I’ve been flying through a ton of VHS tapes lately which can be a ton of fun and also a total drag sometimes! A lot of these old 80’s horror movies have pretty impressive VHS cover art, they look like they’re gonna be a lost fucking gem, however you truly just can’t judge a book by it’s cover, or in these particular cases, a movie. Anyway it’s always a gamble and sometimes you do indeed end up with a hidden gem or at least something that’s so damn stupid that it’s a thoroughly entertaining shiny cinematic terd. So here’s the verdict on some VHS tapes I’ve scored recently! CHECK IT!!
Nightmare at Bitter Creek (1988):
Here’s a little movie that turned out to be a ton of fun, we get a psycho killer/survival flick with instead of annoying teenagers, we’re treated to a group of middle age ladies on a camping excursion with a middle aged Tom Skerritt as their hard drinkin’ tuff guy guide. Oh and he also has this rad dog named “Buster” that everyone seems to be a bit too obsessed with. Anyway, they all head of into the woods of the Sierra Mountains, sounds like fun huh? Well there’s also a crazed group of Neo-nazi killers who’re hellbent on shooting everyone in sight roaming around the woods. This one’s got some pretty decent characters (Buster included), super breathtaking locations, creepy atmosphere and for a PG-13 flick a good amount of action & violence especially in it’s final act. Not entirely a horror movie, it’s still got enough going for it to please fans of the genre, I dug it for sure! Here’s the whole damn movie via Youtube:
Here’s another one that was a pretty fun time as well, especially if you like cheezy 80’s ski movies and also idiotic horror. I know I do! So yeah, this one is 80’s as hell, totally over the top fashion, big hair, bad ski moves on the slopes, bad editing, idiotic characters and even a wannabe “mystery” at it’s core. It’s also basically one quarter soft core porno as well, there’s a bunch of “steamy” sex scenes strewn about Iced’s messy story. It’s all in all a really stupidly entertaining watch, directed by Jeff Kwitney who also directed “Amok Train” aka “Beyond the Door III” from 1989 which I love. ‘Iced’ turned out to be a good ridiculous party movie filled to the brim with stupid shit and an opening credits scene that looks like it was put together by a high school AV club. In this case though instead of being a total bore this one delivered enough schlocky fun to make it a fully worth while view. If you like dumb movies, this one surely delivers – and that final scene is a total treat!
I was pretty excited to check this “horror” flick out when I ran across it, basically it’s about some mysterious tombs that are discovered in the catacombs beneath Rome that release an evil force and also stars Donald Pleasance! Sounds like a damn good time huh? Unfortunately this one is a total bore, lots of character development and bland dialogue for uninteresting characters and lots of roaming around in dim caverns. Like lots of it. At one point I decided to watch the movie on fast forward until FINALLY something happened at the end that seemed somewhat interesting, however I’ve already forgotten what it was. This ones a real winner, if you’re having a hard time falling asleep it’ll bore you into a serious slumber. Here’s the trailer, trust me it’s not as cool as they make it out to be..
Here’s a sweet little movie that’s a ton of fun if you’re not expecting a heck of a lot! Invader features a dude who works at an over the top tabloid paper reporting on weird stories who gets involved in a ‘wicked’ mysterious Alien conspiracy. The dude sneaks onto an air force base and witnesses some ultra secret super powered jet being tested and ends up paired with a bad ass military Captain when he’s caught there snoopin’ around. From this point on the movie features a pretty rad “buddy style” team up with the two and really from the start it’s totally entertaining albeit dumb sci-fi romp full of pretty ridiculous action sequences as well as some pretty surprising well timed comedy. I had zero expectations so perhaps that’s why this one seemed like such a fun time? Still there totally were some impressive yet cheezy fx work at hand and the “final boss” battle features some radical old school stop motion animation to look forward to as well! Gotta love it, check this out sometime if you’re looking for a entertaining cheez-filled early 90’s sci fi adventure!
I had the pleasure of seeing Green Room last night here where the film was shot in Portland Oregon! I’ve gotta say you’re not going to find a more tense, visually stunning thriller this year. Wow, this movie had me on the edge of my seat and ready to pee my pants for nearly it’s entire duration-yep it’s that intense. If you’re a fan of punk rock like myself you’ll really appreciate this one and if you’ve ever been in a touring band you’ll dig this even more.
The story is simple young struggling punk rock band The Ain’t Rights are on tour and it’s a bit of a disaster. Low pay and cancelled shows almost stops the band’s trek cross country until they get a last minute gig out in rural Oregon at a secluded punk venue with a guarantee of $350.00. The band jumps at the chance and upon arriving to the club realize that their audience will be a freaky aggro crowd white supremacist punks. So naturally the band gets the bright idea to open up their set with a cover “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” by The Dead Kennedys. Yeah always a good idea right?
This is the least of their worries though as the band gets ready to head off to their next destination they run back into the green room to grab their charging cell phone and discover a young woman murdered there surrounded by angry skins. This is where things get crazy. Real crazy. From this point on the movie becomes so intense it’s almost impossible to look at or away from the screen. The clubs swarms with a mob of angry skinheads who’re dead set on letting no one from The Ain’t Rights out alive.
The angry gang of racist dicks takes orders from white supremacist grandmaster Patrick “Professor X/Picard” Stewart, in a role truly unique for him. The first time I’ve seen him play a truly sinister, menacing character. The movie plays like a punk rock version of Precinct 13 and is soaked with some serious grit and some seriously, serious gut wrenching scenes of survival. This one is NOT for the faint of heart. No one is safe and by the end you’ll have been through the ringer and back. Green Room is jam packed with action, totally impressive fx and great convincing characters. Anton Yelchin is excellent as well as the bands bass player who’s determined to make it through the night alive. I highly recommend this one for anyone who digs an incredible thriller that’s got a truly unique spin. It’s the perfect follow up to director Jeremy Saulnier’s equally shocking “Blue Ruin” if you’re looking for the ultimate punk rock survival flick look no further…..
I’m super excited to get this brand spankin’ new collected version of ‘Video Tonfa’ just released by Floating World Comics here in Portland Oregon. I’ve posted here before about indie comic artist, writer & publisher Tim Goodyear’s incredibly inventive & honest movie reviews which can be read regularly in Pork Magazine – But now movie maniacs can get a collected version of over 600 pages worth of them.
Goodyear not only reviews them in his own words but also recreated each movie’s classic and not so classic VHS covers. Any fan of cult, weirdo, horror, action and the like is bound to dig the creativity and time put into this project. Also reviewed are probably a truckload of flicks you’ve never heard of and that alone can lead you to some pretty excellent film finds if you’re willing to take the time to track em’ down for yourself!
Luckily Goodyear has put in the long hours to weed through it all for for you and give you his own take of what’s been overlooked in the vast sea of lost VHS treasures and turds. So yeah, if you’re like me and just can’t seem to get enough of the largely forgotten cinema of yesteryear then this is a book you’ll wanna reference quite often! Check it out here!
Did you see Blue Ruin? If not then you better check that shit out right away as it was one of the best indie thrillers of the last few years! Now we’ve finally got a full trailer for the upcoming ‘Green Room’ from ‘Blue Ruin’ director Jeremy Saulnier and boy does it look like a tense one. This flick is one I’ve been waiting for quite some time and one of my picks for 2016 movies I’m most excited about.
It follows an Washington punk rock band who play a show out in a rural Oregon roadhouse that turns deadly when a gang of white supremacist skin heads show up to spoil the party and then some. Better yet it stars Patrick Stewart as the gang’s leader / club owner and Anton “Chekov” Yelchin as one of the members of the band who’ve gotta fight their way through the night to survive. Due out April 15th, Check out this trailer, this one is sure to deliver quite a punch!
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
This week I had the great pleasure to see the legendary Jon Mikl Thor live right here in Portland Oregon! But that wasn’t all, before he hit the stage he gave us all a screening of the new documentary “I am Thor”!!
Some of you might not even know who Thor is but if you like 80’s metal and 80’s horror flicks then there’s a good chance you’ve heard of this guy. To me, my first introduction to him was in the cult favorite flick ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare’ and this one really has got to be seen to be believed. It’s one of the best cheezy 80’s flicks of all time. Don’t believe me check this shit out:
Anyway to make a long story short, Jon Mikl Thor was a successful body builder who fronted the band Thor way back in 1973. He looked like a real life version of the Marvel Comics character or heck he could easily have passed as He-Man as well!
He really never achieved the success he’d always wanted and spent most of the 70’s and 80’s touring the world. He had a short career in B-movies as well and in 1997 he decided to pick up the hammer again and rock the world as Thor one more time.
The documentary covers this and so much more and is filled the heart and determination of a man who’s willing to defy the odds for the sheer love of Rock & Roll. It follows his rise and fall as well as his quest to return to the stage years later. In many ways it’s quite similar to another excellent documentary about another Canadian metal band called Anvil. If you want a dynamic double feature I highly recommend “I Am Thor” and “Anvil: The Story of Anvil” they will inspire you to never give up on your dreams.
We get a lot of great info on Jon Mikl Thor as well, one interesting thing was learning that he was originally asked by Jerry Only from the Misfits to front the 90’s version of the band before eventually getting Michale Graves to replace Danzig. Man, how awesome would a Thor fronted version of The Misfits have been?!! Well to me it sounds awesome.
If you get a chance check this movie out, it’s a lot of fun and by the end of it you’ll feel like you really know the guy personally. I guess that’s one reason why I had such a good time at the show, after the movie we got to see Thor rock again with a full band. Though he doesn’t have the long hair or ultra ripped body that he used to he’s still got the pipes and at age 62 he’s got a ton of great energy. It was a real treat seeing a band playing that style of metal and while not fully familiar with all of his music (mainly because I didn’t own any of it personally yet), when I attended the show by the end of his set I couldn’t get his power metal anthems out of my head.
I knew I had to go much deeper into the music and film career of John Mikl Thor! He’s a true character who never gave up on his dreams and though his shows don’t sell out you can see how much this guy truly appreciates every person in attendance. It was a night that still has me smiling days later. It takes a very special person to make you feel that in this day and age. Long live Thor, you’re still the number one Warrior of the Universe in my opinion…
The Benefits of Gusbandry dropped it’s second episode yesterday online and the plot begins to thicken quite a bit! I really enjoyed the first episode which I was lucky enough to catch at the Portland Film Festival in September and I’ve been waiting for the second to really kickstart the whole “gusband” thing into gear. A “gusband” fyi is a gay husband but you won’t find much in the way of romance in the second episode, at least involving the main character Jackie. It’s no secret that she’s clearly crushed out on the wrong dude.
Just when she thinks she’s finally found her Mr. Right we get to watch it all awkwardly come tumbling down. That’s not say it doesn’t happen without some laughs. Still, I’m already hoping that somewhere in this series Jackie’s “Mr. Right” will eventually pop up, though I fear for her the journey won’t be an easy one! This episode really sets up the premise of the series and by the end of it you’ll be wondering where it’ll go next or should I say just how far it will go. It’s playing out so far a bit like Will & Grace if it would’ve been aired in 2015 on HBO and that’s a damn good thing. I’ve got a feeling things are bound to get pretty wild & crazy along the way. I’m curious to see where the wind blows our two main characters and if for some reason neither of them find the love they’ve always hoped for, well at least they’ve got each other…
if you missed the first episode here it is:
Even better now you can watch the second one right after:
This last Friday I attended the Portland Film Festival late night short film block and saw a ton of great lil’ flicks! One of my favorites of the batch was “The Benefits of Gusbandry” which made it’s premiere that very night. This short film is actually part of a much bigger series that launched today online several places. What you might ask exactly is gusbandry? Short and simple, combine two words “gay + husband” and voila and you got a gusband, but in this unique case it’s much more than that. I don’t wanna give away too much of first episode’s plot, so I’ll leave it at that for the moment.
The first episode though was shot right here in Portland, Oregon, directed and written by fellow Portlander Alicia Rose. She’s been responsible for some of the coolest music videos of the last decade for the likes of Bob Mould, MC Frontalot & The Corin Tucker Band to name a few. This project however will have a longer life of its own as we’ll get eight episodes – one each month and hopefully more to follow in a second season. You’ll not only get an awesome tour of typical Portland life in the series but it seems you’ll get it jam packed with some great offbeat comedy with a heart of gold. Check this cool new debut episode which is sure to teach us a few valuable lessons about getting older and trying to find your “Mr. Right” in a these confusing modern times…
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Portland Film Festival’s late night short film series! It was jam packed with great flicks from all over the place and was filled with blossoming talents! One of my favorite portions of the night was seeing the first short film called “Never Cool” which is just under two minutes in length and a total riot! Take a minute to check this one out as Billy Dee Williams narrates and lets you know the top things in life that you will NEVER look cool doing! It’s something we can all relate too!! Hilarious…
I’m totally excited to see ‘Green Room‘, the follow up to Jeremy Saulnier’s awesome revenge flick Blue Ruin due out later this year. The movie was filmed right here (where I live) in Portland Oregon and the surrounding wilderness. It features Anton Yelchin (Star Trek’s Chekov) as a member of a Punk rock band that strays into a secluded part of the Pacific Northwest to play a underground venue. If you’ve seen Blue Ruin already you know Sauliner’s got the chops to give a mean, gritty adventure that’s not your average cookie cutter Hollywood flick.
So far the reviews for this movie hail it as a throwback to the 80’s as the young punk band “The Ain’t Rights” show up at the punk rock gig at an odd venue out in the boonies only to find they’re playing on a bill that caters to a local neo Nazi scene in rural Oregon.
They decide against all better judgement to rip into a cover of the Dead Kennedys’ classic “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and from that point on all hell breaks loose as they witness a act of violence and are targeted by the racist punk horde.
The night becomes a fight for their life against the neo Nazi skinhead gang lead by none other than Patrick Stewart (Now that I’ve gotta see). This sounds like a awesome unique premise for a rural survival flick that’s bound to be quite a tense thriller! Sign me up, as long as the Nazi punks get exactly what they deserve in the end, fingers crossed!