Posted by: Andy | October 18, 2010

Leave it to Bieber: Laser Tag Beatdown in B.C.?


Just Bieb It.


So in case you forgot to DVR TMZ  or finally put a restraining order on Perez Hilton, you may have missed the gripping breaking news about how an enraged Justin Bieber pit-bullied a fellow gamer he was Tron moshing with at a Vancouver Laser Tag compound.

As the story developed / fabricated / snowballed over the weekend it came to light that the 12 year old the Bieb apparently “pushed” had stalked Justin through the game area with unrelenting aggression. So essentially like Paparazzi but with a plastic laser gun ,a dumb looking chest plate and maybe even a goofy helmet.

Soon witnesses started telling anyone that would listen or care (and it’s a Bieber story so that was anyone with a Celebrity website) that the  12 year old stalker called the Bieb a homophobic slang after he was asked to stop his hot pursuit. That’s when J-Bieb went Chuck Norris and the push heard around the world partook.

Media frenzy has been going 24-7 since then. Like hyena on leftover zebra.

Somebody needs to give that punks parents a good slap while they’re at it. Any kid going around spitting out that kind of lazy, dated and Archie Bunker-esque comeback needs to watch as Biebers bodyguards Whack-a-Mole his Dad’s ass. In this day and age? Unfrozen Caveman Bigot unavailable for comment.

Here’s a link to one of a million news outfits covering this instead of something newsworthy. I get away with it because so far all I’ve covered is 80’s horror movies, Bear invasions and Why Crows are Dicks.

Ironic little known fact: Justin Bieber co-starred in an 80’s cartoon named Lazer Tag Academy as Nicky Jaren. Check out the trailer, and before you say “Hey – Justin wasn’t born until three years ago” this show involved time travel ,  so go ahead and  prove to me how this couldn’t have happened. With or without a Delorean.

Posted by: Andy | October 17, 2010

Andy’s Halloween Trailer Park: Puppet Master (1989)

I stumbled upon my first video store job in 1989.

It was a thankless shift that spanned from Midnight until 8:00am.  Fittingly, the desolate, nomadic, graveyard shift rewarded me by offering minimal human interaction except for a few inebriated zombies stumbling their way up from their downtown haunts.  As an added bonus, the  store had a spooky prefab fiberglass Horror section which resembled an S&M dungeon if it was designed by Home Depot. It housed all the movies I’d ever need to satiate my growing habit for genre films.

Ultimately, when a job boils down to calling cabs for drunks and ensuring my seedy co-worker at the time didn’t watch porn in the kids section, you soon realize that you’re not long for living the Vampire lifestyle (this was years before Twilight made it cool and then lame). Rocket Science this was not.

Didn’t do much for my tan either but it was an acceptable  trade off to spending time with the likes of Romero, King, Craven and Carpenter.  I mercifully made the jump to day shifts just in time to avoid my Dad organizing some type of Goth Intervention.

That was a pretty fun Summer though…

1989 was also the year Pupper Master arrived to home video thanks to “Direct to Video” auteur Charles Bands and his B flick empire Full Moon Entertainment. Full Moon was making a name for itself in the genre world, even managing to find home video distribution through Paramount Studios.  As most movies Band produced, much like the already legendary Roger Corman, Full Moon’s stable of releases were primarily knock-offs that capitalized on bigger budget studio hits that had cashed in at the theaters.

So when Chucky became a household name at the cineplexes in 1988 after Child’s Play was released, it was only a matter of time before more Toys run amok would happen.

Imitation was not so much flattery as it was guaranteed money in the bank. Full Moon productions were made on the cheap, didn’t have to pay for expensive theatrical print runs but instead tapped into the lucrative and rapidly expanding  home entertainment market, which could reach plenty more store fronts/consumers rather than a few scant screens across North America.

Andre Toulan, a legendary puppeteer and craftsman has somehow discovered via an Egyptian spell the ability to give his adopted family of wooden children life. No fairies or talking crickets here kids. Seeing how beneficial this power could be in swaying the ongoing war between Hitler and everybody else, undercover Nazi agents are dispatched to the  an oceanfront inn overloooking Bodega Bay in California. However before the Krauts can lay their mitts on Toulon he French kisses a revolver and ensuring one unfortunate cleaning lady’s going to require extra Oxiclean.

50 years pass and a gaggle of psychics are commisioned to revisit the now very much abandoned Bodega Bay Inn. However instead of Ouijaing up the joint proper, they unleash Toulans pint size puppets, who considering how long they’ve been trapped inside a large crate holed up in a wall – don’t seem too grateful. Cranky enough to begin offing said psychics (who really, if bonafide psychics – couldn’t they have seen this coming?) in deliciously inventive manners.

Each puppet has a distinct personality and if to quote Mortal Kombat properly “Finishing Moves”. Blade is an albino Klaus Kinski looking little fellow with interchangeable weapons for hands making throat and tendon slashing his specialty. He’s actually decked out in an outfit that reminds me of the Fisherman killer in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” Pinhead is a burly puppet with a miniscule noggin. He’s the grunt of the team, using his meaty maws to strangle his victims and use brute force when necessary. Tunneler looks a tad like Peter Lorre, the bug eyed thespian from the Silver Age of Hollywood. He has a giant drill atop his head. I don’t think I need to explain how he takes care of business. Suffice to say his handy work is the most juicy. Leech Woman is a sultry lass who wears slutty, loose fitting clothes and likes to regurgitate live leeches onto her host. Finally there is Jester, the conscience of the team, whose spinning head works much like Batman villain Two-Face’s coin when flipped in the air. Sometimes he is the deciding factor as to who lives and who doesn’t check out of the Inn.

Stop Motion animation is what truly brings the Puppets in this movie to life. Sure there are many scenes where regular hand operated puppets and marionettes are used for specific logistical reasons. However, when stop motion is utilized, the fact these creatures are originally inanimate toys that shouldn’t be moving around independently, let alone dispatching their freaked out victims. Computer Generated graphics can give us an entire planet of blue aliens with mind blowing visuals but I somehow doubt that the technology could ever capture the soul that lies within stop-motion.

The Puppet Master gang remains the quintessential killer toy group of all time. Additional puppets would be introduced as the series would spawn nine sequels, all of which devolved quickly from the fun and polish of the original. But the core five in this film are and always will be the Menudo of tiny terrors in film.

How big of a franchise did Puppet Master become for Full Moon? Take a look at the toy line they were pitching.

Posted by: Andy | October 16, 2010

Andy’s Halloween Trailer Park: Madman (1982)

Everyone remembers the first R-rated horror movie they watched (albeit mostly through a pillow, blanket or Doritos stained fingers). It’s an experience that stays with you. The excitement and anticipation mixed with a deep rooted fear of what your life will be like after consuming your first terror tape is a heart pounding moment.  Then the covert ops implemented as you sneak down into your friends musty rec room, lights off and with the volume turned down to almost inaudible so your parents wouldn’t get wise to the impending R rated shenanigans. Fueled by sugar, starches and adrenaline,  your fingers shaking as you hit the play button on that state of the art Beta-max machine (Google it Tweeners)

Some kids take a long journey to see a dead body as their right of passage into adulthood. I passed off fake I.D. at the local video store to lose my horror film virginity.

For me, it was Friday the 13th Part 3-D. Which, when I think about it now seems fairly ridiculous considering how mood killing that much maligned disco themed music that heralded Jason’s third outing. It was Camp Crystal Lake meets Club 54. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chi-Ch-Ugh.

I caught this film at my friends house and although we were almost next door neighbors, I had to make it across the street to the safety of my own home in the dark of night when it was done. Witnesses say it took me 1.5 seconds. It was but a fleeting omen of things to come as the remaining hours until dawn would not fare well for me, as I laid there, eyes wide open for 8 straight hours over analyzing every sound my house made. Waiting for someone in goalie gear to come rid me of my head. In 3-D.

So my friend Chad mentioned that the 1982 movie “Madman” was the first horror film he caught as a wee lad, I couldn’t pass up the request to revisit and review one of the more forgotten “Killer With an Axe” masterpieces from the early 80’s.

Madman Marz is somewhat of an urban legend to those attending summer camp. A seemingly normal farmer who went a tad axe happy one day and Slap Chopped his entire family in a fit of Rural rage. Now, years later his story makes for good campfire tale fodder. It is said that if you mention his name anywhere above a whisper he will come for you (a lazier version of Candyman – at least you had to find a mirror and utter his namesake five times).  Serial Killer 101 dictates that some twit of a camp counselor, looking to impress some chick with huge hair, does indeed take this challenge. Axe body spray commences shortly after.

When you look at the most imitated slasher films of the late 70’s / early 80’s  two are looked upon as royalty. Halloween and Friday the 13th were both so influencial in the slew of carbon copies that followed in their bloody footsteps because they were cheap to make and made a ton of green. Nobody could argue that return on investment. Slasher films during this time period were money for the making. So naturally it got to the point where anyone with a camera, some questionable dinner theater quality actors and some woods was all you needed.

Madman was filmed on Long Island, New York.(I pity the kid who got shipped off to that Summer Camp) It was filmed in the Winter, which meant some of the crew had to paint foilage appearing in shots green. Not exactly well planned out. However logistics aside, this film has one mean, son of a bitch for the killer at large. Although filmed primarily at night, the director, Joe Giannone (who also wrote it) gets high marks for lighting these scenes with mad skills. In fact, plenty of horror movies are renowned for failing when night-time photography drops the ball. “Madman” enables you to know who is chasing who.

Points deducted for portions of the soundtrack which sound like a Casio was utilized by a second rate wedding band  keyboardist. That being said, revisiting it after all these years the score is actually an obvious copy-cat attempt in the days where everyone was trying to imitate Carpenters legendary, yet oh so simplistic score to  “Halloween”. Also entertaining are some of the cheesy original songs written by and sung by cast members. No wonder “Madman Marz” wants to kill this group as soon and as brutally as possible.

Kills are your standard fare. A few gruesome. A few inventive (nice car hood decapitation) Lets not forget what really works in decent slasher films – you don’t show alot of the killer until the end. In “Madman’s” case this is mostly out of necessity due to budget.

All these contributing elements help elevate this film ever so marginally about trash, However it’s also the other lesser parts of “Madman” that enable it to become everything you want in an R rated, B horror movie. Watching it now, I am unsure how this film could make my friend Chad almost piss himself in fear. Of course that’s coming from the once 12 year old sprinting across three lawns in the dark, hoping neither his legs or heart give out.

Madman is another fun time capsule worth unearthing.

As fate would see it, the man who played the notorious Madman Marz would go on to design custom knives.

Posted by: Andy | October 15, 2010

Hell’s Kitchen Drinking Game!

Not familiar with Hell’s Kitchen on Fox?

Think televisions “Survivor” meets “The Apprentice” meets “Iron Chef” with the added bonus of bleeped out obscenities and plenty of undercooked food.  Where lucky chefs, aspiring to be the next big thing in the culinary world end up becoming reduced to berated, sweaty serfs knee deep in “the Weeds” every freakin’ episode. Much to the delight of viewers like myself who always enjoy a deliciously, yet oh so cookie cutter produced reality show disaster .

This show is the Titanic of gravy train wrecks.

Well here’s a new drinking game (watch for me on Dragon’s Den pitching the board game version very soon!) I’ve created based on the long running series that keeps Chef Gordon Ramsay in big bags of money. Going by the repetitive nature of any given episode of Hell’s Kitchen, you’ll pretty much by shit faced before the second commercial break.

This games goes best with each person utilizing  multiple glasses of Guiness and shot glasses filled with Wild Turkey. Or whatever you have kicking around. You just need a beer and a hard liquor to enable a Depth Charge (dropping a shot glass into the larger glass of beer and then chugging it.) Word to the wise, plan ahead. I only had Creme de Menthe and Bud Lime. The end result was me vomiting something I like to call the  Hispanic Leprechaun.

Hells Kitchen Drinking Game Rules

1) Someone is verbally accosted by Chef Gordo (1 drink)

– They’re called some variety of  farm animal (2 drinks)

– They’re called a Donkey (1 shot)

– He makes them cry (Depth Charge!)

2) Someone improperly cooks a food item (1 drink)

– It’s raw (2 drinks)

– It’s scallops or risotto (1 shot )

– It’s scallop risotto (Depth Charge)

3) Chef Ramsay is displeased with a an entree brought to the pass.(1 drink)

-He demands everyone on that team come over and look at the mistake (2 drinks)

-He slams the plate and/or contents onto the prep table violently (shot!)

-He kicks or throws the plate and /or contents against a wall, onto the floor or at a contestant! (Depth Charge!)

Like I said.. your liver will be pate in about 20 minutes of viewing. Enjoy!!

Posted by: Andy | October 14, 2010

Andy’s Halloween Trailer Park: the Gate (1987)

It’s Home Alone meets the Evil Dead.

Three kids get ditched by their parental units for the weekend and before you can say human sacrifice they’re knee deep in mini-demons bent on world domination.

Filmed in Ontario in 1987, Director Tibor Takacs turned a simplistic plot about three kids and your basic portal to Hell into a fantastic, special effects ladened hit.  Sadly he would never duplicate  the success of “the Gate” as he would go on to direct the obligatory direct to video sequel a few years later before being shipped off to Syfy Channel purgatory, churning out such gems as Mansquito & Ice Spiders.

Damn shame.

After some impromptu landscaping removes a tree from Glen(Stephen Dorff in his first movie role)’s backyard an ominous hole appears. As luck, and plot device would have it Glen and his sister, Al, are left to look after themselves when their parents take off. That’s when shit goes South fast, as the gaping Hellmouth starts to seriously pull some “the Shining” antics on the latch key duo and their wrong place, wrong time friend Terry.

Terry (the only character to return in “the Gate II” is the catalyst to the siege that soon takes place. He’s a bit of a loner who loves him his heavy metal music and contributes to the evil uprising by playing a record backwards. Yeah – vinyl baby!  Gotta love the 80’s.

Special effects? This one has stop-motion goodness, forced perspectives (most of the little demonic minions were people in rubber suits shot in a way to make them seem three apples high). Claymation. Matte Paintings. This film has every trick in the special effects bag covered.

Without a doubt, one of the scariest, PG-13 rated genre films of the 80’s. A remake is currently in the works. Good luck topping the original. Unless they get Stephen Dorff back. Then I’m in.

Posted by: Andy | October 13, 2010

Andy’s Halloween Trailer Park: Ghoulies (1985)

What self respecting Horror fan could resist a movie that features a bald, teethy, slimy Muppet knee deep in a filthy toilet?  Apparently not too many of us.

Ghoulies, a blatantly obvious Gremlins knock-off which offered the added bonus of blood, hot 80’s chicks in tight dresses and filthy demonic creatures gave us everything that would make Gizmo implode from un-PG-13nish.

Ghoulies went on to rake in just about $35,000,000 when all was said and done. Not a bad return on investment considering it’s budget was a paltry estimated one million. From the the thrifty mind of Charles Band a leader in 80’s B-movie output, who would later go on to found Full Moon Pictures (PuppetMaster /Demonic Toys / Trancers)

Ghoulies are tiny, troublesome demons conjured up by a possessed twenty something douche bag party boy at his inherited, and quite haunted mansion.  They essentially look like inbred unions between Cabbage Patch and Garbage Pail Kids after being dipped in barrels of Vaseline.

The creatures themselves are mostly shown in close-ups as puppetry was the main (translation: most cost effective) choice for bringing them to life. This was years before CG effects kids. As a treat, and only in a few scenes the Ghoulies got the royal stop-motion treatment. Much like watching old Ray Harryhausen films, this type of animation is still charming in it’s simplicity and a treat to watch. Yes even in a movie about horny teens being terrorized by blood thirsty hob-goblins in heavy syrup.  It’s old school personified. A lost art indeed.

As an added bonus for you Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans, a young  Mariska Hargitay makes her film debut sporting some choice 80’s big hair.

Followed up by three questionable sequels including an installment where the Ghoulies head to College. No, really.

Posted by: Andy | October 12, 2010

Andy`s Halloween Trailer Park: Sleep-Away Camp (1983)

Killers running amok at Summer Camp was already a tired genre thanks to at least three Friday the 13th’s and a slew of posers when Sleep-Away Camp hit select theatres back in 1983.

However this film snowballed into such an underground hit, that it’s developed a cult status over the years thanks to the power of home video and a legion of fans. Enough to warrant three sub-par sequels; two of them starring Bruce Springsteen’s sister and the final chapter co-starring Big Pussy from the Sopranos and Chef from South Park.

A young, orphaned, socially introverted Angela who has been keeping a dark secret years after her entire family was wiped out in a freak power boating accident (choice opening scene) gets sent to Camp Arawak with her beset upon Cousin Ricky as chaperon. Shortly after arriving though, people start dropping like flies thanks to increasingly inventive and violent manners. (The inferred curling iron scene shown only in silhouette is quite nasty)

Cookie Cutter serial Killer 101 aside, this flick does benefit from a creepy musical score, some of the most nasty, stab-worthy supporting characters ever committed to a slasher movie and  from an isolated, decrepit shooting location. (It only had a budget of $350,000)

Those contributions aside,  there is one important plot point that will always enable Sleep-Away Camp to remain one of the most referenced and remembered horror films decades after its release.  This film has one of the greatest mind-f**k, twist endings ever committed to film in which it is revealed why Angela is so messed up. Even a self proclaimed genre junkie like myself never saw it coming.

In your face “The Crying Game”. In your $%”%” face!

Knowing that you`ll never see this movie on video, head to You Tube and look up Sleep-Away Camp Ending. You`ll have to jump through a few hoops to get access it but it`s worth it.

Posted by: Andy | October 10, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Eh from Eli Roth

As part of the Grindhouse Double Feature out a few years back featuring Tarantino’s Deathproof & Rodriquez’s Planet (Squib-ville) Terror, noted directors were asked to submit faux trailers for films to be sandwiched between the two feature length films. The best of this batch, which really captures the early 80’s slasher genre in budget, music, narration and masked killer is Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving.

Roth has recently confirmed that he is moving forward on a script based on his Gobble Slasher opus. So perhaps in the next few years, Thanksgiving can finally be added to Holidays exploited by the horror genre. I mean if they can do a movie about April Fool`s Day and Groundhog Day, why not the long weekend of dry turkey, pumpkin pie and unwanted visits by freeloading relatives.

The horror, the horror.

Posted by: Andy | October 9, 2010

Andy’s Halloween Trailer Park: The Stuff (1985)

I’m going through the creepy closet of horror-tastic DVDs I’ve been collecting like an old cat lady on A&E’s Hoarders and selecting culturally significant films worth mentioning. The classics I am speaking of though are not from the same silver screen  graduating class that gave us Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein Monster or Lon Chaney Jr.’s  Wolfman.

No, I am plot plundering  the cheese riddled decade of the 80`s. Where LaserDiscs still lived , Mr T. had a Saturday Morning Cartoon, and George Lucas hadn’t even thought about violating his Trilogy Deliverance style yet. Thanks to Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween – a boom of low budget, direct to video films were getting green lighted faster than it took a nerd to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

A decade where a major movie studio (the now defunct New World Pictures) would have no problem raising the scratch to make a movie about a killer dessert. Yes, you read that right. The Stuff is essentially a film about an evil alien yogurt /marshmallow fluff hybrid who eats you from within after digesting.

No, not one of those Jello mold deals with the fruit and carrot suspended in lime green limbo but some type of delicious organism a couple of miners stumbled upon as it bubbled up out of the ground. Now, unless I’m Jed Clampett and I am a poor shot and it’s oil, I’m not really sure why anyone should decide to sell an anonymous, white goo which had been ejecting itself from the Earth’s core.

But this is a horror movie and it is an evil corporation who need to keep their shareholders happy,  so the sinister snack soon finds itself on grocery shelves and seemingly into every families refrigerato . Mainly due to spectacular sexy ad campaigns like this gem.

Yes, nobody can get enough of “the Stuff”. As it get more and more addictive, the film shifts from a thinly veiled skewering of consumerism in the Reagan era to a deliciously ode to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. Later on, as the Stuff finally is revealed as an entity hell bent on world domination (ironically the same as the evil corporation that had marketed it) becomes a scrumptious salute to “the Blob”

For you Grey’s Anatomy nuts, feel free to go Where’s Waldo and look for a very early Patrick Dempsey sighting.

This flick is a testament to practical and miniature effects. With a budget just slightly over 1.5 million, the Stuff really gives us more than anyone could have expected for a Toppings Gone Wild film.

Are you eating it or is it eating you?

Yogis Go-Kart needed some work.

Living in a relatively small town often means very slow news days. This is being proved in the last few days with headlines warning people of bear appearances in the suburbs of Bedford / Halifax.  Who told Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and BP Oil that they could all take the same day off?

So someone sees a bear on the side of the road and all of a sudden the Chronicle Herald (the last of the old school news rags standing) turns into TMZ.  Normally bears are relegated to the local wildlife park where they sit on their ass all day, occasionally scratching it and wondering what the fat kid in the Max & Ruby t-shirt would take like dipped in Honey Mustard sauce.

So when one is seen outside its natural habitat – this town goes bear-shit crazy.

Not only them, but the radio is issuing non-stop warnings to suburbanites about being beware of bears who may pose possible danger to their children, pets and pic-a-nic baskets. Worst of all, multiple calls reporting numerous bear sighting probably boils to one confused bruin with a broken GPS just making the rounds. I suspect the mass hysteria on Wisteria Lane has resulted in the local video stores only copy of Grizzly Man being rented out tonight for research purposes.  Frankly you would do better signing out a Winnie the Pooh video from the library.

Now even though coming across a bear in your backyard is a “serious encounter of you being dead kind”, the sage advice via Goverment hand-out being offered to burb dwellers reads like a 1 page Coles Notes for Dealing with Bears for Idiots – the Obvious edition.

Here are but a few highlights from Mensa.

Don’t leave food outside that may tempt the bear to visit your backyard – So don’t leave that freshly baked apple pie out on the window sill to cool down. Also do not bathe your cats in that bacon scented flea powder. Nor should you leave your children outside unattended in their wading pool filled with rich, delicious honey.

Do not approach the bear(s) –  Also we don’t advise letting wild bears operate heavy machinery or joining you afternoon book club. Wild Bears will only try to sell you on their religion (Scientology!) or even worse make you sit down and watch Oprah while you scratch their tummy. I think if you decide to approach a wild bear then you pretty much deserve to be considered a big Darwin meat stick on Yogis take out menu.

Bears should be given lots of room – So don’t force a committed relationship on them.

The current pamphlet that is being dropped off to all the hysteric cul de sac livin’ citizens in the current war zone note that the following are items that could lure bears into their “space”.

Green carts: I’m actually surprised since I would have figured the raccoons would have taken care of anything edible in a green bin at this point. They’re like the Sopranos of compostables.

Garbage containers: Seriously – I will be the first to admit that nobody composts 100%. Bears can smell food up to 1km away. So if you wiped your greasy jowls after a big bucket of KFC with an entire roll of paper towel (yeah, you’re a class act) and tossed it in a Glad garbage bag? Yup that mauling is all on you.

Garden compost: Little known fact – some Bears prefer the vegetarian life-style – don’t judge them ass-hole. It’s a sad, sad day when you imagine a fresh bag of weed is a… Never mind.

Bird feeders: Who are we kidding. The sunflower seeds are the appetizer. Drunk, binge riddled squirrels and birds who watch too much Jack-Ass are the main attraction.

Barbeques: Evidently bears would enjoy licking the caked on, char-broiled remnants of your Cost-co burgers directly off the grill. If it’s good enough for your in-laws – why not Winnie?

Pet Food Bowls. More importantly I would be more concerned with your pet.  What is a bear more likely to indulge in? A small bowl with left over kibbles and/or bits or a fat Chocolate Lab wearing a sweater?

So to recap  – if you want to be the George Clooney of the suburbs and create your own Perfect Storm for attracting  bears at your front door tie your sweaty, plump tabby which has been rolled liberally in hummingbird feeder food to your barbque on which you have recently grilled some delicious compost and position it inside a large circle of discarded, 10 day old garbage bags filled with honey. Bear-a-palooza will then commence in roughly 2.5 seconds.

It was nice knowing you.

Soon the bears with be gone. Caught. drugged, tagged and relocated – much like Lindsay Lohan to a much better place. Life in our small quiet town will go back to normal. That is until Kid Rock comes here for that Summer Concert.

I’m sure there will be a pamphlet on that too.

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