Top 5 Modern Monsters in Movies

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My Top 5 Modern Monsters in Horror Movies
(What’s yours?)

I would consider modern horror films as those that have been released in the last 25 years. There was a definite change in tone and style after the 1980s and in the beginning of the 1990’s that has encompassed this 25 years period. Aside from rehashing old ideas into the never ending line of remakes, there were some fresh and original ideas presented to the horror audience. Here is my list of the Top 5 Modern Monsters in Movies.


5 – Fish Amphibian monster – The Host (2006)
This is one weird looking creature in a film that is comedic, ironic and satirical, while seriously spotlighting common family problems in modern times. When you do get a good look at this beast, you have to give it props for being such an outstanding creation. It feels like it could really exist somewhere out there in the oceans or deep lakes.

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4 – Mosquito Man – Frankenstein’s Army (2013)
I could have picked any monster from this awesome B-film. The creature creations were the only reason to watch this film. What a wonderful imagination Richard Raaphorst has in bringing forth these dark entities. Fun old-school monsters using old school practical make-up effects. Mosquito Man is the creepiest of these dark creations, something I would not want to meet in a dark, abandoned warehouse. That drill on his face works; it drills holes in people!

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3 – Ice Spiders – The Mist (2007)
The Mist is another film with a bevy of strange creatures. I decided to go with the Ice Spiders because they use humans as their egg nests and thousands of spiders hatch while the victim is still alive. They are also avid jumpers with acidic silk webs and are just creepy as hell.

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2 – the Creeper – Jeepers Creepers (2001)
It acts like a man but it’s not. It is alive for 23 days every 23 years, then it goes back into hibernation. It wakes to feed. It does not feed in the ordinary sense where it breaks down foods and turns them into energy to regenerate itself. It looks for body parts it needs, ingests them and uses the actual body part for its make-up. The make-up effects, concept, and two excellent Creature Feature style films, make this monster a wonderful original entity. I don’t care what the critics or Rotten Tomatoes say, I give the Creeper top monster honors.

the Creeper Creeper pic 6


1 – Bioraptor – Pitch Black (2000)
What a wonderfully crafted monster. It’s blind. It can smell blood from miles away. It can hunt down humans like plastic ducks in a carnival game. It has a Hammerhead skull and would just as easily kill each other in the quest for food. The real shame is that the filmmakers have no idea what a great iconic creature they have in their possession. Riddick may have been the star of Pitch Black, but the Bioraptors are the ferocious co-stars that could have their own franchise. They are seriously under-rating the potential of this creature.

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Post your Top 5 Modern Monsters in the comments…

Post your Top 5 Modern Monsters in the comments… or just one or two you think should be on the list. 

Twilight Zone The Movie (1983) – movie review

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Twilight Zone The Movie (1983)

Produced by Steven Spielberg and John Landismy top 10 1980s horror
segments directed by:
Steven Spielberg
John Landis
Joe Dante
George Miller

Twilight Zone The Movie took some fan favorite episodes and remade them with modern effects and in modern times (1980s). The film was quite successful in that aspect providing high budget filming in a movie anthology format. The wrap around story stars Dan Akroyd and provides a nostalgic introduction and comical ending to the film.

“Kick the Can” will sure to put a smile on your face as Scatman Crothers visits an old age home and gives the old folk one night to be young again. This is exemplary Steven Spielberg feel-good story-telling with a wonderful cast of young and old Twilight Zone movie posteractors that really sell the tale.

In “It’s a Good Life,” a young boy with special powers brings a beautiful stranger, Helen Foley, into the fold of his family. However, she is less than amused with the family’s pandering to the child. When she gets angry, Anthony tries his best to entertain her but his childhood idea of fun only frightens her beyond belief. Dante did an amazing job at creating a world where anything is possible from the imagination of a child’s mind. Cartoon monsters explode onto the screen in a frenzy of fantastic effects and vivid color. The original stars Billy Mummy and is still a treat to watch but this one takes the story one step further giving it more closure and resolve. Directed by Joe Dante.

John Lithgow is fantastic as the paranoid nervous flyer, John Valentine, in “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” This has to be some of the best acting of his career. You really feel the anxiety and pain in his character as he tries to convince the flight crew that there’s a gremlin on the wing of the plane. The music helps to ramp up the tension in this segment. The creature is a beautiful creation itself, a Twilight Zone movie - pic 11masterpiece in animatronics special effects. That was always the one thing lacking in the original TZ episode. William Shatner played the part convincingly but the creature was less than appealing to future generations. The original is a pleasure to watch but the movie version is scarier because of the realistic effects. directed by George Miller.

The first segment in the film, “Time Out,” is about a bigot who is forced to live the lives of the people he detracts. Because of the tragedy associated with this segment, the filmmakers were lucky to even get a story that feels like it has an ending. While filming the Vietnam jungle scene, an explosive caused a helicopter to crash, killing Vic Morrow and two child actors. Needless to say, this put a damper upon celebrating the release. This segment was directed by John Landis.

If there could be one thing good to come out of the tragic deaths it’s that ultimately films became safer through laws and safety regulations and the actors themselves gained theTwilight Zone series - gremlin courage to say “cut” if they saw something dangerous going down. Ironically, the last thing Morrow said before shooting the scene was, “I got to be crazy for doing this, I should have asked for a stunt double.” Director, John Landis, and some of his crew spent the next 10 years in court and though they were acquitted for manslaughter, they paid out millions in Civil suits.

The movie has the tone and feel of the Twilight Zone series and is a commendable effort to bring these great stories by Rod Serling, Richard Matheson, and George Clayton Johnson, into more modern times. If you like the series you will definitely like this film. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying to replace the old stories but are more like enhanced versions respecting what has come before.


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Fun Facts:

Burgess Meredith took the role of Rod Serling’s narrator (voice only). He starred in several episodes of the original series. He is tied with Jack Klugman for the most appearances in the TZ series (4).

Billy Mumy plays a small part in the segment, “It’s a Good Life,” as one of the guys who gets angry at Anthony for banging on the video game in the bar. As I had mentioned, Mumy played Anthony in the original TV series. The segment also featured parts by Kevin McCarthy and William Schallert who had likewise starred in Twilight Zone episodes.

From the 1970’s punk band, The Runaways, lead singer Cherrie Currie played Anthony’s sister in the “Good Life” segment. Ironically she had been afflicted by Anthony and no longer had a mouth.

Several Televisions in the house always had cartoons airing somewhat matching what was taking place in the story. Toons included parts of Bugs Bunny, Heckle and Jeckle, Daffy Duck, Betty Boop, Claude Cat and Hubie and Bertie/Mouse Wreckers. This is one of my favorite aspects about the “Good Life” segment.

In the wrap around, Dan Akroyd delivers an oft used quote…You want to see something really scary?

Gallery I

I just wanted to mention that somewhere on the web someone had stated these FX were CGI. I can assure you there were no CGI effects in 1983. Some films did use computers for framing and camera movements but not for visual subjects, that usage was still 8-10 years in the future. What we did have in 1983 was…Stan Winston!

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Dragula at the yearly fall car show – local haunts

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Local Car Show – I attended the yearly car show at Eisenhower Park, NY, and was surprised at the automobiles that appealed to my horror/sci-fi/super-hero tastes.

munsters sign

The highlights were the two Munster cars:

The Munster Koach

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Eddie Munster (now in his 60s) and Marilyn (now in her 70s (?) were at the event signing autographs, taking pictures and talking about the TV show.

The Batmobile looked magnificent in person. Despite the overcast day it shined like black glass.

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We saw the Ghost Busters ambulance vehicle.

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And the horror hearse that makes its rounds during the Halloween season.

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We have the time machine Delorean from Back to the Future.

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The Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit and Sheriff’s car were on hand.

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And this Air Force inspired gem.

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I love the old Chevy’s (55 Bel Aire) and the Custom Hot Rods. I had a great time taking pics and seeing cars from throughout the different decades

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Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) – movie review

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Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Directed by Stephen Chiodo
Written by The Chiodo Brothers

Grant Cramermy top 10 1980s horror
Suzanne Snyder
John Allen Nelson
John Vernon
Charles Chiodo

Are you scared of clowns?

This film doesn’t have great acting, it doesn’t have a great story, no great character development, and no deep plot. What it does have is goofy but decidedly creepy clowns – make up effects that seem all the more scary because they don’t look natural or real. It’s a clown super fantasy land, with colors, shapes and tones, all supporting a clown nightmare. Their guns shoot popcorn and they hang their victims in cotton candy cocoons. They are evil seven foot monsters that look like giant color-burst Killer Klowns movieposternightmares.

Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) and her boyfriend, Mike see a shooting star crash land in the woods. They go to investigate and discover the comet was actually a space craft that looks like a circus tent. They find the dead bodies of an old farmer and others and make a hasty retreat. Then they spend a lot of time trying to convince the bumbling police that something strange is going on. Meanwhile, the clowns are spreading out through town collecting more human nourishment. We have a half dozen campy killer antics as the clowns dispense a biker gang, a group of elderly folks at a bus stop and the police chief.

Debbie is kidnapped by the clowns and trapped in a giant balloon. Now Mike and Dave have to break into the saucer in order to free her. And that’s when things get really weird! At the climax of the movie we have a giant clown appear in the spaceship ready to tear the boys limb from limb.

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A fun and funny horror fantasy flick that plays it straight but provides dark humor in vivid color!

I give it 4.0 sparkly blue stars on the big clown feet scale of campy comical nastiness.


Fun facts:

Written by the Chiodo brothers, directed by the Chiodo brothers, and special effects by Fantasy Film II effects (Gene Warren Jr.). Later the Chiodo brothers would be known for their own special effects work.

How you know it’s an 80’s film: Love the 80s style hair, poofed, feathered, and highlighted tips…and that’s just the guys…

Suzanne Snyder also starred in Weird Science, Return of the Living Dead II and Night of the Creeps.

The fear of clowns medical term in psychiatric studies is Coulrophobia.

Pogo the Clown once told two cops, “Clowns can get away with murder.” Pogo was of course John Wayne Gacy the deranged serial killer.

Who wants some Killer Klowns toys?

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Queen of the Damned (2002) – movie review

 Akasha and Lestat kiss

Queen of the Damned (2002)

Director: Michael Rymer
Story by: Anne Rice

Stuart Townsend
Marguerite Moreau
Paul McGann
Vincent Pérez
Lena Olin

All the seductive energy and violence you would want from a vampire film oozes off the screen in the rich atmospheric tone of Queen of the Damned. There was a period soon after the hey-day of MTV and the pinnacle of the music-video where movies resembled music videos; lots of fast cuts, visual flashes that hint at the scenes set up, and active camera movement. Luckily Rymer interspersed this style with long slow motion shots (especially of Aaliyah) to add some variety. The film does indeed feelQueen of the Damned poster like a string of music videos with the storyline shuffled in between the visual montages. Add to that the music of Jonathan Davis (Korn) and the fact that in this film Lestat becomes the singer of a goth/metal band and you can’t help but draw the comparisons. But it works in this film which is a much bigger story in Anne Rice’ s Novel than can fit into a normal length movie.

The film seduces the viewer with sensual visuals in much the same way as Bela Lugosi’ s Dracula did to audiences in the 1930s. It also presents the visceral violence and blood that belongs in a vampire film (this is no Twilight!). Lestat (Stuart Townsend) plays the rock star persona perfectly. He is charming and dangerous, a lethal mixture for his female fans in the film. Akasha (Aaliyah) is a seductive diva whose every move is a graceful dance even as she dispels her underlings. With splayed fingers and a sly sideways glance her kinetic energy reaches through the screen. Throughout the film Aaliyah moves like a serpent and speaks like a serpent, with S-heavy whispers. It would have been an asset to the film if they had captured a bit of her singing voice to immortalize her even more after her untimely death.

For those who liked the goth-rock music scene of the time, and the music video style, the film should be enjoyable. However, those who don’t enjoy at least some of Davis’s music might feel the story is a little shallow and may not connect with the characters. Having been in the music scene for much of the first half of my life, as a musician and as a journalist, the film does connect with me. I also enjoy the visual artistry that film can be, especially when it’s joined with heady music. So you can choose to sit back and enjoy the spectacle or you could just pass on this film depending on your tastes. I choose to watch it.

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An adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel that is just as much a visual medium as a story telling experience.

I give it 3.9 bloody fangs out of 5 on the visceral vampire vixen scale.

The Visit (2015) – movie review

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The Visit (2015)

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Kathryn Hahn
Deanna Dunagan
Peter McRobbie
Ed Oxenbould
Olivia DeJonge

I found this film entertaining on several levels. The first half of the film had some genuine character portrayals. Two children are invited to go see their grandparents whom they have never met. Their mom had left home when she was young, after a very bad fight and never talked to them again. So the children set off by train to meet the grandparents in PA and stay for a week, while the mom goes on a cruise with her boyfriend.

The kids, thirteen and fifteen, were entertaining and funny, each with distinct personalities. The younger boy, Tyler, sees himself as a rapper and has the worst rhymes you can imagine – real gangsta, talking about meeting girls at Starbucks. The the visit 2015 postergirl videographer, Becca, is wise beyond her years and tries to exemplify her sophistication with an overreaching vocabulary. They are funny because it reminds you of how annoying kids can sometimes be, especially ones with a video camera, but they do become empathetic as the movie progresses.

Then there’s the grandparents. It’s clear after the first night that something is wrong with grandma. Maybe she is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Perhaps that’s why the grandparents wanted to see their grandchildren, knowing their cognition was failing and wanting to make some peace in the family. The grandmother’s antics become increasingly strange, both frightening and comical in nature. Grandpa says it’s sundown syndrome. I knew there would be some kind of twist and began to wonder if the children were exaggerating or imagining strange events for the sake of their documentary film. I was wrong.

It’s the last half hour that the grandparent’s behavior turns threatening and ramp up to some truly frightening aspects. We had gone to an afternoon show on a day that schools were closed, so the theater was full of teenagers. Some of the enjoyment of the film was hearing the teenage girls in the theater SCREAM their lungs out during the last fifteen minutes of the film. (old people = very scary) It was a tense ending and to me it was worth the wait.

This is the film that Shyamalan should have made after The Village. He’s back to the kind of story he tells best. It has a family message, but it doesn’t overwhelm you with morality. It is indeed on par with his first four films. I like it better than The Village, making it my 4th favorite Shyamalan film. It’s not as good as The Sixth Sense or Signs but it’s a step towards reclaiming his reputation at making films the general public enjoys.

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An entertaining film with a very tense and suspenseful ending.

I give it 3.5 gnarly grandparent giggles on the scary old people scale of wrinkly skin dementia.

Fall – a new season at Parlor of Horror

Mount Creepmore

Fall – a new season at Parlor of Horror

Fall is a time of Monsters and things that go bump in the night. It’s a good time to read a creepy story huddled under a blanket on the couch. It’s a time to enjoy the coming holiday of Halloween and to prepare for winter. And to watch the trees bursmy top 10 1980s horrort into vivid color, then shed their leaves.

I’m feeling so much better than I had been earlier this year. Thank God for modern medicine. I feel like my old self again.

I’ll be bringing back my Top 10 Horror films of the 1980s. They will be individual film reviews with the Top 80s Horror logo displayed on the post. I’ll do another Halloween version of Now Streaming on Netflix, short reviews of the good, bad and ugly horror films on Netflix. I’m also netflix tv picgoing to try and do more horror book reviews for the year’s end, which have been lacking during the earlier part of the year. I’ll post a spectacular Creature Features post reviewing ghostly horror films of yesteryear, a perfect fit for the season.

I hope you’ll all come by and check out my suggestions for Halloween entertainment. In the pasCreature Features logot I’ve recommended movies, music, Halloween spooky games and I’ve reviewed local haunts to visit. Even if you don’t live in the area, I’m sure there are equivalent attractions in your neighborhood to visit.

And before year’s end I’ll have a special announcement about a special horror fiction project I’ve been working on.

So stop by, click the ‘like’ button to let me know you’ve been here, and share your posts and thoughts.


And now a few thoughts on life…

If your fiancé answers his/her cell phone during your wedding ceremony, do not get married. You’ll save the energy of getting a divorce in the near future.

The Apple I-pencil? Come on, are you kidding me. An Apple I-Watch? Hasn’t anyone told Apple that watches are obsolete? And with print that small you’ll need your I-glasses to read what is on the screen or you’ll be making lots of visits to your I-doctor. So you can listen to Siri through the watch, its bad enough that devices have ruined our eyes, now they are going to ruin our hearing too. I can see that an old-style, finely crafted watch can be a beautiful thing, like a piece of jewelry, but plastic and transistors? Doesn’t feel classy to me.

I went out to dinner with my wife the other night for the first time in quite a long time. On the way back to my table from a bathroom break, I noticed my fellow customers were taking pictures of their meals. Snap, click, flick, I-phones ablaze. I don’t get it! Do you need to prove to the world that your food was good? Or that you were out for the night? Just because you photo’d it, doesn’t mean you ate it. Maybe you should take a pic of your open mouth with chewed food in it. Or the aftermath the next morning. Hey, a Big Mac is going to look the same no matter who takes the pic. (you thought I was going to say a Big Mac looks the same before and after, didn’t you :D ) The same with Chili’s loaded fries or Applebees chicken fajita. What makes your IHOP pancakes so much more special than mine? Or from the ones I’ve been eating since 1970? It’s different if you actually cooked the meal yourself, it’s your creation, but the meals in these assembly line restaurants are going to look the same every time. They follow a company diagram, where to put the steak, where to put the shrimp, the rice, the veggie, etc. There’s nothing special about your meal people!
Don’t Tweet it; EAT IT!