Saturday, January 17, 2015

TV Terrors: Tales From The Darkside - The Milkman Cometh

It's been a long time since I've reviewed any television episodes.  As a matter of fact the last time was July 12, 2013 when I reviewed The Twilight Zone's classic episode The Invaders!  I think it's time I give some love to the terror tube, considering how much vintage horror/sci-fi/fantasy TV I've been watching lately!  So tonight we're going to take a look at one of it's less talked about episodes:  The Milkman Cometh.  I haven't seen this particular episode probably since it first aired back in the 80's, so it was really quite fun to view it with a fresh pair of eyes.  It was especially fun, as always to see actors that you're familiar with in shows like this. 

The episode revolves around The Cooley Family.  There's the father, Garry (Robert Forster), mother, Ruth (Shannon Wilcox) and son, Sandy (Chad Allen).  One night as Ruth is ironing and Garry is working on his newest ad pitch (apparently he's in marketing), Sandy comes home and asks if he can have a birthday present early because he seems to have lost his watch.  When Ruth replies that he will just have to wait and try looking for his watch, Sandy replies that he'll just ask The Milkman.

 Confused (naturally) Ruth asks him what The Milkman has to do with anything.  Sandy goes on to inform his parents that all over the neighborhood, people are asking The Milkman for things by leaving notes for him in their milk boxes the night before delivery.  Sure enough Ruth scoffs at the idea.  Garry tells his son that he'll buy him a new watch the next day if he still hasn't found it.

Later that night, we see Gary writing a note to The Milkman and putting it out in the milk delivery box.  In the morning, sure as lactose intolerant go-go dancing midgets love chocolate, Sandy has a new watch!  As the episode continues on, we learn that most of the men in the neighborhood are aware of The Milkman's gift giving.  Friends of the family Howard and Edna are over for dinner one night and Howard starts to spill the beans about it.  Garry sends the women to the kitchen and starts to reprimand Howard, until he finds out that Edna knows the deal.  Apparently, Howard has been asking for a new car every week for about two months and the old "I won it in a contest" excuse was running a bit thin.

Everything seems to be going swell for the Cooley's.  Garry's got money coming in (from The Milkman) as well as a ton of great ideas for his novel.  He and Ruth are even expecting the baby girl that they've always wanted.  Ruth is getting a bit suspicious of her husband however and starts to question him about The Milkman.  Garry's been drinking more lately and is a lot more on edge.  One day as he's working on his novel, Howard comes to visit and tells him that Edna is dead.  She died in a car wreck while driving one of his newly won cars. 

I won't spoil the whole thing for you, and will leave off the plot synopsis there.  There's a fun twist to the whole thing and while it's a bit of a slow burn episode, it does have a fun kick at the end that makes it all worth it. 

As I mentioned before, it was fun to see some actors that I recognized.  First of all, there's Robert Forster, whom you may know from a good many different films and shows.  He's been shows like Banyan, Jake & The Fatman and of course Police Story as well as films like Jackie Brown, SuperNova & Me, Myself & Irene!  Even if after looking through these six examples he's not ringing a bell, once you see him you'll go "OH YEAH!  THAT GUY!".

Chad Allen was a popular child star in the 80's, appearing in the show Webster as one of Webster's friends, though I'm sure most people will recognize him more from his roles in St. Elsewhere and Our House.  Though if you're reading this then you're like me and you know him best as Sherman in TerrorVision!  Hell yeah!

Though this was a "slower" episode so to speak, it still had that fantastic Tales from the Darkside vibe that most of the shows carried with them.  To be perfectly honest, this almost felt like it early Stephen King at times, though this episode was penned by Charles L. Grant and Donald Wollner.  Mr. Grant having been a former president and trustee of the Horror Writers that's gotta count for something!

This episode was directed by John Strysik.  Mr. Strysik has not directed a lot of other shows or films, but what he has directed is quite notable:  Six episodes of Tales from the Darkside, one episode of Monsters, three episodes of Land of the Lost as well as several other features.  Most interestingly, a short film in 1980 based on H.P. Lovecraft's The Music of Erich Zann, which I am now on a quest to find and watch!

The Milkman Cometh first aired on January 25, 1987 and is Episode #13 on Season 3. 

*Due to some technical difficulties, I do not have any screen captures of my own right now, so I was at the mercy of the internet to find some screen caps.  Please do forgive me this one time.  I will go back and reinsert my own screencaps at the closest convenience! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Disappearance of Flight 412 - UFO Shadow Ops

The Disappearance of Flight 412
D: Jud Taylor
W: George Simpson & Neal R. Burger

S: Glenn Ford, Bradford Dillman & David Soul
Not Rated - Approx 72 Min.
Cine Films/Cinemobile Productions

 - If One Tenth Of 1% Of UFO Sightings Are Real, Flight 412 Found It...

Alternate Titles:
Az eltűnt járat rejtélye - (Mystery of the Missing Flight) Hungary

"You want me to keep quiet?  Then give me an order.  I WANT AN ORDER!"
                                                                         - Capt. Roy Bishop

Aliens.  UFO's.  If you've read Midnight Cinephile for any length of time you know that I have a love/hate relationship with them.  Actually it's more of a fascination/terror kind of thing.  On one hand the thought that we could be alone in the universe is a deeply depressing thought.  What a waste of space....literally.  In an ever expanding universe that is, quite frankly, bigger than any of us realize, it's a deeply troubling thought that there is no one else out there.  From what we can see in our little drop of water in the ocean of space, it's a beautiful place full of wonder and beauty.  What good is all that wonder and beauty if there is no one there to appreciate it.

Everyone drinks coffee while they're watching radar!  

See those three blips in the upper left?  Thems UFO'S!

On the flip side of the coin is the utterly terrifying notion that we are NOT alone.  That there are other planets out there with life completely unlike our own.  That really boils down to the basics, doesn't it?  We fear the unknown.  We fear what we cannot and do not understand.  Are they friendly?  Are they hostile?  I guess we'll never know that until we get full disclosure on the subject.

That brings me to another aspect of the whole alien/UFO enigma:  Goverment Cover-Ups.  Area 51.  Roswell.  MiB,  The Battle of Los Angeles in 1942.  Eisenhower's 1954 Extraterrestrial Meeting.  There are so many more incidents that are now infamous, yet we still do not know the truth about them.  Is the government concealing and covering up the truth about aliens?  Why?  Is it to protect us or are there more sinister motivations at play?

"I can't believe what I'm hearing!"

This is a typical scene.  Lots of phone calls and people standing around.
I could go on all day long about aliens, UFO's, government conspiracies and the such, but you didn't come here for that.  You came here to hear about a little made for TV flick called The Disappearance of Flight 412.

The film starts us off with a photograph of a UFO.  The narrator informs us that people have been viewing and photographing UFO's for years.  Thousands of people all testifying to seeing these bizarre craft in our skies.  Some turn out to be hoaxes....but if even one out of all the thousands of reports turns out to be real.....that is still one very real UFO.

"So, the jet's just disappeared, eh?  I saw David Copperfield do that trick before..."

This is Trottman.  He's a dick.

The film takes an almost documentary style approach.  We are introduced to Colonel Pete Moore who is heading up the Whitney Radar Test Group.  They've been experiencing some technical difficulties lately and so he sends a crew of four men, led by Captain Roy Bishop out on a test flight mission.  Flight 412 detects three anomalous blips on their radar and two fighter jets are scrambled to intercept.  The jets vanish right before the crew's eyes. So technically, it's really not the vanishing of Flight 412....but that's neither here nor there.

After the jets vanish, Flight 412 is ordered to land by a top secret military controlled organization who are basically a shadow op that is trying to keep a lid on UFO activity.  The crew lands and they are split into twos and  detained in separate rooms.  Digger Control is housed in a dilapidated complex, which struck me as pretty strange.  Sure, it looks nondescript from the outside and you certainly wouldn't guess that there's a shadow op going on there....but this place is literally falling apart at the seems.  It looks like it's been abandoned for 30 years before they moved in.  Very odd.

Colonel Moore is being kept out of the loop on the status of his men and so along with Major Dunning, he seeks out the operation and goes to get his men back.  We learn that Digger Control is run by a Lt. Col. Trottman.  Apparently no one except the grunts wear any kind of uniforms on this base...they're all decked out in 70's-tastic plaid and sunglasses.  At night.  Inside a broken down building.  Bunch of weirdos.

Colonel Moore and Major Dunning to the rescue!

After sitting around Digger Control for 18 hours, it's time to head home.

Anywhoo, as the Colonel and Major are kept waiting, Trottman and his team continue their "debriefing" of the crew of Flight 412.  Essentially breaking them down little by little, making them question their own integrity and such.  You know....typical shadow op stuff.  Jerks.  At one point Captain Bishop tries to make a break for the aircraft to radio the Colonel but gets caught and sent back to his room.  Close but no cigar, buddy.

What's especially interesting about the film is the fact that other than the photograph of the UFO shown at the beginning of the film (which is just a random photo and not one of the craft that Flight 412 encountered) we never see and extraterrestrial aircraft.  All we see are three blips on the radar screen, but you know....that's enough.  They still manage to soak tension out of the whole sequence.  After the jet fighters vanish and Flight 412 lands, it becomes more of a shadow op thriller.

Not one single solitary drop of blood.

Negative, good buddy.

Nuh-uh.  Unless you wanna count the radar blips, which represent UFO's which may or may not be piloted by beings from another planet.

This is not, I repeat NOT and action flick.  While it's not explicitly based off of any particular real life incident, you can find similar happens all over the place if you do a little research into UFO's.  There have been many accounts of airplane pilots reporting strange objects in the sky.  Personally, I found the whole film to be fascinating.  If you're serious about UFO films then you may very well enjoy it as well.  This is more of a rainy afternoon movie than a late night romp.

Flight 412 encounters something unexplained.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Crater Lake Monster - Plesiosaur Pandemonium

The Crater Lake Monster
D: William R. Stromberg
W: William R. Stromberg &Richard Cardella 

S: Richard Cardella, Glen Roberts & Mark Siegel 
Rated PG - Approx 85 Min.
Crown International Pictures

 - A beast more frightening than your most terrifying nightmare!

Alternate Titles:
Το τέρας της λίμνης (The Monster of the Lake)  Greece

" shoes hurt."
                                 - Mitch

For as long as man has been around, there have been stories of monsters.  Stories of large hairy beasts that bridge the link between man and ape.  Stories of giant Thunderbirds who could swoop out of the sky and steal animals and children.  And of course, the stories of lake monsters.  Perhaps the most famous lake monster is of course, Nessie (better known as The Loch Ness Monster).  Many people think that Nessie is a modern myth, but in fact sightings date back as far as the 6th Century.

Woah!  Cavemen killed the dinosaurs?!

That there is a meteorite.  

I mention this because as The Crater Lake Monster begins we join a scientific team who have discovered a cave painting depicting cavemen fighting a dinosaur.  Unfortunately as they are examining the ancient cave art, a meteorite lands in Crater Lake which causes the cave to become unstable and collapse.  Luckily our scientific friends get out in time.  Unluckily, the meteorite has awakened something in the lake.  I don't think it's really a spoiler to let the dino out of the bag and just tell you up front it's a plesiosaurus......just like Nessie!

The film follows the monster on the loose formula to the T.  A few suspicious disappearances followed by the later discovery of the corpses.  A few reports of a monster running rampant are disbelieved by the sheriff until he himself runs smack dab into it.  There are some fantastic moments of cinematic cheddar, such as the conversation Sheriff Hanson and Doc Calkins have on a boat while divers are searching for the meteorite.  The dialog is straight out of a 50's monster flick with lines such as "After what I saw in that cave, the scientific community will have to change many of it's theories!" and other such vague and scientifically nonsensical bits.  The acting fits the dialog like a glove as well.
Sheriff Hanson

Best cheesy dialog in the whole film
There's also the comic relief duo Artie and Mitch...a couple of local yokels who rent boats on Crater Lake.  They're your classic Abbott & Costello or Laurel & Hardy duo....though neither one of them is really the straight man.  They're both a pair of bumbling idiots, but I found them quite endearing.

And then there's the monster.  Most of the time we get a nicely animated stop motion creature, while the close-ups of it's head us a giant puppet head.....again lending itself quite nicely to the 50's monster vibe.  The creature is not "over shown" nor is it hidden until the very end of the film....this is one of the few films that I think really gets the monster ratio right.

Artie & Mitch:  Hillbilly Yucksters.  

He just wanted to HEAD out onto the lake.  Get it?  GET IT?  

There's not a ton of blood, but the blood we get is of the Cherry Kool-Aid variety.  Very watery and a funky bright red color.  We do get a pretty nifty severed head too, which was sort of surprising considering the film's PG rating!

Nope.  Sorry boys.  Monsters killin' people is gonna have to suffice on this one.

One big-ass fresh water Plesiosaur!

That's enough to make your sphincter tighten!

Final Thoughts:
I really had a lot of fun with this one.  It's a great flick for a rainy or a (I'm my case) snowy afternoon.  Nice cup of hot chocolate and perhaps a donut.  It's a heck of a lot of fun.  If you like monster flicks then give it a shot.

The Sheriff takes on the monster in a tractor!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Personal Message To My Readers.

I know that I've been MIA for quite some time.  I promise that things will resume normalcy again.  I have been debating whether or not I was going to write about  what's been going on and I've decided that it can't hurt.  Perhaps it will help me to deal with the current situation that I and my family regrettably find ourselves in.

As you may or may not know, my mother in law has cancer and has been fighting the battle for over two years now.  There have been ups and downs, good days and bad.  For a while it looked as though things were in an upswing with no signs of the cancer returning after a couple of surgeries.  Unfortunately, the cancer returned and more growths were found. More chemo-therapy.  More radiation.  She got weaker, she'd get a little better and then something new would crop up.

As you know, back in August I had an incident in which I was very nearly shot in head when a gunfight broke out across the street from my condo and a bullet came through my living room wall mere inches from my head.  After that, the Mrs. and I packed up and we moved up to New Hampshire and converted her parent's basement into an in-law apartment.  I never would have imagined what a blessing in disguise that move was.

October saw my mother in law getting worse.  A new symptom appeared:  A mysterious pain in her side cropped up after her last round of radiation.  Doctors were unable to explain it, and we were put into a holding pattern, waiting for a PET scan to see if there were more growths that were forming outside of the radiation zones.  For weeks she put on her bravest face and went about each day as best she could, while in constant pain.

The pain would seem to get worse and then better and then back to worse than ever.  No medications seemed to be able to touch the pain.  Some of the pain meds made her ill, some gave her strange side effects and it became a nightmare for her to try to new medications.  It was so frustrating as pill after pill failed to make her feel better. She would grow more and more tired as the days and weeks wore on.

Two and a half weeks ago, she was rushed to the Emergency Room with chest pain radiating into her arm.  After hours in the hospital they concluded that it was not cardiac.  There was, indeed another growth inside her ribs yet outside her lungs.  The chest pain dissipated after a few hours, but the arm pain remained.  She stayed in the ICU for four days while doctors tried to figure out what was going on.

When she came home from the hospital, she was noticeably drained.  She spent most of her time in bed, only emerging every now and then to sit on the loveseat in the living room for about 20 minutes before going back into the bedroom.  The arm pain continued for a few days and then went back into her chest and her back.  Then the pain started to manifest itself into her jaw.  Pain so intense that all she could to was shake violently and moan.  Visiting nurses, calls to the doctor....nothing helped.  She got weaker.  She got nauseous on a regular basis.  She hadn't eaten in four days.  Here speech was mumbled and garbled.  She started to have hallucinations.  "It's because of the cancer" was the answer we would constantly receive.

Last week she was again rushed to the emergency room at four in the morning.  We believed she was having a stroke.  She was unable to move the left side of her body.  She was unable to talk and there was a very noticeable facial droop.  All sure-fire signs of a stroke.  Not to mention the fact the she suffered a stroke two years before as well.

Once at the hospital, it was determined that her kidneys were failing and she was septic. She has a blood infection.  She was intubated and sedated and has been ever since.  She is unable to breath on her own.  She is unable to regulate her own blood pressure.  She is being kept alive on a mixture of medicine and machinery. I will be perfectly honest with you, I don't believe that she is going to wake up.  She is so very sick and her body has already endured so very much.  To see her lying in that bed is heartbreaking.  The doctors told us that she is so very sick that the cancer is the least of our worries.  There are a whole barrage of tests that they need to run, but they cannot because she is so weak.  They don't even know the extent of what is happening inside of her.  And so we languish in this state of purgatory.  It's a waiting game.

Even more heartbreaking is watching my wife and my father in law try to cope with this.  I love them both so very much and it absolutely kills me that not only can I do nothing to help his wife/her mother, but there is nothing that I can do to help them and make them feel better.  I must simply watch them suffer.  For me that is the worst part.  Please don't misunderstand.  I love my mother in law as if she was my own mother.  I would give anything to make her better.  I am thankful however that in her sedated state, she is out of pain and she is unaware of what is happening.  She is sleeping and I like to think that she's having the most beautiful dreams.  In the waking world however, my wife and father in law are full of pain and sorrow.  I put my arms around them and I do everything I can to comfort them.  But at the end of the day, I cannot take their pain away.

I am truly sorry to have dumped this on you all.  I hold so much inside and I needed to get this out.  If you have read this entire post, I thank you for allowing me to expunge some of my pain into the ether so to speak.   I really needed to get this out of my system.

I will leave you with this:  Hug and kiss your loved ones.  Every single day.   Never go to bed angry.  Tell your friends and family that you love them every chance you get.  Life is precious and you never know when your final conversation with anyone could be.  Cliched?  Yeah, I guess so....but it's cliched because it's true.

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Joyous Kwanzaa
Happy Holidays

Whatever you celebrate, I hope that it is merry and bright and I wish you the best this holiday season.

And fear not!  Midnight Cinephile will return with a vengeance!

Until then,
I love you all.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

MST3K Turkey Day Marathon!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, Cinephiles!

I know it's been kind slim pickings around here this month, and I'm sorry about that.  Sometimes life just hands you a basket of artichokes and you have to try and make key lime pie out of it.

Don't try to figure out that last statement.

Anywhoo, as you may or may not know it's Turkey Day which can mean only one thing:  MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000's TURKEY DAY MARATHON!  Yes, that proud tradition that hearkens all the way back to 1991.  Okay, well it ran 1991 thru 1995 and was then resurrected in 2013, but that's really besides the point isn't it?  Oh yeah and the Sci Fi Channel ran a Turkey Day Marathon in '97 once too.

There are several places that you can watch the live marathon, including

or you can just hang out here and watch it right below!

The actual marathon starts at 12 Noon ET, but until then you can enjoy Manos:  The Hands of Fate on infini-loop!  Enjoy and Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Midnight Cinephile Podcast Part IV: A Weng's Chop Thanksgiving with Brian Harris

You asked for more and you got it!  Okay, well technically no one asked....I just sorta assumed that you wanted more because I haven't received any "Cease & Desist" letters or emails.

Anywhoo, check out the latest episode of MC.  My special guest this week and in the enigmatic and always fun Brian Harris.  Publisher and Co-Editor of Weng's Chop Magazine.....Brian is an import voice in the genre and I"m privileged to call him my friend.

Grab a beer, make yourself a turkey sandwich and don't skimp on the cranberry sauce because it's The Midnight Cinephile comin' at ya!

And as always you can download it directly HERE!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Night Vision - Viciously Haunted VCR

Night Vision
D: Michael Krueger
W: Nancy Gallanis, Michael Krueger, Leigh Pomeroy

S: Stacy Carson, Shirley Ross & Tony Carpenter
Not Rated - 102 Min

 - A Window To The Future And A Gate To Hell

Alternate Titles:
A Última Sessão (The Last Session) - Brazil
Vaarallinen video (Hazardous Video) - Finland
O aetos tis nyhtas (The Eagle of the Night) - Greece

"Do you know what we do to kids like you?  We lock them up in the back and make up watch Seasame you can't learn the alphabet!"

* This screen cap comes courtesty of KinderTrauma

October is done.  Halloween has come and gone.  It was quite an epic month and I would like to extend a slightly delayed, but very heartfelt THANK YOU to Brandon Early from Movies At Dog Farm for inviting me to participate in his Pre'Ween: 2014.  It was an absolute blast and I was in fantastic company with the myriad of other personalities contributing.  I can't wait for next year!

I know I've been away for a little while, but coming back from our trip to Sleepy Hollow, we kinda walked into a mini shit-storm of which I will not bore you with the details.  Suffice to say Midnight Cinephile had to take a spot on the back burner for a bit.  Things are more or less back on track now, however,  so let's just pick up and act like nothing happened!

Jill rings up Nazi Rectal Roundup for a customer (I'm not making that title up!)

Right, so....Night Vision.  This was backlogged on my DVR from the beginning of October.  I have absolutely no recollection of recording it and I was even more surprised that it said that it was recorded off of Turner Classic Movies.  Now, I really had no idea what the film was going to be like and I know that TCM will show some newer stuff every now and then....but it's description  (A would-be writer finds nightly inspiration from a satanic video tape) to be rather odd for them.....though they do show some out-there stuff on TCM Underground.  This may be the first time that I've seen an SOV horror flick however!

I digress.  Night Vision completely lived up to it's one-sentence synopsis.  A young writer named Andy moves from Kansas to The City.  To be honest, I don't think that they ever mention the city by I have to assume it's supposed to be New York or looks kinda chilly there.  Anyway, he arrives and moves into a flea bag motel with some colorful characters.  The owner is your typical tough-as-nails-take-no-bullshit-loudmouthed-with-a-good-heart-deep-down kinda woman.  You know the type.  There is also prostitute with a southern accent.  Just to keep us off guard, the prostitute is played by a man.  It's never made clear if it's supposed to be a drag queen or if the character is simply played by a male (like John Travolta playing the mother in Hairspray).  

This is Andy.  He's like a low rent Clark Kent...only no glasses....and he doesn't turn into Superman.

It's not long before Andy starts looking for a day job and applies at a small Mom & Pop video store (you KNOW this film automatically gets bumped up for featuring a Mom & Pop shop!).  There he meets Jill, a street-wise and crusty video clerks who's seen what the city can do to a wide eyed kid.  Speaking of kids, there's a kid trying to steal porno tapes from the store and when Jill catches him she threatens to tie up in the back room and make him watch Sesame Street in reverse!  Needless to say the dialog is really wonky, but that works in the film's favor and adds to the bizarre dream-like quality. 

On the way home from the video store, Andy saves a street hustler named Vinnie from two hooded figures who were threatening him.  Apparently, he stole something they want.  As a way of saying "Thank You" for the rescue, Vinnie steals some beer and invites Andy back to his place, where he gives him a stolen TV and VCR.  Nice guy, that Vinnie.  

That's not a leotard.....Vinnie's got matching undies and top!

This is where shit starts heading south for our poor nebbish hero.  See, Vinnie stole that TV and VCR from a local satanic cult.  What he didn't know was that there was a VHS tape (you remember those, right?  Be Kind....Rewind!) in the VCR.  Turns out the cult had been filming some of their rituals and the tape was imprinted with evil.  Every night Andy ends up watching the pulsing green screen intertwined with bizarre images.  The next thing he knows, he wakes up with a horror story completely written.  Unfortunately these horror stories are also mirroring terrible killings that are happening around the neighborhood.  Is Andy having visions?  Is he linked psychically to the satanic cult or even Satan himself?  Is he becoming possessed by a VCR?  This my friends, is drama!

I've gotta tell you that I was downright surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.  I went in not knowing what to expect and I came out pretty darn entertained.  Another win for the SOV movement of the 80's.  I'm sorry I didn't have time to pull my own screen caps for this one, but I did manage to find a few stills from around the net.  The stills I pulled were labeled as coming from You Tube and Vimeo so I don't have any names to give credit to.

There's a little bit of the red stuff splashed around, but not too much.

There's also a li'l bit o' skin on display as well during the obligatory love scene between Andy and Jill.  Oh yeah, and Vinnie in his underwear.  I'm still trying to forget that though.

Creatures Featured
No creatures...but we do get a satanic cult and a haunted VCR......that's something ya don't get to see too often!

Final Thoughts
This is a slow-burn type of film.  Not a lot happens for long stretches of time, but you won't even notice because you will be completely caught up in the surreal world of this characters and you'll want to just hang around with them.  As near as I can tell this is a VHS only title....but I really don't think that this flick needs a DVD release.  It breathes and bleeds analog and that's pretty damn amazing.

Final Rating 
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Midnight Cinephile Podcast Episode #3

It's here!

Dig in, kiddies....your old pal The Midnight Cinephile has a special Halloween treat for you!
In this episode of the podcast, I am joined by Rue Morgue scribe, April Snellings and we discuss all things 80's horror and then delve off into even stranger territory with topics such as Bigfoot, Feji Mermaids and setting loved one's on fire with BBQ's!

It's all in here and it's all for you, Damien!

Give a listen here on the website using the player below:

Or you can download it direct from Lybsin HERE!
You will be able to download from iTunes shortly.

I had a fantastic time talking with April and I know that you'll have a fantastic time listening to our epic conversation! Happy Halloween!

The Midnight Hour - Get Dead!

The Midnight Hour
D: Jack Bender
W: William Bleich

S: Lee Montgomery, Shari Belafonte & LeVar Burton
TV Movie - Approx 94 Min.


Alternate Titles: 
 -La noche del baile de medianoche (Prom Night Midnight) - Spain
 -Halloweenin hetki (Halloween Time) - Finland
 -La Notte di Halloween (The Halloween Night) - Italy
 -Creeps - Eine unheimliche Geisternacht (A Chilling Ghost Night)- West Germany

 -Halloween - Besuch aus dem Jenseits (Visit From Beyond the Grave) - West Germany

"I'm Dead.  You're Dying.  Everyone should try it.  Get Dead!"

There are some films that just perfectly encapsulate certain holidays.  A Christmas Story will forever be branded (in my mind) as the quintessential Christmas film.  It simply is not Christmas if I don't watch Ralphie on his quest for an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle at least 10 times.  It's not Thanksgiving to me unless I've watched Home For The Holidays at least twice.  Halloween is a tricky time for me because I have many favorites that must be watched throughout October.  While Garfield's Halloween Adventure is still at the tip top of the list, The Midnight Hour is a very close second.

Skull Kid riding a bike, delivering newspapers.  I think that's about as Your Town USA as you can get!

The gang heads to the local cemetery to try on the clothing of dead people.  Super idea.

The Midnight Hour is a fairly obscure ABC produced TV-Movie about a group of teens living in the fictional New England town of Pitchford Cove (or PitchFORK Cove as their ancestors called it in the late 1600's called it).  Some of the students are the direct descendants of witches and witchhunters from the town's beginnings.  Some of their ancestor's clothing is on display at the local witchcraft museum.  The kids think it would be a swell idea to break in and "borrow" the costumes for their big Halloween party.

After a successful clothing heist (that includes stealing an old trunk), the head off to the local cemetery to try on the costumes.  Cause, why not, right?  Inside the trunk they find an ancient scroll which appears to be written in blood.  One of the girls decides to read it out loud as a joke....since her great-great-great-great-great grandmother was an evil witch and all.  What's the worst that could happen?  Well, as fate would have it, she unleashes a curse that awakens the dead.  It seems that some of the dead are evil, some are confused and then there's Sandy.  A 50's era cheerleader who just wants to fall in love before she has to go back to the grave.

I loved this guy in Thriller.....

I have no idea what the hell he's supposed to be, but I dig it!

As the zombies roam around town causing havoc, it would appear that there is also a werewolf on the loose.  It would also appear that the evil witch is back as well.....and she's a freaking vampire to boot!  Damn!  If you're into Thriller-style zombies then you're going to feel right at home with this.  Especially when everyone at the party breaks into a song and dance number titled "Get Dead"!  It is pure 80's cheddar that tastes oh-so-good!

The ladies are about to get it on in the wine cellar.....but not in a good way.

Zombies love to party.

For an ABC TV-Movie, this has some surprisingly effective scenes in it, including the evil vampire witch attacking her great-great-great-great-great granddaughter in the wine cellar of the house where the party is being held.  Everything kicks into slow motion during the attack as corks pop off of wine bottles and red wine jettisons forth like streams of blood, all while The Smiths' "How Soon is Now?" plays with some spooky overlays in the background.

There's a lot of great actors to keep an eye out for while you're watching this one:  Kurtwood Smith, Kevin McCarthy, Dick Van Patten are just some of the familiar faces that you'll see here.  Not to mention a very young,  LeVar Burton & Shari Belafonte (Harry Belafonte's daughter!)!

Sandy...the hot, cheerleader ghost.

Shit!  Clarence Boddicker is a goddamn zombie!

There's a little bit of the red stuff on tap, but not much.  This is less about gore and more about the nostalgic Halloween feel.

No skin, kiddies.  This is a made for TV-Movie.

Creatures Featured
You get zombies, ghouls, vampires, ghosts, werewolves and witches all under one roof!  What's not to love about that?!

Final Thoughts
It's a crime that this film doesn't have it's on Blu Ray release with an isolated soundtrack and a ton of Halloweentastic extras.  This should be on everyone's must-watch list for Halloween.  I cannot recommend this film highly enough!  Seek it out and enjoy!

Final Rating
Five out of Five Pizza Rolls

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Death Valley - Ralphie Runs For His Life!!!

Death Valley
D: Dick Richards
W: Richard Rothstein

S: Paul Le Mat, Catherine Hicks & Peter Billingley
Rated R     -     Approx. 87 Minutes
Cinema VII

 - Welcome To Death Valley

 - Not even a scream escapes...

Alternate Titles
Pesadelo no Vale da Morte (Nightmare in Death Valley)  - Brazil
El valle de la muerte (The Valley of Death)  - Colombia
La Vallée de la Mort (The Valley of Death) - France
Dolina smierci (Valley of Death) - Poland
O Vale das Sombras (The Valley of Shadows) - Portugal

Küçük Kahraman - Ölüm Vadisi  (Little Hero - Death Valley)- Turkey

"Billy, the phone's's for you."

I love it when a movie comes out of nowhere and endlessly surprises me.  I hadn't heard of Death Valley before Scream Factory released their Blu Ray/DVD double disc.....though the cover did look oddly familiar.  Perhaps I glimpsed it at a video store in my youth and then forgot about it, who knows.  The point is that this was a blind buy for me.  I knew I had to buy it as soon as I saw Peter Billingsley was in it.

"HOLY SHIT!  RALPHIE'S IN A HORROR MOVIE!" I shouted to no one in particular.

I bought it and there it stayed in the movie vault for some time.  Then the whole nearly getting shot in the head thing happened, we packed up and moved in the the wilds of New Hampshire and I forgot all about it until I was searching through my film library this evening looking for some rainy night entertainment and I came face to face with this magnificent cover again.

"BINGO!"  I yelled.

"What?"  The Mrs jumped in her chair.

"I've got the perfect movie!  Just wait until you see what I've got!" I giggled like a mentally handicapped ape.

"Oh boy."  The Mrs. was not looking impressed.

That's when I popped in the Blu Ray and without a word ran the trailer for her.  Her eyes widened.

"Ralphie's in a horror movie!" She perked up!

"HELL'S YEAH!"  I yelled.

"Ssshhhhh"  She hushed me.  "I can hear you, I'm right here."

I tend to get a little too excited and boisterous sometimes.  My bad.

And thus or cinematic adventure to Death Valley began.  Little did I know in those first moments before the credits even started how awesome actors are in this thing!  Catharine Hicks (who of course was in Child's Play) is mean Billy's Mom.  His Dad is played by none other than Edward Herrmann!  You know him....we was Max in Lost Boys!  SYEAH!  As if that wasn't cool enough, we've got Wilford Brimley playing the Sheriff and Paul Le Mat (from Strange Invaders!) as Mike, Billy's Mom's boyfriend!  It was a total 80's overload of awesome.  Seriously, I was that excited.


Say.....could that be the infamous Black Bart?

Death Valley is also a surprisingly good flick.  Not quite a slasher (the body count is only around six....which is more than some slashers, I suppose....but the kills are rather sporadic), it falls more into the suspense/thriller category.  See, Billy's out in Arizona on vacation with  his mom and her boyfriend when he unwittingly and unknowingly steps into a murder scene.  While he doesn't find the bodies of the victims, he does find an unusual golden frog medallion.

I love boobs as much as the next guy, but I think I would notice that dude grabbing a knife.....

.......and that's what happens when you only pay attention to boobs.

The killer, finds out that Billy has the medallion and is afraid that he will be able to ID him, so he begins to pursue him, trying to kill him in various places.  What works so well for a large part of the film is that we the audience know exactly what's going on.  Billy and his family have no idea and we cringe as the killer tries multiple times to kill Billy, including a close call in a tourist attraction called Frontier Town, where the killer is disguised as an old west gunman with a bandanna over his face.  Billy thinks he's just one of the actors at Frontier Town and engages him in what he thinks is a make believe gun fight in the trinket museum.

It ain't no Red Rider BBQ Gun, but he still pulls off some sweet trick shots while watching a western!

Why do psychos always end up on the roof with a shotgun?

The last act of the film is intense as the killer comes for Billy at night when his mother and her boyfriend leave him with a babysitter while they go out on a date.  As you would expect in a flick like this, the babysitter gets offed and Billy is left to fend for himself.  It's a cat and mouse game as the killer closes in on him.  The ending was a bit rushed, but all in all it was a pretty good flick with a bit of a twist ending that you will probably see coming (though I didn't.....which kinda surprised me).

We've got some red stuff spraying here as our friendly neighborhood psycho does his deeds.  What I especially loved is the fact that they use the melted red crayon style blood.

We do get to see a rather firm pair of breasts early on in the flick!  They're not there for long, but hey beggars can't be choosers!

Creatures Featured
What we've got here is a certified psychopath!  He's pretty damn creepy too.

Final Thoughts
I had fun with this flick.  It's got it's share of problems (in a larger fellow, I didn't care for the way they treated hefty people!  Sure, us big folks like our food just fine, but we're not going to die if we're not eating every five seconds.  I mean seriously....(SLIGHT SPOILER) the babysitter is killed because she got baited with free soda after eating a bunch of chocolate, corn chips and is on the way back to the room with a banana split. Sheesh.) but all in all, it's a good time and I do believe I now know why Ralphie in A Christmas Story has fantasies about facing off with a bandit called Black Bart!  Total reference to this flick!

Final Rating
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls