Monday, September 29, 2008

Horror Movie Review: The Wizard of Gore (1970)

The Wizard of Gore (1970)

Starring: Ray Sager, Judy Cler, and Wayne Ratay

Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis

Writer: Allen Kahn

Production Company: Mayflower Pictures

Release Date: October 23, 1970
Ray Sager as Montag the Magnificent.
Let me start off by saying that I am not a gore fan. Of all the elements of horror, gore is the least important. Now, when I think gore, I don't think a splatter of blood. That's necessary in many horror films. That splatter of blood somehow propelling itself onto a wall after a victim has been sliced with a meat cleaver doesn't bother me. It's innards, organs, and eyes, oh my, that shuts me off. I'm not really grossed out by it...well, ok, eye gore can get me hacking...It's that the gore involved is usually unrealistic and I just roll my eyes. So when the top draw of a film is gore, I usually pass it by...unless something about the film intrigues me. So when I learned about The Wizard of Gore, I became intrigued.

I heard of the film after learning that three of my favorite horror film actors appear together in the 2007 remake. A movie that brings together Crispin Glover, Jeffrey Combs, AND Brad Dourif is a film that I have to see. And I hate watching a remake without seeing the original. But even moreso, the plot intrigued me.

A stage magician, Montag the Magnificent, gets women volunteers from his audience to come up on stage where he butchers them using a different implements, such as a chainsaw, a punch press, a spike, and swords, each night. But after his gory display, the women get up unscathed and return to the audience. However, a short while later, Montag's victim dies with the same injuries sustained during the show.

Judy Cler as feminist TV personality Sherry.Couple Sherry and Jack begin to suspect a connection and help the police in figuring out the mystery.

The Wizard of Gore is a 1970s low budget indy film, so there are certain things you have to expect: Paper thin plot, poor acting, and nonsensical elements in the script. Plus bad fashion from the 70s, but in 30 years they'll be saying the same about our fashion, so we can't hold that against them. And being a fan of B-Films, the other "problems" don't bother me either. In a B-Film, I'm looking for fun and creativity and The Wizard of Gore has it.

The concept is so out there and unbelievable that it's already got a dismembered legCorinne Kirkin as one of Montag's not so feminist victim. up on creativity. The ending is the cherry on top as we find out Montag is not the only hypnotist in the film and he finds himself with the table saw turned. The thin plot, though, is just a vehicle to come up with different ways of slaughtering women. In fact, the movie makes a self-aware statement when Montag talks about television and film allowing us to view violence in safety and innocence.

Wayne Ratay as Jack asks, Does feminist mean lesbian? Hot! Ratay's comments and viewpoints do not reflect the view point of Horror Movie Night Orgy.The acting is cheesy, of course, but then a film like this can't be acted realistically, in my opinion. Judy Cler plays Sherry, host of a television show targeting housewives. She's an attractive actress and does a good enough job here on par with most day time soap operas today. Same goes for Wayne Ratay who plays Sherry's beau Jack, a sports columnist who struggles to tolerate Sherry's interest in Montag. Interestingly, their relationship is pretty realistic as a couple who loves each other but gets annoyed with each other from time to time.

Montag is played by Ray Sager and he really hams it up, but it totally fits his roleMontag can't figure out why he can't keep a girlfriend. Bloody murder surely can't be the problem. as a stage magician. It's fun watching his melodramatic portrayal of the sadistic Wizard of Gore.

But accepting the B-Movie nature doesn't excuse everything, like alternating shots of the victims being bloody, and then not, and then bloody again while on stage as Montag's victims. The nonsequential shots of gore I found to be distracting.

If you like B-Movie splatterfests and haven't seen this, then check it out. If not, then skip it.

Where Else Can I See Them?

Ray Sager Sager's most recent horror film was 1992's Prom Night IV: Deliver Us from Evil. A religious fanatic stalks four teens he feels have transgressed the law of god. He'll appear next in the 2009 Canadian release Smash Cut, about movie director Able Whitman. After his latest film is met with horrible reviews, Whitman sets out to prove the critics wrong by finding inspiration in his cast and crew. Sometimes great art requires great sacrifice- and the director always gets final cut!

Herschell Gordon Lewis Lewis has continued directing splatter movies. His most recent was Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat. A cannibal caterer kills various young women in preperation for a ritual feast for a long-dormant Egyptian goddess that has him under its control. His next film will be the 2009 straight to video release Blood De Madam: The Fallen Ones. 1982 saw one of the most violent and sadistic series of crimes to have ever occurred in the state of North Carolina begin to unfold. A quiet little town slept at night while an entire street fell victim to a mass slaughter that claimed the lives of over 175 men, women and children.

Allen Kahn Kahn's only other writing credit is another Gordon film Year of the Yahoo!. A non-gore drama, a country-western singer is recruited to run for the U.S. Senate, and soon clashes with his unscrupulous campaign manager on the tactics to run his political campaign.

Judy Cler and Wayne Ratay haven't appeared in any other films.

And here's the preview for the 2007 The Wizard of Gore remake.

Montag says Buy Horror Shirts from

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Horror Movie Review Preview: The Wizard of Gore (1970)

Coming soon...The Wizard of Gore. A TV talk-show hostess and her boyfriend investigate a shady magician whom has the ability to hypnotize and control the thoughts of people in order to stage gory on-stage illusions using his powers of mind bending.

Warning: Trailer Contains Gore

The Wizard of Gore

The Maniac Magician Whose Tricks Really Work!

Scenes So Far Beyond Any You've Ever Seen That No Description Is Possible.

In devastating color.

Filmed in 1968 but not released until October 23, 1970 and starring Ray Sager, Judy Cler, and Wayne Ratay and directed by the Godfather of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis, The Wizard of Gore has earned a 5.4 rating (out of 10) on IMDB and a 2.8 rating (out of 5) at Netflix.

Join us early next week as we discuss whether or not this classic gore fest is a film worthy to dismember...uh...I mean...remember.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Horror Movie Review: C.H.U.D.


John Heard lead the 1980's love for sleeveless shirt.Starring: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist, J. C. Quinn, and George Martin

Directed by: Douglas Cheek

Written by: Shepard Abbott and Parnell Hall

Production Company: C.H.U.D. Productions and New World Pictures

Release Date: August 31, 1984

Awards: Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film - Best Fantasy Film
Kim Griest joins in on the sleeveless fun...But John convinces her pants have sleeves, too...
Ah, the 80's...the hayday of radiation, sewage, and cannibals. So comes C.H.U.D....Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.

There's some waste being stored in the sewer system of New York. Unfortunately, as radiation tends to do, it begins to mutate some of the homeless who prefer to live underground. The mutated creatures begin supping on human flesh and eventually, that gets people's attention.

Enter photographer George and his model girlfriend Lauren, soup kitchen head A.J., and police captain Bosch. George hears about the CHUD from the underground dwellers of whom he has taken photos, Lauren finds herself living in an aparetment that connects to the underground where the CHUD live, AJ hears about Christopher Curry asks why he didn't get the sleeveless memo.the weird happenings from his regulars and notices some of his regulars disappearing, and Bosch, well...he has a personal connection. Throw in nosy reporter Murphy on the case, and eventually we learn that Wilson of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is also connected to the growing CHUD epidemic and that CHUD may not mean what it's said to mean.

I'm really torn on what to think about this movie. On the one hand, I love the cheesy, radiation mutated, cannibal beasties, and the creature effects were cool too. The glowing eyes were a great addition to what may have been a generally disappointing creature and certainly made the CHUD impressive. While not going all out comedy, it carried moments of natural, every day humor...well, you know, if everyday had radioactive cannibals...
Daniel Stern says, I once had a sleeve THIS BIG!
On the other hand, it was kind of slow and plodding. Not enough CHUD. Too many characters. Throw in some more creature kills, or elaborate on what we see...more than just a slimy arm grabbing someone from off screen. Get rid of some of the characters, or combine them...J. C. Quinn as Murphy seemed superfluous, and Kim Greist seemed thrown in just to add a damsel in distress. Her shower scene, the requisite shower scene found in all good horror films, appeared to be added just so there would be a shower scene and a touch of gore, which didn't make since.

The rampant lack of sleeves helps this CHUD overcome his shyness.The acting was fine, though, naturally enough no real strong performances. Daniel Stern as AJ and Kim Griest as Lauren are the standouts here. Christopher Curry did a decent job as Bosch. J. C. Quinn and John Heard were pretty flat in their roles of George and Murphy, while George Martin brought is a nice performance as asshole government man, Wilson.

I guess you have to ask yourself...How much do you like 80's b-movie horrors feature radioactive cannibals? If your responsive is "meh" or less...pass it by. If it seems interesting but only because it sounds like a film where you can see breasts...pass it by...Griest keeps herself covered. But if it sounds like something you could get mostalgic over the days when sleeveless shirts were the rage, then I recommedn you have a CHUD night.

Where Else Can I Find Them?
Single Radioactive CHUD seeks blonde, sleeveless woman willing to be eaten. Loves moonlit walks in the sewer. No smokers.
John Heard: John Heard is one of those actors who appears everywhere but almost never gets a starring role. Thus he doesn't gravitate toward one genre. He did come back to horror in 1988 in the apocalyptic Seventh Sign, though in a small role. He'll deal again with government comspiracies in the upcoming Formosa Betrayed starring James Van Der Beek. In the early 1980s, an FBI Agent is assigned to investigate the murder of a respected professor. Through his investigation, he unearths a spider web of international secrets that has been thriving within college campuses across America for decades. His investigation takes him across the Pacific to the island nation of Taiwan, where with the help of the outspoken widow and an unlikely spy, he learns that the Professor's killing was not a random act, but a desperate move by a scandalous government intent on keeping its nefarious activities under wraps. Our detective soon finds himself on a collision course against the U.S. State Department, the Chinese Mafia, and the Nationalist Chinese Government - in a land where the truth is not what it seems and the only people he can trust, cannot be trusted at all. Inspired by actual events.

Traumatized by the sudden presence of sleeves, John Heard and Daniel Stern seek solace in each others arms.Daniel Stern: Stern is more prolific a comedic actor, so following up CHUD with Frankenweenie 3 months later just makes sense. When young Victor's pet dog Sparky (who stars in Victor's home-made monster movies) is hit by a car, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked "monster" wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor's neighbors, he has to convince them (and his parents) that despite his appearance, Sparky's still the good loyal friend he's always been. He returned to straight horror with more human mutations in 1989's Leviathan. Underwater deep-sea miners encounter a Soviet wreck and bring back a dangerous cargo to their base on the ocean floor with horrifying results. In a story owing a lot to _Alien_ and _The Thing_, the crew of the mining base must fight to survive against a genetic mutation that hunts them down one by one. It kind of got lost amonst the other undersea horror like Abyss and Deep Star Six. Most recently Stern appeared in the straight to video horror-comedy Otis. After being captured and tortured by the psychopath Otis (Bostin Christopher), teen cheerleader Riley Lawson (Ashley Johnson) escapes and informs her parents (Daniel Stern and Illeana Douglas), who quickly sidestep the sluggish FBI and take matters into their own hands. But the Lawson's revenge plan hit a snag when Otis's unusual brother (Kevin Pollak) enters the picture. Jere Burns co-stars as the FBI agent assigned to the case.

Christopher Curry: In 2002, Curry appeared with another cannibal in Red Dragon with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer; aiding him is imprisoned criminal genius Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.

Kim Griest: Griest also appeared with Hannibal Lecter, but it was 16 years before Curry. She appeared in the 1986 Manhunter, based on Thomas Harris's Red Dragon.

J. C. Quinn: In 1986, Quinn switched from facing people becoming cannibalistic monsters to facing maching turning homicidal in Maximum Overdrive. A group of people try to survive when machines start to come alive and become homicidal.

George Martin thinks CHUD means Cannibalistic Humanoid Underwear Dwellers and wonders why he's not in any of the good scenes.George Martin: CHUD seems to be Martin's only horror role. His last film was in the funny 1999 Outside Providence. After one too many run ins with the law, a punk teenager from a working class background is sent to prep school by his frustrated dad, and learns a thing or two.

Douglas Cheek: This is Cheek's only film directorial work working predominantly as an editor on documentaries on the scary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.

Kim Griest heard she was the reincarnation of Elizabeth Bathory.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Horror Movie Review Preview: C.H.U.D.

Coming soon...C.H.U.D. A rash of bizarre murders in New York City seems to point to a group of grotesquely deformed vagrants living in the sewers. A courageous policeman, a photo journalist and his girlfriend, and a nutty bum who seems to know a lot about the creatures band together to try and determine what the creatures are and how to stop them.


Ugly. Slobbering. Ferocious. Carnivorous.

They're not staying down there, anymore!

You Won't Want To Know What It Means.

A recent article in a New York newspaper reported that there were large colonies of people living under the city... The paper was incorrect. What is living under the city is not human. C.H.U.D. is under the city.

Released on August 31, 1984 and starring John Hurd, Daniel Stern, and Christopher Curry, C.H.U.D. won the Best Fantasy Film award at the 1985 Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, and the Belgians know their horror! C.H.U.D. receives a 4.8 (out of 10) rating at IMDB, and a 3.0 (out of 5) on Netflix.

Feel free to join us early next week as we examine Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers...C.H.U.D.!

Monday, September 15, 2008

New from Attack of the Radioactive Tees

New from the good people at Attack of the Radioactive Tees, this design lets you warn about the invaders without all the running and yelling. Whether the invaders are aliens from outer space, demons from other diminsions, monsters from the wilderness, or politicians from Washington DC, this design will blow the whistle on their plans.

Available only at Attack of the Radioactive Tees!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Horror Movie Review: Vacancy


Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley, and Ethan Embry

Directed by: Nimrod Antal

Written by: Mark L. Smith

Production Companies: Hal Lieberman Company and Screen Gems

Release Date: April 20, 2007

Amy and David Fox are a couple on the outs and heading to get a divorce. An accident on the interstate causes David to decide to take a short cut and get off of the interstate. After their car breaks down, they stay in a shabby motel. Soon they find themselves the potential stars of a snuff film.

A film doesn't have to be original to be good, so I wasn't bothered with the recycled plot. But there was nothing new or interesting about this movie. While there are some worthy aspects to the film, the uninspired script keeps the noteworthy elements from fulfilling their potential.

The acting is good. The tension between David (Luke Wilson) and Amy (Kate Beckinsale) is palpable and sometimes darkly humorous. Frank Whaley plays motel manager Mason, the creepy "director" of snuff films set in his motel. His partner is an unnamed mechanic played by Ethan Embry who was able to make a pleasant smile forboding.

Many of the shots were tense and unsettling, but the tension was muted by predictability and everything worthwhile was ruined by the abrupt, cheesy ending.

I can't quite bring myself to say it's a complete waste of time, but there's something vacant in Vacancy.

Where Else Can They Be Found?

Luke Wilson - Luke Wilson is typically seen in comedies, not horror, and can be seen currently in Henry Poole is Here. Henry Poole abandons his fiancée and family business to spend what he believes are his remaining days alone. The discovery of a "miracle" by a nosy neighbor ruptures his solitude and restores his faith in life. He is shooting Tenure about A college professor competing for tenure with a hot-shot female colleague.

Kate Beckinsale - Beckinsale will next be seen in the limited release of Nothing but the Truth. In Washington, D.C., a female reporter faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source. In April 2009, Beckinsale will appear in Whiteout, an action thriller about U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Beckinsale) who tracks a killer in Antarctica, as the sun is about to set for six months.

Frank Whaley - Frank Whaley will appear in the straight to video release of Cell 2 in which The Cusp is a serial killer who kills his victims and then brings them back to life; over and over again; until they beg to die! Maya is a psychic investigator who gained her powers after a 1 year coma after she was the Cusp's first victim! Now the Cusp Killer is back and Maya has little time to do what she has never done before, go into the mind of a killer unprotected, and save his latest victim. Cell 2 was set to be released this October, but its release has been pushed back to an unspecified 2009 date.

Ethan Embry - On September 26, Embry will appear in Eagle Eye. Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) and Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) are two strangers thrown together by a mysterious phone call from a woman they have never met. Threatening their lives and family, she pushes Jerry and Rachel into a series of increasingly dangerous situation, using the technology of everyday life to track and control their every move. As the situation escalates, these two ordinary people become the country's most wanted fugitives, who must work together to discover what is really happening -– and more importantly, why.

While not a horror movie, the line "We are everywhere," is chilling. That's Ethan Embry saying, "It makes no sense."

Nimrod Antal - On September 18, 2009, we'll see Antal's next film Armored, in which A guard for an armored truck company is coerced by his veteran coworkers to steal a truck containing $10 million. Armored will feature Matt Dillon, Skeet Ulrich, Jean Reno, Milo Ventimiglia, and Laurence Fishburn.

Mark L. Smith - Smith's next script is the straight to video Vacancy 2, the sequel to this review's movie. In it three young people check into the Meadow View Inn for a night's rest, fully unaware of the inn's sick-minded employees and their nefarious intentions. It is set for release on January 20, 2009. In 2010, his next film, The Hole, is scheduled to be completed with Joe Dante as director. A pair of brothers stumble upon a mysterious hole in their basement that leads to the darkest corridors of their fears and nightmares.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Horror movie Review Preview: Vacancy

Coming soon, Vacancy. A young married couple becomes stranded at an isolated motel and finds hidden video cameras in their room. They realize that unless they escape, they'll be the next victims of a snuff film


How can you escape...if they can see everything?

Once you've checked in... The terror begins.

Starring Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson, Vacancy was nominated for the Teen Choice Award for Best Scream from Kate Beckinsale. Vacancy has a 6.3 rating (out of 10) on IMDB and a 3.1 rating (our of 5) on Netflix.

Feel free to join us early next week to discuss whether or not Vacancy has any room for our terror.

Horror Movie Review: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, and Leonard Nimoy

Donald Sutherland finds out he has more to fear than rat turds...Directed By: Philip Kaufman

Written By: W. D. Richter based on the novel by Jack Finney

Production Company: Solofilm

Release Date: December 20, 1978

Awards: Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Saturn Award for Best Director and Best Sound

Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival: Antennae II Award

In 1956, director Don Siegel and screen writer Daniel Mainwaring brought to screens Invasion Kevin McCarthy has more to fear than gophers...of the Body Snatchers, a film that the American Film Institute ranks #9 of the 10 greatest sci-fi films.

22 Years later, Philip Kaufman and W. D. Richter remade Jack Finney's story of alien pod people taking the place of humans.

Science fiction is fascinated with the idea of an alien invasion. Usually the invasion comes in the form of ships and saucers swooping out of the sky to devastate us with their superior technology before we rally, find their one weakness, and win. Or animalistic, savage aliens swarming over the populace like locusts. Jack Finney's concept, "The Body Snatchers", published as a seriel in Collier's Magazine in 1954, is a more insidious invasion. Seeds drift through space and descend on Earth where they grow "pod people" as people sleep, and these "pod people" take on the appearance and life of their victims. An almost perfect plan except the pod people do not show emotion.
Jeff Goldblum as Jack Bellicec
Kaufman and Richter's version takes the Pod invasion from the small town of Mill Valley to San Francisco. The effect creates a feeling of paranoia due to the unfamiliarity of people's lives in the city versus the more familiar small town life. Interestingly, some of the scenes of city people are just random shots of anonomous city people moving about their daily routine, and yet the natural shots still carry an eeriness.

Donald Sutherland plays the lead role of health inspector Matthew Bennell. Sutherland carries the movie with ease. His final scene easily sets the 1978 version apart from the original.

Playing Bennell's paramour, Elizabth Driscoll, is Brooke Adams. Adams gets upstaged by Sutherland, but she pulls off a decent performance. Interestingly, in the original, Driscoll was recently divorced and a former lover of Bennell, while in the remake, Driscoll is still married and cheating on her husband with Bennell.
Brooke Adams as a pod. Just wait until she's fully developed!
Jeff Goldblum plays unsuccessful Jack Bellicec. Goldblum is his typical character that dances precariously between annoying and endearing, but dives head first into being overly judgemental. But Goldblum is able to give Bellicec an extra layer of personality when we see, from a tear down his cheek, that his arrogance hides a self-confidence problem and fear of failure.

Veronica Cartwright plays Nancy Bellicec, Jack's wife. She gives us her full frantic glory with her doe-eyed looks of panic and quivery fearful voice.
Leonard Nimoy as David kibner...No that's not an outtake.
Leonard Nimoy beams in as Dr. David Kibner. It was fun seeing Nimoy in a role other than Spock. He played the psychiatrist with a soothing smile and pat answer to people's problems spot on.

When the original film came out, many tried to say that it was an allegory for the supposed Communist infiltration of America. However, Siegel, Mainwaring, and Finney all said that no allegory was intended. It was just a thriller.

Kaufman's version, though, seems a bit more allegorical about the isolation of city life, but that may just be a result of Nancy Bellicec's tirade about pollution, which fits her character, and the pods explanation that they drained their planet to a dry, barren world. While many times these political messages distract me (I'm looking at you The Arrival), they weren't so overbearing or central to the story.

Kaufman creates an upsetting film of paranoia with more action and gore than the original. No comment necessary...Some scenes near the end seemed prescient of recent zombie films like 28 Days Later. His use of odd angles helps to create a feeling of familiarity with a sense that something is not right.

And we get to see Brooke Adams nipple! The movie's rated PG so I was startled to see Brooke's breasts with nipples not completely obscured! So, there was a nice bonus.

Another bonus was a cameo by Kevin McCarthy who played Dr. Miles Bennell in a scene very similar to the end of the original with McCarthy running into the street shouting, "They're here already! You're next!" Though I flashed to his role in Caddyshack rather than the original movie.

Veronica Cartwright has more to fear she doesn't.This is one of the few cases where the remake includes smart changes that actually influences the film creating a separate movie experience from the original unlike many remakes that seem to just want to follow the same script but with modern equipment (I'm looking at you 1998 Psycho remake).

The 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers may not be selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry like the original, but it's still a very good film in its own right. Check it out.

Where Are They Now?
Apparently the first anniversary of cheating is the Pod Anniversary.
Donald Sutherland: Sutherland's most recent horror/thriller is Puffball with Miranda Richardson. Powerful supernatural forces are unleashed when a young architect becomes pregnant after moving to an isolated and mysterious valley to build a house. And when the neighbouring farmers turn against the unborn child, it's her very survival that is threatened. The British film had a limited release in the US on February 29, 2008 after going through the film festivals, starting in Cannes. It had a public release in Britain on July 18, 2008. Sutherland is currently working on an animated adaptation of the manga series Astro Boy. When a scientist's young son dies, he secretly creates a powerful robot child to replace him, however the robot uses it's incredible powers to become a world famous super-hero, and faces his biggest challenge when an alien race threatens Earth. The film is scheduled for release in 2009.

Brooke Adams: Adams's most recent hooror is the 2006 The Legend of Lucy Keyes in which an urban family leaves city life behind for the confines of rural New England. Little do they know that their new home once belonged to the Keyes family, a clan who experienced the tragic loss of their daughter some 250 years ago. Her next film is an as of yet untitled comedy about a News Magazine called Just the Facts that uses surveillance footage, personal interviews, and reenactments to tell the story of Beatle Boyin, a tow truck driving assassin hired by Athena Klendon, the estranged daughter of a billionaire, to kill her.

Jeff Goldblum: When I think of Jeff Goldblum and horror, I immediately think of another remake, the 1986 version of The Fly. He hasn't appeared in any horrors recently and has nothing currently in the works. His most recent film is Adam Resurrected. In the aftermath of WWII, a former circus entertainer who was spared from the gas chamber becomes the ringleader at an asylum for Holocaust survivors.

Veronica Cartwright: For another great sci-fi horror starring Veronica Cartwright, check out Alien. Most recently she appeared in the most recent remake of Invasion of the Body Snatcher simply called The Invasion in which Nicole Kidman stars as Carol Bennell. Her next horror will be The Yellow Wallpaper. Charlotte and John Weiland, along with Charlotte's sister Jennie, find themselves destitute after a fire claims all of their belongings, their money, and their only child, Sarah. A solicitor rents them a large, remote house in the countryside where they attempt to recover from the aftermath of the fire, and the death of their little girl. Charlotte soon believes her daughter is in the house, and alienates herself from her husband and sister by retreating to the strange yellow wallpapered attic.

Leonard Nimoy: Nimoy will appear in the 2009 Star Trek movie as "Old Spock".

Kevin McCarthy: McCarthy recently appeared in another sci-fi film about invading aliens, Trail of the Screaming Forehead in which a small town infestation of crawling alien foreheads that begin attaching to people and taking them over collides with a scientist's experiments to extract foreheadazine and things go horribly horribly wrong. His next film will be The Ghastly Love of Johnny X, a sci-fi musical comedy with the tagline, They Sing! They Dance! They're Teenagers from Outer Space!

Donald Sutherland poses for a caricature.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Horror Movie Review Preview: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Coming soon, a review of the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In San Francisco, a group of people discover the human race is being replaced one by one, with clones devoid of emotion.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Get some sleep
Sleep . . . Sleep . . . and be born again into a world without fear and hate!
Watch out! They get you while you're sleeping!
You'll never close your eyes again.
From deep space...
The seed is planted...terror grows.

Starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, and Veronica Cartwright, Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1978 won the Saturn Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for Best Director and Best Sound, and won the Antennae II Award from the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival. It received 7.2 stars (out of 10)on IMDB and 3.5 stars (out of 5) on Netflix.

Feel free to rent or view again the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers and join us early next week to discuss its merits and foibles.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Things Turn Dismal at FearMakers Studios

Dismal - Eat or Be Eaten

FearMakers Studios will be releasing a new film called Dismal before the end of this year.

Dana can't afford to fail science class, so she agrees to go on a field trip withCapel Kane as Shelly. other students to the Great Dismal Swamp. While the tasty college students are looking for extra credit, and maybe some extracurricular activity, swamp cannibals are looking for dinner.

Lydia Chandler as Dana.In this article from Fangoria Bo Buckley states, “I pitched them a few concepts and they liked the idea of cannibals in the swamp—with nubile young coeds, of course. Then they backed out. Not sure if that’s a reflection on the script, but at any rate, we made the movie ourselves.”

That sends up a red flag, but then other people, including director Gary King called in to work on the film comment on the unique kills and qualities setting this project apart from other cannibal horrors.
Jack Harrison as Idiot.
For now, we'll just have to keep our eyes and ears open and away from cannibals to find out when it comes out.

Dismal...Eat or be Eaten...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Horror Movie Shout-Outs

Introducing, from Attack of the Radioactive Tees, their new line of Horror Movie Shout Out Tees.

Horror movie victims always seem to be making the same silly mistakes. Opening doors we wouldn't dare open, looking behind themselves while they run, and being painfully ignorant of the killer right behind them.

Available at Comes in various shirt styles and products.
These amusing Horror Movie Shout-Out tees carry those warning we always try to give those Big Screen victims.

Great for Halloween, trips to see new horror movies in theaters, Horror Movie Film Festivals, or horror movie lovers who want to bring the horror movie experience out into public.

Available at Comes in various shirt styles and products.Available only at Attack of the Radioactive Tees.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Movie Review: Joshua


Starring: Jacob Kogan, Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, Celia Weston, and Dallas Roberts

Directed by: George Ratliff

Writers: David Gilbert and George Ratliff

Production Company: ATO Pictures

Release Date: January 2007 - Sundance Film Festival

Let me go ahead and admit a prejudice before I start...I hate child actors. Not personally, you know, it's nothing personal. I've never met one...but the concept is to me like that elderly social studies teacher, Mrs. Fromgardener, you know her, with her gray hair tied back in a bun and when she writes on the chalkboard, no matter what, the chalk squeaks...So on the test when you get the question, "Name 3 ways humans affect the environment and the consequences of those changes" your answer is, "Humans affect the environment by SQUEAKING! The consequence is bleeding ears and insanity."

Kogan as Johsua. Maybe it's ties that turn a kid bad...not video games.The one case where bleeding ears and insanity don't occur when child actors appear is the evil child genre of horror. From the The Bad Seed in 1956 to both versions of Village of the Damned (Yes, I do mean to include the Christopher Reeve one. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to share my appeciation for that film with the nets) to Joshua, the only good child actor is an evil child actor.

Joshua is the child prodigy son of Brad and Abby. The first scene is of a children's soccer game with one parent shouting at his son about how badly he's playing while Brad does some hushing motions to angry soccer dad. We don't really see Joshua until Brad runs into the middle of the game grabbing his son because of an emergency...Abby is giving birth...So we don't see Joshua until his parents stop seeing him.

Sibling rivalry is a regular part of growing up with brothers and sisters, but Joshua does what he does with everything he puts his mind to...He excels. The uber-smart Joshua begins manipulating his parents, his grandmother, and his uncle to get what he wants. I'll let you watch it to find out what he wants. Usually we focus on breasts, but for all the ladies...Here's Sam Rockwell showing off his junk in tighty whities.

Playing Brad is Sam Rockwell. I'm a big fan of Rockwell's, but he tends to play the same character in every movie...the hyper, obnoxious guy that you can't count on and often times you can't trust. Brad, however, is a departure from that role. Rockwell's Brad is an ineffectual appeaser who attempts to solve problems with hollow platitudes that everything is "fine". Joshua uses Brad's inability to see the truth to his advantage until Joshua is ready for him to know the truth.

Farmiga as Abby.Vera Farmiga brings us the mother, Abby. Vera's work here is fabulous, playing the emotional, psychologically unstable mother suffering from Post-Pardum Depression with energy and passion. Joshua easily manipulates the frazzled mother, pushing her sanity to its limits.

Trying to help the new parents is Hazel, Joshua's grandmother. As many grandparents do, Hazel, played by Celia Weston, feels she knows what is best. Hazel brings in some natural tension that Joshua is able to play with like toy blocks. Weston does a fine job in the role of the well intentioned, but judgemental grandmother.

Weston as Hazel.Rounding out the family is Abby's brother Ned played by Dallas Roberts. Ned seems to be the only member of the family that can connect with Joshua. Roberts played the role with ease and levity, so it was a pleasure when he was on screen.

In the title role is Jacob Kogan. It's always hard to say a child actor does a good job because, typically, child actors don't have the ability or emotional range to tap into. That's one reason I enjoy child actors in evil child horror films. Those roles are typically written as detached, cold, and unemotional, which I would assume would be easier to perform. While the same can be said for the role of Joshua, but Kogan does find opportunities to show some acting ability. After all, a diabolical child acting innocent is an acting job folding in on itself. Subtle eye movements and intense looks don't come off as just blank stares, but a devious mind calculating his next move.

Sam Rockwell and Kogan's real-life sibling as Lily Cairn.A lot of times, it's the acting is what sells a movie to me, and the acting here is all around good, and if the acting is bad, then there's a fun, interesting, and captivating plot. But the plot of Joshua is really basic. Where Joshua stands out is in the writing. You can have a fun plot that's poorly written. It happens in horror films all the time. But Joshua is a well written thriller. There's no gore and very few jumps, so maybe it should be called a thriller rather than a horror, but whatever you call it, it was put together well.

I watched this movie twice before sitting down to write this because I knew I liked the movie, but I wasn't exactly sure why. On second viewing, I saw...There are no pointless scenes. Every scene that you see means something and sometimes you may not realize what you are seeing. On the second viewing I watched the talent show scene closer. I noticed, as Ned did, that Joshua was intentionally hitting the wrong keys. The eerie chaos that his "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" performance, which should have been a classical piece, does more than creep us out or even symbolize a degradation of innocence. Ned looks closely as Joshua plays and says, "He's hitting every note." Joshua wasn't making mistakes...he was playing the wrong notes on purpose representing his intentional departure from his innocent youth and foreshadowing his intentional manipulations of his family. He removes all of his toys, again removing himself from his innocent childhood.

The parents, Abby and Brad, are also very realistic in their depiction. They are not criminally negligent, but generally unaware parents. They could be most parents. More extreme, maybe...but still, most parents.

What an incredible smell you've discovered!A reviewer I read before finally deciding to give this a look said, "There is little reason for the less than 130 IQ viewer to watch this flick because you will not like it at all." I laughed because I read that after this review: "Of course Sundance liked this one, because this is typical faux snob fare. Pretend that something ridiculous is actually meaningful, and everyone thinks you see something deeper than there actually is, and hopefully that will make you look sophisticated while everyone else becomes insecure because they don't understand as much as apparently you do." I don't generally like Sundance films, but I like films that make me think, so I knew it was going to be a risky rent. Naturally, both are a little off the mark lending themselves toward the extreme...

A face only a homicidal maniac could love.It's not about intelligence, it's just about taste. If you like subtle, tense movies, then give this one a shot. But if you prefer your horrors like Jeepers Creepers, then you might want to give this one a pass.

Where Are They Now?

Jacob Kogan: I was pleased to find out that Kogan plays an adolescent Spock in the 11th Star Trek movie due out May 8, 2009.

Sam Rockwell: Rockwell doesn't appear in many horror films. However, he will be appearing in a 2009 sci-fi thriller Moon. Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is nearing the end of his contract with Lunar. He's been a faithful employee for 3 long years. His home has been Selene, a moon base where he has spent his days alone, mining Helium 3. The precious gas holds the key to reversing the Earth's energy crisis. But 2 weeks shy of his departure from Selene, Sam starts seeing things, hearing things and feeling strange. And when a routine extraction goes horribly wrong, he discovers that Lunar have their own plans for replacing him and the new recruit is eerily familiar.

Ned and Joshua playing piano.Vera Farmiga: In Orphan, Farmiga returns to the evil child horror genre, though not in the lead role. A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be. The project is in post-production, but I have no information on a release date.

Celia Weston: Weston appeared next in the August 2007 release The Invasion about a Washington psychiatrist who unearths the origin of an alien epidemic, she also discovers her son might be the only way it can be stopped. Her next release will be the comedy Demoted. What go around comes around for a pair of prank-playing tire salesmen who find themselves placed in secretarial jobs by their put-upon boss.

Dallas as Uncle Ned. I think I smell something too.Dallas Roberts: Roberts's next horror film will be Tell-Tale about A man whose newly transplanted heart leads him on a dangerous journey to find out who murdered its donor. Roberts plays the surgeon in this movie loosely based on Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart".

George Ratliff: Ratliff put horror behind him with his next project, End Zone, a comedy about a college football running back who struggles to balance his newfound fame, a crush on a co-ed, his relationship with the school's excitable publicist, and a teacher with nefarious plans for the star athlete. Ratliff wrote and will direct this adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel. Sam Rockwell will also appear in this film.

David Gilbert: Gilbert assists Ratliff again in End Zone.

Abby showing off her new red boots. I understand saving money, but that's a bit much.