Tagged: shout! factory
RACE WITH THE DEVIL: The Perfect 1970s Satanic Road Trip!
You just gotta love a solid road trip flick and one of the best ones around is easily RACE WITH THE DEVIL. The 1975 horror action thriller hybrid that pits an RV against a wicked satanic cult! I’d say as far as 70s action horror films go this one is a huge home run, with a excellent cast of characters played by Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Loretta Swit (Hot Lips from M.A.S.H.) and Lara Parker. Road trip flicks just simply don’t get any better than this!
One thing I’ve always been a big fan of is a damn good road trip film and one with a giant ass RV is even better. Now add in an evil Satanic cult for the icing on the cake as well as some grade A car chases and we’ve got a bonafide cult (no pun intended) classic. Roger (Peter Fonda), along with his good buddy Frank (Warren Oates) are two hot shot motocross dudes who’re pumped to head out onto the open road with their wives Lara Parker (Alice) & Loretta Swit (Kelly) in their huge RV for some relaxation, drinkin’ and of course some motorbikin’!
Headed from San Antonio to the boonies of Texas, they stop off for the evening at a remote campsite. All seems fine when Roger & Frank decide to get wasted and hang outside under the moonlight to shoot the shit. All is not quiet though. They spot a Satanic cult across the river and witness a murderous ritual. They’re caught watching the Satanists devious ritual triggering a vicious game of cat and mouse on the highways and small towns of Texas. Roger, Frank, Alice and Kelly are on the run from a wicked cult who’s membership extends farther than they could ever imagine.
‘Race with the Devil’, directed by Jack Starrett, mostly know as a TV director, really hits all the right beats here. A sweet cast of likable characters are the perfect crew to root for making this easily one of the best road trip horror thrillers out there. Obviously the RV makes for the perfect cozy setting for a rad road adventure, and this thing is seriously decked out.
There’s so much to enjoy here as well for horror fans, the cult is creepy and relentless in a time where people couldn’t just pull out their phones for GPS or call the cops at any moment. In the 70s you had to have your wits and genuine ingenuity to escape an evil cult in hot pursuit. There’s not a dull moment here either, ‘Race with the Devil’ moves at a brisk pace and keeps you on the very edge of your seat until it’s final moments. It features cool locales, campsites, dive bars, trailer parks all host the intrigue, dread and even a few laughs along the way.
As soon as you settle back down to safety, something rears it’s head to remind you nothing can be trusted on the backwoods roads and our gang is in it for the long haul. It’s low on blood & gore but bursting with thrills, chills and some fucking great action sequences, proving you don’t always need a high body count to deliver a well crafted horror film. The 1970s were an awesome era for film, the fashion and the gritty realism make a movie like ‘Race with the Devil’ even more potent now in a sea of cheap looking modern bloated CG conveyer belt film making. It doesn’t get much better than THIS. There’s also a cool double feature blu ray from Shout Factory of it.
VHS Verdict: Corey Feldman’s Forgotten Survival Gem – Edge of Honor!
Being a big fan of classic Corey Feldman films I was quite surprised to stumble across a movie (I’d never heard of before) from 1991 which in my opinion is a bonafide forgotten Feldman classic! Yes, ‘Edge of Honor’ is a sweet survivalist thriller set in the Pacific Northwest that not only features Corey Feldman but also one of my late 1980’s mega crushes, Meredith Salenger too. Awwww yeah!
The beauty from ‘Dream a Little Dream’ and also the star of another totally forgotten gem of a horror film I love from 1988: ‘The Kiss’ (watch it THIS Halloween season!). Oh and it also features another sort of unfamiliar, yet familiar face: Don Swazye, lesser known brother of superstar Patrick Swayze! Director Michael Spence crafts a special coming of age action thriller that more people need to watch! Here’s Don as a weird backwoods criminal who’s dead set on hunting down a few kids.
Feldman stars as a boy scout, joined by two of his rascally peers exploring the deep wilderness together, they run into problems when they stumble across a cache of weapons. Of course things get dangerous when the criminals come to collect the goods and Corey & co have taken them elsewhere in the forest. Meanwhile, Meredith encounters her own problems with one of the backwoods criminal gang members who terrorizes her family and sends her on her own path of vengeance. Edge of Honor brings the thrills, Don Swazye plays a great unhinged villain and there’s another wild evil leader dude who’s got a retractable blade attached to his wrist on their trail. Gotta love that!
All bets are off here too as things oftentimes get pretty damn dark and dire pushing the stakes high. Boy Scouts of all ages join the fold for the adventure, and many of them won’t survive the night. The danger is real and Corey, Meredith and the scouts have to use their keen survival skills to try to eliminate the enemy and rise above the natural dangers of the dark thick woods of Washington. Luckily this movie has a totally charming cast of characters you can really care about as well as root for and villains who’re actually pretty legitimately terrifying in that cheezy 80s sort of way. It excels as well from its stunning filming locations set in the Pacific Northwest, the perfect backdrop for a wild backwoods adventure/showdown. Rambo eat your heart out!
It’s classic “Amblin kids/teens in danger” style story as well (that’s again quite popular today) and Corey legitimizes it all with his presence alone. The movie does go dark places, the action sequences are top notch as well, having an R rating sets it above your average teen adventure flick from the era. It’s got some real bite!
If you ever wanted to see a gang of Boy Scouts concoct an “Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator” type of plan of action against enemy dickheads, this movie will definitely tickle your fancy. The comraderie on screen is a true delight too behold, my only real gripe with it all was I’d hoped for a little bit more of Meredith Salenger in the film. However when she does show up she’s ready to throw down, proving herself to be no damsel on distress. This one’s definitely a lost gem and more fans of Corey most def need to know about it! He proves again why he’s such a beloved charismatic actor, especially from this particularly special era of movie making. It’s also odd because though the movie was released in 1991 Corey looks to be about only 14-15 years old here making me wonder if this was maybe filmed in 80s? He really sells the part and gives the movie an extra “edge” (no pun intended) as well as his younger scout co-stars.
I had the pleasure of viewing this on a projector, pumped through the stereo with a gang of eighties movie fanatics who’d ALL never seen it before. We teamed it up with 1990’s ‘The Prayer of the Roller Boys’ with Corey Haim, another movie I’ll be touching upon here soon. It was the perfect double feature! Edge of Honor is in desperate need of a special edition blu ray release, it’s got all the right moves & ingredients of a true cult classic and deserves a cult of its own in 2022. Check it out and go back to the basics of a campy but compelling form of storytelling sorely missed in modern day movie making….
Hunks, Babes & Ass Kickin’ in Prison: 1990’s CAGED FURY on MOVIE MELT!!
Are you ready for ass kickin’ HUNKS, sexy BABES, Prison Drama, M. Night Shyamalan style twists and Erik Estrada’s incredible on camera booger? Well then look no further because we just showcased 1990’s CAGED FURY on the latest episode of MOVIE MELT!
Yes we decide to get deep into the corrupt prison system of Caged Fury as we follow a gang of women wrongfully locked up against their will and tormented by a bizarre team of villainous sex crazed prison guards.
Beware when going to LA looking for fame & fortune cuz what you just might end up with is a case of Caged Fury! Don’t fret though, you might also end up meeting Eric Estrada and his crazy ass martial arts master, best friend Richie Barathy for some romance, bar hoppin’ and a hefty dose of ASS kicking!
We get down to the nitty gritty details of this Intense action adventure film filled to the brim with twists and turns. We also give you some cool suggestions of movies you might want to check out if you dig stuff like Caged Fury as well as a “battle of the movie bands” competition! Check it all out and let your brain fill with more useless cinematic junk than you imagined humanly possible! LISTEN HERE TO THE MOVIE MELT PODCAST!
Cult Flicks in DESPERATE Need of a Blu Ray: Crazy 80s Australian Gem ‘FORTRESS’!!
I’m back again continuing the second installment of nearly forgotten cult gems that desperately need a fancy blu ray release! Here’s one from 1985 that’s definitely ripe for the picking, a movie that I’ve owned on VHS for quite some time now that’s shockingly underrated and underseen by most cult classic cinemaniacs!
‘Fortress’ was released on HBO back in 1985 and later in 86′ it hit theaters in Australia where the movie was produced. It tells the simple story of a teacher (Rachel Ward) who’s tiny countryside shoolhouse comes under attack by shotgun wielding, masked psychos hell bent on taking her and the children captive, hiding them in a cave in the Australian outback.
All goes as planned until the seemingly mild mannered teacher decides to take matters into her own hands. The tension & level of suspense are through the damn roof as it becomes abundantly clear that their captors are no push overs and aren’t afraid to pull the trigger. We’re treated to plenty of action, suspense, some truly inspiring outback locales, creepy masked bad guys (one who dons a Santa Claus mask) and a bit of a darker Amblin “kids in danger” / coming of age style shocker here as well. It becomes an epic tale of cat & mouse survival where no one is safe and its anyone’s guess who’s going to bite the bullet.
Most notably, right around the third act the movie goes pretty off the rails when the teacher and her students become a major force to be reckoned with. Almost transforming into bloodthirsty “Lord of the Flies” territory in the shocking action packed, blood soaked finale. It’s got some excellent twists and turns that are likely to satisfy both fans of 80s action as well as horror.
The shocking end scene becomes even more perplexing and unforgettable cementing this firmly on the forgotten list of cult gems. It’s a real treat how dark this one goes. Trust me if you’re a fan of weird 80’s horror/thriller/action hybrid flicks then this one will not disappoint! There was a DVD release of this movie a while back that’s out of print now, this makes the need for Fortress to receive a special edition blu ray even more necessary. Plus with fan favorite Rachel Ward (The Final Terror/Night School/Against All Odds) as the film’s trusty heroine you get an added edge of star power.
Fortress packs a powerful punch and in many cases leaves you stunned and shocked by the roll of the credits. It’s a well executed unpredictable
Ozploitation film that more genre fans need to check out, just waiting to be someone’s new favorite cult classic!
Cult Flicks In Desperate Need of a Blu Ray: 1988’s ‘WATCHERS’!
I’ve been looking at my VHS tapes lately and have been compiling a list of some of my favorite cult horror flicks that for some god forsaken reason have still gone without an official fancy new blu ray release! One of the first movies that comes to mind is one of my all time favorite underrated gems of the late 80s, featuring Corey Haim in the lead role in this nostalgic, yet largely underseen creature feature ‘Watchers’ directed by Jon Hess (Alligator II).
I definitely consider this to be “prime” Cory Haim and quite frankly the perfect addition to a double feature with ‘The Lost Boys’. In some ways it almost feels like an extension of Haim’s character “Sam Emerson” in The Lost Boys. He’s got his rad eighties fashion, comedic licks and hair dialed up to an 11 and really is perfectly in line with the tone of The Lost Boys. In my opinion at least, it’s a perfect campy 80s creature feature/coming of age adventure featuring teen heart throb Haim on the run with with a canine who possesses human intelligence thats escaped from a secret nearby research facility. If you’re a fan of dogs in leading roles in horror movies this is definitely a gem!
What are they on the run from? Well, Michael Ironside and a savage mutant beast dead set on reuniting with the dog and literally destroying anything in its path of course! To put this in a nutshell, this flick is the epitome of what a series like Stranger Things is trying to desperately replicate. The Watchers is the real deal & it’s naturally got the authentic 80s “kids in danger” charm down perfectly to a T. Like an R-rated Amblin production.
I actually also really dig the special effects on display here, there’s some cool gore and also a pretty sweet realistic, yet slightly stupid looking savage hairy monster! I really don’t mean that to be a negative either, I like the monster, he just looks kinda like a moron!
A very realistic stupid looking monster, hey I’ll take that any day of the damn week! This movie was based on a Dean Koontz novel and spawned several sequels. My second favorite of them is 1998’s ‘Watchers Reborn’ the 4th installment which features Mark Hamill in the leading role. I’d love to see all of the sequels get a Blu-ray release as well and hoping that someone like Vinegar Syndrome or Shout Factory can grab this and give it some new gas in it’s tank.
It was released on VHS and also an out of print combo DVD with the sequel that features “Beastmaster” Mark Singer included which is very hard to find now. So all kick ass blu ray labels out there take notice, The Watchers is the perfect movie to get into the grimy hands of some hungry horror hounds and ripe for the picken!
A RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT: Is Bill Burr Secretly Michael Moriarty’s SON?!
I have a new favorite vampire flick: Return to Salem’s Lot! It’s surely no secret that Larry Cohen has made some amazing movies, ‘The Stuff’, ‘Q The Winged Serpent’, ‘God Told Me Too’ & ‘It’s Alive’ are considered among his best. However, recently I viewed his 1990 totally underrated & under-seen gem ‘The Ambulance’. It luckily inspired me to go back to check out some of his movies I might have missed out on and the sequel to ‘Salem’s Lot’ from 1987 is in my opinion is one of the best vampire movies of that decade! What took me so long to finally see it?! The only thing I can think of is that is that I’d watched the Tobe Hooper ‘Salem’s Lot’ Mini series from ’79 and found it good but also a bit slow moving. I simply figured for so long long that the sequel was yet just another mediocre TV mini series, well that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
So yet again Larry Cohen is at the top of his game in an incredibly colorful tale of ravenous small town bloodsuckers, jam packed with witty dialog, sweet 1980s special effects and of course some totally memorable heroes to cheer for as well as vampirous villains to hate! Michael Moriarty like in The Stuff, leads the cast, and after watching both of these movies basically back-to-back I came to a startling conclusion. Is it possible Michael Moriarty Is actually Bill Burr’s dad?!
The similarities are stunning! Am I the only person who’s ever thought of this? They look like father and son to me & even speak and sound like the blood relatives! Throughout the movie I couldn’t help but picture Burr in the role speaking all of the lines, in fact, even though I’m normally against remakes, if they ever do one I would love to see Burr in the role.
Hey next time YOU watch either The Stuff or Return to Salem’s Lot, make sure to Keep this in mind and you tell me if I’m crazy. I think the similarities are at the very least quite hilarious.
OK so now that I got that off my chest, I wanna at least mention how awesome the foul mouthed teen son played by Ricky Addison was, only to be rivaled by the potty mouthed pre-teen kid in the 1989 wildly unseen gem ‘The Laughing Dead’! He’s also got some great Corey Haim/Don Johnson-esque “Miami Vice” style as well, this kid is quite the spectacle I’d say.
But that’s not all, the movie’s secret weapon is the old but surprisingly spry, Jewish, Nazi hunter played by Samuel Fuller. He joins the gang, setting his sights on the wicked undead inhabitants of Salem’s Lot! He’s a cool classic horror hero that quite frankly needs a lot more love and that’s one thing Cohen really excels at is bringing memorable characters to the big screen.
Yes there is plenty to love here for eighties horror fanatics, A wildly unpredictable albeit ridiculous plot, a sweet spooky setting and some awesome vamps! Don’t believe me check this dude out!
The kind of vampires who don’t just sport the fake teeth, nope we get some bonafide monster vamps with animatronic faces to amp up the mayhem. I’m not sure what took me so long to finally check this out but I’m glad I did as it’s now become one of my favorites standing above most vampire movies of the 1980s. But most impressively featuring Bill Burr’s father?! Hey you never know right? I got it on a sweet blu ray via Shout Factory that looks beautifully bloody!
The Greatest Animated Movies of All Time: 1982’s The Plague Dogs!
I finally checked out an animated movie I’ve been curious about for years! ‘The Plague Dogs’ from 1982 is from the same team who brought us ‘Watership Down’ so if you’re familiar with that you know right off the bat that you’re in for something quite special. Like Watership down The Plague Dogs is hardly a children’s movie, it deals with some pretty damn heavy stuff. We the follow two dogs Snitter (John Hurt) & Rowf (Christopher Benjamin) who’re caged in a lab where they’re continuously abused by scientists for testing purposes.
However one day, one of the “white coats” (as the dog’s call the doctors) accidentally leaves Snitter’s cage door ajar and both him and Rowf escape to the open countryside. In the wild they struggle to find food and shelter and find help from a mischevious fox named the Tod (James Bolam). The three of them go on an epic journey. where the two dogs long to find a new kind family to take them in, but once the Government tell the locals that the two of them are infected with the bubonic plague, it becomes a race for survival as true danger lurks around every corner.
The Plague Dogs goes in some shockingly dark directions, some sequences so surprising I’d paused the movie to double check the rating. Much of it’s admittedly depressing and bleak but done so beautifully with it’s animation and painted backdrops that’s it’s really worth the effort. It’s the morning after and the movie still weighs heavily in my mind so much so that I’d really rank this in the top 10 best animated features I’ve seen. There’s so much heart in it’s characters and by mid point in the movie there’s nothing more I’d wanted than to see these characters get a happy ending. Be warned though, this one doesn’t play out like a Disney movie of the 80’s, no one remains safe here and some of the directions it goes in will literally have you on the edge of your seat. At least it did for me. All that being said I’d wondered who they made this movie for back in the early 1980s, as most kids seeing it might be fully scarred after viewing. I suppose ‘Watership Down’ follows this same formula and has a similar reputation. I’m surprised it took me this long to finally view as it’s clearly in a league of it’s own, one that nearly had me in tears several times, unlike anything I’ve seen in recent years. Continue reading
Forgotten Movie Gems: 80’s High School Zombie Bullies Rule in ‘Night Life’!
Been a movie watchin’ fiend lately & luckily most of the flicks, most of which I’d call largely forgotten cinema, have been surprisingly damn good! So listen up I’m gonna throw a bunch of short reviews for some films that are worth the trouble to track down if like me you’re looking for some lost gems! Let’s get on with this shit today we’ve got some great what I like to coin ‘John Hughes Horror’ in…
Night Life (1989)
First up let it be known this cool ass little movie was never officially released on dvd so it’s a tuff one to track down. You can hunt down a copy on vhs or like I did buy a bootleg copy of it on dvd from Ioffer.com, a great site for stuff like this. Anyway I wanna start off saying that this movie has Scott Grimes, that red headed kid from Critters 1&2 so it instantly had me there as I love those two movies. It’s essentially an 80’s teen high school bully movie with zombies. Scott Grimes or “Archie” in the movie, who channels a bit of Michael J. Fox, works at a mortuary for his jerky uncle (John Astin) and is bullied by four assholes (two preppy jock-y couples) from his school. Turns out he’s totally infatuated with one of the girls and the bullies quickly devise a plan to set him up on a “date” that ultimately destroys him teenage life. He’s also got an older lady pal, a cute local mechanic that he hangs out with all the time that he’s also crushed out on, who’s clearly put him in the friend zone. Ahh to be a teenager again…
Well one day those same four prepster bullies meet their demise in a horrible car crash, and of course Archie has to take them back to the mortuary. It seems though he’s in high school he accompanies the police to crimes scenes and is oddly in charge of the “dirty work” of dealing with the dead, I guess that shit flew back in the 80’s huh? Only problem is the four assholes become zombies when a bolt of lightning strikes the roof of the mortuary, something clearly foreshadowed earlier when a dead frog’s legs twitch when given an electrical charge by his science teacher. The nice thing here is these Zombies aren’t your mindless walkers, they’re more ruthless, cunning & have one clear driving their every move: to turn Archie into mince meat!! This begins a totally outrageous game of cat and mouse that plays out like a great extended episode of Tales From The Crypt in the best way.
The movie’s got a light hearted feel to it but isn’t afraid to get down and dirty when it needs to either. The zombie bullies use their newly acquired blood lust to carry out some pretty inventive on screen kills too. This may not be a traditional zombie apocalypse flick, but it’s one of the most unique and who needs more of the apocalypse anyway. Even in the 80’s that shit was overdone. Even way back in 89′ Tony Timpone of Fangoria praised it “the most original, off-beat & entertaining zombie films in years, a must see!”. I gotta agree it’s a ton of fun, has great stunts, cool fx, gore, rad looking zombies, sets & characters. Pretty much everything I love about the 80’s all wrapped into one. This one deserves an official release it’s definitely a lost gem. I’m pretty floored at how this movie doesn’t have more love these days, hopefully someone will clean it up and give it a proper release if you’re a fan of 80’s horror and those John Hughs-esque flick of that era you’ll find a lot here to love!! One last interesting tidbit here is that director David Acomba was one the two directors responsible for the infamously bad 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special!! But hey don’t hold that against him!!
‘Shout! Factory’ Rules My 80’s VHS Nostalgia!!
There are movies way back from when I was a kid that I never thought would see the light of day on dvd. I’ve fond memories of going to the video store (back in the 1980’s when everything was VHS or Beta!) on the weekend and picking out movies with my friends on our parents video store cards. Mostly what I remember most are the amazing VHS box cover art from the 1980’s and how excited I was to get back home and watch the movies! We had to be sneaky around our parents because a lot of these movies they would’ve never allowed us to watch. It’s funny to, looking back because most of these movies we were sneaking around with were incredibly cheezy horror, action or sci-fi flicks that most people today think are nothing more than laughable cinema. To us though that shit was fully legit!
So years have passed and many of those flicks have been forgotten right? WRONG!! Thanks to Shout! Factory we are getting a LOT of those classic movies released now on DVD! I recently had some extra money to blow and found two movies I’d thought would remain on VHS only forever. However not only did they have them both on DVD but they also came with three other movies each that I have never seen before, but fondly remember their cover art from back in the 1980’s!! First up is one of my faves as kid, The Eliminators!
This movie was featured a couple times at our Bad Movie Nights we have here in Pdx and it delivers the goods above and beyond every damn time! If you are looking for the ultimate movie to get wasted with your friends and laugh (and love at the same time) this is IT!
The DVD of this one also includes three other movies which I have never seen, “Arena” from 1989, America 3000 from 1986 & The Time Guardian from 1989. So for a mere $9.99 you’ve got quite an exciting quadruple feature!!
Second I found that they released “The Dungeonmaster” from 1985 which was also one of my all time favorite movies as a kid. Being eleven years old and seeing this one for the first time back then was a real treat. The movie is downright ridiculous but it’s jammed to the brim with stop motion monsters, puppets, animatronics, crazy action, adventure, Richard Moll in a cloak & a rock and roll battle against the heavy metal band W.A.S.P.!
This one should really be viewed as a double feature with Eliminators but the DVD also features 3 other flicks two of which I have never seen before! “Cellar Dweller” from 1988 which is a pretty cool little monster flick, “Catacombs” and “Contamination 7” from 1993. So if you love those old video store movies of the 1980’s as much as I do but don’t have a VHS player or access to these on video do yourself a favor and spend some time exploring the Shout! Factory website!