Thursday, December 28, 2017


Some may argue that this movie doesn't belong on a horror blog, but if I were in charge...and I's the kind of thing I would do...

Scrooged Movie Review

In this 1988 telling of the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol, we see Frank Cross (Bill Murray), the often-angry, always mean President of television network IBC, visited by three ghosts. The network is running a live performance of the Dickens story on Christmas Eve, and the ghosts arrive on this day to show Cross the mistakes he has made and the results of his future actions. Okay, so this movie is almost straight up comedy, but I can justify putting it on here because there are ghosts, death, and a disturbing scene or two.

You see?

Our ghosts are an interesting bunch--we first meet Cross' former boss Lew Hayward (John Forsythe), as he appears in Frank's office to warn him of the visitors he's about to meet.

Lew paid for the women

Soon after, Frank meets the Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen of The New York Dolls, aka Buster Poindexter of the song my girlfriend often sings during the Florida summers) and gets a trip down memory lane.

via an NYC cab

It is here we meet Frank's lost love, Claire (Karen Allen of Raiders of the Lost Ark fame), and see perhaps the best sequence in the film--the couple falling in and out of love in the late 1960's and early 1970s. From there we get the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Carol Kane (Simka from Taxi) and The Ghost of Christmas Future.

It's not a bright future

There are also a ton of fun cameos in this one, including...

Lee Majors

Buddy Hackett

Bill Murray's real life brothers...

Brian Doyle,


and Joel

We also get Mama Fratelli from The Goonies...

Anne Ramsey well as Rebeca Arthur, aka Mary Anne from Perfect Strangers 

and her Christmas present for everybody

As if that wasn't enough, we also get, in their final public appearance, the acclaimed Solid Gold Dancers.

And possibly their nipples

This movie is laugh out loud funny, and is possibly my favorite Bill Murray role. There are a few shortcomings here--the end scene does seem to drag a bit, and as awesome as he can be in some movies, Bobcat Goldthwait (Shakes The Clown, God Bless America) seems very out of place as Eliot Loudermilk, an IBS employee Cross fires early in the film. After many years of watching Scrooged on VHS or Netflix, I got this on DVD for Christmas a couple years ago, and at one point in the film, subtitles randomly appear for a second, then disappear just as quickly, which is pretty awesome. Scrooged has been a Christmas tradition for my girlfriend and I for seven years now, and as much as anything to do with the holiday, I look forward to watching this movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9

Scrooged Movie Review

Saturday, December 23, 2017

GIRL HOUSE (aka GirlHouse)

Girl House Movie Review

After falling for the new girl of a porn site, a psychopath calling himself Loverboy (George Carroll, aka rapper Slaine) notices somebody in the all-girl house featured on the website has posted a picture of him in their house, poking fun at him--humiliated, he shows up at the brothel seeking revenge.

Yes, this guy is a rapper

The film starts off strong--we see Loverboy as a shy child, being tormented by two young girls. Deciding he's had enough, Loverboy kills one of the girls and throws her--and her bicycle--off a bridge--not expecting much of anything from this film, this impressive opening caught my attention, and it only waned slightly as the movie progressed. We meet Kylie (Ali Cobrin), the new, "wholesome" girl, so we know pretty early who will survive this one. A lot of the time spent between the opening sequence and the third act drags--we are introduced to the guy who runs the website and a lot of inevitable victims interchangeable porn women, and Kylie starts up a relationship with an old classmate (Adam DiMarco), but things don't ever really pick up again until Loverboy arrives on scene.

Looking like this

While the acting throughout the film is shaky, it's not as bad as you likely will expect, and it actually improves when the killings begin. The death scenes are pretty gory, which always scores points. The ending is far too predictable, but it is rather brutal as well. While it doesn't bring anything really original to the table, and occasionally suffers from timeless cliches, Girl House is a better than expected slasher flick that turned out to be a pleasant surprise. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Girl House Movie Trailer

Monday, December 18, 2017


The Day Mars Invaded Earth Movie Review

Martians from Mars come to Earth to eliminate the scientists studying The Red Planet and replace them with alien doppelgangers who will report nothing is happening back home. This 1963 science fiction flick is unique in that the aliens are not necessarily coming to Earth to take over, but more so to stop us from taking them over, but otherwise it plays out as a low-budget knock off of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and The War of the Worlds--but not, you know, anywhere near as good as any of those. We spend the first half of the movie with little to nothing happening, and when things do begin to happen they're...well...rather boring. The scares are few, limited primarily to the end sequence.

Florida in August

The acting is bad, and the dialogue, while having a bit of Leave It To Beaver charm, is rather uninteresting. What really saves this movie from being a complete disaster is the music, the preventative angle, and the ending. Also worth noting is this was filmed at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills--having been to this mansion, is was pretty cool seeing it here (and I highly recommend heading there should you find yourself in Los Angeles). 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

The Day Mars Invaded Earth Movie Trailer

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


The Frozen Ghost Movie Review

While performing a show with his fiance, Gregor The Great (horror legend Lon Chaney Jr.) uses his mind to kill a heckling drunkard. Feeling guilty, Gregor, now going by his real name, Alex Gregor, begins working at a wax museum filled with people he can't trust, and when the owner, Valerie (Tala Birell) turns up missing, Alex becomes the main suspect. As much as anything, this movie is remembered for being one of Universal's six movies based on the Inner Sanctum Mystery, a radio program that began in the 1940's --it's also one of my personal favorite Chaney performances. Another horror legend, Evelyn Ankers (The Mad Ghoul, The Wolf Man), also turns in a fine performance in this one, and one can tell the obvious chemistry these two often-coupled up actors share.

Here's our legendary couple now!

This movie really plays out more as a whodunit than a straight up horror film, but there are some scary moments here and there. The story is an interesting one, but does slow at times. Unfortunately, a lot of the supporting cast leaves a bit to be desired, and the ending is a bit anticlimactic. Don't watch it expecting a terrifying story, but The Frozen Ghost is a decent mystery film, and fans of Chaney and/or Ankers should certainly give it a viewing. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

I couldn't find the trailer for The Frozen Ghost, but I came across this cool promo for the Inner Sanctum VHS collection from 1997. 


The Haunted Palace Movie Review

Alleged warlock Joseph Curwen (horror legend Vincent Price) is killed by angry townsfolk, but not before putting a curse on not only them, but their future families as well--he also claims he will return from the dead one day. Over one hundred years later, Charles Dexter Ward (also Price), Curwen's great-great-grandson, and his bride Anne (Debra Paget) arrive in the town to inherit the castle, and the new generation of locals sense something isn't quite right. That's the premise of this Roger Corman film, one of a series of eight movies loosely (VERY loosely here) based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Corman directed, though this movie is much more based off of H.P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward than anything Poe ever did--if this seems confusing, realize Poe was a far more marketable name (especially at the time this film came out, 1963) than was Lovecraft, so that's what they went with. It's also notable for being the first film to feature Lovecraft's fictional book Necronomicon, a book we all recognize from this masterpiece. Outside of this interesting bit of trivia, this movie falls a bit short of producing anything really memorable or particularly outstanding. Price, naturally, is good here, as we see Curwen gradually take over Ward, and there is one pretty creepy scene.

"Blame Curwen, not me!"

The pace of this film is a slow one, which can be bearable if there is enough good dialogue and interesting story to keep you hooked--it's lacking here, and the lack of a good payoff in the end only adds to the frustration. Given the players involved, The Haunted Palace is a movie that should have been much better than it was, but it is by no means a terrible movie--it's just sort of there. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Haunted Palace Movie Trailer

Monday, November 27, 2017


The Lair of the White Worm Movie Review

After digging up a skull he cannot identify, Angus Flint (Peter Capaldi, World War Z), along with sisters Mary (Sammi Davis, Four Rooms) and Eve (Catherine Oxenberg) Trent, and Lord James d'Ampton (Hugh Grant), makes a connection between the skull and a local legend regarding a large snake-worm thing--to make matters worse, a vampire-snake chick (Amanda Donohoe) appears and begins killing people and/or turning them into vampire-snake people...yes, this 1988 British film, loosely based on Bram Stoker's novel of the same name and an actual English legend, is every bit as weird as it sounds, and all in such wonderful ways, the most terrific being the flashback scenes.

Lady Sylvia Marsh, aka Vampire-Snake Chick

The imagery and action are so odd, outrageous, and completely psychedelic that you will likely find yourself rewinding to watch these scenes over and over again. There is a fair amount of violence in the film, which you may expect, but it's the dark comedy that may catch you off guard--this aspect of this movie is very hit or miss--some of the jokes are laugh out loud funny, and others fall flat. The cast is pretty good from top to bottom, with Grant delivering some particularly good deadpan humor. There is a bit of a 1970's Hammer films feel here, and certainly a 1950's creature feature feel as well.

Especially when we see this guy

The movie does slow down way too much at times, a shame for a film that's 95 minutes long, but there is a rather glorious ending, so it's worth it to push through. The Lair of the White Worm is certainly a rare breed of film, and it's not hard to see why it has such a cult following--it's about as out there as a film gets, and it's a lot of fun to watch.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

The Lair of the White Worm Movie Trailer 

Monday, November 13, 2017


Barracuda Movie Review

In 1975, the movie Jaws took the world by storm and scared audiences silly. As is often the case with such hits, many cheap imitation movies followed--in the case of Jaws, those movies came for years, and Barracuda is one such film--at least in part. This one came out in 1978, and until yesterday I had not seen it since probably sometime in the mid-1980s, so I was looking forward to checking it out again. The movie starts off swell enough--we get lots of barracuda attacks, lots of death scenes, lots of blood--really a lot more than you may expect from a movie rated PG.

There's even a severed head!

So the movie goes along just fine, and we get used to the killer fish, but then the film takes a drastic turn--our fun little horror movie becomes a whodunit of sorts, with government conspiracies, mind control, and the focus of the film goes from the barracudas to humans...and my interest dropped considerably. The bad acting and poor dialogue could be overlooked early on because the attacks were cool and entertaining, but when the plot shifted, these things became painful. From this point on, the movie drags, the story falls apart, and the end, while somewhat surprising, is abrupt and leaves the viewer feeling the entire thing was a waste of time. Watch this one for the first half, but if you plan to watch the rest, be ready to be disappointed.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Barracuda Movie Trailer

Oh okay, because I know it's been stuck in your head...

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Stranger Things Season 2 Review

WARNING: This review will contain a few Season 2 spoilers, and WILL contain many spoilers from Season 1, so if you have not seen that yet, you might want to check it out before continuing....okay, now that you've been warned, lets get on with this. Season 2 picks up just under a year after the end of Season 1--Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) is back, his mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) is almost normal again and dating Bob (Sean Astin), and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has survived and is living with Chief Hopper (David Harbour). Of somewhat less importance: Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) are getting closer as Nancy, apparently deciding Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) is just too nice these days, pulls away from her boyfriend; a fella named Sam Owens (Paul Reiser) is now running Hawkins Laboratory; Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) now has his front teeth; there is a new girl, Dig Dug master Max (Sadie Sink), in the boys' group and her step-brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) is the new high school bully and heartthrob, with a specific hatred for poor Steve.

And a wonderful head of hair

This season seems much more scattered than the first season, as we see the characters not only intertwine in different ways, but also see them sort of grow apart and branch out on their own (more on that soon). Eleven wanders off on her own to find her mother, and eventually her "sister", a chick from the opening scene of the first episode who we know immediately has some sort of connection to El. This girl, who is a bit older than Eleven, is tattooed 008, and heads her own group of troublemakers. 

Here they are now

After the initial scene, the group is practically forgotten about until, much later into the season, Eleven tracks them down, briefly joins them, then leaves soon after to head back to Hawkins.

Complete with a new wave makeover

For as much potential as this part of the story had, it ended up being fairly disappointing--there was a tremendous buildup to what ultimately lead to nothing terribly meaningful--this said, Kali, or 008, or Eight--whatever you want to call her--could lead her gang into Season 3, so we'll have to wait and see on that one. Another outstanding buildup that leaves the viewer disappointed is that of Billy and Max. It is heavily teased throughout the season that these two are not quite as they seem, but at the end of the day, we find Billy is a jerk because his father is a jerk (Henry Bowers anybody?) and Max is just a girl with a crush on Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin). Much like with Eight, I am holding out hope there is more to come from these two in season three. I also felt this season focused way too much on Dustin, a character most effective as a side kick, while featuring way too little of Joyce. All that out of the way, the stuff we loved from season one is still present here--the strong character development, the impressive acting (Harbour in particular really steps up his game), the 80s nostalgia (the boys dress as the Ghostbusters for Halloween and argue because none of them wanted to be poor Winston), the music (though not as good as in the first season), and whatever is happening in, and approaching from, the upside down.

Cloverfield? M.U.T.O.?

Going back to what I said about the characters branching out--the final season closes with the boys each dancing with a different girl, implying that, perhaps, the group is growing up and apart--it will certainly be interesting to see what direction this goes in when we get to the third season. While not quite on the level of the first season, the second season of Stranger Things does not disappoint--a third season is inevitable, and I cannot wait to see it, but a part of me hopes it is so good they end at three...there's nothing worse than seeing a good show die a slow, painful death, and Stranger Things deserves a better fate than that.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Stranger Things Season 2 Trailer


The Deadly Mantis Movie Review

A giant praying mantis, frozen in ice since prehistoric times, is unleashed to terrorize the world. As is often the case in these 1950s giant insect movies, the United States military is on the job to take down the threat. The movie begins with a long narration explaining locations and everything we are about to see, followed by the introduction of the main characters, followed by a lot of absolutely nothing happening. After what seems an eternity, our mantis friend finally gets his time to shine, and shine he does!

Flying mantis!

I acknowledge the fact we don't watch these 50s sci-fi flicks for the Academy-level acting, but my goodness, the acting in this movie is really bad--to call it wooden would be an insult to many finer performances that have been branded with that label. The dialogue is almost as bad as the acting, there is a ton of stock footage usage, and don't even get me started on the directing. If you can make it through all this, you will be treated to a pretty cool looking giant mantis.

"Aww, shucks!"

Most unfortunately, the damage caused by the mantis is minimal, and his inevitable destruction is fairly disappointing. I have a real life love of praying mantises--one summer, when I was 19 years old, I would often sleep with my bedroom window open, and on many mornings I would wake up with a praying mantis in my room, frequently on my chest; I have loved them ever since--this, coupled with my adoration of 50s sci-fi films, made me very excited to see The Deadly Mantis, but sadly, this one didn't come close to my expectations. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

The Deadly Mantis Movie Trailer

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Fright Night Part 2 Movie Review

Three years after killing vampire Jerry Dandridge, Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is in college, has upgraded his choice in women (now with Alex, played by Traci Lind ), and no longer believes in vampires--the problem is, Jerry's vampire sister Regine (Julie Carmen) and her band of misfits are in town and out for revenge. With Alex not believing in vampires, Evil Ed gone, and Amy...well, we're not quite sure what happened to Amy...there is only one person Charley can turn to for help...

Peter Vincent...Vampire Killer!

As is often the case, the sequel doesn't quite live up to the original, but there is still plenty to enjoy here. Roddy McDowall is once again spectacular in his portrayal of Peter Vincent, the on-screen vampire hunter turned real life--an very hesitant--vampire killer. Ragsdale turns in another decent performance as Charley, but the acting drops off considerably from there. The villains are an interesting crew--we have Regine, the leader,

Jerry's sis

Louie, the Evil Ed wannabe who looks like some strange cross between Top Dollar from The Crow and Michael Westen from Burn Notice,

Party on dude

Belle, the sometimes male, sometimes female, roller skating terror,

Belle on wheels

and Bozworth, the bug eating creep who looks like my old buddy Quasar from my younger days.

With that diet he ought to move to Florida

The basis of the story is somewhat uninspired, but there are some pretty unexpected twists and turns along the way. The horror isn't quite as scary, nor the comedy quite as funny, as in the first film, but this movie certainly has its moments. The makeup and special effects are a step down from the original film as well, but they are still decent for the time. The movie does run a bit long, but the rapid-fire death scenes toward the end make it all worth it. I had always liked Fright Night 2, and was thrilled when my girlfriend got it for me years ago, as it had been years before that since I had watched it--I was very happy to discover I still liked it quite a bit. The movie screams 80s horror awesomeness, and should be watched by any fan of that decade.

As a side note, the story of the movie after its theatrical release is also interesting: the distribution of the film was halted with the murder of Jose Menendez, the head of distribution, and the movie played to a limited number of theaters. While it was released on VHS the following year, it received a very limited DVD release in 2003 from Artisan, and has not been officially released on blu-ray. As a result of this, the Artisan DVD is highly collectible (I have one--thanks Sani!), and many, many illegal copies have been sold. So if you have this film on DVD that is not from Artisan, or you have a blu-ray of any sort, congratulations--you have yourself a bootleg. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Fright Night Part 2 Movie Trailer


Fright Night Movie Review

When Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon, The Nightmare Before Christmas), a vampire, moves in next door, teenager Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) enlists the help of his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse from Married...with Children), his horror-freak pal Evil Ed (Stephen Geoffreys, 976-Evil) and famous vampire hunter--in films only--Peter Vincent (Hollywood legend Roddy McDowall) to help combat him. There are a handful of horror films that remind me of being a kid--ones that, growing up, I watched more times than I could ever count--and Fright Night is certainly one of them, so it will always hold a sentimental place for me, but looking past that, this really is a fantastic horror film. For as much as I love the other things about the film I will touch on in a moment, my favorite part of the movie is McDowall as Peter Vincent.


The character--an obvious nod to horror legends Peter Cushing and Vincent Price--is an over-the-hill horror actor who now hosts a late night horror show--appropriately titled Fright Night--often showing the movies of his prime. Charley, believing that if anybody would know how to help his vampire problem, it would be "Vincent Price--Vampire Killer!", seeks out the assistance of the actor, but when Charley meets Price, he finds him to be less Van Helsing and more Cowardly Lion. McDowall's performance ranks as one of my all time favorites in any sort of movie. The rest of the cast does a good job as well, particularly Sarandon as the vampire and Geoffreys as Evil Ed, another of my favorite characters in horror history. Another outstanding aspect of this film comes from the special effects and makeup departments. As the movie jumps effortlessly between the comedic and the horrific, these departments do a great job delivering the frights.

An oft-used Facebook profile pic for a certain horror blog writer

This one may have given my girlfriend nightmares years ago

As impressive as these visuals are, the best of the film is saved for the scene featuring Ed's fate--the transformation draws comparison to that in An American Werewolf In London, and is just as good in my book--in fact, I prefer the one in Fright Night simply because I find it far more tragic while also being quite disturbing.

Slowly! Oh so slowly

The film moves at a very impressive rate, the story is an interesting one, and writer/director Tom Holland does a great job making the audience care about the characters and what's happening to them. From beginning to end, there is a lot to love about Fright Night. After all these years, it remains a personal favorite, and a movie I try to watch at least once a year.

On A Score Of One To Ten: 9

Fright Night Movie Trailer

Friday, November 3, 2017


Open Water 2: Adrift Movie Review

A group of six morons and a baby take a yacht out into an ocean, and amidst their horseplay, they all decide to go for a swim--actually, one girl didn't want to go in, but she was forced to against her will--that's not really important. It's not until they're in the water, however, that they realize nobody bothered to lower the ladder so they could climb back on.

"Damn! We're in a tight spot!"

Other than also featuring people stranded in the ocean, this movie doesn't really tie in to the original, overrated film, and unlike that movie, isn't really based on a true story, though it claims to be. It is kind of, sort of teased that, as in the original film, we may see sharks, but surprisingly, that doesn't happen; instead, we get a lot of attempting to get back on the boat, a lot of whining and blaming, a quick flurry of action that sees one character get stabbed, one die of exhaustion, and another, the one who looks like a young Jeff Brantley, hit his head on the bottom of the boat and suffer a skull fracture.

"Right. Down. Broadway."

Outside that fifteen minutes, and a little in the end, there's not much action in this film, but it certainly does a better job keeping your attention than Open Water does. Strangely, you may actually find yourself caring about a character or two along the way, something you certainly wouldn't expect after the first half hour of the film. The end, and subsequently, who survives, will surprise nobody. The dialogue switches from captivating to mind-numbing with unusual regularity, and the editing leaves a lot to be desired. While not exactly the movie you are expecting it to be, Open Water 2: Adrift has some interesting moments that keep it...ahem...floating in a sea of mediocre sequels. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Open Water 2: Adrift Movie Trailer

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


It Came From Beneath The Sea Movie Review

When a submarine comes in contact with a mysterious object, the Navy enlists the help of Professor Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue of This Island Earth and Cult of the Cobra fame) and Dr. John Carter (Donald Curtis) to find out what it was. It is soon discovered that the object was a giant, boat-attacking octopus.

It likes attacking buildings too

A lot of this movie's time is spent trying to figure out what the octopus is, convincing the important people it is, in fact, a giant octopus, and thinking of ways to destroy it, while at the same time developing a relationship between Joyce and Commander Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey)--of course he eventually wins her over, proving that, even in 1955, hot chicks fell for the biggest jerk in the room.

"Yes, he's a jerk...but he's so handsome!"

This is a lot to sit through to finally get to something actually happening, but when the octopus is revealed, it is 1950s science fiction gold. The miniature models and stop-motion effects of the octopus are outstanding, and it's attack on San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge are the stuff of nightmares (Sani, never watch this one). The acting is fair, and Domergue is as good as ever, but the dialogue is weak and the sub-plots uninteresting. Watch this one for Domergue and the octopus--outside of them, there's not much else to this film

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

It Came From Beneath The Sea Movie Trailer