Hellraiser (1987)

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A man who’s made a deal with the devil gets buyer’s remorse and escapes from hell. Now he’s depending on his ex-lover to bring him human snacks to regain his strength and skip town before his demonic tormentors find out he’s gone.

This is another movie that’s supposed to be a classic. Everyone knows this movie. It’s the one with the guy in the black dress with nails hammered into his face. Yea, that guy’s scary! SPOILER: he only has like 5 minutes of screen time. So that’s a bummer because the scrubs who fill the voids between pinhead appearances aren’t nearly as cool.

The movie begins with a man who solves a mystical Rubik’s cube he bought in China Town. Except instead of earning the awe and respect of his peers, he gets ripped apart by fish hooks in sadomasochist hell. Somehow the guy escapes the “cenobites” – the demons who poke and prod him in the underworld – and holds up beneath the floor boards in the attic of his flop house. Also he’s no longer a person, but a withered tomato husk. More on that later.

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For future reference. 

The guy’s half brother and his wife move in to the house, where they find the dead guy’s flesh light in the attic. “Ew, gross!” says the half brother. “Ooh la la,” thinks his wife, as she conjures up memories of the secret affair she had with her brother in law. To say this guy has been cuckolded would be quite the understatement. Not only does his wife have the hots for his his brother, but she bangs every barfly in town while not giving her actual husband so much as an Eskimo kiss. Because his life isn’t quite sad enough he also has to endure constant passes being made at both his wife and daughter by just about everyone, including the moving crew and his own dinner guests.

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also…he dies

So this guy lets the moving men drink his beer after working up a thirst hitting on his wife and daughter. Then they need his help moving a fucking mattress up the stairs because in addition to being assholes they are also the worst moving men in the world. While pushing it through a doorway the guy shreds his hand on a loose nail. The blood splish splashes through the floorboards onto his his brother-in-hiding begin. Bitching stop motion effects capture his unholy transformation from beef jerky to man:

According to horror movie logic, a few drops of blood can turn a dusty cobweb into a fully functioning muscular skeletal system, but it requires eviscerating two additional whole humans just to add taste buds thereafter. Eventually he’s all set except for the dermis, which his half brother unhappily provides. Now he’s ready to hit the town!

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Mothers, lock up your daughters

Well, not quite. Remember that niece of his? Well she solved the puzzle box too! But she’s got a bargaining chip to save her from a play date in the stock yards of hell: him. Apparently Cerberus was taking a nap the day he escaped because the cenobites were none the wiser to his absence. Understandably sheepish, the demons agree to keep her north of Hades provided she leads them to her uncle.

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Of course you can trust us!

There is a horror movie theorem that states that the haunt in a house isn’t leaving unless it takes the house with them. Seriously, how many movies involve a house being blown to shit when whatever source that pervades it is expelled? Hellraiser fits squarely into this category. Rafters are inexplicably crashing down, the walls are blowing up, and everything is catching on fire. And amidst the confusion the niece figures out she can zap these horny creeps back to their sex dungeons by fiddling around with the puzzle box and pointing it at them. Good thing all these explosions are distracting us, otherwise that might not make a whole lot of sense!

Overall:

malort
I
t will tear your soul apart!

Malort is the stuff of legend, and it tastes like putrid death. And yes, you can count me among those who imbibe from time to time. Truly, the lines between pleasure and pain are never as blurred as in a bottle of Malort.

 

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Vamp (1986)

poster About A group of fraternity pledges take a trip to the other side of the tracks in hopes of coercing an erotic dancer to perform at their big party.  Turns out the strip club they choose is actually a vampire den.  What a boner crusher 😦

Review

This movie has been floating around Netflix for a while.  I’d always avoided it because of the androgynous Ronald McDonald in the poster art, but then someone told me it was actually pretty good so I watched it.  And hey, it was actually pretty good! DeDee Pheiffer plays an ingenuous cocktail waitress with a secret: where does she know one of our leading men from, and why doesn’t he remember her?  (Spoiler: they met at a party last summer).  The film also stars Gedde Watanabe, that guy the studio calls in any time they need an actor to stereotype Asians.

gedde It’s cool – he just wants to party

The movie starts off with some weird fraternity ritual, where some pledges are being led up to a belltower to be hung from a noose, or to be led to believe they’d be hung from one.  I was never in a fraternity so I don’t know how this stuff really works.  Anyways, two of the pledges declare the whole process really stupid, which it is, and say the only reason they want to join their frat is because it’s supposed to be the tits.  In lieu of participating in their fantasy ritual, they tell the frat masters that they’ll supply them with booze for their big party tonight AND throw in a stripper, because, yeah – these guys know all the right people in all the right places.  Oh, the things boys do to get into their frat.

Already I’m having trouble with whats going on: 1. What kind of frat plans to throw a party without booze in the first place? 2. Why do the elder fratsmen need these pledges to supply them with the booze? 3. Why do these ultra too-cool-for-school freshman want to join a frat that neither plans a party with booze nor has the means to acquire it themselves?

frat Cons: major dorks.  Pros: frequent cloak-wearing opportunties 

In any case, a deal is struck and our cocky fresh fish are granted preferred access to this sacred institution provided they come through with the booze and boobs.  But wait – these guys have access to liquor and strippers but it is apparently beyond their reach to know anyone with a car.  I don’t suppose this is the kind of errand you can ask your parents to drive you on.  It’s ok though, because the rich kid on campus with no friends is willing to let them use his Cadillac so long as they agree to be his friend for the week! Man, these guys pull some serious weight.

usa True American badasses

In the days before GPS or google maps, people just started driving and hoped they’d eventually run into what they were looking for.  After casually crashing into a semi truck and then running afoul of the local gang of albino miscreants, the fellahs finally find a strip club haven.  After a few so-so warm-up acts, the surly troupe of barflies is mesmerized by Katrina, the aforementioned stripper with scary Ronald McDonald for a head and an Australian aborigine cave painting for a body.  One of our frosh studs goes back to smooth talk her into doing a little private show for the brothers back on campus, but she’s more interested in swallowing his throat.

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Right after she’s through giving this zebra chair the ride of its life

The vampires in this movie are pretty badass. Like the undead from Fright Night, their whole faces go into beast mode when its time to devour, instead of the boring and subtle lengthening of the incisors.  Sooner or later the act is over and the vampires decide to stop playing nice and turn their out of town admirers into a midnight snack.  At least they got to see boobs before they die. fangs

Overall: 7

Vamp bills itself as a horror-comedy, and while there are no laugh out loud moments (not that I was expecting any), it’s light and funny enough to be really enjoyable without losing it’s spooky edge or becoming too stupid.  Sure, you’ve got the same script inconsistencies that seem to plague every low-budget horror movie, but they aren’t integral to the plot.  By the time this story gets rolling it stays on the rails.gif2
flaming vampire skull approved

From Beyond (1986)

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About:

Dr. Edward Pretorius has invented a machine that stimulates the human pineal gland, allowing anyone within range the ability to see the horrifying inter-dimensional creatures existing around us at all times.  When Pretorius loses his head to one of the monsters his assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast, is presumed to be his killer.  Only by restoring the machine, and potentially opening a rift into a sinister world, can he prove his innocence.

Review:

Jeffrey Combs, who played Herbert West in Re-Animator, reprises his role as a budding mad scientist, based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, experimenting with taboo and wholly sinister subject matter.  How type-cast can you get?  Indeed, From Beyond, released a year after Re-Animator, is the second effort from the trio of Combs, Director Stuart Gordon, and screenplay writer Dennis Paoli to adapt a Lovecraft tale into a feature length movie.  Combs plays Crawford Tillinghast, the assistant to a scientist, Dr. Pretorius, who has invented a machine that would allow a person to fully experience each of their 5 senses to the extreme, as well as awaken a 6th sense that had become dormant in humans.  Specifically, the Pretorius Resonator establishes a series of mathematically precise vibrations to stimulate the human pineal gland.  This hyper-sensitivity allows the pineal gland to act as sort of a third eye, making it possible for humans to see all the creatures that inhabit the interdimensional space around us at all times.  Got it?

monster
So this guy is standing behind you right now – you just can’t see him

Tillinghast is actually the less-nutty of the two, and after getting bitten in the face by an interdimensional eel, tries to warn his mentor of the dangers his Resonator poses.  But of course Pretorius isn’t going to listen to his little bitch of an assistant, so he cranks the machine up to full blast and, well, gets his head bitten of by some unseen otherworldly monster.

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It grows back…sort of

Ok so all that stuff above takes place before the title card.  So now we have Tillinghast in a mental hospital as the presumed schizophrenic killer of Pretorius, babbling on about interdimensional monsters running around biting off people’s heads.  Enter Barbara Crampton (also of Re-Animator fame) as Dr. Katherine McMichaels, the District Attorney’s appointed psychologist sent to determine the mental state of Tillinghast.  When she remains unconvinced of his schizophrenia, the DA releases him into her care and they return to the lab to recreate the experiment in hopes of proving his innocence.

From-Beyond3
Also to have one crazy-ass slumber party!

This is right about where the climax of the movie came for me, the point at which I was most excited to be watching it and convinced it was going to be a good one.  Alas, as these films are wont to do, the whole thing began unraveling shortly thereafter.  Frequent readers (hi, Dad) know that my main bugaboo is glaring plot holes.  The little inconsistencies don’t bother me – if someone is wearing a blue shirt in one cut and a red one in the next, I really don’t mind that because it doesn’t detract from the actual story.  What drives me crazy and ultimately ruins a movie for me is when the story comes to a screeching halt because we are supposed to jump over a giant gap in logic and just accept it for what it is.  I can’t do that.  I will become disengaged in what is currently going on in the story because I am still so hung up on that thing that didn’t make any sense that happened thirty minutes ago.  From Beyond did not have one such egregious plot hole, but several.  I was practically squirming in my seat as soon as the opening credits finished up.

combs
Although to be fair several factors contributed to my squeamishness

My favorite character in the film is the policeman, Bubba, who had been sent to accompany Tillinghast and McMichaels for security.  When everyone hauls their gear into the Pretorious house, he casually brings along a giant fucking ninja sword.  This is a small detail – no one even mentions it.  So the whole movie I’m waiting for this thing to come into play, and it never does!  What a tease!

bubba
Get back here, you tease!

Bubba is also the only voice of reason throughout this whole thing, so naturally he’s the first to die.  I had to watch his death scene a few times because it made zero sense and even now I have no idea what went down.  While Tillinghast and McMichaels are getting swarmed by interdimensional bugs, Bubba discovers that shining a flashlight on them makes the bugs disperse.  He then looks like he has an idea, probs involving the ninja sword, but accidentally drops the flashlight like a total bozo.  It lands in such a way that the beam is now focused on him, and the bugs swarm all over his body.  But wait, I thought they didn’t like the light?  Yea, well, now they do.  Deal with it.  By the time the bugs are done with him  he is reduced to a justifiably confused head atop a completely skeletonized body.


musical emphasis added by YouTube user ‘CannibalCuisine27’

Definitely coming from out of left field is the spare bedroom / sex dungeon in Dr. Pretorius’s house.  I guess this has something to do with the good doctor’s mortal quest to stimulate the senses.  In the movie they find this room full of whips and chains and gimp suits, as well as some video of Dr. P doing some real nefarious acts with an unknown mistress.  The characters keep coming back to this room just to, y’know, convene and shit.  Only after Tillinghast gets all his body hair ripped out by a laundry room monster and is passed out in the sex dungeon’s guest bed does Dr. McMichaels find him desirable enough to strap one of said gimpsuits onto herself and straddle him.  I wasn’t really sure what this had to do with anything, but we do get to see some extra beefy ass cheeks in the scene, so I let it slide.

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some serious USDA Prime beef

By the end of the movie these guys are just shooting for broke.  Tillinghast’s pineal gland becomes so stimulated that forehead balloons to Rihanna size, until finally the thing just pokes itself out of his head for some fresh air.

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Too…many…dick jokes!

Yea the weirdness doesn’t stop there.  For no reason whatsoever Tillinghast’s newly acute senses are giving him a craving for human brains.  His preferred method of dining, sucking it through a person’s eye socket like he’s taking down a jell-o shot, makes for some great cinematic special effects but unfortunately does nothing to save this movie from absolutely imploding.


as rendered by Trent Shy (@TrentShy)

Overall: 5

Explode-01-june

This movie is not unlike an explosion – starts out exciting enough, but quickly subsides into a lingering sulfur stink.

After I saw this I had to read the story it was based on, just to see where these guys went wrong in transitioning it to the big screen.  Turns out Lovecraft’s story is only 4 fucking pages long! – meaning most of the shit in the movie was completely made up from scratch.  In the actual story Tillinghast is actually the evil genius, the he invites some skeptical friend over so he can simultaneously prove to him he was right all along and enact his revenge by feeding him to an ephemeral monster.  I guess that’s not surprising that everything bad about this movie didn’t actually come from the grandfather of horror stories.  Good thing he made Re-Animator much longer, otherwise Gordon and Paoli, left to fill in the gaps with their own imaginations, would have probably turned that into a total stinker as well.

 

Eaten Alive (1977)

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About:

Judd is a crazy old man who owns a run down motel in rural Texas.  His hobbies include babbling incoherently to himself, murdering his guests without cause, and finding new and inventive ways to keep his pet Nile crocodile fed.  Probably a step up from a Motel 8, but not quite the Ritz.

Review:

Eaten Alive, not to be confused with this similarly named mess, also goes by the alternate titles Death Trap, Starlight Slaughter, and Le Crocodile de la Mort.  This is Tobe Hooper’s first film after The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the similarities are pretty evident, so much so that he even cast the same damsel in distress for the two films in Marylin Burns.  It’s pretty incredible that she agreed to work with Hooper on their second go-round since it has been documented that she went through physical and emotional hell filming the former.

burns
A small price to pay for the promotion of one’s art 

The look and feel of Eaten Alive is very Hooper-esque: the scenes are dusty and dirty, and a lot of detail is put into things like sweat and grime on the actors (although it’s probable that was achieved naturally).  Also the sound track sounds like someone stomping on a Moog synthesizer while banging pots and pans together.  The entire film definitely had that same bizarre, unnerving undertone we all know so well from TCM.

The movie starts out with, guess who? – Robert Englund, playing the town miscreant Buck, in a whore house trying to convince some young and innocent hooker to let him play the back nine.  His quest for backdoor action is actually a recurring theme in the film.

A pretty terrifying proposition

It’s unclear what the relationship between Buck and Judd is, but a couple times in the film Buck rolls up to the motel just to start shit with the old man, who stomps up and down and yells something about being owed money.  Judd is certainly an odd bird, and at risk of beating the TCM comparison into the ground, acts almost exactly like the hitchhiker from the former.  This seems to be a staple of these early Hooper movies – the inclusion of some crazy character who is very edgy, talking to himself, and hopping up and down with gleeful curiosity at the sight of gruesome death.  It’s actually quite brilliant, I think, as method of revealing the uniquely demented and equally horrifying characteristics of someone who, if you saw walking around outside, would definitely cross the street to avoid.  The late Neville Brand, playing Judd, delivers an especially convincing performance as this troubled hermit who is clearly living in a world of his own, his grasp on reality hanging by a thread.

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But boy does he wear that mop top well

As you might have guessed, at some point weary travelers set up shop in the motel looking a place to rest, only to receive the exact opposite of that.  A large portion of the movie is dedicated to Judd chasing around half naked girls with a scythe, and tumbling down his own flight of stairs.  I really couldn’t tell you why he’s so intent on killing his paying customers, but he seems to be pretty freaked out and offended by hot women in his presence.

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It’s just his special way of showing affection

Unfortunately the movie continues like this without much rhyme or reason.  After half way through a father and his daughter rent a room while looking for a family member who had run away from home, incidentally the same girl Judd sliced up and fed to the croc earlier that day.  This would have made for a good overarching plot line, but it was introduced so late that it didn’t have much impact on creating an actual story.  It’s disappointing that more time wasn’t spent into developing an actual story for this movie, because it certainly had the look and feel of a classic.

Along with well-known B actors Burns and Englund, the cast also includes William Finley from The Phantom of the Paradise, and Carolyn Jones, who played Morticia in the original Addams Family television series.

Overall: 5

fire

The is the kind of back yard fire you have to constantly feed with cardboard just to keep from going out completely; the kind you had such high hopes for only to die out too soon, leaving you disappointed and stinking like smoke

Again, Eaten Alive doesn’t really have much of a plot to it.  Like TCM, it seems to exist just to showcase some gore and scary scenes, without really trying to tell much of a story.  That worked out just fine for TCM, but Eaten Alive is neither shocking nor gory enough to get by on that dubious merit alone.  I liked it well enough, but it seems that, like its antagonist, the film is a few cards short of a full deck.

 

Basket Case (1982)

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About:

Duane Bradley has just moved to New York City with his brother to meet some old friends. Except his brother is a deformed malicious blob who he carries around in a whicker basket, and their old friends are the cruel doctors who cut them apart when they were kids.

Review:

I had actually never even heard of Basket Case until I saw it referenced in a Trent Shy claymation video at the Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival in Charleston, SC:

How have I never seen this?  Basket Case was really good.  It was super gory and campy as all hell.  When your monster is a foot-tall blob of deformed flesh the campiness sort of comes naturally, but it’s especially charming in this case.  From what I could tell the monster, little Bilal, was portrayed by rubber gloves, a mask, and a puppet.  These were all done really well.  However there were one or two scenes where he was shown through some truly horrible stop motion animation.  The only example I could find of this online is a hilarious mashup of ABBA’s Dancing Queen set to Bilal going full Rolling Stones mode on a hotel room:

Having the time of his liiiife…

It is revealed in a flashback scene that the boys’ asshole father blames Bilal for their mother’s death during birth.  No respectable physicians will agree to separate the two, so the dad brings in three quacks to perform the operation in their dining room.  Amazingly Bilal survives and years later the two set out to exact revenge on the doctors who cut them apart.

Perhaps the freakiest part of this movie was the noise track – Bilal is often shrieking like a banshee getting bludgeoned by an alley cat, and the kill scenes are to the tunes of atonal Moog sounds mixed with various animal noises and loud sirens.

Basket Case was bordering on greatness until the ending, which was so hilarious that it still makes this a must-see.  As it turns out, this whole movie really boils down to just a couple of horny bros looking for some action.  You can imagine having to bend to every whim of your psychopathic deformed twin might make having a love life a little difficult.  So when Duane meets a total babe from the city, Bilal gets jealous that he’s not getting any hanky-panky.  Being the man of action that he is, he sets out to show this girl that it’s he who is the more charming of the two. And while I’m reluctant to publish any adult content on this site, I did feel it was necessary to share a certain visual from the film, which I do so now without comment:

bilal humps

The craziness doesn’t end there.  The final 10 minutes of the movie are perhaps the best, if only because they are completely outrageous and totally out of character with everything that came before it.  As close as they are, the movie ends with yet another pair of victims who failed to adhere to that sacred adage, “bros before hoes.”

Overall: 9

Hell Fire!!!!

hellfire

Basket Case is a legitimately good movie.  It made sense (which always earns major bonus points for movies like these), was very campy, and also quite creepy.  The idea for this film was really original and has obviously been the inspiration of several works which have followed it.  And you know what? I’m not even going to bother with the physics of a little blob of flesh being able to manhandle full grown men.  Little Bilal is all upper-body strength and that’s just that.

Fright Night (1985)

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About:

Charlie Brewster has reason to believe that his mysterious new neighbor is actually a murderous vampire.  After his worst fears are confirmed he sets out to slay the monster before it kills him and everyone he loves.

Review:

I first saw this a few years ago and thought, “Wow, what a fun horror movie.  This is truly a classic.”  A couple of years later I saw the remake and thought it was also good, but nowhere near as great as the irreplaceable original I saw first.  Then last night I watched the original again for the purpose of writing this review, and, well, I just didn’t know what to believe anymore.  It was ok – I liked it.  But it wasn’t the same movie I remember being better than the remake.  As blasphemous as it sounds, it was actually much worse.

First of all, the leading lady in the remake is played by the adorable albeit unfortunately named Imogen Poots, whereas her character in the original is played by some chick who looked like Blanche from Golden Girls.

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Not even close

And yea, I get it – a lot of people didn’t like the remake because everyone’s least favorite actor Colin Farrell got to star in it.  Now I don’t know what he ever did to deserve this shit storm of malice people seem to have for him, but remember that man was the balls in Minority Report, so lets all cut him a little slack.

I had to watch the remake again to confirm that I liked it better.  I knew they had it at the public library here because that’s where I got it five years ago when it first came out.  Sure enough they still had like 10 copies sitting there, but because I had racked up such an intimidating amount of overdue fees on Twilight books over the years I was not allowed to rent it until I paid that tab back down to 0. This now makes three libraries where my hefty fines prevent me from taking anything out.

After a couple of unsuccessful stops at RedBoxes, I decided that the purpose of this blog isn’t to compare original films to their remakes anyways, or at least not until I can get my hands on the newer Fright Night.

Back to the original: I loved the special effects in this.  There were three vampire deaths, which doesn’t seem like much, until you consider that the way each died was more fantastic and horrifying that the last.  I don’t know who decided CGI looked better, but nothing compares to the creative SFX that go into animating a vampire turning into skeleton soup.

Charlie Brewster is the main character in this movie, but we don’t know anything about him other than he lives next door to a vampire and goes out with a girl who looks like his mom.  What’s his story?  How do I know I don’t want this guy getting gobbled up by a vampire?  His little buddy Evil Ed, on the other hand, is quite the character, and I can’t quite determine if his shrill portrayal is tantamount to idiocy or brilliance.

When he realizes he is living next to a vampire Charlie enlists the help of TV star Peter Vincent the Vampire Killer, host of the show Fright Night, who luckily happens to live in town.  At this point Vincent is on his ass and out of a job, but he cleans up nicely and puts together with a cubic briefcase crammed with vampire killing accoutrements to help Charlie do the deed.

vincent
Unfortunately he left it in the car

The main vampire is Jerry Dandridge, which is perhaps the least intimidating Vampire name ever thought up.  Don’t let the name fool you though – this guy is one smooth operator.  Guy has a killer hair cut and an equally cool duster jacket to match.  All told, he’s not too far off from Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt on the vampire coolness scale.  Although it is a little concerning that he lives with a hetero life mate/man-servant.

bros
Bro-ing out hard

Jerry is pissed at Charlie because he keeps hassling him for being a vampire, and their feuding evolves when Jerry realizes that Charlie’s girlfriend Amy looks just like his old vampire girlfriend.  Thankfully this never goes beyond that to the Maury Povich level, but it does kind of teeter on the brink when Amy gets bitten and turns into evil Steven Tyler.

amy2
Eh…still not doing anything for me

Overall: 6

Campfire_2
a reliable flame, good for marshmallows and telling ghost stories, but nothing that gonna singe your eyebrows off

So I’ve been thinking that ranking these movies solely on a 1-10 scale is pretty boring.  In going with the theme of this blog, (in which Camp is a double entendre for both the style of these movies and also the setting for a great deal of them – get it??) I’ve decided to accompany the traditional numeric ranking with a strength of campfire – or at least something camp-related.

I was a little disappointed in Fright Night, to be honest, because I remembered it being so much better.  Don’t get me wrong – it was the cheesy kind of horror movie I like, the kind that doesn’t take itself to seriously but also has a plot that is easy to follow and isn’t confounded by glaring holes.  It did seem to drag at times, though; the movie is an hour and a half and Charlie first voices his fears over his neighbor in the very first scene.  I don’t know why it took another 90 minutes for him to gather his buddies up for the final showdown.  Maybe when I finally see the remake again it will be so much worse than I remember that it’ll make the original a lot better.

Return to Horror High (1987)

return_to_horror_high poster

About:
A few years ago a masked killer wrought carnage upon Crippen High School and was never found.  Today, a Hollywood film crew sets up shop at the now abandoned school to film the story of the unsolved killing spree.  But when cast and crew members start mysteriously disappearing, everyone begins to fear that the unknown killer has returned…to horror high!

Review:
This movie has been hanging around Netflix for a while so I finally gave it a shot – these high school themed slashers are usually pretty fun.  This is also the feature film debut of George Clooney, who, to my knowledge, has not tried to buy to rights to it in order to keep it from ever being seen again, a la Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger with that Texas Chainsaw Massacre spinoff (which, incidentally, I once bought for $2 at a gas station in Chesterton, IN).  Turns out he didn’t need to, since he has only a few short minutes of screen time and is the first one to get whacked.  Ironically his character, an actor playing the police officer in the film (within the film), decides to leave the set before they start filming because he’s been offered a better role elsewhere.

clooney
Slick George – he always knew just when to cut and run

Despite all the signs that it might be a good movie, this one was pretty bad.  The scare tactics and special effects were really nothing special, and the story itself was incredibly annoying.  The boneheads who made this thought they’d have some fun with us by making us believe that the plot was actually advancing, only to reveal that the whole scene we’d been watching for the last ten minutes was actually just a scene they had been filming for their movie or, even worse, just a dream.

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A wonderful, wonderful dream

Return to Horror High is supposed to be a spoof of all the slasher films that seem to run together, as well as  an indictment of how these movies often prioritize blood, guts, and boobs to an absurd degree.  But is that supposed to be an excuse for this being an incredibly shitty movie itself?  After a cursory review of this movie on the internet it seems there’s a consensus that, by the ending, no one has any fucking clue what’s going on.  Put me squarely in that lot.

This movie moves at a plodding pace, with maybe 4 or 5 kills over an hour and a half, and nothing much of a real story in between.  The whole time I’m wondering why we never actually see the kill – no close ups or gory special effects.  (Spoiler ahead) Turns out it’s because no one actually died – surprise!!  From what I can piece together, the film crew figured out who the original killer was, then faked all their own deaths so the police would believe that the killer struck again.  Then after a few months they’d release the movie as a gimmick for stirring up publicity: “they all died…but the film survived!”

This of course would entail all of the cast and crew members, well known Hollywood figures who supposedly perished, changing their names and getting plastic surgery in order preserve the farce that they really died.  This would also mean that the police are in fact so dumb they can’t tell the difference from an actual corpse and a guy laying still with his eyes closed, or from an actual severed arm and a movie prop.

bodies
Did that sheet just sneeze?

A couple quick notes before closing the book on this mess: I do feel I should give the director some credit for his artistic command of boobage; although they were infrequent, the ones we did see were top notch.  We also were exposed to the ultra-rare exploding boob.  Secondly, if you saw this you may have recognized the guy playing the sleazy producer, Alex Rococo, as the voice of The Simpsons character Roger Myers Jr. – the CEO of I&S Studios, which produces Itchy & Scratchy.

simpsons
Or you may not have. Whatever

You may have also noticed that the oversexed female cop, who’s turn-ons include greasy food and blood, as Maureen McCormick, the actress better known for her role as Marcia Brady in The Brady Bunch.

brady
That’s her groping her bloody bosom

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not bring to everyone’s attention the worst love scene in movie history – this shit makes even the retina-searing scump-fests in Hellgate look like a classy high budget porno.  Set to a Wendy Fraser ballad, our leading man and woman go at it late at night while an unexplained and completely random welding crew is at work right outside their window, with the camera making frequent jump cuts to enigmatic childrens’ drawings that are for some reason tacked to the wall.  And worst of all, we don’t even get to see boobs!

Overall: 3
The instances of unreconcilable plot holes in this film are far too many to point out here one by one.  And yea, I get that this whole movie is a spoof as well as a not-so-subtle commentary on the horror movie genre in general.  Despite all that I just cannot forgive a film, even a B movie horror flick, for making absolutely no sense.  You’d think this thing was written by monkeys.  Except even they would have probably had Clooney stick around for more than 5 minutes.