Monday, October 24, 2016

The Blob

Well I watched the remake first and loved it, so I figured I better give the original a shot. A blob falls out of space and eats people, and the local police won't believe those crazy teenagers when they try to warn them. Judged by the standards of 2016 (I'm only human!) the remake is more fun, but this one's pretty good for a 60-something year old independent horror flick.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Blood Rage

I have to assume that Blood Rage doesn't have a particularly large fan base. Shot in 1983 but not released until 1987, it arrived a few years after the '80s slasher boom had cooled off. And this is definitely a movie that was made in the mold of a typical '80s slasher. I'd be curious to know how many people actually saw Blood Rage during its brief theatrical run or during its life on VHS. As of this review, Blood Rage has only 870 user ratings on IMDB, while movies like Sleepaway Camp, The Burning and My Bloody Valentine each have over 10,000. Still, it warms my heart that there are people and companies out there that continue to find, restore and re-release movies like Blood Rage. Even though I may never watch it again and I don't necessarily recommend that anyone else go out of their way to see it either.

Rating: Eating leftovers on the kitchen floor%

(Image from

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Witch

Some puritans in the olden days deal with a witch and witchy feelings. It's real slow and atmospheric, and the kid actors are great. It's the scariest witch movie for sure (second place is um Practical Magic?).


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Event Horizon

This movie has a great premise (spaceship goes to Hell), and looks great, but I dunno, the execution makes it really boring and not scary. Many of my friends tell me how terrifying the movie is, but I'm willing to bet it's only scary because they last saw it as a child, sorta like that one Herbie movie with the nightmare is scary to me now as an adult.  Anyway, there is a cool scene where somebody briefly survives being shot out an airlock, which oughtta count for something?


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Creature From The Haunted Sea

As a relic of late 50s pseudo-sleaze this is interesting but as a movie for human consumption?


Friday, October 14, 2016

Cabin Fever

Ya know, Eli Roth gets a bad rap - the Hostel movies are actually solid flicks, great structural deviations from standard horror fare. This one, his debut, is also pretty weird and fun and I'm sorry I scoffed at it these past 14 years without watching it ever. A group of "friends" (in horror movies these friend groups all seem to hate each other) go to a cabin and catch a little case of the flesh-eating whatsits. It's actually a lot less gorier than it sounds.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Nightmare Castle

This is a mostly boring (though surprisingly gory) movie but there is one real cool freakout dream sequence a half hour in.


Monday, October 10, 2016


I don't know if there are any other movies out there about an alcoholic cop who becomes an alcoholic werewolf cop but I do know that there probably aren't any other movies where the violent transition from alcoholic cop to alcoholic werewolf cop starts at the dick. And that's because WolfCop was clearly a passion project. It was made by people in Saskatchewan who knew that the story of an alcoholic werewolf cop was clearly a story that had to be told. And it had to be made with a lot of practical special effects. And it had to have nudity in it. And explosions. And there had to be a scene where the wolfcop rips a guy's face off and then throws it onto the windshield of a cop car. And knowing full well that it would be funny to see that ripped-off face get caught up in the windshield wipers, there still had to be a shot of the guy, now without a face, screaming. And the gore had to look good. And you know what? They were right. They were right about everything. So, if you have to see a movie about an alcoholic cop who becomes an alcoholic werewolf cop, see WolfCop because it will be the best movie about an alcoholic cop who becomes an alcoholic werewolf cop you will see all year. And that is my solemn guarantee.

Rating: All the ripped-off faces%

(Image from


A dude wakes up one day with no face (well, a blank white mask where his face was) and decides to finally kill all those people who cheated on him or denied him a promotion or took five bucks out of his jacket.


(Here's my old reviews of Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead, which wraps up George Romero!)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Dark Half

A supposedly literary author who writes trash under a pseudonym starts to let his pen name take over his life and kill his enemies etc. Ya know, for an author with untold success, Stephen King sure has a literary fiction complex that seems to rear its head in his work an awful lot!


Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar

This half of the movie Two Evil Eyes, for which Romero and Dario Argento each adapted a Poe story. Anyway, while trying to hide a hypnotized dead body, a doctor and his mistress accidentally put ghosts into the corpse, and believe me, you don't want ghosts in a corpse!


Friday, October 7, 2016

Monkey Shines

Monkeys aren't exactly scary but I guess if you had to rely on a monkey and it was giving you a bad name by killing birds and your friends you'd probably be a bit stressed out?


(Here's Ryo's take)

(Also here are my reviews of CreepshowDawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead.)

Thursday, October 6, 2016


I think it's a sign of a true artists that when you have a massive hit, say, zombie movie, you follow it up with swashbuckling motorcycle jousters who reenact King Arthur's court at various Ren Fairs. I can't recommend it enough!


(Here's my review for Dawn of the Dead from six years ago)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


An awkward teen thinks he's a vampire, but there's more to being a vampire than killing people and drinking their blood. Or, I mean, I'd like to think Dracula didn't waste all that time in Vampire school just to have some kid do it better. Anyway, great, cheap sleaze and a lot of teen sadness.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Crazies

Well Quammy already brought up this Romero B-Side, but I'm watching every Romero flick in order so I figured I'd weigh in. It's got some great scenes, and great cinematography if you find a good copy, but it's tough to care about these characters as they fight a government infection or w/e.


Season Of The Witch

Aka Hungry Wives, aka Jack's Wife, a frustrated middle age housewife starts reading some books about witches and whatnot (but like if I read Dracula that doesn't make me a vampire you know) and sleeps with the lead from There's Always Vanilla. It's not exactly a horror movie, so I shoulda posted it in September I guess though there is a little psychedelic freak factor.


Friday, September 30, 2016

There's Always Vanilla

For Halloween this season I'll be running through every George Romero flick. His follow up to Night of the Living Dead is a weird romantic comedy about a hippie who looks as square as squaresville and a commercial model but it's too disjointed to succeed in the mainstream or the indie circuit, whatever that was in 1971. He hates it, and you should too.


(Here's my eight year old take on Night of the Living Dead.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Power of the Daleks

Only seven of the Second Doctor's twenty-one adventures have completely survived. Most of them are only missing a few episodes but a couple of them, like The Power of the Daleks, are completely lost*. Even without the original video footage, it's clear that the Second Doctor is a force to be reckoned with and a worthy successor to the First Doctor. Though he refuses to directly answer any questions asked of him and hesitates to confirm that he is, in fact, the Doctor, he is immediately captivating and in control. After his regeneration (or "renewal," they wouldn't use that term until the Third Doctor became the Fourth Doctor), the Doctor picks up a recorder and a stove pipe hat and then walks straight into a murder mystery. The Doctor assumes the identity of the murdered man and waltzes into the middle of a power struggle going on among the colonists of the planet Vulcan (no, not that one). Things only get worse after the colonists revive some Daleks that were found in a space capsule that had crash landed on their planet. The colonists get so wrapped up in their individual quests for power that they willingly overlook the fact that the Daleks are capable of deadly force. Everyone is so thoroughly convinced that the Daleks are the solution to all their problems, the Doctor's warnings of impending death fall on deaf ears. There's a great moment in the second episode when the mad scientist character reveals a revived Dalek to his superiors. The excited colonists drown out the Doctor's warnings with grand plans for their new mechanical assistant and the Dalek, seeing an opportunity to seize power, announces, "I am your servant." The Daleks have shown, time and time again, that they are capable of brutal and overwhelming force but this is truly the first time that we have seen how clever they can be.

Rating: ___% (Rating Missing)

(Image from

*Audio recordings of each episode have survived along with a few short video clips. There are a number of fan recreations of these episodes floating around the internet, if you're interested. Though recently, the BBC announced that they have put together an animated recreation of this serial, using the original audio, which they plan to release this fall commemorating the 50th anniversary of the serial's original broadcast.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Tenth Planet

The Tenth Planet is an important serial for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it's important because it's the final serial in the First Doctor era. Some say that William Hartnell's contract had not been renewed over concerns about his failing health. While some others suggest that Hartnell's clashing with the production staff had finally reached a tipping point. It could easily be an either/or situation or a combination of both factors. Christopher Eccleston (the Ninth Doctor) has suggested in interviews that he left Doctor Who after one series because of his own conflicts with the show's producers. And Hartnell's health and memory problems had been a concern for a while before this point. In either case, it was the concept of regeneration and the choice of the Hartnell's successor that allowed the show to continue on for decades after this serial.

The Tenth Planet is also important because it features the debut of the Cybermen, Doctor Who's most popular reoccurring enemies after the Daleks. This first batch of Cybermen is a bit different from the ones that would pop up later on down the line. Their hands are still human and some of their facial features are still visible behind their masks. Their voices have not become entirely mechanical yet either, giving them a strange speech pattern. They make a great impression in this serial too. Their planet, Mondas, arrives in Earth's solar system, causing all sorts of problems for the Doctor, his companions and the folks at the secret military base at the South Pole. The Cybermen are smart and coldly calculating but not above killing people with their bare hands. And though their features would continually change with each new appearance, it's clear to see why they've resonated with the show's writers and fans.

Rating: Keep warm%

(Image from

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Smugglers

The First Doctor's penultimate adventure finds him in Cornwall in the seventeenth century. The TARDIS arrives on a beach outside a small village that is seemingly populated exclusively by scoundrels. Seriously, every person that the Doctor and his companions meet in the first episode is connected to smuggling in some way. It's not until late in the second episode that they meet someone who isn't trying to capture or kill them. Though they were introduced in the previous serial, this is Ben and Polly's first real adventure as companions to the Doctor. Before they stepped into the TARDIS, these new companions really had no way of knowing what they were getting themselves into. And since there are no experienced companions aboard the TARDIS, it's clear that the writers had to cut a few corners in order to get the new companions up to speed. The Doctor is often quite curt with Ben and Polly and they're left on their own for most of the adventure. This serial is particularly violent, containing quite a few murders. Ironically, the only clips of these episode that have survived are from scenes that were cut by overseas censors for being too violent.

Rating: ___% (Rating Missing)

(Image from

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The War Machines

Whenever the TARDIS touches down in London, it's always in what would have been then contemporary London. So when the TARDIS arrives in London for The War Machines, it's the swinging London of 1966. While the Doctor finds himself drawn to a newly constructed communications tower, Dodo just wants to hit up the hottest night club she can find. There's a lot that could be said about the poor treatment that the Doctor's female companions have so far received on the show, but that's probably better left to someone much smarter than myself. But basically, after the Doctor cons his way into seeing WOTAN, the most technologically advanced computer in existence (like a sixties Skynet), Dodo is hypnotized. After the Doctor figures out that she's under WOTAN's influence, he hypnotizes her again causing her to pass out. Dodo is then sent to the countryside to recuperate and she's only heard from again at the end of the serial when the Doctor's new companions tell him that Dodo has decided to stay behind in London. And, just like that, Dodo's short, unfortunate run on the show comes to an end. The rest of the serial is fairly decent, with the Doctor and his new friends fending off WOTAN's hypnotized underlings and some boxy robots. There was one thing did irk me in particular though, WOTAN repeatedly refers to the Doctor as "Doctor Who," the first and so far only time anyone has explicitly called the Doctor "Doctor Who."

Rating: Fab gear%

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Savages

In the final moments of each serial, we're typically treated to a brief teaser for the following story. At the end of The Gunfighters we see a man dressed in animal pelts emerging from the underbrush carrying a large club in a menacing fashion. This didn't leave me with much hope for The Savages. I thought it would probably be a serial along the lines of An Unearthly Child, where the Doctor and his companions find themselves mixed up in the power struggles of a barbaric society. Thankfully, this wasn't the case. The Savages is about a technologically advanced race who are literally draining the life force out of another race on their planet. The Doctor and his companions quickly suss out that something is wrong. It doesn't hurt that the advanced race raise a lot of red flags. Saying shit like: "You're totally free here. Just don't ask too many questions and don't go into that room over there. It's forbidden." And whenever the Doctor asks about the secret of their longevity, they can't wait to change the subject. "What's your secret?" "Hey, don't worry about it." In the end, the Doctor and his friends clean house and Steven decides to stay behind to help broker the peace between the two races.

Rating: ___% (Rating Missing)

(Image from

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Gunfighters

When I saw The Ark, I was impressed that the production staff of Doctor Who would bother putting together an episode that required multiple live animals in an indoor setting. Doctor Who was famously made on the cheap in some of the BBC's smaller television studios. So you can imagine the headaches that filming with live animals would have caused. I was similarly impressed by the use of live horses in The Gunfighters. They probably could have gotten away without using the horses but they're a nice touch here. And even though the serial is clearly being filmed in a studio, the sets used in the production are quite good. There's an odd musical cue that reoccurs throughout the four episodes that is pretty unnecessary. Also, this serial features one of my favorite things: British actors using bad American accents. I usually find it difficult to spot a Brit doing an American accent, but there are a few actors here who don't come anywhere near the mark.

Rating: People keep giving me guns and I do wish they wouldn't%

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Celestial Toymaker

At this point in the series, Doctor Who was desperately looking for a way to get rid of Doctor Who. William Hartnell, the First Doctor, struggled with his lines throughout his entire tenure as the Doctor. And by 1966, he was also butting heads with the show's production staff. The Celestial Toymaker was initially written as a way of getting rid of Hartnell. During the serial the Doctor is rendered mute and almost entirely invisible, the plan was for the Doctor to change form when he was made visible again. Instead, behind the scenes, Hartnell's contract was extended for another five serials. He probably didn't know it at the time, but those would end up being his last five serials as the show's lead.

Rating: This is some form of attack%

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Ark

I'm glad that copies of The Ark still exist. It's an ambitious, albeit goofy, serial. It's probably most famous for the Monoids, a race of one eyed aliens that look like one of Dr. Seuss' rejected character designs. The serial has some decent special effects for the era and a fantastic cliffhanger at the end of the second episode. But it also has multiple instances of characters trying to deliver the words "security kitchen" with ominous conviction. And it cannot be overstated how ridiculous the Monoids are, from their bizarre appearance to their maniacal lust for power. I would recommend The Ark for anyone wanting to see an example of high-reaching sci-fi on a budget.

Rating: I couldn't send you home even if I wanted to%

P.S. If you click on the picture in this review, you'll see the Doctor, Steven and Dodo casually petting an elephant. I chose this image over a picture of the Monoids simply because I couldn't believe there was a moment in the Doctor Who canon where the Doctor got to walk up to and interact with a live elephant.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve

The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve is a fairly straightforward historical serial. It starts out plainly enough with Steven and the Doctor arriving in France in the days before an epic wave of religious violence. After hitting up the nearest tavern, they decide to split up. The Doctor goes off to find an apothecary and then promptly disappears for the majority of the story. Steven ends up being the primary focus of this serial. He's oblivious to the events going on all around him even though he keeps bumping into and butting heads with all the key players. There's a nice fake out when William Hartnell (the actor who plays the First Doctor) comes in to the story playing another character, the Abbot of Amboise. At first it seems as though the Doctor has become a player in the central plot by disguising himself as one of the conspirators. But then the Abbot is killed and the Doctor shows up. It was just a big coincidence that the Doctor and the Abbot looked and sounded identical. After they're reunited, Steven pleads with the Doctor to help his new friends and intervene in the events unfolding around them but the Doctor refuses, saying that history cannot be changed. This leads to a big blow out between the two of them back on the TARDIS. Steven decides that he can no longer accompany the Doctor and gets off the TARDIS when they re-materialize. Being alone for the first time in a while, the Doctor has a good long mope about his former companions. And then, because the door was left open, in walks Dorothea "Dodo" Chaplet. The Doctor tries to shoo her away and then in runs Steven with the Police close behind. Quickly, the Doctor shuts the doors and fires up the TARDIS, making Dodo their newest travelling companion.

Rating: ___% (Rating Missing)

(Image from Wikipedia)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Daleks' Master Plan

The Daleks' Master Plan is a good serial. It's so good that I'm just going to breeze past all of the white actors playing various Asian and Egyptian characters, #DoctorWhoSoWhite. And watching it now, some 50+ years after it was made, it's interesting to take stock of all of things that make this particular serial so unique. At 12 episodes in length (13 if you count Mission to the Unknown), The Daleks' Master Plan is the longest serial in the "Classic" run of Doctor Who. It has the first Christmas episode. It's the first time we see actor Nicholas Courtney on the show, an actor who would end up making regular appearances throughout the entire Doctor Who series. And for the first time, one of the Doctor's companions dies. Yes, poor old Katarina, the young handmaiden from the ancient city of Troy, dies after being ejected from an air lock. There are actually quite a few deaths in this serial. So many, in fact, that they wouldn't show it in Australia because they deemed it "unsuitable for minors." This serial also has some great episode titles. They stopped naming the individual episodes later on in Season 3, which is a shame when we got titles like "The Nightmare Begins," "Golden Death," and "The Abandoned Planet." Dibs on calling my band Abandoned Planet, by the way. Oh yeah, and the Monk from The Time Meddler shows up for a few episodes. The first time a villain other the Daleks makes a return appearance. Only 3 episodes of The Daleks' Master Plan are known to exist today, which means you'll have to sit through reconstructions of the missing episodes if you want to check this one out. Honestly though, if you're interested in the First Doctor era, it's worth making the effort to see this serial.

Rating: Now will you shut up, sir? Hmm?%

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Myth Makers

It would seem that if you're one of the Doctor's female companions, an ankle injury is the equivalent of a death sentence. At the beginning of The Dalek Invasion of Earth Susan hurts her ankle, by the end of the story she is left behind by the Doctor. At the start of The Myth Makers Vicki is nursing an injured ankle (an injury sustained at the end of Galaxy 4) and by the end of the serial she is allowed to stay behind, ending her time as one of the Doctor's companions. Supposedly Maureen O'Brien (Vicki) had been growing unhappy with her role on the show which made the program's new producers keen to get rid of her. It sucks that Vicki's departure from the show so closely resembled that of Susan's departure, seeing as Vicki struggled to get out of Susan's shadow from the start. The Myth Makers is one of the show's fairly typical historical stories. Landing the TARDIS outside of the ancient city of Troy, our heroes find themselves mixed up in the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. Vicki and Steven end up in a dungeon, the Doctor convinces the Greeks to build a giant wooden horse, yadda yadda yadda. Vicki's seat in the TARDIS doesn't have a chance to get cold because it is immediately filled by Katarina, a Trojan handmaiden who thinks she has died and that the Doctor is taking her to the great beyond. I'm sure that will all work out.

Rating: ___% (Rating Missing)

(Image from Wikipedia)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mission to the Unknown

Mission to the Unknown does not feature the Doctor, his companions or the TARDIS. Not even for a second. It's merely a teaser for an upcoming serial featuring the Daleks. Because Doctor Who might have been popular at the time but the Daleks were a phenomenon. The show's staff must have thought they were doing audiences a favor by letting them know that the Daleks would once again be gracing their screens. But it must have been confusing for the audience at the time since the serial that followed this episode did not feature the Daleks. Instead, everyone's favorite Nazi Pepper Pots wouldn't return for another month. Some have suggested that this episode was never broadcast outside of the UK, which would mean that it is extremely unlikely that any copies of this episode still exist and/or will be re-discovered in the future.

Rating: ___% (Rating Missing)

(Image from Wikipedia)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Galaxy 4

Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Like when you arrive on a new planet, it's possible that the bumbling robots with the stun guns aren't actually the bad guys. It's also possible that the warrior women who help you out might be planning on imprisoning and murdering you. And maybe this new planet might be on the verge of exploding. Life can be funny like that. It's a shame that most of Galaxy 4 is still missing. Not because it's a particularly noteworthy serial, mostly because there are some interesting creature designs that we don't get to see. There is a species of alien in this serial called the Rill. They breathe ammonia and control little robots that look like the Daleks, if the Daleks were made out of Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream. We only get a glimpse of the Rill in the surviving footage, but various reconstructions suggest they might have looked like a cross between Jabba the Hutt and the monster from It Conquered the World. Sadly, we may never get to see the Rill in all their original glory. (It's really not that sad.)

Rating: Not just nothing, child%

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Time Meddler

When we first met the Doctor and his granddaughter we learned that they were fugitive aliens with a malfunctioning time machine. By the time we got to The Time Meddler, the last serial in the show’s second season, we really hadn’t learned anything else about who the Doctor was or where he came from. We had learned a thing or two about what the Doctor was capable of and what made him tick, but there still wasn’t anything terribly concrete about his back story. And even though The Time Meddler introduced another time traveler, with his own TARDIS, we never learned where exactly he and the Doctor were from or what kind alien they were specifically. What we did get, though, was a great serial. The Time Meddler combined a historical setting with science fiction themes, to great effect. It also gave us our first real chance to see the latest companion, Steven Taylor, in action. Steven comfortably filled the Ian shaped hole in the show's cast, confounding the Doctor (and occasionally Vicki) with his questions while also being young and spry enough to throw down when fisticuffs were in order. At the end of serial, we don’t know where the Doctor and his companions were off to next, but thanks to The Time Meddler the show had greatly expanded their options.

Rating: I'm not a mountain goat%