Horror on TV: The Veil Episode 8 “Summer Heat” (dir by George Waggner)


On tonight’s episode of The Veil.

There’s been a murder!  Or has there?  Edward Paige (Henry Bartell) swears that he saw someone murdered in a nearby apartment but, when the police investigate, they discover that the apartment appears to be totally deserted.  Still convinced that he saw something, Edward is sent for a psychiatric evaluation from Dr. Mason (Boris Karloff, playing a sympathetic role for once).  Dr. Mason says that Edward’s not making it up.  Edward swears that he saw something.  But what?

This is a pretty good episode.  Think of it as being Rear Window with an extra twist.  Boris Karloff hosts as well as co-stars.

Enjoy!

Monster Chiller Horror Theatre: Deadly Companion (1980, directed by George Bloomfield)


Deadly Companion starts with John Candy sitting in a mental institution and snorting cocaine while happily talking to his roommate, Michael Taylor (Michael Sarrazin).  Michael has been in the institution ever since the night that he walked in on his estranged wife being murdered.  Because of the shock, he can’t remember anything that he saw that night.  When his girlfriend Paula (Susan Clark) comes to pick Michael up, Michael leaves the institution determined to get to the truth about his wife’s murder.  Once Michael leaves, John Candy disappears from the movie.

Michael suspects that his wife was killed by her lover, Lawrence Miles (Anthony Perkins) but there is more to that night than Michael is remembering.  Deadly Companion is a typical low-budget shot-in-Toronto thriller from the early 80s, with familiar Canadian character actors like Michael Ironside, Al Waxman, Kenneth Welsh, and Maury Chaykin all playing small roles.  Michael Sarrazin is a dull lead but Anthony Perkins gets to do what he did best at the end of his career and plays a thoroughly sarcastic bastard who gets the only good lines in the film.

What’s interesting about Deadly Companion isn’t the predictable plot and it’s certainly not Michael Sarrazin.  Instead, what’s strange is that several cast members of SCTV show up in tiny supporting roles, though none of them get as much of a chance to make as big an impression as John Candy.  Deadly Companion is a serious thriller that just happens to feature Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Dave Thomas.  It’s strange to see Michael Sarrazin trying to figure out who killed his wife while Eugene Levy loiters in the background.  It leaves you waiting for a punchline that never comes.

The SCTV people are in the film because it was directed by George Bloomfield, who also directed several episodes of SCTV.  Since this film was made before SCTV really broke into the American marketplace, it was probably assumed that no one outside of Canada would ever find the presence of John Candy in a dramatic murder mystery distracting.  Of course, when Deadly Companion was later released on VHS in the late 80s, Candy and the SCTV crew were all given top billing.

Quitters Inc, Story Review, by Case Wright


quitters.jpg

Smoking is a nasty habit.  I did smoke for 10 years and quit.  I didn’t do it any other way than to stop altogether.  To this day, when I smell one, I want one- except for Dorals because they’re gross.  Don’t let anyone tell you different; it is an addiction.  Richard Morrison, the protagonist, is a advertising man who shared my addiction.  Richard is in nadir of his life.  His son is severely mentally disabled and lives at an inpatient school, his wife nags him constantly, his overweight, and Rick smokes.

He smokes until he meets Jimmy McCann who tells him about Quitters Inc.  It’s strictly word of mouth and free.  Richard attends Quitters Inc.  Once you commit, you can’t leave.  It’s free because the founder, a mobster, bequeathed his fortune to get people to stop smoking the way the mob does they threaten you, your family, harm you, harm your family, or all or some of the above.

Richard learns that he will be under surveillance and if he smokes they will beat his wife. If he smokes again, they will beat his son and do escalating harm to his family and himself.  They even go beyond smoking and threaten to cut off his wife’s finger if he doesn’t lose weight.  Quitters Inc. runs life choices.

This is one of Stephen King’s early works and it’s written very tight. There’s no extra words or passages.  It reads like it went through many edits to purposefully ratchet up the tension.  You feel for Richard because he’s trying to succeed, but like all of us, he comes close to failure.  Every time Richard fails, you feel it in the pit of your stomach because you know the retribution is coming for his family.

The odd part of the story is that his life improves when Quitter’s Inc takes over.  You wonder if maybe free will is not for everyone.  In Richard’s case, free will destroyed his health and free will got him to accept unknown entity into his life that harms his family.  Freedom isn’t free, but giving up free will isn’t free either.

Game Review: 16 Ways To Kill a Vampire at McDonalds (2016, Abigail Corfman)


It’s not easy being a vampire hunter, especially when you’re not even an important member of the group.  Most of the time, you don’t even get to fight the vampires.  You only get to serve as bait.  Yes, you’ve earned the night off.

What does a vampire hunter do on her night off?  Going to movies reveals that the only show playing is Blade: Trinity.  Getting a mani-pedi can only provide so much satisfaction.  So, you go to McDonalds.

And what do you run into at McDonalds?

A vampire!

It’s now up to you to kill the vampire before the vampire kills the cashier and transforms her into a member of the undead.  Because you don’t carry the normal slayer weapons (and its your night off anyway), you’ll have to explore McDonalds and figure out how to use straws, napkins, fast food, and some other items to kill a vampire.  Fortunately for you, there are 16 different ways to kill a vampire at McDonalds.

Kill the vampire and get a happy ending.

Fail to kill the vampire and everyone will know that you were never really ready to be a slayer.

16 Ways To Kill A Vampire at McDonalds is fast-paced puzzle game that’s been written with a lot of heart and wit.  Killing the vampire himself isn’t that hard.  Instead, the fun of the game is replaying it so you can discover all sixteen different ways to do it.  Fortunately, after your first run-through of the game, you are given the option to skip some of the longer descriptive passages so you can get right to exploring McDonalds and seeing what you can do with fast food weaponry.  Don’t take too long though.  When the vampire makes his move, he moves quickly.

Each playthrough can last between five and 15 minutes.  The game can be played online by clicking here.

Horror Scenes That I Love: Frankenstein and his Creation Put On The Ritz From Young Frankenstein


This scene from 1974’s Young Frankenstein is not only funny but kinda poignant and sad.  I mean, you can tell that the Monster (Peter Boyle) is trying so hard to do a good job and what does it get him?  Not only does the audience turn on him but even his creator (Gene Wilder) starts yelling at him.

I mean, considering that the Monster had only been alive for a few days, I think he deserves a lot of credit for handling the performance as well as could be expected!  To me, the true monsters in this scene are the theater patrons who apparently brought cabbages and other vegetables with them to the theater.  I mean, you don’t pack a salad unless you’re planning on using it.

The performers didn’t have a chance.

Enjoy!

 

4 Shots From 4 Films: Evil Dead II, Near Dark, Stage Fright, The Stepfather


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!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 1987 Horror Films

Evil Dead II (1987, dir by Sam Raimi)

Near Dark (1987, dir by Kathryn Bigelow)

Stage Fright (1987, dir by Michele Soavi)

The Stepfather (1987, dir by Joseph Ruben)

Horror On The Lens: The Giant Gila Monster (dir by Ray Kellogg)


For today’s horror on the lens, we present to you the 1959 film, The Giant Gila Monster!

As you can tell from the title, this is another one of those big lizard films, which were so popular back in the 50s and early 60s.  For reasons that aren’t quite clear, a lizard grows to giant size and it’s up to a bunch teenagers, law enforcement officers, and small town citizens to put nature back in its place!

The Giant Gila Monster was filmed outside of Dallas and it was produced by Gordon McLendon.  Now, admittedly, you might not recognize the name but he was one of the most important figures in the history of DFW.  McLendon founded KLIF, which is DFW’s top talk radio station.  He also once ran for the Senate, as a conservative Democrat.  By most accounts that I’ve read, he was a true Texas character so I guess it makes sense that, along with all of his other accomplishments, he would add film producer to the list.

Anyway, enjoy this movie about a giant lizard!  Gila monsters, I should add, are freaking scary enough when they’re normal-sized.  That said, the lizard in this film is actually a Mexican beaded lizard and not an actual Gila monster.

Enjoy!

The Things You Find On Netflix: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (dir by Vince Gilligan)


As one might expect from the sequel film to Breaking Bad, the shadow of Walter White hangs over very minute of El Camino.

Physically, Bryan Cranston doesn’t have a large role in El Camino.  Like many of the characters from Breaking Bad, he appears only in a flashback.  Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) spends a good deal of this movie dwelling on the past, perhaps because the only way that he can have a future is by mentally forgiving himself for all the stuff that went on while he was cooking meth with Walter White and, later, for the Nazi bikers who kept him chained up in a cage like an animal.  So, it makes sense that we would see a lot of flashbacks, the majority featuring characters who are no longer alive.  Cranston’s Walter White only appears towards the end of the film, when Jesse remembers the conversation they had at a diner about what Jesse was going to do with the money that they were making.  It’s a bit jarring to see them, largely because Walter still looks like an earnest and frail science teacher while Jesse is still young, loud, and more than a little obnoxious.  It’s quite a contrast to what we know will eventually happen to both characters.

For obvious reasons, Walter White isn’t in much of El Camino but his ghost seems to following Jesse through the entire movie. For that matter, so does the ghost of Tod Alquist (Jesse Plemons).  It’s not just that a good deal of the movie deals with Jesse trying to figure out where Tod hid all of his money.  (Jesse is planning on using the money to hopefully escape New Mexico and start a new life in Alaska.)  It’s also that Jesse has been scarred, both physically and mentally, by the Hellish time that he spent as Tod’s …. well, Tod’s pet.  Tod treated Jesse like a dog, keeping him on a leash, punishing him for being “bad,” and then offering Jesse pizza as a reward whenever Jesse did something right.  To be honest, the flashbacks with Tod take some getting used to, largely because Plemons has obviously aged quite a bit between the finale of Breaking Bad and the shooting of El Camino.  But, still, Plemons is absolutely terrifying as the unfailingly polite but definitely sociopathic Tod.  At one point, Tod casually brings Jesse over to his apartment so that Jesse can help dispose of the body of his cleaning lady.  Tod murdered her because she came across some money that he was hiding in a hollowed-out book.  Tod shrugs as he tells the story of her murder, as if his actions are as commonplace as waking up and going to bed.

Throughout Breaking Bad, Jesse spent most of the series being manipulated by evil men.  What was ironic, of course, was that Jesse was the only one of those men who must people automatically considered to be a criminal.  Everyone thought that Walter was a tragic family man.  Tod was largely anonymous and those who did notice him usually assumed he was just an eccentric weirdo.  Jesse, on the other hand, was the guy who was continually getting hauled in by the police and harassed by the DEA.  He was the one who was viewed as being a danger to society even though he eventually proved himself to be one of the few characters with anything resembling a conscience.  In El Camino, Jesse finally gets a chance to determine his own fate.  Will he embrace the lucrative but soul-destroying greed of Walter and Tod?  Or will he escape and try to make a new life for himself?

El Camino is a visually stunning tour-de-force, anchored by Aaron Paul’s empathetic performance as Jesse.  Jesse is no longer as loud as he may have been in Breaking Bad.  He’s a man haunted by the past and, watching the film, you know, regardless of whether he makes it to Alaska, the scars will never fully heal.  He has the haunted eyes of a man who is never going to be fully okay, regardless of where he ends up.  In fact, if we’re going to be realistic, he probably doesn’t have much of a future ahead of him.  Those ghosts are always going to follow him and, as Robert Forster’s Ed sagely explains it, much of what has happened is due to Jesse’s own poor decisions.

Still, whatever mistakes he’s made in the past, you can’t help but wish the best for Jesse Pinkman.

He’s earned it.

Music Video of the Day: Rock DJ by Robbie Williams (2000, dir by Vaughan Arnell)


Hmmm …. so, this video takes a turn.

Things start out with Robbie Williams playing just another dude who is desperate for attention.  He’s so desperate that he even gets naked on the dance floor which, let’s just be honest, is nothing that any of us haven’t seen before.  When that doesn’t work, he steps it up a notch.

And good for him!

Seriously, Robbie, do what you have to do.  If that means removing your skin and your muscles …. well, you do you.  Just try not to bleed all over my shoes.

Enjoy!