Archive for the 'Made for TV' Category

May

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Almost every B-movie and horror movie fan out there has a story of how they were introduced to movies–like a cool uncle who let them watch “Porky’s” where they saw their very first set of boobies. For me, I became hooked on B-movies and horror movies after my first visit to Video Unlimited, a video store near where I lived. As a young boy many a weekend and summer were spent watching videos that I rented from both stores; they had two locations. I was very fortunate to have a really cool Mom who would let me watch any kind of movie, regardless of the genre (except porn). Hey, even the coolest Moms have to draw the line somewhere. My Mom became even cooler when I found out she was a big horror movie buff. On her days off from managing the drive-in (Rosen’s), she would usually be watching horror movies with me. Now how many kids can honestly say their Mom likes horror movies?

So, let me get back to my Video Unlimited memories. The one thing that always amazed me about both stores was that even though they weren’t very big, the staff magically found a way to somehow store and showcase thousands of titles. I always wondered if they had access to some kind of interdimensional portal with a limitless supply of videos. Video Unlimited’s selection was a lot like Video Vault in that whatever movie you were looking for, they usually had it or something similar to it.

Videos

And while I’m on the subject of selection, I have to mention the size of the movie rental catalog that was sitting on the front counter of the Laplata location. This thing was HUGE. Think a of a triple-decker club sandwich that is made of phone books, without the ham, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and mayonnaise. To me this catalog was my B-movie bible. I’m pretty sure that whenever I went near it the book was enshrined in a golden light and I heard celestial music coming from up above. Seriously, this catalog contained so many movies from every possible genre and sub-genre that if I live several lifetimes like the Highlander, Duncan MacLeod, I still wouldn’t see all of the movies listed in it. And when I had watched all of the current releases, or I just wanted to focus on a particular genre, this became my go-to book. The selection of the so-called “big boys” of movie rental back then and today–Blockbuster and Hollywood Video–could never compare to the impressive selection of the small Mom-and-Pop video stores. Try calling Blockbuster to find out if they carry “Wood Chipper Massacre”, and the people working there won’t have a clue as to what you’re talking about.

When I moved out of the area I began going exclusively to Video Unlimited’s Waldorf location, their second store. After about a year of renting several movies on a weekly basis and talking about movies with the staff, I was asked for my imput on what B-movies and horror movies the should carry at the store. So I began making movie recommendations based on previews I had seen, articles that I read in ‘Fangoria’ (when ‘Fangoria’ was still a horror magazine), and movie screeners that I had viewed. Yes, I was given movie screeners to watch, which was one of the coolest things to me. In case you don’t know, a movie screener is an advance copy of a movie that is shown to critics and distributors. I saw a lot of screeners, but the one that comes to mind was for the movie “Seed People.” It’s basically Full Moon Entertainment’s version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” I remember it being an enjoyable little movie, when Full Moon actually made movies worth watching, unlike the Z-grade trash that Charles Band pimps today for a quick buck. Now if helping to select movies and viewing advance copies wasn’t awesome enough, another perk of being a loyal customer was that I had my pick of all the cool posters they had from movies, like “Silent Night, Deadly Night”, “The Fly” (Cronenberg’s version), and “Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood.” In addition, I also got nifty movie promos like trading cards from another Full Moon release, “Subspecies”, which I still have packed in a box somewhere today. This was way before eBay. Back then nobody really thought of this stuff as being collectible or having any real value. To the owners all it was doing at the time was taking up valuable space that could be used to store copies of movies. Now I’m sure that they probably wished they had kept a lot of these posters after seeing how popular and valuable they’ve become over the years.

Soon I got a job at Rosen’s Drive-in, and I didn’t just didn’t have as much time as I used to to watch movies, but I would still visit Video Unlimited at least once a week to say “hi” and to see if there were any new releases that caught my eye. Sure, I saw plenty of movies while working the projection booth at Rosen’s, but I could never get my fill of movies. Similar to Kirstie Alley’s relationship with food. Have you seen her lately? Yikes! She looks like she swallowed a water buffalo.

Movies

Anyway, when I started a professional haunted house attraction a short time later, I found myself with even less time. Things were so crazy that everything quickly became a blur. And before I knew it, one week, two weeks had passed by in a flash, so I decided to stop by my favorite video store to see how things were going. Well, as soon as I walked across the parking lot towards the front door I had a sinking feeling–something wasn’t right. And my feeling was confirmed when I stepped inside and saw the shelves with only a few movies scattered on each of them. All around me there was a feeding frenzy similar to Piranhas attacking a helpless swimmer at a lake resort. People were quickly grabbing and buying VHS cassettes and everything else in the store, except for the floor tiles. I didn’t ask many questions even though I was shocked and upset, because whatever I was feeling was probably nothing compared to what everybody who worked there was going through. This was their business, their livelihood. From what I was told later on the video store had been struggling for a few months. And things only got worse when their rent was raised and Blockbuster (the Walmart of video stores, which isn’t a compliment) moved into town about 300 or so feet away. The competition was simply too strong and they just couldn’t survive any longer.

To this day I don’t understand why someone didn’t tell me what was happening sooner. Maybe I could have done something to help. Though in all honesty, it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference anyway, because the profit-driven, soulless, corporate video rental chains like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video were gaining momentum in the video rental market, and it was only a matter of time before the small Mom-and-Pop video stores like Video Unlimited would soon disappear. However, the Laplata store was able to say in business for several more years until sadly, in 2002, it was destroyed by a devastating tornado that hit the strip mall where it was located. Last I had heard the owner decided not to rebuild the business.

I hadn’t been to the Laplata location in many years, but hearing the bad news was still a real bummer. It was like loosing contact with a close friend, and then years later finding out that they had passed away. For most of my childhood these two stores had been a very important part of my life. I know it’s just a couple of video stores to most people, but the movies that I was exposed to made me, Drive-in Dan, the B-movie fan that I am today. The movies that I rented from these stores led to other interests that have carried over into adulthood, like my passion for special effects makeup after seeing Tom Savini’s masterful work in films such as “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”, “Dawn of the Dead”, and “The Burning.” Watching films such as “Halloween” and Dario Argento’s “Phenomena”exposed me to the unique musical styles of John Carpenter and the Italian Prog Rock band, Goblin, which I still enjoy to this day. After seeing “The Road Warrior” I was inspired to make vehicles and various contraptions using parts from miscellaneous model kits, and today I continue to create things from found objects.

I will always have fond memories of the two Video Unlimited stores. I’m glad that I grew up in the 80’s and was able to be a part of something truly awesome. Hopefully, other B-movie fans out there had their own Video Unlimited while growing up.

May

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Burnt Offerings

What is the appeal of Disneyland? Is it that giant squeaky voiced rodent that doesn’t wear a shirt or the duck with the speech impediment that wears no pants? Personally, I find the whole thing a bit too “greasy guy in a van with candy” creepy. I blame Epcot Center. It’s Disney’s 1984 version of our supposed current future world where everyone owns a jet pack, and has a time share on a space station. Well, I still haven’t gotten my jet pack or personal robot assistant but now I can shop from the comfort of my underwear, and watch re-runs of Frasier anytime on my computer. That is technological progress! They also have multiple countries crammed together just begging to break out into wars over boundary disputes. I also vaguely remember there was also a Dinosaur exhibit ride sponsored by Exxon which screams irony. At any  moment you’d expect one of the dinosaurs to start talking about how it’s decaying corpse is what fuels your Honda Civic for late night Hot Pocket runs. That gives me hope someday Barney will be liquefied and used to power my weedwacker. Long lines, hot and sticky Floridian weather and expensive bad food sum up the Disney magical experience. But count yourself lucky, at least your not the guy in the giant goofy costume getting kneed in the groin by a disgruntled dwarf. Well, unless you’re into that sorta thing.

Speaking of bad vacation spots, Oliver Reed, and Karen Black play the perfect odd couple who decide to rent a mansion in the deep south, and this time there’s no slave traders or people breaking out into old man river song. They bring along their whiny son, and geriatric aunt played by Betty Davis, apparently she was still alive and acting…or at least one of the two from what I could tell.

Burnt Offerings

The eccentric owners played by Burgess Meredith, and Eileen Heckart like the couple’s lack of common sense, and give them a great deal on the rental fee, only $900 for the entire summer. That includes water, electricity, and free demonic possession with the rental deposit. The only stipulation is they have to babysit their old mother who lives in the attic, and occasionally toss her some table scraps. After a few weeks of living the plantation lifestyle Karen Black’s character, Marian starts dressing in prop costumes from the 1800’s. She has bouts of crying over broken punch bowls, and in general gets creepier, and creepier as the movie progresses. She’s sorta got that sexy “just stuck your cat in the microwave” look going on.

Ben (Oliver Reed) tries best to contain his inner Shatner but instead takes his frustration out on his son Davie with a good old game of dunk the kid in the dirty pool water. The kid narrowly escapes when he smacks him in the nose with some scuba gear, and flees to his room to cry in his big Davey Jones pillow.

Marian’s OCD kicks into high gear with her obsessive house cleaning, and picture frame arranging, and her son nearly asphyxiates in his bedroom from a leaky gas heater. Ben busts in the door just in time, and dangles Davie out the window for a little breather. Poor Betty Davis she gets blamed for the whole thing, as if they didn’t see “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” Pretty soon everyone is beginning to go a bit looney tunes. Ben starts hallucinating about leering chauffeurs doing drive by grinnings, and Betty Davis becomes a bed ridden invalid moaning like a stuck pig. Thankfully she gets put out of her misery when she gets offed by a freak coffin hit and run in her room. After a quick funeral, and some finger food Marian gets back to house cleaning. She doesn’t seem to be to at all bothered by the whole death by a demon chauffeur thing. Ben is just upset because she won’t give him any late night nookie down by the pool, and nobody can brood about sexual frustration like Oliver Reed can.

Ben wakes up the next morning to find the house giving itself a extreme home makeover. Roof tilings starts falling off in the rain revealing fresh new tiles, and old house siding gets ripped away for brand new paint. It’s the sorta thing that would make Ty Pennington all weepy eyed. “When your house is possessed always go with Sears brand vinyl siding.” While the house is under demonic renovation, Ben tries to escape with his son in their 70’s station wagon leaving Marian all alone upstairs with her creepiness.
Burnt OfferingsUnfortunately, the getaway is stopped short by some  possessed shrubbery at the end of the driveway which just goes to prove even Satan has malevolent landscapers. Marian catches up, and drives them back to the house since Ben has somehow got catatonic from the shock of the plant attack. They put him out by the pool in a lawn chair to drool, and watch Davie swim…badly.  Evil forces start making waves, and turn the pool into a death jacuzzi from hell but Marian dives in just in time to rescue her son from another potential drowning. With his dumb luck a chimney would probably end up falling on him too….uh…Oh wait that did happen.

As far as ghost stories go, this one isn’t too bad even if it was made for TV horror. You can see how this movie influenced “The Shining” with Oliver Reed as the poor man’s Jack Nicholson. The house itself is pretty much the star of the show. There’s a few other twists, and turns to enjoy…. like whose been eating the old lady’s TV dinners, What’s up with the evil grinning chauffeur or why does Karen Black have to be so gall-darn creepy? Is she cross eyed or somethin’? Retroman says check it out, and be sure to hire only licensed contractors for your chimney repair.

roadside attractions

  • 3 dead bodies
  • Dysfunctional family summer homes
  • Wave-pool-surfing
  • Chimney crushing
  • Poolside wrestlin’
  • Creepy chaufers
  • Bush-whacking
  • Betty Davis bloating
  • Extreme home makeover
  • Roof jumping with car belly flop
totals

6

blood
BLOOD

1 good roof dive with splatter

7

beast
BEASTS

the house and Betty Davis

3

blood
BREASTS

nothin’ nadda…not even creepy girl

7.3 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for Burnt Offerings

trailers

dripper
Mar

Comments Off on It Came Without Warning



“Kmart’s new blue-light special mascot wasn’t very well received. He kept scaring away the customers.”

I know I would make a poor survivalist. When the zombie apocalypse comes don’t expect to find me living off the land in the high hills at my makeshift campsite. No my idea of roughing it  is more in line with a cheap roadside hotel that has hard beds and that don’t have those mini-fridge stocked with those neat little wine bottles. Just for fun I like to pretend I’m a freakish giant when I drink them. Give me a microwave over rubbing two sticks together anyday but mainly going camping is a flash back to those days of being crammed into a leaky tent with my cousin Ted whose uncontrollable flatulence could only be drowned out by his bear like snoaring. It seems everytime we did the family camping trip a terrential downpour would happen in the middle of the night creating a nice mudslide into our tent…mostly towards my side making a wading pool for me and my sleeping bag. I’d awake from my dreams of a buffet breakfast truck coming to save me in to being both soaked and hungry. My dad being the great outdoorsmen wouldn’t pack much food supplies instead opting to be  “living off the land” by fishing or eating potentially poisonous berries along the way. The lack of fish in the nearby weeded lake didn’t seem to sway his determination either, so after a fine meal of saltines and blue gill we’d take a short hike in the to burn off all those extra calories. Now with as many horror movies as I’ve seen I’d  always halfway expect a masked psycho to jump out from behind a tree or a family of cannibals carrying us away to make us their next meal, but I figured I could just trip Teddy and buy myself some time. The camping trip would usually end with me desperately needing a shower and having a case of poison oak on my butt when I used those leaves for toilet paper. Ahhh those were good times.

it came without warningSpeaking of grizzled survivalist, Jack Palance is living off the land and is out to kick some alien butt in “It Came Without Warning.” This little 80’s made for TV sci-fi homage pits humanity against flying fanged frisbees that look like like vomit novelty props. A camouflaged dad and his hippy son are out hunting in the woods one day when suddenly super suction alien discs attache to their backs tossed at them from an unseen alien disc golfer. This particular part of the woods seems to be pretty popular for both disc golfing and camping as later that day a group of boy scouts and their troop leader also show up. The super trooper gets a dose of alien frisbee-fu and all the kids run away screaming from a shadowy lurking figure…well except for one kid who sort of just mosseys along instead. Just about that time a mystery van of college co-eds driven by Tom, a young David Curroso in mini shorts are heading towards the same wooded area for a relaxing camping trip. Beth (Lynn Theele), Greg (Christopher S. Nelson) and Sandy (Tarah Nutter) are along for this CSI Miami camping trip of terror. If only Tom had some sunglasses he could cooly take off to indicate his disdained interest in this Camping Scene Investigation.

Once at the campsite Beth and Tom go off into the woods to perform their own “body forensics” leaving Greg and Sandy to better get to know each other. The couple mysteriously doesn’t return so Greg and Sandy go off in search for the missing lover and their feathered hair. They eventually find them strung up in an old water shed along with the puss filled hunters and gooey camp scout trooper. High tailing it out there as fast as their wood-paneled van can carry them and wiping off aliens on their windshield along the way, they stop at a redneck bar for some help. The bar dwellers are already used to plenty of southern tales of alien abductions and don’t believe their story but then the crazy vet Sarge (Martin Landua) starts spouting off about the impending alien invasion and in his paranoid outburst shoots the Sherriff at the door (luckily he didn’t shoot the deputy.) Taylor played by Jack “my skin is 100% real leather” Palance shows up at the bar and tells the two about his own encounter with the alien years before and thankfully leaves out any of the alien probing stories. So they all head back to the alien love shack so Taylor can try to put a shot-gun slug in the predator wanna-be and add it to his trophies of alien kills in pickle jars. Taylor gets a vomit-disc to the knee and Sandy and Greg say asta-la-vista Taylor and run away screamin’ like little girls. Fleeing down the highway they get picked up by the crazy Sarge whose stolen the dead sheriff’s Police car and believes that they’re aliens too. The guy is definitely off his prozac. They go along with his delusions just long to  escape by a quick jump into the river and hide out in someone’ abandoned  house, post foreclosure. After a nap and a light snack Sandy wakes up to find Gary has been disced to death in a barcolounger with a little alien suction disc still sucking on his face. Sandy’s so jealous, oh and there’s a horrifying bubble headed alien hanging out in the living room too. The house party is just is getting started as Taylor shows up again limping but more grizzled then ever to help Beth escape. He then takes her back to the shed, the obvious safest place to go, where’s he’s rigged up the building with dynamite for his own fireworks display and a chance to yell “ALLLIEEEEN!!!” at the top of his lungs. Hey Jack Palance won oscar, who knows why he does these things.

This movie is a great example of b-movie cult 80’s TV. The tension ramps up towards the end and having Landua and Palance both in this type of b-movie is a rare treat. Retroman Steve says check it out but watch out for flying fake vomit.

-Alien disc golf
-Windshield wiper-fu
-Cat lynchings
-David Curros in 80’s shorts (more horrifying than the alien)
-Landua looniness
-Extreme Palance grizzliness
-Kill and store watersheds
-Fanged frisbees fake vomit

rated 8.6 out of 10

as Jack Palance would say “I crap movies better than this.”

Check out the trailer from It Came without Warning

Jan

posted by admin | January 17, 2009 | 80's movies, Drama, Horror movies, Made for TV, Review by Barry Goodall

Comments Off on Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Chris discovers Tom Cruise's scientology hyperbolic chamber, the only side effect is continual shrinkage

“His decision to fight crime as Chocolate Chip Cookie Man was not received well within the super hero community.”

I would have to say that hunting is my least favorite sport that I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Give me basketball or football or even the nerve wrenching tension of Canadian curling. Just as long as you don’t put me in camoflauge and drop me in the woods. I’m not quite sure why they even call hunting a sport. There’s no running involved, well unless a bear is chasing you up a tree. There’s no throwing things except maybe empty beer cans in the woods. In fact there’s no real physical activity at all. Mostly it’s just sitting on your hinder shivering in a tree blind with a rifle barrel freezing to your groin hoping for the unlikely chance of a deer crossing your path to your pile of apples. “Oh look a magic pile of food..what a lucky deer I am that someone left this here for….KAAAABLAAAAAAAAM!!!”

Lucky that you picked up that semi automatic at Kmart last week so if at any point a large semi-trailer gets between you in the deer well he’s still a goner. Though Dick Cheney would beg to differ, I don’t feel other hunters are competiting against me nor do I mistake rich lawyers faces as targets, well most of the time. Give the deer a gun too and now we’ve got a real competitive sport. I’ve sat in the tree stands, slept in the deer blinds, and caught headlice in rustic hunting cabins but never caught buck fever at least nothing a couple shots of  NyQuil wouldn’t fix. I know some people say “Well if we don’t kill the deer they’ll just destroy our crops!” If they were locusts and this was biblical times then it’s a maybe but you’ll see at most five deer darting across a big empty field once in a winter. That’s not really an infestation. But I respect the hunter. They’re truly committed to their craft. Anyone that can sit out in a deerblind in a middle of a field all day is a man of patience and perseverance. It builds character, just look at what it did for Ted Nugget.

Speaking of people standing out in the middle of a field with nothing to do. Night of the Scarecrow introduces us to a vengeful scarecrow that unleashes an unholy terror on a group of redneck vigilantes. Larry Drake plays Bubba, a mentally challenged middle aged man who is wrongly accused of killing a young child. They’re lead by one of the the most evil postman ever seen on TV since the dark days of Mr. McFeely. Charles Durning plays Otis P. Hazelrigg (not his maiden name) the town postman who convinces a group of his friends to track down Bubba now disguised as a scarecrow and  shoot him up like a pinata at a gansta party.

After a circus courtroom hearing that had all the lawful proceedings of a skit from He-Haw, the judge throws out the case claiming it was all in self defense. As if these upstanding members of society would ever harm a fly on purpose. I mean who’d ever believe a postman would go on a murderous killing spree? If Judge Judy was there she’d mop up the floor with them and their plaid shirts and bolo ties. Later than night a mighty wind blows through town bringing with it the vengful spirit of Bubba and the strong odor of fertilizer manure. Soon a possessed scarecrow starts showing up in empty fields near their homes to put the creeper jeepers on his murdering foes. It’s mostly an intimidation move but causes the guys to panic and start suspecting each other of breaking their secret.

What you gotta love  is throughout the film Otis never once changes his mailman uniform. I swear he must shower and slept in it. Impressive also is his ability to pack away the food like it’s a 99 cent buffet even after killing an innocent man. Buffet’s cower in his presence. Otis’s friends start showing up dead it what appears to be work related accidents. Falling into wood chippers, drownings in grain silos, typical farming mishaps. But Otis’s paranoia kicks into overdrive as his tiny pea brain theorizes that it’s Bubba’s grieving mother or the prosecuting attorney causing all the ruckus trying to get him to confess.

A stern warning from Otis accidentally gives Bubba’s mom a fatal heart attack and he then proceeds to off one of his buddies with a shovel to the back of the skull from fear he might tattle on him. This brings up the Ottis murder-meter total to 3, already beating out the scarecrow’s in just a few short days. That’s not to shabby for a middle aged government worker.

Later after a drab halloween party where he gets drunk on spiked apple cider, he ends up getting chased down in a corn field by a rusty John Deere and meets his much deserved and pointed ending. Serves him right for all that junk mail delivery. Oh and his stupid hat.

So go put the flag down on your mailbox, turn the lights down low and cuddle up with your favorite bag of hay. Retroman Steve says check it out and bring a pitchfork.



– Dorky postal jungle hats
– Scarecrow target practice
– Farmer mulchers
– Feed grain drowning
– Gratuitous pancake eating
– Fat guys running in fields
– Shovel to the head

Speaking of creepy scarecrows on TV, Scarecrow Spud on Bob the Builder is hands down the most frightening.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow Dark Night of the ScareCrow T-shirts available from Fright Rags

At Fright Rags you can get this high quality horror shirt you can’t find anywhere else. Fright Rags has the best selection of horror shirts based on your favorite cult classics, creature features, and slasher flicks! Check out the Dark Night of the Scarecrow T-shirts

Check out a scene from Dark Night of the Scarecrow

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