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Suspiria

Cosmic Fred
Better Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)
What is a review?
What’s inside us that makes us need to vent our opinions on subjects in which we consider ourselves something of an expert on? Certainly you have to love what you’re reviewing – when it’s done well, that is. But what about those times when you go to a fancy restaurant that all your friends love and you can tell the food is done well, but it’s just not your cup of tea? Not literally, it’s not like a tea room or something. Or maybe it is. The name of this tea room is Suspiria, and while I enjoy their crumpets, I have to admit that I am left bored and unimpressed by their tea.“Woah, did he just dis Susperia?”No, I love Norwegian black/thrash metal.“Huh?”Just so we’re on the same page here, there’s SuspIria the movie, and there’s SuspEria the band, named after the movie, but with the letter change for copyright issues. And no, actually, they aren’t that good. And yes, actually, they suck, moving on then…

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I don’t dislike Suspiria, with it’s vivid colors and distinct atmosphere all it’s own. Released in the same year that Stars were having Wars with each other, and directed by legendary Italian director Dario Argento, the film is highly regarded for its harsh, early, and stylized murder scene, and for the uneasy feeling the film continues to give you afterward. Now, I’m not saying that that’s all the film has, but the film’s ending is definitely not its strong point.

Let me try to explain without ruining the film for anyone who might plan on seeing it based on my glowing review (oops). The film holds a tension throughout itself like no other movie does, and if you’re a real horror movie fan and not just some freak who likes watching people murdered while wearing his mothers clothes (or your father’s clothes, if you’re an insane woman. Wait, is that how that works? Or do you just smear lipstick all over your face and say “Baby pretty now Momma? BABY PRETTY NOW?!?!”) then you know that horror is all about suspense. There’s that looming danger and you think you know what will happen, but then it doesn’t and something else does and then your little brother says he’s bored and you’re like, “Then you aren’t paying attention, spaz!”.

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But for me, this film doesn’t pay off in the ways that Rosemary’s Baby or Taxi Driver does. It feels like a cheap haunted house at the end, and dampens the experience leading up to it. Yes, there are some awesome and very frightening scenes that involve maggots and blind men and plenty of spooky music with smooth camera movement, but the end of the film doesn’t fit the caliber established by those scenes. It’s not a total letdown, like, it’s not as if things don’t happen. In the end, I prefer the ridiculous and outlandish events than, say, just some dude in a cloak explaining everything with a smirk and a girl screaming ‘NOOOOOOOO!’ and then breaking a kerosene lamp which burns the whole place down in a matter of seconds, which you don’t actually see. I was just describing Satan’s School For Girls there, a movie too bad for me to even give a review.

The other big seller of this film is it’s lead actor and protagonist, Jessica Harper. She has a great quality to her that lends itself to the mystery and fear, and allows you to empathize with a character who you can see is going through some stress. This includes when she’s surrounded by actresses who probably did a porn or two (hey, haven’t we all? I’m looking your way Sly Stallone) and aren’t really selling their characters, or just coming off as bitchy since that’s the only tone they can achieve. It lets Jessica shine through as the person who can actually display a spectrum of emotions that are believable and relatable. She kinda reminds me of Ellen Page, who even mentions Suspiria in her film Juno, which is one of the many reasons I disliked her snarky sarcastic and desensitized character in that film (horror buffs hate when some cute girl just likes a horror movie cause it’s the goriest thing she’s ever seen, or we love it because then we can say “oh really?” and pull out Dead Alive or Cannibal Holocaust and watch her face turn white).

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I wish I could say Jessica went on to bigger and better things, but I’m afraid the SHOCK TREATMENT she received in 1980 wasn’t quite a success, though I have been told the movie can grow on you (sorry, but, no Tim Curry, me no care. I mean, c’mon, I can deal with no Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick, even though I do love them quite a lot, but Tim MADE Rocky Horror what it was, and not having him come back as, lik,e a Frank-N-Furter clone or something was the nail on the coffin of that one for me. Also, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, then it’s probably best you forget everything I’ve just said and get on with you life already). It’s still fun to watch her sing.

I know someone is going to tell me I don’t appreciate this movie enough and that to say the ending is anticlimactic or that the middle part of the film gets boring is sacrilege, or that I didn’t even mention the amazing score by the band Goblin whose music would appear the next year in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which Argento edited for European distribution and included more music from Goblin for… but I have now, and then some, so get off my back! Really though, Goblin is to Suspiria as John Williams is to Star Wars. Not to mention the number of goth musicians created while viewing this films with its completely engrossing score. Possibly my favorite scene in the whole movie is the blind man in the deserted square, where nothing is happening, but because of the music, we feel total fear. However besides those amazing parts, most of the film is not as enthralling.

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So maybe you think I’m wrong for my benign feelings on Suspiria, but alas, it my review, so I don’t have to care about what you think, or don’t think, or thought, or shall think again, because that’s what I have trolls/gremlins/goblins living in my ears for. Plus, how can I like a movie that shows us a killer committing a murder at the beginning, and never reveals who that killer was? Sure, we find out who the masterminds were, and that magic was used, but whose arm is that? The world may never know. GOODNITE EVERYBODY!

An American Werewolf in London

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

There’s a place in our soul that we try to fill by extending our understanding of ourselves beyond the realms of reality, looking instead to the nether regions of our minds where the abyss stares back into the eternal darkness of our expanding consciousness. Then there’s images attached to celluloid accompanied by audio bits that synch up with the visual bits and form something we’ve come to call a movie. An American Werewolf In London is one of these movies.

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If you’re like me, you know that in America’s present exists in the late seventies and early eighties, before that is the past, after that is the future. So this film takes place in a constant state of ‘now’ like many of the films of those eras produced. I realize you might think I’m biased or that the idea of a present existence in the past is ludicrous, but you are wrong. Just flat out wrong. Like, you are Steven Spielberg in 1979 saying “I think we’ve got a good picture here!” That’s how wrong you are, and I feel bad for you.

Speaking of feeling bad, have you ever backpacked across the moors while in England and been attacked by a naked psychopath? If you answered yes, then you probably shouldn’t read the rest of this review. The man known as John Landis helms what could be considered a horror-comedy picture, but ends up just being more horrifying due to the realism it brings. No, this is no Evil Dead II, but there is a talking corpse that cracks a joke or two while his lycanthropic friend sweats in fear and terror. I really have to hand it to David Naughton, fresh off his stint of being a pepper, who plays David and gives a performance that’s makes you feel like you’re him. You really identify with the way he addresses his lot in the film, trying to get arrested, the dream sequences featuring the Muppets (one of two Frank Oz appearances in the film, technically), the waking up naked in a zoo and having to steal balloons from a little boy in order to cover your shame ’til you get back to the English nurse’s (who you’ve been shacking up with) house. I REALLY identified with that last part.

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This movie has it all, some beautiful character development, some early-on and horrifying violence against one of our two, count them, two, not a group of people who would never hang out together lest it be for a horror movie, but two protagonists, and what every horror movie needs, NUDITY! And it’s actually tastefully done and not just a half porn. Perhaps this film’s most glorifying element would be the iconic transformation scene which made this film the Star Wars of werewolf movies. Besides also inspiring Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ Video, the transformation scene is legendary because it not only holds up all these years later, but is easily still more convincing than any over-blown CGI transformations that have undoubtedly replaced the king, Rick Baker’s, mechanisms. The film not only won an award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup, but was also the reason the award was invented, and therefore the first movie to win such an award.

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I love when directors switch genres like Landis did. he had just had a string of hits with Kentucky Fried Movie, Animal House, and Blues Brothers before he decided to take a somewhat more serious route, and it turned out to be the right move. Not so much for a Mr. Spielberg, who after hits like Jaws and Close Encounters decided to turn to comedy for 1941, which turned out to be the wrong move. But Landis couldn’t have had the amazing success without all the amazing makeup effects that Baker afforded him. The way Jack, as a talking corpse, gets more and more decayed in subsequent appearances, is subtle, but integral as a reminder of our own inevitable demise to the black void of decay as our shell deteriorates without a working heart to pump vital fluids to it’s extremities and is finally laid to dust as the wind blows us across the sands of time where we’ll rest in eternity, as our descendants enjoy the thrill of fear perceived by the films that spout off about our miserable fate. So strap in and enjoy An American Werewolf In London, and remember, never tell your dead friend he looks like a meatloaf. It’s just bad manners.

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House of the Devil

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Hey, Remember the Eighties? Well, probably more than you remember Jim Breuer’s career (R.I.P.) but maybe also not at all, in which case do not fear, because me and today’s film in focus The House of the Devil (2009) are here to tell it like it is, or was, and shall be again? Haha, none of that now, I already made that joke in a previous review, and I don’t wanna start reusing old jokes here, because I don’t believe anyone should be recycling, unless you want the commies to win!!!

This Review Is Based On A Real Movie.

Follow me back to a time with bubble letters, and where yellow and orange are just lighter shades of brown. Where fashions of the 70s were still en vogue and horror movies could be just one girl and one house full of creepy things that kill you. If you’re like me, the early eighties are glamorized by their sensational pinball machines, video games, and goth music, and fashion faux pas, not to mention the full-on slasher genre blooming into irresistible and tasteless levels of imagination to produce new and more horrible images. This era also brought us sequels to late seventies classics like The Amityville Horror and Halloween, which The House of the Devil, while not in any way parodying or copying them, pays homage to them in a style that was pretty inherent of all horror films at the time. While definitely resembling films like When A Stranger Calls and others from the late seventies, the film has more of  the early eighties horror boom cheapness that gives you a campy delight.

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Tom Noonan is one of my favorite actors. Yes, he plays the same psychotic, murderous, child-touching freak in Manhunter, RoboCop 2, The Last Action Hero, that X-Files episode and that Louie episode, but he’s also a lovable Frankenstein in Monster Squad, and the weird counterpart of Philip Seymour Hoffman in Synecdoche, New York. Anyways, I love this tall character actor in the same way that so many of us loved William H. Macy for so long. This movie is no different from Tom’s other outings as a creepy guy every girl has the instinct to spray mace at, and he’s does his role perfectly in a character he’s been cooking for decades. You don’t need flash cuts or loud noises to scare your audience when Tom can make you feel like you’re 6 years old again, and no army of teddy bears is going to save you from his cold clammy stare of death. Lots of horror movies, or just movies in general, have a part or scene or idea that really sold the whole thing, and sparks the debate in your head between the two trolls living in your ears (past review reference, c’mon, keep up sheeple!) and for this movie it’s the great sleepover question, if someone who hires you to babysit then reveals that they don’t have a child and instead wants you to stay in their house in case their mother upstairs needs anything and will pay you 400 dollars, do you do it? Or are they going to try and use you for some satanic ritual like your local church pastor told you people are doing? The choices are yours, and yours alone! You won one pendant at the temple gates, who’s going first?the-house-of-the-devil-image-2

“I am!”

Very well Miriam, when Kirk gives the signal you’ll race through the gates, into the temple, and make your way towards The Secret Map. Hidden inside the temple are temples guards assigned to protect three specific rooms. You can trade you pendant for an extra life and go on, BUT, if you’re caught without a pendant, you will be taken out of the temple, and it will be Zacherie’s turn to enter and try his luck. If you can reach the map, all the doors of the temple will instantly unlock and the temple guards will vanish. Return throughout the gates with The Secret Map of The Bandit Queen within three minutes and you will be handsomely rewarded, and here’s how!!!

Woah. uhhhhhhhhgggg, I don’t know what just happened. It felt like I was possessed by some ancient demon named Olmec, and there were all these legends about temples that were hidden. That is, the temples were hidden, not the legends, which are just kinda not written or anything, I guess, I don’t know. It all seems to be fading now. Ok, so House of the Devil isn’t a hidden temple but it does have some spooky shit that’ll probably make a few kids pee themselves. Like all great slasher films of the early eighties and late seventies, the protagonist of this film is a girl and gets to act like she came out of a closed roller disco turned bar only with a Xenon pinball machine moaning in the background. For some, maybe it’s easier to empathize with a girl lead, but for many angst ridden male teens of the genre’s fan base, it’s seeing the perfect blonde girl who never talks to them getting her punishment for not going on a date with them. It’s always a little bit of both, from both sexes, a little bit of jealousy mixed with fear and we get to feel like normal people while watching people fake getting murdered.

But don’t worry folks, the film never shoots itself in the head, or if it does, it survives. Though when it ends, some might hope for an omen for a sequel. But for anyone who knows The Fly II, knows that would probably be inadvisable. And no I don’t mean Return of the Fly, not that I’d be hurting it’s reputation by comparison (ooooooh, snap attack!).

Well folks, until next time, remember, when drinking blood from a skull, always put trash bags down first. Goodnite.

Photos from Beyond

This day in History and a Little-known fact about Mr. Lobo:

 

For a two months in the late eighties Mr. Lobo made a living by conducting séances throughout Northern California. It is speculated that the spirits of the dead communicated with the living. However, Mr. Lobo‘s activities attracted the attention of the authorities and on November 16, 1988, a séance was interrupted by a police raid during which he and eleven members of his audience were arrested.

382322_10200756809307735_289041573_n It has often been suggested that the reason for Mr. Lobo‘s brief imprisonment was the authorities’ fear that December’s Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by the American glam metal group, Poison, might be revealed too soon, and given the earlier revelation about “Red Red Wine” by UB40, it is clear to see why the medium might be considered a potential risk. Nonetheless, Colonel Chapman, wrote to the Secretary of State branding the charge ‘overwhelmingly silly’.

Ectoplasm News Print

Event Horizon

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Doom_cover_artI love me some DOOM.As in, the 1993 video game that in 1995, was installed onto more computers than Windows 95 itself.
Now, Event Horizon from 1997, starring Morpheus and the main dude from Jurassic Park, is absolutely nothing like the legendary video game DOOM,

 

 

BUT…event-horizon

 

 

 

Event Horizon takes place near Pluto, back in the future when it was still a planet (get it?) and is the story of what happens when humans screw with portals and contact Hell. That’s where DOOM comes in, cause that’s what DOOM is all about. In fact, Event Horizon is more a DOOM movie than the actual DOOM movie was for that exact reason, what with the DOOM movie having a portal but not using it to connect to another dimension like DOOM the video game did. Wow, I’m saying DOOM a lot, maybe I should sing the DOOM song now? Nah, I’ll save that for another day.

 

So in this film, we have not only Laurence (Apocalypse Now and Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors) Fishburne and Sam (Hunt For Red October) Neill, but also Sean Pertwee, who, if you’re a Classic Doctor Who fan, will look very familiar, or at least his eyes and pointy nose do.

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He is the son of the third doctor Jon Pertwee, and he is the only other interesting person in this film, and that’s only because of his father. I should mention, there is another actor in this film who, while having a slightly more shaved head, still throws me off throughout the movie because he acts and talks just like Sean. Maybe I’m crazy, but that shit threw me off, and like, whoever was doing casting would have not wanted that.Ok, I’m stalling. This film isn’t actually that good, in fact, it’s full of clichés and terrible characters and lots of groaning moments. Like when the characters are acting like they know they’re in a horror movie, and jump in their skin and then frightenedly asking “wh- who’s there!?” WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK IS THERE!? YOU’RE ON A GOD DAMNED SPACE SHIP WITH ONLY 4 OTHER PEOPLE!!!! And you’re a scientist!!!! You would use logical thinking to deduce that it’s one of 4 other people and then just ignore it because it was nothing, because you’re in fucking space, with lots of gadgets and stuff in the walls that are surely making some sort of noise that you’ve learned to ignore!

 

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The film is set with the same “2001: a space Odyssey rip-off but mixed with a modern horror feel” idea as Alien, only instead of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre in space” they went for a “Hellraiser in space” feel. Sooo, that’s basically taking the very beginning and end of Hellraiser 4 and making a whole movie out of it. Ahh, Hellraiser 4, which I actually kind of like for it’s explanation of the Lament Cube and for the jumping timeline and not just waiting til the end for Pinhead. But that’s another review for another time. Now I need to wrap up this review in a way that makes it feel like it wasn’t written over a four week period while I was vacationing in Bermuda. Uuuummmm, I know I didn’t really talk about what happens in the movie, but I prefer discussing the nuances rather than giving you a step by step ruining of the movie’s plot. Maybe I should just tell you why you should bother to watch this movie when it has some pretty obvious flaws. Well, there’s blood. Blood is cool, right?
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Blood. Please enjoy responsibly.

 

Night Of The Creeps

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

When Zombies conquer the earth, will it be from a virus or a voodoo curse? Hell, maybe it turns out we all shoulda been eating kosher. So what about that other idea you had, the one about it being from alien slugs from space, that are slugs? Yeah, I know i know, you’ve seen them in every blockbuster movie, from The People vs. Larry Flynt to Man on the Moon and then, umm, well whatever else Courtney Love was in. But if you ask me, and you haven’t, but this little gremlin sleeping in my ears has, I think Night Of The Creeps best represents this genre at it’s full potential.

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So beyond its zombie alien slug exterior, beats the heart of a film made with post-­modern (I sound cool when I use that word) elements, revisiting classic horror staples in a tongue-in-cheek, “let’s have fun” kinda way that was becoming prevalent in the eightites horror genre. It starts with an homage to the black and white early slasher films involving premarital lovers out for a night smooch. I’ll let you decide what you think happens to them.

Flash forward to 1986, or, the present, as it was and shall be again (seriously, look at the kids these days and the things they wear. oy vey!) you’ve got a dork, and a Robert Downey Jr in Back to School type dork, but with crutches. For some more little homagey fun, make sure to listen to everyone’s names, especially the last names – there are some nods to the likes of George A. Romero, David Cronenberg, James Cameron, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Sand Raimi, and Steve Miner (guy directed the first three Jason movies). Check out that list, it’s almost too much, but then Dick Miller shows up, and everybody inside my head cheers!

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You’ve also got a fraternity jock named Brad with (dyed) blonde hair and a “Darsh!” kinda attitude.

But the real star of this whole movie is the hard­boiled cop, played by 80’s mainstay cop actor Tom Atkins. Yeah, he’s in The Fog and Escape From New York for Carpenter, then in Creepshow, again with Adrian Barbeau, but now directed by George Romero. The the love­-it-­or-hate­-it Halloween III, and after Creeps, did Lethal Weapon and, one of my favorite bad movies of all time, Maniac Cop. I love this guy. I could watch him forever. He shines in this movie, like a sun crashing into another sun at like, 100 kazillion miles per hour, and they’re both covered in sparklers. He’s so entertaining. Please, if you’re watching this and finding the 80’s kids to irk you, just wait til Tom, he ain’t gonna let you down.

And this film finally answers that age old question that I know many of us have held in our hearts for many years. That is, can a nerd look cool in a tux with a flame thrower strapped to his back?

No. He can’t.

Though honestly, I’m not sure i agree with that verdict.

Happy Halloween Horror-Heads!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Today is the day! If you’re like me, it’s the one day out of the year where no one looks at you funny! If you’re close to a city this weekend, consider supporting a local theater who are showing Horror films — even if the films are crap! Support the genre!

halloween_1_poster_01 halloween_1_poster_03 halloween_1_poster_05 halloween_1_poster_10 halloween_2_poster_01 halloween_2_poster_02  halloween_3_poster_01 halloween_3_poster_02 kung_fu_halloween_poster_01 ESSxxKAx1h trick_or_treat_poster_01 trick_or_treat_poster_02 trick_or_treats_poster_01 yBKEbahxFDOML9rOh5LR2iQYYSzMr. Lobo and I are going to visit Ma and Pop Dellamorto in Happy Hollow U.S.A. tonight and hand out candy! Happy Hollow U.S.A. is a quiet community set in the twisted woods of Happy Valley. Home of their world famous 13 month long Halloween Festival! Post Card 2

If you can’t make it to Happy Hollow U.S.A. today Dress up, go to a party or stay in and give out candy! Today is our holiday and we hope everyone is enjoying it to the fullest!

31 Days of Halloween Music Mix Volume 31!!!!!

The Epic Story so Far:

Happy Halloween!

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Alright spooky music fans, it is HALLOWEEN! That marks day 31 of Devin Cönnörs and Myles Arden 31 days of Halloween music project!  Today is Halloween, so it’s the thirty-first day of mixes  — Tonight’s The Night II. At this point you’ve got enough music to fuel your entire Halloween party! You know the drill: to download the mix CLICK HERE and Follow their Tumblr Halloween inspired content all year long!

It’s almost time, kids! 31 Days of Halloween Music Mix Volume 30!

30Day 30 of Devin Cönnörs and Myles Arden 31 days of Halloween music project!  Today is the thirtieth of October, so it’s the thirtieth day of mixes  — Paranoia Phobia. To download the mix CLICK HERE and Follow their Tumblr for future mixes and Halloween inspired content! Also check out their new Facebook page!

31 Days of Halloween Music Mix Volume 29

29Day 29 of Devin Cönnörs and Myles Arden 31 days of Halloween music project!  Today is the twenty-ninth of October, so it’s the twenty-ninth day of mixes  — Revenge of the Killer Kovers. To download the mix CLICK HERE and Follow their Tumblr for future mixes and Halloween inspired content

Also check out their new Facebook page!