Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: The Last House on the Left (1972)

lasthouseonleft

Kevin: Wes Craven’s original masterpiece “Last House on the Left” is probably one of the hardest movies that I have ever had to review. Let me warn you first and foremost, those expecting a teenybopper horror flick like “Scream” are going to be in for a surprise. Ninety minutes of pure terror, “Last House on the Left” takes no prisoners and remains today just as powerful as it did when it was first released nearly forty years ago.

Steve: Definitely a unique Craven film, “Last House on the Left” has its moments of laughs, screams, and tears. With such a dark subject matter, it’s nice to have a break with the parents being able to sprinkle in some fun moments here and there. The villains in the film are so downright disgusting, their acts will give you the uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. And that feeling will tend to linger with you as things go from bad to worse for our two main girls.

Kevin: Extremely graphic and brutally raw would still be downplaying how disturbing this is. The entire film is shot and filmed with a dark, dreary look that perfectly fits the sick tone of the movie. It’s raw and powerful but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Let’s just say, they don’t make movies like this anymore. It really is too bad because this film is as much a masterpiece as it ever has been.

Steve: With a recent remake hitting the big screens, there is hope that a new audience will seek out the original. However if you have seen the artwork for the latest DVD release of this 1972 classic, the general movie-goer would tend to think they are picking up the remake. So, if you are one of the “kids” out there who enjoyed the remake, do yourself a favor and take in a piece of history with an original “Last House on the Left” viewing!

Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: “Flesh Eating Mothers” (1988)

flesh-eating-mothers

Kevin: Flesh Eating Mothers is the kind of horror movie that takes more chances than just about any horror movie released in the last year. In this 1988 cult hit, the woman of a small town are all turning into…well, flesh eating mothers. A sexually transmitted disease is taking over the neighborhood and all the women who have slept with the town “stud” are now infected. How’s THAT for a premise? Let’s just say, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Steve: The overall story is quite intriguing. These everyday suburban woman are in need of a little extra lovin’, but unfortunately get more then what they were looking for. Telling his wife he is going for a run, the town stud takes off in his sweats and meets up with the mothers. Leaving them with something a little extra, the mothers soon develop the taste and desire for human flesh.

Kevin: The effects are surprisingly well done and the makeup on the mothers after they have turned into the flesh eating beings is creepy as hell! This is a fun and cheesy flick, but with a darker script this could have been a very scary watch. If for no other reason, the face transformations of these murderous mothers is worth the watch.

Steve:
With body parts gnawed off, faces ripped off, and lots of blood & gore, Flesh Eating Mothers is a like a buffet for the horror fan. With laughably bad dialogue and some of the worst acting to come out of the 1980’s (yes, that is saying a LOT right there), the movie is an instant camp classic. While it does run out of steam in the last act, the first hour is filled with some great delights of overacting and overeating. Dig in!

Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: Santa’s Slay (2005)

santas_slay1

Kevin: It’s Christmas Eve 2005, the Mason family is enjoying Christmas dinner when a very large and very angry Santa Claus (wrestler Bill Goldberg) comes down the chimney and kills them all. A few of the death highlights include Santa stabbing someones hands to the table with steak knives, a sharp pole that impaled through a young woman’s head, a head set on fire and then drowned in eggnog, and a man pushed into a glass case. Sound like your kind of slasher? What if I said that the actors dying in this opening scene were none other than James Caan, Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan, and Rebecca Gayheart? Let’s just say that by the time Santa grabs a leg from the table and smashes into Drescher head as she pleads, “I’ve been good!”, the movie had officially won be over. The first five minutes of “Santa’s Slay” delivers more genuine laughs than most Hollywood comedies deliver in their entire running times. Does the rest of the movie live up to the potential of this incredible opening? Well, not really but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Steve: Just as Wes Craven created an amazing opening scene in Scream, David Steiman was able to direct a memorable first scene in Santa’s Slay. This has all the makings of a stand alone, award winning short film. Great actors, funny and well delivered lines, and of course amazing deaths! If for no other reason, you must watch this movie for first few fast-paced minutes. It seems to go by in a flash, but you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

Kevin: Believe me, “Santa’s Slay” is just as goofy as it sounds and just as fun too. You want a killer Santa murdering the naughty citizens while Robert Culp challenges Santa to one last game of hockey to decide who rules the world? Well, this is the movie for you. It has too much plot by half and not all of the jokes work but damn if this movie doesn’t work it’s ass off to do anything and everything for a laugh. I admire that in a low budget slasher. Even if the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to that terrific opening scene.

Steve: The production value of this film is high up on the ladder. The cinematography is done very well and the acting throughout the film is believable. The effects are fun and the deaths are not only inventive, but also interesting enough to keep your attention throughout the 78 minute flick. The story has a great look for a lower budget film and although the setup is top notch and is hard to follow, the rest of the film is still a fun watch and is great for that late December viewing.

Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: “Crinoline Head” (1995)

crinoline-head

Kevin: Crinoline Head is the best 80’s slasher that happened to be made in the 1990’s. Everything about this movie screams 80’s slasher. Unlikable, stereotypical characters. Check. Innovative deaths. Check. Fun, cheesy dialogue. Check. Creepy backstory. Check. Whodunit mystery. Check. I just had a blast watching this film though your mile may vary depending on how much you love a good-bad slasher (this movie is obviously made in the likes of such campy classics as Sleepaway Camp). This movie is self aware but never mocking and has a genuine appreciation for both its subject matter and its character. It knows exactly what type of movie it is. The only question is, is this a movie that will work for you? Well, that depends. It is uber-low budget and it takes about about an hour for the killings to start.

Steve: Although it takes a bit for the deaths to begin, the start of the film is still able to keep you attention with the great one-liners and very…unique characters. The line delivery and overall acting ability was far too god for a film of this budget, so many props go out to the casting director for finding believable actors.

Kevin: What works about this movie? The clever, inventive screenplay and go-for-broke performances by a more than game cast. This movie is instantly quotable and has a sense of fun that is missing from a lot of the most popular slashers today. Check out the trailer below. If it looks like something you might dig, you probably will. If you are groaning and barely able to get through these two minutes, stay as far away from this slasher as possible.

Steve: Mostly likely, you will spend more time talking about the actors and their incredible wardrobe choices. Perfect 90’s shirts and denim paired with interesting looks and personalities help create an unforgettable film. Whether you like this slasher or not, you wont soon forget it!

Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: “The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid-Row Slasher” (1979)

hollywood strangler meets the skid row slasher vhs front & back

Kevin: The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid-Row Slasher is quite possibly the strangest “slasher” I’ve ever seen. The entire 60 minute running time is a variation of a few scenes. Our lead Johnathon Click hires a few “photographer’s models” (hookers) for a night and ends up strangling them before any of the sex happens. This is shown at least a dozen times and it really is something umm…to be seen. Johnathon is in love with the woman who runs the neighborhood used “book” store (the set design is so bad that there are barely more than 20 books shown in the entire store and a dresser drawer is her cash register?!) and even though he has never spoken to her (no one speak at all during this film because he no live sound was recorded), she knows that she is the one.

Steve: So, we know who the Hollywood Strangler is, but who is the Skid-Row Slasher? Well my slasher friends, you must watch to find out. Or just watch the first quarter of this film, as the last 3 quarters are pretty much just a reply. Jonathan is out for, as Joe Bob Briggs says, sluts. And boy does he find some. Some of the sluts are not too bad looking, but some are… well… less desirable.

Kevin: This movie is all sorts of bad. With a budget in the “low four figures” it has a cheap, documentary style feel to it that actually helps the film. The performances are all decent even though they are given nothing to work with and there is a decent amount of very fake gore. The highlight? The wonderful Joe Bob Briggs commentary on the DVD. He is a joy to listen to and will tell you anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the making of this flick. Good stuff!!

Steve: All in all, this film is worth a watch, even if just for the great comedy of Joe Bob. So, do the movie it’s justice and check out the feature. Then, if you can make it through the repetitive nature of this VO filled film, you must treat yourself to the commentary. The laughs Briggs can bring will be worth the cost of the DVD.

Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: “Death Becomes Her” (1992)

Kevin: Death Becomes Her is the kind of dark comedy that would never be made today. Filled with biting humor about the fears of aging, the film knows exactly how it wants to play its humor without going too over the top. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn have each taken a potion to live forever. Little do they know, their lives are about to change forever when they..umm….die.

Steve: That’s right, these lovely ladies will live on in their dead bodies. The feud between these two will live on forever, but their beauty will not. This is where they need the mustached Bruce Willis to turn them back into the young and attractive women they once were. However, he is not about to let these crazy chicks run his life.

Kevin: This has always been a favorite of mine. The performances are all pitch perfect and the story knows exactly where it wants to go. Not everything works as the film meanders a bit in the final act but it is the getting there that is the fun. Here’s hoping Scream Factory gets their hands on this film soon. The release on DVD in full frame by Universal is a disgrace. This film won the Academy Award for visual effects and it would be a treat to see it in full HD glory.

Steve: The effects were beyond what I was expecting for this film. They were exceptionally well done and very realistic. Streep spends some time with her head twisted around and Hawn goes through a good chuck of the film with a hole in her stomach. Just thinking of how many takes were needed to get everything perfect for post production makes my head hurt. If you are an effects guru, this is one to watch!

Kevin & Steve’s Slasher Movies: “Fatal Games” (1984)

Trachtenberg-FatalGamesGoodBadFlicks574

Kevin: “Fatal Games” has quite possibly the most accurately hilarious description on IMDB that I have ever seen. “A mad javelin thrower kills teenagers in the school. All promising athletes are executed in the most brutal way. Especially naked girls in dressing-rooms or saunas.” In three sentences you immediately know if this is the kind of slasher for you. Luckily enough for me, it was.

Steve: Most of us who love the thrill of 80’s slashers, will also love the agony of defeat these poor olympic hopefuls face. Chalk full of sex crazed guys and nude girls, Fatal Games delivers some fun deaths, a couple chase scenes and even likable characters. The olympic aspect helps set it apart from other films in its genre. A nice change of pace as the young characters find themselves together at the training facility, rather than a cabin.

Kevin: With one of the strangest and actually quite creepy endings of a slasher that I have seen in a while, “Fatal Games” adds a twist that is so implausible that it really must be seen to be believed. Tonally, the film is all over the place. The opening theme song of “Take it to the Limit” feels right out of a “Rocky” sequel, then the film turns to some hi-jinks with the Olympic hopeful “teenagers” who are at least a decade too old to be playing seniors. Starting with the second act, the murders take form and the killer wannabe Olympian is out for revenge. It’s a very, very strange movie. Not exactly good but compulsively watchable.

Steve: Yes, very watchable for a number of reasons. The “national lampoon-like” comedy at the beginning gives us some cheesy laughs, but that does not last long as the film takes an abrupt turn in the tone and feel. The motivation for the killings is a big surprise at the end and definitely pieces a few odd parts together from earlier in the film. With a great score found throughout and classic 80’s cheese from beginning to end, Fatal Games is a fun little film. Just make sure you are ready to have the opening song stuck in your head for days to come.

Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: “The Taint” (2010)

taint

Kevin: In “The Taint,” much like “Cabin Fever,” the water is tainted. The tainted water is turning the men of this small town into raging misogynistic monsters who want to kill and rape woman. Can our underdog of a hero, Phil, save the town and the woman of it before it is too late for everyone?

Steve: This is definitely a see it to believe it film. We can go on for days talking about the male nudity, gallons of gore, and overall “offensiveness” of the film, but if you haven’t witnessed it yourself, you just wouldn’t understand. Director, Drew Bolduc, takes on some very sensitive issues and will offend many people (abortion and the American Flag to name just two) so if you are a highly sensitive person, you may want to steer clear. But, if you are a fan of creative cinema, this one is worth a look!

Kevin: “The Taint” is a surreal mix of some of the wildest gore you’ve ever seen complete with lots and lots of ejaculating penises and some of the niftiest gore I’ve seen all year. To say this movie isn’t for the easily offended is putting it mildly. “The Taint” puts even the most gross out Troma films of the 80’s to shame. Whether or not that is a recommendation is completely up to the viewer but I was shocked how much of a good time I had with this movie. Despite a second act that is a bit too repetitive for its own good, the film is rarely boring and when it works….it really works. I was giggling like a child at the over-the-top bodily fluids and the copious amounts of gore and nudity.

Steve: The editing was fun and fast paced at times and the overall production value was boosted by the solid camera work and effects. The acting held its own as Bolduc took on two roles and was the standout star of the film. He will be a favorite amongst movie goers with his funny monotone lines and persona. This was a great addition to the Troma family and Slasher Studios is looking forward to what Bolduc cooks up next.

Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: “Transylmania” (2009)

transylmania

Kevin: Until last year, Transylmania was known as the lowest grossing wide release movie in the history of box office tracking. Just how badly did it do? It grossed less than $370,000 on a budget of $22 million and prompted a major lawsuit. But…is the movie really THAT bad? Did it deserve the box office slaying it received? Let’s dig into the horror comedy and find out.

Steve: Even after sitting through this film, I’m still trying to figure out where all of the $22 million were spent. There were no big name actors to pay, so i know they saved money there. The production value was actually pretty good, but I would have wanted a better look and lighting if I had that kind of money to spend. The sets were indeed great through. The castle and the decor was well planned and executed and it was obvious that the set decorator was on top of her game, so I can understand a lot of money being put into props, etc. Not sure how much was spent on marketing, but as expensive as that can be, I’m sure they sunk a good chunk of that $22 million into that.

Kevin: Transylmania began as Dorm Daze 3, a sorta lame American Pie in college knock off series that still featured a few decent jokes, when a little movie called Twilight came out. Of course the filmmakers had to jump on the vampire bandwagon and the movie got its new name and new marketing campaign. A horror “spoof” in the lines of Date Movie and Epic Movie this was not. We can all be thankful for that. Whatever problems this movie has (and trust me, there are MANY problems) a lack of ambition isn’t one of them.

Steve: I think the biggest problem is the sad fact that this movie is just not funny. A couple laughs here and there, but overall, the jokes really didn’t land. The Rusty character, played by Oren Skoog, gave me the most laughs, but it was more because of his look and facial expressions than the jokes and delivery. This was actually the problem with most of the actors. Overall, the cast was not terrible and I really did like a couple of the actors, such as the underused, James DeBello. Having already been a fan of him in Cabin Fever, I was looking forward to his character, but felt let down in the end.

Kevin: It seems weird to complain that a comedy has too much plot but that is the case with Transylmania. A group of college student spend a semester abroad in Romania and hijinks ensue. Except they really don’t. The film feels flat and very little is ever in jeopardy with the characters. At just 97 minutes, it is at LEAST 15 minutes too long and the ending drones on endlessly. A few good laughs here and there (the first act of this film is by far its best) but you will forget it the second you are done watching it.

Steve: This film has some fun and valuable attributes, but after all is said and done, this film falls short of what it needed to be. Wasn’t that funny, it wasn’t that raunchy, and wasn’t that memorable. Too bad because I was really in the mood for some laughs and fun quotable lines.

Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: “Blood Junkie” (2010) Review

BloodJunkiePoster

Kevin: From director Drew Rosas, Blood Junkie is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Actually, take that back, if you are a fan of 80’s no-budget slasher, it is EVERYTHING you’ve seen before. Nevertheless, this is the rare movie that uses familiarity with some stylish editing choices and godawful 80’s fashion to create a one of a kind slasher experience.

Steve: I had heard nothing but great things regarding Blood Junkie, but I was not sure if it was going to able to live up to the hype. Fortunately, this not only meet the hype, but exceeded any and all expectations that I had. Great script, great acting, and an all around great fun!

Kevin: Set in 1989’s Wisconsin and described as a “hyper-hipster 1980s horror comedy”, Blood Junkie tells the story of two teenage girls Laura (Sarah Luther) and Rachel (Emily Treolo) who are babysitting Laura’s little brother for the weekend. Left with $35 (“Do you know how much alcohol you can buy for $35? A LOT!”), the two girls head to the local gas station to get some supplies. It is at the gas station that they meet Teddy (Mike Johnson) and Craig (Nick Sommer), a couple of guys looking to go camping and score for the weekend. Before long the fivesome have made their way to the forest for some sex, drugs, and death.

Steve: After the girls find themselves too close for comfort with an unwanted stranger, the two boys go into hero mode and look to save the day! Armed with a gun and a hangover, Craig leads the way through the thick forest as the duo seeks out an abandoned factory that houses their dates. Will they be able to save the day or will they meet their demise at the hands of the Blood Junkie?

Kevin: Can I describe for you in a sentence how this movie looks? The sets look like someone threw up wood chips and the clothes look like they were hand me downs of hand me downs of hand me downs from decades past. This might not be a selling point for many, but for me, this film never loses sight of its 80’s homage style. The performances are all absolutely perfect with special attention paid to the Nick Sommer as hot-shot Craig with one of the ugliest mullets and sweaters around. If anyone could sell this asshole character and make him likeable, it is Sommer. An all around fun time, if you like your slasher films cheap with a good sense of humor about themselves, this is a must watch.

Steve: Oh yeah, with top notch set design and cinematography, Blood Junkie easily sets itself apart from other indy horror films. The editing is also a factor that is not to be overlooked. There are a few stylish cut sequences and edits that had an Easy Rider feel to them. Not only did the editing work, but it worked great. Check this one out today and if nothing else, you will love the hilarious Lloyd Kaufman intro at the beginning.

To buy from Amazon: Blood Junkie (DVD)