It makes sense that Shout Factory would package “Tales from the Crypt” with “Vault of Horror” since both horror films are essentially a part of the same universe, and are adapted from the genius EC Comics brand. In “Vault of Horror” you can even see one of the characters sit beside a stack of EC Comics while turning to continue reading a “Tales from the Crypt” novel. It’s a good thing too since both films are stellar horror anthologies, practicing the tradition of EC Comics’ storytelling formula that involves revenge, irony, plot twists, and turning the tables on characters at every turn. If you can spare the time, these films deserve to be viewed as a double bill, because it’s a master class of storytelling and creeps.
Joseph Sargent’s “Nightmares” is one of the more underrated anthology horror films to ever cross the genre and it’s surprising how constantly overlooked it is. While it’s not a masterpiece, it definitely serves up its fair share of strong horror tales. It’s probably because it doesn’t have a mascot like the Creeper or the Cryptkeeper to tell its tales. We’re essentially treated to a pair of glowing eyes in a storm, and hands that open us up to some really creepy tales. “Nightmares” wastes no time with fatty introductions and gets right to the thick of the creeps.
Yes, you could say it only had three seasons on television, but I prefer to think of it as we horror fans had an “Evil Dead” series for three whole years. While Starz! Didn’t stick to their guns in the long run, we had a good run re-visiting Ashley Williams once again in his journey to bring down the deadites from hell and track down the necronomicon. “Ash vs. Evil Dead” is a stellar horror comedy series that didn’t shy away from anything that made the original movies so fantastic, and if you’re flexible, you’ll love how the writers even stretch the mythos for a wider scope and more interesting depth, as well as a new variety of deadites like a hand puppet, a high school mascot, and a cell phone.
Rusty Cundieff is back for what is another racial based horror anthology that not so subtly comments on our current social and political climate. The original “Tales from the Hood” still packs immense relevance today, and Cundieff goes another bite at the jugular. While “Tales from the Hood 2” isn’t only packs two very strong horror stories surrounding racism and corruption, it’s still a fun, darkly comic satire with Keith David doing a stellar job as our new Satanic narrator. The budget is obviously lesser this time, but “Tales from the Hood 2” packs a wallop with a ton of biting satire.
It’s surprising for such an iconic author that Stephen King’s tales are so tough to bring to the big screen. I don’t know why “Children of the Corn” has managed to become something of a semi-classic since 1984 because the only scary thing about it is how boring it is. “Children of the Corn” has been a baffling horror presence since 1984, garnering a whole series of movies, including a remake, and sequels to the remake. There’s even been a new film in 2018.
“Gate 2” has been a rarity for years and finally gets a very good re-release by Scream who treats us to a sequel that’s nothing like the original. That’s both a good and bad aspect for the film as Tibor Takacs returns to direct, and complete his story arc, while also advancing the mythology. With Stephen Dorff on to better pastures, we follow his more reluctant friend Terry, who is now all alone after his friend moved away with his big sister. With no one around to corroborate their adventures in a hell dimension, Terry is now a pariah. Anxious to re-open the gate properly this time, Terry is egged on by two local bullies to let them take part in the summoning, promising them wish fulfillment. Much to their surprise, they manage to trap one of the minions of the gate, and Terry keeps it, hoping to find out its secrets.
It’s ironic, and perhaps not incidental, that Vestron would release the entire movie series for “Wishmaster” and “Warlock.” They’re two weak attempts at movie maniacs in a pretty stale decade for horror, and deep down while they have potential to be menacing and terrifying horror villains, they’re poorly realized, and potentially trail off in to absolute nothingness. “Warlock” is not as bad a slope as “Wishmaster,” as it managed to gain some momentum in the nineties, even sporting a Sega Genesis video game in 1995 which involved platforming, and fighting off zombies and demonic beasts with magic spells. 1989’s “Warlock” is a tonally confused movie that wants sorely to be a horror film, but ends up sliding in to dark fantasy territory by the time it draws to a close.
Widescreen and Uncut for movie buffs everywhere, “Satan’s Cheerleaders” is a wonderful piece of crap that mixes all of the seventies hallmarks in a ninety two minute piece of junk food. There’s your disco soundtrack, your scantily clad cheerleaders (Kerry Sherman is a stonecold babe), and of course what would the decade be without Satanic cults and women in the buff praising an altar of some kind? “Satan’s Cheerleaders” is a delightfully campy bit of nonsense that felt like someone had a script for a horror movie and a teen sports movie and put them together for the sake of getting a movie funded.