Archive for the 'Horror movies' Category

Aug

posted by admin | August 17, 2013 | 80's movies, Horror movies, Reviews by the Goon, Sci-Fi, Slasher, Slasher films

Comments Off on The Fog

the fog

It’s midnight and for you that may mean you’re half in the bag, working up the courage to talk to that girl you think has been checking you out all night at the bar or maybe you’re sitting on your couch in stained under-roos demolishing a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos flipping through Netflix, but not settling on anything to watch. For the folks in Antonio Bay, it means something ghostly. Something deadly.

As the small coastal Californian city gets ready to celebrate their centennial, odd and almost poltergeist like things begin to happen. Car alarms blare, payphones ring for no reason, dogs go crazy with barking (so basically, normal California now)… all with the sudden appearance of a fog. This ominous presence also very slightly upsets the mortar at the church, knocking lose a stone and uncovering a 100 year old diary of a teen girl. No, it’s from early settlers, but in their defense, it was cool for everyone to have diaries back then. Father Malone reads the journal, discovering that his grandfather along with five others purposely sank the ship the Elizabeth Dane and its crew of lepers, who only wished to develop a colony… but who would want to live near a bunch of icky lepers?

the fogThat evening, Nick (Tom Atkins who is MUSTACHLESS!) picks up a hitchhiking Jamie Lee Curtis, who must still be on the run from Michael Myers. On their way to nowhere, I guess, all of the car windows explode. Meanwhile, three fisherman drink beer on their boat as that fog rolls in. Ghastly, shadowed figures slaughter them and then vanish. The next morning, DJ Stevie Wayne (played by Adrienne Barbeau) is given a broken piece of drift wood from her son that only reads “Dane.” Later at the radio station (which she rocks in a lighthouse) her tapes play backwards, the wood bursts into flames and the words “6 MUST DIE” appear on the drift wood. Stevie just continues on about her day, which I assume is all you really can do.

Father Malone unveils the secret of the town’s founders to the mayor before the big ceremony: That they celebration would really be honoring murderers. Not to rain on his parade or anything, but didn’t English people murder a bunch of Native Americans to get the land we live on today? That’s beside the point.

The celebration goes on as planned as the fog rolls in, cutting power and phone lines. Bet you didn’t know fogs were were like the SWAT team of weather, did you? The specters in the fog claim a few more victims, including the weatherman Dan (Charles Cyphers) and Stevie’s son’s babysitter, who is some random old lady. Stevie gets on the radio and pleads for help for someone to help her son. Nick snaps into action and scoops the boy up before he becomes the sixth victim. You know, if all they want is six, that kid shouldn’t have been so selfish and let them kill him and the ghosts would have stopped terrorizing random, hard working people and causing a lot of money in property damage. Just saying.

the fogStevie then gives the worst advice, telling everyone to go to the church because it’s the safest place. She gives this information with absolutely no proof (guess her radio station is owned by FOX News. Zing). Father Malone is the only one to brave up and offer himself as a sacrifice, taking with him a gold cross. As he is being attacked by Blake, one of the ghosts that was murdered by his grandfather, it begins to glow because… it’s neat? No idea, but Nick manages to scoop up Father Malone and save him. The fog and the ghosts disappear, since they most likely have better things to do. The movie concludes with Father Malone pondering why he wasn’t killed, just as the fog rolls back in and the ghosts reappear.

In all honesty, The Fog isn’t John Carpenter’s best work, but it’s certainly not his worst. This film was after the success of Halloween, but right before the gory, special effects heavy The Thing, so it seems like good middle ground. It certainly showed how well director John Carpenter was developing as a filmmaker and storyteller. With roles from actors in previous John Carpenter’s, it’s interesting to see them all play different characters instead of being typecast. Also, the characters are all named after his friends, so it’s good if you like trivia. You could look at this as an experimental piece. What it lacks in violence and blood, like the previous mentioned films, it makes up in moody atmosphere, chilling darkness and a spooky story.

So tune in listeners, check out The Fog (now in a stunning restoration on Blu-ray from Scream! Factory) and keep them windows locked and doors bolted.

roadside attractions

  • Ghost Pirates!
  • Carpenter Cast Roll Call.
  • Somehow this movie feels like it should have Tom Waits singing sea shanties.
  • When Father Malone first opens the diary, pause it and see what it says on the page…
  • Take a shot every time Annie is a total B.
  • Janet Leigh, still foxy.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Not too much blood, but plenty of hooking and some eye gouging.

4

blood

BREASTS

Jamie Lee, covered by bed sheets. Bummer.

7

beast

BEASTS

Better hope you’re the seventh person in line of the ghosts of the Elizabeth Dane slaughter.

5.7 OVERALL
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Watch the official trailer!”

trailers

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Aug

Comments Off on The Burning

the burning

It’s nearing the end of summer and one can’t help but feel a sense of whimsical and wonder as the days grow shorter and it starts to get a little colder. This is the time I like to visit the campgrounds… by watching a camp slasher film, of course. Sure the obvious picks are any number of the Friday the 13th films (minus Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X and Freddy Vs. Jason), but how about some other camp films? Something based from an old campfire tale told in parts of upstate New York in the 80’s… where I’m from and where I went to camp!

Now let me quickly tell you that story: You see, a maniac named Cropsey would stalk and kill people, much like the archetype boogeyman. It’s really that simple. Even more interesting, this tale has been popular since the 30’s, so upon researching it, I found that there isn’t even a Wiki page! Coincidence? Most likely. Of course this story will vary depending on which fable you read, but one thing remains constant: The revenge of Cropsey!

Which brings us to The Burning. The Burning was, strangely enough, being filmed around the same time another movie was being made about the Cropsey Maniac tale. Since The Burning came out first, that other film changed it’s story a bit and renamed its title to Madman. Anyway, it’s your classic camp tale about a maniac seeking revenge on anyone who comes back to the camp where he was nearly burned alive. Sounds pretty cut and paste, right? Well, yes actually, it kinda is. However as simple as the plot may seem, the movie shines through with excellent character development, fantastic gore and makeup, plus a soundtrack by Rick Wakemen! The Rick Wakemen of Yes. Not to mention the film is kinda creepy. So there’s that.

the burningThe movie opens up as several boys from Camp Blackfoot are plotting to scare the crap out of the caretaker Cropsey, because he’s kind of a douche. This prank, for whatever reason, involves a skull with worms and candles and wouldn’t you know it, it goes south and poor Cropsey burns. He’s burnt to a crisp. He’s burnt so bad, he scares an orderly at the hospital that everyone mistakes to be Lawrence Fishburne in an early roll (it’s not), much like that scene from Mad Max where his partner grabs his arm… yeah you know the bit. Anyway, five years go by and Cropsey is released from the hospital and what’s the first thing he does? Kill a hooker. You gotta keep that pimp arm strong as they say, I guess.

Meanwhile at camp, all the kids are playing ball, ogling over girls, you know kid stuff. Some of these kids include the very first acting rolls of Holly Hunter (in a very small role), Fisher Stevens (that “Indian” guy from the Short Circuit movies) and most bizzarely, Jason Alexander, with a somewhat fit body and full head of hair… I repeat, George from Seinfeld with A FULL HEAD OF HAIR. There is also the camp dweeb Alfred who is being bullied by the self appointed camp jock from Jersey, Glazer. Luckily, Alfred has Todd, the camp counselor, looking out for him. All is fun and games for the moment, but it doesn’t take Cropsey long to show up and start the body count.

The older kids go off on a canoe adventure of some kind and it doesn’t take long for camp stud Eddy to take his girl Karen out for a little swim. But since she won’t put out, Eddy sends her off crying and she runs into Cropsey. Unfortunately for her, Cropsey isn’t very good at consoling sad girls and mistakes wiping her tears with cutting her throat.

The next morning, they discover the canoes are missing and resort to building a raft, which responsibly, the camp counselors Todd and Michelle send a handful of kids off to find the canoes. Nothing bad could happen here. Now, what follows is such an intense and graphic scene, it originally had been butchered by the MPAA and earned this film one of the first spots on the UK’s Video Nasties list. So, you know it has to be good. Well, they find the canoes alright. And Cropsey is waiting inside and hacks and slashes them to pieces! Talking about this scene cannot do it justice. It is something that has to be witnessed.

the burningShortly, the raft drifts back to camp with the remains of the kids (so that’s what they put in the camp stew!), while Todd is searching for Alfred, who just witnessed Glazer and his girlfriend get butchered. Michelle heads back to camp on the makeshift raft for help. Todd faces his past (oh forgot to mention, he was one of the kids that accidentally burned Cropsey) and must defeat the maniac if he wants to save Alfred.

I can see why the censors had such a field day with this movie. These were actual kids being murdered and mutilated and it was shocking to see for the first time, especially with outrageous and amazing special effects by Tom Savini (who passed up Friday the 13th Part 2 in order to do this film). And I do have to add, these effects look spectacular on the Scream! Factory Blu-ray release! In fact, that whole transfer is one of the best I have seen. At one point when Cropsey is killing the hooker, you can see actor Lou David’s face shrouded with a black mask and sunglasses (hell, you can even see the reflection of the hooker in the glasses!). Now this begs the question; was Cropsey hiding his hideously burned face or were the filmmakers hiding the actors face to make it look shadowed? Hmm…

What else can you say? It’s a great summer time movie, with lots of blood, great special effects and a cool killer with some righteous music. So what are you waiting for? Summer isn’t over just yet. So pack your sleeping bag, an extra pair of undies and a copy of The Burning. And some Off. Mosquitoes are annoying.

roadside attractions

  • Fireball Caretaker.
  • “Scissoring” Hooker.
  • Ready. Aim. Fire. Run.
  • Jason Alexander with hair.
  • Jason Alexander mooning.
  • Raft mutilation.
  • Axe to the face.
  • Jersey Jock impalement.
  • Burned again!
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

Buckets of blood, arms, fingers and melted flesh.

7

blood

BREASTS

Here and there and soapy.

10

beast

BEASTS

Cropsey! And Glazer.

8.6 OVERALL
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Watch the infamous “raft scene!”

trailers

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Jul

Comments Off on The ABCs of Death

ABCs of Death

Not too long ago, I won a copy of The ABC’s of Death on Bluray from Magnet as part of a V/H/S/2 fan art contest and I finally got around to watching it. It had quite a bit of buzz surrounding it and the concept is quite interesting. Basically, each letter is a short film from a different director. Despite mixed reviews, I was still excited nonetheless (after all, isn’t the idea to see what I think about the film?). Rather than do a typical review, I thought I would try something a little different. Maybe something of a pun, if you will. So much like the film, I’m going to go through the alphabet, A-Z (in case you couldn’t figure that out) and give a word or two review on that particular letter, using the same letter. Afterwards, I’ll go back though and give more of an insight on the film experience. Alright, let’s start this mother!

A is for Alright, pretty rad!
B is for Boring.
C is for Condensed crap.
D is for Damn, downright dirty!
E is for Ehh…
F is for Frickin’ stupid.
G is for God, what a waste.
H is for Hella cool hound dog.
I is for Insomnia cure.
J is for Japan.
K is for Klassic Krap.
L is for Ludacris!
M is for Moronic.
N is for No thank you.
O is for Oh… kay…
P is for Pretty Lame.
Q is for Quack-tastic!
R is for Righteous and rowdy!
S is for Sadistically supercharged!
T is for Terrifying toilet trouble!
U is for Unseen killer.
V is for Visually mediocre.
W is for Whacky!
X is for X-tremely stupid.
Y is for Yeah, don’t lick little boy’s arse sweat.
Z is for Zoinks! Giant Nazi dong!

The ABC’s of Death goes beyond an anthology. The filmmakers are given even a shorter amount of time to tell their story and for the most part, lots of them are done pretty well. For some of them, like L and S, you can’t help but think how those segments would be if they were full length features, combining stylistic shots with unique stories. The ideas they had, even for a short, are incredible. At times, some of them felt a little too ambitious and it only felt like they were using blood and gore to grab your attention. Like C, it was if they didn’t trust their own storytelling ability and it shows. Other times, give O for example, was a very beautiful story to look at, but it didn’t feel like there was much of a story being told. Instead it’s just slow motion shots of very artistic images. It would be like if you gave a photographer a video camera. Of course, there were some really hilarious ones, H, T and Z especially. I don’t know if those segments would have worked as full length features, but they were entertaining and made me laugh.

ABCs of DeathFor all of its flaws (hey, it’s not going to be perfect), The ABC’s of Death feels like an interesting experimental piece and I’d have to say the experiment was a success! You get a mixture of action, horror, drama, science fiction, claymation, animation and comedy all rolled in to one. Unlike most anthologies, there is no underlining narrative to link all the stories together, so there is no connection between stories. Each one has its own beginning and end.

Although it has a handful of uninteresting (and some even downright lazy with their ideas or execution), overall it was very entertaining, sickening and even shocking at moments. You could say it’s a mixed bag, which it is, but the good outweighs the bad. Giving the restrictions each film maker had, most of them did a bang up job and with the recent announcement of a sequel; I say B is for Bring it on!

roadside attractions

  • Educational and gory!
  • Dog gone!
  • Japan.
  • Masterba-tory-overdose.
  • Toilet troubles.
  • Heroine fueled race with the Devil!
  • Vampire-cam.
  • Robots blowing up babies.
  • Nazis!
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

The root of every segment.

7

blood

BREASTS

The more poor segments tend to throw this more to keep your attention.

8

beast

BEASTS

Monsters, Devils, Furries, claymation toilets that eat people, spiders, serial killers, boogeymen, hookers and Nazis… there is something here for everyone!

8 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for The ABCs of Death.

trailers

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Jul

Comments Off on Street Trash

arcade

At a simple glance or even a guess, Street Trash may seem like a horror flick about melting bums. Well, that’s only about twenty percent of the film. Although you may not know without having seen it, Street Trash is a busy little film, combining several plots together. It’s actually quite a complicated film, but manages to intertwine all these plots together while keeping it nice and tidy… and packing it with plenty of gross out moments and gore.

The homeless run wild like Hulkamaniacs led by the sociopathic Vietnam vet, Bronson. His gang of misfits that he calls ‘soldiers’ create chaos and terrorize civilians as well as other hobos, especially Freddy and his younger brother. His younger brother has taken a liken to the secretary at the junkyard, where the bums take refuge and beneath all that filth and grime, she has taken a liken to him too. But as fate would have it, local liquor store owner Ed finds a crate of expired booze called Tenafly Viper. Rather than aging like a fine wine, this nasty, foul liquid boils, bubbles and melts whoever drinks it into a glorious, gory, multi-colored florescent puddles of goop. All of this catches the attention of gritty, action cop Bill who wants to nail Bronson for these atrocities and clean up the streets. Hell, there is even a small sub plot going on involving James Lorinz (Jeffrey from Frankenhooker) as a Doorman who is ratting on his mafia boss after failing to see Freddy take his boss’s date back to junkyard and now he’s gonna get whacked! Believe it or not, it’s actually a pretty easy to follow, never distracting you and keeping you entertained the entire duration with the help of the cruel humor and gore.

ArcadeIt cuts back and forth between these stories for the major duration of the film, filling in the rest with bizarre antics of the derelicts, most of which is spent cursing and mumbling filth at Ed while they try to rip off bottles of booze. Other times, they are playing ‘Catch the Wiener’ with another vagrant’s… wiener or they are shoplifting at local grocery mart. The homeless are downright dirty in every meaning of the definition. Not only are they caked in dirt and probably feces (most definitely urine), but they are also mean and obnoxious toward each other and let me tell you… Street Trash reaches cruel levels of humor if you are sensitive to that kind of thing (luckily, we here are not and welcome it). Playing much like a Troma film, there are all sorts of racial and sexist humor as well as jabs at the elderly. Further pushing the offensiveness, they include a rape scene in which later, the woman’s corpse is found and with some comical music, the owner of the junkyard defiles it… after he was just trying to rape his secretary. It’s a classy movie, but it’s our kind of class.

The Special Meltdown Edition from Synapse presents all these nasty, but loveable pranks in an uncanny high definition transfer. All the carnage, all the gore and colors look beautiful and clean. It’s amazing how crisp a low budget film can look. The edges are so sharp, every fine little detail pops right out at you and this especially showcases the special effects. The audio has a 5.1 mix and it’s as decent as they get, although it’s obviously not like the surround mixes we are use to today. I say stick with the 2.0 mono it was recorded in. It sounds more natural and keeps that old school charm to it.

ArcadeAnd if you’re a fan of special features, hold on to your butts. This disc is crammed with ‘em. The Meltdown Memoirs is a two hour doc, showcasing everything and anything about the making of one of the 80’s best gross out films. Production, casting, special effects, behind the scenes stories… it’s all here and it’s like being a part of it. It’s that in depth. What really blew my mind about this is future X-Men series director Bryan Singer was a Production Assistant on the film! Who knew? I guess we all have to start somewhere. It just blows my mind. It’s like when I found out that J.J. Abrams did the soundtrack for Nightbeast. Of course you get the interviews, which are always interesting to hear, you also get bloopers and outtakes (which I love), and so you get to see what actually didn’t make it into the Special Meltdown Edition. But probably my favorite bonus feature on here is the original 16mm short the film. It’s definitely the backbone of what the movie was based from, although it wasn’t called Tenafly Viper in this. This all rounded off with some trailers and promo stuff, making all this worth any value.

See what I mean? A lot, and I mean A LOT, is going on in Street Trash and you never would have guessed given it’s just a low budget action/cop/horror/Vietnam drama/romance/retrospect look at the homeless movie, but give props where props are due. Director J. Michael Muro and writer Roy Frumkes fit all the pieces together to make it a solid, entertainingly disgusting, wild watch. This is like the Tetris of the film world. Its elements are odd shaped pieces that when put together correctly, form a solid line. This film literally has something for everyone and if you can’t find one thing to like about it, then there is something seriously wrong with you and your eyes and Bronson will find you and poke them out.

Save them pennies and buy a copy from the Synapse Website!

roadside attractions

  • Melting Hobos!
  • Adult take on ‘Hot Potato’.
  • Bulimic Justice.
  • Air Canister Torpedo Decapitation!
  • Filth, flarn, filth.
  • You know what, the entire 100 minute runtime.
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

Red goop, green goop, blue goop to purple and yellow You get it all as well as some guts and other body parts.

8

blood

BREASTS

Bush, boobs, butts and wieners. A lot of it.

9

beast

BEASTS

Whether it’s a gloppy puddle of vagabond mess, tough cops or crazy homeless Vietnam Vets, there is enough to make you pee your pants.

8.6 OVERALL
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Check out this trailer from “Street Trash”

trailers

dripper
Jul

Comments Off on Fog Island

Welcome to Fog Island, your final resting place! Just by taking a glance at the cover, John Carpenter’s The Fog immediately comes to mind. However, fans of the Italian horror genre will notice that it bears a slight resemblance to Bay of Blood a.k.a. Twitch of the Death Nerve and why shouldn’t it? Fog Island is more than a subtle nod to the slasher genre, it’s more of an homage, borrowing heavily from Friday the 13th, but we all know who they borrowed from…

The movie starts in the right atmosphere; that magical hour right before the sun comes up over the ocean and the Earth is painted in dark blue hues, covered in a mist. The sounds of a victimized scream and a cartoony splat make for some ambience to provide exposition. The title smashes in big, bold and red, like something from a 70’s Grindhouse flick.

We cut to Nikki arriving by boat. She’s not flocking to Fog Island for their collectable, commemorative plates, no. Looking for a fresh start from a divorce, she also happens to be starting Fog Island’s very first radio station with her non-descript friend Michelle and a rag-tag bunch of DJ’s that will fill in the rest of the stereotypes. After all, this is exactly what an old time, creepy secluded island needs. I don’t foresee anything going wrong here.

Anyway, let me introduce you to your body count, I mean, characters! First we have the innocent Drew, the perverted comic relief Billy and a transvestite Tabitha, who is a bit of a drama queen (no pun intended). We even get to meet the creepy old cleaning lady, Lily. They kick off the radio station and it seems to be a hit. Well, at least that one lady they showed likes it. So everything is hunky-dory… or is it? Later in the evening, Nikki is awakened by a shadow figure knocking at her door. What does it want?

blackbagThe next day, this film’s Crazy Ralph, Mickey, warns Michelle that they need to leave because it’s not safe. Hey, what would a slasher flick be without a prophet of doom? Meanwhile, we catch glimpses of the shadow figure harassing Nikki, who dips into her flask of a liquid that is described as, “smelling like paint thinner.” Hey, a multipurpose liquor! Being that it’s Nikki’s first night on the air, this leaves the rest of the cast as open game, as the killer playfully gallops and trots, spying on the rest of the crew until he claims his first victim, Michelle… and steals her phone. Must be a jealous ex. The killer plays some creepy children’s music (honestly, is there another kind?) and lays down some lilies… ahem.

Concerned that she can’t reach Michelle, Lily reassures Nikki that it’s probably just diarrhea and shouldn’t worry. Come to think of it, Lily is the one who should worry since she has to clean the toilets in that place! Anyway, Lily tells Nikki of the dark and haunted history of the house and about the murder that took place there, a dark shadowed figure looming in the hallways… and this is when just as the crew is figuring out something is wrong with the place and the island, they get picked off one by one in automatic slasher fashion, but instead of resorting to off screen kills or slashes, there is some gore here. Aside from various stabs, there is a decapitation, a spearing through the bed (a nod to Friday the 13th) and even a shout out to The Burning when one of them is stabbed to death with garden shears and the killer jabs them into the tree. Heck, the killer is even wearing a pea coat and fedora much like Cropsy.

By now, the killer is calling the radio station, telling Nikki that she has been watched the whole time and the house doesn’t belong to her. She takes this relatively calm, but after spotting some flowers and hearing that music again, the killer comes into light, revealing their identity and motive, which turns out to be a very Pamela Voorhees inspired story. By the way, if you want to know the identity of the killer, I’ll drop you a hint: It’s the only character that isn’t dead.

blackbagFog Island is composed of the clichés that form your typical slasher flicks nowadays. Phones ringing and not being answered, but when they are answered it’s a deep, scratchy voice, the drunk prophet of doom, the geek, the slut, the comedian and the continuous asking of, “Hello?” as they chase after a shadowy figure, the creepy townsfolk (although this is only mentioned in dialogue). Speaking of, that’s a subplot that the film never really got into. You never really get to know the island, just the characters in the radio station. Although, this could be a good thing, giving us more personal time to know these characters. And with the characters, it never really goes into why Nikki is hiding the fact that she drinks. I’m assuming it’s because of the divorce, but it’s never really explained. Maybe she is trying to hide the fact that she secretly has the world’s last remaining Ecto Cooler and doesn’t want to share it.

I think American audiences won’t know whether or not this is supposed to directly be a horror-comedy or not… I surely didn’t. Fog Island is a funny film, but like I said, I don’t know if it’s intentional. However, the film’s certainly aware of the films it’s mimicking and has fun with it. Most of these aren’t being shoved in your face though, although they aren’t quite subtle to the horror film aficionado. Since I mentioned having fun, a majority of the dialogue was improvised, which is actually quite interesting. It does make for more natural conversation, however at times it can be seen that the actors are waiting for the other to finish speaking so they can spit out their line of dialogue and this causes them to trip over each other’s lines.

This one is a really interesting and quite unique little diddy. All the nods and tributes to some of the classic slasher flicks of the 70’s and 80’s will keep you entertained. Fog Island was made with no budget and all love for old school horror flicks. It packs in some gore and plenty of laughs, making it worth the adventure to see.

roadside attractions

  • Take a shot everytime you recognize something from another film.
  • Cliche central.
  • Naked Nikki.
  • The very mention of diarrhea.
  • Tranny troubles.
  • Crocodile Dundee reference.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

You’re treated to some splats, squirts, decaps and stabbings.

8

blood

BREASTS

Nikki bears ’em both and they are magnificent.

6

beast

BEASTS

If Cropsy, the dude from Torso and The Driller Killer had a baby with Pamela Voorhees.

6.3 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer for “Fog Island”

trailers

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About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>