Movie Review: From Beyond

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree, Ted Sorel, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Bunny Summers

For horror fans, the ‘80s were a time of sheer wonderment when it came to special effects. With the constant advancement of special makeup effects, it was a time of foam rubber, latex, and slime, with the only boundaries being imagination. One film that represents that more than most is Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond.

When I worked at the theater back in the ‘80s, Re-Animator (1985) played there and it just blew me away, between the gore and just the outrageousness of the whole story. I had already been reading Fangoria by that time, so when From Beyond was coming out, I was already excited about seeing it. And luckily for me, it played at my theater as well, so I spent a lot of time in there watching it over and over. I had recently started reading horror fiction, and thanks to Stephen King, had already started to dive into the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and had read the very short story that From Beyond was based on. In fact, the pre-credit sequence in the film is pretty much the whole story. But I think writer Dennis Paoli, along with producer Brian Yuzna and director Gordon, fleshed out the rest of the plot that, while way gorier and gooier than Lovecraft would have spelled out, I think it still felt it could be in the same universe.

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Movie Review: Attack of the Beast Creatures

Directed by Michael Stanley.
Starring Robert Nolfi, Robert Lengyel, Julia Rust, Lisa Pak

I first came across this title while roaming the video stores back in the day and rented it simply because of the title and the box art. I mean, how could it be bad? It says right on the box that a group of shipwreck survivors end up on a deserted island, and “a living hell breaks loose when the survivors encounter gruesome, flesh-eating Beast Creatures!” I was totally sold. And after watching it, I was amazed that no one else was talking about it. Everybody remembers the little Zuni Fetish doll from Trilogy of Terror, right? Just imagine a whole island filled with them!

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Movie Review: Werewolves on Wheels

Directed by Michel Levesque
Starring Stephen Oliver, D.J. Anderson, Deuce Berry, Billy Gray, Barry McGuire, Severn Darden

This is one of those famous cult titles that we all remember reading about or seeing mentioned in some reference book.  What a great exploitation title, huh?  Right there you have two different types of exploitation movies together…bikers and monsters!  What more could you ask for? Well, maybe that the film delivered on what the title promised? Okay, this is exploitation after all, so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised to discover that it’s only ONE werewolf on wheels, and that is only at the end of the film. But since when did these kinds of movies from this era deliver 100% of the time on what their ads promised?

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Movie Review: Wicked Little Things

Directed by J.S. Cardone
Starring Lori Heuring, Scout Taylor-Compton, Chloë Grace Moretz, Geoffrey Lewis, Ben Cross, Chris Jamba, Martin McDougall

This film is about a small mountain town that is haunted by the victims of a mine accident back in the early 1900s. From the prologue, we learn that these victims were all children that were working in the mine and left to be buried alive in the shaft at the start of a cave-in. Of course, the mine’s owner was found innocent of any wrongdoing in the accident, and so starts the vengeance of the dead children.

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Movie Review: Lady in White (1988)

Directed by Frank LaLoggia
Starring Lucas Haas, Alex Rocco, Katherine Helmond, Jason Presson, Len Cariou, Renata Vanni

The very first horror convention that I attended was the Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors, out in California, in April of 1988. One of the guests there was Frank LaLoggia promoting his new film, Lady in White. I remember seeing the trailer there, and it looked like a cool little ghost story. I went to see it in the theater after it came out, and to this day, it still remains as one of my favorite ghost films of all time.

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Movie Review: The Dark and the Wicked

Written and directed by Bryan Bertino
Starring Marin Ireland, Michael Abbott Jr., Julie Oliver-Touchstone, Lynn Andrews, Tom Nowicki, and Xander Berkeley

I had put this film in my “honorable mentions” in my Best Viewings writeup at the end of 2020, but I recently rewatched it again and felt I had to write up an actual review to maybe help others seek out this incredible film. But a bit of a warning, as good as this film is, it packs quite the punch, and will make you want to watch videos of cute puppies and such to bring you out from the darkness this film envelopes you with.

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Movie Review: The Bat (1959)

The Bat (1959)
Directed by Crane Wilbur
Starring Agnes Moorehead, Vincent Price, Gavin Gordon, John Sutton, Lenita Lane, Darla Hood, Elaine Edwards

Let’s be straight right from the start. This is not a horror film. BUT . . . if you’re a fan of the ‘old dark house’ types and dark thrillers, then you are going to want to watch this anyway. It’s got a great cast and not to mention it is a fun little picture.

The Bat stars Agnes Moorehead, not yet famous playing the witchy mother on the TV show Bewitched in 1964, but here she plays Cornelia van Gorder, a mystery writer that has rented an old house that has a past of murder by a masked character named The Bat. Because of its reputation, the staff doesn’t stay long so it is up to her and her secretary to fend for themselves. Bodies start to pile up, plenty of red herrings, hidden passageways, all the while Cornelia tries to figure out how she would have written this mystery in order to discover who the killer is.

While Vincent Price’s name is usually all over the place, he really is a supporting character, but nonetheless, any time he shows up onscreen, it’s always a plus. Also in the cast is Gavin Cordon, who’s voice might be more recognizable than his face. He played Lord Byron in the opening segment of The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). John Sutton, who plays the butler, appeared with Price in The Invisible Man Returns (1940). And Darla Hood, all grown up for her stint with the Little Rascals in the Our Gang shorts, appears as one of the houseguests. This would be her last film appearance.

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Movie Review: Frightmare

Directed by Pete Walker
Starring Sheila Keith, Rupert Davies, Deborah Fairfax, Kim Butcher, Paul Greenwood,
Fiona Curzon, John Yule, Andrew Sachs

Pete Walker is a director that more horror fans need to know about. He only made a handful of films in the ‘70s that really could be considered horror, but he made tales that not only didn’t pull any punches, but they also usually made you feel like you just got kicked in nuts. Walker had said that he wanted people leaving theater “thinking, yet frustrated.” And he did just that.

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Movie Review: The Brain from Planet Arous

Directed by Nathan Juran
Starring John Agar, Joyce Meadows, Robert Fuller, Thomas Browne Henry

During my time working at a movie theater, It Came from Hollywood (1982) played there, which was sort of like a pre-MST3K concept, with comedians like Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, and a few others, making jokes over scenes of different cheesy movies. There were a ton of titles that I saw little bits of for the first time there, The Brain from Planet Arous being one of them.

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Movie Review: Beast from Haunted Cave

Directed by Monte Hellman
Starring Michael Forest, Sheila Carol, Frank Wolfe, Wally Campo, Chris Robinson

I’m a sucker for monster movies from the ‘50s, and even more so when the creature is like something we’ve never seen before. Nothing against all the vampires and werewolves out there, but it is always refreshing to see something new and unique show up on the screen, showing how creative the filmmakers could be, especially with little or no money. That alone would be enough of a reason to watch this film. The fact that is actually decent story, well-acted, and well shot, is just bonus points. It’s a real shame that while a ton of the ‘50s monster flicks get remembered and discussed over and over, this one seems to be forgotten or at least not mentioned too often. Which is a damn shame, and why I decided I needed get a review of it posted now!

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