Posts Tagged ‘Scream Factory’

slumber-party-massacre-double-feature

 

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

 

Directed By: Deborah Brock

Starring: Crystal Bernard, Kim McArthur, Juliette Cummins, Patrick Lowe, Heidi Kozack, Joel Hoffman, Atanas Illitich, Scott Westmoreland

Synopsis: Courtney and her bandmates rent a condo for the weekend, looking to play music and party, but little do they know that they are being stalked by a drill wielding killer.

Thoughts:

This movie is the perfect example of a sequel being made on premise alone. The first movie, while somewhat iconic, really isn’t that great of a move. I wrote that that movie had a bit of an identity crisis, not knowing whether it should be serious or not, but the sequel goes for the comedy side of things, as well as some musical numbers (yes, you read that right).

The first time I watched this was after a long day of drinking, and honestly, I had to rewatch it again the next day because all I remembered were nonsensical flashbacks, dream sequences and a very non-threatening killer with a ridiculous guitar singing and prancing around. Much to my surprise, I witnessed the same thing sober!

I can’t say I’m a big fan of this movie. It’s just too silly without actually being funny. The characters can be off-putting at times, especially TJ (Hoffman), who I was just waiting to get the drill. It does star Crystal Bernard, who would go on to star in Wings throughout the 90s, among other things, but other than that, the cast is pretty barren.

Unless you have a desire to be a completist, skip this one and skip right to the third.

Slumber Party Massacre III (1990)

 

Directed By: Sally Mattison

Starring: Keely Christian, Brittain Frye, Michael Harris, David Greenlee, Brandi Burkett, Hope Marie Carlton, Maria Claire, Maria Ford, Yan Birch, Ron Smith

Synopsis: A slumber party goes awry as a killer shows up, wielding power tools in inappropriate ways.

Thoughts:

After a sequel that went in a different direction, the third entry goes back to a prototypical slasher formula, a move that I think was very successful. Gone are the crazy dream sequences and, most importantly, the dream sequences.

Although formulaic, I found this to be one of the more enjoyable of the series, even more so than the first movie. There was a plot, although paper thin, and the kills were pretty outrageous. The cast was larger than the last movie, which created more kills, and made the movie move along at a faster pace.

Although not memorable in any sort of way, this is one of those movies that would be fun to watch on a weekend with friends. It’s not going to rival the top slashers of the era, but this is worth a watch.

Destroyer

Directed By: Robert Kirk

Starring: Lyle Alzado, Anthony Perkins, Deborah Foreman, Clayton Rohner, Tobias Anderson, Jim Turner, Pat Mahoney

Synopsis:
Serial Killer Ivan Moser is being executed via the electric chair, but a prison riot breaks out during the execution and Moser disappears. Years later, the abandoned prison is being used as a movie set. Carnage ensues.

Thoughts:
I’m not sure what was going on during the late 80s, but in less than a three year span, there were four horror movies released that all centered around a convict being sent to the electric chair and coming back for revenge in one form or another. We had Prison, Shocker, The Horror Show and this little gem, Destroyer. Interestingly enough, all have been released by Scream Factory, so the theme is just begging for a marathon at your local home theater!

Of the four, Destroyer is probably towards the bottom of the totem pole, but I still found it enjoyable, mostly because of the over the top performance of former NFL madman Lyle Alzado, who played the killer and Anthony Perkins as the Director of the exploitation movie being filmed at the prison. It’s a women-in-prison flick, and there is even the requisite shower scene being filmed, so I thought that was a great nod to the genre. Destroyer is rife with ridiculous lines and not great acting, but it is throwback to the heydays of 1980s VHS, and who doesn’t love that.

Destroyer is part of a Scream Factory Double Feature with Edge of Sanity, both featuring Anthony Perkins, but as I mentioned before, this pairs perfectly with a couple of other movies. I used its release as an excuse to revisit Prison, one of the first VHS horror movies I remember watching. It’s by no means perfect, but it features a couple of cool deaths, especially the jackhammer scene and some over the top 80s style action. Alzado should have done more movies, maybe even teaming up with Bosworth in something (a guy can dream I guess).

Destroyer is a must see for 80s slasher fans, and is a worthy entry into the Scream Factory canon. I really enjoy their double features, allowing movies that might not support a full blown release to make their way onto Blu, and into my collection.

scream-factory-all-night-horror-marathon-Vol2

Around Halloween of 2013, Scream Factory released its second offering of their All Night Horror Marathon series. The series was designed to release films from the past that couldn’t support a solo, or even double feature release. I think it is a great idea, although I was a bit let down by the fact that it was released on DVD only. Due to popular demand, Cellar Dwellar and Catacombs will be getting the double feature treatment on Blu later this year. Personally, I would have chosen The Dungeon Master over Catacombs, but I am happy to see Cellar Dwellar getting a better release.

Cellar_Dweller

The first movie I watched started the marathon off with a bang! Cellar Dwellar was directed by John Carl Buechler and had a small appearance by the always awesome Jeffrey Combs. It tells the tale of a comic book creation come to life, killing the inhabitants of an art school. The story and creature are really great and this is the best movie in the collection in my opinion.

dungeonmaster

Next on the list was The Dungeonmaster, also known as Ragewar. I don’t recall this one from my youth, which is odd, seeing as how I was a total D & D nerd back then. Dungeonmaster is broken into several segments, each directed by a different person and featuring Paul, a computer programmer battling Mestema, and evil wizard / dungeon master and his various challenges. Charles Band produced Dungeonmaster and the directors feature John Carl Buechler and Ted Nicolaou, plus a few other names I didn’t recognize. While the movie is pretty cheesy (not a bad thing), Richard Moll plays a pretty awesome villain. This flick was worthy of inclusion in the marathon on his role alone.

Contamination dot 7

I rolled from The Dungeonmaster right into Contamination .7. It’s actually had several different titles including Troll 3, Creepers and The Crawlers. Much like Troll 2, this movie has no connection to the previous entries and doesn’t even feature a troll. It’s about hazardous waste turning tree roots into killers. This little gem comes from us from no other than Joe D’Amato, which may explain the multiple titles. Anything to sell the film. It seems like the worse the movie, the more names it has to confuse potential viewers. This is easily the worst movie in the collection. It’s pretty boring and the acting is horrendous. . It’s a good thing I embarked on this marathon during the day, otherwise I would have likely fallen asleep. This was tough to sit through for me.

Catacombs

The finale to the marathon is Catacombs (also titled Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice). I intend to go back and revisit this one as I was pretty jaded by Contamination .7 when I watched it. A school teacher is visiting an ancient monastery for research, but doesn’t realize that the monastery happens to be the prison for an ancient demon. The demon gets loose and chaos reigns. Catacombs was directed by David Schmoeller, who also delivered Tourist Trap, Puppet Master and Crawlspace, among others, so he has delivered some pretty good stuff for Charles Band. The demon had a pretty cool look to him, reminding me a bit of Castle Freak (just not as mutilated and also not dickless). I’ll be checking this out when it hits on Blu Ray for sure, because as it stands now, I don’t recall much of the movie, other than I didn’t overly enjoy it.

All in all, this is a pretty great set, especially for the price. I’d pay the full price just for Cellar Dwellar, so you have to look at the other movies as a bonus. Contamination .7 is the only stinker in the bunch (I’m guessing Catacombs is better than I am giving it credit for). I’d like to see Scream put out another of these sets and would really like to see them do one of these on Blu-Ray.

Phibes

 

Directed By: Robert Fuest

Starring: Vincent Price, Joseph Cotten, Peter Jeffrey, Virginia North, Caroline Munroe

Synopsis: Dr. Phibes, believed to be dead, seeks revenge on a group of doctors that were on hand when his wife died on the operating table while detectives race to stop him.

Thoughts: Before there was Jigsaw, there was Dr. Phibes. In all honesty, I watched a handful of Saw movies before seeing this Vincent Price classic, but it didn’t take long at all to see that this movie had at least some influence on the perennial Halloween offering. Dr. Phibes uses elaborate traps to mimic the Ten Plagues of Egypt in his quest for vengeance. Some traps are rather elaborate, such as the Frog mask, while others are little more than releasing bats into a bedroom.

As is in the case of so many of his films, Vincent Price shines here. Without a doubt, this is one of Price’s oddest characters. Between his makeup and the fact that he cannot speak using conventional methods, Price was forced to really use facial expressions and his eyes to communicate. The result is a wonderful portrayal of a man hell-bent on revenge and more than a little bit insane.

The supporting cast comes together to deliver an oddly humorous and campy movie. Joseph Cotten, one of my all-time favorite actors (the guy starred for Orson Welles, Hitchcock and Mario Bava!), plays the ultimate object of Phibe’s vengeance and does a phenomenal job. He’s about the only one in the entire movie that plays his character “straight” as the detectives are both rather bumbling in their approach. Although she wasn’t credited, the gorgeous Caroline Munroe plays Phibe’s wife. Whenever I watch these older movies and see the icons that starred in them, I think of the movies that are out today, and who we will consider icons in 30 or 40 years.

Vincent Price starred in several great genre movies, but this is one of his most iconic. This is a fabulous movie and well worth checking out. It also happens to be part of the amazing Scream Factory Vincent Price collection, something that belongs in every collection.

Video Dead

Directed By: Robert Scott

Starring: Michael St Michaels, Rocky Duvall, Roxanna Augesen, Sam McClelland, Vickie Bastel

Subgenre: Zombies

Synopsis: A supernatural television spews forth zombies that attack the living.

Thoughts: The Video Dead is a slam dunk example of an average 80s movie with an amazing cover.  I faintly recall being tantalized by this cover in my formative years, and was eager to check it out when Scream Factory recently released it.

As you can expect the acting is pretty atrocious, even for an 80s zombie flick.  It’s not even worthwhile to discuss individual performances, because no one stood out.  They were all equally bad.  I will say that the zombies looked pretty cool.  The makeup was well done and some of the zombies had a great “look” to them.  Now, their behavior on the other hand, was a little different than most zombie flicks.  These zombies had feelings, and are looking for love and attention.  They also love dancing.  Weird, I know, but you just roll with it as you are watching.

Robert Scott wrote, directed and produced The Video Dead, and it was his first film.  It was also his second to last film, as he would go on to direct the 1990 movie Ratdog, which I’ve never heard of and has no details on IMDb.  That’s not to say the guy hasn’t been busy, he has an extensive resume as a second unit or assistant director.  His direction is better than the acting, and the storyline is unique enough to have intrigued me, but I can see why he has made his career as a second unit director.  He seems to have the technical skill but maybe not the finesse needed to helm a successful movie on his own.

The Video Dead falls into that category of so bad it is good that makes it fun to watch.  There are a lot of really bad zombie movies from the 80s, and while Video Dead isn’t great, the zombies look good enough to propel it past a lot of the other “bad” movies.  It’s on a double feature with TerrorVision and was recently released by Scream Factory.  Fans of 80s cheesiness should have this set on their radar already, but if you don’t, it’s worth a look.

 

If you aren’t following Scream Factory on Facebook, you are missing out on early announcements and great cover art reveals.  This was something they recently dropped that MUST be a part of my collection!

**EXCLUSIVE ANNOUNCEMENT**

If you love VINCENT PRICE like we do then you’re gonna love love LOVE this exciting news! We will be releasing a blu-ray collection box set before Halloween that showcases some of the legendary horror film star’s greatest films which include:

– FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
– THE HAUNTED PALACE
– THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH
– THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM
– WITCHFINDER GENERAL- and its alternate U.S. version of the film, THE CONQUEROR WORM
– THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES

More details (artwork, exact street date, pricing, extras, etc.) to be revealed in June-July so stay tuned you “Screamers”–as one of fans affectionately put it. 🙂

Vincent Price

Prison

Directed By: Renny Harlin

Starring: Viggo Mortenson, Tom Everett, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Chelsea Field, Lane Smith, Kane Hodder

Subgenre: Supernatural

Synopsis: Creedmore Prison is reopened thirty years after Charlie Forsythe is executed for a crime he didn’t commit and Charlie is waiting for his revenge.

Thoughts: There was a time period in the late 80s when I was in Junior High and spent a lot of time at a friend’s house who had an older brother that would rent us any movie we wanted.  This led to me seeing many gems from the 80s, including the recently released Prison (Thanks Scream Factory!).  Prison was one of those movies that genre fans clamored for for years.  Prior to the Scream Factory release it hadn’t been released since the VHS days.

It’s surprising that it took so long for Prison to gain a release with some of the names attached to it.  The first, and most famous of those names is Viggo Mortensen who plays one of the inmates at the prison and is the star of the movie.  Based on that alone, I would have thought Prison would have hit DVD or Blu when Lord of the Rings came out and Viggo’s star was burning brightest.  Lane Smith is a familiar face as well and gives a great turn as the maniacal warden who is the primary target for revenge.

In addition to the acting, Kane Hodder did the stunts as Charlie Forsythe, the vengeful spirit in the climax.  His work on Prison solidified his reputation in Hollywood and led to him gaining larger roles in Hollywood, the most obvious example being Jason in four Friday the 13th movies.

Director Renny Harlin makes his money by bouncing between the horror and action genres, providing hits and misses in both along the way.  I love A Long Kiss Goodnight and Deep Blue Sea is a really fun movie, but Exorcist: The Beginning and Cutthroat Island are both pretty poor.  He does a good job here taking advantage of the very spooky atmosphere.  The effects are spaced out, but are really well done.  I miss the day of practical effects.

Prison is a movie that all horror fans should see.  It is, or rather was, one of the last gems to make it to DVD/Blu-Ray.  Scream Factory is proving to be one of the best things to happen to the horror genre in quite some time, so support them and pick up some of their titles today!