Horror on TV: Baywatch Nights 2.13 “Frozen Out Of Time”

On tonight’s episode of horror on TV, we have an episode of Baywatch Nights that originally aired on February 2nd, 1997.  In this one, two 900 year-old Vikings are causing chaos in Los Angeles!  Who can stop them?

David Hasselhoff, of course!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Breaks The Internet


It’s not hyperbole when I say that Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke the internet tonight. Fandango announced pre-sale of tickets early by accident which caused the massive Star Wars fandom to rush on-line to be able to buy tickets before they ran out for the early showing on December 17, 2015. Well, this hasn’t gone down well with many who thought the pre-sale orders were going to go up after the trailer debuts during halftime of Monday Night Football.

I was one such out-of-luck individuals, but I remembered my days of youth when pre-ordering tickets to such event films meant going to the theater itself and buying them in person. This I did and I’m blessed to have gotten all the tickets I need.

Thus, despite Star Wars: The Force Awakens breaking the internet it would seem doing things the old-school way still rewards those who still thinks in analog and not just digital.

Now, let’s watch the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens over and over before it premieres on December 18, 2015.

The Daily Horror Grindhouse: Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (directed by Romano Scavolini)


I once read about a low-budget horror film that was released in the mid-70s.  The film was advertised as being “a film that could only have been made in South America … where life is cheap!”  That little bit of advertising hyperbole has always stuck with me and sometimes, when I see a particularly nasty exploitation or horror film, I find myself saying, “They must have made this movie somewhere where life is cheap!”

This, of course, brings us to Nightmares in a Damaged Brain, an Italian film that was originally released in 1981, at the height of the slasher movie boom.  Nightmares is infamous as one of those gore-filled horror films that has achieved a certain amount of immortality by being banned in several different countries.  It’s only been within the past few years that Nightmares has been released on DVD in the U.S.  That DVD is supposedly the “uncut” version of the film but there are rumors of scenes so bloody and disturbing that they have still not seen the light of day.  Usually, it’s something of a let down to finally see a film as infamous as Nightmares in a Damaged Brain.  It’s rare that a film’s reality ever lives up to the rumors surrounding it.  However, having seen Nightmares in a Damaged Brain, I can truly say that, if nothing else, this film had to have been made in a place where life is cheap.

Nightmares in a Damaged Brain concerns itself with George (Baird Stafford), a violent inmate at a New York insane asylum who is given an experimental drug that seems to control his violent impulses.  He’s released from the hospital and, after spending some time wandering around some of the seediest sections of New York ever captured on film, he ends up at a sex club, writhing on the floor and foaming at the mouth.  Apparently, that drug’s not working as well as everyone thought…

Soon, George has stolen a car and he is relentlessly driving across the country.  George, it seems, is obsessed with a young boy who lives in Florida along with his loud, white trash family.  Along the way to Florida, George has several gore-filled nightmares (the majority of which feature him as a bowtie-wearing child, murdering two people with an axe) and kills a few random people as well.

While the film was released to take advantage of the early 80s slasher boom, director Romano Scavolini rejected many of the conventions of slasher genre.  Instead of emphasizing pretty teenagers and slick production values, Scavolini instead emphasized the sordid “reality” of the film’s rather trashy cast of characters.  There’s not a likable character to be found anywhere within this film nor is there a single scene that doesn’t feel as if it’s been drenched in sleaze.  An ominous atmosphere of impending, relentless doom hangs over every second of the film.  This doesn’t necessarily make for an enjoyable viewing experience but it is a film that, once you start watching, is difficult to look away from.

The film’s opening credits (and the poster pictured above) claim that the gore effects were done by the famous Tom Savini.  Savini has always denied having anything to do with the film and, at one point, threatened to sue the filmmakers to get his name removed from the credits.  Regardless of whether Savini did them or not, the film’s gore effects are memorable and rather disturbing.

I had to take a shower after sitting through Nightmares In A Damaged Brain and I doubt I’ll ever watch it a second time.  Still, I’m glad that I did watch it because this brutally effective film is truly a part of horror film history.  If nothing else, I can now honestly say that I’ve seen a film that truly must have been made somewhere where life is cheap.

Horror Film Review: Bride of the Monster (directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)


A few nights ago, I watched the infamous 1955 horror film, The Bride of the Monster.

This was not the first time that I had seen Bride of the Monster. (Nor is it the first time that I’ve talked about this film on this site.) As a fan of the work of the legendary director Ed Wood, I’ve seen the majority of his films, many of them several times. Bride of the Monster is not only the closest that Wood ever got to making a “legitimate” movie but it’s also my personal favorite of his films.

(Plan 9 may be fun but it has nothing on Bride of the Monster.)

As for the film’s plot — well, the story is typical Ed Wood. By that, I mean that it doesn’t make a bit of sense. There’s an old mansion in the middle of nowhere. There’s a gigantic Octopus who apparently lives in a pool of stagnant water that sits somewhere near the old mansion. There are hunters, who have a habit of vanishing whenever they wander too close to the house.

There’s also Lobo (Tor Johnson), the hulking mute who we’re assured is “harmless as a kitten.” Lobo develops a crush on Janet (Loretta King), the intrepid reporter who wanders too close to the mansion while looking for a story. Janet reminded me a lot of me, in that she wasn’t going to let a little thing like common sense get in the way of an experience.

And then, there’s Dr. Varnoff (Bela Lugosi). Dr. Varnoff is the owner of the mansion. He’s a scientist who was chased out of his home country by … well, by somebody. To be honest, it’s not always easy to figure out how Varnoff ended up in America with Lobo and a big octopus. It’s also difficult to understand why Varnoff is conducting experiments and killing people. Varnoff talks and talks about his reasons but just because a man talks doesn’t mean that he’s going to say anything.

Yes, Bride of the Monster is one of those films that makes absolutely no sense but you know what? That’s exactly why I love it. Like all of Wood’s film, it is unique. And I’d rather watch a film that is uniquely bad than one that is generically competent any day!

You have to respect the dedication of the actors who bravely pretended that they were being attacked by that octopus. For most of them, this meant laying in a shallow pool of water while grabbing hold of some rubber tentacles and thrashing about for a bit. Yes, it looks silly but that doesn’t change the fact that the actors really threw themselves into it. Even the film’s worst performances feel as if they’re being given by very dedicated actors.

It should also be noted that this was Bela Lugosi’s final film (with the exception of his posthumous appearance in Plan 9 From Outer Space). And people always seem to make fun of Lugosi’s performance here but you know what? He’s not bad at all. He brings a tragic weariness to even the most ludicrous of lines. I’m sure that Lugosi was not hoping that his career would end with something like Bride of the Monster. But he still gave it his all.

As bad as Bride of the Monster may be, Bela Lugosi is very, very good. When you watch the film, don’t judge it too harshly. Don’t focus on the awkward line readings or the nonsensical plot or …. well, just don’t focus on all the things that you usually think of as indicating whether or not a film is good or bad.

Instead, when you watch it, watch it for Bela.

You won’t be disappointed!

4 Shots from 4 Films: Happy Birthday, Tor Johnson!

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. Tor Johnson was born October 19, 1903. The hulking ex-wrestler appeared in over 40 films, mostly in the horror genre. Best known for his Ed Wood movies, Tor’s face was his fortune. Tor Johnson died in 1971, but his legacy lives on. Happy birthday, Mr. Johnson!

Bride of the Monster (1955)

Bride of the Monster (1955)

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Night of the Ghouls (1960)

Night of the Ghouls (1960)

The Beast from Yucca Flats (1961)

The Beast from Yucca Flats (1961)

Halloween Havoc!: RATTLERS (Boxoffice International 1976)

cracked rear viewer


I’m not a big fan of snakes. The slithering serpents have given me the creeps since I was a kid. Needless to say, any movie about the crawling creatures (or with specific snake scenes) never fail to send shivers down my spine. Movies like ANACONDA, VENOM, and SSSSS just make me squeamish. (No, I did not see SNAKES ON A PLANE. Too chickenshit!) I can now add RATTLERS to the list of reptilian terrors. Though the film isn’t all that good, it did what it was supposed to do: scare the beejeezus out of me!


A series of snake attacks befall a California desert town and Sheriff Gates (Tony Ballen) calls in LA herpetologist Dr. Tom Parkinson (Sam Chew). The marauding rattlesnakes are striking unprovoked, and have already caused three deaths. Tom is given an assistant to take photos in the desert. She’s Ann Bradley (Elizabeth Chauvet), a Women’s Libber. Tom, of course, is…

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Strange Stories In October

Strange Stories was a pulp magazine that, from 1939 to 1941, specialized in publishing horror and occult fiction.  While the magazine ceased publication after only 13 issues, it remains popular among collectors.  Featuring work from illustrators like Earle Bergey and Rudolph Belarski, the Strange Stories covers are perfect for October.

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Earle Bergey

Cover by Rudolph Belarski

Cover by Rudolph Belarski

Cover by Rudolph Belarski

Cover by Rudolph Belarski

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

October Music Series: Векша – Царство снега

The short-lived, Yaroslavl-based band Векша (Veksha) offer a look at that strange world of ultra-nationalistic, rabidly pagan Slavic metal that began to emerge shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. I love the awkward juxtaposition (by 1998 standards) of black metal and this anonymous woman’s clean, almost childish singing in the environment of absolutely rock-bottom recording quality. The aesthetic consequence is spooky–a sort of half-formed ghost of a demo tape that dares you to shut off your speakers and see if it continues to play.

But the appeal that keeps me listening to На пороге ночи (Na Poroge Nochi) might not have been the band’s intent. Believe it or not they actually had a website, on which they greet all Aryan brothers with pastel flowers and rotating heart gifs.


But creepy by accident is always more effective than creepy by intent, right? The bizarrely pervasive fixation on race throughout a lot of early Slavic pagan metal bands probably has an interesting historical explanation that is well beyond the scope of my knowledge, and the explicitly sinister intent of a few prominent bad apples in that bunch might cast the rest a little out of context, but at any rate it’s another off-kilter factor in rendering Veksha’s lone release just a wee bit disturbing for reasons the band probably never intended. They’ve definitely earned a spot in my Halloween playlist.

True Slavonic Romantic Pagan Metal ?

Halloween Film Review: Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge (2001, dir. Mary Lambert)


First off, let me say that this is better than the first one. Also, while I still refer to it as a Halloween Film Review rather than Children’s Horror, this one is scarier than the original. The movie begins with a little recap of the first, but kept quite short, and in no time we already see something scarier than anything in the first film.


Forget about being paranoid about your kids using the Internet, there’s a literal face in a wall watching your daughter. That’s Marnie Piper (Kimberly J. Brown) back a little older and with certainly more knowledge about magic this time around. Her grandma played by Debbie Reynolds now lives with them. They are holding a Halloween party at the house.


That’s when Kal and his Dad enter the party. Basically, Marnie is turned on, shows him the magic room, and he steals a spell book. Then he returns back to Halloweentown. When Reynolds and Marnie go decide to take a quick trip to Halloweentown they find out that Bela Tarr has taken over the place.


Just kidding, there’s no whale around, but there is this.


Kal turns out to be the son of the villain from the first film. He has cast a spell on Halloweentown that turns the creatures there into caricatures of human beings. To fix this Reynolds and Marnie need to find something that Reynolds has lost. This means going to see a guy named Mr. Gort who apparently receives everything that is lost elsewhere.


The spell has already taken Mr. Gort and soon takes Reynolds as well. Basically, it’s the same setup as the first film again. It’s up to Marnie to find a spell that can undo all this and defeat Kal. This involves a lot of jumping around in time and practically torturing poor Mr. Gort.


While this is going on we find out that Kal’s dad is really just a bunch of frogs somehow put together using a spell. They refer to him as a golem.


Of course it all comes down to a standoff between Marnie and Kal at the party.


Then everything is restored in Halloweentown. Thankfully, that includes making the cab driver all bones again.

Better than the first, but still on the lackluster side. It kind of feels like a poor man’s Harry Potter. I have a feeling the two remaining films in the series are going to get worse.

Horror on the Lens: Diary of a Madman (dir by Reginald Le Borg)

For today’s horror on the lens, check out the 1963 film, Diary of a Madman!

It’s simply not October without at least one film featuring the great Vincent Price.  In Diary of a Madman, Price plays Simon Cordier, a French magistrate.  What is it that’s causing Simon’s personality to change?  What is making him suffer from greater and greater delusions?  Is he just going insane?  Or is he being haunted by a malevolent spirit known as a horla!?

Any film that features Vincent Price being sinister is worth watching and Diary of a Madman actually features one of his better performances.  Overall, Diary of a Madman is an enjoyable attempt at psychological horror.

Enjoy it below!