Sleep Well, Mr. Romero …

Now that I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on it, I wanted to get some thoughts down on George Romero. How I got into his work, what it’s meant to me & why this hits harder than other Director’s deaths have.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I got into Horror, but it was a gradual progression from an interest in Science Fiction. I remember taking out Sci-Fi movie books from the library & watching old gems with my Father on Saturday Night at the Movies (Elwy Yost was the Host with the Most), and like most kids, I was into aliens and the idea of life (or afterlife) that we cannot see, but believe in all the same.

I always wanted to impress / please my Father with great gifts for his October birthday (Halloween Month FTW), but he hasn’t always been the easiest to shop for (that said, I’ve been on a roll the past few years). I knew he liked old black and white movies, and we’d enjoyed watching stuff like Bride of Frankenstein & The Creature from the Black Lagoon together, so you can imagine my excitement when I read about a movie called “Night of the Living Dead”. It was apparently a Classic (we always had a Leonard Maltin Movie Guide in the house), it was Old & it was Black and White, how could it fail ??

I bought him a double VHS release, which included a second tape of “Special Features” (what a time to be alive). It even had a fold out cover with an essay on the film itself. Surely I had knocked it out of the park with this gift ! I can imagine what was going through his head when he opened up that gift, seeing my face beaming and excitedly waiting to watch it with him. I remember showing the tape of Features to my friends, and we all enjoyed the original trailer, with it’s over the top narration and classic use of musical cue …

Having been internally convinced that I’d gotten the perfect gift, you can imagine my delight when Mr. Maltin let me know that there was not only one, but TWO sequels to NOTLD ! I immediately hatched a plan to get him the second film for his next birthday, then to complete the trilogy on the birthday after that. Once again, I tracked down a double VHS (with fold out cover) at Music World (RIP), and I was EXTRA excited to give him his gift that year.

Watching him open that gift, I couldn’t help but sense (even at a young age) that he wasn’t nearly as thrilled to receive it as I was to give it. But how ? Surely he had loved the previous film, it was old and in black & white ! Still, I was excited to watch this new film with him, and I bided my time as it sat unopened on or VHS shelf, week after week. Eventually I broke down and became determined to watch the film, with or without him. Even though he hadn’t cracked open the plastic yet, I was determined to find a way …

When I was growing up, we ran a year round campground / resort in cottage country. The year I gave him DOTD, I was probably around 12 or so. My parents very rarely got to go out for non-family dinners, and since I was finally old enough to look after the place (after close) for a few hours, they left me alone on a cold January night, with my dog … and an unguarded VHS copy of Dawn of the Dead ! After I was sure they were gone, I snaked the movie off the shelf (where it had lived for months) and I got a knife and went to work, slooooowly cutting enough of the plastic that would allow for me to slip the main tape out of the box.

I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I’d given him WEEKS to open / watch it with me, and my little heart just couldn’t wait any longer. I popped the tape in and let the movie wash over me. That is, until about halfway through, when I heard the unmistakable “crunch, crunch” sound of two people walking through the snow, in our backyard, in the middle of nowhere, with no family members anywhere nearby, and me alone, watching a scary movie, with no curtains drawn on the back window. I sat there, paralyzed, unsure what to do first. They KNEW someone was home, as I hadn’t closed the curtains. But we lived in the middle of nowhere, in the dead (cough) of winter. Who COULD it be ??

I slowly reached for the remote and shut the movie off, then I heard a slow knock on the sliding glass door on our back deck. Still terrified, I walked over to the back room and turned on the porch light. Standing on our deck were two HUGE men, dressed in large winter jackets and staring at me. I knew they wouldn’t just go away, but I had no weapon, apart from a part Lab / part Border Collie named Bart. I reluctantly walked towards the door, unlocked it and slid it open a few inches. It turned out to be two russian men who had walked across the lake, seen our lights, then come to see if we had any liqour for them, to “warm them up”.

Thinking quickly (and having seen many PSA’s, thanks Bert and Gert !), I told them my Father was in the shower, but that I would go and check with him. My dog was growling the entire time, which was honestly my only consolation for the intense fear of the situation. I closed the door, went to the kitchen and considered my options. I ended up waiting a few minutes, then going back and telling them that my Father doesn’t drink … but that I was pretty sure that the (rival) resort down the road had plenty of alcohol (I’m not proud, but it worked). I closed and locked the door, shut off the light and waited. They didn’t move for a minute, but gradually the “crunch, crunch” of them walking away put me at ease, and 10 minutes later, I resumed the film.

In watching that film, I soon came to realize that my Father had NEVER been a fan of Horror, and most likely never knew how to let me down easy. I had been able to slip the tape back into it’s case, and “skillfully” add some scotch tape to the cut area (genius), and shockingly, it NEVER came up. Almost as if he never touched that movie again after setting it up on it’s shelf, where it beckoned to me all those months. This revelation lead to me purchasing the third film, Day of the Dead, but not for my Father this time … but for myself.

It pleases me that my love of the Father of Zombies will always be linked to my own Father, even if he was never a fan of the man’s films himself. He always respected my love of Horror, even if it’s not a genre he could ever love himself. As I grew older and discovered other Romero gems like Martin, Creepshow & The Crazies, I grew to appreciate what an indelible mark he had left on the genre. Not dissimilar to the way my Father had helped shape me into the man that now types these very words.

In the years that have passed since that fateful NOTLD gift, I have seen literally countless Horror films, but my absolute favourite is (and always will be) Creepshow. As a huge fan of 50’s Horror Comics, Romero (and King) absolutely nailed the tone, and I love everything about that film. I’m pleased to have seen it on the big screen, though dismayed to say I passed on a chance to see it again on the big screen this year, with Romero in attendance. That said, I did see Night of the Living Dead on the big screen for the first time this year, and it was a surreal mix of emotions, almost equal to those I’m experiencing now.

It’s been said of Romero that he was unbelievably kind and humble, grateful to have touched so many souls with an oeuvre that is the envy of the average filmmaker. He shaped a genre that still thrills us today, with ideas and films that will live forever, even if the man himself could not. I’m sad I never got to meet him, but through a love for his films and his spirit, and through the eyes of so many others, I feel like I knew him very well.

The outpouring of grief and kind words seen in the past 24 hours is truly inspiring, and speaks well to the imprint left by this man. George was larger than life, larger than the afterlife even. As a fan of the Remakes of NOTLD, DOTD and The Crazies, it’s astounding to me that even re-imaginings of his work can work on different levels, another testament to his genius. While he never got all that was coming to him, financially AND credit wise, his legend will only grow from here on out, and I look forward to remembering the man and his work.

To George A Romero, the creator of the best birthday presents a boy could want …

Lazron’s 2015 October Horrorthon !

Well, it’s that time of year again ! The month that everyone ELSE watches as many Horror movies as I usually do every other month. It’s a wonderful time of year for many other reasons too. The changing of the leaves, Pumpkin flavoured things (mainly beer), Crisp temperatures, Halloween, etc. Some would argue it’s the best time of the year, leading up the best holiday of the year ! But most wouldn’t.

Anyway, I wanted to do my October Horrorthon a bit differently this year. Generally I pick 31 movies I’ve been meaning to see but have yet to get around to. There are still tons of those, but I’ve also amassed a pretty great collection of DVD’s & Blu Rays … Which have then never been watched. Coupled with that, my wife & I celebrated out first year of marriage a few months ago and I wanted to get her a bit more involved with things.

She’s also a Horror fan, but not so much pre-90’s or low budget (or black & white, or foreign). Many people aren’t, and she has many other wonderful traits, so it’s perfectly reasonable & to be expected. She has a pretty good track record of liking really good Horror flicks though (It Follows, Starry Eyes, The Descent, Triangle, Cheap Thrills, Oculus, Big Bad Wolves, Ginger Snaps), so it’s not like she doesn’t know what’s up.

Anyway, it occurred to me that I could combine my urge to re-watch movies I’ve bought (and never re-watched) AND my urge to expose her to great Horror she has yet to see, so I went with a half-half. 15 of my selections will be stellar Horror hand-picked by me in the hopes that she’ll also dig them. 12 others will be ones I’ve seen/bought but not revisited. As a FURTHER compromise (to myself basically) the remaining 3 will be NEW/acclaimed Horror that neither of us has seen. 1 will even be in theaters ! Horrific Date Night !!

Anyway, the final selections are listed below, for your judgement/approval/hatred. Odd numbers are for Her, even numbers are for Me, though some of my selections could have made Her list as well, so we’ll see if I can rope her into more than 16 viewings. This year is a bit unorthodox, but I think I killed it. Cough.

1) May (2002)

may-movie-poster-2002-1020201863“A lonely young woman traumatized by a difficult childhood, and her increasingly desperate attempts to connect with the people around her.”

Classic movie, and one I’m shocked wasn’t in my collection (especially since I own “Roman”. Who has “Roman” & NOT “May” ??). Easily one of the best Horror films in the past 20 years, with masterful acting & directing by McKee & Bettis. Stoked to re-watch it.

2) Deathgasm (2015)

c363cbfe93753a0f30c64640cc134788_500x735

“Two teenage boys unwittingly summon an ancient evil entity known as The Blind One by delving into black magic while trying to escape their mundane lives.”

I’ve been hearing great things about this festival darling & have had the calendar circled for weeks in anticipation (the calendar is metaphorical, I’ve circled nothing). Word is there are many laughs & much violence to be had. Colour me intrigued !

3) Attack the Block (2011)

550w_movies_attack_the_block“A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion.”

Some could argue it’s more of a Sci-Fi than a Horror, but it’s pretty damn horrific to me. Despite that, it’s just an all around great film, and one I’ve not seen a second time (despite my vocabulary adoption of “Bruv” and “Fam”). Here’s hoping it still holds up. I’m also looking forward to re-watching John Boyega, now that we know he’ll be a major part of the Star Wars series in 2 short months !

4) Scarecrows (1988)

Scarecrows“Five people heist the Camp Pendleton payroll, kidnap a pilot and his daughter, who are forced to fly them to Mexico. Enroute a double cross has one of the thieves parachute with the loot into an abandoned graveyard surrounded by strange scarecrows. Two of the team jump after their loot and their former partner. Everything happens during the course of one very dark night.”

It was great to see MGM finally give this the DVD release it deserved many years ago, but even better to see Scream Factory give it some extras & an HD transfer. A somewhat uneven film (as I recall), but spectacular scarecrow effects & unnerving tension throughout makes this a worthwhile choice.

5) Some Guy Who Kills People (2011)

some-guy-who-kills-people-poster“Ken Boyd, a lonely man fresh out of the loony bin, who sets out to kill those he deems responsible for his miserable life.”

This seemed to be an Under the Radar flick for most, which is a shame because it’s quite good. Treading more along the lines of comedy, it’s not without its bloody kills as well. He acting is too notch, and the mystery & laughs (especially the interaction between the main character and his daughter) kept me involved throughout my first viewing.

6) Xtro (1982)

xtro-movie-poster-1983-1020380521“Tony’s father Sam, abducted by aliens three years earlier, returns to earth and seeks out his wife and son, but Rachel has since been living with Joe and the reunion is awkward. Joe doesn’t trust Sam, and Rachel can’t quite decide what her feelings are for her two men. Sam is not the same as when he left, and he begins affecting Tony in frightening ways.”

Now HERE’S a movie begging for an extras-packed HD release. A suitably oddball UK alien horror with an unforgettable “Woman giving birth to grown man” scene, I’m really excited to dust off this old chestnut. One I’ve not seen since my Video Store days (and probably shouldn’t have seen then, but I’ll take it).

7) Deep Red (1975)

s-l1000“A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and then teams up with a fiesty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen killer bent on keeping a dark secret buried.”

In my opinion this is easily Argento’s best film (sorry “Juno”, I mean “Suspiria” fans). I’ve actually only seen it once, but it left such an impression on me over the years. I was really more of a Fulci fan for a long time, but as I got older & re-visited the works of both directors, it was really more like comparing Tarantino to Roth (or Bay to Scott, whatever you like). Hopefully my wife can get past the year it was made & the language it was shot in, but I’ll take the risk !

8) The Offspring (1987)

WHISP-002“In a small Tennessee town, an historian relates four horror stories to a reporter.”

TECHNICALLY I should refer to this by it’s original title of “From a Whisper to a Scream” (especially since I’m a real stickler for using original titles for albums & films). That said, I originally found/saw this as “The Offspring”, and later became a big fan of the band by that name (though I can’t defend all of their later material). I was overjoyed to see a reversible cover on the Scream Factory release, making “The Offspring” live forever on my movie wall. This is an extremely overlooked Anthology flick, featuring the last Horror role of Vincent Price (assuming we’re not counting “Dead Heat” or “Edward Scissorhands”, because come on).

9) The Blob (1988)

the-blob-movie-poster“A strange lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.”

Easily one of the better, and most overlooked, Horror remakes. A rare case of a remake improving upon the original (depending on when you were born & what you look for in Horror I suppose). Incredible practical FX, solid plot, a pre-“Saw” Shawnee Smith & an excellent ending all combine to make this almost a most classic, except among those who’ve sung its praises for years. This would make a great double bill with “Night of the Creeps”, though NOTC barely missed the cut on this years list. It may have to wait till next year to thrill me.

10) Alligator (1980)

ALLEY_TRAMP“A baby alligator is flushed down a Chicago toilet and survives by eating discarded laboratory rats injected with growth hormones. The small reptile grows gigantic, escapes the city sewers, and goes on a rampage.”

A late addition to the list, but one I’ve been meaning to get to since acquiring the DVD years ago. Arguably the best Gator-Horror flick ever made (honestly, it’s a short list. “Eaten Alive” ? “Rogue” ?), and possibly the greatest Crocodile-Horror ever made as well (“Lake Placid” ? “Crocodile” ? “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” ?). From what I recall, the effects still hold up, which is impressive in its own right considering how awful the “Lake Placid” series looks.

11) The Loved Ones (2009)

index“When Brent turns down his classmate Lola’s invitation to the prom, she concocts a wildly violent plan for revenge.”

Another recent instant-classic, Australia has been making some impressive forays into the genre in recent years (“The Reef” in particular is probably the best shark movie since “Jaws”, but then again, every shark movie cover says that). I loved the juxtaposition of Horror & Happiness during the intertwining storylines, and many Horror fans can identify with Prom being a real Horror Show.

12) Frankenstein’s Army (2013)

affiche-frankenstein-s-army-2013-4“Toward the end of World War II, Russian soldiers pushing into eastern Germany stumble across a secret Nazi lab, one that has unearthed and begun experimenting with the journal of one Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The scientists have used the legendary Frankenstein’s work to assemble an army of super-soldiers stitched together from the body parts of their fallen comrades — a desperate Hitler’s last ghastly ploy to escape defeat.”

Although some complained about the logistical/factual problems of a found footage movie set during World War 2, I absolutely fell in love with the creature design work in this film. My wife actually watched this one with me & was furious at the lack of historical accuracy, which I found to be a hilarious criticism of such a film, but hey, at least she watched it, right ? I look forward to my second viewing, alone again (naturally).

13) Sleep Tight (2011)

sleep-tight-movie-poster-2010-1020735230“You wake day after day to the comfort and security of your home. But how safe is it really?”

I only saw this for the first time a few months ago, but it was an exceptionally well made film that got under my skin & never truly left. While there have been several quality Spanish-made Horror films in the past decade, few have been as successful at slowly ratcheting up tension in a non-gory fashion. Well acted, written & put together, “Sleep Tight” is a real treat.

14) Horror Hospital (1973)

y“Jason, a member of a 1960’s pop group, decides he needs a break at a country retreat. On the train he meets Judy, niece of Aunt Harris who owns the place with her husband Dr Storm and who are using the guests for surgical mind-control experiments. So while Jason and Judy are pretty quickly making out, they are just as quickly working out how to get away.”

Probably the epitome of the kind of Horror my wife can’t get into, this movie is a ridiculous treat for fans of low budget, old school UK Horror. I’m a sucker for most movies set in a remote “Something’s not right here, but will they figure it out in time ??” locale, and as a bonus, this one has Alfred from Tim Burton’s “Batman” films ! Gough check it out ! Sorry.

15) I Saw the Devil (2010)

479c300b896892bcf4ba23f6da46da5d“A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.”

Another recent instant-classic from the “Who even thinks up this stuff ?” Japanese, this one is a tough watch at times, but well worth the effort. There are some impeccably filmed scenes here, and although the subject matter is a tad grim at times, the end result is well worth enduring. And hey, at least it’s not “Martyrs”, right ? It’s like a comedy compared to that ! (In no way is it like a comedy).

16) Tales of Halloween (2015)

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“Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents.”

Possibly the film I’m most excited for this October. I’m a HUGE fan of Horror Anthologies, and short stories in general. I’m the kind of guy who will buy 6 different beers instead of a 6 pack. That said, TOO MUCH variety is often overwhelming & more of a letdown (I’m looking at you “ABC’s of Death” series). “Tales of Halloween” has a stellar cast of filmmakers behind it, and has been getting great reviews thus far. Honestly, I’d be watching even if it didn’t, but I’m thrilled to be able to check it out in theaters.

17) The Signal (2007)

22“A horror film told in three parts, from three perspectives, in which a mysterious transmission that turns people into killers invades every cell phone, radio, and television.”

Another unheralded indie film, this one was interesting due to being 1 story told in 3 parts by 3 different writer/directors. The tone shifts throughout, but not to an unpleasant degree. The midsection’s switch to Comedy was jarring for some, but I appreciated the variety they were able to bring to the story. Even if the middle didn’t work for some, the first & third acts were horrifically impressive.

18) My Bloody Valentine (1981)

tumblr_lyncmw97hE1r8t8k6o1_1280“A decades old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine’s Day, turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer’s order and people start turning up dead.”

The original Canadian Classic ! To me, this movie didn’t really exist until MGM released the Uncut DVD/Blu Ray several years ago. I remember seeing it on TV & being completely underwhelmed, to the point of not even enjoying the film itself. There was a good amount of fanfare when the Uncut version was released, and I’m so glad it survived (even if the cut scenes weren’t of HD quality). The kill scenes absolutely MAKE this film, and elevate it to a higher Cult status than it had already enjoyed. Always nice to see some old school Moosehead bottles too. The less we say about the unintentionally hilarious MBV3D, the better.

19) Maniac (2012)

index232“As he helps a young artist with her upcoming exhibition, the owner of a mannequin shop’s deadly, suppressed desires come to the surface.”

Another example of a remake improving upon the original (sorry Spinell fans), “Maniac” turned the Horror world upset down with both the casting of Frodo and the decision to shoot entirely in POV. Now, anyone who had seen “Sin City” knew that Wood’s casting was well earned, but would they be able to shoot 90 mins from his point of view without making it tedious or monotonous for the audience ? Much like “Will “Buried” be able to make 90 mins in a coffin with Ryan Reynolds interesting” and “Will “Frozen” (the good one) be able to make 90 mins on a ski-life with Iceman nerve wracking”, the answer was a resounding Yes.

20) The Omen 2 (1978)

damien-omen-2-movie-poster-1978-1020466118“Damien the Antichrist, now thirteen years old, finally learns of his destiny under the guidance of an unholy disciple of Satan. Meanwhile dark forces begin to eliminate all those who suspect the child’s true identity.”

This might seem like an odd choice, but I actually preferred this film to any other “Omen” entry. There is a palpable sense of dread throughout, probably more so if you weren’t aware there were 2 sequels following. Several key scenes have always stuck with me, but the old man in the red snowsuit being trapped under the ice is one I’ll never forget. Who would’ve thought that Damien would eventually grow up to be in both “Jurassic Park” AND “In the Mouth of Madness” ?? He was truly blessed.

21) Slither (2006)

slither-movie-poster“A small town is taken over by an alien plague, turning residents into zombies and all forms of mutant monsters.”

Before rising to worldwide prominence for writing/directing “Guardians of the Galaxy” (but after marrying Pam from “The Office”) James Gunn wrote & directed this gross out Horror/Comedy gem. A partial homage to the aforementioned “Night of the Creeps”, you can tell the cast had a great time making this throwback genre flick. And speaking of decent Remakes, this was 3 years after he wrote the surprisingly decent “Dawn of the Dead” ! Not too shabby (unlike the remake of “Day of the Dead”).

22) The Burning (1981)

TheBurningfinal“A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.”

Another film rescued by MGM on DVD before before being re-rescued on Blu Ray by Scream Factory ! Actually, as I recall “The Burning” & “Scarecrows” made their DVD debut on the same day all those years ago ! “The Burning” is primarily known for 5 reasons. 1) It’s a rip-off of “Friday the 13th”. 2) Tom Savini did the FX. 3) It co-stars a young Jason Alexander (with hair !). 4) It was the first film made by Miramax (and was even co-written by one of the Weinstein’s). 5) Rick Wakeman (of “Yes”) did the soundtrack. Not a bad pedigree for a low budget Horror knock off !

23) Proxy (2013)

Proxy-Movie-Poster-Teaser“The life of three parents who have all shared the loss of a child. Motives are not what they seem and sanity is in short supply in this thriller.”

I saw this recently on Netflix & was quite impressed with the story & performances, so much so that I quickly went to Twitter to thank the Writer/Director for his efforts (he was pleased. Gotta love technology). Though the subject matter is a bit touchy at times, “Proxy” never goes overboard, instead drawing it’s story out gradually with an air of mystery throughout. Highly recommended (if you’re into that sort of thing).

24) Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

LetsScareJessicaToDeath-1971“A recently institutionalized woman has bizarre experiences after moving into a supposedly haunted country farmhouse and fears she may be losing her sanity once again.”

Another film that wouldn’t appeal to my wife in the slightest, “LSJTD” is a slow, brooding, mid-70’s Horror with an unnerving sense of dread permeating almost entirely through its running time. I’ve really come to appreciate these dreamlike 70’s Horrors (Lemora, Le Orme, Who Can Kill a Child, Voices, And Soon the Darkness), though I do see why some find them tedious, especially by today’s standards.

25) An American Werewolf in London (1981)

26262“Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.”

A classic film that still boasts arguably the best Werewolf transformation ever. This selection could go either way for my Wife, but I think the mixture of Comedy, Horror & above average effects has helped it stand the test of time. I’ve never been a big Werewolf guy (I found both “Near Dark” & “The Howling” to be flawed, though enjoyable), but “AAWIL” seems to be one most can agree on. Unlike the sequel …

26) Session 9 (2001)

session-9-movie-poster-2001-1020232902

“Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.”


A criminally underrated film, perhaps partly overlooked due to the casting of David Caruso. “Session 9” is an incredibly unnerving film that slowly drags you further under its spell, never letting go until the credits roll. I’m a sucker for films set in asylums (though most are horrible rather than horrific) & “Session 9” uses its settings to great advantage. It’s a tense, frightening & thrilling mystery that’s well worth your time, even if it co-stars CSI:NYPD Blue.

27) The Final Girls (2015)

The_Final_Girls_poster“A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom’s most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film’s maniacal killer.”

The third & final (lol?) “previously unseen” film is also arguably the most hyped. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this one, which is apparently more frightening than terrifying, but hey, so was “Shaun of the Dead” & “What We Do in the Shadows” ! If it can approach anywhere near those heights, we’re certainly in for a treat.

28) Planet Terror (2007)

Planet_Terror_international_movie_poster“After an experimental bio-weapon is released, turning thousands into zombie-like creatures, it’s up to a rag-tag group of survivors to stop the infected and those behind its release.”

I was lucky enough to see this in the theater as part of the complete “Grindhouse” experience. Unfortunately I was unlucky enough to stay around for “Death Proof” afterwards, but it didn’t take away from the shear lunacy/joy of Robert Rodriguez’s zombie epic. Yes, it doesn’t look low budget or much like a true Grindhouse film, but dammit, it was a blast ! I have yet to watch my Blu Ray of the “extended cut”, but if the movie is as good as I remember, I’ll be pleased as punch. (PS – I like Tarantino’s next 3 films, but DP just didn’t do it for me).

29) At the Devil’s Door (2014)

at_the_devils_door_xlg“When ambitious young real estate agent Leigh is asked to sell a house with a checkered past, she crosses paths with a disturbed girl whom she believes is the runaway daughter of the couple selling the property. When Leigh tries to intervene and help her, she becomes entangled with a supernatural force that soon pulls Leigh’s artist sister Vera into its web – and has sinister plans for both of them.”

Another recent Netflix discovery, this was a pleasant surprise, especially amongst a sea of awful DTV Horror films with “Devil” in the title (not you “Devil”, you were alright). I couldn’t remember too much about this one the next day, apart from being impressed enough to vouch for it to my wife. We’ll soon see if that was a foolish effort on my part.

30) Halloween 3 (1982)

halloween_iii_fan_poster_by_mrgrumpy07-d31ffe7“Kids all over America want Silver Shamrock masks for Halloween. Doctor Daniel Challis seeks to uncover a plot by Silver Shamrock owner Conal Cochran.”

One of the most divisive Halloween films (largely because it’s the only one to NOT feature Michael Myers), “Season of the Witch” has enjoyed a sort of Cult Renaissance in recent years, largely from fans being like “Who cares if it’s the only 1 of 11 Halloween films to not feature MM, it’s a good story !”. I mean, Halloween 8 DID have MM, and it was horrible ! Looking forward to seeing what Scream Factory brought to the table on this one. And hey, you can’t go wrong with Tom Atkins (even if “Night of the Creeps” didn’t make the list).

31) The Changeling (1980)

the-changeling-movie-poster-1980-1020194171“A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted by the presence of a spectre.”

I felt I had to end on a classic, and what better than a CANADIAN classic, starring a classic actor ?? This one is a bit of a shot in the dark, as it’s entirely possible my wife will find it too slow & dated. That said, it’s the last movie on the list, so if it fails to impress her, hey, it’s November ! It’s been too long since my last viewing, and this one truly deserves a re-watch. Even if it ends my marriage …

There were a few Runner Ups that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another, though all are totally worthy in their own ways. I thought I’d include them for fun though, so you can tear into me for cutting out one of them in favour of some movie you thought sucked. Have at it, we’re all friends here ! Although I may have offended Joe Spinnell, Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, Michael Bay & Tom Atkins. Still, I had a good run.

Till’ Next,

– e

Runner Ups –

Kill List
Blood Rage
The Mutilator
Night of the Creeps
Stake Land
Terrorvision
Terror on the Menu
The Devils Rejects

Lazron’s 2014 October Horrorthon !

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Well, it’s that time of year again. Some might say the BEST time of year ! Unless they hated horror films, in which case, it’s probably the worst time of year. Nuts to those people though, it’s time for 31 straight day of horror flicks !!

I’m pretty excited about this year (although I say that every year I suppose). The vast majority of these choices are acclaimed, either critically or from other horror fans. There are a few I’ve been meaning to get to for years, some even had been picked for previous Horrorthons (Sorry Rec 2+3).

This is my first post-marriage Horrorthon, so do pity my lovely wife for the madness she’s about to be privy to. For her, November 1st must feel like a lifetime away. Luckily we have two floors here, everybody wins !

Anyway, without further ado, I present to you, the 2014 October Horrorthon !

1) Murder Party (2007)

“A random invitation to a Halloween party leads a man into the hands of a rogue collective intent on murdering him for the sake of their art, sparking a bloodbath of mishap, mayhem and hilarity”


2) The ABC’s of Death 2 (2014)

“Be ready to learn your ABC’s again with 26 new directors and 26 new deaths bring your kids to a blood and gore filled horror so good your face will be blood red”


3) Triangle (2009)

“The story revolves around the passengers of a yachting trip in the Atlantic Ocean who, when struck by mysterious weather conditions, jump to another ship only to experience greater havoc on the open seas”


4) Rec 2 (2009)

“In order to ascertain the current situation inside, a supposed medical officer and a GEO team step into the quarantined and ill-fated apartment building”


5) Rec 3 (2012)

“A couple’s wedding day turns horrific as some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness”


6) The Den (2013)

“A young woman studying the habits of webcam chat users from the apparent safety of her apartment witnesses a brutal murder online and is quickly immersed in a nightmare in which she and her loved ones are targeted for the same grisly fate as the first victim”


7) Amer (2009)

“Three key moments, all of them sensual, define Ana’s life. Her carnal search sways between reality and colored fantasies becoming more and more oppressive. A black laced hand prevents her from screaming. The wind lifts her dress and caresses her thighs. A razor blade brushes her skin, where will this chaotic and carnivorous journey leave her? ”


8) Bug (2006)

“An unhinged war veteran holes up with a lonely woman in a spooky Oklahoma motel room. The line between reality and delusion is blurred as they discover a bug infestation”


9) Wither (2012)

“Ida and Albin are a happy couple. They set off to a cabin in the vast Swedish woodlands to have a fun holiday with their friends. But under the floorboards waits an evil from Sweden’s dark past”


10) Patrick (2013)

“After killing his mother and her lover some years before, Patrick is the comatose patient in room 15 of a remote, private psychiatric clinic”


11) The Nail Gun Massacre (1985)

“After a young girl is gang-raped by a crew of construction workers, someone starts killing off members of the group with a nail-gun”


12) 13 Tzameti (2005)

“Sebastian, a young man, has decided to follow instructions intended for someone else, without knowing where they will take him. Something else he does not know is that Gerard Dorez, a cop on a knife-edge, is tailing him. When he reaches his destination, Sebastian falls into a degenerate, clandestine world of mental chaos behind closed doors in which men gamble on the lives of others men”


13) 13 (2010)

“A naive young man assumes a dead man’s identity and finds himself embroiled in an underground world of power, violence, and chance where men gamble behind closed doors on the lives of other men”


14) Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

“A sound engineer’s work for an Italian horror studio becomes a terrifying case of life imitating art”


15) The Redeemer (1978)

“Six people are trapped within the confines of their old high school during their 10th high school reunion with a psychotic, masked preacher who kills them off for their sinful lives they have made for themselves”


16) Sleep Tight (2011)

“You wake day after day to the comfort and security of your home. But how safe is it really?”


17) The Legend of Hell House (1973)

“A team consisting of a physicist, his wife, a young female psychic and the only survivor of the previous visit are sent to the notorious Hell House to prove/disprove survival after death. Previous visitors have either been killed or gone mad, and it is up to the team to survive a full week in isolation, and solve the mystery of the Hell House”


18) Thirst (2009)

“Through a failed medical experiment, a priest is stricken with vampirism and is forced to abandon his ascetic ways”


19) American Mary (2012)

“The allure of easy money sends Mary Mason, a medical student, into the world of underground surgeries which ends up leaving more marks on her than her so called “freakish” clients”


20) Audition (1999)

“A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all”


21) The Theatre Bizarre (2011)

“Down a seedy city street in her neighborhood, young Enola Penny is obsessed with what appears to be a long abandoned theatre. One night, she sees that the front door is slightly ajar and impulsively decides to sneak inside. But there in the dark, decrepit auditorium, a show unlike any other unfolds before her eyes. Its host is an eerie human puppet named Peg Poett who will introduce Penny to six tales of the bizarre: A couple traveling in a remote part of the French Pyrenees cross paths with a lustful witch; A paranoid lover faces the wrath of a partner who has been pushed to her limit; The Freudian dreams of an unfaithful husband blur the lines between fantasy and reality; The horrors of the real world are interpreted through the mind of a child; A woman addicted to other people’s memories gets her fix through the vitreous fluid of her victims’ eyeballs; And a perverse obsession with sweets turns sour for a couple in too deep. But as the stories unfold, something much stranger is happening to Enola. Something irreversible and horrific. Something that awaits its next audience in THE THEATRE BIZARRE”


22) Anguish (1987)

“A controlling mother uses telepathic powers to send her middle-aged son on a killing spree”


23) Shock Value (2014)

“Struggling ‘B’ movie Director blackmails a serial killer to be the star of his next film”


24) Psychos in Love (1987)

“A strip-joint owner and a manicurist find that they have many things in common, the foremost being that they are psychotic serial killers. They fall in love and are happy being the family that slays together, until one day they come up against a plumber who also happens to be a cannibal”


25) Dead Snow 2 (2014)

“If the worst day of your life consisted of accidentally killing your girlfriend with an axe, chain-sawing your own arm off, and watching in horror as your closest friends were devoured by a zombified Nazi battalion, you’d have to assume that things couldn’t get much worse. In Martin’s case, that was only the beginning”


26) Joshua (2007)

“The arrival of a newborn girl causes the gradual disintegration of the Cairn family; particularly for 9-year-old Joshua, an eccentric boy whose proper upbringing and refined tastes both take a sinister turn”


27) The Ruins (2008)

“A group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins”


28) Evilspeak (1981)

“A military cadet who happens to be a social outcast taps into a way to summon demons and cast spells on his tormentors through his computer”


29) Home Sick (2007)

“A maniac with a suitcase full of razorblades unleashes a super human killer upon a group of kids in a small Alabama town. They must take up arms with a insane Chili enthusiast if they want to survive”


30) Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

“Giovanni Lambardo Radice and John Saxon are Vietman vets that bring back contagious virus that turn people into cannibals when bitten”


31) VHS 3 (2014)

“Follows fame-obsessed teens who unwittingly become stars of the next internet sensation”

Lazron’s October Horrorthon 2013

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time where I’m not the only person lovingly busting through as many horror flicks as possible. I’d argue that Halloween is my favourite holiday, though I’m also partial to Christmas. That said, my Christmas Horrorthon is never as good as my October Horrorthon, so Halloween might have the edge here.

I’ve been doing this for a few years now, much to the occasional chagrin of relationships past and present. As with most things, there’s been ups and downs. Lack of sleep, regrettable film choices, amazingly obscure soundtracks, it’s all been part of the fun in this horrific October learning curve.

This year will be a little different than years past. For one thing I’ve decided to pick 31 films I hadn’t seen before. Traditionally I’d watched the classic “Trick r’ Treat” on Halloween and “Halloween II” on the 30th. As much as I love those films, and I may still sneak them in, I felt there was already a glut of cinematic atrocities that remained to be seen, thus the painful decision to carry on without those two mainstays.

The other difference between this year and years past will be my inability to watch one film per night. I’ll still be watching (at least) 31 films over the month, but I’ll be out of town 3 days for a wedding, which is apparently more important than terror films. Hopefully I can sneak on the wedding-themed “Rec 3”, but it’s probably best not to ruin everybody’s joyous occasion. Not deliberately anyway.

Those caveats aside, I’m genuinely stoked to be starting another epic list of horror gems. In years past I’ve discovered some truly enjoyable flicks, including Nightmare City, Some Guy Who Kills People & The Dead. Of course, there’s also been stuff like The Burrowers & Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2, so it could go either way.

Another thing I’ve tried with this years list is including youtube links to full movies whenever possible. This will theoretically allow you to watch along with me ! Though you and I both know that’s not going to happen. Still, a surprising amount of them have been uploaded, thumbs up for modern technology.

Anyway, without further adieu, I present you with the latest installment of …

Lazron’s October Horrorthon 2013

1) Night of the Demons (1988)

night-of-the-demons-movie-poster-1989-1020204365“A group of teens decides to have a Halloween party up at the deserted funeral parlor. They accidentally awaken a demon while having a seance. The demon enters the body of one of the women, and soon the teens begin experiencing an attrition problem.”

At one time I actually owned this movie, though I never ended up watching it. I think it was on one of HMV’s 5-8$ Super Sales and seemed too good to pass up. That is, until I ended up selling it before viewing it. That said, it’s got a solid fanbase, multiple sequels and has since been remade. Seems like as good a film as any to kick of the holidays !

2) Curse of Chucky (2013)

Curse-of-Chucky-poster-art“After her mother’s mysterious death, Nica begins to suspect that the talking, red-haired doll her visiting niece has been playing with may be the key to recent bloodshed and chaos.”

I’m not really much of a Child’s Play fan, though I did enjoy Bride and Seed of Chucky. I’ve always found the originals to be fairly boring and unworthy of returning to. It’s rare for a film series, especially horror, to hit its’ stride on the fourth entry, but that’s precisely what many would agree happened in this case. This sixth film (all have been written by creator Don Mancini) is a direct to video affair, though it’s gotten good early reviews and is said to tie the series together nicely. Colour me intrigued.

3) Dr Phibes Rises Again (1972)

014“The vengeful Doctor rises again, seeking the Scrolls of Life in an attempt to resurrect his deceased wife.”

I’m a big fan of Vincent Price and would have to place the original Dr. Phibes film in my top 5 of his work. That film had a perfect ending, one which didn’t seem to leave room for a sequel (much like “The Descent”). I vaguely recall watching this follow up film when I was younger, though I dismissed it as a less than stellar rehash of the original. That said, my love for the original and distance between viewings has lead me to give it another chance. There was actually a third film planned (a script was eventually leaked online) but alas, it was not to be.

4) Body Melt (1993)

body_melt_1993“Residents of peaceful Pebbles Court, Homesville, are being used unknowingly as test experiments for a new ‘Body Drug’ that causes rapid body decomposition (melting skin etc.) and painful death.”

I’ve had a copy of this one for awhile but I’d always heard mixed reviews. I’m kind of a sucker for low budget melting movies though (Street Trash, Slime City, The Stuff), so I think it’s finally time to see whether or not this fits in the pantheon of Melted Masterpieces.

5) Nomads (1986)

NoMads“A French anthropologist moves to Los Angeles and is followed by the evil spirits of an extinct tribe he once uncovered.”

It’s hard not to enjoy seeing Pierce Brosnan in strange, pre-Bond forays (The Lawnmower Man, Mrs. Doubtfire. Nomads). Even in post-Bond efforts his appearance tends to bring a smile to my face. Brosnan made “Nomads” in between seasons of “Remington Steele”, and it actually has a fairly solid fanbase behind it. It doesn’t hurt that it was writer/director John McTiernan’s first film (over the next two years he’d make Predator and Die Hard). I’m most excited to see Pierce playing a french archeologist though. Spot on casting !

6) Slime City Massacre (2010)

SLIMECITYSMALLSIZEPOSTER“In the wake of a “dirty bomb” attack, a New York City neighborhood known as “Slime City” has been evacuated, except for the homeless (“displaced refugees”). Four squatters searching for food in the ruins of the Zachary Devon Soup Kitchen discover a supply of Zachary Devon’s Home Brewed Elixir and Himalayan Yogurt. When they drink the elixir and eat the yogurt, they are transformed into hideous slime creatures driven to murder – an intermediate step as they are possessed by the spirits of Zachary Devon and the members of his Coven of Flesh, who committed suicide years earlier. When a greedy developer sets his sites on Slime City, he hires a team of mercenaries to wipe out the homeless population. It’s a battle royale between the Slime Heads, the mercenaries, and bloodthirsty mutant cannibals!”

I tried to make a double bill of both Slime City films at one point, but I never got around to watching this one. Waiting 22 years between sequels is certainly uncommon, though “Godfather of Gore” Herschell Gordon Lewis waited 39 years between Blood Feast 1 & 2, so maybe 22 isn’t so bad. I guess we’ll find out what 22 years of fundraising buys you.

7) Terror Train (1980)

terror-train-poster“A masked killer targets six college kids responsible for a prank gone wrong years earlier and whom are currently throwing a large New Year’s Eve costume party aboard a moving train.”

This was Jamie Lee Curtis’ fourth film, following the triple threat of Halloween, The Fog and Prom Night (which have all been remade, terribly). I remember the Scream channel playing this one regularly, though I never got around to actually seeing it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it though, so my hopes are pretty high.

8) The Bird with Crystal Plumage (1970)

argento-ucello-poster“A writer is stalked by a serial killer after witnessing a murder attempt on one woman’s life.”

I must confess, I’ve never been a huge fan of Dario Argento. I was always more of a Lucio Fulci fan, which is borderline sacrilege. I don’t deny that Argento is the more accomplished filmmaker, I just always preferred Fulci’s over the top gore to Argento’s subtle mastery. That said, I’ve set out to rectify my lack of Argento viewings by loading up on his films in this years Horrorthon. With 3 titles on the list, it’s up to his work to speak for itself.

9) No One Lives (2012)

no-one-lives-movie-wallpaper-26“A gang of ruthless highway killers kidnap a wealthy couple traveling cross country only to shockingly discover that things are not what they seem.”

I’ve heard pretty good things about this one, though I didn’t get around to seeing it in it’s brief theatrical run. Director Ryuhei Kitamura has made some incredibly enjoyable films, including Azumi, Godzilla – Final Wars, Versus, Sky High and Midnight Meat Train. None of those films are perfect (with the possible exception of Azumi), but he has an incredibly kinetic visual style that often makes up for any shortcomings in his stories.

10) Stagefright (1987)

stage-fright-deliria“A troupe of struggling stage actors is rehearsing for a small-town production of a play. Everything seems to be as it should until one of the cast members turns up dead. In a panic, the others try to get out, only to find they are now locked in the theater with the killer! Which one of them committed the murder, and who will get out alive?”

This is said to be something of a lost gem of the 80’s slasher set. It was produced by Joe D’Amato, a director best known for quickly made and cheaply produced grindhouse films. He did direct the infamous Anthropophagus and Beyond the Darkness (also featured on this list), so maybe his influence paid off in the end.

11) The Night Flier (1997)

night_flier_poster_01“A reporter is on the trail of a vampiric murderer who travels by plane.”

This is one of the least discussed and highly regarded Stephen King adaptations ever put to film. I’d never even heard of it for years, but it’s legend has slowly grown over time. I’m a big fan of The Mist and The Shawshank Redemption, but as long as this is better than Under the Dome and Sleepwalkers I’ll be just fine.

12) Beyond the Darkness (1979)

beyondthedarknessposter“A young rich orphan loses his fiancée to voodoo doll mischief on the part of his housekeeper who is jealous of his attentions. He digs his girlfriend up, cleans her out, stuffs her, and puts her in bed at the mansion. Following this, he tries out and disposes of a series of young maidens, trying to find the right replacement for her, and the disapproving housekeeper helps him with the disposals.”

As previously mentioned, this is one of the few Joe D’Amato films that has actually received critical acclaim over the years. Much like Anthropophangus, much of the film’s notoriety lies in it’s extreme violence. In fact, its remained banned in Australia for the past 21 years due to its content. Challenge accepted.

13) Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

Cannibal_Apocalypse-1980-Poster“Giovanni Lambardo Radice and John Saxon are Vietman vets that bring back contagious virus that turn people into cannibals when bitten.”

I actually did have this on several weeks ago, but I tuned out the minute I heard the opening theme. It was so incredibly funky that I knew I needed to make a beat out of it. I spent the rest of the film creating the best beat I’ve ever made, at the cost of following the plot itself. All in all, it was totally worth it, but I would like to give it another go.

14) Dust Devil (1992)

dust-devil-movie-poster-1992-1020470855“A woman on the run from her abusive husband encounters a mysterious hitch-hiker.”

This is another film I’ve heard nothing but good things about. The original version of the film ran 120 minutes, which was later trimmed to 110. After that, a 95 minute version was tested, later trimmed to 87 minutes (much to the chagrin of the writer/director). Since then a 105 minute “Final Cut” and 114 minute “Director’s Cut” have surfaced, all making it extremely difficult to decide which version to choose.

15) The Beast Within (1982)

240984-1020-a“In the beginning of the movie you see a woman getting raped by a man-creature of some sort. The movie takes place years later when the child that was a result of that rape is on the rampage looking for a girl to rape to start the process all over again.”

Another favourite of the Scream channel, this film will be receiving a long overdue blu ray release by cult label Scream Factory (no relation to the channel). I’ve never been a huge werewolf fan, but if the transformation scenes are anything like An American Werewolf in London, this may well be worth the wait.

16) All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006/2013)

all-the-boys-love-mandy-lane-2006-poster-2“A group of high-schoolers invite Mandy Lane, a good girl who became quite hot over the summer, to a weekend party on a secluded ranch. While the festivities rage on, the number of revelers begins to drop quite mysteriously.”

Speaking of films being worth the wait, this was originally scheduled for release in 2006 ! It’s just now receiving a theatrical release (despite leaking online years ago). I’ve heard conflicting reviews on its quality, but my expectations are low enough that I may well enjoy myself.

17) REC 2 (2009)

rec2-QUADv4-final_RGB_LORES“The action continues from [Rec], with the medical officer and a SWAT team outfitted with video cameras are sent into the sealed off apartment to control the situation.”

I’m a huge fan of the original REC (possibly the best found footage horror to date) and have been trying to watch this well reviewed follow up for years now. I think both REC 2 and 3 were on last years’ Horrorthon list, but for whatever reason (likely subtitle reading laziness) they were bumped. I feel it’s finally time to get through these, just in time for next years’ REC 4 !

18) REC 3 (2012)

rec3“A couple’s wedding day turns horrific as some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness.”

It’s borderline ironic that I’ve not seen this third REC film yet, as I’ll be getting married in June and will now know what to look out for if our guests start murdering each other. In their defense though, it’s more likely to be dessert bar related than demonic possession. Still, can’t be too careful these days …

19) Opera (1987)

Opera“A young opperata is stalked by a deranged fan bent on killing the people associated with her to claim her for himself.”

Our second Argento film is the highly regarded Opera, sometimes known as “Terror at the Opera” (probably to keep from confusing Opera fans who inadvertently rented the wrong tape). I’m a big fan of the iconic cover image and hope the ensuing film lives up to it.

20) Wicked Little Things (2006)

POSTER - WICKED LITTLE THINGS (2)“Karen, Sarah, and Emma Tunney are all moving to a small town in Pennsylvania where, unknown to them, in 1913, a horrid mine accident trapped dozens of children alive, underground. But there’s a problem. They’re still alive.”

The premise of this one always intrigued me, a sort of Night of the Living Dead meets Children of the Corn I suppose. One of the overseas titles for it was simply “Zombies”, so at this point I’m really not sure what to expect.

21) The Kindred (1987)

kindred_poster_01“Amanda’s deathbed request to her son, John, was for him to destroy all the lab notes etc. from her last experiment. She also blurts out he had a brother. At the funeral John meets Melissa, who claims to be his mothers biggest fan. Together with some of John’s friends they go to Amanda’s house, but none are prepared for what they find there.”

From what I can tell, this seems to be a film that relies mostly on creature effects to sell its story. The first film that comes to my mind in that category is the 1982 alien classic “Xtro” (released 4 days after I was born !). If this one comes anywhere close to that level of enjoyment, I’ll be pleased as punch.

22) Midnight (1982)

Midnight“A teenage girl runs away from home because police officer/stepfather puts the moves on her. Hitchhiking to California, she’s picked up by two guys who are also traveling cross-country. Along the way, they decide to camp out in the woods and run across a family of Satanists who keep their dead mother in the attic.”

This one is a bit of an odd duck. From what I can tell, the story has nothing to do with zombies, however, that poster would have you believe otherwise. This likely stems from the fact that its’ writer/director was the co-writer of Night of the Living Dead. Seeking to cash in on any remaining brand recognition seems to have brought on some very misleading marketing tactics. Still, it’s kind of a cool poster.

23) Come Out and Play (2012)

come-out-and-play-hires“A couple take a vacation to a remote island – their last holiday together before they become parents. Soon after their arrival, they notice that no adults seem to be present – an observation that quickly presents a nightmarish reality.”

This one is a remake of the lesser known spanish film “Who Can Kill a Child?”. While its long been known that no american studio would attempt a remake, this mexican made effort was willing to give it a try. From what I’ve heard, it’s essentially a shot for shot remake that pales in comparison to the original. Still, the subject matter is intriguing enough to give it a shot.

24) The Child (1977)

child_1977_poster_01“A newly-hired housekeeper in a remote area is alarmed to discover that her boss’s eleven-year-old daughter is using her supernatural powers to take revenge on the people she holds responsible for her mother’s death, with the aid of her flesh-eating zombie ‘friends’…”

I always think it’s wild when I find out a film like this was made the same year as Star Wars. I mean, the subject matter couldn’t be any different if they tried ! I’ve heard that this is quite an odd film, even more than the synopsis would have you believe. I’m kind of a sucker for lesser known zombie flicks though, so this one got the late add on.

25) The Boneyard (1991)

the_boneyard_german_custom-cdcovers“Children turned into zombies wreak havoc in a coroner’s building with just a burned-out psychic, an experienced cop and two coroners to stop the madness.”

I’m not sure what to think of this one. Apparently it starts strong but has a ridiculous second half, featuring an appearance by Phyllis Diller ! Still, it’s apparently saved by some excellent makeup effects that make the experience much more palatable. Here’s hoping.

26) The Bay (2012)

OR_The Bay 2012 movie Wallpaper 1280x1024“Chaos breaks out in a small Maryland town after an ecological disaster occurs.”

I was definitely thrown off when I heard that the academy award winning director of The Natural, Good Morning Vietnam and Rain Man would be making a found footage horror film. I mean, I guess it’s all the rage now, but it still seemed odd. Reviews were mixed, but the story is an interesting one, and not entirely unrealistic subject matter.

27) The Keep (1983)

aaaaaaa“Nazis are forced to turn to a Jewish historian for help in battling the ancient demon they have inadvertently freed from its prison.”

Speaking of well known directors, I’ve been meaning to watch Michael Mann’s sophmore effort for years now. Another casualty of last years’ list, this year I’m determined to get through it. As cool as the story is, I’ve learned to temper my expectations after years of mixed reviews.

28) The Orphanage (2007)

the-orphanage-poster-800“A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, this film has received nearly universal acclaim. Produced by Guillermo Del Toro, I’ve had this recommended to me countless times over the years. I’ve tried not to get my hopes up, but it has to at least be better than “Orphan”.

29) We Are What We Are (2010)

“When the patriarch of the family passes away, the teenage children must take responsibility for the family chores: the preparation of the rituals, the hunting and putting the all-important meat on the table. These newfound responsibilities are even more daunting, however, when you live in the city and happen to be a family of cannibals.”

This was recently remade, though I felt it best to watch the original before the american version is released. Supposedly they’re quite different takes on the material, but I still would have been upset had I seen Quarantine before REC.

30) The Innkeepers (2011)

ExclInnkeepersBig“During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel’s haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.”

I’m not really a huge Ti West fan, though he gets a lot of respect for his throwback-style of filmmaking. I tried to love The House of the Devil, but it was a bit too slow moving for my tastes. Here’s hoping West wins me over with this one.

31) Tenebrae (1982)

tenebre_poster_01“An American writer in Rome is stalked by a serial killer bent on harassing him while killing all people associated with his work on his latest book.”

Our third (and final) Argento film is the classic Tenebrae. It was a bit tough to pick and choose which of his films to watch, though I’d already seen Inferno, Suspiria and Deep Red (my personal favourite). I’m not a huge Giallo fan, but I do love a good mystery. Fingers crossed for this one.

002And there you have it ! Another dreadfully delightful list of 31 terror-riffic treats to fill my head with visions of rotting sugarplums and severed limbs and the like. I’ll do my best to update my reviews daily throughout October, but it’s gonna be a bit of an odd Horrorthon this year, just the way I like it !

Till’ next time, smoke em’ if you gut em’ !

– e

The 25 Slays of Christmas – 6 – “Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974)”

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0070694/

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOXx7Q0UfH4

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Well, apparently it wasn’t enough that I fell asleep during “Don’t Open Till’ Christmas”, so I followed that up by falling asleep during this one too. Yet again I didn’t feel I could BS a review on a movie I only saw part of, but I didn’t get a chance to re-watch it for a few days, thus the tardiness of this review. On the plus side I saw some pretty cool movies since then, and even better, this is a cool flick !!

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The plot revolves around a house with a checkered past that was willed to the owners grandson upon his death. The only stipulation was that the house be left untouched and remain in the family. 20 years later the grandson has decided to sell the house. As word spreads, a mysterious figure escapes from an insane asylum and makes their way to the house, killing any who get in their way. Who is the killer, and what is their relation to the house ? What exactly happened in the house anyway ?!

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SNBN sports an impressive cast, including John Carradine (The Howling, Bride of Frankenstein), Phil Bruns (Return of the Living Dead II, also played Jerry’s original father on “Seinfeld” for 1 episode before being replaced), Mary Woronov (Death Race 2000, The Devils Rejects), Patrick O’Neal (Under Siege, The Stuff) as well as several former “Warhol Superstars” such as Ondine and Candy Darling. The acting is largely fine, especially for a low budget affair of this ilk. Interestingly this was also produced by Troma bigwig Lloyd Kaufman ! Neat !

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One of the first things I noticed about this film was the excellent minor key version of “Silent Night” used over the opening credits. It was quite lovely and really set the tone nicely. And I don’t just throw around terms like “lovely” all the time I’ll have you know ! The film was completed in 1972 but wasn’t released until 1974 (the same year we were graced with “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”). It certainly has an uneven feel at times, but this adds to the surreal, dreamlike feel the film maintains.

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While not super gory, SNBN does have its share of murders, including a few axe murders in the opening 15 minutes. The plot is really something to behold. At times I felt like I was lost, but by the time the twists are slowly revealed I came to really respect and enjoy what they were going for. There are elements of incest, insanity, murder, conspiracy and faked deaths, etc. You know, all the “good stuff”.

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To be honest, I did a complete 180 on this film upon re-watching it and would definitely say it has been one of the unexpected highlights of this holiday slayride. It kept me guessing and, like most good films, made me want to watch it again after it was over. I’m certainly glad I gave it another shot after starting it too late initially, and I highly reccomend giving it a go. The best part of it is, it’s in the public domain so technically you own it already ! What a world !

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The 25 Slays of Christmas – 5 – “Don’t Open Till’ Christmas (1984)”

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0089038/

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http://youtu.be/GAWTX-2ahSg

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Now here’s a film that makes a lot of the “typical” Christmas Horror lists (along with Christmas Evil, Black Christmas, Jack Frost, etc). Last year was the first time I’d seen it, but all I really remembered was that it was British, gory and flipped the “Killer Santa” gimmick by having their (creepily) masked killer only murder people dressed as Santa. Ideally he killed a few murderous Santas, but we can’t be sure of that.

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As previously mentioned, this flick revolves around a masked killer who clearly hates Christmas and has taken to murdering anyone dressed as Santa Claus (except for a female stripper, but she didn’t have the beard, so maybe that’s a loophole). Scotland Yard is baffled and will stop at nothing to end this enormous pile of Santa corpses by any means necessary.

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The cast is made up of unknowns, with the exception of Edmund Purdom (who only agreed to star in it if he could also direct) who played the killer in my recent October Horrorthon entry “Pieces” (SPOILER). It won’t surprise you to learn that this film was produced by the same people who brought us “Pieces”, so you can expect a similarly gory and sometimes confusing piece of cinema.

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Now, I’m not going to lie to you. I started this one pretty late and fell asleep halfway through. Not because it sucked, but likely because I chose to watch the latest episode of “American Horror Story” first (featuring a Killer Santa !!) and didn’t get this rolling till’ about 11:30. Anyway, I knew I owed us both more than just phoning in this review, so I re-watched the last half yesterday to do it justice.

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Prefacing this with the fact that this movie switched directors midway through and is kind of jumbled and confusing at times, I actually kind of dug it. It has a really high body count, lots of gore and an interesting and (for this kind of flick) unique storyline. There seemed to be at least 1 kill every 10 minutes which is a pretty solid ratio for a horror flick. I mean, nobody got stabbed with a candy cane, but a guy got his face burned up pretty bad so that’s something.

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I have to respect the producers for knowing exactly what kind of movie they wanted to make and, despite it taking two years to complete, putting out a holiday gorefest that topped the better known “Silent Night, Deadly Night” (which had been released one month prior). Ironically, if the original director hadn’t left then this would have beaten SNDN to the screen, but both movies are different enough that they can co-exist. Now if only we can get a “Vs” movie and pit SNDN’s Santa against DOTC’s Santa Killer we’d REALLY be in business ! Still, until that happens I guess a double bill will have to do.

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The 25 Slays of Christmas – 4 – “Santas Slay (2005)”

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0393685/

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http://youtu.be/camndOJGmSM

On the surface this is the perfect Christmas horror movie. It has a surprisingly known cast, a good budget, lots of kills/swearing, some nudity and (of course) a murderous Santa Claus. That said, all I remember about it from last year is a promising start before getting worse and worse. Has time been kind to our wrestling friend ?

The movie has a pretty straight forward plot (for a movie like this anyway). Santa Claus was essentially the anti-christ and Christmas had been a day of soul crushing evil. Eventually Santa is challenged to a game of curling (bare with me) by an angel and loses. This gave the world a 1000 year respite from his terror, but, but that was exactly 1000 years ago ! Now he’s back to wreck havoc on us all !! Can he be stopped ?

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As I mentioned, the cast is pretty respectable actually. The opening scene alone has Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan, James Caan, Rebecca Gayheart and (of course) Bill Goldberg. We also get appearances by Dave Thomas, Robert Culp (who was also in Silent Night Deadly Night 3), Saul Rubinek and Tiny Lister ! Yeah, that huge black prisoner from the boat in “The Dark Knight” ! Plus the main girl played Claire in “Lost”, so that’s something.

The cast is clearly enjoying themselves, and seeing as this was produced by Brett Ratner I have to think he pulled some strings and convinced a lot of people that it would be fun to make a direct to video tongue in cheek Killer Santa flick. I remember when it came out I saw it at Blockbuster and thought “That could be okay, but I bet it sucks”. It wasn’t until years later that I finally had a chance to see it.

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Well, maybe it’s just the Christmas spirit or the beverages involved, but this is a really fun movie. Yeah, it’s stupid and corny and by no means a masterpiece, but it achieves exactly what it sets out to be. A ridiculous, over the top, tongue in cheek holiday horror flick with its heart in the right place (ripped out and stuffed in a stocking I assume).

One thing that I remember finding somewhat irritating the first time around was the over abundance (or, apundance) of puns that Santa felt the need to spout off. Now, as you may know I’m a big fan of puns. I’m not sure what it takes to cross the line from chuckle worthy to groan inducing, but I didn’t find it nearly as distracting upon second viewing. I mean, he has the usual clunkers (“Yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus !”) but he also had some pretty good lines too. Mostly bad ones though.

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The deaths are plentiful and include the usual suspects – Stabbed with a candy cane, Jewish guy impaled with a menorah, Guy electrocuted with stripper pole (wait, what), hellish reindeer exploded with rocket launcher, etc. The movie knows what we expect from an R-rated Killer Santa flick, puns and guns, and it delivers right to your stocking !!

As I said, “Santas Slay” isn’t necessarily a “good” movie, but when viewed with friends, an open mind and some “holiday cheer” it can be quite entertaining. I don’t think I’d watch it at any other time of year, but I do think its earned a place in my permanent list of Christmas Horror flicks. Lets just call it a case of “Claus and Effect”.

Cough

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