2009
12.31

Review: Night of the Creeps

JasonReviewsNight of the Creeps – 1986 – Sony

I am in utter awe of this movie. Made on six million and a prayer (like Lee Majors), Night of the Creeps was a pinnacle of genre entertainment in its time and remains so thanks to its brilliant encapsulation of all that was beautiful from the lighthearted 1980s. This grand pastiche cleverly balances sci-fi parody with zombie thrills and is more eminently re-watchable than a Barbara Steele beaver loop (from the set of Black Sunday, shot by Bava and involving several dozen gerbils… yeah, I’m a little screwed up). I am tickled pink that Sony has finally deigned to deliver this masterpiece into the clammy hands of the multitude and that such care was taken to give (sell) the fans such a fine presentation loaded with heaps of delicious extras to gush over. Hands down, this release gets my vote for “must-own of the year.”

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2009
12.22

Review: Last Rites (Dracula’s Last Rites)

JasonReviewsLast Rites (Dracula’s Last Rites) – 1979 – USA – Televista

I’ll never forget the first time I saw this picture on VHS as it granted me a most refreshing two-hour nap and a drool-drenched pillow. 20 years (and several thousand horror films) later, I figured I would re-visit it. I have been woefully short on sleep of late and am entirely out of chloroform, so what the fuck, how bad could it be? Unfortunately, my instincts towards self-preservation seem to have ebbed over the years as I could not bring myself to fall asleep lest I lose count of the boom mikes in frame. Somebody call Guinness, as these dimwits must have set a record for incompetence with this one.

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2009
12.21

Dan O’Bannon (1946-2009)

obannonRest in peace, Dan O’Bannon.

The great (and wonderfully bow-tied) writer/director Dan O’Bannon has left the building. Our sincere condolences are extended to his wife and son and our sincere gratitude goes out to the man who gave us some of the most memorable moments in the genre for our generation. Sgt. Pinback, I hope you have finally corralled that damnably elusive beach ball and found your peace.

Dan-O attended USC with his esteemed compadre John Carpenter and the two slaved over their student-film-become-feature Dark Star, which was released theatrically in 1974. Having grown up in adoration of EC Comics (like so many other notable genre filmmakers and scribes of his generation) and influenced by some of the great ’50s sci-fi of his childhood (most prominently It: The Terror From Beyond Space), Dan embarked on the immense challenge of producing a film version of Charles Herbert’s Dune in the mid-’70s only to have the uber-project dissolve before his eyes. From its ashes he dusted himself off and wrote the sci-fi horror hybrid classic of all time, Alien, which was released in 1979 and is widely recognized as one of the finest pictures ever made, regardless of genre.

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2009
12.20

Bad Decisions in Horror DVD Box Art

As fans of classic horror, we tend to like things left as they are. Whether it’s the occasional cringe when yet another deplorable remake surfaces or, in this case, the original home video box art is expunged and replaced with something less inspired and lacking the flavor of the film it’s trying to promote, it’s often an unwelcome revisionism that terror-fiends want no part of.

The box art change appears especially pointless when directly compared. So, in the interest of edification (and a means to rant for a number of paragraphs), here are a few of the most flagrant violators…

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2009
12.18

Review: Bloodsuckers From Outer Space

JasonReviewsBloodsuckers From Outer Space – 1984 – USA – Shriek Show

This film is a rip roarin’ hooch snootin’ good time with egregious displays of sophomoric humor and enough bloody slapstick to delight low-brow gore mongers and the mentally challenged alike!

Filmed in Texas on weekends by a cast and crew made up almost exclusively of amateurs (and hicks!), Bloodsuckers is a fun little romp which sends up ’60s era sci-fi with liberal doses of zombie-comedy tossed in and some of the most charmingly wooden acting you will ever experience (outside of early John Waters pics and that callow Paris Hilton porno). Produced with a less than zero budget, filmed in entirely static shots, and hammed up by a host of bumbling yet intensely sincere actors, this Z-grade feature fares much better than the sum of its parts and muddlingly entrenches itself as a true classic of the “so painfully bad it’s actually good” genus of film. Fans of uproarious rubbish like The Dead Next Door or The Giant Spider Invasion, read on…

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2009
12.16

Review: Beyond the Door

JasonReviewsBeyond the Door (Chi Se?, The Devil Within Her) – Italy – 1974 – Code Red DVD

Abby, The Antichrist, Exorcismo, Naked Exorcism, Magdalena: Possessed by the Devil, Seytan, House of Exorcism, Demon Witch Child, and Beyond the Door were all made and released within two years of that head-spinning, crucifix-fucking masterpiece of Catholic compunction – The Exorcist. Far and away the most successful of these euphemistically labeled “homages” was first-time director Ovidio Assonitis’s Chi sei? (released across the U.S. as Beyond the Door). Playing out like a poverty row redundancy for those who have already experienced The Exorcist firsthand, Beyond the Door manages some decent atmosphere and effects in places but is terminally bogged down by incompetent editing and terribly stilted dialogue. Assonitis also presents an absolutely asinine(tis!) narrative plagued by whimsical structuring, but potty-mouthed babes possessed by the Devil never cease to please me, so here we go…

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2009
12.15

EP10: Silent Night, Deadly Night

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Christmas. A time for presents and pretty lights. A time for family gatherings and cheerful songs. A time for… bloody carnage? Well, in this latest installment of Terror Transmission, that’s what you get in the form of the 1984 killer Santa flick, Silent Night, Deadly Night. Matt opens the gift of teen memories while Jason’s package contains a whole lot of love for scream queen, Linnea Quigley, not to mention other goodies under the tree. So, gorge yourself on candy canes and egg nog as you enjoy our commentary on this holiday horror favorite. Are you naughty enough?

What? You want jolly? Then take a friggin’ look at our pics for this episode!

Saturnalia | PMRC | Occult Significance of TriStar Pictures | Siskel & Ebert Just LOVE This Movie | Heber City, Utah | Traumatization IS a word! | Grim Prairie Tales | Baby Throwing, Indian-Style | Santa Claus: Frightener of Children | The Mephisto Waltz | Evel Knievel Toys | Krull | Oh, THAT Phoebe Cates Pool Scene (NSFW) | Retard Strength | Rowlf | The Linnea Quigley Workout | The Boogens | Psychic TV | Predatory Mindset

Episode Currently Unavailable

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2009
12.10

Movie Review Quick Cuts – 2009

Throughout the year, I do a smattering of mini-reviews for various films on my blog, mostly of the bloody variety. Here are the major ones from 2009…

Cold Prey – Liked it. Definitely in line with the better Scandinavian horror we’ve been seeing these days. Premise is standard: vacationing young people more or less trapped (this time, at an abandoned ski lodge) while someone or something picks them off one by one. A little formulaic, but with some worthy moments, great cinematography, and decent storyline.

Repo! The Genetic Opera – A complete waste of time. An attempt at a horror musical, Repo falls flat on its cheesy, emo-ish, and poorly-scored rear end. It tries to borrow here and there from both genre camps (yeah, you too, Rocky Horror), but to no real interesting ends. I couldn’t wait for this to end.

Karaoke Terror – Dark Japanese comedy pitting vengeful middle-aged housewives against murderous Karaoke gang. It’s bloody, it’s fun, and even a little strange. Rent.

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2009
12.07

Review: Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story

JasonReviewsSpine Tingler! The William Castle Story – 2007 – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as part of the William Castle Film Collection box set

This fantastic documentary traces the accomplishments of the P.T. Barnum of box-office ballyhoo, William Castle, one of the most fondly remembered Hollywood personalities we have ever been blessed with. Castle was a consummate showman whose lack of artistic perspective was more than compensated for by his insight into culture and his intuition of human nature. His career was highlighted by some of the most fun-filled film escapades ever produced, with titles like The House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler, 13 Ghosts and Homicidal promising (and delivering) highly entertaining and utterly unpretentious romps through the dark side of the human psyche punctuated with enough tongue-in-cheek hilarity to delight their true target audience, children in the 8-14 age group. Savaged by critics throughout his career, but adored by his legions of fans, Castle was like a larger than life cigar-chomping teddy bear, the center of attention around the campfire who could always be counted on to entertain us with his delightfully creepy tales. The man was (and is) absolutely and unequivocally unforgettable.

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2009
12.04

Review: American Scary

JasonReviewsAmerican Scary – 2006 – Cinema Libre Studio

American Scary is an hour-and-a-half long historical documentary about the very American phenomena of the horror film host. Directed by John E. Hudgens, a notable Star Wars fan film producer, and written by Sandy Clark, the film consists of talking-head interviews with most of the salient figures from the horror host landscape interspersed with some splendid archival clips of these performers doing their silly/scary bits. Interviewees range from Vampira (Maila Nurmi) to Neil Gaiman (?), featuring prominent greats such as Chilly Billy Cardille, Svengoolie, The Ghoul, Son of Ghoul, Zacherley (Rolande), Count Gor De Vol, John Stanley and Bob Wilkins, along with several others. Conspicuous absences from Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) and the Son of Svengoolie are serious detractions, as they are two of the majors still in the public eye, but those figures who are included serve well to do the topic justice.

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