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

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.

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?

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?

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’


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




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




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




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


Check out the trailer for “Showdown in Little Tokyo”



posted by Barry Goodall | July 6, 2012 | Feature, News, Shopping

Comments Off on Welcome The House of Mysterious Secrets

We’d like to welcome to our advertising family “The House of Mysterious Secrets.” HOMS offers some of the coolest horror merchandise including shirts, toys, books, magazines, comics, music and more. Check out their latest exclusive Phantasm shirt below.
Another House of Mysterious Secrets Exclusive shirt! Very limited print run and only available here! The Tall Man from the iconic film series Phantasm is death personified! The dark figure which haunts your dreams and nightmares! He can never be stopped!

Comments Off on The Prince of Darkness

prince of darkness

I have to come right out and say it: Whoever doesn’t love John Carpenter can go to hell. Hell. Hmm… interesting, because Prince of Darkness has lots to do with hell, which is obvious in the title. Now that I think about it, how does one become the Prince of Darkness? Is there a ceremony? If Satan is the Prince of Darkness, then who is the King of Darkness? Jerry Lewis? Val Kilmer? I didn’t realize Hell was a Monarchy. And if that’s the case, does that mean all the countries like Canada, England and Australia are going to Hell, while the good ol’ USA goes to Heaven? Yeah! Score one for ‘Merica!

With my trusty, ice cold, watery beer(s) at my side, I fight for Good and attempt to put Prince of Darkness in its place… my DVD player.

Prince of DarknessSo, right away we see some old Priest doing what old people do, die, as he lets go of a box. But what’s in it? This is when we meet our cast of characters who are suppose to be students at a college, but they look more like the parents of the students. Just how old are these supposed ‘kids’? But, the main character, Brian (Jameson Parker), really bothers me. It’s not his acting or anything. It’s that his mustache is uneven. Seriously, just look at it! Every time he is on screen, I just stare at it and stop paying attention to what is going on. I got off topic there for a second. I would blame the booze, but… look at the thing when you watch this. Anyway, they are taught by Professor Howard Birack played by Victor Wong, and I think he teaches some sort of Physics class when they are approached by a John Carpenter regular Donald Pleasance playing  a Priest trying to protect the world from evil… a role I’m sure we’re all familiar seeing Donald Pleasance in. The Priest, Father Loomis (I guess he gave up being a doctor and became a father) is seeking their help to investigate this room and a mysterious cylinder in the basement of the derelict Los Angeles church. The cylinder looks a lot like this thing I bought from Spencer’s Gifts, but it’s no toy. It is, as they later find out after a theology student, Lisa, translates some text from the old book, the Devil. Yes, the Devil is a weird swirling green, gooey thing. Who knew? I always thought he was like some dude with long hair and a coat or a beast of some kind, but nope. Turns out, he’s a nothing more than a party favor a stoner buys to stare at for hours.

Prince of DarknessIn a well paced manner, bizarre things begin to happen and people start to die. This is when the movie starts to get creepy. One character gets impaled with a unicycle by a homeless Alice Cooper (imagine having that engraved on your tombstone) and another is stabbed to death with scissors by a homeless Adrianne Barbeau. Not to mention, this student also comes back from the dead to deliver a message in the most nightmarish vision: His voice is distorted as he tells them to “Pray for Death,” then falls to pieces as little black bugs scatter everywhere! Not only that, Satan in his liquid form, sprays a few of the students in the mouth (mostly by one of the students regurgitating the liquid in to each other’s mouths) to possess them. When they are possessed, they literally stand around and just stare blankly. It freaks me out, their expressionless faces. Another one of the students, Kelly, forms a bruise which is actually a marking. She eventually becomes host to Satan, and as the group discovers, whose goal is to bring forth an ‘Anti-God’…something more powerful than Satan! My guess is that it would be Charlie Sheen.

By now you’re probably wondering why they don’t leave the church. It’s because Satan has himself an Army of crazy homeless people on guard twenty four hours surrounding the place! It seems like Satan has himself a better army than Canada.

While all this is going on, the remaining survivors are having weird dreams that are just down right unnerving. They play like old school VHS tapes as a distorted voice warns them of the impending doom, hoping that they will be able to alter the events and prevent the Apocalypse. But do these kids (again they seem so young and not at all like they are 30 year olds), their professor and Donald Pleasance have what it takes to stop the Devil from bringing the Anti-God into our world and prevent the end of everything as we know it? Well, since it’s a John Carpenter movie and it’s the second movie in his “Apocalypse Trilogy”…

It disappointed me to find out that when this movie first came out in theaters, it bombed. Critics and fans disliked it, but luckily in the past decade, it has a newfound appreciation and some even say it’s almost as suspenseful as The Thing, which I believe it is. The pacing in this movie is very well done and it never feels like there is a dull moment. The atmosphere and the possessed characters are truly unnerving and frightening and you get a sense of isolation (again, much like The Thing) since they are trapped inside a church. Even the concept of Satan in liquid form is pretty cool. May not be the best interpretation of him, but it’s pretty creative. Prince of Darkness is a good example of why I love John Carpenter’s work. He gets horror. The only thing I would have changed is that friggin’ mustache on Jameson Parker’s face.

roadside attractions

  • Uneven ‘stache
  • 40 Year Old Students
  • Liquid Satan
  • Alice Cooper
  • Gaysian
  • Pizza Face




Good ol’ fashioned sprays and splats!




Butterface cleavage




Hobo’s, Minions and Satan himself.


Check out the trailer from “The Prince of Darkness”



posted by Doktor | June 23, 2012 | Interviews

Comments Off on Dialogue from the Dungeon: Astron-6

After reviewing Father’s Day I had to track down the filmmakers, Astron-6, and talk with them about their first feature-length film.

WARNING: There be spoilers here.

Doktor: Can you give a little background on the group?

Adam Brooks: We were friends.  We made a bunch of short films together.  We have overlapping sensibilities regarding horror, comedy, nostalgia and absurdism.

Conor Sweeney: Matt and I have been making shorts together since high school, and the rest of us met through the Winnipeg Short Film Massacre, which Jer [Jeremy Gillespie] ran every Halloween.

Doktor: With Father’s Day you’ve made a Troma movie that’s cool much like Quentin Tarantino made exploitation films cool. What experience do you want to bring to your audience by using the Late, Late, Late movie genre of films, even going so far as to have commercials and station identification as part of your film?

Adam Brooks: We’re bringing our authentic childhood experiences to the viewer, and I’m sure many viewers can relate.  I didn’t grow up watching exploitation films in grindhouse theaters, I grew up finding many of these movies on late night TV or renting them on Beta or VHS.  We loved Tarantino/Rodriguez’s Grindhouse, but it would insincere for us to make a Grindhouse spinoff.

Conor Sweeney: We wanted to bring back and parody the warmth and weirdness of cable TV that doesn’t really exist anymore. When we were up late at night as kids watching cable access TV, it always felt like you stumbled on a channel nobody else knew about. You would see some weird movies, and the commercial breaks would be off putting and jarring. We wanted Father’s Day to feel like the kind of movie that you would see and then question whether or not it was a dream the next morning.

Doktor: As this was a group project, did each one of you writer/develop your own characters? What was the writing process like? Overall, would you say it’s easier or harder to write in a group?

Adam Brooks: Me and Matt wrote a loose draft, Conor and Jer changed it, added to it, removed bits, Steve wrote an ending, then we all passed it around and around, each editing it, and changing, and adding, until in the end it was one big mess of none sense.

Conor Sweeney: Not really. We all wrote each other pretty equally, but I know I would change stuff that someone else wrote for me that I hated and didn’t want to say. Writing as a group led to the chaos you see onscreen, which I say as a compliment to the movie, but I don’t think any of us want to work that way again. Whatever we do next will be far more regimented.

Doktor: Ahab is a very recognizable reference. What was your intention in naming your main character Ahab?

Adam Brooks: He’s called Ahab because he IS Ahab.  He is a man overcome with revenge.  Things don’t work out well for people like that.

Conor Sweeney: There’s so few people named Ahab in films. I could honestly count them on one hand. What we wanted to do was finally give voice to those who share his namesake.

Doktor: On the subject of Ahab, Ahab’s coat is a character in and of itself. How did this bit of anthropomorphication come about?

Adam Brooks: When we shot the scene in Twink’s apartment, I didn’t want to wear the coat because it was too hot.  The coat is basically made of some kind of unbreathable plastic, and under those hot lights, with the fake blood, I was uncomfortable enough.  I DID want to wear the coat later in the film though, and we discussed it late one night after one of our 20-hour shooting days.  We were all punchy and goofy from exhaustion and the idea of the coat as a character made us all laugh.  It is maybe the stupidest joke in the movie but I love it.

Conor Sweeney: Exhaustion. To shoot a crucial scene in the movie, we needed to be in one spot for hours and hours of shooting time, and Adam didn’t want to wear his coat because he was right beside a heater. He took it off knowing it would throw off the continuity because he’s wearing it in the next scene, so in our tired state we started throwing around ideas about how the jacket could return. When you’re exhausted, stupid and bizarre things become funny, so a talking coat is now in Father’s Day. I think it’s a great gag.

Doktor: I interviewed Lloyd Kaufman and he said he made suggestions about your script but you ignored them, ‘cos you were smart. What were some of the rejected suggestions?

Adam Brooks: They were all suggestions of a type of humor that clashed with what we were going for.  References to Lance Bass, kicking and punching girls in the vagina, tampon jokes, etc.

Conor Sweeney: The suggested and ignored notes turned Twink into an extremely homophobic and unfunny caricature. Some ‘Scary Movie’ type jokes like  Father John saying “nigga please” after his sermon, Sleazy Mary getting kicked in the crotch and then bleeding everywhere, fart and shit jokes, etc.

Doktor: What was it like working with Troma, i.e. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz?

Adam Brooks: Next question.

Conor Sweeney: Haha….uhh….

Doktor: God and the Devil are the same person, which is absolutely brilliant. Can you talk about how that idea came about?

Adam Brooks: Thanks for the SPOILER ALERT!  Jeremy and I were talking it out on the phone during the script writing process and we came up with that.

Conor Sweeney: We wanted a part for Lloyd, and we knew where the movie was going so he was a good choice. I didn’t come up with it though, I’m not sure who did.

Doktor: Did you have Lloyd Kaufman in mind to play God/Devil from the beginning?

Adam Brooks: Yes.  It’s a bit of a play on George Burns in Oh God You Devil where Burns played both God and The Devil.  I loved that movie when I was a kid.

Doktor: On your site you’ve made a number of trailers for films. Did you consider any of the other films when you went to make a feature length film? Are you planning on developing any of them now?

Adam Brooks: We didn’t choose Father’s Day as the trailer we had always wanted to turn into a feature, Troma chose it.  They were torn between Fireman and Father’s Day at first.  If it were entirely our choice we would have gone with something totally original instead of expanding on one of our shorts.  There are no plans to develop any of those shorts into features, though… maybe a Fireman movie someday… probably not.

Conor Sweeney: I would rather make something entirely new, although Matt and I have written a screenplay for a feature length version of H.I.Z.. Though I guess that’s not a trailer. We have a lot of ideas.

Doktor: Filmmaking is hell. It’s amazing that films with multiple millions of dollars get made, much less low-budget labors of love. What was the best part of making this film? What was the most heartbreaking? How did you overcome this to bring the film to fruition?

Adam Brooks: When you go through a shitty experience, a tragedy, or any suffering with somebody else you often look back with some sort of fondness.  You laugh with each other and say – ‘Remember how awful that was?  We almost died! Ahahaha!’  The further away I get from any of these painful productions the more fondly I look back on them.  Having said that, Father’s Day is still pretty fresh in my memory.  It was a lot of suffering, pain, anxiety, outrage, etc.  The city tried to fuck us, locations people tried to fuck us, producers yelled at us, casting agencies wouldn’t help us, minor actors were constantly failing to show up.  We made no money.

Conor Sweeney: Making this movie was a nightmare. We were physically injured, there were many arguments, much ego clashing, there was no co-operation from the City of Winnipeg, locations fell through regularly, we would shoot for 20 hours at a time and we haven’t made a dime. Having said that, I look back at a lot of it pretty fondly, and in twenty years I’m sure we will even more-so.

Doktor: Part of the beauty of this movie is the wildly inventive plot, especially considering that most films are either remakes, relying on name recognition, or have a “gritty reality” to en audiences. Can you speak about why you decided to take such a chance?

Adam Brooks: It was the only opportunity available to us at the time.  I’m personally not very interested in remakes and/or sequels but that doesn’t mean I would turn down the opportunity to be paid to do one.  If I was offered the chance to make Wrong Turn 5 or remake some dumb horror movie and get paid, I would take it.  I believe it is possible to do it well.  I think Wrong Turn 5 could be made into a good movie… 99.9% chance it WON’T be but it’s always possible.

Conor Sweeney: We knew that if we were to get any recognition for this cheap, cheap movie that we would need to do things that nobody else is doing. We threw every genre convention in and took the movie in every direction that it could logically go. Conceptually there was no conscious decision to take a chance or be edgy with the plot, it’s just the kind of movie we’ve always made, only longer.

Doktor: Because we’re a insatiably greedy I have to ask, what’s next for Astron-6?

Adam Brooks: We shot a short called Breaking Santa, which is the third and final act in our Santa trilogy.

Conor Sweeney: Somebody find us a producer.

About the Highway

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