October Horrorshow: Alone in the Dark (1982)

A slasher flick starring Jack Palance and Martin Landau as murderous psychopaths? It would have been impossible for me not to seek this mother out, especially for an October Horrowshow viewing. Expectations were low. After all, despite the star power, this is an obscure movie, never a good sign. It’s a pretty simple formula. If a movie has stars, and you’ve never heard of it, there’s a chance it stinks. A great example of this idea is Robert Altman’s Quintet. That one had Paul Newman and Fernando Rey, two actors with gigantic reputations in a film helmed by one of Hollywood’s great directorial talents, and it was dreadful. Palance and Landau are no slouches, each having won Oscars for films after their roles in Alone in the Dark, but this film, like Quintet, was tough to watch. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Alone in the Dark (1982)”

October Horrorshow: The Fly (1986)

The FlyTeleportation is a fascinating subject. Most sci-fi fans have watched the transporters in Star Trek or elsewhere and thought how cool it would be to travel instantly from one place to another. But then science rears its ugly head. Sure, it’s a novel idea, and would change the way we live in ways that are hard to comprehend. For instance, if distance becomes meaningless, so does security and privacy. There’s no point in having locked doors if anyone at anytime can just teleport into your apartment and steal your stuff. There’s no point in living in cities if you can have cheap housing in the boonies and just teleport into midtown for work. Hungry for some Italian food? Forget the quaint little place that just opened in the old downtown, in the spot the shoe store used to be. Go to fucking Italy! Teleportation would be such a revolution in the way we think about distance that it would remake society in ways we can scarcely imagine. But there’s a dark side. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Fly (1986)”

October Horrorshow: I Spit on Your Grave

Beware cheap horror films with awesome titles. Growing up a horror fan, I had seen the VHS box of I Spit on Your Grave many times at the local video store in the sci-fi/horror section. It screamed cheapness, and did nothing to make it stand out among such fare as My Bloody Valentine or I Dismember Mama. So I always passed it up. I’ve seen it now, and while it didn’t make me wish I could claw out my eyes, or that I could build a time machine and go back to warn myself away from watching it (The Human Centipede), I do believe my life is not one whit better for having seen it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: I Spit on Your Grave”

October Horrorshow: Quarantine 2: Terminal & [•REC] 2

Quarantine 2: TerminalAnyone who has a fear of flying knows that it is not just the flight itself that causes anxiety. It’s not something that creeps up on a person in the line for security at the airport, or even back at home packing bags. It can begin weeks or even months before a person is supposed to step on a plane. It can begin at the mere thought that it might be time to plan a vacation, or with the realization that it’s been awhile since the last visit to the west coast office, and it’s only a matter of time before the boss shoves some airline tickets and an itinerary into a folder and puts it right on top of the inbox. Just the thought of flying can add an extra layer of tension to a person who hasn’t been on a plane in years, and has no intention of doing so.

After booking a flight, strange omens can be seen almost everywhere. Patterns emerge. One night there’s a dream of a plane crash, followed by an entire week of seeing plane crashes in movies, television shows, and on the news. It’s surprising just how often we see a plane crash, whether in fiction or in reality, if one really pays attention. Of course, reason battles constantly with such irrational, emotional considerations, and those of us who aren’t truly crippled with a phobia suck it up and fly when we have to, sometimes aided by some chemical bravery. After all, flying is the safest way to travel. What’s there to worry about? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Quarantine 2: Terminal & [•REC] 2″

October Horrorshow: Resident Evil

I’ve seen Resident Evil four times. Each time, it gets worse. Don’t ask me why I’ve dedicated five precious hours of my life to this dog. I have no answer. I wish I could swear this last viewing was the final viewing, but who knows? Maybe it will be, now I’ve bothered to write a review. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Resident Evil”

October Horrorshow: The Orphanage

I love the American movie business sometimes. If there’s a trailer where cast members have no dialogue other than shouting someone’s name, it’s a dead giveaway the film has subtitles. Can’t show any in the trailer, because movie companies think we’re stupid.

I have to be honest. Sometimes when watching films, it feels as if there is nothing new happening onscreen. Action films, drama, thillers, sci-fi, horror, etc. It can all take on a distinct sheen of sameness. Take ghost films. I’ve seen more than a few of them, and if the plot involves a wife, husband, and a child or children, then there are a few things a viewer can expect. First, the child will all of a sudden have a couple of ‘imaginary’ friends to play with. This causes looks of concern from the parents, but little more. Of course, out here on the other side of the screen, we know the little tyke’s imagination hasn’t just been running wild. Rather, they’ve been seeing ghosts. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Orphanage”

October Horrorshow: Kingdom of the Spiders

I have a mental list of things I would do if I could go back in time. The standard stuff is there. Kill Hitler, catch a live performance of Beethoven’s Ninth with the composer himself conducting, etc. But those are representative of my more grandiose schemes. Far down the list is finding some way to weasel into the movie industry, and direct a film starring William Shatner in the 1970s. It’s a fleeting obsession, really, and was conceived only after watching Shatner’s star turn in Kingdom of the Spiders, from 1977. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Kingdom of the Spiders”

October Horrorshow: Dead Heat (1988)

“These caps[sic] are on the biggest murder case of their lives...their own.”

So declares the DVD box art for the 1988 zombie action flick Dead Heat. When searching for a shitty movie to idly pass an evening, a typo on box art is a pretty fair indication a viewer has found a winner. Any movie called Dead Heat and starring Joe Piscopo doesn’t need any extra hint that it’s a special film, but the fact the producers didn’t care enough to release the flick with a simple bit of copy editing on the box is just icing on the cake. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Dead Heat (1988)”

October Horrorshow: The Crazies (1973)

Is George Romero paranoid? It’s a possibility. At the very least, I would say he is mistrusting of authority. Night of the Living Dead, his seminal work, and all its follow-ups, showcase a horde of the undead rendering civilization waste. But it’s worth remembering that Romero’s zombies are not supernatural in origin. Rather, they are the result of government experiments gone wrong. Ergo, it’s not the zombies that are the greatest threat to civilization in Romero’s universe. It is the people who take our taxes. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Crazies (1973)”

October Horrorshow: Halloween III: Season Of The Witch

This film gets a bad rap. Halloween and its sequel featured the silent killer Michael Myers and his constant would-be victim, Laurie Strode. By the time this third film was made, both had become horror icons, especially the masked murderer Myers. The brand association any potential viewers would have between a film with the title Halloween and Michael Myers was strong, so the decision to completely drop Myers, Strode, and the slasher concept for Halloween III was bound to create a backlash. It’s inexplicable, honestly, that producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill expected any other reaction. The two of them were worn out on Michael Myers after the first two films. There’s nothing wrong with that, and no one was putting a gun to their head and forcing them to make another Halloween film, but they were mistaken when they thought the name of their little franchise was more valuable than the characters in it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Halloween III: Season Of The Witch”