Scanner Cop (1994)

Starring Daniel Quinn, Darlanne Fluegel, Richard Grove, Mark Rolston, Richard Lynch, Hilary Shepard, James Horan, Gary Hudson, Cyndi Pass, Luca Bercovici, Christopher Kriesa, Savannah Smith Boucher, Ben Reed, Brion James, Elan Rothschild

Directed by Pierre David

Expectations: Moderate, but hopeful. Anything with a “______ Cop” title is usually worth a watch.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:

I didn’t expect much going into Scanner Cop. As the fourth entry in the Scanners series of unrelated films, I figured they were probably fairly close to the bottom of the barrel. There are lots of cop movies from around this time, so I figured Scanner Cop was just another in a long line of clichéd cop movies (even if the naming convention of “______ Cop” always gets me excited for a movie). It is clichéd, without a doubt, but you can’t discredit the fact that Scanner Cop is actually a pretty damn good movie. It gets two key things right: amazing FX work by none other than unsung genre hero (and one of my favorite FX artists) John Carl Buechler, and a killer story. Unfortunately, the writing isn’t always up to par with the premise, featuring inventive lines such as “My men are dying! It’s a war out there!” populating a lot of the film’s cop dialogue exchanges. All of that is a moot point as the wild inventiveness of the situations take hold of your soul and never let go.

Consider the opening scene. A man, obviously a scanner, crashes through his dingy apartment looking for his medication. His young son looks on in fear as his father gets more and more outraged at his inability to find his pills. The father locks himself in the bathroom and while looking at his haggard face in the mirror, small human faces start pushing themselves out from his forehead. If that doesn’t sell you on Scanner Cop, then you’re beyond hope. I was howling with laughter, I was cringing in horror, I was abso-fucking-lutely riveted.

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Parasite (1982)

Starring Robert Glaudini, Freddy Moore, Demi Moore, Luca Bercovici, James Davidson, Al Fann, Cherie Currie, Tom Villard, Vivian Blaine

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: High, the posters are all sorts of awesome.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:

It’s been nearly a year since I reviewed anything from the Charles Band era prior to the formation of Empire International, and what better time than Horrific October to make a return visit? From the short list I chose Parasite for two very specific reasons. One is that poster to the right. It’s not necessarily a great poster (or even a good one), but it’s one that instantly grabs me and tells me to watch the film. It’s delightfully cheesy and I figured if the film echoed any of this quality, it would be a good time. Not that horror posters are to be fully trusted. The other, and slightly less dubious, reason was that Parasite has the distinction of being Demi Moore’s first major film role. I’m not much of a fan, but early actor roles are always good fun, especially when they come in trashy horror films.

The story in Parasite is somewhat threadbare, but for this type of film there’s more than enough. Parasite opens with a high-color, intense laboratory scene where a scientist looks in various microscopes at various wriggling organisms. Another man lies strapped down to an examination table, freaking out. The doctor fucks up, dropping a petri dish and unleashing a dangerous parasite that quickly burrows into his stomach. The scientist loads a canister with another organism and books out of the lab as quick as possible. The man strapped to the table doesn’t fare so well though, as the parasite bursts out of his stomach first and then the top of his head. Whew! Five minutes in and already an alien has burst out of some dude’s head. This could be an instant classic.

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Ghoulies (1985)

Starring Peter Liapis, Lisa Pelikan, Michael Des Barres, Jack Nance, Peter Risch, Tamara de Treaux, Scott Thomson

Directed by Luca Bercovici

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

Ghoulies… where do I begin? Uncle Jasper suggested that I continue in the 1980s “Little Monster” horror genre with this and I willingly agreed. I thought I was doomed. How can a movie with a poster of a Ghoulie (would that be Ghouly?) popping up out of a toilet with the tagline of “They’ll get you in the end!” possibly be any good? I am happy to report that the film is as awful as I suspected, but it is equally hilarious. This is by far one of my favorite B-horror comedies. Ghoulies is pure delinquent fun of the highest order.

This is an ’80s movie through and through, and lest you forget, it contains many things only present in films of this decade. Things such as a house party where someone starts breakdancing, dudes wearing sweater vests, and a guy looking over his sunglasses at stuff. It brings me back to my youth when the Big League Chew was plentiful and absolutely no one was cooler or more badass than Mr. T. Anyway, Ghoulies! The title is a bit of a misdirection as the Ghoulies are present, but not the main focus of the film. They aren’t even the main villain, but they are definitely the main source of enjoyment. This works to the film’s advantage because it takes on a different formula than the tired, typical horror movie structure where the Ghoulies might chase people around and kill them one-by-one. Instead, we are treated to a warlock summoning Ghoulies to hang out with him and laugh at the camera. I’m getting ahead of myself again though.

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