Archive for the 'Horror movies' Category

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
dripper

Watch the infamous “raft scene!”

trailers

dripper
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
dripper

Watch the trailer for The ABCs of Death.

trailers

dripper
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
dripper

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

dripper
Jul

Comments Off on Warlock

I’d been hankering for a movie where an amish guy kicks around a demon who looks like a reject from a 80’s hair band and by golly, Warlock came along and did just that. Julian Sands stars as the pony tailed warlock who’s about to be put to death in 17th century Boston. Just before he’s going to be hanged, and burned over a basket of live cats, Satan shows up and zaps him into a time tornado to the 1980’s. His mission, to find some super witch book called the Grand Grimoire that can destroy the universe and every living Back Street Boy ever in existence. Well at least he’ll find some decent hair gel there. Julian’s not off the hook just yet because a furry witch hunter called Redferne (Richard E. Grant) has followed him through the time portal packing all sorts of witch-bustin’ goodies.

The Warlock crashes into a apartment owned by a waitress named Kasandra (Lori singer). She lets him stay for the night but In the morning, he chows down on her roomates tongue sautéing it and cursing kasandra to age 20 years a day. That is gonna be hell on her plastic surgery bills. Redferne with a major case of jet lag finally shows up but he’s still on medevil time and The warlock has already taken off. Redferne and Kasandra use a bit of his blood to make a witch compass that points uptown where the warlock’s been talking to satan through a hack psychic. He rips out her eyeballs and uses them for GPS to track down the missing pages and Redferne and Kassandra end up chasing the flying warlock all over the countryside. They find him in an Amish farmhouse where Redferne harpoons him with a weathervane and a Mennonite helps locks him down with some chinese finger traps. The Warlock escapes of course (if only the amish had a taser!) and hops a plane back to an old Boston cemetary. The same cemetary where the corpse of Redferne holds the final pages of Grimore in his boney little hands. So it’s a battle to save the universe in a demon/fur trapper cage match on holy ground! One of the better witch on the run films, Warlock had some great fx for the time and it maybe the best flying British witch movie since Mary Poppins. Definitely check it out and don’t forget to bring the anti-warlock salt.

roadside attractions

  • Finger hacking
  • Grave robbing
  • Eyeball spiking
  • Tongue frying
  • Weather vane harpooning
  • Fat guzzling
  • Freefalling warlocking
  • Eyeball GPS
  • Extreme insulin injections
  • Gerriatric mini-skirts
  • Toe and thumbscrew
  • Rawhide chewin’
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

a decent amount of bodily leakage mostly from the eye sockets

0

blood

BREASTS

No nudity but there is a lot of fur.

9

beast

BEASTS

1 demonic possession of Satan, 1 warlock,  and a a large amount of beards

9.5 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer for “Warlock”

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 >>