Okay, I know there's a lot of horror buffs out there that have seen every movie on this list multiple times; so, please don't cause a ruckus over the title. It simply means I'm taking a look at some horror titles that the vast majority of you haven't seen, or even heard of. Let's face it, who needs a review of Nightmare on Elm Street at this point? Or even Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (groan).
I'm digging deep here, folks. Like the dwarves who dug too deep in the Mines of Moria, I'm in danger of unleashing the Balrog. Not to worry, -
[Below] Starring Billy Warlock - a soap opera staple, and Baywatch beefcake who begins seeing the monsters underneath the upper crust's posh veneer. Devin DeVasquez - wife of Ron Moss, from the band Player ("Baby Come Back") provides some much needed eye candy.
The final scene where the gore hits the fan was unfortunately filmed under this annoying red lighting - some unbelievable horror effects were sabotaged by this pointless red light. It drove me fricking crazy.
Society is a must for gorehounds, but everyone else should probably leave this one alone.
Perhaps my review is tainted by the horrible VHS transfer I watched, but I hated this movie. I hated it for its lightweight gore, its lack of scares, its bad acting, its tired-ass plot, its lack of T&A (this is a Fred Olen Ray film - you expect T&A).... it's simply worthless.
The Dead Pit (1989)
I sought this one out when I saw it in Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen book. I wasn't as impressed as Fangoria, but wasn't punching myself in the face for spending an hour and a half watching it either.
The Plot: Something about a renegade doctor punished for doing illegal brain surgeries emerges from an earthquake crevasse to once again run amok in a hospital. Some exceptionally gory moments, and lots of the smoking hot Cheryl Lawson running around in panties and a tiny tank top.
It's Nightmare on Elm Street... but in a hospital.... and no Freddy Krueger, just some dopey resurrected doctor. There's precious little to find scary here.... but did I mention Cheryl Lawson runs around in her panties a lot? By the guy that brought you Lawnmower Man.
Very much like Halloween, following that slasher movie template religiously - except they forgot to make it scary. They didn't forget to make it unintentionally hilarious, though. (Yes, I know this makes no sense, but neither does this movie).
You might enjoy the sheer 80s-ness of it all - there's acid washed jeans and pastel colors up the yin yang. But it's just hopelessly low budget, and poorly executed. No T&A whatsoever, no gore to speak of, and a soundtrack that's a direct rip-off of John Carpenter. I'd suggest he sue, but given the production value of this clunker, it probably wouldn't be worth his time. Skip this one.
Lady, Stay Dead! (1981)
This piece of Ozploitation has special meaning for your humble host. I watched when it was on VHS in the early eighties - back when video stores were operated out of homes and dingy convenience stores. Back when you had to provide your a deposit, birth certificate, credit rating, liability insurance, etc. just to rent a shitty tape. But I digress...
This movie disturbed the hell out of me back in '83 and I never forgot it. Years afterward, I would look for this to come on TV or DVD, to no avail. Thankfully, with the Power of the Interweb, I was able to acquire this film some thirty years later.
It's always disappointing to rewatch something you have fond memories of, only to sit there, bitterly disappointed, wondering what kind of person were you to have enjoyed such crap.
Basically, the story revolves around a pathetic loser who has enough of this rich bitch and drowns her in an aquarium [above]. The dead woman's sister arrives and problems ensue. Other than a rather graphic rape and murder, this could've been an episode of Mannix or Columbo. It's well crafted, rather disturbing in tone, but way, way, way below the expectations I had set for it many years ago.
Memorial Valley Massacre (1989)
By the late 1980s the slasher genre was a parody of itself. The holidays had started with the obvious creepy ones like Halloween and Friday the 13th, and by '89 we were on to Memorial Day. This time the "slasher" is an incredibly goofy looking caveman.... Captain Caveman would've been an improvement. Picture Gary Busey crossed with Chaka from Land of the Lost.
The only reason that this could conceivably be worth a watch is the dialog. Truly, I say unto thee, this has some excitingly awful dialog.... by that I mean, it's so terrible, you'll be begging for more. My personal fave: "Those yay-hoos couldn't punch their way through a wet cracker!"
I'm reminded of a song from Weird Al Yankovic's second album called "Nature Trail To Hell": I cannot conceive of a world where a single audience member in 1989 enjoys this picture, but i can see a 2013 audience delighting in its foolishness. Like Troll 2 and its ilk,
Just Before Dawn (1981)
Memorial Valley Massacre and Scalps are both examples of "wilderness horror", a genre which has Deliverance and Texas Chainsaw Massacre as the high watermarks. But unlike Memorial Valley Massacre (can I just abbreviate this to MVM? Tired of writing it out... oh, never mind) and Scalps, it doesn't wallow in its low budget or rely on cliches.
You could say it drags at times - but sometimes a film needs to drag. It makes the scary scenes all the scarier. The film takes the usual trope of having a bunch of youngsters out of their element confronted with backwoods murderers.... and George Kennedy. But, for some reason, director Leiberman decided to give this film some TLC, rescuing it from becoming another forgettable backwoods horror film. Instead, it's well acted and truly frightening at times. Is it as good as Deliverance? Not by a mile. But it still rises above its slasher film compatriots and well worth watching.
Slugs: The Movie (1988)
When the chick on the boat takes her shorts off for no reason whatsoever [above] in the opening scene, I knew this movie had promise. But then I heard the dialog between her and her boyfriend (painfully bad) and saw the boyfriend's lame death scene at the hands of some lake slugs (atrocious), I knew it was going to be a rocky ride to the end of this film.
From the director of Pieces, comes this dubbed film, which for some reason was ALWAYS to be found in your local video store in the horror aisle. I'm not sure why it was so widely distributed on VHS; but even so, it never garnered a cult following. It just doesn't have that umph, that heart, that energy which can elevate a low budget flick in the cult classic category.
The couple [above] are about to experience the wrath of a thousand slugs. Look out. As cheesy and as this is, there's something about a slug burrowing through your skin that is just beyond frightening. The gal above falls naked into a pile of them, all chewing themselves into her body..... brrrr, gives me the willies.
FYI - This film was actually based on a novel by Shaun Hutson.
Yet another example wilderness horror - youngsters stuck in a Cabin in the Woods, grisly murders ensue. It could've been so forgettable; instead, it's pretty damn good. Sure, it paint by numbers, but it's still a well done slasher movie.
It takes a while to get going, but things really do take off, becoming a frantic game of survival between the Final Girl and Madman Marz.
If you're the type who enjoyed New Year's Evil, The Burning and Sleepaway Camp - this may be up your alley. The hot tub scene is a must: The blonde [above] and TP go at it to some of the worst (i.e. best) damn music you've ever heard in your life. A taste of the lyrics:
"Magician does his magic, fools you with a sliptrick, you never know how he makes it happen, find yourself just clappin and feelin goooood"