Tag Archives: gore o’clock

January Sale! 5-for-1 on reviews!

H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R !

Let’s start 2018 with a 5-for-1 special!

*

class reunion massacre 1976 the redeemer

CLASS REUNION MASSACRE

1 Stars  1976/18/84m

“No more pencils, no more books, no more students…”

A.k.a. The Redeemer; The Redeemer: Son of Satan

Director: Constantine S. Gochis / Writer: William Vernick / Cast: T.G. Finkbinder, Gyr Patterson, Damien Knight, Nick Carter, Nikki Barthen, Jeanetta Arnette, Michael Holdensworth.

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “You mustn’t make me chase you – I could die of a heart attack!”


The words most commonly associated with this pre-Halloween outing are surely “what the fuck!?” ’76 wasn’t such a good year for the slasher film; with the much-needed influence of John Carpenter and Sean Cunningham’s groundbreakers replaced by the lamentable likes of Blood Voyage and Drive-In Massacre. It’s not very assuring to state that this is probably the best from that year.

After an unthinkably long and boring shot of a quarry lake and a few credits, a hand rises from the water and a mop-topped child wearing flares and a nasty sweater appears and gets on a passing bus that takes him off to church where he is in the choir. Is it supposed to be abstract? Or is it just mental? What the fuck 1.

Meanwhile, a stranger murders the caretaker of an abandoned school and moulds a mask of his face, then cuts out the yearbook pictures of his six chosen sinners who need to be redeemed for various non-descript reasons. Things finally get underway as the Class of ’67 return for their nine year reunion (What the fuck 2) discover they’re: A) alone, say “where is everybody?” three times in about ten seconds; B) locked in and; C) begin to die by blow-torch, shotgun, knife in the head and drowning.

When lesbian Kirsten is the only one left, you expect a long chase before she gets her own back on the killer… but no. Killer then goes back to the church where the flares-and-sweater boy is, and returns to the lake at the end. What the fuck 3.

Explanations? Drugs would seem to the prime suspect. The film manages to achieve absolutely nothing and so just comes across like a Christian propaganda film. I’m guessing that the hordes of other graduates from ’67 were absolutely delightful in every thinkable way then? Hope their nine year reunions were more fun.

*

STAGE FRIGHTstage fright 1980 nightmares

2 Stars  1980/80m

“Screams of terror silenced only by the splintering of glass!”

A.k.a. Nightmares

Director: John Lamond / Writers: Colin Eggleston, John Lamond & John Michael Howson / Cast: Jenny Neumann, Gary Sweet, Nina Landis, Max Phipps, John Michael Howson, Briony Behets, Edmund Pegge, Sue Jones, Adele Lewin.

Body Count: 8


An erratically paced and schlocky Aussie production that plays as a kind of homage to Hitchcock, with a killer who favours shards of broken glass to do away with the cast of an independent theatrical production called A Comedy of Death.

Could the nutter be no other than schizophrenic beauty Helen (Neumann, pre-Hell Night decapitation) whose nasty daddy blamed her for causing the car accident that killed her mother seventeen years previously?

There’s not a whole lot of mystery going on here so the supposed ‘twist’ is no more than an invitation for the viewer to groan at the lack of imagination the writer has shown. Nevertheless, it’s not all bad. Stage Fright has a mixture of impressive and wonky performances from its cast, which ties in quite ironically with some of the rantings of hack director Phipps, who is tormented by bitter gay critic Howson (both of whom are expected to meet with the sharp ends of a smashed window sooner or later…)

The UK pre-certificate release is notably shorter than the rest of the world’s, even skipping a couple of early murders and leaving a yawn-worthy long gap between the assembly-line ‘trauma from the past’ opener and the first murder; and the incessant POV work in the backstage area becomes annoying. An amusing take on the Psycho shower-scene in the rain is an eyebrow-raiser towards the end but the film is just way too weird to be more than a passing interest for genre dorks.

*

frightmare 1981 the horror star

FRIGHTMARE

2 Stars  1983/83m

“He was terrifying in life. But even more in DEATH!”

A.k.a. The Horror Star

Director/Writer: Norman Thaddeus Vane / Cast: Ferdinand Mayne, Jennifer Starrett, Luca Bercovici, Nita Talbot, Barbara Pilavin, Jeffrey Combs, Carlene Olson, Scott Thomson, Donna McDaniel, Alan Stock.

Body Count: 10

Laughter Lines: “We did something bad! I know something is after me!”


There are so many extraneous elements in this one… A group of film students decide to steal the body of recently departed Christopher Lee-esque star Conrad Razkoff from his extravagant mausoleum, and use him as the centerpiece for a party.

Disgusted by the theft, Conrad’s wife employs a medium to communicate with his spirit and inadvertently brings him back to life to kill his captors. Although it sounds pretty inventive when compared to the stack of its contemporaries – more so as it was shot in 1981 and left for two years.

The paper-thin teen characters are dispatched in quick succession, some by Conrad’s puzzlingly unwarranted psychic abilities, some hands-on, but in all cases with little blood. Under-lit scenes plague this film from start to finish – most of which is set in a gothic mansion that the kids inexplicably have access to, but the scenery is sorely underused. It looks a little like Hell Night but isn’t half as good.

*

PLAYROOMplayroom 1989 a.k.a. schizo

2 Stars  1989/18/84m

“Last stop… is hell.”

A.k.a. Schizo

Director: Manny Coto / Writers: Jackie Earle Haley & Keaton Jones / Cast: Chris McDonald, Lisa Aliff, James Purcell, Jamie Rose, Vincent Schiavelli, Aron Eisenberg, Petar Bozovic.

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “He sounded like the fucking Exorcist!


Passable supernatural slasher from the same director as Dr Giggles, and co-written by the future Freddy Krueger! Nicely shot in the former Yugoslavia, where Chris Hayden’s family were murdered years earlier during his father’s archaeological dig of an old tomb. Haunted by fractured memories, Chris is attracted back to the site and takes his magazine editor girlfriend, a photographer, and photographer’s vacuous model significant other.

No sooner do they arrive then his ‘imaginary’ childhood friend Daniel reappears to torment him. Is Daniel actually an immortal Prince who took pleasure in torturing local peasants with a variety of nasty devices set up in the hidden chamber Chris’s father died searching for?

Chris eventually locates Daniel’s ‘playroom’ and the fun begins when he offs his cohorts, while girlfriend Jenny is abducted by the man accused and incarcerated for the murders (late professional weirdo Schiavelli) who has escaped to put an end to the madness.

Although there’s a fair bit going on plotwise, Playroom doesn’t go anywhere with its ideas, quickly doing away with the handful of victims before a laughable store window mannequin (representing Daniel’s true form) stalks Jenny for a short while, and Chris prances around with his pickaxe before his gory comeuppance. The stock threat-isn’t-over ending is a letdown considering how annoying Daniel is, but this is one room that should be off limits hereafter.

*

sleepy hollow 1999SLEEPY HOLLOW

2.5 Stars  1999/15/102m

“Heads will roll.”

Director: Tim Burton / Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker / Cast: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Marc Pickering, Jeffrey Jones, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gough, Christopher Lee, Lisa Marie, Steven Waddington, Claire Skinner.

Body Count: 17


Gothic fantasy movies just don’t come more lush than Tim Burton’s efforts, and in this thinly disguised slasher film,  based on the novel by Washington Irving, a legendary headless horseman lops off the noggins of the inhabitants of the small north eastern town of Sleepy Hollow in 1799.

Johnny Depp (looking much more comfortable than his debut in A Nightmare On Elm Street) plays Ichabod Crane, the constable from New York sent to solve the mystery. As it turns out, the horseman is in fact real and is being controlled by whomever has stolen the skull from his grave. Gorgeous Christina Ricci is his beau, and together with Marc Pickering as the orphaned son of a recent victim, they make an attractive team.

The entire supporting cast ends up decapitated by the murderous ghoul, played to the hilt with some fabulous FX and gory enough slayings. The only drawback is that it lacks a certain something in that when it does get going, it’s never for long enough to excite, and the plays for laughs become too frequent, especially when it could have been really eerie. Apart from that, this is everything you’d expect from a gored-up Tim Burton flick.

Blurbs-of-interest: Stage Fright: Briony Behets and writer Colin Eggleston were later in Cassandra; John Michael Howson was in Houseboat HorrorFrightmare: Luca Bercovici was later in Stag Night; Jeffrey Combs was in Castle Freak and I Still Know What You Did Last SummerPlayroom: Aron Eisenberg was in The Horror Show; Chris McDonald was in The Collection; Jamie Rose was in Just Before Dawn; Vincent Schiavelli was in MiloSleepy Hollow: Depp was in From Hell; Christopher Lee was in Funny Man and Mask of Murder; Lisa Marie was in Silent Night; Marc Pickering was in Kill Keith; Casper Van Dien was in Skeleton Man.

Christmasogyny

all through the house 2016

ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE

2 Stars  2016/89m

“There is a creature stirring.”

Director/Writer: Todd Nunes / Cast: Ashley Mary Nunes, Melynda Kiring, Jason Ray Schumacher, Danica Riner, Natalie Montera, Lito Velasco, Cathy Garrett, Jessica Cameron.

Body Count: 12

Laughter Lines: “Jonathan Curtis ruined my childhood!” / “Strange how you lost your virginity to him…”


Nicely put together but ultimately disappointing chapter in the Killer Santa subgenre, which plays enough like the recent Silent Night remake to make a dog tilt its head in confusion. Spoilers follow.

Non-descript girl Rachel (who is she? what does she do?) drops by to see her potty-mouthed wheelchair-bound grandmother during the holidays, and is cajoled into helping the slightly kooky neighbour Mrs Garrett put up decorations later that night, after some last minute shopping with her gal-pals, who tag along to help out.

Meanwhile, a wackadoo in a Santa outfit and admittedly creepy grey mask is slashing and shearing various locals, chopping the dicks off the male victims, both of whom are ambushed while prepping for sex. Most of the slain are scantily-clad women as usual, including yet another pair of yawn-inducing token lesbians. Seriously, when will this fucking annoying trope end? It’s in everything.

all through the house 2016

Rachel wants to find out the truth about her mother, who she believes abandoned her, and also about Mrs Garrett’s housebound daughter, Jamie, who vanished fifteen years earlier. It’s all related of course, people are keeping secrets, blah blah blah. More women are slashed up until Rachel stumbles into the trap the (obvious) antagonist has set, and the overlong final act/chase/exposition tick-tocks by.

By the end it’s the same old same old domineering mother-raises-genderless-child nonsense. Naturally, this makes the killer angry towards women, but not men. How about an asshole Dad for once who makes his offspring pissed at jackass guys rather than bimbo babes? At the start, it looked as if All Through the Night might elevate itself above the pitfalls that plague low-end slasher films, its better-than-usual production unities aiding to some degree, but the gore FX are overdone and the sexism is uncomfortable.

all through the house 2016Blurb-of-interest: Jessica Cameron was in The Sleeper.

 

La luna de la mierda

bloody moon 1981

BLOODY MOON

1 Stars  1981/18/85m

“Don’t panic, it only happens once in a [Bloody Moon]”

A.k.a. Die Sage Des Todes (The Legend of Death)

Director: Jesus Franco / Writer: Rayo Casablanca / Cast: Olivia Pascal, Christoph Moosbrugger, Nadja Gerganoff, Jasmin Losensky, Corinna Gillwald, Ann-Beate Engelke, Peter Exacoustos, Maria Rubio, Alexander Waechter

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “If we could just get rid of everyone around us… then things could go back to how they were.”


If Bloody Moon was intended to be the Scary Movie of its day, I might be able to see past the fact it has a 5.3 rating on IMDb, but it’s seemingly played straight, rendering it one of the more misogynistic and unarguably awful exports of the early days. I imagine its residency on the Video Nasties list of the 80s has probably afforded it some credibility it’s entirely unworthy of.

A German-Spanish co-production, things begin with a disco at a Spanish language school, where a facially-scarred man procures a Mickey Mouse mask and fools a girl into thinking he’s someone else and then, when sex clearly fails, he settles for stabbing the girl with scissors instead in a scene that really plays into the accusations of woman-hating rhetoric in the genre: She gargles orgasmically as goes at her over and over in a play on sex he’s incapable of performing.

Five years later, the man – Miguel – is released into the custody of his sister, Manuela, who runs the language school, much to the chagrin of her aunt/owner, the wheelchair bound hag, Countess Maria Gonzales. Bro and sis enjoy an incestual relationship they wish to keep quiet – see Laughter Lines.

bloody moon 1981

No sooner does new student Angela rock up, the bouncy look-a-like girls of the school start getting murdered in graphically stupid ways. There’s little character development to show, they gossip about caretaker Antonio being the best lover on campus (there’s a second mentally deficient caretaker as well, of course). He asks Angela why she’s there and she replies she can speak fluent Spanish, and reels off a bunch of ‘my first Spanish lesson’ phrases like ‘Hasta Luego’, ‘Mañana’, and translations akin to: ‘Where can I buy potatoes on a Sunday?’

Also, if she’s fluent – WHY IS SHE EVEN THERE?

Angela is to room in the bungalow where the murder took place five years before. You know, the one where the perpetrator has been allowed back to live in the very same place? First to go is her friend Ava, who asks to borrow a sweater and then gets stabbed through the boob. Angela finds the body, screams, and of course by the time help comes, it’s gone, there’s no blood, and the murder mystery she’s reading is blamed for a nightmare. Her own clothes also change mid-scene from nightgown to floral print sweater.

When Ava doesn’t show for class, Angela worries, and in a pre-I Still Know What You Did Last Summer karaoke-machine moment, her language recording is interrupted with a message saying “I’m going to kill you and chop you up” etc. Of course, when teech comes over, no such voices.

bloody moon 1981

Angela then goes down to the harbour to look for Ava and a falling rock nearly kills her. She flags down two motorcycle cops who direct her to the warning on the sign. Her reply: “What good does a sign do when I can’t understand it?” Strike two against her fluency declaration.

Back at school, other girl Inga pretends to be having sex but isn’t. The other girls laugh at her through the window and she’s all like “I’ll have the best sex ever – you’ll see!!” and in the next scene she’s going past Angela down at the harbour in a car with the killer!? He drives her to some crumbling old mill and she allows him to tie her to a slab, saying “Hey I normally wouldn’t do this, but OK, as it’s you…” and then: “I still don’t know what you look like, why don’t you take off your mask?”

I mean, fucking hell, COME ON? She willingly goes off with a non-speaking masked guy to an abandoned place in the middle of nowhere and allows him to tie her up.

bloody moon 1981

Anyway, the slab thingy moves and a buzz-saw comes along, takes forever getting there, while some spying little kid tries to intervene and save her, the head comes off eventually and it’s anti-climactic and crap FX-wise. But then Franco throws in something a bit taboo: The fleeing child is cruelly run over by the killer.

Aaaaand back to the school again: Angela is convinced the killer is after her and barricades herself in her room and stabs a mannequin. Where the fuck did that come from, you ask? Like many goings-on here, it’s left unexplained. Laura says Angela reads too many scary books and offers to go get some drinks from the ‘Disco Club’ at the school (!??) but is killed with some garden-prong-thingy on her way back.

The killer attacks and Miguel tries to save the day, while Angela flees for help. The revelations that follow seem more at home in a soap opera than a horror film, but suffice to say, there’s more bloodletting, double-crossing, the obvious identity of the killer is revealed, and somebody utters this priceless line: “He came at me, you remember that! And just be damn sure to remember it.”

bloody moon 1981

Took me awhile but I realised the left image isn’t the shears making contact with her face, merely a promo shot cannily reproduced from the actual scene on the right.

Bloody Moon is just stitched together failed scenes; a slasher film based on the most rudimentary understanding of the genre where girls are either naked or stupid and nothing more, shot on the cheap with little care going into a cohesive script and hardly any visual flair ether – look out for the zoom where a chair obscures the subject’s face. The dubbing is also one of the more comically bad efforts out there (“just let yourself melt into my arms!”), and the moon isn’t even shown, let alone bloody in any way.

Undistilled crap from start to finish.

El asesino y los zombies y los adolescentes en Halloween

cemetery of terror 1985CEMETERY OF TERROR

3.5 Stars  1985/91m

A.k.a. Cementerio del TerrorZombie Apocalypse

Director/Writer: Rubén Galindo Jr. / Cast: Hugo Stieglitz, Raúl Meraz, José Gómez Parcero, Cervando Manzetti, Edna Bolkan, Andrés Garcia Jr., René Cardona III, Erika Buenfil, Jacqueline Castro, Eduardo Capetillo, María Rebeca, Usi Valesco, Leo Villanueva, César Adrian Sanchez, César Valesco.

Body Count: 9


I can only hope/imagine that early production meetings for this project when kinda like this:

Señor Producerio: “Let’s do a zombie movie!”
Señor Investorio: “No, slasher movies are where the $$$ is. We’re doing one of those!”
Señor Producerio: “Zombie!”
Señor Investorio: “Slasher!”
Rubén Galindo Jr: “Amigos! Por favor… Let’s do both?”

80s horror movies don’t come much more fun than this kitchen-sink Mexican export, which shamelessly decides to throw basically everything into the pot and gleefully play in the mess. Though the a.k.a. title Zombie Apocalypse is a stretch and probably pissed off more than a few z-fans.

A stubby-fingered Devil-worshipping psycho killer known as Devlon is finally shot and killed by cops after claiming one last victim. His ex-Doctor is blamed by the police Captain for everything, but the Doc is hellbent on seeing the body cremated before anything else can occur. Nobody listens. Sigh.

cemetery of terror 1985

Meanwhile, three teen couples go waterskiing on a lake and then the boys arrange a private party at a mansion house to try and get into their respective girlfriends’ pants. Turns out they miss-sold the fiesta, and it’s actually just the six of them in the Mexican sister home to Garth Manor. Massively unimpressed by this, the girls demand to leave, but Jorge finds a creepy old book belonging to Devlon in the attic, and convinces his buddies to try a little Halloween night seance. Oh yeah, it’s also Halloween.

Elsewhere, some children are going trick-or-treating and plan to visit the cemetery, one of whom sports an awesome jacket with Michael Jackson on the back. More from them later.

The stupid teens drive to a morgue and choose guess which body for their prank? For reasons unknown the girls play along as Jorge reads from the book with the body lying on a grave back at the cemetery. Then it begins raining, so they bail. Too late though as Devlon has been resurrected and doesn’t take kindly to the home invasion of big-haired teens and their loud party choons.

Meanwhile, the five children arrive at the cemetery and explore.

cemetery of terror 1985

Re-meanwhile, Devlon begins eliminating the sexy-teens one by one, slashing them up with his bare hands, disemboweling some, and using some spooky mojo to possess an axe into whacking another guy in the face. These scenes pleasantly reminded me of Hell Night for some reason: Primal killer with claw-fingers, spooky old mansion house…

The Doc and the police Captain spend forever driving around when El Capitan is informed by his missus that their kids are missing. Doc steals the car and goes off looking for Devlon. The next few times we see him he’s just driving around achieving nothing while people are dying all over the place.

The children are soon spooked by a sudden flashfire coming from a grave and peg it, only for the dead to start rising around them at every turn. Why this happens now I’m not sure, maybe Devlon did something with the book? But the kids run to the house, find bodies, scream, doors lock themselves, Devlon appears, they run back into the cemetery, more zombies… It goes on a bit, this section, until the Doc rocks up (finally!) and informs the kids they need to destroy the book.

cemetery of terror 1985

Cemetery of Terror is like a 91-minute parody of 80s horror movies, with almost every cliche checked off the list (bar nudity, curiously) but boring it is not. In spite of the overlong scenes of the five kids running and shrieking – Galindo should’ve gone all out and killed one or two of them off – this is one full salad, with a full moon, creepy mist, a storm, falling trees, mausoleums and crypts galore. Throw in the gratuitous over-acting and it’s like a cross between a Simpsons ‘Treehouse of Horror’ segment and one of those interactive Halloween walkthroughs done right.

Blurb-of-interest: Galindo also directed Don’t Panic.

Canadian Horror Story

slasher guilty party 2017

SLASHER: GUILTY PARTY

2 Stars  2017/394m

Director: Felipe Rodriguez / Writer: Aaron Martin / Cast: Leslie Hope, Lovell Adams-Gray, Paula Brancati, Jim Watson, Kaitlyn Leeb, Rebecca Liddiard, Christopher Jacot, Joanne Vannicola, Paulino Nunes, Madison Cheeatow, Sebastian Pigott, Ty Olsson, Melinda Shankar.

Body Count: 18

Laughter Lines: “Why do I always get stuck with the Jason Voorhees types?”


It’s a whole new story for Season 2, although one or two actors return for new roles. Some spoilers follow.

Camp Montega, 2012: Six camp counsellors drive into the woods to party at the end of their summer tenure, but instead of good times, five of them decide to put the sixth on trial for being a manipulative bitch. The girl, Talvinder, is charged with screwing the boyfriend of one, ruining the chances of a summer romance of another, and teasing another into doing her work for her. The situation escalates, an assault occurs, and poor Talvinder ends up with her skull smashed in with a rock.

Five years later – never four, never six – the threat of a development unearthing the hidden skeleton spurns an awkward roadtrip back to the area to move the bones before they’re discovered. The camp, closed down in the wake of Talvinder’s unsolved disappearance, has been transformed into the ‘We Are One’ commune, home to a small group of people with various emotional issues who live outside of society.

slasher guilty party 2017

In the dead of winter, they allow the newcomers to stay in a cabin for the weekend, and it’s not long before a parka ski-jacket and be-goggled lunatic shows up on a skidoo and begins laying waste to everyone in a variety of gruesome ways. Really gruesome: One guy is chainsawed to pieces while naked, another is drilled with an auger, eyes are gouged out, people are immolated, run over with the skidoo… There’s also a fairly graphic male-on-male rape scene.

With victims not limited to the five responsible for Talvinder’s disappearance, the episodes take a sort of sub-Lost tack and go into flashback territory, revealing bits about the lives of various characters before coming to the area, and pretty much informing us that virtually all of them are murderous assholes, one way or another. The commune folk number amongst them an ex-con who killed and took the place of a new resident, a nasty lawyer, and the victim of a gay bashing who fatally turned the tables on his attacker.

slasher guilty party 2017

The main problem in Slasher is that almost none of the characters are likeable. Guilt-racked Peter comes close to becoming our first black final guy, but is overshadowed by the actions of those around him, who are purely selfish and hell-bound.

I also pegged the identity of the killer by the second episode. I mean, the only semi-known in the cast who has lingered virtually in the background for all episodes and excused a flashback scene of their own… The misdirection is feebly handled and things grind uncomfortably into Identity waters, which is almost clever, but having seen that film – and several like it – obvious to the literate viewer.

The first series may have been a bit clunky, but it felt like a series. Guilty Party has the plot of an 87-minute B-movie stretched to its limits over six-and-a-half hours, pumped with more filler than a warehouse full of battery farm chickens. The gory killings are well done and shocking, but that really is all it has going for it. Uneven writing results in characters who act like asshats one episode then switch to being practical and pleasant for the next two and depriving us of any real central hero figure to root for.

slasher guilty party 2017

This was a chore and a half to get through. I’d imagine a shrinking budget from the move to Netflix from the defunct Chiller network threw a spanner in the works to some extent, but what achievements the first series had over its smallscreen rivals has been pummelled to dust. Or rather snow.

Those Friday the 13th-in-the-snow hi-jinks we want are not to be found here.

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