Nov

posted by Tiger Sixon | November 1, 2012 | 80's b-movies, Action, Cult Film, Horror movies, Review by Tiger Sixon, Sci-Fi

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galaxy of terror

Before Aliens, you had Alien. But, after Alien and still before Aliens, you had Galaxy of Terror, a doozy of an early 1980s sci-fi b-movie. If this Roger Corman produced space screamer looks like Aliens test footage, there is a good reason: Aliens director James Cameron worked on production design early in his career.

Yep. Mr. Titanic himself helped give Galaxy of Terror its signature look, and had no problem usin’ some of the same tricks on Aliens. And it is the production design and special effects what make Galaxy of Terror look fancier than it really is, like when I wear a shirt with sleeves.

galaxy of terror.

Even the plot is very similar to Aliens. Galaxy of Terror is basically Aliens before Aliens was Aliens: A hot shot rescue team travel to a far away planet to look for survivors. And like in Aliens, hilarity ensues. By which I mean terrible, gruesome deaths at the hands of slimy creatures.

The cast is noteworthy too, as it stars pre-Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy Kruger, Joanie from Joanie Loves Chachi, Laura Palmer’s Mom from Twin Peaks, Zalman “Red Shoes” King, Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and last but not least, Sid Haig.

The intrepid team succumbs to beasts/things/whatevers generated by their deepest fears (which Freddy Kruger fans should enjoy). Sometimes it is a slimy monster pulling someone to their doom, other times it is Sid Haig cutting his own arm off (always a plus in any b-movie). And other times, it is Taaffe O’Connell being stripped and humped to death by a giant worm.

Yep, the WTF Factor is pretty dang high in this one.

Like any great b-movie, Galaxy of terror has a little bit of everything: zombies, exploding heads, chest lasers, severed limbs, even Scooby-Doo sound effects. You name it, it is probably here.galaxy of terror.

The beauty of Galaxy of Terror is, you never know what it is going to throw at ya next, kinda like when my third wife would get into my stash of bathtub gin. Galaxy of Terror is a well-made b-movie, which is a rarity, and is worth tracking down. Tiger says, give this one a watch and enjoy the crazy ride.


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 comics and writes humor for Clattertron.

roadside attractions

  • Lots of Switches
  • Space Zombies
  • Brains
  • Severed Limbs
  • Exploding Heads
  • Chest Lasers
  • Glowing Faces
  • Giant Worms
  • Spaceships
  • Legs as Seat Belts
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

This movie is a blood bath. People die in all kinds of crazy ways.

9

blood

BREASTS

It takes awhile, but when they show up, they don’t stop.

10

beast

BEASTS

Many different, strange creatures go after our heroes. It is like an alien zoo!

9.7 OVERALL
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Oct

If the title doesn’t capture your attention, then something is wrong with your neural net processor (that’s brain for you laymen). Presented totally uncut, The Dorm That Dripped Blood (a play on the title The Room That Dripped Blood, perhaps?) at the surface appears as a copycat slasher, mostly emulating Friday the 13th and Halloween, but it has more substance than that. The relationship between the characters is well developed, the atmosphere is dark and moody like a fall evening, the score sounds like a small orchestra (which sounds overplayed and you kinda wish they went for a simple keyboard/synthesizer score to play the scenes for subtly) and the special effects are great and gory!

Believe it or not, this movie is set during the Christmas season, although you could easily miss that since there is no snow or holiday music, two things that are associated with that time of year. You may think that is irrelevant to the plot, but what better way to clear out a college campus, all but a few students that are staying to clear out a dorm before demolition, a very unfortunate situation… and they haven’t even realized they are being stalked by a killer!

Dorms that dripped bloodThe movie opens right up with someone being chased and murdered, which is a way to catch your attention, but then we jump into a party with Joanne, who is growing distant from her boyfriend Tim. Our heroine Joanne is joined by her friends, all playing a somewhat stereotyped role to the slasher genre. You have young, naïve Debbie who is played Daphne Zuniga (who would later go on to be in Spaceballs as the Princess), Bryan the possible love interest, Craig the wise guy and Patty the frightened one. I know in any other movie, you would be able to guess their roles and what order they die or who lives, but The Dorm That Drips Blood does something a little different with them.

The caretaker Bill is also present, but doesn’t really interact with the group of kids. Only to inform them that one of his drills is missing… hmm… Also stalking around the campus is local weirdo John Hemmit who looks like he should be searching the dumpsters for a comb instead of garbage. Speaking of garbage, Joanne befriends Bobby Lee Tremble, a local salesman buying tables from the college and also hitting on Joanne. It doesn’t matter that Bobby Lee is tied to another woman, another woman that we only see in a scene later on just so we can get the obligatory breast shot, he is all about seeing Joanne again.

The film paces its kills a good pace. Not too early, not too late. Almost like we are be treated to a three course meal. Rather than wait until the end of the film to cross off its characters, The Dorm That Dripped Blood not only starts with a tame kill, but shortly after the beginning, one of our characters parents are brutally murdered by a nail bat and strangulation and then proceeds to run over their child’s head! And yes, you will see the aftermath of it. Lesson learned, never help out your friends at a college when everyone else has gone home. The goriest and best looking kill by far is when one of the characters gets a power drill (Oh hey, that’s where that went!) to the back of their head. You see the drill crack and rip apart the back of their skull and spray blood all over the room. Another one of the cast is boiled alive and another is hacked to pieces. It’s a movie that goes for intense, brutal kills that are played out rather than quick cuts shying away from the violence, like most slashers at the time.

The Dorm that dripped bloodThe film will also plays with the ‘who done it’ aspect, but does it subtly, so you keep guessing, but you aren’t overwhelmed by the mystery. I honestly kept guessing and changing my guess. Was it Tim? He’s seems angry enough. Maybe it’s Bryan. He has the hots for Joanne, but that would be too obvious, so maybe it’s that weird guy? He’s so bizarre, but that’s what they want me to think. By the time you find out who the killer is, it doesn’t really make sense, but when they give you the reason, it doesn’t really pay off. Because the killer loves her? It’s perhaps the most typical thing about this movie and it feels like such a copout, but the dark and unexpected ending makes up for it and leaves one reminiscing about the ending to Bob Clark’s Black Christmas.

Synapse released the Blu-Ray/DVD combo, which is the uncensored Director’s cut called Death Dorm. From a technical standpoint, at times, the blacks look washed out with blues or yellows, but it’s not overwhelming. Edges look sharp, objects pop out and a lot of the noise and grain is cleaned up. They left enough of grain and blacks in the film, so it still feels dark and alarming. The only audio mix, however, is 2.0 mono (I personally prefer this for older horror films rather than remixing it in 5.1) so it has that very radio sound and feel to it. You can even listen to the score isolated! It does have some special features, such as audio commentary with Directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter, a few interviews with crew members, trailers and in traditional Synapse form, a reversible cover (the original US artwork entitled Pranks).

This is film is surprisingly overlooked and I would put it up with the greats like Twitch of the Death Nerve and Black Christmas. There are few dull moments, something is always happening and you believe the relationship between these kids. The dark, twisted ending was a nice surprise and I urge everyone to see this.

roadside attractions

  • Batter up!
  • Road Rage
  • Driller Killerer
  • Simon or Garfunkle?
  • Bobby Lee, the Man of Men
  • Human Stew
  • Black Christmas Syndrome
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Smothers it on think, like if there was some kind of butter gravy.

6

blood

BREASTS

Just one, but it is initializing and glorious.

7

beast

BEASTS

The killer isn’t the only creepy dude on campus, bro.

8.5 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for “The Dorm That Dripped Blood”

trailers

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Oct

posted by Barry Goodall | October 9, 2012 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, B-movies, Podcast

Join the Lost Highway mutant gang (Barry Goodall, The Doktor, and Giallo Goon) as they discuss the 1982 slasher classic, Pieces. Listen with the player below, or use the Download link to save a copy of the MP3 to your computer.

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Available in iTunes

Sep

Year: 1977 Runtime: 88 min

Director: Nobuhiko Ôbayashi

Writer: Chiho Katsura (screenplay), Chigumi Ôbayashi (original story)

Starring: Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo and Kumiko Ohba

After the massive success of Jaws, the suits at Toho contacted Nobuhiko Ôbayashi to develop a similar script. What they got was a ketamine fueled wet fart or, in common parlance, a screenplay both twisted and swarming with juvenile poo-poo humor. I cannot imagine the demented fever which destroyed the writer’s fragile grip on reality as he wrote this. Sweet Sweating Christ outside Mary Magdalene’s door! What ungodly torture to endure, even for a moment.

See. The mere mention of it brought me to a frenzy. I have to relax, there is more to tell.

The final product can only be considered a film only in the strictest meaning of the word. That is, it’s a collection of pictures, one after the other, playing at 24 frames per second for 88 minutes. Truth is, Hausu is something you experience, like love or LSD or a colostomy. Each has their allure, but rarely do they make sense. Even in retrospect.

Hausu is the story of a young girl, Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami), and her six friends who visit Gorgeous’ aunt over summer break. Gorgeous and her friends are named for their asset: Gorgeous is beautiful and fashion conscious; Prof is the smart one with glasses and her face in a book; Melody can play any musical instrument; Kung Fu is a master of martial arts; Mac is the fat, hongry one; Sweet is sweet; and finally, Fantasy is the overly imaginative one.

Aunt, who is never named, broods in her mansion on the hill, the titular house. For thirty years she has haunted the place, waiting—love never effectuated. She and her fiancé had made a pinky promise to marry once he returned from WWII. Because he never did the years of solitude twisted Aunt into a malevolent demon.

That ends the logical portion of the film. The rest is a hellish string of things-that-happen in Hunter S. Thompson proportions, if he were a Japanese school girl in a Jaws reinterpretation.

The madness experienced first hand by the girls is usually explained away as “an illusion.” I tend to agree with that assessment. How else would you explain disembodied fingers playing a piano, or a grown man transformed into a pile of bananas or skin falling away to reveal a new body of flame, a la Johnny Storm, or equality for all in the eyes of the law?

Never watch this film before going to bed. Strange and terrible things will stalk your slumber. I will speak of it no more because my blood runs cold remembering my dreams. I ask that you trust me on this.

I do not want to spoil the roller coaster ride, so I will just say this and be done with it: Hausu is the epitome of schizophrenic genius. The absolute best anti-drug propaganda I have ever witnessed. And, just for the record, as diametrically opposed to Jaws any film could be.

roadside attractions

  • killer mattresses
  • disembodied head biting her friend
  • painting projectile puking
  • awesome Kung Fu action
  • Monkey’s style musical montage
  • gratuitous
  • cat tossing action (but NOT to scare you)
  • hongry, hongry piano
  • Watermelon Man transformed into a skeleton because Mr. Togo likes bananas
  • house under six feet of cat’s blood
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Houseful

4

blood

BREASTS

Four. Exactly the right number for two naked women. A bit of sanity in the midst of the bedlam that is this film.

10

beast

BEASTS

Awful and depraved hysteria presented in hyper-unrealistic papier-mâché

8.0 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for “Hausu”

trailers

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Sep

posted by Tiger Sixon | September 28, 2012 | 70's b-movies, 70's movies, Cult Film, Review by Tiger Sixon, Sci-Fi

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Tentacles review.
When the opening credits proudly proclaim: “Special Appearance by,” you know you are in for a treat.

This is the case with the 1977 Italian-made Jaws homage, Tentacles. The special appearance is by Hollywood legend Henry Fonda (he musta needed a new water heater)—but the who’s who doesn’t stop there. John Huston plays some kind of aging reporter who had a bizarre relationship with his sister. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, well, bone up on yer film history. Huston directed The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and The African Queen, to name only a few. He can also be seen in Chinatown, but most importantly he played The Lawgiver in the Battle for the Planet of the Apes and provided the voice for Gandalf in the animated version of The Hobbit. Tentacles

Oh, and Huston’s sister is played by the one and only Shelley Winters.

Bo Hopkins, of The Wild Bunch and TV fame, rounds out the intrepid cast. Hopkins plays a scientist what trains orcas for…science, I guess. It is all very scientific. The training, not the orcas. They just swim and eat fish.

Huston is trying to solve the mystery behind the dead bodies piling up on the shores of Ocean Beach (yes, Ocean Beach). Or what is left of the bodies anyway—the skeletons have been picked cleaner than my checking account after my last divorce. No one is safe: not even babies or peg leg ship captains.

As the title suggests, the killer is, wait for it, an octopus (even though an octopus’ limbs are usually referred to as ‘arms’). This results in many blown-up, close up shots of a normal octopus, and a few rubber tentacles for good measure. Toy boats are laid to ruin in a few scenes, which is always a joy to watch, plus there are even a few bikinis which are thankfully nearly toy-sized.

Speaking of flesh, one of Winters’ kids has my favorite line of the film: “Mommy, you’re plump! There’s more to love!” Ah, kids. When they ain’t bein’ ate up by a giant octopus, they say the darnedest things. Winters also sports the craziest hat this side of Kurt Russel’s from The Thing, and seems more focused on her son’s urinary tract and having awkward conversations with her brother than the killer octopus.Tentacles

Later on, after a feeding frenzy, Hopkins decides to take the fight to the octopus, and boxes up his trained orcas. By which I mean, he sticks them in a giant metal tube, and hauls them with his boat. Not knowing if the whales will actually fight upon being set free, Hopkins delivers a heartfelt soliloquy via the tube’s food hole (followed by tossing in a couple of fish).

Like any good Jaws ripoff, Tentacles is hilarious. Being a foreign production, there are plenty of absurd moments, which only make the film more endearing. Huston and Fonda don’t seem to phone in their performances either—they give it their all, which is the cherry on top. Plus, this was made in the late 1970’s, so the wardrobe is outstanding. There are lapels you could land a jet fighter on.

Tiger says, give this one a watch.


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 comics and writes humor for Clattertron.

roadside attractions

  • Peg legs
  • Neglected Babies
  • Grizzled Sea Captains
  • SCUBA Shenanigans
  • Rubber Tentacles
  • Toy Boats
  • Wide Lapels
  • Crazy Hats
  • Whales in a Tube
  • Hollywood Legends
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

We see more skeletons than blood, but folks done get ate all over the place.

4

blood

BREASTS

Plenty of bikinis, but they all stay tied on.

10

beast

BEASTS

A giant octopus fights two orca whales. Yes, please.

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