I have never seen David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986)
For years, my only real knowledge of The Fly was when Bart Simpson turned into half-boy/half-insect in a Simpson’s “Treehouse of Horrors” Halloween episode where his mom Marge beat him over the head with a broomstick. Needless to say, I was never jumping at the heels to watch the movie that was being joked about. Aaannnddd I’ve never been a big fan of Jeff Goldblum (I’m allowed to have an opinion!). Aaaaaaaannnnnnnnddddddddd I’ve never fully bought into a horror movie based upon something that is so small and insignificant; my dog doesn’t even always feel a fly when it lands on his nose.
But here we are, after years and years of having next to no interest, one day I caved into my Netflix suggestions and decided I’d turn on the 1986 David Cronenberg remake of the early classic – just have it on for some background noise as I cleaned the basement.
No cleaning was done. This movie, which I thought was going to come off as a campy, dated and lame venture, turned into one of my new favorites. I’m not sure exactly how the movie would like to be categorized. Whether it is a Sci-Fi or a Drama, I’m sticking with calling it a horror movie. This movie itself is 31 years old and has some of the most unsettling, skin crawling scenes that I have ever seen.
Keep reading after the trailer
The Fly (1986) Trailer [HD] - David Cronenberg - YouTube
Seeing as how the premise was what made me keep my distance, it didn’t take me long to completely buy into the scenario at all. Brief rundown: Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) tries getting into the pants of journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) the only way a nerd knows how and that’s by showing her his newest science experiment. Brundle gets Veronica into his dimly lit and ultra rapey science lab/apartment. Brundle shows off his two giant honeycomb looking teleportation devices. These devices, he claims, can transfer a living being from one pod to the next. After multiple test runs, Brundle (now banging Veronica on the reg) decides he has so much faith in his creation, that it’s time for he, himself, to be the first human to experience teleportation. That is until a pesky little fly secretly enters the pod with the unknowing Brundle. Once the transfer of bodies is finished, Brundle’s DNA is now mixed with fly DNA; slowly exposing itself within the confines of the greater part of the 1 hour, 36 minute runtime.
Yo Veronica, wanna see my science experiment?
As silly as that may all sound, the players take it so serious and the movie is played in such a tone, that it isn’t hard for you to invest into it – maybe that’s credit to Cronenberg. 80s movies always had such great scores, and the great acting only bettered this movie, but the make-up, THE MAKE-UP and effects were unreal.
Birth of The Fly
Seeing Seth Brundle slowly turn into a gross looking insect/hunchback was crazy fun to watch; each evolved stage into ugliness becoming more and more uncomfortable to witness. The greasiness and oozing of the puss and the hair growth could be a horror movie in itself. McFarlane Toys made this version of the fly immortalized in their ‘Movie Maniacs’ toyline back in the early 2000s. In one “birth” scene, my girlfriend, who watches most horror movies alongside me (to her dismay), had to actually up and leave because it was so gross and uncomfortable – something I’ve NEVER seen her do!
The greasiness and oozing of the puss and the hair growth could be a horror movie in itself.
“It’s Jeff Goldblum’s best movie so STFU”
This movie is worth finding if you have not already seen it and if you have, revisit this particular lab because it’s an experiment worth repeating. The Fly, although a remake, is a great throwback to how fantastic movies from that era were. The simple fact that it’s so unsettling and revolting keeps you thinking about it long after the credits roll – to me, that’s always the sign of a good movie. It’s Jeff Goldblum’s best movie (my opinion so STFU), and it’s the best insect-inspired horror movie I’ve ever seen. Bonus credit in that it has a 100% “girlfriend will leave you alone while watching” rating. To a modern generation, I feel that ‘The Fly’ is so underrated and really deserves to be in the discussion of all-time greats. As for ‘The Fly II’, maybe I’ll hold off just a bit to savor the enjoyment of this movie. Parting words: just remember to be afraid. Be very afraid.
With the immediate success of the ground-breaking 1984 horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, it was not long before parent company New Line Cinema immediately began plans for a sequel. While they may have been the parent company, the father of Freddy-fright himself, the late legendary writer/director Wes Craven, chose not to participate in the production after reading the script by David Chaskin. The directing reins fell to Jack Sholder (Alone in the Dark, Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies) who brought about an ambiguous approach to the narrative. Rushed into production and opening on November 1, 1985, on an estimated budget of only $3 million, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge was met with mixed to negative reviews despite the mass blitz of hype going into it, including the famous FANGORIA Magazine 50th Issue cover. However, all was not lost, as Robert Englund – the man synonymous with the role of ANOES burned child molester turned dream stalker Freddy Krueger – has said that the film did very well in Europe due to its psycho-sexual subject matter. That subject matter remains prominent to this very day and is the reason why, 32 years later, Rue Morgue magazine has resurrected their CineMacabre movie nights in collaboration with Queer Fear, a Toronto based LGBTQ organization.
Keep reading after the trailer
Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) Official Trailer Movie HD - YouTube
The film, starring Mark Patton (Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and the upcoming Amityville: Evil Never Dies) as Jesse Walsh, takes place five years after the original, as Jesse’s family is getting settled into 1428 Elm Street. Unfortunately for Jesse, Freddy Krueger has decided that he can return from the dream world through Jesse’s virginal body and soul. It was an unusual and daring approach to an already established (and growing tired) formula of the girl-in-trouble slasher vibe by having a male in the protagonist role. Patton, a now openly gay actor, does demonstrate several tendencies and mannerisms that may be absent from the behavior of other lead male players, but this works here and he does it unintentionally, as the character himself is not gay. Or is he? Director Jack Sholder has stated in interviews that when viewed under the homoerotic context, the entire film resonates as a journey of self-discovery for Jesse’s homosexuality, which is why he rejects Lisa (Kim Myers, Studio 5-B, Hellraiser: Bloodline) during sexual arousal (albeit she ultimately saves him) and instead runs to the poster-boy jock/friend Ron Grady (Robert Russler, Sometimes They Come Back, Vamp) for help and protection. Upon first viewing, the homosexual innuendos did not blatantly present themselves to the viewer, even when thrown right in their faces such as the scenes containing the sadomasochistic torture and subsequent killing of the gym teacher, Coach Schneider (Marshall Bell, Total Recall, Virus) while a naked Jesse stands afraid and confused in the shower. Cue the highest pitched scream ever!
You Are All My Children Now
In fact, ANOES 2 takes a daring approach to the subject matter by changing the rules and dynamics set forth by Craven’s original. It is, to some degree, a total mind-fuck of a movie that could seriously be broken down and debated upon in any college or university film studies course. Aside from the symbolism that appeals to the LGBTQ community, there are other factors that ask the viewer to read deep into the material — namely the entire climax and the controversial crossing over of Freddy into the real world: was it reality or was it simply a dream hallucination caused by Jesse’s internal struggle against Freddy? Or by that time, was it Lisa’s dream – tired from the emotional struggle of her push and pull relationship with Jesse and hosting a party – that crossed over into the dream world? The entire climactic elements of ANOES 2 are some of the most iconic of the series, especially with Freddy Krueger looking upon a few dozen horrified teenagers claiming in such perverse threatening fashion “You are all my children now” (as one viewer will touch upon later on and this writer agrees).
Rue Morgue Magazine, breeding out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a staple of horror publications around the world, and had suspended the CineMacabre horror movie nights (previously written here on 40oz. of Horror some three years ago), but thought it was now time to return. Executive editor Andrea Subissati took the time to discuss the journey of bringing this subjectively followed Elm Street sequel back to the big screen.
Rue Morgue and Queer Fear screen ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’
“The decision was collaborative between myself, our programmer Richelle Charkot and Queer Fear’s Joshua Cross. Joshua had just returned to Toronto after being away for a few years and was keen to bring Queer Fear back, so I proposed the collab, and he’s the one that felt strongly about ANOES 2. I liked the idea of a sequel marking CineMacabre’s return and part of CM’s mandate is to movies that don’t get screened a whole lot, so ANOES 2 fit the bill perfectly. The next all-important question was whether or not we’d be able to secure the rights to screen it, so Richelle got right on that and set it up and gave us the date! She also took care of promotion, including hiring Andrew Barr to do the amazing poster of Freddy in a rainbow sweater, and Joshua did a great job securing the pre-show entertainment and post-screening discussion panel.”
ANOES 2 poster art by Andrew Barr
Indeed, any promotion is important to a movie and more so a movie event of this magnitude, as it also tied into the Pride activities found across North America. The poster was a colourful take on Krueger by cleverly brightening some of his sweater hues and encompassing everything about Elm Street 2 – from its horror roots for the horror fan to the subtext adored in the gay community. Barr elaborates that Richelle “hired me to do other posters, so she decided they needed a poster for this one and I was the one to go.” Barr’s first work with Rue Morgue “was a poster for Them back last January.”
The event, housed once again in the vintage College Street venue known as the Royal, proved successful with an undeniably impressive turn-out on June 28, 2017; fans were lined up down the block with the concession dishing out popcorn and booze from the ground floor right up to the awaiting patrons in the upstairs bathroom levels. Whether straight or gay, moviegoers packed the ANOES 2 screening and weren’t afraid to voice their laughs or comments during the film – making the whole experience feel more like a grindhouse midnight movie cult viewing than a Wednesday primetime endeavor.
The Cultural Significance of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2
The sell-out crowd demonstrated that while the film may be a somewhat forgotten sequel in the lineage of the Elm Street franchise, its cultural significance may live on longer than Freddy Krueger himself. Subissati gave a very good point in that “Oftentimes, you can’t tell the cultural significance of a movie until a few decades pass and you can look back in retrospect with more clarity, and ANOES 2 is a perfect example of that.” Barr himself reveals that “it was the first Elm Street I ever saw back when it came out on VHS. One of my friends said you have to see this movie, so I saw that movie.”
The film is nothing short of a culture shock when you look at that timeframe – the Halloween series was on hiatus, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was still in pre-production, Friday the 13th had killed Jason – so what exactly was New Line to do to give their Elm Street sequel an edge? To see so many people turn out to a screening of the film shows that time heals all wounds, as Subissati continues, “One thing I noticed when I was chatting with people in the lobby is that most horror fans saw ANOES 2 when it first came out and dismissed it as an oddball misfire in the franchise. The original ANOES is so inventive and seminal that most audiences weren’t expecting something so different in the first sequel. I certainly hadn’t picked up on the film’s queer elements the first time I saw it in the ’80s but they’re unmistakable now.”
One of those people in the lobby showed more balls than were used in the coach’s death scene by showing up to this event in the guise of Freddy’s famous later on-screen nemesis Jason Voorhees. The man behind the mask – so to speak – was Toronto resident Skyland Fisher, who has his own similar outlook on the sequel saying “it [has] definitely the most ’80s feel of any Nightmare on Elm Street Film. The clothing style. The music style. It has this whole feel that says this is the 1980s. I almost can’t put it into words. It has the most iconic scenes of the series, in my opinion, like when [Freddy] goes ‘You’re all my children now’ and the whole pool scene; it was incredible. Also the whole him coming out of Jesse’s body, like cutting him open and everything, amazing scene. [It’s] iconic to the franchise.“ No doubt, before CGI dominated and subsequently ruined the horror genre, the practical effects headed by Kevin Yagher were on point, from Freddy’s makeup, the aforementioned Freddy-evolving-from-Jesse scene to the school bus perched high upon a hellfire pit. Whether or not the script was strong, the direction was resourceful, or the acting was believable, the special effects presented here were those of a time now forgotten by most modern filmmakers, and they prove to be some of the most extraordinary of the series.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 is one of those films that I find important, even if I don’t objectively love to watch it.
Make no mistake that ANOES 2 tries to upstage neither its predecessor nor any of the successful entries in the series, such as Part 3, Dream Warriors, which is perhaps the biggest success and highlight of the franchise. Subissati even admits “ANOES 2 is one of those films that I find important, even if I don’t objectively love to watch it. The first film is a landmark in horror and probably my personal favorite of the bunch. In terms of watchability, ANOES 3 is the real crowd-pleaser, so I guess I love the first three films for completely different reasons!” Fisher backs up her statement, adding that ANOES 2 “hammers [the gay subtext] home in the most hilarious way. I like the franchise in general but kind of stopped liking it after Part 3. It hits its high point then slowly declines from there. 2 is probably my third favorite. I like the first one the best and third is the one after that I like most. I would say [Dream Warriors] was so iconic [in relation] to Part 2 because Wes Craven returned in a capacity and also the return of Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) brought up the game. They added in new elements like the Dream Warrior powers.” On the opposite end of the spectrum, Barr isn’t hesitant to say that “for the longest time, [ANOES 2] was the only one that I had seen. I didn’t see another one until 4. And for the longest time, those were the only two I saw.”
Regardless of your orientation or sexual preference, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 symbolizes what continues to be a fundamental element of the horror genre that many critics discard, in that it brings together fans of all types, with no negative bias or prejudice; working together to maintain a piece of beloved art. While certainly Rue Morgue Magazine, Queer Fear and any organizations of the type, work together or independently to revive life into forgotten favorites, it is important for all of us in the horror community to never discard a film upon its initial viewing because somehow, somewhere, elements may just play a more prominent role in our society ruling on a fundamental basis beyond our imagination. Maybe that is truly Freddy’s Revenge: exposing us to our own realities; forcing us to admit that even in horror, acceptance and change are necessary.
For more information on Rue Morgue Magazine and CineMacabre horror nights, visit: www.rue-morgue.com
Very special thanks to Andrea Subissati, Richelle Charkot, Rue-Morgue Magazine and Marrs Media Inc., Andrew Barr and APB Art, Skyland Fisher, The Royal, Amy Rusan, Joshua Cross and Queer Fear, the LGBTQ community, and to all of the horror fans around the world who keep our genre alive.
Over the last several years, rumors were abounding that Don Coscarelli was prepping a fourth sequel to one of the most mind-bending horror films of the late 70’s: Phantasm. The last sequel, Part IV: Oblivion was direct-to-video in 1998 and received mixed reactions from franchise fans. Production limitations, specifically money, came into play and that same issue would play a pivotal part in delaying the fifth installment.
However, when the first screen images and teaser poster leaked in early 2014 – Don Coscarelli let the true salivating begin. Veteran actor, the late Angus Scrimm, spoke highly of the shoot and it was later revealed that all the original cast members would be back for what would be the fifth and final adventure for Reggie (Reggie Banister), Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) and Jody (Bill Thornbury).
Distribution can be a bitch and that would ultimately be the reason why “phans” had to wait two extra years to finally see the film. Thankfully, Well Go USA Entertainment answered the call and finally put out the DVD; complete with absolute respect for the project as the DVD comes with Audio Commentary, Behind-the-Scenes Footage, Deleted Scenes, Bloopers, Outtakes and the Trailer!
Perhaps it was all the internet hype and secrecy of the film details that I just wanted to enjoy this movie so much that I would overlook anything negative, or maybe it was the fact that the world lost Angus Scrimm which truly means this is the final time we will see The Tall Man in all his glory – either way, I was ready for Phantasm: RaVager and it did not disappoint me one bit.
Keep reading after the trailer
Phantasm: Ravager Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Reggie Bannister Movie - YouTube
A fantastic score hits and we are right away thrust into the world of Reggie where in this new adventure, he is searching the desolate wastelands of Earth – post Tall Man encounters – searching for Mike. It has been nearly twenty years since part four, but the plot itself takes place ten years later (since early scenes of Reggie were filmed in 2008 when the project was going to be a short online series and not a full-length sequel). The actor, Reggie Bannister, hasn’t lost his touch at all with the character, resuming all the quirks, one-liners, and nuances that made the character such a fan favorite to begin with. Once he reclaims his 1971 Barracuda, then the film really launches into gear with an early confrontation with The Tall Man. Hearing Angus Scrimm’s voice once more instantly sent chills down my spine and every word seemed Godly – thundering around my surround sound speakers.
It wouldn’t be Phantasm though if the story actually seemed to make sense the whole way through, oh no, suddenly we’re thrust into an alternate reality – or maybe the real world – of Reggie suffering from severe dementia and receiving a visit from Mike. Suddenly all the stakes just got higher as we, the audience, don’t know exactly what is happening and the realization kicks in that one of our favorite characters is ill and dying. As another horror icon says, no tears please as it’s a waste of good suffering, and Don Coscarelli along with Director David Hartman realize this and give us a balls-out (steel balls or spheres to be exact…BIG ONES!!!) apocalyptic grand finale where it is all out war against The Tall Man and his legions of undead. Mike, along with deceased brother Jody, re-unite with Reggie and they take it too the streets for some hardcore combat.
The CGI in the film is acceptable because as we watch it, and for those fans who know the struggles of putting this film together in the first place, we obviously do not expect major Hollywood CGI effects. The killer spheres served their purpose and the landscapes, grain, lightning, dust, and crumbling earth blended well into the film shot with the actors either on green screen or make-up set pieces. It is a step up from any SyFy channel feature too. The music by Christopher L. Stone is great and those old Phantasm themes creep into the action and suspense at all the right moments including the opening and closing credits.
Indeed a tremendous improvement from Oblivion, RaVager succeeds in piecing together story elements that tie the entire series up with hinting explanations as to what characters are truly where in their lives, and when we finally have to say Goodbye to them, it is done so in true Phantasm fashion that will leave no fan unsatisfied (I would hope!). Kudos to Don Coscarelli for completing his Phantasm vision that began almost 40 years ago after so much red tape, he fought through all adversity, and to the cast, and crew, and director, for spending almost eight years to give the fans the desired closure that was needed but not without the lady in lavender (Kat Lester) and final “BOYYYYY!” to echo into eternity.
I was raking my brain with what movie I was gonna write about this week. You see, as much as I love Halloween, horror, and all things gory, I’m also one of those assholes so full of Christmas spirit. As soon as Labour Day passes, my brain starts thinking about decorating! Now with Halloween being a week behind us, the sickness becomes even stronger. I have to physically stop myself from watching Holiday movies until December. Pretty much the month of November becomes as useless of a month as Wednesday is in the work-week.
Check it out… Rachel from ‘Friends’ is in this movie!
As I try to power through these next thirty days, debating what movies to write about, I decided to turn on one of my favourite shows. While not knowing it, this show would hold my inspiration. “An Idiot Abroad” is a show where comedian Ricky Gervais sends his bonehead best friend Karl around the world to learn and experience different cultures. Well for the first two seasons he travelled alone, but by the third season, Karl expressed how he “would enjoy a little company this season while traveling.” Well, Ricky took that literally, and for season three, sent this pint-sized bundle of joy alongside – yes Warwick Davis himself.
And there was my inspiration for this article, Mr. Warwick Davis. A legend. A man with a credits list as long as Jason Voorhies’ kill count. It’s no secret that we really know him for just one major accomplishment (maybe two for Jedi fans out there) and that is: Leprechaun.
Now as usual, I’m not gonna review this movie. I’m simply gonna write about what I like and try to honeydick you into watching or re-watching it again. BUT – how can you not want to watch this? It’s about a cereal box character that came to life to hunt down his missing gold. All the while we get to see Rachel from Friends clumsily try to run away, while her co-stars deliver some of the most choreographed acting off all time. I mean this all in a good way. Also, some of the 90s fashion in this badboy is worthy of the watch alone.
Leprechaun has one of my favourite kills ever
To this day, Leprechaun has one of my favourite kills in any movie ever. And – SPOILER ALERT – it comes when he decides to use a pogo stick on a guy’s chest. This movie also has one of my favourite chase scenes of all time, and I don’t mean car chase, but maniac after victim chase. I’m talking the classic part where Jennifer Aniston is running through an empty hospital while that Irish small fry is chasing her on a wheelchair! It gets better when he fixes himself a miniature go-kart and T-bones a full size truck causing it to roll head-over-asshole straight down a hill.
With the entire pot of Grade-A cheese in this movie, there is nothing that makes it not fun to watch. What it lacks in dialogue, it makes up for in creativity. Where it lacks in logic, it corrects itself in fun. I know this movie is labelled a Horror/Comedy, and maybe it was when it was released in 1993 but in 2016, the only scary thing about this movie is how it doesn’t get the praise it deserves.
Leprechaun - Trailer - YouTube
This movie won’t keep you up all night, or have you fearing another jump scare, but it will make you appreciate how perfect Warwick Davis is in the role as Leprechaun. Sequels, and the remake aside, the original film had an undeniable blend of phenomenal make-up FX, hilariously clichéd catchphrases, and constant use of the absolute most random items as weapons. This movie/franchise is so overlooked despite having an impressive five additional entries to the original series.
So as we mosey our way thru this useless month known as November, kill some time watching this Leprechaun penguin walk his way to the end of the rainbow. Then do it all again in March for St. Patrick’s Day.
SPOILER ALERT x2! Leprechaun dies by having a piece of bubble gum, wrapped in a four leaf clover, slingshot down his throat (Bart Simpson style). Yeah, you read that right, go experience it for yourself.
Does a 40oz. Of Horror-approved Halloween party involve knocking back a buttload of booze? Does Bigfoot shit in the woods? Well, we’re not sure about that, but the first one’s a no-brainer. What better time to mix up weird or even dangerous-looking drinks than Halloween? The following American Horror Story-themed Halloween cocktail recipes are creepy, creative and perfectly customized for your All Hallow’s Eve soiree.
AHS: HOTEL – Serves 4
4 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Licor 43
6 oz. Soda Water
2 oz. Orange Juice
3 oz. Raspberry Syrup
Pour the vodka and Licor 43 into a shaker over ice and shake it like crazy.
Mix in the orange juice and soda water, then strain the mixture into chilled glasses.
Serve with raspberry syrup in a plastic syringe.
AHS: COVEN – Serves 6 – 8
10 oz. Brandy
32 oz. Blackcurrant Juice
12 oz. Soda Water
3 tbsp Sugar
Mix brandy and sugar in a large bowl, then stir in blackcurrant juice.
Refrigerate for around an hour, then add soda water just before serving.
Serve in a martini glass or better yet a coupe — martini glasses spill too easy once you’ve had a couple of these, ya dig?