Friday, July 27, 2012



The Possessor will possess your dreams.  The Possessor will possess your body.  The Possessor will possess your life!  In the 1970’s hippy film maker and movie cult leader Lanyard Gates created his abstract masterpiece; The Possessor.  Having been scoffed at and ridiculed for his previous ill received failures, Gates set out to create the ultimate horror movie experience as a revenge on his critics; a movie so dastardly it would instantly invoke true fright in the audience and possess their very souls with terror (but more likely laughter).  The film would climax in the death of his family; sacrificed live on stage in ritualistic fashion before a crowd of half baked onlookers tripping on acid.  Before Lanyard can complete the filming of his sadistic swan song a terrible fire engulfs the theater, and the movie cult as well as Lanyard are presumed dead and crispy. 

Cut to 15 years later and local high-school’s film club is looking to re-open the Dreamland Theater for one last all night horror show.  Maggie is having some bizarre dreams, the kind you wake up screaming from, which happen to be my favorite kind.   She dreams of a fire kindling and a man’s face, smiling at her, mocking her, calling out to possess her very being.  The fire in her nightmares is so hot she can feel it singe the short willowy hairs on her arms, almost as if she’s lived through it; almost as if the dream was being recalled from repressed memories rather than fabricated from her subconscious.  Maggie thinks she’s kind of psychic, but her aunt and legal guardian knows the terrible truth; she is the long lost daughter of cinema wack job Lanyard Gates.  She’s been getting mysterious phone calls where the caller claims the 9th circle of Hell is reserved for her.  What a lucky lady.  I tried reserving the entire 9th circle of Hell and was told I would have to call months in advance.  The aunt sneaks out late at night to the Dreamland theater, confirming her worse fear; The Possessor is back and looking to wrap up the movie he started 15 years ago.  She’s armed but not so dangerous.  Someone dressed like the undead finds no problem taking her down and out after distracting her in the darkened theater with some loud horror movie sound samples.   

There’s a music video montage of the film club renovating the dilapidated Dreamland Theater for its final show.  That’s how you know that while this was released in the 90’s its heart and soul and guts certainly belonged to the 80’s.  The film club itself consists of the typical stalk and slash selection of prime cuts.  There’s a kid in a wheelchair, a ditz, a laid back party dude, the teacher’s pet, the sassy Latina, and the nerdy shy outsider.  The crew is motivated by a former theater owner who regales them with tales about the schlock shows and movie gimmicks of the past.  He compares the audience to turkeys, and says it’s their job to cook them.  The Possessor however will do all the carving.

Later they discover a copy of the avante-garde film The Possessor, a movie previously thought to have been completely destroyed by the fire that claimed Lanyard’s life.  It consists of close up shots of an eyeball, a man’s bearded face, lasers, and Lanyard Gates repeatedly telling the audience to “Come into my head” as he pulls his skull apart.  Maggie however wants Lanyard out of her head.  When she sees the movie her mind reels with incredible déjà vu and she passes out.  Tobe can’t wait to play it again…hint, hint…and he’s good at making latex masks…hinty, hint, hint…

The all night horror movie marathon kicks off, and the party is off the hook.  The film club pulled no punches when decorating the joint; and the costumed crowd of movie goers is licking it up with glee.  This is the kind of horror-thon I’d love to attend, with audience participation through the roof and gimmicky attractions like “projecto-vision” where movie props suspended by wires are launched toward the audience, or “aroma-rama” where the audience is dosed in a raunchy smelling fog.  I also enjoyed the idea of a “shock clock” screaming when a new feature starts playing.

Unfortunately for the film club this is the kind of horror marathon where people in front and behind the screen will be screaming for their lives.  During the first feature the film class teacher is grotesquely impaled on a mosquito prop.  The killer quickly fabricates a latex mask replica of the teacher’s face and is able to lure the ditzy class slut to her demise.  During the electroshock feature the wheelchair bound student is electrocuted and left sizzling.  Meanwhile Maggie is stalked by a strange old man with burns on his face.  She suspects Laynard Gates, but soon enough Tobe takes her “down the rabbit hole” to his lair beneath the movie house and reveals the horrible truth; Maggie is really Lanyard’s daughter Sarah Gates and her aunt is the person responsible for killing him and setting the theater on fire.  Tobe and his mom were part of the unfortunate crowd locked in the theater.  His mother burned to death in front of him, he lost most the flesh on his body, not to mention a good piece of his sanity.  Now he aims to undo the past by replicating the sacrificial ritual Lanyard was originally going to perform, except this time it will be completed.  Tobe’s warped idea (something he calls geometric logic) is that if he brings the ritual to conclusion it will bring his mother and him together again.   With Suzanne and “Sarah” captured, he has time to kill before the midnight ritual, and spends it doing just that…killing!

Tobe’s facial skin has been completely burned off but his proficiency at mask making is unparalleled, meaning he can make whatever face he wants for himself.  He plays doppelganger to the class slacker, pisses on him in the men’s bathroom, then disposes of him with poisonous gas.  Tobe closes in on the short haired blonde from the film club but finds out she secretly had a crush on him, which scares him away and sends him on another emotional tirade.  Soon it’s midnight and Tobe has the stage setup for the final blood sacrifice in front of a live audience of people who falsely believe it to be all part of the show.  At the last possible moment Maggie’s horn-dog boyfriend swings in to save the day, causing the mosquito prop to malfunction, drop and impale Tobe, thus ending the horror of the night.

Popcorn is a fun film full of buttered up stalk and slash goodness.  The main antagonist, Tobe does a great job of channeling the crazy with his spastic emotional swings and outbursts of destructive homicidal rage; it would have thawed this ghoul’s cold black heart to see Tobe fill the screen for any potential sequels; the character, despite being a deranged lunatic, had a certain dash of class and charisma that reminded me of Vincent Price spun up on 5 hour energy drinks and huffing gas.  Those fried egg eyes carried a lot of emotion and the master of disguise bit separates him from other famous cinematic stalkers.  I enjoyed his over the top reaction to finding out about his secret crush.  Love is such a foreign, alien concept to him that even considering it sends him into a fit of fury.  It confuses Tobe, and I think upsets him because he thinks it will get in the way of his ultimate plan, his “geometric logic”.

The kills, although not overly gory, were original in the way they coincided with the movies being played in the theater.  There were a few members of the film club I was left wondering what happened to.  It seemed like Tobe just ran out of time and wasn’t able to get to them all, like the Latina girl in the lobby.  And we never come back to see what became of the blonde with short hair that professed her uber crush on Tobe the film student (as opposed to Tobe the skinless killer).

I really disliked Maggie’s boyfriend in the film (Mark), and it’s annoying that he gets to save the day, because the guy is a real dick.  I mean he dumps Maggie for some bimbo because she won’t put out on demand and he can’t be bothered with helping her deal with her night terrors.  He gets beat up and has to be defended by some sassy broad with shoulder pads, then spend the rest of the movie bumbling around until he figures out Tobe’s true identity after the audience already has that information.  He swings down from the balcony to stop Tobe from stabbing his ex-girlfriend, his one big heroic moment, but killing Tobe with the mosquito prop was just dumb luck.  This crypt dweller would have loved to see the Tobe-ster skin Mark alive and dump his body in the popcorn machine.  


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rites of Spring concept art

Looks cool!  This greedy ghoul is sold!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hospital Massacre (X-RAY)


It’s Valentine’s Day, and at the Jeremy residence that means one thing; the annual Valentine’s Day toy train races of course!  Who doesn’t race trains on Valentine’s Day?  Heathens!?  Susan Jeremy and her boy crush are so caught up with gambling and rooting for the races that they don’t notice a jealous onlooker, lurking right outside the window.  Harold longs for Susan like the desert longs for rain.  He wants her to be his valentine, but when she receives the letter she scoffs; big mistake.  She goes to the kitchen to retrieve some sweet Valentine’s Day cake for her and her boy toy, but returns to a murder scene.  Her friend is suspended in the air, head impaled on a coat hangar, and from this point forward I knew this movie was going to be a real treat; one filled with oodles of golden delicious cheese just oozing from its pores.  The victim’s body is most certainly a doll, not a body cast or latex thingy, a cheap ass doll straight from the store shelf.  They didn’t even bother adding any blood for effect, so it took me a second to register what it was, or really what they wanted the audience to believe it was.   Another thing that kind of gets my goat right off the bat is that this is another Valentine’s Day slasher put out a year after My Bloody Valentine, and the killer’s name is basically the same “Harry”.  I guess the hospital setting differentiates it from MBV, as we cool slasher kids like to call it, but I thought all the similarities were pretty ironic.

Nineteen years later and Susan Jeremy is a fully grown and rather voluptuous woman.  A real independent 80’s kind of gal; struggling with a divorce while trying to break the glass ceiling.  It’s Valentine’s Day and she’s due for a medical checkup following a recent promotion at work, but her fiancé Jake warns her that strange things have been going on at the hospital.  He doesn’t know the half of it.  Rumors aren’t enough to slow her stride, but she soon finds out that the hospital is indeed one whacky place.  It reminded me of a hospital if it was operated by Troma.  It’s the kind of place where mental patients walk about the halls freely, drinking booze and smearing hamburger ketchup everywhere.  Nurses are as pushy as the Gestapo and liable to manhandle seriously ill patients.   And Heaven help you if the doctor’s find some malignancy with your x-ray.  They won’t allow you to leave and force you to strip down for a creepy ass checkup by Dr. Saxon, who will feel you up while staring at you with cold compassion-less eyes.   I guess a general rule at this hospital is to never tell the patient their diagnosis.  Susan tries desperately to figure out why they’re forcing her detainment with no luck.  They just won’t budge on that rule and basically act like she’s totally bonkers for asking, same with her fiancé Jake.  Then they lock her up with a bunch of crazy senile old ladies for good measure, who gang up on Susan and call her names.  Is this Obamacare?

Meanwhile a maniac dressed in hospital scrubs and wearing an operating mask is slaying the staff and falsifying Susan’s medical records.  He spends most of his time stalking the 9th floor of the hospital, which has been closed to fumigate for bugs, but this doesn’t seem to stop hospital staff from being easily lured there with anonymous messages from the telecom speaker.  The gawking janitor gets a bubbling deep cleansing acid facial and a nurse gets stabbed and stuffed in a closet; fairly standard stalk and slash fare. One nurse gets wrapped in a sheet and injected with toxic sludge; she takes a few painful steps down the hall after then succumbs to the toxins.  The inclusion of the sheet seemed rather bizarre, as well as the way she stood there screaming at the evil surgeon running at her with an open sheet in his arms until it was too late for her to escape.  He doesn’t show the needle full of slime until after nabbing her, so she was apparently just screaming at a man running in her direction with a sheet wrapped in his arms like a sail, like he was a flying squirrel ready to take flight.  Perhaps she had a phobia about flying rodents.  Susan’s big bf gets bone-sawed, his decapitated head sent to her in a valentine from the killer.  The kill scenes towards the end are so back to back it gives the impression that the sadistic surgeon is out to eliminate the entire staff of the hospital, until it’s just him with Susan sprawled out on an operating table. 

They try to hide the true identity of the killer by peppering the cast with off kilter characters, but it’s fairly obvious who the blood thirsty physician really is, I mean they don’t even change up his name much, and they make him out to be the only character with a lick of common sense, so it’s just got to be him.  Susan, helplessly strapped to the operating table asks Harry what he wants from her.  After a dramatic pause a ghoulish grin spreads across his lips “What I always wanted…your heart!”  She miraculously breaks free, the final chase commences, and Harry ends up taking a swan dive off the roof of the hospital, screaming all the way down and lit on fire.  Exactly how I want to go, except there would be a lot more laughing and less screaming.  Make your death interesting, you only die once!

Hospital Massacre (aka X-Ray) is pretty silly, but it plays it all with a straight poker face which kind of makes it more endearing to me.   I caught myself laughing during several scenes until I realized they were expected to be taken seriously (then I laughed more), and the soap opera soundtrack gives it that daytime drama feel, like it came on right after Oprah but before Judge Judy.  The whole premise of detaining a patient during a checkup and refusing to let her leave was really wacky, but the entire story seemed to hinge on it like the death dealing doctor couldn’t just follow her home.  By the end when Susan is screaming hysterically that the entire hospital is nuts I couldn’t help but agreed with her. There’s enough kills to keep the pulse from flat lining, and just enough gruel stew to get me to come back and make another appointment with X-RAY!

Monday, July 16, 2012


NIGHTMARE (AKA Nightmares in a Damaged Brain) –

George Tatum is the poster boy for mental disorders and psychotic tendencies.  He is a bug eyed time bomb of crazy, prone to drooling psychosis induced seizures and bouts of violence, not the dinner date you want to take home to mom.   George has a re-occurring night terror, a nightmare that has seeped through his subconscious to influence nearly every aspect of his life.  He wakes up screaming every day at the same point in the dream; a young boy with a bow tie savagely decapitating a woman with a large fire axe.  She is slain while still mounted on her lover, the neck spewing forth a geyser of blood; sometimes George can see her severed head even after he wakes up, it lies in bed with him, staring at him, accusing him, damning him to his nightmarish fate.  He can never flee the dream, no matter where he goes it follows him, haunts him like a ghost, and soon it becomes more real to him than the world he wakes up to.  He strolls through the seedy neon lit underbelly of 42nd street in NYC looking for a cheap thrill in the penny arcades, seeking anything to stave off the nightmare, anything to help him forget the unending torrent of pain.  He tries a peep show to sate his sexual appetite but the nightmare rears its ugly head, it boils up in his conscious like a tidal wave and paralyzes his being with mind numbing terror.  When the peep show curtain goes down he finds himself on the sticky semen saturated floor of the yank booth, a frothy mouthed mess.

The government steps in and tries to kill the dream with a cocktail of cutting edge behavioral drugs; uppers, downers, dream suppressants, and even a few slipped by the FDA.  The drugs appear to work; the psychiatrists and men in suits call it a victory, a major break through in behavior therapy, but George knows you can’t kill the nightmare.  You can douse its flames with your fancy drugs who have unpronounceable names but it will hide, right in the reptilian jelly in the back of your brain, it will hide and bide it’s time and rekindle again.  Nothing can stop the nightmare.  The only way to stop it is to give it what it wants; blood and gallons of it. George wants to sate the terror; anything for a good night sleep.  He can’t remember the last one he’s had.  He can’t remember anything but the pain.

Meanwhile in Daytona, Florida a young prankster torments his mother and babysitter with a series of creepster pranks aimed at scaring the stuffing out of people.  As George leaves NYC and heads south, it becomes apparent that there is some connection between George and CJ and his family in Florida.  George stalks the boy and his family, killing anybody who gets close to him as the government officials in NYC frantically search for the escaped lunatic, and the film heads to its bloody conclusion where CJ and George face off and the ugly truth about George’s dream is finally revealed.

Nightmare is a gritty, disturbing, no frills ride into the twisted mind of an insane killer fixated on a horrible dream; so prepare for the goose flesh as this is one creepy flick.  The kills in this movie are bloody, unflinching in their brutality, and shocking even to the well seasoned ghoul.  Not even children are safe from George’s fury.  I still get a tad queasy watching him slowly slipping a knife again and again into the belly of his Myrtle Beach victim.  He slowly stabs her and leans over the still warm body weeping and apologizing to her as if he was sorry for what he was doing but far too impulsive to control himself.  This kind of realistic behavior separates Nightmare from the more fantasy based slashers like Freddy or Jason where the killer is an unsympathetic robotic kill machine or some representation of id.  Also this movie does not play by the typical slasher rules where the victims are slutty, or mean, or are being punished for breaking some taboo.   The kills are largely circumstantial.  This underpins the movie in a stark realism that I find kind of unsettling, which is exactly what horror should be.

The story wanders between George’s single minded journey to Florida and CJ’s antics with his family.  The movie does a great depiction of the struggling single mother trying to deal with a troublesome son.  With no role model and a huge amount of energy and creativity, CJ spends most of his time raising hell for the babysitters and others watching after him, from faking being stabbed to creating a 6 foot tall “stalker” costume with glowing red eyes, CJ has no end to the methods he can drive his mother and siblings absolutely bananas.  The film captures this family dynamic very well without making CJ seem too crazy or outlandishly weird (at least until he breaks the third barrier and winks at the audience in the end); he’s just a typical kid coping with a lack of a father figure and starved for attention.  It builds up to a gut wrenching “boy who cried wolf” scenario when CJ is accused of murdering his best friend Tony, who was really snubbed by George Tatum.  The scene where the police question CJ by the site of the crime is done in a realistic and chilling docudrama manner like a live news bulletin, where CJ looks pale and bewildered by the news of his friend’s death while the sheriff probes him for details of his whereabouts and implicates him as the murderer in front of his mother and other onlookers.  It’s heart-breaking to see a child accused of such a heinous crime, but unfortunately it isn’t entirely unbelievable when bounced against reality.

The gore effects are top notch, perhaps due to Tom Savini’s supposed involvement as a special effects consultant, even though last I heard he denied the whole thing.  I don’t really care either way, as the practical effects on display rival any other splatter show of the time.  The soundtrack complimented the action on screen nicely, cuing at the right moments of intensity, drawing back during the quieter moments in the movie.  The chimes and key tones painted a musical landscape appropriate for the hallucinatory and nightmarish world of George Tatum; I was glad to see that it wasn’t merely another Halloween or Friday the 13th rehash.  According to Wikipedia the director Romano Scavolini spent time 18 months in prison for refusing to exercise 1 second of gore from the film, and for that I applaud him!  I have not heard of a director taking such a hard-line stance with a stalk and slash flick before; it’s certainly apparent that Romano stands behind his product and vision, and so do I.  Nightmare is one of the scariest, most infamous video nasties to ever grace the screen.  Slash-heads and gore fiends seek out the Code Red release immediately and let George Tatum into your nightmares!  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Popcorn on DVD

I would LOVE to see this happen!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Friday the 13th!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New NECA toy tease...Friday The FInal Chapter and more!

NECA is criminal I tells you.  They take all my money, and keep coming out with awesome shit.  A Dutch Shaffer action figure?  Yes please!  I love the new Evil Dead line, as well as the Freddy figures.  I cannot wait to get my grubby nerd paws on some of these new molds like the new Friday part 3 Jason toy.  Check out what NECA has in store....

Murderous musing...Friday the 13th:The Final Chapter

Friday the 13th

On a sleepless night, tossing and turning in my bed, during one carefree summer from my youth, I decided to sneak from bed and try catching some late night television.  I knew I would catch a scolding if caught; late night TV was adult prime time, not for kids.  Who knew what sick crap awaiting me, just on the other side of the screen?  When I made my way to the family room where we kept our television set (it was still during the time when having one was enough), I noticed a faint glow coming from the room.  The boob tube was already occupied, but by whom?  Entering my family’s living room I was surprised to find my mom and baby brother watching the sultan of slaughter, Jason, in the Final Chapter.  I think he was on an opposite schedule then, sleeping during the day, screeching at my parents at night, so I figured my mom was just trying to pass the time until he went back to dreamland and left her in peace.  I can’t remember precisely at what point in the movie I sat down for, but I do remember seeing Jason unmasked and having my prepubescent mind blown wide open.  My mom was quick to cover my brother’s eyes, but I’m betting cold cash she regretted not being able to cover her own!  That gnarled, pale face haunted my nights and waking day dreams for some time to come, and I was hooked on a feeling.  The Final Chapter was my gateway drug to the gore soaked kingdom of slasher films and stands as my favorite in the entire series.  Before I snatch the new TFC threads from Fright-Rags, I wanted to spend some time musing over the film itself. 

Any movie without exploding titles is completely understated.  BOOM! Friday the 13th in ya face!  Then a helicopter!  This is a big budget film, get a whirly bird in there; give the audience some gusto for their Benjamins.  Jason left a sloppy mess, but this time they got him?  Guess again bozo.  Jason’s just napping, and apparently he’s a restless sleeper with rubber arms.  An axe to the noggin will do that.  Then some guy in the helicopter calls out over a speaker “Okay boys and girls lets get going”.  I’m no expert in police procedure, but something tells me that they don’t wrap up crime scenes like that.  Maybe it was happy hour or Tully’s Tenders were like two for one or something.   

I loved the way the camera settled on the camp for a few moments in the beginning after the police leave and turn all the lights out, so all you hear is the sound of the wildlife by the lake.  Those quiet, eerie moments really stand out to me.  That one shot of the lake in the silent dark does more to unsettle me than everything that happened in the film prior.   We’re taken to the hospital where we get a quick glimpse of Chris from the previous entry weeping into the caring arms of her parents.  I liked that nod of continuity.  Then we follow Jason to the morgue, where Axle the horn-ball mortician slides him into the corpse freezer, but JESUS JUMPING CHRISTMAS SHIT, what’s this?  A small wisp of breath escapes the supposedly dead serial killer just before Axel closes the door to the meat locker.  Jason had a power nap, but he’s back for the body count and more brutal than ever.  Axel gets his head grotesquely sawed snapped backwards; the nurse is disemboweled with a scalpel, then its happy trails for Jason, all the way back to the lake. 

Perhaps wishing to pay respect, he stops at his mom’s grave.  The grave itself is seemingly located right off the main road to Crystal Lake.  It’s practically right on the curb.  I wonder if the authorities put her cemetery plot there on purpose, kind of like on e last “fuck you” from the good citizens of Crystal Lake to the Voorhees clan.  I can’t imagine them being all too pleased to be forever associated with the “curse” of Crystal Lake, and I’m sure emotions over the massacre ran deep, especially in a town that small.  Jason finds a hitchhiker hanging out by his mother’s burial plot.  Wrong place to have a picnic lady; she’s quickly dispatched while eating a banana, although it remains a mystery whether Jason ate the rest of the banana after or not.    

We’re introduced to the Doyle’s and I can understand Zito’s inclusion of the family element for the first time in the series.  When you see teens in these kinds of movies they are automatically assumed to be meat for the proverbial slasher grinder.  However a family has some genuine emotional attachment, there’s more of a sense of loss after their death.  I hated that they chose to gloss over the death of Tommy Doyle’s mom; she deserved a better send off.  By the end I practically forget she was around in the first place, and I thought her and Trish had a great dynamic.  They certainly seemed like a good mother and daughter pair, a natural fit.  Along with Tommy Doyle they really did seem like a normal family.  There’s a warmness there that is lacking in the characters from subsequent entries.

Tommy Doyle is the kid I want to be still.  He plays space ship video games and customizes horror masks in the middle of the woods; sounds pretty rad from where I’m sitting.  When The Final Chapter first came out everyone was surprised that the kid killed Jason at the end, but now it seems like a foregone conclusion.   Tommy understood monsters, and what made them tick, so he was able to pull some mind fudging on the poor mongoloid.  Fangoria saves lives!  If Jason ever comes at you just shave your head, all will be well.  Much like Phil Collins, he has a soft spot for hair loss.

Slasher films are usually sprinkled with a good dose of teenage sexual angst, but this movie is just bursting at the seams with it; sex sells and really what else are teens supposed to be doing? Crispin Glover is trying to hit some rebound sex, Ted is desperately looking for any angle or gimmick to get at the pussy, there are some Double-Mint twins thrown in the mix, I bet Jason could smell those raging hormones from across the lake.  I don’t think these people have a clue about how to shotgun beer though.      

The Collection gets release date, new stills...

Check it out at Bloody-Disgusting, The Collection to be released quite ironically on Black Friday!  Is this the first slasher to be released on that day?  It fits!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Halloween 4 and 5 on boo-ray

For those creeps that live even further under the rock than me, Halloween 4 and 5 are coming to boo-ray this August.  Start saving those bones now!  Available on Amazon for pre-order.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Murderous musing...Kenny Hampson part 2

Continued from prior murderous musing, more crazy quips about Kenny Hampson and other things pertaining to TERROR TRAIN!

Kenny was quite the sneaky snake in his reptile costume.  He murders Jackson to get the snake duds, but Jack’s corpse and the bloody crime scene are discovered by the train conductor making his evening rounds.  The conductor goes to alert the rest of the crew, but when he comes back Kenny Hampson has a clean suit on, the mirror he used to kill Jack is repaired, and the whole room is clean as a whistle.  So what happened to Jackson’s corpse?  Our only indication of what might have happened to the remains of Jackson comes later, when Kenny crawls into a bunk with Mitchy.  Based on his new disguise, Mitchy mistakes Kenny for Jackson, and sees the train ride as their chance to “get to know each other better”, as this is the last time they would see each other.  Mitchy doesn’t know how right she is about that.  It’s interesting to note that prior to this Mitchy had a squeaky clean virginal character, she was involved in the prank that sent Kenny skidding into dementia, but it seemed like she didn’t know what Doc Manley really had in store with his armless corpse trick and her involvement appeared minimal.  She seemed to have more class than to play such a crass tasteless joke; a genuinely nice girl that fell in with a bunch of frat boy jerks.  I bet the same scenario plays out in the real world all the time.  In this scene however Mitchy attempts to seduce who she believes to be Jackson, someone who already has a girlfriend in their mutual circle of friends.  This tarnishes her character and thus opens her up to be a potential slasher victim.  After all, there’s only room on this train for one nubile goody-two-shoes final girl.  There are rules you know.   

So anyways when Kenny sees his opportunity in the bunk with Mitchy he rolls up his sleeve to reveal he’s been carrying around Jackson’s severed hand under the reptile glove.  Mitchy sees this just long enough to be utterly terrified and is quickly silenced by his blade.  I believe that Kenny may have the rest of Jackson’s body in the reptile suit.  I believe he’s good enough of a magician to make the illusion work, and he had plenty of time to clean when the conductor Carne ran back to the crew car to warn the others.  I think he also had time to cut up the poor sap into chunks big enough to fit in the snake outfit.  The idea works for me, and makes Kenny seem much more disturbed and morbid, so that’s what I choose to believe when I watch the scene.  He seemed proud of his ability to cut people up to pieces, like when he tells Alana at the end that he’s a better magician than Ken, because “He didn’t know how to cut a woman to pieces”.  I could imagine he might have stolen a few bodies from the mortuary for practice and time trial. 

The one costume Kenny doesn’t steal is Mo’s parrot suit, which could have been because of the public slaying and the risks involved, but I think that the parrot costume was specifically meant for Mo’s character and would not work for Kenny.  Alana accused Mo of blindly following Doc Manley’s lead, even at the cost of their relationship.  Mo is the follower, the tag along, and like a parrot, he imitates his best friend.  Kenny does not follow.  Not anymore, not after what they did to him.  He’s more of an individual, alas a psychopathic maniacal individual losing his very grip on reality, but an individual none the less, so I don’t think the whole parrot costume thing would not have been thematically appropriate for him. 

In the end Kenny finally gets his kiss, but it again sends his mind reeling into insanity, or does it?  I just don’t buy that Kenny lost it so thoroughly at the end after getting his much sought after kiss from Alana.  Too much careful planning and self control was involved in the rest of the night to lose it at the last minute.  Kenny had a chance to set-up the scene before Alana came to him, dressing as the conductor and such, but I believe he planted more things than we see.  And through seeming carelessness he leaves the freight door cracked open right where he decides to have his conniption fit, the same door that Carne smacks him out of with a shovel, causing him to fall to his apparent death.  But I don’t believe he died; just not buying it.  If he had time to setup the scene and place things where he wanted, like a good magician, I believe he planted items that would help him make his escape from the train, and what better escape than to make everyone believe you’re dead?  I have a theory that he placed something in the blankets and crap he had wrapped himself up in when appearing to lose his marbles in the same fashion he did during the beginning.  The blanket he wrapped himself in must have protected him in some way; maybe it was a thermal blanket or had some armor in it.  I think the drop hurt, he probably suffered some frost burn, but it was certainly live-able, especially in the wacky realm of the cinematastic.  Really what I’m saying is…why not a part 2!?

Hatchet 3 sneak peak poster

Fthe13th Final Chapter shirts from Fright Rags!

Check out these killer threads!  I definitely want version 2...guess who is getting up at midnight on Thursday? 

TCM changed my life!

The sequence in the graveyard at the beginning of this movie laid the groundwork for the sense of unease that lingered in me for the rest of the film and beyond.  The sounds of the dead being deterred from their final rest churns the undigested goblets of food in my stomach.  The screeching of the coffin doors getting pried open, the rusty hinges threatening to give way and break, the shovel frantically digging at the ground for the decaying prize underneath, it really takes me back to the first time I saw TCM.  It changed my life.

The first time I saw it I couldn’t sleep that same night.  I tossed and turned but couldn’t tune out the disturbing images TCM impregnated my fragile mind with.  I watched it by myself, filled with dread; this was beyond jump scares and cheap gimmicks, and I couldn’t shake it.  I felt anxious.  I felt like maybe TCM burst my little safety bubble.  No film has ever rooted itself more deeply in the pit of my stomach.  And years after feeling the full force of it, and coming back to watch TCM hundreds of times since, like a junkie coming back for a fix time and time again, I can confidently say that no movie will ever have that very same effect on me again.   Where my enjoyment of the macabre was a flirty relationship before, after TCM it was a fully blown romance.   So now you know what to blame! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Murderous musing: Kenny Hampson (Terror Train)

Greetings you ghoulish gore-shrieking gut splitting blood hounds, and welcome to more terror soaked thoughts on Terror Train.  These maniacal musings are by no means a full blown proper review; rather they are merely thoughts trailing out to wherever they may take me, unstructured, unrepentant.  I’ve recently pre-ordered the new collector’s edition boo-ray for Terror Train from SHOUT! Factory but before that bad blue disc comes in the mail I wanted to revisit the DVD one more time before it collects dust on my shelf for the rest of time.  SHOUTI Factory has also released goregasmic special collector’s editions of Halloween 2 and 3, and I couldn’t be happier with what they have in store.  These releases are packed to the brim with crap cult film collectors have been dreaming about for years and the promotional pre-order bonus gifts are pretty slamming as well (Halloween 2’s BD pre-order includes a paper nurse’s hat from Haddonfield, others include posters of the new cover art).  If you miss out on these killer releases, well in the immortal words of Alana from Terror Train “sucks to you”, whatever that means! 

Why do people join fraternities and sororities, especially in movies?  They just seem to perpetuate cruel in-crowd/out-crowd games and hideous college pranks that are hardly ever harmless.  If there is one lesson the sound mind can wean from slasher films it’s that joining a college cool kid crew can be a death trap.  That’s why I always preferred to be the weirdo loner that nobody knew in college.  Yeah, that’s it.  Before sacrificing your basic human rights to a fraternity that makes you identify to everyone if you’re a virgin with a stupid looking beanie, you’ve got to ask yourself; is this worth dying for?  The answer should be no, I guess unless you’re some hopeless sheeple( that is to say a sheep/people hybrid that can’t think for his or herself).  Which brings me to my next thought; why did Kenny Hampson join the fraternity?  I think he was probably the quiet, shy, reclusive loner that got cajoled into believing he would suddenly “fit in” with everyone.  I don’t believe the events in Terror Train detailed the whole story about how Kenny’s mind gradually snapped.  I think he was probably trying to forget an incident that happened in his past, something that haunted him for years, and saw college as a fresh start.  Maybe it was in a new town or somewhere nobody really knew about Kenny’s troubled past.  So he made the effort to be social again, by joining a fraternity.  It was his final attempt not only to “fit in” with the scholastic types; but it was also his final attempt at fitting in with humanity in general.  It was Kenny fooling himself into thinking he could function in a normal society, he had a place, a position, and he was going to be someone respected. 

The night of the bonfire pledge party those illusions where shattered with a slow motion “NOOOOOO”; leaving Kenny hospitalized, alone, rejected and betrayed.  I think the prank the fraternity pulls on him with “Doc’s friend”, the armless corpse, sealed the idea in Kenny’s mind that he didn’t belong, he was not wanted, and he had no position in their society or any society for that matter.  I think he thought Kenny Hampson was a joke; a loser that people only used to bemuse themselves, an embarrassment, so he erased his identify.  He erased his gender.  He began practicing how to use disguises.  If society wouldn’t take him as himself he would be someone else.  His years of being the unnoticed loser would pay off, where he could slip in and out of a crowd without raising suspicion or being in any way memorable.  He would focus on his magic tricks.  In a strange way magic seemed to him like a means in which he could control his reality through altering the perception of those around him.  After all, what was reality besides perception?  If he became a master magician, an illusionist with no equal, he could create the illusion that he was just like any other normal person.  It would be his little secret. He loved magic before, but his rediscovered interest in the subject became a full blown obsession.  He viewed it as more than a hobby, it was his salvation.  For hours he’d practice changing his voice and mannerisms in front of a mirror.  He would practice magic tricks over and over again until the illusion was perfect and his hands would practically move on their own accord with blinding precision and speed.  He practiced the breathing techniques of Houdini to appear calm even when his insides broiled with a maelstrom of rage.  

The rage was always there, so much so that it scared him.  It threatened to squeeze through the cracks, seep through the surface, breaking his concentration and self-control, and a true magician must control himself before mastering his environment.  He had faltered once in the hospital, when an orderly made a sly remark to him that let loose all his rage at once, like a pit bull suddenly snapping his chain in one even, mad dash for his quarry.  Kenny still had enough wits about him to make it look accidental, but the illusion of his normality was dispelled for many of the staff, and for that he again considered himself a failure.  He craved perfection, for magic was an art of perfection, but he realized he would not obtain it working by himself in the time he wanted.  He needed a mentor.  Someone as obsessed with magic as him, but also someone who would never suspect the undercurrent of madness that resided within.  And that’s why he partnered Ken the Magnificent. 

Ken the Magnificent had an ad in the paper looking for a potential female assistant to help orchestrate his shows.  Since the bon fire prank Kenny had developed several other personalities to replace his regular persona, one of which was female.  He knew Ken the Magnificent had a reputation for being easily distracted by beautiful women and immediately saw the opportunity to expand his female act.  He practiced for weeks being a woman, copying the mannerisms and voice until they were second nature, and then auditioned for the job.  To his great relief Kenny found he could fool the magician into believing him to be female, and he took great pride in being able to dupe the master illusionist.  Kenny knew he would be better than Ken the Magnificent; a man who demanded his audience to remain quiet before he performed his illusions, where Kenny felt he could work under any conditions.  He was certainly more dedicated to the craft; he knew he was capable of killing for it.

I can imagine that during this time period he continued to keep close tabs on his old fraternity buddies and maybe even maintained contact with one or two people still at the school, perhaps some professors or a dorm room mate.  When he found out about the party on the train he saw the opportunity for his revenge and booked himself and Ken for the magic show.  In the film they mention that Kenny was a train enthusiast, but my guess is that building train models is a fair shake different than knowing the layout of the actual train, but getting the schematics for an 1881passenger freight train was probably not too difficult.  Kenny struck me as the library card toting type, so he probably grabbed as many books about the subject as he could from the local library and planned his attack.  I could even imagine him making a mock-up of the train to choreograph his movements and setting up several different what-if scenarios.   His movement through the train during the film demonstrates he had more than a passing knowledge of how they are laid out and the fact that he has a key to the restroom doors (before apparently killing any of the train’s crew) points to some sort of pre-planning on his behalf. 

And again I go back to the idea that Kenny really had a lot invested into joining this fraternity, more than what was apparent on screen.  Otherwise the effort he puts into his revenge seems very disproportioned.  The corpse switcheroo shocked him over the edge, but Kenny was carrying some crazy with him before that all went down.   Maybe he viewed the potential consummation with Alana as a confirmation of group acceptance, and even more so, as the keystone moment where he would gain some sense of normality in his life.  I don’t think he saw it as “just getting laid”.  It would have been an act that confirmed that he wasn’t an unlovable nerd; he was a normal kid with something in common with the rest of humanity.  Denying these base needs drove him mad, like denying him entrance to the human race.  It goes to show you how powerful social rejection can be to a social animal. 

Scientific studies have shown that in most cases the brain needs social interaction to remain healthy.  Lone people, like prisoners that spend extended periods of time in solitary confinement, suffer from mental issues unique to those starved of social interaction; like night terrors, cold sweats, hallucinations, and extreme paranoia.  These in turn causes long term physical problems.  You could take a normal, rational human being of average health and place them in solitary confinement for a year and the person walking out of the cell at the end of it could be a borderline schizophrenic; the result would not be surprising.  While the studies are by no means complete or precise, the link between mental health and social interaction is clear.   So it’s not too hard to imagine how important getting into the fraternity might have seemed to Kenny at the time, especially if he was already a bit unstable.

Let’s focus our murderous musings on the costumes that Kenny dons, and what they could mean.  Keep in mind this is all crazy conjecture, no right or wrong answers here, just speculation, but it works fine for me.  His first strike is against Ed, dressed as Groucho Marx.  Ed cracks jokes and acts as the life of the party while on the loading docks, so it could be with a hint of irony Kenny chose him as his first victim, thus killing the “life” of the party in preparation for the rest of the night he has in store.  And it’s also with a hint of irony that the killer dresses up as a comedian, ready to literally knock them dead with his act.  The second costume he nabs is the reptile costume.  Kenny no doubt romanticized the party in his mind, as well as entrance to the fraternity.  Under his lunatic lenses and warped sense of reality entrance to either was akin to something like entrance to Eden, a perpetual paradise on earth.  Being cast out of it was akin to being sent to hell; so his lizard costume is representative of a snake in the Garden of Eden.   His third costume, Father Time, is worn during the remainder of the film.  I saw this as kind of a way of saying that everyone’s time was up; here he acts as a grim reaper coming to collect what’s owed.  It also signifies Kenny running out of time before the train gets to its destination.  With the preparation he went through it’d be safe to assume he was working on a time schedule of some sort.  He had to complete his murderous masterpiece before the train hit its final station, so the end is a mad dash to make it all happen, a race against time.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Heading to Texas tonight...

With this heat wave a little Texas Chainsaw Massacre love seems appropriate.  Watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre in my muggy apartment, frying eggs and eyeballs on the kitchen floor.  Have a cool night everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Poughkeepsie Tapes

Watch the whole movie for free on Youtube here....this is probably the creepiest movie you are bound to watch this keep the lights on kiddies!

House by the Cemetery

Somewhere in a quaint New England village in Massachusetts a timeless horror plays out over the centuries, defying the physics of space and logic itself.  Dr. Freudstein has discovered the secret to life through the perpetual regeneration of dead cells by consuming the flesh of the living.  This discovery has given him an unending lease on life, however it has also left him an inhuman butcher; a shuffling flesh fiend on a blood thirsty rampage.  His mind is but a distant memory, an echo of a past life lost in the murky waters of time.  His only desire is to strip the living of their warm flesh so that his unholy presence may dwell here longer.  So that he festers in this realm never having to face the next Hell that awaits him. 

His house and old laboratory are is his tomb, and his victims haunt him throughout time.  Somehow his abominable presence keeps his victim’s spirits tethered to this domain in an endless dream.  In a rare moment of clarity Dr. Freudstein wonders if the process of transmogrifying others flesh into his own timeless husk somehow traps them in this world, where their essence cannot escape into the great beyond past death’s door until the flesh ceases to be.  They ceaselessly gnaw at his mind, whispering to the fragmented parcels of his memory, nudging his spirit further into the chaotic madness of the damned.  Through a century of careful practice and deep, sleepless meditation the doctor has been able to partially tune out the cries of the damned.  The worse was the children; how their cries and whelps of torment carried on throughout the night, affording no rest for the weary, and the doctor was very weary.  If his own voice box still functioned he’d be tempted to join the cacophony of murmuring spirits in their nocturnal song, but yellow pallid flesh has grown over his own maw, an unfortunate mutation and side effect of his unique condition.  At best he can produce a deep gurgling noise in his throat like a malfunctioning scuba respirator.  His breathing is like rustling dead leaves, and he wonders if he still has to breathe at all, or if it is merely a useless habit picked up from when he was alive.   
His eyes have desiccated into red raisins long ago, his ears have shriveled and rotted off his head like spoiled fruit, but in the eternal pitch black he has developed other senses.  Despite the lack of his ears he can hear the blood beat through the veins of the living like torrents of water rushing down white rapids.  The capillaries are like gentle streams of delicious sweet hemoglobin and the heart sounds like an out of tune bass drum.  He is jealous and wants to pry these things free from their fleshly confines.  The living do not deserve the life they so seldom appreciate.  His own heart crawls with insects and a multitude of nesting maggots as it remains silent and still.  His internal organs have sequestered into a jelly like slime, yet he persists.  His walk is a slow gait, a pathetic shuffle.  His muscles are riddled with atrophy, but through sheer will he is able to find locomotion.  In the cob webbed sea of his basement and laboratory, where the air sits thick and still for decades on end, the slow drift of his walk seems like a fury of activity.  He finds another moss covered corner to the dungeon and falls back to rest.     

Since walking comes at a great expense of energy Dr. Freudstein saves his strength up to when he absolutely needs it; when new intruders, fresh meat, enter the house by the cemetery.  Sometimes he feeds on the rats and other vermin.  Otherwise the doctor remains rested in a dreamless suspended animation, where the mind churns but the thoughts retain no form, and the years are lost to the dead stillness of the tomb.  Sometimes while at rest he picks up ghostly images in his mind’s eye, like old photographs, of the house before it was choked with cobwebs and caked in dust.  He can see it with fresh paint and smell the rich mahogany, as if the lumber was just cut.  Sometimes he sees a little girl as if in a hazy dream, a red head with soft snow white skin playing with her doll, and he feels a deep pity, but cannot remember why or for what reason.   He knows his flesh was once tied to the girl, but that flesh is a forgotten memory, and the tie, like his tie to humanity, has long been severed.  Now he exists in a gray twilight world between life and death; a purgatory seldom few have experienced in this realm.  He is a living mummy reaping corpses for his blasphemous desire to continue to be long after his body expires, and the horror he has wrought has trapped his victims, like flies in the web, to this time and place with him. 

He has defied the laws of the natural world by prying back the doors to immortality; and much more.  Achieving immortality, even the pale form of immortality Dr. Freudstein has achieved, has loosened the very laws of physics, strained them to the point that the very ebb and flow of time itself has warped.  The house by the cemetery has become a kind of nexus of time and space, where Dr. Freudstein can view past and future events in fragments as if they were all occurring in the present. Although he no longer has the mental capacity to interpret said images, as his sanity has long left him in the endless fathoms of swelling darkness below the old decrepit mansion, the living can view these images in dreams and under deep meditation.  Some children are also able to tap into these visions, as children are more connected to the spiritual world, a connection that loses it’s potency as they grow into adulthood.

Dr. Freudstein has been restless as of late.  His need for blood and new fresh cells has grown to a ravenous hunger that nags at the fiber of his being with a constant cadence.  The ghosts around him stir with anticipation.  Soon the house by the cemetery will have new residents, maybe even a young virile child to sponge some extra years of life from.  Their flesh always tasted the sweetest, as if he cashed in on the unspent years of their life and added them to his account.  They always provided the most nourishment.  Soon his hunger would be sated…soon more would be caught in the unending wheel of horror that is THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY

Wrong Turn 5

Oh boy.....

Monday, July 2, 2012

The SAW is Family!

With Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D coming out in 2013, and with me recently scoring some sick TCM 2 art at a sci-fi/horror garage sale, I figured it was a good time to revisit the infamous sequel during these hot summer days.  Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 came nearly a decade after the initial outing shocked the world and resembled almost an entirely different story and feel than the first.  The sequel is more focused on maintaining a kind of “Tales from the Crypt” sense of fun, where the Sawyer family has more jokey lines and black comedy bits.  Hooper has said many times that most of the comedy in the original is not recognized or overshadowed by the darker elements of the movie, and while it’s apparent that this film had a less serious feel and he really wanted the comedy bits to shine, I’m not sure anybody really “got” the comedy this time around either.   It does make for a different mood, but in the end all the cannibalistic and scary elements that made TCM such a spine-tingler are still there, it’s just all more over the top and tongue in cheek.  It’s more disturbing and twisted than laugh out loud.  It feels like a pulpy comic book by Creepy or Eerie and less like the gritty realistic documentary feel of the original.

Bubba Sawyer wants a girlfriend in this one.  There’s the Freudian allusion of the chainsaw as the penis, a tool of power, seeking to penetrate the flesh of the young nubile chick.  At one point Bubba presses the chainsaw against the heroine’s crotch, drooling and randy for sex and violence.  She tries to placate the maniac by telling him how “good” he is with his tool, but the inbred takes another wild mood swing, and pulls the starter rope on the saw like a teenager frantically flogging the pope.  When he gets it started he dances around with the saw with a kind of sexual frustration, and rampages through the scenery, destroying everything in sight at the radio station like a mad dog, then lets his brother Chop Top believe that he killed the young woman.  It is assumable that he let his brother believe Stretch to be deceased because he was embarrassed by feeling attracted to her, like a young kid who’s trying to hide something shameful from his parents.  Bubba felt sexually attracted to Stretch, and thus he let her live, not once, but twice.  Leatherface struggles between his physical needs and personal desire to fit in with the family.    

His older brother, the cook Drayton, sees the potential danger in this.  They can’t be attracted to the “meat”.  He seems disgusted with Bubba, he tells him “the saw is family”, and it’s the only one he would ever need.  He can’t trust women, but he can always trust the saw.  It makes me wonder if there has ever been a female influence in the life of the Sawyer clan as it is.  It seems like the only semblance of a maternal, motherly influence they have is the desiccated body of their old grandma, a shrine of sorts that they keep in reverence to their elders.   I think that one of the messages that could be bled from the series is that there can be problems with removing the feminine influence from a family, without a motherly figure an all male family quickly devolves into dysfunction.  Bubba kind of fills the shoes of the matriarch, but his desires conflict the role he’s forced to play, and thus the cook sees it as an issue that needs to be addressed to maintain order.  Women just muck things up for him.

I think it’s interesting to note that only the “female” roles in the Sawyer family wield the chainsaw; at no point do Chop Top or Drayton use the saw.  It seems exclusively Bubba’s.  When Stretch disturbs the Sawyer grandmother shrine she is able to pull a working, gassed up saw from her mummified death grip, suggesting that she had a particular attachment to the power tool, and probably served the same role that Leatherface now fills in the family; as the caretaker and matriarch.   At the end Stretch steals the power of the saw and is able to defeat her pursuer Chop Top.  I think Tobe Hooper probably just found it funny that the women in the Sawyer clan, or the acting women, are the most fearsome and dangerous of the lot, but the men still kind of boss them around.  Leatherface is certainly at the mercy of his older brothers.  In the original he gets scolded whenever he leaves the kitchen by Drayton, like an old man grilling his wife about when dinner is going to be done.     

I liked the scene were Stretch falls through the ground down into the abandoned funhouse that the Sawyers have turned into a psychopath’s play pen, with interior decorations that would make Ed Gein swell up with pride.  It reminded me of Alice falling deep down the rabbit hole.  Like Alice, Stretch falls into a fantasy world where the rules of her civilized domain simply don’t apply.  It’s confusing, chaotic, and a perpetual neon lit night in the wonderland the Sawyer’s built, populated with the corpses of the victims they’ve claimed or deterred from their final resting place.  However unlike Alice, Stretch’s trip into this ghastly underworld will most likely cost her, her sanity and then some.