‘Near Dark’ brilliantly mixes westerns and vampires

‘Near Dark’ brilliantly mixes westerns and vampires

Near Dark just may be one of my favorite vampire films ever. This little horror sleeper features Lance Henriksen, which gets you off to a pretty good start right there. Throw in Bill Paxton, the criminally-underrated Jenette Goldstein, a Tangerine Dream soundtrack, a forbidden romance, cowboy vampires and have Kathryn Bigelow direct it all and you have the recipe for greatness.

In addition to adding the unconventional twist of combining the Western with a vampire film, Bigelow expertly handled how to do a vampire romance right. You have elements of forbidden love, a family that doesn’t like the boy you brought home, but it doesn’t fall into tweenie, puppy love drivel. It’s sort of a westernized, modern-day Romeo and Juliet. Or something like that.

All I know is that this movie is the shit.

near dark vampire western

Bigelow directed Near Dark long before her Oscar-winning days and even before her cult classic Point Break. I believe this wasn’t long after she divorced mega-successful director James Cameron, and she “borrowed” some of the actors he’s used in his films, including Goldstein with a small part in Titanic as well as Bill Paxton. She also throws James LeGros a small part in this film, who would go on to play one of the bank robbers in Point Break.

This film has a real dark, moody, gritty feel to it and the romance between Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) and Mae (Jenny Wright) feels real. Mae makes you want Caleb to run off with her forever, foregoing his human life for the eternal thrill of running with the night. It’s hard to capture in words in a review, but when Mae tells Caleb to listen to the night, you feel that lure of the inhuman freedom that’s being offered to him.

near dark vampire movie

Henriksen and the rebel family he’s created are true sociopathic desperados, especially Paxton’s character with his jugular splitting spurs and sick humor. It’s all just perfectly woven together, and proves you don’t need a big budget or special effects to make an amazing movie.

This is simply a must-see film not only for horror fans, that anyone with a remote interest in the genre.

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Retro Cinema: Salem’s Lot

Retro Cinema: Salem’s Lot

One of the first books by Stephen King to find its way on celluloid was the made-for-TV flick “Salem’s Lot,” starring David Soul of “Starsky and Hutch” fame. (Don’t even ask me which he was because not only do I not remember, I don’t think I even knew back then.)

Now, when you think 70s and made-for-TV, one usually isn’t too optimistic about the result. But this was the exception, with good acting, nice makeup and yes, vampires that were scary and not emo. Not that should be surprising under the direction of Tobe Hooper.

The plot synopsis: Writer Ben Mears (a thinly-veiled King) returns to his hometown to explore some childhood trauma for a new book. He meets a girl, played by Bonnie Bedelia, and befriends the young teen Mark Petrie (Lance Kerwin) who is obsessed with the macabre (a thinly-veiled teenage King) and they join forces when the townsfolk start falling ill and dying unexpectedly. It’s no coincidence this starts shortly after a stranger arrives and occupies the spooky Marsten house, getting it ready for its new mysterious owner who no one has seen.

Or at least no one who lives to tell the tale.

James Mason is supreme as the evil caretaker for one seriously fugly vampire, and this was the first time I had seen a Nosferatu-inspired vampire. Between him, and the vampires tapping on the windows, this one has some genuine creeps. Geoffrey Lewis (Juliette’s dad) also has a great scene, featured below.

Grab this while you can: It’s out of print and you may have to go VHS to stay in budget.

Salem’s Lot (1979) Cast
David SoulBen Mears
James Mason … Richard K. Straker
Lance Kerwin … Mark Petrie
Bonnie Bedelia … Susan Norton
Lew Ayres … Jason Burke
Julie Cobb … Bonnie Sawyer
Elisha Cook … Gordon ‘Weasel’ Phillips
George Dzundza … Cully Sawyer
Ed Flanders … Dr. Bill Norton
Clarissa Kaye … Majorie Glick
Geoffrey Lewis … Mike Ryerson
Barney McFadden … Ned Tibbets
Kenneth McMillan … Constable Parkins Gillespie
Fred Willard … Larry Crockett
Marie Windsor … Eva Miller
Barbara BabcockJune Petrie
Bonnie Bartlett … Ann Norton
Joshua Bryant … Ted Petrie
James Gallery … Father Donald Callahan
Robert Lussier … Deputy Constable Nolly Gardner
Brad Savage … Danny Glick
Ronnie Scribner … Ralphie Glick
Ned Wilson … Henry Glick

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Claustrophobics beware: ‘Catacombs’ and ‘As Above, So Below’

Claustrophobics beware: ‘Catacombs’ and ‘As Above, So Below’

You know when you go to those haunted attractions and they have that section that is pitch black? Yeah, that’s the part that freaks me out. I feel like I can’t breathe. Does that make me claustrophobic? Maybe, but I know movies where people go into caves or underground caverns produce just a little bit of that same feeling.

So as you can imagine, two fairly recent releases tapped into that claustrophobia, the first being As Above, So Below.

From the get-go, I hated the “heroine,” Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) and wanted to kill her throughout the movie. As some fearless seeker of the lost “Philosopher’s Stone,” she gives exactly zero fucks who she puts in jeopardy in her quest right from the first frame of the film to the last. I really hated her

They throw in some weird supernatural happenings in this one which I would normally like, but I really didn’t get it overall. Apparently they go through some gateway to hell where their greatest guilt trips come back to haunt them as their path gets smaller and smaller with cave ins behind them forcing them to keep going ahead into the unknown.

What the hell were you thinking going down there in the first place, dumbasses? I am never going down in that shit. NEVER, y’all.

catacombs movie
I thought Catacombs was the better of the two Paris catacombs films, where Pink plays a jackass-y character who invites her sister to Paris for the sole purpose of terrorizing her and making fun of her it appears. They go to a party in the catacombs and of course mousy, bullied sister Victoria (Shannyn Sossamon) gets separated and lost.

The twist in Catacombs is there is a maniac killer down in the dark with Victoria. Why or why did you go down in that shit? There aren’t enough flashlights int he world to guarantee you’ll not get lost in the dark. Forever. That’s more than enough reason not to go without even contemplating maniacs stalking their prey.

Did I mention I am never going down in those catacombs? Hell to the no.

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THE MADNESS: CIRCUS Week 4!

THE MADNESS: CIRCUS Week 4!

Clown photo by me. These guys were so damn creepy peeking through the curtains

Movies/TV

Last Week: I forgot to include my binge of Scream Queens last week but was approved to include it this week by the Head Hauntress.

Scream Queens
4 points
No bonuses
Episodes 1-4 binge catch up. Chanel is as bad as ever, Niecy is a show stealer again and Jamie Lee is always awesome. I don’t want to give spoilers away, but by the 4th episode, this show finally gets serious about killing off some main characters. And the Ivanka Trump killer costume is genius.
4:00
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

Week 4

Death: A Love Story
6 points
ATB for homicidal clown
Anthology that was surprisingly good. I didn’t see that coming on the Hooker story.
1:`17
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

Thinner
3 points
Bonus: Traveling Gypsy Carnival (Wildcard Tom Holland)
Stephen King classic, and I’m alwyas a sucker for a gypsy fortuneteller. (King of the Gypsies is one of my favorite movies, although I think a young Eric Roberts might have some part in that)
2:00 (tv)
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

Dreamcatcher
2 points
No bonuses
I love me some Oly (Timothy Olyphant) even if he doesn’t make itall the way through. King really has a thing for weirdo kids fighting the supernatural even after they grow up.
2:00 (tv)
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

Blade
2 points
No bonuses
review
2:00 (tv)
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

Holidays
6 points
ATB for homicidal clown
Seriously creepy kid alert in the St. Patty’s day story. WTF? That was a weird segment. I was pleasantly surpised with this anthology as well, taking other holidays to make some really creepy stories.
1:45
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

The Secrets of Emily Blair
2 points
No bonuses
I didn’t know demonic possession turns blondes brunette. And they say blondes have more fun. This actress is horrible playing some possessed Barbie type.
1:35
1 out of 5 creepy clowns

The Collector
2 points
No bonuses
Opening credits are oh-so-Se7en. This is a pretty good movie, actually. Derivative, sure, but creepy.
1;29
3.5 out of 5 creeepy clowns

Clown
ATB Killer Clown
6 points
Who double books a clown? Suburban fear and loathing when some poor schmuck tries to be a good dad by filling in when the clown doesn’t show for his son’s birthday party (Anyone else think of Steve Martin in Parenthood?) with disastrous results when he can’t take off the cursed clown costume. Reminded me of another movie I watched but damn if I can remember the name. They are all running together at this point
1:39
3 out of 5 creepy clowns

Killer Legends
6 points
ATB for real life killer clown John Wayne Gacy
I love this documentary on the real origins of urban legends. Real life can be a lot scarier than fiction.
1:24
4.5 out of 5 creepy clowns

Killer Klowns from Outer Space
6 points
Is that ice cream driver The Captain from Captain and Tennille? A blow up raft in the back of a pickup. how romantic
1:26
3.5 out of 5 creepy clowns

Slaughter High
6 pts
ATB for homicidal jester
No, that’s not fair… these assholes had it coming. Why should they get revenge on him for getting revenge? I call bullshit. There should be a Caroline Munro wildcard just because she rocks.
3 out of 5 creepy clowns

13 Ghosts
2 points
No bonuses
I hate that lispy kid, but love Matthew Lillard. If this family is so poor, how can they afford that nanny? HUGE logic flaw.
2 hours (TV)
3 out of 5 cerepy clowns, all of which go to Lillard

Killjoy
6 points
ATB for Killer clown
Do I really want to sit through three of these on this dvd set? What is it with ice cream truck clowns and dolls in creepy clown movies?
1:12
1 out of 5 creepy clowns

Killjoy 2: Deliverance from Evil
6 points
ATB for killer clown
Ugh. still another one after this. With characters named Ray-Ray and Ce-Ce, what can you really expect?
1:17
1 out of 5 creepy clowns

Killjoy 3
6 points
ATB for killer clown
I can’t believe I bought this fucking triple play dvd.
1:16
2 out of 5 creepy clowns

Walking Dead
1 point
No bonuses
A much tamer episode this week. The best part is watching Carol being kind of a jackass making fun of the Kingdom, then getting called on her shit.
1:00
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

Paranormal Lockdown Halloween Special
2 points
No bonuses
This Halloween special they sort of amped up the drama, and I would prefer they not do that. I feel Nick and Katrina are genuine, but they need to be careful about overdoing it when filming. Good episode though. I did an interview with the two when they were filming at Waverly Hills, and this is just a small part of it.Most will be saved for the second season preview”

‘Paranormal Lockdown: Black Monk House’ Halloween Special: Interview With Nick Groff And Katrina Weidman On Scariest Episode Yet


2:00
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

Kindred Spirits
1 point
No bonuses
This isn’t the non stop action of many paranromal shows, but that’s what makes it so credible. I did a 3-part interview with these two here:

‘Kindred Spirits’: Exclusive Interview With Former ‘Ghost Hunters’ Amy Bruni And Adam Berry On Their New Paranormal Series [Part 1]

‘Kindred Spirits’: Exclusive Interview With Adam Berry And Amy Bruni [Part 2]

‘Kindred Spirits’: Amy Bruni And Adam Berry On The One Paranormal Investigation They Never Want To Do


1:00
4.5 out of 5 creepy clowns

Halloween Favorites: They just have to be done, points be damned

Halloween
6 points
ATB for kid in clown costume kills
I dig Rob Zombie’s aesthetic, but there is only one Halloween.
1:31

Trick r’ Treat
2 points
no bonuses
This is now my favorite Halloween theme movie, sorry John Carpenter. Absp;ute perfection, weaving together different stories and Halloween lore.
1:22
5 out of 5 creepy clowns

Suspiria
2 points
No bonuses
My favorite Argento film of all time. Deliciously beautiful AND gory. And scary as hell.
1:32
5 out of 5 creepy clowns

Hellraiser
2 points
no bonuses
I love, love, LOVE Clive Barker, and even though the acting is terrible here by the lead and the budget is low, meaning some cheesy effects, Pinhead was a whole new beast in the horror villain worked, and he stands up well to the test of time. But an even  more chilling one is Clare Higgins as Julia, working that high gothic femme fatale thing.
1:34
5 out of 5 creepy clowns

Nightmare on Elm Street
2 points
No bonuses
This is a must every Halloween. Sure, some of the acting is pretty bad, but this still stands as probably the movie that scared me the most the first time I saw it. I was afriad to go to sleep. Well done Wes Craven.
1:31
4.5 out of 5 creepy clowns for bad acting

Return of the Living Dead
2 points
No bonuses
Best. Zombie.Movie. Ever.
1:31
5 out of 5 creepy clowns

87 points if I counted correctly, finishing this while half asleep. Alas, I doubt his is enough to take second place, but it’s good to get some new blood in the top two, right?

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THE MADNESS: CIRCUS Week 3!

THE MADNESS: CIRCUS Week 3!

Another creepy clowns photo by me.

Yes, I sucked this week. Life has been getting in the way of just sitting around all day watching movies, but I promise I will go out Halloween week with a bang. (So keep plugging away team for the team championship) I got some favorites in this week, but stillholding off for some of the biggies till next week and Halloween.

Special Bonuses

Nada

Movies

Rob Zombie’s 31
6 points
ATB for homicidal clowns
Rob Zombie always divides people into two extreme camps. I love his style even when I see flaws in his films, but I thought this was a step forward for him from a critical perspective. I don’t really get the 31 thing, other than Rob being obsessed with Halloween.
1:45
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

Walking Dead (S6E12, S6E13, S7E1)
3 points
No bonuses
I watched the last two episodes of Season 6 leading into the Season 7 premiere last night (almsot forgot to count those two old ones.) No clowns or carnivals, but that was some fucked up shit. I’d still do Negan though. Sue me.
3:00
4.5 out of 5 creepy clowns

Near Dark
2 points
No bonuses
One of my favorite vamp flicks of all time. Love the dark moodiness of it and the sicck humor of that bar scene. Bigelow is so much better at directing than her ex-husband.
1:45
5 out of 5 creepy clowns

The Lost Boys
3 points
1 for boardwalk
I have never stopped obsessing over Jami Gertz’s gypsy skirt. The two Coreys. Jason Patric. Kiefer Sutherland. And I adore Dianne Wiest. Pure awesome.
1:45
5 out of 5 creepy clowns

30 Days of NIght
2 points
No bonuses
Yeah, I’m on a vampire kick here. This is what vampires should be – scary and ugly as fuck. Even Ethan Hawke is bearable in this,and Ben Foster… oh, how wonderful he is in his small role, as usual.
1:45
4.5 out of 5 creepy clowns

Halloween Wars
1 points
Bonus for Sid Haig as guest judge
I was just watching this for fun when I saw Sid was judging. Pretty sure this is his first time on the show? Anyway, those Sugar Psychos seem unstoppable for the final crown.
1:00
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

976-EVIL
2 points
No bonuses
One of my favorite horror films directed by Freddy Krueger and oh-so-80s. Dig that show phone in the beginning sequence. Plus remembering when 900 numbers first came out and were the big thing. Campy and creepy.
1:00
4 out of 5 creepy clowns

American Werewolf in London
2 points
No bonuses
Still also feeling that full moon and into werewolves. How can anyone not love this classic, plus I hold a specil place in my heart for “Nurse Price.” I guess I shoudl consider myself warned to never take stray paitents home with me, LOL.
1:00
5 out of 5 creepy clowns

The Howling
2 points
No bonuses
I know many would argue AWINL as the best wereowlf movie, but The Howling is my personal favorite. Love the sly humor and the creepy irony of those samn smiley face sticker. Kills me every time.
1:00
5 out of 5 creepy clowns

Full Eclipse
2 points
No bonus points
I know, I know.. Mario van Peebles doesn’t exactly scream “quality cinema,” especially for a werewolf movie, but I think this is a nice little sleeper with a great twist on the werewolf legend.
2:00
3.5 out of 5 creepey clowns

The Serpent and the Rainbow
2 points
No bonuses
Now I’m on a voodoo kick. EXCELLENT movie on a very real practive, although the supernatural side embellished. One of my favortie horror movies of all time and soem seriously creepy shit.
2:00
5 out of 5 creepy clowns

The Believers
2 points
No bonusesMore voodoo, with Martin Sheen and his son coming under attack after his wife is killed in a freak accident. Jimmy Smits has a small role and suffers an especially bad voodoo curse. And let’s not even go into what happens to Sheens new girlfriend. Ick.
2:00
4.5 out of 5 creepy clowns

American Horror Story: Roanoke
1 point
Sarah Paulson, but it’s already in genreNot sure how I feel about this season compared to previous ones. Kathhy Bates is outstanding as always, but the problem with the format is we know the main characters survive, so it takes a lot of suspense out of it. Her name escapes me at the moment, but the actress from 6 Feet Under was stellar this episode, with her backwater, hillbilly human beef jerky. She has a sort of quirky, dtizy quality like Dianne Wiest, but much darker.
1:00
3.5 creepy clowns

Total points: 30

 

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