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


StarWarsVII

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)


Nightmare_FilmPoster

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.)


Bride_of_the_Monster_(1956_movie_poster)

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

rattlers1

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!

rattlers2

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