“Horror films don’t create fear. They release it.”
“Horror films don’t create fear. They release it.”
Mutant (aka, Night Shadow /1984) is another one ’o those ’80s schlocky cult favs, given cheesy charm by David Hasselhoff look-alike, Wings Hauser. Also starring are chemically-altered ghouls with light blue skin, heavy Goth eye makeup, and banana-colored pudding blood. Bananas are good for you.
Two city brothers out hitchhiking like it was legal, end up in a small, southern redneck town where their kind ain’t welcome. Run off the road by a truckload of articulate inbreds, the brothers later find themselves in bar brawl knife fight – with the same guys. They also find a body with open sores on his/her face. (Hard to tell if it was a dude or a chick with all that goo leaking out.)
Staying the night in a bed & breakfast, the younger brother is grabbed by something with smoking hands, and subsequently extinguished. In his quest to locate his brother, the older one goes around town, finds himself a girlfriend, and gets into more fights with the rednecks, or “Texas Welcoming Committee.”
While this is going on, the locals are being converted into pasty-face ghouls with a taste for living lasagna. (One zombie dude runs around while still wearing his glasses. As in life, as in death.) Wings (the older brother), has zombie resistant hair. (I wonder what kind of product he uses?) And his girlfriend looks like Jessica Simpson, but with six or seven additional teeth.
The mutated ghouls are somewhat entertaining, turning blue with skin bubbling like hot soup under rotting skin. For some reason not related to lack of toothbrush use, their teeth become black and they claw at the air like a cat pawing an invisible scratch post. Guns will take ’em down, as will flame, so like, boom and burn time. The light hurts their zombie’d eyes, though. (Since they’re undead, they probably forgot about using sunglasses.)
The ghouls corner the survivors over and over again – in a school bathroom, a doctor’s office, a gas station… Persistence beats resistance. Help arrives, but are they in time? Will the ghouls mess up Wings’ hair? Will his younger beefcake brother ever button his shirt? Will the rednecks get a lesson in city etiquette? I don’t care – I just wanted to watch mutant ghoul zombies eat people. And to comb my mop top to look just like Wings’ ’80s crown.
The Sand, arriving October 13, 2015 on DVD/VOD, is the type of brainless horror movie that belongs in one of those $3 bins next to the Slim-Jims™ and Tic Tacs™ at a gas station mini-mart.
Why am I being so gently harsh? Two reasons – first, the plot: After an all-night graduation beach party, a group of hungover twenty-somethings awake to a beating sun, and a seemingly carnivorous beach that devours anything with a heartbeat that touches the sand.”
Hungover twenty-somethings – clearly the movie’s target audience.
Secondly, The Sand, with its painfully dumb title, steals directly from 1980’s Blood Beach, wherein: “One by one, something is attacking people on the beach. Some are mutilated, but most are sucked into the sand, disappearing without a trace.”
That was 35 years ago. And The Sand takes its cover from Blood Beach (and even The Evil Dead/1981) as well. Horror never forgets.
To be fair – and I’m usually not – Tremors (1990), with burrowing, giant Graboid slugs sucking you into the dirt for feasting purposes, lifted BB’s premise as well.
A few fun facts about Blood Beach: It cleverly re-purposed Jaws 2’s (1978) famous tagline of “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…” and turned it into: “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water – you can’t get to it!” Brilliant, I tell you.
Also, Blood Beach starred the salty Burt Young, who also played the super mean dad in Amityville II: The Possession (1982).
I am a veritable fountain of useless knowledge.
Two pet peeves about horror movies: a.) Getting so excited about a new one everyone’s e-chatting about I get pee shivers, and then not being able to find it, and 2.) Finally finding it, only to see title has been changed. I think horror movie directors do that just to personally goon me out.
Such is the case with the Nightbreed-esque Fire City: The Interpreter of Signs (2015), now sporting the slightly better title of Fire City: End of Days, arriving October 6, 2015 on DVD and VOD. Good thing; I’m not a fan of needlessly long movie titles. (Looking in your direction Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief/2010.)
Now that I got that off your chest, Fire City was near to impossible to find when it came out in April 2015. Unless you were a cast member (I wasn’t) or a writer for Fangoria (why won’t they hire me?), getting to see the movie with its gaggle of cool monster people giving the world a frowning of a lifetime was an exercise in futility. This pee shivered me off as I totally swallowed the press hype bait:
“Set in a world where demons live among us, this exhilarating vitrine of effects and action sees a hard-boiled demon named Vine confronted with the ultimate choice between the salvation of his own kind and the life of an innocent human girl…”
“A mix of horror, fantasy and mystery, with a dark, mature storybook aesthetic…”
“Fire City follows a unique world where demons and men coexist with a parasite-host dynamic, as demons fuel the darker side of man’s impulses in order to feed off the relentless negativity…”
If parasitic demons fed off my relentless negativity, they’d all be fat. Heh. Regardless, I can put all this behind me once Fire City: End of Days is released in October. If at that point I still can’t find it, it’ll be Royal Fork Buffet™ time for demons.
Lots of new Halloween-themed horror movies lining up outside your/my door this year, looking to fill their bags with treats (i.e., cash). Hellions, which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival way back in the ancient days of January 2015, looks to lead the pack, despite borrowing notable elements from previous horror movies. (Borrowing is the new steal.)
Hellion’s premise is straightforward: “A pregnant teenager must survive a Halloween night from Hell when malevolent trick-or-treaters come knocking at her door.”
Four weeks pregnant – and she only hooked up last week. Funny how time flies when you’re having horizontal fun.
So these eerie/creepy/spooky kids in handmade Halloween cosplay, torment little Miss Unprotected Sex, telling her to give them what they came for. I’m thinkin’ it isn’t safe booty advice. That the gal’s pregnancy is progressing so quickly means that someone or something is hitting the fast-forward button on her womb of doom.
Of course, strangers appearing out of nowhere demanding to be given something is not new. For instance, in Storm of the Century, Stephen King’s 1999 TV mini-series, André Linoge, a seriously menacing dude, shows up as a mega storm is about to bury Little Tall Island (off the coast of Maine) in a world of whacked winter weather.
He somehow knows the dirty little secrets of the entire town’s citizens and keeps saying, “Give me what I want, and I’ll go away.” I’m thinkin’ it’s probably not a sno-cone.
As for the little creeps in Hellions, one of ‘em sure looks like he borrowed some fashion tips from Sam, the Halloween mascot from Trick ‘R Treat (2007), a surprisingly cool horror anthology. FYI: The burlap look is back and is the must-have season accessory.
The Spanish horror film Para Elisa came out in 2013, but it’s not until now (2015, if memory serves me correct) that it’ll be available on DVD and VOD September 1. Since I don’t live in Spain or anywhere on its bus line, never got to see it. Dang que. (That’s Spanish for “dang it.”)
Not too heartbroken, though, as I’m not a big fan of sub-titled horror movies. You spend the whole movie reading when you should be screaming. [Note to whomsoever: I don’t really scream during horror movies. I’ve been known to snore, though.]
Here’s a refresher on Para Elisa in case you forgot: “Desperate for some post-graduation cash, party girl Ana answers a babysitting ad. She arrives for an interview at the elegant home of Diamantina, a former child prodigy pianist who is now an eccentric old woman who collects antique toys and dolls.”
“Ana is disturbed by Diamantina’s odd behavior and horrified to discover that her child, Elisa, is not a child but rather a deranged woman her own age. Before Ana really understands what’s happening, she finds herself trapped in the house and made to serve as Elisa’s new toy – a toy that like many others before it may well be broken.”
Need more convincing? Check out the trailer – and bring your reading glasses.
P.S. “Para Elisa” is actually a song by Beethoven and translates to “For Elisa.” Nice to see 11 years of internet Spanish lessons haven’t let me down.
In case you didn’t get it the first 2,000 times, now comes Victor Frankenstein, YET ANOTHER in an endless assembly line of Frankenstein movies, that seeks to do pretty much the same thing we’ve been seeing over and over since 1931. Behold the premise…
“Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.”
While the plot is over 80 years old, it does star Harry Potter and that guy from The X-Men, who also played a half-man/half-goat guy in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005). Hey, I have nieces; I had to watch it. How dare you judge me? Anyway, look for Victor Frankenstein in theatres November 25, 2015.
In case you can’t wait that long, there’s YET ANOTHER Frankenstein movie called, cleverly enough, Frankenstein. This one played some film festivals back in April 2015, but has a date with electrically charged devices on September 21, 2015.
If you think the title is sparse, get a load of the plot: “A married couple of scientists create a modern-day monster.”
Way to sell it. The married couple probably “created a modern-day monster” by having a kid. All kids inevitably turn into monsters.