MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)

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The controversial sequel turns 40 today!!

Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released 40 years ago today and it has brought back memories, as I was there opening night with friends at the now long-gone Cinema 35 in Paramus, NJ. Fans were cautious as this would be a Halloween film without Michael Myers…something that some audience members did not know upon hearing angry and disappointed post-show comments. Carpenter considered Myers’ story over and thus was planning to turn the franchise into an anthology series, with a new and different story each year. This chapter was directed by long-time Carpenter friend and collaborator Tommy Lee Wallace. I really enjoyed this flick and was fully onboard for what Carpenter was planning. My friends whom I attended the showing with weren’t so happy with it and there was much discussion on the way home. Me championing the film all the way while they were highly critical and disappointed. Box office numbers were ultimately disappointing, and Carpenter’s anthology never went any further. Myers returned in a series of lackluster sequels six years later.

 

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 I have been a fan of this sequel ever since and it’s watched every Halloween, along with Halloween and Halloween II as part of the “Big Three.” Personally, I am not a fan of the sequels that followed after Carpenter left the franchise and would have loved to have seen his annual Halloween anthology plans come to pass, with word that Halloween IV would have been a haunted house movie. I am very happy to see this flick finally find it’s fanbase and get the love it deserves. It’s a twisted Halloween tale and possibly embraces the spirit of the holiday even better than its two Michael Myers based predecessors. That’s just my opinion and am glad to celebrate this delightfully gruesome Halloween story with a twisted sense of humor that embraces the term trick or treat!

 

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One of my favorite moments in the film is when asked “why” by hero Dr. Dan Challis (Tom Atkins), bad guy Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy) delivers one of the greatest villain monologues of all time in Halloween III: Season of the Witch!…
“Do I need a reason? Mr. Kupfer was right, you know. I do love a good joke, and this is the best ever: a joke on the children. But there’s a better reason. You don’t really know much about Halloween. You thought no further than the strange custom of having your children wear masks and go out begging for candy.
It was the start of the year in our old Celtic lands, and we’d be waiting in our houses of wattles and clay. The barriers would be down, you see, between the real and the unreal, and the dead might be looking in to sit by our fires of turf.
Halloween… the festival of Samhain! The last great one took place three thousand years ago, when the hills ran red with the blood of animals and children.”
Gives me chills just transcribing it here, and I can hear the late, great Dan O’Herlihy’s deep voice echo in my head as I do!

 

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Much maligned for decades, Halloween IIl: Season of the Witch has now earned some well-deserved love and taken its place as classic franchise canon!

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH!

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-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: THE BLOODY MAN (2022)

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THE BLOODY MAN (2022)

The Bloody Man is an 80s set horror flick centering on young Sam Harris (David Daniel) a comic book loving kid dealing with the death of his mother (Lisa Wilcox), a new stepmother (Tuesday Knight), the bullies in school and an obnoxious older brother (Sam Hadden) and brat little sister (Olivia Sanders). Feeling alone and out of place, Sam turns to his comic books. When a malevolent entry called the Bloody Manis is accidentally unleashed, Sam has to figure out a way to stop the spooky specter.
 
Throwback to 80s horror is directed by Daniel Benedict from his script with Casi Clark. Benedict definitely has a love for 80s horror and does a good job giving this flick the look and feel of the films he is paying homage to, right down to its very 80s score by Johnathan Fan Octo Evans. There are some unfortunate drawbacks though. Some of the dialogue is straight-up bad. The acting is very flat, from a mostly amateur cast, though it is fun to see Freddy alumni Tuesday Knight and Lisa Wilcox back on onscreen again. At well over two hours long, the flick drags on and on with a lot of long running flashbacks and there’s enough material for two movies. It’s over an hour before The Bloody Man even starts to make its presence known. A good forty minutes could have been cut without any harm to the story. The slow pace also doesn’t help with such an unnecessarily long runtime. It’s like the film was barely edited at all. It becomes a chore to sit through, when it should have been fun to watch. On the plus side, the filmmakers smartly don’t try to attempt things beyond the modest budget, and if some SPFX are a bit cheesy…well, that’s how they were in the 80s. There is some blood and gore, with some of it a little graphic for what is otherwise a fairly kid/teen centric flick.
 
Overall, the flick has its heart in the right place, but needed a lot of editing and a little more energy from director and cast to make this the fun nostalgic treat it could have been.
 
The Bloody Man arrives on VOD on 7/12/22
 

-MonsterZero NJ

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BREAKING NEWS: FATHOM EVENTS TO FIX ASPECT RATIO FOR CARPENTER’S THE THING!

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BREAKING NEWS: FATHOM EVENTS TO FIX ASPECT RATIO FOR CARPENTER’S THE THING!

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After fan anger and disappointment was unleased online, led by filmmaker and horror expert Mick Garris, due to Fathom Events’ sub-par print of John Carpenter’s The Thing that was screened Sunday night, Fathom has responded! As stated in an article appearing on Variety’s website last night, Fathom Events will replace the shoddy print with a print in the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio for Wednesday’s scheduled screenings!
 
Fathom’s statement as per the Variety article…

 

“Your patronage and trust are of utmost importance to us. We know you come to theaters expecting the very best experience possible and we pride ourselves in being the provider of that experience,” the statement reads. “We are aware that the recent showing of ‘The Thing; wasn’t shown in its original aspect ratio and the disappointment it caused. Wednesday’s scheduled event will be shown in the proper aspect ratio, so you can see the film in theaters, as it was meant to be seen.”

Nothing was said about refunding or appeasing those, like myself, that saw it Sunday with the inferior print, but at least those seeing it at the Wednesday showings will get to see it as John Carpenter intended! Thank you, Mick Garris!

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Variety and Mick Garris’ Instagram

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING (1982)!

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING (1982)!

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The ill-fated crew of U.S. outpost #31 from John Carpenter’s The Thing!

John Carpenter’s production of The Thing turns 40 years old on 6/25/22 and I was fortunate to see it at a preview screening a week earlier at the long-gone Totowa Cinema in Totowa, N.J. At this point I was already a John Carpenter fan and The Thing from Another World, which is the first film adaptation John W. Campbell Jr’s Who Goes There?, was one of my childhood favorites. I was very excited and as there was no internet to spoil things, I didn’t know what to expect apart from a few stills posted in Starlog and a cast and crew with some familiar faces and names. I was wowed to say the least by this groundbreaking adaptation with some of the most amazing make-up FX I’d ever seen! There was no traditional monster such as in Alien, but a creature that changed shape and form every time you saw it and right before you eyes. I loved the flick and was actually mad when it opened officially a week later to bad reviews and even worse box office. I saw it at least twice more in a theater before it’s sadly brief theatrical run came to an end. now, after four decades I can be happy that the film is finally recognized and regarded as the classic that it is!

 

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Something not of this world has been unleashed from it’s icy tomb!

Last night John Carpenter’s flick, now rightfully recognized as the masterpiece it is, returned to theaters to commemorate it’s 40th anniversary thanks to AMC and Fathom Events. It was a bittersweet return as, sadly, it was an inferior print that was not only faded and sometimes a bit blurry but cropped from the film’s original 2:35 aspect ratio to something more resembling 1:85! WTF!? This totally betrayed Carpenter’s impeccable visual style and Dean Cundey’s masterful cinematography. On that level it was very disappointing. However, the heart and soul of this science fiction/horror was still intact, and it was still a blast and a good time to see Kurt Russell and co-stars up on the big screen once more battling Rob Bottin’s shape-shifting alien monstrosity. It brought back a lot of memories from my first screening in 1982 and proved this flick has lost none of its potency four decades later. It will always remain one of my all-time favorites and if you truly want to see it as intended, pick up Scream Factory’s collector’s edition. The print is a beautifully restored high definition transfer that presents this masterpiece of alien terror in all it’s gory glory!

 

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A last stand against the alien invader!

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-MonsterZero NJ

Photos: Universal Pictures

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY FORBIDDEN WORLD (1982)

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY FORBIDDEN WORLD (1982)

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The doomed research station on the planet Xarbia!!

Roger Corman’s production of Forbidden World was released 40 years ago today and I was there opening night with friends, at the now long-gone Stanley Warner Quad Theater in Paramus NJ. A big fan of Corman’s films already, I couldn’t wait to see this, especially after having seen and loved Corman’s Galaxy of Terror the previous November on Thanksgiving Night. It was an absolute blast, with its combination of babes, blood and beasts, and the energetic music video editing style was way ahead of its time! A fun flick!

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Sexy space scientists perfectly dressed for a lurking genetic mutant on the loose!

Forbidden World is directed by director Allan Holzman with an almost psychedelic music video style, as it tells the story, written by Tim Curnen, R.J. Robertson and Jim Wynorski, of a soldier, Mike Colby (Jesse Vint) sent to an isolated research station on the remote planet Xarbia to deal with a genetic experiment that has gotten out of control. Colby not only has to battle a growing and hungry genetic mutant, but handle not one, but two hot and very horny female scientists (Dawn Dunlap and June Chadwick). The type of B movie they just don’t make anymore. One of the last of its kind. Crack a few beers and enjoy!

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The constantly evolving mutant in its most lethal form!

-MonsterZero NJ

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: UNINVITED (1987)

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UNINVITED (1987)

Flick opens with a genetically tampered with feline escaping from a genetic facility and leaving a bloody body count in its wake. Meanwhile, party girls Bobbi (Clare Carey) and Suzanne (Shari Shattuck) charm their way onto shady millionaire Walter Graham’s (Alex Cord) yacht along with three guys, Lance, Corey and Martin (Beau Dremann, Rob Estes and Eric Larson respectively). The cat creature finds its way onto the craft, too, and soon a party trip to the Cayman Islands becomes a fight to survive, as the genetic mutation with poisonous venom in its fangs starts to decimate guest and crew alike.

Cheesy fun 80s flick is written and directed by Greydon Clark (Without Warning, Satan’s Cheerleaders) who made a career of these kind of movies. There is plenty of bloodshed, and the killer kitty is delightfully rubber prosthetics. Director and cast play it straight, despite the silly story, and let the looney material provide the fun. It’s unintentionally (or is it?) hilarious each time the rubber monster crawls out of its adorable feline host and gruesomely dispatches folks a good twenty times, it’s size. The effect of its poisonous bite gives the FX crew plenty of opportunity to showoff lots of rubber and red stuff. The pace moves fairly quick, and Clark has fun with his isolated-at-sea yacht setting. The gore and make-up FX are all cheesy, as the young partiers are all attractive youths, with veterans like Cord, George Kennedy and Clu Gulager adding a little star power to the amusing proceedings. This is a good example of the type of silly, cheesy and colorful horror flicks that came out in the later part of the 80s, when the decade moved away from the more somber and serious slashers that populated the first half of that era.

Sure, this technically is not a good movie, but it is a cheesy fun and blood-spattered, 80s good time. The plot is ludicrous, but Greydon Clark takes the fur ball and runs with it. None of the acting will win any awards, and neither will its nostalgically rubber creature. The veteran cast barely escape this silliness with their dignity intact and writer/director Clark adds another cheesy fun B-movie to his distinguished resume. Late 80s horror fun! Also features a cameo by Assault on Precinct 13‘s Austin Stoker as a Caribbean police office.

Flick can be watched with ads on Amazon or purchased on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) deceptively cute kitties!

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: DEMON WIND (1990)

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DEMON WIND (1990)

Demon Wind may have been released in 1990 but it was filmed in 1989 and is an 80s horror to its gory core. Nonsensical plot has Cory (Eric Larson), triggered by his father’s suicide, journeying to his family’s abandoned farm to find out what happened to his grandparents, who disappeared sixty years earlier. Along for the ride is girlfriend Elaine (Francine Lapensée) and some friends, who soon find themselves besieged by a hoard of demons and one by one start to become demon possessed themselves.

Hilariously 80s flick is written and directed by Charles Philip Moore with a heavy dose of Evil Dead envy. This flick has everything you’d need in an 80s demonic themed horror, including rubber monsters, lots of prosthetic gore, bodily fluids, boobs and a group of attractive twenty-somethings to fall victim to the ancient forces of evil. It is a delightfully cheesy horror, with equally cheesy animation FX, and hilariously awful acting all across the board. The make-up FX are charmingly rubbery, and the film gets more and more preposterous as it goes along. There is a very 80s electronic score by Bruce Wallenstein and the farmhouse location in Thousand Oaks, California is very effective despite all the silliness. It’s goofy, gory and with the right beverages, can be a real hoot of an 80s good time!

Overall, this is not a good movie on traditional levels, but is a delightfully blood-spattered cheese-fest on another. Bad acting, rubber make-up, a nonsensical plot and plenty of colorful creatures, gore and animation FX, make this a fun midnight movie for fans of 80s horror at it loopiest. This was a first-time watch and MZNJ is delighted to now be acquainted with this cult classic horror. Flick is available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo from the awesome folks at Vinegar Syndrome!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) delightfully rubbery demons!

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: HAPPY 42nd ANNIVERSARY to JOHN CARPENTER’S THE FOG (1980)

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HAPPY 42nd ANNIVERSARY to JOHN CARPENTER’S THE FOG (1980)

John Carpenter’s The Fog was released on February 8th, 1980, and my butt was there in a theater to see it! So, in honor of the 42nd anniversary of one of my all-time favorite horror flicks, I am re-posting this look back at Carpenter’s classic!

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One of my all-time favorite horrors and one of my favorite John Carpenter flicks, in fact, since I was too young to see Halloween when it came out, this was the first Carpenter film I saw in a theater and the flick that started me on my love of his movies.

The Fog tells the story of the 100-year anniversary of the small coastal California town of Antonio Bay and as the town prepares for its centennial celebration, a dark secret is revealed. Legend has it a leper colony paid the founders of Antonio Bay a lot of gold to let them settle nearby, but they were betrayed and murdered, as their ship was lured onto the rocks to crash and sink on a fog laden night. All were lost, but now a horde of vengeful spirits returns from the sea, wrapped in a surreal fog, to make the descendants of those who wronged them, pay with their lives.

The Fog focuses not on a main character, but a group of central characters whose individual experiences during this supernatural crisis bring them slowly all together, for its tense and creepy final act set in the town church. A good cast, including Jamie Lee Curtis as hitchhiker Elizabeth, Tom Atkins as local fisherman Nick, Janet Leigh as centennial chairwoman Kathy Williams and Adrienne Barbeau as single mom and radio DJ Stevie Wayne, give life to this ensemble and make them characters we like and care about, so we fear for them when they are placed in harm’s way. Add to that Hal Holbrook as the town’s alcoholic priest and a host of Carpenter regulars—with even a cameo by Carpenter himself—and you have a film wonderfully filled with a variety of characters who are all potential victims for the marauding phantoms. As for those phantoms, let’s not forget to mention the ghostly Captain Blake (FX man Rob Bottin) and his vengeful crew who are portrayed with in-camera practical FX. This makes them quite spooky and gives them a heavy dose of menace and a lot of effectiveness when they are on the attack. There is loads of atmosphere and some very solid scares and suspense created by Carpenter, along with some great cinematography from frequent Carpenter collaborator Dean Cundey, which makes this a good, solid, old-fashioned ghost story and a fun Halloween season treat. Carpenter again delivers a score which adds chills and foreboding to his tale of ghostly revenge, much like he did for Halloween and he starts the film off perfectly, with a chillingly fun opening sequence featuring veteran John Houseman as a crusty sailor who likes to tell kids scary stories. It sets the mood for the thrills and chills yet to come. This classic was made back when there was no phony CGI, just solid make-up effects from master Rob Bottin (who went on to do The Thing’s FX for Carpenter) and some very basic down to earth smoke and mirrors style visuals, that are as beautiful as they are scary. A great flick the likes of which they rarely make anymore and one of MonsterZero NJ’s must-watch flicks during the Halloween season!

The film is thankfully available, on blu-ray from Scream Factory with all the extras from previous releases, plus a new commentary track with Barbeau, Atkins and Tommy Lee Wallace and two really fun and informative interviews with Jamie Lee Curtis and Cinematographer Dean Cundey, who also supervised the absolutely gorgeous transfer!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 4 (out of 4) spectral sailors!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN II (1981)

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN II (1981)

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The classic sequel turns 40 today!!

Halloween II was released 40 years ago today and it has brought back memories, as I was there opening night with friends. Fans of the original were both excited and cautious as Carpenter’s original was already considered a classic at this point. There was no internet to spoil any extensive details or story surprises. All we knew was it took place on the same night, Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence were back and Carpenter handed the reigns over to a promising young filmmaker named Rick Rosenthal. I was particularly excited, as I hadn’t seen the original Halloween in a theater. I recall getting to the now long gone Cinema 35 in Paramus, NJ early and waiting about an hour to buy tickets and go in. Remember, online ticket sales in the 80s meant getting on a line to buy tickets! If you got there late, you risked the show being sold out! We stood in line discussing the possibilities of what we were about to see, until the box office opened and we could go in. When the ticket booth opened and the line started moving, it brought the excitement to a boil! The opening credits of the film instantly chilled with a spooky pumpkin slowly splitting open to reveal a scary skull, while Carpenter’s classic theme pulsed from the theater speakers! It set the tone for the rest of night! After the show, we mutually decided we loved it, though based on passing comments, not all the theater goers felt the same way. I have been a fan of this sequel ever since and it’s watched every Halloween, along with the first flick and Season of the Witch, as part of the “Big Three.” Personally, I am not a fan of what followed after Carpenter left the franchise and would have loved to have seen his annual Halloween anthology plans come to pass.

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As the tagline proclaims…more of the night he came home!

Halloween II was not the best received sequel both critically and by many fans of the original, though it made money. Folks were unhappy with it being more of an 80s style slasher, with the emphasis being on higher body count and gory deaths more than scares or suspense. It also shocked fans by revealing that Laurie Strode was actually Michael Myers’ sister. That took away the scary randomness of the original and gave Michael’s pursuit of her a purpose. This would remain an important story element till Halloween 2018 reset the timeline and erased all sequels and remakes. Forty years later the film is now recognized as one of the better 80s slashers and one of the better Halloween sequels. It just shows, much like with Season of the Witch, that time heals all wounds. The film still carries some controversy, as Carpenter was unhappy with what Rosenthal delivered and made changes, conducting his own reshoots. In turn Rick Rosenthal was unhappy that Carpenter made changes to his film. Rosenthal’s version has not seen the light of day, so we will never know if Carpenter saved or sullied the sequel. Either way, Halloween II is now given it’s proper due and a place in horror film history and it has stood the test of time these last four decades. HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN II!

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Not the best received sequel, Halloween II has now taken it’s place as classic franchise canon!

-MonsterZero NJ

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY TO HELL NIGHT!

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY TO HELL NIGHT!

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Something sinister awaits at Garth Manor!

40 years ago today the horror flick Hell Night was released in theaters and a cult classic was born! It was a fun chiller starring horror icon Linda Blair and it spookily combined slasher flick with haunted house movie! It was also one I saw on opening night, 8/28/1981, at the Oritani Triplex in Hackensack NJ! Hell Night was directed by Tom DeSimone from a script by Randy Feldman! Stream it for free on Tubi!

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HELL NIGHT!

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A group of college kids are in for a hell of a night locked in a haunted house in Hell Night!…

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-MonsterZero NJ

Photos: IMDB

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