Saturday, 26 February 2011

A look back at John Carpenters Christine by Gavin Jennings.

Hello Folks,
Yet another great piece from Gavin Jennings for the blog,Read his retrospective with incredible detail and how his mums reading of Stephen kings books saved his life!Also included are 2 fantastic pictures:-
1-Gavin's replica Christine licence plate.
2-His daughters drawing of Christine(did you let her watch it Gav???)
Many thanks to Gavin and to you all for looking,
Jonny t.

A look back at John Carpenters Christine by Gavin Jennings.

I think it's fair to say that Stephen King's career through the seventies and eighties deserves to stand out in history alongside JK Rowling, Tolkien, and even Shakespeare as genre defining literature. Every project he released was more successful than the last and film studios were clambering over themselves to convert his latest bestseller to celluloid. Even at a young age I was aware of his presence in the Jennings household. My mum loved his early works almost as much as I loved the ramps that his hardcovers made for my Matchbox cars. But on a serious note it has to be said that I owe my life to Stephen King's Christine. Were it not for my mum reading that book only week's before it is unlikely that I would be here now writing for Jonnys cult films on this dreary Monday morning. It was around 1984 and I was eating my tea with a friend from school when I started to choke on a chip butty. Luckily my mum now knew what the Heimlich manoeuvre was from remembering a chapter in the book. She was able to open my air way but not before I had turned a nice shade of blue!

A little while later my parents rented John Carpenters Christine from the local video shop. I was allowed to watch it despite the bad language, it would be allot later in life before I understood the true meaning of words like Fuck, Shitter or Cuntingham anyway. I was amazed at what I saw. I already loved cars but watching a film about a car that could drive itself and even kill people was just fantastic. I became obsessed other movies that featured supernatural vehicles such as Killdozer, Duel, The Car, Herbie, Maximum Overdrive, The Wraith, The Blues Brothers, etc. I practically had a melt down when I discovered toy cars that turned into robots later that year. Anyway, Ive digressed. Christine holds a special place in my heart and I will cherish it forever. I hope you enjoy reading this article as much as I have writing it...

The foundations for what would go on to become John Carpenter's Christine were being laid during the production of another of Stephen King's successful screen adaptations, the 1979 epic TV mini-series Salem's Lot. At this point the novel Christine existed only in King's mind. Movie executive Richard Kobritz was producing the vampire best seller along with horror director Tobe Hooper. Stephen approved of how his novel was being translated and offered Kobritz first refusal on his upcoming manuscripts. This was very much the golden hand shake for Richard Kobritz as King's work was largely unchallenged at this point in American literature. Shortly after Salem's Lot had been released Richard received the manuscript for Cujo, the story of a loving family dog driven crazy by the scratch from a rabid bat. He respectfully declined what would go on to be a success in it's own right, feeling that the book just wasn't the project he was looking for at that time. In 1982 Kobritz was sent a preview of King's latest work entitled Christine. Immediately he loved the story of uber nerd Arnie and his jalopy from hell and bought the movie rights.

Richard had John Carpenter in mind to direct Christine. John was still reeling from the luke warm reception of his latest picture 'The Thing' and was looking for work. He found the characters interesting, liked the story and signed up. Carpenter & Kobritz now needed somebody to adapt Stephen King's massive novel into a film that would run in at under two hours. John had previously worked with little known screen writer Bill Phillips on an unreleased version of Firestarter. Seeing the potential in Christine's plot before he had even finished reading the story Bill immediately got on board and started work on condensing the plot. A large portion of King's novel revolved around Christine's previous owner Roland LeBay. As the story progresses Arnie begins to see Rolands rotting corpse taunting him from the back seat more and more. John agreed when Bill suggested that they remove his character completely since American werewolf in London, which was only released the year before, had a very similar premise. This would mean major changes to the story but removing this ghostly aspect allowed much more freedom to focus on Christine's possessive character. They also decided to shoot a different opening to the book which would show Christine being born on a Detroit production line. Allot of the cars that were being used all had to be sprayed white so that Christine's red bodywork really stood out. This was one of the first scenes to be filmed as the cars had to be made up like Christine again afterwards. Some character deaths were changed for cinematic effect or removed altogether. John decided that he wanted the killings to remain a mystery throughout his film. He opted to have the windshields blackened during the action scenes so it was impossible to tell who or what was driving Christine. Stephen King's epilogue, although wonderful, was also left out.

Up to this point Stephen King's novel had not yet been released to the general public. It came out in April 1983 to much applaud from both critics and readers. It was a huge hit and went straight to the number one spot on the New York Times best seller list. In that same month filming was approved by Columbia Pictures who had previously expressed an interest in releasing the film shortly after Kobritz had acquired the rights. They invested almost $10 million dollars into Christine but all creative control was in the hands of John Carpenter and Richard Kobritz. As with his previous films Carpenter had his name above the title and he would use his trademark self penned score as well as some cleverly picked rock n roll classics for the soundtrack. John had overall say on the final cut and he and Kobritz decided who would be cast.

It was decided very early on that the car had to be the star in this movie therefore Carpenter insisted on a largely unknown cast of young actors. He didn't agree with the studio's choice of Scott 'Bugsy Malone' Baio and Brooke 'Blue Lagoon' Shields as the films leads and arranged auditions for suitable actors in California. This was proving to be difficult and with the exception of the role of Dennis going to John Stockwell, Richard Kobritz had to go further a field for the other characters. He set up auditions in New York City and at one point thought he had found the role of Arnie in a young Kevin Bacon. He was given the part but had to turn it down after being offered leading man in upcoming dance flick Footloose. The search continued and eventually Keith Gordon was interviewed. John recognised him from Jaws 2 but he had not done any film work for a while. He proved to be a gifted actor and was perfect for the movies Jackyll & Hyde style role. Next to be cast was young and inexperienced actress Alexandra Paul who would be Leigh Cabot, Christine's rival for Arnie's affections. Robert Prosky was a revelation as mean-spirited junk yard owner Will Darnell as were screen veterans Roberts Blossom and Harry Dean Stanton in supporting roles.

Since Stephen King had already decided on Christine being a 1958 red Plymouth Fury the crew had no choice but to track down as many cars as the budget would allow. '58 Fury's were a rare model so similar looking Savoy's and Belvedere's were used to make up approximately twenty four vehicles that were purchased and cannibalised for the various scenes and stunts that would be needed throughout the production. By the end of filming less than four cars survived, much to the horror of classic car enthusiasts. However, the popularity of the movie would ensure that any remaining '58 Plymouth's would now be guaranteed a secure future in the collector market, much like the Delorean after Back to the future.

Contrary to the the books setting of Pennsylvania the film was set in and around California on locations similar to John's earlier film Halloween. The location manager found a gigantic disused wire factory from world war two that would serve two purposes. One half would be Darnell's Junk yard where Arnie restores Christine and the other side was a repair workshop for the many different Plymouths. An entire petrol station set had to be built from scratch for the complex scene where Christine takes her revenge on Buddy Repperton's gang. Not only did the script call for the set to be completely destroyed in a fireball but Christine had to be driven out of the explosion completely engulfed in flames and then down the highway ablaze. CGI wasn't an option so everything had to be created manually. Stunt co-ordinator Terry Leonard was in the driving seat the whole time dressed head to toe in full airplane fire fighting attire. He couldn't see anything and his oxygen was very limited, not to mention the tank of gasoline that was underneath him! The end result was a sequence that almost thirty years later still looks phenomenal. One of my favourite scenes has to be the regeneration scene where Christine exposes Arnie to her supernatural prowess for the first time. Using a relatively simple hydraulic set up John shot the car being pulled in with the cameras turned upside down. When the footage is played in reverse the upturned angle is flipped and removes the need to digitally process the print. Eagle eyed watchers will have probably noticed on repeated viewings that there are large inconsistencies in relation to the damage occurred by the pulley's to the vandalism caused by Repperton's crew. Regardless of it's flaws the entire scene gives the film a much needed boost from the character development and has been a talking point amongst fans and amateur film makers for years.

Christine opened in US theatres in December of '83. The hardback novel was still in the charts and the paperback was the number one best seller in the country. The film was very well received by horror fans and the critics. Time magazine said that it was Carpenter's best film since Halloween but some were offended with it's ripe dialogue. Since the movie wasn't particularly gory the film makers had to ensure that it would get it's R rating so Bill Phillips was tasked with spicing up the script and finding different uses for the word Fuck. As a result the New York Times said that Christine was the most foul mouthed language film in the history of English speaking cinema. Fortunately Scarface premiered just a week earlier and any negative publicity was quickly directed towards that. Christine grossed over $20 million in it's seven week run in North American cinemas and has developed a steady cult following in the twenty seven years that have followed. Both John Stockwell and Keith Gordon are now fairly successful directors in their own right and Alexandra Paul, who was regular on Baywatch for sometime, is still acting. Richard Kobritz never produced another Stephen King project after Christine and Bill Phillips continues to write smaller productions. Most horror fanatics are fully aware of the continued success that John Carpenter had during the eighties. Like Stephen King his career has been on the decline since then with some lack lustre movies and producing a truely awful re-make of his own classic the Fog. His latest film The Ward promises to be abit of a return to form and is released early this year. I am genuinely looking forward to seeing it. As for Christine, well the beautiful red '58 Plymouth Fury has undoubtedly earned her eternal place in movie history and will continue to grace us with her presence in occasional screen cameo's for generations to come...
Gavin's"Christine"Replica license plate!

Gavin's daughters great art work,a horror fan in the making!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Splice Review by Dark ugh

Hello all,
I am pleased to welcome a good friend from NewZeland to the blog,known only as"Dark ugh"He is a fantastic artist so please go visit his blog and show your support,For this review he will be reviewing"Splice".
Many thanks Mr Dark!
Click here to visit his great blog----->

Splice 2009

Director Vincenzo Natali

Starring Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley and Delphine Chanéac

The first thing to remember in life (or is that just film?) is that science is bad, or at least evil when you don't do it properly. In the same way that sex, camping & lakes don't go together, if you try to mix the wrong things up, you will end up in trouble. For proof, see previous films like "The Fly", "Re-animator", "Frankenstein" or even "Weird Science" - well maybe not weird science.
So in this case, Splice doesn't completely break new ground. Mix Human DNA with any other you can find, chuck it into an artificial womb & wait for the mixture to rise. Add to the mix a suspect family past and you have recipe bound to give you problems (can't say food poisoning, that's just going too far with the analogy)
Splice is a pretty straight forward film focused around a scientist couple blessed with too much zeal and bugger all morality. They bend (snap?) the rules in a rush to beat a funding lock down and end up creating a sentient being well beyond any ones expectations.
The creature they make is really the highlight of the film. At first cute then later nasty, it handily grows from sweet tadpole to malevolent adult very quickly. Things get more disturbing when it starts to develop a sexy side, providing the film with some uncomfortable moments - in the "Is this sexy or is this horrible?' kind of way.

The two leads work well together but I found their flip-flop decision making a bit frustrating, but I guess it was necessary to carry the plot along.
Splice definitely reminded me of early Croneburg, especially Shivers or maybe Rabid. The early hybrid slug creatures could easily be one of his. The fact that the film was filmed in Canada seemed to be quite fitting.

To summarise, is this an essential Sci-Creature-B-Horror? No. It isn't as unusual as the directors first and quite superb film 'Cube' (1997). Its no gore fest, but for a good evenings entertainment in the form of a well paced, interesting story with some good effects and a scary creature its worth the watch.

3 stars (out of 5)

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Donald Occhipinti-A True Clive Barker fan!

Hello Good people,
I received an email, in response to the great article on Nightbreed by Gavin Jennings, It was from a good friend of mine, Donald Occhipinti and from this write up i believe he is THE biggest Clive Barker fan I have ever met!
So read below his great story and see some brilliant pictures from his collection (Check out the certificate!!)
Donald will now be a regular contributor to the blog so i would like to welcome him to the world of Johnny's Cult Films and look forward to his future great articles.
Take it away Donald........

I really enjoyed the article that was posted about NIGHTBREED. CABAL has always been my favorite story from Clive Barker. So let me take you back to a STAR TREK CONVENTION I had attended. How does a Star Trek Convention have anything to do with CABAL you are probably asking yourself. Well being that STAR TREK was science fiction, everytime  I would go to one back then in the later 80's to early 90's (my convention years) the editor to STARLOG (the sister publication of FANGORIA MAGAZINE) David McDonell would always make a guest appearance and present a slide show of upcoming movies. At this particular convention where I got to meet Q - John DeLance, and Robin Curtis, who replaced Kirsty Alley as Lt. Savik in the movie STAR TREK III - THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK. I loved when David McDonnell would show up just to see what was new and upcoming. He talked about several movies, and one called NIGHTBREED! Which was based on the Clive Barkers novel CABAL. David would show slides of the movies that were actual pics from the movies themselves. I was like wide eyed throughout this whole presentation, and afterwards was able to have an ongoing conversation with David McDonnell about NIGHTBREED. I had heard that Doug Bradley would play as Lylesburg, which already got me excited. Now this was about a year before the release of the movie that we had this conversation. One thing, If you know Clive barkers career, you will also know how he has always had trouble with his movies being made. His first movie TRANSMUTATIONS was directed by a rock video director, and bombed big time. Then of course there was his second movie RAW HEAD REX, where Clive Barker wasn't even allowed on the set! That has to be a slap in the face.
 Finally, Clive gets to go behind the camera as the director of HELLRAISER. This was from his short novel apart from the infamous BOOKS OF BLOOD volumes, were most of his movies are actually made from. It was called THE HELLBOUND HEART. After the success of HELLRAISER, CABAL is next on the list of Barkers works. Then the curse begins! I believe Gavin Jennings did an awesome presentation of the behind the scenes of NIGHTBREED! He definitely did his homework.Clive Barker was never truly satisfied with his production of NIGHTBREED. For years there have been rumors about a remake, and a special edition release of the movie with added footage, but nothing ever became of them. I am always on watch, waiting for the day of the second coming of NIGHTBREED!!! Besides everything I have written, the movie NIGHTBREED will always be in my top ten list of horror movies. I got to meet Clive Barker two times in New York City. I never had the opportunity to pick his brain about this movie. For example, I was able to sit down with Gunnar Hanson (Leatherface - the original) and picked his brain for information for at least 20 minutes at a Fangoria convention. My all time favorite character of Nightbreed was PELOQUIN played by Oliver Parker. Also from HELLRAISER Butterball played by Simon Bamford, played as the character OHNAKA in Nightbreed! Nicholas Vince who portrayed as CHATTERER in HELLRAISER, also played as KINSKI (moon shaped head) in NIGHTREED. I need to stop here becuase I am drained!!! NIGHTBREED RULES!!!!!!!!!

I have included a picture of RAWHEAD REX too. I want to find this one picture of a monster from NIGHTBREED, that had to be from the missing scenes, because I cannot find this in the movie. I have seen the movie at least 100 times!!!! I have been a Clive Barker fan since I have read my first Books of Blood vol.1!!! I would try to collect everything I could with Clive Barker's name on it.

Many thanks again to the great Donald!!
Jonny T.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Nightbreed Retrospective by Gavin Jennings.

Clive Barker's Nightbreed Retrospective

Ever since I first heard about Nightbreed, which must have been just before the films cinematic release in February 1990, I have always had abit of a soft spot for this movie. I would have been around twelve or thirteen at the time so I was far too young to go and see it, and being the early 90's it wasn't yet possible to go online and download a pirate copy. Also, the transfer time from theatre to rental used to be alot longer so by the time I actually saw it it's probably not suprising that my hopes for the film were a little high. I had seen the magazine articles and trailers, looked in amazement at the creature designs and movie stills, played both video game tie-ins and even had a go at reading the novel 'Cabal' on which the film is based. However, after the credits had rolled it's fair to say that I was a little disappointed. Initially I blamed myself, insisting that it was my own expectations that were at fault and not the movie. It wasn't until much later that I learnt just how troubled the production of Nightbreed had been.

Nightbreed was always going to be an ambitious project. Clive Barker originally wanted to make a trilogy of monster films that would completely redefine the genre. He wanted to do for monsters what George Lucas did for sci-fi with Star Wars. The studio invested $11 million into 'Cabal' with the stipulation that the film would be R-Rated, which was a big ask considering that Hellraiser had been so brutally graphic. They also demanded that the name be changed to the more meaningful and interesting 'Nightbreed'. Nevertheless Clive began creating his epic vision. He enlisted fellow cult director David Cronenburg, in a rare acting role, to play the movies iconic villain 'Dr Decker' and Doug 'Pin Head' Bradley as the Breed's leader. Otherwise the cast would comprise of largely unknown actors. The film's production would be split between Canada and Pinewood studios in the UK. In keeping with the Lucas Arts esque mythology, Star Wars conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie was hired to design some of the sets for the underworld home of Midian. Visual effects artist Bob Keen and his crew would create the monsters with computer assistance being kept to a minimum. The shoot proved to be a difficult affair. The climatic battle between the Nightbreed and 'the sons of the free' was filmed on interior stages where every shot required fire, explosions, destruction and debris. Trying to convey a state of all out war on a confined set over a three week period was nothing short of a nightmare! Many of the crew had previously worked on Indiana Jones's Last Crusade and found Nightbreed to be the more challenging production of the two. After the filming was complete work began on the movies extensive visual effects.

The initial test screening for Nightbreed didn't go aswell as Clive Barker had hoped. The movie previewed with a temporary soundtrack and coupled with some confusion around the characters motives it didn't bode well with the audience. Clive set about making adjustments and delivered a second, far more successful screening. Despite this the studio were still not happy with the production. The original release date was put back by almost four months and they asked for an hour of cuts to be made from Barkers two and a half hour run time, causing the films editor to leave the project under protest. The film was cut to two hours and then re-edited to only 102 minutes giving the film a much more stream-lined action movie roller-coaster ride feel.

Whilst Clive wasn't completely against his film being heavily cut, saying that the movie would at least be more exciting, he wasn't at all happy with the direction that the studio were taking with marketing the picture. Right the way through Barker wanted to make a monster series that would challenge the way people would think about monsters. He wanted creatures that although looked hideous and somewhat de-ranged still had a sense of humanity about them that was akin to mankind. Nightbreed was essentially a battle against good and evil. Evil in this case being the jealousy and fear that lives inside us all. The darker side of man that envies the powers that these beings possess. The studio just didn't get it. They saw a film that was hard to classify, it had no major stars to promote, it had inverted morals, it was violent, and the characters that the audience were supposed to identify with were somewhat twisted and defied convention. The head of marketing even refused to watch the movie in full stating that it made him feel disgusted and sickened. He even asked Clive why he made movies like this in the first place! In the end they advertised the movie as the one thing that it wasn't at all, a slasher film. The posters were misleading and the trailer was rejected and re-edited twelve times before the MPAA finally allowed it to be shown in theatres. Heck, even the video game had to be made twice. The first being an action game based entirely on the films third act and the other being a more sedated point & click adventure style affair. Clive felt that his project was being completely misrepresented but was told that it was already too late to make amendments. The film could not be put back again. They declined a preview showing for critics, which angered them. The studio's belief was that the people who like watching movies like this do not read reviews (if they can even read at all).

Upon the films lacklustre release it took less than $9 million at the box office, it had been a cinematic flop. David Cronenburg said to Clive Barker that this happens all the time, you make a movie and people just don't get it. The critics hate it and then two years later they say it's not so bad or it's better than your latest effort. He couldn't have been more accurate in his assessment considering that shortly afterward it featured in Entertainment Weekly's top 100 films you've never heard of. As with most cult movies Nightbreed finally started to find its audience in the video rental market. Actor Doug Bradley puts the cult popularity down to the movie being totally unique. He felt that despite the studio changing everything in post production the original had a quality that shines through and makes it special. Clive Barker once said that time gave him a better perspective on things. After a later viewing he realised that the movies strangeness made it more difficult for viewers to comprehend than he originally thought. It had no let up giving the movie a delirious quality, like something you might see when you were high.

I kind of like this comment from Clive because it does go some way as to help me understand that it wasn't my expectations that were at fault like I said to begin with. The films oddness aside, the bigger issue is without doubt the studio's involvement. Had they allowed Clive Barker to release his 160 minute monster epic as he originally envisaged we would most definitely have seen a far superior film, it still may not have been a hit in movie theatres and it might not quite have been the Star Wars of horror that he was trying to conceive but one thing that is for sure is that Clive's visionary prowess will undoubtedly be a main stay in the horror genre for many years to come.

So what of the deleted footage you might ask? Does it still even exist? Well fortunately yes it does. Infact, very recently almost all of the edited scenes have been recovered and compiled into a definitive 159 minute work print. Lucky attendees at last year's Horror Hound convention in Indianapolis were invited to view this version of the film in glorious VHS format! Whether or not the studio that owns the rights will ever decide to release the director's cut officially remains to be seen but the movies cult status certainly determines that there is a market for it. For now at least the feature-free theatrical cut is just about to take another spin in my DVD player...

Good night breeders!
Gavin Jennings.

Screen shots and video of the Nightbreed Video game.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

2 Cool looking Films for march!

Hey people,
Just thought i'd share with you 2 cool looking films that are coming this march,
Jonny t.


ON DVD 7 MARCH 2011 DIRECTED BY Chad Ferrin“a unique, horrifying movie watching experience” - 28DaysLater “No-Holds-Barred Vision” - FANGORIA A PSYCHEDELIC TRIP INTO TERROR

In this genre-defying grind-house throwback, a group of drug-fueled, sexually deviant medical students are systematically terrorized by Wilma and John Hopper. The Hoppers, serial murderers and rapists, mysteriously return from the 1970s and bring horrifying psychedelia with them. With comedy, subversion, satire and true gore, the students must face escalating attacks, shocking circumstances and visceral disgust.
Inspirations for the film include counter-culture American icons such as Roger Corman, Russ Meyer and Dennis Hopper. Shock cinema, with a tongue-in-cheek, humorous attitude is a hallmark of independent cinema in the USA and SOMEONE’S KNOCKING AT THE DOOR brings that philosophy to a new generation of socially conscious and intellectual viewers. Satire of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll abounds, with a particular look at the US culture of consumption, the medical community and follies of youth. With a hip, youthful score and fringe dynamics, the film brings an avant-garde, contemporary spin to a classic genre.



STARRING, Fay Masterson, Brian Howe, Andrew Parks, Jennifer Blaire

“..a hit to the funny bone” – HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Lost Skeleton has everything: Ed Wood would have loved this, and so did I!” – EFILMCRITIC

Remember the good old days when anyone with a camera, a few thousand bucks, and more ambition than talent could schlep up to Bronson Canyon and quickly make a cheap sci-fi/horror movie? Well, they're back! THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA is an affectionate, meticulous re-creation of those notoriously cheesy clunkers, as a gaggle of beloved stereotypes pursue "that rarest of all radioactive elements--atmosphereum."
Writer/Director Larry Blamire heads a superb cast--including Fay Masterson (Eyes Wide Shut), Brian Howe (Gran Torino), Andrew Parks (Donnie Brasco) and Jennifer Blaire (The Majestic)--that faced a daunting task: having to be brilliant and terrible at the same time!

The dialogue is marvelously insipid, and the music cuts in and out of the action with breathtaking suddenness. Aliens from Mars crash-land, setting loose a mutant, while a mad scientist re-awakens a talking skeleton that could hold the key to world domination, and don't forget Animala, a half-woman, half-animal beatnik! It's one of the most original, clever, and hilarious comedies to come along in eons of your Earth years--and became such a fan favourite that there's now a sequel...maybe two...

“….will delight psychotronic film fans; a parodic bull's-eye scored” – VARIETY.COM

“Armed with enough cliches to make Ed Wood proud” - San Francisco Chronicle


Though born in Liverpool, Larry Blamire, grew up in Massachusetts working as a scifi illustrator, then acted on stage, which led to writing and directing his own plays, plus occasional parts in TV, commercials and incredibly fascinating corporate videos. Combining a mighty lifelong love of movies, a visual sensibility, a vivid imagination, a streak of satirical wit, and the sharp eyes and kill-instinct of a seasoned hunter, Larry’s passion for all things 50s scifi emerged with a vengeance in THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA. Pulling a few elements from his play BRIDE OF THE MUTANT'S TOMB, CADAVRA manages to draw on cheapo scifi and horror and lets them collide in a bit of spoofery that seeks to be as authentic as it possibly can.

CADAVRA was seen at a screening at the Egyptian Theatre, which led to Sony Pictures distributing the movie in 2004, and a loyal cult following which has continued to grow ever since. Larry then formed Bantam Street a movie satire company but with a distinct difference and edge that went on to make further movies that have led to him achieving a cult status.

4Digital Media are delighted to be bringing Larry’s films to the UK, the first of which is The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, which will be followed the highly acclaimed sequel The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, and his spoof of 1930s mystery films, Dark and Stormy Night. Then for the first time on DVD anywhere, his Director’s cut of Trail of the Screaming Forehead.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Jonnys cult films podcast-The Fly

Hello all,
Well we finally managed to get another show together after the chaos of xmas,new year,snow and man flu(the worse flu).
In this show we have a new intro from my doodle buddy Rootrot from the awesome The Witchs hat blog and podcast (please go check it out) as well as a new theme tune!!! we start with our usual general discussion and the the news section from Bob followed by our take of David Cronenbergs classic"The Fly"
So once again,thank you all for listening and if you have any comments or mp3's you'd like to send over please email me at
Until next time,
Take care,
Jonny t.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Reeker(2005) Review by Eric R. Lowther

Reeker (2005)

Written & Directed by Dave Payne

Hey kids! It’s Eric R. Lowther, aka biguglyhairyscary, back again with you on the Witch’s… huh? Wait… where the fuck am I, again? Johnny’s what? Oh… well, okay then…

Hey kids! It’s Eric R. Lowther, aka biguglyhairyscary, coming to you from across the pond with my take on writer / director Dave Payne’s 2005 flix “Reeker”. Mr. Payne was actually pretty ballsy in slapping that title on his film, if you think about it. He’s almost begged reviewers to play on it relative to the movie’s quality. Now, while I have seen better takes on the “lost highway” concept I will say that this one wasn’t as much of a steaming pile as its title would suggest.


There’s a lonely, nearly-deserted stretch of desert highway out there, a desolate ribbon of road that’s been claiming lives at an alarming rate. As it happens, this stretch of perilous pavement stands between our five plucky college student heroes and the rave party of the year. There’s Nelson and Trip, the frat boys, Cookie, the bubble-headed party girl, Jack, a blind and smart as a whip “good guy” and Gretchen, the level-headed and slightly older-than-the-rest brunette with the sexy accent. Except for the frat brothers, most of the group really doesn’t know much about the rest other than passing acquaintance since their coming-together is more a result of ride sharing than anything else. It’s just a group of co-eds piling into an old car and heading off down a desert highway to get to a party. What could possibly go wrong in that scenario?

To the movie’s credit, the director and script keep a relatively good pace through the movie’s opening getting-to-know-you car ride, allowing the characters that don’t really know each other to feel the rest out. Cookie is the same happy-go-lucky flighty bird we pegged her for at first sight. Gretchen is a no-nonsense kinda chick while Nelson is kind of the “everyman” college guy just looking for some fun. Trip, the hard-party dude of the group, revels in toying with the blind Jack. It’s all pretty standard stuff, really. The group stops off at a roadside inn and diner for a little break, and while there we learn that the metric ton of drugs Trip’s brought for the party were stolen from his very pissed off and even more unstable drug dealer. His dealer knows where he’s going and is polite enough to call Trip and tell him that he’s coming for him and for his drugs.

Trip neglects to share this bit of information with the rest of his party, but once back in the car and on the road he does let it slip that he’s got enough drugs on-board to make even Courtney Love seem interesting. Gretchen’s not going to put up with that shit, though. Since he won’t throw out the drugs and she won’t have them in her car, she tries to leave Trip on the side of the road then relents when he can’t even get a cell signal to call for another ride. Most of the rest try to talk Gretchen out of abandoning Trip on the side of the road until Gretchen finally compromises and agrees to take Trip back to the diner so he can make other arrangements.

They make it as far as the diner, but before Gretchen can leave Trip alone in the dusty, completely empty parking lot her car dies. As amends for bringing his illegal pharmacy into her car, Trip agrees to help Gretchen with the problem while the rest go back into the diner. When they’d been there just a short while ago the diner had been busy with customers and employees. What they find this time though are meals, drinks and even cigarettes still burning in ashtrays but with no one around to eat, drink or smoke them. The place is completely deserted, and by the looks of things it happened just seconds before they arrived. Television and radios aren’t working right and just pick up vague bursts of conversation and static, and even the cell signal Trip had there the last time has left them. And while they’re lucky enough for Trip to be able to repair the broken fuel line he found on Gretchen’s car (he makes the repair with condoms. I’m still trying to figure that one out), the broken line also drained their fuel. Since the rest stop’s gas pumps aren’t working they’re pretty much stuck until some form of help arrives, though a garbled news report mentioning some sort of industrial accident in the area leaves them little hope of a quick rescue and dashes their hopes of making it to the rave.

Hey, kids! Fun fact; for all the attention the makers seemed to try and pay to this one, there are numerous and often quite funny and obvious continuity and equipment-in-frame errors. I’ll give you one; you can see the reflection of a boom mike in the window of Gretchen’s car when they return to the diner. It’s up to you to find the rest. Make a drinking game out of it and have fun with it. Anyway…

It’s just about here where we really start seeing odd flashes in relation to the characters and start seeing them react to the pungent, dead smell that seems to come and go. Jack, the blind guy, is acutely aware of the odd, slight sounds that seem to be all around them as well as the reek of rotting flesh due to his heightened senses. But even with this, Jack doesn’t seem too worried about their predicament. In fact, except for Trip who now won’t be able to make his appointment to give his insane and murderous drug dealer back his stuff, none of the rest act like this is any big deal. Perhaps it’s just the fluff spirit of youth or maybe it’s the director not wanting to spend a lot of time on what most normal people would be doing in this situation. I’m not really sure which, but either way their nonchalance in the face of the complete and nearly-instant disappearance of the diner’s patrons, the come-and-go smell and even Trip and Nelson’s discovery of a shed full of odd implements and dried road kill doesn’t really get a lot of conscious recognition. Finally, Trip starts into heavy paranoia after seeing a few images of rotting people just walking around that no one else seems to see. Coupled with his utter fear at knowing his dealer will come looking for him when he doesn’t show up at the party, Trip decides to go looking for help while the rest make the best of it and break out the supplies they’d brought for the party.

We split time between Trip’s road trip and the rest of the group doing exactly what young people shouldn’t be doing in a horror movie; drinking, drugs and sex. The movie kicks it up a notch in the “I see rotting people” department around the diner, but it’s Trip that really gets the brunt of it. He finds a small roadside rest area but quickly discovers his dealer has found it as well. The man is understandably pissed, but it becomes obvious to us that he’s not being psychotic just because Trip stole his drugs. After a few tense and admittedly not too badly done chase bits, Trip manages to get away from the rest area when he’s picked up by the sudden appearance of an older man in a Winnebago, Henry (played by genre veteran Michael Ironsides). Henry’s wife disappeared sometime that morning, but he can’t seem to remember where he last saw her or, for that matter, what he’s really been doing all day. Henry drives Trip back to the diner and elects to stay there for the night and continue his search in the morning, though he does refuse to give them any of his gas for Gretchen’s car since he needs it all to keep looking for his wife. Henry has obviously been affected in the brainpan by something or other, and we later learn through a tense moment that Trip and he have been seeing these dead and rotting people and smelling the reek all around them.

From here the movie really dives into its premise. There are a few inventive kills coupled with slasher-movie-character standard operating procedures while the movie tries to give us a few scenes of exposition and tension-building. Some of these scenes work and some of them don’t. Overall though, it’s obvious that that writer/director Payne put a lot more effort into tying his disjointed images and non-linear bits back into the main tapestry of the story than other directors with similar projects have done. He doesn’t always succeed, but he hits the mark close enough and often enough that you can forgive some of the more obvious, glaring errors. The climax rolls pretty smoothly, and though any of you that have a good number of these types of pictures under your belt will see the big twist coming, the movie still presents it well enough that it accomplishes its job a lot better than some other bigger budgets and names (yes, I’m looking at you, Shyamalan) have done.

On to the nuts and bolts of the thing; the movie is more or less technically proficient and the director obviously knows the basics of how to put a movie together. However, the effects here, especially the sudden shaky-cam and the rippled-haze effect telling us when the Reeker is around, did more harm than good I think. Being so slap-in-the-face with us so we’d know when the Reeker was about really ran counter to the more subtle tension he tried so hard to build in many other scenes. I think the direction was good, but I don’t think it was good enough to make the sudden shift between the tense-intentions and the boom-payoffs work well together. The camera and lighting people did some good work though. The night scenes are lit well enough to see what’s going on yet still keep the sense of dread that nightfall brings. The set design/location was quite good as well, so much that the desert oasis inn/diner/gas station almost becomes a character in its own right. The effects, especially the kills, were overall of fair quality with a few particularly inspired moments here and there. What really hurt in this department was in the presentation of the Reeker itself and in its poor-quality CGI. I think I’d have rather seen more stripped-down physical effects to stretch that budget than to see poor CGI yank me out of the story.

So, is it any good? For those of you in the U.K. who aren’t familiar with my reviews (or my blog at… Come on, according to my stats the Danes visit me more than you guys do…), I don’t give a number, star or other quantifying rank to films. I think going that route isn’t fair to a lot of films that get lumped together and makes them be judged alongside other projects that they really shouldn’t be held to. So with that in mind, I will tell you that the whole thing has a sort of 80’s slasher feel to it. I don’t know if that’s what Payne was going for but I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, either. If you’re a slasher genre fan or someone that likes a few twists with their indie horror then you’ll probably find this one at least passable, though I should tell you the director was going for a much more slick and vivid presentation here than a lot of other indie horror guys go for. For the most part you’re not going to find a lot of deep meaning here until the director wants you to, and this kind of force-feeding of a twist or an “a-ha!” moment may turn some of you off right when the story needs you to be onboard with it the most. The writing isn’t bad, the acting is anywhere from passable to good from most of the cast and the story and twists are fairly easy to digest as long as you don’t pick them apart too hard and take them for the entertainment they were meant to be. If you’re interested, you can get it from Amazon or many of your other on-line sources for anywhere from $4-$10 (U.S.), though I’m sure you’ll want to check for Region compatibility before buying.

Well, that’s enough out of me. I’d like to thank Johnny for letting me pop in and chat with you. Make sure you’re checking out his podcast for some real movie reviews, news and other fun stuff from his cast of characters. Oh, and while I’m here, make sure you drop by and see me and so many other fine, fine people over at The Witchs hat blog where you can catch more of my and others’ reviews and articles. And if you like that, you’ll love The Witch’s Hat family of podcasts featuring Root Rot, Kreepy Kyle, the world-renowned Misfit Boy and many more, including yours truly. So, until next time this has been biguglyhairyscary saying, see ya, Kids.

Many thanks to Eric and dont forget to check out and follow his awesom blog-

Jonny t.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Jason mask for jonnys cult films blog by Gavin Jennings.

Hi guys,
just thought you would like to see these pics of a Jason mask that I have in my collection. The mask was made by Darren Laken over at Ruste Dowg productions. He is a fantastic artist that specialises in reproduction screen quality Jason masks & hoods. Darren uses blank masks that have been made by Ken Tarillo, one of the original creators of the iconic hockey mask from the original Friday the 13th films! These are the real deal and the closest thing you can get to owning the real thing. The mask shown is a custom made design of the 'hock' seen at the end of part 8 when Jason has been all but dissolved in toxic waste in the sewers of New York City. Every last burn and scratch has been pain stakingly reproduced for an authentic finish, even the leather straps have been burnt and distressed to complete the look. I particularly like how the mask has been distorted and melted. Many other styles are available to order online through Rustedowgproductions Styles vary from the newly acquired 'clean' mask seen in part 3 right through to the new style mask seen in the recent re-make. You could even opt for a custom design of your own or a mask that captures the damaged sustained throughout the entire series, a 'greatest hits' mask if you'll pardon the pun! Darren likes to ensure that you are happy with your masks and will keep you regularly updated on it's progress. He documents the production with photos for you to view and will give you the opportunity to have creative input along the way. You can join the Ruste Dowg forum and browse the range in the catalogue and even read honest comments from other customers.
Gavin Jennings.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

I Spit on your grave-2010 Review By Jonny t.

Well,Where do i start?
I first heard at sometime last year or the back end of the year before that they were going to remake the 70's exploitation flick"I spit on your grave"Now i was never a fan of the original i mean how could you really say you are a fan of a film that has constant rape of a woman??
Having seen the 1st one only once(and i was a while ago)it was with some trepidation that i decided to watch the remake and i have to say its pretty good,now maybe i could be accused of double standards with regards to my comments on the original but it seems to me that even though obviously the rape scenes are in the remake it doesn't seem as constant as the original,you do hear a lot of after talk from the rapists and i did get to the point when the 2nd rape scene appeared that i though"why the fuck am i watching this"it is obviously grossly unpleasant but maybe having seen"A Serbian film"this year i was a little less shocked,sick fucking film!
Anyways,The rape goes on the she disappears,all manner of twists ensue then her revenge starts kicking in and boy does she get revenge!!
It has to be some of the most violent scenes i have seen in a long time and not one of them is let off lightly in anyway,as with the original where one of the rapist gets hung there is nothing within this film where anyone gets off half as likely,wince factor 10,that's all I'm saying!
So in summing up i would give this a recommend,obviously the rape scenes(especially the one involving the retard kid)are very harrowing to watch but its worth sticking with as i did to see the revenge,as for a re watch factor I'm not too sure,Kudos to the lady who played the victim and overall the acting was top notch,real believable hateful characters with some very clever twists and turns,
Jonny t out,.