Horror On TV: Tales From The Crypt 3.10 “Mournin’ Mess” (dir by Manny Coto)


Tonight’s excursion into the world of televised horror is the 10th episode of the 3rd season of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt!

Steven Weber plays an alcoholic reporter who thinks that he has found the story of his career!  Someone is preying on the homeless and our reporter is determined to find out who and why.  (Not because he actually cares about the homeless, of course.  He just needs a big story to save his career.)  However, the reporter quickly discovers that 1) all charities are not charitable and 2) you should always be careful about biting off more than you can chew…

This well-acted episode was directed and written by Manny Coto and it originally aired on July 31st, 1991.

Enjoy!

 

The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: Galaxy of Terror (dir by Bruce D. Clark)


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Long before Event Horizon (but, perhaps more importantly, shortly after the original Alien), there was 1981’s Galaxy of Terror!

Produced by Roger Corman and featuring production design and second unit work from James Cameron, Galaxy of Terror tells the story of what happens when, in the future, the crew of the Quest are dispatched to a mysterious planet.  They’re on a rescue mission but what they don’t realize is that they’re heading into a trap!

The crew of the Quest is virtually a who’s who of cult actors.

The youngest member of the crew is Cos.  Cos is scared of everything and, from the minute you see him, you can tell that he’ll probably be the first to die.  Cos is played by Jack Blessing, who subsequently became a very in-demand voice over artist.  You may not recognize the name or the face but you’ve probably heard the voice.

Captain Trainor, who is still troubled by a disastrous mission in the past, is played by Grace Zabriskie, who is rumored to have inspired Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” and who subsequently became a regular member of David Lynch’s stock company.

The fearsome Quuhod is played by one of the patron saints of exploitation filmmaking, the one and only SID HAIG!  Quuhod doesn’t say much but Sid Haig doesn’t have to say much to make an impression.

Technical officer Dameia is played by Taaffe O’Connell.  She suffers through the film’s most infamous and distasteful scenes, in which she’s assaulted by a gigantic space worm.  That scene was apparently insisted upon by Roger Corman and it’s not easy to watch.  At the same time, since the film takes place on a planet that is ruled by pure evil, the scene somehow works.  It’s that scene that tells you that Galaxy of Terror is not going to be your typical B-movie.  That is the scene that says, “This movie is going to give you nightmares!”

Ranger is played by Robert Englund!  That’s right — the original Freddy Krueger himself.  It’s interesting to see Englund in this role because Ranger is actually one of the only likable characters in the film.  It’s strange to see the future Freddy Krueger being menaced by the same type of threats that he unleashed on Elm Street.  But Englund does a good job in the role.  In fact, he does so well that you wonder what would have happened in his career if he hadn’t been forever typecast as the man of your nightmares.

The arrogant and cocky Baelon is played by future director, Zalman King.  It says something about King’s acting career that Galaxy of Terror is not the strangest film that he ever appeared in.

Burned-out Commander Ilvar is played by Bernard Behrens, who is one of those character actors who has a very familiar face.  If you watch any movie from the 80s or 90s that features a weary homicide detective or an unsympathetic bureaucrat, it’s entirely possible that he was played by Bernard Behrens.

Kore, the ship’s cook, is played by Ray Waltson, who is another one of those very familiar character actors.  Over the course of his long career, Waltson appeared in everything from The Apartment to The Sting to Fast Times At Ridgemont High to a countless number of TV shows and TV movies.  Waltson was usually cast in comedic roles so it’s interesting to see him here, playing a role that is very much not comedic.

Alluma, an empath, is played by Erin Moran, who was best known for playing Ron Howard’s bratty sister on the somewhat terrible (but apparently popular and deathless) sitcom, Happy Days.  Moran’s explosive death scene is another reason why Galaxy of Terror has a cult following.

And finally, the “star” of the film is Edward Albert, who plays Cabren.  To return to my earlier comparison to Event Horizon, Edward Albert has the Laurence Fishburne role.

Anyway, our crew is sent on a rescue mission but, when they crash land on the planet Morganthus, they find themselves outside of a desolate pyramid.  They make the mistake of exploring the pyramid and end up being confronted by their greatest fears.  (They also eventually discover that one of their crewmates is a traitor.)  It’s pretty much a typical sci-fi slasher film but it makes an impression because, thematically, it’s just so dark.  The fears that attack the crew members are so ruthless and brutal that they will take even the most jaded of horror fans by surprise.  Galaxy of Terror is relentless and merciless in its effort to scare the audience.

What especially distinguishes Galaxy of Terror is that, despite the obviously low budget, the entire film feels sickeningly real.  A lot of credit for that has to go to James Cameron, who creates a lived-in future that actually feels a lot more plausible than anything to be found in Avatar.

So, if you have the chance, turn off the lights, watch the film in the dark, and prepare for a perfect Halloween nightmare!

Halloween On Hulu 2016 : “Area 407”


Trash Film Guru

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Shot in a mere five days just outside of Santa Clarita, California, with almost no script (apparently the dialogue was entirely ad-libbed by the cast), 2012’s Area 407 (released in certain international markets under the title of Tape 407 for whatever reason) sounded like something of a departure from the usual “found footage” nonsense when I read its brief description on Hulu’s “mystery and suspense” list, so I decided to give it a go — and that was my first mistake. The second, and perhaps most unforgivable one, was sticking with it until the end.

Here’s our set-up : sisters Trish (played by Abigail Schrader) and Jessie (Samantha Lester) are on a New Year’s Eve flight from New York to Los Angeles — recording their whole “experience” as they go, of course — when their plane starts losing altitude and, eventually, crashes. They survive, as do a small handful of…

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Halloween On Hulu 2016 : “The Amityville Haunting”


Trash Film Guru

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Why do I do it to myself?

Seriously, you (whoever “you” may be) and I both know exactly what we’re getting we’re getting into with these lame “found footage” horror flicks from The Asylum, and there’s precisely zero chance that the next one we happen across will be at all “different” to the others in any way, and yet — there it was, sitting in Hulu’s “horror and suspense” section, and I couldn’t resist it. 2011’s The Amityville Haunting. “The lost recordings of the Benson family,” we’re told, who were apparently dumb/and or broke enough to move into the infamous Amityville house house despite knowing full well what happened to the DeFeo family there years — hell, decades at this point — earlier. Cue 86 minutes of exactly what you expect.

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We start with a couple teenage kids fucking in an abandoned house, getting killed by a ghost (or…

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Halloween Havoc!: QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE (Allied Artists 1958)


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QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE has quite an interesting pedigree. Screenwriter Charles Beaumont (THE TWILIGHT ZONE) adapted a story by Ben Hecht, of all people, then director Edward Bernds got his frequent Three Stooges/Bowery Boys collaborator Ellwood Ullman to punch things up a little. The resulting mishmash is a huge contender in the “so-bad-it’s-good” sweepstakes, a sci-fi schlockfest featuring goofy special effects, sexism, and Zsa Zsa Gabor!

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The movie’s right up there with PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE  in its cheesiness, except in glorious Technicolor. Set in a futuristic 1985, space Captain Neil Patterson (Eric Fleming, RAWHIDE’s trail boss) and his intrepid crew (Dave Willock, Patrick Waltz) are assigned to shuttle Professor Konrad (sci-fi stalwart Paul Birch) to Space Station A, where there’re “indications of some trouble up there”. Off they go into the wild blue yonder, where they witness the station being blown to smithereens by a mysterious ray (via cartoon animation)…

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6 Trailers From Planet Horror


For this week’s edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers, we have 6 trailers from Planet Horror!

Planet of the Vampires (1965)

(From director Mario Bava)

Queen of Blood (1966)

Starship Invasions (1977)

Inseminoid (1981)

Galaxy of Terror (1981)

Breeders (1997)

What do you think, Halloween Visitors?

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Horror Film Review: Event Horizon (dir by Paul W. S. Anderson)


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Event Horizon, a sci-fi/horror hybrid from 1997, is one of those films that starts out with a series of title cards:

“2015 First permanent colony established on moon.”

Wait … 2015?  How did I miss that?

” 2032 Commercial mining begins on Mars.”

Yay!  Only 16 more years to wait until we’re finally on Mars!

“2040 Deep space research vessel ‘Event Horizon’ launched to explore boundaries of Solar System. She disappears without trace beyond the eighth planet, Neptune. It is the worst space disaster on record.”

Wow, that sucks.  But things happen…

“2047 Now…”

Alright, let’s get this story going!

Seven years after it disappeared, the Event Horizon suddenly sends out a distress signal.  It turns out that it didn’t blow up like everyone assumed.  Instead, it’s still out in space.  The surly crew of the Lewis & Clark is called off of leave and sent on a rescue mission.  (And when I say surly, I do mean sur-ly!  Seriously, nobody on the Lewis & Clark is in a good mood … ever!)  Accompanying the crew is Dr. Weir (Sam Neill), the scientist who designed the Event Horizon.  Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) may not be happy about having Dr. Weir on his ship but, then again, Captain Miller always seems to be annoyed about something.

The Event Horizon appears to be deserted.  The walls are covered with blood.  The captain — at least it appears to be the captain — has been crucified and left on display.  Dr. Weir explains that the Event Horizon was designed to create an artificial black hole and it’s possible that the ship went into another dimension and that it may have brought something back with it.  Other crew members speculate that the Event Horizon may have accidentally been transported to Hell.  Either way, it’s not a good thing but, after the Lewis & Clark suffers some damage, the crew find themselves stranded on the Event Horizon.

Soon, the crew members are having hallucinations.  The ship’s doctor (Kathleen Quinlan) sees her son running through the ship.  Captain Miller sees the burning corpse of a friend that he had to abandon during a previous mission.  Another crewman appears to be possessed and attempts to commit suicide by opening up the airlock.  Dr. Weir has visions of his dead wife.  Things get darker and darker.  People die.  Eyes are ripped out of sockets.  A video of the original crew is found and it’s like something out of a painting by Hieronymus Bosch.  Miller wants to blow up the Event Horizon.  Dr. Weir replies, “We are home!”

Agck!

Seriously, Event Horizon is a curious film.  I’ve seen it a few times and I have to admit that it’s never quite as good as I remembered.  If you want to get really technical about it, Event Horizon is a poorly paced film that is overly derivative of the Alien franchise and it features perhaps the worst performance of Laurence Fishburne’s career.

(Yes, even worse than his performance in Contagion…)

But, at the same time, even if I’m always somewhat disappointed with the film, Event Horizon is also a movie that stays with you.  Whatever flaws the film may have, it is genuinely scary and disturbing.  Director Paul W.S. Anderson does a good job of turning that spaceship into the ultimate floating haunted house and, even more importantly, he keeps you off-balance.  This is one of the few horror films where literally anyone can die, regardless of whether they’re top-billed or have an Oscar nomination to their name.  Whatever the evil is that has possessed the Event Horizon, it is ruthlessly and sadistically efficient.

Plus, there’s that video.  If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about.  Anderson has complained that the studio made him cut a lot of footage out of the video but what remains is disturbing enough.  Seriously, you’ll never want to hear another Latin phrase after watching Event Horizon.