Wednesday, October 16, 2019

3 FROM HELL (2019) Movie Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 14
Total First Time Views: 5
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $1,069.04

3 from Hell (2019) d. Rob Zombie (USA) (111 min) (1st viewing)

It’s hard to believe it’s already been 14 years since Rob Zombie established himself as a genre icon with only his second feature film (especially since it was ostensibly a sequel to his debut, House of 1000 Corpses). Generating rave reviews from some of the nation’s top critics and eliciting genuine conversation about the complexity of nihilism in the age of Hostel and Saw, The Devil’s Rejects exploded onto the scene and established the rock star-turned-filmmaker into a genuine hero for the black t-shirt-wearing masses.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

THE ORPHANAGE (2007) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 13
Total First Time Views: 4
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $989.95

The Orphanage (2007) d. J.A. Bayona (Spain) (101 min) (3rd viewing)

“Uno… Dos… Tres… Toca La Pared.”

Laura (Belén Rueda) and her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) return to the seaside property where she spent part of her youth, hoping to restore and resurrect Good Shepherd Orphanage as a home for special-needs children. Her young (adopted and HIV-positive) son Simón (Roger Princep) has an active inner life, trading stories of his imaginary friends Watson and Pepe with her bedtime readings of Peter Pan. One day, visiting the cave under a long-dormant lighthouse, Simón reports having encountered a new friend, Tomás, who wears a sack over his head. During a fundraising event a few days later, Simón disappears without a trace, although Laura is positive she saw him at the mouth of the cave, just as the tide was rolling in….

Monday, October 14, 2019

MIDSOMMAR (2019) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 12
Total First Time Views: 4
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $913.80

Midsommar (2019) d. Ari Aster (USA) (147 min) (1st viewing)

In the wake of a horrifying family tragedy, graduate student Dani (Florence Pugh) decides to follow her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his pals Josh (William Jackson Harper), Mark (Will Poulter), and Pelle (Villhelm Blomgren) to the latter’s hometown commune in Sweden, known as the Harga, for a elaborate midsommar festival that takes place every 90 years. The immersive celebration, steeped in centuries-old traditions, will ultimately affect each of the outsiders differently and disrupt their tenuous relationships forever.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

INCUBUS (1982) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 11
Total First Time Views: 3
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $801.13

Incubus (1982) d. John Hough d. (Canada) (93 min) (3rd viewing)

Small-town doctor Sam Cordell (John Cassavetes) is drawn into a series of macabre attacks in which an unseen assailant leaves its female victims either dead or catatonic. George Franklin’s script, based upon Ray Russell’s equally challenging novel, introduces several of the author’s plot points while adding a few more, notably Cordell’s unnatural fixation on his own teenage daughter Jenny (Erin Flannery).

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 10
Total First Time Views: 3
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $721.70

Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006) d. Scott Glosserman (USA) (92 min) (2nd viewing)

After making a splash at the South by Southwest Film Festival, this spiffy little indie slasher/mockumentary continued to make the festival rounds, creating a healthy amount of buzz and garnering numerous awards. A combo of The Blair Witch Project, Man Bites Dog and a Christopher Guest flick, writer/director Glosserman’s debut feature follows a documentary film crew (Angela Goethals, Ben Pace, Britain Spellings) as they attempt to get up close and personal with wannabe slasher icon Leslie Vernon (assayed with Jim Carrey-like glee by Nathan Baesel) as he prepares for his first big mass murder, the one that will put him on the map.

Friday, October 11, 2019


Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 9
Total First Time Views: 3
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $640.53

Suffer Little Children (1983) d. Alan Briggs (UK) (75 min) (2nd viewing)

A London orphanage run by Jenny (Ginny Rose) and Maurice (Colin Chamberlain) inherits a brand new resident when the mute Elizabeth (Nicola Diana) shows up on their doorstep the very same that rock star Mick Philips (Jon Hollanz) returns to his childhood sanctuary to perform a benefit concert. As the Bad Movie Fates would have it, our new tyke is a bona-fide disciple of The Dark One and soon brings others under her sinister spell. Before you can say “swimming pool incident,” kids and adults are falling down staircases, stabbing themselves and others, and just making a general Satanic nuisance of themselves.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

THE MERMAID: LAKE OF THE DEAD (2018) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 8
Total First Time Views: 3
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $383.68

The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead (2019) d. Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy (Russia) (87 min) (1st viewing)

Competitive swimmer and eager bridegroom Roman Kitaev (Elfim Petrunin) goes away with his pal Ilya (Nikita Elenev) for a final bachelor’s weekend at his parents’ old cabin in the woods. While there, he has a strange encounter with a female apparition on the dock by the lake, one that leaves him physically infirm and mentally unstable. His fiancée Marina (Viktoriya Agalakova) and his sister Olga (Sesil Plezhe), fearing for his well-being, spirit him out of the hospital and head back to the cabin to try to shake the mystical spell over him. But the all-powerful water nymph is not to be trifled with – having laid claim to her human prize, she mercilessly defends her territory, dragging anyone who opposes her down to a watery grave.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

FEAR NO EVIL (1981) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 7
Total First Time Views: 2
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $335.72

Fear No Evil (1981) d. Frank LaLoggia (USA) (99 min)

As the 1950s come to an end, Lucifer is found locked in mortal combat on Earth with Archangel Raphael – mortal in that both are residing in human form. The Dark One is vanquished, but Raphael, aka Father Tom Damon (John Holland), is sentenced to life in prison for murder. Not long after, a child is born to the kindly Williams couple, but his christening ceremony is marred by a strange rainstorm of blood, essentially sentencing his parents to a life of shameful exile. Eighteen years later, Andrew (Stefan Arngrim) becomes aware of his true identity, that of the reborn incarnation of Evil. Damon’s sister Margaret (Elizabeth Hoffman, in her screen debut at age 54), herself the Archangel Mikhail, seeks out the third of their heavenly party, that of Gabrielle… who turns out to be Andrew’s fellow high school student Julie (Kathleen Rowe McAllen). With all the holy and unholy pieces finally assembled on the board, the final game is about to be played….

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

BEWARE! CHILDREN AT PLAY (1989) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 6
Total First Time Views: 2
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $281.76

Beware! Children at Play (1989) d. Mik Cribben (USA) (94 min) (2nd viewing)

While enjoying a little father-and-son bonding time in the woods, a college literature professor named Randall accidentally steps into a bear trap and is, well, trapped, with no means of getting back to safety and civilization. His son, Glenn, waits helplessly and tearfully by his side until he expires… and then promptly drives a large Bowie Knife into his dead dad’s belly and pulls out his liver to admire by the campfire.

Wait, what?

Sunday, October 6, 2019

BAGHEAD (2008) DVD Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 5
Total First Time Views: 2
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $225.75

Baghead (2008) d. Jay Duplass/Mark Duplass (USA) (84 min) (2nd viewing)

Following their 2005 festival sensation, The Comfy Chair, the creative sibling team of Jay and Mark Duplass reconvened to turn a potentially groan-worthy navel-gazing scenario (a quartet of disenchanted, out-of-work actors head out to a deserted cabin to write a horror film, only to find themselves caught up in one) into a clever coup of no-budget filmmaking.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

THE MEDUSA TOUCH (1978) Movie Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 4
Total First Time Views: 2
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $180.61

The Medusa Touch (1978) d. Jack Gold (UK/France) (105 min) (1st viewing)

Novelist Jack Morlar (Richard Burton) has a most peculiar problem. Whenever someone causes him great pain or distress, said person (or persons) meets with a rather untimely end in rather short notice. On the evening that a tragic accident occurs with three astronauts stranded in space, Morlar is bludgeoned to death in his London apartment, launching Inspector-Detective Brunel’s (Lino Ventura) murder investigation into who might have wanted the antic scribbler dead. But things take a decided turn for the bizarre when, after being rushed to hospital and set up on life support, Morlar’s brain shows signs of activity despite the fact that his body appears to be dead. Brunel proceeds to interrogate everyone who had dealings with Morlar, only to find that there aren’t many of them left alive. Only his therapist, Dr. Zonfeld (Lee Remick), seems to have the answers that might unlock what foul and incomplete vengeful deeds the patient might still be struggling to realize….

Friday, October 4, 2019

FERAL (2017) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 3
Total First Time Views: 1
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $132.46

Feral (2017) d. Mark H. Young (93 min) (1st viewing)

Six medical students (okay, five medical students and one history major) go off for a weekend in the woods. Alice (Scout Taylor-Compton) is a recently “turned” lesbian, enjoying her first real relationship with Jules (Olivia Luccardi), which irks vain Jesse (Brock Kelly) since she also had a fling with him at one time. Of course, all this drama becomes moot once vicious humanoid creatures come out of the woods and start munching on them (starting with a recently engaged couple in the shortest engagement in history). The next morning, right on cue, a strange hermit named Talbot (Lew Temple) shows up and offers to let them convalesce at his cabin, but it isn’t long before they start realizing that their dead friends aren’t staying dead, turning into the same bloodthirsty monsters that fed upon them.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

LET ME IN (2010) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 2
Total First Time Views: 0
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $84.58

Let Me In (2010) d. Matt Reeves (UK/USA) (116 min) (2nd viewing)

When it was announced that an English-language remake of Tomas Alfredson’s acclaimed Swedish vampire flick, Let the Right One In, would be hitting screens a mere two years later, many (including this writer) rejected the notion purely on principle, fearing the enterprise was doomed to be yet another lame Hollywood redux for mainstream plebeians who refused to read subtitles, hellbent on sucking out everything unique and replacing it with vacuous magazine cover-ready actors and goddawful CGI.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

THE INNOCENTS (1961) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 1
Total First Time Views: 0
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $36.29

The Innocents (1961) d. Jack Clayton (UK) (100 min) (4th viewing)

In Victorian England, prim governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) is assigned to a country estate to care for two orphaned children, Miles (Martin Stephens) and Flora (Pamela Franklin). Upon her arrival, in addition to being occupied with her new duties, she slowly begins to suspect that the spirits of the former valet Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde) and governess Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop) have begun to influence – or even possess – her youthful charges. With increasingly supernatural occurrences at odds with her own pragmatic worldview, Giddens risks both life and sanity in a battle for the children’s souls, a battle that climaxes in unforgettable and devastating fashion.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Fool's Views (9/16 – 9/30)


Howdy, folks!

Since we’re kicking off the October Horror Movie Challenge and SCARE-A-THON 2019 in a matter of hours and (par for the course) I am not caught up, these will have to serve as placeholders for the time being until I get around to giving the films below their proper due.

Because I definitely have a few more things to say about them.

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


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Fool's Views (9/1 - 9/15)

Turn in your assignments, class!

Yep, the annual crunch to get things in order before the October Challenge and SCARE-A-THON 2019 proceedings kick into high gear is well underway, but so far, so good.

All four horror features this time around arrived courtesy of an impromptu September Share the Scare with good friend and host Jon Kitley (taking a break from his Discover the Horror world tour), while the trio of Witch Mountain movies came from the same Chicago Public Library well that spawned last month’s animation cornucopia.

We also knocked out another pair of Bond flicks, pitting Connery against Moore in a battle for 007 Domination, as well as an unforeseen double header from everyone’s favorite musclehead, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Just think what kind of madness we could get into if we were actually planning any of this!

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


Wednesday, September 25, 2019


Greetings, friends and fellow fiends! It’s that time of year again, when shadows grow longer, autumn leaves rustle just a little louder, and the thrills and chills come fast and furious in 90-minute intervals....

It’s time for SCARE-A-THON 2019.

Monday, September 23, 2019


Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) d. Michael Dougherty (USA) (137 min)

Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I grew up a big Godzilla fan, that the Big G was essentially my gateway into the new world of gods and monsters, that from my love for this overgrown radioactive lizard (and his kaiju pals) would come the pursuit of further thrills in the form of King Kong and Frankenstein and Dracula and the Wolf Man and the magic of Ray Harryhausen and Bert I. Gordon, which in turn would turn a dark corner and reveal such deeper chills as Psycho, Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and more. It’s all thanks to Godzilla.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fool's Views (8/16 - 8/31)

Gotta have a bite of the ninjabread man!

Greetings, lords and ladies!

Well, once again, I was surprised by the direction my viewing took in the latter half of August. I’m already halfway through my ongoing Bond saga (13 films in) with my faithful co-pilot Daniel Millhouse, but if you had told me that I’d also be doing a small animation festival coupled with a side of Western, I would have looked at you through narrowed eyes and wondered what you were drinking. But having wandered into the “Kids Section” of the Chicago Public Library and realizing that’s where they’d been hiding all of the animated films that I had forgotten about (because out of sight out of mind), I felt my course was clear. The following week, the Monte Hellman double feature of The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind popped up on the shelf next to the Magnificent Seven remake and Winchester ’73, the first teaming of James Stewart and Anthony Mann. I mean, what was I supposed to do?

On the scarier side of things, Arrow Video’s triple threat of forgotten chills surfaced in the form of The American Horror Project Vol. 2, as curated by Stephen Thrower, with slices of cheesy chomping and Hammer swinging as bookends. No complaints from here.

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


Thursday, September 12, 2019

THE VELOCIPASTOR (2018) Blu-ray Review

The VelociPastor (2018) d. Brendan Steere (USA) (75 min)

Following a horrific terrorist act that claims the lives of both his parents, young priest Doug Jones (Greg Cohan) attempts to restore his faith by traveling to China (complete with a big onscreen supertitle proclaiming “CHINA”). As he breathes in the restorative mountain air, Doug crosses paths with a frightened woman on the run from murderous ninja assassins (never mind that ninjas are native to Japan and not China) whose dying act is to place a tooth-shaped artifact into his hand. Oh, who are we kidding, it’s an actual tooth of the magical kind, and when our holy hero cuts his hand on its sharp surface, he inherits the ability to transform into a GODDAM, er, GODBLESSED DINOSAUR.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

THE CHILD (1977) Blu-ray review

The Child (1977) d. Robert Voskanian (USA) (82 min)

When lovely nanny Alicianne (Laurel Barnett) returns to her childhood burg to take a position caring for Rosalie (Rosalie Cole), a strange little girl whose mother recently passed away, she unwittingly enters into a bizarre small-town realm where small animals – and soon the human residents – are disappearing into the clutches of a growing army of resurrected corpses. Seems young Rosalie has been sending her undead “friends” to avenge her mother’s death… even though there isn’t a lot of evidence to support her claims that anyone actually contributed to it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

DARK AUGUST (1976) Blu-ray Review

Dark August (1976) d. Martin Goldman (USA) (87 min)

In what amounts to be more dramatic character study than straight-ahead fright flick, former New York illustrator Sal (J.J. Barry) flees the city and his current marriage to “find himself” in the quieter climes of Stowe, VT (where the film was actually shot). Unfortunately, one day he accidentally runs down a young girl crossing the country roads, whereupon her vengeful grandfather (William Robertson) lays down a curse on the urban interloper, setting in motion a series of events that threaten to rob Sal of both his sanity and his life.

Monday, September 9, 2019

DREAM NO EVIL (1970) Blu-ray Review

Dream No Evil (1970) d. John Hayes (USA) (84 min)

This offbeat, Psycho-inspired offering from writer/director Hayes (Grave of the Vampire, Garden of the Dead) is a meandering examination of young orphan Grace’s lifelong desire to track down her father (Oscar-winner Edmond O’Brien). After encountering our emotionally battered heroine in a pre-credits sequence, we flash forward and find a grown-up and curvaceous Grace (now played by Brooke Mills) dazzling the assembled masses via her high-fall act within a traveling salvation show headed by charismatic preacher Jessie (Michael Pataki), who just happens to be the brother of Grace’s beloved betrothed, Patrick (Paul Prokop).

Saturday, August 31, 2019

SCARS OF DRACULA (1970) Blu-ray Review

Scars of Dracula (1970) d. Roy Ward Baker (UK) (95 min)

Having already appeared in Taste the Blood of Dracula for Hammer and Count Dracula for Jess Franco, Christopher Lee wrapped up his exceedingly busy year (10 films!) with yet another toothy offering, but it seemed clear to anyone paying attention that the main vein was running dry. With “modern” horror on the rise, exemplified by the successes of Rosemary’s Baby and Night of the Living Dead (both 1968), audiences seemed more interested in seeing their scares in a contemporary setting. And, as far as the pure exploitation elements (i.e. female flesh and Technicolor blood) that the studio had made its trademark since the late 1950s, Hammer was already beating itself at its own game with the lesbian vampire hit The Vampire Lovers (also directed by Baker), released a couple months earlier.

Friday, August 30, 2019

GAGS THE CLOWN (2018) (a film in which I also appear)

Howdy, folks!

So, I haven't been chatting this up nearly as much as I probably should have but HEY, I'M IN A MOVIE!

Yep, GAGS THE CLOWN (formerly known as GAGS) will be appearing in select theaters over the next few weeks courtesy of Doppelganger Releasing and Bloody Disgusting, and then on home video and streaming services shortly thereafter. Here's the press release:

Green Bay, Wisconsin, is terrorized by a mysterious clown who roams the streets late at night with nothing more than a handful of black balloons. The local news stations scramble to break the story on who he is and what he wants while a group of high schoolers see the clown’s arrival as an excuse to create a little trouble themselves. The police try to maintain order in a city that has gone clown crazy and a conservative podcast host vows to put a stop to the clown known as Gags while broadcasting his “clown hunt” on social media for the world to see.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Fool's Views (8/1 – 8/16)

Oh, sweetie, I told you SPF10 wasn't strong enough....

Greetings, my fine feathered friends,

Well, I don’t have nearly as involved an intro prepared as last time, so you can just relax. August has been a fairly uncomplicated month thus far, enlivened by a brief sojourn to our neighbors to the North where we took in the decidedly unconventional pleasures of The House on the Rock near Spring Green, WI. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you owe it to yourself to do a little research into the joint. The backstory is as fascinating as the exhibit itself, which includes the largest indoor carousel, a self-playing orchestra, and a 200-foot “SharkWhale Fighting Giant Octopus” tableau accompanied by the tune of “Octopus’ Garden,” and that’s just the tip of the proverbial crazycake. (There is a proverb about crazycake, isn’t there?)

In keeping with the randomness of our Wisconsin weekend, below are the assorted features viddied during the first two weeks of August, with a bevy of international horror leading the pack. (Apologies in advance: I also spilled a lot of virtual ink on the unofficial Bond spoof Casino Royale, which Daniel and I watched as a palate-cleansing act of completism before diving headlong into the Roger Moore era, but, be fair, there is a lot to say.) I also weighed in on Tarantino’s latest, because I’m sure my opinion was what missing from your day.

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


Saturday, August 24, 2019

THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (1990) Blu-ray review

The Dark Side of the Moon (1990) d. D. J. Webster (USA) (87 min)

While on a routine mission to repair a multitude of nuclear-armed satellites orbiting Earth in 2022, the crew of the Spacecore 1 are stymied by a mysterious malfunction that sends them drifting helplessly behind the moon and out of communication with ground control. Even more alarming, the ghost ship of the NASA space shuttle Discovery shows up on their scanners, despite having disappeared into The Bermuda Triangle nearly 30 years prior. Running low on supplies and oxygen, they decide to board the vessel where they encounter an array of literally unearthly horrors that could spell the end of Mankind.