Tag Archives: Horror Movies

Evilspeak (1989)

DIRECTOR Eric Weston
STARRING Clint Howard, R.G. Armstrong, Joseph Cortese, Claude Earl Jones
DISTRIBUTOR Warner Bros.
RELEASE DATE February 26, 1982
RUNTIME 89 min.
COUNTRY United States

The clumsy military cadet Stanley Coopersmith is orphan and completely outcast in the West Andover Academy. He is frequently abused and humiliated by four despicable mates, and has a bad treatment from his teachers, the coach, the colonel and even from the local reverend. When Coopersmith finds a book of black mass that belonged to the evil medieval Father Esteban, he uses a computer to conjure Satan and revenge his harassers.

The term “acquired taste” could never apply more appropriately than it does for this film but there is something intriguing about this “video nasty” that separates it from films such as ”Cannibal Holocaust” or “The Driller Killer.” This film is not necessarily concerned with nudity or gore (don’t worry it’s still in there though), but more with grotesque imagery that makes you feel nauseous such as the violent hordes of swine and some vile scenes that hold up to Cronenberg and Fulci. Rather than being concerned with obvious plot incoherence and Clint Howard’s awkward acting, along with his awkward toupee, we must be concerned with the film as a whole as it defines an era of horror that was pushing the limits on censorship.

The film opens with a satanic ritual on the shores of Spain during the dark ages and after our first swift cut decapitation scene, which transitions perfectly to a soccer ball getting kicked at a school game, we are introduced to our main character Stanley Coopersmith. Stanley is a classic archetype of a social outcast and the epitome of “uncool,” not even the instructors like this kid. Stanley is an orphan at a prestigious military academy and is constantly harassed by his classmates. After Stanley is punished for no reason and sent to clean the cellar he uncovers something sinister: the diary of the evil “Estaban!” Estaban was the leader of the satanic cult we see in the opening scene. Once Stanley begins to translate the Latin writings of Estaban to English with the school lab computer he opens a new gate for hell to break loose.

The movie bears a strong resemblance to the plot of Stephen King’s Carrie as Stanley is driven by vengeance for the mistreatment he has endured by his classmates and instructors. Films like this are particularly disturbing because they show us how cruel people can be and how vengeance and retribution can be an even crueler as a consequence, especially if brought on by the dark lord himself. What makes this film interesting is that the goofy hero becomes a powerful agent of what we consider the most exalted form of evil…Satan.

The film contains some really horrific, and at times humorous scenes, such as a man being thrown upward only to be impaled by an iron spike chandelier and Clint Howard flying through a chapel with a medieval sword bearing a pentagram slaughtering all that oppose. There is also a specific scene that is unique for the time period only to be described as a “Satanic Tron” scene. A glitchy sequence with neon colored pentagrams and a pixelated face of Estaban.  Coupled with the 80’s style hard hitting synth bass and chants of a satanic choir reminiscent of “Ave Satani” from the omen we are carried to a very memorable climax makes the whole movie worth the watch. One will come to understand why this film became branded an infamous “video nasty.”

So give yourself credit because if you can sit through this film and enjoy it, you’ve come a long way as a horror fan. Something we need to understand is that we should never take our love of the genre so seriously. These films aren’t looking for Oscars, they are looking to offend, repulse, disgust, and ultimately…create horror! We can all agree that there are films that are defining and groundbreaking, but what about the films that carried the essence of horror through the decades in obscurity, only to continue to keep the foundation alive when censors were trying to shut down the art form altogether. Regardless of all opinion, “Evilspeak.” is eclectic part of the genre and a top “video nasty” that deserves at least one watch in your lifetime. I WILL RETURN!

Top 10 Tuesday: Sal’s Most Hated

What’s Top 10 Tuesday? It’s a new Top 10 List every Tuesday!

Here’s 10 movies I don’t enjoy.

10. Candyman Sequels

The Candyman is not a slasher. The first movie is masterclass horror movie about the memetic power of belief. The subsequent films traded that in for cheap slasher scares. I love Tony Todd and his iconic bogeyman, but the character deserved so much better after the carefully considered film that Bernard Rose gave us 25 years ago.

9. Human Centipede sequels & Saw Sequels

The ‘Pede trilogy should have stayed a one off. I get what the director was doing and I admire that he did it, and that he managed to get so meta with it, but he didn’t have to. <Insert deep thought about pushing limits when you should consider why you’re doing it>. The Saw sequels tie into this idea. The first Saw was a novelty, and a solid flick.

8. Squirm (1976)

This movie should have been so much better. Or at least way zanier. Better to leave this one to your imagination.

 

 

 

7. Cube (1997)

Watch Saw instead. If you want a good film by Natali watch the utterly insane Splice. This film though? I just didn’t enjoy it, and ultimately I left the film feeling… let down? I think that might have been it. I guess it was built up into something great and then… blah, a competent film that—had it not been touted so highly—I might have loved. I guess I recommend Saw because I still remember how the end of that film left me reeling.

6. Hostel (2005)

I get it, the movie was both transgressive and mainstream. It was the thing to watch when Eli Roth first released it, but it is not a good film either. It really isn’t. It was just ok. You want a good movie? Watch Cabin Fever. That movie was ridiculous and scary. Hostel is not. It’s extreme for extremity’s sake and it suffers for it. Also it basically spawned the utterly ridiculous Torture Porn sub-genre. A lot of money and time was wasted on the sub-genre and for what? It was a fad that faded away, and honestly I am glad that it has. Gore is great, but gore for gore’s sake starts to feel like an effects reel after a while. That’s what torture porn was to me, an effects reel.

5. High Tension (2003)

I love Alexandre Aja’s other films, especially the insanity that is Piranha 3D (which a talented filmmaker having the time of his life.) and Horns, which was a serviceable attempt at adapting the novel by Joe Hill. High Tension, or Haute Tension (or Switchblade Romance if you’re pretentious and smug and into trying to make people feel inferior. Seriously, you can only use this title if you’re British.) This movie however is one of those that I will never understand the love for. The ridiculous and inane twist (oh no, the heroine is actually also the bad guy) that comes in act three is more annoying and predictable than it is shocking. It does set up an interesting look at the themes of love and obsession but really those feel shoehorned in and left aside for shock value. I don’t even mind the twist all that much, it was a good idea except for the fact that Fight Club did it better.Or American Psycho. Or…well I am sure you see where I am taking this. It is a well made film, full of extreme gore and some unique kills but at the end of the day it is highly, highly overrated.

4. Them (2006)

A part of the new wave of French horror that swept the genre in the early 2000’s, this film is a pile of hot garbage. I loathed every second of it and found it entirely predictable and silly. Spoilers, the mysterious assailants are some local kids. Watch The Strangers instead if you are looking for a unique take on home invasion. Avoid this one.

3. Every Hellraiser movie besides I & II (1992-2011)

These are all lumped together because, even though they contain work by the great Doug Bradley, they are not good. These films are soulless cash grabs, made solely to extend the rights agreement held by Dimension. They really need to let the rights revert to Barker so he can do some justice for the long-dead series and get it back to its former glory. Honestly I am fine not acknowledging parts 2-10 but 2 is just so much fun.

2. Knock Knock (2015)

Keanu Reeves has been on a roll lately. John Wick and its sequel have revitalized the actor’s career and Hollywood presence but then there’s Knock Knock. I get it he did it for the simulated threeway and the somewhat interesting premise. Here’s the thing though, this is a bad, bad movie. It’s premise was handled in far better fashion in Hard Candy and the production (the direction, writing and all that jazz) just feels flat and awful. Reeves does give it his all though, so there’s that. I found it lacking and not deserving of the time it took to get to the end of the film. Watch Neon Demon instead, Reeves is super creepy in that one.

1. Baskin (2015)

I never understood all the love for this film. It’s nonsensical, boring and predictable. I gave it a watch because everyone said how utterly unique and amazing it was, and I was utterly disappointed in the film that I watched. False starts, loose plot points and the writers working themselves into a narrative corner (while abandoning seemingly more interesting plot points) all served to ruin the film for me.

See you next Tuesday for a more positive Top 10 List!

Top 10 Tuesday: Cody’s Favorite Horror Flicks

What’s Top 10 Tuesday? It’s a new Top 10 List every Tuesday!

Hello Morbid Movie readers! My name is Cody Mascho and I’m one of your new contributors to this awesome site! I thought I might take a moment to introduce myself and go over what sort of articles you can expect to see from me, followed with a classic Top 10 list of my personal favorite horror movies. My main squeeze is the beautiful world of Italian horror and its denizens (i.e. Black Sunday and Cannibal Holocaust) but I’m also a huge fan of the Nightmare on Elm Street Series, what with a 100+ piece collection, a tattoo, a lock of Robert Englund’s hair that he doesn’t know about, etc. I enjoy a wide range of spooks like zombies, slashers, and anthologies, and I can never resist a good trash film. I live near Seattle, WA, and I’m a very active member in the horror community up here, so I’ll be frequently writing about haunted houses, horror screenings, and local conventions. Oh, and I know a TON of very talented horror authors, artists, actors, filmmakers and hosts, so hopefully I’ll be setting up some interviews with them in the near future. But also expect me to go in depth on Blu-Ray restorations of classic horror films from companies like Synapse, Severin, Vinegar Syndrome, and Scream Factory. Basically, there’s a fucking huge variety of stuff I’m excited to write about! Look forward to it!

Anyways, to start off my tenure here at Morbid Movies, I thought I’d highlight my favorite horror flicks! Yeah, I know they’re not “the best” (that will be a later list) but they do all hold a special place in my heart. For the purposes of this article, I’ve decided to limit myself to one Lucio Fulci film, one Dario Argentino film, one George Romero film, and of course, one Nightmare on Elm Street film. (Otherwise the list would be dominated by them.) So without further ado, the stuff you’ve been waiting for, my personal Top 10!

10. Suspiria (1977)

This is Dario Argentino’s masterpiece, an atmospheric story about an American Ballet student who travels to Germany, only to discover her new school may be run by a coven of witches. Complete with a truly legendary film score by Italian rock group “Goblin,” Suspiria provides a viewing experience that hits on all levels. Jessica Harper’s lead, Suzy, is a great heroine whom you actually want to see live through the movie. The twists and turns of the plot leave me on the edge of my seat, and it’s so intensely gorgeous just to look at! From the opening scene through to the tense finale, the bright yet sinister hallways of the Tanz Academies provide such a great backdrop to Argentino’s use of the primary colors. This one is truly a treat.

9. Halloween (1978)

Yes, the classic deranged madman wreaking havoc on his local town, slasher flick. This one is also immensely atmospheric, and it’s a yearly watch for a number of reasons. The general dread and creepy vibes that Michael Myers exudes is always off-putting, no matter how many times I see the movie. Donald Pleasance’s performance as Dr. Loomis is probably my favorite hero ever. Jamie Lee Cutris as Laurie Strode is again, a heroine worth rooting for. John Carpenter’s direction is incredible, but his soundtrack is what really shines. The Halloween score is the stuff of legend, and for good reason. It’s what elevates this movie from simply great to an all time classic.

8. Re-Animator (1985)

A controversial doctor arrives at a prestigious medical school with the ability to cure death itself, and everything goes great. Nah, just kidding, there’s terrible consequences. Stuart Gordon’s adaption of the H.P. Lovecraft character is just… awesome! Gory, funny, cast well, and genuinely frightening (to my fiancee, obviously, not to me of course…) Re-Animator is such a fun movie to watch. Jeffery Comb’s portrayal of Dr. Herbert West is iconic, and his creepiness and strange dry humor are fantastically entertaining. I mean, who doesn’t love a movie that uses the reanimation of a cat for a fucking slapstick scene? (Well, I mean, my fiancee didn’t, but that’s beside the point.)

7. Demons (1985)

Demons take over through a movie screen! And trust me, this work of art makes it look like it’s really happening. Produced by Dario Argentino and directed by Lamberto Bava, Demons is a gort, gross, violent, over the top, 90 minute long fuckfest. Bava proves himself a worthy successor to his father, Mario, with plenty of amazing death scenes and truly disgusting special effects. This film is insane from start to finish, packed with exploding heads, infected boils, revolting transformations, and a scene with a motorcycle and a katana that’s just as amazing as it sounds. The accompanying soundtrack features masters like Motley Crue, Rick Springfield, and Goblins’ own Claudio Simonetti. Simply put, it’s fucking amazing. If Night of the Demons and the Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake had coke fueled sex, this movie would be the resulting baby. Honestly, you have to see it to believe it. (Such is the case with many Italian Horror and Giallo films.)

6. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)

Tom Atkins’ moustache deserves more love from the world. It’s just as good if not better than Tom Selleck’s, yet it doesn’t get as much of the attention deserves. But this movie, this fixes that. When a toy shop owner is mysteriously murdered, his sister and his doctor team up to investigate the mysterious Silver Shamrock corporation, and let me tell you, that moustache- I mean, those masks are iconic. How can you leave the theater without that Silver Shamrock jingle stuck in your head? (Happy, happy Halloween, Silver Shamrock!) The plot is very solid for such a maligned film, with a genuinely creepy villain, a great lead hero, and a memorable conclusion that still leaves me guessing to this day. Am I saying it’s better than most Michael Myers sequels? Yes, yes I am. It could stand on its own as a horror classic. And that moustache… just, wow.

5. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Imagine you’re a 10-year-old me, awkward and chubby and watching this zombie movie. Yeah, I was sleeping in my parent’s bed for a week. I even made my mom sell our copies so it wouldn’t be in the house anymore! Of course, now it’s become a beloved memory, as I both respect its ability to traumatize me, and can also appreciate it for the great horror remake it truly is. Zack Snyder gets a lot of shit for his recent stuff, but his visual style fits the movies so perfectly. And the undead being FAST? Now that’s a genuinely threatening zombie. It feels like the world could actually, legitimately fall to them in such a short amount of time. The cast is strong, with Ving Rhames and Sara Polley providing strong leads, and a few surprises like Ty Burrell from Modern Family. But my absolute favorite part is the opening, when Polley’s character wakes up after a peaceful evening with her husband to find that the world is overrun with living dead. Her escape suburbia is filled with shock and adrenaline as you see the world crumbling behind her. The cherry on top, of course, is the opening credits, where movie-made and real life news footage is spliced together and Johnny’ Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” plays eerily, filling the viewer with legitimate dread. Just the opening is one of the greatest in horror history, and is a worthy start for a worthy movie.

4. Prince of Darkness (1987)

This movie doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves, plain and simple. John Carpenter’s mix of religion and science for a horror film is a bold choice, and it pays off big time. Basically, a group of scientist students are called to a Catholic church and are forced to work together and stop Satan himself from fucking shit up. It’s filled with great acting (including another pleasing appearance of Donald Pleasance), visually impressive effects all around, and another beautiful score by John Carpenter. Alice Cooper even appears as a street bum leading an army of fellow, deranged street bums – who are surprisingly creepy minor antagonists. This movie is just enthralling, with the church setting providing a beautiful backdrop, and a villain that feels genuinely threatening even as just swirling green goo locked in a container. The dream scenes are packed with dread and unease, and the end leaves you wondering if anything was truly resolved. Plus, props goes out to whoever lit all those goddamn candles.

3. The Beyond (1981)

Lucio Fulci is my favorite horror director of all time, and this is his unquestioned masterpiece. Set and filmed in Louisiana, the movie tells of a cursed hotel built on one of the seven gateways to Hell, and the hotel owners’ attempts to stop it from re-opening. The Beyond is part of Fulci’s “Gates of Hell” trilogy, alongside “City of the Living Dead” and “House by the Cemetery,” both of which I also genuinely enjoy. As in the other two movies, Catriona Maccoll delivers a knockout star performance alongside the immensely talented David Warbeck. Fulci, as usual, stuff the scenes with death by eye gouging, overly gratuitous head explosion, and being eaten alive by tarantulas (AKA The best things in cinema, and the reasons why my fiancee has banned it from movie night.) This film is Fulci at his absolute best, and if you’re a horror fan, I implore you to try and watch it.

2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

This is not only one of the greatest horror film of all time, but also one of the most influential. Without this, the original flesh-eating ghoul apocalypse, we’d likely never have the entire zombie genre! Four of the movies on this list would be obsolete. While Romero did direct better films, the sheer magnitude of this film’s impact is why he was able to make them in the first place. I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting both Russ Streiner and Judith O’Dea (the actors of Johnny and Barbara) and hearing them talk about how a small movie from their youth transformed so many lives is incredibly moving and meaningful. From the directing, to the acting, to the visuals, this movie stands the test of time as one of THE definitive horror films. This was the movie that got me into horror, the very first scary movie my parents ever showed me, and it is one that I will forever watch over and over again.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

As mentioned before, I have a vast Freddy Krueger collection, so it’s safe to say one Nightmare on Elm Street (NOES) film was going to be here. The only problem was choosing which one! If you have had the chance to read my article for Horror and Sons, you’ll know that Alice is THE Elm Street protagonist for me. The beginning of her two part war with Freddy, which continued in The Dream Child, was my absolute favorite. I love the return of the Dream Warriors (albeit replacing Patricia Arquette) with each individual having their own parts and tragic deaths in this movie. In fact, some of Freddy’s best kills are in The Dream Master: Sheila’s breathtaking asthma attack, Debbie’s joint crushing beetle bonanza, and Joey’s wet n’ wild water bed are all some of Freddy’s most remembered in the series. Robert Englund is of course, amazing (as he always is… *swoon*) and his portrayal of Freddy is worthy of a place on horror’s Mount Rushmore. Freddy is at his pun peak here, my favorite being, “I love soul food!” as he eats a meatball with a human face on it. Yet somehow, he still feels intimidating. Even though this movie is not “The Best” NOES, it is a fuck ton to watch, and I never get tired of it. This is certainly my personal favorite movie of all time.

I’d like to thank the staff at Morbid Movies for welcoming me with open arms. And thanks to all of you for reading this! I promise to have many more articles for you soon. That’s the end for now, but never fear (or do fear, if that’s your thing) for I will return soon! We need to begin our Italian Horror road trip, after all. Tune in next time for a look at the insanity of Burial Ground, an often overlooked Grindhouse classic. It’s gonna be bat shit wild. See you then!