There are no shortage of Movie Challenges in the month of October! I’m a veteran of the Halloween Horror Movie Marathon Madness (otherwise known as The Madness) on Facebook, and am serving as a judge this year, so I decided to find another challenge to take on while judging. I’ve got multiple travel commitments for work this month, so it really will be a challenge, but here is the HorrorHound Movie Challenge:

October 1: Watch something from the year you were born. The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976)
October 2: It’s Bud Abbott’s birthday. Watch a monster-themed Abbott & Costello film. Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)
October 3: It’s Virus Appreciation Day. Watch a virus-based horror movie! 28 Days Later (2002)
October 4: We still remember: Watch a movie directed by either Tobe Hooper. Wes Craven, or George Romero. Day of the Dead (1985)
October 5: Watch a movie that somehow involves food! The Stuff (1985)
October 6: Pick a horror movie poster that’s hanging on your wall – and watch that! Night of the Comet (1984)
October 7: Watch a movie that features a horror icon. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
October 8: It’s R.L. Stine’s birthday. Watch a kid-based horror film! The Monster Squad (1987)
October 9: Watch a music-based horror film. Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
October 10: Watch a horror movie remake.
October 11: Let someone else pick the horror film you watch today!
October 12: Watch a religious-based horror film.
October 13: Watch a film that you’ve never seen before.
October 14: Pick out a movie from this year (2018) to watch!
October 15: Watch a British horror film.
October 16: Watch any horror film on Netflix.*
October 17: Dust off an old DVD from your collection and give it a spin.
October 18: Watch a Blumhouse horror film.
October 19: Halloween hits theaters! Watch a Halloween film!
October 20: It’s Bela Lugosi’s birthday. Watch a classic Lugosi film.
October 21: Watch a movie from the 1990s.
October 22:  R.I.P. Jack Ketchum. Watch a film based on Ketchum’s work.
October 23: It’s Weird Al’s birthday … so, why not watch a horror spoof?
October 24: Watch a made-for-TV horror film.
October 25: Watch something Asian.
October 26: It’s “Frankenstein Friday!” Watch a movie featuring Frankenstein’s monster.
October 27: Watch any horror film on Shudder.*
October 28: Watch a horror film that has features punks.
October 29: Watch a movie that features under-water terrors.
October 30: Watch a Stephen King horror movie.
October 31: Simply watch Trick r Treat … Happy Halloween!

The second part of this challenge will be for me to start blogging again! It’s been almost a year since my last post, and I thought about decomissioning this site, but I’ve had a lot of fun with it, so I let it sit. I think I am ready to get back into the saddle and dust off that stack of unwatched movies and write some reviews!

 

 

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Deathrow Gameshow (1986)

DeathrowGameshow_onesheet_USA-1

Directed By: Mark Pirro

Starring: John McCafferty, Robyn Blythe, Darwyn Carson, Beano

Synopsis: A sleazy gameshow host is dodging death threats after he executed a mob boss and his hit (or miss) gameshow, Live or Die.

Thoughts: Lowbrow in the best of ways, Deathrow Gameshow will have you groaning and shaking your head throughout. It’s jam packed with horrible jokes (Slow Children, for instance), dodgy FX (If you can call them FX) and over the top acting by John McCafferty and Beano, the world class hitman.

Deathrow Gameshow is either your jam, or it isn’t. I don’t see people having an opinion in the middle of the road here. It’s not a “good” movie by any stretch of the imagination, but man does it bring back memories of scanning VHS covers at the video store. The gore is pretty much non-exisitent, with all those scenes but away, so without the couple of topless shots, this is pretty much a PG-13 movie.

Hobgoblins (1988)

Hobgoblins

Directed By: Rick Sloane

Starring: Tom Bartlett, Paige Sullivan, Steven Boggs, Kelley Palmer, Billy Frank

Synopsis: A pack of mind altering hobgoblins escape their prison on a movie lot to wreak havoc. Can Kevin, the new security guard, stop them before they kill too many people?

Thoughts: Once a movie is featured by Mystery Science Theatre, it’s pretty much cemented as one of the best worst movies of all time. Hobgoblins seeks to cash in on the small statured monster movies like Gremlins, Critters and Ghoulies, and tries it with the smallest budget imaginable.

The creatures have a pretty decent concept, but they are poorly made and there is absolutely zero articulation with them. They are props that are thrown at victims and zoomed in on once in a while.

Like the FX, the acting is pretty atrocious. I haven’t had an opportunity to watch the MST3K episode, but after sitting through the movie, I think I need to see it. Much like the first half of this double feature, Hobgoblins is far from a good movie, but it sure is fun. I think it would make a great companion to Ghoulies or Critters in a movie marathon.

A Word About Vinegar Syndrome:

I was blown away by the quality of both of these releases. The care and attention is second to none, including much bigger releases. They are doing amazing work for the film industry, preserving movies that most companies will not touch and making them available for the masses. Support them, or risk losing the opportunity to see movies like this forever.

Holidays

It’s October, so it’s time for The Madness! This year, we are focusing on Holiday Horror movies and Anthologies. The mascot film is Holidays (of course!) and it’s bound to be a really fun month. I am not a participant this year, but am acting as a Judge for Team Cryptkeepers!

Check out the Madness on Facebook. It’s a non-stop stream of posts and contests and it is home to a lot of great people!

Challenges
Dead Alive (1992) 1h, 44m
The Walking Dead (S8E1 – Mercy) 60m
Total Points: 15 (Weekend Challenge)
Dead Alive is a classic! The custard scene is just disgusting though. I love the fact that Jackson started with a gore-fest and became one of the biggest Directors in Hollywood. I’d love to see him return to his roots.
9/10
The Walking Dead has changed the genre, for better or worse. I’m still an avid fan, although the show has tested me at times. I feel like Season 8 is off to a very good start though.
8/10

Stranger Things Challenge!
Stranger Things (2017) Season 2, Episodes 1-9
Total Points: 40 (Special Challenge)

Lydia and Beetlejuice get Married!
Total Points: 2 (Cleared with Head Hauntress prior to event)
Attended an amazing outdoor wedding in costume, where the Bride and Groom dressed as Beetlejuice and Lydia! I went as Bob Ross and my wife as a Happy Little Tree.

Halloween 2

Films
The Boogey Man (1980) 1h, 25m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
So, basically what we have here is the result of someone watching Halloween, The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror and cobbling together a semblance of a story line. I was bored most of the time.
5/10

The House by the Cemetery (1981) 1h, 27m
Total Points:6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
The only thing that keeps this from competing for my favorite Fulci is Bob. I hate that kid.
7.5/10

Don’t Go Near the Park (1979) 1h, 24m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
What a bizarre movie! Satanic curses, cannibalism and sacrificing virgins. Pretty cool that the Director was all of 19 when he made this.
6/10

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974) 1h, 35m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
Love this zombie flick! I’m not sure why it doesn’t get the love of some others, but I think it is fantastic
8.5/10

Land of the Dead (2005) 1h, 37m
Total Points: 6 (Doc Terror Memorial List – George A. Romero)
Personally, I enjoy this one for what it is, which is an action movie with some zombies in it.
7/10

Slither (2006) 1h, 35m
Total Points: 3 (2 Base +1 (A LIVING PERSON is TRANSFORMED by Toxic Waste, a Liquid or Parasite/Virus, into a Hideous/Gross Creature(s) or Humanoid Genetic Mutation)
Another really fun, but pretty gross movie. James Gunn hit this out of the park. Would love to see a sequel.
8/10

EvilSpeak (1981) 1h, 29m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
Pretty tame movie (until the climax) for a Video Nasty. Clint Howard is awesome as Coopersmith though.
7/10

Dead & Buried (1981) 1h, 32m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
Written by Dan O’Bannon, FX by Stan Winston and starring Robert Englund? Yes please! Another underrated gem.
8.5/10

Tales of Halloween (2015) 1h, 32m
Total Points: 5 (2 Base +3 (Children under 14 antagonist/protagonist; Eye Gouging; Stop Animation, Man in Suit and Practical Puppetry))
Most of what I read about this was universally bad, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I’ll be picking up a copy and it’ll join my Halloween rotation.
7/10

Trick ‘r Treat (2007) 1h, 22m
Total Points: 4 (2 Base +2(Children under 14 antagonist/protagonist; Release date 2007 to present))
One of my favorite anthologies and a must watch every Halloween. I was able to get this in before watching the World Series this year!
9.5/10

Halloween (1978) 1h, 31m
Total Points: 3 (2 Base +1 (Children in danger))
Hard to argue against this being a top 5 horror movie of all time. I watch this multiple times a year, not just on Halloween.
10/10

Halloween II (1981) 1h, 32m
Total Points: 3 (2 Base + Children in Danger)
Although it loses some of the charm that makes Halloween an amazing film, I think of these two as one movie.
8/10

Dawn of the Dead (2004) 1h, 50m – Unrated Version
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – George A. Romero (Writer))
When kick ass remakes are mentioned, it’s rare I hear anyone bring this up. I love it. You can argue all you want about fast zombies, but they are a part of the mythology now, so I chose to accept them.
8/10

Films
The Slayer (1982) 1h, 26m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
First time checking this out courtesy of Arrow. Enjoyed the atmosphere combined with some pretty gnarly deaths. The ending was crazy! Like many of the Video Nasties, it’s inclusion on the list is a little suspect.
7.5/10

Inferno (1980) 1h, 47m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
Bat shit crazy movie. You better pay attention here, as this isn’t the easiest movie to follow. Still, it has a lot of the Argento staples. Amazing cinematography, creative kills and loads of style.
7/10

Demons (1985) 1h, 28m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – Lamberto Bava)
Now this is a fun movie! I’d love to see this at a drive-in. Tony the pimp is one of my favorite over the top characters in the horror genre. Synapse’s steelbook is gorgeous!
8.5/10

Demons 2 (1986) 1h, 32m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – Lanberto Bava)
The insanity continues, this time in a high rise apartment building. Bobby Rhodes is back, but as a different character, and he is still kicking ass.
7/10

The Church aka Demons 3 (1983) 1h, 50m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – Michele Soavi)
Technically a sequel by name only, and not the only movie to be called Demons 3, but it is the best! This also stars a young Asia Argento.
8/10

Blood Feast (1963) 1h, 7m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
Herschell Gordon Lewis was so ahead of his time. His FX seem a bit goofy today, but in the 60s, they had to inspire some wicked acid trips.
7/10

Knives of the Avenger (1965) 1h, 25m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – Mario Bava)
I’ve always had a soft spot for this one, and for most of Bava’s work really. He actually came into this film during production, rewrote and shot the movie in 6 days. The man is a genius
6.5/10

The Babysitter (2017) 1h, 25m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Release date in 2017)
One of the hottest movies to hit Netflix this month! I’m happy to say it lived up to the hype. Lot’s of fun and surprisingly gory kills. Put this on your queue and enjoy!
7.5/10

The Sect (1991) 2h, 5m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – Michele Soavi)
Satan! Probably my least favorite Soavi movie. I’ve watched this a few times, and I always struggle to stay engaged with it. Still a nice presentation by the folks at Shameless.
6/10

A Bay of Blood (1971) 1h, 27m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
One of the earliest slashers, and one that Friday the 13th used for “inspiration” on several kills. Bava shows he’s not a one trick pony. Also known as Twitch of the Death Nerve, which might be the coolest title ever.
9/10

Vampyros Lesbos (1971) 1h, 32m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – Jesus Franco)
A Lesbian Vampire, beautiful island setting and more 70s bush than you can imagine, so pretty much your typical Franco film.
6.5/10

She Kills in Ectasy (1971) 1h, 27m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – Jesus Franco)
I assumed, incorrectly, that this was a sequel to Vampyros Lesbos. It is, in fact, a very different movie that used the same crew and even some of the same cast! This is a revenge thriller and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Typical to Franco, there is still a lot of nudity.
7/10

Ghosthouse (1988) 1h, 35m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – Umberto Lenzi)
A group explores an old house after receiving an odd radio call. Once inside the house, they split up. Guess what happens next?
7/10

Spasmo (1974) 1h, 34m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Doc Terror Memorial List – Umberto Lenzi)
Tough movie to summarize, other than it’s a Giallo with a lot of twists and turns. There isn’t a lot of on screen violence, which has not been the case with most movies I watched this month!
7/10

Cannibal Ferox (1981) 1h, 33m
Total Points: 6 (ATB – Video Nasty)
Cannibal movies just aren’t my bag man. I see the quality in Holocaust and actually enjoyed Mountain of the Cannibal God, but Ferox is not a fun watch for me. It’ll sit on the shelf until The Head Hauntress makes it worth watching!
6.5/10

Frankenstein (1931) 1h, 11m
Total Points: 2 (No bonus points)
It just wouldn’t be the Halloween season without some Universal classics, and this is one of my favorites.
10/10

Starship Troopers (1997) 2h, 9m
Total Points: 3 (+1 for caverns)
I love this movie! The humor, gore and action are perfectly blended, even with some of the ham-fisted acting. I’ve also always had a crush on Dina Meyer in this movie!
8.5/10

night_of_bloody_apes_poster_01

Director: Rene Cardona, Jerald Intrator

Starring: Jose Elias Moreno, Carlos Lopez Moctezuma, Armando Silvestre, Norma Lazareno, Gerardo Zepeda

Synopsis: In an effort to save him, a mad scientist transplants a gorilla’s heart into his dying son. What follows is a spree of violence and rape.

Thoughts:
In the 60s and 70s it was very popular for Mexican genre films to luchadors into their monster movies. It seems like a great idea to me! Night of the Bloody Apes is the English version of Cardona’s 1969 La Horripilante bestia humana, or The Horrible Man-Beast, which in turn is a remake of one of his earlier films!

Night of the Bloody Apes has a lot of features you would look for in a genre film. You have a Mad Scientist, a deformed lab assistant, a rampaging beast, tons of nudity and of course the added Mexican flair of Luchadoras! Sadly, the Luchadoras aren’t really involved in the plot as much as they should be. I would have liked to have seen a couple of fights with the “man-beast”!

Even though this was on the Video Nasty list, I was a little surprised at the amount of gore and nudity throughout, something you just didn’t see a lot of until later in the 70s. Although pretty tame by todays standards, I can see how the BBFC flagged this movie. To think, had they not out it on the list, I probably would have never watched it!

If you’re thinking about watching this movie, you must be making your way through the Video Nasty list, or picked up the Something Weird DVD at some point. It’s not a film that is talked about a lot, nor is it really that good. There are worse movies on the list, but Night of the Bloody Apes isn’t too terrible to watch.

How Nasty Is It?
There are a handful of scenes where the man-beast rapes women. It’s not on the level of I Spit on Your Grave, but it’s still there, and you end up with the “blood on boobs” that was essentially an auto-inclusion for censorship by the BBFC. I didn’t feel like I needed a shower after this movie.

 

Cannibal Holocaust

Directed By: Ruggero Deodato

Starring: Robert Kerman, Gabriel Yorke, Francesca Ciardi, Luca Giorgio Barbareschi, Perry Pirkanen

Synopsis: A documentary film crew goes missing in The Amazon and a rescue mission finds only their lost footage.

Thoughts: This is quite possibly the most notorious of the Video Nasties. Director Ruggero Deodato was charged with obscenity shortly after the premier and would later, he would even have to defend himself against murder charges! Only after gathering the actors for an interview, and showing footage of how the rigged the impalement scene, were the murder charges dropped.

Cannibal Holocaust is a very well made film. The social commentary and raw violence will shake all but the most hardened viewers. Included in that violence are a couple of scenes of animal cruelty (animal deaths really). Deodato would later regret introducing the animal scenes in the film. Scenes like this don’t bother me too much, as I grew up on a farm. It helps knowing that the animals killed here were eaten by the cast and crew.

The cast did a phenomenal job, even though I hated almost all of them! The original crew that went missing were the real savages here, which is what Deodato was striving to show. We fear what we don’t understand, such as indingenous Amazon tribes, but in reality, we can be much more terrifying.

You don’t see a lot of discussion around it, but Cannibal Hoocaust is one of the early “found footage” movies. Deodato used this method to great effect, without giving us the “shaky cam” that makes recent found footage difficult to watch at times.

Cannibal Holocaust is one of the those movies that every film fan, not just genre fan, should see. It’s not something that I revisit often, but have seen it enough times that the shock has worn of a bit. It’s still not a pleasant experience, but that’s what Deodato wanted. It truly earned its place as a Video Nasty.

How Nasty Is It?
Pretty damn nasty! There are gruesome scenes throughout the movie. There’s on screen animal deaths. There’s cannibalism. Many of the movies on the Video Nasty list make it based on one scene, or even a title or VHS cover. This is not one of them.