Monday, October 31, 2011



Hy “Quack” Pyke, Gregory Scott “Cracked” Cummins, Bryson “Brat” Gerard, Katina “Whacked” Garner, Carla “Good in Sack” Baron, Larry “Smacked” Coven, Jeff “Lacks” Brown, and Patricia “Snack” Christie.  

More details here.


Pumpkin-crazy Grandpa (Pyke) is very close to his grandson Tommy (Gerard), perhaps a little too close.  In fact, Grandpa damn near covets little Tommy with slobber as he has grand plan for the future in which the boy will play a very powerful, pivotal role.

My guess as the bad guy in every teen sex comedy.

But Mom (Garner) doesn’t want Tommy or his brother Roger (Brown) and sister Vera (Baron) to have anything to do with weird old Grandpa, especially since the old coot murdered their father on Halloween night.  And it turns out the elderly rascal is actually the leader of the local Satanist group and they want Tommy to be the next leader when he comes of age.


Years pass in the family's crummy town and while Roger grows up to be a Sheriff’s Deputy and Vera blossoms into a beautiful young lady, Tommy (Cummins, aka Mac’s Dad on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) alienates himself from the family and becomes a dark, brooding presence in the household.

That or he was rejected at the Warriors audition.

Mom worries day and night about Tommy, that is, when she’s not obsessing over her dead husband who she speaks to in pumpkin form.

The pumpkin is the most well-rounded character in the picture.  (HY-UCK!)

And Mom has plenty reason to worry about sullen Tommy who works out constantly, hangs out with tattooed Annie Lennox clones, and has music video nightmares with lame 80s hair bands.  Said Night Flight-influenced visions feature: 

Evil women with burning eyes that shoot out shrunken heads, castrating concubines, and … this guy.

Under his Grandpa’s control, Tommy matured aware of his destiny which will be fulfilled this particular Halloween night.  But while everyone else is preparing for a night of ghoulish fun, a mysterious figure in a devil costume is stalking the town.

“Well, it was either this, Medusa, Leatherface, or Glenn Beck.”

And the figure starts offing local post-coital teens that are linked to either Tommy or his family.

“Sweet Dreams are NOT made of this!”

“Well, it was either this or gonorrhea.”

But suddenly our attention shifts from horrific mayhem to Vera’s attempts to lose her virginity during lunchtime, Grandpa’s obsession with affordable Black Mass candles, and Roger’s attempts to bed Vera’s friends on top of fresh graves.  (No, really.)  Fortunately, our story shifts back to horrific high-gear when the town Halloween party begins and this guy… 

this fucking guy
... performs the worst stand-up routine in the history of movies.  I mean, you would’ve thought that a bizarre music video and a context-less stand-up routine both showing up in a movie would be awesome in a random kind of way, but they aren’t. Witness this aching sequence here, if you dare. Anyway, while Grandpa and Tommy prepare for the ceremony that will make him the Devil’s Son and the body count shoots to the harvest moon, Roger is hot on their Satanic tracks and when all is said and done, the identity of the Devil Killer will shock you in a twisted conclusion soaked in blooooood!!!

Eh, whatever.  It was the Mom.


Hack O’Lantern, aka Halloween Night, made on the uber-cheap, cast with porn stars, featuring zero scares, and lacking any coherence, consistency, or sense is actually the perfect movie for Halloween Night.  That is, if you spend Halloween night ripping your wrists open with a pen knife while weeping on the can.  At times the movie feels like it was made by Christians telling a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of Satanism and bloody sacrifice, but there’s little decidedly Christian about full-frontal nude scenes, neck-chopping, and hyperventilating in place of acting.  All japes aside, the movie is a friggin’ hoot, despite the long periods of nothing happening, and cinema masochists and nostalgic pop culture geeks will bask in the dated awfulness of references to hair bands, beer posters, and necrophilia.  But that guy, that fucking guy and his stand-up routine that I mention above.  What the fuck.  What the fucking fuck.  Hack O’Lantern isn’t a bag of treats but it does trick you into laughing out loud at times.  And that beats a razor blade in the Krispie treats any day.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011



George “Tubby Tabby” Kennedy, Alex “Hairwolf” Kord, Clu “Pickled Pyewacket” Gulager, Toni “Unsinkable Sammy” Hudson, Clare “Scatnip” Carey, Shari “Feline Fine” Shattuck, Rob “Milo” Estes, Eric “Cat Nickname” Lawson, and Giselle, the Wonder Kitty from Hell.

More details here.


Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Spring Break paradise for horny dorks or Mecca of genetic engineering? Well a little of both, at least in 1988.  A top secret lab protected by the worst security guards and the most inept scientists this side of an iPhone prototype closet allow an experimental animal to escape the test facility.  The liberated animal in question is a very special cat with a dangerous power.

A face only an epidemiologist could love.

The cat is host to a ferocious parasite that can exit its mouth and attack anything that threatens its with bites and scratches from its puppet arms.  Plus, it can spread a deadly contagion that kills within minutes.  Also, it’s particularly fond of chubby truck drivers.  


Meanwhile, a crooked businessman Walter Graham (Cord) and his henchmen Mike (Kennedy) and Albert (Gulager) plan a quick getaway on a yacht to the Cayman Islands to secure some ill-gotten millions out of a bank and then go on the lam.

A triumvirate of B-movie brilliance: Killer Cord, Clu doing Jim Bakker shtick, and George lying down.  Again.

Walter conceives a well-thought out plan to invite random sunning bimbos Bobbie (Carey) and Suzanne (Shattuck) along so as to “not attract attention”.

Not even a half-sandwich between the two.

To further not attract attention, Walter allows the gals to bring along arbitrarily selected Spring Breakers Corey (Estes), Martin (Larson) and some other guy whose name I didn’t catch.

This guy is uninvited even to places he's been invited. Check out the disgusting hickey.  

And the plan comes full circle in its perfection when Suzanne finds the mutated kitty at the marina and brings it onboard as well.  This ticks off the yacht’s captain Rachel (Hudson) who’s got some past heat with Walter and his dirty dealings.  Predictably, Mike hates the kids, Albert glugs wine and pines for Tammy Faye while Walter puts the move on the cuties.

“Yup, Jan-Michael Vincent and I are this close.”

So the cat starts offing everyone onboard, spreading the horrid painful disease through its bites, and serving watered-down martinis.  Bad kitty!

It can’t even do the Isaac.

Everyone goes batshit with fear when communications are lost and all the food is contaminated with dirty kitty juice. Plus Walter and Mike reveal their criminal motives and hold the kids at gunpoint while plotting their next move which may or may not end up with them becoming Tender Vittles.  As the body count rises, Mike pants like Lou Costello after a 10K run, loses his mind, and starts shooting erratically which incurs the wrath of the killer cat who takes a bite out of his ankles.

“Gah! Something’s finally bulging down there!” 

Will nothing stop the mutated menace?  Will the gang survive this feline onslaught?  Will this be the worst Spring Break since Pork Taco Night in Mazatlan? 

“Meow meow meow meow Eat your flesh I will meow meow!”


Greydon Clark’s Uninvited may be so unique amongst low-budget thrillers that it can be considered Avant-garde.  It is unlike anything I have ever seen in terms of its story structure, style, and execution which suggest an audacious, self-conscious ineptitude approaching contempt for its audience. The film feels like a grand experiment in the custom of non-traditional cinema, pushing boundaries and breaking rules of narrative expectation, creating a twisted labyrinth of sequential logic that forces the viewer to question the real and ethereal.  To wit, the movie daringly casts away character motivation. Characters indiscriminately just meet each other and decide to interact.  Backstory?  Bah!  Leave that for the flyover states! The source of horror, the explanation and exposition that horror fans hunger, expect, and demand, is similarly and may I suggest bravely ignored.  The cat, representing a centrifuge of existential panic, simply “is” mutated.  Take that, horror spoon feeders!  The cultural critique in Uninvited sizzles like a subterranean electrical current. Walter, the corrupt figure of oppressive power, is subdued by the collective rebellion of the females who have exposed his greed, taken his ship’s “helm” and forsaken their revealing bikinis for slightly less revealing bikinis.  Say it loud, sisters!  The movie is executed in a firmly tongue-in-cheek, at times out of focus style to conceal its undermining motives to surgically dissect convention to reveal the socio-cultural fallacies that mainstream horror denies.

Well, that or it could just be a really stinky movie about a fucking killer cat.

Monday, October 24, 2011



Alexis “Space Ace” Zibolis, Bobby “Space Some Guy” James, Noelle “Space Beeotch” Perris, Jared “Space Lookalike” Cohn, Paige “Space Kook” La Pierre, Erica “Space Grace” Browne, Chad “Space Zombie Meal” Nell, Stephanie “Space Zombina” Skewes, Maija “Space Afterthought” Polsey, and Steve “Space Paycheck” Railsback.

More details here.


The far future. Mankind has finally mastered space travel. We have light speed engines. We can survive in deadly conditions for long periods of time. We can explore our galaxy for alternative energy sources.  Yet we somehow can’t get over our attraction to glowing things.  Such is the dilemma of the USS Subtly-Titled Pandora which is returning to Earth after a successful salvage mission, carrying a very powerful but very menacing Green Glowing Thing (GGT).

“Hiya, folks!  I’ll be back to cause havoc later!  Hee-Hee!”

They theorize that the GGT may be a source of incredible power and plan to sell it to the highest bidders when they get back home.  But tragedy struck during the mission when the Captain was killed in an accident, leaving distrusted but adorable Holloway (Zibolis) in charge.

“Does anyone else have problems with split ends in zero-G?”

The crew of the Pandora totally disrespects Holloway and questions her every decision.  Fortunately she has super-strong synthoid robot guy Traver (Railsback) on her side.

Trying for Lance Hendrickson, looking John Carradine

When the ship answers a distress call, they dock with a hospital ship carrying traumatized nurses who claim they’ve survived a vicious attack by space pirates.

“And we missed three episodes of Gossip Girl!”

But it’s all a ruse as the gals seduce the men and assault the women in order to steal the cargo for themselves.  But the GGT is acting rather strange, being more greeny and glowy-er than usual.  In fact, it’s transforming all who touch it into rampaging zombies!

Hi, this is Nola (Skewes).  She’s just risen from the dead.  Just like NOLA.

And they start picking off the crew one by one, transforming their victims into the nasty undead as well. 

Colin Farrell in a role that may surprise you.

But these particular plaguers don’t play-guer by the rules and instead of spreading the zombie disease the good ol’ fashion eat-your-guts kind of way, it delivers the virus through a booger transfusion.

Moist Kleenex of the Living Dead


The epidemic overcomes the ship and the bad girls must join forces with the Pandora crew and their elderly robot-boy to survive the ordeal.

And not get Pilato-ed to death.


Brad Sykes is a masterful low-budget filmmaker working on his craft for the last two decades.  The man is a direct-to-video factory whose aspirations aim for the Moon but in the end usually delivers no further than the weather vane.  In Plaguers, Sykes explores the science fiction/horror hybrid subgenre by melding Alien, the Dead films, and perhaps a dash of the Dead Space video game franchise in a space soap opera with zombies.  Perhaps his most ambitious film to date, the movie unfortunately doesn’t disappoint in the being disappointing department.  There’s no doubt about it, the movie is terrible.  Sometimes achingly terrible.  But it’s not without appeal.  Yes, it’s low budget. Yes, it’s hackneyed and filled with half-baked ideas, obvious references, and bad acting.  Yes, it’s unintentionally sorrowful at times.  (I dare you to look into Railsback’s eyes and not avert your gaze from a void of sadness).  But it’s not inept, it’s not horribly paced, and it’s definitely not without a sense of fun. The action, which included overly fake guns, misfiring squibs, and Railsback arthritically worming through air vents, is hysterical.  The zombie effects and creature make-up were definitely solid.  The gore kind of outstanding at times.  And the main monster was, well I’ll just leave it to your imagination.

Screw it.  Here it is.  Magical.

So yeah, Plaguers is fun and not boring.  It could easily occupy the mid-card on any all-night horror marathon, something to relax and laugh at until the bloodletting is turned to 11.  Well, at least that’s how I schedule my horror-a-thons.  As for Sykes, I hope he continues to churn out his made-on-the cheap hokum.  Keeps this little miserable blog in business.  Plus the man loved Alien and you can’t knock a guy for screaming in space, knowing full well no one can hear him. 


I can vividly recall that particular week before Halloween 1979, when I missed a week of 5th grade due to the flu.  My fever was so high at times that I began to hallucinate, including once when during NBC’s airing of The Three Caballeros when Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito Pistolas popped out of the TV screen and merrily danced away sweaty, Vicks-smothered minutes to my death right in the living room.  Another time was during the only episode of Project U.F.O. where they couldn’t scientifically explain the flying saucer sighting.  No one remembers that episode or that show so I must conclude that it was some Mark VII-produced fever dream.  I must have also sickly imagined a TV movie starring Judd “Taxi” Hirsch and that nice lady from the Polaroid commercials as Dracula and a hideous witch, who had to join forces to save Halloween, return happiness to poorly dressed children, and sell lots of fucking candy corn.  Years later, the Goodwill Video Store of the Internet confirmed that it wasn’t a Robitussin-soaked delusion at all but rather an actual ABC live action Halloween special called The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t!

The memories flooding back are making me woozy.

Our story begins with Count Dracula (Hirsch) awakened by Igor (Gibson) to view a breaking news story about the rumor that Halloween is about to be canceled, perhaps forever!

If it wasn’t reported on the Mustache News Network, it didn’t happen.

This scene begs the question: since when does Igor answer to Dracula? What happened to Renfield?  (Please don't refer me to the novel.  Just don't.) Was there some leveraged buyout of Dr. Frankenstein’s employee pool that’s never been reported? Anyway, judging from Hirsch’s bugged-out camping, maybe this story takes place in the Bela Lugosi Dracula continuity where the Frankenstein universe does indeed interact with Drac, so there’s that.

"I don’t drink vine, or know Tony Danza’s home number."

Meanwhile, a nearby family also hears the news that there may be no trick-or-treating this year. Mom and Dad nonchalantly drop trivial tidbits about the pagan history of Halloween and its many traditions and rituals rooted in harvest lore and myth in the hopes it may calm the kids down or qualify this show as educational.  

Not pictured: Michael Myers tapping at the front window.

Cut back to Transylvania…

Or Tarrytown, NY

Dracula calls upon all the monstrous icons of Halloween to gather in the castle to come up with a solution to the holiday problem, which has just reached Threat Level Pumpkin.  First up is Warren the Werewolf (Riley).

Warren's name is a tip of the furry hat to Warren Zevon

Next, Zabaar The Zombie (Elic) who is either the King of the Undead or the King of East Coast Delis.

The Mummy (Fitch) emerges from his geometrical crypt to offer sage tactical advice or provide a cheap alternative to toilet paper.

“Where’s that Brendan Fraser son-of-a-bitch?!”

And lastly is Frankenstein’s Creature, who based on a then-recent Mel Brooks interpretation is obsessed with singing and dancing terribly.

Yep, ready for X-Factor.

Mysteriously missing from this monstrous summit is The Witch.  Her absence makes Frankenstein’s Creature howl a few bars from La Boheme.  

Or maybe it was Christina Aguilera. 

When the Witch finally shows up she admits to being behind the rumors to end Halloween, and blackmails Dracula to give up his post as leader of the monsters else she won’t make her annual flight over the moon that kicks off the holiday.  She makes a list of demands which include more control over merchandising and better working conditions. 

And lots and lots of Noxema.  LOTS.

Dracula refuses to give up any power and dismisses her demands.  She then admits that she wasn’t interested anyway and that she’s just tired of being ugly and wants Halloween to take a hike.  She escapes to her castle where Dracula orders the monsters to attack.  Their initial attempt fails miserably.

Igor goes both ways: dead and undead.

Ultimately, the tired, clumsy, and unorganized monster-oppressors and the greedy one-percenter aristocrat Dracula are unable to match The Witch’s newfound liberal radicalism, self-empowered will to take back her body and image from cooptation, and progressive feminist socialism.  


Plus, she unleashes The Three Musketeers to swash their blades on some monster butt.

We ain’t shit without Paul W.S. Anderson.

Drac loses his shit.  The battle is lost. The monsters are sad.

“Well, I guess it’s back to serving Dick Cheney in Hell.”

But in the end the Witch’s cold heart is warmed by the kids from before who squirt a few tears and beg Witch to ditch her beliefs and forsake herself to the patriarchal corporate oligarchy.

“I give up.  But you kids are getting eaten later!  OK?”

So Witch flies over the moon and Halloween is saved! Um, somehow.

“I’m personally gonna crap on every one of you down there! HEEHEEHEE!!!”

And in the end, the message is all conflict can be resolved (YET AGAIN) by disco dancing!

Deep down, I truly wish this was a delirious childhood memory.

So there you have it – The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t, an almost forgotten relic of 70s children’s TV. Now I know that nine-year-old Tremendito wasn’t crazed by brain heat.  Actually, the special ran for years on the Disney Channel’s Halloween slate of specials during the 80s and 90s and was released on video as The Night Dracula Saved the World, which is really messed up because The Witch was the real radical hero (even though she buckled under to the system in the end) and Dracula did nothing but look constipated.

“I vant to dreenk your prune juice!”


Judd “Camp Count” Hirsch, Mariette “” Hartley, Henry “In Between Altmans” Gibson, Jack “Kill Dr. Hartley” Riley, John “Supreme That Guy” Schuck, Josip “Conquered Santa” Elic. 

You can watch the whole damn thing here.