Ten things I learned from the Sentinel

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1-A New York apartment that seems like a steal probably has a real problem.

2-If your boyfriend acts odd then he’s probably up to something evil.

3-Old men like to sit around and eat cake with naked woman.

4-Dead people like to come back for parties just to creep out the living.

5-Dead people can still gush blood if you cut them deep enough.

6-The pets of dead people can be just as creepy as the dead people.

7-Going back to the apartment where you saw your dead dad is not a good idea.

8-Most dead people turn into real freaks when they try to back to the land of the living.

9-You have to be blind to protect the land of the living  from hellish undead types.

10-Number nine is a full time job, I don’t even think you get potty breaks.


Look at the supporting cast on this one.


Don’t get too excited though. I saw this on TV when I was like 9 or 1o and thought it was great. For years a few scenes stuck in my mind and I thought this was a good movie. I finally saw it again when I was around 30 and it was like a different movie. There are some great people in the cast, it has one great scare, the locations are fantastic and the music is good. Beyond that it’s a mostly dull affair that hopes to pull in fans of the Exorcist and the Omen. Really not too much happens and the whole reveal is rather lukewarm. I bought it cheap on DVD years ago and watch it every so often hoping I’ll get it, but I don’t think there is anything there to get. Diehard fans of 70’s horror may want to see it once, but don’t expect much.


Ten things I learned from The Devil Doll

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1-Cheesey hypnotists/ventriloquists were all the rage in 1964.

2-Cheesey hypnotists/ventriloquists like to wear thin, shaggy, fake facial hair

3-Hypnotizing people is easy for evil performers.

4-Ventriloquist dummies can turn on you if you put an unwilling human soul into it.

5-Top newspapers don’t have anything better to do than to cover cheesey hypnotist/ventriloquist acts.

6-Don’t take your girlfriend to see a hypnotist or else he’ll hypnotize her and try to steal her away.

7-In 1964 women apparently went to bed wearing false eyelashes.

8-Being the assistant to a cheesey hypnotist/ventriloquist will likely lead to your death.

9-Putting a human soul into a ventriloquist dummy is easier than you’d think.

10-Switching souls from a ventriloquist dummy with a mean cheesey hypnotist/ventriloquist is even easier than number nine.

*Bonus from the “continental version”-Don’t go on stage with a cheesey hypnotist or he’ll turn you into a stripper.

This isn’t a great film by any stretch of the imagination. It’s tedious, the script is fairly rotten and the mannequin/doll coming to life idea has been done better by other people. The positives are it was smart to film it in black and white and actually much of the camera work is quite solid, the on stage performances were not great but the attempt was decent and casting Yvonne Romain was always a good choice. It’s far from a great film and if hadn’t have been for my love of British horror from the 50’s to the 70’s I likely wouldn’t have tracked it down. Still I do tend to watch maybe once a year.

Also for a lesser known film Image did a fine DVD release years ago with both versions of the film, a commentary, still gallery and a trailer.

I, Monster

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1971 (UK)/1973 (US)

This Doctor type Marlowe (Christopher Lee) says he thinks all people have a good side and a bad side. To which the other doctor types says you are so full of..oh wait this is 19th century England so they say poppycock, you are full of rot and such. Marlowe thinks he knows best and starts shooting himself full of fruit punch or something. It gives him nasty teeth, messes up his hair and makes a him little more pale than he was. He goes around bars in the middle of the night walking funny and looking goofy so yeah no one notices him much. Then he bumps into a young guy (musician – actor Michael Des Barres) and they get into the lamest knife/blade fight ever and no one even gets killed-boo!Anyways the bad version of Marlowe starts calling himself Blake. Marlowe tells his mentor a little of his theories without telling what he’s actually done, but his mentor thinks he’s a nut bar for even suggesting that a guy could split into two very distinctive versions of good and evil. Marlowe continues to turn himself into Blake and the more he does the worse he looks (oh my) and the worse he acts (the fiend). Eventually he runs into a prostitute who makes fun of how awful he looks. So he waits for her, whacks her with his cane and leaves the broken cane there-guess the drug makes him stupid too. Marlowe gets his mentor to come over and reveals his transformation to him which results in the old guy having a heart attack-way to go Marlowe/Blake. While in a park Marlowe turns into Blake without trying so he know he losing control although not as fast as I am losing interest in this film. Although this does seem to a very strange park with empty cages, a band playing to a handful of passerbys and leaves that seem flying around at impossible angles. Meanwhile attorney Utterson (Peter Cushing) has suspected something was wrong with Marlowe and this guy Blake. When he compares handwriting of Marlowe and Blake he sees that they look the same. Utterson runs into Blake, they struggle, they start a fire and Blake catches on fire-aieee I am all a flame. He falls down the steps kaboom, dies ohhhh and transforms back into Marlowe bumbumbum. So roll those credits as quickly as possible.


The negatives-Amicus is known more for their anthologies but if this project was in writing in may have said that Amicus films will do a version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. That sounds great. Aw they decided to change the names Jekyll and Hyde to Marlowe and Hyde. Okay, I don’t know why it should still be good. Oh and they are going to film it in 3D. Well, that’s their choice it may be decent. What’s that? They scrapped the 3D process part of the way through filming? The aborted process has taken a lot of the budget and put the film behind schedule. Hey uh that doesn’t sound so good. Exactly so the film has a cheap feel to it much of the transformation scenes lacking much and there’s a lot of standing around and talking in this film. I guess they had to pad the movie with cheap stuff since they didn’t have money left to do much. Christopher Lee who is normally automatic in almost everything struggles and hams it up more than usual. The normally great Peter Cushing can add little to this film either. What we are left with is a rather uneventful, frequently dull movie.

The positives-I read that they used leftover sets from the musical Oliver! and if they good for them because the sets look very nice as do the costumes.

Actually I had seen this film before but only once. I bought it when it first came out on DVD almost ten years ago because it was one of the few Amicus films I had not seen at that point. I didn’t care much for it then and hadn’t watched it since so it was time to give it another viewing, but if anything it seemed worse this time around.



Critters 2-The main course



The most 80’s looking intergalatic  bounty hunters ever!


Here’s a turkey for you to feast on. This film does take place around a holiday, but it’s Easter rather than Thanksgiving. I know that if I found weird looking eggs that I would color them and try to pass them as Easter eggs. Actually no I wouldn’t, but some silly small town types do just that in this film. They might call it a plot device, but I would refer to it as stupid. Meanwhile out in space the bounty hunters from the first film along with former town drunk Charlie are told that there are more Crites (those nasty Critters) left on Earth. So they make a U-turn and head their space craft back to our little ole planet. The new Sheriff dresses as an Easter Bunny, but is attacked by the recently hatched Crites. He gets his man parts bitten and goes crashing through the window of the Church during Easter Sunday services. Yeah that won’t have a lasting impression on any small children in attendance. The kid that survived the first Crites attack tries to convince everyone else what is going on. They don’t believe him. The bounty hunters show up with one of them changing into a nudie woman and later a nerdy guy and eventually gets killed. That last part might have needed a spoiler alert, but most of you probably gave up watching the film and caring before that point. Eventually the town and the bounty hunters unite to fight these second rate Gremlins. Their plan to lure the Crites into the diner with burgers and blow them up fails as the Crites roll away from the flaming explosion as a big ball of chomping death, however it did likely make the air smell like a big cookout. Then Charlie devices a brilliant well though out solution – that’s right he crashes his ship into the Critter ball and kills them kablooie! Charlie however survives whether we like it or not. The other  alien is picked up by another ship or maybe it’s a space taxi and he’ll have a big bill when he gets back to his planet. The main characters talk some more yack, yack, yack and the main teens kiss-smoooooooooch. This film lost money so it’s a good thing as now they won’t make a sequel unless they discover the straight to video market-oh crap I think they went that route. Roll the credits.


I paid money to see puppet eating salad?

The negatives-The first film was like an update of a 50’s alien invasion film and this one tries to capture that feel as well, but this one feels far more forced. Despite having more action the second half of the film is hard to make it through. It’s hard to root for characters when they are not all that likable.

The positives-It gives you a horror film to watch for at Easter. I think they’d tried to catch the feel of the previous film and at times they do, but at times it just feels like not enough is going on.

I saw this when it first came out in 1988 and I kind of liked it then, but now I just think it falls short.

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There’s goes Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail..to meet his doom.

Creepshow 2



Need a trim, buddy?


Let’s see this says “Creep, show review for you too “. Oh, no wait it actually says  “Creepshow 2 review for you”. This is an anthology which is something like fancy speak for a bunch of short stories. This film is framed by a cartoon that starts with some ruffians being mean to some smaller kid. Eventually we get into the first live action story. It focuses on a wooden indian. There’s this thug who loves his hair “oh, look at me, I’m like a male Rapunzel maybe I should call myself guypunzel”. He and his buds are mean to these old people that own this shop. The wooden indian comes to life and the wooden indian is less wooden than the other actors. He gives the hooligans what they deserve. The next story involves some teens that go out to the lake to act out and act cool-good luck with that last part. Everything goes perfectly for them .. yeah right this is the 80’s and teens in horror films are doomed. A tar puddle starts killing the teens off one and a time. What a bunch of weak victims – most teens in the 80’s get killed by a psycho with a weapon or a dream travelling perv not a patch of goop. Well a couple of the teens survive on a raft and are waiting to try to swim back to shore. The last guy gets to shore, but turns to taunt the monster and gets a bad penalty for doing that. The last segment starts with a former Bond girl cheating on her husband. She tries to hurry home so she doesn’t get caught. Then wham bam no thank you, cheating ma’am she runs over a hitchhiker. No one saw so she leaves. Then she sees the dead hitchhiker several times with a sign that says “you’re a stinky driver, lady” oh I think it actually said  “Thanks for the ride, lady”. He spooks her and eventually of course she dies in an odd way. That’s what you get for being in Moonraker, lady. Back to the cartoon with the kid and the bullies. The former victim lures the others into a trap and kills them with giant flesh eating plants. Then the film ends with the Creep host guy tossing his comics out onto the road which probably gives us an idea of how good they are. Roll the credits.


I’m covered in a bunch of ooky stuff.

The negatives-At 92 minutes this film felt a little short and actually it was originally supposed to have two more segments but the lack of budget caused those to be scrapped. The film falls short of the first film.

The positives-I have a soft spot for anthologies so I may like this film better than most people. The indian segment is definitely my favorite. I think is a decent film overall and I try to watch it once a year. For some reason I associate it with summer and normally watch it late in the summer. They used to show this a lot on weekends on TV in the early 90’s and I came to like it back then.


I’ve had better days.


Aieee there be monsters here!


Goosebumps-One day at horrorland

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So the Morris family are on a vacation and lost in the crumby car with no A/C. Whoa bummer, dude. So they somehow end up in this parking lot out in nowhere at a theme park called horrorland. Hold on there, hoss you are telling me they stumble upon a theme park out in the woods and don’t question it? Oh, well it’s gets better. The worker at the park appear to be dressed as monsters. The Morris family decide to kill some time and go to the park. So scatterbrain Luke and sour Lizzy go  to such attractions as the lose your sibling mirror room and lets go down the river in  a closed coffin water ride. I think they had more proper names though. Along the way they see kids who don’t seem happy. The parents drink some nasty drinks run into other families who don’t act happy. So they try to track down their kids. They do and hope to leave, but get offered a chance to go on a game show with a shot of winning a car. So they forget about their kids almost getting killed, the frantic other parents, the fact that these are real monsters and decide to do the game show so they can try to win a car with A/C. The game puts the parents against the kids so the Morris family forget all about everything else and try to win a car in front of any audience of monsters. The kids get worms tossed on them, but it’s all okay because the parents want that car. They eventually get into a wheel of fortune type game and when as mom solves it as being “The Morris family is lunch”. Yeah, they win, they win..wait “is lunch” ? Yikes the monsters mean to eat them! So the family runs away into the woods trying to escape. They see their car through the fence, but can’t get through. They search and find a hole in the fence, but the monsters are right on their heels. They slip through, get to the car and eventually drive off. The end…oh no wait the monsters stuck a remote control thingie on it so they make it go where they want. The monsters send the car to the edge of a cliff where he hangs so maybe they live or maybe they don’t and boom the episode ends that way. Oh, man now you have to use your imagination to decide what happened. Roll the credits.

The negatives-I think I saw this when it was first on liked it, but the special effects have not aged so well in a mere 17 years.

The positives-I like the story and it worked well to do it as a two parter. The monsters look good and the humor goes over well enough. I particularly like the monster commercials they show in between the game show. This was one of my favorite episodes of this show.

A sad note is while looking up information about this episode I learned that Kirsten Bishop who played Mrs. Morris died this past spring from the lung cancer from the way to young age of 50. She was also in Visiting Hours, They came from within and had a number of other credits over an acting career that went almost 40 years.

What to watch on Halloween


I first started picking something to watch on Halloween in maybe the mid-1990’s and not too surprisingly it was the first Halloween. I pulled out the VHS tape oh maybe three years in a row on Halloween. Then around 1999 I switched over to watching the 1931 Dracula every years on the holiday for maybe six or seven years. Since then I have not had as much of a ritual of watching the same film every year on Halloween. I watch some kind of kid’s Halloween special like Peanuts, Garfield or something with my kids. Then once they go to bed I may put something in although some recent years I may not have seen anything due to getting the kids in bed and then needing to get in bed early to get up for work early. This year I don’t have work on Novemebr 1st, but the kids do have soccer playoffs with the first starting at the ungodly and likely frigid time of 8:00 AM-yikes. I have a number of films I’d like to watch on Halloween and a number of horror films I have but have not yet seen. So at some point I have to decide what to watch on Halloween.

***Do you watch a certain movie on Halloween? If so then what is it?

Classic monsters in the 1970’s

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Classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman dominated horror in the 30’s and a large part of the 40’s. Maybe WW2 scared people more than those monsters as their popularity faded around the end of the war. The  1950’s saw invaders from other planets as well as plenty of giant beasties. However by the end of the decade Hammer films decided to revive the classic monsters and Dracula, Frankenstein, the mummy and others lived again. This new found interest in old creatures kept on through the 1960’s. However films like Rosemary’s Baby and the Night of the living dead popped up at the end of the decade and they showed audiences scarier things than dusty vampires and creaky mummies. By the early 1970’s Hammer was trying to keep their monsters going, but tried different takes on some of them like bringing Dracula into modern times, making a Frankenstein comedy and having a mummy’s curse film with a beautiful woman instead of a bandaged sack of dry flesh. However films the Exorcist and the Texas chainsaw massacre were outdoing the gothic tales of Hammer and by the middle of the decade the studio that dripped blood was almost done. In Spain Paul Naschy was starring in films with mostly werewolves and some vampires. He stayed busy for a long time and actually the 70’s was a very good time for this sort of film in Spain as far as amount of films they made. These films had their audiences but they certainly didn’t their genre as they usually went by the same old very basic formula that we have seen over and over. Vampires have always been the monster that seems to show up in the most films and despite the decrease in classic monster films overall in the 70’s the blood suckers still did alright. Maybe the middle of the decade didn’t see too many films, but 1979 saw a relative explosion of vampire films with remakes of Dracula and Nosferatu plus Salem’s Lot , the spoof Love at first bite and on TV the short lived show Cliffhangers had the Curse of Dracula series. The phantom of the opera saw a 70’s glam rock revival in the all too overlooked Phantom of the paradise. On the small screen it seemed variety shows all had to have a Halloween episode normally with someone dressing as a square headed Frankenstein monster or somewhere in traditional Dracula outfit complete with cape and a bad Bela Lugosi impersonation. For me the most memorable small screen classic monster show of the 1970’s was the one season show The monster squad. Made by some of the same people that did the 60’s Batman show this had an even stronger camp element to it and featured wax figures of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman that could come to life to fight would be master criminals including a mummy, a skeleton, a witch and more. As far as classic monsters go I think it was split between movies and shows that tried new takes on the character and ones that either spoofed the classic version or just did the same old thing. As someone who grew up in this decade and developed a love for classic monsters in this decade I was glad to see enough attempts at keeping the characters going or re-inventing them.


Craft time

As I mentioned the other day I’ll be doing a segment about sci-fi or horror type crafts on here at some point. They might be basic or for kids or whatever but I hope to put up something here once a month. After talking about it for years I finally put together a craft in my house for all of us to use. It’s pretty much just a table with storage for craft items and a work area, but since I set it up like two months ago all of us have done projects on whether it’s crafts for work or for ourselves or whatever. For the past few years I have used Pinterest to pin all of these great craft ideas and then they sit there because I don’t actually do them so I hope to go back and look at those and actually try some of them. My wife is doing a bottle cap jewelry program this week at the library. Okay, that doesn’t sound it relates to my blog. While she mainly makes flowery and animal one she made an Iron Man one for my son and a Captain America one for me so I’ll share those soon. Beyond that I have a duct tape monster wallet program later this month and I did one like three years ago but I’ll share what I do for that this month and post pictures. I got my son to help me make a list of sci-fi and monster types crafts he wants to do with me. Right now it’s a lot of paper crafts including making a castle, Dracula and a coffin and Frankenstein. I think making monsters out of milk jugs and tissue boxes may happen as well. Maybe I can finally do more on some type of spaceship as well-not a real one mind you but models made from junk or household/recycled type materials. Also I may need to look into make monster stencils as well as some kind of crafts on Star Trek, King Kong, Godzilla, Gamera and the Creature from the black lagoon. If you have craft suggestions you want me to tackle then feel free to comment.