Tuesday 2 May 2017


Welcome back, Today's offering is a film not many will have heard off and one when I was a child I was scared of.  Cellar Dweller is a 1988 horror film about artists that work in the old house that belonged to a comic book creator who died in a fire back in the 1950's.   Well that's the basic starting point, but lets get started.

The film starts suddenly on VHS and opens with Gothic text informing you "30 Years Ago" and we pan down from a full moon to see Jeffery Combs from Re-Animator (1985) inking comic book frames, then we get some shots based off what he is drawing, filmed in the style of Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981) at this point it is not clear what is going on with the editing but it does become clear I promise.

The monster of Jeffery's Comic is the Cellar Dweller and is a large ugly beast with a pentagram in a circle on its chest.

This is where it gets silly, wouldn't you just know it Jeffery Combes has a spell book, that looks a bit like the Necronomicon.  He should know better as he has been in a few HP Lovecraft inspired films and HP Lovecraft did enjoy using the Necronomicon in his stories.  When will people learn nothing good comes from that book.  Though I will admit I do enjoy Ash vs Evil Dead.

So Jeffery reads from the book he even reads the warning, but ignores it.  Right behind him the comic becomes real, he runs off.  Jeffery grabs the axe that appeared after he drew it in the comic and heads back to fight the beast in the cellar, but this is dark magic and it can't be killed by an axe, Jeffery pics up some paper and lights it so he can see the beast.

However, he has lit the pages of the comic therefore killing the beast and as he watches the beast die he drops the burning pages on some cloth and accidentally sets fire to the house trapping himself and dies. 

This all happened in under 10 minutes the beast is defeated and Jeffery is dead, so how is there still another hour and 10 minutes of this film?

Well the credits start rolling so you would think maybe someone forgot to rewind the film but no that would be to easy.

While the credits are rolling, I will give you some information on this film's creators, these credits are going on for quite a while and I don't want to fall asleep before the rest of the films starts.  The credits state that it was written by someone called Kit Du Bois, this is a pseudonym for Don Mancini the writer and creator of the Child's Play (Chucky) Films, this is his first film credit and he choose to be credited as Kit Du Bois I tried to find out why but I couldn't.  John Carl Buechler directed this film he directed Troll (1986) and Ghoullies 3 so that could explain the look of the beast.

Finally the credits are over, on with the film. and just in case you forgot the opening was set 30 years ago, they put on screen in Gothic text that it is "30 Years Later"

We are introduced to our heroine Whitney Taylor played by Debrah Farentino who arrives at the Art institute that was set up in the location of Jeffrey's home from the start of the film.  It is a dark stormy night. (Oh the horror stereo type.) Yvonne De Carlo of The Munsters fame startles her, they go to Yvonne's office and Whitney gives a history of her life and her love of the Cellar Dweller Comics.

In Classic fashion Whitney is told she is not wanted at the institute but that the board have stated that Yvonne had to find somewhere for her.  She is then shown around the building and told that the Cellar is off limits and Whitney imagines a hideous version of Jeffery killing the girl that was a nameless victim of the beast at the start of film.  Whitney is introduced to all the other artists in the institute that include painters, videographers, performance artists and a writer.

We see another of Whitney's nightmares and then one of the artists is outside screaming to the moon just to release her tension.  We get some more back story about Whitney and her enemy Amanda who is at the institute.  Whitney goes exploring the cellar though she was told it as off limits and we get an obvious jump scare because Phillip who is a finger painter startles her in the cellar.  Whitney finds the Necronomicon and reads the passage from the start of the film so the spell is activated.  Whitney then requests to be allowed to work and sleep in the cellar. 

Amanda and Yvonne conspire to get rid off Whitney, but Amanda becomes the first new victim of the Beast that Whitney has created from the original art, she draws a comic strip where Amanda is attacked and eaten by the beast.  What has been drawn happens, but no one hears Amanda's screams for help.

We are 43 minutes into the film with another 31 minutes left and though the Beast in the comic asks Who's next.  I just don't care.

One by one the other artists are killed off by the beast either by Whitney's design or by the Beasts choosing, it really doesn't matter the other characters are in the film just to be victims.  Whitney and Phillip discover the beast is real and that Whitney brought the beast to life with her imagination and tries to destroy it by lighting the pages on fire but it doesn't work and Phillip vanishes and Yvonne De Carlo becomes the beast and attacks Whitney.

Whitney trows stuff at the beast and chucks white out which lands on the comic causing the beast to disappear.  Whitney then uses her art to try and bring everyone back and chains up the beast in her drawings.  This all appears to work, Whitney and Phillip burn the comic art to kill the beast but she also destroys the ones she just drew of all the other artists and she is left on her own, or so she thinks and the beast reappears and credits roll as we hear her being eaten by the beast.

I should explain how I know this films, you see when I was 8 or 9 years old, my dad rented this film and let me and my little brother watch it with him.  Now having watched this as an adult I can see no issue with the film it is not scary it is short, it is predicable and has all your classic requirements for a 80's horror film jump scares, gratuitous tit shots and characters with no back story there just to be killed.
But I, as my husband will account, can be easily scared as I have a vivid imagination.

The monster in this film, when I was younger, was the thing of nightmares.  It was my Sully but not funny, I was so afraid as a kid I literally could not go near my bed because I thought this monster was underneath it and I would jump on to my bed from a distance and not let my arms hang off the bed as I was scared it would pull me under, you get the idea.

So why did this movie which is so bad scare me so much, well I think it is like Sadako in Ringu, making something you like and trust, TV and in this case a comic something terrifying, but who knows.  I was sacred of Michael Jackson in the Thriller video so Maybe I was just a scaredy cat.

The whole premise of the film is that imagination can create monsters, therefore as long as you have the monster in your imagination it cannot be killed.  However, this means that by the beast killing Whitney at the end it killed it's self as there was no one left to hold the beast in there imagination.

This is a short harmless film, would I recommend it probably not, it has an interesting cast list but that is all it feels more like a pilot for a series similar to Tales From The Crypt, even the style of the comic in the film is in the same style as the title of that show and comic series.

I would say it's worth a watch if you like bad 80's horror or Jeffery Combs.

Well till next time.

Tuesday 25 April 2017


King Kong Lives is a direct sequel to the 1976 film King Kong staring Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges.  One of my issues with that film, was that King Kong swaggers up to the Twin Towers and doesn't move like a gorilla but that is for another blog for another day.

To start with King Kong Lives makes it clear that it is a sequel, by showing us the ending of King Kong and him falling to his death from the Twin Towers.  They then state it is 10 year later and that King Kong has been in a coma ever since the fall. (Char Right.)

The University that owns King Kong have been keeping him alive and have built him a giant replacement heart, but they need blood from his species to perform the operation. (Cause no other Ape species blood will do for the King.)  Since he is the only known giant gorilla there is no hope and they have wasted a fortune keeping the creature alive and building a giant mechanical heart. (How is this University still operating, they should be bankrupt)

Meanwhile, in a small studio covered in green jungle plants our male hero is introduced Hank Mitchell.  Think Jack Colton from Romancing the Stone but cheaper and dumber.  He apparently has been walking his donkey for a while and they decide to take a nap, and wouldn't you just know it he tries to take a nap in Lady Kong's hand (I think the film makers should have called her Queen Kong.) she is smitten with Hank and runs after him.  Thankfully he is saved by the native extras from the beginning of Raiders who knock her out with blow darts.

As quickly as that we have another Kong and the University are bidding on it as they need the plasma for King Kong but they don't want the female ape.

So the Female ape is bought and shipped to the university so that they can get the blood and finally do the operation they have been waiting 10 years to do and bring King Kong back to life.

When I was 6 years old and saw this film, the operation scene was very memorable for me and I thought it was amazing.  Now as an adult it kind of works, but I feel like I'm watching Lilliputians operate on Gulliver and it just looks ridiculous, I feel like people could have fallen into the open chest cavity and been lost.

If they  re did the operation today it would be performed in a similar way to key hole surgery but with massive tools operated by giant robot hands rather then by Linda Hamilton.

Linda is wielding that giant medical saw.

After the Operation King Kong wakes up from the induced coma on his own and can smell Lady Kong and he is seriously horny then again most men are when they wake up.  Linda is worried about the new heart so sedates him.

Kong wakes up again that night and hears Lady Kong's cries and he brakes out of the operating theatre that he has been in and gets to her and frees her, they run off into the Arkansa mountains.   Hank Mitchell and Amy (Linda Hamilton) go after the apes together and against the Army instructions.  they find the apes before the army and Amy keeps and eye on Kong's heart with a mobile computer.

The apes flirt as do Amy and Hank, so we get a human relationship mirroring the apes because a whole movie of the apes comunicating in gunts would be just as bad as the Star Wars Holiday special, no one needs that, just thinking of the Holiday special and the wookies makes me start to rock.

The Army Captures Lady Kong and puts her in a really deep pit and don't look after her very well and blow up King Kong, or so they think.  King Kong is still alive and recuperating in the swamps and searching for Lady Kong.

King Kong has been living in the swamp for 8 months unnoticed and Amy and Hank have been trying to get access to Lady Kong and set up a reserve for them in Bornio. When Amy and Hank do get to see her they see she is not well and not eating.  and no one has realised that Lady Kong is pregnant.  King Kong leaves the swamp, finally gets Lady Kongs scent and gets to her.

The Army attack and tries to kill them both King Kong takes all the bullets and colapses after Lady Kong has given birth to there son.  King Kong gets to see his son before he dies and we see lady Kong and Son of Kong living happliy in the reserve Hank set up for them.

This is a silly film and there is a lot of things that make no sense, but the film isn't awful i would say I would rather sit through multiple viewings of King Kong Lives than Peter Jackson's King Kong.

There are things wrong, like the fact there is no scar form the operation on King Kong's chest and the fact that the Army arn't using satalite images of America to find the apes and King Kong after they think they blew him up.

However, my personal favorite issue with this film is the fact that no one, not even Hank and Amy who slept very close to the apes in the mountains, heard or felt the vibrations of the two giant Apes making love.  Considering that other times in the film like when King Kong falls down the ground shakes and people nearly fall over themselves from the shock waves.

When I watched this film again for the first time since l was a child, I enjoyed it for exactly what it is pure cheesey 80's monster film, yes the special effects are dated and obvious, but that is true of any film over time.  I felt the ape acting was better then it was in King Kong (1976).

This is a film that a lot of people are unaware of or have forgotten, it wasn't a successful film, but it's fun, very silly, over the top and then very sweet.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Squirm (1976)

Well it is a new year and time to focus on some interesting films and to write my blogs and give my opinion on these films.

Squirm is a 1976 film about killer worms.  I know what your thinking, how on earth can worms kill someone?   My answer even after watching the film is I have no idea,  they claim that the killer worms are blood worms that bite. 

Now I admit that these worms are ugly and appear to have teeth, but still they are worms they aren't fast or very big.

So on with the film, it starts with a text scrawl explaining that on September 29thh 1975 a sudden electrical storm struck the small coastal town in Georgia, which caused the power lines in the town of Fly Creek to collapse, the power cables put electricity into the ground.  The storm also cut the town off from others. 

Yet another mother nature film claiming to be a true story with a text scrawl that states Fly Creek experienced what scientists believe to be one of the most bizarre freaks of nature ever recorded.  Seriously how gullible do they think we are to believe worms can kill.

We are then introduced to the stars of the film after shots of nature and worms we are shown a red headed girl in the shower and a gardener, Think Lawnmower man before VR.  The red head called Geri catches Roger the lawnmower man staring at her while undressed, well that's what happens when you stand naked in front of the window.

Geri needs to pick up her new boyfriend who is visiting her from New York, but with the roads flooded, she asks to use Rogers Truck.  I must explain Roger's Father is a worm farmer and sells them for bait, Roger transports the worms in the creates in the back of  his truck.

Mean while we finally see Geri's boyfriend Mick who appears to have everything you would need to camp out, he gets off a bus that has to turn back in the middle of the woods because there are trees down and the road is flooded.  Mick then asks the stupidest question "you don't know if there any toilets around here."

Just when you think he won't make it out of the woods, he falls into a deep hole and Geri finds him right then and bursts out laughing.  Ain't that lucky.

We see the road, which doesn't appear to be badly flooded at all, she tells him to hang on as they drive through a puddle.

Geri stops in town to get a block of ice for the house.  and Mick goes into a diner where the sleaziest sheriff ever has his hand right up the waitress' dress.  everyone in the diner is talking about the storm and Mick asks for a Egg cream which appears to be a chocolate milkshake and a worm is in it.

Now this is a diner for local people and as Mick is not local they all think he played a prank and that will continue for the rest of the film.

The film just doesn't make much sense, the sheriff doesn't believe Geri and Mick when they tell him on two separate occasions about dead bodies that they find as they appear to have disappeared when they take him to them.  This is classic of horror films that the law do not believe the protagonist.  but it's the fact that Mick takes a scull off a dead body and goes to the town dentist office, breaks in and checks the teeth against x-rays.

Mean while Geri is fishing with Roger and he tries hitting on her and ends up face first in worms and they burrow into his face but don't kill him, instead by the end of the film he appears to be a worm king.

The film seems to jump about and when Geri is busy doing stuff with Roger and Mick needs a companion for his investigation then we are introduced to Geri's annoying little sister.  All the town's people are weird and keep trying to sell their rubbish as antiques.

About an hour into the film even though we have seen skeletons and Mick decides that the worms are killing people though Roger wasn't killed. a tree falls on to Geri's house which leaves them open to the elements and all the worms the next half hour of the film is watching millions on worms swarm and squirm around and kill people, my favorites are Geri's Mother in a rocking chair becoming a mass of worms as they eat her alive and the sheriff who is sleeping with a women in a prison cell.

I have to say it is a well shot film and not the worst mother nature revenge films I have ever seen, but the script and acting are awful.  would I recommend this, well, I would if you like bad films that are so bad they are funny.  The early make up effects of Rick Baker are awesome and I seriously feel like Jeff Fahey based his performance of The Lawnmower Man on Roger in this film.