Archive for the '70’s movies' Category

Dec

Comments Off on Black Christmas (1974): Rest Stop Review Edition by Donna Bleed

A Norman Bates Family Christmas

A Norman Bates Family Christmas?

Making my holiday cookie deliveries around Lost Highway I ran into The Doktor, and we got to talking about our favorite holiday movies. Naturally, Black Christmas was at the top of both our lists, but there was a problem. He thinks the 2006 remake is the better film, while I stand steadfastly by the 1974 original. We decided to go head-to-head and run it by you fine folks. You decide which is better, judging by our 3-B breakdown and critique of each film.

Black Christmas (1974) opens at a sorority house all decked out for the holidays. There is a creepy POV of someone climbing into the attic. Downstairs, the girls are in the Christmas spirit, except Barb (Margot Kidder) whose mother decides to run off with some man rather than see her daughter on Christmas. She returns to the party, and the phone rings again. Apparently, the house has been plagued by an obscene caller, and boy is he a doozy. The call is frightening. I’m serious; if I got a phone call like these gals got, I would not only change my phone number, but I would smash the phone the call came through on into tiny pieces, then pour gasoline over the tiny pieces and set them on fire.

Anyway; after the first call, Claire goes upstairs to finish packing, but doesn’t quite make it, because some psycho wraps a dry cleaning bag around her head. Next thing we see of her, she’s dead in the attic in a rocking chair. The house mother Mrs. Mac comes home, and the girls give her an ugly housedress as a gift. They all scatter to the four winds while Mrs. Mac finds one of the eight thousand bottles of whiskey she has hidden around the house and starts a-guzzlin’. Claire’s dad shows up looking for her; Jess reveals she’s in a family way and wants an abortion and her boyfriend, Peter, doesn’t like that idea; the psycho goes to town. Phone calls, killing Mrs. Mac with a hook and pulley, stabbing Margot Kidder with a crystal unicorn, cop killing, implied murder of a little girl, killing Phyllis offscreen, rampaging through the house and scaring Jess half to death; making her so crazy she thinks it’s Peter and she beats him to death with a fireplace poker.

Why do I think it’s better than the remake? Simple-there is no reason for this dude to be torturing and killing these girls. NONE. We don’t know who he is, aside from thinking his name might be Billy (He screams this name repeatedly during the phone calls), and we don’t know what he wants or what set him off, or why he chose them and not the house down the street. We’re just as much in the dark as poor Jess is at the end, running around and trying to defend herself.

But, let’s get down to brass tacks:

Blood: I’d say about 2 quarts blood. There’s not a whole lot of onscreen violence, and we only see the aftermath of a couple of the killings.

Breasts: No breasts, which is surprising given when this movie was made. The girls are wholesome, aside from Jess, whom we know has been making the sign of the epileptic wombat with Peter, which has resulted in her being knocked up.

Beasts: 3 beasts: Margot Kidder- A drunken wreck until her untimely demise. Not pretty, and a sign of things to come. Mrs. Mac- This woman is so ugly, when she was born, the doctor slapped her momma. Last, but not least, Billy- Psycho extrodinare.

Roadside Attractions:
Dry-cleaner bag-fu, hook and pulley-fu, fireplace poker-fu, crystal unicorn-fu, obscene phone call-fu

3cheese

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Oct

Comments Off on 10 Best Shriek-tracks for Halloween


There was a time not that long ago when soundtracks in horror movies actually played an important role and were treated like major characters. Each score had its own distinct personality and complemented all of the onscreen action. In slasher films usually, a series of well-placed sound cues from an orchestra or a pulsating synth rhythm would signal the killer is close by, or that the victim is about to triumph over his or her attacker. What you saw on screen and heard both worked together to create the desired thrills and chills. But sadly, not the same can be said about the majority of soulless “film scores” being churned out today. The current crop of horror composers aim for cheap scares by using loud, random noises to get a reaction out of the audience. There isn’t any kind of build-up to create tension or a feeling of dread in horror films of the new millennium, just musical punch lines that arrive way too soon and don’t end up paying off for the audience. Instead of having memorable themes like “The Shape Stalks” from “Halloween” or the “Main Title” from “Jaws” that made your heart race the first time you heard them, “music” in recent horror movies has been replaced by generic, headache-inducing distractions that totally take you out of the movie experience.

But don’t worry, Ghouls and Ghoulettes. We have put together a list of classic horror soundtracks from different eras (when movie music still mattered) that are guaranteed to make your Halloween party festive and extra creepy this year.


1. Trick ‘r Treat

Douglas Pipes (“Monster House“) delivers a surprisingly creepy film score that, along with the film, perfectly captures the spirit of Halloween. At times his composing style will remind you of the late composers, Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Herrmann. The whole soundtrack is overflowing with eerie goodness, but standout tracks are “Main Titles”, “To The Quarry”, and “Pumpkin Shooter/Meet Sam.”





2. Damien: Omen II

This soundtrack can easily be considered one of composer Jerry Goldsmith’s masterpieces. With each track you can hear the forthcoming sense of doom that is simmering just beneath the surface. His mixture of dark mass chants and startling electronic sound effects would make even Jason Voorhees cry for his mommy.





3. Creepshow

As far as horror movie anthologies are concerned, “Creepshow” is one on the best. And John Harrison’s spooky film score has one of the best opening tracks that I’ve ever heard on a horror soundtrack. Listening to each track will make you feel like you are watching the movie all over again. The CD features previously unreleased music from “Mansions of the Moon“, “Shoobie Doobie Moon“, as well as some music from the “Tales from the Darkside” TV show.





4. Psycho (1960)

Another personal favorite soundtrack of mine. Bernard Herrmann composed this iconic score which has sent a collective shiver down the spines of fans spanning many generations. The stabbing string section on the track “Prelude” still cuts just as deep today, even though the music is almost 50 years old. Now let me go, because I think I hear “Mother” calling me.





5. Hellraiser

Christopher Young’s spine-tingling masterwork is the perfect compliment to Clive Barker’s nightmarish directorial debut. Young has created a score that features some of the most hauntingly beautiful music that I’ve ever heard in a horror movie. I couldn’t imagine watching “Hellraiser” without hearing his music.





6. Tenebre

You can’t have a top ten horror soundtrack list without including Italian Prog Rock band, Goblin, which has consistently composed some of the most unique sounding and memorable music for horror movies. At the request of director Dario Argento, three of the four original members from Goblin reunited to create a hypnotic and energetic score filled with enough up-tempo tracks that will surely have any wallflowers at your party cutting a rug.





7. Phantasm

This is another movie that just wouldn’t have the same impact if it had different music. Composing duo Fred Myrow and Malcom Seagrave collaborated to create my all-time favorite movie soundtrack that perfectly frames Reggie’s and Mike’s life-or-death struggle against the evil Tall Man.





8. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Goblin creates another wildly inventive score using a variety of instruments and sound effects for Romero’s fan favorite zombie film. When you hear the tortured moans of the undead on track 2, “Zombi”, you’ll want to quickly lock all of your doors and board up every window to protect yourself from the coming zombie invasion.





9. The Amityville Horror (1979)

Nominated for an Academy Award, master composer Lao Shiffrin’s soundtrack is the scariest part of the movie. Without his pulse-pounding music, “Amityville Horror” would’ve been even more of a snoozer.




10. The Thing

If after listening to this score you mistakenly thought John Carpenter did the music, don’t beat yourself up too much. Because just like how the parasitic alien in the movie was able to imitate other life forms, composer Enio Morricone masterfully emulated Carpenter’s distinct style when he created this bleak, minimalist soundtrack that will chill you to the bone.


Sep

Comments Off on “Killdozer” Rest Stop Review Edition

This t-shirt from fright rags is actually scarier than the whole movie.

Back in the 70’s and early 80’s there was a rash of machines gone wild movies. There was a demon Lincoln in “The Car”, a stalking semi-truck in “Duel” and some radioactive big rigs in “Maximum Overdrive.” One movie often over looked though was “Killdozer.” This 1974 made for TV movie revolved around the idea that construction equipment while incredibly loud and slow can also be an effective stalking killing machine.  In reality it’s about as effective as an overweight ninja…..if that Ninja is flatulent….and you’re an inanimate object like a potted plant.

A group of construction workers are clearing land on an island making room for what must be dozens of  strip malls when a meteorite suddenly strikes their work site. Thankfully, 70’s star Robert Urich is there to save the day and tries to bulldoze over the big hunk of pulsating space rock. The meteorite goes mini super nova and transfers it’s glow into the bulldozer leaving a fondue faced Robert Urich to die an agonizing made for TV death. Back at the workers camp, Clint Howard is our reluctant baritoned hero. He’s a construction foreman with a drinking problem (shocking I know). After the accident he begins to suspect the strange humming bulldozer might have some homicidal tendencies but feels better to just keep it a secret. He’s not too surprised when it trashes their camp the next day and turns one of his men into a human burrito stuffed in a drainage pipe. The rest of the men flee (walk briskly) to slightly higher ground since the bulldozer’s greatest weakness is slight inclines and can only travel about 8mph. These guys aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed though and devise increasingly dumb ways to combat the malevolent machine including starting a fire that it bulldozes right over or trying to drive a truck full of explosives into it. After a failed  game of chicken with their army jeep the two survivors decide to battle Killdozer with a digger crane in what can only amount to the lamest game of rock em’ sock em’ robots ever. Couldn’t they just wait for the thing to run out of gas? A riding lawnmower is scarier than this movie. Let’s check out the Roadside Attractions: Deep fried Urich, Jeep wrangling, Rock-slide Fu, Glow rocks, Drain tube crushing, Electroshock oil change, Bulldozer hit and run..er..I mean mozy along. Retroman says check it out…but if a homicidal bulldozer is ever barreling down on you at tops speeds, be sure to step aside…after a while…ya know when you feel like it. Take your time though, there’s no rush.

You can watch the entire movie on YouTube. Shockingly, nobody has threatened to take it down. They probably figured nobody’s watching it except for the Urich family. Part 1 is below and the rest are available on that Youtube site all the cool kids are talking about.

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Looking for hard to find cult movies and unreleased DVD’s of some vintage b-movies then check out www.superstrangevideo.com. They provide many of the movies we review here at the site and will give you a great price on whatever film you’re trying to track down.

Sep

Comments Off on Death Race 2000 (revisited)

Deathrace 2000

So last week I got a call at 4 in the morning “Steve this is Drive-in Dan. Do you know what day it is?” I still could barely understand the concept that I was using a phone.  “It’s Tuesday and this dream really sucks.” I said groggily.  “Yeah but It’s a very important Tuesday! Today marks the 3 year anniversary of Lost Highway! Can you believe it?” to which I responded “Who is this? and how many pixie sticks you been sniffin?”  “I’ve cut back to 43 but that’s besides the point. We need to do a contest and give away something cool!” I thought about it for a while. “hello?” he said after a long moment of silence. “I think I got some pop-tarts and a extra tire gauge still in the wrapper. I’ll give them to you if you go away now and let me sleep you strange voice in my head.” “Don’t worry I’ll come up with it…you just sit back and watch the awesome. Gotta go…got to get the reels ready for tonights drive-in… oh and build a walk in shower. Bye!” At that point I believe my snoring drowned out the dialtone.

3 years old…wow that’s like 30 in Internet years. That makes the site so old that I just might go ahead retire now and collect some of that sweet social security the government’s been promising me. Good days are ahead my friends. Yes I’ll now be able to drive with my blinker on all the time and blurt out inappropriate things at parties. People will just be like “oh he’s an old blogger.” and nod their head in sympathy. You young kids with all your Twitterings and Facebookies…I remember when all we had were websites and email and we liked it that way

There are other benefits to being an old blogger. I can get get a handicap parking permit for the strip clubs and senior discounts at any of the local golden shovel buffets. Finally I’ll be able to get my money’s worth without having to be over 300 pounds. “Sorry No room for dessert I just got done eating 3 pounds of ham.” Yes it’ll be a cornacopia of geriatrics and gluttony. I suspect many senior citizens actually live there and just cycle back through the lines.

So I might just stay there or maybe there’s a nice retirement center that specializes in old b-movie bloggers? A place where people like me that can rattle off movie quotes for any occasion. Where movie nights consist of beasts, breasts, and blood. Where board games meet hardcore drinking. Where shuffle board and vodka end in someone breaking a hip. Where Walker fights break over Lipitor deals gone bad and senile gangs start turf wars. “Yeah you see Warriors that’s what you get when ya mess with the Orphans!”

Yes it’ll be a special day when Retroman hits the retirement scene so until then here’s to 30 more years of Lost Highway sheninigans and to future Lost Movie nights at the Shadey Twin Pines Senior Center. I hope to see ya there. Now get the hell of my lawn!

Speaking of senior citizen discounts, in Death Race 2000 old people are the top point getters for hit and runs in the Transcontinental Road Race. Surprisingly even more points than teenagers?! This must be the FUTURE! America is run by a fascists emperor calling himself the president and France has ruined the world …like we all knew it would. The only entertainment for the masses without American Idol re-runs is a race across country pitting 5 cars against each other and any people stupid enough to be jay walking. Consider it an evolution of NASCAR but now the drivers can take out the fans in the Walmart parking lot for big bonus points. David “I know kung-fu” Carradine and Sylvester “I don’t say Adriane anymore” Stallone star in this tale of competitive vehicular homocide. Mr. Caradine fresh from TV decided the best career move was to dress up in a S&M outfit and drive a lizard car. Surprisingly it worked for him. He plays the legendary frankenstein race car driver whose body has been rumored to be reconstructed from used Maytag dryer parts and duct tape allowing him not only shift the car at lightening speed but to dry his own cloths while wearing them. So big Frank and his bombshell beauty copilot Anne (Simone Griffeth) race across country against free-wheelin nazis and blood thirsty cowboys in cars with steer horns for the coveted winners circle. 1st place gets you a hand shake with the president but no commercial endorsements. that’s a whole lotta of chaffing and talcum powder for sitting in a race car that long. Little do people realize Frank has other intentions that don’t involve ads for viagra and plans to blow up the president with a makeshift “Hand” gernade himself. Meanwhile a group of revolutionaries dressed in blue jumpsuits hang around watching TV and plot to destroy the race and replaced Frankenstein with a more pudgy decoy. They learn It’s hard to fake anorexia and Frankenstein foils their plans numerous times while avoiding all their other Willy coyote trappings.*

deathrace 200The racers eventually take a pit stop at their 70’s local civic center and get all nekkid and massaged by big sides of Beef with fake tans. So many boobies! Stallone who plays Machine Gun Joe has a deep hatred of Frankenstein whom he thinks has been stealing the races and taking all his glory. Maybe if Joe stopped gunning down his fans or running over his pit crew he might be a bit more liked. At one point he gets in a scuffle with bean pole carradine when he’s found trying to choke Ann. Big Frank easily kicks Joe’s butt with his patent slow-mo kung-fu but I personally fault Joe’s pink tie. Guys in pink tennis sweaters wrapped around their necks also get beaten regularly. It’s really an epidemic.

deathrace 200Frankenstein later takes out a good dozen or so nurses and doctors at a local drive-thru hospital purposely missing those big scoring old folks parked on the street. He also takes a quick detour to run over the head of his fan club and then peels out on the pope to rack up some major pointage. Yes this is our hero ladies and gentlemen. He runs over medical personal, clergy, and his favorite fans. Later he drugs Annie with some tainted Gatoraide just in time to get dive bombed by a prop plane whose aiming skills is on par with a Glaucomic Barney Fiffe . Racers start getting offed left and right mostly through their own stupidity and it all culminates to  a showdown with the evil Mr. president. Asta la veto baby.

Roger Corman produced this film and actually though this movie would be a disaster when he first read the concept thinking it would be “just too dark and vile.” Luckily the director Paul Bartel convinced him otherwise and knew to take it in a more satirical direction. The result was pure b-movie gold. It’s one of my all time favorite b-movies as well as my first review I did for Lost Highway. So grab your leather jumpsuit and talcum powder and check out “Death Race 2000.”

– Multiple hit and runs
– 3 car explosions with crash and burn
– 6 breasts
– 1 “hand” gernade
– 1 explodo-toddler
– Black leather chaffing
– Homicidal bowling
– Bull fighting
– Exploding head fu
– Fly fishing fu

9.7 out of 10

“Myra, some people might think you’re cute, but I happen to think you’re a very large baked potato.” Wow…a big slam on potatoes everywhere. I’m sure they got letters from people in Idaho.

*ACME in no way endorses this movie or the use of their products and patent ideas for road runner capture.

Check out the trailer for Death Race 2000

Jul

posted by admin | July 3, 2009 | 70's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized

Comments Off on Empire of the Ants

In a recent BBC article It’s been discovered that a our littlest friends under our feet, the Argentine ant, is actually part of a vast mega colony that has already colonized much of our planet. Scary? yes… and maybe the largest species that could even rival humans in their population scale but with less strip malls and urban sprawl. These ants were once only native to south America (hence the Brazilian waxed thoraxes) and now cover every continent by hitching a ride on our shoes…well everywhere except ANTartica. They figured with a name like that it was already spoken for. Faced with this news of impeding insect invasion, I just want to take this moment to welcome our benevolent insect overlords and offer my services in managing diabetic worker slaves in the vast sugar factories. Let’s just try to forget my younger years involving a magnifying glass on a sunny day or that ant farm I accidentally flooded with radiator fluid.

empire of the antsSpeaking of mutant ants taking over the world, “Empire of the Ants” leads us to believe that not only can radioactive waste cause insects to grow to the size of Volkswagons but they can also setup thriving sugar based economies, run factories, and managed cheap labor forces. All this in a single day.

Joan Collins takes a break from crappy TV shows to play a unscrupulous land developer, Marilyn Fryser. She’s trying to sell island real estate to clueless Floridians in leisure suits. Little do they know one of the island perks is scenic sunset views of radioactive barrels of toxic waste washing ashore right where the ants like to sunbath. The typical poorly sealed nuclear storage containers start leaking silver paint all over the ants and suddenly BAMMM! gigantus insectus among-us making picnic runs on Marilyn’s clients.

After discovering some dead construction workers covered in Smuckers raspberry jam the remaining customers decide to hightail it outta there as fast as their golf cart tour bus can carry them. Easily exceeding speeds of 10 mph they finally arrive back at the beach to find their tour boat getting antified. Dan, our grizzly faced boat captain swims out to try to save his precious scooner but the ants gives him the smack down. In a Gilligan-esque moment he decides to just to blow up the boat instead. The skipper would be proud. Now trapped on the island, rained on, hungry and without any extra eyeliner for Joan Collins they start to head towards the center of the island in hopes of rescue. The very old and very senile couple trailing the group decides it best to go off on their own hiding out in a dilapidated shack. Their last words would be “don’t worry we’ll be safe in here” proving again that old people are among the first to die in any b-movie.

Empire of the antsThe survivors battling their poor sense of direction take a old boat down the river and run into an ant made baricade and have to battle American Gladiator gauntlet style with giant foam ant heads. The cameraman appears to be in the thick of the action because heck if anyone can tell whose landing any punches with all those styrofoam legs flailing around. The boat sinks and they find a creepy old couple living in a barb wired cottage retreat who take them to town (this island must be huge!) They know something’s strange is happening in hicksville with not a Walmart or PigglyWiggly in sight and bets are someone’s been hoarding all the sugar packs too.

Their suspicions are confirmed when they find the towns folk being rounded up and taken to the gigantic sugar factory outside town which are apparently quite prevalent in the Florida everglades. Inside the factory, people are lining up like it’s a carnival ride to get sprayed with a cloud of ant pheromone from a queen ant crammed into a phone booth. This mind control spray makes the victim do whatever the queen asks of them plus it has the side benefit of the fresh scent of Lysol. It’s pretty much like if they went to a Pink Floyd laser show and got a contact buzz. Thankfully Dan fends of the ants and towns folk with a road flare and his extreme grizzliness then loads up the last of the survivors onto yet another boat ready to get lost again in the swamp. Hey the guy really likes boats can ya dig? I think the factory blew up too at some point but they ran out of budget…it’s mostly implied by a guy driving aimlessly around in a fuel tanker and then there’s a grease fire and some flaming ant footage.

I was surprised at the low level special effects this movie utilized for a 70’s monster film. I’d swear it was a 1950’s sci-fi movie if it wasn’t for the eye piercing leisure suits and feathered hairdos. Lots of split screens between the actors and ants, toy models with ants trying to climb the painted back drop, and styrofoam props make the effects on par with a Gamera film. The most redeeming quality of this movie is seeing Joan Collins impaled by a giant queen ant after getting her brain zapped. “That’s for making us endure Dallas..see ya in hell!”  “Empire of the Ants” is cheesy little b-flick that just goes to show you can make a movie without the need for acting, special effects or even a plot getting in the way.

-Extreme leisure-suits
-Nuclear waste in a can
-Joan Collins fu
-Fraudulent resort tours
-Paddle fu
-Ant smoke contact buzz
-Road flair phone booth attacks
-Giant styrofoam ants
-Exploding sugar shacks
-Kaleidoscope ant vision
-Redneck mind control

I give it a 7.3 out of 10..but that’s only because the ants are watching me… right now….listening to my thoughts.

Check out the trailer for Empire of the Ants

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