Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Head of the Family (1996, Charles Band)


Head of the Family has some good comedic moments, yet as a horror movie it’s flat and not interesting enough. The mutants provide some entertainment, however I couldn’t give a hoot about the human characters whatsoever. Furthermore the movie seemed to be holding the viewer at arm’s length, possibly afraid no one would laugh at the jokes and daring people to care about this goofy movie. It doesn’t work, yet I didn’t hate this movie. I was just left disappointed.

Most of the truly captivating material happens in the last act, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the movie. Charles Band has done much better work, check that stuff out instead. Viewed on Shudder because of, who else, Joe Bob Briggs, of course. I wonder if the sequel goes full camp all the way or not.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Stepfather II (1989, Jeff Burr),


The first Stepfather movie is an effective cult classic that works very well and literally created Lifetime movies before they existed (shoutout to Joe Bob Briggs for pointing that out). We ended up with a sequel that shouldn’t have happened cause if you saw the first movie he well, should have been dead. I know we are used to slasher villains being indestructible but come on, man! This is ridiculous.

Terry O’Quinn isn’t given the same great one liners as he was in the first movie, and he seems to be second banana at times in his own movie. The people in this one pale in comparison to the mom and daughter in the first movie, and it’s too bad since Meg Foster is a good actress. I was left bored for most of this movie which is a bad thing and nothing really cool happens until much later.

It’s almost as if they forgot everything that made the first movie good. Too bad, and I won’t bother with the third movie. I doubt it’s nothing more but diminishing returns. The ending was oddly satisfying, at least, mostly because it meant the movie was over. Thank God I watched this for free on Crackle. I did like Caroline Williams in this one, she should have been the main lady instead.

Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Pieces (1982, Juan Piquer Simón)


The 1982 film Pieces is what you would get if someone decided to create a Texas Chainsaw Massacre type giallo in the 1980s. The movie is pretty wild and has some random moments that don’t really fit yet make the movie entertaining as a result. It’s not enough to have a killer roaming a college campus killing people with a chainsaw and cutting them up, the killer also has to be taking body parts too! There was a kung fu scene thrown in for good measure because why not, and the main character (played by Ian Sera) is both likable and a complete leech all at the same time. He ends up investigating the crimes along with one of those 1980s movie detectives (the always great Christopher George) who never go home and end up obsessing over one case when I’m sure they have at least 20 others to solve. There is also a long list of female victims, and a female undercover cop played by Lynda Day George.

This movie has both a great tennis related thriller scene and a waterbed moment that is very memorable in all kinds of ways. The ending doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me-I won’t say more about what happens, you just have to watch-yet I come to expect that in a lot of these movies. I’m not sure I liked this movie a whole lot the first time I saw it, yet I came to appreciate it more after viewing this during Joe Bob Briggs’ return to Shudder marathon back in 2018. I’m sure better writers than me could elaborate more on any of the film’s meanings, still all I got out of it mostly was there are some really crazy people out there in this big old world. I believe I viewed this movie on Tubi, although I’m not 100% sure as it was five years ago. Man time flies.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Haunt (2019,  Scott Beck, Bryan Woods)


Shudder kept recommending me this movie, yet I only got to Haunt because it was on a Joe Bob Briggs special. I think I put it off really because it seemed scary, and while it wasn’t as scary as I expected this is definitely a creepy movie. Haunted houses are bad enough without weirdos wandering around in masks, and in this case the weirdos decide to murder you and your friends. Should have stayed home, college kids. It’s what I do every Halloween when I’m not at work. It was easy this year because of a national pandemic.

Harper and Nathan are both likable characters, and their friends were sympathetic enough. The traps in this film can often be quite brutal, and the movie has some “Ouch! Yikes!” moments that I appreciated. Although the middle part of the film dragged, the rest of this was really quite good, and I liked this movie a lot. No need for a sequel either, yet the film did leave room for one. I want to see what Scott Beck and Bryan Woods do next.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Victor Crowley (2017, Adam Green)


This is where I admit that I haven’t seen any of the other films in the Hatchet series. I only saw Victor Crowley due to Joe Bob Briggs covering it on The Last Drive In, and I found myself liking it although it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. This is fine, since the movie works as a fun bottle episode fleshed out into a full length movie. Plus it has multiple famous people in the cast.

You have Kane Hodder as the menacing and very gruesome Crowley, legendary horror actress Felissa Rose, Brian Quinn from Impractical Jokers and indie scream queen Tiffany Shepis. The plot isn’t terribly important, just that like any slasher sequel the horror villain rises from the grave to terrorize the living once again. Oh and Dave Sheridan steals the movie as Dillion, who has more confidence than anyone should have. He was a riot.

I will try and view the rest of the series, and I think the first one was on Tubi at one point. This movie isn’t super intelligent but it does offer fun, and sometimes that is good enough. Oh and remember if you defeat the villain to not build a memorial site to him full of power tools he can use. Just saying.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Basket Case (1982, Frank Henenlotter)


Ah low budget 80s cinema showcasing a New York City I never got to experience. Basket Case is a wacky, gory and odd flick, one of those geek show movies you experience if you enjoy cult films. I happen to be one of those people, so I liked the trashy feel of this movie. After all, Basket Case features a man who keeps his deformed twin in a wicker basket, hence the title. The man goes and seeks revenge on those who seperated him from his freak brother, a monster that only he is able to communicate with.

I give Frank Henenlotter credit for making a horror movie that never comes off as too silly, as he knows when to dial in the camp factor. There are also some freaky scenes, particularly the death of a woman that has a good jump scare. I like the practical effects, too, as the creature puppet is wonderfully disgusting, and its an aspect of horror that I miss in this age of CGI. Kevin Van Hentenryck really shines in this film as the lead, and while the film is not more than an 80s creature feature its still a solid, entertaining movie regardless.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Daughters of Darkness (1971, Harry Kümel)


Daughters of Darkness is one of those slow burnining, atmospheric erotic films where there is a horror plot, yet its just an excuse to feature nudity and blood. This is a Belgian vampire film with hardly any vampire moments, yet I still liked it, much as I also liked Jean Rollin’s The Shiver of the Vampires. Both movies have plenty of style, yet I prefer Kümel’s film more: it has better acting and even better pacing. I also can see where the possible inspiration for The Hunger (1983) came from, a film that is superior to the ones I have mentioned. Sometimes the student becomes the master, a common theme in many horror films.

A couple seemingly in love journey to a haunting and stunning hotel in the middle of nowhere. There is a gorgeous older woman who does not age, and talk of brutal murders. Things come to a head eventually, but not before we get eerie moments and a scene that is one of the film’s most interesting. Sure this film is the typical style over substance and maybe I liked it more than I should have. Vampire movies can be added to my list of horror subgenres I seem to adore, despite their obvious flaws.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988, David DeCoteau)


How to discuss a movie called Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama? I am literally shaking my head as I write a review for a film that I only saw because of Joe Bob Briggs. This is what I get for being a fan. Poor Linnea Quigley (from Davenport, Iowa! Neat!) agreed to make this gutter ball of a film (using turkey would imply something good) after rising to fame in Return of the Living Dead, a much better film in every way. Regardless a movie that doesn’t even really live up to its title has a few charms, and this flick was not a total waste. Andras Jones is actually likable as the film’s goofy hero, and Quigley gets some cool moments. If only the film’s villain was not Uncle Impie, and yes if that reminds people of a drunken uncle who gets busted for multiple crimes then it should. Uncle Impie is one of the worst horror villains of all time, and he lives up to his awful name in every way. Oh and this film was made in 12 days, and it really shows. If you want to be a filmmaker, this movie should be an inspiration to you to follow your dream: I doubt you can make a movie any less outrageous than this one.

The plot…is really not important. A bunch of idiots end up locked in a mall with Quigley and Uncle Impie, who they unleash and then fail to realize that he is an evil creature that causes mischief. At least the film has a reason they can’t leave: the mall is locked by doors that Impie electrifies. If we are going by reasonable film standards I cannot recommended this film, and even if we are going by horror movie standards the same applies. Yet I was not bored at all, and I did enjoy some of the kills. Also having a girl turn into the Bride of Frankenstein was kind of amusing. In the hands of a better director this could have been more than a curiosity, a type of “Geek show” to somewhat quote the late great Roger Ebert.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Sleepaway Camp (1983, Robert Hiltzik)


Ah the 1980s, a time full of goofy slasher flicks like Sleepaway Camp. Made at the height of the horror movie craze Robert Hiltzik’s movie reflects the typical 80s horror movie: low budget, full of mostly unknowns, featuring plenty of horrible deaths and some cheesy music. The end credits features something called “Angela’s Theme” and it oddly fits a movie where the unseen killer stalks their victims. Too bad I already knew who the killer was, having been spoiled already thanks to years of being online and the fact that this movie came out decades ago. Oh to have been in the theater for this one and seen the reactions; I had to settle instead for Joe Bob Briggs’ commentary and a viewing on Shudder, neither of which are bad yet getting to see this on the big screen would be a treat. I am not sure if this is a good movie, however I enjoyed it at its basic level, and that is all that matters.

The plot is fairly simple: kids go to a camp, some of them meet horrible ends. It all revolves around quiet yet eerie Angela and her cousin Ricky, who is very protective of her. Sent to camp by Aunt Martha (Desiree Gould in what is the strangest performance I have ever seen) they are at the center of a murder mystery. Naturally the film tries to hide who the killer is, and there were times when even though I knew who it was I wondered if maybe it was two people. After all there is the interesting fan theory that has Rickey helping the killer the whole time, which all things considered makes a lot of sense. I wish I could discuss the disturbing twist ending more, yet its one of those “You have to see it for yourself” moments in horror cinema. I have not viewed any of the sequels, although I sort of wish to just because its amusing that Sleepaway Camp actually had sequels. It’s an odd duck, the kind of movie after watching you ponder before moving onto something actually more interesting.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Tourist Trap (1979, David Schmoeller)


Create a horror movie with killer puppets, Chuck Connors, and Tanya Roberts and I am going to watch it. I love 1970s horror for being out there, unafraid to try its hardest to scare the viewer. While Tourist Trap is merely creepy, it also has plenty of entertainment value and also one of those endings you think about for days. Bravo to Shudder for having this movie and for Joe Bob Briggs adding the witty and informative comedy. Also based on what I have seen of his work David Schmoeller is an underrated horror craftsman who made some good flicks that I have enjoyed. This is one of them.

A group of young folks make that classic horror movie error of stumbling onto an abandoned museum. Is this place in the middle of nowhere and run by western acting legend Chuck Connors? Absolutely. I also like that I was unable to guess the Final Girl, which makes Tourist Trap in that unique small group of slasher films. I love the weird kills, Connor stealing the movie, the young likable cast, the amazing ending, and how goofy this film is at times. I imagine this flick has a high replay value, and that everyone should watch it at least once.

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