After a long and busy Saturday at Horrorhound Weekend, Brian and I relaxed and ordered dinner in our room. While it’s rarely a positive experience for any Chicagoan to order pizza outside of city limits, this was the perfect food choice when one planned on following it up with copious amounts of alcohol. Saturday nights at Horrorhound were notorious for their raucous all night gatherings…and this year I was determined to join their party! Afterwards, I headed outside for some air and met a guy in the lobby who pulled out a mason jar that looked as if it were half full of motor oil. “Want some moonshine?” he asked.
I smiled but hesitated. It had only been the week before on St. Patrick’s Day when I’d indulged in another home-made concoction with my fellow pod-caster, Jason, resulting in a drunken argument between us. I’m batting a 1,000 with friends these days, folks! Please check out the “Podcast” link at the top of this page to hear our first (and possibly final) eight episodes of Terror on Tequila!
Step right up for a podcast dedicated to killer clowns in cinema! While originally designed to make us laugh, these circus denizens usually succeed in having the opposite effect. Tonight we’ll discuss Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the controversial Clownhouse, and The Clown at Midnight! Jason, the Bartender of Terror, will be supplying some vodka drenched sno-cones to help keep us clownin’ well past the witching hour. Oh…and we’ll have a little Svengoolie too! Download the Mp3 below and enjoy a day at our sinister circus!
Dave Fuentes/Jason Lucas~
It’s another episode of Terror on Tequila featuring Terror Dave Fuentes and Jason Lucas…Bartender of the Dead! Today we’ll be doing our first show dedicated to ZOMBIES! Yes, these undead flesh-eaters have contaminated virtually every facet of our popular culture with little sign of slowing down! Today we’ll delve into three zombie films that couldn’t be more different from one another.
It’s another Terror on Tequila pod-cast show featuring Terror Dave and Jason! Today we’ll be taking a totally awesome trip back in time to the 1980′s; a vanguard decade for horror movies! Looking back at old pictures with hair that defied gravity along with the over the top accessories and spandex, folks looked anything but natural! So please join us today as we explore the “out of this world” side of this period during our Big ’80s Supernatural Show!
It’s another edition of our podcast “Terror on Tequila” and we’re gonna cut right to the HEART of holiday slashers with our special BLOODY VALENTINE SHOW! Bartender, Jason Lucas, whips up some special Valentine Vodka with cranberries while joining Terror Dave Fuentes in a discussion revolving around February 14th Frights! You’re guaranteed to fall in love with our banter on MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981), MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D (2009), and VALENTINE (2001)!
Twenty years before I met the other Terror Dave (David Albaugh), I became friends with a charismatic guy named Jason Lucas. We worked together at a local grocery store back when we were teens and I remember stocking the shelves, him strolling past me with a flop mop as we’d discuss Halloween‘s Michael Myers. It was 1988 and the franchise was returning to its Myers roots after his absence in the previous installment, Halloween III: Season of the Witch. We were excited by both this news as well as the realization that we were now old enough to bypass our conservative parents and see him on the big screen.
Hollywood has had a long standing tradition of taking holidays & special events and then using them as a backdrop for horror. Of course this craze began with the immortal HALLOWEEN which not only inspired its own sequels, but countless other slashers tied to a particular date on the calendar. FRIDAY THE 13TH, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, GRADUATION DAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, NEW YEARS EVIL, and MOTHER’S DAY are all examples of this trend. Christmas inspired numerous blood-soaked entries as well, my favorite being the controversial SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. There was even a film titled THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN (which I guess sounds a lot more ominous than “November 1st”) that had absolutely nothing to do with Carpenter’s classic while cleverly riding its coat-tails.
During Quentin Tarantino’s fabulous GRINDHOUSE films, viewers were treated to some equally entertaining fake trailers specifically designed to compliment this era. While I enjoyed them all, I’d have to say that my favorite was THANKSGIVING directed by Eli Roth. Not only does it pay homage to the 80′s holiday slasher craze, it also brings to light one of its most glaring omissions; the Thanksgiving holiday!
So for those horror geeks out there, like myself, who are discouraged that they’ll have nothing to watch but football during Thanksgiving weekend, here are a few horror movies that have at least a passing connection to our upcoming “National Day of Thanks” – though its doubtful these “turkeys” will illicit much in the way of thankfulness!
THANKSKILLING – A fairly new film with a great title! I was thrilled to actually streamline this movie via Netflix last weekend. Thrilled, that is, until I actually sat down to watch it. The film opens in 1621 with a close-up of a well endowed pilgrim woman’s bare breasts as she runs (bounces) in terror. Soon she is overcome by a giant turkey wielding an axe! Yes, you read that correctly. Turning the Thanksgiving holiday completely on its ears, the turkey carves the pilgrim while proclaiming, ”Nice tits, bitch!” It gets progressively worse from here. The turkey monster makes his way to our modern world and quickly begins hacking up the local yokels. Outside of a porno, you’ll be hard pressed to find acting and production values so terrible. In the actors defense, however, I’m not sure even Meryl Streep could deliver these lines with any degree of credibility. I made it through about 20 minutes before having to call it quits. David A. told me he made it slightly further before also shutting it off (and we generally like bad movies). “What part made you finally give up?” I asked him. ”The turkey monster had sex with a girl and then announced that she’d just been “stuffed,” he replied. Poetry….sheer poetry.
HOME SWEET HOME - Here we actually do have an 80′s slasher that takes place on Thanksgiving! The setting is a ranch out west where a “Lou Ferigno” looking killer stalks a group of mismatched dinner guests. Most of these folks include horny adults with a couple of neglected children thrown in for that holiday family feel. I say neglected because at one point the little girl gets so tired of waiting for the self-absorbed, hedonistic adults to serve up dinner, she ends up grabbing the bird whole and devouring it underneath the table! Her older brother, on the other hand, is less concerned with food. Wearing KISS-like make-up while jamming out on his guitar, this Paul Stanley wannabe quickly becomes the film’s most memorable (and irritating) character! The cast would no doubt agree as he often enjoys popping out of nowhere, interrupting everyone’s sexual activities with his musical riffs. While I didn’t recognize the chords, you can be sure judging by everyone’s reaction it wasn’t “Let’s put the X in Sex.” Some hilarious death scenes make this a passable slasher, though certainly not befitting a major holiday! California is just not a state one should choose when trying to create a “fall-like” atmosphere and it isn’t long before the holiday gets lost completely……along with most viewers.
BLOOD FREAK – While not about the actual holiday, this film does utilize its most endearing symbol; the turkey. THANKSKILLING wasn’t the first movie to feature an over-sized, turkey monster. Back in the early 1970′s an eccentric film maker named Brad F. Grinter created BLOOD FREAK! Grinter was an interesting sort of fellow. He was a dedicated nudist who was also staunchly anti drugs. He was particularly opposed to marijuana which, despite the presence of a blood thirsty monster, is the true source of evil in this film. A young biker gets enticed by an attractive girl who turns him on to weed. After a heavy night of partying, he soon finds himself a walking turkey monster who craves the blood of addicts. Grinter breaks up the film by making several appearances as its narrator. While he clearly dislikes the cannabis plant, he apparently has no qualms regarding tobacco. Chain smoking throughout his diatribe, he can barely open his eyes at the camera amid the wafts of smoke. His banter, aside from being damn near unintelligible, makes absolutely no sense even when you can hear him. Ultimately he’d have made a much stronger anti-drug message had he admitted to partaking in it shortly before filming!
THE MUTILATOR – This slasher never mentions Thanksgiving directly but takes place during “Fall Break” (a hilariously campy, yet catchy song played in the film’s beginning) and I can’t think of why any school would “break” during fall unless it included this holiday. A group of college kids decide to spend their time away from class at a friends family boathouse, where they can partake in what any other self respecting group of horror victims would; lots of drinking and sex! Unfortunately, one of their classmate’s is carrying a dark family secret and this results in the group slowly being picked off one by one. As far as 80′s slashers go, I actually do enjoy this one. All the essential slasher elements are present and the film is far from boring. Makes for a great “Terror on Tequila” if you’re with the right group and definitely true to its genre. If only they had utilized the Thanksgiving holiday directly as opposed to some generic “fall break!”
THE GIANT CLAW – Nothing to do with the holiday at all, yet still a Thanksgiving favorite of vintage horror fans and hosts alike. THE GIANT CLAW actually comes attached to a equally large bird (every bit as dignified in appearance as an actual turkey) that comes from some “anti-matter galaxy.” I listened to the scientist in the film try to explain this phenomena and still don’t get it! One of the all time campiest entries in the 50′s giant monster genre, you can’t help but smile when you watch it. And there is so much to love! The asinine banter between the pre-Mulder/Scully-like main characters, the annoying narrator (who like BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS was inserted to make up for a lost soundtrack), and that BIRD! That absolutely, hilarious looking bird the filmmakers so generously show us almost immediately after the movie starts! Pop in this cult favorite after your holiday meal and indulge in some mindless entertainment while your body digests……if you doze off to sleep, you’ve got nothing to feel ashamed about.
When asked to list their favorite slashers, most folks will immediately list the classics; HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13th, and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. There is no question that these movies are horror masterpieces and the superstars of the slasher world (as illustrated by the number of sequels they spawned). There are, however, many more obscure ones worth checking out also. Often they are rip-offs of the aforementioned films, sometimes unique, and usually lots of fun. During the past 20 years, I’ve searched for as many slashers from the “golden age” that I could find. This era, most all fans of the genre will agree, lasted from the mid to late 1970′s on through the mid 1980′s. At this date, I have counted close to 140 slashers from this period.
There’s little I can say about the classics that hasn’t already been written. On the other hand, there’s lots to be said concerning the “lesser known” slashers. Reaching into the slasher movie vault, I’d like to pull out one of my favorites; MADMAN. Released in 1981, this film was a regular feature at the drive-in for several years. It was also a favorite VHS rental of mine back in high school.
Many horror enthusiasts, including myself, consider this to be one of the best examples of the 80′s slasher. Lots of parallels with FRIDAY THE 13th, but still having enough individuality to stand on its own. The movie takes place the week before Thanksgiving at a retreat for gifted children. Although there are teenagers among the group, this is one of the few slashers in which horny teens are not the victims. Instead, it is the adult cast that falls prey – though they are no less horny!
The film begins at a campfire, on the final night of the retreat. Max, an older gentlemen and the director of the camp, tells the local legend of Madman Marz. Marz was a farmer with a nasty disposition. Just how mean was he? After killing his wife and children with an axe, he calmly goes to the local tavern and orders himself a beer! The townspeople, outraged by his actions, send a lynch mob after Marz and hang him from a tree. The next day, they are shocked to discover that Marz, along with the bodies of his family, have mysteriously vanished.
Max warns the crowd that they must never utter the name of Madman Marz “above a whisper,” or he will seek vengeance upon them. Naturally, one of the teens in the group decides to test this theory, thus beginning Marz’s bloody rampage. Although a similar setting to FRIDAY THE 13TH, the chilly, fall season does make for an exceptionally creepy venue. While some of the campfire antics range from the sublime to the ridiculous, Max (Carl Fredericks) does make an excellent storyteller.
Madman is a cut above the average slasher. The cast displays acting abilities better than many slasher films (not great, mind you, but better) and fans of the original DAWN OF THE DEAD will recognize actress Gaylin Ross as one of the camp counselors. The movie is fun, though far from perfect. Some of the dialogue is amazingly corny and the goofy “hot tub love dance” number has to be seen to be believed! That, along with the Madman Marz “theme song” at the end, is one of the reasons I would also recommend this movie as an effective “Terror on Tequila” - if you’re with the right crowd.
Marz, himself, is an overgrown woodsman. He has a deformed face and fingernails sharpened to claws, making him an odd mix of man and monster. As far as being an iconic killer goes, he may not have been in the same league as Jason, Michael Myers, nor Freddy Krueger – but certainly had enough personality to warrant at least one sequel. This was not to be the case, however, and MADMAN remains a stand-alone slasher.
While this film had been released on DVD, it is now out of print. Those interested in acquiring this slasher gem, however, won’t have long to wait. On September 28th, 2010 it is slated for a special 30th Anniversary re-release. This one will offer a documentary feature and surely to be a worthy addition to any slasher enthusiasts collection. It has suitable gore, some nudity, and NEVER gets boring! You’ll enjoy MADMAN…even if you won’t want to admit it above a whisper.