Tuesday, March 3, 2015

NEW YEAR'S EVIL (1980) Blu-ray Review



New Year’s Evil (1980) d. Emmett Alston (USA)

During an L.A. New Year’s Eve new-wave/rock concert countdown, First Lady of Rock n’ Roll Diane “Blaze” Sullivan (Roz Kelly, best known as “Pinky Tuscadero” from TV’s Happy Days) gets a phone call saying that when midnight strikes in each time zone, someone will be murdered – and she will be the last one. The film then proceeds to split its running time between the nefarious, clock-conscious killer (Kip Niven) making good on his threats, ringing in to share the bloody tidings while growing ever-closer to his ultimate quarry, and Blaze’s ear-shredding telecast and interactions with her mopey, neglected son Derek (Grant Cramer).


Friday, February 27, 2015

Toho's Gojira Rises from the Depths (Guest Writer Beth Kelly)




Well, this is a first. Last month, I was approached by an enthusiastic fright fan who expressed an interest in penning a guest post for the ol' H101 blog after reading my interview with Billy Dubose, writer/director of Godzilla: Battle Royale. While I tried to advise her that any association with the likes of me might do more harm than good, she remained unswayed. And so, for your reading enjoyment (and my delighted Friday off), I yield the virtual floor to the delightful and knowledgeable Ms. Kelly....


Toho's Gojira Rises from the Depths

By Beth Kelly

Godzilla is known the world over as the greatest movie monster of all time. A larger-than-life persona, children and adults everywhere instantly recognize the “King of the Monsters” for his fearsome visage and noxious atomic breath. Having been featured in nearly 30 films, videogames, and even a Blue Oyster Cult song, Godzilla has remained a staple of pop culture since his debut in 1954. Over his 60-year career, Godzilla has undergone many different incarnations, playing the roles of villain and destroyer, hero and savior. But beyond the simplicity of a monster stomping through a city or fighting many adversaries lies a stern warning of the dangers of unbridled scientific power.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS (1983) movie review



House of the Long Shadows (1983) d. Pete Walker (UK)

Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, and John Carradine are teamed together, and while the film itself is less than momentous, the horror icons actually get to play off one another (unlike, say, Scream and Scream Again) and seem to be enjoying the opportunity. Desi Arnaz, Jr. might wear out his welcome as a brash young writer who takes his publisher’s bet to pen a new novel – in one night, mind you – while under the titular spookhouse’s roof, but the quartet of aging veterans is clearly having a ball (with Cushing’s lisping quakeboots a distinct highlight) and their enthusiasm is infectious. Longtime Walker fave Shelia Keith lends her distinctive flavor of menace – as well as a few off-key high notes (literally) – to the proceedings.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

STARRY EYES (2014) Blu-ray Review



Starry Eyes (2014) d. Kevin Kolsch / Dennis Widmyer (USA)

Aspiring actress Sarah (Alexandra Essoe) juggles her soul-killing day job at a spud-centric Hooter’s knock-off (Big Taters) while knocking on doors all over Tinseltown. The deceptively simple plot follows her day-to-day trials until her big break comes in the form of a toilet temper tantrum following a botched audition (this happens a lot in the acting world; trust me on this). The casting director hears something “different” behind those thin walls and invites her back for a second, more involved audition, followed by a meeting with the mysterious producer, each step drawing the young artist deeper into the tar-thick mire of immorality. But sin – and fame – comes at a price, with Sarah’s tender spirit and flesh the currency of the day....



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ANIMAL (2014) Blu-ray Review



Animal (2014) d. Brett Simmons (USA)

This Chiller-produced creature feature plays like an amalgam of other films – notably Night of the Living Dead, Jurassic Park, and Feast, the latter of which borrowed liberally from Romero’s playbook – but it’s all put together so slickly and with such a knowing tone that it makes for a surprisingly entertaining beer n’ chips Friday Night Fright.


Monday, February 23, 2015

DIGGING UP THE MARROW (2014) movie review



Digging Up the Marrow (2014) d. Adam Green (USA)

I’m not sure if the Hatchet man was trying to take the piss out of the found footage movement or just too damn busy producing his TV show Holliston to bother getting it right, but his latest offering is lame as lame can be. The former proponent of “old school horror” now jumps aboard the faux-documentary express, playing “writer/director Adam Green,” happily spending his days creating material with his pals and weekends hobnobbing with various genre celebs at conventions. Among the celebs that appear as themselves – stiff, mannered versions of themselves – are Kane Hodder, Tom Holland, Mick Garris, Don Coscarelli, Lloyd Kaufman, and Tony Todd. By now, we’re all thinking, “Wow, that Adam Green is pretty cool,” or at least that’s what I think we’re supposed to be thinking. (I remember when I also thought Adam Green was cool, having met him back in 2007 during the pre-release tour for Hatchet. This was, of course, before I realized I didn’t really like any of his movies.)


Saturday, February 21, 2015

MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH (2013) movie review



Motivational Growth (2013) d. Don Thacker (USA)

Ian Folivor (Adrian DiGiovanni) is a depressive shut-in who, following an ill-fated suicide attempt, finds himself being given life lessons from The Mold, an expanding fungal growth in his bathroom (a superb alliance of puppetry and Jeffrey Combs’ mellifluous vocal performance). Soon, the thesaurus-enhanced smooth-talking goop is large and in charge, leaving Ian desperately trying to maintain sanity in between bouts of channel-surfing on his sometimes-deceased television (named Kent) or keyhole-stalking the comely next-door neighbor (Danielle Doetsch).


Friday, February 20, 2015

Dr. AC's 2015 Oscar Rundown



Just in the nick of time, here is my completely subjective take on the Oscar race.  These are not in any way to be seen as my handicapping, so don’t blame me if you don’t walk off with the office pool.  Who does win is completely out of my control.  Who I feel should win?  That’s another story, and I’ve noted my picks with an asterisk (*).


Read on…

Thursday, February 19, 2015

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1989) Blu-ray Review



The Phantom of the Opera (1989) d. Dwight H. Little (USA)

Aspiring young soprano Christine Day (Jill Schoelen) auditions for a new opera production with a strange and unusual composition discovered by her friend in a dusty music library, "Don Juan Triumphant." Courtesy of an errant sandbag nearly clocking her onstage, Christine is transported into a dream (or is it a memory?) of a previous life in London, one where she is the object of a mysterious and malicious figure's affections. Said figure being the resident "theatre ghost," Erik Destler (Robert Englund), an ambitious composer who has sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical magnificence. (There's also the added bonus of Satan having horribly disfigured Destler's visage, so that his music is all that anyone can ever love.) Erik hides in the shadows, coaching Christine through her windows at night and eliminating anyone who threatens her ascension to fame and fortune. The unwitting starlet finds herself at the center of a spate of bloody murders, wondering at what price her success...and when will her benefactor come to collect?


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

GIRLHOUSE (2014) movie review



GirlHouse (2014) d. Trevor Matthews / Jon Knautz (Canada)

Struggling with both her father’s recent death and university tuition, foxy but decidedly “good girl” Kylie (Ali Cobrin) hits upon a novel solution: why not take up residence in a mansion of many rooms and even more cameras for a Big Brother-ish site where the chicks get hired for the clicks they inspire? What sets the titular abode apart from every other reality/porn channel out there is its canny combo of everyday goings-on with the occasional striptease or private one-on-one chat sessions with the lovely ladies. Unfortunately for them, a slovenly, tech-wiz psychopath dubbed “Loverboy” (played by the mononymic Slaine) gets a little too turned on by Kylie’s arrival, an unhealthy obsession that grows in direct proportion to his sexually fueled violence. Before you can say “Survivor,” the fetching femmes are being stalked and (messily) slaughtered, but since the location of the GirlHouse is top-secret, no one can help – they can only watch.