Archive for the 'Horror movies' Category


posted by admin | July 16, 2016 | 60's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Guest Review, Horror movies

Comments Off on Black Sabbath: A guest review by Paul Counelis


Paul Counelis writes the “Monster Kid Corner” column for Rue Morgue, is the editor of Halloween Machine magazine, sings for the scary band Lords of October and is a member of the Flint Horror Collective, bringing events to sunny Flint, Michigan for years. FACEBOOK and LIKE all that stuff, willya? In his free time

he writes incredible books about scary stuff, does a bi-weekly podcast with his pals (Ghoul Cast), raises 9 kids with his gorgeous (and patient) wife Crystal, and runs a home haunt called Scarriage Town with family and friends (and daughter’s consistent imaginary(?) friend Hallie).
Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 12.24.14 PM

Toward the end of his amazing career, the legend Boris Karloff was so intent on working well into his late seventies that he often accepted roles in films that…well, to put it nicely, just weren’t worthy of his presence. He finished his remarkable career with a few real duds; therefore most Karloff fans just pretend that his last film was 1968’s excellent and challenging Targets, a movie that contrasted the horrors of the great Universal Monsters era with the modern horror of the real world.

But a few years before that, betwixt career reviving turns with Vincent Price in The Raven and The Comedy of Terrors, our buddy Uncle Uncanny found himself in maybe the most unique role he had ever played; a vampire in The Wurdulak segment of the Mario Bava anthology Black Sabbath.

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 12.24.05 PM

Karloff’s segment (aside from his strange “hosting” turn, complete with Italian overdubs) is really atmospheric, unusual and worth watching all on its own, and the same can be said for another spooky portion of the film, The Telephone, about a…ahem…call girl who receives disturbing, Scream-like, rape-y phone messages from a client of hers who just happens to be imprisoned. I won’t give away the twist… yeah, very Scream indeed.

But it’s the segment titled The Drop of Water that most people who’ve seen this film tend to remember the most…because it’s really freaking creepy.

I watched the film for the first time one night by myself, not really expecting much other than the charms of the era and the pleasure of watching Uncle Boris do his thing. However, The Drop of Water honestly and truly gave me something that I hadn’t gotten from a horror movie in quite a few years: a nightmare.

I felt giddy as I watched the tale unfold, about a nurse who makes the rather unwise decision of stealing the ring from the corpse of a medium (who passed away during a séance) while preparing the body. Why someone would do such a thing, after all the years of hearing the multiple campfire stories that revolve around that particular set of circumstances (“Bloody bones, bloody bones…”) is anyone’s guess. BUT, she did it anyway.

And in the moment when the countess rises from the bed and floats toward her, hovering a couple feet from the ground while she stares deep into her soul from unmoving, sunken eyes…I’m sure the nurse had a quick series of regrets.

I realized that I was laughing giddily during that scene; the kind of laughter that would be referred to as “nervous”. This is something that doesn’t happen to a hardened, desensitized horror fan very often. In fact, the most recent time it happened to me before watching Black Sabbath was during an ill-advised late night screening of The Exorcist III, another film that I wrongly anticipated watching easily by myself. Most people who have seen Exorcist III can probably guess at the scene in which I nearly fell off of the couch. But anyway…

Black Sabbath is one of those kinda sorta “under the radar” type classics, full of Bava’s best directorial tricks and plenty of mood and atmosphere. It’s also home to one REALLY freaky lookin’ living dead girl, and remains one of the top movies in the latter stage of the outstanding film career of our dear, old Uncle Karloff.


roadside attractions

  • Multi-colored rotary dial phone, NWO Wolfpack style
  • Nude bronze Cupid statue
  • Stonehenge like relics in an open field
  • Brooding but cabin-like castle
  • Boris Karloff’s afro




– Some extremely questionable paint-like substance under the jagged end of a dagger

– A suspiciously rubbery head that Karloff gleefully pulls from a bag and hangs outside

– Oddly realistic small splatters on neck bite marks

– Seeping through white shirts after off-screen violence




Surprisingly few for a film with a segment about a call girl. NONE in the Drop of

Water story. Thankfully. THANKFULLY.





– Spotted horses galore

– Freaky ass zombie girl

– Incessantly howling wolf

– Wurdulak…er, corpse that wants blood…er, VAMPIRE

– Disturbing child Halfling who says “Momma” outside the window with a reverb-y voice


Check out the trailer for “Black Sabbath”





posted by Doktor | January 25, 2016 | 90's movies, B-movie Reviews, Horror movies, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Project: Metalbeast

Project Metalbeast Main

Tagline: DNA Overload

Year: 1995                 Runtime: 93 min

Director: Alessandro De Gaetano

Writer: Alessandro De Gaetano, Timothy E. Sabo

Starring: Kim Delaney, Barry Bostwick, Kane Hodder

Is This Normal 01Kane Hodder. Metal Werewolf. Barry “Commander Ace Hunter” Bostwick. Yes, please!

Ah, but like so many b-movies in the 90s, the cover promised more than the movie delivered. Don’t get me wrong, Project: Metalbeast has its moments, when the credit roll ends. Problem is, it doesn’t thrill so much as it talks at you.

Take the opening scene. Stormy sky. Night. Teletype titles:

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) 1974

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) U.S. Military Intelligence

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) Operation Lycanthropus

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) Carpathian Mountains, Hungary

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) Objective: Sample werewolf blood.

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) Purpose: To make an awesome 90s horror flick create a superior combat agent.


Master Sergeant “Way Too Serious” Butler and his idiot sidekick Private “Lackey Bait” Greg break into a random castle. As all Hungarian castles are infested with werewolves, any old castle will do. Butler’s armed to the teeth, i.e. a single 45. No wonder he’s so somber. Lackey is secured with a bulging pack of gear, a bulky metal case, and a camera. Whomever packed his gear completely misunderstood what he was going to be shooting.

Still, Lackey performs his role perfectly, blindly blundering around, always out front, until attacked and killed. Butler, the consummate commander, watches idly as Lackey’s throat is ripped out. He’s more concerned with the dirt under his fingernails. It’s ruined his manicure. Lacky’s camera, not wanting to miss it’s big shot in the “movies,” decides to take a burst of pictures. What’s surprising is, despite being pointed at the ceiling, it manages to capture several in focus and nicely composed pictures of Lackey’s death. Each shot is from a slightly different perspective to boot.

Can your fancy DSLR do that? Don’t think so.

Though still deeply pained by his dirty nails, Butler pulls himself together enough to shot the hulking werewolf a couple times. “Hmm, what do you know, it works,” his look says. I admit I was surprised. I had no idea that a 45 has werewolf stopping power. He extracts some of the werewolf blood with an unnecessary suction device in one of Lackey’s cases. I’m sure a syringe would have worked just fine, but this is 1974. All secret government agents had excessively high tech gear. It’s a thing. Look it up.

With the blood collected, Butler grabs the camera and does Lackey a favor and shoots him in the face. Good job, boy. You’ll go far in this world.

Cut to: U.S. Secret Operations Center.

It looks like a mid-sized high school building, and from what we’ve seen so far this is where the writer spends his weekdays. Nah, I’m just kiddin’. Really the location is all about being broke. They spent all $13.68 of budget on the special effects makeup.

Butler, man of action, is getting antsy. The science tests on the blood are taking too long. Time to introduce some class, some level headed leadership. Enter Miller, Barry “Cool as a Cucumber” Bostwick, to put Butler in his place. Miller’s got this under control and Butler is not going to screw this one up. Sit, Butler, sit! Good dog.

Come to find out, while the tests are not complete, the doctor does know that if they were to use the blood on someone, said someone’s immune system would reject it. Their blood would turn into puss. Their body would swell. They’d suffer an intense fever. Eventually they’d die. Butler and Miller have one track minds, so they ask “That is all fine and good but is the blood diseased?”

Oh, it’s going to be so much fun watching the pair of them die.

Being the MENSA candidate he is, Butler isn’t going to wait for another week. He’s just going to take the blood. So, he sneaks into the lab after hours, because nothing is locked down in a Secret U.S. Operations Center, steals a half syringe, and sneaks off to the bathroom to shoot up.

Hmmm. Maybe this really is a high school after all.

Before he shoots up, Butler taste tests a couple drops. Not bad. A bit gamey. That’s all the science test needed so, yippee ki-yay. After a few moments of twitching like he shot molten iron, he goes all Emo. He returns to his office to reminisce by looking through the slides of Lackey’s final moments.

As he contemplates black, Butler’s sense of hearing starts improving. He hears some of the other doctors making fun of him and his werewolf blood. Why can’t the world just leave him alone!

With all the swirling passions and the icky hair sprouting in unusual places, this would be a terrible time for Miller to bust in and—

PewCue the exposition/Mexican stand off.

Butler, his sack having descended, sneers about smelling fear, living forever, and the $20 Miller still owes him from a couple weeks back. Not ready to become Butler’s victim just yet, Miller slips off to… uhm… turn off his stove. He forgot to turn it off when he left home that morning.

Fun Fact: when you shoot up werewolf infection, as opposed to getting it by being bitten, you can change by will, or as it’s known in show biz, through the “power of plot.”

In one of the labs, a lady doctor cuts her hand. Butler smells the blood. It brings out the beast in him. The Lurvwolf. He doesn’t always hump a lady’s leg on the first date, but when he does he returns to his office to lick his… pride. Or something.

One of the man doctors busts in, ready to save lady doctor’s virtue. Ooooo, bad timing there, chief. Butler has gone full werewolf. Mr. Doctor gets his throat ripped out. So much for chivalry. As WereBulter is chomping on his jugular, the slide projector decides to click through the slideshow of Lackey’s death.

I’d like an order of killing, with a side order of killing, and supersize that for me.

Miller, having thought of a snappy comeback finally, returns to find WereButler still chowing down on Mr. Doctor. That dog will not hunt, sir. Miller shoots WereButler and they put him, as well as the project, on ice. Literally.

Cut to: 1994. NEW U.S. Secret Operations Center.

Now the operations are housed in a mid-sized warehouse. How did this happen you ask? Well, they injected some Hungarian warehouse blood into the high school building and voila, new operations warehouse!

Inside we’re shown Dr. Anna de Carlo’s office. We see her Dermatology degree from the University of Michigan, her humanitarian of the year diploma (That’s right, diploma. It reads diploma in big bold letters at the bottom.), a cute Kangaroo doll on her desk, and her name plate which reads, “Synthetic Tissues Project.” Then a cross fade to her busy at work. Meanwhile all her co-workers are playing pool, poker, and drinking beers.

Cut to next day. Dr. Anna sleeping on her desk. Lt. “Don’t Touch the Hair, Man” Ferraro, one of her co-workers who took the evening off, comes in. He gives her the loving look which says, “Poor kid. Here all night. Again.” He wakes her gently.

This is a perfect time for exposition about what she does.

She’s growing new skin from a mixture of synthetic tissue and metal. Well, kinda. So far all she’s made is stuff that’s hardened to steel. But, poke gooey stuff with an electric prod enough and surely you’ll get synthetic skin that can be transplanted onto humans, right? So, night after night after night, she spends her time poking gooey stuff with an electric prod rather than have a life.

Having enough exposition to explain things for the moment, the movie returns to the plot. Ferraro tells Dr. Anna that some big-shot named Miller is coming on board. There’s a meeting to introduce him at eleventy-hundred hours. Oh, and there’s a little crust in the corner of her mouth.

At the meeting, Miller gives them the old “stink eye” and some “what for” to establish himself as the new head honcho. This doesn’t go over well, but what can they do? Quit and let someone else take all the glory. Well, yeah, but… Anyway, Miller tells the scientists they’ll be moving on to testing their synthetic skin on a cadaver he’ll deliver sometime next week.

Why he’s taking a week to deliver is a mystery? WereBulter is in the basement. Remember in the old U.S. Secret Operations Center and the New U.S. Secret Operations Center are one and the same.

Here we get a touching moment between Miller and WereButler. Miller’s bragging about giving him steel skin. He’ll be indestructible. No worries though, because this time everything is under control.

Behind MeHow? Because.

In spite of their moral reservations and the questionable legality, Dr. Anna and team start grafting synthetic skin onto WereButler. Part way through the operation the notice the three bullets in his chest. Dr. Anna removes them. When she does he comes back to life.

Second Fun Fact: silver bullets don’t kill injection infected werewolves, it just puts them in a coma.

At first WereButler has no brain activity. Granted, that’s because they forgot to plug in the EEG machine. I think his thrashing about, moaning and groaning in pain, and that his eyes were wide open should have indicated conscious, which in itself suggests LOTS of brain activity, but what do I know? I’m no dermatologist.

Dr. Anna confronts Miller, but he’s all, “Feh, it’s not a person anymore. Get back to work.” Who can argue with logic like that. So they return to work. They do call Miller Mr. Poo-Poo Head behind his back from there on out.

You might be wondering why no one, even the base commander, General Hammond, calls someone higher up about all this tom foolery?


All the while WereButler is in pain on the operating table. In her office, Dr. Anna is having a bout with her conscience. You know what that means. Perfect time for exposition about what kind of person Dr. Anna is.

Early in her career as a trauma dermatologist, there was this little girl who came into her ER. Ninety percent of her body was scorched away. Ninety percent of her body was gone and she was still alive? Amazining. Surprisingly, all Dr. Anna could do was watch her die. If there were only some synthetic skin with which to replace 90% of her body!

When the little girl died Dr. Anna believed there was something that left her body. Now though, after what she experienced with WereButler, she’s not sure. All she does know is that something momentous happened, but she’s not sure what.

Well, I’m no philosopher, but a person who was dead for 20 years came back to life. And he is writing in agony as you wallow in your exposition. There’s that.

Being all alone and in pain, Miller takes a moment to evil gloat over WereButler. Miller shows him pictures of Lackey’s death, blurts out that WereButler has been frozen for 20 years, and delights in the fact that he will NEVER pay the $20 he owes.

Tender moment over, Dr. Anna returns to work. Dr. Anna finally moves past her blasé attitude and gives WereButler a shot some Demerol. For some reason this causes him to have an accident. Exhausted by all the work, it’s time for a break, during which time Larry “the black guy” is sent to get surgical tubing to make a catheter.

Dr. Anna uses her break to get a code key from Hacker Chick, the operations center’s IT department, to Miller’s office. Miller uses his break to call his mommy. WereButler uses his to transform and kill Larry.

Looks like he wanted a catheter even less than Larry wanted to put it in.

Finally, time for some well deserved killing.

Is This Normal 02Sadly, now that he’s finally free, the first thing WereButler takes his rage out on is a dipping bird novelty toy. Really? He couldn’t punch a wall? Maybe kick through a door? I suppose not. Those things cost money and there just wasn’t enough in the budget. Thankfully a hapless guard wanders across his path, and feeling silly at wasting all his AWE-some, WereButler dispatches him, but good.

Unluckily for WereButler the other guards that show up are armed with fire extinguishers.

Third Fun Fact: fire extinguisher spray causes injection infected werewolves to partially transform back and go into nap mode.

Back in the lab, Dr. Anna’s idiot assistant, Weenie Intern Guy, keeps trying to pierce WereButler’s steel skin with a syringe of sedative. There is plenty of his body that’s not covered, but why go there? That’d be too easy. Defeated, they give up. Instead, they hook him up to electrodes and fry him. Why?

Because. And science.

While he’s getting juiced, Dr. Anna has to go see how Larry died.

Seriously. I’m not making this up. She has to see how Larry died. The stupidity boggles the mind.

I normally don’t talk to my television, but it helped me fight back the urge to get violent, “WereButler, you know, the steel skinned werewolf you only moments ago hooked up to electrodes? Yeah, him. He attacked Larry. Hulking metal werewolf attacks ‘Kan be pretti nasti.’ In this case it killed him. Also, remember how everyone just finished telling you how he, WereButler, you know, the steel skinned werewolf, attacked Larry? Remember that? Well, that’s how he died.”

Just as I was about to pop a brain infarction the answer hit me. The reason she had to see what killed Larry was the filmmaker spent money on some special effects makeup. That’s why he didn’t have WereButler smashing up the place. Some nasti cuts and a severed arm have more production value than a smashed door.

My bad for ever doubting.

When she returns to the lab she unilaterally decides the best thing to do is put WereButler out of their misery. Finally. She would do the deed herself but first she, ehrm… has some stuff to do. Ferraro, too. In the meantime, they instruct Weenie Intern Guy to inject sedative in WereButler’s eye. Really. In his eye. First they fry him because they can’t sedate him. Now they’re going to inject him in his eye. Poor bastard.

Thing is, this whole time WereButler’s been awake, with enhanced werewolf hearing. He heard the whole conversation.

Goodbye, Weenie Intern Guy.

Dr. Anna goes to get the gun and silver bullets she saw in Miller’s desk drawer earlier. Too bad, Dr. Anna. Miller has already grabbed them. Miller is 99 things, but a sucker isn’t one of them.

Ferraro steals all of General Hammond’s silver coin collection, which oddly enough, he keeps lying out on his desk, only half in protective cases. Ferraro takes them to his lab to make some special silver bullets. Special silver bazooka bullets.

While they are running their errands, WereButler kills Weenie Intern Guy and sets out on the killing spree we’ve been waiting for.

Sort of.

For an emergency situation this base is incredibly laissez-faire. No alarm. No guards sweeping the parameter. Miller and General Hammond are casually walking through the building. That’s when they come upon the dead body, i.e. WereButler’s rampage. Miller is not impressed with the kill count so he shoots General Hammond’s knees to leave him as bait. No sooner does Miller leave the room than WereButler is creeping up on Hammond. WereButler picks Hammond up and…

We get to watch Hammond’s feet twitch as his neck snaps, or his head is crushed, or something happens up higher where we can’t see.

Miller happens into Ferraro, Dr. Anna, and Hacker Chick. Ferraro runs interference for the ladies so they can get away and takes a bullet for his trouble. Considering he only has 6 bullets, Miller is being incredibly generous shooting people.

Cute ShoesDr. Anna and Hacker Chick end up in the freezer room in the basement, i.e. the cryo-lab where Miller was storing WereButler all these years. Leaving the door wide open behind them, Miller easily deduces where to go.

Just when I thought the movie was out of exposition, there is some villain monologuing. Thankfully it is cut short by WereButler.

In the “fight” that ensues, WereButler stomps a mud hole in Miller. Yet Miller takes it with style. With each blow he gets up and puts things right—fixing his tie or straightening his hair. He couldn’t quite fix the disemboweling, because he was dead, but he did what he could. Now that’s class.

At last, final boss fight. Dr. Anna and Hacker Chick versus WereButler. Dr. Anna has the bazooka and a couple of Ferraro’s Special Silver Shells. With the first shot, Dr. Anna misses WereButler all together. The missile hits the wall behind him, sending debris down on all three. Hacker Chick is out. Dr. Anna gets rebar through the ankle. WereButler is, of course, just knocked out until Dr. Anna walks close enough to grab at her.

This cures her ankle and leads to some exciting basement hallway hobbling/chasing. There are lots of metal stairways, steaming pipes, locked fire doors, and concrete walls.  Just when Dr. Anna is cornered Hacker Chick is back. She hands Dr. Anna the last Special Silver Shell. This time the rocket hits, but only penetrates WereButler’s leg. No explosion.


The ladies run but there’s nowhere to hide. They look around but there’s no where to escape. WereBulter slowly closes in for the kill. Dr. Anna goes for the bazooka but it’s empty. This is it.

But wait, it isn’t!

Ferraro isn’t dead, he’s just been waiting for the last possible moment. He’s got the last Special Silver Shell. For reals last. He hands it to Dr. Anna. She loads. She fires.

His everything a splode!

The End.

Or is it? There is a bit of burbling metal skin stuff.

No. It’s the end. That’s quite enough of that.

roadside attractions

  • Hear! the “pop” as WereButler pulls the silver bazooka burlet from his leg!
  • Witness! the majesty of The Bostwick fixing his hair before being run through!
  • Listen! in horror as Chef Ramon goes full Ricky Richardo as only a white boy can!
  • Be Amazed! by the laser-precision level to Butler’s flat top!
  • Observe! as Miller completely blows his chance at a punny one-liner as he monologues WereButler into cryogenic freeze!

3 blood  


On par with what you get when you nick yourself shaving.

0 blood  


None. Dermatologists don’t show off skin!


10 beast  


Steel-skinned Werewolf!



Watch the entire film “Project: Metalbeast”



Comments Off on Friday the 13th: Part III

To celebrate Friday the 13th by watching Friday the 13th, I wanted to take a look back at my favorite Friday, “Friday the 13th Part III.” It’s like watching “Die Hard” at Christmas at my house.
Part III, how do I love thee? Lemme count. Number one, there’s the sweet 80’s main theme that I like to call Disco Jason. Such a party track. Number two, Part III is in 3D, and many copies you can buy even come with old school 3D glasses. (And, mercifully, the option to watch in 2D.) But number three and most importantly, this is the first Friday where Jason is the Jason we know, love, and make action figures of, the man in the mask Alice Cooper belted about in part VI. I mean, everyone knows Mrs. Voorhees is the killer in part one, and in II, Jason’s rocking a flour sack and not truly at full Jason – although, in fairness, he is mourning his crazy mama. Part III is Jason moving on, out of the shack with mama’s severed head, out of the camp setting entirely, and while he’s still pretty human looking around the edges, we do get the hockey masked, immortal/undead/zombie/whatever the hell he is killing machine of legend and box art in this movie.

Part III opens with the end of part II, just in case you were afraid you’d be lost in the mythology. Ginny, the Final Girl of II, pretends to be Jason’s mama and then machetes him real good in the shoulder. When the coast is clear though, we see wounded Jason scoot away into the darkness. Then we rock out with Disco Jason and 3D movie credits invade our personal space.
But the movie really starts with a bickering couple, presumably middle-aged, although I think the wife is actually pretty young and they put her in a bathrobe and curlers to make her insta-45. Bickering couple are just chilling out at their combination crappy home/crappy rural grocery, when the wife listens to local news recount the aftermath of part II, so of course, Jason’s ears are burning. It’s OK; bickering couple were just the appetizer.
After we’ve established that Jason’s on the loose and his stabbing arm is all warmed up, we get to meet our crew of nubile young victims. And they’re in a van. They even have a pair of stoners in the van. I’m just glad they didn’t have a dog, because I cannot stand violence against animals.

OK, so roll call: we’ve got Chris, the Final Girl – we know this because she’s a pretty, but serious girl, kinda turned off of sex, and she both owns the van and has a boy’s name. We have Shelly, who attempts to make up for his lack of traditional good looks with gory practical jokes and pouting about how no one likes him; the stoner couple; Deb the pregnant girl and her innocuous boyfriend Andy; and finally, Vera, a cool Latina who was conned into being Shelly’s date. Pretty good selection for Jason to run through. Despite happening upon a crazy old man who warns them, um…pretty much just to be warned, he’s not very specific, the kids continue to Chris’s family farm, which is also convenient to Camp Blood.

When they arrive, Chris meets up with Rick, an old boyfriend, and she starts to get emo and ominous about not being back to the place for two years. I would like to take a moment and point out that despite not seeing each other for an undefined amount of time or being in a current relationship, Rick instantly begins pressuring Chris to get snuggly and never, ever stops. I realize inviting a guy to spend a weekend with you strongly implies receptivity to snuggling, but let her finish a sentence, you horndog. Rick’s painted as a good guy, driving a VW Beetle and everything, but really, he’s a jerk. Jason will make it better, I’m sure.

Back to the plot. I need to introduce a few more victims. Our other variety of jerk (bigus fatus jerkus), Shelly, goes with Vera to a local grocery for supplies. This grocery, however, is being menaced by a three-person biker gang. They don’t do much though besides threaten the kids a little bit, and you have to wonder exactly how much tough biker ganging there is to be done in a brightly-lit country store too small to even have aisles. Shelly manages to back over one of their bikes as they leave though, and in so doing unwittingly adds three more to Jason’s kill list, because you know the gang’s going to have to follow them and try to get revenge.

All the dominoes are now set up, and it’s fun to see how Jason knocks them down. 3D filming techniques will assist where possible. He’s less creative than he will be in the future, of course, but I believe he does innovate the fuse box kill here, and while there are some callbacks – Kevin Bacon’s death in the first “Friday the 13th” is a good one – they’re well repurposed.
It all comes down to Jason and Chris though, and we learn through torturous, onion peeling dialogue scenes that this is not her first rodeo with a deformed psycho killer. In fact…it was at this very place on the lake… Sigh. Chris, you’re an idiot, aren’t you?

I will give Chris credit for being a pretty effective Final Girl, using things in her environment as diverse and innocuous as hay bales and manual car windows to her advantage and executing traps with minimal whimpering. I wouldn’t be able to go close enough to Jason to loop a noose around his neck, uh-uh, no way. She may not be Kirsty Cotton or Laurie Strode, but she’s pretty tough stuff. Not as tough as Jason, but hey, who is? Jason’s basically jerky to start with.

roadside attractions

  • Brand-new crazy old man to warn the kids about Jason
  • Jason finds his signature look
  • Central casting stoners
  • Central casting bikers
  • Fried hippie
  • Not practicing speargun safety
  • Not practicing hammock safety
  • Red-hot poker action
  • The Boy Who Cried Psycho Killer
  • I am crushing your head




A little dated and heavy on the eyeballs for my taste, but Jason shows real enthusiasm for this kind of work.




Fleeting exposure in a pretty self-conscious shower scene.



BEASTS Jason will get hulkier, maggotier, and more inventive in later sequels, but there wouldn’t have been a Jason X without Disco Jason.

8 OVERALL There’s a purity to Part III I enjoy. The formula is solid by this point without being overdone, and it’s happy to just be what it is: a big dumb fun slasher movie for Reagan’s America.

Watch the trailer to “Friday the 13th: Part III”



Comments Off on Extinction (2015)

Welcome to another review, folks! It seems the world can’t get enough of zombies: TV shows, movies, dolls, video games, books, it doesn’t matter. So film studios depend upon the word “zombie” to get attention, or some kind of segue into the more mainstream focus. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it should. “Extinction” is one that should get some recognition. Now, before you get your pretenses in place, let’s get a good look at this little movie that could.

This movie began with so much camera shake, I tried to put my seat belt on. Note to directors: Shaky cam is bad. And if the movie DOES call for it: Less is more! A man, his wife, their infant daughter and his best friend are trying to get away from the oncoming zombie apocalypse, that started well before the movie did. They’re on a bus with a large amount of people, and two army guys, all just as terrified as the next person, for good reason: The zombies have caught up! Now the bus is just a meal in a box, as they wait for the inevitable. The first military guy exits the bus, gets eaten, and the second one doesn’t fair any better. One of the gentlemen (who will be a main character later on) takes the lead, and tries to retrieve weapons from the land of jump scares. The first part of this movie is filled with jump scares, so get ready for that, along with neck-breaking shaky cam. For those with a weak stomach, skip this part altogether.

More tragedy strikes! The main characters are in all sorts of trouble; the wife is injured, the baby is covered in blood. Whose blood is it? Tune in next time to find out! Same undead time! Same undead channel! And now that the pulse-pounding beginning is over, prepare for something truly intense: FAMILY BONDING. Here’s where things grind to a halt, changing the pace so hard an airbag would deploy. One minute there’s running zombies, army guys firing guns everywhere, screaming, blood, and violence, and the next it’s father-daughter bonding time in a winter wonderland. While none of this is explained outright, hints are dropped. Get used to this domestic scene, because it lasts longer than most sequels do.

After cycling through survival set-ups, how they’re surviving, and what they’re doing to stay sane, we finally delve into the characters, themselves. It seems the family plus one have made themselves a little outpost: Two houses in a northern climate. across the street from the other, sharing resources, but that’s about it. We see few interactions between the men, as the environment paints the relationship between the two as less than hospitable. The ex-best friend has let all hygiene go, as he’s transformed into Rob Zombie’s crazier and dirtier cousin: Scruffy McCrazyDude, who spends his evenings broadcasting to any survivors out in the frozen wasteland, and getting blind, stinking drunk. Meanwhile, Angry McHostileDad spends hours with his daughter, and all seems right with the end of the world.

But, hey, this is a zombie movie! Where are the zombies? This question is the one I pondered, about the same time everyone else does at this point. The director must have foreseen that, and decided to give us a reminder that it is, indeed, a zombie movie. Scruffy McCrazyDude goes on a supply run to an old haunt, to not only get the little girl a birthday present, but to top off on end of the world stuff. A local piece of wildlife alerts him that things can still live. Then the same piece of wildlife gets eaten like a piece of cake at a two-year-old’s birthday party. Scruffy follows the shadowy creature back to their homestead, where Angry McHostileDad is showing his daughter how to shoot a gun, which attracts the beast.

The zombies at the beginning of the film are typical runners who chase their prey and eat them. The zombies at the second half are completely new: white skin, blank eyes, nude, and they hunt by sound. I like this change, making the creatures evolve with their natural environment, changing the way they hunt. I’m impressed by the switch from Play Doh-caked faces to this new super zombie. But you can’t have zombies without making them a threat. Scruffy defends the little girl from the first attack on the homestead, but gets bitten while Angry leaves him to fate to save his daughter. The three prepare for the worst: Scruffy becomes part of the legion of the undead. But days go by, and nothing happens. It seems these zombies have a glitch: their bite doesn’t turn you. This fortunate, or unfortunate, event leads Angry and Scruffy to make up and be friends, even to the point of going on a supply run together, daughter included.

During their little family trip to the grocery store, we begin to learn about what went down between all the adults in the movie, giving some background to the drama. It’s kind of hard to follow if you haven’t been paying attention, but the gist is there. While the family is shopping, they find a young woman, frozen in terror and ice. They take her back to the honeycomb hideout to find out her story, while discovering that Scruffy didn’t finish off the new zombie. Instead he took a note from “The Walking Dead’s” Michonne and disabled it, chaining it to his house for research. This decision doesn’t sit well with Angry, and things really go downhill. But, as always, no spoilers here, folks. But I will end with this: There’s a hell of an ending.

With the pace a lot slower than most modern horror movies, “Extinction” may be harder for younger audiences to grind through, but old schoolers enjoy the massive character development. There are typical “Why would you do that?!?” moments that every horror movie suffers from, but, show me one that doesn’t. There’s plenty I left out of this review, and for good reason: I want you guys to check this one out. Top-notch gore, acting, creatures, and setup, but it’s a shame it suffers from such a generic name. I recommend this movie, available on Netflix, with a big bucket of popcorn and the lights out. Thanks for reading, folks! And, as always, Stay Tuned!

roadside attractions

  • What did you think would happen?
  • Did you forget how doors work?
  • Run! Run! You can stay still.
  • Winterwonderland of Death
  • Who wrote that?
  • THAT had to hurt!




The blood flows, the body parts rain down, it is awesome!




None. None at all.




Cool new design to a tired genre!


Watch the trailer for Extinction



Comments Off on Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Look, no one loves the “Halloween” series more than I do, at least until Busta Rhymes gets involved. The first film is an unimpeachable classic that defined a subgenre and entirely makes up for “Ghosts of Mars” and “John Carpenter’s Vampires” in the same way that the Beatles catalogue means Paul McCartney still gets to be a legend even though there’s that terrible Christmas song and “Kisses on the Bottom.”

But there’s one movie nestled among the chapters of Michael Myers’ seasonal quest to kill his sister/niece/sister again that does not belong – 1982’s “Halloween III: the Season of the Witch,” or The One Where He Didn’t Come Home. Nope, “Halloween III” doesn’t have Michael. It doesn’t have Michael’s final girl blood relations fleeing into narrow dead ends. It doesn’t have Donald Pleasance earning every bit of his paycheck and all the residuals in the universe as Dr. Loomis, foremost authority in the field of abnormal EVIL child psychology.
John Carpenter and Debra Hill, who created ”Halloween,” its sequel, and produced III, envisioned the series going in an anthology direction after “Halloween II,” like a theatrical “American Horror Story.” But audiences hated “Halloween III” for not being more “Halloween III.” For years, even after I’d memorized Halloweens I, II, IV, and V, I still hadn’t even tried hate-watching III because everyone I knew spat on its clamshell. But you know what? Once I did give it a shot, it instantly became a favorite. Among the Halloween series – which, again, I have memorized, 4srs — I’d put it second in quality only to the first one, although I still watch it far more often. Let me tell you about it!

The movie starts out with an old guy running pell mell to escape what appear to be tax preparers or junior executives, maybe Mormon missionaries, a pretty sweet jack-o-lantern mask stuffed in his waistband. Seeking refuge in a junk yard, old guy manages to commit vehicular manslaughter on them, escapes, later to ruin the shift of a night watchman at a garage who’s just trying to watch a news report about Stonehenge. (Plot point! Plot point!)
Enough of that exciting stuff. We are transported to meet our real hero. Tom Atkins’ Dr. Dan Challis is instantly relatable, although partly because we meet him while he’s being sneered at by his killer shrew ex-wife and disappointing his kids by bringing them less awesome Halloween masks than mom got. (“They’re Silver Shamrock!” the children exclaim, singing along to the commercial for the very same masks at eye-ruining distance from the Magnavox. Get used to that hectoring singsong; it’s going to be a motif.)

Dan is your basic good guy caught up in terrible events; he’s a doctor, sure, but there’s definitely more Sears catalogs and Playboys in his place than medical journals. He drinks when he’s on call, has implied alcoholism, endures a bitter ex-wife with custody of their two kids, and pats the night nurse’s bottom with no fear of repercussion ‘cause he’s too OK to harass anybody. He is an 80s main character in search of a Stephen King novel. He’s a good — not perfect! — but good guy. And he has a sweet mustache.

By the way, bitter ex-wife Linda is played by Nancy Loomis, the same actress who played Annie, one of Laurie Strode’s less fortunate babysitter friends in “Halloween.” (Also her staring corpse in “Halloween II!”) Foul-mouthed and half-naked in “Halloween,” 5 years later, she accessorizes a grey wig with a dowdy shawl and 80% of her lines are yelled over the phone at Challis. Hollywood really is terrible for the aging actress.

Challis gets paged, and the scene can’t jump cut hard enough away from that domestic bliss. The garage night watchman has delivered the old guy to the hospital, still clutching that Halloween mask. (Yes, Silver Shamrock! How did you know?) As Challis asks what happened, old guy is summoned to consciousness by that obnoxious commercial for Silver Shamrock Halloween masks, gasping, “They’re coming to kill…ALL OF US.” Challis prescribes Thorazine, because death threats always look better after a good drug-induced snooze.

While Challis is sleeping something else off in the doctor’s lounge, another Botany 500 suit model stalks into the hospital like so much Michael Myers. This is, in fact, an even less populated and policed hospital than the one in “Halloween II.” He arrows in on the old guy and takes another page from the Michael Myers playbook with a brisk head crushing. The night nurse walks in on the end of it, but luckily for her, the killer doesn’t care, and like a bee that’s spent its one sting, proceeds directly out to the parking lot, douses himself with accelerant, and goes up in a suicidal pyre.

Challis gets to see the conflagration and is on hand the next morning when police reveal the body to a young woman, the old guy’s daughter, Ellie Grimbridge. She identifies the body, horrified and grieving, but also cute. Later, she tracks Challis down in a bar and asks whether her father said anything the night he died. Challis tries a comforting lie, but when that fizzles, he expresses an urgent desire to find out what’s going on. And an amateur sleuthing team is born! Cue the upbeat opening.

Challis and Ellie check out her father’s shop, where he has a conspicuous inventory of those Silver Shamrock Halloween masks, and decide to take a day trip to the mask factory, his last known whereabouts before what we saw in the first 15 minutes of the movie. Challis also asks a friend in the coroner’s office to do the autopsy on the old man’s murderer and pass Challis any fun, plot-advancing tidbits.
The Silver Shamrock factory is located in a Southern California company town called Santa Mira, populated by…Irish immigrants. OK, sure. Realizing it’s too small a town to snoop without a cover story, Challis and Ellie decide to pretend to be a couple, buyers from the factory like Ellie’s dad was, and book a room at the local motel. Luckily, Ellie also packed lingerie for her day trip to track her father’s last movements with the nice, strange doctor.

We also meet an angry woman staying at the motel, in town to pick up her mask order, and another buyer, Buddy, with his wife and truly obnoxious brat, who are so National Lampoon, guys, I’m not kidding. So a lot of the snooping comes to Ellie and Challis at the motel, and that’s convenient. We learn that the factory (and thus the town) is run by Conal Cochran, a famous maker of novelty gags, toys, and masks, and Challis risks all kinds of fun backwash sharing his brown bag o’ booze with a local deadbeat, who points out the video cameras monitoring the whole town and complains bitterly that the factory is staffed entirely with outside people, not local talent like himself.

The night wears on. Ellie’s lingerie goes on, and maybe off, but we don’t see that. This is pretty PG-13 here. The deadbeat is double head crushed by more tax preparers of the night. And angry lady toys with one of the Silver Shamrock masks, unleashing a beam that fries her face off and generates worms and bugs from the gaping face holes. Face obliteration is a pretty ironic thing for a mask to do, and it’s still a fairly good practical effect, trading blood for broken teeth and exposed sinews.

The next day, best Halloween mask salesman evar Buddy and his family are taking a tour of the factory, which Ellie and Challis manage to glom onto. Cochran tours them personally though the place, and we get a closer look at his legacy of successful clockwork toys (Plot point! Plot point!) as well as the mask making process – less the tantalizing “final processing,” which Cochran explains has to do with trade secrets and volatile chemicals. He doesn’t want anyone to get hurt.

Speaking of getting hurt, Challis spots some more of the menswear models of doom and recognizes their eerie resemblance to the killer what bonfired himself in the hospital parking lot. Ellie also spots her dad’s car, partially hidden under a tarp, although she’s prevented from getting close by more members of the Silver Shamrock Kraftwerk tribute band.
And then our heroes, with the proof that Ellie’s dad was there (which wasn’t really at issue, was it?) and the serious heebie jeebies, hear what the audience is yelling at them and decide to get the hell out of Halloweentown. But FIRST, Challis wants to call the cops. Dumb, dumb, stupid man. While Ellie packs her one tiny overnight bag, he goes to the motel office and finds all lines are routed to a wrong number recording. By the time he gets back to the room, Ellie’s gone, and the room is surrounded by blank-faced, sharp-dressed men. So Challis is off to the races.

For a while, he manages to kill rather than be killed, and soon realizes that the suited baddies in pursuit are automatons, super realistic killbot versions of the clockwork toys that helped make Cochran so successful. So are most of the people in Santa Mira. But if Challis were successful in escaping, we wouldn’t get a villain speech, and we do get one from Cochran, a splendid speech not just about his evil plan, but about Halloween itself and, unlike Dr. Loomis, he pronounces Samhain correctly.
Challis isn’t down for the count though. There’s more movie left, a big scary child sacrificing plot to avert, and a cute girl to save, too. I’m leaving out a lot of good stuff actually, like what happens to Challis’ coroner friend and Cochran’s demonstration of his evil plan for Halloween night. You should watch and see. …Probably not while wearing a Halloween mask though.

roadside attractions

  • Killer Clockworks from Killarney
  • Honey mustard blood
  • “Halloween” Easter eggs
  • I’m crushing your head (x2)
  • Face/off
  • Killer driller
  • Willy Wonka level cruelty to children
  • A cult following




Not a bloodbath. More of an acid bath with snakes and worms playing pinochle in dissolved skulls.




.3 Glancing nip slip. Be ready to hit pause.



BEASTS Once again, the real monster is man and army of his killer robots.

8 OVERALL Maybe they should have called it All Hallows Eve or Samhain or The Night Celtic Witches Sacrifice All Y’All’s Children.” “Halloween III” both deserves the Halloween name and doesn’t deserve the short shrift it’s gotten because of the “Halloween” name. On its own merits, you get a great cast, a fairly original story in the vein of 70s, early 80s conspiracy horror with both witchy and technological components, a spooky Kraftwerky soundtrack, and plenty of memorable practical effects that still ook out effectively decades later.

Watch the trailer to “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”



About the Highway

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