Posts Tagged ‘Clint Howard’

evilspeak

 

Directed By: Eric Weston

Starring: Clint Howard, RG Armstrong, Joseph Cortese, Claude Earl Jones, Richard Moll, Haywood Nelson, Don Stark, Charles Tyner

Synopsis: Stanley Coopersmith is often the target of bullies at a military school until he finds an ancient book giving his the ability to exact his revenge.

Thoughts:

Does it ever pay to pick on the outcast in class? You would think we had learned our lesson from Carrie, which has many parallels to Evilspeak. Instead of being psychic, Stanley happens upon a book detailing the powers of a Black Mass.

The movie starts with a flashback to medieval times, where we see Richard Moll as Father Estaban, the leader of a Satanic Church. As I started looking at Moll’s filmography, there are a surprising number of horror and cult titles that he’s been a part of, many of which have had releases lately. Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, The Dungeonmaster and Night Train to Terror, along with House, could make for a pretty kick ass Moll Marathon!

As we flip to the present, we find Clint Howard, who is also no stranger to the horror genre, as Stanley Coopersmith, the orphaned student that seemingly everyone picks on, including the faculty. Evilspeak takes some time getting to the action, but the final scene is pretty insane, with Howard flying around a church (on obvious wires) swinging a monstrous sword decimating his enemies.

Evilspeak isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s not a bad watch. Interestingly enough, Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, is a huge fan of the film. I thought that it took some time to get going, but the finale was worth it.

How Nasty Is It? Evilspeak is included in the infamous Video Recordings Act of 1984, making it a Video Nasty. There’s a good bit of gore in the finale, but it’s not realistic at all. There is also a shower scene, where a secretary meets her demise at the hands (hooves?) of demonic boars. In my opinion, the reason this ended up as a Video Nasty was because of the Satanic themes. Compared to many of the other titles on the list, this is very tame.

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silent-night-deadly-night-5-the-toy-maker

Directed By: Martin Kitrosser

Starring: William Thorne, Jane Higginson, Van Quattro, Tracy Fraim, Mickey Rooney, Brian Bremmer, Neith Hunter, Clint Howard

Synopsis: Deadly toys lead to a nefarious toymaker and his bizarre son, but not everything is as it seems.

Thoughts: The final installment of the original franchise is, without a doubt, the most bizarre entry. While the first there were slasher films, and the second dealt with the occult, The Toy Maker starts with someone delivering killer toys. It’s not very clear why the toys are being delivered at first, but the story starts to unwind as the movie progresses.

The most interesting casting choice is that of Mickey Rooney as a toy shop owner. Rooney famously campaigned against the first movie. I guess that a paycheck outweighed his morals when it came to The Toy Maker. The rest of the cast is pretty much what you’d expect, but Brian Bremmer turns in a rather bizarre performance as Pino, the son of Rooney’s character Joe Petto.

The Toy Maker is worth checking out just for the bizarre twists in the movie. The ending is pretty unique, and definitely not something you see coming. Sadly, there isn’t a quality release of The Toy Maker (just like part 4), but you can find the triple feature on DVD pretty cheap.

silent-night-deadly-night-4

Directed By: Brian Yuzna

Starring: Clint Howard, Neith Hunter, Tommy Hinkley, Reggie Bannister, Allyce Beasley, Maud Adams, Hugh Fink, Ricard Gladstein, Geln Chin

Synopsis: An investigation into a woman’s death leads a reporter to uncover a coven of witches.

Thoughts: The fourth installment of Silent Night, Deadly Night foregoes the killer Santa brothers from the first three movies and takes a completely different turn towards the supernatural. In my opinion, this was a good move. There wasn’t a lot more to do with Billy and Ricky’s story (although the earlier movies get a cameo of sorts as it is playing on a background TV in one scene). What did surprise me is that this has very little to do with Christmas. The ritual that is set to take place in the climax takes place on Christmas Eve, so there is some connection, but not nearly as overt as the first three movies.

The cast is led by Neith Hunter, who plays Kim, the aspiring reporter looking to uncover the bizarre circumstances of a woman’s death. For someone without a lot of experience, I thought she did a good job. The coven that she encounters is also very good, and made me wonder how much of an influence that this movie had on Rob Zombie for Lords of Salem. There are a lot of parallels between the two movies. There are also a couple of very familiar faces to horror fans here as well, with Clint Howard playing a significant role as Ricky (nod to preceding entries), the servant to the coven. Kim’s boss, the editor at the newspaper is played by Reggie Bannister, of Phantasm fame.

The familiar names don’t stop there, as Initiation was directed by Brian Yuzna, who brought us gems like Society and Bride or Re-Animator. He also wrote this, and it shows. Yuzna has always had a penchant for pretty gory scenes, and there are a few of those in Initiation. Yuzna relied on Screaming Mad George for the FX here, which proved to be another great decision.

Oddly enough, I found this to be one of the better entries in the series, which is not something I was expecting. I believe that is partly due to the deviation from the slasher formula, which really wasn’t done particularly well in the previous entries anyway.

Unfortunately, the DVD release of this is of pretty poor quality. I’d love to see Scream pick up the series and give the original a Collector’s Edition, 2 & 3 a double feature and 4 & 5 a double feature. An Arrow box set would also be pretty sweet.

This was an interesting watch, and I do plan on revisiting it someday, probably as a double feature with Lords of Salem, just to see how similar the movies are (or if it is my shoddy memory).I think Initiation is worth checking out, but not necessarily as a Christmas horror movie.

Carnosaur (1993)

Directed By: Adam Simon

Starring: Dianne Ladd, Raphael Sbarge, Jennifer Runyon, Clint Howard, Ned Bellamy, Harrison Page

Subgenre: Creature Feature, Sci-Fi

Carnosaur

Synopsis: A mad scientist plans to recreate Dinosaurs in a lab and destroy humanity.

Thoughts: Carnosaur is a precursor to the low budget Sci Fi originals that were made to take advantage of bigger budget Hollywood fare.  Carnosaur was released right before Jurassic Park and sported a budget of around a million dollars.  It’s loosely based on a 1984 novel with the same name, authored by John Bronson.

Carnosaur lives up to its low budget, in both the acting and the creature FX.  There are a few dinosaurs in Carnosaur, but most of them are clearly hand puppets, with a few larger models thrown in.  John Carl Buechler, noted genre Director and FX guru, only had 10 weeks to get everything done, and it really shows.

As a can expect, the acting is pretty rough as well, although the always awesome Clint Howard does play a part in this mess.  You’ll probably recognize Jennifer Runyon from her small role in Ghostbusters as well.

I can’t really recommend Carnosaur, but it has its place in the genre along with recent entries such as Mega Piranha and Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus.  I think John Bronson, the author of the source material said it best when he said this movie is “Crap, but interesting crap.”

The Wraith (1986)

Directed By: Mike Marvin

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid, Matthew Barry, Clint Howard, David Sherrill

Subgenre: Science Fiction

The Wraith

Synopsis: A mysterious driver in a Turbo Interceptor seeks revenge on a gang of hoodlums with a penchant for illegal auto racing.

Thoughts: This is one of those movies from my childhood that is probably not as good as the memories around it, but I still love it anyways.  The fast cars and ultra-cool Turbo Interceptor (actually the Dodge M4S concept car) appealed to me when I was ten years old, and they are still pretty damn cool.  While poking around the expanses of the Internet, I stumbled on this pretty cool site where a guy actually restored the Interceptor!

Aside from the multiple races and high speed chases in the movie, The Wraith actually touts a pretty impressive cast.  The most obvious example is a young Charlie Sheen.  The mid-eighties were very kind to Sheen with Platoon, Wall Street and Young Guns, and the studio was lucky to get Sheen to star here before he became a massive star.  Nick Cassavetes is a well-known name to cinophiles, but not for his acting chops.  He comes from a family deeply entrenched in the film industry and has directed many popular movies such as Alpha Dog and The Notebook.  I’m still waiting for him to helm a sequel to The Wraith.  You even have Randy Quaid playing the Sheriff who doesn’t really care that the gang is being killed off, but attempts to investigate none the less.  Last, but most certainly not least, is genre favorite Clint Howard.  Clint plays Rughead, the gang member responsible for tweeking the cars so they are as fast as possible.  He also has quite possibly one of the most bizarre haircuts ever.

The Wraith - Rughead

While Director Mike Marvin has stayed busy since The Wraith, this appears to be his most well-known movie, unless you are a fan of late night Cinemax style movies, as it appears he was involved in at least a few of those.  It’s too bad, as it appeared like he had at least some semblance of how to film car chases.

Like I said, this is a childhood favorite of mine, so of course I suggest you check it out.  That being said, it’s not exactly great cinema.  Sit back and revel in the joy of the 80s and one cool ass car.