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

posted by Barry Goodall | August 8, 2012 | 80's b-movies, Horror movies, Podcast, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Lost Highway Podcast 001 – The Thing (1982)

Join the Lost Highway gang (Barry Goodall, Die-Anne Takillya, Doktor, Giallo Goon, and Tiger Sixon) as they discuss the 1982 classic, John Carpenter’s The Thing. Listen with the player below, or use the Download link to save a copy of the MP3 to your computer.

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The Lost Highway Podcast will be available through iTunes soon! (It has been added, we are just waiting for it to be approved)

Jul

posted by admin | July 29, 2012 | 80's b-movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Reviews by the Goon

Comments Off on Unhinged

Unhinged

Unhinged is a film I remember seeing various VHS box covers for when I was a child. I would hear tales of its shocking and disturbing story and atmosphere, over the top violence and gore and a twist ending that would leave you scarred. Fast forward to my mid twenties; I’m browsing the horror DVD’s at a local FYE (Don’t ask me why I was there. I guess I felt like being overcharged for something) and I come across Unhinged. At first, I didn’t recognize it, but the box shows a woman’s face, wide eyed and covered in blood. After reading the synopsis on the back I realized this was that notorious Video Nasty I heard so many legends about… but my expectations were about to be crushed.

Have you ever heard a story from a friend that he from his friends and they heard from their friends… and so on? It becomes so exaggerated and diluted that when you finally see it, it was overhyped, underwhelming and you find yourself surprised at how this film, Unhinged, managed to make it on the Video Nasty List. And keep in mind that the DVD is the uncensored version.

The story to Unhinged is nothing new, mind you. Three girls on their way to some jazz concert or something (I don’t know. The beginning of the story is smothered in boobs and what they are talking about goes by so fast) and they go off the road and are rescued by a creepy family. Well, they are rescued by the family’s helper, Norman, who looks a lot like Burt Reynolds. Films like ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, ‘Tourist Trap’ or even ‘Just Before Dawn’ may be racing through your head. Well, that’s because you’ve seen this scenario dozens of times before. It’s nothing original, it’s nothing new. It’s your ‘stranded-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-with-crazies-but-I’m-staying-here-when-I-should-just-leave’ plot. The family consists of Marion, the creepy and odd daughter of Nancy. Nancy doesn’t do much except kinda sit around and chew scenery. She hates men; the film decided they needed to hammer this only important piece of information into your head. So, I’m gonna go ahead and skip several drawn out dinner scenes (clearly trying to emulate some Texas Chainsaw Massacre there) and tell you. Her husband was institutionalized. Yup. See where this is headed?

unhingedWhether it’s the girls or Marion and her mother, they all seem to share bad chemistry. Their dialogue is clunky, seems unrealistic and the actors are seemingly rushing through their lines just to get to the end and pausing so the other may speak. This is bad when you are relying on your audience to attach themselves to your characters. Much like how we felt bad for the girls in ‘The Last House on the Left’. We got to know these girls and they were tortured, but here… you just don’t care. I caught myself thinking about how I should arrange my DVD’s.

They do actually create some tension though. One of the girls is out of commission for quite some time in the film (and you have to wonder why it took the girls till the SECOND DAY to check on their friend) and at night, they hear someone breathing that becomes increasingly louder.  Later, they find it to be some creepy dude and I have to be honest here: I totally forgot what his relation was to the people of the house (ANSWER: His name is Carl and it’s Marion’s brother). And I had to look that up, but that proves my point. You don’t invest yourself in these characters. But yeah, you know how the rest goes; the main girl is chased finds her dead friends and confronts Marion, who actually… in a surprising twist… is a dude!

I’m going to break my mold for a bit. I usually try to talk about the movie in a few paragraphs, trying to spoil as little as possible, but with a movie like Unhinged, there isn’t really much to talk about. As I said, you’ve seen this type of movie before. But, now that I’ve talked about it, I’d like to talk about what it was the movie was trying to accomplish in a period where movies were confusing blood and body counts as scary.

Unhinged The DVD does offer an interview with the director on a local Portland, Oregon (the cast and crew were all natives from there) TV channel that is actually kind of insightful, for as short as it is. Don Gronquist states that he wanted to create a movie that horror movies don’t need a high body count to be scary and that’s what he wanted to do with Unhinged. Make a creepy movie that didn’t focus on blood and bodies for scares. And I have to totally agree. This is the reason I like Unhinged. It made a bold attempt to break away from what was popular and safe to sell tickets and instead really tried to go back to using atmosphere and twists as true horror…which I believe that’s what it should be about. Sure, blood and guts are nice, but they don’t scare you. They disgust you. Horror isn’t blood. Horror is truly being frightened to look over your shoulder or to walk down your hallway in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, the film borrowed elements that were too familiar and didn’t do anything new with them. Sure, the film isn’t frightening, but it can be creepy at moments.

I say watch the film. Sure the acting is hammy at best (Marion being the only well portrayed character), every death scene is someone getting stabbed off screen then getting blood splashed on their face, but it’s entertaining and definitely doesn’t deserve all the negative feedback it gets.

Also, the DVD offers a few bonus features. One is an audio commentary track featuring five “comics” attempting to riff the film, but it ends up being five obnoxious, drunk loudmouths talking over each other. Oh and it’s not funny.

roadside attractions

  • Burt Reynolds Stunt Double
  • Last House on the Left Nod
  • Gender Conusion-A-Tron
  • Peeping Tom-ism
  • Worst Friends Ever
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Yes there is blood in the film, but you could also say there is silverware.

7

blood

BREASTS

A couple of full frontal shower scenes over important exposition, so pay attention!

9

beast

BEASTS

A mean ol’ Granny, a bearded peeping tom and a gender confused psycho! A family that makes the Bundy’s look civil.

7.0 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for “Unhinged”

trailers

dripper
Jul

Comments Off on Making Contact

It may surprise many of you to learn that I, Barry Goodall have no cell phone. I kid you not. I own no Apple iphone, no blackberry, no kumquat 2.0, …there’s not one fruit based technology of any sort in this double-wide. In fact, I started writing this review back  in the late spring of 2011 when I stripped fresh bark for parchment from a nearby pine  and sent my review in a whale bone mailing tube on the back of a trained river otter. He delivered it to the city folks upriver who then air shipped it to a cheap outsourced data entry employee in Bangledesh. There my review was translated  to Arabic then to French and back again to english.You may notice some strange typos that could confuse me for this be sure to  humus I surrender this pudding suit?

Sure, there’s the looks of shock you get when you say you don’t have a cell phone “But Barry, how do you make phone calls?”  they’d ask. “Well, after we get done making our homemade asprin from  the  gall of a castrated boar and our homegrown opium, we take turns using the family fire pit for smoke signal messages. Would you like a piece of this homemade baklava?”

So thanks, but no thanks to your dark magic or you call it “mobile technology.” I think I’ll be sticking with my laser disc players and Nintendo powerglove for now. Sure I might not be able to Instagram myself  impersonating a duck, but you can never put a price on a well trained river otter.

Speaking of  big long distance bills. Little Joey has been comunicating with his recently deceased father over a toy phone in the Germantic sci-fi “Making Contact.” One of the few movies to feature a giant mutant hamburger and a darth vader cameo all in the same film. Joey doesn’t realize than communicating with his dead dad would unleash the demonic spirit of an evil ventriloquisto doll who wants to make him into toaster strudel. The dummy looks a bit like a young Erich Von Stroheim with all the charm of an old man that just learned they cancelled Matlock. Joey finds the dummy while hunting down his lost robot in a nearby mansion and sticks him in his room to complete his collection of safety recalled toys.

Joey’s mom thinks he’s going crazy but seems less concerned her son can levitate a glass of milk with his mind or that he may have stuck some kitchen knives in the wall in a fit of telekentic rage. Joey also been getting picked on by some school bullies so he’s only about one wedgie short of going Carrie on their behinds.

Joey’s teacher learns of his power when he visits his mom for a “parent teacher conference” and brings in an entire government evac team to seal up the house and study Joey’s brain with wired turkey basters. Meanwhile the bullies make a  plan to kidnap Joey while hanging out at the old Bates home but the evil dummy has trapped them there instead. Joey sneaks out  to help free the kids from the clutches of the devil doll and has turned the house into a maze full of mummies, giant hamburgers, and man eating dinosaurs (or as we call it, Euro-Disney.)  The gang tries to escape but discover the only exit is blocked by the puppet and the ghost of an inept ventriloquist not played by Jeff Dunham. The two must battle with their telekentic powers to see who will triumph and who gets their face melted off first.

Making Contact was obviously influenced by the success of ET and Poltergiest with a bit of Star Wars thrown in. I was hoping for more German nude cannibalism or at least some singing nuns but was sadly disappointed. Barry Goodall says check it out only if you’re looking for a good anesthesia before a major surgery or are in need of an epitac. You can also check out the original German extended cut  in the DVD box set with extra farvergnugen. Just be sure to play it loud and scare your neighbors.

roadside attractions

  • Giant hamburgers
  • Pigtail levitation
  • Krispy Kreme product placement
  • Electro shock garabage cans
  • Melt-o-dummies
  • Fisher price glow phones
  • Runaway Datsuns
totals

0

blood

BLOOD

I think a kid got a noise bleed and scraped his knee. Oh the carnage!

0

blood

BREASTS

Nadda ta-tas, I think this was supposed to be for kids. But it was originally German so you never can be certain.

8

beast

BEASTS

The grumpiest vantrliqust dummy ever, darth vader, giant hamburger, and some goofy looking dionsaurs.

4.0 OVERALL
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Check out this trailer from “Making Contact”

trailers

dripper
Jul

posted by Barry Goodall | July 19, 2012 | Feature

Comments Off on Meet Trick or Treat Studios


We’d like to welcome our latest member to the adopt a highway program, Trick or Treat Studios. They recently become one of our advertising partners and we gotta say their masks are flippin’ amazing. You gotta see the detail on these works of art. We sat down with the owner, Christopher Zephro and talked about his rubbery obsession.

LH: Tell us a little bit on how you got started in mask making?

Chris: Personally, I couldn’t sculpt a mask if my life depended on it, but I have always been a big mask collector ever since I was a kid, so when I decided to leave Corporate America and start my own company, masks and the Halloween business seemed like the best idea for me given the state of the Halloween Mask industry and a desire to work in an area that was in line with my passion.

LH: What were some of your favorite b-movies when you were a kid and today?

Chris: Well you have to remember when this movie first came out it was very much a B-Movie if you consider the budget and production value and that would have to be Halloween. I also watched all of the B-Movies like Pieces, Mortuary, Mad Man, Dark Night of the Scarecrow, CHUD, Magic and Piranah.

LH: How has the mask market changed since we were kids in the 80’s.

Chris: It’s changed a lot! Back in the 80’s masks were really high quality. They were made in the USA or Mexico and they had a really nice look and feel to them. The characters were original and the designs were first class. Now, most of my favorite companies are either gone or have moved all of their production to China. The masks are cheap looking, flimsy, the paint is bad and the quality of the latex has so many fillers in to that the mask will rot away in under a year, plus the smell. Also, the designs look horrible and there is no attention to detail. It seems like none of these companies care about anything but the price. It’s sad, but it opened up a huge door for Trick or Treat Studios to come in with top quality mask that had the look and feel of from the Golden Age of mask making. It took quite a while to educate the market, but Retailer are really coming around and are understanding that consumers will pay $10 more for a quality mask.

LH: How did the Halloween II mask deal come about with Universal?

Chris: I was actually approaching Universal Studios about some other masks we were interested in like They Live and the Funhouse and just in a passing comment I said, “is there anyway we could do anything with Halloween II? To my surprise they said yes and the conversation and licensing discussion changed to Halloween II and it stayed there until we had a signed contract in hand. It was a dream come true..

LH: What makes your masks different from the competition?

Chris: The quality, the craftsmanship and the character design of our masks. All of my Artists come from the independent mask making community, they are the best in the world and their names are on the back of every mask that they design. We market our sculptors. Combine that with a President that loves masks and knows a few things about business and you’ve got a good combination. We all love what we do and it shows in our work, I’d never ship a mask that I won’t be proud to have in my personal collection. Also, cost is not the number one thing for us, which is clearly the only thing my competitors focus on, for Trick or Treat Studios, quality and design integrity come first and second with cost being a long third.

LH: Can you talk a bit about your process for making them?

Chris: Ever mask is 100% hand made. It starts with a sculpture done in clay, which is then molded to make tooling masters. Those tooling master are then used to make molds. We can only get 20 masks per mold before a new mold needs to be made. From the molds, we pour our latex castings. Those casting are than trimmed and cut and than they go off to painting and hairing. It is a long process, that is literally is 100% hand made.

LH: Tell us a bit about your mask designers. How did they get on board making masks for Trick or Treat Studios.

Chris:
Again I own Trick or Treat Studios, I’m not a sculptor, but our Art Director, Justin Mabry is the best mask maker in the world. Justin and I were friends for a number of years and when I decided that I wanted to start this company, he was my first chose to partner with for the venture. Justin put together the sculpting team and recruited the best Artist to fit what we wanted to do.

Trick or Treat Studios

LH: What’s on the horizon for Trick or Treat Studios? Any other cool masks you can talk about that are coming out?

Chris:
We got some awesome stuff lined up for 2013 and I can discuss a few projects. We are going to be doing a Werewolf based on Eric Pigors Toxictoons. For Universal Studios we are going to be doing Darkman, They Live and the Funhouse. We are going to be doing Dark Night of the Scarecrow and we also have a handful of really nice original designs. And in 2013 we will be introducing some costumes and props.

LH: I know you frequent a lot of shows. Any conventions that you’ve really enjoyed? Any funny stories that happened at one?

Chris:
The Haunt and Attractions show that TransWorld Exhibits put on is always a lot of fun. And I love doing Monsterpalooza. It’s a great opportunity to interact with the fans. I guess the funniest story is that a fan bought our Ghastly Ghoul mask one year and he liked it so much that the next year he showed up with a tattoo of the mask.

LH: Any strange requests from buyers?

Chris: Nothing to weird, but it’s hard to shock Justin and I.

We’d like to thank Chris for stopping at the Lost Highway drive-in and taking about his amazing masks. Go check them out and stock up early for Halloween or your next stalking. Keep on screamin’

Jul

Comments Off on Showdown in Little Tokyo

I am from the future. Things are different there. For one thing, Dolph Lundgren is as important an historical figure as Leonardo Da Vinci. A sample of his resume: Black belt in Karate; Masters in chemical engineering; Fulbright scholar at MIT; Bouncer at glamorous NYC dance club; Male model; U.S. Olympic pentathlete (non-competing); Actor; Writer; Director; Artist. One time, masked burglars broke into his home without knowing its owner. They tied up his wife and child, but upon noticing his photograph on the mantle they realized they were robbing Dolph Lundgren and fled in terror. He is a polymath. A renaissance man. A Thomas Jefferson or a Benjamin Franklin. Except where Benjamin Franklin discovered the nature of electric current, Dolph Lundgren discovered that a man of muscle could make an obscene amount of money by starring in inexpensive direct-to-VHS action movies.

While there are more famous Dolph Lundgren films, “Showdown in Little Tokyo” is undoubtedly the greatest Dolph Lundgren movie. I don’t mean because it has his best acting (that would be “Universal Soldier”). In fact, Brandon Lee (“The Crow”) completely overpowers Dolph with the sheer force of his charisma. Much has already been said for the late Brandon Lee’s talent, but that guy was a Movie Star.

The reason “Showdown” is the greatest Dolph Lundgren movie is that it contains everything you want out of a Lundgren vehicle: guns, exploding cars, boobs (Tia Carrere!, or rather her body double), homosexual subtext, Dolph shirtless, and awesome one-liners. Although Brandon Lee cockily saunters through the movie, maliciously setting bad guys on fire and stealing the show, even he can learn from Dolph. Dolph is the Master. We are all his pupils.

I’m not even going to attempt to summarize the plot. It doesn’t matter. Don’t even worry about how it’s physically impossible for Dolph to jump over that moving car. Don’t stress your pretty head about how he has infinite ammo. Why does Brandon compliment Dolph on the size of his manhood? Wouldn’t you when confronted by full Lundgren? This movie rules. It is essential viewing for all you numbskulls.

The Lessons from “Showdown in Little Tokyo”:

-Dolph and Brandon are in love.

roadside attractions

  • Dolph Lundgren, you wussies
  • Tia Carerre’s naked body double
  • Brandon Lee, RIP!
  • Yakuza decapitations
  • Electrified Mattress Torture
  • Hollywood racism
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

You can always safely count on Dolph to give you some middle-of-the-road 1990s action movie violence. The best naked bathhouse tattoo knife fight since Eastern Promises

9

blood

BREASTS

Tia Carrere is technically naked in this, but it is pretty obviously her body double. Also, Nyotaimori (Don’t google that word at work.)

7

beast

BEASTS

Under-appreciated 90’s b-movie heavy Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa randomly stabs or decapitates someone every five minutes

9 OVERALL
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Check out the trailer for “Showdown in Little Tokyo”

trailers

dripper

About the Highway

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