Halloween On Amazon Prime 2017 : “Ghostfinders”

Trash Film Guru

At this point, you have to wonder where and when this whole “ghost hunting” thing will end.

“Reality” TV is full of this kind of crap, of course, as is the “micro-budget” horror scene, and on a purely practical level it certainly makes sense : you don’t need much money, after all, to make a film where amateur acting, equally amateur cinematography (usually of the “shaky-cam” variety), and “hinted at but not really seen” effects work are built right into the story itself. In short, where unprofessionalism is not only countenanced, but expected. With all that in mind, then, it would probably be terribly naive to expect this burgeoning sub-genre of “found footage” horror (a sub-genre in and of itself) to go away anytime soon — but goddamn, sometimes I wish it would.

Case in point : 2015’s Ghostfinders, a zero-budget effort that comes our way courtesy…

View original post 370 more words

Halloween On Amazon Prime 2017 : “They Exist”

Trash Film Guru

Hard is it may be to believe in this day and age, there once was a time when the tag-line “Based On A True Story” was used to sell a film. It was a simpler and more naive era, I suppose — but as the years progressed, most audiences wised up to the fact that even these purportedly “true” stories were heavily fictionalized, if not outright fabrications, and so movie-makers started giving themselves a little bit of breathing room (not to mention legal protection) by claiming that their productions were merely “inspired by true stories” or, to push the degrees of separation out a bit even further, “inspired by true events.” These days, though, who are we kidding? Even these tepid labels impress precisely no one — but apparently Connecticut-based producer/director/actor BuAli Shah didn’t get the message, because he was still trying to gin up interest in his 2014 straight-to-streaming…

View original post 480 more words

Horror on TV: Thriller 2.12 “The Return of Andrew Bentley” (dir by John Newland)

For tonight’s televised horror, we have another episode of the Boris Karloff-hosted anthology series, Thriller!

Like many of the Thriller episodes that we’ve shared this month, this episode deals with an inheritance and a possibly haunted house.  Ellis Corbett (John Newland, who also directed) promises his uncle that, after his uncle’s death, Ellis will never leave the family mansion and that he will always check to make sure that the crypt has not been disturbed.  The uncle promptly kills himself and Ellis soon discovers just why exactly he cannot leave the mansion.

This atmospheric episode features a script by Richard Matheson and a frightening performance from Reggie Nalder, who is best known for his roles in both The Man Who Knew Too Much and Salem’s Lot!


Jedadiah Leland’s Horrific Adventures In The Internet Archive #16: Scapeghost (1989, Level 9)

Continuing my journey through the dark side of the Internet Archive, I played Scapeghost (1989, Level 9).

Scapeghost is a blast.

At one time, you were Alan Chase, a narcotics detective who was on the verge of a big bust.  Then you and your partner, Sarah, were ambushed by the dealers.  Sarah was kidnapped.  You died.  When you returned as a ghost, you got to attend your own funeral.  That is when you found out that Sarah was still missing and that everyone blamed you for getting killed.

Why was your spirit still in the mortal plane?  Was it so you could save Sarah and clear your name?

You have three days to get the job done.

Scapeghost is a text adventure, with optional graphics.  Strangely, the game is written in the first person.  For instance, type “go north” and the game will respond with something like, “I headed north.”  At first, it’s awkward but it doesn’t take too long to get used to it.  The puzzles are challenging but not impossible and there’s a lot of fun to be had in haunting people.  (You get extra points every time you scare a certain character.)

The best thing about Scapeghost?  Once the drug dealers figure out that you’ve come back from the dead, they bring in a priest to perform an exorcism!  Don’t worry, though.  Just leave your grave before he finishes the ceremony and you will still be able to save Sarah and clear your name.

One final note: Scapeghost was the last text adventure to be published by Level 7.  They went out on a high note.

A Movie A Day #291: Pale Blood (1990, directed by V.V. Dachin Hsu and Michael W. Leighton)

Someone is murdering women in Los Angeles and draining them of their blood.  A mysterious detective named Michael Fury (George Chakiris) arrives from London and starts to investigate.  Fury is a vampire but he is a thoroughly modern vampire.  He even has his own special travel coffin that he takes with him on trips.  To help him with his investigation, he hires a researcher named Lori (Pamela Ludwig).  Lori is convinced that the killings are being committed by a real vampire but Michael believes that they are actually the work of a human who is only pretending to be one of the undead.  Michael is worried that this fake vampire will make real vampires look bad.  Meanwhile, a crazy photographer (Wings Hauser) stalks Michael, determined to capture a vampire of his very own.

Pale Blood went straight-to-video and does not have the budget to match its ambitions but it is still a fairly good, if overlooked, vampire movie.  George Chakiris, who is best known for his role in West Side Story, had the right look to play a brooding vampire and he and Pamela Ludwig made a good team.  Not surprisingly, the best thing about Pale Blood was Wings Hauser.  In this movie, Wings Hauser gave a performance that was demented even by the standards of Wings Haauser.  Hauser is so crazy in this movie that Pale Blood sets the standard by which all other crazy Wing Hauser performances must be judged.

One final note: the vhs cover art, which is pictured above, features a shot of Wings Hauser that was apparently lifted from a different movie.


Halloween Havoc!: I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (RKO 1943)

cracked rear viewer

Val Lewton’s  I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE is, despite the exploitative title, one of the most moody and atmospheric horror films of the 40’s. This was Lewton’s follow up to the highly successful CAT PEOPLE (1942), with Jacques Tourneur again in the director’s chair. Though screenwriters Curt Siodmak and Ardel Wray based their script on a story by Inez Wallace, producer Lewton had them add elements of Charlotte Bronte’s JANE EYRE, making this a  Gothic zombie movie!

Nurse Betsy Connell (Frances Dee) is summoned to the West Indies isle of St. Sebastian to look after Paul Holland’s (Tom Conway ) catatonic wife Jessica. The cynical Holland has an air of melancholy about him (“There’s no beauty here”, he states on the sea trip to the island, “only decay and death”). Upon arrival, Betsy meets Holland’s stepbrother Wesley Reed (James Ellison), a jovial sort until he gets in the presence of…

View original post 409 more words

Horror Scenes That I Love: The Bridge Attack Scene From Two Orphan Vampires

Today’s horror scene that I love comes from the 1997 French film, Two Orphan Vampires.

I knew that I really wanted to share a scene from Two Orphan Vampires on this date.  It’s my favorite Jean Rollin film.  Unfortunately, most of the really good scenes have been taken off of YouTube.  That said, I do like the way Rollin uses the color blue in this scene and the opening image of those two blind vampires walking across the bridge is still a strong one.  When viewed out of context, the attack on the poet may be seen weak but actually it’s just another example of Rollin’s dream-like aesthetic.  If the attack on the poet seems fake, that may be because it wasn’t supposed to have really happened.

Watch the film and it’ll make sense.

Jedadiah Leland’s Horrific Adventures In The Internet Archive #15: Ghostbusters — Basic Training (1987, Activision)

Who wouldn’t want to be a member of the Ghostbusters?  (No, not the new version.  I’m talking about the version with Venkman and Ray and Egon.)  I got a chance to try when, while exploring the dark side of the Internet Archive, I played Ghostbusters — Basic Training (1987, Activision, Inc.).

Unfortunately, it turns out that catching ghosts is far more difficult than I originally assumed.

This is what the game starts with.  A night in a haunted house?  No problem, I can do that standing on my head.  I pressed return.

There’s the familiar logo!  I pressed return again.

Good.  I’m in front of the house.  Let’s get started with the training.  From my own experience playing text adventures, I know that the first thing I should do is check my inventory.

A text adventure that does not understand one of the most basic commands in interactive fiction?  That seems strange but I’ll adjust.  Since the description of my location disappeared when I typed in inventory, I’ll take another look around.

“Look,” I type.

An adventure game that doesn’t know the look command?  I search my memory and try to remember the directions that were previously listed.  The house was to the northwest.

“NW” I type.


What?  Maybe I got the directions wrong.





“Go house.”

“Go porch.”



You get the idea.  Because the game and I are speaking different languages, I have yet to actually enter the house and get trained.  I haven’t even managed to step on the porch yet.

I’m never going to be a Ghostbuster.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Jacques Tourneur Edition!

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.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director: Jacques Tourneur!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Cat People (1942, dir by Jacques Tourneur)

I Walked With A Zombie (1943, dir by Jacques Tourneur)

The Leopard Man (1943, dir by Jacques Tourneur)

Night of the Demon (1957, dir by Jacques Tourneur)

Jedadiah Leland’s Horrific Adventures In The Internet Archive #14: Terror in Christmas Town (1995)

For my latest journey through the dark side of the Internet Archive, I played Terror In Christmas Town (1995).

In Terror in Christmas Town, you are on a mission.  A magic elf has been kidnapped by an evil demon and is being held prisoner in a castle.  You must rescue the elf.  It’s a typical first person shooter.

Does this look familiar?  Is anyone else getting a Wolfenstein/Doom feel yet?

Using the arrow keys, I start to explore the game.  This sure is reminding me of Wolfenstein 3D.  Remember how exciting it was the first time that you managed to kill Hitler in that game?  That was so cool and … oh hey, who is that ahead of me?  Maybe this friendly polar bear will show me how to break into the castle.

Excuse me, Mr. Polar Bear?

Bad idea.

Just as Wolfenstein has Nazis and Doom has demons, Terror in Christmas Town has mutant polar bears and they are definitely not your friend.  I do not know if that snowman in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen was meant to literally be me but I do know that, every time I got hit by the polar bear, the snowman melted a little.  Once Frosty has been reduced to a puddle and a hat, the game ended.

As with all games, there is a learning curve here.  The curve is even steeper when you’re playing the instructionless version that has been uploaded to the internet archive.  Once you figure out how to actually draw and fire your gun, the game gets a lot easier.  I like the holiday theme but the game mostly just made me want to play Wolfenstein again.