Monday, October 31, 2011

You Know The Drill

Thanks to all the people who read this blog and Doomed Moviethon!

And a happy Halloween to all of you!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fat Albert's Halloween Special

When I was a kid, there was a show that was extremely addictive, somewhat embarrassing to admit that you liked, and kind of totally awesome. That show was Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. I think I saw pretty much every episode of this show on TV when I was a kid. A few years later, my health teacher in 7th grade threw on episodes of Fat Albert every time he ran out of slides of STD victims to show us. I would totally pretend it was lame but deep down I knew the show was important. Why? Because the show taught a lesson. Sure it seemed like there were many lessons but in reality it all came down to one: DON'T BE A SHITHEAD.

In Fat Albert's Halloween Special, the gang is hellbent on pulling some pranks and scaring some old codgers in their neighborhood. Fat Albert tries to warn them by saying that scaring people isn't cool but of course they don't listen. After some shenanigans in a graveyard (what, no necrophilia?), the gang's next stop before the scaring festivities begin is to the theater for a Halloween showing of Space Squids that Ate Pittsburgh. But they get thrown out after Devery and Rudy play an idiotic prank.

"You jivin'? My brother Devery is no chicken. He's a lame duck with no pluck."

When Devery's tattletale little sister Melba shows up with the intention of spoiling all the fun, Devery challenges her to go up to Mrs. Bakewell's, the creepiest house on the block, to trick or treat. She accepts the challenge and, with Russell in tow, she marches up to the house. While the gang watches from the yard, Russell and Melba go into the house and everyone fears the worst. They burst into the room and discover that Mrs. Bakewell is just a nice, lonely widow who is more than happy to give the kids candy and soda. See, there's the lesson: Old people are cool. Devery finally gets his when his dad shows up and (presumably) beats the crap out of him.

I was under the impression that I had somehow missed Fat Albert's Halloween Special but the scene where Melba and Russell are chillin' in front of the fireplace drinking sodas brought it all back. Of course I've fucking seen this. Duh. I remember wondering what kind of soda they were drinking: Coke? Pepsi? 7-Up? Mountain Dew? What!??!?! The mystery still haunts me.

This is what happens when you act like a shithead.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sinister Spotlight and Mephisto's Castle!

Hey gang, you need to head on over to the rad blog, Mephisto's Castle, by rad duder Jose. While you're there check out the episode of Jose's podcast, Sinister Spotlight, where he and I discuss the great slasher: He Knows You're Alone. We give the film an hour and a half of our soulful lovin'. Oops! Did that sound gay?

Friday, October 21, 2011

More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead

I got my grubby little hands on a screener for the fabulous documentary, More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead which lovingly and thoroughly covers the making of Return of the Living Dead. I watched it and I reviewed it and you can find out if I dug it or hated it RIGHT HERE.

This part contains a spoiler or two for ROTLD:

I allude to something of a personal nature in my review of the documentary. For years, Return of the Living Dead made me very depressed whenever I watched it. And I could never put my finger on why such a funny and entertaining flick would bring me down so much. I used to just think that it was the downer ending. But after watching the documentary, it hit me: James Karen's agonizingly slow death after he is exposed to the toxic fumes that cause the dead to come back to life reminds me of my dying father.

I know what you're thinking: "Hey wow, nice going, duder. Kill the mood much?"

But yeah, this was quite a revelation for me. My dad died of lung cancer in 1993 and obviously, it affected me greatly. It just seems odd that James Karen's rather comedic scenes of him succumbing to rigor mortis and other ailments of the dying would freak me out so badly. Add to this the poignant moment where he decides to crawl inside the oven in the crematorium in order to avoid joining the ranks of the living dead and -well, I'm surprised I didn't just start bawling like a baby every time I sat down to view Return of the Living Dead. It's no joke that I owe it to More Brains! for helping me come to this conclusion. Something about seeing how the film was made flipped a switch in my brain and I have a feeling that I will be able to enjoy it again without hopping on the train to Bummersville.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tales that Witness Madness

Tales that Witness Madness
Directed by Freddie Francis
Starring Kim Novak, Georgia Brown, Joan Collins, Jack Hawkins, Suzy Kendall, Donald Pleasence
90 minutes

Professor Tremayne (played by Donald Pleasence) has been working on four of his toughest psychiatrist cases and he may just have had a breakthrough with these dang loonies. In the first case, a young boy named Paul (Russell Lewis) with crappy parents depends on his imaginary tiger for companionship. Or perhaps, his pet tiger isn’t imaginary after all. In the second case, Timothy (Peter McEnery), an antiques dealer, discovers an old portrait in his deceased aunt’s possessions named “Uncle Albert”. The portrait has the power to transport Timothy into the past. In the third case, Brian (Michael Jayston) brings home an old tree stump that he thinks will look good in the living room. His wife Bella (Joan Collins) suddenly finds herself competing for her husband’s affections. The final case involves a man who uses black magic and a cannibal rite to attain great spiritual powers for he and his voodoo princess mother.

I am not a big fan of anthology films but I have to admit that Tales that Witness Madness is rather good. Freddie Francis (The Creeping Flesh, Paranoiac) directs this kooky collection of horror tales. The first story is very obvious but satisfying. The second story is pretty awful. Suzy Kendall is as shrill and as ludicrous as always and the melodramatic script plays into her talents. The lovely and always sassy Joan Collins livens up the third segment which is just plain bizarre anyway. Another classy member of the cast is Kim Novak, the hostess of the party in the final story. She is very odd in this movie, playing things very shaky and nutty (probably not on purpose). The wraparound bits are a little weak but Pleasence is very good (as usual) and I love the white, sterile hallways of the asylum.

"Did Mozart have to deal with this shit?"

Sharon Stone?

"Richard? Richard? Come to bed, Richard!"

"It won't help if I explain it to you."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Thing (2011) - A Couple Thoughts

So on Saturday I went out to Muvico to check out this prequel dealie to John Carpenter's 1982 classic, The Thing. There were a few douchebagels who showed up but they were quiet enough to not ruin the experience. And I must say, I enjoyed the film. It is suspenseful, well-made, gruesome, and has an excellent score by Marco Beltrami (a duder who is quickly becoming one of my favorite composers). I won't call this 2011 version of The Thing -I can't believe they couldn't think of something else to call it- essential or anything but if you decide to take a chance, you'll be pleasantly surprised that it doesn't suck. My biggest complaints are that the people populating this film aren't nearly quirky or memorable enough and that the practical (I call them analog) monster effects are non-existent. The CGI didn't bother me but don't expect anything like Rob Bottin's magic here.

Anyway, I do have a problem with this prequel. The ending ties in so seamlessly with Carpenter's film that I have to say it kind of pisses me off. Part of what is so great is that in the beginning of the 1982 film, you have no idea what's going on. MacReady and the crew of Outpost 31 discover the what's left of the Norwegian camp and the viewer has to use their IMAGINATION to piece together the horrors these men must have gone through. I know what you're saying: "Duder, it's a prequel. You spent $7.75 to ruin it for yourself." I'm just thinking of people who may watch this The Thing before they watch the original The Thing. I think it is better to see the 1982 flick first completely cold (as in, not knowing a damn thing about it), ponder what may have happened to the posthumous crew, and then watching this prequel as one of the potential possibilities of what occurred.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fulci - The Yellow Films

For episode 8 of Hello! This is the Doomed Show, Brad and I start the first of our four episodes on Lucio Fulci. In this spoiler-free episode, we talk exclusively about his contributions to the giallo genre. There are some pretty bizarre outtakes on this one. Listen closely or at a distance. Films covered in this episode: One on Top of the Other AKA Perversion Story, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, Don't Torture a Duckling, Seven Notes in Black, New York Ripper, and Murder Rock: Dancing Death.

And just so you know, these episodes will not happen consecutively. Brad and I are going to have non-Fulci episodes in between these to break things up because we're weirdos and stuff. Here's how the Fulci-themed episodes are going to go:

1. Fulci - The Yellow Films (A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, The Psychic, etc.)
2. Fulci - The Golden Age (The Beyond, Zombie, The Black Cat, etc.)
3. Fulci - The Other Side of Lucio Fulci (Contraband, Conquest, Four of the Apocalypse, etc.)
4. Fulci - More Horrors (House of Clocks, Manhattan Baby, Demonia, etc.)

You can download or listen to episode 8 at Podomatic.

Or you can download it from Mediafire.

Here are the archives!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dracula vs. Frankenstein

Dracula vs. Frankenstein
Directed by Al Adamson
Starring J. Carrol Naish, Lon Chaney Jr., Zandor Vorkov, Anthony Eisley, Regina Carrol
91 minutes

Dr. Duryea AKA Dr. Frankenstein (played by J. Carrol Naish), with the help of his monster serum-addled assistant Groton (Lon Chaney Jr.), has been murdering women on the beach in order to perform ghastly experiments. One night, Count Dracula shows up with a proposition. Dracula has discovered the remains of the original Frankenstein’s monster and will help the doctor get his revenge on the medical community that discredited him. What does he want in return? Nothing really; he just wants to pull some evil shit on an unsuspecting world.

MEANWHILE... Nightclub performer Judy Fontaine (played by Regina Carrol) is searching for her missing sister Joanie and she gets a big dose of LSD from a bald biker with a ludicrous looking scar on his head. She is rescued by a pair of happy go lucky hippies, Strange (Greydon Clark) and Samantha (Anne Morrell). Next Judy meets Mike Howard (Anthony Eisley), a hippie guru who knew Joanie before she disappeared. The gang heads down to the boardwalk to check out Dr. Duryea’s horror funhouse to see if Joanie (who had an interest in the macabre) might have gone there. Little does Judy know that her sister has already become a part of the mad doctor’s horrifying menagerie.

At some point, you have to open your heart to the world of Al Adamson. I didn’t think I could do it but I asked myself: “Who am I to resist greatness?” His films are slapdash and awkward but full of chaotic beauty. Dracula vs. Frankenstein is a kooky disaster infused with hippies, acid trips, surfers, and bikers (that were intended for an unfinished biker film). The horror elements and the biker elements go together like razor blades and Cheese Whiz but I have to admit this film is pretty damn entertaining. When the plot comes to a complete stop for some romance between Judy and Mark, it’s no bummer. Hey square, I can dig on these love vibes!

The cast in this movie could not be better. Lon Chaney Jr. acts like a junkie and super prolific J. Carrol Naish (House of Frankenstein) is the master of mad science, calling the shots from his wheelchair of doom. Zandor Vorkov makes his goateed and swarthy Count Dracula work by the sheer will of his eyebrows alone. Adamson regular, Regina Carrol, is sultry and sexy -well, she has big boobs and big hair anyway. Angelo Rossitto (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome) may be small in stature but he is hugely creepy as Grazbo, the boardwalk barker leading unsuspecting hip kids to their doom.

Out of all the Al Adamson films I’ve seen, this is probably my favorite. The quick pacing dies a dopey death in the last 10 minutes and the off kilter weirdness from the weak writing, expository overdubs, and childlike editing is even more aggressive than usual. But you know, I pretty much loved every second. Dracula vs. Frankenstein is a bargain basement monster mash-up sifted through the mind of a man who thought he knew what the hippie generation would want to see on the big screen. If you don’t think you can handle a dough-faced Frankenstein’s monster fighting a disco Dracula then this film ain’t for you. I thought that perhaps you’d be MAN ENOUGH or WOMAN ENOUGH or BOTH ENOUGH to deal with it but you’re not.

“They want to see an illusion. They do not realize that reality itself is the grandest illusion of all. And that human blood is the essence from which future illusions may be created.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guest Blog: Pete Walkerthon Is On!

Check it out, y'all. Brad is back with another moviethon! Whatta guy!

Recently, Elizabeth and I watched the horror/thriller films of British director Pete Walker in chronological order. We omitted Die Screaming Marianne (I find it boring) and The House of the Long Shadows because there doesn't seem to be a good copy of it and I don't think it would fit in thematically with the other films. Friday night we watched 1972's The Flesh and Blood Show, 1974's House of Whipcord, and 1974's Frightmare. Saturday morning we watched 1975's The Confessional/House of Mortal Sin, 1976's Schizo, and 1978's The Comeback.

The Flesh and Blood Show is a protoslasher based around a theater troupe in an old, deserted theater. It's a bit reminiscent of the giallo The Killer Reserved Nine Seats, although not as good in my opinion, and a respectable start to Pete's horror career (discounting Marianne). House of Whipcord is for all intents and purposes a women in prison film and is based around a general theme of conservative values run amok. This is the first film in which Pete worked with actress Sheila Keith forming a partnership not unlike Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro but perhaps more akin to James Whale and Boris Karloff. Perhaps in attempt to go the other way, Frightmare is a film centered on liberalism gone astray and is the tale of an older couple who have been let out of prison too soon with gruesome consequences. Sheila Keith also appears (it's her with a scary face on the cover), and while her monsters don't evoke sympathy in a way that Karloff's monsters do, she does demand your attention every time she is on screen.

Saturday we started with The Confessional, a film that Catholics should probably avoid (even though it has Stephanie Beacham!). It is the tale of a Catholic priest who uses his parishioners' confessions against them in his attempt to right their moral wrongs. It reminds me a bit of a lyric from the Belle and Sebastian song The State I Am In, “The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called 'The State I Am In'”. Once again Sheila Keith appears, this time sporting a pair of Nick Fury glasses. Did I mention this film has Stephanie Beacham? Schizo is another pre-Halloween protoslasher. Peter Sellers' last wife, Lynne Frederick, stars as a newlywed ice skater being menaced by a figure from her past. Sheila Keith, sadly, is not in this, but Stephanie Beacham is. It's overlong but has a fantastic seance sequence and some fairly gory murders. The Comeback stars '60s pop idol Jack Jones as a singer who is trying to make, you guessed it, a comeback. The only thing standing in his way is a killer in an old lady mask and possible insanity. Sheila Keith makes a much welcomed return as his housekeeper.

*The lists pertain only to this viewing of the films


1. Frightmare
2. The Comeback
3. The Confessional
4. House of Whipcord
5. Schizo
6. The Flesh and Blood Show


1. House of Whipcord
2. The Comeback
3. Frightmare
4. Schizo
5. The Confessional
6. The Flesh and Blood Show

In any event, I believe that Pete Walker's films are underrated and in need of a serious reevaluation. They serve as a nice bridge between Hammer films and the late 70s to early 80s slasher films.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Next Phase In Crap

Back in 2009, I made a movie with my friends and had to put it together with shitty software. Now I have better software but I'm still shitty. So this little thing that was once called Crazy Fortune Teller is now LASER BEAMS! LASER BEAMS! LASER BEAMS! This still isn't the final product but I trimmed some things and added the "dance party in Hades" sequence over the end credits instead of the movie just stopping abruptly. Check it out. I play The Devil. And I dance as The Devil dances in Hades but this time, it's in real life. The film also features an entire cast of library employees.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gooey Terror From My Youth: Beware! The Blob

I guess I was kind of a doofus when I was a kid. When I saw Beware! The Blob on TV back in the day, I had no idea I was supposed to be laughing. In fact, I was freaked the fuck out. I guess the idea of being digested by a red gooey mass from outer space is actually disturbing in some circles of society. What got to me the most was when the Blob went after the black couple (played by Godfrey Cambridge and Marlene Clark), it scared me to death and made me incredibly sad that these two vivacious and fun characters had to die so horribly. I like the sincerity of my kid-heart but man, I was such a dope. It just didn't compute that a horror movie could be silly, funny, or in the cae of Beware! The Blob, incredidbly stupid.