Sunday, December 25, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: The Christmas Toy

When you think about Jim Henson, the first thing that springs to mind would probably be the Muppets and rightfully so because the Muppets are awesome. But Jim Henson did a lot of non-Muppet work, from childhood nightmare inducing films like Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal to Christmas Specials like The Christmas Toy. The story of The Christmas Toy is similar to Toy Story, wherein we witness the behind the scenes world of toys when no one is around to see them. In the special, all the toys are getting ready for Christmas morning and the arrival of the new toys that will be joining them in their world behind closed doors. It's a decent special, featuring the traditional felt-style puppets we've come to know and love along with some animatronic-type puppets that seemed pretty innovative for their time. While it's nowhere near the sheer joy that is A Muppet Family Christmas, The Christmas Toy is still a pretty good Christmas Special.

Rating: Peace on Earth%

(Image from

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow

Of all the Christmas Specials I've watched and reviewed so far this year, The First Christmas was the only one that did not feature Santa Claus in any way. Most Christmas Specials toss in an obligatory nod to Jesus, but rarely get too religiousy. While The First Christmas wasn't about anything specifically religious, it was focused on a bunch of nuns and an orphan shepherd boy who had been blinded by a bolt of lightning (not kidding about that last part, this is a Rankin/Bass special aftterall). The main nun, voiced by Angela Lansbury, pines for a white Christmas like the ones she knew as a child. Lucas, the blind shepherd kid, wants nothing more than the kind nun to get her wish. You can imagine how it all turns out.

Rating: Murder, She Wrote DVD Set%

(Image from

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: Ziggy's Gift

Sometimes you have to dig through a lot of shit before you can uncover a diamond in the rough (how's that for a mixed metaphor?), but it's all worth it when you find something like Ziggy's Gift. I don't want to oversell it, because having low expectations before I watched it probably increased my overall enjoyment, but Ziggy's Gift is a great Christmas Special and more people should check it out. Everyone and everything is seemingly out to get our little protagonist (including a cop that reminded me of Chief O'Hara from the old Batman TV show), but he either doesn't notice or doesn't let it bother him. Volunteering as a street corner Santa, Ziggy spreads goodwill and Christmas cheer despite all the crime and corruption around him. It's great, heart-warming stuff. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Rating: A Nice, Warm Blanket%

(Image from

Watch Ziggy's Gift on YouTube - Part 1, Part 2

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo

My uptight high school physics teacher made a point of telling all of us that he thought South Park was a terribly racist show that none of us should ever watch. His only exposure to the show was the first season episode, Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo. And while South Park has always mined tasteless and offensive material for laughs, there really isn't much that seperates Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo from your standard Christmas Special. Cherished characters come together during the festive season to sing catchy songs (I've had the Mr. Hankey song stuck in my head for three days) and learn important lessons about what the Holidays are really all about. Would anyone else have thought of doing all that with an anthropomorphic piece of shit? Probably not, but yuletide inspiration can come from just about anywhere.

Rating: Festive Toilet Seat Cover%

(Image from

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: The Pink Panther in: A Pink Christmas

If Charlie Chaplin's film Modern Times had been about a jazzy pink feline, it probably would have looked something like The Pink Panther in: A Pink Christmas. The special follows our homeless hero as he attempts to stave off starvation over the holidays. Sure, it's a bit dour, but it's still nowhere near the schmaltzy sentiment of something like ALF's Special Christmas. I remember seeing this special on TV as a kid, but I'm not surprised that it isn't really on anyone's radar anymore. There really aren't any standout moments in the special, nothing that would warrant adding it to your yearly slate of must-see Christmas Specials. Because everyone has a list of must-see Christmas Specials, it's not just me, right?

Rating: Fruit Cake%

(Image from

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: A Very Special Christmas with Beavis and Butt-head

Since the show got revived earlier this year, I thought it would be appropriate to check out a Beavis and Butt-head Christmas Special. I probably should have skipped A Very Special Christmas With Beavis and Butt-head and gone straight to their later special, Huh Huh Humbug/It's a Miserable Life. Oh well, I guess I have something to look forward to next year. As it is, there really isn't anything special about A Very Special Christmas With Beavis and Butt-head. It's just a half hour of Beavis and Butt-head talking over Christmas themed music videos. Then again, it was nice to see that the titular duo enjoy "Christmas in Hollis" as much as I do and I couldn't help but laugh when they thought that the California Raisins were anthropomorphic turds.

Rating: Something that Sucks%

(Image from

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: Mickey's Christmas Carol

For me, watching Mickey's Christmas Carol again was like slipping into some warm footie pyjamas and curling up under the Christmas tree. It's probbably been some time since I last saw this special from start to finish but, for as long as I can remember, Mickey's Christmas Carol has always been the benchmark against which I judge any adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol (that said, Scrooged is also pretty sweet). Nostalgia aside, I think the special holds up pretty well. The bits with the Ghosts of Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come are kinda dark, given that it is a Christmas Special aimed at children. And I always thought the part with Goofy in chains as Jacob Marley was kinda freaky too. All that aside, if you can watch this special and not come close to tearing up at the sight of Mickey at Tiny Tim's grave, clutching the crutch as a single tear forms under his eye, well then you might just be a robot.

Rating: A Handwritten Letter from an Old Friend%

(Image from Wikipedia)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: A Flintstone Christmas

For the most part A Flintstone Christmas is your standard Christmas Special: familiar characters, holiday setting, treacly songs, etc. Being the cynic that I am though, I couldn't help but think that Santa comes off as a bit of a dick in the special. Fred and Barney are drafted by Santa to do his rounds after Santa slips off Fred's roof. Santa spends most of his time complaining and insulting Fred. Sure, Fred took a lot of abuse on the Flintstones, but you'd think Santa, of all people, would have cut the guy some slack.

Rating: Pet Rock%

(Image from

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: Prep & Landing

After wallowing in the woe that was ALF's Special Christmas, it was so nice to watch a nice, wholesome, entertaining Christmas Special like Disney's Prep & Landing. I'm guessing that Disney's ownership of Pixar helped tremondously in both the story and visual construction of this special. The character designs are fantastic and the story is well written, relaying a fast paced story that will appeal to kids but not make anyone over the age of 9 want to kill themselves. The special follows Wayne, one of Santa's elves in the Prep and Landing department (voiced by former Kids in the Hall member Dave Foley), who's feeling down after being passed over for a big promotion. Wayne is depressed over his failing career but the special does well not to dwell on it, we never come anywhere near ALF level misery here. So on the big night, Wayne and Lanny, Wayne's overly enthusiastic rookie partner, run in to some trouble prepping little Timmy's house and delightful (though predictable) hijinks ensue. I can honestly say that Prep & Landing was a nice, fun Christmas Special. One that I will likely revisit in the coming years.

Rating: A New Bike%

(Image from

Friday, December 16, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: ALF's Special Christmas

There's a commonly held misconception that the suicide rate rises over the Christmas season. I first learned about this urban myth as a child while watching ALF's Special Christmas. It's normal for a Christmas Special to try and tug at your heart strings, but ALF's Special Christmas draws a warm bath for you and hands you a razor blade. If you think I'm exaggerating, consider this, there's a scene where ALF says goodbye to a dying girl in a hospital and they actually put a fake tear on ALF's face. And there's another scene where ALF, dressed as Santa, talks a suicidal guy out of jumping off a bridge. This is easily the most maudlin thing I've seen in a long time.

Rating: A Prescription for Prozac%

(Image from

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: The Year Without a Santa Claus

I love stop motion animation, but what always attracts me to Rankin/Bass specials is the fact that they're usually quite weird. Rudolph has it's share odd characters and moments, but The Year Without a Santa Claus is a whole bundle of bizarre. Basically Santa decides he's tired and underappreciated, so he decides to cancel Christmas and take the year off. The rest of the special is Mrs. Claus and some elves trying to convince Santa that people still believe in him and that there's still goodwill out in the world. They go about this by trying to get two freaks called Heat Miser and Snow Miser to set aside their differences so that it can snow in a small Southern town on Christmas. Essentially, there is a wholesome Christmassy message in there, but it's wrapped up in classic Rankin/Bass weirdness.

Rating: Chia Pet%

(Image from

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another 12 Days of Christmas Specials: Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas

Last year, in the spirit of the season, I reviewed twelve Christmas Specials. I ended up covering a few of the classics, some personal favorites and one or two oddball choices (I'm looking at you, He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special). I decided to try to review another batch of Christmas Specials for this year, but I'm a little worried that I'm not going to have a lot of choice material to work with this time. There's only so many Rudolphs and Grinchs to go around. This is part of the reason I'm kicking off this year's series of reviews with Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas, a Christmas Special that few people have likely seen and even fewer people would purposefully seek out. Aired in 1992, several years after the show's regular run had ended, the special essentially follows the same formula as a standard episode of the Inspector Gadget series. Dr. Claw has taken over the North Pole and is trying to sabotage Christmas. Inspector Gadget is tasked withing saving Santa Claus and preventing a holiday disaster and despite his best efforts, he manages to do just that. I'm not sure why they made this special and/or who the intended audience was for it, but I suppose it could have been worse. I'm not sure how exactly, but it's possible.

Rating: Socks%

(Image from

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dead Rising

The idea sounds mighty appealing, a journalist trapped in a mall filled with zombies. I love the variety of tasks; save people, take pictures of the shit going down, uncover a mystery and whack the hell out of zombies with anything you can find. But I spent most of this game getting pissed off because of all the random psychopaths. Why am I getting shot at by some convicts or a shotgun-wielding redneck? Can't we all get along until the zombie attack is over? Having only one save space is annoying as all hell too. Rating: 68%

Monday, October 31, 2011

Evil Dead II

I don't know if Evil Dead II was supposed to be a remake or a quasi-sequel to the original Evil Dead, but what I do know is that Evil Dead II is hella awesome. As Glenn has already said here on R3, the plot for both this movie and the original are pretty much identical: some college kids go out to a remote cabin in the woods and are terrorized by demonic forces. But it's the tone of the sequel that really sets it apart from the original, Evil Dead II is scary and gross like the original but it's also kinda funny. Sam Raimi packs the film with visual gags and Three Stooges style slapstick, but never turns it into a straight-up horror comedy. If they ever go ahead with Evil Dead remake/reboot that they've been talking about over the last few years, they'll have a hard time topping what they already did with Evil Dead II.

Rating: Happy Hellaween%

(Image from

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Creepshow 2

Creepshow 1, or as it's usually called, Creepshow, is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's shot in a way that mimics the old EC Comics style, and combines the talents George Romero and Stephen King like some kind of horror movie Voltron. This one is just kind of lame. Romero and King return, but instead of acting as director and writer, they return as scripter and inspiration, respectively. I like the last segment in this, "The Hitchhiker," but only a little bit.


A Bucket of Blood

Awkward busboy Walter Paisley (Dick Miller) wants nothing more than to fit in among the beatniks at the Yellow Door Cafe. His first attempt to win them over with his art ends with his landlady's dead cat covered in clay. His "sculpture" Dead Cat becomes a hit with the freak scene, but Walter's rising profile comes with a rising body count. After Walter debuts his second piece, Murdered Man, some people begin to suspect that Walter's lifelike sculptures might just be a little too lifelike. Made in the late 50s, A Bucket of Blood is a charming little B movie from Roger Corman's early period with American International Pictures. Made quickly (and cheaply), the movie has a morbid sense of humor about itself and features a great performance from Dick Miller. In his 50+ year acting career, Miller would go on to play characters named Walter or Walter Paisley more than a dozen times, but A Bucket of Blood has been, so far, his only lead performance in a film.

Rating: A Bucket of Fun%

(Image from

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Critters (and its sequel Critters 2: The Main Course) had great VHS box art back in the day, which is almost certainly what attracted me to them when I was a kid. Luckily the movies, at least the first two in the series, weren't total suck fests. The first Critters movie is more or less a mash-up of Gremlins and The Blob, wherein these killer hedgehogs from outer space crash-land near a family farm in Kansas. They soon go about killing and eating as many people as they can before they're stopped by some kid and the town drunk. The Critter puppets and practical effects were done by the Chiodo Brothers, the team behind Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and they hold up a lot better than the effects from some of those other Gremlins rip-offs. I'm looking at you, Munchies.

Rating: Same director as The Mighty Ducks%

(Image from

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Blair Witch Project

This movie was a disappointment in 1999 and it's a disappointment now. I don't know one person who likes it, and yet it drastically altered the way horror movies were made. Twelve years later and every third horror movie is some found footage bullshit. Oh well! One of them will eventually end up being good, I guess, infinite monkeys etc etc.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Some d-bags are driving around in Mexico looking for the perfect spot to shoot their porn movie. They decide on a ghost town that happens to be inhabited by a deranged former Mexican wrestler played rather stiffly by Rey Mysterio's dad. It's more gross than scary, but not gross enough to satisfy fans of that subgenre. The best thing about this movie is the hotness of Leyla Milani, but she is covered in blood too often for that to be too much of a factor.

Rating: 8%

The Crawling Eye

If you were to see a picture of the monster from The Crawling Eye you would, like most people, probably assume that it was just another laughably low rent sci-fi/horror flick from the 1950s. It's a shame that The Crawling Eye (aka The Trollenberg Terror) has such a poor reputation because it's actually a decent film, for the most part. It's true that the titular monster looks pretty shitty, but the section of the movie that comes before the monster's appearance (roughly two thirds of the film's running time) is quite good. They must have known that the monster looked terrible because they spent most of the movie building up the suspense and laying out all the pieces before coming to the inevitable man vs. monster conclusion. But if you like mountain climbing, cable cars, psychics, decapitations, creepy fog, observatories, Molotov cocktails and negligent European parents then The Crawling Eye is just the film for you.

Rating: Not as bad as MST3K would have you believe%

(Image from

Monday, October 24, 2011


Stuart Gordon directed Re-Animator, which is really great, but apparently that was a fluke because this looks and feels like it was directed by a rusty pair of scissors. It's called Dolls and it's a horror movie, so I'll leave the plot for you to guess! One strange phenomenon in the 80s was that most R-rated movies that featured punk-rockers really seemed to hate them, and would have them violently dispatched. I guess all those Agent Orange albums really got to everybody or something.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Maniac Cop

There's a killer on the loose in New York City, but this is no ordinary psycho, this maniac hides behind a badge and a gun. Maniac Cop isn't anything terribly original or outstanding, but it's a really good example of the kind of genre film making that more or less died with the 1980s. The film is set in a grimy, pre-Giuliani New York and all of the stunts and effects work are practical. Maniac Cop also features a number of classic genre vets: Bruce Campbell, Richard Roundtree, the ample-faced Robert Z'Dar, a cameo appearance from director Sam Raimi, and Tom Atkins playing a suicidal cop (where have I seen that before?). The film plays it straight for the most part, though it starts to go over the top in the second half. And judging from some stills I've seen, it looks as though the sequels continued with the over the top tone from the original's latter half.

Rating: Bigger than Robert Z'Dar's face%

(Image from

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Curse of Frankenstein

The Curse of Frankenstein was the first color horror film by Hammer Film Productions as well as their first foray into the classic monsters genre. It's also significant for being the first real pairing of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, who would go on to be two of the biggest names in Hammer horror. The film focuses more on Frankenstein (Cushing) than the Monster (Lee), which is a bit of a departure from what we usually see in Frankenstein adaptations. And the technicolor gore, though tame now, must have been somewhat shocking for audiences in the late 1950s. "I dare say that this film is positively ghastly." "Quite, Sir Reginald. Quite."

Rating: Crumpets and Cadavers%

(Image from


These Japanese chicks (cute in a creepy way) provide ass-kicking metal. Their lyrics are insane partly because of their poor English, partly because these ladies are whacked out.

Torture, we must play war. Our father gave us torments. Endless. I hope world dies.

Best enjoyed in small doses.

Rating: 79%

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Was A Teenage Zombie

This is one of those weird shitty movies like Redneck Zombies that although it is bad and was made for no money, it still has a sort of charm that makes it legitimately (non-MST3K style) enjoyable. The plot is some guys accidentally turn their drug dealer into a crazed zombie and they have to stop him from killing all of them. Great post-punk soundtrack don't hurt nobody neither.


Blood Diner

I had trouble explaining what The Brood was all about, but I'm at a loss as to how I can properly explain Blood Diner. The long and the short of it is that it's about a pair of brothers who are trying to resurrect a Lumerian goddess and they go about it by killing people and collecting their body parts. The parts they don't use get served to the customers in their "vegetarian" restaurant. This is all at the behest of their serial killer uncle, who's little more than a brain and a pair of eyes in a jar. This is a movie that truly has to be seen to be believed because a plot synopsis can, in no way, accurately portray how bizarre this movie is. There's a nude aerobics class, wrestling Nazis, ventriloquist dummies, random violence, and much, much more. A true menagerie of WTF moments. If you can find a copy of Blood Diner, I highly recommend it.

Rating: Why isn't this on DVD%

(Image from

Monday, October 17, 2011


The number of missing person cases is on the rise in New York, but no one wants to talk about it just so long as it's mostly the homeless people living in the sewers and abandoned tunnels under the city. But after his wife goes missing, Captain Bosch is having a hard time keeping all the missing person reports under wraps. Despite pressure from his superiors and the secretive jerkwads from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Bosch teams up with a photographer and the freaky guy who runs the local homeless shelter. Their mission: discover what happened to all those missing people and find out just what exactly C.H.U.D. stands for. Keep your eyes peeled for a young John Goodman as a cop in a diner.

Rating: Daniel Stern's Crazy Hair%

(Image from

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Video Dead

Speaking of evil televisions, here's a movie about a haunted television that zombies crawl out of to kill you or be your friend. I sort of thought the fake movie in the movie "Zombie Blood Nightmare" was a well done imitation of Night of the Living Dead, but everything else sucks about this movie. Like, if they don't act scared the zombies just want to hang out and eat chili and go dancing. Also, there's a murder scene but they couldn't afford cop cars or cop costumes so there's just a red flashing light off screen and sound effects of policemen talking and their radios periodically going off. Let's not judge this movie bad because of economic status, though, hasn't Occupy Wall Street taught us anything? Let's judge it bad because of general terribleness.



Dad builds a sweet satellite for his family of carictatures. Little does he know that it becomes a receptor for alien garbage, namely a man-eating blob that may or many not be Meatball of ATHF fame's grandpa.

I don't know why people continue to think horror and comedy should be mixed, especially when the jokes are uber lame. TerrorVision looks like a B-52s music video mixed with something a beginner's acting class would produce two weeks in.

If you can make it through the painfully awful setup to the actual monster part, consider yourself a trooper.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Brood

Despite having seen and enjoyed David Cronenberg's The Brood, I'm having a hard time coming up with a competent synopsis for the film. It revolves, somewhat, around an unconventional psychotherapy practice called psychoplasmics, wherein a patient's negative emotions and traumatic memories can be channeled into physiological changes to their body. One patient somehow uses psychoplasmics to give birth to little demon faced children in snowsuits who beat people to death. While that's the plot of the film, more or less, it doesn't really tell the whole story. There's also a custody battle arc, some detective procedural elements, the classic Cronenberg body horror component, and killer children who are occasionally killed. And while I'm not sure I've made much of a case for this movie, it remains a worthy entry in Cronenberg's filmography and a uniquely original horror film.

Rating: A Bad Day At School%

(Image at

Friday, October 14, 2011

Black Belly Of The Tarantula

As you can imagine, this movie doesn't really live up to the awesome title, as is the case with so many giallo movies (the best titled of course being Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key). Oh well! The plot is there is a serial killer and a cop has to stop him. I think the tarantula is a metaphor, but I was reading and there was a nature video about spiders at some point when I looked up. Also, I got really excited when I saw that Ennio Morricone did the music but it sucks too, so don't get your hopes up like me is what I'm saying.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

In the commentary for Gremlins 2: The New Batch, director Joe Dante describes the film as an "unnecessary sequel." Apparently, after the massive success of the first Gremlins film, Warner Brothers desperately wanted to cash-in with a sequel. Dante originally turned down the opportunity to direct the second film, but agreed to come on board a number of years later after he was given carte blanche and a budget roughly three times that of the original. What he gave Warner Brothers in return is quite possibly the most Joe Dante-ish film he's ever made, touching on virtually all of the directors trademarks (Looney Tunes, actors from the 1950s, Dick Miller, cameos for his other Roger Corman-era contemporaries, etc). The movie never takes itself too seriously, occasionally breaking the fourth wall and taking several opportunities to mock the original film. While it's not a movie that I get the urge to revisit as often as the original, I'm not sure that it would've been possible to make a better follow-up to the first movie.

Rating: Take That, Leonard Maltin%

(Image from

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein

Ok, so everybody knows this one I guess. Two bumbling idiots, one fat and one skinny, meet a bunch of Universal Horror monsters, shenanigans ensue. It's called Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, but they spend a lot more time interacting with Dracula and also a mean dude who has them arrested, but maybe it doesn't have the same ring, who am I, Don Draper? Anyway, if you've ever seen an episode of Scooby Doo or The Munsters, you've probably seen all the jokes in this movie.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Slaughter High

The best thing about Slaughter High is the poster art, while the movie itself is actually pretty boring and lame. Back in the day, it was pretty common for genre film makers to try to cover up just how shitty their movies were by releasing kickass promotional art. Before the internet, a really cool poster or VHS cover went a long way in persuading people to see shitty movies. While I'm sure Slaughter High has a cult following, I'm willing to bet that most people who've seen the movie were lured in by the promise of sweater wearing skeletons with exploding apples. What they got, however, was a bland prank-gone-awry/revenge slasher made by a bunch of Brits doing terrible American accents.

Rating: Bait & Switch%

(Image from

Monday, October 10, 2011

Poltergeist III: Oh God Just Kill Me

Ok guys I guess I was wrong about Poltergeist II being so shitty because this is the shit of the shit. The plot is Carol Anne lives with her aunt and uncle in a fancy new apartment building but the ghosts come back, oh no! There's a psychologist who claims the little girl is hypnotizing everybody, and lots of mirrors, and a really awful non-Jerry Goldsmith synthesizer score. It all adds up to awful, so you gotta feel extra bad that the little girl died during production. Whelp, the world's cruel and empty, and if you want to experience a little bit of that cruelty just watch this and see what kind of feelings you have.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cutting Class

Brad Pitt's first big movie gig was in Cutting Class, an uninspired slasher film from 1989. I'm willing to bet that he wishes nobody remembered this movie and that they would stop putting his face so prominently on the DVD cover. That's not to say he does an especially bad job in the flick, but its hard to shine when you're in a turd like Cutting Class. The movie is about a troubled teen named Brian (not Brad Pitt) who's just been released from a mental hospital. Brian falls in love with Paula (also not Brad Pitt), but she's got a douchey boyfriend named Dwight (aka Brad Pitt). Now, if I hadn't already said "mental hospital" in the plot synopsis, you'd probably have a hard time believing that I was talking about a horror movie. But rest assured fright fans, this movie contains a handful of kills, a pervy Roddy McDowall, and some bizarre comic relief scenes that involve Martin Mull getting shot with arrows.

Rating: Brian Was The Killer% (There, now you don't have to watch it.)

(Image from

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Others

I always thought of this movie as a rip off of The Sixth Sense, but I never actually saw it until today. It's pretty good I guess - the twist was ruined for me years ago, but it sounded pretty interesting because of it. One thing that sucks *SPOILERS* is that how come Nicole Kidman and her kids get to keep being the owners of the house and the servants have to keep being servants even though they're all dead? That's a pretty shitty afterlife imho.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Night of the Creeps

Night of the Creeps (directed by Fred "Monster Squad" Dekker) is a real hodgepodge of a movie, it's sort of a zombie movie with hints of buddy comedy, slasher homage, college hijinks, "nerd gets the girl" fantasy, grizzled cop pastiche and 1950s-style sci-fi/horror. While that might sound like a jumbled mess, the movie is actually coherent and enjoyable. Basically, it's the story of some experimental alien slug parasite things that land on Earth in the 1950s. They infect some douchey frat guy who is subsequently cryogenically frozen for 30+ years until our nerdy heros release him from stasis in order to get into a fraternity so one of them can impress a sorority babe. The slug things start infecting people on campus and its up to the nerds, the hot chick and a mentally unstable cop to save the day. Now tell me, who can't relate to a story like that?

Rating: Screaming Like Banshees%

(Image from

Thursday, October 6, 2011

From Dusk Til Dawn

This is the first R-Rated movie I saw in the theater. At the time I was like "Awesome, people getting shot in the head, titties, and vampires!" Now I am like "Uggggghhhhhhhh *dies*." It embodies all of the worst elements of 90s action movies, from terrible rock soundtracks to dialogue that sounds ripped off from Pulp Fiction (duh) to bad CGI to Juliette Lewis, but I guess I need to give it a little bit of credit for being a crime movie that all of a sudden turns into a vampire movie (spoilers).


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Orca (aka Orca: The Killer Whale) is one of the earliest entries in the Jaws rip-off subgenre of horror films. In the movie, some fishermen try to capture a killer whale for captivity but end up causing it to miscarry and die. The killer whale's mate goes on an epic quest for revenge, causing damage to the local fishing community and killing off members of the doomed fishing crew. The movie is kinda brutal (note the aforementioned miscarriage scene) and mean spirited and there aren't really any sympathetic characters to root for. The use of stock footage for some of the killer whale scenes can also be inconsistent at times, but that's usually par for the course when it comes to movies like this. Orca is kinda like Death Wish except with a fake killer whale instead of Charles Bronson.

Rating: Bo Derek's Leg%

(Image from

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Poltergeist II: The Other Side

Do you like stories where ghosts and skeletons and racist Indian caricatures appear? Then this is the movie for you! Nah, it's actually pretty bad in case you couldn't tell. The plot is the family from the way good first movie still has ghosts, and also HR Giger designed vomit worms. So then they get rid of them through some kind of spells and also grandma's angel, ain't it grand?


Monday, October 3, 2011

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Invasion of the Body Snatchers was probably the first black and white movie I ever saw and it clearly made an impression on me. I watched it on TV and I can still remember the disconnect that happened every time the movie went to or returned from commercials (said commercials included Heavy D promoting Sprite, because I am an old man). Some people might consider Invasion of the Body Snatchers to be more science fiction than horror, but in my experience when you're talking about movies from the 1950s there's hardly any real difference between the two genres. In the movie, in what may or may not have been an allegory about communism/McCarthyism, our hero finds that the people in his small town have been slowly and systematically replaced by duplicates devoid of emotions and individuality. The movie's been parodied and remade dozens of times so you're likely already familiar with the story, but if you haven't already seen the 1956 original I would highly recommend it.

Rating: They're here already%

(Image from

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The House Of The Devil

Everybody was talking a whole bunch about how this movie from 2009 is great, it's totally like a great 80s horror movie, man. Well, let's be real about 80s horror movies for a second - most of them are basically the worst. They're not as bad overall as 90s horror movies, but you gotta sift through a whole lotta Deadly Friends to find the gems. Anyway - The House Of The Devil is as good as one of the better mediocre 80s horror movies, and it has a real orchestra soundtrack and no Avid farts so I think it gets some major pointage there. The plot is a college student goes to a house to babysit but be careful because I bet I know whose house that is!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is easily one of the best movies in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, despite being jokier than the first film and substantially less gay than the second one. Dream Warriors finds a group of troubled and horny teens at a psychiatric hospital being terrorized by notorious child murderer and sweater enthusiast Freddy Krueger. Luckily for them, O.G. final girl Nancy Thompson is there to help out. I always liked Dream Warriors because it tried to broaden the scope of the franchise by adding in little things like the dream suppressant drug Hypnocil and the whole "son of a hundred maniacs" backstory for Freddy. And who could forget that sweet theme song by Dokken?

Rating: We're the Dream War-e-ers%

(Image from

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monkey Shines

A monkey licks blood of a man's mouth, quadrapelic sex, a mother bathes her thirty year old son; you will find all this and more in the very creepy Monkey Shines.
This particular George A. Romero film is far less gory than his zombie fare, but as a whole, the movie experience is really moving.
Pretty impressive making a grown man scared of a capuchin monkey. Props to you, Mr. Romero.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grendel: Red, White, and Black

I bought this for $2 at a garage sale along with every other graphic novel there, and I wasn't expecting much more than a Spiderman/Daredevil/ninja thingie that I could keep in the classroom for my students to read. It's actually a very dark book with experimental, superb writing and art—even the "extra" characters are interesting and sympathetic enough that you're kinda bummed out when they get introduced and chopped to sashimi in 3 or 4 panels. The main character is a sort of villain and eloquent nihilist, and when he got killed in the end by that werewolf (spoiler) I was probably sadder than I was when my pet mouse died on Christmas Day when I was a kid. Time's a holocaust, eh?


(Image from

Thor the Movie

Dear Kenneth Branagh:
Thor the Movie wasn't so bad except for that boring 85 minute bit in the middle. All the Rainbows was a nice touch, and my fave part was when Loki looked like he was gonna cry and wet the bed the whole time. But I thought the frost giants were supposed to be, like, giant?
Internet John
P.S. 45%

(Image from

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!

That is in fact the name of the show, not an endorsement. Every time I get comfortable watching this show, turning red-faced from laughter, immensely enjoying the surprise appearances by the likes of Paul Rudd, Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifinakis (gravy robbers!), Will Forte, etc, they twist the show in some horrifying direction and I’m half traumatized, half entertained.

John C. Reily's idiot doctor character is worth the price of admission.
Rating: 78%

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saluki Dunkeldog

A Beer For Every State #13 - Illinois

I tried this beer, brewed in Murfysboro, close to my parent's home town, after drinking some Goose Island and thinking it was just the worst. This is a dark beer, which I never was too big into when living in the South, but we'll see how that changes during my first Michigan winter. Almost reminiscent of a chocolate stout, and also the beer with the worst name so far. "How's it going Mitch?" "Awful - they had to lay off 30 of the guys down at the mill. I'll need a Dunkeldog to wash away the pain on this one."


Monday, August 22, 2011

Mutton Chops

Easy way to say “stay away ladies” without opening your mouth. Plus they can cover up hideous facial scars while housing tiny parasitic creatures.

Note: Lemmy and Wolverine are exempt from any anit-mutton chop snarkery.
Rating: 8%