Thursday, June 20, 2024

BRING ON THE BIG BUGS - THEM! (1954) TURNS 70!!!

THEM! (1954) d. Gordon Douglas (USA)




Unleashed upon a hungry for sci-fi movie-going public in the summer of 1954, Them! was the first of the “big bug” movies and proved to be the year’s biggest moneymaker for Warner Brothers. Originally slated to be shot in color and 3D, the studio cut the budget at the last minute, although the stark black and white cinematography may have worked to its advantage, yielding an impressively eerie visual landscape. These elements, combined with extraordinary sound design, art direction, and solid ensemble performances, resulted in a true genre classic that would go on to earn an Academy Award nomination for its imaginative and thrilling special effects.

Friday, June 14, 2024

GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) HITS THE BIG 4-0!!!

GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) d. Ivan Reitman (USA)
GHOSTBUSTERS 2 (1989) d. Ivan Reitman (USA)
GHOSTBUSTERS: ANSWER THE CALL (2016) d. Paul Feig (USA)
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (2021) d. Jason Reitman (USA)
GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE (2024) d. Gil Kenan (USA)




(Apologies for the dicey audio - apparently my microphone wasn't plugged in, so you're getting that sweet, sweet laptop mic instead.)

40 years ago, no one had ever seen anything quite like Ghostbusters. A movie populated with hilarious and charming heroes and genuinely scary ghosts. A story that made you laugh one minute and scream the next. A big-budget comedy festooned with elaborate special effects. Despite the unconventional concept, director Ivan Reitman and co-writer/co-star Harold Ramis refashioned Dan Aykroyd's original story treatment of interdimensional ghost hunters into a contemporary comedy set in New York City. Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson eventually filled out the titular quartet, alongside rising stars Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis, with improvising galore and guffaws aplenty.

Friday, June 7, 2024

50 YEARS OF VAMPYRES (1974)!!!

VAMPYRES (1974) d. Jose Ramon Larraz (UK/Spain)




At a time when throwing extensive vampiric nudity on screen would have been enough, writer/director Jose Ramon Larraz went the extra mile to conjure a deceptively simple, highly satisfying tale of two bisexual bloodsuckers with Vampyres, released in 1974. Played with charged sensuality by newcomers Marianne Morris (as the dark, mysterious Fran) and Anulka (as blonde, fresh-faced Miriam), the Sapphic duo 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.

Friday, May 31, 2024

SANTA SANGRE (1989): CULT FILM PERFECTION!!!

SANTA SANGRE (1989) d. Alejandro Jodorowsky (Mexico/Italy)




Visionary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky cultivates one brilliant sequence after another, employing a staggering use of color shades, sensational aural cues, disturbing themes, and some of the most original onscreen imagery ever laid to celluloid. Hypnotizing and enticing, repugnant and crude, Santa Sangre is a thoroughly absorbing and unforgettable experience. It is at once a character-based drama, a psychological thriller, a social commentary tract rife daring symbolism, and a bona-fide musical featuring trance-inducing tunes and haunting ballads. It’s also Jodorowsky’s greatest and most accessible masterwork.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PETER! (CUSHING CURIOSITIES BOX SET)

CONE OF SILENCE (1960) d. Charles Frend (UK)
SUSPECT (1960) d. The Boulting Brothers (UK)
THE MAN WHO FINALLY DIED (1962) d. Quentin Lawrence (UK)
SHERLOCK HOLMES (1968) d. Various (UK)
BLOOD SUCKERS (1971) d. Robert Hartford-Davis (UK)
TENDER DRACULA (1974) d. Pierre Grunstein (France)


Welcome to Episode #18 of THE STACK!!

Tonight we celebrate Peter Cushing's 111th birthday in style with Severin Films' extraordinary box set of five feature films and the six remaining episodes of the BBC's production of Sherlock Holmes.

Friday, May 24, 2024

PETER CUSHING AND THE HAMMER FRANKENSTEINS!!!

THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) d. Terence Fisher (UK)
THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958) d. Terence Fisher (UK)
THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964) d. Freddie Francis (UK)
FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN (1967) d. Terence Fisher (UK)
FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969) d. Terence Fisher (UK)
FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL (1974) d. Terence Fisher (UK)





With over 130 film and television credits to his name, there are plenty of options by which fans can celebrate horror icon Peter Cushing’s 111th birthday on May 26. For our part, we’ve elected to showcase the half-dozen features that made Cushing (and his myriad onscreen creations) immortal: Hammer’s Frankenstein series!

Friday, May 17, 2024

ALIEN (1979) TURNS 45!!!

ALIEN (1979) d. Ridley Scott (USA/UK)
ALIENS (1986) d. James Cameron (USA/UK)
ALIEN 3 (1992) d. David Fincher (USA)
ALIEN: RESURRECTION (1997) d. Jean-Pierre Jeunet (USA)
PROMETHEUS (2012) d. Ridley Scott (USA/UK)
ALIEN: COVENANT (2019) d. Ridley Scott (USA/UK)




When the commercial space vessel Nostromo responds to a distress signal on an unknown planet, one of their crew is attacked by a bizarre life form. Over the course of several hours, the seemingly indestructible creature threatens all of their lives, consistently evolving and exhibiting horrifically distinctive characteristics: acidic blood, rows and rows of retractable teeth, white-hot intelligence, and a fierce predatory instinct.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

ENCOUNTER OF THE SPOOKY KIND (1980) Blu-ray Review

ENCOUNTER OF THE SPOOKY KIND (1980) d. Sammo Hung (Hong Kong)


Welcome to Episode #17 of THE STACK!!

A defining film in Hong Kong genre cinema, Encounter of the Spooky Kind blends kung fu, special effects, and Chinese folklore to invent a whole new subgenre of Asian cinema, the jiangshi film, which only a few years later would spawn the iconic and hugely successful Mr. Vampire. Available now from Eureka!

Friday, May 10, 2024

THE BLACK CAT (1934): A TRUE UNIVERSAL CLASSIC TURNS 90!!

THE BLACK CAT (1934) d. Edgar G. Ulmer (USA)




Bearing no resemblance to the original story by Edgar Allan Poe, Universal’s atmosphere-drenched 1934 offering, The Black Cat, from Austrian expatriate Edgar G. Ulmer, is a superior piece of filmmaking, made all the more historic for marking the first and finest on-screen teaming of horror icons Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

ROLLING THUNDER (1977) UHD/Blu-ray Review

ROLLING THUNDER (1977) d. John Flynn (USA)


Welcome to Episode #16 of THE STACK!!

At first glance, Rolling Thunder (now available on UHD and Blu-ray from Shout! Factory) is a genuinely contemplative, returning-Vietnam-veteran drama, that predates The Deer Hunter and Coming Home by a full year, with hardened POW Major Charles Rane (William Devane) tentatively reuniting with his family after years of isolation. But after hoodlums murder his wife and son, leaving him with a bloody stump for a hand following a garbage disposal close encounter, the track-down-and-kill-the-baddies stage is set, especially once Devane starts sharpening up his metal amputee hook and sawing off shotguns.

Friday, May 3, 2024

DAVID CRONENBERG'S THE BROOD (1979): ALIVE AT 45!!!

THE BROOD (1979) d. David Cronenberg (Canada)




Canadian writer/director David Cronenberg has become so synonymous with the term “body-horror” that when a project is referred to as being “Cronenbergian,” we actually have an idea of what this might mean. Cronenberg has often said that he does not see disease and mutations as good or bad – they simply are – a viewpoint that shows up time and again in his cinematic output.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

THE ABANDONED (2006) Blu-ray Review

THE ABANDONED (2006) d. Nacho Cerda (Spain/UK)


Welcome to Episode #15 of THE STACK!!

Spanish auteur Nacho Cerda, who dazzled short film horror audiences with his festival favorites Aftermath and Genesis, takes the helm for his first feature-length effort, the hypnotic ghost story The Abandoned, now available on Blu-ray from Unearthed Films.

Friday, April 26, 2024

SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) 20TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL!!!

SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) d. Edgar Wright (UK)




When Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, a romantic comedy with zombies (or zom-rom-com, as it was immediately dubbed by pundits) hit theaters in 2004, it instantly earned a place alongside The Return of the Living Dead (1985) and Peter Jackson’s Braindead (aka Dead-Alive) (1992) as one of the best horror/comedies of all time, as well as a winning tale of love and true friendship.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST (aka DOCTOR BUTCHER, M.D.) (1980) Blu-ray Review

ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST (aka DOCTOR BUTCHER, M.D.) (1980) d. Marino Girolami (as Frank Martin) (Italy)


Welcome to Episode #14 of THE STACK!

Tonight we dive deep into the bowels of Severin's outstanding 4-disc release of one of the more notorious Italian exploitation films, made all the more notorious for its retitling by American distributors who made the blend of cannibals and zombies into... a slasher movie? As crazy as it sounds, and then some, with gore, guts, brains, breasts, and all the splatter that matters.

Friday, April 19, 2024

THE TERMINATOR (1984) 40TH ANNIVERSARY BLOW-OUT!!!

THE TERMINATOR (1984) d. James Cameron (USA)
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991) d. James Cameron (USA)
TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES (2003) d. Jonathan Mostow (USA)
TERMINATOR: SALVATION (2009) d. McG (USA)
TERMINATOR: GENISYS (2015) d. Alan Taylor (USA)
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (2018) d. Tim Miller (USA)




Released in 1984, The Terminator captivated critics and audiences alike with its mind-blowing special effects, intriguing characters, and well-written time-travel storyline. Pitting a relentless killer android from the future against two ordinary humans with the fate of mankind lying in the balance, this whirlwind tour-de-force combined horror and sci-fi elements with breathtaking action sequences. Not bad for a film with an unproven director and an actor known more for his bulging biceps than his acting chops.

Friday, April 12, 2024

1964 ITALIAN GOTHIC DOUBLE FEATURE!! (CASTLE OF BLOOD & THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH)

CASTLE OF BLOOD (1964) d. Antonio Margheriti (as Anthony Dawson) (Italy)
THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH (1964) d. Antonio Margheriti (as Anthony Dawson (Italy)




Even if you’re a fan of Italian horror cinema, one name that continues to labor for recognition is Antonio Margheriti, in some respects due to the fact that he was often billed by his Anglicized moniker, Anthony M. Dawson. Like his contemporaries, Margheriti made a tremendous assortment of films, from Westerns to comedies to sci-fi, and dabbled in numerous horror subgenres, from atmospheric ghost stories to gory splatterfests, and everything in between, delivering exciting and entertaining features for nearly four decades.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

THE RING COLLECTION (2002 - 2017) Blu-ray review

THE RING (2002) d. Gore Verbinski (USA)
THE RING TWO (2005) d. Hideo Nakata (USA)
RINGS (2017) d. F. Javier GutiƩrrez


Welcome to Episode 13 of THE STACK!!

Tonight we dive deep into the film that essentially launched the worldwide J-horror boom... by making us aware of the original that inspired it in the first place! Ringu (1998) was on nobody's radar outside of its home country and some lucky festival goers until Hollywood caught wind of it and cranked out a supercharged remake that made tons of money and had all eyes looking to the east for the next big scare (and the next big thing that could be ripped off).

Friday, April 5, 2024

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964) / AMER (2009) GIALLO ROUND TABLE!!

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964) d. Mario Bava (Italy)
AMER (2009) d. Bruno Forzani / Helene Cattet (Belgium/France)




In 1963, director Mario Bava made The Girl Who Knew Too Much and gave birth to the Italian film genre known as the Giallo. Named after a series of crime paperbacks with yellow covers, the Giallo was boldly contemporary, eschewing the cloaks and capes of Hammer’s Gothic melodramas. A year later, Bava made the film that would define and popularize the giallo for years to come, Blood and Black Lace.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

DEADGIRL (2008) Blu-ray Review

DEADGIRL (2008) d. Marcel Sarmiento / Gadi Harel (USA)


Welcome to Episode 12 of THE STACK!

Two high school lads (Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan) find a mostly deceased young woman (Jenny Spain) strapped to a table in the basement of an abandoned asylum. This already disturbing scenario takes an even darker turn when Segan decides, against Fernandez’s protests, that he would like to keep her tied up to use as his personal sex slave…and maybe even invite others to enjoy the “fun.”

Friday, March 29, 2024

PHANTASM (1979) TURNS 45!!!

PHANTASM (1979) d. Don Coscarelli (USA)
PHANTASM II (1989) d. Don Coscarelli (USA)
PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD (1994) d. Don Coscarelli (USA)
PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION (1998) d. Don Coscarelli (USA)
PHANTASM V: RAVAGER (2016) d. David Hartman (USA)





When Phantasm premiered in early 1979, it was unlike anything horror fans had seen before. It was a coming of age tale that also dealt with death, loss, and abandonment. It had science fiction elements, Villainous morticians, bizarre magic, and gory set-pieces, all centering around a mysterious estate and an evil, if convoluted, plot to steal and enslave the dead, with terrific special effects on a minimal budget. The film was a huge hit in theaters, and found an even wider fanbase on television and home video, ultimately leading to four sequels and a labyrinthine mythology surrounding the Tall Man and his army of brain-sucking chrome spheres.