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Archive for April, 2023

Don’t Kill It

DollarindexDon’t Kill It has a cover that was obviously formatted for Netflix. You can see with the bold blue colors in the background and the close-up of Dolph Lundgrin carrying a very large gun, with a determined look on his face. Nevertheless, Dolph Lundgren killing monsters is pretty much a good enough Pedigree for me.

Don’t Kill It places Lundgren as a Demon Hunter chasing a particular diabolic entity that jumps from host to host, possessing people until they’re killed, and then moving into the body of whoever killed its last host. It’s a brilliant conceit, and it’s a shame this premise didn’t get more attention. Lundgren‘s bounty hunter not only has to defeat this thing with the only weapon that he has, (that is, somebody’s suicide) but convince the small town that he arrives in that the rash of unexplained murders sweeping the place is the work of their local demon. It’s got plenty of action and plenty of gore, and deserves a much wider appreciation. I grabbed this at the local dollar store and continue to buy up copies whenever I see them just so I can hand them out to other people. This one’s a definite buy if you see it at Walmart or record exchange etc.



essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Amityville : Mt. Misery Road

The Amityville Franchise

Mount misery Road is one of those movies with a remarkable premise… It’s brilliant. A haunted road in upstate New York, one that people vanish from, where there’s ghosts and hauntings… Great stuff.

And they do absolutely nothing with it.

We have the writer/Director and his young trophy wife planning a trip to this road to ghost hunt, despite the doomsayers trying to warn them off. It’s enough to give the hot young wife a nightmare where she’s haunted by a cheap Halloween decoration.
I know that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s honestly more than the first half of the film.

Once they arrive there, We switch from stationary cameras and third person, to first person found footage and handheld consumer great turns into an unintentional parity of the Blair witch Project. They really want the tension and hype, finding black crosses hanging, and stones that are the ruins of an old insane asylum there in the woods, But it’s just so dumb. They keep talking to the camera and saying things like “that’s so spooky!” It doesn’t help that it’s basically all filmed during the day. Fourths can be very eerie at night, much less so in broad daylight. We’re not even trying day for night, it’s just them tramping around a very light words Dash about as dense as the one you might find between your backyard in the local school house… And occasionally throwing in video glitches to show the haunting.
Suddenly the Director holding the camera is struck from behind… We know that because the camera falls to the ground. Trophy wife picks it up and runs through the woods calling for him, screaming, whimpering and pleading to go home. The problem with the scene, is it lasts for 15 minutes! Nothing happens, we don’t even get any real proper haunting or ghost citing… Not until the second before the credits, after the movies over and everyone’s dead anyhow. It’s not just that it’s a disappointment, it’s such a wasted premise. This really could be so good, but it’s such a cheap exploitation cash grab… The word Amityville, is actually superimposed over the credits in a font that doesn’t match anything else. It’s that crass of a rename.

This one’s a pass. Honestly, the dollar I paid for it was too much, I think I might be OK with it if I had discovered it as part of a collection, but this? Useless.

Cyber Bride

There’s a real wisdom in starting off the movie with them people building the robot. It’s feeling a lot like Doctor Who but on the other end of the credits we got recently separated man who is in the process of divorce and everything is just ugly. It’s frustrating now that he just takes it out on his robot… One that looks like his wife. At least, until she tosses a hairdryer in his bath!

After some establishing shots, we finally get to a young man who is henpecked by his older sister who seems to be there almost enough to be a roommate. It’s enough that he’s considering life with a robot, and he discusses it with the roommate all while watching one of Louisa Warren’s scarecrow movies. (interesting bit of self referential Easter egging but I can’t decide if it’s cute or self indulgent. Our universal YouTuber is there too, giving advice.)

There’s a couple of texts while new girlfriend is being built, and eventually, she arrives in a large box full of plastic popcorn. There’s a surprising amount that needs to be assembled on site. It’s a nice touch… Considering the amount of effort I had to put into assembling my new 3-D printer, I totally relate!

He fires her up, patterned after an old girlfriend, and behind the scenes we can see the previous personalities in there.
It’s gonna be slow going as she starts to normalize… He’s warned as much by the manufacturer. We get a quick flashback to some of the murderous malfunctions, but surely, it’ll be OK this time, right?

Also, it really doesn’t like pets.

We start to suspect something might be wrong when one of his friends stops by too… almost… deliver a warning but it doesn’t matter, he’s invested in this replica of his ex. This is important, they spent a lot of time establishing them emotional connection to this robot…  there’s a connection here… But it’s awkward. Off.

In the background though, the robots are confused about the fact that humans kill… And kill each other. This robot is asking those questions. And it is this very kind of misunderstanding that leads to the killing in the third act.

Ultimately, it may be a little bit more simplistic in its thought process of why a robot goes wrong, but it also goes it’s own direction and that really is to its benefit. I wasn’t expecting horror here, but we got a nice balance between that and the side story, and it ends up being a story it’s really well done. It still feels kind of like a dollar tree movie, but one of the superior ones that makes me happy when I see them.





essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



With no Flash or Superman and Lois this week, we find ourselves very sci-fi heavy. Both Picard and The Mandilorian had thier finales this week and I couldn’t think of a more interesting dichotomy.  Both wrapped up thier stories just fine, but to diffrent effect.

The Mandalorian did what Star Wars does. plenty of pew pews and big booms, even a nice “We are Groot” moment. It’s ends the whole series sufficiantly, with Mando able to kick back in a quiet house on the oustskirts, while Baby Yoda plays wiht frogs by the pond. It’s fine. But it’s not quite the great hope for Star Wars that it was when it first burst on the scene. Too long a break between seasons. This allowed management to shift and the story direction really redirected. It makes it uneven. If this was really the story they intended to tell, they could have done it in about two seasons. Insted we got sideqquests, and redirects. However, I’m glad we got some sort of resolution. It was a little shoehorned, but was fine. Season was okay. I think it’s not that it was bad….but rather that it wasn’t as spectacularly good as the first two years with thier inspiration and focus.

Picard on the other hand, privides a shockingly god climax to a genuinely hopeless situation. It’s overwhelming odds and the first time I’ve felt real stakes in Star Trek in DECADES. It’s tough to make the Borg even more terrifying. Star Trek ahs tried to do it by increments – and this really does push them just another step further in the terror levels.

Not only that, they managed to introduce new characters, and set up a spin off series perfectly. A new Generation of Star Trek that I’d clamor to watch… if the current regime in charge of Star Trek had any interest in making it (They don’t). And the real shame of that is that Picard has brought viewers back. It’s undone 90% of the deconstruction and watering down that has extensively damaged the brand since Secret Hideout took it over (Perhaps even all the way back to JJ’s 2009 reboot). It’s really Star Trek done right. It’s beyond the megar sufficiancy of the Mandalorinan season3, and is the spectacular standard, (much like Mandalorian season 1-2) something we haven’t seen from Star Trek since First Contact. moreover, it’s the farewell that the Next Gen didn’t properly get with thier final film. If you haven’t watched this series….Definately hunt it down. 

And maybe hit up the Mandalorian as a light chaser.

Evidence of Haunting

boxhhindex2Evidence of a Haunting tells you flat out at the beginning that this is another paranormal investigation documentary. I appreciate that, because I like these kind of movies but I also like knowing that that’s what I’m going into as opposed to a spooky ghost story.
We get introduced to all the investigators, and see the camera angles in the house knowing that this is a possible demon infestation.

Except… It’s not. As the characters start their investigation and start talking, the editing and the lighting is too slick. The haunting is too obvious and intense, and this is obviously fiction, attempting at a sort of mixed found footage gag.

Still, once we get upstairs and see the demon possessed girl speaking in distorted tones, it’s startling enough to make me jump. The exorcism is profane and disturbing, but derivative. I’ve seen all these bits before, and more effectively deployed. Still, it all makes for a pretty exciting and eventful first 10 minutes. The psychic of the group is convinced that it was a ghost, not a demon. But on their final walk-through they declare the house clean.

We cut to the backstory of the person narrating the story, who had a bad experience with the paranormal when she was a child. This leads into a TV credits sequence, not unlike any of the ghost hunter shows you’ll see on Travel Channel any given night of the week.
With that house cleansed, they’re onto the next target… The house of a single father with two little girls. The father tells them that soon as the family moved in and things started imagesto get active, and they set up the cameras, ready to figure out what’s going on that night at midnight. Once we hit 3 o’clock, the hour they designate as the “hour of the dead”, floorboards creek, TVs turn themselves on and they just happen to discover an Ouija board underneath the bed. The spirits are angry, tossing silverware in the kitchen as if it were confetti. The kids explained that the Ouija board came in the mail from an anonymous source, they played with it and then hid it… which is what’s causing all the problems. The theory is, only way to rid yourself of a Ouija board spirit is to mail the board to someone else and hope they play it. I’ve never heard this theory before, but I’m actually impressed at the movie showing the Ouija board as a gateway to trouble. They build a fire, and destroy it with interestingly heroic music playing in the background. It’s all cool and episodic, and does serve to establish our characters and their bona fides, but ultimately this entire first act has been nothing but establishing groundwork. It leaves me wondering when we’re going to get into the meat of the story.

We get extra background and research on the next target, as they head down into some subterranean tunnels under the local community college (pretty common, our local one has them to) where they’ll be locked in all night. We also use our research time (held at the local bar) to try and flesh out these characters, get some backstory and relate to them as more than just stereotypes heading into a dire situation for the last act of the film…and by last act, I mean last 30 minutes. I don’t think this is properly broken out into a three act structure, but rather has our cast drifting from set piece to set piece (though during  the climax they do manage to pay off a brief reference from the beginning. It’s index3clumsy, but an A for effort).

I got to give them some props, once we have the cast finally locked into those tunnels below the college, it’s a wonderfully creepy and atmospheric set. Even if I hadn’t spent my college years working in the same kind of tunnels doing janitorial work for the local haunted library, the claustrophobia and gloom would be enough to keep me happy. add to this, a threat that is built on the backs of a creepy story told by the janitor about a pregnant student who is murdered in these tunnels by professor… A story that echoes the dreams are narrator is having.

This low budget film benefits from the cramped spaces and the lack of CGI, having to instead rely on sound and visual cues to creep you out and heighten suspense as our intrepid band of ghost hunters go on the hunt of their life, managing to create a genuinely scary climax.

I have to admit, I really enjoyed Evidence of a Haunting. They’re not trying to be Grave  Encounters, they’re not trying to be Digging up the Marrow. It’s a much simpler and streamlined concept than that. They’re taking the ghost hunting reality shows and placing them in a heightened reality where we might actually see the sort of evidence and hauntings that we all actually watch these things hoping for. While the actors are stilted and amateur, but director Joey Evans knows what he’s doing, and we can occasionally see that in the framing and in several of the action shots towards the end. What starts off as a very low rent production, still ends up being quite effective and makes this a definite recommend, wherever you can find it.

Reality TV/Ghost hunter show

Ouija board

85% of the cast is under 25

War of the Worlds part 2!

War of the Worlds was actually The Asylums first mockbuster. In fact, they’ve gotten started on their movie first… A low budget reinterpretation of the HG Wells book. However, around that same time, Steven Spielberg started on his big budget version… And as a result, they sound really leaned into the whole Mockbuster aspect, producing their first film to really piggyback on a major Hollywood release like that.

This, is the sequel to that movie.

C Thomas Howell(The big brother from E.T. ) is hiding with his son… in some of refugee hovel, scrounging for food and survival while the Martian tripods outside and blast people.
Howell heads out to visit scientists to share his findings. They think there may be a vortex starting to open between their world and earth, and that’s how they’re getting here. They’d really like Howell to join them in their freedom force bunker. But he’s worried for his son.
Still, they give him a tour of their work… Fighters to the alien ships, and one of the martian ships itself. It’s organic… Perhaps alive..

The aliens get back to Howell‘s house before he does… He arrived just in time to see the blast his son. At this point you know it’s gotta be a teleport. That’s it. Howell has had enough, and goes and gets himself blasted.

He finds himself inside one of the ships, and starts to explore while the freedom forces work to launch an attack. They better. Because the full-scale attack on earth has begun. The whole spaceship bainvasion and battles are well done, CG shots of the mothership in the air, and the walkers on the ground in the middle of the city. They don’t linger on it, that would be too expensive. We get just enough to get the point across.

These ships actually Remind me a lot of the Claws of Axos from Doctor Who. Very curtain heavy doubling for organic tissue. Mist and smoke in the air, with some latex covered strands around.

Weird. I just saw Murray Sawchuk… The magician… get blasted in the junkyard around the freedom force base.

Inside the ship, they discover if you touch the walls, you get sucked in. They discover weird teleportation vortexes floating around as well. But where does it take them? I guess we’re not gonna find out until after we see the freedom forces attempt to attack the mothership, all Independence Day style. They get close, but the vortex swallows them a lot. The ships and selves drifting above a red planet.

Howell on the other hand seems to be back on Earth (or IS it????). He’s searching for one of the people that he met in the ship… But everything is abandoned. Car batteries are dead, no people in the streets. He discovers that aliens are kidnapping people so they can drain their blood… Find a way so the human microbes and viruses don’t harm them anymore. It’s actually an environment created on Mars… Like a petri dish. A place where they can purify the humans.
Meanwhile, in the skies, the human ships prepared to do battle with the aliens… On their home turf. Back on the planet, Howell has found his son… That means it’s time to deliver a virus into these alien villains well he’s trying to escape.

I’ve got to hand it to them. For an Asylum film, this isn’t terrible. We have an interesting premise here, where we’re basically reversing the previous film… They came to us last time, this time we’re going to them. That’s ambitious considering the resources we usually have from Asylum. But somebody’s put a lot of work into their CGI, to make sure we’ve got more than enough shots of the alien ships, the human ships, and the space battles. The alien tripods actually look pretty good. The interiors aren’t great, but forgivable because the rest of this film is trying so hard. What I thought was going to be an eye rolling pass, actually ends up being recommended. Well, not by itself… But if it’s playing on Syfy, you could do worse on a Saturday afternoon

Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies

attack-of-the-lederhosen-zombies-poster215965786_1414216831956069_7239775953112525294_nI expected a comedy.

With a name like Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies that’s kind of the impression you get (the trailer even plays it up that way)! However, while being a lighthearted and fun zombie flick, they play it straight, with a lot less camp than you’d expect. In the Austrian mountains, the owner of a ski hill is exhibiting his new snow making machine to an investor – something that will insure the hill stay open, no matter what happens with global warming. In the first five minutes, we discover that the coolant can be toxic to human beings and other living things (I’m not in entirely  certain I’m on s_78282board with this trend of Zombifying animals in these movies… It bothered me a little bit in Scouts Guide, and while it drives the story here – it still bugs me), causing a strange sickness, blisters and eventually… well, you know. When a group of professional snowboarders stumbles upon a very “American werewolf in London” type of pub, the shenanigans begin.

608428056Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies is very much a throwback to eighties splatter films – there is a fun yet straight tone going on here, interjected with just enough humor to keep the movie enjoyable without going full on comedy the way films like Return of the Living Dead or Evil Dead did back in the day. The lighting choices and color palette, mixed with that generally fun vibe make the movie feel a great deal like one of Charles Bands Full Moon features… but with less nudity and more gore (I’m totally good with that by imagesthe way). Did I mention the gore? Because there is a lot of it. It’s not quite up to The level of Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, but there are definitely some scenes hear that give Romero’s Day of the Dead a run for its money – if you’re looking for entrails, torn skin, and punished bodies, you will not come away disappointed.

It’s a short film, clocking in at well under 90 minutes… But that’s okay – it doesn’t need to be longer, and in the time that they have they managed to tell a fun little horror story in an interesting and exotic locale. It works far better than it has any right to.

attack-of-the-lederhosen-zombiesI caught this at the Capitol Theatre, with about six other people in the audience. That was kind of fun, you get a genuine reaction from the other folks watching the movie and it makes me feel like it’s 1981 on 42nd Street in New York all over again. I’m looking forward to grabbing a digital copy of this – it’s the sort of movie that seems like it would be best served on a television rather than a movie screen, but if you have a chance to catch in the theatre… By all means head up to see it. It’s worth the time, and these are exactly the sort of filmmakers that I want to see supported. I’m off to Imdb to see if they’ve made anything else!


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Ouija Resurrection

Ouija Resurrection is a follow-up to Ouija Experiment… And begins the film recapping the last film, then revealed that they were at a theater, in the middle of a screening of the film.

Oh look, we’ve gone meta.

The cast is reunited for a screening in a haunted theater and as people ask questions, we get weird flashes of things happening. It turns out that the screening is just a pretense, and excuse for the theater to give out a haunted tour (while still bringing back the original cast!) Which sets up the main thrust of the film.

Backstage, boyfriend from the first movie is getting his Mac on with one of the local groupies. They find the board from the first movie (really smart move designing it with a unique and distinctive planchette by the way) and it gives him a chance to re-cap the rules. Never ask how they died, always say goodbye. In the gloom of the theater, they start to mess with the board. They get interrupted by the stage manager and just wander away. Any of it, so there’s no real bother to say goodbye. But once they’ve left, and the plan shit starts to move on its own.

There’s a definite upgrade in FX this time around. Mist  or smoke here and stuff like that plant shut moving on its own takes a little bit extra muscle. Theater itself is a great setting as well, dark and shadowy with wonderful atmosphere. As we move into the second act, the ghost is already active. It’s a CG nightmare, but perfectly capable of delivering a jump scare. You can see the directors taking some chances here and experimenting with shots and the extent of their technology.The blood seems to flow a little bit more freely this time around as the theaters down get picked off.

I’m sure the town shows up the next morning as the doomsayer, giving the filmmakers attitude for holding a haunted tour. they are undaunted and start to prepare for evenings activities. It turns out, the girls are getting ready too.

The halls of the theater have been transformed into a sort of cheesy haunted house, part of the nights event, with the filmmakers set up at a table towards the exit trying to hock their movies. However, when the haunted house closes, the lucky winners of the previous nights contest get to hang out for what they are billing as the overnight tour! The actors split up, taking your place is ready to scare the guests… But of course that makes it easier for the girls to take them out. It also means that when the guests find The dead body of one of the filmmakers, they just pass it off as being a prop.

Deep in the heart of the theater, the Ouija board makes a return appearance, as our group begins their own Ouija session. The board instructs them to head to the balcony, and they run up there… But things start to go wrong and when they return to the basement, is another dead body.

Things completely spiral out of control when the cops arrive

This is actually a really good example of a sequel done right. The crew has been entrusted with more a bigger budget and that allows them to use new techniques and go in different directions. There’s a genuinely smart balance between even old, giving us more of what we’ve seen before still going in a new direction and trying some different things out. Admittedly, there are times when it feels like they spent too much time experimenting with their new special effects… They get overused here and there, but overall there’s an effective vision hear that guys the whole thing. It’s also interesting to see how they lean into the gore here. While the previous film was largely bloodless, they’ve got the money and affects to be able to actually show some torn bodies and ripped flash this time and they go for it. Just enough to be satisfying, without going completely gratuitous.

If there’s one weakness, it’s the attempt at a big reveal at the end of the film. While the previous film mixed some mystery into the Haunting, this one plays pretty straightforward… Until the last 15 minutes where they present the solution to a mystery we didn’t even know was referenced. It feels a little ham fisted, but I understand the attempt to retain that sort of connection to the previous film. Overall it’s a satisfying sequel and a really well done sidestep creatively revisiting the material while still giving us something new and fresh.



85% of the cast is under 25

Haunted House attraction

Haunted theater

Ouija Board


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Scarecrow’s Revenge

Scarecrows revenge opens a little differently this time. Louisa Warren has a flair for bloody and exciting precredits sequence, but this one maybe one of her best. A nice overhead drone shot of sun soaked corn fields, and a man farming and working out there. Bloody rags amongst the stalks near a scarecrow, changed this time with more of a face on the mask, and prodigious claws extending from the hands. The garb of the farmers is medeval, leather Jerkins and corsets. They are gathering corn for the local Nobel and getting ready to head to his castle.

Then, just out of eyesight, the farmer spies a dark shape moving within the rows of corn. Out of the green, come to the dark scarecrow, with a scythe to cut down the farmer, and come for his daughter.

The credits announced at 1810 in southern England. Oh my God, it’s going to be a period piece! This makes sense, she’s just come off of some Viking movies, so the resources were there. Still, it’s quite ambitious, and absolutely not what I was expecting.

Outside the village, one of the renegades, a homeless low iq type assaults a girl. He’s banished and tied to a scarecrow… And at that point I realize what’s happening. We’re seeing the origin of the monster. A witch helps him escape,… Beautiful effect, with her face slightly shifting constantly. She’ll grant him vengeance in exchange for his soul, and his body is payment for the company (That’s not the double entendre it sounded like), and unleash the curse.

The woods are no longer safe, because that’s where the scarecrow dwels.

This variation works really well. Surprisingly so, because I would’ve expected transplanting into a different era to feel gimmicky. But because we know the history, it really only enhances the story… And the scarecrow itself looks more terrifying than ever in the medieval garb. Louisa Warren is successfully pulling an army of darkness here, creating something that looks and feels very different from the rest of her franchise, and yet fits in perfectly. And they don’t lack for kills. However, I’m very glad for the greater lore here. It’s a trend that Warren would start to follow from here on out, with expansive and interesting backstory for all of her monsters.



Pittsburgh comic and collectibles show

That’s a very big name for a very small show. Indeed, you could probably traverse the entire length of the show in just the time that it Takes to say it. But then again of course, I wasn’t there really for the comic show. This was an excuse to back out to George Romero country for a day trip To Evans city cemetery, and of course, Monroeville Mall.

There’s a cute little comic book and vintage toy store called Time and Space that’s popped up in Monroeville Mall, but most of the time they’re only open on Saturdays. However, this weekend, they opened up on Sunday and threw a whole convention around the shop. They’d cordoned off the area around the shop and down into a small hallway by the JC Penney and Dicks sporting goods area of them all so that they could set up the show. There’s a nice little cross-section of vendors, and if you’re looking for 50 cent bins or expensive key books, it was all represented there. I couldn’t help but notice the adorable craft table as well with Mickey ears and dust sprites and hogwarts signs. Great stuff.

Despite that, it was small. The show is about the size some of the smaller Harper cons… something I had been expecting. They added value to it though, by partnering with the living dead museum that sits on the 2nd floor right above them. Your ticket to the comic show would also get you half off admission to the museum. That’s an attraction that I had passed on my last time out this way, I recall it being more expensive, and Wasn’t hanging out in the store that was still requiring me to wear a mask. This time however, with the price point crunched down to $4, I was delighted to be able to take a trip through and get photos with all the props and zombies back there period of course I didn’t keep me from coming back down for another few passes at the dealer’s. The store itself is amazing. It’s every bit as big as the rest of the show, but packed to the Gill’s. Everywhere you turn there’s something new. I managed to find Both a Link Hogthrob and Janice Muppet figure… and then remembered why I had 3-D printed my own after I saw the $50 price tag! The mailaway Reverse Flash from the Total Justice/JLA line was a lot more tempting. I know it’s just a simple repaint of their Flash figure, but those sculpts are still among my favorite ever.

After emptying one of the 50 cent bins, I managed to find a nice edition of Muppet Robin Hood for $3, and finally found myself worn out from a day of zombie hunting and comic book browsing. A quick stop off to Burgatory before heading home capped off the day.

I like this idea. Truthfully, comic book shows in the mall are nothing new… any more than car shows are. But in the past all the ones I’ve seen done in the mall usually set up in the middle aisles and it’s basically a free admission. It’s like there’s just extra vendors hanging around all day peri think if they want to make this really worth the $5 mission, they need to add at least a 3rd more vendors. There’s space back there, and the show has plenty of room for growth. The partnership with living dead museum was a stroke of brilliance, and it would make sense if they could reach out to some of the other stores in the mall as well. Give us a reason to go shop at their Mini convention rather than at the toy and game store or Hot Topic or Spencer’s down the way a bit. Like I said, I like the idea, even though I wasn’t really planning on coming back. This isn’t for out of towners, but rather a great event for locals. I’m really hoping to see them build this up a bit and go somewhere with it. If you’re local to the Pittsburgh area you should absolutely look the shop up and check out the next time they try and throw one of these shindigs.

Sharknado 2

DollarindexSharknado 2 is one of those movies that I could only really justify buying at the dollar tree. That’s not to say it isn’t fun, in fact just watching the grimaces on my kids as they roll their eyes at me as I pull it out makes it worth the price of admission.

On their way home on the airplane, Tara Reid and Ian Zierling find themselves caught up in a Sharknado, one of them bites off Reid’s hand in what may well be the greatest instance of chekhov’s gun ever. They arrive in New York to the family and it starts raining sharks.

That’s all you really need to know about this movie, there’s great bits at the baseball stadium and on the ferry and all throughout the city. It’s all great CGI goofy fun, packed with cameos like Judd Hersh, Kelly Osbourne, Matt Lauer, Richard Kine, Al Roker, Perez Hilton, Kelly Ripa, Andy Dick and a whole bunch more that either went over my head or imagesI just can’t remember. For my part, I personally was stoked to see Tiffany Shepis show up as well as Kari Whurer. It’s a couple of scream queen appearances that will go right over the heads of most casual viewers, but delights me to see.

We end up with a huge climax that helps to set us up for the next one, and that’s about all there is to say for it. The DVD actually has some surprisingly good special features including commentaries and behind the scenes stuff which is what really makes it worth the buy, especially if you’re into any of this series.


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Cinema Wasteland Spring 2023

“Good grief! I can’t believe all you people showed up for this!” Gunga Jim was right, the room actually felt more packed than usual, and that’s good to see. Once again, it was time for Wasteland.

Gunga Jim’s show is one that I usually try to catch actually. He does a very Cleveland style horror host schtick, with funny noises and some commentary over the film. Tonight he was showing Return of The Evil Dead. This isn’t part of the Sam Raimi franchise, but rather a weird side entry in the blind dead movies. It’s one that I’d never seen before, and generally well regarded. Jim acknowledged this as he was handing out small packages of Ghost poop (Tiny stale marshmallows)

“There’s some of you who remember this is a really great movie. Well let me tell you, I got 3 minutes into this thing and already had 5 jokes!”

I rounded out Friday night with the short film block…. a feature that’s making a welcome return to Wasteland. The entries have been trickling in, and all the sudden started to pile up. They managed to squeeze about 5 different shorts by 2 different production companies into the hour. I also stopped for a quick chat with my friend Skullhead before I headed home to assemble my costume for the next day.

I’d brought out a couple of Tomatoes earlier to The Columbus Toy show. This time I wanted to do the full thing. I grabbed my white lab coat and white fright wig. Then I printed up a Doctor Gangrene identification badge to pin on to it. Zoltan’s magnets still worked to keep him on my shoulder, and fuzzy tomato was just fine riding in the pocket. The new addition here, would be the new headband I’d made… white so that it will fade into white fright wig I was wearing. On top of it was fastened a new sculpt of Ketchup, the drooling killer tomato. I’d carry Fang in my free hand, that way all of the monsters from Killer Tomatoes Eat France would be represented. Wasteland isn’t a big cosplay show, although a few outfits do show up. But it’s definitely the sort of event that would appreciate killer tomatoes, and Doctor Gangrene was a reasonable hit.

He’s also easy to get in-and-out of. No make up to speak of, other than a little bit of spirit gum to attach the white mustache. Spirit gum comes off easily and allow you to luxury up being able to get out of costume later on with no visible change. That’s good, because there were a number of people there I wanted to meet this time around.

Before I’d defrock though it was time to make a quick trip to Count Gore DeVol’s table. he’s celebrating 50 years as a horror host and used to be a regular here untill he moved down to Florida. It good to have him back and I still have fond memories of the time he attempted to hypnotize me!

Sadly, inflation has finally hitched Wasteland in earnest, and the prices have just about doubled for most people now. That’s a shame probably because Wasteland had  been holding the line with cheaper autographs, and sort of been my Oasis. We had a TCM reunion this year, and you could tell who’d been to the one back in 2004. These people have the exact same poster. You can also tell because of signatures. Sadly, we’ve lost Maryln Burns and Gunnar Hanson, but the remaining cast, alone with few new comers were happy to chat all day. I actually took the opportunity to get photos with a couple of casts that I had neglected to last time. During that 1st reunion, I’d only been interested in getting pictures with the villains… and oversight that I’ve never entirely reconciled. Everybody was happy to catch up and take pictures this time at no charge.  Indeed, Teri McMinn took the opportunity to add to her autograph, scribbling a heart underneath the signature…. as is now her standard.

I was also really interested in meeting Alex Vincent from Child’s Play. He was the child that was managed by Chucky Now an adult, he’s sort of a regular on the convention circuit, and an incredibly nice guy. Charming and engaging, hes the sort of guy you can talk to all day. He really seems to enjoy convention life, with a wink assuring me that we’ll be partying up tomorrow later on a new. I was also interested in meeting Nick Benson, the effects person from the Blob, Nightmare on Elm Street 4, and Night of the Demons. It’s the night of the demon’s poster that I’d brought with me, the one Amelia Kincaid had signed a year and a 1/2 ago. I wish I’d gotten started on that poster earlier, when Kevin Tenny was at Wasteland, but who knows….

After getting my autographs I’d hustled over to catch a screening of the blob, it would be punctuated with A quick panel with Benson before launching into one of his other films, a bizarre goofest called Society. It’s one I’d never heard of, and… all I can say is it’s completely indescribable. It starts off as a standard paranoia thriller, but quickly divorced into the strangest latex FX vest you can imagine. Then again, that’s what wasteland is for. To curate Louise for me and show me stuff that I never knew I needed to see.

During Benson’s panel, hes buddy Mick Strawn crashed the show… Mick was really just there as an attendee, watching panels and movies along with his dog. However, Benson spotted Mick in the crowd and brought him up to tell a couple of stories. Strawn is actually scheduled to be a guest at the next Wasteland, and I’m actually looking forward to that.

I stopped by the silver spotlight booth to pick up a copy of Amityville Christmas Vacation. I’ve been enjoying Steve’s  films, particularly the ones he had been doing with his cat. Well, Mr. Whisker is now in retirement, but Amityville Christmas Vacation is in the same continuity. I caught it on streaming this December, which was a good thing… because the screening at the show was completely full. I couldn’t even get in the room. Nice to chat with them though, and get my DVD sign by both him and his co-star.

I must say, the one thing that struck me this time around was the abundance of cheap DVD’s available Everywhere I turned it seemed like there were $2 boxes and $1 boxes. I loaded up on movie I came home with a stack. Some of these were just to replace me just, others were once I was genuinely interested in period

They rounded off the evening with film screenings of King Kong, and Son of Kong. Both of these are original prints, and the sort of thing that you can really only expect to see in a place like wasteland. I’d scribbled down the name of a Charles Bronson film, hard times. One that I hadn’t had the time known to watch, but had caught enough clips up that I was interested in seeing. That takes me through the end of the weekend and just leaves me with a taste for more. 6 months and we’ll be back!


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Children of the Corn 666

boxhhChildren of the corn 666 is actually one I’d been anticipating, mostly because it features the return of the actor who played Isaac in the first film. The return of an old villain always generates buzz and excitement. The problem is, it’s also usually a desperate move to salvage a failing franchise. Seriously, think back over different franchises and tell me when this has ever worked? It’s not like Phantasm or Nightmare on Elm Street or Hellraiser where the same actor is portraying the villain consistently through pretty much the entire series. Think of house 4 – with the return of William Katt. Think pumpkinhead 3 with the return of Lance Henriksen. This sort of thing generally does not bode well.

I also can’t help note the tagline on the poster is “latest and most horrifying chapter”. This is almost the exact same tag line that they used on Hellraiser; Hellworld, and seem to be a variant of the same thing dimension was slapping on all of their late series direct to video sequels at the time. I also can’t help but note that this one was released in 1999 – a mere year after children of the corn five. Until then we had a pretty consistent gap of 2 to 3 years between sequels. They were putting them out regularly but this short gap tells me they probably filmed five and six back to back and then staggered the release. Children of the Corn 666  is the story of Isaac, the preacher kid from the first movie waking up from his coma just in time for our ingénue to roll into town. Somewhere around the third act he begins to gather the grown-up grandchildren and try and rebuild his cult.

The big problem with this entry, is it takes itself so seriously. Every frame is dire, and none of it is earned. The budget limitations are also on full display – we don’t get near the amount of blood and gore that we’ve seen in previous entries – one bloody corpse dripping and hanging from a tree nonwithstanding. They make do with the only real special fact that they have – namely the ingénue in her underwear – and there are plenty of shots of that. I also find myself still missing the creepy and countrified current children – again we got a group of people in very modern clothes, presumably because period costumes cost too much.

I must say though, Isaac has a genuinely good performance here. If you were ever to try and build a single villain into this franchise, he would have been the one. I think by the time we hit the sixth  entry though, that ship has sailed. It’s a delight to see Nancy Allen show up here as well – she is as beautiful as ever, it’s like she never ages. Still, there is not enough her for me to recommend seeing this movie, and even the attempt at a twist (I say attempt because I think everybody saw this coming with in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the film) around the 50 minute mark falls extremely flat.

That’s the problem with children of the corn 666 – it’s not a bad movie, it commits a far greater sin; It’s just boring. I’m disappointed too, because there is actually potential here… There is a grain of a good story embedded in this – I can see the potential. Sadly, children of the corn 666 simply fails  to achieve that potential. This one is a definite skip.

Turn of the Screw

I must say, the BBC logo doesn’t inspire the confidence that it used to… Especially after last year‘s a Christmas Carol. And since I’m looking for horror not drama, I’m not sure when I’m going to find here. Especially with that trailer for a miss Marple mystery before hand… I’m hanging onto a vain hope that the Turn of the Screw will be a creepy film, and not just another period drama. I’m happy it’s only 89 minutes though.

The theme from Phantasm pervades as a young woman In an asylum tells her story through flashbacks to her time as a governess at an English country estate. Creepy little blonde girls and vast Gothic mansions to make for a good ghost story.

Heavy breathing outside the mansion however, it’s just creepy.
Shortly after the arrival of us and, young master Miles has been expelled from school, and returns to the mansion… And doesn’t seem too happy about it either. Our sister however, is overjoyed to see him and they share their secrets on the way home. It perplexes governess and, but she has bigger things to worry about.

Anna has visions, and in particular she starts to see the ghost of an old houseguest, Peter Quint, who lies buried in a graveyard, in a looming church behind the mansion. It was a Scrooge on the household, and the maids believe he’s come back… For the children. Indeed, it’s doors of the ghosts of the old governess, imploring Miss Anna to protect the children, well some other force throws the more chatty maid from the window. A mans laughter echos  through the house.

The great problem in trying to protect the children, is that the kids know about the ghosts, but they want them to come back. They want Quint, they want the old governess… And the ghosts… They want the children. They desire them as vessels to possess, and see them as a new life for themselves.

As we head into the third act, the possession is taken hold, with the children speaking in their voices and fighting back in earnest. The battle itself seems almost hopeless… governess will fight… On her own.

The Haunting of Cellblock 11

The name and the poster both sure do feel familiar.. but then again, haunted movie posters are all the same… and there’s a lot of similar names. But even Andrew Jones seems like a familiar name but when I checked, it’s definately a new movie to me. When we open the movie on a documentary looking interview, I feel more like I’m in good hands. It’s a typical ghost hunter show, filming at a supposedly haunted restaurant. Sadly, the camera crew is not entirely competent…. when a dish goes flying, he misses it. Still, they persevere.

It’s a mediocre investigation. Maybe some activity but hard to show and hard to prove. Dee Wallace, in her cameo as their boss he is not impressed and just about ready to pull the plug. What they need is a better location. Something like…. a prison?

Turns out, they’ve got a client waiting outside their office!  An old man named Ben Ghastly! (Okay…it’s GAFFEY, but it sure sounded like Ghastly!) He’s got a property that he’s sure a haunting is originating from… and as hes got an older, it’s taken a toll on him. He’s desperate to get it solved.

The creepy townsfolk service pretty good doomsayers. Not only are they unfriendly, but we have an unnerving down syndrome girl looking at our director and telling her that she can’t have babies…. she’s got ghouls inside her. Even their tour guide doesn’t want them there, and he was pretty keen to get out before dark

The prison itself, filmed at Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, is massive. It’s got sprawling walls and skyscraping towers. The very nice classical exterior is a sharp contrast with the stark brutalism inside.

They’re only just through the doors when one of the guys finds he’s got a deep scratch on his arm. It’s a dire warning of things to come.

The pprision has a long history of dark events… indeed, the guide muses that prison brings out the worst in people sometimes… especially a place like this where a mad doctor performed evil experiments on people. The mad scientist eventually got caught, and ended up in prison himself… but according to legend, it wasn’t long before the inmates murdered him. It’s a really good setup, complete with flashbacks and video glitches.

The cameras are set up, and the action begins. I mean that by the way. Not more than 42 minutes in, we are seeing glitches and shapes and ghosts pretty constantly. The movie teaches us early on to constantly keep an eye on what’s going on in the background. There’s no build-up. There’s no mystery here. The prison is definately haunted… and it is angry. The doors are locked down, and the cell phones don’t work… and the evil in the prison is coming for them. That’s it. I’m not telling you anymore. This is a genuinely good haunting. For me it feels like a low budget version of the 13 ghosts and House on Haunted Hill remakes. It’s got their heart and their vision, and this one is definitely worth your watch.




Reality TV/Ghost hunter show

Haunted Prision/Asylum/Hospital

85% of the cast is under 25



Tooth Fairy (and not the one with The Rock)

My first impression was to winder if this movie had anything to do with the 2003 film Darkness falls. The look of the monster on the cover is very evocative of the Tooth fairy from that movie and you never know with sequels. However, this production has nothing to do with the 2003 film. It’s a very different kind of movie and definitely it’s own thing (and don’t put too much stock in that cover either. The actual monster looks very little like it)

the Tooth fairy begins with a family running from something – a dark, shape changing entity entity that has come for their family and can only be sated with a sacrifice – in this case the mother. It’s a moody and creepy intro, as we push through the credits and fast forward to the present. the little girl who witnessed this is a grandmother now, but estranged from her daughter; partially because of her hard drinking, partially because she still scared of the demon – the Tooth Fairy.

Daughter Carla returns home to the family farm (you may recognize her and the farm from Bride of the Scarecrow) to connect with her mother (who looks young enough to be her sister, rather than her mother). She’s mostly here to collect her son’t birth certificate, and isn’t intrested in visiting. She’s got a lot of baggage. Mom sent her and her sister away for some unknown reason (hint, it has to do with a certian demonic tooth fairy returning) when she was younger. The sister came back and died, and Carla holds all of this against her mother.

Hunky boyfriend shows up (You may remember him from his role as Hunky boyfriend to the same actress playing Carla in Bride of the Scarecrow as well.) to whisk Carla away into town and provide some distraction (and plot twists – you see, he was in love with her twin sister back in the day….) When she gets back, Carla discovers several eviction notices – Mom’s in trouble. the farm is falling apart and she’s about to be kicked out. Despite her ire, some concern starts to creep through. There’s bigger problems afoot though. In the gloom of the stables, the Tooth Fairy begins to rise.

The killings begin off the farm – she manages to slip into places looking like a trusting face. A nun. A girlfriend.  And she leaves a bloody scene behind. The neighbors beginning to realize what’s happening and coming, but there’s family drama going on back at the farm, blinding them. but as night descends, the Tooth fairy comes calling…and the only thing that can repel it is sugar.

And the only thing that can destroy it is fire. But is there a sacrifice?

I so amused to see the cast of the first Scarecrow movie coming back to the same set as that film to face down a different monster! It’s still early days for Warren and unfortunately her Tooth Fairy looks pretty awful. It feels like a repainted off the shelf mask from the Halloween store and it doesn’t do her story justice.

Still, there’s plenty of disturbing teeth cracking gore – enough that my wife had to leave the room, and a story that feels like it should be bigger. like there more potential for lore here. The twist of using sugar insted of salt for protection is just brilliant and there’s some really good ideas here. It’s well done enough to make me want to look up the other films in this series – and just my luck! They’re streaming on Tubi! We’ll be back!