Halloween is fast approaching kiddies, and with it come the customary lists of high brow horror that one must absolutely watch, lest you lose your right to call yourself a true fan of the genre. Nothing against your better class of horror films of course, but I figured I’d switch it up a little with a list of some purely fun flicks for ye ol’ annual horror marathon, in no particular order.
P.S. Any entries of good taste are purely coincidental.
Starring Grace Jones, and other people who are not Grace Jones, Vamp is a fun little movie about a couple of college guys who head out to the wrong side of town to hire a stripper for a frat party. Despite the huge amount of strip clubs in the city, the boys (one of which is the guy who played Long Duck Dong in Sixteen Candles) inexplicably choose “The After Dark Club” which, again without explanation, seems to be located in a nearly abandoned part of downtown and, as the name implies, is crawling with vampire strippers. The lead “dancer” in the club is a freaky little lady named Katrina (the divine Ms. Jones herself in a totally non-speaking role), who doesn’t dance, so much as she stands around glaring and then humping a headless sculpture/chair, all accompanied by the least “strip club” sounding song ever…but no matter because the audience loves it and so do we.
Filled with laughs, vampires, metal undergarments, albino street gangs and some of the greatest acting this side of a tampon commercial, Vamp has everything you need to have a super cheesy Hallow’s Eve.
Child’s Play (1988)
With five sequels following it, some of which are not exactly what one would call “good”, it’s sometimes easy to forget how much creepy fun the original Child’s Play was, and still is. The first story of Chucky the killer doll stars Chris Sarandon as the police officer who shoots down serial murderer Charles Lee Ray, and Brad Dourif as said killer, who after being shot full of holes, transfers his soul into a hideous and terrifying looking doll, which then ends up in the home of a young boy.
Fun Fact: When I was a kid I had a “My Buddy” doll, which looked a little (exactly) like the infamous Good Guy/Chucky doll, which I had named Benny. After my friend Helen and I tricked her mom into renting this (not at all meant for kids) movie for us, poor Benny ended up living in the dryer…that is until the night, while I slept, my mom found him in his metal prison…uh, I mean, cozy sleeping nook, and decided to place him on my bed. Not long after I woke up to go to the washroom and screamed bloody murder…right before grabbing poor Benny and throwing him right out of the window. I was 9, obviously logic did not play a big part in my actions..,mind you, I don’t think I would react differently today…ahem.
Childish behavior aside, this movie is good creepy fun, and will definitely manage to give you a chill or two, regardless of your age, cause deep down inside dolls scare the fuck out of all of us…seriously, don’t pretend it’s just me.
Trick or Treat (1986)
I discovered this awesome 80’s rock and roll horror flick about fifteen years ago on late night tv, and having not bothered to take note of the title, I’d been on the lookout for it until the magic of youtube recommendations dropped it in my lap last year. Never heard of it? Not surprising really, but trust me when I tell you it is soooooo worth a watch.
The movie centers around teen loner Eddie Weinbauer (Marc Price), who is alienated and treated like a freak because (to my understanding) he is a fan of rock music and doesn’t tease his hair. Eddie’s only respite from his crappy existence, is his love of music and more specifically, his worship of controversial rocker Sammi Curr (a brilliant and sadly departed Tony Fields). So when Sammi Curr dies in a hotel fire, Eddie is left devastated until a local radio disc jockey (a very normal looking Gene Simmons of KISS) gives him the master recording of Sammi Curr’s very last album (dum dum duuuuum). Little do they know that within that album lies the spandex uni-tard wearing, trapped soul of Sammi, who is just dying (heeheehee) to get out. Soon enough Eddie has some wicked help in defeating the local bullies, but the more he listens to the music the more strength the cursed rocker gathers until…well, you’ll have to see it for yourselves.
The movie features an original soundtrack by the band Fastway (fun fact: the album is in my car right now…yeah, I’m an 80’s dork, whatever) and an awesome cameo by the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne (looking like a church accountant). The standout however is the late Tony Fields, who’s kinetic movements, amusingly sinister grimaces and over the top acting (in a good way) make Trick or Treat a totally fun guilty pleasure and one you’ll no doubt want to experience more than once.
They Live (1988)
I am not a wrestling fan, In fact, I can safely say that I really kinda hate wrestling. However, that has absolutely no bearing on my sick, twisted, obsessive, psychotic, “yes sir you should be scared” LOVE for Roddy Piper; even though he’s the same age as my mother.
They Live, directed by John Carpenter, is the very reason why Roddy and I are having a sexy relationship (and no, him not knowing about it does not make it any less sexy). Anyway, in this movie Roddy plays a nameless drifter passing through California looking for work, when a strange set of circumstances brings a very special pair of sunglasses into his possession; sunglasses that allow him to see that aliens have effectively taken over the earth. Knowing this, the drifter sets out to find a way to defeat the aliens while making both friends and enemies along the way. Simple enough really, but horror movies don’t need to be complicated to work.
And this movie does work, not only because of the wrestler turned actor’s earnest, straightforward performance, but also because he is joined by a great supporting cast including Meg Foster, horror veteran George “Buck” Flowers and most notably, the incomparable Keith David (seriously, I totally love this guy, I love his voice…I wanna kidnap him and make him read me stories…too much?)
Now the dialogue does get a little cheesy occasionally, but it does nothing to diminish the straight up awesome, not for me anyway. This is one of my fave John Carpenter movies, I’ve seen it more times than I can count and it just gets more and more fun…I’m re-watching it right now actually, and my favorite part is just about to come on.
“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night Too (1987)
Do you remember that awesome 1980 slasher flick Prom Night, starring Jamie Lee Curtis? Well, despite touting itself as a sequel, Hello Mary Lou has absolutely nothing to do with the original…well, except maybe that there’s a prom in both films. This cheesy Canadian horror cult classic however, is a lot more fun to watch to watch AND it features Canuk cinema god Michael Ironside (love me some Mr. Ironside).
So, quick plot, Mary Lou Maloney is an uber-slutty 50’s high schooler who is accidentally incinerated by a jilted ex while being being crowned queen of the prom. Sadly, due to death by burning, she never does get her sparkly accessory, so her wicked soul just cannot rest.
Fast forward to the present, which in this case is 1987, and pretty blonde Vicky Carpenter is looking forward to her prom. BUT, to Vicky’s dismay, her hyper religious/nasty mean mother won’t let her buy a new dress (cause Jesus hates new dresses…I guess). So naturally, being part of the drama club, Vicky decides to go digging through some old trunks in the school basement, in the hopes of finding a dress.
Inexplicable coincidence: There is a large, creepy brown trunk in the basement, which for some strange reason contains belongings of Mary Lou Maloney, as well as the ill-fated crown. Seriously? I don’t get it, why would her stuff be in the trunk and not, oh I dunno, at her parents’ house, and why would they have kept the crown anyway?
As you may have guessed, the trunk is the portal to HECK and once opened, the spirit of Mary Lou is free to roam the earth looking for a host…poor, poor Vicky, all she wanted was a dress, she never knew what hit her.
At this point the cheese quotient begins to rise to near epic proportions and we begin to enjoy all types of weird (sometimes unexplainable) stuff . From evil carousel ponies (fuck you nightmare inducing demon horse), to random exorcisms, to evil naked stalking which leads to evil naked locker crushing and all the gawd awful fashion statements in between, let’s just say this movie couldn’t get more crap-tastic if it tried…and that’s awesome. It really is a super fun little flick which is well worth a watch, and more likely than not, a re-watch (if only for the evil naked stalking).