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: Stepfather III (1992)


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From Damon–“I recently saw this last entry in the franchise for the first time and absolutely fell in love with every last minute. From the wheelchair bound kid with an affinity for neon clothes to the pretty creepy actions of the ‘new’ titular character. He’s no Terry O’Quinn, but who is? As a bonus Priscilla Barnes plays the wife, which kind of makes a Three’s Company connection with Ritter in one of the other movies I picked for Brian. Also, BK picked a part three film for me so I thought it only fair.”

There’s something to be said for being committed enough to doing some sort of justice to a series that you cast your lead role based on vocal similarities to the star of the previous entries. While there’s no proof that that’s the case with the choice to replace Terry O’Quinn with Robert Wightman, the fact that Wightman’s biggest credit prior to Stepfather III was a three season stint as John Boy during the twilight years of The Waltons indicates something other than the desire to sell this made-for-video threequel based on star power. Premiering on HBO in 1992, Stepfather III is a lean sequel that ditches atmosphere and character development for a bare-bones endgame to the psychotic stepfather’s story.

Halloween White Elephant: Child’s Play (1988)


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From Noah–“I assigned Brian CHILD’S PLAY because, as a horror fan, it’s beyond shameful to never have seen the first entry to this series. I know some people will debate on how the entire thing stands up as a whole, but I love all of the CHILD’S PLAY movies. The best thing about the first one being that you have a demon puppet terrorizing a little boy. A child. And I’m all for any horror movies where a child gets terrorized. I was also interested to hear how well Brian thinks this stands up having watched BRIDE OF CHUCKY with him recently.”

Every kid wants a Good Guy doll! Little Andy wants one so bad that his mother actually agrees to purchase one from a greasy hobo in the alley behind her place of employment. What every kid may not want–maybe–is a Good Guy doll possessed by the spirit of a dead serial killer. Unfortunately, that was exactly the little bonus that came with the dubious Good Guy doll Andy’s mom illicitly acquired. Charles Lee Ray, alias The Lakeshore Strangler, alias Chucky, is now committing homicides from beyond the grave as the Lilliputian plaything. Guess Andy’s mom should have bought him a Nintendo.

Halloween White Elephant: Contamination (1980)


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Contamination DVD Cover

From Brian Kelley–“Far too often dismissed as an ALIEN knockoff, CONTAMINATION is (from what I remember) a silly but gore filled Italian production. It’s closer to an INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS clone with spore aliens and pod people and all that jazz. I remember really liking it as a kid and I keep forgetting about it for a few years then, for whatever reason, I start thinking about it again. I’m interested to see what someone else I know and trust thinks of it.”

When sitting down to an Italian horror film from the 70s or 80s you never really know what you’re going to get. Sometimes they can be a bit of a chore to get through and others are gore soaked hyper-stylized masterpieces designed to blow your eyeballs out of your skull. Directors that aren’t the big names – like Bava, Fulci, or Argento – are also a bit of a gamble, but Luigi Cozzi (director of the fascinating table-turning giallo The Killer Must Kill Again) makes a fun, violent, and engaging sci-fi/horror film with 1980’s Contamination. If you are in the mood for green eggs, children smoking cigars, drunken former astronauts, a Cyclops, or exploding rats then my friend – you are in luck!

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?”

Halloween White Elephant: The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)


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From John Gholson–”When people bring up zombie rules, I almost always think of this film — the last significant movie about “real” zombies.  Wes Craven is not a favorite of mine, but I think THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW is one of his more successful efforts.  It’s a sweaty, unpleasant fever dream about Haitian voodoo, with trace elements of old fashioned ‘white man’s guilt’ racism.  I haven’t seen it in a while, but many of its images linger. While that alone may not make it a great film, it’s a worthwhile one, especially for fans of the zombie genre.

By its climax, Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow has transformed into an almost profoundly silly film, filled with wacky hallucinations, broken laws of physics, a villain that just won’t die and a chair with a mind of its own. I bring this up in the very first paragraph of this review because the film ends with a completely different tone than the creepy, sobering beginning, complete with opening titles that inform us that what we’re about to watch is “inspired by true events.”

Halloween White Elephant: Les Diaboliques (1955)


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From Brian Salisbury–”Noah watches an unholy amount of shit. Don’t get me wrong, I watch some bad movies myself. But Noah revels in, for example, making his way through the entire National Lampoon’s catalog of direct-to-video garbage. For once, I wanted Noah to watch something of the utmost quality that was still a first-class horror film. Hopefully, he won’t be dismayed by the lack of tits and fart jokes.”

Rumor has it that the film rights for Diabolique were purchased by director Henri-Georges Clouzot mere hours before Alfred Hitchcock had a chance to snap them up. And while I am a fan of Hitchcock’s work, I don’t feel he could possibly outshine Clouzot with the material, as Diaboliqueis an absolute classic and stunning movie.Set in the French countryside at a private boys school run by an abusive headmaster, Michel (Paul Meurisse) and his gorgeous wife Christina (Véra Clouzot). As the school year comes to a holiday break, Christina talks with her husband’s mistress and fellow teacher at the school (how awkward is that?) about how she cannot stand to be with her husband any longer and a plan is hatched to get rid of him. Leaving the schoolhouse on holiday Christina and Nicole (Simone Signore) head to Nicole’s summer house to establish an alibi, as they prepare for Michel’s inevitable arrival where they proceed to drug him and drown him in a tub. It’s not until they return to the school and dump the body in the pool that things take a turn for the worst. When the investigation by the police begins, a more sinister plot reveals itself. Over the course of its run time we’re treated to a complex and thrilling story that takes several unexpected and spooky turns.

Halloween White Elephant: Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (1996)


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Carnosaur 3 Cover Art

From Brian Kelley–”I have been running a horror movie night for almost 10 years now. Back in the mid-2000s I would review each film the day after Horror Movie Night on my MySpace blog. Recently, while going through this blog, I came across a rave review of the b-movie mess CARNOSAUR 3. As such, I thought it would be perfect to get another human being’s perspective after all these years. According to my notes, we watched this at HMN before watching the first two in the series so even if Damon has not seen them it shouldn’t make a lick of difference.




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