The girls hang out and get high in The Slumber Party Massacre

The Slumber Party Massacre is a campy onion of a movie born from the early 80s slasher boon ushered in by the likes of the Friday the 13th series. Don’t think onion in terms of cartoon stink lines, but rather in the Shrek usage. See, The Slumber Party Massacre, much like onions and ogres, has layers. Hidden under the purposefully evocative title, the ample, lingering nudity, and the plentiful gore is honest to god subtext, something lacking in many of its genre kin.

The very first fact listed on the IMDB trivia page for Amityville: The Awakening is, “The movie had several failed theatrical release dates including January 27, 2012; January 3, 2014; January 2, 2015; April 15, 2016; April 1, 2016; January 6, 2017 and June 30, 2017.

Bruce Campbell in the 1980's slasher "Maniac Cop"

There’s a scene in 1988’s Maniac Cop that feels eerily prescient given the current relationship between some police departments and the communities they serve. In the film, New York City is held in the grip of mass panic as a mysterious stranger dressed as a cop stalks the streets, killing criminal and victim alike. During the scene in question, a woman, acting out of sheer panic and self-preservation, guns down a police officer as he approaches her stalled car, a cop who turns out to be of the non-maniac variety.

Last time we tackled The Wolf Man in our ongoing series featuring The Universal Monsters In Comics. Today we talk about a character whose status as a 'Universal Monster' is a bit in dispute. However in the studio's (now defunct) sizzle reel for The Dark Universe they included him so the character makes the cut here. Who is that you may ask? A Phantom....Of The Opera. This character did not originate with Universal however most of the depictions we will be talking about today draw clear inspiration from both the Lon Chaney Sr., and Claude Rains portrayals of The Phantom. As with last time we are opting out of straight adaptations, focusing instead on their other appearances or twists upon the story.

A star studded cast can both make and break a movie. You don't have to agree, but you need only take in the entirety of Kenneth Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express to begin to believe. Sleek, well acted and written--but so overstuffed and unfocused that its who's who cast is often more distracting than they are engaging. Additionally, it's central detective's inflated ego and eccentric behavior finds itself at odds with the film's overall tone. 

The monsters from Ghoulies lurking

“They’ll get you in the end!” vows the poster for 1984’s satanically tinged quasi-creature feature Ghoulies. At first blush, this tagline appears to be merely a, shall we say, cheeky reference to the star of the poster: a small demonic creature (or “ghoulie”) popping out of a toilet, waiting to attack some unsuspecting victim’s “end.” However, it’s also a disappointingly accurate assessment of the ghoulies’ involvement – or lack thereof – in the film bearing their name.

After almost twenty years and innumerable films, the found footage subgenre has become more than a little bit stale; a real hot take, I know. The category has become so “well-trod” that even the criticism and review of the myriad films is becoming wrote and repetitive. Talking about all the things that one of these movies does wrong can be hard to do without parotting oneself.

Perhaps one of the strangest releases and letdowns of this year goes to Tomas Alfredson's latest film, The Snowman. The director is known for fantastic films across many genres, including Let The Right One In and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but sadly, his latest work feels like a phoned-in gig.

The late Roger Ebert, perhaps, best describes Herk Harvey’s low-budget, surrealist nightmare, Carnival of Souls, as possessing “an intriguing power.” One can see, as Ebert did, how Carnival predated masterpieces from Lynch and Romero: its eerie mood and atmosphere coats an oblique and minimalist story, led by sterile (otherwise detached) characters who – like the audience – understand little of what happens to them.