Here’s The Trailer For Smiley Face Killers!

Okay, everyone — one last trailer before calling it a night.

There’s currently a conspiracy theory out there that states that, since the late 80s, a cult has been murdering athletic, drunk college students and dumping their bodies in rivers.  Supposedly, the cult’s calling card is that they paint a smiley face near every crime scene.

It’s a bullshit theory that makes absolutely no sense.  The truth of the matter is that frat boys binge drink and are therefore vulnerable to stumbling into rivers, lakes, and creeks.  It’s sad but that’s just the truth of the matter.  As for the smiley faces — well, there are smiley faces everywhere.  And seriously, if you’re a cult killing people in secret, why would you give away your existence with a smiley face?  It’s really a dumb theory so, of course, there are a lot of people who believe it.  Dr. Phil even did a show about it.

Anyway, it appears that the theory has inspired a film.  Below is the trailer for Smiley Face Killers, which will be released on December 4th.  Just in time for Oscar consideration!

Here’s The Trailer For Survival Games

Here’s the trailer for Survival Games which looks like it’s some sort of mockbuster version of …. well, every film that’s been released over the past ten years.

I don’t know.  A lot of people are probably going to get snarky about the cheap CGI and the apparent wooden nature of some of the performances but this looks enjoyably silly to me.

Here’s The Trailer For Don’t Click!

I personally don’t know if I would have the guts to call my movie Don’t Click but it’s a title that just lends itself to too many snarky reviews.  You’re always taking a risk when toss the word “Don’t” into your title.

That said, here’s the trailer for Don’t Click.  It has kind of a Saw vibe.  Personally, I appreciate the three-piece of suit.  If you’re going to become a professional torturer, you really should dress for the part.  Seriously, never forget — dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

Horror on TV: FreakyLinks 1.11 “Live Fast Die You” (dir by David Barrett)

On tonight’s episode of FreakyLinks, Ethan Embry and the crew investigate real-life adrenaline vampires!  Agck!

This episode features appearances from Jeffrey Combs, Dennis Christopher, Paige Moss, and everyone’s favorite, Eric Baflour!

This episode originally aired on June 1st, 2001.

Dracula (Netflix) Review By Case Wright

Happy Horrorthon fellow travelers. It’s been a awhile. I’ve been struggling with engineering classes and it’s been hard to set time aside for this essential part of my life. How does this relate to Dracula? Dracula at its core is an unrequited love story. It drips with sanguine hopes and failed dreams (pun intended). Really, we’ve all that relationship that we really wanted, but it was always doomed, doomed, doomed.

I got to enjoy this mini-series the best way possible: a live tweet with the TSL staff. Back to Dracula, this series was originally broadcast on the BBC. It took Dracula from the past to the present. I have read most of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s kinda boring, which is why the first episode was uneven in terms of excitement because it held close to the book, which was b o r i n g. Part I established Dracula at home. As in the book, he wanted to see the World, meet new and interesting people in England, and eat them.

To whet his appetite and get waaaaay younger, he decided to feast on a lawyer- Jonathan Harker. This Dracula gets all the memories and knowledge from the people he feeds on, which begs the question: Why travel anywhere? Just hang out at a train station and snack on people. Come on, Drac! I did like how the first episode set up the Courtly Love Interest – Agatha Van Helsing; she’s a Nun with ice water in her veins.

Sister Agatha (Van Helsing) gets a visitor at her convent – Jonathan Harker. He looks dead…well undead. He even has a fly crawl across his eyeball without him noticing. Flies buzzing and crawling about eyeballs is a big theme in this mini-series; you just have to get used to it.

Jonathan describes meeting the Count under the presumption of a land holding trans… sorry I dozed off there. The book was a lot like that too. It would have exciting moments and then BAM… Back to the real estate transactions! As Jonathan stays at the Count’s castle, the Count gets younger and he gets older. His lifeforce is drained away. In fact, all of his memories get drained away as well to the Count after one feeding ah ah ah and then two feedings ah ah ah.. Jonathan appears to succumb to the Count and feel nothing, but his resignation is all an act. DUN DUN DUN!

Jonathan is searching for a way out of the castle and it works….kinda. I mean he ends up at a convent and we learn that he’s undead and under the power of Dracula. This is gleaned from Sister Agatha who relentlessly interrogates …well everyone. I wish she were my best friend. She attracts a lot of monsters, but nobody’s perfect.

Unfortunately, Dracula can sense Jonathan and he has pursued him to the convent. This is where Dracula meets the true love of his life Sister Agatha. She’s fearless, smart, and scientific; the opposite of everyone else whom Dracula encounters. Agatha is a force of reason like Dracula is a force of nature. He represents feudalism and magic, she enlightenment and technocratic future. She is what he aspires to be, but cannot. She hopes that in solving the mystery of Dracula she will understand the mystical and develop her elusive affinity with God.

Of course, by getting close to understand Dracula, Agatha inadvertently allows Dracula to enter the convent and eat everyone, including……her and he does it by wearing a dead man’s face. That was awesome! Gotta see it again!

Two and three will post tomorrow!!!!

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Edge of Fury (dir by Robert J. Gurney Jr. and Irving Lerner)

Damn, this is a dark movie.

The 1958 film, Edge of Fury, opens with a man standing on the beach.  It seems like it should be a pleasant opening but instead, the entire scene feels threatening.  The man, Richard Barrie (Michael Higgins), is a veteran of the Korean War and he’s working on a painting with what appears to be an almost possessed intensity.  Thanks to the film’s black-and-white, noir-like cinematography, the beach does not look inviting.  Instead, it looks dark and cold.  A voice over informs us that Richard once asked to be confined for not only his own good but also the good of society.  However, the authorities could not intervene because Richard had yet to commit a crime.

Suddenly, the police arrive.  They arrest Richard and take him away, suggesting that Richard has finally proven just how much of a threat he actually is.

The rest of the film is told in flashback.  We watch as Richard, who works in a bookstore, comes across a beach house that he quickly rents.  It turns out that he wants to stay there with the Hacketts, Florence (Lois Holmes) and her daughters, Eleanor (Jean Allison) and Louisa (Doris Fesette).  Somewhat improbably, Richard and Florence are friends, having met in a grocery store.  Florence trusts Richard because he’s so polite and nice.  Eleanor has a crush on Richard because he’s handsome and brooding.  And Louisa just thinks that Richard is kind of a loser.

The Hacketts move into the beach house and Richard sets up an artist’s studio in the shed.  He paints a lot of pictures of Louisa, despite the fact that Louisa has a boyfriend and wants nothing to do with him.  Though the three women don’t realize it, Richard is growing increasingly unstable and obsessed.  He wants the three women to be his new family and when he realizes that he’s not going to get his way, he turns violent….

And certainly, this is not the only film to be made about a mentally disturbed man who becomes obsessed with what he considers to be the perfect family.  It’s also not the only film to end with an act of shocking violence and to leave the audience feeling as if they’ve just taken a journey into a waking nightmare.  What does set Edge of Fury apart from some other films is that it was made in 1958 and, in many ways, it’s the exact opposite of what we expect a 1958 film to be.  This is a dark, dark movie that suggests that the universe is ruled by chaos and that kindness will be rewarded with pain.

Seriously, it’s dark.

That said, it’s definitely a flawed film.  You never buy that Florence would trust Richard as much as she does.  Michael Higgins is frighteningly intense as Richard but the rest of the cast often seems to simply be going through the motions.  That said, it’s definitely a film that sticks with you.  This isn’t a story that you just shrug off and forget.

Probably the best thing about the film is the cinematography.  This film was an early credit for Conrad L. Hall, who later went on to become one of the great cinematographers.  He fills the film with ominous shadows and hints of the madness to come.  As filmed by Hall. the beach looks like some alien landscape, as twisted as the inside of Richard’s mind.

Edge of Fury took me by surprise.  It’s nowhere close to being perfect but it’s worth tracking down on YouTube.

Cinemax Friday: Relentless IV: Ashes to Ashes (1994, dir by Oley Sassone)

Sam Deitz (Leo Rossi) is back to hunt one last serial killer in this, the last of the Relentless films.

This time the killer is a boring nonentity.  He’s not as interesting as the killers played by Miles O’Keeffee or William Forsythe.  Nor is he as unintentionally funny as the one played by Judd Nelson in the first Relentless film.  Instead, he’s just your run-of-the-mill religious fanatic, killing sinners and performing rituals.  His trademark is that he only kills the person that he wants to kill.  Anyone else who might be around is just taken out with a stun gun.  That’s a boring if considerate trademark.

Deitz is assigned to track down the killer, along with his new partner, Jessica Pareti (Colleen Coffey).  While Deitz is trying to solve the case, he’s also having to deal with his rebellious teenage son (Christopher Pettiet).  Between this film and the last, Deitz’s ex-wife died and now Deitz is a single father.  He and his son barely know each other.  Deitz tries to keep his son under control while all his son wants to do is spend time with his girlfriend, Sherrie (Lisa Robin Kelly).

Relentless IV is the least interesting of the Relentless film.  It’s so trapped by the now-stale Relentless formula that not even the casting of Famke Janssen as a possible femme fatale can save it.  Janssen is a psychiatrist who is connected not only to one of the victims but possibly to the killer as well.  She and Deitz are obviously attracted to each other and Deitz is torn between that attraction and treating her like a possible suspect.  The relationship between Deitz and the doctor has potential but it keeps getting sidetraced by scenes of Deitz trying to deal with his teenage son and it never really lives up to what it could have been.  Janssen is beautiful and Rossi gives a typically good performance but watching the film, it’s obvious that there wasn’t much left to do with the character of Detective Sam Deitz.

Direct-to-video mainstay Oley Sassone directs in a flat and unmemorable manner and the entire film just seems tired.  When the best your serial killer can do is kill someone with a Campbell’s soup can, you know you’re running on empty.  There would not be a Relentless V.  Hopefully, Sam Deitz finally found some peace and figured out how to balance being an intense New Yorker with living in laid back California.

Great Moments In Television History: Freedom’s Last Stand

I have recently started rewatching Hill Street Blues on Hulu and there are two things I can say for sure about the characters who appeared on this seminal cop show.

Anyone who thinks that anything in the world can be defined as simply being all-good or all-bad is due for a rude awakening.

Anyone who spends any time with Detective Mick Belker is destined to die on a sidewalk.

Unfortunately, Captain Freedom made both of those mistakes.

Played by Dennis Dugan, Captain Freedom appeared on four episodes during the second season of Hill Street Blues.  He was a goofy and friendly man who dressed in a red lycra suit with green shorts and Chuck Taylor running shoes.  He believed that he had super powers and would jump in front of muggers and shout, “Stop this criminal act, or I shall be forced to use violence!”

As always happened whenever an eccentric appeared on the show, he spent three episodes annoying Bruce Weitz’s Detective Belker, a streetwise detective who always looked filthy and who often growled at criminals.  Belker told Captain Freedom to stop following him and to stop trying to help.  Captain Freedom said that it was his duty to protect Belker and keep the city safe.

During Freedom’s Last Stand, the 11th episode of the second season of Hill Street Blues (aired on January 28th, 1982), Captain Freedom’s dedication to keeping the city safe got him killed.  In the middle of a dramatic shoot out between robbers and some of the Hill’s best cops, Captain Freedom jumped on top of a car and shouted, “Stop this criminal act!”  The shocked robber responded by shooting Captain Freedom in the chest.

The show pulled out all the stops for the death of Captain Freedom.  Not only did he get shot in slow motion, but he even got a monologue before finally dying of his wounds.  He gave Belker his gloves, explaining that all of his powers were stored in the gloves.  Belker sobbed as the Captain went on to become the first of many Belker acquaintances to die on a sidewalk.

After his death, Captain Freedom was never mentioned again and Dennis Dugan went to become a comedy director but the character made an undeniable impact.  He only appeared in four episodes but Captain Freedom is better remembered than some of the show’s regulars.  Few people can tell you who Ken Olin played for three seasons (Det. Harry Garibaldi) but anyone who has binged through the early seasons of Hill Street Blues remembers Captain Freedom.  He was someone to whom everyone can relate.  Who doesn’t want to be a super hero?  Who doesn’t want to stop evil doers and make the streets safe again?  His death was the show’s loss of innocence.  If even the likable and funny Captain Freedom can die, than anyone can die.

This Halloween, pour one out for Captain Freedom, the man who tried to make his costume a reality.  Evildoers beware!

Don’t try this at home.

Previous Great Moments In Television History:

  1. Planet of the Apes The TV Series
  2. Lonely Water
  3. Ghostwatch Traumatizes The UK
  4. Frasier Meets The Candidate
  5. The Autons Terrify The UK

Game Review: Doppeljobs (2020, Lei)

Doppeljobs is an entrant in the 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition.  All of the entries can be browsed and experienced here.

You are a Doppelganger.  All you have to do is bite someone and, for a limited amount of time, you can assume their appearance and voice.   Having just graduated from the School of Humanity, you’re ready to set up your own business.  For a generous but fair fee, you will assume the identity of anyone who hires you.  If someone has something that they have to do in person that they would rather not do, they can hire you.  You’ll be the one getting fired from their job.  You’ll be the one getting your license renewed.  You’ll be the one sitting through a boring old recital.

You’ll have to be careful, though.  Let anyone catch on that you’re a doppelganger and the job will be ruined.  Plus, each time you take on someone’s appearance, you also take on some of their traits and some of those traits stick around after the job is done.

I really enjoyed Doppeljobs.  It’s a Twine game, in which you go through a series of clients and you can do as good a job or as bad a job as you may want.  There’s a lot of different decisions to be made and almost every choice leads to a different consequence so this is a game that rewards being replayed.  The best part of the game is seeing which traits you pick up from job to job and how that changes who you are after your final job.  The last time I played, I became not only more paranoid but I also learned to sing.

Doppeljobs can be played here, by either your or your doppelganger.