"We're both so messed up. I don't know which one of us is worse."
- Duane Bradley, Basket Case

Monday, January 11, 2010

Harper's Island: It's Safer On the Mainland

Without a doubt, the slasher is my favorite, most-cherished sub-genre in horror. I hold these films near and dear to my heart, whether it be popular entries like Friday the 13th or The Burning, or lesser-known gems such as Slaughter High. As fun as these movies are, a common (and most of the time, warranted) criticism against slashers is often the lack of any substantial plot or character development. It could be argued with strong conviction that the majority of these films churned out in the 1980s certainly miss those marks.

Not that I'm one to complain - most horror fans, including myself, usually aren't looking for anything more than a madman violently dispatching promiscuous teenagers, and welcome it with open arms. But what happens when you take the standard slasher formula, address the above criticisms, do it exceptionally well and expand the run-time from 90 minutes to 13 hours? You get Harper's Island.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cannibal Terror: Savages with... Mustaches?

In recent years, both French and Spanish filmmakers have found considerable success within the horror community; anyone who hasn't heard of Inside, Martyrs (France) or REC (Spain) doesn't deserve to call themselves a fan of the genre. This isn't anything new either - both countries have a rich history with things that go bump in the night, whether it be Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971), Vampyres (1974), or The Grapes of Death (1978).

Unfortunately for Cannibal Terror, a 1981 co-production involving both France and Spain, this film will not be joining such prestigious ranks. If the aforementioned movies are home runs, this one is somewhat of a foul ball.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My New Year's Resolution for 2010...

...is to get back to updating this blog on a somewhat-regular basis!

Unfortunately, it has been an insanely busy past few months for me at work, and the hectic holiday season certainly didn't sweeten the deal. But now that things have slowed down, I'm determined to post some long overdue reviews I've been working on since Halloween (it seems like it was only yesterday I was drooling over Trick 'r Treat).

So check back in later this week, hopefully I can get some content up soon, as well as post my thoughts on what I'm looking forward to in the upcoming months!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Duane & Belial Have the Time of Their Lives

Not that I'm trying to make a habit of showcasing other people's work, but I'm going to make an exception for anything Basket Case-related. I also love the Angry Video Game Nerd, and anyone who hasn't seen his reviews for old school Nintendo games is definitely missing out (especially the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street episodes); plus he drinks Rolling Rock and swears a lot, so he's A-OK in my book.

Anyway, the AVGN also gives his opinion on horror movies, and here's his take on my much-cherished Basket Case from Cinemassacre. It's edited quite nicely, and he gives the movie a fairly positive review (luckily leaving out the god-awful sequels). He even throws in Green Day's "Time of Your Life" for good measure, which made me laugh.

Sure, there's no clip of Kevin Van Hentenryck running through the streets of Times Square completely naked, but I can't fault the AVGN for that. Definitely check it out!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

She-Wolves of the Wasteland: Guy and Dolls

Usually I try to start my reviews with a small introduction or amusing story, but given the serious subject matter of today's film, I'm cutting right to the chase. Three very important observations occurred to me as I watched James Emery's character in She-Wolves of the Wasteland (Phoenix the Warrior):

1. Emery bares an uncanny resemblance to Walton Goggins (best known for his role as Shane on The Shield, one of the greatest television dramas of all time), if Walton Goggins grew an incredible mustache.
2. All of the women characters have cool, intimidating names like Cobalt, T-Bird and Neon, and his name is Guy. What gives?
3. Why are all men in most of these post-apocalyptic movies so adamantly against being sex slaves? Besides Guy, you could also cite Sam Hell from Hell Comes to Frogtown as a perfect example. Both of them make numerous attempts to escape captivity from females, and Sam even gets strapped with an explosive codpiece to deter him from fleeing. I'm all for the Bill of Rights, but would a life of "breeding" with beautiful women really be that bad of a future, especially considering the alternative? It's not like they have any male friends to complain about their wives, watch sports and drink beer with anymore - they're literally the last of their kind.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rock and Shock 2009: More Reasons to Love the Italians!

I'm just going to say it flat out: I absolutely love the Italians.

Allow me to explain. At the New Jersey Fangoria convention last June, my friends and I decided to go to the ATM across from the hotel we were staying at in Secaucus that Saturday night (I'm guessing probably for bar money). On our way back inside, we saw a girl getting out of a taxi van with Ruggero Deodato, Lamberto Bava and Sergio Stivaletti, as well as horror journalist Paolo Zelati. Not one to miss this golden opportunity, we started to make pleasant small talk with these legends (minus the girl, of course) while they smoked their cigarettes. To our surprise, Deodato and Stivaletti stayed outside and talked to us for more than an hour! Sure, they barely spoke any English, but Zelati helped translate, and it wasn't always needed - for example, Deodato was more than capable of explaining his disdain for Giovanni Radice without the help of an interpreter.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rock and Shock 2009 Starts Today!

For those of you in the Central Massachusetts area this weekend, today marks the beginning of Rock and Shock 2009 at the DCU Center/Palladium in Worcester. Featured guests include John Landis, Corbin Bernsen, Tom Savini, and many more! I don't attend for the concerts (I'm the furthest thing from an ICP "juggalo"), but I will be going with some friends on Saturday for the actual convention.

My first R&S was back in 2007 and I had an absolute blast - I got to see William Forsythe in tiny gym shorts and witnessed an amazing panel with Greg Nicotero discussing the history of KNB. In terms of tomorrow, I'm most excited for the "Lucio Fulci Remembered" panel with a number of actors from Zombie and The Beyond, so that should be awesome. My plan is to post my experiences of the event sometime early next week, as well as one or two more reviews (She-Wolves of the Wasteland and Trick 'r Treat are in the pipeline), so stay tuned!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Insane Foreign Poster #1: An American Werewolf in London

I've been a long-term believer that most foreign horror posters are far superior to our own domestic output, especially since the awful '90s trend of "floating heads" syndrome - where four or five actors' faces are plastered on a one-sheet or DVD cover next to the movie title - basically the creative equivalent of the Powers That Be writing, "We just don't give a shit" in big bold letters.

Our friends across the pond are also responsible for some of the more outrageous, head-scratching artwork out there, and yes, I wholeheartedly advocate this and really think it needs to be showcased. My idea for this post came about after seeing what I think is a German poster for An American Werewolf in London - it really is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cupid's Arrow Double Feature: MBV (1981) and Valentine

What better way to celebrate October than by reviewing a couple of Valentine's Day-themed slashers, right? Even though it's not exactly timely from a holiday perspective, here's a review I dug up from the vault circa February 2007.

Over the following two years or so, there's been an above-average 3-D remake of My Bloody Valentine (with Tom "the Man" Atkins!) AND an uncut DVD release of the original, so my below qualm about the excised gore no longer applies - though to be fair, I haven't seen it yet in all its uncensored glory.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Combat Shock (American Nightmares): As Grim As It Gets

Maybe it's because I grew up on a steady diet of shoddy, second-rate VHS tapes for movies like Surf Nazis Must Die and Rabid Grannies, but I'm still taken aback when I see advertisements for the extremely well-polished Tromasterpiece Collection nowadays.

While the words "quality DVDs" and "Troma" used to be oxymorons, over the past few years Lloyd Kaufman's infamous production company has put out a wealth of behind-the-scenes material for releases such as Terror Firmer, Citizen Toxie and Poultrygeist. Now they are kicking it up yet another notch with this amazing anthology of cult favorites.