Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Child’s Play 3

Chucky is at it again! Despite making sure that Chucky was mutilated beyond all recognition at the end of the previous film, Don Mancini found a way to bring his baby back to life for another payday.

Released just ten months after the previous entry, in 1991, Child’s Play 3 picks up eight years after the events of Child’s Play 2. Only in fictional worlds is that kind of timeline possible.

Once more, young Andy Barclay is the protagonist. But, since Alex Vincent was selfishly incapable of aging eight years in time for filming, his part went to Justin Whalin, whom viewers might remember from his regular role on Lois & Clark. Brad Dourif returned to voice Chucky, Don Mancini returned to write the screenplay, while directing duties were handled by Jack Bender. This was his first feature film, but by 1991 he had been directing in television for the past decade. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Child’s Play 3″

October Horrorshow: Bornless Ones

“Today is the day you pay for your consequences.”

That is the line from Bornless Ones, the magnum opus from writer/director Alexander Babaev, that I think about whenever I’m about to give this flick too much praise. It’s not as if mangled idioms aren’t commonplace in film, but it’s a useful reminder that this flick ain’t The Exorcist.

From 2016, Bornless Ones is a neat take on the cabin in the woods subgenre of horror. It’s not great, though. At times it’s not even that good. It’s one of those films that improves on a well-worn idea, but finds itself weighed down by some bad dialogue and weak reads. The second half is awash in blood and gore, so it has that going for it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Bornless Ones”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest

There wasn’t much hope here at Missile Test for Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest. While we did enjoy the previous film in the series, barely, Urban Harvest marks a transition for the franchise, as the films moved from theatrical releases to productions made specifically for the home video market. As any shitty movie veteran can tell you, they don’t send Oscar contenders direct to video. Director James D.R. Hickox seemed to know this (thank goodness), so what viewers lose in quality, Hickox makes up for in gore. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest”

October Horrorshow: Terror-Creatures from the Grave

Pacemaker Pictures, the English-language distributors of Terror-Creatures from the Grave, the 1965 Italian gothic horror flick, sure went all in on the title. Perhaps they had a shortlist and couldn’t decide between Terror from the Grave and Creatures from the Grave so, like some parents, decided to burden their charge with a hyphenated name. It’s a mouthful, but has loads of kitsch to it.

Directed by Massimo Pupillo, from a screenplay by Romano Migliorini and Roberto Natale, Terror-Creatures is plays like a pageant in honor of horror cinema. Shot in stark black and white by Carlo Di Palma, the film relies heavily on early horror film styles and storytelling, while combining it with contemporary trends in Italian cinema. There’s the dark and stormy night, overlayered with endless theremin music, combined with dramatic closeups and the multinational cast mouthing their lines in different languages. It’s like watching an old Universal horror film, and everyone is poorly dubbed. Unfortunately, that dubbing can be somewhat distracting, but Pupillo and company nevertheless made a decent horror film. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Terror-Creatures from the Grave”

October Horrorshow: Terror (1978)

Sometimes when watching a film, a viewer can tell that the whole project barely held together. We viewers tend to hold that film is an artistic struggle carried out by a single individual. The director has a vision and a story they want to share. This is called the auteur theory of film, and is the main reason we heap praise on directors, at the expense of everyone else involved in a production. Less acknowledged is the reality that film is a business. As anyone who ever worked in an office can tell you, folks are just hanging on by their fingernails, hoping against hope that no one notices how much of the job is just faking it until it gets done. Here is director Norman J. Warren on his 1978 film, Terror:

 

[A] search for a story [in Terror] is in vain…There is no real storyline and very little, if any, logic. We had the money for a low-budget film, but no script and no idea of what film we wanted to make…we made a list of all the scenes we’d like to see in a horror film. We handed the list to writer David McGillivray, who incorporated the ideas into a ‘sort of story.’

That’s an excellent description of this film. There is a plot, involving an ancient curse set upon the Garrick family by a witch, but the plot is just a means to get from one death scene to another. It’s those scenes, fleshed out and very atmospheric, where this film truly lives. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Terror (1978)”

October Horrorshow: Terrified

I love finding an old movie that, as of seeing it, doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. Any movie that can’t be bothered with by Wikipedia’s legion of unpaid of workers has to be shit. Terrified, the last feature from longtime director Lew Landers, is a shitty movie. It’s also quite violent for its day, and, were it not for epic cheapness and laziness with the production, might have been a halfway decent flick.

From 1963, Terrified comes from the pen of Richard Bernstein, who began his screenwriting career with From Hell It Came. That movie was spectacular cheese about a killer tree. Nothing so original in this flick. There doesn’t seem to have been a budget for a foam rubber monster, so in this film, the baddie is just a guy in an ill-fitting suit and homemade stocking mask. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Terrified”

October Horrorshow: Blood Sabbath, or, My Soul for Some Strange

Blood Sabbath movie posterWhat a bucket of sleaze. Blood Sabbath, the 1972 exploitation horror flick from screenwriter William A. Bairn and director Brianne Murphy, is exactly the kind of movie that gets the pious all worked up. Gratuitous nudity only begins to describe the amount of flesh in this movie. This is one of those drive-in classics packed full, from start to finish, with butts, boobs, and bush. Add in witchcraft, and one would be hard-pressed to find an R-rated film more capable of moral corruption. It’s spectacular.

The film follows Vietnam War vet David (Anthony Geary). He’s having a rough time with what he experienced in the war, and has gone on a walkabout that takes him, I think, into Mexico. The film isn’t clear on that. While there, he is accosted in the night by three naked partiers and chased through the woods. He trips and falls, hitting his head on a rock and falling unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself being cared for by a buxom young lady named Yyala (Susan Damante). She’s a water spirit, or something similar, and the two fall in love with each other. But, David can’t get past first base because, according to Yyala, she has no soul, and it’s forbidden for her to be with someone who still has theirs. So, David makes it his mission to rid himself of his soul so he can get laid. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Blood Sabbath, or, My Soul for Some Strange”

October Horrorshow: The Dungeon of Harrow

The Information Age is a wonderful thing. As long as it keeps its filthy hands off of democracy, anyway. What I mean is, all a person needs to make a movie these days is a smartphone and an idea. That’s pretty much all Nigel Bach has, and that guy just made his seventh horror flick in three years. Besides that, countless people have been shooting small moving snapshots of daily life that are creating a pastiche of culture to pass down to the ages that is unrivaled in human history. But that doesn’t mean that the world of film was completely closed off to everyone outside of Hollywood or New York in the days of analog. Sometimes, someone on the fringes of the entertainment biz — someone along the lines of Herk Harvey or Harold P. Warren — would get it into their heads to make a movie, and, despite all the obstacles of a time when one couldn’t carry a film crew in their back pocket, managed to make it happen. Such was the case with The Dungeon of Harrow, the 1962 gothic horror flick from writer/director Pat Boyette. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Dungeon of Harrow”

October Horrorshow: Horror Rises from the Tomb

Writer/actor/director Paul Naschy was cinematic royalty in his native Spain. But, despite having seen piles and piles of horror flicks and shitty movies combined, this reviewer had never heard of him until doing the research for this post. My favorite factoid about Naschy is that he starred in twelve low-budget werewolf flicks, all as a character named Waldemar Daninsky, and yet each is a standalone film, featuring a new origin for Waldemar’s werewolf curse. That’s fantastic. Who retcons the same character eleven times? Naschy and his cohort over in Franco’s Spain, that’s who. I cannot wait to see them all and share my thoughts on them with you, loyal reader. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Horror Rises from the Tomb”

October Horrorshow: Blood Vessel

I dig horror flicks set aboard abandoned and adrift ships. The real stories of the Mary Celeste and other vessels, found at sea with no one aboard, make for fascinating mysteries. Add in the supernatural, and abandoned ships become excellent locations for horror. Ships are creepy and claustrophobic. There are countless nooks and crannies where characters can get lost, or in which baddies can hide. They make more noise than a shack in a winter wind. They’re basically oceangoing haunted houses. Blood Vessel, the 2019 horror film from writers Justin Dix and Jordan Prosser, and directed by Dix, doesn’t involve ghosts. Rather, the menace in this film is a family of vampires. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Blood Vessel”