Category: Horror

“Mr. Sardonicus” (1961) / Z-View

Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

Director: William Castle

Screenplay: Ray Russell

Stars: Oscar Homolka, Ronald Lewis, Audrey Dalton, Guy Rolfe and William Castle.

Tagline:  YOU decide the fate of Mr. Sardonicus during the “Punishment Poll”! Vote “mercy” or “no mercy” right in your theatre seat!

The Plot…

The year is 1880.  Sir Robert Cargrave (Lewis), a world famous physician gets a letter from Maude (Dalton), his former lover.  She requests that he come meet with her husband in a matter of great importance.  Because Cargrave still has feelings for Maude he goes.

Her husband is the rich and feared  Baron Sardonicus (Rolfe).  Upon arrival at Castle Sardonicus, Cargrave is greeted by Krull (Homolka), Sardonicus’ disfigured servant.  When he meets Maude, she says that if Cargrave cannot cure her husband, Baron Sardonicus will take it out on her!  Baron Sardonicus enters the room so she cannot say more.  Cargrave is shocked to see that Sardonicus wears a mask.

We learn that Baron Sardonicus’ face is hideously disfigured.  Sardonicus expects Dr. Cargrave to cure him.  If he doesn’t then Maude will be “punished”.  As Dr. Cargrave decides his next move, he learns that as deformed as Sardoniscus’ face is, his sadistic behaviors are even worse.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

William Castle, the King of Movie Gimmicks, came up with a winner.  Before the start of the film, William Castle tells the audience that the cards they were given on entry will decide the ending of the film.  Before the last scene, Castle will return to tell the audience to hold up cards with glow-in-the-dark thumbs.  Sardoniscus will either be given “mercy” or not depending on how the majority of the audience votes. Thumbs up equals mercy.  Thumbs down, no mercy.   Truth be told, there was only one ending – no mercy.

Most William Castle films focus on horror and jump scares.  Mr. Sardonicus places emphasis on suspense.

Mr. Sardonicus (1961) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” starring Kurt Russell & Wyatt Russell – The Trailer is Here!

The trailer looks cool.  Add in Kurt and Wyatt Russell and I’m sold.  Deal me in!

When monsters emerge, secrets follow. Monarch: Legacy of Monsters premieres November 17 on Apple TV+

Following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco, and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” tracks two siblings following in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch. Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army Officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows. The dramatic saga — spanning three generations — reveals buried secrets and the ways that epic, earth-shattering events can reverberate through our lives.

“Vindicta” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster doesn’t do much for me, but the trailer has my attention!

DIRECTED BY: Sean McNamara
STORY BY: Steven Paul
STARRING: Elena Kampouris, Sean Astin and Jeremy Piven
EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY: Scott Karol and Charles Cooper
PRODUCED BY: Steven Paul

About Vindicta: When a city is terrorized by a sadistic serial killer, a seasoned detective and a newly recruited paramedic are forced into a deadly game of vengeance, only to discover the key to stopping the bloodshed lies in unlocking the truth of their own haunted pasts. Elena Kampouris (Children of the Corn), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings franchise), and Jeremy Piven (Entourage) star in this edge-of-your-seat thriller from the director of On a Wing and a Prayer.

Things Have Been Coming Up “Kolchak” Lately!

Things have been coming up Kolchak around here lately.  I recently saw the above Kolchak art on Facebook.  It brought back memories of the two Kolchak tv movies, The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler from when I was a kid in junior high.  Great memories.

I decided to find out more about the art.  Turns out it was the cover for KOLCHAK: The Night Strangler Files.  The tv movie was written by Richard Matheson. Chris Mills (writer) and Amin Amat (artist) adapted it into the graphic novel.  I’m not sure who the cover artist is, but I sure do like that art.

Then Svengoolie announced that he would be getting the two Kolchak movies in the near future.  THAT is awesome news.

And that’s your Kolchak update for the day.

A TROLL WALKS INTO A BAR: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novel (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) by Douglas Lumsden

I usually like my crime fiction to be hardboiled and realistic.  Well, as realistic as hardboiled fiction usually is.  Still, sometimes it’s fun to venture off into some crazier territory. A TROLL WALKS INTO A BAR: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novel (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) by Douglas Lumsden looks to fit the bill.

When a troll speaks–listen up! Hardboiled P.I. Alexander Southerland just wants to enjoy a quiet drink when a 500-pound troll walks into the bar. Next thing he knows, Southerland is navigating his way through rogue cops, a gang war, beautiful nymphs from the ocean depths, a were-rat, the mayor’s corrupt fixer, the sleaziest (and cleverest) gnome in Yerba City, and creatures right out of legend. At the center of it all is a mysterious locked box. Can Southerland discover its explosive secret–and survive long enough to pay his rent on time?

I read the Amazon sample and liked what I saw.  Check it out.  You may as well.

“65” (2023) starring Adam Driver & Ariana Greenblatt / Z-View

65 (2023)

Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Screenplay: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman and Nika King.

Tagline:  65 million years ago prehistoric earth had a visitor.

The Plot…

Mills (Driver) accepts a job to pilot a deep space ship for three times his normal pay.  He needs the money to pay for treatment for a potentially fatal illness his daughter has.  When Mills’ ship is knocked off course by meteors, it crash lands on Earth 65 million years ago.

Mills and a nine year old girl, Kona (Greenblatt) are the sole survivors.  The have a small shot at getting home.  One of the ship’s escape pods is located 15 kilometers away.  To get to it they will have to cross an unforgiving environment full of carnivorous dinosaurs, poisonous plants and bugs, quicksand, landslides and more.  The Earth 65 million years ago is a dangerous place.  Oh, and Mills just learned that the main meteor in the ring his ship went through is due to hit earth in 12 hours… and that meteor is a planet-killer.  The clock is ticking.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Reviewers haven’t been kind to 65.  I was pleasantly surprised that it resonated with me much more than most.  It caused me to jump more than a couple of times.

Unlike many films of this nature, when the lead character is injured, he just shakes it off.  In 65, Mills’ injuries appear painful and take their toll.

While 65 features a happy ending, it’s as Rocky Balboa might say, “Not all sunshine and roses.”  If it had been, maybe reviewers would have enjoyed it more.

65 (2023) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Night of the Living Dead” (1968) directed by George Romero / Z-View

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Director: George A. Romero

Screenplay: John Russo, George A. Romero

Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon, S. William Hinzman, Bill Cardille, John A. Russo, Russell Streiner and George A. Romero.

Tagline:  They won’t stay dead!

The Plot…

When the dead suddenly begin reanimating with a craving for human flesh, a group of strangers find themselves together in a deserted farmhouse.  As the group argues about their best moves for survival, the dead continue to gather outside!  Soon the farmhouse will be overrun.  The clock is ticking.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Night of the Living Dead, shot on a shoestring budget with most of the cast taking their first acting roles, reinvented and revitalized zombie movies.  Investors in the film, many of the people who worked on the film behind the scenes and some of locals ended up taking on-screen roles as well.

Although NotLD is one of the most profitable independent films of all-time.  Sadly, George Romero didn’t see much of the profits due to his little understanding of distribution deals.  To make matters worse, the film was released with no copyright notice which at the time placed it in the public domain.  Anyone or any company could make a sell copies of the movie with no proceeds going to George Romero or his investors.  That’s why there are so many crappy versions available.

NotLD takes place on the first day of a zombie apocalypse.  No one knows what is going on or the best course of action.  One of the interesting aspects of NotLD is that Harry Cooper argues that everyone is safer in the basement.  Cooper is the least likeable of the group and a different course of action is taken.  Turns out Cooper’s idea was the best.

Night of the Living Dead (1968) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“War of the Colossal Beast” (1958) produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon / Z-View

War of the Colossal Beast (1958)

Director: Bert I. Gordon

Screenplay: George Worthing Yates, story by Bert I. Gordon

Stars: Sally Fraser, Duncan ‘Dean’ Parkin, Russ Bender, Jack Kosslyn and Rico Alaniz.

Tagline:  The towering terror from hell!

The Plot…

When it is learned that Glenn Manning aka The Amazing Colossal Man is alive, the Army captures him for further study.  Manning was caught in the fallout from an atomic bomb test.  Although Manning survived the blast, radiation caused him to grow 60 feet tall.  Now horribly disfigured and brain damaged, Manning is a threat who may be beyond curing.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

War of the Colossal Beast is the sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man released a year earlier.

The movie gets more exciting once the army captures the Amazing Colossal Man.  A word of warning:  Be very careful should you ever give a giant an injection.  The scenes at the end outside the observatory are the best.  The last minute or so of the film appears in color and the change is effective.

War of the Colossal Beast (1958) rates 2 of 5 stars.

SGT. ROCK VS the ARMY OF THE DEAD by Bruce Campbell and Eduardo Risso!

Bruce Campbell teamed with Eduardo Risso to create SGT. ROCK VS the ARMY OF THE DEAD.  Here’s the lowdown…

Berlin, 1944. The Nazis are besieged on all fronts by the Allied forces. Defeat is inevitable. But Hitler and his team of evil scientists attempt a last-ditch effort that may turn the tide of the war and rewrite history itself: a serum that resurrects their dead soldiers, stronger than they were in life, and sends them back into the battlefield.

Now Sgt. Frank Rock and Easy Company have been dispatched into enemy territory to face off against the strangest, most horrific enemies they’ve ever encountered: Nazi zombies!

Sgt. Rock and Easy Company are behind enemy lines, armed to the teeth, and ready to go up against the strangest-and deadliest-enemies they’ve ever encountered: zombies, and a whole lot of ’em! Strap in, soldiers, it’s you against the world…of the dead!

Horror icon Bruce Campbell and comics legend Eduardo Risso bring you a terror-soaked Sgt. Rock tale like no other!

Collects DC Horror Presents: Sgt. Rock vs. The Army of the Dead #1-6.

“Gangnam Zombie” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Here we have the poster and trailer for Gangnam Zombie.  I’m always down for a good drive-in movie.  Gangnam Zombie looks to fit the bill.

Zombies done Gangnam Style.  ; )

Soon after previously normal people begin viciously attacking other citizens in Seoul’s wealthy Gangnam district, the zombie population grows exponentially and spreads throughout the region. Now, long after injuries forced him to quit the national taekwondo team, an elite former athlete is given one more opportunity to use his talent on behalf of his country as he takes on one final match—this time, against terrifying hordes of the undead.

Directed by: Lee Su-seong
Cast: Ji Il-ju, PARK Ji-yeon, CHO Kyung-hoon