Tagged: top 10

VHS Verdict: 1988’s Bizarre Horror Fantasy ‘Magic of the Universe’!

1988’s ‘Magic of the Universe’ (Originally released as ‘Salamamgkero’ in 1986) is one HELL of a bizarre horror adventure! Shot in the Philippines and chock full of dark creepy tropical locations, you surely get a lot more than you bargained for with an odd film that clearly must have had a pretty decent budget to work with. The plot itself is pretty sweet & simple, a talented circus magician named Jamir while doing his seemingly routine disappearing act to an eager crowd, accidentally makes his assistant/daughter disappear not only into thin air but from our reality entirely.

Perplexed, Jamir decides to search for answers, heads off in search of a creepy, mysterious shaman whom he’s heard rumor of residing deep in a nearby forest. The Shaman mixes him up a concoction of some sort from the severed head of a monkey (some serious ‘Temple of Doom’ tones here) and then ventures into a danger filled alternate dimension, to try and rescue his lover & kid sidekick who also go missing shortly after his daughter does. I’m guessing the monkey brain drink (some sort of DMT type concentration) opened some sort of portal, enabling Jamir to cross over. Once on the “other side” he discovers his loved one are captives of a powerful witch named “Mikula” who’s got a huge, sweaty pulsating head and commands a grotesque army of freakish animal people minions, swamp monsters and a plethora of gooey, gross things that go bump in the night.

The whole romp is a giant, cheezy ass fever dream, full of fog, colorful yet dark sets draped in blue & pink lighting and of course some unsettling puppet creatures. One in particular is “Globo”, a weird ass gremlin type puppet with a tv screen for a stomach. Globo’s even featured in the opening credits as “himself” as they decided to show every actor in their role, with their characters names in the opening credits of the movie, something you’d expect normally at the very end. There’s so much weird shit going on here once Jamir heads off into the alternate dimension that whatever story it’s supposedly trying to tell becomes utterly lost, making the whole thing seem even more dreamlike with every minute that passes. There’s even a weird ass party / dance scene with a full band that curiously resembles GWAR in all their monster glory. I guess I’d say this flick also brings to mind a more demented & confusing version of ‘Labyrinth’ and I mean that in the best way possible. Also at a lean running time of 84 minutes the pace rarely lags, there’s easily enough eye candy to go around here to keep horror fans guessing what oddities will present themselves next onscreen. It’s main villain, (the witch Mikula) is pretty damn entertaining too, I never got tired at looking at her fleshy bulbous head bubbling and come the end of the movie you get some great gooey, 80’s style neon action in the final battle.

If you’re a fan of weird ass cinema ‘Magic of the Universe’ definitely won’t disappoint, it’s tropical, humid nightmarish sets are worth the price of admission alone. Director Tata Esteban is fully ambitious here with his grand horror fantasy vision, perhaps not the most easy to comprehend but hey, this is a perfect movie to check out with a few too many drinks & a gang of trashy cinefiles on a Saturday nite! No one will need to pay too much attention to plot either! It’s available to watch on Youtube or you can also hunt down the dvd version of the movie on a horror double feature! I’m certain there’s a VHS copy of this one out there somewhere still but it’s probably a challenge to track down. I watched this one from my Netflix DVD service (yeah, I still do that! For movies like this!) Check it out if you’re feelin’ crazy..  

 

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VHS Verdict: ‘White Fire’ From 1984 is Totally WTF Bonkers!

‘White Fire’ from 1984 is one helluva bizarre movie, it’s not only filled with a ton of crazy ass action sequences but it’s also got a complete WTF plot going for it that you kinda just have to see to believe. ‘White Fire’ starts off with two siblings (Bo and Ingrid) who witness a gang of crazed soldiers sadistically murder their parents. There’s fully over the top action kicking into gear right from the very start including a bonkers attack on the kid’s dad with a flame thrower that you just gotta see to beleive. It’s one of those “rewind & watch it again” scenes as the stunt dude is completely bombarded with a flame blast with no head or face protection, and for an instant the guy is fully engulfed in flame. Anyway only the two kids manage to survive the bloodshed. Flash forward twenty years later… Bo and his beautiful sister are grown up & employed at a hi-tech diamond mineshaft operation located in the desert that looks straight out of a 1960’s sci fi flick. The inseparable pair soon stumble upon the discovery of a legendary supernaturally powered diamond, called the “White Fire.” Both are immediately pursued by a gang of evil villainous thugs who’re dead set on getting their grubby hands on the diamond  themselves. Check out this radical poster/box art for the flick:

Well once the pursuit starts, things get outta hand pretty quickly and we witness the bro and sis duo’s bizarrely epic kung fu skills & brother Bo even resorts to grabbing a chainsaw to fuck up a whole gang of goons on a dock. They’re a great team and soon we get to the real weird shit, lots of his sister Ingrid fully nude at a private swimming pool and Bo comes around afterward and rips his sisters towel off her refusing to give it back. They proceed to laugh about it while she’s completely exposed in front of her brother for far far to long. Ahhh that good old innocent brotherly love! Shit gets even weirder when his sister dies soon after while kung fu fighting a whole gang of villainous goons while still sporting her towel, that now refuses to  fall off.

Naturally Bo is super duper bummed out to find his sister has been murdered but the next day he runs into a random lady in a bar while greivin’ n’ drinkin’ whom he ends up approaching with an offer she just can’t refuse! 50 grand to get a face transplant from his dead sister and learn to imitate her! Naturally the woman goes for it, because for some reason I’m a bit confused about still, having his sister alive will help them get the diamond or some shit? Whatever, Bo naturally falls in love with the woman and when she gets the face transplant things get mega awkward!! Now she looks identical to his dead sister, but what’s he to do, he’s already madly in love with her! 

The rest of the movie’s a blast, iconic bad ass Fred Williamson shows up as a hired bounty hunter dude to raise some hell for the duo and there’s action a plenty to behold, even a dude who gets his crotch fully mangled by a table saw! There’s a surprising amount of gore here sprinkled throughout to compliment the bonkers plot that will leave you continuously scratching your head in confusion. White Fire’s got some rad locations too, most of it takes place in Turkey and it’s a treat to see the city of Istanbul in the 1980s. Directed by Jean-Marie Pallardy, who mainly directed porno flicks, ‘White Fire’ is definitely a party flick worth a watch with a gang of rowdy cinema fiends!

Universal Dork’s 2018 Radical Recommended Holiday Viewing!

We’re getting closer to the big day-yep Christmas will be soon upon us, from now until then though what’s out there worth a view on the ol’ tube? It can be tuff to find new things each year to check out, sometimes the usual traditional movies and specials need a break.

I mean you can only watch the ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ so many times right? That being said here’s a few ideas this year of some Christmas movies worth a spin from Universal Dork! Let’s get the holiday party started already!!

 

The Christmas Chronicles (2018) 

I checked out this new Christmas movie which you can stream on Netflix last night and thought it was actually a ton of fun. We’ve got Kurt Russell as slightly rough around the edges Santa, who’s sleigh gets into an accident when a brother and sister sneak aboard it while he’s out delivering presents. It’s a sweet little holiday movie with some decent comedy & fun adventure. Russell’s Santa teams up with the two kids and they try and help him save Christmas after he loses his gift sack in the sleigh crash. For new Holiday stuff this one was WAY better than what I was initially expecting.

 

Silent Partner (1978)

This is an interesting one that I just discovered this year while searching for forgotten holiday movies, a Canadian thriller set during Christmas. A mild mannered bank teller gets wind of a bank robbery plot ahead of time and steals the cash himself before the thieves arrive. When the psycho robber, who’s also a mall Santa realizes he’s been tricked, he hunts down the teller with a serious bone to pick to try and get the cash for himself. This one’s a forgotten Holiday gem of a thriller!

 

The Children (2008)

This one’s on my list for a revisit over the next week or so, I remembered thinking it was a pretty effective British holiday themed horror flick when I saw it back in 2008. Taking place during the Christmas season it follows two family’s who get together for a snow filled weekend of fun. Things take a turn when their children become psycho killers after contracting some sort of disease. Check it out if you’re looking for something truly scary this Christmas! 

 

Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo (1995)

Here’s one that’s a ton of fun, Frostbiter was filmed back in the late 80’s but wasn’t released until 1995 when Troma decided to finally get it out there to the public. It’s a snow packed, low budget, splatter filled tale that’s in the same arena as Evil Dead 2. It also stars Ron Asheton, famed guitar legend of The Stooges, has a bunch of cool puppets, bad ass stop motion monsters and takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, where “It’s a Wonderful Life” takes place. It’s got a pretty cool soundtrack as well and for a budget of ten thousand bucks this one is way more fun that it should be! Watch the FULL movie here… 

 

Life & Adventures of Santa Claus (1985)

Total forgotten Rankin Bass weirdness, this stop motion production looks like it could take place in the RB Rudolph universe however it’s somehow got more in common with The Lord of the Rings! A weird adventure that follows Santa’s early years as he hangs out with forest Wizards and battles orc like monsters who want to put the kibosh on his plans of toy making! One of my favorites, it’s a pretty bizarre Christmas production from Rankin Bass that many people haven’t heard of!  

 

Night of the Comet (1984)

It’s been sooo long since I’ve watched this one but the other day I’d remembered that ‘Night of the Comet’ is somewhat of a holiday movie, taking place around at the time of Christmas. This year it’s on the watch list. This cult classic features a group of survivors of a zombie attack triggered by a strange comet find themselves on the run from mad scientists as well. There’s a ton of Christmas references and it’s filled to the absolute brim with 1980’s goodness-give this a whirl this year too! 

The Top 10 Slashers who AREN’T Michael Myers, Freddy, Jason or Chucky!!!

Halloween is upon us all and everyone is diggin’ out their copies of Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play, Friday the 13th etc & storming theaters to see the brand new Halloween flick! Freddy, Michael, Jason, Chucky, Leatherface, Ghostface, It’s really no secret, these guys are some of the most iconic ‘Slashers’ to grace the silver screen, but what about the other lesser known, but still cult classic slasher villains that don’t seem to get much credit around the Halloween season for their paths of destruction?

Well, let’s take a look at 10 cool movie slashers that simply deserve more credit for their onscreen evil, mayhem and unforgettable creepy ass slasher fashion stylings!! I’ve gone deeper than say Candyman, Pinhead & Leprechaun, so this ain’t the normal gang, but these oddballs all deserve a place at the big bad boys & girls table! 

 

IRVING WALLACE from ‘Stage Fright’ (1987) 

Here’s one of my all time favorite Slashers, this weird ass maniac from Michele Soavi’s cult classic ‘Stage Fright’ has definitely got the bizarre looks and creepy skills to cause a jam packed night of mayhem! One of the weirdest looking slasher’s in cinema, wearing huge Owl mask may make it awkward when stalking people, but it’ll surely scare the shit out of each and every one of them! I highly recommend giving this one a watch as it totally delivers on all levels! This dude deserves more  slasher cred for sure!

 

 

 THE PROWLER (1981)

This slasher from the Prowler who we’ll just call “The Prowler” is a definite force to be reckoned with, dressed uniquely in some cool military duds from WW2, he’s formulated a good solid look for himself, because of course we know fashion sense for a memorable slasher is simply a must. This guy’s a crazed military veteran who’s out for the kill in a small California town and pulls out all sorts of nasty kills on his victims with his military skills. The movie itself is one of the best in sea of highly forgettable trashy, often boring sea of slasher movies, add in the gory FX wizardry of Tom Savini and you’re in for a real treat! 

 

 

MARY LOU from ‘Prom Night 2’ (1987)

Yep, I dig ‘Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou’ better than the first installment actually. It really doesn’t have much, if anything to do with the original at all and that’s fine by me. This one though does feature the supernatural killer “Mary Lou” a prom queen who in the 1950’s is burned alive on stage after being crowned by some jackass dudes. Later in the 80’s her spirit returns and she wreaks all sorts of mayhem upon the teens of her former high school. Mary Lou has a sort of “Freddy Kruger” type thing going on as she uses lots of wicked supernatural tricks to eliminate her prey! This one’s the best of the series and a total blast of a movie as well!

 

 

  MANIAC COP (1988)

Maniac Cop is indeed a supernatural psycho and should be right up there with Freddy, Michael and the rest for sure! He’s got a great iconic look too as his face is all mashed up and of course he wears the blue cop uniform which is even more frightening now in 2018. He’s also played by the late icon Robert Z’dar, who was an imposing presence even without the make up. Maniac Cop’s strong as fuck and wherever the dude goes complete mayhem follows! It spawned some awesome sequels as well and the first two movies even star the legend himself, Bruce Campbell!! 

 

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Stage Fright: A Perfect Ten 80’s Slasher Flick!

Any slasher movie with it’s deranged killer donning a huge weird ass feathery owl head mask deserves a watch right?! Yeah Italian horror movie ‘Stage Fright’ (aka Deliria, Aquarius) from 1987 is a prime example of how to perfectly execute a stunning slasher flick. I’m surprised I’d never seen this movie before, I probably need to delve deeper into the 80’s Italian horror, as aside from a lot of the cult classics I think I may be missing out on some cool shit, especially when it comes director Michele Soavi (Cemetery Man) who directed this creepy gem. It’s been a long time since seeing Cemetery Man and after viewing Stage Fright it’s clear I have to check it out again asap.

Stage Fright has got it all and then some, taking place in a spooky theater where the cast of play become trapped and hunted down by a mysterious madman donning a big feathery owl mask. It’s beautifully shot, ultra creepy and has a ton of great bloody action sequences. The old theater is the perfect setting for this mystery to unfold as well and there’s plenty of that to go around as the cast during the rehearsals soon discover a crazed lunatic has escaped a nearby mental ward and trapped them all inside for the night.

The atmosphere of Stage Fright at times has an mesmerizing dream like quality to it as well that adds a unique spin to the usual slasher fare. Add in the truly bizarre looking owl headed slasher and you’ve got one of the most unique looking antagonists of the genre. There are few that are as truly memorable looking as it’s crazy killer. This alone sets it in a category of it’s own. I mean check this dude out, it’s straight out of a nightmare.

There’s also a ton of cool chase sequences and impressive gore to behold here. This one’s not afraid to get nasty eitherand the final girl’s battle is beautifully filmed as well as action packed, especially when the battle moves high above the stage on the catwalks. The exceptional cinematography adds so much to this movie as well, an excellent scene beneath the stage where feathers float all though the air while the killer looms above is truly breathtaking and adds again a surreal element to the horror. Of course there’s also some neat twists and turns in the plot that keep this one a slice above most 80’s slashers and ramps up the the tension. If you’re a fan of 80’s horror and especially the slasher/giallo genre movies this ones about as good as it gets for those who love that neon 80’s era of film! 

 

VHS Verdict: 1991’s Nordic Creature Feature ‘The Runestone’!!

Here’s another pretty neat little creature feature from 1991 I’ve been wanting to see for a while now, well luckily I scored a cool VHS copy of the movie at thrift shop. As I’ve said before my favorite type of horror flick’s a monster movie and that’s exactly what this here is nothing more nothing less. Though released in ’91 it feels like a full on ’80’s movie, with tons of neon, cheezy dialogue and a big savage man in suit Bigfoot type of creature running around the city offing people. Yeah and it also features one of the bad guy henchmen from ‘Die Hard’, Alexander Godunov, who’s the heroic handsome Nordic godly clockmaker monster hunter.

Anyway we’ve got a bunch of fun plot points as a mystic runestone is found in a coal mine in Pennsylvania and transported to NYC, where we all know, the excitement always seems to happen. Soon the runestone displays it’s magic powers and an archeologist becomes possessed by an evil ancient Norse spirit. Of course the dude transforms into a crazed sasquatch called Fenrir that goes on killing spree throughout New York and ends up frequenting art exhibits where over the top yuppies seem to think he’s someone’s hip new art installment. Of course he gets pissed off and wreaks “havoc” in the art community. The creature actually looks kinda cool (some decent animatronics/make up) all things considered and that’s clearly the main draw here with this one. He’s got a sweet no BS attitude and does his best to fuck shit up as much as he can. Way to rep the monsters in the 90’s dude!

That being said, there’s relatively little gore splattered about and the movie spends probably an extra 20 minutes or so too long trying to create “compelling” character development. Most of the while I just was wondering what the goddamn cranky ass creature was doing? Let’s get back to what he’s up to cuz he’s likely pissed off and freaking people out somewhere in the city! I’d have also loved a bit more of the “Die Hard” dude as well, but sadly he’s not given as much screen time as he deserves until the finale, but damn if the guy doesn’t look like a bad ass when he shows up. I dig the final act as well as the characters face off against the creature briefly entering a different dimension. This one’s often confused with Julian Sands movie ‘Warlock’ from 1989 and feeling surprisingly similar at times it’s understandable why.

 There’s plenty of fun to be had here if you’re not expecting a helluva lot from ‘The Runestone’ and you dig low budget late 80’s early 90’s creature cheez. This one’s a prime example of an old school horror movie that if edited down to about 85 minutes would be a total crowd pleaser/cult fave. There’s a ton of total gems out there from the 80’s & 90’s that tried to fill their run time to a more “respectable length” adding too much filler, this one for example at 105 minutes does indeed have areas that drag somewhat, some day perhaps I’ll try and edit a few of these down. Either way there’s definitely some fun to be had regardless and it’s most definitely worth a watch if you’re down for some early 90’s monster business! 

VHS Verdict: ‘Raiders of Atlantis’ is Pure 80’s Action/Sci-Fi Bliss!

I recently stumbled upon a beautiful big box VHS version of the 1983 gem ‘Raiders of Atlantis’ and it’s easily one of the most entertaining 80’s action/sci-fi genre mash up’s I’ve ever seen. Even more interesting is that we’ve got cult director Ruggero Deodato, most well known for his extreme gore flick ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ at the helm. Well, while ‘Raiders’ doesn’t feature the offensive gross-out gore of ‘Holocaust’ it does have it’s fare share of unexpectedly crazy bloody good moments and then some to spare.

As for the plot, there’s not much to it, basically two hot shot war vets (Mike, who’s a slightly past his prime playboy and his buddy, recently converted to islam, Washington, who desperately wants people to call him Mohammed) and their crew head off by boat to investigate the strange suddenly rising continent of Atlantis that emerges from the depths of the ocean covered in a transparent dome. Well pretty much as soon as our crew of trusty adventurers set foot on Atlantis’ shore they discover a creepy, fully ravaged city with dead people scattered about, leading to a particularly excellently executed chilling scene involving a skipping record. Deodato immediately sets the stage for a full on genre sandwich that’s part action/sci-fi/horror & post apocalyptic adventure.

Of course none of this can really be taken too seriously as the movie opens with Washington & Mike displaying their innate ability to kick major ass and then some within the first few minutes. However the movie shifts gears when it’s revealed that the natives of Atlantis are actually psychotic punk rock post apocalyptic warriors who’re out to kill anyone and everything in sight. Their leader even wears a ridiculous see through plastic skull mask and they all drive around freaky jacked up killer cars and motorcycles like total maniacs. The rest of the movie is really one fucking awesome action sequence after another, ridiculous hi-octane shit that never slows. Continue reading