THE SCARLET GOSPELS (2015) – Written by Clive Barker, or I guess I should make that “Written by Clive Barker” (wink). I notice from other reviews of this disappointing novel that I’m far from alone in thinking Barker wrote only the Prologue and a ghost writer completed the work. Probably Damon Lindelöf. (I’m kidding!)
How do you go wrong with a novel featuring Barker’s recurring Occult Detective Harry D’Amour taking on the Hell Priest aka Pinhead (or “Lead Cenobite” as he was known to the ancients. Hellraiser fans will get it.)? How do you do it? With horrific writing that is worse than most fan fiction, that’s how.
Let’s start with the good: the Prologue. This prologue is so tantalizingly good that the jarring plunge in quality the rest of the way makes reading The Scarlet Gospels feel like some exquisitely refined brand of torture being pioneered by the Cenobites and their Order of the Gash. Continue reading
FRIDAY THE 13th: THE ORPHAN (1977) – H.H. Munro must have turned over in his grave at this adaptation of one of his short stories. This quasi-horror film was re-released in 1979 as just The Orphan and despite the original title it has no connection to the Friday the 13th series of slasher flicks. At least, no REAL connection. I’m surprised some unscrupulous distributor never tried sneaking this into theaters in the 1980s as a “prequel” to the slasher movies by presenting the insane young boy in the movie as the grandfather of Jason Voorhees.
Even so the title makes it hard not to think of our wealthy young protagonist “David” (Mark Owens) as an ancestor of the hockey- masked slice and dice man from Crystal Lake. In the 1920s David’s mother accidentally shoots his African Big Game Hunter father Kevin to death during an argument about his frequent overseas trips. David not only witnesses this but sees his mother put the gun in her mouth and kill herself immediately afterward.
Next David gets VERY disturbed when a presumed family member (an uncredited Christopher Lloyd in a “blink-and-you’ll- miss- him” appearance) forces him to kiss his dead father as he lies in his coffin.
The young man’s Aunt Martha arrives to take care of him (and yes, obscure movie buffs, she sometimes does dreadful things). Turns out Martha was dating David’s father before he callously dumped her to marry her sister. Martha takes her resentment of the father out on David and even chews him out about a cough he inherited from dear dead Dad. I’m sure you can tell where all this is headed. Continue reading
Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog may recall how fond I am of Clive Barker’s novel The Hellbound Heart and the subsequent Hellraiser horror film franchise. Mike LeHan and Paul Gerrard directed and produced a 2013 spec trailer hoping to get a reboot of the series greenlit.
Unfortunately that did not happen, but their trailer shows a lot of work went into it. The depiction of Hell is in keeping with the spirit of the first two Hellraiser movies and the re-imagining of Pinhead is intriguing but not entirely appealing. Anyway, the spec trailer is worth a look if you’ve already read Barker’s The Scarlet Gospels and are starved for more Cenobite material.
FATHER’S DAY (2011) – Brace yourself for a gory time in this enjoyably outrageous cult classic.
Ahab, the eye-patch sporting hero of the Astron 6 horror film Father’s Day is in my opinion the one true successor to Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams. And considering how unfair the ending of this movie is for Ahab and his two sidekicks a case could even be made for them replacing Ash as the most royally screwed character in the history of gore-soaked horror comedies.
It’s difficult to review this dark, grotesque gem without resorting to a series of catch phrases like “Goes where Dead Alive and similar movies failed to go” or “What Grindhouse hath wrought” or even “Twink and Walnut: They’re NOT Muppets!” Let me start with a more practical line: Do not watch this movie if you can not handle the most offensive violence, concepts, gore and deranged sexuality imaginable. Continue reading
Scream Factory has announced that on September 11th it will be releasing its edition of the 1990 cult movie Brain Dead, with Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton.
It’s an enjoyable little head-trip of a movie that tries to keep you guessing about what’s really going on. Extras for the release will be announced at a later date.
I’m not sure if even I would want to own this movie but it’s at least nice for a one-time viewing. Once you know what’s really going on subsequent viewings lack any real oomph.
CORPSE EATERS (1974) – No, not The Brain Eaters and not The Worm Eaters, both of which are real movies, but Corpse Eaters without any “the” in front. This 57 minute wonder actually manages to overstay its welcome, believe it or not, which is just as well because the similar low-budget film Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things did everything better than this film does.
The people behind Corpse Eaters know JUST what horror fans want to see … water-skiing and plenty of it! This baby takes the concept of padding to the next level with interminable footage of two couples having a great time boating and otherwise whooping it up at lakeside. I’m not old enough to have ever sat through a suburban family’s hellishly boring home-movies but thanks to this film I can experience it as if I was alive back then! Sweeeeet!
The aforementioned lakeside footage comes after the audience is treated to several loooong minutes of a mortician and his assistant talking about what a creepy job they have. Then it’s on to our “stars” if that isn’t too strong a word for them. The frolicing couples note that it’s Friday the 13th and decide to spend the night in a graveyard just for the heck of it. Continue reading
It’s Alive from 1974 is a psychotronic classic. It Lives Again from 1978 features Frederic Forrest, the “I’m a saucier” guy in his second-worst onscreen relationship – the worst was with Teri Garr in One From the Heart. It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive is fairly lame but at least it has Michael Moriarty.
Yes, the It’s Alive Trilogy is coming out on Blu-ray! You can pre-order this May 15th release at the link below, plus here’s the menu of extras for each of the 3 films:
• NEW 2K scan of the original film elements
• NEW Cohen’s Alive: Looking Back at the It’s Alive Films featuring interviews with writer/producer/director Larry Cohen, actors James Dixon, Michael Moriarty and Laurene Landon and more…
• NEW It’s Alive at the Nuart: The 40th Anniversary Screening with Larry Cohen
• Audio Commentary with writer/producer/director Larry Cohen
• Radio Spots
• TV Spots
• Theatrical Trailer
• Still Gallery
IT LIVES AGAIN