October Hammershow: The Satanic Rites of Dracula

Here we are. October 31st. Halloween. The end of the October Horrorshow. The final film in this look back at Hammer Film Productions is a departure from type. If there’s one thing I’ve picked up on from watching 31 Hammer films in a row, it’s that Hammer basically made the same film over and over and over again. That’s not negative criticism on my part. Hammer had a style, in the same way that a musician like John Lee Hooker had a style or an artist like Willem de Kooning had a style. Listen to an album or see a painting hanging on a wall and it becomes immediately clear who is responsible. Hammer films followed a theme. They developed over time into something that was very much their own. Towards the end, though, they began to switch things up in search of a new formula. Such is the case with today’s film. Continue reading “October Hammershow: The Satanic Rites of Dracula”

Stallone Month: Tango & Cash

Tango & Cash is somewhat of a watershed moment for the excessive 1980s style of action flick. It’s so ridiculous and over-the-top that a viewer could be forgiven if they thought this film was a spoof. It is not. However, it is an excellent example of what can go right and wrong in an action film, and in film productions in general. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Tango & Cash”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Psychomania, aka The Death Wheelers

Tom Latham thinks that life could only get better if he just kills himself. Turns out, he’s right! Tom (Nicky Henson) isn’t suffering from depression, nor is he a deluded youth who is incapable of processing the permanence of death. He’s the leader of an outlaw biker gang called The Living Dead. They get their kicks by driving mildly quickly on the roads of rural England and occasionally tipping over vendor’s carts at the local shopping center. How dreadfully frightful. But Tom has an idea that can make his little band of nihilists even more of a public nuisance. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Psychomania, aka The Death Wheelers”

October Horrorshow: Eight Legged Freaks

Sometimes horror films can be a downer. In preparing for this month of reviews, I watch a lot of horror. For every film that makes it to the Horrorshow, I probably watch two others that didn’t interest me enough to write about. That means I spend a lot of evenings listening to young women scream in terror, watching grievous bodily injury, and living in a state of general anxiety brought about by all that scary stuff on the screen. Sleep is no respite, as we tend to dream about things that are on our minds. It’s not uncommon for me to watch yet another gory horror film followed up by a night of dreaming about the zombie apocalypse or a demonic presence in my home. Good grief. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Eight Legged Freaks”

October Horrorshow: Creepshow

I’m about to write something that will call into question my credibility as a reviewer of horror films. I believe Creepshow is the best film George Romero directed. Blasphemy! What has led me to such low depths; to such sacrilege against Romero’s groundbreaking classic, Night of the Living Dead? How could I possibly elevate Creepshow not just above the incredible Night, but also above Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead? It might have something to do with the writing. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Creepshow”

October Horrorshow: Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Clowns are creepy. But I didn’t realize this until I got older. Back when I was a kid, I remember my old man and his brother loading up our families in a van to head out to Richfield Coliseum to see Ringling Bros. We only went a couple of years — at most three in a row. Hardly a family tradition, but there are still parts of those outings I remember vividly, and clowns creeping me out is not one of them. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Killer Klowns from Outer Space”

October Horrorshow: Return of the Living Dead Part II

The Return of the Living Dead, the Dan O’Bannon film from 1985, is my favorite zombie flick. It was the product of a messy divorce between George Romero and screenwriter John A. Russo. Their creative split meant Romero went one way with his Dead films, and Russo, another. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Return of the Living Dead Part II”

October Horrorshow: Zombeavers

I can’t believe I watched this movie. Actually, I can. After all, I’ve never met a movie I wouldn’t watch — for at least fifteen minutes, anyway. But not only did I watch Zombeavers, I made it through all 77 minutes. Thank goodness for short runtimes. Are you paying attention, Peter Jackson? Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Zombeavers”

October Horrorshow: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

I love it when a sequel plays around with its original idea...with caveats, of course. Tweaks are good. Wholesale re-imaginings can be taking things too far. Take The Highlander, for instance. That film lays out some neat ground rules for both protagonist and antagonist. For some supernatural reason, seemingly random people throughout history have been rendered immortal, their purpose in life to track each other down and cut each other’s heads off, all to earn a mysterious prize which will be given to the last man standing. The film spent a substantial amount of time on its hero’s origin story in the Scottish Highlands. The film wrapped up the story so completely that the filmmakers may as well have put a bow on it. But, when it was time to make a sequel, all that backstory was retconned, and the immortals turned into fricking aliens. ALIENS. Audiences hated it. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge”

Schwarzenegger Month: Batman & Robin

Ah, Batman & Robin, the movie that killed the Batman film franchise. I get it. After the Batman comic books took on a darker tone in the late ’80s, it was only natural that the new films that began with Tim Burton’s Batman would become more serious and less campy. Batman, his character and his fictional world, had changed. I also get what the director of this film, Joel Schumacher, was trying to do. He understood the character of Batman from a different era. When he chose to craft a Batman movie he chose to do so in the form of a costume ball. Bright colors, festive music, outrageous outfits — its participants are all out for a wonderful night on the town, and all seem to be in on the joke. This was the Batman from the comics, just not the right Batman comics. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: Batman & Robin”