Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monster Mania Day 27: The Addams Family Presents Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt

Written By Stu Cooper

This will be a quick review because there isn't a whole lot to say about this game, but I just got it in and had to give it a go, especially considering the time of year. Now when I was younger I remember renting one of the "Addams Family" games and having a pretty hard time with it, and from that point on I never really tried any of the other games. I'm not sure which game that was, but it wasn't this one because I had a blast playing this. In "Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt" you play the cartoon version of Pugsley who accepts a scavenger hunt challenge from his sister Wednesday. You play as Pugsley for the entire game and I'm alright with that. You get into all sorts of mischief and you can actually choose which levels you want to play by entering certain doors in the Addams Family house. The controls are pretty crisp and easy to get the hang of, tho attacking can be defeat at times and you have to be quick. The real highlight would be the music. It has the Addams Family theme at the beginning but the soundtrack throughout the game is pretty catchy and fun. It's just overall a fun little side scroller. If you're looking to play something with a Halloween feel and looking to interact with the Addams Family, this game is a good bet. Be sure not to confuse it with "Fester's Quest".

Monster Mania Day 26: The Faculty

Written by Stu Cooper

In the peak of the 90's slasher wave we got to see a film that was quite unique for the time period. The film was called "The Faculty" and was directed by Robert Rodriguez in one of his first big film breaks. The film was released in 1998 on the heels of the SCREAM franchise success as well as "I Know What You Did Last Summer". The 90's horror trend was in full effect, evident by the generic layered faces poster that "The Faculty" got. One thing I really hated about that era of horror films, all the posters were just layered images of the cast, no redeemable artwork whatsoever!

The film starred a couple familiar faces like Josh Hartnett (on the heels of Halloween H20), Elijah Wood, Salma Hayek, Robert Patrick, Daniel Von Bargen, Usher, and more. It's a great cast and they all really come together. The plot is basically lifted straight from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". The teachers at the school get taken over by aliens and begin using their authority as teachers to manipulate the students and eventually turn them into aliens as well. Robert Patrick takes the role of the leader. He plays the football coach, who instantly converts the whole football team to aliens. This makes for some really creepy imagery that has to be seen. Also the track "Another Brick In The Wall" plays in and out through the movie. It's a great fitting song for the tone of the film. There is a core group of students who is essentially avoiding the aliens. The main members of the group that the film focuses on are Josh Hartnett and Elijah Wood. Hartnett plays the burnout who got held back and now sells drugs out of his car. It's a great character and the homemade drug he creates actually plays a huge part in the movie. You gotta love when the burnout gets credit. Elijah Wood plays your typical virgin high schooler with social anxiety. Together they fend off the aliens and meet some pretty hot women a long the way, but I don't want to spoil much else. It's a fun film if you're into alien invasion films. It's not the most realistic movie and is definitely cheesy, but that is part of it's charm. Also you get to see a small role played by Jon Stewart and it leaves you wishing he had more film roles!

Monster Mania Day 25: Curse of Chucky

Written by Stu Cooper

If you ask any member of my family what haunted me most as a child, they will immediately be able to tell you the answer...Chucky. When I was around 5-6 years old I was exposed to the film Child's Play 2 via TV marathon. I had no idea what it was, I just saw a doll that walked around making a lot of morbid expressions. I remember the exact moment I couldn't turn away, when Andy goes into the basement looking for Chucky and his dad comes down to investigate, and Chucky kills his dad. This was a very scary thought for a young kid. You always think of kids being in the safe zone in horror, and that the grown ups would protect the child, but this film totally flipped that. I guess that's why it scared me so much. It broke the rules I had set in my imagination. I started wondering if my toys were wandering around my room when I wasn't around, plotting my death. I eventually got over it when I realized Chucky actually had quite the sense of humor. I began not taking him as serious. With that said, when I watched "Curse of Chucky" I was surprised to find a very dark gothic version of Chucky I hadn't seen before. One that would bring back a lot of the original creepy elements of the Chucky character.

"The Curse of Chucky" is a sequel to the original Child's Play films, seemingly somewhere in between part 3 and Bride of Chucky. The story revolves around a young wheel-chair bound girl named Nica, played by Brad Dourif's daughter Fiona Dourif. She lives with her pilled out alcoholic mother who has some kind of connection to Chucky when he was human, which is elaborated on throughout the film. After her mother is no longer around she is in this giant gothic style mansion by herself, so her family comes to visit. Her sister, her sister's husband, their little girl, and the family au pair all join her at the mansion. Chucky was delivered prior to this and he begins to slowly creep up on the family. This film takes a slow burn approach as opposed to the other sequels. You don't see the "real" Chucky until about 40 minutes in. When he finally does show his dark side, it's a storm front of evil. He actually even has make up applied to his face to make him look more innocent, which was a great touch. There is a lot of subtle dark moments to this film, it makes it a very effective horror film and not just a jokey satire which is what "Seed of Chucky" basically was. Chucky's humor is still there, but it is toned down a lot. The kills are also more realistic and less about extreme violence or puns, which is a nice take. For a straight to dvd film, it really couldn't get any scarier. It sets a great dark tone and follows through until the end. I was also very impressed with how Fiona Dourif's character was handled. She was absolutely beautiful and she could actually act, so I was impressed. I thought maybe we'd just see a case of horror nepotism, but nope! Also stay after the credits for a chance to see what that little kid Andy is up to these days!

Monster Mania Day 24: NBC's Dracula Premiere

Written by Stu Cooper

One week ago NBC debuted their new take on the DRACULA mythos in the form of an episodic drama. This is following FOX debuting their new "Sleepy Hollow" show earlier this month. I'm a huge fan of the Universal horror franchises and Dracula has always been a favorite of mine. I'm very partial to Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee portraying Dracula who would be impossible to top. I tried to approach this series with an open mind and what I found was a mildly enjoyable vampire show with potential. Let's dive right into it.

Dracula is played by Johnathan Rhys Meyers of "The Tudors" fame and he brings a unique presence to the character that doesn't exactly scream classic monster. He plays a metrosexual industrialist version of Dracula, which is hard to wrap your brain around at first. This incarnation of Dracula is revived at the beginning of the series by Van Helsing (for reasons you will discover later) and goes on to become an industrial/electrical engineer in the United States. He develops technology that is almost identical to Tesla's work. Dracula plans to market this and have his way with the economy I suppose. It's an interesting take on Dracula's journey. Dracula has his assistant Renfield, and the two work together to manipulate the people around them. The focus of Dracula's efforts seems to be on a protagonist by the name of Johnathan Harker. Harker is about as cookie cutter and boring as it gets. I really just wanted to see this guy die in the first episode, but sadly it looks like he will take the hero role at some point. Van Helsing is actually somewhat of a villain and the morality of Dracula seems to be up in the air. So the show takes the roles we are used to and basically flips them. It's a good way to make the Dracula premise fresh but i'm curious to see how it goes over time. The villains in the series seem to be a cult like group called The Order who hunts down Dracula and his associates. I'm not sure why they are the bad guys, other than the fact that they kill people occasionally. I was actually rooting for them when they attack Dracula at one point.

Overall the show has a nice pace and provided enough classic Dracula moments mixed in with new Dracula moments to keep me entertained. I am not a fan of the actor who plays Dracula. I'm a bit burnt out on the sexy vampire stuff after Twilight and True Blood. I'd rather see a guy who was creepy and had a menacing screen presence. This guy just looks like a model with fangs and that is not Dracula worthy. The storyline elements seem interesting tho and I am going to keep watching to see where it goes. I'd love it if they involved other Universal Monsters at some point.

Monster Mania Day 23: Zeke The Plumber (Salute Your Shorts)

Written by Stu Cooper

October always has me reflecting on my childhood and Halloween memories I had as a child. My mind starts to wonder and I start thinking about things that I found disturbing at a young age. Something that always comes to mind is an episode of "Salute Your Shorts" I remember seeing on Nick. I'm not sure how old I was, but it was back when they did the runs of that show, "Dude Ranch", "My Brother and Me", and "Are you Afraid of the Dark". The episode revolved around the kids at Camp Anawana sitting around a fire, telling the story of a man named "Zeke The Plumber" who supposedly haunted the camp. The story was meant to be humorous and for kids but was actually a quite disturbing.

Zeke was a man who fought in the military and got his nose chewed off by a bird while stationed in another country. He eventually ended up at Camp Anawana where he became the janitor and spent his days unclogging toilets. This was the ideal job for him considering he had no nose and could not smell! The creepy part comes later when Zeke begins haunting the campers. He baits them in promising them wishes, but then he goes "into their head" with his plunger and pulls out memories that embarrass them. Pretty scary stuff! There is just something about the costume the character wears that makes him particularly creepy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Monster Mania Day 22: The Sounds of Horror

Many believe that a great horror film has to have a great monster, great direction or acting, personally to me a lot of those elements would mean nothing without a great soundtrack. Now I am not talking about a mix tape soundtrack (Though Return Of The Living Dead was a Super Bad Ass Soundtrack). I am talking about songs that let you know what you are getting yourself into, that can tell you the story by letting chords speak and also will make you remember what Impending Doom sounds like. Here are the Top 10 Horror Themes.

10.) The House By The Cemetery:

Music by Romano "Walter" Rizzati

Starting off light we have a favorite Fulci of mine, This song starts off with a haunting organ riff then let's in the innocence of an accompanying synth rhythm and drum beat and the vocal point is a ghostly “Lala” of a small children Orchestra. This Story of a House with a horrible history that lines the walls with death and squatters from the after life the is bestowed upon an un-expecting family have left a place in my heart and mind thanks to this Beautiful Score.

9.) Session 9:

The Climax Golden Twins

This movie scared the bejesus out of me when I first saw it, The trailer even creeped me out mainly cause of the slow climbing piano as well as the bass riffs, the entire score has you feel like you are trapped inside the real life Danvers Hospital where our heroes are trying to stay sane and above all alive. I dare you to listen to this soundtrack alone at night.

8.) Silent House:

Nathan Larson

No official soundtrack was released for this one. Though I really enjoyed the film until the ending which seemed like they really didn't know how to end it properly. But the acting was great, the entire filming in real time is what sold me and it delivered. Nathan Larson provides us with a slow moving and almost exhausted sounding string display with ambient noises that sound like you are listening to music underwater, which describes the scenery of the film very well (With an almost Silent Hill type influence). The main protagonist is going through all these moments in her home and seems to be uncovering secrets behind the closed doors of this house she would often visit with her Father and Uncle as a child.

7.) Return Of The Living Dead:

Matt Clifford

Whenever this would come on CH.13 KCOP Los Angeles I would freak the hell out because I knew it to be the movie where Zombies ran and talked, though I could never make myself change the channel because it was a fun movie to watch plus I had a crush on Trash (Who didn't?). The use of Electronic drums and Synthesizers were very popular around this time in music, but if we learned anything from Goblin is that these instruments can be as frightening as the non mechanical predecessors. All these sounds going off at once make you struggle to get some space between you and whatever is around you for the walls are closing in and you might possibly get your brains eaten. Many composers of the Indy Horror circuit could learn a thing or two from this brilliant score. Send More Composers!

6.) Sisters:

Bernard Herrmann

Brian De Palma, was often criticized for being a Hitchcock Rip Off, Many others including myself find him to be a continuation for the genre of Suspense Thriller. Sisters dealt with the subject of Siamese Twins, One born sane and the other far from. The score pieced together by the late great Bernard Herrman captures the struggle of who the strongest twin is, One half of the theme crying out almost pleading for the horrific and dreadful side to not take over and cause bloodshed. If you have not seen this film please do yourself a favor.

5.) Who Could Kill A Child (Quién Puede Matar A Un Niño):

Waldo de los Rios

An Impulse buy when I saw it on DVD, the cover and title alone sold me, for I knew back in the 70's, Movies had more Balls to them, tackling subjects that by today's standards would be considered taboo. What I thought was gonna be a massacre film turned out to be one of the best social commentaries ever put on film. The theme itself has you setting foot on the island where it all happens starting off with a distant child singing along a happy yet eerie little tune, suddenly going silent so that we hear that it is not alone. The low piano key followed by pipes and screeching strings, suddenly you are being chased into a corner and are forced to accept your bloody fate, but the song continues on in an almost transitional blink like the killers are washing their hands of your blood then walking around town with their happy faces and then blending in with the crowd until their next moment arises to take a life once more.


Christopher Young

Much like the Lament Configuration, a tiny mysterious puzzle box that leads to the unknown, Christopher Young presents the aura of it in this score from the Clive Barker Classic (Shame nothing good ever came after Hellbound.). The strings and horns pick up slowly almost as if we walked into hell and is slowly revealed to the wonders of pleasure and pain promised to us by the Cenobites.

3.)Deep Red (Profondo Rosso):


My favorite of all the Argento/Goblin Collaborations, Deep Red combines funky bass riffs, rockin' drums and brilliant use of organs. Some may say it bares a striking resemblance to Tubular Bells, but if you ask me this song is superior for it makes you feel like a killer is after you but you are going to die in the most coolest and stylish way possible.


Philip Glass

This movie I feel kind of wrong putting on a horror list, though it does contain graphic violence and made a legend into something even better (No I don't mean Biggie Smalls). Candyman I find to be a love story in the best way, Clive Barker is held in high regards to me because he takes the non conventional approach, Philip Glass does so with the score to the film. A single piano with harmonious moaning is the emotion well played by the actors and understood in the notes for a dream/ nightmarish romantic setting is placed, though what we will see in front of us is brutal we cannot stop thinking about how unforgettable the whole experience was. Much like Helen whenever Candyman would appear.

1.) The Beyond: Fabio Frizzi

This was not an easy list to make, but I had to end this the way a proper horror movie should, tragic and terrifying and there is no better way to do so then with the theme to the Fulci Masterpiece The Beyond. This song from start to finish let's the audience know that this is all going to end bad. For a brief moment we are greeted by sympathetic flute and strings almost as if remembering the simpler times before all hell broke loose, in the midst of the reminiscing the horror represented by the bass and drums creeps up and brings us back full throttle into the hell we have walked into from the beginning. We hear all the innocence being eaten and torn away from the vocals and taking us deeper and deeper until finally we are taken away into The Beyond!

Monster Mania Day 21: Goosebumps "The Haunted Mask"

Written by Stu Cooper

If you were a child of the 90's then you most likely experienced the gigantic "Goosebumps" book fad. Every kid in my school had a collection of Goosebumps books. The book fairs at school would shill them left and right, and we often had reading time in class and kids would always bring their newest Goosebumps story. Capitalizing on the massive popularity of the book series FOX began developing a "Goosebumps" television show. I actually remember when the show made its debut and it was immediately terrifying and interesting. The first episode was actually a two parter entitled "The Haunted Mask". The episode itself was based on one of the early books. The series would continue to just adapt books that had already been released, making the books we grew up reading into visualizations to scare kids even more. It was essentially "Tales From The Crypt" for children.

"The Haunted Mask" told the story of a young girl named Carly Beth who is in a rush to find a mask for Halloween that will scare everyone and leave a lasting impression. Carly Beth will get more than she bargained for when she finds an old shop with some strange masks in the backroom. She wants one mask that is particularly frightening and when the shopkeeper refuses to sell it, she steals the mask. Later in the evening Carly puts on the mask and goes trick or treating. While trick or treating with her friend, Carly begins experiencing difficulty with the mask. Soon after this Carly's mood begins to change and its clear she is becoming more sinister and egotistical. The mask begins to fuse with Carly Beth and before we know it we have a full on horror story. The idea of a mask fusing to your skin after you put it on...absolutely petrifying. The tension in the episode is built up nicely and it's actually a pretty disturbing first episode considering the show is made for a younger audience. There is a back-story about the shopkeeper that unfolds and it is similar to a "Phantom of the Opera" kind of story, so there is another layer of storytelling added on. There is also several sequels to this story that follow other children experiencing the same problem, so you can always check those out if you liked this one. The episode is available on Netflix, but if you don't have that then you can check out the link below for the feature!

Monster Mania Day 20: Murder Party

Written by Stu Cooper

I found this film a couple years ago after seeing the trailer on youtube. The film is called "Murder Party" , written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier and released in 2007. I saw the film probably sometime around 2010 and it was love at first sight. The film tells the story of a lonely awkward guy named Chris who is a meter maid. Right before Halloween Chris is doing his regular walk through, ticketing cars in the neighborhood when he finds an envelope on the ground. The envelope contains an invitation to a "Murder Party" which Chris believes to be some kind of Halloween party. Chris decides to create a costume and attend the party but upon entering the party he realizes it's much more than he bargained for. The party is filled with psychotic "artists" who have organized a party in which they will attempt to murder someone in an artistic fashion in order to receive a grant. Sadly for Chris, he is that special someone. Each of the guests at the party are in costume and they are all sadistic in a different way. What ensues from that point on is like a horror comedy version of The Breakfast Club. I can't say much else because I don't want to spoil the outcome of the film.

I loved the way this film was setup. It's setup like a black comedy with lots of nods to hardcore film nerds. There are a lot of inside horror jokes and several of the characters are wearing costumes that are from classic films like The Wolf Man, Blade Runner, and The Warriors. The main character Chris is such a loser than he is actually very likable and you find yourself really rooting for the character. The character lives a relatively boring life and this is probably the most exciting thing to ever happen to him. Unfortunately this moment could also bring about his demise, so it's a funny idea. Overall the film is full of twisted humor, likable characters, and Halloween spirit. Check it out!

Monster Mania Day 19: Wrestling with Horror Top 10

Written by Stu Cooper

I started watching wrestling when I was 4-5 years old and I've been hooked ever since. I've seen it all...the good, the bad, the ugly, all of it! I was fortunate enough to witness the attitude era live and I was able to attend events when wrestling was at it's absolute hottest. But that's not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to focus on the crossover between Horror and Pro Wrestling! I decided to make a "Top 10 Horror Moments in Wrestling" countdown. Let's get right into it.

10. Zombie debuts in ECW

9. The WCW Phantom!

8. Kane speaks for the first time

7. The Debut of Chainsaw Charlie

6. The Undertaker has a stalker

5. The Yeti

4. Ultimate Warrior is cursed!

3. Spin The Wheel Make the Deal!

2. Chamber of Horrors Match!

1. Chucky cuts a promo on Rick Steiner

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monster Mania Day 18: Operation ALIENS

Written by Stu Cooper

In the early 90's the toy and cartoon market was littered with movie licensed stuff. We had Robocop and Rambo cartoons with toy lines to follow. It was a weird era in violence. Arnold and Sly movies were all the rage and children were viewing rated R films like it was nothing. You know the rating system was a joke when you have cartoons and toys being made of these movies. That was nothing compared to what was to come tho. Kenner released a small ALIEN toy line in the 70's when the original film was released, but it was deemed too dark for kids. Well they weren't worried about that in the 90's because they released massive lines of ALIENS and PREDATOR related merchandise. I remember the old commercials showing the two fighting in the jungle. I remember purchasing a couple of the combo packs as well. One thing I immediately noticed as a child was that the toy line featured characters that either died in the movie, or were never in the movie to begin with. I figured toy companies make up characters and stories all the time, so that's not that uncommon. It turns out the line came from a pitched idea for an ALIENS animated series!

The series would have been called "Operation ALIENS". It would have followed all your favorite marines like Hicks,Apone,Hudson,Vasquez...wait a second. Yep, the animated series focused on the entire group of marines that died in ALIENS the film. It would have totally ignored the outcome. Considering the entire planet was nuked at the end, the chance that any of these guys would have survived is impossible. Their fates from the film are ignored and they are still traveling around space hunting down Aliens like they are cockroaches. The toyline came with little comics which were basically the outline for what the show would have been. They depict the marines blowing up various types of Aliens with relative ease, even trapping the queen like it's no biggie. I must say tho I'm pretty interested to see how this show would have unfolded. How would they address the breeding process of the alien, or the fact that they bleed blood? A lot of issues that would have to be changed in order for kids to watch the programming. I'm guessing that's why the show never got off the ground. Instead we were left with some posters, puzzles, toys, shirts, and a couple screen shots of a teaser, which I'll put below. What do you guys think, could it have succeeded? What other cartoons with violent overtones did you enjoy?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Youtube Gem: Hellraiser Infomercial

"Get HOOKED on a Hellraiser t-shirt! We want you to HANG in there!"

Monster Mania Day 17: I Spit On Your Grave 2

Written by Stu Cooper

Today I'd like to talk about a film I've been avoiding viewing since I got a copy of it. The reason is because of the plot of the film. I knew from it's predecessor and the original film that it would be brutal, and I was absolutely right. That film is "I Spit On Your Grave 2" the 2013 follow-up to the 2010 remake. The one in 2010 starred Sarah Butler as a female writer who survives a home invasion and comes back for revenge, in brutal fashion. The sequel does not follow the same woman, but has a similar plot. The original film from 1978 was famous for it's gritty grindhouse feel and terribly long uncomfortable rape scenes. It came about in the midst of the popular "rape revenge" sub-genre that started around the time of "The Last House on The Left" and "The Hills Have Eyes". The remake was basically the same deal except with a modern update and different revenge kill scenes. The rape was pretty graphic in the newer one but not as bad as the 70's version. Either way, it's uncomfortable to watch and you have to be in a weird mood to view it. Now let's get to the sequel.

"I Spit On Your Grave 2" is about a young naive model named Katie who goes to a shady photoshoot and ends up leaving because the photographer and his brothers are making her uncomfortable. One of the brothers is a bit slow and weird and he decides to find out where she lives. The brother stalks her for a bit and then breaks into her apartment while she is asleep and is caught taking photographs of her. The film already starts off disturbing. Katie awakes, catches the brother, and proceeds to taser him right in the face! A real WHOA moment. Unfortunately that is not enough and the guy catches up to her, and proceeds to abuse and rape her. It's a very heartbreaking thing to watch, but with the pattern from the previous film, you are relieved by the idea that she will eventually get revenge. Unfortunately the other brothers show up and kidnap Katie, leave her in a dungeon for several days, abuse her, electrocute her, etc. It's very hard stuff to watch. To top it off there is a police officer who also participates, just to insure that Katie can trust no one. To make matters even worse they somehow transport Katie from New York City to Bulgaria! A pretty ridiculous idea, how did they get the lifeless body into an airport? Time progresses and she eventually escapes. You are so relieved to see Katie free at this point that you are rooting for her big time. The big payoff comes in the second half of the film as Katie proceeds to track down every person involved in what happened to her, and make them pay. This film is the definition of a rape-revenge film. If you want to watch a film that will flash you back to the days of 70's exploitation horror, this might be for you. This film is really brutal and uncomfortable, so I wouldn't recommend it for date night.

Monster Mania Day 16: Zedd's Monster Mash

Written by Stu Cooper

As a young child I grew up in the peak period of several awesome trends. G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and of course The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The Power Rangers ruled my world from 730am to 800am every weekday, and of course the new episodes on Saturday Mornings. I bought all the toys, coloring books, games, and video tapes I could get. I even saw the movie in theaters opening day and it was absolutely remarkable. Unfortunately as an adult my imagination is somewhat limited and my tolerance for terrible jokes, corny dialogue, and insane over-exaggerated fight sequences is somewhat lacking. I still love the show, but I usually have to be intoxicated or in a very weird mood to sit through several episodes of the Power Rangers. I do love the character Lord Zedd who was the main villain in seasons 2 and 3 of Power Rangers. He has an incredibly creepy voice and an appearance that absolutely screams villainous. It came to my attention after getting Netflix that there was an actual Power Rangers Halloween special called "Lord Zedd's Monster Mash"! Since it's the Halloween season, what better time to take a look at it.

The episode starts off with the whole crew of rangers in goofy costumes (Pirate, Einstein, some kind of cheerleader, etc) and they are throwing a Halloween party for kids. The parents are dropping off the kids and leaving them in the hands of these annoyingly happy teenagers, who are apparently obsessed with helping the community. The camera pans out and Lord Zedd is usually his super space telescope to watch the party. Instead of being pissed that the rangers are partying he reveals he is actually quite interested in Halloween since it appears to be a celebration of monsters. This gives Zedd the idea to throw a Monster Mash party, which basically means he is going to invite older villains and one new Halloween themed villain to all gang up on one ranger. This would be Zedd's idea of a party. So Zedd sends these creepy little fake kids to the party and convinces Tommy (the white ranger) to go off on his own. This is when we are introduced to one of the most random villains in Power Ranger history...DOOMSTONE! A grave stone that has come to life. He is joined by several other villains like Pumpkin Rapper, Rhinoblaster, Primator, Snizzard, and Invenusable Fly Trap. Shew what a collection of weirdos. They all proceed to gang Tommy but eventually he is joined by the rangers and they open a can. Nothing out of the ordinary here. The cool parts are really seeing the collection of villains. It's worth a watch if you want a random halloween oriented 90's special to watch.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Monster Mania Day 15: Toy Story OF TERROR!

Written by Stu Cooper

I had the great fortune of seeing all 3 "Toy Story" films in the theaters, and I loved every second of it. When I was younger I was actually such a big fan of "Toy Story" that I collected every single Burger King toy they released, including this giant hand puppets. I loved it, and I even played the super nintendo game a lot. The voice acting cast is nothing short of ingenius, the animation is flawless, and the jokes are hilarious and heartwarming. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear that "Toy Story" was getting the Halloween special treatment! I set the DVR with anticipation.

"Toy Story of Terror" is the name of the special and it aired on ABC last night. The special was a 30 minute short film (without commercials around 22 mins). The story revolved around the group of toys being hauled in the trunk of Andy's mother's car, and the car stops at a hotel. The group goes into the hotel and ends up running into several crazy misft loose toys, as well as a Lizard! The special plays up all sorts of hilarious horror movie stereotypes, and the gang actually riffs on horror movies at one point. I was surprised with the humor in the special since there were A LOT of references made that only adults would get. The shining example of that is a new cast member named "Combat Carl" who happens to be voiced by Carl Weathers, who happens to be wearing his Predator costume, and he even had one arm (since one was chopped off in Predator). I found that pretty humorous and a reference that today's youth wouldn't get. So that was a nice nod to the older members of the audience. To top off the ridiculousness of that character, he is accompanied by a miniature version of himself! There are also several other new toys involved in the story. In a nice serious moment the story-line plays up Jessie having claustrophobia and anxiety as well. She is actually forced to confront her fears when she and Woody are boxed up and sent out after being sold on Ebay accidentally. I don't want to spoil anymore than that, but needless to say the special was absolutely perfect and full of Halloween fun. I laughed and found myself thrilled with the story. It left me actually wanting to see another full length film. If you have a way to watch this, I would definitely make the time. It's only 22 minutes and it's a lot of fun in a short time. You can't go wrong here.

Youtube Gem: Addam's Family Groove

When it comes to "The Addams Family" there are a few things I remember...the films, the pinball machine, the crappy home console games, the cartoon, and THE MC HAMMER SONG! I have fond memories of renting "The Addams Family" with my family and when the credits hit (or after the credits) they show the MC HAMMER - "Addams Family Groove" music video, which is pretty awesome and worthy of a 90's soundtrack. I guarantee you'll have this one stuck in your head for a couple hours.

Monster Mania Day 14: Jan Svankmajer's "Down To The Cellar" (1983)

Written by Stu Cooper

Growing up I was always a fan of stop motion animation. Whether it was Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Wallace and Gromit, or Gumby. I loved that kind of stuff. Even as an adult I watch Robot Chicken frequently and love the work there do there. Who can forget Nightmare Before Christmas? That is a stop motion masterpiece. But before any of those existed and before computers were even used in the industry, there was Jan Svankmajer. Svankmajer was a surrealist filmmaker who started making short films in the late 60's. I was unfamiliar with his work until I saw a film he did called "Dimensions of Dialogue" and I was blown away. It's anarchy through stop motion. That's the only way I can think to put it. It's made clear by the end of that film that Svankmajer is a very talented artist and film maker. After that one I viewed a short called "Down to the Cellar" which is about a little girl going down to the cellar of a creepy old building and witnessing some...unusual things. Check it out for yourself. It has a nice subtle horror vibe to it, so that's why I chose it for one of the Monster Mania entries. Enjoy!

Monster Mania Day 13: Ultimate Spider-man: Meet Blade And The Howling Commandos

Written by Stu Cooper

It's time to discuss the first Halloween special of the season! This one came on Disney XD last week and should be repeated several times before Halloween. The special was called "Ultimate Spider-man: And The Howling Commandos". It was actually just a two-parter of the actual Ultimate Spider-man cartoon that is on it's third season. The show itself is actually really good and high quality. The stories are pretty intense and it has a lot of humor. The artwork and effects are also top notch. The guy who plays Agent Coulson even voices himself on the show. It's not quite as good as the Avengers show that ended a year ago, but it's easily the best superhero show on TV right now.

The two-parter starts off with Spider-man and his friends (Luke Cage, Iron Fist, etc) all goofing off late at night when they are suddenly attacked by vampire like monsters. The monsters keep coming and coming and are putting up a pretty good fight. The group investigates where these vampires are coming from and that leads them to the one and only...the man, the myth, the legend...DRACULA! Dracula doesn't exactly look like his Bela Lugosi self. He actually looks more like a form of Dracula from one of the Castlevania games. He is covered in armor and has long white hair. Pretty menacing looking and of course he thinks Spider-man and his friends are mere peons. Dracula's plan is to basically turn the entire world into his army of vampire minions, and he is also looking for some kind of device to help him. It's soon after we meet Dracula that things pick up even more when BLADE shows up! That's right, the Daywalker is in town. To be honest this Halloween Special was about 10x better than Blade Trinity.

What unfolds after this is absolute madness. Many of Spider-man's friends (Iron Fist, Luke Cage, etc) get put under Dracula's spell and start fighting on his side. This leaves Spider-man and Blade outnumbered but don't worry Nick Fury has a plan! He introduces Spider-man to another super hero group that most of us probably don't know about, The Howling Commandos! Yeah I haven't heard of these guys either, but apparently they are real and are all marvel characters. The team is made up of Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, The Living Mummy, and of course Frankenstein's Monster! The group is almost identical to the Universal Monsters we all know and love, except they have amped up powers or in Frankenstein's case...MACHINE GUNS! At this point the story gets pretty goofy, but I don't want to spoil it. Let's just say the special is essentially Spiderman vs. The Monster Squad. If you like either one of those things, you will be very pleased. The special is set to air 2-3 times between now and Halloween, so I highly suggest DVRing it. It's nice to see shows still doing original Halloween Specials instead of just replaying old stuff. Upon doing a bit of research I actually found out Spider-man and Dracula have interacted a few times in the past, in the comics and in the old "Spider-man and His Amazing Friends" cartoon (which is GOLD). I believe the Dracula episode of the old cartoon is on Netflix, so you could always check that one out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Youtube Gem: DON'T trailer

For one of this week's Youtube gems I chose the fake grindhouse trailer that aired between Planet Terror and Death Proof. If you saw it in the theaters then you are probably familiar with the trailer. If not, enjoy! And DON'T forget to vote in our Ultimate Halloween Baddie poll!

Monster Mania Day 12: The Walking Dead Season 4 Premiere

Written by Stu Cooper


Unless you live under a rock you've probably heard that "The Walking Dead" came back to television this week. Following the tradition of previous years they released the new season just in time for Halloween. At the end of the last season we lost a few memorable cast members...Merle and Andrea come to mind. The loss of Merle was particularly sad for me. I'm a huge fan of Micahel Rooker and I really wanted to see more of The Dixon brothers as a team. Andrea was hit or miss for me so I'll be alright without her. And unfortunately for the group, the Governor got away. But as the last season closed we saw Woodberry residents piling into the jail, becoming part of Rick's community.

The new season opens 6-7 months later and the community has absolutely flourished! We see shots of a garden, pigs being raised, children being read stories (and taught how to use weapons), and a routine that seems to be keeping the group safe. There is a great shot of Rick going out into the garden and there is some music playing while he kind of smiles and reflects on his life at the prison. It turns out Rick had headphones on and when he takes them out, the music stops and the constant howls of the zombies come back. This moment really symbolized Rick's attempt at escaping reality for a second, only to come crashing back into it. We also see a few teases that Maggie may be pregnant, and Darryl is also now a hero of the community. It seems like life has moved on for most of the cast and has evolved into a home of sorts. Sadly for the group the happiness is doomed to end. The group runs into some zombie trouble during a run and loses Beth's boyfriend almost immediately after we are introduced to him. We are also introduced to a new member of the group is apparently an ex-soldier with a serious alcohol problem. After Beth's boyfriend is killed we see her flip the calendar in the jail from "30 days with no accident" to "0 days". The sad part is that she has almost no reaction because she has become numb to the death surrounding her. I really like the Beth character. Aside from her being cute, you really want to side with her because she went from being suicidal, to becoming a staple of this group and always kept fighting. So as the episode passes we see that pretty much everyone has evolved and moved on.

There is a side story during the episode where Rick encounters a woman in the woods who swears she is good and needs his help. So he says he must ask her three questions that the group will ask every outsider from now on...and that's "How many walkers have you killed? How many humans have you killed? And Why?". Which is a pretty cool moment and makes sense. If Shane was still around he would be having none of that! The woman says she has nothing left to lose and that she wants Rick to meet her husband. What unfolds is a creepy series of events that leads to a surprise, which I don't want to spoil. If you can watch for yourself, I'd suggest that. Meanwhile back at the prison we are introduced to a nerdy little guy named Patrick. Patrick thinks Darryl is a hero, loves storytime, oh and he is apparently carrying some type of bacterial infection/virus upgrade that ends up killing him by the end of the episode. Also for all you germaphobes out there, he takes the time to cough all over the water supply. This is where the episode closes and we are left with a lot of questions. Where is the Governor? What killed the farm animal? What killed Patrick? Why are the zombie numbers around the prison increasing? They introduced a lot of great ideas in this first episode and a lot of it showed maturity. The show is totally different than it was a season or two ago. There is a whole new sense of family amongst the characters and i'm really excited to see what happens next. After 3 seasons I've grown to care about a few of the characters (Rick,Hershal,Maggie and Glenn,Daryl) and I really hope they make it out of this mess alive! I guess we shall find out soon enough. According to the executive producer it's going to get "a lot worse" before it ever gets any better. I've got Walking Dead fever and the only cure is MORE COWBELL! Wait that's not right...the cure is MORE WALKING DEAD! I think it's about time for me get into the comics as well. From what I hear, this point in the series is A LOT different in the comics, and a lot more violent. So I'm itching to read them. I'll probably check back with you guys throughout the season with my thoughts. Enjoy the rest of the season and if you missed the first episode, DVR the repeat and get caught up! Netflix also still has seasons 1 and 2 up. As for where to find Season 3, I'll leave that up to you.

Monster Mania Day 11: American Horror Story Season 3: Coven

Written by Stu Cooper

The past two seasons of "American Horror Story" have made for some incredible horror television. The series brought a much needed horror feel to mainstream TV. Without anthology series, we are left with stuff like True Blood, which is fine but really lacks the balls and creepiness that horror fans deserve. Shows like that and the other vampire shows (even Hemlock Grove) seem to focus more on the actors and how sexy they are, rather than forming any type of actual scary storytelling. "American Horror Story" has knocked it out of the park the past 2 seasons. It's been established at this point that each season tells a dramatically different story that has nothing to do with the prior season. The catch is, they use the same actors, but put them in different roles. I do wish there was at least one re-occuring character to tie the universe together, but that's my only gripe. Jessica Lange seems to be the center piece for most of the storytelling, but I think that's because of how good of an actress she is, and her ability to play a crazy woman. Season 2 was a bit convoluted and had too many stories going on at once, but it appears the show has learned it's lesson. The writers said that this season will be a bit more laxed, and has a bit more humor to it. I think them saying that is an attempt to redeem themselves for taking on too many stories at once last time. With that said, let's get into the detail of this season.

This season of the show follows a young girl (played by Taissa Farmiga) who discovers that everytime she has sex with a guy, the guy's head basically explodes. Yep, you read that right. It's like watching what would happen if Rogue decided to just bang Ice-man without preparation. It doesn't end pretty. After she is mortified by this experience, she discovers it's actually part of her powers. She is a witch. The girl is soon enrolled into an academy that looks like an all girls boarding school, but in reality is actually a school for witches. When she arrives to the school we are introduced to the main teacher played by last season's star Sarah Paulson. She is apparently the leader of the "good witches". She is supposed to instruct and overlook the other witches and make sure they aren't misusing their abilities, but are still embracing witch culture. We are then introduced to a couple of the other witches. The two new actors this season are Emma Roberts, who plays a bitchy Mean Girls type witch named Madison Montgomery, and the comedic Gabourey Sidibe who plays...a goofy black woman, not much else to her character. I really don't like that they brought a mainstream comedic actor into the main cast, but her role seems to be minimal, so i'm ok with that. The school is kind of like a group of misfit girls, trying to learn to cope with their abilities and life as witches. Jessica Lange is actually the mother of Sarah Paulson in the series, and is a good example of a "bad witch". She actually has powers like The Vulture from Spider-man. She is obsessed with maintaining her appearance, and as a result she literally sucks the life out of younger people. Some pretty cool powers being displayed in the first episode. The level of power these women have surpasses anything we've seen in the previous seasons. We are also introduced to Kathy Bates who i'm guessing is the main villain for the season. She is a old ratty witch who thinks by sacrificing slaves (this is a flashback) she can maintain her looks and power. She tortures and brutally abuses several slaves. That was actually the most brutal part of the episode. She is truly a nasty character and i'm looking forward to seeing what happens there.

Overall they introduced A LOT of characters in the first episode, but the story is pretty easy to keep up with so far. The pacing is a bit cooled down and that is something they definitely needed to work on after last season. Jessica Lange shines as usual, as well as Taissa Farmiga and Emma Roberts. Those three characters were especially intriguing and I'm excited to see where their path takes them. I would definitely recommend this season of the show if you are into horror and if you enjoyed the past seasons. It's also nice to have a serious horror story on television as opposed to the live action Tiger Beat Magazine that is "True Blood". It's great for the halloween mood and with a new episode on every week throughout the month, there is no reason to skip this one!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Monster Mania Day 10: Tales From The Crypt Quick Picks

Written by Stu Cooper

My favorite type of television is anthology based TV. It is actually a dying artform at the moment now that episodic story arc television is popular. But back when I was younger we had shows like The Twilight Zone, Tales from The Darkside, Are you Afraid of the Dark?, and of course the king of anthology shows...Tales From The Crypt! When I was young my family actually had HBO for most of the 90's and I was fortunate enough to see some of the episodes very early on, before they started airing on FOX. Of course I probably shouldn't have been watching it given the mature content (the sex, violence, etc). But that certainly didn't stop me. The host of the show is originally what attracted me to it. The Cryptkeeper is about as memorable as it gets with his cackling laugh and stupid jokes. He also often gets into a funny situation in each episode, or in some cases interacts with celebrities. The character ended up evolving into a symbol of horror in the 90's. It is hard for me to narrow down my favorite episodes because I'm sure there are ones I've forgotten, so I'm going to post a few of the ones I remember the most. The DVD's are pretty cheap so I would recommend picking up the whole series. I keep hoping and praying that HBO will revive the series one day. It's still a great format for a show and there is already a huge audience for it. The cartoon and comics are pretty great as well if you get the chance to check them out.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Monster Mania Day 9: Death Proof

Written by Stu Cooper

In 2007 the theatrical world was treated to a rare Grindhouse presentation. The two-part film extravaganza was created by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, two cult film juggernauts. I'm a huge fan of both guys, so I was there opening weekend. “Grindhouse” was made up of “Planet Terror” and “Death Proof”. “Planet Terror” done by Rodriguez and “Death Proof” by Tarantino. There was also some grindhouse trailers in between each film that ended up actually being as entertaining as the films themselves. The point of the films was to imitate the Grindhouse film trend of the 70's with low budget, cheesy, brutal, and classic film making. I wanted to discuss my favorite of the two films, “Death Proof”. The film starred Kurt Russell, Rose McGowan, Rosario Dawson, Jordan Ladd, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead among many other female stars. The premise revolves around a creepy stuntman who frequents a bar, praying on unsuspecting women and ultimately planning their untimely demise. Unlike other horror films, his weapon is not a knife,chainsaw, or's his car.

Russell brings everything to the table in this one. He plays a man simply named Stuntman Mike. Stuntman Mike apparently has a lot of experience doing stunt driving on obscure TV shows, tho it's never proven at any point in the film if he is an actual stuntman or if this is just some persona he has made up for himself, but regardless it works. Russell comes off so charismatic, I found myself totally rooting for his character the entire time. At a few points he even channels John Wayne. He encounters tons of different women and this makes for some great scenes. There is some intense brutality mixed with “Vanishing Point” style chase scenes. It's like a slasher and a 70's car chase movie combined into one film. I can't say too much else without spoiling what makes this film so entertaining, but I will say that Stuntman Mike is one of my favorite villains of all-time because of how good the performance is.

Overall if you're looking for an adrenaline filled creepy unique film that will take you back to the exploitation days of the 70's, then look no further. I can't express enough how much bad-ass attitude Kurt Russell brings to the role. It's no shocker since Russell has films like The Thing, Escape From New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and Tango & Cash under his belt. The soundtrack is also top notch and the music ques during the chase scenes are spot on. The only complaint would be a long dialogue sequence that was included in the unrated version of the film, in which Stuntman Mike ease drops on an extremely long and pointless conversation between 3 of the female main characters. I know Tarantino likes his dialogue, but he was really testing my patience with that scene. Other than that, and the fact that the more charismatic female actresses are at the beginning of the film, the film is a home-run. By far the best of the two Grindhouse films.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Monster Mania Day 8: Would You Rather?

Written by Stu Cooper

Earlier this year I watched a horror film that really stuck with me. I was able to DVR it last week and re-watch it, and I liked it even more the second time. The film is called “Would You Rather” which is a play on the old childhood game where you are given two options, both of which are usually unpleasant, and you have to pick the lesser of two evils. The premise of the movie revolves around this, except in a more adult format. The film follows a young girl named Iris (Brittany Snow) as she desperately tries to save money for her ill younger brother. She is the only person left in her brother's life and is working her ass off trying to pay for all his medical expenses, but it's not enough. She then meets a man by the name of Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) who is filthy rich and has invented his own dinner party game, which results in the winner getting whatever they want. Iris reluctantly accepts his invitation to the party. It's not until Iris sits down for dinner at the party, that she realizes she is part of a truly twisted game. As it turns out, the dinner party is actually a game of “Would You Rather” in which Iris and the other members of the party must choose between various torture exercises, and whether or not to inflict that torture on themselves...or someone else. I'm not a big fan of films like SAW with a lot of torture, but this film had a pretty clever story and TONS of great underrated actors, so I didn't find myself too overwhelmed with the violence that unfolds.

The cast is where this film truly shines. Not only do you have horror and sci-fi master Jeffrey Combs in a main role, but you have the beautiful Brittany Snow, Ricky from the Trailer Park Boys (this really excited me since that is one of my favorite shows), Enver Gjokaj (From Joss Whedon's Dollhouse), Eddie Steeples (Crabman from My Name is Earl), and to top it off Sasha Grey ( The cast is a whose who of random interesting people, so it makes for a great dinner party. The film is truly morbid but it does have a purpose and does have something that everyone can identify with. What would you do to fulfill your dreams? What would you do to save the lives of those you love? You get to watch as these people figure that out for themselves, in the most brutal way possible. I definitely recommend this film, but it's not for those with a weak stomach. It's available on Amazon, DVD, and I caught it showing on Cinemax so you may be able to DVR it. Don't miss this one!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monster Mania Day 7: Horror Remix

Written by Stu Cooper

Ever since moving to Texas 3 years ago, I have had a love affair with the Alamo Drafthouse theaters. I have seen so many amazing classic films there, and had a lot of fun times. They always go the extra mile to bring a unique experience to the table, and it's always fun. It makes you forget about the 12 dollar cheeseburger you have on your bill. One showing I recently attended was for a program called "Horror Remix" which is basically a 90-120 minute mash-up of various horror films and bits of pop culture. Apparently each installment has a common theme, but this past showing was the first time I had ever seen one. It was set up like a TV variety show hosted by two puppets. The puppets would intro the film and clips while making jokes. The jokes were hit or miss but the content was unquestionably hilarious and top notch. They showed an abridged version of "Don't Go to Sleep" a 1982 made for tv horror film. It was absolutely dreadful but hilarious, so a great choice in my book. Then the second half of the show was various absurd clips from different films. I actually was hoping to track down a list of the films used so I could sit and watch them in all their glory. But they are obscure films to say the least. One part featured was a short film starring a staple in cheesy film...Emilio Estevez! The short was called "The Bishop of Battle" and was about an arcade gamer with a serious psychotic addiction to a really goofy game. He vows to get to the final level and risks everything to do it. Literally everything. It's a great watch, I'll be sure to put it below.

Did I mention the show was free to attend? It was a great way to spend a night and I found myself laughing hysterically for the majority of the event. I can't wait to catch another installment and I hope it's soon. The clips they found were very random, almost like Tim and Eric mixed with 80's MTV, but they were things I've never seen before. I found myself shocked and in awe at some of the moments in the show. That's a great feeling to have, especially when watching horror films. If you have a chance to see a Horror Remix show, do it!

Find them on:

Horror Remix Facebook

Horror Remix Official Site

Monday, October 7, 2013

Youtube Gem: The Real Ghostbusters Halloween

Written by Stu Cooper

I was surfing through Youtube watching old Halloween specials and I stumbled upon some full episodes of "The Real Ghostbusters". This was one of my favorite cartoons growing up. It's quite a bit different than the films but made for a great cartoon. The only thing missing is some HiC Ecto Cooler! So sit back and enjoy some classic Halloween Ghostbusting action!

Monster Mania Day 6: The Roseanne Halloween Special

Written by Stu Cooper

One of my favorite traditions is channel surfing in October, looking for the newest Halloween Specials. Growing up I remember the cartoon ones like Garfield and The Real Ghostbusters, and I also remember the sitcoms doing Halloween episodes. I actually wanted to do an article on the Power Rangers Halloween special but I had issues tracking down the video on youtube. So I thought about other specials that stood out in my memory and one show came to mind...ROSEANNE. One of the greatest sitcoms in history. I grew up a product of the 80's and 90's and as a result I was fortunate enough to see a golden era in Sitcoms...Roseanne, Home Improvement, Full House, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, all the cheesy classics. ROSEANNE however stood out because the main character was not a perfect parent, was rude, arrogant, foul mouthed, and middle class. It was a character that a lot of people resonated with. Not only was the Roseanne character hilarious but her husband Dan Connor (played by John Goodman) was one of the most lovable characters in Television at the time. Dan and Roseanne had a hilarious that consisted of busting each other's balls and making light of the other's life. This made for some great television. The Halloween Episodes were no exception. ROSEANNE often went out of it's way to make a memorable Halloween episode. Usually the characters would be in costume, playing pranks on each other, or engaging in some serious Halloween spirit. Watching these specials was sure to put you in the mood for Halloween. I really enjoyed going back and looking at all of these.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Monster Mania Day 5: The Creature from The Black Lagoon 3-D

Written by Stu Cooper

Today I had the fortune of seeing one of my favorite Universal monster movies on the big screen! Not only that but I got to view the film in it's original 3-D glory. I actually didn't know until today that the film was originally shot in 3-D. I first saw the film on VHS as a kid, and have sense gotten it on DVD but have never had the opportunity to watch it in 3-D. The film "The Creature From The Black Lagoon" was released in 1957 and directed by Jack Arnold who had also directed a couple other monster movies, namely "Tarantula" and "It Came From Outer Space". The film was the first to ever shoot 3-D underwater, and to my knowledge one of the first films to shoot full fighting action sequences underwater. The "Gillman" character was played by Ben Chapman, and the underwater "Gillman" was played by Richou Browning. Browning actually had to hold his breath for up to 4 minutes during the underwater sequences because the suit did not have a place for an air-tank. This is truly remarkable considering the scenes and the depths that he was swimming down to. The designer of the Creature was a young woman by the name of Millicent Patrick. She unfortunately was blackballed in Hollywood soon after this film because make-up artist Bud Westmore wanted all the credit. An unfortunate case of sexism in Hollywood.

The plot of the film revolves around a couple of scientists and a marine life expert who go on an expedition to recover fossilized remains in the Amazon. At the beginning of the film one of the scientists finds a fossilized hand that has webbed fingers. It looks like a half-fish, half-human hybrid hand. This causes some questions to arise, and the expedition begins. The main focus of the film is on a young couple; Richard Carlson (David) and the absolutely stunning Julie Adams (Kay). I can't even find a word to describe how naturally beautiful Julie Adams is. Every time she was on screen I felt totally enamored with her. David and Kay team up with several others and a real goofy boat captain named Lucas (played by Nestor Paiva). Lucas is merely a background character but I found myself constantly laughing at his goofy faces and odd sense of humor. Even as members of the crew are getting killed he is still grinning away, puffing on his cigar and acting totally excited about every scene. It was an unintentional highlight of the film. About 25 minutes into the film we see the first glimpses of Gillman, starting with slow creepy shots of his hand grasping land, and eventually full body shots of him slowly stalking the crew. The rest of the film plays out like a basic slasher movie with Gillman slowly stalking and killing each crew member of "The Rita".

Kay (Julie Adams) soon becomes the focus of Gillman's interest and the creature makes several slow attempts at grabbing Kay, but is usually met with an onslaught of attention by David and his co-worker Mark. After the initial strangling kill scenes we are treated to some really cool underwater shots. The underwater camera work in the film is pretty entertaining some 60 years later and for the time i'm sure it was mind boggling. There are some cool 3-D sequences where the bubbles from the water come out of the screen, a long with seaweed, and of course Gillman swims up to the camera a few times, giving you that creepy feeling where you imagine him reaching out and grabbing you. I really have to give it to the cinematographers on this film and Richou Browning for making the underwater parts so entertaining and fun to watch. Of course the underwater fight scene towards the end left a lot to be desired since they basically rolled around in circles and then separated. Not exactly a battle of epic proportions. After several failed attempts to capture the creature, the creature finally nabs Kay and takes her away to his love cave. The host of the event at the Alamo (where I saw the film) mentioned the parallels the film had with King Kong, and I started to really see that towards the end. I actually thought Gillman was going to drown Kay to death because he drags her all the way to the bottom of the Lagoon before entering a cave. If she was a smoker she might have been shit out of luck, but she survives and is eventually rescued by her love David. We are then treated to a final confrontation between Mark, David, and The Gillman creature. Mark is a bit blood thirsty and is obsessed with killing the Gillman. This ultimately leads to his downfall, but David gets in a few shots with the harpoon gun, and Gillman retreats. Living to fight another day. One of my only objections with the film is the extremely abrupt ending. A friend of mine at the showing pointed out that Universal never seemed to know how to end horror films. It would always be some last minute thing to stop the monster, and then the credits hit. This was obviously a way to leave the films open to sequels, which is exactly what happened in this case. "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" would spawn two sequels, which I have yet to see, but I'm thinking I will include them in one of my remaining 31 Days of Monster Mania, so stayed tuned for that!

Overall the film was just as cool as I remembered. You can't go wrong with a Universal monster movie. The 3-D was a beautiful effect and really worked well with the black and white. The Creature design was also incredibly unique and cool looking. The gills looked very realistic and the eyes are absolutely eerie. The creature also flexes it's mouth constantly like a fish, adding a little bit of extra creep factor. I also found myself falling in love with Julie Adams as the film progressed, tho I couldn't help but laugh at the fact that she changed outfits in almost every scene, as well as hair styles. She also had that classic petrified horror scream that she blurted out every time she saw the creature, reminding you that you're watching a 50's horror film. Overall the film is a real enjoyable monster movie and will surely satisfy your Halloween viewing needs. It has it's slow moments and quite a few cheesy moments, but that is all part of it's everlasting charm. The effects are just as impressive in 2013 as they were in 1957 and the story is just as fun. I will always remember the Universal Monsters, and this film reminded me of why that is.