Thursday, December 22, 2011

Update For The Last 3.5 Months...


I haven't updated this is forever, but I have a couple good reasons...

There is a new issue, #9, of Crimson Screens available.  This one is four pages and is the same format as always.  It's a mixed issue, with a good mix of horror and obscure action titles.  I have been mailing them out on my free time and am about halfway through my mailing list.  If you aren't on my mailing list, then email me your address and you will be added.  Issues of Crimson Screens are free.  If you do a fanzine/newsletter/whatever, then let me know.  I love to help spread the word about other zines.
Also, work on the Crimson Screens Book is getting closer and closer to being complete.  I have added a couple other writers, so the perspective will be a little more varied.  There will also be chapters on long gone video stores and theaters from my area of the world (Cleveland/Northeast Ohio).  I will post updates on this as they happen.  Printing this thing will not be cheap, so hopefully there are no financial pitfalls that force me to dip into the savings for this.

There have been a ton of solid DVD releases in the last few months.  A few of them would be:

555- from Massacre Video- SOV horror from the late 80's about a mad slasher.  Known more for its box art than the actual movie itself, its a mixed bag of bad acting and extreme gore.  It's not the best movie, but it is watchable and certainly more entertaining than current DTV fare.

Don't Open Till Christmas- special edition DVD- remastered print of the great Christmas time slasher movie.  Unlike other similar movies, santa gets killed here instead of him doing the killing.  I have always enjoyed this one since the fun days of VHS and the presentation is superb.  With a lot of well done special features.

Bereavement- a prequel to Malevolence.  I hated this on the first viewing.  I guess I went into it thinking it would be something else.  The movie is very good, with some gore and a lot of suspense and demented characters.

Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2- the original Laid To Rest was a surprise slasher hit.  This one kind of drops the ball by explaining too much and having some pretty dopey characters.  As in the other one, there is an abundance of gore.  It's all very well done too, with no CGI, that I can tell.  While not as great movie, you could certainly do worse.

Machete Maidens Unleashed- fantastic documentary about Filipino horror and exploitation movies.  You can't go wrong with this title.  Made by the same people who did the excellent Not Quite Hollywood movie.

The Exterminator- Blu Ray- my favorite exploitation movie, uncut, looks amazing and the commentary is a must hear.  The best release of 2012, imo.

I have thought about contacting people who made a lot of the original horror fanzines, to try and do a "collection book", which would be a collection of all of the issues.  I know this is a big task and I have already failed once at this, but I'm in a better position in life now to attempt this project, so if you are reading this and once published your own horror fanzine, please get in touch!

More soon!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crimson Screens review on Lunchmeat VHS blog and more news!

A while back, I sent a  copy of #7 to Lunchmeat, not necessarily to review, but to read because they cover a lot of the same things that I do and we both have a love for VHS.  Luckily, they liked it and took the time to write some nice words about it on their blog.  You can read the blog here...

Also, issue #8 is still available.  If you want a copy, just email me:

I started work on a book that I will be publishing.  This whole writing thing has helped me through some hard time and recently it has been helping me through some health issues.  I have always been a fan of review books like the Psychotronic books, The Splatter Movie Review books, Terror On Tape and other similar titles, so I figured why not give something like that a try.  There will be a lot of reviews, but it won't be a straight review book.  I am going to include lots of stories that fit in with the movies I review.  I have some good stories about collecting, video stores, theatres and more.  I will post more info about this as the process progresses. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crimson Screens #8... Out Now!!!

Hello!  The newest issue of Crimson Screens is out now!  Issue #8 has reviews, opinions, more reviews and thoughts on collecting.  There is also a story about an old video store that I used to frequent.  Email me your address for a free issue:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New issue of Crimson Screens.... Out Now!!!

Issue #7 of Crimson Screens is out now.  It's a bit longer than the usual newsletter format and it is still free. So if you would like a copy, get me your address and you will receive one.
It is the action issue, with a lot of reviews and talk about 80's action icons like Reb Brown, Michael Dudikoff and Steve James.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quick Reviews...

Unfortunuately, work and real life obligations have been cutting into my movie time, so I haven;t too much time to spend on movies lately.  Luckily, things will be slowing down soon, so I will be back in action soon enough.  Until then...

Bad Girls Dormitory
This opens with a few scenes of various girls getting set up and arrested for prostitution and drugs.  I thought those scenes were well done, but the movie quickly loses steam.  The girls are sent to a juvenile detention center, where they fight, shower, eat and have sex with the guards.  There is a whole lot of nothing going on in this movie.  The acting is prety bad, but not unwatchably bad, if that makes sense.  Some of the guards suck too.  The guards in other women-in-prison movies are tough or memorable.  The ones here really can't even be convincingly creepy.  There is an eventual shoot out that end the movie, but it's a long wait for little to no pay off.  Pass on this and get director Tim Kincaid's far superior Riot On 42nd Street. 

Scream 4
The newest sequel of one of the most annoying and "hip" horror franchises.  Many years after the fact, the main character from the other movies returns home for a book signing and before you know it, someone is dressed up as the killer and killing off the cast.  I hated the others in this series and didn't care to see this, but it was playing at the drive in and if I was going to see it, it would certainly have to be at the drive in.  This was a pretty average movie.  There is no suspense and zero concern as to wether or not certain characters die.  I thought slasher movies were supposed to have cool gore set pieces, but apparently not.  We get run of the mill stabbing scenes and a brief glimpse of a dismeboweled person, but it's not enough to save this movie.  I hated how they go out of the way to use modern devices like webcams and texting.  What if she didn't reply to a text from the killer?  The movie would have ended 10 minutes in.  I wish she hadn't answered that text. 
Btw, Macauly Culkin's other brother looks creepy and someone should cast him in better roles than this. 

He Knows You're Alone
Very early entry slasher movie about someone who is killing off soon to be married women.  Unlike the movies that soon followed, this one focuses more on suspense and wonder than gore.  I say it work, as the movie was fast paces and creepy throughout.  This is very well acted.  Also, the ending wasn't a let down at all.  A slasher classic well worth seeking out. 

Great White
This infamous Italian Jaws clone is definitely worth seeking out.  By Jaws clone, I mean the closet possible thing to remaking Jaws, even stealing lines, character motivations, scenes and ideas.  Upon release, the makers of Great White were promptly sued by Universal, assuring that this would never ever be released or distributed stateside.  The plot is almost exactly the same as Jaws, but despite being a shameless rip off, this is a very watchable movie.  The acting here is suprisingly adept and the pace is fast, with enough shark action to please fans of this type of movie.  The shark effects are pretty shoddy and lame but it doens't ruin the movie.  Worth a look! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Update and some quick reviews...

Well, the last month or so has been incredibly busy and I haven't got to watch nearly as many movies as I would have liked to.  Luckily, last week slowed down a lot and I got to catch up, so you can read about that in a bit.  But first...
Cinema Wasteland was last weekend.  As usual, it was a great time.  They had a Cannibal Holocaust cast reunion, which was a big deal to many.  Stupid Robert Kerman was a cancel though.  William Forsythe was supposed to be there but he got casted in Boardwalk Empire, so he wasn't either.  That guy is a blast and I hope he shows up at future shows. 
I did pick up a lot of new movies.  You will be able to read about some of them in this update and in future updates. 
Nothing beats spending a weekend with like-minded individuals.  I am already looking forward to the next show, this coming fall. 

As I mentioned, I did pick up a lot of new titles at Cinema Wasteland.  There will be full reviews for select titles but for now...

Deadly Eyes- aka The Rats- this is a Canadian made movie about giant rats.  You see, a health inspector discovers that a corn shipment has been laced with steroids.  She demands that it be destroyed.  It does get destroyed, but not before rats eat it and grow to giant proportions!  The movie is off to a quick start with a baby being eaten by rats and other random peoeple being attacked.  About halfway through, the pace slows way down and the plot develops.  Just as things start to get boring, there are two fantastic set pieces that comprise the end, where the rats attack a movie theater packed with people and a subway station.  This was highly enjoyable and I recommend that you check it out. 

Blood Diner- a blend of dark humor and gore about two weirdo brothers who revive their dead uncle and open a diner where they kill people and collect parts of their victims and serve the left over peices to their customers.  This is one of the more well known, and remembered, late 80's gore comedies.  The plotline is completely ridiculous and the acting is terrible, but the movie has a lot of memorable gore and general wackiness that has helped it build a large following over the years.  I watched this numerous times on VHS long ago, but it didn't hold up to my memories of it.  It wasn't great, but is still worth a look if you haven't seen it. 

The Mutilator- another 80's slasher movie about a disgrunutled man who kills off a group of kids on their Fall Break.  There are some fantastic splatter setpieces here.  Someone is killed with an outboard motor, with blood spraying all over the place.  Someone else is killed with a pitchfork and pinned to a door.  And in a scene that makes women cringe, a woman is killed with a fishing gaffe up her... well, you know!  Haha!  The acting is pretty weak, but I think the actors did an OK job with what they had to work with.  There is minimal suspense too.  By the time this one came out, a lot of the suspense and mystery of the slasher genre had been completely replaced by out of control gore, which was good and bad (depends who you ask, I guess).  Eventually, we find out who the killer is and the final minutes are a full force assault of blood and gore, as the killer and the survivors battle it out.  The Mutilator was often remembered for it's VHS artwork and it's gore, and those are the two things that I would say to check it out for. 

The Creature From Black Lake- this is a great, mostly forgotten Bigfoot based movie from 1976.  Two students convince their anthropology professor to take them to the south to search for a Bigfoot.  The professor makes a point in saying how there is no record of a Bigfoot attacking a human being.  Well, that little speech of his is intercut with a scene of a Bigfoot attacking two trappers on a boat.  Haha!  Eventually the boys head south and meet up with people who have seen the Bigfoot.  This is a great movie.  It is rated PG, so don't come in expecting Night Of The Demon levels of Bigfoot gore.  There are some suspenseful moments of the Bigfoot watching people as they wander closer to him.  The acting is also solid, with all of the characters being believeable.  Even the actors who play the hillbillies are good, which is rare, because hillbillies are always over acted to the point of them being cartoonish.  Likeable characters and some solid suspense make this a definite recommend. 

More soon...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Action Jackson...

Lately, I have been revisiting a lot of my old favorite action movies.  I have boxes of titles on VHS, lots of it purchased again on DVD.  It's easy to sit around and be all nostalgic about the glory days of VHS and the epic amount of time that I spent discovering movies.  I'd hate to be the type that sits around talking about how great the past was and how everything sucks now, but man, those were fun times. 
Action Jackson was always a VHS favorite of mine.  It's not as gritty or bloody as a lot of the action movies of the time.  In fact, some of it is pretty polished.  Fuck it though, it's a prime example of what we like here at Crimson Screens. 
Action Jackson (Carl Weathers) has been demoted to sergeant because of his escapades as a policeman in Detroit.  Now he has an easy desk job, given to him as a punishment for sending the lead bad guys (Craig T. Nelson- who always excells when he plays a shitbag) son to jail.  Action Jackson doesn't really even seem to mind his new job.  He stumbles onto a string of murders that tie in with the main bad guys business and thinks quickly spiral out of control.
Even though movie seems a bit polished, there is still a good amount of sleaze lurking beneath the surface.  There is a subplot about hookers who are strung out on heroin, a dirty hotel owner, lots of fist fights and a great car chase, where pretty much everything around the car chase gets blown up or destroyed. 
We eventually venture into the home of the Craig T. Nelson character and his butler is played by Nicholas Worth.  Nicholas Worth!  Don't Answer The Phone Nicholas Worth!  It's odd to see him as a quiet, subdued butler here, but it works and he adds a little touch of creepiness to the movie. 
Action Jackson was directed by Craig R. Baxley.  "Who is that?", you ask.  Well, look at this string of movies he directed... Action Jackson into I Come In Peace into Stone Cold.  WTF?!?!?!?!  That right there is a trifecta of solid action movies, all underrated.  A friend and I always talk about the greatness of I Come In Peace and how it is a lost action classic, which it is, and how it has been forgotten by time.  I wrote about Stone Cold earlier this month, it's gold too.  It boggles the mind that a director could direct three solid action movies and not be mentioned at the same time as the "big names" of that time period.  Fuck it though, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice by not checking out the movies mentioned in this post.  Craig R. Baxley also was a stunt coordinator on the A-Team TV series.  The A-Team was a great show, right?  I think it was.  I don't think I could ever sit down and watch an entire day of a season of the A-Team but it's great stuff four or five episodes at a time.  I recently watched an episode that had a guest role from Yaphet Kotto.  Nothing against the A-Team, which I love, but I had to stop watching after that episode and watch Truck Turner again.  Yaphet Kotto is at his best in that movie. 
Anyway, enough rambling, Action Jackson is a way above average action movie, filled with good acting, a great supporting cast and action scenes where no one is safe.  Highly recommended! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chain Of Command...

They don't make action stars like Michael Dudikoff anymore.  The man starred in many 80's and 90's action movies, many involving ninjas or the martial arts.  Yes, most of them were low budget but it is almost a non point.  Many of them were just as good, if not better, than the big screen offerings of the day.

Chain Of Command is about an "advisor" for an oil conglomerate.  The oil refinery that he works on is taken over by terrorists and almost everyone is killed.  He investigates a little bit and end up joining forces with bad guys who are against the terrorists.  Except the terrorists are really terrorists and the bad guys aren't even bad guys.  It's not as confusing as it sounds, I promise!

The movie offers a lot of shoot outs and minimal martial arts action.  There is a wild shoot out in a desert command center, which IMO, was the highlight of the movie.  There is some brief nipple but it's a body double and the scene it is involved in is pretty creepy.

Michael Dudikoff swears a lot in this one too.  I don't recall him ever swearing this much is any of his other movies.  When Michael Dudikoff says, "Get the fuck out of my way!", you get the fuck out of his way!

The one glaring error I noticed about this movie was the casting decision for the main bad guy.  He overacts throughout.  Sometimes he is calm and a suave killer and other times he is a sweaty, leering weirdo, which is normally a great thing, but it doesn't work here.  The showdown at the end between the two leads is well done, especially the part with the axe, but his overacting takes away form the movie as a whole.  You know, he reminds me of a poorly done version of Hans Gruber from Die Hard.

Despite the low budget and the hammy acting from the lead bad guy, the movie is still worth a watch or two and is one of the last solid efforts from the amazing Cannon.  Check it out!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stone Cold...

Brian Bosworth plays a policeman who doesn't play by the rules.  He is already suspended before he fucks up a few guys who are trying to rob a supermarket.  He gets put on extra super bad suspension then and is, kind of, blackmailed by the FBI to go undercover and try to bust a motorcycle gang.  He infiltrates the motorcycle gang with minimal effort.  Soon enough he is eyeballing the leaders girlfriend.  Throw in a major "jail break" scheme and we have an action classic on our hands! 

There is really no reason why this movie flopped at theatres when it was released.  The movie has everything that an action movie needs to suceed.  Let's investigate...

- While Brian Bosworth isn't a great actor, he does a solid job as a wisecracking, sarcastic lead. 

- The movie has solid bad guys.  We get Lance Henriksen as the gangs leader.  Lance Henriksen doesn't fuck up movies, he makes them great.  He plays his role differently, definitely bad ass but with a little jokester thrown in.  We also get William Forsythe as his right hand man.  He fucks up everyone in his way and has a great motorcycle chase/shootout with Brian Bosworth.  When William Forsythe is on, he is on, and he is on here. 

- Whoever plays the girlfriend of Lance Henriksen's character (way too lazy to look it up) is a mega babe.  I'll have to see if she is in any other movies.  Let's check...  Ok, her name is Arabella Holzbog.  It looks like she is in Carnosaur 2.  I'll have to check that out.  It looks like she is in a couple episodes of Red Shoe Diaries, so maybe there is some tit action somewhere, I don't know, I'll have to look into that when I'm not at work!  Anyway, Arabella Holzbog, major babe!  There are a decent amount of boobs on display here, so it's got that too. 

- The ending.  The action throughout the movie is great, fist fights, shoot outs and motorcycle chases.  Well, the end battle goes in every direction, with excellent gun fights and lots of blood.  It must really be seen to be believed.  It's almost silly how over the top it is, but I couldn't help but love it because of how the action/violence level flies into the stratosphere.  A completely grand way to end a great movie. 

This is easily purchased on DVD for less than $10 and it worth three times that.  Highly recommended!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cyborg... an awful, awful, awful, awful movie...

Cyborg is a post apocalyptic action movie from 1989.  It is about a fighter who is payed to take a Cyborg across the country, where her knowledge will be used to better humanity.  Unfortunately, the cyborg is kidnapped by a ruthless gang and it is up to the fighter to rescue her. 
This is an early starring vehicle for Jean Claude Van Damme, who had been and would be in, much better movies.  The plot here never advances past my description of it.  It's simply one chase scene or fight scene after another.  That might sound like a recipe for success but it is not here.  The fight scenes are awkwardly staged and aren't very exciting at all. 
The acting is terrible too, especially from the lead bad buy.  All he does is yell.  His fighting skills suck too.  He seems stuck in slow, lumbering giant mode, even though he really isn't a lumbering giant.  He definitely drags the movie down a lot. 
Cyborg features the one thing that can ruin any movie.  A miniscule plot that runs its course after an hour, except the movie still have thirty minutes left in it.  Fuck, I was suffering towards the end.  The fact that I found this enjoyable when it was a frequent Saturday afternoon movie, makes it even harder to watch now.  Maybe the commercial breaks every ten minutes or so broke up the movie enough that I didn't notice the lack of quality.  Who knows? 
I do know now that the movie was an effort to sit through. 
Fun fact: Cannon Films, who released Cyborg, had initially planned on making Masters Of The Universe 2 and Spider Man.  Both of those films were not made but the set and preproduction had been completed, so Cannon was in a scramble to save some money.  The script for Cyborg was created in a weekend and utilized the sets made for the two aformentioned movies. 
Anyway, Cyborg... avoid! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Unholy...

I frequently think back to the glory days of VHS.  Obviously, you can tell that from reading this blog.  One title that caught my eye at the video store was The Unholy.  The box design had a cool black and red theme, with a demon, complete with an evil, glimmering eye, in the background.  One look at that and it was a must rent!  The store that I frequented at the time had a big poster for the movie on the front window, so even if you missed the VHS box, you certainly weren't missing the front window. 
The Unholy is about a demon who murders sinners in the act of sinning.  This sends their souls to hell.  A priest discovers this and must stop the demon.  This falls firmly into the genre of religious horror, which has been done better and worse in the past.  The movie has a lot going for it.  The acting is way above par.  They managed to grab some legit fantastic actors like Ned Beatty (who is great in everything that he is in) and Hal Holbrook.  The rest of the cast is good too and the solid acting really helps raise the quality of the movie, especially since the script can get real silly in spots. 
There is also a lot of practical gore, which also adds energy to the film.  I remember a gory still in an issue of Fangoria, featuring an eviscerated man hanging upside down on a cross.  That was definitely a memorable picture and moment in the movie! 
The movie does run out of steam towards the end and seems a bit overlong, but this fact doesn't ruin the movie.  In fact, the ending achieves a cool level of absurd ridiculousness that isn't really done in movies anymore.  It's so over the top and silly, that it's hard to be like, "that's retarded, I hate this!"  It was more like, "what the fuck, that is retarded, I love it!" 
Anyway, The Unholy is a lost 80's horror movie with a religious twist that I think is worth a watch or two.