Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Return to Salem's Lot - Moriarty: Vampire Slayer

A Return to Salem's Lot
D: Larry Cohen
W: Stephen King, Larry Cohen & James Dixon

S: Michael Moriarty, Samuel Fuller, Ricky Addison Reed
Rated R - 101 Minutes
Larco Productions


Alternative Titles:
El regreso de las brujas de Salem (Return of the Salem Witches) - Argentina
Paluu kauhujen kaupunkiin  (Return to the Horrors of the City) - Finland Les enfants de Salem (Children of Salem) - France
Vámpírok városa (City of Vampires) - Hungary
I vampiri di Salem's Lot (The Vampires of Salem's Lot) - Italy
Powrót do miasteczka Salem (Back to the Town of Salem) - Poland
Salems Lot - återkomsten (Resurgence) - Sweden
Salem 2 - Die Rückkehr (The Return) - West Germany

Stadt der Vampire (City of Vampires) - West Germany

"I'll send his soul to hell!"
                                       - Judge Axel

It seems only fitting after being away for a while that my first review back should be A Return to Salem's Lot.  In many ways though it's only been a month, it feels as though I am worlds away from where I was not even thirty days ago.  I've left the hustle and bustle of the big city and now find myself sitting in the solemn darkness of the country.  Though I have not encountered any vampires yet, it is indeed a chance for me to return to my roots as well as to try and reinvent myself and what I do.

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em, right Dad!

Enough about myself though, you're here because either A) You're a fan of Michael Moriarty.  B)  You're a fan of 80's vampire flicks or C) You got here by mistake while you were searching for information on Salem, MA.  It is the Halloween season, after all and what better way to celebrate than to tour one of New England's spookiest cities!

Like all sequels to Stephen King films, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the first film.  Moriarty plays Joe Weber, an anthropologist who gets duped by his ex-wife to come home from somewhere in the green inferno (where he was studying indigenous cannibal tribes) to take care of his trouble teenage son, Jeremy.

Vampires are messy with their snacks.....

Now THAT'S a vampire!  Notice he doesn't sparkle.
Joe and Jeremy head to the small sleepy New England town of Salem's Lot where Joe stayed for a while with his Aunt Clara as a boy.  Joe remembers the town fondly and thinks back to his time spent there as the best time in his life.  Things are a little bit different when they arrive however.  The welcome is less than warm at first.  As it turns out, the entire town is now vampire, save for the hybrids that they keep on hand to act as caretakers and protectors for them during the day (Shooing away passerby's and strangers and such).

After stumbling on their secret, Joe is asked to write the vampire bible for them, to which he reluctantly agrees.  Soon, he has no choice as the vampires slowly take control of his son, turning him against his father with the help of some of the town's vampire children and the anti-human propaganda that is spewed forth at the vampire children's school.  It's now up to Joe, along with the help of an aging Nazi Hunter, to save his son and put a stop to the bloodsuckers for good.

"Don't worry dear....we're just going to eat you"

Van Meer's driving the bus....

There are a good many people who will tell you that this is not a good film.  I say poppycock.  POPPYCOCK!  On the contrary, this is 80's vampire cinema at it's goofy best!  Don't get me wrong, this ain't no Lost Boys....but this kicks Twilight in the sparkly nards all day long!  For your money, you get vampires that transform and show you their "true faces" (which basically means they turn into purple monsters that are the best kind rubber Halloween mask cheese).  You've got vampires of all ages and sizes.  The most dangerous vampires are the town elders, which is a refreshing change of pace from the pretty boy vampires that populate today's films.  There's blood, gore, death by holy water, stakings and even some good ol' fashioned T&A!  What's not to love?

Sure the acting is a bit on the rough side, but that really is kinda what gives this it's wonky charm.  It's not in the completely-wooden-reading-off-cue-cards acting, it's more scenery chewing and I-can't-believe-I-have-to-say-this type of line delivery.  You can tell that everyone was having a ball making the film though.  Michael Moriarty is a blast to watch as usual and gives another solid B-Movie performance.

I would at least lay a blanket down...sheesh!  

These mail order brides are getting ridiculous!

Death Toll:  I kinda lost count on the death toll on this one, to be honest....mainly due to the fact that at the beginning of the third act, the vampires slaughter and entire bus full of tourists!  Plus it's was difficult to keep tabs on how many vampires went down.

T&A:  There's a little skin on display here.  You get one full set of breasts!  That's more than some movies I've been reviewing lately!

Creature Factor:  You've got vampires up the wazoo here.  They come in all shapes, sizes and ages too!  Town elders, regular adults and children alike.  Plus sometimes you get to see a vampire in his "true form", which is goofy as all hell (which means it's AWESOME!).

Holy water is a bitch, ins't it?

Final Thoughts:
If you are in the mood for a good late 80's popcorn vampire flick, then you really can't go wrong with A Return to Salem's Lot.  The flick oozes late 80's charm and even manages to have a few moments of creepiness (the children playing in the school playground at night is pretty creepy!).

Final Rating:
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Halloween TV Schedule

So I was going to do a bunch of research and put up a swanky 2014 Halloween TV Schedule for all your spooky seasonal viewing.  However, it has come to my attention that my good friend Doc Terror has already concocted such a list for The Liberal Dead.  Now I suppose that I could go ahead and write up my own Schedule for you, but to be honest, Doc's is SO damn thorough that it really would be a crime for you NOT to check out his work.

I may toss a heads up at ya about a Halloween themed episode of a sitcom or whatnot at ya, but as far as getting the low down on what you absolutely MUST see this year on the terror tube, look no further than Your 2014 Halloween Season TV Preview with Schedules!

Don't forget to keep checking back because Doc is gonna be adding more stuff as the networks release their schedules.  Get them DVR's fired up kiddies!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Outer Limits - The Board Game!

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.

With those words viewers were able to participate in that great adventure of awe and mystery.  The Outer Limits was a one hour sci-fi television show that followed the "Monster of the Week" format.  Usually the monsters were some sort of alien or extra-dimensional being.  One of my favorite episodes, The Zanti Misfits, had rat sized ants with human faces invading a small town.  Pure 60's sci-fi madness.

If you were a monster kid in the 60's and you couldn't get enough Outer Limits then perhaps your parents bought your The Outer Limits Board Game!  I have only recently become aware of the game's existence thanks to the fine folks over at The B-Movie Cast.  Doing some investigating, (read as hoping on the internet and surfing over to Board Game Geek) I came across a few pictures and a (sort of) explanation of the game. The following description is taken directly from Board Game Geek and the photos the follow are also found on the same website.

The game consists of a deck of 42 cards: 8 'Radar Image', 32 'Monster Parts', and 2 Wild cards. A game board is also included which has spaces for up to four 'radar' screens'.
The entire deck is shuffled and five to ten cards are dealt to each player (depending on how many are playing).

On each turn a player draws one card and then may play one card to each active Radar screen on the board. If he holds a 'Radar Image' and an empty screen exists it must be played (this is the only compulsory play). Monster Parts may only be played on areas that have an Image.
The first person to get rid of his hand of cards wins.

A good card matching game for Ages 7 - 12... not much more.

Real Life Is Far More Frightening Than Film

I had some really cool plans for Midnight Cinephile that were supposed to kick off the end of August.  As far as I'm concerned I should be in the Pre-Halloween Spectacular phase, getting ready for October and all the magical splendors that go along with my favorite holiday season.  Instead, I find myself pretty far behind the 8-Ball.  What happened?  Why am I so far behind in my plans?  

I had a close call last month that has really put my life into spirals for several weeks.  Only now am I finally getting myself back in order.  On August 22, I was nearly killed when a gunfight erupted on my street and two o'clock in the afternoon.  TWO O'CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON.  A stray bullet burst through my living room wall a mere matter of feet from where I was sitting.  I was struck in the head by a piece of plaster that had exploded from the wall and for what seemed like minutes, I thought I had been shot in the head.  I'm sure it was only a matter of seconds that actually elapsed in the time it took me to reach up to my temple, search for a bullet wound and discover that I was, in fact, still alive.  I had never been so scared in my life.

Still in shock, I called the police and informed them of the gunfire.  The 911 dispatcher informed me that they've already received reports and they were looking into it and was about to hang up when I managed to blurt out that a bullet had come through my wall.  She asked me if I had been struck by the bullet and a new wave of fear washed over me as I rechecked myself.  Still no blood, so that was a good sign.  

The next hour was a blur as police, forensics, crime scene photographers and detectives asked me a barrage of questions.  Is there anyone that would want to hurt me or my family?  Etc, etc.  You know....the sort of shit you only ever hear on TV.  After searching my entire living room, I was told that they were unable to find the bullet.  They theorized that it's possible that it stopped short and fell in between the inner and outer wall, though that seemed strange due to the size of the exit damage in the wall.  I was informed on more than one occasion that I was extremely lucky that I wasn't hit.

The police finished up and told me they would be in touch if they needed any further information or a statement.  I haven't heard back from them since, which I suppose means that they probably don't have any leads and are not really pursuing it since no one was actually injured.  

After my wife got home and I told her what happened and showed her our fancy new bullet hole in the living room wall, I decided that we did not have enough alcohol in the house and we needed to go out because I was in dire need of a drink.  

It was around the time that I downed my second Jack & Coke in a 10 minute span that everything finally started to slow down and I started to process exactly what had just happened.  I suddenly became acutely aware that I had just come very close to being killed.  Just a few more inches to the right and the bullet would have gone through the window and directly into my head.  It was complete chance where that bullet hit.  I'm not usually a mystical or religious person, but I have to tell you that I feel as though there truly was someone looking out for me that day.  It was not my time to go.

The more I thought about that, the more it became clear that it was a warning as well.  I no longer felt safe in my home.  It's time to get the hell out of dodge.  And so, we decided that it was time to move and move fast.  And so, the house is now being put on the market and we are moving (temporarily) into an in-law apartment with my wife's parents.  I'm a nervous wreck every time I have to leave her alone in the house, and I works nights, which makes it far worse.  

So the past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.  Hiring a Realtor, packing everything up, converting her parent's basement into an apartment, getting the old house ready for market and still working in between all of that.  It's been a giant surreal fever dream.  

As of this coming Sunday, we should be fully moved into our new, temporary, home.  It will be an adventure to be sure, but at least I will be able to rest easy knowing the my wife is not going to be hit by some thug's stray bullet.  I suspect that life will return to some form of normalcy fairly quick.....though it's going to be quite an adjustment going from city life to country life......but maybe.....just maybe it's time for a change of pace.  

With a little luck Midnight Cinephile will be back up and running and eyeballs deep in Halloween goodness before ya know it!