Archive for December, 2012

Nightmare on Elm Street the Series (Did you order up a slice of Ham?)

Posted in Scott's Horror Corner, Updates with tags , on December 29, 2012 by splatterpictures

Freddys_NightmaresIf there’s one thing you can count on in media, and this is something that may be even more prevalent today, it’s that they will run a thing into the ground if you give them a chance. That said, the odds of you seeing, say, Rob Zombie’s Halloween action figures marketed towards children are probably pretty low. No Michael Myers with rocket launching action, nor will there be a Cabin in the Woods playset. Perhaps parents now are more easily outraged, or maybe the movies are more intense. All I know is, I had a talking Freddy Kreuger doll growing up. So if they thought kids would buy it, they would make it. And it wasn’t just in merchandise, they also tried to parlay Freddy into almost-Prime-Time!

 

Many connoisseurs are aware, but some are not, that Freddy had his own television series, called Freddy’s Nightmares. It ran for two seasons, from 1988 to 1990 in syndication. For me, personally, it had the auspicious 1 AM to 2 AM time slot. In spite of being quite the scaredy-cat growing up, I still ended up watching it a lot in my formative years. What do you think a show called Freddy’s Nightmares would entail; an endless stream of teenagers being murdered by everybody’s favorite horribly burned child molester right? Incorrect! While Freddy was the focus of the first episode and had appearances in a few subsequent ones, he was mostly on bumper duty, doing some ridiculous gags or waxing philosophical about the episodes.

 

The show, for the most part, was in the style of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ or ‘Twilight Zone’. The binding element being that they all took place in the town of Springwood where Elm Street is located. Imagine what the property value in that town must be like? The hour long show would tell a story and would sometimes have a second story branch off from it. The content was, suffice to say, a lot less graphic than the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. There were many episodes that, without the intro and the bumpers, had nothing to tie them to Freddy at all.

 

The first season of the show definitely had a little more of a sense of morose from Freddy. In the second season, he was nearly up to Freddy’s Dead levels of pure comedy relief. The stories themselves ranged from interesting to pretty good. One episode in particular that I recall from my childhood was “Safe Sex” where a nerd tried to hit on a goth chick who was in love with Freddy. I mainly remember it for a line delivered by the nerd’s best friend. ‘That girl is bad news at six AND eleven’. The basis of the story is that Freddy is cockblocking for Caitlyn (the goth chick) and by cockblocking, I mean he apparently got used to her unyielding love and threatens to kill her if she goes out with a guy.

 

I will say that the non-Freddy episodes could easily be confused for the aforementioned shows because they fail to stand out very much. Some are more dramatic than they are scary. That sounds like they’re bad, but honestly the saviour, and this is especially true in the second season, is Freddy being hilarious. For example, there’s an episode about a bank heist that follows a man about to be released from prison after giving up his partner for a reduced sentence. Cut to Freddy and his cellmate Gus as Freddy drops the soap and beckons his new pal to pick it up. Freddy is an iconic character, and if you’re a fan of his, then chances are you’ll really enjoy the show in spite of the some of the slower episodes that pop up in the run. There are also a few noteworthy actors who ran through Springwood, including Lori Petty and Brad Pitt.

 

Unfortunately, this is another series that hasn’t seen a DVD release. The first three episodes were released in the UK on DVD, but that was it. You’ll have to scour the internet if you want to catch the show. Though honestly, some kind folks on YouTube have put up a lot of the best stuff. Despite being seemingly an afterthought in the ‘Nightmare’ history, the show is witty and at moments is even quite good. Consult google for some episodes, and here’s Freddy playing guitar.

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Childhood Scares (Scott’s Horror Corner)

Posted in Scott's Horror Corner, Updates with tags , on December 13, 2012 by splatterpictures

It’s been said that I have a better than average knowledge of horror movies from certain people who run this website. If that is the case, it is expressly because I grew up with weird friends and seemed to have some fascination with being terrified as a child. My perusing of the horror movies at the grocery story has given me a strange reference point to horror movies that are a bit more rare, like Chopping Mall and Slumber Party Massacre. Not that I’ve ever SEEN these movies, mind you, their images and synopsis merely line the back of my skull. Somehow through, or perhaps because of, a healthy terror, I have made it this far in my life. Though I haven’t seen all those VHS tapes from Buehler’s Buy Low that I stared at, I still somehow watched a lot of horror growing up. I had friends who thought that horror was great, and the powers of peer pressure assured I was to have seen and had every Nightmare on Elm Street.

 

With that in mind, I present to you, the terror of the constantly terrified. A look at what did the most damage to me as a child and gave me unreasonable fears into adulthood.

 

I mentioned Nightmare on Elm Street before and it is probably the most prominent movie to scare me. I had a friend who loved it and somehow this became “both kids love it”. I mean, I thought it was pretty cool, but my idea of a good viewing was in the middle of a crowded city at noon, maybe projected onto a building. But no, instead he would run up to me and show me stuff like this.

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The back of that Dream Warriors VHS was my first run-in with Kreuger and would sadly not be my last in adolescence. I never even saw the movie until I was much older and could reach the light switch on my own, thankfully, but I had an irrational fear of dream snake-men from ages 7-9. I still won’t pet them.

 

That was the first, but not last time a box cover haunted me. I’ve had some assurance that I wasn’t the only one disturbed by this next picture so apologies if this brings back bad memories. As noted, my local grocery store had a lot of fringe horror movies sitting out. Not all were outwardly scary, many were unassuming and just had your standard scary font or something. And then others were Ghoulies.

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Need I explain what’s terrifying about a monster coming out of the toilet when you’re 7?! If you’re curious about the plot, there’s an excellent review elsewhere on this site with details about directors and so on, from me you just get A GREEN MONSTER COMING OUT OF THE HOPPER! Going to the bathroom is a pretty terrifying experience as a kid on its own, without the worry of monsters in the plumbing.

 

The final reason why I have social problems is a movie called the Video Dead. I did not even know the name of this film until recently. It existed only as the most horrifying Thanksgiving ever. Thanks to the internet classifying everything, including stuff like, ‘what’s that movie with this part in it?’ I became more educated. Back to Thanksgiving, though. As it wound down, everyone had gone outside or downstairs, everywhere but where I was which was the dining room. Adjacent was the living room , where the tv was left on. I was playing with trucks or breaking something I imagine, and then I hear the ominous horror chords that accompany many an 80’s movie kill. So I wander to the living room because I’m stupid. The lights are out and as I peak in I see this:

 

 

 

I handled it pretty well for 5 seconds, except that my aunt has her laundry room right beside her living room. I spent the rest of Thanksgiving avoiding anything that could conceal a zombie, which made getting into the car fun on the way home. Anyway, I’m guessing this is why I haven’t gotten married yet.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my scarred childhood, feel free to share any illogical horror-related phobias in the comments section!

Monster (Scott’s Horror Corner!)

Posted in Scott's Horror Corner, Updates with tags , , on December 5, 2012 by splatterpictures

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I feel like I’ve got a nice pattern going, do a review, give a recommendation. So I thought I’d take a look at something else near and dear to my heart. There have been anime recommendations in this blog before, and I definitely think there’s some crossover between the horror fans and anime fans. Wes reviewed the show Another and so I thought I would throw another hat in the anime horror ring with the show Monster.

 

Monster is an anime about, well, a monster. Dr. Tenma is a brilliant surgeon in Germany, just married to a wealthy wife. It becomes apparent quickly that the corruption of the hospital he is working at runs deep. As he preps for surgery on a Turkish man, he’s pulled just before to instead go work on a famous opera singer. The impoverished Turkish man dies, while the opera singer’s recovery is well documented on tv and in the papers. Tenma becomes very torn between the idea of acquiring wealth and status and doing what is right.

 

Over the course of the first two episodes Monster completes this parable by introducing a small family, a mother and father who adopted twins (brother and sister) and moved to Germany. Tenma is called in in the middle of the night as the family is massacred by an unknown assailant, the sister is alive but in shock, the brother has a bullet in his head. As he’s washing up to work on the young boy he’s again told to work on an important patient; the Mayor will be arriving shortly by helicopter and they want Tenma working on him. Not wanting to make another mistake, he works on the young boy and saves his life. Of course, doing the right thing doesn’t always work out the best for everyone.

 

As he sits beside the young boy, Johan, who is still in a coma, he talks about his situation. He no longer has the flourishing future he was promised after disobeying his superiors (and in effect letting the Mayor die) and his wife also wants nothing to do with him now. “They’d all be better off dead!” He says before calming down and leaving. The young girl seems terrified of Johan as she’s brought in for a photo op, she faints in terror. That night, two of Tenma’s superior’s were shot, one poisoned.

 

From there, Tenma realizes that he made the wrong choice. What he did out of compassion actually brought about something much more evil than he could’ve imagined. I suppose this review has a lot in common with my write up with Dr. Loomis, as Tenma gives off some of those same vibes. Tenma’s case is a bit more literal as he’s the only reason Johan is walking around still. It becomes his only duty to stop Johan, a task easier said than done. The show is a real page turner, or I guess now it might be called a mouse clicker. In fact, when I finished the show I watched the last 20 episodes consecutively; I wasn’t even in college at the time! It’s full of deep characters, (Inspector Runge for example who shows up in episode 3) plot twists and really just great storytelling.

 

If I had to find faults with it, I would say that the length of the series leaves it meandering at times. I think you could tighten up the show and still have it be just as good. That said, it stays true to the manga it comes from, but obviously there are episode number requirements for tv and it stretches itself a bit thin because of it. Another fault, and this one falls on distributors, is that it’s still not available in North America beyond episode 15. Viz Entertainment released a box set of the first 15 episodes and then promptly decided to just can the rest. It is apparently available online from retailers, but it would be nice to have a definitive box set for all 74 episodes.

 

If you have any passing interest in suspense/thriller/horror as an animated genre then watch this. I would say this is the apex of the genre(s) thus far. It’s not the goriest thing I’ve seen by a long shot, but it remains the creepiest anime I’ve watched. In fact, one of the central points of the anime is this book about a ‘monster’ which has a cameo in the end credits and it never failed to get under my skin paired with the haunting end theme. Monster is still near the very top of my best anime list (if I had such a thing). You really need to watch it.