Horror

October 15, 2015

The Horror Time Capsule – 1993: Body Bags

BODY BAGS: UN-FILLING

91 mins | Horror/Sci-Fi anthology | 1993

HBO had Tales from the Crypt, Showtime had nothing. But that all changed on August 8th 1993, Body Bags an anthology TV movie aired on Showtime…and that was it.

A star studded of a cast came together to make an extremely un-filling 91 minutes. Tales from the Crypt had the Crypt Keeper hosting its episodes, Body Bags had “The Coroner” played fantastically by the great John Carpenter. Yes I know I’m comparing apples and oranges, TV show with TV movie but clearly this is what Showtime had in mind. They had the power to do something unique but instead came up short.

The three best things are John Carpenter playing The Coroner, who is the most entertaining piece in this puzzle of a film. The second is the first story, “The Gas Station” which is a solid story that sets you up to be disappointed. The third is the cast, a balls to the wall of this guy and that comes up short. I liked this cast alot. It’s a shame they didn’t make more, it would of been fun to see where it goes with others making special appearances.

“The Morgue”
John Carpenter as The Coroner
Tom Arnold as Morgue Worker #1
Tobe Hooper as Morgue Worker #2

Is the glue that holds everything together. The Coroner is the Crypt Keeper here hosting the stories in a flat out entertaining performance by John Carpenter.

“The Gas Station”
Robert Carradine as Bill
Alex Datcher as Anne
Wes Craven as Pasty Faced Man
Sam Raimi as Dead Bill
David Naughton as Pete
Lucy Boryer as Peggy
George Buck Flower as Stranger
Molly Cheek as Divorcee
Only story that makes me feel like I didn’t waste my time. The others aren’t horrible but the this one just works. It’s a simple slasher, which paired with guests set the bar way too high. Seeing the likes of Craven, Raimi and Carradine peeked my interest. But I guess its just too good for this film, because sadly the others don’t come any close to “The Gas Station”.

“Hair”
Stacy Keach as Richard Coberts
David Warner as Dr. Lock
Sheena Easton as Megan
Dan Blom as Dennis
Gregory Nicotero as Man with Beautiful Hair
Kim Alexis as Woman with Beautiful Hair
Deborah Harry as The Nurse

Stacy Keach plays a guy who isn’t happy with his thinning hair. Sheena Easton says no and she loves him anyway. But it’s just too depressing 🙁 …He tries a few comical treatments but nothing helps. I’m pretty sure this whole story was suppose to be the funny one then again it was the 90’s. And let me say its very 90’s, very very 90’s.

He see a commercial and decides to try it. “Dr. Lock” played by David Warner (Titanic, Tron, The Omen) is the doc that can help. He asks Stacy what kind of hair he’d like using a 90’s computer generated program, you know how that looks without me saying anymore. Keach picks the Stallion. Yep it is its name, long black hair (see picture). And the whole things was done over night, without surgery! Sounds to good to be true hun? Well it is… And when you find out why, it feels like a copout. When its revealed I could hear myself say, “Really?!” I didn’t care much for it but I did like it more then the “Eye”. “Hair” was so bad yet I honestly think I liked this story about a guys hair more then the guy and his eye.

“Eye”
Mark Hamill as Brent Matthews
Twiggy as Cathy Matthews
John Agar as Dr. Lang
Roger Corman as Dr. Bregman
Charles Napier as Baseball Team Manager
Eddie Velez as Baseball Player


Were “Hair” was about hair I bet you can’t figure out what “Eye” is about?…NOPE

Your wrong it is about…

A eye. Let that settle in a bit. We have a film that is made up of three stories. Two are about something on your body. Not much to pick from apparently. “The Gas Station” stands out for its pacing and the fact its different then the others. “Hair” and “Eye” are about two guys getting transplants. And its goes wrong, like it feels like they didn’t try. “The Gas Station” isn’t a perfect film, but the “Eye” and “Hair” come off like they ran out of ideas and gave it to their 8 year old son to write. When you have three films it should feel like three and not two.

“Eye” is about a baseball player with an annoying accent. His wife played by Twiggy losses her American accent a few times and that too becomes annoying. Mark Hamill here is somewhat a joy to watch. The thing is he has always been but here I feel he was wasted. When he gets into a bad car accident in which his right eye is destroyed. He ends up losing it but receives one from a donor. The donor ends up being a serial killer who killed woman and had sex with them. This eye begins to take over the good old southern wholesome baseball player who was making his way to the top.

And thats it. Still feel hungry for more don’t you? Yeah thats how I felt.

“The Gas Station” = Solid

“Hair” = Short

Should of been left out. Or give us more. I didn’t mind the story but there could of been more, the story came up short for me on creativity.

“Eye” = Weak

Like the “Hair” I think it should of been left out. What would of been cool if they connected it to “The Gas Station” and its serial killer. Maybe that was his eye, sure it sounds like Im doing a copout but at least it’s something.

Because what we got in the end was very un-filling.

Kinda felt this way after the film but The Gas Station saved me

October 7, 2015

The Horror Time Capsule – 1990: Stephen King’s Graveyard Shift

EARWORM

Stephen King’s Graveyard Shift – Earworm

I’ve done my fair share of reading Stephen King, but most of his longform work can be just that….work. I’ve mainly enjoyed his short stories in “Night Shift” and “Skeleton Crew,” but that’s mainly because I have a short attention span when it comes to reading. This brings me to a film that while it isn’t very good, it’s very memorable; “Stephen King’s Graveyard Shift.”

“Shift” is the tale about a backwoods town where the economy is based around a mill that is infested with rats, and other murdery type creatures. A group of men, and a woman, are tasked with cleaning up the mill and getting it up to code by clearing out out the rat problem. However, there is bigger, deadlier, problem around the mill and people start turning up dead.

The film runs a tidy 88 minutes, which is just the right amount of time to tell the tale of a mill with rat problems, but there are plenty of fun takeaways from this film.

One, Brad Dourif, who you might knows as the voice of Chucky, or if you’re not a horror fan, as Grima Wormtounge in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, plays the creepy exterminator who hates rats and makes an instant impression. He reminds me of the foul-mouthed cousin of John Goodman’s exterminator in “Arachnophobia.”

Two, there are some very odd accents in this film, namely Stephen Macht, who’s accent is a place between a southern plantation owner and a British parliament leader, it’s just odd, and somewhat oft-putting.

Three, and this is only if you stick around for the whole film, the credit song. A combination of lines from the film and jazz beat, this might be the most memorable part of the film.

Overall, this isn’t a bad film, it’s just a Stephen King short that ended up being a film like so many films before and after. “Gravetard Shift” just happens to have enough quirks to make it enjoyable and memorable.

If you thought this film was bitchin’, check out these others from 1990:

Child’s Play 2
Gremlins 2
It
Leatherface: TCM 3
Nightbreed
Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
Tremors

October 5, 2015

The Horror Time Capsule – 1988: Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers

WASTE

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers – Waste

I’ll give the first “Sleepaway Camp” credit….it had balls, in fact it had cock and balls. Spoiler alert, the killer was a guy all along. Of course, “Camp” wasn’t breaking new ground, check out “Dressed to Kill” if you want a real cross-dressing murder story. But the sequel to “Camp,” is just a cash in film that has some interesting scenes, but overall it’s cheap, silly, and overall just a waste.

“Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers” begins with a “necessary” exposition scene where campers around the fire explain the events in the first film where a girl named Angela killed nearly everyone at Camp Arawak. The twist; Angela was really a boy named Peter who’s family was killed. Twist…..

Under an assumed named, Anglea, fresh out of the asylum, is now a camp counselor at Camp Rolling Hills. Obsessed with manners, Angela begins to off all of the philandering counselors one at a time. We’ve heard this all before.

I hate to be a bastard to this film, but when something isn’t good, it isn’t very good, which is funny because I have memories of this film dating back to around 6th grade where I first heard the Rolling Hills Camp song (the dirty version of course). I think 6th grade Matt was just interested to her what camp counselors would do if you paid them money…..

Of course there are two more films in the “Sleepaway Camp” series, but if you know what is good for you, you shouldn’t go past this one. Sure, if you’re a slasher film buff, watch them, but be warned, it only goes down hill from here.

Here are the rest of the best from good old 1988:

The Blob
Child’s Play
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Hellraiser 2
Maniac Cop
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4
Night of the Demons
Pumpkinhead

October 4, 2015

The Horror Time Capsule – 1987: Near Dark

DECENT

Near Dark – Decent

It was only a matter of time before I’d sneak a vampire review in here, and I tried to think of one of the most obscure ones I could. This brings me to “Near Dark” and if you pay close enough attention, or use your imagination you might think this is a vampire sequel to “Aliens”

Out tale begins with Caleb, a cowboy on the prowl for a lady love; he finds one in Mae, a mysterious girl who needs to be home before dawn. Caleb bites off more than he can chew after he asks for a kiss and soon finds himself turning into a vampire. He is kidnapped by Mae’s “family” which includes Severen (Bill Paxton) and Jesse (Lance Hendrickson). Jesse tasks Caleb with making his first kill within two days or the family will kill him.

Meanwhile, Caleb’s father, Loy, along with his sister are on the hunt to find him and find him they do, while they narrowly escape from the family with Caleb in tow. At the end of the day Caleb figures out a way to stop the vampires and lives happily ever after.

There are a lot of interesting things about this film. First is the cast, which is pretty much half the cast of James Cameron’s “Aliens.”The other tie-in is the director, Katheryn Bigelow, who was married to Cameron at the time. I almost feel like as soon as “Aliens” wrapped Paxton and Hendrickson walked over to a set right across the street and started filming this.

Speaking of Paxton, he steals the show as Severen, the most loony of this vampire family. His antics in the bar scene make the film and show his comedic timing as well as his acting mania. People might give him crap for his overacting in “Aliens” but his overacting in “Near Dark” is exactly what is needed in this film.

Overall, “Near Dark” is a fun film and you can see the tidbits that shows like “True Blood” stole from this offbeat look on our favorite onscreen bloodsuckers.

Here are some other awesome flicks from 1987:

Bad Taste
Creepshow 2
Dolls
Evil Dead 2
Hellraiser
Nightmare of Elm Street 3
Opera

August 27, 2015

“Razor Blades in the Popcorn” Horror Film Fest Comes to Miami This October

Looking for a film festival? Looking for a film festival in Miami? Looking for a film festival in Miami centered around horror? Well you’re in luck this October as O Cinema, in Miami’s Wynwood District, hosts The 1st Annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival.

From October 1st to the 4th, O Cinema will be featuring several horror films, including Florida premieres of “Tales of Halloween” and “Howl.” Short films will be on display too that run the gamut of a Thanksgiving robbery gone wrong to a man with a crow growing out of his hand.

For more information click on the links below, and as a special treat, next week we’ll have an interview with Marc Ferman and Igor Shteyrenberg, co-program directors of this year’s festival.

Location: O Cinema Wynwood (90 NW 29th St)

Scare up some tickets right HERE

Give the film schedule a peek right HERE

HERE are the films on the docket 

Be in the know about all things Popcorn Frights by following on Facebook and Twitter.

August 13, 2015

The Gallows

The Gallows: Unlikeable

81 mins / Horror / 2015 

The whole film is pretty unlikeable, down to the characters, the story and the way it was filmed.

 (This girl’s face will get on your nerves)

Characters: There isn’t much to say except I could careless about any of them. The most annoying bunch of characters I’ve seen in a longtime. Usually you’re rooting for someone, not even “Charlie” who in one of those TV spots was placed on the same shelf as Freddy, Michael and Jason.

Yeahhh about that…. not even close.

Story: What story? Kids break into a school after hours and die.

Fun Fact: The actors names are the same in the movie for their characters name. They didn’t even spend the time to give their characters names, let alone any real back story or weight.

Filmed: This one character (can’t remember his name nor do it care) shoots everything at school with his camera. So yeah another found footage.

Why films like this are picked up by a big studio to distribute is beyond me. So many good independent projects that never get a big break but this does. Wait why am I saying that? Of course the studios did, they’re stupid.

And this is why I never go see horror films anymore.

April 22, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 45): Slaughter High – Movie Commentary: April 2015

Movie Commentary Time!

Slaughter High

1986 – 90 mins – Slasher/Horror

Today we watch and make fun of the 90 min B-Slasher film, Slaughter High. We know what you are saying, “It’s finally here!” Since the Podcast gang has been talking about Slaughter High numerous times on Podcasts and even a episode on Unboxing/Reviews.

Slaughter High is about eight people that are invited to their 10-year high school reunion at their now-closed down high school where a former student, disfigured from a prank gone wrong, is there to seek revenge. Simple and to the point but it’s got its issues.

Slaughter High is a fun, entertaining film of which everyone should see. If you haven’t this is the perfect time to watch!

Also this Movie Commentary is sponsor by Tide Stick!

Remember kids, if you go on a murderous rampage bring along a Tide Stick!

March 6, 2015

Clown

Clown – Myths

Say what you want about Eli Roth, but just when you think he’s disappeared into obscurity, he always finds a way back into a cinephile’s consciousnesses. Sure, he’s not the best filmmaker, and not even the best horror filmmaker, but for some reason when I see his name attached to a project I feel compelled to watch. With that being said, this brings me to Eli Roth Presents (?) “Clown.” While not a great film, there are still some really cool ideas in the film and adds to the myths we all know and probably fear from our childhoods, if you are, in fact, scared of clowns.

Our tales begins with kids at a birthday party eagerly awaiting the arrival of a clown. Loving mother Meg receives a call shortly after that the clown they are waiting for has been double-booked and can’t make the party. Meg calls her realtor husband, Kent, and delivers the bad news, but Kent has other plans. Fortune smiles upon Kent when he finds an old clown suit in a chest…hidden away of course. The party goes off without a hitch, and Dummo the Clown is the hero of the day. Things begin to get weird when Kent can’t remove the costume, wig, or clown nose. Things gets even weirder when he meets Karlsson, played by resident Swedish weirdo Peter Stormare. Needless to say, Kent is cursed to wear the suit until he takes the lives of five children as he slowly turns into something that isn’t quite human.

The fear of clowns trope has been one of horror’s go to tropes for years. You can go to “Stephen King’s It” for the best example of the evil clown. Personally, my first experience with clowns was “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” which is a goofier and more light-hearted take on the evil clown. “Clown” is far more earnest than “Killer Klowns” not to mention several other recent clown films that pretty much make the killer a clown, or clown-like being, that uses goofy ways to dispatch their quarry.

What sets this film apart from other films of it’s ilk, is, again, its earnestness. It doesn’t try to be goofy just to be goofy, it’s actually a very nicely paced horror film that takes the creepiness of clowns and creates an interesting mythic story. Essentially this clown is Pennywise from “It” if you took away all the humor and replaced it with gore and horror. The biggest gripe that I have, however, is the third act, which pretty much falls into the typical “killer in the house” cliché. There is also the occasional use of CG blood, which always sticks in my craw, but its used sparingly enough to be tolerable.

One of the highlights of the film is one scene specifically that is few reminiscent of “Alien.” It takes place in the plastic tunnels of a Chuck E Cheese playground and provides a great deal of suspense. Another aspect of the film that might be overlooked is the sound design and score. The stomach rumblings of Kent throughout the film are very unnerving, and the score by Matt Veligdan sounds like a re-purposed John Harrison score, but it’s subtle and adds to the tension.

All in all, “Clown” is a fun watch, but it isn’t perfect. It suffers from some overused horror tropes and it gets dragged down in its own ridiculousness at times, but its a good take on the killer clown genre that doesn’t rely on “a vengeful ghost or deranged-mental-patient-in-a-clown-suit.”

Fun Fact: One of the earliest ideas of the “evil clown” comes from “Hop-Frog” a short story written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1849.

February 2, 2015

The Guest

The Guest – Homage

HOMAGE

If anyone knows our site you know we have an unhealthy proclivity for the 1980s. It’s what made us the animals we are today. Ultra-violence, one-liners, and many many more hyphenated phrases came from this glorious decade of excess. What’s even better is that the people who are our age are now directing films and a lot of them have the same sensibilities as we do….what a wonderful world we live in. This brings me to “The Guest” another effort from Adam Wingard who has also worked on “V/H/S” “The ABCs of Death” and “You’re Next.” However, “The Guest” is his strongest effort so far and is a true homage to the 80s thrillers of yesteryear.

The film starts with a shot of a man running from something and, BOOM, title card. You already know this film is going to be good. Next, we meet The Peterson family who have recently lost a member of their family, Caleb, to war. There comes a knock at the door and enter David, the good-looking ex-soldier friend of Caleb who has been tasked with helping the family anyway possible. Rounding out the family, outside of the grieving mother Laura is Spencer, the father, daughter Anna, and bullied son Luke. Upon David’s arrival in town things slowly start happening that both benefit the Peterson family and make them very uncomfortable. As tension reaches a boiling point, both the Petersons and their town will never be the same. Going any further with the story would be a disservice.

I’ll preface before I continue. Yes, there is a story in this film, and it’s rather weak and limited, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. So, “The Guest,” yeah, this movie is awesome. It’s an incredible, earnest throwback to anything made by John Carpenter, namely “Assault in Precinct 13” and the unstoppable force theme of “Halloween.” There are also dashes of “Fear” and “Drive.” What makes the film work, however, is the slow burn of “Guest.” You have a feeling right off the bat that something isn’t quite right with David and just when you think there is a logical explanation, the film takes a turn that isn’t quite expected, and that’s where some people might turn away and write the film off. However, if you know anything about thrillers in the 80s and early 90s, this was par for the course. You expected something ridiculous to happen, and eventually it does, with blood-soaked glee (hey, another hyphenated word).

On to more gloating about this film….the soundtrack. Again, if you love John Carpenter or anything other synth-forward (hyphenated again) 80s soundtrack, again, this is the film for you. I’ll be the first to say that while I love the “Halloween” soundtrack, my favorite Carpenter score is by and far, “Christine.” It’s pulse-pounding, driving, literally, and incredibly unrelenting, very much like the soundtrack for “Guest.” While there are some cheesy bits thrown in, the work by Steve Moore is impeccably 80s and it works with the tone of the film.

If I was to criticize anything from the film, it would be the thin plot, or lack there of a plot. This film is strictly for people well versed in 80s cinema, the pacing, and the style. Adam Wingard is obviously well-versed in what he thinks people wants to see in a throwback piece like this, and while some people might knock the film for that, and I understand, that doesn’t make them right.

After singing the praises of “The Guest” nearly this entire review, is it worth the praise. Well, duh, of course it is. It’s a great throwback film with a style all it’s own and it’s super entertaining. Is it zany and lacks sense, of course it does, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fun Fact: In the original screenplay, the story took place in Korea and it had far more action, including a car chase that was 50 pages long.  

January 19, 2015

Taboo Films: A Serbian Film

SERBIAN

A Serbian Film – Serbian

Since we are in a bit of a swoon when it comes to new films to start 2015, I felt it only appropriate to start a new series of films covering some of the more notorious and taboo films to be released. I tried to do something like this about a year ago, sometime around Christmas, but the idea lost steam, mainly because watching a lot of these types of films is a grueling and not all around pleasant experience. So here I am again, trying this again, and I figured if I was going to go all in I might as well start with one of the more notorious film in recent years, 2010’s “A Serbian Film,” a film that is so Serbian it might turn you Serbian.

So, “A Serbian Film” stars Milos, a former porn star who now has a wife and a young son. As money is slowly dwindling away, Milos decides to take a mysterious offer from a man named Vukmir. With the deal sealed, Milos begins his work with Vukmir which starts “innocently”with standard porno fare, but things begin to take a dark turn as the days progress, including a two-day period where Milos must re-track his steps after passing out and waking up in his own bed covered in blood.

Let me put this out there; “Serbian” is sick, disgusting, and extremely exploitative, but while it is a pretty reprehensible film, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a point. According to director, Srdjan Spasojevic, the film is supposed to represent the way that the Serbian government has fu*ked it’s people over for decades. and Spasojevic means fu*ked. “Serbian” goes beyond what most people, even with the worst of taste, would be in a film. There is murder, necrophilia, pedophilia, incest, and literal skull fu*king throughout the film’s “edited” 99 minute run time. I mention edited because the film needed to be edited down an extra 19 minutes just to be suited for an NC-17 rating. Not many directors have to cut that much just to make a film barely viewable for a super select audience.

In the vein of films like “Salo,” “Martyrs” “Irreversible” and “Cannibal Holocaust,” “Serbian” is a shock to the system. However, what I will say about it, is that similar to “Irreversible” and other films of that ilk, it’s shot very expertly and looks incredibly sharp. While the imagery will surely disturb you, that isn’t to stay that the film looks bad.  Aside from the photography, the acting is also fairly decent. Srdjan Todorovic, who plays Milos, gives a convincing performance as a man who is still living in his own shadow while trying to provide for a family under extremely harsh conditions.

I wish there was more to write about this film, but it really just boils down to the fact that people will either seek this film out to watch, or avoid it entirely. I believe that any part of a well-rounded film diet consists of equal parts film and trash. And again, I’m not calling “A Serbian Film” trash, even though I’m sure many people will see it that way, and yes, duly noted, its an extreme film and features very graphic imagery that will put a lot of people off, but so did “The Passion of the Christ.” While I don’t whole-heartedly recommend “A Serbian Film” I do think it’s a film experience that might make you “Hmm, why are films like this being made if not just for exploitation purposes. There has to be another reason.” Whether there is another reason of not, it’s still a film worthy of your time, either for sick curiosity, film experience, or just that challenge of watching “rough cinema.”

“Fun” Fact: “A Serbian Film” was in fact shot in Serbia, over the course of 61 days.

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