Tagged: monster

VHS Verdict 1991: ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ – Forgotten Monster Noir!

Up until last night I’d never even heard of the HBO movie ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ from 1991, but I was lucky enough to run across a VHS copy of this one recently. It immediately peaked my interest, the box had some quotes on it comparing it to ‘Ghostbusters’ & ‘Roger Rabbit’ with monsters instead of cartoons. Sign me up already! The movies a ton of fun and filled with some sweet totally 80’s style fx work as well as an equally impressive cast. It really perplexed me as to why I’d never even heard of this one as it’s something I would have totally dug back in ’91. Hey I think it’s better sometimes seeing a lost gem from way back in the modern era anyway…it takes me way back…

Anyway this cool movie stars Fred Ward as H.P. Lovecraft (seriously, how have I never heard of this movie?!) a private investigator, who hired to track down the legendary book, the Necronomicon. Lovecraft is one of the only people who’ve chosen not to use magic of any kind making his little quest all that much more difficult to accomplish. It’s a full on 40’s noir, placed in a time when witchcraft has been fully exposed to the general populace and things that go bump in the night are far more common than ever before. We’ve got a  bunch of neat monsters, werewolves & zombies along the way as well as an awesome scene with some pesky gremlins by way of rad old school puppetry. Hell, we even get a random unicorn that enters the equation into this unique little horror noir comedy.

There’s some cool scenes as well that up the movie’s horror factor with some impressive unexpected gore. There’s weird super powered gangsters, voodoo priests and plenty of that classic style animatronic monster mayhem to behold here. It’s also got it’s fair share of comedy though too and it in ways really is a bit like a horror version of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. Director Martin Campell went on to direct more recent stuff like the god awful ‘Green Lantern’ movie and ‘Casino Royale’. Along side Ward is also Julianne Moore, Clancy Brown & David Warner which is a pretty star studded cast for just how relatively forgotten this movie is today.

The movie spawned a sequel as well in 1994 but I haven’t heard to many good things about that one. There’s never been an official DVD release of the movie, but it certainly deserves one. The movie is available to watch on Amazon and a few other online platforms, so if you’re looking for a little lost nostalgia this one’s a cool little forgotten gem of a movie… 

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Check Out Netflix’s ‘Little Evil’ If You Liked ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’!

I highly recommend the brand new Netflix Original movie ‘Little Evil’, especially if you’re already a fan of the modern cult classic ‘Tucker & Dale vs Evil’. It turns out ‘Little Devil’ is the newest & second movie from that very director, Eli Craig. That explains a lot about why the movie’s comedic horror charm is so damn spot on. It’s a great concept that puts a unique spin on The Omen and the “birthing of the antichrist” sub-genre of horror movies. We follow a newly married stepfather (played brilliantly by Adam Scott) as he struggles to bond with his new son Lucas while appearing to be the perfect dad to his new wife (Evangeline Lily).

It doesn’t take long before he notices his new son’s incredibly creepy & bizarre behavior and weird ass style of dressing. Most of the laughs revolve around just how crazy the kid acts while the plot ridiculously thickens as the stepdad slowly begins to accept that his new son is a god damned demon spawn. There are a shitload of memorable scenes here to relish and Craig proves once again he’s one of the best when it comes to horror comedy (damn that goat puppet is awesome!). So many attempt to pull it off usually with mixed results. The movie explores some familiar horror tropes too while adding just the right amount of eye winking to fans of old school horror.

The movie has a ton up and coming comedians & familiar faces (Watch for “Tucker” in an amazing scene) that add to it’s charm, my fave being Clancy Brown as a mysterious priest who you might remember from his role on the incredible cult classic series ‘Carnivale’. The movie’s a helluva good time (no pun intended) and has a ton of heart to it. It’s also got some genuinely creepy moments as well mixed in which is a nice touch, with all the absurdity the movies got going for it already. My only complaint is a minor one, near the final act the movie gets a little bit too cutesy, when I was really hoping they might build upon the terror of the creepy kid that was already brilliantly established. However things go in a bit in way of ‘major Hollywood style feel good comedy’ which I’m not against necessarily but was hoping for something a bit more off beat in the final act. All in all though this one’s a  great Netflix original movie that’s filled with something for everyone and a second win (although not quite as good as Tucker & Dale) for director Eli Craig. Check it out!  

VHS Verdict: The Monkey-less ‘BLUE MONKEY’ from 1987!

So I recently found a copy of an 80’s monster movie I’d been trying to track down for years- Blue Monkey from 1987. One thing I totally dig is an awesome or even badly entertaining 80’s horror flick and with this one I was certain I’d found either a lost gem or at the very least a full on golden turd!! Well it turns out I was quite wrong on both guesses, after years of waiting I was quite disappointed to find out Blue Monkey is neither, but rather a total snooze fest that’s bound to put the kibosh on any movie nite party!!

The funny thing is for the first half hour this one delivers some serious promise, that’s the sad thing because after a strong opening you’re so damn sure this movie is going to deliver the goods and then some that it’s tough to give up on it! The basic premise is someone gets bit by a weird bug in an exotic greenhouse that causes big slug like parasites to emerge from the hosts mouth. When the person is taken to the hospital that’s when the “mayhem” begins and then quickly peters out into a movie that feels far, FAR longer than it’s 97 minute run time!! Yeah the first half hour has some cool gross out fx and even introduces us to a young Sarah Polley!

 Aside from that there’s not much else to report, the rest of the movie features a shit ton of boring ass scenes of people walking around dark hallways and talking about a ton of shit my brain wasn’t willing to absorb. I watched this at a movie nite on a projector and as I looked around the room it was clear this movie was the fucking cure to the most intense case of insomnia!! I’d also like to add that there’s no blue monkey or anything related to a damn blue monkey in the whole damn film!!

Yeah people were nodding off and some I think got some nice zzzzz’s during most of the movies tiresome duration. When we finally get to see the monster mutant bug it’s just too little too late to give a damn. The only thing that kept this movie the least bit interesting were the two boozed up senior citizen patients at the hospital, and even the promise they showed waned pretty damn quick. The actual monster itself was actually pretty well done. If they’d have had the creature stalk people on and off during the loooong ass middle section of this movie it’d have been a helluva lot easier to sit through. Even adding a few of those “shadowy creature arm attacks and you throw some fake blood on a wall” type of scenes could have saved this one from being a full blown fucking sleep-aid!

I get really bummed out by movies like this, that with some clever editing, could have actually been a pretty fun little romp. It seems though the only thing this one succeeds at is being spectacularly boring, proving again the search for that lost 80’s horror gem is a tuff one. Every so often I’m proven wrong but usually if I haven’t heard of a movie being awesome from the 70’s or 80’s by the year 2017 there’s usually good reason! I’m glad the wait is over though with Blue Monkey, even though it was a total turd, it’s one I can happily cross off the list. This one never got a proper DVD release and now it’s finally clear why…you’ve been warned!!  

Step Aside Ash here comes Stan to Fight the EVIL DEAD?!

I haven’t even heard of ‘Stan Against Evil’ the latest horror comedy series debuting on IFC this coming week but one thing is for certain someone is trying to give Ash Williams a run for his money. I’m not sure this series will hold a candle to Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead BUT I do love me some John C. Mcginley that’s for sure! Anyway I had a feeling that someone would come along and try something similar to Campbell’s hit series sooner or later.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think from the preview that the show actually looks like something I’ll totally like and the premise sounds promising too:

“STAN AGAINST EVIL follows Stan Miller (McGinley), a perpetually disgruntled former sheriff of a small New England town who was forced into retirement.  Stan has trouble relinquishing his authority to Evie Barret (Varney), the tough and beautiful new sheriff in town, but they form an unlikely alliance when both begin to realize things are not quite right in their quaint New England town.  Together, they valiantly fight a plague of unleashed demons that have been haunting the town, which just happens to be built on the site of a massive 17th century witch burning.” 

The show looks promising and I’m excited to see exactly what it brings to the table, perhaps some hyper crazy HP Lovecraftian adventures?

Well whatever the case count me in, Mcginley has been in a ton of cool flicks over the years and he deserves his time to shine again, I hope this is it!! What do you think? Does this look like competition for Ash?!

The Top 10 “Stranded On An Island” Movies….Part 2!!

So my first entry I did on the top ten “stranded on an island” movies has easily been my most popular post here at Universal Dork, sooooo naturally I am giving a sequel to it right here, today! I simply love the idea of being castaway to a remote island, far away from the bustle of everyday life. There’s something about this idea that has always captivated audiences and it remains to be a situation I often think about every damn time I get on an airplane. So let’s not waste any time and get right to one of the most romantic, exciting and frightening movie topics of all time. It’s time to take a look at the other movies that deserve to be on this epic list!

10. Swept Away, 2002

Yeah this list is going to have some cheezy ass movies on it and this one here is a guilty please to start it off.  It’s also likely the most well known of the bunch. Of course this movie was a box office mega bomb and totally panned by the critics.

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However if you’re looking for a fun time on a stranded island with the legendary icon Madonna then look no further!

9. The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark, 1980

Here’s an interesting Disney movie with Silver Spoons star Ricky Schroder – Bonus right there folks! It seems that Disney was all in on the whole desert island theme as this was just one of quite a few that follow a similar storyline.

While this movie isn’t bound to blow your mind it’s got a pretty cool premise of flipping a B-29 bomber over on it’s back and sailing it to civilization! Continue reading

Rowdy Roddy Piper’s Mini H.P. Lovecraft Adventure!

I’m sure a ton of people out there have already seen this neat little trailer for the short film ‘Portal to Hell’ featuring the late great Roddy Piper but just in case you missed it check it out here. I really can’t wait to see the whole thing! This little trailer puts Rowdy front and center and gives him a role he should have had years ago like he did in movies like ‘They Live’ and ‘Hell Comes to Frogtown’.

The plan was for this short film to eventually lead to a feature length movie but it was never to be as Roddy sadly passed last year. Even though ‘Portal to Hell’ is only eleven minutes long I still can’t wait to see it. Piper has a few more full features scheduled to be released in supporting roles but this here looks as it really was set up to be a sort of tribute to Piper’s legacy. Putting Roddy into an almost ‘Evil Dead Ash’ type of role. It’s shown at festivals but hasn’t seen a proper release thus far. Check out the trailer and hopefully this short film will be available for us all to see soon!

 

 

 

Freaky Friday Night at The Movies: 3615 code Pere Noel & Howl!!

I’ve been doing little movie nights at my shop Hollywood Babylon here in Portland, Oregon quite regularly now and I thought it’d be cool to start doing reviews of the flicks that we watch. I’ve gotta say investing in a projector is really one of the best things you can do if you’re a movie buff! The shop transforms into a mini theater and we can get as rowdy as we want! Often we try to pair an old and new movie together in hopes of ultimate cinematic bliss which is a hard task when you’re often trying to view something that’s new to everyone there. So last night seemed promising as we started off with a rare french flick from 1989 called:

                                            “3615 CODE PERE NOEL” aka DEADLY GAMES, GAME OVER

What a treat this one was, I had meant to get this one this year for Christmas but it’s a hard one to track down at least with English subtitles or in real physical form. I don’t do the whole online downloading very often so I went to Ioffer.com which is your best bet for finding really rare movies “on DVD” unfortunately it didn’t arrive quite in time for Christmas this year.

3615 code Pere Noel or as it’s also known as “Deadly Games” is a total gem of a basically lost and forgotten 1980’s french holiday horror movie. The movies plot is simple and awesome. There’s a poor weird bearded guy who’s wandering the streets looking for children to “play” with during Christmas time and he lands himself a job at big time department store as their Santa Claus. Bad move because this dude is bat shit crazy and it’s not long before some little kid sitting on his lap tells him him she “doesn’t like his face”.

This sends him into an abusive rage which ends up getting the weird dude fired and sets him on course to our protagonist’s giant castle mansion. Yep the hero of this film is one cool ass nine year old kid who lives in a crazy mansion that’d make Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons jealous! Continue reading