Horror on TV: Tales From The Crypt 5.9 “Creep Course” (dir by Jeffrey Boam)

For tonight’s excursion into televised horror, how about a little mummy-related terror!?

That’s what you get this episode of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt!  From season 5, here is the ninth episode — Creep Course!  What happens when you mix the principal from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the brain from the Breakfast Club with a mummy?  Mayhem!

This episode originally aired on November 10th, 1993.

The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: Subject 0: Shattered Memories (dir by Tiziano Cella)


Last year, I had the chance to watch Subject 0: Shattered Memories, the feature-length debut of director Tiziano Cella.

Subject 0 is a film that juggles several different but ultimately connected storylines.  In Rome, a woman wakes up one morning to discover that her lover has been murdered while she was asleep.  Her husband, at first, acts as if he’s shocked to discover that she was cheating on him but, as the film progresses, we have reason to doubt anything that he says.  As the film progresses, more and more people turn up murdered.  A police inspector tries to solve the crime but he has no idea that one his colleagues has an agenda of her own.

Meanwhile, Josh (played by the film’s director) divides his time between his apartment and work.  He has a crush on a co-worker but she already has a boyfriend.  Josh’s neighbor continually threatens to call the police on him for making too much noise.  All the while, Josh finds himself having hallucinations and comes to realize that there are huge chunks of his day that he cannot remember.  Is Josh the murderer or is there something else going on?

And could it have anything to do with a group of sinister business executives who have been working on a project to develop a super soldier?

As a lot of our readers I know, I absolutely love old school Italian thrillers.  Whether it’s the classic giallo films of Mario Bava, Dario Argento, and Sergio Martino or the gore-filled waking nightmares of Lucio Fulci, I love Italian horror.  Subject 0 is a throwback to those old horror films, which is one reason why I enjoyed it.  It combined the gore of Fulci with the suspense of Bava and the imagery of Argento and, as a result, Subject 0 is a tribute to everything that we love about Italian horror.

With the way that Subject O combined multiple storylines, body horror, conspiracy paranoia, and domestic drama, it also reminded me a bit of the classic British horror film, Scream and Scream Again.  Much like that film, Subject 0 demands a little patience.  Not all of its mysteries are immediately solveable.  The clues are provided but, often times, it is up to the audience to put them together.  (Subject 0 respects the intelligence of the audience and isn’t that a nice change of pace?)  But for the observant viewer, Subject 0 delivers a powerful and, in its way, thought-provoking payoff.

In the end, Subject 0 is a nice combination of visceral shock and more subtle psychological thrills.  Tiziano Cella does excellent work as both a director and an actor in this film and I look forward to seeing what he brings us in the future!

A Sneak Peek At Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


“There are two types of beings in the universe. Those who dance and those who do not.”

Another brief break from our regularly scheduled horror programming courtesy of Marvel Studios and James Gunn (and the rockin’ sweet poster of the whole Guardians looking like they’re about to drop the hottest 80’s rock album in history).

Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise hit for Marvel Studios in 2014. It was an obscure Marvel Comics property that many thought would finally end the long streak of box-office success for Marvel Studios and it’s growing and ever-expanding Cinematic Universe. Instead, it was a huge hit with audiences and critics, alike.

This was the film that finally cemented the arrival of a juggernaut blockbuster studio. One that ended up tying Warner Bros. and DC Studios into so many knots in trying to keep up. If Marvel Studios could make a film that had a talking raccoon and tree who spoke only one phrase into a major hit then surely a film with Batman and Superman sharing the screen would be a mega-success.

Now, we have to wait until the start of the 2017 Summer film season to see what new cosmic adventures and hi-jinks Star-Lord and his Guardians of the Galaxy have been getting into.

Until then James Gunn has released this sneak peek (pretty much a teaser trailer) into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (he did promise there will be an official trailer coming soon).

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is set for a May 5, 2017 in theaters everywhere.

Halloween Havoc!: Bela Lugosi Meets The East Side Kids… Twice!

cracked rear viewer


Ten years after making horror history as DRACULA,   Bela Lugosi signed a contract with Monogram Studios producer Sam Katzman   to star in a series of low-budget shockers. The films have been affectionately dubbed by fans “The Monogram Nine” and for the most part are really terrible, redeemed only by the presence of our favorite Hungarian. Two of the films were with the East Side Kids, SPOOKS RUN WILD and GHOSTS ON THE LOOSE, making them sort of Poverty Row All-Star Productions for wartime audiences.

I won’t go too deeply into all the Dead End Kids/East Side Kids/Bowery Boys variations here. Suffice it to say original Dead Enders Leo Gorcey   (Muggs), Huntz Hall (Glimpy), and Bobby Jordan (Danny) landed at Monogram after their Warner Brothers contracts expired, much to Jack Warner’s relief. The young actors were a rowdy bunch, and Jack was probably glad to be rid of them! Anyway, the trio were popular with the masses, and…

View original post 621 more words

Horror Film Review: They Look Like People (dir by Perry Blackshear)


I am sure that there are some people would probably be willing to debate me on whether or not They Look Like People should be considered a horror film.  That’s fair enough.  They Look Like People is a film that, in many ways, defies easy characterization.  It’s a drama that is occasionally very comedic.  It’s a love story that isn’t necessarily romantic.  It’s an undeniably eerie film, one that keeps you guessing.  It’s a film that left me feeling very uneasy.  It made me jump and it made me doubt the shadows in the house and, for that reason, I feel comfortable calling it a horror film.

I can’t tell you too much about They Look Like People, not without spoiling it.  This is a film where unanswered questions hang over every scene.  The film eventually answers those questions but it would not be right for a reviewer to do the same thing.  Usually, I hate it when people go crazy over spoilers but They Look Like People is not a film that I would ever dream of spoiling.

It’s an indie film, about two old friends.  Christian (Evan Dumouchel) is still dealing with the insecurities of his youth.  He obsessively listens to self-help tapes.  He goes out of his way to present an image of hypermasculinity.  The thing is, as hard as he tries to come across as being an alpha male, he’s not very good at it.  The weakness and the insecurity is always right underneath the surface.  He has a crush on his boss (Margaret Ying Drake) and, despite his issues, she seems to like him as well.

One day, Christian happens to run into his childhood friend, Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews).  Wyatt, who used to have everything, now appears to be nearly homeless.  Christian invites Wyatt to stay with him at his apartment.  Wyatt claims that he has friends to stay with but soon, he is crashing on Christian’s couch.

Christian and Wyatt spend a lot of time talking about old times and there’s something undeniably charming about watching these two embrace the geekiness of their youth.  However, what Christian does not know is that Wyatt rarely sleeps through the night.  Instead, he’s regularly woken by intense nightmares.  Once awake, Wyatt wanders around the apartment, hiding weapons under chairs.  Occasionally, Wyatt gets a phone call from a mysterious voice that informs him that the demons will be invading soon.  The demons look like people.  The only way to expose them is to pour sulphuric acid on their face…

Is Wyatt crazy?  Or are the demons truly coming?  You’ll have to watch the movie to find out!  (Look for it on Netflix.  It’s there.)

They Look Like People is an amazingly creepy little film, one that repeatedly catch you off guard.  (At the same time, the film does eventually provide a definitive answer to its questions.  Admirably, this is not a film that tries to have it both ways.)  Deliberately paced and well-acted, They Look Like People is an excellent film that will keep you guessing.

Halloween Havoc! Extra: A Brief Interlude with Tor Johnson on His Birthday

cracked rear viewer


Ed Wood’s favorite ghoul, Tor Johnson was born on this date in 1903. The wrestler-turned-actor (long before Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson!) began appearing in films in the 1930’s in bit parts before being cast as Bela Lugosi’s henchman Lobo in BRIDE OF THE MONSTER, and becoming one of horror’s iconic characters (so iconic, a Halloween mask created by Don Post in Tor’s likeness became Post’s biggest seller ever!).

In 1959, Tor made an appearance on Groucho Marx’s YOU BET YOUR LIFE quiz show. The acerbic Groucho needled the former “Super Swedish Angel”, and as you can see in this clip, TOR NOT LIKE FUNNY LITTLE MAN!:

Happy birthday, Tor!!

View original post

4 Shots From Horror History: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jaws, Carrie, The Omen

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 Shots From 4 Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we continue with the 70s!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper)

Jaws (1975, dir by Steven Spielberg)

Jaws (1975, dir by Steven Spielberg)

Carrie (1976, dir by Brian DePalma)

Carrie (1976, dir by Brian DePalma)

The Omen (1976, dir by Richard Donner)

The Omen (1976, dir by Richard Donner)

Horror on the Lens: The Phantom of the Opera (dir by Rupert Julian)


Today’s horror movie on the Shattered Lens is both a classic of silent era and one of the most influential horror films ever made.  It’s one that I previously shared in 2013 and 2o15 but it’s such a classic that I feel that it is worth sharing a second time.  Add to that, the original video that I embedded has been taken off of YouTube.

First released in 1925, The Phantom of the Opera is today best known for both Lon Chaney’s theatrical but empathetic performance as the Phantom and the iconic scene where Mary Philbin unmasks him. However, the film is also a perfect example of early screen spectacle. The Phantom of the Opera was released during that period of time, between Birth of the Nation and the introduction of sound, when audiences expected films to provide a visual feast and Phantom of the Opera certainly accomplishes that. Indeed, after watching this film and reading Gaston Leroux’s original novel, it’s obvious that the musical was inspired more by the opulence of this film than by the book.

This film is also historically significant in that it was one of the first films to be massively reworked as the result of a poor test screening. The film’s ending was originally faithful to the end of the novel. However, audiences demanded something a little more dramatic and that’s what they got.

Music Video of the Day: Intergalactic by Beastie Boys (1998, dir. Adam Yauch)

I don’t have a lot to say about this music video. It’s the Beastie Boys having fun with Japanese monster movies just like they did with Danger: Diabolik (1968) for the Body Movin’ music video. They even filmed parts of it in Japan. It was directed by Adam Yauch under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hornblower. What I mostly have to say about this is the interesting copyright/version issues that seem to be at work here.

You may have noticed that video above is not official. I’m pretty sure you can find any other Beastie Boys music video on YouTube, but not this one. Well, not since sometime after September 14th, 2009 as you can see where EMI once had it posted. You can find the song posted twice as part of this new YouTube music thing they have been doing.

You’ll hear that both of them are missing something that is in the music video. It is also missing from my copy that I obtained from iTunes a few years ago. According to Wikipedia, it was on the album. This song originally began with a sample of Stravinsky’s ballet Rite of Spring. I guess they must have lost the rights, or didn’t think it was worth it. How much you wanna bet it was after the Men at Work fiasco over the flute riff in Down Under in 2009?

Strangely, the video is over on VEVO with a different piece of classical music. You can also hear this version below thanks to Dailymotion. If you are running an ad blocker then follow this link because Dailymotion has decided to try and be clever by only letting the audio through if their ad is blocked.

The Wikipedia article on Rite of Spring makes it look like it’s very well-known, but is a nightmare of a piece when it comes to copyright and different versions of it.

Songfacts sorta comes to my rescue here. They say it opens with a sample from Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky that was edited out of the radio version. From what I can tell, the version I posted at the start samples the beginning of Night on Bald Mountain.

However, the version I linked to that is on VEVO and embedded from Dailymotion does sample from Rite of Spring as you can hear below.

According to Songfacts and Wikipedia, they also incorporated Les Baxter’s version of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude C-sharp Minor” and “Love is Blue” by The Jazz Crusaders. I’ve embedded the first one and a different version of the second one below.

I couldn’t pick out those in the song. I also don’t know for sure what was on the original album cause I don’t own a hard copy. Wikipedia also seems to indicate that there were two different versions of the music video to begin with, but doesn’t shine any light on the online posting situation from what I can see.

It’s always an adventure when I sit down to write one of these posts. Enjoy!