Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fool's Views (4/7 – 4/13)

Trust me, I'm a doctor.

Howdy folks,

Well, thanks to the deliciousness that was Movieside’s Sci-Fi Spectacular and the arrival of some potentially interesting genre films hitting theaters – Devil’s Due, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, and I, Frankenstein just weren’t hooking me – I finally made it out to the cinema, sextupling my 2014 theatrical intake in one short week.

Seeing a giant, magic-berry-juice-drinking ape duking it out with Japan’s favorite radioactive lizard on the big screen with a near-capacity crowd in attendance is as close to achieving total consciousness as I ever hope to get (so I've got that going for me, which is nice), and Pan’s Labyrinth was just as rewarding as it was the first time. I also went 4-for-4 with my multiplex excursions, although seriously, AMC, those animated red dots and the little pre-film dumbshows have GOT TO GO. Sooooooooo terrible.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


PAN'S LABYRINTH (2006) movie review

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) d. Guillermo del Toro (Spain)

Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) whose father had died, leaving her and her Mother (Ariadna Gil) all alone. The world was a dark and scary place, with war and death everywhere, and so, to save herself and her child, the Mother remarried a General (Sergi Lopez) to keep them safe. But the General was a selfish and brutal man, who only cared for the Mother as long as she could bear him a son. Once the Mother as with child, the General sent for her to live with him in the forest where he commanded his troops, stamping out the rebels that threatened the Evil King’s power. The Mother was sad, as was Ofelia, but the imaginative young girl had a special gift: she could see and talk to creatures that grown-ups couldn’t see, such as the Faun and the Pale Man (both played brilliantly by expert suit performer Doug Jones). She soon learned from the Faun that she was a Princess with a Destiny to fulfill.  And so, her great adventure began....

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

UNDER THE SKIN (2013) movie review

Under the Skin (2013) d. Jonathan Glazer (UK)

With buzz growing since its UK release, this screen adaptation of Michael Faber’s novel arrived fully onto my radar via the announcement that it would be gracing the cover of Fangoria magazine’s May issue #332. Now, granted, editor-in-chief Chris Alexander has made some odd choices during his four-year tenure (Nicholas Cage? Gene Simmons?), but knowing that this was “Fango-approved” definitely heightened my interest. However, it also provoked expectations, which can be the enemy of many a filmgoing experience.

OCULUS (2013) movie review

Oculus (2013) d. Mike Flanagan (USA)

Following a long stint in a mental institution, Tim (Brenton Thwaites) meets up with his art dealer sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) to begin his life anew. However, his sibling has no intention of forgetting their past, and the dark forces that shattered their childhood. Seems that the mirror acquired by their father (Rory Cochrane) possesses the ability to warp visual observations and entrap minds, leading to some very twisted and disturbing consequences for the kids and their mother (Katee Sackhoff). Returning to their childhood home and having taken elaborate observational precautions, Kaylie hopes to prove that Tim’s criminal acts – the very ones that ended him up in the booby hatch – were not the results of faulty mental wiring, but rather the influence of the malignant artifact.

Monday, April 28, 2014

KING KONG VS GODZILLA (1962) movie review

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) d. Ishiro Honda (Japan)

After cranking out an array of standalone creature features (Rodan, Mothra, Varan the Unbelievable), Toho revived their reigning daikaiju (giant monster) to do battle against America’s most popular hairy behemoth, marking the first time either had ever been seen in color or widescreen “Tohoscope.” (Kong creator Willis O’Brien’s original idea was to pit the great ape against an opponent devised by Dr. Frankenstein, but Godzilla’s marquee value proved too tempting to pass up.)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

THE NAVY VS. THE NIGHT MONSTERS (1966) movie review

Navy vs. the Night Monsters, The (1966) d. Michael A. Hoey (USA)

From the frozen wastelands of Antarctica comes a tale of botanical terrors inspired equally by The Thing from Another World, The Day of the Triffids, and The Quatermass Xperiment. Unfortunately, this cheapjack adaptation of Murray Leinster’s novel The Monster from Earth’s End is a clunker from start to interminable finish, filled with gratingly unfunny comic interludes, slipshod stock footage, lazy screenwriting, and audaciously clumsy tree creatures that don’t even have the generosity to have a permanent “mean face” stamped onto them like From Hell It Came’s Tabonga monster.

What is that?  I have no idea either.

THE WASP WOMAN (1995) movie review

Wasp Woman, The (1995) d. Jim Wynorski (USA)

Janice Starlin (Jennifer Rubin), owner and lead model of Starlin Cosmetics, finds that her looks and company stock have begun to sag a little, leading her investors to suggest that she step down and find a newer, younger model (Maria Ford). Stung by such criticisms (ohoho, so witty), she recruits discredited scientist Dr. Zinthorp (Daniel J. Travanti) to use her as his human guinea pig for an incredibly volatile new serum derived from, you guessed it, wasp hormones.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fool's Views (3/31 – 4/6)

130,000,000 x less expensive than Godzilla (1998).  130,000,000 x more entertaining.

Howdy folks,

Finally started watching a few movies this year, enough so that we could (finally) compile a FV installment based on the one-week totals. Some decent independent flicks paired with two notorious Hollywood bombs (one deserved, one not-so-much) that I didn't feel obliged to give much virtual ink, as well as some fine civilian fare.

And no, you’ll never get me to watch the Emmerich Godzilla EVER again. This was purely an experiment and it hurt. Telling you, this movie-watching stuff – it ain’t for sissies.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Monday, April 21, 2014


Demon Resurrection (2008) d. William Hopkins (USA)

Upon hearing of her recent, possibly drug-related hospitalization, a group of concerned friends converge on the isolated Long Island home of Grace (Alexis Golightly) to stage a well-intentioned intervention on her behalf. To their surprise, the source of her ills are not chemical in nature nor are they provided by her mystery lover, the handsome, sensitive long-haired John (Damian Ladd); instead, Grace has recently escaped from the clutches of an evil cult, one that has done some very naughty things to her insides. Yup, with no small nod to Rosemary’s Baby, nefarious occultist Toth (Will McDonald) has orchestrated an enterprise by which a little bouncing Beelzebub is bound to be born, and woe betide those that stand in his way.

BLED WHITE (2011) movie review

Bled White (2011) d. Jose Carlos Gomez (USA)

These days, the news that an independent filmmaker has made a low-budget zombie movie is about as shocking as hearing that the sun rose in the east. Like the slashers of old, the walking undead scenario provides ample opportunities for drama between surviving humans, action sequences, gunplay, characters yelling, “Run!” at the top of their lungs, and, of course, gut-ripping, flesh-tearing, blood-splattering gore showcases. Like the requisite pizza and beer that follows moving a friend’s furniture, even the lowest zombie flick offers some modicum of entertainment value; you have to work really hard to screw it up. The challenge is to deliver something tastier than Domino’s, more satisfying than Budweiser. The good news is that Chicagoland director Jose Carlos Gomez (who also wrote, shot, and edited the beast) has done just that with his wintry shambler epic, Bled White.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fool's Views (3/17 – 3/30)

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles...

Howdy, folks!

Gamely attempting to catch up to the tail that wags the proverbial dog, and having a fairly good time in so doing. The horror offerings covered during this two-week period represent independents all, ranging from the microbudget to the slightly better funded, from terrific to terrible, and from the Doc’s Midwestern backyard to the far reaches of Australia. Not too shabby.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Friday, April 18, 2014

DEAD SHADOWS (2012) Blu-ray review

Dead Shadows (2012) d. David Cholewa (France)

All right, sports fans, strap on your helmets and get ready for sharp turns ahead. This debut feature from Frenchman Cholewa is a WTF blend of horror, sci-fi, action, apocalypse comedy, creature feature, zombie flick, alien invasion, and all-out crazycakes that sees modern-day Paris ground zero for one big whopper of a comet and shinola hitting the fan in the most exuberant fashion imaginable.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

COLD IN JULY (2014) movie review

Cold in July (2014) d. Jim Mickle (USA)

One hot summer Texas night, professional picture framer Richard Dane (Dexter’s Michael C. Hall) is awoken by the sound of someone breaking into his home. Spooked, the mild-mannered husband and father creeps downstairs and, accidentally firing his pistol, mortally wounds the intruder who turns out to have a criminal record a mile long. An instant small-town celebrity, Dane is applauded by the local lawman (Nick Damici) for bringing down “a really bad guy.” But when the burglar’s jailbird father (Sam Shepard) comes to town looking for revenge, it sets in motion a mysterious chain of events, revealing that nothing is as it appears to be.

PROXY (2013) movie review

Proxy (2013) d. Zack Parker (USA)

After single mother-to-be Esther (Alexia Rasmussen) is viciously attacked by a hooded assailant, she strikes up a friendship with fellow support group attendee Melanie (Alexa Havins, Torchwood). Distraught and alone, Esther grows more and more attached to her new friend, with dangerous consequences arising from their increasingly tangled relationship.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PATRICK (2013) movie review

Patrick (2013) d. Mark Hartley, (Australia)

This remake of Richard Franklin's 1978 Ozploitation breakout about a comatose killer in the mood for love has the advantage of strong actors in the form of Sharni Vinson (You're Next, Bait) as the lovely nurse the titular comatose psychokinetic killer sets his sixth sense on, Charles Dance (Alien 3) as the aging doc obsessed with discovering the exact moment of death, and Oscar nominee Rachel Griffiths (Hilary and Jackie) as the repressed matron running the decrepit asylums for the not-quite-dead set.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fool's Views (3/3 – 3/16)

VERONICA MARS??  You said we were going to THE LEGO MOVIE!
Howdy folks,

This two-week period was highlighted by conversations with the one and only Larry Fessenden (and preparation for same), as well as a healthy dose of Aussie-flavored genre fare. But the civilian side had its own rewards, aided by a long overdue visit to the Chicago Public Library stacks and movie pal Lee Shoquist’s urging that if I liked Charles Bronson’s pairing with Cape Fear veteran J. Lee Thompson for The White Buffalo, then I owed it to myself to check out some of their other work together. After all, for these guys to work together nine, count ‘em, NINE TIMES, something must have been clicking, right?

And, for better or worse, it was also in the company of Mssr. Shoquist that I made my way to the cinema for the first – and to date only – time in 2014. Too bad it was to see a free screening of Veronica Mars. Next time I get the urge to watch a feature-length TV episode, I’ll just pop in Munster, Go Home!

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH, VOL. 1 (2013) Blu-ray Review

Return to Nuke 'Em High, Vol. 1 (2013) d. Lloyd Kaufman (USA)

Troma movies, almost by their very definition and heritage, seem defiantly designed to be critic-proof. The ramshackle production elements, the purposefully offensive subject matter and humor, the overt liberalism, the in-your-face attitude and self-referentialism, the splattery special effects that manage to be gross without ever approaching realism, and the gratuitous nudity (mustn’t forget the nudity), these have all become recognizable staples in the Troma formula that seemingly caters to the lowest common denominator while delivering its winking subversive message.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Greetings, fellow fiends!

It's been a grand month or so since we last checked in with news of everyone's favorite compendium of rantings and ravings from the darker quarter. There have been accolades and acolytes, convention rails and monster sales, and we owe it all to the support of bloody brothers and sisters like YOU.

First off, we are thrilled to announce that HIDDEN HORROR has been nominated as "Best Horror Book of 2013" by the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. If you have not already, please stop by the Rondo Awards website and cast your vote!

The full ballot can be found HERE:

And don't forget to vote in category #11! (BEST BOOK)

THE LAST WINTER (2006) movie review


Last Winter, The (2006) d. Larry Fessenden (USA)

Via his breakthrough films, Habit and Wendigo, NYC indie director Larry Fessenden fashioned multi-layered characters dealing with supernatural situations...subtly informing viewers what we’re really scared of. In his largest scale effort to date, he approaches a much broader and overtly political canvas (that of global warming).  Unfortunately, by placing the fate of the Earth itself center stage, his usually reliable storytelling techniques lose some of their potency.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

PATRICK (1978) Blu-ray Review

Patrick (1978) d. Richard Franklin (Australia)

Freshly separated from her husband, Kathy Jacquard (Susan Penhaligon) re-enters the workforce as a nurse at a hospital catering to an exclusive clientele of severely disturbed and/or disabled patients. Almost immediately, she forms an attachment to the comatose Patrick (Robert Thompson), all blonde curly hair and blank unblinking stare, and he to her, communicating initially through sharp exhalations, but eventually revealing his true inner gifts. Seems our titular deadpan bedpan is a psychokinetic, with the power to tap out messages on typewriters, trash people’s rooms, possess minds, and who knows what else. And it turns out that he’s the jealous type....

Fool's Views (2/17 – 3/2)

Reports of my demise have been slightly exaggerated...

Howdy folks,

I’ve not been idle, but oh, the distractions, they have been many. Think we’ll just leave it at that, seeing as how I’ve got a month and a half to catch up on here. But I can say that there have been some enjoyable moments spent in front of the magic window, kept company by sharks, slashers, zombies, Sasquatch, and a surprisingly enjoyable pairing of Charles Bronson and an oversized bison.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back:


Monday, April 7, 2014

DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) movie review

Dawn of the Dead (1978) d. George A. Romero (USA)

A decade after his groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead, Romero returned to the undead genre with a gory and thoughtful sequel that equals and occasionally surpasses its predecessor. While the ending of Night gives the impression that the undead uprising was coming under control, the opening scenes here indicate that this societal sigh of relief was breathed far too soon.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) movie review

Night of the Living Dead (1968) d. George A. Romero (USA)

Filmed on a shoestring and using a cast of no-name local actors from his native Pittsburgh, writer/director Romero delivered his brutal in-your-face tale of corpses rising from their graves to feast on human flesh and changed the face of horror films forever. While zombies had appeared onscreen before, never had they been so plentiful...or so hungry.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

THE LEGEND OF BIGFOOT (1976) movie review

Legend of Bigfoot, The (1976) d. Harry Winer (USA)

“The film you’re about to see is authentic. It records the last 10 years which has changed my life. I stumbled on something I could not believe at first, but soon realized it had significance on me and everyone around me, which could not be ignored or underestimated.” Less a horror movie than a pseudo-documentary starring great outdoorsman and renowned tracker Ivan Marx who, after initially belittling such foolishness, finds himself obsessed with proving the existence (or not) of the mythical sasquatch.

THE CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT (1979) movie review

Capture of Bigfoot, The (1979) d. Bill Rebane (USA)

Looking at the 2.4 IMDb rating and the guy in the director’s chair, I was bracing myself for a serious bout of eye-clawing ineptitude, but the good news is that this isn’t the Rebane of Invasion of Inner Earth but rather the boisterous low-budget monster movie savant that gave us the wonderfully cheesy Giant Spider Invasion. In a small Wisconsin mountain town, two mysterious creatures have been spotted in the woods, sparking the interest of unscrupulous businessman Richard Kennedy who hopes to snag the hairy beast for monetary gain.

BAIT 3D (2012) movie review

Bait 3D (2012) d. Kimble Rendall (Australia)

Rendall, after years spent doing well-paid second-unit work (Matrix sequels, Ghost Rider), rebounds nicely from his middling 2000 slasher flick, Cut, with this surprisingly entertaining entry in a world lousy with lame-ass CGI killer shark movies. A tsunami floods an Australian coastal town, stranding several survivors in the local supermarket with a rogue great white swimming through the submerged aisles of Vegemite in search of chow.