Tag Archives: Halloween movies

DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT (2010)

Dylan DogDYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT (2010) Halloween Month continues with a look at the luckless Brandon Routh’s turn as this film’s title character, Tiziano Sclavi’s horror hero from Italian comic books. Sclavi launched Dylan Dog’s series in October of 1986 and under various creative teams the series is still running.

(Years ago I reviewed the film version of Tiziano Sclavi’s Dellamorte Dellamore from 1994.) 

Dylan Dog, an investigator of vampires, werewolves and other monsters, is an international cult hero beloved by comics fans around the world … which, of course, meant that any deviation from what the fan-boys wanted would cause them to hamstring the movie adaptation at the box office. The internet giveth and the internet taketh away.

In my opinion Dylan Dog: Dead of Night does not deserve its bad reputation. Compared to the many, many other films and television programs about heroic battlers of the paranormal this was certainly a top shelf production. The fact that this cinematic adaptation came along decades later than it should have is the main problem.  

Dylan Dog 2Let’s go by the numbers, knowing full well that budget and projected box office returns limited many of the creative decisions:

I. The Dylan Dog comic book was set in London (?). This movie was set in New Orleans, a change of locale that I actually like, given London’s overuse in horror films. Needless to say, this put the worst type of fan-boys in a VERY bad mood right off the bat.

II. The creative team behind Dylan Dog: Dead of Night kept the mood light. I agree with that choice given the inherent campiness and absurdity of an investigator who encounters werewolves, vampires, zombies, etc in horrific settings that are often reminiscent of Film Noir detective stories. The worst type of fan-boys bemoaned the “lack of the sad and serious tone of the comic books.”

III. In the comic book Dylan Dog’s sidekick in his investigations was Groucho, a Groucho Marx impersonator whose built-in craziness caused him to BE Groucho 24/7. For obvious legal and monetary reasons an American film version could not use Groucho as Dylan’s sidekick. The worst type of fan-boys were even more disenchanted.

Dylan Dog 3IV. The cinematic sidekick for Dylan was a new creation – Marcus, played by Sam Huntington, who had previously appeared with star Brandon Routh in the ill-fated Superman Returns (2006).

(Poor Routh. If only he had also starred in Frank Miller’s 2008 movie The Spirit he could have notched an all-time Hat Trick for starring in unfortunate comic book adaptations.)    Continue reading

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FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH: THE ORPHAN (1977) – MOVIE REVIEW

Friday the 13th The Orphan biggerFRIDAY 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 1980’s 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 1920’s 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. Continue reading

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ROCKTOBER BLOOD (1984): HEAVY METAL HORROR

Rocktober BloodROCKTOBER BLOOD (1984) -This example of the Heavy Metal Horror films of the 1980s was produced, directed and written by Beverly and Ferd Sebastian, a well-known pair to all of us Bad Movie Geeks. The premise of this hilariously bad movie is that Heavy Metal star Billy Eye programs something sinister into his latest album by way of backward-masking. (Like “I buried Paul” and others) 

After listening to those hidden messages to make sure they “took,” Billy Eye molests his just-dumped girlfriend Lynn Starling (Donna Scoggin) then uses a knife to injure her. He’s just getting started, though, and from there he proceeds to slaughter most of his band members, a security guard and nearly 20 other innocent people! 

Billy is tried, convicted and executed for the killing spree. One year after his execution his former flame Lynn Starling has formed her own Heavy Metal group called Headmistress. The band is starting its first nationwide tour, called the Rocktober Blood Tour, unaware of the tedium horror about to envelope them. Continue reading

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FOUR NEGLECTED MEXICAN HORROR FILMS

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with a look at four unjustly neglected horror films from Mexico.

la loba

La Loba

SHE WOLF (1964) – AKA La Loba, this film features a female lycanthrope in all her violent glory. Generally a very good film, with La Loba making several kills in the opening minutes of the story. The special effects for its time and budget are very nice and the unique way the She Wolf leaps around like she’s practically flying is visually appealing and memorable. Think of the way Wonder Woman leaped around on the tv show, but even better.

And the movie takes the common sense approach of having La Loba sprout full- body hair when she transforms, none of this cheap “just the head and hands get furry” look. The transformation rips our female lycanthrope’s clothing to pieces, too, but her hair, already long in her human form, becomes even longer in her lupine form and discreetly covers the parts of her body that might cause a problem for the prudish.   Continue reading

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SEVEN ZOMBIE FILMS THAT ARE UNIQUE

dead-pit

The living dead emerging from The Dead Pit (1989)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! If you’re like me you’re bored with zombies and pseudo-zombies. The 21st Century is as mired in tiresome, cookie-cutter zombie flicks as the 1980s were in tiresome, cookie-cutter slasher flicks.

Here is a look at seven films which, while technically classified as zombie movies at least adopt unique perspectives and don’t follow established formulas.

dead-pit-2THE DEAD PIT (1989) – This horror film was the directorial debut of the very prolific director Brett Leonard. While not a four-star movie The Dead Pit is enjoyable enough for the Halloween Season and should certainly appeal to anyone into 1980s horror flicks. This movie’s hybrid of zombie elements and slasher elements is both its charm AND the reason behind its love-it-or-hate-it status.

Don’t expect non-stop Resident Evil-level action but DO expect to see some in-your-face gore very early in the flick for lovers of guts and decomposition. A physician (Dr Swan) at a mental hospital discovers the secret sub-basement where a rival MD (Dr Ramzi) is subjecting hopeless patients to horrific experiments involving a combination of science and the supernatural.   Continue reading

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PHANTASM V: RAVAGER (2016)

phantasm-5

PHANTASM V: RAVAGER (2016) – Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with a review of what is supposedly the final installment of the Phantasm horror film series and what is DEFINITELY the final appearance of Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man. Scrimm passed away early this year, so that’s why I wrote “definitely” and given the obsession with reboots that’s why the “supposedly.”

This 5th Phantasm film answers the musical question “Ya mean there was a Phantasm FOUR?!” Yes, there was. It was released directly to video and was called Phantasm IV: Oblivion with the “iv” in Oblivion forming the Roman Numeral 4 in the title. Similarly the “v” in Ravager forms the Roman Numeral 5 in the title.  

angus-scrimm-3From 1979 to this calendar year the movies in this under-appreciated horror franchise forever changed the way we look at funeral homes. And funeral home directors. And Roman Numerals for that matter. For better or worse writer/director Don Coscarelli never sold out, never let the sinister Tall Man become an outer-space joke like Jason Voorhees or a Borscht-Belt Charles Manson like Freddy Krueger. (And it’s hard to believe the first Phantasm was rated X for violence in 1979.) Continue reading

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SPOOKIES (1986)

Spookies 1SPOOKIES (1986) – Halloween month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a look at a bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult. I mean who does this movie have to sleep with in order to be better known?

Spookies is loaded with laughable and outrageous monsters, acting that porn stars would dismiss as amateurish and gore effects that go from wincingly realistic to childishly weak and back again throughout the flick.

The reason for the uneven tone is that Spookies is yet another example of a bad film that was not completed and then was later combined with new footage to slap together a movie with a long enough running time for theatrical release. They Saved Hitler’s Brain, Monster A Go-Go, The Pink Angels plus Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny are four of the best-known examples of these hybrid monstrosities.  

For obvious reasons the characters in the original footage and the completion footage can never interact in the film and part of the fun for lovers of bad movies lies in the awkward lengths the filmmakers go to to try to hide the cut-and- paste nature of their movie. Continue reading

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