Here’s The Trailer For The Boogeyman!


Another year, another Stephen King adaptation.

The Boogeyman is based on a short story that King wrote in 1973.  Obviously, King is a big name in horror but how can any film called Boogeyman hope to top the work of Ulli Lommel?

Here’s the trailer:

Live Tweet Alert: Watch The Prowler with #ScarySocial


As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #ScarySocial, I will be hosting 1981’s The Prowler!

That’s right!  It’s the most ruthless slasher film ever made, with special death effects from the great Tom Savini!

If you want to join us on Saturday night, just hop onto twitter, start the film at 9 pm et, and use the #ScarySocial hashtag!  The film is available on Prime, Tubi, and a few other streaming sites.  I’ll be there co-hosting and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well.  It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.

Live Tweet Alert: Watch Rogue with #ScarySocial


 

As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #ScarySocial, Tim Buntley will be hosting 2007’s Rogue!

 

If you want to join us on Saturday night, just hop onto twitter, start the film at 9 pm et, and use the #ScarySocial hashtag!  The film is available on Prime.  I’ll probably be there and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well.  It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.

Live Tweet Alert: Watch The Black Phone with #ScarySocial


 

As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #ScarySocial, ArtAttackNYC will be hosting The Black Phone!

If you want to join us on Saturday night, just hop onto twitter, start the film at 9 pm et, and use the #ScarySocial hashtag!  The film is available on Prime.  I’ll be there co-hosting and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well.  It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.

Live Tweet Alert: Watch Shock Waves with #ScarySocial


Shock Waves (1977, dir by Ken Wiederhorn)

 

As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #ScarySocial, I will be hosting 1977’s Shock Waves!

That’s right!  It’s John Carradine, Peter Cushing, and Brooke Adams in the best underwater zombie film ever made!

If you want to join us on Saturday night, just hop onto twitter, start the film at 9 pm et, and use the #ScarySocial hashtag!  The film is available on Prime, YouTube, and a few other streaming sites.  I’ll be there co-hosting and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well.  It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.

Here’s The Frightening Trailer For Evil Dead Rise!


The Deadites are back!

Here’s the trailer for Evil Dead Rise!  Word of advice: don’t even think about watching the trailer with all the lights turned off.  Agck!

Apparently, Evil Dead Rise is a sequel to the Evil Dead reboot but not necessarily the original Evil Dead films.  Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are credited as being executive producers, which might mean something or it might not.  As far as I can tell, Campbell will not be appearing in this film.  (If he does appear, they’ve done a great job keeping it a secret and Campbell’s done a great job telling everyone that he’s not in the movie.)  The Evil Dead reboot itself was certainly not bad, though, being the horror snob that I am, I’ll always prefer the original films.  It’s hard to beat the combination of Lovecraft-style horror and Campbell/Raimi goofiness that set the original trilogy apart from so many other horror franchises.

Evil Dead Rise will be released to theaters on April 23rd!

Holiday Film Review: Jack Frost (dir by Michael Cooney)


Tis the season for killing!

One snowy December night, a prison transport drives through the town of Snowmonton.  The prisoner (Scott McDonald) being transported is a serial killer who murdered 38 people over the course of his crime spree.  In fact, he was arrested right in the town of Snowmonton and, since he’s now due to be executed, you can bet that he holds a grudge.  And get this …. the killer’s name is Jack Frost!  I mean, what a weird series of coincidences, no?

What do you think the chances are that the prison transport is going to crash into a genetic research truck?  And what do you think the chances are that Jack Frost is going to get splashed by a lot of chemicals that lead to him merging with the snow?  I mean, I guess it only makes sense that he would turn into a murderous snowman who goes on a rampage in Snowmonton and who stalks everyone that he holds responsible for his capture.

Actually, it doesn’t make any sense at all but so what?  The fact that this 1997 film still has a small cult following is a testament to the fact that sometimes, people don’t want movies that make sense.  Sometimes, they just want a movie about a trash-talking snowman who can shoot icicles.  Jack Frost is also known for being the film debut of actress Shannon Elizabeth who falls victim to the snowman in a scene that is both horrifying and incredibly silly-looking.  Though Jack may have taken on the form of a snowman, he’s actually a liquid.  (Don’t ask.)  So, as Shannon Elizabeth’s character learns, it’s smart to be careful about taking a bath when Jack Frost is dripping around.

(In Thirteen Ghosts, Shannon Elizabeth was attacked by a ghost while looking at a bathroom sink. In Jack Frost, she’s attacked by a snowman while taking a bath. There definitely seems to be a pattern here.)

It’s up to Sheriff Tiller (Christopher Allport) and FBI Agent Manners (Stephen Mendel) to figure out how to defeat the killer snowman.  It won’t be easy.  Manners thinks that the solution to everything is just to fire a gun or set off an explosive.  Sheriff Tiller and his staff likes aerosol cans.  But Jack Frost turns out to be a lot smarter than the average snowman.  He’s also a lot meaner than Frosty.

Jack Frost was apparently shot over the course of the week and screenwriter Michael Cooney only agreed to direct because no one else was willing to do it.  The budget was low and it shows in every scene of the film.  Fortunately, this is one of those cases where the budget was so low that the cheapness of it all eventually becomes rather charming.  You can’t help but respect the fact that, despite having no money, the filmmakers still managed to make a movie.  Jack Frost is smart enough not to take itself seriously.  Instead of wasting the viewer’s time with pointless drama, the film focuses on the snowman making angry expressions and shouting out morbid one-liners.  That’s really the only way to go when you’re making a movie about a killer snowman and the filmmakers deserve some credit for knowing exactly what type of movie they were making.  Jack Frost may not be a good film but it’s definitely an amusing one.

Holiday Film Review: To All A Good Night (dir by David Hess)


To All A Goodnight, a holiday-themed horror film from 1980, opens with a particularly macabre hazing.  One teenage girl runs through a mansion, eventually ending up at the edge of a balcony.  A bunch of other teenage girls surround her, in what I assume is meant to be a sorority initiation.  Over the edge of the balcony the first girl goes, plunging to her death.  AGCK!  Actually, it would perhaps a bit more effective if not for the fact that the shot of the girl plunging to her death was shot with a very obvious dummy.

Two years later, on the Friday before Christmas, none of the students at the Calvin Finishing School For Girls seem to remember or care about the accident that led to the death of one of their classmates.  Instead, they are too busy getting ready for Christmas break.  Most are heading home but a few are planning on staying at the school.  One of the girls explains that her superrich boyfriend is going to be flying his private plane to the school and he’s bringing along a few of his friends.  Yay!  Everyone gets a date!  They just have to make sure that they’re not caught by the housemother (Kiva Lawrence) or Ralph (Buck West), the weirdo handyman who spends a lot of time telling the girls that something evil is going to happen.

The plane lands.  (Viewers will want to keep an eye out for porn star Harry Reems, playing the pilot.)  The boys invade the school.  Guitars are played.  Love is made.  Philosophies are discussed.  And it turns out that Ralph was correct.  Evil things happen.  Someone has dressed up like Santa Claus and is committing murder!  The girls eventually call the police and Detective Polansky (Sam Shamshak) leaves behind two other detectives to keep an eye on the place.  For whatever reason, it never seems to occur to anyone to just leave the school and maybe stay at a hotel or something.  I mean, the plane is right there!

To All A Goodnight is a fairly generic, low-budget slasher.  The acting is stiff.  The lighting is so haphazard that it’s actually a challenge to keep track of whether a scene is taking place during the day or at night.  There are several character but none of them have enough of a personality to really make an impression.  It’s a challenge to keep track of who is who.  More than a few times, I found myself saying, “I thought she was dead.”

There are two things that make this film memorable.

First off, To All A Goodnight was released on January 30th, 1980.  That was a month too late to take advantage of the holiday connection but, at the same time, that also makes it the first slasher of the 80s.  Friday the 13th would not be released until May.  Much like the first Friday the 13th, To All A Goodnight is basically an American version of an Italian giallo film, with the emphasis on the whodunit aspect of the plot.

Secondly, To All A Goodnight was the only film to be directed by David Hess, the songwriter-turned-actor who was best known for playing Krug in the original Last House On The Left.  (Fans of Italian cinema, of course, know him for his turn as the main psycho in The House On The Edge of the Park.)  With the exception of one nicely surreal moment in which one of the students has a nervous breakdown and starts to dance during the film’s final confrontation, there’s nothing particularly memorable about Hess’s direction.  The film was obviously shot quickly and for little money so it’s not easy to say whether Hess would have improved as a filmmaker with more time and a bigger budget.

To All A Goodnight was one of the first of the Santa Claus slasher films but it would certainly not be the last.  Something about jolly old St. Nick just seems to bring out the macabre in certain filmmakers.

Holiday Film Review: Christmas Evil (dir by Lewis Jackson)


Poor Harry Stradling!

As played by Brandon Maggart in the 1980’s Christmas Evil, Harry is a poor guy who lives alone and spends his days thinking about Christmas.  When Harry was a child, he and his brother, Philip, had an argument about whether or not the Santa they saw in their living room was the real Santa or just their father dressed up as Santa.  Philip claimed that there was no Santa.  Harry insisted that there was.  Later, Harry snuck downstairs and caught his mother doing a lot more than just kissing Santa Claus.  It was enough of a trauma that, 33 years later, Harry is still obsessed with bringing Santa Claus to life.  While Philip (Jeffrey DeMunn) has started a family, Harry is an emotional stunted manchild.

Harry does a lot of creepy things in Christmas Evil, even before the film reaches it’s bizarre denouement.  He starts his day spying on the local children and making a list as to who has been nice and who has been sneaking an adult magazine into his bedroom.  There’s also the scene where he masturbates while secretly watching Philip and his wife.  That’s a bit …. yeah.  Eeek!  And yet, as creepy as Harry can be, it’s hard not to feel bad for him.  His love of Christmas and Santa is just so sincere and earnest.  He’s so obsessed with Christmas that he even has a managerial job at a local toy factory.  The toys are shoddy, his bosses are hypocrites, and his co-workers take advantage of him.  Harry has so many reasons to be miserable but he’s not.  His love for Christmas is the thing that keeps his life going and which gives him hope.

Eventually, Harry decides that maybe he could be the new Santa!  He puts on the beard.  He makes the costume.  He decorates his van with a picture of sleigh and, while he drives it, he gives orders to his imaginary reindeer.  He steals a bunch of toys and tosses them into a bag and, while its snows outside, he joyfully hands out the presents at a children’s hospital.  Later, when he gets dragged into a Christmas Party, he gives out even more toys.  He tells the kids to be good because if they’re bad …. ho ho ho!

Yay for Harry, right?  Well, the problem is that some people aren’t as happy to see Santa as the children are.  Some people make the mistake of mocking Harry, which leads to Harry using his toys to murder them.  Soon, the police are dragging in random Santas and forcing them take part in a lineup.  Meanwhile, Harry drives around town and continues his quest to become the new Santa!

And maybe …. just maybe, he does.  It all depends on how you interpret the ending.  The film’s director, Lewis Jackson, has officially said that most people are not correctly interpreting the ending but I don’t care.  Harry may be a murderer and a weirdo but, dammit, he’s just so earnest!  He deserves a happy ending!

Christmas Evil is often described as being a slasher film but it’s actually more of a character study.  Imagine Taxi Driver if Travis Bickle dressed up Santa.  Harry may be insane and dangerous but he still tries to do some good in the world and, in the end, he wins the hearts and support of the children.  Christmas Evil is an odd mix of mental squalor. gritty grindouse imagery, and holiday earnestness.  Christmas Evil was certainly not the only early 80s “slasher” film to focus more on the killer than his victims but, as opposed to Maniac and Don’t Go Into The House, it’s one of the few to generate some sympathy for its main character.  Everyone deserves a happy Christmas, even (or maybe that should be especially) Harry Stradling.