We all know by now that the cannibal-zombie apocalypse is nigh. Fortunately, the Italians have been preparing for this moment for decades, and they’ve created a wealth of emergency-preparedness videos to help us deal with the oncoming crisis.
June 3: Zombi 3 (1988) — Don’t worry about the title—like most Italian zombie films of the 1980s, the “3” is no indicator of this being the third in a series; you won’t have missed anything. Some scientists accidentally create cannibalistic zombies when they cremate the body of an infected terrorist, releasing the virus into the atmosphere over a small island in the Phillipines and leading to the age-old dilemma: try to find a cure or just wipe ’em all out? Directed mostly by Bruno Mattei. (Lucio Fulci was involved early on, but apparently bowed out due to illness.)
June 10: Nightmare City (1980) — When an aircraft is forced to make an emergency landing near the site of a radioactive spill, the passengers are transformed into ultraviolent, flesh-eating zombies who emerge from the hatch and set off on a feeding frenzy across the city. Directed by Umberto Lenzi.
June 17: Hell of the Living Dead (1981) — Another Bruno Mattei masterpiece! When a chemical leak at a remote research lab in Papua New Guinea transforms the staff into zombies with a taste for human flesh, the contagion spreads and threatens to overtake the rest of the world. (AKA Zombie Creeping Flesh and Night of the Zombies.)
June 24: Doctor Butcher, M.D. (1980) — OK, so this movie is better known as Zombie Holocaust, but come on — which title are you going to remember? (P.S.: The “M.D.” stands for “Medical Deviate.”Also, there is not a character named “Doctor Butcher” in this movie.) This is a total rip-off of Lucio Fulci’s Zombi II, so much so that it re-uses actors, shooting locations, makeup style, plot points, and even some footage from the earlier film.
Remember that month when we watched movies in which musicians who think they can act completely embarrass themselves? Yeah, that was five years ago. Sheesh.
Anyway, we’re doing it again.
April 1: Big Money Rustlas (2010) — No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke—it’s the Insane Clown Posse wild-west epic. Enough said.
April 8: The All-Nighter (1987) — A vehicle for Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) directed by her mother. This movie is so bad that it has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A critic for the Chicago Reader: “Hard to say what this is really, except maybe an inadvertent documentary on child abuse.”
April 15: Under the Cherry Moon (1986) — Prince made this movie about two years after Purple Rain. It won “Razzie” awards for worst picture, actor, supporting actor … it goes on. Plot: Prince is a gold-digger musician living in France who tries to seduce an heiress with the help of his friend Tricky. It’s all in black and white, and the camp is totally over the top.
April 22: Disorderlies (1987) — Hey, remember the Fat Boys? Remember the slapstick comedy they made in which they play orderlies hired by a scheming nephew to kill his uncle?
April 29: Moonwalker (1988) — I watched this movie so many times when I was a kid. Joe Pesci as a criminal mastermind with a tarantula-filled secret lair … the totally creepy and awesome claymation … the gigantic MJ-shaped robot spaceship thing … a true classic.
In the 1980s, in the wake of Mad Max, there came a slew of low-budget features that are so bizarre and convoluted that you might mistake them for surrealist masterpieces.
March 4 — Land of Doom (1986): Roving motorcycle gangs rule the post-apocalyptic future. For more, check out this ridiculously detailed description (SPOILER WARNING) on Wikipedia.
March 11 — She (1982): Ostensibly based on the novel by H. Rider Haggard, this incredible film features werewolves in togas, a psychokinetic communist with an SM cult, a robot Frankenstein’s monster, and chainsaw-wielding leprosy mummies. And that’s just a small portion of the craziness.
March 18 — Future Kill (1985): In a world where anti-nuke protestors dress up like mutants and roam the post-apocalyptic city streets, frat boys find themselves in a vicious battle with real mutants. Wait, what? All I really know about this movie is that H. R. Giger did the theatrical poster artwork, and I seriously doubt that it reflects in any way the content of the movie.
March 25 — She-Wolves of the Wasteland (1987): Yeah, it’s called “She-Wolves of the Wasteland.” I guarantee there are going to be lots of scantily-clad women wrestling with each other. That’s pretty much it.
Yosef chose the name and theme for this month. Can you tell?
I am actually a huge fan of Christopher Lee, and not just because he and I share a birthday. (Also born on my birthday: Vincent Price. It’s true.) This month is really going to test the limits of my Christopher Lee appreciation, though.
February 5 — Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970): Just one of the fifty million movies Hammer Productions made with Christopher Lee as Dracula.
February 12 — The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968): Whooo, boy. Are you ready for Christopher Lee in yellowface? I don’t know if I am. Directed by the legendary Jess Franco, this episode of the Fu Manchu series involves a remote jungle hideout, a deadly poison hidden in lipstick, mind control, and, naturally, a plot to take over the world.
February 19 — The Crimson Cult (1968): A (very) loose adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Dreams in the Witch House.” Boris Karloff co-stars.
February 26 — Dracula A. D. 1972 (1972): Dracula is resurrected in modern London by a group of hippies dabbling in the occult, including one who calls himself “Johnny Alucard.” Sigh. Peter Cushing co-stars, of course, as Van Helsing.
“He’s ready to freak you out—right out of this world.”
Did you know that there have been over a dozen low-budget evil-clown movies made in the last decade? It’s true. (Note that this list may change depending on whether or not I can get a couple of movies…)
January 1: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) — I’ll admit it: this movie scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. The clowns, not so much, but being encased in a bubble of cotton candy to later be sucked out through a straw and eaten…gah.
January 8: It (1990) — Pennywise. Is he not the most iconic evil clown of all time? Creepy, creepy, creepy.
January 15: The Clown Murders (1976) — It seems like this one isn’t actually so much about scary clowns as it is about kidnapping the boss’s wife while wearing clown suits, and then some people get killed or something. Apparently, it also includes a sex scene with a very young John Candy.
January 22: Killjoy (2000) — Billing itself as “new urban horror,” this Full Moon Features production looks like it might be as good as Leprechaun in the Hood.
January 29: Herencia Diabolica (1994) — An evil clown doll murders people that are mean to him. Hopefully I will be able to find a subtitled version of this amazing-looking Mexican horror movie…
Don’t worry—there are still more Christmas-themed horror movies to come. But let’s take a little break this year and have a Patrick Swayze Christmas instead.
December 4: Youngblood (1986)— Sexy farm boy Rob Lowe wants to be a pro hockey player, and ends up on a minor-league team with Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves.
December 11: Road House (1989)— Martial artist. Bouncer. Philosopher. The Swayz’ at his finest.
December 18: Next of Kin (1989)— Patrick Swayze is a Chicago cop looking for justice after his brother is killed by the mob. Will he stick to the side of the law, or take the side of his hick brother (Liam Neeson) in delivering some extralegal vengeance? Hicksploitation in the big city!
December 25: Red Dawn (1984)— Patrick Swayze leads a group of high-school kids in fightin’ the Commies when Russia invades their small town. NO POTLUCK. Instead, we’ll have a traditional Jewish Christmas at Great Wall Chinese. (More details to come.)
This month’s theme honors our national holiday celebrating colonial genocide and the roasting of dead birds. Yay!
11/6: ThanksKilling (2009) — “Gobble gobble, motherfucker!” Yes, it’s a horror movie about a killer turkey. Since this was only made a few years ago, following our past experiences at potluck I fear that this may be too terrible even for us…we’ll see.
11/13: Blood Freak (1972) — Oh, Blood Freak. What can I say about this movie, except that it’s a sordid tale of drug abuse, turkey farming, and blood drinking. To say any more would spoil it. Don’t miss this one, seriously.
11/20: Bloody Bird (aka Stagefright) (1987) — OK, so there are no turkeys in this one…but there is a serial killer with an owl mask hacking up a bunch of actors. Michele Soavi (Cemetery Man) directs his first feature film.
11/27: Home Sweet Home (1981) — A mental patient escapes on Thanksgiving and wrecks a family’s holiday. Nothing wrong with an 80s slasher about Thanksgiving!