Tag Archives: Manic Exorcism

The Doppelganger Effect: The Horror of Remakes!

Chances are if you’re a long-time horror fan you’ve lived to see your favorite horror movie fall under the Remake Guillotine. ‘Guillotine,’ I think that’s somewhat fitting. Makes the process sound just as scary as we imagined it would be. We dreaded the news that Halloween, Poltergeist, The Omen, Fright Night and Last House On the Left were all lined up to be decapitated so new filmmakers could inspect the intimate moist jelly of some of the greatest minds behind titanic horror titles. Often times our beloved movies were nothing more than a quick cash in as studios banked on making bank just from a film’s title alone. Nightmare on Elm Street’s name would be more than enough to pull in an audience, or so it was believed. However, that movie proved to be dismal at the box office and left studio heads standing around scratching their scalps trying to figure out why. That’s part of the problem – the people (mostly) behind making these remakes do not get what made the original movies great, to begin with.

Slashers and exploitation films seem to have fallen victim most of all to this post-current trend. Both genres are notorious for their graphic use of sexuality and violence; normally, both are used interchangeably as a grotesque malformation of Life and Death. That’s the essential formula of the Slasher and Exploitation genres.

 

DVD Talk
image via DVD Talk

 

These are movies that elicit very negative feelings from their audience. We find ourselves somehow trapped within the Hellish circumstances of the tragic heroes and victims we set out with. For nearly two hours we will have our senses assaulted by hyped-up violence and the glamorization of helplessness against cruelty. Should you enter this seedy underworld of depravity and carnage don’t be surprised if you feel the need to shower once the credits roll. No one would blame you either. These are disgusting places we must stomp through. The topics handled inside are seldom pleasant.

Who in the new millennium would dare venture out with the goal to remake some of the most notorious titles in cinematic history? Never in my life did I ever think someone would get the gumption to remake I Spit on Your Gave. Then, that remake inspired two sequels, and, admittedly, I really enjoy the second movie in the trilogy. It offered us something new out of the familiar rape-and-revenge slough. But the idea alone that it was greenlit in the first place is astonishing!

 

What Remakes Get Right/Wrong

I remember back in the late 90’s someone had the bright idea to remake Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho. Why in the world was that ever an option? Just why? The movie happened and is nothing more than a shot-for-shot retelling of a film classic. Of course, it doesn’t hold a candle to the master’s vision. Now, on the other hand, the Psycho lore was rebooted via Bates Motel on TV and gained a successful fan following. Why did it work? Because it offered viewers something different out of the familiar lore.

 

Nerdist
image via Nerdist

 

Praise is due to the show Hannibal for accomplishing similar success. They managed to retell a section of the lore which we already knew, but they did it in a manner that had fans hooked and desperate to see what new grotesque beauties awaited us each subsequint episode. The storyline of Red Dragon has already had two cinematic interpretations, but this time around – even though it was technically the third retelling – it offered us something exquisitely new and innovative. Proving how the retelling of a familiar lore can (and should) be should be handled.

 

 

 

 

That’s where remakes work! That’s the key, the masterstroke of success! You see, I don’t attack remakes, I attack bad movies, and sadly most movies that are remade just suck. But there are plenty that gets it right. In the case of Hannibal, initially, I wasn’t prepared to like the series. How happy was I to be wrong once I realized how beautiful and profound this show was determined to be. It brought the stories to life, more like breathed new life into the characters, thus demonstrating how to do things properly.

Films like The Fly, The Thing, all of Hammer’s Dracula and Frankenstein movies, and even last year’s IT all proved to be successes. Why? Well, as I’ve already mentioned with Bates Motel and Hannibal, these movies work as remakes simply because they give us a brand new look at the familiar material. We’re not forced to watch a shot-for-shot retelling of a beloved title.

With the original The Thing, society was eaten alive with a growing paranoia that Communists could be living right next door. Who can you trust when there could be a dirty Red hiding just beyond your own front door? The Cold War was in full effect and was reflected in the spooky movies of that time.  When Carpenter released his updated take, The Thing no longer spoke about ‘neighbor danger,’ but focused on the terror growing in our own bodies. The 80’s decade was a war on drugs and unsafe sex. AIDS was a real threat and people were terrified. One moment a person could appear just fine and healthy, the next that same person would be diagnosed with a terrifying disease that would end in the grave. Society was very aware of how quickly our own bodies could turn viciously against us if we weren’t careful.

 

The Thing Wiki
image via The Thing Wiki

 

The Thing became a cautionary tale about how the body can transform with a viral enemy inside of us ready to malform our anatomy to suit its own selfish purposes. It’s no surprise that it was released during a time when people were being warned of cancer. It got to be that everything would give a person cancer. People couldn’t even feel safe breathing in the air they inhaled for fear of second-hand smoking – and you guessed it, that gave you cancer too. When you look at The Thing it’s a hideous amalgamation of swollen tumors that destroy and ruin all they touch. The movie was not well received in its day, but has now grown to cult fandom and is praised as one of the best sci-fi horror films of all time.

 

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image via WiffleGif

 

The remake of The Fly is about losing control of one’s own body.  All it took was one innocent night of carelessness. This body-horror classic has an underlining theme of cautionary sex, it may not be noticed at first, but once it is it’s hard to deny. Our unfortunate hero (Jeff Goldblum)  gets infected by an experiment gone deathly wrong. He took every precaution. He crouches himself into the womb-shaped sanctity of the teleporter he’s built. Everything is a go, but unforeseen to him, a single freak chance of fate happens beyond his grasp, a fly lands in the teleporter and the two become merged as one entity. The consequences are dire for him. It was a simple accident, one slip of chance and all of a sudden it doesn’t matter how cautious he was. He is infected, but he hasn’t really realized it yet. He has sex with his girlfriend because of course, he does. Once she learns of his disturbing fate his girlfriend (Geena Davis) has some vivid dreams about the consequences of sleeping with her infected lover. I’m saying the word ‘consequences’ an awful lot, but that’s what this movie is all about.  It’s pretty obvious that the social fear of venereal consequences is in play here.

I’m not one to argue that a good horror movie has to have come underlining social message in it to make it good. It could be simple coincidence,  or maybe some deep thought was put into the making of those films. However, my point was, in the case of these remakes and what made them work, they weren’t just a rehash of the original source material. They were social up to date and played on the current fears of the people. If you make a horror film then you better at least try to aim at scaring your audience for fuck’s sake.

The only way you can scare an audience is by engaging them with the characters, make what scares them scare us, and then, after earning our trust rip our hearts out. That’s horror.

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There’s no doubt people hate Rob Zombie still for remaking Halloween, one of horror’s most cherished films. To this day that movie stands like a plague in the minds of many fans. But this is what I’ve gathered from most of the people who hate it. They seem to praise the first half of the movie but curse the latter half. The first half of the film is a complete departure from Carpenter’s vision. It’s a gritty and uncomfortable look at a domestic meltdown.

Michael is from a highly dysfunctional household. The making for disaster is found early on in the movie’s opening. Michael’s upbringing is anything but nurturing. His mother’s boyfriend is a screaming, foul-mouthed abusive man who taunts Michael every chance he can. Being the only male role-figure in his life, the man is only too happy to mock Michael’s premature sexuality, calling him girly names that almost echo John Gacy’s own abusive relationship with his dad.  Even Michael’s older sister throws around oddly arousing jokes at his expense. For adults, we can laugh at sick shit like this, but this is all very damaging for the young psyche of an impressionable growing boy.

To top things off, his mother is a local stripper and her intimate way of living is constantly thrown in Michael’s face by the run-of-the-mill shitheads at school. Combine all of this and you have the gathering elements of the perfect storm. One of destruction, pain, and misery. It will not feel empathy, it will be cut off from the social norms of what’s acceptable and what’s illegal. You have the disturbed making of a true psychopath.

 

Jarvis City
image via Jarvis City

 

This is the household environment that spawns the likes of John Gacy, Albert Fish, and Edmond Kemper – all of them real-life boogeymen. Killers, slashers, serial rapists; monsters in suits of men.

 

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This is not the Michael Myers we know, and that made him fascinating! This was a problem, a toxic danger that could be building right next door (or behind closed doors right upstairs). Were we going to get some actual psychological inside-looks into real-life murderers through the imaginative eyes of Michael Myers? Or, what I’m trying to say is, were we going to get inside of Myer’s mind? Would we see through the eyes of madness and true darkness all from behind his mask? It was really exciting. We already had a movie that followed the babysitters, so would this movie explore a very evil world that is hiding in plain sight all around us? That heinous world of the serial killer?

Oh, forget allllllllll about that, my nasties. It doesn’t take long for this to turn into a near shot-for-shot remake (oh sorry, ‘reimagining’) of Carpenter’s movie. People love to hate this movie and use it as the poster-child of poorly made remakes, but I have my own criticism of Zombie’s movie. That being: we almost had a great movie! Almost. Had Zombie just stuck with an original idea, something like following Michael’s journey into – not only madness – but also his heart of darkness; in essence, watch him become pure evil, and go on a blood-soaked murderous rampage. Make it an exploitation film, kinda like how it started out as.

It could have been great and I feel we got robbed.

And when it comes to Nightmare on Elm Street, instead of seeing the exact same movie we’ve all grown up with, why couldn’t we see the Springwood Slasher before he became the Dream Demon? Why not show us his vengeful demise at the hand of vigilante parents? Start out with him being a good neighbor, someone who would walk your dog for you. Someone you ask for an opinion, and who is glad to give it. Someone who loves his daughter and part of the PTA board. You know, like actual serial killers from the past? They always lived across the street. Why not give us that kind of movie, something we’ve not seen? Then pull the rug out from underneath us as we follow Fred Krueger down some very uncomfortable places, places where little skulls sit in the smoldering ash of a furnace deep in the depths of his boiler room.

 

Addicted to Horror Movies
image via Addicted to Horror Movies

Why not give us something like the rise of the Dream Demon?

Freddy could have come back and targeted the households of the parents who burned him alive and made it, oh I don’t know, something more relatable and personal to the families along Elm Street.

Eh, what I’m getting at is these remakes that are hated so much could have been good. They had potential and a chance, and that’s what I gave them – a chance.

Now whereas remakes don’t erase the original movie (thankfully), they do pose a problem for audiences nonetheless. A person can watch a really bad remake and not want to give the original a chance.

Cinepop
image via cinepop

Imagine if someone watched that awful Fog remake and then had no desire to see the original one? They would be missing out on a great experience. I kind of dealt with that. Thanks to Quarantine I had no interest in seeing [REC], like at all. In fact, I only just watched [REC] this year. That’s the problem with bad remakes – they may turn people off of some really amazing movies.

Not to mention we now have to distinguish which movie we’re talking about. My best friend was so happy when she bought me Night of the Demons for my birthday. It’s one of my all-time favorites and she knew I had been wanting it. Thing is, she bought me the remake (yes, that has a remake too) when it’s the original movie I love. Bless her heart, she was so thrilled to get me that Blu-ray though. She didn’t know there were two out there.  Someone else sent me Texas Chainsaw Massacre not knowing it was the remake. They honestly thought it was Hooper’s movie. There are too many remakes out there and it does get confusing.

Now we have a Suspiria remake to look forward to. Am I mad about that? No, and I’ll go to see it. Not only that, but we’re getting Pet Sematary, Tommyknockers, and honestly the remake train doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.

 

 

To be honest I’m excited. I know that may shock some of my readers, but this was not meant to be some ‘I hate all remakes’ article. I don’t hate them, I just want to see them done right. IT proved a remake can be done right, and, if done so, will be a massive hit.

So there you have it, my ghoulies. This has been your Manic Exorcism once again. I encourage you to not let bad remakes ruin good movies. Keep checking us out here at Nightmare Nostalgia for all your retro needs.  Now go forth to enjoy the horror line-up before us.

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

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

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

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

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image via IMDB

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

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

Horror Freak News
image via Horror Freak News

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

No monster. No black magic involved.

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

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

Letterboxd
image via Letterboxd

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

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

Wheres The Jump
image via Where’s The Jump?

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

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

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

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

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

Take care my nasties! Stay healthy.

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

I’ll be catching you later.

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD DVD

REC DVD

CUJO DVD

 

Happy Birthday to Horror King – Robert Englund! The Man and the Monsters!

For my generation no other actor embodied horror back in the blessed eighties quite like Robert Englund. He simply was the grinning face of pure evil. Of course, he wasn’t the only evil icon of cinematic terror in those days. Luckily we had plenty to choose from – Jason, Chucky, Michael Myers – but Robert Englund gave us Freddy Krueger, and Freddy gave us all nightmares.

 

Horror Freak News
image via Horror Freak News

 

Freddy was not hidden behind a mask and that set him apart from the rest. We could see the evil glint in his eyes as he taunted his prey and relished in their hysteria as slowly they realized how inevitable their coming demise was. Krueger had emotions and a sick sense of humor. He loved what he did, and his giddiness made us fall in love with his movies.

How can you escape a dream? That’s the genius of Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street. You can’t escape dreams – at least not for long – because ultimately you cannot run away from sleep. Our bodies simply demand rest. We can hold out for several days but sooner or later the body will shut down against our will, and there, in that ethereal state of slumber and vulnerability, the Dream Demon awaits. Freddy was the kind of evil that laughed at your pain as he found new inventive ways to kill each of his prey.

 

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Without Robert Englund’s enthusiasm and dastardly charisma the entire experience would have been, well not only different, but I have to wonder if it would have worked at all. As the remake proved – there just is no replacing Englund when it comes to Elm Street.

 

nightmareonelmstreet wikia
image via nightmareonelmstreet wikia

 

Originally, David Warner (The Omen) was up for the role and was Craven’s first choice to wear the razor-tipped glove. Albeit that would have been very interesting to see, but it’s still very hard to imagine.

 

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image via IGN

 

While Freddy ruled the dreamworld from his hellish boiler room, Robert Englund brought another monster to life, one we all knew of and that hailed from the classic age. Englund’s exploits would turn the Opera House of Paris into a bloodbath of carnage and lust as he finally went behind a mask and played The Phantom of the Opera.

This is a unique take on the French classic tale of obsession and murder. Don’t expect Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music in this one, but the movie is a full orchestra of violence and horror. Taking Gaston Leroux’s classic story, they turned it into a modern-day slasher classic as only the talents of Robert Englund’s sadistic manner could do.

 

Daily Dead
image via Daily Dead

 

But I would be ashamed of myself if I neglected to mention one of my personal favorite movies Robert Englund brings to life. As a matter of fact I think this movie would be nothing more than a rotting pile of rat dicks had it not his charisma and gritty charm to carry it. I’m talking about The Mangler.

 

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image via cgentertainment

 

Adapted from a Stephen King short story, this movie really shouldn’t even exist. It’s just so fucking stupid but in all the right ways. It’s a story about a killer laundry press, folks. And the mechanical beast is out for blood!

Ruling over this dingy abyss of broken dreams and sadness is our beloved Robert Englund. He is the manager around these here parts and doesn’t kindly care too much about whose blood gets spilled on the job. One accident isn’t enough to shut down business, people! You clean up the mess and forget it ever happened. It doesn’t matter how mangled up the remains are. You sweep them up and spray it away with the hose. Then get back to work! Now! No matter how mean your boss might be, I can guarantee few managers ever come close to the smarminess of this stuck-up dickhead. And we love him for it.

 

F This Movie
image via F This Movie

 

These are my three favorite roles he’s played, but they are not the extent of his colorful career. Robert Englund has been in Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive, 2,001 Maniacs, Zombie Strippers and so many more. Each one is worth viewing or re-watching.

 

IGN
image via IGN Entertainment

 

So here’s to Robert Englund. Thank you for giving us so many chills and thrills! May you see many more birthdays to come! We love you!

Live Your Favorite Moments From ‘Friday the 13th’ With New Single Player Update!

When it comes to slasher cinema one franchise defines the genre as a definitive whole. That would be none other than the slasher-film maestro, Friday the 13th.

Growing up nothing was more synonymous with blood-curdling horror than a simple hockey mask. That mask became the unfeeling and inhuman visage of violent rage and unrelenting terror. It captivated our generation’s imagination and we couldn’t get enough Jason!

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

Then our dreams (or nightmares) came true. We were given a chance to visit Crystal Lake thanks to Nintendo. We could finally face off against our favorite killer. Sadly the game didn’t meet up with people’s expectations, but many of us still loved it. Even to this day it holds a special place in our hearts. Yet we needed a damn upgrade.

 

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

We wanted to explore the sets from each movie. We wanted to explore each cabin and snoop around the Jarvis house. Well finally someone did something about that and brought to life a game all horror fans dreamt of! Gun Media and IllFonic gave us the frightening chance to explore Crystal Lake with the Friday the 13th The Game.

Not only that but we wanted to be Jason. We wanted to step behind that mask and recreate the famous kills seen in the movies. Once again, the masterminds behind the game’s production have made that possible. As you can see from my screenshots, this game lets us become Jason himself.

 

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

Now is the time to jump in the game. Thanks to the latest update gamers can now explore the films like never before. With the highly-anticipated Single-Player Challenges, you will stalk through ten different stages as the iconic masked killer. If you’re familiar with the game already you’ll know it’s praised for its elaborate kills. Already many of the famous murders straight out of the franchise have been employed to great effect.

 

 

However, there was still so much more to be explored as this latest update proves. Providing newer kills at our fingertips and story-set ups taken from our favorite horror series, this is the definitive retro horror experience.

Single-Player Challenges

These Challenges bring the movies all to life.

 

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As Jason, you will need to use stealth and cunning as you hunt down each unsuspecting camper and greet them with a messy, messy fate. One of my personal favorites happens early on and involves a wood chipper. A mother-fucking woodchipper! Buah ha ha ha!!! You’re gonna love it. Another great one introduces someone’s stupid face to the business end of a boat propeller. Oh, it gets nice and messy around here, my ghastlies.

I was laughing like a proper psychopath and worried my roomies.

 

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

Each Challenge will judge your gameplay based on whether you get noticed by the campers, whether anyone escapes and whether you meet the score criteria. Each success you achieve will open new emotes for your favorite campers in online play.

Overall this update offers plenty to keep fans cheering for a long time. I’m never disappointed with what this team has been giving us. This is what happens when fans are in charge of a project. So while we may not have a new Friday the 13th film, we can relive the movies now like never before.

 

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

So do yourself a big favor and step onto some of horror’s most sacred hunting grounds and experience the movies you’ve loved in a whole new way.

 

Live Your Favorite Moments From 'Friday the 13th' With New Single Player Update!
image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

Friday the 13th is available for PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One.

This has been Manic Exorcism and I’ll be catching you later.

Eibon Press and the Future-Past of Horror Comics!

It’s time to crack open the forbidden tomes of Eibon, faithful followers. Here we bid a long farewell to our flesh. Beyond this point, there shall be no return. The mind will melt and the soul filleted as such oozing spectacles assault our vision from the Beyond.  Forsake ye all hopes for a restful grave at the sure ending of life, because a hideous power, one of wickedness and dread, this way quickly comes. Eibon has been reopened forthwith ushering us into fresh circles of Hell.

 

. . . The Book of Eibon, that strangest and rarest of occult forgotten volumes … is said to have come down through a series of manifold translations from a prehistoric original written in the lost language of Hyperborea.
—Clark Ashton Smith, “Ubbo-Sathla”

 

Eibon Press is proving themselves to be the unrelenting future of horror comics. With a lethal eye trained for macabre details, they are undoubtedly the undisputed masters of their craft. By blending gruesome art with fiendish tales they masterfully weave new layers of terror into some of our most cherished exploitation films and cult classics, thus ensuring their secured place in horror history.

 

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image via Eibon Press Facebook Page

 

Horror naturally prospers in comic book form, mainly because the MPAA can’t step in with their bitchy attitudes and erase away any sight of blood, guts or sexuality that might make them blush with a bad case of the vapors. Many of our favorite horror franchises have suffered needlessly beneath the rigorous afflictions of uptight censorship, thus ruining some perfectly good horror movie opportunities in terms of those messy little meaty details. Friday the 13th, at least the later films, were systematically abused by the righteous endeavors of the MPAA. Luckily, the grimy halls of comic books are unspoiled by such convictions and their haunted halls are rife with maniacs who freely kick down our doors, raise their chipped hatchets and cleave our puny good sensibilities into a bloody and gurgling pulp.

 

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image via Eibon Press

 

Now, if you’ve had a chance to read anything from Avatar Press – I’m thinking especially Wormwood, but especially Crossed – or just about anything by Garth Ennis, you’ll know immediately what I mean here. Comic books are not safe, and woe to any who thinks differently. No one who appears in such macabre volumes shall be spared. Their eyes will melt and their flesh decay, no one, not even our most beloved of heroes, are safe beneath the ink of those given to this expression of Art. These writers and artists will not hesitate to shove us down and kick our teeth in.  Oh no, horror comics are not safe, and they never should be.

 

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image via Eibon Press Facebook Page

 

This is an unshakable fact Eibon Press knows about very, very well. In the hands of these master sadists, the Art has taken a new form in order to distribute the Evangelium of terror. To gross someone out is honestly not in the least bit complicated, and believe me, many have (failingly) attempted to gain an audience by simply defiling their readers’ eyes through shocking gross-outs. But to craft an engaging story, to make the Art come to life, to beget something that will continue in the minds of their audience long after the reader puts away the book is only a thing masters of the craft can accomplish.  It takes truly insidious talent to breathe something into existence that invades our normal everyday lives, plaguing us with visceral images and ghoulish scenes we won’t soon forget. Not just anybody can achieve this level of the Art. Junji Ito is able to do this effortlessly and has been my reigning favorite horror artist until I met with Eibon Press and witnessed what they have to offer.

Just like horror movies have many genres, the same is equally true of horror comics. In the case of Eibon Press, they’ve skillfully dominated the sodden field of exploitation experiences. Be it a grimy alleyway with dripping echoes of sweltering lust and shame, perhaps the humid gates of everlasting Hell, or a restless cemetery where the rotting dead rise out of the mire and mold – Eibon Press depicts some wonderfully dreadful landscapes you will traverse once you crack open their pages. Violence awaits and there will be no turning back once you enter. It is a horror fan’s paradise.

 

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image via Eibon Press

 

They make gritty somehow beautiful. Ascetically brilliant, they make full use of color to accentuate the full volume of gore at hand. I can guarantee gore hounds will not be disappointed! And as for tone, well this is like the equivalent of your favorite death metal albums in illustrated form. There will be slaughter and lots of blood.

But all is not just blood, guts and eroticism. These guys are better than that and build upon plot and focus on the characters who must face all the horrors Hell has to offer. If you think this is just an-all out splatterfest…well, you’d be correct! It gets very sticky as you turn the pages, but I assure you it’s the stories they’ve released that will keep you turning those pages.

Eibon Press specializes in embellishing upon the beloved cult classics of Lucio Fulci, and I love them for that! I’ve always been a Fulci fan so I approached these comics with a critical eye. I was not disappointed, but very much the opposite. I was impressed by how much love and care they handled the material with. It didn’t take long to realize these guys love Fulci’s work as much as I do.

 

EPFbP
image via Eibon Press Facebook Page

 

I did say they embellish on the stories. For example, when reading Gates of Hell (City of the Living Dead) we get a lot more details of the evil priest who hangs himself at the beginning of the movie. With the use of some good narrative, the team gives us a fuller and broader story to the lores we already love and know. If you think you know everything there is to know about Zombi, think again. There is so much more to glean from that vicious story, and with the comic Zombie, Eibon proves this to be true. For example, you know how Zombi 2 ends? Well, Eibon extends the story and takes us right into the chaotic-strewn streets of the city. Put on your big boy pants because it just keeps getting more and more savage.

In case that’s already not enough to have you ready to order their entire line of comics, let me tempt you even further. In their epic Gates of Hell title, not only is Eibon giving us the hellish story of City of the Living Dead, but this is only the start of the Saga of the 7 Gates line. A series that begins with CotLD and will involve both The Beyond and House By the Cemetery, mummy! And I’m pretty sure Bob won’t be anywhere near as annoying in comic form as that little shit was in the movie. “Mummy, I see a girl in the window, Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”

Ok I got it out of my system. That fucking voice though! Screw you, Bob!

They have also adapted both Maniac and Laserblast into comic form. Laserblast, people! I never in my sickest fever dreams would have ever expected that to be a comic storyline! Oh, you’re uninitiated into the silliness of Laserblast. Here, check this out.

 

 

Isn’t that just glorious? Only diehard fans of horror would take the time to adapt a movie this spectacularly cheesy into an art form and share it so a new generation may discover it. And after a speaking with these guys, I know they are indeed fans of the genre.

As a bonus feature for both of these (Maniac and Laserblast) you can get a truly unique VHS sleeve. Oh, that’s another thing, not only are we treated to some of the best gore in comics today, but, just like any great DVD release, we are also given loads of bonus content with every comic purchase. Bookmarks, fliers, collectible cards and (in some cases) music tracks. Yeah, they give codes for exclusive music content relating to the comics. When’s the last time Marvel did that? These guys treat the fans!

I can’t kiss the publisher’s ass enough. And no, I didn’t get a special deal from them. I’m still paying full price plus shipping, and that’s fine by me. I’m just a fan who wants everyone else to know what they’ve been missing. So let’s hurry up and fix it.

 

The Dead Walk
image via The Dead Walk

 

Eibon also has a totally original run called Bottomfeeder which is as pretty as a truckstop outhouse. That’s not a criticism either. It’s a story set in the 80’s and features some all-time favorite cult faces who regularly make cameos throughout the story. You can call it detectivesploitation as our asshole anti-hero is set against Roger Corman’s Humanoids From the Deep. Holy shit! Just typing that line was exciting.

 

Eibon Press Facebook Page 2
image via Eibon Press Facebook Page

 

These guys go for the jugular and never apologize for it. These are wickedly dangerous comics and you’ll need your manliest pair of britches to get into them, but you will not regret it. Fair warning these are in no way safe for work or around kids. There is explicit nudity in them all. And if child death affects you I would advise you stay away. Like in any good Fulci film kids are known to get a bad case of dead here.

 

Eibon Press 2
image via Eibon Press

 

Out of all the horror comics to choose from out there these guys are my absolute favorite. You cannot find these titles in stores, however, so be sure to visit their website here and don’t be scared to buy. Already Zombie is in its third printing and sells out like mad. Pretty sure I’ll be doing a review of that run fairly soon.

I’ve been talking with Eibon on the possibility of there being a Madman comic, and the idea is out there. So fingers crossed.

This has been Manic Exorcism once again hoping you stay scared and dare to open these forbidden Gates and unleash a little Hell.

 

 

Shudder Dishes Out Some Old School Scares In May!

Welcome back my little fiends, it’s your favorite freak show carnival host – Manic Exorcism! I’m back with some exciting news for you. Originally I was going to post a great big article covering my latest obsession. Oh yes, there is a magnanimously hideous power on the near horizon, one I just can’t hardly wait to share with you all. But I’m sad to say you have to wait just a teensy bit on that. So as I blue ball you all, let me fill in your time with some exciting news.

This may just prove that I have the attention span of a chipmunk, but as I sat down to do some editing I flipped on the Shudder app for a little background noise – because silence is disgusting sometimes. To my surprise, once Shudder opened up I was immediately treated to the one and only Reggie (Reggie Bannister) guitar pickin’ in the cult-classic Phantasm.

 

Boston Hassle
image via Boston Hassle

You see, Shudder always provides streaming movies that play around the clock. Technically you’d never have to choose a movie and just trust in Shudder TV to provide you scores of relentless entertainment. Wait a minute though! I must assume some of you may not know what the heck it is I’m talking about. Just in case you didn’t know – Shudder is the horror equivalent of Netflix and Hulu. They provide horror fans horror movies! In the past, they have included exploitation favorites such as Cannibal Holocaust and The Beyond. Who the Hell else does that?

 

bloody-disgusting
image via bloody-disgusting

 

Where else will you find New York Ripper and Maniac Cop together in the same place?

Not to mention now is a kick ass time to join in! I shit you not, this month they just added The Evil Dead (I’m talking about the all-time splatter classic here), Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot, the original IT with all of that Tim Curry goodness, as well as Cat’s Eye! For God’s sake, they have Cat’s Eye on here! If you’ve not seen that Stephen King classic then stop reading this right now, go to Shudder and watch that movie! No King fan’s life is complete until they’ve seen BOTH Quitters Anonymous and The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill! Holy ol’ Jesus! What are ya’ll waiting for? We’re talking about meteor shit here for goodness sake! And just because Shudder loves us so very much, we can now watch BOTH because not only is Cat’s Eye on there now, but they’ve also included CREEPSHOW! I could die happy. Old school Stephen King favorites are only a click away.

 

house of tortured souls
image via House of Tortured Souls

 

So why wait? You know you’re just dying to see these nostalgic nightmares. Sleepaway Camp, Pieces, C.H.U.D, Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou, Night of the Creeps, Street Trash and The Gate are all here. We have the original Wicker Man, The Prowler, and not to mention Madman! Madman is here, people! When’s the last time you watched Don’t Go in the Woods? Or how about The Mutilator? And you know it’s vacation season, so what better time to rewatch Tourist Trap?

Asian horror films are here along with some amazing horror documentaries such as Crystal Lake Memories. For only $4:99 a month, it’s a steal!

Rare horror movies

International horror movies

Classic horror movies

Modern and original scares too

They’ve got it all.

 

rolling stone
image via Rolling Stone

 

Do you miss watching Tales From the Darkside? Get ready to sit back and treat yourself to some creepy fun way into the late hours of the night. They have plenty of good horror shows here too.

This is the stuff we thrive off of here at Nightmare Nostalgia. So head on over and see what all the fuss is about. Everyone else is celebrating warmer weather and the chance to get out, but you know we horror fans love to sit in front of the eerie glow of a TV and watch some bone-chilling terror. Shudder is dishing out the best horror this side of Blockbuster’s sad demise.

 

Monsterpalooza 2018 – A Celebration of Horror at its Finest

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

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

 

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

The Featured Guests

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

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

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

 

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

Panels

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

The Monsterpalooza Museum

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

 

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Something To Look Out For

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

 

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Criticism

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

 

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

The Vendors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Controversy of ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’

“The Dual Substance of Christ… has always been a deep inscrutable mystery to me. … In order to mount to the Cross, the summit of sacrifice, and to God, the summit of immateriality, Christ passed through all the stages which the man who struggles passes through. That is why his suffering is so familiar to us.”

– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

 

In honor of the current holiday, I thought I’d take a moment of reflection for one of the most emotionally charged films in my entire library – The Last Temptation of Christ. Filmed by Hollywood’s legendary Martin Scorsese, this movie dared to take on one of the most violently hated novels of our modern era. Based on the imperial book written by Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ tells us the beauty of the Gospel through an entirely new and never-to-be-repeated manner. For that reason, I feel this movie has earned a tremendous cult attraction among thousands while also offending devout practitioners of the evangelical Christian persuasion.

 

Nolan Fans
image via Nolan Fans

 

Rest assured, I may be a theologian, but this will not be a religious discussion. You have no worries of me evangelizing to you through this. I merely want to praise the daring work of a magnificent film, one that manages to stir the souls of believers and nonbelievers alike. Which, if we’re being honest, is one hell of an accomplishment.

 

Daring. Bold. Controversial.

These all three manage to describe this film’s immense merits.

 

Beautiful. Heart-rendering. Tragic.

These are also the great weights of the movie’s glory.

 

Solemn. Celebratory. Triumphant!

This journey of the Christ instills in the viewer a mighty swell of victory once we reach that final heart-pounding moment. It is a victory summed up with a humble smile and three sacred words.

“It is accomplished.”

Words which echo across Time and have marked their place in History as deeply spiritual landmarks for millions of souls.

The movie accomplishes its goal in a steady and determined march, and that’s what this movie really does feel like – a march, a defying-all-the-costs parade of Christ and twelve other individuals who would have their names etched upon the pillars of mankind’s religious history. This was ultimately a death march though, and no matter how many of them might try, there would be absolutely no wavering from that looming imminent finale. The march began with one single individual who inspires others, and they soon join and follow him. The march leads them to Jerusalem where, for a time, the following grows and becomes a multitude. But all too soon it dwindles to just four – the Christ and his three Apostles – in Gethsemane, and , ultimately, becomes only one – the very same one who started the movement three years previously, who will find himself beaten, abandoned, and alone to face death as he is lifted up, stapled between Heaven and Earth, the essential totem of Grace, a sacrifice for those he loves.

 

Blu-ray
image via Blu-ray.com

 

This is only some of the heart of Scorsese’s gripping masterpiece of love, death, and ultimately unyielding life.

 

In The Beginning

On the Criterion Collection’s release of the film, Scorsese admits he always wanted to make a big-time biblical epic about the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Originally, Scorsese says he was heavily influenced by the larger-than-life works of Cecil B. DeMille. With movies like The Ten Commandments in mind, Scorsese dreamed of matching that level of grandeur someday.

 

 

Scorsese also says he wanted it to be a black and white film, something that (I can only speculate now) would have looked like a Gustave Dore work of art come vividly to life. Undoubtedly that would have been breathtaking, but, admittedly, there already was a black and white Jesus epic out there – King of Kings, which is another Criterion Collection release.

Scorsese’s original vision for his future Passion work was later redefined upon seeing Pier Paolo Pasolini’s critically acclaimed The Gospel of St. Matthew. Yup, that means Pasolini, the director of Salo: 120 Days of Sodom, indirectly influenced what we now have as The Last Temptation of Christ. The work of one fervent visionary sparked the inspiration of another and maybe there was something in the air, but people were just damn creative back then.

 

IMDB
image via IMDB

 

Scorsese changed his epic into a powerfully humble character study and focused that study on the Son of God. He didn’t have his core story until Barbara Hershey (Black Swan, Damien, The Entity) gave him a copy of Kazantzakis’ mystical novel and told him he needed to film this story, and (kindly) demanded to play Mary Magdalen, a role she fills dramatically.

The movie was a go. Paramount greenlit the work, but then the Moral Majority of America got wind of the project and threw a fit. The studio feared some very ugly protests and on Thanksgiving Day, 1983, Scorsese was told his Jesus movie was canceled. The film wasn’t even out the door and its protesters were already screaming blasphemy. Scorsese had to cut the budget back if he wanted his passion-project to see the light of day. Universal would later pick up the rights and the movie was a go once again. But people still fought it tooth and nail.

 

The Great Controversy

So was the controversy of the film justified? Honestly, the subject matter of the movie has always been a subject of controversy – Jesus. In the Gospel record itself, the Son of God is tremendously controversial. In Jesus, we have a Prophet who claims to be Incarnate God and vows to bridge the gulf between humanity’s soul and the divine by using only three nails and two pieces of wood. It is an outrageous claim, one only the God-Man could fulfill. Jesus does just that.  Society didn’t know what to make of Him. And, if we’re being real, society still doesn’t.

 

metacafe
image via metacafe

 

There is a definite idea of who the Messiah needs to be, and if that idea doesn’t match people’s preconceived expectations there is going to be an uproar. And an ugly one at that.

So is the film justifiably controversial?

 

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When you have a Jesus film that opens with Jesus building a cross for another man to be crucified, yeah that is going to ruffles some feathers. Well, Jesus was a carpenter after all, and seeing him build a cross that will hang a man guilty of sedition is somehow amazing. This movie presents us with a Christ who is just doing his job. Before he was called Messiah he was just a regular guy making a living. Therein lies the key genius of this movie.

Christ was like one of us. He felt fear and then proved his strength by facing fear. In this movie, he didn’t want to be Christ, but he couldn’t deny being the Son of the living God. It’s a horror story in a way. Think of it: what if you woke up one day and learned God was your father? You were meant to be the Savior of all mankind, but in order to do that, you had to die as a sacrifice. Oh! And you couldn’t just die, but you had to be crucified, the most horrific and painful death invented out of man’s most heinous imaginations.

 

FictionMachine
image via FictionMachine

 

That’s scary! That’s the story behind Last Temptation. A Jesus who is God become Man. God, Eternal Almighty Jehovah, the I AM, become flesh, beautifully and wonderfully human. One of us, just like we are told in St. John 1:14. This film explores the sacred (and often overlooked) humanity of the Savior.

As a man, all he wants is to live a happy life. Marry the woman he loves, drink with friends and laugh in a good company. He wants to build a home and raise a family. He wants to kiss his grandchildren on the head and close his eyes in death knowing he has led a full life – just like a man. That is his greatest Temptation. The amazing drama of the Christ is the fact he is BOTH Man and God, so as a man he wants to live with those he loves, but as God, he must die to redeem their eternal souls.

 

IMDB 2
image via IMDB

 

That is the heart of this movie. It is real and raw human emotions springing from the Gospel record. I stress this is not the Gospel, and the filmmakers make that known from the opening title. But this is a celebration of the Gospel’s triumph.

I say that because I grew up in a home that discouraged me from seeing this movie. My parents were missionaries over in Russia, and so I grew up in a very religious home. We did watch religious-based films, but Last Temptation was on the forbidden list. This and The Omen were the top no, nos. Well, shit if those two films weren’t the very ones I had to see though!

I was expecting to see a gross depiction of my Savior, something that would mock up the Christian faith and damage any one’s personal belief upon viewing it. My first reaction though was admiration for how tenderly they depict Jesus. Willem Dafoe steps into the Messiah’s shoes (sandals) and presents us with a very real and very likable Christ. He doesn’t feel far away and distant, but all too real. Someone you could approach without fear of being denied. Before seeing this film, Dafoe isn’t a top choice I’d think of for such a role, but now I can’t imagine anyone else playing this pivotal part.

 

Criterion
image via Criterion

 

I can’t neglect to mention the other roles mastered in this film. As I said, Dafoe is wonderful for his part, but he is joined by some other titanic performances. Harvey Keitel joins us as Judas Iscariot, the man who will be forever marked as the Traitor of Christ. Unlike any other Jesus movie though, Judas is very close to his Rabbi. At times it feels as if he alone gets what Jesus’ mission has to be. The others are ready to take over all of Jerusalem and (eventually) overthrow their Roman conquerors. Judas, on the other hand, is listening and asking questions.

 

Cinema Viewfinder
image via Cinema Viewfinder

 

One of the most powerful moments from the movie transpires between both Jesus and Judas. Jesus knows his fate is at hand, that he must be crucified. He takes Judas aside and tells Judas that he has to be the one who turns the Son of Man over to the soldiers. Judas weeps when he realizes his role in this eternal epic is to ‘betray’ his Master.

In a minor role (but incredibly impactful) David Bowie becomes our Pilate. His interaction with Dafoe’s Jesus was filmed in one day but you’d never know any different. “You’re more dangerous than the Zealots, do you know that?” he asks the condemned Christ with an air of cynicism in his gestures. The confrontation is short but it somehow lingers in our memory. It’s also a scene that then leads us into one of the most emotionally charged Passion scenes depicted on film. Peter Gabriel’s score, something that elevates this movie a hundredfold, simply outdoes itself during this entire painful process. When Jesus is shouldering his cross you’ll feel as though the weight of the whole world is on his shoulders.

Have a listen for yourself.

 

Finally, the movie is a work of art come to life. Scorsese admits that he used lighting to try and accentuate the visuals as best they could to harken back to some of the finest art of the Reni séance Age.

 

Final Thoughts

The movie is a masterpiece. It’s a Jesus story unlike any you’ll ever see. Sure, we all feel as if we know the saga of the Messiah, but this film does offer us a story angle we’ve never been introduced to yet. We see the heart of God through the humanity of Christ Jesus. This movie may not be the Gospel account, but it does manage to present us a lot of that self-same heart. Personally, this and Gibson’s own controversial film Passion of the Christ are two common staples to watch each Easter. Both movies offer my inspiration something unique, disturbing, and remarkable.

If you’ve not seen this movie (or if it’s been a while) let yourself taste a little bit of spiritual inspiration and give this one a watch. This has been Manic Exorcism. Have a Happy Easter, a Great Passover, and I’ll be catching you all soon enough. Try not to eat too many tasty chocolate bunnies. That’ll make you sluggish and too easy to hunt, and where’s the fun in that?

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

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

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

In The Beginning, There was NIGHT

 

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

 

Mondo Tees
image via Mondo Tees

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Night Gave Way to DAWN Something Darker Still

 

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

Romero welcomed us all to the Apocalypse!

 

Nightmare on Film Street
image via Nightmare on Film Street

 

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

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

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

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

 

The Italian Echo of Living Death

 

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

 

Film International
image via Film International

 

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

 

VHS Archives
image via VHS Archives

 

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

 

Amazon
image via Amazon

 

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

 

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

 

The Series (?)

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

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

March to the Grave – Cemetery Man!

Hello, my sweet gargoyles and ghouls. It’s your dearly demented friend, Manic Exorcism, asking you to join me on a lovely cemetery stroll where the departed, well, they just aren’t content to rest peacefully.  So grab a shovel – or a boomstick, should you prefer – as we unearth the unconsecrated bowels of these crypts and look at this underrated gem – Cemetery Man. Or also known as Della Morte Dell Amore.

The Zombie Genre

Once upon a time zombie films were few to be found. Cemetery Man, much like its festering brothers and sisters of the genre, was a definite rarity. That might seem shocking to our modern audiences today – who have been nursed on The Walking Dead, Resident Evil games, and countless tons of independent flesh eating atrocities – but zombie movies used to be hard to find.

Crazy, I know, right? Today we have too many of them. It’s an over saturation really, as if we’re overrun by hordes of living-dead films. Each one shambling over one another and inseparable in their rotten likenesses.  A drooling mess of celluloid brainless insatiable cravings, each of them clawing at us, demanding our numb attention and refusing to let us escape. A true epidemic and apocalypse. It is a wasteland of lost creativity.

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image vie giphy

Wow!  Almost sounds like I hate zombie movies. I don’t, but admittedly I’m not a fan of the current state of them. They’re all too similar. Similar in tone, in style and even in their characters. Honestly I think that zombies were way scarier when they were rare.

The Cemetery Man

Cemetery Man came out during a golden age when film makers dared to take risks and tackled well-established tropes we were familiar with, but added some much-appreciated originality to a subject matter that otherwise would have been left rotting beneath the earth. There were some creative minds that brilliantly brushed away the layers of mold and breathed putrid life into those bones.

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The problem I have with modern zombie incarnations is if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Stop me if this sounds familiar: a band of miss-matched survivors must face the undead legions across a dystopian landscape. Throw in some romantic drama and BOOM you have your zombie flick. CG blood effects will complete the mendacity and your indie zombie movie will get lost in the stinking tide of an over-used gimmick. 28 Days Later was part of the zombie renaissance and it’s formula has been recycled to death with few contributions adding any freshness to the field. But hey, I guess we can praise Zombeavers for its uniqueness. At least it was different!

(That’s not to say I don’t have my modern favorites. Shaun of the Dead is to be praised. So is Planet Terror. However, both of those movies were clear throw backs to that golden age of risky film making I already mentioned.)

On the contrary, films like Creepshow, Braindead, Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Creeps (they’re zombies, right?) and of course today’s subject, Cemetery Man all offered audiences something new, fresh, and (believe it or not) entirely unseen before. Who can forget the mean old bastard who rises from his wormy grave still demanding his father’s day cake? Or who else got hot around the color as our pre-pubescent eyes watched Trash bare it all and dance in a grave yard? (We love you Linnea Quigley!) We also got to see (whether we wanted to or not) zombies have sex  on a dining table and later give birth to a zombie baby who goes on to run amok across a playground. Holy shit! These movies were awesome!

They became instant cult classics and are still highly adored to this very day. There is no replacing them.  Their fandom swells with every new generation and will never lose steam as more audiences are introduced to their ingenuity and creativity.

They weren’t about any catastrophic dystopian society. They were about everyday people having a really bad, bad day. And we genuinely felt a connection with the characters.

Aside from practical effects do you know what each of these beloved movies have in common? They don’t take themselves too seriously. They made horror fun. They’re fun but not stupid, I must stress that. They are serious movies with some hard-core punk flare. They made us squirm, squeal and scream for more! That’s something gravely lacking in the majority of today’s zomb-zomb endeavors. Their tones are too serious for their own good or they try to be funny and just mock it up. (I guess there was a time when talent was a thing.)

If you’re a fan of any of these aforementioned punk-rock flicks then I can assure you that Cemetery Man is one you’ll want to see. The plot centers around our hero who is tasked with killing the freshly buried who rise from their graves. That’s it. What makes this movie remarkable are the scenes and visuals. The filmmakers had a great eye and at moments it feels like grotesque art come to life.

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image via imdb

Honestly this movie is more beautiful than any zombie movie has any right to be. It’s hypnotic and at times you won’t be able to look away. The project was purely a work of inspiration.

The movie is also subtly deceptive. Sure, on the surface you’ll think it’s about a guy who shoots the living dead in the head. But then the film begins to explore intense subjects such as love and all of its treachery and the mysteries of Death itself. It becomes a gradual existential odyssey between the living and the dead.

Our cemetery man is played by Rupert Everett, a surprising role for him but very well done! He is assisted by a mentally challenged fellah, Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro), who is the perfect cross between Curly from the Three Stooges and Uncle Fester. Gnaghi is just too much fun. At one moment he crushes hard on the mayor’s daughter and throws up all over her as a sign of affection. There’s another great scene where he’s sitting down in front of the TV and happily eating some chocolate ice cream all the while his partner is busily fighting off a sudden invasion of the living dead. Gnaghi remains entirely oblivious the whole time.

nerd ninja
image via Nerd Ninja

Just like Return of the Living Dead this movie is damn cool. I mean what other movie will give you a zombie biker bursting out of his grave on his mother-fucking motorcycle? That and the Grim Reaper makes one Hell of an appearance that you won’t soon forget.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this one and upon a re-watch, I now have a brand new favorite. I really hope that someday Arrow Video will give us a proper Blu-ray release of this sadly underrated cult classic.

villains wikia
image via villains Wikia

This has been Manic Exorcism thanking you for joining me on another macabre journey into the heart of darkness. Be sure to keep checking in here at Nightmare Nostalgia for all those lovely chills and thrills. I’ll catch you all later, my lovelies. And next time you won’t get away so easily. Heheheh

Cemetery Man (1994)