Category: Horror

“Never Let Go” starring Halle Berry – The Teaser & Trailer are Here!

Never Let Go – in theaters September 27! Starring Halle Berry, Percy Daggs, and Anthony B. Jenkins

From visionary director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Crawl) and producers of Stranger Things and Arrival comes NEVER LET GO.

In this new psychological thriller, as an evil takes over the world beyond their front doorstep, the only protection for a mother, played by Academy Award® Winner Halle Berry (Actress in a Leading Role, 2001 – Monster’s Ball), and her twin sons is their house and their family’s protective bond. Needing to stay connected at all times – even tethering themselves with ropes – they cling to one another, urging each other to never let go. But when one of the boys questions if the evil is real, the ties that bind them together are severed, triggering a terrifying fight for survival.

“Plan 9 From Outer Space” (1957) written & directed by Ed Wood Jr., featuring Bela Lugosi / Z-View

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957)

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.

Screenplay:  Edward D. Wood Jr.

Stars: Gregory Walcott, Tom Keene, Tor Johnson, Lyle Talbot, Conrad Brooks, Maila Nurmi, Bela Lugosi, Edward D. Wood Jr. and Criswell.

Tagline: Unspeakable Horrors From Outer Space Paralyze The Living And Resurrect The Dead!

The Plot…

Aliens are worried that humans will produce a doomsday bomb that could destroy the universe.  To stop them, the aliens put into motion Plan 9.  They resurrect the recent dead.  Humans will be so horrified that they will follow the aliens’ directives.  If not, the aliens will use the zombies to destroy them!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Plan 9 From Outer Space is Bela Lugosi’s last film.  Ed Wood and Lugosi were friends.  They had filmed snippets of scenes for an Ed Wood movie in development.  Bela Lugosi died and Ed Wood decided to incorporate these clips into Plan 9.  Wood also used the fact that Plan 9 would be Lugosi’s last film to induce some of the actors to join the project.

It’s funny to note that scenes featuring Lugosi’s character not played by Lugosi were completed by Wood’s wife’s chiropractor.  He was much taller and looked nothing like Bela Lugosi.  So Ed Wood told him to hunch over and always keep the cape in front of his face.  Problem solved.

The film was made on a miniscule budget.  Tor Johnson’s home was used as a location.  Johnson’s son was a San Fernando Police officer.  They got use of the police car and uniforms through him.  The alien’s flying saucer was adapted from a popular UFO model kit.  Bela Lugosi supplied his own cape (from playing Dracula on stage). The gravestones were made of cardboard or styrofoam and can be seen wiggling when actors brushed against them.

Harry Thomas did the make-up for Plan 9.  He become upset and asked his name be removed from the credits.  Thomas wanted the aliens to have elongated chins using appliances he would make, cat’s eye lenses (special contacts) and green hair (wigs). Ed Wood said that those ideas would be too expensive.  Ironically, the year before Henry Thomas worked on Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments which was the most expensive movie ever made to that time.

Plan 9 From Outer Space gained popularity after being named The Worst Film Ever Made.  It is a bad film, but far from the worst ever made.  The low budget, bad script, Lugosi stand-in, wooden performances, outlandish idea for a movie and more make for a humorous viewing, especially with friends.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“The Green Slime” (1968) starring Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi & Richard Jaeckel / Z-View

The Green Slime (1968)

Director: Kinji Fukasaku

Screenplay: William (Bill) Finger, Tom Rowe, Charles Sinclair, story by Ivan Reiner

Stars: Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, Richard Jaeckel.

Tagline: The Green Slime are coming!!

The Plot…

Commander Jack Rankin (Horton) and Commander Vince Elliott (Jaeckel) are sent on a suicide mission to destroy a giant asteroid headed for earth.  Although successful, one of the crew members accidentally carries a green slime substance back to the space station.

Soon the green slime transforms into monstrous beings that multiply and kill members of the crew!  If the green slime monsters get back to earth it could be the end of humanity.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi and Richard Jaeckel were the stars attached.  The rest of the cast consisted mainly of amateur and semi-professional actors.  Many of the monsters were played by school aged children.

Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman, is one of the screenwriters of The Green Slime.

The Green Slime was the first film featured on featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Green Slime (1968) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“Westworld” (1973) written & directed by Michael Crichton, starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin & James Brolin / Z-View

Westworld (1973)

Director: Michael Crichton

Screenplay: Michael Crichton

Stars: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, Norman Bartold, Alan Oppenheimer, Linda Gaye Scott, Steve Franken, Michael T. Mikler, Terry Wilson, Majel Barrett, Anne Randall, Charles Seel and Dick Van Patten.

Tagline: Boy, have we got a vacation for you…

The Plot…

In the near future those that can afford it go to an adult theme park named Delos.  Delos is divided into three separate sections: West World, Medieval World and Roman World.  Each world is designed to replicate the eras of their name.  Robots almost indistinguishable from humans populate each world.  Guest interact and act out their greatest fantasies.  Want to be a bank robber in the old west?  Overthrow a king?  Partake in Roman orgies?  You can do all these things and more.

Repeat visitor John Blane (Brolin) and his buddy, first timer Peter Martin (Benjamin) are visiting West World. They’re having a blast.  Until things start to go wrong… very wrong.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I saw West World when it was first released in 1973.  I was 15 and loved it.  I’ve re-watched it many times over the years and still love it. I thought that James Brolin would be the last man standing.  I was so shocked when it turned out I was wrong.

Years after West World Michael Crichton created another amusement park that goes sideways with his novel (and later a film) Jurassic Park.

The film is set in the near future… 1983.

Silent film star, Harold Lloyd’s estate was used for Roman World filming and is listed in the credits!

Alan Oppenheimer plays one of the technicians in charge of the robots.  Oppenheimer in the following year will play Dr. Rudy Wells, in a similar role on The Six Million Dollar Man.

As the robots begin to malfunction and the problem spreads from robot to robot we get one of the first instances of computer viruses!

Yul Brynner’s character dresses almost exactly as the character he played in The Magnificent Seven.

Westworld (1973) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Gangnam Zombie” (2023) / Z-View

Gangnam Zombie (2023)

Director: Lee Soo-seong

Screenplay: Choe Seung

Stars: Ji Il-joo, Park Ji-yeon.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Young podcasters and shoppers in an upscale mall in Gangnam fight for their lives during a zombie uprising!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

If I make it through the entire movie, I usually am able to justify a two star rating.  Not this one.

Gangnam Zombie (2023) rates 1 of 5 stars.

“The Monster Walks” (1932) / Z-View

The Monster Walks (1932)

Director: Frank R. Strayer

Screenplay: Robert Ellis

Stars: Mischa Auer, Rex Lease, Vera Reynolds and Willie Best.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Ruth Earlton (Reynolds) is called back to her childhood home.  Her father has died and the will is going to read.  Ruth and her fiancé, Ted (Lease) arrive on a dark, stormy night.  Ted is introduced to Ruth’s wheelchair-bound Uncle, Mrs. Krug, the strange housekeeper, and her even stranger adult son Hanns.  Oh, and let’s not forget the large ape caged in the basement.

Everyone learns that the estate has been left to Ruth… as long as she is alive.  If she dies it goes to her uncle. Will Ruth make it through the night?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Although posters for The Monster Walks features a huge ape, the movie uses a chimpanzee.

The Monster Walks has the right ingredients (creepy house with secret passageways, dark and stormy night, strange characters, a will leaving the money to one family member as long as they live, an ape) but the end result isn’t as good as could be expected.

The Monster Walks (1932) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“30 Days of Night” (2007) starring Josh Harnett, Melissa George & Danny Huston / Z-View

30 Days of Night (2007)

Director: David Slade

Screenplay: Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie, Brian Nelson based on 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles & Ben Templesmith

Stars: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Mark Boone Junior, Elizabeth Hawthorne and Nathaniel Lees.

Tagline: They’re Coming!

The Plot…

The remote city of Barrow, Alaska, because of it’s location has a month of darkness once a year.  Most of the city’s inhabitants leave.  Those that stay have to live with “30 days of night”.  This year they will also have to deal with a coven of vampires who have come to Barrow to feast!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Steve Niles conceived 30 Days of Night as a graphic novel.  Although he pitched the idea, there was no interest.  Niles then reworked the idea and pitched 30 Days of Night as a movie.  Again there was no interest.  Niles put the idea on the back-burner until a discussion at IDW Publishing brought 30 Days of Night back from the, uh, dead.  Niles and artist Ben Templesmith’s 30 Days of Night comic was a hit.  This led to several movie studios showing interest in adapting 30 Days of Night.

A picture of Steve Niles can be seen in the attic hideout.

30 Days of Night does a great job of building suspense and ratcheting the tension as the vampires destroy Barlow’s ability to communicate with the outside world.  Then we see vampire attacks to those on the outskirts of the city.  The full-on attack of the city with the overhead shots of the mayhem is still a favorite scene.

Danny Huston is amazing as Marlow the leader of the vampire coven.  Kudos also to Ben Foster.

30 Days of Night (2007) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Mars Attacks” (1996) directed by Tim Burton / Z-View

Mars Attacks (1996)

Director: Tim Burton

Screenplay: Jonathan Gems, Tim Burton (uncredited) based on Topps Mars Attacks! trading cards

Stars: Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Annette Bening, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Lukas Haas, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Lisa Marie, Sylvia Sidney, Paul Winfield, Pam Grier, Jack Black, Joe Don Baker, Christina Applegate  and Tom Jones.

Tagline: Nice planet. We’ll take it!

The Plot…

An armada of Martian ships have come to Earth.  At the first meeting between the Martian and US Ambassador and accident makes the Martians think that they are under attack.  The aliens then decide to take over the Earth.

Let the fun begin!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Tim Burton directs an all-star cast.

Tim Burton pitched the idea by showing Warner Bros. the Mars Attacks! trading cards released in 1962.  The cards featured art by Wally Wood and Norman Saunders.  The card set told of a Martian invasion of Earth.  Because the cards were aimed at the kiddie market, many parents felt that the violence was too graphic.  This led to a limited distribution.  The Mars Attacks! cards have become collector’s items.  In the 1980s, Topps revisited the Mars Attacks! by re-releasing the card set, new Mars Attacks! cards and comic books.

Mars Attacks! marks Sylvia Sidney’s final film appearance.

Although Tim Burton co-wrote the film with Jonathan Gems, but gave Gems full credit.  Jonathan Gems wrote the Mars Attacks! novelization and dedicated the book to Tim Burton.

Mars Attacks (1996) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Bowery at Midnight” (1942) starring Bela Lugosi / Z-View

Bowery at Midnight (1942)

Director: Wallace Fox

Screenplay: Gerald Schnitzer

Stars: Bela Lugosi, John Archer, Wanda McKay, Tom Neal, Vince Barnett, John Berkes, ‘Snub’ Pollard and Bernard Gorcey.

Tagline: BELA LUGOSI CHILLER! WEIRD! THRILLING!

The Plot…

Karl Wagner (Lugosi) runs a soup kitchen that serves as a front for his many criminal enterprises.  Wagner recruits ex-cons and those who are down-and-out to perform robberies and worse.  Wagner then kills them. He disposes of their bodies in a secret room that leads underground.  His accomplice, a doctor who is also an addict, performs experiments on the cadavers.

As the cops close in, Wagner will go to any extreme to escape.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

At the end the undercover cop played by John Archer is shot and presumably killed.  He is taken by the doctor who we discover has perfected the ability to bring the dead back to life as zombies.  Lugosi’s character is attacked by the zombies when he goes into the basement.  Then the final scene of the movie is John Archer’s character with his love interest.  He appears to be totally recovered from being dead and isn’t a zombie.  Huh?

Bowery at Midnight (1942) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“Chamber of Horrors” (1966) starring Patrick O’Neal, Cesare Danova & Wilfrid Hyde-White / Z-View

Chamber of Horrors (1966)

Director: Hy Averback

Screenplay: Stephen Kandel, Ray Russell

Stars: Patrick O’Neal, Cesare Danova, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Jeanette Nolan, Marie Windsor, Wayne Rogers, Charles Seel, William Conrad (voice) and Tony Curtis.

Tagline: The motion picture with the Fear Flasher and the Horror Horn

The Plot…

Jason Cravatte (O’Neal) was convicted of killing a young woman and then forcing a Justice of the Peace to perform a marriage ceremony for Cravatte and his victim.  While being transported to prison, Cravatte escaped by cutting off his own hand.

Now fully healed, Cravatte has replaced his hand with a covering that can hold a hook, a long blade and more.  Cravatte plans to get revenge on everyone responsible for his capture.  That includes the judge who sentenced him, the police officer who caught him, Anthony Draco (Danova) and Harold Blount (Hyde-White) who assisted in the capture.

Draco and Blount own a wax museum with a focus on famous gruesome murderers.  Wouldn’t that be the perfect place for Cravatte to take his final revenge?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I first saw Chamber of Horrors as a kid.  I was probably 9 years old.  I loved the film then and am still a fan.

Chamber of Horrors was originally filmed as a pilot for a tv series.  The network thought it was too violent, so it received a theatrical release.  Sadly no television series was ever produced.  I still think it would make a fun series.

Tony Curtis appears in a cameo that has no bearing on the plot.  When it was decided to release the film as a feature, additional time was needed so the scene with Tony Curtis was added.  Also added were the gimmicks of The Fear Flasher and The Horror Horn which were seen and heard before the most intense scenes.  William Conrad also recorded the warning before the start of the film.

Wayne Rogers plays the young police officer intent on re-capturing Cravatte. This is years before he became famous on M*A*S*H.

Chamber of Horrors (1966) rates 4 of 5 stars.