Yesterday we heard the news of master special effects artist / director John Carl Buechler’s passing & it reminded me once again of just how amazing his work in the industry was and just how many of the movies he was involved with have been a huge part of growing up. From cult classics like Troll, Dolls & The Dungeonmaster to arguably the best installment of Friday The 13th, Part VII: The New Blood to Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade, his work has brought me soooo much joy throughout my life as a movie maniac.
As one of the biggest fans of monster movies, he brought some of the best to the big and small screen. It led me to comb Youtube for some choice clips of his that feature some of my favorite creations of his. They just don’t make em’ like this anymore, Mr. Buechler you will be missed but your incredible creatures will live on forever, that is for sure…
‘Beyond The Gates‘ is the first feature film from Jackson Stewart, an indie horror movie I’ve been super excited about for a long time. Last night I dropped the seven bones on Google Play to check it out. What originally really excited me about this movie was it’s central focus on a sinister VHS board game from the 1980’s called…you guessed it “Beyond The Gates”. These creepy VHS games were pretty popular back when I was a kid, so of course I automatically dug the nostalgia factor that this one had to offer from the start. I also was quite happy to see Graham Skipper (The Mind’s Eye, Almost Human) as one of the leads and also horror icon Barbara Crampton (From Beyond, Re-animator, We Are Still Here) as the creepy host of the VHS board game.
This one has a lot going for it from the get go and it’s quite an intriguing little mystery. Long story short, two brothers come to find that their alcoholic father has gone missing leaving behind his business, an old video store that he started back in 1992. Ah yes, the local video store, what great memories I have of those. Well as the brothers meet up to box up video tapes, close shop and reminisce about their childhood they discover the old VHS board game in the office.
Things get stranger when they realize the VHS tape from the game was the last thing their father had watched before he disappeared. This begins a series of bizarre events as the brothers and one of their girlfriends decide to give the game a try. I don’t want to give away any clues of the story, it’s a pretty engaging movie and a great dramatic story of two brothers finding peace with each other and their past. There’s a lot in this movie that I can relate to personally and that honestly is the strongest aspect of ‘Beyond The Gates’. It’s got a lot of heart.
I did like this movie, however it could have been one of the best horror movies of 2016 if perhaps it had a bit more of an imagination with the horror side of things and hey maybe a bigger budget? The horror aspect of this one kinda let me down. There were a couple of cool scenes that seemed like they were warming us up for a knock out finale. Sadly that knock out never really arrived, in fact the finale seemed like something that we might have expected to see around the half way mark. The movie had a 3 million dollar budget and personally I think they could have stretched it a bit and really given us a more surreal adventurous final act. I’ve seen movies with smaller budgets go a lot further than this. To me it seemed like a good movie that maybe ran out of money near the end of filming. The potential for some truly crazy stylized 80’s horror was definitely there but it lacked the imagination to give fright fans a truly memorable experience.
Overall I liked this movie more as drama and if I’d have known ahead of time that that’s more of what this was I’d be a little less critical of the horror aspect of things. That being said I still give it a thumbs up for a sweet yet creepy story that knows how to pull at your heartstrings. Check it out!
I love From Beyond! It’s one of Stuart “Reanimator” Gordon’s best movies in my opinion. It’s super fun tale based on the classic H.P. Lovecraft story of the same name. There’s a ton of awesome special fx and monsters a’ plenty in this weird ass horror classic. Well this kick ass movie also has one heckuva cover to go along with it showcasing the villain of the movie as he’s transforming into on of the best 80’s movie monsters of all time. The premise of the story is genius as we explore the mysterious pineal gland and quickly discover that just because you see empty space all around you it doesn’t mean it’s not filled with some truly nasty entities. I’ve always loved this cover, it’s a perfect representation of what made the vhs box art of the 1980’s so damn memorable! I think it may be time to dust off my copy of this one!
Hey I am back again with another Halloween horror movie pick from the past! One of my personal favorite topics of horror flicks are that of the creepy doll! Yeah I know we all first think of Child’s Play which is easily one of if not the best creepy doll movie. However there are a good number of others that are pretty swell as well like Dolly Dearest from 1991 which is basically a female version of Child’s Play and of course The Puppetmaster series is also fairly decent.
But one of my personal faves is “Dolls” from 1986 from horror legend Stuart Gordon and of course the wonderfully cheesy Charles Band. This short and sweet little creepy horror classic is essentially a dark fairy tale jammed to the brim with freaky living dolls.
It follows a group of travelers as they take refuge from a strom in a strange mansion in the countryside owned by a far too friendly elderly couple. However the group consists some people that are far from friendly, two rowdy British punkers and a greedy married couple along with their little girl and the young at heart traveling salesman. It seems that when the lights go out for the night the dolls emerge to teach the naughty adults some lessons.
The whole movie is just a whole lot of fun all together. A simple plot can sometimes make for the best type of film and Gordon does a great job with presenting us with a whimsical, dark & atmospheric setting. Dolls is also filled with some fun 80’s fx via puppetry, animatronics and some cool stop motion.
So this Halloween check this out, it’s a great little horror flick that we will all learn a valuable lesson from, I know I’ll be popping this into my dvd player again this Halloween!