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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wolfman Cometh
image via The Wolfman Cometh

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Happy Dirty 30! The 10 Best Horror Films From 1990

The year was 1990. The Hubble Space Telescope sent down its first images from space to NASA. The number one TV show was Cheers, and girl you know it’s true how embarrassed Pop duo Milli Vanilli must have felt that year.

But, arguably one of the most important events to streamline and set the tone for horror in the ’90s, was quite possibly the legendary Tim Curry slapping on a red nose; inducing a mighty fear of clowns into TV audiences everywhere for the unforeseeable future. Thanks Tim!

Beyond the television terrors of Derry, 1990 was a pretty fantastic year for horror. Tasking myself with dwindling down the list down to, what I think, are the ten best, was slightly anxiety inducing. However, I’m pretty satisfied with the results and the lineage of order. Also, if we’re gonna celebrate anything in 2020, it might as well be things from the past that live on to keep us from losing our minds!

Can we at least agree on that?

So let’s get to it! I’ve also included handy Amazon links with the best deals I could find for said features if you feel inspired by this list to add to your horror collection! Also, I won’t bore you with an in-depth analysis of each film. I feel like most of you have seen or at least know the plots of these gems- and if you haven’t FOR SHAME and click the title links to remedy that immediately.

10. Gremlins 2: The New Batch

What do you get when you cross Hulk Hogan, a Grandpa Munster impersonator, and genetic splicer lab run by Christopher Lee? Why, Gremlins 2 of course! I fondly remember seeing this in theaters when I was about eight and I got to tell you, watching the Hulkster threaten the Gremsters with a 24 inch python beating was probably the highlight of my year and deserving of a top-ten slot.

Available for $7.69 at Amazon

9. Puppet Master II

Being as how this Puppet Master installment in particular is my favorite of the franchise, I couldn’t leave it off the list! The puppets return with a very aggressive physical form of Toulon in hopes to resurrect their old puppet party days; along with a few new tricks. A new group is at castle at the puppets’ disposal to slice and dice, but it was those damn “human” puppets that gave me nightmares for weeks on end!

Fun fact: Puppet Master II is playing in the Toyland Warehouse security office in Demonic Toys.

Available for $11.46 at Amazon

8. Arachnophobia

If you weren’t afraid of spiders before the “Roseanne” era John Goodman thriller, I’ll take a million dollar bet that Arachnophobia induced that anxiety in you. Pretty impressive as this IS the first film distributed by the Walt Disney Hollywood Studios label. Way to set the bar there Mickey.

Available for $4.99 at Amazon

7. Tales From the Darkside: The Movie

Quite possibly the greatest horror anthology since Creepshow, the Tales From the Darkside feature presentation-as well as the series– is the perfect love-child for fans of the Romero-King collaboration and the unforgettable Tales From the Crypt with a star-studded cast to boot. Steve Buscemi, Christian Slater, Debbie Harry, and a young Matthew Lawrence who serves as the stories’ introduction opposite Blondie’s Harry. We got a homicidal mummy, an even more homicidal (adorable) cat, and one fucked up gargoyle tale of love and betrayal. Need I say any more?

Available for $5.00 at Amazon

6. Nightbreed

As wild and bewildering as it is, there’s a lot to love about a pen-written Clive Barker film about a mental patient who believes he is a serial killer by none other than, David Cronenberg. The group in the film dubbed the Nightbreed, may look wonky and in movie-terms, scary. But are actually the misfits. The outcasts. And the dreamers. A lot of things I whole-heartedly believe many horror fans can relate to. Love it or hate it- it has a place in my heart.

Available for $11.99 at Amazon- Director’s Cut!

5. Ghost

Ok first off: YES. I know Ghost isn’t a traditional horror film like the others listed here. However, my motto has and alsways been- “If it scares you, it’s a damn horror movie.” And I’m sticking to that. Those demon ink-blobs scared the literal piss out of me when I was a kid therefore this masterpiece gets a slot here.

Ghost has just about everything the average cinema-goer could want in a film. Also could be why it was undoubtedly one of the most popular films of that year. Love, betrayal, drama, thrills, a little comedy, and a cool cat that sees ghosts. Ok, he has a small part but it’s still one of my favorite little quirks about the movie.

Available for $8.99 at Amazon

4. Child’s Play 2

The sequel to the Mancini/Holland endeavor is every bit as great as the original with Chucky really coming into his own in 1990. Sure, the Chuck had some memorable one-liners from the first film. But in the sequel, the pavement has been laid for Chucky’s homicidal yet humorous personality with a dozen or so “you can’t help but laugh” lines and actions that just makes this one so great. Worth mentioning is the opening title sequence of the burnt remains of his body being pieced back together like a fucked up Frankenstein.

Available for $3.99 at Amazon

3. Stephen King’s IT (1990)

BEEP BEEP! I can fondly remember watching the 2 part-miniseries that premiered on the ABC network in November of 1990. I was eight-years-old and by God, as a young brooding horror nerd, this was absolutely thrilling for me to see something so terrifying being aired on a family-friendly network! As with above’s Arachnophobia, the rise of coulrophobia went full steam ahead with audiences everywhere and I hold the magnificent Tim Curry fully responsible for his genius performance as Pennywise for inducing clown-related panic attacks for years down the line.

Available for $7.40 at Amazon

2. Misery

Humorously enough, it was during the mini-series premiere of IT where I caught my first glimpse of that cockadoody nurse Annie Wilkes and the theatrical trailer for Misery during a commercial break. The strong, and ankle-anxiety inducing story from Stephen King for me, is perfectly represented on screen with Kathy Bates. Bates IS Annie and delivers a performance that can be compared to Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector one year later. You love to hate her. That’s not an easy feat for any character.

Available for $6.95 at Amazon

1. The Exorcist III

And now that you’ve exorcised my invitation to the top ten dance, here we are at the very greatest film of 1990- THE EXORCIST III. The film, adapted from William Peter Blatty’s “Legion”, is about as aesthetically pleasing being the first person to walk on fresh snow in the morning hours. Incidentally, it’s also intellectually the one true, and finest sequel to The Exorcist. Brad Dourif (his second appearance on this list-BRAVO), clocks into his One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest days to remind us that he’s a lot more than just the voice of a killer doll for horror fans. The man is an ACTOR. And one of the damn finest alongside George C. Scott who serves as his opposite making way for a beautiful on-screen performance that compliment each other wonderfullly.

Not to mention it has THEE greatest jump scares to this day of any horror film. EVER. And since it hold’s the number one spot, let me endulge you with you possibly shitting your pants one more time with the headless nun!

Available for $19.99 at Amazon

What’s your favorite horror gem from 1990? Sound off below and I’ll be back with a a top ten of 1980 list in the near future! Stay tuned!

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.