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2015 Halloween Spectacular Part 1: Rocktober Blood

 

Happy Halloweeeeeeen

As a festive [trick or] treat, VeVo gives you THREE awesome* reviews throughout the day. Let us start with the imitable 1984 metalsploitation flick, Rocktober Blood

*

rocktober-BloodROCKTOBER BLOOD

1.5 Stars  1984/88m

“He’s back from the dead with a message from hell!”

Director/Writer: Beverly Sebastian / Writer: Fred Sebastian / Cast: Tray Loren, Donna Scoggins, Nigel Benjamin, Renee Hubbard, Cara Cockrell, Ben Sebastian.

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “I want your hot, steaming pussy blood all over my face.” Eww.


Necessary spoilers await thee…

Conceptually, Rocktober Blood should, well, rock: Billy Eye, squealy vocalist of the titular band, flips one night at the recording studio and murders a couple of employees before trying to kill on-off girlfriend and backing singer, Lynn.

Two years later, we’re informed that Lynn’s testimony sent Billy to the execution chamber and she’s just about ready to tour with the band, now renamed Headmistress. The same manager is on side, she’s got gal pals, and all manner of dodgy hair-metal wigs. What could go wrong?

Well, Billy could somehow return from the grave and torment her for one… Made up in the same sub-Kiss style, Billy appears at the studio, at a random lake house she goes to, telling her he’s back for revenge.

rb5Now, most plot summaries of Rocktober Blood will tell you that undead rockstar picks off the members of his old band one by one. This is not so, undead rockstar limits his prey to Lynn’s female friends – one is drowned in the hot tub, the other has her throat slashed with an iron (!?) – and random dancers at the climactic concert, where the audience think it’s all part of the show, but he impales two of the chicks and cuts the head of a third and lobs it at the crowd!

The so-called twist is nothing but the sad old Evil Twin gag – it’s not Billy, Billy is well and truly dead. They even dig up his corpse to prove it to Lynn, but find the world’s fakest looking skeleton instead.

No, the killer is the secret identical twin John, who is jealous Billy got all the credit for his songs and so just, y’know, kills people. At the end, he captures and drugs Lynn and places her in a casket on the stage, getting the dose just right so that she’s fit to belt out her number when released, which she just does. Consummate professional I guess, but the killer is there on stage with her!?

Very little actually happens in Rocktober Blood. There’s overlong metal performances (though ‘Rainbow Eyes’ was quite the jam), Lynn is chased about five times, has several baths, which enable her to be shown totally starkers as she very slowly towels herself dry.

rb6rb7But with three of the seven murders committed in the space of the penultimate song, two others at the start, the main body of the film just lags with the three girls at the lake house doing high energy aerobics in Olivia Newton-John-esque leotards.

A strange film, really quite boring unless you happen to be a fan of ‘metalsploitation’, with a woefully unfrightening killer, too few characters, actors who murmur their lines, and no real sense of cohesion or creativity. About as terrifying as a Michael Bublé concert. Actually, no it’s not.

You mentioned something about a closet…?

The-Dark-Side-of-Midnight-1984THE DARK SIDE OF MIDNIGHT

0.5 Stars  1984/89m

A.k.a. The Creeper

Director/Writer/Producer/Star/Caterer/Janitor: Wes Olsen / Cast: James Moore, Wes Olsen, Dave Bowling, Sandy Schemmel, Rocky Jackson, Susan Frawley, Dan Myers.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lines: “He broke her neck and crushed her skull with his bare hands – we’re dealing with a psychopath.”


To understand the experience that was watching The Dark Side of Midnight would be like trying to glean from somebody what it was like to survive something truly, truly terrible. However, if you go on to the film’s IMDb page there are a couple of posts from people who were in it, one of which states that the lead actress burst into tears when she saw it, and the composer walked out of the screening, never to return.

Doling out a half-star rating is as rare as a full five stars, as it should be in the bell curve that is film appreciation, although The Dark Side of Midnight made me laugh more than a few times, there’s no way in hell I could ever give it anything more.

dsom1A girl is murdered by a fiend hiding in her closet. The police investigate. The local mayor wants stories played down in case it effects the possibility of a university being built in their small town.

Soon after, a babysitter is stalked at her job, but survives, which is more than can be said for the six-year-old boy she was looking after, who is found in his bed with his throat cut, the only gore in the entire film! A dead child.

This is what ensues when the lead detective and hotshot profiler guy go to interview her:

  • Girl: “There was a man in the closet.”
  • Detective: “What closet?”
  • Girl: “Timmy’s closet. Timmy told me there was a man living inside his closet. I didn’t believe him. There was a man in his closet.”
  • Detective: “Timmy told you that a man lived in his closet?”
  • Girl: “Yes.”

1965453The mayor, pissed that the murder of a six-year-old makes the papers, devises an evil plan to get rid of the police chief so he can frame some homeless schmuck and secure the green light for the college build: He fakes a fall saying his sister is at death’s door in Canada.

Of course, the killer, now known to be The Creeper, wanted in Detroit for twelve murders, strikes again after the arrest, then goes after the chief’s daughter, who is dating the hotshot profiler guy.

Eventually, profiler guy’s knowledge of typewriters leads him to the killer, who lives in a small scale balsa wood model house and, well, y’all know how flammable that shit is.

The Dark Side of Midnight was made for around $10,000, which reportedly came from the director, who cast himself as hotshot profiler guy, and is a pure exercise in ineptitude at every level. Local theater actors with little to no in-front-of-camera experience shout their dreadful dialogue, move their eyebrows and bob their heads a lot, amplifying every nuance in case the people at the back can’t see it – oh wait, it’s a film, not a play.

“You can’t come bursting into my office!” yells the mayor at somebody who just calmly walked through an already open door.

What else? Oh yeah, nearly everyone in the film has a mustache:

dsom-mustaches…even the killer’s rocking one!

dsom-killer…which makes it all look a bit like some gay porn film gone wrong…

dsom-gaypornVery possibly the go-to worst movie ever made, with absolutely no redeeming qualities beyond how bad it manages to be, and that sweet exchange of dialogue about the fucking closet.

BadHairWeen

HauntedweenVHSHAUNTEDWEEN

2 Stars  1991/85m

“When fantasy becomes a deadly reality.”

Director/Writer: W. Douglas Robertson / Writer: Kurt Andrew Swauger / Cast: Brien Blakely, Blake Pickett, Ethan Adler, Brad Hanks, Leslee Lacey, Bently Tittle, Tim Hubbard.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lyrics: “In a haunted house on a Hauntedween, is the biggest party there’s ever been, it’s time for rocking heads to roll, we’re just dying to start the show.”


There are some things you should know before approaching HauntedWeen in any way, shape, or form. Firstly, it was shot as something of a student project in a Kentucky college town. Secondly, many of the actors and extras were students and/or locals. Thirdly, the budget was clearly not high.

These things being so, I still had an awesome time watching HauntedWeen and, sadly, to convey said awesomeness, SPOILERS are necessary.

What’s the story then? A Halloween walk-through house of horror thing attracts folks. Ticket-collector Eddie is told he’s “too young to work the house” by the MC, who then goes home even though he’s just that second let some people in. Eddie sneaks into the house and finds a lost young girl he then torments until she impales herself. He caps it off by decapitating her and flees the scene. His Mom soon finds him and tells him they’ve got to go.

Behind you!

Behind you!

Beside you!

Beside you!

Twenty years later – never nineteen, never twenty-one – Old Mom keels over from a heart attack and Big Eddie decides to return to town.

Meanwhile, local Frat house Sigma Phi has learned that it’s about to be kicked out of the Greek system thingy for paying too little into the membership. Or something. They need money fast. Hmm…

Bizarrely, instead of HauntedWeen unfolding how we expect, given that Frat President Kurt and his suspect-robot girlfriend Mel stumbled upon The Old Burber House. Instead, Eddie goes to the Frat house and gives them the fucking keys, telling them it’d be a great idea! A goal-oriented psycho.

With a poster this awesome, why would anyone miss it?

With a poster this awesome, why would anyone miss it?

Kids of various dreadful fashion woes fix up the place and camp out. After dark, one of them tells the story of the Eddie-vs-Little-Girl incident, while two others go skinny dipping. Randomly, HauntedWeen tosses out a pretty good camera move, with the dude’s body pinned to a tree, it pans across nicely and adjusts focus to his girlfriend entering the lake. Very Friday the 13th.

tree-guyThe next night – assumed to be Halloween, though nobody ever mentions it – the kids put on their show. Locals come, scream unconvincingly, and Eddie grabs a few laggers for a special live edition. While teens scream “Don’t you people understand!? It’s not fake! He’s really killing us! Help us!” the audience bays for blood and their wishes are granted accordingly.

Eventually, Kurt and Mel, who’ve been having relationship problems (“you don’t pay enough attention to me!”) are in jeopardy, it takes one random patron to shriek “oh my God – it’s real!” for a stampede of people to flee the house, all to the poppy beats of an 80s aerobic workout bop.

HauntedWeen fails on almost every level in terms of horror: It’s neither scary, nor suspenseful; The gore is sloppy and tame; The title alludes to a supernatural element that does not exist; Most of the main cast survive, including the super annoying comic relief guy:

hanksSo it’s bad in almost every conceivable way, why haven’t I rated it one star? The short answer is hair.

Most people credit the 1980s for being the decade of bad clothes and hair, but it was still around in 1991, especially in Bowling Green, Kentucky, it would seem. I loved the early 90s, a shitfest for slasher films though they may have been, it was a great era.

Here’s a few of the delights I found in HauntedWeen:

bangles-wannabePost-Bangles super coif and pastel to match. I hope she played bass in a high school garage band. The guy behind her had a mullet but moved too fast to capture.

mullet-1…but here’s another mullet a couple of minutes later. Eeeeshk.

earrings-ladyThe lesser remembered coral reef look of the early 90s.

mullet-specsThis guy yells “Hang ’em! Yaaaah!” during the fake-not-fake killings. Then about ninety-seconds later the same piece of footage is shown again, so we get double the mullet n’ mustache treatment. Yay us.

badhatandbracefaceMy favourites, Bad Hat and Braceface: These two kids spur on the killer in maniacal glee. She with her Wilson Phillips bowler, he with a penchant for massively overacting. I’d guess they’re approximately my age now, gotta get on Facebook and befriend.

In conclusion – see this film.

Honor and obey

possession-vhs

POSSESSION: UNTIL DEATH DO YOU PART

1 Stars  1987/93m

Directors: Lloyd A. Simandl & Michael Mazo / Writers: Lyne J. Grantham & Lloyd A. Simandl / Cast: John Robert Johnston, Melissa Martin, Cat Williams, Leanne Jaheny, Samra Wolfin, April Alkins, Geraldine Farrell, Monica Marko, Rupert Grant, Shane Carlsson.

Body Count: 14

Laughter Lines: “There won’t be anybody up there – we’ll be ALL. BY. OURSELVES.”


Irredeemably boring T&A fare, notable only for starring the bitchy girl, Tamara, from Jason Takes Manhattan as the final girl.

She, Madeline (Sharlene Martin, credited here as Melissa), is abducted one night by a whiny-voiced, mother-fixated loon, Frankie, who takes girls home, forces them to dress in Mom’s clothes, and, if they’re not ‘nice’ enough, are murdered.

Madeline succeeds in escaping, but the police are almost completely apathetic, and it’s her gang of indistinguishably cloney gal-pals who suggest driving around to look for the guy, whom they run into almost straight away. Ill-prepared for this venture, they flee, cops intervene, Frankie escapes in a rowing boat WHICH EXPLODES WHEN SHOT AT.

An exploding wooden rowing boat.

Shortly thereafter, the girls – who might be escorts, it was unclear – go to a strip club and arrange for a couple of the suspiciously camp dancers to join them up at so-and-so’s uncle’s cabin in the woods for a bachelorette party.

Acting, hair, and fashion choices - about the only things you'll remember from Possession

Bad acting, hair, and fashion choices – about the only things you’ll remember from Possession

Predictably, Frankie ain’t dead and soon comes looking for Madeline once again, offing a couple of her friends who didn’t go on the trip, but hangs around long enough to hear an answerphone message that conveniently gives the full address of the cabin. Lord.

The girls party, make out with the gay strippers, Frankie comes along. That’s about all you need to know. It’s bodaciously unexciting, replete with clichés so dense you’d need a Humvee to plough through them: One girl goes off on her own to photograph trees! The car won’t start. The girl who had a bath conveniently never pulled the plug so the killer can drown her in it. It doesn’t stop.

Even when the killer’s presence is discovered, the last girls standing abandon the comparable fortitude of the cabin (which has a push-bar door!?) to run into the woods, where the killer, disabled by a speargun arrow while they flee, somehow teleports in front of them to jump out from behind a tree, and so they run BACK to the fucking cabin where there’s a gun!

Said woods are mysterious and wild, we know this because every time a character walks through them pan pipe music plays. This might mean something if the killer were a Native American rather than a camp-voiced suburban mama’s boy.

poss2

Brimming over with protracted T&A scenes that go thusly: Girl has shower, girl lathers up own boobs for ages, girl dresses up in kinky clothes, girl is stabbed >>> Girl has bath, girl washes self, girl dresses and paints own nails, girl is drowned in bath she never bothered emptying >>> Girl has shower, girl soaps up boobs, girl’s throat is cut in shower. Somebody somewhere does not want women to exercise good hygiene, or worse, has some real issues with their gender, note when one young woman talks about a guy she met and her friend replies: “You were in a BAR?” Why the hell not? She’s young and vivacious, should she only be allowed in the kitchen or the convent?

A plodding, dullard of a feature with absolutely nothing to recommend it unless pastel fashions, awful hair, and naked chicks in the shower is enough. With fourteen bodies dropped, there’s hardly even any grue to speak of.

This is a film nobody need possess.

Blurb-of-interest: Director Simandl also helmed the equally barren Ripper 2: Letters from Within.

Girls school confidential

BLOODMOON

3 Stars 1989/18/101m

“The last full moon you’ll ever see.”

Director: Alec Mills / Writer: Robert Brennan / Cast: Leon Lissek, Christine Amor, Helen Thomson, Ian Williams, Craige Cronnin, Hazel Howson, Christophe Broadway, Suzie MacKenzie, Anya Molina, Samantha Rittson, Jo Munro, Michelle Doake.

Body Count: 10


Soppy Neighbours-esque romance is married to some Friday the 13th shenanigans in this fairly impressive Aussie flick that has the one flaw of revealing the killer’s identity about halfway through the film.

The girls of St Elizabeth’s Catholic boarding school are being offed by a shadowy killer, who uses a length of barbed wire to garrotte them, along with the occasional boyfriend. Pretty daughter-of-someone-famous Mary is unknowingly high on the killer’s list.

The stalk n’ slash scenes are well handled, a standout being when two girls sneak into the school to steal an exam paper and run into the killer, who quickly dispatches one and chases after the other.

bloodmoon2

Bloodmoon, however, commits that cardinal sin of allowing one particularly unpleasant character to live, when hordes of comparably innocent ones have been laid to waste. Elsewhere, excess T&A negates some of the up-market style, but for an alt perspective teenie-kill film, it hits enough of the right notes, despite not quite making enough of its Aussie-ness.

Just ignore some of the crimes against hair.

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