Vault Of Horror (1973)

the-vault-of-horror-1973-movie-posterStarring: Dawn Addams, Daniel Massey, Tom Baker

Directed by Roy Ward Baker

Format: DVD

Tagline: “Everything that makes life worth LEAVING.”

“Trapped in an office building basement, five men reveal their darkest dreams in this compilation of chilling tales pulled from the E.C. Comics archives. In ‘Midnight Mess,’ a man stumbles into a restaurant after murdering his sister, only to discover that he’s surrounded by diners with an insatiable appetite for blood. But that’s only one of the terrifying gems you’ll find locked in the Vault Of Horror.

Picked up the MGM Midnite Movies double features of Tales From The Crypt and Vault of Horror specifically for Tales. Haven’t heard much of anything about Vault Of Horror. I had no real desire to watch it, so it sat in the back of my DVD binder for a very long time. It wasn’t until I heard the “horror anthology” episode of Shock Waves (Ep. 43) that I thought I might want to expand my anthology palate a little more. Granted, I don’t believe anyone mentioned any segments from this flick on the show, but we’re gonna venture into the Vault anyway and see what we find.

My Thoughts:3czhrTxGy0kBq.gif

  • What a strange wraparound story. Five men stuck in the basement of an office building in some weird marble lounge with plenty of drinks to be had. I’d say they might have planned this all along.
    • Segment 1: “Midnight Mess”
  • Yo, Brits are weird. The definition of shady.
  • The restaurant looks like someone turned an apartment into a cafe. The place is hideous.
  • Harold (Daniel Massey) kills his sister (Anna Massey), and then gives himself a corsage! That’s cold!
  • Beautiful mirror trick in the cafe, though.
  • Award for worst fangs goes to “Midnight Mess.”VOH.jpeg
  • Ah, we’re just talking about dreams. This wraparound is weak.
    • Segment 2: “The Neat Job”
  • Homeboy has a sick bar and a sick record collection. This dude rules.
  • And the gap between his two front teeth is perfect for camel spitting.
  • Nevermind, this dude Arthur (Terry-Thomas) needs to chill, he’s having a panic attack about moved furniture.
  • Eleanor’s (Glynis Johns) reckless moving of items in this house is gonna make this dude screw up dinner. He’s already on his last leg, c’mon Eleanor.
  • Oh god, this dude has a crazy way of organizing his pantry. Yet somehow, I also think its a great idea.
  • Still crazy to me that “trophy wife” is a thing.
  • Eleanor, you’re down a slippery slope trying to fix this broken home.
  • Oh my god, the building dread of Eleanor just screwing up this whole house is insane.
  • Classic EC ending.
    • Segment 3: “This Trick’ll Kill You”
  • I don’t think I like this dude’s magic trick delivery…
  • Wait, why the hell is this tourist putting this street magician on blast?! That’s rude as shit. Isn’t there a magician’s code this dude just broke?! I’M INDIGNANT.
  • Both Sebastian the rude tourist/magician (Curd Jürgens) and his wife (Dawn Addams) are really going all in on trying to get this woman’s magic trick. HOLY SHIT.
  • I don’t think you ever take a dead lady’s rope, I think that’s a general rule.
    • Segment 4: “Bargain In Death”
  • They remade this segment as Buried with Ryan Reynolds. Not true.
  • This dude Maitland (Michael Craig) faking his death for insurance money, holy cow. More vintage EC.
  • “There’s no money in horror.” LOL
  • Great Vault Of Horror comic placement in this segment.
  • A little excessive on the Tales From The Crypt novelization placement, though.
  • This one is a little farfetched because no one gets buried within 24 hours, right? That’s some crazy turnover.
  • This seems to be the only one with a little comedic relief.
  • Ohhhhhh Alex (Edward Judd), you double-crossin’ yella-bellly son of a bitch. HE HAD IT COMIN’.
  • Great segment.
    • Segment 5: “Drawn and Quartered”
  • Moore’s (Tom Baker) beard is something.
  • How come whenever you walk into a place of voodoo, there are tribal drums to be heard but none to be seen? That’s the magic I guess.
  • Homeboy is DIPPING HIS ART HAND IN BOILING WATER I WOULDN’T. But ah, the power of voodoo.
  • A vase mysteriously breaks and Moore IMMEDIATELY slices a piece of bread. Oh, it’s for an experiment, nevermind. He just seemed so determined.
  • Wow, art dealers are the devil. This revenge is gonna be too sweet.
  • Bob Ross jacking Moore’s style.
  • tvoh8.jpegThere could be such a great modern day retelling of this story.
  • Whoa, paint thinner.
  • Gentleman’s club time is over, uh, gentlemen.

The Verdict:

A little bit of research shows that this DVD version is an edited theatrical version, and that a few bits were edited out. I’m not sure even any added gore or scenes would have made up for the flick’s dullness. It’s hard not to compare this one to Tales, but drawing from similar source material, this anthology comes out feeling like a cheap knockoff. I will say, thank god the film was as short as it was. I enjoyed the last two segments, but all around the anthology was a little weak, even with the storylines being classic EC.

Bloody Birthday (1981)

am_93t28317qsnvg9135_1300x1733Starring: Lori Lethin, Julie Brown, Joe Penny

Directed by Ed Hunt

Format: DVD

Tagline: “This is one birthday invitation you can’t refuse!”

Under the spell of a total solar eclipse, three women living in the same small town give birth simultaneously. The three children are angel faced, the best of friends and oh so innocent – but these little kids are the most lethal killers ever!

Just before a giant party to celebrate their mutual tenth birthdays, a series of gruesome murders begins. Like precision killing machines, the mini murderers can’t be stopped. Blood and death fuel their existence.”

You know, this blog started seven years ago. It was a place for me to go through my movie collection, whether to purge or to praise, and have fun while watching these movies. In the past three years, I got married, I moved to California, I subscribed to Netflix and Hulu, and the way I watched movies completely changed. But the collector in me never really stopped collecting. The modes changed, my budget certainly changed, but I never stopped plucking gems at the local thrift store or rental place. I’m at a point in my life now where the way I watch movies is changing yet again, and I want to dive in to my old physical media collection and discover/rediscover these flicks I picked up long ago.

Bloody Birthday was a recent acquisition during a trip to Las Vegas where we were conducting interviews for Survival of the Film Freaks. I didn’t realize that I was familiar with the alternate birthday cake artwork until after I purchased the above DVD, did some more research, and discovered they were the same movie. Aside from being familiar with the cover, I knew nothing about the film, but I assumed it was just another slasher.

Thoughts:

  • Eclipse births. Gotta be something wrong there.
  • Look, maybe it’s a generational thing, but cemetery hookups were never in my or my peers vocabulary.
  • Punk ass kids asking for no homework on their birthday, c’mon. bloodybirthday2
  • Debbie (Elizabeth Hoy) has got such a look, actually super creepy because she looks like a little cherub.
  • But then you find out she’s pimping out her sister Beverly’s habitual (un)dressing routine and you’re like…you’re 10 years old.
  • Astrology is gonna be a huge factor in this one, huh?
  • Little blonde Steven, however, already looks like a bully and is definitely gonna mess some people up.
  • And then freaking four-eyes Curtis over here, THIS kid’s got some issues.
  • Yeah, Steven is a cop killer.
  • At least there’s one kid in this town with a good head on his shoulders. Thanks, Timmy! But now you’ve got a target on your back.
  • Curtis, that’s a really real looking fake gun, dude. Don’t tote that around the junkyard.
  • When I was a kid, I was absolutely petrified of getting locked in a refrigerator in a junkyard. Timmy is living my nightmare, while Curtis is just living his best self.
  • Timmy now you’re exposing Debbie’s pimp kingdom, you are DIGGING YOURSELF A HOLE BUDDYBOY.
  • Debbie’s got a scrapbook of victims/potential victims. This is the first recorded “Burn Book.”
  • I’m just realizing Debbie set her own sheriff Dad up to die. Cold.
  • Oh Curtis has got the sheriff’s gun. Oh he shot the gun. Oh this is a bold choice.
  • “Have you ever played doctor?” Debbie, you are 10. I know you’re cold and you were born during an eclipse and you’re killing people. But that’s a lot.
  • How these two ten-year olds are chasing Joyce through a junkyard with a car is beyond me but damn, it’s entertaining.
  • Curtis ’bout to paint the town RED with that glock. 718_bloody-birthday-thumb-610xauto-1772
  • So it’s the moon and the sun’s fault for blocking Saturn on the day of their birth. And “Saturn controls emotions and how you treat people.”
  • Is there no Lover’s Lane for these kids to park their van? We’re just gonna do it on a residential street? And then no one is gonna hear Curtis fire the gun?
  • Remember how their teacher, Debbie’s father and a handful of kids died in the past couple days and this birthday party still has fifty people there? The show must go on, I guess.
  • Mighty Mouse party!
  • All of these kids are killer kids, but Curtis is the worst by far. Debbie is the brains, Steven is the muscle, but Curtis is a god damn assassin.
  • Oh my god, Curtis, ANT POISON in icing?
  • Curtis knows, no one can resist frosting.
  • #TeamJoyce. #WhereIsSaturn?
  • Joyce’s boyfriend is a stupid idiot who can’t just sneak into houses DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THIS TOWN?
  • Ohhhhhhh Beverly, you wild child, you’re not gonna like what you find in Debbie’s room.
  • CURTIS IS THE FALL GUY. DEBBIE IS A GENIUS.
  • What I wouldn’t give to dial a rotary telephone just one more time.
  • Debbie is finally gonna do some dirty work…
  • What’s the end game for this little terrors?
  • Debbie, you’ve caused your mom to be 5150’d. You are sinister.
  • I’m realizing more and more how freaking crazy it is that these kids are just getting away with this stuff because no one believes they’d do it! That thought alone kinda freaks me out.
  • Joyce, you don’t want to babysit Debbie. And you know that.
  • Debbie, you sly dog.

The Verdict:

What a mean-spirited flick. I dug the ambiguity of their reasons behind the killings, and those kids actually freaked me out a little bit. Their ability to turn from killers into normal, innocent kids was uncanny and unnerving. The film doesn’t have a lot going on in/for it, but the last few segments of killing and uncovering more information about the murders is great. The DVD transfer that I have was garbage, but this trailer really gives a good visual.

American Cyborg, Steel Warrior (1993)

American Cyborg CoverStarring: Joe Lara, Nicole Hansen, John Saint Ryan

Directed by Boaz Davidson

Format: VHS

“After a devestating nuclear war, the last fertile woman on earth joins forces with a tough renegad to fight an advanced team of deadly cyborgs and save the human race from extinction in this action-packed futuristic thriller.

Joe Lara, best known as the latest in a long and impressive line of screen Tarzans, stars as Austin, a strong, yet compassionate street warrior who agrees to a to help a beautiful young woman, Mary (played by beautiful newcomer Nicole Hansen), escape a ravaged, war-torn America. Austin and Mary encounter danger at every turn as they find themselves on a death-defying race against not only time but a murderous cyborg (John Ryan) programmed to destroy Mary – the world’s last hope for humanity – before they can reach the boat that will take them to a safer Europe.”

I found American Cyborg, Steel Warrior at a “Buy, Sell, Trade, eBay” store in Salem, CT. I had just started collecting VHS and this seemed like one of those movies that wouldn’t be released on DVD, so I bought it. Now, I’m not a big sci-fi action fan, but the name was super intriguing. Like…what the hell is it? I think I’ve owned this movie for at least five years and hadn’t watched it until now.

This movie also marks the first Leftovers live-tweet on our new Twitter page: @LeftoverShelf. From now on, I will be livetweeting the “My Thoughts” portion of The Leftovers, and then recapping them here. By doing this, one of the stars of American Cyborg, Steel Warrior Nicole Hansen (Mary) was able to chime in and share some thoughts with us. In the tweets, the film is referred to as #ACSW.

You can check out all the tweets on Storify, or just read the text below.

Thoughts:

  • I almost watched once, but my old DVD/VCR combo almost ate it. It also tried to eat EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIE. Nearly had a heart attack.
  • Looking at Boaz Davidson’s credits and you may not know him as a director, but he’s a producer on The Expendables movies. There’s that.
  • Joe Lara you’d know as Tarzan in TARZAN: THE EPIC ADVENTURES TV series and it’s various TV movies.
  • Nicole Hansen () has been in a few things, but she’s the only one from I can find on Twitter. So there’s that, too!
  • First trailer before the movie is HELLBOUND starring Chuck Norris.
  • Oh yo, then it was Tobe Hooper’s NIGHT TERRORS. That’s kinda dope actually. Might need to get that.
  • supposedly takes place in a post-apocalyptic South Carolina.
  • Huh? ACSW
  • I don’t know, it’s kinda like I, ROBOT.
  • This environment is obviously supposed to look like some sort of BLADE RUNNER type setting. It actually kind of reads that way.
  • There was some sort of exposition in the beginning, but even that made this a little more confusing.
  • There’s a mission to deliver a human fetus to an artificial womb on some boat somewhere. South Carolina is a hot mess.
  • I don’t know why this cyborg is tryna get that fetus, but his ways of finding out are pretty logical. Kill someone, take a map.
  • I say “Cyborg” assuming that it’s the unstoppable powerhouse (John Ryan), and the Steel Warrior is someone else.
  • The funny thing is, if the character Mary was naturally pregnant, she wouldn’t be able to climb all these heights and shit.
  • But since she has a baby in a bag, it’s totally cool.
  • She also is hauling a yoga mat. Which is cool I guess?
  • “I wouldn’t be surprised if you were hiding something really yummy in there.” Uh, don’t say that?
  • The gang leader that Steel Warrior just beat up was kinda like Beef from PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
  • What makes him a Steel Warrior?
  • These sets are kind of impressive.
  • The Cyborg has a grimy blonde mustache.
  • That Cyborg killed those sewer rats for no reason.
  • Also, there are supposedly mines planted in the sewers, but everyone is just recklessly running.
  • In the post-apocalyptic future, there are fire-breathers on all street corners.
  • From Nicole Hansen: Here’s the 1st writer of the screenplay (Brent Friedman)- His version got lost in translation going onto the bigscreen
  • I have to admit, the setup for would be kind of cool. But right now it’s just a lot of cat and mouse (mice).
  • At least pretty cool for ’93.
  • Quick insert of the fetus in that travel bottle shaking as Mary runs. Shaken baby syndrome?
  • Radioactive cannibals are supposedly a thing in this movie. I’m totally on board.
  • Wait, maybe the American Cyborg and the Steel Warrior aren’t two different people. I think it’s just one. And it’s the Cyborg
  • The steel warrior who I was referring to is named Austin, played by Joe Lara.
  • “The rest of us are just the broken leftovers.” HE GAVE US A SHOUTOUT!
  • Brent Friedman did Hellbound, too. We were all shooting in Israel at same time. I went to Masada with Tobe Hooper on a day off.
  • Had no idea this was shot in Israel. The sets look really cool, actually!
  • We shot in a bombed out detergent factory from the first Gulf War… So most shots weren’t actually sets
  • Whoa, Mary just got captured by what I assume are…yup, the radioactive cannibals.
  • LOL, story of my life.
  • The radioactive cannibals look a lot like mummified members of Pussy Riot.
  • Someone told me once that they had an screening and drank shots every time I screamed.
  • New drinking game!
  • The worst kind of radioactive cannibal is one that eats babies.
  • This is the baby we’re talking about, by the way. ACSW baby
  • That cyborg loves punching through walls.
  • Austin just got wet willied by the Cyborg. And by wet willy, I mean sharp metal finger to the ear.
  • Ohhhhh, Austin is a cyborg too? There are wires coming out of his now severed arm. That escalated quickly…
  • Austin didn’t know he was a cyborg? This movie is just a web of lies.
  • God, I hope no one wanted to know the twist in because I definitely spoiled part of it.
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA that cyborg just won’t quit.
  • This cyborg must’ve been a pro ultimate frisbee player
  • The fetus in a bottle has fallen into the ocean. That’ll be a weird discovery 100 years from now.
  • “Baby in a botttttlleeee” sung like Sting
  • Yeah the baby’s “okay,” but who knows the toll the physical trauma took on it, you know?
  • That’s all for ! Thanks to @nikkihans for chatting with us. Very cool to have you join us in our first live-tweet on The Leftovers!
  • BTW- you didn’t mention my awesome RPG shooting technique – the crew bet I would fall over from the kickback, but no.

Fresh Eyes: Halloween II (1981)

FRESH EYES is a series where Kyle watches highly acclaimed horror films for the first time.

HalloweenIIStarring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Dick Warlock

Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Format: Blu-Ray

“Picking up exactly where the first film left off, Halloween II follows the same ill-fated characters as they once again encounter the knife-wielding maniac they thought they had left for dead. It seems the inhuman Michael Myers is still very much alive and out for more revenge as he stalks the deserted halls of the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. As he gets closer to his main target, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) discovers the chilling mystery behind the crazed psychopath’s actions.”

Halloween II was never really on my “To Watch” list. I loved the first film and didn’t really care enough to explore the rest of the franchise. Or I would’ve watched the rest, but never wanted to spend the money on them. It wasn’t until I went to HorrorHound’s Jamie Lee Curtis event in 2012 that I found interest in the film (along with the rest of the franchise). So, that Christmas I received Scream Factory’s release of Halloween II and I STILL haven’t gotten around to it…until now.

Honestly, I don’t know a lot about the film. So here goes nothing.

My Thoughts:

  • Like, I get it, but I’m just so in love with the original score that dropping it in the flashback is a bummer.
  • Though I did like seeing The Shape fall off of the balcony.
  • So much evil was radiating off of his body that he left a complete print in the grass
  • “You don’t know what death is!” And then Loomis should have shot the neighbor and blamed it on Michael.
  • WHOA THAT OPENING CREDIT SEQUENCE.
  • How confused must the old lady be that just had her knife stolen by the boogeyman?
  • News spreads fast, man. The radio is already reporting about the murders?
  • Razorblades in candy, that might be the scariest thing in this movie so far. That’s not a gripe, that’s just scary to me in general.
  • Laurie is mad popular amongst the hospital crowd, and that’s before they even know what she’s in for.
  • That’s right, Loomis and Brackett should leave that police officer alone to watch the burning body of the boy he just killed. You think about what you’ve done.
  • Jimmy just walked in to Laurie’s hospital room while she rests. Jimmy’s gonna touch boobs, I think.

Halloween2 Laurie and Jimmy

  • Nevermind.
  • Loomis can’t catch a break. He’s just one man trying to protect a town from evil.
  • Wow, great mirror shot with Visitor Parking.
  • Dude, I could go for a pizza too. So on point.
  • Michael, you’re not a baby. Whatcha doing in the maternity ward?!
  • Jimmy, you’re an employee, not a hoodlum. Abide by the hospital rules even though you seem like a good dude so far.
  • Oh man, that wide shot with “Happy Halloween” so clearly through the hospital room door. Beautiful.
  • Dumpster cats, they’ll get you every time. Hey, it’s better than dumpster babies. Sorry. I’m sorry. SORRY.
  • Mr. Garrett, why would anyone be in the storage closet when the padlock (though it’s unlocked) is keeping the doors closed?
  • Wait, I know Michael has supernatural powers (kind of), but how did he get to the hospital so fast?
  • Mother of God, Ben Tramer.
  • So wait, there are no other patients in this hospital? Not one? I love the tone that it sets but c’mon.
  • Aw shit, that flashback though.
  • Oh god, nah dude. Not that hydrotherapy tub. Nope.
  • “Sam Hain?” Lol.
  • Michael Myers’ knowledge of the medical field is astounding.

halloween-ii

  • When Michael stabs pillows, cue “WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN.”
  • Everything is so dreamlike. Michael waling down the half-lit hospital corridor. So good.
  • I wouldn’t say that all hope is lost when Loomis leaves, he wasn’t doing too much to begin with. I love the guy, but he’s just no help.
  • RIP Laurie Strode’s ankle.
  • Rule of thumb, I suggest never going towards the red light, or using an elevator during an emergency.
  • Secret Myers file? Dope. Laurie is Michael’s sister? Doper.
  • C’mon Strode, find your inner strength.
  • We know that bullets don’t work, Loomis. I just don’t trust it.
  • I know that both Halloween and Halloween II use the same mask, but I love the way this one looks. It’s always lit interestingly and the shape of it on Dick Warlock’s head looks SO good.
  • Loomis has to go down with the ship, just like any captain.
  • Michael coming out of the fire, though.

The Verdict:

You know, it’s a slow film. Sometimes it just drags on and on. An empty hospital can only be filled with so much, you know? But the film is filled with more violence and gore in order to keep up with the changing tides in horror filmmaking, and I can’t help but kind of like that. When judging the film, you have to try to look at Halloween and Halloween II as separately as you can. And Halloween II is a slower paced, low-key slasher movie. The purpose of Fresh Eyes isn’t to look at something like Halloween II on its own too much, though, because it’s important to horror fans due to its placement within a franchise. Nothing will be Halloween, I certainly never expected this to, and Halloween II is probably the best film that could have followed up the original.

The Loot: November 6, 2013

Birthday week loot includes:

  • Tales From The Crypt Seasons 5 and 6
  • Phantasm II
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Friday the 13th Part 2
  • Friday the 13th Part 3
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
  • Trick ‘r Treat

Phantasm II is the Scream Factory release, and it rounds out my Phantasm collection. I was contemplating buying the whole Friday the 13th series, but decided against it and bought the 4-movie collection (Part 2 and The Final Chapter will be featured on Fresh Eyes). I actually bought Trick ‘r Treat on Halloween because I realized I didn’t own it and seriously needed to. To wrap it all up, here are some Cryptkeeper puns.

New Feature: Fresh Eyes

Hey there everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for The Leftovers. Life’s been crazy. I graduated from Syracuse, I got married, I moved to California and finished my documentary Fantasm. Needless to say, I haven’t been visiting the forgotten gems of my movie collection recently. Or if I have, I’ve been too busy to write about them for this blog. I’ve continued my writing for The Miscreant zine, where there have been Leftovers posts included in various issues. I’ve also started writing for iHorror.com, which has been a blast.

Thinking a lot about horror, as I do, has sparked a bit of inspiration to return to this blog where I wrote a lot of my first…anything. Horror has this sort of “street cred” thing going on sometimes where you can not be a good horror fan if you haven’t seen this movie, or if you like so-and-so, etc. I really hate that. I don’t like being called out because I haven’t seen all of Child’s Play 2. By being a part of a community where most of the fans had their initial horror experiences before I was even born has made me feel like an outsider at times. And to be an outsider to something you love with a deep passion, sucks. It just sucks.

Recently though, I’ve come to terms and learned to embrace this “outsider” status. Which, in all honesty, is not an outsider status so much as it is not a widely recognized point-of-view. And I’m ready to admit more widely that I HAVEN’T SEEN A LOT OF “CLASSIC” HORROR MOVIES. I’m working to remedy this NOT to be more accepted by the horror community because, despite its occasional cockeyed look at my POV, the community will ALWAYS accept me and others. But I want to learn more about horror, the history of its fandom and why we consider this films staples of the genre.

So, I will include a new column on The Leftovers called FRESH EYES where I take a look at these notable horror titles with a clear perspective with little expectations besides the knowledge that the horror community embraces them. Some titles I plan to cover include Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Gremlins, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Halloween II, and a bunch more.

Stay tuned,

Kyle

Fresh Eyes

The Loot: October 18-20, 2013

It’s been a long while. I’ve been buying and selling my movies since the last installment of THE LOOT, but I’ve been a terrible at keeping you up to date. So I’m just going to start again and not play catchup because that would be insanity.

I was lucky enough to go to Rock and Shock’s 10th Anniversary a couple weekends ago, and of COURSE picked up some loot:

  • Black Devil Doll (2007)
  • The Manson Family (2003)
  • Mardi Gras Massacre (1978)
  • The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1977)
  • We Are What We Are (2010)
  • You Better Watch Out (2013)

I won’t post all the trailers, but let me leave you with the trailer for Mardi Gras Massacre. This one is a gem: