The Monster Club (1980) – movie review

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The Monster Club (1980) 

Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Produced by Milton Subotsky
Vincent Price
Donald Pleasence
John Carradine
Stuart Whitman
Britt Ekland
Patrick Magee

This is often considered the last Amicus Film, however Amicus was dismantled shortly before working on this film. This is also the last film that Milton Subotsky worked on in his career. It is based on short stories by British horror author R. Chetwynd-Hayes who is also a main character in the film. Vincent Price plays Eramus, a vampire who attacks the author, R.Chetwynd-Hayes, played by John Carradine. When he realizes he has attacked his favorite author, he offers Chetwynd-Hayes access to a place that will give himthe monster club poster ideas for his next book. He brings him to a club where all the ghouls and creatures of the night gather. At a small table in the corner three stories are revealed. The first story concerns a Shadmock described as a lesser monster who’s only power is his demonic whistle. The Shadmock, Raven, puts out an ad to hire a personal assistant. A young man convinces his girl to take the job just so they can later rob the rich old estate owner blind. At first the young woman is fearful of Raven’s strange, deathly look. But soon it seems the Shadmock and the assistant may be falling in love. As his trust in her grows he reveals the hidden safe showing the riches of the centuries. But will the young woman steal his valuables or stay on as his assistant and let their budding love flourish? Raven puckers his lips but is it for a kiss or to whistle? The second story tells the tale of a young family who lives in a big scary house and the husband/father who ‘works nights’. A few detectives in a van start flowing the young boy and asking him questions. What does your father actually do for a living? Why does he sleep all day in the monster club pic 2the cellar? etc. The detectives finally convince little Jimmy to let them In and lead them to the cellar. They are modern day vampire hunters with wooden stakes and garlic cloves. Can Jimmy’s dad somehow survive a daytime attack? In the final story an impatient movie director, Sam, goes location hunting for his next film and finds a small town inhabited by the Humgoo (ghouls). The ghouls won’t let him leave the town, they want him to stay for dinner. They paw and grab at him like zombies, trying sluggishly to bite him. He takes sanctuary in an abandoned church where they seem reluctant to enter. There he learns the strange history of the tthe monster club pic 11own. All the stories are campy entertainment and there isn’t a moment of anything remotely scary in the whole film. The film is amusing and entertaining, but I wouldn‘t consider it much more than a novelty. Between the story segments there are full 1980’s MTV video style songs played by bands at the club with mixed results. There’s also an interesting stripper dance where the woman takes off more than her clothes. The wrap around story concludes with a social message. The undead creatures make R.Chetwynd-Hayes, an honorary member of the Monster Club, after describing what man does to his fellow man (to a montage of news clips and video) and concluding that man is the biggest monster of all.

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Be sure to view all the Amicus films I have reviewed on Parlor of Horror at this master page: Amicus Films Overview 

Damsels in Distress – part 4 – here’s some more!

More Damsels in Distress – Movie Posters!

This post also takes a look at Damsels in distress as depicted on movie posters through the years for horror and sci-fi.

I also included the ‘banned’ inside cover art for Guns & Roses first album Appetite for Destruction, just because it fit so well in the theme.

Damsels in distress – Part III – magazine and comics

This post takes a look at Damsels in Distress as depicted on Sci-fi & Horror pulp magazines, horror comics and a few Book Covers (and a few loose illustrations, too!)



Comics and misc:



Damsels in distress – part II – horror and sci-fi movie posters

Damsels in distress – part II – horror and sci-fi movie posters

This post takes a look at Damsels in distress as depicted on movie posters for horror and sci-fi. There’s no truth in advertising here as many of these depictions never actually happen in the films.

Movie Posters:

Gallery 2:


And don’t forget to take a look at Part One of our Damsels in Distress pictorials: Damsels in Distress – in movies

V/H/S 2 – (2013) – Movie review

V/H/S 2 – (2013)

First thing, the wrap around story is almost as annoying as the one in VHS because it’s a continuation from the original film. A private detective is hired to find one of the extremely annoying college kids from the 1st film and winds up in the same dark house. He tells his assistant to watch the video footage, maybe there will be a clue on them. So we enter the segments.

Clinical Trials follows a man who gets an experimental eye implant. The digital eye boosts all the optic wavelengths, which in turn has the disturbing side-effect of enabling him to see ghosts. It is damn unnerving to have knowledge of all the spiritual activity surrounding him. There is one scene that didn’t make too much sense to me but I guess they had to throwVHS 2 pic 2 some nudity in here somewhere. The biggest drawback was that the character in this was a bit of a dill-weed and I didn’t really care about him. However, it was a decent segment and equal to the quality of the original VHS.

A Ride in the Park follows a young man on his morning bike ride through a large wilderness park. He has one of those helmet cams on the roof of his noggin. A screaming lady runs out of the woods in front of him and when he stops to help her, zombie horde city! There are a few nice wrinkles in this zombie tale including a contradiction to the notion that zombies have no memory of their past life. A fun segment with some comedic aspects added to the gore.

Safe Haven follows a news team that is let into the compound of a secretive cult. The team doesn’t know there is a reason they were chosen to enter the commune and it has to do with one reporters unborn child. As the investigation and interviews proceed, the cult leader starts chanting into a PA system and literally, all hell breaks loose! This one will get your heart VHS-2-pic 6pumping with echoes of The Evil Dead (1981). There’s even a Sam Raimi style ‘punch line’ at the very end which made me laugh. Despite the punch line, this is the creepiest segment of all.

Slumber Party Alien Abduction follows a young woman and her bratty younger brother who continuously prank each other and capture it all on camera. In one piece of footage, there are some light anomalies on the lake behind their house. Later that night a piercing sound shatters the dark and they are in the midst of aliens who chase them down and attempt to kidnap them. It’s total chaos as these creatures disappear and reappear in different places, hunting them down. After watching some lousy alien abduction films lately, this one really makes the situation tense. It’s edgy and ramps up the scares, perhaps revitalizing this sub-genre of horror.

The wrap around story concludes with not much interest from me. I would say that the first two segments were as good as the ones from the original VHS, but the last two were better than the stories in the previous film. The real time aspect of found footage films doesn’t leave a lot of room for depth of a story but I think that’s what people like about these films – everything is in the here-and-now. There was a little more attention to storyline and plot, especially in Safe Haven and except for the first segment, I actually liked the characters in the stories of this film. So my opinion is that, overall, this film is a better film than its predecessor. Recommended for those who like FF films, anthologies, and ‘action-horror’ (yes, I’m coining a new sub-genre).

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Related Links:


Scary or Die

World War Z (2013) – movie review

World War Z (2013)

Let me just state for the record, I am not a movie critic, I am a movie fan. As long as I don’t feel like I’m being duped, I will usually like something about most of the movies I watch. I can watch high-level, upper-echelon and Academy Award nominated horror films like, The Sixth Sense and enjoy it. I can watch a low B-horror flick like, C.H.U.D. and enjoy it. It doesn’t take much; if a director makes a good honest effort, offers some concepts and ideas I have not seen, has some decent character development and natural feeling dialogue, I will go for the ride and accept it. Now on to the review of World War Z.

This is not a traditional zombie film. It deals with the much bigger picture of a world-wide outbreak and how the actions of one man can bring about a survival mechanism. It does not have the gore that accompanies most walking dead films. That would often bother me as a horror fan, but for this film it does not. What new effects gag could they even apply that we haven’t seen already?


The film jumps right into the action and is fast-paced, but we also get excellent character development within the context of that action.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is ex-military personnel and United Nations Specialist who resigned for the sake of his wife and young children. They get stuck in Philadelphia cross-town traffic but it soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary traffic jam. They are instantly on the run as the city falls into chaos and the dead rise to kill. Gerry makes contact with an associate, the acting US Secretary of State, hoping to be rescued from the melee. The family makes their way to Newark, looking for a place that hasn’t been overrun and to collect some basic necessities, just as the citizens begin to turn. There are some tense moments in the apartment building as they find their way to the roof for the helicopter pick up.

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The Secretary of State convinces Gerry to go on a mission with a young scientist and a military team, in order to hunt down the origin of the outbreak, and to identify and develop a vaccine. From there, it’s an action-filled, thriller-style; jump from city to city, as the world crumbles around the team. Clues are picked up along the way and the final answer lies in a lab of the World Health Organization. However the lab is overrun with zombies, to make for some creepy, close-quarters suspense in the final scenes of the film.

In the right hands, CGI is not an eyesore but enhances big scenes that could not have been shown otherwise. When the zombies climb upon each other to the top of the wall, we know it is CG, but it looked real enough to me, not like cheap CG layered on top of a film image. Gerry Lane does not become the unstoppable Zombie-slayer as would be predictable in a film like this. He is a different kind of hero, one that relies on his intelligence and intellect over the mindless hordes attacking the human race. This aspect is not going to be agreeable to everyone that has come to expect certain things from a zombie film.

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Bottom line is, I went into this film expecting a big summer blockbuster style movie and that is exactly what I got. It was exciting, fast-paced, filled with action, well-written and well-acted. I was not expecting a big screen version of ‘The Walking Dead’ or a full-on gory, ‘Dawn of the Dead’ style zombie flick. Summer blockbusters are meant to be visual roller-coaster rides of excitement and that is exactly what I got. It will never be on my list for favorite zombie movies, but it was well worth my $12!


I just wanted to add, having a Zombie subject film as a huge summer blockbuster may be the tipping point in the recent zombie culture popularity. Has the iconic Zombie reached its pinnacle?

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Guy on the right – must have for zombie apocalypse – lots of Budweiser!

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related article: The History of Zombies in Film

The Walking Dead – The Return of Morgan!

The Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 12, “Clear”

walking dead MorganThe Return of Morgan!

OK, this had to be, hands down, the best episode in season 3 of The Walking Dead. Not only did Rick, Carl and Michone find Morgan – the guy who helped Rick get on his feet in the first few episodes, but the show offered something that had been missing the whole season.

In season three, The Walking Dead has turned into an action show. In this episode, the show returned to something it hadn’t had in a long time, intimacy and horror. The show had always been about small stories, one-on-one fears and conflicts within a group. The isolation of the small ’ghost’ town also enabled a bit of that insecurity and fear back into the show.

And then, as the show came to a close, the icing on the cake…. Did you notice?

The shows end was clearly an homage to The Last Man on Earth. In that film, at the end of every day, the character, Morgan (Vincent Price) would burn the bodies of the dead zombies. This episode clearly ended the way it did to pay tribute to one of the earliest zombie apocalypse films.

Flesh and Leftovers – Rick Pipito – book review

Flesh and Leftovers – Rick Pipito

For someone that likes short stories, this is a novel styled just for me. What we have is an anthology of short stories; nine different stories about America’s favorite horror subject – Zombies. The stories span the gamut of zombie folklore, culture and legend; from Voodoo zombies to viral outbreak to alien parasites. They are all tied together by a wrap-around, tenth story, about ex-Navy Seal, Gordon Lightcap, who, through these stories is recruiting survivors to fight the supernatural foe.

Each individual story is titled by a case file; incident number. Incident One, starts the book off nicely as two storeowners from a small town in PA, suddenly discover something very wrong has happened to the townsfolk who are wandering in from Main Street. They team up with a gun toting old woman and make their desperate escape from town. Incident Two is probably my favorite as we follow a man who has been infected and is slowly turning into a zombie. He is still aware of himself but unable to control his new zombie urges as he does some terrible things to unsuspecting neighbors. I will also mention the incident that describes the four horsemen of the apocalypse leading legions of zombies to the four corners of the earth, in order to bring about the end of times. This story reads more like a military mission as we follow the bombings and battles against these adversaries.

In the end, we are treated to a highly imaginative, Biblical origin of zombies and zombie ancestors (which were not actually zombies but more like vampires). This all sets up the scene for the next book in which Flesh and Leftovers is part one in a trilogy.

Flesh and Leftovers is a fast-paced and entertaining read. It does contain some of the pitfalls of self-publishing; a bit heavy on exposition, some run-on sentences and perhaps some missing comma’s, but none of that detracts from the stories, themselves. I enjoyed the book’s examination of all different kinds of zombies and think it would be an asset to any zombie fan’s reading list.

The Walking Dead – season 2 finale

The Walking Dead – season 2 finale –


When Zombies Come Marching Home !

What a spectacular, action-filled season 2 finale to The Walking Dead. The Zombie herd overruns the farm and a zombie bloodbath ensues as every member of the group, fully armed, tries to defend their position. Eventually, they loose to the sheer number of walkers coming at them. All minor characters of the farm group were killed off. I fully expected Hershel to just stand his ground and keep firing ’til he ran out of bullets. Now the group is on the move, once again, but we see the possible (obvious) new destination in the last moments of the finale – a large prison on the horizon. The last three episodes were all riveting as the Holy Sh*t moments stacked up.

Going forward, here are the big questions, for me:

Is Rick turning into Shane, now that Shane is gone? His comment that, this is no longer a democracy, surprised me.

Will Hershel become Dale’s replacement as the moral compass in the group? Or will his bad-ass youth surface, making him a formidable fighter? “when Jesus said the dead will rise, I thought he had something different in mind…” great comment!

Will the caped figure that saved Angela in the woods, (we now know to be a character named, Michonne) be an asset to the group or a new nemesis for Rick to deal with?

And, just one comment, everyone lighten up on Carl, would ya’? He’s a kid and kids are supposed to make mistakes and get into trouble. I think a lot of people forget that they were kids once. He’s a good shot too, saving Rick from zombie Shane.

Anyways, now I have to wait until Sept. for answers. Hope they will put up some mini-webisodes on over the summer.