6 Good Horror Films That You May Not Have Seen Yet


Halloween City by Karl Pfieffer

Well, Halloween’s fast approaching and that means that it’s time for people to start thinking about what they’re going to watch on the big night.

Now, of course, you can always watch the old favorites, like Halloween or Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street (or any of their numerous sequels, remakes, and reboots).  In fact, if you’re expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, I can understand why you might want to go with the old dependables as opposed to trying to focus on something that you haven’t seen before.

However, if you’re looking for a new film to watch on Halloween, here are 6 good horror films that, sadly, don’t seem to be as well-known as they deserve to be.  If any of these movies are new to you, October 31st might be just the day for you to experience them!

1. Strange Behavior (1981)

This is a horror film that I recommend to everyone.  It’s a slightly satirical story about college students being turned into homicidal murderers.  Along with all of the blood and the expected jump scenes, Strange Behavior is also a quirky portrait of life in a small town.  It’s the type of film where a collection of 1940s character actors (including the great Charles Lane) share the screen with 70s character actors like Michael Murphy and they all try to figure out how a seemingly dead scientist is programming the town’s children to be murderers.  The dialogue is frequently witty, the soundtrack is amazing, and there’s even an impromptu dance scene that comes out of nowhere!

2. Messiah of Evil (1973)

This is another film that I frequently recommend to my horror-loving friends.  This is perhaps the most surreal zombie/vampire film ever made.  A woman comes to a town to visit her father and she soon discovers that everyone in the town is acting strangely.  This one features plenty of hippie action, a surprisingly large amount of clips from a Sammy Davis, Jr. film, an albino who eats rats and talks about how much he loves “Wagner” (which he pronounces with a “W” instead of a “V”), and some of the strangest imagery that you’ll eve see in a low-budget horror film.

3. The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)

Shirley MacClaine is a spoiler socialite who discovers that her younger brother, Perry King, has been possessed by the spirit of a murderer.  Though this film is often dismissed as being just another Exorcist clone, it actually came out before The Exorcist and, in many ways, it’s even more disturbing than the seminal shocker.  The ending will give you nightmares.

4. Martin (1977)

George Romero takes on vampires and the end result is unlike any vampire film that you’ve seen.  Martin thinks he’s a vampire.  His grandfather thinks he’s a vampire.  Is Martin really a vampire?  In the end, the film suggests that it might not really matter.  A disturbing and sad film that has unexpected moments of humor, Martin also features Romero himself in the role of a well-meaning priest.

5. The Grapes of Death (1978)

From the great Jean Rollin, it’s France’s first zombie film!  In this one, people are being turned into zombies by contaminated wine.  How many of your friends would become zombiefied as a result?

6. Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983)

Finally, if you just have to watch a slasher this Halloween, why not check into the Mountaintop Motel?  Evelyn will be more than happy to check you in and check you right back out.

“Happy Halloween!”

Horror Film Review: Strange Behavior (a.k.a. Dead Kids) (dir by Michael Laughlin)


I want to tell you about one of my favorite horror films.  It’s a strange one and I think you might like it.

It’s a movie from 1981.  It was filmed in New Zealand, even though it takes place in a small town in the American midwest.  It was directed by Michael Laughlin and the screenplay was written by Bill Condon, who has since become a director of some note.  This was Condon’s first screenplay.  In Australia and Europe, this movie is known as Dead Kids.  In America, the title was changed to Strange Behavior.

Here, watch the trailer:

It’s a pretty good trailer, actually.  That said, as good as the trailer may be, it doesn’t even come close to revealing just what an odd film Strange Behavior actually is.  If David Lynch had followed up The Elephant Man by directing a slasher movie, chances are the end result would have looked something like Strange Behavior.

Here’s another scene that I want you watch.  It’s kind of a long scene, clocking in at 7 minutes.  But I want you to watch it because, in many ways, this scene is the epitome of Strange Behavior:

Strange Behavior is perhaps the only 80s slasher film to feature a totally random and totally choreographed dance number.  It comes out of nowhere but, in the world that this film creates, it somehow feels totally appropriate.  Of course, the nun is going to announce that she’s not wearing any underwear and then pretend to stab a guy in the back.  Of course, the cowboy’s going to throw up and then want to go out to his car with his date.  And of course, a bunch of people in costume are going to end up dancing to Lightnin’ Strikes.  In Strange Behavior, the strangest behavior is the only behavior that makes sense.

As for the film itself, it’s a mix of small town melodrama, slasher horror, and gentle satire.  Teenagers are being murdered by other teenagers and no one is sure why.  The chief of police, John Brady (played by character actor Michael Murphy, who gives a quietly authoritative performance that counters some of the weirdness of the rest of the movie), is trying to solve the crimes while trying to cope with the mysterious death of his wife.  His son, Pete (Dan Shor), is going to the local college, where classes are taught by a professor (Arthur Dignam) who died years ago but who filmed a few lectures before passing.  To make extra money, Pete does what many of the local teenagers do — he volunteers for medical experiments.  Researcher Gwen Parkinson (Fiona Lewis) oversees the experiments, handing out pills and occasionally administering a hypodermic needle to the eyes of a test subject.  Gwen is always cool, calm, and collected.  When one irate father draws a gun on her, Gwen quips, “I can’t stop you.  I don’t have a gun.”

But there’s more to this movie than just medical experiments and murder.  Strange Behavior is full of wonderfully eccentric supporting characters.  Other than John, there’s really nobody normal to be found in either the town or the movie.  Pete’s best friend, Oliver (Marc McClure), is cute and dorky.   Barbara (Louise Fletcher) just wants to marry John and live in a town where dead bodies don’t turn up in the middle of corn fields, propped up like scarecrows.  John’s best friend and fellow cop, Donovan (Charles Lane), has been around forever and has a great, no-nonsense approach to even the strangest of things.  When it becomes obvious that John is not going to be able to solve the murders on his own, big city cop Shea (Scott Brady) shows up and wanders ineffectually through the movie, spitting out hard-boiled dialogue like a refugee from a 1930s gangster flick.  And finally, receptionist Caroline (Dey Young) sits at her desk in the clinic, gossiping about the patients and smoking cigarette after cigarette.  Caroline is probably the smartest person in the movie.  As an administrative assistant, I appreciated that.

It’s an odd little movie, which is why I love it.  Laughlin, Condon, and the entire cast created a world where everything is just a little off-center.  It makes for terrifically entertaining and weird movie, one that works as both satire and straight horror.

Strange Behavior is a film that deserves to much better known than it currently is so my advice is go watch it and then tell you friends to watch it too.

6 More Terrorific Trailers


Hi there!  It’s time for yet another edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation film trailers!  Today, we’ve got six trailers that are terrorific!

Now, I know what you’re saying.

You’re saying, “Dammit, Bowman, terrorific is not a word.”

Well you know what?

It so totally is a word.

And with that settled, here’s this week’s collection of trailers!

1) Strange Behavior (1981)

This is one of my favorite films of all time!  This is a horror film that includes zombies, knife-wielding maniacs, and an elaborate dance number for no particular reason.  What more could you want?


2) The Beast Within (1982)

Agck!  This film is so scary that its trailer starts out with a warning!

3) Holy Terror (1976)

This trailer features a truly terrorific mask.


4) Sisters (1973)

Someday, me and the Dazzling Erin are going to star in a remake of this film.

5) Rawhead Rex (1986)

I’m tempted to make a really tasteless comment about the title of this film…

6) The Lift (1983)

Agck!  This trailer makes me glad that I always take the stairs at work.  Cardio for the win!

What do you think, Trailer Kitty?

6 Trailers From The Girl With Bronchitis


The girl with bronchitis would be me and, I have to admit, I nearly didn’t do a trailer post this week because I was feeling so bad.  However, then I had to stay home from the Richardson, Texas Christmas Parade for the first time in like forever and I thought to myself, “Bronchitis took away my parade but it won’t take away my trailer post!”  So, on that defiant note, here’s the latest edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers.

1) Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toymaker (1992)

Since it’s the Christmas season and I featured the trailer for Silent Night, Deadly Night last week, I wanted to include the trailer for Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 in this edition.  Unfortunately, a YouTube search for Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 just led to me seeing a lot of video clips of this guy going, “Garbage Day!”  However, I did finally find this trailer for Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toymaker.

2) Moon 44 (1990)

Before Roland Emmerich made the worst film 2011, he made this film.

3) Strange Invaders (1983)

From the same people who brought you Strange Behavior.

4) Leviathan (1989)

Agck!  Underwater horror.

5) Ghost in the Machine (1993)

I saw this on HBO when I was like 11 or 12.  I’ve been scared of microwaves ever since.

6) From Hell It Came (1957)

Finally, here’s some old school tree-related horror with From Hell It Came.

6 More Wonderful Trailers


Here’s the latest installment of my series on some of my favorite grindhouse and exploitation trailers.

1) Death Has Blue Eyes This is actually a really, really bad Greek movie, a movie that is not only generally incoherent but deadly dull as well.  Of course, some of my reaction has to do with the fact that I’ve only seen a scratchy, fuzzy version of it on an imported VHS tape.  This film is also known as The Para-Psychics but I think Death Has Blue Eyes sounds so much better, don’t you?

2) Massacre Mafia Style — I haven’t seen this movie and, unlike Death Has Blue Eyes, coming across the trailer didn’t fill me with any real desire to track it down.  I really don’t even care much for the trailer but I’m including it here because its just so over-the-top and violent.  How many people get killed over the course of this trailer?  I lost count.

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3) The Boogeyman (1980) — This is actually a pretty good and atmospheric little horror film.  Not to be confused with the terrible Barry Watson movie that came out a couple of years ago.

4) The Pack — This trailer once again establishes that I am right to be scared of dogs.  According to my paternal grandmother, Joe Don Baker is somehow related to me but I’ve never been sure how.   I’ve always been more interested in just how exactly grandma became a Joe Don Baker fan.

5) Switchblade Sisters — One of the ultimate “girl gang” films and a perfect example of how a movie can both be grindhouse and feminist at the same time.  I love this movie.

6) Strange Behavior — Finally, let’s wrap up this installment with the trailer for one of the greatest film’s ever made, 1981’s Strange Behavior (a.k.a. Dead Kids).