Weekend of Horrors Day 1

Uncle Jasper and I attended the short opening day of the Los Angeles Weekend of Horrors yesterday afternoon. It was a good time with vendors, celebs and quality panels. The interview panel with FX artist Gabe Bartalos (Leprechaun, Frankenhooker, From Beyond, Basket Case 2) was great; revealing insights into his work and career. We were especially interested to hear him cite silicon as his preferred modelling material, saying that it provided a much more realistic flesh. Foam latex is a thing of the past, I guess.

Joe Bob Briggs’ panel was super fun. He didn’t know he was doing it until a couple of hours beforehand, so it was very off-the-cuff. He spoke of his early days as a film reviewer and how when he started reviewing the trashier side of cinema, he was one of the few torch-bearers. He took lots of questions from the audience as well.

The highlight of the day for Jasper and I though was when we both got to shake Fred Williamson’s hand. We were walking around the vendor/signing room when all of a sudden, we look up and Fred Williamson is standing there behind a table. Before we had time to compose ourselves, he reached out his hand in a show of goodwill to Uncle Jasper. A huge smile burst upon my face and before I knew it, I was shaking his hand as well. It was all such a surprise that we both found ourselves speechless. Good times.

Today is going to be more even more exciting with Greg Nicotero, Ken Foree and a Maniac Cop reunion!

TerrorVision (1986)

Starring Chad Allen, Diane Franklin, Mary Woronov, Gerrit Graham, Bert Remsen, Jon Gries, Jennifer Richards, Alejandro Rey, Randi Brooks, Frank Welker

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


If you’re looking for a serious injection of the 1980s into your life, then look no further than this morally questionable little film, Terrorvision. Everything in this movie is dripping with the kind of Velveeta that only the 1980s could produce. The thing is, this only goes so far and unfortunately it ends up working against itself. After the initial laughs have passed, it all gets really tiring because at the heart of the matter, this really would have worked a lot better as a short.

Continue reading TerrorVision (1986) →

Uncle Jasper reviews: Las Vampiras (1969)

Las Vampiras (1969)

Starring Mil Máscaras, John Carradine, María Duval, Maura Monti, Marta Romero, Pedro Armendáriz Jr.

Directed By Federico Curiel


 

Boy, oh boy. If there’s anything I’ve always thought my lucha films were sorely lacking in, it’s impotent vampires and John Carradine. Thankfully Las Vampiras came just in the nick of time to remedy that situation. A famous character actor, hand picked out of John Ford’s legendary stock company and plopped right into the middle of the wacky world of Lucha Libre is enough to raise quite a few eyebrows. Unfortunately, the result is by far one of the worst genre offerings I have ever had the misfortune to sit through.

Sorry folks, I really was hoping for a better introduction to the films of Mil Máscaras, the final piece of the lucha holy trinity, than Las Vampiras provided me with. This movie is so careless and jumbled in terms of narrative and atmosphere that it insults the intelligence of even the most devoted follower of lucha cinema. I literally felt my brain cells popping off one by one like a bubbling vat of simmering frijoles.

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: Las Vampiras (1969) →

Deep Red (1975)

Deep Red [Profondo Rosso] (1975)

Starring David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Macha Meril, Eros Pagni, Giuliana Calandra, Glauco Mauri, Clara Calamai, Piero Mazzinghi

Directed by Dario Argento

Expectations: Moderate. After The Cat o’ Nine Tails, I am cautious but optomistic.


 

I’m starting to think that if you’ve seen one Argento film, you’ve seen them all. Deep Red may be regarded as one of the best Italian horror films of all time, but for my money, it was just a long-winded, lesser version of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. I’m also beginning to think that because these films are so similar, I’d have a much better reaction to them if I wasn’t watching them in such a short space of time. I’m hoping that the last Argento film for October breaks the cycle a bit, but so far each of the three Argento movies I’ve watched have been very similar. I skipped ahead a couple of movies so that I could get to the big guns of Argento’s filmography. I was also hoping for some sort of maturing to have taken place, but surprisingly Deep Red has a lot more in common with The Cat o’ Nine Tails than I would have thought with all the negative press that movie gets.

Continue reading Deep Red (1975) →

Dreamaniac (1986)

Starring Thomas Bern, Ashlyn Gere (as Kim McKamy), Sylvia Summers, Brent Black, Cynthia Crass, Lisa Emery, Brad Laughlin, Linda Denise Martin, Bob Pelham, Lauren Peterson, Matthew Phelps, Michael Warren

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Low. I have a bad feeling about this one.

On the general scale:
nostar (NO STARS)

On the B-Movie scale:
halfstar


Now this is what I’m talking about when I talk about a piece-of-shit movie. Dreamaniac makes Troll 2 look like a Lawrence of Arabia style epic in comparison. Where Troll 2 backs up its poor execution with tons of fun, Dreamanic is an absolute chore to sit through whilst retaining your sanity. One of the worst knocks against a low-level horror movie is boredom and let me tell you, Snoremaniac would be a more apt title. Having to recall and write about this film may end up being more painful than actually viewing it.

Continue reading Dreamaniac (1986) →

Uncle Jasper reviews: Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man (1973)

Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man [Santo y Blue Demon Contra Dracula y el Hombre Lobo] (1973)

Starring Santo, Blue Demon, Aldo Monti, Augustín Martínez Solares, Nubia Martí, María Eugenia San Martín, Wally Barron

Directed By Miguel M. Delgado


From the lofty, almost socially conscious heights of Santo in the Wax Museum, we dive headfirst back into familiar Santo lunacy with Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man. This is latter-day Santo we’re dealing with again, and if vs. the Monsters taught us anything it’s that el enmascarado de plata was finally allowed some of the finer things in life after saving the world from monsters and aliens countless times. This is an older, leisurely minded Santo who has nicely settled into his role as superhero, ladies man, and cultural ambassador.  He has a full-fledged girlfriend now named Lina, who really represents massive progress in the area of women as portrayed in Santo films. Lina can sport a sexy miniskirt like the best of them, but is also skilled in operating heavy machinery, which proves to be a major asset for an aging luchador with a penchant for supernatural combat.

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man (1973) →

Mini-Review: Flowers in the Attic (1987)

Starring Louise Fletcher, Victoria Tennant, Kristy Swanson, Jeb Stuart Adams, Ben Ryan Ganger, Lindsay Parker, Marshall Colt, Nathan Davis, Brooke Fries, Alex Koba

Directed by Jeffrey Bloom

Expectations: Low. It’s some girly kid book, right?


Wow! I did not expect to like this so much. For years I had disregarded anything even remotely connected to V.C. Andrews. In my mind, they have always been “some girl book” that I knew nothing about. I didn’t want to read about flowers! The story is deceptively simple, but it builds really well to a big finish. I can’t comment on how good of an adaptation it is, I can only say that if the movie was this fun and twisted, I can imagine the book is that much better. By the end of this one, I was hurling insults at the characters, yelling “Oh shit!” at all the correct moments and even doing a bit of the old Arsenio Hall Show fist circle as retribution finally came around. This story is seriously fucked up and wickedly fun to watch.

A loving set of parents live with their four children in the suburbs. One day, the father gets into an auto accident and dies, leaving the family without money or a suitable place to live. The mother does the only thing she can think to do, she takes them to her wealthy parents home. The only catch is that her father disowned her twenty years ago, after an unnamed transgression. The film might start a little slow and the child acting is bad, but as each piece of family history is revealed, the excitement ratchets up and you can only respond by inching even closer to your TV screen. Don’t miss Louise Fletcher of Nurse Ratched fame doing her best stern grandmother act. Recommended.

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