The Revenant (The Waaaaay Better One) Review by Case Wright


The Revenant …. nooooo not the one where Leonardo Di Caprio gets Bear Married (Bearried?)…this is the one where David Anders (iZombie- Blane) and Chris Wylde become crime fighting zombies in Los Angeles!!!! There are certain films that are just fun.  So, pop open a PBR, hang with your buds or your SO, and enjoy a truly great Vampire/Zombie film.

The film was directed, written, edited, and special-effected by D. Kerry Prior.  This film is totally in the same vein as Evil Dead.  Many people making the film knew one another, D Kerry Prior wore many hats, and they managed to show it at many festivals and did well.  This is a great example of how fun horror can be without a lot of money….IF you have a good script and dedicated people working with you.  This is so amazingly over the top; there is even a scene where a disembodied head speaks with the assistance of a sex toy on his vocal cords.  You just don’t see that everyday!

The film takes the idea that Vampires are basically zombies, but still sapient after their reawakening; therefore, they call them Revenants as in returning.  Yes, they still drink blood, but they look like zombies with the rotting and the yellow eyes and such.  D. Kerry Prior took the idea that if they are still sentient post-return maybe they’d use their invincibility for good.  And what is best thing a person can be you ask?????  A Zombie/Vampire/Crimefighter.  Yes, they fight crime!

The film begins in Iraq with Sergeant Bart Gregory (David Anders) who gets shot and turned into a a Revenant (zombie/vampire) by a baby zombie/vampire who is pretty gross.  Bart’s body is shipped home and reanimates.  The only knock I give the film is that Bart goes from SGT to Lieutenant from one scene to the next, but you just have to let it go.  Bart relies on his friend Joey to adjust to his new Revenant undead lifestyle.  They learn that not only does Bart survive on blood, but there are a panoply of criminals in Los Angeles waiting to be tapped for Bart’s plasma needs.

Eventually, Joey gets shot during one their criminal harvests and Bart turns him into a Revenant to save him. Then, they have an awesome montage of killing and blood eating.  It’s just great! All the while, there is a subplot of his relationship between Bart and his girlfriend Janet who eventually get turns as well.  This creates a Yoko situation and Joey and Bart try to kill each other.  Joey flees and tries to harvest on his own and ends up getting decapitated …. and the head lives!  Bart has to put Joey down, leaving Bart with no reason to unlive.  Bart tries to commit suicide in a number of interesting ways and it just doesn’t work.  I won’t give away the ending, but it’s pretty interesting.

I’ve seen this film about five times and I’ve been entertained every…single…time.  After I first saw it, iZombie premiered shortly after with David Anders as the main villain, making this movie doubly awesome because we got to see David Anders pre-stardom.  There are a number of low-budget TERRIBLE horror movies and I’ve watched MANY of them.  This film is testament to how far you can push this genre creatively and still do it on low-budget.  I highly recommend it as a must see!

Horror On TV: Kolchak: The Night Stalker 1.9 “The Spanish Moss Murders” (dir by Gordon Hessler)

Tonight, on Kolchak….

People are turning up dead.  Well, what else is new?  That’s pretty much been the plot of every Kolchak episode so far.  However, this time, they’re turning up dead while covered with Spanish moss!

Oh my God, could it be the Cajuns?

Well, as a matter of fact, it is.  As Kolchak discovers when he investigates, all of the dead people were somehow connected to a comatose Cajun….

Richard Kiel, who played the monster in the previous episode of Kolchak, returns here to play yet another monster.

The episode originally aired on December 6th, 1974!

Horror Scenes That I Love: Bela Lugosi’s Monologue in Bride of the Monster

“Home?  I have no home.”

So begins the monologue that serves as the centerpiece of the 1955 Ed Wood film, Bride of the Monster.  The monologue is delivered by Bela Lugosi, appearing in one of his final roles.

Far too often, people tend to be snarky about the work that Lugosi did under the direction of Ed Wood.  But you know what?

He actually delivers a pretty good performance in Bride of the Monster.

Ignore all of the stuff about atomic supermen and instead, just pay attention to the way Lugosi delivers the lines.  Pay attention to the pain in his voice as he says that he has no home.  Pay attention and you’ll discover that Lugosi actually gave a good performance in Bride of the Monster.  He delivers the lines with such wounded pride that you can’t help but think that maybe we should let him create a race of atomic supermen.

Among the old horror icons, Lugosi has always been the most underrated actor.  He got typecast early and he appeared in some unfortunate films but Bela Lugosi had real talent and you can see it in this scene.

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films: Bride Of The Monster, The Unearthly, Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Beast of Yucca Flats

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.

Today is Tor Johnson’s birthday so it just seems appropriate to present….

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films

Bride of the Monster (1955, directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)

The Unearthly (1957, dir by Boris Petroff)

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959, dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961, dir by Coleman Francis)

Everyone’s Crazy: Committed (1991, directed by William A. Levey)

After her lover and employer commits suicide, nurse Susan Manning (Jennifer O’Neill) needs a new job so she applies at an experimental mental hospital that is known as the Institute.  The director of the Institute, Dr. Magnus Quilly (William Windom), explains to her that he cures his patients by allowing them to live out their fantasies in a controlled environment.  He asks Susan is she’s prepared to “commit” herself to being a nurse.  Susan says that she is and signs the papers that Dr. Quilly hands to her.

Too late, Susan discovers that Dr. Quilly didn’t hand her an employment contract.  Instead, Susan has just signed her own commitment papers and is now a patient at the Institute!  Dr. Quilly tells her that, as he does with all of his patients, he will allow her to live out her fantasy of being a nurse.  After discovering than an electrified fence makes it impossible to escape, Susan starts working as a nurse but she soon discovers that she is not the first person to be tricked into working at the Institute and that almost all of her predecessors died under mysterious circumstances.

Committed is one of many films about what happens when the lunatics literally take over the asylum.  (This is a plot that was first used by Edgar Allan Poe in The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether.)  The film is hurt by its low-budget but veteran B-movie director William A. Levey does a good job playing up the claustrophobia of being trapped in one location and Committed features eccentric performances from actors like Robert Forster, Ron Pallilo, and Sidney Lassick.  Committed asks, “Who is actually sane in an insane world?” and answers, “Everyone’s crazy!”

The best thing about Committed is that it stars Jennifer O’Neill, a beautiful model-turned-actress who found brief stardom when she appeared as the war bride in Summer of ’42.  Though O’Neill’s career never lived up to the promise of her first film, she was a better-than-average actress and she’s pretty good in Committed.  Both she and the film keep it deliberately ambiguous about whether or not Susan is really a nurse or if her whole backstory is just something that she’s fantasized.

Committed is a well-made B-movie from the golden age of straight-to-video thrillers and late night HBO premieres.  Despite a low-budget, this movie shows the good work that a cast and a director can do when they’re fully committed.

Halloween Havoc!: CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN (Universal 1943)

cracked rear viewer

Universal decided the time was ripe for a new monster, and 1943’s CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN introduced the world to Paula Dupree, aka The Ape Woman! What’s that you say? You’ve never HEARD of her? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – The Ape Woman is the most obscure of the Universal Monsters despite the fact she was featured in three films, with various degrees of quality. The first is the best of the bunch, a fun little ‘B’ lifted by the presence of John Carradine in the first of his patented mad scientist roles.

Animal trainer Fred Mason returns from Africa with a shipload of lions, tigers, and a powerful female gorilla named Cheela. He’s greeted at the docks by his sweetie Beth Colman, who tells Fred that her sister Dorothy has “some kind of glandular problem” and is being treated at Crestview Sanitarium by endocrinology expert Dr. Sigmund Walters. Walters…

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Halloween Havoc! Extra: When Strikes Tor Johnson!!

cracked rear viewer

Today we celebrate the birthday of everybody’s favorite wrestler-turned-actor named Johnson… no, not Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but the hulking Tor Johnson (1902-1971)! Before he starred in all those Ed Wood epics, Tor was a pro wrestler billed as ‘The Super Swedish Angel’ (a bad guy, of course), and performed in hundreds (perhaps thousands) of bouts around the globe. Each year, Cracked Rear Viewer pays tribute to the 6’3″, 400 lb. behemoth, and this year I’ve unearthed a clip from a 1948 Budd Boetticher-directed noir called BEHIND LOCKED DOORS, in which Tor beats the crap out of another horror/sci-fi icon, Richard Carlson . Happy birthday, O Mighty Tor!:

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Horror Film Review: Witchboard (dir by Kevin Tenney)

Oh my God, what is the thing with Ouija boards in movies?

Seriously, nothing good ever comes from using one.  I have seen hundreds of movies featuring people foolishly using Ouija boards and, without fail, it always seems to lead to someone getting possessed by an evil spirit and then killing all of their friends.  Whenever I see anyone using a Ouija board in a movie, I always want to ask them if they’ve never seen a horror movie before.

Then again, despite knowing all the of the terrible things that can happen as a result, I have had a few Ouija board experiences.  For instance, when I was like 13, I asked a Ouija board if a boy named Diego liked my friend Jenny.  The board replied that Diego liked me and Jenny needed to deal with it.  Jenny accused me of manipulating the pointer and basically never spoke to me again but I suppose that’s better than either one of us getting possessed by a homicidal spirit.  Myself, I don’t even believe in ghosts but I still find it difficult to resist a séance.

I guess my point is that it’s easy to laugh at movie characters who foolishly use Ouija boards but the main reason were laughing is because we know that we’re just as stupid as they are.

I recently watched one of the better Ouija board movies, 1988’s Witchboard.  It’s about an angry spirit that might be named David, a skeptic named Jim (Todd Allen), a believer named Brandon (Stephen Nichols), and the woman who they both love, Linda (Tawny Kitaen).  When I watched the movie, I immediately related to Linda, mostly because we both have red hair and everyone in the kept talking about how Linda hardly ever curses.  That’s pretty much the way I am too, though there are exceptions.  For instance, on Monday, the internet was down for 12 hours and I cursed up a storm.  Linda, meanwhile, starts cursing after she has a bad experience with a Ouija board.

Jim (who is Linda’s current boyfriend) and Brandon (who is Linda’s ex) spend a lot of time debating who is to blame for Linda potentially getting possessed.  Personally, I hold them both responsible.  Brandon is the one who brought his Ouija board to Jim and Linda’s party.  Brandon is also the one who contacts the spirit of a boy named David.  At the same time, Jim’s the one who insulted the spirit, which led to Brandon’s tires getting slashed and Brandon storming out of the party.  Brandon left behind his Ouija board, which Linda then used unsupervised.  (Apparently, that’s something you should never do.)  Basically, Jim and Brandon came together to form a perfect storm of testosterone-driven incompetence in this movie.

Soon, people are dying and Linda’s acting weird.  When one of Jim’s friends is killed in a construction accident, Linda is upset to see that Jim didn’t even cry.  Brandon informs her that Jim has “ice water in his veins.”  For his part, Jim just wants to know why Linda is suddenly using so much profanity.  Brandon brings in a medium named Zarabeth (played by Kathleen Wilhoite), who is one of those extremely flamboyant and outspoken characters that you’ll either totally love or thoroughly hate.  (Personally, I liked the character.  Even if she was somewhat annoying, she brought a jolt of life to the film.)  Zarabeth attempts to exorcise the spirit of David and ends up getting tossed out a window as a result.

It’s tempting to just shrug and say, “Well, this is what happens when you mess around with the spirit world,” but Witchboard actually does a pretty good job of developing its characters and getting you to care about what happens to them.  The fact that Jim and Brandon are both in love with Linda adds a bit of unexpected depth to the film’s story.  Does Brandon really believe that Linda is being stalked by a spirit or is he just trying to win her back for himself?  Even the seemingly throw-away detail about Jim’s emotional reticence pays off later in the movie.  And, when that evil spirit does finally actually make a physical appearance, he’s just as creepy as you would hope he would be.

Witchboard is a definitely a film that will be appreciated by anyone who has ever used a Ouija board and felt kind of nervous about it afterwards.

Horror Song of the Day: The Shape Returns “Halloween 2018” (by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies)


Today we see the wide release of David Gordon-Green’s sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween. A film that’s a direct sequel to the horror classic, David Gordon-Green was able to bring in John Carpenter himself to compose the film’s score just as he did for the original film.

This time around, Carpenter is accompanied this time around by his son, Cody Carpenter, and godson, Daniel Davies. So, we have three generations with the original Halloween in their DNA attempting to improve or, at the very least, not make the score to this official sequel sound like just a copy and paste of the original score.

I would say, after listening to the full score a couple times, that these trio have succeeded where others have failed in scoring the other films in the franchise. My favorite track from this new score has to be the one titled, “The Shape Returns.”

With more modern electronic and synthesizer equipment available for use, Carpenter and his helpers were able to take the main Halloween theme and give it a more modern, angrier and menacing (if that’s even possible) sound for “The Shape Returns.”

Horror on the Lens: The House on Haunted Hill (dir by William Castle)

The original The House on Haunted Hill is a classic and one that we make it a point to share every Halloween.  And since Erin shared the film’s poster earlier today, now seems like the perfect time to do so!

Be sure to check out Gary’s review by clicking here!

Enjoy Vincent Price at his best!