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?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

MASTER OF DARK SHADOWS (2019) Blu-ray review

Master of Dark Shadows (2019) d. David Gregory (US) (87 min)

In 1966, a phenomenon was launched when Dark Shadows debuted on ABC-TV as a daily Gothic suspense series. Airing in the late afternoon, the show attracted a massive youth audience as it shifted to the supernatural with the introduction of vulnerable vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid). Witches, ghosts, and scary storylines turned Dark Shadows into a TV classic that led to motion pictures, remakes, reunions, and legions of devoted fans who have kept the legend alive for five decades.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Fool's Views (3/16 – 3/31)

Sunscreen and proper eye protection is important year-round....

Spring has sprung!

For the back half of March, we came out like a lion, logging triple features of Brian De Palma AND Richard Fleischer, as well as taking in Jordan Peele’s and J.J. Abrams’ latest horror offerings. Scottish filmmaker Lawrie Brewster also scored some screentime, along with a certain Marvelous Captain. All in all, it was a dandy first quarter, with over 120 films under our belt. Here’s hoping the rest of the year follows suit!

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


Friday, April 12, 2019

US (2019) movie review

Us (2019) d. Jordan Peele (USA) (116 min)

“A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgangers appear and begin to terrorize them.” That’s the high concept behind writer/director/producer Peele’s second feature film and it’s a solid enough premise that is ultimately submarined by a nebulous third-act explanation that raises more questions than it answers. The “twinning” gambit has been done before (and more effectively) in films such as Plus One (aka +1) and Coherence, and whereas Get Out’s social commentary was seamlessly woven into its narrative fabric, here Peele trowels it on at the expense of logic and storytelling.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

THE FURY (1978) movie review

The Fury (1978) d. Brian De Palma (USA) (118 min)

Though on the surface, De Palma could be accused of returning to the telekinetic well a little soon following his smash hit Carrie, John Farris’ adaptation of his own novel expands the tapestry far beyond the small-town concerns of misfit teenagers and into full-blown international government conspiracies and training grounds for potential assassins. (If that device sounds similar to Scanners, it is... and it preceded Cronenberg’s film by three years.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

THE MANITOU (1978) Blu-ray review

The Manitou (1978) d. William Girdler (USA) (85 min)

What medical experts originally believe to be a tumor on the neck of patient Karen Tandy (Susan Strasberg) proves to be a fetus growing at an abnormally accelerated rate. She reaches out to former lover and phony psychic Harry Erskine (Tony Curtis) for help, but when attempts at conventional surgery go horribly awry, it is revealed that Karen’s nervous system is now possessed by the spirit of a 400-year-old Native American demon named Misquamacus who is ready to be reborn!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Fool's Views (3/1 – 3/15)

I'll take that one and that one and that one....

Greetings, greetings, greetings!

The lingering Chicago winter led to a variety of Views, enhanced by a free month of Netflix streaming (I canceled it halfway through, but it was fun while it lasted), and some fantastic screeners from Shout! Factory, Severin, Arrow, and Artsploitation. My impromptu Brian De Palma film festival slowed slightly (we picked things back up again in the back half of March, so stay tuned) while Ian Simmons and I polished off the closing two features in our Saulnier School program. In all, it turned out to be a productive couple weeks, with a lot of cinematic ground covered, bringing us to a grand total of 100 films in a mere 2.5 months. Might be a good year!

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


Saturday, April 6, 2019

PSYCHO (1998) Blu-ray review

Psycho (1998) d. Gus Van Sant (USA) (104 min)

Having embezzled a large sum of money from the bank where she works, Marion Crane (Anne Heche) takes refuge at a motel operated by Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn), a troubled man whose victims encounter a grisly fate at the hands of his mother. Marion’s disappearance prompts inquiries from her sister (Julianne Moore) and a private investigator (William H. Macy), who both discover the terrifying truth kept hidden within the Bates Motel.

Friday, April 5, 2019


Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) d. Sergio Martino (Italy) (97 min)

Once-successful author Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli), already crippled by writer’s block (and an excess of alcohol and drugs), hits a new low when his more-successful mother passes away. He celebrates her wake by holding a colossally inappropriate orgy of sexuality and abuse, the latter directed toward Irina (Anita Strindberg), his long-suffering emotional and physical punching bag of a wife. Their less-than-idyllic existence is further complicated by the fact that several of Oliviero’s mistresses keep getting bumped off by a killer wielding a curved saber, and further still by the presence of his trampy niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech) who comes to stay and play (doctor, head games, et al) with them both. The result is a marvelous guessing game of who’s the victim, who’s the villain, and who will take their clothes off next.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

SCARED STIFF (1987) Blu-ray review

Scared Stiff (1987) d. Richard Friedman (USA) (84 min)

Following a nervous breakdown, recovering rock star Kate (Mary Page Keller) and her young son (Joshua Segal) are planning to move into an old colonial mansion with her handsome psychiatrist beau David (Andrew Stevens), unaware of the sinister occult habits of the previous owner, a tyrannical plantation owner named Masterson (David Ramsey). When pigeons (oh, so many pigeons) make their presence known in the boarded-up attic, the songbird stumbles upon a collection of bones and an ancient journal that may hold the secret to banishing the evil forever, but Masterson has other plans...

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971) d. Riccardo Freda (Italy) (96 min)

Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage launched a wave of “animal-in-the-title” offerings, including this high energy (and equally high nonsense) effort which boasts a rogues gallery of perverse characters, violent murders, and ridiculous plotting where anyone could be the killer! Possibly the only giallo set in Dublin, Ireland, things kick off with an audacious pre-titles, acid-throwing, throat-slashing set-piece, with the victim’s naked corpse unceremoniously deposited in the trunk of the Swiss Ambassador’s limousine. When the icy government official (Anton Diffring, The Man Who Could Cheat Death) claims diplomatic immunity, the cops recruit former badge John Norton (Luigi Pistilli, Twitch of the Death Nerve) to find the killer.