Fright Night, directed by Tom Holland
You guys do follow the Horror Squad Movie Club right? Our own Brian Salisbury selected the awesome 80s horror flick Fright Night for this week's edition, so of course, I followed along! Fright Night is a fried slice of 80s gold made expressly for horror movie geeks. Young Charley Brewster has a comfortable high school existence until a vampire moves in next door. Where can Charley turn for help when no one will believe him? The great vampire killer Peter Vincent, of course! Roddy McDowall plays Vincent, an aging actor who made a name for himself in a string of films and roles not too far removed from Hammer and Peter Cushing. With the glory days fading Vincent finds himself hosting a cable access program showcasing his greatest films. The program is aptly titled Fright Night!
The awesome meta aspect of an actor who played a vampire killer on film, being faced with the existence of actual vampires is like sweet gravy poured over the mountain of mashed potatoes that is the rest of the film. It's a solid 80s horror film in its own right, with a pumping synth soundtrack and even a sweet dance scene inside a club, but the acknowledgment of vampire lore and cannon specifically presented in movies just makes everything that much cooler for a movie geek. The fact that this is the second time this film has popped up in a What We're Watching in as many weeks should let you how serious we are about this being a lot of fun. With a studio remake on the way, what better time to check this one out? If you haven't seen Fright Night, I implore you to rectify that situation immediately!
D-Tox aka Eye See You, directed by Jim Gillespie
You guys have also been following the Stallone-a-thon over at Cinematical right? The brainchild of our managing editor Scott Weinberg, Stallone-a-thon has been an enlightening look back at Sly's career leading up the release of The Expendables. In that vein, I looked over Stallone's films only to find that he's never really done a straight up horror film. D-Tox is the closest he's come. The story follows Stallone as FBI agent Jake Malloy, hot on the trail of a cop killer. The killer has a hard-on for Malloy and after taunting him a bit, he kills Malloy's soon-to-be wife and leads Malloy on a wild goose chase culminating in the death of another cop.
All this sends Malloy into a tailspin of guilt and alcohol and eventually he agrees to head to a detox center housed in an old air defense bunker in the middle of nowhere. The facility caters specifically to law enforcement, and after Malloy's arrival, the patients start dying one by one. Is it suicide or is their a killer among them? If this sounds like a cool concept that's because it is. Sadly, the execution is pretty terrible. Bad acting, a weak script and a director with no idea how to film action sequences all make for a muddled mess. I'd like to see someone pick up a similar concept and try again, because there's promise there, but it's not worth sitting through D-Tox to find that out.
The Evil Dead, directed by Sam Raimi
Ahhh The Evil Dead is like a breath of fresh air. Released countless times on VHS, LaserDisc and DVD, Anchor Bay is finally putting the film out on Blu-ray next week. I can't imagine being a horror fan and not being familiar with The Evil Dead, but if for some reason you've been living under a rock for the past few decades, The Evil Dead is a super low budget feature that launched the careers of writer/director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell. The story is a basic cabin in the woods story about a group of college kids who get more than they bargained for when they accidentally release a few demons on their trip to the country. As you might assume, all hell breaks loose and Raimi really proves himself as a director combining horror and comedy elements that both work.
The comedy is funny and the horror is genuinely creepy. Not to mention how well the film is shot with great framing and tremendous high speed demon POV shots that fly through the woods around the cabin with reckless abandon. It's a fascinating first effort, impressively well crafted and holds up very well despite its age. Whether you've seen it a thousand times or never, it's worth checking out in high def. Be sure to check back soon for our own Brian Salisbury's look at the upcoming Blu-ray release!