Monday, October 29, 2012

Blacula and Scream, Blacula, Scream

Director - William Crain (Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde)
Starring - William Marshall (Pee Wee's Playhouse), Vonetta McGree (Shaft in Africa), and Denise Nicholas (Ghost Dad)
Release Date - 1972
Genre - Horror/Blaxploitation
Tagline - "Deadlier than Dracula," "His bite was outta sight!" and "His habits...unspeakable.  His lust...insatiable.  His fate...unbearable"

Rating (out of 5):

     Everyone and their mother has heard of Blacula but very few people actually sat down to watch it.  The popularity of the film is only derived from the title alone.  An all black "modern" rendition of Dracula, atleast that is what the general public thinks it is, is the kind of film that goes unwatched by the general public.  When visiting FYE I found Blacula, and the sequel Scream, Blacula, Scream, for $8 and decided to pick it up.  I'll be honest, if the dvd was not there when I was visiting and was not that cheap I don't think I would have ever watched it.
     Blacula is the story of an eighteenth-century African Prince named Mamuwalde (Marshall) who travels to Transylvania with his wife to speak with Count Dracula.  They travel to Transylvania to speak with Count Dracula and try to end the slave trade between Count Dracula and the rest of the world so his people can be freed.  Count Dracula does not see things the same way Mamuwalde does.  This pisses the arrogant prince off and Dracula curses him and lays his name upon him.  He bites Mamuwalde and locks him in a coffin where he names him Blacula and keeps his wife as a slave until she dies.  Two centuries later two gay decorators acquire the coffin Blacula is locked in as a decorative peace.  While trying to open it one of them scratches his arm and the other rushes to his rescue unaware of the giant black vampire rising from the coffin.  The two fall prey to his centuries old hunger.  While attending the funeral for one of the dead homosexuals, a doctor looks over the body and finds the two puncture wounds on his neck and is intrigued.  Also attending the funeral is Tina who is the reincarnation of Mamuwalde's wife two centuries prior.  Blacula still loves his wife and will stop at nothing to make her his, however, as the bodies start to pile up the doctor figures out hes a vampire.  Can Blacula get his bride before the meddling doctor and the city police stop him?  Tune in next week for a...never mind. 
     I like blaxploitation films but I didn't think I would enjoy the mash up with horror.  I did but it just didn't have the elements that I really enjoy when I watch a blaxploitation flick.  I liked the story line.  It is miss leading when you think of the title.  I assumed it was an all black version of Dracula, similar to Vampire in Brooklyn, however it is not.  It has its very own story, which threw me off, but it is very solid story non the less.  The acting is very well done and very believable.  What I didn't like was the effects, which are lacking in this film.  The vampires are grey skinned and their fangs look like candy corn that have been painted white.  Better effects would have made the film a lot better.  The transformation into the bat was the only thing visually stunning seen throughout this entire film.  In my opinion this movie should be watched at least once but there is no replay value.

Director - Bob Kelljan (Count Yorga, Vampire)
Starring - William Marshall (Star Trek), Don Mitchell (CHiPS), and Pam Grier (Bones)
Release Date - 1973
Genre - Horror/Blaxploitation
Tagline - "The black prince of shadows stalks the Earth again" 
Rating (out of 5):
      I knew about the first film but it was not until I purchased the dvd double feature that I found out there was a sequel to Blacula.  I was also surprised when I saw Pam Grier starred in this one.  I knew she was famous for her 70's blaxploitation films but I had no idea she did horror hybrids.

     This time around the film follows Lisa (Grier) as she mourns the passing of her mentor and Voodoo Queen.  The Voodoo Queen did not choose an heir before passing leaving the position open for someone to be voted in.  The people attending the ceremony declared their support for Lisa instead of the Voodoo Queen's legitimate son, Willis.  Willis becomes enraged and visits the local shaman for a way to punish Lisa.  The shaman gives Willis the bones guessed it, Blacula.  In a voodoo ritual, Willis foolishly resurrects Blacula and is bitten.  Blacula then slowly turns the local community into blood sucking fiends while falling in love with Lisa.  A former cop, turned African antiquities collector, starts suspecting that a vampire is behind the disappearances and murders and aids the cops in finding the fanged man responsible for them.  While Lisa is performing a ritual to rid Mamuwalde of the vampire curse, the ex-cop and the L.A.P.D. bust into Blacula's home where a vampire vs cop brawl occurs.  The ex-cop interrupts the ritual before Blacula is rid of the curse.  The ex-cop then talks sense into Lisa and she destroys Blacula by using a voodoo doll.
     I actually liked this film a little bit more than I did the first one.   I really enjoyed the story for this one a little bit more.  The whole voodoo aspect is very interesting and a bit different when applied to a vampire flick.  The acting is also better than the first film.  This flick has some serious star power behind it.  However, the effects are the same as the first film with the grey skinned vampires and horrible vampire fangs.  These flaws are nothing compared to the annoying tribal drums that play for 10 to 15 minutes in one of the scenes.  I had to fast forward it through all that bullshit because it was giving me and my wife a headache.  Overall, this movie deserves a watch, and just like the first film, does not have much for replay value.    


The Deadly Spawn

aka Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn

Director - Douglas McKeown
Starring - Charles Hildebrandt, Tom DeFranco (Dr. Alien), and Richard Porter
Release Date - 1983
Genre - Horror/Sci-Fi
Tagline - "The ultimate eating machine" and "They came to Earth to feed on human flesh"

Rating (out of 5):

     I had seen the posters and dvd artwork for this flick on horror movie sites for years but never paid them any attention.   It wasn't until I was watching this years Cinemassacre's Monster Madness series that I really had any desire to see this film.  For those of you that don't know what Monster Madness is, it is a month long series aired during October every year by James Rolfe.  Most of you may know him as the Angry Video Game Nerd (a review of his videos is coming soon).  Monster Madness is where he explores everything horror and each year there is a theme he follows when choosing movies to review.  His theme this year was 80's with his Monster Madness 80's-a-thon.  Anyway, being a huge fan of Rolfe  like I am, I decided to head out to FYE in search of The Deadly Spawn dvd where I found it very cheap.  However, once I got home and started researching stuff on it I was a little confused by what I was finding when I searched for it.  I kept running across a flick called Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn and assumed it had a sequel but when I would search on imdb it pulled up just the Deadly Spawn.  After looking through a few horror sites I finally found out that the company that released The Deadly Spawn changed the title to capitalize on Ridley Scott's Alien by making it seem like a sequel. 
     The film follows a young horror aficionado living with his brother, mother, and father.  Also staying with them are his aunt and his psychologist uncle.  In the woods, near their home, a meteor crashes and a creature escapes and devours two campers.  The creature then seeks refuge in the young boys basement.  The following morning, while preparing for a trip, the young boy's mother and father go down into the basement and are, you guess it, E.T. food.  The aunt and uncle are there to keep an eye on the kids while their parents are out of town so when the parents are no where to be found it is just assumed they left.  The young boy's uncle wants to study him and his obsession with horror movies and special effects.  He tells him that his father wanted him to go along with his study and he reluctantly allows him.  After a few questions regarding him and his hobbies the uncle falls asleep where he will remain the rest of the film.  The boy then leaves the room and goes about his normal day.  Also, the young boys brother is home and a group of his friends are there doing teenager stuff.  While this is taking place the aunt leaves and an electrician enters the basement and is devoured.  Each time the creature eats it grows in size and to make matters worse it has produced offspring that terrorizes a nearby house.  When the creature gets so big it then takes over the upper level of the house and the two brothers must fight to survive as their friends are turned into alien snacks.
     I surprisingly liked this movie.  It has everything a horror hound that grew up in the 80's would love...except boobage.  As I type this I am watching Critters and the two films have a lot in common.  This film, as well as Critters, follow a family as they fight off extraterrestrial carnivores in a huge country style home.   Anyway, this movie reeks of 80's and I love it.  What I really like about the film is the effects.  This movie is extremely bloody and gory.  We have decapitations, faces being skinned, and slug like creatures burrowing into people.  Also, the creatures looks amazing...for the most part.  In some scenes when you see the creature in an angle is looks like a purple headed yogurt slinger which is kind of ironic since the director wrote a book called "Queer Stories."  Anyway, back to the review.  The acting is decent with some of the cast out-staging the rest.  I also liked the story.  The flick felt like an alien version of Night of the Living Dead but reversed with the characters trying to escape the home instead of barricading it.  What I did not like about the film was the story seemed kind of lacking and some stuff was never explained.  In the film one of the main characters actually dies and the second actress is actually the survivor.  This is not something typical with a horror movie.  Also, at the end of the movie a mountain bursts and a giant creature erupts from it.  How long had that been there?  Was it the same one that was in the house?  Wish some of that stuff was answered a little better.  Overall, this movie is definitely worth your time and your money.  They do an amazing job on a $25,000 budget.  Check it out.     

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bite Me

Starring - Yousef Abu-Taleb (On Bloody Sunday), Justin Giddings (The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu), and Ryan Welsh (The Dread)
Release Date - 2010
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "3 Friends, 1 Outbreak, No Continues"

Rating (out of 5):

      One day while looking at videos on youtube I came across a video called "Bite Me."  It just happened to be a random episode of a web series.  I didn't watch it but I did take a mental note to watch it when time allowed me.  I decided to flip through the cast on prior to watching it and was a little worried when I cruised across Yousef Abu-Taleb who was also in the horrible flick On Bloody Sunday.  However, after seeing that season 2 was picked up by Lions Gate and both seasons are helmed by Machinima, a company primarily known in the gaming company, I figured I would give this web series a shot.
     This series follows three friends that live together and work bullshit jobs.  They spend their spare time playing games and watching horror movies.  One night all hell breaks loose and the three nobodies are now thrust in a world where the recently deceased return to life and are feasting on the flesh of the living and use the skills they have learned from playing video games and watching zombie movies.
     This web series really surprised me with the effects and quality.  They could easily put the segments together and string together a few solid flicks out of both seasons.  Anyway, I really enjoyed this show.  I really liked the acting in this series.  Some of the cast has had small roles on small films but you would never know that from watching this series.  Also, the effects are pretty good which is a bit shocking seeing it is a youtube web series consisting of roughly 15 minute segments.  I also really enjoyed the story with this series.  It is very original and put in many game and movie references that helped associate this show with the audience.  There was nothing I did not like about this show except the segments are too short and they need more episodes quickly.  Overall, this is a great show and you should definitely check it out.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

From a Whisper to a Scream

aka The Offspring

Director - Jeff Burr (Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III)
Starring - Vincent Price (House of Wax '53), Clu Gulager (Return of the Living Dead), and Susan Tyrrell (Rockula)
Release Date - 1990
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Welcome to Oldfield.  Stop in for a night of pure terror" and "The birth of your worst nightmare"

     I've seen posters for this flick on horror sites in the past and assumed that it was a slasher with Vincent Price having a small cameo.  However, once I started watching it I found out it was an anthology film with Vincent Price holding all the stories together in a similar fashion to the Creep from Creepshow II.  It also stars actor Clu Gulager who starred in a number of films and television shows like Return of the Living Dead and The Virginian.  It is also directed by horror vet Jeff Burr who directed a number of classic horror flicks like Stepfather II, Puppet Master 4 and 5, Pumpkinhead II, and Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.  This film had a lot to live up to, but could it deliver? Also, I did not want to rate the movie as an overall film, but rate each segment on its own because some of the segments were not as good as others.
     The film opens with a serial killer being executed on death row.  A reporter present at the execution visits Oldfield, Tennessee to speak with her uncle who raised her.  Her uncle (Price) is the local historian that tries to explain that the area her niece was raised has a history of housing killers.  That is was not him that raised her that way, however, she was born into it.  He then relates four stories to her that have taken place in the surrounding community at various times in history.

Tell 1 Rating (out of 5):

     The first tell follows a weird man who lives with his ill sister.  He is a strange man that works during the day and takes care of his sister at night.  He even goes to the extremes of giving her a sponge bath every night instead of hiring a nurse.  It is not known if the two have sexual relations but from the rest of the story it would only make sense.  Anyway, at work he is obsessed with  a female coworker.  After talking her into going on a date with him he drives her home.  He pulls over, against her wishes, and forces himself on her.  She, thinking she is better than him, refuses his advancements and in a heat of passion he strangles her.  A couple days later he goes to her funeral service to pay his respects, that is until every leaves then he does what any strange man would do, and that is pop out the champagne and make love to her corpse.  The story then fast forwards nine months where he is once again bathing his sister.  He decides he no longer wants to do this and stabs her before strangling her.  As this takes place a hand is seen digging out of the strangled woman's grave.  The man goes downstairs to drink a few and watch tv because killing people can wear ya down.  While he is sitting there he hears a thud and gets up to go see what it is and discovers his sister's body lying at the bottom of the steps.  He goes up the steps to see who did this when he is tripped by a zombie baby.  The baby then blabbers gurggled words about him being the father.  He then calls Maury for a DNA test.  I made that last part up.

 Tell 2 Rating (out of 5):

     The second tell follows a young thug that owes money to the wrong people.  Also, he is a horrible husband/boyfriend and his lady rolls on him to the goons.  He flees his home when they show up to kill him.  While fleeing he is shot but manages to find a small rowboat before he passes out.  He then awakens several days later in a small shack with an old black man taking care of him.  One night the thug can not sleep and gets up to find the old black man sitting in the middle of a pentagram chanting.  He does not disturb him and goes back to bed.  The next day the old man heads out to pick mushrooms so the thug goes through his things.  While searching under the bed he finds century old pictures of the old man and he still looks the same as he does now.  He comes to the conclusion that the old black man knows voodoo and has used it to become immortal.  He makes the old man teach what he knows but is impatient.  He wants to know it now and tries to kill the old man.  However, that does not work and the old man knocks him out.  The thug wakes up later tied down.  The old black man told him that he had gave him a potion to make him live longer and the batch he made would actually give him 70 years but for double crossing him he is going to make sure he is in a lot of pain for that long.

Tell 3 Rating (out of 5):

     The third tell follows a young girl who is in love with a man that works as a sideshow performer.  He is able to eat sharp objects without cutting himself.  However, their love can not be because the owner of the sideshow does not let her performers fraternize outside of the carnival.  They are actually her slaves and she grants them the abilities to do whatever feat they perform.  They agreed to this because they are on the run for various reasons and by pledging their allegiance to her and giving her their freedom they are granted these powers and the police wont look for them there.  So the two love birds sneak off so they can be together and the owner revokes the gifts she gave to him and all the sharp objects he has ingested begin to cut their way out.

Tell 4 Rating (out of 5):

The fourth tell is probably my favorite of the film.  It follows a group of Union soldiers during the Civil War as they work their way to the other troops.  They are  unaware that the war had actually ended and kill a group of Confederate troops.  Before they reach their destination they come across a group of young kids that take them hostage.  The kids are battered and injured and no longer trust adults because they killed their families.  The kids tie the adults up and kill one of them before cutting the eye out of another one for a little girl who had hers poked out.  The third and final adult tricks a little girl into thinking he is her friend before snapping her neck. He tries to escape before he is captured again and find the kids playing a game with the adult corpses.  The kids then hold a trial for his life before they find him guilty.
      For the most part I really liked this movie.  I sat down to watch this with the mindset I was watching a slasher flick but I was way off.  What I liked about the film was the stories.  The stories in the movie are very diverse and each offer a completely different story than the last.  Also the acting is top notch which is what you would expect from a cast like this one.  I also liked the atmosphere of the segments.  It helps the dark vibe of the whole film which add to the horror in this one.  The things I did not like about this one was some of the tells lacked with the delivery.  The tell about the glass eater just ended.  There was really no climax to the story with the guy just dying.  It could have easily been fixed but the production team left it that way.  I also did not like the effects.  The zombie baby does not show itself on camera unless shadows are covering and most of the kills are not on camera with just buckets of blood being dumped on walls when the kills take place.  Other than those things I mentioned I really like this movie.  It was definitely different than what I thought I was sitting down to watch.  This one should be watched. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Starring - Peter Horton (Children of the Corn) and John Glover (Smallville)
Release Date - 1998
Genre - Horror/Crime/Drama

Rating (our of 5):

     This is one of the many television shows that go unnoticed by me because I spend most of my time watching movies instead of tv.  A friend of mine told me about it when I was still in college.  We were on the discussion of horror television shows and he told me about Brimstone.  He told me it was Law and Order mixed with Supernatural.  After watching this show I say that is a fair statement.  Anyway, this show is not available on dvd and I was lucky enough that my friend had vhs copies and was nice enough to make copies of it for myself.

     It will be very hard to explain each episode so I will just give you the general plot summary.  The story follows a former detective that had died and went to hell.  His wife was raped and like most men wish they could, he kills the rapist before dying.  However, Satan has a problem.  100 of his worst souls have escaped and he needs his detective skills to bring them back to hell.  In return the detective will get his life back.  Also, Satan has engraved 100 symbols representing the 100 souls that need to be returned to hell on his flesh.  Each one returned is a symbol removed.  Lastly, the only way to kill them and send them back to hill is to puncture both their eyes (Demon Knights style).
     This show was surprisingly entertaining.  I honestly wished it lasted another season to see where it would have taken him.  The acting is great and John Glover's portrayal of Satan is amazing.  Its a shame he did not go on to do more films or television shows.  He truly is a great actor.  But anyway, back to Brimstone.  The episodes do follow that kind of Law and Order format with a series of murders or rapes being investigated by the police and the detective has to solve the crimes first so he can send the soul back to hell.  The show almost skips on the horror until the soul is found then it adds that supernatural twist with each soul having a unique supernatural ability.  This show is highly addictive and should be watched.  If you can find it online to stream or download you need to because you won't regret it. 

Mutant Girls Squad

Director(s)- Noboru Iguchi (Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Helldriver), and Tak Sakaguchi (Yoroi Samurai Zombie)
Starring - Yumi Sugimoto (Gakudori), Yuko Takayama (Hammer Session), and Suzuka Morita (Pirate Squadron Gokaiger)
Release Date - 2010
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Mutants only"

Rating (out of 5):

     Growing up I was not fond of Asian films.  However, my exposure to them was very limited to mostly giant monster films.  I liked Godzilla, Gamera, and a few other random flicks but for the most part they were...different and did not sit well with me.  That changed once someone in a horror forum told me to watch Battle Royale.  That day my views on Asian cinema would change forever.  I then got my hands on The Machine Girl and a slight obsession started to take hold.  After watching that on Netflix I put a slew of Asian splatter flicks in my instant queue.  This one just happened to be one of them and I watched it multiple times that day. 
    As you gathered from the title, this flick is about a mutant girls squad, however, there is a great deal plot wise regarding them.  The story follows a teenage girl who is harassed by her fellow classmates.  While celebrating her sixteenth birthday her father tells her that she is different.  He then pulls his shirts and pants off to expose large pulsating tumors on his nipples and pecker area.  Her father tells her that she is a mutant and then the police, wearing masks with long noses that shoot bullets, bust into the room and shoot her father and mother.  Rin, the birthday girl, then mutants and her right hand turns into a metal clad claw.  She then goes on a bloody rampage through town until she meets another girl from her school.  Here she tells her that she is not alone and there are others like her. Rei, the young girl who is also a mutant, takes Rin to a rebel camp with other female mutants that are lead by a transvestite.  They want to wage a war with the humans that have persecuted them for centuries.  The transvestite can clearly see that she is not a full mutant, but instead a human/mutant hybrid.  The transvestite has been brainwashing the young girls to commit suicide bombings around town so he can use the blood being spilled to open an ancient body armor type contraption.  However, Rin can not condone the killing of humans even though they took her parents from her and tries to prevent the other from carrying out the suicide pacts.  Rin, and another mutant Yoshi, battle it out with Rei until she realizes it is wrong too.  The three mutants then go to battle the transvestite but it is too late.  He had used the blood from a government official to open the body armor and goes on a bloody rampage.  It is up to the three mutants to stop him before he takes over the world.
     I loved this flick.  This movie was truly insane in every sense of the word.  Some of the mutants had the craziest mutations.  Some had tit swords and small hands coming from their ears while others had chainsaws that pop out of their asses.  Most of the movie gives you that "what the fuck" feeling.  What I really liked about this movie is the everything.  The story is unlike anything you will lay your eyes on.  The acting is good and the effects are amazing.  They really did a good job mixing the practical and CGI effects.  The only thing I did not like about this one is the ass kicking that the girls deal out just drags on and on.  They honestly just fight, and fight, and fight for a majority of the film.  Other than that this movie is awesome.  This movie definitely needs to be watched so get to it.