Friday, October 28, 2011

Exhumed Films Horrorthon Survival Guide: REVISED

Last year I put together a small but handy guide to help one through a 24 hour movie marathon, but after suffering through some of m own bad advice, I have learned from my own mistakes. I now present to you a revised "Do & Do Not" list for this year's Horrorthon.

1. The Early Bird Gets The Best Seats
Do you want to make sure you get the seats you really want for the Horrorthon? Unless you purchased VIP tickets, arriving late is not a option. The doors open at 11AM, so be sure to get there so you can score a decent place in line. Also, if you are going with a large group of friends, getting there late will guarantee that you will have to sit scattershot all over the theater, most likely next to some deranged sociopath who is way too eager to share the bag of toenails he's been snacking on.

2. Dress Comfortably
From the looks of early weather reports, it's going to be really cold this weekend. Now the conundrum is that the I-House theater can get damn toasty, so the best bet is to dress for "sitting in a movie theater for 24 hours" comfortability and your own body temperature. I know last year Exhumed Films' own Joe Gervasi said that one should always dress their best, but this is a horror marathon, not a goddamn box social; Dress as you see fit for this event.

3. Bring A Pillow
This year I will be bringing one of those travel neck pillows, as I believe they will be the most comfortable for this event. Hopefully I won't be wrong.

4. Have A Small Flashlight(not fleshlight. pervert.)
Being in a darkened theater for six or more hours can do a real number on the eyes, especially someone like me who has mole vision. Also I'm sure most of us will be bringing things with us that will be kept at our feet, which is why it's a good idea to have a small pocket flashlight to be able to go through your shit easily. It also comes in handy when you have to get up and go to the bathroom, as you can shine the light on the ground and not step on everyone's feet as you walk over them. 

5. Bring Some Cash For Foodstuffs
The fine folks at the Grindcore House will have all kinds of delicious food & beverages for sale all throughout the event, and maybe if we're lucky, some vegan pizza from the awesome Blackbird Pizzeria.

6. Bring More Cash For DVDs, Posters & Shirts
Diabolik DVD will be set up for the first 2 films, selling an awesome assortment of horror, exploitation and sci-fi films. Exhumed Films' artist friend, Justin Miller from Haunt Love will also be there selling poster prints celebrating the crazier films of Horrorthon's past.
So please arrive with some extra spending money or some livestock and cheeses, for trade.

7. Bring Deodorant
Seriously, the theater starts to smell like one unified armpit once we start getting into the wee hours.

That's all I can think of for right now. I sure hope this list helps those of you going this weekend or anyone going to any horror marathon around the country, either this weekend or anytime in the future.
My next post will be my post Exhumed Films Horrorthon review & reactions. 
So please, everyone have fun at the Horrorthon and have a safe and happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Exhumed Films Week: Memories

Exhumed Films week idea "borrowed" by the great people over at Dr. Terror's Blog of Horrors

This week brings us two momentous moments for localized horror: it is Exhumed Films 14th birthday and this coming weekend is their 5th annual 24 hour Horrorthon, the latter being an event that many cannot shut the hell up about. It must really suck for some of non-horror fans(I have one friend in particular who booed me the other day for bringing it up for the umpteenth time).
To celebrate the two grand occasions, I have decided to chronicle a few my own personal highs & lows of my past experiences with the events, and not just the horrorthons, but all the double features I've gone to since 2008.


-Interestingly enough, my first experience with Exhumed FIlms happened on my own birthday, back on March 7th, 2008 with their "DON'T" double feature of Don't Open The Window & Don't Go In The House( I remember it was raining really bad that night, and neither myself nor the people I was going there with knew where the International House was located, despite writing down all the important info. Now because of all of this, we had missed most of the first feature(WINDOW). EF's very own Joseph A. Gervasi let me know this info as I bought my ticket. I stated that I was only interested in the 2nd feature, to which he replied by grabbing me by my collar and angerly letting me know that the first feature, in his words, "was a goddamned masterpiece!". Or maybe he just mentioned it was a really good movie and my annoyance about being soaking wet made it seem that harsh? Who the hell can remember.
We sat in the I-House's original famously uncomfortable seats and watched the end of Don't Open the Window. The only thing that stood out from that was my friend Sean saying that one of the zombies looks like Pete Townshend, which had me in hysterics for quite a few minutes.
As for the the follow-up feature, Don't Go in the House, this movie had very few funny moments, if any at all. The slightly out-of-place disco soundtrack was amusing, as was the scene with the main character buying a disco suit. I let out a purposely forced loud as hell laugh when you see the first girl get roasted, which kinda creeped out my friends.
All in all, my first experience with Exhumed Films was a very positive one, but for some reason, I would not be back for another showing until the second Horrorthon on November 1st, 2009.

-This leads into my next favorite EF memory, and that would would be the entirety of the 2nd annual Horrorthon. In my opinion, it's still the best line-up they have yet to put together, from the craziness of Wicked Wicked, to the sleaziness of The Boogie Man, I had fun with every movie.
The opening movie was John Carpenter's The Fog, which I had never seen before. Now, there is a certain level of excitement that comes with the EF Horrorthon, and that is because all the movies are kept secret. So when The Fog started, it has a great three minute "cold open" with John Houseman telling a ghost story to children around a campfire, all before the credits, so I had no idea what movie this was. It was thrilling.
Later on, after midnight, EF showed Island of the Damned, which is a creepily effective "evil children" movie that is about as ballsy as any movie I've ever seen before it. Experiencing such a movie at this event left a lasting impression on me.
Finally ending the Horrorthon with Return of the Living Dead was the perfect "exclamation point" on the end of a really fun ride.
I will say that the event was not entirely perfect, as some nimrod came to the event all "punked out", right down to the ridiculous spiked mohawk. He sat down right in front of me during one of the movies. Thankfully he did not stay long.

-I don't have many regrets in life, but one of them definitely is me waiting so long to start going to these semi-monthly events way back when I first read about them in the local paper. If not for that one show landing on my birthday, I might've never gone. Thank you, gentlemen, for all the great memories I've had and all the great memories I've yet to experience.

Happy 14th birthday, Exhumed Films! Heres to 14 more!

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days Of Horror 4: Part 3

#13 Dead & Buried
This movie is an unsung horror classic if there ever was one. It's about as violent as a movie can be, with the added effect of having a great story and a deep mystery going through it. The more I watch it, the more I pick up.
After thought: Needed more Robert England, but that can be said for most films.
Best kill: Oh it's gotta be the syringe to the eye.

#14 Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight
The 90s saw two Crypt movies, this of course is obviously the better one. I have to say that I am a bit disappointed that we never got a sequel; I would've liked to see Jada Pinkett continue the story on.
After thought :Billy Zane's evil "lord of the demons" character deserves to stand next to Jason & Freddy in the Halls of Horror.
Best kill: Zane's "fist through the cop's head" is great, but it's made even better when the head gets stuck on his hand and he starts punching people with it.

#15 The Horror Of It All
This is a fine, hour long documentary on the history of horror, from the silent era, up till the late 70s. It's currently only available on VHS, and I'd love to see it get a DVD treatment so more will see it.

#16 Psycho III
The 3rd installment in the Psycho series does not really continue the awesome that the original and the 2nd brought to the table. While it's not a bad sequel, it's just nothing special. 
Is does, however, continue the "before they were stars" celebrity managers of the Bates Motel with one Mr. Jeff Fahey!
After thought: As the original Psycho was controversial for being the 1st movie to have a flushing toilet, Psycho III goes one step further and features not only the toilet, but a pretty young girl sitting and peeing on said toilet. Classy.
Best kill: I was very amused by the girl who is stabbed to death in the telephone booth, exactly like the famous "shower stabbing" from the original.

#17 Jason X
I was in the mood for something goofy, and this certainly fits the bill. While J-X is not a very good meld of horror and scifi(psst it lacks horror), it is a nice change of pace from the other 9 Friday the 13th films, and I certainly always respect trying something new.
This movie does have a glaring flaw that I just noticed with this most recent viewing: Uber-Jason(as he is called in the credits) does absolutely nothing! He kills nobody at all! He gets created, busts down a couple of doors, and then gets taken down by Seal with muscles! Total gip! It's Jason Takes Manhattan all over again! They could've easily had him turn Uber 10 minutes earlier and had him bust a few people up. Ah, but I digress. This movie does indeed feature the funniest scene in Friday history: Uber-Jason beating to death the 2 girls in the sleeping bags in the holo-chamber.
After thought: Absolutely the worst score I've ever heard in a horror movie. Hands down.
Best kill: When Jason shoves the blonde face first into the freeze chamber, let's her ice-up real good, and then proceeds to shatter her face into a red, icy mess.

#18 It's Alive*
This movie was about as unremarkable as any horror movie can be. Drab characters, drab scenery, drab dialogue and drab off-screen violence. 
After thought: I had seen the sequel first, It Lives Again, at the Exhumed Film's Horrorthon last year and I enjoy it so much more.
Best kill: The milkman's death amused me, but still wasn't anything special.

to be continued...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days Of Horror 4: Part 2

~Continued from the previous post~

#7 The Fly 2*
As much of a classic that Chronenberg's Fly was, the sequel was every bit the opposite. It takes forever to get going, the transformation is underwhelming and the final "monster", was anything but memorable, and the producers were really hoping that the creature would be put in the same class with all the other Hollywood movie mosters throughout the decades.
After thought: Martin Brundle, much like his father, uses the teleportation pods to get tail.
Best kill: The security guard's head being crushed by the elevator is spectacular, especially when it almost got the movie an X rating.

#8 Phantasm 2
Here's a novel idea: Take a smart, scary horror film, have a major motion picture company buy the rights to it, release a sequel that's not scary, turning it into a action movie, proceed to drop the license after movie bombs. Phantasm 2 is goofy, nonsensical fun.
After thought: I NEED a replica of Reggie Banister's duel-barreled, beveled shotgun.
Best Kill: Nothing beats the gold sphere with the spinning blades getting stuck coming out the one dude's mouth.

#9 Rogue*
My 2nd croc-related movie of the month(and probably not the last), was written and directed by the same guy who did Wolf's Creek, which gave me high hopes and I was not disappointed. As far as modern "giant animal attacks" movies go, this is the current granddaddy. It's pretty obvious that the movie's whole budget was used of the croc's CGI and boy does it show. While there are a few scenes where the monster looks pretty fake, most of the time it looks fantastic.
After thought: I have to say though, the cast is pretty bland. Not horrible, but nothing special.
Best kill: I can't really say w/o spoiling the end.

#10 Pieces
Now this is a movie that can please even the most hardened gore-hound! This one is best viewed with a large crowd, as the really bad english dubbed dialogue will be more appreciated that way.
Brutal, ridiculous violence, horrific voice-over, nudity from all sexes, x-rated jigsaw puzzles, lost limbs, and a sleazy, moog-synth soundtrack makes Pieces a must see!
After thought: Keep an watchful eye out for the push-button phone, prominently displayed in a flashback set in the 1940s. Derp dee doo...

#11 Psycho
First time I saw this movie, I was young and didn't care much for it. Now that I'm older and more mature(boobs. farts.), I now appreciate what it did for horror films, showers and pop culture.
After thoughts: This movie stirred up controversy in the bathroom, but not because of the infamous shower scene, but because this was the first film to ever feature a flushing toilet in it. I wonder how many people were genuinely offended by this?
Best kill: Nothing beats Janet Leigh's shower death.

#12 Psycho II
This movie surprised me. I half expected a lame sequel to a movie that did not need to be sequelized, but boy was I wrong. Spooky, sleazy, atmospheric and mystery-laden, Psycho II is a worthy successor to Hitchcock's classic.
After thought: This features the first of 2 "before they were stars" managers of the Bates Motel: Mr. Dennis Franz!
Best Kill: The old woman who gets murdered with a shovel to the back of the head was pretty great AND unexpected.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Days of Horror 4: Part 1

                                  Above image "borrowed" from
Every year,  horror-philes celebrate the month of October with a viewing of one horror(or genre related) movie a day for the entire month, while others have double features every night. And then there are those brave souls who try to cram as many "scary" movies as possible into the whole month. I fall into that 3rd category.
This will be my fourth October in a row doing this, and while I have always kept a list of what movies I've watched, I never blogged about it; this changes now. I always referred to this event as "Horrorween", but to be honest I wasn't the biggest fan of that name, but for lack of a better one, I kept it. Thankfully my fellow horror nuts on Twitter came up with the hashtag #31DaysOfHorror, which I liked so much better. It's simple and to the point.
My rules for #31DaysOfHorror:
-At least every other movie viewed has to be something I've never seen before.
-If I am having a themed marathon(all the Saw films in succession), a themed double feature(like two movies starring the same actor or similar plot), or I'm gathered with friends and they choose what we watch, well then obviously the 1st rule gets thrown out.
-Try and fit in a few other things besides movies, like documentaries and halloween specials from the 80s.
That's pretty much is for rules, as you don't need too many for this type of non-event.
I have to say that the month got off to a shaky start as on October 1st I got stuck at a friends house all day with a broken DVD player and only the most basic of cable. So as it happens, the first two films I get to watch were the edited-for-TV versions of Caddyshack and My Cousin Vinny; scary, I know.
I finally got home late that night and popped in my first movie of the month:

#1: Grindhouse
This would be the first time I would get to see Grindhouse in all it's gory glory since it was in theater's back in 2007, and boy did it have trouble keeping my interest. Now this was the first time I was sleeping in my own bed for a few days, so I was pretty tired which I'm sure didn't help. Also my tolerance for loud, obnoxious and in-your-face tongue-in-cheek horror movies has almost drained into nothingness.
On this viewing of Grindhouse, I have to say I now enjoy Death Proof much more than Planet Terror. I mean, besides a couple of solid performances and a very sexy Rose McGowan, P.T. is a mess. Why is Naveen Andrews collecting testicles? Why does Bruce Willis wink at the audience? Why does Jeff Fahey fall asleep on the floor of his restaurant after killing some infected? Why does Michael Parks' mother randomly become infected, while he does not when they are right next to one another? Why is Electra & Elise Avallen the 2 sexiest girls I've ever met? ... Forget that last one.
P.T. is a mess, a fun mess, but a mess nonetheless.
Death Proof, on the other hand, is a true throwback to exploitation films of old, one that is on-the-edge-of-your-seat scary the first time you watch it. Stuntman Mike's sudden turn from goofy bar-goer to homicidal madman is awesome, and the "ship's mast" scene later in the film is edge-of-your-seat stuff.
After thought: I would like to see a movie on the past of Freddy Rodriguez's character El Rey.
Best kill: Stuntman Mike driving his car right across the face of Vanessa Ferlito, literally ripping it off!

Hal Holbrook Double Feature
#2 Rituals*
This movie, about a group of doctors going out on their "ritual" camping trip and being stalked, tortured and murdered one by one by a mysterious person was ok. I wasn't too thrilled with the reveal of who was hunting them, but I feel a 2nd viewing would make me like this movie a bit more.
After thought: I will say it was a nice breath of fresh air to see a camping movie and not have to about a group of groping teens.
Best kill: Tough-man Holbrook strangling a comrade to death, ending his misery.

#3 Creepshow
Who the hell doesn't like Creepshow?! Although this is far from scary, it's about as much fun as you can have watching a horror film. I really enjoy how it took many actors not normally used in this genre and made the best of them. Leslie Nielsen was never meaner in any movie I ever saw, and supposedly Ted Danson does not look back at this movie very fondly, which is a damn shame.
After thought: How twisted is that kid in the beginning of the movie that he is not terrified out of his mind by that...thing outside his window? Even as a grown man that would've killed me with fright!
Best kill: I  particularly enjoyed the nerdy student getting ripped apart by the creature in The Crate.

#4 An American Werewolf in London
Another classic that is virtually impossible to dislike. Not much more I can add to that.
After thought: The scene where all of David Kessler's victim's tell him different ways he can kill himself, thus ending the wolf curse, all while sitting in a porn theater, is my favorite scene in the movie.
Best kill: A police constable gets his head torn off and bounced off the hood of a car.

#5 Alligator*
We can all thank Jaws for all these killer animal movies from the early 80s, and I mean that. Most of these movies are good fun, and this one just about tops the list. Watch this one with a group.
After thought: Using a real alligator walking through a set of miniatures to make it look gargantuan is simply fantastic.
Best kill: This was limited in that department, but the pet store owner is the only one that springs to mind.

#6 The Fly(1986)
Jeff Goldblum with pec muscles does not make sense to me, but after seeing the type of acrobatics that his character has to perform late in this movie, I can understand why he had them.
After thought: Possibly the sexiest Geena Davis ever was in a movie?
Best kill: I don't recall any actual deaths in this movie(besides the end), but I will say the "arm wrestling scene" makes me cringe everytime.


* means "never seen before"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Elm Street Blues

(oh god i hope someone gets the blog title pun)

In 2014, we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of everyone's favorite child murderer, that bastard son of a thousand maniacs, the clawed one himself: Freddy Kruger. One assumes that would be when we were going to get an updated boxset from the one that was released way back in the golden age of DVD(1999), but it would seem that the UK cannot hold it in any longer and have decided that NOW is the time to strike. Of course not only are we getting a new DVD boxset, but a blu-ray one as well.
I'm very late to the game when it comes to blu-ray, but that was all because of an annoyance over it being a rushed-out format combined with people drinking the "Blu Kool Aid" a little too fast, hastily replacing the collection that they had spent years putting together. It all rubbed me the wrong way. I have since lightened-up on my feelings against BD(blu-ray) this past year, considering I now own a BD player(PS3) and an HD television, so moving on to the next step in technology was a no-brainer.
The BD set will be 7 movies(no Freddy vs Jason) bunched together over 5 discs, which is kind of a drag. This means 2 movies per disc, all except for New Nightmare and the disc of bonus features. Whether or not the discs with the 2 films will be dual-layered has yet to be seen. This isn't a bad idea as a cost reducing measure(the set runs about $50 I believe), but as a fan of film and a total DVD junkie(yes i still refer to BD as DVD), I prefer my films spread out, leaving plenty of room for the gobs of bonus material that I know exists.
As far as the proverbial bonus features go, this one is both interesting and lacking to say the least, as it includes a 1988 MTV show aptly entitled "The Freddy Kruger Special"(which can be found on youtube), two episodes of the Freddy's Nightmares tv series, neither of which is the first episode "origin story" that is laughably bad(maybe that's why?), and a whole section titled "Welcome to Prime Time" which I can only assume is a bunch of interviews. If this set does include new interviews, I can't help but feel that it's all a waste of space, what with the awesome 4 hour documentary NEVER SLEEP AGAIN that came out last year that left no stone unturned in the series. Any new interviews on the set would just seem redundant, and I know for a fact that their is a ton of deleted scenes, old making-of footage, trailers, tv ads, various clips from old tv shows, music videos, etc. etc. that NEEDS to be unearthed.
All in all, this set could be worth the pick-up since it's cheap enough, but hopefully the U.S. will release a better set as we edge ever closer to the series' birthday.
Scary thing is, the UK boxsets are almost always superior to the U.S. release. Let's hope that this time it's not the case.

*BTW the boxset is region 0, so despite being from the UK, it'll play on any player worldwide.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jason Visits Manhattan: Looking at Friday 8

22 years ago today, the "final" movie with the title Friday the 13th was released to the masses(at least till 2009, but more on that later); months before the trailer was popping up before movies with much glee, featuring our favorite killer goalie scaring the hell out of folks in a brand new setting! Horror fans rejoiced, as it looked as though we were getting a familiar premise in an unfamiliar territory, which is something this series desperately needed. Sadly what we got was The Love Boat followed by 15 minutes of Jason and the gang running around New York City Canada. This was a major disappointment when I was 12 years old, and I have to say, despite the movie having a fun "cheese factor", is still a bit of a disappointment today.
Now I understand NYC is one of the most expensive places to film, and using Canada as the faux NYC was just a way to save on that cash, but they had to figure that Jason tearing through Times Square would've been gangbusters, making the studio oodles of cash. The film went on to make $15,000,000, three times the budget. Imagine if the movie actually got good word-of-mouth, by actually taking place where the movie's title promised? It probably would've made 30 mill easily.
According to IMDB, the film was supposed to take place all over NYC; like Madison Square Garden, Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building. It was the studio that refused to allow this to happen because of budgetary reasons.
If the movie was not originally advertised to take place in NYC, with that scenario being a surprise for patient movie goers, Jason part 8 might be looked at with kinder eyes in hindsight. Maybe calling it Friday the 13th Part VIII: Blood Cruise and then having the destination of the boat be the something the audience is not expecting. Then not having most of the movie take place where it was originaly promised would not be a source of horror-fans complaints.
Believe it or not, this IS fixable, but that all depends on how you feel about... *looks around* R-E-M-A-K-E-S. I know, "remake" is a dirty word these days, but it doesn't have to be.
Not every remake is a blight upon mankind; The Thing, Night of the Living Dead and The Hills Have Eyes are remakes that we all agree really turned out well.
In 2009, Platinum Dunes released the Friday the 13th remake to much fan-worry. After a viewing, though, you see that as far as remakes go, this one wasn't that bad. It cleanly combines the first three films into a tidy package, as well as having a great cast of "kids" to kill and in this author's opinion, some of the best nudity ever in a slasher film. My only problem with Friday the 13th 2009 was that most of the killings in it were very uninspired. I mean, even the original film had the great scene of Kevin Bacon getting a skewer through his throat from under the bed, which was totally revolutionary back then.
The Friday remake did just well enough to have rumors of a sequel bounce around the internet for a few years now, this time taking Jason into the winter, which is a simple yet brilliant direction to take the series. Considering that movie IS a hit, the chances a third movie are likely, which is why I propose this:
Friday the 13th Part 3-D: Jason Takes Manhattan!
Now, I know what you're thinking "You, of ALL people, are suggesting a movie be released in 3D?!". Yes yes I am an outspoken hater of the way 3D has been shoved down our throats, but I loved it in My Bloody Valentine 3D, and since the O.G. F13th part 3 was 3D, I believe this would be a solid "homage", as long as it's kept simple. But more importantly, this movie would be perfect place to take Jason Voorhees and have him reign terror on NYC the way he was supposed to back in 1989.
New York has a much, MUCH different look now than it did back then. It was much more dangerous. It was grittier and dirtier. Today it's very "disneyfied" and a lot more family friendly, so Jason running rough-shot all over the most famous city on the planet would make a much bigger impact.
If this were to happen, and if it was done right, I have no problem saying that a Jason Takes Manhattan remake would be one the most anticipated horror movies in a long time.