Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Phil counts down to the 14th Annual ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILMFEST at the New People Cinema in Japantown, San Francisco October 25th - November 8th, 2017

One of the aspects I love about living here in the Bay Area is all the awesome films festivals that are held here. One of these is the upcoming 15th Annual ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL, which is presented by SF IndieFest and will be held at the New People Cinema, located in Japantown, San Francisco. From November 28th through December 15th, 2018, fans of horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres can witness a total of 29 films and 94 short films during the festival's 15-day run!

The festival kicks off with the its Opening Night's Film THE GOD INSIDE MY EAR. The directorial debut from write/director Joe Badon, the film is, "a challenging yet wholly accessible and satisfying blend of surrealism, horror, psychological thriller, and science fiction. Imagine Repulsion by way of David Lynch and Luis Bunuel, with some Douglas Sirk high melodrama for good measure, and you start to sense what you are in for.  It is also a marvel of independent filmmaking, and its terrific production values belie that it was made in 13 days for a mere $8,000." Last year's Opening Night Film MOHAWK was distributed by Dark Sky Films and has went on to great acclaim, so don't be surprised if THE GOD INSIDE MY EAR will repeat this trend!

There are plenty of independent film screenings and events at the festival this year, including the "based on true events" sci-fi film THE PHOENIX INCIDENT on November 30th at 7pm, the documentary SURVIVAL OF THE FILM FREAKS, which focuses on, "how technology has changed the way we define and consume cult cinema." The documentary will be screened on Saturday, December 1st at 5pm. Another film that you all should definitely see is the modern day, women-in-prison masterpiece AMAZON HOT BOX, playing on Monday, December 3rd at 7pm. This film has a special place in my heart because I donated to its original Kickstarter and I received the limited edition signed Blu-Ray, but still, go watch this movie! Another interesting documentary that will be screened at the festival is INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: THE STORY OF WAX TRAX! RECORDS, chronicling. "Wax Trax! Records began in a tiny storefront in Denver Co in the mid 70s. At the center of Wax Trax! are two music-obsessed men and their taboo love affair." Due to popular interest, the festival will be having to screenings: Friday, December 7th and Wednesday, December 12th, both start at 7pm.

EVIL DEAD REVISION on Thursday, December 6th.
The festival will also be featuring some very cool and fascinating events, like the incredible EDDIE KING DOUBLE FEATURE event that consists of DEAD FALL and ARSENAL on Thursday, November 29th at7pm and 9pm respectively. There's also the WALT DISNEY'S FANTASIA LIVE MOVIE RE-SCORE featuring the return of Firmament on November 28th at 9pm and again on Sunday, December 9th at 9pm. And for all you deadites, there's EVIL DEAD REVISION on Thursday, December 6th at 9pm. Franchise fan Jorge Torres-Torres took all three films, re-edited them to a scant 72-minute black and white video, filled with all the fun and gore that fans love! There's also the free event entitled AHITH IN CYBERIA VR that, "will gather an audience from around the world to a virtual screening room on the SANSAR platform for one day of short film screenings with live Q&A’s." Then on Saturday, December 8th at 7pm, the supernatural thriller REBORN will be screened and in attendance will be the film's star and legendary genre actress Barbara Crampton!

Original Festival Poster (2018)
The film festival is featuring a plethora of short film programs that will haunt your dreams and make you scream with joy, with 14 different short film blocks no less! There's the animated shorts block STRANGERS WITH EYE CANDY on Sunday, December 9th at 3pm, the LGBTQ+ themed DARK RAINBOW on Sunday, December 2nd at 3pm. There's the STRICTLY LOCAL SHORT FILMS 1 and 2 on Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, December 2nd at 11am for both blocks, spotlighting on local films and filmmakers.

Closing out the festival will be the US Premiere screening RONDO, a dark comedy thriller that's about, "a kinky sex proposition devolves into a chain of murder, sex, revenge. And more murder." Written and directed by Drew Barnhardt and staring G.C. Clark, Ketrick 'Jazz' Copeland, and Reggie De Morton, the film starts at 7pm on November 9th.

There's so much happening at the festival, it'll take another post to list them all!! So what are you waiting for?  Mark the festival's date on your calendar and come out to the city for some amazing works of art! Individual tickets are $20 online and at the door. All-inclusive festival passes will be priced at $150, which includes all the films and special events. For the full festival schedule, visit the Another Hole in the Head's official website at www.ahith.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Phil's Favorite Thanksgiving-Themed Horror Films - November 22, 2018

Hello everybody and Happy Thanksgiving! While all of you out there are visiting with families and friends, having turkey and wine, spending quality time with loved ones, what better way to celebrate the day than to watch some really awesome Thanksgiving themed horror movies! So I thought it would be not only fun but informative to share with you some of my favorite Thanksgiving themed horror films. This is something that I've been wanting to doing for a couple of years now, but never had the time to do until now. Some of these are classic horror staples, while some are newer releases that truly deserve your time and attention.

This list contains MY favorite movies that I have enjoyed and only titles that I have seen! So that is why you won't see other worthy titles. However, they are on my to-watch list so maybe they'll appear on next year's compilation. So my faithful readers, here is my Favorite Thanksgiving-Themed Horror Films of All Time!

5) THANKSKILLING 3 (2012):  The fowl-mouthed villain Turkie is back and hacking his way to find the last copy of "ThanksKilling 2" which has landed in the hands of a group of disturbingly crude puppets. The death toll rises as Turkie carves through the likes of Flowis the rapping grandma, Rhonda the bisexual space worm, Yomi the puppet in search of her mind, and their equally ridiculous friends who all travel through fantastical settings such as the FeatherWorld and Turkey Hell. With the guidance of Uncle Donny (Dan Usaj), the wig-wearing inventor of the PluckMaster 3000, Jefferson (Joe Hartzler), Head of Security at ThanksgivingLand, and a WiseTurkey, the gatekeeper to the FeatherWorld, our collection of raunchy characters hope to fend off the murderous rampage of Turkie, all while trying to help Yomi find her mind. If you're looking for a weird, batshit crazy Thanksgiving film to watch, this one is for you! Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

4) BLOOD FREAK (1972):  Just back from Vietnam, Herschell (Steve Hawkes) is at loose ends until one day he stops to help beautiful Bible-quoting Angel (Heather Hughes) fix her car. She takes him home, where her scapegrace sister, Ann (Dana Cullivan), immediately plies him with drugs in order to seduce him. Instantly addicted, he needs money for his habit and takes a job at a turkey farm, where he's instructed to eat some experimental lab-grown turkeys. He does, and undergoes a hideous transformation. Man, you gotta love the 1970's! In what other decade can you see something like this! This was such a fun-filled, cheesy low-budget gem of a flick that it makes PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE look like THE WIZARD OF OZ. Fun Fact: The turkey-monster head that co-writer/co-director Steve Hawkes wears was made of papier-mache. Yup, they don't make movies like this anymore! Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

3) THANKSKILLING (2009): While on their way home for Thanksgiving break, five college kids run "afowl" of a homicidal turkey that wants them dead. As the cursed bird hunts them down one by one, the survivors scramble to find a way to defeat the possessed creature. Will the bloodthirsty turkey make this their last Thanksgiving feast ever? When I first saw this movie, I couldn't believe what I was watching. I think I was asking myself, "What the actual fuck am I watching? It's like a Troma movie but without any of the social commentary!" Filmed in 11 days during the summer break between filmmakers Kevin Stewart and Jordan Downey's junior and senior year of college on a budget of only $3,500, the movie was only to be a standalone. However, they decided to make sequel, and decided to skip making a part 2 and went ahead and make THANKSKILLING 3 in 2012. Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

2) POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD (2006): When a fast food chicken restaurant is built on the site of an ancient Native American burial ground, the displaced spirits unite with the ghosts of exterminated chickens and transform into Indian chicken zombies seeking revenge! Now, it’s up to a dim-witted counter boy, his lesbian ex-girlfriend, and a burqa-wearing fry cook to put an end to the foul-feathered menace once and for all. If you're looking for the ultimate Troma movie, then look no further! Director Lloyd Kaufman's masterpiece has it all: social commentary on the fast food industry, addressing Native American issues, lesbianism, the idea of selling out to a major corporation, all the while singing and dancing its way into your heart! Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

1) BLOOD RAGE (1987): IT’S NOT CRANBERRY SAUCE! What do you get if you combine Thanksgiving, American TV star Louise Lasser (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), killer ’80s synths and some truly gruesome special effects courtesy of Ed French (Terminator 2: Judgement Day)? Why, it’s Blood Rage of course! Twins Todd and Terry seem like sweet boys – that is, until one of them takes an axe to the face of a fellow patron at the local drive-in. Todd is blamed for the bloody crime and institutionalized, whilst twin brother Terry goes free. Ten years later and, as the family gathers around the table for a Thanksgiving meal, the news comes in that Todd has escaped. But has the real killer in fact been in their midst all along? Shot in 1983 but not released until 1987, BLOOD RAGE is a gloriously gruesome slice of ’80s slasher heaven. Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

And there you have it folks! My Favorite Thanksgiving-Themed Horror Films of All Time! I hope that this list inspires you to watch some of these films, or if you're a die hard horror fanatic, it will make you want to revisit these festive cinematic gems! Since many of these movies are available to watch on Blu-Ray, DVD, VOD or on streaming services like Netflex, Hulu and Shudder, there is a plethroa of ways for you to watch them. So start carving the turkey, get those mashed potatoes and rolls buttered up good, and set back and watch these films with your family today!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Phil attends the MST3K Live! 30th Anniversary Tour Featuring Deathstalker II at the City National Civic - November 7, 2018

Hello to all of you in cyberspace! So for those who may not know this, but one of my favorite television shows from the 90's was Mystery Science Theater 3000. Created by comedian Joel Hodgson, the show takes place in the not-too-distant future where Joel Robinson (Hodgson) is held captive by Dr. Forrester (Trace Beaulieu) and TV's Frank (Frank Conniff), and forced to watch B-Grade movies on the Satellite of Love with the help of his robot friends: Cambot, Gypsy (Jim Mallon), Tom Servo (Kevin Murphy) and Crow T. Robot (Beaulieu). During the duration of the show's existence, the cast went through a series of hosts (Michael J. Nelson replaced Hodgson in the middle of season 5 and Bill Corbett replaced Beaulieu as the voice of Crow from season 8) and villains (Corbett, Murphy, and Mary Jo Pehl took over when Beaulieu and Conniff left), even moving to different channels (the show was originally on Comedy Central, then moved to the Sci-Fi Channel). After ten seasons, the show was cancelled, and the lights on the Satellite of Love went dark. Then in 2016 Joel resurrected the show, thanks in large part to a very highly successful Kickstarter campaign, and the show was made and picked up by Netflix. Now 30 years later, right before the launch of Season 12, Joel, the bots, and new host Jonah Ray went on tour to bring the magic of MST3K to the masses, and my girlfriend Stephanie and I got to attend the show here in Downtown San Jose!

The event was held at the historic City National Civic, which was built in 1934 and has held numerous concerts and musicals since. The show was sold out and the excitement level was at an all-time high. MST3K fans came from all around the Bay Area, some in costumes and some brought some awesome looking homemade puppets of Tom Servo. I had miss the tour here back in 2016, but I knew there was no way I'd miss them this time around. Having been a fan for decades, this was a dream come true. And when the lights finally dimmed at 7:30pm, the fun was about to begin!

Beginning with the show's theme song, Jonah Ray, Crow and Tom Servo came out to great the San Jose crowd, with Joel Hodgson joining them on-stage shortly after them. The gang was back together again, and for tonight's film, they chose to riff the 1987 Roger Corman produced cult classic DEATHSTALKER II!

Original Theatrical Poster (1987)
The film's official synopsis: Deathstalker (John Terlesky) has a mission: to save the kingdom from the wicked grip of the immoral wizard Jerak and his queen Sultana. Together they have ruled the land by creating a controllable evil twin of the lovely Princess Evie (Monique Gabrielle). Capturing the real Princess Evie, Deathstalker must now return her to her rightful place of power — but the swordsman’s battle has just begun.

As stated previously, the film was produced by B-movie legend Roger Corman for his company Concorde/New Horizons. The film's star John Terlesky has appeared in numerous other projects like CHOPPING MALL, VALET GIRLS and THE ALLNIGHTER as well as TV series like Guns of Paradise, The Last Frontier and TV movies Battling for Baby, Bad Girls, and Voice from the Grave. He's gone to have a second career as a director, directing several TV episodes of The Blacklist,
Castle, Criminal Minds, Revenge, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Actress Monique Gabrielle was one of the most beautiful and popular Scream Queens from this era. Her resume includes several cult classics like AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON, EMMANUELLE 5, NOT OF THIS EARTH, THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING, HARD TO DIE and EVIL TOONS to name a few. Another B-movie actress appearing in the movie was the great Toni Naples as the female antagonist Sultana. Naples acted in other noteworthy cult films like CHOPPING MALL, TRANSYLVANIA TWIST, SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II, HARD TO DIE, DINOSAUR ISLAND and SORCERESS.

The movie was directed by Jim Wynorski, who's made a name for himself as one of the kings of the low-budget, B-movie scene. He's directed over 110 films alone, and include some of my all-time favorites like CHOPPING MALL, BIG BAD MAMA II, NOT OF THIS EARTH, SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II, HARD TO DIE, DINOSAUR ISLAND, MUNCHIE, and VAMPIRELLA, which were all produced by Roger Corman. In fact, many of his films were with Corman, who helped launch his filmmaking career. He also made a series of erotica thrillers that are still popular to this day. These titles include POINT OF SEDUCTION: BODY CHEMISTRY III, SINS OF DESIRE, VICTIM OF DESIRE, and BODY CHEMISTRY 4: FULL EXPOSURE.

Also known as DEATHSTALKER II: DUEL OF THE TITANS, the movie was released on home video on November 11, 1987 by New Horizons Home Video. This wasn't to be the last of the series, as Corman produced to more sequels, but they didn't have the magic, lunacy, and charm as the second installment.

This was such a fun date night for my girlfriend and I! And it's something I can finally check off my bucket list! To see a live MST3K show was a dream come true and you can all bet that I'll see it again if they go back on tour! As I am writing this, the new season has just dropped on Netflix. So if you are not familiar with the show, do yourself a favor and watch it now and prepare to have your funny bone tickled immensely!

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return is currently available to watch now on Netflix. To start your subscription, visit www.netflix.com. They also have a selection of episodes from past seasons as well. Select episodes are also available on DVD and boxsets from Shout! Factory. To purchase copies for yourself, visit their website at www.shoutfactory.com. And make sure you also the official Mystery Science Theater 3000 website at www.mst3k.com.

Thanks for reading, and keep circulating the URL!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Phil wishes everyone a Happy Halloween - October 31, 2018

Welcome back horror hounds to Phil's Halloween Horror Watch! So, as some of you may have noticed, I didn't keep up with my blogging this month. Well, I have a very good reason for this. During the last weekend of October, my girlfriend and I moved into our new place! Yes, I was very exited about this! However, what made it so damn frustrating was that AT&T kept on flaking on setting up our Internet service! As a result, there was no way that I could write up my reviews even though I was still watching my movies. Now, to remedy this, I am going to post the rest of the movies that I watched, complete with the film's synopsis. Sit back, relax, and read on!

Day 22: SCALPEL (1976) from Arrow Video. The film's official synopsis: US television staple Robert Lansing (Star Trek, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone) stars as a deranged surgeon in this twisty-turny psychological thriller from Blood Rage director John Grissmer. In the film, Lansing plays Dr. Phillip Reynolds, a man whose daughter Heather (Judith Chapman, As the World Turns, General Hospital) has run away from home a year prior following the suspicious death of her boyfriend. When he happens across a young woman one night, her face beaten beyond recognition, the unhinged Reynolds sees his an opportunity to put his trusty scalpel to use – hatching a plan to “reconstruct” her face in the image of his missing daughter, and so claim her sizeable inheritance.

Day 23: TO HELL AND BACK: THE KANE HODDER STORY (2017) from Dread Central Presents. The film's official synopsis: Featuring interviews and appearances by fellow icons Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Bruce Campbell (Ash Vs Evil Dead), Director Adam Green (the Hatchet franchise) and many more, TO HELL AND BACK: THE KANE HODDER STORY is the must-see documentary of the year.

Day 24: HOUSE OF THE DEAD (aka ALIEN ZONE) () from Vinegar Syndrome. The film's official synopsis: Four tales of intrigue and horror await anyone brave enough to enter the HOUSE OF THE DEAD… When a philandering husband accidentally finds himself lost during a rainstorm, he’s taken in by an elderly mortician and is forced to learn the ghastly origins of four freshly arrived corpses: a scornful teacher whose students teach her a fatal lesson, an amateur filmmaker with a deadly muse, two dueling detectives attempting to solve a mysterious murder, and a bitter man whose arrogance costs him everything.

Day 25: THE MUTILATOR (1984) from Arrow Video. The film's official synopsis: When Ed receives a message from his father asking him to go and lock up the family’s beach condo for the winter, it seems like the perfect excuse for an alcohol-fueled few days away with his friends. But no sooner are the teens on the island than they find themselves stalked by a figure with an axe (and a hook, and an outboard motor) to grind.

Day 26: EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL at the San Jose Stage One Theater. The musical's synopsis:

Day 27: THE CHURCH (1981) from Scorpion Releasing. The film's official synopsis: In the middle of a modern city, an ancient evil is about to awaken! An elaborate cathedral that was once the site of a medieval massacre by crusading knights becomes a deadly trap for a group of visitors and staff when a sealed crypt is accidentally reopened. The laws of reality soon collapse as a nightmare takes hold and claims the lives of those within one by one, threatening to unleash a supernatural pestilence upon the world!

Day 28: BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON () from Scream Factory. The film's official synopsis: You know legendary maniacs Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger. Now meet Leslie Vernon, the next great psycho-slasher. Nathan Baesel (Invasion) stars as Vernon, a good-natured killing machine who invites a documentary film crew to follow him as he reminisces with his murder mentor (Scott Wilson, The Walking Dead), evades his psychiatrist/nemesis (Robert Englund, A Nightmare On Elm Street), deconstructs Freudian symbolism, and meticulously plots his upcoming slaughter spree. But when the actual carnage begins, where do you draw the line between voyeuristic thrills, mythic evil, and good old-fashioned slasher movie mayhem?

Day 29: THE SLAYER (2006) from Arrow Video. The film's official synopsis: Two young couples set off to a secluded island for what promises to be a restful retreat. But the peace is short-lived: as a storm batters the island, troubled artist Kay begins to sense that a malevolent presence is here with them, stalking them at every turn. Is she losing her mind, or are her childhood nightmares of a demonic assailant coming to terrifying life?

Day 30: THE WITCHING SEASON (2015) from Scream Team Releasing. The film's official synopsis: Reminiscent of television shows like ‘Tales from the Darkside’ and ‘Tales from the Crypt’, The Witching Season is a five episode spine-tingling anthology of horror and suspense packed into one disc that delivers original tales of terror that capture the spirit of the Halloween season.

Day 31: TALES OF HALLOWEEN (2015) from Epic Pictures. The film's official synopsis: Named "the best horror anthology since Trick 'r Treat" by Fangoria and "among the best Halloween-themed horror movies ever made" by DailyDead, this critically acclaimed film weaves together ten chilling tales from horror's top directors. Ghosts, ghouls, monsters, and the devil delight in terrorizing unsuspecting residents of a suburban neighborhood on Halloween night.

And folks, there you have it! Another Halloween Horror Watch has come to a scary conclusion! I would like to thank all of you out there for reading my blog and I hope you've enjoyed learning about some of these horror films, cult classics, and modern day indie hits!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: NIGHTMARE SISTERS (1988) from Vinegar Syndrome - October 21, 2018

Starring Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer (as Michelle McClellan), Richard Gabai, Matthew Phelps, C. Jay Cox, Marcus Vaughter
Screenplay by Kenneth J. Hall
Cinematography by Vojislav Mikulic (as Voya Mikulic)
Edited by Tony Malanowski
Produced by John Schouweiler, David DeCoteau, Kenneth J. Hall
Directed by David DeCoteau
Originally released by Trans World Entertainment
Released by Vinegar Syndrome

Hello again everybody and welcome to Day 21! Hard to believe the month's almost over! I hope you've been having fun reading all my Halloween Horror Watch entries! Today's film is a true cult classic, and stars the three greatest Scream Queens from the 1980's! Plus, it was directed by one of the most prolific B-movie directors of all time! Made on a shoe-string budget and shot in four days, NIGHTMARE SISTERS is a must-watch this Halloween season!

The film's official synopsis: Three plain looking sorority sisters (Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer) decide to host a séance and invite their nerdy boyfriends to enjoy the fun. But when Omar (Dukey Flyswatter), a mystical shaman, suddenly appears in their crystal ball and tricks the girls into touching him, they’re suddenly transformed into ravishing succubi, determined to suck more than just souls. Will the guys be able to stop the madness before it’s too late?

The film did receive a limited theatrical release from Trans World Entertainment in June of 1988 before being available on VHS later that year. However, the company abruptly went out of business and as a result, less than 2,000 copies were distributed and the film fell into obscurity. Then in the early1990's, the movie was shown on the popular late-night cable show USA Up All Night, and received a new interest in it, albeit the infamouse bathtun scene was cut and repelaced with a newly shot scene of the three actresses dressed in lingerie, jumping on a bed, and bouncing balloons. But that still got teenager boys and young men's blood boiling. It was finally released on DVD 2003 Retromedia Entertainment (owned by fellow B-movie director Fred Olen Ray) and again DeCoteau himself through his own company Rapid Heart Pictures as a stand alone DVD and as part of the "Linnea Quigley: Grindhouse Triple Feature" DVD compilation. 

NIGHTMARE SISTERS is a cherished and beloved cult classic that's gotten better over the years! It's reputation as a VHS rental gem has become synonymous with that era's direct-to-video, low-budget horror comedies! Filled with cheesy acting, low-budget productions, goofy humor, gratuitous nudity, and far-out gore, the movie has gone to become an example of those bygone days when mom & pop video stores and late-night cable shows of the mid to late 80's ruled the world! It's a personal favorite of mine, and I know after watching the movie, it'll be your favorite as well! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

NIGHTMARE SISTERS is available in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack from Vinegar Syndrome. To order a copy for yourself, visit their website at vinegarsyndrome.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: VAMPIRE COP (1990) from SRS Cinema - Oct. 20, 2018

Starring Ed Cannon, Melissa Moore, Mal Arnold, Joey Thrower, Don Tilley, Morrow Faye
Screenplay by Donald Farmer
Cinematography by Glenn Kral
Edited by John Decker
Produced by Faye Chesney, Max Chesney, Donald Farmer
Directed by Donald Farmer
Originally released by Atlas Entertainment Corporation
Released by SRS Cinema

Welcome to Day 20 of Phil's Halloween Horror Watch! If you're not familiar with the name Donald Farmer, well, you should. He's been making low budget horror movies for over 30 years and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Shot-On-Video movement. His resume includes CANNIBAL HOOKERS, VICIOUS LIPS, RED LIPS, and CHAINSAW CHEERLEADERS for starters. I remember learning about Mr. Farmer back in the early 90's through my local mom & pop video store and magazines like Scream Queens Illustrated and Alternative Cinema. Now, I've come full circle again, as I watched VAMPIRE COP, one of his all-time classics from SRS Cinema!

The film's official synopsis: It's not easy being a cop. Especially when you're a VAMPIRE COP like Officer Lucas (Ed Cannon). But with the city in the grip of a psycho drug kingpin, it's time to pull out all the stops and TAKE A BITE OUT OF CRIME! But now beautiful reporter Melanie Roberts (Melissa Moore) is onto Lucas' little secret. Will she expose him. . . or help him crack the biggest crime caper since Al Capone? Soon the streets are running red with stone dead hookers and bone dry mobsters -all with two little bites on their neck. Will Melanie be next? Or is Lucas ready to make the ultimate vampire's sacrifice to save her.

The movie screams of early 1990, which was a fun year to watch low budget movies. And no one made them better (or worse depending on your criteria) than Donald Farmer. He tried to make a really good movie on the rediciously small budget, but it's the film's limitations that make it fun to watch. This is probably the only vampire movie I have seen that doesn't show hardly any bloodletting! But the opening theme song "" rocked my world back then and brought me back to my simplistic youthful days. It's a movie shot with basic set-ups, framing, and composition, nothing really splashy and overly artsy, it's just a simple B-movie that was there to be entertaining. And with Farmer, it's anything but boring.

Original VHS Cover (1991)
Our two main leads in the film are the vampire cop himself Lucas, played by Ed Cannon and his love interest female reporter Melanie Roberts, played by the beautiful, buxom, and breathtaking Melissa Moore. Born in Versailles, Kentucky, she was a staple in the realm of B-movies, action flicks, erotica, and horror films, and her resume includes some of the all-time greats from the VHS era: THE INVISIBLE MANIAC, CAGED FURY, SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II, HARD TO DIE, ANGELFIST, and STORMSWEPT were some of her movies that I used to rent. In this move, Moore bares it all, literally, as she acts her way through her investigation of the mysterious vampire cop. Moore is one of the unsung Scream Queens that I feel has been looked over and forgotten, and I hope this movie will remind fans of the genre how much she was a part of our lives during this time.

The movie was filmed in late 1989 and early 1990 and released on VHS by Atlas Entertainment Corporation the following year. Again, I remember renting this at my favorite local video store American Video Center. They had the best selection of B-movies, horror films, and cult classics in town! I watched and ungodly amount of movies from that place! I can't recall if it was ever released on DVD after that, but SRS Cinema has come to the rescue and has re-released the movie in a brand new director's cut! They released it DVD, but also on a limited edition professional run and silk-screened BD-R to only 100 units, and a limited edition VHS clam shell with only 30 units available.

VAMPIRE COP is a 90's B-movie, cult classic that you can definitely sink your teeth into this Halloween! It shows audiences why everything was so damn cool about that decade! Yup, the 90's did have some cheesy B-movies and this is one of the best! So I dare you to watch this movie and try not to have a good time! 3 1/2 out of 5 stars! Definitely worth a watch!

VAMPIRE COP is available in a Special Collector's Edition Blu-ray (BD-R), DVD, and a Limited Edition Clam Shell VHS from SRS Cinema. To purchase a copy for yourself and other titles, please visit their website at srscinemastore.com.

Thanks for watching, and enjoy the horror!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: HELL NIGHT (1981) from Scream Factory - October 19, 2018

Starring Linda Blair, Vincent Van Patten, Peter Barton, Kevin Brophy, Jenny Neumann, Suki Goodwin, Jimmy Sturtevant
Screenplay by Randy Feldman (as Randolph Feldman)
Cinematography by Mac Ahlberg
Edited by Anthony DiMarco
Produced by Irwin Yablans, Bruce Cohn Curtis
Directed by Tom DeSimone (as Tom De Simone)
Originally released by Compass International Pictures
Released by Scream Factory

Hello again horror hounds and welcome to Day 19! Wow, the month's almost over already? Time does fly when you're having fun watching horror movies every single day! Speaking of horror movies, today's film is an oldie but a goodie. And the star of the film is none other than the legendary Linda Blair. Her resume includes both horror and cult classics like THE EXORCIST, SAVAGE STREETS and CHAINED HEAT. For today, I had the pleasure of watching a movie that's been long out-of-print. Now thanks to Scream Factory, her horror movie HELL NIGHT is now back and better than ever!

The film's official synopsis: As an initiation rite into Alpha Sigma Rho fraternity, four pledges must spend a night in Garth Manor, twelve years to the day after the previous resident murdered his entire family. Two of the pledges, Marti and Jeff ignore the rumors that the now-deserted mansion is haunted by a crazed killer, until one by one, members of their group mysteriously disappear. Could this be a part of a fraternity prank ... or is a demented former tenant seeking revenge? When this seemingly innocent night turns deadly, these college students will do anything to survive Hell Night.

I loved the opening of the movie. Director Tom DeSimone has a long unedited and uninterrupted shot of a major college party and it pans to the right and captures the spirit of this festive event. I sat there thinking to myself, "Dude, we didn't have college parties like that back in my day! Hey, that looks like a lot of fun! Was this happening back when I was in college? Man, those college girls were hot! Hey, I remember that brand of beer! I wonder if they still make it? Speaking of making, those two college kids are making out big time! Awwww.....I miss college." That's what I was thinking, but I digress.

Original Theatrical Poster (1981)
DeSimone builds up the story slowly, maybe a tad bit to slow for me, but when the scares gets going, the blood starts flowing. The storyline is pretty simple, but the production values look amazing, capturing the Hammer Horror Gothic look. He sets up the scares perfectly, as it builds and builds to one cool and painful looking climax in the third act. Credit also goes to screenwriter Randy Feldman for writing a fun and scary horror movie that looks and sounds authentic, meaning the characters are look and sound like young college students and not what a Hollywood executive thinks what they would look and sound like.

Linda Blair was one of the most beautiful actresses at this time. I had a bog crush on here when I saw her in ROLLER BOOGIE. She's so confident in her acting that you cannot look away from her when she's on the screen. Also appearing in the film is Vincent Van Patten as Seth, who you've seen in ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, PAYBACK, and on TV series like Baywatch and The Young and the Restless. Blair's love interest is Jeff is played by Peter Barton, who's titles include FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER and television shows like Burke's Law, Sunset Beach, and The Young and the Restless.

The movie was released to theaters on August 28, 1981 by Compass International Pictures, the same distributor that brought us HALLOWEEN, ROLLER BOOGIE (another Linda Blair Picture), FADE TO BLACK, and BLOOD BEACH (the company would close after this release and return four years later as Trancas International Films, an affiliate of Universal Studios and current copyright holders of the HALLOWEEN franchise). It would gross $2.3 million against its $1.4 million budget, so not too bad but not that great either. It was was released on VHS by Media Home Entertainment in 1982, then later on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 1999. In January of this year, Scream Factory released the film for the first time on Blu-ray in a Collector's Edition set (with DVD).

The Blu-Ray/DVD Combo comes with these excellent extras: New Interviews With Actors Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Vincent Van Patten, Suki Goodwin, Kevin Brophy, and Jenny Neumann, Audio Commentary With Linda Blair, Tom DeSimone, Irwin Yablans, And Bruce Cohn Curtis, and Original Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots. The following special features are only Blu-ray Disc Exclusive Bonus Features: Interview With Director Tom DeSimone, Interview With Producer Bruce Cohn Curtis, Interview With Writer Randolph Feldman, Anatomy Of The Death Scenes With Tom DeSimone, Randolph Feldman, Make-up Artist Pam Peitzman, Art Director Steven G. Legler, And Special Effects Artist John Eggett, On Location At The Kimberly Crest House With Tom DeSimone, Gothic Design In Hell Night With Steven G. Legler, Original Radio Spot, and Photo Gallery Featuring Rare, Never-before-seen Stills.

HELL NIGHT is a fun and overlooked 80's slasher movie that will please fans of both the genre and Linda Blair! While not quite on par as with the other films of this era, the fact that it's now available in a new 4K scan and completely restored, it means that horror hounds will be able to enjoy the movie all year round! So come out and take trip down to the old Garth Manor, and see if you can survive the night! 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

HELL NIGHT is available in a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo from Scream Factory. To purchase a copy, visit their website at www.shoutfactory.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!