Horrorfest 2016 Presents: Demons (1985, Lamberto Bava)


Oh man the 1980s had some crazy horror movies. Demons is one of them and I love how outlandish the film gets at times. It’s the foreign reaction to The Evil Dead and other zombie films, even though this movis makes for a good companion piece with Night of the Demons. This film takes place in a West Berlin theater that is massive and a character onto itself. Two college girls decide to cut class and go see a movie that turns out to be a horror film. Ah the old “Movie within a movie,” bit. If you end up watching a horror movie in a horror movie, you are clearly in one.

The film within the film has a great bleak line in “They will make cemetaries their cathedrals and the cities will be your tombs.” Get scratched by one of these monsters and you’ll turn into a freak hungry for the soul and blood of the living. Like many 80s horror films this one has tons of gore and nasty violence, and at times it works more like an action flick than a horror movie. Does a samurai sword hanging around eventually get used? Of course. Is the dialogue mostly cheesy and the acting as mixed bag? Sure, but it’s part of the movie’s charm. Give me a film like Demons anytime. Oh and Demons has one of the most wicked horror movie soundtracks ever, featuring Mötley Crüe, Accept, Billy Idol and Rick Springfield. Nice.

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: Goosebumps (2015, Rob Letterman)


Look this film needed more monster blood. Come on people how do you make a Goosebumps movie and not have monster blood? Oh well at least this film was entertaining and had Slappy. Also R.L. Stine has a cameo so brief that you will miss it if you aren’t paying attention. I also loved Jack Black playing Stine because he is hilarious and it works perfectly. The film is a bit hit and miss at times but that’s okay.

Also the main trio of kids made smile. Zach, Hannah and Champ come off as normal kids who become wrapped up in extraordinary situations. Stine reveals that he not an average person after a funny egging on by Zach and Champ where they compared him to Stephen King. Plus Slappy appears and unleashes all of the characters from Stine’s books, leading to chaos in the town and monster attacks.

Despite some elements not working this was still a mostly funny and enjoyable flick. Black is great in multiple roles and the kid actors are likable and not annoying. Plus the last act owes a bit to Army of Darkness, which is fine. Too bad I didn’t bother to go see this in theaters as I love the book series and I’m hoping for a sequel.

Horrorfest 2016: A New Beginning


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Hey buddy

Okay so at this point I’m just ripping off titles from the Friday the 13th series. Besides any good horror fan knows never to trust a franchise that promises the next installment is the “Last one, the final chapter, the main bad guy is finally dead!, etc.” I also am using this title because this year I’ve decided not to make any pre-viewing list this time. Instead I am just listing all of the movies I actually bother to watch from August to October, plus the few movies I usually grab to kick things off with. Reviews will still be posted, although they may be even more half-assed than normal. To the few readers of this blog I have a 40 hour a week job and thus don’t have the time I used to have to watch a million things. Plus I blame peak TV widely available online for a decrease in movie viewing. Enjoy regardless, and I hope to try and see more horror that I haven’t yet fully explored.

Alright so this concludes Horrorfest 2016. I have finally six months later reviewed every movie I viewed during a three month period. Here is my Top 10 List just because I only saw 40 movies:

  1. We Are Still Here (2015, Geoghegan)-95
  2. Spoorloos (1988, Sluizer)-95
  3. Session 9 (2001, Anderson)-95
  4. Dale & Tucker Vs Evil (2010, Craig)-95
  5. The Fury (1978, De Palma)-94
  6. Insidious (2010, Wan)-93, Family Video
  7. Jacob’s Ladder (1990, Lyne)-93
  8. Hush (2016, Flanagan)-92
  9. The Others (2001, Amenábar)-91
  10. They Look Like People (2015, Blackshear)-90
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WAZZZZZZZZUUUUUPPP!

1. Splatter (2009, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/horrorfest-2016-presents-splatter-2009-joe-dante/
2. Crimson Peak (2015, Ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/horrorfest-2016-presents-crimson-peak-2015-guillermo-del-toro/
3. Coma (1978, Medical)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/horrorfest-2016-presents-coma-1978-michael-crichton/
4. The Old Dark House (1932, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/horrorfest-2016-presents-the-old-dark-house-1932-james-whale/
5. Murder Party (2007, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/horrorfest-2016-presents-murder-party-2007-jeremy-saulnier/
6. Jacob’s Ladder (1990, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/horrorfest-presents-jacobs-ladder-1990-adrian-lyne/
7. Hostel (2005, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/horrorfest-2016-presents-hostel-2005-eli-roth/
8. Insidious (2010, Ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/horrorfest-2016-presents-insidious-2010-james-wan/
9. Session 9 (2001, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/horrorfest-2016-presents-session-9-2001-brad-anderson/
10. The Cars That Ate Paris (1974, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/horrorfest-2016-presents-the-cars-that-ate-paris-1974-peter-weir/

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He just wants to be your friend…

11. Byzantium (2013, Vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/horrorfest-2016-presents-byzantium-2013-neil-jordan/
12. Castle Freak (1995, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/horrorfest-2016-presents-castle-freak-1995-stuart-gordon/
13. Darling (2015, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/darling-2015-mickey-keating/
14. The Others (2001, Ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/horrorfest-2016-presents-the-others-2001-alejandro-amenabar/
15. Goosebumps (2015, Monsters)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/horrorfest-2016-presents-goosebumps-2015-rob-letterman/
16. Curse of Chucky (2013. Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/horrorfest-2016-presents-curse-of-chucky-2013-don-mancini/
17. Holidays (2016, Anthology)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/horrorfest-2016-presents-holidays-2016-kevin-smith-gary-shore-matt-johnson-scott-stewart-nicholas-mccarthy-dennis-widmyer-kevin-kolsch-sarah-adina-smith-anthony-scott-burns/
18. The Hole (2009, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/horrorfest-2016-presents-the-hole-2009-joe-dante/
19. Demons (1985, Demons)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/horrorfest-2016-presents-demons-1985-lamberto-bava
20. Hush (2016, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/horrorfest-2016-presents-hush-2016-mike-flanagan/

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It’s a rock band yeah!

21. They Look Like People (2015, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/horrorfest-2016-presents-they-look-like-people-2015-perry-blackshear/
22. The Sacrament (2015, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/7750/
23. We Are Still Here (2015, Ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/horrorfest-2016-presents-we-are-still-here-2015-ted-geoghegan/
24. The Hallow (2015, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/horrorfest-2016-presents-the-hallow-2015-corin-hardy/
25. Road Games (2015, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/horrorfest-2016-presents-road-games-2015-abner-pastoll/
26. The Invitation (2015, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/the-invitation-2015-karyn-kusama/
27. They’re Watching (2016, Witches)-https://wordpress.com/posts/drafts/madman731.wordpress.com
28. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962, Mad Scientist)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/horrorfest-2016-presents-the-brain-that-wouldnt-die-1962-joseph-green/
29. Tucker & Dale Vs Evil (2010, Slasher)-http://wp.me/pRBID-22W
30. Puppet Master (1989, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/2016-horrorfest-presents-puppet-master-1989-david-schmoeller/

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Yeah? Who you calling psycho?

31. Genocide (1967, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/horrorfest-2016-presents-genocide-1967-kazui-nihonmats/
32. The Fury (1978, Psychic People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/horrorfest-2016-presents-the-fury-1978-brian-de-palma/
33. The Traveler (2010, Slasher)- https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/horrorfest-2016-presents-the-traveler-2010-michael-oblowitz/
34. The House On Sorority Row (1983, Slasher)- https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/horrorfest-2016-presents-the-house-on-sorority-row-1983-mark-rosman/
35. Bad Milo (2015, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/horrorfest-2016-presents-bad-milo-2015-jacob-vaughan/
36. Stung (2015, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/?p=8218
37. Wyrmwood (2014, Zombies)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/horrorfest-2016-presents-wyrmwood-2014-kiah-roache-turner/
38. Grizzly (1976, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/horrorfest-2016-presents-grizzly-1976-william-girdler/?preview_id=8270&preview_nonce=6713d40f1d
39. Spoorloos (1988, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/horrorfest-2016-presents-spoorloos-1988-george-sluizer/
40. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015, Zombies)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/horrorfest-2016-presents-scouts-guide-to-the-zombie-apocalypse-2015-christopher-b-landon/?preview_id=8331&preview_nonce=5cfb8ce467

Horrorfest 2015: The Final Chapter


There’s no theme this year. Also this might be the last one. Maybe. List which is always subject to change endlessly and whenever I feel like it. Especially when Netflix decides to pull horror films before October like they often do. Bad Netflix:

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Netflix Instant Viewing

1. The Babadook (2014, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-babadook-2014-jennifer-kent/
2. Pet Sematary 2 (1992, demonic)
3. Housebound (2014, ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/horrorfest-2015-presents-housebound-2014-gerard-johnstone/
4. Late Phases (2014, werewolf)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/horrorfest-2015-presents-late-phases-2014-adrian-garcia-bogliano/
5. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977, mad scientist)
6. Troll (1986, creature feature)
7. Disturbing Behavior (1998, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/disturbing-behavior-1998-david-nutter/
8. Nightbreed: Director’s Cut (1990, monsters)-Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Nightbreed (1990, Clive Barker)
9. V/H/S: Viral (2014, anthology)
10. Starry Eyes (2014, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/horrorfest-2015-presents-starry-eyes-2014-kevin-kolsch-and-dennis-widmyer/
11. Almost Human (2013, slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/horrorfest-2015-presents-almost-human-2013-joe-begos/
12. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013, giallo)
13. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014, vampire)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/a-girl-walks-home-alone-at-night-2014-ana-lily-amirpour/
14. The Quiet Ones (2014, ghosts)
15. Ghoulies Go To College (1991, monsters)
16. Leprechaun 3 (1995, creature feature)
17. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997, creature feature)
18. Ju-on: The Grudge (2002, ghosts)
19. Damien: The Omen II (1978, demonic)
20. Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981, demonic)
21. The Fly (1958, creature feature)
22. Dead Silence (2007, killer puppets)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/horrorfest-2015-presents-dead-silence-2007-james-wan/ 23. Deep Star Six (1989, creature feature)
24. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988, demonic)
25. Vampire in Brooklyn (1995, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/horrorfest-2015-presents-vampire-in-brooklyn-1995-wes-craven/
26. The Sacrament (2013, crazy people)-I finally watched this in 2016, heh: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/7750/
27. Murders In The Rue Morgue (1971, slasher)
28. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978, aliens)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/horrorfest-2015-presents-invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-1978-phillip-kaufman/

Other Media:

29. IT (1990, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/it-1990-tommy-lee-wallace/
30. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986, slasher)
31. Society (1989, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/horrorfest-2015-presents-society-1989-brian-yuzna/
32. Murder Party (2007, slasher)-I also finally watched this in 2016: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/horrorfest-2016-presents-murder-party-2007-jeremy-saulnier/
33. Q The Winged Serpent (1982, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/horrorfest-2015-presents-q-the-winged-serpent-1982-larry-cohen/
34. Night of the Demons 2 (1994, demonic)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/horrorfest-2015-presents-night-of-the-demons-2-1994/
35. God Told Me To (1976, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/horrorfest-2015-presents-god-told-me-to-1976-larry-cohen/
36. Campfire Tales (1997, anthology)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-campfire-tales-1997-matt-cooper-martin-kunert-and-david-semel/
37. The Conjuring (2013, demonic)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-conjuring-2013-james-wan/
38. The Vampire Lovers (1970, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/horrorfest-2015its-hammer-time-presents-the-vampire-lovers-1970-roy-ward-baker/
39. The Woman in Black (2012, ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/horrorfest-2015its-hammer-time-presents-the-woman-in-black-2012-james-watkins/
40. The Final Terror (1983, slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-final-terror-1983-andrew-davis/
41. What We Do In The Shadows (2015, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-what-we-do-in-the-shadows-2015-taika-waititi-and-jemaine-clement/
42. Phantom of the Paradise (1974, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/horrorfest-2015-presents-phantom-of-the-paradise-1974-brian-de-palma/
43. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/lets-get-criterion-presents-valerie-and-her-week-of-wonders-1970-jaromil-jires/

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: V/H/S/2 (2013, Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sanchez, Timo Tjahjanto, Adam Wingard)


Having enjoyed the first installment I eagerly viewed the second entry in the V/H/S/ series, which built upon the rather solid first film and was a notable improvement. Also like many other horror sequels this one ups the scares and the level of crazy, resulting in a more consistent movie that works better. Despite its share of critics I rather enjoy the found footage style of film making as it takes the viewer front and center to what is happening, thus making it harder to look away from the awful events happening onscreen. While I enjoyed all of the segments one stood out greatly among the rest and one was a tad slow, although once it got started it was rather freaky.

Of course just like all anthologies there is a wrap around story or a narrator who is presenting these events to the viewer in a certain order. In this case you have “Tape 49,” which is the frame narrative and involves Larry and Ayesha being hired to find out what happened to a woman’s son. Even though this tale is not as good as the others (okay its better than the first tale, but not by much) I still liked how it concluded and it provided a halfway decent explanation for why two people would stay in a seemingly abandoned house, digging through videotapes. Even though this is a DVD and Blu Ray era the idea of V/H/S tapes containing footage of awful events, operating as a gateway into the dark corridors that should perhaps not be explored is a rather neat idea, even if its very 1990s at this point and is rather dated.

“Phase I Clinical Trials” is the first official story, and at first I was not impressed. However it does have some rather effective jump scares and its properly creepy and has an unexpected conclusion. One of my favorite things about ghost stories is how the person refuses to leave even when they should, but how does one escape when they are being haunted no matter where they go? The eye implant looked rather freaky and alien, too, and it offered a halfway decent commentary on experimentation and documentation leading to something the person involved did not sign up for, much less expect. “A Ride In The Park” is a nice, terrifying second story involving zombies in the great outdoors. I liked that this story took place during the daytime, as it added to the overall tension level, and it plays out as a tragedy and a nightmare. Oh and the zombie attacks at the picnic cause flashbacks to the classic birthday party footage from Signs.

Yet the best story and the most famous one of the bunch is “Safe Haven,” which ends up being a quickly paced and really messed up tale about a documentary crew that has the misfortune to investigate a cult at the group’s eerie compound. What transpires inside after a slow burning opening gives way to a descent into madness, extreme amounts of gore, and a conclusion that reminds me of several famous horror movies. This tale is largely responsible for the film’s really good rating, and has been discussed ever since this film came out. If stretched to a longer film this entry could have been turned into one of the most disturbing horror movies ever made, yet it works best in a short format. Too bad the camera dies just as things are getting interesting…

Finally the last installment is “Slumber Party Alien Abduction,” which is also a mad dash to run away from evil forces seeking to destroy people for reasons unknown. Even though the aliens have the look and feel of your typical gray bodied monsters its still a fairly unnerving episode, one that also has a brutal ending. Especially for us dog lovers. Why horror movies kill off dogs I’ll never understand, and for some reason that’s more disturbing than the death of onscreen characters. Which might be a not so good commentary on humanity. Anyways V/H/S/2 showcases mostly the best of found footage films, and is an entertaining, mostly scary, and crazy anthology horror film that comes recommended.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Phantoms (1998, Joe Chappelle)


Too bad the creature storming a remote Colorado ski town takes on the knowledge of its victims. The people it mercilessly devoured went to their gross goo covered graves thinking they had been eaten by the devil. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense, although maybe when one is being eaten whole by a monster one lacks the time to think properly. Such is Phantoms, a campy yet surprisingly enjoyable horror film that has gotten endless bad reviews since its release. And of course praise in the form of “Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo.”

Before he started directing quality movies and winning Oscars Ben Affleck bounced from one poorly reviewed film to another. Nevermind that Phantoms is actually good, undeserving of the hate it received. You have Rose McGowan being gorgeous, Affleck offering steely resolve, Peter O’Toole wonderfully hamming it up and Liev Schreiber acting creepy. All in one monster movie filled package that wisely borrowed from other previous and better films.

You have references to Tremors and The Blob remake in addition to some scenes reminding me of 28 Days Later which is funny considering Phantoms came first. Sure there is some awful dialogue and the ending is weak and a tad standard by modern horror conventions. However the film maintains a good level of atmosphere and it also wisely keeps the monster mostly under wraps. Every year I view one horror film that actually turns out to be a gem that wasn’t fairly received, and this year I think its Phantoms.

It’s Hammer Time Presents: The Adominable Snowman (1957, Val Guest)


Despite staring Peter Cushing, The Abominable Snowman is one of Hammer Studios’ lesser films, one that would have benefited from the touch of a better director. While Val Guest attempts to set up the film’s atmosphere and make it creepy or at least entertaining, the movie stalls midway through and lacks quality pacing and style. Oh and the Yetis are merely hinted at and never shown, which is puzzling for a movie with “Abominable Snowman” in the title. Which is really disappointing, because Hammer Studios has always been known for wicked cool special effects and creatures that at their best look terrifying and unique. I understand that Guest was going for a psychological supernatural effect yet since the film never really goes anywhere it doesn’t work.

Still this movie isn’t a complete waste, as I liked Forrest Tucker and Cushing’s interactions with each other, presenting gruff harsh individualistic Americanism versus quiet, refined British ideals. Once we actually get to see one of the Snowman its a cool sight, which once again makes me wonder why the film waits so long to present the titular creatures. That would be the equivalent of making a Godzilla movie that only has Godzilla pop up near the end of the movie. Despite being a mixed bag I found this movie watchable at times, and I liked the ending I guess. I almost wonder if this film is a prime candidate for a remake, but there have been plenty of killer Yeti movies over the years so probably not.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: The Blob (1988, Chuck Russell)


In the 1980s there were a surprisingly high number of quality remakes: John Carpenter’s The Thing, David Cronenberg’s The Fly, and Chuck Russell’s The Blob. The Blob was a sharp contrast to its 1950s original, a cheesy sci-fi/horror movie that launched the career of Steve McQueen. In the original the government aids the town in fighting the alien menace, showing that government could be helpful and protective. By the 1980s the government was seen as the problem, and not just because of Reagan America: Watergate, the Vietnam War and the Kennedy murders had soured the American public’s opinion of their public officials. The military that once helped the people in the old film now posed a big threat in the 1980s remake, choosing to cover up the deaths caused by a monster from beyond.

The creature effects are pretty good in this movie too, and of course the death toll gets drastically upped as well. When the Blob gets you it horribly eats you in the grossest, nastiest way possible. This is creepy and ups the tension, adding to the film’s modern take on sci-fi and horror. One of my favorite parts is when a pair of kids become trapped down in the sewers as they attempt to flee from the Blob. For some reason kids being put in serious and terrifying danger has been a staple of modern horror, although in older films such as Night of the Hunter children being threatened was prominent as well. I’m also reminded of Jurassic Park’s kitchen scene, with the dreaded raptors hunting the two kids as they desperately tried to avoid becoming lunch.

Although at times the movie is really cheesy, I still like the film’s cast and how the movie plays out. Its an entertaining thrill ride, a dated 80s movie where Kevin Dillion’s street tough motor bike riding outcast is the hero and Shawnee Smith is the pretty heroine in distress who proves more to be more than just that. I loved the ending despite it being the type of ending that we see in horror movies these days, and how they defeat the Blob is just as great as it was in the 1950s original. We need more good, solid horror remakes like this (or great horror remakes such as The Thing and The Fly), ones that build upon the original and do something different, offering up their own twist on previous material. I would rather have those than another bland sequel.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: The Funhouse (1981, Tobe Hooper)


Part well made scare marathon, part funny and cheesy homage to previous 50s and 60s horror films, Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse (1981) is another example of his gift at making entertaining horror movies. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was absolutely terrifying and captivating, while Lifeforce is pure cheesy goodness on an epic scale. The Funhouse works almost as a bottle episode stretched out as a full length feature movie: a bunch of kids are trapped in a carnival funhouse, stalked and hunted by carnival freaks. One of them is even more freak than man, a monstrous evil that might be inhuman. At the same time Hooper can’t help but conform to slasher genre conventions, which both helps and hurts this movie.

Chief among those conventions being the need for a “Survival Girl,” a woman who is considered pure although in this case she is more just slightly aware of what is going on. This girl keeps thinking that going deeper into the carnival is a bad idea, that maybe something terrible is going to happen. Of course she ends up being right, yet by the time the rest of the group she goes in with figures it out the murders begin to happen. Violence is responded to with more violence, and by the end of the long gory night people will never be the same. Especially that poor young lady who should have remained at home and kept her sanity.

At times Hooper gets too cheesy, and there are a few scenes that are rather downright predictable. The Funhouse almost wears out its welcome, and yet its still a really good horror film, a movie that presents the carnival scene, warts glory and all. Not to mention a really creepy and memorizing performance from Kevin Conway, who does a great job being two different people. Underneath the bright lights, past the freak acts and the cheap parlor games, lies a darker world that only some are aware of. Those who dare to enter must pay the fee, and the fee is rather high. Rather high indeed.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: TerrorVision (1986, Ted Nicolaou)


You can’t help but love TerrorVision’s theme song. It’s as deliciously campy as the actual film it is, and yet it doesn’t give away the film’s darker side, hinting at what will possibly happen later on in an eerie fashion. This is a horror sci-fi movie that also utilizes satire, although not to as great effect as I would like. Still this is a solid and reliable comedy with some nasty moments.

What I like about 80s horror is that it takes the harsh and brutal style of 70s horror and adds its own brand of dark comedy to the bleak horror elements. TerrorVision pokes fun at the nuclear family, war, TV (of course) and man’s stupidity. Plus even E.T. as the vapid Valley Girl daughter and her idiot boyfriend fail to realize how dangerous the alien creature is, greedily thinking of ways to exploit the monster. The parents are sex crazed money obsessed swingers; the son brainwashed by his nutjob grandpa into thinking war is fun.

Throw a vain and dumb T.V. star into the mix and you have the ingredients for an unlikable bunch of characters, which is something not found in most movies in general. What that means I’m not sure, although I guess it does feed into the film’s harsh view of the 80s. The Idiot Box summons mankind’s doom and results in a hilariously nasty moment and an unexpected conclusion. Despite being rather low budget and having some poor acting I rather enjoyed TerrorVision. Thanks goes out to my public library for enabling me to view this camp classic.

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