Celebrate Roger Corman’s Birthday with THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM on the Big Screen!

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We’re obviously big Roger Corman fans here at HorrorsNotDead, and, even though we can’t personally party with the legendary filmmaker on his birthday (April 5), we can still celebrate with him from miles away in Austin, Texas! Thanks to Tugg.com, we’ll be hosting a special birthday screening of his 1961 Vincent Price classic THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM. This was the second Edgar Allen Poe film from Corman, a series that eventually came to represent his peak as a director. Each of the Corman/Poe/Price team-ups are expertly paced, visually exciting, and full of genuine menace and thrills, so we can practically guarantee you’ll have a great time.

The mysterious passing of a nobleman’s wife is placed under scrutiny by her suspicious brother-in-law. As he investigates her death, he uncovers the castle’s secret past as a place of torture during the Spanish Inquisition and its lingering influence on those who live between its walls. The film stars Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr, and Luane Anders.

This rare opportunity to see a Corman classic on the big screen will take place at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar on Thursday, April 5 at 9:45pm. Tickets are available here. As with all Tugg events, the screening doesn’t happen until their minimum attendance is met, so please spread the word on the screening to anyone and everyone you know, and we hope to see you on April 5!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Corman!

Halloween White Elephant: Galaxy of Terror (1981)

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From Jacob Hall–“This is one wacky movie. I’m not sure if it’s a good movie, but man, seeing this with a packed audience in a real movie theater was one hell of an experience. This movie is like bad dream: incomprehensible, driven by ludicrous jumps in logic and sanity instead of story and filled to the brim with alien worm rape. It also features Sid Haig as a man who really, really loves his knives, so there’s no way it can be all bad.”

Galaxy of Terror felt like a punishment.  What did I do?  Maybe this was because I liked the recent remake/prequel of The Thing (it’s not great, but I didn’t hate it).  Surely, if I liked one cheap, crappy cash-in, I’d like another?

Halloween White Elephant: The Birds (1963)

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From Jacob Hall–“Contrary to popular belief, Hitchcock didn’t make many true horror films. However, two of the three horror films that he did make are undisputed classics that threaten to overshadow the rest of his career. Unlike PSYCHO, THE BIRDS is a very traditional horror film in structure, only paving new ground with the unsettling, open-ended conclusion. It’s the epitome of the ‘animals attack people for no apparent reason’ subgenre, a film that has the patience to spend its first half introducing its characters before putting them through a living hell. The effects are top notch, the performances genuine, and the film’s final thirty minutes are one of the most harrowing siege sequences put on film. This is a horror masterpiece if one ever existed. I’m surprised that John, the ultimate fan of old school horror, hasn’t seen this, but I’m incredibly excited to finally introduce him to it.”

Oh my god, this movie had, like, a lot of birds in it!  Mostly seagulls and crows, but there were also a pair of lovebirds too, and you just knew they were going to snap any second, ‘cause these birds be crazy up here in Bodega Bay!  “What did you think of The Birds?”

Terror Tuesday Report: Fright Night Part II (1988)

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The Film

So, FRIGHT NIGHT PART II picks up right after the first film, with Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale) changing his memories of the events in the first film (vampires move in next door) through therapy, and keeping an arm’s length relationship with TV horror host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), who’s still convinced they killed vampires together a couple of years before.  Everything’s hunky-dory for approximately fifteen minutes of this sequel, until Julie Carmen shows up as Regine, with her entourage of monster movie weirdos (including audience favorite Jon Gries as a sleazy werewolf).

She’s got her sights set on Charlie, wanting to turn him into a vampire, for a reason that feels too obvious despite it being the film’s only surprise. Fright Night Part II is energetic and amiable enough, but it almost literally can’t find a good reason to exist.  Too light on both scares and comedy, the film mostly consists of Charlie sneaking around once again and peeking at vampires through windows, trying to convince the one character who shouldn’t need any convincing (Vincent) that the bloodsuckers are back.

Terror Tuesday Report: The Baby (1973)

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The Film

Everyone has their personal creep-out zone.  For many, the mere sight of a friendly clown sends a cold shock straight down the spine.  For others, lifelike porcelain dolls might be just the trigger they need to draw their heart up firmly into their throat.  For me, there’s nothing more demonic, nothing more unspeakably unsettling than an adult baby.

I’m an open-minded dude, but there’s something profoundly wrong with a fully-formed adult who can’t function in life without pretending to be a giant baby in their spare time.  I can’t even begin to fathom the psychological damage at work to make a grown-up want to drink warm Simulac from a bottle and poop their pants again (and again).  Oftentimes when dealing with fetishes, the fixation comes from something that brings someone a great deal of comfort, and I can understand that concept, but can anyone actually remember being a baby?  Oftentimes, adult babies are like infantile drag queens — not content to just be pampered by a mommy figure, but acting out as some kind of Super Baby, seemingly determined to out-baby a real baby, complete with giant adult-sized bonnets and lots of “ga ga goo goo” talk.  They’re not like babies in a maternity ward; they’re like babies in a Warner Brothers cartoon.  Only, they’re adults.  Weird.

Terror Tuesday Report: Sledgehammer

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The Film

People like to say that certain films are “critic-proof.”  A movie like Paul Blart:  Mall Cop might be considered “critic-proof” in that no criticism of the film would ever be insightful en0ugh to make any kind of difference at all — not from the stand-point of cultural discourse nor as a box office deterrent for what’s sure to be a terrible, but lucrative film.  Sledgehammer is not only critic-proof, it’s English-language proof — a 1980s shot-on-video oddity that appears to be fully born from a three-way marriage of beer, slow-motion, and Italian horror.

THE ART OF HAMMER Book Review [A Movie Poster Must-Have]

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It’s a bittersweet day to review THE ART OF HAMMER. Right now, as I write this, Hammer’s COUNTESS DRACULA plays in the background, a reminder of the actress Ingrid Pitt, who passed away this November 23 at age 73.  It’s one of my favorite Hammers, starring Pitt as an elderly Elizabeth Bathory-inspired murderess who keeps herself young by bathing in the blood of virgins.  COUNTESS DRACULA features gorgeous period Hungarian costumes, a brisk pace, and a good amount of Pitt nudity when the German actress was in her prime.

I’m thankful for movies like this (and actresses like Pitt).  As a horror fan, they feel like comfort food —  fog-ridden tales of evil with exploitative bursts of sex and violence that satisfy the time in which they were made.  Hammer horror manages to feel both old-fashioned and shocking at the same time.  They deserve to be celebrated, especially in the last days of Hammer’s old guard.  The studio lot has been sold off for redevelopment and the truth is that Hammer’s main players are, sadly, not going to be with us much longer.  Rest in peace, Ingrid Pitt.

THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE Review [Check Out the Laser Show!]

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Did I detect a bit of subtext at work in Tom Six’s creep-out THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE?  Could the movie actually be about how the shallow, impersonal connections we make with others cause us to lose our humanity?  I believe so, and that’s more than I expected from a movie about a guy obsessed with sewing people together mouth-to-anus to form a living chain of horror.

THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is also a strong revival of the long-dead “mad scientist” sub-genre of horror (something the upcoming SPLICE is looking to keep alive).  We get a regular stream of vampires and slashers on a monthly basis, but we’ve gone without a good mad scientist for too long now.  I didn’t even know I missed the dusty old trope until I saw Dieter Laser as Dr .Heiter, getting sexual satisfaction from administering shots or outlining the specifics of his experiment to his captive victims with blackly comic arrogance.

The set-up — a car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, two American girls wander in the rain before finding help at a creepy German’s house — is intentionally hokey, playing on audience expectations.  We’ve seen this story before right?  Of course, the crazy German guy will try to kill them.  Wrong.  He wants them very much alive; he just doesn’t want them to stay human.  He needs a new pet — a human centipede.

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