Horror On TV: One Step Beyond 1.19 “The Captain’s Guests” (dir by John Newland)


On tonight’s episode of One Step Beyond, a couple moves into a house on the coast.  Everyone tells them that the house is haunted but the couple refuses to believe them.  After all, everyone knows how superstitious people are in New England.  I mean, Stephen King had to pick it up from somewhere, right?

However, after moving into the house, the couple starts to realize that they are not alone….

According to the show’s host, John Newland, this is based on a true story (maybe)!

This episode originally aired on May 26th, 1959.  The husband is played by Robert Webber, who also played Juror #12 in Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men.

Enjoy!

We All Float Down Here: Graveyard Shift (1990, directed by Ralph S. Singleton)


The old textile mill has a problem.  The people who work there keep dying, especially the ones who work the night shift.  The mill has another problem.  It’s become infested with rats.  Just stepping into the mill means you’re running the risk of having a rat fall through the ceiling and land on your head.  The evil mill foreman, Warwick (Stephen Macht), puts together a cleanup crew to work overnight and take care of the infestation.  Idealistic drifter John Hall (David Andrews) is hired to help and soon discovers that there’s something even bigger than a rat living underneath the mill.  Unfortunately, by the time that John makes his discovery, almost everyone else is dead and Warwick, having had an Apocalypse Now-style breakdown, is painting his face with muck and trying to kill whoever’s left.

This is a weak film adaptation of a throw-away Stephen King short story.  That the film itself is clearly not meant to taken seriously doesn’t make it any better.  The only thing that this film has to recommend it is Brad Dourif, who has an extended cameo as a crazy exterminator named Tucker Cleveland.  Cleveland knows everything about how rats have been weaponized over the years and he will be more than happy to explain every detail.  It’s too bad that Dourif does not have a bigger role because the movie is lot less entertaining when he’s not around.  If you do watch Graveyard Shift, stick around for the end credits so you can hear the theme song that is made up of samples of dialogue from the movie.

Horror Scenes That I Love: Trish Van Devere Explores The House In The Changeling


Since it’s Thanksgiving in Canada, it seems appropriate that today’s horror scene that I love should come from one of the best Canadian horror films of all time and….

What?

No, it’s not the disco scene from Prom Night!  Anyway, I’ve already shared that scene like a thousand times….

No, this scene is from the 1980 film, The Changeling.  Directed by Peter Medak, the film is about a house that’s haunted by the spirit of a boy who was murdered there decades ago.  When George C. Scott moves into the house, he discovers the truth about not just the murder but the political conspiracy that led to it.  It’s a really good movie.  You should watch it.

Anyway, in this atmospheric scene, Trish Van Devere explores the house.  It’s always a bit strange to watch a horror scene devoid of context but let me just say that The Changeling is such an atmopsheric and intense ghost film that you’ll never want to wander around a potentially haunted house again once you’ve seen it!

Halloween Havoc!: DRACULA’S DAUGHTER (Universal 1936)


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After the success of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN , Universal decided it was time for a sequel to everybody’s favorite vampire, Dracula , with James Whale scheduled to direct. Whale opted out, putting DRACULA’S DAUGHTER in the hands of Lambert Hillyer , an old pro who dated back to silent William S. Hart Westerns, and was more comfortable with sagebrush sagas than Gothic horror. The result was an uneven film saved by Gloria Holden’s performance as the title character, Countess Marya Zaleska.

I’ll give Hillyer credit for some atmospheric scenes scattered throughout the movie. The opening scene at Carfax Abbey, cobwebbed as ever, picks up where DRACULA left off, with Edward Van Sloan’s Van Helsing (inexplicably renamed Von Helsing here) caught by constables shortly after staking the undead Count. The Countess burning the body of her vampiric father, hoping to free herself of her curse, is spooky, as is the return…

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4 Shots From 4 Canadian Horror Films: The Changeling, Prom Night, Videodrome, Cube


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 lets the visuals do the talking.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!  Today’s edition for 4 Shots From 4 Films is dedicate to you!

4 Shots From 4 Canadian Horror Films

The Changeling (1980, dir by Peter Medak)

Prom Night (1980, dir by Paul Lynch)

Videodrome (1983, dir by David Cronenberg)

Cube (1997, dir by Vincenzo Natali)

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mirror Broken- Review By Case Wright


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Happy Horrorthon!!! This review is going to be a deep dive into eeeeeeevil nerdism.  I understand that not everyone reads this site is a techie nerd, BUUUUUUT I think we have a healthy plurality. Nothing is better than to merge an evil universe with my love of Star Trek.

I’m going to give brief recap of the Star Trek Mirror Universe.  There’s a parallel universe in Star Trek that basically capitalist/imperialist.  In that timeline, humans are aggressive and conquered the Vulcans are expansionist.  You can tell they are evil because they are avaricious and have beards- Think if Seattle/Portland went less drum circle and went more Roman.  It’s common to kill your superior to advance in the chain of command, it’s totally capitalist, and more fun in some ways because it’s a lot less model UN and much more Model Viking.

The evil universe never appeared in the Next Generation, but it did appear in Star Trek: The Original Series and then the second tier properties of Enterprise, Deep Space Nine and Voyager.  In those second tier properties, they set up a timeline that when the “Good Kirk” encouraged Spock to be reformist, it worked.  Too bad for Earth because the Empire got attacked by the other Alien Races we conquered and now Humans are pushed back to their solar system and will likely be conquered.

Where there’s life, there’s hope.  In this comic, the writers Steven and David Tipton imagine if Jean Luc Picard was uncompromising badass who is determined to bring the Terran Empire back to its former glory. How does he do this besides being really JACKED? Picard sets out to steal the Galaxy Class Enterprise.  This creates a great heist story, but it’s also super fun because it explores all of the old characters from the Next Generation and I mean ALL! There are character that were all but extras in Next Generation that are featured in the background of the book.  There are so many interesting takes on our old heroes.  Barclay is cunning, Data is experimenting with Borg-technology, and Geordie has his paramour from Next Gen, but she’s an alcoholic.  It’s so fun to go down this rabbit hole.

Back to the story, Picard reforms our familiar crew and seizes the Galaxy Class Enterprise for his own.  He could just take off and be rich, but he doesn’t.  Through some cool maneuvers, Picard decimates the Klingons and Cardassians …..nooooooo not the ones with large posteriors …. the ones with the krinkly heads.  Anyway, they go on war rampage and look like they might actually get to restore the Terran Empire!

TERRANS UNITE!

TEee

EV3

Horror Film Review: Near Dark (dir by Kathryn Bigelow)


The 1987 film Near Dark is the story of two American families.

The Coltons are a family of ranchers living Oklahoma.  Loy Colton (Tim Thomerson) is the patriarch, keeping a watchful eye on his children, Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) and Sarah (Marcie Leeds).  Caleb is a cowboy and a nice guy, even if he does seem to be a little bit too naive for his own good.  After Caleb disappears one night, Loy and Sarah start their own search, traveling across the back roads of the Southwest.

The other family may not share any biological relation to one another but they definitely share blood.  They’re a group of outcasts who have found each other and now spend their nights searching for people who can satisfy their hunger.  They’re vampires, even though that’s not a word that they tend to use.  (In fact, for all the blood-sucking that goes on throughout the film, the term “vampire” is never actually heard.)  At night, they’re all-powerful but during the day, even the slightly exposure to the sun can set them on fire.

The patriarch of this family is Jesse Hooker (Lance Henriksen), a scarred war veteran.  Jesse will do anything to protect the members of his family but he expects each of them to pull their weight.  At one point, when Jesse is asked how old he is, he says that he fought for the South and that the South lost.

Jesse’s girlfriend is Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein), who is just as ruthless as Jesse.  Filling the role of oldest son is Severen (Bill Paxton), a cocky gunslinger with a quick smile and cruel sense of humor.  Homer (Joshua Miller) appears to be a 12 year-old boy but he’s actually one of the older and more violent members of the family.  And then there’s Mae (Jenny Wright), the rebellious daughter.

Mae is the one who first met and bit Caleb.  She’s the one who turned Caleb into one of them, though it takes Caleb a while to not only discover but also understand what he’s become.  When Caleb tries to escape from Mae and his new family, he becomes violently ill.  He can no longer eat human food but, at the same time, he can’t bring himself to hunt.  Instead, he’s forced to drink whatever blood Mae can provide for him.  Even when Jesse’s group attacks a redneck bar, one cowboy manages to escape, specifically because Caleb cannot bring himself to kill him.

What is Caleb to do?  He can’t return to his old family, as much as he may want to.  (It doesn’t help that Homer has developed an obsession with Caleb’s sister, Sarah.)  At the same time, his new family says that they’re going to kill him unless he starts hunting for blood.  They only thing keeping Caleb alive is the fact that Mae likes him and even she’s telling him that he’s going to have to hunt.

Meanwhile, Loy continues his own hunt, the hunt for his son….

Long before she became the first female director to win an Oscar for The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow directed this stylish vampire film.  Visually, Bigelow emphasizes the emptiness of the Southwestern plains.  Looking at the desolate landscape, it’s easy to believe that Jesse and his family could use them to successfully hide from the rest of the world.  It’s also just as easy to believe that a well-meaning but not particularly bright young man like Caleb could get lost and not be able to find his way home.  Bigelow turns the vampire family into a group of modern-day outlaws, crossing the land in their sun-proofed vehicles and trying to stay one step ahead of modern-day posses made up by concerned families and law enforcement officers who don’t know what they’re getting into.

Even if not for Bigelow’s stylish direction, the film would be a classic for just the cast alone.  Henriksen, Paxton, and Goldstein all previously appeared in James Cameron’s Aliens and they have a camaraderie that feels real.  In fact, the vampires work so well together that it’s impossible not to kind of admire them.  They’ve got it together and, even when faced with an army of police officers determined to make them step out into the sunlight, they don’t lose their sardonic sense of humor.  The much missed Bill Paxton’s performance is a hyperactive marvel, both menacing and sexy at the same time.  Meanwhile, Jenny Wright and Adrian Pasdar have a likable chemistry as Mae and Caleb while Tim Thomerson makes Loy’s love and concern for his son feel so real that adds an unexpected emotional depth to the overall movie.  The script, written by Eric Red and Bigelow, is full of quotable dialogue and the cast takes full advantage of it.

Near Dark is vampire classic and definitely one to watch this Halloween season.