Terror Tuesday Report: The Oracle


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The Film

A young woman and her husband move into their dream apartment for far less than they thought it would cost; suspiciously so. Turns out the source of the bargain is the mysterious death of the old lady who formerly resided in the apartment. She managed to vanish into thin air while playing a bizarre board game that allows her to communicate with the dead. The game, which finds its way into the new tenant’s possession begins to reach out to her and she becomes convinced it is the key to solving a murder. Unfortunately, in its fervor to persuade her to solve this murder the game gleefully knocks off every one around her.

The Oracle is profoundly bad. That is not to say that it fails in quite the spectacular fashion as something like Boardinghouse or Night Train to Terror. The Oracle manages a certain level of technical cohesiveness which automatically elevates far above those two cinematic abortions, but it is also stale as month-old bread. It takes itself far too seriously thereby defusing any possibility for the audience to glean entertainment value from this dry yarn. It’s not quite bad enough to be fun while nowhere near good enough to be appreciated; existing on a nebulous middle plain.

Director Roberta Findlay, for all her desperate flailing toward legitimacy, lets her porn roots peek through in The Oracle. The unnecessary love scene is soft-lit and pointlessly erotic given the fact that type of movie she’s professing to make. There is also an unhealthy prevalence of scummy mustaches to serve as a furry reminder of Findlay’s earlier work. When she’s not falling back on what she knows, Findlay steals from far better films. The opening interactions between the mad “man” and the prostitute–all the way up to her grisly demise–are wholesale stolen from William Lustig’s seminal Maniac. Just lousy directing effort overall.

Terror Tuesday Report: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors


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The Film

A cadre of suicidal teens are remanded to the care of a mental health facility. Trouble is, while inside, horrific nightmares become a shared problem. When the kids begin offing themselves in the most bizarre ways, it becomes apparent–to the kids at least–that something far more sinister is taking place than unstable psyches. When the newest resident of the facility begins discuss a recurring, charred-faced figure haunting her dreams the others realize they too are being visited by this sweater-clad madman. With a little help from the facility’s newest intern Nancy, the truth is finally revealed, but will be in time to save their lives?

Dream Warriors is often haled as the best of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels and, while I agree, I don’t find it particularly well-done. There are elements that work exponentially better in this film than any other sequel and the concept is laden with potential. But it gets squandered in favor of cheap visual gags masquerading as scares; a problem all too familiar to this franchise. I do like that Freddy is used very sparing for the first chunk of the film, solidifying his legendary status. I also appreciate the return of palpably cool John Saxon to the series as it is my firm assertion that he should have played every police chief character in ever horror film of the 70s and 80s.

Terror Tuesday Report: Maniac Cop 2


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The Film

I have an unhealthy level of affection for this entire franchise. In one of the few entries of my AYIF series, I revealed my love for the first film in suspiciously overzealous fashion. After seeing the first, I immediately sought out and watched parts 2 and 3 and found them both to be very enjoyable followups. But it wasn’t until this screening of William Lustig’s own print of Maniac Cop 2 that I realized just how special this sequel is.

Maniac Cop 2 picks up right where the first film leaves off, with undead police officer Matt Cordell and our hero, played by Bruce Campbell, locked in a death struggle on a speeding police paddy wagon. Once Cordell is assumed to have been secured a watery grave, officers Forrest (Campbell) and Mallory (Laurene Landon) have a hard time getting the brass to buy their explanation of what happened; the police chief being especially reticent to accept that Matt Cordell returned from the grave to perpetrate a series of homicides. But while our intrepid heroes try to pick up the pieces of their shattered worlds, Cordell again rises to dish out his own flavor of law and order. Will their combined knowledge of Cordell’s methods, along with the aide of loose cannon Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi) be enough to once again stop Cordell?

Terror Tuesday Report: Critters 2


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The Film

Two years after a pack of very illegal aliens (actual tagline, not my joke) gorged themselves on the Brown family farm, the Browns,  not surprisingly, have moved away to the big city in an effort to distance themselves from that all-too-close encounter. The tiny town of Grover’s Bend was able to carry on as usual by satisfying themselves that the Browns were a pack of loonies and the events of that fateful night never occurred. Unfortunately, the remnants of that night–in the form of clutch of Crite eggs–have just been discovered by a shady antique dealer and sold to the church as fodder for their annual Easter egg hunt. It’s about this same time that Bradley Brown, youngest son of the ill-fated family of the first installment, returns to visit his grandmother. It’s also about this time that those intrepid inter-galactic bounty hunters, having learned of the presence of more Crites on Earth, begin their voyage back to Grover’s Bend. Will this collective homecoming be enough to stop an even larger Crite invasion, or will Grover’s Bend be the appetizer for their eventual takeover of our planet?

I have more than a few soft spots when it comes to the subcategories within horror. One of my biggest would be the underrated horror sequel; especially unsung part 2′s. Jaws, The Fly, Demons, and Psycho all have fantastic second entries that often get relegated to the realms of the forgotten simply because of the numeral they tow. I would definitely have to assign Critters 2 into that same category as it is a terrific sequel to a campy, extraordinarily fun cult classic. I don’t think it over-praise to note that Critters 2 actually improves upon a few aspects of the original.

The Terror Tuesday Forecast: Maniac Cop 2


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As promised, Monday arrives with a glimpse of this week’s Terror Tuesday feature. I’m incredibly excited about this week’s film, Maniac Cop 2.

When I began attending Terror Tuesday, what seems like forever ago, the ratio of films playing that I had seen to those I hadn’t was heavily skewed toward the latter. But the truly rewarding thing about living in Austin for almost three years now and writing for various horror sites is that I’ve been exposed to so many offbeat and obscure titles that now the ratio has leveled off significantly. That being said, even the films I’ve already seen tend to take on a whole new life when projected in 35mm. I’ve already professed my love for the original Maniac Cop here on HND, but the entire franchise is pretty outstanding. Even the third film, which is by far the weakest, offers plenty of entertainment. I am thrilled to see the second installment again and even more excited that the great William Lustig, director of the entire series as well as the head of Blue Underground and one of my personal heroes, will be in attendance. I had the great privilege to interview Mr. Lustig last week for Cinematical and his enthusiasm and passion for film, particularly horror, only made me more a bigger fan.

Sorry, I’m rambling. Here’s the trailer. Maniac Cop 2, we’ll see you next Tuesday.

Re-Introducing…The Terror Tuesday Report


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In January of 2010, I began a project for Cinematical’s Horror Squad. If you read myself or Pete Hall with any regularity on any of our outlets than you’re probably already sick of hearing the words Alamo Drafthouse. Well too bad, because I’m about to lavish a bit more praise upon it.

Every Tuesday for the last four years or so, the Alamo has been offering 35mm screenings of horror films both classic and obscure. My goal was to see every single film, week-to-week, that was showcased in 2010 and write up both a synopsis of the film and an overview of the varying audience reactions. Thus, the Terror Tuesday Report was born. I enjoyed writing TTR immensely and managed to attend every week, with very few exceptions. In September, Horror Squad, as well as Cinematical, was rolled into Moviefone where I continued to write the Terror Tuesday Report. But it soon became apparent that the Moviefone audience did not harbor the same appreciation for offbeat horror films as did the Horror Squad audience. The time had come to make a change. Remembering my roots as a film journalist, I could think of no better place for The Terror Tuesday’s Reports new home than Horror’s Not Dead.

So here’s how it’ll work. The reports will hit every Tuesday for the previous week’s film. On Monday (or in this case Tuesday as I am once again behind on things), we will post the trailer for the current week’s film and I’ll write a few words about my expectations. I hope you enjoy reading it. I’m back suckas!

This week (in essence what you’ll be reading next week): Critters 2




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