PG-13 horror gets a lot of flak from horror fans. Granted the 00’s gave us a lot of tame PG-13 WB/CW led horror films, but back in the mid 80’s when the rating was still in its infancy, things were a little different. You could have faces graphically melt away, and have characters get stabbed in the eye and it was considered okay since early 80’s PG films contained the same if not worse imagery (we’re looking at you, Indiana Jones). So, in 1987, Tibor Takacs gave us just that and introduced us to a young Stephen Dorff in his first film role as Glen in ‘The Gate’. With amazing practical effects and an absurd series of events leading to the opening of the titular gate, this film is a must-see for anyone who considers themselves a fan of 80’s horror.
The idea behind this grindhouse inspired film came from special effects legend Robert Kurtzman of KNB EFX Group. When Tarantino was directing Reservoir Dogs he enlisted the services of Berger for the infamous 'ear gag'. Instead of a traditional payment, Tarantino wrote the screenplay for Berger's film idea. Then Robert Rodriguez was brought on to direct this effects-driven film that spawned two prequels & a 3 season TV series. With a cast including George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Salma Hayek, & Tom Savini (Yes, That Tom Savini), this Vampire/Crime Thriller mashup is packed with enough talent and gore to satisfy almost any horror fan!
Popcorn is one of those films that I'm surprised actually got released. It's production issues were insane, as the lead actress was replaced 3 weeks into production with Jill Schoelen taking over. Then the director Alan Ormsby was also replaced after directing the three films within the film, with Porky's actor turned director, Mark Herrier. Subplots of the film ended up getting cut, one of them involving actual Popcorn (I'm thinking that the popcorn was like cultist kool-aid for the final scene), and famed actor Ray Walston appears for no other reason than to get a montage started. Still, Popcorn is one hell of a fun ride, with some great practical effects and killer throwbacks that any horror fan can enjoy.
Based on the extremely controversial 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis, the film version of 'American Psycho' was met with just as much controversy during pre-production with multiple actors & directors walking away from the project. David Cronenberg, Stuart Gordon, and Oliver Stone were all one board to direct at one point or another until Mary Harron took the helm. Meanwhile, some of the actors tapped to play Patrick Bateman, who ended up bailing, included Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Ewan McGregor; with Christian Bale actually having the courage to tackle the role and the potential backlash. With a budget of $7 million, 'American Psycho' ended up pulling in $34 million worldwide and became an instant cult classic. It's interesting to look back at the film that was meant to be a career killer but ended up catapulting Christian Bale into stardom.
35 years ago Wes Craven turned the tired slasher genre on its head with, 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' and introduced Freddy Krueger into our dreams. A huge risk for New Line Cinema, this film was either going to make or break them. On a $1.8m budget, it went on to scare up $25.5m at the domestic box office and spawn a franchise that became synonymous with the '80s. It's also pretty amazing that Robert Englund reprised his role as Freddy in every iteration minus the 2010 reboot. Here's hoping he decides to don the fedora and glove for one more film!
Prepare yourself for 'The Evil Dead, the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror,' and yes, that was the closing credits title for Sam Raimi's 1981 horror classic. It is one of the most influential and successful independent horror films of all time, and the story of how it was made is just as amazing as the film itself. Personally, I think that if you're looking to make an indie horror film, then this is the film that you should research and study. Also, it's cool to see Ash back in 1981, when he was still young naive Ashley J. Williams, frozen in fear, and easily defeated by flimsy wooden bookshelves.
Movie trailers...some of them don't give much of the film away...some give everything away...and then some trick you into thinking that what you're about to watch is exciting, visceral and gory. Welcome to Velvet Buzzsaw! Is it a horror film? No! Is it a mediocre industry satire that tries to be a horror film even though the director obviously has no idea how to make a horror film? Yes, yes it is! Netflix, please stop trying to trick us into watching your garbage films with misleading trailers. I think we have 2019's 'Cloverfield Paradox' right here with 'Velvet Buzzsaw'!
You can't cheat death, but you can sure as hell try! This week on the podcast, we discuss Final Destination, and how it went from a potential X-Files episode to a five-film horror franchise that's about to be rebooted. Now, while the sequels are hit or miss and the focus became on how to top prior deaths, the original is tense and pretty damn solid all around, with Devon Sawa killing it in the lead role! So if you haven't seen it, then do yourself a favor and watch the first two in the series...and maybe part five.
If Lovecraftian Horror is your thing, then do we have the movie for you. A follow-up to Stuart Gordon's 1985 classic 'Re-Animator,' 1986's 'From Beyond' was meant to be just the beginning of an H.P. Lovecraft film universe in which various cast members would appear thoughout the anthology of films. In this case, we have the return of Jeffrey Combs & Barbara Crampton taking on characters that are almost polar opposites of their 'Re-Animator' ones. It would have been nice to see this universe fully come to life with each film having a very distinct look, and color palate with 'Re-Animator' have a vibrant green motif, while 'From Beyond' is saturated in purples and deep pinks. True we do get Dagon later on with heavy emphasis the color blue, but we're lacking the recurring cast that made these first two films so damn entertaining. An H.P. Lovecraft film universe, now that's an extended universe that I could get behind.
Episode 75 - Apostle
The Raid's Gareth Evans teams up with Dan Stevens & Netflix to give us a visually stunning & brutal period horror film. Dan Stevens plays Thomas, a former missionary, who must travel to an island of a religious cult to save his kidnapped sister. Seems simple enough, but there's something much more sinister going on than originally thought. Add in Gareth Evans amazing cinematic style and amazing performances by the entire cast, and you've got a slow burn horror that should stand the test of time.