Creature Features: The Beautiful Practical Effects of 1988’s “The Blob”

Nightmare Nostalgia Presents Creature Features: An ongoing tip of the hat to some of horror’s greatest monsters throughout the genre that don’t seem to get the recognition they wholeheartedly deserve.

I don’t care how stubborn, or pompous this may sound: Computer generate all the damn monsters you want with the world’s greatest CGI program and programmer running it. It still won’t look better than practical effects and I certainly can’t appreciate it as much. The perfect example of such splendid monster-movie-magic is of course, Chuck Russell’s vision of the 1950’s Sci-Fi B movie, The Blob jello-molding it’s way into 1988.

 Creature Features: The Beautiful Practical Effects of 1988's "The Blob"

Thinking back to my childhood years, I clearly remember my first interaction with this glorious film, that at the time, I had no idea was a remake. In a pre-internet era and films relying on physical media such as TV spots and the good old-fashioned newspaper to get the word out. The one other way to draw unsuspecting fans into a film post-theater release, was the almighty VHS box art that would stare at you from the lined-shelves of the horror section like a haunted painting. This film, like many others of that time, sold itself to a tiny Patti with the cover-art alone that both intrigued and terrified me as a child. The simple showcase of what I later learned to be Paul’s fate displayed on the front of the rental, initially scared the shit out of seven-year-old me. I’m not entirely sure why, as growing up in a horror-loving-household watching Halloween at the tender age of two, this piece of art gave me the skeevies. I can distinctly remember only a few VHS horror art covers having that sort of effect on me. For almost 2 years, that pink, gooey man screaming at me through the art cover taunted me every time the parental units and I made a family trip to our local Action Video for the weekend rentals. And it wasn’t until I was allowed to ride my bike across the busy street by my damn self I was cut loose to roam the horror shelves of that mom and pop video store and rent freely on my own. Whatever I wanted. So of course, I gravitated to that jerkoff blobby Paul who has been tormenting the hell out of me. I had to see what this was about just based on this one picture alone. And now, 30 years later, it has become one of my all-time favorites.

Creature Features: The Beautiful Practical Effects of 1988's "The Blob"

 

Which brings me to the point here: That one image from the film doused in practical effects reeled me in and like many films before this gem in the ’80s, was balls-deep with beautifully done man-made monster magic. From Paul’s tragic demise to Vicki being eaten from the inside-out, The Blob is filled to the brim with dazzling and believable imagery that STILL looks better than a lot of modern day effects. The team responsible for igniting a fear of jello-molds everywhere was that of Tony Gardner, Chet Zar, and Bill Sturgeon of Alterian Studios. Who have since released some REALLY FUCKIN’ COOL behind the scenes stills on making that “extraterrestrial” man-eating glob that every fan of the film should take a gander at.

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LONG LIVE PRACTICAL EFFECTS.

Creature Features: The Mucho-Ecological, Man-Eating Lake Blob From “Creepshow 2”

Nightmare Nostalgia Presents Creature Features: An ongoing tip of the hat to some of horror’s greatest monsters throughout the genre that don’t seem to get the recognition they wholeheartedly deserve.

Firstly, I would never bullshit you guys. Outside of a slimy little extraterrestrial asshole with an unnaturally long neck pointing his glowing fingers at everything trying to phone home, and a demon reverend with 20,000 teeth singing hymns on rainy days, and a mechanical shark, not a whole lot scared me as a kid. In fact, I grew up on horror movies and was schooled at the tender age of three with the beautiful Universal Monsters collection via my grandfather, and my father who introduced me to Halloween.  Apparently, I used to dance around to the Halloween music with poms-poms at this age- I still don’t want to believe I was that cool that early on, but I’m just going to go with that. So yeah, embracing the horror since the potty-training days making me somewhat desensitized to a lot, it took something special to get me shakin’. Aside from what I mentioned above, and to be honest here there’s probably more that I’m just not thinking of at this moment, one thing I DO recall from my youngin’ years scaring the ever-loving shit out of me, was the mucho-ecological Lake Blob from Creepshow 2‘s, The Raft.

Creature Features: The Mucho-Ecological, Man-Eating Lake Blob From

What the hell is that thing, Poncho? Well, this pre-1988 Blob of sludge is never really explained, even thirty years after its theatrical release. We know it’s hungry, (I guess) and once it nabs its carnivorous entrée, the object completely dissolves into the Lake Blob and seemingly becomes a part of it. As we can see through various shots throughout The Raft, this “oil slick”, as the four teens refer to it, has pockets of waste and I swear I’ve seen bones in this damn thing, as it moves along patiently awaiting its next meal. I’ve looked for these answers friends as to WHAT EXACTLY IT IS or WHERE IT CAME FROM. And until I have the opportunity to actually ask Stephen King himself, or anyone who worked on the film, I may never fully know for sure. However, I have my own theory…

I could just be taking this whole thing to an unnecessary level of deep-rooted fuckery, but hear me out. What if, the Lake Blob is a metaphor for Mother Nature and the havoc we have wreaked on poor Mother Earth. Let’s face it guys. We’re kind of dicks to this planet, and history and well, science has shown us those facts. Maybe this Lake Blob is Earth’s middle finger to humankind; because clearly it has a thing for humanoids with an occasional side of passerby duck. With each death via Lake Blob, the victim is engulfed by the slick creature’s globule tendons and pulled into its aura, dissolving into its sludgy mass. Thus, making the prey part of the predator now. Or for lack of a better term, back to the Earth you go you polluting Homo Sapien. With the initial meeting of the Blob and the four teens at the lake, this thing immediately comes and confronts them. Randy does point out that this thing, “doesn’t look like an accident… it looks like it’s on purpose.” Then it proceeds to consume Rachel in the most horrifying way imaginable. And for the record, is the scene that totally scared the crap out of me from wanting to swim in ANY LAKE EVER.

Although, I bet Tarman from ROLD would be into her.

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Of course, feel free to tell me I’m completely way off base here. If that be the case, let’s hear your theories below! Until next time kiddies and in the meantime, steer clear of any isolated bodies of water.

Creature Feature: The Skeevie Inducing Norris-Thing

Nightmare Nostalgia Presents Creature Feature: An ongoing tip of the hat to some of horror’s greatest monsters throughout the genre that don’t seem to get the recognition they wholeheartedly deserve.

Last October, some friends, the better half, and myself witnessed the glorious spectacle of John Carpenter live in concert. Now, normally I never bother to leave my Gollum cave of gloom and somber for shows and concerts these days unless it’s totally worth sliding some pants on for. But hey, this was John fuckin’ Carpenter and his orchestra playing the theme songs to some of horror’s finest films- his films. I sure as shit wasn’t going to pass this up and just as I had expected, it was a night to never be forgotten. From Halloween, They Live, and of course today’s focal point The Thing, it was a perfect way to head into Devil’s Night last October.

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A post shared by Patti Pauley (@misshorrorghoul) on

With what is arguably (I guess) one of John Carpenter’s greatest pieces of cinematic art turning 36 this week, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk a little about the goddamn Norris-Thing. In the 1982 film, we see a handful of variations of this “thing” ranging from an ordinary human, a cute husky, also a not-so-cute halfway transformed husky, to well-something ungodly such as this. Which in itself, comes in three (3) count em, forms of infested Norris all in under five minutes.

Beautiful.

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The poor geologist at the heart of the chaos located at Outpost 31 had suffered a heart attack, (could you really blame the guy for his life-pumper giving out under the circumstances?) His fellow comrades rushed a dying Norris to the medical ward in an attempt to jump-start his heart and holy eight-legged-fucks was that the worst idea ever.

In the case anyone here is unfamiliar haven not seen the film (for-shame), The Thing centers around a parasitic extraterrestrial life force that likes to imitate other organisms, thus ensuring an overabundant amount of paranoia in the group as everyone suspects each other as an “infected host”.

We good? Ok, back to Norris dying on the table.

Anyway, the defibrillator is shocking away and low and behold everyone, Norris was indeed a host for this otherworldly leech as the thing begins to extract himself from the ribcage of Norris and immediately defend itself. Norris’ chest transforms into a jaw trap so powerful, even Bruce the shark would be a little envious. After chomping away at what the Thing deems as an attack on itself, (stupid alien doesn’t know what a heart attack is), it mutates even further into a Norris-Snake-Thing that again, would give Freddy-Snake a run for his money. Enter the action of Kurt Russell, our epically bearded hero to the rescue and a flame-thrower to the Norris-Thing it is.  In the midst of the fire and flames, the Norris-Thing head tears away from its presently incinerating body, grows some spider-like legs and Linda Blair crab-walks it’s happy little self across the room inducing all the skeevies and dingleberries from fellow Outposters.

A few thoughts:

As I so eloquently stated above, it always sort of bothered me how this alien parasite didn’t realize he had copied a defective heart along with the rest of Norris. I guess I would just assume the alien would automatically see through that flaw with some alien-type goggles in its DNA, but we all know when you assume, you make an ass out of “u” and me. It’s just a little thing that I always thought about during that scene, not slamming it all mind you. Just sharing what goes on with hamster wheel in my head.

What makes this scene in particular so effectively terrifying above all others, (IMHO), is the “thing” shows just what lengths it will go to survive. Sure the monster magic is insanely gorgeous. I might even say, revolutionary for its time. And sure enough, induces all the skeevies inside you to come popping out to say, “Oh hello old friend!” Especially if you have a phobia of snakes, spiders, or severed heads with insect legs altogether. The point of the matter is, like a true ’80s slasher, it comes coming. It has an agenda and will stop at nothing to reach its goal. This “thing” could literally be anywhere, anyone, or any living thing. That’s the really terrifying part, my friends.

Because it takes a village to raise a child, and apparently a huge team of artists to make movie magic like this happen, I wanted to include this clip from CineFix. Which wonderfully showcases some behind the scenes action, facts, and trivia with director John Carpenter, Norris (Charles Hallahan), and crew involving this scene in particular. Also, here’s an Amazon link because right now, there’s a hot deal on the Blu-Ray for only $7.88!! If you don’t own it yet, now is a great time to snatch this classic up.

Happy Unofficial Thing Day!

Creature Feature Presents – Rabies! It Is A Silent Predator And It’s All Around Us.

Nightmare Nostalgia Presents Creature Feature: An ongoing tip of the hat to some of horror’s greatest monsters throughout the genre that don’t seem to get the recognition they wholeheartedly deserve.

Welcome back to the horror show, my nasties. Oh, do I have a good one for you this time around. What could possibly be more bone-chilling than the harsh terrors of everyday life? All it takes is one thing going horrifically wrong to find ourselves entombed within the depths of our very own private little horror show. Oh, it’s quite one thing to be reading about a good, ghastly tale from the comforts of your bed where nothing awaits in the shadows. There’s nothing stalking you in the corner, or silently waiting for you to fall asleep from its perch down the hallway, or standing patiently behind the closet door. As you read that Jack Ketchum book you know in your mind you are – for a damn good certainty – safe.

Then, out of the blue, you hear it. The lonesome howl of the neighbor’s dog, a pooch you’ve pet many times and know very well. Only now there is something unwholesome in the sound he is making under the moon. It’s not the voice you’ve known all these years. This one is feral, touched with sickness, with a disease that it now must spread, an illness dripping from a foaming maul snarling with bloodlust.

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image via IMDB

This is no demon from Hell, no ghoul from the grave, and it’s not a figment of the imagination. As the dog pounds all of its weight against your screen door, the reality of how soon life can become terrifying hits home a little too well. The thing you see on a daily basis, the friendly pet next door, has suddenly become the instrument of your vicious demise.

This is true horror. This is the genius of Stephen King when he penned the novel Cujo. It’s not about a killer dog, though that essence is there. He wrote a story about how quickly an ordinary life can turn to shit before you have a chance to wipe your ass.

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image via Horror Freak News

There are a lot of killer dog movies out there actually, but Cujo brings the horror home. After all, what would happen if the neighbor’s dog got rabies? What would you do if your own pet got infected? It all began with a simple little bat bite and it all went to Hell from there.

No monster. No black magic involved.

Just pure dumb bad luck. That’s all it was.

The same can be said for the brilliant international horror, REC. Just a news reporter following firemen around to record their daily activities. And all it took was answering the wrong emergency call for all Hell to break loose. Before they knew it, this untrained newscast found themselves locked inside of an apartment complex where – one by one – the residents fall victim to a bad case of rabies.

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image via Letterboxd

This setting alone is disturbing. I used to live on the seventeenth floor of a similar apartment complex. Very alarming to imagine being locked inside during that kind of an outbreak.

Rabies is a common threat that we no longer take seriously. However, as unlikely as it is to face off against demonic entities, a pack of werewolves, or a moaning hoard of zombies, rabies is a very real possibility in our world. It’s that silent horror waiting on the outside of the mind, undetected and comfortably ignored. That is until something goes terribly wrong.

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image via Where’s The Jump?

As in the case of I Drink Your Blood and I Eat Your Skin (lovely title, am I right?), a boy very stupidly extracts some tainted blood from a dead dog he knows had rabies. The little fucking bastard then injects said blood into some meat pies that are eaten by townspeople. Yup, they now have to deal with rabid gang members, because, why not?

This is exploitation at its finest. Gritty, gross and absurd.

The infection is not though. Our bodies, our terrifying factories really. We think we’re in charge but oh how fragile that control turns out to be. Against our will, sickness and infection can turn our own bodies into a monstrosity out to do nothing less than send us to the grave.

Let’s return back to Cujo for a moment. He wasn’t a bad dog, but quite the opposite. Loving, gentle and protective of his family. However, once the sickness set in, he no longer could distinguish right from wrong or the good dog from the bad dog. He set out against anyone indiscriminately. The disease baking his doggy senses only left room for one thing to make any lick of sense – kill, kill, kill! To make the pain go away, kill until it stopped hurting.

That’s how good horror works, and may we each only experience it from the safety of our TV’s. On the screen, we watch as normal and everyday homes get turned inside out by horrific events far beyond their control. There are predatory forces out there conspiring against our well-being, and may they only ever exist within the pages of a good read or the TV.

Take care my nasties! Stay healthy.

Be sure to tune in here for more of those warm retro fuzzies, those good old fashion creepies, and for more Creature Feature to come!

I’ll be catching you later.

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD DVD

REC DVD

CUJO DVD

 

Creature Feature: Reverend Kane, the Most Underrated Villian in Horror History

Nightmare Nostalgia Presents Creature Feature: An ongoing tip of the hat to some of horror’s greatest monsters throughout the genre that don’t seem to get the recognition they wholeheartedly deserve. 

On the heels of a recent Poltergeist II movie anniversary and what would have been the 98th birthday of one Julian Beck, we won’t just tip any hat, but our oversized black felt-wool head-huggers and sing the gospel of all the “Holy Temples” to the man who gave everything, including his failing health, to a character that will forever be burned into our brains as one of the downright scariest in horror history.

Born on May 31, 1925, Julian Beck wore many hats in the entertainment business, not just the creepy pastor topper we’ve all come to associate him with via Poltergeist II. The on-screen preacher began his love affair with the arts and dabbled in painting abstract expressionist pieces in the early 1940’s until meeting his future wife, Judith Malina who had a tremendously immense passion for the theatre. The love-connection turned into theater history and the pair later founded the prestigious, and often controversial, Living Theater which focused on giving the audience an immersive and shocking experience to take home, reflect, and learn from. Beck, a self-proclaimed anarchist who on several occasions had plenty of trouble with the law, lived by the saying, “If one can experiment in theater, one can experiment in life.”  With close to 40 years of embracing these types of convictions inside and out of the theater, Beck’s finest hour came (kind of ironically), in the on-screen role as a passed-on pastor from another time who beat to his own drum as well. I’d say in a way more terrifying and psychotic manner, but you catch my drift here.

 

 

Keeping in horror franchise tradition, (although usually via accident-you never know if a sequel will follow) we normally don’t get a whole lot of backstory on the main antagonist. As a matter of fact, the name of Henry Kane was never mentioned once during the first film. Good ole’ Tangina warned of a malevolent presence in the home that she referred to as only, “the beast”. The Other Side, the follow-up four years after the original Cuesta Verde neighborhood nightmare gives us all the answers and a face to said beast with, of course, Julian Beck. And because of his creepy ass performance, I briskly walk a little bit faster past any senior living communities.

His soft-spoken demeanor could go from 0-100 real quick during his little temper tantrums, giving way to a visual about 8,000 teeth in the man’s mouth. Of course, I’m exaggerating a tad but I’d call you a liar if you didn’t think he had an extra set of chompers in there when his face twisted with anger. Besides angry dentures and walking around softly singing culty hymns, Kane’s dagger of a stare was enough on its own to make you avoid this dude walking down the street. Proving that an over-abundant amount of gore and make-up aren’t needed to give someone the skeevies. Not to take anything away from Kane’s other forms in the film including that incredibly EPIC H.R. Giger Tequila-Worm vomit monster (played by Noble Craig). But as Carol Anne said herself in Poltergeist III, “remember, less is more.”

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Unfortunately, however, Beck’s look of a resurrected corpse throughout the film wasn’t movie magic but due to a 1983 diagnosis of the often fatal pancreatic cancer. Beck knew his days on Earth were coming to an end and gave everything he had to the role that launched his name into horror infamy. Often in pain on set, and if you look closely into his eyes via the clip above it’s painfully obvious, Beck used his unfortunate circumstances and threw himself into the role of the nefarious cult leader. Little Heather O’Rourke herself was so frightened by his unfiltered skeletal appearance, she burst into tears upon the pair’s first meeting.

I would have run like a bitch too sweetheart.

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Today on the anniversary of the life of one Julian Beck, we appreciate his dedication to a role that was to be his last, and sadly never lived to see on screen. I can also appreciate that due to the Kane character, I’ve never wanted to open my door on a rainy day; especially to an elderly gentleman on the other end. Thanks for the eternal nightmares Reverend.

Monsterpalooza 2018 – A Celebration of Horror at its Finest

Welcome back my lovely ghouls and grizzlies, you just couldn’t stay away, could you? I’m touched. And what great timing on your behalf. I’ve just freshly returned from the long trek back from Pasadena. What compelled me to brave seven hours on the road? What led my nocturnal steps so far south where the sun shines hot and bright? Monsterpalooza of course!

That’s right. My annual sojourn to be with my fellow monsters, freaks, beasts, and family has once more come and (so sadly) gone, and from it, I am loaded down with so many more fond memories. Each year the convention offers us, visitors, a rich diabolical alchemy of old-time fuzzy feelings that hit all the right spots as we relive our favorite horrors from times past. The convention also provides plenty of encouragement as we stand witness to the future plans for our beloved genre and are reminded that horror is thriving. Monsterpalooza masterfully balances the nostalgic tug with the modern progression of horror.

 

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In short, and in case you’ve never had the pleasure of attending yet, Monsterpalooza has something for everyone.

The Featured Guests

As with any convention you can expect to meet a favorite celebrity or two. Although many fans have complained about the cost of autographs I still argue the worth of the experience alone. For example, I’ve now had the chance to meet Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7-X, Hatchet 1-3, Deathhouse) a few times now, and each time is a blast. You’ll not meet a better man anywhere. He’s very much all about the fans and is all-too-happy to take the time to talk to each one of them.

Funny enough this year I got Kane to sing for me. I almost told him that Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Maniac Cop, Army of Darkness, Ash vs Evil Dead) called him an asshole last I met up with the Chin, but I felt it might be better kept for a future conversation.

Now among all the celebs I met this year, I have to say one of the highlights was meeting with Judith O’Dea, Barbara from Night of the Living Dead. What a glamorous lady.  A true star, and so very personal and warm.

 

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As far as the stars all go though I’ve never once had a bad experience with any of them, and this marks the 5th year I’ve attended Monsterpalooza. But that goes for any star I’ve met at all the conventions I’ve now attended. So is it worth standing in line and handing over your hard-earned cash just to say hi and get a signature? Yes, because they will treat your time with respect.

Panels

To my shame, I don’t attend these as much as I probably should. I’m usually in line to meet someone or busy with my friends and haunting my favorite vendors ( and saying goodbye to my money). I just miss the panels. That being said though, I did hit the tale-end of the Full Moon panel and heard their upcoming announcements. Of course, most know about the imminent Puppet Master reboot. They said the film will have a theatric run, so if you’re a fan be sure to follow them for updates. Full Moon also announced that – and with Stuart Gordon’s blessings – they will be rebooting Castle Freak in the near future.

The Monsterpalooza Museum

This is a must for everyone who attends. This museum features the best talents that our genre has to offer. You’ll see the painstaking work of some insanely gifted artists who brought our favorite movie moments to life in full-size replication straight out of the scariest movies out there! In this house of wax, you’ll stand eye to eye with creatures all-too lifelike. The museum alone is worth the price of admission.

 

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Something To Look Out For

A new Halloween themed movie will be released on home video this coming September. I’m very excited to get my hands on this one. It’s a creature feature that prides itself with some beautiful practical effects and sports the talents of Doug Jones (The Shape of Water, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) once more.

 

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Criticism

I only have one complaint about this year’s convention. They overbooked weekend ticket sells, I was one of the unfortunate souls, and Saturday became a big ugly hassle for many, many visitors. And I mean ugly, like dead hooker rotting in the bottom of a dumpster bin’s maggot bed ugly.  I would urge the great minds behind Monsterpalooza to be better organized in the years to come. This convention proves to grow bigger each year, and they need to plan more accordingly to suit the demands. They need to figure out a better way to handle the lines. For example, prepaid ticket holders should get in quicker rather than being stuck waiting outside half-an-hour after the convention opens it doors.

 

Pretty simple. And best to not overbook next time. The last thing we want is for people to have a miserable time and spend most of the con standing in line. There are already a lot of those to put up with.

The Vendors

But let’s end on a positive note. Let’s hear it for the vendors! These guys are out there all weekend, they’ve shelled out $500 for a table and they are selling us some of the finest horror merch we’ll ever get our hands on. So take it from me, if you’re planning for a horror con be sure to save some money. You will see things you will want to buy.

Obscure and rare movies (VHS, DVD, Blu-ray) are one of my favorite obsessions. If you want nostalgia for those little movies or Halloween specials you’ve not seen in a long time, this is your stop. This year I bought a DVD that’s just a bunch of extras from Freddy’s Dead that were never released on either DVD or Blu-Ray. It even comes with some old promos for Call Freddy! Awww memories.

I also picked up some brilliant artwork! Soon there will be no wall in my study, only masterpieces of the macabre. I couldn’t be happier.

I’d like to send a personal shout out to a great store, Time Tunnel Toys. These two have never failed to impress me over the years. They are regulars at Monsterpalooza and the nicest couple you’ll have the pleasure of meeting. Time Tunnel Toys is what Nightmare Nostalgia lives off of: those happy blasts from the past and warm memories of Saturday Mornings. TTT thrives on all of that and gives us a way to relive those happy days.

Finally, this year I had the pleasure of picking up a Gates of Hell comic from Eibon Press. I do not exaggerate when I say I now have a new obsession. These comics have won my dark heart over and I cannot get enough of them. Luckily, we have the option to order online, but I really enjoyed meeting the madman behind the macabre. I love seeing horror fans giving fellow fans what they want. That’s what Eibon is in the business of doing. How to explain these comics, hmmm? Ok, think the raw violence of Crossed with the gritty art style of early Spawn. I’m not making it up, it’s that amazing!

Monsterpalooza is my favorite con to attend and very much worth a visit for any horror fan. It’s the event of the year for many of us. It’s certainly one I am always happy to go to but sorry to have to leave. To me, it’s like returning home in a way. I have friends there who are just family. With that said: Frank, thanks for a great weekend! Our paths can’t cross again soon enough. Love ya, buddy.

This has been yours truly, Manic Exorcism. I’ll be catching you again next time, lovelies.

The Splatterhouse Franchise – Horrifying Fun

Do you like blood, guts, and a whole lot of gore? Does horror make you all hot and bothered in all the right ways? Have you ever wanted to pick up a 2×4 and splash some zombie faces all over the wall?  Well lucky you, because your ole buddy Manic has a sticky treat for you.

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image via imdb

Kick off your shoes and get cozy because I’m bringing you some splat-tastic fun.

You see, there’s a legend around here among gamers. A legend of a demon-haunted mansion sitting between the reality of our world and the dimension of infernal terror. A Hell-house in the mist just daring you to put on some big-boy(girl) pants and come play with the older kids as you explore the many caverns of mayhem and sadism. It’s the old West mansion, a shunned abode better known as the Splatterhouse.

Backstory to Splatterhouse

Here’s all you need to know as a player. A horde of drooling ghouls has stolen your gorgeous girlfriend right after spilling your guts all over the floor. As you lay in the hot sticky pool of your own fluids you watch the howling deformities take off with Jennifer with you-don’t-even-want-to-know what kind of plans in mind for her. The minions of Hell have just flipped you off, pissed in your iced tea, and they think you’re a big ole douche bag. Well damn, it all you’re not gonna put up with that! Lucky for you the Terror Mask (an ancient Mayan occult relic infused with a forgotten god) has taken a shine to you and saves your life. Not only that, but he’s given you unspeakable powers that would make the Incredible Hulk run home crying for his mommy. Now you get to go punch the heads off of the gruesome assholes who infest the West Mansion. 2×4’s, chainsaws, and plenty of boomsticks are left at your exposal as you make the game live up to its raunchy name SPLATTER-house. The legions of Hell await you, but you’re a badass mother fucker and can take whatever the house throws at you.

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image via gamersradar

In case you can’t tell I love these games! This is old-school horror fun at its finest. Most of our favorite horror movies are – right to their cores – lots of fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously, at least this is true for many slasher movies: they were made with a fine balance of scares and laughs.

And one of the biggest influences on the Splatterhouse franchise is the Slasher genre.

Digital Spy
image via Digital Spy

The most obvious reference can be found in our lead character Rick. As a matter of fact, back when I was a kid and first saw the game being played I honestly thought this was a Friday the 13th game, and honestly, it made the game way more exciting. A game letting the player take control of Jason?! Oh Hells yeah! But alas, I was wrong and would have to way some 20+ years on Gun Media to give me Friday the 13th: The Game. However, by its own merit Splatterhouse is a thrilling experience and needs to be played.

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image via gamefaqs

Back on topic, Rick is clearly based on the titanic slayer Jason Voorhees. The Terror Mask alone bears some insane similarities to the iconic hockey mask. I mean who can rightly deny that? And if you compare the original arcade’s design for Rick with Jason’s look from Parts III or VII, well it’s blatantly obvious someone was a Friday fan.

Midnight Only
image via Midnight Only

Splatterific References

This is a series truly made by horror fans for horror fans. As you make your way through the Splatterhouse franchise merrily busting open oozing heads please be sure to keep a keen eye peeled for all those amazing scary movie references.

Along with Friday the 13th  being obviously referenced, one particular boss fight just can’t help itself but smell like Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

hellnotes
image via hellnotes

This is Biggy Man, an abomination with two chainsaws for hands, and no wonder he’s so mean! How does he take a piss? So yeah, I’ll admit the chainsaws are the glaring TCM reference, but if you look closely you’ll see our pal Biggy Man is also wearing a sack over his head, and kinda reminds me of (once again) Friday the 13th Part II’s ‘tater sack’ Jason.

Some more classic horror references can be seen in other boss fights too. For example, in one battle you’ll find yourself in a room where every single piece of furniture hates your guts and wants to see you dead as you fend off bouncing chairs, a portrait of a giant eyeball, and knives that are way too happy to throw themselves at you. The entire sequence is very heavily inspired by Poltergeist.

The creature feature Deadly Spawn finds itself immortalized in the game’s franchise as well.

Muzzleland Press
image via Muzzleland Press

Some of my favorite Easter eggs can be found in 2010’s Splatterhouse remake. For instance, and admittedly the saddest cameo in the whole franchise is found from the Evil Dead. On the gore-encrusted tiles of a filthy room, you’ll find the discarded and very lifeless body of everyone’s favorite wise-ass, Ash. This is when you get to use the boomstick for the first time in the game, a sad but fitting farewell to a very groovy hero. Hail to the King, baby.

Evil Dead News
image via Evil Dead News

Another level is entirely based on the beautifully haunting cult-classic Wicker Man. I admit this is one of my all-time favorite movies so I was geeking out during this section. It’s a race against time as you fight through hordes of demons to get closer, ever so slowly closer, to the menacing wicker-built figure standing silent and cruel atop the distant hill.  And thank God there are no bees anywhere in sight!

One of the biggest Holy Shit moments was (fittingly enough) in the boiler room. Now who could be connected to a boiler room, hmmm I wonder? Now if you rush through here you might sadly miss it. But if you have a keen eye and have been taking in all the sights so far you just might be lucky enough to see a familiar hat lying near the furnace. You’ll also find a red-striped sweater hanging above that hat. And just in case you’re thinking it’s all a coincidence you’ll also find that wonderful glove of his, the claws dark with past kills. That’s right, my lovelies. Without any doubt, Freddy Krueger is part of this series.

The most glaring reference found in each game of the series is the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft’s influence permeates the franchise and grows stronger as the series expanded. The main antagonist is Dr. West, as in Re-animator’s Dr. West. Some stages in the 2010 remake depict a world entirely given over to ruin by (what we can only assume is) the awakening of Cthulhu who has brought madness and destruction to the planet. At one point you’ll find a gargantuan size tank housing a massive abomination that bears a striking resemblance to how Lovecraft detailed his beloved Cthulhu. The West Mansion is similar to the Shunned House. Rick must encounter altered dimensions, battle madness, and fight humans who have been malformed by forbidden contact with ancient evil powers from beyond the stars. Along with all that the 2010 game revolves around the stars and their alignment, which will unleash old evils that have been waiting in a cosmic prison. That is pure Lovecraft.

At one point Dr. West even shouts, “IA IA! Cthulhu Ftagn!” during one of his rituals.

As if all that wasn’t enough to get you revved up to play these games, can you tell me what other game out there gives you the opportunity to chainsaw some creepy babies during a boss fight?

The Rotting Zombie
Image via The Rotting Zombie

I honestly don’t know why Splatterhouse gets lost beneath the fandom waves of other horror titles such as Resident Evil or Dead Space. When the game’s remake was released in 2010 critics went out of their ways to hate it. But what’s even worse, most people listened to the critics and avoided the game as if it were diseased. The 2010 remake is far from perfect, but it’s certainly not a bad game. Not in the least! It’s a very good game. It’s meant to be enjoyed in the same way you’d enjoy any great 80’s scary movie. Do you think critics were kind to movies like Night of the Demons, Madman, or Cannibal Holocaust? Of course not. Those movies weren’t made for snobs though. They were made to be enjoyed by fans of the genre, and the same is true for Splatterhouse.

GameCrate
image via GameCrate

Are enemies reused in some stages? Yes. Are the mechanics same-ol’-same-ol’ from one level to the next? Sometimes. Nevertheless, these issues don’t make the game bad or ruin the experience. Each level does offer a new array of demons and mutants to fight. The boss fights are each unique, and the levels themselves are just a lot of fun to play through. I take my time and explore while I play. The game is easy to learn and still challenging, but not enough to make you rage quit…that much.

I instantly fell in love with it. It’s a masterful throwback to so many horror classics. The gore is over the top and kept me laughing. One kill-move, in particular, has Rick punch his way up a demon’s ass, go elbow deep, only to then pull out its rectum. OUCH! Buah ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! The bastard had it comin’ though.

siliconera
image via siliconera

The best way to really experience the games is to get yourself a copy of the Xbox 360 or PS3 Splatterhouse. The remake includes all three original games – including an uncensored version of the initial arcade game. Even if you hate the 2010 game you’ll still have the original trilogy to enjoy.

Already the games have proven to be a horror fanatic’s dream come true as it offers one of the most comprehensive and detailed horror-fan experience out there.

gamefaqs 2
image via gamefaqs

This has been Manic Exorcism. Thanks again for joining me on this retro journey. Happy gaming everyone!

Splatterhouse – Xbox 360

“Return of Swamp Thing” Blu-Ray and More Coming to the MVD Rewind Collection

Be kind and support MVD Rewind with Return of Swamp Thing and more new awesomely nostalgic titles coming this Spring/Summer to the online retro movie store! Since launching in December of 2017 with the Blu-ray release of D.O.A., MVD Rewind Collection has quickly established itself as one of the premiere labels in the home video market. With two new titles already released in the early part of 2018, the company is poised to have a big year.

With the dog days of Summer fast approaching leaving you hiding in the coolest corner of your house, these upcoming titles being trickled out over late Spring and into Summer may give you a good reason to fetch a TMNT Bubblegum Popsicle and bask into some nostalgic (and air-conditioned) goodness. Here’s whats new to MVD Rewind!

 

(Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (5/8)
"Return of Swamp Thing" Blu-Ray and More Coming to the MVD Rewind Collection
Coming in May are three new titles starting with Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God…Be Back by Five. This story about a pair of friends looking for a third childhood friend that they fear may be homeless and mentally ill was co-written, produced and stars 80’s icon Jon Cryer. The plot is loosely based off on a true story involving Cryer and a former classmate he heard was homeless.
The Return Of Swamp Thing [Blu-ray + DVD] (5/8)

"Return of Swamp Thing" Blu-Ray and More Coming to the MVD Rewind Collection

Swamp Thing sprouted from the pen of Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson and took root in the pages of his award-winning DC Comics’ series. Dr. Alec Holland, a noble scientist out to cure the ills of our ravaged planet Earth, is caught in a powerful explosion that coated him with his bio-restorative formula and set him ablaze. Jumping into a nearby swamp for relief from the flames, Alec Holland was transformed into everyone’s favorite muck-encrusted half-human/half plant Swamp Thing. Dick Durock starred as Swamp Thing in both the original movie and The Return of Swamp Thing. Trapped in his monstrous physical form, Alec Holland retained his intellect, emotions, and capacity to love. That love appears in the form of Abigail Arcane (Heather Locklear), step-daughter to the world’s maddest scientist, Dr. Anton Arcane. Abby owns a plant store and is more comfortable talking to her plants than to men in the local singles bar. When she meets Swampy she sees beyond the horror of his physical form and falls in love with Alec Holland. Swamp Thing has to single-handedly battle the evil Dr. Arcane, his security forces, and his army of mutant creatures in order to rescue Abby.  Both BR and DVD were created from a brand-new HD transfer made from the original internegative, released now for the first time ever. Directed by Jim Wynorski.

 

Savannah Smiles (Collector’s Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] (5/22)

"Return of Swamp Thing" Blu-Ray and More Coming to the MVD Rewind Collection

MVD Rewind brings May to a close with the release of director Pierre De Moro’s Savannah Smiles. In this charming family comedy, the young daughter of a politician runs away in an effort to get some attention from her parents. She ends up hiding in a car that belongs to a pair of two-bit criminals and what could turn into an awful nightmare becomes an unlikely bonding experience between the three.

 

Abominable (Special Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] (6/12)

"Return of Swamp Thing" Blu-Ray and More Coming to the MVD Rewind Collection

June will see two new releases from MVD Rewind starting with Abominable. Released in 2006, Abominable is easily the newest film to see entry into the MVD Rewind Collection but don’t let that fool you – all the old-school, retro appeal that you’ve come to expect and love with this collection is very much present in this one. A paraplegic convinced he was attacked by the legendary Bigfoot returns to his cabin in the woods hell-bent on proving all those that called him crazy wrong. This fun monster movie features horror icons Jeffrey Combs, Lance Henriksen and Dee Wallace.

 

Lionheart (2-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] (6/12)

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The second and final June release marks the second time Jean-Claude Van Damme will appear in the MVD Rewind Collection with the release of 1990’s Lionheart. Van Damme stars as a paratrooper legionnaire that is forced to return home to Los Angeles after his brother is seriously injured. With his brother’s family desperately needed money, Van Damme decides to earn it the only way he knows how – entering an underground fighting circuit. Often overlooked in the Van Damme catalog, Lionheart is every bit the action classic as the more popular Bloodsport and Kickboxer films. Lionheart is also notable for being the first time Van Damme showed his signature buns onscreen.

 

 

Windrider (Special Edition) (7/24)
 MVD0858BR.jpg
By the mid-80’s Nicole Kidman was well on her way to becoming a star but she was still considered to be a child actor. In 1986, at the age of 19, she started to shed that image as she starred in the first film aimed at adults with the romantic comedy Windrider. The film co-stars Tom Burlinson as an enthusiastic surfer attempting to develop a new, high tech surfboard. Along the way, he meets and begins to fall in love with a rock star played by Kidman. MVD Rewind Collection is proud to present Windrider on special edition Blu-ray this July, given the film its debut home video release in North America.

March to the Grave: The Dual Vision of Romero and Fulci

Welcome back my little nasties! Just can’t get enough of the dearly departed, now could you? Well, that’s perfectly alright with me. I love the dead too, don’t you know? Oh and what a maggoty treat have I in store for you this time around!

Today we’ll be delving even further into the dripping depths of this rancid crypt of  living death. The worm dieth not here as we expound upon the very threshold of Hell’s widening maul. The lights are dim and Death is restless as we take a look back at two extraordinary horror masters and the connection between both of their nightmarish visions. The original infection that began in the mind of George Romero spread across the globe to mutate in the fetid imagination of Lucio Fulci, and zombie mania became unstoppable thanks to both men’s fiendish contributions.

In The Beginning, There was NIGHT

 

The late George Romero managed to do something few creative minds in the field of horror ever have the good fortune to accomplish. He invented a new monster, a monster that tore away taboos and desecrated the sanctity of the restful grave. Without explanation, the dead rose from the cold soil and stalked friends, lovers, and family without prejudice. We, the unfortunate living, were prey for a fresh new nightmare, a nightmare that took the globe by storm and essentially gave way to an entire sub-genre. That same sub-genre persists to this day with no sign of hesitation in sight.

 

Mondo Tees
image via Mondo Tees

 

It should be noted that Paw Paw Romero was well aware that zombies had already appeared in cinema. However, those zombies were worlds apart from what we now know them as. Growing up, Romero saw movies involving Haitian zombies, men or women, unfortunately, who have fallen victim to some very dark voodoo magic. They were will-less slaves lumbering about with wide-eyed abandon to serve their master’s beck and call.

Did Romero intend to reinvent these helpless creatures? Aw hell no, and he would be the first to correct us should we argue any differently. George Romero did not set out to create a zombie movie, but rather he wanted to create a whole new kind of monster – ghouls! Being the learned man that he was, Paw Paw Romero was quite aware that ghouls in folklore were known to haunt mist-shrouded graveyards and feed their sensational gluttony among the dead. It was his genius to bend the rules (just a  little bit) to his own liking and make the ghouls of his movie be the actual dead freshly risen from the graves and set about with an insatiable craving for warm human flesh.

With that idea in mind Night of the Living Dead was made and a new genre was begotten. Romero’s ghouls were an instant hit as audiences screamed their lungs out and watched under a veil of tears as the victims on screen desperately fought a hopeless battle for their very lives, with increasing fever to just survive the dire night of merciless carnage.

Audiences embraced Romero’s monsters, but with one condition. By and large, people accepted them as zombies and not as ghouls. Ask most people today and even still they’ll say it’s a zombie movie. I’ve never really heard Romero had any qualms with that either. His vision was a success and he did accomplish creating a new type of nightmare to scare us shitless.

With the insistence of fellow horror genius – Dario Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red) – Romero was invited to Italy where he would sit down and lay the groundwork for what many (even still to this day) consider the greatest horror movie of all time – Dawn of the Dead. For many fans, Dawn of the Dead became their favorite scary movie, and for good reason. The movie includes a little bit of everything for anyone.

 

Night Gave Way to DAWN Something Darker Still

 

Relentless, cruel and still good-natured, this was Romero’s answer to his original vision of dread. The movie would be in color this time around meaning all the blood would be quite noticeable. It would also feature the ingenious work of special FX legend, Tom Savini who has spent a lifetime exploring ways to show us death in the most visually violent ways as possible.

Romero welcomed us all to the Apocalypse!

 

Nightmare on Film Street
image via Nightmare on Film Street

 

From the very opening scene, Romero impresses upon the audience a world that has lost all control. We are introduced to the Apocalypse from a news broadcasting room livid with very real human reactions. The movie wastes no time and drops the viewer into this world where you now must follow a band of characters who are ill-prepared to deal with the world’s ending at the hands of the zombie plague.

This isn’t something anyone can prepare for, and it certainly proved to be something no audience at the time was prepared to handle. Savini’s gruesome work splashed across the big screen like foul art, a thing no one wanted to see but nobody could look away. It was a violent array of popping headshots, flesh-eating, and ghoulish fun.

Romero struck gold and genre fans couldn’t get enough of the simple formula he used.

This formula is repeated even still. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead or Resident Evil you have George Romero and his Dawn of the Dead to thank for that. Once again, the man reinvented himself and the monster he brought to life.

 

The Italian Echo of Living Death

 

When Dawn of the Dead was released overseas, in Italy the movie was simply titled Zombi. The film had a definite impact on one particular viewer – Lucio Fulci.

 

Film International
image via Film International

 

It’s been said that the screenplay for (what would become) Zombi 2 was written before Romero’s classic DotD was released. What is fact though is Lucio’s movie served as the unofficial sequel to Dawn, or Zombi, and hence the name Zombi 2.

 

VHS Archives
image via VHS Archives

 

Fulci’s contribution is brilliant. This is not some half-assed movie either, something quickly cooked upped to cash in on an internationally acclaimed hit. This movie has heart, a swollen, blackened heart beating with putrescent awe and terrible beauty.

 

Amazon
image via Amazon

 

A few years ago Shriek Show was kind enough to releases an incredible 25th-anniversary edition of Lucio’s cult classic. This is the edition you’ll want to pick up if you’ve not seen the movie, love zombies, and have even the smallest bit of interest right now. To be honest this is my all-time favorite zombie film. Yup, even though I love Paw Paw Romero, Zombi 2 is my favorite out of all the great many zombie flicks to choose from. When asked why I always refer to one simple reason – this movie has everything I’d expect out of a zombie film. Lots of gore is a given, as well as actual visuals of the dead themselves rising from their graves. And these are rotting zombies too, so foul you can almost smell their ripe decay. Not to mention we get some pretty ladies running for their lives and heroes who don’t really stand a chance. This movie is chilling of its own accord and the slow pace build up is powerfully executed.

 

Mondo Digital.jpg

 

The one scene that stands out most to me – and if you know this movie you’ll probably already be guessing which one, but you’d be surprised to find you’re wrong – is what I call the’ zombie picnic’ scene (not the shark scene, although it’s also amazing). It’s just a scene featuring some zombies seated around a freshly dead victim. Her body is in oozing pieces. Blood is pooling everywhere and the living dead help themselves to the meaty morsels of her organs and muscles. Like I said it’s a great (and chilling) scene. One that takes a moment, hits pause on the action and just focuses on why we are afraid of zombies. We fear them because they feed off of us. Your spouse, your children, your best friend, should they die, will come back with a need to feed off of you. Or you, should you go first, will ultimately eat your own loved ones. That is the terror of zombies, that inescapable march to the grave, and not even the grave is safe anymore thanks to them. Weirdly it’s sometimes overlooked in so many other zombie movies.

 

The Series (?)

Now, wait, if we take this seriously, that would make Dawn of the Dead, Zombi 1. Sooo would that mean Night of the Living Dead is Zombi the Prequel? It’s kinda fun to let that be true. To imagine these movies are all connected. (And Disney tries to act like Marvel was first to do a shared universe)

There were follow up movies after Zombi 2 made its mark. We might get into those at a later time, but that’s going to be it for now. I hope you enjoyed our little visit with these flesh eating monstrosities. As always be sure to keep checking in to get all those warm thrills or eerie chills, all right here at Nightmare Nostalgia! I’m Manic Exorcism, and I bid you all farewell for now. Go while you still can, dearies. Hehehe.

Like Free Stuff? Enter Nightmare Nostalgia’s COMET & CHARGE! March Giveaway!

Because who doesn’t like free stuff? Enter to win this awesome prize pack from Comet and Charge TV!

Curse-of-the-Swamp-Creature-V1

In case you haven’t heard, Comet TV is a new television channel dedicated to sci-fi entertainment offering popular favorites, cult classics, and undiscovered gems, every day.  The retro lover’s station is available over the air, on cable, streaming for free online and now on ROKU and APPLE TV. This month, Comet is rolling out the red carpet for some of the best worst movies on planet Earth. They’re so bad… they’re awesome. Catch films like …

Creature (1985) 
Gargoyles (1972) 
Jaws of Satan (1982) 
Johnny Mnemonic (1995) 
Monster Dog (1984) 
Reptilicus (1962) 
The Milpitas Monster (1976)
Vicious Lips (1986)

FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIES
Friday Primetime Movie 8/7C
Saturday Encore Presentation 8/7C

King Cobra (March 9) 
Monkey Shines (March 16) 
Code 46 (March 23
High Spirits (March 30)

Stargate Universe
Monday-Friday at 2/1C & 10/9C
Unlock the secrets of the ninth chevron with the boldest show in the Stargate franchise’s illustrious history. SGU features stunning visuals, a complex storyline, and all the gate-hopping action you could possibly need. So, what are you waiting for? Board the Destiny and join COMET for the adventure.

On top of all that glorious shredded cheese, Comet has added a sister network CHARGE!  An action network showing the most “kickin’” and “punchin’” films ever created, like let’s say oh… ALL THE KICKBOXER MOVIES! The classic Van Damme films highlight the March schedule, roundhousing into your living rooms with a five-film marathon on March 10th, 2018 along with the classic Avengers series!

Kickboxer
Saturday, March 10 at 10/9C
Monday, March 26 at 6/5C

Kickboxer 2: The Road Back
Saturday, March 10 at MIDNIGHT/11C
Tuesday, March 27 at 6/5C

Kickboxer 3: The Art of War
Saturday, March 17 at 10/9C
Wednesday, March 28 at 6/5C

Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor
Saturday, March 17 at MIDNIGHT/11C
Thursday, March 29 at 6/5C

The Redemption: Kickboxer 5
SaturdayMarch 24 at 10/9C
Friday, March 30 at 6/5C

The Avengers

Revisit a classic. The British ultra suave spy series The Avengers is sleuthing its way onto CHARGE! with back to back episodes Monday through Friday at 1:30/12:30C.

Ranked by TV Guide as one of the top 20 cult TV series of all time, The Avengers is a spy-fi delight!
Weekdays at 1:30/12:30C

To celebrate the Comet and Charge March Mayhem of awfully awesome movies, the network is offering a super cool prize pack for one lucky Nightmare Nostalgia reader! Open to US residents only, simply click the link below via our set-up Rafflecopter and that’s it! Winner will be announced April 1st, 2018 (I promise, it’s not an April’s Fools joke) on our Facebook page!

Like Free Stuff? Enter Nightmare Nostalgia's COMET & CHARGE! March Giveaway!

1 – Limited Edition Johnny Mnemonic COMET TV T-shirt: One of the best of the worst films ever. Can you carry Nearly 80 Gigs Of Data In Your Head… It depends on if I have my morning coffee! This shirt is exclusive and only 130 are in existence.

1 – Kickboxer Exclusive Charge! Clamshell Box: Talk about retro goodness! This Bloodsport exclusive clamshell box features exclusive throwback artwork and will immediately take you back to the days of waiting in line for new release movies at the video store!

1- Kickboxer “Kickin’ It” Viewing Kit: When you’re working up a sweat either by saving the world or sitting on the couch, this viewing kit will aid you, in your quest. It has an official Kickboxer elastic headband as well as some popcorn and stickers.

2 – Exclusive COMET TV Film Cards: The best thing to celebrate the cult classic films arriving on COMET TV this month! A limited edition set only available here!

2 – Exclusive CHARGE! Film Cards: Get in the mood to check out CHARGE! with this card set showcasing some of the awesome movies showing on CHARGE! this month!

 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER COMET AND CHARGE! PRIZE PACK GIVEAWAY!