clockmaker monster hunter.
Anyway we’ve got a bunch of fun plot points as a mystic runestone is found in a coal mine in Pennsylvania and transported to NYC, where we all know, the excitement always seems to happen. Soon the runestone displays it’s magic powers and an archeologist becomes possessed by an evil ancient Norse spirit. Of course the dude transforms into a crazed sasquatch called Fenrir that goes on killing spree throughout New York and ends up frequenting art exhibits where over the top yuppies seem to think he’s someone’s hip new art installment. Of course he gets pissed off and wreaks “havoc” in the art community. The creature actually looks kinda cool (some decent animatronics/make up) all things considered and that’s clearly the main draw here with this one. He’s got a sweet no BS attitude and does his best to fuck shit up as much as he can. Way to rep the monsters in the 90’s dude!
That being said, there’s relatively little gore splattered about and the movie spends probably an extra 20 minutes or so too long trying to create “compelling” character development. Most of the while I just was wondering what the goddamn cranky ass creature was doing? Let’s get back to what he’s up to cuz he’s likely pissed off and freaking people out somewhere in the city! I’d have also loved a bit more of the “Die Hard” dude as well, but sadly he’s not given as much screen time as he deserves until the finale, but damn if the guy doesn’t look like a bad ass when he shows up. I dig the final act as well as the characters face off against the creature briefly entering a different dimension. This one’s often confused with Julian Sands movie ‘Warlock’ from 1989 and feeling surprisingly similar at times it’s understandable why.
There’s plenty of fun to be had here if you’re not expecting a helluva lot from ‘The Runestone’ and you dig low budget late 80’s early 90’s creature cheez. This one’s a prime example of an old school horror movie that if edited down to about 85 minutes would be a total crowd pleaser/cult fave. There’s a ton of total gems out there from the 80’s & 90’s that tried to fill their run time to a more “respectable length” adding too much filler, this one for example at 105 minutes does indeed have areas that drag somewhat, some day perhaps I’ll try and edit a few of these down. Either way there’s definitely some fun to be had regardless and it’s most definitely worth a watch if you’re down for some early 90’s monster business!
Happpppy HALLOWEEN boys, ghouls and all freaks of nature!! It’s finally here that special day where all things creepy and spooky are considered the norm amongst all other average humans!! Well today we’re going the distance and going to take a look at one of my favorite topics of all time: MONSTERS!! Duh!
So today many will be transforming themselves into creepy creatures of the night and I want to compile the top ten movie “human to monster” transformations of all time!!! Let’s get on with this shit, in no particular order, it’s time to get gross people, because who doesn’t love seeing humans morph into creepy creatures especially on Halloween!!
10. The Howling (1981)
I just NEVER get sick of this awesome werewolf transformation in the Howling! It’s one of the best human to monster transitions of all time, I just love the fact that Dee Wallace watches the whole damn thing instead of getting the fuck outta dodge!! One of the best!
9. The Beast Within (1982)
Check this shit out, one of the best most bizarre transformations for sure! This time though we witness a troubled teenage transform into some sort of bug/human hybrid! Nasty for sure!! Goddamn do I love some good practical fx!!
7. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007)
What a damn fine movie, I just can’t get enuff of this one, it’s got awesome practical old school monster fx and even features Robert Englund in one of his best (maybe the best?!) post Freddy movie roles. Better yet Englund transforms into a big ass monster that look’s like Chet’s brother from “Weird Science”!!
6. The Curse 2: The Bite (1989)
Damn I love this flick, it’s a sequel only in name to the ‘Will Wheaton’ movie “The Curse” from a couple years before. It’s a fun movie with some superb extra special fx and a finale that’s worth the wait of the often meandering story. If you’ve never seen this one maybe skip watching this here and just seek out the full movie, this sequence is most of it’s awesome finale…
5. Tales From The Dark Side: The Movie (1990)
The finale story to ‘Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie’ anthology is super awesome and features a totally memorable monster movie transformation! I still feel bad for the dude who didn’t keep his promise, things were just going so damn well in their relationship! Oh well no amount of counseling could have fixed this deep inner relationship issue! It had to come out at some point!
4. The Company of Wolves (1984)
This rad and totally bizarre, sometimes forgotten gem of a werewolf movie, has several awesome transformations in it. However this one is my favorite. The snout out of the mouth is an awesome totally disgusting effect that still awes me every time. I’ve got to re-watch this one again SOON! This freaked me the fuck out as a kid…
3. The Thing (1982)
Here’s a classic! The Norris transformation sequence in The Thing is one of the best most iconic moments in monster movie history! Like it needs any real introduction-here it is again in all it’s gory glory!
2. Black Sheep (2006)
I love this horror comedy and Weta Workshop did an incredible job giving us a totally memorable transformation sequence! The movie is filled with awesome practical fx work and I love the whole “weresheep angle”, if you’ve never seen this indie gem you better check it out asap-it delivers the goods and then some!!
1.An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Considered by most to be the greatest man to monster movie transformation of all time obviously this one needed to be on the list, so here it is one last time for any of you who’ve been living in a damn cave for the majority of your life! Ohhh the pain of it all!!!
Still haven’t had enuff? Me neither-here’s a few more I totally dig!!
Oh and Luke Skywalker as he transforms into a bug in the shitty “Guyver”…still damn cool tho!
Oh and Drew Barrymore’s crazy transformation in the underrated “Doppleganger”!!
God bless Youtube, Here’s a cool one from The Spookies from 1986~!
Cool one from Waxwork II: Lost in Time!
A great one from the criminally underrated 1987 monster extravaganza ‘The Kindred’!!
….and of course this WHOLE damn movie!!
Here’s an incredible piece of artwork from an awesome 80’s horror movie called The Spookies. I’ve always loved this cover and remember it from waaaaay back when I was a kid in the video store. I only recently saw the movie and it was a damn fun time. I come to find out that the movie was actually supposed to be called “Twisted Souls” and had financial problems causing post production on the movie to come to a halt in 1984. A year later the movie was pieced together with a different director filming additional story lines to finalize the movie in a somewhat cohesive manner with the existing footage. If you get a chance to check out The Spookies it’s worth it, especially if you were a fan of the video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. It feels like these guys must have been big fans for sure!
Being a big fan of monster movies can be tough in this day and age where it’s not that often you see a real good one hit the theaters! Well my hopes are always high that I just might see a good one each and every year and in 2017 so far it seems the pickins are a bit slim at the moment, but heck I need me some monster movies this year! Anyway I did a little poking around and found a five upcoming movies that look somewhat promising if you’re a monster maniac like me!
It‘s looking here like we might have a contender in the big pig genre of monster movies. Of course at number one we have “Razorback” from 1984 which is a perfect creature feature in my opinion. Let’s give this new Australian flick a chance though the trailer looks pretty awesome!
BAD BLOOD: THE MOVIE:
I love Stan Winston, he made soooo many amazing movie monsters come to life with his genius special effects wizardry! From the Predator, to the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park to the incredible Pumpkinhead! Yes Pumpkinhead is one of my fave monster movies of the 1980’s hands down, and it was also directed by good ol’ Stan! Now let it be known that he really didn’t direct much, The Terminator 2 mini-film for the Universal Studios theme park and the Michael Jackson movie/video “Ghosts” in 1997 I thought was it for him. But I just found out today that he did indeed direct another full length feature film besides Pumpkinhead, so naturally I was pumped to check out his follow-up he did back in 1990! Well it just so happens to be a flick titled “A Gnome Named Norm” starring Anthony Michael Hall and a horny ass Gnome who’s lookin’ too impress the ladies!
Check out the trailer:
Well, now isn’t that something?! It looks like perhaps Winston was the inspiration behind flicks like “Munchie”?
Not quite what I was expecting after motherfuckin’ Pumpkinhead, but hey I gotta say that ‘A Gnome Named Gnorm’ looks like a damn good time!! So this one will go on my list of must watch movies-however this one I may need to view with a gang of friends and a few too many drinks!
You can watch the full feature on youtube too! This movie also went by the name ‘Upworld’, it’s crazy to find movies like this that somehow slipped under the radar!
Simple fact, the 1990’s weren’t the best years for the monster movie, and when you think of monster movies it’s almost always a topic of the 1980’s. So I decided to make a list of the top 10 most bad ass monster flicks of the 90’s figuring there MUST be some gems during that era right? I didn’t add any Vampire movies because well they’re just not “monster enough” though “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn” probably should have been at the top of the list. That being said, believe me folks the pickins’ were pretty damn slim for a monster fanatic like myself in the 90’s-most of the best ones came in 1990 it seemed but still there are a few worth your time if you’ve already tapped out the 70’s and 80’s for your monster fix. Here’s what I came up with, if you think I have left out any gems please by all means enlighten me here…
10. Castle Freak (1995):
Here’s a rad more obscure monster flick from the mid 90’s from Re-animator director Stuart Gordan. Yeah the title speaks for itself as the monster in this movie is truly a perverted freak that hangs out in an old castle!
This one also stars the awesome Jeffery Combs and features a sick twisted monster that bites a lady’s boob off! Gross!! Old school 80’s horror in the 90’s! Continue reading