All posts by fridaythecurteenth

I'm just a guy that loves to write and talk about movies.

WTF Am I Watching: Microwave Massacre (1983)

Not since high school algebra have I been as terribly confused as I was today while scrolling through Shudder’s horror library. How, in all my years of watching cheddar-flavored schlock, had I never heard of Microwave Massacre? Just this morning, I’d have been willing to bet my brother’s kid that this film would be enjoyable – and since I love my nephew to pieces, I’m quite glad that I didn’t.

Typically, the WTF Am I Watching train only comes around once per week, but fuck it. We’ve been off the tracks since Black Devil Doll From Hell, so why conform now?

microwave massacre

Microwave Massacre fittingly begins with a glimpse at a fancy microwave oven and a deteriorated severed head, which, by my standards, is the peak of film openings. Unfortunately, when you reach the highest point of my fictional mountain, the only way left to go is down. A slow, methodical descent into Shitsville (The town at the bottom of the mountain, in case you didn’t know) is the respectable way to come down, but Microwave Massacre more-so slips on eagle shit and slams against every jagged rock until it reaches the surface below.

In layman’s terms, it’s really bad.

Immediately following the opening sequence, the camera follows a young woman around town, focusing primarily on her breasts and butt. This is painfully indicative of the woefully sexist film to come. The woman eventually arrives at a construction site and leans over to peek at the workers through a hole in a fence. At this point, a random man pinches her ass, pushes her boobs through the hole in the fence, and has sex with her.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like rape to me.

Strangely, Microwave Massacre plays this sexual encounter for comedy, with eccentric music accompanying the construction workers as they notice the breasts poking through the hole and rush over to find the woman that they’re attached to. When they reach the fence, the moaning woman removes her breasts from the hole and inexplicably hurries away. Can you see why I’m so goddamn baffled about this? If the woman was being raped, which we all agree that she was, why have her rush off so that she didn’t get caught having sex? Does this mean that she was willingly having sex with a stranger who grabbed her ass and made unsolicited advances? Your boy needs answers, and this film isn’t giving them to me.

All this in the first five minutes of the movie.

donald

The primary focus of Microwave Massacre is Donald, a construction worker who has grown tired of his nagging wife and the diet she forces him to follow. Rather than separating from his partner in the more traditional sense, Donald’s constant misery drives him to bludgeon her to death with a pepper grinder and pop her in the microwave. The way she would have wanted to go, he says, staring directly into the camera.

Now with a hankering for human flesh, Donald cuts his wife into dozens of pieces, wraps her up in tinfoil, and places her in the garage freezer. The only part of her body that isn’t covered in foil is her head, which brings to mind The Voices, a far superior horror comedy starring Ryan Reynolds. In that film, Reynolds’ character also keeps the heads of his victims in a refrigerator. While I doubt that Microwave Massacre was any sort of influence on that vastly different film, the connection of that tiny detail seems almost prophetic since there’s a roll of Reynolds Wrap on top of Donald’s meat freezer. This is the type of thing I’ll make conspiracy videos about when I’m 35 and in desperate need of life direction. Not that I couldn’t use some now.

Anyway.

Free from his burden of a wife, Donald starts hanging out with his work buddies more often, feeding them sandwiches made from her corpse. When he grows tired of her meat, however, Donald begins inviting prostitutes over to his house, where he kills them, cuts ‘em up, and cooks them in the microwave – all the while making Rodney Dangerfield style quips while looking, you guessed it, directly into the camera. This occurs repetitively throughout the last 45 minutes of the film, and just when we think Donald has been backed into a corner and that the plot will finally shake things up for us, he uses a bread roll to snuff a woman out and evade trouble.

A goddamn bread roll.

Microwave Massacre is the equivalent to that one friend who thinks he’s hilarious, though he’s actually just obnoxious and abrasive. The attempts at humor are desperate and sad, and the element of horror is non-existent. It’s not the so-bad-it’s-good type of horror movie that the title suggests: it’s just bad.

And I’m done talking about it.

WTF Am I Watching: Invasion of the Blood Farmers (1972)

Suppressed deep within the crevices of my mind are hellish memories of Paris Hilton on a farm. A brief sifting through internet garbage determined that these waking nightmares were pulled from a reality series called The Simple Life, which I have no recollection of ever watching. Now, this could very well be a symptom of life’s recurring stress finally frying my brain to the point of memory loss, but after watching Invasion of the Blood Farmers, I’ve deduced that the likely alternative is this:

Paris Hilton is a druid queen fueled by blood that farmers are secretly harvesting from unsuspecting victims all over the world, and I’m having psychic visions of her terrifying reign. Totally logical, right?

invasion of the blood farmers

For this week’s installment of WTF Am I Watching, it was my pleasure to stream Ed Adlum’s low budget Invasion of the Blood Farmers on Shudder – emphasis on low budget. The production of this exploitation flick is so noticeably cheap that I half-expected the movie to end thirty minutes into the runtime with a title card describing what would’ve happened if the filmmakers didn’t run out of money. IMDb claims that the budget for Invasion of the Blood Farmers was $40,000, but if that’s true, I imagine it was paid for in pennies and IOUs.

The film takes place in rural New York, where otherworldly druids pose as farmers in order to harvest blood from civilians and resurrect their queen. You’d be hard-pressed to decipher that they’re druids throughout the first forty minutes of the movie, though, as they appear to be basic, straw hat-wearing farmer dudes with an insatiable bloodlust. Farmers drink dog blood all the time, don’t they? There’s no real difference here.

It’s not until we’re introduced to the leader of the druids, who talks like a twirly-mustached cartoon villain, when we find out exactly what the hell is going on – but even with the numerous scenes of this character standing in a singular spot and sprouting exposition like goddamn wildflowers, it’s hardly clear cut. It’s something to do with a magical key and finding a host for the blood, and the most heavily-featured druid farmer uses a cane that may or may not have some sort of mystical power… who the fuck knows. The point is that the plot of Invasion of the Blood Farmers is hardly the film’s strong suit.

invasion of the blood farmers

Fortunately for my entertainment, the nonsensical story elements only add to the charm of a film that’s brimming with fantastically low quality. There isn’t one decent performance to be found in Invasion of the Blood Farmers, and while most people would mark that as a criticism, I found this aspect of the movie to be endlessly amusing. It’s painfully obvious that the actors struggled to memorize their lines, not because I’m personally questioning the confidence of their dialogue delivery, but because they actually pause mid-sentence, NUMEROUS TIMES, and search for the words in their mind. It’s a rare feat for one of the actors to get through a line without pausing or stuttering, and it’s honest-to-god delightful.

I know it sounds like I’m bullying a film that couldn’t afford the security to protect itself from jerks like me, but these especially poor quirks are the foundation for a retro exploitation flick that I thoroughly enjoyed. I like my movies how I like my beer: dirt cheap and questionable. Invasion of the Blood Farmers proudly checks both boxes, so it’s alright in *my book.

*This book does not exist

WTF Am I Watching: Day of the Animals (1977)

If we fight over everything else in life, I think we’d still unanimously agree that the sun sucks. You likely need no more evidence of this since you can’t walk outside without the skin melting from your flesh, but you can bet your ass that I’m going to give you more anyway.

On this week’s installment of WTF Am I Watching, we’re taking a look at Day of the Animals, the not-so-classic natural horror film from director William Girdler. This choice flick plays like a cautionary tale of terrors to come, as a depleted ozone layer leaves all life on Earth exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun- especially those living in high altitudes. In those particular areas, scientists discover that animals are becoming highly aggressive towards humans.

Now, I’m no scientist, therefore I cannot vouch for the legitimacy of this threat. However, since worst case scenarios seem to be the norm, I’m gonna go ahead and buy into it: The sun will turn animals against you.

day of the animals

Day of the Animals takes place somewhere in Northern California as Steve Buckner (Christopher George) accompanies a dozen hikers on a days-long trip up a mountain despite the warning from local law enforcement. Unbeknownst to them, the group is being stalked through the woods by mountain lions, bears, wolves and more- each of which are inexplicably at peace with each other, even with their hyper-aggression. I would assume that carnivorous creatures at peak monstrosity would be at each other’s throats, but again, I’m no scientist.

I digress.

When the group stops to rest, they notice that the mountain has fallen silent and that the birds are exhibiting bizarre behavior. This is also the point when each individual in the group is introduced, among them Leslie Nielsen as Paul Jenson, an angry-type man with an insensitive and racist sense of humor. So a typical old white man, amirite?

That evening, Steve and the hikers come across a campsite that appears to be in use by another group, who are nowhere to be found. Worried about the campers, Steve decides that they should stick around for the night and wait for them to return. As the group sleeps, a woman is attacked by a pack of wolves while in her sleeping bag. The hikers manage to chase the wolves away before she’s killed, but she’s badly injured and needs medical assistance.

The following morning, the woman and her husband journey to a nearby ranger tower in search of help, but she’s attacked by vicious birds and knocked over a cliff to her death. Her husband manages to escape, and in doing so, finds a young girl who is presumably part of the missing group from the night before. As the film progresses, the two escape the mountain, but while searching for help, the newly widowed husband is ambushed by a mad dog AND rattlesnakes, resulting in his death. The child survives though, destined for life without parents or protectors while dealing with the constant trauma and paranoia from seeing several people she cared about be ferociously torn apart by animals. So that’s a silver lining, I suppose.

Elsewhere, Steve leads the group to a spot where food has been left for them, only to find that animals have raided the area and devoured all of their grub. Tensions begin to rise as Paul questions Steve’s leadership, ultimately resulting in the groups splitting up after they are attacked again. Paul takes his group up the mountain towards the ranger tower, and Steve leads the rest back down the mountain.

day of the animals

During a rainstorm, it’s revealed that Paul has lost his goddamn mind, and in an unexpected turn, believes himself to be the macho king of the mountain and attempts to rape one of the young women in his group. He’s briefly fought off by her boyfriend, but ends up driving a walking stick through his gut and murdering him. He then drags the woman away to rape her while the rest of the group watches helplessly, until a large grizzly bear intervenes. The group manages to escape and find safety, other than Paul, who, naturally, wrestles the bear until his throat is ripped out.

If you ever wanted to see a shirtless Leslie Nielsen fight a bear to the death, Day of the Animals is the movie for you.

As for Steve and the remaining four members of his group, they are attacked by a pack of especially aggressive German Shepherds (I didn’t count, but the glance-test deduced that there are at least nineteen of them). Two of the hikers are overcome by the dogs, and even Steve barely manages to escape with his life. He and the other two survivors drift downstream on a raft, eventually coming to a safe place as all the affected animals simply drop dead.

Lesson of the day:

The sun killed them, and it will kill you too. Stay indoors and monitor your goddamn pets.

WTF Am I Watching: Black Devil Doll From Hell (1984)

Dearest Reader,

Welcome to the inaugural article of my WTF Am I Watching series. Throughout this extended (barring my sudden death at 27 years old like some sort of coked out rockstar) collection of articles, I’ll be viewing bizarre horror films that most people have never even heard of and describing them to you in great detail. This week’s flick is Black Devil Doll From Hell, a mid-eighties blaxploitation horror film from writer/director Chester Turner.

black devil doll from hell

Black Devil Doll From Hell begins with a nearly four-minute opening credit sequence in which several names appear against a fuzzy black background while a sampled beat of sinister funk (is that a genre?) plays on a repeated loop three or four times in full. In layman’s terms, it was long as fuck.

Once the credits finally wrap up, the viewer is met with a foreboding warning in regard to the terror they’re about to experience:

We all have our personal horror stories to tell. May yours never be as devastating as Miss Helen Black’s.”

If I may backtrack for a moment… I watched Black Devil Doll From Hell on Shudder, and since I neglected to read the plot information, I had no idea exactly what I was getting myself into. Foolishly, I expected something more along the lines of Child’s Play, but, um, that’s not exactly the sort of devastation Helen Black would be faced with.

This was Turner’s directorial debut, and it shows from the very moment we see something other than words on the screen. I didn’t do my research on the particular subject, but the film appears to be shot on a standard 80’s home video recorder. The picture looks like something you’d find on a VHS tape in the dusty cabinet under your grandparent’s bulky box television. The opening scene is set in a church, and you’d be hard-pressed to believe that any of the characters are played by real actors. I 100% think that Turner filmed an actual church congregation, save for Shirley L. Jones, the lead actress, with a home video recorder, and turned it into the first scene of a movie. Some of the pew-sitting church members even glance directly into the camera! It’s quite charming.

What we learn from this opening church scene and the walk home that follows, however, is that Helen Black is as devout as Christians come. She follows the ten commandments to the letter, tries to bring sinners to the lord, and shuns any negative influence. She’s a virgin, and as she confesses to a friend over the phone, she intends to remain that way until she is married. At the time it was spoken, I really thought the bit about her virginity was just a throwaway line. I had no idea that the entire plot of this insane film was hinging on her sex life.

Not long after convincing her phone friend to attend church with her next Sunday, Ms. Helen Black visits some sort of thrift shop, where she becomes instantly fascinated by the antique doll of a black man. She asks the owner of the store for a price, and the owner is surprisingly straight-up with her about the doll’s supernatural abilities. In a bit of terribly acted exposition, the owner explains that the doll possesses the power to grant the deepest desires of the heart, and that every time someone purchases it, the doll eventually finds its way back to her shop.

Ms. Black laughs, sets the doll down, and begins to walk away while shaking her head at the silly story she’d just been told. However, when she reaches the doorway, she decides to buy the doll regardless of its supernatural power because either (A) she really doesn’t believe fables other than the bible, or (B) she DOES believe the story, and since she’s not the virgin Mary, God isn’t providing the D that her heart most desires.

black devil doll from hell

That’s right, it’s quickly revealed after she purchases the doll that, despite what she’s preached throughout the thirty minutes of the movie so far, what she wants more than anything in the world is to get laid. Ms. Black keeps her innocent charade up while speaking with the doll upon returning home. She sets the doll on the toilet, begins to undress for a shower, and declares that the doll’s eyes are the only ones who will see her naked until she’s married.

While Helen bathes, the doll opens its eyes and looks around the bathroom, observing that his new owner is in the shower. He exhales an unexplained white mist, causing the shower curtain to slowly open by itself. Under the doll’s influence, Ms. Black experiences visions of herself and the doll having dirty, nipple-lickin’ sex, and she begins to touch herself without realizing exactly what she’s doing. When she eventually catches herself, she laments the dirty thoughts and pulls the shower curtain closed without so much as a thought as to why it opened by itself. Because that happens.

That night, Helen wakes from disturbing sex dreams to find the doll watching her. She removes the doll from the room, but it’s watching her yet again when she awakens the following morning. Inexplicably confused by the doll seeming to possess a supernatural power in which she’d already been warned about, Ms. Black ties the doll up inside of a closeted box before leaving the house for a few hours. To her surprise, the doll is still tied up when she returns home, so she decides to shower in peace.

As I mentioned before, I really expected Black Devil Doll From Hell to be something similar to Child’s Play. I was fully prepared to see a doll cussing, killing, and placing its soul in the bodies of small white children. What I didn’t plan on, however, was for this ridiculously cheap-looking puppet to attack Helen Black, knock her unconscious long enough to tie her to a bed, and rape her against her will while calling her “bitch” about a hundred times and degrading her very existence.

Also unplanned was the fact that Black Devil Doll From Hell becomes what is essentially softcore pornography. The doll has a tongue, and it uses it in more ways than one. Most unexpected, though, is that Ms. Black not only enjoyed her sexual experience, but complimented the doll’s sexual prowess and begged it not to stop. Talk about good girls gone wild.

black devil doll from hell

After the moderately graphic seven minutes of doll on human sex (!!!), the doll vanishes, having fulfilled Helen’s deepest desire. Throughout the rest of the film, though, she grows increasingly lustful, but the missing doll has the only wood she craves. It’s wild, y’all.

Black Devil Doll From Hell is the type of horror movie that’s so bad, you’ll never be able to unsee it. Every aspect of the film is horribly executed, from the direction, editing and performances, to the in-your-face misogyny. I can’t at all recommend it, but I hope like hell that you watch it anyway.

Remembering That Freaky-Ass Episode of ‘The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald’

Ah, McDonald’s. The chicken nuggets are endless, the playgrounds are bitchin’, and the McFlurry machine has been broken since 1995. Despite that one glaring flaw, Mickie D’s is a pretty solid fast food joint. However, the franchise’s greatest accomplishment is one that time has forgotten. That pesky time.

That accomplishment, for those who still don’t know, is The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald. Produced by Klasky Csupo, the company known for shows such as The Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys, the separately-released direct-to-video series focused on Ronald McDonald, the other McDonald’s mascots, and their young human friends while they experienced wondrous, moral-teaching adventures.

None of those adventures were greater, though than “Scared Silly,” the series’ very first episode. Released to VHS in October of 1998, the 40-minute episode could be purchased at your local McDonald’s for less than $4, and unless your guardians were total squares, they spotted you the cash.

Now, I’m not going to sit here in my holey sweatpants and tell you that “Scared Silly” is greater than classic haunted house films like Poltergeist and The Changeling, but I’m not going to deny it either.

scared silly 2
Just look at that freaky shit.

The episode follows the baggy jumpsuit-wearing Ronald McDonald and his friends while they go camping in the Far-Flung Forest. There are songs, there are jokes, and there is cheer all around. Like any great horror film, though, that happiness is quickly suffocated by a sense of doom when a thunderstorm strikes and forces the group to take shelter in an old haunted house.

While there, the McBuddies (A name I just gave them that should’ve totally been trademarked) encounter a holographic head named Franklin, who forces them to partake in a challenging riddle game if they ever want to leave the spooky house again. One by one, the friends begin to disappear as they fail to correctly solve each riddle.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I promise that it’s satisfying.

If your interest in The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald has been renewed, or if you have a child you want to shamelessly frighten in a family-friendly sort of way, the episode has been uploaded to YouTube and can be viewed below.

Stay spooky, my friends.

Hulk Hogan is Here: The Greatest Heel Turn in Wrestling History

Harvey Dent once said, “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” This now iconic line of Dark Knight dialogue effectively accomplished two things: (1) it provided attentive viewers with foreshadowing as to how the film would end; And (2), it made it abundantly clear that Harvey Dent was watching WCW’s Bash at the Beach in 1996.

hulk hogan
Photo Credit: WWE

Make no mistake about it, at the time, Hulk Hogan was a hero. Arguably the greatest “face” throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, Hogan’s name had become synonymous with wrestling- and to this day, he’s considered to be one of the all-time greats. Before World Championship Wrestling’s pay-per-view in the summer of ‘96, the Hulkster was adored by every man, woman, and child who was even a passing fan of professional wrestling. Not only were they taken by his hot dog-colored skin and questionable acting chops, but they longed for the positive American values he represented at the time. On that fateful evening in Dayton Beach, Florida, however, everything changed.

With 8,300 Hulkamaniacs in attendance, Hulk Hogan achieved the greatest heel turn in the history of the business. Allow me to paint the scene:

Plans for the betrayal were set in motion on May 27, 1996. Scott Hall, previously Razor Ramon of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), made his first WCW appearance on Monday Night Nitro, making his intentions of a brand invasion crystal clear. Hall challenged Eric Bischoff, Executive Vice President of WCW, to select three of his best wrestlers to take on Hall and two yet-to-be-determined partners.

hulk hogan
Photo Credit: WWE

The first of the partners was eventually revealed to be Kevin Nash, also coming over from the WWF, who became one half of The Outsiders. Over the next several weeks, Hall and Nash continually interrupted WCW events, prompting Bischoff to accept their challenge and give them a three-man tag team match. The opponents? Randy Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger. The venue? Bash at the Beach.

Though The Outsiders already knew the three men they’d be taking on at the pay-per-view, they kept the third member of their faction under wraps. Even when the match, dubbed the “Hostile Takeover Match”, began, the duo wasn’t yet accompanied by their mystery partner.

Even still, the Outsiders held their own against Savage, Sting and Luger, with the latter eventually being knocked out cold and forced to leave the match. When the match resumed, the teams battled back and forth, with Hall and Nash gaining the upper hand. That’s when everybody’s favorite American, Hulk Hogan, trotted briskly down the ramp to raucous applause. The Outsiders fled the ring, leaving a nearly-defeated Randy Savage lying face-up on the mat, and it appeared that the Hulkster had saved the day for WCW…until he bounced off the ropes and delivered an atomic leg drop to Randy Savage, revealing himself to be the third man.

Stunned, the crowd began to throw trash into the ring as they watched Hulk Hogan take the mic from “Mean” Gene Okerlund and deliver a speech about the future. “You can call this the new world order of wrestling, brother.”

And so they did.

Hulk Hogan
Photo Credit: WWE

The nWo went on to become one of the most iconic factions in wrestling history, allowing WCW to rival the WWF in ratings- which remains unprecedented still more than twenty years later. The stable dominated wrestling for years to come, and it all began with Hulk Hogan and the greatest heel turn in the history of wrestling entertainment.

(Featured Image Credit: WWE)