Many moons ago, I recollect curled up in front of our family Magnavox floor TV model and watching a collection of snippets from horror films with my Dad on a VHS rental. I couldn’t have been more than five or six at the time, however, this film of sorts we were watching stuck with me until today. As from what I can remember from said viewing was that this horror film special turned my curiosity on to a LOT of horror movies of which I may have never heard of prior; or at least not a few years down the line anyway. Movies like, The Thing, Carrie, and what I most visually rememberNighthawks– yeah I said it! And for YEARS, I (and apparently my father as well), couldn’t goddamn remember what the hell it was we watched! It was one of things that drove me crazy for about 25 years until I began blogging and journalism within the horror community and someone could answer the million dollar fuckin’ question. The film was of course, and correct me if wrong but also the FIRST of it’s kind horror complication documentary, TERROR IN THE AISLES.
Not even slightly joking. This shit drove me bat-shit crazy for half my life.
Released on October 26th, 1984, Terror in the Aisles broke the horror rules diving deep into what makes a great horror film in a mock documentary style way narrated by genre giants Donald Pleasance and Nancy Allen with snippets from landmark films. It was truly a one-of-its-own-kind experience as the setting is in a packed movie theater with the two legends seated amongst the crowd; which served as a set-up as certain members of the audience would ask questions here and there and one of the two would look dead straight into the camera and give us those answers.
The “doc” focuses on great moments in the genre history as well as leaning into sub-genres. It’s really a great commentary piece for both horror seasoned vets and newcomers to the community- even if all the horror clips date back to 1984 and prior. The films featured are pretty much the standard go-to’s; Halloween, Alien, The Exorcist and so forth with a few line-drives thrown; again, fuckin’ NIGHTHAWKS. Also, that’s totally ok because it’s a badass movie. As a young kid watching this, I DO remember asking about the films mentioned at the beginning of this article, and yes Nighthawks was number one because Sly was/is a hero of mine and I adored Rocky and Rambo as little kid. So yeah, Sly in a horror movie (kind of?), YES PLEASE.
Also, one of the scenes highlighted where Stallone is dressed in drag in order to trap the terrorist, wasn’t a sell to me but a total bonus.
TERROR IN THE AISLES is a fascinating time capsule from our generation. And certainly a fun revisit from time to time. Even if you think it’s corny or perhaps a cash grab milking the 80s’ horror money train from its’ time, you have to respect it was the FIRST. And set the bar for many of the horror docs and specials we have at pretty much, a forever disposal thanks to multiple streaming services and how huge the film community has gotten over the past 30 years.
The film was forever trapped on VHS for years up until recently SHOUT! Factory finally buckled for a glorious Blu-Ray release. However, if you want to revisit, and umm yeah I think you should, I would highly suggest purchasing theHALLOWEEN II Anniversary Blu-Ray, as TERROR IN THE AISLES is right there in the special features. May as well get a bang for your buck at a lower price am I right?
Sound off here in the comments Nostalgic Nuggets: What horror snippet from the film peaked your interests so that you had to watch that particular horror movie immediately?
Every time I do one of these lists, I feel like I’m hammering another nail in my coffin. But, I’m a glutton for punishment and the morbid destiny that awaits me.
Unlike the year’s predecessor, lower-budget horror dominated 1991. I feel like a good portion of these are considered mediocre in the general public’s POV. But, I also know that in that same breath, we still watch the shit out of them. That has to amount to something. Also, if you got no love for Full Moon, we might have a problem there, buddy.
Plus, you know, nostalgia and stuff.
Anywho, I’ve attached some handy Amazon links with the movies listed in the case one or two catches your eye and need to expand your beautiful horror collection. Full disclosure: I may earn like two cents or something if you buy through this website. Buy hey, if enough of you buy Puppet Master 3, I could totally get a Crunchwrap Supreme for dinner! I’m certainly not opposed to that.
Now onwards to the best horror movies of 1991!
10. Puppet Master 3: Toulon’s Revenge
Ahh the Charles Band masterpiece of The Puppet Master returns in the second sequel of the franchise and takes us out of the creepy hotel setting and straight into World War II. We get to see our little friends fight off Nazis, with the new addition of Six Shooter joining the band of marionettes- and really, those are both huge selling points right there. We also get not one, but TWO origin stories involving Leech Woman and Blade, which totally makes me overlook the fact the story is set in 1941, when in fact according to the first film, Toulon died in 1939.
Honestly, its a little boo-boo but all the puppet action paired with the former statements, makes you forget all about it and just enjoy Six Shooter unloading his guns into Nazi-scum with his wonderous little painted smirk.
I just couldn’t choose between both these Full Moon gems so I’m breaking the rules and giving them BOTH the number nine spot!
Let’s start with the intelligent Subspecies. The film lays out a fresh take on the old, and sometimes tired, vampire story with many films to follow later in the catalog. The practical effects and stop-motion puppets that Full Moon is infamous for, are done superbly well here in a film where a kingdom of a family of vampires thrives in this dark, gothic horror fairy tale with some KING Angus Scrimm thrown in the mix. The film also really goes balls deep into the folklore of the creatures, and is actually filmed in Romania instead of a back-studio lot which really puts the movie in a class of its own in the vampire genre.
It’s really hard not to love this one with a vampire family feud going on with some college students in the mix to get the story going. Perfect independent, straight-to-VHS horror film in 1991!
Another Full Moon treasure, The Pit and the Pendulum starring Lance Henriksen is a must see for any horror fan. Derived and twisted from the brilliant mind and tales from Edgar Allen Poe, the adaptation is directed by master Stuart Gordon and in true Gordon fashion- the movie is just so beautiful to look at.
Set in the Spanish Inquisition, Grand Inquisitor Torquemada (Henriksen), leads the way in a bloody reign of terror in outing people as a witches. The torture scenes are pretty gruesome, and Henrikson really gives his all in the part; In an almost over the top kind of way that really sells the shit out of this horrid character.
UGH. I remember first seeing this horrifying piece of cinematic terror at a slumber party back in the early 90s’ and lemme tell you- it put the fear of GOD in me in regards to EVER getting pregnant for the next 10 years. Well, until my daughter came along in 2004, but hey it was enough to scar me until I was an adult and ready. So if you want a crash Sex-Ed course for your pre-teens, Unborn is the way to go.
As far as feminine body-horror goes, this flick ranks right up there as we follow a woman in an in-vitro fertilization program run by a sketch doctor and wild shit happens to her body. However, what comes out of it is the tippy-top cherry of that pregnancy horror sundae. It’ll forever haunt the baby blues out of you.
There are two types of people in this world: those who love this Stephen King TV adaptation from the Night Shift collection, and those who want to bury it inside deepest pits of TV Movie Hell where these greaser ghosts were trying to avoid all along.
I’m happy to say I’m not of the latter, thank you.
The movie relays on more practical thriller scares rather than gore. And perhaps as follow up only a mere six months after of the premiere of IT, maybe it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Anyways, the movie follows a high-school teacher and his family who come back to his home-town to face his past that entails his older brother being murdered by a greaser gang in his childhood years. Now the slick dicks are dead, and are possessing the bodies of his students in an effort to murder him.
The in-your-face reboot of J. Lee Thompson’s 1962 thriller modernized by the pair of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro managed to revamp the classic into a terrifying, paranoid tale of psycho, rapey revenge.
The all-star cast of a film follows a lawyer (Nick Nolte), his wife (Jessica Lange), and daughter (Juliette Lewis) through hell and back as De Niro toys and stalks each one after his lengthy prison sentence of which he blames his lawyer (Nolte) for. It’s downright skeevy at times and makes it uncomfortable to watch at certain points- especially the scenes between De Niro and Lewis. However, it’s just another example of a how a classic thriller-horror can be redone in the right way.
Fun Fact: Steven Spielberg was penned to direct the remake, and had Bill Murray in mind to play as Max Cady. But, Scorsese took over and obviously brought in his alumni for the villainous role. This could have been SUCH a different vibe and honestly, I would have loved to see that.
Alright, alright I know what some of you are thinking… “This isn’t horror?!” Well, my response to that is goddamnit Patrick Bergin and his knives for eyes scared THE FUCK outta me as a kid and I’ll be damned if someone tries to argue that hiding from a spouse that’s literally breaking your bones every other week isn’t a scary scenario, you be very wrong my friend.
Julia Roberts plays a battered woman who faked her death in order to escape her maniac husband and start a new life elsewhere. Things are looking up as she scores a house next door to a hunky theater professor, until the insane ex catches on to her game and tracks her down.
The film touches on PTSD from domestic violence and the lasting effects it can have on a person. Which I can totally relate to as, full disclosure, I myself am a DV survivor, And when I say survivor, I was close to being killed numerous times. So this movie in particular is quite horrifying to me. It’s something that actually isn’t far at all from a lot of women’s stories and that in itself, is enough horror for me indeed.
Listen man, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare might not be the most beloved of the franchise. However, it’s the first Freddy film that was released theatrically when I was old enough to have a movie date with friends alone. That, paired with the tremendous hype surrounding it with Robert Englund hacking himself like the Springfield Slut to MTV, Universal Studios, and late-night talk shows with specials promoting the demise of Freddy, it’s hard not to love this mess.
Oh and it was in 3-D too!
The Final Nightmare was to be the end-all of the Springfield Slasher by the hands of his only living heir, his child no one ever knew he had. We had a new group of teens to be taken down one by one along with several notable celebrity cameos to give Freddy a proper send-off including Nightmare alumni Johnny Depp, then couple Roseanne Barr Tom Arnold, and Alice Cooper. While the film ultimately isn’t ass strong as its predessors, it has a faithful charm only a Fred-Head would truly understand and I’ll die on this hill with this shit show.
The line alone, “Don’t fuck with the Chuck” is well enough alone to land Chucky’s third film in the top three spot.
Chucky is back torturing a teenage Andy whose been shipped off to a military school. However this time, before he gets to to his original “friend to the end”, he runs into Tyler- a naïve young cadet that becomes manipulated in Chucky’s game and doesn’t realize it until the shit has already hit the fan.
I love everything about Child’s Play 3. Chuck’s comedic chops really shine in the third installment without it getting too corny- and that’s the last time unfortunately it happens in the ongoing series. From his shenanigans’ in the military academy, to the war grounds, to finally the carnival in the haunted hell ride is the coolest journey in this cat and mouse game.
I have no unearthly idea why there’s so much hate for this movie- trust me, I’ve heard way more negative than anything– and I’m probably going to catch hell for this but I DON’T CARE. Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs is goddamn glorious and as about as underrated as it gets. There is so much story going on in this film it can be easy to lose focus on the underlying horrific reality leeching on the cruelty of humanity.
All the madness of abuse, slumlords, racial stereotypes with class-based conflict and manipulation is a complete projection of society at the time and is just as ever relevant today in 2021. Maybe even more so.
The story begins with “Fool” a street-smart kid who teams up with his criminal neighbor to steal a rumored bundle of gold from their asshole landlords. What they find inside the home of the demented brother and sister duo is a lot more than what they bargained for. An abused young girl. Gimp suits and shotguns. And a terrifying secret hidden under the stairs.
I mean if you’ve seen it-you know but in the case you haven’t, I’m gonna stop and direct you to this link where you should immediately buy this and put it in your eyeballs. Thanks.
The Silence of The Lambs
I think it’s no surprise that the film that forever scarred me into ever getting to a size 14 in clothing, was going to be on the tippy-top of this list!
The Silence of the Lambs 1991 adaptation taken by the writings Thomas Harris made infamous in his series of novels, is and always will be-the perfect horror movie. Hannibal is so many words, is like the great white shark you never saw coming from the depths of the ocean, albeit a shark with more manners anyway. He’s cunning, highly intelligent, and for the most part, he terrifies us merely with his words. There’s no gore or action on his part for the majority of the film minus the one incident during his transfer where we actually get to see what Hannibal “The Cannibal” is actually capable of. He induces that fear in us psychologically, making us use our imagination in his conversations with Clarice. That’s one HELL of a thing to pull off in a film and thirty years later I still think about this movie at least once a week because of it.
Then, there’s Buffalo Bill. The complexity of his confused and angry character that leads him to killing and skinning women for his own personal body suit is enough to give anyone the skivvies. Throw in an awkward naked dance paired with some Q Lazzurus and we got ourselves one of the most memorable scenes from any horror movie in history. Much like with Lector, we don’t actually SEE Bill do his dirty deeds, they are only mentioned and we see a glimpse of the aftermath of one of his victims via Clarice Starling and the FBI team. Giving way, for us to use our minds and imagining the horrors these women succumbed to Which can be more frightful in any case.
Which lastly, bring us to Starling. the Mother Mary of this trifecta who has clawed her way through sexist pigs of the FBI program in an effort to escape her past and honor her deceased father. Hannibal, along with being the world’s deadliest serial killer is also a renowned psychiatrist and sees RIGHT through her upon their first meeting. That exchange sets the tone for the entire film and is one of the goddamn most utterly disturbing scenes in the while film.
Well, I mean besides ol’ Jamie Gumm dancing in front of a camera.
Bonus Addition! Best Family Horror Obviously Goes Toooooooooo…….
I was trying to stick to straight horror for this list, but there’s NO WAY I could even think of leaving this out. The Addams Family, while not a scary film by any means, is part of our very important horror culture growing up and have been for generations. So it gets a whole category all to it’s self because I do what I want- in my best Cartman voice.
Charming, funny, iconic lines for days, The Addams Family is the perfect go-to for any movie night in with the family, or hell by yourself! It’s spun by the perfect cast, Raul Julia, Angelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, and a tiny Christina Ricci displaying everything we loved about these characters’ for decades and they will always and forever be, unmatched by those personas they perfected on the big screen.
A few days ago, I took my faithful every-10-years-or-so trip to Universal Studios, Hollywood to bask in the glory of my inner passion for cinema and film culture. I was 12 the first go-around and I’ll never forget the true Kodak moments (seriously, there are photos of it somewhere lost in my hoarder piles of ticket stubs) of meeting Dracula, the long-gone Beetlejuice show, and seeing JAWS along with the once upon time animatronic of King Kong on the Studio Tour for the first time.
Good times fellas. Good times inhaling that banana breath.
Image Via Pinterest
The second time around was in 2008 on my honeymoon with my husband. It was during Christmas Time and the park was decked out in Whoville and Grinchmas attire. It was also the first time I had feasted my eye peelers on the Jurassic Park ride! Of course, it was too cold and late in the day so we couldn’t get on it and this third time around- which was just a week ago- again I’m foiled into experiencing any dino drama. As the Jurassic Park turned World ride has yet to open to the public with still only an opening date of, “this summer.” Progress seems to be booming and nearly done, but my son here in the slideshow shows how I feel too about not being able to experience this wondrous attraction. A bit of a pout session is validated as again- I don’t get to go often.
Please note I’m VERY EXCITED about playing with Raptors in the future.
Anyway enough of my ramblings and onto why you’re here. Upon my visit, Universal Studios Entertainment sent me a bit of an update today on the highly anticipated ride on a couple of cool attraction features, the awesome new retail store, along with the new cafe and Isla-Nu-Bar that is going to add to the ambiance in nature of a true JP/JW fan experience.
Per Universal Studios:
Universal City, CA, June 17, 2019 – Costa Rican-inspired cuisine and flavorful Tiki cocktails served at Jurassic Café and all-new tropical Isla Nu-bar add to the dynamic guest experience as part of Universal Studios Hollywood’s new mega attraction opening this summer, “Jurassic World—The Ride,” based on the JURASSIC WORLD blockbuster films.
Along with an array of souvenir collectible, limited edition and one-of-a-kind dimensional dinosaur sculptures from the Jurassic Outfitters store, guests can savor a piece of this exciting thrill ride even after they’ve gone home.
Borrowing its name from the fictitious Central American island in the JURASSIC WORLD movies, the stand-alone, open-air Isla Nu-bar, complete with a thatched roof, serves up tropical-themed Tiki cocktails in three collectible cups: Etched Tiki, Bamboo-styled Tiki and Tiki God.
Whether blended or made-to-order with fresh juices, every aromatic blended drink is adorned with a pineapple leaf and edible orchid flower. Flavorable beverages include Tropical Margarita, Piña Colada and Painkiller, along with island cocktails such as Tiki Tai, Bird of Paradise, Ti Peach, Rum Runner and Mai Tai.
With Universal Studios Hollywood’s Executive Chef Marie Grimm at the helm, the new Jurassic Café caters to a selection of Costa Rican-themed cuisine, inspired by the location of the JURASSIC WORLD movies. Mouth-watering menu items include Sweet Corn Cakes with Slow Roasted Mojo Pork or Spicy Mojo Jackfruit, Citrus Glazed Chicken, Fresh Roasted Red Snapper and Isla Burger. Tempting starters include savory Chorizo and Potato Empanadas, Crispy Lettuce Leaf Roll with Shrimp, Tropical Fruit Salad and Pomegranate Guacamole with plantain chips. All entrees will be accompanied by fresh green papaya salad and Costa Rica’s national dish, Gallo Pinto – traditional rice and beans.
The Jurassic Outfitters store will feature a variety of collectible merchandise to commemorate the ride’s opening, including a selection of exclusive items. From limited edition t-shirts and hats to drinkware, pins, amber stones, and jewelry, Jurassic Outfitters will offer keepsake merchandise for every member of the family.
The shop will also carry a variety of custom-made, high-end collectible dinosaur sculptures and maquettes. These incredibly crafted statement pieces replicate the Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor, Dilophosaurus, Styracosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus and Triceratops and range in price up to $1,000.
In addition to experiencing the exhilaration of the new thrill ride, guests will have the opportunity to become immortalized in one of the ride’s momentous scenes as they plunge down its treacherous 84-foot waterfall with the introduction of slo-mo video capture offered exclusively at “Jurassic World—The Ride.” The iconic moment will be available for purchase and received digitally for riders to share via their social media platforms so they assure their friends that they indeed survived the vicious dinosaurs. Keepsake digital images will also be available for purchase.
“Jurassic World—The Ride” features an original storyline that will take guests on a breathtaking excursion through the theme park as depicted in Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s film, JURASSIC WORLD. It will soar to new heights with the addition of iconic dinosaurs from the movie, including the colossal Indominus rex and the magnificent aquatic Mosasaurus in her natural habitat. The ride also features the stars of the JURASSIC WORLD films – Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and BD Wong who reprise their roles as Owen Grady, Claire Dearing and Dr. Henry Wu.
The mega-attraction captures the essence of the blockbuster movies and comes to life in collaboration with the award-winning and inspired minds at Universal Creative, the Academy Award®-winning special-effects visionaries at Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm, Ltd., Universal Pictures and acclaimed filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow and Frank Marshall.
When “Jurassic World—The Ride” opens this summer, guests will be welcomed to a dramatically reimagined space reflective of the hit films. A fresh entry statement, stonework landscaping, and a contemporary redesign of the iconic JURASSIC WORLD gates, illuminated with billowing flames, will create the framework for the all-new aesthetics.
And now I have to break my 10-year tradition because I literally can’t wait that long to see this. I just want to give Blue a hug and drink a Tiki cocktail.
With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, the new California Neighbor Pass invites guests to experience 175 days of fun for $149 when purchased online. Visit www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more details. Blackout dates and restrictions apply.