Larry Cohen’s “The Stuff” is one of those “so bad its good” horror comedies that’s managed to creep in to the collective consciousness of movie buffs since its release and for good reason. While much of the movie is so painfully ridiculous, it also kind of comes packed with a still very relevant message about consumerism and our obsession with junk food. You could mock it all you want, but when the credits roll, its message is a lot more sophisticated than bad green screen and horrendous sound design. Cohen’s film is wildly uneven in tone and never really decides if it wants to be sci-fi, horror, comedy, or complete satire.
Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont’s “The Blob” has been one of those eighties horror gems that has been for the most part a difficult title to obtain. Even through the DVD age it was out of print, hard to find, ported on to cheap movie collections and given limited printing on boutique labels. Now Shout! Factory has made the fantastic remake of the 1958 drive in monster movie available for everyone, and it’s been worth the wait. It’s a movie that’s barely shown its age, embracing what made it such a great drive in monster movie, while also injecting it with eighties style.
1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” is and is still widely considered the definitive fantasy masterpiece that has barely aged after so many decades. Even film fans that don’t care much for older films still have a hard time turning down “The Wizard of Oz” and ignoring its indefinable charm, and sense of adventure. Victor Fleming’s “The Wizard Of Oz” remains one of the most influential and engaging masterpieces, one filled with awe, surrealism, and a healthy sense of mystery, even eighty years after its initial release.
The Wheat Brothers have managed to rack up a pretty interesting body of work in the horror genre since the eighties, and with “After Midnight” they deliver what is pretty middling as an anthology. In a period that included “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” shortly after, “After Midnight” doesn’t re-invent the wheel. It’s mostly just an entry of the decade that serves its intended purpose as a horror film that could double as filler for a boring Saturday night.
While I wouldn’t peg the Mick Garris fueled “Nightmare Cinema” a horror masterpiece, I had a good time with the selection of horror stories, and loved how various storytellers in the film managed to go in completely different directions than I originally thought they would. Despite a shifty story frame, like most horror anthologies, “Nightmare Cinema” is a mixed bag of horror treats that will click with most lovers of the format, if only for its ambition and style.
Auteur Luigi Cozzi’s “Alien Contamination” also known as “Toxic Spawn,” also known as “Contamination,” also known as “Aliendrome,” is one of the most incoherent horror films spawned from Italy. It’s tedious but shockingly compelling, and manages to take just about everything from various films to mix together something that’s about alien green egg pod chest bursters turning humans in to zombies that originates from Mars, as masterminded by a phallic Cyclops alien with a vaginal mouth and hypnotic eyes. All funded by the Colombian Mafia! Seriously.
I theorize that “See No Evil” would have been much more entertaining had Hulk Hogan been a knife wielding slasher stalking a bunch of nameless characters. Can you imagine the hulkster puckering his lips, swinging a chainsaw and screaming “What are ya gonna do, when the hulkamania comes after you?!” Don’t pretend that wouldn’t have been fun. “See No Evil” is a vehicle pretending to be horror, and watches like a grindhouse Z film that’s one part “Saw”, one part “Slumber Party Massacre”, and one part “Jason Lives.”
Few people actually recall that Maxwell Atoms’ iconic characters, Billy and Mandy, were first introduced as part of Cartoon Network’s “Grim & Evil” where they shared a series with the cast of Evil Con Carne. Though “Grim & Evil” only lasted 30 episodes, the pint-sized hell-raisers would soon live on in one of the most successful spin-offs of all time from Cartoon Network’s golden age: “Billy & Mandy” (as I’ll refer to it from here on out) is one of the last really great series from the CN’s “Cartoon Cartoon” era.