Posts Tagged ‘Dead Alive’

Happy Mother’s Day horror fans! Today I wanted to bring you a list of some memorable not-so-motherly mothers in horror to celebrate this day! Hopefully your own mothers are as wonderful as mine is, and aren’t like the mothers who follow!

1. Pamela Voorhees– One of the most memorable murderous mothers in horror, in Friday the 13th Mrs. Voorhees sliced and diced her way through a bunch of camp counselors in revenge for letting her son drown. It didn’t matter that these particular counselors had nothing to do with it- obviously all camp counselors are irresponsible from her point of view and deserve to die! She was just watching out for her very special son, Jason, so in actuality she was a pretty good mom.

2. Mrs. White– Now, in Carrie, Mrs. White didn’t actually murder anyone per se, but she might as well get the blame as she was one of the main culprits in driving her daughter, Carrie, crazy. Now obviously her awful peers pushed her over the edge, but Mrs. White’s brand of punishment was not the best choice for any child, especially a telekinetic one. No child should be locked in a closet, be forbidden from expressing herself, and be forbidden from going to a school dance…. And she especially failed in teaching Carrie about the basic biology of being a woman. Without her support it was just a matter of time before Carrie acted out, and when you have the powers that Carrie did, it just leads to unheard of destruction.

3. Mrs. Cosgrove– Another memorable mother, the mother in Braindead (aka Dead Alive) wins the contest for one of the grossest mothers in horror. After she’s bitten by a disgusting rat monkey, she becomes infected with a horrible disease that causes her body parts to fall off, then dies and becomes a zombie, and then something even more horrible. She is a manipulative mother in life, and in death isn’t any better.

4. Mrs. Bates– While Mrs. Bates doesn’t actually appear in Psycho, we can gather that she wasn’t the best mother in the world, even though Norman states that “a boy’s best friend is his mother”. The character of Mrs. Bates is memorable nonetheless whether she’s a he, and actually a split personality of her son, or the skeletal version of herself.

5. Mrs. Morgan– While not having too much of a role in The Ring, Samara’s mother stands out to me as another not-so-great mother. While Samara may have been evil, killing your daughter and throwing her body in a well is probably not the best solution to the problem. Now stuck in an eerie killer video, the problem of Samara’s evil has just been exacerbated.

6. Dr. Dakota Block– Leaving your son alone In a car with a gun is probably not the most responsible thing to do, and the mother dearly pays in Planet Terror. One should never leave their child with a loaded weapon- they just might blow their head off. Not very good parenting!!

7. Diane Freeling– The mother in Poltergeist is actually a pretty good mother, the most motherly on this list probably, but she does a couple irresponsible things in Poltergeist that stand out. Smoking pot in bed with your children in the house is probably a big no-no, and also using your daughter when experimenting with strange phenomena is not the best idea… Even though it looked super fun!

What mothers stand out to you in horror films? We’d love to know!!

The Birds (1963)

Will the neckerchief ever be back in style? I certainly hope so!

This was probably painful!

"It's the end of the world!" so saith the doomsayer.

Ah brandy, the cure-all to all ailments.

The birds watch the departure.

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

A wonderful way to advertise your town.

Fake Corey Feldman

Gearing up for the ballet

Why don't more robbers wear outfits like these?

Hula-hooping, the game of love!

Dead Alive (Braindead) (1992)

The cute and cuddly Sumatran Rat-Monkey

Glue should be in every woman's makeup bag...Just in case.

Where can I buy a lamp like this?

Zombie love

Zombie baby to the rescue

Tonight’s double feature is a double dose of comedic horror (pre-Shaun of the Dead), featuring The Toxic Avenger and Dead Alive (aka Braindead)

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

Directed By Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman

“Criminals, beware of the Toxic Avenger.  He will kick your butt HARD!!”

So this was the first time I have ever seen The Toxic Avenger.  Of course I have heard of it, and I have also of course heard of Troma Entertainment.  I have even seen a movie or two produced by them (okay, just one- Beware! Children at Play), so I knew sort of what to expect.  My brother suggested I watch it, and called it the cheesiest cheese he had ever seen, and after having watched it, I have to agree, not that cheesy necessarily equals bad.  I like cheese, especially fried stuff with cheese….So what about this little movie called The Toxic Avenger.  This is the movie that put Troma on the map as far as horror films go, and it set a precedent about what to expect from them in the future- such as cheese, blood, humor, and over-the-top ridiculousness.  Prior to The Toxic Avenger, Troma produced sex comedies, but after The Toxic Avenger, they became a horror movie production studio.

So what happens in The Toxic Avenger?  Well, in Tromaville, a town full of steroid-abusing gym goers, punks, corrupt politicians, and the like, a 98-pound weakling named Melvin (Mark Torgl) works as a janitor at a gym.  He is made fun of, and abused by the gym-goers.  One day they decide to play a practical joke on him.  They lure him into dressing up in a leotard and tutu, and kissing a sheep, and then they chase him around.  Unluckily for him, and them, he falls out a window into some toxic sludge.  Instead of dying though, he becomes the toxic avenger!! (after his toxic sludge adventure he is played by Mitch Cohen.)  His face gets distorted, but he gets really strong and powerful!!!!  (Kind of like in Family Guy where the family is exposed to toxic waste and they all get super-human powers.) Then he dispatches those that do evil, saving a blind girl named Sarah (Andree Maranda) in the process, and they become lovers.  There is even a lovely falling in love montage, which rivals the montages in Rocky- in which they dance, and even hula-hoop!!  Not everything is all fine and dandy in Tromaville though, because, although the citizens (except the bad guys) feel that the Toxic Avenger (called the “monster hero” throughout the film) is a hero, the mayor (Pat Ryan Jr.)wants to kill him because he is an awful corrupt guy, and most of the problems in Tromaville are because of him.  After the toxic avenger kills a little old lady, the mayor tries to use this to his advantage, but this doesn’t work because that little old lady actually ran a white slavery ring!!  So does the toxic avenger continue with his hero status, or does the mayor get his way?

What’s awesome is that they tried to make a kiddie cartoon about the toxic avenger, unfortunately it only lasted for a few shows.  If you watch the movie, is that it’s not so much of a kiddie movie- there is plentiful nudity, the deaths are very gruesome, and if you tried to edit the movie to make it child accessible, you’d be cutting out half of the movie.  It does have a good message though, somewhat.  The nerdy dork gets his revenge, and works for the good of Tromaville, and the corrupt and evil people are punished in gruesome ways.  There are some very creative and over-the-top deaths.  For example, the toxic avenger makes an ice cream sundae in a guy’s mouth, and then forces him underneath an ice cream shake blender.  Another death involves a fryolater!!

So is this movie for everyone?  Definitely not.  Did I love everything about it?  No, but it’s a lot of fun, and a lot of cheese, and it should be watched with the attitude of just have a cheesy grand old time.  The characters are stereotypical, majorly over-the-top, and somewhat abrasive and annoying, but it is all in the spirit of fun.

Dead-Alive (aka Braindead) (1992)

Directed by Peter Jackson

“Some things won’t stay down… even after they die.”

Dead Alive begins on Skull Island in 1957 where an explorer is attempting to bring a Sumatran Rat-Monkey back to New Zealand to display in a zoo.  The natives of the island attempt to stop him from taking the monkey, but he brandishes a gun, and scares them away.  They chase after him though, and just when he thinks he’s safe, and he is getting away in a vehicle with his guides, he is bit by the monkey.  The guides obviously know something about the bites of this monkey, and they cut off the infected parts- unfortunately one of these infected parts happens to be his head…

We then cut to Wellington, New Zealand, where a guy named Lionel (Timothy Balme) lives with his overbearing mother (Elizabeth Moody).  We also meet a girl named Paquita (Diana Penalver) who is the daughter of a shop-keeper there.  She badly wants to fall in love, and due to a foretelling by some tarot cards, she believes that Lionel is the one she is to have a romantic entanglement with.  Well, Lionel and Paquita end up going out, and for their first date go to a zoo.  Lionel’s mother follows them, and unfortunately while she is there spying on them, she is bit by the hideously ugly Sumatran Rat-Monkey.  Thinking that this is just any old bite, she asks Lionel to take her home, and they call a nurse to attend to her.

The next morning however, all is not well.  When trying to get ready for a lunch with a member of the WLWL (Wellington Ladies Welfare League), part of the skin on her face peels away, and then when eating, one of her ears falls off…things are not looking to good.  Lionel calls for the nurse, and soon after she gets there, Lionel’s mother dies.  Not for long though.  She awakes as a zombie, and rips the nurses head off (almost completely), thus causing the nurse to become a zombie too.

Lionel decides, rather than trying to kill them, or calling for help, to lock them up in the basement, using tranquilizers to keep the pet zombies under control.  Soon, Lionel’s mother escapes, is hit by a car, and has a proper burial (somewhat).  Lionel knows that she is going to come back though, so after she is buried, he goes to dig her up, as she needs constant injections of tranquilizers to stay sedated.  Things do not go as Lionel plans when a group of punks comes with the intention of making trouble.  His mother escapes her grave, bites some of the punks, who in turn become zombies.  The priest comes and kicks some arse for the lord, but unfortunately he is zombiefied too.  Lionel ends up taking some of the remaining zombies home, where is keeps them sedated in the basement.  He has also blown off Paquita due to his zombie issues.  All goes well for a bit, a zombie baby is born, and he seems to have things under control, until a greedy uncle shows up, finds the zombies, and blackmails Lionel.  All hell breaks loose when he decides to throw a party in the house…..lots of blood and guts follow.

Dead Alive is a highly amusing horror comedy, and it is definitely one of the bloodiest and goriest movies I have ever seen.  There are so many hilarious and disgusting parts.  Some of my favorites include the lunch scene with the woman from the WLWL, Lionel’s attempt to have a civilized meal with the zombies, Lionel bringing the zombie baby to the park, the animated intestines, and of course the lawnmower scene, among many others.  This movie is well-shot, and the special effects for the most part, are awesome.  Personally, Dead Alive is more my cup of tea than The Toxic Avenger.

Thoughts on the Double Feature

–        Obviously both of these movies are made to be humorous.  The Toxic Avenger is more a campy cheesy type humor, whereas Dead Alive is more of a bloody slapstick type of humor.

–        In each movie people are dispatched in creative ways. In The Toxic Avenger we have weapons such as a fryolater, ice scream shake blender, and oven used.  In Dead Alive we have a lawnmower, food processor, hedge clippers, and even a gnome used as weapons.

–        In each, the main protagonist is a young man who lives with just his mother, and our protagonist is an unconventional hero.  In The Toxic Avenger we have a wimpy weakling, who turns into a mutated monster hero, and in Dead Alive our protagonist is a wimpy momma’s boy.

–        Each movie has a love story among the horror.  In The Toxic Avenger we have a love story between Melvin and Sarah, and in Dead Alive we have the love story between Lionel and Paquita.

–        Each has a group of violent punks.  In The Toxic Avenger we have our roid-rage punks, and in Dead Alive we have the cemetery punks.

Halloween is fast approaching, and I thought, what better way to celebrate than to put together a list of my top 10 favorite horror movies?  A great idea in theory, but the task turned out to be much harder than I originally anticipated for a few reasons:

1. I’ve watched A LOT of horror movies

2. There are a lot of great horror movies that span the years, so narrowing it down to 10 was very difficult

3. Determining the order for the top 10 was even harder…it may be completely objective, but it’s still like comparing apples to oranges

4. My memory wasn’t as great as I’d hoped, and I may not have considered a few I should have

Difficulties aside, here’s the list I came up with.  Maybe some of your favorites are in here too!

  1. The Shining (1980): It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen this movie, it is just as scary and impactful every time I see it.  Those little twin girls telling Danny to “Come play with us forever and ever and ever” will remain branded in my brain forever, I fear, as will the creepy scene where Shelley Duvall finds Jack Nicholson’s manuscript and all it says for hundreds of pages is: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”?  And how about little Danny’s finger saying, “Mrs. Torrance” in that croaky voice?  Oh yeah, it’s spine-tingling.
  2. Scream (1996): Not exactly scary, but absolutely awesome for the way it pokes fun at all of its predecessors’ stereotypical plots.  Scream breaks down “the rules” for its audience.  You can’t drink, you can’t say you’ll be right back (because you won’t be), and you definitely can’t have sex.  Witty banter, a slew of gruesome killings(including The Fonze being scissored to death), and lots of horror movie references (“We all go a little mad sometimes”, “Corn syrup, same stuff they used for pig’s blood in Carrie“) make this movie an entertaining slicefest.
  3. The Devil’s Rejects (2005): Rob Zombie, please do not ever stop making horror movies.  Thank you.  But seriously, Zombie has a knack for films.  His plots are particularly twisted, his murders about as gorey and graphic as they come, his cinematography is excellent, he makes the coolest soundtracks, and never before have I watched a movie where I actually felt bad for the bad guys and sympathized when they met their demise.  This movie is not for the faint of heart.
  4. The Descent (2005): This is one of the freakist concepts for a horror movie I’ve ever come across.  Several ladies decide to explore the depths of a cavernous cave together…and are greeted by a posse of opaque, blind, flesh-eating mutants.  I don’t even know what these things are…are they human or otherwise?  Who knows.  One thing is for sure, their blindness doesn’t seem to slow them down much.  These suckers move fast and they’ll tear you to pieces.  I never had the desire to go cave-exploring…flesh-eating mutants pretty much seal the deal.
  5. Grindhouse: Planet Terror (2007): I chose only part 1 of the Grindhouse double feature because while I love Death Proof, I don’t consider it part of the horror genre.  Planet Terror was so awesome, I had to see it twice in theatre.  Rose McGowan plays a kickass babe with a machine gun for a leg who kills infected zombie-like people like its her job.  This movie explores new territory…it’s not very often a movie decides to show a kid shooting himself in the face.  Such things are fair game in Planet Terror.  Then there’s the Fergie cameo…she doesn’t look so pretty with half her head missing.  My vote for most awesome slaying scene, though, is when about 20 infected mutants are taken down by the blades of a helicopter.  If you’re easily offended, pass on this movie.  If you’ve got the stomach for it, I think you’ll find it just as awesome as I do!
  6. Night of the Living Dead (1968): Zombies are my personal favorite type of horror movie…I love the particular type of suspense in a zombie movie where these slow-moving, groaning creatures persistently stalk their victims for flesh.  This old classic is scary and will make the heart pound…”They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”
  7. The Others (2001): A spooky ghost movie with a twist at the end.  There are no grisly deaths, but somehow this movie scares me more than most others.  Nicole Kidman stars as a British mother of two whose husband never returns from the war.  She slowly starts to unravel, as unexplained things keep happening around her house.  Did I mention her kids are allergic to the sun?  One morning, she wakes up to find every curtain in the house has been inexplicably removed.  This film builds a quiet kind of terror as it develops.
  8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): The inception of the “family of killers” concept…a real house of horrors.  The way the movie begins, you think you’re watching crime scene footage from an actual real-life event.  Viewers are then taken back in time to a day when several teenagers break down in a remote Texas town, and are brutally tortured and killed off one by one by the chainsaw-wielding “Leatherface”.
  9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): The concept of aliens from outerspace replicating a person while he or she sleeps, killing the host, and slowly taking over the whole world is another seriously creepy one.  There are a few versions of the body snatcher movie, and while I really enjoyed the original film from 1956, the 1978 version with Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum is my favorite (Leonard Nemoy even makes a cameo!).  I was especially impressed with the effects–the growing pod, the person being replicated.  It all seemed well ahead of its time.  Another thing I like about this one…there is no happy ending.  Even the main characters are killed off.  That’s perhaps the scariest part of the movie.  They win.  We lose.
  10. The Strangers (2008): This one, starring Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, is one of my newest favorites and one of the most disturbing I’ve seen…plus, the acting is really good.  A young couple retreat to a secluded cabin for a romantic weekend, and are terrorized by masked people (the masks are so creepy!!) for no particular reason.   The masked maniacs toy with the couple throughout the movie, but I think the scariest thing of all is that they keep entering the house somehow, and the couple can’t seem to figure out why or how to prevent it…cell phones end up in the fire, items are moved, and so on.

And a few honorable mentions:

  • Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992): gory, gross, and utterly hilarious movie about zombies
  • High Tension (2003): an utterly horrific foreign film…I don’t even want to say anything about this one for fear of giving it away.  Just go see it.
  • The Hills Have Eyes (2006): a remake of the 1977 version…like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a family of deranged killers stalks a marooned family.  Only this time it’s out in the desert, and the killers are a mutant-looking, incestuous clan that suffers from radiation poisoning.
  • The Ring (2002): Watch a movie, and die in seven days.
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004): Another zombie movie–a remake of George Romero’s 1978 rendition.  Zombies take over, and a few living stragglers take over a mall.  Lots of suspense.  These zombies don’t walk, they run…fast.  My favorite scene is when the main characters play target practice on the zombies in the mall parking lot.  A Burt Reynolds look-alike zombie gets popped.