Horror On TV: Baywatch Nights 2.1 “Terror of the Deep”


Oh my God, y’all — I am so mad at Hulu right now!

So, my original plan for tonight and tomorrow was to post the Graduation Day two-part season 3 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But, without any warning, Hulu has decided that they are no longer going to offer season 3 of Buffy for free.  Now, if you want to watch season 3, you have to subscribe to Hulu.

And, quite frankly, that’s not a bad idea.  I subscribe to Hulu.  I like it.  But, at the same time, if you’re going to advertise a show as being free then it should at least remain free until November.

Anyway, the point is that I like subscribing to Hulu but I’m not going to demand that our readers do the same thing just so they can watch something on this site.  So, with Buffy no longer an option, I’m instead going to share an episode from another supernatural show from the 1990s.  On Baywatch Nights, David Hasselhoff battled supernatural creatures while defending the beaches of California.  And it’s all just as campy and silly as you might think.

And, even better, every episode of Baywatch Nights is available (for free!) on YouTube.  (Or, at least they are until the copyright holder finds out…)  Anyway, here’s the 1st episode of the 2nd season of Baywatch Nights.  It originally aired on September 29th, 1996 and it features David Hasselhoff and a sea monster!

Halloween Havoc!: THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE (AIP 1962)


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Sleazy is the best way to describe THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE. But I mean that in a good way. This trashy drive-in classic is a mix of gory horror and outright voyeurism. Right up my alley! Made in 1959, the picture sat unreleased until American-International picked it up in 1962. Producer/cowriter Rex Carlton always seemed to have money problems. Carlton toiled mainly in the exploitation field, producing and writing for Al Adamson films BLOOD OF DRACULA’S CASTLE and HELL’S BLOODY DEVILS, before putting a bullet in his own brain in 1968. It’s been said he owed some mobsters a ton of cash borrowed to finance his filmmaking endeavors.

The movie is all about brilliant but arrogant surgeon Bill Cortner. Bill’s been conducting some experiments at his country home involving “complete transplantation” of body parts and organs. He’s also been “borrowing” these parts from the hospital where he works. Bill gets a call from his assistant…

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The Daily Horror Grindhouse: Old Man (dir by Guy McConnell)


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“A new couple move in to a house where a murder supposedly took place. Nonsense ensues.”

— IMDb plot description for Old Man (2004).

Wow, IMDb, snarky much?

Seriously, I am surprised to see such a snarky plot description for Old Man.  I’m assuming that it was written by someone who watched Old Man and didn’t care much for the film.  Considering that Old Man currently has a 3.4 rating on the IMDb and has been voted on by 49 users … well, that’s 49 suspects for you.

But, honestly, that plot description isn’t even that accurate.  For one thing, it’s not a house where “a murder supposedly took place.”  Instead, it’s a house where at least 13 murders definitely took place.  The murderer was named Walter Bowden and he was nicknamed the “Old Man,” presumably because he was 65 years old and old people are scary.  Walter ended up murdering his wife and his son and then he hung himself.  But is it possible that his ghost still haunts the house?

Of course, it ‘s possible!  In fact, it’s not only possible but it’s what actually happens!

The other part of that plot description that I take issue with is the claim that “Nonsense ensues.”  It’s not nonsense, it’s ghostly mayhem!

In defense of whoever wrote that plot description, they were correct when they stated that a married couple — Linda (Erika Stone) and Michael (Jason Kulas) — does move into the house.  Michael knows why they got the house for cheap but he never bothered to tell Linda.  And when Linda starts seeing and hearing odd things, Michael dismisses her concerns.  Why do men always do that?  Look, guys, if we say that there’s a big scary ghost in the closet, there’s a big scary ghost in the closet!  We don’t need you to go check inside the closet, we need you to find a new house…

Anyway, Linda eventually meets a strange man (Kevin Cirone) who tells Linda about the house’s background.  Linda, needless to say, is not happy.  (As for Michael, he’s mostly jealous that his wife has made a new friend.)

Despite those 49 IMDb users, Old Man is not that bad.  Erika Stone is a sympathetic heroine and the Old Man himself is properly intimidating.  Old Man is better than your typical ultra low-budget, shot-on-video horror film.  The only nonsense is to be found in that IMDb plot description!  Snark is a powerful weapon.  Don’t waste it on a perfectly inoffensive little film like Old Man.

How did I see Old Man?  It was included as a part of the 6-movie, 2-disc Depraved Degenerates set from Pendulum Pictures.  It’s probably the best movie included in the set.

Children’s Horror: R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: The Cabinet Of Souls (2015, dir. Peter DeLuise)


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The movie begins and we see a girl walking down the street on Halloween. She smashes a pumpkin and Billy Corgan takes revenge on her because her eyes turn creepy. She runs into the forest and becomes a monster. Then the movie reminds me that if I don’t like it, it’s not director Peter DeLuise’s fault cause it’s called R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet Of Souls. The missing “the” had to be donated to the band The The who lost one of their the’s in a tragic accident.

Now it’s one year later and the kids are putting on a high school production of Something Wicked This Way Comes. We are introduced to two guys and two girls. Seeing as I got over my Disney Channel addiction a few years ago, I only recognize Dove Cameron seen here in Liv makeup…unfortunately.

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This is a horror movie that wastes no time in killing off people.

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He is never heard from again after being killed by that candy apple. Just kidding.

Anyways, we now cut to Nora’s Dance & Ballet Academy Halloween Spooky Dance Contest. Cue the Suspiria (1977) footage!

It’s bad enough the High School Musical movies made Disney think we want dancing and singing kids again, but then Nora says this.

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No! Don’t do it kids! That’s how we ended up with the movie Nudist Colony Of The Dead (1991)!

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Then these two show up. That’s Dr. Hysteria (Andrew Kavadas) and Lilith (Katherine McNamara). Dr. Hysteria then invites the children to visit his Hall of Horrors which is a journey “into the wretched black heart of pure evil itself.” He’s exaggerating though since it’s just a haunted house. He’s not holding screenings of God’s Not Dead (2014), Let’s Be Cops (2014), and Frenemies (2012).

All jokes aside, both of those actors do good jobs in this movie. They manage to actually be creepy and evil right up till the end. He even kills a kid. No joke.

Because the local news station actually had a story with enough information for the first time in days, they air that the girl from the beginning of the movie is still missing. Now we meet a guy who is probably interchangeable with an actor from Prom Night III: The Last Kiss (1990). I’ll find out when I get to it.

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He goes on to brag that he once surfed in a monsoon and outran an avalanche with a broken snowboard so he doesn’t scare easily. I sat through the god awful Extreme Ops (2002) knowing that a guy actually died scouting locations for that studio cash-grab on the extreme sports craze, so this guy didn’t scare me.

Oh, and this movie has kids rapping, so if you are a child, you might not want to show this to your parents because they will probably want you dead. But let’s get to the haunted house.

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And I put this screenshot here just so everyone knows that it’s okay to start submitting to IMDb that an alternate title of this movie is Troll 4.

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There are scary things in this haunted house such as what Calculus II would have looked like in the sequel to Freshman Father called Sophomore Father: Revenge of the Derivative! There is also a guy making inappropriate references to penises by pretending to sell “brains on a stick”. But nothing is as scary as that ginormous pink scarf they have Cameron wear in these scenes. Seriously, why? She looks like someone is going to throw a saddle on her and start riding her. Also, I played The Walking Dead and know that you don’t want something a zombie can easily grab on to. Of course she stumbles into a backroom during this sequence to to find that maybe some of these monsters are real.

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After Cameron figures out that the missing girl has something to do with the Hall of Horrors from a site with a malformed URL that it shows a close up of for no good reason. We see Lilith insist on having this guy wrap his arms around her as they ride her bike before she whispers in his ear that her favorite movie is Joe D’Amato’s Porno Holocaust (1981). The kid is naturally scared by this seeing as his favorite movie with Mark Shannon is Italian Batman (1982).

Now the really creepy stuff starts happening. Dr. Hysteria takes kids in to the backroom and shows them their dreams through a portal he opens up in front of them. Their eyes flash and the kids are now his. We don’t know what that means exactly at this point, but we soon find out.

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Inside The Cabinet Of Souls are kids standing around while a fog machine fills the room. It’s a little unclear, but I believe these are the kids souls while their bodies exist in the real world as monsters. It’s all a little unclear. We see some of the monsters walk into the kids bodies. And we see Dr. Hysteria feed off their souls. He does this to one kid who apparently only had one more shot to give cause she dies. I like children’s movies that don’t soft pedal the danger. Harry Potter may have been a bit much, but you get my point. Oh, and before I jump to the end. Just in case the kids aren’t already afraid of clowns.

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I love the way this kid acts too. It’s like they gave him a copy of Beetlejuice, told him to watch it, and just do that. Oh, and here’s the kid dying.

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He says she’s almost empty, then sucks that last bit of lifeforce from her body. She dissolves to the ground and he says “you were a good worker.” Again, kudos to the actors and the people involved with this production for making this movie genuinely creepy even while making it geared toward a younger audience.

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The creepy stuff keeps getting more and more frequent until it finally comes down to whether Cameron is going to join the family or not. Notice two members of the family are rocking the Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th, Part 2 look. Of course Cameron fights back and saves the kids, leaving Lilith, extreme sports guy, and Dr. Hysteria to go into a red oblivion.

I enjoyed this movie. Yeah, I’m sucker for kids movies cause I basically missed out on my childhood by being sick and at home through middle school and high school, but this was well made. I recommend it. Serious points to Andrew Kavadas for the character of Dr. Hysteria.

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Horror Scenes I Love: Psycho


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It would be difficult to get through October and not point out one of the best scenes in horror ever.

There’s Janet Leigh’s performance which conveyed the utter terror the scene wanted to convey. We have Bernard Hermann’s discordant film score highlighting the attack. Despite being a very bloodless sequence the way Hitchcock filmed the scene made audience imagine that they were actually witnessing something more violent and gory.

We all have Alfred Hitchcock to thank for this most iconic of all horror scenes.

Insomnia File No. 8: From the Hip (dir by Bob Clark)


What’s an Insomnia File? You know how some times you just can’t get any sleep and, at about three in the morning, you’ll find yourself watching whatever you can find on cable? This feature is all about those insomnia-inspired discoveries!

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Last night, if you discovered that you couldn’t get any sleep around two in the morning, you could have turned to Showtime and watched the 1987 film, From The Hip.

In From the Hip, Judd Nelson plays a character named Robin Weathers.  Of course, his nickname is Stormy.  Robin has just graduated from law school and is working at a prestigious law firm.  He’s ambitious, he’s outspoken, and he’s totally frustrated.  As his co-workers (played, quite well, by David Alan Grier and Dan Monahan) continually remind him, nobody gets to try a case during their first year out of law school.  They advise him to be patient and to wait his turn.

However, a man who is capable of being patient would not be nicknamed Stormy.  It just wouldn’t make any sense.  So, Stormy Weathers schemes his way into the courtroom.  One morning, he intentionally withholds information from the senior partners, going out of his way to keep them from realizing that a trial is scheduled to begin that afternoon.  When senior partner Craig Duncan (Darren McGavin) discovers what Stormy has done, he fires him and makes sure that he never get hired at another law firm … oh wait.  No, he doesn’t because that would make too much sense.  Instead, he allows Stormy to try the case because, at this point, Stormy is the only one who knows anything about it.

The case is a simple assault case that involves two bankers and should be resolved easily but Stormy manages to drag it out for several days and his flamboyant style catches the attention of the media.  The other partners in the law firm — who are all old and boring — want to fire Stormy but Stormy’s client says that, if Stormy is fired, he’ll take his business and his money elsewhere.  Stormy becomes a minor celebrity but — in a rather clever little twist — it turns out that he and the prosecuting attorney are old friends from law school and they conspired to make each other look good.

Anyway, Stormy is now so famous that he gets assigned to defend a college professor, named Benoit (John Hurt), who has been accused of murder.  When it quickly becomes obvious that Benoit is not only guilty but will probably murder again, Stormy is forced to choose between ambition and morality…

When my friend Evelyn and I first started to watch From the Hip last night, I really thought I was going to hate it.  The hot pink neon credits screamed, “Bad 80s movie!” and, because I happen to know quite a few lawyers, I tend to be a 100 times more critical of movies about lawyers than I am when it comes to movies about, say, homicidal fishermen.

And, honestly, From The Hip is a heavily flawed film.  Judd Nelson is miscast and the scenes with his politically conscious girlfriend (Elizabeth Perkins) are painfully shallow and reek of limousine liberalism.  But, if you can get through the weak opening, the film itself is watchable and enjoyable in a dumb sort of way.  John Hurt does a great job as a sociopath and, miscast as he may be, it’s still fun to watch Nelson go insane in court.

From The Hip is not a great film but, in its way, it’s an enjoyable little time capsule.  Believe it or not, there was a time when Judd Nelson starred in a movies that were actually released in theaters.

Previous Insomnia Files:

  1. Story of Mankind
  2. Stag
  3. Love Is A Gun
  4. Nina Takes A Lover
  5. Black Ice
  6. Frogs For Snakes
  7. Fair Game

 

Horror Film Review: The Mutilator (dir by Buddy Cooper)


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Last night, the Alamo Drafthouse hosted a special one-night showing of an infamous horror film.  It was a film that was first released in 1985, the same year that I was born.  It was a film that was obviously made for a very low-budget, featuring a cast of unknown actors, many of whom appear to have been amateurs.  Much like Savage Weekend, it was a remarkably inept film that somehow managed to work almost despite itself.  It was also a film that featured a scene with a giant fishing hook that made me and my BFFs Evelyn and Amy all go, “AGCK!” at the same time.  The name of the film?  The Mutilator.

That’s right, The Mutilator.  Say what you will about this film, you can’t criticize that title.  When you see a movie called The Mutilator, you know exactly what you’re getting into.  And, though the film does get off to a bit of a slow start, it does ultimately live up to that incendiary title.  There is a lot of mutilation to be found.

(And some it involves getting stabbed in the vagina with a giant fishing hook … AGCK!)

The film also features perhaps the most brilliantly generic theme song in the history of the movies.  It’s called Fall Break and it’s all about teenagers having a good time.  There’s no mention of fish hooks or anything else like that!  Instead, it sounds exactly like something you’d expect to hear in a Crown International high school film, like The Pom Pom Girls or The Beach Girls.  Just listen to the song below and tell me that it isn’t the most insidiously generic thing that you’ve ever heard.

Anyway, as for the film itself, it opens with a kid named Little Ed finding a shotgun and accidentally shooting his mother in the back.  This leads to his father, Big Ed (Jack Chatham), becoming a drunk and declaring that his son will pay for what he has done.

Jump forward several years later and Ed Jr. (Matt Miller) is now in college.  When Big Ed calls and demands that Ed Jr. spend his fall break taking care of their beach house, Ed Jr. is reluctant to take the job.  But then his friends convince him that this would be a great chance for all of them to spend their fall break hanging out on the beach.

When they finally reach the beach house, Big Ed is nowhere to be found.  Ed Jr. figures that Big Ed has already gone back home.  After all, Big Ed’s battleaxe — which he usually leaves hanging on the condo wall — is gone.  “Dad loves his battleaxe,” Ed Jr. explains.

Of course, what Ed Jr. and his amazingly stupid friends don’t realize is that Big Ed is still in the house.  He’s in the basement, surrounded by empty bottles and sleeping with his battleaxe.  When Big Ed wakes up and discovers that his son and his friends are in the condo, Big Ed decides to kill them all.

And that’s pretty much what he does.

The Mutilator was directed by Buddy Cooper and the end credits are full of other people named Cooper.  This was Buddy’s only film and, for the most part, it’s definitely an amateur production.  And yet, that amateurishness works to the film’s advantage.  The start and the middle section of the film are so inept that when the murders start and when they turn out to be shockingly brutal and the gore effects turn out to be surprisingly effective, it’s a total shock.

Along with that fish hook (Agck!), we also get decapitations, drownings, strangulations, pitchforkings, and disembowlement by outboard motor.  Making all of this all the more disturbing is that nobody really struggles or screams and tries to escape while being attacked.  Instead, it’s almost as if they all realize that they’re in a slasher movie and the appearance of Big Ed and his latest weapon of choice almost puts them in a trance.  It’s as if almost all of them have accepted their fate.  And I realize that’s probably more due to inept directing and bad acting than anything else but still, it gives the film a disturbingly dream-like feel.  In the end, The Mutilator becomes one of those films that should not work and yet somehow does.

The Mutilator will be released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video in September.