Monday, October 15, 2018



Ron “Fucking Horshack” Palillo, Abigail Wolcott, Carel Trichardt, Petrea Curran, Evan J. Klisser, Joanne Ward, Lance Vaughan, the cast of Old Tucson’s Nightfall, a wagon full of bourbon for the writer, a horse cart full of LSD for the director, a trainload full of cocaine for the cast, and a truckload of Xanax for yours truly.

More details here.



Vacationing teens in a cabin sit around a fireplace, tell spooky stories, and share local urban legends, in particular the tragedy of Josie, a woman who in the 1950s was kidnapped by a motorcycle gang and murdered in the old west town of Hellgate.  Stricken with grief, her father Lucas (Trichardt) vows revenge and one day comes across a mysterious crystal found in a mine that possesses the power to reanimate the dead.  He experiments with it by bringing his dead turtle back to life.

"Zombie Gamera is a friend to all vengeful Dads!"
He uses the crystal to revive Josie (Wolcott) so she can roam the countryside and hunt down her murderers and any other strangers who dare visit the town for the next three decades.  

She also seeks eyeliner.
Meanwhile, Matt (Palillo) is driving through the town looking for the cabin to meet up with girlfriend Pam (Curran), dickhead Chuck (Klisser), and his dimwit girlfriend (Ward).  After Matt has a close encounter of the horny kind with Josie along the lonely road, he tells the story to his friends and they decide to investigate further.

The world's oldest teens are on the case.
They meet up with angry mechanic Zonk (Vaughan) who the geriatric Scooby Doo gang learn is a member of the original gang that killed Josie.  He's terrified of going up to Hellgate even though thirty years later he's still a juiced up bruiser who for some reason looks like DC Comics' Solomon Grundy.  

Still better than anything in Batman v. Superman
Meanwhile, Daddy Lucas looking like an unfinished Terminator is on the prowl and searching for Matt who for some reason is also blamed for Josie's demise.  Is it because he's a stranger or because he's Fucking Horshack?

"I'll be back, right after I take my Geritol."
Back at her family home, Josie lies around and for reasons unfathomable fawns for Fucking Horshack.  

"I can't help it, non-Scientologist Sweat Hogs are my kink."
As they search through the town trying to uncover the secret of the crystal's power and the mystery of Josie's vengeance, they awaken all sorts of horror:

Rotting extras!

Ghostly pianists!

Awkward director cameos!
But it all boils down to how much courage Fucking Horshack can muster to face down slashy-slashy Lucas, the soul-stealing desires of Josie, and a long depressing look at what went wrong in his career.


People ask me why I watch so many bad movies.  My initial answer is because it’s fun to poke fun at bad movies, preferably with like-minded friends over adult beverages and fatty snacks.  But the daily grind of the #31DaysOfHalloween does not often afford the social aspect of communal mocking and getting snockered.  So most of these days I’m doing this alone, like the terrible movie maven and shut-in I am.  And honestly, I don’t always know that a movie I’m going to watch is going to be “bad”, as I don’t do much pre-viewing research.  In fact, I’m always naively hopeful that my random choice will result in a hidden gem such as Satan’s Little Helper or Razorback.  Sure, there are the obvious signs of a bad movie:  little to no reviews available besides the random listicle or movie fan board posting, its unavailability besides a YouTube rip or crazy torrent site, an abysmally low IMDB rating, and the appearance of Ron “Fucking Horshack” Palillo.  So it’s no wonder I should have known better than to attempt to sit through the agonizing Hellgate, a movie so brazenly atrocious and aggravating that I may need to sue the producers for counseling expenses.

Where to start?  First, this movie like others of its pedigree (low-budget, direct to video, starring no one and featuring nothing) seem to be an amalgam of several other movies, as if the producers decided to piece together previously unfinished films into one and tack on a few scenes with a famous name to market.  It’s like “Hey, Fucking Horshack is available for two days, why don’t we pick him up and finish that crap you started last weekend?!”.  I don’t know if that’s the case here but there are sequences that are mismatched visually and just plain don’t make any sense in the order they’re presented.  It’s incongruously part old west horror film and part teen sex comedy.  The acting is so mind-boggling unnatural, even from veteran Fucking Horshack, who was much better in the best Jason movie Jason Lives! and acts as if this is his first acting gig.  And then there’s the sex scenes.  Holy Mother of All That is Holy, human beings do not behave like this.  The sex scenes are so bizarre it’s as if the director was something that had never encountered humans and thought, “Humans can procreate by sitting on each other’s butts.”

Seriously, this exists and cannot be unseen.
Not that it matters but there are a ton of unexplained threads handing from this mush pile of a movie: a burning man crashes his car in the town of Hellgate (who?), the crystal could not only wake the dead but also shoot laser beams (how?), one of kidnapping gang members stays in the town for thirty years after the incident and opens a business minutes away from the site of his crime (why?), Josie has the hots for Fucking Horshack (huh?), and so on and so on.  And I don’t understand the compulsion of some horror movie makers both then and now to make every single one of their characters a complete asshole.  Is it a substitute for making characters interesting?  A lazy shortcut to explain stupid actions to advance the plot?  A reflection of the actual movie business?  Hellgate ranks as one of the worst movies ever seen here on Tremendo Time, a tremendous dubious honor.  But I will recommend it for your Halloween marathon, so long as your sarcastic best friends are around to pull you through it, quip like there’s no tomorrow, and shove down fun-size Snickers to ease the pain. 

Aw prairie shit, it’s not that bad.  I’ve seen worse.  I’m actually glad I made it through this thing.  It’s made me stronger, he said wincing, shaking, and looking for a bottle to drown his bad movie memories.
Fucking Horshack.  (R.I.P.).

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