VHS Verdict: ‘The Johnsons’ is Early 90’s Oddball Dutch Horror at it’s Finest!
‘The Johnsons’ is a damn weird ass Dutch horror flick from 1992 that I’ve been curious about for years. Well to my surprise, while out combing the thrift shops, I came across this one on VHS and could’t wait to see what it was really all about. ‘The Johnsons’ first off has a really weird name for a horror movie, it sounds like it might be some sort of 80’s comedy, but alas, this one’s truly an oddity with it’s bizarre plot that I’m fairly certain might offend a some folks especially in the year 2018. It’s also got a reputation as one of the best Dutch horror films of all time. That being said, it should be noted that Holland hasn’t exactly pumped out a lot of horror movies through the years. So the competition ain’t exactly all that fierce!
The Johnson’s has one crazy story to tell, that’s for certain, we’ve basically got a 14 year old girl who was conceived from a test tube and her seven completely bald, weird ass brothers who break out of an insane asylum (where they’ve lived most their lives after they killed 16 kids when they were seven years old ) to hunt her down while out on a camping trip. Their intention isn’t to kill her but to supposedly impregnate her so she’ll give birth to some weird demonic fetus who’s destined to fully fuck up the Earth. Got that? Yeah it’s quite an odd premise but it’s actually a pretty damn interesting, well executed little tale and the imagery involving her mute bald psycho killer brothers when they’re children is actually worth the price of admission alone. The scenes of the kids smearing blood on the walls and sticking razor blades between their teeth (& that boink, boink, boink sound he makes with it) are quite chilling. It’s also cool to see a horror movie in the early 90’s with it’s main characters being a black professor who’s trying to solve the mystery along with a mother and daughter duo trying to escape the bad siblings. Continue reading
VHS Verdict 1991: ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ – Forgotten Monster Noir!
Up until last night I’d never even heard of the HBO movie ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ from 1991, but I was lucky enough to run across a VHS copy of this one recently. It immediately peaked my interest, the box had some quotes on it comparing it to ‘Ghostbusters’ & ‘Roger Rabbit’ with monsters instead of cartoons. Sign me up already! The movies a ton of fun and filled with some sweet totally 80’s style fx work as well as an equally impressive cast. It really perplexed me as to why I’d never even heard of this one as it’s something I would have totally dug back in ’91. Hey I think it’s better sometimes seeing a lost gem from way back in the modern era anyway…it takes me way back…
Anyway this cool movie stars Fred Ward as H.P. Lovecraft (seriously, how have I never heard of this movie?!) a private investigator, who hired to track down the legendary book, the Necronomicon. Lovecraft is one of the only people who’ve chosen not to use magic of any kind making his little quest all that much more difficult to accomplish. It’s a full on 40’s noir, placed in a time when witchcraft has been fully exposed to the general populace and things that go bump in the night are far more common than ever before. We’ve got a bunch of neat monsters, werewolves & zombies along the way as well as an awesome scene with some pesky gremlins by way of rad old school puppetry. Hell, we even get a random unicorn that enters the equation into this unique little horror noir comedy.
There’s some cool scenes as well that up the movie’s horror factor with some impressive unexpected gore. There’s weird super powered gangsters, voodoo priests and plenty of that classic style animatronic monster mayhem to behold here. It’s also got it’s fair share of comedy though too and it in ways really is a bit like a horror version of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. Director Martin Campell went on to direct more recent stuff like the god awful ‘Green Lantern’ movie and ‘Casino Royale’. Along side Ward is also Julianne Moore, Clancy Brown & David Warner which is a pretty star studded cast for just how relatively forgotten this movie is today.
The movie spawned a sequel as well in 1994 but I haven’t heard to many good things about that one. There’s never been an official DVD release of the movie, but it certainly deserves one. The movie is available to watch on Amazon and a few other online platforms, so if you’re looking for a little lost nostalgia this one’s a cool little forgotten gem of a movie…
VHS Verdict: ‘The Kiss’ is Full of Campy Glamorous 80’s Horror!
I pulled out a pretty sweet VHS the other night called ‘The Kiss’ and it totally delivered the goods! This cool 1988 flick is not exactly what I’d call a great movie by any means but it definitely delivers the just right amount of inventive charming cheez to please any true fan of 80’s horror. I’d say this movie also gives us a genre I’d like to coin here as “glamour horror”. The movie follows a suburban family as they cope with the sudden and mysterious death of their mother. Soon on it’s clear some serious paranormal foul play is afoot as the flick opens with a bizarre scene on a train in the Belgian Congo set back in the 1960’s and involves you guessed it “a kiss” that seems to carry with it some sort of crazy ass occult voodoo charged curse.
Well things get weird after the mom dies her gruesome death and we see her truly odd but totally glamourous cover girl sister burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere. The motherless daughter played by total 80’s babe Meredith Salenger, whom you may recognize as the object of affection in “Dream a Little Dream” immediately gets a bad feeling from her new Auntie played by Joanna Pacula (the classic 80’s model-babe), while her father seems to be pretty down right away with her basically moving in and THEN some!
Yeah from that point it become a bit of a erotic thriller for a moment as she seduces the Dad and starts stalking the daughter and her new cool guy boyfriend. This one really could’ve been edited down about 15 minutes to keep the story moving a little quicker but if you hang in there ’til the half way point things really start cookin’.
Yep this one gets pretty damn awesome, jam packed with ridiculous voodoo, a crazy ass demonic cat and some good solid 80’s gore. The third act of the film is where this one really delivers, the final showdown is pretty awesome and action packed. It’s a great suburban family battle against the glamour gal, a over the top ferocious puppet cat and the ridiculously awesome creature behind or should I say “inside” it all.
This is one of those cheezy gems that make me love collecting vhs tapes, the 80’s was a great era for horror and this one seems to have slipped under the radar for many-so seek this out and get ready for some campy fun that was meant to be a serious affair!