October Horrorshow: Slaughterhouse

All ideas in film grow weary after a while. Lack of new twists, market saturation, declining quality, and a general malaise from viewership are the death knells for once-innovative methods of storytelling. By the late 1980s, it was the slasher subgenre of horror that had grown old and dusty, after only a decade or so of prominence. The result was a film like Slaughterhouse, the 1987 flick from writer/director Rick Roessler.

Don Barnett and Joe B. Barton play deranged father and son Lester and Buddy Bacon, owners of a shuttered hog slaughterhouse in rural California. Market fluctuations and a failure to modernize facilities did in their business, but Lester blames shenanigans from prominent locals for his dire straits. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Slaughterhouse”

It Came from the Camcorder: Demon Queen

Before Vampire Cop, before Chainsaw Cheerleaders, and before Bigfoot Exorcist (incredible titles, all), shitty movie auteur Donald Farmer gave us Demon Queen, an SOV quickie that boiled down a simple horror story into its basest elements.

From 1987, Demon Queen tells the tale of Lucinda (Mary Fanaro), a demon, or vampire, or something, who stalks the streets of Fort Lauderdale picking up unsuspecting males and ripping their hearts out while they are in postcoital afterglow.

Her latest victim, whom she strings along for most of this movie’s short 54-minute running time, is Jesse (Dennis Stewart). Jesse is a street-level drug dealer who, in a fit of plot on the part of Farmer, owes money to local gangster Izzi (Rick Foster). Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Demon Queen”

October Horrorshow: Shakma

Movies like Shakma are a dime a dozen. Cheap, throwaway horror flicks featuring vapid characters played by talent barely holding on to their careers in Hollywood, and maybe an aging star or two. The screenplay looks as if it was less than twenty pages long, sets are plain and repetitive, and what little gore there is must have been a strain on the miniscule budget. Everything about this movie screams cheapness and lack of effort. Everything, that is, except for one of the wildest creatures ever to appear in a horror flick.

In Shakma, from directors Hugh Parks and Tom Logan, filming a screenplay from Roger Engle, Typhoon the baboon plays the title character, a research monkey at some medical school, somewhere. Shakma has been injected with a serum that has turned him into a crazed killing machine, and that’s bad for a small group of med students and their professor, who have chosen that evening to lock up the medical school for a fun night of LARPing. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Shakma”

It Came from the Camcorder: Night Crawlers (1996)

Missile Test has been doing the Horrorshow since 2009, and this year’s theme, It Came from the Camcorder, has been the most difficult, both to watch and to write about. The me that came up with this idea many months ago has placed a burden on current me that I didn’t expect. Even today’s movie, from a pair of moviemakers that I respect, is a low-down dirty dog that probably never should have seen the light of day. Strike that. No movie is too bad to be made or watched (for at least fifteen minutes, anyway), but there is no obligation from any critic, hobbyist or professional, to blow smoke and pretend that it’s an artistic accomplishment. Congratulations, Polonia Bros., you made another movie, and it sucks.

From back in 1996, Night Crawlers is another collaboration between John and Mark Polonia, from a script by Charles Hank. Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Night Crawlers (1996)”

October Horrorshow: The Creeping Terror, aka The Crawling Monster

The Creeping Terror, the 1964 monster flick from producer, director, editor, and star Vic Savage, is a regular staple on ‘worst movies ever made’ lists, and it should be. Watching this flick is a mirthful, schadenfreude-filled experience. It will make a viewer shake one’s head, mystified that a movie so obviously bad could be made. It has the feel of a spoof, as if it were making fun of the low-budget monster flicks of the 1950s. But, no, this is very much a serious film.

The Creeping Terror may have been made in 1964, but, according to the internet, so it must be true, it never received a theatrical release. It lingered on a shelf somewhere until Crown International Pictures licensed it for television in the mid-1970s. Thank goodness for the clearing house for crap that was Crown International, otherwise this could have been a lost film, subject to mere rumor and speculation. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Creeping Terror, aka The Crawling Monster”

It Came from the Camcorder: Video Violence

According to the internet, so it must be true, central New Jersey community theater fixture and video store operator Gary Cohen was dismayed that customers rented so much trashy horror when there was a wealth of film history available on the shelves. His response was not to refuse to rent horror flicks, but, with friend and writing partner Paul Kaye, to make his very own trashy horror movie. On video, of course.

If one is into SOV horror, Video Violence, from 1987, is essential viewing, as it’s a common entry on various SOV lists. It follows real-life couple Art and Jackie Neill (also longtime players in central New Jersey theater) as Steven and Rachel Emory, a pair of transplants from New York City who have settled in Frenchtown, New Jersey, looking for peace and quiet. Steven gave up his dream job of owning a movie theater to open a video rental store, while Rachel left a job at a law firm to take a position in Frenchtown’s administration. Their town is not as welcoming to the newcomers as they wished, nor is it as quiet. That’s because the residents of the town have become addicted to slasher flicks, and after being desensitized to the fake stuff, they have gotten into the habit of making their very own snuff videos. Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Video Violence”

October Horrorshow: The Video Dead

Zombies have been portrayed in every which way from here to Timbuktu. It’s not necessary for a filmmaker to have a unique take on zombies in order to make a successful zombie film. When they do bring some new quality to the old trope, it instantly makes the film better. The Video Dead, the 1987 b-horror flick from writer, director, and producer Robert Scott, doesn’t have a lot of zombies, but they all have distinct personalities, and the way they are introduced is quite fun.

Famous writer Henry Jordan (Michael St. Michaels) is minding his business at home one morning when a delivery van arrives with a crate. Inside is a ratty television that, unbeknownst to Jordan, was supposed to be delivered to the Institute for the Studies of the Occult. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Video Dead”

It Came from the Camcorder: Night Ripper!

Night Ripper! movie posterHow obscure is Night Ripper!, the 1986 SOV slasher flick from writer, director, and producer Jeff Hathcock? Well, it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, which is a start. More impressive, however, is the Wikipedia page of featured player Larry Thomas, famous for playing the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. The filmography section on his Wikipedia page lists every movie he’s been in with the exception of Night Ripper! Here at Missile Test, we consider that a glaring omission. Someone out there is trying to make the internet forget that he was in this dirty dog of a movie. It wasn’t Larry, as his account doesn’t list edits to his filmography. I’d add it to his page myself, but the only unpaid work I do online anymore is for this lovely website. Anyway…

Night Ripper! is not one of those SOV horror flicks that sprung from the mind of some horror fans out in flyover country. No, this is a Hollywood production, with many different departments and many different crew members. What it doesn’t have is a list of cast members in the credits alongside their corresponding character names, and only three have photos on IMDb, so I’ll be making my best guesses as to who played which role.

James Hansen (I think) plays Dave, who, along with Mitch (definitely Larry Thomas), owns a photography lab and studio. Older readers will remember this type of store, where folks could go and have their film developed, or get some glamour shots taken for their significant other. Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Night Ripper!”

October Horrorshow: Zombi 3

What’s great about a zombie flick is that it doesn’t need much of a plot to be a success. It can just lurch from set piece to set piece until the main cast is winnowed down enough to call it a day. That makes zombies a perfect subject matter for Italian director Lucio Fulci.

Zombi 3 is the 1988 entry in a film series that requires its own Wikipedia page to make sense of. According to the internet, so it must be true, the screenplay was developed by Rossella Drudi, but it was her husband, Claudio Fragasso, who got the credit. Lucio Fulci is the only credited director, but, again according to the internet, he delivered a 70-minute cut that producer Franco Gaudenzi was not happy with. So, Gaudenzi enlisted Fragasso and Bruno Mattei to carry out reshoots, with Fragasso handling most of the work. The result is an 84-minute long film that makes up for its lack of cohesion with a boatload of blood and guts. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Zombi 3″

It Came from the Camcorder: The Screaming

Cheap, irreverent, gory, and gloriously stupid. If there are four descriptors essential to a successful SOV horror flick, those are it. Prolific shitty movie writer/director/producer Jeff Leroy’s 2000 flick, The Screaming, has all of those, in decent proportion. Although, I don’t think it would have hurt matters any to have a bit more gratuitous nudity. But, that’s a personal preference.

The Screaming stars Vinnie Bilancio (who also has a producer and production design credit) as Bob Martin, a Marlboro enthusiast and graduate student in anthropology at an unnamed southern California university (the university was played by CSU, Long Beach). Like many graduate students, Bob is flat broke, and thus has to take the cheapest off-campus housing he can find. In this case, it’s a single room in the back of a house owned by blonde bombshell Crystal (Wendi Winburn). Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: The Screaming”