25 Jul

Jason’s Jumble: Friday the 13th

I’m a sucker for movie lists. I love to scribble down pointless lists of movies I’ve watched. I love to look up fan lists on the internet, and get mad at how wrong they are. With “Jason’s Jumble” I’m going to make my own lists, so you can get mad at me…starting with my favorite horror franchise of all time: Friday the 13th (from best to worst).

1. Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981)

Let me tell you the legend of Madman Marz. Or Jason. Or Angela.

Part 2 has everything I want in a Friday the 13th movie (minus the hockey mask, of course). It features my favorite cast of characters, including the best “final girl” of the series, and there’s something about Jason wearing that sack over his head that makes the whole thing creepier than the rest. Throw in Jason’s Mom’s head (spoiler alert?! We’ve all seen these, right?), and the camp setting (I’m a sucker for slashers that take place at camp! (MADMAN! SLEEPAWAY CAMP!) and you have my favorite of the bunch.

2. Friday the 13th: Part 4 – The Final Chapter (1984)

Jason never met a cabin door he didn’t like.

I go back and forth between part 4 and part 2 as my favorite of the franchise. They’re both so good! I’ll be totally real with you…there are only two reasons this one falls from the top spot: 1. It doesn’t take place at camp. We’ve established my feelings on the subject. And 2. Wait, no, that’s it.

If Friday the 13th were just a quadrilogy, this one might be on the top of the list. The ending (with all of those Savini effects) is so fun (Jason’s best demise for sure)! It features Crispin Glover AND Corey Feldman! And it has some of the most iconic death scenes. Damn, I’m almost convincing myself to move it up a spot. I will say that it’s a bit of a bummer that the beginning of the 5th one takes some of the air out of the bold ending of “The Final Chapter” – but that’s what 5th installments are for I guess (I’m looking at you Halloween 5).

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4 Jun

Video Pick of the Week: The Carrier (1988)

Don’t be confused, dear reader, because I am not recommending the 2009 Chris Pine flick – Carriers. Do a little googling for 1988’s The Carrier and your bound to see images of Chris Pine sweating out the apocalypse in the middle of an abandoned interstate. I’m also not recommending the 2015 movie also called “The Carrier.” Apparently that’s a movie about a disease spreading around an airplane. Maybe these other Carrier movies are good. I don’t know. But one thing I do know…there’s no way that they’re better than 1988’s The Carrier.

Look! The Detroit Free Press agrees! The Carrier is one of the good ones!

The plot of “The Carrier” is so unpredictable and wild that it’s hard to put it into words (definitely a good sign). If you smoke weed – I strongly suggest it paired with this one. Okay, I’ll try to explain the plot with out giving away too many surprises. Here goes..

The Carrier” is a portrait of a small religious town called Sleepy Rock, which is the kind of small town that would ban dancing in the 80s (I’m looking at you Footloose). Our hero, Jack (who always wears red. This is symbolic, guys) lives in a shack at the edge of town. One night, Jack is attacked by a mysterious creature (like a bear but also like a big foot), and Jack leaves the incident INFECTED. Any object Jack touches becomes a killing machine with the power to melt any person or living thing that touches it. And that’s just the first 20 minutes. Eventually everyone starts wearing plastic bags as body suits, and the local cats become the town’s currency. Did I mention that this movie is absolutely nuts? I could explain more, but I won’t. I’m no spoiler!

Plastic is the style of choice in THE CARRIER.

So how can your home entertainment system get infected with your very own copy of THE CARRIER? Obviously, there’s the VHS released by Magnum Entertainment back in 1988.

Logos. They don’t make ’em like they used to.

If your VCR is broken, there’s also a DVD & blu-ray release of the movie from Code Red DVD. Both are out of print, but available online. The blu-ray actually features a director’s cut of the movie that runs 10 minutes longer (Fun!) but is slightly cropped and plays a little dark (Ugh!). The theatrical cut on that very same disc actually runs out of sync half way through the movie, so just do what I do and watch the fuzzier video version…guaranteed to be in sync. Or if the VHS is not fuzzy enough for you – it’s also on youtube.

Still not convinced to pick up this wild and crazy movie? Here’s the trailer:

Cats or death?!

21 May

Video Pick of the Week: The New Kids (1985)

One aspect of the old era of video rentals that I loved and dearly miss is the video pick of the week. One video (usually one with a lot of dust on its cover) was picked and propped up on the counter as the movie to rent that week. Since the video rentals of yesteryear are all but dead and buried – I thought that I might take on the challenge (at least digitally) of picking one movie a week that I highly recommend.

This week my video pick is 1985’s “The New Kids”

This is a movie as good as its cover!

Directed by Sean S. Cunningham (Friday the 13th) and starring Lori Loughlin, James Spader, Tom Atkins, and Eric Stoltz. What a line up! This is one of those great 80s movies that sets up a playful tone up top and then shifts gradually into a very violent third act (much like a future video pick of the week: 1984’s “Scream for Help.”)

James Spader’s best gif performance!

It’s about a brother and sister duo, who move into their uncle and aunt’s broke down amusement park following their parents’ tragic death. As they settle into their new surroundings, the local hot headed sociopath (Spader) starts to notice Abby (Loughlin) and events are set into motion that lead to an all out battle between the local psychos and who else?… THE NEW KIDS.

“Who paid your tuition?”

There’s lots of ways to watch this one. If you’re like me – you track down the video, but there’s also a brand new blu ray with one of those like’em or leave’em retro VHS covers.

Look kids, a fake old thing!

Still not convinced to watch this gem? Well, just for fun, here’s a fan made music video made only with footage from “The New Kids.” Caution: Spoilers await you:

When it’s over … you’ll want to watch The New Kids.
23 Apr

Fake Bands in Real Horror Movies!: Future Kill

Future Kill! Commonly touted as the quintessential example of the best cover for a bad movie (and I’m not here to disagree)! The poster/VHS cover was designed by ALIEN designer H.R. Giger, so, yeah, it’s great! And it looks nothing like the cardboard costumes within. But maybe you came to this movie for its cardboard.

How many kids rented this for 5 days and cried for 4 of them?

The movie’s description sounds better than it is. It’s Animal House meets Land of Doom but it’s a horror movie and it stars a few actors from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s also somehow boring. But the music is amazing!

Right about the time I was about to shut this thing off, and put in “Demon Wind” for the 6th time – the characters enter a post apocalyptic new wave club – there’s a band on stage playing a song that I tried and failed at Shazaming. Don’t worry…I figured it out, so I’ll be your Shazam today.

The song is “Xerox” and the band is Max and the Make Ups!

So here’s what I found out about these guys. Max and the MakeUps consisted of Jon Howard, Max Gottlieb, Karl Remstem, Lisa Gamache, and Mike Alvarez. They formed in Austin, Texas in 1981. They recorded 3 EPs from 1981 to 1983, but none of them were released at the time. The band toured the Southwest for nearly four years before disbanding in 1984. All of their songs were mastered on cassettes, except “Xerox” – which was the one song mixed in an actual studio. Currently all of their music is available on Mike Alvarez’s Not Records Tapes label and it’s all free on their site, so check it out, download their tunes, make mix tapes.

And watch out for those pesky anti-nuke mutants!

Max and the Make Ups!

2 Oct

Halloween Mix 2018!

Happy October! Here’s my Halloween Spotify playlist for the year.  It’s full of Halloween classics and some deep cuts for your next Horrifically Howling Halloween Party!  A lot of the music here is also available in a few cassettes I cut together.  You can find them here & here.  Enjoy!

9 Jan

Discoveries! 2016

2016 will go down in history as a pretty crap year, but outside of this year’s great mistakes (I won’t mention the obvious big one here) – 2016 was a year where I watched & rewound some great movies, flipped through some fantastic comics, and listened to music that was really good. So here’s my list of discoveries: 2016…

Favorite VHS: Heavenly Bodies – 1984

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I watch a lot of movies, but it’s a rare day when I watch a movie that becomes one of my favorite films of all time.  “Heavenly Bodies” is that good. It’s a hopeful movie with a positive message & a whole lot of aerobics.  If you hate positive messages and/or aerobics then you’ll probably hate this movie. The plot is pretty typical 80s cliche: Big Corporate assholes vs small time folks with big hearts.  But what sets it apart from a movie like “Flash dance” or “Perfect” is its electric energy that doesn’t quit until the credits roll. “Heavenly Bodies” is a movie with a soul, and I couldn’t recommend it more.  This movie is just waiting for a big time/big art theater revival, but at the moment it’s only on VHS.

Favorite Horror VHS: The Sect (alt title: The Devil’s Daughter, Demons 4) – 1991

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Here’s a movie directed by Dario Argento’s understudy, Michelle Soavi (see also “Cemetery Man” & the excellent slasher – “Stage Fright.”  “The Sect” is a haze of murky sewers, giant killer birds, and secret cults. It has a lazy dubbing job typical of most American releases of European movies & full disclosure – I love bad dubbing.  It’s actually hard for me to watch a subtitled Italian horror movie, because I miss the dream-like feel that comes out of having the voices not quite match the mouths of the actors. Also, the lead in the movie is Jamie Lee Curtis’ sister – which is a lot of fun because from certain angles they look remarkably similar. There’s really nothing stopping you from picking this one up, because it’s an incredibly cheap buy.  I bought my copy on VHS under the title: THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER – it was still sealed and only $3 on Amazon. There’s still 6 copies left on there.  Get into it before they raise the price to $5!

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3 Jun

First Time Frights! : DAWN OF THE DEAD

The first time I saw 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead,” I was 13 & I was in bed, wearing an eye patch; ordered there by my doctor for “one week of bed rest with as little eye movement as possible.” Just a few days earlier my best friend shot me in the eye during a painful (very painful) BB gun battle.  He didn’t mean to shoot me in the eye, of course.  It was just a lucky shot. Lucky/unlucky is what I call it.  Unlucky because he shot me in the most damaging and painful spot on my body, but lucky, because he also managed to miss – by one millimeter – the spot where I would’ve lost all sight in that eye. When I hit the ground screaming, I had a rush of regret.  “Oh shit,” I thought, “I’m that stupid kid from A Christmas Story.”

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I went to the optometrist and he sent me home with a not-so-fun eye patch, and the order to stay in bed for one week while my eye healed. I couldn’t move around at all. No showers, no walks (except to the toilet).  I couldn’t even read a book (which was no problem for me because I was 13 and the only books I read had Batman in them).  Movies were what the doctor ordered.  I sent my Mom out to the 2 local video rentals with a long list of movies I wanted to watch.

She came back home with a bunch of Alfred Hitchcock movies, some old Gumby tapes (I was going through a big Gumby phase at the time. I was even in the Gumby fan club!) and all 3 tapes from George Romero’s Dead trilogy. At that point, I had only seen “Night of the Living Dead,” so since I was stuck in bed with a doctor-prescribed week-long order to watch as many movies as possible – I wanted to see the entire trilogy in one sitting.

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