#MonsterMovieMonday: Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (1967)

Ho-wdy, Kinky Kreeps! Just another Mad Monster Monday here at Kinky Ho-rror, so we’re using a rubber…suit, that is. 😉

Today’s featured creature feature is 1967’s Monster from a Prehistoric Planet… among a thousand other names! The film has also gone under the tit-les Daikyojû GappaGappa: The Giant Beast, Gappa, The Triphibian Monster, Gappa: The Triphibian Monster, and Gappa – Frankensteins fliegende Monster (Gappa – Frankenstein’s Flying Monster) in Germany. That last one is especially awesome because this movie has zero to do with Frankenstein!

The only thing it has in common with Frankenstein is that it seems to be made up parts of other films, namely Gojira (1954) and Gorgo (1961).  It’s been suggested that the film is a satire of kaiju films, but it resembles the real thing closely. And, if you’re a kreature kreep like us, that’s far from a bad thing! This film is loaded with kind of low-budget destruction we here at KH adore!

You know what they say… big feet… big monster!

Check out the giant-sized terror below:

Have a Monstrously Marvelous week, Kinky Ho-mies! 🙂 xoxo

Goon Review – House II: The Second Story

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

You don’t hear much about House II: The Second Story, so out of curiosity, I decided to see what the “professional” critics thought of it and jumped over to Rotten Tomatoes, because as we all know that’s where you go if you want opinions that matter. I’m actually shocked that this film holds a 0% rating currently on Rotten Tomatoes, based off nine reviews. A zero. Zilch. Nada. It’s not a bad film, at least not in the sense like a Transformers movie is, but I can see why people may dislike it; it very much steers away from the tone and satire the first film so brilliantly blended and is basically just a slapstick version of Indiana Jones with alternate dimensions. Hell, based on what I just said, that doesn’t sound too bad. I suspect that the watering down the horror elements and making it more zany and whacky is why critics didn’t seem to like it at all. Geez, it’s like they wanted a carbon copy of the first film, but with different actors… because that works so well with other franchises.

Okay, maybe they toned it down just a little too much, because despite that PG-13 rating it has (back when that meant something), House II is pretty much a kid’s movie. As I said, much of the horror is gone and mostly used for cheap and quick boo scares and the slapstick comedy is ramped up and the lead character is even given a whacky sidekick. Mix that in with a drinking elderly mummy from the Old West who speaks with a ‘oh-gee-shucks’ style and a cute puppy/caterpillar hybrid (yes, that is something that exists in this movie) and there ya go. The only thing I could think of that kept House II from getting a PG rating is the constant drinking going on in nearly every scene. There’s so much drinking in this movie that even my liver was killed by all the alcohol consumption.

Not taking place in the same house, but a different house (the movie is called House II, afterall). This time, it’s a rather large mansion that Jesse (Arye Gross… I don’t know, ‘ar ye’?) inherits, so he moves in along with his girlfriend Kate (Friday the 13th Part VII’s Lar Park Lincoln) along with his goofy friend Charlie (Jonathan Stark) and his wanna be popstar girlfriend Lana (Amy Yasbeck). I’m gonna talk about this subplot now, because at about halfway through the film the it’s dropped like a son dad is ashamed to talk about at Thanksgiving dinner. Kate is a record producer and Lana just so happens to be quite the singer, so Charlie and Lana are in hopes of getting her signed on to a record deal. Lucky for them, Kate’s boss (played by Bill Maher of all people) has the hots for her and listens to what she says and, well, that’s about it really. Once there is a misunderstanding with one of Jesse’s ex-girlfriends at a party about halfway through the movie, Bill Maher just puts his arms around the girls and escorts them and himself out of the movie. This is never really resolved, but then again it’s not really that interesting. Jesse and Kate barely share any screen time, so there’s no chemistry between the two. I also want to mention that it took me forever to recognize Jonathan Stark was the badass, undead Billy Cole in Fright Night!

The interesting stuff revolves around Jesse and Charlie’s misadventures once they learn about something called the crystal skull after seeing it in a photo with Jesse’s great-great grandfather also named Jesse (Royal Dano). Figuring the skull was probably buried with him, the two decide to go dig him up and find that he’s not only a mummy, but still very much alive. After Jesse reveals their connection and christian him with the nickname Gramps, they take him back to the house where they spend a good time in the basement shooting the shit, drinking some beers and hearing Old West stories. It’s a pretty charming scene and Jesse and Charlie seem so enthralled by Gramps’ stories. Upon seeing his own reflection, Gramps is heartbroken that the skull kept him alive, but did not restore his youth like he had hoped. I should also point out at this time that the skull’s powers are never fully disclosed, but just vaguely given. Very vaguely. I think the most descript explanation it’s given is along the lines of “it’s powerful.”

Oh, Gramps also informs Jesse that the house has multiple portals to alternate dimensions and he now has to protect the skull from danger and all this other nonsense. Jesse doesn’t say anything, he just kinda accepts it and everything in every dimension must’ve noticed the rookie taking over, because they all start trying to nab the damn skull. Luckily Charlie just happened to bring a fucking Uzi and enter multiple dimensions, like a prehistoric one where they befriend a baby pterodactyl that even comes to live with them, because funny! They even rescue some virgin babe she not only becomes a Mayan sacrifice, but also because Jesse now needs a love interest. However, there is a darker force looming over them, willing to get the skull at any cost… the zombie corpse of a man named Slim, Gramps’ old rival. Slim gunned down Jesse’s parents at the very beginning of the film at an attempt to get the skull, now Jesse, Gramps and Charlie get some payback and protect the skull at all cost or Slim will take over the world… I guess? His plans are unclear, but it probably won’t be good.

By far, the best part of the movie comes in form of John Ratzenberger (this film’s Cheers’ cast member cameo) as an electrician who also happens to be an adventurer. Yeah, this is a full time gig for him, both the wiring in your house and the multiple dimensions, swashbuckling, rope swinging and treasure hunting. He’s so nonchalant about it and plays it very low key, like he’s seen it so many times that he’s no longer impressed by it. At the end of it, he hands the boys his business card, which feels very much like a potential spinoff I would still love to see. His performance is very hysterical and in his brief time on screen, you’ll want more of him and beg for his further adventures and honestly, that’s what House III should have been instead of the series trying to get back to its horror roots.

As like in House, House II also has a majority of impressive practical effects and a handful of not so good ones, the most impressive being the mummy or zombie makeup on Gramps and Slim. Gramps isn’t gross or decaying, but rather dried out looking fitting into his cowboy motif and hey, it won’t scare the kids. That’s left up to Slim’s design, which is decaying and much more darker and wetter looking, plus Megatron himself, Frank Welker, does the voice! The animal puppets, like the dog/caterpillar and the pterodactyl, are wide eyes and cute looking as opposed to looking like the monstrosities they actually would resemble to further indicate the movie’s intention to reach a younger audience. I know every kid would want a stuffed toy of the dog/caterpillar, but alas the marketing department screwed the pooch on that one, for lack of a better pun.

The film is paired with the first film in a double box set in the US (the UK got all four House films in their box set), House: Two Stories released by Arrow Video. Like the first film, House II is also a 2K remaster that looks absolutely fantastic, but also like the first film, doesn’t have much in the way of special features. There is a pretty indepth feature called It’s Getting Weirder!: The Making of House II: The Second Story featuring interviews with Ethan Wiley, Sean S. Cunningham, stars Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark, Lar Park Lincoln, and Devin DeVasquez, composer Harry Manfredini, special make-up and creature effects artists Chris Walas, Mike Smithson, visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman, and stunt coordinator Kane Hodder. Writer-director Ethan Wiley and producer Sean S. Cunningham provide a new commentary and a theatrical trailer and a still gallery round it out. There’s also some stunning new artwork by Justin Osbourn.

House II: The Second Story is a comedy right from the get-go. I mean, look at the pun right in the title. The title not only implies humor, but adventure as well and that’s exactly what we get and is it a perfect combination of the two? I’m gonna have to say no, but I don’t think it’s terrible either. In fact, I think the majority of it is fun, but there are moments that are rather childish (backing up my argument that this was aimed towards children) or poorly paced moments that make it feel dragged out. The feeling that this was aimed at a more younger, more marketable audience and the seemingly loosely connected adventures gives the film a feeling like it’s a handful of episodes of a failed TV show in the late ‘80s strung together and re-released as a movie so the company can try and recoup some of the financial losses. Hell, even John Ratzenberger’s character felt like he was shoehorned in as an attempt at a spinoff. The funny thing is, if they actually went for the PG rating and released this as a kid’s movie, I have a feeling it would have been far more successful.

House II, while not as good as its predecessor, still has some merit and can be a feel good, fun adventure even if it does feel a little childish.The characters are likable and have great chemistry together and honestly, I wouldn’t have minded seeing more. I can’t say the same for the other two films that follow and un(?)fortunately, House III (aka The Horror Show) and House IV aren’t included in the US Arrow set, The Two Stories. However, if you’re a completist, you may wanna get the UK version of this set that includes all four films.

 

#SupernaturalSaturday Movie Review: The Mummy (2017)

Ass-uming you’ve never seen it, 1932’s The Mummy may be a tad unexpected. For a film that inspired an entire sub-genre of mummy monster movies, it bares very little resemblance to subsequent films. There aren’t any real action set pieces and the story is a strangely poetic fantasy of a love that transcended the ages. The tit-ular mummy (played by the beyond great Boris Karloff) is only bandaged for a short time at the beginning, so there’s very little shambling. It’s a deliberately paced film with gloomy, eXXXpressionistic atmosphere. After over 80 years of other mummies in its wake, the film still feels unlike any other film to feature a bandaged ghoul. One such film that it has very little in common with is 2017’s The Mummy.

Universal actually has a history of rebooting this particular monster. While commonly referred to as “sequels,” the truth is that the Mummy films of the 1940s were hardly a continuation of the Karloff original, despite the first installment’s (The Mummy’s Hand) use of sets and footage from it. Imhotep of the original was replaced with Kharis, the shambling mummy most audiences vaguely recall. The Kharis films moved at a faster pace, had more action, and more comedy. They were all a great deal of fun, but none of them came close to the beautifully eerie original. When Universal took another crack at the sarcophagus with 1999’s The Mummy, they clearly found more inspiration in Kharis than Imhotep, although they did borrow the latter’s name.
With this new Mummy, it seems that the filmmakers drew from the 1999 film more than any of the other previous films. There’s hardly an ounce of Karloff left in it. In essence, it’s the reboot of the reboot of a film made 85 years prior. With that in mind, it’s pretty easy to divorce it from the first film. And as one in a long line of monster movies, It’s pretty enjoyable. If viewed as just a bit of fun monster nonsense, it’s a good deal of fun. This film is precisely the sort of film you should be watching with an eXXXtra large soda in one hand and a plastic tray of nachos (and/or Twizzlers and Reeses’s Cups :)) in the other.
I’m also pleased to report that, for the most part, the film is a ho-rror film. That is to say that there’s a good deal of zombie-ish mummies, creepy critters, terrible curses, shocks, thrills, and soul-sucking. I doubt there’s anything that’ll give you lasting nightmares, but it’s always fun to see some theme park-y scares on the big screen. The action and spook-scares compliment each other nicely and make for a groovy night at the movies. While I would’ve preferred something a little more Gothic, what we have pretty entertaining.
The film stars Tom Cruise as a scrappy treasure hunter (very similar to Brendan Fraser’s Rick O’Connell) and Sofia Boutella as the tit-ular Mummy. Mr. Cruise seems like he’s having a blast and gives charm to a somewhat jerky character. Ms. Boutella is striking and fairly menacing as the Mummy, but she really isn’t given much too do. This version of the monster is devoid of any of the tragedy of the role once had. As much as I enjoy Mr. Cruise (and trust me, I do!! :)), I do wish they had focus more on the Mummy as a character. Instead, she seems like secondary figure in what should be her film. Also in the film is Russell Crowe in the role(s) of Dr. Jekyll  and… you know who. He’s fun in the film, but it seems like they plan on eXXXploring that character(s) in a potential sequel.

The Mummy is intended to be the first in a series of new Universal Monster Movies and I do ho-pe it does well enough for sequels. By no means is this a great film, but it’s a fun popcorn flick. The Universal Monsters are among my dearest ho-mies, so any eXXXcuse to bring them back is fine by me. Ho-pefully, the sequels will embrace the Gothic nature of the original films and bring back some of the cl-ass-ical horror that made them immortal. For now, The Mummy is monstrous enough for me. To a new world of Gods and Monsters.

Goon Review: House (1986)

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, my Ho-use-lovin’ ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

Where have all the good haunted house movies gone to, huh? I’m talking about the ones that are both fun and scary, the ones that are worth a laugh and a fright. Goes back to the old saying, “they just don’t make them like they used to.” I’m not complaining that all haunted house movies are bad, in fact some of them have been pretty darn good in the past few years, but they are horror rather than horror comedy. Well, unless you count those family friendly ones that occupy the Redbox that are neither scary nor funny. Admittedly, it’s a hard combination to juggle without getting too campy, but 1986’s House, while a little campy, nicely balances that fine line of horror and comedy.

Sean S. Cunningham, the producer of 1972’s The Last House on the Left and director of 1980’s Friday the 13th knows a thing or two about horror, so when he was attached to produce House, it may come off as puzzling to some since those films had such dark and serious tones. However, what people don’t know is that Roger Corman was an executive producer, so that could explain the camp factor. Staying with the Friday the 13th connection, Steve Miner, who had directed Friday the 13th Part 2 was at the helm directing a script by Fred Dekker (who would go on to make movies, like Monster Squad and Night of the Creeps) and Ethan Wiley, so this could explain why the movie nearly flawlessly handles the genres. You throw in Sean S. Cunningham’s buddy and composer Harry Manfredini and it’s safe to say that the film was in good hands. Of course, this was before Steve Miner directed terrible films, like Halloween: H20 or that abysmally insulting Day of the Dead remake, so this is before his decline when he was actually making good movies.

The Greatest American Hero star William Katt plays Roger Cobb, a writer who has a few issues (hey, you wouldn’t be a writer if you didn’t, right?). For starters, his kid suddenly vanished one day in the swimming pool and he couldn’t hold it together, so his hot actress wife, Sandy Sinclair (Kay Lenz) leaves him. Then his nutty aunt Elizabeth hangs herself in a big ol’ spooky mansion, the very one where his kid went missing. Roger inherits the house and decides to move in, because what better place to write his book based on his Vietnam experiences than a house he already has numerous traumatic connections with? After all, good writers pull from real life tragedies, but I think he may be overdoing it here. When he’s not pretending he’s throwing big parties while on the phone with his ex-wife, he’s possibly hallucinating his dead aunt marching around the house. So if he’s not seeing dead people, he’s dressing up in his old combat gear to try and having Vietnam flashbacks. I assure you, Roger isn’t crazy, but the film is setting up a rather interesting piece of character development that would be considered ahead of its time.

Norm from Cheers (George Wendt) is his neighbor Harold who stops by to play the comic relief, otherwise we’d have a very down trodden Vietnam metaphor movie on our hands. He may provide us, the audience, with laughs, but he tends to get on Roger’s nerves when he isn’t providing beer or snacks. More often than not, Harold is a distraction from Roger’s writing at convenient times, like when he’s having some serious Vietnam flashbacks about some big ox of a soldier name Ben (Richard Moll). After Ben was wounded in combat, Roger couldn’t bring himself to finish Ben off, so he was subsequently dragged away by the enemy and tortured for weeks. It something that seems to haunt him, but now that haunting may seem to be manifesting physically as one night a monster pops out of the closet and claws at Roger’s torso! Knowing nobody will believe him, he knows that he will need evidence, but only makes himself look nuttier than a Payday in the process, wiring and rigging a number of cameras to go off right when he pulls a string and does the Pete Townsend powerslides on his knees out the front door and then reality kicks him hard in the nards as he’s just sitting there with Harold staring at him. Awkward.

Nobody believes poor Roger that some pugnacious hauntings are happening. Not Harold, not Sandy. Nobody. Could it all be in Roger’s head? That’s what you along with the other characters are starting to think at this point and it’s probably the most brilliant aspect of this movie. Long before it had a name it could be identified with, House was ahead of its time and was bringing attention to PTSD. I have to commend William Katt’s performance, because he really brings emotion of someone losing their grip on reality to the forefront here. As he pleads with Harold or whoever that the monsters are real, beads of sweat roll down his face, his voice cracks and you can see and hear the desperation that he just wants someone to believe him. Even when he is by himself being chased around the house by the specters, you start to wonder if it really is all in his head or if it’s happening. When he imagines his ex-wife stopping by and turning into a weird, blobbish, twisted version of her, he shoots it only to see it may really be his wife, you figure he’s definitely lost it and he killed someone. He breaks down in tears, but all is not as it seems as the monster rears its ugly head once again and this time, he cuts it up and buries it. The scene goes from being boo-scary, to horrifying (in the sense that he may have murdered a person) to funny, so the film wants to not only play with tone, but to also play with your expectations.

Not giving up, Roger is determined to make someone believe him and who better than Harold? After finally witnessing some sort of ghoul, Harold fails at helping Roger who is dragged into the closet and teleported to what looks like the Vietnam war where he comes across his missing son, but that’s not the only one. It seems like a familiar face, as rotten and decayed as it may not be, but familiar nonetheless, was responsible for kidnapping his son and now it wants revenge. Roger is now pitted against an old frenemy as he battles for his son and possibly his own sanity and really if you look at it like the events are all happening in Roger’s head, the film still works as a drama comedy instead of a horror comedy. I think that’s one of the best things about House, is that no matter how you perceive it, the film still works as that genre. Regardless of what was actually happening, it’s still about Roger’s struggle with the effects of war and coping with the loss of his son. It also just happens to be about spoopy ghosts.

Some of these ghosts are downright ghastly, like the closet monster with its many arms or the monster version of his ex-wife that has a high pitched, distorted voice that makes me feel uncomfortable, while others… eh, not so much. The two children monsters that come out of the chimney look dreadful in the wrong way. Their mouths and eyes don’t move, they look cheap and rubbery. In the midst of this fun film with great creature effects, you get these two that looks like the budget ran out, so they had to run to the Halloween store and get some cheap costumes. They aren’t prominently displayed on screen or featured very long, so it’s not very troublesome, but for the brief period of time they are on screen they can be an eyesore. Perhaps the best looking makeup effect is that of Ben all zomb-i-fied. Basically, take the look of Jason from Friday the 13th Part VII and slap some Vietnam garb on on Bull from Night Court and there ya go. He has exposed bones and organs, he looks dusty yet slimey, it’s absolutely fantastic looking.

Some of these effects may look less impressive on the new 2K restoration from Arrow Video. While the film itself looks marvelous, what with edges being sharp and colors being bright and vivid, it suffers a bit from looking too good. Often there were times you could see the faults in the makeup or prosthetics, like being able to see actor Richard Moll’s mouth painted black behind the false teeth of zombie Ben. It’s a minor nitpick and didn’t ruin my experience of the film. If anything, I was happy to finally view the film nice and clean for the first time, seeing as the only viewing experience I’ve ever had is my old VHS copy. The audio commentary by director Steve Miner, producer Sean S. Cunningham, actor William Katt and screenwriter Ethan Wiley is a good listen, providing some insight and memories on the making of the movie. Speaking of making the movie, there’s a great feature included called Ding Dong, You’re Dead! The Making of House that includes interviews with Steve Miner, Sean S. Cunningham, Ethan Wiley, story creator Fred Dekker, stars William Katt, Kay Lenz, and George Wendt, composer Harry Manfredini, special make-up and creature effects artists Barney Burman, Brian Wade, James Belohovek, Shannon Shea, Kirk Thatcher, and Bill Sturgeon, special paintings artists Richard Hescox and William Stout, and stunt coordinator Kane Hodder. Trailers and a still gallery round out the features.

I don’t think House is overlooked, but I think some have forgotten about or others may think it’s just a jump scare horror film, which it is, but it’s more than that. House has a message, something to say about the then unnamed PTSD and how some Veterans are affected by it and struggle. It’s also a charming comedy with plenty of likable characters and funny moments. In the wrong hands, this film could have been a disaster. A lesser cast and crew would have failed at juggling all the themes and ideas, but luckily you had a handful of talented people treating it with care and having a lot of fun that translates on the screen. The film is an absolute riot. It’s witty, charming as well as being scary and funny. I can’t think of many other films that are able to do all of that as well House. The film is packaged here in the states along with its sequel, House II: The Second Story, in a neat little box called House: The Two Stories. Although the UK got all four House films in their boxset (I’m guessing the US couldn’t due to rights issues), I’m happy at least the first film got a proper Blu-ray treatment. Well, maybe the second film too.

Goon Review: Brain Damage (1988)

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

I’ve always said that I feel Frank Henenlotter is one of the most underrated and overlooked directors of the horror genre. His films would often be a variety of a sub-genre, mainly mixing in science fiction, and not to mention for exorbitantly weird and bizarre, but also managing to have some really interesting creatures of some kind. They were often a blend of violence, gore and comedy, a feat most filmmakers can’t seem to accomplish. He showed us his dark and twisted sense of humor and visuals with Basket Case in 1982 and things only escalated from there. I enjoy all of Henenlotter’s movies, even the later Basket Case sequels, but 1988’s Brain Damage will always stick out to me as not only one of his more darker and serious films, but also his most well made.

Like all of Henelotter’s films before it, Brain Damage is sick, twisted and humorous with a bizarre creature and plenty of gory, absurd deaths that follow. However, it’s not just a sideshow of freaky acts of violence, like the director’s previous films, it has an underlining message; this one being about the dangers of drug addiction. No need to worry though, it’s not heavy handed nor is it a PSA. Although, a PSA created by Frank Henenlotter would be the best PSA ever. The dangers of drugs is not the only subtext sprinkled throughout the film, however, it also includes other exploitation goodies, like sex and rock and rock and roll. With all the combined elements, as well as dropping in good ol’ 42nd Street in New York City, it’s Henenlotter’s sleaziest film and that’s a good thing. It doesn’t get lost in trying to shock you or gross you out (even though in less capable hands it could very well have done that), but rather focuses on its characters and the events that quickly unfold resulting in most of the character’s downfalls.

The central character, Brian (played by Rick Hearst, who is a genuinely nice guy in real life) wakes up one even not feeling quite like himself and blows off his date with his girlfriend Barbara (Jennifer Lowry). Brian’s brother Mike (Gordon MacDonald) substitutes for him and right from his very first gaze upon her, there’s a telling that Mike has an affection Barbara, but more on that later, because Brain Damage wastes no time getting into the weird territory. Brian awakes in time to be feeling rather good and stares at the light on his ceiling. It seems to be breathing gently and suddenly blue water fills the room and encompasses him as he embraces it. Colors and sounds seem to come alive for him and he couldn’t be feeling better. He awakes later and notices that the back of his neck is bleeding and his bathtub is full of water and calls out for the intruder, but he – along with the audience – wasn’t ready for what the intruder would be; a black and blue penis looking monster with big, buggy cartoon eyes, but a rather pleasing and trusting voice as it says, “Hi,” named Aylmer. If you’re wondering why Aylmer sounds so familiar, it’s because that beautiful voice belong to the late John Zacherle, who did a few videos as a memorable horror host and not to mention that he also had a bit part in another Henenlotter film, Frankenhooker, as a TV Weatherman.

The scene fades from that back into Brian’s bedroom where he understandably has a few questions about what the Aylmer is and where he came from and why Brian was tripping some serious balls. Aylmer seems to be dodging the questions, but reassuring him that he is all Brian will ever need and if they go for a walk, he will explain everything. This is your first clue that Aylmer is quite the manipulative little devil with an appetite to boot. While out for their walk, Aylmer open his mouth wide, revealing dozens of wiggling, sharp teeth and injects Brian with the drug, who in turn runs into a junkyard to see and hear the colors. If you think Aylmer was doing this to be a nice guy, or um… thing, you’re dead wrong. With Brian distracted by all the sights and sounds, Aylmer uses this opportunity to devour the brains of a security guard. I’m getting the impression that Aylmer may not have Brian’s best interests in mind.

Aylmer’s drug is highly addicting and it instantly takes over Brian’s life, forcing him to end his relationship with Barbara, quit his job and even place a wedge between him and his brother. This is probably the only missed opportunity of the film, since we never really get to know Brian before he becomes addicted to Aylmer’s drug, aside from the brief moment where he is laying in bed sick. There supposedly was a deleted subplot at the beginning of the film where Brian stuck up for his brother in a bar fight, but it was scraped. Luckily, the supporting cast does a fantastic job of bringing up events from the past or their feelings towards Brian, but don’t beat you over the head with it. It’s more subtle and adds a layer to the dynamics between everyone. Brian has moments of his former self and through the other characters talking about their past relationship with him, you do catch glimpses of what he used to be.

By now, you learned that Aylmer needs to feed on human brains and catches another meal after Brian ditches Barbara at a nightclub where a punk rock chick tries to blow Brian outside. Hey, when you need some dick, you need some dick. Rather than getting a mouthful of peen, she gets a mouthful of Aylmer (he’s basically phallic shaped) who eats her brains through her mouth. This scene is notoriously referred to as the “filatio scene” and was cut from the theatrical and original home video releases for obvious reasons. It’s inserted into all following unrated releases, but even today it’s still kinda shocking and definitely oversexualized. Apparently, the crew walked out during the shooting of this scene! Wow, when you sign on to do a Frank Henenlotter film and even you find something that’s offensive… sheesh.

By now, Brian has grown suspicious of what Aylmer is up to while he’s high, especially after finding brains and blood all over the fly of his pants. This is when he’s confronted by a husband and wife who had previously lost Aylmer and we learn some of what he is and what he can do and why he ran away; because the older couple was keeping him weak by feeding him animal brains. After seeing the zombie like state of those crazy, old junkies, Brian heads off to a motel for a few days and tries to detox himself from Aylmer’s drug, who only mocks Brian while he increasingly twitches and doubles over in pain, vomiting and dry heaving until he eventually hallucinates blood pouring out of his ear like a fountain. Kudos to Rick Hearst for really selling the painful image of detoxing as he’s curled up in a ball on the floor puking his guts out and crying. Brian eventually gives in to Aylmer and heads home to find that his brother and Barbara just played a round of ‘hide the weiner,’ but it’s hard to tell at this point if he’s too high or too far emotionally gone as he warns them that they need to leave as he storms out. Barbara chases Brian down and follows him to the subway to try and reconcile things with him even though her breath still has the smell of his brother’s dong. I also want to point out that Kevin Van Hentenryck cameos as Duane from Basket Case, which I think is wild. To think that these two movies exist in the same warped world is a far out thought and how would Aylmer and Belial get along?

With Aylmer’s insatiable thirst for human brains and Brian now dangerously addicted and losing everything, he becomes desperate to cling on to what’s left of him, but can’t seem to chose between the drugs or his former self. He may not have much of a choice seeing as that older couple is just as desperate to get back Aylmer at any cost. The ending is dark and imaginative as any Henenlotter film while fitting with the tone of the rest of the movie. It certainly displays the dangers of drug use, only far more out of this world. It’s like something out of an old science fiction comic, but the film has had an overall comic book tone to it, especially the lighting. Henenlotter uses a lot of magenta against blue to make it really pop and create drastic, black shadows that the images look like they are coming to life right out of a comic book and I think that perfectly sums up Henenlotter’s film; comic books come to life.

I am beyond thrilled that Arrow Video has released Brain Damage with all the love and respect it deserves on Blu-ray and it looks marvelous. There is a whole mess of special features to be found on this two disc set, one of the best being a brand new audio commentary from director Frank Henenlotter, because I could listen to him talk about anything. He’s funny and informative and full of fun loving personality. I actually had the pleasure of meeting him not to long ago and he’s everything I described. The man brought an honest smile to my face. Other features include Listen to the Light: The Making of Brain Damage which is a brand new documentary featuring interviews with actor Rick Herbst, producer Edgar Ievins, editor James Kwei, first assistant director Gregory Lamberson, visual effects supervisor Al Magliochetti and makeup artist Dan Frye.Then there is The Effects of Brain Damage where FX artist and creator of “Elmer” Gabe Bartalos looks back at his iconic effects work on the film as well as a featurette called Animating Elmer. There’s even a bit that revisits the original shooting locations and I love seeing how places from a film have changed since the past. There are a few more along with trailers and still galleries and the newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck is simply awesome. Oh, there’s even a collector’s book filled with original stills and artwork!

Even if you see only one film by Frank Henenlotter, I have to persuade you to watch Brain Damage. Well, you should check out all of this man’s work and this movie simply because it’s the right amount of far out and sleaze. It’s not overly violent or gory, but the small amount of sex and overall theme of drug use makes this a movie that guaranteed to make you feel like you’re coated in a layer of filth. I’m sure some of you may need a bath after viewing it, but make sure nobody – or nothing – is in there with you.

#TBT: The “Gremlinbusters” Edition

On this day in 1984, two of the most important films of all time were unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses…

Yes indeed, 1984 really hit the “G” spot with Gremlins and Ghostbusters! These two ho-rror comedies are among the most beloved fright funnies in all of ho-rror, and the fact that they were released on the same day is nothing short of a miracle! How is this not a federal holiday??! Sure, social media is on fire with “Ghostbusters Day” posts, but it’s not the same and it eXXXcludes the undeniable awesome that is Gremlins.

In ho-nor of these two masterpieces of ho-rror, we’re giving you a double dose of monster movie magic! At the bottom of this post, we’ve provided two behind-the-scream videos, one for each film. Both of ’em are loaded with ’80s goodness and eXXXcellent nostalgia. The Ghostbusters one gets eXXXtra points for its overwhelming seXXXiness… yes, dear kreeps, it features a generous dose of young Rick Moranis! Mercy! I do believe I’m getting the vapors! 😉

#SeXXXgod

Happy Birthday, Ghostbusters and Gremlins…We love you forever!! xoxo 🙂

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

 

#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

#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. 🙂

 

#TerrorTuesday: The Manster (1959)

It’s often said that two heads are better than one (hehe ;)), but I’d wager that the unfortunate victim in The Manster would strongly disagree.

Also known as The Split, The Manster is a peculiar tale of DEAD & shoulders.  It concerns an American foreign news correspondent who has been working out of Japan for the last few years. His final ass-ignment in Japan is to interview a reclusive scientist who, like all great scientists, lives atop a volcanic mountain. Needing a guinea pig for his unholy experiments, the bad doctor drugs the hapless reporter and injects him with a serum that causes a second head to sprout from his shoulder. I suppose that’s one way to grow on someone. 😉

What’s truly impressive about The Manster is that it’s one of those rare films that manages to be both unintentionally goofy and genuinely creepy at the same time. The film was shot in Black-and-White and makes excellent use of shadows to heighten the lurid atmosphere. While The Manster himself is a wonderfully silly thing, the sequence in which the reporter rips off his shirt to reveal an eye growing out of his shoulder is honestly nightmarish. It’s a gloriously gut-wrenching effect, especially for a low-budget fright fest from the late ’50s.
The Manster was the first film to play around with the theme of the two-headed man-made monster. Other examples of this heady trope include The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971) and The Thing with Two Heads (1972).  The Simpsons parodied this idea in their second Treehouse of Horror special and again in the 2013 edition, making two segments for two heads. Sam Raimi directly referenced The Manster in an infamous scene in Army of Darkness, even going as far as to include the “shoulder eye” gag. I guess you could say that The Manster was a-HEAD of its time. (*insert Cryptkeeper cackle here* :))
For two heads of terror, check out The Manster below: