I’m going to give you a big fat spoiler right up front, and then we can be done with this whole thing. Are you ready? Ok, here it is: the vampire-like creature in From the Dark can be harmed by light. Any light, in fact, whether it be flashlight, lamplight, cell phone light, match light, or sunlight. If you can think of a source of light, this creature is afraid of it.Read More →

(Note: I was fortunate to catch the stunning 40th anniversary print of this horror classic, presented by Cinefamily in Los Angeles and Dark Sky Films.  This is the very best you will ever see this movie look.  If you have a chance to see the restoration in a theater, do not hesitate to go.)   I’ve seen “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”  Countless viewings over the past three decades have left me with a deep appreciation of its style and tone, its seamless blending of the Grand Guinol, unbridled horror, and a twisted sense of humor.  This is not a film with which I am unfamiliar,Read More →

“Have you ever wanted something so badly, you’d be willing to do anything for it?” That’s the central question posed by the aspiring actress, Patti, in Richard Ciupka’s 1983 slasher mystery, “Curtains.”  When the line comes early in the film, Patti is feeding clunky one-liners to drunks in the smoky nether regions of a local comedy club.  She tells her audience that she’s only ever wanted to be in the movies (“I was so desperate to be in pictures, I screwed a guy at a PhotoMat”), and now she may finally get her chance: she and five other actresses are about to duke it outRead More →

A priest faced with a teenager who’s possessed by an evil spirit has only two options at his disposal.  He can either a) walk away and let the kid die, or b) take the unclean spirit into his body, thus saving the life of the host and achieving martyrdom in the process.  I have to say, quite honestly, if I were that priest the kid would die.  I don’t mean to sound unkind.  I just think, realistically, I couldn’t be sure that the kid would be unpossessed by my selflessness, so why should we both go down with the ship?  After all, the world needsRead More →

Paul Lynch’s gloriously awful Humongous (1982) satiates my lifelong appetite for overgrown mongoloids that do great bodily harm.  The list includes a long and veritable who’s-who of the slasher canon, from Jason Voorhees, Madman Marz, and Cropsy the deep-fried caretaker, to the cute and cuddly knife-wielding Eric, who terrorizes The House on Sorority Row.  I would suggest that all of the movies based on those maniacs are leagues better than Humongous, which starts off on a sleazy note, and then wimps out on its numerous kills.  But it doesn’t matter; the movie involves a creepy house on a creepy island that’s inhabited by a creepy Wild Man of Borneo whoRead More →

A late-night cable staple of my 80’s childhood, Looker claims to be about…well, I don’t really know what it’s about. What I do know is, Albert Finney plays an L.A. plastic surgeon whose patients begin to die off with startling frequency. His investigation leads him to a shady market research organization (headed by the ancient James Coburn) that’s engaged in something that has to do with something that has to do with something else, and it’s all tied to a little gun that makes neat sounds and puts people into trances. End credits. The rad (and quite possibly bitchin’) 80’s synth soundtrack, big hair, off-the-shoulderRead More →

Let’s be real, here: Ken Russell isn’t exactly known for being comprehensible. Take a look at Lair of the White Worm or Gothic, and tell me you don’t agree. He works in the bizarre, the fantastic; the outré, if you will. His films deal in symbolism and religious allegory and sexual expression, and often times challenge the notion of good taste. But comprehensible? No. And why should Altered States be any different? Hovering uncomfortably above the intersection of science fiction, fantasy and horror, States, based on a novel by Paddy Chayefsky, employs the “kitchen sink” theory, which says that every device, image, shot, angle, color,Read More →

Since I have a perfectly reasonable predilection for 1970’s exploitation, I sometimes find myself in a WTF moment after watching a film. Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS had that effect on me (and again, after I got the box-set as a birthday present), as did The Night Porter. Call it a job hazard. I’ve seen a lot of sleazy things from the era, but none more odious than Tinto Brass’s controversial epic, Salon Kitty, about the Third Reich’s plan to spy on their own soldiers by replacing bordello whores with German double-agents (yes, you read that correctly). Now, Tinto Brass. Say that name again. DoesRead More →

Somewhere between Born Innocent and the regrettable Savage Streets (“Too bad you’re not double-jointed; you’d be able to bend over and kiss your ass goodbye!”), Linda Blair slipped in this little genre gem about a group of Greek pledges terrorized by a crazed mongoloid. The hazing is deceptively simple: spend one night in Garth Manor, an overgrown castle at the edge of town, where the patriarch slaughtered his family–and then committed suicide–years ago. There’s a catch, the pledge master informs us: one of the sons, Andrew, a mangled “gork,” is said to have survived the massacre, and still resides somewhere in the house. Off theRead More →

Back in 1984, when it was still acceptable to present an original horror idea, Wes Craven unleashed what is arguably his most famous film. And with that, he brought about a new genre icon, Freddy Kreuger, who would forever be copied, parodied, satirized and exploited in a series of increasingly poor sequels. Everyone knows the story by now: A group of post-nuclear teens in acid-washed jeans and and over-sized sweaters is having nightmares, all involving a horrifically burned man with razors for fingers. This is Freddy Kreuger (née Fred, in this first installment’s credits), a child molester who was lit up like a Roman candleRead More →