Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Expendables with horror stars?

            A while back I came across an article where Bruce Campbell had revealed in an interview for something to do with the Evil Dead remake, that he was working on developing a horror version of The Expendables. I thought, Hey, that could be pretty cool. Instead of rounding up all the big action stars of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, why not round up all the cinematic madmen of the same period and let them wreak havoc with and against one another for our delight? Then I kind of forgot all about it for months. That all changed when I saw a Q&A with Kane Jason Voorhees Hodder in which he confirmed the internet rumblings that Bruce was, indeed, still very much at work on making the movie a reality. Suddenly my head began to spin. I mean, what would this movie be? I doubt these guys would be reprising their most famous roles because the characters all belong to different studios and at least a few of them have been sadly replaced in remakes of their original classic at this point. So it would have to be an original story but how do we get them to commit violence against one another? Cause lets be honest, no one would go see a movie like this if it didnt involve massive amounts of carnage. It would certainly have to overtake the level of bloodshed seen in The Expendables. The more I think about it, there are so many scenarios in which we could get these famous axe-men hacking each other to bits. I just hope its not tongue-in-cheek. There can be a little humor, sure. But its got to have guts, literally.
            Just who would be featured in an Expendables type horror flick? Well, obviously Kane Hodder is involved. Why wouldnt he be? The guy is the only person to ever play Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) more than once, at a total of 4 times. He wouldve done it again had he been asked. Hes also Victor Crowley in the Hatchet series and can be seen in Prison, Project Metalbeast, Wishmaster, and Ed Gein: Butcher of Plainfield. Bruce has also mentioned Mr. Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. Is there anyone more synonymous with one character in modern horror than Robert Englund? He played Freddy Krueger in 8 feature films and a 50+ episode TV series. Plus hes known for V, Eaten Alive, 2001 Maniacs, Night Terrors, The Phantom of the Opera (1989), The Mangler, and Zombie Strippers. But who else could be involved in a big horror icon mash em up? Check out my potential list below.

Bruce Campbell- Obvious I know. But besides writing and directing this thing, he has to be in front of the camera too. Hes Ash of Evil Dead! Also, he can be seen in Maniac Cop, Bubba Ho-Tep, Moon Trap, Mindwarp, and Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat.

Doug Bradley- A classy English gentleman most probably wouldnt recognize without 144 strategically planted nails in his cranium. Yep, Pinhead of Hellraiser fame. Lets not forget Nightbreed, Killer Tongue, Book of Blood, Pumpkin Head: Ashes to Ashes, and The Cottage.

Jeffrey Combs- Jeff is most known for playing Herbert West in the Re-Animator films. Hes also played Poe in a successful theatre production and Stuart Gordons Masters of Horror segment, The Black Cat. Not to mention From Beyond, The Frighteners, Abominable, Fear.Com, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, I Still Know What You Last Summer Did and his voice role as The Scarecrow in the revamped Batman The Animated Series, also known as The New Batman Adventures.

Tony Todd- Most known for his role as the hook-wielding evil of Candyman, Tonys been in a whole mess of genre films. Night of the Living Dead (1990), Voodoo Dawn, Final Destination, The Crow, Wishmaster, Murder-Set-Pieces, and Shadow: Dead Riot to name a few.

Angus Scrimm- One of the eldest contenders at age 87, Angus is best known as The Tall Man, evil mortician/graverobber of the Phantasm series. Angus has also appeared in I Sell the Dead, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, Satan Hates You, Subspecies, Mindwarp, Chopping Mall, and Scream Bloody Murder.

Brad Dourif- Most recognizable as the voice of Chucky the killer doll in the popular Childs Play movies, Brad has also been in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Rob Zombies Halloween, Dune, Alien: Resurrection, Death Machine, Trauma, Graveyard Shift, and The Exorcist III.

Sid Haig- Sid is one of those guys thats been everywhere. Beach movie to Batman, James Bond to Women's Prison flicks. But hes probably best known for his roles as Ralph in Spider Baby and 40 years later, Captain Spaulding in House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects. Hes also in THX 1138, Galaxy of Terror, Blood Bath, Brotherhood of Blood, and Creature.

Bill Moseley- Bill will forever be asked to shout out, Lick my plate, you dogs dicks, at horror conventions everywhere. The phrase was first uttered by Bill, in character, as Choptop in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II. Bills also been in Crash and Burn, Silent Night Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out, The Convent, Thr3e, House of 1,000 Corpses, The Devils Rejects, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and The Alphabet Killer.

Tobin Bell- Tobin was never really a horror fan. His closest brush with the genre was on The X-Files. Then he played the Jigsaw Killer in Saw and his career became a little redder. He played Jigsaw in 6 sequels and also took on roles in Buried Alive, Decoys 3, and Boogeyman 3.

Gunnar Hansen- The first man to wear the dead skin mask as Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Gunnar hasnt been extremely active in movies. In fact, hes always been more interested in writing. But to this day he loves recalling stories from the set of Tobe Hoopers original Chainsaw. Appropriately enough, whenever he returns to the silver screen, hes more often than not, involved with chainsawing something. Check him out in Chainsaw Hookers, Mosquito, Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, Chainsaw Sally, Demon Lover, and Campfire Tales.

Christopher Lee- The Eldest possible cast member, Christopher Lee just celebrated his 91st birthday. Its been a long and prolific career, one that continues to this day. Hell always be remembered as the Count himself in The Horror of Dracula but hes got more genre credits to his name than most anyone in the history of cinema. Check out The Wicker Man, The City of the Dead, Howling II: Your Sisters A Werewolf, The Mummy (1959), Castle of the Living Dead, The Devil Rides Out, The Whip and the Body, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, The Gorgon, She, The Face of Fu Manchu, Curse of the Crimson Altar, and Sleepy Hollow.

Michael Berryman- Michael is, without a doubt, the face of Wes Cravens classic The Hills Have Eyes. Hes also graced the horror world with appearances in Teenage Exorcist, The Hills Have Eyes Part II, The Devils Rejects, Smash Cut, Cut and Run, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, and Deadly Blessing.

Ken Foree- Famous for the role of Peter in the original Dawn of the Dead, the physically imposing yet personable Ken Foree has also appeared in From Beyond, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part III, The Devils Rejects, Phantom of the Mall: Erics Revenge, Death Spa, and Brotherhood of Blood.

Udo Kier- Hell always be known for proclaiming, Ze blood of these whores is killing me, in Paul Morisseys classic, The Blood of Dracula. Hes also been in Flesh for Frankenstein, The Story of O, Suspiria, Shadow of the Vampire, Island of the Bloody Plantation, Spermula, and Mark of the Devil.

So, what do we think?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Famous Actors in Cult Movies

It's no secret that many famous actors and actresses out there today weren't always at the top of their profession. No, just like all mortals, they had to climb the metaphorical ladder from minimum wage hell to Beverly Hills mansion paradise. They cut their teeth on the stage and in little "blink you'll miss em'" parts that have long been forgotten by most. Well, not by me. I'm here to embarrass these A-list hotheads! Just joking. I have nothing but respect for anyone who has beat the odds to become one of the best at what they do. Many of these actors and actresses look back fondly on their experience as a supporting character in some little horror or exploitation gem while also thanking whomever their god may be for no longer having to borrow their parents' money and scrub floors to pay the rent. Some of these big A-list types have done their best to conceal the fact they were murdered by a monster in a horror film. That's their right too. Regardless, I'm going to out them all!

Kevin Bacon- Kevin had a very small part in Animal House but it was Friday the 13th that really broke him big. Yep, Kevin was killed by Jason's momma. Minutes after having sex and cracking open a beer. For most men, is there a better way to go? I'll skip the beer but the first part doesn't sound too bad. 

John Travolta- John had a couple small bits on some popular TV shows of the early 1970s but it was 1975's The Devil's Rain, with William Shatner and Ernest Borgnine that got him up on the silver screen. Though he had a very tiny part as a random Satanist in The Devil's Rain, he would finally start getting some attention in his next picture, Carrie.

Marisa Tomei- Marisa is one of those actresses I was talking about that would rather you not know where she started. I don't know why because it's in one of my favorite films. Check her out as a random health club chick in The Toxic Avenger.

Brad Pitt- Having featured in a few walk-on roles and a couple small spots on television, Brad Pitt was ready to hit the big time. After appearing in Cutting Class, one of many enjoyable 80s teen slashers, his career seemed to take off.

Kevin Costner- It wasn't a horror movie but it is a cult classic. Kevin Costner's first movie is none other than a Troma team production, Sizzle Beach U.S.A. Troma, for the uninformed amongst you, is perhaps the longest running independent film studio in the country, famous for such classics as The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, Class of Nuke Em' High, and Tromeo and Juliet.

Billy Bob Thorton- Billy Bob actually played a character called Billy Bob in the deliverance clone Hunter's Blood. He was also featured in a Troma production (seems to be a theme here) called Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town.

Jack Nicholson- Look for ol' Jack as a dental patient who seems to enjoy having his teeth drilled in Roger Corman's classic The Little Shop of Horrors, from 1960.

Crispin Glover- Most famous for his role as Marty Mcfly's father in Back to the Future, Crispin first took a corkscrew to the hand and a cleaver to the face from Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th The Final Chapter.

Corey Feldman- Feldman also got his start in Friday the 13th The Final Chapter, only he killed Jason. The next year he starred in The Gooneys.

Johnny Depp- Johnny was eaten by his bed? Yeah, in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The 50 year old actor, famous for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Carribean series, was once the victim of Freddy Krueger. Soon after, he was cast on 21 Jump Street and the rest is history.

Clint Eastwood- Clint's first appearance was in Jack Arnold's Tarantula. He played a fighter pilot in the film's climax. He had a slightly larger role in Arnold's Revenge of the Creature from the Black Lagoon before becoming "the man with no name" in Sergio Leone's famous spaghetti western trilogy and as a reoccurring character on TV's Gunsmoke.

Now for some "Bet you didn't know these people have been in cult movies!" This list is slightly different because it features actors and actresses who appeared in well known cult pictures but are not known for being cult film actors. Also, they already had careers before appearing in the cult films.

Dennis Hopper- Dennis has appeared in a number of off the wall films that one might consider to be cult classics, despite his mainstream appeal and success. He played a young sailor infatuated with a possibly murderous mermaid in Night Tide, a deranged rapist kidnapper in David Lynch's classic Blue Velvet, and as Lefty, a cowboy man of justice hunting down Leatherface and his family in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2.

Samuel L. Jackson- Sam had done a number of bit parts and a good bit of TV before he did Def by Temptation, the tale of a murderous succubus, for Troma. Of course, he really wouldn't break through until being featured in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.

Leslie Nielson- Famous for his comedy roles, Nielson appeared very early in his career in the Science Fiction classic Forbidden Planet. However, his most surprising ventures into the world of horror would have to be the original Prom Night and Repossessed.

We actually had a second life through horror! Actors who got bigger because of their horror roles.

Tobin Bell- Most famous as the Jigsaw Killer in the wildly popular Saw series, Tobin had been in movies and television for years but never really made it to household name. Now, after being the face of a hugely successful horror franchise, he never has to worry about not being recognized again!

Sid Haig- Sid of course, got his start in Jack Hill's Spider Baby and was featured for years in bit parts as heavies, henchmen, and killers in major motion pictures. He also starred alongside Pam Grier on a number of occasions. However he grew tired of his typecasting as a thug and decided to give up on acting altogether if he couldn't get a chance to show his range. At the age of 64 he finally got his chance. Rob Zombie cast him as Captain Spaulding in House of 1,000 Corpses. Since then Sid has enjoyed a more fulfilling career with bigger parts and the ability to act outside of the box he once found himself trapped in. He seems to be a happy guy at age 73!

Robert Englund- Robert Englund had appeared in several movies, some with well known actors and actresses. He had done TV and was somewhat recognized for his role as Willy in V. However it wasn't until Wes Craven had him put on a glove with 4 razor sharp claws that he became a household name. Yep, the man behind Freddy Krueger!

Boris Karloff- The man most famous for playing the Monster in the 1932 Universal Horror classic, Frankenstein, had appeared in maybe 100 films before Frankenstein. He was always cast as an extra, walk-on, non-speaking, or "dead in the first five minutes" role and never got the chance to show his acting chops. All that changed with Frankenstein. Until his death in 1969, age 81, he was a world-renowned face of horror. When he wasn't stabbing someone, resurrecting the dead, playing the dead, dabbling in black magic, or having his face surgically altered in various fright films, he also did voice over work. His most famous performance being the narrator in the original animated The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Worst Band Names Ever?

Today on the way to work, for some weird reason, I wanted to listen to Def Leppard's High N' Dry album. Listen to me, "for some weird reason." There's no weird reason, that album kicks ass. We're talking the pinnacle of early 80s pop metal with infectious melodies and air-guitar-worthy riffs a plenty. It's common knowledge that after High N' Dry, Def Leppard really embraced the pop and ditched much of the metal but even with records like Pyromania and Hysteria they managed to keep the hooks a coming and the heads a banging. Too bad they totally fell off after that. I mean, in my opinion, they've managed to write maybe 2 or 3 songs worth jamming to at full volume in the past 20 years but that does nothing to soil their legacy.

A paragraph into my Def Leppard rant you're probably wondering, "hey, wasn't this article supposed to be about the worst band names ever? Why's this idiot going on and on about Def Leppard?" Well, here's your answer: Just what in the bloody hell is a "Def Leppard?" I've never seen one. Is it just a respelling of "Deaf Leopard?" Like an actual cat that can't hear. Anyway it's a pretty stupid name. So listening to Def Leppard got me started again. Here I am to compile a list of the worst band names ever.

Limp Bizkit- They may have been the most recognizable faces of the rap metal movement but that doesn't change the fact that their name sucks about as much as I image an actual limp biscuit would. Biscuits are supposed to have a flaky or crispy outer layer and a warm center just calling for butter. Limp Bizkit has a center of juvenile lyrics and an outside ripe with baggy pants douchiness. Yep, their name sucks and they suck. Perhaps the name was fitting?

Goblin Cock- Goblin Cock actually rock. Total 1970s stoner rock worship with nice crunchy Black Sabbath-ish riffs. Unfortunately with a name that conjures images of a porno filmed on Middle Earth, they aren't going to be headlining any major arenas anytime soon.

Dumpy's Rusty Nuts- Another unfortunate fatality of bad band names, Dumpy actually plays pretty solid heavy blues tunes. They were generally lumped into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement but that's not a real fair comparison. They don't exactly remind one of Iron Maiden, Witchfinder General, Demon, or The Tygers of Pan Tang. Anyway, they've toured with a lot of the bands from that movement regardless and they've also shared a stage with Motorhead and Hawkwind.

IWrestledABearOnce- I've known many a person that idolized this band and I have to admit they are pretty inventive on a purely musical level. The lead singer was a chick who could really sing when she wanted to. Unfortunately, for me, she spent too much time screaming incomprehensibly to enjoy the moments when she decided to actually use her melodic vocal talents. Anyway, the name itself irritates the hell out of me because it's actually spelled as 1 word.

The Tony Danza Tap-dance Extravaganza- Yeah, you read that right. I admittedly haven't taken the time to listen to much of their output but I can say this, "that's a hilarious band name you got there."

Goatwhore- Just like with Def Leppard, I'm left to wonder if their name translates literally. Are they talking about a goat that is actually a whore? How do you gauge goat whoredom? Don't goats just get it on with whatever male goat is near by the second they go in heat? I'm overthinking this. Anyway, the band is a pretty solid black metal unit and I don't tend to enjoy black metal. Lucky for me, the vocalist has the ability to make every other word clear enough to understand.

Pussy- Another solid bluesy hard rocking English unit from the early 70s that is likely to this day wondering, "why didn't we sell many records?" Well, you can't just name your band Pussy and expect to make it into storefront windows. You may be talking about a cat but dirty minds around the world are thinking about something else. Fun fact: Deep Purple's Ian Gillan produced these guys.

Oral- An all girl band from the mid 80s who released one EP called Oral Sex. Oh, I get it. That's why your band is called Oral. Cause, wait, no... actually, I don't get it. Stupid, stupid idea. If you're going to try and make a living as a musician, why the hell would you compromise your earning potential by blacklisting yourself with a name like that before anyone hears one note of your music?

So, those are my favorite bad band names. Got some I missed? Put them in the comments section below.

Podcast: Friday the 13th Series Overview Part II

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reviewed! 2 classic alien sleazefests.

Wham Bam, Thank You Spaceman and Oversexed Rugsuckers from Mars

Six or seven years a go, while scrolling through the cult movie category on some DVD distributor's website, I discovered Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman! If you've never seen this classic piece of 80s sleaze I'm referring to, it's past time you find yourself a copy. It's a rather tasty piece of cinema about two blue-skinned aluminum foil-wearing aliens who land on the Sunset Strip and quickly seek out hookers to impregnate with their alien goo. You see these aliens are sex-starved and as close as I can figure there's also the dual purpose of breeding to preserve their dying race. Usually when the plot revolves around aliens coming to earth to knock boots with human women it has something to do with the alien's own populations dwindling or having recently become extinct and well, this movie is no exception. The aliens, however, just come off as a couple of horn dog Peeping Toms who happen to stumble upon every single couple in LA in the midst of getting it on and it excites them. So, like I said, they pick up a couple chicks and decide to try it for themselves. Only they don't have real penises persay, they have intercourse with their tongues. Long, serpent-like tongues. Now the ladies think they've found themselves a guy who knows how to work his lollipop-licker like Gene Simmons on PCP but they don't realize they're actually engaging in interplanetary intercourse. Perhaps their salivary glands produce alien semen? Hell I don't know. Honestly there just isn't much plot going on in Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman and Id be very surprised if the writer really thought about it too much. It's in essence a softcore T&A extravaganza with blue aliens and gratuitous Dyanne Thorne (Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS).

            The reason I mention Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman is because watching Oversexed Rugsuckers from Mars recently, I immediately recalled my first experience with immature sexed up extraterrestrials. Only in Rugsuckers, the aliens don't jump in on the action. They kind of play the part of constant voyeur. But then, it's a little more complicated than that because the aliens in this movie are "seeders." They actually started humanity here on Earth a few million years a go and after millions of years away, they decide to revisit Earth and see just how well their science experiment has worked. The aliens are no bigger than an action figure and their spacecraft is your typical round UFO type thing with antennae on top. Their little spaceship lands in some part of town where some homeless folks are congregated so their first impression isn't too god. Millions of years of evolution and this is as far as they got? They're filthy," The aliens cry. So they hatch a new plan; mate a human with a vacuum cleaner. This way there'll be a whole new species that is much better at cleaning up after itself. It's at this point where you know you're in for a treat. I know what you're thinking, "how can it get any better than this? "Well, it does. You see, one of our little alien friends is also an alcoholic and he makes a mistake with the program controls and boom! Our vacuum cleaner just runs around raping and murdering people. I'm not joking.

            The rest of the movie focuses on our deranged vacuum cleaner running around, popping up in women's bathrooms and having its way with them. Do you need to know anything else about this movie to know you should watch it? I mean, if your idea of a good time is Claymation aliens, rapist vacuums, naked breasts, and clever dialogue like:

Did you put lotion on your dork again," girl asks while going down on her boyfriend.

Why babe," he wonders.

Cause you taste like a summer beach!

Then you are certainly the audience for this movie!

     Yep, Oversexed Rugsuckers from Mars is definitely in the same league as Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman, another movie known for its clever dialogue. Like when the two aliens decide to double up on a hooker. Let's ball this bitch. How 2 classic movies like Oversexed Rugsuckers from Mars and Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman made it through Oscar season without 1 nomination, is a complete mystery to me. The sad part is, I'm dead serious. If you're not entertained by raunchy alien sexual exploits, you're no friend of mine.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Podcast- Friday the 13th Series Part II

     Be on the lookout for my next podcast which will cover Friday the 13th Parts 5-11 and the remake. I'll post that up sometime this weekend. In the meantime I feel compelled to tell everyone to check out my twitter feed: ChrisPetry89. I know it's in the primitive stages but up until now I have resisted social media like the plague. I solemnly swear you shall not find me on Facebook! Hell, I'm not sure how many of you have discovered me here. The traffic reports for this blog indicate a decent number of viewers but nobody's commenting. So get to commenting people. Anyway, I've also written reviews for a few grindhouse classics, Oversexed Rugsuckers from Mars, Devil Doll, and Class of 1984. So be on the lookout for those in a few days as well. Next week the new Ghost album comes out and I'm going to talk about that too. The week after, the new Rob Zombie and to end the month, the new Deep Purple. Very excited about all 3 discs and I'll be on here giving my two cents as always.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Just what in the name of all that is bloody, trashy, and glorious is a cult movie?


         What is a cult movie? Well, I suppose there is much to consider when answering that question. I will try, however, to give you my best understanding of what a cult film means to me. Cult films are pictures that lie firmly under the mainstream radar but that after many years of generational rediscovering and word of mouth have become classic films in their own right. They are little movies with big followings. Movies pursued to every run down art theater, drive-in, and horror film convention by cinema fans with an unrelenting passion for all that makes a cult film a cult film in the first place.

You see cult movies aren't big matinee headlining A-list starrers for a reason. The subject matter found in cult movies is usually too risqué, controversial, or uncomfortable for the general audience admission. They are most often times found within subgenres like horror, science fiction, exploitation, sexploitation, and even comedy. The budgets of these films tend to be relatively small and so the actors are generally unknowns, the special effects are all practical makeup and kayro syrup, the writers and directors would never be given financing by major production companies to deliver the vision they wish to deliver, and the films are made more a more specific kind of movie goer as opposed to a broad anybody who buys movie tickets" type of audience. Sometimes cult movies find some kind of crossover success in the mainstream. Sometimes big studio movies intended for mass-market appeal aren't as commercially successful or profitable as intended and fade away into obscurity. That is, until they are discovered by a newer more forgiving audience who lauds the film and gives it the respect it wasn't given upon its initial release.

Cult films are both the stepping stone for newcomers and the safety net of actors and filmmakers who always sought to make such films and of course, actors and filmmakers who never intended to make such films but found some level of success or notoriety in doing so. For instance, Johnny Depp got his start in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Brad Pitt starred in Cutting Class. Marisa Tomei was in The Toxic Avenger, Kevin Bacon Friday the 13th, Fisher Stevens, Jason Alexander, and Holly Hunter The Burning. In terms of directors, Oliver Stone directed Seizure, Martin Scorsese helmed Boxcar Bertha, and Sam Raimi, of course, The Evil Dead. Some actors like Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Jeffrey Combs, Tony Todd, Udo Kier, and Vincent Price are most well known for their work in horror and exploitation. Directors, Lloyd Kaufman, Wes Craven, Terrence Fisher, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Don Coscarelli, and John Carpenter remained in horror and exploitation for most of their careers.

Cult films have at times found critical appraise. Most usually they have been shredded to pieces in the pages of every newspaper in the country. Very view critics have ever been able to grasp cult films or find any merit in them. They often times spend their entire review doting on technical limitations, the amount of nudity, or the amount of blood rather than listening to the dialogue, truly taking in an actors performance, or grading the film on its own merits against peers and imitators. An example of critic who doesn't get it is the one who says, “This movie is shit. The Godfather walks all over this. Another reviewer that one can not rely upon for a true assessment of a cult picture is the reviewer offended by nudity or who doesn't understand why a chainsaw must be used to dismember someone in a film called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Some critics however, do get it. Roger Ebert, Rex Reed, Harry Knowles, and Richard Roeper have often give fair if not good reviews to cult films. They have always made known their disgust at particular elements and they haven't exactly gone out of their way to praise every horror or exploitation piece that has made its way to their local theater. However, they have always fairly reviewed the films based on what they saw rather than what they had preferred to have seen. Joe Bob Briggs, known as the world's only drive-in critic, reviews cult films exclusively and has written about the topic extensively. Halloween, Jaws, Psycho, Peeping Tom, The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Alien have, despite their detractors, found levels of mainstream critical appraise. Joe Bob will tell you to also check out Ator the Fighting Eagle, Puppet Master, and Pray for Death.

Cult films do not demand the attention of anyone. Cinemagoers demand the attention of the cult film. These are films found, enjoyed, and reviewed on the terms of the viewer. Viewers, after discovering a new treasure, will wonder why a movie like Bad Girls Go to Hell, Blood Feast, Blood on Satan's Claw, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, or I Was A Teenage Frankenstein arent more well known. Perhaps it was the lack of studio support or maybe it was the films' producer’s lack of funding for advertising that prevented these films from gracing matinees across America before midnight. Perhaps it is just a matter of society's tastes. We must, as cult film fans, understand that the average movie going public would rather watch Transformers or Valentine's Day than X-tro or Nekromantik. Cult films are generally less accessible because one just doesn't pack up the kids to go see Gas Pump Girls or Lair of the White Worm. Everything that is so beautiful about the cult film is exactly what damns it to the midnight double feature status it has attained. That's not necessarily a bad thing mind you. If more people were watching Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-O-Rama and Anthropophagus, they wouldnt be cult movies anymore. These movies know exactly what they are and where their audience lies and it's time we did too. There is something very exciting and fulfilling about knowing that at any given time, in any restaurant, shopping mall, or workplace you may be, you're probably the only person that's ever seen Three on A Meathook.

            So, cult film fans, I demand you do your part in keeping these classics alive. Pass around your DVD or worn-out VHS copy to friends, go support special screenings of these movies at mom and pop theaters, art houses, and drive-ins, and keep perusing the internet and library for more titles you need to add to your shopping list. I'll even help you out below.

Basket Case

Satan's Sadists


City of the Dead

The Fifth Cord

Spider Baby

Reform School Girls

Dracula vs. Frankenstein

Please Don't Eat My Mother!


House of Whipcord

White Cannibal Queen

Bloodsucking Freaks

House on the Edge of the Park


Something Weird

Strip Nude for Your Killer


The Pit

The Gore, Gore Girls

Day of the Triffids

The Beastmaster

Silent Scream

Virgin Witch


SS Hellcamp


Blood and Lace

House of Seven Corpses

Blood and Black Lace

Samurai Cop

Bloody Moon

Devil Doll


The Tingler

Killer's Delight


The Thing from Another World

The Whip and the Body

The Devil's Rain

The Teacher

The Leopard Man

And Soon the Darkness

Brotherhood of Satan

Empire of the Ants

Thrill Killers

Theater of Blood


It Came Without Warning

The Hitchhiker

Baba Yaga

Blood Diner


The Brood

Night of the Demon (1957-Occult)

Motor Psycho

Silent Night, Bloody Night

Monster on Campus

Die Screaming Marianne

This Stuff'll Kill Ya!

Just Before Dawn


Food of the Gods

Lisa and the Devil



Night of the Demon (1980- Sasquatch)

Don't Go in the House


Honeymoon Killers

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell

Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS

I Walked with a Zombie


Motel Hell        

Dr. Caligari (1989)

Chopping Mall

The Prowler

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Blind Beast


Olga's House of Shame


The Curious Dr. Humpp

Deadly Spawn

Scream and Scream Again


Sinful Dwarf

It Came from Outer Space

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Drive-In Movie Experience




        Though I can’t see them, raise your hand if you’ve been to a drive-in movie theater. If I had asked you to do that last week you’d have one up on me. Yes, believe it or not, Mr. “Horror and Exploitation” himself is new to the drive-in experience.

Where I grew up in Southern West Virginia, the drive-in was long deceased by the time my momma brought me into the world. That was nearly 24 years a go! Upon doing some research I discovered that the drive-in concept was introduced in the early 1930s and by the 1970s they were on their way out. But fear not, a few nostalgic cinema fiends have managed to hold onto their real estate, keep their ticket booths open, and keep the concessions cooking. If an add I saw yesterday before the show at my local drive-in is correct, there are less than 400 of these big outdoor movie screens still in operation. At the peak of drive-in popularity there were supposedly around 10,000. That’s a giant decline in operations!

Okay, let’s back up a little bit. Like I said, I grew up in Southern, West Virginia. About 4 years ago I packed my bags and headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to get my college education. I stayed in the city after graduating because I found it offered more opportunities in my chosen career and I very much enjoyed the convenience of having a Wal-Mart, a record store, a shopping mall, and dozens of restaurants just a couple minutes from home. While here I discovered that there were actually 2 drive-in theaters within reasonable distance of my apartment. I had heard tales of the good times had by my mom and Uncle Dave at the drive-in as children and I had seen characters go to drive-in shows in various movies from the 50s, 60s, and 70s but again, I had not had the pleasure. After a few years of wonder, research, and coaxing by books like Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In, I decided to buckle up and head over to the drive-in.

A couple months back I got a flyer for The Riverside Drive-In’s April Ghouls Weekend. On the bill: Friday the 13th, The Burning, Return of the Living Dead, and Day of the Dead on Saturday and The Thing With Two Heads, Sugar Hill, Blood and Lace, and Scream, Blacula Scream on Sunday. I owned the movies on DVD but nothing beats seeing some of your favorite flicks on a big screen with all the cracks and pops and film grain you get from a 35mm projection. This is especially true of horror and exploitation films and it was a sentiment I had heard shared by many a cult film aficionado. I had to see these movies the way they were intended; 40 feet high, from the comfort of my own car, in a Friday the 13th t-shirt and a Burning hoodie, with a bag of popcorn and a Coca Cola.

It was just as Joe Bob Briggs (Drive-In movie critic and author of the book I just talked about) described it. I pulled into a front row parking spot right of center and made my way to the concession stand. As I was walking toward the little building that housed said concessions, I could see through the open door, there were Universal Monster t-shirts hanging from the ceiling inside. I quickened my pace in excitement and bursting through the door I was confronted with a barrage of horror film memorabilia and merchandise. Now usually, Drive-Ins aren’t packing merch like this but this was a special weekend, April Ghouls! I looked at all the DVDs, model kits, and books before picking up what had caught my attention in the first place, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Wolf Man shirts. Next I made my way to the concession stand where I claimed a hotdog, a small popcorn, and my coke. I had food and I had stuff so I was ready to see Friday the 13th projected on that huge white screen a few hundred feet from my car.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of the movies because 1) they’re classics and if you haven’t see them, what the hell is wrong with you? 2) That’s a lot of writing. I watched 4 freakin’ movies. 3) This is about the experience, not the content. 4) And finally, as if you were planning on being there anyway! So, back to the experience. Wow! You know I’d heard stories, like of the late great William Castle, and how theaters used to have audience participation. That was very true at the drive-in. There was an announcer who would introduce intermission cartoons, advertisements, and “coming soon” trailers for old exploitation and horror flicks. He would also ask patrons to flash their headlights if they enjoyed the show. After each show everyone flocked to the concessions area because it was kind of a chilly night and the atmosphere was very film fan friendly. Discussions about the previously shown feature, the next feature, and horror films in general were all over the place. Nice to hear other weirdoes talking about the same stuff that used to get me death stares in my rural home town. Another thing I found really attractive about the whole drive-in deal was the fact that the movie’s sound was on a radio frequency which I tuned into in my car. This was great because one can adjust the volume to their own liking. Oh, and you can put on a blanket and take a damn nap if you so desire. I was much too awake for that though!

I’m going to say it, and mind you this is coming from a guy who owns a few thousand horror movies on DVD, the drive-in is the way to watch cult movies. It’s not like I’m going to give up DVD collecting; to the contrary, I’ve picked up my habit! Shit, it’s difficult to resist cheapies in the Amazon marketplace. Joking aside, if I had a chance to see just about anything in my collection on the big screen with missing reels, pops, and grainy film, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I will be visiting the drive-in again in my near future, I know that much. When my drive-in announces the film lineup for the September Ghouls fest, I’ll already have my windshield cleaned, my gas tank filled, and my concession cash set aside. I urge you, cult film fans, go out there and support a drive-in. There aren’t many left and if you’ve been privy to the magic that happens in those places, you know why we have to fight to hold onto the ones we have. If you haven’t been to one, get off your ass and visit drive-ins.com. They got a list of every drive-in in your state. As Joe Bob mightily roars, the drive-in will never die!