There are 42 entries

Fateful Findings

I made this to celebrate Fateful Findings, the third film from real-estate-agent-turned-filmmaker Neil Breen. This film is an insane masterpiece and easily sits among the best of the midnight cult movies, right next to The Room, Birdemic and Troll 2. Most people would easily call these movies bad, and while they’re not terribly polished and sometimes are full of continuity… Read more

The Joy of Painting the Coming Darkness

Robert Boss and his wonderfully calm demeanor first appeared on television in 1983 on The Joy of Painting the Coming Darkness. In it, Boss would teach viewers the basic techniques for painting scenes of nightmarish hellscapes, much like “those I see in my dreams,” he said. Each episode began with Boss standing with a blank canvas… Read more

Love Conjuration

Love Conjuration premiered in 1983 and quickly became a hit, with audiences tuning in weekly to see which zombie flesh-eater that week’s guest would pick to take on a date. The show’s concept was simple, and that’s probably why it did so well: a guest would watch a tape of three separate undead creatures–sometimes it… Read more

TGIF! Block

If you found yourself at home on Friday night in the mid-90s, most likely avoiding the growing undead hordes lining up outside your door, you were almost certainly watching ABC’s TGIF programming block (“Thank Gaap It’s Funny,” named in reverence of the ruling demon at the time). Some of the finest shows of the decade… Read more

667

When it debuted in 1985, 667 served as a step forward for African-American occult television programs. The show centered on Mary Denkins, a sass-mouthed, gossipy housewife, and her dealings with her neighbors – both living and undead. The titular apartment was located right next to apartment 666, where, unsurprisingly, Satan resides. As we’re told in… Read more

The $66,600 Question

When game show wunderkind Louis Corvin sold The $66,600 Question to CBS in 1955, he’d only been in our plane of existence for two hours. Seven separate witnesses said they saw Corvin “step out of nothingness, just materialize right there on the street.” Soon after, the seven witnesses were either dead or confined to an… Read more

Leave It To Cleaver

Starting in late 1957, Leave It To Cleaver followed an inquisitive but often naïve young murderer named Theodore “Cleaver” Weaver (played by Terry Scabbers) and his adventures at home, in school, and around his suburban neighborhood while tracking potential victims. The show also featured Cleaver’s parents, June and Ward Weaver, two serial killers who’d evaded… Read more

Mister Dead

Mister Dead was a cultural phenomenon when it first debuted in 1961. By all accounts, it was a terrible show, with bizarre set pieces and a horrible horned horse as its host. The horse’s guttural voice was incredibly unpleasant to listen to, sounding like broken glass and gravel being slowly ground into powder. No studio notes ever listed… Read more

The New Year

Audiences were left wanting more at the end of The Old Year and when Thomas Crudup’s brain-twisting followup The New Year was released six months later, they finally had all their questions answered, but the answers given probably weren’t the ones they were expecting. An opening montage rifles through every second of The Old Year,… Read more

The Old Year

After What Are You Thankful For? was a success, writer/director Thomas Crudup began work on his passion projects, The Old Year and The New Year. If there was any doubt regarding Crudup’s talent, then these two films quickly put those doubters to rest. The first, The Old Year, is restrained and beautiful, telling the touching story… Read more

The Kwanzaa Killer

Director Clark Bernstein’s and writing partner Jerry Skwiski’s The Twelve Slays of Christmas opened to mediocre reviews and a tepid box office, and the duo had stopped speaking to each other during the production of the film. Many industry insiders wondered if their third film, The Kwanzaa Killer, would even be released. In February 1993, a… Read more

The Twelve Slays of Christmas

After the moderate success of Clark Bernstein’s Dreidel of Dread — the first film in his and writing partner Jerry Skwiski’s “Holiday Horrors” trilogy — the duo set to work on The Twelve Slays of Christmas, set for release in early December 1992. Reaction was mixed regarding the ridiculous ending of Dreidel (the killer literally steps out… Read more

Dreidel of Dread

Despite the market’s lack of acceptance of Hanukkah-themed horror (both Menorah of Blood and Eight Deadly Nights failed to burn up the box office) Liberty Pictures took a chance on first-time director Clark Bernstein and his writing partner Jerry Skwiski and financed Dreidel of Dread under the company’s independent imprint, Liberation Films. Bernstein and Skwiski had… Read more

What Are You Thankful For?

When asked about his directorial debut What Are You Thankful For?, Thomas Crudup told a reporter, “The only time I feel confident in my writing is when I’m writing something truthful, or when I’m taking something truthful, or something that happened to me, and scattering it through a prism of the bizarre,” which is a… Read more

Veteran’s Day

Director Jarvis Duncan erupted on the scene with his stylish 1979 thriller Veterans Day. In an expertly filmed opening flashback, we meet our protagonist Captain Troy Richards (played with intensity by Victor Crewes) deep in the heart of Vietnam. He’s flanked by some of his men: Sergeant Timothy Smith (Walt Wilson), Specialist David Douglas (Ben… Read more

Cheer Up, Mr. Jack O. Lantern!

Whenever one is asked to name things that represent Halloween, a jack-o-lantern is almost guaranteed to be near the top of the list. Scowling, grimacing jack-o-lanterns are synonymous with Halloween, but what about a melancholy jack-o-lantern? What does that represent? And why is he so down in the dumps to begin with? Writer-director Stuart Winstonson… Read more

Columbus: The Revenge

Columbus: The Revenge opens in typical 1980s slasher movie fashion: a killer’s POV of two teens kissing on one of the town’s Columbus Day floats. Very quickly, they’re undressed and having sex. Soon enough, the unseen assailant is close enough to strike, impaling both of them with a thick, wooden pole. The teens die, looking into… Read more

Columbus: The Devil Explorer

Several years before his first mainstream film — and the controversy surrounding it — Trigger & Sledge director Russell Kandar made his name with low-budget pornographic movies. Kandar prided himself with his voluminous output, releasing over 40 adult films in 1970 alone. In some of his later works, particularly Meeting Richard Johnson and Missy Lou’s… Read more

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not opens at McQuade Falls Retirement Community with only five days until the annual Grandparents Day celebration. Fred and Eleanor are walking along the duck pond, talking of how excited they are to see their grandchildren during the event. They pass a grouping of bushes when a man steps from the shadows. The… Read more

Labor Day

Labor Day begins on the night of Chesteron High’s spring prom. Kelly (newcomer girl-next-door Rebecca Gillis) and her boyfriend Gene (slasher flick veteran Roy Clark) are kissing in the back of Gene’s Camaro and things are moving into more intimate territory. Kelly protests at first, but eventually gives in to Gene’s advances and they consumate their relationship.… Read more

Independence Slay

Fuochi D’artificio Omicidio, Italian auteur Claudio Franconetti’s first film, owes a lot to the 1960s and 1970s giallo fare from Argento and Bava, but sadly can’t compete with even their worst works. The film follows Flora Sachetti’s Antonia, an art student in Sicily. Franconetti takes his time with Antonia, really establishing her character and grounding… Read more

Father’s Day

After Flag Day failed to make an impact at the box office, Italian director Claudio Franconetti was thought to have vanished into obscurity. He was supposedly so distraught over the film’s lack of success that he cut off all contact with the outside world. A few years later, rumors began to emerge that Franconetti had… Read more

Flag Day

Flag Day (1986) is the story of Liberty High School student Mindy Jessup and her group of friends (Heather, the captain of the cheerleading squad;  Heather’s boyfriend, Chaz, who rides a motorcycle; Claire, the artsy one; and Claire’s brother, Reggie, who has an attraction to Mindy). The group, all attending summer school,  scoff at the school’s… Read more

Mother May I?

Benjamin Peterson swears he has a good relationship with his mother, but judging from his 1964 directorial debut Mother May I?, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking he was lying. The film follows Thomas Cline’s deranged Bruce as he stalks the streets of Los Angeles, strangling and bludgeoning any woman he sees wearing a particular… Read more

Cinco de Murder

Jerry Skwiski, one half of the creative duo behind Dreidel of Dread and The Twelve Slays of Christmas, set out on his own to craft another holiday-themed horror flick and what he came up with was the 1996 Liberation Films release Cinco de Murder. Despite Skwiski’s termination of his original contract with the production company, Liberations Films… Read more

May Day

Filmmaker Patrick Dawson had already made two successful studio-financed comedies (The Dragon Boys and Ben Cleveland and The Baker Initiative) before striking out on his own to make the melodramatic May Day. After seeing the film, it makes one wish he’d stayed with formulaic comedies, because drama is not Dawson’s forte. The film follows the labor… Read more

The Rabbit’s Foot

In the bizarre short The Groundhog’s Shadow, there’s a sequence where the titular groundhog encounters a rabbit. This scene is quick and then both creatures are off on their respective journeys. In Randy Wolff’s dark, uncomfortable The Rabbit’s Foot, we see where that rabbit was coming from and where it was going. Whereas Groundhog focused on… Read more

The Plant

Horror films have long been used as a metaphor for societal issues, the most notable example being the parody of mindless consumerism in The Dead Don’t Take Checks. Environmental activist and director John Klimer sought to make his own kind of “message horror” film regarding the environment and how out disregard for keeping the planet… Read more

The Fool

Minor silent film actor Rudolph “Rudy” Robbins was first discovered while working in the Tennyson Big Top Circus as part of the trapeze group, the Golden Flyers. He served as the group’s leader, executing impressive aerial stunts and making audiences laugh with his off-the-cuff jokes. During one of these performances, film producer Martin Cray was in attendance and… Read more

Cluck of the Irish

Animator-turned-director Adam Nicholson got his start drawing backgrounds and props for popular children’s cartoon The Adventures of P. J. Blakenship: Ghost Detective, but he was desperate for something more. When Blakenship produced its revolutionary live-action episode, where real people interacted with animated characters, Nicholson was enthralled by the technique and craftsmanship involved to make the interactions… Read more

Ashes

Ashes, the 1996 American directorial debut of German director Roland Weber, is gripping from start to finish, even if the story is at times predictable and the ending is fairly obvious. These are minor faults, though, because Weber drenches the film in atmosphere and succeeds in creating an almost unbearably tense 88 minutes. The story… Read more

Fat Tuesday

Director J. Creel has popped up numerous times in the media for his hard-partying ways, going on record multiple times that he wanted to write a movie script with his girlfriend Marie Pierce that celebrated his favorite party period: Mardi Gras. He and Marie met at a Fat Tuesday a few years prior (after he’d completed his sophomore film Rock… Read more

Washington, B.C.

Before he became a critically-maligned writer, director and actor, Travis Belcher worked as a tour guide in the Presidential History Museum in Hoboken, NJ. He had a love of presidential history that was unparalleled and he regaled numerous tour groups with stories of president’s conquests and triumphs as well as anecdotes that other tour guides didn’t… Read more

Sweetheart Queen

n the town of New Lovington, few things are bigger than the Valentine’s Day dance “Sweetheart Queen” and Elizabeth (a fresh-from-rehab Rebecca Gillis) is determined to capture the crown for herself. Thus begins director George Kornfeld’s Sweetheart Queen, a long-forgotten entry in the slasher sub-genre. Elizabeth campaigns endlessly, papering the hallways with posters asking for fellow… Read more

Heart Attack

Shortly before his fiancee broke off their engagement on Valentine’s Day 1986, Nigel Ralston began work on his horror spectacle Heart Attack. The film starts out innocently enough, treading a well-worn path that most horror fans would consider quaint, but, soon enough, it takes a turn into bizarre, twisted territory, which many film theorists believe… Read more

The Groundhog’s Shadow

Randy Wolff’s bizarre, experimental short film The Groundhog’s Shadow is a non-narrative, focusing on strange, off-kilter shots of nuclear factories, run-down buildings, and, yes, a groundhog. In fact, this film seems to be just as much as diatribe against all types of consumerism as it is a story about a groundhog seeing his shadow. In… Read more

MLK3000

Writer, actor, and director Clevon Jones unleashed his bizarre sci-fi tale MLK3000 in late 1978, and while it’s definitely not a good movie, it’s at least interesting in its attempts to crafts a unique and unexpected monument to in important civil rights leader. As we’re told in a long text crawl at the beginning of… Read more

Chopping Mall

The 1980s were a great time for cheesy movies. It’s a proven fact that the greatest cheesy movies were released during the 1980s (seriously, scientists got together over a weekend and did a study). Chopping Mall fits in nicely with the hundreds of low-budget cheese-fests you’ve probably seen covers for as you wandered through the video… Read more

Lady Terminator

Lovers of bad cinema, take note! If you’ve never seen Lady Terminator, you’re missing out on one of the greatest, most awful action movie rip-offs ever made. Directed by Indonesian trash cinema king H. Tjut Djalil, who also made the absolutely horrifying Mystics in Bali, Lady Terminator follows an anthropologist (“I am not a lady. I… Read more

The House of the Devil

Ti West’s The House of the Devil is a love letter to the horror films of the late 1970s and early 1980s and captures the mood flawlessly. The film features a familiar, well-worn set-up — a girl takes a babysitting gig at a big, spooky house in the middle of nowhere — but still manages to… Read more

Gymkata: Live-Tweet Transcript

For those who don’t follow me on twitter, you missed out (perhaps luckily) on my live-tweeting of the 1985 martial arts silly-fest “Gymkata.” I did receive a few threats of shanking, but for the most part, it went well. Anyway, for those who didn’t see it, here it is. Also, this probably won’t make any… Read more

After Last Season

After Last Season, hands-down, is the worst movie I’ve ever seen. I could easily see it being nestled warmly among the top-ten worst films in history. Just… just watch the trailer. Yes, that is a real movie, one that actually played in theaters. Granted, it was only four theaters, and the production company called and… Read more