Original Run: 1996 – 1997 Created by: Ted Newsom, Dante J. Pugliese Directed by: Ted Newsom Written by: Ted Newson, Jeff Forrester (uncredited) Cast: Christopher Lee (presenter), Roger Corman, Hugh Hefner, Fred Olen Ray, Richard Denning, Bela Lugosi Jr., Hazel Court, Robert Wise, Beverly Garland, Gloria Talbott, Sara Karloff, Dick Miller, Caroline Munro, John Agar, Ralph Bellamy, John Carpenter, Richard Matheson, Linnea Quigley, various
Multicom Entertainment Group, 26 Episodes, 22 Minutes (per episode)
I’m glad that this documentary television series was made when it was, in the mid-’90s, as it allowed for the children of multiple horror icons to be involved and to tell stories about their fathers, their careers and their personal lives outside of the public eye.
Additionally, I love that this was able to include a lot of the filmmakers, writers and actors that were involved in a lot of classic horror films. Had this been made today, a lot of these people wouldn’t have been able to tell their stories in their own words, as they’re no longer with us.
Also, I love that Christopher Lee was the presenter of this series, as there wasn’t a more perfect choice available.
This series features 26 episodes, roughly 22 minutes apiece. Each episode tackles a different subject, be it a type of monster or a legendary horror actor. Plus, each episode covers a lot of ground for its running time, jumping through history and trying to show the audience everything it possibly can on the subject.
There really isn’t a dull episode, as there are so many different things that can be covered. There could’ve been more episodes and there still would’ve more topics to explore.
I like that this just dives right in and delivers so much. In fact, every episode showed me something I wasn’t aware of and helped me expand my list of old school horror movies that I still have left to watch and review.
All in all, this was pretty great and classic horror fans will probably find themselves lost in each episode, traveling through time and seeing things they still haven’t seen before.
Release Date: October 6th, 2020 Directed by: David A. Weiner Written by: David A. Weiner Music by: Weary Pines Cast: Nancy Allen, Tom Atkins, Joe Bob Briggs, Doug Bradley, Clancy Brown, Lori Cardille, John Carpenter, Nick Castle, Larry Cohen, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Sean S. Cunningham, Joe Dante, Keith David, Robert Englund, Stuart Gordon, Andre Gower, Kane Hodder, Tom Holland, Chris Jericho, Jackie Kong, Heather Langenkamp, Don Mancini, Harry Manfredini, Kelli Maroney, Bill Moseley, Greg Nicotero, Cassandra Peterson, Diana Prince, Linnea Quigley, James Rolfe, Robert Rusler, Tom Savini, Corey Taylor, Gedde Watanabe, Caroline Williams, Alex Winter, Tom Woodruff Jr., Brian Yuzna
CreatorVC, 263 Minutes
Everything I said in my review of the first film in this series still holds true for this one. Reason being, they’re exactly the same in what they are. It’s just that each one features different films.
I think that I like this one a wee bit better for two reasons.
The first, is that I already know what I’m getting into now. I know that this will just fly through dozens of films and not give them the proper amount of time they deserve. As I said in the previous film’s review, I’d love to see each section spread out into a full episode and have these films actually be a streaming series.
The second reason, is that I like that the films are getting more obscure, as there were a few here I hadn’t heard of. With that, I walked away from this with a list of shit I need to watch and review.
Apart from that, this was more of the same. That’s not a bad thing, at all. I just wish that these documentaries didn’t fly through films and other topics so quickly.
I still like these, though. I know there’s a third one coming, which I look forward to, and there’s also one coming out on ’80s sci-fi flicks.
Rating: 8/10 Pairs well with: the other documentaries in the In Search of… series, as well as other documentaries on ’80s horror.
Release Date: April 5th, 2019 (Cleveland International Film Festival) Directed by: Roman Chimienti, Tyler Jensen Written by: Michael Beard, Clint Catalyst, Leo Herrera, Justin Lockwood Music by: Alexander Taylor Cast: Mark Patton, Robert Englund, Jack Sholder, David Chaskin, Robert Rusler, Marshall Bell, Kim Myers, Clu Gulager, JoAnn Willette, Linnea Quigley
The End Productions, 99 Minutes
I was pretty excited to check this out when I first saw the trailer pop up. I’m a big fan of the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise and I was probably one of the few that actually liked the second movie, before everyone else figured out how “gay” it was.
Granted, I kind of saw the film’s gay subtext for myself and despite this documentary claiming that the gay innuendo was widely known when this came out, I don’t recall many people talking about it until the late ’90s or so. Then again, I was also a young kid and didn’t reach my teen years until the ’90s, so maybe my peers were a bit behind in picking up on the cues.
Anyway, I actually thought that this was just sort of meh. I wouldn’t call this documentary a disappointment but it just didn’t live up to the hype around it and to my own excitement after first hearing about it.
I guess the thing I liked most about it was that I finally got to see what became of Mark Patton, who sort of fell off the face of the Earth for a long time because of what he perceived as backlash from this picture and because he felt that it somewhat exposed him as being gay in a time when there was still a lot of misinformation and fear of AIDS, as well as a lot of homophobia in mainstream Hollywood.
Most importantly, this really goes into Patton’s personal life, showing the viewer what hardships he went through during and after this film. I don’t want to give too much away, as this is worth watching for those who also love the Elm Street movies.
It was also cool seeing the cast of the second Elm Street movie finally reunite after all these years. It’s obvious that Patton’s cast mates cared for him and had missed him during his self-imposed exile from the business.
Overall, this was a decent piece on the man and his life but I wish it would’ve gotten more into the movie itself and actually tried to show it more as a somewhat beloved film by a small minority of Elm Street fans. It was the most bizarre and weird of the Elm Street pictures and that’s without looking at the subliminal homophobia that was written into the script.
Rating: 6.25/10 Pairs well with: other recent horror movie documentaries.
Release Date: April 10th, 1987 Directed by: Lee Harry Written by: Lee Harry, Joseph H. Earle, Dennis Patterson, Lawrence Appelbaum Music by: Michael Armstrong Cast: Eric Freeman, James L. Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jean Miller, Lilyan Chauvin (archive footage), Robert Brian Wilson (archive footage), Linnea Quigley (archive footage)
Silent Night Releasing Corporation, 88 Minutes
“[about to shoot a man carrying a garbage can] Gaaarbaaage daaay!” – Ricky Caldwell
While I enjoyed Silent Night, Deadly Night, I’ve never seen the sequels except for the fifth one that stars Mickey Rourke as the creator of killer Christmas toys.
Seeing this one now, I was surprised to discover that I like it more than its predecessor. While the first third-to-half of this film is bogged down by flashbacks of the original movie, once this becomes its own story, focused on the younger brother of the original killer, the film becomes pretty awesome.
Frankly, you can probably just start with this film as everything important from the first movie is shown in this chapter and honestly, you’re not missing much from the scenes that were omitted.
While this movie has been panned for years because of how bonkers and absurd it can seem at face value, I absolutely love the performance of Eric Freeman as the killer younger brother. His performance is over the top but that just adds to the insanity and tone of the film, which honestly, would’ve been kind of drab without his intensity. He makes the picture work and if I dare be so bold, he saves it from just being a rehash of shit we’ve already seen.
The whole sequence surrounding the infamous “garbage daaay!” moment is schlock of the highest caliber. From the moment he kills his girlfriend’s ex, his girlfriend, the cop and then goes on a gun toting killing spree that ends in a damn good car stunt, we’re treated to one of the most entertaining, bizarre and unintentionally stupendous cinema moments of ’80s horror.
While the average person would find this movie off-putting and stupid, I found it to be a true hidden gem that hits the right notes, perfectly, for those of us that like hearty helpings of ’80s horror schlock. Plus, it’s a Christmas movie.
Rating: 6.75/10 Pairs well with: it’s predecessor, but then again, that whole movie is basically re-told in the first half of this film. So I guess the sequels, which all veer off in their own weird directions.
Also known as: The Imp (alternate title), Beast You! (Germany) Release Date: January 1st, 1988 (Japan) Directed by: David DeCoteau Written by: Sergei Hasenecz Music by: Guy Moon Cast: Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, Andras Jones, Hal Havins, Robin Rochelle, Buck Flower
“Old Uncle Impy is just a little bit cranky. No fun being locked up, especially in a bowling trophy.” – The Imp
How in the hell did I not know about this film’s existence until I discovered it watching Joe Bob Brigg’s The Last Drive-In? This stupid and insane horror flick is right up my alley, taps into the Gremlins ripoff craze and features Linnea Quigley looking hotter than she ever did. But maybe that’s just because I’m into bad chicks wearing spiked bracelets and ripped clothes.
Let me be clear, for the average person, this is a terrible movie. For the person that likes low brow cheese and absurdity with a good amount of boobies and violence, this is well worth your time.
The highlight of this, other than staring at Ms. Quigley, is the imp, who appears, grants wishes like a genie and has all sorts of magical powers that are tailor made to the plot and not the rules of the creature’s actual mythology. Also, he talks all jive-ish and shit, which is hilarious.
Now the special effects are terrible, especially in regards to the imp creature but it kind of adds to the film’s appeal and charm for me. I love that the bad guy is really just some rubber hand puppet. He reminds me of the puppet from that ’80s 900-number with that dancing freak in the commercial (see here).
For most people, this movie is a complete waste of time. For me, it was quite welcome coming into my life, as it is rare for me to discover some long lost horror picture, especially from the era where I was an astute student of the genre trying to get my hands on every movie to study and admire, as my aspirations to become a filmmaker grew.
This is incredible ’80s cheese of the highest/worst caliber. It’s reminiscent of that terrible film Hobgoblins but this is a better movie than that. Maybe not by a large margin but it isn’t as easy to write off as shit. It has something interesting and weirdly alluring about it. This isn’t a Troma picture but it’s as good as their best offerings from the ’80s when they were at their best.
Sorority Babes In the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is a film that only works for a certain kind of old school horror fan. It has a home in a really small niche market and while it isn’t a classic, it should maybe be more known than it is.
Rating: 5.75/10 Pairs well with: Any ’80s Troma movie or early Full Moon stuff.
Release Date: August 31st, 1984 (West Germany) Directed by: Danny Steinmann Written by: Danny Steinmann, Norman Yonemoto Music by: John D’Andrea, Michael Lloyd Cast: Linda Blair, Linnea Quigley, Robert Dryer, John Vernon
Savage Streets is a film that stars both Linda Blair and Linnea Quigley and it isn’t a horror film. Sure, some horrible things happen and characters are faced with dread and terror but this is more like a “women in prison” movie mixed with an urban violence film.
It’s sort of strange that it has that “women in prison” vibe, as it takes place primarily in a high school and the urban environment around it but there are too many similarities to ignore, the biggest of which is a big brawl in the gym showers. There are nude bodies and fisticuffs like the greatest of “women in prison” pictures.
The story sees this group of rough high school girls go up against this gang of male punk rock assholes. Well, one of the guys is in the gang very reluctantly and he always has reservations about all the horrible stuff the other gang members force him to do. One of which is raping a deaf girl in the school bathroom, the other is when he is present for a pregnant teen getting thrown off of a bridge just before her wedding night. Yeah, this is a hard and gritty film that is more grindhouse than Sixteen Candles.
If you are into unapologetic, hardcore, ’80s action mayhem, then this is a film for you. Linda Blair may deliver some cringe worthy lines but it’s the ’80s and almost all the dialogue in real life was cringe worthy in that decade.
This isn’t a memorable film, even for grindhouse standards. But it does hit its mark in the right way and it is a good time killer on a Sunday afternoon or on a night where you are binge watching a bunch of similar films from this era.
It’s low budget and almost feels like it was directed by an Italian horror master transplanted to Los Angeles for this shoot. The whole sequence where Linda Blair fights the punk gang in their hideout feels like something Lucio Fulci or Lamberto Bava would do.
Savage Streets is worth your time if you are into low brow, ultraviolent, ’80s pictures with a good amount of boobage.
Rating: 6.5/10 Pairs well with: Other ’80s high school urban violence movies: Class of 1984, Class of Nuke ‘Em High, etc.
Release Date: August 16th, 1985 Directed by: Dan O’Bannon Written by: John Russo, Rudy Ricci, Russell Streiner, Dan O’Bannon Music by: Matt Clifford, Francis Haines Cast: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Linnea Quigley
Hemdale Film Corporation, A Greenberg Brothers Partnership, Orion Pictures, 91 Minutes
“Listen, there’s a bunch of people from the cemetery who are stark, staring, mad, and they’ll kill you and eat you if they catch you. It’s like a disease. It’s like rabies, only faster, a lot faster. That’s why you’ve got to come and get us out of here now… right now!” – Burt Wilson
There are very few movies as awesome as The Return of the Living Dead. It is, hands down, the greatest zombie comedy ever put to celluloid… sorry, Shaun of the Dead. It is also balls to the wall insane from beginning to end while being full of punk teens, great older actors and the best zombie hoard in the history of motion pictures.
Like Dawn of the Dead, which was George A. Romero’s sequel to Night of the Living Dead, this film is also a sequel (in a way), as John A. Russo was the other half of the creative duo that gave birth to that original film back in 1968.
The Return of the Living Dead is an alternate continuity to Romero’s Living Dead universe, though. In fact, the original film is mentioned in this picture, as it is a movie that exists within this alternate timeline. However, the movie is referenced and casually dismissed as a Hollywood version of the “real story”. This film continues off of that original story, which is established in a conversation between two of the characters very early on.
The reason for the split continuities, is that Romero and Russo had creative differences over the property. Romero even went as far as to send Russo a cease and desist order over this film, which effected the marketing but ultimately, didn’t stop the film from being released and spawning its own sequels.
Romero purists will probably hate me for saying this but this is my favorite Living Dead film. It is also my favorite zombie picture. I wouldn’t say that it is the greatest, as far as overall artistry is concerned, but it is the one that I watch the most and have the largest amount of appreciation for. The film is just fucking cool and that is really an understatement.
Initially, Russo wrote a Return of the Living Dead novel and shopped it around Hollywood to be adapted. At one point, Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain SawMassacre 1 & 2, Poltergeist, The Funhouse) was slated to direct the film but that fell through. Ultimately, what we got was this, which is better than what the Hooper film probably would have been.
In this film, we quickly learn that zombies don’t die by destroying their brains. The zombies can be dismembered, have their heads knocked off and still keep coming. They’re essentially impossible to kill. At one point, they cremate a pile of animated zombie parts. However, the smoke from the crematorium goes up into the clouds, which rain onto the graveyard, reanimating the dead. There really isn’t an effective way to kill the zombies, which makes the threat in this film, infinitely worse. Not to mention the fact that they move with speed and want to eat human brains.
I know that they don’t give out Oscars for pictures like these but James Karen put on a performance that was legendary. He was a hilarious and useless doofus that accidentally set the zombie threat free. All he did from that point forward was freak out and whine but he did it with such believable gusto that it is impossible not to be captivated by his absurd character and to love the scenes that he’s in.
We also get Miguel A. Núñez Jr. in my favorite role that he ever played. He’s a punk rocker that kind of acts like a damsel in distress but it works. Linnea Quigley also shows up, gets butt naked and dances on a tomb because this is the kind of stuff she was best known for. It is also her most memorable role, in my opinion. Don Calfa, probably best known as the killer in Weekend At Bernie’s is the guy who works at the crematorium and he’s also fantastic in this. Clu Gulager is perfect as the no nonsense older alpha male lead; Thom Mathews, one of the Tommy Jarvises in the Friday the 13th film series, pulls his weight too.
This film, for what it is, is absolutely perfect, which is why I have to give it the highest score possible. I used to love watching this when it rotated in and out of Joe Bob Briggs’ MonsterVision on TNT back in the 90s but nothing beats watching the unedited non-television version. How else are you going to see the beautiful gore and Ms. Quigley’s glorious breasties? Her bum is quite exceptional too, for the record.
The Return of the Living Dead could make a case for being the coolest movie of all-time. It probably isn’t for everyone but for kids who grew up watching horror in the 80s, this thing is a friggin’ masterpiece.
Plus, it features music from The Cramps, who were the most perfect band to feature in this film. It was tailor made for their tunes.
Release Date: October 14th, 1988 Directed by: Kevin S. Tenney Written by: Joe Augustyn Music by: Dennis Michael Tenney Cast: William Gallo, Hal Havins, Amelia Kinkade, Cathy Podewell, Linnea Quigley
Paragon Arts International, Republic Pictures, International Film Marketing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 87 Minutes
“Eat a bowl of fuck! I am here to PARTY!” – Stooge
I’ve never been a huge fan of this 80s horror picture. While it does have its fans and it went on to have sequels and a remake, it just never hit the mark for me.
Night of the Demons feels like someone wanted to make their own version of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead mixed with Lamberto Bava’s Demons with an added in teen sex comedy element. That’s not a bad mixture, really, but the film feels cheap and like a retread without much of anything new to offer.
Plus, the demons look so repulsive and off putting that it is almost a distraction. At least Bava’s Demons had amazing style and was more creative with its visual repulsiveness.
The makeup is pretty good, considering the quality of the rest of this film’s special effects. However, the demon dragon skeleton thing looks like a character from The Muppets, even if it is supposed to be the embodiment of pure evil. It’s an awful monster that looks as if it were constructed by some kid that didn’t know how to assemble one of those wooden dinosaur bone puzzles. Also, everything else looks just as amateurish.
The cinematography, the shots, the lighting – it’s all bad.
The acting doesn’t get any better than the rest of the film’s faults and really, you don’t care for a single person in this mess of a film.
The only really cool thing with the picture was the main girl dressing up like Alice from Alice In Wonderland. It helped to give the film an otherworldly vibe and the girl felt like a real fish out of water except it was Alice in Hell instead of Wonderland.
I also liked the use of Bauhaus’ “Stigmata Martyr” when Angela was transforming into a demon with her strange dance.
Also, Linnea Quigley is in this so boobies are guaranteed. But she’s the biggest star, which goes to show the quality of talent in front of the camera.
Night of the Demons is a forgettable film, other than it pushing the bar with its repulsiveness.
Release Date: October 19th, 1994 Directed by: Jeff Burr Written by: Constantine Chachornia, Ivan Chachornia Music by: Jim Manzie Cast: Andrew Robinson, Ami Dolenz, Soleil Moon Frye, J. Trevor Edmond, Hill Harper, Alexander Polinsky, Linnea Quigley, Mark McCracken, Steve Kanaly, Roger Clinton Jr., Kane Hodder, Gloria Hendry, Joe Unger
Motion Picture Corporation of America, Live Entertainment, 88 Minutes
“You will die! You all will die! Miss Osie curses every one of you to the vengeance of Pumpkinhead!” – Miss Osie
Pumpkinhead is a solid late 80s horror flick. Its straight-to-video 1994 sequel is not solid. Well, at the very least, the monster still looks damn cool and he still rips people to shreds.
Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings does stay afloat but that is mainly due to its interesting ensemble cast. You have Andrew Robinson, who was damn good in Hellraiser, as the police chief. You also have Ami Dolenz, who I really just like to look at because she is mesmerizing. Then there are a couple 80s sitcom stars, Soliel Moon Frye (Punky Brewster) and Alexander Polinsky (Charles In Charge). You even have small parts given to Kane Hodder (the best Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th film franchise) and Gloria Hendry, who kicked ass in several 1970s blaxploitation movies. I also can’t forget scream queen Linnea Quigley and her famous boobs.
The problem with Pumpkinhead II is that it disregards the first film completely and just does its own thing. However, apparently the mutant kid that becomes the new Pumpkinhead in this movie was the illegitimate bastard son of the first Pumpkinhead and some insane girl that had sex with him. She was probably raped though, honestly. Then again, I knew this Craigslist hooker that lived in my complex and she probably would have given up the ass to Pumpkinhead for a drive to K-Mart and a big bag of Skittles.
Anyway, this movie doesn’t totally suck, it’s just lame that it didn’t continue on from the first one. The sequels after this are more direct sequels to the original but I haven’t seen those yet.
Pumpkinhead II sees the monster brought up from the grave of a dead mutant looking kid. He is summoned by a witch that wants revenge for the people who wronged the boy in the 1950s and for the kids who let her house burn down.
I have to give props to the creature effects. Even though Stan Winston wasn’t involved in this, as he was very involved with the first, the new team did a better than decent job at keeping the monster awesome. He looked the same and even got to move around a bit more. This version of Pumpkinhead was just more mobile and not as limited as the original. This made for better action and more versatile shots, where in the first film, they had to shoot it in a way that hid the monster’s limitations.
While the story and the action aren’t bad, this chapter in the series just doesn’t measure up to the first one. It’s not a waste of time and it is enjoyable if these kind of movies are your cup of tea. It is better than most pointless horror sequels and it had a decent cast. Although, I really just want to check out the third and fourth film to see if they right the ship.
Release Date: November 9th, 1984 Directed by: Charles E. Sellier Jr. Written by: Michael Hickey, Paul Caimi Music by: Perry Botkin Cast: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Robert Brian Wilson, Linnea Quigley
Silent Night, Deadly Night isn’t the first slasher film to take place on Christmas. It also isn’t the first to have a killer with the name Billy. Black Christmas had all of that before this movie. Black Christmas is also a better film. But that doesn’t mean that Silent Night, Deadly Night isn’t a waste of time. It is actually pretty damn enjoyable.
As a young boy, Billy is told by his crazy grandfather that Santa Claus will punish those who are naughty. Later that night, his family is killed by a robber dressed as Santa. He then goes through the rest of his childhood in an orphanage where the Mother Superior punishes those who are naughty. Billy also has developed a great fear of Santa Claus. As an adult, he overcomes his fear when he becomes the Santa in a toy store. After witnessing some coworkers being “naughty” he decides to “punish” them. The rest of the film sees Billy, dressed as Santa, killing everyone he deems as “naughty”. He also just yells out “Punish!” and “Naughty!” as he kills his victims.
The film isn’t a classic but it is decent as a mid-80s slasher movie. None of the kills are all that fantastic and some of them are completely nonsensical. Also, his ability to separate the naughty from the nice is horrible and he pretty much kills those that make things more convenient for his reign of terror.
The acting is bad, the cinematography is inconsistent, the picture quality drastically changes from shot to shot and the special effects aren’t good at all. Furthermore, the filmmakers didn’t understand the basics of physics. There is a scene where Billy strangles a coworker with Christmas lights by holding him in the air with just one arm. Billy is not a hulking beast like Jason Voorhees, he is just some scrawny white dude. There are a few other physics faux pas but that one stood out the most.
Plus, there are scenes that just don’t make sense. For instance, a cop shoots a priest multiple times in the back because he’s dressed like Santa Claus. Then the cop, as well as the nuns and kids who witnessed it, just brush it off as the cop goes off to keep doing his job.
Silent Night, Deadly Night is strange. The main reason is because it isn’t a good movie but for some reason, I really like it. Maybe it is due to how flawed it is or maybe it is because I’d just like to see more horror Christmas films. Don’t watch the sequels though, they are complete shit with no redeeming qualities. And somehow, there are five of these movies.
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