I’ve been delving deeply into old 1980s horror/fantasy television shows and lovin’ it, because one thing I’ve noticed is nobody does it quite like they did back then in the “golden era” of horror- Even when it comes to TV shows!
After watching the totally radical ‘Amazing Stories’ series and the Twilight Zone 80s revival I was sooo ready for more. Digging deep back into my memories of my childhood I clearly remember the obvious choice: ‘The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ that ran from ’85-1989.
I have some fond memories of this show and one episode in particular that stuck in my mind all of these years right up to today. Part of me was wondering if I’d maybe in fact dreamt up this particular episode of the show? Not the case. In fact upon watching the 1st few episodes it was clear, this was going to be a fun ride of full on nostalgia done to perfection! I imagine remembering an episode plot from well over 35 years ago is a good sign of a memorable show? I think so!
This series, at least for me. way back then was paired in a sort of “power hour” with Steven Spielberg’s ‘Amazing Stories’. The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents is full of twists, turns, star studded cameos and now famous directors. A mix of horror, suspense and most importantly MURDER, fuel this nearly forgotten gem. It originally aired on NBC but was canceled, later being picked up on the USA Network thankfully!
Nearly every episode has a familiar face, which really makes half of the fun here and every so often a surprise director comes comes on to the scene, like a particular episode called ‘The Jar’ which is helmed by Tim Burton himself and drips with his signature tone and style.
There’s also some great star studded appearances featuring the likes of Mark Hamill, Mia Sara, a VERY young Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Sheen, Michael Ironside And many more.
One of my all time favorite episodes is ‘Night Creatures’ one of the only 100% supernatural fueled episodes. It plays out more like an incredible schlocky neon drenched 1980s tv pilot than a single episode. It features a punk rock goth rock star who’s secretly a bloodthirsty vampire and would be a welcome entry into any 1980s heavy metal horror anthology!
There are so many excellent episodes here to behold, I really can’t recommend this series enough for those those eighties horror hounds in search of some memorable cheez. Of course there are some misses among the 40 plus episodes of 4 seasons. The show covers a lot of interesting but disturbing topics too like “kids playing with guns” in one of the most unsettling episodes you’re likely to see in the series and of course that classic episode that always stuck with me featuring a woman who’s been brutally assaulted and her husband heads off on his own to stalk the perp. The twist here is one of the most chilling of the entire series!
Lastly Martin Sheen shines as a crazy aging actor who’s hellbent on landing a role so much so that he goes to the extremes of murder to get what he wants! His performance is so over the top and enjoyable It’s by far one of the standout performances of the series.
This elusive little series deserves a sweet blu ray release, I found a bootleg copy of the entire series on eBay which has been a truly fun ride over the past few weeks! Luckily many of the episodes can be actually found right on YouTube. Hunt this long lost gem down and treat yourself to the golden era of mystery and horror with the new Alfred Hitchcock presents! Here’s a great episode to start you off!
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!
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, 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 in 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:
- The silence of the lambs (1991)
- Frasier (TV, 1993-2004)
- Patch adams (1998)
- Whiplash (2014)
- Wonder woman (2017)
- Oldboy (2003)
- Seven (1995)
- A nightmare on Elm street (1984)
- Batman begins (2005)
- Hot fuzz (2007)
- James bond: Casino royale (2006) & quantum of solace (2008)
- Goonies (1985)
- The place beyond the pines (2012)
- Jaws (1975)
- Legally blonde (2001)
- 10 things i hate about you (1999)
- The conjuring (2013)
- Band of Brothers (TV mini series, 2001)
- The bourne identity (2002)
- Bronson (2008)
- The adventures of Tintin (2011)
- Sinister (2012)
- The knick (TV, 2014-2015)
- Road to perdition (2002)
- Layer cake (2004)
- There will be blood (2007)
- 30 Rock (TV, 2006-2013)
- Breaking bad (TV, 2008-2013)
- Law abiding citizen (2009)
- Boiler room (2000)
- Seinfeld (TV, 1989-1998)
- Pushing daisies (TV, 2007-2009)
- White collar (TV, 2009-2014)
- Brooklyn nine-nine (TV, 2013-)
- Supernatural (TV, 2005-)
- Dr. Who (TV, 2005-)
- Friends (TV, 1994-2004)
- JFK (1991)
- Network (1976)
- House MD (TV, 2004-2012)
- Boardwalk empire (TV, 2010-2014)
- State of play (2009)
- Arrested development (TV, 2003-)
- Sleepy hollow (TV, 2013-2017)
- Twin peaks (TV, 1990-1991)
- Sherlock (TV, 2010-)
- Stand by me (1986)
- Back to school (1986)
- Ellery Queen (TV, 1975-1976)
- Poirot (TV, 1989-2013)
- Broadcast News (1987)
- Dick Tracy (1990)
- The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
- Trading places (1983)
- Clue (1985)
- Star Trek: First contact (1996)
- It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (TV, 2005-Present)
- Narcos (TV, 2015-2017)
- Gosnell (2018)
- Star chamber (1983)
- Death of a nation (2018)
- Friday the 13th: the final chapter (1984)
- Goodfellas (1990)
- Gilmore girls (TV, 2000-2007)
- The verdict (1982)
- The firm (1993)
- 3 Men and a baby (1987)
With the recent announcement of ‘American Horror Story: 1984’ looking to cash in on success of 80’s throwback series like ‘Stranger Things’ and Stephen King’s reboot of ‘IT’ I thought it’d be nice to give a shout out to a great flick from 1983 called ‘The House on Sorority Row’ I watched a couple days ago. ‘American Horror Story: 1984’ is going to be fully immersed in the 1980’s slasher genre. That being said here’s a pitch perfect Slasher flick I recommend they watch before releasing the new season, they likely’ll need all the help they can get by trying to convincingly tackle the genre. This mysterious little flick from 1983 deserves a helluva lot more praise than it’s gotten throughout the years. Director Mark Rosman brings one of the best to the genre!
The House on Sorority Row’s filled with a pretty tightly knit little mystery that’s full of fairly unpredictable twists and turns that never lag in it’s execution. Hitting all the slasher tropes in a pretty unique way, considering it was released back in 1983. First off we’ve got a full cast of great characters, almost entirely female as well and rather than giving us a troop of the usual moronic teenagers for the killer to prey upon, we get ones who you just might care about getting off’d. Our gang of sorority sisters here are a pleasure to see onscreen and most definitely take the plot into some fascinating territory. There’s the old seemingly mentally unstable sorority house mother who desperately wants the girls out of the house for the summer. However determined to throw one final grand graduation bash at the house, the sorority sisters get into a heated argument with her that quickly escalates to uncomfortable levels. They devise a plan to play a wicked prank on her, and in doing so set into motion a night of terror as they try and cover up their actions from the public. Deciding the show must go on they reluctantly continue with the big bash and soon find them being stalked by a ruthless slasher out to put the kebosh on their festivities.
Sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye, the set up to this one is pretty awesome as the girls quickly prove they can be just as nasty and cunning as any 80’s frat boy. The acting for the most part is rock solid here too, but don’t fret, as there’s still plenty of 80’s cheez to go around. One of the highlights being the grad party and it’s totally rad live power pop band ‘4 Out of 5 Doctors’ who perform there that boost the level of fun up a few notches alone. It’s the kind of party that makes you wanna jump into a time machine to attend & get down in the 1980’s. We’ve also got a great final girl here that’s totally worth rooting for as she slowly throughout the evening puts the pieces of the bizarre mystery together while her & her friends are stalked on the spooky campus. It feels a bit like a demented Scooby Doo mystery that takes itself fully seriously in the best way possible.
It’s also not afraid to get nasty with it’s gore fx there’s plenty of inventive kills scattered about to revel in as well. The finale really ramps things up and keeps you for the most part guessing til the end about what the fuck is actually going one here. The killer is pretty awesome too and the last 5 minutes (which I wish would’ve lasted longer actually) are filled with tension, thoroughly impressive camera work & the reveal of the maniac in the flesh is pretty iconic in it’s own right. This one’s really got it all as far as slashers go, a stunning orchestral score from Richard Band, great spooky sets, sweet fx, excellent characters, a cool mystery and a pretty sweet ass slasher villain. If you’ve never seen this one and are a fan of the genre this one hits a home run!
M. Knight Shyamalan has been spending the last few years making a legit comeback after crafting some seriously bad movies. The guy who was at one time being referred to as “the next Hitchcock” seemed to hit a bad slump that many never though he could return from. He recently though gave us ‘The Visit’ which was, in my opinion, a great little horror flick and then ‘Split’ which took the his classic twist ending to new heights as it revealed it was indeed a direct sequel to his 2000 masterpiece ‘Unbreakable’. ‘Split’ opened the floodgates of possibility for an expanded universe within Shyamalan’s cinematic world leading to the upcoming third movie in the ‘Unbreakable’ franchise. Yeah ‘Glass’ is based on Sam Jackson’s villainous comic book obsessed mastermind from ‘Unbreakable’ & will feature characters from that movie and ‘Split’. I’ve been pumped for a trailer.
The film’s plot description reads: “Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of “The Beast” in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.” Check out the all too short tease for the full trailer said to hit this friday.
I’m pretty excited to see what Shyamalan comes up with as his possible ‘superhero universe’ is vastly different thus far than the over the top, CG heavy Marvel and DC films. Night offers a more serious, tense and mysterious take on the genre and that’s a breath of fresh air in my opinion. I’m rooting for him to hit a full on home run here!
Real life monsters are something I wish we heard more about every damn day! Yeah there’s nothing quite like a good mysterious cryptid video surfacing. The only problem is that most of these, especially these days, can be easily faked digitally or of course with blurry cell phone footage to appear like something straight out of the X-Files. But not so fast folks!
Let’s take a look at some interesting videos quick of some supposed “real life monsters” caught on film within the last year or so. The first one is a totally legit video, of a giant boar, dubbed “pigzilla” that’s got the internet in a frenzy today. I’m a huge fan of the 1984 Aussie flick “Razorback” (pictured in the photo above) and this monstrous pig in the video proves to be a real life version of the 80’s creature in the flesh!
Moving on….What the hell is this?! This cool video features a seemingly big sea creature floating through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico recently. I’d hate to see this thing swimming beside me while snorkeling, some think it’s some sort of cephalopod, whatever it is it’s crazy to know things like this exist in the waters of planet Earth, real life aliens… Continue reading
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…
Here’s a cool solid debut comic book from Black Mask Studios called ‘There’s Nothing There’ from the co-creator Patrick Kindlon of the awesome series “We Can Never Go Home”. This issue starts off instantly with a cool but familiar feeling set up as we follow a woman named Reno who attends a mysterious elite costume party with one of her friends. Think a little ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ here as soon it’s revealed that things are set to get kinky real quick.
We’re not entirely sure who’s party this is or what’s at stake as we’re introduced to some mega richie rich ‘Bill Clinton’ looking dude who emerges and delivers an odd slightly religious sexually charged speech to the party goers that seems to signify they’ll be creating something important together. The place quickly erupts in a full on orgy, and Reno fully partakes in the festivities as we’re given a fairly detailed look at the sexual endeavors that ensue over a few pages. During it all Reno sees something strange appear outside in the sky that at first appear almost like some sort of UFO’s floating in a pink cloud shrouding the sky.
The next morning Reno’s mind is clearly in a bit of a haze and as she meets a friend for breakfast we discover she’s some sort of star who’s worried about the paparazzi following her and not following her at the same time. She soon begins to have hallucinations of odd people appearing on the streets and we’re not quite sure if she’s suffering from the effects of drugs from the night before or if perhaps she’s developed some sort of sixth sense to see dead people. Is this the result of an elite ritual from night before? Likely, but things continue on this way even after she returns home to get some rest.
There’s some great potential here and has set up a mysterious plot that could easily go in any number of directions and I hope it pushes the envelope as the story progresses into some unfamiliar terrifying territory. We’re treated as well to some pretty sweet stylized artwork here from Maria LLovet that works perfectly with the story’s tone & mysterious set up. I’m not always these days drawn to stories about rich sexy elites as it seems that most characters in comics somehow come from this sort of classist privileged environment. However, I’m getting the feeling that this might deliver a lot of twists and turns that will likely place our main characters into some unfamiliar territory.
Black Mask is putting out cool books and is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers. ‘There’s Nothing There’ #1 is a solid debut (that’s new on the shelves this week) and it’ll be interesting to see if this one can craft an unpredictable mystery as the series continues. Check it out!
The Dregs is easily one of the most compelling comic books out there. After a amazing first issue this new series from Black Mask keeps this unique mystery building, leaving you with plenty to think about after the last page. We’ve got one of the most original books on the shelves that breaks the mold of of anything you’re likely reading at the moment. Issue #2 starts off with a bang as we follow the exploits of Arnold, a homeless addict who’s hell bent on solving the mystery of a missing friend named Manny who’s seemed to vanish into thin air from the streets. The first issue also let us in on something incredibly sinister going on in the gentrified area of of the city where it appears that a hip bougie restaurant was serving up plates of food with people on the menu.
I don’t want to give too much away about the plot but the second issue delivers the tension, mystery & then some. The opening sequence of it sets a dark tone unlike many other comic book I’ve read. This series is full on grit and hits some serious issues in our society you rarely ever see in the pages of comic books. Aside from those the story doesn’t rely entirely on social commentary to be interesting, it’s pages bring about a truly creepy and hopeless air that’s hard to shake. The light at the end of the tunnel looks very, very dim at this point. Continue reading
The Dregs is a new series from Black Mask and the debut issue is great, engaging & totally original read. I love comic books that genuinely bring something new to the table and The Dregs is totally fresh one that at least for the time being doesn’t seem like it’s been done before. It take place in Vancouver BC and begins an intriguing mystery to life in a city that’s rapidly gentrifying. The main character here isn’t handsome or rich, we follow a drug addicted homeless man as he embarks on a bizarre journey to find one of his friends who’s suddenly disappeared from the streets without a trace. Lucky for us his whereabouts are revealed to us within the first few pages, very unlucky for him though.
The story starts off with quite an opening that you’re likely to be thinking about long after you put down the first issue. The Dregs looks like it’s going to be tackling some real world issues as we see the hip yuppy filled city from the eyes of the people who actually live within it’s darkest corners. For me I’m seeing a lot of what’s happening within the pages of this debut issue happening for years within my place of residence Portland, Oregon. People have been being pushed out of their homes now for year and recently at a more alarming rate that ever before. Many cities all over are getting complete makeovers, filling quickly with shiny boutiques, high priced coffee houses & hip over priced restaurants. The wealthy are flocking to places while housing and rent prices have shot through the roof. Continue reading