Splatterfest

So I’m toying with the idea of writing a novel again, I get this bug around this time of year and loose it a couple weeks later, but I really like this story.  It’s deeply personal for me, and I feel I could see it through.  The title of it is the same as this post.  Basically, I’m just trying to get myself hyped up more to make this thing happen, and it’d be really great if people actually enjoyed reading it.

To give a little bit of what it’s about (as I envision it thus far), it’s like the low budget horror movie version of Super 8 mixed with Phantasm.  A coming of age story set in the blessed year of our Lord 1988, when NES and hair bands ruled, and seven year olds were first starting to watch the films whose box art scarred their souls when they walked into VHS stores.  To help capture the feel of that last part, I’m going to share with you some of my fave box arts from back in the day.  To those of you who did not get the chance to haunt the horror section in the heyday of VHS tapes, take a walk with me back into the past and enjoy the hucksterism and sideshow atmosphere of movies competing to get your $2.

To those who know what what I’m talking about — welcome home. Welcome to Splatterfest!

This is the first horror movie I got to see as a kid, and I’ve been meaning to write a review for a long time now. What a great way for a kid to get into horror though — we have the last Amicus antholgy movie, which stars Vincent Price / John Carridine, and is hosted by Elvira! That is quite the horror pedigree and it’s no wonder I fell in love with the genre after this. There are quite a few people who have never seen this movie, and that makes me sad in the heart, because this movie is a lot of fun. Sure, the monsters are basically coked up assholes in dime-store masks, but the actual stories of the anthlogy are pretty good. The first and last ones are geniunely scary, especially the last. Brrrrr….


Confession time:  I never actually saw this movie.  Man, I always wanted too, but for some reason it was one my mom would always say no to.  Then when I got old enough to rent movies for myself, it was out of print.  But I always remember this cover from my childhood.  If the movie is half as good as this cover, it’s a masterpiece.

I have no idea what made up language this is, but I would drink a horror cocktail.  I’ve never heard of this movie before, but this cover is exemplorary of all that is great about the artwork of this time period.   And LOL at that guys head on top of whatever the hell that is on the back cover.


Oh man.  I always passed this one up as a kid.  It had a cool cover but something about it seemed misleading, like it might suck or something.  Well, it’s currently streaming on Netflix, and I watched it last December….and yeah….my Richie-sense was on point.  This movie is freakin’ terrible….but in the BEST way possible!  This is pure 80’s VHS shit-cheese.  It makes no sense and it’s really stupid, and cheap.  It’s slightly above Troll 2 on the quality scale, which means you have to quit reading this review and watch the movie right now.  Go on now, get.


Another one I would always pass by but never got the chance to watch.  The cover always scared the crap out of me for some reason.  Anyways, this one is about some confederate zombies.  The south does indeed rise again….RISES FROM THE GRAVE, BITCH.  I’ve read reviews of it since, and evidently nothing happens and the whole movie is a big waste of time, but the black dude from Reading Rainbow and Star Trek:  TNG is in it in one of his early roles.


Based on one of Clive (a homosexaul who happens to be one of my fave authors, but not for that reason….if I were a bigot, as some claim, I’d be burning his books on general principle instead of buying them and reading them….) Barker’s short stories in his phenomenal Books of Blood, this movie is a piece of shit.  The story is so much different.  They just used some plot points and made a rubber suit monster flick that has precious little to do with the source material. It’s worth a watch for a laugh.  I haven’t seen it in 25 years or so.


I think we all know about these two.  I always loved the artwork for these two movies though, evidently they were done by the same guy.  Both movies came out a year apart from one another, kinda like Halloween 4 & 5.   I love how trippy and surreal the images on them are, the one for The Dream Master really drew me in when I first saw it at (one of) the crappy video stores that popped up when I was a kid.  Ironically, that was also the first “real” horror movie I saw.  And yes, the Dokken music video in part 3 is just as amazing as the actual film is!


This is like The Video Dead to me; I thought it would suck as a kid, and streamed it on Netflix.  Unlike The Video Dead though, this is actually pretty awesome.  I mean, yeah it’s stupid, and a Full Moon picture….but it’s one of their better ones.  You’ll have a lot of fun with this cheese fest.  It’s also directed by the guy who did Terror Trap, which is a damn good movie, and happens to be one of Stephen (some author guy) King’s favorites.  Mary Wuronov stars in this one and she camps it up like always, especially in a scene involving her commenting on an Alice Cooper expy in which she lasviously complains “He’s so….nassssstttyyyyyyyy“.

Ya know, I saw this movie when I was in 7th grade, I think on Thanksgiving break, but I can’t remember a damn thing about it.  I do remember liking it though.  Anything with a shotgun wielding clown is pretty awesome.


This cover always scared me as a kid.  Seriously, that is one of the scariest damn zombies ever.  It looks like it’s a dead thing risen from the depths.  I didn’t see the movie until much later, I actually had a copy of this VHS at one time….and the damn movie bored me.  It didn’t help that the VHS was a piss poor print either.  Watched on DVD a few years ago, and, well, it’s still a boring movie, but the zombies are amazing.  KNB effects are put to shame by the decrepit, rotting flesh on display here.  The ending shot is one of the most haunting ever and sets up what should have been a bad ass sequel.  I’m probably going to have to turn in my horror stret-cred card now due to my blasphemy of this masterpiece.  I’m one of the few “hardcore” horror fans who finds Fulci’s work to be mostly overrated, though The Beyond is one of my fave films of all time.  The guy has an eye for detail, and goes for broke in the brutality department, but most of his films take forever to get you to the cool shit, so you’re stuck with lame plots while waiting for(ever for) somebody to get brutally assaulted by supernatural forces.

 This brings back some memories, eh?  Ah yes, the first releases of the Evil Dead movies, before Anchor Bay acquired the rights and started putting out new versions of them bi-yearly since 1998.  These were the crown jewels of any self-respecting horror section.  There are those of us who can be proud to say we were Bruce Campbell fans pre-internet due to these tapes.  Something about how special and different these films are have been dilluted due to over-satuation from the over-population of the fan base since the internet came into existence, but I still can remember the first time I saw these gems.  The Evil Dead was one of the only movies to truly scare the living shit out of me.  I saw the second one before the first, so I was expecting something more goofy in tone. No…no…boy I was wrong.  The Evil Dead is a down and dirty, mean spirited movie.  I had night terrors for a few years after seeing this movie.  Now, it doesn’t bother me at all, but it used to truly get under my skin.


This is where part of the hucksterism of the VHS days comes into play.  See the title?  It makes it look like it’s part of the Evil Dead series, doesn’t it?  Well, it’s not.  I found that out the hard way when I rented it way back 10,000 years ago.  Thanks to the internet, I was able to find out what exactly is going on here.  This is part of a long-running Spanish horror series called The Blind Dead.  Some people think the series is great, others not so much.  I’ve only seen the first, and it was pretty cool, but I’m still pissed about being conned, so screw those movies.

I’ve never in my life seen or heard of this movie before, but that’s probably a good thing, as I don’t think I’m mentally stable enough to handle this “special” film.  I love boxes of this ilk — they are basically threatening you with your mental well-being to try to get you to shell out the money for the rental.  That aggressive style of advertising is long since gone, and I mourn it’s passing.


So, back in this day and age, there were quite a few movie boxes with awesome covers, that made you think you were about to watch some of the greatest films you could ever wish for. In my eight year old mind, Neon Maniacs was going to be one of those films.   Sadly, my eight year old self never got that chance.  The only copy avalible was at the mom & pop store my friend’s family owned.  It was basically a blue barn by the First Citizens Bank that had some shelves put in to hold the VHS/NES boxes for rental purposes.  There was no computer catalog or credit cards kept on file.  So people were able to steal movies regularly.  Neon Maniacs happened to be one of them.  I got to catch up with it on DVD, and it’s pretty much what is offered on the cover, and if I was eight, I would have been in love with it.  It’s so ineptly made and a staple of it’s time that it’s hard not to let it charm you.


Never saw it, but I always liked this cover.

Last, but certainly not least…..

The film from which I gained my namesake and the only entry in the series worth a damn.  They knew they were making a shit movie and decided to have fun with it.  If you’ve never seen this movie, you owe it to yourself to do so.  I just wish Jim Wynorski could make other great movies like this one.  He makes about 50 movies a year, some under psuedonyms; quite a few for SyFy channel.  This is the feather in his cap and is followed closely by Return of the Swamp Thing, which co-starred Heather Locklear.

There are plenty of other great covers out there of course, and if I missed any you feel should be added, drop me a line in the comments section. VHS artwork is something that…*shudders* older fans of the genre miss seeing in the stores. This was our collective childhood. Splatterfest aims to be an ode to that special time period in our lives. I will not be putting the book up here on my blog, so if it is something you feel you might like to read, get in touch with me and let me know. It’s basically something I’m doing for the fun of it, and I plan to self-publish it after it’s finished. After that we’ll see where it goes. If I do decide that this writing thing is something I want to stick with afterward, it will make a cute calling card for potential publishers.

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4 Comments

  1. Beautiful. I can’t wait to read SPLATTERFEST.

    • I’ll have to e-mail you the first whole 3 pages sometime. 😦 I wish I could write more. By the time I get home from work, I’m so exhuasted. I stream movies from netflix and pass the fuck out.

      • Those 3 pages you sent me were very good. I want to read more!

      • I need to get back to work on it.


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