Ten Years of the Madness, Week THREE

Ten Years of the Madness, Week THREE

Sorry, Team Good Guy, but real life has gotten in the way this Madness, with a business launch and trying to get my health in order. But I will keep pushing for a big final week. Between the Romero marathon and TWD on Sunday, I’m pretty zombied out.

Haunts/Dark Rides: 6 points

Haunted Castle – Fort Wayne: I expected this to be pretty tame because it is put on by the Boy Scouts organization. Boy, was  I wrong. I was (not so) pleasantly surprised by having to get in a coffin TWICE. I won’t say how that ended in case someone else wants to go there.

Black Forest – Fort Wayne: Supposed to be scarier than Haunted Castle, but I have to disagree.

Haunted Jail – Columbia City: This was supposed to be more hardcore and I hate to say it, but was kind of lame, at  least the “regular” tour as opposed to the lengthier VIP, which costs $25. Nope, won’t go there again.

TV – 62 points

AHS: Cult
2017 Episode 7 (is that right?)
Time: 60 minutes
4 points
bonuses: current season

Summary: Crazy episode about that Valerie woman who shot Andy Warhol with perfect casting of Lena Dunham, who I LOATHE.
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things, Ep 1
2016
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: most recent/current season

Summary: With its band of kid misfits, this whole series is so Stephen King it hurts, and unapologetically so.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things, Ep 2
2016
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: current season

Summary: Wynona Ryder is so perfect in this role, and another homage to the 80s in this series. We also meet the mysterious “Eleven.”
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things, Ep 3
2016
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: current season

Summary: It’s not a proper horror film till someone loses their virginity. And way to abandon your friend,
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things, Ep 4
2016
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: current season

Summary: Is that body really Will or not? It’s a conspiracy theory that would make that Ancient Aliens dude proud.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things, Ep 5
2016
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: current season

Summary: Maybe someday people will learn not to mess with little girls with psychic powers. I mean, has no one seen Carrie?
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things, Ep 6
2016
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: current season

Summary: This “Upside Down” concept and forest is really cool and creepy. I’m totally digging it.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things, Ep 7
2016
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: current season

Summary: It occurs to me with that Eleven is sort of the ET of this movie – a secret being kept hidden in the house by the kids, with big bad men trying to hunt her down.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Stranger Things, Ep 8
2016
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: current season

Summary: The season finale did not disappoint, but then I already knew that since this is my second go round before the new season kicks off. We need more retro insprited horror these days, from that golden age of Stephen King. Casting and performances were dead on.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Halloween Wars
2017 Episode 1
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: Current season

Summary: Who cares what the teams did, because Shane West was a guest judge. I’d hit that everyday and twice on Sunday. All that and food porn for the win.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Halloween Wars
2017 Episode 2
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: Current season

Summary: Robert Patrick isn’t hot like Shane West, and is looking a little rough, but he’s Robert freakin’ Patrick. And kind of scary.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS

Halloween Wars
2017 Episode 3
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: Current season

Summary: Is Juliet Landau related to Martin? Has to be.Team members get in fight and the sugar person spends the whole time telling the guy “Don’t touch my sugar!” again and again. Painful.
5 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS

Halloween Wars
2017 Episode 4
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: Current season

Summary: That goofy looking guest judge in the striped suit was responsible for Hannibal, the TV series? One cakemaker drops most of her cake but rebounds, while the sugar artist on another team (Scare Snacktics) nearly metls down when her “table breaks.”
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS

Halloween Wars
S4E3
Time: 60 minutes
points: 1
bonuses: none

Summary: Repeat episode of Mummies vs Werewolves for final creation. As if mummies wouldn’t be CRUSHED by werewolves. Everyone knows this.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS

Ghost Adventures
2017, newest episode
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: Current Season

Summary: Second episode in Vicksburg MS, where I used to live. They set off cannons on a battlefield and hear gunshots while investigating. I have a feeling the family who owns the battlefield property may have been messing with them to turn their land into a big paranormal attraction.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Ghost Adventures
2017
Time: 60 minutes
points: 4
bonuses: current season repeat

Summary: Creepy mining town in the middle of nowhere Oregon and they were picking up human-like figures on thermal cams. This one seemed to be people messing with them as much as anything paranormal.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Ghost Adventures
Unknown, but not current season
Time: 60 minutes
points: 1
bonuses: none

Summary:Repeat of an older episode that they just ran last weekend from Utah – the building with a professional haunt and former nursing home. A really creepy location.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Movies – 36 points

The Crazies
2010
101 minutes
Points: 6
bonuses: George Romero has a writing credit for this remake as well as the original
Summary: I generally hate remakes, but when you throw in Timothy Olyphant, i’m down. I love that man. He plays an awful lot of LEOs.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Dawn of the Dead
1978
101 minutes
Points: 6
bonuses: George Romero
Summary: I love this more than the black and white classic that made Romero famous. Sue me.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Dawn of the Dead
2004
101 minutes
Points: 6
bonuses: George Romero
Summary: Eh, this remake didn’t do much for me, although I’ve liked Sarah Polley since “Go.”
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Day of the Dead
1985
Time: 96 minutes
points: 6
bonuses: Romero

Summary: What the fuck is wrong with you people? They;re DEAD! They’re fucking DEAD and you people want to teach them tricks! (Sounds like Lizzie)
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Land of the Dead
2005
93 minutes
Points: 6
bonuses: George Romero
Summary:I actually hadn’t seen this one before, and was impressed to see Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, and John Leguziamo. Zombie apocalypse survivors wall themselves in, and this ain’t Alexandria. Zombies develop intelligence. Uh-oh.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Diary of the Dead
2007
Time: 95 minutes
points: 6
bonuses: Romero

Summary: I am not a fan of found-footage movies, although to be fair, Romero did it before a lot of others did, and before so many directors were saturating the found-footage market to turn it into a bad cliche.
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Unlike your characters, RIP George.

Ten Years of the Madness! Week ONE

Ten Years of the Madness! Week ONE

Secret Movie Bonuses

Last year, when I rolled the dice and posted the first week early to try to get all of the secret bonuses, Newt beat me to it and got most of them. After that, I knew I’d never catch her and any chance of back-to-back wins was lost forever.

Have I learned my lesson? Hell, NO! Pedal to the metal muthafuckers… go big or go home!

Night of the Living Dead
1968
Time: 97 minutes
Points: 10 (or 6)
Bonuses: Secret film bonus and Romero, baby

Summary: Romero’s commentary on society is no secret in films like this and Dawn of the Dead, but it hits home a bit more these days, unfortunately, such as Barbara’s initial reaction to being saved by a black man and the shooting at the end make me cringe just a little more in 2017.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Tourist Trap
1979
Time: 90 minutes
Points: 10 (or 6)
Bonuses: Doc Terror’s list of ATB awesomeness and this secret film bonus

Summary: I LOVE this freakin’ movie, and love it hard. Chuck Connors preys on some tourists for his mannequin collection and this is some creepy shit. Of course, the one time I saw it in a theater for Exhumed Films, jackasses kept laughing and ruining it. This shit ain’t funny, it’s scary, y’all. I especially love how Chuckie torments one of his victims. Sadistic!
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Maximum Overdrive
1986
Time: 98 minutes
Points: 10 (or 2)
Bonuses: Secret film and Stephen King wildcard, not that it’s out of genre

Summary: You can never go wrong with a Stephen King inspired movie and better yet, King cameos. I hadn’t seen this one since it was new I think. Campy and over the top, of course, with cheesy dialogue like “You make love like a hero.” Gag.
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Hardware
1990
Time: 94 minutes
Points 10 (or 2)
Bonuses: There should be an Iggy Pop bonus but there isn’t

Summary: The red filter at the beginning reminds me of the eclipse footage in Gerald’s Game. The best part of this? Iggy Pop as Angry Bob. And you thought his film debut was in the Crow sequel. Feels like this might have inspired Johnny Mnemonic in part? Weird “sexy” shower scene with mechanical hand. WTF? Maybe that’s what they mean by “hard”ware, along with some very dirty talk and an ass kickin’ soundtrack.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

May
2002
Points: 10 (or 2)
Bonuses: Anna Faris wildcard

Summary: Jesus, Angela Bettis is one big bucket of creepy and crazy as HAY-ELL. I’ve always loved Jeremy Sisto for some reason. Anna Faris is old enough to have played an adult in this movie? Seriously?
Time: 95 minutes
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Cell
2016
Time: 98 minutes
Points: 10 (or 3)
Bonuses: based on a Stephen King story, 2007-2017 release

Summary: It’s apparent Stephen King feels the same way I do about cell phones. I hate them, but this is stretching things a bit far, at least in the movie. (I strongly suspect the book is far superior despite King’s hand in the screenplay.) Obviously there is some kind of intelligence causing all of this, but to what end? I don’t buy the “evolution” thing here. Even fantastical elements have to make sense. But hey, John Cusack and Samuel Jackson for the win.
5 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Autopsy of Jane Doe
2016
Time: 99 minutes
Points: 10 (or 6)
Bonuses: 12/16 release date ATB

Summary: From the first shot of this movie, the gorgeous cinematography tells you this filmmaker cares about making a good movie, not just splashing tits and gore on the screen (Although plenty of the former — what a role, playing a naked dead woman.) Then throw in Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch? HELL, yeah. I watched it for free since I had no idea what to expect, but would have been very happy if I had bought the dvd. This is some creepy shit, y’all.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Girl with all of the Gifts
2017
Time: 111 minutes
Points: 10 (or 6)
Bonuses: Gemma Arterton, 2017 and child zombie protagonist release ATB

Summary: Yowza. Still absorbing this one. Twist ending I sure as hell didn’t see coming. Glenn Close tells you this isn’t the typical genre fare. Moving and disturbing.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

A Cure for Wellness
2017
Time: 146 minutes
Points: 10 (or 7.5)
Bonuses: 2017 release ATB

Summary: I’m feeling some Shutter Island flashbacks here, but personally I think this film is better. The Hotel Califronia of “wellness” spas. Something in the water does not compute. The main character is a real dick so not too sympathetic to his plight. Gorgeous cinematography and creepy mood.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Would You Rather?
2012
Time: 93 minutes
Points: 15 (or 3)
Bonuses: 2007-2017 release

Summary: Disturbing psychological thriller exploring how far people will go for money and to survive. What’s sad about this movie is in our current climate, I could see rich people exploiting desperation for their personal amusement. But then, maybe things like this do go on and have been going on for some time. Who knows?
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Pieces
1982 or 83 depending on source
Time: 90 minutes
Points: 15 (or 2)
Bonuses:

Summary: I remembered vaguely some dispute over the year of this film in the past, and then I remembered the t-shirt. Classic, and I had the hugest crush on Christopher George in The Rat Patrol when I was knee high. I didn’t realize he and his wife were in Mortuary and she is still alive. Sorry, side trip down nostalgia lane… “Remember, you don’t have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre.”
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Grindhouse/Planet Terror
2007
Time: 191 minutes
Points: 15 (or 5)
Bonuses: 2007-2017 release, transformed into zombie/mutation

Summary: Is it wrong if I say one of my favorite parts of this is the vintage theater intro videos and fake trailers? Of the two films, as much as I love Tarantino, I gotta go with Planet Terror as the better of the two. That’s even before the gun leg schtick, which is the icing on the (cheese)cake. And the sprinkles are such gems as the Savini cameo, Josh Brolin being hot as fuck as usual, and killing Fergie. Grindhouse fav moment is predictably the slow motion carnage, although I admit I found a few moments in Grindhouse a bit tedious so I have to dock it a bit, but damn near perfection.
9.5 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

I’m Dangerous Tonight
1990
Time: 100 minutes
Points: 20 (or 6)
Bonuses: Tobe Hooper ATB

Summary: Whatever happened to scream queen Madchen Amick? Here she is in a USA Network movie directed by Tobe Hooper which actually wasn’t so bad. Pretty damn good in fact by TV standards circa 1990, not that we wouldn’t expect some level of quality from the dearly departed Hooper. It’s been a damn tough couple of years for horror fans… But anyway, an old red cloak worn by Aztec priests for sacrificial rituals makes its way into the hands of little Miss Goody Two Shoes Amick. In everyone else it makes them homicidal, including ET’s mom. But it just makes Madchen into a dirty dancing vixen. DVD and VHS copies are rare and pricey, but watch the full movie here: http://putlocker.io/watch/eGLjjpvV-i-m-dangerous-tonight.html
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Gerald’s Game Bonus Weekend
US release date: 2017
Time: 103 minutes
Points: 8 for bonus weekend
Bonuses: see above
Summary: I was never intrigued by the premise of the book because I heavily favor supernatural horror, plus I thought it would be hard to translate the obvious psychological terror into a compelling book, much less a movie. Wrong! I knew with the talent involved it would be at least fairly good, but was surprised at how good it was and the creepiness of the Moonlight Man.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Personal Challenge (27 points)

I already posted my selfie eating a Buffalo Burger on the Jackalope at Wall Drug, but via text the Head Hauntress agreed to award a point for each Wall Drug sign photo also, which I had not processed till now. For every one I took, I have seen at least 5 I didn’t shoot. Yes, there are really that many.

Doc Terror Tobe Hooper Binge

Body Bags
1993
Time: 90 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Tobe Hooper segment, “Eye”
Summary: I love a good horror anthology, and really love horror cameos, and this antho has director John Carpenter stealing the show as the coroner hosting the three stories. Unfortunately, the Tobe cameo made me sad, but not as sad as the Wes Craven one, which caught me off guard. So many good cameos though, including Greg Nicotero and his flowing hair LOL.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
1974
Time: 83 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Tobe
Summary: It’s freakin’ Texas Chainsaw Massacre…. what more can be said? One thing that has stuck with me is the fact that it doesn’t show as much gore as you think. Much of it is implied, such as you don’t see the meathook going into the girl. And of course, the final scene with the improvised chainsaw dance. Classic. RIP Tobe.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Salem’s Lot
1979
Time: 187 minutes
Points: 9
Bonuses: Stephen King and Tobe Hooper ATB
Summary: One of the best TV miniseries and Stephen King adaptations ever in my opinion, despite its age. David Soul (Starsky or Hutch?) in the lead role. Lance Henriksen as the horror loving aspiring writer in a buddy film pairing adolescent Stephen King with adult writer Stephen King. But the Glick boys vampire scene is still one of the creepeist things I have ever seen.
8 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Poltergeist
1982
Time: 114 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Tobe Hooper. Duh.
Summary: Yeah, the creepy clown doll scene is classic and scary as hell, but otherwise, I confess I always found this film kind of boring and overrated. (Sorry Tobe.) Sue me.
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Invaders from Mars
1986
Time: 93 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Tobe
Summary: Bud Cort? HELL yes! Thhis is just silly, which is the point. I prefer when Tobe goes full on scary, but it’s not bad.
5 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Toolbox Murders
2004
Time: 95 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Tobe
Summary: Pretty damn good remake by Tobe with Angela Bettis in a not-so-crazy role to cleanse my palate of her uber crazy turn in May. Sheri Moon Zombie gets a gig NOT from her husband, at least not directly. Definitely the apartment building from hell, with a killer hiding behind the walls.
7 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Eaten Alive
1977
Time: 90 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Tobe
Summary: Holy guacamole, I missed this one somehow. First, the “Buck” line borrowed by Tarantino, but Freddy Krueger? Rather gruesome evidence you should avoid Texas at all costs except Austin. Not that I didn’t know that already.
6 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Others tv series, Souls on Board
2000
Time: 60 minutes
Points: 4
Bonuses: Tobe
Summary: I loved this TV series, which was sadly cancelled after its first season. Mick Garris did one episode, Clive Barker made a cameo in one about Jack the Ripper… it’s about a band of psychics who deal with phenomenon but feel an impending evil threat coming. Since it ended after one season, they sadly succumbed to that evil. But this episode found them on a plane with parts from a flight that mysteriously crashed and voices were heard on the black box after the crash. I was lucky to find someone with bootleg copies of the series.
9 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Funhouse
1981
Time: 96 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: ATB for Tobe Hooper on Doc Terror’s list
Summary: This is one of my all-time favorites… I am obsessed with carnivals and fortunetellers and love this movie so much it hurts. Major nostalgia watching them on rides like The Cobra from the fairs of my youth (is that still around?) and the bittersweetness of knowing their fun and happiness is about to be seriously cut short. I love everything Sylvia Miles does and you can see so many things “borrowed” or paid homage to in this movie by later filmmakers, most notably Rob Zombie, but also the crazy bag lady reminds me of one of the homeless people in Prince of Darkness and one of the incarnations of the killer in The First Power.
10 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

The Video Nasties!

Absurd
1981
Time: 90 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Video Nasty
Summary: A movie where blood coagulating faster then normal is the monster quality, and apparently triggers homicidal tendencies. Baking someone’s head in the oven is pretty gruesome if that is possible with the door open? Love how they used an insulin syringe to administer IV push meds. Absurd, indeed.
2 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

Anthropophagus
1981
Time: 91 minutes
Points: 6
Bonuses: Video Nasty
Summary: Tourists on an island dsicover why there is hardly anyone there — a demented psycho of course. Another offering from Joe D’Amato. Better than absurd, but I’m just not feeling these.
3 out of 10 YEARS OF THE MADNESS!

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Retro Cinema: ‘Silver Bullet’

Retro Cinema: ‘Silver Bullet’

How can you go wrong when you mix Stephen King, Gary Busey, and one of the Coreys? Trick question… You can’t go wrong. Plus if you add in a few werewolves, and some campy gore, you’ve got a big bundle of 80s horror known as “Silver Bullet.”

Corey Haim plays Marty, a boy stuck in a wheelchair that’s been dubbed the Silver Bullet. The story is narrated by his older sister, Jane (Megan Follows), reminiscing about the past. But in the present the story’s set in, she pretty much feels that he’s a pain in the butt. That starts to change and they find themselves coming together when people in their small town are turning up not only dead, but ripped to pieces. And the murders are metaphorically ripping the town apart as well.

When Marty’s best friend becomes the latest victim, the townsfolk seek some vigilante justice and want to hunt down whoever — or whatever — is killing people, despite pleas from the local sheriff. Of course, they go out hunting it at night. During a full moon.

Do I really need to tell you how that’s going to end? Yeah.

When Uncle Red (Busey) comes to visit Marty and Jane, that’s when things get really interesting. After Uncle Red builds Marty a supercharged motorized wheelchair and gives him some fireworks, Marty sneaks out in the middle the night to go set them off. Little does he know, this will bring him face to face with the beast that is terrorizing his town. During this late-night confrontation, Marty injures the werewolf, putting out an eye. It escapes, so Marty and Jane go on a hunt around town to find out who has a telltale injured eye. And suffice it to say, it is not the person they expected.

Unfortunately, the werewolf knows that they know, so they have to rely on Uncle Red to protect them when the beast comes to attack the only ones who know his identity.

The movie is based on Stephen King’s short story, “Cycle of the Werewolf.” Many King adaptations tend to turn into more campy fun than horror when they hit the screen, and this film follows that trend. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good… I mean, this is a classic 80s horror film that’s a lot of fun. And I’ve always been really partial to werewolves, but don’t expect any fancy transformation scenes in this one. In fact, I think the werewolf sort of looks like a teddy bear — I’m guessing that wasn’t exactly the effect they were going for.

Of course, there’s a bittersweet element to it now in light of Haim’s early demise, and the living train wreck that Busey has become. This is a pre-“Lost Boys” Haim, before Hollywood tore him apart. And Busey is in his prime here. The film is family-friendly if you’re looking for a film for kids that still appeals to adults.

Although you might have to explain Busey’s line that he’s more nervous “then a virgin on prom night.”

Retro Cinema is a new column that reviews a different retro horror film every Monday. Subscribe at the top of the page for updates on new film reviews, interviews and horror news.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Save

Save

Save

Save

Retro Cinema: ‘Hellraiser’

Retro Cinema: ‘Hellraiser’

It’s no coincidence that this week’s Retro Cinema choice is “Hellraiser.” Because in case you haven’t heard, the remake has been given a green light. Now, I know you hard-core horror fans like me are out there saying “Oh, God no, not another remake!” But fasten your seatbelts kids, because for once this is good news: Clive Barker is gonna direct and Doug Bradley is coming back as Pinhead.

Now that’s how you do a freakin’ remake.

When Barker first directed “Hellraiser,” he had a very limited budget and in fact, he confesses in the DVD commentary that he basically got the resurrection scene special effects done for much less than what it should’ve cost (only $25,000) because the studio liked what they saw of the film and threw a few more dollars their way. That scene wasn’t even in the original script due to not having a budget for it.

I think it’s fair to say that this time around, Barker won’t face those kinds of problems. Nor have to resort to the cheesy painted in special effects he did himself — those being my main criticism of the original as well as the pretty dreadful acting of Ashley Laurence (sorry, but it’s true.) Sure, there are a few things that went wrong, but a whole lotta things went right.

While I’m sure most people reading this have seen the film, I don’t want to give away too much just in case, but let’s just say after “Hellraiser,” people really didn’t look at hooks and chains quite the same way again. Nor their prim and proper British wives.

Continue reading “Retro Cinema: ‘Hellraiser’” »

Retro Cinema: ‘The House That Dripped Blood’

Retro Cinema: ‘The House That Dripped Blood’

When people think of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, they think of legendary film studio Hammer. But there was another British film studio that liked to pair the two in horror movies, Amicus films, who put out some great horror anthologies. Not only did we have the House of Hammer, but the House of Amicus, and like it’s better known rival, Amicus was a house that dripped plenty of blood.

One of the best anthologies produced by Amicus was “The House That Dripped Blood.” This four-part anthology featured Cushing and Lee, although they performed in separate segments. It also featured legendary Hammer vixen Ingrid Pitt, vamping it up in her typical fashion. Basically, that woman just played herself in each of her roles, with “herself” being utterly fabulous with her long cigarette holders and plenty of cleavage.

The first of the four segments features a writer and his wife who move into the old house that serves as a backdrop connecting the four stories. He wants to finish his novel about a vicious murderer. Problem is, it seems his murderer is coming to life and stalking him and his wife. Sounds very Stephen King, doesn’t it? Well, this was before Stephen King made it big, as the film was produced in 1970. Although one has to wonder if this didn’t inspire “The Dark Half” just a little bit. For the record it was Robert Bloch who wrote these stories.

Anyway, writers in particular will get a kick out of the whole writing process and the way writers tend to try to make their characters so real — Sometimes a little too real. The Dominic character is very sinister on the page and as a flesh and blood stalker. And oh, that creepy laugh.

Is he real or is he just a figment of the writer’s imagination? Watch it and find out the twist at the end.

Then we move into the second segment, with Cushing looking mighty sharp in a red smoking jacket… so elegant and refined. As he listens to his classical music and goes through his theater programs, he comes upon a photo of a beautiful woman and walks into town looking quite lovelorn. He happens upon a “Museum of Horror” and decides to check it out.

As he wanders around the museum, which is basically a waxworks, he comes upon a rather interesting display of Salome with the head of John the Baptist on a platter. And this Salome seems to have a mesmerizing effect on Cushing… Her eyes remind him of the woman in the photo he was looking at earlier.

“She is beautiful isn’t she? My Salome…” says the proprietor out of the blue. Where did that guy come from? “Perhaps she reminds you of someone? You see, she has a strange effect on people. They seem to see in her all sorts of things.”

As it turns out, not only does she remind Cushing of his long-lost love, but she’s modeled after the proprietor’s deceased wife, who he says was a murderess who was executed for her crime. So he created the tribute to her to preserve her beauty for all time.

Suffice it to say that dead or not, he doesn’t take too kindly to other men ogling his deceased wife. First, he takes out his jealous rage on a friend of Cushing’s who stops in after a visit, then on Cushing himself when he finds he can’t stay away.

That’s quite a woman, wax or not.

The third segment features Lee, as a rather uptight widower and father of a young girl. Seems his little girl has an unnatural fear of fire, and Lee has a rather unnatural fear of just what powers this little girl might possess. Seems Mama dabbled in some of the dark arts, so Lee doesn’t like to have any dolls around the house. Unfortunately, the young woman he hires to tutor the little girl doesn’t really quite understand the complexities of the situation, and when he destroys the doll given to his daughter as a gift, she doesn’t just get mad, she gets even with Daddy.

This old house has a whole lot of old books, and some of those books have some witchy spells in them. Mix that with some candles melted down to make a brand-new doll, and I think you see where this is going. It doesn’t end well.

The final story of the anthology is where Pitt finally gets to shine. An actor moves into the house and his current role is playing a vampire in a horror film. He hates the cheesy sets and the bad, fake looking costumes, so he takes upon himself to find his own vampire cloak. He goes to a vintage clothing an antique store and finds a something much more real. Little does he know how real it is.

But when he puts on the cloak on set, funny things happen. Funny, as in him sprouting fangs and trying to bite his costars. But no one seems to believe him when he tries to tell them the cloak has magical powers to turn him into a vampire, least of all Pitt. When he sets out to prove to her that the cloak is real, let’s just say he’s in for quite a surprise.

All four stories of this anthology featured great actors, great stories and some really creepy moments. You can’t go wrong with Lee and Cushing, even outside the Hammer franchise. If you haven’t heard of Amicus before, I strongly suggest you not only check out this movie, but some of their other titles as well: Another big favorite of mine is their feature film “The Skull,” featuring Cushing. You may have a great Hammer collection, but your horror collection is far from complete without some Amicus, as well.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

‘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.

Save

Save

Save

Save