Posts Tagged ‘Full Moon’

Media Update 10/17/19

October 17, 2019

Beyond Re-Animator

This is the third and final (so far) movie in the franchise based on an HP Lovecraft story. This one was released eighteen years after the original movie and 81 years after the release of the original story. This movie is set in 2003 with Dr. Herbert West serving a life sentence after his experiments are discovered and his lab partner makes a plea deal. A boy who witnessed one of the original experiments becomes the prison doctor and wants to restart the experiments for the good of humanity. Jeffrey Combs is back as Dr. West and his very serious demeanor results in a lot of dry, witty humor. He has great chemistry with his partner in crime played by Jason Barry. There is also the necessary human villain who is played diabolically by Simón Andreu who was a real scene-stealer. Throwing a wrench into everything is a reporter played by Elsa Pataky who is just such a great actress for horror. Once again, the movie is full of good intentions going tragically wrong. The movie is a rollercoaster of weirdness as were the other movies which leads to awesome effects and so much gore. I wish they had continued the franchise but this was a fitting end if it is truly done. I recommend it for lovers of gory, quirky horror.

Demonic Toys: Personal Demons

Long-time readers should expect tons of Full Moon Features movies esepcially during October. Anyway, this is a sequel to the original movie which was about demons who possess toys. Only three of the original toys return and this time they are in Italy where they are caught up in a mansion mystery which involves evil witchcraft and specific demonic lore. The first movie involved an interesting but somewhat complicated time loop. This one is way more simple and they have had years to improve the puppetry and the kills. Wisecracking puppets is something I love in and out of horror but horror is especially good at it. There’s something about the aesthetic of killer playthings that Full Moon is particularly good at even if the writing and production values are otherwise cheesy. Still, this is a franchise that was gone before its time as well. There is a colorful cast of goofy characters and this one feels a lot like one of my all-time favorites called Dolls. However, it does have some new lore of its own based on the ‘personal demon’ theory which was somewhat fascinating. Really, I’m just here for soap opera actors getting menaced by nineties stand up comedian goofs by playthings. I recommend this one as well.

Ghoulies Go to College

This movie felt like a soft reboot of the Ghoulies franchise. The Ghoulies are demons of ill-defined shape that came out shortly before Gremlins so they are not a ripoff. However, they acted a lot like Gremlins in that they were murderous and could not speak English. This new movie has them able to speak and they are constantly doing routines which are a mash-up of the Three Stooges and Animal House. The movie takes place on a college campus in the midst of the yearly prank war between two frats. The highlight of the movie is Professor Ragnar who is played by great character actor Kevin McCarthy. He seems to have a great time chewing the scenery and steals every scene he is in. Evan McKenzie and Eva LaRue play the protagonists, two college kids just trying to figure out their lives and the sudden mystery on campus. Whereas the first two films had fairly ordinary kills, this movie ups the comedy by having all of the kills be cartoony. This actually made them more terrifying to me because a lot of them involve Looney Tunes style body horror. Still, it was a fun movie that took the franchise in its own direction away from any more Gremlins accusations. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:

Code Orange – Let Me In

King Vader – Don’t Disrespect Halloween

Cornbugs – Spot the Psycho

In This Moment – Big Bad Wolf

Call Me Karizma – Monster (Under My Bed)

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Sequels Week 2019”
– I watched more Slasher Season 2
– I watched more The Blacklist Season 6
– I watched more Gotham Season 6
– I watched Killjoy’s Psycho Circus
– I watched the Rifftrax version of “A Talking Cat!?”
– I watched more Marianne Season 1
– I watched more Agents of SHIELD Season 6
– I started watching Carmen Sandiego Season 2


The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

October 7, 2019

Rated R for gore, torture, and full-frontal nudity.


Today is the anniversary of the death of Edgar Allen Poe, a great writer and one of the fathers of modern horror. He was also less problematic than some other older authors. Of course, the reason that I continue to honor Poe is that, although he was born in Boston, he was a famous resident of Baltimore. Baltimore buried him and claims him and his legend. He was arguably the father of the detective genre in literature and was one of the earliest writers to employ the short story. I love short stories. I love to read them and I love to write them. Poe published originally through newspapers and other periodicals. I carry out his tradition through this blog. Self-publishing was not something that was really possible in Poe’s day. A lot of Poe’s work has a deep, existential dread and my mind often drifts to reference his works subconsciously. I want to continue to find good adaptations of his work to help keep it alive.

The Spanish Inquisition was undoubtedly an incredibly scary time in history. Any period of time when a subsection of the populace is not only hunted but tortured when caught, it is terrifying. We have had similar periods in our country, the closest of which was probably the Salem Witch Trials. However, the inquisition was done on such a grander scale. The Church took control of the State and drove it into committing atrocities against the People. There was never any consequences, as the Church and the State rarely face consequences. It is literally the same energy and ideology that led to the rise of the Nazi party. It is the same thread of evil that we must face again and again in every period of history. Manipulation through ignorance that leads to horrors beyond imagining. Torture, rape, murder. It makes me shudder.

The first thing I noticed is the overall tone of the movie. This movie is not a traditional horror movie as much of Poe’s work covers a lot of existential dread and the horrors of man (his Lovecraftian works notwithstanding). In this, he is tackling the terror of being under the power of a fascist regime. That feeling of powerlessness as you are exposed daily to terror while bystanders not only condone it but smirk and judge you for being its victim. However, there is also plenty of comedy in the movie for contrast. The comedy feels like that in The Death of Stalin, where you feel you should not laugh but you are forced to. The movie uses lighting and severe architecture as a way to reinforce the tone of this authoritarian terror. The music also does a lot, with great orchestral and choral pieces to really lay it on thick. Also, there is the expected amount of horrible gore (in true Full Moon fashion).

The star of the movie is Lance Hendrickson who plays the infamous and very real Torquemada. He obviously pours himself into the role, playing the role of a merciless zealot to the hilt. Every scene he is in, I felt like he was staring right through my soul. Apparently, he researched the role a lot and stayed in character between scenes (and sometimes in public in Italy) which I am sure was a delight. Rona de Ricci plays the young heroine in the clutches of Torquemada. She is great at being young and innocent and sympathetic. Jonathan Fuller plays the young hero whose wife is in danger and he is powerless to protect her. Frances Bay plays a snarky, brassy woman who is a fellow prisoner and de Ricci’s partner in crime for much of the movie. Mark Margolis plays Torquemada’s thuggish torturer sidekick with dark pleasure.

Overall, I really liked this version of the story. It was directed by Stuart Gordon who also directed Re-Animator and Dolls, two movies of this season that I also love. The movie stays true to the story of religious mania and authoritarian power of the original story. It also has all of the gore you would expect if you read the original story.

Media Update 9/19/19

September 19, 2019

Clown Warning

It Chapter 2

I read a lot of Stephen King when I was a preteen, often on vacations in the car, on planes, on buses, and on trains. I soaked up King’s words and one of his longest but most interesting books was It. I have only grown to appreciate the book more with age. This was the perfect ending to the current movie franchise. This movie combined the talents of the child cast from part one along with an all-new adult cast. The casting was absolutely perfect. I felt that the weight of the movie was mostly carried by Bill Hader and Jessica Chastain. Bill Hader is absolutely hilarious but also shows a vulnerability that I have not seen in him before. Chastain was the emotional force behind the movie and my fandom of her has always been well-placed. Of course, huge kudos to Bill Skarsgard who was absolutely terrifying (and hilarious) as Pennywise. The rest of the cast was brilliant as well. James MacAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, and James Ransome were also great. I really felt like the movie caught the spirit of the book without relying too much on getting it all out verbatim. In fact, I enjoyed that they stripped some of the fat out and focused on the main story. I also enjoyed that the movie had me both laughing and creeped out at the same time. It also made me shiver and it made me cry and then it made me smile. I definitely recommend it.

Killjoy Goes to Hell

Long-time readers know my love for Full Moon Pictures and I have come to love this franchise so much. Killjoy is a demon that is often summoned foolishly to exact revenge on people. Obviously, it always goes wrong. This movie continues the story from Killjoy 3 with the wisecracking homicidal clown returning once again. It also contains plenty of callbacks to the original two movies and manages to connect the franchise together better than it had been previously. This is a direct continuation of the plot from the third movie. Spoiler Alert: this is actually a court procedural movie which I absolutely loved. It was not something I expected to happen but it was an interesting method to allow a deep dive into the lore and villainous characters while also examining how Killjoy connects to Earth and Hell. Trent Haaga shines as the new Killjoy and the movie obviously hinges on his funny performance which is one part Pennywise and one part Beetlejuice. The other standout is Victoria de Mare who plays his girlfriend Batty Boop, a cross between Betty Boop and Harley Quinn. The movie is not really scary at all and is instead a slightly gory comedy. Still, it made me love the franchise more and makes me want to see the next in the series. I definitely recommend it even if you have not seen the previous three movies.

Klown Kamp Massacre

I picked this movie at random because the poster caught my eye and I am glad I chose it. It is a Troma film, a legendary independent movie house that created some of the grossest and dumbest movies in history. Still, every movie they have made has been so bad that it is good. I have previously reviewed The Toxic Avenger and Cannibal the Musical which were produced by their studio. This one is a parody of the classic slasher film with a twist. In a normal slasher, the villain would be a clown (for some reason). In this movie, the killer and all of the victims are clowns since it takes place at a sort of clown boot camp/summer camp. The movie is goofy as heck but is definitely somewhat endearing to me as a horror fan. Like most Troma films, this was incredibly gory but in a cartoonishly fun kind of way. I was actually pretty impressed with the character design as they made each clown fairly unique. While this movie is nothing special, it is definitely a fun little ride and is very trippy and strange. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Evil Clowns”
– I watched more Marvel’s Agents of Shield Season 6
– I watched more How to Get Away with Murder Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more iZombie Season 5
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Lucha Underground Season 4
– I started watching Offhand Disney, yet another YouTube docuseries
– I watched more BTE

Media Update 10/11/18

October 11, 2018

Killjoy 2 (2002) and Killjoy 3 (2010)

These movies were so short (an hour and 15 minutes) that I decided to watch both of them. Killjoy 2 was similar to the original in that it was a cast of black people being stalked by a vengeance demon in the form of a clown. This time, he is stalking a group of juvenile delinquents out in the middle of nowhere. Some of the deaths were really creative and Killjoy was once again charismatic. The movie was hastily made and it shows but it was charming in its own way. Killjoy 3, on the other hand, was completely different. The movie adds to the lore of Killjoy and ups the production values tenfold (which is not saying much). The movie recasts Killjoy and Trent Haaga does a really good job. He feels like he is one part Beetlejuice, one part Heath Ledger’s Joker, and one part Hannibal Lecter. He is joined this time by three henchdemons chief among them is Victoria De Mare playing Batty Boop who is basically Harley Quinn in demon form. This time around he is mostly hunting dumb white college kids. I guess this is a sign of letting the franchise stretch but it felt a little like Candyman: Into the Suburbs at first. Still, I am excited about the snappier scripts and better effects going forward. There is also a lot more gore as the often bloodless deaths of the first two movies are long forgotten. I definitely recommend the third movie as it is campy and fun and you can give two a pass for the most part.


I was drawn to this movie because the image on Netflix looked so interesting. The plot here is that a bunch of college kids is haunted by a demonic phone application that uses their worst fears against them. While it sounds lame on paper, I appreciated that the attempts at making the lore sound interesting. I also really appreciated the production values. Like I said, the Netflix image of Mr. Bedevil is as interesting in the actual movie and pretty creepy. I also really liked the feeling of helplessness in the movie. The acting was pretty typical on the victim side, as they were all the usual archetypes in these films. Except that they were all pretty likable and I feel like that makes horror movies scarier. Jordan Essoe as Mr. Bedevil was the clear standout of the movie. His sadistic, sarcastic yet cheerful voice was the thread that strung the whole movie together. He was entertaining and frightening at the same time which is obviously a combination that I really love. Also, using the victims’ worst fears is a tried and true mechanic that is usually a hit. It allows the writer/director to add various threats so the victims are not stalked by the main villain over and over. The movie is mostly bloodless so if that is an issue for you, this might be the movie for you. I recommend this one as well.

The Funhouse

Right upfront, I have to say that I picked this movie mostly because of its reputation but I picked it this week because the DVD cover has a clown on it. There are actually no clowns in the movie. However, I feel like it follows the spirit of the theme because it revolves around a carnival. The movie displays the dark side of the sleazier traveling carnivals which are full of workers who have never been vetted or background checked. The main plot involves a carnival freak chasing four teens through a dark ride. The movie was written and directed by Tobe Hooper who I have written about before. He is most famous for creating the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As I watched this, I feel like that movie was something he wanted to work at improving. The Funhouse is very similar but it feels like it does a better job at being scary and making me care about the victims. Hooper did this movie instead of working on ET and I think he made the right choice. I mean, he worked with Spielberg anyway on a much better film (Poltergeist). Hooper is very creative and even when he ‘fails’, he comes up with something worth watching. What I also found interesting is that there is a B story that feels like something rare in horror. That story follows a little kid who sneaks into the carnival and gets scared out of his mind and kind of has a different moral from the main story. I definitely recommend this one as well as it was different and atmospheric.

Next Week’s Spooky Schedule:
October 15 – Antibirth (2016)

October 17 – Train to Busan (2016)

October 18 – Media Update – Halloween Sequel Week 2018

October 19 – The Innocents (1961)

October 20 – Aftershocks: Playthings Pt. 3

Weekly Halloween Music:

Dorothy – Raise Hell

The Jasons – Ki-Ki-Ki-Kill That Girl

Belzebubs – Blackened Call

Angra – Black Widow’s Web

Stitched Up Heart – Frankenstein

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Killer Clowns”
– I finished Blacklist Season 5
– I watched more Iron Fist Season 2
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1
– I watched more of The Good Place Season 2
– I started Gotham Season 4

Killjoy (2000)

October 4, 2017

1 hour 25 minutes – Rated R for Sexual Situations, Language, and Some Violence.

Clowns are scary. We have covered this. Again and again. But, as a kid, I was scared of anyone who covered their face. When I went to the circus, the clowns were these otherworldly characters because they completely painted their faces until they were no longer visually human. Beyond that, the bright colors and shocking white were designed to draw a person in. This was also reflected in their behavior because, more than any other performer, they craved interactivity. Every other entertainer simply performed their feat and went backstage but clowns got in the audience’s face and tried to make them laugh. Mascots at ball games and Disney World were much the same, approaching beings much smaller than them and trying to interact. I did not want to interact. I did not want to be part of the show. So from an early age, I tensed up when I saw these costumed characters and relaxed when they passed. That carried on to my present day wariness of clowns.

Full Moon Pictures may not always be scary but they are very good at utilizing things that could be considered scary. They have movies with tiny murderous things which can be very creepy. They have body horror, they have loss of self and they have things usually associated with children becoming deadly. A lot of it is done with a thick varnish of humor but, to me, that is a big part of what Halloween is about. Laughing at the darkness because it could eat us at any moment. Killjoy is no different. Combining something innocent (despite my hang-ups) like clowns with something evil like demons is a natural progression. Movies like Childs Play, Demonic Toys, Jack Frost, and Gremlins are all great examples of that combination of harmful with harmless. A high percentage of people are already afraid of clowns and dolls and these movies show how that might just save your life.

This movie does not waste any time. It gets right into introducing the characters (which is an all POC cast by the way) and what they are all about. However, it does take a while to get to the action like most horror movies. The acting is actually way better than I thought it would be. The writing is a little stilted but it is a horror movie made on the cheap by Full Moon so that is to be expected. I am here for their weird characters and their endless sequels, not their writing skills. Strangely, this one seems to have more locations and cinematography than I am used to (similar to the Evil Bong series) which surprises me because locations can be expensive. (Although, shooting on location without a permit such as on Leprechaun 3 is free). The effects are cheap CGI but, again, that’s fine because I am just in the mood for a silly horror movie.

I was wondering how Killjoy’s powers would work considering all of the vague supernatural beings that I have seen in horror movies. I thought he would be similar to characters like Freddy Krueger or Stitches and I was kind of right. Killjoy sucks people into his realm and then toys with them until he finally kills them. In this first film, he is played by a man who usually acts in Spanish language films but he definitely has a lot of fun in the movie. He shrieks with happiness and every so often he lets that demonic side of his come out in his voice without losing his enjoyment. He is a playful monster but he is indeed sadistic than Freddy, Stitches, even Pennywise. He plays with his food like a good horror villain should. He also has an awesome evil clown laugh similar to something John Leguizamo came up with in Spawn.

Overall, I really liked this movie. Sure it is nothing to write home about but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Full Moon Pictures line up that will never die. Ultimately, this is a horror movie which is about redemption and realizing the everyday things we do to hurt the people we barely even see. It is also a goofy, low gore horror movie. It was way better than I thought it was going to be considering it was made around the same time as the first Evil Bong movie. I am looking forward to watching the rest of this series sometime soon as I expect the budget and technology go up a bit as the years go by.

Media Update 8/4/2016

August 4, 2016

Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens

Yes, it is another Sharnado movie. This one did not seem to get the same hype as the third one. This movie would probably piss off a lot of my more science-minded friends. It is really, really stupid and if you think or question the movie too much you will immediately stop enjoying yourself. The franchise makes about as much sense as Jaws 4 and it’s best to just sit back and relax and enjoy the spectacle. This one gets even more ridiculous but I am all in because somehow the makers of these things know how to make a good bad movie. Once again, Ian Ziering carries the movie. He is just the right mix of everyman and corny action hero. He’s kind of a low-budget mix of Ash and John McClane. He’s joined once again by David Hasselhoff who actually puts in a pretty genuine performance. In fact, most characters play it pretty straight since they are all the straight men (and women) to the wackiness around them. Tara Reid returns yet again but this time she’s a weird cross between Iron Man and Robot Chicken’s version of Britney Spears. In any other movie, she would annoy me but she has been in the franchise since day one so you have to just accept her for what she is. There is a great ensemble cast and even the small child actor eventually pulls his weight. This is by no means a “good” movie and the writing and acting is goofy and silly but it was a lot of fun to watch. I recommend you watch this one for the facepalm goodness, the stunts, the CGI and a ton of Star Wars puns. I can’t wait for number 5.

Gingerdead Man 2

Well, if I was going to do a bad movie theme this week, what better movie studio to fit up but Full Moon. For those who regularly read this blog, you know that I hold a special place in my heart for this studio. They make some of the worst/best horror movies in the business. I have previously reviewed a couple of their movies and I have seen way more including the awesome Puppet Master series. Still, they have made a ton of movies that I have not seen yet. I realized that I had a copy of Gingerdead Man 2 that I had not seen yet. I worried for a few moments that I had not seen the first Gingerdead Man but then I remembered that it does not matter. Luckily, the movie starts with a quick recap of what happened in the first movie. This also did not matter because all you really need to know is that there is a killer gingerbread man who enjoys what he does. I was a little disappointed because I knew that Gary Busey was in the first one and I had hoped it was going to be Gary Busey as a life-sized cookie murdering people. Basically, Gary Busey’s normal Friday night. What I did not expect was that this movie is incredibly meta and is all about the behind the scenes of a crappy, low-budget film studio. I kind of wish the movie had just been about that because it has so many nods to their other franchises. It was a completely stupid movie but it was kind of fun to watch while doing my accounting homework. This is really niche so I do not recommend it.

The Boss

It was not my idea to watch this movie as I really do not like Melissa McCarthty as a comedian because her kind of comedy is very negative and tends to shoot for the lowest common denominator. She is basically the female version of Adam Sandler. The movie follows a thoroughly unlikeable CEO who gets arrested for insider trading and goes to prison. She gets out and mopes about for a while until she decides to sell brownies through kids. All the while she mistreats and bullies everyone she comes in contact with. If we are supposed to root for her, they did not do a good enough job in making her sympathetic. If we are not supposed to like her then I do not see the point. This character deserved every bad thing that happened to her and a lot more than she got. Basically, this movie is bad and it should feel bad. The only bright spot was Kristen Bell who is the sole voice of reason but most of the movie is spent taking a giant dump on her character. I felt bad for her character and I felt bad that the actress was in this movie. Peter Dinklage was also in it but he already chose the direction of his career when he took a role in Pixels. The movie had a lot stupid, lowest common denominator humor. I can take that as long as the main character is actually likable or has any redeemable qualities. If you want to watch a good dumb movie, watch Talladega Nights, Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura or Plan 9 from Outer Space.


Music of the Week:
Lady of Rage – Get With Da Wickedness

Skyhill – Firefly

Stick To Your Guns – Against Them All

LiSA – L.Miranic

The Dickies – Banana Splits


Weekly Updates:
– Step-Brothers was similarly a really bad movie
– Kristen Bell is one of my favorites and she deserves better
– This week’s theme is “Dumb Movies”
– Dark Matter just gets better as it goes
– Sometimes I wish I could shove Hollywood’s nose into its bad movies
– Limitless is even better than I thought it was
– I will be watching the Lavalantula sequel. Believe it.
– I watched the whole Season 3 of Bojack Horseman. I cried.
– Almost done with IT Crowd

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For lovers of reading, crime writing, crime fiction

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