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Phantasm II

It’s not too early to sharpen up your pinball skills. In April Pinball at the Zoo’ returns with all the flashing lights and dinging sounds your senses can handle. Now I wouldn’t really consider myself a pinball wizard. I’m neither deaf, dumb, nor blind… well…. o.k 2 out 3 ain’t too bad, but I do play a pretty mean pinball. I rate my pinball playing skill at a “David Blane” level. It’s lots of hype with no really big payoff. Mostly it’s just  me jumping around and yelling obscenities at the ball. But I can’t help it, I’m addicted to the game. The combination of precise skill shots and random chaos, the lights, the cheesy digital music, the way the arcade owner gives me an evil glare when I tilt the machine on it’s side. It all makes my fingers twitchy just thinking about it.

This year the Zoo’ will have the usual assortment of vendors to buy some cool pinball swag but the big draw has got to be that tournament trophy and 1st place pinball machine. Oh that would look great in my living room right next to that leg lamp Santa brought me. There’ll also be an arcade auction where you too can take home a piece of your childhood memories minus the pubescent humiliations and locker stuffings. Hundreds of arcade and pinball machines going cheaper than what you’d pay for a Playstation, and just like a cheap hooker if you overlook some cigarette stains you can get yourself a good deal. So come all ye pinheads and basement Game Room dwellers. Pilgrimage forth squinting in the sunlight to play with ye balls and flippers. You might just go home with a trophy to impress the ladies or at least a used game. Good luck fitting it in the back of that 83 Pinto.

Phantasm IISpeaking of evil silver balls hurdling at your face, Phantasm II continues the fine tradition of flying death spheres ready to impale and dismember. The Tall Man, Angus Scrimm, is back to work digging up corpses and shrinking them down to evil dwarf monks for his army of the dead. Mike (James LeGros) has recently been let out of the insane asylum and is heading back home with his old pal Reggie from Phantasm I. Reg is a balding unemployed ice cream truck driver and ever since the ice cream market tanked he’s been living at home with his family. He refuses to acknowledge the events of the first film ever happened until The Tall Man kills his whole family in a spectacular gas explosion that would make Michael Bay weepy. All those gallons of ice cream lost forever… oh the humanity!! Hungry for revenge and Rocky Road they take a road trip in their Hemi Barricuda searching abandoned towns and dug up graveyards for the evil mortician.

The two take a pit stop in a creepy abandoned town where Mike communicates telepathically with his out of state girlfriend Liz when he sleeps. She’s a squeaky voiced bimbo whose in love with Mike even though they’ve never actually met. It’s sorta like Internet dating only with ESP. Liz’s grandfather just kicked the bucket recently so she’s been hanging out in mausoleum filing her nails, and getting tossed around by the tall man like drinking night at Ike Turner’s house. Soon her recently buried and now zombified grandpa tries out his new door to door sales job on the local town’s priest knocking at his door and giving him a good scare then crawls into bed afterwards with grandma. Dang! Grandpa didn’t get this much action when he was alive.

Liz heads to the mausoleum where grandma’s already been Shrinky Dinked down into a Star Wars Jawa and proceeds to viciously attack Liz’s knee caps. She easily put her down with a china vase to the noggin’. This sort of begs the question, why would the tall man raise an evil army of weak midget monks with thin skulls? Doesn’t seem like the best way to take over the world. Maybe he could have stretched them out instead of leaving them in the oven so long.

Phantasm II

Meanwhile the priest catches a bad case of van Gogh-itis losing an ear and gets his head drilled in by a flying Cuisinart. This barely gives Liz enough time to escape into the nearby cemetery tripping over Mike and Reg already hiding out in an open grave. They all run like little girls and barricade themselves in a nearby abandoned house where they make S’mores, sing Kumbaya, and rig up grenades with Budweiser cans. Reggie then puts his moves on the nymphomaniac hitchhiker they picked up earlier whose got a thing for balding hippies who play guitar. Wow what are the odds? While those two are doing the naked lambada upstairs, Liz is left alone so she can be more easily kidnapped through the a convenient plate glass window. At this point she’s probably feeling like she should’ve just stayed in bed.

So it’s back to the mausoleum again where Reg and Mike battle evil henchmen in gas masks with giant chainsaws and shoot up dwarfs for target practice. They also get attacked by more flying drill spheres with upgraded seek and destroy lasers and then wrestle with some pasty white guys in rented tuxes.  Seriously guys some blondes just aren’t worth all this. But they do eventually free Liz from a pre death embalming and get sucked into a cross dimensional gateway…all because Mike had to be all “wonder what this button does?” Turns out the “other side” looks a lot like an abandoned beach in Jersey complete with red skies and mutant dwarfs in toxic waste barrels. One of the baby dwarfs nearly eats Reggie’s face when it’s turkey pop up timer goes off. This all leads up to a big showdown back in the real world with the tall man, a embalming needle, and some sulfuric acid and that’s when you know you got a party.

In typical Phantasm fashion the ending doesn’t make a lick of sense but who really cares. It’s such a fun ride just getting there. Any movie that has four-barreled shot guns, 5 foot long chainsaws, and homicidal dwarfs gets extra bonus points in my book. The director Don Coscarelli really out did himself on this one with some obvious nods to “Evil Dead”, and  “The Beyond” and it also gave us more of The Tall Man and his evil scowl of creepiness. Phantasm II is one of those rare films where the sequel really out performs the original. Retroman Steve says check it out…. but only during visitation hours. Also be sure to keep your coffins stored in a cool dry place for freshness.

– Exploding house
– Exploding rats
– Ear choppin’
– Embalming-fu
– Chainsaw to the groin
– Corpse stabbing
– Forehead drilling
– Exploding Cudas
– Hand choppin’
– Flame-throwers
– Sawed off double barrel shotguns
– Dwarf tossin’
– Head drillin’
– Embalming acid
– Barrel-o-dwarfs

9.5 out of 10

“it’s Phantastic!”

Check out the trailer for Phantasm II


Comments Off on Hardware

I was hooking up some new speakers the other night to my pristine 1975 Pioneer amplifiers. Yeah I know your jealous. I was looking forward to a few hours of Skynard’s greatest hits dulling my senses with a freshly made Hot Pockets and Schnapps but all I got out of the speakers was a screeching high pitched squeal. It was sort of a cross between Fran Drescher and a howling spider monkey only less pleasant. So I got behind the stereo with a flashlight and a pair of rusty pliers to check my wiring finally tracing the problem to my vintage CD player. I “jerry-rigged” it with some old RCA cables covered in duct tape a few years back and somehow the player had gone from normal spin to warp death speed and was now creating the banshee howl. The one side benefit is I could listen to all of “Free Bird” in under 4 seconds or saw some fresh timber. I fiddled around with the wire mess, unplugged and replugged connectors and eventually just banged on the amplifier a few times. I imagine it’s sorta like watching a drunk orangutan try to solve a Rubik’s Cube but amazingly the banging worked and Skynard was rockin’ once again. Years of technological expertise  culminating in simply employing the Fonzi method. Now if you’ll excuse me it’s time to dust off that Packard Bell PC sitting in my attic. There’s a copy of Windows Vista just itching to get installed on it. I’m sure nothing could go wrong.

hardwareSpeaking of evil technology, Dylan “pre-law” McDermott takes on a jacked up toaster oven in 1990’s cult classic  “Hardware.” Dylan plays “Moses” a soldier on leave in post apocalyptic America, a big desert now thanks to radioactivity full of scavengers and disgruntled taxi drivers and Tusken Raiders. Moses or Mo’ as his burning bush pal like to call him buys some used robot parts off an Outlander while visiting a dwarf junk dealer in a cave (I’ve had that dream once). Mo gives the scrap metal to his artist ex-girlfriend Jill in uptown, mostly just for him just being a schmuck. Nothing says love and please forgive me like the disembodied head of a killer robot. She gives it a Andy Warhol makeover and hangs it on her wall thanking him with some late night shagging. All that whoo-hooing give the robot sculpture enough time to boot up and build itself a cyborg body of killing complete with optional craftsman saw blades and toxic LSD injectors (action McDermott sold separately.)  Mo meanwhile has secretly taken off for the battlefield yet again leaving Jill alone to fight this psychotic Cuisinart. You can really see why she loves him so.

Her peeping Tom neighbor a big slob of a man whose been sweating grease all night while oogling her through infrared binoculars shows up at her door. He tries out his best sleazy pick up lines only to get a howdy hey from the killbot in the form of a giant robo-drill to his belly. With all that deep fat drillin’ there’s just enough time for Jill to hide in her giant walk in freezer away from the robots standard issued heat sensors. “Quick throw the turkey pot pies at it! That’ll stop him!”

Meanwhile back on the battlefield, Mo learns that his gift is actually a killer robot named Mark 13 (Marky Mark for short) built by the government to eradicate humanity through toxic LSD injections. It’s the gift keeps on giving perfect for that special ex in your life. Mo’ frantically heads back to her apartment and calls his drugged out Buddha buddy to try stop this terminator poser. It’s like sending one armed man to a clapping contest, he can’t even figure out how to get pass the apartment’s door security. Mo arrives on the scene while his buddy cowers near the doorstop just in time to blow a couple shot gun slugs into the robot’s chest. The blast causes it to tumble out the window and it pulls Jill along for the ride crashing her down onto a Chinese family dinner below. Because if the fall don’t kill ya the MSG will.

hardwareMo distracted by his girlfriend acrobatics gets shot-up by the robot’s finger syringes and dies in one of the longest tripped out MTV styled death montages ever put to film. His only lasting legacy…perfect hair and nice teeth. Really I think she was doing better before he showed up again. The neighborhood watch patrol in goalie safety gear finally arrive but just end up being more meat for the meat grinder. They get sliced, chopped and shot, It’s like the 3 stooges started a neighborhood association. Jill once again is left alone to fight the seemingly indestructible robot and there’s not a single Austrian actor turned governor in sight anywhere as she gets cornered in with Marky Mark 13 in the shower. What follows is one of the weakest battle finales since Saved by the Bell’s “Screech” fought Danny Bonaduce in celebrity boxing. Turns out the Mark 13 had poor insulation and is susceptible to water. “so sorry the robot apocalypse has been canceled due to rain.” So the robot shorts out in the shower…and Jill is left with a hefty deposit to pay on her demolished apartment.

At least we get treated to some trippy camera work, infrared gazongas, and a rockin’ soundtrack. It just goes to show you can make a movie people will still watch without much of anything really happening you just gotta do it with style!!!! *jazz hands*

Retroman says check it out only if you need to see a killer robot movie that doesn’t have a screaming Christian Bale in it. Just remember to keep your severed robot heads away from children and pets as it may lead to hallucination, injury or possible death.

– 1 self building kill-bot
– 2 breasts (infrared)
– Peeping tom slob-o-vision
– Infra-red red head
– Dwarf tossin’
– Head drillin’
– Exploding kitchens
– Door crushin’
– Arm carvin’
– Bed carvin’
– Extreme McDermott

2.7 out of 10

“what if Johnny 5 was pure evil and tried to kill Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg? Now there’s a killer robot movie worth seeing.”

Check out the trailer for Hardware


Comments Off on Return of the Living Dead – Our Lost Movie Night Feature

Return of the Living Dead
I noticed our local community center now offers the aerobic workout class “Pole Dancing 101.” I never realized that this was actually an aerobic exercise or that it required classes. Sure Jazzercise makes sense because you have a lot calories to burn when you have to do all those jazz hands moves, but didn’t expect to see a pole dancing class in the brochure next to the intro to scrapbooking and decoupage for beginners. I wonder do you have to bring your own pole? Does it offer you tips in properly securing dollars bills in your g-string when hanging upside down and not getting you hair wet in the beer pitchers? All legitimate questions any pole dancing beginner should be taking into consideration. Also since this is intro 101 does that mean there’s advanced classes? If so then we could we perhaps see this as an Olympic sport someday and I for one welcome this type of sleazercise to the Olympic stage. It could sure bring in more money for those school fundraisers too.

Return of the Living DeadSpeaking of extreme nekkid dancing. Linnea Quigley makes her cinematic mark as scream queen extraordinaire with all her nekkid gyrations on tombstones in “The Return of the Living Dead.” Linnea may have actually induced puberty in many a young boy in 1985 just from that scene alone and even her Ronald McDonald haircut can’t distract us from drooling over the best onscreen tombstone striptease ever filmed. But hold on I’m getting off subject here…there also happens to be zombies too!

This undead brain muncher classic starts off when a group of army brats decide to ship the remaining zombies left over from of the Night of the Living Dead incident to a medical supply room in Louisville Kentucky. In typical government engineering fashion the seals on the tank are about as thick as cheese paper……and soon they start to ooze out some funky fumes. Not a bong in sight the two workers there Frank and Freddy take a forced zombie-flu snooze and awake to find all hells breaking loose. The boss man, Burt is called in to try to help wrangle up the freeze burned cadavers and half dissected dogs who have since reanimated and are tearing up his shop.

Burt whose best friends with Ernie the mortician (Sesame Street lawyers start your letters now) enlists him to help burn the remains in his crematorium so as not to tarnish the shining reputation of his medical business. Yes, a company that already stores zombies in it’s basement but who are we to judge. Burt begs Ernie to burn the chopped up remains so that not even the bones are left and as everyone should know the best way to get people to burn your cadaver is to tell them it’s rabid weasels. Lesson learned.

Ernie tosses them in and cooks them on high causing the oven to billow out a bunch of zombie smoke into the air and leaves behind the fresh scent of pine. Soon the rain starts a pourin’ thanks to before mentioned nekkid rocker rain dance and the toxic smoke rains down on the graveyard. Brain cravin’ zombies start popping up like weeds and thousands of the undead that can run like Carl Lewis take over the cemetery. Turns out brains make the dead feel better and calm their nerves, sorta like Häagen-Dazs for pregnant women. The survivors hold up in the mortuary while a dead oily guy in the basement does some contortionist breakdancing moves stalking the punk rocker survivors.

Freddy’s girlfriend Tina stumbles upon oily face zombie in the basement and locks herself in a locker (ha the irony!) but good old oily face has got some mad MacGyver skills and rigs a crane and pulley system to open the door. She barely escapes when the rest of her punk rocker friends bust in to save here. One of them gets a chunk of his brains chewed out but he never had a decent line in the film anyways thinning the punk rocker herd.

Return of the Living DeadMeanwhile Frank and Freddy who breathed the zombie fumes are looking pretty bad, sweaty, and pale. I don’t think their medical insurance even covers chronic zombification. The paramedics are even called in only to confirm that they’re already dead and then get attacked by a zombie horde on the way out. Worse doctor bedside manners ever!

Frank and Freddy justifiably freak out and are locked in the mortuary’s church while the others try to fend off the zombie herds unsuccessfully. Undead Freddy starts chasing his girlfriend around the place trying to convince her that he loves her for her body and  not her brains but she just douses him with acid. That’s what we call around here “Tough Love.” Tina and Ernie holds up in the attic while Freddy stumbles around all melty face downstairs yellin’ “Brains” and Burt tries to and escape in the a Chevy Malibu. Good luck, those cars have no handling whatsoever when running over zombies and I should know.

Burt in a last ditch effort calls the military 1-800 number on the side of the zombie spam can so the army can do what they do best, blow crap up. Really the best lesson learned from this films… keep your food sealed fresh, never rely on army intelligence, and avoid Kentucky in a nuclear fallout.

ROTLD has all the perfect ingredients for shlocky 80’s horror mixed well and served with a side of satire. There’s brain-chompin’,  head-rollin’, blood-spoutin’, and zombie dwarfism. What more can you ask for? Retroman Steve says check it out. It’s one of my all time favorite zombie film. Just be sure to “send moooore paramedics.”

– Zombie spam cans
– 1 naked punk rocker
– Half a zombie, half a dog
– Brain-munchin’
– Leg-grabbin’
– Acid rain dance
– Pick axe to the head
– Chopped up freezer burned cadavers
– The dreaded rabid weasel defense
– Acid to the face
– Embalming fu
– Zombie-midget-fu
– Kentucky fallout

9.8 out of 10

We’ll be showing “The Return of the Living Dead” on Friday the 13th at Wells Hall on MSU Campus. There’ll be a zombie costume contest and tons of great giveaways. Check out all the details at
B.Y.O.B. Bring your own Brains.

Check out the trailer for The Return of the Living Dead


posted by admin | October 25, 2009 | B-movies, Halloween films, Horror movies

Comments Off on Top 10 Movies for Halloween Viewing 09′

The season of ghouls and things that go bump in the night is upon us once again. This means Lost Highway is digging up another list of some must see horror films to check out when all your trick or treaters have gone to bed. So turn off the porch lights early, blow out the candles in your Jack-o-Laterns, and get your big bowl of left over candy corn to sit down and watch these haunting tales.

Retroman Steve gives his top 5

1. Trick ‘r Treat

Delayed for nearly 2 years and hyped to the hilt as the perfect Halloween film, It was doubtful it was going to live up to expectations or even see any type of domestic release. Well it’s finally here and I can unequivocally say “yes” it’s hype worthy and truly garners a honored place among classics like the original Halloween, Night of the Demons, and even It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. I’m proud to say that Trick ‘r Treat is my newest halloween tradition. Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt comparison aside, it does take it’s own direction with multiple tales of “All Hallows” eve creepingly interwoven. It earns praise more on great atmosphere and wonderful storytelling that outright scares or gore though you’ll find a few moments in it that are downright frightening mostly revolving around a school bus. But I really enjoyed it’s fun matinee horror that I haven’t seen in many films lately.

This is a modern horror fairy tale that understands the true essence of what Halloween is  and that essence takes the physical form of Sam. Sam is a little halloween demon in disguise that defends the holiday’s tradition with dire consequences for anyone that breaks the rules. Freddy, Jason, Pinhead, Leatherface and now we have Sam. You’d think they could have come up with a scarier name. But make no mistake Sam is a vicious little guy that won’t stop until he gets what he wants. My advice keep a bowl of candy always at the ready. This is a pretty recent direct to dvd release with plenty of good reviews around the web so it’s likely you’ve already seen it but for the few of you that have been on volunteer duty in Equador it’s time to get caught up. See it and I guarantee it’ll give you that warm fuzzy feeling like a big jack-o-latern glowing in your heart. Also check out the cartoon extra on the DVD. It’s a hand drawn short animated film that inspired the full length feature lovingly crafted by the director Michael Dougherty . Trick ‘r Treat is a fantastic little piece of halloween horror that should be a part of any horror buff’s collection.

2. Magic

The commercial for this movie played on televison in the late 70’s during some saturday morning cartoons much to the horror of the children everywhere watching it at the time. Parent complaints flooded the TV stations as they were in an uproar over a creepy little ventriloquist doll talking about evil hocus pocus and death while the kids were watching the Smurfs. I fortuntately missed that early childhood scaring opportunity as I must have been watching Soul Train instead. Hey It’s where I learned to dance like the funky white boy that I am, but I did check it out the commercial on YouTube and was very intrigued with what I saw.

Anthony Hopkins in his pre Silence of the Lambs phase shows his early chops as a deranged psychopath/failed magician named Corky. After many lame cards tricks, his newest ventriloquist act with Fats the foul mouth puppet becomes a huge hit. Soon the promise of TV fame comes knocking on his door but fearing his his mental disease may get exposed, he disappears into upper state New York instead. Corky finds an isolated town and his highschool sweetheart/resident crazy lady Ann Margaret renting out cabins. Somehow she’s impressed by his comb over hair and lack of social skills and soon they fall in love. Unfortunately she’s still married and despite him always having his hand up the rear end of a wood doll things get even more creepy as Corky continues his downward spiral into madness. An interesting fact, the doll was actually designed by Disney but that company would cut ties with being involved with the film as it was all too dark and twisted to have their seal of approval. Sure Disney you won’t be associated with that horror film but then you’ll make Herbie the Love Bug. Magic was and is a great psychological thriller but never did well in the box office and missed out on any of that Oscar buzz due to all that early negative press. Definitely some great performances all around as Fats terrifying voice will be stuck in your head long after. Who is really the puppet pulling the strings is never quite clear but this is a very well crafted thriller that I highly recommend.

3. One Dark Night

A pre-breast enhanced Meg Tilly stars in this great 80’s gem about a deceased evil psychic recently buried in the town’s Mosoluem. He’s just waiting around for a group of teenagers that he can zap some brain juice from so that he can return from the dead. Meg’s character Julie is happy to oblige when she decides to spend the night there as part of a highschool gang initiation. Shiny purple club jackets apparently gave you a lot of street cred back then. Little does she realize that a few of her friends are going to crash the party and to give her a good fright including resurrected floating zombies on strings and ineffectual boyfriends on motorcylces who get tossed around like muppets.

Surprisingly a creepy film once the dead start to rise despite their dry cleaned and pressed appearance. Even the Dark Knight himself Adam West makes a cameo sans tights and bat utility belt as an alcoholic husband. Not sure if this was such an acting stretch. Give One Dark Night a try for a good Halloween fright film and be sure to read the full review here.

4. The Burning

How did this movie slip by my slasher radar in the 80’s. My SLASHdar as I’d like to call it, can detect great slashers simply from a quick glance of the back of a VHS box covers from up to 300 ft. away. But “The Burning” had totally gotten by and I only viewed it recently based on some positive talk about it on the Twittersphere. Well Friday the 13th should pay back some royalties to these guys because The Burning does everything right all the way through and in some ways is a better film than Friday. A psychopath on a vengful kiling spree, characters you actually care about, decent acting, and a river kill scene that shocks you to the core. The strength of this film rests on it’s plausibility and sense of impending dread as Cropsy the dark shrowded killer offs these teens in increasingly brutal fasion. You’ll never feel comfortable around a gardner with pruning sheers again…well you’ll feel even less comfortable and the forboding atmosphere is punctuated with a great soundtrack from Rick Wakeman who played in the rock band Yes. Everything hits the right note of perfect b-movie fright and slashertude. Yeah I just made up another b-movie term “slashertude” the attitude of a pefect slasher film. Pass it on.

5. Let the Right One in

One thing I thought we could do with a little less these days was vampire flicks. I think the last good one I saw involved Corey Haim pushing a vampire into a bathtub of holy water. Then came Twilight and all it’s Transylvania 90210 cheesiness and that put the proverbial nails in the coffin for vampire flicks for me. Hesitatingly I gave “let the Right one in” a foreign vampire film a last chance since it was referred to me by @chrisbanzai. Hey the man has got great taste in hats so I was hoping that would translate to great taste in vampire flicks. Ding ding ding we have a winner! Even though it’s from Swedish subtitled and I hate reading my movies this one is is actually quite engrossing (with an emphasis on the gross) and was more of a slow burning horror film that delves a lot into the character relationship rather than just going for the throat which is also does quiet well.

The story revolves around Oskar, a swedish boy who one night meets another neighborhood kid named Eli. Eli is a quiet girl who also happens to be a neck sucking vampire hell beast, but in a kind and thoughtful way. When Oskar isn’t making modular furniture, he’s bullied by kids at school but fortunately his new girlfriend can remove their head with a good right hook and also clean up the mess afterwards. Oh if only I had dated Eli in highschool and I could have avoided all those times stuffed in a locker smelling like a gym bag. The atmosphere in this one is bleak and while the acts of Eli are horrifying you’ll find it difficult not to sympathize with her and the relationship these two have. A good story about growing up and how it can be a pain in the neck..literally. Retroman says check it out.

Drive-in Dan gives his top 5.

1. Night of the Demons

Don’t bother to RSVP for the upcoming remake, and just check out director Kevin Tenney’s horror classic from the 80’s.  You are invited for a get-together at Hull House on Halloween night, so don’t forget to dress up in your favorite costume. Your sexy hostess for the night will be Angela.  But there’s one thing that I should tell you about her: she’s a demon in disguise who has a taste for human souls.  And word has it that she steals souls by kissing.  So if she tries to give you a smooch, just play it safe and go with a handshake instead.  This is a great film to watch on Halloween.  For starters it takes place on the spookiest night of the year.  Then there is the eerie animated opening title sequence that sets the mood for the whole movie.  And I can’t forget to mention a couple of freaky visuals like a possessed Angela floating down the hallway looking for more victims, and scream queen, Linnea Quiggley, doing a magic trick involving a tube of lipstick.  Plus, the director’s brother, Dennis Michael Tenney, contributes a great electro-synth soundtrack that gives what’s happening onscreen another layer of creepiness. Read a full review here.

2. Lighting Bug

Green Graves (sounds like a tv horror host) is a young makeup effects prodigy who creates thrills and chills using clay and latex.  Unfortunately he’s stuck in a pint-sized town filled with small-minded people who don’t recognize or appreciate his creative abilities.  However, things start to look up for Green when he lands his dream gig designing and creating nightmarish creatures and effects at the “Spook House”, a local haunted house attraction where he lives.  Shortly thereafter he meets his first love, Angevin (Laura Prepon), who works at a video store and shares his passion for horror movies.  But soon he is faced with real-life monsters (an abusive stepfather, and a religious nutjob) who are more teriffying than any of his made-up creations and stand in the way of his becoming a makeup effects star in Hollywood.  Will Green survive small town life, or will the misguided townsfolk crush his childhood dream?  I won’t say what happens; you’ll just have to watch the movie to find out.  Director and accomplished special effects artist Robert Hall (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) really succeeds in making a heartfelt masterpiece that is at times funny, and at others very distrubing, with his first trip behind the camera.  And from what I’ve read, some of the events in this movie may have been based on Hall’s real life.  This movie does for small towns what “Jaws” did for public beaches.

3. Phantasm

A teenager named Mike discovers that something very distrubing is happening over at the local mortuary, and it’s not how much they are charging for funerals.  Turns out a towering and mysterious figure with Dracula’s sense of style called the Tall Man is snatching the town’s dead from their graves, and turning them into hoodie-wearing half-pints of terror in a desparate attempt to supply workers for the Red Planet he calls home.  Now there has to be a better way to find employees…  Hasn’t this guy ever heard of Manpower?  Anyway, to help carry out his diabolical scheme, the evil undertaker has a floating Christmas tree ornament gone wild that is armed like a Swiss Army Knife and will kill anyone who tries to stop him.  Director Don Coscarelli and actor Reggie Bannister, who stars as the heroic, balding ice cream vendor–also named Reggie, became instant celebrities among horror fans after doing this film.  And Angus Scrimm’s onscreen presence and bone-chilling peformance as the Tall Man makes him one of the most original and creepiest horror villians ever.  A word of warning, though: don’t try to figure out the plot because you’ll probably give yourself an anneurism trying to make sense of what’s happening on screen.

4. Warlock

A time traveling Warlock (Julian Sands) racks up some serious frequent flyer miles trying to track down a puzzle book for his daddy, the Devil, that supposedly contains God’s true identity.  He needs the Big Guy’s real name so that he can undo all of his hard work.  You know that whole “creation” thing.  But Warlock better hurry up and find the book because a 16th century bounty hunter has followed him to the future, and it’s not to tell him that he just saved 200 pounds on his sorcerer’s insurance by switching to Geico.  Now, I don’t understand why the Wiz didn’t just wait and get a copy of the book off of eBay, or from a rare/used bookstore; he could have saved himself a lot of trouble.  The movie contains some cheesy goodness in the effects department; features a dark and campy performance by Julian Sands in the title role; and an effective music score by the late Jerry Goldsmith.  Steve Miner, who directed “Friday the 13th” parts 2 and 3 creates a fun little horror movie with a supernatural theme that should get you in the Hallowen spirit.

5. Nightmare on Elmstreet 3: Dream Warriors

Finally–a sequel that won’t divide the horror community.  Most fans will agree that this installment is as good as the original, or even better.  Wes Craven comes aboard to co-write the script, bringing the series back to its roots, and as a result helps to create one of my favorite ‘Nightmare on Elm Street” sequels and horror movies in general.  The story has Freddy, the man of your nightmares, taking care of some unfinished business by going after the last remaining Springwood children.  But things won’t be so easy for Mr. Burnt Cheeseface because the group of teens are at a pysch ward (Westin Hills), and they have the power to use their imaginations to become Dream Warriors.  Fans will be happy to know that Nancy from the original ‘Nightmare on Elm Street” returns, but can she and the kids finally put Freddy to sleep for good, or will he channel their inner demons and get the best of them?  This installment features creative dream sequences like the one where Kreuger rips a guy’s arteries out and controls him like a puppet.  “Nightmare on Elm Street 3” does deliver some laughs as the scarred and crispy one shows his sense of humor by saying some hilarously dark one-liners, but don’t worry–he doesn’t do a stand-up routine like he does in later films.

UK readers can pick up a cheap DVD player from Tesco Direct to watch these top 5 Halloween films.


posted by admin | August 29, 2009 | 80's movies, Horror movies, Slasher films

Comments Off on Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives

Friday the 13th part 6

Before getting his butt kicked by a chick with telekinetic powers in “The New Blood”, or taking a cruise to the big apple in “Jason Takes Manhattan”, Director/writer Tom McLoughlin takes a cue from Dr. Frankenstein and resurrects Jason and the “Friday the 13th” franchise with his entry, “Jason Lives.”

Tommy Jarvis, who’s on a weekend pass from the nuthouse, decides to go visit an old family friend at a cemetery that he hasn’t seen for several years. During the short drive over we find out that the old family friend is Jason Voorhees. Man, he should have gone to Disneyland. There’s no need to worry about Jason; he’s as dead as Vanilla Ice’s rap career. After pulling into the cemetery Tommy jumps out of his truck along with Allen Hawes (Ron Padillo), and they start searching for ol’ Wormface’s grave like they’re on some kind of demented Easter egg hunt. Soon they come across a headstone with the name Jason Voorhees on it, but Tommy, for some crazy reason, doesn’t think he’s found the right grave and wants to make a positive I.D. Seriously? How many people named Jason Voorhees would be buried in the local cemetery anyway? Hawes doesn’t think this is a good idea and throws a brief hissy-fit. But he doesn’t want to risk loosing his ride home, so he and Tommy grab shovels and they start digging “Raiders of the Lost Ark”-style until they reach the top of the coffin. Shortly after popping off the casket lid like a can of Pringles, Tommy gets blind-sided by a childhood flashback (audio only) of him tenderizing Jason’s meat suit with a machete.

Friday the 13th Part 6

Without warning he “snaps” and grabs the nearest metal object and heads back to Jason’s coffin. This is just great! Now we have a crazy guy stabbing a dead corpse with a metal pole during a t-storm in a “Friday the 13th” movie–oh, man–this can’t be good. And before you can say, “Chi-chi-chi-cha-cha-cha,” lighting strikes the metal pole sticking out of the dead psycho’s body, and Jason lives. Hawes sees Jason and pauses just long enough to have a “girl moment”, and then disappears offscreen. I really don’t understand what the big deal is. So what? He saw a walking corpse… It’s not like he just saw Rosie O’ Donnell in a two-piece micro-bikini. Now THAT’S freakin’ SCARY!

Tommy quickly realizes that he has dug up a very big problem (ya think?) and grabs a can of gasoline that I had seen earlier, and starts splashing it all over Jason, who is slowly advancing towards him like he has rigor mortis or something. Tommy then strikes a match and is about to make a “Jason S’more-hees” when–what-da-ya-know–it rains and puts the match out. Now this wouldn’t have happened had Tommy used REI Storm matches. And I can tell by the, “Oh, crap! What do I do now?!” look on his face that he’s fresh out of ideas. Fortunately for him though, Allen returns onscreen with new-found courage and a Plan B, which consists of running up behind Jason while yelling a Braveheart-ish battle cry, and whacking him across the head with a shovel. Now for a second there I thought Jason was going to have to sit out another movie. But aside from a couple of cobwebs getting knocked out of place, ol’ Coffin Breath wasn’t phased one bit. Not the same can be said for a stunned Hawes, who gets killed before the movie’s opening credits. I guess Ron Palillo (Hawes) had to leave early for a “Welcome Back Kotter” reunion.

Friday the 13th part 6

After Tommy speeds off to the police station to get reinforcements, a lightning-fast Jason makes up for lost time spearing, impaling, crushing, and hacking his was way towards a personal best and franchise high body count. When he’s not having stare-downs and showdowns with Sheriff Garris, he likes to mug for the camera, do James Bond tributes, and enjoy the lakeside scenery while taking power walks through the woods.

Tommy stays busy in the movie getting thrown in jail, falling in love, doing a little B&E (breaking and entering), being suspected of murder, and running from the law. But somewhere during all of this our crazy friend amazingly finds the time to buy and then read a couple of step-by-step books that tell him exactly how to kill Jason. Now this sounds too good to be true, and it is–because the hockey-mask-wearing fiend has already signed on to do five more movies after this one. But I don’t think Tommy knows about this because he and Megan are still preparing for Jason’s big send-off.

Later that night they all meet up at the camp for a wet and wild threesome in the middle of the lake. It’s not what you think… But don’t worry about Jason adding you to his already impressive body count because, trust me, Tommy and Megan are keeping him very busy this time around. So you’re safe wherever you watch the action. And besides, once Tommy drops anchor on the USS Voorhees at the bottom of Crystal Lake, courtesy of some steel chain and a boulder the size of an asteroid, ol’ Jason won’t be going anywhere until the next sequel.

This is your typical “Friday the 13th” movie minus the scares, nudity and gore of earlier films. Director McLoughlin doesn’t even attempt to scare the audience with “Jason Lives.” His installment is about as terrifying as an episode of “Goosebumps.” But I’ll take an un-scary “Friday the 13th” film any day over a ridiculous sequel like “Jason Goes to Hell” that has a body-jacking Jason who eats an evil heart (what???) and swaps spit and Hell Slugs with his victims.

Friday the 13th Part 6

Another bummer is that this movie has zero nudity which means you’ll just have to wait until the next sequel “The New Blood” to see any hot chicks take their clothes off. To me having a “Friday the 13th” film without any nudity is like having Mork without Mindy, or Michael Knight being without his car buddy, KITT. I mean c’mon, this isn’t an episode of “7th Heaven”, it’s a horror movie, so let’s see some skin. The closest it gets is seeing Megan, the very talented Jennifer Cooke, sporting a pair of 80’s jeans that are so tight, the seams can be heard crying “uncle.” And for anyone out there who has a bare knee fetish, you should definitely get your fix whenever Cort appears on screen with his knees falling out of his ripped jeans. The movie doesn’t have a lot of gore, either, except when Jason shows his creative side and does his version of a Jackson Pollock painting using a female counselor’s blood and gooey insides. At least “Jason Lives” has a couple of really cool kills. Like when Maggothead himself gets a three-for-one decapitation using a pimped-out chrome machete. Another one has the undead psycho evening the score with the sheriff when he snaps him in half like a cheap number two pencil after their second showdown. Now that’s what I call a tiebreaker! The next kill reminded me of when I used to pull the heads off my cousin’s Barbie dolls. It involves a female counselor who gets her head ripped off after making the fatal mistake of pouring lemon and lime soda over Wormface’s head. I guess Jason prefers Pepsi.

The cast is fairly bland by “Friday the 13th” standards. Even the usual crop of walking cliches isn’t here. But there is one character named Martin who really stands out. If you liked Crazy Ralph from Parts 1 & 2, and Edna from “A New Beginning”, then you will definitely get a kick out of this crusty caretaker. When he isn’t involved in cover-ups over at the local cemetery where he works, he can be overheard serenading his bottle of hooch, affectionately named Kathleen. Sadly though, while walking home from work one night, Martin meets his end and gives fans a great death scene that has Jason using a broken bottle to tap his neck like a keg of beer. This gives new meaning the old saying “the bottle killed him.”

For a franchise that suffers from advanced sequel-itis, the acting is surprisingly solid. The group of attractive female camp counselors are believable as friends working at a summer camp. Even the sheriff and deputy act like they’ve known each other for years. Thom (I haven’t had an acting gig in years) Mathews gives a credible performance as a troubled young man who still has a major case of Jason on the brain. This sequel has the best production values of any movie in the series. We get some creepy opening shots of fog floating across the lake and crawling along the ground that reminded me of the classic horror movie “The Wolfman.” It’s just a shame that director McLoughlin didn’t build on this atmosphere and create a film full of thrills and chills. However, on a positive note, resident “Friday the 13th” composer Harry Manfredini is back with a brand new and totally awesome sounding score to celebrate Jason’s return. Now, as far as I’m concerned, a “Friday the 13th” movie just isn’t a “Friday the 13th” movie if Manfredini isn’t doing the music.

In the end I still enjoyed seeing the real Jason back onscreen (Roy doesn’t count), but I just like Jason better when he kills you with a machete, and not with humor.

– Extreme swimming in skin-tight jeans
– 3-for-1 decap attack
– 1 Pimped-out chrome machete
– Gratuitous display of knees
– 1 Frankenstein-esque resurrection
– Jason’s James Bond Tribute
– 1 Corpse covered in a “Fear Factor” Party Mix of creepy-crawlies
– 1 Boat propellor to the face
– 1 Power-walking undead killer
– 1 Machete covered in strawberry jam
– 1 Fried and furious undead psycho

Rated 8.3 out of 10

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