HAPPY 85th BIRTHDAY, TOM ATKINS!!!
A milestone birthday for a bonafide horror/genre movie legend! HAPPY 85th BIRTHDAY TO THE GREAT TOM ATKINS!!!
Watching horror flicks during the Halloween season, there might be one face, aside from Karloff, Lee and Lugosi, that you might see more than once…and that familiar face is Tom Atkins. A cult favorite actor, Tom has appeared in a number of horror classics…especially during the 80s. So, in honor of this unsung hero of horror, here are 10 horror flicks that illustrate why it’s not Halloween without Tom Atkins!
(Click on the highlighted titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews of the flicks covered here at the Movie Madhouse!)
1. Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo
2. The Fog
4. Halloween III: Season Of The Witch
5. Night Of The Creeps
6. Maniac Cop
7. Two Evil Eyes
9. My Bloody Valentine (2009)
10. Drive Angry
On this edition of Halloween Hotties we have the gorgeous and talented Amber Heard. While Miss Heard has become a bonafide star and A-List actress, she has appeared in enough horror to be classified as a scream queen… like I really needed an excuse…
Amber Heard first landed on the horror radar with the elusive 2006 slasher flick All The Boys Love Mandy Lane in which she plays the title character, a beautiful young woman with a bewitching effect on her fellow high school students as they gather in a remote house for a party weekend. But, who will win Mandy’s heart becomes secondary to who is trying to kill all of them and why, as the group fall victim one by one to a mysterious assailant. A few years later in 2009, Amber appeared as Jesse Eisenberg’s pretty neighbor who seeks solace from him when she is attacked and bitten by a crazed stranger in the comedy horror Zombieland. Also that year she starred in the horror remake The Stepfather in which she played the girlfriend of the film’s hero and was in a bikini as much as she was in peril from the title maniac. In 2010 she appeared in the suspense thriller And Soon The Darkness which involved a serial killer so, we’ll lump that in there and then top-lined legendary director John Carpenter’s brief return to filmmaking in the haunted asylum movie The Ward. Her final appearance in horror at this time was in 2011’s grind house style action/horror Drive Angry, where she played a spitfire named Piper who helps a mysterious man, played by Nicolas Cage, who literally has escaped from Hell to rescue his infant granddaughter from a cult of Devil worshippers. It was that film that first introduced me to Miss Heard and gotta love it for that alone!
A bloodied Amber as apple of everyone’s eye and target of a deranged killer, Mandy Lane.
The Stepfather kept her in a bikini and in peril. No arguments Here.
Amber on set with the legendary John Carpenter filming The Ward.
…and as Daisy Dukes wearing, ass-kicking Piper from Drive Angry!
And don’t forget to check out our Halloween Hotties focusing on Melanie Papalia, Katharine Isabelle, Alexandra Daddario, Katie Featherston, Katrina Bowden, Briana Evigan and Danielle Harris! (just click on their names to go to their pages!
RACE WITH THE DEVIL (1975)
One of my favorite 70s B-movies. Race is now loaded with nostalgic charm, as well as, being an entertaining and sometimes spooky movie in it’s own right. Story of two couples on an RV road trip vacation crossing paths with a sinister cult and witnessing a human sacrifice is campy to be sure, but there are some creepy scenes and the are a number of good chase/action scenes as well. As the couple try to get out of town while being pursued by what appears to be everybody, director/actor Jack Starrett does a good job of creating tension as everyone seems suspicious and no one appears trustworthy. True, the cult’s actual subject of worship is unclear as our antagonists’ research drags up everything from witchcraft to Mayan sacrificial ceremonies and the cult creates far more attention and far more evidence of their existence by pursuing the RV cross country leaving a wake of death and destruction behind. But if they had just cleaned up their tracks and left no evidence to support the couples’ claims, we wouldn’t have anything to entertain us for the next 90 minutes. The acting is surprisingly good and the cast, including Peter Fonda, Warren Oates and Loretta Switt, and crew wisely take the proceedings seriously and let the audience have all the fun with it. A 70s gem that is still fun today.
3 and 1/2 fighting Fondas
DRIVE ANGRY (2011)
Drive Angry is another homage to the “Grindhouse” style movies of the 60s and 70s and for fans of this type of flick, it is an action packed, bloody good time. Nicholas Cage stars as a man who literally escapes from hell to avenge his daughter’s murder and granddaughter’s kidnapping by a Satanic cult and it’s Jim Jones like leader. Along for the ride, in a powerhouse turn, is Amber Heard as a tough as nails and hot as hell waitress who gets drawn into Cage’s quest. Heard is a true star in the making. She simply smolders on screen and you have no problem believing she can kick your ass. The bad guys are pretty generic except for a great performance by William Fichtner as the mysterious “Accountant” and it was awesome to see genre favorite Tom Atkins on screen again as a redneck sheriff. My only quibble is that the pacing was a bit off, but the films it honors were made before the Michael Bays took over, so they weren’t as breakneck paced as today’s action flicks. But Angry more then makes up for it with bullets, boobs and blood and on that note, delivers the goods. And if you’re a car freak, there are plenty of vintage muscle cars to salivate over if Ms. Heard is not distracting enough. A fun, trashy action/horror.
3 and 1/2 smokin’ hot Heards (movie gets and extra 1/2 star for Amber’s sexy and tough Piper!)