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Glynn Avenue Massacre

Horror Movie Reviews

I Got 5 On It! Top 5 Horror Films of 1980

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Welcome back, fright fiends! We’re back with a new installment of I GOT 5 ON IT! This week, we’re diving into the start of, what I believe, the best decade period for horror films. That’s right, folks….the 1980s. Horror cinema really took shape and became the undying entity that it is today during the 80s. A decade that cemented legends, pushed the boundaries for directors and writers and just downright rocked socks. So, here at Glynn Avenue Massacre, I thought we’d honor the beginning by counting down my top 5 favorite films to be released in the golden year of 1980. Here, we, go.

Honorable Mentions

When I decided to tackle this list, I thought to myself, “Self, this list is already made for you”. Huge, big named, classic films that people adore to this day came out in 1980. Then, I started the research. Gathering information about all the fright films that were released this year and I ran into a little bit of a pickle. Narrowing it down to 5 was a lot more difficult than I originally thought. So what’s the best way to cheat? To have a top 5 list and also mention a few extras? Honorable Mentions. Now, I enjoyed all of these films and I really hated leaving them off of the list, but when it comes to the TOP 5, I’m thinking about the films that I could watch over and over again, whether for a good time or to spot something new…or to quote from beginning to end. Let’s get started.

Cannibal Holocaust

The gritty, no nonsense mockumentary that is considered the Alpha of the extreme sub genre. It was hard not to put this film at #1, in all honesty. When it comes down to it, though, this film is definitely not one I could watch on a regular basis. To this day, scenes from this film straight up give me the chills. Deodato made one of the most powerful, gut-churning films of all-time and deserved recognition on this list for doing so.

Maniac

When talking about exploitation films, this has to be mentioned in the conversation. All in all, this is just a nasty film. William Lustig took a micro-budget and made this goop of disgust that will be talked about for years to come. It makes me want to take a shower after every viewing. Because of how this film sticks with you after watching, it was, again, tough to leave this off of the list, but once every few years is about all I need to watch it.

Motel Hell

I can’t help it. I really love this movie. Kevin Conner’s masterpiece (I use that term lightly) has moments of real dread…but it all comes out as pretty hilarious. An awesome film to drink to, but not an awesome film. Regardless…don’t f*ck with Farmer Vincent.

THE LIST

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5. The Children

This little nugget of gold takes me back to childhood. It’s a fun little B movie that is as great as it is cheeseball. A bus full of children drives though a cloud of nuclear waste caused by a leak at a nearby plant. The cloud turns the kids into little mutant zombies that proceed to hug the life out of adults. In the grand scheme of things, this film is far from brilliant. It’s just a fun, 80s, cake icing film.

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4. Friday the 13th

The one that started the legend; Sean S. Cunningham took a few kids into the woods to make a “killer at a camp” movie and came out with the beginning of an icon. Now, in my opinion, this is far from the best in the franchise (I’ll get to that later) but it has held up pretty well and worth the #4 spot by name alone. Pamela for life.

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3. City of the Living Dead

Gore, gore, gore. The films of Fulci make my face smile. The Beyond is a masterpiece. The House by the Cemetery is great. City of the Living Dead (The Gates of Hell) fits right in between. Not only is it one of my favorite zombie films (my least favorite sub-genre), but the last 15 minutes is so dreadful, it literally made me sick. That’s the kind of film that I can sink my teeth into. If you want a gorefest and don’t mind “nightmare logic”, then any of Fulci’s splatter films will do the trick.

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2. The Fog

As I get older, I’m finally settling into the fact that Halloween is not the only masterpiece of John Carpenter’s. Not saying I only liked Halloween for a majority of my life, but I’m beginning to really take notice of Carpenter as a director. The film that really made me take note of his genius was The Fog. It’s a ghost story that seems like much more than that. The remake…stay far away from the remake. Revisit this one if you haven’t in awhile.

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1. The Shinning

Carpenter is a genius. Kubrick is a god. All of his work deserves to be watched multiple times. The Shining deserves to be studied. This film is the definition of cinema. The small details, the theories, the obsession…films like this are what we as film lovers strive to find. I have my own ideas about this film (maybe I’ll write about it someday) but I could talk to twenty other film fans and none of us have the same thoughts. It’s an enigma. It’s a question mark. It’s a masterpiece.

 

Well, that’s all the time we have on the year 1980. Let us know what you think. Agree with the list? What are your favorite of the year? Are you a Death Ship fan and feel outraged that I left it off? Tell me about it. Until next time, keep it creepy and stay spooked.

Pick of the Week (4/25 – 5/8)

How’s it hanging, fright fiends? We’re back with a new Pick of the Week! I missed last week because I didn’t do any horror watching. This week, I’m posting two recommendations to make up for it. Strap yourself in. Let’s pop, lock and drop it.

This week:

shutter the baby

 

Let’s start with Shutter, the absolutely horrifying film from Thailand. Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and released in Thailand in September of 2004 (released in the U.S. at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival), this film scared the pants off of me in broad daylight with the lights on. Unfortunately, it spawned a dreadful American remake (damn you, Joshua Jackson) that put a bad taste in my mouth about seeing the original. I can admit when I’m wrong…and I was VERY wrong to sleep on this film for as long as I did. The jump scares are chilling, the make-up effects are gnarly (dead Natre are what nightmares are made of) and, even with a simple plot, the story holds you in your place. Granted, the remake is a retelling of the same story, Banjong does a better job of grasping the audience. Subtitles may put some people off, but it’s completely worth a viewing if you want some spine-cringing terror.

My Rating: 7/10

Next up is a film that I previously never heard of until Tuesday of last week. Right now, Shudder is in the swing of Movie Mayhem, where the great folks are posting a new film for every weekday of May. Seriously, subscribe to Shudder. Tuesday’s choice was The Baby, a 1973 horror-thriller directed by Ted Post. Post has directed a little bit of everything in the film and television world, including a few episodes of The Twilight Zone and the film Night Slaves that looks rather interesting.

The Baby tells the story of a mother, her two daughters and a grown man who has never developed into a man and still acts and is treated like an infant…named simply Baby. Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) plays a social worker who becomes engulfed in the case of Baby and the Wadsworth family. This dirty little secret from the 70s is the type of film that has my name written all over it. It’s disturbing and tough to watch at times (some torture and incestuous situations), yet the film is all you think about for the next few days. And the ending is astonishing. Well acted, well directed, well written. Double thumbs up!

My Rating: 8.5/10

Pick of the Week (4/18-4/24)

Welcome back for another Pick of the Week! Last night, I did a pretty rockin’ double feature that will begin a new column here at GAM titled Midnight Madness Double Features and because I have never seen this film before, I had to make it last weeks POTW.

 

This Week…

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Fright Night II (1988)

That’s right. I dug out Fright Night and Fright Night 2 last night to have myself a wonderful double feature viewing. Usually, I’m pretty brief in “reviewing” these weekly picks for good reason…I’ll have a nice, big write up about both of these films later this week.

Charley Brewster and Peter Vincent are back at it! Hunting vampires and taking names. Only this time, Charley falls victim to the allure of Regine, leader of an entire horde of blood-suckers out to inflict pain and leave a trail of carnage behind. This film is so much fun! Its predecessor is a much better film, but, as far as sequels go, Fright Night 2 is just as fantastic. I highly recommend this to anyone who has yet to see it.

My Rating: 7/10

Short and sweet, but I’ll have full reviews for both of these mammoths of the macabre in a later post. That’s all for now. Stay posted for more fun and gore! See you soon. Stay spooked.

Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)

What’s happening, goblins? GAM back again with another ballin’ review! This time, we’re taking you up the mountain to unforeseen gloom and doom. It’s Mountaintop Motel Massacre!

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Directed By: Jim McCullough Sr.

Written By: Jim McCullough Jr.

Distributor: New World Pictures

Music By: Ron Di Iulio

Runtime: 95 min.

Format: VHS

Starring:

Anna Chappell

Bill Thurman

Major Brock

Will Mitchell

Virginia Loridans

Filmed in 1983, but not released until 1986 when New World Pictures picked it up for distribution, Mountaintop Motel Massacre is a little bit of a hidden gem from the 80s. Now, I’m not saying that it’s a masterpiece of dread or overly scary with big horror spots, but this has that 1980s feel that we all loved growing up. I remember seeing this box cover 1,000 times on Friday nights at the local rental place and it wasn’t until this week that I actually got to see this monstrosity. The story is pretty basic. It’s a low budget film that looks like a low budget film. It’s tough to watch at times due to overacting and the dialog leaves little to be desired. Yet, I would totally watch this film again. Maybe four or five times. Honestly, I could see this film reaching almost cult status if it were to be rediscovered at the right time. But why? There’s nothing GREAT about this little nugget. Simply put, it’s exactly the kind of 80s cheese trash that made me a fiend for the genre to begin with. I know, I know. Craig, you say that pretty often. But it’s true. These little discoveries of mine remind me of how much and why I adore horror. You don’t have to have an amazing script, a huge budget or top notch acting. What draws nerds like me in is the fact that it WAS MADE. The McCullough’s had an idea and did it.

Anna Chappell stars as Evelyn, the proprietor of the Mountaintop Motel who recently was released from an insane asylum. In the first three minutes, she’s back to her loose nut ways when she murders her daughter by “accident”…maybe. Naturally, the police understand and let her return to her backwoods motel and continue her life peacefully. Only now, the voice of her murdered daughter lingers in her head, instructing her to commit dastardly deeds. Luckily for us, the motel is packed for the night. The mischief starts out innocently enough. A poisonous snake here; a few cockroaches there…but escalates to manslaughter quickly as Evelyn rushes to dispose of all of her tenants.

To wrap this film up, don’t expect this to be a new found favorite that will leave you spellbound and disgusted. It is what it is; a low budget slasher flick. It’s predictable, silly, cheesy and basic. For me, it’s more about what the film stands for. The time period of the genre and how it coincides with my journey into the black abyss of dread. It won’t shock or dismay, but with a title like Mountaintop Motel Massacre, you are aware of what you’re getting yourself into. Pop a top, take a sip of something, sit back and indulge yourself in a sloppy fun slasher

My Rating: 4.5/10

Stay posted for more fun little write-ups about your favorite genre and mine. Click the follow, add a comment. Let me know what you think about this film or about anything in general. Stay spooked.

Pick of the Week (4/11 – 4/17)

Pick of the Week (4/11 – 4/17)

What’s happening, ghouls? GAM back again with this weeks Pick of the Week! Unfortunately, I didn’t get much watching under my belt this week, but I did get a chance to check out a pretty awesome flick via Shudder. So let’s get it!

This Week:

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The Theatre Bizarre

Festival darling of 2011 with a DVD premiere in 2012, The Theatre Bizarre is not your ordinary, run of the mill horror flicks. It festers on your skin, seeps into your pores and buries itself in your bones. This anthology is comprised of six tales, each becoming a little more gruesome than the previous. Not all of the stories are my cup of tea (The Mother of Toads, Wet Dreams), but they are still very effective and eerie. “I Love You” is a tale of love lost and the how far you would be willing to go to stay with that love. “Sweets” is another commentary on relationships and society in general. “Vision Stains” is the hands down winner of this anthology. Rough, gritty, shocking and all around great, this story is why I highly recommend this film.

My Rating: 7/10

Check it out, if you get the chance. And a huge recommendation of Shudder if you have the means to access this. I’ll be a loyal customer until the end.

Thanks for stopping by and stay posted. Much more to come!

Pick of the Week (4/4 -4/10)

Good afternoon, fright fans! Glynn Avenue Massacre is back with a new article for a new column; Pick of the Week! Pretty self explanatory; every week I’ll write a little something about a film I recommend that I watched during said week. Got it? Great! Now, these won’t necessarily be new releases, but films that I watched for the first time (usually) that week. That being said, let’s crack this thing open and get it! And hey, if you’ve seen these films or read this and check the film out, let me know what you think (good and bad).

 

This week:

The Homesman (2014)

The Homesman

Now, right from the start I want to say that I’m totally and completely aware of the fact that this is not a horror movie…or is it? It’s not. But, the dread and anguish you feel for these characters is incredibly real. Hilary Swank stars as Mary Bee Cuddy, a husbandless woman who volunteers to lead three woman who have lost their minds across country during pioneer times. She enlists drifter George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) to help her after saving his life from the other men of the town. As their voyage trudges along, their troubles grow exponentially, which get pretty darn horrific. Tommy Lee Jones wrote and directed this film. That alone is worth a viewing. No spoilers aloud; you’ll just have to take my word for it. It’s not only the best film I’ve seen all week; it’s possibly the best film I’ve seen all year (besides The Witch). Give it a chance. Sure it’s a western drama, but this film, at its core, is pretty terrifying.

My Rating: 8/10

 

Thanks for checking us out! I’m currently working on another great I GOT 5 ON IT list that I’ll post next week and a review of a fun little 80s gem. Also, something new this way comes! in the form of another new category. Thanks for reading! Click that follow button, leave some comments. Let me know what you think! Until next time, stay spooked.

Check It Out! April 2016

Greetings! It’s been awhile, but we’re back! Glynn Avenue Massacre will continue on! Today (April 6), begins the new chapter. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I posted a review earlier on Nightmares from 1983. If you’re inclined, check out what I have to say about that 80s gem (sort of) after you read about NEW HORROR RELEASES that I’m stoked about this month. Let’s begin, shall we…

 

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Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) (SE/Blu/DVD)

One of the father’s of Italian giallo, Sergio Martino’s Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key is getting a restored, super release thanks to Arrow. This is the film Sergio directed before All of the Colors of the Dark and Torso, so it should be a fun ride that I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into. Not to mention that this special edition is stacked with special features. I dig it.

 

4/8

Batteries Not Included (1987) (Blu-Ray)

Matthew Robbin’s classic! An amazingly fun, family fantasy that takes me straight back to the video rental days. I’m happy to see it finally getting the restoration it deserves and looking forward to picking this one up very soon.

 

4/12

Shadows in an Empty Room (1977) (Blu-Ray/DVD)

I’ve never heard of this film before last week, but it seems to be my style of film. Alberto de Martino directed this film and directed many films that look like a lot of fun. A Canadian cop-drama-thriller with some twists and turns sounds like an amazing way to spend an evening. This film may be the start of diving into Martino’s filmography.

 

4/19

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray)

The amazingly cool people at Scream! Factory have released the Collector’s Edition of one of my favorite good time movies ever! Complete with a second disc filled with interviews and features that will drive any fan insane!

 

The Stuff  (SE Blu-Ray)

Another huge release from the folks at Arrow! I love The Stuff. This film is so amazing and I’m glad to see it’s getting a proper release. Lots of bonus stuff (ha) and now this yogurt-like dessert can jump down your throat in HD!

 

 

Nightmares (1983)

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Directed By: Joseph Sargent

Written By: Christopher Crowe,

Jeffery Bloom

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Music: Craig Safan

Runtime: 99 min.

Format: VHS

Starring:

Cristina Raines

Emilio Estevez

Lance Henriksen

Richard Masur

Veronica Cartwright

Oh, the anthology horror film. How much do I adore you? Anthology films are a huge reason why I became such an obsessed fan at a young age. Creepshow and Creepshow 2 are two of my all-time favorites and forever will be. The opening 5 minutes of The Twilight Zone: The Movie scarred me so bad, I still talk about it as one of the best scares period. Tales From the Crypt, Body Bags, Tales From the Darkside; the list goes on. Anytime I hear about a new anthology coming out or hear of one I’ve never seen before, I immediately rush to find it and dive in. Maybe it’s the aspect of having multiple short stories that all somehow or someway flow together that draws me in, even though some anthologies don’t flow together and the stories have nothing in common. Maybe it’s the idea of seeing what some up and coming directors can do with a short on the big screen…though, it’s not always like that either. Even anthologies that aren’t that great have a segment or two that jump out and make the viewing worth it. Maybe it’s the constant search for the creepiest anthology segment. Maybe, it’s my attention span. The point I’m getting at is that I love these films and I have no clue as to why I do. I just do. So when I saw a copy of Nightmares on VHS for super cheap on Ebay, I was all over it.

Nightmares is an enigma to me for a few reasons. First off, the film is rated R…for what seems like no apparent reason at all. With the exception of a fairly gruesome murder of a cop in the first 5 minutes and some foul language here and there, these stories are pretty tame. Kittens compared to other films coming out in the genre at that time. The fact that these stories were originally intended for network television could explain the soft and fluffiness. According the IMDB, these were “supposed” to be used as episodes of the show Darkroom (1981) but Universal thought the shorts were a little too violent for ABC, so they were cut and later taped together to form this film. This is the first I’ve heard of Darkroom, but after checking into it, this show looked pretty interesting. Lots of big names in front of the camera and behind the scenes. The show lasted 7 episodes before disappearing into the vast abyss of lost television gems.

Second, this cast can act. I mean, they can really act. It’s literally a who’s who of fine craftsmen (and women). Acting wise, this stories are borderline fantastic, but this film still doesn’t get that much (if any) recognition. Why? The writing. These stories build some tension and then flatten out. There are no big payoffs. Some may disagree, but every segment ended with me wanting something more. Something different. Something…well, horrifying. I understand that these were made for television and they couldn’t get way with the violence and gore that we have grown so fond of these days, but I can remember multiple episodes of The Twilight Zone that still give me chills; without a single drop of blood. If this film teaches its viewers anything, it’s this: Delivery is Everything.

The film opens with a cop pulling over a young lady for a busted tail light. After giving her a warning, hell ensues; which leads us into our first segment, Terror in Topanga. Hands down, this is the most frightening, unnerving, entertaining segment of the film. Basically, it’s a retelling of an urban legend, but it still gets the blood churning. Cristina Raines plays Tina, a wife and mother whose smoking habit causes her to leave the safety of her home and family to pick up a carton while a crazed and dangerous escaped mental patient is on the loose in her area. As the tale progresses, the tension builds nicely to an end that’s pretty good. Predictable, but good.

Next up is The Bishop of Battle, starring a young Emilio Estevez as J.J., an arcade hustling badass with the fastest fingers in town. His obsession is the game The Bishop of Battle, a crude arcade game with what appear to be UFOs and other flying mechanisms that shoot lasers that you must destroy. J.J. is the best, but can’t defeat the 12th level and make it to the almighty level 13; a task that has been rumored to have been accomplished by only a kid in New Jersey, and he did it twice. Even after his parents tell him he’s banned from the arcade, J.J. is determined to reach the holy level 13, so he sneaks out, breaks into the arcade and goes to battle. The segment isn’t awful, but it isn’t very entertaining either. I mean, I could watch Emilio yell at people all day long, but about how gaming is a sport? You’re pushing it, then. Estevez delivers but it’s hard to actually care if he beats this game or not.

Chapter 3 is titled The Benediction. It opens with a pretty gruesome dream sequence of a baby deer getting bitten by a rattlesnake; foreshadowing is fun. Lance Henriksen plays MacLeod, a priest of a small parish in the Mexican desert. His battles with how God can allow such cruel things to happen to innocent people has caused him to lose his faith and has decided to leave the village. On his journey, he encounters a rouge, black truck that is “hellbent” on destroying him. Multiple run-ins with this devil truck occur, running him off the road, banging into the side of MacLeod’s car, causing all kinds of damage and forcing the priest to continue battling his faith. The climax of the short culminates in the demon truck breaking through the earth’s surface, seemingly from Hell, when MacLeod appears to have lost him. All in all, this story is on the better side of mediocre. Henriksen kills it, as usual and the dialog between him and Plana and Gammell is stellar at times. With the exception of the truck emerging from Hell, there aren’t any real terrifying sequences. A religious battle between light and dark that builds some tension with good ultimately losing the battle but winning the war. It’s enjoyable, but nothing here to write home and tell mom about.

Stacked with an amazing cast and the only segment written by Jeffery Bloom (Writer/Director of Flowers in the Attic and Blood Beach), Night of the Rat is the final story of the anthology. A family of three is experiencing a vermin problem that has turned from annoying to dangerous as the attacks become increasingly paranormal. After a visit from an exterminator, the family is horrified to discover that their house has become the home of a mythical rat that infests the lives of shit people. Richard Masur stars as Steven Houston, the father and husband who has increasingly become more of a jerk and less of a loving person. His wife, Claire (Veronica Cartwright), and daughter, Brooke (Bridgette Andersen), are mortified by the new house guest, but scared to death of the rage building in Steven. Much like all of the other shorts, Night of the Rat has great promise in the build up, but lands flat with the climax. The end battle between pest and human leaves little for the audience to be excited about.

The Verdict

Nightmares is a film that left me wanting so much more. The stories do a pretty good job of building the audience up but never quite follow through with delivery. Acting wise, many of the performances are astounding, but great acting can’t always save the film. Check this film out if you’re a fan of anthologies. If you’re looking for something to haunt you, you should probably leave this one on the shelf.

My Rating: 4.5/10

Happy Halloween

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All of us here at Glynn Avenue Massacre wishes everyone a very safe and amazing Halloween! Just remember…2015-10-31-11-50-48-1600605252

Always check your candy…

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and don’t sit too close to the television.

Spooked,

C


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