We now return you to your regularly scheduled “MST3K Yay!” post…
Ho-wdy, my Mysterious MSTIES! It’s time to get yo happy on, for the ‘Bots are back in town!!! 🙂
Netflix just made the not-too-distant future the right-this-minute present with the release of Mystery Science Theater 3000Season 11! Following a HUGELY successful Kickstarter campaign (which your Ho-stess happily contributed to! :)), MST3K has risen from the grave with a brand new bag o’ cheesy clas-sicks for ya! The original series is one of the most beloved series in all of nerd-dom and this new one seems to properly capture that ol’ Satellite of Love charm. 🙂
In ho-nor of the Return of MST3K, I thought I’d send some cheesy trailers…the worst I can find! Each trailer is for a film featured on the new MST3K. In total, there are 14 new movies for the hapless ho-st and the ‘Bots to “suffer” through. This new batch of films is made up of some the most delicious cinematic cheese, so I recommend you check them out both with and without Shadowrama. Two of them feature Caroline “Forever Goddess” Munro (Starcrash, At the Earth’s Core), so you know you’re in for some great B-movie awesomeness. 🙂
Check out the trailers below:
The Time Travelers
The Beast of Hollow Mountain
The Land That Time Forgot
The Loves of Hercules
Yongary: Monster from the Deep
Wizards of the Lost Kingdom
Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II
The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t
At the Earth’s Core
Welcome Back, MST3K. It’s good to hear you riffing again. 🙂 xoxo
April Fools, you fabulously frightful fear freaks! Today on KH, we’re living in a prankster’s paradise! To honor this day of jokes and japes, we’ve got one from the vaults. Starring Caroline “Forever Goddess” Munro and a not-so-jolly jester, it’s 1986’s Slaughter High.
Slaughter High began life as April Fool’s Day, but was forced to change its title to avoid confusion with Paramount’s April Fool’s Day, which was released the same year. Our plot concerns a group of friends reuniting at their old high school. The sins of their past come back to haunt them in the form of Marty, a former classmate left disfigured by a particurlary cruel April Fool’s prank the students played. In classic slasher fashion, Marty dons a jester mask decides it’s time to knock his former classmates dead in a very literal sense. Despite the clownish mask, Marty certainly isn’t fooling around.
Slaughter High is sleazy schlock… and we love it for that! Filmed at derelict school, the film has wonderfully dirty, grimy vibe that only adds to the fun! Harry “Friday the 13th” Manfredini contributed the score, so you know you’re in for some prime musical horror. For lovers of slasher mayhem and sharp implements of terror, this film will have much to tickle your fancy. Axes! Acid! Hooks! Lawnmowers! Javelins! Electrocution by jumper cables! It’s all so horribly wonderful!
Weirdly enough, Slaughter High is a British picture masquerading as an American one. At one point, a character says, “If we wait til noon, April Fool’s Day will be over and he won’t kill us.” In the UK, April Fool’s Day ends at noon and if one plays a prank after noon, they are deemed the “fool.” Apparently, the filmmakers were unaware that we Americans do not follow that tradition. Adding to this, the cast is a British as steak and kidney pie, but they all attempt an American accent. The results are, as you may imagine, are quite mixed. However, it does give the film a distinct flavor. None of the performers are particularly brilliant, but it’s always lovely to see Caroline Munro.
For all you April Fools out there, we present Slaughter High in its entirety, No foolin’!
Greetings, you fabulous fright fiends! I would like to take a moment to ho-nor three of the most awesomely creepy-peeps in fright film history: Handsome Halloweenie Mr. John Carpenter, Hammer Ho-ttie Caroline Munro, and Mummy Maker Karl Freund! Let’s get this Mad Monster Party started, shall we? 🙂
Caroline Munro: January 16, 1949
The First Lady of Fantasy! 🙂 Caroline “Forever Goddess” Munro is the only performer that can boast a career that includes being turned into a vampire by Christopher Lee’s Dracula, portraying Vincent Price’s wife in the eXXXcellent Dr. Phibes series, encountering creatures created by Ray Harryhausen, and who was also a Bond Girl! Dang! Those are some spooky-good credentials! 🙂 If that’s not impressive enough, Ms. Munro was the only actress to have been signed to a long-term contract with Hammer Studios! Caroline Munro is pure Ho-rror Ho-tness and is a cult icon of highest order. In addition to her impressive acting resume, the Mighty Munro writes a column for Space Monsters Magazine, proving that she’s still an important player in the ho-rror community… as if there was any doubt. 🙂
Blurry-But-Awesome Caroline Munro Meeting!!!! 🙂
Happy Birthday, you Gore-geous Genre Great! 🙂
John Carpenter: January 16, 1948
John Carpenter came here to make kickass movies and chew bubblegum… and he’s all out of bubblegum! 🙂 One of the true innovators of genre filmmaking, Mr. Carpenter more-or-less created the slasher genre as we know it today with Halloween in 1978 and just kept on creating clas-sicks for years! The Fog, The Thing, They Live, Escape from New York, and Big Trouble in Little China are all among the best genre cinema has to offer, and I bet few would argue with that. (And those who do are wrong! ;)) In addition to writing and directing awesome movies, he scores ’em! Halloween’s oft-imitated theme was composed by the man himself and remains one of the most spine-tingling horror themes ever! Happy Birthday, you Dark Star! 🙂
Karl Freund: January 16, 1890
Now here’s is a devious dude with an eye for terror! Karl Freund was the cinematographer on some of the most monstertastic monster movies ever! His work includes Metropolis, The Golem, Murders in the Rue Morgue(1932), and Dracula with badass bloodsucker Bela Lugosi! As a director, Mr. Freund directed The Mummy (1932) and Mad Love (1935), two fright films I just can’t praise enough! If that wasn’t enough to make him a legend, Mr. Freund is also responsible for the development of the three-camera system used to shoot sitcoms, a system he used on I Love Lucy! Mad Love for Mr. Karl Freund! 🙂
Happy Birthday to these three Legendary Legends of Awesomeness! (And to anyone else who happens to be celebrating today. :)) xoxoxo
(This bit o’ festive fright brought to you by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks Ho-rrorday Ho-mie!! 🙂 xoxo)
Christmas horror movies usually take full advantage of the season’s mascot, Santa Claus, and have him rampaging around, slaughtering all the bad boys and girls who are on his naughty list. Or just killing a bunch of random people, but the point is that it was usually Santa or someone dressed up as Santa doing all the killing. That’s what separates Don’t Open Till Christmas from the rest of the bunch. It’s some psychopath going around killing anyone dressed as Santa, so it’s kinda the opposite thing going on. However, that doesn’t make it a great film. Filming began in 1982 and it wasn’t finished until 1984. It had such a troubled production, it’s still a shock that this movie ever was finished.
The film is directed by Edmund Purdom, who starred in the fantastic Grindhouse flick Pieces. Don’t Open Till Christmas is also produced by the same producer as Pieces, Dick Randall (he’s the guy you have to thank for all the sleaze in these pictures). Edmund Purdom also stars in the film… for a good chunk of the beginning, then he’s gone and then he’s back to not really tie up any loose ends, but just to reassure you that he was still in it and was at one point a major character in the film. There is an explanation for all of this. Apparently, Edmund Purdom left filming halfway through shooting when producers felt he wasn’t delivering quality work and writer Derek Ford stepped in to finish the job, even reshooting most of the scenes, including special effects shots to make them more gory. There were also numerous rewrites and such, so things became pretty disjointed during the editing process. However, Edmund returned to finish the movie and in the end what we get is a film that starts off making sense, to characters vanishing and having other characters explain what is going on instead of showing what happened or explaining what happened to characters that are no longer in the movie. Oh and a sort of abrupt ending.
Setting the tone right off the bat, a man dressed as Santa is in the back seat of a car trying to get his candy cane slobbered when somebody stabs him and his lady to death. The opening rings very much like Friday the 13th, a common connection both this film and To All a Goodnight share. We’re then introduced to a couple we think will be our main characters, but because of the aforementioned production troubles, it’s probably more accurate to say that these are the characters we spend a good amount of time with, Kate and Cliff. They’re at some sort of Christmas party with Kate’s dad dressed as Santa when he’s speared through the back of the head. The people in the room look more disappointed than scared or shocked that someone just got stabbed through the back of the head right in front of them. Kate doesn’t seem to mourn her father long either, so maybe he was a dick. Chief Inspector Ian Harris (Edmund Purdom) and Detective Sergeant Powell stop by to question the couple, but nothing really comes of it, until later that night when another Santa is barbequed on a street grill and the jolly old man erupts into flames. Guess he was stuffed full of coal.
Now we get to meet an odd character whose true motives are obvious by looking at his wide eyed, crazy man gaze and his awkward interactions with people, Giles (Alan Lake), a man who claims he writes for the paper. Giles seems to be planting seeds of suspicion about Harris in Powell’s head. Almost to the point where it’s super obvious that he may be the guy you think he is… Anyway, another randomly drinking Santa is shot square in the mouth just to add another body to the pile. Hey, this is an exploitation film! We don’t need a reason other than we want to make it offensive and sleazy! You think it’s gonna stop there? No, sir. Another Santa has his throat slashed while watching a stripper through glass.
By now you may be noticing a theme that every Santa in this movie is either drunk or a pervert. Or both.
Harris continues to visit Kate and Cliff, because not only does he seemingly have the hots for Kate in a creepy way, but also because Cliff was present at the time for two of the murders, so we gotta add him to the naughty list. Meanwhile, Giles continues to suggest that Powell is hiding something to Harris and later that night, guess what? Another Santa is murdered. Another drunk Santa. This is enough for Harris to be thrown off the case, who just so happens to be randomly visiting an institution. Nothing in that last sentence is shown, mind you, but repeated out loud as exposition by Kate who is on the phone trying to find Harris. This is something that happens a few times throughout the movie to explain Edmund Purdom’s absence from the film. It’s a cheap way around it, rather than having to recast or reshoot, but as a film, this is inexcusable. Imagine you are watching something like Inception and instead of watching what the characters were doing, someone was on the phone and repeating out loud what is being said to them to fill in that gap for you. Even Cliff vanishes from the ending. He’s seen being cleared of the murders and they lead you to believe that he’s gonna help catch the killer, or something, but then as Kate is trying to get close to Harris and the two are having dinner, you see Cliff trying to spy on them and that’s it. No more Cliff.
So, a few more drunken, perverted Santas get murdered and there’s a random Caroline Munro cameo and the stripper is kidnapped from earlier by the killer who says she’s going to be some sort of ultimate sacrifice for the evil of Christmas or some shit. I don’t know why they needed to throw this in there, seeing as it feels really out of place. It’s at this point they finally reveal the identity of the killer as he confronts Kate in her apartment, but if you have a single working braincell, you already knew who it was. I don’t know why the movie felt they needed to keep it a mystery this whole time seeing as you could kinda see his face through that mask and his character wasn’t exactly subtle whenever he was on screen. That’s not taking away from Alan Lake’s performance, however, as he was really intense and kinda creepy. Sadly, he ended up taking his own life shortly before the movie was released for a number of drinking and depression related issues.
So, why was the killer brutally murdering anyone dressed up as Santa? As far as I can tell from a flashback at the very end, the killer saw his Mommy getting down with Santa. This also happened in Christmas Evil, oddly enough, so I don’t know if this was ripping that off or just trying to be extremely sleazy. Seeing as how the movie is produced by Dick Randall, neither would surprise me. If I can say one thing really positive about this film, it’s that it has a great amount of sleaze and violence. Probably more than another 1984 Christmas slasher flick called Silent Night, Deadly Night. It’s strange to see all of the bored housewives and easily outraged mothers protesting that movie, but where were they during Don’t Open Till Christmas? I’ll tell you, it’s all about marketing. Silent Night, Deadly Night used the image of Santa holding an axe and going down a chimney to promote its film, depicting Santa as the killer, where Don’t Open Till Christmas used a guy killing Santas. So if I learned anything from this, it’s that it’s okay to kill Santa, but not be Santa doing the killing. Thank you marketing and angry mothers everywhere, that makes total sense.
This isn’t the best made Christmas horror film out there and some will say it’s probably not all that good and they’d be right. But that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. It feels downright dirty to be watching this film, especially when Pat Astley shows up in a sexy little number that exposes her goodies to unwrap. It has a very odd, synthy score that adds to its goodness, even if it’s not always used at the most opportune times. Actually, there are quite a few times when it’s just used out of place, like when two characters are talking about nothing in particular and the music is being used like something is gonna jump out at them. This may sound odd, but the mixture of Edmund Purdom’s inexperience as a director and all of the reshoots, rewrites and replacements, everything that made this film a disaster is what makes it memorable. Of course, it’s not by any measure good. It’s actually quite bad, but it’s highly entertaining and feels all Christmasy, which is what it’s all about.
(Submitted by Brand Spankin’ New Kinky Ho, Mr. “Freddy In Space” himself, Mr. John Squires. Welcome to the Freaky Fam, Kinky Ho-mie! 😉 xoxo)
In 1980, we watched Frank Zito brutally murder and scalp young women.
In 2012, we BECAME Frank Zito, as he brutally murdered and scalped young women.
The original Maniac, directed by William Lustig, was a singularly sleazy experience, the sort of cult horror favorite that fans (rightfully so) balked at the idea of being remade. Set (and filmed) in 1970s New York City, Lustig’s grime-laden gem is the very personification of an exploitation film, one that was of the time period it was made in and should have, by all means, remained in that time period.
But the French-made remake of Maniac, directed by Franck Khalfoun, dared to upgrade the story for modern times, and though it put a sleek and stylish veneer on what William Lustig brought to sticky-floored grindhouse theaters back in 1980, it somehow managed to be no less disturbing. In fact, one could argue that the remake, against all odds, is even more vile and disgusting than the original.
Initially perceived by many to be nothing more than a cheap gimmick, the 2012 remake of Maniac was told almost entirely from the point-of-view of its main character, making it the very first horror film to fully adopt the “first-person-shooter” style that was popularized by video games. True, Peeping Tomshocked the world with POV slayings back in 1960, and one could argue that found footage films put you in a character’s shoes in much the same way, but Maniac took that immersion to a whole new level.
Quite unlike the original, the Maniac remake was designed by the filmmakers to make you feel complicit in the murders being committed by its main character, not just putting you inside the mind of Frank Zito, but also inside his body. One could argue that the horror genre has always provided the thrill of watching things you shouldn’t be watching, but when it comes to this particular film, you get the feeling that you’re doing things you shouldn’t be doing. And that’s precisely what makes it so very disturbing.
In Maniac, both original and remake, Frank is a violent madman with serious mommy issues, “collecting” his victims by removing their scalps and stapling them to the heads of his mannequin friends. It’s never quite clear exactly why he’s doing what he’s doing, and it really doesn’t matter. Maniac is a film about taking part in the horrifying things he does, and the stalk-n-slash sequences in the remake, through his eyes, are some of the most shockingly violent and deeply uncomfortable in the genre’s recent history.
The proverbial shoes worn by Joe Spinell in the original Maniac were not only hard to fill but downright impossible, as Spinell looked the part of a sleazy maniac in a way that you simply can’t fake as an actor, but Elijah Wood arguably took the character to a new level of creepy. Wood’s Frank is a character mostly conveyed through heavy breathing and externalized internal dialogue, and even when we do catch glimpses of the actor’s face in mirrors, his boyishly charming looks are quite the opposite of comforting and friendly. Wood literally transforms, and the unexpected casting proves to be a stroke of genius.
Though the story mostly remains the same, the 2012 version of Maniac is different from the 1980 original in ways not exclusively limited to the clever filmmaking technique. Instead of grimy New York City, the action takes place in the neon-bathed city of Los Angeles, and paired with the wonderfully synth-heavy soundtrack by Rob, the film is imparted with a stylish aesthetic that altogether separates it from Lustig’s film. Even the violence, though incredibly graphic, is so artfully executed that it often approaches a strange level of beauty – and then quickly makes you feel horrible for thinking that.
And really, that’s what the Maniac remake is all about: it’s a film designed, on every level, to make you feel horrible.
As horror fans, many of us have spent most our lives watching people get brutally murdered on screens both big and small, but Maniac confronts you with the feeling of what it would be like to actually carry out those horrifying acts. You’re forced to stalk, slay, and scalp helpless victims along with Frank, and if you feel nauseous while doing so, it’s damn sure because you’re supposed to.
As it turns out, being Frank Zito is pretty damn horrifying.
Hiya, Ho-mies!! It’s a fabulous Freddy Friday, and I’ve got a severe Age of Ultron hangover (I’m going to see it again tonight…Ho-pefully that’ll cure it ;)), so let’s get right to the News Bleed, shall we? 🙂
In a shocking turn of events, Avengers is doing not-so-shabbily at the box office… 😉 MTV
Daryl DiXXXon’s Silent Hills is officially dead…TIME TO RIOT!!!!!! The Verge
In other Badass Ho-tties News, here’s your first look at the new Casey Jones. 🙂 IGN
Hiya, Ho-rror Ho-mies! 🙂 For today’s adventure in Throwback Land, I thought I’d focus on the Caroline Munro (forever yummmmm!!! :)) classic, Maniac. It’s so cute to me to look back on how freaked out the media was about movies like this back in those days. It helps put all the so-called “controversies” that are dished out to us on a daily basis into perspective.
You might recall there was a Maniac remake starring Elijah Wood recently, which was largely spared the scandalization of the original.
My how things have changed over the years! 🙂 It just goes to show that no matter what era we’re living in, there are always going to be folks who are going to villainize certain forms of entertainment, so think for yourself and don’t believe the Ho-rror Hater’s Hype!! Take it away, PE!!! 😉 xoxoxo
I want to take a moment to wish a very Happy Born-day to two of my all-time favorite Ho-rror icons, that Gore-geous Goody Two Shoes, Ms. Caroline Munro, and the Handsome Halloweenie Himself, Mr. John Carpenter. <3333333
And just to keep it a lil’ bit personal, here are reposts of my “Michelle Myers” JC tribute from his signing for Asylum, and that shining (albeit blurry ;)) moment when I got to meet, hug, and not-so-subtly drool over Ms. Munro at Son of Monsterpalooza last year…Good times!!! 🙂 xoxoxo