Splatterday Mourning Cartoons – Beetlejuice: Critter Sitters

Ho-wdy, my recently deceased Ho-mies!


What a fine Day-O it is for some carnivorous cartoon carnage! Today’s freaky funny shows that the dead truly are an animated bunch! On this strange journey through the hereafter, we summon our Ho-st… the Ghost with the Most! Say it once, say it twice, say it three times…

BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE!


Yessiree, Blob! We just love the unholy heck out of ol’ BJ (Ha!) here at Kinky Horror! After all, he is THE name in Laughter from the Hereafter! It’s on his poster! Posters don’t lie!

See?!

Beetlejuice (1988) was a monstrous success at the boXXX office, so (super)naturally Warner Bros.  wanted to capitalize on our striped scare-star’s popularity. What better way to do so than to make a children’s cartoon based on this:

Surprisingly, the cartoon works really well! It ain’t as edgy as the movie, but it’s everything a monster-loving kid could hope for! For all the little Wednesdays and Pugsleys out there, this show’s better  than a bowl of Frankenberry with arsenic!
 

Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose with the first episode of… BEETLEJUICE!


Goon Review – The Zodiac Killer (1971)

Sometimes, the reason behind how or why a movie got made is far more interesting than the movie itself. Take, for instance, The Island of Dr. Moreau: Total trainwreck of a movie that started with blaming director Richard Stanley, an incredibly talented filmmaker, for any issue that arose (including monsoons that delayed production). Throw in a coke-fueled Val Kilmer who didn’t get along with Stanley and was pressuring the studio to replace him, mixed in with a no fucks left to give Marlon Brando who refused to learn his lines and was constantly making script changes. The film actually has a documentary that’s longer than the film and far more interesting. It’s such childish bullshit and so insane that you have to wonder how shit gets made sometimes. And then you have 1971’s The Zodiac Killer that was actually made in attempt to catch the actual Zodiac Killer.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures and apparently the Zodiac was something of a cinephile, so it was so crazy that it just might work. But alas, it did not, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The plan was to get him into the theaters by making a movie about him and premiere it at the Golden Gate Theater in San Francisco, which was rented out by director Tom Hanson. With Kawasaki sponsoring the event offering a prize to the lucky theater goer who could answer the question, “I believe the Zodiac kills because…” on a card. However, a team of experts would be analyzing the handwriting on the cards to that of the Zodiac’s and snatch them in the lobby. Pretty ballsy and clever plan, but maybe the Zodiac was smarter.

Again, the making of this movie would be far more entertaining than the actual movie itself. The actual film is more or less just a series of random events. You could argue that’s how the murders seemed, but the film makes an odd choice of giving the Zodiac an identity part way through the movie. The film then switches over to following him around as he goes about his day, attempts a little murder and then to the police or reporters trying to catch him. It’s not a bad idea, except the Zodiac’s identity was never discovered, so this ‘based on a true story’ story now becomes majorly fictionalized. It wasn’t like they used a possible suspect as the Zodiac in the film, but a totally random made up guy. You have to wonder if it was done to anger the Zodiac in hopes of drawing him out, but from my research, he never even attempted to contact the filmmakers.

Regardless of the subject matter, this isn’t a serious movie (or at least that’s what the tone is trying to tell me), but rather a madhouse hippie romp that’s light on the gore, yet still has a layer of filth like an early Frank Henenlotter film would have. Satanic hippie driven violence, like I Drink Your Blood and bad b-movie sexy go-go shlock, like The Girl in Gold Boots are easily comparable… and more entertaining. Not to say there’s nothing to take away from The Zodiac Killer, given that it wasn’t a big budget picture. The performances, while not the greatest in the world, aren’t half bad and actually go hand in hand with the cheesy tone.

The beginning of the film focuses on an old, dumpy, balding white guy named Grover (honestly, a pretty fitting name). Grover likes to put on a wig and lie to women about being a businessman to get some random strange. The movie depicts this man as a sexy, irresistible poon hound with a knack for violence and a revolver. Of course, any viewer automatically recognizes someone like this as a red herring, especially when moments later we see a man burying a rabbit under a giant cross. This man is Jerry, Grover’s friend, and he isn’t given much to do until Grover makes an exit at the halfway point in the movie, when he rushes over to his ex-wife’s house, makes some threats, waves a gun at the cops exclaiming that he’s the Zodiac Killer and is instantly gunned down and splashes his fat, dead corpse into the pool.

Now Jerry steps into the spotlight of the film, talking to his pet rabbits that are all named after Zodiac signs. In case you didn’t catch onto the fact that he’s the killer, he then begins chanting to an altar about his “slaves,” which are his murdered victims that would accompany him to his after life. After that, there really isn’t much of significance going on. Well, nothing that would really be called a story, but rather random reenacted murders to move the scenes along and pad out a run time. The film does seem to try and accurately portray what happened at the murder scenes, at least when there was a survivor to recall the event. Other times when there was no survivor, the movie just makes up what they think happened and that discredits the true story angle more, especially considering there isn’t much proof that those murders were done by the Zodiac. I know, this isn’t the first film based on a true story to make things up, but this was all still going on at the time.

More murders happen, the cops don’t seem to have any clues, and then the movie decides it needs to give the Zodiac some motivation towards the end when he confronts his father in a mental institution as he cries out for attention like a baby. At this point, I don’t think they cared about accuracy of who the Zodiac was, but rather were looking to rustle his feathers by calling him a whiny bitch. He then storms outside and pushes a man in a stretcher down a hill and then a flight of stairs. I know he’s trying to kill the guy, because he’s cackling the whole time like a Looney Tunes villain, but even the guy on the stretcher looks like he’s having a blast. Nothing but a big ol’ smile. Then the movie ends on Jerry strolling down the street, narrating that he will continue to kill while laughing to himself…You know know, typical bad guy stuff.

If it weren’t for the subject matter of the actual Zodiac Killer and the zany bongos and horns blaring during the murder scenes, this would be a pretty boring movie. There isn’t much substance to the characters and even Jerry, the film’s Zodiac Killer, has little to do when he’s not killing random people. Most of the characters rarely interact with each other and when they do, it’s mostly arguing, especially coming from Grover. Grover at least gives the film some sleaze, as he’s always drinking, doing drugs and womanizing, so it makes the film feel like a drive-in staple. That’s another thing to the film’s credit, it does have some personality, even if it’s not well shot. As I said, it feels a bit sleazy, a bit trippy and definitely enhanced with that hippie music. I actually found it surprising it didn’t relish in the gore, going over the top and loading the screen up with its bright blood red, but it instead rarely shows gore. I don’t know if that was done out of respect for the victims and their families or if it was just a budgetary thing.

I will give credit to AGFA and Something Weird for restoring this film in 4K from the only surviving blow-up elements, even if it doesn’t look like 4K quality. But that’s alright. A film like this needs dirt and scratches to help with the grimey feel it has. Director Tom Hanson and producer Manny Nedwick provide an audio commentary as well as an interview and some trailers to round out the special features on the disc. There’s some liner notes and director interview from Temple of Shlock’s Chris Poggiali and some reversible cover artwork. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that there is a bonus film, Another Son of Sam from 1977, which was actually called Hostages and filmed in 1975, but changed the title when the film was being released around the same time the actual Summer of Sam killer was caught to capitalize on that. Nope, nothing sleazy there.

If you want to watch a really great movie about the Zodiac Killer, then watch Zodiac by David Fincher. It’s beautifully shot, colors are muted and yet they jump out at you and fit the tone of the scene. The characters are well acted and interesting enough to follow through a two and a half hour movie with and it makes the randomness of the murders and the unknown identity of the Zodiac feel like a frightening boogeyman. If you want the exact opposite of that, watch The Zodiac Killer. I will say that you won’t be bored, even if it’s not very well made. Or accurate.

Ho-stess’s PS- Here’s a sneaky peak at the Island of Dr. Moreau doc Goon mentioned. Highly rec adding this one to your #MustViewQueue. 🙂 xoxo

#FBF: The “Die, Die Again, Vincent Price!” Edition

Ho-wdy, Kinky Kreeps!

Today’s Flashback Fare concerns one Mr. Vincent. Freakin’. Price.

There’s no ghoul in history that gives us those Tingler tingles like Mr. Vincent Price! I mean, he’s one of the indisputable Gods of Ho-rror! The Merchant of Menace! The King of the Grand Guignol! The man’s a legit legend! You could always tell he was having the time of his life… even when it ended… again and again and again!
On the Silver Scream, Mr. Price frequently enjoyed one of the finer things in life… dying.

Most people only do it once, but Mr. Price made a living off of it! You think Sean Bean bit his fair share of dust? Ha! He’s but a  rank amateur compared to Ol’ Vinnie! Bean’s only danced with the Reaper a mere 25 times… Vincent Price has kicked the bucket (of blood) 32 times! And we’re not even counting his Terror-Vision appearances! He’s been drowned, burnt, poisoned, dissolved by acid, and others far too ho-rrible to name here. But, like any great monster, he just came back for the next fright tale! I wouldn’t be shocked if he rose from his real-life grave to start promote the Sears Art Collection!

To show you how to live your death to the fullest… here are…
The Many Deaths of Vincent Price! 

Oh… Spoilers. 😉 xoxo

#Werewolf Wednesday: Moon of the Wolf (1972)

AAOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s another Werewolf Wednesday!!!! Put away the silver and bark at the moon with us as we bring you another hairy hair-raiser from the Kinky Ho-rror vault. From 1972, it’s Moon of the Wolf!
No, not that one!
That’s the ticket!

Moon of the Wolf  is a made-for-TV Southern fried creature feature that originally aired on ABC in the September of 1972. It’s an old-fashioned sort of monster movie, the kind we really sink our fangs into at Kinky Ho-rror. The film concerns a Louisiana sheriff investigating a string of murders, eventually coming to the conclusion that the culprit may be a hairy-handed gent…

Look at that werewolf! He looks like a something ordered out of the ad pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland! (And I mean that in the best possible way! :)) It’s a cl-Ass-Sick-al lycanthrope in every since of the word! The make-up was done by make-up maniac William Tuttle, the man behind the freaky fab looks in Young Frankenstein and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, so you know that they hired man who knows his monsters. 🙂


Clocking in at 75 mins, Moon of the Wolf is a compact little werewolf thriller with no unnecessary fat. With or without a full moon, this one’s a ho-wl. Check it out, Kinky Kreeps! 🙂 xoxo

News Bleed: The “Two-Faced Munsters” Edition

Munster, Go Home! The Munsters are heading back to Terror-vision! 🙂 Deadline

IT Came From Spirit Halloween! PopCulture

Madballs roll into Ready Player One! Movie Web

Jigsaw will play around at Halloween Horror Nights! 🙂 Huffington Post

Special effects wizard Kevin Yagher is selling some of actual props from the Child’s Play movies! Shut up and take our money! Bloody Disgusting

Adam West defends Gotham one last time in Batman vs. Two-Face! 🙂 io9

Splatterday Mourning Cartoon: Count Duckula – A Fright at the Opera

Velcome, Kinky Kreeps!Today’s abominable animation is a FOWL terror tale that dares to reinvent to of Ho-rror’s most ghastly figures… as ducks!

That’s F-right, my monstrous minions… we summon the dread Count Duckula to terrorize y’all’s neighborhood!
And he’s brought with him a creep that swung from the chandelier long before another veiled musician made it cool… The Phantom of the Opera!

Well, a more finely feathered version, that is.

We here at Kinky Horror just love a good monster mash! There’s just someTHING eXXXciting about two (or more) icons of the macabre sharing the scream-screen together. Curiously though, this one of the very few times The Phantom and Drac have crossed paths. I mean, it’s a pairing that’s to DIE for! Both are cape-wearing, urbane creatures of the night with a tendency to sleep in coffins. And both are evil geniuses, so it would be a spectacular battle of the minds! Having two of fiction’s darkest gentlemen go face-to-mask would be a SCREAM!

Howl-ever, since there’s no true film crossover, we’ll gladly take this duck-based version!

The  webbed-foot Phantom in this terror toon is a Frankenstein of a few different versions of the masked menace. His mask resembles that of Claude Rains and his association diminutive lackey brings to the Hammer Ho-rror interpretation. There’s also a fair bit of Chaney in the the way he’s presented. And like all Phantoms, he really knows how bring DOWN the house… if you know what I mean.
For some Famous Monsters of Duckland, click on the BoXXX below:

#FrankensteinFriday: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter

Ho-wdy, Putrid Partners!

Happy #FrankensteinFriday, Kinky Kreeps! This week, we’re gonna play High Goon and ride the high country into terror with a weird western that pits outlaws against ghouls! This one walks the line between Phantom of the Opera and horse opera in a way that reminds us that even cowgirls get the “boos”! 😉 Reach for the sky and scream for your life…It’s Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter!

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter is not a film one can mistake for an Academy Award Winner. It is, ho-wever,  a straight-faced cowboy creeper that’s sure to satiate your appetite for the bizarre.This film is no cl-ass-sick, but it’s a delightfully daffy chiller-diller, perfect for a Frightful Friday.


Despite its (brilliant) title, the film concerns the great-granddaughter of Baron Frankenstein, not the daughter. Regardless of her eXXXact lineage, this mad doc is up to no good, turning the sidekick of Jesse James into a brainless monster and working her weird science all over the place! Narda OnyXXX’s over-the-top, scenery-devouring performance as the Lady Frankenstein is pure B-movie bliss, and is enough to make this film worth the watch.

Saddle up and Westward Ho, Ho-rror Ho-mies!! 😉 xoxo

No Recipes Required: The Kinky Kitchens Edition, Part 1

(Submitted by the always awesome Smutmaster Eric…Thanks, Kinky Ho-mie. I so dig how your monstrous mind works! 🙂 xoxo)

Kitchen Samurai

Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

Snoopy & Woodstock

 
American Werewolf In London XXX Porn Parody (2011)

Ratatouille (2007)


Pet Sematary (1989)

Ho-stess’s PS- #TBT to my Karnal Kombat review of An American Werewolf in  London XXX. (Spoiler Alert: It’s actually rad AF!! 😉 xoxo)

#TalesfromtheCryptThursday: The Man Who Was Death

Ho-wdy, Kinky Kreeps!

Wel-cum to #TalesformtheCryptThursday, a new feature in which we eXXXhume some cl-Ass-Sick fright fare from fear favorite Tales from the Crypt! What better episode to start with than the one that jump-started? Yes, kreepies, this one’s galvanizing! From 1989, it’s The Man Who Was Death!

The Man who Was Death tells the shocking story of a state executioner who loves his job a little too much. When the state abolishes the Death Penalty, he decides to dispense some vigilante justice…  2,000 volts worth of it!
The episode stars the badass William Sadler as the mad eXXXecutioner. Sadler would go on to make frequent visits to the Crypt, starring in the film Demon Knight, appearing in ho-sting segments in both a Season 6 episode and Bordello of Blood, and serving as the host in the failed spin-off, Two-Fisted Tales. (Sooooooo much more on that later! ;))Two years after The Man Who Was Death, Sadler went on to play The Grim Reaper in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, which means Sadler could truly be described as The Man Who Was Death.
Mr. Sadler would also portray that same Reaper in the aforementioned Season 6 episode, entitled The Assassin. All roads lead back to the Crypt. 🙂
For a shocking good time, we presenteth thee with… The Man Who Was Death:

As a boo-nus, here’s the comic that inspired the episode:

Goon Review – Madhouse (1981)

(Submited by our Ho-rror Ho-mie, Mr. Andrew W. Peters…Thanks, Madman Magee! 🙂 xoxo)

Ovidio G. Assonitis, like most Italian film directors, had a wide variety of films he’s directed, including the Jaws cash-in Tentacles and the Exorcist cash-in Beyond the Door. Hey, it’s Italy in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s and cash-ins or rip-offs were their thing. He’s also produced a number of films like Piranha II: The Spawning, The Curse, the excellent and often underrated The Visitor, as well as American Ninja 4 and 5. Needless to say the guy knows horror and he also knows movies, so I was psyched when Arrow released Madhouse, an overlooked slasher film from 1981, in a brand new 2K restoration.

However, upon revisiting it, I understood why it’s possibly overlooked. It’s not that I hated, in fact I’m probably one of the few people that rather enjoy it, but I can see why people might find it so underwhelming and that’s because, well, it is. It’s a well made movie and it does have a very interesting premise, but for an Italian made slasher flick, it’s actually kinda tame and falls into cliched trappings and then there’s the reveal of the killer… hoo boy, it’s pretty obvious from the get-go who the killer is and you really hope they don’t “go there,” but, yeah, they do. It’s not only that it’s painfully obvious, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear motivation and honestly it kinda dampers what they were setting up. I gotta say and sorry for sounding like a broken record, but for an Italian made slasher in the early ‘80s, this film feels kinda like it’s playing it safe.

I keep calling it a slasher flick when Italy was more commonly known for suspenseful giallos and while Madhouse toys around with the idea of being a giallo, it doesn’t commit to being one. The same can be said about it being more of a character drama between two twin sisters, one evil and the other good. There’s a fine variety of different ideas here, but the movie can’t seem to decide on which one it would rather be and ends up being a moderate, ho-hum horror flick and for being Italian produced film, a country known for reveling in gore, it’s pretty tame. I don’t know if this was due to budgetary problems or perhaps Ovidio G. Assonitis thought it would make his film more suspenseful and to his credit, it is wonderfully shot and full of dark shadows, so it at least has a very ominous mood.

It opens up interestingly enough; two young girls sit still and silently in blackness as the camera pans in until one starts smashing the other one’s face in with a rock. Alright, movie, you have my attention. I’m interested in finding out what that was about, but unfortunately, we never do. At least, not really. Fast forward years later and the girls are all grown up and you could say they took different paths. One grows up to be a school teacher for the deaf and a stone cold fox, Julia, played by Trish Everly. Who’s Trish Everly and what else has she been in? Exactly. According to IMDB, this is her only credit and she never forayed into the world of acting again which is a shame, because she puts in a terrific performance.

Her sister Mary, on the other hand, has been less fortunate, living her life in a mental institution with a skin disease that has left her disfigured. Talk about drawing the short stick. Mary is under close observation by Father James, a friend of the family who Julia refers to as Uncle. Father James seems a little too pleasant and a little off kilter, so if you know anything about slasher films, I’m sure you’ll be able to see what direction they are taking this character. About halfway through the film, after the reveal of the killer, his character takes quite a silly turn as he’s nonchalantly hauling a body bag into a basement and chasing Julia’s landlady around the her building, skipping and singing children’s nursery rhymes. It’s kind of a whiplash in tone of character and I’m assuming it’s because people are under the impression that just because children’s songs are in a horror movie that makes it’s creepy, but they forget it needs to have context. That’s not the case here. It seemingly comes out of nowhere and I found more puzzled instead of interested and laughed at this reveal. If anything, this dampens the Father character’s motivation for everything happening. In fact when questioned about it, he just giggles and spouts a nursery rhyme that has no bearing or meaning on the situation. It explains nothing or maybe it does. Either way, it doesn’t ever explain why he’s doing what he’s doing.

 

The big red herring or twist of events happens when Julia receives word that Mary has escaped the asylum just in time for their birthday. The birthday doesn’t really play into the main plot, but give a reason for something to happen (I guess), but it just echoes of desperation for the film to take place during a holiday or event to mirror something like Halloween. To the film’s credit, the slasher does have a very interesting weapon of choice; a rottweiler. Yeah, I bet you’d never see the day a slasher film uses an animal as their knife. I was worried for the dog’s health and safety when remembering this is an Italian production, but luckily Ovidio here takes the dog’s well being into consideration. You figure a dog tearing apart the victims would result in a blood bath and mangled body parts, but if there is one thing really disappointing about the film, it’s that it lacks gore. I know gore doesn’t make a horror film, but spectacularly bloody deaths in a slasher makes a better viewing. At most, it’s blood smeared all over someone’s face and the most shocking death in the movie, the death of Julie’s favorite student, takes place off screen, but there I actually feel it gives it more of a punch, especially when she has to break the news to the other students at school. It’s a scene, however, that involves the dog being put into a headlock by Julie and putting a power drill through it’s head that this film is most likely notorious for. Even with a noticeable puppet in use, it’s still a rough scene to watch listening to the dog squeal.

During the finale of the film, I couldn’t help but think of Happy Birthday to Me (a slasher film I like, but find it a tad overrated) and that may be because Madhouse feels like it’s borrowing from other popular slasher movies of that time rather than try to be something original or experimental. That’s kind of surprising for being an Italian horror film, in a way, because while they were more known for ripping a film off, they still took the idea in a wild direction and made it it’s own beast. This feels more of the American cash-in variety where it takes no risks and spends no money on the gore budget. To the film’s credit, it’s the finale where you see what is most likely the goriest moment in the movie where a character takes an axe to the back, spraying chunks of flesh and squirting blood. You can’t help but wonder why this approach wasn’t taken during the rest of the movie. Maybe Ovidio wanted to make not necessarily a classier horror film, but maybe a more suspenseful one with more dignity. It’s unfortunate that’s not what happened.

Along with this being a new 2K transfer, Arrow also includes a new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues. That’s sort of confusing as to why they would have the people from a comedy/horror podcast do the commentary for the film rather than the original cast and crew when they were able to get new interviews with them. You can also check out the alternate opening if you’d like and the theatrical trailer. I think the show stealer in this whole package is the newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach. Seriously a talented artist and that’s one hell of a spooky cover.

It’s not boring, but rather predictable and subdued. It is at least pretty to look with some creepy cinematography and it doesn’t hurt that it was filmed in a supposed haunted house in Savannah, Georgia. It’s more upsetting seeing what this movie could have been and what it turned out to be instead of it being an actual bad movie. It showed so much promise with a murderous twin angle and the classic black leathered gloved giallos and the end result is so disappointing. It’s tolerable and worth watching for a typical ‘80s slasher, but don’t expect anything beyond that.