Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Phil's Top 25 Favorite Christmas-Themed Horror Films Of All Time - December 19, 2018

With the holidays almost here, what better way to conclude this wonderful time of year than to watch some really awesome Christmas themed horror movies! During this yuletide time, I thought it would be not only fun but informative to share with you some of my favorite Christmas themed horror films. This is something that I've been doing for a couple of years now, due to the amazing plethora of titles that are available to watch. 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! Therefore, some recent entries such as ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE, MRS. CLAUSE, SLAY BELLES, CHRISTMAS PRESENCE, and ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING didn't make the list yet. 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 Top 25 Favorite Christmas-Themed Horror Films of All Time!

25) BLACK CHRISTMAS (aka BLACK X-MAS) (2006):

24) SILENT NIGHT (2012): A loose remake of the classic 1984 slasher film SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, the plot centers on the police force of a remote Midwestern town in search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve. Directed by Steven C. Miller and starring Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Courtney-Jane White, Ellen Wong and Rick Skene, the movie is a slick, sick slasher flick that will appeal to horror fanatics. Miller is no stranger to the horror genre, after helming AUTOMATION TRANSFUSION (2006), SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE (2011) and UNDER THE BED (2012). Also, this was King's third remake of a 80's slasher film, having starred in the 2009 MY BLOODY VALENTINE and 2010 MOTHER'S DAY remakes.

23) ELVES (1989)

22) RED CHRISTMAS (2017)

21) SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT (1972)

20) DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS (1989)

19) ATM (2012)

18) SECRET SANTA (2015)

17) SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 2 (1987)

16) THE CHILDREN (2008)

15) DEAD END (2003)

14) SANTA'S SLAY (2005)

13) SAINT (aka SINT) (2016)

12) CHRISTMAS EVIL (aka YOU BETTER WATCH OUT) (1980): When he was a boy, Harry idolized Santa Claus. But one Christmas Eve, he witnessed something horrifying that forever shattered his innocent understanding of Santa. Now an adult, Harry wants to embody the pure Santa Claus he grew up loving. He works at a toy factory and keeps records of who’s been naughty and nice, but the spirit of Christmas isn’t what it used to be and he can’t take it. So, garbed in his red suit, Harry decides that the only thing he can do is to become Santa himself and make all of the naughty townspeople pay…in blood! Originally released as You Better Watch Out, the film predates SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT by four years! Troma Entertainment originally released the movie on VHS in 2000 in an unrated director's cut. Then in 2006, Synapse Film's gained the rights to release it on DVD before finally getting a Blu-Ray/DVD combo from Vinegar Syndrome in 2014.

11) JACK FROST (1997): On his way to be executed, the vehicle containing notorious serial killer Jack Frost collides with a hazardous chemical truck, turning Jack into a snow covered mutant and unleashing him on the unsuspecting town of Snomonton, ‘The Snowman Capitol of the Midwest’. Jack immediately takes advantage of his newfound freedom and blizzardy abilities to seek revenge on the bungling Sheriff, played by Christopher Allport (TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.), that accidentally ended his cross-country killing spree. On his way to the Sheriff, Jack terrorizes the snow-man themed town and murders its residents in a variety of winterized ways. The movie was recently released as a Blu-Ray/DVD combo by Vinegar Syndrome after being out of print for years.

10) KRAMPUS (2015): When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family's home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive. Filmmaker Michael Dougherty is well known to horror fans as the writer/director of the beloved anthology TRICK 'r TREAT and his new film GODZILLA: KING OF MONSTERS for Warner Bros. Pictures will be released next summer. At the time of me writing this piece, it was announced that Dougherty will finally be making the long awaited sequel TRICK 'r TREAT 2, which I have been waiting for since the first movie came out!

9) NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984)

8) A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY (2015): It’s the season of joy, peace, and goodwill… unless you live in Bailey Downs. Last Christmas Eve, two teens came to a grisly end in a school basement. Now, one year later, a new set of horrors has come to town. As three friends explore the site of the massacre, a malevolent spirit is determined to keep them there forever. One of the first cops to the scene of the bloody murders has new complications as his seven-year-old son exhibits terrifying and violent behavior. And when a local family seeks reconciliation with an estranged aunt for the wrong reasons, they suddenly find themselves running in terror from Krampus, the demonic anti-Santa Claus. Not even St. Nick is immune to the terror as he fights back against a horde of zombie elves. This is destined to be a holiday no one will ever forget.

7) BETTER WATCH OUT (2017): 2016): This holiday season, you may be home, but you’re not alone... In this fresh and gleefully twisted spin on home-invasion horror, babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) must defend her young charges Luke (Levi Miller) and his best friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould ) when intruders break into the house one snowy night – or so she thinks. Originally titled as SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD, the film made a big splash when it was screened at the Fantastic Fest in 2016. It went on to garner acclaim at other film festivals before being picked up for distribution by Well Go USA Entertainment. This is one of the most original, entertaining and sick Christmas themed horror films I have seen in a very long time! Fun fact: both DeJonge and Oxenbould played siblings in M. Night Shyamalan's 2015 thriller THE VISIT.

6) A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993): Bored with the same old scare-and-scream routine, Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, longs to spread the joy of Christmas. But his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere! I don't care what people think or say, this is a horror film disguised as a children's film. Created by the legendary Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick, this stop motion musical contains some delightful scares and eerie imagery that horror fans have come accustomed to with Mr. Burton's cinematic world. And the cinematic world has never been the same since. Since its original release, the film has gone on to become a true animation classic, spawning toys, games, clothes and all kinds of merchandise.

5) GREMLINS (1984): A small town is besieged by some furry and not-so-cute little creatures after a young man ignores the warnings of a wise elder regarding their care and feeding. Before anybody says anything, the film takes place during Christmas time, so that is why it's on my list. Written by Chris Columbus, produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Joe Dante, the film stars Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Keye Luke, Corey Feldman, Dick Miller and with Howie Mandel providing the voice of Gizmo. The film was so successful that it became the fourth highest-grossing film of 1984 (GHOSTBUSTERS, BEVERLY HILLS COP and INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM were the other three films), grossing a staggering $148.1 million against its meager $11 million budget! A sequel was eventually made and released in 1990.

4) RARE IMPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (2010)

3) SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984): The film 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! Community leaders tried to stop the release. The P.T.A. fought to ban it. In 2017, Scream Factory, an imprint of Shout! Factory, released the film on Blu-Ray in a new high-definition and fully restored from the original vaulted film negative. Still considered controversial to this very day, the film spawned four sequels along with the 2012 remake that came in at number ten

2) INSIDE (aka À l'intérieur) (2007): Good lord!! This was one fucked up movie!! Four months before Christmas, Sarah and Matthieu Scarangelo were in a car crash, of which Sarah and her unborn baby were the only survivors. On Christmas Eve, Sarah stays home alone, where she grieves her husband and prepares to go to the hospital the next morning for the delivery. As night falls, a woman knocks on Sarah's door asking to use the phone. When she refuses, the woman reveals that she knows Sarah and tries to force her way in. Sarah calls the police; they inspect the home and determine the woman has left, but promise to keep watch over Sarah through the night. The woman returns and tries to take Sarah's unborn child, but Sarah locks herself in the bathroom. The strange woman torments Sarah through the night and kills all who try help her.

1) BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974): The grandaddy of all Christmas horror films! The college town of Bedford is receiving an unwelcome guest this Christmas. As the residents of sorority house Pi Kappa Sigma prepare for the festive season, a stranger begins to stalk the house. A series of obscene phone calls start to plague the residents of the sorority and it becomes clear that a psychopath is homing in on the sisters with dubious intentions. And though the police try to trace the calls, they discover that nothing is as it seems during this Black Christmas. Over 40 years after its initial theatrical release, the movie still holds up and still inspires screams from audiences today! It predates HALLOWEEN by four years and it's sited as launching the slasher genre. Again, the  remake came out in 2006 and Scream Factory released a two-disc special edition Blu-Ray set in 2017.

And folks, there you have it! My Top 25 Favorite Christmas-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 put out those milk and cookies, turn on your Christmas tree lights, pop some popcorn and set back and watch these films with your family today! Just make sure you save a seat for Santa, or he'll leave a lump of coal in your stocking....if your lucky!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays to you all!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Phil sees BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY at the Pruneyard Dine-In Cinemas - Dec. 12, 2018

As a kid growing up in the 1970's and 1980's, there was one band that dominated the world and brought to the masses some of the most original, experiential, and groundbreaking rock anthems in all of music history. And that band was called Queen. Fronted by the charismatic Freddie Mercury, the band went on to sell out stadiums all over the world, and sold a staggering 300 million albums. When Mercury died from AIDS related illness on November 24, 1991, the world mourned and life became a lot less magical. For several years, there have been several attempts to bring the story of Queen, and more specifically Mercury's life, to the silver screen, but it looked like it wasn't meant to be. Fast forward to 2018 and I'm at the Pruneyard Dine-In Cinemas, ordering some delicious food from their Cedar Room restaurant, and relaxing in their reclining chairs to watch the long-awaited Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic entitled BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.

The film's official synopsis: BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.

My jaw dropped in my lap when I saw actor Rami Malek come across the screen! He looked, acted, and sounded like Freddie Mercury! It was uncanny!

Phil's Shudder Picks: KING COHEN: THE WILD WORLD OF FILMMAKER LARRY COHEN (2017) - December 16, 2018

Hell again readers and welcome back to another thrilling installment of Phil's Shudder Picks! Today's film was just added to the streaming service a couple of days ago, and it's a film that I've been hearing about for a while now. It's a documentary about one of the most underrated filmmakers of all time. Now I've been a fan of his for years, and when I first heard about the documentary, I was super excited to see it. He was long overdue to have a film about himself, as he has countless stories to tell and a large fanbase, who are very loyal to him and his work. So let's no wait another minute, and let me tell you all about the documentary KING COHEN: THE WILD WORLD OF FILMMAKER LARRY COHEN.

The film's official synopsis: Buckle up for KING COHEN, the true story of writer, producer, director, creator and all-around maverick, Larry Cohen (BLACK CAESAR, GOD TOLD ME TO, Q: THE WINGED SERPENT, THE STUFF). Told through compelling live interviews, stills and film/TV clips, the people who helped fulfill his vision, and industry icons such as Martin Scorsese, John Landis, Michael Moriarty, Fred Williamson, Yaphet Kotto and many more, including Larry himself, bring one-of-a-kind insight into the work, process and legacy of a true American film auteur. Few can boast of a career as remarkable or prolific, spanning more than 50 years of entertaining audiences worldwide!

The first Larry Cohen film I saw was the 1974 fright flick IT'S ALIVE, and I saw it on cable when I was about nine or ten years old. 

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

NIGHTMARE SISTERS Blu-Ray
NIGHTMARE SISTERS
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

VAMPIRE COP Blu-Ray
VAMPIRE COP
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

HELL NIGHT Blu-Ray
HELL NIGHT
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!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: Phil sees HALLOWEEN at the Cinelux Almaden Cafe & Lounge - October 18, 2018

It's safe to say that John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic HALLOWEEN (which I saw last week) changed the landscape of cinema when it was released to theaters and remains a milestone in the gnere. It scared the hell out of audiences everywhere, spawned a franchise of films and merchandise, put Carpenter's name on the map, and ushered in the slasher genre that dominated theaters throughout the 1980's. Granted, several installments of the series were less than we were anticipating, and don't get me started on the whole Rob Zombie's reboot and sequel. Then on May 24, 2016, Blumhouse Productions and Miramax announced that they would be co-financing a brand new film for the series, and that Carpenter himself would be both producing and scoring the film! And that original star Jamie Lee Curtis would also be returning along with the original Shape Nick Castle! Boy, did that excite me! And now, 40 years later, I'm here at the Cinelux Almaden Cafe & Lounge to attend the special Thursday night screening of the latest chapter in the story of Micheal Myers, simply titled HALLOWEEN!

The film's official synopsis: Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Holy crap I loved the hell outta this movie!! This surpassed beyond my expectations! Jamie Lee Curtis returns to bring a new dimension to her iconic character Laurie Strode. Life has been hard on Laurie, and we learn the sacrifices, consequences, and loss that she has lived through these past 40 years. Her relationship with her estranged daughter Karen (Judy Greer) is almost non-existent, but she tries to reach out to her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). But when Micheal Myers (the returning Nick Castle) returns to Haddonfield to finish what he started all those years ago, it's up to Laurie to save her family and to end the terror of The Boogeyman.

Curtis and Castle are not the only ones to return to the franchise. The series creator himself, John Carpenter, returned as not only as one of the executive producers, he also scored the film! And it sounded freaking awesome! His new take on the movie's theme was awesome and it just sounded like a Carpenter score! This elevates the movie to a higher level, and increases the intensity and dread in the final product. I was so happy to have the man himself back on board to help guide the film back to its roots, which leads me to my next topic.

I felt like the movie (and the series) returned back to its roots, and that's thanks in larger part to director David Gordon Green and screenwriters Green, Danny McBride, and Jeff Fradley. Together, the crafted a simple, yet very effective, tour de force that hasn't been seen in the series for a very long time.

Since this was a Thursday night screening, the audience that I saw it with were loud, rambunctious, rowdy, and vocal. This was the perfect way to see this movie! They were cheering, screaming, laughing, and we were all having a great time! This is why going to the cinemas and watching a movie with a group of like-minded strangers is so important! We get to share an experience together rather than watching a movie alone. Where's the fun in that? That's so damn boring! Watching a horror movie with this type of audience makes going to the theaters so damn fun!

HALLOWEEN is my pick for Best Horror Film of 2018!! This is the sequel that we have been waiting for for the last 40 years!! Everything in this movie was phenomenal!! The acting, the directing, the cinematography, the film's score, there wasn't anything wrong with the overall presentation! And the kills were graphic, gory, and gorgeous!! You need to experience this movie on the big screen!! So make plans with your friends and loved ones and celebrate October the way it was meant to be: by spending time with the return of Michael Myers!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


HALLOWEEN is playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cineluxtheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Phil's Halloweeen Horror Watch: BLOODSUCKERS FROM OUTER SPACE (1984) from Vinegar Syndrome - October 17, 2018

BLOODSUCKER FROM OUTER SPACE Slipcover
BLOODSUCKERS FROM OUTER SPACE
Starring Thom Meyers, Laura Ellis, Robert Bradeen, Big John Brigham, Glen Coburn, Franny Coppenbarg, Dan Gallion
Screenplay by Glen Coburn
Cinematography by Chad D. Smith
Edited by Karen D. Latham
Produced by Rick Garlington, Garl Boyd Latham, Karen D. Latham, Larry McInerney
Directed by Glen Coburn
Originally released by Karl-Lorimar Home Video
Released by Vinegar Syndrome

Welcome back horror hounds to my annual Halloween Horror Watch! For Day 17, I decided to pull and oldie but goodie from that lovely decade called the 1980's. The movie was part of the straight-to-video trend that was becoming popular, since video stores were desperate to find product to put on their shelves. Shot on 16mm film stock in rural Texas, BLOODSUCKERS FROM OUTER SPACE is a bona fide cult classic that you have never heard of!

The film's official synopsis: A mysterious and invisible alien presence has landed in rural Texas and has started turning the nearby townspeople into white-faced, bloodthirsty killers. As the local authorities begin to investigate the strange and violent goings on, a photographer and his girlfriend find themselves trapped in the midst of an unexpected rural bloodbath, which seeks to turn them into another pair of bloodsuckers from outer space. A low budget, low rent horror comedy from writer/director Glen Coburn, BLOOD SUCKERS FROM OUTER SPACE is a gory and silly slice of home made regional genre filmmaking.

This was one of the most goofy, silly, hilarious local indie horror films from the 80's that I have ever seen! It almost has a Troma-esque feel to it. What makes it so enjoyable to watch that it's such a low budget movie that the filmmakers didn't really take it all so seriously. However, the film was made with a lot skill and care: the sound was awesome, cinematography was nice looking, and the cast put on a great performance. But you can tell they were just having a ball making it! Like I've said previously, you can see the comradery and passion within each frame of the movie, and everybody involved was giving a 110%! This is a perfect snapshot of the local DIY indie film movement that was taking place in the country.

Original In-Store Poster (1984)
Writer/director  Glen Coburn was very fortunate to have such a talented crew to help bring his unique and quarky vision to fruition. His cast and crew made a film that has lasted for over 34 years, and the fact that it's still talked about to this day proves that they left their mark in cinema history. What I enjoyed was Corburn's script, which had a lot of funny one-liners, great comedy moments, and some clever fourth-wall breaking. Add the on-screen chemistry between Thom Meyers' character Jeff Rhodes and Laura Ellis' Julie, plus the rocking score by Emilie Aronson, Ann Armstrong and Steve Hughes and you have one radical movie!

The movie premiered in October of 1984 at the Joe Bob Briggs' Drive-In Movie Festival. It was reviewed by Travis Box of the Dallas Observer, calling it, "one of the best low budget films made in Texas." It was picked up by Karl-Lorimar Home Video and released on home video shortly soon after. In late 2008, the company Media Blasters released the movie on DVD to a new generation of fans. Then in 2018, Vinegar Syndrome re-released the movie in a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo, newly scanned and restored in 2k from 16mm negative elements.

Since I'm a hardcore collector of physical media, I purchased my copy with the limited slipcover (which is now sold out but is still available in a regular edition). The combo set comes with some interesting special features: Commentary Track with writer/director Glen Coburn, actor Thom Meyers, and cinematographer Chad D. Smith, "34 Years Later" - A 50 minute 'making-of' documentary, " Back To Bloodsucker Town" - 15-minute featurette, "Bloody Arm Rip 101" - A how-to guide on recreating the special effect from the film, Stills Gallery: Featuring over 100 images from Glen's personal collection on the making of the film, and a reversible cover artwork.

BLOODSUCKERS FROM OUTER SPACE is a Grade-Z, horror comedy classic that has a lot of heart and soul, which makes up for the extremely low budget! The movie falls into the , "It's so bad it's good" category, but for other reasons! The cast and crew did the impossible and have left their mark in the annuals of horror film history! This was the over-the-top, cheesy, campy VHS rental of 1984, and now it's the must-own Blu-Ray of 2018!! 3 1/2 out of 5 stars! Definitely worth a watch!


BLOODSUCKERS FROM OUTER SPACE 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!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: TERRIFIER (2017) from Dread Central Presents - October 16, 2018

TERRIFIER Blu-Ray
TERRIFIER
Starring David Howard Thornton, Jenna Kanell, Samantha Scaffidi, Catherine Corcoran, Katie Maguire, Matt McAllister
Screenplay by Damien Leone
Cinematography by George Steuber
Edited by Damien Leone
Produced by Larry Bilello, Phil Falcone, Damien Leone, Joe Patrick Marshall, George Steuber, Adam Weber
Directed by Damien Leone
Released by Dread Central Presents

Hello everybody and welcome to Day 16 of my Halloween Horror Watch! So, there's a lot of people in the world who are deathly afraid of clowns. And to be honest, clowns are pretty damn creepy. Even though they're somewhat funny and are there for the kids, adults have grown to be scared of them, and rightly so. There have been some terrifying clowns in the horror genre, such as Pennywise from IT, the space clowns from KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, and Captain Spaulding from THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. Now you can add Art the Clown from TERRIFIER from Dread Central Presents to that lengthly list.

The film's official synopsis: Based on a character from the cult anthology, All Hallows Eve, the gory 80's slasher throwback takes place on Halloween night as the demented Art the Clown sets his sights on terrorizing two girls and anyone else that gets in his way.

After watching the film for the first time in the comfort of my home, I was thinking to myself, "What the fuck did I just watch?!?" Yeah, this is one fucked up horror movie!! It has that old school, 1970's grindhouse horror film aesthetic that the movie nails you to the back of the theater and doesn't let go till the end credits. It's also super nasty, meaning everything about it makes you feel dirty watching it. So afterwards, I took a very long shower! Then, I took another shower!

Credit goes to actor David Howard Thornton for his performance of Art the Clown, one of the most horrifying clowns I have ever seen in a horror film! Thorton was a trained mime and brings a lot of this experience to his character. He doesn't speak a word and he doesn't have to: his body language, his mannerism, his facial expressions, every little thing he does adds to mystic to his role as Art the Clown. If he doesn't get some kind award for his acting, then there is no justice in the world! He is that damn phenomenal!!

Original Theatrical Poster (2018)
Also contributing to Art's night of horrors are actresses Jenna Kanell and Catherine Corcoran as Tara and Dawn, respectively. As the first two female victims of the night, they are put through the ringer in terms of being attacked, tied to a chair, and hung upside down naked while being sawed in half while still alive!! Holy shit that was fucking sick looking!! Both Kanell and Corcoran are amazing in the film, as is Samantha Scaffidi, who plays Tara's sister Victoria. Scaffidi had the pleasure of being the only survivor of Art the Clown's reign of terror, but the aftermath has left he severely scared! Congratulations to these fine ladies for being part of the film!!

The movie was written, directed, and edited by Damien Leone, who also made the 2013 film ALL HALLOW'S EVE, which is where Art the Clown originated. Leone bring an intensity to his directing style: it's unflinching, in-your-face, uncompromising, and unrelenting! His camera does not shy away from the violence at all! We are forced to see everything, which will put off some but it's nonetheless effective storytelling. The story is also straight-forward, and doesn't offer much as for Art's motivation and why he does what he does. Truth be told, we don't really need to know this. Do we need to know why Michael Myers wanted to kill Laurie Strode? No we don't, so we don't need to know why he's killing all these people. He's just a fucking psychotic individual who kills people! Period! And I'm totally fine with this!

The film premiered at the Telluride Horror Show Film Festival in 2016, and then went on to play at the Horror Channel FrightFest. it was picked up for distribution by Dread Central Presents, an imprint of Epic Pictures specializing in horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films. They released the movie in a limited theatrical release and also in a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack. The film was also just added on Netflix back in September.

The Blu-Ray/DVD Combo come with some cool special features, including an Audio Commentary with writer/director Damien Leone and David H. Thorton (Art the Clown), Behind-The-Scenes Footage, Interview with Jenna Kanell, Deleted Scenes, Art the Clown Time Lapse Make-Up Video, Stills, both the Red-Band & Green-Band Trailers, English and Spanish subtitles and Collectible Reverse Cover Art.

TERRIFIER is one of the most shocking, grotesque and insane horror films of the past decade!! This movie is not for the faint at heart! If you like your horror movies outrageously batshit crazy and covered in blood and guts, this one was made for you! I fucking dare you to watch this movie alone in the dark this Halloween!! Just make sure Art the Clown isn't watching you!! Not since the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE has a film felt this visceral and disturbing!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!



TERRIFIER is available in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack from Dread Central Presents and Epic Picture. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit their website at epic-pictures.com. The film is also streaming to watch on Netflix. To start your subscription, visit their website at www.netflix.com.


Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: THE INITIATION (1984) from Arrow Video - October 15, 2018

THE INITIATION Blu-Ray
THE INITIATION
Starring Daphne Zuniga, Vera Miles, Clu Gulager, James Read, Marilyn Kagan, Robert Dowdell, Frances Peterson, Patti Heider
Screenplay by Charles Pratt Jr.
Cinematography by George Tirl
Edited by Ronald LaVine
Produced by Jock Gaynor, Bruce Lansbury, Scott Winant
Directed by Larry Stewart, Peter Crane (uncredited)
Originally released by New World Pictures
Released by Arrow Video

Welcome to Day 15 horror hounds! Today's film is an often overlooked and forgotten slasher from the mid 1980's. By this time, theaters were bombarded with slasher films. There were so many that it was almost impossible to keep up with them. One of these was released in 1984 and isn't discussed enough. Thanks to the kind folks over at Arrow Video, this terrible wrong has been justly righted and they have unleashed THE INITIATION to be enjoyed by the masses!

The film's official synopsis: HERE'S TO BEING YOUNG... STAYING YOUNG... AND DYING YOUNG. Marking TV star Daphne Zuniga s debut in a leading role, THE INITIATION ranks amongst the finest of the college-based stalk-and-slash flicks now finally restored in glorious High-Definition! Kelly s new sorority has a special initiation ritual in store for her an after-hours break-in of her father s department store. But what begins as a night of harmless college fun turns sour when, once inside the enormous mall, Kelly and her fellow pledges find themselves locked in for the night... with a deadly intruder stalking the corridors. Arriving in 1984, THE INITIATION might have been late to the slasher party, but, alongside the likes of THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW and THE MUTILATOR, it remains one of the stronger entries to emerge in the latter days of the slice-and-dice boom.

I've only seen clips of the movie, so watching it for the first time was highly entertaining, especially that twist ending! Boy, I didn't see that coming!! This was such a great horror movie, deserving praise of its blend of traditional slasher troupes and Freudian subplot involving Daphne Zuniga's character Kelly Fairchild. Zuniga was fantastic and she showed that she had the talent to go far in Hollywood, which she did in films like SPACEBALLS, THE SURE THING, GROSS ANATOMY and television shows like Melrose Place, Beautiful People, and One Tree Hill. Clu Gulager does what he does best: being Clu Gulager! Genre fans loved him RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE, and THE HIDDEN. Vera Miles, who plays Frances Fairchild, is a Hollywood legend. Her resume includes titles like THE SEARCHERS, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, PSYCHO and the 1983 sequel PSYCHO II.

Original Theatrical Poster (1984)
Director Peter Crane was on-hand to shoot the film, but after several days of shooting, the schedule had fallen behind and he was fired and replaced by Larry Stewart, who completed the rest of the film on time and on budget. This is the reason why there's two different and distinctive looks to the film. Stewart received credit for directing the movie, while Crane was never acknowledged.

Again, the film was released by New World Pictures on December 7, 1984. Unfortunately for the film, it was competing against Wes Craven's now classic A NIGHTMARE OF ELM STREET and we all know what happened next: Freddy dominated the boxoffice and the film faded from theaters in a matter of months. It was released on VHS by Thorn EMI in the mid-80's and eventually was released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment 2002, then reissued again on DVD in 2011 by Image Entertainment's "Midnight Madness" Series, due to Anchor Bay letting the film's rights run out. In August 2016, Arrow Video announced that they would be restoring and releasing the film on Blu-Ray for the very first time.

The Blu-Ray comes some special features contents: Brand new restoration from original film elements, High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation, Original Uncompressed Mono PCM audio, Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, Brand new audio commentary by The Hysteria Continues, Brand new interview with actor Christopher Bradley, Brand new interview with actress Joy Jones, Original Theatrical Trailer, Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn, and a Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver (only for the First Pressings of the Blu-Ray).

THE INITIATION is a totally awesome 80's slasher flick that will make you scream with fright! It's a nasty horror film that's full of outrageous clothes, radical hairstyles, and plenty of bloodshed to satisfy every horror fanatics' wet dreams! It's a movie that should have been spotlighted more over the years, and now fans of the film can now watch it in the comfort of their living room! 4 out of 5 stars! Highly recommended!


THE INITIATION is available on Blu-Ray from Arrow Video. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit the Diabolik DVD website at www.diabolikdvd.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 (2018) from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment - October 14, 2018

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 Blu-Ray
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 (aka HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION)
Starring the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Jim Gaffigan, Kathryn Hahn, Chris Parnell, Chrissy Teigen
Screenplay by Michael McCullers, Genndy Tartakovsky (based on characters created by Todd Durham)
Edited by Joyce Arrastia
Produced by Michelle Murdocca, Carey A. Smith, Genevieve West
Directed bu Genndy Tartakovsky
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Welcome to spooky Day 13 of my Halloween Horror Watch! So for today, I decided to veer off from my normal criteria and watch something that was fun for my whole family. My kid is only six years old, but I'm trying to teach him about the classic horror films, more specifically the Universal Monster Films of the 1930's. In the modern age, these monsters have found a new lease on life in the form of the HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA franchise, which features characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Wolfman, etc. This past week, I picked up the latest installment of the franchise HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 for all of us to watch!

The film's official synopsis: Join your favorite monster family as they embark on a vacation adventure on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can finally take a break from handling everyone else's vacation at the hotel. It's smooth sailing for Drac's Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions, and catching up on their moon tans. But they hit rocky waters when Mavis realizes that Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could sink their plans for a dream vacation.

The whole gang is back to voice these iconic and hilariously entertaining characters that I have been a fan of since I was a kid. Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, and Keegan-Michael Key all return to voice their respective characters that I've enjoyed from the past two movies, but this time we are introduced to a couple of newbies to the series. Funnyman Jim Gaffigan comes on board to voice Dracula's long time enemy Abraham Van Helsing. If you have ever caught his stand-up specials, then you know what to expect from the man! Joining him on his mission is is great-granddaughter Ericka Van Helsing, voiced by the extremely talented Kathryn Hahn, who can see in films like WE'RE THE MILLERS, AFTERNOON DELIGHT, BAD MOMS, and its sequel A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS. Also lending his voice is Chris Parnell from Saturday Night Live as Stan and the rest of the Fishmen. Parnell has also voiced several other characters in the previous films.

Original Theatrical Poster (2018)
The movie was released to theaters on July 13 of this year and it performed extremely well! The film's budget was a staggering $80 million (cause of the star power paychecks the studio had to pay) but is grossed a worldwide boxoffice total of $426,104,170!! So it's safe to say that we'll probably get more sequels later on down the road, especially since the film's ending was left wide open for more movies.

The Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack comes with a lot of special features for the kids to watch: Three All New Scary-Oke Sing Alongs: Sing along to three HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 inspired songs with your favorite characters: “Dennis Had a Giant Dog” – Sung by Dennis & Winnie, “Monsters Like to Party Down” – Sung by Johnny, “Oh These Wolf Pups” – Sung by Wanda Werewolf, Plan Your Own Spook-tacular Sleepover: This feature will give you all details on how to make your own sleepover spook-tacular! From snacks to crafts to games and more, follow these steps to create a Hotel T sleep-over with your friends and family, the perfect setting to binge watch all 3 Hotel Transylvania movies, Vampire Make Over: Mavis and Drac Tutorial: Learn how to turn yourself into your favorite HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 characters, Behind the Screams – The Voices of HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: Step behind the "screams" with the returning stars and hilarious new cast to see how these characters are brought to life in the recording booth, Johnny’s Home Movies (Franchise Recap): Johnny brings viewers up to speed on what’s happened in the Hotel Transylvania franchise so far, “I See Love” Monster Dance Party Dance Along: Get up and get moving to this haunting monster mash, Drac’s Zing-tastic Read Along: It's storytime with your favorite characters have a silly tale about Drac's search for a Zing!, and Two Mini Movies: Puppy and Goodnight Mr. Foot.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 is a family fun movie that will make fans of the franchise laugh with joy while fans of classic horror monsters will get a kick out of the modern interpretations! There's also a message that everyone can relate to: Nothing's more important than your family! And you can Zing! more than once! If you don't get the last one, then you better get your kids to have you watch the two previous chapters of the series!! And what better way to spend the Halloween season with this monster-filled family fun film!! 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 is available in a Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo and DVD + Digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. To purchase a copy for your family, visit your local retailer. The movie is also on VOD, iTunes and other streaming platforms.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!