Splatterday Matinee Virtual Drive-In: The “Titans of Terror” Edition

Salutations, Students of the Macabre! Today is an eXXXtra special day for us Kinky Krees! We’re skull-ebrating the birthdays (and pure amazingness) of a peerless Triple Threat of Classic Ho-rror Greatness: the abominable Vincent Price, the vampiric Christopher Lee, and the madly scientific Peter Cushing!
Yessiree, Blob! Vinnie P. and Chris Lee were born on this day and Peter C. was born yesterday!  We’ve ho-nored the un-ho-ly heck out of these Princes of Darkness many times before, but they deserve it! These three gentle-monsters represent the very best that ho-rror cinema has to offer. Even in the goofiest, ho-kiest picture, these gentleman brought a supernatural grace and dignity. They made our collective nightmares pleasant ones and gave the Creatures of the Night a cool elegance. If there were a Mount Rushmore of Ho-rror (Mount Blood-Gushmore? Mount Rushgore?), you better believe these ghoulish gents would be on it!
For their Birthdays, we’ve put together the very first Kinky Horror Virtual Drive-In! We’re giving you a spooky-cool drive-in eXXXperience from the (dis)comfort of your tomb! There’s just no better way to ho-nor our Birthday Boils than to show off the ghoulish performances that stole our hearts and turned our hair white!.
First, a cartoon starring Mr. Price! After all, it is Saturday morning (somewhere ;)), so let us do it up right! The cartoon is an episode of 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo and it features Vincent Price as… well, Dr. Strange! A legally safe knock-off, that is. Since Vinnie P. inspired Dr. Strange, I suppose we can’t get TOO mad. 🙂 Besides, anything that features Vincent Price fighting ghosts and demons with black magic (and the Scooby Gang! :)) is spooky-cool by me!

Next, a friendly word from our sponsor and Mr. Cushing. (#GushingForCushing :)) You’ll have to pardon Peter… he’s having a guest DROP in! 🙂

Now, an important educational short from Mr. Lee. If you’re going to stay in this crazy game called Life, you’re gonna have to do The Time Warp! You may even need to The Time Warp… again! Mr. Lee is here to show you how it’s done! 🙂

And now…

Hammer Films gave history the (severed) finger with Rasputin – The Mad Monk! Christopher Lee gives one of his best performances as the maniacal mystic. If you ever wanted to see the story of Rasputin done as a Dracula film, this one’s for you!

The Doctor is In… Sane! Vincent Price slays again in this Art Deco nightmare! (Not to be confused with the Kinky Ho-rror writer of the same name…That’s totally a coincidence! ;)0


And for the last of the trailers, Peter Cushing is one of eight potential werewolves in The Beast Must Die, a ho-wlin’ whodunit from the folks at Amicus. The only film with the WEREWOLF BREAK, an inserted 30-second break that asks YOU to guess the werewolf’s identity! (So. Freaking. Rad!!! :))

And now it’s time for our…

Our first film is The Satanic Rites of Dracula, the last of the Hammer Dracula films. It’s nowhere near the quality of the earlier films, but it’s an interesting mix of spy thriller and Gothic ho-rror. Dracula really thinks big in this one. Instead of biting the necks a few buXXXom maidens, he plans on destroying the world! No, Drac! It’s best place to find awesome ho-rror films!

Horror of Dracula (1958)

While it’s not their best film, Satanic Rites of Dracula features Christopher Lee’s Dracula and Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing together again for the last time. Heck, Chris Lee’s Drac even gets some decent lines in this one! It ain’t perfect, but it does showcase two greats doing their freaky thing!

For a bit o’ Lee and Cushing, check out the film below:

INTERMISSION

We’re back! Our last attraction is The Last Man on Earth with, you guessed it, Vincent Price! The film is the first adaptation of Richard Matheson and the closest to the source material. Vinnie P. goes a full-blown stake-out here, eXXXisting as the only human in a world of vampires. What’s great about this film is that it’s one of the few times Vincent Price got to be the hero in a fright film. In this film, he’s not the monster… or is he!?!!? 😉

To see that the Price is Fright, check out the film below:


Here’s to you, gents! Thanks for making the world a creepier place! 🙂

News Bleed: The “THE GREAT WAR IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Edition

Finally…YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MSN

Another reason to shoot your load… 😉 Hollywood Reporter

Get your first taste of Netflix’s Castlevania! 🙂 i09

Check into Hotel Transylvania: The Series this June! 🙂 Cartoon Brew

Sneak a peek at the Alien 6 Film Collection and the Alien: Covenant Steelbook! IGN

The Resident Evil film franchise is set to rise from the grave with a reboot. (It’s been so long since the Final Chapter came out…IN DECEMBER!!! ;))  Variety

Tom “Spider-Man Not Child’s Play” Holland swings into an Uncharted prequel film. 🙂 Deadline

Cujo will leave his paw print on The Dark Tower. 🙂 Dread Central

The Tales from the Crypt Complete Series Set screams its way onto DVD on Robert Englund’s and my birthday…BEST PRESENT EVER!! :)) Bloody Disgusting

In #NotHorrorButSuckIt news, Tom Cruise confirms that Top Gun II is happening. That Maverick! 🙂 Screen Rant


To a new world of Gods and Monsters… Universal gets serious with their new monster series, now known as the Dark Universe! 🙂 Nerdist

And, sadly, we had to say goodbye to the great Roger Moore this week R.I.P., Mr. Bond. 🙁 xoxo Movie Web

 

Goon Review: Ben (1972)

(Submitted by our Ho-rror Ho-mie, Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, ya Goon-ie!! 😉 xoxo)


Willard had a direct sequel after the film’s fan favorite rodent Ben named, well, Ben. I don’t know how well Willard had done in theaters to warrant a sequel, but apparently it did well enough that Bing Crosby backed its production (seeing as he also financed Willard). Yeah, crazy to think that an old school crooner like himself wanted more killer rat movies, but once again this really isn’t about nature striking back. I mean, it kinda has that element going on, but like its predecessor, Ben is more about someone befriending the rodents. Instead of a socially awkward young man using his newfound friends as a means to get revenge, it’s a socially awkward boy just being friends with them and deaths just kind of happen incidentally.

We pick up right where Willard left off and I mean right where it left off. The police find what remains of Willard and uncovering his journal that mentions Socrates and Ben. To be honest, I missed this little tidbit of information at first and was really confused at how the hell the cops could have known the two rats’ names, but after a quick rewind, I saw what I missed. Not sure why I wasn’t paying attention or maybe the detail was glossed over quickly, but nevertheless it’s there. Detective Sergeant Cliff Kirtland is tasked with heading up this investigation, which seems like it should have come to a close almost immediately. Willard has basically been devoured by the rats, so I don’t know if his plan was to arrest all the rats or what. Ben watches menacingly from the rafters above as a single cop, all by his lonesome, hears something behind the wall and decides he should check it out. Now I have to ask because the movie presented it; what the hell was this guy thinking? It’s clearly rats that just ate a person. Why in the love of Nina Hartley’s sweet tits would he crack open the wall? What was his plan here? I’ve been asking, “what’s the plan” a few times now, so it’s safe to assume we’re getting the movie logic of cops that do stupid things in order for events to unfold. So yeah, he gets killed. Surprised?

Being a smart little bugger, Ben knows it’s no longer safe and it’s time for them to find a new home. Luckily, an awkward and lonesome kid named Danny happens to be kind of weird. Hopefully you won’t find him as mildly annoying as I did, because he’s the central character of the film and to desperately make him sympathetic, he has a heart condition that’s never really explained nor is it used to the plot’s convenience all that well other than to occasionally make you feel sorry for him or to build some tension. Sorry, movie, you failed on both accounts.

While putting on his one man puppet show that apparently Danny does to no audience, so it’s in no way kind of creepy, he notices Ben watching him from the window to which Danny tortures the poor rat by submitting him to his little play and the two quickly becomes pals. Don’t count on this ending happily, however, as the Police seem to be narrowing down the places to search and even come by asking questions after Ben and his army of badass rats protect Danny from a bully. In a very creepy turn of his character, Danny stares at the kid accusing him and says to the Police and all of the adults in the room that the bully must have fallen into a rose bush. The bully quickly noticing the Damien from The Omen death stare and agrees he must’ve fallen into a rose bush. It’s almost unsettling and for a brief moment you might be thinking that the movie may take a turn into dark territory with Danny losing his grip on reality, much like Willard had, but nope. They toy with the idea for a moment and discard it. The movie’s credit, it’s at least not trying to repeat Willard and wants to do its own thing.

Ben and the other rats terrorize the city in the sense that they are merely searching for food, but turn over a grocery store in the process and the death toll even spikes a wee bit. Kirtland continues his manhunt, or erm, rathunt and draws nearer and nearer until the film’s climax when it’s an all out war of man versus rats. I may have overhyped it in that last sentence, but I have to admit that it’s a little heartbreaking, especially with Danny desperately trying to save Ben. I can relate to that, because I would do anything for my guinea pigs and the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever experienced is when I lost my first piggie to heart disease. I don’t think the film did very well, so there’s not another sequel, although I have to say I think it would have been great to see the further adventures of Ben. I can say that at least film’s started being kinder to animals around this time, so some poorly composited shots of rats being set on fire is used in place of actually setting rats on fire. Thank goodness this wasn’t an Italian production.

It was nice to finally see rats get some love, at least to some extent, but therein lies the problem… who was this movie made for? The kid becoming friends with the rats and all the whimsy that follows suggest it was made for kids, but the carnage ensues tells me that maybe it’s a horror film. Like with most of these mixed bag films, it can’t seem to decide which it’s trying to be and ultimately doesn’t do well with blending either genres. Although the younger audience might be enticed by the relationship between the humans and animals, they would probably find all the talking and plot development parts boring since it’s trying to speak to an older audience who in turn will find the parts involving Danny and Ben childish and the horror parts rather dull and not scary. While watching it, I couldn’t help but think of Pod People which had the same problem. JP Simon, the director of that film, wanted a horror film and the producers wanted a kiddie film, so both were mixed to poor results (although Pod People is fun as hell to watch, especially the MST3K version).

Ben is somewhat of a lost film in that the original negatives apparently couldn’t be found, but that didn’t stop good ol’ Scream Factory from fine tuning it from whatever source they could find. Seeing as a master source wasn’t used in restoring the movie, so while it doesn’t look as sharp or clean as Willard, I’m genuinely shocked at how good it looks giving what they had to work with. Like Willard, there isn’t much in the way of special features. Aside from a small interview with Lee Montgomery who played Danny in the film who also provides an audio commentary, you get your usual Scream Factory extras, like a theatrical trailer, TV spots, radio spots and a still gallery. Unless you’re a fan of the film or a Scream Factory completist, you’ll probably want to pass on it.

Ben is kind of a forgettable, especially in the horror or nature strikes back or child befriending animal or whatever the hell genre it is, but if there is anything anyone will remember from this movie it’s the theme song sung by Michael Jackson. I know, at first I thought it was a joke too, but an early ‘70s, young Michael Jackson sings the song and even has a giant credit during the opening text. Well, there’s that and Danny’s puppet play with a puppet of Ben which performs in front of Ben. It’s kind of weird. Even Ben looks creeped out. Maybe the movie should have been a puppet play.

#WerewolfWednesdayTheater: Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory (1961)

Ho-wdy, Ho-rror Ho-mies! The moon may not be full and bright, but we got a hairy hair-raiser to fill you with fright! Our featured creature feature is Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory and it’s a real ho-wler! Now, with a title like that, you’d probably expect Animal House with a real animal, but it’s actually a monster mystery. You’ve heard of trying to find a needle in a haystack? Well, stay with us now, and you’ll be part of an investigating team whose mission is not to find that proverbial needle… no, their task is even harder. They’ve got to find a werewolf in a reformatory! And they don’t even have a Rod Serling to narrate!

Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory is, believe it or not, a precursor to the Giallo film! Yes indeedy, Kinky Kreeps! Before Bava gave us The Girl Who Knew Too Much and Argento started puttin’ on those ol’ black gloves of his, this gave us the mysterious killer and endless red herrings we associate with the genre. What solidifies this connection is that the script was written by Ernesto Gastaldi, the screenwriter behind Torso, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, and many other Giallo classics. Gloves off to ya!

Surprisingly, this weird wolf tale has some legitimate chills to offer. If you can get past the… questionable dubbing, there’s some decent terror to be had. The Werewolf himself is not as bestial as one would hope, but he looks decently psychotic. As for the culprit… well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s a pretty decent reveal.   See it … solve it … but don’t tell!
One last thing to note is the De-Frightful tune that plays at the beginning of the film. It’s called The Ghoul in School and it’s a ’60s go-go ghoul scream! In no way does it match the film, but it’s pure voodoo magic! Any song that has a random Peter Lorre impression is a winner in my book of shadows! Far out, groovie ghoulies!

To find out which wolf is the werewolf, check out the full fright film below. 🙂 xoxo

Scary Shorties: Swamp Thing – The Un-Men Unleashed

Ho-wdy, ho-rror ho-mies! It’s another Supernatural Saturday morning here in Horrorwood, so we got cartoon chiller to make your heart sing! See that figure lurching about the bog? The tall gentleman with the green thumb and the mossy hair? No, my freaky friend… that ain’t swamp gas. It’s…
That’s right, Kinky Kreeps! Ol’ Tall, Green, and Gruesome got his very scare-toon that aired from 1990 to 1991. Sure, it didn’t last long, but each episode is a slice of aged cheese that’s rich with all the radical ’90s flavor you krave.

Like Troma’s Toxic Crusaders, the Swamp Thing cartoon took a classic creature and Captain Planet-ed him up in a big, bad way! I  LOOOOOOVVVE super important environmental messages in cartoons, and this one certainly had one! Sure, like all programs of this nature (Ha!), Swamp Thing’s message probably wasn’t all that sincere… but these ‘toons always worked on me as a kid!  If Swamp Thing gives a hoot, than so do, muthafuckasI! 🙂

Despite only lasting 5 episodes, there was a plethora of glorious Swamp Thing mechandise swamping the shelves. This included a paint-by-number kit, a board game, T-shirts, children’s slippers, a bop bag, pencil sharpeners, and…wait for it… chalk! The line also had some kickass playsets that let you spread Swamp Thing’s message of environmental preservation… with violence! Check out these sweetazz commercials:

For your Saturday morning pleasure, we have the first episode of this swamp-tastic show! It’s exactly the kind of thing you should be watching with a bowl of Boo Berry and some monster pajamas. So, sit back and get swamped with Swamp Thing!

Like your wackily wonderful Wild Thing parody opening theme states, Swamp Thing… you are AMAZING! 🙂

Goon Review: Willard (1971)

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

Can we all agree that rats have been treated more than unfairly in films? They are always portrayed as filthy, disease ridden, hell spawn with a lust for blood and devastation. They are looked at as these solitary creatures you just toss in a cage and only take out when you want to monologue to something. In actuality, they are social creatures that are incredibly smart and friendly and make amazing friends. I have two guinea pigs myself and I couldn’t have asked for better buddies. I realize it doesn’t help my point when I basically have no friends and talk to my piggies constantly, but I’m not spewing plans for revenge or training them to gnaw off people’s faces, like the tit-ular character from Willard!

At a glance, Willard is often viewed as a killer rat movie and while there are deaths caused by the rats, it’s hardly that. It’s focus is on the aforementioned tit-ular character, Willard, a socially awkward misfit who befriends a large group of rats, trains them and then when things don’t necessarily work out in his favor, he turns to his friends for help and that leads to darker things as Willard’s state of mind begins to slip. While watching the movie, I really wanted things to work out for the guy, but he makes some really dark choices and I became resentful of the guy. Bruce Davison (Senator Kelly from the X-Men films) plays two sides to Willard; his playful and charming side, which we rarely get to see, and his broken, beaten down side. That’s the side you see more often in the film, because you are with him on his journey of unintentional self destruction and it gives him reasons to do the precarious things he does. We are left wanting more of the well intentioned side of Willard, but it’s used sparingly to show you how damaged he’s become. How he got to become so sympathetic may be pretty standard on paper, but you still feel for the guy.

Martin works at a company for the nefarious Al Martin played by Ernest Borgnine (Escape From New York, BASEketball) who had stolen the company from Martin after his father’s passing. Now the young lad spends his days essentially being the office punching bag by having worked dumped in his lap, forcing him to work nights and weekends while Al mocks him and plays grab ass with some of the office gals. Willard’s home life doesn’t seem to fare much better. He lives with his mother and cares for her in a dilapidated house surrounded by her elderly friends that are constantly berate the boy about how he should be living his life. Between work and tending to all his mother’s needs and wants, the poor kid can’t catch a break and has no friends. He’s basically what every emo kid wishes their life was really like. This all changes when Willard’s mother commands him to take care of the rats that are hanging around the house which he then attempts to drown, but he can’t bring himself to do. Instead, he realizes how intelligent the creatures are and quickly admires them, especially a little white rat he names Socrates.

Willard soon begins teaching the rats commands, like “food” and “empty” and the rats are proving themselves to be smart. Things change with the arrival of a bigger rat that he names Ben, seemingly harmless at first. With the help of his rats, Willard crashes one of his boss’s party and has a laugh from the bushes while his rodent friends send the party goers running and screaming. While Willard seemingly loves all of the rats, that affection isn’t nearly as strong for the affection he has for Socrates, who becomes somewhat of his sidekick. Willard brings him to work in his satchel and even cuddles up with him at night and has conversations with him. Ben takes notice of this love and, as any creature does, wants some of that shared love. You get the feeling as if Ben wants them all to be a happy family, but Willard only cares for Socrates and this is what I believe is his biggest flaw.

You see, I’ve always viewed Willard as the, well not villain, but antagonist of the film. He’s not intentionally a bad person, but he’s been molded in such a deformed way that he focuses all his love onto Socrates. Not to the fault of Socrates and I think Ben realizes this, but Ben wants the same affection Willard gives to Socrates and works hard for it, even finding ways to sneak into the bedroom to bunk with them even if Willard ends up throwing him outside the door multiple times. Ben doesn’t want to give up on Willard and believes that he could one day earn that same love. Unfortunately Willard, possibly having been damaged by his relationship with his own mother, seemingly can only give his attention to one being and that’s Socrates. It’s really tragic in my eyes, because this is the beginning of the preventable downfall.

We come to the inevitable point in the movie when Willard’s mother dies and leaves him the house. Unable to afford the home, Willard’s boss is pushing him to sell the place so that he can buy it at a low cost and demolish it to build an apartment building. In desperate need of money, Willard learns of a secret stash of cashHo-ste and sends in his army of trained rats to steal it, but this isn’t the end of the escalation. While hiding Socrates and Ben in the closet after bringing them to work, another employee spots them and the unthinkable happens to poor Socrates and I actually had to stop the movie here to take a breather. As I said, I have a strong affection for rodents that even simulated abuse or death is hard for me to watch, especially for an endearing, sweet creature like Socrates. I know what it’s liked to be attached to an animal and to have that animal show you that it cares back and to have it stripped away horribly is heartbreaking. Unfortunately for Willard, he cannot show his pain, because then his boss will find out all about his misdoings. Alone with Ben, there’s a gaze in the rat’s eyes that says he knew this would happen if the love wasn’t shared and that he’s ready to Socrates place at Willard’s side (or maybe I’m reading too much into this). Realizing what Ben is trying to tell him, Willard readies his friends for some well deserved revenge, but even Willard may not be ready for what follows.

Ernest Borgnine is usually known for playing lovable characters, be it good or bad and here you really get to see him be a bad guy. He’s disgusting and even though you hate the bastard’s guts, you still enjoy seeing him on screen. The performances of rivalry between Bruce Davison and Ernest Borgnine really give you an underdog to root for and a scoundrel to despise. Their performance styles, however, are much different. Ernest Borgnine, along with a majority of the cast, play up the fact that they are in a horror movie about rats and overperform, like they are trying to chew more scenery than their rodentia co-stars. Bruce Davison, on the other hand, gives a much more grounded performance that I’m sure all geeks can relate to, because at one point in our lives we all have been outcasts. We’ve all been shunned by society and you feel alone until that moment where you find a friend in place you least expected. It really adds three dimensions to the character of Willard and it’s that much more heartbreaking when the character finally snaps and turns on his friends. It makes you feel frustrated and angry at how he could do such a thing, but that’s what makes him flawed and relatable.

Willard is a film that wasn’t very well received by critics upon its initial 1971 release and to my surprise has a seemingly small fan base, but that was enough for Scream Factory to release the film in a brand new transfer. The 4K scan of the original camera negative looks phenomenal. There’s some noise and grain, but that’s comes with the territory and is welcomed. It’s just astonishing that for a film of Willard’s caliber with a seemingly absurd plot that it would get a restoration that makes it look brand new makes me smile. However, there isn’t much in the way of special features. Aside from the conventional trailer, TV spots, radio spots and still gallery, there is only a new interview with Bruce Davison (who also recorded a new commentary for the film) who briefly talks about his experience with the film. He’s actually very funny and entertaining in the short time the feature runs and I say “thank you” to him for coming back and talking with the fans about Willard after all these years.

But it really doesn’t matter that Willard isn’t packed to the gills with special features. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about finally having this heartwarming/heartbreaking mildly horror film available on DVD and Blu-ray and looking sharp. I don’t think every horror fan is going to like the movie, in fact even those who love the “when animals attack” movies may not like it. Maybe because it’s more about a mistreated, socially awkward young man’s descent. Willard is so much more than just a killer rat movie.

I have to say I really love Ben and I wish we could see more of him. Of course, I will be eating those words after seeing the sequel, 1972’s Ben.

Ho-stess’s Note: I thought it was worth pointing out that Willard’s mother was played by Ms. Elsa Lanchester, the Bride of Frankenstein herself!
Ho-stess’s Other Note: I also thought it was worth pointing out that Crispin Glover is ridiculously hot. 😉 #MCM

Ho-stess’s Final Note: Here’s my own little Socrates. (Real Name: Rat Murdock ” #proudratmama :))

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you morbidly majestic mummies out there! Today’s your day, so relax and don’t lose your head!

Here’s to mothers everywhere, whether they be artistic…
…Fashionable…

…A tad over-protective…

…Old-fashioned…
…Dramatic…

…Rational…

…Cheery…
…Irritable…

…A real witch…
…Or Just plain weird.
A toast to mothers….
...Stepmothers…
…Mother figures…

…And Other Mothers.
From of us here at Kinky Horror…



 



 

Scary Shorties: Mickey’s Mechanical Man (1933)

Before Richard Matheson brought a robot into the ring and Toho had one rough up an ape, Disney gave us both of those wonderful things in 1933’s Mickey’s Mechanical Man, a knockabout cartoon caper that pits machine against beast. The short is about Mickey Mouse training a robot to fight an ape in a boxing match and… do I need to say anything else!? I mean, that’s pure monster movie magic as it is! Disney has produced more sophisticated shorts, but who needs sophistication when you have beastly brutes monster-mashing each other in glorious black-and-white?!

Mickey’s Mechanical Man is a fairly one-note short, but it plays that note so magnificently! There are gags aplenty and enough machine-on-monster action to satisfy  all you creature-craving crazies out there. Mickey and Minnie are always welcome, and the ape is as perfectly monstrous as one could hope for. As for the animation, it’s fluid, lively, and… well, Disney!
While there’s much to love about this ‘toon, the highlight is the tit-ular Mechanical Man. I’m a sucker for vintage/retro robots, and this affable automaton certainly fits the bill. Every bit of animation for the ro-boxer is brilliantly herky-jerky. The spasmodic, robotic pugilist moves like a wind-up toy with very little use for physics. It’s this kind of character and animation that make these cartoons such a blast to watch! Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!

Check out the Battle of the Century below:


#FrankensteinFridayTheater: Dr. Hackenstein (1988)

\Happy Frankenstein Friday, students of mad science! We got some swift lippin’, ego trippin’, and body snatchin’ to make you feel…ALIVE!!!!

Today’s eXXXperiment is a full-length film from the mad monsters at Troma. The feature in question is itself a creature made from old parts. Take the skeleton of Curse of Frankenstein, inject it with the blood of Re-Animator, add the funny bone of Young Frankenstein, and you have the terror that is 1988’s Dr. Hackenstein!

Dr. Hackenstein  is not a particularly funny or horrific horror comedy, but it is a very “Frankenstein” one…  and that’s spooky cool to me! There’s whole lotta weird science going on, with oddly colored vials of substances that look vaguely science-y and sets that seem like they’ve been ripped out of Hammer film. Dr. Hackenstein doesn’t break new ground (unless you count digging up a grave). but it’s the kind of corny splatstick treat that’s charms you with its classically spooky atmospherics  and its corn-on-the-macabre humor. This film ain’t Young Frankenstein, but get the feeling the filmmakers knew that. Heck, there’s even a reference to the Mel Brooks film that’s, well… on the nosey.

Besides being a fun dose of Frankenstein madness, this film is also worth watch for its cast. Everyone does their darndest and David Muir is actually quite delightful as the bad doctor. It’s all over-the-top, but weirdly likable. Logan and Anne Ramsey (in her final film role) are fun as a pair of bumbling grave robbers. To add some more Frankenstein cred, Mad Monster Party’s Phyllis Diller has a small part in the film, but she’s a little less animated in this one! Aha ha ha!

Straight from Troma’s official Youtube channel, here’s Dr. Hackenstein for your Frankenstein Friday. 🙂

 

Goon Review: Silent Hill – Original Video Game Soundtrack LP

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)
Music and sound are equally important when it comes to any video game or movie, almost as much as visuals. Just about any John Carpenter film is a great example of a movie can really benefit and improve with an eerie soundtrack. It helps set the tone and amplify the mood while crawling under your skin and making its way to your brain where it will stick. The same can be said about one of the greatest survival horror games to make its debut on Playstation (where video game music really began to take off), Silent Hill from Konami. You know, back when they treated their properties with respect instead of trying to turn them all into Pachinko machines.

I can’t think of a more shining example of a soundtrack that captures the look and feel of the game it accompanies better than Silent Hill. The rustic, dried blood aesthetic is captured perfectly in sound by composer Akira Yamaoka that gives a dooming, oppressive feel to the overall weight of the game. Imagine the sound of old, worn down machinery, the banging of decaying, rusted metals with a piano that sounds like it’s been abandoned in an old house, covered in dust. That is the music of Silent Hill and it’s still chilling to the bone, even after eighteen years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since the game was first released on Playstation. I remember keeping up to date with it through magazines, like Electronic Gaming Monthly and Playstation Monthly (it was cool to add “Monthly” to your magazine back then) and I was at a local video game store the day it was being released. Being in upstate New York, the store’s delivery was late because of the winter weather, but my mom was cool enough to let me wait around at the video store and finally when the game arrived, I bought it right off the truck (literally) ran home, played it and was spooked out of my mind. Looking back, the music had a lot to do with it. It repeated in my mind and as it looped in my head at night, it would be the soundtrack to all my dreams, good or bad.

The soundtrack has an overall vinyl type of quality to it. Like, it’s meant to be played in mono with a warmer sound, that sort of thing. Now that Mondo has been releasing the Contra and Castlevania soundtracks, both of which are 8-bit and 16-bit, we move onto 32-bit sound. This may not sound like a big deal, but we were moving away from computerized keyboard sounds and making a giant leap into being able to use actual instruments. Silent Hill makes full use of this, making an odd variety of hip-hop stylized drum and bass with piano and stringed instruments, mixing aforementioned old machinery and rusted metals. I can’t praise this soundtrack enough. It’s the stuff nightmares are made of and I mean that in the highest regard. Silent Hill was the first soundtrack to really stick in my head and give me chills. It kept me awake at night when I was younger and I’m glad it’s now available from Mondo on a 2XLP.

Of all the images you could use to represent Silent Hill, I’m sure most of us conjure up the images of the nurses, perhaps the school or even Harry Mason, the game’s protagonist, himself. Artist Sam Wolfe Connelly brilliantly uses the subtle image of Harry’s crashed jeep abandoned in a white void. It’s what brought Harry to Silent Hill and it’s the last thought of something that was supposed to keep you safe. The thought of leaving it means you are on your own in unfamiliar territory. To me, it captures the unknown fear you are expecting to encounter that the soundtrack perfectly captures. The inside image captures more of what you would expect upon exploring the hellish place, Silent Hill. A goat’s head on a woman’s body that is partially missing… I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but that can be said about most of Silent Hill (again, that’s a compliment). The discs themselves are a translucent grey with white splatter, perfectly representing the fog and the floating ashes. Each one also has a label of the cult’s triangle symbol.


Silent Hill has always had a remarkable soundtrack, probably some of the best and most memorable and Mondo’s vinyl release is the best way to listen to it and remember how the games use to terrorize you. There are times that the music sounds like it’s warping or wobbling and I honestly couldn’t tell if it were my records or if the soundtrack was intentionally doing that. It doesn’t take away from the listening experience, if anything it heightens it. After all these years, the original Silent Hill soundtrack is still able to raise the hairs on my neck.