We keep the vamp train going with a comedic twist. First up is Jim Carrey playing a virgin who gets picked up by a sexy vamp in ONCE BITTEN. Then Nic Cage goes crazy in VAMPIRE’S KISS. After that we chat about LIVING WITH YOURSELF, HAUNT, and HALLOWEEN.
It’s time to talk about some badass vampire slayers. First up is the movie that introduced us to the biggest mall girl around BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Then after that we see how cool it is to wear all black pleather before THE MATRIX made it cool in BLADE. We also talk about LIVING WITH YOURSELF, ROBOCOP, and Doug throws a fit over THE BABADOOK.
1) Without Warning (1980)
I discovered this movie a few years back, having seen it billed as the inspiration for Predator, and even starring Kevin Peter Hall (the Predator hisself) as the troublemaking alien. And damned if I didn’t end up liking it better than Predator in some ways, which is not a knock against Predator, either. What I love about Without Warning is the smaller scale everything’s done on, from a little mountain town instead of a jungle, to the mostly-useless teenagers and dumbass
locals instead of a bunch of military badasses, to the tighter, chillier feel of a low-budget horror film instead of a big-ass blockbuster. Lo-fi intimacy goes a long way for me.
Without Warning makes good use of what it does have, to the sparing use of the alien to letting the two actual stars in the cast (Martin Landau and Jack Palance) chew the hell out of as much
scenery as they logically can before the whole affair winds down. The alien design itself is fairly standard, and nothing we hadn’t already seen on countless sci-fi shows and movies in decades
past, so director Greydon Clark kept its onscreen appearances to a minimum, but used them effectively. The first time you actually see the predatory alien, it’s kind of jolting. Plus, the thing looks damned cool and pretty imposing in the moonlight.
Even if the rest of the movie didn’t work, it’d worth it for Martin Landau and Jack Palance’s performances, both of whom put in more effort than you’d think was necessary for a low-budget sci-fi horror film. Jack Palance screaming, “ALLLLLIIIIIIIEEEEENNNNN!” toward the end is simultaneously goofy as hell and total badass. Oh, it’s also got David Caruso in it, but in 1980, nobody gave a shit about David Caruso, so he ends up alien-bait pretty quick. Predator took all the stuff from Without Warning that worked, did it on a much grander scale, and it’s a hell of a movie…but I love the scrappy little monster that Without Warning is. So much so that not an October goes by that I don’t watch it and hoist a glass to Jack Palance’s final,
2) Night of the Seagulls (1976)
The final, and best put-together, installment of Italian director Amando de Ossorio’s criminally-overlooked series starring the Blind Dead! A doctor and his wife arrive in a strange little coastal
town, where the doctor is taking up his post as the village medic, and as often happened in the 70’s, eeeeeevil is afoot! This time it’s in the shambling form of the undead Knights Templar.
Those rascally Knights are taking away seven young maiden sacrifices over the course of seven nights, and naturally, the good doctor befriends one of the maidens and tries to save her from a
grisly fate of being bled to death, dismembered, and fed to crabs, all in the (un)name of some Lovecraftian aquarian master.
The Blind Dead series wasn’t known for its inventiveness of story. Hell no. But Amando de Ossorio was a master of creating atmosphere, and the Blind Dead series is loaded with slow, creepy foreboding like few others, and he somehow makes the blind, sluggish knights a credible threat, with their grasping skeletal hands, leathery, ape-like faces, and teeth ready to chomp down on anybody they get hold of. The Knights can even still swing their swords! I know, I know, it sounds kinda ridiculous–and it is, I grant you–but like the other Blind Dead films, Night of the Seagulls is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s a reason British doom metal legends Cathedral wrote four songs about the Blind Dead, and it’s not because these were big-budget epics. Something about the Blind Dead movies just works.
I chose Night of the Seagulls because it’s the most polished and refined of the bunch, and is the least trashy of the series with the overall best story. It’s a good introduction to the Blind Dead series and an oft-overlooked gem that’s well worth checking out this Halloween. Trust me…blind and slow-moving or not, the Knights Templar are not to be screwed with.
3) Matango (1963)
A surprisingly bleak film from director Ishirō Honda (responsible for a little-known film called Godzilla) about a group of castaways stranded on a deserted island and slowly being mutated by the local mushrooms. Well, they’re low on food and gotta eat something, right? With 1960’s Japanese movies, particularly Toho and Honda, I’ve gotten used to brighter, more colorful adventures, but Matango is dark in both atmosphere and themes, with a sense of hopelessness
hanging over the proceedings from the get-go.
With Matango, Honda does everything with an even, measured hand, taking his time in building the story and applying the pressure to our castaways gradually, letting them be slowly crushed by their situation, one by one. After all, being stuck on a mysterious island with no viable source of food except for some bad-news mushrooms isn’t gonna make for happy times, and Honda’s approach is most definitely not Gilligan’s Island, but at the same time, it never gets so heavy-handed that it’s annoying. Honda just mostly lets people be people, watching them as they slowly lose their optimism and trappings of civilization until, finally, they just give in to the inevitable and literally lose their humanity.
The makeup effects are notable, too, as instead of going for something over-the-top (as you’d expect for a 60’s movie about mutating mushrooms), the makeup instead is reminiscent of radiation burns and growths, and is unsettling more than gruesome Not to mention realistic-looking enough that Matango caught some hell in Japan for depicting injuries too uncomfortably close to that of atom bomb survivors. Honda uses these moments sparingly, and to great effect.
The guy was good at what he did. Matango is more of a psychological horror story with bits of sci-fi mixed in than it is a
conventional monster movie, and is mostly quiet and brooding in its character, and would be a good one for a rainy night with all the lights off.
4) First Man Into Space (1959)
An oft-overlooked classic from the Space Age, this little independent, British-made (but taking place in America) film looks at what might happen if a human being were to venture beyond the safe confines of our world…and the terrible price they might pay for such hubris. This was two years before Yuri Gagarin actually became the first man into space, so at the time, this was plausible enough. Cosmic rays or some shit, right?
Well, whatever the reason, Lt. Dan Prescott flies a high-altitude rocket into the fringes of outer space, going against orders, because he’s all fired-up to be the first man into space…he’s a rebel who plays by his own rules! Then he flies through a cloud of an unknown substance. Then he nose-dives. Then he ejects. Plane crashes, Prescott’s nowhere to be found. Then a monster starts roaming the countryside, tearing up blood banks and drinking cow-blood! Vampire from space!
Naw, man. Space is filled with unknown horrors humanity didn’t know shit about in 1959, and Dan Prescott ran smack-dab into them, coming home a monster. And a pretty gruesome-looking son of a gun for a late 50’s indie movie, too. The final scenes are grim as hell, with an edge you didn’t often see from this era.
This is another one of those films where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and something about this particular little sci-fi horror film just really sucks me in, and I love it, even as I know damned well it’s no masterpiece. There’s something charmingly innocent about this bloody little Space Age tale of what could happen when humans reach space, and I never tire of it.
5) The Banana Splits Movie (2019)
So…old 60’s/70’s kids show turned into a horror movie, yeah? I was excited for this from the moment I saw the previews, and when I finally got to see it, I was not disappointed. Because this isn’t the kind of movie you go into with high expectations–you go in expecting something bloody and ridiculous, and that’s precisely what it is. The Banana Splits Movie has absolutely no illusions about itself and what it’s there for, and this is meant to be watched with a drink in hand as you hoot and holler your way through the carnage.
The story, which revolves around the robotic Banana Splits going on a rampage around the studio after being cancelled after 50 years because they weren’t current enough (or something), is light and serves its purpose without getting fancy. It does a pretty decent job of putting all the pieces in place so these lovable scamps from yesteryear can mangle the shit out of some studio staff and some lucky VIPs who got to stay after the final show to meet the Banana Splits. We all know the main attraction of this film was seeing the Splits go berserk, and the film gives us plenty of that, going for gruesome laughs as the cast is neatly whittled down by the butt-hurt
robots. We’ve seen this story before, sure, but never with the Banana Splits doing the killing.
The killings themselves are predictably gory and comical, and there’s something perversely satisfying about seeing these mostly-forgotten-but-still-beloved-in-some-quarters Saturday morning characters ripping the shit out of studio folk and overzealous fans. This is the kind of movie you would’ve half-assed wrote a script for with your friends while staying up way too late on a Friday night back in junior high. I wager that the Banana Splits Movie team still can’t believe they got away with this.
In this era of reboots and retreads, I applaud the Banana Splits Movie, as instead of trying to update an old formula for the modern era, it just says “fuck it, let’s go nuts.” And as one reviewer noted, it’s not like anybody else had a better idea.
I’m the product of a small-town Illinois upbringing that neatly coincided with the rise of cable, meaning my earliest media memories are a delightful deluge of old movies from the 50’s through the 70’s being played nonstop on TBS and USA. They had to fill the hours somehow, dammit! To this day, I’m left with a love of old movies great and horrible, and an appreciation of the absurdities of decades past colors almost everything I do, including my own writing, which mostly consists of semi-cartoonish, over-the-top, and profanity-laden tales of skull-smashing vampire action and adventure. I still reside in Canton with my lovely and infinitely-patient, where I go for long bike rides, obsess over Godzilla, still watch old movies, and get the dog all hyped up before bed.
Here’s a few of the things I’ve written…
Unholy War: The Gathering Storm
Unholy War: Rage & Redemption
Not Of This Earth (inspired by The First Man Into Space, no less.)
This week we’re checking out two Masters Of Horror episodes from Stuart Gordon. First up a student moves into the weirdest apartment building in DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE. After that Edgar Allen Poe finds that his feline friend is actually his worst enemy in THE BLACK CAT. After that we talk JOKER, 3 FROM HELL, SHADOW OF THE MOON, and get really mad at VALENTINE. Then for some reason get into a talk about LORD OF THE RINGS.
I’ve known Michael for many years through the horror community and was super curious what he would put together for some Halloween season viewing. Let’s find out what he suggests.
1. Haunt (2019)
Watch this flick before going out on your Halloween adventures. HAUNT is a masterclass in studio production and set building, highlighted by emerging actors, incredible special effects and the tangible feel of claustrophobia. Let me not forget to mention Eli Roth produced it!
2. Brightburn (2019)
A lot of people slept on this movie when it debuted in theaters May 2019, myself included! I recently borrowed this movie from my brother-in-law and was blown away by the unexpected gore, emotional punches and sinking feeling that the loving family was about to explode.
3. Candy Corn (2019)
This film is one of the few Halloween themed horror films that captures the essence of the holiday in a successful, coherent way. Traditional and nostalgic in its approach, it also features a ton of icons of fright in supporting roles. Hey, PJ Soles, Courtney Gains and Tony Todd!
4. Culture Shock (2018)
What’s more frightening than real life atrocities? This horror-thriller-drama from one of the biggest female directors in the game puts a creepy and uncomfortable spin on one of the political points dividing the nation. Can your body handle the pressure and suspense?
5. Killer Sofa (2019)
It’s a film about a possessed couch that kills people. Do I need to say more?
Michael Therkelsen is the senior editor at award winning website HorrorSociety.com. He’s also a staff writer at GaymingMagazine.com and an independent horror author.
This week we talk about the horrors of the medical profession. First up Corbin Bernsen goes into a homicidal rage because he thinks his wife is cheating on him in THE DENTIST. After that Larry Drake makes a house call in DR. GIGGLES. We also talk about JAY AND SILENT BOB REBOOT, EL CAMINO, and CANDYMAN.
Today we’re getting some recommends from a horror film producer. Andrew Beirl has been involved with productions from Slasher Studios such as Dismembering Christmas and Irrational Fear. Let’s see what he recommends for our viewing pleasure:
1. The Hazing (2004)
Director Rolfe Kanefsky created a roller coaster of a movie starring Brad Dourif, Parry Shen, genre favorite Tiffany Shepis, and scene-stealer Nector Rose. Trapped in a deserted mansion, college students deal with being hazed by mean-spirited Greeks and an evil professor (Dourif) who wants to possess and/or murder them. It seemed to get lost in the shuffle of the mid-2000s horror – but it is ripe for rediscovery this Halloween.
2. The Skeleton Key (2005)
This Southern Gothic flick that many people seemed to avoid because of Kate Hudson, our lead and rom-com darling. Look past her previous roles and enjoy this creepy atmospheric Voodoo horror about a PCA taking care of an elderly man in a creaky house. It reminds me of a feature length Tales from the Crypt. Director Iain Softley really captures the beautiful but sinister setting of a crumbling mansion deep in Louisiana bayous and creates a stylish but clever horror that I patiently wait for a special edition Blu- Ray *cough cough Scream Factory*
3. Frightmare (1983)
This Troma masterpiece involves a group of devoted film fans (including Jeffrey Combs) who steal the corpse of their beloved horror icon for one last hurrah. Needless to say, things do not go well. Now this is not a good film, but it is definitely an entertaining one. Turn off your brain, pop some popcorn and enjoy this schlockfest.
4. Mute Witness (1994)
I have no idea why so many people have not seen this tight, suspenseful tale about a deaf SFX artist who is working on a horror film in Moscow. One night she is locked in the studio after hours and witnesses the filming of a brutal murder. No one believes her, but she knows it was real. Soon the Russian mafia, who funded the snuff film, starts coming for her. This is a tense, intelligent and well crafted thriller that is always good for movie night.
5. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2019)
The crew of a horror web series and some lucky volunteers travel to an abandoned asylum for a live broadcast. Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital, where rumor states that the director of the hospital killed all of the patients and went missing is one of Korea’s most haunted locations. The movie itself does not add anything new to the found footage subgenre, however it executes everything so well. It is a scary, unsettling film that utilizes a lot of great in-camera tricks.
Today let’s hear from someone who hosts horror movies. What should we be watching?
1. Spider Baby (1967)
This film has been called one of the predecessors to Texas Chain Saw Massacre and House of 1000 Corpses. Though nowhere new as gritty or bloody, it does have a creepy subversive edge and atmosphere. Lon Chaney Jr’s last great performance and Sid Haig’s first.
2. Messiah of Evil (1973)
A love letter to H. P. Lovecraft from the same team who wrote “American Graffiti” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” It’s about a young woman who searches for her father in a strange little seaside village after his letters to her start becoming more bizarre and macabre.
3. Not of this Earth (1957)
Early Roger Corman sci-fi/horror film about an alien agent who comes to Earth seeking blood for his race dying from radiation sickness. Effective visuals and superior writing make this a great late night watch.
4. The Sentinel (1977)
Found this one while channel surfing one night and it destroyed me for days! A fashion model moves into a house that just happens to be the Mouth of Hell. Chris Sarandon, John Carradine, Burgess Meredith and an unrecognizable young Christopher Walken star. This movie had some controversy because actors with real deformities and disabilities were used to portray denizens of Hell. Proper or not, it was horrifically effective!
5. Spectre (1977)
A great TV movie written by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Intended as a pilot for a series following the exploits of a demonologist and a doctor as they fight hellspawn trying to enter our world. Would have been a great series is they pulled it off as well as the film!
For over ten years, Lord Blood-Rah has been hosting live horror and sci-fi film events across the country. His syndicated TV series, Lord Blood-Rah’s Nerve Wrackin’ Theatre, can be seen locally on My59 and on various channels and streaming services.
See lordbloodrah.com for more info.
So far we’ve heard from a lot of people from different aspects of horror but let’s hear from someone who writes horror. What does Joe Chianakas find scary? Let’s find out.
1. THE BABADOOK
This 2014 movie features a super annoying child, and I must admit that when a monster starts to torment him, I cheer for the monster! The Babadook appears through the creepiest children’s book I’ve ever seen, and it haunts a single mother and her son. The creature and the book are incredibly chilling. This is a fun, creepy, and creative movie.
Another 2014 gem, this is a horror-comedy that is equally hilarious and spooky. Laugh-out-loud moments abound (wait for the “Oh, Jesus”) and nightmare-inducing scenes still haunt me in the middle of the night when I hear creepy noises. This story features a woman who is on house-arrest. She’s convinced she’s locked in a haunted house. For our sake, well, perhaps she’s right.
This amazing 2016 film is brilliant on so many levels. Directed by Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Oculus, Doctor Sleep) and starring Kate Siegel (who played the wonderful Theo in The Haunting of Hill House), this is a cabin-in-the-woods story with a twist: The protagonist is deaf. Someone breaks into her cabin, but she can’t hear him. The story is clever, and the acting is exceptional. Bonus fun fact: Siegel and Flanagan both wrote the story. They struggled a bit with the ending. What did they do? They took a long weekend retreat, rented room 237 at The Stanley (the famous hotel and room from The Shining) and revised the ending of the movie in that room until they got it just right.
4. AS ABOVE, SO BELOW
This is one of the best found-footage films in the horror genre (imo), but it got buried in an at-the-time overpopulated field. This 2014 movie takes us deep into the catacombs of France. Having explored catacombs in Europe personally, I’ve always found them to be exceptionally interesting and creepy. The found-footage filming puts you right into the spooky and claustrophobic setting with the characters. And there are definitely jaw-dropping, WTF moments that will keep you glued to the screen. This one’s a lot of fun, if you’re like me and find terrifying moments to be absolutely enjoyable.
5. THE FINAL GIRLS
This 2015 horror-comedy is one of my all-time favorites. Surprisingly, it’s very touching and heartfelt, too. But at it’s core, it’s a slasher movie that spoofs slasher movies. It features a young woman stuck in her mother’s most iconic horror movie, and she has to find a way to stop a crazy killer. I love it because of the laughs but even more because it somehow creatively tugs at the heartstrings.
Joe Chianakas is a professor of communication at Illinois Central College and an author. His most popular work is Rabbit in Red, a horror trilogy that celebrates everything we love about scary movies and Halloween. It started with a basic premise: What if Willy Wonka made horror movies instead of candy and invited fans to look behind the curtain? And what if the things they loved about those movies started to happen to them in real life?
1. Slime City
Fans of Basket Case era Frank Henenlotter or 80’s Troma should love this trash horror classic set in a run down apartment where the residents attempt to feed a new tenant booze that contains the spirit of its former residents.
The perfect showcase for George A Romero’s non zombie work. Romero comes up with is own spin on the vampire film with this heady, haunting masterpiece.
A creepy, seedy, gross film about Philipino vampires that like to suck babies out of pregnant moms. One of the first horror films accepted to the Sundance film festival and made by Wisconsin filmmakers that would go on to be involved with many well renowned documentaries.
4. This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse
If you aren’t hip on Brazil’s monster man José Mojica Marins and his character Coffin Joe, solve that problem immediately. While this isn’t the first film in the series (that is At Midnight I’ll take your Soul), this sequel plays out very similar to a much better effect. One of the most unsung obscure classics of the genre.
The Swedish answer to the EVIL DEAD that out does the ED remake in every way. Strip away the comedy and what you have here is a non stop, gory horror ride of a film.
Derrick likes horror movies. He is involved with making them (Swamphead, Hole in the Wall, Manos Returns, Screaming in High Heels) and talking about them on podcasts (Astro Radio Z, The Podcast at Orgy Castle).
Astro Radio Z:
Podcast at Orgy Castle:
Hole in the Wall: https://www.amazon.com/Hole-Wall-GregJohnson/dp/B01BJB6YF8
Screaming in High Heels: https://www.amazon.com/Screaming-High-Heels-Brinke-Stevens/dp/B008A0RGMC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3R5CXUOY233XM&keywords=screaming+in+high+heels&qid=1568397901&s=instant-video&sprefix=screaming+in+high+%2Cinstant-video%2C156&sr=1-1-catcorr
At the last minute we decided to tackle two Stephen King inspired movies. First up is the recently released IN THE TALL GRASS. Then we discuss GRAVEYARD SHIFT. You’ll notice this week we jump right into the reviews because Doug and Noah decided to chat about Joker for 20 minutes at the beginning of the show. Luckily that has been tacked on to the very end so stay tuned after the outro music. We also discuss the upcoming Crisis On Infinite Earth cross over on the CW, AEW wrestling, and Batman 66.
1. The Living Skeleton (1968)
If you’re not afraid to dip your toe into an old Japanese flick, check out this surprisingly entertaining ghost story. In The Living Skeleton, a young man and woman living under the care of a kindly priest get wrapped up in a series of seemingly supernatural murders. It turns out a group of modern-day pirates murdered the crew of a ship three years earlier, and now the victims’ skeletons are out for vengeance.
What’s great about The Living Skeleton is that the synopsis above is only the beginning. A little past the halfway point, this Japanese horror flick takes some delightfully wild turns. I was surprised to see doppelganger sisters, secret identities, elements of old-fashioned ghost stories, mad scientists, and more — and all without the film feeling forced or disjointed.
Some of the special effects are hokey in a lovable kind of way — namely the bats on strings and woefully inarticulate skeleton marionettes. But this is otherwise a pretty gorgeous, black & white widescreen horror flick that keeps you guessing. Noboru Nishiyama’s very ’60s-sounding score is the icing on the cake.
2. Demon Seed (1977)
Julie Christie is trapped inside a house run by a super-computer called Proteus IV that wants to have a baby with her. Yep, you heard me. Demon Seed, based on the book by Dean Koontz, is mostly a one-woman show, with Christie running here and there, being captured and tormented by Proteus IV, which manifests itself as a disembodied voice (an uncredited Robert Vaughn), security cameras in every room, and a motorized wheelchair with a robotic arm. Later on, the robot manifests in other ways — some pretty cool by 1977 practical effects standards. Proteus IV basically rapes Christie a time or two, forcing her to carry his ‘synthetic spermatazoa’. Whether it’s through shere exhaustion or maternal instinct, Christie’s character eventually look forward to the baby’s birth… but what will the baby be?
Demon Seed is an entertaining claustrophobic sci-fi horror film. And with Google, Siri, Alexa, and other disembodied computers given more and more control of our lives and households, perhaps not completely outside the realm of future possibility!
3. Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1982)
An orphaned teen (Jimmy McNichol) becomes fearful of his aunt (Forbidden Zone’s Susan Tyrrell) after she kills a man in their home. But that just scrapes the surface of Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker. Add in that the aunt has incestuous desire for the boy and plans to keep him with her forever — full athletic college scholarship be damned. She even starts poisoning him. Also add in that the local sheriff (Bo Svenson) is trying to pin the murder on the boy because he thinks the boy is gay. Add in that the boy’s basketball coach (Steve Eastin) really is gay, and the only character who believes the teen or tries to help him… even though the victim was one of the coach’s old lovers. Yeah. In case you haven’t gathered, this movie is most certainly not your typical formulaic horror flick — and I loved it!
The first thing I loved about this movie is that it turns the tables on the gender paradigm. It’s a woman to be feared and it’s our male protagonist who needs rescued in the third act. (And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a cutey.) The second thing I loved about the movie was that it dealt with homosexuality at all — a pretty rare thing for a movie in the early ’80s. The sheriff gets right up in our main character’s face and tries to force him into a confession with lines like, “You’re a fag, aren’t you? Tell me you’re a fag. Admit it.” And refreshingly, the character doesn’t go out of his way to prove he’s not gay. He’s not a homophobe. He even remains friends with the coach after the coach is forced to quit his job. Again, very progressive for an early 80s movie.
Susan Tyrrell is on fire here, just like she was as the intergalactic queen in Forbidden Zone. She’s over-the-top in the best way possible, breaking dramatic moments with non-sequitur black comedy and giving already-disturbing moments just that little extra touch of perversion.
If you’re looking for something unusual, a little provocative and a little campy, then don’t miss Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker!
The Baby (1973)
A social worker investigates a mother and her two adult daughters who take care of a 21-year-old man who wears diapers, sucks baby bottles, and sleeps in a baby crib. The family insist the man has the mental and emotional capacity of an infant, but the social worker’s not so sure.
The Baby isn’t the dirty, fetishistic film I thought it would be. Director Ted Post (Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Magnum Force) and writer Abe Polsky anchor the deranged tale in the social worker’s plight to rescue ‘Baby’ from his family. The whole film is engaging and unsettling, teetering between camp and sincerity, until it arrives at a climax that pushes it very well over the edge into psychological horror. It’s such an unusual movie in so many ways, I highly recommend checking it out.
5. The Pit (1981)
A sexually infatuated twelve-year-old boy does what his teddy bear tells him to, which includes feeding the locals to a pack of monsters who dwell in a pit in the woods. I don’t know what the teddy bear and the pit monsters have to do with one another, but the first half of The Pit is remarkable in its depiction of a nascent psychopath. My favorite scene is one where the boy sneaks into the bathroom while his babysitter is in the shower. He writes “I love you” on the bathroom mirror and waits in giddy anticipation of her response. When she screams and admonishes him, you feel for poor kid. The Pit does a good job portraying how negative response to natural impulse can warp a young man’s sense of self and sexuality. Unfortunately, the second half of the movie drops the psychological intrigue and focuses on the pit monsters, which are little more than midgets in monkey suits. But like The Baby, The Pit is another one of those movies unlike anything you’ve ever seen before – and therefore well worth a viewing.
Scott Schirmer is an independent filmmaker based in Bloomington, Indiana. He is a commercial audio/video producer and editor, as well as the director of several feature films. His credits include Found, Headless, Harvest Lake, Plank Face, Space Babes from Outer Space, and The Bad Man. Most of these titles are available on DVD, Blu-ray, or digital download at scottschirmer.com!
1. The Orphanage (2007)
Easily in the top 5 scariest movies I’ve ever seen. The Orphanage is a mystery and a nightmare on an epic scale. It’s set in a home that used to be an orphanage for special children (scary location: check!) on a cliffside with secret caves (check, check) creepy kids, masks, ghost hunters, flashbacks and flashforwards that leave your head spinning. It’s a cliché, but truly nothing is as it seems. The suspense doesn’t stop and the ending only fills you with further dread. This film deserves Oscars for its craftmanship and storytelling.
2. Graveyard Shift (1990)
Brad Dourif as the exterminator, David Andrews plays the drifter, Andrew Divoff a bully, and Stephen Macht as the evil, power hungry foreman, all deliver pretty great performances in this made for TV movie. Both Nardello and Wisconsky are rare, fantastic female characters that round out the group nicely. It’s definitely one of my favorite Stephen King adaptations. But more importantly, THIS IS A MOVIE ENTIRELY FILMED IN A DECREPIT OLD MILL IN MAINE AND FEATURES A HUGE AND GROSS RAT/BAT/CREATURE THING!
3. Gags the Clown (2018)
The newest one on my list, because it really took me by surprise. This movie is anything but another killer clown movie or your overdone found footage flick. Gags is weird and funny and carries surprisingly deep undertones (also creepy as shit.) The story never goes where you think it will. It reminded me a lot of Trick ‘R Treat and it should be a required viewing Halloween this year!
4. High Tension (2003)
Dark, disturbing, and just badass. This movie has all the great moments you hope for when you watch a horror movie for the first time. The story is smart and the cinematography is engaging. They both play tricks on the viewers throughout the film. The gore is never shied away from, in fact they lean into it. This is an emotional and psychological horror movie and it stands out from the rest.
5. Tales of Halloween (2015)
I rolled my eyes at another horror anthology until I realized I love horror anthologies and this one was made for horror fans and casual movie goers alike. With films and cameos by all the usual suspects and cult favorites of horror, it really just made me happy to see these guys having fun. The stories aren’t overly complicated, some are genuinely creepy, and each one brings a little something different all while focusing on Halloween.
Natalie Pohorski is a freelance film, television, and game producer based in Madison, WI. She is a big horror fan and FEARnet alum, and now Camp Director for the upcoming Camp Blood Film Festival where campers team up to make a horror short in a weekend at a creepy, old summer camp – www.campbloodfilmfestival.com
Let’s get some podcasters up in here to give some recommends. First up comes Rachel Shatto from the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast with her recommends.
1. Prevenge (2016)
Directed, written, and starring Alice Lowe, this slasher comedy was the movie I recommended to everyone when it came out in 2016, largely due to Lowe’s performance of a pregnant woman on a killing spree — on the behest of her unborn child, no less. Yep, this is a weird one, but truly one of the most compelling movies about maternal ambivalence and female rage I’ve ever seen. Plus, it’s so funny in the most disturbing ways and has final shot that horrifies as much as it delights. I’ve been a fan of Lowe’s comedic work ever since Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace and Sightseers, but this film shows that she has incredible range she has both behind and in front of the camera.
2. Revenge (2017)
I am typically not a fan of the rape revenge genre, but, when experienced through the gaze of French filmmaker Coralie Fargeat, there is as much ferocity as there is style, which makes it both compelling and cathartic. It’s also awesomely gruesome and makes you cringe in the most delicious ways. It’s actually hard to believe that Revenge marked Fargeat’s feature film debut as it;s absolutely stunning and confidently created. It’s a feast for the eyes, whether it’s the sprawling desert vistas or gallons of blood and gore coating every surface on screen.
3. Ravenous (1999)
Ravenous is a criminally under-seen gem. It’s one of those movies that, when it comes up in conversation and you discover there is one other person in the room that has seen and loved it, you find yourself excitedly talking about how weirdly wonderful it is. The film, which was directed by Antonia Bird, stars Guy Pierce and Robert Carlyle who, for reasons I won’t spoil, have to leave a remote 19th century military outpost in order to go on a rescue mission, and from there things get real weird. I’m talking cannibals, frostbite, compound fractures, and wendigos. Yep, this movie really has it all.
4. Braid (2019)
Fans of surreal horror take note: Braid, the feature film debut of Mitizi Perione, is the mind-bending, technicolor nightmare of your dreams. The film is about two friends who decide to rob a wealthy but dangerous childhood friend who allows them into her home — provided they are willing to play a very special and gruesome game. If you like your horror linear, you’ll want to steer clear, but if, like me, you enjoy having your neurons tweaked Braid is going to be your jam.
5. Honeymoon (2014)
Director Leigh Janiak (who you’ll be hearing plenty of soon as she’s just been tapped to direct all three of the upcoming R.L. Stine Fear Street movies) made her debut with this moody and gut wrenching film. The movie stars Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway as newlyweds Bea and Paul on their honeymoon in a remote cabin. The couple’s troubles begin when Paul finds his new wife Bea sleepwalking in the woods, appearing as though she has been attacked. Over the course of the following days, what started off as wedded bliss slowly descends into paranoia and haunting body horror. What makes this movie truly special is the chemistry between Leslie and Treadaway. You suffer with them as tragedy unfolds and are horrified with them as their once romantic vacation turns grisly.
Rachel Shatto is a lifelong horror nerd and opinion haver who, when she isn’t watching horror movies, is podcasting about them. She co-hosts the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast, which critiques horror from a feminist perspective. She can also be found talking about horror movies, both good and (more often) bad, that you can watch online on The Stream Queens Podcast. As if that wasn’t enough, Rachel is also an avid Stephen King fan who podcasts about his master work, The Dark Tower book series, on The Cast of Ka.
This week we invite friend of show Tony Wash back onto the show to celebrate one of the recently fallen of the genre Sid Haig. Tony talks about working with Sid on his film HIGH ON THE HOG and then we chat about two movies starring Sid. First up is the maddest story ever told with SPIDER BABY. Then we head out into space to talk about GALAXY OF TERROR. We also talk about IT Chapter 2, THIRTEEN GHOSTS, and CREEPSHOW episode 2.
Today’s recommends come from one of my favorite Ozplotation directors Brian Trenchard-Smith! I was very excited to get a list from him to be part of this fun exercise for the month of October. Let’s see what he recommends for your October viewing pleasure.
1. The Haunting (1963)
Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of ghosts, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent death and insanity. With him are the skeptical young Luke, who stands to inherit the house, the mysterious and clairvoyant Theodora and the insecure Eleanor, whose psychic abilities make her feel somehow attuned to whatever spirits inhabit the old mansion. As time goes by it becomes obvious that they have gotten more than they bargained for as the ghostly presence in the house manifests itself in horrific and deadly ways.
2. Let The Right One In (2008)
Oskar, a bullied 12-year old, dreams of revenge. He falls in love with Eli, a peculiar girl. She can’t stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited. Eli gives Oskar the strength to hit back but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people’s blood to live he’s faced with a choice. How much can love forgive? Set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982.
3. The Entity (1982)
Carla Moran awakens one night to find herself being beaten and raped by an unseen presence. Terrified of what’s happening to her, and shunned by friends and family who think she’s lost her mind, she seeks help from parapsychologists. The researchers soon discover that evil spiritual force has been drawn to Carla and is responsible for the violent attacks. The question now, however, is how do they stop it? Based on a supposedly true story.
4. Cabin In The Woods (2011)
Five teenagers head off for a weekend at a secluded cabin in the woods. They arrive to find they are quite isolated with no means of communicating with the outside world. When the cellar door flings itself open, they of course go down to investigate. They find an odd assortment of relics and curios, but when one of the women, Dana, reads from a book, she awakens a family of deadly zombie killers. However, there’s far more going on than meets the eye.
5. Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)
In Japan, when the volunteer social assistant Rika Nishina is assigned to visit a family, she is cursed and chased by two revengeful fiends: Kayako, a woman brutally murdered by her husband and her son Toshio. Each person that lives in or visits the haunted house is murdered or disappears.
Brian Trenchard-Smith is a film director with over 50 credits to his name. Some notable titles include Dead End Drive-In, Stunt Rock, and BMX Bandits. He is also an author. His current book Alice Through The Multiverse promises a time twisting, paranormal thriller. Check out the trailer below and maybe pick up a copy with the link at the bottom.
Today we’re taking a look at suggestions from someone who has been in a lot of horror films. Actor Bill Oberst Jr. has made a name for himself in the horror genre and even been portraying Ray Bradbury in a stage show. Let’s see what he has to recommend.
1. Angst (1983)
Why? (a) It is German. (b) It is disconcerting to watch. (c) Things like this actually happen.
2. Cannibal (2006)
Why? (a) It is German. (b) It is uncomfortable to watch. (c) This exact thing actually happened.
3. Amadeus (1984)
Why? (a) They were German. (b) Salieri’s fall into madness is true horror. (c) No one is happy at the end.
4. Freaks (1932)
Why? (a) The freaks are real but… (b) The freaks are not the real freaks. (c) The cruel people die.
5. Duel (1971)
Why? (a) The windows are tinted. (b) There’s no reason – it just wants you dead. (c) It won’t stop until you die.
Bill Oberst Jr. is an actor of stage and screen who is not afraid of the dark. His “Criminal Minds” TV character is included in CBS’s list of “The Most Notorious Serial Killers In Criminal Minds History.” His major awards include a Daytime Emmy Award, the inaugural Lon Chaney Award For Excellence In Horror Film presented by Lon Chaney’s great-grandson Ron Chaney, a United Solo Off-Broadway Award and dozens more. Bill’s latest film is Rob Zombie’s “Three From Hell.” His latest stage project is “Ray Bradbury Live (forever)” a solo portrayal of Ray Bradbury authorized by Ray’s family and estate. His official site is billoberst.com. His IMDb page is https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2454994.
1. 13 Ghosts (1960)
A film I grew up watching, and can never get enough of during the Halloween season. Great film to watch in the dark.
2. Nothing but trouble (1991)
Funny and Scary, there are some weirdos out there and you never know when you’ll run into them. LOL.
3. Haunted Honeymoon (1986)
Wonderful film, great cast, great writing.
4. When a Stranger calls (1979)
Great suspense, perfect beginning to a film, something the remake could not pull off.
5. Ghost Story (1981)
I like to watch good ghost stories and this is one of them.
Reyna Young’s alter ego Miss Misery has been labeled by press as “The Queen of Horror in the bay area”. She currently resides in San Francisco with her husband John Gillette and son Logan. Reyna is a Director and actress with over 15 years of experience in Theater, Television and Film.
Reyna is known for her work in the horror and action genre films and is a late night horror hostess of the popular syndicated show Movie Massacre which she writes, directs and produces. She was born in 1983 in San Francisco, Ca and grew up taking dance, singing, tap dancing, martial arts and acting classes. The oldest of two children, her younger sister and her were raised by their Father. She is of English, Hispanic and Native American descent.
Today why don’t we take some suggestions from someone who makes horror movies? Tony Wash has been making indie horror films for awhile and he knows his stuff. Take a look at his recommends below.
1. Phantasm II
Sure, every horror fan knows about this series and sure, Phantasm II makes zero sense, which is about zero more sense than the other four movies in the series make. But damn do I love this movie! I think a large part of my affinity for Phantasm II comes from watching it numerous times as a child. This movie easily added to my developing love of the horror genre with its awesome practical creature FX, the ominous Tall Man, a four-barreled shotgun, and of course, the Flying Silver Balls of Death!
2. The Evil
Richard Crenna of Rambo fame stars in this seldom seen Roger Corman horror flick. Same premise as most; a bunch of people who go to clean up an old house that is supposedly haunted get killed off one by one. This is easily one of the coolest and largest houses I’ve seen a horror film shot in, and for someone who absolutely loves the “people who die in a haunted house” concept, this is no exception.
3. House By The Cemetery
Lucio Fulci doesn’t get as much credit as Dario Argento when it comes to Italian horror, which disappoints me because I am such a hard core fan of this film, as well as The Beyond and Zombie. To a degree though, I have to wonder if his lack of fame was on account to how absurd and nonsensical his movie’s were. HbtC is certainly no different. A family moves into a creepy old house (the same house’s facade is used in Umberto Lenzi’s 1988 movie Ghosthouse) and discovers that the original owner, a Dr. Freudstein was responsible for a number of heinous acts against mankind and is still alive and murdering people… whilst still living in their basement! It really doesn’t make much sense at all, but I love this movie all the same. Don’t hate me if you despise the little kid Bob’s dubbed voice, it is truly cacophonous.
4. Beyond The Black Rainbow
Every horror fan saw last year’s indie success Mandy, but have you all seen director Panos Casmatos’ earlier film, Beyond The Black Rainbow? Bursting with some of the best visuals a low budget indie has ever graced the screen with, this film’s production design and cinematography alone should’ve put it on your radar. Though more sci-fi than horror, this movie still possesses tons of eerie imagery and situations to rank it amongst one of my favorite horror films of recent years.
5. Skeletons in the Closet
Yeah, yeah, yeah so I’m bringing up one of my own films, but honestly, it could use the promotion and views from true horror fans. So if you haven’t seen this fun 80s horror anthology, check it out on Amazon Prime, iTunes, PopcornFlix, tubi, or pick up a copy from my website, scotchworthy.com. If the trailer alone doesn’t intrigue you enough to check this flick out, no harm no foul. But if you like 80s horror specifically revolving around supernatural terror mixed with equal parts comedy, this is the perfect film for your next viewing party.
Tony Wash is a horror filmmaker out of Chicago. His films can be found at the following links:
Skeletons in the Closet Trailer (NSFW) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5szjVvzAW_Q
The Rake Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzV_JQnNurQ
High on the Hog Trailer (NSFW) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnSRbTmQnPc
World of Death Trailer (NSFW) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HAPLjEB8PI
We’re back once again with some alternate viewing pleasures for your Halloween Season. Yes we love our Halloween staples but why not this year find something new to watch and possibly find a new favorite? First up is Lauren Gallo:
1. Hush (2016)
Hush feels like a familiar horror/thriller set up: a remote home in the woods, a serial killer, and the young woman who has become his next victim. The difference here is that our main character is deaf, something the killer quickly learns and likely thinks will make his target an easy kill, but Maddie is anything but. While the premise isn’t new, it is interesting watching the main character portrayed with the inability to hear, as we rarely see Final Girls with perceived disabilities in horror and hopefully this opens the door for more inclusive choices within horror.
2. Inferno (1980)
With Dario Argento’s second offering in his “Mother of Tears” trilogy, it must be said right off the bat that Inferno is not near the masterpiece it’s predecessor, Suspiria, is. That being said, it’s not awful either and serves as a decent Italian horror flick that continues the supernatural story of three powerful witches, Mater Suspririorum, Mater Tenebrarum, and Mater Lachrymarum, who each do their dark workings behind the scenes from their respective homes in Germany, New York, and Italy. In this installment, an American music student studying in Rome, Mark Elliot, heads to New York after an urgent letter from his sister Rose, who suspects she’s come across one of the infernal Mothers.
While it doesn’t quite live up to Suspiria, Inferno still has some beautiful imagery and a good progressive rock score by Keith Emerson, whom Argento chose to score this film as he wanted a different sound for this one than the iconic Goblin score of the previous film. This is a good late-night, popcorn type of watch if you dig Argento’s Mater mythos.
3. It Follows (2014)
In what is the most literal haunting allegory for one hell of an STD, It Follows follows the story of teenaged Jay, who after a sexual encounter starts being stalked by a strange supernatural force in the form of many different human-looking creatures that only she can see. With the help of her friends, Jay tries to get the bottom of this sinister force, which is apparently like a curse passed on through sex. Starring the talented Maika Monroe, this is a movie where the houses and settings feel so real and not the hyper-stylized homes of other Hollywood films. They look truly lived in, messy, and almost circa the ’80s with little modern updates. The unknown, stalking creeping terror of what follows Jay is well done, with a scene by the beach and in an indoor pool being truly excellent at showing how this force can hurt more than just it’s intended victims.
If you’ve felt a little bored of the classic slasher and have been looking for something that feels fresh and original, give this one a try. Also, don’t have sex, apparently, either.
4. The Invitation (2015)
Being invited to a dinner party in the LA canyons by your ex-wife and her husband is totally not awkward enough right? So let’s make it worse and add murder. Will and his wife Eden divorced after the tragic accidental death of their young son, and now Eden lives with her new husband David and is hosting a dinner party in which she invites Will, his current girlfriend Kira, and several of their mutual friends plus a few friends of David. What starts as awkward starts to thaw a little, but something has Will feeling a little off and then sliding into paranoia about what’s actually going on. It doesn’t help Eden and David have seemed to find “religion”, and not in a good way, and the party definitely goes tits up when people start dying.
This is a slow burn type of thriller that ratches up the tension incrementally, and makes me hope the LA wellness crowd sticks to yoga and adaptogens, and, you know, not mass murder.
5. Berlin Syndrome (2017)
When a holiday fling goes wrong in this film, it goes really, really wrong. Aussie tourist and photojournalist Clare is visiting Berlin where she meets local gym teacher Andi, a seemingly kind, slightly shy man who she keeps running into. What seems like two lonely souls finding comfort in a physical connection goes very wrong when he’s not willing to let Clare go. Not just emotionally either, Andi locks Clare in his apartment and ends up keeping her trapped there, trying to force the relationship to continue.
This is another one that starts off a bit slow, but then when shit hits the fan (or rather, lock hits the door) the film dives deeper and deeper into the tension of Clare trying to survive her captivity, discovering she was likely not the first girl Andi has kidnapped and then trying to survive his growing dissatisfaction with her that could likely be fatal. All in all, Berlin Syndrome is a good thriller/drama and Teresa Palmer as Clare really sells the loneliness, fragility, and yet also stubborn strength of her character. Moral of the story is, when Nice Guys go bad, they go realllllly bad.
Lauren Gallo has been a horror fan since family members who would babysit her as a child would leave things like A Nightmare on Elm Street on in the background. A sometimes contributing writer to Geek Nerdery, Lauren now spends a lot of her time on the real-life horror that is riding Bay Area Rapid Transit and relaxing to Bon Appetit Youtube videos.