Sunday, October 31, 2004

Housegeist (1982)

This movie is better known as Boardinghouse and I've seen it in stores twice under that name with the same image on the front of the box. It's shot on video and was one of the first films to be shot that way. It's as close to a "shot on video classic" as you can get, maybe next to Blood Cult. Generaly this format sucks as I'm sure you know.

Housegeist aka Boardinghouse

About thirteen women occupy this house with one swingin' dude. People die via household appliances. The madness ends with a pool party and the final scenes of violence. No critic is going to recommend this movie, but if you don't take your videos too seriously, you'll probably be entertained by Housegeist. Now for the Cub Speaks segment. I have prepared some relevant questions for her.

What do you think of movies that are shot on video?

Movies shot on video can @$@%^$#$%&#% (Here cub says something so vulgar, it would get this blog banned in anywhere from 16 to 33 new countries. Cub, I cannot believe it, no swearing!)

Does Warren have a big video collection, or not so many videos?

Warren has a huge movie collection with some of the best shit that anyone has ever seen or heard of for that matter. There are just too many wonderful big-boxed, European movies to choose from, on any particular night for us to watch. But hey, better more than less, I say!!

Does Warren like to watch the same videos over and over again?

Warren does NOT like to watch the same movies over and over again. I wish he did so that I could see some off the goodies with him that he has already watched. i am still working on changing you , honey!

Oasis of the Zombies (1983)

With a title like that, can you go wrong? Well you would think that A Virgin Among the Living Dead would be awesome to, but it's the worst European zombie movie out there. The two movies are from the same director, Jess Franco, who I've discussed before in this blog.

Oasis of the Zombies

Oasis of the Zombies is miles better than A Virgin Among the Living Dead, but it's not the gore fest you would expect. Their is some munching of guts and some entrails shown, but the fans want more and I think that is the main reason the movie is not well received. As sophisticated as we horror fans are, it's fairly often the gore factor that will make or break a movie. I loved the locations in this movie, the story, the dialogue, and the zombie make-up, even though they kept showing the same zombies over and over again. (Not unlike A Virgin Among the Living Dead which not only shows the same zombies over and over, but the same scenes are repeated multiple times - granted I have only seen the cut version of Virgin which far more common than the very sexual original)

Oasis of the Zombies is not rated PG by any means, it still lets down many genre fans. I rate it slightly above average.

New feature: Cub Speaks! Since I watch nearly every movie with my girlfriend, I'm adding her commentary to the horror blog.

I agree that Oasis of the Zombies was average if not a little below. It didn't blow my mind or leave me thinking much about it after it was through. However,I must say that the highlight of the movie was the zombie makeup, especially the skeletal one with the eye popping out, that is some good shit.

thank you cub.

Oasis of the Zombies review at

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

when I first got into horror

Last night I was watching Halloween 5 and thinking, "this movie is absolutely awful, as bad as Jason Takes Manhattan." Well those to movies were made in the same year, 1989, a year when I was getting into horror. It's amazing that I stuck around.

New horror fans, myself included, usually rent the typical titles first, the name ones from the horror franchises. The idea is that, since they have the familiar brand names, they must be the best. Well, that is a misconception. I remember one morning waiting for history class to start when I was in the 10th grade. I was reading a punk zine at my desk that had a horror column which was trashing the typical horror rental tapes. It described a movie where an elevator catches a women's necklace and rips off her head. I know now that the writer must have been referring to Deep Red, but at the time actually tracking down the title seemed out of the question to me. There was no way my local video store would have those titles.

Well I'm sure it did have them, I have not been back home to confirm it, but lots of small town video stores had great tapes. I know it, because I collect those tapes now, and they all have video store labels on them from crazy states no one even lives in. I was blind to the cool tapes in my home town video stores because they were not familiar to me. They looked old and figured they would be boring and tame, but quite the opposite is true. The movies myself and friends were watching were the weak ones, early 90's/late 80's titles like Graveyard Shift, Hellraiser III, Aracnophobia, Sleepwalkers, and Pet Sematary 2. (I do like Stephen King by the way, only one of the movies I listed was his fault) I hope to never mention those movies in this blog again. Movies like Silence of the Lambs and Cape Fear were given the tag 'thriller' to avoid association with the horror genre and very few new titles showed up in my favorite section at the video store. The lack of new horror on my local store's shelf was obvious since at some point in the early 90's they switched their cases from clam shells to clear rubber slip cases that slide over the whole video box. Other sections in the store became saturated with the new movies in the smaller cases (old ones could not be changed over) while the horror section only had a handful. There was The Ice Cream Man, The Mangler, and Leprachaun 4 and that was it.

It's no wonder horror died or was dead during that period and had to be re-invented by those Scream type movies that eventually flooded the scene.

Anyway, I just put down a bunch of films, but really I'm the idiot for being a horror fan that did not even watch good horror movies. I'll write another column about how long it took for me to discover where the good horror came from. That's another sad story.

On the upside, here is a link to a horror site that I've enjoyed perhaps more than all others. This guy is a true fan and has continued a zine he started in 1982 on the web with tons of reviews of the rare and weird horror videos he owns. Each one has a picture too!

The site is called Critical Condition Online.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

october is horror

This is the month that ends with Halloween so it's a good time for horror fans in a lot of ways. For one there are Halloween stores. In California there are tons, not just in L.A. I've found out, but in Orange County too. The dollar stores sell lots of Halloween goodies and even costumes. We've got the theme parks here too. I have not been to any this year, funds and time are scarce, but I sure went to a lot of them last year. There are tons of haunted house attractions as well, way more than in Boston.

I don't know what I'm doing on Halloween yet because I don't know my work schedule. As far as costumes go, skull paint it is.

I read the October Fangoria, there is a new one, but so what, I'll talk about the October issue. I had not read Fangoria in a long time and this magazine was not as bad as the ones that I remembered from the last couple of years. Here is the breakdown.

- The piece on The Grudge was great, I learned a lot, and I'd already heard a lot of talk about this remake. That movie opened at number one this weekend as I'd hoped. Team America: World Police did not do so well on its opening weekend. I thought for sure that one would be huge. The Grudge, I have not seen it yet, but was lucky to catch the Japanese version on the big screen here in the O.C. a few months ago. I have high expectations for this new Grudge, twice as scary, yes, since it's aimed at Americans, scarier to me. I'm not an idiot who can't understand a Japanese film, but the culture is very different and it's not just language that does not translate, but images as well. Japanese films are a little off to me, which can make them more intriguing, but possibly less effective.

- An article on Jim Van Bebber. I think his full length movie Deadbeat at Dawn is overrated, but his short gore flicks are sick beyond belief. You can see a bunch of them on the Necrophagia home video. I highly reccomend this tape or DVD, the music is not as good as their old stuff, but the band plays on a cheap looking theme park haunted ride set, which is hilarious to me. The interviews show the band members' enthusiasm for horror movies including Amityville 2, which I'll be mentioning again later. Van Bebber has made a movie about the Manson family and I'm sure it's nuts. There is a sidebar article about Charles Manson's Lie record.

- The Fangoria classifieds are still cool though nothing like they were in the 80's. I did see an ad for a guide to making eyeballs for movies. Rad.

- An article on Celular. booooo! What's that doing in there. I did learn that the movie was originally conceived by Larry Cohen. Man, what the hell.

- One ad the magazine was selling puppets of Cohen's It's Alive baby! Also Tombs of the Blind Dead templars masks and a Gates of Hell mask.

On the whole Fangoria was not shit, but are you gonna pay eight or nine dollars for it? Read it in the store.

AMC Monsterfest is going on right now and I love it. This year we've got The Omen trilogy and the Amityville trilogy as well as the first five Haloween movies. The Omen movies were awesome, with lots of gore intact. Amityville 2 was a lot better than I remember and the family murder scene is absolutely horrifying. Wow.

Monsterfest is also showing some Hammer films and Amicus films this season. My girlfriend and I will be watching whatever is on tonight.

The website is all Monsterfest right now and mentioned some haunted Los Angeles spots. I found out that the Sweet Lady Jane Bakery right around the corned from my West Hollywood apartment is haunted by Orson Welles. Many times I walked by that place late at night with no one in sight. I had no idea.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Newport Times article 2

Commericials at the Movie Theater Keep Prices Down and Entertain Theater Goers

People been trying to get to the movies early. To load up on snacks, to get the best seats, and to get a sneak peek at the films they will be watching in the months to come, but now they are comming to the theater early for something else, something they do not usualy enjoy in their own homes, commercials.

Commercials, sometimes the same ones that air during popular television shows, are now playing on the big screen and audiences arent screaming for someone to change the channel. Not because that would be psyicaly impossible, but because they are loving it.

One of the reasons these commercials are so popular is because the ad revenue generated is keeping the ticket prices down. The average ticket is down to only $14 and if more commercials screen, theaters are promising to keep popcorn and drink prices under $8 each for some of their smaller sizes. The other reason audiences embrace these commercials is their entertainment value. "At home, I admit, I sometimes change the channel when commercials come on," says movie goer Paul Rooney, "but here they are bigger, louder, and more exciting."

At a recent showing of the Queen Latifa movie Taxi that I atended at the local mega-plex I saw audiences laughing hystericaly to a Sprite commercial and high fiving each other after the clever punchlines. When another commericial aired with a catchy musical tune "I want to be free" I witnessed several incomming movie goers bobbing their heads and almost dancing despite holding 5 liter sodas and waste basket sized buckets of popcorn. With all this enthusiam, it's surprising that across the country there have been a handful complaints about the commercials from movie fans who do not want to wait as long for the features to start.

When told that there are some movie goers would prefer that five or less commercials would air per feature, Rooney was surprised. "This is something we didnt have before, it's not a commercial on a tv screen, it's on a huge screen, it's awesome." He added that he hoped that theaters would continue to play as many commercials as they do now and that "if these people don't want to see commercials they can stay home, no one is forcing them to come to the the movies." Despite being happy with the commercials that play now, Rooney did have a few suggestions. "Perhaps we could see some previews for the commercials that are comming up. I'd like to know what commercials will be shown before the Holiday season's blockbusters, give me something to look forward to."

Newport Times article 1

Indie Music Lures Hip Crowd to Indie Movies

Daniel Lois looks like he'd be more at home at wild rock club than at the Edward's University Six Theaters. He sports a ratty thrift store t-shirt with a suit vest over it that sports a handful of one inch circular pins bearing the names of his favorite musical groups. He hair is combed a wave of spikes called a faux hawk, a more fashionable variation of the eighties punk rock mohawk. He's here not to see not the bloody zombies of Resident Evil: Apacalypse nor the kung-fu warriors of Hero, but rather the mild mannered off beat drama, Garden State. He's seen this movie before, and number of other Indie Movies that he names off to me. "Lost in Translation, The Royal Tenebaum's, I bought that one. Napoleon Dynamite, that was an indie movie, but a lot of other people came to see it."

He's not talking about the row of elderly ladies sitting in the row behind him, they don't bother him. "A lot of movies are made for morons," he tells me, " I'm into a different kind of stuff. First I was listening to indie rock, then I heard that some movies had indie rock in them and I got into those to. I see the movies in the theater and then I buy the DVDs when they come out. You could say I'm a film buff."

Indie rock describes a new kind of music outside of the mainstream that is put out on smaller record labels run by music enthusiasts not interested in purely financial gain. The music includes everything from British influenced post punk, to synth driven dance music with an eighties feel. Artists like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Franz Ferdinand, and The Killers are examples of bands that have achieved a high level of popularity without needing the backing of corporate record labels. "I think I listen to every type of indie rock," Daniel continues "and now I've been seeing most of the indie movies." When I mention that movies like Lost in Translation often draw a crowd that has more in common with his forty-something parents than teenage rock fans, Daniel points out a rock song played during the movie by the indie rock tranvestite rapper Peaches. "A lot of people might have heard that song for the first time when they were seeing the movie, but I had the CD for like a year before Lost in Translation came out. The song is awesome and it was totaly cool to hear it come on in the theater. 'F--- the Pain Away' (the Peaches song) is not on the soundtrack, but I got that too."

The music is available on CD soundtracks that are marketed alongside hip indie titles in record shops. Finding these was a gateway for Daniel into exploring less known movies that don't always play at the multi-plexes along with the blockbusters. Indie movies are made with smaller budgets that allow for more artistic freedom since their is no pressure to make back millions of dollars in production costs. They often have a quirkier characters and more bizare plots than the mainstream movies. "I did not know as much about indie film when that movie (Lost in Translation) came out, but when I heard that there was indie music in the movie I knew I should check it out and I did and I loved it." Not all the kids at his high school did. "It's got a wierder type of humor that a lot of the jocks and cheerleaders would not get." he says, as we step into the lobby to buy some Hot Tamales. "They can see the stupid Spider Man movie with the stupid Creed songs or whatever in it, and be thrilled." Daniel points out that there are no "bros" in the theater to see Garden State and a quick scan turns up only the affor mentioned senior citizens and a few girls that look like they might be art majors at UC Irvine. The term "bros" is one Daniel uses to describe more atheltic men of any age for fourteen to thirty with "muscles, big shorts, bad tattoos, maybe a trucker hat, basicaly most of Orange County." His look, he explains, would be more commonly found in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silverlake, where there are "lots of theaters playing indie movies and lots of places for indie bands to play." The bros and Daniel share one common trait, a fondness for tattoos, though Daniel assures me his have more meaning, all except for one stupid one that he now hates. It's a triple "x" on the back of his neck that he got when seventeen and he assures me that it has nothing to do with the Vin Diesel summer blockbuster of the same name. "I always tell people this. I got this tattoo a year before I even heard of Triple X. I didnt even go see it. I may not have been into indie film at the time, but even then I was not stupid enough to see that movie."

Friday, October 22, 2004

Next Victim (1970)

I put this movie in a couple of nights ago, expecting something awesome. After a couple of scenes, a wave of disappointment hit me. I'd seen this movie before, under the misleading title of Blade of the Ripper. What's more, I remember that the movie frustrated me the first time around. Thirty or so minutes into watching my girlfriend said "This is not as good as the last movie we watched." I confessed at that time that I had already seen the movie, already owned it under the other title. By the way, this happens a lot, I'll buy a movie I've already got under a different name. I never read the backs of the movies, just the cover and the director's name.

wow, killer, it's true

We took the movie out, I did not want to see it again. This review might seem unfair, so I'll make it clear that I don't think Next Victim is a bad movie. It was better than I remember it and this transfer looked a hell of a lot sharper than the washed out Blade of the Ripper tape. Both versions are cut, so I've never seen the real film with all the nudity and violence. It's an Italian Giallo, so it's a little hard to follow, but the style is always more important than substance in these types of films. Perhaps, cleaned up a bit ( not in the censorship way) and presented in this entirety, this movie would be a genre fan favorite.

From Sergio Martino

learn about him at the mondo digital

learn about him at the Terror Trap

learn about him at the Italophile

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Psycho Scarecrow (1996)

I looked around the internet for reviews of Psycho Scarecrow and could not find any. I got pretty worried, how would I be able to plagiarize any well written reviews if there are not any out there? Well a better scan turned up a few, so here we go, I can start now.

It's from the Sleazy Slashers box set. I was not sure that any of the movies in the box had been released prior to the set coming out, but I've found out at least two of them were.

proof that Psycho Scarecrow exists.. I guess...

My first impression was that this movie sucked. My second impression was similar, but I had some hopes since the cornfield was pretty creepy. In the end, I reached the conclusion, that this movie sucked. In order not to write a very long review trashing this movie, I will just make a list.

- the scare crow does not come alive for forty-five minutes
- the cop speak, between the detectives, was irritating, and just would not stop
- there are continuity problems, they are in the cornfield, then back in the city with their car, hiding in a wharehouse, but then exit to the country again with no ride, having to steal a pick-up truck from a local yokel
- the ending comes out of nowhere
- it sucks

All my points are irrefutable. If for some reason the items I listed seem fun to you, well you have not seen them on the screen, shot on video tape, with each scene going on and on...

for an other opinion, here...

Joe Bob Briggs review

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Human Beasts (1980)

Wow, this movie has it all. As I always say, "they don't make them like this anymore". The movie starts art as a conventional spy thriller staring Paul Naschy as the mercenary who wants to love, yet can't help but betray his Asian fiance for a bag of diamonds. He is wounded in a resulting fire fight and wakes to find himself in a comfortable bed with two beautiful women looking over him. Their father is a doctor and it looks like Naschy has lucked out, but what are those pills they are giving him? The shocks start here and for a change I won't completely give them away. They involve bizarre sexual advances on unconscious Naschy, hungry pigs, the supernatural, and that's just the beginning. One of the craziest scenes I've ever watched involved the white doctor and the African servant, it's just too risky to shoot something like that today. I would not describe the scene as racist, but certainly exploitative and today's critics would freak out. I'll mention one more part, the scene showing the Halloween feast. It is revolting, funny, offensive, and makes a nasty point. This movie is packed with the moments that fans of strange horror watch hours of tape to find.

Human Beasts - All Seasons Entertainment

Paul Naschy also directed this movie. He is famous for his werewolf films and is one of horror's living legends. Yes, he is still alive. Human Beast was originally titled El Carnival de las bestias.

a review that gives the whole story away! since I did not do that this time, scroll down and to the right to find it... - The Mark of Naschy the Naschy fan site

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Night Thirst (2002)

From the Sleazy Slashers box set ($5.99 at Best Buy and I got a dollar off!), here is Night Thirst. Looks like it's shot on video. It directed by the Polonia brothers and their frequent collaborator, Jon McBride. Their Alien style space movie Blood Red Planet, I once described as the worst movie off all time. For props It used upside-down sports bottles as oxygen tanks and smoke detecors as bombs. The climax, which tries to pass off a hand puppet eating an action ficture as a special effect, is something I've replayed for many guests visiting my apartment. I keep the tape rewound to that scene even now. It's on the shelf with all my good movies, not banished to the closet.

One of the Polonia brothers on the cover of Blood Red Planet

See, the Polonia brothers make these films without any irony. If there movies are all a big joke, a sort of performance art, they have me fooled. I think they are dead serious and that is why I am a fan. Night Thirst is awesome. This movie has a Creepshow set up. There is a wrap-around story (with McBride as story teller) and four short episodes. Text in boxes is supposed to resemble the rectangles in comic books that tell the story. Some times the brothers box, split, and frame the action comic book style like Romero did in Creepshow. The borders don't look at all like they do on a printed page and the font in the text boxes is all wrong, but I got the idea of what they were trying to do. These guys are pretty good with their editing machines, the sounds and cuts are all in the right place, they just have horribly outdated equipment.

The first short did not do much for me. The second one was horribly unfunny with a bad Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark ending. A zombie does urinate on a guy though. The third short was my favorite, "The Black Forest". Demons in rubber masks from a Halloween store lurk behind the trees. They through a rubber bubbly sack at the victim and we get a moving object's point of view shot kind of like Evil Dead. Pretty cool.

The last skit was the best. It's was very similar to a classic short from the original Tales From the Crypt movie that later became an episode on the TV show. "Christmas in July" features an ax wielding Santa and one of the Polonia brothers plays the abusive dad who should have believed his daughter. The Polonia borthers are good actors. I'm sure they shot their movies at their homes. In one scene a wall of horror tapes is in view behind one of the characters and I'm sure they did not put it in there to look cool. It probably just happened to be there, not to say that the Polonia brothers are lazy. They keep cranking out the movies and I admire them.

I've got to mention their movie Splatter Farm. I rented it a few years ago in Boston and watched it with a friend. We were both speechless when it was over. It's poorly shot, for certain on vhs, and there is lots of annoying white noise, but that's beside the point. This movie might have been the single most offensive film ever made in America. I can't describe the violent scenes because even explaining what happened would make this blog legally obscene. I would surely be banned from and my internet connection would probably be taken away. Get a hold of Splatter Farm if you can. I've bought my copy, but I'm holding on to it just in case there is a crazy campaign be the decency commission to destroy every copy in existence.

Splatter Farm

A review of the Polonia brothers Feeders and Feeders 2, Feeders was available at Blockbuster

Official Jon McBride Web Page

B-MOVIE THEATER - this place sells grade z movies, I see the number 2 selling film of all time at the site is a Polonia brothers movie. I think being filmed on video is a requirement here.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

horror DVD bundling

horror DVD bundling... the argument against it, and my argument for it.

What is it?

I'm talking about the DVD box sets that contain four or more movies and several DVDs and sell for a price lower than that of an average single movie. Have you seen a box containing four basically unrelated horror movies selling for $5.99 at Best Buy? That's what I'm talking about. The reason these packages can exist is that the movies are often in the public domain and no royaltees need to be paid to the makers or actors. Famous examples include Night of The Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, Dementia 13, and Nosferatu. The copy writes to these movies have expired in the United States. If a movie's copy write has expired in this country (every country has different copy writes, some movies can be public domain in one country and not another) than anyone can package and release this movie. There are many horror films in the public domain and a lot of different DVD bundles are available, though many titles overlap even in sets from the same company. Not every film is a public domain film in a bundle, sometimes the companies do buy the rights, but only if they are very cheap.

A DVD bundle that includes four movies will often consist of two double-sided DVDs. I bought a package from Platinum Disc Corp that had four movies on a one-sided DVD. There are bundles of ten, twenty, and even fifty horror movies.

The famous 50 movie box on 12 double-sided DVDs. I have not bought it yet. Can be found for $20.

The most famous bundler is Brentwood Home Video and you can read an interview with their Senior Vice President that explains bundling even better than I did.

interveiw with Brentwood Home Video...

Of course the quality of these DVDs is not as good as that of a Criterion Collection release and that is an understatement. Some horror purists hate DVD bundles and I'll present their arguments and my counter arguments... right now!

The movies on the DVD bundles look crappy on my tv! Well, they look a lot better than some VHS tapes I've bought and rented in the past. I think people are spoiled today, and need super sharp quality. Don't they remember growing up and having more important thing to complain about than tape quality. It was awesome just to be able to find any cool bloody movie. Some of these movies in the bundles are pretty rare, movies that we would settle for third generation bootlegs of in the old days.

The movies are cut! The people putting together these bundles don't bother to censor the movies, they are too busy putting them out to make a profit to take time tamper with them. However, they also release the first version of them movie they can get their hands on. Often the cut version is most common. The movies we rented as kids from the video store were often cut and we did not even know. Many of those movies were cult hits anyway. Once again we are spoiled now.

Also, not all the movies are cut. I was shocked to find an uncut House By the Cemetery on a Brentwood Disc under a different name. The version of The Devil Walks at Midnight I watched last night (Platinum Disc Corp) had more nudity that a tape I own of the movie that I thought was uncut!

this one has House by The Cemetary (uncut I think), Night of the Seagulls, The Ghoul, and an Italian classic, some under different names

There are no extras! No, these bundles do not contain deleted scenes, director's commentary, or bios, etc... Neither did video tapes in the 80's. As I said... spoiled. Once again The Devil Walks at Midnight from Platinum surprised me by showing the trailer at the end of the movie.

There DVD menus look bad! So what, is that what you are paying for? When I see these horror web sites that get all worked up at getting ahold of screen shots of a soon to be released DVD's menus - I wonder why I am at that site at all. Lame, I don't care about menus, they are glorified web pages. There are millions of fucking web pages. So what.

None of the original box art is present. I do like original box art. The bundling companies keep the product cheep by not buying the rights to the artwork. However, this is not the first time original artwork has not been used. All throughout the 90's movies were packaged by every company with new more contemporary artwork and shots from the film instead of using the drawings from the original movie posters and box. That sucked too.

The movies are put together by people who don't care about horror movies. I agree and it does bug me that sometimes they give the movies new names for no good reason. Here is an interesting point though. What about stars (starlets) and directors who are in horror movies, but in interviews express how they don't like the genre? They are involved with films in a far more intimate way that a releasing company and they are rarely criticized.

I've had good experiences with bundles, but a washed-out image or some pixilated bits here and there don't bother me. I just want to see the movies and I watch large quantities. You can't beat twenty movies for $20. I also like all genres which is good because tapes include every type of horror film. Here is a breakdown.

- European films from the 70's (Argento, Fulci, Bava)
- forgotten American TV horror movies
- 60's classics (with Lugosi, Karloff, Roger Corman movies)
- new slashers (a new DVD from 'Bad Taste Theater', a Brentwood imprint has two new Polonia brothers budget shit movies)

expect reviews of all of these movies...

Here is a link to the Brentwood Home Video site

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Deadly Sanctuary (1969)

Warning: I give away the whole story in the review!

Jack Palance is pictured here

As the opening credits rolled I found that I was watching a Jess Franco film. He's the only Euroshock director I don't blindly worship and you bet I've seen a ton of his movies. Some of his work is crap, some is classic. Franco is a very prolific film maker (182 features and counting), shooting everything from horror to porn. Most of his movies fall somewhere in between those to genres. Deadly Sanctuary is more often know as Marquis de Sade: Justine. The title role of the Marquis is given to Klaus Kinski who is never on screen with any other characters. Kinski appears mainly in the long opening scene where the camera zooms in and out, blurring between him brooding over his writings and then shots of nude women bleeding. From there we are shown the story he is writing, a story by the real Marquis De Sade, never read by me. Two sisters, Justine and Juliette, follow opposite paths in life. Juliette becomes a prostitute, a thief, and a murderess, and is rewarded with riches. Justine takes a righteous path and faces obstacles including..

- a false monk who steals her life savings
- corrupt police
- women's prison
- thieves who want to rape her
- gay aristocrats
- a branding with the letter 'm' for murder (she is framed)
- an order of monks seeking pleasures of the flesh and human sacrifice (Jack Palance, the head of the order, was reportedly drunk while making this movie)
- naked slavery in a freak show

When the reunion between the sisters occurs, Justine feels cheated and wants to change her ways to evil. The rich Juliette says she should not. Her easy life is empty and Justine is better off. The narrator explains that Justine will be rewarded with the riches of heaven while we see a shot of her kneeling in prayer.

This is a good message for me. Now I know all those rich pieces of shit are not really enjoying themseleves. I, who help all the customers at work, always smiling, and polite, will rise straight to heaven! So the movie ends with a Christian message, there is lots of gratuitous nudity along the way, but it's for a good cause. See this movie, it's out on DVD, better than Barbed Wire Dolls, Exorcism, and A Virgin Among the Living Dead, some of his more common titles.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Dennis Rodman

In todays retail adventure we were visited by Dennis Rodman whom I got to ring up. I dropped the ball big time, failing to locate two CD's that he was looking for. The computer said Wet Wet Wet was in stock, but I explained to him that it was not even worth checking on since the computer said it was received in 2001. By now it would for sure be MIA. Go West? Sure we have a couple of their greatest hits in stock. I went over to check the section, nothing but a "Go West" bin card and surely Mr. Rodman had already discovered that. Well, a call to the basement did not clear the mystery up, but at least our customer did not leave empty handed. His pics were Earth Wind and Fire, Bad Company, a DVD I did not inspect closely, and the new Duran Duran.

I saw the Entertainment Weekly with the Sarah Michelle Gellar photo spread that is inspired by Argento and Bava movies. I did not care for it. Guess I just don't like SMG.

I'm trying to get a copy of the new Fangoria to read in the breakroom at work and I think one is coming my way. If so I'll give the issue a scathing review here, whatever month it is from.

My girlfriend and I watched The Runestone (1990) and I was going to review it in the blog, but I've got very little to say. A movie from a time period when the horror genre was dying. Tonight I chose a really cool looking tape from my unwatched box to make up for what was a poor pic last night. Expect a review to follow. The Runestone's packaging did not look cool and I guess you can judge a tape by its cover.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Basket Case 2 (1990)

It's either loved or hated by the fans. I'd already seen Basket Case 3 so I knew what to expect since they were filmed back to back and are basically one movie cut in half. Despite having the same director and star as the original, the sequels are less bizarre and some say they were made just to make easy money.

Basket Case 2 cover from somewhere else on Earth, The American video cover for Part 2 has the same image on it as is on the original's box cover

BACKGROUND ON BASKET CASE 1: Both sequels include clips from the first Basket Case that show how disturbing it was, especially when contrasted with these more playful movies that are basically sick comedies. The first film has a smaller budget. The puppet is not always fully animated and stop motion is some of the shoddiest I've seen. None the less, the film is extremely effective and viewers are too horrified by the violence and dark mood of the movie to laugh at the poor effects. It's a violent film that does not comfort the watcher with many light spots or cute catch phrases.

THE CASE WITH BASKET CASE 2: This time there is a house full of monsters. Maybe more than ten full-sized latex characters that each have their own gimmick. One cannot take this movie seriously and they are not supposed too. The horror is not totally abandoned, there is creative gore that is more than cartoonish. It's not a kids movie just because it's funny. One scene I'd heard about is the reason I was excited to watch this movie and it is purely a comic scene. I'm talking about explicit sex between the monster Belial and a female version of himself. Yup, not for kids, well bad kids maybe. There are a lot of those out there and they are do make up a big portion of the horror market. Yes, this film is a no brainer when it comes to putting out a genre flick that will make buckets of money.

MY VERDICT: Horror and humor do mix. Everybody loves Dead Alive, Return of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, etc.. I think it's just the departure from the style of the original that make people turn on this movie and others like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Waxwork 2: Lost in Time, and the Sleepaway Camp sequels. Alone those movies would be impossible not to like, they are still violent and offensive, but with different expectations, people can feel really burned by a movie that lacks the rawness they remember from an inspired classic. The bigger budget and humor turn a lot of purists off and my previous blog entry about 'the most hated horror sequels' helps to explain why. Movies made to collect easy money often suck for obvious reasons as it's hard not to see similarities between them and the mainstream garbage made for the masses.

Basket Case 2 is not as cool as Basket Case, but I enjoyed it quite a bit because it's not a piece of crap. It does not just try to be funny, it is funny. It does not skimp on the blood. It does not skimp on the shocks. It's different, but it does not suck.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

fat girl

So I'm at the gym and eager to get on the machines so I just turn the TV on to whatever channel. It's ABC Family and some tubby girl is drinking green vegetable shakes in order to turn thin. No food, just green shake, this is a good idea. It shows discipline and I approve of this diet for the obese, however, this green shake glows. Now I think I've discovered the teen-made-for-tv-sci-fi film of the year and am even more excited when we see the effects that show her tummy tightening and double chin fading away. Awesome. Then the opening credits to Smallville roll and I see what I am watching. Well it's good for a few laughs, that fat girl gets a date, but see also must binge like never before to feed the green monster inside of her. She eats a deer carcass after hitting the animal on an emergency race to the grocery store.

I hit the pool so I don't know how it ended. I've never watched this show before, never will again, um probably will again since I just wrote I wouldn't, and can only predict how the episode ended. Superboy would have to fight the eating machine. The girl will turn back to normal, sadly normal being fat, this is the USA. Her date will cancel, then reconsider. The date is back on, it's what's inside, deep inside the layers, that counts.

On the subject of Superman, I'm sorry to hear about the death of Christopher Reeve even though I was not a fan. Kerry mentioned him in the last Presidential Debate, as a supporter of stem cell research which I will not reveal my stance on. I'd said in the past about Reeve, that he had it coming with all the horse related antics, but I take it back, no one deserves injury of any sort. I understand why he might want to walk again and support some animal research that is questionable without a doubt, and in my opinion bad science.

This is not the political blog, so here are some horror links...

The Fright Site A well made site with comics and interactive parts, as well as written content about horror movies

Cinefear They make movies, also writing about the weird classics on this site

Horror-wood webzine About the weirdest old time horror film-makers, great articles

It's Only a Movie Tons of graphics, video box scans, screen shots, wallpaper, reviews, of the gore classics

Cult Cuts a horror news site, I am not as familiar with this one, but it looks good

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Mad Butcher (1971)

I saw this movie a few days ago and have been itching to write about it, but computer problems got me down. A big fuck you to all the spyware makers of the world, hope it never pays off and you end up homeless. Then we won't have to feel bad not giving the people on the street a quarter so they can buy some El Pollo Loco.

So The Mad Butcher is next on the review list, as you knew if you read previous columns, and I'm sure millions and millions did. In some relevant horror news, I caught the end of that TV movie or show Frankenstein on the USA network. Seemed like the movie Seven, a movie I never thought I'd mention in this retro journal. Now, back to the stuff only I care about!

The Mad Butcher is great because of it's star Victor Buono who actually has a comedy album out about being fat. I am going to find this record! Hopefully in a dollar bin, I do not want to buy the cd reissue. Here is the track listing.

1. I'm Fat 2. A Word To The Wide 3. Skinny Poems For Fat Lovers 4. Lard Lib 5. Someday When I'm Skinny 6. Fat Man's Prayer 7. Bless Me Doctor 8. You Don't Have To Be Fat To Hate Rome 9. I Am 10. New Gig 11. We're The Most 12. Fat Man's Prayer (Radio Edit) (As Performed On The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson)

I know this record is at Amoeba somewhere, perhaps they even have a tape, that would be more convenient. Victor is pretty funny in the movie, but no he is not insane!!, he has he release paper to prove it. He put it on the wall in the room above the shop. He's the best butcher in Vienna It is not bad that he watches the neighbor changing, (a black silhouette for us viewers at home) he explains it is a beautiful thing. Well there is more funny stuff in the movie than Buono's antics, see, the sausages he sells are made of the bodies he has to hide when he loses it and must kill. Guess what, people like these sausages better than any sausages they have ever eaten before. Way funny stuff, pretty basic. If you are not smiling now, you would hate this movie, cause that's all there is to it.

Now, before I saw this movie, I had a thrash tape called Mad Butcher by Destruction. Here are the lyrics to the title track.

Mad Butcher
A fire is burning in his eyes
his brain is in war and the evil will rise
his blood is black, it's scalding hot
now he's got to ramble,
he knows that's his lot

Through the Blackstreets of the town
his steps are clanging
now he's wanton, oh he's panting
in his hand a blade of solid steel
now it's the time you got to feel

Mad Butcher
He feels his driving, satifaction he need
she's watching you pussy, he will get his food
and when he arises you think it's a lover
but he likes strange pratices, you'll discover

You lie on your bed, your view real seems great
but instead of his prick,
he's drawing his blade

oh he's so tender, when he makes love to you
that you couldn't stand it,
it's a pitty for you

Pretty nasty stuff. Inspired by the movie? I think so. Destruction are a pretty good band. I heard they sold out and went death metal for a bit, but are back to thrash by popular demand. Their website is full of goodies.

Destruction's website

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks (1974)

This Eurohorror classic is a mix of the expected and the bizarre. I'll break it down for you, and give away the whole film if you haven't seen it. Not that anyone watches these movies for anything other than the monsters, the classic beauties, and the blood that they shed.

My tape is a double-feature, guess what movie I'll be reviewing next..

Expected: This film stars the prolific Boris Lugosi... hey wait a second...
Unexpected: The movie opens with the villagers battling a tribe of Neanderthals that time forgot.
Expected: Dr. Frankenstein takes a dead Neanderthals body, with plans to re-animate it. The doctor's daughter, her fiance, and her lovely maiden friend arrive as guests at Dr. Frankenstein's castle.
Unexpected: Igor is having an affair with the head servant's wife.
Expected: As the maiden takes a milk bath, an unknown peeping tom spies through the hollow eyes of a painting on the wall.
Unexpected: One bath is not enough, the two women head off to bath together in an underground cave where there are craters full of steaming water. It looks like Mars.
Expected: The midget is watching from behind a rock.
Unexpected: Since he has been cast from the castle, the midget makes friends with a still living Neanderthal whom he teaches to rape and kill a village girl.
Expected: The villagers form an angry mob.
Unexpected: Dr. Frankenstien is in love with his daughter's friend.
Expected: So is the monster, who breaks free of his restraints. He does not last long and is burned alive by the mob after killing his maker and the living Neanderthal.

So there you go. I love gothic horror, so I was pretty happy here. It's rated PG. Funny what used to pass for ok. Nudity, blood, rape, molestation of a women's corpse during a grave robbery. Now you can't even see that stuff on TV.. whatever.

The best review of Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks, with a background story about finding the tape

another review - with screen shots

The user comments on the IMDB page are pretty good

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Alien Within (1987)

So I guess I've got a really rare tape here, The Alien Within.

This movie is better known in it's original incarnation, Evil Spawn, which is still in print. The DVD is hosted by Fred Olen Ray who is co-producer and co-director. His name is well known, but most of his movies fly well below the radar of even the most avid b-movie fan. You've seen maybe three of his films and never heard of about sixty. Super horror/science fiction fan Forrest J Ackerman has heard of Ray and makes an appearance in both versions of this movie. Now he's a well known collector of early horror film memorabilia, so he would feel right at home in The Alien Within/Evil Spawn which is a retread of The Wasp Woman. It's a classic story, with an eighties setting and plenty of blood and exposed female flesh. Evil Spawn is generally considered to suck, but my tape, as you know is different and actually has added scenes. These include new monsters, not just the bee monster, but a lizard man, and a hand puppet dog thing that escaped from a lab. These guys make the movie twice as entertaining, giving it a rating of 4 out of 10 stars.

Here is a fact from the IMDB about John Carradine's scene in The Alien Within

"John Carradine's appearance as "Dr. Zeitman" was a "generic" scene shot by Fred Olen Ray with the intention of dropping it into subsequent films. The dialogue uttered by Carradine and actress Dawn Wildsmith (Ray's wife at the time) makes no specific references to the film's plot, allowing it to be easily re-used."

A review of Evil Spawn

A review of Evil Spawn at

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

the most hated horror sequels

As I prepare to watch Basket Case 2 I can't help, but think of the many horror sequels of the 80's that departed from the originals in ways that alienated the fans. Some horror fans hate all sequels, but a special hate is reserved for a select few of them. If the original is a fan favorite and then someone messes up the legend and takes the edge off of the characters in a new film, the people are gonna be pissed. I've chosen three that are universally hated, by myself included. All three are more cheaply made than the originals and it shows. But that's not the only problem. Lets take a closer look at these films, all listed on the IMDB's bottom 100 movies of all time.

Chud 2 - Bud the Chud

Well what was Chud 1? A mediocre horror film that is a video store staple. Has lots of name recognition and is a horror house hold name, if not a favorite. At least this sequel is not disgracing a masterpiece.
Was the sequel made by the same people as the original? No, not written or directed by the same people.
Do the creatures look the same? No, In Chud 2, there is, for the most part, one Chud. He does not look like a mutant, rather a man in face paint. The Chuds, when at the end there are more, act like zombies, not Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. The USA box cover shows creatures similar to those in the first film, which is sure to make the person renting the film feel duped..
Is the movie less serious or less violent than the first? Yup, it's got dopey "hide the Chud" jokes. Wouldn't want Dad to know we've got a chud in our house.. The crazy teens steal a Chud from a government lab, for some dome reason, to cheat at school or something..
Was this the end of the Chuds? No, amazingly, Chuds appeared on a Simpson's episode when homer bungee-jumped into a hole. Of course they did not look like "Bud the Chud".

Troll 2

the Troll 2 box, nothing like that creature is in the movie

Well what was Troll 1? A movie from Charles Band, the producer of tons of 80's American horror classics even before he formed Full Moon. Great effects in everything from the Troll himself to the worlds and monsters he creates in an urban apartment building. If Labyrinth were a horror film, this would be it. There is even a song. Sonny Bono plays a swinger and total jerk in the film. Also stars Seinfield's Julia Louis Dreyfus.
Was the sequel made by the same people as the original? Nope. Troll 2 is an Italian production.
Do the creatures look the same? It is absolutely true that Troll 2 has no trolls in it. The monsters are Goblins who live in the town of Nilbog. They don't look like the Troll who is life-like and believable. Some of the goblins mouths do not move and none of their eyes move. These are some cheap looking foam goblins.
Is the movie less serious or less violent than the first? Um.. I'm really not sure if this is meant to be a comedy or not. The story of vegetarian goblins (who turn people into vegetables in order to eat them) has made it a hipster cult classic.
Was this the end of the Troll series? There is another Italian film called "Crawlers" that is sometimes referred to as "Troll 3". As far as I can tell it is about killer vines. Troll 2 is included on the 2nd side of the Troll DVD.

Ghoulies IV

see those fuckers, they are not Ghoulies!

What was the Ghoulies series? Also from Charles Band, Ghoulies was a successful Gremlins rip-off with small monsters raising hell. The original was a mess, with only the video box making it a hit (A Ghoulie comming out of a toilet), but Ghoulies 2 made the series a horror franchise. It took three ghoulies and made them home video stars with a rock video by W.A.S.P. to go with it. Ghoulies 3 - Ghoulies Go To College was the most fun with the Ghoulies drinking at the frat house, spying on sorority girls in the shower, and of course killing. The series was on the up and up.
Was the sequel made by the same people as the original? No, it was directed by Jim Wynorski, the man responsible for the abomination known as Munchie. Hold on, the movie does star Peter Liapis who stared in the first Ghoulies. Wait, he was not even a Ghoulie, he played a wizard, so who gives a shit?
Do the creatures look the same? No, they are not puppets, but two midgets in rubber suits that do not even resemble the three famous Ghoulies. They talk, as did the Ghoulies in pt 3, but these guys are not funny. On of them is supposed to be "black". In one scene in a clip from the first Ghoulies movie plays as a flash back. The two Ghoulies say something to the extent of "look, it's us when we were little". Yeah right, nice try, there is no comparison.
Was this the end of the Ghoulies? There were no more Ghoulies movies made. On a pleasant note, a couple of years ago I was at Spooky World looking through an exhibit of horror movie memorabilia. At the bottom of a glass case sat the actual shitty masks worn by the Ghooulies in Ghoulies IV. There was not even a card to identify them.

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Unholy (1988)

So I got this tape in a lot (that means a quantity of items rather than just one) of 30 on ebay. It was not the main reason I bought this collection, but it was a plus. Included were a couple killer tapes, a bunch of slightly-above average tapes (this one), and several crap tapes, but at $24 including shipping, I said "what the hell". I'd seen The Unholy on video store shelves before, but always passed it up. I was newer to horror and there were many classics to see before renting what looked like a mediocre Excorcist clone. Well the classics are all behind me now and it will be all obscure films from now on. The time to watch The Unholy had come.

It's not like The Excorcist or The Omen at all. The first thing I noted about the movie from my pre-watching internet research was that it was written by Philip Yordan. I had just seen his masterpiece, Night Train to Terror, a collection of three of his full leagnth films, shortened and narrated, turned into shorts, and pieced together with a wrap-around story of God and Satan on a train. It's all the gore and horror of three films packed into one! Sensory overload! I have, in my collection, a tape of the final film that makes up the last segment of Night Train to Terror. My tape is titled as "Shiver", though it has a completely different title. I'd tried to sit through it twice, but never got past the first twenty minutes. In condensed mode it's totaly sick though! Anyway. this here is not a review of Night Train to Terror, I watched that a few weeks ago before I had this blog, so I'll stop the paragraph here.

The Unholy has the feel of those three 80's horror flicks he wrote that will be for ever be known as segments in the earlier mentioned Night Train to Terror. Yordan is the writer, not the director, but the films do share other cast and crew members in common as well as a basic horror philosophy. Each of his movies features evil-doers killed off by a more supreme evil force and while that is not uncommon to horror, it's more than evident here. There is no claymation in The Unlholy, but there are other crazy eighties effects and miniatures. Rubber-suited mini demons will remind many of Ghoulies and the the big demon, well, he consists of a very big rubber suit. Someone pukes out their guts and their eyes bleed, like in a certain horror classic we all love. The film lags a bit in the middle, but the last half hour is nothing, but the goodies I just described. Beware of a blue and red light beams showing through the fog. It's common in eighties horror movies such as this one along with the synth and saxophone soundtrack. Can you predict the end? Yes, and it's very satisfying.

Interesting fact about Philip Yordan from the IMDB

"Although also a prolific writer himself, he served as a front for friends and other writers who had been blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Living in Paris during the blacklist days, his basement was often filled with blacklisted writers working in cubicles, churning out screenplays."

Here is a great article about Philip Yordan and his horror films

Sunday, October 03, 2004

What is the horror blog?

Every time I see a movie I run to the internet to check up on it. What did other people think? After all, I can't form my opinions on my own. I've learned so much from people's comments on the internet. I mean where else am I gonna find an opinion on "Night of the Bloody Transplant"? It's not like I know anyone who has seen it. Do you? Sure the Psychotronic Video Guide might have a paragraph on it, but that's all I'm likely to find in the physical world refering to such a rare film. Fortunately the IMDB lists every film. Find a bunch of my shitty reviews there.

my reviews from the last 2 years on the imdb

That was my big contribution up until now. With this horror blog I can say more and include pictures of the box art, posters, plus add links and my own crude fan art. Rad! Yes, websites and blogs can include so much more. Also I will be able to document my life, which is made up of watching my growing collection of old vhs tapes (many O.O.P.!) and seeing every horror movie that hits the theaters. Yes I hate a lot of them, the new shit sucks, and I feel the need to express my hatred.

See me on the bloody-disgusting message board. username is warrenzone.


I've got a website of my graphic design, drawings, pictures, etc... don't miss it.

Anyway, now I'm giving more back to the internet. Besides seeing these movies isn't enough. We've got to obsess. It's a way of life.