Monday, February 24, 2014

Ghoulies II (1988)

 Ghoulies II (1988)

PLOT - The creatures from the first film escape and head to a traveling carnival where they terrorize a haunted house and all the teenagers who enter it.

LOWDOWN - Who doesn't know Ghoulies. Yep, we all remember those classics VHS covers of the little green monsters coming out of the toilet. In the 1980's, many movies decided to cash in on the Gremlins craze and such movies as Critters and Ghoulies were made to join in on the fun. Back at school my friend Amanda brought the double feature DVD to class where we both sat and watched both Ghoulies I and II back to back and honestly spent half the movie laughing our asses off and getting zero work done.

The first Ghoulies told the story of a young man and his girlfriend taking over an old house that was passed down to him. Here he discovers black magic and a spell to summon these little demons from Hell called ghoulies. Durning a party, the man summons the ghoulies and one by one the unsuspecting adults get picked off one by one. In this sequel, which takes place shortly after the original we follow and unknown man as he runs from people in red cloaks (members of a black magic cult?) and tries to dispose of the ghoulies he has in a bag. Hiding in an old car garage, he goes to toss them in a large vat of acid before he accidentally falls in himself and the ghoulies are set loose. It's there that a large tractor trailer pulls in from a traveling carnival. Driven by teenage Larry, and his old drunk uncle who run the haunted house Satan's Den. The ghoulies hitch a ride in the truck and the following morning as the haunted house is being set up they hide.

It's here the audience learns the owner of the carnival has come to visit, putting his foot down and shutting down any of the attractions that aren't making money. His number one target...Satan's Den. That night the ghoulies come out of hiding and begin to terrorize the teens who buy tickets to walk through the house. Thinking it's part of the gags, the people of the town all rush to Satan's Den to get a first look at these "demons" who are running a muck through the house. It isn't long before people begin to disappear, the the monsters are let loose to cause some madness at the carnival and summon even bigger and badder monsters from hell!

I honestly don't think I ever laughed so hard before in my life watching a movie. While the first movie was classic camp fun, the second movie turned up the volume. Ghoulies II doesn't ever lack with pace, it's filled with fun characters, laughable moments, and a huge finale which is nothing less than amazing. With the Ghoulies front row and center, they truly shine in this movie. You'll never see anything until you see a giant ghoulie eating little ghoulies. 

With a handsome leading man (Oh Damon Martin..."sigh..." where the fuck are you?) a slightly older female lead (the close ups between both are horrible!) and a cast of reconizable Sasha Jenson, William Butler, and Phil Fondacaro, this film is a great movie to first show a child if they seem interested in horror or wanna watch a "scary movie". It isn't voilent, there's no sex, and it isn't really that scary. In fact I find the ghoulies pretty cute! This is a sequel that's fun, a movie to watch with a crowd of friends. 

Also can we take a moment to talk about Damon Martin and Phil Fondacaro dancing down the stairs "A wee but little!" or Butler's line "Come on guys, stop fooling aroundddd." 

So Ghoulies II, a fun sequel that's better than the first, and a movie that you should get trashed while watching so in case you wanna follow it up with Ghoulies III: Ghoulies go to college you'll be so drunk you won't remember it!

4 Stars!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Witchboard (1986)

 Witchboard (1986)

PLOT - A young couple are holding a house warming party where one of the guests who happens to bring a ouija board for entertainment. Forgetting the board, it's left behind the following morning where the young woman decides to ingore her friend's warnings in using the board alone contacts a spirit that isn't what it seems. It isn't long before friends are slowly killed off one by one and the woman becomes possessed by the spirit she contacted. 

LOWDOWN - I find with Scream Factory's new release of this film it would only be fitting if I decided to finally review it. I have very vauge memories of this movie as a child, mostly how scary the shower scene was since my biggest fear was being burned to death by hot spraying water (go figure.) I often got that scene and the shower scene from A Nightmare On Elm Street 5 often mixed up since both were showers gone wrong. It wasn't until November of 2010 when me and my friends staffed HorrorHound for the very first time. I can't even put into words the amount of fun I had at that first show, and I remember how excited my friend/roommate Jeanette got when she saw at the bootleg table that they had Witchboard. The following weekend when we returned to PA she showed me it at her apartment. Right away I couldn't believe how much I loved this movie. In fact I borrowed her DVD and fell asleep to it at school more times than I can even count. 

When I visited home I bought the movie on DVD and forced my father, sister, and her husband to watch it. By then I discovered Kevin Tenney's other cult classic Night Of The Demons and re-watching both movies over and over again at school were a staple. In fact Witchboard goes down in my top 15 favorite horror movies of all time.

With such a simple story, this movie seriously could have been told even today (if you take away the 80's hair and fashion.) With three very attractive likeable leads I loved the backstory on the three of them and the love triangle that went behind it. In fact never before was I more bothered than watching the scene at the lake where a character who "never shows emotion" breaks down crying holding his friend. Turly heartbreaking. With lots of clever cheesy deaths and effects, this movie is YET another reason why I'll never touch one of those boards. I can't tell you how many sleepovers I've been to before where somebody breaks one of these out and I simply shake my head and sit back. Sorry, don't wanna open the gates of hell thanks!

"Just a little bit of psychic humor...HA!"

With a great score and theme, this movie is visualy stunning with a cheesy over the top ending and I seriously have so many great memories laughing so hard I couldn't breath watching. I sadly didn't enjoy the sequels as much as I did the original, and even tho I feel the 80's were a perfect time for this movie to take place...a remake wouldn't be that bad. 

Looking forward to this great blu-ray which is loaded with extras my dream is to meet the cast someday. Mostly James W. Quinn, what a cuite!

"Come back and flatten your tires and STUFF!"

5 Stars!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Women in horror - Favorite final girl #1 Jill Schoelen!

 Women in horror - Favorite final girl #1 Jill Schoelen!

Move over Jamie Lee Curtis, here's my all time favorite scream queen. 

Jill Schoelen.
Called by IMDB as the "Husky voiced scream queen." Jill was the lady behind some very popular horror classics in the 1980's and early 90's. Sure many of us know her singing the Cincinnati song from Babes In Toyland. But for me Jill is so much more. This stunning knock-out had exotic beauty, yet seemed like the girl next door. With her like able characters we just couldn't help but root for her. 

Jill began her career in the early 1980's appearing in several popular TV shows and even in S.E Hinton's That Was Then...This Is Now , before she got a role in Wes Craven's made for TV thriller Chiller as the leads younger sister Stacey (wow, great name!) Jill went on to star in a few great made for TV movies including Babes In Toyland as Mary Contrary. Jill acted along side a young Drew Barrymore and then boyfriend Keanu Reeves. I have tons of memories of watching this movie every holiday season growing up with my sister. In fact I never thought a giant bowling ball was more terrifying. 

In 1987 Jill starred in one of my all time favorite slasher The Stepfather. A violent thriller starring Lost's Terry O' Quinn as a deranged psychopath who marries into single families trying to build the perfect family. When something sets him over the edge, he butchers everyone before changing his identity and moving on to the next unsuspecting family. Jill played Stephanie, the daughter who is the first to learn all isn't what it seems when it comes to her near perfect stepfather. In fact this movie holds the most memories for me since it was a favorite of my mother's. I remember watching this movie over and over again with her and always cheering whenever Stephanie shoves the sled at the stepfather's head when he tries to climb into the attic. In fact just this past fall at a horror convention I had the pleasure of meeting Jill for the second time and even teared up a bit telling her this story. Stephanie to me is one of my all time favorite final girls simply because she's flawed. Here is a young teenager who hasn't been able to come to terms with her father's death. Here her mother remarries less than a year later and Stephanie uses that gut feeling of hers to start checking if all isn't what it seems. You have a tough character who really puts the killer for a run for his money. Unlike so many female characters of the 1980's Stephanie wasn't a victim, she fought and lived.

Jill then appeared in Billionaire Boys Club along side John Stockwell and Judd Nelson and the Curse II: The Bite before starring in Cutting Class, an over the top teen slasher that pokes fun at the horror craze that was slowly dying at the end of the decade. It was there Jill met boyfriend Brad Pitt. The two were briefly engaged before Jill moved on to work on other projects. 

Jill starred with Robert Englund in a much darker re-telling of The Phantom Of The Opera. It was here Jill got the lead in Popcorn, one of the last truly awesome slashers of it's era after replacing the actress originally hired for the job. Jill played Maggie, a young film student who's helping her class prep a theater for an all night horror movie marathon. It's here an unseen killer is stalking the audience, picking off the students on by one and making masks to look like their latest victim. Popcorn is a huge favorite of mine, and I honestly feel the film wouldn't have been so iconic and have the following it does today had the original actress played Maggie. Jill shows some great stuff in this movie, and is adorable as always. In fact I look forward to Jill taking part in the extras for the new blu-ray/DVD release set to be released sometime next year!

In 1993 Jill made When A Stranger Calls Back, an awesome and highly underrated sequel to the 70's classic. In fact, I feel this movie gives even Scream a run for it's money when it comes to scariest opening scene ever.

Jill appeared in several other works including Rich Girl before focusing her time on her family and her singing career. Now going the convention circuits, Jill is by far one of the friendliest, sweet actors out here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Night Of The Demons on blu-ray!

 Night Of The demons on blu-ray!

Tonight after picking myself up a pair of shoes for bar hopping this weekend in Boston, I decided to treat myself and pick up the newest release from Scream Factory. This of course being the 1988 Kevin Tenney classic...Night Of The Demons.

I first saw Night Of The Demons back at school after I met makeup artist Steve Johnson at HorrorHound. I've been a massive fan of Steve's work for years and overall just think he's one of the most handsome, humble, funny, and talented makeup artist out there. I've always been interested in his life/credits for what seems like forever and meeting him in person was a huge deal. In fact the autograph I got was a cast photo from Night Of The Demons. That show I decided to pick up a bootleg copy and watch it with my friend Jeanette that night, dying laughing and watching it two times in a row, truly being blown away by what an awesome movie it was. In fact I was pretty stunned it had taken me so long to watch it. 

Jeanette was the same person who showed me Kevin Tenney's Witchboard, which I'm a HUGE fan of. Night Of The Demons was a great follow up that seriously in my eyes after the original John Carpenter's Halloween is the perfect October film. With an amazing score, soundtrack, likable characters, AMAZING effects, a creepy storyline, great monsters, and an even better ending...this movie sums up what I love about horror movies and the 1980's. What can I say, 88 was a great year for horror.

What I love about this movie is the memories it has behind it for me. My last semester at school all of my roommates and most of my friends had graduated so I spent a good deal of those last four months in my apartment working, and recovering for a surgery I had just had. For some very strange reason this was a comfort movie for me in which I would seriously watch three or four times in a row. Night after night after night I would watch my shitty bootleg and love every second of it. In fact after I graduated and I spent the summer with my sister I had a good laugh showing her and her husband this gem. When I found out Scream Factory was releasing a SE edition of NOTD and a re-release of Witchboard I was in heaven. Tonight I grabbed a copy, of course loving this new artwork. Love that Linnea Quigley is front row in center, and if the artist is at HorrorHound next month I know I gotta pick myself up a print. 

As of right now I'm relaxing listening to the great commentary, love them all pretty much talking about doing coke while filming. Can't wait to plow thru the extras, and love the menu! Scream Factory, you amaze me!

Stunning My Bloody Valentine artwork!

 Stunning My Bloody Valentine artwork!