Where to start with this thing? Ever seen that movie called Sex Galaxy from 2008 that is made up of public domain footage? That’s the only other movie I can think of that resembles this film. Only difference is it that I’m pretty sure that the majority of this is original footage.
The whole movie plays out like a 1950s sci-fi horror monster movie. Except shot in a crazy no budget manner using stock footage with crazy filters and costumes. The plot is that zombies from the evil planet Plankton are invading and incompetent military folks try and fight back while KILL-TV reports on it.
Here’s an example of one of the zombies.
I have never heard a movie use that word so many times in my entire life. And they don’t even look like zombies. Although, there is a dissection scene and of all things, a sex scene between the hero Major Kent Bendover (William Darkow) and one of the zombies. You can even see something ejaculate during that part. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, but it happens several times during the scene.
They even insert a spaceship into what appears to be stock footage from the Vietnam War.
I could go on posting screenshot after screenshot of this insanity, but it’s actually available online. To tell you the truth, it actually does make some sense. I mean there is a plot. You kind of get what is going on in general, but it is one of the most messed up things I have watched in a long time.
If you dare! Or to quote Crisko, the narrator:
“You who remain are about to witness a story so terrible, so disgusting, that no living human brain can withstand it and remain sane. You will pay the ultimate price for viewing the terrible true story of zombies, zombies, zombies from outer space!”
In this episode of The Twilight Zone (which was originally aired on May 4th, 1962), a neurotic ventriloquist named Jerry (Cliff Robertson) has a bizarre relationship with his dummy. Not only does Jerry seem to hate his inanimate partner but the dummy doesn’t seem to be too fond of Jerry either.
You’ll probably already figured out The Dummy‘s twist but it’s still extremely well-done, featuring a great performance from Cliff Robertson and expressionistic direction from Abner Biberman.
Evil vampire and art gallery owner Morgan Bane (Leonardo Milan) has lived for centuries and is suffering from a nasty case of ennui. He has grown so powerful that there simply are no more worthy opponents!
However, Morgan makes the mistake of kidnapping Heather O’Ryan (Erin Leigh). What Morgan doesn’t know is that Heather’s husband, John O’Ryan (Sean Gallimore, who also directed this film), is not just a talented animator. He’s also a super cool martial artist! John is going to get his wife back and he’s going to kick a lot of vampire ass to do it!
Helping Morgan is veteran vampire hunter, Ramone (Frank Suarez). Along with carrying a few dozen stakes, Ramone is also armed with a squirt gun full of holy water. Ramone’s religious faith is so strong that he can repel vampires just by showing them the cross that he’s tattooed on his palm. (That’s actually a pretty clever touch. Why don’t all vampire hunters do that?) John, meanwhile, is an atheist but he’s about to discover that you can’t defeat a vampire without a little faith…
Vampire Hunter was made for about $5,000 in the mid-90s but, for whatever reason, it didn’t get released until 2004. The low-budget is obvious in every frame and so is the fact that first time director Gallimore was learning how to direct as he went along. The film itself can be found in a few box sets (I found my copy in the Decrepit Crypt of Nightmares box set) and it’s obvious that the DVD was transferred over from a VHS tape.
But you know what?
I don’t care about the technical limitations. I don’t care about the low-budget. I don’t care about the less than professional acting (though I do think that Gallimore actually showed a lot of screen presence and gave a decent enough performance). I liked Vampire Hunter. It’s a fun movie, one that was made with a lot more sincerity than skill but, quite frankly, I think sincerity is underrated nowadays. Watching this movie, you get the feeling that it was a labor of love on the part of Gallimore and I’m glad that — even if it took nearly ten years — he eventually got his movie released!
And really, whatever issues you may have with the film, you cannot deny that the fight scenes are handled surprisingly well for a film with a $5,000 budget. Gallimore obviously knew what he was doing as far as the fights were concerned and, quite honestly, the fights are probably the main reason why somebody would watch a movie like Vampire Hunter in the first place.
Seriously, check out Sean Gallimore training for some vampire hunting!
Say what you will about Vampire Hunter, I hope that Sean Gallimore had fun making it and I’m happy that it was eventually released!
The movie begins 20 years in the past, which I guess would mean this starts in the year 1992.
That’s Harold and Annie. Little problem here. In the present, Harold is played by Eric Mabius and Annie is played by Brooke D’Orsay. Mabius was 21 years old in 1992 and D’Orsay was only 10. Oops! Oh, well. The age difference didn’t cause any problems for me. This opening scene sets up why Harold is so down on himself in the present. He really cared for her and she just kind of wanted to have fun. All very innocent, but he took it hard.
Cut to 20 years later and we see Harold has grown up to be Clark Kent, mild mannered account and photographer in his free time. Now we are introduced to my favorite character in the movie.
No, not Harold’s friend who gets him to seek out a dating coach. I mean the red Bluetooth headset on his head. I’m pretty sure he wears that thing in all but his last scene in the movie. Sorry, but that thing made me laugh every time it appeared onscreen. Especially since we only see him use it once in the entire movie.
Now we meet the modern day Annie. She lives with her sister and is out of work. Her sister gives her a swift kick in the butt and she gets a job as a waitress.
After Harold and Annie run into each other a couple of times and Annie finds out he’s looking for a dating coach, she offers her services. You all know where this goes after this.
Well, I mean besides another great appearance by the Bluetooth headset. She agrees to take him through eight lessons on dating. Although, I swear I missed Lesson 2 somehow. Thankfully, one of the first lessons is getting rid of those glasses. It’s not the glasses themselves, but combined with the way Mabius acts, we keep thinking of Clark Kent. Once he gets rid of them he’s basically like his character in Signed, Sealed, Delivered except not wound tighter than a drum. The rest of the lessons get him into a relationship that isn’t really right for him while moving him closer and closer to Annie.
The only real problem I had with this movie for a while was D’Orsay. She is kind of the living embodiment of bubbling champagne. That was a bit of a problem because of the way they introduce her character. It makes it difficult to warm up to her rather than see her as kind of a shallow conman. Luckily, at least for me, that started to fade and she became lovable. Honestly, I think the credit goes to D’Orsay because my impression of her seemed to change at the right points in the plot.
There is also a nice little supporting role from Kathy Najimy as Annie’s waitress friend.
These two aren’t on caliber with Kavan Smith and Kellie Martin as far as Hallmark couples go, but they’re much better than the usual. I can say I recommend this one.
I just wish this movie would have given me that much needed resolution I hoped for concerning the Bluetooth headset. At least in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) we do see Max get that ridiculous thing off his face. I wanted the story behind what happened to this thing. Too bad.
Must-see TV for ‘Monster Kids’ in the late 60s meant watching DARK SHADOWS every weekday at 4:00 on ABC. The Gothic soap opera gave us daily doses of vampires, werewolves, witches, and man-made monsters courtesy of producer/director Dan Curtis and a talented cast of mainly New York based stage actors, led by Hollywood veteran Joan Bennett. Capitalizing on the show’s popularity, MGM greenlighted a feature version titled HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS.
The movie is a condensed and revised telling of the Barnabas Collins story arc that began in 1967. The film takes us to Collinwood, where governess Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott) is assaulted by drunken caretaker Willy Loomis (John Karlen). Loomis is fired by Roger Collins (Louis Edmonds), but sneaks back onto the property to search for the hidden family jewels. Using an old map as a guide, he breaks into the family mausoleum and, opening an ancient coffin, is startled when a hand…
You know what the best part of Straight From The Heart is for me?
It’s that I’m almost 100% positive that’s the director David S. Cass Sr. With this movie, I will have seen 15 of his Hallmark movies. It’s nice to finally put a face with the name. The reason being that they refer to him as Mr. Cass in the movie.
Correction: According to a commenter identifying themselves as David S. Cass Sr. himself, that is most certainly NOT a picture of him.
Anyways, he’s asking a photographer named Jordan Donovan (Teri Polo) if she likes garbage, not because her photos are garbage, but because she likes taking pictures of garbage. Work isn’t going well for her. Now we are introduced to a cowboy named Tyler Ross (Andrew McCarthy). Friends and family of these two decide to play matchmaker and with an ad in Country Connections, Jordan is in now in the country with Tyler.
Honestly, there is less to talk about here than most. Sure there are details. He lost a wife and child. There is an issue with wild horses and his property that has ties back to his father in law from the now dead wife. Jordan was proposed to, sort of, before she came to the country. By sort of, I mean he asked her to move in with him, but not marriage.
None of that is really too important. What you have here is the cowboy who is damaged. A photographer who is a little lost both in her work and personal life. Then you have this little matchmaking scheme that gets them to spend some time together. They go through a series of different experiences together developing a friendship.
This is one of those really early Hallmark movies so it looks good. You can tell more money went into this then the stuff you see nowadays on the channel. That also means it’s one of those that censors itself. Twice, Jordan says the word “butt” and it falls silent on the word. It’s still in the captions though.
The acting is good too. In fact, I would be recommending this as one of the best one’s I have seen if it didn’t have one problem that really bothers me. I don’t really see any reason that these two people should end up together as lovers. It doesn’t make sense. It makes perfect sense that they should end up as close friends, but asking me to buy them as lovers feels as genuine as if she were a mail order bride and they just lived happily ever after. I see these two people as having helped to heal each other, not fell in love with each other. That part felt forced to me. Especially the ending where it almost felt like he shows up just out of obligation to the script.
If that part doesn’t bother you, then this is worth seeing. It certainly is one of the best looking Hallmark movies I’ve seen.
“A prowler has been seen around the campus and, well … he could be dangerous.”
— Miss Allison (Donna Davis) in The Prowler (1981)
Miss Allison was one of those largely ineffectual authority figures who always seems to turn up in slasher films from the early 80s. It was easy to be dismissive of her and personally, I can’t get over the fact that she would actually show up for the big graduation dance wearing pantyhose with sandals. But still, Miss Allison had a point here. There was a prowler wandering around campus and was he ever dangerous!
Of course, this all could have been avoided if they just hadn’t had a graduation dance to begin with. Eccentric old Maj. Chatham (Lawrence Tierney) understood that. He remembered what had happened at the town of Avalon Bay’s graduation dance of 1945, how Rosemary (Joy Glaccum) and her new date where both killed by a pitchfork-wielding maniac. Chatham had spent the last 35 years protesting any plans to hold another graduation dance.
However, in 1980, one feisty student named Pam (Vicky Dawson) finally convinced the town to allow them to hold a graduation dance. It probably helped the Pam’s boyfriend, Mark (Christopher Goutman) was a deputy. The morning of the dance, reports came in that someone had robbed a nearby store, murdered the store owner, and might be heading towards the town of Avalon Bay.
The sheriff (Farley Granger, who played Guy Haines in Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train) reacted to this news by announcing that he was going fishing and leaving Mark in charge. And, before the viewer could say, “Wait a minute — how does that make any sense?,” the sheriff was gone, the dance was on, and a maniac in a combat uniform was killing people with a bayonet and a pitchfork.
Yes, Miss Allison, the prowler was quite dangerous.
Having read that plot description, you might have a suspicion as to who the prowler actually was. But you’re probably thinking to yourself, “No, that is way too obvious a solution!” Well, no — it isn’t. You will not learn the Prowler’s identity until the final few minutes of the film but you will have guessed it early on.
The Prowler is not going to win any points for originality. It’s a slasher film from the early 80s, with everything that implies. For people who know their horror history, it’s a time capsule of that brief period when slashers were still making an effort to be American gialli, before the genre became dominated by loquacious monsters like Freddy Krueger and postmodern snark. As a character, the Prowler says next to nothing and really has no personality beyond a few questionable hobbies. But he certainly does kill a lot of people and seems to truly enjoy it.
And, if you hate these type of films, you’re going to hate The Prowler. But, that being said, The Prowler is actually one of the better examples of the early 80s slasher genre. Much as he would do with both Abduction and Friday the 13th — The Final Chapter, director Joseph Zito keeps the bloody action moving and, though they may be playing stock characters, he gets above average performances from his entire cast. As opposed to a lot of slasher films of the period, you actually feel bad when these people meet their untimely end.
And finally, the Prowler himself is just scary! The combination of the Prowler’s menacing appearance and Tom Savini’s relentless gore effects sets this film apart from other contemporary slashers, like Graduation Day. Even by the standards of slasher psychos, the Prowler is cruel and sadistic. It’s not just that he kills with a bayonet. It’s that he obviously get so much enjoyment from doing it. At its best, The Prowler is pure nightmare fuel.
Finally, on a personal note, I have to admit that it kind of freaked me out that one of the Prowler’s victims was named Lisa. As I’ve said before, slasher films tend to scare me precisely because I know that there’s no way I’d survive one. We always tell ourselves that people in slasher movies die because they do unbelievably stupid things but honestly, I think we all do a lot of stupid things every day. After all, we all behave under the assumption that we’re not on the verge of being attacked by a knife-wielding maniac. Hence, it’s easy to say, “Don’t go in that room!” but why shouldn’t someone go in that room? After all, they’re not watching the movie. They don’t know there’s a killer in that room. Lisa in The Prowler certainly did some stupid things and what freaked me out was that I could easily imagine myself doing the same stupid things.
(True, unlike the film’s Lisa, I wouldn’t go out by myself in the middle of night, strip down to my underwear, and then jump in a pool but I’m planning on conquering my fear of drowning someday soon and who knows what might then happen!)
Seriously, people — be kind to the Lisas in your life.
I wonder how many of these Hallmark movies revolve around books either by having a writer in it, a bookstore owner, or an editor? Luckily, this one is kind of enjoyable. However, it is very simple so I am going to keep this short. The setup, some highlights, and humorous goofs to look for.
The movie opens with an author named Liam (Dylan Bruce) who writes romance novels under the pseudonym Gabriel August. There is going to be a big reveal that he is Gabriel August soon. Then Sophie (Amy Acker) comes into his life when they end up sitting side by side on a plane. This is one of those movies where somebody meets someone else, they know they like them, and they make sure not to let that opportunity pass them up. In this case, Liam knows he wants to have Sophie in his life.
Sophie is a writer for a newspaper. She writes different things, but mainly focuses on book reviews which are her bread and butter. Unfortunately, when she gets back to her job it turns out the paper is in such trouble that the boss comes right out and tells everyone to essentially act like radio shock jocks. As a result, Sophie writes a lackluster review for Liam’s new book.
Liam just sees this as the girl he met on the plane and a way to find her again.
The only other piece of the setup that is important is that Sophie once dated someone famous and it all blew up in her face. Liam hasn’t told her that he is Gabriel August. And it goes from there.
The leads are good in this. So are the supporting actors. Charles S. Dutton is nice to see as the bartender. My only real problem is how much she blows up when she finds out he is Gabriel August. We really don’t have enough details about the previous relationship and we don’t see him give her any reason to have a problem with him turning out to be Gabriel August. A little more information there would have helped to make the final speed bump in their relationship more believable.
There are a few things with the computer screens, but they aren’t really goofs so much as little oddities. If you do watch this then keep an eye out for when they show her cellphone screen. I swear the interface completely changed three times during the movie. However, the most interesting thing is this.
It’s like they de-Peopled a People magazine.
This one is fine. Forgettable, but fine. However, both leads are on major TV shows so that might make it more interesting for some people. Dylan Bruce is on Orphan Black and Amy Acker is on Person Of Interest. I don’t watch either show though.
4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking. In honor of Ed Wood’s birthday (10/10/1924), here’s a look at four of his no-budget horror masterpieces:
It’s October and a great time to appreciate all that ghosts do for us. The haunting covers below were created for Ghost Stories, a pulp magazine that published 64 issues between 1926 and 1932. All the stories in Ghost Stories were credited as being “as told to.”