slick slashers: scream 1-3

scream1

This entry is a three-for-one, but not in the way Body Bags was way back in the beginning of the month. For movies 26-28, my wife and I watched the first three Scream movies back to back. It takes a lot for my wife to want to watch a horror movie, and it helps that we both find the Scream movies entertaining. Guess what? They’re mostly still good!

This should come as no surprise given the fact that the late, great Wes Craven directed them all. You end up with diminishing returns along the way—especially when the time comes to reveal the big whodunnit twist—but each has an incredible opening scene, and the first is a total classic of the genre.

scream10

Beyond the frozen-in-time casting, it’s amazing to go back to these and see what Craven kicked off with the series as a whole. So many teen slashers rose from the ashes of Scream, which revitalized the horror genre for the late ’90s and early ’00s, regardless of what the old heads at the time had to say about it. Even if you don’t like some of the movies that followed—from your I Know What You Did Last Summers to your Urban Legends—you gotta hand it to Scream.

Scream 3 is the weakest of the initial trilogy, but in this case it might not have helped that I watched them all one after the other. As for which has the best opening, while the first with Drew Barrymore is an all-time great, I really love the movie theater rowdiness of Scream 2‘s kickoff.

scream3

If, like me, it’s been ages since you bothered with the Scream movies, fire ’em up sometime soon. We plan on bringing the saga to an end with Scream 4 tonight, but I’m already past my 31 movie plan so you won’t be reading about it here.

scream1-poster

scream2-poster

scream3-poster

Halloween 2019 Movies:

1. Sequence Break
2. Deadtime Stories
3. Hell House LLC
4. Body Bags
5. Pumpkinhead
6. Friday the 13th Part III
7. Child’s Play 2019
8. Ghoulies II
9. Satanic Panic
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
11. Demons
12. You’re Next
13. Frankenstein
14. The Ranger
15. The Fly
16. Train to Busan
17. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
18. Army of Darkness
19. Lake Mungo
20. Popcorn
21. Beyond the Gates
22. Invaders from Mars
23. Body Melt
24. Gargoyles
25. Basket Case

terrible twins: basket case

basket-case2

Ah, Basket Case. If there’s anything that can cleanse my palate after a dud from 1972, it’s the glory of a New York grime time classic from 1982. Frank Henenlotter is one of my favorite genre directors, and the sheer ridiculousness of movies like Brain Damage and Basket Case are among the key reasons why.

Duane Bradley just arrived in New York City from upstate, and despite a suspiciously large wad of cash, all he really has to his name is a rectangular wicker basket with a firm lock on it. Naturally, everyone would love to know what the hell’s in that basket, but there aren’t many that survive after they find out.

Because, baby, Belial is in the basket!

basket-case1

I’ll save the specifics for any of you who have, for some reason, never seen Basket Case before. It’s a real low-renter with effects that are just okay, but it has a lot of piss and vinegar that make it a blast to watch. It’s also one of those great NYC time capsule movies that offers a ground-floor glimpse at what the city was like before it became the safe-but-still-urine-soaked city we know it as today.

Arrow Video put out a great Blu-ray of this one, returning it to its original 1:33:1 aspect ratio. It looks better than ever, even when Belial is bumbling around in stop-motion or clinging to a wall for dear life. A stinky staple of the season!

basket-case-poster

Halloween 2019 Movies:

1. Sequence Break
2. Deadtime Stories
3. Hell House LLC
4. Body Bags
5. Pumpkinhead
6. Friday the 13th Part III
7. Child’s Play 2019
8. Ghoulies II
9. Satanic Panic
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
11. Demons
12. You’re Next
13. Frankenstein
14. The Ranger
15. The Fly
16. Train to Busan
17. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
18. Army of Darkness
19. Lake Mungo
20. Popcorn
21. Beyond the Gates
22. Invaders from Mars
23. Body Melt
24. Gargoyles

flappin’ freaks: gargoyles

gargoyles1

I don’t know what I expected here. In a lapse of judgment, I thought this might be kind of like a Gremlins-esque yarn but with trouble-making gargoyles. Not only did I not look at the date when I found this next to Munchies on Tubi, I didn’t read the synopsis or even bother to note that it was a TV movie before I dove headfirst in what should have been a quick and breezy watch of 1972’s PRIMETIME EMMY-WINNING Gargoyles.

It took me four days to get through it. To put that into perspective, Gargoyles is just 75 minutes long. That’s a mere 10 to 13 minutes shy of what I consider to be the perfect length for any feature film. If the above picture is me prior to watching Gargoyles, the one below is me after.

gargoyles2

In this positively interminable movie, a paleontologist and his daughter find an amazing artifact courtesy of this wonderful man.

gargoyles4

Uncle Willie has a ton of must-see items, but the one Dr. Mercer Boley is most interested in is a complete skeleton that belongs to a mysterious creature. I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you: It’s a gargoyle! Before you know it, its wingéd (and non-wingéd) pals descend upon our heroes to get their bones back, eventually leading the doc to an entire colony of them after they kidnap his daughter.

The ultimate plan involves the rise of the Gargoyles, who aim to overtake humanity entirely and rule the world on their own. You know who’s gonna stop ’em, though? THIS GRUMPY GUS.

gargoyles3

Cornel Wilde’s face sums up my reaction to this limp ’70s TV movie that hails from the haunted halls of Svengoolie. I can absolutely guarantee you the stills I’ve included here are more entertaining than even the most ‘Goyle-filled section of the movie, so save yourself an hour and some change this Halloween and watch literally anything else on my list or your own.

gargoyles-poster

Halloween 2019 Movies:

1. Sequence Break
2. Deadtime Stories
3. Hell House LLC
4. Body Bags
5. Pumpkinhead
6. Friday the 13th Part III
7. Child’s Play 2019
8. Ghoulies II
9. Satanic Panic
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
11. Demons
12. You’re Next
13. Frankenstein
14. The Ranger
15. The Fly
16. Train to Busan
17. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
18. Army of Darkness
19. Lake Mungo
20. Popcorn
21. Beyond the Gates
22. Invaders from Mars
23. Body Melt

aussie audacity: body melt

The first phase is hallucinogenic…
The second phase is glandular…
And the third phase is…

body-melt-title-card

1993’s Body Melt is a deeply satirical Australian horror flick by director Philip Brophy, and its tagline pretty much sums up the entire picture. It all goes down in a small suburban neighborhood, the residents of which are the unwitting subjects of a new dietary supplement experiment. Get ready for equal parts questionable comedy and gross-out effects in what I hesitate to call a hidden gem.

For every buckwild effect, there’s at least one unfunny scene that drags on for about five minutes too long. I’d love to see a cut of this with less of the story and more nonsensical body melting horrors. Give me a Body Melt short film any day of the week.

body-melt2

There’s some fun to be had in Body Melt, and it’s certainly the type of movie that would benefit from being watched with a group of fellow trash enthusiasts. Actually, I was just watching the trailer to pop in here, and it almost made me want to go back through it again, so maybe there is something special there.

Or, more likely, it’s just a really good trailer! Most of the memorable moments are in there to some degree. Anyway, this one’s on Amazon Prime for free, or if you’re feelin’ nasty you can pick up a Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome.

body-melt-poster

Halloween 2019 Movies:

1. Sequence Break
2. Deadtime Stories
3. Hell House LLC
4. Body Bags
5. Pumpkinhead
6. Friday the 13th Part III
7. Child’s Play 2019
8. Ghoulies II
9. Satanic Panic
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
11. Demons
12. You’re Next
13. Frankenstein
14. The Ranger
15. The Fly
16. Train to Busan
17. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
18. Army of Darkness
19. Lake Mungo
20. Popcorn
21. Beyond the Gates
22. Invaders from Mars

 

neck-checking nasties: invaders from mars

invaders-from-mars1

There are a lot of movies from my childhood that stand out just based on how much they scared me at the time. One of the most rewatched freakout flicks for me was Tobe Hooper’s 1986 take on Invaders from Mars. To this day it very much remains a “you probably had to be five when it came out” movie, but those memories are still vivid and easily poked and prodded.

Like Ghostbusters and the Large Marge scene from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, this was a movie I had to make myself watch over and over to zap away its power to scare me. I used to be convinced those big, lumbering Martian monsters would come trundling through my door at any second whenever I watched it, and I’m still not entirely sure they won’t!

invaders-from-mars3

Watching this again for the first time in ages was mostly a nostalgia trip. From the moment, ahem, DAVID GARDNER!! sees his teacher eat a frog to the swirling sand traps and the furious underground invasion in the third act, Hooper’s movie is all about stoking childhood paranoia. It reinforces the thought that something about your parents, your teachers, and everyone else in your life isn’t quite right. Maybe they know something you don’t, or maybe there’s something else cooking under it all that proves every adult around you is a dang ALIEN.

Hunter Carson should have gotten an award for best child actor that year. Just look at the way he reacts to all the horrific sights in this film! I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that no one told him he was filming a movie. This is the face of someone who believes it all, just like I did over three decades ago.

invaders-from-mars2

So, is Invaders from Mars a classic? It depends on who you ask. I still think it’s pretty fun, but I also still have the same diseased brain as that five-year-old kid who grew up watching a ton of weird shit on TV.

invaders-from-mars-poster

Halloween 2019 Movies:

1. Sequence Break
2. Deadtime Stories
3. Hell House LLC
4. Body Bags
5. Pumpkinhead
6. Friday the 13th Part III
7. Child’s Play 2019
8. Ghoulies II
9. Satanic Panic
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
11. Demons
12. You’re Next
13. Frankenstein
14. The Ranger
15. The Fly
16. Train to Busan
17. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
18. Army of Darkness
19. Lake Mungo
20. Popcorn
21. Beyond the Gates