You ever have those movies that sit in your Netflix dvd Queue forever and then after years FINALLY arrive?! First off yeah I still got a dvd account with Netflix, the selection is totally way better and I also have the streaming too-so there. Anyway, get over it people, my point is I’ve got like 200 movies in that damn thing and most of em’ I probably will never get the time to check out. Surprisingly a movie snuck it’s way into the mix, ahh yes….’Superstition’ from 1982. I was pretty happy when it came in the mail, I’m always down for a good 80’s flick but I’ve been under the assumption these days that if I haven’t heard about a movie by now then it probably isn’t anything to write home about. Yep, I watch way too many movies, a lot of clunkers but every now and again I see something pretty damn cool that takes me by surprise.
‘Superstition’ (AKA “The Witch”) is one of those movies, from the opening scene it’s clear that you’re in for a bit of a treat. It’s essentially a haunted house movie, with some creepy witch business cleverly thrown in. The opening sequence has a some numb nut teenagers making out near a creepy old house in the woods, their sexy times get cut short by some meddling pranksters who give them a scare with some creepy props they’ve fastened in the trees above. After the two lovebirds flee for safety of course the pranksters can’t resist going into the house to fuck around. What follows are some impressive over the top gory kills, one of them gets thrown up into the ceiling, then winds up decapitated with his head in a microwave oven & eventually we get to see it explode. The other kid witnesses this and ends up being severed in half by a closing window. This opening sets the stage for a pretty entertaining little horror story. We have a bunch of religious nonsense as our main character is a priest who decides to fix up the property which belongs to the church readying it for a family to move into. Weird shit goes down almost instantly but you guessed it, the show goes on with little worry from anyone!
This one is definitely worth a watch, it’s only about 80 minutes long too, which I love, because one thing I’ve been noticing is there are a lot of movies from the 1980’s that would be fucking fantastic if you just cut 20 minutes out of their run time. Superstition succeeds in bringing some cool ass scenarios to life while trimming all the usual boring 80’s B.S. plots that go nowhere out of the mix. It’s a lean mean super solid retro haunted house movie, with some cool old school 17th century possessed witch flashbacks neatly inserted to give you the scoop on just what the hells going on. It’s got a ton of ridiculous characters in the frenzy of things as well with some comedic moments sprinkled in for good measure. I also think it’s got a pretty rock solid finale where the priest runs around with a magic cross he uses to ward off evil and blast open doors. Anyway I could go on but hey if you’re looking for a good gory 80’s haunted house movie look no further Superstition has got the goods!
I finally hooked myself up with a copy of ‘Mosquito’ from 1994 and was quite pleased to find it was worth the effort tracking down. I’d been curious about this movie for a long time, I actually have owned a ‘region 2’ dvd for years but never could get it to play on any player. So recently I found a proper American copy of the movie, which boasts a couple interesting people in major roles. Ron Asheton (R.I.P.), legendary guitarist for The Stooges as a heroic but bumbling park ranger & Gunnar Hansen (R.I.P.), the original Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a tuff guy military dude. What a random combo huh? That alone was enough to peak my interest.
Being that this movie was released in 1994 I was always a bit skeptical on whether this one would rely on some horrendously shoddy amateur CGI for it’s pesky monster insects. Boy was I wrong, Mosquito ended up being a comically inspiring practical effects creature feature that could have easily been released in 1984. It feels like it’s an 80’s flick in every way imaginable. We get some nifty fx here done by way of puppetry, animatronics, cartoons and full on stop motion animation. Talk about utiltilizing all aspects of the fx spectrum, Mosquito goes the distance or at least tries it’s hardest with the budget it had. That’s not to say the special effects are amazing, quite the contrary, however the movie has some serious charm for the effort it goes to try an make this as epic as possible. This is clearly because the film’s director Gary Jones has been an fx who’s worked on films like Evil Dead II & Army of Darkness. There’s also cool RV crash and a real exploding house too. So yeah they were trying to cover their bases here on the action.
The plot is your basic ‘ufo crashes near a small town and pesky monsters attack the locals’ and that’s a good thing because it’s trying it’s best to be on par with movies like Critters or The Blob. It’s pretty heavy on comedy but at the same time really tries it’s damnedest to be fully bad ass. I really dig Gunnar Hansen in this movie too, he’s a total asset and they make sure to give you exactly what you want from him. A wise choice to give Gunnar his trusty signature chainsaw to do battle with the blood sucking beasts. There’s a line where he comes busting out with his chainsaw and says something like “Man, I haven’t handled one of these babies in 20 years”.
As Hansen never reprised his Leatherface role in a sequel you might be able to say perhaps the man behind the mask made good and helped fight off some killer mosquitos 20 years later! Hey maybe this is cannon in the Texas Chainsaw universe?! The further adventures of Leatherface…Anyway This is a super fun, totally cheezy 90’s monster movie if you are looking for a good party movie ‘Mosquito’ delivers the goods and then some!
‘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!
Halloween is right around the corner come October & you’ll have every right to watch as many horror movies as you want any damn night you want! So naturally being a huge horror hound myself I’m always on the hunt for some quality flicks to look forward to. So today I’ll give you a quick list of six movies (One short and five features) I think have a shot at delivering the goods in the horror department! I’m usually a tough cookie to please so hopefully my predictions will pan out here and we’ll soon be watching five cool horror movies….here goes nothing!
I’m going to start this little list off with an excellent trailer for an intriguing looking short horror film about a hair stylist with some seemingly sinister plans of her very own. I dig this idea for a horror story as I can’t really think of anything quite like it off the top of my head.
After discovering the trailer online by chance I checked out some more of the director, Jill Gevargizian’s short films and they pack an incredibly healthy dose of creep out horror in such small packages, considering most of them are under ten minutes in length . Here’s the trailer for The Stylist:
Beyond The Gates
Here’s another movie with a super duper unique story that I’m super excited about. Beyond the Gates follows a two brothers who reunite after their father’s passing at his old video store. Surrounded by a tons of video tapes they discover an old VHS horror board game and decide to check it out one evening. Of course this is no ordinary board game it’s got some serious evil attached to it.
Just the premise of this gets me excited, I’m a big fan of old VHS and as a kid spent a ton of time at the video store wandering through the horror section. I also recently acquired the old VHS board game “Nightmare” from 1990 so I feel like this movie really hits a sweet spot. The trailer looks great and plus we get Barbara Crampton as the spooky VHS gamemaster! Plus I totally dig the poster so sign me up!
I checked out the ‘The Mind’s Eye’ the latest feature film from up and coming horror director Joe Begos last night and it was well worth the seven bucks spent on Googleplay for the rental. As I mentioned in a recent post it’s been described as the perfect sequel to Cronenberg’s classic “Scanners”. I’d say that’s a great description of what you’re in store for with The Mind’s Eye. The movie set in 1990 certainly feels like it was indeed made back then and set in the same Scanners universe. It’s a mean, gritty little movie that’s packed with exploding heads and gore a plenty. There’s no comedy mixed in either which is nice when a director is taking some chances delivering a no B.S. action movie on a low budget.
It follows two people on the run from a sinister government organization who’re hellbent on weaponizing the their telekinetic powers. The movie’s over the top villain, a normal man who’s figured out how to harvest their powers for his own however is hot on their trail along with a gang of goons ready to be torn to pieces. It’s a simple plot and maybe not the most original concept as the movie clearly borrows from ‘Firestarter’ & Brian De Palma’s ‘The Fury’ but you know what? That’s totally ok-because ‘Stranger Things’ was amazing and really a just a full on rip off of similar movies as well. We’ve also got Graham Skipper back in the lead who previously starred in Bego’s first flick ‘Almost Human’ along with Larry Fessenden in the role of his father. I never tire of seeing Larry show up in my horror movies, he’s a great addition to this one as well though his role is quite brief.
The cool thing about this movie is that it really does feel like it’s been plucked from the late 80’s. Begos uses his effects wisely and nothing that he does feels like it would have appeared in a movie after 1990. You won’t get any CG here everything is done by way of practical effects making everything feel way more organic and real world. While not being a better movie than Scanners (But better than it’s many sequels) it certainly feels like a lost sci-fi/horror movie from the era, one that you might be hunting down today for a rare vhs copy of.
As cool as all this is there are points in the movie where you’re hoping for the psycho-kinetic battles to go a bit farther than they did. Begos doesn’t give you much new to chew on here and I was hoping a few times for things to get a bit more batshit crazy towards the end. Perhaps if Begos was given a bigger budget he’d have been able to expand on the genre rather than keep it evenly at bay. Either way if you come in it not expecting anything more than a cool ass movie that feel like it was made back in 1990 you won’t be disappointed. I’ve a feeling we’ll be seeing Joe Begos rise to the top of the horror genre in the next few years, I’ll definitely be there again for his next movie.
I love digging up these old VHS boxes as so many of them feature iconic artwork that’s never left my mind from way back in the days of the video store experience of the 80’s. So today I’m featuring a pretty unknown jem of a movie from 1985 by Independence Day director Roland Emmerich.
This one is a great movie, a total 80’s Amblin, Speilberg rip off but a ton of fun. It borrows heavily from movies like E.T., Poltergeist and Close Encounters. It was also known as ‘Joey’ and features a villainous ventriloquist doll so yeah there’s that too! Anyway I’ve always totally dug the cover art from when I was a kid and it totally represents the movie as well. You know most more obscure 80’s flicks feature some totally wicked cover art but then the movie just doesn’t deliver one tenth of that awesomeness. Making Contact has a great cover and is actually a pretty cool little flick too!
This cool ass box art was done by Barry E. Jackson, if you want the full scoop on him and some of the other totally epic cover check out this link from one of my favorite blogs Camera Viscera!!
Ok so check this out, here’s two of my favorite movie covers /posters for two of the coolest 80’s movies ever! Dreamscape and A Nightmare on Elm Street, now I know that probably everyone is very familiar with the artwork of both of these BUT I found out recently something when I was trying to figure out if these two movies shared the same cover artist. They do not but they share something else quite sinister I found out. It turns out that the artwork of a Nightmare on Elm Street features a familiar face from the Dreamscape movie universe- OR perhaps it’s the other way around?! If you look closely first at the Dreamscape art done by Drew Struzan take note of the snake creature above the title, who makes several appearances in the movie:
Ok now let’s take a look at the equally incredible artwork by Matthew Peak who did the artwork first five Elm Street flicks. Look closely above the blade of the pinky finger on the right, do you see it? It’s the snake creature from Dreamscape…..
Here’s it blown up a bit…
Both of these movies came out in 1984 and as I did more research on it it was indeed added by Matthew Peak as an homage and this could be proof that maybe just maybe Dreamscape and A Nightmare on Elmstreet are shared universes- Now if this took place today I’m certain you’d likely see Dennis Quaid in an Elm Street sequel where enters the dreams of Freddy’s victims and takes on Mr. Krueger himself! Damn what a missed opportunity-how awesome would that have been?!!!