Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Wave Theater Episode #1

No doubt you've heard me expunge my undying love for all things Night Flight before.  I've reviewed several shorts that debuted on the show and I've waxed nostalgic about the lunacy that unfolded before my eyes every weekend night.  On the off chance that there is someone reading this that is not familiar with my other posts, allow me to recap.  Back in the glorious decade of excess (yes, that's right, the 1980's!) a little cult show called Night Flight popped up on cable TV....the USA Network to be exact.  Now, I don't want to get too far into Night Flight itself just yet, because I think that will make a good retrospective post by itself.....so suffice to say that it was a variety show of sorts.  It was a four hour block that aired everything from music videos, music documentaries, concerts, movies, short films, as well as picking up television shows from other areas and even the occasional original programming.

New Wave Theater, was originally aired on a local Los Angeles UHF station (Channel 18) before being picked up by Night Flight.  New Wave Theater showcased new and upcoming Punk and New Wave bands.  The Dead Kennedys, The Circle Jerks and (my favorite) .45 Grave were all showcased on the program.  The show was hosted by Peter Ivers.  An eccentric yet charming host who would open and close each show with a sort of stream-of-consciousness-poetry type of thing.  Ivers was a local boy, having grown up in Brookline, MA (not that far from my humble home) and was educated at Harvard University.  In 1983, Ivers was found dead in his apartment, having been beaten and bludgeoned to death with a hammer.  His murder remains unsolved to this day.

As awesome as it is that the above mentioned bands (and other well known bands too) were featured on New Wave Theater, I find that it's the other bands that have remain obscure that are the most fascinating.  It is with that in mind that I present to you Episode #1 of New Wave Theater (which I found on YouTube!  Apparently New Wave Theater has their own channel!  Who knew?!)  The performances in this episode are by: X, Ivy Leaguers, Los Dudes, Grey Factor and finally,  Suburban Lawns.  I'll tell ya what....bands just don't come up with names like they used to.  Of particular interest to me in this episode is the band Los Dudes, who perform a song called Frisbee's From Hell.  The song is an art-house/punk fusion track that really captures a raw energy that I find quite infectious.  Once you hear it, you'll find it getting stuck in your head quite often.....which (I think) is a good thing.  I've not been able to find any information on the band....I do have a tenuous lead on Facebook, which I'm currently looking into.

I hope you enjoy New Wave Theater as much as I do.  Until next time......watch out for them Frisbee's From Hell!  Oh they are not from Mattel....THESE Frisbee's are from HELL!!!!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

TNT's MonsterVision Bumpers

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the Bumpers for TNT's MonsterVision.  I'm researching MonsterVision for an upcoming article and I thought it would be fun to have a nice light 'n' fun post.  So without me chinwagging with my fingers too much:     ENJOY!

MonsterVision Godzilla Bash '94
This was really my introduction to the awesomeness of Blue Oyster Cult.

Joe Bob Briggs' MonsterVision Song:
One of my favorite bits from MonsterVision....this just screams nostalgia for me

MonsterVision Halloween '92:
Thought technically MonsterVision officially started as a recurring show in March of '93, it started as a special in October of '92. 

MonsterVision Bumper Compilation:
Just what it sounds like!

MonsterVision - Joe Bob Briggs Friday the 13th Segments:
Watch Joe Bob do his thing while presenting Friday the 13th!

MonsterVision - Joe Bob Briggs presents Phantasm II:
The Phantasm II episode in it's entirety!

All of these videos are culled from YouTube and I own none of them, I just put 'em all together under one roof!  Hope ya dug it, kids!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ed Wood - Visions Are Worth Fighting For

Ed Wood
Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Starring Johnny Depp, Martin Landau Sarah Jessica Parker

Rated R - Approx 127 Min
Touchstone Pictures

- Movies were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Angora sweaters were his weakness.

- When it came to making bad movies, Ed Wood was the best.

Alternate Titles:

"Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else's dreams?"
                                                                               -Orson Welles

How to even begin this one?  Well, for starters, Ed Wood is one of my all time favorite films.  It ranks in the Top 5 of all time.  As someone who's always been fascinated with movies and how movies were made (especially in the days of old), this was a fun "peek behind the curtain" of low budget filmmaking.  To many, Ed Wood is synonymous with bad films. Wood's magnum opus,  Plan 9 From Outer Space is commonly referred to as the WORST film ever made.  I say poppycock!

Wood tries to convince Weiss to let him direct.....

Wood meets Lugosi for the first time

Edward D Wood Jr. may have not had a ton of technical know-how and he may not have been the most eloquent writer, the most prolific director or most successful producer, but he had something that many people in the film industry don't:  a DEEP love for films.  For him, it wasn't about making money.  It wasn't about the glitz and glamour.  For him, it was all about telling his stories and hopefully moving audiences with his tales.

Tim Burton's biopic is largely based on the book Nightmare of Ecstasy:  The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr. by Rudoph Grey.  A book, which in turn was compiled of interviews with the people who knew Ed in life.  I have not read the book yet, but it's on my list of "To-Do's"!

Landau's portrayal of Lugosi is downright supernatural!

Ed confesses his transvestite ways to Delores

The film starts just before Wood's first break writing and directing Glen or Glenda for George Weiss at Screen Classics.  He is originally turned down for the job, despite confessing to Weiss about his cross dressing tendencies.  It's not until Wood befriends Bela Lugosi (convincing him to appear in the film) that Ed is able to convince Weiss to give him the job, netting Lugosi for only a thousand dollars.

Needless to say, things don't go very well for Wood after the film is completed.  The distributors think it's absolute junk and Weiss threatens to kill him if he ever see's him again (in real life, George Weiss has fond memories of Wood).  Things are looking pretty down for Ed until his girlfriend (and star of Glen or Glenda) Delores Fuller gives him the idea to make the film outside the studio system.  Thus begins the true meat and potatoes (I think) and real fun parts of the movie.

Lugosi's comedy TV spot does not go well

Criswell informs Ed that there's no such thing as psychics

Watching Ed working his infectious magic on those around him as he manages to convince person after person to help him fund and create his films is a sight to behold.  Truly, Johnny Depp managed to encapsulate the essence of Wood perfectly.  The people the Ed surrounds himself with are a strange group of characters that are just as weird, wild and lovable as Ed himself and the cast playing these characters is no less stellar.

Martin Landau's performance as Bela Lugosi is BEYOND pitch perfect.  So much so that he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  It was almost as if Bela himself had possessed him because Landau virtually vanishes leaving only Lugosi on screen.  Bill Murray's portrayal of Bunny Breckinridge is also top notch.  Murray is truly underrated as an actor, in my opinion.  Jeffrey Jones perfectly emulates Criswell, Lisa Marie is fantastic as Vampira and George "The Animal" Steele is eerily exacting in his portrayal of Tor Johnson! Vincent D'Onofrio's cameo as Orson Welles is also stellar.

Ed directs Loretta King, Tor and Lugosi on Bride of the Monster

Lugosi rolling around in the much with a rubber octopus as 4am

This movie is very personal to me.  I have watched it so many times that I've lost count.  It's my go-to film when I'm sick, feeling down or when one of my nasty anxiety attacks hit.  I love getting lost in Wood's zany world and when I get back, everything just seems better.

Ed at the premier of Bride of the Monster

No sir, no gore here.  But you know what, I don't even miss it.

No nudity either.  Though we do see Sarah Jessica Parker in her bra.  We also see Johnny Depp wearing lingerie.  So there's something for everyone!  Er....

No monsters here, kids.  Though we do get a fun look at the Killer Octopus from Bride of the Monster!  Plus during the Plan 9 shooting sequences there's the monsters in the film within the film!

Lugosi's funeral

Many people are quick to jump on the bandwagon and bash Ed Wood's films (as well as many others).  It's perfectly fine to not like a film, but something that I've truly embraced over the past year or so is the notion that there are no truly "bad" films.  Simply films that I like and films that I don't.  There are some films that are technically more proficient than others, but at the end of the day every film ever made deserves some respect.  Every film made has SOMEONE who worked on it and gave it their all.  Especially back in the Golden Age of cinema.  People put their hearts and souls into their films.  Maybe not the Hollywood execs...they're in it for the money.....but the crews, the actors, the directors.....they give it their all and they believe in their films.  So who am I to tear down a film because I don't like it?  I won't go into another rant on the current state of elitism in the horror genre in this day and age, don't worry.  What I will say is this:  Watch this movie.  Allow yourself to get lost in the crazy, zany world of Ed Wood and see if you don't come out the other side a little different.

Murray as Bunny Breckinridge 



Waxwork - Waxing Nostalgic on Terror

Directed by Anthony Hickox
Written by Anthony Hickox

Starrring Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman & Michelle Johnson

Rated R - Approx 95 Min
Vestron Pictures

- Stop On By And Give Afterlife A Try.
- More Fun Than a Barrel of Mummies

- You Can Step Inside The Hall of Horrors - But Dare You Pay The Price?

Alternate Titles:
Museo de Cera (Wax Museum) - Argentina
A Passagem (The Passage) - Brazil
Illusione infernale (Illusion of Hell) - Italy
Benvenuti al museo delle cere (Welcome to the Wax Museum) - Italy
 Il museo delle cere è arrivato in città (The Wax Museum Has Come To Town) - Italy
La mansión del horror (The Horror Mansion) - Mexico
Figury z wosku  (Figures of Wax)- Poland
Музей восковых фигур (Wax Museum Figures) - Russia

Reise zurück in der Zeit (Travel Back in Time) - West Germany

"I do what I want, WHEN I want.  Dig it or fuck off."

Another fun little flick from the late 80's, Waxwork manages to cram all the classic monsters into it's 95 minute run-time and then some....what's not to love?  You've got Zah Galligan (Billy from Gremlins!) playing  a well to do and snobbish teen.  You've got Deborah Foreman (the Valley Girl herself!) as the love interest, and you've got Patrick Macnee in one hell of a weird role.

It's Billy!   Er....I mean.....Mark.

It all starts innocently enough when Sarah (Foreman) and China (Johnson) are given free passes to a midnight showing of the Waxwork that just set up shop in town.  They invite their friends along and decide to make a night of it.  That of course is when things take a hard left into the Twilight Zone.  When one of the teens drops his lighter inside the wax display of a werewolf, he steps over the velvet rope to retrieve it, at which point he is instantly transported to the world inside the display.  Unfortunately for him, that world is inhabited by a werewolf.  There is a fun little cameo here by John Rhy-Davies.  I would also like to point out that he changes into one of the most ridiculous looking werewolves I've ever seen.  It's so weird and wonky I can't even put my finger on exactly what makes it so fucked-up looking.  Anyway long story short, the teen get's bitten and starts to change into a werewolf himself.  He is then permanently and prominently displayed along side the werewolf as part of the waxwork.

WTF???  What is wrong with this werewolf?  I think it's the ears now that I look at it...

Oh, so THAT'S where the Steak Tartar came from!

China, meanwhile, decides to get a better look at the Dracula display and also crosses the velvet rope into Dracula's realm.  Once again, I have to say that this version of Dracula seems.....off somehow.  Maybe it's because he's played by Miles O'Keeffe, who you might know better as Ator!  You remember Ator, The Fighting Eagle, don't cha?  Of course you do......sword and sandal storytelling at it's cheesiest!  Somehow though, he just doesn't pull of the Dracula thing.  For a fine example of the awkwardness, look no further than his conversation with China about Steak Tartar.  Friggin' weird.

Monster Dance Party!  Oh, I hope they play Thriller!

Well after China and what's-his-nuts-werewolf-boy go missing, Mark and Sarah leave the Waxwork, thinking that the other two have decided to run off together for some super-fun-happy-naked-time.  When they don't show up for school the next day, Mark brings in the police to investigate the strange Waxwork.  Unfortunately for Inspector Roberts (Inspector??? What is this, The Pink Panther?) he ends up in The Mummy's exhibit.  This is one of the better sequences in the film.  The Mummy is pretty cool looking and this above all other parts of the movie holds the greatest nostalgia for me.  See my Final Thoughts for more on that.

Sarah is held captive (sorta) by the Marquis de Sade inside his display and it's up to Mark to save her.  He ends up going through several displays before he gets to her, which makes for a fun montage and send-up of various horror flicks.  My favorite being the Night of the Living Dead sequence which is even filmed in black and white!

Kinkiness abound at the Marquis de Sade's display!

If you think it's been a roller coaster ride thus far, just wait until you see the unbelievable climax with a bunch of geriatric old warhorses laying siege to the mansion's waxwork and all it's property.  You ain't lived until you've seen Patrick Macnee in a wheel chair all decked out in camo, brandishing a sword and shouting "TALLY HO!"  Trust me, it's awesome.

There is some good gore on display here.  In the basement of Dracula's castle is a man who's leg has been stripped to the bone as he lays on a table.  The Mummy steps on and crushes a praying man's head, the werewolf mauls a man and more!

Not this time, boys.  While there's no nudity there is some eroticism going on over at The Marquis de Sade's display.....kinky!


There's a regular rogues gallery of creatures on display here;  Dracula, The Mummy, a werewolf, Pod People, Zombies, Aliens and more!

It's The Mummy!!!!!

I  first became aware of this film thanks to an old short lived TV show that I used to watch on USA called Shadow Theater.  I believe I've mentioned it here, but I'll give ya the rundown on it again, just in case.  Shadow Theater was a clip show hosted by Robert Englund.  It was the very first episode that aired the clip from Waxwork...and it was (more or less) The Mummy sequence.  I was enthralled and (having recorded the show) watched it over and over.

It wasn't too long after that I caught a heavily edited version of the film on The Sci-Fi Channel back in the days before it was Syfy.  It was double featured with it's sequel Waxwork II: Lost in Time on Moonlight Matinee.  It wouldn't be until the "Video Store Excursions" that I mentioned in the CHUD II review that I came across the VHS tape and finally watched the un-edited film.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

C.H.U.D. II: Bud The Chud - Chuds Just Wanna Have Fun

C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud
Directed by David Irving
Writren by Ed Naha

Starring Brian Robbins, Bill Calvert &Tricia Leigh Fisher
Rated R - Approx 84 Minutes
Vestron Pictures

- Their first mistake was stealing a corpse... Their second was waking him up.

- This C.H.U.D.'s for you!

Alternate Titles
A Cidade das Sombras (City of Shadows) - Brazil
Reacción viva (Strong Reaction) - Spain
Kuunpuremat (Bite of the Viper) - Finland
Turbózombi, véruszkár (Turbo Zombie) - Hungary

Das Monster lebt (The Monster Lives) - Germany

         - Bud the Chud

C.H.U.D. of course stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.  Alternatively, in the first film it also stood for Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal...but there's no mention of that this time around and it's just as well because C.H.U.D. II is nothing like it's predecessor.  The first film was a fairly straight forward horror film, where as this film is a straight up horror comedy.

The plot centers around two high school friends who unwittingly unleash a CHUD after stealing it from the CDC.  See they accidentally lost a cadaver that was meant for their high school biology class and rather than fess up, they thought it would be a better idea to steal a corpse and replace it.

I can never see Robert Vaughn and NOT think of Superman III......

Bud gets some new duds!

Steve and Kevin are you're typical 80's best buds.  Steve (Brian Robbins, who you fellow children of the 80's may remember best as Eric on the sitcom Head of the Class) is the smart ass, fast talking one who takes nothing seriously and has an answer for everything.  Kevin (Bill Cavert) is the quiet, reserved and far more intelligent one that is constantly fixing Steve's messes.  There's also Katie (Tricia Leigh Fisher) who is Steve's pseudo-girlfriend (and naturally Kevin really likes her).

After our two heroes steal Bud the Chud, they naturally bring him back to Steve's parent's house to hide until they can bring him to school the next day.  Things go wrong when Bud falls into a bubble bath and a hairdryer falls in too, re-animating him.  The boys lock Bud in the basement and then leave to get a burger.  Bud breaks out and chases the family poodle outside, chomping on it and turning it into a CHUD Doggie.  Thus the CHUD contamination begins.

Runaway corpse...never going back.  Runaway on a wrong way track....

I'll be honest....I've been in weirder situations....

They boys come back to discover their undead guest has escaped and go out looking for him.  Meanwhile the military gets Katie's license plate off of security footage from when they hijacked the corpse and Colonel Masters (the one and only Robert Vaughn!) who was heading up the CHUD project is onto the boys.  The rest of the film plays out much like three way cat and mouse game between Bud and his every growing army of converted CHUDS, our heroic (sorta) trio and the military.

Gone are the long necked, glowing eyed, slimy CHUDs of the first film.  Bud and Co are now grey skinned zombies with messed up teeth.  Amusingly, for a film about cannibalistic monsters rampaging in a town, there is not much in the way of the red stuff.  When a person is attacked by a CHUD, they pretty much get nibbled on and they turn into a CHUD themselves.

CHUDism is on the rise....and they've choreographed their walk!


CHUDs have a weakness to extreme cold, so the military uses giant freeze guns to try and contain them, but unfortunately the effects don't last long.  How will our heroes overcome the ever growing number of CHUDS?  Will the military destroy the whole town?  Will the CHUDs take over?  Will Keven tell Katie how feels????  Watch C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud to find out!

As I mentioned earlier, there is not much in the way of the red stuff.  Even a scene in which Bud (who has developed a crush on Katie) reaches into his own chest and pulls out his heart to give to her, is completely bloodless.

No naughty bits on display in this one, either.  Though we do get to see Katie in a nice bathing suit, so that's cool  To be honest, I'm unsure why this got an R rating.  There's some language, but honestly I would have no problem showing this to a bunch of tweens on Halloween.

CHUDs!  Lots and lots of CHUDs!  There's even a CHUDified poodle!

CHUD DANCE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I turned 17, I went on a video store binge.  I got my own membership to my beloved Video Paradise, but I also went out and got memberships to every other video store that I could find in my area.  My wallet was a virtual who's who of video rental stores circa 1996.  Video Paradise, Blockbuster, Country Video, Video Corner, Applause Video, Record Town, and a few more that I can't even remember.  Their membership cards bulked out my wallet to the Nth degree.

I was completely obsessed with finding new flicks to watch and in the fall of 1996 I could be found making rounds to multiple video stores on a Saturday afternoon, scouring the horror sections for stuff I haven't watched.  I remember renting this one from Country Video (a small little video shop on the edge of town) one October weekend.  I remember it quite clearly because it was the same weekend that I rented Phantasm II for the first time and because a lifelong Sphere Head.  Thus, CHUD II will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first part of a mid-October double feature that introduced me to The Tall Man.

I still get the warm fuzzies just thinking about it and because of that, I'm sure nostalgia is probably bumping this rating up a a a little bit.


Monday, July 21, 2014

The Alien Factor - Extraterrestrial Zoo Escape

The Alien Factor
Directed by Don Dohler
Written by Don Dohler
Starring: Don Leifert, Tom Griffith & Richard Dyszel 

Unrated - Approx. 80 Minutes

- They brought terror from beyond our galaxy!

Alternate Titles:

Skrekken fra rommet (Terror from the Room) Norway

"She's in shock, Bert, she didn't say ANYTHING!"
                                                                             - Sheriff Cinder

 I love Regional Horror.  To me there's nothing better than when a group of people get themselves together and make a movie simply because they love doing it.  There is an immediate tactile sense to the whole thing, and for my money Hollywood can never beat it.  Even more so, I love the films of Don Dohler.  You can tell that he absolutely loves his films....almost to a fault.  I'm getting ahead of myself though.

That's an interesting spacecraft you got there......not very aerodynamic though...

Aliens wear jeans apparently....

The Alien Factor starts with a young couple making out in their car, which is parked in a field in the middle of winter during the day.  As if that isn't odd enough, an insectoid alien drags the guy out of his car window and mauls him...the girl booking it and getting out of dodge, leaving Romeo behind to get the ol' extraterrestrial pulled pork treatment.  

The local Sheriff thinks that it's a wild animal attack.  He brings the girl and her mangled boyfriend to (I guess) the local hospital (which looks suspiciously like someones house) where a doctor and her assistant (George Stover!) perform an autopsy on the body.  Meanwhile, Mayor Wicker (who is apparently not respected by anyone because they all just call him Bert) is worried that this is going to affect his entertainment park plans for the town.  

What's an alien flick without rednecks going out to hunt them?

There are more mysterious deaths including a fella who is apparently rapidly aged.  Dr Sherman thinks that it may be an advanced case of Progeria (a disease that appears to rapidly age it's victims).  We know better though, because we've seen the insectoid alien as well as a tall furry thing with pincers in it's mouth.  Ew.  

Enter Ben Zachary, a mysterious fellow who offers to help, claiming that he studies the occult, extraterrestrials, etc.  With no other ideas or options, Bert....er...Mayor Wicker and Sheriff Cinder employ his help, hoping to rid themselves of this menace.  The Sheriff and Zachary hike out into the woods and discover the downed UFO.  Zachary then starts to receive a psychic message from an alien that's lying dying nearby.  The alien divulges information about the escaped creatures.  At this point Zachary tells the Mayor and Sheriff that he can rid them of the alien problem, but he has to work alone.  

The Insectoid Alien says HELLO!!!!!!

Bigfoot is an understatment!  Look at the size of those things!

Supposedly the deadliest of the aliens....also the cutest.

The ending of the movie is cliched on one hand....but I also didn't see it coming the first time I watched it way back when.  I'm not sure if that's due to the fact that I was watching it at 3am or if the acting is so stiff and wonky that you just can't read emotions, but at any rate....it caught me off guard the first time.

A word of warning:  The Alien Factor is not a film for beginners.  What I mean is this:  If you are a lover of "bad" movies, there's a lot to love here.  Everything from the creative low budget alien effects to the hilariously over the top 70's band performing in a local bar is a B to Z Grade movie buff's dream.  If you are just getting into it though, you may want to get your feet wet with another film.  The Alien Factor can be quite talky at times.  Then there's the extended shots of people running around the Maryland woods in the middle of winter.  You really get a sense that Dohler was in love with the images he had put on scene and was reluctant to cut them from the film...hence you have a three minute sequence of someone just wandering around the woods.  This is what I meant when I said that he may have loved his films to a fault.

If I was Sheriff....I'd rock out bad-ass sideburns too!

Ooooh, Bert.  

The Mysterious Mr. Zachary.

There's not a whole heck of a lot of the red stuff, but there are a few dead bodies hanging around.  The guy who get's his lifeforce sucked out (that's the progeria looking guy) is pretty cool.  There's a few shots of the red stuff here and there, but not a whole heck of a lot.

Sorry guys, there's more flesh on display in most Disney movies.

The whole reason to watch this flick!  The aliens are all varied and pretty cool.  The insectoid is a humanoid bug.  It's a like a very low budget precursor to the Judas Roaches in Mimic!  Then there's the big furry one.  He's got goat like legs (though the feet are big weird three toed thingies) and sorta looks like Bigfoot had a love child with a bug.  There's an alien that looks like a Sasquatch got turned inside out and then put on a pair of jeans (!?) and finally a giant lizard type alien that is stop motion animated in the film.

I want to be in this band in the worst way

As I said above, this one is a little rough going in parts and I wouldn't recommend it for bad film novices.  However, if you love these types of films and you want to see some truly wonky acting and some good ol' fashioned cinematic ingenuity (some of the forced perspective shots of the UFO's are really very good) then you can't go wrong.  You've gotta love the sheer wackiness of the whole thing.  Also, there's that awesome band.  



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Without Warning - Alien Big Game Hunting

Without Warning
Directed by Greydon Clark
Written by Lyn Freeman, Daniel Grodnik

Starring Jack Palance, Martin Landau & Cameron Mitchell

Rated R - Approx 89 Min
Heritage Enterprises Inc.

Filmways Pictures 


 - The Alien Terror Is Here On Earth.
 - It Preys On Human Fear. It Feeds On Human Flesh.

 - Earth Is The Hunting Ground. Man Is The Endangered Species.

Alternate Titles:
Alien Warning
It Came Without Warning
Alien Encounters
The Warning - UK
Llegan sin avisar (They Come Without Warning) Spain
Ilman varoitusta (Without Warning) Finland
Varoitus (Warning) Finland 
Utan varning (Without Warning) Sweden
Terreur extraterrestre (Alien Terror) France
Πλανήτης Γι: Παιγνίδι για εξωγήινους (For Planet: A Toy For Aliens) Greece
Fenyegetés (Threat) Hungary
Horror - Caccia ai terrestri (Horror - Hunt For Land) Italy
Ostrzezenie (Warning) Poland
Alien Shock - West Germany

Das Geheimnis der fliegenden Teufel (The Mystery of the Flying Devils) West Germany

"No chance....no help....no escape...."

I was going to wait until the fancy new Blu Ray from Shout Factory dropped to review this one, but damnit, I really wanted to watch it and after watching it, I decided...what the hell....why not review it now and add to the hype!

Palance, Mitchell & Landau!  It's like and early 80's extraterrestrial Expendables! 

Without Warning is another film that falls very nicely into the Campfire Tale Feeling™ brand of movies.  From the first frame, it drips with atmosphere and dread.  The plot is absolutely nothing new:  There's something in the woods and it's hunting humans.  It's how the plot is executed that really makes this one for me.  First of all, there's a who's-who of some of my favorite actors:  Jack Palance, Martin Landau and Cameron Mitchell all under one title?  Sold!  Secondly they save the monster for the end, like a classic should.  For the bulk of the movie we only see the strange little flying critters that it tosses at it's prey, which then attach to them, sucking their fluids out.

The Flying Frisbee Creatures™ in all their glory

These little critters are nasty looking.....they are slimy, brown little pentagon shaped things.  They fly through the air like a Frisbee until they attach to their intended prey.  Then they secure themselves on to said prey through tentacles that burrow into the flesh of the prey.  They have gnashing teeth in the center that look like they could give quite a hickey if given half the chance.

Don't mind the dead bobcat there....

Who the hell is Zorba????

The film opens with Cameron Mitchell's character taking his son on a hunting trip.  It's not very long into their morning excursion that they are both taken out by the Frisbee Critters.  Now you KNOW all bets are off when Cameron Mitchell is the first to go!  We then shift our attention to a teenage foursome on their way to "The Lake".  Isn't it funny how everyplace has "The Lake"?  It never has a name....it's always just...."The Lake".  Kinda like how when they need an expert on something in a flick, they'll just call "The University".  That's always amused me.  Anyway, I digress.

"The Lake"

The foursome, Sandy, Greg, Beth and Tom stop on their way to "The Lake" to get some gas at a little ramshackle gas station.  Right outside there's a dead bobcat hung from a tree.  Huh!  Looks like a friendly place, don't it?  The place appears to be abandoned, so naturally the girls seek out the bathroom while the guys fill up the van after realizing that there are no locks on the pumps.

Greg and Sandy search for their friends
Here we are introduced to two more characters that we'll be seeing more of down the road:  The Sarge (Landau) whom Sandy runs into while investigating the men's room (the women's room is locked) and Taylor, who owns the gas station and is apparently quite the avid hunter.  Hmmmm, foreshadowing much?  The gang pays for their gas and spills the beans that they are headed toward "The Lake".  Taylor warns them not to go there...stating that there are too many hunters around and there have already been accidents.  He makes the kids promise they won't go.  The kids promise (and I'm sure they each had their fingers crossed) and go on their merry way.

What could possibly go wrong with a Scoutmaster bringing a bunch of scouts into alien infested woods?

Naturally, the head start for "The Lake" where they swim and make out and what-not.  It's all downhill from there for the kids.  Tom and Beth vanish and after searching for them, Greg and Sandy come across a shed owned by the Water Dept.  Looking inside they find not only the bodies of Tom and Beth, but of Cameron Mitchell, his son and a Scout Master that was taken out earlier in the film as well.  They make a break for it, running back to the van.  On of the Flying Frisbee Critters lands on their windshield, where we get a good look at the freaky little thing.  Being a horror flick, the van won't start at first.....so we get a nice moment of tension as Greg desperately tries to start the van while SOMETHING is trying to get in the side door.  Oh the suspense!

Here's a fun gallery of dead bodies for ya!

Greg and Sandy drive off to find help, ending up at a bar full of country folk.....and Sarge.  Greg tells his tale of finding the bodies in the water shed, and about the Flying Frisbee Creature, which makes the locals think that perhaps the kid is in cahoots with Sarge, who's been babbling about alien invasion for years.  Unfortunately Sarge starts to become more and more unhinged as the night goes on.  The power goes out and as the Sheriff arrives, Sarge shoots him, thinking him to be an alien.  Taylor (remember our hunter friend from the gas station) takes Greg and Sandy and the threesome try to find a way to turn the tables on the extraterrestrial hunter....eventually ending in a western-ish showdown.  Would you have it any other way with Jack Palance?

The Bar Scene is SO Campfire, I felt like I needed s'mores!

I haven't watched this film in years.  It has never been available on DVD and I think the only VHS copies were only available overseas.  The Blu Ray edition from Shout Factory on August 5th is going to be the first time that this film is available on home video in the states.  I do remember seeing in on cable sometime in the late 80's....I have a very strong memory of watching this alone late one night in my family's sun-porch (where we had a nice little entertainment center setup) long after everyone else had gone to bed.  If I'm not mistaken, I had crept downstairs to watch it late one night.

Oh dear Jesus, what in the hell is THAT?

There is a fair amount of gore on display here.  The Flying Frisbee Critters make a bit of a mess when they attach themselves to a victim, with slimy tentacles and gnashing teeth tearing up human flesh.  There's also a good look at the dead bodies hanging in the water shed, with some good gore fx on them.

No nudity in this one.  Couple of girls in bikinis are all yer gonna get here, mister!

Awwww yeah!  First of all there's the Flying Frisbee Critters.  Slimy little pentagon shaped critters with tentacles and teeth that fly through the air just waiting to burrow into your skin and gnaw on you!  Then there's The Hunter alien.  He's a tall, bald mofo that looks very similar to the standard description of aliens.  Only instead of short and grey, he's tall and blue.  Still, a disturbing sight, especially if you're like me and aliens freak you out!

Showdown by the Water Shed

Final Thoughts
Why this movie has never had a wide release before is beyond me.  It's got everything you could possibly want:  Aliens, gore, campy acting, great actors, and a palpable feeling of dread.  Truly one of the best scenes in all of B-movie cinema is the bar scene that takes place about at the midway point.  It oozes that Campfire Tale Feeling™.  I cannot wait until this comes out on Blu Ray.  I would love to see this film cleaned up and I can't wait to see it find a larger audience.  This is truly a classic and a gem.  Don't Miss It!

Final Rating