SLAUGHTER HIGH/ APRIL FOOL’S DAY (1986) – This is the low-budget horror film made in England and set on April Fool’s Day. There are still VHS tapes and YouTube videos that show the original title, but the title was changed to Slaughter High because of the year’s OTHER April Fool’s Day slasher film with a gimmick ending.
Slaughter High starts off showing us April Fool’s Day of 1976, when a group of “teenagers” including 30-something Caroline Munro go to bizarre lengths to degrade and victimize their nerdy classmate Marty. These “kids” aren’t so much bullies as they are psychopaths, actually.
After an April Fool’s Day “prank” involving nudity, electric shocks and near drowning, Marty is still alive through no fault of his classmates. The supposed popular kids get punished for their criminal assault on Marty, and perversely blame him for it! It’s that kind of movie. Hell, Marty’s tormentors were caught in the act, it’s not even like he peached on them (since this was made in England I couldn’t resist writing “peached on them”).
The psychotic teens-in-their -thirties decide Marty deserves some payback for the way they got in trouble for nearly killing him earlier, so they stage a new “prank” involving tampered-with marijuana, dangerous chemicals … and acid. C’mon, you kidders! Stop giving Marty the business! Just cut off one of his limbs or something and call it a day, ya jokesters! Continue reading
MARDI GRAS MASSACRE (1978) – Category: A neglected Bad Movie classic, but its hard-core gore will prevent it from ever having a Plan 9-sized cult following
It takes a twisted sort of genius to make multiple disembowelment murders look boring, but that’s exactly what Jack Weis accomplishes in Mardi Gras Massacre! Today may be Fat Tuesday, but let’s rechristen it “Splat Tuesday” in honor of this late 70s splatterfest.
The actual “massacre” part of this movie is an incredible disappointment. An insane, hate-filled man with a knife – no, not Jim Bowie (rimshot) – is roaming around New Orleans during Mardi Gras targeting prostitutes as sacrificial offerings to the Aztec deities he worships.
That sounds promising for a horror film but the disembowelment ritual is reenacted word for word and movement for movement for EACH VICTIM! There is no variation and also no suspense because after the first killing we know exactly how all the subsequent sacrifices will play out. The only chills come from listening to the awful disco music that plays during the ceremonial slayings. (“NOOOOOOOOOO!”) Continue reading
OPEN HOUSE (1987) – This movie falls into the bizarre sub-genre of “Theme Slashers” from the 1980s. I have a soft spot for those flicks and have previously reviewed Horror House on Highway 5 (slasher in a Richard Nixon mask), The Newlydeads (undead transvestite slasher), Bloodbeat (female slasher using a samurai sword), Hellroller (slasher in a wheelchair) and about a dozen others.
With Open House we get a slasher who specializes in killing … Real Estate Agents. Now who could resist a movie about a killer with such an oddly specific obsession? Cult figure Adrienne Barbeau stars in the film and has outrightly admitted she only made this turkey to finance her child’s college education. I have no idea what motivated Sam Bottoms and Tiffany Bolling to appear in this “so bad it’s good” little honey.
Harry, our homeless slasher, wins the hearts of all lovers of bad movies right off the bat with the makeshift weapon he uses to kill his first two on-screen victims. The homicidal Harry stops eating from a can of dogfood long enough to tape razors to a toilet plunger handle and uses the improvised device to unleash bloody mayhem. He carves up the sexy realtor and her hunky househunter just as they were about to get their freak on in the house she was trying to sell him.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG! Over the years my review of the 2011 horror film Father’s Day has been the most controversial. Reader reaction has been split between requests that I run the review every single Father’s Day and requests that I never run it again. Continue reading
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! LOVE, GEORGE (1973) – Category: Bad movie elevated by kitsch value in the casting.
Directed by THE Darren McGavin and featuring his wife Kathie Browne in a small role, this hilariously bizarre film is also known as Run, Stranger, Run. “Run, Potential Viewer, Run” would be a more appropriate title.
Happy Mother’s Day Love, George (henceforth HMDLG) is often described as a psycho-sexual thriller but actually it is nothing more than a melodramatic soap opera with a few murders and VERY few scenes of blood and gore. Those blood and gore scenes are so over-the-top they are completely at odds with the low-key, almost made-for-tv mildness of the rest of the movie.
This was a theatrical release but is so subdued and slow-paced it seems like a telefilm. You and your friends can keep yourselves entertained making jokes about the recognizable cast members to kill time since the first murder doesn’t happen until we’re more than an hour into this flick.
Ron Howard IS Johnny, a teenager who has come to town to discover who his birth parents are but who mostly just stands around staring at people and ESPECIALLY at houses. He seems completely taken aback that the townspeople find this somewhat creepy. Johnny is intrigued by the rash of missing persons plaguing the small town and feels they are connected to the secret of his past. Continue reading
Halloween Month continues at Balladeer’s Blog.
PSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010) – Also available under the title Gothic & Lolita Psycho, this ultra-violent and blood-soaked movie was Japanese filmmaker Go Ohara’s follow-up to Geisha Assassin from 2008.
Rina Akiyama stars as Yuki, the black-clad title character whose fashion sense combines two Japanese fetish looks in one. The film begins with Yuki already enacting her revenge quest against a bizarre quintet of villainous supernatural figures. Disjointed flashbacks provide background details as the story unfolds, with the most crucial secret being withheld for last. Continue reading
Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with my take on the top four (of ten) movies in the Hellraiser franchise.
HELLRAISER (1987) – “Jee-zuz WEPT!” Clive Barker helped translate his novel The Hellbound Heart to the big screen in this film. It’s incredibly rare for a novelist to get to DIRECT a movie version of one of his own works but Barker made the most of it.
Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) has exhausted sexual sensation with women, men, corpses and animals. Seeking new stimulation he solves LeMerchand’s Puzzle Box, a “Rubik’s Cube From Hell” which leaves him at the mercy of the demonic inter-dimensional sadomasochists called the Cenobites of the Order of the Gash.
Suffering unimaginable torments as the M in this S&M relationship, Frank struggles to escape the Cenobites for good, even if it means sacrificing his brother Larry plus Larry’s wife Julia (Clare Higgins) and daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence). Continue reading
The living dead emerging from The Dead Pit (1989)
Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues! 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.
THE 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
Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween will as usual feature reviews of horror stories and movies sprinkled in with my usual topics. This year I’m starting off with Brightburn.
BRIGHTBURN (2019) – This mid-level budget movie has been criminally underrated in my opinion. Its horror twist on the usual superhero story (especially Superman) is well-handled and should have been just the thing audiences flocked to for a change of pace from the flood of superhero movies in recent years.
The film skillfully combines horror with science fiction and Jackson A Dunn as the alien child Brandon makes for the creepiest kid this side of Damien in The Omen. The kills in Brightburn are fairly gory but only in one instance is it dwelt upon, and the scene definitely earns that emphasis.
Right up front I’ll mention that you do have to make with a BIG suspension of disbelief. The movie asks viewers to accept the premise that in this age of unending documentation and requirements for child vaccinations that a childless couple could successfully do a fake adoption of a baby from outer space whose spaceship crashed near their farmhouse.
At any rate the couple, the Breyers, live in a remote small-town in Kansas, so if you really have to, you can assume that has helped them carry out their deception. That town is named Brightburn, which provides the film with its title. Continue reading