Sunday, May 19, 2019

SUBMERGED (2016) Blu-ray review

Submerged (2016) d. Steven C. Miller (USA) (99 min)

When a local business magnate (Tim Daly) cuts a goodly percentage of his work force, the ensuing negative press prompts the decision to promote his head of security (Jonathan Bennett) to full-time bodyguard in order to protect his daughter (Talulah Riley). Cruising home from a club with friends, their military-grade limousine is sent careening off a bridge by a gang of ruthless kidnappers and the race is on to escape their watery fate.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

SUTURE (1993) Blu-ray review

Suture (1993) d. Scott McGehee / David Siegel (USA) (96 min)

The wealthy and self-assured Vincent (Michael Harris) meets his blue-collar half-brother Clay (Dennis Haysbert) at their father's funeral and is struck by their similarity. He decides to murder Clay and take his identity, only Clay survives the assassination attempt with no memory and is mistaken for Vincent. The fact that Vincent is white and Clay is black only complicates a film that probes deeply into the nature of identity.

Friday, May 17, 2019

HELL NIGHT (1981) Blu-ray review

Hell Night (1981) d. Tom DeSimone (USA) (101 min)

As a fraternity/sorority initiation rite, pledges Marti (Linda Blair), Jeff (Peter Barton), Denise (Suki Goodwin), and Seth (Vincent Van Patten) must spend a night in Garth Manor, twelve years to the day after madman Raymond Garth supposedly murdered his entire family. As the legend goes, the body of the youngest child, Andrew Garth, was never recovered and still haunts the now-deserted mansion… at least that’s the story spun by frat ringleader Peter (Kevin Brophy), who has designs on scaring the rushing quartet out of their wits. But amidst the projected pranks and skeletons-in-boxes, a real menace lurks in the corners, picking off the interlopers one by one, piece by piece.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

THE SEDUCTION (1982) Blu-ray review

The Seduction (1982) d. David Schmoeller (USA) (104 min)

L.A. anchorwoman Jamie Douglas (Morgan Fairchild) has it all: a glamorous career on a top-rated news show, a luxurious house in the hills, and a devoted young admirer named Derek (Andrew Stevens). But when Jamie ultimately rebuffs his “romantic” advances (after spying on her swimming nude in her pool, the increasingly unwelcome phone calls, flowers, candy, and visits to her house follow), Derek plays out a psychotic courtship with the frightened newswoman, threatening every part of her life, and secretly observing even her most intimate moments. When the cops (led by TV’s Ben Casey, Vince Edwards) can’t do anything, Jamie goes commando, shotgun-blasting away in a satisfying whirling dervish revenge fantasy conclusion.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

SCALPEL (1977) Blu-ray review

Scalpel (1977) d. John Grissmer (USA) (95 min)

Dr. Phillip Reynolds (Robert Lansing), a renowned plastic surgeon, has a bit of a conundrum. His wealthy and recently deceased father-in-law has cut him completely out of a vast inheritance, leaving the entirety of the estate to Reynolds’ daughter, Heather (Judith Chapman). Problem is his estranged offspring is unlikely to share, having run away from home after her overprotective daddy drowned her beau in the pond out back last year. One night, the disinherited doc crosses paths with a young exotic dancer, Jane, her face beaten beyond recognition, and hatches a scheme to reconstruct her features in the form of the missing Heather and split the $5 million pot between them. As her scars heal, the two grow closer, both to sealing the deal and to each other, but first they’ll have to convince suspicious Uncle Bradley (Arlen Dean Snyder) and the rest of the family that Jane is Heather... and make sure Heather doesn’t show up to ruin the party.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

SLUGS (1988) Blu-ray review

Slugs (1988) d. Juan Piquer Simon (Spain/USA) (89 min)

Simon, the maestro behind the gut-busting splatter flick Pieces, delivers another heaping helping of the red sauce, this time with toxic waste-fed gastropods doing the honors. While the line readings and WTF moments are not as abundantly plentiful, there’s enough head-shaking banana boat wackiness to keep guts chuckling and gruesome sequences to keep lunches buckling. When several members of a quiet upstate NY community start turning up munchified, it’s up to public health inspector Michael Garfield (as a character named – snicker – Mike Brady) and his public works buddy (Philip MacHale) to save the day.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Fool's Views (4/16 – 4/30)

You're gonna need a bigger cigar box....

Greetings, my friends!

It’s funny how things fall out in the Doc’s office. I started off the year knocking out a bunch of director Richard Fleischer’s films, and I have made pretty decent strides to that end (up to 10 at this point), slowly and steadily plugging away. However, as fate would have it, I reviewed screeners for new Blu-ray releases of Takashi Miike’s Audition and Brian De Palma’s Obsession (tres apropos, no?) in February, which renewed an interest in their respective films I’d missed and/or revisiting those that I hadn’t seen in a while. As of this writing, the tally already stands at 12 (each) for the year, with a few on deck still to go.

To further complicate things, having just reviewed Shout! Factory’s release of Tarantula, I was inspired to dig out Bill Warren’s massive tome, Keep Watching the Skies! American Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s, which led me to the underrated 1953 3D thriller The Maze (recently released to Blu-ray by Kino Lorber) and now I can’t stop talking about it.

Then, last week, my friend Daniel asked if I was interested in seeing the Pet Sematary remake, only to reveal that he hadn’t seen the directors’ previous film, Starry Eyes, so of course we had to remedy that. Then Jon Kitley tells me he’s covering a couple of toothy “Animals Attack” movies for his HorrorHound column, which had me digging through my old DVDs for some good ’gator action of my own....

And then Arrow throws its new Jose Ramon Larraz three-pack my way!

It just goes to show, folks. Even the best-laid plans give way to fits of spontaneous completism, random inspiration, and pressing deadlines. Hope you have fun with this batch. I know I did.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

THE MAZE (1953) Blu-ray review

The Maze (1953) d. William Cameron Menzies  (USA) (80 min)

Adapted from the novel by Maurice Sandoz by Dan Ullman (who usually trafficked in large and small screen Westerns), this highly original, if somewhat melodramatic piece features It Came from Outer Space (released the same year) star Richard Carlson as Gerald MacTeam, a fine strapping lad about to be married to his best girl Kitty Murray (Veronica Hurst). Just before the wedding, Gerry receives a telegram summoning him to his ancestral Scottish castle; he leaves… and does not return. Hurt and confused, Kitty and Aunt Edith (Katherine Emery) book passage across the ocean to find the once-handsome fiancé unwelcoming and looking 20 years older. Against his demands, the ladies plot to stick around and uncover the mystery, which involves a topiary maze on the grounds with a pond at its center where mysterious lantern lights can be seen after dark. One night, Kitty and Edith sneak down to the labyrinth and discover… ah, ah, ah… that would be telling.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

STRANGE BLOOD hits bookstores this week!

Hey kids! I penned an essay on The Reflecting Skin for this compendium celebration of offbeat bloodsuckers, along with several other cool cats like Hidden Horror contributors Jon Kitley (Night of the Werewolf, Vampyres), Doug Lamoreux (Valley of the Zombies, The Vampire Bat), Gert Verbeeck (Vamp), J Luis Rivera (The Addiction, La peau blanche, Santo vs. the Vampire Women), Steve de Roover (Bordello of Blood, Daughters of Darkness, Embrace of the Vampire, Requiem for a Vampire, Vampyros Lesbos), Charles M. Kline (The Night Flier), Sven Soetemans (Blood for Dracula, Martin), Lee Gambin (Grave of the Vampire), as well as the mysterious madam herself, Vanessa Morgan (Cronos, Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary, Habit, Karmina, Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Rabid, Salem's Lot).

Free on Kindle and reasonably priced for the physical paperback version as well - definitely worth checking out!

Monday, April 29, 2019

ROGUE (2007) DVD review

Rogue (2007) d. McLean, Greg (Australia) (99 min)

As a follow-up to his unvarnished, viscerally effective serial killer flick Wolf Creek, writer/director McLean continues to thwart the Australian tourist trade with this derivative but reasonably entertaining creature feature. Pitting an enormous crocodile against a riverboat full of tourists on a leisure wildlife cruise, Rogue goes through the predictable series of chompings and near-chompings... and that’s about it, finding little new to do with the milieu.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Fool's Views (4/1 – 4/15)

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Howdy, folks!

Due to a busy schedule of self-defense workshops with IMPACT Chicago (and proofreading a certain autobiography that should be hitting bookshelves later this summer), I spent a bit less time taking in the flickers during the first bit of April. However, I was pleased to have finally caught up with Takashi Miike’s Dead or Alive trilogy (courtesy of the good folks at Arrow Video), which sparked an interest in tracking down some of the prolific Japanese director’s other work that I had missed out on (stay tuned). Also included were a revisit of the then-and-now (or is it then-and-then?) cinematic adventures of Fast Eddie Felson, a game of Hopscotch, and one more dash of De Palma.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Saturday, April 27, 2019

DRESSED TO KILL (1980) Blu-ray review

Dressed to Kill (1980) d. Brian De Palma (105 min)

Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson) is frustrated in her marriage, but as she is devoted to her son Peter (Keith Gordon), she is reluctant to consider divorce and instead seeks solace on the comfortable couch of her understanding high-end psychiatrist Dr. Elliott (Michael Caine). After an unexpected midday tryst concludes in tragic fashion, Kate’s world unexpectedly collides with that of Park Avenue call girl Liz (Nancy Allen), no-nonsense police detective Marino (Dennis Franz), and a dangerous, trenchcoat-wearing homicidal killer armed with a straight razor.

Friday, April 26, 2019

VAMPYRES (1974) Blu-ray review

Vampyres (1974) d. Jose Ramon Larraz (UK/Spain) (88 min)

At a time when throwing extensive vampiric nudity on screen would have been enough, Larraz (and his wife Diane Daubeney, who lent her name to the writing credit to meet the UK union quota) went the extra mile and conjured up this deceptively simple, highly satisfying tale of two bisexual bloodsuckers. The Sapphic duo, played with charged sensuality by Marianne Morris (the darker, mysterious Fran) and Anulka (blonde, fresh-faced Miriam) take up residence in a remote English countryside estate, flagging down unsuspecting male drivers to take home for an evening snack. In addition to their daily iron intake, these vampires enjoy all pleasures of the flesh, and Larraz delivers the goods in numerous well-shot, sexy interludes between the lovers and their victims.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Fun Little Facebook Horror Thingie

Good morning!

As some of you might already know, I removed myself from social media (well, really just Facebook since I was never on Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest or whatever else is out there) at the beginning of the year, finding it to be less rewarding that it had been, with far too much talk of politics and oversharing and negativity amidst the increasingly rare personal connections with friends.

However, I have kept the HORROR 101 with Dr. AC Facebook page still active, knowing that this was how many people choose to interact with the Doc. Yesterday, someone reached out to me about this little poll that was rolling around the FB newsfeed, wanting to know what my picks would be since I wasn't "doing Facebook anymore." And I have to say, it was fun to play the game we all used to play, talking about our favorite fright flicks, the ones that made the biggest impressions on us as youngsters, as well as the ones that entered our spheres later on in life. Getting back to our roots as it were....

So, for those of you who are either not on Facebook or for those who might not be following the H101 page there, I figured I'd share the results! And if you are so inclined, I'd love to hear your own lists and/or your thoughts on my thoughts! All about Sharing the Scare!!!


The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

THE BRAIN (1988) Blu-ray review

The Brain (1988) d. Ed Hunt (Canada) (94 min)

Dr. Anthony Blakely (David Gale), head of the Psychological Research Institute, is the host of the hottest new local TV program, the ironically named Independent Thinking, which exerts control over its viewers, leading them to murder and suicide. Troublemaking high school rebel Jim (Tom Bresnahan), following his most recent toilet-exploding practical joke, is sent to PRI to see if his attitude can be “adjusted,” where he discovers the sinister truth behind Blakely and his brainwashing scheme: the dastardly doc has teamed with an alien brain and plans to gain control of all humanity!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

TARANTULA (1955) Blu-ray review

Tarantula (1955) d. Jack Arnold (USA) (81 min)

A plan to feed the world by using a growth formula on plants and animals instead creates terror beyond imagining when a lab accident releases a spider of mammoth proportions upon an unsuspecting public! Feeding on cattle and humans, this towering tarantula has the people of Desert Rock, Arizona, running for their lives. Can this horrifying creature be stopped… or will the world be crushed beneath its giant hairy feet?

Monday, April 22, 2019

EATEN ALIVE (1976) Blu-ray review

Eaten Alive (aka Death Trap) (1976) d. Tobe Hooper (USA) (91 min)

Deep in the Louisiana bayou sits the ramshackle Starlight Hotel, destination of choice for those who like to check in but not check out! Presided over by the bumbling, mumbling Judd (Neville Brand) and his pet croc which he keeps in a large pond out front, the patron of this particular establishment may seem like a good-natured ol' Southern gent - but he has a mean temper on him, and a mighty large scythe to boot....

Sunday, April 21, 2019

NIGHT OF THE LEPUS (1972) Blu-ray review

Night of the Lepus (1972) d. William F. Claxton (USA) (88 min)

A hormone intended to alter the breeding cycle of rabbits overrunning Arizona ranchlands instead turns them into flesh-eating, 150-pound monsters! Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun and DeForest Kelley are among the intrepid humans facing off against the behemoth bunnies, using guns, flames, dynamite, and anything else in their grasp to battle their oversized, hungry tormentors.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

TERRA FORMARS (2016) Blu-ray review

Terra Formars (2016) d. Takashi Miike (Japan) (98 min)

20 years after the 1999 triple-threat of Audition, Dead or Alive, and Ley Lines (the final installment in the Black Society Trilogy), Miike shows no sign of slowing down even if he seems less concerned with consistently shattering conventions and expectations. Case in point: this goofy, juvenile intergalactic epic scripted by Kazuki Nakashima (based on the popular Manga by Yu Sasuga and Kenichi Tachibana) in which a team of space explorers find themselves pitched against a horde of oversized anthropomorphic cockroaches who all seem to have spent a lot of time doing leg presses at Red Planet Fitness.

Friday, April 19, 2019

SUPERSTITION (1982) Blu-ray review

Superstition (1982) d. James Roberson (USA) (85 min)

The old mansion by Black Lake, owned by the local parish, is rumored to be haunted by a witch drowned there in 1692. When an alcoholic minister (Larry Pennell), his wife (Lynn Carlin), his teenage temptress daughters (Heidi Bohay, Maylo McCaslin), and little son Justin (Billy Jayne) move into the cursed residence, an idealistic young priest (James Houghton) and a cynical police detective (Albert Salmi) start their own investigation into the unexplained violence. Has the daughter of Satan returned for a rampage of vengeance? Will the laws of the Church be strong enough to cast out this demon? And if evil has truly found a new home, is the entire neighborhood headed straight to hell?