"I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontation."

- David Cronenberg

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August 21, 2014

Flicks: Son Of Blob (1972)

A chip off the old Blob directed by Larry Hagman? Yes, this really happened.

In 1958, the first Blob movie crept into theaters nationwide. A bright-eyed Steve McQueen, who was 28 at the time, starred in a James Dean type role as the world's oldest misunderstood teen, "Steve". The film made $240,000 or roughly $1.9 million in today's dollars.

In 1972, the first Blob sequel, Son Of Blob (1972) or Beware! The Blob was released to a much different America. No longer was the illusion of a perfect nation intact as it was in the post WWII years. My 1972, many cultural leaders that had catapulted to meteoric heights had been snuffed out, assassinated or succumbed to drug abuse. America had watched it's President die live on television in Dallas in 1963, his brother murdered in 1968 in LA, Malcolm X murdered by the very people he was trying to free from segregation in New York and MLK Jr. killed by a sniper's bullet in Memphis after years of persecution for the same cause. Viet Nam was raging out of control. Jim Morrison, Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix had each died due to drugs or alcohol before a larger "revolution" could take place. The King himself had mutated into a bad Las Vegas lounge act and was wearing sequin adorned super-hero costumes.

This America had seen it's best and brightest die before their appointed hour and the rest huddle for shelter in the ashes. The revolution, although truly transformative for the country, was seen as a failure. These events left a deep emptiness in America's psyche that could not be over-looked. Consequently, there were no more "golly gee whiz" or "hunky dory" attitudes present from American films from the 1950's.

Now, the youth and the hipsters were isolated "freaks" whose leaders had all vanished and whose revolution had crumbled. This is the era of the early 1970's. As the Watergate break-ins were happening (May 28 and June 17th 1972) and in the years after Woodstock was a strange time for the country. This is the time when Son Of Blob was released.

As if all the aforementioned catastrophes were made into an unstoppable giant creature made of globs of acidic pink and red goop, the Son Of Blob came to life. As a low-budget picture, the film used cheap locations in Venice, California. Although a comedy, this film features the disenchanted remains of a counter-culture that collapsed under the weight of it's own expectations.

IMDB, Beware! The Blob (1972)
IMDB, Steve McQueen
Wikipedia, Elvis Presley

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January 2, 2014

Flicks: Evil Toons (1992)

A self-fulfilling prophecy regarding David Carradine, Dick Miller and four porn starlets? My life is now complete.

Evil Toons (1992) is the perfect storm of early 90's pseudo-horror films. In the opening scene David Carradine re-enacts his own accidental suicide in 2009 by hanging himself. Then, our friend and yours Mr. Dick Miller (Bucket Of Blood, Gremlins) rents out the late Mr. Carradine's Hollywood mansion to four working porn starlets. Actual porn starlets, including the perfectly proportioned red-head Monique Gabrielle, Barbara Dare (Adult Video News Best New Starlet Award winner), dark haired vixen Madison and Suzanne Agar. All of them, at the height of their careers, somehow decided to work on this R rated campy "horror" film!

This movie was written and directed by the prolific Fred Olen Ray. Ray has directed 133 titles and counting including: Bikini Chain Gang (2005), Thirteen Erotic Ghosts (2002), Invisible Mom (1996) and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988). Still working today, Ray just wrapped up post-production on two more films scheduled for a 2014 release. This movie is kind of a Cool World (1992) or Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) starring a horny Tasmanian Devil and a tattered copy of Sam Raimi's Necronomicon that goes flopping around the mansion.

Despite this film, Monique Gabrielle retired from acting and married adult film director Tony Angove in 2003. Today, she lives in South Florida and runs a porno movie production company called Monique's Purrfect Productions. Madison has been nvolved with the tattoo industry since the early 1990s and now runs her own tattoo parlor called the Madison Tattoo Shoppe in North Hollywood, California.

IMDb, Evil Toons (1992)
IMDb, Fred Olsen
IMDb, Monique Gabrielle

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December 13, 2013

Slash Mess: Hatchet I, II and III (2006-2013)

What if the original Friday the 13th movies had today's talent and technology? You'd have the Hatchet film series.

The Slash-Mess holiday is here, hu-mon. Prepare thyself for dread. True dread - with HATCHET.

Hatchet is a three part horror movie series by Adam Green that takes place deep in the bayous of Louisiana. A strange curse has made a disfigured little boy into an seemingly immortal maniac with a need for vengeance and a flair for bladed weaponry and power tools - at the end of part two he actually power-sands a guy's skull inwards.

So... this series features a long list of horror film legends including Robert England aka Freddy Krueger, Tony Todd aka the Candyman, Sid Haig aka Capt. Spaulding (House of 1000 Corpses) and stunt-monster Mr. Kane Hodder in the star role of Victor Crowley/Mr. Crowley.

Hodder is a well-known, fan favorite actor in the fandom of Friday the 13th for playing Jason Vorhees in parts 7, 8, 9 and 10 (Jason X). He has worked as a stunt man for almost 100 films including Texas Chainsaw Massacre as Leatherface and acted in many other underground horror films such as Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes II (1984), Pumpkinhead II (1993) and as the Beast in Project:Metalbeast (1995). Hodder stars in all three Hatchet films that began in 2006 and ended in 2013.

Hatchet I (2006)
Hatchet I (2006)
May I axe you a bladed implement related question, Holmes?

City livin' yuppies and tourists, joined by the sullen Marybeth (Tamara Feldman) and two fledgling actresses/bimbos that are fresh from a Girls-Gone-Lesbian amateur porn shoot, head deep into the actual swamps surrounding New Orleans. A group of eight, including veteran character actor Richard Riehle (Tom the inventor of the "Jump To Conclusions" game from Mike Judge's Office Space), seek out a swamp tour to examine the rustic countryside instead of enjoying Mardi Gras.

Now, if you have ever seen how much vomit and wet garbage covers Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras you may understand these folks collective decision a little better. Getting back to the movie...

Acting under the seemingly helpful advice of Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) they quickly end up taking a short bus to the dark side of of the bayou. After de-busing, the group goes on a guided night tour of the swamp complete with the worst Cajun accent ever captured on film delivered courtesy of Parry "Kung Pow Kingfish" Shen. Also, random boobs spring out from unsuspecting blouses.

Before long, a cheap foam alligator strikes, the rain machine pours and the hillbilly version of the Predator, who we have not seen or even heard about for the first 40 minutes of the film, still hasn't swooped down from the canopy. At long last, through a pretty darn awful story told by Marybeth and shown in a sepia-toned "History-Vision" we discover 100% of the mad murderer's back story - one that seemingly goes back to the 1930's?

In these exposition scenes, we see a disfigured Jason Vorhees styled kid and learn that there sure are a lot of accidents in Backwoods, Louisiana. After being taunted by kids, Victor Crowley is killed accidentally by his own father during a rescue from their burning one room country shack that other mean kids had accidentally set ablaze.

We then learn that the morose Marybeth is really searching for her lost father and brother who were presumably lost in the swamp and slain by the ghost of the disfigured Victor Crowley.

Hillbilly Jim and Victor Crowely
After haunting the WWF as "Hillbilly Jim" in the late 1980's, Victor Crowely became a successful and well-liked homicidal maniac in Louisiana.

Finally, after seeing the stunt-monster once as a child, and nearly an entire hour into the movie(!), we are finally confronted with crazy Mr. Victor Crowley who closely resembles former WWF wrestler Hillbilly Jim. Victor lives up to the movie's title and promptly cleaves Tom From Office Space into two tidy pieces with his trusty hatchet. He does so in front of God and the short bus tour group alike.

Then, something incredible happens. No, not the credits. In the very next shot Victor, courtesy of an extremely capable FX crew, tears the entire top half a character's head off by pulling her upper skull free from her jaw. RIP Mrs. Tom From Office Space and hello "Where was this movie for the past hour!?!"

Unfortunately, the movie veers quickly away from John Carl Buechler's special effects to a plot and performances straight out of Jason Takes Manhattan complete with great ideas like: "Oh mah God! We just walked in a big circle." AND "Let's check out that spooky old cabin over there. Maybe they can help us." Don't forget that classic: "Guys, it looks like he's dead. Let's all go walk in another direction."

Despite being "killed" twice, Victor continues to act under the assumption that the short bus swamp tour group had something to do with additional his original disfigurements and death, or maybe because he don't take too kindly to trespassers, and goes about making sushi out of one hammy actor after another.

Near the end of Hatchet, the end of the original Friday The 13th movie is re-enacted. In Friday The 13th Part I, the sole survivor of the previous film is dragged to her death by the unmasked and reanimated corpse of Jason Vorhees who suddenly springs from the waters of Crystal Lake and into her canoe. In the end of this film, Marybeth is dragged underwater from her bass boat and the end is just as shocking as the original Friday The 13th's ending.

At the end of this film it appears as if no one remains for Crowely to play lumberjack with. Roll credits.

Hatchet II (2010)
Hatchet II (2010)
What happens when a movie just a grade above a Sci-Fi channel "feature" gets a sequel? Hatchet II, brohams. Hatchet II.

As the previous movie ended with a cliffhanger we just had to have a sequel. Didn't we?

Adam Green returns to the silver screen to write and direct the thrilling sequel to Hatchet I creatively entitled "Hatchet II". The lead, Marybeth, the Ellen Ripley of this gripping saga, is now played by the adorable Danielle Harris while Tamara Feldman was busy appearing in three TV series including Dirty Sexy Money and One Tree Hill. The sequel, more than likely due to budgetary concerns, is not shot on location. It was in fact filmed within a murky, small sound stage inside of a cyclopean, darkened Hollywood studio instead of New Orleans.

This beauty ends with Tony Todd being chopped up in two and abruptly flayed by way of a clean jerk from Crowley. In the final seconds, Marybeth, once more the sole survivor of the rampaging Crowley, caves in the giant stunt-monster's misshapen head. Then, she unceremoniously fires a single shotgun blast, point blank, into his skull.

These last few scenes are incredibly tedious to watch yet the FX departments, both the practical effects courtesy of the Special Effects Team led by Tom Ceglia and digital from Lit Post, did an extraordinary job. They are not to mixed up with the ham-handedness that permeates the rest of the film.

Hatchet III (2013)
Hatchet III (2013)
A sequel to a sequel turned out to surpass the original movies? Hold the phone, Ennis!

Hatchet returns once more with a new director, BJ McDonnell, who is known for his camera crew work on horror films and series such as The Walking Dead season two. McDonnell directs Adam Green's third and final Hatchet script and miraculously Alien III doesn't happen. Another major theatrical blunder was averted thanks to McDonnell who shows off some extremely impressive FX and re-focuses the movie around the killer and his final victim a la John Carpenter's original Halloween.

In a genius opening scene, that literally picks up exactly where the previous film finished (three years prior in real-time), with a smoking barrel pulling away from a bloody crater in Victor Crowley's skull - in the general vicinity of where his face used to be - Marybeth relaxes just just long enough to have a emotional breakdown. This gives Crowely, and what is presumably the Vorhees curse, just enough time to make good a quick escape.

This film is very watchable. Once again both the practical effects courtesy this time of David Nash and the digital effects from Jason Richard Miller set the film apart. It is nearly on par with the new Hills Have Eyes re-makes but is much closer to the first two Wrong Turn movies. It's fun, in a way that the Wrong Turn franchise isn't, and the effects are impressive and realistic.

As for Victor Crowely himself, Mr. Hodder is currently featuring or co-starring in 18 new movies to be released in 2014-15 according to IMDb. To date, Hodder has worked as a stunt man in a current total of 97 films and tv shows and has performed in 101 films and counting.

IMDb, Hatchet
IMDb, Kane Hodder
Horror Happy Hour, Hatchet
Kicked Seats, Hatchet 2 (2010)

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November 7, 2013

Flicks: Americathon (1979)

In the futuristic year of 1998, America is out of cash, gas and most of it's marbles. Roll camera!

Early November here at the Blender. The Halloween season festivities are over. After having our collective wits scared out of us by endless horror films in theaters and television, your trusty old friend The Sleaze-A-Saurus© is betting you are ready for viewing tasty video treats that don't involve the crusty undead or hill billy hatchet-killers...

Enter: outrageous comedy, Americathon (1979) directed by Police Academy movie franchise creator Neal Israel - director of Surf Ninjas (1993).

Featuring Elvis Costello, Meatloaf, Fred Willard, Harvey Korman and John Ritter, as The President Of The United States Americathon is filled with great writing and songs by The Beach Boys, the much under-appreciated Eddie Money as well as Elvis Costello.

In 1998 America, the country is broke and is in danger of being repossessed - by wealthy Native Americans. The USSR is defunct, Nike is unavoidable, Viet Nam is a tourist attraction and "puke rock" rules the billboard charts. Kinda prophetic if you stop and think about it.

In the movie, Ritter stars are President "Chet" Roosevelt, a role that is only a thinly veiled spoof of then (and future) California governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown who dated the roller skating rock star Linda Ronstadt and slept on a futon. This role asks the question: "What if Jerry became president and Linda the 'First Girlfriend'?" John Ritter's real life wife Nancy Morgan plays Lucy Beth, President Chet's roller-skating girlfriend, as the President decides that the only way to save the country is to put on a international telethon to raise the money to save the country with the biggest stars on television.

Among these hot stars? Monty Rushmore (Harvey Korman) who lends his star power to the telethon from his role as the transvestite host of the hottest soap opera on TV "Both Mother and Father". An endless list of bad acts show up during the course of the film including game show "The Schlong Show" which is just as uncomfortable to watch as the "Gong Show".

The DVD was finally released in 2011, but truth be told, it's worth a digital download for the pure laugh value of this one-of-kind film.

IMDb, Americathon (1979)
Wikipedia, Americathon

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October 25, 2013

Trick 'r Treat (2007)

You are probably gonna need more than an X-Ray to enjoy these bags of Halloween goodies.

The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood will be screening the new cult classic Trick 'r Treat (2007) on the Monday before Halloween on October 28th. Legendary Pictures has announced that all of the key cast members of the cult horror classic Trick 'r Treat will be in attendance for the one night only theatrical screening of the movie and subsequent panel, which is slated to close the Beyond Fest in association with the 2013 LA Film Fest.

An ensemble cast are featured in four inter-weaving horror stories told in a comic book style expanded upon Stephen King's Creepshow (1982). The dynamic Brian Cox who co-starred in The Ring (2002) and HBO's Deadwood, Anna Paquin, Rogue from the original X-Men (2004) and upcoming Days Of Future Past (2014) with William H. Macy lookalike, the seemingly square chap Mr. Dylan Baker (Dr.Conners/The Lizard from Spider-Man 3 (2007)) all star in writer director Michael Dougherty's (writer of X2 (2003)) Trick 'r Treat (2007).

Trick 'r Treat
This is probably a good time to talk about your TPS Reports.

Dougherty’s story takes place in a small Ohio town on All Hallows Eve where four interwoven tales - including a high-school principal who moonlights as a vicious serial killer, a college-age virgin who’s saving herself for that special someone, a woman whose hatred of Halloween is only exceeded by her husband’s love of the mischievous holiday, and a callous group of teens who carry out an unforgivably cruel prank – delivers the kind of chills that can only occur on the darkest day of the year.

The film and the one-of-a-kind Q+A live event afterwards is expected to generate a capacity audience on-site and potentially and on-line audience in the hundreds of thousands. You can be part of the event by dialing up the event on Monday night by following this link to Legendary Picture's Facebook page where the feed will be posted.

IMDb, Trick 'r Treat (2007)
IMDb, Michael Dougherty
Legendary Pictures, Screening Announcement
Facebook, Trick 'r Treat

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August 29, 2013

Walking Dead: Season Four

The trailer for Walking Dead Season Four from Comic Con 2013 in San Diego.

The Walking Dead will be returning in only a matter of weeks from the time of this post. This show has shattered all cable television records and is threatening to do the same this year as the survivors dig in deeper into the re-claimed prison with most of the population of an abandoned hunter town, Woodbury, now joining them.

According to longtime practical special effects guru and director of the series since the middle of season three, Greg Nicotero: "Our rocket is poised on the launchpad and we still have so much more to go."[0]. And Nicotero is definitely credible due to his long career as a make-up tech in horror movies starting as an assistant to Mr. Tom Savini in 1985 on George Romero's Day of the Dead.

So let's re-cap Season Three.

You say that there's a Zombie Apocalypse on and I'm supposed to be in charge? Um, can I get a do-over?

Rick went apeshit. Total paranoid break. Seeing shosts and, well, chatting 'em up on a dead telephone. You gotta give Andrew Lincoln serious respect for the risky direction he took Rick. The last thing anyone wants is a paranoid schizophrenic for a leader yet Lincoln managed to take Sheriff Rick Grimes from cocksure cop in S1e1 to a babbling, angry killer by the time we collectively reached the end of S3e4 "Killer Within" and into S3e5 "Say The Word"

Lori is dead. Rick's libidinous wife was kind-of-a-schmuck who diddled his best friend and "lost" her son during the Zombie Apocalypse a half dozen times. She died in the middle of an improvised Caesarean section operation performed during a zombie horde attack instigated by a dangerous prisoner who Rick failed to kill during their initial recovery action at the prison.

Daryl Dixon is a leader. Norman Readus has been a crowd favorite since Boondock Saints (1999) due to his roles as a relentless underdog. As a smart kid in a white trash world Daryl Dixon grew up the mountains of northern Georgia to become a full-time suvivalist. This was all well before the Zombie Apocalypse struck.

Of every member of the current cast he was most ready for it.

*Spoiler Alert*
Don't read this if you would like to maintain a huge surprise. Seriously. Skip down a bit.

Daryl may not survive this season. This is for two reasons. Number One, Readus's career has come along way since co-starring in Blade II (2002) as a traitorous vampire food. He's was in four movies in 2013. Also, some leaked images, whether real or manufactured have been made available to The Sleaze-A-Saurus. These images clearly show a zombie Daryl.

*End Spoiler Alert*

Walking Dead Season Four
Frisky? So... how's about it, then?

Until what is mentioned above happens, or doesn't happen, Dixon will probably head to the "Bone Zone" with recent widow Carol. Carol (Melissa McBride) is another candidate for "Mother of the Year" having lost her own daughter in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse.

Let's talk about Season Four.

Tyreese, a new character from the original comics series, is back. And in the long standing tradition of horror movies aimed at white culture in America, nearly every black character T-Dog, Oscar, Big Tiny and Andrew have died so far. Like it or not, it is what it is.

In fact, Michonne (the undeniably sexy Danai Gurira) and Tyrese[1], are the only black people who are seemingly immune to White Vengeance in the tv show. We can ascribe the Uhura factor to Michonne. She is definitely is as sexy as Nichelle Nichols ever was and then some. But how to explain a strong and trust-worthy black male character like Tyreese?

The most cornpone, bigoted audiences out there have to admit they'd want Tyreese in their corner in the Zombie Apocalypse. It's too bad that registered KKK member Merle Dixon isn't around to prove the Duane Jones, I-have-to-trust-this-guy-for-now, theory in Season Four.

The addition of Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (The Wire) as Bob Stookey will also continue to round out the cast in a more realistic depiction of modern America.

In the fourth season, anything can happen. The former leader of the hunter town, the "Governor" is wandering somewhere nearby with a few of his lieutenants. Will he be back? The hunters from Woodbury are now in the prison with the survivors. How many of them will betray the group? Judith, Rick and Lori's infant daughter lives in world without modern medicine. Can she be vaccinated and cared for in a Stone Age world? How can the hunters and the survivors work together as hordes of zombies line the prison gates?

Answering these questions could take up the entire season. The world will find out October 13th 2013 9PM EST on AMC.

[0] = Greg Nicotero quote given to The Huffington Post June 7th 2013.
[1] = Tyrese is not long -lived in the comic. In fact, after being introduced in issue 7 he never leaves the prison. He dies in book 46.

IMDb, Greg Nicotero
Huffington Post, 'The Walking Dead' Season 4: Greg Nicotero Talks Directing
Wikia, Walking Dead
IGN, Walking Dead Season Four: Everybody Dies!

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