Tagged: practical effects

WTF New Years Eve Hong Kong 90s Horror Gem: ‘Last Ghost Standing’!

Wild and weird New Years flicks are not easy to come by. But god damn do I have one of the most WTF movies taking place on New Years Eve you will ever see to recommend! ‘Last Ghost Standing’ from 1999 is essentially a night in the life of a young couple on a New Year’s Eve date to a creepy theater that’s showing it’s very final picture before closing forever…

 It doesn’t take long however for things to get downright dirty, spooky and simultaneously zany when evil forces from the netherworld descend from from the depths of hell to kill everyone who has purchased a ticket to the final show at the theater. Basically a mix of ‘Demons’ and ‘Evil Dead 2’ with even more senseless comedy and insane goopy antics. Yes, this one dials the idiotic insanity up to 11 with a barely cohesive story holding this creature together by the withering tendons. I’d make sure you’re a few drinks in or stoned outta your gord before checking this one out on New Year’s Eve. You’ve been warned!

It’s jam packed with awesome cheap-o B-movie fx & gross out moments a’ plenty.  Particularly a scene where a group of wild raver teens are attacked by a disgusting toilet poop monster in the restroom.  Barely any of this late nineties gem makes a lick of sense either, I think it’s all there just to give our eyes a visual feast  & at the same time make you lose a brain cell or two just from watching.

Things get so out of control in the theater that they eventually have to call in a mock Jackie Chan type character with a fake prosthetic nose to come and try to settle the supernatural score with the demons. The funny thing is it would appear that the demonic forces in this movie aren’t fully satisfied with the state of modern cinema at the time and are ready to rip it’s existence entirely from our world.  The essential reason for their attack on the patrons.

If you’re a horror fanatic and looking for something truly bizarre on New Year’s Eve today, this is definitely going to deliver the goods right to your damn doorstep. It’s silly, gross and a lot of frenetic fun & I can certainly guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it before! Happy 2022!!

FROSTBITER: Hyperactive Holiday Horror Viewing Straight Out of the 80s!

Wow!! We’re getting SO close to the big day-yes Christmas 2021 will soon be here, so why not mix it up this year with some weird holiday shit instead of the same old cinema? It can be ruff finding new snow packed holiday flicks each season to rock out to. But I think some of the usual holiday suspects need a break this year. I mean you can only watch ‘John Denver and The Muppets Christmas’ special so many times right? That being said here’s a fave of mine that’s got the chops to get the bloody holiday party started right!!

‘Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo’ is non stop craziness & a ton of fucking fun. This sweet little indie Michigan based snowbound horror flick was filmed way back in 1988 but sat on the cold dusty shelves for nearly a decade. It wasn’t released until 1996 when Troma decided to finally unveil this little gnarly beast out there to the general public. I’m not always the hugest fan of Troma stuff but this one was an independent production first and then only distributed by them later & good on them for doing so. It’s a snowy, low budget, splatter gem in the same arena as ‘Evil Dead 2’ and just as genuinely ambitious.

It also stars Ron Asheton, famed guitar legend of The Stooges, who had a short but sweet run in some pretty excellent little horror movies during this time period like ‘Legion of the Night’ & ‘Mosquito’. Both of those most definitely deserve a watch if you haven’t seen them yet! Frostbiter doesn’t skimp any of it’s excellent cheezball horror fx here either, it has a bunch of ridiculous puppets, bad ass stop motion monsters, gooey slimey gore and buckets of the red stuff.

None of this can be taken too incredibly seriously as the general spirit of the movie is pretty playful and IMO the perfect pick for a group of rowdy drunk holiday party goers. Though not an outright “Christmas” movie it does have some holiday leanings that fit it firmly in the specific genre quite nicely. First it all takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, where ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is set and even features segments of that particular film throughout. Secondly it’s clearly filmed in the frigid cold forests of the midwest and is jam packed with plenty of snow. We get a wild gang of redneck hunters all together in a dusty cold cabin where monsters spawn from pots of chili!

t’s got a pretty cool soundtrack as well that features an exclusive song about said chili! To make matters worse these these moronic hunters thankfully manage to awaken the evil spirit of the famed native american beast of the Wendigo! Yes & for a budget of ten thousand bucks this one is way more slimey fun than It has any right being.

I really did appreciate how much effort was put into this thing with all of the wild and crazy z-grade special fx pulled out of the rickety tool box. Sure it’s clearly a bit of an Evil Dead rip off, with this frantic tale taking place similarly in a snowy cabin in the woods as well. However it’s got enough of its own identity and charm to put itself uniquely into a category of its own.

If anything it’s most definitely worth it for its wild wintery finale when the Wendigo rears its gigantic head in a bonkers stop motion animation showdown. Oh yeah, spike the eggnog hard and roll yourself a nice fat one to pass around cuz this one will deliver the damn goods this Christmas for a ravenous gang of cinemaniacs!  The perfect party movie & likely a new holiday season ritual,  This movie needs way more attention and most definitely a fancy ass blu ray release!

 

Halloween Nite Party Flick Pick: NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2!

So can you believe it?Halloween is finally here and if you’re like me you’re probably planning on watching something frightfully awesome tonite that will get the party PUMPIN’! Let’s face it, this decision is a BIG one, most people decide to go with one of the classics they’ve seen countless times cuz you don’t want to chance it all on some shitty clunker. One movie that gets a lot of rotation during the Halloween season Is ‘Night of the Demons’ from 1988. But a lot of people (me included) seem to have missed over the years it’s incredible 1994 sequel, a movie that I dare to say is just as good if not actually BETTER than the original!!

Yes I said it. This week I re-watched ‘Night of the Demons’ again and also viewed part 2 for the very first time, really not expecting much at all. What I got from Aussie director Brian Trenchard-Smith (also responsible for the likes of ‘Dead End Drive In’ & ‘Leprechaun 4: In Space’) far surpassed what I’ve been secretly hoping for. So again we get the perfect setting and time for the sequel, Halloween night baby! We also see the return of horror icon “Angela” from the very first movie in all of her horrific glory.  But the two things I think make this stand out above the original is the even more wildly imaginative special fx and especially the charming cast of characters this time around. We really get a gang we can get behind and root for in the sequel.

Part 2 plays out a bit more like ‘Mean Girls’ meets ‘Evil Dead 2’, the setting here is a Catholic boarding school filled to the brim with horny ass teenagers who’re ready for a goddamn rager on Halloween night. Two of the standout characters, a teenage boy obsessed with exorcisms and demonic possessions, as well as a bad-ass ruler wielding nun, hell bent on making sure these teenagers have a kosher evening that only Jesus would find entertaining.

But alas, we all of course know nothing can stop the raging hormones of teenagers in the 1990s! Similar to the first movie, this gang heads out to the same abandoned house from the first installment to get down to some risky bizness and then once again encounter the demonically filthy Angela! She’s ready to have a party of her own filled with blood-and-guts a’ plenty.

 If you’ve never seen this before I definitely don’t want to spoil any of it. There’s just too much damn fun to be had as well as a few “twists”. The special effects are gloriously gooey, and this chapter offers legit frights by upping the ante on some monster mayhem via some spectacular practical effects work that caught me by surprise. For a movie made in 1994 it bleeds of the eighties in all the best ways. With a plentiful amount of TNA and a perfect blend of comedy mixed with some genuine scares. In my opinion it’s the perfect Halloween party movie that’s bound to have people cheering.

 I can’t believe that it took me this long to finally check it out. The first movie is such a beloved Halloween horror classic that I figured there’s no way in hell it could live up to its predecessor.

 So if you’re looking for something totally bad-ass to watch tonight and are a fan of the original You can really do no wrong with Night of the Demons 2!  I’ll say it again it’s better than the first. Deal with it! Now I’m even more curious if lightning can strike 3 times?  I’m gonna have to check out part 3 next. In the meantime you can find this one streaming and rental on most of the major platforms.. So grab your booze, blaze up the ganja and grab your closest cinemaniacs for a night of 90s horror gold!

Must SEE Halloween: Spielberg’s Spooky 80s AMAZING STORIES!!

Of course, everybody’s looking for the ultimate Halloween viewing this year and it just so happens I’ve got a couple recommendations here that are a MUST see for anyone who’s a fan of those spooky “Amblin* films of the eighties! A lot of people seem to have forgotten about or never even heard of  Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series ‘Amazing Stories’. That’s truly a shame because many of these episodes are classic “Spielbergian” gems that are indeed quite freakin’ amazing. Better yet, there are a handful of episodes that are absolutely perfect for the Halloween season. Today I’d like to mention two of my all time favorite episodes of the series that just so happen to be quite perfectly spooky and utterly charming.

Easily one of the best episodes of the series comes from the 1st season is called ‘Mummy Daddy’. It’s directed by William Dear who’s most well known for one of my all time favorites ‘Harry and Hendersons’. This features an actor on a creepy fog laden swamp of a movie set who’s dressed in an elaborate mummy costume that’s virtually unremovable. When he suddenly gets a phone call that his wife is about to give birth, he bursts frantically from the set to head off to the hospital, In full mummy garb. What he doesn’t realize is that the backwoods locals are restless as they fear the legend of an actual evil mummy rumored to roam the forest in search of innocents to prey upon is alive and well.

 There’s a lot of unique twists and turns in this half hour episode, the mummy fx look incredible and the sets and fog filled moonlit locales are top notch. One thing is clear Steven Spielberg had a movie level budget for the show and he was willing to put it all on the line. This episode features the perfect blend of spooky comedy & horror as well as some excellent supernatural action sequences.

Not to mention one of my favorites, Brion James in the role of the aggro head hillbilly, who’s hell bent on ridding their small town of the mummy’s curse forever! This one is a must see for the Halloween season! 

Next up is my absolute favorite episode of the entire series which comes from season 2 called ‘Go to the Head of the Class’. 

It’s directed by ‘Back to the Future’s’ own Robert Zemekis, features Mary Stuart Masterson and of course Christopher Lloyd! This one is slso a double length episode, it easily could have been made into an excellent horror flick and would have easily been one of the best episodes of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ if it’d been included in that series, where to be honest it feels like it belongs!  In a nutshell it’s a story of two teenagers who who plan an elaborate revenge scheme on their asinine school teacher. However this isn’t your average tale of revenge, they instead employ the powers of the supernatural playing a record backwards and performing a ritual in the cemetery late one night after school that will supposedly put an end to their least fave douchebag headmaster! 

Christopher Lloyd shines in the role of the evil teacher and like the last episode I mentioned, the special effects here are done by Stan Winston and all of the horror set pieces are utterly breathtaking in the spookiest way imaginable. It’s jam packed with the perfect blend of comedy, genuine scares and familiar faces of the eighties that are certain to put a smile on your face.

These two episodes will pack the perfect double duo punch and give you something different to check out this Halloween season. Yeah horror from a much simpler time from the golden era of horror! Do not snooze on these this year!

Crazy New HORROR Blu Rays for Halloween you NEED!!

I wanted to take a moment here to mention a couple brand spankin’ new blu ray releases coming out this month just in time for Halloween that I’m absolutely stoked for! If you’re looking for 2 amazing horror films plucked right from the golden age of the eighties and early nineties then these two will NOT disappoint! Both of these flicks are filled with just the right amount of gory practical effects ridden horror and the perfect doses of comedy from their uniquely charming casts. So without further ado here are 2 blu rays you need this Halloween that are coming out this month! You can pre-order them now!

The Laughing Dead (1989)

I actually just did my last blog post about the director of The Laughing Dead’s new movie ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’.  But this long lost eighties slice of a horror is a must see for anyone who’s a big fan of stuff like Evil Dead 2 or Re-animator. It never got an official release here in the United States so this one’s kinda special. It’s jam packed with monsters, zombies, gooey gore and plenty of absurd comedy as well as some genuine frights!  Don’t let the title fool you, This is most definitely NOT your average run of the mill eighties zombie flick! You can preorder this thing right now via Vinegar Syndrome!

 

Hiruko the Goblin (1990)

 Hot damn! I’m so pumped on this one too, Hiruko the Goblin is being released by Mondo Macabro. This one would be a perfect double feature with The Laughing Dead as well, It’s jam packed with amazing practical effects and super awesome monsters! It’s also got some heart as well, as it features a family affair, with a teenager who teams up with his eccentric oddball demon hunting uncle to face the forces of evil in an abandoned Is boarding school.  From the director of Tetsuo: The Iron Man! This is perfect for the Halloween season!  Keep in mind none of these trailers are the new 4K transfers, Hopefully they’ll release those soon!

Stan Winston’s Incredible Forgotten Monster Creation in 1998’s ‘CREATURE’!!

So I really wasn’t expecting much at all when I came across this dvd in a bargain bin, but dammit 1998’s ‘Creature’ somehow delivered exactly what I love! With a run time of almost 3 hours long I really expected to be bored out of my gord, but with a solid cast of great actors like Craig T. Nelson, Giancarlo Esposito & Kim Cattrall it was off to a great start. Taking place on a beautiful breathtaking Caribbean island also sealed part of the deal as well, but really what immediately caught my eye in the opening credits was Stan Winston being credited with the creature fx! Still though a tv mini-series from 1998 would more than likely end up being a snoozer, quite the contrary!

 

We have two shark researchers, Craig T. Nelson and his ex-wife Kim Cattrall, as beautiful ever, along with their teenage son ready to get into some serious trouble in paradise. A rogue great white shark is killing people around the island, but this one’s ready to eat “Jaws” for breakfast. The secret weapon of what might have been a forgettable mini series if of course Stan’s mutant monster shark!

This creature is one of his best creations too and luckily it doesn’t just stay hidden until the very end. We get plenty of monster mayhem to behold and also a great performance from Giancarlo Esposito, of recent Mandalorian fame to up the ante here even more.

Even with its rather hefty run time it never drags, likely due in part to its charming cast of characters, bad Caribbean accents and of course some gooey creature craziness make this an entertaining little adventure. It’s also got decent production value, sweet cinematography, the lush setting of St. Lucia in the 90’s along with some pretty well done action and genuinely thrilling moments of horror. It’s stunning too that somehow one of Stan Winston’s coolest creatures made it into this forgotten gem. All practical fx too! I didn’t see a lick of CGI here.

If you dig his work this is simply a must watch. I did it in two sittings and after the first half I was hungry to finish the second half. This actually already has a blu ray that’s quite easy to get, I also think it’d be pretty sweet if someone trimmed it down with a lean edit to an hour and a half or so. There’s a pretty rad monster “movie” that could be crafted from the miniseries. Still tho at its current length even, it’s a fun, creepy, carribean vacation that monster flick fanatics should embark on!

The Wolf of Snow Hollow: Scooby-Doo Meets ‘The Howling’!

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!       

WILLY’S WONDERLAND: Can Nic Cage Survive ‘FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S’?

I’ve been looking forward to this new Nic Cage horror flick for a long time and the trailer for ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ has finally dropped. Sure like the 2019 ‘Banana Splits’ movie this one is essentially another version of the ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’, which has been in developmental cinematic hell for years. ‘Banana Splits’ was pretty underwhelming, so I’ve been hoping that this Nic Cage lead film would get it right as I do quite love the idea of the creepy ‘Chuck E. Cheese/Showbiz Pizza’ style animatronic cartoon characters coming to life at night and causing bloody chaos. So yeah, we have Cage here hired as a handy man at a cursed amusement park where the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” scenario busts wide open. Check out this sweet poster! 

From the trailer I’ve gotta say I was a teensy bit let down, I know this isn’t academy award fare we’re dealing with, but after starring in the incredible ‘Mandy’ I’ve high hopes for Nic to return with another modern horror classic. This however, from the trailer at least looks kinda chintzy, reminds me of something Cage churns out quickly to pay his mound of back taxes rather than a quality B monster movie. Of course I’m checking it out when drops but I was hoping for a thicker atmosphere of spookiness and the general vibe of it all feels slightly like a flimsy Cage cash grab. Even the cinematography feels a bit cheap at this point. But hey I guess having high hopes for another ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ copycat should NOT have been that high! Dammit Cage please prove me wrong here! What do YOU think?!

 If you wanna go down the animatronic cartoon character rabbit hole from way back in the day for some real chills check THIS out:

And this for the WHOLE history on the restaurants from yesteryear that inspired ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’: 

Hidden Holiday Horror: 1988’s Icky Monster Movie THE BRAIN!!

Who knew that 1988’s Canadian cult creature feature ‘The Brain’ was actually a hidden holiday horror gem? Yep this monster movie from the opening scene has got Christmas decorations strewn all over the place and keeps up this trend for the full duration of the film. Christmas lights, trees, tinsel and Santa decorations are carefully placed in view. People every year search for those lost holiday horror gems and I’d say we can put ‘The Brain’ firmly in the “Takes place during the Christmas season” movies & if ‘Die Hard’ qualifies as a holiday film then this one certainly does as well!

Well is it worth the trouble to track down and check out this 2020 holiday season? YES! The Brain has everything I love in an 80’s horror flick. Cool likable characters, a wild giant rubbery monster, plenty of action and a ridiculous plot reminiscent of those classic 1950’s sci-fi creature features. Creepy ass Dr. Blakely (the dude from Re-Animator who loses his head-and does in The Brain too!) runs a seemingly normal TV show called “Independent Thinkers”, a  popular weekly “self-help” program. However he’s not making his audience any wiser, he secretly serves an alien organism called The Brain, that brainwashes (duh!) the viewers using it’s other-worldy mind control techniques. It’s also got a hunger for human flesh & as it consumes it’s victims it also increases in size. The only one who stands to save the city and possibly the Earth is a wise crackin’ teenage practical joker and his super cute stylin’ girlfriend.

The Brain is a fun filled totally 80’s horror romp with plenty of action, cool villains and a rad slightly idiotic looking monster that’s brought to life via puppetry and animatronics. He’s kind of like giant hulking “Madball” toy from the 1980s. He attacks his victims with limited mobility as he “cruises” around on his snake-y bod. There’s also some cool kills that are unexpectedly sprinkled about the holiday landscape and rarely a dull moment to behold.

Most of the movie features our two main characters on the run and some of the settings are pretty sweet. I’m always a sucker for hiding out inside of an empty closed school all night! Easily one of my favorite places for mayhem to ensue. As I mentioned before, there’s enough holiday decor strewn about to warrant this one a watch during the Christmas season if you’re looking for something different this year. Besides that The Brain is a solid, entertaining, charming little monster movie that’s got a sweet release on blu ray from Scream Factory that looks great and has some cool little extras to give you tons of useless information on the the movies origins!

Underrated Halloween Movie Pick from Japan: 1990’s ‘Hiruko The Goblin’!

‘Hiruko The Goblin’ from 1990 has got to be one of the best horror movies from Japan I’ve ever seen. It hits all the right beats for me in what I personally love from the late 80’s early 90’s genre movies. Directed by the iconic Shinya Tsukamoto, most well known for his epic, bizarre cyber punk horror oddity ‘Tetsuo: the Iron Man’ he delivers another slam dunk here a couple years after with this. However, this particular movie of his has gotten a lot of criticism for being so totally different from ‘Tetsuo’. Haruko spends more time on character development, humor and over the top monsters, as well as a heavy dose of heart. For me this is a much better formula than the grimy bleak mood of most of this directors other work.

This plays out way more like ‘Evil Dead 2’ meets ‘The Ghostbusters’ then his cyberpunk Cronenbergian/ David Lynch tinged outings. The story is simple yet truly bizarre: a school has literally been built on a gate to Hell behind which hordes of demons await the moment they will be freed to wreak havoc on the physical plane. Hiruko is a powerful and cunning creature sent to Earth on a reconnaissance mission, he decapitates humans in order to assemble their heads on demonic spider like bodies and command them to do his wicked deeds. Eventually this gory predicament falls into the lap of an archaeology professor, who’s dramn to the abandoned school during summer time to investigate the supernatural shenanigans and stop this demonic onslaught.

One of my favorite aspects of this movie are the two protagonists a teenage high school student and his odd demon-lore obsessed archeologist uncle. When the boy’s father goes missing while exploring the caverns beneath the school, his eccentric uncle arrives on the scene to help him search the school armed with some nifty demon busting equiptment. From here it leads them on an epic surreal journey facing off with creatures in the creepy empty corridors of the school. It also explores family dynamics, all with a slightly light-hearted comedic edge to it amidst the mayhem.

The other big star of the show here is most definitely the special-effects showcased, if you’re a fan of 80s monster movies this one will definitely be right up your alley Hiruko and his minions are a true sight to behold and the director uses almost every 80’s style effect in the book to bring them to life. From animatronics to stop motion animation, it’s all here and the creepy aesthetics and setting of the film are the perfect place for this all to unfold. Also the movie’s got a relatively lean run time I’d less than 90 minutes, so it’s not something that’s going to put you to sleep. A true visual treat as well, with a little bit of everything for everyone. It’s ambitious horror film from what I consider the tail end of the golden age of the genre that more audiences in the U.S.A need to view. A cross between Ghostbusters, Evil Dead II, Poltergeist & The Thing done by way of Japanese brilliance. Also a perfect movie for this Halloween season that you might not have seen before! Physical copies of this can be pricey and hard to track down but I’m certain it must be streaming somewhere?! This need a deluxe blu ray release badly!!