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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Terror at Miskatonic Falls (Book Trailer)


This is the awesome book trailer for the upcoming horror anthology I will be part of entitled, The Terror at Miskatonic Falls from Shroud Publishing. (Picture is a rough sketch of the cover, being worked on by Steven Gilberts)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Horror of the Zombies (1974)



I hate rainy, dreary days because it keeps my daughters stuck inside the house. To pass some time (when I had a small window, I ventured into the cheesy Drive-In Classics Box Set for something a bit different. I chose Horror of the Zombies (El buque maldito), being in an undead mood. This 1974 version of devil worshipping undead Knights Templar seemed like just the ticket.


Plot/ Two models are stranded in a motor cruiser in the middle of the ocean. It's only meant to be a publicity stunt, a way of stirring up interest in the boat itself; but they soon prove to be in real trouble. They're set upon by a 16th century galleon enshrouded by a fog. They each board the ghost ship, and each one disappears. Soon, the sporting goods magnate who hired the two girls sets out to find them. He is joined by his conniving right-hand man; the head of the modeling agency; a third model who is a lover to one of the missing girls; and a scientist from the weather bureau who is convinced something supernatural is going on. They all end up on the galleon, where they discover its crew are the undead Satan-worshiping Knights Templar.


Horror of the Zombies is a interesting film because it definitely has its extremes. However, I honestly believe that it will put most people to sleep. I found it interesting because of the tremendous atmosphere that was created in the scenes shot on the galleon, much of it had a unique quality that is often overlooked in movies. On top of that, the Knights Templars really look the part of evil undead. Unfortunately, that is where the positives stop. The rest of the film lacks quality, and is rather slow and gore free with some of the worst special effects I have ever seen (the miniature ghost galleon in the bath tub is terrible). These effects are so bad that they almost totally ruin the film, couple that with terrible acting and audio and you have a true snoozer (I guess that is why it was on the Drive-In Classics Box Set). In the end, there are good and bad elements scattered throughout, but it is definitely not worth anything more that a rainy afternoon fill-in if there is nothing else on. To save you the trouble of searching for it, you can watch it here if you are interested.



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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trip With The Teacher (1975)


After watching the end of the NFL Draft (yes, I am a football fanatic), it was time to enjoy the quiet I had with my family out on a Girl Scouts field trip. What a better way to do that than to exjoy some 1970s exploitation flicks. Luckily, I didn't have to dig too deep as the Gorehouse Greats Collection sports just the thing, with the 1975 grindhouse-style entry Trip With The Teacher.



Plot/ A pretty young teacher and four of her pretty students take a minibus to some Navajo ruins, little suspecting another kind of ruin awaits. A trio of bikers begin to flirt with the gals, and when their bus breaks down, they helpfully tow the vehicle to a deserted shack. The chief biker, Al, chews up the scenery, kills folks, and rips off the teacher's clothes before raping her.


Let me start by saying, like many films of this genre Trip With The Teacher isn't for everyone. This minor exploitation entry has its moments and at times creates a forboding feeling that is never truly realized on the screen. Yes, there are a few instances of rape, torture and murder, but overall it lacks the shocking nature and nudity of many of the exploitation classics of the era. The acting is pretty solid with Zalman King (Before creating the soft-core erotic TV-show Red Shoe Diaries) truly creating an interesting character with Alan and the script is decent considering the skimpy plot. In the end, while lacking in style, it offers enough grittiness, trashiness and sleaze for any grindhouse flick. For me, it was worth watching this afternoon (especially for free), and I imagine any grindhouse or exploitation fan would feel the same.



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Friday, April 23, 2010

Nightmare City (1980)



With the NFL Draft in full swing, it was time for a break in watching to find out what my favorite team did. With a few hours before bed last night, I watched the 1980 Italian zombie flick, Nightmare City (Incubo sulla città contaminata). Honestly, I forgot I had it in my collection as it was part of a set my daughters bought me for my birthday last year.

Plot/ In a nameless European city, a local reporter and his doctor wife try to escape from hordes of blood thirsty zombies, undead people exposed to nuclear radioactivity, while the military leaders fight a losing war of attrition against the relentless atomic zombies.


Wow, so nice to be back into my zombie comfort zone and Nightmare City is a great example of what makes Italian Zombie films awesome. This movie, while dealing with an interesting storyline, really remains a solid entry toward the end of that movie era. This film has a diverse combination of of special effects, gore, blood and scripting that is pulled together quite nicely in the end. More importantly, the ending does a great job at adding some lasting impressions in a very grindhouse/exploitation manner. Yes, the zombies are more of a hybrid type, than the traditional flesh eaters from the Romero tree that many of us love, but there is a quality in them that is outstanding. It may not be the perfect zombie film, but it is definitely worth a couple hours in an evening.



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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Satan's Slave (1976)


After taking a break for a few days, I was dying to watch something in the horror genre again. With that in mind, I jumped back into the Gorehouse Greats Collection that my mother picked up for me. Having watched (and reviewed) three or four of the films already, I figured it was time to finish that set (although, I will not watch Prime Evil again!). After some debate, I decided on Satan's Slave, a 1976 British entry in to this set.


Plot/ On her way to a relaxing vacation at her uncle's isolated country mansion, a young woman is instead tortured and terrorized by her uncle and cousin, who unbeknownest to her, are disciples of Satan. Soon, she discovers that she can trust no one and even people she thought were dead comes back to haunt her.


I was pleasantly surprised by this film, as it is actually one of the better British Horror films from the late 1970s that doesn't seem to get the awknowledgement it deserves. Yes, the story line is a bit run-of-the-mill, yet, director Norman Warren pulls it off quite nicely with the solid use of flashbacks to aid the plot. The script, writen by David McGillivray is sound with god dialogue throughout. The one thing that really impressed me was that while, I had some idea of what I would see based on past satanic torture and British Horror, the movie still held some surprises that I didn;t expect. he film plays nicely on our expectations and manages to surprise and plant different questions in the mind throughout. The cinematography is awesome,and the combination of soundtrack, grittiness and color create quite an atmosphere. In the end, this 1976 film seems to stand as a marker for the tragic end of the Hammer Horror monopoly, demonstrating that society had tired of the Hammer blueprint and quality gore, horror and supernaturalmovies could come from other studio's.



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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Offspring (2009)



After spending the past few weeks in either killer doll or vampires, I decided that it was time for something different. So when I was searching FearNet and found Offspring, about flesh eating feral children, I was all in. Could there be a better change of pace?


Plot/ Offspring based on the book by Jack Ketchum tells the story of a young group of Feral Children who somehow manage to hide in caves and avoid detection while making dinner of locals in various towns as they move from town to town on the coast. After a run in with the flesh-eaters, two women strive to survive their abduction by the cannibals and save their children.


There is a lot to like about this movie. Yes, the storyline isn't the greatest, but there is something there that really made it interesting. To be honest, I have never read a Jack Ketchum novel, and after seeing this, I may want to. The acting, direction and cinematography were excellant, with a definite feel throughout, especially with the amount of violence depicted. The killers, the flesh-eating "offspring" are tremendous, and really come across well with the amount of pain, terror and carnage they inflict throughout the film. In many ways, I wish some of the other movies with similar storylines.



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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Servants of Twilight (1991)



After spending most of the past couple of days dealing with a family medical issue, it was nice to get back to something interesting; diving into a late-night movie on FearNet. My evening selection was the 1991 adaption of Dean Kootz's Servants of Twilight, a book I read more than a few yars ago and a subject that always makes me smile.


Plot/ Based on the novel by Dean R. Koontz, this action packed thriller features Bruce Greenwood as a private detective hired to protect a little boy from a fanatical religious cult that believe he is the antichrist fortold in the book of Revelations.


Having read the book years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. Yes, it does vary from the original literary workm but it does work and is a pretty good thriller (although, I may be biased because I love movie that deal with the antichrist). In all, I would have loved to have seen the movie done with a larger budget, the material is definitely better than the cash spent (which is usually the case with movies based on Koontz's work). That being said, there are some great moments that are tense and draw you in. The script, acting and cinematography are solid and the movie comes off decently for an adaptation. It makes a great addition to any horror collection and is a especially worth watching for free on FearNet.