MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 HORROR FLICKS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

MZNJ_new_views

now playing

MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 HORROR FLICKS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

February is the month where we mark the achievements of the black community and there have been some wonderful contributions to the world of horror films by some amazing talents. Whether it be black filmmakers like William Crain and Jordan Peele, or actors such as William Marshall, Pam Grier, Lupita Nyong’o and Duane Jones, there is much to celebrate! Here are twelve films that illustrate the sometimes groundbreaking and always entertaining achievements in the horror genre that this month so proudly commemorates!

REVIEW LINKS: click to read the corresponding review!

  1. Blacula
  2. Scream Blacula Scream
  3. Abby
  4. Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde
  5. Sugar Hill
  6. The House On Skull Mountain
  7. Candyman
  8. Tales from the Hood
  9. Night of the Living Dead
  10. Get Out
  11. Us
  12. His House

*************************************************************

To all these talented men and women in front of and behind the camera…CHEERS!

-MonsterZero NJ

bars

WEEKLY WRAP-UP!: APRIL 26th to MAY 1st

Decided to start a new column basically listing the articles published during the past week, or so, here on Monster Zero NJ’s Movie Madhouse! This way folks can catch up on what they missed! Hit the highlighted links to read the full articles!

WEEKLY WRAP-UP!: APRIL 26th to MAY 1st

Sunday April 26th, 2020

Bare Bones reviewed the recently released on streaming Witches in the Woods!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/bare-bones-witches-in-the-woods-2019/

**************************************************

Monday April 27th, 2020

Bare Bones reviewed the IFC Midnight mystery/thriller on streaming Disappearance At Clifton Hill!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/27/bare-bones-the-disappearance-at-clifton-hill-2019/

**************************************************

Tuesday April 28th, 2020

Tomb of Nostalgia looked back at the 1977 eco-horror Day of the Animals!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/tomb-of-nostalgia-day-of-the-animals-1977/

**************************************************

Wednesday April 29th, 2020

Bare Bones reviewed the Canadian zombie horror Blood Quantum!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/bare-bones-blood-quantum-2019/

**************************************************

Thursday April 30th, 2020

Views and Opinions took a look at the career and films of the late William Girdler!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/30/a-talent-gone-too-soon-the-films-of-william-girdler/

**************************************************

Friday May 1st, 2020

Horror You Might Have Missed reviewed IFC Midnight’s newest release The Wretched!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horror-you-might-have-missed-the-wretched-2020/

**************************************************

And that sums up the week. Check out anything you missed, there’s always more new stuff to come!

-MonsterZero NJ

bars

 

TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: DAY OF THE ANIMALS (1977)

MZNJ_New_TON

now playing

bars

DAY OF THE ANIMALS (1977)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Nature run amok flick is one of many of this popular 70s sub-genre. Here a group of wilderness hikers are under siege from basically every animal in the park. The ozone layer depletion is the blame here, as the earth’s animals have had enough and decide to rid the planet of us pesky humans, starting with this bunch. Is there anywhere these folks can hide?

Flick is directed by WIlliam Girdler (Grizzly, Abby) from a script by Eleanor E. Norton and William W. Norton, based on a story by producer Edward L. Montoro. The film has a somewhat serious tone, which helps with such a silly story. Birds, bears, mountain lions and even rats are all on the attack and this group of campers and a remote mountain community are at ground zero. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as good as Girdler’s Grizzly and is a slow paced affair with most of the animal attacks coming across as more silly than scary. Shots of owls and other birds of prey staring at their potential snacks are fun and there is a mountain lion attack which works well enough, as does the wild pack of dogs in the last act. The bickering and whining between the panicking campers gets old quick and Leslie Nielsen’s alpha male, advertising executive engaging in a power struggle with nature guide Steve Buckner (Christopher George), gets a bit tiresome as well. Nielsen’s Jenson gets so over-the-top he becomes laughable. His bare-chested battle with a grizzly bear is extremely entertaining, though. The scenes of rival predators moving together as an army, under what appears to be the guidance of various birds of prey, do work better than they should. It’s too bad the animal attacks are few and far between, with things being far too talky for a flick like this. Too much melodrama and not enough mauling. Day of the Animals also ends very anti-climactically, when something with more “bite” would have served the film better.

Cast has a lot of 70s familiar faces. Christopher George is solid as nature guide Steve Buckner. Very much like his park ranger character from Grizzly. His wife Linda Day George, is a reporter. Leslie Nielsen is hilariously over-the-top as arrogant advertising exec Paul Jenson. This guy has issues and uses the situation to assert his perceived dominance. When the groups splinter, his abusive treatment of those dumb enough to follow him is hysterically tyrannical, as is his before mentioned bare chested battle with a grizzly bear. He definitely takes a badly written part into camp territory and not the camp one stays at when in such woods. Michael Ansara plays a Native American guide, a role the Lebanese actor played many times. He gives his Daniel Santee nobility and is the voice of reason between Buckner and Jenson. Richard Jaeckel is present as a professor and provides some possible scientific explanations. Rounding out is 70s TV and movie fixture Andrew Stevens and Robinson Crusoe on Mars star Paul Mantee as a cancer stricken athlete. A solid cast with not a lot to work with.

In conclusion, this could have been a lot better with a much better script. Grizzly proved Girdler could make a solid action flick, even from a derivative idea, as long as he had a good script. The film is very talky and very slow paced for a flick like this. The animal attacks range from effective to silly and it’s pretty tame bloodshed wise as it was a PG release. The character interaction gets tedious, as Leslie Nielsen’s tyrannical advertising executive gets ridiculous, despite an overall serious tone. There are a few moments and plenty of 70s nostalgia, but could have been a lot better.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2  (out of 4) rattle snakes.

 

 

 

 

**************************************************

bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 HORROR FLICKS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

MZNJ_new_views

now playing

MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 HORROR FLICKS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

February is the month where we mark the achievements of the black community and there have been some wonderful contributions to the world of horror films by some amazing talents. Whether it be black filmmakers like William Crain and Jordan Peele, or actors such as William Marshall, Pam Grier and Duane Jones, there is much to celebrate! Here are ten films that illustrate the sometimes groundbreaking and always entertaining achievements in the horror genre that this month so proudly commemorates!

REVIEW LINKS: click to read the corresponding review!

  1. Blacula
  2. Scream Blacula Scream
  3. Abby
  4. Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde
  5. Sugar Hill
  6. The House On Skull Mountain
  7. Candyman
  8. Tales from the Hood
  9. Night of the Living Dead
  10. Get Out

 

To all these talented men and women in front of and behind the camera…CHEERS!

-MonsterZero NJ

bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: ABBY and JD’S REVENGE

MZNJ_SNDF

now playing

double feature_ABBY_JD

bars

It’s been a long time since I took a look at any films from the Blaxploitation era of the 70s, so I decided to put these two stories of supernatural possession together for today’s Saturday Night Double Feature!…
abby

ABBY (1974)

Released Christmas day 1974, Abby was A.I.P.’s blaxploitation answer to The Exorcist, so much so, that Warner Brothers sued and got the film pulled from release. But not before it made a ton of cash on it’s low budget investment. Abby tells the story of a holy man (the great William ‘Blacula’ Marshall) who, while investigating an archeological dig in Nigeria, pertaining to their ancient Yoruba religion, accidentally releases the evil entity Eshu. The vile spirit shows it’s gratitude by possessing his daughter-in-law Abby (Carol Speed). As the spirit takes hold and Abby becomes more and more vile in her behavior, Dr.Williams (Marshall) returns home to do battle with the demonic entity.

Abby is played very straight despite delivering some unintentional laughs. It’s very low budget, so it’s FX are limited to blowing wind, bizarre sounds and throwing furniture around while Abby speaks in an almost comically dubbed man voice, that was provided by Bob Holt, a prolific voice actor, complete with echo. Exploitation filmmaker William Girdler writes and directs and while despite trying to play it straight, most of possessed Abby’s vulgar talk and behavior just elicits laughs not chills. I do give credit to Carol Speed for just going with it and giving it her all despite how silly some of this comes off. Not to forget William Marshall, who once again brings a power and nobility to his role and maintains it despite how ridiculous things get. Still, you gotta like a movie that stages an African themed exorcism in a bar.

In Abby’s defense, there is some nice 70s nostalgia and unintentional laughs are a form of entertainment, so Abby is by no means a boring movie, it’s just not very scary or chilling. With a few beers it can be a hoot to watch and that’s just fine. Also stars Austin Stoker (Assault On Precinct 13) as Abby’s police officer brother.

EXTRA TRIVIA: Again actor William Marshall was involved in adding African culture to a film as he did with Blacula. It was he who added the use of the Yoruba religion in the film, though he apparently was still unhappy about the film’s final script. I don’t blame him.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 possessed Abbys!

abby_rating

plus

j-ds-revenge-movie-poster-1976-1020200833

JD’S REVENGE (1976)

J.D.’s Revenge starts out in 1942 New Orleans as gangster J.D. Walker (David McKnight) is gunned down for a murder he didn’t commit, that of his own sister. Flash forward to 1976 New Orleans where Ike (Glynn E. Turman), a student working through law school, starts to have bloody hallucinations of a mysterious and violent man and soon starts to take on his characteristics against his will. A confused Ike seeks help, not realizing J.D. is back for revenge and using Ike’s body to do it.

As blaxploitation films go, this A.I.P. made flick looks good on a low budget and the acting (including future Oscar winner Lou Gossett Jr. as a former mobster turned preacher, who figures in J.D.’s past) is actually pretty good, especially from Turman. What hurts J.D.’s Revenge is director Arthur Marks’ slow pace and that the film could have used some more intensity. That’s not to say there aren’t intense scenes, there are, especially during the last act, but the film does drag a bit early on. You would expect a bit more scares in a story of possession and revenge from beyond the grave. Marks seems to treat the material like a routine drama despite the violent and supernatural story and that takes away from the fun and makes it a bit too serious for this type of movie. It’s as if he wasn’t comfortable with the horror elements, despite the fact that this is indeed a horror film. If it wasn’t for Turman’s effective portrayal of Ike’s torment, J.D.’s Revenge would be far less watchable. And without giving anything away, the end was far too neat and clean.

As it is, it is a well made film but not as intense or fun as we’d like. It is a curiosity for those who enjoy films from this era and not without some nostalgic fun, but doesn’t quite live up to it’s cult reputation.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 gangster possessed Ikes!

jd_rating

bars

TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: GRIZZLY (1976)

MZNJ_New_TON

now playing

Grizzly

bars

GRIZZLY (1976)

Grizzly is a 1976 Jaws rip-off that tells the horrifying tale of a massive 15 foot (the ads for the film say 18, but in the movie it is said to be 15) grizzly bear, who has wandered hungrily into a state park and begins snacking down on the campers and rangers alike. Chief Ranger Mike Kelly (Christopher George) has his hands full as he, Naturalist Arthur Scott (Richard Jaeckel) and war vet chopper pilot Don Stober (Andrew Prine) have to somehow stop the relentless carnivore.

Grizzly follows the template created by Spielberg’s thriller quite closely with our three leads being the Brody, Hooper and Quint characters who are hunting a vicious, yet seemingly very intelligent predator, while it racks up quite the body count of innocent victims. We get the greedy head of the park refusing to close the place down despite the deaths and bringing in a bunch of amateur yahoos to hunt the bear down. But despite the blatant similarities, Grizzly actually works on a B-movie level. As directed by William Girdler (Abby, The Manitou), Grizzly is actually an effective and surprisingly gory PG horror flick. While it never matches the tension of the movie it was clearly inspired by, it does entertain in more of a low budget slasher flick kind of way, with the rampaging bear filling in for Jason or Michael Myers. For a 2000 lb. animal, it sneaks up on people quite easily. There is never much attempt to explain why the animal is so big, or why it has come to this park to feed, except for a quick throw-away line suggesting it might be a throw-back to it’s prehistoric ancestors. But like with the shark in Jaws, the grizzly is effectively portrayed and it’s background is unimportant to the carnage it creates. A live bear was used in filming and the 11 foot “Teddy” is quite effective in the part along with a prop arm for up-close mauling. It is said that the crew coaxed the bear into it’s roaring stance by offering it marshmallows, adding the roar in post production. Works for me!

Sure there is some silly dialog and all the acting is not top notch, but the leads are veteran actors and give the material the respect it needs to work and their characters are all pretty likable. This, along with some effectively gory kills and a nice fast pace by director Girdler, turns this low budget rip-off into an entertaining B-movie that works well enough on it’s own. Made for a reported $750,000, Grizzly grossed almost $40 million. Not bad for a Jaws imitation that, when you add the 70s nostalgia factor, is actually a fun Saturday night B-movie horror thriller despite it’s rip-off roots.

3 rampaging grizzly bears

grizzly_rating

Couldn’t find a good trailer but did find the opening attack scene… in fact, you can watch the whole movie on Youtube as it appears to be public domain now… WARNING: SCENE IS GRAPHIC!

bars