Tag Archives: Retro horror

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!

Nightmare Nostalgia Ranks The “Halloween” Franchise Opening Credits!

One of the greatest memories of my childhood, were the multitude of horror movies that were introduced to me through my Dad and Grandfather (Pop- we called him). Pop was a passionate fan of ALL Universal Horror Monsters films, and on top of watching them endlessly by his side on the nights the grandparents would babysit, I would often admire his very complete Universal Monsters VHS Collection and the artwork embodied within it. However, my Dad, albeit a super Frankenstein himself, was more on the Slasher spectrum. And by the way, is the biggest John Carpenter’s Halloween fan I know. It sounds biased but being inside the horror community for fifteen years, I stand by that statement- and you could read more about that here.

That being said, the Halloween films were a pretty standard rotation in the ole’ VCR growing up- and hell still are. And while I’ve found this to be a pretty common list among the horror website interwebs, they sure as shit aren’t my opinion and that of the greatest Halloween fan I know! So, here we go: Nightmare Nostalgia’s official ranking of all the Halloween opening credits!

I truly feel like I’m really going to make some of you mad. BUT, just remember my opinion is not yours and we can all agree to disagree!

And no: I’m not including the Rob Zombie versions because NO.

9. Halloween: Resurrection

With many fans, Resurrection ranks dead last in pretty much all aspects; and here on this list is no exception. Following a very generic version of John Carpenter’s classic tune paired with pitch-black backgrounds and orange credit lettering, we stroll down the halls of the Grace Sanitarium Instution where we meet a seemingly docile Laurie and a pair of nurses who narrate to the audience the very bullshit story of why she’s there. It just sucks when in comparison to ALL the others . Sorry not sorry.

8. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

In my opinion, and well that’s what this all is, Curse‘s opening doesn’t fair much better than Resurrection. The only reason it’s a slot higher is because it’s a lot shorter. The messy intro here that clumsily inserts parts of the film in the damn thing, merely sets the tone for the rest of it. One big mess. However, as big as a mess as it is, it still isn’t the worst in the franchise by far. Resurrection still holds that title belt.

7. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Ahhh, here we are. The last of the original pumpkin intros in the franchise- up until 2018 of course when they resurrected it. Personally, I rather enjoy the lowkey angry tone behind this one in combination with the process of what I would call, The Wild Maniac World of Pumpkin Carving Sports here. However, compared to others’ before it, it falls short.

5. Halloween (2018)

One can certainly appreciate the return of the pumpkin intro via the 2018 franchise’s homecoming. And in such a unique form as the jack-o-lantern has fallen flat and laid dormant for many years, only to be blown up into it’s original form. Like it never missed a beat. Truly an honorable way to start the Myers madness again!

4. Halloween (1978)

Alright. This is the one that MIGHT trigger some pissed off feelings from fellow fans in regards to ranking. BUT, I feel like some of the follow-ups were just a smidge more intriguing to my senses. It’s classic, simple, and a prefect start into the Haddonfield journey whereas the original film was simplistic-yet effectively terrifying.

3. Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Love the movie or hate it (and yes its still an argument), you are very wrong if you deny the magnificence of thy Magic Pumpkin paired with a sinister synthesizer. The onset of the 80s’ included the launch of new wave and MTV and this was a perfect representation of what early 80s’ horror films looked and sounded like. It’s just a staple of an era that many have since used as inspiration- including Stranger Things.

2. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

The return of Myers meant a ditch of the recurring pumpkin intro this time around with a spine-chilling sequence of a sunset on a farm instead. The ambience of a sinister Autumn setting with the low-tone score, the winds blowing, and Halloween decorations swaying in the breeze always struck the skeevies chord with me. That Michael is still out there. Waiting- and coming soon.

1. Halloween II (1981)

There is just no way in Haddonfield Hell that anyone can convince me otherwise that the sequel to the original isn’t the greatest goddamn gift we’ve ever been given in this franchise. Well, as far as appeasing intros are concerned anyway. Opening with the events of the last film spilling over to start the continuing journey of cat and mouse between Myers and Laurie, we roll into a perplexed Loomis staggering outside of the Doyle home to the spot where Michael had dropped, and only a pool of blood remains. Garnering attention from (finally) a nosy neighbor who has ignored all the blood-curdling screams, and apparently is just NOW paying attention to what’s been going on right next door, annoyingly asks if this is a joke and that “He’s been trick or treated to death tonight.” Which leads into one of the greatest lines of this fuckin’ franchise from Loomis himself- “You don’t know what death is!” Who then scurries off around the corner in a wild state.

And then- the glorious, more angry pumpkin intro this time around. The score is more aggressive, much like in the rest of the film coinciding with an angrier Myers. The pumpkin cracks down the middle to reveal a skull. The symbol that death is coming and isn’t stopping for anyone.

So good.

What’s YOUR favorite Halloween opening sequence? Discuss below in the comments!

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

The year was 1984.  The very first commercial for the revolutionary Apple Computer premiered at the beginning of the year, foreshadowing an irreversible change in the way we live for an entire generation. While one can argue this may very well be, the most significant moment in ’84, (or hell an entire decade), most horror fans may dispute that. 35 years ago today, one of horror’s biggest icons was born from the mind of the late Wes Craven-Freddy Krueger. Robert Englund gave him a body, Craven the brain- see what I did there- and unleashed Freddy Fever unto Generation Y that shows no signs of slowing up all these years later.

Of course, there hasn’t been a relevant enough bootleg Freddy toy to catch my attention over the last 20 years. But, maybe that’s for the best, yeah?

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

While I can’t speak for every single child of the ’80s, Freddy Fever rose high and rampant over the course of a decade, introducing an entire generation to the horror genre due to the Springwood’s Slasher popularity. Nancy said it best, “Every kid knows who he is. He’s like Santa Claus.” 

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

And even celebrated much more so by the horror fandom than the generous, jolly ol’ dude. With on-screen heroes emerging in the decade like Indiana Jones, Rambo, and pretty much any Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Freddy rose to the ranks of a hero of a generation of horror movie fans by being nothing more than the ethos of pure evil- well with later added slapstick comedy which only BOOSTED all the diehard FredHeads (myself included) to put him on a higher pedestal; rounding out the Holy Horror Slasher Trinity with his buddies Michal and Jason.

I mean, you’ve really made it when MTV (when it was you know, amazing) lets you VJ and just end up doing whatever the fuck you want. That’s some star power.

*upload by Jared Bruni

 

All that being said, WHAT exactly had the youth of our generation so insanely captivated by well, a brutal child-killer? I can only speculate on watching Freddymania evolve throughout the ’80s, ’90s, to today’s hardcore fanbase that follows Freddy and Friends to the ends of the Earth via social media and horror conventions (I’m totally one of those people), and speaking with fellow FredHead buddies. And the answers are pretty quite simple: The children are the warriors of this horror franchise. They are the ones who recognize the evil while the adults stand around with their thumbs up their asses. THEY are the ones who stand together, (just look at Dream Warriors) and face their enemy head-on. So it’s only natural an adolescent would gravitate towards something they could possibly relate to. Society is often guilty of not listening to our youth and A Nightmare On Elm Street made that loud and clear folks.

Another reason and this is personally true in my case being a female, is that each of the NOES films gave us the absolute, most ass-kicking heroines that any young girl would be proud to look up to. First off, let’s just get this right out of the way- Nancy is the goddamn Queen. Even though it was quite clear that she was slowly getting edgier as the film progressed- to be fair she was working on a week’s worth of almost no sleep while Fred was trying to murder her– she really had the most logical and sturdy head out of EVERYONE in that entire film. Including her parents. Not to mention she went full Rambo on Krueger’s ass. I’m not going to sit here and try and argue how she managed to set all those booby traps, fall asleep, and capture Freddy all in twenty minutes film-time. Let’s just appreciate the fact that this girl went balls to the wall, going as far as tackling her predator to the ground WWF style in one giant FUCK YOU to his face. And then she turns her back on him and calls him “shit”.

Goddamn. GIRL FUCKING POWER.

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

 

Last but not least, A Nightmare On Elm Street has always been seen by me as a “comfort horror film”. A few years back, I wrote an article over on Bloody Disgusting on how horror films actually soothe my anxiety. And the NOES films are exactly that for me. Comfort in times of stress and the harsh realities of the real world. I refer to films like these in a term I coined, “FANTASTICAL HORROR”. You see, movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th (only the first, after that they became FANTASTICAL), were very much real to me. THAT SHIT COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN. It’s very plausible an escaped lunatic could go on a killing spree or a deranged childless mother going apeshit on a group of kids. With NOES, mehhhhhhhhh, highly doubt a burnt-faced demon is gonna kill me in my dreams. Not to say one could never die in their sleep, or to take away the fact the movie really is terrifying in other aspects. BUT, it’s not realistic to me. And that’s ok! In times of real-world tragedies, shitty adult issues, and when the world seems so ugly that you want to pack up and move to Mars, Freddy and the gang are here. To take us to DreamLand. To a place that takes us out of reality and into the world of Fantastical Horror.

You know, kinda like Harry Potter but cooler. Don’t you Hogwarts fans @ me.

Happy 35th Freddy and the gang. And to all my fellow sons and daughters of 100 maniacs who keep the fandom of this movie as strong as ever. WE all his children-now and forever.

 

35 Years of Freddy: A Clawed Imprint On An Entire Generation

 

Upcoming Book “Ad Nauseam” Highlights Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s

Ahh. The glory days of 1980’s horror film advertising!

Set for a time-appropriate release this October 9th, 2018, former Fangoria Editor-in-Chief and current contributor at Rue Morgue Magazine (among his many other ventures), Michael Gingold brings us a glorious 248-page, full-color, hardbound book that features more than 450 rare, vintage ads pulled from Gingold’s personal archive entitled Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares From The 1980s. 

Upcoming Book "Ad Nauseam" Highlights Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s

Edited by former Rue Morgue editor-in-chief Dave Alexander and presented by Rue Morgue, 1984 Publishing title Ad Nauseam will highlight a golden age of horror movie ads, and really, is there anything more nostalgic than retro horror film advertisements?

Per the press release:

Growing up in the ’80s, the future Fangoria writer and editor would carefully cut out ads he saw in local newspapers, leaving him with a collection tracing horror movie history via both blockbusters and obscurities.

“I’ve wanted to assemble this collection of movie-advertising madness in book form for many years, so 1984 and Rue Morgue’s publication of Ad Nauseam is a long-time dream come true,” says Gingold, who’s also a contributor to Rue Morgue, Birth.Movies.Death, Time Out, New York, and Scream, and the author of The FrightFest Guide to Monster Movies and Shark Movie Mania.

“These are the horror films I grew up with, and this volume is a celebration of that classic era of the genre.”

Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s goes year-by-year through Gingold’s
archive, and includes rare alternate art for Gremlins, Child’s Play, The Blob remake, and the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. Oddities covered include Psycho from Texas, Dracula Blows His Cool, Blood Hook, Zombie Island Massacre, and many more. He provides personal recollections, commentary and includes snippets of contemporary reviews, to reveal what critics really thought of these movies at the time. To get a better sense of horror’s business side, Gingold also interviews the men behind legendary exploitation distributor Aquarius Releasing to learn how they built buzz for shockers like Make Them Die Slowly and Doctor Butcher M.D.
The regular version of Ad Nauseam retails for $34.95 USD and will be available online via Amazon and local bookstores worldwide. Details on a combo pack from the iconic horror merch designer Fright-Rags, which will include a signed book and a specially-designed T-shirt, are forthcoming.

Make sure to grab this sucker to proudly display on your coffee table, just in time for Halloween! Pre-order your copy here at Amazon!

Creature Features: The Beautiful Practical Effects of 1988’s “The Blob”

Nightmare Nostalgia Presents Creature Features: 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.

I don’t care how stubborn, or pompous this may sound: Computer generate all the damn monsters you want with the world’s greatest CGI program and programmer running it. It still won’t look better than practical effects and I certainly can’t appreciate it as much. The perfect example of such splendid monster-movie-magic is of course, Chuck Russell’s vision of the 1950’s Sci-Fi B movie, The Blob jello-molding it’s way into 1988.

 Creature Features: The Beautiful Practical Effects of 1988's "The Blob"

Thinking back to my childhood years, I clearly remember my first interaction with this glorious film, that at the time, I had no idea was a remake. In a pre-internet era and films relying on physical media such as TV spots and the good old-fashioned newspaper to get the word out. The one other way to draw unsuspecting fans into a film post-theater release, was the almighty VHS box art that would stare at you from the lined-shelves of the horror section like a haunted painting. This film, like many others of that time, sold itself to a tiny Patti with the cover-art alone that both intrigued and terrified me as a child. The simple showcase of what I later learned to be Paul’s fate displayed on the front of the rental, initially scared the shit out of seven-year-old me. I’m not entirely sure why, as growing up in a horror-loving-household watching Halloween at the tender age of two, this piece of art gave me the skeevies. I can distinctly remember only a few VHS horror art covers having that sort of effect on me. For almost 2 years, that pink, gooey man screaming at me through the art cover taunted me every time the parental units and I made a family trip to our local Action Video for the weekend rentals. And it wasn’t until I was allowed to ride my bike across the busy street by my damn self I was cut loose to roam the horror shelves of that mom and pop video store and rent freely on my own. Whatever I wanted. So of course, I gravitated to that jerkoff blobby Paul who has been tormenting the hell out of me. I had to see what this was about just based on this one picture alone. And now, 30 years later, it has become one of my all-time favorites.

Creature Features: The Beautiful Practical Effects of 1988's "The Blob"

 

Which brings me to the point here: That one image from the film doused in practical effects reeled me in and like many films before this gem in the ’80s, was balls-deep with beautifully done man-made monster magic. From Paul’s tragic demise to Vicki being eaten from the inside-out, The Blob is filled to the brim with dazzling and believable imagery that STILL looks better than a lot of modern day effects. The team responsible for igniting a fear of jello-molds everywhere was that of Tony Gardner, Chet Zar, and Bill Sturgeon of Alterian Studios. Who have since released some REALLY FUCKIN’ COOL behind the scenes stills on making that “extraterrestrial” man-eating glob that every fan of the film should take a gander at.

blob 2

 

blob 3

 

blob 4

 

blob 5

 

blob 6

 

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blob 9

 

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LONG LIVE PRACTICAL EFFECTS.

WTF Am I Watching: Microwave Massacre (1983)

Not since high school algebra have I been as terribly confused as I was today while scrolling through Shudder’s horror library. How, in all my years of watching cheddar-flavored schlock, had I never heard of Microwave Massacre? Just this morning, I’d have been willing to bet my brother’s kid that this film would be enjoyable – and since I love my nephew to pieces, I’m quite glad that I didn’t.

Typically, the WTF Am I Watching train only comes around once per week, but fuck it. We’ve been off the tracks since Black Devil Doll From Hell, so why conform now?

microwave massacre

Microwave Massacre fittingly begins with a glimpse at a fancy microwave oven and a deteriorated severed head, which, by my standards, is the peak of film openings. Unfortunately, when you reach the highest point of my fictional mountain, the only way left to go is down. A slow, methodical descent into Shitsville (The town at the bottom of the mountain, in case you didn’t know) is the respectable way to come down, but Microwave Massacre more-so slips on eagle shit and slams against every jagged rock until it reaches the surface below.

In layman’s terms, it’s really bad.

Immediately following the opening sequence, the camera follows a young woman around town, focusing primarily on her breasts and butt. This is painfully indicative of the woefully sexist film to come. The woman eventually arrives at a construction site and leans over to peek at the workers through a hole in a fence. At this point, a random man pinches her ass, pushes her boobs through the hole in the fence, and has sex with her.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like rape to me.

Strangely, Microwave Massacre plays this sexual encounter for comedy, with eccentric music accompanying the construction workers as they notice the breasts poking through the hole and rush over to find the woman that they’re attached to. When they reach the fence, the moaning woman removes her breasts from the hole and inexplicably hurries away. Can you see why I’m so goddamn baffled about this? If the woman was being raped, which we all agree that she was, why have her rush off so that she didn’t get caught having sex? Does this mean that she was willingly having sex with a stranger who grabbed her ass and made unsolicited advances? Your boy needs answers, and this film isn’t giving them to me.

All this in the first five minutes of the movie.

donald

The primary focus of Microwave Massacre is Donald, a construction worker who has grown tired of his nagging wife and the diet she forces him to follow. Rather than separating from his partner in the more traditional sense, Donald’s constant misery drives him to bludgeon her to death with a pepper grinder and pop her in the microwave. The way she would have wanted to go, he says, staring directly into the camera.

Now with a hankering for human flesh, Donald cuts his wife into dozens of pieces, wraps her up in tinfoil, and places her in the garage freezer. The only part of her body that isn’t covered in foil is her head, which brings to mind The Voices, a far superior horror comedy starring Ryan Reynolds. In that film, Reynolds’ character also keeps the heads of his victims in a refrigerator. While I doubt that Microwave Massacre was any sort of influence on that vastly different film, the connection of that tiny detail seems almost prophetic since there’s a roll of Reynolds Wrap on top of Donald’s meat freezer. This is the type of thing I’ll make conspiracy videos about when I’m 35 and in desperate need of life direction. Not that I couldn’t use some now.

Anyway.

Free from his burden of a wife, Donald starts hanging out with his work buddies more often, feeding them sandwiches made from her corpse. When he grows tired of her meat, however, Donald begins inviting prostitutes over to his house, where he kills them, cuts ‘em up, and cooks them in the microwave – all the while making Rodney Dangerfield style quips while looking, you guessed it, directly into the camera. This occurs repetitively throughout the last 45 minutes of the film, and just when we think Donald has been backed into a corner and that the plot will finally shake things up for us, he uses a bread roll to snuff a woman out and evade trouble.

A goddamn bread roll.

Microwave Massacre is the equivalent to that one friend who thinks he’s hilarious, though he’s actually just obnoxious and abrasive. The attempts at humor are desperate and sad, and the element of horror is non-existent. It’s not the so-bad-it’s-good type of horror movie that the title suggests: it’s just bad.

And I’m done talking about it.

WTF Am I Watching: Invasion of the Blood Farmers (1972)

Suppressed deep within the crevices of my mind are hellish memories of Paris Hilton on a farm. A brief sifting through internet garbage determined that these waking nightmares were pulled from a reality series called The Simple Life, which I have no recollection of ever watching. Now, this could very well be a symptom of life’s recurring stress finally frying my brain to the point of memory loss, but after watching Invasion of the Blood Farmers, I’ve deduced that the likely alternative is this:

Paris Hilton is a druid queen fueled by blood that farmers are secretly harvesting from unsuspecting victims all over the world, and I’m having psychic visions of her terrifying reign. Totally logical, right?

invasion of the blood farmers

For this week’s installment of WTF Am I Watching, it was my pleasure to stream Ed Adlum’s low budget Invasion of the Blood Farmers on Shudder – emphasis on low budget. The production of this exploitation flick is so noticeably cheap that I half-expected the movie to end thirty minutes into the runtime with a title card describing what would’ve happened if the filmmakers didn’t run out of money. IMDb claims that the budget for Invasion of the Blood Farmers was $40,000, but if that’s true, I imagine it was paid for in pennies and IOUs.

The film takes place in rural New York, where otherworldly druids pose as farmers in order to harvest blood from civilians and resurrect their queen. You’d be hard-pressed to decipher that they’re druids throughout the first forty minutes of the movie, though, as they appear to be basic, straw hat-wearing farmer dudes with an insatiable bloodlust. Farmers drink dog blood all the time, don’t they? There’s no real difference here.

It’s not until we’re introduced to the leader of the druids, who talks like a twirly-mustached cartoon villain, when we find out exactly what the hell is going on – but even with the numerous scenes of this character standing in a singular spot and sprouting exposition like goddamn wildflowers, it’s hardly clear cut. It’s something to do with a magical key and finding a host for the blood, and the most heavily-featured druid farmer uses a cane that may or may not have some sort of mystical power… who the fuck knows. The point is that the plot of Invasion of the Blood Farmers is hardly the film’s strong suit.

invasion of the blood farmers

Fortunately for my entertainment, the nonsensical story elements only add to the charm of a film that’s brimming with fantastically low quality. There isn’t one decent performance to be found in Invasion of the Blood Farmers, and while most people would mark that as a criticism, I found this aspect of the movie to be endlessly amusing. It’s painfully obvious that the actors struggled to memorize their lines, not because I’m personally questioning the confidence of their dialogue delivery, but because they actually pause mid-sentence, NUMEROUS TIMES, and search for the words in their mind. It’s a rare feat for one of the actors to get through a line without pausing or stuttering, and it’s honest-to-god delightful.

I know it sounds like I’m bullying a film that couldn’t afford the security to protect itself from jerks like me, but these especially poor quirks are the foundation for a retro exploitation flick that I thoroughly enjoyed. I like my movies how I like my beer: dirt cheap and questionable. Invasion of the Blood Farmers proudly checks both boxes, so it’s alright in *my book.

*This book does not exist

WTF Am I Watching: Day of the Animals (1977)

If we fight over everything else in life, I think we’d still unanimously agree that the sun sucks. You likely need no more evidence of this since you can’t walk outside without the skin melting from your flesh, but you can bet your ass that I’m going to give you more anyway.

On this week’s installment of WTF Am I Watching, we’re taking a look at Day of the Animals, the not-so-classic natural horror film from director William Girdler. This choice flick plays like a cautionary tale of terrors to come, as a depleted ozone layer leaves all life on Earth exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun- especially those living in high altitudes. In those particular areas, scientists discover that animals are becoming highly aggressive towards humans.

Now, I’m no scientist, therefore I cannot vouch for the legitimacy of this threat. However, since worst case scenarios seem to be the norm, I’m gonna go ahead and buy into it: The sun will turn animals against you.

day of the animals

Day of the Animals takes place somewhere in Northern California as Steve Buckner (Christopher George) accompanies a dozen hikers on a days-long trip up a mountain despite the warning from local law enforcement. Unbeknownst to them, the group is being stalked through the woods by mountain lions, bears, wolves and more- each of which are inexplicably at peace with each other, even with their hyper-aggression. I would assume that carnivorous creatures at peak monstrosity would be at each other’s throats, but again, I’m no scientist.

I digress.

When the group stops to rest, they notice that the mountain has fallen silent and that the birds are exhibiting bizarre behavior. This is also the point when each individual in the group is introduced, among them Leslie Nielsen as Paul Jenson, an angry-type man with an insensitive and racist sense of humor. So a typical old white man, amirite?

That evening, Steve and the hikers come across a campsite that appears to be in use by another group, who are nowhere to be found. Worried about the campers, Steve decides that they should stick around for the night and wait for them to return. As the group sleeps, a woman is attacked by a pack of wolves while in her sleeping bag. The hikers manage to chase the wolves away before she’s killed, but she’s badly injured and needs medical assistance.

The following morning, the woman and her husband journey to a nearby ranger tower in search of help, but she’s attacked by vicious birds and knocked over a cliff to her death. Her husband manages to escape, and in doing so, finds a young girl who is presumably part of the missing group from the night before. As the film progresses, the two escape the mountain, but while searching for help, the newly widowed husband is ambushed by a mad dog AND rattlesnakes, resulting in his death. The child survives though, destined for life without parents or protectors while dealing with the constant trauma and paranoia from seeing several people she cared about be ferociously torn apart by animals. So that’s a silver lining, I suppose.

Elsewhere, Steve leads the group to a spot where food has been left for them, only to find that animals have raided the area and devoured all of their grub. Tensions begin to rise as Paul questions Steve’s leadership, ultimately resulting in the groups splitting up after they are attacked again. Paul takes his group up the mountain towards the ranger tower, and Steve leads the rest back down the mountain.

day of the animals

During a rainstorm, it’s revealed that Paul has lost his goddamn mind, and in an unexpected turn, believes himself to be the macho king of the mountain and attempts to rape one of the young women in his group. He’s briefly fought off by her boyfriend, but ends up driving a walking stick through his gut and murdering him. He then drags the woman away to rape her while the rest of the group watches helplessly, until a large grizzly bear intervenes. The group manages to escape and find safety, other than Paul, who, naturally, wrestles the bear until his throat is ripped out.

If you ever wanted to see a shirtless Leslie Nielsen fight a bear to the death, Day of the Animals is the movie for you.

As for Steve and the remaining four members of his group, they are attacked by a pack of especially aggressive German Shepherds (I didn’t count, but the glance-test deduced that there are at least nineteen of them). Two of the hikers are overcome by the dogs, and even Steve barely manages to escape with his life. He and the other two survivors drift downstream on a raft, eventually coming to a safe place as all the affected animals simply drop dead.

Lesson of the day:

The sun killed them, and it will kill you too. Stay indoors and monitor your goddamn pets.

Creature Feature: The Skeevie Inducing Norris-Thing

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.

Last October, some friends, the better half, and myself witnessed the glorious spectacle of John Carpenter live in concert. Now, normally I never bother to leave my Gollum cave of gloom and somber for shows and concerts these days unless it’s totally worth sliding some pants on for. But hey, this was John fuckin’ Carpenter and his orchestra playing the theme songs to some of horror’s finest films- his films. I sure as shit wasn’t going to pass this up and just as I had expected, it was a night to never be forgotten. From Halloween, They Live, and of course today’s focal point The Thing, it was a perfect way to head into Devil’s Night last October.

#thething #johncarpenter #horrormovies

A post shared by Patti Pauley (@misshorrorghoul) on

With what is arguably (I guess) one of John Carpenter’s greatest pieces of cinematic art turning 36 this week, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk a little about the goddamn Norris-Thing. In the 1982 film, we see a handful of variations of this “thing” ranging from an ordinary human, a cute husky, also a not-so-cute halfway transformed husky, to well-something ungodly such as this. Which in itself, comes in three (3) count em, forms of infested Norris all in under five minutes.

Beautiful.

Nightmare Nostalgia -The Thing 1982

The poor geologist at the heart of the chaos located at Outpost 31 had suffered a heart attack, (could you really blame the guy for his life-pumper giving out under the circumstances?) His fellow comrades rushed a dying Norris to the medical ward in an attempt to jump-start his heart and holy eight-legged-fucks was that the worst idea ever.

In the case anyone here is unfamiliar haven not seen the film (for-shame), The Thing centers around a parasitic extraterrestrial life force that likes to imitate other organisms, thus ensuring an overabundant amount of paranoia in the group as everyone suspects each other as an “infected host”.

We good? Ok, back to Norris dying on the table.

Anyway, the defibrillator is shocking away and low and behold everyone, Norris was indeed a host for this otherworldly leech as the thing begins to extract himself from the ribcage of Norris and immediately defend itself. Norris’ chest transforms into a jaw trap so powerful, even Bruce the shark would be a little envious. After chomping away at what the Thing deems as an attack on itself, (stupid alien doesn’t know what a heart attack is), it mutates even further into a Norris-Snake-Thing that again, would give Freddy-Snake a run for his money. Enter the action of Kurt Russell, our epically bearded hero to the rescue and a flame-thrower to the Norris-Thing it is.  In the midst of the fire and flames, the Norris-Thing head tears away from its presently incinerating body, grows some spider-like legs and Linda Blair crab-walks it’s happy little self across the room inducing all the skeevies and dingleberries from fellow Outposters.

A few thoughts:

As I so eloquently stated above, it always sort of bothered me how this alien parasite didn’t realize he had copied a defective heart along with the rest of Norris. I guess I would just assume the alien would automatically see through that flaw with some alien-type goggles in its DNA, but we all know when you assume, you make an ass out of “u” and me. It’s just a little thing that I always thought about during that scene, not slamming it all mind you. Just sharing what goes on with hamster wheel in my head.

What makes this scene in particular so effectively terrifying above all others, (IMHO), is the “thing” shows just what lengths it will go to survive. Sure the monster magic is insanely gorgeous. I might even say, revolutionary for its time. And sure enough, induces all the skeevies inside you to come popping out to say, “Oh hello old friend!” Especially if you have a phobia of snakes, spiders, or severed heads with insect legs altogether. The point of the matter is, like a true ’80s slasher, it comes coming. It has an agenda and will stop at nothing to reach its goal. This “thing” could literally be anywhere, anyone, or any living thing. That’s the really terrifying part, my friends.

Because it takes a village to raise a child, and apparently a huge team of artists to make movie magic like this happen, I wanted to include this clip from CineFix. Which wonderfully showcases some behind the scenes action, facts, and trivia with director John Carpenter, Norris (Charles Hallahan), and crew involving this scene in particular. Also, here’s an Amazon link because right now, there’s a hot deal on the Blu-Ray for only $7.88!! If you don’t own it yet, now is a great time to snatch this classic up.

Happy Unofficial Thing Day!

Bram Stoker’s “Shadowbuilder” Is Making Its Blu-Ray Debut at MVD Rewind!

From the mastermind of the original horrific night stalker Dracula, comes the ultimate battle between the good of humanity and one pissed off demon that was summoned to Earth, (thanks jerk-off Archbishop) Bram Stoker’s Shadowbuilder! And for the first time ever, getting a proper Blu-Ray release courtesy of our friends at the retro-loving cinematic restorations market, MVD REWIND!

https://mvdshop.com/collections/mvd-rewind

 

Featuring an all-star cast that includes Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy), Leslie Hope (Crimson Peak), Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead) and Tony Todd (Candyman), Shadowbuilder is slated to hit the online store with a ton of new and exciting features including a kick-ass collectable poster this August 28th, 2018!

Bonus Feature Include:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the main feature.
  • Original 2.0 Stereo Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Audio Commentary from Director Jamie Dixon
  • NEW! ‘Making of Shadowbuilder’ featurette (HD, 33:22) (featuring director Jamie Dixon, writer Michael Stokes and stars Andrew Jackson (The Shadowbuilder) and Tony Todd (Covey)
  • NEW! ‘Shadowbuilder: Visual Effects’ featurette (HD, 13:26)
  • NEW! ‘Shadowbuilder: Kevin Zegers’ featurette (HD, 5:00)
  • Reversible, 2-Sided Artwork
  • Spanish Subtitles
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Collectible Poster

 

Official Synopsis:

A demon is summoned to take the soul of a young boy, who has the potential to become a saint. If the demon succeeds, it will open a doorway to Hell, blazing a terrifying trail of destruction, possession and mayhem and destroy humanity. Now the fate of the world hinges on the final outcome of a renegade priest’s battle with the soul eating Shadowbuilder .

Also, just check out this reversible cover art! Be sure to pick this one up to add to your retro horror movie collection!

shadowbuilder 2