Phantasm: Ravager – Reggie the ice cream man does not mess around

reg

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls}

“I could really go for a Rocket Pop right now”

So begins the saga of Reggie in Phantasm: Ravager, the fifth — and apparently final — installment of the Phantasm universe. The pony-tailed ice cream truck driver has been on a journey to defeat The Tall Man and save his friends from otherworldly possession and freaky rabid Jawas (aka: Lurkers) since 1979, alternately kicking-ass, singing songs, and hooking up with random chicks while driving a sweet 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda.

In Ravager, Reg enters the scene wandering through the dessert in his dirty, torn, and familiar white ice cream man uniform wielding a custom-made shotgun. He’s in search of BFFs Mike & Jody, and also trying to find out who the hell had the balls to steal his car from its hiding place. Luckily, he finds it just as those flying killer spheres show up to cause him all kinds of trouble. But that’s just the beginning … (more…)

IT FOLLOWS

Maika Monroe in IT FOLLOWS

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls}

“It’s slow, but it’s not dumb.” ~ Hugh, IT FOLLOWS

Imagine going on a date with someone you really, really like, enjoying a romantic lakeside talk, cozying up in the car for some hot sex—then having that person drag you out into the middle of nowhere, tie you to a chair, and explain that by having sex they’ve infected you with something that will FOLLOW you. And you have to keep running from it, because it won’t stop until it catches up to you and kills you. (more…)

Deadly Blessing

This 1981 entry into the Craven canon unfortunately suffers from extreme BOREDOM.

 Deadly Blessing is about Martha (Maren Jenson, who played Athena in the 70s Battlestar Galactica) a woman whose husband is an ex-Hittite, and who is being stalked by a mysterious figure in black who likes to murder people in various ways. It doesn’t take long before the figure offs her husband in a tractor “accident”, and Martha’s city friends arrive (Sharon Stone! What.) to help comfort her … but somehow just make things worse.

Craven’s script implies that the blame lies within the Hittite community, possibly with William (distinctive actor Michael Berryman), who also appears to be stalking her, and is obsessed with calling her, and well, everyone else who isn’t a Hittite, an Incubus. Yes, even if they’re female. (I do not think that word means what he thinks it means).

Ernest Borgnine also throws the term around liberally, making wild eyes at the three heathen women and angrily slapping his adult son around, just because. There’s also a clearly imbalanced mother & daughter who also live just outside the Hittite community and are harassed by them on a daily basis too.

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD  (more…)

Lovely Molly

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

Opening with a “found footage” sequence (expected by Director Eduardo Sanchez, one-half of the writing and directing team that brought us The Blair Witch Project) packed with intense emotion, Lovely Molly then backtracks to start at the beginning.

Scraping together money to start their new life together, young married couple Molly and Tim Reynolds move back into her parent’s home: a spooky out-in-the-middle of nowhere 18th century house that Molly will be spending a LOT of time alone in while her husband works long hour trucking across the country.

It isn’t long before Molly starts being terrorized by sounds of footsteps, slamming doors, and an eerily haunting singsong voice that she believes is her dead father. As Molly slips deeper into depression and despair, the details of her tortured childhood are slowly revealed: horrible physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her father that led her to retreat into heavy drug use and destructive behavior, which she is repeating again with an even faster—and scarier—descent.

And this is where I disagree with most of the reviews I’ve read about this movie that say, “it’s not scary”, because it’s actually fucking terrifying. The thing is, the most frightening thing about Lovely Molly isn’t the horror aspect of the story—it’s the past demons that Molly is facing that make you feel true terror.  (more…)

Demons, Italian Style

Continuing with my Italian horror theme – Demoni And Demoni 2 are two more films I was obsessed with in my teen years. Shortly after discovering Argento, I did some research (which in those pre-internet days meant visiting a lot of video stores and talking to people FACE TO FACE. Shocking, I know) that he produced both of these Lamberto Bava-directed films. They still suffer from bad dubbing and seriously dated settings, but the Demon makeup is awesome enough that you honestly won’t care.

Demoni (Demons) was filmed in 1985 and takes place almost entirely in a theater. After one of the theater goers accidentally scratches her face on a creepy mask in the lobby, she becomes a demon that bites her friend, who also turns into a demon, and so and so on and so on. The Demons in this movie – and the sequel – operate much like Zombies. Puss-filled, falling apart, pointy-teethed zombies.

What I think is pretty cool about this one is that even though it’s one location, there are enough surprises and gory attacks that you’re distracted enough not to get bored. I still think the transformation where the chick busts right through the movie screen looks really awesome. Plus, the soundtrack is full of songs by Billy Idol, Motley Cure, Rick Springfield, and Go West. RADICAL. 

Demoni 2 (Demons 2) was filmed in 1986 and takes place in a fancy high-rise building called “The Tower”. This one doesn’t make one damn bit of sense, but you gotta roll with it for the pay-offs (of which there are many). There’s a film-within-a-film thing happening here, wherein a bunch of teens are exploring the ruins of the theater from the first film and wake up one of the demon corpses they stumble over. Sally, who’s having her 16th birthday party, has an emotional breakdown after learning that her punk ex-boyfriend is on the way over, and retreats to her room to pout and watch the teens on her TV.

Wait. What? It turns out several people in the high rise (including Asia Argento in one of her first film roles) are watching this group on film, even though there doesn’t seem to be a guy with a camera filming them, but uh, whatever. Sally happens to be watching at the unfortunate resurrection moment, so she becomes possessed by the demon, and then starts slaughtering party-goers left and right – who turn into more Demons and start terrorizing and infecting everyone in the complex, including a pregnant woman, a band of bodybuilders and aerobicizers (!!?), and a high class hooker.

If this sounds over-the-top crazy, it is. They even turn a child into a demon, which morphs into the stupidest looking puppet ever. But even with its flaws, this one is totally (laughably) great. AND the soundtrack is more new wave: featuring The Smiths, The Cult, Dead Can Dance, and Art of Noise. Oh….right. That’s why I loved this movie so much in the 80s!

These are both filled with so many ridiculous moments that I’d definitely recommended settling in with a group of friends and some booze for a marathon with lots of commentary…but hold off on any food. The demony goodness includes enough puss and blackish vomit to kill pretty much anyone’s appetite.

Night of the Demons

Nice strategically place rips, there.

Night of the Demons 1988 Vs. 2009

The 1988 version of Night of the Demons is by no means a masterpiece, but since it was released during my impressionable teenage years, I kind of love it. It’s slow-going and takes forever to get to the gore, but when it does, it’s a mix of terror and WTF moments, involving lipstick being ingested by boob and naughty 80s dancing.

Unfortunately, the remake gets everything wrong. (more…)

Rosemary’s Baby

31 Horror Movies I Own #26: Rosemary’s Baby

Featuring the most frightening old people I’ve ever seen (with the exception of the rigor mortis smiling couple in Mulholland Dr.), Rosemary’s Baby is a beautifully filmed piece of terror-inducing thrill.

Rosemary Woodhouse couldn’t be happier about being pregnant with her first child, until all her new neighbors start acting uber-creepy, fawning over her a little too much, and she notices her doctor is being shady as hell. To top it all off, her struggling husband snags a coveted role after a random freak accident befalls the originally cast actor…or so everyone would have Rosemary believe.

Eventually the mom-to-be figures out what’s up: she’s carrying the devil around in her belly, and he’s got a whole slew of minions making sure she’s too weak to get away or do anything to stop it.

It’s not so much the idea of a satanic cult prepping Rosemary to be the mother of Satan that’s so frightening, it’s the WAY this film portrays it. By picking what look like perfectly normal looking people to play devil worshiping, orgy-obsessed monsters, Director Roman Polanski kicked the story up a notch and delivered a masterpiece that rocks, no matter what year it is.

Despite the absence of a lot of blood of gore, Rosemary’s Baby is atmospheric, unsettling, and expertly cast—and absolutely one of the best classic horror films. I can’t recommend that you see it highly enough.

Drag Me to Hell

31 Horror Movies I Own #13: Drag Me to Hell

If there’s one man who knows how to do horror-comedy right, it’s Sam Raimi. So when the master of the The Evil Dead returned to his roots in 2009, I couldn’t have been happier—and Drag Me to Hell more than lived up to my expectations.

When I first saw the trailer, I was worried that it might be a re-hash of Thinner (a Stephen King film that fell a little flat). I mean, angry gypsy woman, a curse, that seems a little too familiar, right? But Raimi injected his story with tons of gross-out gore, spurting blood, and even a talking goat. (more…)

Hellraiser

31 Horror Movies I Own: #1, Hellraiser

I suspect that if you weren’t a teen or preteen when Clive Barker’s Hellraiser hit the horror scene, you’d view it now and think “This is fucking dated and cheesy and not scary at all”…and you’d be half-right.

There’s no denying that it’s dated. 1987 was a fine year for outrageous 80s fashion, and the two female leads showcase it hilariously—puffy bomber jackets, giant bangs, dagger-esque star earrings, popped collars, bright yellow eye shadow and all.

And sure, it’s cheesy. The low-budget effects are glaringly obvious (Barker even admits this in his commentary, which by the way, is some of the best commentary ever in the history of EVER), but whatevs. The man basically sold his soul, AKA, the rights to all future Hellraiser movies and characters, for just a million dollars in order to make this thing. So of course it’s not without its flaws. (more…)

Paranormal Activity

I FINALLY saw Paranormal Activity and it was exactly as I expected: good, but not as spectacular as the hype. Comparisons to The Blair Witch Project are right on target; this is a fine film made on a low budget with some decent scares, but it’s not without its flaws.

There were a few things that were hard to buy: the hand-held video camera device didn’t work as well here as it did in Blair Witch, because the prospect of documenting everything seemed a little unreasonable once physical harm was inflicted. Tied into that, the boyfriend was over-the-top with jerkiness, making him so unlikeable that you wanted him to die almost immediately.

That said, the (theatrical) ending* was super creepy and there were some pretty awesome special effects scenes. Definitely worth watching for the curious – but you may need to utilize the FF button until it gets to the juicier scenes.

*a note about the alternate ending included on the DVD: Fine, but expected. The original ending had a lot more impact.