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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pumpkinhead - (1988) review





Pumpkinhead should be approached like a dark fairy tale.  It’s a simple story of revenge, of a father who loses it all and makes a deal with the devil, but realizes too late that nobody makes it out alive when Pumpkinhead is summoned; he will eventually consume your soul.  The set pieces are excellent, the creature FX spot on; this was Stan Winston’s directorial debut, so it’s no surprise that the creature FX stand the test of time.  The lighting and foggy wooded backdrop certainly adds to that dark fairy tale quality of the movie. 

Lance Hendrickson plays the father of a son who is callously ran over by a dirt biker who seems more concerned about saving his own ass from jail than helping the kid.  His gang promptly leaves the scene to call an ambulance, leaving one guy behind to tend to the farmer’s son, but when Lance shows up he is hearing none of it, and gives one of the best death stares in all cinematic history.  His son was his world, and they took it away from him, left him to die….but Pumpkinhead will set things right.  Or so he believes, and in a fury he sets out to discover an old back woods hag that is said to have strange powers.  He knows Pumpkinhead is real enough, he saw him as a kid, it terrified him and stuck with him all his life, but poor Lance (aka Joe Harley) doesn’t know the steep price the witch demands for such a summoning; she wants nothing less than his immortal soul.  When Pumpkinhead is finally brought back to life after being dug up from a foggy grave, Joe Harley begins experiencing terrible bouts of pain and terror.  He suffers a vision of his son returning to life, asking him “what have you done daddy”.  He sees through Pumpkinhead’s eyes as he slowly tortures the teenagers involved in the death of his son, and it’s too much for his simple mind to take.  He knows he has unleashed something worse than revenge, and it’s his Christian duty to put an end to this madness.     

Pumpkinhead’s design is grim and iconic; I remember always wanting to rent the VHS at the local grocery store for the striking cover art alone, same goes for the sequels.  When he does capture the target of his revenge he seems to toy with them for a while before eventually releasing them from their torture through the final embrace of death.  He seems to love tossing people around and dragging them over the ground, it’s not the quick death you’d expect from the giant lanky creature.  One girl he really takes his time with, using his nails to gouge deep rivets in her face, then tosses her through a window when he’s bored, it’s awesome.

The movie is so very 80’s, two characters in particular really stand out for their over-the top performances; Joel and Maggie.  Joel is the alpha male cock-bag that runs over the little kid with his dirt bike after guzzling beer and trying to show off, then refuses to help and tries covering it up like a coward, turning on friends at the drop of a dime.  There’s something horrible and entertaining about these over the top asshole types in 80’s movies; they really came off as complete psycho-paths often worse and more nerve grinding than the monster they would eventually meet their well-deserved end to.  He has an uncharacteristic turn of heart later, but it comes too little, too late, after holding his friends hostage at gun point to ensure they don’t rat him out to the police for a few hours he decides to give himself up.   

Maggie is just hysterical.  The way she spit fires her lines about “Only God can save us” really tickles me every time I watch this.  Her self-induced hysteria after the bike accident is almost as funny as how she comes out of it by looking at a Catholic cross that her boyfriend dangles in front of her.  She definitely gets it the worse of the bunch, which was unfortunate because I could have used a few more laughs on the way to the end, but this is a dark fairy tale, and there is plenty of Velveeta to be had in the sequels.

Joe Harley figures out that Pumpkinhead is taking over his soul with each victim he claims, in regret for his decision to release the demon of revenge, and to save the remaining teens, he puts a bullet through his own head, killing the creature as well, as it was tied to his own flesh.  The carcass of Pumpkinhead lights on fire, removing all traces of the nightmare.  

I’d definitely recommend Pumpkinhead as a mood setter for the Halloween season to come.  It has some of the best creature FX work I’ve ever seen, from Pumpkinhead to the Swamp Hag; it all looks very well crafted and lit impressively in hues of orange and blue.  The atmosphere and mood more than make up for any bad acting or technical gaffs, certainly a movie I plan on revisiting time and time again for it’s simple pleasures.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Halloween 6 - producer cut poster


Friday, September 8, 2017

Limited Edition The Burning T-shirt by Cavity Colors

Sweet shirts!  Get them before they are gone forever!

Cavity Colors


Silent Night, Deadly Night - Shout Factory release

Holy jumping Jesus Christmas shit, Silent Night Deadly Night is getting a new release on blu ray, along with a Billy NECA figure!  Now all your other toys can be punished!  NAUGHTY!

Silent Night Deadly Night blu ray release news....




Community leaders tried to stop the release. The P.T.A. fought to ban it. Now one of the most controversial slasher films of all time is back in a new high-definition release! This new edition of the horror holiday favorite has been restored from the original vaulted film negative.
Silent Night, Deadly Night is the heartwarming story of little Billy Chapman who was traumatized by his parents’ Christmas Eve murder, then brutalized by sadistic orphanage nuns. But when grown-up Billy is to dress as jolly St. Nick, he goes on a yuletide rampage to “punish the naughty!” Santa Claus is coming to town … and this time he’s got an axe! Robert Brian Wilson and Scream Queen Linnea Quigley star in this jaw-dropping horror classic that a nation of angry mothers still cannot stop!

Bonus Features

  • Original Theatrical And Unrated Versions Of The Film Taken From A NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative.
  • NEW Slay Bells Ring: The Story Of Silent Night, Deadly Night – Featuring Interviews With Writer Michael Hickey, Co-Executive Producers Scott J. Schneid And Dennis Whitehead, Editor/Second Unit Director Michael Spence, Composer Perry Botkin, And Actor Robert Brian Wilson
  • NEW Oh Deer! – An Interview With Linnea Quigley
  • NEW Christmas In July – Silent Night, Deadly Night Locations – Then And Now
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Actor Robert Brian Wilson And Co-Executive Producer Scott J. Schneid
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Original TV Spots And Radio Spot
  • Audio Commentary By Michael Hickey, Perry Boykin, Scott J. Schneid, and Michael Spence
  • Audio Interview With Director Charles E. Sellier, Jr.
  • Santa’s Stocking Of Outrage
  • Poster And Still Gallery
Now if you are the ultimate SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT fan then you’ll want to take note of two exclusive offers on the release—which are only available at www.shoutfactory.com while supplies last:
STANDARD OFFER
– Receive the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray with slipcover
– Receive a rolled limited-edition 18” x 24” poster of the newly-designed art from artist Joel Robinson
– Product will be one week earlier than the national street date of 12/5/17.
DELUXE OFFER (Limited to 2,000 orders only. US & Canada only)
– Receive the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray with slipcover
– Receive a rolled limited-edition 18” x 24” poster of the newly-designed art from Joel Robinson
– Product will be shipped one week earlier than the national street date of 12/5/17.
– Receive an exclusive, limited edition 8” tall “Billy/Killer Santa” doll created by NECA – N.E.C.A and officially licensed! This will only be available here on our site!
– Free Shipping.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Horror Rises from the Tomb & Captain Kronos double header

Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter – Captain Kronos is a bleary eyed bore, a man with unparalleled skills with the blade but not much else.  He comes off as kind of a jerk.  His hunchbacked companion, the good professor Grost, is more worthy of our sympathies but even he seems kind of weak.  He ruminates and sobs over being disfigured after a group of local bar flies harass him about his ailment and meet their end at Kronos’ swift blade.  You would think a vampire killer would have a stronger back bone to stand up to verbal jabs, especially a hunchback.  What sets this movie apart is that the vampire ages its victims; turning young babes into cancerous old crows.  

They also use an unusual method to detect vampires; if a dead frog in a box comes back alive a vampire is near.  I’ve never heard of that one.  At the end it’s revealed that a short haired lesbo vampire is to blame for the accelerated ages of several virgins around town, and Kronos and his hunchback companion set out to confront her.  She tries to hypnotize Kronos but he uses his sword to reflect her hyno-magic back at her.  After a brief stint of swashbuckling the movie comes to and end and Kronos and Grost ride off to more adventures.

Horror Rises From the Tomb -   Euro-sleaze at its pinnacle; an illogical, gory, dark, and atmospheric homage to the spirit of Hammer, of monster worship, and the slow burn of gothic styled horror.   Paul Naschy delivers the goods with a shoestring budget, the heart behind the camera bleeds through the screen.  This is a love note for madmen inspired by the cinematic ghouls of yesteryear; Karloff, Lugosi.  Aged, cheap, a perfect vehicle to deliver gothic gore brewed in Spain.  




Quite appropriately it begins with a witch and warlock being led on a death march; they will pay for their crimes of lycanthropy, of witch craft, of renouncing all that is holy in kinship with Satan.  The warlock is decapitated; the witch is hung upside down and tortured in ways unique to her gender.  Flash forward a hundred years and their curse comes to fruition.  The warlock is able to possess the living, sending his mind slaves out to massacre the common folk, and bring him the flesh of the living.  Beating hearts are crudely cut from the chests of screaming nubile women.  The terror and madness stretches its dark pall across the countryside, simple village folk are made helpless victims, food for Satan.  With enough fresh blood spilt the warlock resurrects his dutiful witch seductress in a ritual that suggests nymphomania.  The film revels in sleaze with reckless abandon as the bodies pile up.  Boobs and blood are the order of the day as the witch seduces the men from the local village, ripping their throats out when they close in for a kiss with the beautiful mystery woman that suddenly appears at the end of their beds, like a wet dream made flesh.  The warlock works his magic on the women, leading to an orgy of destruction and terror.   As things seem their darkest, as friend turns upon friend, as fiend reign supreme, an old family relic comes to bear, one that can fight back the ancient evil of Satan and his newly resurrected minions of darkness.  A silver pendant decorated with the hammer of Thor turns out to be the secret weapon needed to end Naschy’s reign of terror; both the warlock and the witch meet their end because of this powerful relic that simply comes out of nowhere to end the film.  Despite the large gaps of logic and against all sense of finer taste I loved Horror Rises from the Tomb.  Naschy has a way of taking a cheap budget and set and ratchet the exploitative charm to 11.  Some Naschy movies may suffer from a plodding storyline, but any lull in the movie is quickly offset by gore and blood, even if it makes little sense.  You really got to turn your brain off for this fare and let the tidal wave Euro-sleaze whisk you away.  Horror Rises from the Tomb is great fun for the fan of gothic horror, a classic and Naschy at his pinnacle.           


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

HAMMER movie reviews

I've been addicted to a lot of Hammer horror lately; secretly wishing for a Gothic horror revival.



Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell – Someone is burning the midnight oils, following in the ghastly footsteps of the infamous Baron Victor Frankenstein.  Soon an English bobby man runs amok of his experimentation, discovering a jar full of eye balls in his care, the frightened police man promptly arrests him on charges of black magic when the man calmly explains he is trying to resurrect the dead.  Simon Helder is committed to an insane asylum for his crimes, something he seems to take in stride until arriving at the asylum and receiving his first fire hose shower.   Baron Victor Frankenstein, now under the assumed alias of Dr. Carl Victor, rescues the aspiring surgeon from being severely beaten and tormented by the guards, recruiting him to assist in his new creation; a monster created from the dead body parts of select patients around the asylum.   The good doctor begins scavenging the body parts he covets for his monster; the hands of a sculptor, the mind of a great mathematician, the body of a powerful Neolithic throwback of a man.  As the suspicious deaths start mounting so does Simon Helder’s conscious, soon enough he is questioning if the doctor has gone too far with his mad experiment, but he is too curious to stop him.  When they finally complete the monster he goes on a blood thirsty rampage, tearing people apart with his bare hands until the orderlies turn the asylum loose on him.  The creature is ripped apart piece by piece by a frenzied mob, although Victor doesn’t seem concerned.  He is already thinking about his next experiment, and who next to donate to the cause….

Frankenstien and the Monster from Hell has the distinction of being a bit more gory than its predecessors, focusing on body horrors such as dissection, and surgery on the eye.  It moves at a fairly brisk pace, Peter Cushing once again delivers a perfect performance as the cold and calculating Victor Von Frankenstein.  Besides the brightly colored blood additional eye candy comes in the form of a mute but busty and alluring assistant to Victor a girl named “Angel”.  She catches the creature’s eye a few times, able to woo him where the sight of others caused him to go into a ravenous fury.  The description of the creature enjoying cutting people’s faces with glass is a particularly gruesome addition.        



The Horror of Dracula – The Christopher Lee classic; this is the one that started it all.  It’s a relatively straight forward adaption of Bram Stroker’s work, with a few twists thrown in to keep things fresh.  This is another version of Dracula where Jonathan Harker is doomed and the action focuses more on Van Helsing; no complaints from me.  Peter Cushing plays a perfect foil to Christopher Lee’s blood dripping eyeballs.    



The Vampire Lovers – An ancient lesbian nympho vampire stalks old Europe spilling innocent nubile blood across the countryside.  Count me in; this is a movie that wrestles with horror and my crotch.  There is actually a lot more gore and horror than what I originally suspected; I thought this would be a softcore porn with zero plot, but that wasn’t the case.  The Vampire Lovers is loosely based on one of the first vampire stories ever found, Carmilla, and kicks off a trilogy of lesbian vampire movies (the Karlstein trilogy) from Hammer, all full of cleavage, decapitations, and gore.  In this entry Carnilla the ancient vampire charms her way into household after household, preying on the young women within.  Of course nobody suspects the innocuous Carmilla (who assumes many false identities) as being the cause of these young women’s listlessness, their night terrors and mysterious dual puncture wounds found on their breasts, but soon enough a vampire hunter searching for revenge puts it all together.  Somehow Peter Cushing is again called in to perform the coup de tat to the ravenous undead.  After decapitating Carmilla with little adieu her portrait slowly ages into a skeleton. 



The Fearless Vampire Killers – A Hammer inspired comedy directed by Roman Polansky; co-starring his future wife Sharon Tate.  The kooky Professor Abronsius and his bumbling assistant Alfred are on the hunt for the undead deep within the heart of Transylvania.  They shack up in a local lodge to escape the snow-swept tundra outside and discover the locals hanging garlic all over the lodge and with stern warnings against visiting the local castle.  This of course makes Professor Abronsius rather happy as it seems like a likely setup for vampires; Alfred however is more interested in the bathing beauty of the lodge, young Sarah.  Sarah is eventually taken by the vampire Count von Korlock while bathing at night.  The fearless vampire hunters track Sarah to the local castle where they are openly greeted by the Count, who exhumes a sense of charm and dignity that the Professor has a hard time wrapping his head around.  He seems rather impressed by the Count’s aristocratic ways and intelligence but is still determined to end his dastardly existence for the greater good or perhaps just to get proof to his intellectual peers that vampires really do exist.  The duo search the castle for the vampires but are split up when Alfred shimmies down a hole too small for the Professor to fit through.  Alfred finds the grave of the Count but is too cowardly to stick a stake through his heart, much to the chagrin of the nutty Professor who is stuck half frozen in a hole.    Alfred goes to rescue the Professor from his hole outside but runs into Sarah on the way, who reveals that the count is having a huge ball at midnight then disappears as if into thin air.  Alfred rescues the Professor, bringing him news of the ball, but the Counts foppish homosexual son attacks them, cornering them behind a locked door to freeze or starve to death.  Much to their horror they witness multiple vampires emerge from their tombs below, the Counts annual ball is in full swing.  The fearless vampire hunters escape their confines by cleverly blowing down the door with a cannon turret. They mingle and dance with the vampires at the ball by pilfering some old raggedy dust worn Victorian outfits, but their cover is blown when out of the entire ballroom of undead fiends they are the only ones to show up in a the grand mirror circling the ball room.  Quickly they snatch up Sarah and make way for the snowy mountains on a sleigh, but little do Alfred and the Professor realize Sarah is already infected with the vampire virus, and by escaping with her they really exposed the rest of Europe to the vampire disease.




The Fearless Vampire Killers is a beautifully shot film with a dreamlike quality that sticks with you after watching the film; like a living fairy tale full of vampires and busty bathing buxoms.  Alfred and the Professor stumble about each scene in a cartoonish fashion that isn’t as funny as it is endearing to fans of the cinematic absurd.  The movie was later followed around by the dark cloud of the real life murder of Sharon Tate by despicable scumbag hippies operating under the cult like influence of Charlie Manson, but in terms of Hammer-esque gothic horror productions it sits as one of my personal faves.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tourist Trap shirt - Cavity Colors

Check out this rad Tourist Trap shirt from Cavity Colors!

Get it here: Cavity Colors