Thursday, October 31, 2013


aka Teen Monster
aka Big Monster on Campus
Director - Mitch Marcus (The Haunting of Hell House)
Starring - Matthew Lawrence (Monster Night), Ryan Reynolds (R.I.P.D., Green Lantern), and Christine Lakin (The Frankenstein Theory)
Release Date - 2000
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "He has an electric personality"
Format - VHS (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     Halloween is not only a time for Halloween movies but a time for cable-ready horror movies that do not actually look and feel like horror movies.  This is what I call "horror for the masses."  These films are often family friendly flicks with a slight bit of sexual humor to appease the older audience.  I typically don't like these kind of films but sometimes I come across one that I do enjoy.  That brings me to the 2000 horror-comedy Boltneck.  The film is also known as Teen Monster and Big Monster on Campus but every publication (with the exception of the youtube video I got the stills from) has referred to the film as Boltneck.  I first saw it when it premiered on television and liked it.  Over time I have been able to acquire a bootleg copy of it on VHS than has now been lost in the move.  Luckily, I can still turn to Youtube to get my Boltneck fix.
     The film follows a young Frank Stein (Lawrence) who is head over heals in love with one of the popular girls in school.  Macy's (Lakin) click is often bullying Frank but she does not.  One night Macy and her friends have a small get together to drink.  Frank and his friend tries to crash the party but someone further down the nerd chain, goth kid Karl O'Reilly (Reynolds), shows up to drink.  The goons in Macy's click taunt Karl.  Karl tries to flee but falls into an empty pool where he receives brain damage and dies.  The two goons freak out thinking they are going to jail but Frank informs them that he can bring Karl back.  By using a brain stolen from his dad's lab, he replaces Karl's damaged brain and uses the oncoming thunder storm to bring him back.  The two goons are grateful for what Frank has done and allows him to hang out with him but he is still unable to get close to Macy. Things, too, change for Karl.  Karl is no longer a soft spoken goth.  He has now blossomed into a rambunctious teenager that has a way with the ladies and getting in trouble.  He buddies up with Frank to bring him out of his shell so Macy can notice him...and she does.  The two become an item but Karl steals money from her and she gets in trouble over it.  To make matters worse, Frank discovers that Karl's brain once belonged to a criminal and murderer.  Karl starts to seek out those that done him wrong forcing Frank to fix his mistake...once and for all.
      Sometimes I watch a movie and can not figure out why I like it.  That is this movie here.  Honestly, this film reminded me a lot of a Misfits, or any late 90s horror punk band for that reason, music video.  The film has a beautiful dark suburban feel that is heavily influenced by Halloween and  I absolutely love that.  The film doesn't really offer up anything in the way of horror other than being heavily influenced by the Frankenstein mythos.  However, for a t.v. movie, it is able to draw you in and hold your attention.  The acting in this one is convincing and above your normal made for t.v. movie.  The cast, for the most part, do a great job at portraying their characters.  The story is just another modernization of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Nothing new in the way of story but it is still a fun story that is not made to be original but entertaining.  Finally, those looking for special effects and blood will not find them here.  This film is story driven and does not rely on the same traits horror films rely on.  Overall, if you open-minded and want to see a fun, teenage take on the Frankenstein story that was made for t.v. then I highly recommend this one. 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Anna: Scream Queen Killer

Director(s) - The Aquinas (Dark Satanic Magick) and Melanie Denholme (One Hour to Die)
Starring - Melanie Denholme
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror/Drama
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Horror is a genre that is so wide and diverse.  So many people are dedicated to the genre and are often trying different things to bring something new to the genre.  Horror has seen so many new things pop up over the course of the last 15 to 20 years.  We now have web-series, found footage, mockumentaries, and even a few interactive films on youtube and vimeo. There has also been experiments that did not take hold and many people did not like them.  I really do understand and respect those that go against the mold and create something different than the norm.  Though I do respect them for it I am still wanting to be entertained and not all experiments are worth watching.  That brings me to this film here.  I was sent this to review by the fine folks over at Chemical Burn Entertainment and heard around from various people that this film was a little different.  So I threw it in thinking it I would see something strangely new.
     The film follows rising actress Anna who responds to an audition.  She is being recorded during these auditions by a cameraman that is never filmed.  Anna has to act out different scenes that is typed out for her with no reaction from the camera man.  After several days of doing this the camera man rapes her (it may have been a skit but is never revealed).  Anna then starts to become uncomfortable and asks the cameraman to stop recording and is soon placed in a cage and her fate is undetermined.
     Just because a film tries something different does not mean that it is worth watching.  I knew this movie was going to be a little different than what I am used to watching after I saw the trailer but this movie bored the hell out of me.  The movie ran just a little over an hour but it felt like a fucking lifetime.  The movie moved at a snails pace with a storyline that I could not see anyone having an interest in.  The movie honestly felt like a demo reel for an audition instead of a movie.  I guess that was the vibe they were going for and in that case they succeeded but it resulted in one of the worst films I have ever seen.  The acting by Melanie Denholme seemed forced in almost every scene of the film making it even more difficult to finish.  Denholme may be an amazing actress on screen when interacting with another character but by herself rehearsing scenes was very hard to watch.  Finally, the film has no special effects or on screen kills. This film does not really pass as horror and the title is very misleading.  I saw nothing that deserved to be called "scream queen killer."  Overall, this film is very disappointing.  The title is misleading, the story is non-existent, and the acting is very hard to watch.  I can not recommend this movie.

Ernest Scared Stupid

Director - John R. Cherry III (Ernest Goes to Jail, Slam Dunk Ernest)
Starring - Jim Varney (The Beverly Hillbillies, Treehouse Hostage), Eartha Kitt (Living Doll), and Austin Nagler
Release Date - 1991
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Ernest Triple Feature)

Rating (out of 5):
     Jim Varney, or Ernest P. Worrell as most of you know him as, was a man who created a comedy vehicle that would carry him through two decades and a wide range of media from commercials to feature films.  Love him or hate you, you have to give the man credit for bringing slapstick to a whole new generation.  The Ernest character has braved amusement park rides, went camping, did hard time, joined the army, played semi-pro basketball and countless other adventures but none come close in comparison to his 1991 Halloween flick Ernest Scared Stupid.  Not only is this film one of my favorite Ernest and Halloween flicks, but I can easily say this makes it to my top ten favorite movies of all time.  
     The film begins in the 19th century and an evil troll, named Trantor, has just been captured by the reverend Phineas Worrell (one of the multiple characters portrayed by Varney).  Trantor was trying to turn 6 children into wooden statues of their former selves in order to bring an army of trolls to Earth. Phineas buries Trantor under an oak tree but before he can finish Trantor places a curse on Phineas where each passing generation in his blood line will become dumber and dumber.  We then jump to present day (1991) and we meet our rubber-faced hero Ernest (Varney).  Ernest is a recycling enthusiast who has a knack with children.  He has befriended the sheriff's son and his friends.  After a run in with a group of bullies, Ernest sets out with the kids to build a treehouse.  Unfortunately, Ernest and the kids trespass on to Old Lady Hackmore's (Kitt) property where the oak tree that stands above Trantor is located.  To make the movie interesting Ernest and the kids choose that exact tree for their amazing treehouse.  Trantor awakens to start gathering his 6 children again and Ernest knows he is awake.  He tries to tell the adults in his small town but no one believes him until the troll makes an appearance at the costume competition.  The local townspeople run amuck as Trantor snags his sixth and final child.  His army starts to hatch from small pods growing on the tree where Ernest built the treehouse while Ernest tries to stop them.  Before long things get out of hands the locals arrive to help but it does no good.  The kids discover that the trolls can't handle their dairy and start killing them milk-filled water guns.  However, the milk does not work on Trantor and Ernest is the only one that can kill him...with love.
     Sometimes you will watch a movie and it will stick with you the rest of your life.  I have seen hundreds of films in my short life that I will continue to watch annually because I love them so much.  However, every once in awhile you will come across a flick that you will never part with and watch more times than you care to count.  For me that is Ernest Scared Stupid and that is for so many reasons.  The main reason is that it features one of my favorite characters in a film with monsters revolving around Halloween.  Just like Abbott and Costello met the classic Universal Monsters and The Monster Squad was original written to be a Little Rascals meets the Universal Monsters style film, this movie mashes a comical legend with an evil creature.  I also really liked this movie because it brought the viewer face to face with a creature that does not get a lot o camera time and that creature is the troll.  Sure, there is several troll films out there but nothing in comparison to the other creatures that go bump in the night.  The acting is what one would expect from an Ernest flick.  By this point Varney had perfected his Ernest character and the audience can really see that in this film.  Varney is able to portray such a wide range of emotions through Ernest's facial expressions making Ernest not only funny to watch but easy to read.  The rest of the cast did a good job in their roles and an exceptional performance can also be seen by Eartha Kitt.  She put everything she had into her character and it show.  The story is really nothing original but when combined with the accident prone Ernest it makes for one hell of a good time.  This film holds it's age very well and is fun as hell to watch regardless of your age.  Finally, this film has some of the best special effects I have seen and it is still unparalleled.  This children's Halloween comedy has the special effects that rivals the best creature features.  The trolls look amazing and scores a spot on my favorite monsters of all time.  Not only is there one troll, but by the end we have multiple trolls and they all look great.  Overall, this is one fun film that will leave you laughing your ass off while the fowl breathe of Trantor breathes down your neck!  I highly recommend this one!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Midnight Hour

Director - Jack Bender (Child's Play 3)
Starring - Lee Montgomery (Dead of Night), Shari Belafonte (Hey Arnold!), and LeVar Burton (Rise of the Zombies)
Release Date - 1985
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
Some movies are made that instantly become classics.  The same can be said about made for television Halloween flicks.  Some are made only to be watched and immediately forgot about while others become Halloween classics that thousands of people watch every October.  I have several dozen movies I watch every October but there is two I watch multiple times a year and several more times in October just because they fit the holiday perfectly.  The first film is The Midnight Hour.  I watched the film when I was extremely young and it scared the complete shit out of me then.  However, as I got older I realized the film is about as scary as your mother-in-law's mustache.  I watch this film every couple of months but lately I have been a little shocked that not a lot of the members in the horror community have not heard about this amazing television movie.
     The film takes place in New England on Halloween.  Phil Grenville (Montgomery) and his four friends decide to break into the local museum and they all steal old clothes and an old trunk. One of Phil's friends, Melissa (Belafonte), finds an old book in the trunk and reads from it in the cemetery.  Unfortunately, Melissa is a descendant of a witch that was killed by the townspeople over 30 years prior.  By reading this passage she accidentally unleashes hell on the small New England town.  The dead rise up from their graves along with the witch who is now a vampire, a ghost of a 50's cheerleader, and a werewolf.  The five teens are unaware of what they have just done and go about partying it up on Halloween.  The zombies and werewolf causes chaos and anarchy around town as the vampire has her sites set on Melissa and her friends.  It is now up to Phil and the ghost to swoop in and save the day.
     Some movies are made and because they have a certain celebrity or director attached to the film it goes global and everyone has to see it regardless if it is a good movie or not. These movies milk the director and celebrity for what they are worth and cash in on their name while giving the viewer a piece of shit to look at.  However, you sometimes get great movies that go unnoticed or do to legal means can not find DVD and bluray publication.  That is this film here.  The movie had a limited DVD run making the DVD and VHS both slightly rare to collect.  I saw this film on television but for the few that have seen it on VHS beg for this film to have an official DVD release (unless they are tapheads!).  I was lucky enough to find this movie at Fright Night Film Fest in Kentucky offered by VHSPS and I had to grab it.  This movie has everything that I love about Halloween mixed with so many of my favorite horror elements combining to make one family friendly made for television special.  The acting in this one can easily be compared to what you would see in a typical children's film.  Most of the cast made their characters feel over-the-top and zany while others were very serious in their roles which created great atmosphere among the entire cast.  The story is nothing new but it does have a lot of great elements that makes this one stand out from the crowd.  The film is able to throw is an undead horde, a werewolf, and a slew of vampires without making the film feel chaotic and hard to follow.  In fact, the film was able to throw in all of this while making the film family friendly and fun at the same time.  Finally, the film is filled with great special effects.  The zombie, including the midget zombie, looks fucking fantastic.  The vampires look like your typical vampires and the werewolf looks like something out of a 60s b-movie.  The special effects look great but those looking for a lot of blood and gore will not find it here.  Overall, this is a fun 80s romp through a thriller inspired Halloween flick.  I highly recommend this one. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Night Dracula Saved the World

aka The Halloween That Almost Wasn't

Director - Bruce Bilson (The Munsters Today)
Starring - Judd Hirsch (American Dad, Tom Goes the Mayor), Mariette Hartley (The Incredible Hulk), and Henry Gibson (The 'Burbs)
Release Date - 1979
Genre - Horror/Comedy/Children's
Format - Streaming (Youtube)

Rating (out of 5):
     I have mentioned a few movies that I have watched for years every October because I feel they are amazing Halloween films.  Movies like A Nightmare Before Christmas, Trick 'r Treat, Ernest Scared Stupid, and both Mr. Boogedy flicks are some of the many I watch every October.  However, I still cross paths with some real Halloween themed classics that shock me because I have never heard anyone mention them before. I was informed of this film a few years ago during my first year in college by a friend I often call my brother.  I had never heard him mention this movie until he came across it on Youtube where he filled me in on it.  It looked like a damn good children's Halloween flick.  I searched everywhere for it and could not find it on VHS or DVD anywhere so now I watch it on Youtube every year because it is just that damn good.
     The film followed Dracula (Hirsch) and Igor (Gibson) who hear on the news that Winnie the witch (Hartley) refuses to fly over the moon to usher in Halloween.  Dracula thinks this is just a rumor and calls all the monsters from all over the world to visit his castle for an emergency meeting.  The monsters include Warren the Werewolf, the mummy, Frankenstein's monster, Zabaar the zombie, and Winnie the witch.  Once there the monsters discover that the rumor is actually real and Winnie refuses to fly because she wants to be "queen" of the monsters instead of Dracula ruling them.  The monsters chase Winnie to her castle where she caves in to fly over the moon if her demands are met.  Dracula is apprehensive to her demands at first but finally agrees before Winnie changes her mind.  She begins to leave her castle when she finds two trick or treaters at her door and one is dressed as a witch.  They beg her to fly over the moon so they can celebrate Halloween and she agrees.
     I love the look, feel, and cheesy vibe that made for television Halloween specials had from the 70s and 80s. They were just simple and fun as hell to watch.  They did not try to scare the viewer but send the viewer down a crazy adventure with some famous monsters of filmland.  This film here did just that.  The film was able to take the horror from the most notorious monsters of cinema and make them kid friendly years before The Monster Squad was able to do this.  This film can easily be a stepping stone for those of you with small children and want to usher them into the horror scene without the gore and blood that these monsters are known for.  The acting in this one is over-the-top and fun that really adds a new personality to these characters that most movie goers are not accustomed to.  The acting really makes these characters fun to watch and adds that humor that the younger audience will find amusing.  The story is really nothing amazing but it is still effective at being a Halloween short.  The audience really gets drawn in to it making it effective but nothing award winning or groundbreaking.  Finally, those looking for great special effects will not find them here.  The monsters looks laughably bad but that is part of the charm this Halloween special has.  Overall, this is a cliched and cheesy Halloween special made for the younger audience but still holds a certain charm for the older viewers.  I highly recommend this one!