All posts by Manic Exorcism

Horror writer and enthusiast.

Underrated Slashers Presents, Frank Zito of ‘MANIAC!’

Horror takes many shapes and assumes various forms in order to affect us. Be it monsters, killers, or simple catastrophes, horror is there to incarnate both our deepest fears and our darkest sense of humor. By far, the Slasher Genre is my favorite kind of horror to watch, and there are hundreds to choose from out there. So much so that too many of them go overlooked and remain underrated. For that reason I, Manic Exorcism, gladly pull back the tattered veil to shed some sinister light upon these underrated slasher killers.

 

MANIAC (1980)

Why hello again. Come and gather around the hobo fire. Have your pick of any select hooker to scalp (they always come in plenty around this side of town), because today on Underrated Slashers we’re heading into some very sketchy places and getting extra sleazy, my little Nasties. Today we’ll be looking at one of the 80’s all-time best slasher films, William Lustig’s MANIAC!

The world of Frank Zito is a vile one indeed. One of the uncontrollable desires, lust, a cruel obsession for the flesh, and – above all else – murder. Brought to us by the larger-than-life performance of Joe Spinell , Frank Zito’s is a tale of atrocities and tragedy. A man controlled by need and ruled by his addiction. An addiction not for narcotics, no, but for something far more seductive. The addiction for perfection and beauty. The lovely victims who fall prey under his serrated knife are not innocent, at least not in his diluted sight. Afterall, they were told not to go out tonight.

The Midwest Film Journal
image via The Midwest Film Journal

The 80’s were the golden years of the Slasher Genre. Ah Hell, that decade gave birth to the genre. That was the golden age of Freddy, Jason, Leatherface and Michael Myers! When the big baddies wet the screens red with the blood of the innocent, and we fucking loved it! That’s also the decade that was pumping out slashers on nearly a weekly basis, so much so that we could barely keep up with them. Sadly, as the bigger names were given limitless sequels as their box office success rose like the smoke off a cannibal pyre, there were single films that got woefully overlooked in the great crowd of murder and mayhem. And by no means does that mean these lesser-knowns were in any way inferior. Quite the contrary, as in the case of MANIAC, often times they were either equal to or superior to the hell unleashed upon Elm Street or Crystal Lake.

rotten tomatoes
image via Rotten Tomatoes

In the case of Frank Zito, the blood was realistic and the outcome was gruesome. As a matter of fact, this may very well be one of the most unpleasant films in the genre to sit through. You can feel the humidity of this film. I swear at times you can even smell it. You get that rancid stench of neglected trash filling the undercity’s gutters, and the odor of cheap cologne mingled with heavy sweat just permeates nearly every scene. It kinda smells like Old Spice and spicy sausage with a hint of uncontrollable BO.

Make no mistake, this is a very dirty movie. Every minute of the film makes damn sure you understand that. It’s a film that makes you want to shower after watching it, and fuck it all that’s why I love it! Few movies can have that kind of an effect on an audience.

Life Between Frames
image via Life Between Frames

We do not simply watch Frank Zito’s life, we are thrust into it. We walk the darkly wet streets with him. We sit in the corner of his dingy flat, and we are up close and personal with his obscenities.

ORIGINS

Every good serial killer must have a beginning, thus keeping that ancient riddle of nature vs. nurture alive – are maniacs born or built? In Frank’s case, we learn that he was constantly abused by his prostitute mother, and honestly, there is a wide-open door left here for us to explore the psychology of a killer through studying our nasty friend, Franky.

scumcinema
image via scumcinema

So, with Freddy we have a child killer who was provoked by his alcoholic father’s sadism, in Jason, we have an innocent child who was bullied, picked on, then left to drown, but who also had an overly-loving mother who was ready and all-too-willing to kill for her beloved Jason. Frank Zito was victim to his mother’s sick perversities. Zito had no supernatural powers, but he kept New York City in a grip of scarlet terror and still proves to be just as deadly as his fellow murderers.

I’ve said it before, but really that’s the kind of killer that makes us all squirm. They live in the flat down the hall, just like Dahmer. They aren’t the type we’d want to spend an afternoon with, but we would never expect to find a hidden museum of the macabre waiting behind their locked doors.

bocadoinferno
image via bocadoinferno

And trust me – and without giving anything away – Frank has a grotesque little shrine built out of sin itself. For gorehounds, this is a film you won’t want to pass up! For slasher freaks, this is one underrated hit you have to finally see.

Recently, MANIAC has been enjoying a much-needed revival thanks to my friends over at Eibon Press. They specialize in bringing the crassness of grindhouse classics back to life with new twists and insidious depth. Their first issue of MANIAC is a must-have for any fan of the sleazy classic. And for the truest of sickies, issue 2 promises to pit Frank Zitto against the New York Ripper himself. So holy fuck! It’s a manic dream come true! To read more on the insane awesomeness of Eibon Press please click here and see what you’ve been missing in your life.

Wicked Horror
image via Wicked Horror

So there you have it, my Nasties. Frank Zito is out there in the dark corners of your world. He waits in the shadows and looks out through wild eyes of craven lust. Once he decides to strike there is no escape. So be careful when you walk away from here, and always keep your head turned towards those grimy alleyways, that parking garage you think is empty, or, if you’re really unlucky, outside your front door.

Old School Kaiju Fans Rejoice! Newest ‘GODZILLA: King of the Monsters’ Trailer and Images Reveal Some Titanic Icons!

When I was like three or four my Granny sewed together a hand-made Godzilla suit. It was AWESOME too! It had dorsal spines and a tail that swayed back and forth with perfect balance as my unsullied imagination took me to far off places where I truly became one with the Kaiju, the very embodiment of Godzilla himself. And it was up to me to battle the three-headed terror from Outer Space, King Ghidorah.

Godzilla Wikia.jpg

Godzilla is probably my very earliest (and certainly among my fondest) memories and was my introduction to the roaring world of monsters! I couldn’t get enough. One Christmas all I asked Santa for was Godzilla movies! I squealed like a maniac when I unwrapped the colorful packaging and pulled away the shoe-box lid (because Santa back in Minford, Ohio was just that kind of classy) and saw Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla AND Godzilla vs Monster Zero! I still own those tapes today, and they continually remind me of happier days.

Gojirapedia.jpg

 

I never thought I would get a good modernized Godzilla film. So in 1998, I had my ticket bought and my butt in a seat just dying with anticipation to see a new Godzilla movie…then walked away feeling kicked in the butt. That was not Godzilla, and fuck if we didn’t all know that.

Honestly, didn’t look like we would ever see a modern Godzilla film.

Old School Kaiju Fans Rejoice! Newest 'GODZILLA: King of the Monsters' Trailer Reveals Some Titanic Icons!
image via ComicBook

Then in 2014, Gareth Edwards (dir. Monsters) made the impossible possible! Godzilla, the true-to-life Godzilla we were waiting for, came alive! I loved the movie. Still, though, I was missing my Mothra and Rodan. However, I hoped they may show up in future movies.

You know what? Sometimes life doesn’t suck so bad. It’s those little things that make us smile, and we’re getting one of those moments next May. Michael Dougherty (dir. Trick ‘r Treat, Krampus) is giving fans what we want. He’s bringing the monsters we grew up with to the screen like we’ve never seen before. Dougherty seems like one of us. Judging by his track record I get a feeling he grew up just like we did, watching and loving the same things that made us clap and squeal. So this Godzilla sequel feels more and more like a film made by a fan for the fans of yesteryear.

ComicBook 2
image via ComicBook

Next year Godzilla will be joined by Mothra (Eeeeeeeee!), Rodan, and the4 chiefest of all Godzilla’s deadliest foes, King Ghidorah!

I can hardly believe it. Today the latest trailer dropped and we caught glimpses of these beautiful colossi.

Dark Horizons
image via Dark Horizons

All I can say is this looks like it’ll be a battle of the titans that will bring down mountains. And I can’t wait to relive a little bit of my childhood next May.

Thanks for always checking with us for those warm feelings of yesteryear as we look forward to the future.

Manic, out.

Huge ‘Halloween’ Reunion Happening This October! Come Celebrate the Whole Franchise!

If you’re a fan of the Halloween franchise you’ll want to mark your calendars and plan a trip to Pasadena, CA this coming October! Courtesy of HorrorHound Weekend, fans of the celebrated slasher series will have a chance to meet many of the brave men and women who brought this classic franchise to life!

Cast members from all across this visceral series will be there waiting to meet up with fans who have kept this horror legacy alive and ongoing each and every October. And what luck! Just in time for the release of the newest Halloween movie, what better way could a horror fan usher in the spookiest time of year?

Wicked Horror
image via Wicked Horror

Come out and celebrate 40 years (can you believe it’s been that long already?) of Halloween – a cinematic masterpiece that single-handily kicked in the doors for all sequential slasher films to come – at the Pasadena Convention center between October 12-14th! Fans in the area will not want to miss this historical event, or you’ll regret it. You just know you will.

So start saving up and break open that fat little piggy bank. Plan a trip out to the West Coast and say hi to the men who stepped behind the mask and gave life to one of horror’s most cherished icons!

Huge Halloween Reunion Happening This October! Don't Miss This One!
image via Halloween40.com

This is something horror fans will be talking about for years to come.

If I can please be candor here, this is just awesome. HorrorHound deserves our thanks for making this happen for the fans. Check out the link below and see the guests already planning to be there. And who knows what further surprises are still yet in store?!

http://www.halloween40.com/horrorhoundweekend/shows/H40/default.shtml

The Sinister Origin of CARNAGE!

Welcome back webheads! I hope you’re ready for the grand finale of the three-part look into some of the most dangerous aspects of the Spider-Man comics. We’ve already spent some time speculating on what wonderful villainy we could expect from the fast-approaching VENOM film! Today we’ll be overtaken by the blood-lusting symbiote better known as Carnage!

As his name alone suggests, this is a very violent character and one I’ve waited years to see come to the big screen. Fittingly, the gnarled roots of his twisted backstory are found deep in a cell within Rikers Prison. Here we meet Cletus Kasady, a leering madman with a sick grin as if he alone knows the punchline of a secret joke no one else can guess, one that always ends in bloodshed and carnage. The notorious serial killer was already serving eleven-consecutive life sentences when he was introduced to his newest cellmate – Eddie Brock.

Little did either of them know how destiny would lock the two together in a frenzy of ongoing mayhem with enough behemoth power to rip the city of New York to bleeding shreds! Or at the very least leave New York’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in tatters every time he rushed out to face whatever chaos these two could accomplish.

Marvel Database
image via Marvel Database

Eddie and Cletus were not friends and never became chums. Cletus was a total metal head with one goal – murder. Eddie was likewise driven by a singular focus – revenge! Having had enough of Brock’s bullshit, Kasady planned to shiv his cell-buddy right in the goddam throat… but we’ll cover that in more detail here in a bit.

What Makes Kasady Work?

Cletus Kasady is the lethal combination of what we all fear – the serial killer. Men who walk behind a mask of ordinary, regular faces. They fit in as our neighbors, our coworkers, or our church brothers. They are BTK, Dahmer, and Albert Fish. They remind us of one gravely sobering fact: the devil walks safest behind human eyes.

Kasady is a man who loves to kill and is Marvel’s closest answer to DC’s Joker. He kills without prejudice and relishes the agonized sobs of his dying victim’s slow death. He is the psychopath, without sympathy and certainly void of any remorse, a perfect host to an outside alien mind with a taste for mayhem. Kasady was born in the grimmest alleyways of Marvel.

Bloody Disgusting
image via Bloody Disgusting

Kasady already made up his mind to kill Eddie and bided his time for the right opportunity. However, before he could strike, out of the dark of night the symbiote returned for Brock, melded once again with him, and Venom was newly reborn!

No bars could hold the monstrosity back and Venom was free to haunt New York all over again. However, and possibly the cruelest act Venom has ever done, a small piece, a dribble, of the symbiote lingered behind and melded with Cletus Kasady giving birth to the entity Carnage, son of Venom!

Marvel Database
image via Marvel Database

Straight away Carnage set about killing everywhere he went, random people, victims picked here and there just for the sake of staining the streets with their blood and scarring the very soul of the city.

Carnage single-handily turned Marvel’s comics into a Mature-rated exploitation field of murder and left Spider-Man sick as he followed the gruesome crime scenes left in the psychopath’s wake.

comicvine

That was the Marvel universe I grew up with, not the Disney stuff out there now. I’m talking about spines being torn out, mangled limbs and body parts used as decorations. Signatures left in the blood of the innocent. At one point Carnage announces he’s going to turn a mother into cold-cuts right in front of her children. This was hard-gore stuff and why I’m a 90’s era Marvel fan.

This was right on the verge of the big Marvel breakup, just before McFarlane and Jim Lee left to form Image comics – along with fellow artists, but I’m showing my favoritism here – and we saw the birth of Spawn. Marvel was dark. Marvel was gritty. It was ultra-violent and far removed from what we see today. And leading the blood-soaked parade was Carnage.

Maximum Carnage is a good place to start if you’re curious to see some of the maniac’s greatest hits.

It’s already been announced that Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, Natural Born Killers) is cast for the role of Cletus Kasady in VENOM.

Will Eddie be locked up at some point in the film? Will he be cell mates with Cletus Kasady? Will the events of the comic come to life as a massive prison break gives wake to Carnage?
Be free to share your thoughts with us.

Could Both of VENOM’s Origins Be Featured in Upcoming Movie?

Hey, comic fans! True believers know the iconic badass VENOM has two origin stories. Could the upcoming movie give us both?

First off, this is only friendly speculation because nothing concrete has been announced – yet. Nevertheless, the geek in me can’t help but wonder what all might be in store for us given what we’ve already seen from the teaser.

Naturally, this is an origin story about how Eddie Brock came to inherit the symbiote and together with it became the entity we know as Venom. The interesting thing is though Venom has two different origins in the comic books, and, if I’m correct, they possibly may be in play here.

Alpha Genesis

In the beginning, there was space. That’s where Spider-Man first came in contact with the symbiote and changed to the black Spidey suit. The symbiote bonded with both Peter’s flesh and mind granting him accelerated abilities in strength and speed such as he’d never known before. He was tougher, stronger, and meaner, making him a through and through greater superhero…so we would think at least.

Hollywood Reporter
image via Hollywood Reporter

The suit proved to have a will of its own and began to slowly poison Parker’s psyche for its sinister purposes. Peter was changing due to the symbiotic influence, and became increasingly more reliant on the suit to an unhealthy degree, as though he was an addict. At last, and realizing the deadly impact the poisonous symbiote had over him now, he tore the thing from himself. And after a great struggle was released from the toxic co-existence. The suit hated Spider-Man for being rejected.

That’s the interesting thing about the symbiotes – they are in fact living entities. They have a mind and will they exercise, not to mention they have a telepathic voice that drives (intoxicates) their chosen host. That’s the other thing, they choose which vessel will better accomplish their purpose.

Meanwhile, Eddie Brock, a former employee at the Daily Bugle, had been fired and blamed his misfortune on Peter Parker. Together, one hating the Spider and the other hating the man, the symbiote untied with Brock and became Venom, Spider-Man’s most dangerous foe. Venom knew everything about his enemy and swore to kill Parker for the troubles he’d brought upon both Eddie and the symbiote. Worst of all, Venom shared Peter’s memories, and, you guessed it,  no one in Peter’s life was safe.

Greenscene
image via Greenscene

It was only after Spider-Man saved Eddie’s ex-wife that Brock finally realized perhaps Parker wasn’t entirely his villain. Now, wait: is Venom a supervillain or antihero? He has killed, but only killed those he felt were guilty and deserved to die. The Punisher does that much. The reason why Venom was so Hell-bent on killing Spider-Man was because he truly did believe Spidey was the bad guy. Anyway, a truce was made and Venom went on to star in his own mini-series where he battled other symbiotes.

Second Genesis.

In the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series the superhero enjoyed a successful reboot. In this version, Peter was still in high school and he and Eddie Brock were friends. The Venom symbiote was grown in a laboratory and was meant to be a secret weapon, that and their father’s both had something to do with its creation. Tracking the notes of his father, Peter discovered the experiment and bonded with the black suit. The outcome was very much the same as in the original storyline. The suit proved too great a threat for Peter and he shed himself ofit. The rejected symbiote bonded with the other son of the man who helped grant it life and Venom came into existence once again.

Admittedly there was a more epic tone to the original and I liked that it was from space, but getting Parker into space may be a complication for the story. And no, Infinity War is not connected to Venom according to my source, although it is somehow part of the current Spider-Man Homecoming storyline. So…???

So what can fans expect? What do we know so far?

From the trailer, we see a crashed ship, and things being extracted from the crash site. We then see Eddie (Tom Hardy) snooping into a high-security lab where he (I mean he has to) get in contact with the writhing black essence of the symbiote. The teaser perfectly shows how the symbiote whispers to Eddie’s mind and begins to meld with him into a dual entity, a fact proven in how he addresses himself at the end. “We are Venom” because the two have perfectly become one.

So I’m supposing the crashed ship carried some alien thing back to earth, a thing gets harvested and tested in shady experiments in hopes of perfecting the ultimate weapon. Already we know that Venom is set to fight other symbiotes in the movie, something like the comic miniseries aforementioned. We also know that Cletus Cassidy has been cast and Venom’s main threat will be Carnage! Fucking holy shit really?! Venom and Carnage in one cinematic explosive fight?! Listen, this is going to be intense, I just have a feeling. Fans have been waiting for this ever since Sam Raimi first directed Spider-Man. So yeah, I’d be cool with both origin stories in play here.

Weekly Planet Wikia
image via Weekly Planet Wikia

Now as for the beginning of Carnage and his dark origins, well let’s save that for next time. Until then, check out the trailer and let us know what you think.  This has been Manic Exorcism. ‘Nuff said.

New VENOM Pic Has Fans Drooling For More! The Comic’s Coming to Life!

Time to discuss one of comic-book history’s most beloved super-antiheroes – VENOM!

A brand new Venom pic has just surfaced and is taking fans by storm. Comic book licenses have never been hotter than they are now. The world we were introduced to by Dick Donner’s Superman and Tim Burton’s Batman has opened up in ways fans never dreamt of. We all wanted to see our favorite heroes and villains match off in colossal battles across land, sea, and air; battles brought to life from page to theater screen. We find ourselves in that age.

Sam Raimi hurled the Marvel property into unexplored territory with his fantastical take on some high octane web-slinging action in Spider-Man! The comic world of the web-head came to life as Spidey (Tobey Maguire) faced off against the malicious might of Green Goblin (Willem DaFoe) and Doc Oct (Alfred Molina). In the first couple of movies, fans pissed and cheered with inhuman rapture as the comic battles of old raged before our wet eyes. The sky was the limit, so where would we go from there?

Bloody Disgusting
image via Bloody Disgusting

To everyone’s sheer delight, it was announced that Spider-Man would face off against his most cherished foe, Venom! Fans dropped their drawers and shat with excitement right as they heard the news. At long-fucking last! VENOM! He was coming to goddam life and people were ready to sacrifice babies to Baal to see this happen.

Then they ruined it by casting Topher Grace in the monster’s role. Cheers turned into jeers as hearts blacked with pustule cists of anger. What in the hell did we just watch? That wasn’t Venom! That was a disgrace. Excitement for the character died an ugly death and the character lost his lethal charm among many.

CinemaBlend
image via CinemaBlend

Not all though. I still loved the character. He’s the reason I began to read the comics back in the 90’s. Marvel will never be as great as it was in that glorious decade. We had the talents of Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee illustrating some of the darkest, most savage, and eye-exploding depictions of our superheroes, the likes of which we’d never seen before. All of a sudden Spider-Man was more bestial, more arachnid than he’d ever been. His body posture was extraordinary, and it felt as if he was literally whipping by as he swung page to page. McFarlane’s Torment still stands as one of the most widely loved Spidey storylines to be published.

nerdtrip
image via nerdtrip

In came Venom, the dark and brutal antagonist to Spider-Man. An alien entity, a vicious symbiotic mastermind who sought to possess the mind and body of the right host. He found his mark with Eddie Brock, and the two of them became Venom! And they hated the Spider-Man with a passion.

With a maul like a cavern of dripping teeth and a taste for Parker’s flesh, Venom haunted the darkened places of New York as a nightmare reflection of the city’s most favored protector.

We wanted him to come to life. Some still had hopes that day would come, and it seems to be finally dawning upon us. Spidey has had two reboots and – now that he’s at home with Marvel – seems to be on the right track, although I did really enjoy the first Amazing Spider-Man. With new praise over the super-hero, it seemed to be the perfect time for his greatest threats to have a revival. The symbiotes have awakened.

Movie Web
image via Movie Web

My sources claim that this Venom movie does tie into the current Spider-Man series, but is not part of the larger MCU. Right now it’s unclear if the two will ever cross into one another. So fans shouldn’t expect any answers or tie-ins with the events of Infinity War.

Venom will be facing off against fellow symbiotes, and this has me very excited! Not long ago the teaser dropped and people lost their heads with excitement! Just from what little has been shown already this movie looks like a superior improvement over the last cinematic incarnation of the character.

The latest pic is keeping that flame of expectations glowing. Look at him! The veins, the teeth, and those eyes! Here’s hoping the movie lives up to the name.

VenomTom Hardy
image via IGN

Could There Be A Chucky Game In the Making? New Teaser Hints At That!

It’s a very fun time to be a Chucky fan! That little malevolent bastard is popular as ever it would seem. Fans are already anticipating an upcoming TV continuation of the current Chucky lore, while an unexpected Child’s Play remake is also in the works. How this is going to work is anyone’s guess right now. Not to mention the official Child’s Play 2 replica (by Trick or Treat Studios) proved to be a Kickstarter success – and believe me, I saw one of those things face to face and it looks entirely too real – allowing sickos and psychopaths to cuddle up with their very own Good Guy doll! If that doesn’t light your fire your wood’s wet.

Now, thanks to Fireblitz Games, it would seem we may also have a ‘Chucky’ game to look forward to. That’s right, my Nasties, you read that right. However, for now, it’s not being called Chucky, but just from a casual glance – thanks to this newly dropped teaser – we can easily see all the trademark signs of our favorite maniacal doll.

Sadly there’s not a whole lot known about this project and some are calling it a little sketchy. Originally the website offered more pics, some featuring models from the Bride of Chucky, or the stitched-faced Chucky, model. It’s also been claimed that the logo on his snazzy overalls which now reads “Cool Boys” originally said “Good Guys.” Not to mention, Charlie is wearing the familiar shirt, overalls, and by the maniac gods if that’s not Chucky’s face then I don’t know what is. This is Chucky in everything but name. It’s definitely something I want to know more about and it’s teased my curiosity.

This year games like Dead by Daylight and the massively successful Friday the 13th proved the high demand for horror films brought to video game formate. While we were all heartbroken to hear the sad news that halted all new content for any further Jason DLC, gamers are still piling into Camp Crystal Lake’s haunted woods to face off with the grueling might of Jason Voorhees. Meanwhile, Freddy, Michael Myers, Pigface (SAW) and Leatherface are playable denizens over at Dead by Daylight.

This is a new age of horror gaming! Where we the fans are finally given the chance to jump in and match our wits and wills against the dangers and awe of some of our most cherished horror franchises!

Child’s Play would seem like the perfect video game platform. Given what we learned from Friday the 13th – where players are allowed to step behind the fetid mask of Jason and stalk helpless campers to their messy demise – I would love to think we could become Chucky, oh I’m sorry, Charlie and hunt down random dipshits and sharpen our killing skills on their screaming faces.

Let’s get a properly liscenced Child’s Play game. Drop the Charlie bullshit and give us an authentic Chucky experience! Look at the titanic success other games are enjoying. Plus it would only help spread popularity in the property. It’s a clear win-win!

So here’s the teaser. Let us know what you think in the comments. Should this become a Chucky game? Would you be just as fine playing as Charlie?

That Random Car In the Title of ‘Tales From the Darkside’

One of my fondest memories from childhood was staying up late and watching the many glorious horror-themed shows late-night TV had to offer us back in the 80’s. My mom was pretty cool about that back then. I was no more than five and I still recall the greats I spent many nights watching. Twilight Zone, The Hitchhiker, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Unsolved Mysteries – just to name a few, and their themes still ring loud and clear in the shadowy halls of my memory.

One thing these spooktacular shows all shared was a riveting opening title accompanied by a haunting score. You all know what I’m talking about. The Twilight Zone sports a pivotal theme that remains timeless to this day. And who can deny the impact Danny Elfman’s immortal theme from Tales From the Crypt had on our generation? Remarkable!

All of that is to bring us to the subject at hand revolving around one of my favorite creepy shows, Tales From the Darkside!

From horror maestro himself, George Romero came this grizzly collection featuring beloved short horror tales from the mind of Clive Barker and other renowned writers of horror, Tales From the Darkside brought scary stories to life in various comeuppance morality tales.

The opening always gave me the chills as a kid. That eery as Hell music playing over visions of lovely fields, a country farmstead, a rippling brook and a covered bridge. Sights that should convey a welcoming sense of warmth and meditation, something the dark mind of Paw Paw Romero intentionally planned just so he could pull the rug out from underneath our feet. The sights change as the title is revealed and all of a sudden the pleasant world we have been introduced to is malformed into a sinister realm of shadows and dread, just like the genuine dark world which awaits behind the placid world we live in. Darkness is always just only one bad day away.

Right before the title shows, and I mean like a second or so before, we see in the bottom left corner a car that gets swallowed up in the Darkside. It never was anything I gave much of a thought to until an ex of mine mentioned the car was a blooper. Like it was a mistake and wasn’t supposed to be caught on film. Like while the studio was filming the opening shots some random car photobombed the process.

Funny, because I never once got that impression. I told her that too and explained how I always assumed the car was meant to be there. As if whatever family was in that car had just suddenly been sucked into the void. The idea startled her, because that’s how Hell works, right? One moment you’re out enjoying a lovely drive out in the countryside and the next the Darkside consumes you, your day, and possibly you’re entire life.

A flat tire lands you stranded in the middle of the shadowy woods where you can hear a distant banjo playing.

You’re out by yourself hoping to get some sun by the lake when local rapists come zooming by with oogly eyes all over your body.

The Wolfman Cometh
image via The Wolfman Cometh

You get a puzzle box and suddenly awaken the wonders of Hell.

You have a nightmare that lures the dream demon to your helpless state of mind.

That’s what horror has always been about! The normal and everyday world being consumed by the Darkside. That little car in the opening credits epitomizes what we love about horror. I don’t know who was in that car – and that’s part of the charm, it could be anyone of us in it – but I thank them for providing such a wonderful (but underrated) visual for us.

Ok my Nasties, this has been your good pal, Manic Exorcism once again. I’ll be back later to over-analyze even more things no one in their right mind would give a second thought to. But hey, that’s what we do here.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment below? Was it a simple photobomb, or perhaps there was something more sinister afoot?

 

 

 

Bold Return to Retro Gaming – ‘Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon’

Remember back when we were kids and couldn’t wait for the weekend? School would let out and the homework could wait because we had some serious business to attend to! We would rush home Friday afternoon with the high-octane fueled anticipation to take that hallowed trip to the Video Rental of our choice. There our little minds would overload with the colorful options within our reach. Each of those boxes were awash with sights and wonder, tempting our minds and inspiring our awe.

We’d obsess over the video game isle just trying to pick the absolute best one to fill our upcoming weekend with! So many options, always too many for our parent’s wallets to endure. I remember picking out a game and then spending the next 48 hours with my cousin as we battled our wits and will through NES classics such as Ghost ‘n Goblins, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Battletoads, and Castlevania.

ign 3
image via IGN

Castlevania is my favorite game franchise. I have returned to those games more times than I wish to admit just for another chance to traverse the lonely countryside to slay the hellish denizens of Count Dracula. I’m still as spell-bound by the series as I was back then, and sadly, there’s not really been a new game to excel the franchise as it deserves to be.

Thar’s why I’m very happy to introduce you to this Kickstarter success! Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is the perfect combination of all of our favorite 8-bit memories. It’s the soul-successor to the Castlevania series, and honestly, I feel the two exist in the same universe. The game sports some beautiful graphics with a retro flair, a haunting old-school soundtrack, and gameplay that’s easy to learn and proves to be a determined challenge.

In the spirit of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, the game allows players to enlist the support of companions who join your quest to slay demons. Each character is armed with their own weapons and skills which you will need to use interchangeably as you further your journey into the blackening heart of darkness.

ign
image via IGN

I just picked up the game this week and all those old memories of getting lost in a new game flooded over me. If you are a fan of old-school games and if you grew up loving Castlevania, then this is the game for you. With multiple endings to choose from, BCotM boasts lots of replayability.

It’s available now for PS4, Nintendo 3DS, Switch, PSVITA, Xbox ONE, and Steam.

I had to take a break from playing it to let you guys know how much fun this has been. Darkness awaits and it’s time to remind the Night why it should fear us.

For more information please visit their website:

http://curseofthemoon.com/en/

 

 

Manic Presents Underrated Slasher Killers – ‘Uncle Sam’

Horror takes many shapes and assumes various forms in order to affect us. Be it monsters, killers, or simple catastrophes, horror is there to incarnate both our deepest fears and our darkest sense of humor. By far, the Slasher Genre is my favorite kind of horror to watch, and there are hundreds to choose from out there. So much so that too many of them go overlooked and remain underrated. For that reason I, Manic Exorcism, gladly pull back the tattered veil to shed some sinister light upon these underrated slasher killers.

Uncle Sam (1996)

Yes, the patriotic spirit swept the nation this past week as droves of hard-working men and women piled into cars and made their ways to picnics, barbeques, beaches or to visit friends and loved ones. Bold rockets lit up the night sky and people sat back from Coast to Coast to celebrate how Colonials kicked a whole lot of ass back before any of us were ever born. So why not commemorate that victory with a shitty little slasher film a lot of people have never heard of?!

Fear Forever
image via Fear Forever

 

 

Uncle Sam is a movie that – and if – anyone has actually heard of it, they’ve never really seen it. Now, and thanks to Shudder, you can spend an evening with this star-spangled serial killer and remember freedom as the blood flows out of wounds before your eyes.

The movie is guilty fun. Let’s face it though, Slashers are not known for their acting. We know what to expect here: boobs, blood and fantastic kills. That’s the basic formula, and Uncle Sam is not above that expectation. It does have all three of those tropes here, so seasoned horror fans won’t be disappointed.

imdb
image via IMDB

That said, this movie has some of the worst acting I’ve seen since Twilight. We don’t expect anything of Hugh Jackman’s caliber here, but mother of piss is the acting terrible in this one.

Summary

So the movie is about a mean bastard of a guy named Sam Harper (David Fralick). A fucker so god-awful nasty that his fellow soldiers see him to the grave with a little ‘friendly fire.’ Back home though his now-widowed wife (Anne Tremko) is not really phased, and if anything is glad to be rid of his sadistic abuse. However, his obnoxious little nephew (Christopher Ogden) hero worships the man and can’t wait until he’s old enough to enlist himself and follow in Sam’s footsteps.

So Sam is brought back to life once a group of local morons burns a flag over his open grave, and well, this soldier ain’t staying dead for that kind of shit. His reanimated corpse comes back to inflict revenge on anyone he deems to be unpatriotic or disrespectful to the Nation. He finds some peeping-Tom dressed in an Uncle Sam costume, and after poking the perv’s eyes out (and spouting off one-liners that would make Freddy cringe, things like, “Hope you got an eyeful?” as he digs his fingers into both eye sockets) and then walks about on the 4th of July as our happy killer Uncle Sam.

horrorpedia
image via horrorpedia

It’s a fun gimmicky movie, another holiday-centered horror flick, and honestly, that’s a category all on its own, and one the slasher genre loves to infiltrate. I felt this movie missed some golden opportunities. Like I wish there had been some hilarious Star-Spangled type of deaths. I wanted Uncle Sam to walk around shoving fistfuls of bottle rockets up people’s butts and seeing them burst from the inside out like gooey fireworks. We do get a flagpole death though.

I can’t say this is anywhere near one of my favorite slasher characters/films, but it does have a goofy charm to it. If NECA ever released an Uncle Sam figure I’d be tempted to buy the damn thing. I mean I do collect horror icons, I’m even getting my own custom-made Madman figure! Whoop whoop!

I know the holiday has come and gone already, but the movie is still a perfect choice if you’re looking for a good summer screamer to enjoy.

So yes, without any doubt Sam is worth our attention. We stand and salute you, Sir. We thank you for your service to the history of horror and may you remain obscure no longer.

Manic out.