Sunday, October 30, 2016


There are lots of dastardly deeds going on at the Christian haute couture fashion house. Everything from backstabbing (naturally), drugs, and murder. Yes, murder. Somebody knows a secret and is killing off the staff to keep it that way.

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is a murder mystery that popularized the giallo genre. It also became the prototype for slasher flicks decades later. The film is beautifully shot and directed by Mario Bava, the godfather of Italian horror.

The plot of BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is extremely thin, but that doesn't matter because Bava's film is style over substance done right. The story is best described as Agatha Christie “lite”. You don't have to pay that close of attention to realize who the killer(s) are.

What you really want to admire is the production design, staging of the scenes, camera movement, and lighting. As it turns out, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is homework if you ever want to make a slasher movie.

Fashion model Isabella knows a secret, a secret so scandalous that she got strangled to death because of it. Her diary becomes a hot commodity and the body count rises due to it's popularity. A masked killer starts offing staff left and right to get their hands on the diary. A investigator shows up to arrest some suspects. But like always, the murders continue. And the killer is revealed to the audience.

Like I said, the killer in BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is easy to spot. It's the technical aspect of the film that is amazing.

Mario Bava's films are just as influential to the modern slasher film as Hitchcock's PSYCHO was. Even more so I'd say. The only difference is there is hardly any “slashing” in a giallo film. Victims are almost always choked to death in those movies. Sometimes a straight razor shows up, but only sometimes.

It's not that the kills are inventive or anything, it's more how they are staged and lit. I will say a few of them are creepy which leads me to the next influence.

Another influence is Dario Argento's SUSPERIA . That film would not exist if not for BLOOD AND BLACK LACE.

Both of these masters of Italian horror know how to use Technicolor really well. Half the time I don't know what's going on in SUSPERIA. All I know is that I love watching it!

I've been slacking this year but I'm going to try and watch more of Bava's films in the future. He's quickly becoming one of my favorite horror movie directors. I even loved his last film before he died, SHOCK. It's not very good but found it more entertaining than THE BABADOOK. Yeah, I said it!

In conclusion, if you're a fan of horror and a slasher flick movie buff, then BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is required viewing.

Happy Halloween!!


JEEPERS CREEPERS is an awkward film to talk about. This is one of those judge the art and not the artist scenarios. For those that don't know, the writer and director of the movie did a bad bad thing. Look it up if you desire because we're not here to talk about that, we're here to talk about his film.

Released in 2001, JEEPERS CREEPERS seemed to come out of nowhere and became a semi-cult hit.

I don't recall seeing any previews for the film in the theater or on television? The first I'd heard about JEEPERS CREEPERS was from a friend of mine. He told me what the film was about and let me read all about it in one of his Fangoria magazines. With the admiration of my friends enthusiasm and the magazine article, I was on board!

It may have been 16 years since I saw JEEPERS CREEPERS at the theater, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. Yeah, it was one of those experiences. The showing wasn't sold out, but I'd say it was about half full? I remember the movie starting off great, but there was a vibe among the audience that people's patience was wearing thin. There were a few too many “smarter than the movie” type of moviegoers in attendance that night.

To be fair JEEPERS CREEPERS is far from a perfect movie, and the film does require a lot of suspension of disbelief.

Driving home for Spring Break a brother and sister are taking the scenic route to visit their mom. On the road they encounter a scary truck (something out of a Mad Max movie) that nearly runs them off the road. After a terrible fright, things settle back down. But later on they see the truck again, this time at a house and someone is dumping what looks like bodies down a huge pipe. They get caught spying and the truck starts chasing them. Once again they are run off the road with the truck driving away. You'd think the guy would get out of the truck and “take care of them” for spying?

Curious about what was being tossed down the pipe, Trish and Darry go back to the house and investigate. After a gruesome discovery underneath the house (which upon a closer look was a church) the siblings high tale it to the nearest town and call the police. But it's too late as we find out that the truck and it's mysterious driver are stalking them!

The encounters start to become weirder and weirder as it become revealed that the mysterious driver is some sort of winged creature, a gargoyle if you will. It was around this point in the film, that a lot of the audience was having no more to do with this movie. I on the other hand was enjoying the film quite a bit! JEEPERS CREEPERS does have it's fair share of weak spots, but overall it's a pretty great creature feature.

When the movie was over you could tell people we're pissed. I especially loved the couple trying to get their money back. My advice to moviegoers like them is to suck it up! Go to a coffee shop order some pie and have a good laugh about what you saw.

In conclusion, I recommend JEEPERS CREEPERS. This Halloween make it apart of your scary movie marathon.

Happy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 23, 2016


It was early 1989 when I got into Batman comics. The DEATH IN THE FAMILY trade paperback was this first Bat-book I ever read. At this early stage I wasn't really collecting comics yet, and my reading was inconsistent due to issues selling out fast. It'd be at least a few more years before I started a subscription.

The first I'd heard about a Batman movie was reading the letters section of DETECTIVE COMICS #598. The issue number is the only detail I remember other than being super excited. I was so pumped! I remember the casting of Micheal Keaton as Bruce Wayne being such a big deal. Mr. Mom as The Dark Knight? Weird. I was too young to be cynical in 1989 so I didn't freak out, I just found it odd that a comedic actor was playing the part.

The time came and it was the summer of Batman. Everybody had Bat-fever and the movie was a smash hit! The film was so popular that it was several weeks if not a month or two till we saw the movie.

When we did finally see the movie is was like an all day thing. My parents and I saw it at the Battlefield Mall. We couldn't get right in so we bought tickets and walked around the mall until showtime. Back then it was perfectly normal to see a movie weeks if not months after opening weekend. These day if you don't see a film on it's opening weekend, you're yesterdays news.

I loved the movie! I wanted to see it again but couldn't due to a summer vacation to Disney World. My parents let me buy the novelization instead and I read it on the plane. I don't think I ever saw the movie again till HBO or getting the VHS for Christmas.

So that's my BATMAN story. Does the film hold up after all these years, especially now after the Christoper Nolan films? The answer is yes, kind of.

The dark humor of the film has turned slightly campy thanks to the Nolan trilogy, but it's nothing I have a problem with.

THE DARK KNIGHT is the better film but the 1989 film will always kick ass. 100% because of sentimental reasons. These days I feel like I'm watching a Hollywood blockbuster more than a comic book movie. But,viewing the movie as an adult the new thing I love most about BATMAN is the Film Noir aspect to it. Something I knew nothing about as a kid. Other than that you've got a decent Batman movie in there somewhere.

While I think we had yet to have a true comic book movie version, you cannot deny how classic BATMAN is. Jack Nicholson as The Joker is still just the best. The look of the film is still awesome. Danny Elfman's score is still to this day iconic! And lastly, Micheal Keaton will always be my favorite Batman. However, I love what Ben Afleck is doing with the role, so my opinion may change soon? Time will tell.

As time goes on (if not slightly already) I do believe Tim Burton's film will become completely overshadowed by Nolan's trilogy and future franchise installments. Who knows, maybe Ben Afleck's THE BATMAN (20XX) will set a new standard? Because like it or not, his portrayal is the closest they've come to a comic book version of the character. Okay that's not entirely true. I recently watched the animated movie BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM, and that film is probably be best screen adaptation of the character we've seen so far. And why isn't it on Blu-Ray yet? Lame.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is a 2016 film directed by Mike Flanagan. It's a prequel to the 2014 movie OUIJA, which I have never seen and most likely never will. From the trailers it looked like garbage and was a critical and box office bomb.

I was shocked to death when I saw a trailer for a new OUIJA movie. That film made enough money to warrant a sequel? Needless to say, I barely paid attention to the preview. It wasn't until I saw it again that interest peaked. It was a prequel (oh dear) set in the 60's or 70's and it actually looked creepy as hell. But come on, it has to be a piece of crap! Doesn't it?

Talking with a friend at work we convinced ourselves it was worth a shot. The movie was coming to us from the people behind OCULUS and HUSH. Two very effective horror films! So I was sold. And even if the movie sucked, kudos to Universal Pictures for releasing a horror film in October. What a concept!

With OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL being a prequel I was really hoping one didn't have to see the original first? Turns out you don't thank goodness. More on that later. The movie takes place in 1967 Los Angeles. A widowed mother with the help of her two daughters runs a seance business out of her home. The oldest calls it like she see's it and considers what they do a scam. She isn't wrong. But the mom reassures her that what they do gives comfort to people.

One night Lina (the oldest) sneaks out to go to a friends house. Her and her friends mess with a new game called Ouija. A good scare happens and Lina thinks the board will be a good addition to her mothers business.

Alice (the mom) takes up her daughters suggestion and buys a Ouija. She doctor's it up a bit and gets the scam ready. But unbeknownst to her, a evil force is invited into their home. Slowly her youngest daughter Doris gets possessed and the horror begins.

QUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is really good. I can't remember the last time (especially in the horror genre) where a sequel was “night and day” better than the original. This isn't a EMPIRE STRIKES BACK situation. This is more like if THE SHINING was a sequel to THE FOURTH KIND.

The thing I love most about the movie is that it's creepy as hell! And on top of that there is no annoying jump-scares. The scariest moments in OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is the long drawn out moments of silence. And the pay off is spooky, not just a jump-scare.

I was continuously surprised. Just about every time I thought the movie was going to do something dumb, the outcome happened to be smart. There's a scene when Doris puts the magnifying piece thingy ( It has a name, I just don't know it) to her eye and looks around the room. I thought typical jump-scare coming right up! But no, all we get is a reaction. A slow burn. Doris does this two more times in the film and it gets scarier each time. Refreshingly brilliant if you ask me!

The acting in this is really good! Every character is given material where you care about them as the story progresses. One of my favorite character moments is when the mom meets her oldest daughters guy friend. She gives him “the talk” and it's a great scene!

By no means is this film a perfect movie. I had some major problems with it toward the end. I won't go into spoilers too much, but the filmmakers decided to go all psychological at the end and it really didn't work for me. I could be wrong but I'm calling it a studio ending.

Even with talking myself into seeing the movie, I almost waited to just rent OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL. What got me out of the house and into the theater was that I heard the director made the film look vintage. It's set in 1967 and you can tell. With whatever techniques and after effects they used the end result turned out great. Not at all did it feel gimmicky to me.

In conclusion, I highly recommend OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL. If you're interested in seeing it I highly suggest seeing it on the big screen. I'm glad I did!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

THE THING (1982)

John Carpenter's THE THING might be my favorite from the director! BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA is cool and HALLOWEEN has a special place in my heart, but THE THING is a masterpiece. I cannot remember the first time I saw the film, but I do remember avoiding seeing it at all costs. When I was a kid I would always catch snippets on HBO. THE THING was one of the first films ever to give me nightmares.

Growing up with HBO and renting movies from the video store, John Carpenter was my favorite filmmaker; however, I was just too young to realize it. It wasn't till 8th grade or my freshman year of high school that I even knew who John Carpenter was. This was a time where I rented a lot of the movies I loved as a kid. There was CHRISTINE, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK just to name a few. Re-watching them I noticed something, this guy named John Carpenter had his name above the title of the movie.

As a child of the eighties I only knew two names of directors, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. So you could say that my early love/discovery for John Carpenter films was a catalyst for becoming a movie buff.

Before the internet and IMDB, browsing the video store was where you found what movie you were looking for. I found out that the Carpenter films I hadn't seen yet were mostly horror. I had seen CHRISTINE already, but no way was I watching THE FOG or HALLOWEEN! Those box covers were creepy. And THE THING? Forget about that!

Let's go ahead and fast forward to where I finally became a fan of horror movies. After seeing all the Freddy movies and Jason films (most of them anyway), I was ready for the other masked killer Micheal Myers. I had forgotten HALLOWEEN was a John Carpenter film, so I was a little pumped to watch it. After the movie both my friend and I became hard core Carpenter fans. And while it's not his film, HALLOWEEN II made me become an all time horror movie fan.

I was ready for THE THING. Turns out, I wasn't. Some images are burnt in your brain forever, I quickly found that out watching the movie. I didn't cover my eyes or look away, but I wanted to. Never had I seen a horror movie like that before. Some of the most gruesome special effects I had ever seen! And let me just say, even after 35 years the effects still hold up! Now that's saying something.

John Carpenter's THE THING had such a profound effect on me that I never rented it again. It wouldn't be until DVD that I revisited the film again. And it wasn't until Shout Factory's Collector's Edition Blu-Ray that I realized THE THING is my favorite John Carpenter film. I might have to watch HALLOWEEN this year to confirm?

For those that don't know, THE THING is about an American research team in Antarctica. It's the first week of winter and the group get a unwelcome guest. An alien force that can assimilate into anything it touches. It's up to the members to stay alive and be sure of who is human, and who is not.

So right off the bat, the thing I love most about the film is the special effects. For 1982 it's still fantastic looking! Added to this I wanna mention the production design, you really feel the isolation this group is facing. A small base camp surrounded by snow and ice.

Next, I love the tone of THE THING. From the beginning of the film things don't start off quite right. You're kinda confused at what's going on just like the characters are. And you don't know who the alien is and when it's going to strike next. A great showcase of terror and suspense from the director.

The ensemble cast is great. Kurt Russell is great as always, but everyone is believable in the role that they play.

In conclusion, I highly recommend THE THING. The film isn't for the faint of heart, the creature effects and gore will knock your socks off if you're not careful. But the movie is required viewing if your a horror movie fan.