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Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is Halloween: The Haunted Mask

The Haunted Mask: Fun

22mins each/44mins Total/Horror/1995

The Haunted Mask is the 11th book and episode 1 and 2 of season 1.


It's about a girl, Carly Beth who gets picked on because she's easily scared. She's the joke of the school and because of that is pushed into buying a mask that will turn her weakness into her ultimate revenge.

This book stands out as of of the more popular stories. I became a big fan when the 2 part episode was released on VHS. As a kid this was one of the films that I would play ever year for Halloween. 

The acting is what you would expect from a 90's children's TV show. The real reason this is a staple of 90's kids is the story. It works almost too good. It's not just about a girl who wants revenge, but the mask Carly picks changes her, it attaches to her and takes her over.




The Mask
The "unobtainable, unloved ones" all look pretty cool. In fact I find that I like some of the others more then the one she picks. But that's not to say the one she picks isn't good, it really is badass looking. The issue is the lighting. They should of made it a bit darker because the mask doesn't work as awesome in the brighter night shoots. But the voice and the darker scenes really make the mask work, especially when she begins to get angry and the mask begins to sweat.

These episodes aren't the scariest of the show. But they're very enjoyable and have a deeper meaning of excepting ones self and not trying to be different for anyone else.


Thanks for reading guys and girls!
Happy Halloween!




The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: October Edition


 The boys are back with another hard-hitting, face-melting, knee-slapping, balls-to-the-wall edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast.  October draws to a close with Halloween on their minds as they breakdown the best Horror Monsters/Villains/Demons of all-time.

The boys also vent their anger in another round of "Hey F%*khead" and no one is safe.  Everyone from Julliane Hough to Michael Bay are ripped limb from limb for their stupidity and overall douchebaggery.

Add in some TV talk, Casper the Friendly Rapist, and a barn-full of shenanigans and you got a podcast worth downloading and listening to while you're running on the elliptical machine.  Enjoy!

Show Notes:

Julianne Hough in Blackface
Chris Brown Still Beating People
History of Halloween
Scariest Horror Villains


FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

Click HERE to listen to podcast

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This is Halloween: The Shining (1980)

ICONIC
The Shining - Iconic

I hate to be so cliche when it comes to "The Shining" but since I like it not only as a horror film, but as a film in general, it's hard not to call it iconic.  It's the first film in the pseudo-slasher genre that was taken seriously by not only horror fans, but film historians and pundits.  I mean Stanley Kubrick directed it for goodness sake!  One of the most important directors in the past 75 years chose to follow up his epic "Barry Lyndon" with a Stephen King adaptation.

While I'm too young to have gotten the chance to experience this film in the theater during it's initial theatrical run, luckily "The Shining" was being screened during one of Cinemark Classic Series months.  Myself, and two friends, got the chance to experience the way all film should be witnessed; on the big screen.  While I don't fully agree with complete restoration when it comes to old films (I still like to see the cracks and film burns when I'm watching something that was actually shot on film as opposed to digital) the job they did on "The Shining" to clean it up and and preserve it was well done and didn't take away from it being scary or it's overall tone.  Another cool thing that I noticed was the night we watched the film, October 30th, was the same day in which The Overlook Hotel closes for the Winter in the film.  Eerie and awesome.

As a refresher, "The Shining" is based on the 1977 novel by Stephen King about a possessed hotel, The Overlook, and the Torrance family, who become it's latest victims.  I highlight based because when "The Shining" was released it did not receive a seal of approval from King himself, who dismissed it and still holds it as one of his least favorite adaptions of his works, and there are many changes from the book to the film. The film features Jack Nicholson in the starring role as Jack Torrance, and former school teacher with a violent past who struggled with alcoholism.  Looking to get away and start a new writing project, Jack accepts the caretaker's job at the Overlook Hotel deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  With his wife and son in tow, the descent into madness begins.

Straying from King's novel, Kubrick creates an original take that I think works very well.  The film becomes less about the supernatural and more about the breakdown of the psyche when isolated and away from society.  While the film does keep important elements, such as Danny's ability to "shine" and the horrors in an infamous hotel room (Room 237 in the film, and 217 in the novel), the ending and what role Jack plays in the hotel's lurid history is a little more vague.

Kubrick, who was known for his introspective films about the human condition and what drives man to his actions, creates a Jack Torrance who always looked like he was about to break from the very beginning. While the novel portrayed Jack as a sympathetic character come the end of the story where he saves his family from the ghosts of the Overlook, there is no redemption in Nicholson's take on the patriarch of the Torrance family.  Can you chalk that up to Nicholson's look?  Maybe.  He always looks manic so you knew his take on Mr. Torrance was going to be manic and unhinged.

Two other things I took away from this viewing of the showing was something good, and something not so good.  The good; The score.  Holy crap, but this score is relentless and puts you on edge nearly the entire film.  It's a driving score that is the heartbeat of the horrors to come.  Listening to it in surround sounds simply puts shivers down your spine.  The bad?  I'm sorry, but for the most part, the acting is pretty lackluster.  Sure, it was 1980, and it's a horror film, but goodness, Shelley Duvall and Scatman Crothers put forth some Razzie-worthy performances.  On the other hand, while Nicholson's performance is over the top, it's still haunting as a man who is succumbing to his own demons as well as the ghosts in the hotel.

As iconic as "The Shining" is, there are still problems with the film.  People have pointed out spacial issues with the hotel that make no sense, the fact that the Torrances had a lot of luggage to put into a small sedan, and other assorted things that simply didn't add up, but I think the reason why a lot of people overlook those irregularities was the fact that Stanley Kubrick was directing, and no one argues with Kubrick.  There's also the fact that this was a horror film and perhaps Kubrick was pointing out the silliness of horror films and the inconsistencies that all films of the genre possess.  Maybe that's reaching a little bit, but I wouldn't put it past Kubrick to create a parody of the horror genre before the horror genre had become a parody of itself.

Overall, "The Shining" stands the test of time, and aside from the silly clothes that most of the characters wear, the film is pretty timeless.  It takes a classic haunted house film, adds the creepiness of King, and incorporates the psychology of Kubrick, a combination that adds up to a horror film that is a cut above the rest.

Fun Fact:  Do you think you know what Kubrick was "really" trying to say in "The Shining?"  Check out "Room 237," a documentary about the "true" meanings behind "The Shining."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 12


There were days when vampires were vampires and not whiny little bitches who sparkle in front of mouth-breathers.  Vampires were bad-ass creatures of the night that seduced women and drained them of their blood while making them their vampire mates.  Those were the days, or nights, if you will.

On this episode of Simply Horrifying we take on a little tale entitled "The Reluctant Vampire."  A really strong episode from season three that finds Malcom McDowell as the titular vampire who works the night shift at the blood bank.  Fearing for his job when a blood shortage hits, he succumbs to his primal nature to save the bank.

Click the link above for the full review, if you dare........

This is Halloween: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors: Imaginative

96mins/Horror/1987

This is it guys and girls!

This is the film that introduced me to horror and Freddy. Two loves that will never die for me. I remember that day, it was a cold rainy day and me and my family went to a farmers market early that morning. I walked around couldn't find a damn thing to buy, but I knew I wanted to buy something thou nothing had peaked my interest.

I began to check out a collection of VHS's that seem to just collect dust.

Then a beat up VHS cover came my way...



That is what I saw, and I was never the same again. I asked my mom, since it was rated R and I was like 6, she obliged; lucky for me! I went home holding the shit out of that VHS counting the time to when we would get home. It was getting late so once everyone went to bed and my tracking on the VHS player cleaned up that damn picture I begin to watch the film that would make me into a man that faithfully night!

Dream Warriors is the 3rd film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, raking as one of the stronger Freddy films. This film is the one with the "puppet strings". My favorite kill on Freddy's slasher list and yes its a gory film if you didn't know, maybe the most out of all the Nightmares. This time around the the victims fight back using their own dreams to create a force Freddy has yet to see. This is a interesting turn in the films that really makes it stand out. Almost everyone agrees possibly the best sequel in the franchise.

Chuck Russell (The Mask, Eraser, The Scorpion King) does a fantastic job as Director. Sure its a bit goofy, gory and somewhat cheesy but its hands down one of the best entertainment bang for your buck of films in years. Its a film I would watch with friends and never get bored with the repeats we had with that one old beat up tape.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This is Halloween: The Faculty

The Faculty: Underrated

104mins/Horror/Sci-Fi/1998

It's a film by Robert Rodriguez, that when I say that, a shit ton of people that never knew that pop up with seriously? That Robert Rodriguez? Yes that one. I know it doesn't have that Rodriguez feel to it, but after a few viewings it starts to become clearer. The story is simple as dirt, teachers bodies become taken over by aliens and a few students stand up to take them down. The film has a Breakfast Club mixed into Invasion of the Body Snatchers vibe in it. And that there for me takes this film to a different level you don't get very much anymore.

The film stars Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Robert Patrick, Bebe Neuwirth, Piper Laurie, Famke Janssen, Usher Raymond, Salma Hayek, and Jon Stewart. If that isn't an amazing cast I'd like you to prove me wrong.

Like Matt said in our upcoming podcast, The Faculty is an underrated film. This is something that I've said for years now. Since the film came out in 1998, I've heard nothing but hatred toward this film. Every time it came up people would downplay the entertainment value and said that is was just crap. I would always come to its defense with how enjoyable this film is.

Trust me, Give it a shot this Halloween!


Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 11


What's scarier than a watching a stage version of "Hamlet?"  How about Jon Lovitz as the lead.  Of course I'm not putting Jon Lovitz down, even if Andy Dick did wish death upon him, I still think he's great.

"Top Billing" is another fine episode from the already great third season of "Tales from the Crypt."  The aforementioned Lovitz plays a down on his luck actor looking for his big break.  Seeing an ad for a stage production of "Hamlet" he thinks he's finally found it, or has he?

Click the link above for the latest edition of Simply Horrifying, if you dare.......

Monday, October 28, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 10


After a bit of dead silence, Simply Horrifying is back!  In this ghoulish offering we witness what some people will do for money.  Pretend to kill themselves mostly, but if you think there won't be any repercussions, you have to be out of your mind.

"The Trap" directed by Michael J. Fox, is an entry from the "Shock Suspenstories" line of comics where "Double Indemnity" is given a run for it's money.  Starring Bruce McGill and Teri Garr, as a couple just dying to make it rich, "The Trap" is one of the stronger early episodes from Season Three of "Tales from the Crypt."

Click the link above for the full review, if you dare......

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Simplistic TV: Dracula: Premiere Episode

ORDINARY
Hey!  You know what the entertainment world needs more of?  Vampires!!!  I'm sorry.  My sarcasm is turned up to eleven because I'm a little jaded.  This will probably sound like an old man boring his grandchildren about the "Good Old Days", but I truly long for the days when vampires were frightening, bloodthirsty monsters.  The days when they were wolves in sheep's clothing, and that clothing wasn't True Religion jeans or Tom Ford suits.  The days they plucked at the entrails of their victims, not their own body hair.  The days of Blade, Bram Stoker, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  I know I'm not covering any new ground here.  No one can argue that over the past decade, Hollywood's use of vampires has...well...sucked.  Oh, there are some outliers.  However, for every Let The Right One In, there's a fifth sequel to Twilight.  For every Angel, there's a Vampire Diaries.   Even True Blood has steadily declined into nothing more than an oversexed softcore porn film set at a Louisiana college frat's Halloween party.  (Seriously, I'm more afraid of the city of Compton than Bill Compton.)  Now NBC, with all the timing of a Jay Leno punchline, tries to pick the bones of this dead genre with a show about the king of all vampires.  A show about Dracula.

Dracula comes to us from Cole Haddon and HBO's Carnivale creator Daniel Knauf.  The show centers around Dracula, going by the name Alexander Grayson, as he hunts down the members of an evil Illuminati-esque organization in 19th Century England.  That concept might sound interesting on paper.  However, when Dracula explains his reasons why, something feels a bit strange.  I mean, he is a vampire after all.  It works when a Hannibal Lecter punishes people he finds disgusting, but here it's like watching Freddy Krueger take out members of Halliburton.  I know it's an attempt to place Dracula in the sympathetic protagonist role.  Though, after watching the first episode, I'm not sure if it totally works.  No matter how evil of an organization it is, no matter what they did to Dracula (I won't spoil it), do you really think he'd have any difficulty taking them down in about eight seconds?  Do you really think we as an audience can look at them in a light harsher than that of a demonic creature that randomly slaughters innocent people?  Hypocrisy aside, I hope Knauf and Haddon don't end up neutering the character in an attempt to make us like him.  We like him because he's a wicked, deadly, unscrupulous creature of the night, not some mopey introvert. 

There are some positives I took away from the premiere.  First, Dracula doesn't sparkle in the sunlight, he burns.  Thankfully, most of the traditional vampire motifs are back at play here.  Secondly, it is pretty graphic for a show on NBC.  The limitations broadcast television presents hasn't seemed to hinder the bloodshed.  Third, the show looks very expensive.  Making a show a period piece tends to shoot the budget up a few million dollars.  That's something networks usually shy away from or alter into modern day re-imaginings.  (See Elementary & Sherlock)  NBC says that Dracula will be a limited series for now, which may account for the liberal use of elaborate costumes, sets and locations. 

In regards to performances on Dracula , this show is totally a John Rhys Meyers vehicle.  I think he's a solid actor and I'm happy to see him in something for mass American audiences.  His run on The Tudors and a brief role in Mission Impossible 3 had him poised to be a big star at one point.  (We're not gonna talk about From Paris With Love)  As Dracula, Rhys Meyers is good.  He has the charm, the air of mystery and brings the appropriate...um...bite when the character needs it.  Sadly, everyone else in the cast stands out as well as wooden furniture in a log cabin.  The closest you get to a pulse is Nonso Anozie as Renfield and Victoria Smurfit as Lady Jayne Wetherby.  They appear to be having fun with their parts and relish every bit of the setting.  No one else manages to grab your attention.  Even Thomas Kretschmann's Van Helsing feels ORDINARY and boring.  To be completely fair, Francis Ford Coppola did have in Bram Stoker's Dracula a British speaking Keanu Reeves and a supposedly sultry Winona Ryder.  So, glass houses and all that.  But the gulf between fun acting to forgettable acting wasn't as large as it is on this show.

As a whole, Dracula does try and put some of the teeth back into the vampire genre.  However, it doesn't really grab you as much as it should.  A television show focusing on the origins of the most famous monster ever should feel like more of an epic experience.  This show only winds up feeling kind of ORDINARY.  With its expensive budget and its Friday night time slot of death, I fear Dracula is not long for this world.  Bring your garlic...and your crosses...and your holy water...and your overly elaborate staking methods...watch it...then tell me I'm wrong. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

This is Halloween: Ghostbusters II

UNDESERVED
Ghostbusters II - Undeserved

Will we ever see a "Ghostbusters III?"  The easy answer is no, the hopeful answer is, please no.  Trust me, "Ghostbusters" goes down as one of the best comedies of the 1980s, if not the best comedy from the past 30 years.  There was nothing else like it when it was released in 1984; a live action cartoon starring some of the funniest people in the world.  It made Bill Murray the biggest comedian in the world at the time, and the film still has a huge fan base to this day.  It's a timeless classic that was way ahead of its time, but a third entry into the "Ghostbusters" saga would never work now, and would strictly anger fans of the first one while simply catering to today's movie-watching public; a group of viewers who idolize Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and any other crap that today's fast food media tells you to idolize.  Just look at what Michael Bay is doing to the "Ninja Turtles!"  But that's a rant for another review.  Getting back on track, fast-forward five years and the gang got back together for 1989's "Ghostbusters II" a sequel that gets an undeserved bad rap from fans of the original.

"Busters II" opens with Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and her baby Oscar out for a morning stroll.  Needless to say something spooky happens and Ray, Winston, Peter, and Egon, The Ghostbusters, are back in business.  Apparently Dana's baby has been chosen by an ancient evil to take over the world, it's hokey, but that's your plot this time around.  Throw in a creepy painting of an ancient European wizard/madman, a river of ectoplasm, and an art curator from the "Upper Vest Side" and you got a sequel, while not perfect, still captures the magic of it's predecessor and manages to be charming.

The fact that the entire original cast decided to come back for the sequel says one of two things; 1) The story was interesting and funny enough to bring everyone back or 2) sequels usually equate to desperation for actors and greed for the studio.  Back in 1989 Murray was coming off of "Scrooged"  Dan Aykroyd, "Caddyshack II," Harold Ramis had become more of a writer and director than an actor, and Ernie Hudson was coming off of "Leviathan."  When I think about it, I guess it was time for a sequel to "Ghostbusters."

While there are problems with the plot, which dances the line of parody of itself and ridiculous, it's just nice to see the whole cast back together.  The addition of Peter MacNicol to the cast adds quite a few comic beats, and his interactions with Bill Murray are some of the best in the film.  To be honest, I almost prefer Murray's portrayal of Peter Venkman in the sequel.  It seems that he has more to do, and unlike the original "Busters," he is the big name and the draw, and he stands out from the ensemble this time.

The story gets a little sappy near the end with a theme that only kindness can defeat evil (I mean.....come on).  Granted, this film was coming off the Saturday Morning Cartoon, "The Real Ghostbusters" which I also adore beyond words, but I feel like the story could have used a little more bite.  It simply came off as a little sappy, and frankly, simplistic, to me.  If you asked a New Yorker to be nice, there is no doubt you would get a one-finger salute, especially in the late 80s/early 90s.  Maybe in today's New York you would get a nicer response, but the New York of yesteryear would tell you to take a hike, and than probably knife you.

Overall, "Busters II" is a fine companion to the "Ghostbusters" mythology.  It bridges the gap between the two films nicely, and is just as funny as the original.  It really does get an undeserved bad rap.  Plus, they made Janine hot!  I mean there was even a cameo by Bobby Brown for goodness sake!  Booby FREAKIN' Brown!  Mr. Humpin' Around!  He just wanted a proton pack for his kid brother!  I'm sure if he asked Peter instead of Egon he could have gotten that deal to work.  But alas.....

Fun Fact:  For all you Nintendo fans out there, check out the sweet NES Advantage joystick that was used to control The Statue of Liberty.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This is Halloween: Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus: Immortal

96mins/Family-Comedy/1993

As a kid growing up in the 90's things were pretty awesome in the world of film and TV. Disney had a gold mine of 90's kids movies that became instant classics to us of the 90's and we still hold that to ring true to this very day. If you go to a flea market, I can almost guarantee you will see a flood of Disney VHS for sell. They were cranking them out every single week, sure a few kinda suck but a good majority of them are classics children films that as a "adult" now I still find myself watching every now and then.

Hocus Pocus is one of them. And every year in October this is a film I pop in and watch. Why because its fantastic. It holds up well and still allows me to dive into a bit of excitement that a children's Halloween film should. They don't make films like this anymore. Halloween films are made mostly for teens and adults these days. The younger children don't get the focus anymore. Sure when I was 7 I was watching Freddy frighten teens in their nightmares and Leatherface doing what he does best with a door and hammer, but that's that. Some kids can't do that. And honestly shouldn't experience that stuff at such a young age. But hey I turned out somewhat... decent.

After 300 years, Three sister witches are resurrected in Salem Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it us up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to the witches reign of terror once and for all. (IMDB)

Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Park and Kathy Najimy star as the three sister witches, who steal the souls of children! Omri Katz, Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw are the hero's who go up against the witches. The three witches steal the show with their goofy antics and song, "I Put a spell on you" that will be stuck in your head. Thora Birch's acting stands out good. She's young and doesn't turn in to one of those annoying forced line delivering children actors can sometimes bring.  The cast works pretty well and only add to the wonder of a story Disney put out.  

Hocus Pocus is a incredibly well-made film that brings the scary part and fun part together and a well wrapped candy bar for a kids eyes and mind. It single handle brings back the excitement that seems to have been lost anymore during Halloween. It's a simple story about putting a end to the witches, which is place on top of a brother and sister relationship that I find mean more to me then any other film when I watch with my sister. Sure if you might not have watched this film before then it might be hard to understand now as a adult. But when you watch this when your young and grow up from it, then it becomes something more. Its a fun film to watch that doesn't get made as much but luckily its immortal and seems to last forever. 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

This is Halloween: Maniac (2012)

Maniac (2012) - Perspective

PERSPECTIVE
In modern horror, the thought of re-making fringe horror films is always confusing to me. What audience is this re-make for?  Who is going to see it?  Is it viable for a studio to release a film that maybe a handful of people will see, let alone be nostalgic for?  I raise my hand proudly!  I love cult horror films, they always hold a special please in my sick little heart.  Some of my fondest memories, like I've mentioned before, was watching USA's Up All Night, and MonsterVision on TNT with Joe Bob Briggs.

While horror in recent years has been stripped of its soul and replaced with found footage and other nonsense, it's nice to know that someone is still out there respecting the cult horror of yesteryear.  That person is Alexandre Aja.  This Frenchman knows his horror, even if its over-the-top, gut-wrenching, blood-soaked horror, its the horror that I love.  He knows just how far to push the exploitation envelop, and while he might not have directed the film I'm about to get into reviewing, he was the brainchild behind developing  the 2012 remake of "Maniac" based on the 1980 original.

"Maniac" stars Elijah Wood as Frank, a loner who runs a mannequin shop in an unnamed urban sprawl.  Devoted to his work, needless to say he has a hard time connecting with the opposite sex, so he does what any normal person would do;  he trolls dating sites (a plot point that quickly loses steam), murders, and scalps women.  That is until the day he meets Anna, a young artist interested in his mannequins.  While Frank tries to pursue a normal relationship with Anna, his thirst for blood is unquenchable and he continues to kill.

Sure, I'm simplifying the plot for sake of spoilers, but there is a lot to like about "Maniac."  While there are are deviations from the original, namely the infamous "Disco Boy Scene" the remake focuses on Frank's relationship with his mannequins, women, and his rather complicated mommy issues.  While the "Disco Boy Scene" would have been cool to see with modern SFX, it would have added nothing to the remake overall.  But fret not gorehounds, there are plenty of moments where you'll forget all about "Disco Boy."

Comparing the original "Maniac" to it's remake is tough to do.  The original relies on tension, with a grimier and grittier look, very reminiscent to Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver."  Joe Spinell, who was already a pretty rough looking dude, plays Frank to a tee and there is never any doubt he's a maniac.  The on-screen murders are brutal and you feel the terror of his victims as well as the pain of Spinell who is acting against his will and can't stop killing.

This time around Elijah Wood plays Frank, and while you might think Wood as a murderous creep is a tough sell, see what he did in "Sin City" as Kevin, or just see what he's doing now as Ryan Newman on "Wilfred."  Wood gives a convincing performance as the twisted serial killer who collects scalps, which he adorns to the top of his mannequins' heads.

The choice to shoot most of the film from Frank's perspective is an interesting choice.  It's found footage without being found footage.  I would almost consider "Maniac" the serial killer version of "Enter the Void," from Gaspar Noe.  You might even call this film a "first-person killer."  There are a few scenes where the camera swings around to reveal Frank making a kill, but for the most part, I like the idea of "actually" see ing through the eyes of the killer.

Is 2012's "Maniac" and improvement over the original?  It all depends on your perspective.  The original was playing up the fears of the still-fresh-in-their-minds "Son of Sam" murders in New York from the late 1970s, so it was reasonably timely and terrifying at the same time.  The remake is pretty much a shot in the dark, cashing in on the found footage craze and the dying out torture-porn aesthetic.  It's also rips off some of the retro-style of "Drive," however, I respect the fact that directors and writers who are fans of cult genre fare, like "Maniac," decided to take the proverbial stab at making a genre film that only hardcore horror fans would be familiar with.  I salute Aja and director Franck Khalfoun for creating something with teeth to compete against dribble like "Paranormal Activity 45: Stop Moving Into This House!" and doing a little-known classic justice some 30 years later.

Fun Fact:  "Goodbye Horses" by Q. Lazzarus, is featured in another prominent film; 1991's "Silence of the Lambs" which also featured a serial killer who murdered women.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 09



Welcoming you back to the Crypt, this is Matt with another edition of Simply Horrifying.  As we creep into Season Three of "Tales from the Crypt" we start off with a real bang, and a snap, and a pluck of your eyeballs with the help of a circling vulture.

"Carrion Death" is not only a clever name, but it's also a damn good episode starring  Kyle MacLachlan as a murderer who not only just escaped death row, but just robbed a bank too.  What a go-getter.  With a cop in hot pursuit, Mexico in sight, and a pesky vulture looking to grab the leftovers, what will become of this unlikely trio?

For the full review, click the link above, if you dare.......

Friday, October 18, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 08


Welcome back to Simply Horrifying as we reach an end to Season Two of "Tales from the Crypt" with a twisted tale of secrets identities entitled, cleverly enough, "The Secret."  It's a nice wrap-up to the season that was arguably the strongest season out of the entire series.  Also of note was that this was the second episode in the series featuring Larry Drake, who you might remember as the psycho Santa in the Season One episode, "And All Through the House."

Click the link above for the full review, if you dare.......

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 07


The number seven is lucky for some, but guess what, it isn't for you!  HAHAHA!  Well, you must be kind of lucky if you're back and ready to enjoy another episode of Simply Horrifying.  In this terrifying tale we see what it really takes to make it in show business as Morton Downey Jr stars in "Television Terror" one of the first haunted house-style stories to appear on "Tales from the Crypt."

Click the link above for the reviews, if you dare.....

This is Halloween (TV): Toy Story of Terror

DEVILISHLY
Toy Story of Terror - Devilishly

The one thing you can count on with Pixar is that you always get quality.  Despite some of their weaker efforts ("Cars" "Cars 2" to a lesser extent, "Brave") there always seems to be a silver lining to anything Pixar creates.  I may not like "Cars" but I can respect that it looks gorgeous.  Sorry "Cars" fans, I just don't find fart jokes spun by a redneck comedian to be very funny.

While most Pixar fare is made for the big screen, and evokes such emotion and heart, its nice to see that Disney/Pixar (yes, I'll give Disney their due) created something for the Halloween season, and it very well might be the best thing you'll see this Fall.  This of course is the devilishly clever "Toy Story of Terror" a spooky mini adventure starring all of your favorite "Toy Story" pals.

The writers at Pixar have to be some of the best writers in the world.  They know how to perfectly cater to fans of Disney while at the same time sneaking in little odes and jabs to other films and their appropriate genres and fans.  They just get it, simple as that.  "Terror" begins at some point after "Toy Story 3" ends.  Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the crew are in the care of Bonnie as they head to some undisclosed location on a dark and stormy night.  After a flat tire, Bonnie, her mother, and the toys settle into a roadside motel while they wait for the tow truck in the morning.  Needless to say, hi-jinks and close-calls ensue and of course there is a happy ending.  Like most Pixar films, its not the story that's always compelling, its the actual journey.

What I respect the most is that all the voices from the previous "Story" films return, including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack, but there are also a few extra treats along the way, including Ken Marino, or as I like to refer to him as, Louie, the "I WANNA DIP BY BALLS IN IT" guy.

Along with Ken Marino, what would a "Toy Story" be without some new characters, and the best has to be Combat Carl, voiced by Carl Weathers.  This character is so perfect and I love the subtle reference to "Predator" thrown in as Combat Carl is missing a hand.  Those are the things that make me love Pixar.  Who would throw in a "Predator" reference into a TV show made for children?

Timothy Dalton is also great as Mr. Pricklepants, who's essentially Randy from the "Scream" series.  He calls out horror movie cliches at every turn and it's wonderful to see it done in a Shakespearean way.  The more I think about "Terror" is that the animation is for the kids, while the dialogue is made for adults who love horror and action films.  Maybe Shane Black ghostwrote this entire special?

Bottom line, "Toy Story of Terror" is a wonder to behold.  The story is perfect for the time allotted, the introduction of new toys now looking for their owner adds a great side story to the entire "Toy Story" mythology, and Pixar and Disney spare no expense to create a standalone story that rivals anything in the Pixar catalog.  Hopefully this tradition continues and becomes this generation's "Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin."

Fun Fact:  Everyone knows that the Cowboy Woody doll is pretty sought after in the "Toy Story" universe.  You'll notice that the $2,000 winning bid was from Al McWhiggin of Al's Toy Barn.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Big Fan

Big Fan: Intense   ...But fun.

88mins/Comedy/Drama/2009

Patton Oswalt plays a lovable but passionate fan of his football team. Not just any football team, but his New York Giants. To him no other team should even exist on this earth. But then one day his favorite player kicks the crap out of him. This puts him in a bad place.

Emotionally he becomes unstable and it leads to a place that surprised me at first.  He has to pick between him or his football team and the way it plays out was pretty awesome.

This is a film that I couldn't really guess what came next. So many films anymore are very predicable. Patton Oswalt really shines in this film. This may be a comedy slash drama, but I would really like to see him go more toward the drama end. He really just fit this film in such a way I couldn't see anyone else play. Micheal Rapaport and Kevin Corrigan also star, both hold a screen present not too many can. The ending will leave a smile on your face and wanting more. I would also like more from director and writer, Robert D. Siegel who on top of this wrote, The Wrestler. Both films I enjoyed and only wish we got more of his work.

Been a fan of Oswalt for the longest time, and this film might just sealed it for you as well.


Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 06


Prepare for another murderous and marauding romp as we re-enter the Crypt for another edition of Simply Horrifying.  In one of the more interesting, and lighter, episodes we have Harry Anderson, who you might remember from "Night Court," as an artist working for "Tales from the Crypt" who's creations are suddenly taking on a life of their own after he begins taking experimental pills for his little "bedroom problem."  The episode is entitled "Korman's Kalamity," and while the episode is goofy and ridiculous it still have enough gore and monsters to come off as a little scary.

One other interesting tidbit is the fact that "Korman's" was directed by Rowdy Herrington, the man behind the 1989 classic, "Road House." Enough said.

Click the video above for the full review, if you dare......

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This Is Halloween: The American Scream

The American Scream - Spirit
SPIRIT


What's American?  Apple pie?  Baseball?  Government shutdowns?  Sure, all these things makes America great, but something has to be missing....what could it be? How about starting your own business, being an entrepreneur?  That's one thing, admittedly, America is good at doing.  In the documentary, "The American Scream," we follow three people taking their obsession to new heights: the art of creating homemade haunted houses.

In the town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Halloween is a big deal, as it usually is in a small town.  Sure, you have your houses that only put out a jack-o-lantern or maybe some cobwebs in the windows, but three particular residences in Fairhaven turn their homes into "house haunts."

"The American Scream" follows Victor Bariteau, an office drone who dreams of turning his house haunt into a full time job, the father and son team of Matt and Richard Brodeur, who share an interesting and symbiotic relationship, and finally Manny Souza, a city worker who recently suffered a heart attack and who's house haunt is in danger of not getting done on time.

The documentary begins 31 days before Halloween as all three families are starting to prep for the big day.  What makes this film so interesting is how much the holiday means to each family, but at the same time how it turns them against each other, to a degree.  Victor, who dreams of making this once a year holiday his career, has sacrificed spending Halloween with his family, such as trick-or-treating.  Keeping up on repairs to his house has also suffered, leaving his home a mess.  Manny tries to keep up with Victor, and does a decent job, but with him not being in the best of health has to rely on the kindness of strangers that share his love for the holiday.

"The American Scream" offers a look into a holiday that many retail stores pass over most of the time.  Sure, you have your costume shops like "Spirit of Halloween" and "Halloween Express" but by the time October comes around, Christmas decorations are already up in stores, and aside from sales on candy, Halloween is a holiday that is treated like the bastard child of American holidays.  Hell, Arbor Day gets nearly as much publicity.  It's refreshing to see a small community get behind a holiday like Halloween an give it the respect it deserves.

While some people do get into the holiday spirit, that holiday is usually Christmas.  You have bright lights, shining stars, and who could forget that cute little manger scene that folks are so keen on.  You look at Halloween and you have everything that is anti-Christian; ghosts, goblins, and zombies, but, if you read your Bible, the Good Book is full of things that you might consider evil; Satan, ghosts, and vengeful spirits.  I might be getting a little off-topic here but why is Halloween usually treated with such contempt, while there was plenty of superstitious nonsense going on during Christmas.

Getting back to small towns,  Halloween is a much bigger deal, and it shows in "The American Scream."  It shows that Halloween brings people together and is a much more communal holiday than that of Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I mean you don't let people into your house when you're having Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, but you will nearly invite people into your home to collect candy or enter a spooky haunted house that takes you months to construct so that it can be enjoyed for just one evening.  That's putting heart into a holiday.

Living in Florida, I weep sometimes when I see what states like Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and California do to commemorate Halloween.  Sure, we have Halloween Horror Nights, one of the better Halloween-themed attractions in the state, but the costs for Horror Nights have become astronomical and price a lot of true Halloween fans out.  In states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, where Halloween still truly lives and breathes, its created by true fans of the holiday who want to share their joy with the masses.  Sure, there is money to be made, but you can't put a price tag on screams and the adrenaline rush you get when a man with a fake ax and a skeleton mask jumps out of the dark to scare you half to death.  That's "The American Scream" right there.

Fun Fact:  According to Haunt World, the best Haunted Attraction in the US in 2013 is The 13th Floor/The Asylum in Denver, CO.

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 05


Welcome to Hell Muthafu*ka!  Or....just welcome back to another edition of Simply Horrifying as we continue our jaunt down memory lane remembering some of the best episodes of "Tales from the Crypt."  In this episode, which is also one of my favorites, we have two comedians in the starring role, one being the immortal Don Rickles and the other being "Bobcat" Goldthwait, as two ventriloquists in "The Ventriloquist's Dummy."

Directed by Richard Donner, "Dummy" is the story of a retired ventriloquist and a young up-and-coming ventriloquist's attempt to back in big.  Remember a long time ago when ventriloquist's were treated like kings and women threw themselves at them wishing they were the puppets?  Well, neither do I.

This episode offers a pretty good twist and both comedians put out pretty good performances, mainly Rickles who is pretty convincing as the retired performing holding back a dark secret.  All in all, one of the better episodes from Season Two.

Click the link above for the full review, if you dare......

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This Is Halloween: Scream 2

OUTLIER
Scream 2 - Outlier

Certain things sell me on a film, especially a horror film.  The main thing(s) is whether it keeps me interested, engaged, and I'm able to care about a few of the characters.  You wouldn't normally say that a soundtrack for a film is what made you like the film even more.  However, "Scream 2" is that type of film, an outlier where the soundtrack is as good as the film itself.  But of course there is an excellent movie hidden behind the soundtrack.

"Scream 2" the first sequel in the popular "Scream" series is "The Godfather II" of the horror genre.  Not only is Wes Craven back, with Kevin Williamson penning the screenplay again, but Craven ups the ante and creates a sequel that provides more laughs, more tension, and an even hipper cast than the first film, including Raylan Givens.  Once again we start with a sequence that later in the series becomes standard protocol where a famous person(s) that you wouldn't think would get killed, gets killed.  Meanwhile, Sidney Prescott, our heroine in the previous film, has gone off the college where she's followed by Ghostface.  But wait, you might say, "Wait a minute, Ghostface is dead, that was Billy Loomis and his buddy Stu!"  I would rebuttal and say, "You know what would have been cool, if Ghostface Killah played Ghostface!"  I still say we get that petition signed and just cast "Scream 5" with everybody from the Wu-Tang Clan.

While Sidney is trying to adjust to college life, a new boyfriend, and playing Cassandra, her friends are killed one at a time by Ghostface, who just LOVES sequels; they're bloodier, sillier, and have ridiculous plot twists.  While "Scream 2" is all of this and more, the fact that it's self-aware without being fully self-aware works extremely well.  The characters never follow their own advice even though they try to justify their decisions for being the typical horror stereotypes.  Just like the first "Scream" the characters are likable and are typical of the slasher genre, but Craven and Williamson do a great job of expanding the world of Woodsboro from it's small town beginnings in the first film, to a college campus where there is a larger group of suspects in a more condensed, claustrophobic area.

Now, let me get back to the real reason to like this film; the soundtrack.  If you haven't enjoyed the "Scream 2" soundtrack, do yourself a favor and give it a listen.  The tracks range from Master P to Dave Matthews Band, but I still think there should have been some Wu-Tang on the soundtrack, it just seems like a lost opportunity.

Overall, "Scream 2" would have been a great way to end the series, but what would a horror series be without a few more sequels, which we got with the underwhelming "Scream 3" and the underrated "Scream 4."  However, "Scream 2" stands alone as a horror sequel that not only meets a fan's expectations but was so much more than a cooker-cutter sequel to make more money.  While Wes Craven's record as a horror director had been spotty since "A Nightmare on Elm Street," the "Scream" franchise gave him a second lease on life, and "Scream 2" stands as one of his best efforts in a career that spans over 40 years.  An outlier indeed, "Scream 2" gives you what you want, but it gives it in a way where excess isn't required.

Fun Fact:  As if there wasn't enough to like about "Scream 2," Danny Elfman, composer of "Batman," "Spider-man," and former lead singer of Oingo Boingo, took the time to compose the Cassandra theme heard HERE for the film.

Monday, October 7, 2013

New Release! Gravity

MIND-BLOWING
Gravity - Mind-Blowing

I never start a review this way, until now of course; "Gravity" is amazing, emotional, groundbreaking, revisionist, wonderful, innovative, and of course, mind-blowing. There hasn't been a movie since "2001: A Space Odyssey" that has elicited so many emotions over the course of 90 minutes until "Gravity."  If the genius of Alfonso Cuaron hasn't been noticed yet, this is the film that puts him in the lexicon of Spielberg, Lucas, Kubrick, and other luminaries that have re-defined cinema for a new generation.  Cuaron is this generation's Stanley Kubrick.

"Gravity," at heart, is the tale of survival, redemption, and the power of belief.  Most of Cuaron's films all have an undertone of hope found within utter despair, see "Children of Men as a prime example.  Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star as Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski, respectively, two astronauts on a routine mission to repair a shuttle.  Before you know it the two are adrift after space debris strikes the shuttle, and a battle for survival begins.

While I was in the theater so many emotions came over me.  Based on the trailers, you know shit is going to hit the fan, but I didn't know the context in how said shit hits the fan. The set pieces are wonders to behold, and while CG is heavily relied upon, I never felt that I had to suspend my disbelief and realize that all I was watching was make believe.  Cuaron has officially blurred the lines between reality and fiction.  I was blown away.  Add in his trademark long takes, the first scene lasting roughly 15 minutes with no cuts, and you are sucked into this vision of space that hasn't been seen since "2001."

While I'm not going to say politics were involved, it's interesting to see three superpowers (USA, Russia, and China) mentioned in a film about space and how one said superpower is to blame for the problems that occur throughout the film.  I'm not saying the Cuaron has an agenda, but it seems clear that he either has a distrust or distaste for the the Space Program, or perhaps his entire allegory in "Gravity" is that the Space Program is dead or needs to die.

There are quite a few references to death and rebirth in "Gravity."  One is pretty clear, where, SPOILER, Bullock enters the International Space Station, strips her suit off, and curls into a fetal position.  After being in the vacuum of space for a long time, she finally has a place to feel safe, and regresses into a child-like position of safety.  Later on in the film we pretty much see the death of the Space Program, with once again, SPOILER, a US, Russian, and Chinese space module destroyed, with the latter plummeting to Earth.  Is Cuaron saying, "Look, space doesn't want us anymore, it's time for us to return to Earth and take care of things domestically before we deal with the vastness of space."  I tend to think this is a very important, and timely, message for people all over the world.

For over 50 years, the world has been obsessed with visiting space, "landing" on the moon, visiting Mars, sending probes to the far recesses of the solar system, while the Earth continues to become over-populated, natural resources are slowly running out. climate change is a creeping death, and pollution chokes us.  Why is the space program a viable option anymore?  Yes, we use satellites for communication and surveillance, but why do we need to keep sending probes into space to hopefully meet E.T?  With NASA finally ending their Space Shuttle Program in 2011, "Gravity" tells us two things; good riddance to the program, and two, lampoons the program with the disaster that you see in the film.

Politics aside, "Gravity" is a technical marvel that lets us experience space from a perspective we've never seen, before in a realistic way.  Should you see it in 3-D?  My answer is always no to 3-D.  People might argue that it puts you INTO the film, but why do you need to be in the film when you can watch the film in
2-D and still feel like Cuaron is holding you hostage for 90 minutes, and that's a compliment to the director.  I haven't felt at the mercy of a director in a long time, where you can't escape what you're experiencing until the director lets you go.  If "Pacific Rim" was the action film you couldn't take your eyes off of, "Gravity" is the mind-blowing, technical marvel that you can't take your eyes off of this year, and maybe the past decade.  "Gravity" pulls you in, literally.

Fun Fact:  Ed Harris, who you might remember as Flight Director Gene Kranz in "Apollo 13," reprises the role, in voice form, of "Houston" in "Gravity."

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 04


Welcome back fiendish freaks to another edition of Simply Horrifying.

"Cutting Cards" the third episode from Season Three stars Lance Henriksen, who you might remember from "Aliens" and "Pumpkinhead" and Kevin Tighe, who you might remember even better from "Road House" and who played Locke's Daddy in the TV series "Lost," as two high stakes gamblers with a love/hate relationship with each other.

Of course you know how gamblers get once the stakes get high; first you lose some money, then you lose your dignity, next thing you know you're playing Russian Roulette and are starting to lose fingers.  Hey, have you even been to Vegas?

This is Walter Hill's second episode as the director, his first since the show's inaugural episode, "The Man Who Was Death" which starred William Sadler, who also starred in the first "Tales From the Crypt" themed film, "Demon Knight."

While the episode is silly, it's still unnerving because you have to believe that there are plenty of people in the world that really do go this far when it comes to gambling.

Check out the full review above, if you dare.......

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 03


 Welcome back gore-whores, for another edition of Simply Horrifying.  Leaving season one behind, we now embark into season two of "Tales from the Crypt" where things really start to pick up steam.  Being that the first season only had six episodes, it's pretty jarring to see that the sophomore season had a whopping 18 episodes.  Furthermore, a lot more celebrities (or at least celebrities from the early 90s) were showing up to star in episodes, as well as a few surprise directors, namely, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who directed the episode titled "The Switch."

All in all, season two was a huge jump for the series and set the tone for seasons 3-4 (which I personally think are the two strongest seasons).  Dead Right, starring Demi Moore and the almost unrecognizable, Jeffrey Tambor, is a ghoulish little story about one woman's desire to get rich quick.  The only problem is that she has to marry Charlie Marno, a loud, obnoxious, overweight man who might hold her key to a vast fortune.

Dead Right is a fun episode that ends with a nice twist that you should be used to if you've read the comics or are a veteran of the first season of "Tales."

Click the link above for the full review, if you dare.......

Friday, October 4, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 02


As we delve deeper into the "Tales from the Crypt" catalog, I need to make an amendment to the above review.  In the review I state that Mary Harron was the only female to direct a "Tales from the Crypt" episode, and that isn't entirely true.  While there was a disproportionate ratio of male to female directors on the show, there were actually a few females to direct on the show, including Randa Haines, who directed a season two episode entitled, Judy, You're Not Yourself Today.  I just wanted to put that out there.

Now, as we forge a-dead (yes, I will be using puns from time to time), we come to an tale called "Collection Completed" directed by the aforementioned Mary Harron.  The story is fun, and reminds of something that might have been better suited for "Amazing Stories" but there is just enough gore and implication of terror to truly make the story creepy and memorable.

Check out the video companion above and prepare to enter "Tales from the Crypt."  If you dare.......

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Here Comes Halloween: Phantasm II

Phantasm II - Look-a-like
LOOK-A-LIKE


Naturally it would make sense to review the first "Phantasm" before I get to it's sequel, but there is a logical explanation; I simply enjoy "Phantasm II" better than it's predecessor.  An odd way to begin a review, I'm sure, but I just wanted to get the semantics out of the way before I get into this review.  Welcome back to October, and an entire month of scares, frights, masks, blood, gore, inferior sequels, and more blood.

"Phantasm II" is the 1988 sequel to the 1979 cult classic, "Phantasm," written and directed by Don Coscarelli.  If you're unfamiliar with "Phantasm" here is a quick refresher; A kid named Mike begins experiencing strange happenings around his town, with a sinister figure called The Tall Man behind said happenings.  As things begin to reveal themselves Mike finds himself stalked by The Tall Man in nightmarish visions involving corpses, metal flying balls with a taste for blood and a body full of embalming fluid and dwarves created from the reanimated corpses of the town's dead.  Throw in a Bruce Campbell look-a-like named Reggie, and you got yourself "Phantasm."

The sequel picks up right where the original leaves off, so for the purposes of this review, and if you don't want to be spoiled, even though these would be 34, and 23 year old spoilers, respectively, tread lightly.  Mike is about to be taken away by The Tall Man but is rescued by Reggie.  We skip ahead roughly 10 years to an adult Mike who is being released from the local mental hospital.  After tragedy besets Reggie, the two spring into action to track down The Tall Man and end his reign of terror, forever.  Joined by a young girl, named Liz, with a psychic link to Mike, the trio head out to, once again, stop The Tall Man's devious plans, including the creation of more zombie dwarves and to rescue Liz's grandmother.

What I love about "Phantasm II" is the excess.  You can see clearly that the sequel takes a lot of it's cues from another famous cult classic sequel; "Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn."  While the original "Phantasm" relied on real scares and it's tone to convey a feeling of dread, just like "The Evil Dead," it's sequel relies on banter between Mike and Reggie and a lighter tone, which includes a chainsaw fight and the creation of a quadruple shotgun, smells like "Evil Dead II."  Consider the time frame between all the films as well.  "Phantasm" was released two years before "Evil Dead" and you can see some similarities in the tone, but that was also the sign of the times in the late 1970s and 80s.  Fast-forward to 1987, when "Evil Dead II" is released with a more comedic tone, and a year later "Phantasm II" is released with a lighter tone as well.  I'm not saying that "Phantasm" and "Evil Dead" share much with one another, but in comparing the two, you can see where there are similarities and the fact that each franchise borrowed a little from one another.

Now back to the "Phantasm II."  I'm sure purists who love "Phantasm" will kill me for saying the sequel is superior, and I'm not actually saying that, I'm just saying that "Phantasm II" is more accessible for non-fans than the original.  Just as he was in the first film, Angus Scrimm literally stands out, again, as The Tall Man, the series' main antagonist.  While The Tall Man never received the fanfare of Jason, Freddy, or Michael Myers, there was still something very creepy about an old supernatural man who steals corpses to create evil dwarves.  I liken The Tall Man to Henry Kane from the "Poltergeist" series as they both share a similar, skeletal look.

Like most sequels in the late 1980s, there is an extreme case of style-over-substance in "Phantasm II" with more special effects, spotty acting, and plot holes big enough to throw a million of those killer metal balls into.  However, the cheese doesn't take away from the fun.  There are some excellent creature effects, done by a than relatively unknown Greg Nicotero and Robert Kurtzman, now of "The Walking Dead" fame.  And of course, it's no surprise that Nicotero also did effects on "Evil Dead II."  The comparisons continue!

While not exceptional, "Phantasm II" is a fun little sequel that lives in the zeitgeist of horror during the late-1980s.  It's over indulgent, silly, campy, and not as good as it's original.  But, it gives horror and gore fans what they wanted; MORE!

Fun Fact:  For even more The Evil Dead/Phantasm fun, take a look at one of the bags an undertaker is filling up and you might catch the name on the name.  That name being Sam Raimi.  Meta!!!!

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Simply Horrifying featuring Tales from the Crypt Ep. 01


October is here and now is the time for the creeps and ghouls to infest your web browsers, and I"m not just talking about those adult sites that you frequent when your wife or husband aren't around.  No judgement.  But October is that time of the year where things get a little spooky and Simplistic Reviews welcomes everything creepy with open arms, paws, claws, webbed-feet, anything else that some mythical or murderous creature might have to grab things with.

HBO's "Tales from the Crypt" was a show that paid homage to the EC Comics from the 1950s.  Grisly images, paired with tales of morality which caught the ire of the US Government who went as far as to hold Senate Hearings about how comics were corrupting the nation's youth and driving a hearse straight to Hell.  Sounds like my type of comic books.  William Gaines, creator of the Tales from the Crypt comic line, was a pioneer in the industry and you can call him the Stan Lee of Horror Comics.  Come 1989, the geniuses at HBO decided it was time to pay tribute to EC and create a weekly half-horror horror show every Sunday, aptly named, "Tales from the Crypt."  Running nearly 100 episodes, from 1989 to 1995, "Tales" were comics come to life way before we had the Marvel Comics films.

As this series progresses, your host, Matt, will present his favorite episodes from all seven seasons.  The episodes will not be ranked and will only be classified by the season in which they appeared.  It's like trying to pick your favorite child, unless its the child that cries in public, throws food on the floor, and wets the bed.  That one is a winner!

So, in this first installment, "And All Through the House" is explained away.  There are a lot of cool aspects to this episode, namely, director Robert Zemeckis helmed this episode, and this is the only episode from the series that uses Christmas as the backdrop.

Check out the video companion above and prepare to enter "Tales from the Crypt."  If you dare.......


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