Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Vamp (1986, Richard Wenk)


Richard Wenk’s Vamp begins as a cheesy 1980s college comedy and ends with college comedy horror comedy. I gotta admire a man devoted to achieving his goals, I suppose. The young cast is likable enough however one views this movie for Grace Jones, who’s definitely more talented than everyone else involved. This is a major flaw of the movie that never gets corrected.

Plus for a film titled “Vamp” the vampires take quite a while to finally show up. If vampires in a strip club sounds familiar then like myself and others you recognize that From Dusk Till Dawn took that bit from this movie. Yet that’s a much better film than this one, although one can attribute that to the high level of talent involved. I enjoyed Vamp-Chris Makepeace and Dedee Pfeiffer do have some nice chemistry together. Robert Rusler as the friend who drags both Makepeace and literal horror movie stereotype Gedde Watanabe into this whole mess probably should have been the main character instead, though. He’s way cooler.

Sure Billy Drago is in this and yet he’s not a vampire which is a wasted opportunity. The man is great at playing sinister menacing characters yet gets stuck as a random gang member. Lame. The finale does have some quality practical special effects moments and it was clear that Wenk in some ways planned for a sequel which never happened. Either you’ll find this goofy movie very charming or think it is very dumb. As for me, I thought it was merely decent or ok at best which is enough.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Death Ship (1980, Alvin Rakoff)


The 1960s and 1970s were really obsessed with Nazi and WW2 movies for whatever reasons. This carried over into the 1980s, and hey guess what: it resulted in a movie about a killer Nazi ship roaming the waves. The premise is goofy and the movie is cheesy, however I still found some notable entertainment value in this movie. Plus hey George Kennedy goes completely insane in this one in a strange way that’s the best thing about this movie.

He dresses up in a Nazi uniform, tells the other survivors of a ship crash that he’s the captain, and has no qualms about tossing people overboard. Some of the kills were decent enough, and this movie wisely doesn’t overstay its run time. I’m not sure this is a good movie, however you could do worse I suppose. I could see them remaking this movie in the future, probably at the hands of Rob Zombie or some other director.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Deadly Blessing (1981, Wes Craven)


Deadly Blessing is Wes Craven ironing out some more kinks before he started on his run of quality 1980s movies that kicked off with A Nightmare On Elm Street. However despite being very campy and odd, this movie works in spite of itself. The cast helps, as does the movie embracing the goofy plot, the multiple use of “Incubus!” (not to be confused with the band) and the fact that the countryside setting is creepy. After all, you are alone out in the middle of nowhere, and as the local cop reminds the trio of women at the farm, no help will arrive in time.

Perfect setting for what is equal parts a slasher flick, demonic flick, and sinister religious cult next door flick. Ernest Borgnine leads the religious fanatics who live next door, and he relishes the opportunity to ham it up as much as he did in The Devil’s Rain (hey I saw that too-neat). Maren Jensen is the woman who made the mistake of marrying his son and taking him away from a life of no electronics and tons of switch beatings. A pre-Hollywood stardom Sharon Stone and Michael Berryman add to the proceedings quite a bit.

I also liked Susan Buckner and Jeff East, though. They had nice chemistry in this flick, particularly since East plays the other son of a man not afraid to beat the fear of God into people. The final act is a strange molding of the supernatural and slasher, resulting in something that I might actually remember months later. Say what you will about Wes Craven, his movies never seem to be dull. Also feel free to turn people saying “Incubus!” into a fun drinking game. I forgot to mention that the James Horner score is fantastic, too.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The Living Dead Girl (1982, Jean Rollin)


Ok so now I know what inspired the Rob Zombie song by the same name. I like the song better than the movie, which is solid. The gore factor for this one is nice and heavy, which is good considering the characters are beyond paper thin and I didn’t care what happened to any of them. Perhaps my rating for Living Dead Girl is too high, yet I did like this movie somewhat so maybe not. I think the main woman played by Fran├žoise Blanchard is supposed to be a mix between a zombie, a vampire and a ghoul.

There are some lesbian overtones between her and her friend, who instead of running for the hills decides to bring her fresh victims to feed on. The ending is too anticlimactic for me yet there are some good kills and I liked the cinematography well enough. So far I have seen and liked two Jean Rollin movies but he seems to be a poor man’s Mario Bava. He does have some talent, though, and I might check out his other films anyways.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Jack’s Back (1988, Rowdy Herrington)


James Spader plays twins in a rather captivating and interesting performance in the 1988 film Jack’s Back, which works as both a neo noir and a slasher film. Someone is replicating Jack The Ripper in LA, an innocent man is framed and Spader must prove that it was someone else. Assisting him is Cynthia Gibb as Chris, who works at the clinic with one of the brothers, and helps him stay ahead of the cops who are certain they already have their man.

I loved the lyrical shots of LA, how intense Spader is in most of the film, and how the movie operates as a bleak nightmare for the most part. The film loves to keep the audience guessing, and has some pretty gruesome violent moments. Despite not being a great film this is a good one, and I rather enjoyed it. Definitely a nice change of pace from the typical 1980s slasher films.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Fade To Black (1980, Vernon Zimmerman)


Sometimes people fail to distinguish between fantasy and reality, especially if they spend too much time outside the real world. This is what happens to young Eric, who ends up losing his mind and goes over the edge in the 1980 cult flick Fade To Black, which borrows somewhat from Taxi Driver and even Maniac. However I think that Fade To Black works as it’s own flick for the most part, and it helped to add to the now cliche “Person goes crazy” flick that has been popular over the years.

Eric though has a trouble life, barely holding onto a job and living with his overbearing aunt. He even gets stood up by a nice Marilyn Monroe lookout (her name is even Marilyn!) that he worked up the courage to ask out. Events spiral out of control and soon Eric is committing crimes based on the movies he loves way too much. I felt a little uneasy watching this flick since I love movies too much myself, although certainly not enough to dress up as characters from them. Being able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy is a good thing.

Also I go outside once in a while, something that poor Eric probably should have done more often. Nope he instead loses it completely, changing his name, killing an annoying coworker and attracting the attention of the local police. Maybe in the end the guy was always a bit unstable, and he never had a chance. I think Eric is definitely the kind of guy who people talk about after they’ve gone on a crime or killing spree. The type you see on the news and you wonder what they were thinking.

Sure Fade To Black is cheesy, and the acting isn’t the greatest at times. The film wasn’t exactly high budget, yet I still am thinking about it so the whole thing worked anyways. It helps that Dennis Christopher takes over the film and carries it through the rough parts-you want to keep watching to see what he does next. Perhaps that is enough.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Hills Have Eyes 2 (1984, Wes Craven)


There are some movies that do not deserve or need a sequel. The Hills Have Eyes 2 is a jumbled mess that lacks the raw energy of the first, brutal cult classic. Sometimes franchises are a bad idea, only this potential one died rather quickly. Wes Craven made this for some fast cash, only to abandon the movie when the money ran out. Funny enough this was finished before Craven hit it big with A Nightmare On Elm Street. Lucky for Wes Craven everyone remembers that movie instead.

I don’t recall hardly any of the cast, and if this was not on Shudder I never would have made it through the movie. The cast for this is not bad, and the main storyline is ok, yet the kills are boring and there is hardly any suspense. Skip this movie unless like myself you are dead set on going through all of Craven’s filmography. Luckily he rebounded later in the 1980s and he figured out how to tackle a franchise with the Scream series. Even good directors have one or two mistakes in their careers.

Horrorfest 2019: Never Sleep Again


Music Movies Horror Gif Shared By Gamand On Gifer
They are not paying me for promotional purposes. Yet….

Well it is time for another Horrorfest, especially since last year’s worked great and resulted in me reviving my love for horror movies. Every time I think I’ll stop doing these something causes me to continue, and in this case the magic of streaming services makes it possible I will be doing this until I finally die…or return as the undead. I thought about doing a list but that never works, so all films listed here are ones I have actually viewed, with reviews to bore-I mean, follow. Enjoy! PS: This was my 500th blog post. Very fitting, indeed.

This concludes Horrorfest 2019. I will unsticky this post when it is time for Horrorfest 2020. Thanks for reading.
Pre-October:

1. The Babysitter (2017, Demonic Cult)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-babysitter-2017-mcg/
2. Ready Or Not (2019, Crazy Rich People)-https://wp.me/pRBID-2mq
3. It: Chapter 2 (2019, Pennywise)-Work in progress I guess
4. Summer of 84 (2018, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/horrorfest-2019-presents-summer-of-84-2018-francois-simard-anouk-whissell-and-yoann-karl-whissell/
5. The Ranger (2018, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-ranger-2018-jennifer-wexler/
October:

6. Viy (1967, Demons)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/horrorfest-2019-presents-viy-1967-konstantin-yershov-georgi-kropachyov/
7. Under the Shadow (2016, Evil Spirits)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/horrorfest-2019-presents-under-the-shadow-2016-babak-anvari/
8. Twins of Evil (1972, Vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/11/25/horrorfest-2019-its-hammer-time-presents-twins-of-evil-1972-john-hough/
9. Vampire Circus (1972, DUH)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/horrorfest-2019-its-hammer-time-presents-vampire-circus-1972-robert-young/
10. Final Exam (1981, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/05/horrorfest-2019-presents-final-exam-1981-jimmy-huston/
11. The Love Witch (2016, SEX MAGIK)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/06/the-love-witch-2016-anna-biller/
12. City of the Dead (1959, New England Witches)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/06/city-of-the-dead-1960-john-llewellyn-moxey/
13. The Corpse Grinders (1971, KILLER CATS)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/16/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-corpse-grinders-1971-ted-v-mikels/
14. Cannibal Girls (1973, MEAT)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/16/horrorfest-2019-presents-cannibal-girls-1973-ivan-reitman/
15. Hell Night (1981, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/17/horrorfest-2019-presents-hell-night-1981-tom-desimone/

16. The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/24/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-hills-have-eyes-2-1985-wes-craven/
17. Hands of the Ripper (1971, Jack’s Kid)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/24/horrorfest-2019-its-hammer-time-presents-the-hands-of-the-ripper-1971-peter-sasdy/
18. The Mutilator (1985, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/27/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-mutilator-1985-buddy-cooper/
19. Thirst (1979, Vampire Cult)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/2019-horrorfest-presents-thirst-1979-rod-hardy/
20. Stagefright (1987, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/horrorfest-2019-presents-stage-fright-1987-michele-soavi/
21. The Wax Mask (1997, Giallo)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/01/21/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-wax-mask-1997-sergio-stivaletti/
22. De Lift (1983, Killer Elevator)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/horrorfest-2019-presents-de-lift-1983-dick-maas/
23. I Drink Your Blood (1971, Rabies)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/02/21/horrrorfest-2019-presents-i-drink-your-blood-1970-david-e-durston/
24. All The Colors of the Dark (1972, Madness)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/03/12/horrorfest-2019-presents-all-the-colors-of-the-dark-1972-sergio-martino/
25. One Cut of the Dead (2017, Zombies)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horrorfest-2019-presents-one-cut-of-the-dead-2017-shinichirou-ueda/

26. Demons 2 (1986, UGLY BUGGERS)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horrorfest-2019-presents-demons-2-1986-lamberto-bava/
27. Der Nachtmahr (2015, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/der-nachtmahr-2015-achim-bornhak/
28. You Might Be The Killer (2018, Meta)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horrorfest-2019-presents-you-might-be-the-killer-2018-brett-simmons/
29. Day of the Animals (1977, NATURE IS PISSED)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horrorfest-2019-presents-day-of-the-animals-1977-william-girdler/
30. The Awakening (2011, British Ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-awakening-2011-nick-murphy/
31. Bloody Pit of Horror (1965, Torture and lots of it)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/horrorfest-2019-presents-bloody-pit-of-horror-1965-massimo-pupillo/
32. Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl (2016, Lesbians)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/07/horrorfest-2019-presents-sweet-sweet-lonely-girl-2016-a-d-calvo/
33. Mayhem (2017, VIOLENCE)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/07/horrorfest-2019-presents-mayhem-2017-joe-lynch/
34. Zombieland: Double Tap (2019, GO BIG OR GO HOME)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/11/horrorfest-2019-presents-zombieland-double-tap-2019-ruben-fleischer/
35. Jack Frost (1997, Killer Snowman)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/horrorfest-2019-presents-jack-frost-1997-michael-cooney/
36. Dark Water (2002, CREEEEEPY)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/horrorfest-2019-presents-dark-water-2002-hideo-nakata/
Halloween:

37. Happy Birthday to Me (1981, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/horrorfest-2019-presents-happy-birthday-to-me/

Coda:

38. The Lighthouse (2019, WUT)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/06/08/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-lighthouse-2019-robert-eggers/

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: The Deadly Spawn (1983, Douglas McKeown)


There is low budget, and then there is low low budget. The second film I viewed on Halloween, The Deadly Spawn, was made on the super cheap, yet it is one of those dumb fun cult movies that people talk about having seen back when it came out. I found my copy on DVD at Half-Price Books, so I didn’t pay too much. The film has flimsy characters, not much of a plot and clearly was not very well shot, yet I liked it in a trashy sort of way.

Also I enjoyed the title alien, which spends most of the movie hiding in a basement and devouring anyone unlucky enough to come down there. The kills are quite gruesome, the ending made me grin and The Deadly Spawn has a third act that works as an intense violent bottle episode. This is one of those movies that you have to watch to believe, with your brain turned off and beer on hand. Ah, the 1980s.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: The New York Ripper (1982, Lucio Fulci)


Sure Lucio Fulci has made better and even more violent movies, yet I dug his 1982 giallo style slasher film The New York Ripper. Considering Son of Sam and other serial killers had already happened, a movie about a crazed murderer haunting the city streets was not too outrageous. What I liked best about the killer was that he quacks like a duck the entire movie, a creepy device that Fulci uses to great effect. Also the kills are brutal and sexual, as the killer hates his victims. This is not a movie for the faint of heart, and it’s trashy nature adds to the picture’s grindhouse feel. Hence The New York Ripper being labeled a “Video Nasty,” banned in some countries as a result.

Fred Williams (a grizzled Jack Hedley) is the right main character for this flick, and unfortunately I guessed the killer although the film reveals him early on if one is paying attention. I found a DVD uncensored copy of this film at my local Half-Price Books, and I used it to kick off my Halloween viewing last year. What a flick to start with, and I’ll never hear duck sounds the same way again.

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