In-Between Poltergeist, Heather O’ Rourke Charmed Us With Rainbow Brite Commercials

In 1984, the first Apple Macintosh computer went up for sale commercially, Madonna humped the stage at the first MTV video awards, and Ghostbusters rocked theaters around the world. But, most importantly, a little toy was introduced to millions of young girls all over the world that was about as glorious and magical that can only be compared to Rambo riding a Unicorn. That toy my friends, was Rainbow Brite.

 

Image result for rainbow brite doll gif

Image via Yellow80s

Introduced by Hallmark and following the success of Care Bears, phenom toy company Mattel acquired the license to make a line of unique and colorful dolls that every little girl would run their grandmother over to own. The Rainbow Brite line launched in 1984 alongside the animated series with originally just Rainbow Brite and four color kids (Red Butler, Canary Yellow, Patty O’ Green, and Indigo) with sprite friends included.

Might I add, if you’ve managed to keep these dolls over the past 30+ years WITH their sprites, kudos to you because in a lot of cases those little bastards get lost over time.

Of course, the franchise that vomited rainbows and star sprinkles all over the shag carpet advertised countless other toys, books, and audio tapes for Rainbowland seekers. However, the dolls themselves are the holy grail of the merch line. And we needed someone just as adorable and endearing to pawn these 10′ plush dolls with plastic heads to young girls on a national level. Who better than Heather O’ Rourke? Because hey, she knows a thing or two about interdimensional traveling to other worlds, am I right?

Check out the Poltergeist star below spreading Rainbowland love commercially!

 

 

 

 

That Freaky Poltergeist Super Bowl Poster That Predicted the Future

You know, because the whole history behind the infamous alleged Poltergeist curse wasn’t creepy enough. Perhaps you’ve heard of this one before but in the case this all news to you, get ready for one hell of a mind-fuck.

I’ll admit, I never noticed this little-added touch of mystery and freakiness about the film until about three years ago myself when it made a few internet rounds on various websites. However, the earliest article I can find on the subject itself (to give proper credit here-May 2012) is a little piece from TheBackRow.com pointing out the eerie coincidence.

In the year Poltergeist was released, 1982 helmed the 16th annual Super Bowl. Big deal right? Well, in the picture seen below you’ll see something that sticks out like a sore thumb in the midst of Robbie’s Star Wars and Alien movie posters. A Super Bowl poster hanging right above Carol Anne’s older brother’s bed. Again, who cares right?

Look again- at the date to be precise.

Image result for poltergeist superbowl

Image via Imgur

Now, that’s a little strange because I don’t recall the film being set in the future of 1988. So apart from just being really weird, why the hell is there a 1988 Super Bowl poster being seen six years in the future of the present? Unfortunately, I really have no unearthly idea. Misplaced timelines aside, here’s where it get’s downright freaky…

Ok, so the 1988 Super Bowl between the Redskins and the Broncos landed on January 31, 1988. Which marks the day young Poltergeist star Heather O’ Rourke fell fatally ill and consequently, died the following day with a confirmed report of septic shock due to intestinal stenosis. Due to the nature of cast and crew involved with the film, or any sequels for that matter dying off shortly after filming; it’s hard to not at least acknowledge the very real spooky factor underneath it all.

  • Nov. 1982 Dominique Dunne- murdered in her driveway by strangulation.
  • Sep. 1985 Julian Beck- passed away from pancreatic cancer months before the release of The Other Side. (Diagnosed before accepting the role but worth mentioning)
  • June 1987 Will Sampson- died of malnutrition and postoperative kidney failure.

With the addition of Heather ‘O Rourke’s death February 1, 1988, four months before the release of her final film Poltergeist III, fans believe the above-seen poster eerily predicted the young actress’ untimely death and thus expanding on the widely known cure of the Poltergeist films. Even the most skeptical individual has to admit that’s just fuckin’ weird.

Oh, and Super Bowl took place in San Diego- O’ Rourke’s hometown and place of death.

Let that sink in for a minute.

 

 

That Moment in WWE Wrestling History That Scared Every Kid Watching

I don’t care if you were the toughest 11-year-old on the block. When this moment came out of nowhere during the Saturday morning program Superstars of Wrestling, you were shook. And possibly pissing your pants if you were really upset.

 

Image result for macho man snake bite gif

I miss the good ole days of Wrestling when McMahon gave no fucks about making a kid cry.

The bite heard around the world back on November 23rd, 1991 all started back with the infamous Career Ending Match between Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 7- in which The Madness lost to the Warrior after a grueling back and forth that I considered, the REAL main event of the evening. While a dazed Savage attempted to gather his bearings after his defeat, his manager at the time Scary, I mean the Sensational Queen Sherri took her frustrations out on Randy by mercifully kicking the man while he’s down (literally). Unbeknownst to anyone other than the announcers, Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan who spotted her before the start of the match, the lovely Elizabeth who had stayed by Savage’s side for years before a fallout, looked on in horror as she watched Savage be absolutely humiliated. That is until, she hopped the railings, into the ring, grabbed Sherri by the hair, and flung her ass out like a piece of hot trash. Thus reuniting the infamous duo, leading them into the first-ever WWF Pay Per View wedding appropriately called, the Match Made in Heaven to be aired during Summerslam ’91. Well, it was adorable and all, but the real action happened during the reception…

Randy and Elizabeth opening gifts from guests looking all super happy and whatnot turns into terror as Elizabeth opens a gift containing a snake that pops up like a twisted jack-in-box. Then out of nowhere, both Jake the Snake and The Undertaker run in with a surprise beat down for the Groom. Which totally confused me at the time because there was NO REASON for any of this to even happen, on top of the fact Jake was one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWF, goddamnit, WWE up until the incident. It’s like Jake woke up that day deciding to turn heel and he was going to be the biggest prick possible. I mean, seriously, anyone wanting to hurt or even frighten Miss Elizabeth was automatically the biggest piece of shit on the face of the Earth.

Like, seriously how dare you Jake.

Related image

via palooza.com

Anyway, with Savage being barred from wrestling via the Career Ending Match, he couldn’t get his hands on Roberts for revenge. However, Jake continued to taunt the man for months even dropping Elizabeth’s name in promos to further infuriate him. Well, during one fine Saturday morning during Superstars of Wrestling, it all came to a head and The Mad One couldn’t take the assault on his manhood anymore. After Jake pinned some no-namer, he grabbed a microphone and addressed Savage, who was doing commentary; calling him a “gutless, yellow, stinkin’ coward who hides behind the skirt of a woman.”

Oh yeah. That really pissed him off. Savage ran towards the ring despite pleas from his comrade and fellow commentators Vince McMahon and Roddy Piper, got distracted by a ref which in turn gave Jake the upper hand, tied Savage to some ropes, and commenced to have every child watching under the age of 12 shit their pants for the next eight minutes.

 

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I don’t recall anything before or after this looking and feeling so terrifying for anyone watching. Just another reason why Savage will forever remain a legend in the world of wrestling. Aside from the show, reports state he was super excited to get bit by that King Cobra. What a fuckin’ beast.

Remembering Beetlejuice: The Animated Series

Let’s rewind our minds back a few years and remember what being a kid was like on a gorgeous Saturday morning.

Unlike my peers, I personally was always up at a decent hour (around 7:30 a.m.). After crawling out of my Ninja Turtle sheets, I would make my way to the dimly lit kitchen and help myself to a bowl of cereal and whatever readily available juice box (preferably Hawaiian Punch or Ecto Cooler) my fridge held that morning. All placed accordingly on my TMNT (1990) movie tray in front of our mammoth of a television set. I was ready to seize the glorious Saturday with the start of some of the greatest goddamn must-see-TV. And one of many of those amazing Saturday morning animated gems was, of course, Beetlejuice: The Animated Series.

 

Image result for beetlejuice cartoon saturday morning gif

 

 

One year after Tim Burton congo-danced the ghost with the most across the big screen, the imaginative filmmaker developed a more kid-friendly version (sorry, no crotch grabbing anywhere here) based on the daily lives of the bio-exorcist and his earth pal, Lydia Deetz.

Mostly set in Beetle’s home The Netherworld, the series ran around some silly adventure or problem week after week involving the duo. From roaming skeletons in the closet ruining someone’s day with the hard truth or Beetlejuice’s entire skeletal system abandoning him in favor of a vacation, the show was a perfect Saturday morning mash-up of wackiness and just a hint of horror.

Lydia’s parents Charles and the eccentric Delia return in animated form as naive supporting characters that never seem to notice their daughter spends most of her free time in another dimension. Then again, in the film, she seemed to be mostly ignored from her self-absorbed parental units until the shit hit the fan- so the relationship stays a tad faithful in that aspect. The void felt by the absence of Barbara and Adam was filled with new characters. Beetle’s neighbors in the Netherworld furthered BJ’s awesome sense of sarcasm with most of them being both clumsy and easy to poke fun at. In which case, ole BJ took advantage of on a constant basis and was the source for a lot of the humor in the series. Jacques, Ginger, The Monster Across the Street, Poopsie, the Mayor, and on Earth, the snooty Claire Brewster, were often the victims of Beetlejuice’s embarrassing pranks.  Even Lyds wasn’t immune to Beetle’s reign of practical jokes as the bio-exorcist’s only friend was even the butt-of-the-joke at times. However, unlike Claire and the Netherworld residents, BJ’s pranks on the teenage Deetz were never meant to cause damaging feelings or humility, but rather all in fun. Which asserts the relationship between Lydia and Beetlejuice in the series. Unlike in the film, the pair was as close as friends could get and the unlikely duo’s friendship remained a constant crucial part of the show throughout the series’ short three-season span.

What I wouldn’t give for a revival of this beautiful program. Hey if Spiderman and Teen Titans can be rebooted several times, why not give Beetlejuice a shot at the 21st century?

The Dick Debate: “Labyrinth” Edition

Everyone has a movie that no matter how many times they see it, they can watch it 100 more times and it still won’t get old. And not only that, but they can put on a one (wo)man show for you and quote every single line and annoy the fuck out of you while you’re trying to watch it. That movie, for me, is the 1987 classic Labyrinth. That movie, along with the codpiece controversy, will forever be a part of me.

For those of you who don’t know the movie, and who the hell doesn’t know the movie, it follows Sarah, a 16-ish-year-old girl that hates her life and her step-mother and her half-brother. She’s a teenager and everything sucks…obv. So, one night while babysitting Baby Waldo’s understudy, she tells the story of a Goblin King that fell in love with a girl way too young for him and granted her wish of taking the baby away. To her surprise it’s true and Toby, the baby, is stolen away by Jareth, the sexiest Goblin King in the land, played by the incomparable David Bowie.

I saw this movie when I was four and fell in love with David Bowie as much as any toddler could. Here I am in my thirties and that never changed. This movie for me like with many women my age began a lifelong crush on the famously androgynous and out of this worldly talented man known as Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke.

labyrinth

I can’t tell you how many times I wished I was Sarah in that ballroom in the dress with the MASSIVE sleeves.

But with this movie lies a nagging question that haunts viewers to this very day…was David Bowie actually wearing a codpiece? Could we analyze the blatant sexuality references, the fact that a grown ass man was in love with a teenage girl or the fact that the creatures who took their heads off are the things of pure nightmares? Yeah, we could, but why would we when there are more pressing issues.

I present to you exhibit A.

labyrinth the creedence tapes

Now, I don’t mind searching David Bowie’s junk on the internet, may he rest in peace, but I have something to say…that’s NOT a codpiece. THIS is a codpiece.

labyrinth bbc

That’s ridiculous and I think we can all agree that’s not what Bowie is dealing with. The costume designers purposely made his pants REALLY tight because he was supposed to be alluring and desirable like a rock star but maybe something was there to smooth things out a bit; the penile equivalent of nipple covers, but that’s it. Let’s put the debate to rest right here. That’s all Bowie. If you love Labyrinth facts, check out this little slice from Buzzfeed.

labyrinth pinterest

And I debated writing this since we lost Bowie in 2016, but I can promise, there are fewer bigger fans than I. I have the utmost respect for the man, his movies, and his music. But as a young girl in the 80’s and 90’s, that bulge was just as much a part of my growing up as Saved By the Bell and Backstreet Boys.

And here, have a little dance while you’re here and sleep peacefully knowing we have settled the dick debate here and now…probably.

Labyrinth (30th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

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.

imdb 2
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.

gamersradar
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.

gamefaqs
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

Happy Dirty 30! The 15 Best Horror Films From 1988

Call me an old dried up fart-face, but it’s just so hard to accept that the legion of films we’re about to dive into, turn the dirty 30 this year. However, here we are in 2018 and our beloved movies first discovered by young horror fans at our local corner video store, are hitting a major anniversary milestone- and I’m a throwing a party for these glorious horror classics.

The wonderful years of ‘86 and ‘87 are pretty much unanimously considered from all of us, important years for the horror genre. Churning out such classics such as The Fly and Hellraiser throughout those time periods, paved the way for another banner year for horror fans in 1988; giving us a ridiculously awesome amount of films that still manage to give us cinematic boners thirty years later.

Speaking from the gut here, the year of ‘88 may just be one of the greatest years for the genre unofficially dubbed the “Slasher Decade”. From the beautifully constructed sequel to the above- mentioned Hellraiser, to the introduction of one of horror’s greatest tiny terrors in the form of a plastic doll, these movies filled our little horror hearts with all the fuzzies. For some even, opened up the door to the wonderful world of horror cinema upon seeing the hypnotizing VHS artwork that lined the horror shelves. Because as we know, video rental stores were all the jazz in this era and served as our savior from the word of mouth for the next cool movie to check out. So without further adieu, let’s retro rewind back to 1988 and look at some of the year’s best and brightest of horror!

 

15. “Night of the Demons”

1988 2

Night of the Demons is universally well-known among horror fans, especially from this tubular decade. Even if you haven’t seen this gem, you sure as hell remember that unforgettable VHS cover art from the video rental horror shelf. Hell, it’s what prompted me to rent the damn thing as a kid. Anyway, I feel like this delicious slice of cheesy horror isn’t mentioned nearly enough. So on the list this Linnea Quigley masterpiece goes!

Demons mixes up the perfect blend of dark humor and campy horror the ‘80s era is known to churn out. Night of the Demons pulls off this combo so well that it’s almost like the perfect example of a classic ‘80s genre film that we’ve see parodied over and over again. (Like the countless titles involving the fantastic word massacre). We have a basic set-up of a bunch of teens partying it up on Halloween night at, well, of course, a funeral parlor-duh. Because nothing bad can come of that in a horror movie, right? Even better, they perform a séance and a glorious chase between humans and demons ensues throughout the movie. Also worth mentioning is the movie’s kick-ass soundtrack which holds one of my favorite intro instrumentals of any ‘80s horror film. Give that one a listen sometime!

 

14. “Maniac Cop”

1988 3.gif

 

If you can’t appreciate this little 1988 treasure starring the man, the myth, the mustache, Tom Atkins and equally legendary Bruce Campbell, I don’t think I want to know you- period. The movie even has the cheesiest and greatest self-titled rap song that can only rival Fat Boys’ “Are You Ready for Freddy” tune. If that alone doesn’t sell you off the bat, nothing further will so just skip this entry entirely.

In a sort of twisted Toxic Avenger/ Robocop mash-up, a no funny business cop is sent to jail on, really a minor technicality, and is mercilessly beaten to death (or so we think anyway) by the housed inmates he had sent there. A little private justice inmate style if you will. After being moved from the cell to the morgue, enter the king of chins Bruce and a dead wife that has been pinned on him. Along with a fair amount of strange murders of both criminals and innocents alike. Well, the Bruce is an adamant one and sets out to prove his innocence beyond reasonable doubt. And finds an old, thought to be dead colleague now a vengeful disfigured nutbag, behind the murders. Beautiful, isn’t it?

 

13. “Phantasm 2”

1988 4.gif

 

Plainly speaking, I’m not a huge fan of the whole Phantasm franchise. (Cut me some slack, we all have different tastes.) However, if I were to choose only one from the series to watch, Phantasm 2 would most definitely be the winner.

Continuing with returning characters Mike and Reggie, Phantasm 2 picks up several years later with Mike institutionalized on the belief that the events in the first film were nothing short of his own wild imagination. Oh, if only it were that simple Mike. After being released from the asylum and reunited with Reggie, the pair embark on a journey that leads them straight to the forever now iconic, Tall Man. And if you know anything about the Phantasm movies, you know damn well it’s time to get weird- and it sure does. But in the greatest of ways.  

Almost ten years later and a larger budget the second time around, the effects gave away a greater nightmarish look to those epic, murderous spheres. Which I think we can all appreciate.  Aside from the elevated effects, Angus Scrimm is the glue that holds it all together with his snarlish expressions and the feeling of uneasiness in his presence as the Tall Man. What a legend and is still sorely missed by us all.

 

12. “Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear”

1988 5

 

Infamous for his zombie films, George Romero gave us something different, and quite special in 1988- Ella the homicidal monkey. Also, goddamn if this one isn’t underrated and not talked about nearly enough. This adorable little monkey was absolutely terrifying and I frigging love it.

 

Ella is brought about when an athlete turned quadriplegic due to an accident, needs some help with daily duties and a little-added cheer in his now forever changed life. Enter Ella, an experimental monkey injected with human brain tissue turned service monkey. At first, the pair are actually adorable as hell. They really seem to take a shine to each other. However, Ella’s infatuation with her human friend takes a dark turn into some Marky Mark Fear type jealousy and she becomes a homicidal ball of fur and cuteness. She might be batshit insane, but she’s  pinch-the-cheeks delightful doing it. Which makes the idea that much more terrifying. She’s even adorable when she takes an angry piss on her once master and he calls her, “a slime” Actually, I laughed pretty damn hard at that.

 

11. “Waxwork”

1988 6

Ok, seriously: Fuck Madame Tussaud’s. Let’s hit up a Waxwork!

Imagine stepping into your favorite monster’s world. What would you do, and are you even prepared for it? Waxwork answers these questions for a couple of college students, (Zach Galligan-Gremlins, and Deborah Foreman- April Fool’s Day) among the crew. The six friends visit a Waxwork exhibit run by none other than David Warner (The Omen) that displays some iconic horror wax figures in all its glory. However, this magical house of wax can also give you a run for your money and life if you step inside one of the displays. You’ll end up in your favorite monster’s world and possibly become a part of it forever in the form of wax.

1988’s Waxwork is campy fan service entertainment at its damn finest and should be treated as such. If you love the classics Night of the Living Dead, Dracula, and Frankenstein, it’s kind of hard not to crack a satisfied smile during a viewing of Waxwork. Sure, it’s no masterpiece, but I dare you not to have some fuzzy feelings towards it after a watch. It just makes you feel you damn good about being a horror fan.

 

10. “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers”

1988 7.gif

 

1988 brought about the much-anticipated return of a horror icon from a seven-year hiatus, and after a foul outcry from fans who were pretty displeased with Season of the Witch. Welp, studios gave in and resurrected Mikey from the dead to unleash hell in Haddonfield once more. And although I have no issues with Halloween III personally, (in fact I frigging love it), I’m forever glad The Return happened as well.

The Return brings a once vegetable Myers awaken by the mere utter of the word “niece” and back to Haddonfield to finish off his one remaining family member. We get another dose of Donald Pleasance back as the ever-persistent hunter of Myers, and we’re introduced to one of today’s modern scream queens, Danielle Harris as Michael’s niece. It doesn’t hold that same type of magic as the original two sister films, but has its own spark of charm that has kept it a fan favorite with Halloween fans.

It may not be everyone’s favorite chapter of the life and times of Myers; but in between the Autumn essence of those beautiful opening credits that continues its feel throughout the film and Reverend Jackson P. Sayer, lies a pretty damn good sequel to the Halloween films.

 

9. “The Blob”

1988 8

Not everyone loves a remake of a true classic. But, in the tradition of The Thing and The Fly, once again a cinematic remake proves that it can be better than the original. Chuck Russell’s The Blob not only is superior to the 1958 sci-fi film, but more grotesque and memorable as well. Russell deserves all the praise here guys. Think about it for a second; how the hell do you take a campy B-Movie monster that looks like a mound of Jell-O and make it scary as fuck? Throw in some horrific death scenes at the hands of the Blob, have it swallow a child, and fling some body parts around the screen. Also, instead of using the “it came from outer space” gimmick, the thing was a government biological experiment. Which sort of makes it that much more horrifying. As the saying goes, “No beast on land, sea, or in the air is more dangerous than the man who rules the land.”

With a pre-Saw Shawnee Smith and Kevin Dillon taking on the ever-growing eater of children and star quarterbacks, The Blob is a gruesome step-up from its predecessor. There are a few cheese moments that take away from the more serious tone of this version. Like for example, Meg (Smith) shouting one-liners at the blob with a machine gun in hand. But hey, it’s the ‘80s. A slice of cheese is to be expected and especially when dealing with a man-eating, two-ton wad of Bill Cosby endorsed dessert.

 

8. “Friday the 13th 7: The New Blood”

1988 9

The seventh chapter of The Friday series brings about super zombie Jason and the man who breathed new life into the Crystal Lake slasher, Kane Hodder. Which makes The New Blood something really special when you look at the bigger picture. You can easily pick apart Hodder’s Jason from all others who have played the icon.His deep breaths, the menacing stance plus the way he moves around, make Hodder’s portrayal the most memorable, and a favorite among us fans. This being the first time Hodder slipped on the hockey mask, makes for a monumental moment in horror history indeed.  

The New Blood introduces us to Tina, a telekinetic teen brought to Crystal Lake for some therapy per her asshole doctor. During one of Tina’s episodes, she manages to raise Jason from the depths of the lake, and thus we can begin our official Friday the 13th film. The premise of a Carrie-like foe for Jason may seem a bit silly to some. But in the same breath, we’re talking about an undead being that has been resurrected FIVE times to maintain his excellent teenage kill record. So, come on. It’s not that bizarre really. Plus, I think it’s pretty funny to watch Jason struggle to kill this broad.

 

7. “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

1988 10

You’re probably noticing a pattern of slasher sequels here. The jig is up- I’m a big-time sucker for the continuations of our horror icons. And Dream Master is no exception.

Aside from Dream Warriors, Nightmare’s fourth movie in the franchise is definitely my favorite of the batch. The Westin Hills survivors return in Dream Master along with a new group of fine, fresh meat attempting to carry on with a normal life. But hey, nothing is normal about being an Elm Street kid. Freddy is awoken once again, by the mighty power of flaming dog whiz no less, and picks off the kids one by one.

Dream Master has everything going for it in a great sequel. A strong, likeable female lead (Lisa Wilcox), and a vengeful Freddy with just the right amount of sense of humor, (I’ll never NOT laugh at,“How’s this for a wet dream?!”). The soundtrack kicks all the ass, and we got some really unique and memorable teenage kills. Sheila’s death and sunken in dummy stand-in inside the classroom gave me nightmares for weeks. Also, a chick turns into a cockroach. What more can you ask for?

 

6. “Pumpkinhead”

1988 11

Yet, another 1988 film with the balls to kill a kid, and the birth of one of horror’s coolest looking monsters. Add in the mix a vengeance-seeking Lance Henriksen and one crazy looking witch, and we got ourselves a national horror treasure.

Henrikson plays a grieving father, Ed Harley, who is hell-bent on making the reckless jerks who killed his son pay dearly. In doing so, he visits a supposed witch to seek help. The witch warns him that vengeance comes with a price, but Ed gives no fucks. On the witch’s orders, Harley digs up a disfigured corpse, brings it to the witch who revives it with blood from both Harley and his deceased son, and boom- Pumpkinhead on the loose!

What makes Pumpkinhead so damn special aside from Henrikson and a unique new monster movie, is the feeling that no one really gains a victory in this film. It’s all rather, sort of depressing when you think about. This isn’t your typical good vs evil horror flick. I see it more or less as a grotesque Aesop Fable that genuinely evokes emotions of the viewers. A monster story that makes you…feel things. Can’t really say a lot of horror movies on this list can pull that off. But Pumpkinhead is sure one of them.

 

5. “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”

1988 12

Before I say anything else, I just want to express my great sadness that there’s never been a sequel to this glorious festival of cotton candy cocoons and toxic cream pies. Such a travesty.

The title says it all really. A flying circus tent of horrors lands in a small town full of extraterrestrial painted nightmares looking to feed. Only a select few are hip to the fact that a race of alien clowns have invaded and are harvesting civilians of Crescent Cove for supper, so it’s up to them to stop it.

For a little B-movie about alien clowns no less, becoming such a cult-smash over the past 30 years, is something that cannot and will not be ignored. Made from the minds of the Chiodos Bros, Killer Klowns is raunchy, silly, and damn enjoyable whether you’re on your first or 100th viewing. I’m pretty sure we’ll still be talking about this ridiculously amazing movie in the next thirty years. All hail the mighty Jojo Klownzilla.

 

4. “The Serpent and the Rainbow”

1988 13

Of all of the wonderful index of film from Wes Craven, it seems odd to me that The Serpent and the Rainbow often gets the shaft. Not today friends, not today.

The black voodoo magic movie starring President Alien ass-kicker Bill Pullman as a professor in search for “zombie powder”, was inspired by the novel from Wade Davis. The Harvard scientist Davis dug deep into the culture of Haiti’s rich history of voodoo, with a specific focus on the undead. The movie inspired by the intriguing novel slowly burns with magnificent detail about the voodoo culture. So much so, there really hasn’t been anything since quite like it. Over the years, fans and critics have slammed the film for its inaccuracy in regards to the source material, but I feel like that’s just a bit unfair. The deal was made for a fictional horror movie loosely based on the book, not a documentary. And in my humble opinion, tops the pops as far as psychological thrillers go.

The imagery is entertainingly gruesome and my skin crawls every time I revisit this Craven joint. If you’ve yet to see this gem, be warned claustrophobes. There’s a coffin scene you won’t soon forget for years to come.

 

 

3. “ Hellbound: Hellraiser II”

1988 14.gif

In regards to horror sequels, there isn’t too many out there that rival the original. However, Hellraiser’s sequel Hellbound certainly lives up to its predecessor and dare I say, slightly improves on it as well.

Director Tony Randel takes us into Cenobite hell with the continuing saga of Kristy; this time around in a mental institution. (Recalling the events from the first film, that would drive anyone to the edge of pure insanity.) Of course, we don’t stay in that setting for long and Kristy is granted access to a grand tour of Hell and an incredible visual expansion into Clive Barker’s beautiful Hellraiser universe. Speaking of which, is so wonderfully crafted, it’s ridiculously hard not to view it as a true piece of art in motion. The makeup effects are the excellence of execution. A great example is the manufacturing of cenobites, particularly the scene where Julia pushes Channard into the labyrinth elevator. In addition, we get to see Doug Bradley in pure form, as we get to witness Pinhead’s origins. It’s just straight up incrediballs.

I’d also like to note, if you plan on revisiting this gorgeous piece of work this year for it’s dirty 30, I highly recommend the uncut version. There’s only three minutes more of the film, but trust me. Those 180 seconds make a huge difference.  

 

2. “They Live”

1988 15.gif

Simply stating John Carpenter’s cult classic They Live was ahead of its time, might just be the goddamn understatement of the cinematic century.

Starring the Rowdy one the late Roddy Piper, Carpenter’s film about the world’s elite and society’s blindness towards an underlying evil is absolute brilliance. Based on Ray Nelson’s short story “Eight O’Clock In The Morning”, They Live is one of those rare films that forces us as viewers to question our world and surroundings. A homeless drifter named Nada, (Piper), discovers that the upper class of society are in fact aliens incognito and manipulating society to spend money, breed, and blindly accept their status in the world with subliminal messages. Via the mass media and advertising, constant commands are hidden to obey and conform. In other words, the truth.

They Live is just as relevant today as it was then. In the film, the rulers are portrayed as a completely different race that perceives humans as inferior – something that can easily be correlated to our elected politicians. The presence of these strong messages is one of the reasons They Live became somewhat of a cult-classic, despite the fact that it was panned by movie critics upon its first release. 30 years later, the movie’s statement still holds plenty of ground; and quite frankly, freakishly realistic. Now that my friends, is some scary shit.

I really struggled here not putting this at numero uno. Alas, there’s only one little guy who could possibly obtain that kind of voodoo power over me and my love for the Hot Rod…

1. “Child’s Play”

1988 16

 

Well actually, it’s no surprise really that Chucky is, the greatest attribute to horror to come out of ‘88. Spawning six sequels over the span of thirty years, Chucky and the Child’s Play series has managed to capture our hearts, (and souls), with his wise-cracking, murderous shenanigans. And we can’t seem to get enough of this Good Guy.

We’ve seen the whole killer doll plot before Chucky’s debut, but never anything quite like this. We have to give a lot of credit to the casting of Brad Dourif as the voice behind the two-foot Lakeshore Strangler. Dourif has a strong, menacing presence in his voice (remember the Gemini Killer), yet in the same breath can be quite comical as well. The moment Chucky lets Karen know he’s indeed alive paired with various obscene insults, made you jump out of your seat initially, then slump back in a goddamn giggle.

“I’ll teach you to fuck with me!”

Almost as good as that super random, “Fuck you” in the elevator.

Originally titled “Batteries not Included”, and then “Blood Buddy” before the decided name of Child’s Play, 1988 gave birth to a legendary icon in the genre we love and cherish so deeply. Apart from the iconic status, the film truly holds its place firmly as a horror classic. Directed by Tom Holland and written by Don Mancini, Child’s Play raised the stakes and opened the door for the deadly doll genre to come out and play once again.

 

Happy dirty 30 you wonderful, ugly little shit.

 

 

I just couldn’t help myself.

 

Tom Hanks Slated to Play Mr. Rogers in Upcoming Biopic

As if I couldn’t love Tom Hanks any more than I already do, they went and announced this today…

Hot news coming in USA Today as the late, great national treasure we know as Fred Rogers is getting a biopic from Sony-TriStar Pictures with a slated production for Fall of 2018. Even better news, Tom Hanks will tackle the role of the children’s television pioneer and sweet sweater trendsetter legend himself.

I’m so happy right now.

Related image

 

Originally originated all the way back in 1963, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood ran at it’s long-standing home at PBS from 1971 all the way up until 2001 and focused on the importance of make-believe, self-confidence, and basically how to live life as a decent human being. The upcoming biopic called You Are My Friend will be helmed by director Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl) will direct a screenplay written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (Transparent, Beautiful Ruins). The title itself is taken from one of Rogers’ infamous songs on the program and reports to be focused on the real-life friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod- a cynical journalist given the task to write a profile piece for Rogers, and in the process, garners a more positive outlook on life in general.

Sounds about right. Also, if anyone can get that sneaker slip on intro down to a science, Forrest Gump‘s Tom Hanks is the right man for the job.

The Conjuring Nun Doll Added to Living Dead Doll Series

Infamous toy and collector company Mezco Toyz announced today that the Living Dead Doll series is adding a little companion to their Annabelle doll to the collection- The Conjuring Nun, Valak. And holy snopes, is it ever so glorious.

The spankin’ new ten-inch tall piece of pure nightmare fuel is up for pre-order now through Mezco Toyz. With a price of $46.00, the doll is dressed in her trademark nun getup and comes beautifully packaged, as per the company’s tradition, in a die-cut window box.

Per Mezco:

The cinematic universe of The Conjuring has earned over $1 billion dollars at the box office, and introduced theatergoers to the horrific rouge’s gallery of supernatural villains who tormented paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Nun was introduced in The Conjuring 2 and quickly became a terrifying fan favorite, earning herself a post-credit sequence in Annabelle: Creation. This summer, The Nun stars in her own self-titled film exploring the unholy origin and dark secrets in her past.

 

Images via Mezco

Pre-orders will ship June-August 2018.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: 10 Best Tales From the Series

If you clicked on this little list I’ve put together, then chances are you’re quite familiar with the paperback trilogy of nightmare nostalgia we’re about to dive deep into the rabbit hole with. Also, I’m willing to bet a good portion of you still have these books. In which you most likely bought with your lunch money at your third-grade book fair. I myself, unfortunately, don’t possess a lot of my childhood treasures from my youth due to a nasty fire that demolished a good portion of my materialistic belongings. However, one of the things I managed to hold onto despite disasters, multiple moving vans, and the entrance of adulthood is, of course, all three 1986 Harper Trophy Editions of “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”.

The urban legends that were revised and compiled into an anthology of books by Alvin Schwartz paired with haunting illustrations by Stephen Gammell, were the ultimate trophy on our bookshelves. And an absolute necessity for those Friday night slumber parties or weekend camping trips. Not much has changed, at least in my household anyway, as these books have stood the test of time and continue to encourage reading to now my own two little ones. Just as I would grab one of my books, and read to my own father in his chair when I was a much smaller Patti, I continue with the “Scary Stories” tradition as my kids now read to me. It’s wonderful and refreshing to know that I’m not the only parent who has passed down these nostalgic tales to their spawns and that the trio of books that parents once hated, has overcome the odds and still holds a near and dear place within our hearts.

37 years ago, the first installment of “Scary Stories” was published and is listed as being the seventh most challenged series of books for its violence and surreal, spine-tingling illustrations. Cool huh? Schwartz then followed with two more books, More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark in 1984, and Scary Stories 3: More Tales To Chill Your Bones in 1991. In honor of the first books’ 35th anniversary this year, I’ve put together a fun nostalgic list of the 10 best tales from “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” series. This was no easy task thinning a list down to just ten, but I’m pretty satisfied with my final selections. So while we’re all patiently waiting for the highly anticipated Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark documentary to be available for public consumption, let’s celebrate 37 years of real Nightmare Nostalgia.

 

10. “High Beams”

Related image

The tale as old as the ages and that has been told countless times and parodied in film makes number ten. This retelling of the story of a woman who is in very real danger not from who’s following her, but what lurks inside her car is based on a similar story that came out of Waverly, Iowa about a man hiding in the back seat of a woman’s car. She had stopped to get gas, and the attendant noticed the presence of a male figure in the back seat. He did not giver her change, so when she returned to pocket the rest of her money after pumping her gas, the attendant informed her of the situation and called the police.

 

9. “The Wolf Girl”

Related image

This legend that is retold by many cultures throughout (mostly) the Southwest, involves a newly born infant whose mother did not survive childbirth and the baby was nowhere to be found. The father who had made the discovery in the story also took notice of what looked like wolf tracks around the area, so it was assumed the baby had been eaten by wolves. A few years later, people would report sightings of a young girl running around naked with long hair in the company of wolves. Numerous legends of children raised by wild animals or left to fend for themselves have inspired such books as The Jungle Book and Island Of The Blue Dolphins. However, Schwartz’s version is my favorite.

 

8. “Such Things Happen”

Image result for scary stories to tell in the dark such things happen

Witches had a pretty bad rep back in the day, and still, in present times, are scoffed at by those who don’t understand. Schwartz based this tale from an American legend where a man is believed to be tormented by a nearby witch and takes it upon himself to try to stop her. According to Schwartz’s notes, “I adapted and expanded this theme to point up the conflict between education and superstition that may arise when an educated person feels like they are out of control.” And the tale he wrote is a pretty great little story.

 

7. “The Drum”

Image result for scary stories to tell in the dark  the drum

This odd tale of two beastly children whose selfish wants become an unimaginable consequence is a cautionary tale told to children through the ages to basically behave or you’re getting a goddamn mother with glass eyes and a wooden tail in place of the one you have now. That’s actually pretty terrifying. The tale seems to have originated from England in the nineteenth century and then migrated to the states.

 

6. “Just Delicious”

Image result for scary stories to tell in the dark just delicious

This one made me laugh more than most of the featured comedic tales that were often found towards the end of the book. This tale has been revised in many different countries and the theme stays pretty similar. The stories usually involve a man, while Schwartz swaps gender roles in his story, whose family is starving steal a heart or liver from a nearby funeral home to feed his family. Later that night, the ghost would come looking for said missing organ and take the lives of those who consumed it.

5. “Bess”

Related image

As an avid animal lover, this one hurt the feels a tad when I was young. Based on an old European legend originally called “Oleg’s Death”, the story follows the same structure as in this book. The tale of a man who lived in fear of a horse, for it was foretold the horse would cause his death. Presumably, entering the safety zone after the horse falls victim to old age…. LOL. Yeah, not so much buddy.

 

4. “The Red Spot”

Image result for scary stories to tell in the dark the red spot

 

This irked the shit out of anyone who suffers even the mildest cases of arachnophobia. This creepy story derives from the folklore of foreign entities (such as these eight-legged monsters) invading our bodies and setting up residence. Or you know, laying a thousand eggs inside your cheek while you sleep. Stunning.

 

3. “The Haunted House”

Image result for scary stories to tell in the dark the haunted house

The legend of a young woman’s murder and the preacher who helped put the spirit at rest by locating the murderer is likely one of the most beloved and remembered stories from Schwartz’s trilogy of terrors. It’s definitely among the most unique of tales found within these books as stories of haunted house resemble one another, this one has a bit of a twist whereas the ghost of the young woman is not threatening whatsoever, but a spirit wanting justice. Of course, justice and revenge run rapid throughout “Scary Stories”. However, this one just hits all the right notes.

 

2. “The Thing”

Image result for scary stories to tell in the dark the thing

Lawdy does that picture give me the beautiful skeevies. The tale is based on a folktale out of Nova Scotia in a book called Bluenose Ghosts where “the thing” is an actual warning of ones own impending death.  I’ll take the guy in the robe over that face any day, thank you.

1. “Harold”

Image result for scary stories to tell in the dark harold

Oh Harold, you silly scarecrow. Don’t you know laying out skin in the sun too long gives it wrinkles? You need to take some notes from Buffalo Bill. Anywho, the walking menace from the cornfields makes numero uno as the tale remains to this very day, the creepiest tale to come out of these books. The story of Harold is retold from a legend that came out of Switzerland and quite honestly, stories about man creating a life and it ultimately becoming something they can’t control is a tale we’ve heard time and again. From Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein to the Jewish tale of the Golem, Harold resembles the outline of such said stories as the creature that has been given life ultimately turns on its master. We all love stories of killer dolls. It is for that reason, this tale tops off this list.

What are some of your favorite stories from the books? Comment below and let’s talk nightmare fuel.

Scary Stories Paperback Box Set: The Complete 3-Book Collection

%d bloggers like this: