Ok it’s ON!! Halloween time viewing is in FULL effect here at U-Dork so naturally we’ve gotta get our groove on with some often forgotten gems of Halloween that are an absolute essential watch- Especially if you’re a big fan of eighties horror! One of my favorite shows of that era, the brilliant horror anthology TV series Tales from the Darkside!
This 4 season series contains 3 of my all time favorite Halloween horror stories & they’re so well done that if you put all of them together in a film anthology with a wrap-around plot line it’d make for probably one the best Halloween themed movies of the 1980s! So find these streaming this year or go do yourself a favor and buy the whole collection on dvd. Make sure though to bookmark these 3 this year and watch them all in a row.
First up ‘The Cutty Black Sow’ from Season 4 (1988).
This is easily gotta be one of the most terrifying episodes of of the series & also one of the strangest titles to boot. During Halloween a family is hit with the tragic death of a beloved grandmother. Just before she passes though she relays a cryptic warning to one of the children to beware of ‘the cutty black sow’ on All Hallows Eve, an evil demonic creature that seeks harm to the family and steal souls. This episode is filled with the sense of dread as a thick impending doom oozes through Halloween night air & the children wonder if their great grandmother’s warning is indeed one to be taken seriously. A creepy taut Halloween gem with a horrifying ending!
Second is ‘Halloween Candy’ from Season 2, (1985)
Again one of the best episodes of the series hands down and directed by make up wizard/horror icon Tom Savini! This tale features a grumpy old man who absolutely loathes the Halloween season and more-so those pesky trick or treaters. However this Halloween he gets WAY more than he bargained for when an evil troll comes to his door asking for Halloween candy! This little monster is an absolute delight to behold, It’s clear that Savini has his FX work cut out for him as it’s one of the coolest little troll/goblin like creatures to hit the big or small screen. It’s also an incredibly creepy Halloween themed slice of horror, with a bit of a moral lesson at it’s core. It’s best not to be an asshole on All Hallows Eve especially if you live alone on a dark street & a weird trick-or-treater shows up in the dead of night. Filled with tense atmosphere and crafted by an icon, it’s no wonder this episode is a such TREAT!
Lastly is the very 1st episode of the entire series ‘Trick-or-Treat’ (1984) and in my opinion probably the best of the entire series altogether.
Co-written by George Romero and directed by well known actor Bob Balaban who also directed the 1989 cult horror film ‘Parents’, they give us a truly wicked Halloween adventure! A greedy old scrooge like miser basically runs a small town where everyone seems to be suffering and in debt to him. Every Halloween he opens the doors to his house of horrors where he geefully sits at a control booth, triggering terrifying sounds, traps & puppeteering animatronic creatures rigged to scare small children. This isn’t done to entertain the kids, it’s however a challenge to the smalltown children to search for the debts of their parents. If they find them, their families are forgiven of their monetary burdens. The old codger takes way too much sadistic pleasure in terrorizing the kids which makes this episode truly grim and unforgettable. He loves Halloween but for all the wrong reasons. Luckily in a turn of events he himself is faced with true terror and all bets are off this Halloween! Filled with incredible iconic horror imagery, thrills, heart and some amazing practical effects work this is the absolute standout must see episode of the series! It would also be the perfect finale for a Halloween horror anthology-This year don’t sleep on these episodes they’re essential viewing every damn year for one of the greatest holidays of all time!!
It’s getting so damn close to Halloween! So of course we have to honor some of the greatest creepy comic book covers of all time! As a kid this one spooked me, when I think of classic creepy comic book covers this is one of the first ones that always comes to mind, New Mutant’s #3 from 1983! Bob McLeod lays out this brilliant nightmarish horror themed classic cover. The New Mutants had its fair share of frightening freaky storylines going on in the early eighties when they first made their debut, This easily remains one of the scariest-Happy HALLOWEEN weekend!
Well, well, well, I must admit I didn’t see this coming! Yeah I’m a bit perplexed myself at just how much I liked M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie “The Visit”!! I am going to go as far to say it’s quite possibly the best horror movie I’ve seen thus far in 2015. Some major contenders were “It Follows”, “The Babadook” and “We Are Still Here” but I’d certainly put The Visit up against any of those. I alway knew Night had it in him somewhere to make a full on horror movie and this time around he certainly went the distance. This is easily the darkest of any film he’s ever done and it proves that he shines on a smaller stage, with a smaller budget. Night should stay far as far away from the summer blockbuster territory as he possibly can. I also think he’s invented a new style of horror flick “Senior Citizen Terror”!!
The Visit is not only a return to form, but it’s also a transformation for the film maker. It show’s in a way that he’s grown up a bit and has become a bit more of a risk taker. He’s willing to scare the shit out of you this time around, pulling no punches like he did previously. I’ve always suspected if he let loose he’d be able to craft something really genuinely scary. You know how most of his movies reach the final act and they get kinda….family friendly? Well this one goes to some dark places and then some. In fact there are some scenes in this movie that you will NEVER be able to erase from your memory. A bold statement for any horror flick but it seems M. Knight was done fucking around this time. The guy has had a quite a string of clunkers under his belt recently and it goes to prove a point, never underestimate a guy who’s down on his luck with nothing really left to lose.
The Visit really shines in it’s simple plot. Two kids go to visit their grandparents which they’ve never met because of a falling out that their mother had with them when she was much younger. So really it’s a bit of a story of trying to forgive and forget the past and hopefully move on. And really, we all can relate to being a little kid staying with grandparents, no matter how sweet they were they always seem a bit odd especially through the eyes of a child. Of course the plot thickens when Granny and Gramps do start acting a bit odd during the daytime really fucking weird when the sun goes down!
This movie has got some great acting as well and the movie’s real stars are definitely the young boy played by Ed Oxenbould and his grandmother played by Deanna Dunagan. The Visit surprisingly also is one of the few modern horror flicks that really puts children in serious fucking danger, which is something you rarely see in this day and age. So kudos to Shyamalan for having the guts to go the distance here. It’s really best if you know as little as possible about this one as it’s packed with surprises and yes….a damn good twist!
Last my only real complaint at all is the found footage route Night decided to go with this. I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled about the idea going into it all. Seeming at first a little late to the party perhaps, he really does utilize this medium quite well to tell the story. He does it so well with no creepy score that this feels pretty damn realistic when all is said and done. He also blends some great comedy throughout somehow that works leap and bounds better than any movie he’s tried to pull this in before. So final thought, I’d say it’s safe to say M. Night Shyamalan is back. Scarier, bolder and riskier than ever before and I hope this time he’s realized he’s at his best when trying to scare the shit out of us.
Superman #422 is quite an interesting issue to say the least, Superman battles werewolves! Yeah back in 1986 Superman had a full on battle with some seriously pesky lycans . To me it’d seem like Supes would have no problem kicking a werewolf’s ass-but that’s apparently not in this issue titled “Bad Moon Rising”. He not only gets his ass handed to him but the werewolf, after the beat down, rips off Superman’s costume and dons it himself! Yeah he leaves Superman naked in the streets of Metropolis and what’s even more funny is that Superman’s worried about “being arrested for indecent exposure”!!!
This issue certainly leaves something to be desired (I think it’s awesomely funny as hell though), but it has the most terrifying cover of any Superman comic book, brilliantly drawn by The Killing Joke’s Brian Bolland!! It’s funny how such a creepy cover could contain such a ridiculous comic adventure beneath. One thing is for sure, Bolland doesn’t fuck around when he draws comic book covers-it’s one of my personal faves!
I watched this a couple weeks ago for the first time and it scared the shit out of me! It’s a 3 minute short film called Mama, directed by Andy Muschietti and soon to be a feature length film produced by none other than Guillermo Del Toro set for release in 2013.
It’s a freaky little clip that is sure to raise the hairs on you neck-it’s actually kinda of cool to watch for the first time because you really just have no idea what the fuck is going on check it!
Now that you have seen the clip here’s the synopsis for the feature film via Shocktillyoudrop.com:
“Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.
The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their Uncle Lucas and his girlfriend, Annabel, have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home.
As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house. Are the sisters experiencing traumatic stress, or is a ghost coming to visit them? How did the broken girls survive those years all by themselves? As she answers these disturbing questions, the new mother will find that the whispers she hears at bedtime are coming from the lips of a deadly presence.”
I will be there in theaters for this one without a doubt!