Halloween Scene: The Burning (1981), The Mist (2007) & From Beyond (1986)

The Burning Scream Factory Halloween’s the best you guys! I’ve been able to watch more horror flicks than I expected considering our toddler staked her claim on the TV long ago. Still, I’ve been able to go back and watch some old favorites and also check out a few new films like the amazing Sinister.

A few weeks back, after earning a few extra bucks at NYCC, I decided to splurge on some Scream Factory Blu-rays. I snagged The Burning and From Beyond on sale. A subdivision of Shout Factory, Scream is a horror centric imprint that goes all out when it comes to special features, extras and great looking transfers. Continue reading Halloween Scene: The Burning (1981), The Mist (2007) & From Beyond (1986)

Halloween Scene: Re-Animator (1985)

re-animatorWhen I was about 15 or 16 and just getting into the world of horror movies, it seemed like I’d never be able to catch up on all the classics. Of course, I knew about the big franchises like Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street — what kid in the 80s didn’t? — but there were so many nooks and crannies in this new genre to explore. Being the somewhat obsessive sort that I was, I combed the internet — such that it would have been circa 1999 or so — and remember printing off a list of something like the 666 best horror films of all time. I did a quick Google search that turned up basically everything and nothing at the same time, but if this strikes a chord in your memory, please leave a comment.

Anyway, one of the movies I kept seeing pop up all over the place — in addition to Evil Dead, George Romero’s zombie films, the Texas Chainsaw movies and some choice Vincent Price films like The House On Haunted Hill and The Abominable Dr. Phibes movies — was Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator. I remember combing my beloved Family Video for these films (the videos were organized in a general alphabetical order instead of by genre), so I’d grab whatever I could. Luckily, Re-Animator was one of those films, so I saw it relatively early on. I remember liking the film — how can you not get into Jeffrey Combs’ craziness and those amazing special effects? — but I’m fairly certain it’s been about 15 years since I’ve watched this film all the way through. That has very little to do with the film itself and more of a focus on slasher films as well as a desire to branch out and watch as many unseen films as possible.

So, while flipping around on Netflix the other day, I saw Re-Animator was available on Instant and decided to give it another whirl. As you probably already know, the movie follows mad scientist Herbert West as he inserts himself into the lives of a med student and his girlfriend. See, West has developed a serum that can bring the dead back to life, an experimental process that he takes very seriously. So seriously that he cares about rekindling human life so much that he’ll extinguish it when he feels it to be necessary.

As it turns out, the two things I remembered most about this movie also happened to be the two best things about it. Combs is pretty much on another level compared to everyone else in this film. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s that he plays the obsessed scientist so well that he deservedly represents the prototype of that longtime character in the minds of many fans. The effects are also pretty fantastic, though I think my memory was reminding me more of the ones from the sequel than the original. Still, that bit where West drills through the corpse’s body is bonkers. And, of course, you’ve got the all-out zombie jamboree craziness at the end of the film.

I should note that I’ve only read a story or two of H.P. Lovecraft’s and can’t speak to this film’s accurate portrayal of the original story. I want to say I did read the original story — Herbert West-Reanimator — but honestly can’t remember. I have heard from people far more well versed in Lovecraft’s work that the film does a solid job of capturing the feel of the story, though. Even if I did, though, I’d be comparing the story to the book anyway.

I’ve got to admit, while I enjoyed this film, I can’t say it’s one of my favorites. Even with Combs being amazing in this film, it seems like I’ve seen a million movies where scientists eschew standard moral practices in order to follow their intellectual pursuits, so the originality in this one comes more from the Combs’ performance and the special effects which isn’t enough to launch this film into the upper echelon. I think if I’d seen this movie a few more times in my younger days, I’d be a lot more into it, but with more story experience under my belt it doesn’t pop nearly as much as it could have back then. Still, I have zero problem recommending this film and think it would easily find a place on the 666 horror films I’d recommend to a genre newbie.

Live Blogging Dennis Hopper’s Space Truckers (1996)

Inspired by the Dennis Hopper list I already mentioned for Topless Robot, I just had to watch all of Space Truckers. It’s definitely ridiculous and (I’m hoping) tongue-in-cheek, but worth a look, especially if you’re drinking with your buddies.

*30 seconds in and the effects are already more convincing than Spirit.

*Pretty good killer robot attack scene.

*”You astonish me.” [Heh, I have NO idea what this refers to.]

*Ooh, double cross.

*It really is a space truck, looks like a Transformer.

*Zero grav mustarad and hot dog, that’s goofy but a great way to apply condiments.

*Hauling Square Pigs.

*The space truck chair looks like an amusement park ride.

*Magnetic floor, extra arms, they really had fun with this. He looks like Doc Ock.

*Yup, those are square-ass pigs, probably have space pig flu.

*”That’s not how you throw a punch in zero gravity, this is the recommended technique.”

*Stephen Dorf and Debbi Mazar (Empire Records!!!!)

*Even with all these space effects, they can’t make it look like George Wendt is punching Hopper

*Space bar brawl!

*Bathroom lady robot secret passage – crazy.

*Anti grav lingerie!

*His computer sounds like annie potts

*”It’s black rock!” – Lost tie-in!!!

*Zero g strip “tease” – looks ridiculous.

*Boarded by pirates.

*”Is he talking about my dick?”

*”Is this your dick?” “No.” “That one’s mine.” – weird.

*Woah, this guy’s a crazy cyborg with a cyborg butt, he looks kind of like Metallo.

*Haha, pull cord penis like lawn mower.

*Everyone on the crew is gonna bone Debbi? Ew.

*They’re spending a LOT of time being captured.

*The killer robot is a dick! and he looks kinda like ROM.

*How are there 30 minutes left? I’m already sleepy-drunk.

*The robot activation scene actually looks pretty cool.

*His plan is to actually crash the truck full of killer robots onto planet Earth hoping the reentry will fry them? Not a great plan Dennis.

*Oh okay, he could parachute to safety, no worries.

*And the president of the world is…an old guy? It seemed like they were making a big deal of him, but I don’t recognize the guy.