Category Archives: Creature Features

“The Exorcist” Behind The Scenes Clips That Are Even Scarier Than The Movie!

I will NEVER forget the first time The Exorcist was seen by my eye holes.

Like everyone in the 80s and 90s, we had a stockpile of recorded movies on various blank Maxwell, Scotch, and Polaroid cassette tapes that held three or four films on each one. My Uncle Pat, who was the VHS Wizard Master for our family, would rent various movies from the video rental store and transfer said films onto the blank VHS tapes- conning the system in the 80s’ form of piracy rather than recording them off the television- which of course we still did, however.

Anyway, one of these tapes, in particular, was my absolute favorite at a young age and stayed that way well until it finally disappeared into the VHS Twilight Zone. I mean, realistically it probably got thrown out by someone in the family when the DVD era overthrew the VHS status quo. In any regard, this tape was a translucent light blue and stood out from the other black cassettes, shining like a piece of treasure among a sea of home-recorded films; and a treasure indeed it was as it held some of the most fantastic horror movies therein. In the exact order: Frankenstein, The Exorcist, and Halloween.

For visual purposes, I found the closest thing on the interwebs that resembles what this tape looked like. Also worth noting, I would give my right tit to be in possession of said cassette today.

Dreamstime.com

As stated numerous times here on NN, the Universal Monsters legacy films and Halloween were a pretty massive deal in our home and really laid down the foundation for my love of horror films via my dad and Grandfather, whom this tape belonged to rightfully. So, of course, I watched those two films rather religiously. Halloween, in particular, had to be accessed through fast-forwarding through The Exorcist and for the most part, only caught the last 2 or 3 minutes of the movie along with the end credits of Tubular Bells, of which even at the young age of six totally rocked out to. It wasn’t until I was around eight years old that I happened to stall on the infamous exorcism scene and I honestly had no idea what the hell I was looking at except I was like, “Wow those are hella dirty words!!” Then the thought came, “Should I be watching this?” The rebellious little shit in me was intrigued enough and went back all sneaky like to watch it.; at least I thought I was being slick anyway. This was dangerous and I thought it was like watching a porn or something so it was super thrilling to someone of my age. I mean, taking into account the masturbation scene, I’d say that was a pretty good analogy for someone of my age at the time.

I was always a hardcore kid that didn’t scare easily, and The Exorcist was no exception. I grew to adore that VHS blue tape in its entirety and the film has become a favorite since that adventurous day at the tender age of 8. However, the behind-the-scenes clips taken from the BBC documentary, “The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist”, are goddamn more creepy than the film itself. Kind of like that one banned trailer from the film that was almost more horrifying than the film itself. The makeup tests alone from the series of videos are from the stuff of deepest, darkest nightmares. Thanks to the Youtube channel, The Exorcist Online, we have confirmation that The Exorcist indeed, is the scariest film ever made- quite literally.

Each video is looped to the next to avoid uploading eight different vids here. Enjoy Nostalgic Nuggets!

Remembering Tobe Hooper’s TV Version of ‘The Funhouse’

Remember back in the day when you relied on a boxed TV with rabbit ears for entertainment purposes? You know, the kind where you had to adjust the antennas for that perfect reception with the smallest amount of static? With just the right amount of ominous static and bonus scenes that I never saw again until twenty years later; this, my nostalgic nuggets, is how I first viewed The Funhouse.

It was an early rainy Saturday afternoon in 1988. After a glorious morning filled with two bowls of Yummy Mummy cereal and Super Mario 2 on my highly coveted Nintendo Entertainment System, the combination of 8-bit eyes and a sugar crash began to settle in. Hence, along with the pitter-patter of the rain hitting the rooftop, it seemed like a good time to settle in with a little basic TV.

Grabbing the TV Guide, I skimmed up at the clock to see it was almost 1:00 PM and that meant Saturday afternoon movies on Vegas 33, who were pretty notorious for showcasing horror films on the weekend for us young genre aficionados. Low and behold, according to the Holy Bible of TV programming, I was just in time for a little film called The Funhouse, which I had never seen prior.

PERFECTION.

Knowing nothing other than the brief synopsis from Mr. TV Guide, it didn’t matter one bit as I was immediately suckered in through those glorious opening credits. Hypothetically speaking, the rest of the movie could have been 100% trash and I would still love it as much I do today based alone on that creepy as shit opener filled with animatronic nightmares.

Hooper’s Funhouse has become one of my top go-to comfort films. As the saying goes, “You always remember your first kiss.” Well, I remember my first time seeing Gunther; and it was creature feature love at first sight.

TV runnings of certain films tend to differ from theatrical versions with either an addition or subtraction of scenes to accommodate time slots. For example, the televised version of John Carpenter’s Halloween usually had axed or alternate scenes from the theatrical cut included in an airing. While they don’t necessarily add anything prominent to the feature, it’s still pretty fun to view an alternative variant of one of your favorite movies.  Such as with The Funhouse, as I had actually seen this full-blown, yet edited for violence gem from Hooper first.

Uploaded courtesy of Goremeister100, the clip shown below offers fifteen glorious minutes of what was seen in Hooper’s cult classic during a televised showing. Both alternate and deleted scenes are included offering a different look for Funhouse fans.  One of my personal favorite little bits may be trivial but I actually kind of prefer the televised scene of Gunther strangling the slutty fortune teller. Instead of focusing on the kill, the camera keeps panning away to those again, creepy Funhouse animatronic terrors that line the walls of the terror ride.

So now enjoy The Funhouse as I once did over 30 years ago!

Forgotten Playthings: 30 Years of “Dolly Dearest”

I was nine years old scouring our local Mom and Pop video rental store with a friend after devouring a Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut next door when I first laid my eyeballs on Dolly Dearest. Of course, I was intrigued right away as killer dolls were certainly high on my personal interests list; yeah I was a twisted kid. The late 80s’ and early 90s’ brought terrifying playthings front and center in the horror genre with films like Stuart Gordon’s DOLLS, Puppet Master, and the massively successful Child’s Play. However, this one looked different from the rest. Not only was the antagonistic toy shown as a female, but it featured mainly a female led-cast as well; also to note it has a female director as well- Maria Lease but of course you’re not looking at these things as a kid. Being a young girl, this hit all the right horror notes for me and I immediately rented this sucker to see what this was all about.

Needless to say, my 3-day rental turned into a week-long bender on this Sanzia devil doll because I couldn’t get enough of this fuckin’ movie.

The story goes, a well-to-do picture-perfect family of four moves from Los Angeles down to Mexico where dear ol’ Dad seizes an opportunity with an empty doll factory in an effort to start up a successful business. Young daughter Jessica (Candice Hutson) is undoubtedly upset about this up and sudden move but has a change of heart when she and her father discover a plethora of “beautiful” (I think they’re rather creepy) dolls inside their families’ newly acquired factory that seemed to be never released to the masses. Father Elliot (Sam Bottoms) allows Jessica to take one and that’s when the fun begins as they leave the factory and stroll right on past an underground Mayan tomb of Sanzia, (Satan on Earth) where prior to the family’s arrival, an archeologist accidentally released the malevolent spirit of Sanzia; a devil child spirit that, SPOILER ALERT, possesses these dolls.

Now we got a movie!

As soon as this creepo doll is brought home Jessica begins acting strangely. Drawing weird demonic pictures, lashing out, all-around acting like a typical spoiled brat-zo. Which wouldn’t really raise any red flags except the kid starts speaking devil language to the housekeeper in a threatening manner- who is by the way very religious. Well, being as how Dolly Dearest is possessed by a Devil spirit, this doesn’t go over too well with the girl who is rapidly being manipulated by this doll, and she doesn’t last long in the movie. Mom Marilyn played by Pet Sematary’s Denise Crosby, notices these changes right away, most especially after an Omen-like incident with Jessica in the car sensing the house is being blessed by a priest. Elliot is about as blind as a bat to any of this shit and chalks all these outbursts up to tantrums so he is of NO HELP at all in this situation. Soon, Jessica is totally consumed by the spirit of Dolly and Sanzia and it’s pretty much up to Marilyn, older brother Jimmy (Christopher Peter Demetral), and Sanzia Expert Archeologist Karl Resnick (played by Rip Torn) to put a stop to Dolly and the rest of the possessed porcelain freaks in the factory from taking over children’s souls all over the world.

On top of some cool casting, there are some really great behind-the-scenes people attached to the movie. Dolly took a lot of hints from Child’s Play, including using Ed Gale as Dolly for a few of the more difficult scenes that required human-like movement. The doll itself was sculpted by Brian Wade (The Thing) and brought to life by puppeteer Vance Hartwell (Army of Darkness). The unsettling score was composed by Mark Snow, who is probably most famous for his television work on shows like “The X-Files” and “Smallville.”

Dolly Dearest hasn’t gotten quite the love I feel like it deserves over the years; possibly due to the overload of killer doll flicks of the time and it came too little, too late. Grant it, it’s not the greatest movie in the world, however, I feel it has so much charm and is a nostalgic blanket for me personally that warms me to the bone anytime I watch it. It sure as hell doesn’t deserve the sweeping under the rug treatment. Vinegar Syndrome recently released a blu-ray that has been long-overdue and if it’s been a while, or have never seen it, give Dolly a watch (click here) and bask in the peak of 90s’ killer doll flicks.