The Lost Highway's B-movie Reviews and Cult Films
Aug

Comments Off on The Burning

the burning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

roadside attractions

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

9

blood

BLOOD

Buckets of blood, arms, fingers and melted flesh.

7

blood

BREASTS

Here and there and soapy.

10

beast

BEASTS

Cropsey! And Glazer.

8.6 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the infamous “raft scene!”

trailers

dripper
Aug

Comments Off on Bloodsport

blood sport
Bloodsport (1988) is an interesting bit o’ film, as it is a better Street Fighter II flick than Street Fighter, which shares a star in Jean-Claude Van Damme. Bloodsport, unlike Street Fighter, actually features a fightin’ tourney, full of half-naked, sweaty dudes. Sure, Street Fighter has its share of half-naked sweaty dudes, but they ain’t fighting in a tournament.

If’n it’s fighters going toe to toe and working their way through a crazier bracket than NCAA Basketball could ever hope for, Bbloodsport montage splitloodsport is yer flick. All your really need to know is Bloodsport stars action b-movie favorite, Jean-Claude Van Damme. I could stop there, really, but I won’t.

Van Damme plays Frank Dux, an American who takes part in the underground, and illegal, martial arts tournament called the Kumite (for the Communications majors out there, that’s koo-me-tay, not koo-MITE). An early highpoint of the film is a flashback, which happens in the first, thirty seconds, give or take. We’re treated to a kid playing a young Van Damme, which is all kinds of great. The flashback continues for what feels like 47 minutes, and shows Van Damme growing up and training in the art of Ninjutsu. Van Damme suffers through one of the best training montages of the 1980s, including a scene where he does, brace yerself fellas, a complete split. Yes, with his legs.

There’s plenty of punching, kicking, and yelling to go around. Bloodsport doesn’t really have any dull moments. If someone isn’t yelling, they are punchin’ and or kickin’. Bloodsport is basically a ‘gritty reboot’ of Karate Kid if’n it was directed by guy who made Commando.

bloodsport splits

Revenge of the Nerds fans take note: Donald ‘Ogre’ Gibb plays Van Damme’s burly buddy. He’s a lovable pit fighter, which is the best kind, really. On the other side of the fighter spectrum is baddie Chong Li, played by the unmistakable Bolo Yeung (who plays a similar role in Enter the Dragon). You may not remember the name, but Yeung is one of those ‘Oh, THAT guy’ actors. And really, if Van Damme ain’t reason enough for you to take a gander at Bloodsport, Bolo Yeung as Chong Li sure as whiskey-fire is—even just to hear him say the classic line, “You break my record, now I break YOU!”

Tiger says, Bloodsport is a must watch for any martial arts movie fan. And for fans of watching guys act uncomfortable when Van Damme does the splits.


Tiger Sixon is forced to watch B-movies from the comfort of a secret government base in Death Valley. He looks nothing at all like Daniel J. Hogan (@danieljhogan) who draws the comic Clattertron.

roadside attractions

  • Complete Splits
  • Crotch Punches
  • Walled Cities
  • Arcade Game Showdown
  • Yelling
  • Screaming
  • Death Punch
  • Breaking Bricks
  • Man Boobs
  • Ninja Training
  • Van Damme Butt Shot
  • Blood
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

BLOOD is in the title!

4

blood

BREASTS

Plenty of man boob to go around.

10

beast

BEASTS

Chong Li, and the rest of the fighters, are pretty dang crazy.

8 OVERALL
dripper
Jul

Comments Off on The ABCs of Death

ABCs of Death

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

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

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

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

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

roadside attractions

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

9

blood

BLOOD

The root of every segment.

7

blood

BREASTS

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

8

beast

BEASTS

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

8 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer for The ABCs of Death.

trailers

dripper
Jul

posted by Barry Goodall | July 30, 2013 | B-movies

Comments Off on Phones in b-movies

The Top 5 b-movie scenes involving the phone.

More modern horror films always have a cell phone that never works when the helpless victims are trying to reach the police. Usually it’s some backwoods cannibals trying to eat some teenagers that took the “shortcut” but you’d think they’d at least get 3G in those parts. But remember the days when people actually had real phones attached to their walls? The terror wasn’t as mobile as it today. Here’s a list of some of the best horror scenes involving a phone. Call waiting…more like call dying.

5. Black Christmas (1974)

Claire is terrorized by a obscene caller during the holidays at her local sorority. The caller who may or may or not be called Billy since he screams it into the phone like a creepy 5 year old starting killing here friends one by one. Oh well, more egg nog for the rest of us.

4. Halloween (1978)

Lynda is all about the afterglow when her boyfriend bob goes down stairs for a beer and gets impaled by the masked psycho Michael Myers. Lynda is a bit creeped out when she thinks it’s her boyfriend standing in a ghost sheet and calls up her friend Laurie. The result her being getting choked by a telephone chord. Reach out and touch someone….I don’t think so.

3. The Ring (2002)

There’s actually a couple good phones scenes in this modern horror classic as victims fall to grisly deaths after watching a haunted video tape. Once you watch the tape you get a phone call that says “seven days” and it’s not a dentist call reminder. 7 days later you die. Don’t answer the phone…especially if it’s a on a mobile phone in the UK.)

2. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Nancy is being terrorized by a knife gloved maniac in her sleep when she gets an unexpected phone call from him. The classic line “I’m your boyfriend now Nancy” kept many young girls from talking on the phone that night. Freddy tongue juts out of the receiver just before Nancy’s boyfriend is pulled into a bed erupting in a blood fountain. Long distance rates may apply.

1. Scream (1996)

The phone in scream is the critical player in bring the killer to it’s victim. But probably the defining scene is where the first victim Casey has to answer horror trivia to try to save her own life. Hard to believe she got the Friday the 13th question wrong.

Jul

posted by Barry Goodall | July 28, 2013 | advertising

Comments Off on Scare Bears are cuddly and creepy

Check out these amazing stuffed animals of terror known as the Scare Bears. What better way to keep away the boogie man than one of these little critters next to your kiddie while they sleep and we’re very happy to have Scare Bears as sponsor of our website. Stop on in and check out their wide assortment of cuddly gruesomeness at http://www.1scarebears.com/

About the Highway

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