#1  
Old 08-10-2012, 05:47 PM
Monster Mania Con 22

Christmas is coming a second time this year! First in March, then in August and September. There is no use going to the one in September, only month after August and especially in a different state. Next weekend, from Friday the 17th to Sunday the 19th, in the Crown Plaza Hotel (formerly a Hilton) in Cherry Hill, New Jersery. I got 25 movies in March, and am now down to three. It's time for some more.

At that last convention, there was a regular vendor whose familiar with me and took note of my list of hard-to-find horror movies. He had some some of them, but left them at home. He made note of them and might be waiting for me next week. Looking forward to it. With no more real video stores left, there is no other choice for me. I Will defy the online world as long as I can.

There was a magical feeling in entering a video store (at least one where the people running it didn't patronize the customers and care only for the almighty dollar). Last that I remember, Suncoast Video was the perfect video store. Whether it was horror, action, drama, or comedy, it had excellent selection. Towards the end, I sensed an attitude in the management towards the customers and that was a sign that enough people were through with the video story days. A shame that video stores had to go out like that. If only I could have run a video store, it would have been the perfect profession for me. I would have had total respect for the customers and the movies. Never would have sold out, and might have worked with the online businesses to keep things running on both ends. Video stores should have worked together with online businesses period, for those that want to go out and do something and others who prefer to do everything at the click of a button. Alas, not meant to be. Out with the old, in the new. All that's left is Best Buy and Barnes & Noble. They aren't the same as Suncoast was, but I fear for them.

However, with that magical feeling of entering a video store gone, that feeling is multiplied by 10,000 upon entering a horror convention. For me, it is the only way to get my hands on hard-to-find DVDs. That is my first priority. I want to see more of the past, even if it might be crap, instead of the mostly new crappy movies being offered nowadays.

The next priority is Q & A's and meeting celebrities. Unless they really mean something to me, I won't stand in line and get an autograph. At this con will be Clive Barker and the cast of "Hellraiser" (Doug Bradley and three other actors who portrayed the original cenobites). I hope they will have an Q & A. Looking forward to seeing them.

Their appearace at the convention is fitting since I just posted the last two fan-fiction sequels I ever wrote, "Halloween 9: The Legacy of Michael Myers" and "Helloween" (the old "Halloween/Hellraiser" rumor). I know people go on websites like this to talk rather than read another fan's work, but I had to post and share them with the fans. I feel like, after joining this website ten years ago and personally wanting to provide closure to the "Halloween" series and such, I have finally gone full circle and completed what I was supposed to do. And it feels good.

Well, onto the convention next week. To once again feel that amazing sensation, only multiplied by 10,000. If only life could be a little simpler again and offer at least one video store to spare this necessary trip I make two times a year. Well, it will have to do.

Last edited by Duke Nukem; 08-10-2012 at 06:08 PM..
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  #2  
Old 08-11-2012, 04:09 PM
2012 has been quite a transition year for me. Finished up another review season after covering older horror movies for a year. Always wanted to be a film critic and got to do that. Finally got around to posting the last two fan-fiction sequels I wrote and went full circle with the fan-fiction game that began in 2003. I felt tired, lost and aimless earlier in the year, and still do, but I feel better about it. Just trying to figure out what to do next. I don't feel like going back to reviewing older movies full-time.

However, I will do something constructive with this thread and cover the 22 movies from the last convention that I've watched. This first set will be done in groups and in different order than when I watched them.

The "Massacre" Trilogy:

Microwave Massacre (1983) - Stupid and campy fun. Some guy working in construction just wants nice, simple meals, but his nagging wife insists on cooking elaborate, fancy feasts. In turn, she must feel like he has become a lazy bum no longer there for her. When he has had it with her nagging, he accidentally kills her. And having recenty purchases an all-out, oversized microwave, he discovers that his wife's remains provide the perfect meals for him and his co-workers! They can't have enough of her, and they don't even know it! When he runs out of "food," he invites hookers to his house in order to continue the smorgasbord!

**1/2 out of 4

Woodchipper Massacre (1989) - Three children are left in the care of their bitcy aunt - although the oldest son is in high school or college and in charge of cleaning up the backyard with a woodchipper. The aunt is religious zealot who won't allow any fun. The youngest son ordered a "Rambo III" knife and it arrives in the mail. The aunt refuses to let him keep the knife, and in a struggle, is accidentally killed. Things get complicated, bloody and hysterical. Much like "Microwave Massacre," it is stupid and campy fun. There is no discernable talent behind it. The acting is completely amateurish. Jon McBride, who plays the oldest son, wanted to make a movie and he did. It looks like a home movie, and might as well be one, but it is remarkably watchable for what it is.

**1/2

Meatcleaver Massacre (1983) - Thugs attack a college professor and his family. A meatcleaver is a weapon of choice. The professor survives and is left in a coma-like state. But having known hocus pocus nonsense of the ancient Gods, he is able to seek retribution through supernatural means. It is an interesting idea spoiled by a poor execution, as well as a cheap production.

*1/2

Last edited by Duke Nukem; 08-13-2012 at 10:39 PM..
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  #3  
Old 08-11-2012, 04:20 PM
The "Halloween/Friday The 13th" Rip-offs:

The Final Terror (1981-83) - Filmed in 1981, but not released until 1983. That is not a reason to stay away from it, just trivia. It is set on a field trip in the woods, and what separates it from most of the other rip-offs is that it is purely derivitive of "Friday The 13th." Not that there's anything wrong with that. It definitely has its moments, but has a lower bodycount and attempts to be more suspenseful. Nothing wrong with that, either. It was directed by Andrew Davis ("The Fugitive") and features Daryl Hannah ("Splash"), Rachel Ward ("Night School," another rip-off) and Joe Pantoliano ("Bound," The Matrix," and "The Fugitive" again) in early roles. A solid rip-off and slasher film.

**1/2

Terror Train (1980) - Poor Jamie Lee Curtis. She can't babysit on Halloween. She can't go to her prom. She can't have a wonderful time with Tom Atkins in a seaside town. And after graduating from college, she can't even celebrate New Year's Eve on a train and party like it's 1980. Another solid rip-off and slasher film.

**1/2

The Mutilator (1985) - A group of young people stay at a cabin by a lake and a killer targets them. Yawn. This is an extremely uninspired rip-off and it sucks. Really cheap production. Thought "Blood Lake" (** from me) was bad? I found this to be worse.

*1/2

Last edited by Duke Nukem; 08-13-2012 at 10:40 PM..
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  #4  
Old 08-11-2012, 04:33 PM
The Mario Bava Collection:

Bloody Sunday (1960) - Mario Bava's directorial debut is dated and might have held more power in the 1960's, but it deserves respect. It involves a witch, a castle setting, a catacomb with tombs, a family curse, `60's and `70's icon Barbara Steele, and a strong sense of atmosphere. It was also ahead of time in terms of violent and sexual content.

**1/2

The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) - This film may have been the birth of the "Giallo" film. It was certainly one of the earliest ones. It has it all - shocking murders, a mad killer, style, and camerawork intent on keeping the viewer wide awake and never bored. It also co-stars John Saxon. Upon seeing him in this, "Black Christmas" in the `70's, and "A Nightmare On Elm Street" in the `80's, one would suspect he's been to the fountain of youth. God bless Mr. Saxon, and God bless Mr. Bava for creating this amazing film.

***

Black Sabbath (1964) - This is an anthology film introduced by Boris Karloff, with one of them featuring Frankenstein himself. From a mysterious voice on a telephone taunting a woman, to a demon haunting a nurse, to a family trying to survive a vampire curse, it is a mildly diverting venture.

**1/2

Knives of the Avenger (1965) - This film is another departure for Mr. Bava. It concerns vikings in a remote past. A drifter finds himself in the middle of a battle between a savage group and mother and her son. With a nice story and well-staged fights, it is a solid effort.

***
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  #5  
Old 08-11-2012, 04:46 PM
A double-feature at the Mall:

Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge (1988) - An overlooked and forbidden film from the VHS days that I forgot about and snatched immediately when it turned up at the last convention. Was it worth it? Not really, but I'm glad to have seen it and put it behind me. Who is Eric? Why, he is teenager Eric Matthews - not be confused with the ones from the show "Boy Meets World" or the "Saw" series. Eric is scarred and mutilated when land developpers torch his house, in order to build a mall. His revenge is somewhat sweet, but not all that memorable. Look out for Pauly Shore in an early role and Ken Foree collecting a paycheck.

**

Chopping Mall (1986) - Now this is how to rip it up at the mall! This one I did not neglect to see during the VHS days. A group of teenagers hang around at the mall after hours to have some fun. The new security robots are reprogrammed after a lightning strike and take out anything that breathes. It is stupid fun. Although, to be objective, it still isn't great. Upon revisiting it, it is a thin premise barely stretched out to feature length. Overall, certainly not bad for what it is.

**1/2

More reviews soon

Last edited by Duke Nukem; 08-13-2012 at 10:43 PM..
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  #6  
Old 08-14-2012, 01:22 PM
Parents (1989) - This film was a breath of fresh air for Randy Quaid's career and the dreadful year of 1989. It is a dark horror-comedy set in the 1950's about a boy whose parents might be cannibals. One clue is that he's always fed leftovers every night. Unlike his roles in the "Vacation" films and various other movies, Quaid plays it straight and couldn't be creepier. Something the movie pegs down magnificently is that childhood feeling of uncertainty in which one does not completely know or trust the world yet. That feeling is doubled with creepy unease.

*** out of 4

Diabolique (1955) - An abusive schoolmaster thinks he can have his cake and eat it too. He has both a wife and a mistress. Both women scheme to have him killed and things get weird. An excellent, if dated, French film. It effortlessly shows what a waste the 1996 remake truly is.

***

The Crimson Cult (1968) - Another film with a witch, and also featuring the talents of Boris Karloff and Barbara Steele, as well as Christopher Lee. It has H.P. Lovecraft written all over it. A young man is invited to a mansion with a lot of strange stuff going on. It is very weird, has a late `60s's style to spare, and also considerable watchable despite a poor reputation. Maybe it's just me, but I saw more in it than others do.

**1/2

The Stuff (1985) - A satire and spoof of the "Attack of the Monster" movies from the 1950's. Its culprit is a new ice cream brand that turns people into zombies. Much of its intended satire might have went over my head. Another overlooked/forbidden movie from the VHS days, it is a decent but not all that memorable watch.

**1/2

Dead & Buried (1981) - Tourists visiting a coastal town are murdered and then mysteriously come back as normal citizens. It is an interesting and different offering from 1981, the year of the slasher films. But just like "The Stuff," it falls short and is decent at best.

**1/2

Last edited by Duke Nukem; 08-14-2012 at 01:48 PM..
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