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Manic Mania For the Madman – Horror’s Unsung Slasher Icon

Madman may not share the infamy of other slasher films of the era such as Sleepaway Camp, Silent Night, Deadly Night, or My Bloody Valentine, but make no mistake – this small-budget independent horror movie has proven to be a tremendous force to be reckoned with.

Madman Could Not Be Stopped

Upon its release, it received horrible coverage. According to Madman himself (Paul Ehlers) the film never found its way on the cover of any magazine of the day and there was only a tiny blurb of an article discussing its merit. That’s shameful! To top it all off, very few theaters chose to showcase the movie making its audience miserably limited. Under most usual circumstances, Madman should have been quickly forgotten in the traffic of better-known franchises. However, in spite of its challenges not only did the film find its audience but has enjoyed cult stardom that grows stronger with each new viewing.

ComingSoon
image via ComingSoon

Being a fan of Madman is like being part of an exclusive club. A fan club with members like Joe Bob Briggs and Quentin Tarantino. Yup, both of them are Madman fans. Others praise Jason, Michael, and Freddy (nothing wrong with that at all I must add), but Madman fans are a category all of their own. It’s as if knowing the movie is our own kind of secret handshake. We recognize his growl and know his theme song by heart – and damn proud of it!

Originally the movie was based on local ghost stories. That’s right, my little ghoulies, initially Madman was rooted in the infamous Cropsey legend and was always intended to be the quintessential campfire boogeyman. He is a rumor, the resident guilty secret no one dares talk about after nightfall, and a whisper that chills the blood with inescapable dread. After thirty years he is still proving to be the ultimate deep woods camp legend. All you need to know to survive is “Don’t say his name above a whisper, or pay the hideous consequences.”

Villains Wiki
image via Villains Wiki

Today we’re going to pay the Madman his dues and celebrate all the fun, screams, and gory good fun of this underrated slasher!

fangoria 2
image via Fangoria

The Madman Legend

Old man Marz was anything but a soft-spoken farmer who lived peaceably out in the woods with his family. Oh no. Marz was an ugly drunk who beat his wife to a pulp and savaged both of his kids. When he wasn’t raising Hell at home he was busy cracking skulls open at the local tavern. In one such brawl his nose had been bitten off, but Marz – being the hateful cuss that he was – didn’t feel a thing.

His was a house of pain where a bruised wife and traumatized children lived in constant fear of his violent outbursts. It was anything but a home. That same hateful abode still stands, but is now rattled by the cruel ticking away of time and is cursed with haunted whispers and frightful suspicions; for one night Marz went completely ravenous mad. Without a hint of warning or any reason the old farmer picked up his axe and walked across the creaking floor boards with only a single thought in mind: murder. One by one Marz slaughtered each member of his family with cold systematic precision. As if to celebrate the event once finished Marz strolled into town – and still sodden by his family’s blood – sat himself down and had a beer at the tavern.

Upon realizing his crime vigilantes took matters into their own hands. Fed up with the sadism of the hateful creature they dragged Marz onto the streets. Someone took the Madman’s bloodied axe and buried it deep into the farmer’s face. He was still standing though, now driven by a rage that would please the cruelties of Satan and ready to slaughter the whole town. Luckily though they strung him up to the nearest tree and hung him there, thinking all was over. The next morning though Marz was no longer at the tree. He and the bodies of his family went missing, never to be found.

Blood Soaked Horror Reviews
image via Blood Soaked Horror Reviews

Madman Marz –as he came to be known, was never mentioned among the locals for fear that he would hear his name and come running.

coming soon
image via comingsoon

Upon the anniversary of the Marz family murder our cast of heroes (victims) have decided to camp just a little too close to the old farmer’s abandoned property. What begins as a fun little camp-fire ghost story soon turns into a night of savage butchery as the Madman hunts each of them down. All too late it becomes apparent that the legends are real – that he is real – and there is no escaping him.

fangoria
image via Fangoria

As far as back stories go his is one Hell of a good one. So why in the Hell does he not get any more recognition than he does? Madman is just as equally vicious as either Jason or Leatherface. As a matter of fact, I’d love to see a crossover of Madman vs Leatherface. The hatchet vs the chainsaw. Two backwoods maniacs with a taste for blood battling it out to the death! It should at the very least be a comic book for Shoggoth’s sake!

It’s an understatement to say this is a criminally underrated 80’s slasher film. It’s beautifully filmed all at night giving it an eerie tone that makes you think the killer waits behind every shadow. Fans of the slasher genre deserve to discover this one. It’s a film that needs to be experienced, and is best experienced with a group of friends.

Rivers of Grue
image via Rivers of Grue

Fun Facts

While filming Madman there was a rumor that someone was lurking around the woods at night uninvited and wanting to interrupt the crew’s progress. The director approached our Madman star and asked him to go out in the woods at night and stalk the stalker. While in full makeup and costume by the way. No lurker was ever found though.

Gaylen Ross of Dawn of the Dead stars in the movie. However, not only does she use a fake name in the end credits but allegedly refuses to admit she was ever involved in the making of the film.

cineoutsider
image via cineoutsider

Final Thoughts

Today we have seen Jason in Manhattan and space. Hell, the fucking Leprechaun got his little ass shot up into space. Michael has survived rappers and a remake. Freddy has been in a womb, in hell, and at Crystal Lake. And we have how many Hatchet – clearly inspired from Madman’s design – movies are there now? Not to mention Leatherface, Michael, Jason and Freddy are all now video game stars. But we only have one Madman movie. No sequels or remakes. There was talk that Paul Ehlers and his son had been working on a remake, but to my knowledge it hasn’t progressed beyond that. I think it’s a travesty that this never was allowed to become a franchise in of itself.

Not to mention I’m a horror figure collector and my shelf feels empty because Marz isn’t there. I’d gladly commission a talented artist to make me a Madman figure to stand beside my McFarlane Movie Maniacs.

Wicked Horror
image via Wicked Horror

Fans have made custom masks and fake trailers in honor of Marz. There’s a high demand for the Madman out there, and the love for his lore isn’t dying down. If you’re looking for a fun movie this is one

This has been Manic Exorcism. You all be sure to stay tuned in and keep those fuzzy nostalgic feelings warm here by the campfire.  I’ll be leaving you with the iconic Madman song.

Madman [Blu-ray/DVD Combo]

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John Carpenter’s Elvis Biopic Starring Kurt Russell; Yeah, That Happened

It’s one of those things that if you didn’t know, you’re mind just got friggin’ blown like a scene from Scanners.

I was one of those people, and I’m seriously pissed off that nobody bothered to tell me that this national treasure existed. FOR SHAME on you, while I hang my own head in humility.

Anway, upon learning about this hidden-from-me-gem, I immediately ordered a copy (and you should too) from Amazon, and gave it a view over this past weekend. I was not disappointed folks.

Fresh off the massive genre hit with fans Halloween, Carpenter aimed his directorial skills toward the smaller screen with 1979’s made for TV biopic Elvis. Starring in his first of many Carpenter films, Kurt Russell takes on the daunting task of portraying the man, the myth, the lip-curl himself, along with Russell’s real-life father Bing Russell playing Elvis’ father Vernon in the film as well. Which would totally account for the believability factor as far as paternal ownership in the movie. Shelly Winters (Roseanne, The Poisedian Adventure) tackles the important role of Mama Gladys- if you’re an Elvis fan, you know how much this man loved his mama. Also starring Halloween alumni Charles Cyphers, Pat Hingle, and Russell’s ex-wife Season Hubley as Priscilla Presley, Elvis is a wonderful Carpenter family affair on-screen that respectfully pays tribute to the trials and tribulations of rock legend without diving into his death.

Made only two years after the King’s passing, the 150-minute biopic focuses on the star’s childhood, the rise and peak of his fame, and the important relationships in this legend’s life that affected an empathetic man so greatly. According to reports, there are two other versions of the film that aired in the UK beginning with Elvis’ hair being cut before his entrance into the US army, and then the death of his mother. With a great deal of the story being told before these two incidents appear in the film, I’m certainly glad that wasn’t the final cut! We cannot be deprived of that wonderful Shelley Winters, now can we?

Apart from the obvious, and at times not so great lip-synching, Russell’s Elvis persona is by far, my favorite I’ve ever seen. You’re also talking to a born and raised Vegas girl here, and I’ve seen COUNTLESS impersonators in my lifetime; more than I even care to. But, Russell really does pull it off embodying the very spirit of the King right down to his signature movements and hell, he really does look like him too! So that’s a pretty great bonus. With portraying a personality as large as Elvis, it’s so easy to go overboard (haha) with it. However, with Russell, it seems natural. Which speaks volumes about his acting chops. Fun fact: Kurt Russell actually appeared in an Elvis film, It Happened at the World’s Fair in 1963, where a mini Russell kicked the King of Rock and Roll in the shins. Russell also dubbed the voice of Elvis seen in Forrest Gump in ’94 and played an Elvis impersonator in 3000 Miles to Graceland. So I suppose it’s fair to say Russell has had his fair share of defining Elvis moments in cinema.  However, Carpenter’s Elvis should, and I think is, his crowning achievement in his lip-curling legacy towards the once Graceland resident.

Originally airing as part of an ABC Sunday night special movie in 1979, Elvis went on to receive nominations from the Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture Made For Television and an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor (Russell). Didn’t win, but well deserved in any regard.

 

If you’re an Elvis fan or a lover of made for TV glory, I highly recommend picking this diddy up and adding it to your collection.

Click the image to pick it up over on Amazon!

Check Out the 1979 Audio Audience Reactions From Carpenter’s “Halloween”!

I truly envy those who were lucky enough to experience a time at the movies where emotions ran high and raw; especially during a horror film, like John Carpenter’s immortal classic, Halloween.

During the glorious ’70s, horror grabbed audiences by the balls by pushing the boundaries of gore, foul language, and nudity to the point of people vomiting, fainting, and or being so disgusted to the point of walking out. With the release of The Exorcist at the end of 1973, that movie managed to do all of these for paid movie-goers. I guess nobody was really prepared to see a 12-year-old profusely stab herself in the crotch with a crucifix. (For braver viewers, that seemed to be the deal-breaker). Perhaps with the exception of last year’s controversial mother!, we rarely see that sort of impact on audiences today.

Kind of sucks, doesn’t it? We’re so desensitized these days.

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Maybe not as extreme as Freidkin’s adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s literary masterpiece, but Halloween had one hell of an impact on audiences as well. One-half of my life givers, Robert Butrico of Queens, NY, remembers seeing John Carpenter’s groundbreaking slasher during its first initial run.

“I was there with a bunch of friends, we were really excited about this movie. We heard it was so scary! And you know what? It really was when we first saw it. We had never seen anything like it. There were a few girls who ran out of the theater screaming. That was actually pretty funny.”

And according to the presented audio below provided by YouTuber  Kyle J. Wood’s DarkCastle2012, my father said that’s pretty close to how he remembers his experience as well. And goddamn I am so envious of all this. It’s one thing to be annoyed by loud and obnoxious movie-goers at the theater, and quite another to experience a joined passion of emotions during a film. From the sounds of it below, this crowd is having a damn good time! I especially love the, “He gonna get up again!,” and the random guy in the back shouting, “One more time!

Per the YouTube description:

This is ACTUAL AUDIENCE AUDIO with matching video scenes added (a bit “out of sync” sorry) that I tape recorded inside a Hollywood Boulevard movie theater in 1979—one year after the film’s initial release.

 

For fuck’s sake, can we get a time machine already?!

 

Feast Your Eyes On the Sexy New Jeff Goldblum Funko POP!

The Gods of hairy chest hairs have answered my prayers over at Funko.

You may, or may not have heard all about the new Jurassic Park line of Funko POP! figures coming our way amidst the film’s 25th anniversary. And those are just fine and dandy. Hell, who wouldn’t want a velociraptor POP!  nestled in between Battle Armor Skeletor and our beloved Barb from Stranger Things. However, the soon to be released and appropriately named, “Wounded Dr. Ian Malcolm”, will be a Target Exclusive- and oh my God it is the most glorious thing ever.

 

Jeff Goldblum Funko Pop

 

The upcoming series of Dino-riffic pops features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, (unwounded) Dr. Ian Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. Along with dinosaur favorites, the great T.rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus with a double pack including an attacked form of Nedry coming in March and available only at Entertainment Earth.

Great, now I have to invest in another Funko shelf for the apartment.

jurassic park funko

Fright Rags Launches Wickedly Retro Child’s Play Collection!

In case you’ve been living inside Gollum’s cave of blissful ignorance, renowned specialty horror tee company Fright Rags is the bee’s knees when it comes to horror shirts. From brilliantly awesome images on the soft quality tees, buttery-soft lounge pants, and kick-ass enamel pins, Fright Rags continues to outdo themselves seemingly at least twice a month.

With the online store constantly updating their merch, I feel like I should have a goddamn Fright Rags fund jar set up next to my rent monies. Yes, it’s that bad.

 

Fright Rags Launches Wicked Child's Play Collection!

 

Anywho, this past Wednesday, the website that will force me to declare bankruptcy in the near future, launched an officially licensed Child’s Play collection that will make any fan of the original films drool all over their Good Guy overalls. The Chucky Collection includes four new tees, two pairs of socks, and FIVE enamel pins (including a RED VARIANT pin of the iconic Good Guys Feet)! Featuring original artwork by Eddie Holly, Nathan Milliner, Jason Edmiston, Matthew Skiff, Matt Ryan Tobin, and Sara Deck, the collection is available right now!

 

Fright Rags Chucky

Made For TV: “The Secret Life of Jeffrey Dahmer”

If you were of sound mind in 1993, you may recall a horrific little made for TV movie entitled The Secret Life of Jeffrey Dahmer.  Or technically speaking, The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer.

Oh yes, we’re going to talk about this fuckery.

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Frankly speaking, I’m not sure why this film isn’t talked about more often in horror circles. Visually the 1993 film looks pretty dated however, the movie that in my opinion, has most accurately depicted Dahmer’s perception of life and twisted state of mind, to this day holds up as THEE legit Dahmer movie out of the several that have popped up since the twisted killer’s arrest on July 22, 1991. And regarding gorehounds out there, it’s DEFINITELY the most brutal and by far the most unsettling to sit through. I’m not sure how I got away with watching this completely fucked up movie with my virgin 10-year-old eyes, but I most certainly did. Bless the golden age of HBO and the days when the boob tube was an acceptable babysitter for rugrats.

Directed by David Bowen and starring a convincible Carl Crew as the infamous Dahmer, The Secret Life is told from the killer’s point of view and laid out through the horrific 14 years of Dahmer’s life of murder and madness that resulted in the deaths of 17 young men and ultimately, leading up to his arrest. Crew (Dahmer) with those hauntingly calming voice-over monologues as a well-aware killer with an eternal fear of abandonment throughout the movie and ability to go from calm as a cucumber to unhinged is in my opinion, pretty underrated as Crew’s performance is quite the treat for fans of this type of film.

The Secret Life was released two years after Dahmer’s real-life arrest and one year prior to his death in prison, so the terrifying discovery of the acts from Dahmer was still fresh in the world’s mind. And the fact that the film played the no hold’s barred card with extremely violent sequences involving the murder of Dahmer’s victims, really set some folks off in the sensitivity department. Curious audiences who had followed the case knew to an extent, of the horrors Dahmer unleashed upon his prey, but I’m not so sure anyone was really prepared for the brutal savagery displayed on film that seemed like something out of a snuff flick but was in fact, reality of the final moments of the casualties of Dahmer. Bowen’s telling of the grisly murders and semi-humanizing Dahmer in a way to look deeper behind the monster didn’t sit too well with a lot of critics and viewers back in ’93 so the film seemed to drop off the face of the earth with the ending of the VHS era until a few years back when Intervision released a DVD that includes the original trailer, audio commentary with director Bowen, and a featurette with Carl Crew.

The Dahmer true tale of torture and terror is unsettling enough as it is and this movie goes balls deep right into it without adding any flair or big-budget fluff. And frankly, it works better that way. It feels like you’re watching something maybe you really shouldn’t be looking at. However, the story is told so well that behind the brutality of severed heads proudly on display in Dahmer’s fridge, are secondary elements in Bowen’s movie. Even so, it’s not for the queasy folks. And I wouldn’t suggest eating any beef stew during a viewing.

For those interested in revisiting or for first-time viewers, The Secret Life is available over on Amazon.

 

Horror VHS Lamps and Clocks Are a Retro Decor Dream

Ever sit in bad late a night trying to read your favorite Stephen King novel all the while trying not to disturb your partner? Of course, I know they make book lights, those weird headset lights, and all those other illuminated contraptions for such a problem. But these are just way more fun than an uncomfortable hunk of metal on your head, and frankly, wicked cooler as well. This past Summer, I stumbled upon the most beautiful little Etsy shop filled with VHS fuzzies of glory. And goddamn if it isn’t worth another shout out. Behold, the Horror VHS Lamps!

Retro Halloween lamp

Constructed by Etsy seller NancyJars (Hayley Summers)these customized glorious VHS cassettes are repurposed into table-top night lights perfect for any retro lover of pop culture. Each lamp is uniquely made per the buyer’s choice as you can customize one of your very own regarding the front cover, choice of colored lights, and when requested, will use an original VHS for that ultimate retro feel.

What’s even better is that the lights are battery powered LEDs and are completely safe and heat free! So if you’re buying one for a child’s room, a bit of extra reassurance for you. Check out below a sample of what’s currently available from the UK based Etsy shop, or contact the store directly by clicking here to get one customized just for you!

The Shining Lamp

Alien Lamp

Child’s Play Lamp

IT Lamp

The Exorcist Lamp

Troll Lamp

I really don’t think I could pass up this gem.

More recently, upon the success and massive demand for the appropriately named lamps “VHS Brightlights”, Summers dabbled into making desktop timepieces. Taking old-fashioned VHS cases, much like the ones you’d find at your local mom and pop video rental shop back in the day, and transforming them into working clocks perfect for your office desk!

vhs time

The Thing Clock

Lost Boys Clock

Twin Peak: Fire Walk With Me Clock

And of course, your’s truly had to have one for my own little work area.

 

 

Make sure to follow VHS Brightlights on Instagram by clicking here!

That Time Elvira Was a Guest Commenter at WrestleMania 2

Just when you thought Elvira couldn’t get any cooler, she went and did this thing. Which was kind of one of the most bad-ass things ever..

No matter how you slice it, the world of professional wrestling doesn’t come a hair close to the magic of what once was. In the early eighties, the WWE (even though to this day I still refer to it as WWF) became a powerhouse in the entertainment industry thanks to the likes of heavily promoted heroes such as Hulk Hogan and no hero would be complete with a heel to despise, and that title belonged to the late, great Roddy Piper. Even better were the special events like Saturday Night’s Main Event, and what was to become the annual WrestleMania that brought these heavily promoted soap-opera worthy feuds to a head in an epic battle of, at the time to us kiddos, basically good guys against the bad guys. And it was goddamn glorious my friends.

 

nightmare nostalgia elvira

 

Let’s go back to 1986’s Wrestlemania 2. Not only was this the first WrestleMania to be broadcast exclusively on Pay-Per-View but also, and I don’t think I’m wrong here, was the ONLY Wrestlemania to be held in three cities at one time; New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, each with its own main event. New York had the great boxing match between Mr. T and Roddy Piper with ring commenters Vince McMahon and Susan St. James. Chicago with the 20-man Royal Rumble that mixed wrestling greats with NFL football players with voice-overs from the fantastic Gorilla Monsoon, Mean Gene Okerlund, and Cathy Lee Crosby. And last but not least along with the reason you’re here, the steel-cage match between the immortal Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy with ringside commenters Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes, and the Queen of Halloween herself Elvira in Los Angeles!

 

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Celebrity guests have always been a fun addition to the shenanigans in and out of the ring. Whether they’re part of a feud that builds into an exciting Main Event, like the pinnacle start to the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Connection in the early ’80s that began with Cyndi Lauper smacking her purse over Lou Albino’s noggin; or like in this case, a ringside guest appearance that generates sparks and interest to bring in viewers that may have not had to begin with. Such is the case with the Mistress of the Dark, Elvira.

Because the WWE is rather strict with their videos on the interwebs, the best I can do as far as a video visual is to send you to the official WWE website to take a look at snippets of Elvira’s appearance at the ’86 spectacle by clicking here. However, this wasn’t the last time Elvira rubbed elbows over-greased champions of entertainment…

The Queen of Halloween did some promos for that OTHER wrestling federation WCW, hyping up what was to be the annual Halloween Havoc. I mean, who else better to spread the word and give some spooky validation to the October event than Elvira?! Take a look at the promos below from 1989 and 1990!

 

Nightmare Nostalgia: Children’s Movies That Scared The Crap Out Of Us

Think back to when you were a youngling. It was a time of the unnecessary belt with the leotards, the beta video, the jelly flats, and twisted people in the film industry trying to scar us with David Bowie’s huge bulge- Thanks for the unrealistic expectations Jareth. Let’s talk some Bill Nye and state some science here: Some of our beloved movies from adolescence had some pretty dark and twisted shit going on. And it scared the holiest of crap out of us.

It was damn glorious. They don’t make them like this anymore people…

 

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Grant it, I grew up in a tough household where horror movies were thrown at me at an early age. It was, “sit down, shut up and watch Dream Master. Oh, and here’s an Ecto Cooler if you get thirsty”. The strange thing with that is this: Freddy Krueger NEVER scared me as a child. As a matter of fact, I thought the man was pure comic relief, even in the early films. However, there were times when I sat down to a watch a so-called family-friendly flick, and ended up thinking ” Ok, what in the actual fuck and why am I getting the skeevies by this?”  Those early films were pure nightmare fuel, and because this is Nightmare Nostalgia, let’s take a look below at this UNRANKED list of kiddie-gateway horror movies.

 

The Witches

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Alrighty, let’s talk about this 1990 twisted gem. Anjelica Huston successfully scared the piss out of me when I was a child as the Grand High Witch. Unmasked, she was something straight of a horror flick- bravo Jim Henson. The Witches is adapted from Roald Dahl’s book of the same name, and it’s important here to point out all of his books always bordered on a high creep factor. (Remember Augustus Gloop drowning a river of chocolate?) The story of a nation of witches who mean to bring an end to disgusting little “childrens” by turning them all into mice with enchanted chocolate, certainly made me think twice about buying that Hersheys bar. How’s that for a mind fuck?

 

The Dark Crystal

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Those goddamn bird creatures are the absolute bane of my existence. When Jim Henson strayed from his infamous Muppets, he ventured into a completely different realm of what the fuck. Especially to that of a four-year-old watching a gang of these hunchback birds called Skeksis, tear apart one of their own in a brutal fashion. Thanks for the sleepless nights creature shop.

 

The Secret Of Nimh

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Animation is no exception and can be a whole tank of nightmare fuel.

Wonderful, isn’t it?

An animal lover such as myself can find this movie extremely disturbing. Aside from all the beautifully dark imagery, the underlying tale of NIMH is sufficiently evil all on its own. Touching on the very real issues of cruel animal testing, rats and mice were taken to the NIMH labs and injected with a needle full of fuck knows what. One of these experiments led to their advanced intelligence and eventual escape, which brings us into another terrifying tale revolving around the struggles of love, betrayal, and ultimate power. Also, I can’t be the only one who thought that damn cave of bones dwelling owl, was completely terrifying with those glowing eyes and no-nonsense demeanor.

 

The Labyrinth

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Oh Jareth, how I love your cruelty! Being the oldest in my household, there were many a time I wished for the disappearance of my younger siblings. The Goblin King, gave Sarah her wish to have her little brother taken away by the goblins, much to the surprise- and dismay of our heroine. Dodging the bog of eternal stench, strange creatures, and Jareth’s charm all along the way, Sarah sets out to save her infant brother. This one borders more on the creep factor rather than scaring the crap out of you with its twisted cinematography and Bowie’s performance of a powerful, no bullshit-taking ruler. I think the only thing that really frightened seven-year-old me, was Jareth’s protruding bulge. That thing had its own goddamn zip code.

 

The Return To Oz

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Holy hell, where do I even begin with this little treasure? Floating, screaming heads, a ten-foot-tall walking Jack-O-Lantern, a headless witch that will take yours, the Gnome King, and of course- The goddamn Wheelers. If you’ve ever happened to pick up any of the original OZ books, they really aren’t too far off from this. Making this addition in particular, probably the one that rings most true to the infamous Frank L. Baum stories. Within the first 15 minutes, Dorothy is dragged off to a mental institution for some shock therapy.

Oh, what’s that a talking Lion?

Come on Dorothy, let’s take a ride. 

That’ll teach you to talk about your fantasy worlds to adults little girl.

 

The Black Cauldron

black cauldron

Arguably the greatest goddamn Disney movie… EVER. Why you ask?

Well, lets break it down:

  • No annoying Disney characters breaking out in song in the middle of a problem.
  • There’s an army of fucking undead skeletons.
  • THE HORNED KING
  • Again, an army of undead skeletons. Because that’s important here.

The Black Cauldron is most unique in the Disney Rolodex of animated films. As stated above, there are ZERO musical numbers in this gem. Pretty much unheard of for any Disney animated movie. The tone is much darker than your average Zippity-Do-Da flick, and the main villain, the Horned King is flat out awesome. And scary as hell for a three-year-old who was taken to the movies expecting another Aristocats dance-fest. Instead, you get the cutesy character Gurgi leaping to his (seemingly) death, and pretty much every scene of the soulless Horned King scaring the crap out of you. What a seriously underrated Disney villain.

 

ET: The Extra Terrestrial

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Laugh if you must, but in the case you are, YOU UNDERSTAND NOTHING AND HOW DID THIS NOT FREAK YOU OUT AS A KID?! Listen, I grew up on horror films. And while most just provided good ole entertainment for me and zero scares, hell I laughed at Freddy and Kincaid from Dream Warriors, E fuckin’ T gave me serious nightmares. And my dad, in a perfect parenting win fashion upon knowing of my uneasiness with the long-necked alien, preceded to put a poster of this little asshole right above my bed at the tender age of three. Such a dick move Dad. Though, I’ll confess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and this is something I would 100% do to my own children.

Anyway, this piece of nightmare fuel, with his long bony fingers touching shit, elongating his neck like a little asshole and glowing red heart is the stuff of pure nightmares. Oh yeah, that little alien is a zombie. Lying there all white, ghostly, and ummm DEAD; and then springs to life mumbling some undead garbage about phones. GTFO.

 

The Hobbit (1977)

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As a child, I had only seen the Rankin/Bass 1977 television special once via an impromptu VHS rental my mother had brought home from work; and that was quite enough. Thanks for traumatizing me for life by the way, life-giver. Is it just me, or do any of the Rankin/Bass gems always seem a little on the creepy, and or morbid side? Like the time a bunch of mythological beasts and demons decided whether Santa Claus should live or die, (The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, 1985).

I mean, holy fuck.

Anyway, 1977’s The Hobbit was sustainably creepy in its own right.  Case in point, the Gollum creature in particular. Sure enough, Smaug shined as a scary enough animated villain; but not like Gollum. Due to the way Gollum was drawn and his froggy-voiced dialogue, this little shit came off as terrifying in the midst of this fantasy visual. Of course, when we’re talking about a prequel to pretty much the end of the world and men, I think its fair to have a few horrifying characters in the mix of such a story.

 

What so-called family-friendly films scared the living crap out of you when you were of a substantially shorter height? Let’s talk some nightmare nostalgia!