THE BLOB IS A MASTERPIECE OF 1950’S SCI-FI HORROR

THE BLOB-United States-86 Mins. 1958

Steven McQueen as Steve Andrews in The Blob

Steven McQueen as Steve Andrews in The Blob

Aneta Corseaut as Jane Martin in The Blob

Aneta Corseaut as Jane Martin in The Blob

Earl Rowe as Lt. Dave in The Blob

Earl Rowe as Lt. Dave in The Blob

Steven Chase as Dr. T. Hallen in The Blob

Steven Chase as Dr. T. Hallen in The Blob

Directed by  Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., Russell S. Doughten Jr.(uncredited)

Screenplay by Theodore Simonson and Kate Phillips

Original idea by Irvin H. Millgate

‘mas•ter•piece':

a work of outstanding artistry, skill or workmanship

You would think that a word like “masterpiece” would not apply to an independently produced 1958 sci-fi-horror hybrid about a group of brave teenagers trying valiantly to warn the citizens of a small Pennsylvania town about a gelatinous, spineless mass from outer space that consumes everything in its wake and grows to monstrous proportions.

Oh, but it does apply. But let us ask ourselves why.

Is it because of top-notch (for their time) effects that serve to make the titular creature a terrifying one and not at all laughable? 

That would be part of it, yes.

Is it because of strong performances; not only from Steven McQueen (this would be his last role under that forename; after this he was a cool ‘Steve’ until his death in 1980) and Aneta Corseaut (in her debut motion picture role), but also from character actors Steven Chase and Earl Rowe?

You’re getting warmer.

Is it because the film is metaphorical for the horrors of communism and the Cold War? Remember, the blob is defeated by a small army of brave, strong Americans firing ceaselessly at it with CO2 fire extinguishers until it is frozen and subdued and dropped by parachute onto the icy Arctic.

According to the all-seeing, all-knowing, one hundred per cent editable Wikipedia a scriptwriter for The Blob, Rudy Nelson (uncredited) says that this is not the case at all.

Now you’re cold again.

I know; I’ll bet it’s because of that catchy song played over the opening credits. 

“Beware of the blob, it creeps
And leaps and glides and slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of the blob.”

*POP*

Yes! That would be why.

I’m kidding.

In my personal and humblest opinion the number one reason that The Blob is a masterpiece of 195o’s sci-fi/horror is because when you combine those top-notch effects, strong performances and catchy song with effective direction and strong writing you get a film that is perfect drive-in movie (or any cinematic venue for that matter) magic. The Blob is Fantastic, Frightening and Fun rolled into one gelatinous mass. Let it consume you; you’ll be glad that you did.

TRIVIA

The actual Blob, a mixture of red dye and silicone, is still kept in the original five-gallon pail in which it was shipped to the production company in 1958 from Union Carbide. It was put on display over the years as a part of the annual Blobfest, held over a three-day period each summer in Phoenixville, PA, which provided a number of the shooting locales for the film. In addition to displaying the Blob and miniatures used in the shooting, the event features a reenactment of the famous scene in which panicked theatergoers rush to exit the town’s still-functioning Colonial Theater, as well as several showings of the film.

The strange movie being shown in the theater was not a phony created for this film. It was an actual movie originally released as (Dementia (1955)_. The scenes shown are from the re-cut version titled “Daughter of Horror“, which had narration added. The voice doing the narration is that of Ed McMahon.

The title song “The Blob” was co-written by Burt Bacharach and is on his album “Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection.” Paramount tapped Bacharach and Mack David(brother of Bacharach’s usual writing partner, Hal David) to come up with a non-threatening theme that would prevent the faint of heart from going into nostril-flaring terror during the opening credits. Together they came up with “The Blob,” a goofy musical creature that is one part “Temptation” to two parts “Tequila.” Session singer Bernie Nee does the champagne-cork-popping honors by pulling his finger out of his cheek seven times. Only Ralph Carmichael’s score received a screen credit, giving credence to the notion that the song was a last-minute addition. The Five Blobs turned out to be a phantom group that consisted of Bacharach, a bunch of musicians for hire and Nee, who tracked his voice five times to achieve that Boris Karloff-esque quality.

The monster is referred to as “the mass” in the shooting script.

Partially filmed in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. The theater everyone is seen running from is the Colonial Theater.

Film debut of Aneta Corsaut.

5of5

Steven McQueen also appears in Papillon and The Towering Inferno.

Aneta Corseaut also appears in The Toolbox Murders.

Steven Chase also appears in When Worlds Collide and The Buccaneer.

About these ads
Posted in 1950's Horror Films, 5 Blood Drop Ratings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I FIND THE DAMNED TO BE BARELY TOLERABLE

THE DAMNED-United States-87 Mins. 2013

thedamned-poster

Peter Facinelli as David Reynolds in The Damned

Peter Facinelli as David Reynolds in The Damned

Sophia Myles as Lauren in The Damned

Sophia Myles as Lauren in The Damned

Nathalia Ramos as Jill Reynolds in The Damned

Nathalia Ramos as Jill Reynolds in The Damned

Directed by Victor Garcia

Screenplay by Richard D’Ovidio

Story by Richard D’Ovidio and David Higgins

The Damned (formerly Gallows Hill) is one of those ‘you didn’t heed my warning and now you have unleashed evil on us all’ movies. David Reynolds, a widower, is traveling with his new fiancé Lauren and his daughter Jill, along with her boyfriend Ramon and her aunt Gina in Colombia, the birthplace of his deceased first wife. After they are involved in an accident and Lauren is injured they take refuge in a rundown inn and meet Felipe, who is reluctant to take them in. In typical horror movie cliché he warns Jill that her rosary will not protect her. This, and telling the group to stay put in one area makes him look like a creepy old bastard and after a little girl is found locked in the basement things look even worse for Felipe. Alas, the little girl, Ana Maria, is set free and it is then that we learn that sometimes old men lock little girls in the basement for good reason. Ana Maria is possessed by a bruja, or witch, hellbent on revenge on Felipe and the rest of the bloodline responsible for her execution. Add to this a ‘like acid for blood’ failsafe-whoever kills the person possessed by the bruja becomes possessed themselves-and we have a whole new ball game going. Who will be the last one left alive and more importantly will they be sharing their body and soul with a witchy woman?

Despite decent acting, some well placed scares and better-than-average moments of gore I found myself barely tolerating The Damned. It’s not very original, not even with its change in title; there was a film with the same name made in 1969, although the story differs between the two. Additionally, the concept of an evil spirit moving from body to body is nothing new, either; the Denzel Washington thriller Fallen comes quickly to mind. Worse yet, the bruja has a knack for telling members of the group their darkest secrets, a plot device that has been done nearly to death. I suppose the most efficient way to sum up The Damned is to say that it’s a good movie for wasting time until you find something better to watch. Just don’t expect it to be your favorite waste of time.

TRIVIA

Both Peter Facinelli and Sophia Myles played vampires. Peter played a vampire in Twilight while Sophia played a vampire in Underworld.

2of5

Peter Facinelli also appears in Twilight and The Scorpion King.

Sophia Myles also appears in Transformers: Age of Extinction and Tristan + Isolde.

Nathalia Ramos also appears in Bratz and 31 North 62 East.

Posted in 2 Blood Drop Ratings, 2010's Horror Films, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD: YOU’D BE CRAZY TO NAZI THIS ZOM-COM

DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD-Norway/Iceland/United States/United Kingdom-100 Mins. 2014

2832470_big

Vegar Hoel as Martin in Dead Snow 2 Red vs Dead

Vegar Hoel as Martin in Dead Snow 2 Red vs Dead

Ørjan Gamst as Herzog in Dead Snow 2 Red vs Dead

Ørjan Gamst as Herzog in Dead Snow 2 Red vs Dead

A071_C010_0827MA.0001859F

Directed by Tommy Wirkola

Written by Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel and Tommy Wirkola

Now that I’ve had a day or two to process my experience of watching Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead I am now adequately prepared to give my assessment of the movie:

HOLY SH!T! WHAT A ZOM-COM!

After a brief recap that catches us up on the events of Dead Snow we stay with lone survivor Martin as he attempts to shake off Herzog, the leader of the Nazi zombies, from off of his car. He succeeds but crashes in the process. Martin awakens to find himself in the hospital and handcuffed to his bed as the police believe that he is the one responsible for the slaughter of his friends from the first movie. He is also informed that they were able to reattach the arm that he himself severed with a chainsaw after being infected by a Nazi zombie (again, during the first movie). There’s just one problem: it’s not his arm they reattach. It’s Herzog’s arm and to say that it has a life of its own is a gross understatement as it gets Martin into all sorts of trouble. On the other hand (pun intended) Herzog has Martin’s old arm attached to himself and this creates a ‘good news, bad news’ scenario. The bad news is that Herzog can use the arm to raise the dead and create a new zombie army to fulfill a 70 year-old order from Hitler to attack a Norwegian village in retaliation for Anti-Nazi subterfuge. The good news is that Martin can do the same hocus-pocus with Herzog’s arm and, accompanied by a trio of unlikely and hilarious zombie hunters, as well as an effeminate museum clerk and his very own zombie mascot, Martin raises an army of dead Soviet soldiers for a final battle with Herzog. Needless to say the blood flows, the gore is thick and the amusement is high.

What makes Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead a successful zom-com is that even when there are no gory shenanigans going on onscreen there still is the sensation of jocularity in the air. This is a movie that welcomes both our repulsion and our laughter and we gladly give it what it wants. Vegar Hoel is fantastic and funny as Martin and Ørjan Gamst is frightening and funny as Herzog and the two play off of each other brilliantly. Let’s also not forget the Zombie Squad; this trio of nerdy Star Wars quoting techno-geek bad-ass wanna-bes blend in perfectly with the rest of the raucous fun. What this all adds up to is that after watching Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead you may very well find yourself asking, “Shaun of the Who?”. If not, at least you can forgive director Tommy Wirkola for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

TRIVIA

Shot in both Norwegian and English versions.

Ørjan Gamst and co-star Tage Guddingsmo played together in the Norwegian death metal band Slogstorm for several years. Both eventually dropped out of the band.

4of5

 

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

THE 2014 WRITTEN IN BLOOD SCREAM QUEEN OF THE YEAR: GILLIAN ANDERSON

The polls are closed and after all has been said and done and done and said we have our inaugural Written in Blood Scream Queen of the Year and it is none other than the beautiful and talented Gillian Anderson. It was a close race for awhile with Gillian being tied for a time with Lily Rabe but she broke away and stands tall as the winner. I just re-read that sentence and it sounds like I’m describing a horse race. That’s okay; I for one could not be happier for Gillian as I have a major crush on her (and no, it did effect the voting). Without further adieu may I present to you a tribute-in pictures-to the Written in Blood Scream Queen of the Year-Gillian Anderson!

Gillian-gillian-anderson-32062074-1024-768 1798556_ca_future_gillian_anderson Gillian-Anderson-gillian-anderson-32830108-1024-768 Gillian-Anderson-gillian-anderson-32830058-1024-768 Gillian-Anderson-gillian-anderson-4247594-1024-768 Gillian-Anderson-2560x1600-10271 gillian-anderson_cfd4bf3a gillian_anderson_dana_scully_sexy_green_021 Actress Gillian Anderson Goes Exotic gillian anderson wallpapers Gillian Anderson 043 1600x1200 Gillian anderson 7 eee11068ab21aba754d8bdd39bf5bfb3_large 26p-7368-gillian-anderson X-Files_S9_Gillian_Anderson_001 Gillian-Anderson-Picture Gillian Anderson Actress Pictured During A Photo-shoot To Accompany An Interview With Fiona Maddocks. She Is Wearing A Black Jumper With White Trousers. gillian-anderson-wallpapers-6 New-Hair-Style-Of-Gillian-Anderson Hannibal - Season 1 Gillian-Anderson-gillian-anderson-32830546-1024-768 Gillian-Anderson-gillian-anderson-9528142-1680-1050 Gillian-Anderson-CelebHealthy_com Gillian Anderson Gillian Anderson 079 1920x1200 7f3df78f7027d99315664ad72ebc7c5b SexyDesktop Wallpaper Image celebrity-gillian-anderson-wallpaper-2

I would like to take the time and thank everyone who voted. As I said before this is the first year that a Scream Queen of the Year has been chosen and so there wasn’t a high vote count. Here’s hoping that as we continue to do this that we can get more people to vote each year. Again, thank you.

 

Posted in Scream Queen of the Year | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT-United States-79 Mins. 1984

Silent-Night-Deadly-Night

Lilyan Chauvin as Mother Superior in Silent Night, Deadly Night

Lilyan Chauvin as Mother Superior in Silent Night, Deadly Night

Gilmer McCormick as Sister Margaret in Silent Night, Deadly Night

Gilmer McCormick as Sister Margaret in Silent Night, Deadly Night

Toni Nero as Pamela in Silent Night, Deadly Night

Toni Nero as Pamela in Silent Night, Deadly Night

Robert Brian Wilson as Billy in Silent Night, Deadly Night

Robert Brian Wilson as Billy in Silent Night, Deadly Night

Directed by Charles E. Sellier, Jr.

Written by Paul Caimi and Michael Hickey

I was 22 years old in 1984; that was the year that the original A Nightmare on Elm Street debuted. It was also the year that another slasher film was released and I remember the controversy quite well. The film, Silent Night, Deadly Night, was the morbid tale of a killer Santa Claus and for the first week or so of its release it managed to out-gross the aforementioned and simultaneously released “Nightmare” at the box office. That is until those concerned parents that are the bane of the existence of every self-respecting young horror movie fan caught wind of it. There was no way that they were going to allow a movie about an ax wielding, murderous Santa Claus  corrupt the minds of theirs or any other child for that matter. To make a long story short I finally saw Silent Night, Deadly Night for the first time and I can with all honesty say to these parents that if they had kept their mouths shut the film would have eventually faded into oblivion and been merely a footnote in the history of the slasher film.

It’s Christmas Eve and after a visit to a grandfather that warns him of severe punishment from Santa if he is the least bit naughty, little Billy witnesses the murder of his parents at the hands of-you guessed it, kids- Santa Claus. Billy and his infant brother escape and we cut to three years later and Billy and little brother are residents at an orphanage run by Mother Superior and a handful of nuns. Mother Superior is firm and her discipline strict and she is of the mind that Billy should face his  fear of Santa Claus head on by-you kids are too good-sitting on his lap. This of course snaps one more synapse in Billy’s warped little brain and sets in motion the murderous path that he will take as a young adult. We know that this is what has happened because the film turns grainy and ominously freezes on young Billy’s face. The film then cuts to an 18 year-old Billy who now has a job in a toy store where, after an employee breaks a leg, he is forced to don the gay apparel of-okay, now I know that you kids saw this movie already-Old Saint Nick. Snap, crackle and pop go the last rubber bands in Billy’s brain and before you know it Santa Claus is on the prowl with his trusty fire-ax doling out punishment to naughty boys and girls as he makes his way back to the orphanage and Mother Superior.

If there was ever a movie that relied on the strength of its controversy then Silent Night, Deadly Night is indeed that movie. Simply put the film is not good enough to have survived thirty years without it. Despite an abundance of young, bare breasts that are the staple of any slasher film the kills are cheap and sloppy and the film is greatly overacted for a film of this genre, even. There is one scene where Billy is watching as one young man is screaming like a little girl after witnessing his best friends head roll down a snowy hill and even he has a look of “Really? Overact much?”.

There have been films made before (Tales from the CryptChristmas Evil) that featured a killer Claus as its main character; although the Santa in “Tales” was from the first segment of an anthology. I don’t understand why parents picked this particular film to protest. It doesn’t matter; they’ve done their damage and each year during the holidays Silent Night, Deadly Night will rear its ugly head. Ho freaking ho ho.

TRIVIA

To protest the film, critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel read the credits out loud on their television show saying, “shame, shame, shame” after each name.

The toyshop where Billy gets his first job is called “IRA’S TOYS”, Ira is the first name of one of the film’s producers.

Many of the kill scenes were directed by editor Michael Spence, due to director Charles E. Sellier Jr. being uncomfortable with handling the gore-heavy parts of the film.

1of5

Lilyan Chauvin also appears in Catch Me If You Can and The Man Who Wasn’t There.

Gilmer McCormick also appears in Slaughterhouse-Five and Starting Over.

Toni Nero also appears in No Dead Heroes and Commando Squad.

Robert Brian Wilson’s sole motion picture credit was Silent Night, Deadly Night.

Posted in 1 Blood Drop Ratings, 1980's Horror Films, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

UPDATE: SCREAM QUEEN OF THE YEAR

Okay, I posted the poll for Scream Queen of the Year on Dec. 7. The poll will be open for a few more days so may I remind you to catsvote, folks.

Here’s how the voting is going so far:

Lily Rabe is in the lead:

January

Gillian Anderson and Sharni Vinson are tied for second:

July

November

Carolyn Jones is in third place:

February

Danai Gurira and Raquel Welch are in fourth place:

March

Various - 1965

Christina Ricci and Amber Heard are in fifth place:

September

October

Bringing up the rear are Chelan Simmons, The Soska Sisters, A.J. Cook and Traci Lords:

11239943246_ed2b3fb35a_b

May

June

August

catsvote

Posted in Scream Queens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A HOT SCREAM QUEEN AND A HORROR MOVIE ICON CAN’T SAVE EXIT TO HELL

EXIT TO HELL-United States-81 Mins. 2013

1409798_big

Kane Hodder as Sickle in Exit to Hell

Kane Hodder as Sickle in Exit to Hell

Tiffany Shepis as Jenna in Exit to Hell

Tiffany Shepis as Jenna in Exit to Hell

Directed and Written by Robert Conway

Before I begin this review I just want to remind everyone to vote for the 2014 Written in Blood Scream Queen of the Year. Voting runs for one week. Don’t delay, vote today. 

What a hunk of shit that this movie, Exit to Hell, turned out to be. Anyone who knows me knows that if I start a movie review like this then that is exactly what that movie is-shit and nothing else. Tiffany Shepis, one of the most popular Scream Queens of the modern era does a strip tease and gets semi-naked and she can’t save this movie. Kane ‘Effin Jason effin’ Voorhees effin’ Victor effin’ Crowley does what he does best with a sickle and a chainsaw-Home Depot was fresh out of machetes- and he can’t save this movie. It is rancid, putrid and any other word ending in ‘id that means ‘good grief, that sucks.’

There is a plot to Exit to Hell or at least I think there is. Four criminals work a strip joint as a way to case the place before robbing it. Jenna is the Stripper, Tasha the DJ, Randy-I don’t know what Randy is other than a junkie. Anyway, the leader is this little douchebag named Travis and after the four of them rob the strip joint they work at and kill everyone in the place except for one lone stripper, Penny (Rena Riffel), they head out on the lam and end up in a cesspool of a town known as Redstone where they run afoul of Sheriff Sickle (Hodder), a lawman cum serial killer cum leader of a cannibal family. Add to this the fact that the owner of the strip joint, a Russian mobster named Jerkov-er-Yakov-is hot on their trail and you can imagine how things are going to end up for Travis and the rest of the Dumbass gang.

Exit to Hell may have been a little better had it opted for any semblance of originality. I was reminded of quite a few films while watching this one, especially of course The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I enjoyed seeing Kane Hodder and of course Tiffany Shepis as Jenna* was a welcome sight as well. But let’s face it: shit is shit and that’s all it will ever be. If this is the Exit to Hell then there sure are a lot of potholes.

NO TRIVIA

1of5

Kane Hodder also appears in Monster and Hatchet.

Tiffany Shepis also appears in Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula and The Maladjusted.

Rena Riffel also appears in Showgirls and Striptease.

*I guarantee you that if there is a stripper in a movie at least 7 times out of 10 her name will be Jenna.

 

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment