Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

Hope you have a happy and safe Halloween! If you need a creepy story for the night (or day, really) here is the spectacular episode of Escape named "Three Skeleton Key". It stars Vincent Price and is one of the best scary old radio shows of all time. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Visions of The Halloween Tree

Monday, October 29, 2018

Brief Thoughts - GRAVEYARD OF HORROR (1971)

Spanish horror film GRAVEYARD OF HORROR (1971) a.k.a. THE BUTCHER OF BINBROOK seems to be constructed to put one of my pet cinematic theories to the test. For years I have claimed that I could watch amazing character actor Victor Israel do anything for the length of a movie and be entertained. I had no idea that I would have to be so confused by the film that gives me the chance to see this happen. From the moment Mr. Israel appears onscreen (roughly the 15 minute mark) he is a major player in the story as a part of the incredibly convoluted, nonsensical plot to...... I'm still not positive what the point was. I'm sorry. I promise that I watched the entire thing but at a few points it becomes nearly impossible to follow the sloppy script. Indeed, there were several instances where, I could swear, the director gave up and just filmed some extras carrying coffins across a snowy field.

But, the great Victor Israel does a lot in this crazed combination of mad science, missing person mystery, family angst and severely cold weather. He wears a creepy mask and hooded robe. He stalks and attacks graveyard lurkers. He dunks human heads into a bucket to remove the flesh. 

He's a busy bastard here! But the film is such a bizarre mess I can't care! Not event the sight of the very lovely frequent Naschy co-star Beatriz Elorrieta running around in a miniskirt (in the freakin' snow!) can keep me from wishing for a better script. Or more coherent editing. Or less sloppy camera operation. Or better acting. (Don't get me started on the stilted, crappy acting from most of the cast.) Ugh!

And yet - I'm kind of glad I watched this thing.

Sunday, October 28, 2018


I have no idea why I return to this film every couple of years. It is without a doubt the absolute worst (in my humble opinion) of the entire Friday the 13th series. I know the film that came after this is generally considered the worst but I have to disagree. This film is often criticized because Jason never really makes it to Manhattan until the final 20 minutes of the film. But that is far from its real crime. The truly egregious element comes long before the third act as our central villain creeps around a cruise ship stalking teenagers on the way to NYC. This is the movie in which any semblance of logical movement for Jason Voorhees is completely abandoned. Yes, this is the teleporting Jason film. The hulking creature will instantaneously move from one place in view of his next victim to a location yards away in the blink of an eye. Boo! I guess.

Watching this mess now I can kind of understand what writer/director Rob Hedden might have been thinking. This is the third Friday the 13th film in which Jason is an undead zombie-like creature who is resurrected whenever the producers need a new film. Lightening or electricity seems to be the preferred method of returning him to 'life' and since the rules for what Jason really IS are never clearly established I think Hedden was allowed to make up his own. Resurrected human zombie? Sure. Un-killable monster? Yep.  Ferocious murderer? Of course. So, why not give him the supernatural ability to move around like a ghost?

BECAUSE IT'S F#*KING STUPID!! It destroys any and all opportunity to establish suspense or tension or anything resembling dread. It's not horrific - it's silly!

Clearly Hedden had something in mind about mixing up the formula when making this mess. If you doubt this, that bizarre ending in the sewers should drive it home easily. But turning Jason into a teleporting ghost-like critter was the wrong move. I'll take the bizarre shenanigans in JASON GOES TO HELL (1993) over this every time.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Music Video - Soul Dracula

There are no words to express the oddity that is -- whatever this actually is. I apologize for bringing it to your attention. 

Friday, October 26, 2018


I'm not the best person to discuss the various Amityville Horror films as I have never thought much of the series at all. I've only watched the original film once and it did not impress me enough to bother with a revisit. I caught the remake at a drive-in when it premiered and found it to be a pointless wet fart of a movie. The one filmed in 3-D in 1983 wasn't bad but it suffers the same fate as most cinema of that sad 80's fad - it's gimmick smothers it's effectiveness. In fact, outside of enjoying the first half of the rather trashy, Euro-Cult-y AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION (1982) I don't care much for any of the Amityville movies.

Until now.

AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING (2017) did not strike me as much more than a pretty effective little chiller as it was playing on the screen before me. I considered it well cast and effectively directed but the whole Amityville thing has always bothered me in a way that has nothing to the films' actual quality. Since I know the claims on which the original tale is based are BS I've had a resistance to the movies. Knowing that the book and film were carefully calculated lies built to hoodwink the public into thinking that demon possession is a reality pisses me off. It's an obvious con made to sucker the rubes into coughing up their money to be told how not to get the Debbil on their backs (or in their bodies). But this new movie.......

Somehow it has stuck with me in a way that few decades-after-the-fact sequels can. I'm still thinking about it days later. As I've stated, I don't like the previous movies and only watched this one out of sick curiosity. I had to know what filmmakers in 2017 would bring to this silly old tale. Well, as it turns out they brought a pretty effective bag of tricks. And it worked on me! I really enjoyed this even as I felt my Amityville resistance well up the film's quick pace, logical structure and good dialog kept battling it back. It was a well made ninety minutes of horror entertainment with a couple of very well played twists that amped up the tension and terror. I think that the odd choice to make the past films exist as movies in this film's narrative enhances the story and may have been what got me on board. Plus, the cast is really strong with very good performances from the central female actors.

If I had done my homework I might have gone into this with higher expectations as the director was also responsible for the impressive 2012 remake of MANIAC and the tight little thriller P2 (2007). He's someone to pay attention to as his career continues.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Pre-Code Horror Comics - Beyond

Now that's good reading! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Spanish Horror Movie Theme Music

I was just reminded by a fan of the Naschycast of the very cool HORROR EXPRESS theme. It seems I used it as interstitial music on an older show and didn't identify it at the time. I do that a lot, sadly. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Vintage Halloween Cards

These things are either amusing or disturbing. Or both! 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Brief Thoughts - GHOST STORIES (2017)

About twenty minutes into GHOST STORIES there is a scene that perfectly communicates how well the filmmaker's understand the psychology of their main character. This fellow has just left a meeting with the man who inspired him not just in his chosen career, but in his attitude and deportment toward the subject of his career. This meeting with his mentor has not gone in the direction that he would have ever expected. This elderly man has informed him that he considers his own approach and our main characters approach to the subject of paranormal activity to have been the exact wrong way to handle things. The younger man is told that he has spent his adult life demeaning and harming helpless people trying to find solace in desperate circumstances. This fellow leaves this meeting devastated, depressed and completely clueless as to how to proceed with his life and work. The image that I refer to happens at this point. It places this man on a paved asphalt walkway on the edge of a cold beach. The path is slowly being eroded away by the encroaching sea and sliding into the sand. This image showing us a man looking down at what had previously been solid, safe ground that is now evaporating underneath his feet is a brilliant visual of the character's mental state. If the film had at some point gone wrong in the ensuing 90 minutes it might have been forgivable for that one perfect visualization of a this man's internal conflict. Luckily this film has much, much more in store for the viewer. It's an insightful and intriguing mystery told as a horror story. I won't give anything away because the discoveries made along the way are both well realized and emotionally shocking. I recommend this movie quite highly.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Trailers From Hell - CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER (1974)

The always amusing Michael Schlesinger breaks down one of my favorites of the late period Hammer vampire pictures. I'm happy that now we have a sequel to the tale, even if it's only in comic book form. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Eerie Publications' Witches' Tale Cover Gallery

I only learned about these wild horror comics long after they ceased publication but I'm not sure I would have had the guts to buy them anyway! I'm getting my hands on a few reprints soon! 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Brief Thoughts - THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970)

I know that there is a sizable contingent of horror fandom that does not like THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970). I understand this. The first time I saw the film I was unimpressed and found it a rather mixed bag. There were elements I liked but the modern day setting and the use of odd editing choices to communicate some of the supernatural influences were off-putting. But the film stuck with me. Since my second viewing years ago I have come to really like the movie - not in spite of it's perceived flaws but because of those odder ingredients. It's those stranger choices that set the film apart from all but the more experimental Lovecraft adaptations. In trying to find a way to visualize the more uncanny parts of what HPL writes about the director went with something interesting but potentially irritating . Given how disliked the film is I suspect that, for most, it doesn't work. I know that these components were probably used to hide budgetary problems but that just makes them more interesting for me. I'm glad to say that - like an other-dimensional slime mold - it has grown on me.

Plus, Dean Stockwell's performance is slickly mesmerizing. Rarely has such a creepy character slithered across the screen so smoothly. I only wish his third act demise was more satisfying and not another example of a low budget effect.