Director: Fred Olen Ray
Starring: Jay Richardson, Linnea Quigley, Gunnar Hansen, Michelle Bauer, Dawn Wildsmith
“I’d stumbled into the middle of an evil, insidious cult of chainsaw worshipping maniacs. I had to wonder if we’d let our religious freedom go too far in this country, or maybe our immigration laws were just too lax.” (Jack, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers)
Fred Olen Ray is something of a cult figure among B-movie fans. He’s been writing, directing and producing low-budget films ever since the ’70s, and what most of them lack in glitz they make up for with gusto.
More often than not, the title of a Fred Olen Ray film is a good indication of what you’re getting, as proven by other notable examples of his work including The Brain Leeches, Bad Girls From Mars, Attack Of The 60 Foot Centerfolds and Dinosaur Island.
So too is the case with Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, his twelfth outing as a director and his first starring ’80s horror ‘scream queen’ Linnea Quigley. Continue reading “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988) review”
Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Maren Jensen, Sharon Stone, Ernest Borgnine, Michael Berryman
“If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out. If thine own hand offends thee… then in God’s name, cut it off.” (Isaiah, Deadly Blessing)
There’s an interesting story told by screenwriter Glenn Benest in Arrow Video’s upcoming DVD release of Deadly Blessing (this review is based on a review copy of said DVD).
The story goes that a young Sharon Stone, in her first big role, had just come from a modelling career and had no idea how to act or what to do.
Like a deer in headlights, Stone kept asking director Wes Craven for guidance and help her with her acting.
The cast and crewmembers looked at each other and Craven explained that he didn’t do that sort of thing, he was more about setting up shots and the like. “GOD DAMN IT,” Stone then screamed at the top of her voice, “WOULD YOU DIRECT ME?” Continue reading “Deadly Blessing (1981) review”
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter, Danny Hassel, Erika Anderson
AMANDA KRUEGER – “Your birth was a curse on the whole of humanity. I will not allow it to happen again. You brought me back to give you life, but now I must take yours.”
FREDDY – “We’ll see, bitch. We’ll just see.”
I’ll tell you something, that Freddy Krueger lad doesn’t fuck around, does he?
Wes Craven’s original classic A Nightmare On Elm Street was released in 1984, yet by the time 1989 rolled around the series had already reached its fifth film.
Naturally, churning out movies at a rate of nearly one a year can’t be good for the quality of a franchise: not that New Line Cinema cared, of course. Freddy was guaranteed profit.
The process eventually reached a head with film number five, The Dream Child. It offered far more visual spectacle than any other entry before it but, crucially, made far less sense too. Continue reading “A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) review”
Director: Renny Harlin
Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Tuesday Knight, Andras Jones, Danny Hassel, Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman
“You shouldn’t have buried me. I’m not dead.” (Freddy, A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master)
When A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 was released in 1987, the character of Freddy Krueger truly took off and started to become a household name.
This was partly thanks to his character’s evolution which saw him become more of an anti-hero than an outright villain.
Whereas in the first film he was a strictly sinister creation – a child murderer stalking the dreams of those whose parents killed him – by the third movie Freddy was busting out one-liners and making people scream with laughter rather than terror.
The inevitable fourth film, knocked together in less than a year, continued this trend by offering an even more wisecracking, fun-loving Freddy… with the fright factor taking another knock as a result.
However, as a shameless Nightmare On Elm Street devotee, I’m not fussed in the slightest. Hey, if you want objectivity, visit the BBC. Continue reading “A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) review”
Director: Dwight H Little
Starring: Robert Englund, Jill Schoelen, Alex Hyde-White, Bill Nighy
“I don’t believe in phantoms or legends, Mr Dutton, but I do believe in facts. And the fact is, this man – this creature – is still alive. Still alive and living under your opera.” (Hawkins, The Phantom Of The Opera)
There have officially been ‘oodles’ of retellings of The Phantom Of The Opera over the years (I counted: that’s the exact figure). Is this 1989 offering the best?
Put it this way: is the square root of 12,433 the same as the number of men in a standard football team?
No, is what I’m saying.
This ‘modern’ version of Gaston Leroux’s novel switches Paris for London and tries to turn what’s supposed to be a dark romance into more of a slasher movie, with mixed results. Continue reading “The Phantom Of The Opera (1989) review”
Director: David Oliver
Starring: Daniel Roebuck, Cynthia Thompson, Darren Young, Saba Moor-Doucette
“Look, you wouldn’t happen to know what century it is, would you? See, I’m lost, and you don’t speak any English, and how would you like to sit on my face?” (Rex, Cavegirl)
Ah, the ’80s. A more innocent time, a time when it was perfectly acceptable to make a movie in which a nerd went back in time and spent the entire length of the film trying to shag a cavegirl.
It’s probably safe to say this sort of shit wouldn’t fly these days, so let’s travel back to a time when neanderthal men thought with their knobs instead of their brains. Yes, I’m still talking about the ’80s. Continue reading “Cavegirl (1985) review”
Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Matthew Laborteaux, Kristy Swanson, Michael Sharrett, Anne Ramsey, Anne Twomey
“Wait, she’s dead? Hey, what the hell are you doing? You didn’t say anything about a dead body, we were supposed to save her life.” (Tom, Deadly Friend)
I never get tired of saying this, but God bless the 1980s. No other decade could give you a film with a plot that begins with “a boy, his mum and his robot move into a new house” and not have that be the oddest thing about it by the time the credits roll.
Deadly Friend is the work of director Wes Craven, fresh from finding new success with A Nightmare On Elm Street. It’s one of the oddest horror films you’ll see, but that’s perhaps not Craven’s fault. You see, he didn’t want to make a horror film at all. Continue reading “Deadly Friend (1986) review”
Director: Mary Lambert
Starring: Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, Brad Greenquist, Miko Hughes
“I’m at Judd’s, daddy. Will you come over and play with me? First I played with Judd, then mommy came and I played with mommy. We played, daddy! We had an awful good time. Now I want to play with yoooooou.” (Gage, Pet Sematary)
Losing a loved one is always a harrowing process, one in which you’re often at your lowest possible ebb. But what if there was a way to undo the process?
Specifically, what if there was a way to bring back the recently deceased and have them back in your life again?
What if the consequence of said person becoming an ex-corpse is they don’t behave like they did before pegging it? Would you still want to see their body alive even if their mind and personality wasn’t the same?
These are the questions raised by Pet Sematary, the 1989 movie based on Stephen King’s book of the same name and, I should probably just come out and declare at this early stage in the review, one of my favourite horror films ever. Continue reading “Pet Sematary (1989) review”
Director: Timothy O’Rawe
Starring: Dennis Driscoll, Kathleen Heidinger, David Webber, Scott Corizzi
“You have gone where it is forbidden and released the evil. You must confess.” (The Sentinel, The Basement)
Here’s an interesting little oddity: an ultra low-budget anthology film that was never finished, left for dead and finally released more than 20 years later.
The Basement was a cheapo Super 8 film shot over 22 days in 1989 and “abandoned almost as quickly,” its director of photography Michael Raso recalls.
Rather than putting together the finished film, writer/director Tim O’Rawe decided to move to LA instead, leaving all the shot footage with Raso with the simple message: “Good luck.”
The Basement sat (appropriately) in Ruso’s basement, garage and storage units until finally, in 2010, a small DVD publisher called Camp Motion Pictures decided to take the film, give it a new audio mix and re-edit and finally release it.
The result is a hilariously bad movie with easily some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen, and considering the utter shite I’ve watched over the years that’s saying something. Continue reading “The Basement (1989) review”
Director: Dominick Brascia
Starring: Ashlyn Gere, Steven Baio, Jerold Pearson, Jody Gibson
“These things don’t happen in New York. I just hope a guy in a hockey mask named Jason doesn’t show up.” (Barney, Evil Laugh)
Sometimes when I’m in the mood to watch a completely random horror film, I tend to use two qualifying questions: 1) Is it from the ’80s? and 2) Does it have a weird name?
It was this vetting process that led to my discovery of Evil Laugh, a 1986 slasher that has somehow slipped between the horror cracks over the years. This surprised me because I found it pretty bloody entertaining.
In it, a group of medical students (all of whom look much older than they’re probably supposed to be) travel to a large secluded house to help their friend fix it up and turn it into a foster home.
Sadly, there’s a slight issue with the house: it used to be an orphanage. That’s not the problem, mind. The problem is that ten years ago, all the adults and children living in it were slaughtered by a madman who then set the house on fire, dying himself in the blaze. Continue reading “Evil Laugh (1986) review”