Showing posts with label special effects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label special effects. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

“You Were Born With an Asshole, You Don’t Need Chuck”- Wisdom from NIGHT OF THE COMET



Welcome to 1984, one of the greatest years in science fiction movie-making. Tonight we bring you NIGHT OF THE COMET, the story of teenage sisters who survive the apocalypse and make a few friends along the way.  If it wasn’t for the killer zombies and the vampire geniuses obsessed with blood it wouldn’t be so bad, and even still its a damn good time.

Picture it: Christmastime, Los Angeles, early 80’s. Adding to the usual festivities of the season is a 100-year comet about to fly by Earth, and everyone is going to be outside to watch the skies as it passes. Only it turns out the comet brings death, doom, and destruction – almost everyone is destroyed immediately as the comet collides with Earth, while others slowly turn into the walking dead. Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) are sisters that survive the wrath of the comet by being inside steel structures at the time of the landing, i.e. not giving a shit. They head out in search of other survivors and find Hector (Robert Beltran) hiding out at a sweet top-of-the-line 80’s radio station. The trio teams up to survive, but their ability to fight and outwit are put to the test when an underground group of exposed, so-called geniuses (led by Geoffrey Lewis and Mary Woronov) locates them and wants to use their untainted blood to save themselves.

First point - this movie is totally cool. Part of it is the attitude – snarky and sarcastic, dismissive of authority and action-packed. Part of it is the futuristic look as only the 80’s could imagine it. Modern places like the radio station and the mall (a required backdrop for some of the best zombie movies EVER) are filled with glowing neon, glistening lasers, mirrors and glass. But once you leave these safe, familiar places the world goes crazy and the view gets hazy, the colors dampened and dark. Clarity versus uncertainty: fantastic visuals communicate the story alongside the dialogue and make the film a pleasure to look at.


The red haze of the end of the world is best viewed on VHS (our YouTube copy is an original VHS rip.) The apocalyptic red of the world looks like a video game, glitching out on the edges when people walk front if them like what used to happen when the weatherman stood in front of the oncoming storm on the local news back in the day. I love the vibe. These effects are 80’s awesome. They are subtle yet strong and allow your imagination to fill in the blanks while softly complimenting the story. And the framing of scenes makes for kick-ass photography worthy of some of the coolest shots of the decade.


The soundtrack evokes the power of sound in a film. Listen closely (again, on VHS is the best!) and you will hear the echoes of the scenes bouncing off the tall city buildings. As the characters speak their words reverberate through the empty streets, and loud gunshots slap back at you with nothing to stop them. And true to the world of a teenager, the stereo is its own character in the story, its dialogue the songs, the radio station home. The voice of the long-gone DJ is a comforting reminder of the life that once was, an authority long dead but advising from beyond.  The on-going comfort of the 80’s beats help keep us grounded in a reality that is no longer here, but makes you feel a little safer.

But most of all the characters keep me coming back to NIGHT OF THE COMET time and time again. Reg and Sam are fun and easy to love, witty and silly, serious and strong.  I always enjoy the confidence of Catherine Mary Stewart, and Kelli Maroney's performance is especially hilarious with subtle notes of physical comedy that always make me giggle.  Mary Woronov plays for the bad team, and the development of her role in the film is particularly satisfying, I'll leave it to you to find out exactly why...


NIGHT OF THE COMET is about the next generation taking over.  The comet wipes out the old and the youth take charge of the structures and institutions left behind.  This film is like THE OMEGA MAN of the 80's: two teenage girls with automatic weapons training and high heels are the successors to Charlton Heston speeding through the empty street accompanied only by zombies.  This is what makes the 80's great - the next generation of leaders transforming the world into a new place, taking the crap that's left over and using it to rebuild something better than before.

How inspiring, right? 

Now throw in flesh-eating zombies and blood-thirsty vampires, bad-ass guitar riffs, fast cars and big hair and you’ve got yourself a damn fine film.


Check out NIGHT OF THE COMET and other action-packed 80's movies on our YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/OutThereMovies


Thursday, August 23, 2018

MICROWAVE MASSACRE - “The Worst Horror Movie Of All Time”



How can you tell a movie is going to be good? When it opens with shameless T&A shots, that’s how.

Ok, so that isn’t true at all. But that is how this movie starts out, and its pretty damn bad and good all in one. It’s sick, its twisted, its wrong and disgusting, and the acting is 98% awful beyond belief. The jokes are stupid, delivered with the assistance of 70’s porno music and a variety of interchangeable hookers and strippers. Why would someone watch this movie?


I watch it because it’s sick, twisted, wrong and disgusting, and I happen to really like 70’s porno music.



Jackie Vernon.  You may also remember him as Frosty the Snowman. 
We follow our star Donald, played by Jackie Vernon (AKA Frosty the Snowman in the old cartoon movie,) as he hones his newfound taste for female flesh, in more ways than one. His nagging wife is a horrible cook, and he would give anything for a bologna and cheese instead of her attempts at fine french cuisine prepared in their monster-sized microwave oven. Apparently this microwave is all the rage but, just like food prepared in them today, Mae’s cooking is awful. Donald tries to be polite for as long as possible, but he CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! Thankfully, there is an incident and they break up, in a way. I will leave the details for the movie, but let’s just say Donald won’t have to worry about eating Mae’s cooking anymore.

So what is a free and single guy with a big appetite to do? He makes friends with two younger guys he works construction with, and they head out together in search of chicks. Donald is loving the new single life when he goes into the garage for a midnight snack. Forgetting that he stored Mae in the refrigerator he gets his first taste of HUMAN FLESH, and decides he likes Mae better this way. Mae was packing on the pounds in the later years of their marriage, but she still only lasts so long. So Donald goes out in search of women to screw AND eat. And because he is a nice guy, he also shares the spoils of his new love of cooking with his best buds. What a guy!


"I don't know how you do it, but it gets better every time"

Of course this can’t go on forever, its too perfect a deal. But whatever happens to Donald I will leave for you to find out. What I will tell you is that Donald is one of the most fun and sympathetic killers of any movie. He is a simple guy, and he wants a simple life. His wife wants to make things all fancy and complicated and nags him to no end for not going along with it. Who wouldn’t want to be free of that? Once he gets away from her he can be himself again; he tells bad jokes, never washes his car, sleeps with women with no strings attached; Donald lives a bachelor’s paradise.

MICROWAVE MASSACRE started as a story written by Craig Muckler (neighbor in women’s underwear) for a class taught by Irv Berwick, the classic b-movie director, who’s son Wayne would go on to direct the film. It is purposefully exploitative, low budget, and B-stock all the way. It never pretends to be anything else, and it never lets you down. The story is unique and witty, and add in a bit of cannibalism and you’ve got yourself something really special.

"I may have underestimated Mae's taste!"
This movie is full of bad jokes told by bad actors. By bad actors I don’t mean people who are trying hard and sucking, I mean people who have never acted before and, in most cases, never acted again. So they are telling it like it is, really. Corny puns told by someone without an acting lesson actually makes it funnier – you can see the joke coming, its presented, and when you laugh at it you might get a little embarrassed if anyone is watching. I would call these “Dad jokes” all the way. They aren’t cool, they certainly aren’t funny, but they are pretty clever and you have to give them credit for that. You end up really liking the person who tells the stupid joke awkwardly and, if you’re anything like me, you might find yourself quoting the lamest of them in public and giggling like a maniac, just a little.








So what is the moral of a sick, twisted, wrong and disgusting story like this? I think it goes something like – relax, chill out, and taste the finer things in life!




Check out this and other horrible, disgusting, stupidly amazing movies on our YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/OutThereMovies




Wednesday, August 15, 2018

HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE - You Don't Know Horror Films If You Don't Know This One


There is a killer on the loose who murders only young brides. Our main character Amy (Caitlin O’Heaney) is probably, maybe, no really, going to get married in a week, but while her meat-head fiance is out of town her nice, mortician ex-boyfriend keeps popping by to get her to change her mind. Also popping in and out of her day is the killer, although she doesn’t know that is his intention, yet.


Len Gamble, a cop who was going to marry one of the killer’s earliest victims, is hot on the trail of the killer, just one step behind him. He has vowed to get the man responsible for the killings and his job depends on it. But as the killer closes in on his next victim we have to ask - will he make it in time to save Amy?

This killer is TERRIFYING. He brutalizes flailing, struggling girls as they desperately try to get away. He pops up out of nowhere, looking like a creep with those maniac eyes (or read “Terror Eyes” for us 80's horror geeks!) Sometimes you see him coming up from behind, sometimes you have forgotten about him altogether, lulled into complacency by the fun-loving, innocent characters. He is scary as shit, definitely this scary…

Tom Hanks plays his first feature role in this gem and is very much his funny and charismatic self. The movie is full of famous faces, including Paul Gleason (THE BREAKFAST CLUB), James Rebhorn (Stephen King’s CAT’S EYE), Dana Barron (NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION), and Don Scardino (30 ROCK and TONS of TV directing). Director Armand Mastrioanni has directed countless TV shows and movies, and I must admit I recognized his name from a few classic Lifetime movies (embarassing but true).

The killer in HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE is portrayed with a secrecy that leads the audience to think he may be real, or he may be a figment of Amy’s imagination. Tom Hanks’ character has his own theory, being a first-year psychology major he’s got it pegged as a sexual fear and gives us a good laugh in the way that made him famous not long after this. But it becomes clear as the movie progresses that jump scares, fearfulness, and the stalking killer appear whenever Amy is having doubts about her wedding. Otherwise, Amy and her friends are giddy all-American girls living life in its prime, and only doubt ruins what is otherwise perfection.


And how about funny slasher movies? They are the best kind. When a movie makes you laugh, scream, and grossed out all in one, that covers all the bases for me. The characters in this film are all goofy and charming and remind us of the excitement of being free for the first time. They make you feel at ease, happy and content with the way things are at this very moment, which makes the shattering of that joy even more shocking. If you wanted a feel-good movie from the Hallmark channel, you could take a good chunk of this movie, change the ending, and you’d have it. But since we tend more towards the spooky, gory, and creepy here at Out There Movies, this takes things to the next level.

One of the coolest scenes in the movie is in Amy’s house, when Nancy is there alone. The song they play has a perfect 80s cheese-factor, but when she plugs the headphones in and you hear the song through the headphones on the floor, the sound effect is so cool. It sums up the movie perfectly – take shower, smoke a joint and drink wine to music, and then…………….

Are there any downsides to this movie? I don’t think so, I highly recommend it. It is warm and fuzzy when it wants to be, then dark and deep just when you think you’ve had enough. You can enjoy it for the slasher, stalker movie it is, or you can get to really thinking about its message, which I’ve done time and time again watching this great movie. That, and wanting to be an 18 year old girl in the late 70s because it looks like such a blast, as long as there aren’t any killers around.













Check out this movie and more teenagers getting chased by killers on our YouTube channel: youtube.com/outtheremovies


EFFECTS - A Twisted Tale of Stalkers, Smut, and Snuff



Out of print until 2005, let me say THANK GOD this film is back! It is one of the creepiest and most unnerving stories I’ve ever watched, and its originality and craftsmanship has made it legendary in the horror community. Created by some of George Romero’s friends and colleagues outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this film brings together many familiar faces of movies to come, including Tom Savini, Joe Pilato, and more.

The film is a voyeuristic mix of sexy and scary as you watch a snuff film being made under the guise of a horror film. It really is 2 movies in one; the first one is a low-budget movie about a woman with a sort of demon possession issue, or a crazy husband, or something like that, but who cares? The second one, DUPED, is much more interesting as it is being filmed behind the scenes without the stars ever knowing it exists. And maybe they never will...

EFFECTS revolves around the idea of watching people in their most intimate moments – from the sexy to the most frightening. It is part Peeping Tom, part Deadly Stalker. And which you feel like each moment depends on your level of trust in the characters – sometimes you are rooting for them, watching for more. Other times you want it to go away, stop, change or cut scenes, and the camera stays fixed and you are forced to watch what you don’t want to know. The film is constantly messing with you like a nun’s twisted idea of punishment for peeping in the girls’ locker room.

The movie stars Pilato (Day of the Dead) as Dom, a special effects guy working on a movie for director Lacey Bickel, played by John Harrison (Tales of the Darkside). Let’s pause on Harrison for a moment here: he looks like Dan Ackyroyd’s twin brother with an Elvis hairdo and no sense of humor. He brings an unbelievably twisted vibe to the character. Celeste, played by Susan Chapek, is between the these two, Dom being her new fling and Lacey being her old. She is icy, cold and sharp, but you want to root for her. Sure, go ahead and try!
Dark shadows with low light outlines combined with bright, penetrating colors make the visuals of the film very Italian, a little Dario Argento-like but without much of the bright-ass red blood (but there is still some!) Instead the 70’s d├ęcor and the great wardrobe provide the brightness of color during the sunny fall days, but when night falls the dark is as black as they come. The film uses shadows like John Carpenter later in HALLOWEEN, but more often and more effectively, making you feel creeped out AF.

So, a quick mention of mirrors. Yeah, mirrors are one of the oldest statements in film. There are tons in this movie but used as a plot device, since Lacey is using them to film in every room of the house in total secrecy. Who knows they are there, and who doesn’t? I know they are there, but I still caught myself thinking we had privacy with the characters in certain rooms. Plus, the mirrors are also helping feed the crew their steady stream of coke, and without that none of the movies would be happening at all. So thank god for that.


Let me tell you, this movie is great. It feels like it is all around you, in surround sound, IMAX, and 3D all at once. A coked-up jerk-off can come up right behind you and startle you as a joke, or someone could be behind you waiting with the razor that keeps making an appearance. SHIT it is creepy as hell, and although you keep looking for people to trust or people you think aren’t in on it, your options keep dwindling. It is by far one of the most nerve-wracking stories I have ever seen.

But the creepiest part of all: you have to watch the snuff film, fittingly placed dead center in the movie. You won’t want to, but you’ll be rewarded if you do!



Check out this movie and other freaky slashers on our YouTube channel: youtube.com/outtheremovies