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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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 Hallwoeen 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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