Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's almost here, horror pals.

Are you stoked? I know I am. This is the time of the year I live for. The chance to return to the films that I adore. That I appreciate. I have a great line-up planned to kick start Halloween month, and I will definitely open--unlike last year, the worst October experience I've had in some time--with Dracula's Daughter. It has done me right in the past. I don't quite know what it is but for about four/five years now, DD has been fitting, the right movie that kind of gets the month off on the right foot. A couple years ago, I had my follow-up as Werewolf of London, and I plan to do that this year. 2010 was a wonderful year which is puzzling considering how difficult it was with college and such. I want that for this year. Got a lot of newer movies in the canon for this year. I was considering Ti West's House of the Devil as the nightcap, but also on my mind is Human Centipede-The First Sequence. I really wanted to give West's film a second chance and thought maybe the spirit of the month would perhaps ingratiate it more to me than my first viewing of it; its reputation aside, I felt it just didn't quite light my fire as I was hoping. This is the kind of year that could yield some potential gems...or maybe its wishful thinking? We'll see.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lucio Fulci's The Beyond

A Louisiana hotel was constructed on one of the seven gateways to hell. An artist named Spike, renting a room at the hotel, found a key to the door to hell, was mauled by angry townsfolk with chains,  crucified to a wall with spikes hammered into his arms, receiving an acid bath, and to top it off sealed in the basement behind a wall.

On the day the gates of hell are opened, the dead will walk the earth.

Such text comes from this book called Eibon. It was found in the hotel in Spike's room, Room 36, then later, mysteriously, in the abode of a blind blond girl (her eyes have those purposely freaky albino pupils), cob-webbed and open with pages that are dry and weary.

And you will face the sea of darkness and all therein that may be explored...

When you read from the typical devotee of the late Lucio Fulci, The Beyond is considered his masterpiece. I will call it a masterpiece....a masterpiece of excess. There's eyeball violence of epic proportions. I think there are three sequences where eyeballs are removed from their sockets. In fact, faces to those who are unfortunate enough to suffer the poisonous toxin that is the Louisiana hotel of this film (a mark is often established (a hex from Hell, if you will...) on objects, the Eibon, on bodies, anything or anyone associated with the hotel where Spike was killed, located over a door to hell) are annihilated in gratuitous, lengthy fashion.

For instance, the maid gets the back of her head slammed through a nail in the wail, her eyeball popping out immediately. The very one who killed the maid, the plumber, has his eye plucked out by the zombie-fied Spike, whose body resembled to me a piece of petrified wood in a humanly form. Oh, but the grand eyeball gore comes when the hired hotel renovator falls from a ladder in a library as he was about to acquire the architectural designs for the place, rendered incapacitated (I guess his spine was damaged, causing paralysis), as tarantula spiders (!!!) show up from out of the blue, crawling over to his body, onto his face, tearing it apart...seeing a tarantula pry away a fake eyeball, I have seen quite a bit in my time as a horror fan but this was surreal. I guess only the killer snails (haha!!!) in ├ćnigma are more surreal.

The face violence, however, is rather noticeably the plaster cast of the actors' faces, although the ghoulish fate of the blind girl, by her "possessed" canine (because it attacked Spike the Zombie, receiving cuts from him, it was "marked"), including ripped throat and ear (lots of gushing blood) right off the head,  is quite impressive (well, impressive if you consider seeing a teenage girl from "the beyond" getting her throat ripped out by her own pet; by the way, was she supposed to be a ghost or what? If she's a ghost, how could she even get her throat ripped out? And if she's a zombie, how come her blood looks so fresh? By the way, what is her real purpose besides momentarily meeting Katherine MacColl and telling a tiny lil bit about the hotel?).

I think, though, that the violence reaches its zenith when a little redheaded girl who was held prisoner by the traveling pool of blood and acid (!!!) from her mother (who, for some reason, collapsed on the floor, I guess from fright, with a glass pitcher of acid pouring out over her face, slowly sizzling and fizzling into the aforementioned pool), now a zombie because her pops--the previously mentioned eyeball-less plumber--was marked, gets half her face taken off by a bullet from doc David Warbeck's pistol (which has an endless amount of ammunition...).

All of this with the accompanying rousing, ethereal score of Fabrio Frizzi and his chorus of enchanting voices who apply a quality of epic to Fulci's film that perhaps it might not necessarily deserve. I mean, when slow-moving spiders eat away a guy's face, this isn't the type of score you typically figure you'd be hearing augmenting the whole experience.

All of this aside, that ending is really rather fantastic, I thought. It does rather leave one spellbound and it says that escaping Fulci's hell may be impossible. The final sequence, extended from the point of leaving the hotel (the silhouetted images of the zombies appearing inside is rather neat), driving to the hospital, under siege by the morgue zombies (there's another cool scene that shows one of the corpses in a body bag ripping out with one finger...), finding their way "into Spike's portrait", in essence, walking unknowingly into "the beyond" never to escape, is quite unnerving considering the circumstances MacColl and Warbeck find themselves. Fulci, to me, always seems to find ways to place characters into a predicament, where they just enter peril by no fault of their own. You die because you are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time...not only that, but when you die, you do so horribly. And when Fulci kills you, expect flesh torn away and eyeballs gouged. That was just his cinematic contribution to the world of horror. I have to say, in closing, that I loved the way he could light those zombies, shadowing them as they appear, zooming in nice and tight when he wants to repulse you with the rotted flesh and deteriorated faces of his undead ghouls. At least when he made his zombie movies, they were based out of his own universe of weird, while poor Bruno Mattei and others tried desperately to mimic Romero to no avail...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nightmares '83

I'm such a fan of the horror anthology. I like the idea of a movie with several horror stories featuring a number of familiar faces with plots containing macabre elements and themes. Nightmares, to be honest, never was that big a favorite of mine, even when I was a kid and pretty liked anything horror. But, like anthology horror films prior to Nightmares, some recognizable faces turn up, such as Emilio Estevez, still mining the angry teenager with a poisonous attitude, and another strong, sincere performance from Lance Henriksen, in an atypical role as a struggling-with-his-faith priest. Still, I remember Nightmares was a VHS rental darling in its day...

Terror in Topanga is the slasher tale of the anthology, a nut out stabbing folks (including a cop, savagely knifed at the beginning after sending a motorist on her way, warning her to fix the tail light) and a suburban wife needing smokes so desperately she's willing to risk going out into the night at 11:00 in order to satiate her nicotine fit. William Henry Glasier (The One and Only William Sanderson; or so we are led to believe...) is an escaped mental patient (yeah, I know, I know...) wanted in connection with LA murders, but she needs her sweet, sweet nicotine so you can imagine, with all the media and radio coverage of the notorious murders and the loony-on-the-loose, there's potential in her meeting a possible danger in the foothills of Topanga. This one is obvious, underwhelming, and rather forgettable. If this were absent from the anthology it wouldn't suffer at all. Sanderson's character is a play on "don't judge a book by its cover" and goes to show you that he can teeter both ways, convincing either as sinister or kindly. You knew that this tale was certain to place her in harm's way, and that after her terrifying experience she'd probably kick the habit. Blah.

The Bishop of Battle is the tale that was very popular it seems with a lot of the kids I knew that watched Nightmares in the 80s, and you can read reviews and comments on it with the sentiments highly favorable towards it, but this one isn't necessarily one that resonates with me, although the arcade age brings back fond memories spent in them as a lad, even if I wasn't worth a plug nickle. The plot's fairly simple for this tale: a teenager who loves to turn up the punk music in his Walkman while tackling the highly difficult arcade game known in nickname as The Bishop (The Bishop of Battle), with 13 levels (get it, 13?), each level progressively harder. Emilio Estevez in his early career (around the same time as his cult classic, Repo Man) is the obsessed teen, wholly committed to beating this game, but what will his reward be for defeating it if he does? Estevez is considered a gaming legend by his Valley peers, and there's a doubt by many regarding whether or not this level even exists. He cancels out everyone in exchange for The Bishop and pays a heavy price... This perhaps comments on the unhealthy addiction to games and how it can change your behavior towards others, ultimately overtaking every aspect of your life if allowed.

So far both tales feature addictions that endanger those with them. While the craving for smokes motivates the woman in the first tale to risk altercation with a killer, Estevez' need to beat a game leads to a fate possibly worse than death.

The Benediction concerns a Catholic priest (Lance Henriksen, in a strong performance early in his career, before The Terminator & Aliens) losing his faith as he sees so many examples of evil, yet so few examples of good. Haunted by the death of a child (his parents are dedicated members of his parish), Henriksen decides to leave The Church, heading out on his own, in a car with no air conditioning, the desert his road to wherever. What he didn't imagine encountering was a black truck (a crucifix hanging upside down from a chain on a review mirror) with black tinted windows constantly trying to run him off the road, hit him head-on, and wreck his car. The Benediction uses the oft-told themes of "good vs. evil" and a man of God regaining the faith he had lost after a spiritual crisis. These themes are not everyone's cup of tea, though. The end result, the use of holy water to combat the evil black truck when death seems imminent, is predictable, but I have to admit this tale was compelling in that it uses vehicular action to symbolize these themes. Nothing extraordinary, though; some might compare this tale to Spielberg's Duel in ways.

Night of the Rat suffers from stupid behavior syndrome, not uncommon in horror movies of all types. Richard Masur is stuck with an incorrigible, rather impossibly stubborn, and remarkably ignorant businessman workaholic who insists to his concerned, troubled wife (played by Veronica Cartwright; Alien/Invasion of the Body Snatchers) that he will take care of their growing rat problem (he even comes home and the exterminator points out the giant hole in the wall, trying to tell him of the kind of situation the family has with the rodent problem, only to be rushed from the house and on his way). You know it will not bode well for the family when all signs point to a problem needing to be handled by a professional yet the man of the house persists that he can fix it himself. Left to their own devices, Cartwright and Masur go at it about taking care of the problem internally, without the need for outside assistance. This is the kind of tale that features a man so full of ego, pride, and self-importance than any offer of help is rejected with a harsh, cold tone, so when he does get what's coming to him, all you can feel is sympathy for the wife and daughter who become the true victims. We eventually get to see the giant rat and it is wanting something from the family, the daughter held hostage until this demand is met. Essentially a man vs. rat tale, except the reason for the rodent's presence in the home is more maternal and less just to be a pest. Masur is so unlikable, I think it hurts the tale but because of his Alpha Male personality, the results were proving a point: a control freak believing he can rid his house of rats is brought down to size.

To be honest, watching Nightmares again after a few years absence, it really doesn't improve upon subsequent viewings, mainly because none of the tales really set the world on fire. Normally in an anthology, there comes out at least one solid tale that lifts the entire movie past potential mediocrity. The Bishop of Battle and maybe The Benediction are mentioned in a positive light by those who grew up with Nightmares, but even these two tales are decent but not particularly spectacular. Run of the mill anthology at best. Some recognizable faces help keep this film alive I think; and the anthology is a popular staple in horror...I know I love the omnibus, especially when Amicus did it in past.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Critters 2

The annual Easter egg hunt at small town Grover's Bend is about to get awfully harey (okay, at least give me one lame bunny rabbit joke, will ya?) when little eggs found in a barn abandoned two years house those sharp-teeth, human-flesh-eating, mischievous, red-eyeballed, hairy furball Crites soon to crack open with all kinds of carnage in store for the local townsfolk. Even the poor fellow wearing the Easter Bunny outfit isn't spared. Bradley Brown (Scott Grimes, returning from the first film's cast) returns to Grover's Bend to visit Grandma and, sure enough, the Crites hatch and feed not long after he gets off the bus. Terrence Mann and Don Opper also return from the first film, with another bounty hunter alien, landing on Earth by spaceship to make sure all the Crites have been eradicated (Opper has joined Mann, helping tag and salvage the bodies of those rogue aliens they hunt).

I hate teenagers.

I'm a reporter there
Kind of like Jimmy Olsen...with breasts.

This movie has yet another motherless family with daddy (Sam Anderson, a recognizable face, particularly during this time in his career) running the local paper while his peewee daughter is threatened by her Easter egg (an antique salesman trades for them with the local leather-jacketed numbskull bully in town for some cases of beer and Playboy mags, in turn selling some of the Crite eggs to Bradley's aggressive Vegan Grandma, who'll be giving them away, not knowing what are cased inside them) as the older daughter (senior in high school) takes a shine to returning Bradley. I don't know what it is about all these horror movies that have the widower and his kids...

This town can kiss my ass.

Barry Corbin is such a joy to me. He has a way of calling people pussies, forcing the town to "quit their bitchin'", and has this look of "Awww, Hell, we all may die a horrible death, but we can at least do it without griping and pissing, moaning and groaning." You know those actors that just appear on screen, and this smile just pops on your face because there's a sure bet he'll say something cleverly funny that tickles your funnybone? Corbin does it with that trademark drawl and "this is who I am, and I don't give a crap if you like or don't like how I say it" attitude that wins me over every time. When the town elected a new (grumpy) sheriff in a close race to replace Corbin (the poor guy wearing the bunny costume), he felt scorned and when Bradley and Megan (Liane Curtis, Bradley's cutie love interest) and Sally (red-lipsticked, redheaded Lin Shaye, scene stealing extraordinaire, given a much heftier part than the usual cameo) appeal for him to help them against the Critters he's not interested.

We need you Harv. We need a sheriff.
Go check the Yellow Pages.

This here is American Culture. Good Reading. Good Articles.

When Charlie, Ug (Mann), and Lee land on earth, Lee still hasn't found a suitable face/body to morph into, soon discovering a hot babe in a Playboy magazine, taking the shape of shapely bunny, Roxanne my surprise (I seem to have forgotten this; I have only seen this sequel once back in the early 90s...), Lee is topless, very eyeopening considering the film was rated PG-13. Charlie's expression is priceless. There's this great scene I just loved where Ug and Lee enter a hamburger joint (with the grating nerd, Eddie Deezen, showing up as an employee working the counter), just ransacked by the Crites who are having one hell of a feast, and Lee's extending cannon gun is positioned at her crotch; it's a visual that just cracked me up and Kernohan nails it with just the right look on her face (it was like "Bitchin!"). And, boy howdy, do they lay waste to the Crites and the establishment (it felt like Mick Garris was using the film as a cathartic means to destroy a fast food joint: Take that cow killers!)!

Who are we gonna call? Critterbusters?

Bradley and company have to devise a plan to get all the Crites in one location as to blow them up (it is the usual plot device used in countless crap syfy channel monster movies). So a meat packing plant just on the outskirts of town is ideal for such a plan. Bradley had a thing for dynamite, so getting together some help to plant sticks in the building was a no problem for him. This leads to the expected ka-boom! explosion and the iconic "giant ball of collective critters" rolling out of the fiery wreckage of the plant, over a few people (a neat, momentary visual has the bloody skeleton of a victim just right after the teeth of the collective furball passed over him while he tried to flee), and eventually torpedoed by Ug's bounty space ship thanks to a courageous Charlie wanting to come to the rescue as the critters aimed their roll towards a church full of children.

Damn meateaters!

Probably the big Gremlins-inspired scene comes when the Crites are chowing down in the burger joint, one of the bunch with a bald head after a blast takes its hair off, another falling in cooking grease, not to mention, all the "critter splatter" that results from cannon blasts that explode them into pieces and green goo. There are plenty of sight gags where Crites are run over or an imprint on a wall, with Mick Garris (who not only directed but co-wrote) abandoning any real horror, setting the tone more Looney Tunes and cartoonish, having the creatures played for laughs. I found myself actually laughing out loud a few times and this was far more entertaining than I was expecting. Not to miss an opportunity to give a shout out to their popular franchise's marketable villain, New Line Cinema (who financed Critters 2) executive Robert Shaye has Lee catch the eye of a billboard sign, almost morphing into Freddy Krueger! How cool would that have been?!

I gotta go...where no man has gone before.

Charlie is sober, treated with great love and care by the filmmakers, and treated with some dignity, unlike the first film which rather took a dump on him. His role here is substantially better and more lucrative than in the previous film where he was basically a likable minor colorful local amongst a fine cast. Mann has about the same amount of screen time and his alien is shaken when Lee is brutally murdered by Crites who trap "him/her" in an alley. Ug goes into "nothing-face" while "in mourning" but comes through with a neat trick fooling the Crites using a particular disguise.

I'm back.

Corbin, while at first hesitant to join Bradley, commits and his "gathering of the troops" is one of the resounding reasons I'll return to this movie in the future. I like that Grimes returned to the series one final time and he's a charming kid: his chemistry with Curtis is undeniable and they fit as an item like a glove. Add Corbin to the mix, Lin Shaye, and the wonderful Herta Ware as "fruits and vegetables instead of meat" conscious Nana, along with Opper and Mann, you got a treat of a cast. I could find worse ways to spend 80+ minutes.

It's funny. I was thinking: I can't think of too many horror films set around Easter,  and Critters 2 seems like an ideal choice to be an annual flick for that particular day. It captures the sunny brightness and Easter colors quite well. Good evocation of Norman Rockwell-ish folksy town that would seem ideal for retirees and those seeking the quiet to close the twilight years. This wasn't a film that carries any real nostalgia because I have only seen it once, but it was an entertaining diversion, I thought. I think the series should have probably ended here; it only gets worse from this point forward...

Monday, September 24, 2012

George A Romero's Diary of the Dead

Mummies get all the fucking girls.

What's a guy with a video camera doing in the women's dorm, huh?

A college student named Jason Creed, a wannabe documentary filmmaker, decides to shoot the events following a zombie outbreak where the dead are returning to attack the living.

We're in a warzone and I don't know who the war is with.

The main bitch about movies where someone uses a camera to shoot live events in the found-footage genre is that why would someone continue to record everything even as all hell breaks loose? So George picks up the mantle and gives us a reason this time: someone with a passion for documenting something of importance, considering what is happening worthy of constant recording, for future references. Friends and fellow students going to a school in Pennsylvania (this movie, unlike in the past, was shot in Canada) are in a Winnebago on the road to nowhere, and Diary of the Dead is a video diary of what they encounter along the way.

We've got to get her to a doctor.
Yea, a live one.

I must admit that there's some waxing melodramatic where Jason ponders his (and the world's) current situation while mulling over the bodies of dead undead (in a hospital looking for a doctor for the driver of their vehicle who shot herself, the group discovers no one alive, having to put an end to members of the staff, using a gun, and even electroshock paddles which pop out a zombie's eyes!) that can be a bit much (as was his oh-so-serious girlfriend's narration). It's the attempt to look at the zombie outbreak from a more somber perspective, a monotone, depressing tone from Michelle Morgan's voice (she's Jason's girl, always grave, low in spirit, soberly understanding that their predicament is grim).

The world being what it is.

While Day of the Dead is incredibly bleak and conveying a group of people in a bad way emotionally, Diary of the Dead has minor humor, but the overall mood is similar in that dramatically, life is a total catastrophic nightmare, spoken as such, Michelle (as Debra) never wavering in her droning voice and blank face. There's a ton of pondering the meaning of the outbreak, dead coming to life, us eating us, and trying to understand how to deal with it all.

 A sample of Debra's musings:
 It's interesting how quickly we find out what we're capable of becoming. Up until that night, we had lived predictable lives. Now... we would never be able to predict what might happen next. God had changed the rules on us. And surprisingly, we were playing along.

There's a conversation about mornings and mirrors and daylight, how the Professor who traveled along with his students talks about how they're not for terrified old men. A scene where two hunters (similar to those in Dawn of the Dead) using shot guns to separate a body from a face, wondering if we are worth saving: laid on a bit thick and heavy-handed but a message that seems relevant and probably more than a bit accurate. Diary of the Dead just shows that this movie's Romero is different from the Romero of 1978, his view of society, of humanity perhaps even more hopeless and cynical.

What about the gory stuff? The biggest complaint I have read is of the overuse of CGI substituting for old skool make-up effects, depending less on wizards in a workshop and more on tech-kids using computers and technology to depict bullets hitting the skull and causing blood spatter and brain explosions. The eyes popping from a skull, a head splitting into, the top of a zombie's head melting from acid, and the use of a scythe to stab multiple heads at once, all rather obviously invented on a computer instead of brought to life by a Nicotero or Savini. I thought they were reasonably well done f/x but this is a minority opinion as the use of CGI has been the subject of heavy derision, few debating their merits in the movie. This is the typical way now in the zombie genre, the abandonment of make-up grue (which take a lot longer to set up and get right) in favor of what can be done in a lot less time through computer technology.

Look, is this as good as the undead trilogy? I like this film, a lot more than others, but it doesn't hold the same weight as the previous films prior to Land (although, I consider Land a fun movie, wholly different in tone from Diary, but a seemingly unpleasant experience for George due to the corporate suits and Studio bosses he had to deal with) with me personally. The first two are well engrained in my horror DNA, so practically any Undead picture after them will pale, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy them for what they have to offer. Diary of the Dead is an interesting film within the series as it is George's contribution to the found-footage genre, even though the work of a documentarian is presented to us by his lady love--not found buried in the ground or in a box--who gave him an earful (notice that a constant of the movie has others questioning his moral turpitude for not stopping the recording) about his obsession with shooting, only to realize how important it truly is to provide those who need the truth (and not lies fed to the public by the government) with the correct information.

Some of my favorite touches are the way Texas hottie, Tracy (Amy Lalonde), isn't the blonde stereotypical bubblehead she first seems (even repairing the "Winnie" that leads to her group's escape from near death), the mummy gag (it is used in several ways, as a homage to the classic character, a comment on the comparison between slow and fast zombies, and a spoof of the idea that in essence the mummy is a zombie), and Nicotero's cameo in the hospital. You also have the heroine facing the horrifying fact that her family are of the undead (dispatched by the alcoholic professor who is handy with a bow and arrows). Last but not least, Romero returns to his roots as the Winnie must be hidden temporarily in a deaf mute Mennonite's barn while the undead are trying to get in.

You know, I remember sometime back reading a criticism in this movie about how the camerawork was too good and it just occurred to me that you just can't please people. When the camerawork (using, say, Quarantine, as an example)is shot in a frenzied, shaky-cam method, no one is happy, yet when we finally get someone shooting live action is a smooth, fluid fashion, voices speak up in angst against this! You just can't win...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

He Knows You're Alone

A jilted man named Ray (Tom Rolfing, who favors Russ Thorne killer in Slumber Party Massacre) preys on brides-to-be because he himself was left by one, using his knife on her, leaving a cop  (who was to marry her...)haunted by her murder. Ray sets his psychotic eye on Amy Jensen (Caitlin O'Heaney), set to marry Phil, out for the bachelory party weekend on a "fishing trip". Meanwhile, Amy is having second thoughts about Phil, as her former flame, a wise-cracking employee at a nearby morgue (who often jokes about the dead and continues to come around hoping she'll reconsider giving him a second chance), Marvin (Don Scardino; I know him from Squirm). Ray doesn't stop with just tormenting Amy, always near yet at a distance, his very presence a hinderance of fear that has her looking over her shoulder and conscientiously worried for her safety, but targets her friends, taking them out one at a time until the only once left is his ultimate prize.

Perhaps, He Knows You're Alone will be best remembered as *that movie that gave Tom Hanks his first movie gig* or *Hey, that's Paul Gleason as the cop's boss!* Both roles establish their distinctive acting styles, but neither have roles sizable enough to gauge future success. Hanks is a psyche major with a romantic interest for Amy's house roomie, Nancy (Elizabeth Kemp), while Gleason is frustrated with his detective, Len Gamble (Lewis Arit, hard to find sympathy for because he's such an asshole) who is on a one-man crusade to catch (and kill, if necessary) Ray for stabbing his fiance.

Some decent performances and likable characters in this film, particularly the two leads, but the model of Halloween is evident all the way through He Knows You're Alone. Ray's demeanor, how he's framed and often shot by the director, and the minimalist violence reeks of Halloween. I guess you could use a worse inspiration for a movie than Halloween, but by this point, the slasher genre had an audience desiring more gratuitous violence and characters that were more sexually driven and willing to get naked. Perhaps He Knows You're Alone is a holdover from the 70s and in that regard the audience of that particular brand of slasher will like this movie. But the general consensus is that He Knows You're Alone is just too underwhelming, too PG, too familiar and thus has gained a reputation as being a middle-of-the-pack, not-that-extraordinary slasher that doesn't have enough pizazz or pop to stick out of the ever-growing crop prevalent over the decade.

Director Armand Mastroianni likes scenes with eventual victims to have length, characters not aware of the sharp blade that will eventually either stab or slice them. There's an early performance from character actor James Rebhorn as a philandering professor husband cheating with his frisky, naughty student (played by future Days of Our Lives star, Patsy Pease). Both have a night to fool around while the wife is gone for the weekend, but Ray passes by to ruin the festivities. Another of Amy's friends is listening to a pop song on a record through her headphones when Ray leaves her head in a goldfish aquarium.

What I responded to, personally, was the seasonal autumn period of the movie. I was particularly fond of one influence from Halloween: the heroine walk through her town, the director establishing that Ray is close by (my favorite scene in the whole film has Ray poking out from behind a rack of bridal dresses, surprising the store employee, sticking a pair of scissors in his belly a couple times), always somewhere in the vicinity. The actor portraying the killer just looks like some middle-aged crazy, nothing better to do it seems but skulk about in the shadows, in the bushes, at the windows of houses at night. He has "mad eyes" like a ton of killers featured in slasher movies, but this was early on during the craze so this can't really be held against the filmmakers. I have read such criticisms as "boring" and "tedious" and "retrained" in relation to this movie, so see it if you have enough patience to tolerate its lulls and lack of on screen grue.




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The Boogens - Intro

While I must admit that as a monster movie, The Boogens (1981) doesn’t quite measure up (its monsters aren’t particularly menacing ...