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!!
Unlike a most people I’ve STILL got the dvd mailers from Netflix coming my way. Let’s face the facts folks most movies online on Netflix watch instantly kinda suck, it’s crazy how many movies I’ve started and never finished on that damn website! So I’ve been combing the DVD version of the site trying to find cool old b-movie movies they’ve got in their ample reserve. Surprisingly I’ve found some decent lil’ gems there, most of said movies have terrible reviews and super duper low star ratings. I’m going to chronicle those here, the first one I’m recommending is a movie from 1989 called “Amok Train” or as it’s also known “Beyond the Door III”. Keep in mind this movie actually has nothing to do with either of the two previous ‘Beyond The Doors’ but even the Amok Train’s title screen calls it ‘Beyond the Door III’ in the actual movie.
Directed by Jeff Kwitny, who only directed four movies, one was the 1988 ski horror flick “Iced” that I now need to see as well. I wasn’t expecting a god damn thing from “Amok Train” to be honest but this movie actually delivered all the glorious 80’s cheez I personally crave on all levels! From it’s start I could tell just from the odd setting alone, as it was shot in Serbia and actually features some stunning locations that it had some promise going forward. The plot follows some American college students who head off on a class trip to Yugoslavia and witness some crazy ass pagan rituals, after traveling on a creepy ferry, which were surprisingly effectively pulled off. After most of the students survive the deadly encounter from the crazed locals they frantically run off into the woods and come across a moving train that’s barreling through the countryside. Of course they are able to just barely hop aboard (most of them at least) to their “safety” and of course that’s where the rest of the flick’s craziness mostly ensues.
I totally dig the setting of “the trapped on a train with evil forces” aspect of this one. The movie moves along at relatively fast pace as well. It’s got it’s fair share of impressive but ridiculous special effects, as well as some of the most idiotic “train out of control” sequences I’ve ever seen out on film. These scenes though, for me at least, enhance this C-level cinematic experience to higher levels of fun as the train seems to have an evil mind of it’s own. It switches course to evil paths on randomly appearing moving “possessed” train tracks. There’s some pretty cool yet cheezed out shit going on here, like the fact the train’s engine suddenly begins feeding on people rather than coal and the train is on a tight schedule to get one of the “virgin” college students on a perverted play date with the devil himself.
There’s also this cool 80’s badass soldier lady that joins the gang on the train who talks a lot of tuff guy shit and a killer scarf..yeah a killer scarf! The cast who’s got a It’s got some good gore also and stars Bo Svenson for anyone who gives a shit. For a flick I had zero expectations for it made for quite a fun evening of tokin’ and boozin’ it up a bit. If you dig obscure horror stuff that’s not on anyone’s radar then seek this out especially if you’re like me and still get pumped when you see that red and white Netflix dvd envelope in your mailbox!!
‘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!
So my first entry I did on the top ten “stranded on an island” movies has easily been my most popular post here at Universal Dork, sooooo naturally I am giving a sequel to it right here, today! I simply love the idea of being castaway to a remote island, far away from the bustle of everyday life. There’s something about this idea that has always captivated audiences and it remains to be a situation I often think about every damn time I get on an airplane. So let’s not waste any time and get right to one of the most romantic, exciting and frightening movie topics of all time. It’s time to take a look at the other movies that deserve to be on this epic list!
10. Swept Away, 2002
Yeah this list is going to have some cheezy ass movies on it and this one here is a guilty please to start it off. It’s also likely the most well known of the bunch. Of course this movie was a box office mega bomb and totally panned by the critics.
However if you’re looking for a fun time on a stranded island with the legendary icon Madonna then look no further!
9. The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark, 1980
Here’s an interesting Disney movie with Silver Spoons star Ricky Schroder – Bonus right there folks! It seems that Disney was all in on the whole desert island theme as this was just one of quite a few that follow a similar storyline.
While this movie isn’t bound to blow your mind it’s got a pretty cool premise of flipping a B-29 bomber over on it’s back and sailing it to civilization! Continue reading
I just read issue #156 of the Walking Dead last night and it seems Kirkman did a mighty fine job of pulling off an “M. Night Shyamalan”, at least on me. Beware of SPOILERS ahead. I’ve been having a pretty good time recently with The Walking Dead, which is somewhat of a surprise as I’d gotten a bit bored with the title over time. Heck though issue #156 was definitely an interesting read. We got a full issue of the escaped Negan who was up to his old crazy antics once again. The way this issue read having him as the main focal point however almost felt like it had been written by The Farrelly Brothers. It felt a bit like a raunchy slapstick comedy as this guy tried in his own messed up way to “fit in” with his new crew. We got Negan hanging out with Alpha and The Whisperers, the latest gang of human scum that is threatening Rick and his gang. It felt awkward at times watching Negan interact with them all, like the dude was a foul mouthed Jim Carey. I would be lying if I didn’t say how much I thought the Whisperers in reality would have offed him within five minutes of meeting him- he’s so god damn irritating!
Ok I guess the guy is somewhat amusing but still as a main character it’s hard to take the story seriously at times. Anyway we’ve got yet another shocking act of violence that stains the issue by it’s end. Just as I thought I kinda had Negan figured out he goes and does something completely insane. I guess I should have seen it coming by now huh? Well this time as he’s trying to prove his worth to The Whisperers and impress their female leader Alpha he goes for the shocking twist ending. Negan appears concerned here about doing “the right thing” as he witnesses a woman being sexually assaulted. He tries to convince Alpha that it’s wrong not to interfere and later has a long discussion with her about how though he’s done some fucked up shit in his time, it’s always been to protect people.
I was starting to suspect he was up to something funny, in fact I highly suspected that he was pulling a full on fast one on Alpha. He even got her to open up to him and cry. What happened next though was pretty out of the blue as he went into psycho mode slitting her throat and then continuing to decapitate her. As we see him hold her head up it appears he’s under the impression that good ol’ Ricky boy is gonna be tickled pink at his latest kill. So I wonder just what Rick IS going to think?
Issue #156 is pretty interesting and it’s likely to generate a lot of controversy as Negan kills a seemingly powerful female villain named Alpha. Not the most PC thing to do at this point in 2016 but of course a ballsy move by Robert. We’ll see what happens as The Walking Dead has peaked my interest once again…what did you think?
Looking for a cool new Halloween Horror flick to watch this year and are all out of new ideas?! Well I’ve got a fun one for you, ‘Deathgasm’ will deliver the mayhem and then some as the perfect Halloween party flick this year. This new movie, straight out of New Zealand delivers the blood and guts in the same vein as Peter Jackson’s classic splatter flick ‘Dead Alive’. Yep what you’ll get here is a full on black metal gore fest brimming with comedy and heart. This one would play quite nicely next to the 1986 classic “Trick or Treat” as it’s quite similar actually in many ways. Which is always a good thing of course.
It’s the story of teenage metal head who’s mom goes crazy and he’s sent to live with his uncle in a small town. His new surrogate family thinks he’s a total freak and his meathead cousin has got in in for him big time. At school he’s picked on and develops a crush on his evil cousins preppy girlfriend. Totally down on his luck he finally meets a fellow metalhead and starts a metal band eventually leading them to playing an ancient song that awakens vicious demons that run rampant all over town. From here things get super crazy as the band must find a way to reverse the spell and send the pesky demons straight back to hell!
As you might guess this is no easy task and the band has to slaughter of fuck ton of demons in the process. There’s a ton of crazy gore, heads flying, bodies sliced in two, weaponized twenty sided dice, dildos and of course anal beads. Yeah you heard that correct. This is a party movie above and beyond being a gory ass horror flick and is really the perfect flick for a wild crowd at a Halloween party this year. The movie delivers some pretty excellent practical effects as well and doesn’t skimp on the laughs either. It’s really more of Comedy than anything else which might be my only real gripe with it.
I totally dig horror comedies but I think this one might have benefitted a bit more in playing it’s story a bit more heavy handed. Sometimes the modern horror comedies play a bit too heavily to keep the fans too in on the joke. However this is one of the stronger flicks of the genre I’ve seen recently.
It reminds me a bit of the awesome 2007 flick Jack Brooks Monster Slayer (another great choice of a movie for Halloween), especially a scene in Deathgasm that’s almost a total rip from Robert Englund’s amazing performance in ‘Jack Brooks’. Lastly any fans of true metal will likely dig the music and the references to many classic death, grindcore and black metal bands. So if you’re in the mood for the perfect movie to crowd around with your buddies and a bunch of weed and booze this Halloween make no mistake Deathgasm IS your flick!!
Wow!! It looks like Sam Raimi just might have finally gone and done it right!! I’ve been so skeptical and at the same time so excited about Ash vs The Evil Dead tv series from Starz for the longest time. But today my fears were firmly put to rest by the brand new full trailer for the series and folks it seems that we just may have a full on home run here for all who love the Evil Dead as much as I do!
The first trailer is so damn good I can’t even find one thing I don’t like about it. It’s production quality looks like a movie and the special effects look pretty gosh darn incredible. Tons of old school practical gore, blood and creatures here make this so far blend pretty seamlessly with the movies. Bruce looks great, I love the comedy and the frantic action in the trailer is full on fucking awesome. Count me seriously in for this series! So I stand corrected Mr. Raimi, maybe like Bruce you still got it! Universal Dork approves!!!
And lots more info in this Comic Con interview!