Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pieces (1982)

Time to continue venturing into the Cult Horror Collection. Tonight’s entry was the chainsaw massacre flick,Pieces.

Plot / While playing with a puzzle, a teenager is tormented by his mother and cracks, killing her by severing body with an ax. Forty years later, in a university campus in Boston, a serial killer kills young women and severs their bodies in parts, stealing body pieces from each student. Lt. Bracken makes a deal with the dean of the campus, and infiltrates the agent Mary Riggs as if she was a tennis teacher and together with the student Kendall, they try to find the identity of the killer.

This is one of the funniest slasher flicks I have ever seen. Yes, the dialogue is terrible, the acting is only a step up and the effects and direction are about as bad, but there is a lot of blood and enough eye candy to keep things entertaining. Do not get me wrong, the story is flawed and the movie is bad, very bad. However, there are some interesting kills and the ending is a treat. In all, a must-see for anyone that loves seedy Euro-horror in all its untainted, trashy form.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The First Ever Billy Loves Stu Meme for Horror Bloggers

OK, so it took me a few days to get to this because I am being driven insane by my four daughters (summer vacation cannot end soon enough). Somehow, their bedtimes have gone away since the oldest has come to visit and they seem to be staying up way past MY bedtime... But, here goes!

1: Random ramblings about the movies that shape who I am.

2: Born in 1972, I would fall into The Exorcism Era

3: Sue Snell would be a perfect date (and a lot better than my real one).

4: The first-person Zombie Epic that I am currently writing (samples can be found on my writing blog As My Tears Run Red). I would love to be in control to ensure that the director would have and understand my vision.

5: Nightmare on Elm Street. I loved the first one, but after that, they definitely seemed to drift farther from the greatness that was established with the first installment.

6: Not sure if he is the Antichrist, but could definitely be part of the conversation.

7: The Wolfman... He could be your neighbor and you would never realize until it is too late.

8: The scene where Han Solo is frozen in the Empire Strikes Back, there is just something about seeing his body come back as a block of carbon that sends chills down my spine to this day.

9: A bottle of Stoli and a six pack of PBR... What else?

10: No, it just helps give me an outlet so my wife doesn't have to always hear about the murder and mayhem I watch.

11: The book What to expect when Expecting, the perfect reading material on all things to create unnecessary tension throughout a pregnancy.

12: Godzilla of course! No matter creature he is fighting, that dropkick he has is only rivaled by members of the WWE.

13: Please, do not remake the BLOB... Create something like Trailer Park Massacre!

14: Murder By Death... That has to be one of the best spoofs ever!

15: Driving my wife insane with the constant gore that crosses the screen on my TV...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Deep Red (1975)

Time to continue venturing into the Cult Horror Collection. Tonight’s entry was the Dario Argento classic Deep Red (Profondo Rosso). This is an important film in my life, and honestly, it is on a very short list of movies that helped shape my love of all things horror.

Plot / A psychic who can read minds picks up the thoughts of a murderer in the audience and soon becomes a victim. An English pianist gets involved in solving the murders, but finds many of his avenues of inquiry cut off by new murders, and he begins to wonder how the murderer can track his movements so closely.

I remember seeing this film for the first time years ago; it was introduction to Argento and the giallo genre. To me, it was and remains a stunning example of what can be done within a film, when you combine a murder mystery with clever cinematography, terrific atmosphere and imagery; not to mention that there are some incredibly inventive murder sequences and a nice tint of blood. The cast is solid and the plot is interesting and at the end it is a terrific thriller that firmly ranks as one of Argento's best!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Demon (1979)

Time to continue venturing into the Cult Horror Collection set. Recognizing the titles, I felt like I would try to get the snoozers out of the way by viewing Cameron Mitchell’s The Demon from 1979 tonight. While I know that this low budget entry will not live up to some of the others from the set, I must be fair and give it equal time.

Plot / A psychopath is on the loose and an ex-U.S. Marine psychic, Colonel Bill Carson, is brought in to track the psycho and try and find out what happened to their Daughter.

When I saw the title, I thought I had suffered through this before, but was not sure. Then it started and I realized that indeed was the case, but never-the-less, I struggled through this disjointed mess. Yes, there are some (a few) good spots in this attempt to ride on the coattails of Halloween; there is some decent atmosphere and the acting is tolerable. However, that is about where the good starts and the bad begins. The movie changes direction about half way through (which is hard to believe with such a clichéd plot) , it moves quite slow and the gore is non-existent. On top of that the lack of a budget was really apparent throughout. All in all, it was really not a very good movie. At least I know that my next entry from this set, Deep Red, is a much better film and one that I will enjoy watching and reviewing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Memorial Valley Massacre (1988)

After some debate with the voices in my head, I decided to finish disc 1 of Cult Horror Collection. The last movie on that disc is Memorial Valley Massacre from 1988. Unfortunately, this is one film I had never seen (or heard of) before and having spent most of the 1980s knee deep in slasher’s I am not expecting much.

Plot / With the Memorial Day holiday quickly approaching, a campground struggles with its polluted water, unsafe roads, old equipment, and a criminally insane hermit who comes out of isolation in order to murder every last campground visitor.

This movie was definitely the downside to disc 1. I will admit it had enough cliché to make it a 1980s slasher flick, I.E. low-budget/low expectations. The characters were bland and appeared very one-dimensional. The plot based around a strange feral killer that was supposedly lost for 17-plus years in the wilderness was definitely a bit of a stretch and to top it off the death scenes are bad with minimal gore or effects. To be honest, I was confused at what direction the film was supposed to be going in horror, comedy or both. Unfortunately, for me, it missed the mark in all aspects. Fans of camp based slasher’s may enjoy this one, but if you are searching for a similar but better slasher from that era, try the Burning, it is a much superior entry.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't Look in the Basement (1973)

After a rough day on the fishing charter it was nice to settle back into my comfort zone. Time to continue  with Cult Horror Collection. Tonight’s entry is Don’t Look in the Basement (AKA The Forgotten from 1973).

Plot / Dr. Stephens runs a secluded sanitarium with a small group of mental patients, one of whom uses the ax that was supposed to be for therapeutic wood-chopping to cut down Dr. Stephens. Now, Dr. Masters is running the asylum alone with her brand-new nurse, who does her best to befriend the eclectic group of patients. The pretty young nurse was eager to work with the forward-thinking Dr. Stephens, but finds his successor to be less than welcoming and the hospital to be less than wholesome.

As many of you know, these sets are very hit and miss. I was happy to see that I could watch this as a follow-up to the last movie of the set that I reviewed (Kill Baby Kill). This is actually a pretty good flick that suffered with what must have been a sub-minimal budget. Everything else, while not top notch it is done rather well. The script is solid, the acting decent and the direction is good. Even the story offers some twists to go along with some gore and suspense. Overall, it was enjoyable and a movie that I recommend.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Versatile Blog Award

The Ringmaster's Realm would like to thank Freddie Young from the great Full Moon Reviews for bestowing the Versatile Blog Award to The Ringmaster's Realm. Since I began blogging, I have tred to offer a variety of reviews on the movies that made me a lifelong horror fan, as well as sharing some of the interesting finds and places that I visit on my travels. Thanks again Freddie, support like this is awesome!

The rules attached to this award are:

• Thank the person who gave it to you.
• Share 7 things about yourself.
• Pass the award along to 15 who you have recently discovered and who you think fantastic for whatever reason.
• Contact the blogs you picked and let them know about the award.

7 Things About Me
1. I am a writer with two books published. One is a poetry book Walking Before Dawn and the other is a beginners guide to Cryptozoology, Searching the Abyss.

2. I am a huge 1980s New Wave fan and often go days without hearing anything modern on my Ipod.
3. I love to fish and take pleasure in teaching my four daughters the art of fishing.
4. I am obsessed with vintage items from the 1950s.

5. I drink a ton of coffee everyday and should buy stock in Starbucks or 7-11.
6. I am an auction, estate sale and flea market fiend!

7. I often spend free time hunting Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil or just hunting ghosts and have been the editorial director for Haunted Times Magazine from the past five years (although I have done my last issue and am moving on).

15 Versatile Blogs

Ghost Hunting Theories
Lavender Lair of Horror  
The Search for thr Lure of the Vampire
Poetic Zombie
The Unlife
Reflections of Film and TV
Zombies Don't Run
Movies at Midnight
Criminal Movies
Information Review
From Beyond Depraved
Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion
Evil on Two Legs
Space 1970
The House of Horror 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kill Baby Kill (1966)

Now that I have finished the Gorehouse Greats Collection it is time for me to move on to my next collection of films, Cult Horror Collection. The first flick I chose was the 1966 Mario Bava gem Kill Baby Kill.

Plot / Dr. Eswai is called by Inspector Kruger to a small village to perform an autopsy on a woman who has died under suspicious circumstances. Despite help from Ruth, the village witch, Kruger is killed and it is revealed that the ghost of Melissa, a young girl who, fed by the hatred of her grieving mother, Baroness Graps, exacts her revenge on them, has killed the dead woman, as well as other villagers. Dr. Eswai, along with Monica, a local nurse, is lured into a fateful confrontation at the Villa Graps.

This is a true classic of the era, breathing a great Gothic atmosphere full of chills and mystery. This movie is an awesome example of how a great script with the perfect set can leave a lasting impression on ones mind with the right director at the helm. Combine the eerie textures with a great score that accentuates the visual flair, and quite a tense mood is set. The plot is a bit odd, but interesting and the acting was not the greatest, however, the special effects and make-up are some of the best examples of the decade. If the movie has a major drawback, it is the ending, which seemed a bit too easy and scripted. In the end, this movie was a great way to start a new collection and a perfect film for a stormy night! I highly recommend it to any horror fan!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Gorehouse Greats Collection

After viewing all 12 movies on this set, it was definitely a great gift from my little brother. Yes, there were some down moments, but in the end, there were more winners than losers. My only major complaint is the overall lack of gore! The best films on the the Gorehouse Great Collection are:

Blood Mania
Satans Slave
The Devils Hand
Trip With The Teacher

Stanley (1972)

That’s it, I finished the Gorehouse Greats Collection now that I made it though Stanley. What a day to do it, with the Sci Fi Channel running a marathon of similar modern fare with the likes of Vipers and Hydra. Hell, even Showtime chipped in with Cobra vs. Komodo!

Plot / Returning to a life of racial bigotry after two years of killing in Vietnam, Seminole Indian Tim needs alot of help. The only love and affection he is now capable of expressing is to venomous snakes. Tim‘s fellow human beings respect his serpentine expertise; his affection for snakes is another story. Tim finds others hate, if not misunderstanding, Stanley and his snake friends. If his friends are killed or mistreated, Tim dishes out cruel punishment to the human transgressors. Snakes are his tool for revenge. Snakes, however, are fickle creatures and the final venomous showdown takes place deep within the swamp between the two friends.

If you are a fan of movies on the Sci Fi channel, than this movie is worth a look. The film is at its most creepy with scenes of real snakes crawling all over the home of the snake-man. Besides being quite dated in comparison to the modern snake attack movies (such as Vipers which I watched this morning), the main weakness is in it's running time. I definitely felt like the film plodded along more than need be. In the end, it was a decent note to end this collection with. While it is not scary, if you do not like snakes, you will definitely squirm a little. The acting is solid, and the script made it at least a bit believable. .This movie is no classic, but it does stand tall next to the stuff being forced out of Sci Fi land!