All posts by Bryan Wolford

Filmmaker, Author, and Podcaster.

Nightbreed & Lord Of Illusion

This episode we decided to chat about two Clive Barker films. First we try to find our way to Mideon in NIGHTBREED. Then we watch Scott Bakula leap into a mystery about magicians in LORD OF ILLUSION. We also talk about the horror of going to the high school prom, The Tiger King, and the Benoit murder suicide in The Dark Side Of The Ring.

No Holds Barred & Paradise Alley

It’s TIME! It’s time to Rumble! First up we watch Hulk Hogan try to save his wrestling federation from greedy TV businessman in NO HOLDS BARRED. Then we watch Sly Stallone use and abuse his brother and keep sending him into the wrestling ring in PARADISE ALLEY. Also we chat about what happened to all the MTV VJs, VENDETTA, COLOR OUT OF SPACE, and if we think Doug’s kid could beat him up.

Return To Oz & The Black Hole

This episode we look at some Disney kid’s movies that seem to be far from kids movies in tone. First up Dorthy takes a trip back to Oz in RETURN TO OZ. After that Anthony Perkins and Robert Forester almost get sucked into THE BLACK HOLE. We also talk about DESTROYER, KNIVES OUT, and the trailer for the new CANDYMAN.

Barberella & Sorceress

This week it’s time for some kick ass ladies of the past and the future. First up we’re taking a look at cross dressing twins in the past who are magic in SORCERESS. After that Jane Fonda takes us into the future to see how gravity affects . . . life in Barberella. After that we chat about VFW, McMillion$, and My Bloody Valentine.

Death Spa & Killer Workout

We try to finally hit the gym with these 2 80s workout horror films. First up we learn about the all new state of the art facility that is totally not going to cause problems at the Starbody Health Spa in DEATH SPA. After that we hit up Rhonda’s Workout as our workout buddies start to disappear in KILLER WORKOUT! We also talk about the new Batsuit, Locke & Key, and Birds Of Prey.

He Knows You’re Alone & The Burbs

This week we take a look at two horrorcentric films that have Tom Hanks in them. First up we take a look at the Halloween rip off where Hanks plays a jogger in HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE. Then Hanks takes center stage as a weird family moves into THE BURBS. Also we talk about You, Blackkklansman, and Road Games.

The Last Boy Scout & The Long Kiss Goodnight

This episode we’re talking about movies written by Shane Black. First up we check out football with Bruce Willis in THE LAST BOY SCOUT. After that we lose our minds with Geena Davis in THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT. Then Bryan tells stories about his family, we talk The Outsider, and also Deep Blue Sea 2.

Ghoulies & Munchies

After our prolonged holiday break we’re back with a new episode about weird little monsters. First we’re partying in Charles Band’s mansion with GHOULIES. After that we go hang with Roger Corman and get some MUNCHIES amigo. Also Noah does some technical tests on air, we chat about Marvel Movies, Crisis On Infinite Earths, and Nightbreed.

The Shadow & The Phantom

This week we’re taking a look at two movies that tried to put some old pulp heroes into their own movie franchises but ultimately failed. First up Alec Baldwin tries to show us that THE SHADOW knows. After that Billy Zane gets ripped and tells us to slam evil in THE PHANTOM. After that we chat about CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY, MUPPETS MOVIES, and finally end per usual with some Mandalorian talk.

Scream Blacula Scream & Blackenstein

We are revisiting the Blacula films with Pam Grier in SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM. Then we’re visiting a scientist who has the best intentions but sadly he ends up creating BLACKENSTEIN. We also talk about the merits of Friday The 13th films, Good Boys, The Movies That Made Us, and Of Unknown Origin. Also at the end we chat about the latest episode of The Mandalorian.

Don’t Look IN THe Attic & Don’t Look In The Basement

This week it’s time to spend some quality time in the rooms in our houses that we neglect. First up we talk DON’T LOOK IN THE ATTIC and then we DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT. After that we talk some Jojo Rabbit, 21 Bridges, Star Wars Rebels, and in what has become a new segment we talk about episode of 4 of THE MANDALORIAN.

Mom And Dad Save The World & Stay Tuned

We have a weird theme this month but let’s just say it was parents going on crazy adventures. Ok? First up Jeffrey Jones and Teri Garr have to save the Earth from destruction from Jon Lovitz in MOM AND DAD SAVE THE WORLD. Then John Ritter and Mindy from MORK AND MINDY get sucked into their TV . . . that Jeffrey Jones sold them in STAY TUNED. Also we chat about Disney+, The New Kids, and Doctor Sleep. Then at the end of the show we chat about the first two episodes of The Mandalorian.

The Black Windmill & Three Days Of The Condor

This week Doug and Bryan are reviewing some spy movies. First up Michael Caine gets his son kidnapped and gets to ride on a Hovercraft in THE BLACK WINDMILL. After that Robert Redford finds all his office mates dead and of course that means he has to sleep with Faye Dunaway in THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR. Also we chat about THE MANDALORIAN, DOCTOR SLEEP, and STAR WARS in general.

Once Bitten & Vampire’s Kiss

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.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Blade

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.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Matt R. Jones

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,
ferocious charge.

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
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012HVGTLS
Unholy War: Rage & Redemption
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014CCUJE8
Not Of This Earth (inspired by The First Man Into Space, no less.)
https://www.amazon.com/This-Earth-Evolution-Night-Book-ebook/dp/B077MF3HT8

Dreams In The Witch House & The Black Cat

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.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Michael Therkelsen

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.