Finally, the results are in! In order to choose the winners in this contest I assembled an all-star hack panel of judges consisting of myself, James a.k.a. the Bride of Murphenstein, Dr. Schlocktopus, and Seamus O’Helen. After much reading, giggling, rereading, arguing, and giggling some more we’ve picked our winners! Congratulations to Matthew and Tony R., who took third and second place, respectively. You will both be receiving the new Demonic Toys 2 DVD! And to Chris, our grand prize winner, you will be receiving the DT2 DVD and the Dollman vs Demonic Toys DVD box set! I really want to thank everyone who entered for entertaining me with their childhood trauma, it was a blast! You can read all the entries HERE
Yesterday Total Film ran an article called 600 Movie Blogs You Might Have Missed on their website. It’s an impressively long list, and will definitely take some time to go through, but I think it’s great that all of the blogs listed are getting some due recognition! I highly suggest you check it out and maybe discover some blogs you haven’t read yet. Basement Screams made the list, so between that and being a nominee in the Bloody Disgusting Horror Blogger Awards (vote for us HERE!!!), it’s been a pretty cool week!
On Wednesday January 27th, 76-year-old actress Zelda Rubinstein passed away after recently suffering a heart attack. Rubinstein is best known to horror fans as the medium in Poltergeist and it’s two sequels. Her film career spanned three decades and included not only the Poltergeist series, but parts in Sixteen Candles, Teen Witch and Behind The Mask: The Rise And Fall Of Leslie Vernon. She also appeared on dozens of television programs over the years, including episodes of Tales From The Crypt, Poltergeist: The Legacy, and as the narrator of The Scariest Places On Earth. Rest in peace, Zelda.
Total Film recently nominated Bloody Disgusting for Best Horror Blog. The folks over at Bloody Disgusting, fully aware that they are in fact not a blog, have decided to host their own horror blog awards. The polls are open now, and there are sixty or so nominees, including Basement Screams! You have to be a registered user of Bloody Disgusting to vote, ensuring that everyone only gets one vote and it stays as fair as possible. There are a ton of kick ass blogs on the list so please, everyone jump on over and vote! Obviously, I’d love it if Basement Screams receives a couple votes (hinty hinty) but I am honored just to be on the list alongside some of these great blogs. So get on over to Bloody Disgusting by February 26th when the polls close, sign up (if you’re not already) and vote!!
I just received the new English subtitled trailer and teaser poster art for La Casa Muda (The Silent House), the film from Uruguay that I’ve posted about. Apparently after the original trailer was released some Hollywood types came sniffing around and showed interest in it. Whether that means an actual U.S. release or what they did with [Rec.], releasing the remake, Quarantine, to U.S. audiences first, I don’t know. Personally, I’m really excited about this film. The concept of a film being shot in one continuous take intrigues me. There is something about a film being done in real-time that adds a sense of immediacy, and I can only see that adding to the tension of the film. So here we go, here is the brand new English subtitled trailer, poster art and film maker’s synopsis for The Silent House a.k.a. La Casa Muda!
“Laura ( Florencia Colucci) and her father ( Gustavo Alonso) settle down in a cottage which seems to be off the beaten track in order to update it since its owner ( Abel Tripaldi) will soon put the house on sale. They will spend the night there in order to start the repairs the following morning. Everything seems to go on smoothly until Laura hears a sound that comes from outside and gets louder and louder in the upper floor of the house. Wilson goes up to see what is going on while she remains downstairs on her own waiting for her father to come down. The plot is based on a true story that happened some time ago in a small village in Uruguay. “La Casa Muda” focuses on the last seventy eight minutes, second by second, when Laura intends to leave the house which hides an obscure secret and she hopes to leave unharmed.
REAL FEAR IN REAL TIME, this is the most remarkable underlying feature of the film which will not go unnoticed by all those who may be willing to experience this different and disturbing filming experience.”
Watching Drive-In Horror Show got me thinking about the old drive-in theater that was not too far from where I grew up. I can’t remember for the life of me the name of it but my friends and I would make occasional trips there to catch a movie or two. Going through the list of movies in my head, we actually saw some really horrendous stuff. I remember seeing Grease when it was reissued, which was kind of cool because half the people there were dressed up like characters from the movie. It gave it somewhat of a Rocky Horror feel. I also remember a double feature of Blade and, get this, How Stella Got Her Groove Back! Not sure who thought that would be a great pair, but it was awful. I remember being very drunk on cheap 40s and talking shit about Wesley Snipes very, very loud. But my favorite drive-in memory is seeing the Jim Carey movie The Mask on acid! [note: kids, drugs are bad. Don’t do them!] Anyway, a group of us decided that the best way to see the film was while hallucinating and it was ridiculous! I got lost going to the concessions stand, and again on the way back to the car. I’ve seen The Mask since, and I’m still convinced this was the only good way to see the movie! So that’s my quick trip (no pun intended) down drive-in memory lane. And of course, no trip to the drive-in was complete without the intermission ads. This one features a German scientist and his new “inwention”!! Enjoy…
Drive-In Horror Show is an anthology in the vein of Creepshow and Tales From The Crypt, and celebrates the long-lost beauty of the drive-in theater and all its bloody glory. The film is hosted by The Projectionist, his faithful assistant Billy Troll (pictured to the right), ticket taker Zombie Frank and the Teenage Axe Victim who works the concessions stand. They appear in between each segment and add a nice TV horror host kind of vibe to the whole thing. Kind of like an episode of Svengoolie. The first story, Pig, plays off as a cross between Hostel and I Spit On Your Grave, with feet planted firmly in both the torture and revenge genres. A frat boy wakes up after a long night of partying to find himself glued to the bathtub. Turns out he drugged and took advantage of the wrong girl. It’s the grittiest entry in the anthology and a nice, strong beginning. Going in a totally different direction, The Closet is like a very bloody episode of Goosebumps. Jamie is a boy who dreams of being an astronaut and loves his sci-fi television shows. He also has an asshole family who treat him like shit. They tell him his dreams are stupid and that he should be more like his sister. That all changes when a monster appears in Jamie’s closet and coerces him to bring it the family one by one, promising Jamie that life will be better without them. This one’s kind of a don’t-know-what-you’ve-got-’til-it’s-gone kind of thing. The third segment, Fall Apart can be likened to an episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s a bloody medical horror story, slows the pace down and gets under your skin more-so than the others. The Meat Man is another bloody Goosebumps type of story. All the neighborhood kids are talking about the meat man, a local killer who cuts off hunks of his victim’s flesh and wraps them in butcher paper to keep them fresh. A couple of the kids are even convinced that their own father is the meat man. I won’t tell you if they’re right or not, you’ll have to see for yourself! The final story is also, in my opinion, the weakest entry. The Watcher is a slasher starring Playboy Playmate and Survivor: Amazon winner, Jenna Morasca. Two couples go camping in the woods only to be stalked by “the watcher”. Maybe I’m just burned out on the slasher in the woods thing. It didn’t really do it for me. The rest of the chapters, and the in between segment antics of the drive-in staff definitely make up for it. All in all Drive-In Horror Show will bring you back to a time when admission to a movie wasn’t $10.00 a piece and the outdoor screens ran red with blood.
Besides the DVD of the movie, there is also a companion DVD called Drive-In Horror Show Ghoulish Videos. It features music videos for songs from the soundtrack, behind the scenes footage featuring a zombie makeover showing you how to turn a man into a zombie in five minutes or less!, trailers for Drive-In Horror Show and other films, and a couple episodes of “Outer Rings”, the television show that young Jamie watched in The Closet. It’s a pretty cool collection of stuff, and it’s nice to see filmmakers putting as much effort into the soundtrack and extras as they do the film itself. You can grab more info on this and the soundtrack HERE and you can hear my personal experiences as a teenage delinquent at the drive-in HERE.
Alter Ego Cinema’s third (and supposedly final) installment in the AMATEUR PORN STAR KILLER series is a rough watch. It’s gritty, it’s pornographic, and it’s way, way too realistic. The POV camera work makes you feel like you’re sitting in on the chaos, even though you’re watching safe on the couch, and is, for that reason, one of the best examples of using the style correctly. The film starts off going back and forth between shots of random around-town scenery and a young woman being humiliated, sexually abused, and eventually killed by a man in some remote outdoor location. The film moves along in a way that evokes home movie footage, with its starts and stops when the camera is turned on and off. We witness the smooth talk that captures two more victims that suffer similar fates before we are introduced to Mickey. Mickey (played by real life porn star Regan Reese) is a wanna be actress trying to get back to town to take care of a family emergency when she encounters Brandon (played by writer/director Shane Ryan.) What starts off as a goodwill ride from a stranger turns very dark over the course of their encounter. This is where the film-making shines. The pacing of their ride is slow and builds up to the darkness and eventual horror. It gives you as the viewer time to forget the previous atrocities and get comfortable along with Mickey who gets more and more comfortable with Brandon as their time together goes on. Of course, things don’t stay that way for long as he convinces her to start removing pieces of clothing and the verbal, mental and sexual assault begins. There is no blood shed in the film whatsoever, and it isn’t needed. The horror in this film comes from the fact that it is so realistic, and things like this do happen in real life. Personally, I find that much, much more frightening than actual physical torture, and by those standards AMATEUR PORN STAR KILLER 3 makes films like SAW and HOSTEL look like Disney films. Now, my main problem with this film is the sexual material. There are scenes of actual oral sex and penetration which crosses the porno line in the sand to me. I have no problem with sex in films at all, or very scary hardcore sexual situations. But by having actual on-screen sex acts, it takes the film into a different territory I think. Other films that have done this, for example, are Vince Gallo’s BROWN BUNNY with its ridiculously uncomfortable close up blowjob scene with Chloë Sevigny. ’70’s rape/revenge classic THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE with its spliced in, hardcore sex close-ups that are obviously not the same actors, suffered because of this as well. Overall, APSK 3 is a powerful piece of exploitation cinema, and whether it pushes the envelope too far as far as sexual content, that’s for the viewer to decide. Would I recommend this film to the average, everyday horror fan? No. Would I recommend it to fans of abrasive cinema and pure exploitation? Yes, and I do. It’s something that stays with you after the film is over, and you’ve showered a dozen times to get the ick off, and that means the film did it’s job.
Here’s the brand new teaser trailer for the Uruguayan film I mentioned a couple weeks ago, LA CASA MUDA! Unfortunately there are no subtitles on this, but you’ll still get the feel of it. After seeing the trailer, this is moving pretty high up on my must-see list of 2010. Check it out…
Starting just before the new year, and for the two weeks since, everyone has been posting their favorite films of 2009. Many have been doing their favorites of the 2000s. I figured why not mix it up a bit and give you my favorites from 1985?! 1985 stands as one of my favorite years for horror films (my favorite from that particular decade, along with 1987). So here we go, starting at number ten…
10. CEMENTERIO DEL TERROR (a.k.a. CEMETERY OF TERROR)
I discovered this when it was reissued by BCI Eclipse as part of its Crypt Of Terror double feature DVD’s. A group of teenagers steal a corpse from the morgue on Halloween and bring it back to life by reading an incantation from some spooky old book. The corpse turns out being the body of an infamous murderer… you see where this is going. Terribly original? No, of course not, but it is a fun ride throughout.
Who can forget the classic VHS cover with the little green bastard coming out of the toilet!? With the red suspenders he looked like a drunk midget skinhead that’s about to puke! I first saw this when I was ten and it still entertains the crap out of me twenty-two years later!
08. STEPHEN KING’S SILVER BULLET
While not as strong as it’s werewolf brethren from 1981, THE HOWLING and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON respectively, SILVER BULLET does have two things going for it – one, Gary Busey and two, Corey Haim in a freakin’ wheelchair!!! The second best film Haim ever did!
07 FRIDAY THE 13TH V: A NEW BEGINNING
I’m sure a lot of you are gasping in terror at the fact I’m including this. “It’s not even Jason blah blah blah…” Whatever. I like this one. Tommy Jarvis is back in non-Corey Feldman form, the bikers are hilarious and there’s a higher body count than in any other film in the series.
All Hell breaks loose at the opening screening of a new movie theater when a girl tries on an ancient mask and turns into a demon. Produced by Dario Argento, directed byLamberto Bava and scored by Claudio Simonetti, DEMONS is an Italian splatter fan’s wet dream. Not to mention the ridiculous hard rock soundtrack featuring Motley Crue, Billy Idol, the Scorpions, etc!!!
Jefferey Combs stars as Herbert West in Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft adaptation, Experimenting with the reanimation of dead bodies in his basement lab. This is pretty much a gory, funny version of Frankenstein for the ’80’s.
04. FRIGHT NIGHT
FRIGHT NIGHT is everything good about horror movies. It’s genuinely creepy, it’s funny in the right spots and it’s fun throughout. Not to mention this vampire next door flick had a kick ass cast consisting of the legendary Roddy McDowall, Chris Sarandon, Stephen Geoffreys as Evil Ed, and a pre-Married With Children/pre-lesbianism Amanda Bearse.
The 1980s was Argento‘s last great decade as a whole, and this is my favorite of his ’80s output. You’ve got a young Jennifer Connelly who communicates with bugs, the always amazing Donald Pleasence as a professor with a bad ass, scalpel wielding monkey, Argento mainstay and baby’s mama Daria Nicolodi, and the best soundtrack to an Argento film since SUSPIRIA! In all honesty this probably takes my number two spot, but due to deep, dark, personal attachments that spot’s going to…
02. THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD
I have the original soundtrack album to this framed above my desk as I’m typing this. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD really did recreate the zombie film, and it did it with a comedic, 80s punk rock style. Writer/director Dan O’Bannon gave his zombies the crave for brains, starting a dietary trend for years to come. The soundtrack is a punk schlockfest featuring tunes by The Cramps, TSOL, and The Damned, among others. And of course, there’s Linnea Quigley dancing naked on a grave. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING was hotter to my pre-teen self then that sequence (and I know I’m not alone on that one). Did I mention the Tarman is one of the coolest zombies ever? He is. Speaking of cool zombies….
MY NUMBER 01 HORROR FILM OF 1985… DAY OF THE DEAD
The third chapter in George Romero‘s original DEAD trilogy is by far the most mature work he had done up to that point, and since as far as I’m concerned. It took a long time for most people to appreciate it for what it is, and not compare it to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DAWN OF THE DEAD. I’ve heard so many times how “it’s too slow” or “boring” compared to its predecessors, especially the comic bookesque DAWN. I love both NIGHT and DAWN, but Romero truly brought his A-game when he made DAY OF THE DEAD. The script was deeper and darker. The military characters are evil, really fucking evil, and there are layers and layers of human conflict throughout. Tom Savini‘s makeup effects are some of his best, and Bub IS the coolest zombie ever (sorry, Tarman, you’re number two.)
So there you have it, my personal Top Ten of 1985. Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite fright flicks from 85, especially if I left them off my list.
Did I mention 1987 earlier…