Of course, everybody’s looking for the ultimate Halloween viewing this year and it just so happens I’ve got a couple recommendations here that are a MUST see for anyone who’s a fan of those spooky “Amblin* films of the eighties! A lot of people seem to have forgotten about or never even heard of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series ‘Amazing Stories’. That’s truly a shame because many of these episodes are classic “Spielbergian” gems that are indeed quite freakin’ amazing. Better yet, there are a handful of episodes that are absolutely perfect for the Halloween season. Today I’d like to mention two of my all time favorite episodes of the series that just so happen to be quite perfectly spooky and utterly charming.
Easily one of the best episodes of the series comes from the 1st season is called ‘Mummy Daddy’. It’s directed by William Dear who’s most well known for one of my all time favorites ‘Harry and Hendersons’. This features an actor on a creepy fog laden swamp of a movie set who’s dressed in an elaborate mummy costume that’s virtually unremovable. When he suddenly gets a phone call that his wife is about to give birth, he bursts frantically from the set to head off to the hospital, In full mummy garb. What he doesn’t realize is that the backwoods locals are restless as they fear the legend of an actual evil mummy rumored to roam the forest in search of innocents to prey upon is alive and well.
There’s a lot of unique twists and turns in this half hour episode, the mummy fx look incredible and the sets and fog filled moonlit locales are top notch. One thing is clear Steven Spielberg had a movie level budget for the show and he was willing to put it all on the line. This episode features the perfect blend of spooky comedy & horror as well as some excellent supernatural action sequences.
Not to mention one of my favorites, Brion James in the role of the aggro head hillbilly, who’s hell bent on ridding their small town of the mummy’s curse forever! This one is a must see for the Halloween season!
Next up is my absolute favorite episode of the entire series which comes from season 2 called ‘Go to the Head of the Class’.
It’s directed by ‘Back to the Future’s’ own Robert Zemekis, features Mary Stuart Masterson and of course Christopher Lloyd! This one is slso a double length episode, it easily could have been made into an excellent horror flick and would have easily been one of the best episodes of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ if it’d been included in that series, where to be honest it feels like it belongs! In a nutshell it’s a story of two teenagers who who plan an elaborate revenge scheme on their asinine school teacher. However this isn’t your average tale of revenge, they instead employ the powers of the supernatural playing a record backwards and performing a ritual in the cemetery late one night after school that will supposedly put an end to their least fave douchebag headmaster!
Christopher Lloyd shines in the role of the evil teacher and like the last episode I mentioned, the special effects here are done by Stan Winston and all of the horror set pieces are utterly breathtaking in the spookiest way imaginable. It’s jam packed with the perfect blend of comedy, genuine scares and familiar faces of the eighties that are certain to put a smile on your face.
These two episodes will pack the perfect double duo punch and give you something different to check out this Halloween season. Yeah horror from a much simpler time from the golden era of horror! Do not snooze on these this year!
I’ve been picking up a ton of VHS while out on the town doing while doing vintage shopping for my business here in Portland Oregon, that means that I’m watching a ton of awesome old flicks that have been somehow lost in the shuffle for years, at least for me! So the other night I decided to put on an interesting looking one called “If Looks Could Kill” way back from 1991, starring none other than fan fave from 21 Jumpstreet (the original series yo!) Richard “Booker” Grieco! Ol’ Grieco was destined for stardom when he exploded onto Jumpstreet & briefly rivaled Johnny Depp as the series heart throb. So Grieco quickly got some offers to make some movies-some bad and some good in a bad way. This particular film is pretty awesome, directed by William Dear hot off the success of the brilliant “Harry and The Hendersons”.
What we get here is a great obnoxious teen comedy (which I’m a big fan of, well, since I myself was a teen!) with a heavy dose of James Bond & equal parts Indiana Jones! What’s not to love there?! Dear clearly had a budget for this box office flop and it shows as it rarely skimps on cool set pieces and rather impressive action sequences. The flick was panned by critics, but like me, Roger Ebert got it and awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars. The plot’s simple, Grieco is a high school student flunking out of his french class while too busy boozin’ it up and slackin’ off. Now before I continue I have to ad that Grieco is clearly no teenager, nope- he’s got a serious dark ass five o’clock shadow the entire movie and the body of an olympic athlete, truth be told that in 1991 he was nearly 2y years old, though to me he looks more like 37!
Anyway because he flunks French he’s forced to…get this….go France for summer school!! Boo hoo what a life huh? Fail and get a free trip to France? Yeah right!! So that’s where things get crazy, as he’s quickly mistaken for a secret agent bearing the same name as his and begins an adventure of his own! Mistaken identity never felt so good. He’s almost tempted to reveal that he’s simply a high school student until the British Gov’t gives him a Ferrari to roll around in, so then at that point he decides it’s totally like worth playing along! Duh!
This begins a zany chain of events that involves Grieco playing his teenage luck with deadly sexy secret agent ladies, explosive chewing gum, wall walkin’ suction cup LA Gear sneakers, killer scorpions and a dastardly villain with a robotic Terminator style hand. It’s pure camp gold and a entertains with quite an impressive finale with Grieco trapped in an Indiana Jones style deadly villain castle hide out! So if you’re looking for a fun flick to watch with friends and a few beers check this one out-it should have made ol’ Grieco a star like Depp! Oh well!!