Hi all my fellow horror fans! Well, this week saw a significant decline in movie watching. I was simply busy and didn’t get to all the films I had planned to watch. However, let’s review the ones that were watched.
Cheerleader Camp 1988 | 1 hr 29 min | USA| Directed by: John Quinn | Written by: David Lee Fein, R. L. O’ Keefe || Type: Slasher | Rating: *** out 5
Summary: Girl is a cheerleader and is having bad dreams. She travels with cheer leading squad that includes 2 guys to a training camp for cheerleaders. Her boyfriend is a bit of a player. His friend is a voyeur and pervert. At the came weird things start happening. People start going missing and found murdered. Everyone wants to know is up to the killings as the camp director tries to hide the issues from authorities.
My Take: A quick and low down slasher. It starts out with a nightmare sequence of the lead girl, Allison, wanting to be loved but it is instead attacked. She wakes on the cheer leading squad’s van ride to a remote cheer leading camp. When they get to their destination, cue camp and cheesy circumstance with typical cat fighting, gore, boobs, drinking and drugs, boobs, oddball characters, and non-side splitting one liners. It’s a lot of yuck. It’s not below average, but it’s one that does have a nice twist at the end that is executed well.
Madness Points: 2 Points
Rocktober Blood (1988) | 1 hr 29 min | USA| Directed by: Beverly Sebastian | Written by: Beverly Sebastian, Ferd Sebastian | Type: Metal Slasher | Rating: ***out of 5
Summary: The setting begins in a recording studio. The lead singer leaves and the backing vocalist goes to lay her tracks. Things aren’t going right so they call it a day, Lynn and the sound engineer. Lynn sneaks off to the upstairs jacuzzi before heading home. Meanwhile, Billy sneaks back in, murders the sound engineer and precedes to attack Lynn as she is leaving. She escapes thanks to a security guard. Fast forward, Lynn is reveling in some spotlight success after Billy is sent to jail and she becomes leader of the band, renamed to Headmistress. What Lynn and the others don’t know is Billy has come back to take his revenge.
My Take: I think this is the first horror film that has a metal music setting. I am not counting Rockula because that isn’t even remotely metal. Also, Rockula is a horror comedy. This is a slasher! To be honest, it’s kind of hard to top the slasher genre after the bar has been set by Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. However, Rocktober Blood isn’t exactly a simple slasher. The killer kills Lynn’s friends on his pursuit to make her his number #1 and hides them, making her seem like she is crazy because she keeps talking about an “invisible” stalker/murderer. It’s not a terribly great movie, and I am only giving it 3 stars because A real metal band named Sorcery put together the music in the film, which was the best decision the filmmaker made. For a movie with a background set in the music industry, they didn’t skimp on the music so let’s applaud them for it.
Madness Points: 2 Points
The Willies (1990)| 1 hr 32 min | USA| Directed by: Brian Peck| Written by: Brian Peck || Type: Horror Anthology | Rating: *** out of 5
Summary: Two brothers, Kyle and Josh, and their cousin, Michael (Sean Astin), huddle in a tent in the backyard and decide to tell scary stories to one another, each one of which they claim to be absolutely true. In the first ten minutes of the film, they tell a series of brief stories. Michael tells a story about a nice janitor who actually turns out to be a monster and eats people. The brothers scoff at the story and say that they have an even better story. The second story is about a bullied kid who happens to have a bad attitude himself. He’s not nice to anyone. His past time is collecting flies and making dioramas with their dead corpses. To get more flies, he robs the fertilizer of a neighboring farmer. However, the farmer has a revenge in his eyes and behaves like a spider – weaving a web to catch a fly. When the story ends, the brothers assert their story is more believable. You will have to watch the movie to discover the ending. No spoilers here. 😉
My Take: Though this movie has been panned, I enjoyed it. The movie features several stories. It is nice to hear Sean drop a deliberate Goonies reference. Brian Peck, the director and writer, is actually Scuz from Return of the Living Dead and he enlists two of his castmates for the film – James Karen and Clu Gulager. This is the only movie Brian has written and directed according to Wikipedia. You also see cameos by Growing Pains stars Kirk Cameron (before he turned into a wretched human being), Jeremy Miller, Tracey Gold, and Kirk’s present day wife Chelsea Noble. Twin Peaks alums Dana Ashbrook (who recently married Day of the Dead star Lori Cardille’s Daugher) and Kimmy Robertson also appear as does Michael Bower, who played Donkey Lips on Salute Your Shorts. The stories remind me of Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt. I think this would make a nice horror watch with your kids.
Madness Points: 2 Points (+ 1 Bonus for #8) = 3 Points Overall
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976) | 1 hr | USA| Directed by: Sid Smith| Written by: Bruce Vilanch, Ronny Graham, Ron Perlman, Biff Manard, Sol Weinstein| Type: Halloween TV Special | Rating: *** out of 5
Summary: The Paul Lynde Halloween Special was a Halloween-themed TV special starring Paul Lynde that broadcasted in 1976 on ABC. Margaret Hamilton guest and in made her first reprisal of her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Other guest stars included Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf, Tim Conway, Roz Kelly, Florence Henderson, rock band KISS, Billy Barty as Gallows the Butler, Betty White, and Donny and Marie Osmond, who made a brief surprise visit.
My Take: I was scouring YouTube for old Halloween specials and I happened upon Paul Lynde. I remember him as Uncle Arthur from the show Bewitched. He always managed to crack me up with his sass and delivery. Paul was a stand-up comedian, voice artist, and TV personality. He was a highly recognized character actor with “a distinctively campy and snarky persona that often poked fun at his barely in-the-closet homosexuality.” When he was in college at Northwestern, some of his fellow students included Cloris Leachman, Charlotte Rae, Patricia Neal, Jeffrey Hunter and Claude Akins. Many children would come to recognize Lynde as the voice of the gluttonous rat Templeton in the animated feature Charlotte’s Web.
The comedy is definitely campy and snarky but that is it’s charm. The special has lots of guests. There is a snarky exchange between Lynde and Betty White that is highly amusing. Watch out for it. This special also marked KISS’s national debut on Television. Paul Lynde has interesting history, and sadly, his life was cut short due to a heart attack, which might have been caused by his substance abuse and drinking issues. It is said that Paul Lynde isn’t looked upon well by the LGBTQ community because he represented To the homosexual community, “what’s perceived to be a self-loathing era for gay culture.”
Madness Points: 1 Point
Diary of a Madman (1963)| 1 hr 29 min | USA| Directed by: Reginald Le Borg| Written by: Robert E. Kent based on stories by Guy de Maupassant | Type: Supernatural, Possession, Evil Spirit |Rating: *** 1/2 out of 5
Summary: Following the funeral of Simon Cordier (Vincent Price), a French magistrate, his secret diary is read out by a pastor friend to a group that included Simon’s servants and a police captain. The diary reveals that Simon has been influenced by a malevolent entity called a Horla. The Horla is an invisible, corporeal being endowed with limited psychokinesis and complete mind control. The entry implies that Cordier’s horla is one of a whole race of evil beings which devote themselves to driving humans insane.
My Take: The horla comes in contact with Cordier after he visits a man that is sentenced die because of murder, murder he swears he didn’t commit. However, the man’s eyes begin to glow (our clue something otherworldly is happening) and he flings himself at Cordier, trying to murder him. Cordier fights him off only for him to fall and bludgeon himself to death on the side of some furniture or the ground, you choose. As a result, Simon inherits the prisoner’s affliction as the horla turns its focus towards him.
As the horla begins to destroy Cordier’s life, Chis fears of going mad overwhelm him and he seeks help from a psychologist, who suggests he take up a hobby. Cordier chooses to resume his hobby of sculpture. However, the horla isn’t done with him yet.
Vincent is always mesmerizing when he is on screen from his posture, physicality, demeanor, voice and delivery – the man was a force to be reckoned with on film. Watching Vincent Price take a character and force him through madness must be the equivalent of watching painter painting. Stroke after stroke, layer after layer, and slowly even in the chaos of impending insanity there is the quietness of perfection. Excellent sets, costuming, hairdressing, supporting players, and a good director helped to make this an entertaining elder horror film.
Madness Points: 2 Points
Master’s Sun (2013) | 1 hr 29 min | South Korea| Directed by: Jin Hyuk | Written by: The Hong Sisters | Type: Supernatural, Romantic Comedy : Episodic TV Show | Episodes: Watched 3 of 17 | Rating: **** out of 5
Summary: A young and gloomy woman named Tae Gong-shil (Gong Hyo-jin) is haunted by ghosts after suffering a tragic accident years ago. Her life suddenly changes when she meets the greedy and stingy OO Joong-won (So Ji-Sub), a CEO of a glamorous conglomerate. Whenever she touches him, all the ghosts retreat and she is normal. She feels at peace and ease. She can rest, something that is a rarity for her. Their lives take a new turn as they work together to deal with the terror and sadness brought about by the ghosts, while delving into a kidnapping incident in Joong-won’s past.
My Take: How can a horror fan not like a story about ghosts? I have only watched three episodes of Master’s Sun. However, I have watched other shows written by The Hong Sisters. They are a solid pair of writings. The main leads have excellent chemistry. The imagery for the ghosts remind of typical types of film representations of Asian ghosts. They are not easy to look at, but they can revert their image back to a more human form when they want to do it. Some ghosts want help, some desire the comfort of their former lives, others are gripped in madness, and I am sure there are probably some to come forth that desire to be evil. I will have to report more as I watch the series.
Madness Points: 1 Point per episode = 3 Points Overall
The Comedy of Terrors (1963) | 1 hr 29 min | USA| Directed by: Jacques Tourneur| Written by: Richard Matheson || Type: Horror-Comedy | Rating: **** out of 5
Summary: This movie stars Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and David Niven. This movie surprised me greatly because Vincent Price plays Mr. Trumble, a horrible, greedy, drunkard. He’s personality is hideous and unscrupulous. Mr. Trumble is an undertaker. To acquire the business, he married the former owner’s daughter. He treats her abominably with crass and snobbery-laden insults. All the meanwhile, he is slowly poisoning her father and disenfranchising the other undertaker, who secretly pines for Mrs. Trumble. Spending his money on booze has cost Mr. Trumble dearly, to drum on money, he does what comes natural to him – pray upon the weak. Instead of waiting for death to do its job, he speeds it on. However, he begins to get more than he bargains.
My Take: I didn’t quite set out to make this week about Vincent, but I was starting to think I was having a theme week picking more than one Vincent movie to watch. Vincent is hilarious as a sketchy, drunk undertaker with a heart of coal. His mannerisms are certainly a bit outlandish but reigned in enough that it’s not too much. All the actors and actresses do a terrific job with Richard Matheson’s script. Very witty with a bit of cheese but not dry at all. A very palatable and funny movie. It was cast well.
Madness Points: 2 Points
The Void (2016) | 1 hr 29 min | Canada| Directed by: Steven Kostanski, Jeremy Gillespie| Written by: Steven Kostanski, Jeremy Gillespie | Type: Lovecraftian | Rating: **** 1/2 out of 5
Summary: The plot follows a group of people who have been trapped in a hospital by a gathering of hooded cultists. They soon discover that the hospital is a breeding ground for grotesque creatures.
My Take: The reputation of The Void spread like wildfire. If you like Lovecraft, I think this movie will totally be your jam. It features creepy hooded cultists, outlandish murders, creatures slaying bodies from the inside out with vorpal precision. There is the creepy Rosemary Baby’s mother, a nurse in over her head, police enforcement, who despite, their best efforts, can’t seem prevent others being wrangled off by tentacles waiting to drag them all to hell. The setting is limited and takes chiefly at a hospital but the psycho rabid’s rabbit hole goes deep. With a highly rich, gross, magnificent sent up of body horror a la Hellraiser – you get a taste of the pleasures of hell but in blindingly white glowing triangle. It’s not fast paced but certainly not slow. I highly recommend this visual feast. Did I mention the sound and score are fantastic!
Madness Points: 2 Points
The Devil’s Candy (2015)| 1 hr 29 min | USA| Directed by: Sean Byrne| Written by: Sean Byrne | Type: Supernatural, Satanic | Rating: *** out of 5
Summary: Ray’s not having an epic year. He’s hearing voices. When Ray hear’s the voices, bad things happen.
My Take: Ray is just your average guy trying to shred his guitar to avoid hearing the devil or whatever fowl creature it is whispering in his ear. His mother doesn’t take him seriously, so, you know she has to go. Ray takes a trip and the house is sold to a new family – a painter, his wife, and daughter. All is swell, Dad really loves painting again. He’s very inspired, by voices. Ray find’s freedom and shacks up in a motel. Ray listens to tapes about the Devil and jams until his neighbors grow tired of him. You would think the dad would be wondering why he’s hearing voices? I might think I was going crazy, how about you? Ray shows back up to his old home and meets Zoey – uh uh, crush time. Zoey wants to invite Ray in but dad is like nope, too young, go away creepy guy. Ray thinks Zoey is the one. How far is Ray going to go to make Zoey number #1?
This movie had a good cast. It was well paced and creepy. One of the reason I think you see mental illness brought up in horror movies a lot is that mental illness is still quite a mystery to many of us. While we have medicine to control the behavior of people, it doesn’t work for everybody or there can be an accident when someone forgets their meds. The brain is one of the most intricate puzzles, and I hope we get closer and closer to understanding. However, the devil is a clever way to explore mental illnesses without exactly demonizing those who suffer from an illness. I thought the ending stumbled a little but ends as it should. It isn’t highly illogical.
Madness Points: 2 Points
Hellraiser (1987) | 1 hr 29 min | UK| Directed by: Clive Barker | Written by: Clive Barker || Type: Supernatural, Body Horror | Rating: **** out of 5
Summary: Hellraiser made supernatural, body horror that made that subgenre itsbitch and came back for more in subsequent sequels. Hellraiser is based on Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart. The film involves the resurrection of Frank (Sean Chapman), who had opened the door to an alternate dimension & had his body torn to pieces by demonic creatures known as Cenobites. Flash forward, Frank’s brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) moves into their late mother’s abandoned house with his wife, Julia (Clare Higgins). While moving in, Larry has an accident in the attic. Some of his blood spills onto the floor, which somehow triggers Frank’s resurrection. However, to complete his resurrection, he needs more blood. Julia brings Frank what he needs whilst Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), Larry’s daughter, discovers Frank’s puzzle box leading her to square off against the Cenobites.
My Take: Hellraiser to me is that twisted, body horror rendition of the painting on Sistine Chapel. Barker slaps his paints on his canvas and from it comes this visual mindfuck of a creature. Carnage, masochism, sadism, and more. Human curiosity runs his head smack into a break wall, laughing all the way. It’s a canvas of madness, lust, and the demented but highly intense nature of human nature. What craziness lies in each human being when sanity is stripped by bloody hedonism and exuberant, egotistical wankerdom. For me the film drives home a theme of survival and choices that we are not always asked to make but forced to make.
Madness Points: 2 Points
Madness Points: 25 Points Bonus for watching The Void, The Devil’s Candy, and Hellraiser with the group
The Boogens (1981)| 1 hr 29 min | USA| Directed by: James L. Conway | Written by: David O’Malley, Jim Kouf (as Bob Hunt) | Type: Science Fiction Horror | Rating: *** out of 5
Summary: A group of guys are working on revitalizing and opening an abandon serious of mines for a company. In the process, they unleash a hidden evil beneath a town.
My Take: There is a saying that if it was abandoned there might be reason for it especially if many years ago a lot of people died. However, it’s a mine shaft. It was a cave in. What could really be lurking beneath the earth’s surface. Boogens! Our cast come to find themselves up to their ears in sinister camera shots that glance to and away. You really don’t come to learn what a Boogen is until near the end. This tactic is good for adding suspense. What we do get a glimpse of is tentacles with sharp claws as they slash and drag our poor protagonists to their doom. Add a dash of creepy old man lurking, and I think you have a winner! The cast is competent. The dialogue is a bit cornball. There’s not really ti me for a lot of character growth, you just get who you get. However, they keep short and sweet and you get the gist of the characters. Some of the actions takes place in a creepy cabin and some in the old mine shaft. The film gave some good atmosphere in places. This makes for a decent rental, not so sure a buy.
However, if you are fan of movie facts, the opening credits made use of several still image zoom (zoom burst) and panning techniques that predate by several years the motion effects popularized by filmmaker Ken Burns, which later became hugely popular features in Apple Inc.’s iMovie software program (Wikipedia).
Madness Points: 2 Points (+ 1 Bonus for #8)
The Outing (aka The Lamp) (1987)| 1 hr 29 min | USA| Directed by: Warren Chaney | Written by: Warren Chaney | Type: Supernatural | Rating: *** out of 5
Summary: The Outing follows a group of teenagers who decide to spend the night in a museum but end up getting stalked by an evil genie.
My Take: The story initially starts off with a little foreshadowing, magic bracelet and a sinister lamp. We flash forward where a group of adults raid an old woman’s house looking for loot. In the process, they attack the old woman, killing here, and make off with a genie lamp. However, they never manage to escape the house. All leave in body bags the next day. the bracelet and lamp get shipped to a natural science museum. From here on, the genie escapes and the mayhem begins. The movie was panned hard and was especially disparaged for it’s poor special effects. The old lady makeup at the beginning was horrific. It was not very good old age make up. They should have found an older lady to play the part. This film in my opinion is a bit lazy, the dialogue is a bit blown, the special effects are hackneyed, and the character just a bit too much. I gave it three stars because of its potential and the charm it has being a cheesy movie from the 80s. I wouldn’t add it to my collection of films.
Edited Note: Please be aware there is some racially charged language in this movie. Bad guys don’t generally use nice words, you know. However, one thing I failed to champion is how when two the bad guys (high school setting) were roughing a girl and her friends. The female teacher laid him out all on her own. Early signs of female empowerment even if it came from a B-movie. The principal, who was black, was who the racially charged language was thrown at. He served the punk up proper. Strong figures shown in this movie if they were small scenes.
Madness Points: 2 Points
TOTAL MADNESS POINTS: 53 POINTS