MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 CONTEMPORARY VAMPIRE FLICKS THAT ADD BITE TO THE GENRE!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 CONTEMPORARY VAMPIRE FLICKS

THAT ADD BITE TO THE GENRE!

Bliss’s Dezzy (Dora Madison) finds a designer drug that has a nasty side effect

The first two decades of the 2000s have shown a nice resurgence in horror, especially indie horror. Obviously, certain popular sub-genres are being revisited by today’s filmmakers. As such, contemporary talent are mixing their own ideas with those of their inspirations when making their films. No better example than the vampire sub-genre. The first vampire film was Nosferatu made in 1922 making this particular type of horror film one of the oldest. With decades of inspiration to draw from and new filmmakers putting their own spin on these creatures of the night, here are 12 new millennium horror films that give new bite to the vampire movie…

A Nosferatu inspired blood-sucker from the Irish vampire flick From The Dark

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(To get to the reviews of the titles listed above covered here at the Movie Madhouse, just type the title in the search engine to find the corresponding critique!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 CABIN IN THE WOODS HORRORS!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 CABIN IN THE WOODS HORRORS!

The Granddaddy of the modern cabin in the woods horror, Evil Dead 1981!

Despite being a horror film no-no, folks are always vacationing in, or moving into, remote cabins or houses in the woods. Win, win for us horror movie fans, as this almost always means bad news for the occupants! So…here are 15 such chillers, that can be found on various streaming outlets such as iTunes, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon, Tubi, Google Play, Netflix and Youtube Movies. Just Google the title and they’ll tell you where it’s available and how much to rent, if it applies!

 

Here are three old school honorable mentions that were remote house/cabin flicks before it was cool!

Decades later, no one has learned from the movies!…as Evil Dead 2013‘s bunch will soon find out!

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(To get to the reviews of the titles listed above covered here at the Movie Madhouse, just type the title in the search engine to find the corresponding critique!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 20 REASONS IFC MIDNIGHT HAS DELIVERED A DECADE OF HORROR!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 20 REASONS IFC MIDNIGHT HAS DELIVERED A DECADE OF HORROR!

IFC Midnight was created by IFC Films in 2010 as a distributor for their horror movie releases. They have been going strong for ten years, now delivering dozens of genre flicks! So, without further ado, here are twenty reasons why it’s been a decade of horror, because of the great folks at IFC Midnight! Their movies can be found on various streaming or VOD outlets!

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(To get to the reviews of the titles listed above covered here at the Movie Madhouse, just type the title in the search engine to find the corresponding critique!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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THE BLOB (1958) and THE BLOB (1988): A COMPARISON IN HORROR!

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THE BLOB (1958) and THE BLOB (1988): A COMPARISON IN HORROR!

MAJOR SPOILER WARNING! In order to properly compare these two films, I have to give DETAILED SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen The Blob (1958) or The Blob (1988), there are MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW for each film. You have been warned!

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Comparison In Horror is back!…and in this installment the comparison is between the two versions of The Blob. One, of course, is the classic 1958 original, the other being the 1988 remake. Remember!…In order to discuss these flicks in-depth, the are some very important plot details that will be revealed, so if you haven’t seen one, the other, or both, there are MASSIVE SPOILERS! Otherwise, on to the comparison!…

(Click on the highlighted movie titles to go to the full length reviews and on the photos to enlarge them!)

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THE STORY

The Blob 1958 features a meteorite landing in the woods near a small Pennsylvania town. It carries within it a gelatinous space creature that absorbs anyone it comes in contact with. As it descends upon the town, getting bigger with every victim, teens Steve Andrews and Jane Martin to try to find a way to get the townsfolk to believe them and stop it.

The Blob (1988) takes place in the ski town of Arborville, California. What appears to be a meteorite crashes in the nearby woods and carries inside a gelatinous creature that eats anyone it comes in contact with. While the monster is quietly invading the town, a shady paramilitary containment group arrives, suspiciously soon after. It’s up to teens Meg Penny and Brian Flagg to outwit the military and try to find a way to stop the creature.

The initial story for both films are extremely similar, at least to start. The 1988 remake opens things up adding in the caveat of the military containment group and a conspiracy element about the creature’s origin. The remake also has a larger cast of characters.

 

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THE BLOB

The Blob 1958 is a gelatinous creature from space that comes to earth in a meteorite. The creature is a formless mass that can squeeze in and out of almost any place and gets bigger the more people it absorbs. The Blob in this version seems to be a mindless organism simply in search of sustenance. It retains a somewhat globular shape. The creature is impervious to almost all weapons, except it has a sensitivity to cold, which is finally used to subdue it.

The Blob (1988) is also a gelatinous creature, but though it falls from space, it’s very earth-born in origin. It starts out as a germ created by the military as a weapon, being sent into space in a satellite, as part of an experiment. This mutates it into an aggressive multi-celled organism. The creature is a formless mass that can squeeze in and out of almost any place and gets bigger the more people it absorbs. This incarnation of the creature is given hints of an intelligence and described as a predator. It also seems to be able to form limb-like tentacles, or even a gaping maw, based on it’s needs. This also implies a form of intelligence. Any parts cut off, become it’s own monster, which is not addressed in the original film, but is in it’s 1972 sequel. The creature is impervious to almost all weapons, except it has a sensitivity to cold, which is finally used to subdue it.

 

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Heroes and Heroines 

In The Blob 1958 our hero is teen Steve Andrews (Steve McQueen) and our heroine is his date, Jane Martin (Aneta Corseaut). Steve is a typical teen male of this time period, interested in girls, rock n’ roll and drag racing. He has a sense of honor and of doing the right thing, so when authorities don’t believe him, he sets out to find a way to warn others and stop the invading creature. Jane is more of a damsel here. She is loyal and bravely tries to help Steve, while keeping her too curious little brother Danny (Kieth Almoney) out of harm’s way. She mostly follows Steve around and supports whatever he decides, while playing babysitter to Danny.

In The Blob (1988) writer/director Chuck Russell makes the roles more contemporary and throws us a curve as to our leads. It starts out giving the impression that our hero and heroine will be high school football player Paul Taylor (Donovan Leitch) and his date, cheerleader Meg Penny (Shawnee Smith). Paul is killed off early, however, and instead leather-jacketed, juvenile delinquent, Brian Flagg (Kevin Dillion) becomes out leading man. Flagg is a bit of a troublemaker, but he seems to care more than he lets on and goes up against The Blob and the military authorities to save the town and Meg. As for for Meg Penny, this girl is no damsel. She’s tough, a fighter and while also has a little brother (Michael Kenworthy) that needs kept out of danger, she’s not afraid to grab a fire extinguisher, or an M-16 to go up against the monster.

In comparison, Jane and Steve are the wholesome all-American teens of films of this era. Steve being the hero and Jane the loyal sidekick. Meg and Brian are more representative of movies of their era, with Meg being a spunky fighter and Brian, the rebellious bad boy with a heart. They are equals in the action, with Meg even stealing some of the heroic thunder in the last act, when she rescues Brian from the creatures clutches.

 

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THE SETTINGS

The setting for the classic original is a small, rural Pennsylvania town…the name on the diner implies it’s called Downingtown, which is a real PA town and one of the movie’s filming locations. Whatever the name, it’s the quintessential Norman Rockwell town with quaint houses, small local grocery store, movie theater and diner. The police force is minimal and the worst that usually happens is high school pranks and drag racing. There doesn’t seem to be a medical facility other than the town doctor.

The setting for the remake is the fictional ski resort town of Arborville, California, though it was filmed in Abbeville, Louisiana. Same can be said of this town as Blob 1958’s, in that it is the ideal picture of Americana. It also has a small police force, the whole town shows up for football games and everyone knows each other. Arborville is a town that relies on the ski season and has it’s own hospital, so it might be slightly larger than the home town of Steve Andrews and Jane Martin.

 

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THE OPENING SCENES

The Blob 1958 opens with a silly theme song over an animated background and it’s playful credits are a bit off-putting to the serious and scary tone of the movie. It wastes no time with us meeting Steve and Jane at a local make-out spot and having them witness the meteorite crash land. Within seven minutes, including credits, the old man (Olin Howland) gets The Blob on his hand and Steve and Jane find him and take him to the doctor’s office. Right to the action.

The Blob (1988)  opens with far more ominous credits, with moody electronic music accompanying images of space and then takes us down to earth and introduces us to the streets of Arborville. It takes a few minutes to introduce us to the town and some of our main characters, before homeless “Can Man”(Billy Beck) gets The Blob on his arm at about fifteen minutes in. There’s a few more minutes of character interaction again, before Paul, Meg and Flagg find him and get him to the hospital.

Both openings serve their respective stories well. The original’s goofy opening song is an odd choice for the more serious toned action that follows. The film recovers quickly, as like many films of this era, it’s economical and gets it’s story started right away and the scene of the old man meeting the extraterrestrial invader is very effective. Blob (1988) benefits from setting a mood with more ominous opening credits and giving us a little introduction to the characters and town. It’s equally effective when Can Man gets “blobbed” and the more contemporary (at the time) FX make the scene intense and disturbing. Both films open effectively, though the remake takes a little more time to let us know our leads and setting before starting things up.

 

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THE ENDINGS

Both films end with it’s respective Blobs frozen solid.

In the original, when Steve and Jane are trapped by The Blob in a supermarket, they hide in the freezer. The Blob is repulsed by the cold and thus they discover it’s weakness. Once it engulfs the diner, the fire department and Steve and Jane’s high school classmates, converge on the distracted Blob and freeze it with fire extinguishers. The last scene is the Blob being deposited at the North Pole to hopefully remain a Blob-sickle. The words THE END appear across the screen and a question mark appears after it. There was in fact a more humor-laced sequel Beware! The Blob in 1972 where a polar oil pipeline employee brings home a sample of something he hit with his bulldozer…guess what!?

The remake has Flagg and Meg trapped in the freezer at the diner and learning the creature’s aversion to cold in the same way. The climax here is on a far larger scale as the military and townsfolk are battling the massive Blob in the center of town. Flagg attacks it with a snowmaker and an M-16 bearing Meg straps explosives to the tank, dousing the monster in a storm of snow. The last scene of this version, shows the scarred Reverend Meeker (Del Close) preaching end times scripture in a tent, where it is revealed he still has the frozen Blob samples in a jar he took from the diner, only now they are quite active. Despite the set-up, the remake never got a sequel, though there has been talk recently of yet another remake, that hasn’t materialized yet.

 

 

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MISC

The Blob 1958 is directed by Irvin Yeaworth from a script by Theodore Simonson and Kay LInaker, based on a story by Irving H. Millgate. The remake is directed by Chuck Russell from a script by he and Frank Darabont, based on the original film. They both share key scenes, such as the old man getting Blob on his hand, a diner attack scene and a theater attack scene. While the original climaxes at the diner, the remake has the diner attack about half-way through. The original cost a mere $110,000 to make, while the remake cost an impressive at the time $10 million. The original grossed around $4 million and was a hit, while the remake grossed only $8.5 million and was considered a box office failure. Both films were the second feature films for their respective directors and obviously 30 years of movie FX progress allowed the remake to be far more graphic with it’s Blob carnage and have a much bigger scale to the action. The original opens with an amusing song called Beware of the Blob sung by Bernie Knee (billed as The 5 Blobs) and the remake ends with a very 80s metal song Brave New Love performed by the band Alien. The original Blob was made for general audiences, while the remake was R-rated and quite gory. Would have it been more of a hit with a teen friendly PG-13? Who knows? The original clocks in at around 86 minutes, while the remake is about 95 minutes in length. 

 

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IN CONCLUSION

Both films are very entertaining in their own right. The original is considered a horror/sci-fi classic, while the remake has taken years to develop a well deserved cult following. The original is a perfect example of what films back then were like in terms of characters, settings and story, while the remake is very 80s with it’s hair and clothes styles and characters, most notably it’s female lead getting far more physically involved in the action. Let’s not forget the cheese metal end credits song. The remake also took a little extra time for character and story development, including adding a conspiracy sub-plot, that was not in the original. Story-wise and character-wise the remake has a bit more of an edge, as the original’s bare bones approach, left little development in either area. The original doesn’t even have an appearance by any sort of scientists to at least give some speculation on what this creature is. In the remake we have the sinister Dr. Meddows (Joe Seneca). Budget and technical advancements obviously also give the remake an edge, but the original was and will always be the first version of the story to be filmed. One can love both equally.

-MonsterZero NJ

Check out more editions of A Comparison In Horror here!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S IRISH HORRORS TO WATCH ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S IRISH HORRORS TO WATCH ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

The celebrating of all that’s Irish is upon us! As St. Patrick’s Day is here, those with horror in our Irish hearts can have plenty to watch with their corned beef and carnage! So, here is a list of Irish made or themed horror flicks to send shivers down your shillelagh!

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(Click on the titles below to get to our reviews of the titles covered here at the Movie Madhouse!)

1. The Hallow

2. From The Dark

3. Wake Wood

4. Grabbers

5. Let Us Prey

6. Isolation

7. Shrooms

8. The Devil’s Doorway

9. Dark Touch

10. Citadel

11. I Am Not A Serial Killer

12. A Dark Song

13. The Lodgers

14. In Fear

15. The Hole In The Ground

16. Rawhead Rex

17. Into The Dark: Crawlers

18. Leprechaun

 

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 ACTION/SCI-FI FLICKS FOR PRESIDENTS DAY!

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Donald Pleasence as the President of the U.S. in John Carpenter’s Escape From New York.

MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 ACTION/SCI-FI FLICKS FOR PRESIDENTS DAY!

It’s President’s Day and ole MonsterZero NJ has put together a bunch of action/sci-fi flicks where U.S. Presidents played a major part in the story, or took part in the action themselves. So, hail to the chiefs with MonsterZero NJ’s 10 Action/Sci-Fi Flicks for President’s Day!

Jack Nicholson as the beleaguered President Dale in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks!

 

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 HORRORS TO WATCH ON VALENTINE’S DAY 2020!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 HORRORS TO WATCH ON VALENTINE’S DAY 2020!

During this season of candy and flowers, those with horror in our hearts can have plenty to watch with that special boy or ghoul…or for the single folk to calm the storm of sappy sentimentality they are enduring from their paired-up friends on social media! Not all are classics, but even the lesser titles are suitable for this day of grave emotional attachment!

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(Click on the titles below to get to our reviews of the titles covered here at the Movie Madhouse!)

1. My Bloody Valentine 1981

2. My Blood Valentine 2009

3. Valentine

4. Spring

5. The Bride Of Frankenstein

6. Return Of The Living Dead 3

7. The Shape Of Water

8. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

9. Burying The Ex

10. Blacula

11. The Love Witch

12. The Loved Ones

13. Warm Bodies

14. Only Lovers Left Alive

15. What Keeps You Alive

-MonsterZero NJ

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HAPPY 72nd BIRTHDAY TO THE LEGENDARY JOHN CARPENTER!

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The_10_best_movie_soundtracks_according_John_Carpenter_photo_by_Kyle_Cassidy_750_501_75_sThe man, the myth, the legend!

Today legendary genre director John Carpenter turns 72! As he has directed so many classics and is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, who’s created some of my all-time favorite films, MonsterZero NJ’s Movie Madhouse wishes him a very happy, healthy birthday!

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 REASONS THE 2010s WAS THE DECADE OF INDIE HORROR!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 REASONS THE 2010s WAS THE DECADE OF INDIE HORROR!

Maika Monroe’s Jay screams at an entity only she can see in It Follows!

The past decade was a very good time for horror fans as there was quite a resurgence of the popularity of fright flicks and thus more movies produced. This and the emergence of some new indie studios and distributors, like A24 and IFC Midnight, as well as, new crowd funding methods to get filmmaker’s films financed, especially impacted independently produced horror. To illustrate this delightful proliferation, here are ten indie horror flicks, each representing the year they were released, that prove the 2010s was the decade of indie horror!

Teen Leah (Nicole Muñoz) unleashes something she can’t control in Pyewacket!

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(To get to the reviews of the titles listed that were covered here at the Movie Madhouse, just type the title in the search engine to find the corresponding critique!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S BEST/FAVORITE HORROR FLICKS of 2019!

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Pretty Harper (Katie Stevens) finds out some Halloween haunts are a bit too intense in Haunt.

 

It’s time to look back at the past year and see what horror flicks left an impression. There was an eclectic and diverse selection this year and there were some solid mainstream horror offerings, as there were some really effective indies. So, without further ado, here are my ten best/favorite horrors of 2019!

…and a couple of honorable mentions that deserve a shout out, too!

(NOTE: There are a few titles here initially released in 2018 at festivals or limited theatrical release, but I did not catch up to them till VOD or home media in 2019 and felt it unfair not to include them!-MZNJ)

(To get to our reviews of these titles use the search engine at the top of the page!)

TOP TEN

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

 

 

College co-ed Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) is trapped during a hurricane in a flooded house full of gators in Crawl.

-MonsterZero NJ

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