Tag Archives: horror movies

Stuart Gordon’s DOLLS: The Film That Opened the Door to a Little Girl’s Horror World

Australian wildfires. Devastating earthquakes. Tragic plane crashes. A terrifying global pandemic. Now Stuart Gordon. The man that I think very well set in motion full blast, my exploration into (at the time) lesser-known horror films. I’m pretty confident that it’s safe to say 2020 can eat a big hairy dick.

On March 24th, 2020, the horror world received the news that legendary filmmaker Stuart Gordon passed away at the age of 72. According to a source that had spoken with someone close to the family, Gordon had been sick for some time, (from what I don’t know). The grand visionary of independent horror and theater aficionado lit up the 80s’ VHS section with such works as Re-Animator, From Beyond, and of course, the film I really want to talk about right now- DOLLS.

 

If you’re familiar at all with my internet ramblings, you already know my love of horror history watching Halloween in my diapers with my father. Around the time I was eight-years-old, I was well versed in the Slasher and Universal Monsters Genre; with A Nightmare on Elm Street 1, 3, and 4, Friday the 13th films, Halloween movies with almost a nightly visit from Stephen King’s Silver Bullet all in pretty heavy rotation in my Pioneer VHS cassette player. What can I say- creature of habit. Until one day on our Tuesday night visit to our local Mom and Pop video rental store, something had caught my eyes that changed my comforting rotation of horror flicks forever.

 

Stuart Gordon's DOLLS: The Film That Opened the Door to a Little Girl's Horror World

 

As an eight-year-old little girl, I was completely enamored with the VHS cover alone. You see, I had already had a fascination with creepy dolls. Mainstream popular films like Poltergeist and at the time, a recently released Child’s Play had only fueled that curious fetish further.

Squirlling off for a sec, again, just another grand example of how powerful good ole’ VHS box art had and continues to have with such online retailers as Shout! and Arrow preserving that beautiful legacy of horror home video art.

Anyway, I grabbed it off the shelf to show the Mother and disgusted as she was looking at it with an attempt to push me into another rental from the “kiddie” section, she gave in. Upon our return, I settled in with a nice juice-box of Hawaiian Punch, (if you remember those boxed 10-packs- fist bump to you buddy) a can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles and rode the Full Moon journey into this crazy ride of killer yet somehow weirdly compassionate dolls, witches, and straight to the point moral warnings to humanity. Or at least in this version- be a decent human or a witch might turn your dumbass into a creepy as fuck decorative dolly porcelain.  And you know what? It’s been one of my all-time favorites since then.

Stuart Gordon's DOLLS: The Film That Opened the Door to a Little Girl's Horror World

DOLLS is sort of a dark and twisted fairy tale with just the right amount of gore and goofiness. The film starts with a shithead Dad, the even bigger shithead Stepmom, and a young girl Judy clutching her favorite toy “Teddy” getting stranded in the middle of creepy backwoods nowhere England with a severe thunderstorm approaching. In an attempt to seek shelter, the family heads out on foot to a spotted castle-like mansion that just so happens to be sitting close by- it’s like none of these guys had ever seen a horror movie in their entire life. Little Judy, lagging behind annoys the evil step-mother played by Stuart Gordon’s wife Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, snatches Teddy and tosses it in some bushes setting up one of the most glorious scenes in the film.

Big kudos to special effects supervisor and head honcho make-up artist Gabe Bartalos (TCM 2, Basket Case) for this magnificence that runs consistently throughout the film.

Moving on, the trio makes their way to the mansion, breaks in because why not, and gets met by an elderly toymaker couple at gunpoint played by Guy Rolfe and Hilary Mason; who then takes pity on them upon seeing the presence of a child in the mist. They take them through the endless hallways in the home to see the place is filled with hundreds, maybe thousands of nightmare-inducing dolls. Then we throw in two criminal punk rock hitchhikers with a bumbling but loveable man-child also seeking asylum and hot-damn we got ourselves a movie now!

The dolls themselves pretty much do the couple’s bidding. Giving people a chance to basically just not act like a dick and be respectful. It seems like these really are the only rules in this home filled with little homicidal plastic terrors. But, we wouldn’t have a movie if that were the case, so of course, some of these people cross the dickhead line and pay the ultimate price. According to the Blu-ray from Scream Factory, Stuart Gordon reveals his inspiration behind the look and story of  DOLLS involving being accidentally locked in a room full of Victorian-style porcelain horrors for a period of time.

Yep. Big bag of FUCK NO for me.

Dolls, usually overlooked by such films in Gordon’s Rolodex like From Beyond and Re-Animator, has gained a monumental cult of popularity over the past ten years thanks to the multiple horror internet outlets dedicated to this sort of thing. To me personally, the story of what is actually a pretty damn abused girl by the hands of her asshole father and his new wife partnered with her pure innocence and love of toys remains extra special and a cautionary tale at its finest. It also opened up a whole new world of 80s’ horror shortly after as I began to expand my genre curiosities based on VHS box art alone.

Thanks for the memories and the movies Stu. Rest in peace toy soldier.

dolls gif

 

Much More Than A Nightmare: “Dream Warriors” and the Mental Illness Stigma

Real talk: My horror blogging journey began about seven years ago, quite by accident. Was it fate? I think so. It was also around the time shortly before my internet rambling escapades that I was officially diagnosed with  Generalized Anxiety/ Panic Disorder along with Depression. Not that I didn’t know I had it all my life anyway. In any regard, through an opportunity presented by a dear friend who suffers as well, I gave it a shot and turns out I have a little knack for it. For the past several years, I’ve written on this subject a few times for different, popular outlets. And now, in a very stern Neil voice, it’s long overdue that I hit the lights here on this very dear to my heart subject here at NN in a very anxiety-induced state as I’m writing this.

How goddamn appropriate!

Much More Than A Nightmare:

It began in my teens with a horrific bout of Anorexia/ Bulimia. Which was on and off again until my late twenties with a suicide attempt in-between. *I’m recovered now with support from my family and using my own inner strength. However, after this, and a long conclusion to some other traumatic events, it manifested itself into a giant monster that made me worse off than I ever was. I was in and out of the hospital. I would hyperventilate to the point of paralysis. And of course, every doctor I saw wanted to shove zombie antidepressants down my throat. Not that I don’t have a thing against zombies, but you get the idea.

Alas, none of this was the answer. Now mind you, I realize they work for some people. Everyone is unique. But I am not “some people”, as I also have a hypersensitivity to a good portion of medications. That being the case, I have to rely on simply breathing through it all. This sounds easy- but sometimes it can be hell when you’re having an attack. And for those who don’t understand why I, and possibly others, who choose to get through this naturally, I’m making an example of one my favorite films that doesn’t shy away from some real mental illness issues that kids and adults alike face with a lot of misunderstanding.

Let’s take a “nice stroll” through Westin Hills Dream Warriors.

Much More Than A Nightmare:

Much like Freddy’s Revenge held a ton of sexual metaphors, Dream Warriors repeats the pattern with struggling within our own brains- mental illness. Dream Warriors does a really magnificent job, even if unintentional, of bringing some very real issues about mental health to light that might make someone mull over any previous conceptions about it. Mental illness does not discriminate- as we see in the film all walks of life are affected. Various types of disorders are addressed ranging from self-harm, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and of course, suicide.

At the time of the film’s release, there hadn’t been too many on-screen interpretations of mental illness that painted the disorder in any type of positive light. Well, none that I had seen anyway. Everything I had seen prior or even after, depicts sufferers as crazies in an asylum. Something dirty and to be feared. Dream Warriors gave us very real characters for people who suffer from similar ailments we could associate with. They came across as real kids. Normal kids. Smart as hell kids. With some problems that doctors still to this day can’t seem to figure out entirely. Or for that matter, care to really dive into and just like to throw the dice, prescribing an antidepressant that may or may not make you feel better, or worse even. As science can’t be argued, we are each unique and hold different DNA than the person standing next to us. What works for one, does not for another. And no two anxiety disorders seem to act the same. Everyone seems to have individual symptoms that vary from one patient to another. It would be nice if one magic cure exists for all. But it unfairly isn’t so. And just as art imitates life, the Dream Warriors’ fears and concerns about the one thing they have in common, Freddy, are swept under the rug as “crazy talk”. But here- let’s roll the dice on this non-approved drug Hypnocil and see what happens!

Sound familiar? Talk about feeling like the walls are coming down on you… and then you’re halfway devoured by a giant snake.

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Anyways, I can’t completely nail Neil Gordon to the wall for that- even if it did put Joey in a goddamn coma. Good intentions were there and were used in the hope to understand the tormented teens. After all, he does redeem himself later in a gutter match with Bone Daddy Freddy. Which brings us full circle to the grandmaster of fears and anxiety himself.

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Freddy is the manifestation of depression and everything the Warriors’ are afraid of. Much like anxiety and panic, he works off each of their greatest fears driving them to the breaking point; and in some instances, certain death. That theme would continue throughout the franchise but in the second and arguably greatest sequel, would remain the most relevant and alarmingly accurate. For instance, Taryn is a recovering addict. her fears are the drugs that once conquered her life. She secretly loves them but is determined to stay clean. Krueger plays on this of course and drives it home. Freddy is that little shithead voice in the back of our minds that alarms our senses driving us into panic mode. Kind of like Will going all out Wizard Master on Freddy, stepping out of his chair and using all of his mental powers to blast that bullshit into dust,  he is that voice we all know: “You are not enough.”

However, the ultimate metaphor in this installment is that support is needed. The Dream Warriors realized this, and so did Freddy. Which is why when they all entered the dream state together, he made a point to separate them. Fighting the monster of depression and anxiety alone can be quite an uphill battle. And sadly, statistics show that never ends up well for the sufferer.  No matter how tough one might think they are, a good support system is your ultimate weapon against the beast.

I hear the bullshit term all the time about older horror films about how the content doesn’t hold up decades later. In A Nightmare On Elm Street 3, the movie remains maybe even more relevant now than ever before. As we’re hearing of suicide hitting children even before they reach double-digits.

Look. Listen. Be supportive. And if you’re someone who is in dire need of that, I’m opening the lines of communication, free of judgment, for you to contact me. Everyone needs someone. Even an understanding ear can make all the difference. In the meantime…

Rock on Warriors.

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

The year was 1984.  The very first commercial for the revolutionary Apple Computer premiered at the beginning of the year, foreshadowing an irreversible change in the way we live for an entire generation. While one can argue this may very well be, the most significant moment in ’84, (or hell an entire decade), most horror fans may dispute that. 35 years ago today, one of horror’s biggest icons was born from the mind of the late Wes Craven-Freddy Krueger. Robert Englund gave him a body, Craven the brain- see what I did there- and unleashed Freddy Fever unto Generation Y that shows no signs of slowing up all these years later.

Of course, there hasn’t been a relevant enough bootleg Freddy toy to catch my attention over the last 20 years. But, maybe that’s for the best, yeah?

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

While I can’t speak for every single child of the ’80s, Freddy Fever rose high and rampant over the course of a decade, introducing an entire generation to the horror genre due to the Springwood’s Slasher popularity. Nancy said it best, “Every kid knows who he is. He’s like Santa Claus.” 

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

And even celebrated much more so by the horror fandom than the generous, jolly ol’ dude. With on-screen heroes emerging in the decade like Indiana Jones, Rambo, and pretty much any Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Freddy rose to the ranks of a hero of a generation of horror movie fans by being nothing more than the ethos of pure evil- well with later added slapstick comedy which only BOOSTED all the diehard FredHeads (myself included) to put him on a higher pedestal; rounding out the Holy Horror Slasher Trinity with his buddies Michal and Jason.

I mean, you’ve really made it when MTV (when it was you know, amazing) lets you VJ and just end up doing whatever the fuck you want. That’s some star power.

*upload by Jared Bruni

 

All that being said, WHAT exactly had the youth of our generation so insanely captivated by well, a brutal child-killer? I can only speculate on watching Freddymania evolve throughout the ’80s, ’90s, to today’s hardcore fanbase that follows Freddy and Friends to the ends of the Earth via social media and horror conventions (I’m totally one of those people), and speaking with fellow FredHead buddies. And the answers are pretty quite simple: The children are the warriors of this horror franchise. They are the ones who recognize the evil while the adults stand around with their thumbs up their asses. THEY are the ones who stand together, (just look at Dream Warriors) and face their enemy head-on. So it’s only natural an adolescent would gravitate towards something they could possibly relate to. Society is often guilty of not listening to our youth and A Nightmare On Elm Street made that loud and clear folks.

Another reason and this is personally true in my case being a female, is that each of the NOES films gave us the absolute, most ass-kicking heroines that any young girl would be proud to look up to. First off, let’s just get this right out of the way- Nancy is the goddamn Queen. Even though it was quite clear that she was slowly getting edgier as the film progressed- to be fair she was working on a week’s worth of almost no sleep while Fred was trying to murder her– she really had the most logical and sturdy head out of EVERYONE in that entire film. Including her parents. Not to mention she went full Rambo on Krueger’s ass. I’m not going to sit here and try and argue how she managed to set all those booby traps, fall asleep, and capture Freddy all in twenty minutes film-time. Let’s just appreciate the fact that this girl went balls to the wall, going as far as tackling her predator to the ground WWF style in one giant FUCK YOU to his face. And then she turns her back on him and calls him “shit”.

Goddamn. GIRL FUCKING POWER.

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

 

Last but not least, A Nightmare On Elm Street has always been seen by me as a “comfort horror film”. A few years back, I wrote an article over on Bloody Disgusting on how horror films actually soothe my anxiety. And the NOES films are exactly that for me. Comfort in times of stress and the harsh realities of the real world. I refer to films like these in a term I coined, “FANTASTICAL HORROR”. You see, movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th (only the first, after that they became FANTASTICAL), were very much real to me. THAT SHIT COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN. It’s very plausible an escaped lunatic could go on a killing spree or a deranged childless mother going apeshit on a group of kids. With NOES, mehhhhhhhhh, highly doubt a burnt-faced demon is gonna kill me in my dreams. Not to say one could never die in their sleep, or to take away the fact the movie really is terrifying in other aspects. BUT, it’s not realistic to me. And that’s ok! In times of real-world tragedies, shitty adult issues, and when the world seems so ugly that you want to pack up and move to Mars, Freddy and the gang are here. To take us to DreamLand. To a place that takes us out of reality and into the world of Fantastical Horror.

You know, kinda like Harry Potter but cooler. Don’t you Hogwarts fans @ me.

Happy 35th Freddy and the gang. And to all my fellow sons and daughters of 100 maniacs who keep the fandom of this movie as strong as ever. WE all his children-now and forever.

 

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

 

Google Searches Identify Each State’s Most Popular Horror Icon

Welp, it’s that time of year again where the Gods of the Interwebs invade our search history and reveal all that naughty late-night, drunk browsing for the world to see! Just kidding ( I hope). But seriously, a team of Google analysts at Frontier Bundles performs this just-for-fun horror data search every year that reveals which horror icon is the most popular across the United States of America.

The Frontier Bundles data analyst team selected 12 popular villains from classic, pre-21st-century horror movies and used Google Trends to analyze their search volume in the last 12 months. They then reported the villain with the highest search volume in each state.

In other words, don’t shoot the messenger here if you are displeased with your home town’s results. Personally speaking as a Nevadan, my black little heart of Damballa is content with Chucky being our most beloved. Check out the map and details below provided by Frontier Bundles themselves! 

 

Google Searches Identify Each State's Most Popular Horror Icon

 

Which horror villain reigns supreme in your state? Sound off below!

Orion Pictures Releases First Trailer For Child’s Play Reboot!

Today, Orion Pictures came through as promised as I teased a few days ago that they had sent me, and fellow media outlets, a teaser that a full trailer was coming for the upcoming Child’s Play reboot. And man, oh man… Chucky, is feeling more terrifying than ever in this modern take on “Best Friends ’till the End.”

From director Lars Klevberg, the rated-R CHILD’S PLAY stars Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, and Brian Tyree Henry and is produced by Seth Graham-Smith (Stephen King’s IT & Chapter 2) and David Katzenberg (IT: Chapter 2).

Official Synopsis:

A contemporary re-imagining of the 1988 horror classic, CHILD’S PLAY follows Karen (Aubrey Plaza), a single mother who gifts her son Andy (Gabriel Bateman) a Buddi doll, unaware of its more sinister nature.

 

 

Child’s Play and Chucky is set to slash its way into theaters on June 21, 2019.

#ChildsPlayMovie
Official Site: BestBuddi.com
Facebook: / ChildsPlayMovie
Instagram: @ChildsPlayMovie

A Few Things You Might Not Know About “The Exorcist III”

I fondly remember the fateful night in 1990where my father, uncle, my cousin and an eight-year-old Patti made a Saturday night trip to our favorite local movie theater that stood as possibly, one of the last retro looking movie houses in all of Las Vegas. This might sound silly as of course, this was 1990, but I’m talking SUPER RETRO here. The entire building was made of brick, popcorn stands where mere popcorn and hot dog carts inside the lobby with a few cases of candy on the side, velvet red curtains covered the theater screens until showtime commenced, and the GIANT illuminated cinema marquee sign that displayed the featured films playing, could literally be seen from miles away. The place was absolutely beautiful inside and out, (as you can see pictured below of the inside lobby) and served as the place where I had seen most of the movies growing up until its demise and demolition over 15 years ago.

A Few Things You Might Not Know About "The Exorcist III"

*Shout out to ClassicLasVegas.com for this awesome photo!

It’s also the place where I first saw our movie of the day here, The Exorcist III. And yep. I remember peeing my pants a little as I was eight-goddamn-years-old in regards to that one scene. You know which one I’m talking about… And also, yes. The two grown men and older teenage male cousin laughed at the eight-year-old girl who produced a squirt of nature’s lemonade.

Dicks.

*MAJOR SPOILER HERE. DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU HAVEN’T LIVED AND HAVE DONE A DISSERVICE TO YOUR LIFE BY NOT WATCHING THIS FILM.

 

As fun as it is to reminisce about peeing the pants, let’s get to the real topic here. If you’re here and still reading, chances are you’re a fan of the HIGHLY UNDERRATED psychological-thriller based off William Peter Blatty’s fantastic novel, Legion; which of course, serves as the true direct sequel to The Exorcist. So, we’re going to skip all the captain obvious bullshit plot explanations and get right into some shit that you may or may not know about this film. And hell, if you watch it again with a new knowledge and some more appreciation, well stunning. I’ve done my job here.

 

1. The Exorcist III Was Jeffrey Dahmer’s Favorite Movie

A Few Things You Might Not Know About "The Exorcist III"

Well, a film that focuses on another serial killer doesn’t seem far-fetched as a favorite of one of America’s most notorious, eh? According to various old reports, Dahmer would watch the movie over, and over. And even watched portions of the film with some of his victims after bringing them back to his apartment. One of these men was one who had escaped- Tracy Edwards, who claims the film was on at the time he was guided around the apartment by Dahmer. Reports also claim that Dahmer had purchased contact lenses with yellow tint, to mimic The Gemini Killer.

 

2. They Snuck In A Reference To The Fly II

A Few Things You Might Not Know About "The Exorcist III"

As I may have stated in previous articles, my parents had no qualms about taking their young child to the theater for an extreme horror film. Becuase, hey, fuck 101 Dalmations. They didn’t have the patience for that watered down-Disney shit. So, watching this at the theater at the age of eight, I caught this one right away as I had seen The Fly II a year prior with my mother and I left the theater crying after the scene with the dog. Ugh. I still hate it. Anyway, Lee Richardson plays that asshole in that film that got his just desserts for hurting that animal and has a small part as the University President in The Exorcist III. When asked by Father Dyer what his favorite film, he replies coyly, “The Fly.”

*Also worth noting, Brad Dourif who brilliantly portrays the Gemini, references his cinematic alter-ego Chucky during one of his ramblings. In the film, he says, “It’s child’s play”, and we then cut to a scene to a young boy that resembles a Good Guy.

 

3. Both William Friedkin and John Carpenter Were Attached To Direct Before Blatty

john carpenter

Well, it certainly would have been iconic enough had OG Exorcist director William Friedkin at the helm once again, but John Carpenter?! That would have been something to see his vision of legion eh? Blatty originally collaborated with Friedkin and penned out The Exorcist III with Friedkin attached to direct. After Friedkin backed out, the project died and was turned into a novel- AKA Legion. After the success of the novel, Blatty offered out it on the market in the form of a screenplay and Morgan Creek bought the rights to make the film, whom brought on the legendary John Carpenter to direct. However, after seeing Blatty’s passion and visionary input regarding his adaptation, he stepped down to hand the reigns to the rightful owner.

 

4. A Plot Twist Was Suggested Involving Regan Macneil- And A Birth Of Possessed Twins….?!

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This has to be the most WTF fact of them all…

Yes, this was suggested to William Peter Blatty as studios were in negotiations to adapt the screenplay by Carolco Pictures. The idea of a grown-up Regan giving birth to possessed twins completely undermines the whole idea of Legion and I don’t blame him a bit for laughing that off and settling with Morgan Creek Productions- even if they still haven’t given us a REAL directors cut of the film, at least that didn’t happen.

 

5. The Alternate Ending We Still Haven’t Seen

exorcist 3 ending

The ending we all know, and even in that Shout Factory edition, was not the intended final vision of Blatty. Reports claim it was scripted AND filmed, but we’ve still yet to see the dramatically different ending to The Exorcist III. But you know, Morgan Creek wanted that exorcism in there, so if moneybags wanted it, by God they were going to get it and the following was scrapped and reshot to their liking:

The novel Legion ends with the Gemini Killer summoning Kinderman to his cell for a final speech and then willingly dropping dead after his alcoholic Christian evangelist abusive father, finally dies from a heart attack. As his motive for killing was always to shame daddy, the Gemini’s reason for remaining on Earth ceases to exist. He then drops dead, thus freeing Karras. Albeit by death, but nevertheless releasing him from all the torture. In Blatty’s original screenplay adaptation, the ending is similar to the novel except that the Gemini’s death is not self-induced but forced supernaturally and suddenly by the death of his father.

 

The Exorcist III remains criminally underrated and if anything to the haters, (and really, who are you?) serves as a beautiful character analysis of different walks of life in the form of one chilling film. Aside from Silence f the Lambs, it stands as one of THE BEST psychological thrillers in cinematic history. Bold statement? Maybe. Perhaps you should schedule a rewatch and come back to comment to challenge me.

That’s me issuing a clear invitation to the dance. Pick up your copy from Amazon here!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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LONG LIVE PRACTICAL EFFECTS.

Creature Feature: The Skeevie Inducing Norris-Thing

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

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

#thething #johncarpenter #horrormovies

A post shared by Patti Pauley (@misshorrorghoul) on

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

Beautiful.

Nightmare Nostalgia -The Thing 1982

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

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

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

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

A few thoughts:

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

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

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

Happy Unofficial Thing Day!

Bram Stoker’s “Shadowbuilder” Is Making Its Blu-Ray Debut at MVD Rewind!

From the mastermind of the original horrific night stalker Dracula, comes the ultimate battle between the good of humanity and one pissed off demon that was summoned to Earth, (thanks jerk-off Archbishop) Bram Stoker’s Shadowbuilder! And for the first time ever, getting a proper Blu-Ray release courtesy of our friends at the retro-loving cinematic restorations market, MVD REWIND!

https://mvdshop.com/collections/mvd-rewind

 

Featuring an all-star cast that includes Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy), Leslie Hope (Crimson Peak), Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead) and Tony Todd (Candyman), Shadowbuilder is slated to hit the online store with a ton of new and exciting features including a kick-ass collectable poster this August 28th, 2018!

Bonus Feature Include:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the main feature.
  • Original 2.0 Stereo Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Audio Commentary from Director Jamie Dixon
  • NEW! ‘Making of Shadowbuilder’ featurette (HD, 33:22) (featuring director Jamie Dixon, writer Michael Stokes and stars Andrew Jackson (The Shadowbuilder) and Tony Todd (Covey)
  • NEW! ‘Shadowbuilder: Visual Effects’ featurette (HD, 13:26)
  • NEW! ‘Shadowbuilder: Kevin Zegers’ featurette (HD, 5:00)
  • Reversible, 2-Sided Artwork
  • Spanish Subtitles
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Collectible Poster

 

Official Synopsis:

A demon is summoned to take the soul of a young boy, who has the potential to become a saint. If the demon succeeds, it will open a doorway to Hell, blazing a terrifying trail of destruction, possession and mayhem and destroy humanity. Now the fate of the world hinges on the final outcome of a renegade priest’s battle with the soul eating Shadowbuilder .

Also, just check out this reversible cover art! Be sure to pick this one up to add to your retro horror movie collection!

shadowbuilder 2

 

As “JAWS 2” Turns 40, Let’s Look At the Rare, Extended Helicopter Attack Scene!

The epic sequel to Speilberg’s 1975 film that had us all fearing for our lives stepping foot unto a beach, turns the classic 40 years young today. And to celebrate, I’m showcasing what the MMPA decided to censor to audiences theatrically back in 1978 for JAWS 2– the goddamn death of the helicopter pilot! And if you haven’t seen it, trust me, it’s so damn satisfying.

As "JAWS 2" Turns 40, Let's Look At the Rare, Extended Helicopter Attack Scene!

 

Yes, friends, another animatronic Bruce came back to terrorize Amity Island as revenge for Bruce numero uno being blown to smithereens by the local sheriff. While I certainly have a lot of love for this movie, I mean fucken aye it’s JAWS people, it certainly restricted itself on the lack of blood as opposed to the first film. In fairness, there wasn’t a TON of gore in the original JAWS. However, this one had barely any at all. And we’re talking shark attacks here! You’d assume there would be buckets of red corn syrup all over the damn screen. But alas, on the heels of the mondo success of the first film and cringy studio execs, JAWS 2 had to be watered down a tad to appease the pearl clutchers of the generation.

Before we get to the scene in question, that was shown during various TV runs during the 80’s (which is why I even knew it existed), can we just appreciate just how badass Bruce II really is? I mean, this shark seems ten times scarier and more malevolent than it’s brother, cousin, whatever from the first movie. Not only does it take down the water skier in the first half of the film, but the boat and driver with it resulting in blowing the damn thing up. Of course, that was the work of the obviously terrified boat driver in the midst of a Great White eating her boat, but eh, gotta give credit to Bruce II for making it possible. And then we have this wonderful helicopter scene, in which if you’ve seen the cut version only, kind of raises some questions on the whereabouts of the pilot.

Here we have this poor guy just trying to do his damn job and help these teenagers out. Bruce II isn’t having any of this shit. He’s like, “HOW DARE YOU TRY TO HELP THESE KIDS! I’LL SHOW YOU BY GOD.” And he sinks a friggin’ helicopter. But, what the hell happened to the pilot? We can just assume he drowned if anything. And he does of course, but we actually get to see it this time. And it looks as if he serves as a tasty snack after all for the hungry island visitor. Visual satisfaction at the very least. Also, if you listen very closely, the pilot’s screams sound an awful lot like Hooper’s when he’s attacked underwater in the shark cage.

So here it is! Originally uploaded on YouTube by RetroTV from an ABC original airing complete with a LEGGS pantyhose commercial at the end to break away. Because, you know, that’s super important here. Enjoy and happy anniversary JAWS 2!