The Fog (1980) – movie review

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The Fog (1980)

Directed by John Carpenter
Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill

Adrienne Barbeaumy top 10 1980s horror
Jamie Lee Curtis
Tom Atkins
Janet Leigh
Hal Holbrook

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We all probably know what the story entails in The Fog, but to review it briefly, The town of Antonio Bay is cursed due to the founding father’s destruction of Captain Blake’s ship, the death of his people, and stealing his gold which is invested in the town.  On the 100th year anniversary, the spirits of Blake and his crew come back for revenge and to take back what is rightfully theirs, the crew’s gold which was melted and fashioned into a giant gold cross.

This is a great ghost story movie that begins with creepy poltergeist occurrences piercing a quiet night and builds to a crescendo of horrific The Fog dvd coverdeaths at the hands of the dead spirits. The mood and atmosphere are top notch in this film. Carpenter took a queue from the EC Horror Comics of the 50’s and fashioned it into a classic ghost tale of American Gothic Horror.

One of the creepiest scenes to me is the attack on the fishing boat, when the fishermen come up from below and see stoic figures standing in the fog on the bow of the ship.

The mystery of what these shadowy figures look like, the lack of details, makes it scarier then fully shown ghost images. Quite often the only thing in clear view are the hooks that these ghouls are holding in their shriveled hands. The whole sequence with Mrs. Kobritz, the babysitter at the house was tense, a prime example of Carpenter’s mastery of suspense.

Carpenter once again crafts a wonderful score for the film including the creepy main theme. You can hear it below in the video. I had purchased the film soundtrack and play it often during our Halloween activities.

What most people don’t realize about the film are the multitude of references and homage’s to other horror icons in it. I point out a few in the Fun Facts.

FOG, THE - Silver Ferox Design WEBFun Facts:

Tom Atkins’ character mentions Bodega Bay, which was the setting of The Birds (1963).

On the radio, a search for the lost fishing boat is mentioned – the radio voice names, Waitely Point and Arkham Reef as points being searched. Both are frequently used titles, (one a name, the other a place) in stories by H.P. Lovecraft.

Carpenter and Hill were inspired to write this after a trip to Stonehenge and seeing the ancient ruin shadowed in thick fog. Another strong influence on the story was The Trollenberg Terror (1958).

When water from the ships nameplate spills on the cassette deck at the radio station, the tape says, “like an albatross around the neck,” a quote from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The coroner in the film is named Dr. Phibes, an obvious nod to the Vincent Price films, The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Returns.

The part of Father Malone was originally offered to Christopher Lee, but he was unable to clear his schedule for the shoot.

This film brought mother and daughter horror stars together in a film, Janet Leigh (Psycho) and Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween). Both owe much of their success to the popularity of the horror films they had stared in.

Carpenter’s Main Theme for The Fog:

This ‘Making of The Fog’ video is about a half hour long:

Long Island Ruins – King Zog’s Castle – Haunted Places

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Long Island Ruins – King Zog’s Castle

Creepy Halloween Hiking

A hike through the trails in one North shore, Long Island preserve will lead you to the ruins of King Zog’s Castle.

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The trails are wooded and dense, running through the quiet nature preserve. Many trails criss-cross, which could easily lead you to being lost. When you come around a bend you run into an eerie sight, the ruins of King Zog’s Castle.

King Zog was an Albanian King in the early 1900’s. He had purchase the property and built the castle on the Long Island Gold Coast. When his monarchy was overthrown, he had to go into hiding and abandoned the castle.

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Now, 100 years later, nature is well on its way to reclaiming the land. Entering the area gives you a creepy feeling. Often times you’ll get the feeling that someone is watching you, but when you turn around, no one is there.

The Ouija Board and Other Fortune Telling Games

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Check out my new article about Ouija Boards at Halloweenforevermore.com

The Ouija Board and Other Fortune Telling Games

A look at the history, use and methods of the Ouija Board and other popular spirit contact games

click the Halloween Forevermore banner or the link below:

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http://www.halloweenforevermore.com/horrific-words-articles/article-the-ouija-board-and-other-fortune-telling-games

 

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Kolchak: The Night Stalker – my favorite horror TV episodes – Halloween edition

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Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Season 1, episode 1

Series 1974/1975 – 20 episodes – following two full-length made for TV movies

Darren McGavinKolchak tv pic 10
Simon Oakland
Jack Grinnage
Ruth McDevitt

Created by Jeff Rice
Directed by Allen Baron

The Ripper – S1 E1

Chicago, May 21st, 3:AM, location: the Boom Boom Room, Dancer Michelle Shiff dances her last number…forever.

A woman screams. A strange man darts from the dressing room leaving behind her mutilated body.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, several women at exotic dance clubs and seedy massage parlors are murdered by a strangely dressed assailant yielding a cane. (The cane pulls out into a sword.) Carl Kolchak, reporter for the Chicago Independent News Service,  arrives at each crime scene often before the police, much to the dismay of the police Captain.

There is a strong similarity in this case to the killing of five women in London, in 1888, by a murderer only known as, Jack the Ripper. Further Kolchak - the night stalker pic 3investigation leads Kolchak to believe that this killer, Jack the Ripper, and the killer in several other similar incidents, were committed by the same man. The killer travels from one city to another, killing five woman at a time, before moving on to the next. Germany, Italy, New York, five women murdered and mutilated through the years, all with the same MO.

The supernatural adversaries in the show were always interesting. They were always like super-villians, throwing police across the sidewalks, getting shot but not stopping, and displaying powers beyond normal humans. In this episode, the Ripper jumps from a four story building to the street, in order to evade police. Vincennzo is stuck between having the timid reporter, Updyke, writing a weak uninteresting story, or Kolchak going overboard with his story about a two hundred year old serial killer. Kolchak and Vincennzo argue and spar about the reports, which adds an exciting element to the hard-boiled reporter’s style.

They sure know how to ramp up the tension in these old shows and this episode sets the bar high for the series. Kolchak discovers the home of the Kolchak the ripper pic 16killer and enters it looking for clues. Naturally, the Ripper comes home while Carl is in the house, and the reporter nearly dies trying to get that elusive photograph.

This is the first episode of the series and although the music and some of the ideas are dated, the show is still entertaining. Much of that is because Darren McGavin plays a convincing role making you want to believe stories that should be relegated to Weekly World News, and tabloids that concentrate on the weird and paranormal. I enjoy his acting and personality whether he’s playing Carl Kolchak, or the father in A Christmas Story. Simon Oakland as Vincenzo is the perfect counter to Carl’s insanity.

Fun Facts:

The Characters and story line were based on novels by Jeff Rice. 

Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson had worked together on the previous made-for-TV-movies, but declined to work on the series.

Darren McGavin declined to renew his contract after 20 episodes because he had taken on the producer’s role in a struggle to make the show better and never received credit for it (or pay). There were 3 scripted but un-filmed episodes at the time of his departure.

Creepshow (1982) – movie review

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Creepshow (1982)

Directed by George Romero
Written by Stephen King
Effects by Tom Savini

Hal Holbrookmy top 10 1980s horror
Adrienne Barbeau
Fritz Weaver
Leslie Nielsen
Ted Danson
E. G. Marshall
Viveca Lindfors

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Creepshow picked up where Amicus Films had left off, honoring the 1950’s horror comics in an anthology format film. Though Creepshow wasn’t a particular horror comic from the past, they did a splendid job at portraying it as such. It opens with a young boy who likes to read horror comics being berated by his father, who takes his latest comic and throws it in the garbage. The cover opens and we are treated to the stories held within its pages. There is some wonderful animation in the beginning titles and at the end of the film, and the comic book style is weaved throughout the film as live action frames turn to comic art frames and visa-versa. There are some comic style narration titles and during certain scenes, the creepshow dvdposterbackgrounds turn colorful, as they would in frames in the pages of the comics. These are some wonderful aspects of the film and added with the tongue-in-cheek, dark humor, the film is genuinely original in its creativity. We are treated to 5 stories here and they are fun horror stories which I think stand the test of time.

Father’s Day
Viveca Lindfors plays a wonderful part in this segment as Bedilia, the great aunt who murdered her nasty old miser Father with a heavy stone ashtray from the mantle. Now it’s many years later and the family is getting together on Father’s Day to celebrate what the old patriarch had left them. However, this year their dead uncle is going to want something from them…his cake. I can only tell you that the question, “Where’s My Cake?!” became a quote used often in my household on any birthday or celebration.

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill
Stephen King himself plays Jordy, a backwoods, country bumpkin who finds a meteor crashed on his property. When he touches it, he becomes infected with “Meteor shit” which springs up into a grassy fungus. The dopey character makes a dozen wrong decisions and actions, the biggest being, jumping in the tub to relieve the itching of a plant. Guess what plants like? Water!

Something to Tide You Over
Leslie Neilson plays a wickedly awful character in this short which finds, Richard, a wealthy businessman, finding out about his cheating wife and her lover while at his beach house. He tricks them, at separate times, into getting buried up to their necks in the sand. He’s not going to cover them over, he’s just going to let the tide come in. Drowning is one of my least preferred ways to die if I had to pick one. This film does a splendid job at creepshow pic 15portraying how nasty and awful it is. Moments before the big wave is about to wash over Harry (Ted Danson) he turns to the closed circuit camera and promises revenge. Later that evening, Richard is confronted by Harry and Becky, now water zombies, in some creepy scenes. The water zombies are brought to life (death?) with excellent make-up effects.

The Crate
Henry (Holbrook), a college professor is constantly berated by his miserable and often drunk wife, Billie (Barbeau). When another professor tells him about the discovery of a Crate from the early 1900’s in the college stairwell, He finds it appropriate to get his wife to come along for a visit. Now if only the hibernating beast inside will wake for another feast on human flesh. It has a voracious appetite. This is probably everyone’s favorite story from the film. The beast creation by Tom Savini is an excellent example of old school practical effects.

They’re Creeping Up on You!
This segment with E.G. Marshall will surely give you the creeps as it was filmed with millions of live cockroaches. A germ-a-phobic, living in his germ-free penthouse is overrun by these pests and engages in a battle he can’t win.

I will also have to mention the perfect moody soundtrack music comprised of Moog Synthesizer sounds and piano melodies by John Harrison. Harrison also did music for Day of the Dead and Tales From the Dark Side TV show (for which he also directed some episodes). Don’t forget to look for a Tom Savini cameo as one of the garbage men that find the Creepshow Comic book at the end of the film. Creepshow is a wonderfully made film with great stories, perfect for Halloween viewing!

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Fun Facts:
Creepshow 2 is almost as good as this one so I‘d recommend it. 

but Creepshow 3 left a lot to be desired – not recommended.

They would later release a Creepshow comic book series with stories from the films.

Hellraiser (1987) – movie review

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Hellraiser (1987) – 20th Anniversary Edition

Directed by: Clive Barker

Doug Bradleymy top 10 1980s horror
Andrew Robinson
Clare Higgins
Sean Chapman
Ashley Laurence
Nicholas Vince

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Hellraiser was both shocking and terrifying when it hit theaters some twenty-seven years ago. I had watched this film on VHS dozens of times since its release and watched the many sequels dilute the impact of the Hellraiser franchise. I was curious to see if the original film still held its own over two decades later.

When first released, this movie felt like you were seeing something completely new, expanding on the imagination much like The Matrix did in the 90’s. Not bad for a considerably low-budget movie void of CGI or modern digi-fx techniques. Upon watching it for the first time in well over a Hellraiser posterdecade I noticed some aspects of the film look dated and reveal the films budget limitations. Electric sparks that are produced from the puzzle box and when the cenobites are dissolved seem layered on rather than in the setting. The wall-walker creature looks somewhat lifeless and rubbery. That being said, the aura and atmosphere of Hellraiser still portrays a dark netherworld of fantastical creatures and concepts.

Watching Uncle Frank regenerate himself from some kind of primordial green goop is a stunning FX sequence. Following that, Frank is a grotesque skinless biology study of exposed muscle, cartilage and sinew for most of the movie. Although difficult to look at for its goriness, I also find it hard not to stare at him with morbid curiosity.

The scene where Kirsty solves the puzzle box and we get our first real good look at the cenobites is truly bizarre. The lipless cenobite, Chatterer, restrains Kirsty by shoving two fingers into her mouth as the eyeless Butterball, watches with enthusiasm. The lone female cenobite speaks with seductive elegance that could be mistaken for an angel’s whisper. Doug Bradley as Pinhead commands the scene with few words but delivered with such a powerful voice it could make one cringe.

The scene where Frank, disguised as Kirtsy’s father, is being pulled apart by dozens of hooks stretching the skin of his face to its limit is disturbing. “Jesus Wept”, he says before exploding into a bloody pile of meat.

MSDHELL EC007One aspect that makes this movie so intriguing is that many little concepts make up the whole. We have the horror of Uncle Frank needing fresh flesh to regenerate himself – We have psycho step mom, Julia, dispatching would-be lovers with a hammer strike to the cranium – we have the cenobite and puzzle box concept – and we have the vagabond threaded throughout the movie, only to find, in the end, that he is actually a winged demon guarding his prime asset, the puzzle box.

This special edition comes with several interviews that bring us behind the scenes of the Hellraiser legend. One comical comment comes from Doug Bradley himself. He says he had the choice between playing the cenobite, Pinhead, or the bit part of a moving man helping to move a bed upstairs in the house. Because he was a striving actor he thought it may be better to actually see his face on the film and he had originally decided to take the bit part! Aren’t we glad he changed his mind? His performance is synonymous with Pinhead.

Much has happened since the release of Hellraiser. The notion of the cenobites became a cult mythos of its own, much the way H.P.Lovecraft stories sparked the Cthulhu mythos. Pinhead became a great icon in horror motion pictures taking his place in infinite stardom with the likes of Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers. But, Hellraiser offered even more. Behind the vile deeds, gore, guts, and grotesque sights lies a world of wonder, the unbridled awe of a nightmare world that exists within our darkest visions.

http://www.anchorbayent.com

Halloween Season kick-off 2014

nightmare before

Halloween Season kick-off   –  2014

While it may seem like Halloween every day here at Parlor of Horror, I do get a bit more celebratory when October rolls around.

This year I’m going to focus on reviews of my favorite 80’s horror flicks!

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I’ll review some of my favorite Horror TV show episodes.

I’ll have a photo post or two of some real places, people and attractions from my corner of the world.

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I’ll also have some personal posts like, Ghosts of Halloween Past – where I’ll show some of my old costumes. I’ll post some Halloween Music Videos. And maybe even my video of a real ghost caught on camera…

Be sure to check out some of my popular posts from past years:

Spooky Halloween Games for Adults

Favorite Halloween Cartoons

Favorite Halloween TV Shows

The Dangers of Halloween

The Munsters – A sitcom for Halloween

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