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: Die, Monster, Die!

Directed by Daniel Haller
Starring Boris Karloff, Suzan Farmer, Nick Adams, Freda Jackson, Terence de Marney, Patrick Magee

It’s funny sometime as a movie lover, that you have such fondness for a particular film that you had first seen as a kid, always remembering how cool it was. As an adult though, does that cinematic pleasure still remain, even after you’ve become more “educated” in the film world? Even after reading some less than positive reviews about the film? Do you watch it now and wonder how could I have ever liked this? Or is it like a small part of your brain is stepping back in time to that first viewing? Continue reading

Soundtrack Review: Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country
Released by WaterTower Music
62 Tracks with a Running time of over 2 1/2 hours!
Music by Laura Karpman and Raphael Saadiq

Wow. Talk about a soundtrack that encompasses just about everything!

The first 11 tracks are musical numbers from the show’s cast, that gives us the feel of the era of when the series takes place. After that, for the next 51 tracks, we get a mixture of music and emotions as we go down this long and winding road into a very strange story. Now, I have not seen any of the show, so this review is just going by the music alone. But I am more than interested in seeing it because of what the music is “showing” me. Continue reading

Friday Favorites: H.P. Lovecraft

Yes, Friday Favorites is back. Been a very busy these last couple of weeks working on a project but that is done so I can get back to rambling on here! I would also blame WordPress for changing their editing format for their site, making me have to learn new stuff. I’m old now dammit, so I don’t have time to try and learn new things! Change is bad. Anyway, let’s get to why we’re here, and to discuss a favorite.

Yesterday was the birthday of Howard Philips Lovecraft. An American writer that created new worlds of gods and monsters, just giving his readers a glimpse here and there, only to save their sanity. My first introduction to the works of his literary master was due to Stephen King’s Danse Macabre, where I quickly started seeking out stories from Lovecraft and wondered where this guy was coming up with this stuff?!?! But the movie world has not been too kind to his work when it comes to faithful adaptations, mainly because it is one of those things that is really the reader’s interpretation of what lies on the pages. But even with all of that, I think there have been several filmmakers that have taken Lovecraft’s inspiration and vision enough to create some damn fine features and a ton of different short films.

In honor of this master of the unsaid, the indescribable, the unexplainable, let’s hear what your favorite feature or short film adaptation of a H.P. Lovecraft story. I’m not talking what you think is the most faithful (because we all know that is about as subjective as you can get), but a personal favorite of yours, for whatever reason. So what say you?

Soundtrack Review: From Beyond

From_BeyondFrom Beyond
Released 2003 by La-La Land Records
13 Tracks, with a total running time of 46:06 min.
Music composed by Richard Band

At my very first horror convention, back in 1988 which took place in California, I had picked up the soundtrack for this on LP and I immediately fell in love with it. Composer Richard Band created a score that has a perfect combination of a science feel but still being able to create some very creepy elements to it. I was very bummed when I got rid of my albums and had to wait more than a few years for this to get an official release on CD, which I picked up right when it came out. Continue reading

Book Review: Terrifying Texts

Terrifying TextsTerrifying Texts: Essays on Books of Good and Evil in Horror Cinema
Published McFarland, 2018. 268 pages.
Edited by Cynthia J. Miller & A. Bowdoin Van Riper

When I came across this title, I was immediately intrigued by it because, strangely enough, I didn’t know of anybody else who had tackled this subject matter before. In fact, the more I read through it, I was amazed at that fact because there are more movies that deal with this subject that I had thought. It’s one of those that as you’re reading and they mention another movie, you immediately think “Oh yeah… I forgot about that one!” Needless today, I really enjoyed this one!

As a book person myself, this had me right from the opening Introduction, where it reads, “Books are revered – and feared – for their ability to affect the minds and hearts of humankind. We collect them, pore over them, commit their passages to memory, censor them, and even attempt to banish them from our midst, lest they lead us to ruin.” Any book lover is going to be nodding their head while reading that, knowing and agreeing with exactly what the authors are saying… or writing, technically. Continue reading

Soundtrack Review: Color Out of Space

color out of space cdColor Out of Space
Released by Milan Records, 2020
13 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 45 min.
Music by Colin Stetson

Let me start this by saying that I absolutely love the film Color Out of Space. So yes, this may make my review a little jaded, but I hope that you can at least understand why I think this score is an incredible piece of music when I’m done. So let us begin.

Watching the film, it really brings another world right in front of you, with strange and colorful things happening all around you. The music is right there giving you the audible angle to surround your ears with what your brain is seeing. It seems to just float around you while you’re listening to it, giving you a odd feeling of something… different. It may help when you have the volume cranked up! Continue reading

Movie Review: Color Out of Space

Colors out fo space posterColor Out of Space (2019)
Directed by Richard Stanley
Starring Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Brenden Meyer, Julian Hilliard, Tommy Chong, Elliot Knight

Like many horror movie fans, my first introduction to the works of H.P. Lovecraft was from film and TV adaptations, most likely from an episode of Night Gallery, even though at the time I had no idea where the story originally came from. That would come many years later. I think the first feature film based on his work that I remember seeing was the 1965 film Die, Monster, Die!, directed by Daniel Haller. Again, even though I had no idea who Lovecraft was, let alone that this was based on his work, I do remember the “zoo in hell” sequence scared the crap out of me as a kid! This film happens to be based on the same short story that this new movie is based on, The Colour Out of Space, which was first published in the Sept. issue of Amazing Stories, in 1927. And while this latest version doesn’t have a zoo, there is plenty of images within to give one nightmares. Continue reading

Stanley’s Return from Space

Colors out fo space posterI can remember being in a theater back in 1990 and watching a screening of Hardware, by a young filmmaker, who showed me a post-apocalyptical world like I hadn’t seen before. But also one filled with amazing colors and sounds. I was so excited to see what this guy was going to do next. Then two years later, he gave us Dust Devil (though it took a few years to see the full version of the film!). And then we get to the tragedy that was The Island of Dr. Moreau, where he was fired and replaced, after bringing that film from the very beginning. That was well documented in David Gregory’s Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014). Ever since then, besides some crictially acclaimed documentaries, he has never made a full lenght feature film since that debacle. Until now.

Next month, with the release of Color Out of Space, we’ll see the glorious return of Richard Stanley to feature films. Starring Nicholas Cage, Stanley has adapted the 1927 tale from H.P. Lovecraft, about a meteor from space that starts to… change things around where it landed. Continue reading

Cooking Up Some Lovecraft

Necronomnomnom bookAs a horror fan that loves books, who happens to live with two amazing cooks (my wife and son), it isn’t uncommon for me to occasionally buy them a cookbook that has some tie to the horror genre. Most of them are pretty generic or tend to be more on the treat side, like for Halloween parties and whatnot. But I recently stumbled across a recently published book that looked interesting, so I ordered it. Once it arrived and we started to page and read through it, we quickly realized the genius within the pages.

The Necronomnomnom was written by Mike Slater and Thomas Roache, published back last month from Countryman Press. It is 208 pages filled with 50 different recipes but with a very Lovecraftian twist to them, such as the Gin and Miskatonic drink, or The Great Old Buns, the Deep Fried Deep One, or some Cthus-Koos! Now we have not yet made any recipes from this… keyword yet, but just reading through it is a real treat and has some pretty interesting things that my son Nick has already expressed an interest in trying. Continue reading