Thursday, June 30, 2005

Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge (1989)

before discussing Phantom of The Mall, here are so random notes:

I saw Land of the Dead and thought it was fantastic. It's just too bad it took some many rotten zombie movies coming out over the last few years to make this happen. If Land of the Dead had dropped, and we had all not just seen those other crap films on the big screen, imagine how fresh it would seem. What a rush that would have been. More films is not always a good thing for the genre, they are just good for selling issues of Fangoria, which, incidentally, is no longer carried at the store I work in.

I read somewhere that Land of the Dead survived the ratings board by having black liquid fly from the head shots instead of red. That does make the MPAA look ridiculous.

I've been watching a lot of tapes here at home with Cub and will not be reviewing the more popular titles due to the large amount of reviews out there on the internet for films with large cult followings and DVD reissues. I could go so far as to make a policy where this blog only reviews movies that are out of print, but I don't want to set up any rules for myself. I do have such a collection where I could review forgotten horror with regularity and never run out of tapes to post about. I should stick mostly to those, but then again, anything goes. At times I even like to go way off-topic...

Some quick opinions on what I've watched lately... Mario Bava's Shock (1977) was amazing, I swear scenes from Ju-on: The Grudge were lifted from it. Sisters (1973), by Dario Argento's sworn enemy Brian De Palma. Also excellent. Blood that bright-red would not be seen again until Suspiria. The Last Slumber Party (1987). Not good. I think some of it was shot on video and some on cheep film. The only redeeming quality? The 'teens' (played by obvious adults) frequently homophobic valley-speak. I'll mention one more that I watched, Trick or Treat (1986), which is perhaps overrated because of it's rock star cameos, but is basically 80's teen horror done right. Admit it, everyone needs to see a horror movie that ends at a school dance every once in a while. (note: actually Trick or Treat does not end at the dance, it should have, all the following scenes are anticlimactic)

"At Midwood Mall Prices Aren't The Only Thing Being Slashed"

I first came across a Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge poster in a dollar bin at a memorabilia store on Hollywood Blvd. I bought about twenty-five other posters that day, but the Phantom poster was ugly and just who was Eric and why had I never heard of him or this movie before? When I later saw the tape selling at Amoeba for two bucks, I passed that up as well. I was on a European-only horror streak at the time. Well now that I finally have given in to the Phantom's temptations I wish I'd bought the poster. Why? Phantom of the Mall is a lot of fun with fast pacing, novel kill scenes, and a young Pauly Shore. Also in the cast, and no stranger to malls, Ken Foree (listed first in the closing credits for some reason)!! Foree plays a security guard.

so would that be your worst nightmare... finding an eyeball in your frozen yogurt?

Finding an eyeball anywhere would be my worst nightmare--- frozen yogurt, cereal, bedside, shower, kitchen cabinet, fridge, pasta..... be it wherever. Cub, that eyeball in that yogurt looked super fake and not scary. It's like one of those eyeball gumballs you get from the machine.... typical eighties I guess.

tell everyone about Pauly Shore, weren't you supposed to call him or something?

I was supposed to call him but did not... come on... it's pauly shore, would you go on a date with him??... plus I was dating you at that time ;) However, I did get a nice hand massage from him... he's actually a better masseuse than he is an actor.

Ouch, he is gonna read that you know...

So as Phantom of Mall is ending, and we see Eric lying there dead (like that's a spoiler..), we may feel tingles and chills, because we've been moved by the tragedy of it all. Then over the closing credits blasts a song from the Vandals, with this chorus, that will wake you from your emotional state of shock.

Is there a phantom in the mall?

Folks are bound to ask.

Is he the phantom of the mall?

Or just some retard in a broken hockey mask?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Ms. 45 (1981) rape/revenge

Abel Ferrara's masterpiece. Feminism or exploitation? I really think this film is brilliant enough to be a good influence on this world, and it is rare that I would enjoy a movie that has such positive intentions. A mute woman is raped by two scums. The first is Ferrara in a mask. Gradually she works her way up to becoming an accomplished killer. You've just got to see what this movie does with the music to understand why it's so perfect, like a polished, better-timed version of Ferrara's Driller Killer.

The widley ripped-off cover for Ms. 45

Abel Ferrara is best known for Bad Lieutenant. Here is a snippet from an article about that movie - which I found here.

While not up to a Video Nasty certificate, BAD LIEUTENANT's drug scenes, sexual assaults and frontal nudity are pretty intense. Ferrara blasted the American ratings board for levying a more restrictive NC-17 rating, which limits distribution as well as advertising. "The rating system is anachronistic, like a push lawn mower. It's not even hip enough to be funny." But he is comfortable with the film's success in spite of its tag. "Theatres are gonna book anything that sells tickets. Theatres would book live sex acts – who cares, you know what I'm saying? And the studios will do anything that makes money. If Julia Roberts is going to finger-fuck herself in a closeup, I'm sure that somebody out there will put up the bread, you know what I mean? So that's where it's at."

fun fact: Zoë Lund, who plays the heroin in Ms. 45, co-wrote Bad Lieutenant with Ferrara.

so cub, are men really as scummy as the guys in Ms. 45?

The only type of guy who rapes women is one who is inadequate in every way. AS you might know, even in the animal kingdom the alpha male never has to rape..... same applies to us humans. So my dear, I can't say that ALL men are as scummy as in Ms. 45, it's only the losers who can't get any that are. I already found my alpha male ;)

are you going to buy a nun outfit now?

Sorry, but I don't find the nun outfit alluring in any way. Come on..... would you want to put on a priest outfit? Sacrilegious cub!!!!!

bonus: two rape/revenge reviews from the past by me

Naked Vengeance

The Ladies Club on imdb

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Zombie 4: After Death (1988)

I gave you guys the lowdown on the Zombie series back in my review of Zombie 5 ten days ago. The one detail I did not mention is that this movie is actually a year newer than Zombie 5. Oh how can this be! Does your brain hurt? Zombie 5, was originally just called Killing Birds, it got added to the Zombie series later on. The same could be the case for Zombie 4: After Death, though at least Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi were writers on Zombi 3. If you're still confused, just let it go. I'll talk about the film.

Plenty of gore. Funny looking zombies... though not necessarily cheep looking.

These are not the actual zombies from the film, rather these guys are from a picture on the back of a record by the New York Hardcore band Burn. The original picture is in color (I think) and this image came to my mind each times the zombies were shown in group shots. I guess I'm saying the zombies were a bit theatrical looking, not totally realistic, though once again I'll say that they did not look cheep.

The zombies do talk, a bit, which is not as lame as it sounds. That shoot M-16s too. I hope I am not giving too much away.

Zombie 4: After Death

DVD extras: I don't like to review these. I enjoyed seeing Claudio Fragasso speak, but a recap of his interview here in this blog would just be like everything I hate about the Fangoria Magazine DVD section. Nerds, got lost. Shit talking... hell yes! Going into detail about DVD specs... fuck no! Save it for the action figure collectors.

now for Cub Speaks

Why did you say the attacking zombies were like ninjas?

Obviously dear bear, the reason I said the attacking zombies were like ninjas is because they LOOKED like ninjas, with their turbans, robes, moves, etc. I am disappointed with you bear.... is this the best question you could come up with for Cub Speaks? Low IQ bear!!!!!!!!!

The eye popping out didn't even bug you in this movie (cub has a big phobia about eyes). What was the matter, was it too fake? It was the only time I've ever seen the lid come of with the eye...

You are right hunny... this eye popping scene did not bug me one bit, which is rare. It is actually the only time I was able to watch an eye gouging scene without having to peak through my hands (or entirely shutting my eyes)!!! The lid coming off with the eye actually made it easier for me to watch the scene because it looked totally fake. It was funny rather than scary. I was brave.... you were proud of me cub!

So do you even want to watch Zombi 3 anymore?

Believe it or not, I still want to watch Zombi 3, especially if we could cuddle and I could cling on to you during the eye gouging scenes. Bring out the walking dead!

(she has not seen Fulci's Zombie/Zombi 2, Fulci has a thing for eyes)

Monday, June 20, 2005

watch me when I kill (1977) - a giallo -

I've got a new a favorite. For fans of Argento's Deep Red, directed Antonio Bido was obviously inspired by that movie in many ways.

I bought a lot more strange and rare vhs on ebay over the last couple of weeks

Watch this movie at high volume! We did, mainly because a few days ago I stepped on the remote, changing the frequency or something. It does not work right now, so we have to get out of the bed and press the keys on the tv to turn down the sound - neither of us would get up last night to do that. As a result, the Goblin-esque music was blasting and was extremly effective for the scares.

I'd like to mention a number of other ways that this movie is like Deep Red and the last one is a spoiler. In both movies the killer plays creepy tapes, though in this movie it's not music, but something more awful. In both movies the killer speaks from behind a closed door with the same sinister voice. Remember the death in Deep Red where the woman's head is held in the steaming hot bath? well in this movie the same is done with a stew still simering in the oven. A window falls in both movies, nearly killing the protagonist. The characters and some of the other kills are similar in both movies. The prog-rock score, by a group called Trans Europe Express is really, really, similar to Goblin's Deep Red score. In Deep Read and in Watch Me When I Kill, the killers both share the same name.

Watch Me When I Kill is not a weak film, despite being somewhat of a tribute or copy. It was made in the late 70's, a great time for movies. It's by no means cheep looking or amateur. Bido went on to make the better known giallo, The Blood Stained Shadow. Watch Me When I Kill was originaly called The Cat with the Jade Eyes and in Europe can be bought from the goth video line, Redemtion, as The Cat's Victims.

Fuck yeah, I loved this movie and I'm still feeling fuzzy twelve hours later. Loved the abrupt ending. All movies should end that way.

unrelated bullshit:

This guy, GSB, might be my know blogging friend, we shall see. Here are his two sites
The New Black and Crown Dozen that showcase impressive design skills. - where is the hate? So many shitty profiles, someone has to step up and tell it like it is. Problem? You can't post on someone's profile unless you are their friend. Log on, visit
my profile, become my friend, and tell me I have bad taste, or that I should quit using the internet for good. You know I'm asking for it.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

20 more reasons to hate us

...horror confessions

I got this idea from the bloody-disgusting message board. People were listing truths about themselves and their relationship with horror. Truths that they would ordinarily be embarrassed to reveal. It's time to come clean and admit that there are one or two ways in that I am not cool, or perhaps just not the horror expert that I profess to be. I've already done this in a way, with some self-deprecating essays about what a bonehead I was when I first got into to horror (
pt 1, pt 2), but now I will list some facts that show where I go against the grain established by other educated horror fans, or, show that I'm not the sharpest stick on the tree.

1. When watching Make Them Die Slowly, I actually tried to count the acts of violence in the movie to see if they added up to the number listed on the cover of the box.

2. There was a time when I'd seen more Steven Segal movies than horror movies.

3. When I heard the urban legends about the Blair Witch that were circulating before the films release, I totally believed every word and told tons of people about the crazy tape that was out there. Unfortunately, I read an article in Rolling Stone before seeing the movie in the theater and knew that the whole project was fabricated. I was underwhelmed by the actual movie.

4. I think Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is awesome and does a great job of following up a movie that you'd think it would be impossible to make a sequel too.

5. I liked all the Scream movies, especially, Scream 2.

6. 28 Days Later revitalized the zombie genre. Without it we'd have no Shaun of the Dead or Land of the Dead. Critics and horror fans a like celebrated this movie, while I thought it was total shit, an inferior Day of the Dead shot on digital video.

7. House of 1000 Corpses, a movie for 70's horror fans, made by 70's horror fan Rob Zombie. It was exactly what the horror community wanted and there was much rejoicing. I didn't like it. I could not got over the embarrassing dialogue that I felt was written to be used as samples on the soundtrack cd, in the style of Resevoir Dogs.

8. I don't read comic books or play that many video games. When I here purists complaining about the screen adaptations not being faithful to the original products, I think, "what a bunch of total fucking tools", though I am guilty of the same types of concerns when it comes to horror remakes and the new Star Wars movies.

9. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing stared together in many British films. For about a year I did not know which actor was which.

10. I have never watched a Universal horror film other than The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Well, I saw King Kong when I was little.

11. I don't like the Mystery Science Theater crowd. I think the fans have been brainwashed into thinking some pretty cool movies are crap.

12. Hobgoblins is on my 'to see' list. I can't possibly imagine how it could be bad.

13. I think that the version of Nosferatu with the Type O Negative soundtrack is pretty awesome.

14. I can't stand most of the product released by Troma.

15. I will never watch Men Behind the Sun because of a graphic scene of animal cruelty that I heard about.

16. I saw Army of Darkness before I even knew what Evil Dead was.

17. A few years ago bought a bunch of chunks of foam rubber. I used a scalpel to carve a one foot mushroom that was my tribute to Galwyn in Troll.

18. I love the 1990 Night of the Living Dead remake.

19. At the Fangoria convention, I'd rather die than hold hands with a fat goth chick carrying a Night of the Living Dead lunchbox.

20. I don't jerk off to!

Yeah it's all true, I hope that list does not make me lose all my readers. Thanks to
The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire for the recent link.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Dungeon of Harrow (1962)

For 22 dollars at Best Buy I picked up this Gothic Horror box set from Alpha Video, former makers of some of the cheapest looking budget vhs that I've ever seen. I don't know why I keep plugging Best Buy. Yes, I work in a record store. No, it is not the Best Buy, thank God! It just so happens that these guys sell the DVD bundles that I am in favor of. I wrote an article that goes into detail about why I'm into these low quality, low cost, collections of allegedly public domain films.

The Gothic Horror box is very attractive, but once it was opened I discovered it is very cheaply made. The binding is essentially clear, very sticky, packaging tape. The trays that hold the discs can each be ripped off and stuck back on with ease, though I don't think that is an intended feature of the packaging. Serious DVD-philes will be upset, though I could really give a shit. I'm not paying for a Criterion edition here.

I chose the most obscure movie to watch first, Dungeon of Harrow. The image quality is undeniably awful and extremely washed out. What's worse is that it changes before your eyes from near black and white, to different colored tints, to faded full color. I know what you are thinking, "Warren has a crappy tv"... well maybe, but in this case, I assure you, it's the dvd.

Again I found the poor quality more amusing than irritating, but Cub - who has watched many a mutilated, chopped, 5th-generation-copy, vhs tape without complaint - did express annoyance and decided to drift off to sleep in the middle of the movie. Dungeon of Harrow is the only dvd I've watched so far from the set, so this review of the whole box is premature, but hey, this is a blog and I can report details in future posts as I plow through this set over the next year or so.

The verdict so far: I'm glad I bought it - I prefer quantity to quality! I am a trash collector.

The verdict on Dungeon of Harrow directed by Pat Boyette: I loved this movie which is heavy on atmosphere, fog machines, and impending doom.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Zombie 5: Killing Birds (1987)

"Genius", "still manages to fill me with girlish glee every time". Is that what the critics are saying about Zombie 5: Killing Birds? ... No! That's Steven from Corpse Eaters writing on this blog, thank you very much! See his post on the exciting writing that makes up the warrenzone/bloodbath horror blog.

Zombie 5: Killing Birds from Claudio Lattanzi and allegedly, Joe D'Amato

Zombie 5: Killing birds is not that bad, but by no means is it epic or apocalyptic. I guess I have to give you guys the background on the Zombie series in case you are uniformed. Did you know that Romero's Dawn of the Dead was called Zombie: Dawn of the Dead in Europe? It was, and over there they have a Dario Argento cut of the movie that has a soundtrack by Goblin. It's true. You know the Fulci movie Zombie? Well in Europe that one is called Zombie 2. There is no American Zombie 2, we skip to the European Zombi 3, also directed by Fulci, until he turned it over to the team of Bruno Mattei (Rats: Night of Terror, recently reviewed here) and Claudio Fragasso (Troll 2 - here). Fragasso then made Zombie 4: After Death, which came in the Zombie Pack ($15 at Best Buy) with Zombi 3 and the unrelated Zombie 5: Killing Birds. By the way, there are other Zombie 4 and Zombie 5 movies out there, from other directors including Jess Franco.

Put that confusion behind you. This movie has maybe two zombies in it, but they do some serious damage to the researching college kids on the bayou, staying in the same house where The Beyond was filmed. The birds? One of them rips the eye out of Robert Vaughn's socket. I was not familiar with the actor, but there is an interview with him as a DVD extra. I'll break my policy of not reviewing the extras. Vaughn does not remember this movie much at all so he barely speaks of it, instead telling stories from various Corman movies that he stared in. All of this commentary is spliced in with the kill scenes from Zombie 5 and we get a chance to to see the eye plucking scene two more times. Nice.

Now for cub speaks:

Why were you happy when the blind man put on his sunglasses?

I was finally able to watch the scene and see what was going on when he put his sunglasses on to cover up his gouged out eye. Cub, you know I can't watch movies that show people's eyes gouged out. It's grotesque and makes me want to faint and vomit.

Were you mad when I said that guy's portable 1988 laptop reminded me of your old computer?

Yes, you were quite rude when you made a smart mouth remark about his laptop looking like my old computer that looked like it was made in the 70's. Ok so I was not with the times and had an oldy moldy computer. As you already know I am not technologically advanced darling, which is why I have you for that!

What kind of bird was your favorite? you liked one of them...

I did like the white cockatoo very much. Can we get one, so it can sit on my shoulder as I bring it to different places with me? Please bear, please.

Are you excited for George Romero's Land of the Dead will Phil Fondacaro and Asia Argento?

I am thrilled for Land of the Dead, and I can't wait to see how sexy little Asia Argento has all grown up. She will probably look hot, what do you think? This may end up to be a masterpiece, who knows. I am hoping for it though.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

fangoria convention results

The results are in for the day June 4th in Burbank. All the dirt and the shit talk is here on, go there, click on the bloody psychopath, and read my essay.

I would have posted sooner, but it's been busy. The next post will be a review of Zombie 5: Killing Birds.

Friday, June 03, 2005

worst of - horror gossip, news, and rumors

I'll spare the posters of these messages (on the bloody-disgusting board) certain embarrassment by withholding their lame usernames.

Scream 4 - I cut some of the shit out of this post, here is the basic story...

"Cursed" had to be shot twice. Everyone knows that. The first time they shot "Cursed", it didn't turn out so good. Cast members dropped out, the MPAA didn't approve of it, etc. (Those may not be the official reasons, but "Cursed" didn't turn out so good, either way.) The second time they shot "Cursed", everything came about smoothly. However, this is what I've been thinking...

What if "Cursed" wasn't shot twice? What if the movie they originally shot was in fact "Scream 4"? After all, there was a rumor going about that said Neve Campbell was contracted to "Cursed", but also had to do "Scream 4". And what about the other cast members? Skeet Ulrich, Omar Epps, and Scott Foley were all contracted to be in "Cursed", but dropped out. It's funny because all three of them were also in the "Scream" movies. And in the final product of "Cursed", Portia de Rossi appears and was also in "Scream 2". It all makes sense, doesn't it?

So the truth is that Scream 4 so not working out so they made a few changes, added a werewolf, and there you go. In the words of the poster "I think there's something really serious going on."

Leprechaun Part 7: The Lost City of Atlantis???

Is this true? I read somewhere they plan on making a Leprechaun 7, where it will take place beneath the sea, where he will travel to the lost city of Atlantis and kill the Aquanets. These are people who live in the city of Atlantis, an underwater city full of treasures. The Leprehaun finds out theres much gold to be recieved when he discovers the Aquanets have a fortune under the sea. I have no idea how true this is, so can somebody please tell me this is a crock of shit....or they really dumb enough to go through with such a movie?

I don't know, I think that's pretty funny...

These people will be and the Fangoria convention tomorrow and I should be allowed to cut them in line.

Mario Bava / Luigi Cozzi / Peter Cushing

I'm not a big fan of Orange County, but I'm even less of a fan of the stretch of freeway between here and Los Angeles. Poor Cub has to drive it to take us to the Fangoria convention in Burbank tommorow morning. At least the traffic won't be bad. I tell her that there will be grab bags of free goodies. Oh, there better be. Expect a full report on!

I like to go online during my lunch breaks at work, but today a guy from corporate was in the office and I decided to stay out of view in the breakroom. No good magazines have come in yet this week so I grabbed a somewhat mangled copy (too bad, no one will buy it with this bent up cover) of 'The Haunted World of Mario Bava' from our book section. I doubt it was damaged by customers flipping through it. That section of the store gets very little traffic. We probably battered it ourselves one of the many times we condensed the ever-shrinking book section in order to make it take up less valuable floor space. The particular book is pretty heavy duty, so I barely finished it in the 45 minutes allotted for my break.

Ok, I mean I barely finished looking at the pictures in that time. There is a lot of poster art inside along with stills from all of his movies. Each one gets a chapter. The introduction is written by Luigi Cozzi who directed Contamination and wrote the much hated Devilfish for Mario's son, Lamberto Bava. Cozzi got his start as a fan and as the Italian corespondent to Famous Monsters of Filmland. He was the first journalist to tell Mario Bava that he thought he was a good director. Here is the scoop: None of Bava's films played in first run theaters in Italy. Critics would not bother to review the movies, thinking them too low to even comment on. The interviews at the back of the book (at least one by Cozzi) reveal that Bava did not think much of his own films either. He comes off as very humble. Cozzi speaks well of him.

Bava began to get respect as his protégé Dario Argento became well known.

Bava's one flaw is overuse of the zoom lens.

Not sure if this fact is mentioned in the book, it must be, it's a fun bit of trivia. Friday the 13th Part 2 rips of multiple kill scenes from the far more gory Bava pre-slasher, Bay of Blood.

unrelated Peter Cushing talk - the following paragraph from a
review of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith:

And when Darth Vader and the Emperor stand triumphant on the flight deck of their ship, they are joined at the end by an actor bearing a remarkable resemblance to the late Peter Cushing, the original Grand Moff Tarkin. So with Christopher Lee as the menacing Count Dooku at the beginning, this Star Wars in a way brings together the two old Hammer Film horror actors.

Yes, I'm a big Peter Cushing fan, I called him the greatest horror star of all time on a list I made for this blog. Cushing died in 1994 so seeing this person (briefly, he has no lines) who looked very much like him really surprised me. An internet search turned up fans in at least two places who think that it was either a digital Cushing or old Cushing footage inserted in the film. No. IMDB user UnforgivenSpaceCowboy sets it straight:

He is not digitally created...he was played by the versatile Wayne Pygram who I fear was cut out of the film like many of the other Episode IV-VI characters were (for example Mon Mothma) etc. Since Tarkin is my favorite original trilogy character, it sucked his role was cut. But then again, I could be wrong...he did walk away as soon as Vader and Sidious stepped up to the window...but I do know for a fact he wasn't digital.

unrelated - horror blogs in full effect - the following horror blogs are active and I've been reading them... if anyone feels left out, leave a comment with your link..

Corpse Eaters
Dark, But Shining this includes writer Sam Costello whom I like
M Valdemar
Groovy Age of Horror