Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vamp - Nudie Bar of the Damned

Directed by Richard Wenk
Written by: Donald P. Borchers & Richard Wenk

Starring Chris Makepeace, Sandy Baron & Robert Rusler

Rated R - Approx 93 Min.
Balcor Film Investors

Planet Productions

 - A Frightening Comedy
 - the first kiss is the deepest.
 - Ever have one of those nights?

 - The first kiss could be your last.

Alternate Titles:
El club del terror (The Horror Club)Argentina
A Noite dos Vampiros (Night of the Vampires) - Brazil
La fiesta de los vampiros (Feast of the Vampires)Peru

Clube da Meia-Noite (Midnight Club) - Portugal

"Formica....go figure!"

In all the years that I haunted the aisles of my beloved Video Paradise, there was one film that constantly eluded me:  Vamp.  The film was constantly rented out, it seemed and I was obsessed with seeing it.  I was mesmerized by Grace Jones clownish make-up and red hair on the cover.  I had only ever seen her in Conan the Destroyer before (I wasn't interested in 007 flicks back then so I hadn't seen A View To A Kill Yet) and quite frankly she kinda freaked me out in her role as Zula.  But there was something dark and sensuous about her on that VHS cover.

Just some guys out on the town on a Friday night.....what could go wrong?

Our little Mom & Pop video store closed before I was ever able to rent the flick.  Blockbuster had a copy as well, but for whatever reason there was always something else that had caught my attention.  Eventually VHS was replaced by DVD and Vamp vanished from the shelves as well as from my memory for quite some time.  I eventually caught it on late night TV once, but it was either a UHF station or basic cable, because it was heavily edited.  No nudity and no gore.  Which, let's face it, are the selling points of this film!  I'll be honest:  I fell asleep.  Hey, it was late, cut me some slack!

Thus we are brought to present day, where I was finally able to watch the film in it's original format thanks to Netflix.  So was it everything that I had hoped for?  Well....yes.  Yes it was.  First of all, I knew that it was going to be entertaining simply because Gedde Watanabe (Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles) was in it!  Add to that one of my favorite 80's wiseacres, Robert Rusler, and I knew that I was rediscovering pure 80's gold.

I dunno what it is....but yeah....this does it for me.  She's like a sexy tribal Ronald McDonald!

AJ (Rusler) and his pal Keith (Chris Makepeace) are a couple of wisecracking college guys trying to get into the big fraternity on campus.  After AJ promises the frat brothers a stripper to impress them, the pair recruit the school's nerdy rich kid, Duncan to loan them a car to head into the city, in exchange they will pretend to be his friends for a week.  Nice guys, eh?

They set their sights on a little place called the After Dark Club which only opens.....wait for it....after dark!  While waiting in a local diner, they run afoul of an odd group of punks lead by the ever bizarre Billy Drago (who is playing an albino!?).  After narrowly escaping with their limbs intact, the fellas head to the club to scope out the talent and try to score themselves a private dancer.....a dancer for money....she'll.....ya know what...I'm just not going to do it.

I remember you....whoa oh whoa oh.....

Inside the club, we are witness to Katrina (Grace Jones) and her ultra erotic, yet completely unsettling strip tease.  Here is where she is wearing the iconic white make-up from the film's VHS cover.  Besides the stark white face paint and bright red hair, her body is covered in tribal like markings, also in white paint and wearing a metal bikini that puts Princess Leia's to shame.  Not to mention her piercing blue eyes.  The first time I watched this sequence, it kinda freaked me out a bit.  Jones' performance is animalistic and completely bizarre, but goddamn if it isn't sexy!

Apparently, AJ agreed with my assessment because he decides that she's the perfect performer for their college friends.  He arranges to meet her back stage, where she seduces him (again freaky, yet oddly erotic) and then the whole thing takes a HARD left.  Teeth sprout out, eyes roll back in her head and she gets REAL ugly before taking a chunk out of AJ's neck and feeding on him.

Keith and Duncan meanwhile are waiting out in the club when Keith runs into Allison, who apparently knows him but he does not remember her.  As they begin their search for AJ things start to get even weirder for our heroes.  Apparently the whole town is in on this vampire thing and they don't want Keith, Duncan or Allison getting out to tell anyone.

Vamp is a hyper-stylized film.  The use of neon purple and green lighting in many of the outdoor city (and sewer) scenes lends a very distinct otherworldly vibe.  Only in the 80's could you pull of these kinds of visuals.  The soundtrack is also a quite fitting mesh of new wave, rock and electronica, composed by Jonathan Elias.

AJ's got more than a complexion problem here....

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll:  A lot of people and vampires die, that's for sure!  Exactly how many?  To be honest I forgot to keep track on this one.  I was completely enthralled by the 80's goodness.  I will have to re-watch and then edit this!

Nude O Meter:  There's plenty of flesh on display in the After Dark Club.  If 80's boobs are your thing, then you've come to the right place.

Things That Go Bump In The Night:  Vampires.  Lots and lots of Vampires.  And Billy Drago.  That guy is so weird.....

Final Thoughts
This is absolute must see 80's horror/comedy here.  There isn't anything that I don't like about this movie.  It's got everything.  Vampires, strippers, vampires, blood, vampires, neon lights, vampires, strippers, vampires, Robert Watanabe......erm......vampires.  It's like this:  There are only two vampire movies that are MUST SEE from the 80's:  The Lost Boys and Vamp.  Everything else is secondary.  There, I said it!  I'm sure that's gonna stir up some shit.......

Final Rating
Four out of Five Pizza Rolls

Sunday, April 27, 2014

One Man's Journey From Fangoria Reader To Contributor

It was a warm summer day in June of 1992.  A 13 year old me walked into the Walden Books at the Mall and stumbled across something that would change my life forever.  I'm talking about none other than Fangoria Magazine.  I can still remember that day so vividly.  My first ever issue was #113.  Alien 3 was on the cover that month.  I had just finished reading the novelization of the film by Alan Dean Foster and was quite excited for the film.  I just happened to be browsing the magazine rack (more than likely looking for video game magazines) and my eyes just happened to fall on that glorious Fango cover.  The fact that the cover also promised a look at horror in video games helped to cement my decision to purchase the mag immediately!

Of course that wasn't the only mag that I purchased that day, oh no.   Sitting right next to Fango was a brand new copy of Gorezone #19!  That'd be the one with the She Wolf cover.  I was instantly addicted.  I couldn't wait for each new issue to arrive.  Imagine my heartbreak when Gorezone ceased only seven issues later.  Thankfully Fango never went away and has been my constant monthly companion ever since.

Wait.....that sounded really weird.  Fuck it, you know what I mean.

Here we are, TWENTY TWO years later.  I have never missed an issue of Fango since that warm summer day at the mall.  Today is one of the proudest days of my life thus far.  Today I can officially call myself a contributor to the sacred bloody pages of Fangoria.  Two hundred and nineteen issues later, comes my very first article, a retrospective look at Starlog's Fright Show (aka Cinemagic)  Why yes, I DID rave about it here on Midnight Cinephile before!  I will continue to rave about it until every last one of you has tracked down a VHS tape and watched it!

To be honest, it still feels completely surreal to me.  I used to dream about writing for Fangoria.  I cherished each and every issue and even when Fango hit it's "rough period" in the mid to late 00's, I stood by and supported my old friend, Fangoria.  When Chris Alexander took over, he infused the magazine with a fresh life and brought back that magic "Fango Feeling" as I like to call it.

I got to know Chris a bit after interviewing him for his film Blood for Irina.  I am proud to call him a friend and I am forever grateful to him for giving me a chance to be part of something that is so vitally important to me.  If this is the one and only time that my name would appear in print under the Fangoria banner, I would still be able to die a happy man, but I am happy to report that I do have more stuff coming!

I am truly humbled and honored to be a part of this amazing publication.  It has inspired me to push myself further and see what the future may hold for me.  I can tell you that I've got some pretty amazing projects in mind that I think everyone is going to dig.  For now though, I am just going to bask in the glow of being a part of something incredible.

Oh yeah, and I'm psyched out of my mind that my first article appears in an issue that features Scarlett Johanssen on the cover!  What can I say?  Life is good!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Midnight Cinephile's SECOND award: The Liebster Award!

I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the prestigious Liebster Award.  I would like to take a moment and thank my friend Cassie Carnage from Cassie Carnage's House of Horror for nominating me for the award!  I am truly humbled and honored.

Now as tradition dictates, I must answer 11 questions and then nominate 11 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  Groovy!

So let's get down to the guts and gravy here, shall we?

Oh first we should go over the rules, shouldn't we?  Okay  here are the rules as I found them exactly on Cassie's House of Horrors:

The Rules:
There’s no obligation to participate, and a money-back guarantee if you're not completely satisfied by this nomination.

The bloggers who have been nominated must link back to the person that nominated them.

Nominees must answer the eleven questions given to them by the person who nominated them.

Those nominated must choose eleven of their favorite bloggers who have less than 200 followers to answer their own set of questions.


1. What angers you the most when watching a movie in theaters?
People talking during the movie angers me to no end.  I absolutely cannot stand it and I have gotten myself in trouble more than once because of it.  Word of advice:  When you are in the "bad" part of town because it has the only theater showing the film you wanted to see, make sure you know where your exits are when you proceed to tell a drugged up thug to shut up.  Nearly getting stabbed to death in a dingy, dirty movie theater (while it would be an ironic and fitting end to a trash film cinephile) is not really how I planned to make my grand exit!

2. What do you love about watching movies in theaters?
I absolutely love when the entire audience is mesmerized by a film.  You truly start to feel as though you are now part of a collective consciousness that is experiencing something truly amazing.  I also love when you get a really fun loving audience watching a good ol' B-Movie.  You know....when they root for the slasher and laugh at all the right parts (and the ones the filmmakers didn't intend but are just too damn funny!).  I think that there is something truly magical in the theater experience.

3. Name a movie you never want to watch. Ever.
There is no movie that I won't watch at least once.  I wasn't always like that though.  Back when I was a young and impetuous young lad, I refused to watch lots of different movies because they didn't have monsters or aliens or alien monsters in them.  After being coerced into watching Harvey (with Jimmy Stewart) I fell in love with classic films.  While the world of horror/sci-fi/cult cinema will always be my first love, I do love all genres and all periods of cinema.

4. Name a movie you're ashamed you haven't seen yet.
I am truly ashamed to admit that I have never seen Lawrence of Arabia.  A classic film that is on virtually every top ten cinema list.  I really should also watch Citizen Kane in it's entirety.  I've only seen it in bits and pieces....and that's really pretty shameful on my part.

5. Favorite weekend hangout?
My day job works on a rotating schedule so I only get every other weekend off.  So when I'm off, there's nothing I like better than hunkering down with some films, some snacks and of course my beautiful wife...especially during the winter months.  In the warmer weather we tend to venture out more and seek out new experiences.....but my favorite place is right at home, Castle Cinephile.

6. Favorite band or music artist for the past week?
Over the past week, I've really rediscovered my love for Zombina and the Skeletones.  I've also discovered and really gotten into The Bloody Hammers, The Independents  as well as The Spookshow and Ghost B.C.  It's been quite the aural adventure to say the least.  Oh, by the way, if you're into punk rock, check out Zombina's new album, Charnel House won't regret it!

7. 3D. Yay or Nay?
HELL YES to 3D!  Is 3D a gimmick?  Yes.  Yes it is.  And it's a gimmick I've been in love with since I was a snot nosed little brat running around in the 80's.  I don't care if it's old school red/cyan anaglyph glasses or the new-fangled polarized 3D found in theaters today.  If there's an option to watch a film in 3D, I'm in.  There are many naysayers out there who put 3D down and say that it "insults the movie....blah blah blah" and those people I say "Pfffffft".  The moral of the story.....we all like different things.  If we all liked the same thing it would be a boring world.

8. Name a movie you wish you could have been on the set while it was filming.
I wish that I could have been on the set on Evil Dead II.  I'm sure it must have been a blast to hang with Sam Raimi, Greg Nicotero and Bruce Campbell.  It looks like they had a lot of fun making that film.  I would have also loved to have been on set for ANY of Ed Wood's films.  That must have been a trip and a half!  I have a feeling that if I were alive when Ed Wood was making films, we would have been good friends.

9. How do you stream movies (Computer, Blu-ray Player, Game Consoles like PS4 and Wii)?
I stream through my PC, PS3, XBOX 360 and Wii.  Eventually I will get the new gen consoles (Those suckers are expensive!)  I also stream a lot on my phone and on my wife's Kindle Fire every now and then.

10. What are your top five favorite movie podcasts to listen to?
Top Five Favorite Podcasts:  
Killer POV - Rebekah McKendry of Fangoria, Rob Galluzzo of the now defunct FearNet &  Elric Kane from Inside Horror discuss horror and have tons of interesting guests on.  They have a very comfortable chemistry that makes it feel like your just hanging out and listening to very knowledgeable friends talk horror!

Monster Island Resort:  Miguel Rodriguez hosts this fantastic show covering a wide variety of horror topics.  A great listen!  MIR is a proud member of MOSS - The Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit.  I don't know exactly what that means...but ooooooh, it's mysterious!

B-Movie Cast:  B-Movies, Cult moves, Interviews, Art house, Independent, Drive-In, Horror, Biker Euro Trash, DVD, Magazines, Music, Tradeshows, Expos, Italian thrillers, Exploitation, Vintage TV, Gear and Pop Culture. Whew!  That is a lot to cover, but Vince & Co. do a damn fine job!

Horror Etc:  Hosted by King’s Town Ted and Anthony D.P. Mann.  Horror Etc usually runs with a specific theme each episode and they are very knowledgeable fellows.  Another fantastic listen and one that is in constant rotation in my podcast listening.

Outside the Cinema:  Outside The Cinema is a weekly podcast that focuses on to cult movies of all kinds. We feature films running the gamut from Horror to Exploitation to Noir and Martial Arts and back. You know that random video you got on VHS from some random mom and pop video store when you were 12? Yeah, we covered it. So sit back and enjoy the OTC ride.  A podcast after my own heart!

11. Who is your movie celebrity crush? You have to answer for both guys and girls.
Guys AND girls eh?  Ooooh, naughty!  Okay well let's break it up into two camps and see what's what!

Girls:  First and most giant celebrity crush is Olivia Munn.  She's the total package.  Gorgeous, intelligent, great personality (from what I've seen and's not like I stalk her or anything......cause that would know........0_o) and she's not afraid to let her nerd flag fly.  What's not to love?  Olivia has been my only real celebrity crush until the Marvel movies started.....then I went and started crushing pretty hard on Scarlett Johansson.  I'm thinking I'm pretty close to convincing the Mrs. to take them on as sister wives.

Guys:  Well, now I'm not sure that you'd call it a crush, but I sure wish that Chris Hardwick would be my best friend.  I'm pretty sure we were either separated at birth or grown in the same test tube batch or something.  We don't look anything alike, but dang we're two peas in a pod when it comes to the nerd factor.  Someday me, Chris and Johnny Depp are going to take a road trip to the San Diego Comic-Con.'s gonna be the nerd version of the Hangover.....only no one ends up on the roof.....and we don't run afoul of any gangsters or anything.  So....yeah....whenever you guys wanna go know.....gimme a ring.

Well that was exciting wasn't it?  I feel like you guys got a good glimpse of the strange life of your humble host.  Now comes the fun part where I get to wield my God-like power and start bestowing awards like some sort of eleven-tentacled-benevolent-award-giving-Cthulhu!  Here we go!

3D Monster by Dan Bru
Movies at the Dog Farm by Brandon Early
80's Horror Movies by Irvin Bennet
Back of the Cereal Box by Drew Mackie
Blood Curdling Blog of Masks by Yellow Phantom
Cannibal Reviews by Chris Bennet
Divine Exploitation  by Douglas A. Waltz
Fist of B-List by Karl Brezdin
Hidden Cinematic Gems....And Other Things by Robert Kirchgassner
Horror Movies and Beer! by Drunketh Wizerd
Monster Cafe Saltillo by Hobgoblin238

Well there you have it!

I would like again thank Cassie for bestowing me with the Liebster Award.
I'm so glad that there are folks out there who enjoy my rantings and ravings!  Keep watching the skies, beware the swamp and for the love of God, don't feed anything after midnight!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Stitches - There's Nothing Funny About An Undead Clown

Directed by Conor McMahon
Written by Conor McMahon, David O'Brien
Starrring Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Eoghan McQuinn

Rated R - Approx 86 Min
MPI Media Group
Tailored Films
Fantastic Films
Bórd Scannán na hÉireann 
Solid Entertainment

Tag Lines:
 - You'll Die Laughing
 - Bad Clown

Alternate Titles:
Böser Clown! (Evil Clown) - Germany
Mourir de Rire (Dying of Laughter) - France

"Everybody Happy?"

 "A clown is funny in the circus ring. But what would be the normal reaction to opening a door at midnight and finding the same clown standing there? A clown in the moonlight is not funny."  Those are the words of Lon Chaney Sr. and they ring as true today as when he first spoke them in the 1920's, perhaps even more so.  Coulrophobia (the fear of clowns) is a very real  phenomenon that affects a good many people today.  What exactly is it about a clown that frightens so many?

I may make this my next car......

As a former children's entertainer, I know how he feels....

The clown's painted face, which makes it impossible to identify the person underneath is a good start.  The painted on emotions masking perhaps it's wearer's true intentions and provides a canvas for us to project our innermost fears on.  The outlandish clothing seems completely alien to the normal person.  Clowns usually carry and arsenal of tricks and gags....purposeful deceit and trickery.  To be perfectly honest, I could probably write an entire dissertation on the effects of clowns in pop culture and the rise of coulrophobia since the 1980's, but we'll just keep things centered on one clown in particular today:  Stitches!

Well, that's unfortunate......

Stitches the Clown is portrayed as a less than ethical lower class kids show performer.  That is until he arrives to perform at little Tommy's birthday party.  The kids are all a bunch of ill mannered little shits who quite frankly all deserved severe lashings at the hands of their parents....but I digress.  An unfortunate mishap at the party (The kids tie his shoe laced together and then hit him in the face with a soccer ball, causing him to trip and fall face first onto a blade up knife in the open dishwasher.....mishap.....murder.....whatever you wanna call it) Stitches ends up at the ol' Big Top in the sky.

Because clowns aren't scary enough by themselves...they have to hang out in mausoleums

Welcome back, Stitches!

After Stitches funeral, things get really whacked out when a group of Cirque Du Soliel reject clowns arrive at the cemetery and perform a sacred ritual with an egg to bring Stitches back to life.  Flash forward a few years and Tommy & Co are in high school.  They're still an insufferable bunch of pricks.  Tommy's mother is going out of town so Tommy has a party with his friends.  You can see where this is going right?  Yep, you guessed it.  Stitches comes back from beyond the grave for vengeance.

Now a killer clown stalking kids may not be the most original of plots, but the film is pretty well executed.  The balance between humor and gore is pretty well done as well, with Stitches dispatching the kids in a variety of clownish ways.,  One of the more amusing has a kid getting his brain scoooped out bit by bit with an ice cream scoop as The Cutting Crew's "I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight" is playing at the party.  Other fun deaths include a head explosion via a balloon pump and a head impalement via umbrella.

EYE think that probably hurts!  Get it?  GET IT?

Death by balloon pump!

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll
 - We've got 6 deaths on tap here, which ain't too bad!

Nude O Meter - No nudity but there is a rather shapely lass in her underwear.....

Things That Go Bump In The Night - Well, there's Stitches the Undead Clown.  Plus the other creepy clowns in the clown cult that were hanging out in the graveyard and brought Stitches back.

Well, that is just pure nightmare fuel.

Final Thoughts
If you're into killer clown movies then this one should hit the spot for you.  It's your typical low budget slasher flick, but it's fun.  I've always been fascinated by people's fears of clowns.  Personally, I don't have any fear of them, but I can see where some people would become uneasy.  I picked this one up on DVD at Best Buy for $5 and it's also streaming on Netflix, so there's really no reason NOT to check it out!

Final Rating
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Midnight Cinephile's Tome of Monsters

I love monsters.  I love monsters of all kinds.  From the most giant kaijus and behemoths to the tiniest horrors and everything in between.  It doesn't matter to me if they are extra-terrestrial, supernatural, created in a science lab or some undiscovered cryptid, each and every monster is an endless source of fascination to me and I want to explore them all.

When I was a kid, I was really into dinosaurs (like most red blooded boys).  The thought that these giant creatures once stood in my backyard was enough to set my young mind racing.  I had tons of books and had a good many species of dinosaur memorized.  I could spout off facts about them on the spot.  I begged my parents to take me the the museum to see the fossils over and over again.  Those were my first monsters.  My love of dinosaurs of course segued into kaiju movies and giant bug movies of the 50's.  As I grew older and started to explore the genre, I watched anything and everything that had to do with Monsters, Ghouls, Ghosts, Beasts, name it.  

My monster obsession didn't end with just movies though, oh no.  Being a child of the 80's I was also (and still am) an avid gamer.  I spent many a night glued to my TV screen playing Atari, Nintendo and my beloved Commodore 64.  Monsters I'd never even dreamed of appeared in pixilated format.  Of course as time went on, the computers and consoles became more advanced and so did the monsters in the games.

When I was in high school I really started to get the reading bug.  I read tons of Stephen King and Dean Koontz at the time.  Then I was introduced to the works on Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.  My life was forever changed at the discovery of ancient cosmic horrors that could not be named and to describe them would be to go mad.  Cthulhu became an obsession for me (well before he was a pop culture icon, mind you.....but I'm glad that he's finally getting the recognition that he deserves!) as well as Dagon, Nyarlothotep and of course the Mi-Goo.

I looked for monsters everywhere I went and the 80's were a good time to be a monster fan.  Everything from stickers to trading cards to toys to games to movies....hell even metal bands would paint monsters on their albums.

Hence, The Tome of Monsters.  My personal guide to monsters from anywhere and everywhere.  Movies, Books, Music, Games, Toys, Posters, Folklore, etc.....anything and everything goes.  The idea is that each entry will show a picture of the monster (if there's one available....God help you if I have to draw the damn thing.....I can't draw worth a damn) as well as all the information I can find about it.  For those obscure monsters that may not have any information available about them, I guess I will have to speculate on....or hopefully be able to reach it's creator for some insight.

Anyways, I hope that you dig this new side project.  Perhaps if there's a good enough response I will consider putting the Tome into print format.  We'll see!  Stay tuned for the first entry comin' at ya SOON!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Contamination .7 - Attack of the Radioactive Tree Roots

Contamination .7
 - Directed by
Joe D'Amato (as David Hills) &
Fabrizio Laurenti (as Martin Newlin)
 - Written by
Rossella Drud, Fabrizio Laurenti, Albert Lawrence,
Daniele Stroppa (as Daniel Steel)
 - Starring 
Mary Sellers, Jason Saucier, Bubba Reeves

Rated R - Approx 91 Min

 - They Hunt...They Feed...They Kill...You're Next!

 - They Grow, They Know, They Stalk, They Kill, Not Your Average Houseplant.....

Alternate Titles:
 La Maldición De Los Creepers (The Curse of the Creepers) - Argentina
Contamination 7 - Brazil  
Creepers - UK
The Crawlers -USA 
Troll 3 -USA

Troll III: Contamination Point 7 - USA

"Just shut up and play with your carnivorous plant!"

What happens when the local power plant dumps it's radioactive toxic waste in the local woods?  Radioactive killer tree roots, that's what!  It's not the whole tree that goes all homicidal and carnivorous, oh no, it's just the roots.  That's really unfortunate for Josie who just got back into her small town from "The City".   Apparently a fella named Matt has been waiting for her return for some time.  From what I gathered she was engaged to Matt and then left town.

Josie was on a vacation far away.....

"Hey Josie welcome back!  I'll just take my pants off now..."

As they try to rekindle their romance people start dying off under mysterious circumstances.  When the pair come across the corpse of a girl in the woods, they report it to the sheriff (who's lines crack me the hell up.  His delivery is so scenery chewing and so over the top ridiculous it's truly a sight to behold!) who immediately claims that he doesn't believe them, accusing them of snorting some drugs that Josie must have brought from the "Big City".

You can always blackmail an alcoholic with minimal problems

Brian and Matt ponder their next move in the battle against radioactive vegetation

Turns out the sheriff is in cahoots with the power plant manager.  They are trying to keep the whole thing under wraps.  A drunken scientist at the plant joins up with Matt and Josie as well as Brian, a young man who comes to town after his grandfather dies of mysterious circumstances(i.e., radioactive tree roots).  The group further recruit Josie's Mom and little brother and Matt's father.  The group set out to warn the town and try and put an end the the radioactive carnivore plants.  To do so it would see that they need to find where the power plant is dumping the waste so they can clean it out.

As I mentioned already, the acting in this one ranges from barely passable to outright ludicrous.  The sheriff, the power plant manager and a few other characters are about about as bad as bad gets.  But man, I'll tell you leads to some of the funniest moments in the film.  The so called radioactive roots are nothing more than rubber hoses painted up to look like tree roots.  When they creep along the ground they make a crunchy noise like someone walking through heavy brush.....but when they attack, it's the most hilarious whipping sound you've ever heard.  And it's constant.

Say, you've got something on your face there.....

It's all fun and games......

I was actually rather surprised that some of the cinematography was quite nice, which in turn created a sort of imbalance with the acting...which created a very wonky mood which, quite truthfully, I really dug.  The music is your typical "written-and-performed-by-one-dude-on-his-Casio-keyboard-his-parents-got-him-for-Christmas" variety, but it all just adds to the surreal fun of the film.  There are a few good gore effects, which we'll get into in the Tally.

This film is known in some circles as Troll 3.  Why?  Who the hell knows!  It was put out by Filmirage, who owned the rights to Troll 2 and more than likely were trying to just cash in on the name.  There is absolutely NO TROLLS in this film.  Trolls are not even hinted at.  Now to make things even more confusing, another film called The Quest for the Mighty sword is also known as Troll 3 in some well as being called Ator IV:  The Hobgoblin....and also Hobgoblins in yet other places.  This is like the whole damn Zombi thing all over again.  But I digress.....let's check the MC Tally, shall we?

Time to call in the cavalry!

I think we're getting to the.....wait for it.....wait for it.....ROOT of the problem here

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll - So, I BELIEVE that the death toll is 14 on this one, but to be honest it was a little rough to count during the films climax.  Put it this way...there are some ASSUMED deaths that I put in there....but still there's a much bigger body count than I would have expected!  For the most part, there's not much gore, but there are a few good gags including the corpse of the girl that was hitchhiking and of course the films famous Tree Root Eye Gouging Scene!

Nude-O-Meter - No full nudity but in one scene you see just a bit of nipple of the girl.  Other than that nuffin.

Things That Go Bump In The Night -   Radioactive Tree Roots!  It's not often that combination of words comes up, but when it does....use it as much as possible, that's what I say!  Keep an eye out for the "giant" roots at the films climax.

Final Thoughts
If ever there was a film that deserved the MST3K treatment, it's this one!  If you've got some like minded friends that love to make fun of bad movies, then order up a pizza, get the beer flowing and have fun with this one.  Or if you're like me and you can count the amount of friends willing to subject themselves to this level of cinematic cheese on one finger, then order that pizza (get extra cheese....treat yourself!) and your favorite beverage and make it a bad movie night.  This film is currently available on Shout Factory!'s All Night Horror Marathon Volume 2 collection.  Don't miss it!

Final Rating
Two out of Five Pizza Rolls

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

+1 - Invasion of the Inter-Dimensional Dopplegangers

Directed by Dennis Iliadis
Written by Bill Gullo & Dennis Iliadis

Starring Rhys Wakefield, Logan Miller & Ashley Hinshaw

Unrated - Approx.  95 Min.
Process Films
Process Media

Tag Lines:
 - Everyone Wants One

Alternate Titles:
Plus One (Worldwide alt. spelling)
Ενας ακομα (Another)  Greece

"Everybody listen!  We're all in danger!"
                                                                - Ted

I was genuinely surprised by +1.  I went into it not really expecting much and what I got in return was a tight little thriller that oozes an unsettling atmosphere.  Sure it's got it's flaws, but if you allow it to just unfold without over thinking it, then what you've got is a freaky little doppelganger flick to a social commentary on the "Us vs. Them" mentality.
Hhhmmmm....that doesn't look normal.

So is Brenda David or Teddy's +1?

The film starts with a young man, David, kissing another girl, only to be caught by his girlfriend, Jill.  David and his best friend, Teddy head to a party that Jill will be at so that he can try and win her back.  Things are not going to go exactly to plan though, because a meteorite crashes to Earth not far from David's house, releasing a strange electric charge that travels through the electric wires.

Playing tennis with a flaming ball indoors = SO FUCKING METAL!

"Well this is awkward......"

This electricity makes it's way towards the party as well.  When it reaches the transformer on the pole outside the house the party is being held at, it blows the transformer causing a blackout.  When the lights come back on, there are a new set of guests at the party.  Exactly like the guests that are already there, but about 15 minutes in the past.

OH hey!  The strippers are multiplying!!!

Is it suicide if you kill your.....erm.....self?

I wish that I could do a better job of describing exactly what the hell is going on, but that's really he best I can do.  Every time there is a blackout, a new set of doppelgangers appears, closer in time to the original people.  What will happen when the two timelines meet?  What is causing this anomaly?  How did Teddy manage to score with the incredibly hot Melanie?  Some questions just don't have answers.  The ending is a little frustrating, but at the same time it makes you think.  This is definitely one of those films that you have to pay attention to.  If you lose focus for a minute, you're likely to get extremely lost.

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll:  I'm gonna shoot straight with ya here.....I'm not real sure on how to answer this one.  There are multiple deaths, and yet there are none.  It makes my brain hurt.  Even if I wanted to put a number on the death toll, I couldn't.  The finale is a bit confusing and it was impossible to tell who was being killed and who wasn't.  Trust me.  It's better not to try and figure it out.

Nude O Meter:  Melanie gets full on naked.  And so does her doppelganger so that's fun.  There are a few assorted topless girls throughout the party and of course the strippers in the climax.  Heh heh....I said climax while talking about boobies.  I'm so immature.

Things That Go Bump In The Night:  Well, you've got the alien electricity.  That's something.  Sorta.  There's them.  There's us.  There's a whole lot of WTF in between!

Final Thoughts

Again.....this is certainly not the film to pop in when you're looking for some mindless entertainment.  At times you'll be scratching your head a bit and other times you'll feel like you're just a bit more clever than the movie.  Either way, it's a fun and at times though provoking piece of cinema with some beautiful cinematography and a disturbing ambiance.  The whole film feels like some sort of strange fever dream.

Final Rating
Four out of Five Pizza Rolls

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Video Demons Do Psychotown - Psychic Slashers Stalk Students

Video Demons Do Psychotown
Directed by Alessandro De Gaetano 
Written by Alessandro De Gaetano

Starring Ron Arragon, Donna Baltron, Dave Elliott

Rated R - Approx 87 Min
Troma Entertainment

 - You wouldn't want to live there, but it's a nice place to die!
 - WARNING:  The Psychotown Surgeon General Has Determined That Television Viewing Is Hazardous To Your Heath!!!

Alternate Titles:
Bloodbath in Psycho Town - Original Title 

"I've taken nine hours of Abnormal Psych.....I've read it all!"
                                                                                               - Eric

This took me by surprise a bit.  While I was expecting the usual kind of late 80's/early 90's fare that Troma distributed back in the day, what I got was something quite different and definitely not for everyone. Video Demons Do Psychotown is perhaps a more fitting moniker than the original Bloodbath title because there really isn't too much going on in the way of bloodshed.  Sure there's a few murders but I would hardly call it a bloodbath.

Eric and Karen are fighting before the title screen even hits!  

Wow.  That's a very artsy craftsy town sign you guys got there....

Eric, a film student, and his girlfriend Karen head to Casa Della, which is small town that is filled with witches and psychics.  Eric's father bought an old house and is renovating it to turn it into a hotel for psychics.  Eric decides that this strange town will be a good subject for his final film project for school and heads out to make a documentary about the town.

Right off the bat they get a chilly reception from the locals.  Karen is getting bad vibes and having premonitions (she apparently has The Gift as well) which Eric discounts because he doesn't believe in such stuff.  Karen's visions and feelings grown stronger after arriving at the hotel and discovering that there was a deadly accident a week before they arrived.  She starts to see walls covered in blood and a man being stabbed in the gut.

Anyone with hair that poofy has GOT to be evil

It would seem that the locals can sense Karen's abilities and they want her gone before they expose their secret.  What secret is that?  Well to be honest it's never really fully revealed, but if you've been paying attention thus far then you can pretty well figure out that they murdered fellow by the name of Packard who pretty much owned the town and was a world class douche nugget.

What we are left with is essentially a murder mystery, combined with a haunted house story, combined with a tale of psychics and witches, combined with a slasher film, topped off with some possession undertones and a general sense of strangeness.  The film is extremely slow paced, but there is also something mesmerizing about it.  Perhaps it's the bad acting.  Perhaps it's the wonky dialog.  Maybe it's the melted crayon blood that they use.
YAY!  Melted Crayon Blood is the best!

"Hey, you okay?"

Let's talk about the acting and dialog for a moment, shall we?  Eric and Karen are seemingly perpetually at each other's throats.  Either they are sneering at each other or making a snide remark to one another.  If they're not doing either one of those things, then Eric is once again telling Karen how he doesn't believe in psychic powers after she tells him that she's had another vision or premonition.  This will lead to another fight which will then lead to a really awkward sex scene.  Though one of my favorite moments is when Eric is trying to explain away all of Karen's psychic feelings and visions by saying "Maybe you're allergic to electricity!"  From that moment on, I completely fell in love with this film.

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll - Four, if you wanna count the flashback murder of Mr. Packard.  We get a couple of stabbings, one head impalement and one death by tree!

Nude O Meter - We get to see Karen's boobs and her butt a few times.  You ladies can look forward to Eric's butt and a shot that reveals that he keeps up on

Things That Go Bump In The Night - While there are no supernatural monsters per se....we do get some rather foul tempered psychics (they might be witches) and we get the disembodied voice of Mr. Packard as he tries to communicate with Karen.

Nothing to see here.....

Final Thoughts
This film was all over the place.  Ghosts coming back from beyond the grave, evil psychics trying to keep a lid on the illicit goings on of their small town and a slasher in a yellow rain coat.  The film even tries to delve into the mysteries of the human mind and whether or not it is possible to communicate with machines!  Some of that was actually fairly effective.  Every time Karen has a psychic flash when she's filming with the camera, it causes an anomaly when played back.  This anomaly is a psychic imprint of sorts and another attempt at communication from Mr. Packard's ghost.  There are some decently effective scenes of the students sitting in front of TV monitors watching the tapes trying to unravel the mystery.

Cause that's not creepy having a video face stare at you while you sleep....

As I said in the beginning....I was very surprised by this film by the end of it.  What started out as slow and plodding eventually morphed into strange and surreal.  This is absolutely a film that will make it's way into my repeat viewing rotation.  You can rent the disc from Netflix or you can watch the entire film on You Tube!  If you are willing to put some time and work into the film, then you will be rewarded.  Just don't go into it expecting a non stop thrill ride!

Final Rating
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls