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Prom Night

If anything, PROM NIGHT(1980) has that creepy atmosphere. Watch it alone, at night, I dare u. The high school, the broken mirror, the killer, the music -- this is a great slasher film. Jamie lee and the other girls were hot. I saw this at the drive-in when I was 10 or 11 yrs old, and it's as effective today as it was then. Don't let anyone tell you this film isn't a credible entry into the classic (I hate that word) slasher genre. (SPOILER)Isn't the school janitor such a great red herring character in this movie?! And the killer's black outfit is perfect. I think I own the original movie poster -- it's cool. I haven't seen the 2008 version, but from reviews and trailer I can promise it won't come close to the atmosphere in the original.

Dungeons & Dragons

Bad, but could be better . . .
It's simple, take out Wayans and the movie would be a lot better, not great, but better. There's no place for this goofy racial comedy crap in Dungeons and Dragons. No doubt Wayans doesn't even respect the game. Wayans ruined it for me and probably took 20 years off G Gygax's life and now he's gone. RIP. With today's fantasy film special effects tech, with movies like LOTR and Narnia, Dungeons and Dragons could have been taken seriously and been a big hit w/ characters as popular as Capt. Jack Sparrow. But here we have Wayans. You can't better this film till you rid it of Wayans.

Wayans, why Wayans and black racial comedy? Why, oh, why?


Wished it been done differently
I liked it, but it could have been better. Once the movie fell into "remake" territory it lost effect. I liked the young Michael Myers story. Would have liked to see more of Michael and Dr. Loomis in the institution, more dialog, more of the years, more of him growing and even more murders along the way. In my opinion, this could have worked. Michael could have even escaped, or tried to, as a teen, murdered, and failed to make it back home before being caught and re-institutionalized. Then the film could have ended with his last escape on Halloween and him getting his mask and knife. The "remake" scenes felt wrong to me, like reenactments you see on America's Most Wanted or Forensics Files, etc. I guess someone who's never seen the original HALLOWEEN will have a better time with the latter parts in this version. It's good but not as good as I'd hoped. There's no chance any remake has going up against the original and being spectacular, so I think Zombie should have made an entire film leading up to the first. The "remake" scenes weren't hard-hitting, all the new scenes were.


Jerry Springer's Kids.
There have been many films in the past that have portrayed rebellious teens in a realistic light. Two of my favorites are 1979's Over the Edge and 1984's Old Enough. If anything Thirteen is a good reflection of the times. Of course, you've got to remember that the teens and adults fictionalized in this movie are just one social group in our society today. Not all teens do and act like this. The whole Hip-Hop NuMTV culture as spawned this kind of teenage environment, IMO. And AIDS is an afterthought. All the actors involved give excellent performances, but overall the film dwells on negativity with no real redemption. I have a feeling that kids living and going through similar experiences will find Thirteen cool for all the wrong reasons. The fellatio scene with the white girl and black guy and comment on taste was vulgar and, IMO, unnecessary.

Open Water

They tried to make The Blair Witch Project in the water.
Did it cost less than $100.00 to make this movie? It could have. They could have filmed the two people in the water for 20mins and they could have wrapped it up. I knew from the get-go what the film makers were hoping for: that Open Water would be a surprise success like The Blair Witch Project. Open Water looks like it's shot on video and feels like a documentary. As with The Blair Witch Project the makers were hoping to tap into the viewer's fear without really showing much of anything. They wanted that "REAL" feel, "REAL" characters in anticipation that viewers would be scared silly. Well, I wasn't scared. What would scare me is if you told me I was going to have to watch Open Water again and again. This movie sucked, to put it bluntly.

Electric Dreams

Feel-good, contemporary love story from the '80s
I'm not a big romance film buff but I like Electric Dreams. It's a happy, little film that used to play on cable TV when I was younger. The production qualities are great, as is the overall acting. Virginia Madsen is as pretty as ever, and the music is probably what makes the film better than just good. The Human League's Phil Oakey, Boy George, etc. Good stuff! It's a movie that puts me in an uplifting mood, and that's all I ask from it. Bud Cort (Harold and Maude (1971) really let's his voice shine as Edgar the computer. Comically it's not fall-out-of-your-seat funny but it's clever and the story moves along so as to hold your interest.

He Knows You're Alone

The Quintessential Slasher
This is a great horror film. If you're looking for a Carpenter's Halloween-type movie, I can't see how anyone could suggest that He Knows You're Alone doesn't deliver the scares. I watched this time and time again when I was about eleven years old, and now after a zillion horror flicks later it is one of the few that can still induce that feeling of fear in me . . . somehow. The soundtrack, though Halloweenesque, is effectively creepy, and the killer has this realistic crazed look about him. In fact, he's more believable, say, in contrast to the supernatural element of Michael Myers -- if ever a killer was stalking you for real, there's a good chance this would be, indeed, how he'd look. There's a chilling decapitation where the victim's head is found in a fish tank. The assumed gore/unseen violence works well in building shivery viewer imagination, which is probably the main reason it's just so darn scary overall. It's finally good to have a DVD release of this early-on '80s slasher.

The Stepford Wives

In the comedy section at the store -- shoulda been the first hint
The trailer, at least to me, didn't hint at the remake of TSW as being one so radically different from the original film. In fact, I was rather excited about a new technologically advanced version of the movie, considering the robotic aspects of the plot. I should have known, yesterday, while searching for the DVD at my local video retail store and surprisingly finding it in the comedy section, not the horror, that I was in for a big disappointment. The first few minutes into the film I caught on quickly that something was wrong. Wrong in a sense that the remake was not going to provide the original atmosphere --the same creepiness generated in the first one. And wrong as far as dealing with believable characters. Off the bat, Joanna was ruined. One of the reasons the original worked so well and provided terror was because we got to establish/feel the humanity of the characters for a great deal of the film and then watch things go dreadful and machine-cold. I personally feel that a movie like TSW would only work if it was made with the fans of the original in mind. In this case, it's too modern for its own good. And not in the special-effects department, but more so in social and political representation. Do we really need a dash of SNL in our TSW? I don't think so. The comedy was counter-productive and made my experience with TSW (2004) lousy.


Good but falls short
Michael A. Simpson is great at creating satire with exaggerated archetypical characters. Funland (1986), like Simpson's Sleepaway Camp films (2 & 3), features funny and interesting characters with good dialogue, decent settings, and a tongue-in-cheek storyline. There's some pretty zany stuff going on in this movie, some of which you might miss if you divert your attention for too long. For example, there's a sign at the gate of one of the rides of a clown holding a ball in each hand and it reads something like, "You must be as tall as my balls to ride." The camera aims momentarily at the clown's crotch. Also the whole absurd lectures given by managers who'd like their minimum wage employees to believe they were working in a powerful profession and to have them give them respect as if he/she were Bill Gates or someone all-important. There's a hilarious pizza-making speech. Once again, as with the Sleepaway Camp films, Simpson gets away with racial and homosexual slights because they're too obvious, so flagrant that no intelligent viewer could begin to take them seriously, in fact, they're very comical. Funland is good up to a point. About halfway through the film falls flat when it opts for quasi serious approach instead of evolving into a horror comedy. I strongly believe Funland could have been 100% better if it would have become a horror film. The two teenage leads should have had more camera time and the deeply troubled clown, Bruce Burger, played convincingly by David L. Lander of Laverne & Shirley fame, Andrew 'Squiggy' Squiggmann, should have went on a murderous bloody rampage, in which the two lovers would have had to fight to stay alive. Had Funland been closer to Sleepaway Camp 2 & 3 in its production it would have done much better in finding an audience. Sleepaway Camp 3 fans might notice the television reporter in Funland as the same actress in SC3 who also played the reporter. There are lots of familiar faces in Funland, actors and actresses who have appeared in many low-budget goodies over the decades. There's an overweight female character who acts like someone right out of a SNL skit, and she pulls the humor off quite well as an overzealous park security guard. All in all, Funland is an enjoyable little slapstick flick. But it could have really turned into a memorable cult classic if horror would have played a major part, and that's too bad. I suggest you watch Simpson's Sleepaway Camp 2 & 3 to see what Funland could have aspired to.

Teen Lust

Second Post! Kirsten "Hottie" Baker
TEEN LUST is a lighthearted sexploitation comedy. Before Porky's, before Meatballs, you've got TEEN LUST -- as low budget as they come. If you're in the mood for sexy babes, lust-driven lads, oddballs and geeks, and not to forget unscrupulous cops, then TEEN LUST is the right one for you. I'm a big fan of Kirsten Baker. I've tried to collect all of her films, and in TEEN LUST as a lead role she's great. Also Perry Lang's a fine actor (films like Spring Break and The Hearse) and he does a good job. Some of the best scenes involve a mentally challenged character. You've just got to see it. This is one that gets better and better the more times you watch it. 7 out of 10

The Comeback

Creepy UK slasher with plausible, solid storyline.
I haven't seen The Comeback since 1980 or ‘81. I was ten when I caught this one on cable television and a few of the more horrific scenes have stayed in my mind ever since. Just a few days ago I rediscovered this great ‘70s slasher and bought it on DVD (a copy). For fans of this genre, the killer's appearance/costume and murdering style will definitely please. While there's not a ton of carnage to be found, the slayings are frantic and brutal and bloody. The film arguably keeps a creepy atmospheric setting from start to finish. The dreary warehouse penthouse and its gated levels and gear-crunching elevator, the minacious manor house and its two curious elderly keepers, are both good examples. As well as gore, the film also provides a few psychological jolts. Jack Jones and the rest of the cast deliver believable performances with good material. The dialogue is perfect and there's a plausible, solid storyline with a few interesting subplots, to boot. As with similar films the ending here is not so predictable. Pamela Stephenson in the role of Linda Everett is total eye candy, and I kept thinking how much she looks like a younger Pamela Anderson. And how can anyone pass up seeing Charlie's Angels' Bosley in full drag, tearful over the secret crush he has on his number-one male recording artist. Humorously, until just now discovering this film again, I'd always confused Jack Jones for Skip Stephenson of the TV series Real People. In summation I really think this UK slasher is much better than many of the Italian giallos I've seen. It's just a creepy flick that I highly recommend; Pete Walker did a hell of a job. The rating should be much higher.


Contrived. Acting School Required!
I had no expectations, good or bad, about Scrapbook before seeing it. Nor was I acquainted with the low-budget horror team headed by director Eric Stanze and the volume of straight-to-video films they've produced. What I sat through was a third-rate, tasteless, and throughout borderline cheesy exploitation – the tasteless aspect probably being the film's only strong point. This one takes its graphic sex scenes to where others have only hinted at. I admire the fact that the filmmakers were willing to 'go there,' to push the envelope, to shock the viewer without restraint, but there are so many negative points to the film that its cinematic chutzpah is all but extinguished by them. Contrived, I think, would be the best way to describe how most of the scenes come off. There are only a few moments when the dialogue reaches a stage of believability, as the rest is addled and poorly delivered with bad timing. The violence is on par with wrestling entertainment (WWE) – in particular the weak slapping. There are so many ludicrous moments that I can't begin to explain – the prologue being the utmost example of it. There's a glass bottle scene that screams I Spit on Your Grave (1978). Was this homage?

The gore, however, is done quite professionally. It's something most exploitation horror film afficionados will want to see at least once. In a nutshell, it's 95 min of killer and victim pornographic fair.

Just Before Dawn

Just Mediocre.
Let me first say that I really like director Jeff Lieberman, but Just Before Dawn is an average horror film. I've wanted to see this film for a while now. Amongst horror movie collectors it seems to have a good buzz. I read on the message board here that someone heard it might get a DVD release as a double-disk special along with the recent Wrong Turn. Now that'd be a good combination -- both films have the same thematic subject matter. Just Before Dawn, considering made when it was, is quite underived and fresh. The only complaint are the dark scenes, granted these take place in the forest at night. The suspense, the chilling timberland setting, the killing and acting are all adequate, but not as good as the hype. Sleepaway Camp movie fans will like seeing actor Mike Kellin, who played camp owner Mel in the first one, appearing in this horror flick. I did.

Bad Ronald

He's Bad.
One great thing, in my humble opinion, that Bad Ronald has going for it is originality. Made in 1974, this TV movie features one of the Jacoby clan. I'm more familiar with Billy Jacoby. I watched a vhs copy someone had made, and I'm not totally sure it was a complete version. A few blurbs I read on the Net led me to believe that Ronald ultimately rapes and kills a lot before the end, however, the movie I watched didn't include these things. The acting all-around was good.

***possible spoilers***

The fantasy world that starts out as a book Ronald wants to write turns out to become a warped reality for him as he stays in isolation. We, the viewers, never get to learn much about this world. Maybe that's best, as it didn't seem too interesting. Also, I was a little confused as to the time frame of his isolation.

One humorous scene involves a nosey neighbor who perpetually peeks into Ronald's house, even after a new family moves in. Sooner or later she spots Ronald getting into the kitchen and, in turn, either faints or has a heart attack and falls down the backstairs to her death. I was happy to see the old crone get it. Another funny scene is when Ronald comes crashing through the hidden doorway and scrambles outside into the arms of the law, calling out for his dead mother. I guess I laughed at some of the most dramatic scenes. I'm sure a great deal of today's moviegoers would laugh as well. That's not to say I didn't like Bad Ronald, because I did. Most '70s made-for-television movies are great.

I've noticed among video collectors that Bad Ronald is gaining some cult status. I'm not really sure why, though. You can even find a trailer for this flick, but not for other, better, horror films of that period. ???

The Dorm That Dripped Blood

The Dorm That Dripped the Plot.
This is a slasher film. A low budget one that obviously wanted to ride the successful coattail of Halloween (hence, some of the sharp-key music). The only problem I have with The Dorm That Dripped Blood is lack of story development -- void story development, that is precisely. I know, I know, it's an '80s slasher (one of the early ones, too), but shouldn't it at least have the shadow of a storyline somewhere? Maybe I got too bored and missed some crucial dialogue. But I doubt it. It seemed to me that it was a halfhearted, rushed attempt at a slasher film. Even the killer's lines, once he/she was revealed, were inept seconds of trying to explain the plot, of which there was none. Maybe the writers were trying to portray some artistic point that there's not always a formulaic reason to murder. Yeah, right. The red herrings were just thrown in and as conspicuous as they come. Believe it or not, it's still a good slasher. Every fan should at least see it once. There are some creepy scenes, like the broken elevator one, and the gore's okay. Again, it just needed a plot besides the obvious . . . or does it? 8-)

Poor Albert and Little Annie

Poor viewer, forget Albert
Zooey Hall, I've not seen him in any other role but, boy, was he perfect for the part of Albert. He certainly is a creepy-lookin' fellow. No wonder he's credited as playing "Joanie's Weird Boyfriend" on a Happy Days episode.

I Dismember Mama is an irksome film with laughable music throughout, even for the period. The scenes where Albert is chasing Annie has accompanying music that sounds like something from the old Adam West "Batman" TV-series. It ruins the climatic scenes. Summed up, there's not much to see, well . . . some '70s nudity.

Deadly Lessons

I happened upon this flick actually looking for a different "Deadly Lessons", the one starring Diane Franklin (I think it's her?) that was made for TV. What we have here is definitely a low-budget production, yet it features better-than-average acting and characters that are surprisingly three-dimensional. This one kept me interested, however, the ending is totally predictable. I knew what was happening way early on; the clues'll smack you upside your head. I wanted them to go the other way with it in the end, had my fingers crossed, but alas, they stuck with the obvious. Not a "killer ending" as the other reviewer claims. One other gripe I have is the scene where one girl unknowingly snorts crushed glass and her friend tells her to lay down so she can get help. Then, cut to the next scene and this friend who is going for help starts calling out for a guy who just before was asking the two of them to come into the shower with him. The help-seeker then starts talking seductively while she removes her bikini top and walks into the shower. It's like she completely forgot about her bleeding friend in the other room. For Christ's sake, girl, your friend just snorted crushed glass! Aside from the expected low-budget faults, Deadly Lessons is quite watchable and quite good.

The Forest

Absolutely Crap
I sought out a copy of The Forest because I was watching a VH1 special, I think "Where Are They Now", and saw the video box flash across the screen during a segment on the actor Corky Pigeon. He played the male child ghost in this B horror horrible, but I remember him from his character Freddy on the Silver Spoons television show. This flick's a major letdown. There's nothing here. It actually took me four months to watch it from start to finish. I kept stopping it in boredom, setting it aside and forgetting about it, then stumbling on it and trying once again to get through it. Obviously, the angle of this film that was intended to set it apart from its counterparts was the supernatural element, the apparitions. And obviously, here, that doesn't work. I can't stand the male leads. I kept expecting them to look down at their palms during the longer dialogue scenes in order to read cheat lines. The situation at the beginning where the couples decide to go camping separately is awkward and plain dumb. I guess the only positive thing to say about this one is the scene where the guy falls and breaks his leg, you can see the bone sticking out of his flesh. It's fairly good gore makeup there. Man, I'm really reaching for a positive now, huh. The only other no-budget horror film on a level as bad as this one would be Home Sweet Home.


Real and Provoking.
Unfaithful would simply give a behaviouristic psychology class subject matter for an entire semester. It's a film depicting the "real", where each character's emotional expressions and both intended and coincidental situations speak volumes. There are a lot of subtleties and reflections going on, for example, the conversation between the ladies at the pub. This film is made to provoke, and it does just that whether you like it in the end or not. I think, in probably most cases, that male and female viewers will have different feelings and responses to this film. I identified mainly with Gere's character, not because I've been through something like this but because I'm a married man. So, I saw his side of the experience, his suffering and pain and sudden loss of the life he'd had. And then he does everything wrong, everything wrong that "real" (not smart) people have done. But all of the characters could be analyzed both sympathetically and not. That's what makes them "real". That's what makes you watch the film all the way through. Most viewers won't like the ending, which is intended to provoke, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't nettle me, but how else would it end really? No one can honestly say that the acting is bad, I mean look at who we have here. Still, I want to not like this film, but I guess I have to acknowledge the intelligence at work here and give it credit of course for being so explicitly lewd.


Truly a startling ending.
Unhinged is a movie that'll likely endear itself to me the more times I see it. I will say that without the ghastly end scene this one would've been cast into the inky black void of the forgotten. There are films, especially in the horror genre, that are buzzed to have twist endings, powerful surprise endings that shock and have never been encountered, well, in regards to Unhinged that's almost the truth. While the idea/situation/plot may not be entirely underived (having an essence of Hitchcock's Psycho, for example), the film's progression shrewdly shrouds the climax. Being the seasoned, desensitized horror fan that I am, even I sat up captivated, feeling a bit unnerved as I watched the last scenes unfold. I can't say many splatter flicks have that effect on me. The killing was extended, which made it all the more uncomfortable and startling to watch, yet is exactly what many horror films lack. To compare Unhinged to Sleepaway Camp (1983) would not be entirely wrong (with slight similarities in the plot), but instead unfair, as this film was the first made of the two (1982). I find it laughable sometimes when I run across reviewers who state that the film they've watched was same old same old, nothing new when they're reviewing a horror movie from the '70s or early '80s.

Despite all the stalely delivered dialogue, Unhinged is a good horror film. On the DVD release I have, in "special features", there's a TV interview with the director, Don Gronquist, and one of the actresses who I felt gave the best performance. Mr. Gronquist is one of the worst speakers I've ever listened to. I wonder what he's like on the set. `Sp-p-p-p-p-p-it it out, junior!' Anyway, if you're a fan of '70s and '80s slasher films you must see Unhinged.

Cries in the Night

Where was this one when I was a kid watching cable TV?
I just watched Funeral Home and keep wondering why I've never seen it before now. It's a 1980 horror flick that's a little above average for its budget. What I mean to say is that it fits right in there with the horror films during the time, the ones that had fairly decent acting and good enough scripts. Why didn't I ever see this on cable TV back in the day? I recognized actress Lesleh Donaldson playing Heather, remembered her from the films Happy Birthday to Me and Curtains. Now those two movies played on cable all the time back then. Also, recognized the one cop played by Alf Humphreys from My Bloody Valentine. Funeral Home is a decent horror movie, especially having been made in 1980. It does mirror Hitchcock's Psycho in certain plot aspects and in its build up, but it's still distinct enough, I think. There's not a lot of action, blood spraying everywhere, but it has a creepy atmosphere in which the setting is believable. Holds the attention. I really thought the ending was clever with the credits rolling and the movie still playing. Liked the dialogue at the end between the cop and the old woman. Funeral Home should be in every horror collector's arsenal.

Home Sweet Home

Maniacal Laughter?
Haw-hee hee-ha-ha-ha heh-heh haw-he-he-ha-ha . . . terrible. SLASHER IN THE HOUSE, or HOME SWEET HOME (words which are supposedly tattooed on the killer's hand, why?), has got to be the worst of the worst in the slasher/horror genre. As a horror collector myself, the only value in this one is the appearance of actress Vinessa Shaw in her first movie playing the little girl, Angel. She went on to be quite popular. Although, it's probably one of the lousiest child roles I've seen.

Throw out the script here. Heck, what script? Why would this production team even have needed Thomas Bush's screenplay to shoot this film? Jeez, the better question: Why did Thomas Bush write it in the first place?! Though this may sound a bit harsh, I'm sure if you see this film you'll find you agree. The dialogue is horrible and its delivery is forced. It would have been better if the whole thing was ad-libbed. Normally I don't mind wooden acting, bad lines, etc., and I've seen lots of cheesy Bs, but this one takes the cheesecake. It annoyed the h@*! outta me.

SPOILERS (which in this case is an "oxymoron")

The killer, Jake Steinfeld, is exceptionally bad in the part. I can just hear the director saying, "Okay, Jake, just be as crazy as you'd expect an escaped murderous mental patient to be. ACTION!" Then Jake starts laughing. And it's not good, people, believe me, it's not good. Honestly, I think he's been scarier in those infomercials he's done. Now, granted, it's not a challenging role to begin with, little dialogue and such, but I think the bulk of character believability rested on Jake's shoulders and he let it roll off. Little kids playing monster in their backyards do a better job. Kane Hodder as Jason and Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface are two examples of what one can do with such a part. Jake sucks, to put it plainly. There's a mime/magician running around with a guitar and portable amp being chased by everyone, a few pretty girls, ugly guys, two unbelievable cops, bad camera shots, lame gore, and Jake stupidly laughing. There's also an unbelievable death scene where Jake, grunting, jump-rolls on the hood of a car while the victim is stealing a battery thereby killing him. Bull&@#!, if that would've killed someone then I'm Michael Jackson.

Really, this is a film for the serious collector only, the kind that must have everything, even the worst. For anyone else, forget it. You've been warned.

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