'Simon Says,' 'Monster Squad' (TV), 'Backwoods'

By Peter Martin

I consider myself very lucky to have seen Simon Says at Fantastic Fest in September 2006, with director William Dear in attendance. Dear is best known for Harry and the Hendersons, but before that he made the grotty biker flick Northville Cemetery Massacre and the enjoyable, goofy Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann. After years of working in Hollywood, Dear was delighted with the freedom that came with making a low-budget horror comedy, and that's reflected in the film itself, which features outlandishly clever splatter scenes (think: a field of flying pickaxes) and a deranged performance by Crispin Glover as twins (yes, it's true!!!).

As I wrote in my review for Twitch: "Looks ravishing and rocks along briskly; the characters get plenty of time to establish their various degrees of likability before being killed off one by one. Surprisingly enough, you start to care about them." The DVD features an audio commentary by Dear, behind the scenes footage, storyboard comparisons, and a stills gallery.

Strange, but I have absolutely no memory of mid-70s Saturday morning TV show Monster Squad. Fred Grandy (later Gopher on The Love Boat) starred as a night watchman at a wax museum who figured out how to bring the statues of Dracula, the Wolfman, and the Frankenstein Monster back to life when he needed them to fight crimes. 300 minutes of potentially daft entertainment is available in this two-disc package.



Can any movie that stars Haylie Duff actually be scary? The trailer for Backwoods looks decent, but the film itself is "Wrong Turn meets Severance ... only without the gore, humour and excitement," in the opinion of Slasherpool.

'Hobgoblins'If you love killer puppet aliens -- and, really, who doesn't? -- Rick Sloane's infamously bad Hobgoblins (1988) and the unawaited sequel Hobgoblins 2 are both out on DVD, the former in a 20th Anniversary Special Edition. Dread Central has a talk with the intrepid filmmaker.

Vinnie Jones stars in Legend of the Bog, an Irish horror flick about "a bronze-age warrior perfectly preserved in Ireland's ancient peat bogs ... dug up and dumped by a greedy female property developer. The huge undead fighter goes in search of a new place to lie down and causes havoc en route." Check out the trailer at the official site before deciding if you want to risk a rental.

Finally, two horror flicks get repackaged as a double-DVD set. Make Them Die! teams 1991's Campfire Tales with 1981's Kiss Daddy Goodbye. The only apparent connection between the two is that they both feature cast members of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Gunnar Hansen appears in the former and Marilyn Burns in the latter. Before considering a purchase and/or rental, be sure to read Final Girl's assessment of Kiss Daddy Goodbye, which I'm sure is more entertaining than the movie.

CATEGORIES DVDs, Horror