As many of you know, I love October. I’m a big fan of fall and of course that special day that occurs on the 31st.
So, enjoy this month and read some good scary stories and tell some amazing ghost tales. If you are looking for something to do on October 26th through October 28th, you can come out to Hallowcon. I will be a guest this year and will be hosting one of their panels. So, if you are in Dalton, please come on by and see us and pick up some good books.
Hope to see you there but keep checking back for other Halloween fun.
Hello all, we have done a good deal of films this year dealing with various monsters and the mayhem that they cause. For our final monster, I’ve delved back to the early 2000’s. Today, I give to you Jeepers Creepers.
This movie has spawned two sequels (the latest film arrived in September 2017), features a good creature design, does not give away all of its secrets, and features a young Justin Long. Two siblings are harassed by a strange truck on a small country road. They see the driver of the truck throwing strangely shaped bundles into a drainpipe and investigate. This is where they become a target of the creeper. Inside, they find a strange mural of the macabre with multiple human bodies having been preserved and placed on the stone wall. Their attempts to flee the monster will lead them to a local psychic and a final pulse-pounding chase through a crowded police station.
Part of the charm of this series is the fact that it hints at a mythology that creates a solid reality and never fully explains everything. You don’t see a wood-cutting from a book and then receive a flashback to fully detail the events of the past. What the film does is provide you with a glimpse of historic things featuring our monster, while not explaining the hows and whys. For a low-budget horror film, Jeepers Creepers hits all the right buttons for me.
You can click below to pick up a copy and read on for the official synopsis.
Synopsis: After making a horrific discovery in the basement of an old abandoned church, Trish (Gina Philips) and her brother Darry (Justin Long) watch their routine road trip home turn into a heart stopping race for their lives.
Hello all. This is our last Saturday before the 31st, and I wanted to cover one of my favorite films. It is one of the first atomic monster movies and the first to feature giant insects. The film is titled simply Them!.
As a kid, I adored this film and still enjoy watching it and exposing others to it. The film stars James Whitmore and James Arness as lawmen, who stumble upon an incredible discovery. Atomic radiation has caused an ant colony to grow to gigantic proportions. This film actually taught me a lot of things that I would never have known about ants and covers the science accurately. It also claims Oscar-nominated special effects.
Fans of classic giant monster movies have to see this one. If you grew up watching old horror movies on Saturday nights, I guarantee that you have seen this classic. Click on the cover below and read on for the official synopsis from Amazon.com.
Synopsis: A landmark movie about giant radiation-mutated ants with Oscar®-nominated effects and an epic struggle in the drains beneath Los Angeles, Them! only gets better with age.
When you think of the frozen landscapes that can be the setting for a horror story, most horror fans will go to John Carpenter’s The Thing or H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. Both of these are great examples of how to use the isolation and strange white vistas to craft a compelling tale. I’m also willing to wager that most of you are aware of them. Today, I wanted to bring you a different movie that is very much in the vein of these giants of horror.
Harbinger Down is a film that was born from 2011’s The Thing (the prequel). Amalgamated Dynamics was hired to do most of the special effects work on the film. By the time the film was released, most of their work had been replaced by CGI in post-production. The effects team posted the footage of their effects on Youtube, where it received great response. The team started a Kickstarter campaign to make their own film, utilizing their own practical effects. It was the most successful scifi/horror Kickstarter campaign at the time.
This film is great for fans of practical effects in monster movies. I enjoyed the cast and felt that the film made the most out of a meager budget for a film of this scope. Lance Henriksen stars as the Captain of a crab boat that dredges up something nasty from the Soviet space program. If you haven’t seen this film, but love Carpenter’s The Thing, then I advise you to check out this movie. You can click the cover below to pick up a copy and read on for the official synopsis.
Synopsis: A group of grad students have booked passage on the crabbing boat Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on a pod of Belugas in the Bering Sea. When the ship’s crew dredges up a recently thawed piece of old Soviet space wreckage, things get downright deadly.
I realize that I did an entire week of classics, but today’s film deserves a mention at any time. Even if you have never seen this film, you are very aware of the monster, in fact, I would bet that you know it as the definitive version. Today, I bring to you Frankenstein. Universal started their monster legacy with Dracula with Frankenstein closely on its heels. Most copies of the original version have the filmed opening by Edward Van Sloan, wherein he warns the audience. This was done because during the original screening, people fainted in their seats.
This film is easily a classic and deserves its iconic status. We have already covered The Bride of Frankenstein here. While the sequel is an amazing piece of cinema, it is a different beast than the original. In this first film, we see the driven doctor wanting so badly to play with the forces of life itself. After his success, he is ashamed of the violent nature of his creation and chains the creature. Boris Karloff’s performance as the monster, the pitiable beast shunned by its maker, is what you should watch this for. From his earliest moments, seeking sunshine and warmth, to his last frightened frames within a windmill, Karloff brings a sense of pathos to a monster that is more than just a horrible exterior.
Click below to pick up the entire Legacy collection featuring all 8 films of the original series. The official synopsis is listed below the cover.
Synopsis: Boris Karloff is the screen’s most memorable creature in the story of Dr. Frankenstein, who tampers with life and death when he pieces together salvaged body parts to create a human monster.
Good Monday to you. I realize that this must sound like a Scooby Doo episode, but I assure you that it is not. For this monster Monday, I went back to the 90s and pulled The Relic.
Believe me when I say that the movie hardly resembles the book at all, but this is a fun movie. It’s set in the Museum of Natural History in Chicago, which provides an excellent backdrop for the Kothoga to stalk and kill. It’s days before the opening of the superstition exhibit and the Kothoga statue is on display. The real creature is actually stalking the grounds as well, using the subbasements and underground tunnels to traverse the labyrinth like museum. On the night of the opening exhibit, the Kothoga strikes and manages to cause the security system to shut down, trapping many of the guests (including the Mayor) inside, with 2 of the investigating officers and one evolutionary biologist who uncovers the origin of the monster. This film has a good feel to it, and I enjoy the characters, including the Kothoga. I assure you, that you’ll never look at the musuem the same way again.
Be forewarned, this movie does make use of mid-90s CGI, which did not age well. The filmmakers were smart enough though to also use a great deal of practical effects and shadows to keep the monster from being fully visible. For fans of creature features, this one is a must. Click the image below to grab a copy and read on for the official synopsis.
Synopsis: Come in—if you dare. The opening-night gala for a new exhibit at Chicago ‘s natural history museum is under way. But be advised: something terrif ying wants to make sure no one ever leaves. Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Si zemore, Linda Hunt and James Whitmore star in this effects-packed shocke r that gives haunted-house movies a terrific new setting. And the non-hu man star (brought to head-ripping life by Jurassic Park Oscar® winner St an Winston) is something no creature fan can let slip by. “The creature can hold its own with the Alien,” writes Chicago Tribune critic Gene Si skel. “When the last reel begins…the special effect is truly awesome.” Let the panic begin.
I am a fan of great anthology films. Unfortunately, they haven’t made too many good ones in recent years. Once two titans of terror, George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) and Stephen King collaborated to bring to life a movie with five vignettes in it. Each of these stories was in the style of the old EC Comics horror comics: The Vault of Horror and Tales from the Crypt.
Packed with high-caliber talent, featuring the writing of King, while under the direction of George Romero, this movie is fantastic. Throw in effects by Tom Savini, and you have a can’t fail anthology film.
Click the cover below to procure a copy and read on for the official synopsis.
Synopsis: Two macabre masters – writer Stephen King and director George A. Romero – conjure up five shocking yarns, each a virtuoso exercise in the ghouls-and-gags style of classic ’50s horror comics. A murdered man emerges from the grave for Father’s Day cake. A meteor’s ooze makes everything … grow. A professor selects his wife as a snack for a crated creature. A scheming husband plants two lovers up to their necks in terror. A malevolent millionaire with an insect phobia becomes the prey of a cockroach army. Add the spirited performances of a fine cast (Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, E.G. Marshall and King himself) and the ghoulish makeup wizardry of Tom Savini. Let the Creepshow begin.
This one is by far a campy classic that was a favorite of mine when I was around six or seven. Today, I give you Night of the Lepus.
I think the best way to introduce this film is to quote from the actual film: “Ladies and gentlemen, a herd of killer rabbits is headed this way.” That’s right, giant killer man eating rabbits are roaming the plains of the Midwest devouring entire towns as they travel by night. Two great things about this 1) the rabbits are obviously shot on miniatures, and 2) the actors are never in the same shot as the monstrous hares. Also there’s nothing like a cute fuzzy bunny with bright red stage blood smeared on its face as it smiles. It’s cute.
Starring Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, and Stuart Whitman, this movie has a solid cast, but is just a little bit too campy to ever be seriously considered.
Click the image below to get the movie with the official synopsis below.
Synopsis: A hormone intended to alter the breeding cycle of rabbits overrunning ranchlands instead turns them into flesh-eating, 150-pound monsters in Night of the Lepus. Can anything stop these hare?
Hey, I thought I’d start off the week with a book recommendation. This is still very much a Monster Monday, and the monster of the recommended book clearly reflects that.
Owl Goingback’s first novel, Crota, was a Bram Stoker award-winning book. It has everything that you would want in a monster-driven horror novel: compelling characters, a great monster, an interesting backstory, and a setting that lends to the atmosphere. I’ve read all of this authors books, and they are all good, but Crota has always been my favorite with its blend of modern horror and Native American myth. I suspect many of you will quickly fall in love with this book as well.
Click on the image below to pick up your copy of this novel with the synopsis below.
Synopsis: It is called Crota…and it has awakened. Sheriff Skip Harding is called out to investigate a double homicide unlike any he has seen before: the bodies are torn to pieces in the woods. Some think it’s a bear. But others whisper something different. It’s the Crota, they say. The great beast of legend that one day will reawaken. And that day has arrived….
Today, I bring you another silent classic from the age before films could speak. Most people will tell you that German cinema created the horror genre, and I would agree with them in large part. Today’s film Der Golem is a great example of this. The golem is a precursor to Frankenstein (the original story of the golem predates Shelley’s novel, and the film would arrive prior to Karloff by a decade). Released in 1921 this German production covers the infamous story of the creation of the Golem of Prague.
The scene where the creature is brought to life is still one of my favorite in all of cinema. Some of these themes are still relevant today, and the film is a must watch for fans of classic German cinema. You can click on the image below to procure a copy and read on for the synopsis.
Synopsis: Widely recognized as the source of the Frankenstein myth, the ancient Hebrew legend of the Golem provided actor/director Paul Wegener with the substance for one of the most adventurous films of the German silent cinema. Suffering under the tyrannical rule of Rudolf II in 16th century Prague, a Talmudic rabbi (Albert Steinruck) creates a giant warrior (Paul Wegener) to protect the safety of his people. Sculpted of clay and animated by the mysterious secrets of the Cabala, the Golem is a seemingly indestructible juggernaut, performing acts of great heroism, yet equally capable of dreadful violence. When the rabbi’s assistant (Ernst Deutsch) takes control of the Golem and attempts to use him for selfish gain, the lumbering monster runs rampant, abducting the rabbi’s daughter (Lyda Salmonova) and setting fire to the ghetto. With its remarkable creation sequence (a dazzling blend of religion, sorcery and special effects) and the grand scale destruction of its climax, The Golem was one of the greatest achievements of the legendary UFA Studios, and remains and undeniable landmark in the evolution of horror film