Matt Goes To The Movies 2021

Matt Goes To The Movies 2021 Logo

Welcome everyone to Rotten Ink, my little fun and goofy slice of the world-wide-web. This year 2022 is something very special for my blog as it turns 10 years old! It’s crazy to think that I have been covering comic books, horror hosts, movies, video games, toys and indie films for this long now as it does not seem that long at all to me, but I guess time does fly when you are doing something you love. This year I am going to celebrate in style as I am going to cover all types of things I love, from comics based on toys and cartoons all the way to horror hosts and wrestlers that I consider the best of the best! So 2022 will be a fun year for sure as I get to chat about so many things, and who knows, maybe I will even have a guest writer or two…maybe! But now let’s focus on why we are here at the Rotten Ink Theater as we are here to talk about movies that were shown in my local theaters that I was lucky enough to see on the big silver screen! The coronavirus pandemic was still in full effect so the films coming out were scarce for a while, but it did allow way more indie films to have their time to shine. And let’s not also forget the AT&T and Warner Brothers goofy idea of same day streaming.  I for one went to the theater to see the films I wanted as that was the way they are meant to be seen. I want to thank Cinemark Theaters and Englewood Cinema for being open during these times and help delivering amazing films on the big screen and also allowing private screenings that my friends and I enjoyed throughout the year. And for me, no matter what anyone says, nothing beats seeing films at the movie theaters; streaming just does not pack a punch for me. So with that, let’s grab some popcorn and find our seats as it’s time to talk about the movies of 2021 and rank them by genre, and man horror this year was on point as you will see later in the update. One note: all of the box office figures for the movies are as of the date of this update, January 2, 2021.

Matt Goes To The Movies 2021 Cinemark Logo

Let’s start with Comedy.  In 2021 I didn’t see many of them, but the ones I did were animated and based on classic characters, so with that let me share with you the two films that tickled my funny bone and kept me laughing at the cinema.

Comedy 21 copy

# 2

Tom and Jerry 2021 Poster

Kayla Forester is a young woman who is down and out when it comes to holding onto a job, and after sneaking her way into it, she finds herself working for the Royal Gate Hotel in New York during the wedding of a rich couple whose event is getting bigger and bigger by the minute. But things do not go smoothly for her when Tom and Jerry bring their fighting to the hotel and causes all kinds of chaos and issues that fall into Kayla’s lap! Can she get these two one the same page, can she guard her secret of having a fake resume and most importantly can she save the wedding from all this madness? This is a fun family film filled with silly slapstick comedy moments that brings the classic cartoon characters to a new generation of moviegoers. Plus it’s well casted with one of my favorite actresses Chloe Grace Moretz playing the part of Kayla Forester and other cast members include Michael Pena, Ken Jeong, Pallavi Sharda, Rob Delaney and Colin Jost. The humor is super silly and is a mix of modern cellphone emoji jokes as well as some dated 90’s gags making it fun for all ages. The only thing I would say that the film could have been a little shorter and that would have made the film flow at a better pace. The film did well at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers bringing in $46,041,123.00 on a budget of $79 million. This is worth watching if you enjoy Tom and Jerry and you would like to see them in modern time New York.

# 1

Addams Family 2 (2021) Poster

Wednesday Addams is having a hard time as she cannot relate to normal people and even her own family, and after a disappointing science fair and skipping family dinners several times Gomez Addams decides that a family vacation is needed to travel to some of Americas most gruesome places like Salam and Sleepy Hollow. But the family gets sidetracked when scientist Cyrus Strange tries to claim he is really Wednesday’s father and that she was switched at birth.  After a DNA test proves this true, she leaves her old family behind to be with her “real” family, and it’s up to The Addams Family to get to the truth and bring Wednesday back home were she belongs, and of course all types of kooky things happen along the way. This was a super fun horror themed kids film that was just as enjoyable as the first film.  It is well casted with names like Oscar Isaac, Chloe Grace Moretz, Charlize Theron, Bette Midler, Snoop Dogg and Bill Hader all lending their voices to the main cast. The film did okay for MGM at the Box Office given that they also did VOD day of release as well bringing in $56,489,153 on an unknown budget. This one is worth seeing and worth owning on home media if you are an Addams Family fan like myself.

So as you can see, The Addams Family took the top spot in comedy.  Now let’s jump into the action genre and see what high explosions I saw on the silver screen.

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# 4

F9 (2021) Poster

Dom Toretto and his fast car driving team once more find themselves helping the government in order to find a device that when used with other parts will bring on a massive nuclear assault on the whole world, and worse Jakob Toretto, his own brother, is working for the bad side.  Now it’s a race around the world and even space in order to save the world from this new threat, and Dom even has to get help from all of his “family” in order to pull this one off. This is a fun goofy over the top action film that by no means takes itself seriously, and because of that, it’s super fun and by all means cheesy. The film has the likes of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena, Tyrese Gibson and Charlize Theron on cast. The film did well for Universal at the American Box Office bringing in $173,005,945.00 on a budget of $200 million and worldwide it did fantastic. If you are a fan of the Fast And The Furious series, this one is defiantly worth checking out.

# 3

The Marksman (2021) Poster

Jim Hanson is a former Marine who lives in Texas right at the border.  He has lost his wife to cancer and the bank is threatening to take his ranch away due to missed payments. While driving his property, he stumbles on Rosa and her son Miguel who are on the run from a Mexican drug cartel due to a family member stealing money from them, and when Rosa dies from a gunshot wound Jim promises her that he will get her son to family in Chicago.  All the while, the cartel is after them as is Jim’s step daughter who works for the border patrol and needs to take the child back. The film is a drama action movie that has a 68 year old Liam Neeson in the role of Jim Hanson, and he does a great job at playing the moody war hero. Also in the cast is Katheryn Winnick, Teresa Ruiz, Juan Pablo Rada and Jocob Perez. The film plays off the current hot topic of border security and as well as that no matter how defeated you feel in life, someone can come into your life and change that around. The film did okay for Open Road Films at the USA Box Office during the Virus Crisis bringing in $15,566,093.00 on a budget of $23 million. This was a fun way to kick off the 2021 movie going experience and is one that I might watch again someday.

# 2

nobody poster

Hutch Mansell is a family man who is living a boring life with a wife and two kids he loves but his job is lacking something. His life changes when a pair of robbers breaks into his home and steals a little money as well as his daughter’s cat bracelet, and then his past life comes speeding back into his present.  Hutch was once a government solider who took care of “problems” and after tracking down the robbers and beating up a group of punks on a bus, Hutch has got a price on his head placed their by a very powerful Russian and now he must get his family to safety and teach these criminals that they have messed with the wrong man. Nobody is a super fun film that was made by the same creative team that did the John Wick film series, and this one feels right at home in that universe. The film is well casted with Bob Odenkirk playing Hutch being spot on as he comes off as both a pushover family man as well as a kickass government trained skilled killer. Other names in the cast are Christopher Lloyd, RZA, Connie Nielsen and Aleksey Serebryakov. The film is filled with big action moments and is pretty violent and is a must watch for fans of revenge films. The film did pretty well for Universal at the US Box Office during the still on going virus crisis bringing in $27,268,035.00 on a budget of $16 million, showing that this John Wick universe film had some fans and that this is one that you should see.

# 1

no time to die poster

James Bond is living the retired life but does have some sins from his past haunting him including walking away from his true love, but when a new threat to the whole world emerges Bond is forced out of retirement and must team with the new 007 as well as once more see the woman he had left behind heartbroken in order to stop this new threat and save the world once again. This was a great James Bond adventure that has very high stacks and is unlike the others in this series.  Plus this is extra special as it’s Daniel Craig’s final time playing the iconic role, and its so well casted with names like Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch and Ben Whishaw to name a few making up much of the main cast. The film is filled with drama, action and even suspense and is one of the better Bond films I have seen, and that is why it locked the # 1 spot in the action film section I saw in the theater! The film did well for MGM at the American box office and brought in $160,772,007 on a budget of $250 million dollars. If you are Bond fan, make sure to check this one out as it packs a very impactful ending that will pull at your heartstrings.

As you can see, 2021 had some great action films that made it to the theater and did a great job of entertaining my friends and I! Our next section is all about the sci-fi and fantasy films that did the same for us, so let’s chat about those.

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# 5

chaos walking Poster

The New World is a planet where men cannot hide their inner thoughts.  They can be heard by anyone with what they called the noise. Todd Hewitt is a young man who lives in Prentisstown, where all the woman have been killed, and works at a beet farm, but his life changes when a ship from Earth crashes and the only survivor is Viola, a beautiful woman who once discovered has the Mayor David and his men hunting her down like a wild animal as they think if she contacts another ship, the simple life they have will be ruined…or is it that their sinister secret will be exposed!? Now it’s up to Todd to control his thoughts and help Viola find a radio in order to save herself as well as start a new life. This is a fun sci-fi film filled with some alien creatures as well as interesting characters that is well cast with Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, David Oyelowo and Mads Mikkelsen being in the lead roles. The film did not do great for Lionsgate at the American Box Office bringing in $13,287,908.00 on a budget of $100 million. This is a very interesting sci-fi film that you should check out on home media.

# 4

Green Knight (2021) Poster

Gawain is the nephew of King Arthur and during a feast at the round table, the mythical Green Knight appears and issues a challenge that he will allow any brave knight to strike him, but one year later the one who deals the blow must travel to the Green Chapel and will receive that same blow.  Gawain takes the challenge and shows off by cutting the head off of the Green Knight who picks up his head and rides off laughing. When the year is up, Gawain goes on a quest to the Green Chapel and along the journey comes across thieves, strangers, ghosts, giants and a talking fox before finally meeting his fate at the hands of the Green Knight. This is the classic round table story turned to film and is an epic tale and brings together elements of fantasy and even a dash of horror. The Green Knight looks very cool and is played by Ralph Ineson and the rest of the cast includes Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Sean Harris, Joel Edgerton. The film did okay for A24 at the American Box Office during the still lingering virus crisis bringing in $17,173,321.00 on a budget of $15million. Over all this is a slow burn fantasy film that will surely please fans of classic tales of King Arthur’s world and round table adventures.

# 3

Morta Kombat 2021 Poster

Many people on Earth have been born with a Dragon birthmark and this is not by chance as they have been selected to be a fighter in “Mortal Kombat,” a tournament held by realms in order to show dominance as well as used to conquer other worlds. Earth’s champion is Radian and his fighters have been finding themselves being killed off before the tournament as Shang Tsung has sent his fighters Sub Zero, Goro, Mileena, Nitara, Reiko and Kabal to stack the odds in their realm’s favor. But they are not ready when Cole Young as well as Earth’s other fighters Sonya Blade, Kano, Jax, Liu Kang and Kung Lao are ready to fight for the world and take the war back to them. And when Scorpion joins the fight, the big fights start way before the Mortal Kombat tournament. What will be the fate of Earth, who will live and who will die…watch this fantasy video game martial arts film to find out. This is a really fun film and the best Mortal Kombat film to date as the film captures the brutal nature of the game series it’s based on and the effects are well done as well. My favorite character in the film had to be Sub Zero as he is cold blooded (pun intended) and the history between he and Scorpion is well done. The film did okay for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office during the lingering pandemic and their foolish HBO Max day of release nonsense and brought in $42,201,013.00 on a budget of $55 million. If you like the game and like martial arts films filled with crazy characters, then you should check this one out.

# 2

Dune (2021) Poster

Duke Leto and his family consort Jessica and son Paul have been assigned to planet Arrakis to harvest Spice.  The planet was previously under the rule of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen who is not happy that he and his soldiers have been pulled out due to the choice of the Emperor. But when Leto arrives, he finds that the odds have been staked against him to fail as the machines he was left to harvest the Spice aare broken down, the area is surrounded by the massive Sand Worms and the area is also the home of the Fremen, the natives of the planet who are not happy that outsiders are harvesting their land and are at war with them. Paul meanwhile seems to have a gift and is having visions and has to protect his mom when his family and kingdom are attacked by Baron Harkonnen, and his father Leto is killed and all his friends who are warriors are assumed to be dead. Paul and his mom must wander around the desert and avoid the Sand Worms as well as try and get shelter from the Fremen. And man this is a very brief write up as this film has more layers of plot than what I can squeeze in here! This was a film I was not looking forward to, but after seeing it, I loved it and that is why it’s my # 2 film in this category. The film looks fantastic and the effects are top notch and is well casted with names like Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgard, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Timothee Chalamet, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista and Rebecca Ferguson making up the cast. The film did well for Warner Brothers at the American Box Office given that they again did a streaming day of release bringing in $106,985,276 on a budget of $165 million. It’s a really great sci-fi film that in my opinion is leaps and bounds better than the 1984 version.

# 1

Ghostbusters Afterlife Poster

Phoebe Spengler is the granddaughter of original Ghostbusters member Egon Spengler, and she has inherited his love for science.  But she has never knew him due to him leaving his family behind to live in a farmhouse in a very small town many years back. When Phoebe and her mother and brother have to move into Egon’s old rundown farmhouse after his death, she uncovers that the town is a hot spot for the second coming of Gozer! With the help of her grandfather’s spirit, she along with her brother Finn, her new friend Podcast and teenage waitress Lucky find the tools to bust ghosts and have to save the town from the upcoming apocalypse.  Along the way, they get the help of Ray Stantz, Peter Venkman and Winston Zeddemore in order to save the world and let everyone know who to call when paranormal activity enters your home. This fourth film in the Ghostbusters series is a great horror comedy film that does a great job of mixing the two genres as well as capturing that magic that makes the Ghostbuster films so special. And besides bringing in the classic cast Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver the new cast of McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon. Paul Rudd and all the others fit right in with Grace stealing the film. The film also does a great job of introducing new ghosts as well as showcasing some familiar ones as well. The film did well for Sony at the American box office bringing in $122,388,000 on a budget of $75 million. This is a fun film, and like before, don’t listen to online critics and make up you own mind as this film was great, and yes I will be buying it when it’s released on home media.

Lots of great fantasy and sci-fi films was released in the theaters in 2021, and really Dune was a big surprise for me as I was not looking forward to it and after watching it I found it at my # 2 spot! With that, let’s see what superheroes brought to the silver screen in 2021.

super-hero-21 copy 2

# 6

Eternals (2021) Poster

The Eternals are a race of immortals sent from The Celestial Arishem to Earth to act as protectors and to stop a race of creatures called Deviants. The Eternals are leader Ajak along with Ikaris, Sersi, Kingo, Thena, Phastos, Makkari, Druig, Gilgamesh and Sprite, and each have amazing powers that will help mankind move along. When they think that their mission is done, they disband with many of them going their own ways, but when the Deviants return and their one time leader Ajak is found dead, they must come back together and save mankind again…but is that their real mission as they end up digging deeper and finding the truth about Arishem as well as their true origin. This was a way better then I expected as I was never a big fan of the comic series. The film was well cast with names like Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan and Kit Harington and had a few surprise cameos from characters that will be appearing in future Marvel Universe films and shows. The film has done well for Disney at the American box office bringing in $164,611,651 on a budget of $200 million. While not the best superhero film I have ever seen, it sure as hell was an entertaining one that really surprised me.

# 5

black widow (2021) Poster

The Black Widow meets up with her “sister” Yelena Belova who is on the run as she has broken the hold of Dreykov, the man who has warped the minds of many young woman and turned them into killers for hire. Yelena has an antidote for this mind control and this has marked her for death. As Widow and Yelena go and get the help of The Red Guardian who once acted as their father, they find out that the ultimate fighter known as Taskmaster has been sent to kill them both. And now Black Widow along with her “family” must comeback together and fight in order to finally bring down Dreykov and his evil empire that has enslaved and tormented women into killers for decades. This superhero film is filled with action as well as some twists and turns and explores the backstory of Black Widow and allows you to peek into her youth that was filled with so much bad and explains her mental stress as an adult about the actions of her past. Scarlett Johansson is fantastic as always as Black Widow.  I am a big fan of Florence Pugh, and it was great to see her as Yelena Belova, who, by the end of this film is clearly going to be the new Black Widow. It was also great to see Rachel Weisz, William Hurt and David Harbour in big roles as they all did great in their parts. This film did pretty well for Disney at the US box office bringing in $183,651,655.00 on a budget of $200 million. It’s worth watching, and while I was not a fan of the “twist” of Taskmaster, it was still a great watch on the big screen and is one I will watch again for sure.

# 4

venom let there be carnage Poster

With the help of Venom, the alien that lives inside him, Eddie Brock finds the bodies of the victims of Cletus Kasady, a serial killer who is rotting away in jail. And after a last interview before he is sent to die via lethal injection, Cletus bites Eddie and a small piece of the symbiote that is Venom enters Cletus’s blood stream and he becomes Carnage, a cold blooded killing machine that is out for revenge! And worse, Eddie and Venom have a fight that leaves Eddie open to be murdered by Cletus who wants him to pay for getting him on Death Row, and Venom is left jumping from person to person. Meanwhile Cletus breaks his super powered screaming girlfriend Shriek out of a research asylum and the two go on a reign of terror! It takes Eddie’s ex-girlfriend Anne Weying to finally get Venom and Eddie to come back together and to go up against Carnage and Shriek and stop their murdering ways once and for all. This was a good sequel that added more comedy elements as well as some really cool fight scenes between Venom and Carnage that moviegoers have been waiting to see. Both Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson are great as Eddie and Cletus, and it is always great seeing Michelle Williams in films. The film did really well for Sony at the American box office bringing in $212,527,511 on a budget of $110 million. Plus Spoiler Alert Venom is placed in the MCU after this film when he is transported into their dimension while on vacation and sees Spider-Man on the TV.

# 3

Suicide Squad (2021) Poster

Amanda Waller needs two teams to head into Corto Maltese in order to destroy a laboratory that has a very world-threating project going on.  This of course is a suicide mission and she needs super villains to join the squads in order to get time shaved off their prison time. The first team is lead by Rick Flag as well has Harley Quinn, Savant, Captain Boomerang, Detachable Kid, Weasel, Javelin, Mongal and Blackguard, and they are mostly killed by an ambush, with the survivors finally meeting up with the second team that is lead by Bloodsport and consists of Peacemaker, King Shark, Polka-Dot Man and Ratcatcher 2.  Together they must take on the mercenaries that have taken over the island and finally have to come face to giant eye with the world changing project that is the massive alien known as Starro! This is a fun, zany, crazy superhero like no other as it’s packed with great jokes, bloody moments and characters that you find your self cheering for! Director and writer James Gunn has a way of making superhero movies more fun and adds his touch of humor and style to them that always seems to work. The film is well cast with Margot Robbie returning once more as Harley Quinn and adds such names as Idris Elda, John Cena, Sylvester Stallone and Daniela Melchior to the cast and all do fantastic in their roles with Stallone as King Shark being funny and awesome. The film was released on HBO Max by Warner Brothers at the same time as the theatrical release but it still did really well for them at the US box office bringing in $55,800,219 on a budget of $185 million. While I enjoyed the first film, this second one was in another league and is one that I think fans of none traditional superhero movies should watch.

# 2

shang chi and the legend of The ten rings Poster

Shang-Chi is the son of Xu Wenwu, the man who has the ten rings, and a magical fighter Ying Li who was the guardian of the mythical and magical village Ta Lo.  When his mom passes away and his father thinks that her old village is really keeping her hostage, he must travel to China and stop his father from unleashing ultimate evil onto the world, as well as work alongside his sister who he left behind at a young age. Will Shang-Chi be able to stop his father or will the universe be in the grip of evil darkness…watch this fun superhero martial arts film and find out. I grew up reading Shang-Chi, and while this film is pretty different from the classic 70’s Marvel comics, I still found it to be very entertaining and one of the best superhero films of the year! Simu Liu was well cast as Shang-Chi and captures the heroic spirit that is making up the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other actors like Awkafina, Meng’er Zhang and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai all do great in their respected roles as well. The film did great for Disney at the American box office bringing in $224,543,292 on a budget of $200 million. This is a fun action film that has cool fantasy elements thrown in, and you cannot go wrong with a film that has a cameo from the Hulk villain Abomination. Check this film out if you are enjoying these Marvel Comics movies as this is a really good one.

# 1

spiderman no way home Poster

The world knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and this has caused him major issues as the press is harassing him and even many New Yorkers have turned on him, looking at him as a masked menace. So Peter goes to Doctor Strange and asks for a spell to be cast that will make people forget he is Spider-Man, but things go off the rails when Peter keeps changing the spell on who should remember his secret and this opens a rift in the multiverse and so enter Green Goblin, Sandman, Doctor Octopuss, Electro and The Lizard (from the past Sony Spider-Man films!) all of whom know Spider-Man’s secret but are confused when the Peter Parker they know is not the one they are seeing. Now Doctor Strange wants to send the villains back to their universe where many are dead, and Spider-Man wants to try and cure them before sending them home. The action and drama is turned up as Spidey tries to save them as Strange is trying to right the wrong of his spell. This is one amazing Superhero film and could be the best Marvel Film made up to this point as it has great surprises and brings together the past Spider-Man films and brings viewers once more some of the best Super-Villains from the past films as well as brings us past Spider-Men! The film has done amazing for Disney at the American box office and as of this update has brought in $572,642,000 on a budget of $200 million. Make sure to see this film on the big screen as it’s a great watch and a must own on home media when released.

So as you can see, both Marvel and DC delivered some great films for cinema-goers in 2021 and it looks like 2022 will also be delivering some great films in this genre. But with that said, let’s move onto my favorite genre: horror! And man I got to see so many limited released films in the theater and want to thank Englewood Cinema and Cinemark Dayton South for making all these horror films available to see on the silver screen.

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# 33

The Stairs (2021) Poster

A young kid and his grandpa go missing after finding a strange staircase in the woods.  20 years later, a group of friends going on a hike stumble upon the stairs as well as a few strange people who seem to be stuck in a loop and even take on a slight monstrous appearance. And soon they are hunted down and killed by a creature that lives inside these phantom stairs and they must fight to stay alive, and even find the missing kid who was stuck inside the stairs and has not aged in the 20 years he was missing! But will they be able to get away from the creature the kid calls Grub Daddy? Or will they all become mangled mounds of flesh that the creature shreds? Watch this indie horror fright flick and find out. This is a fun B-Movie film that has some cool ideas and even uses practical effects, but is lacking a little in the story that is filled with some holes and characters that go no place and are never explained. The creature called Grub Daddy is kind of cool and reminded me of the Fluke Man from the show X-Files. Actress Tyra Colar is fantastic in her role as Jordon, one of the hikers, and Josh Crotty as hiker Dirty Doug steals the show. The film was a Fathom Event and did okay for Wandering Dragon Productions despite unknown box office numbers on an unknown budget. Over all this is a fun creature flick that took place in the woods, was well acted and is worth watching if you like films about unknowns being seen in our forests.

# 32

In The Earth (2021) Poster

Martin Lowery and park scout Alma head into the woods to find scientist Olivia Wendle to check on her and bring her equipment as no one has heard from her in months while she is working on a cure for a virus that has affected the world. But things go wrong for them while they hike to the site as they are attacked at night and their shoes are stolen.  Martin gets a very bad cut on his foot, and they meet Zach, a man who has taken them prisoner and alerts them that woods are alive and nature is mad! Even when they escape, they run into Olivia who as well is a believer that nature is talking to them. A hallucinating mist created by mushrooms is trapping Martin and Alma in the woods and forcing them to witness and see the madness of the woods. Now Alma and Martin must find away to escape the woods as nature does not want them to leave nor do Zach and Olivia and their time and sanity is running out. This is a nature themed horror movie that uses lots of light, sound and editing tricks to throw the viewers off and draws them into this madness. The film was shot in 15 days by director Ben Wheatley and was made during the pandemic of 2020. The film does a pretty good job of bring the slow moving creepy horror and even has a few very bloody scenes. The character of Alma is very likable while Martin is a little bland allowing the viewers to choose whom they really think is the main star and the one nature wants. The film had a very limited release for Neon and did well given that at the American Box Office bringing in $1,113,723.00 on an unknown budget. Over all it was a cool watch that was a great theater experience and one that I will watch again to see what hidden plot details I might have missed.

# 31

The Resort (2021) Poster

It’s Lex’s birthday and her friends want to surprise her by taking her to an abandoned resort on a Hawaiian island that is said to be haunted by many spirits but the worse being the half face girl! The reason they are being secretly dropped off by helicopter is due the fact Lex is writing a book all about hauntings, spirits and ghosts and this is one of her main attractions. Once they get there, the land is beautiful and the resort is creepy but nothing is paranormal, that is until night comes and the legend of the half face girl proves to be true and she is out for souls. This was a fun little horror flick that had a short run time, some cool effects and some good classic horror moments. The downside is the film at times seems disjointed as if scenes have been removed from the movie. The Half Face Girl is a cool looking ghost who can get the dead to be her servants and that makes her interesting as she controls them. The gore is pretty great and unexpected, and the ladies Bianca Haase and Michelle Randolph are very beautiful and good actresses. The film had a very small limited run in theaters and did okay for Vertical Entertainment bringing in $191,996.00 on an unknown budget. It’s worth seeing, and I’m glad I caught it in the theater. This is one I will watch again on home media.

# 30

Wrong Turn (2021) Poster

Jen Shaw and her friends go on a trip to hike the Appalachian Trail so that she can decide on what she wants to do with her life, and while hiking they make the mistake of going off the trail and run into sinister booby-traps as well as a group of people dressed in skulls and brush that call themselves The Foundation who have been living up in the mountains for generations since before the Civil War. But The Foundation doesn’t like trespassers, and they like it even less when strangers kill one of their own and now Jen and her friends are being picked off one by one and judged by the people of the mountain…and just for good measure Scott Shaw who is Jen’s rich and worried father has come looking for her. How will Jen survive and what will be left of her? This remake of the 2003 film series takes the deformed cannibals out of the picture and adds a secret society of mountain people who just want to be left alone, and I give it credit for trying something different, it’s just not a Wrong Turn film and takes more of a Midsommar approach to the tale and should have been called something else. The film is well cast with names like Charlotte Vega, Bill Sage, Emma Dumont, Daisy Head, Darius Clemons and Matthew Modine all fantastic in their roles. The film also did have a few bloody moments and did okay at the US Box Office bringing in $1,251,184.00 for Saban Films on a very small limited release. Over all this was just okay and will be one I will watch again someday as I got it on its home media release.

# 29

Fear Of Rain Poster

Rain Burroughs is a teenage girl who is struggling with her schizophrenia and has just gotten out of the hospital after a really bad breakdown and finds that she is friendless at school and is only one more bad episode away from being put into a mental hospital. But her luck starts to change as she makes a new friend in Caleb, a new kid at school, and her medication seems to be helping slightly. But when she thinks that her schoolteacher who is also her neighbor has kidnapped a young girl and is keeping her chained up in her house, Rain does not know if what she is seeing is real or is all just in her head. With her father not believing her, her new friend Caleb not knowing what is really going on, her mother being there for her but not taking her side, it’s up to Rain to solve the case of who’s real and who’s not and to come to terms with her own mental illness. The film is a thriller mixed with some horror elements and it stars Katherine Heigl, Harry Connick Jr, and Madison Iseman as Rain. This film had a very small limited theatrical release before it was put out on home media and brought in some money for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in an unknown amount on an unknown budget. This is a good little thriller that has you guessing at what and who is real and was worth a watch at the theater, and Madison Iseman was really solid in her role as Rain Burroughs.  I picked it up on home media later in the year.

# 28

Zombie Reddy Poster

Mario is a game designer who along with his developing friends head to a friends wedding that gets them stuck in the middle of a family feud that will lead to their friend’s death! And after running into a stranger with their car, one of Mario’s friends is bitten and so a zombie outbreak breaks out in the middle of all this madness. Now Mario and his remaining friends as well as members of both families must fight together to stay alive and find a cure to the outbreak that only a crazy old man in the woods knows! This is a fun horror action comedy and the first zombie film in Telugu cinema that not only has splatter but also a few good laughs out loud moments. The film is well cast with Sajja Teja as Mario and actress Anandhi being two great standouts. The film had a limited screening in the US and did okay for Geetha Arts at the Box Office bringing in an unknown amount on a budget of $48 million. If you like Bollywood Horror films and films like Zombieland, The Dead Don’t Die and Shaun Of The Dead make sure to give this one a watch, but be warned it’s over two hours and it takes a bit for the zombie madness to kick in.

# 27

Antlers (2021) poster

Julia Meadows is a schoolteacher who has mental scars due to abuse at her father’s hands and when she sees the same issues in a student of hers named Lucas Weaver she tries to help.  But she soon learns that Lucas is hiding a big secret, that his father is turning into a Wendigo as is his baby brother who were attacked in an abandoned mine. And when his father fully turns and starts killing around the town, its up to Julia and her police officer brother Paul to try and save not only the town but also Lucas who is trying to keep what is left of his family together no matter how flesh eating they are becoming. This film has some creepy moments as well as some gruesome scenes and is a creature feature that was a great theater watch during the Halloween season. And I really did enjoy the effects and the film was more gruesome in spots then I expected. The film did okay for Searchlight Pictures at the American box office brining in $10,619,670 on an unknown budget. This is a fun freaky film that is one I bought on home media when released.

# 26

Separation (2021) Poster

Jeff Vahn is a struggling creator and comic book artist who is going through a terrible divorce from his wife Maggie who wants sole custody of their daughter Jenny as she thinks he is too irresponsible to be raising their child. But after Maggie is killed by a hit and run driver, Jeff finds that his daughter is not doing well as she has an imaginary friend that she says is a monster, the babysitter Samantha has a crush on him, and his father in law wants to take Jenny away.  He is working for an old college friends comic book company working on a dark horror comic and it is clear that something evil has entered his house and wants to scare and take. This is a creepy little horror flick that is very much in the same spirit as films like The Conjuring, Insidious and other supernatural horror. The effects of the monster spirit are really cool.  I like that it also adds the world of comic book making into its story. The film did okay for Open Road Films at the American Box Office bringing in $4,509,143.00 on an unknown budget. This is a fun creepy little film that has some cool evil spirits and some cool kills. I bought it once it was released on home media.

# 25

funhouse (2021) Poster

On an internet reality TV Show, the world watches as down and out celebs from internet blogs, Instagram and reality shows are brought together in one house with the promise of winning big prize money! The viewers also get to vote on who is their favorites and the bottom pick has to compete in a challenge in order to stay in the house by spinning a wheel. But soon the competitors and the viewers find out this house is one of horror as the losers are put into challenges that end in death and the celebrities are trapped in the house. One by one the bottom %’s have to compete in killer challenges as onlookers watch live on their laptops and cellphone screens, as the law tries to find the location of this killer red room reality show. Will the celebrities find a way to escape, who will win and why is the man in charge doing what he is doing and killing these internet famous people off in gruesome fashion? Well watch the Funhouse and find out. This was a limited release and was pretty dang entertaining and was filled with some cool kills, beautiful women and even monster themed MMA fighters! The film did okay for such a limited release for Magnet at the Box Office and brought in $110,571.00 worldwide. This is a fun watch for fans of films like Hostel and Saw that is a little less gruesome and gory and is worth a watch.

# 24

Seventh Day 2021 Poster

Father Daniel is a young priest who is teamed with Father Peter to learn the ways of performing exorcisms on possessed people and saving their lives and souls. When Daniel is taken to a home where a young boy killed his family, he opens his mind to evil and witnesses the massacre and realizes that the young boy has been possessed by a demon! Now he must find a way to save the boy’s soul and all the while try and figure out Father Peter and his past priests that learned the ways of the Exorcist from him. Can Father Daniel save the young boy’s soul from this very powerful demon or will he watch as the youngster burns in the flames of damnation? Watch this creepy little horror flick and find out! The Seventh Day is one of many films based on evil demonic spirits that was released in 2021, and like all the others, it was a solid and spooky watch that brought the chills as well as the twist and turns that made it a very entertaining watch on the big screen. I really liked the mood and pacing of the film and enjoyed the moments when the demon would take over the young boy and wreak havoc on those who were in his way. The film had a very limited release and did well given the time of release at the World Box Office for Vertical Entertainment bringing in $963,938.00 on an unknown budget. This was a fun fright flick and fans who like possession films should check it out. I also liked this one enough that I bought it on DVD when released.

# 23

The Unholy (2021) Poster

Gerry Fenn is a disgraced reporter who used to write for the big newspapers and is now writing for a tabloid that sends him to a small town in New England to cover a cow mutilation, but when the story turns out to be a bust, he soon finds himself a new one as a deaf and mute teenage girl Alice starts speaking and claims that the Virgin Mary is speaking to her and has given her the power to heal the sick and dying and crazy enough she is doing the miracles she claims! But soon Gerry, who helps the Catholic Church with this miracle and also gets the exclusive with Alice as the two have started to be come friends, finds out about Mary, a witch that was killed in the town that was the Bride Of Satan, and as strange deaths start happing to those who doubt Mary he must find the truth if Alice has been touched by holy goodness or touched by pure evil. This Sam Raimi produced PG-13 fright flick is a fun film that features a cool demonic ghost witch that is the stuff of nightmares.  The thing I liked about the film is that it has an early 2000’s feel to it and has the Raimi feel of jump scares and a demonic villain. The film did okay for Screen Gems at the American Box Office during the ongoing Virus Crisis bringing in $15,530,440.00 on a budget of unknown. It’s a fun creepy watch that has a cool evil sprit baddy that I ended up buying on home media.

# 22

Conjuring III Poster

Ed and Lorraine Warren are at the Glatzel home to try and perform an exorcism on an 8-year-old boy who is being possessed by a demon. At the exorcism the demon proves to be really strong and gives Ed a heart attack and then goes into Arne, a young man who is dating the boy’s sister. While Ed is recovering in the hospital, the demon makes Arne kills his girlfriend’s boss and now he is in prison waiting for trial. Once out of the hospital, Ed and Lorraine come to Arne’s aid and are a part of his defense team as they have to prove that the devil made him do it! So the Warrens soon find out that a devil cult is to blame as they have left a cursed totem in the Glatzel home, and that this totem was also found in another murder case and that whomever placed these totems has now targeted the Warrens and it makes them have to race against time to save the soul of Arne, stop the cultist and watch out for one another. The third film in The Conjuring series is a good spooky watch that showcases another case file of the Warrens. But while I did enjoy the film, it was the weakest of the series thus far and the demon and cult leader are neither as spooky nor motivated as that of the past spirits and the film just seemed to be lacking the charm that director James Wan brought to the series. But while a little underwhelming, it still was a good fright flick and seeing the chemistry of actors Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga always is a plus. The film did ok for New Line Cinema at the American Box Office bringing in $65,565,074.00 on a budget of only $39 million. The Conjuring III is a good film, and if you like the series check it out. I bought a copy once it was released on home media.

# 21

The Little Things (2021) Poster

A serial killer is killing women in California and has been for a while now and former Detective Joe Deacon meets the new detective on the case, Jim Baxter, and the pair start to work together to try and find who the killer is as the bodies of young women keep being found. They both find clues and start checking off the suspects and that’s when they find the creepy appliance repairman Albert Sparma, a man who is into true crime and even once confessed to a murder he didn’t do, but is he our man our cold blooded killer…or is their more to uncover in this horror thriller noir film? Watch for yourself and find out, and see who you think the killer is. This was a very well made film that reminded me a lot of films like Seven and Silence Of The Lambs.  It takes its time to build the case and has the viewers along for the investigation. The film is well cast with Denzel Washington and Rami Malek as the Detectives and Jared Leto is fantastic as the creepy murder suspect. The film did well for Warner Brothers at the Box Office in the US even during the ongoing pandemic bringing in $15,244,012.00 on a budget of $30 million. This was a great watch in the theater and was a nice edition to the thriller genre of Horror.

# 20

shadow in the cloud poster

Flight Officer Maude Garrett along with a top-secret package come aboard the plane “Fools Errand” on a secret mission and is not well welcomed by the crew and is forced to stay in the Sperry during take off.  Soon things start to get crazy as Japanese Fighter planes attack, and worse, a gremlin is on the plane causing destruction and panic like trapping her inside the Sperry. During all this the crew find out that Officer Maude Garrett is not who she says she is and is hiding a secret that will change the way they look at her as well as their trust in her. But in the end will Officer Garrett be able to save not only herself but also the package and the crew from the attacks from above as well as on the plane? This film was lots of fun and was the first horror film I saw in theater in 2021 and was a great way to kick off the year for horror.  Once more, this film proves why Chloe Grace Moretz is one of my favorite actresses doing cult style horror, action and sci-fi films, and she is great as Officer Maude Garrett who is a great character. The Gremlin is also really cool looking and almost appears to be part bat, rat and creature and is aggressive and very sneaky and destructive. The film was released still during the pandemic of early 2021 and had a very limited release at theaters and brought in $156,932.00 for Vertical Entertainment. This one I enjoyed lots and is one I bought on home media when released.

# 19

Resident Evil (2021) Poster

Raccoon City has been under the care of the Umbrella Corporation and now they are leaving the town and this is causing the town to slowly die…like really die as the townspeople are getting sick and are becoming flesh eating zombies! Claire Redfield returns to her hometown to get to the bottom of this evil plot and along with her brother Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy, Richard Aiken, Brad Vickers and Chief Brian Irons they must survive the zombie carnage, expose the dirty secrets of Umbrella, find help in a unusual young woman, fight off a evil doctor, deal with a team trader, survive the attacks of mutated monsters and get out of Raccoon City alive. This film combines elements from the first two Capcom games in the Resident Evil series, and while I feel the final act of the film seems rushed, the film does have a few moments that are creepy and the zombies and monsters are pretty cool. One thing big fans of the game series might be annoyed with is that some of the characters do not act like they do in the games, and some are treated like the joke of the film…looking at you Leon. The film did sadly poorly for Screen Gems at the US box office brining in $16,890,005 on a budget of $25 million. Over all this is a fun zombie film that sticks more true to the games than the film series that came before it. And yes, I will buy on home media when released.

# 18

djinn (2021) poster

Dylan Jacobs is a young boy who is mute and witnessed a tragedy the took his mom at a young age and now he and his father who is a Radio DJ have moved into a new apartment. While unpacking he finds a book hidden in his closet and it’s a Book Of Shadows, and after his dad leaves for work the youngster uses the book in order to get a voice, but it comes with a catch as he has to survive one hour in the small apartment with an evil Djinn who wants to eat his heart and steal his soul, and has to blow out a candle that can only be put out after one hour. So Dylan must use his wits and what he can find around in order to keep the creature at bay. Can Dylan do it? Will the Djinn steal his soul? Will his wish come true and if so will it have a big price to pay? Well watch this fun film and found out those answers. This is one part haunted house, one part supernatural, one part Home Alone and one part Conjuring inspired as the Djinn is one evil character who tricks and tries to kill with aggression and glee. The film had a very limited release and brought in $124,772.00 on an unknown budget at the US Box Office for IFC. Over all a cool simple Horror Movie with some great moments and one I got on home media when released.

# 17

werewolves within (2021) poster

Finn Wheeler is a Forest Ranger who is assigned to a small town called Beaverfield after breaking up with his girlfriend, when he gets there its winter time and a big storm is on its way and me meets all the strange people of the town including young mail carrier Cecily as well as Jeanine a woman who owns the towns lodge. Also in town is businessman Sam who wants to build a pipeline through the town and is throwing around money and making the town split. But when a big storm hits, the towns generators are tampered with and the town people have to stay at the lodge for safety and that’s when they find out that a werewolf is loose in the town and is taking them out one by one, will Ranger Wheeler be able to save the town and stop the beast? Watch this funny Horror Comedy based on the video game and find out for yourself. The film stars Milana Vayntrub as mail carrier Cecily Moore who is known as the AT&T Girl and she is fantastic as is all of the cast who help create this strange small town. The film is really funny and the horror elements are well done with yes even the werewolf being seen. The film had a limited release and did good for IFC bringing them in an extra $575,614.00 at the US Box Office. A film that I bought on home media once released and again is a fun Horror Comedy that has a haunted house meets Twin Peaks feel.

# 16

Old (2021) Poster

The Cappa family head to a resort that is amazing and the reason they are doing so is that Guy and Prisca are having marriage issues and will be getting a divorce and want to have one more family outing before they tell their kids Maddox and Trent. But when they are invited to a private section of the beach they find that they are joined by a few select others and all seems perfect that is until a dead body washes ashore and everyone finds out that they are stuck on this beach and time is running fast as kids are growing up super fast, parents are getting older and anyone with a illness is finding that they are getting worse. And now they all must find away to escape this beach and find out why they were brought there with what seems is to die! And like always this film has a twist that was well thought out and helped this film feel like an episode of the Twilight Zone and was well casted with every actor doing their parts top notch with Thomasin McKenzie, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Aaron Pierre and Rufus Sewell all being great in their roles. The film did well during the ongoing pandemic at the US Box Office for Universal Pictures bringing in $48,242,510.00 on a budget of $18 million. M. Night Shyamalan is truly back on track on bringing fans creepy Horror Thrillers and Old is one I enjoyed and bought on home media when released.

# 15

Don't Breathe 2 Poster

Phoenix is a young girl who was grown up thinking that The Blind Man Norman Nordstrom is her father and that her mother died in a house fire, and he does his best to try and raise her to be a survivalist and does not allow her to go into town of have friends. But soon her real past comes calling when her real father who was in prison and was a meth dealer along with his friends show up to tell her the truth and get her back, but this family reunion is sour as her father has no interest in really getting his daughter back as he only wants her heart in order to give to his wife who is dying from inhaling meth fumes. Now its up to Norman to get her back as well as come clean to her on the monster he really is. This is a gritty horror film that in my opinion was leaps and bounds better then the first and while Norman is the “hero” in ways he still is the same cold-blooded killer who assaulted women and now his past and lies are catching up with him. The real hero of the film is Phoenix the young girl who fights to stay alive as well as to live a normal life surrounded by terrible people. Also the film is bloody and has some really cool and interesting kills. The film did pretty well for Sony at the US Box Office even during the then ongoing pandemic bringing in $32,638,038.00 on a budget of $15 million. Worth watching if you liked the first film and if you like you Horror Flicks a little gritty. Bought when on home media.

# 14

spiral from the book of Saw Poster

Detective Zeke Banks is a cop who is a loner after his department treat him like a rat after he turned a dirty cop in for a murder. But things turn weird for Zeke when a Jigsaw Copycat killer starts targeting dirty cops and is putting them into traps of self-mutilation that all end in death. No Zeke must trust his fellow officers who don’t respect him in order to stop the killings and figure out who this Jigsaw copycat killer is! This is the 9th film in the Saw series and takes a new direction and yet still feels right at home with the Jigsaw saga. The film has some great trap kills that are bloody and gory, an interesting story and is very topical about the trail of sadness that dirty cops can leave behind. Chris Rock is great in the role of Detective Banks and goes from funny to serious when he needs to. The film did just ok for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in only $23,216,862.00 on a budget of $20 million. I for one hope that the Saw series continues on as I would like to see what’s next for Zeke Banks and the next chapter of the Book Of Saw has in store for us. Bought on home media when released.

# 13

escape room tournament of champions Poster

Survivors Zoey Davis and Ben Miller head to New York to try and find the headquarters of the Minos Corporation and when they get their they are tricked by a homeless man to get on a subway train, and they soon find that this was a trap by Minos and that the people also on the train with them was former players of their escape rooms. And this time around the traps are more mean spirited and more deadly as Minos does not like when players beat them and escape. One by one Zoey watches as the other players die in traps and she is always trying to figure out the room and keep her fellow players alive, and when she gets the shock of her life she goes truly against the wishes of Minos and does what she can to bring them down from the inside out. This is a fun sequel that adds more questions and delivers some answers and leaves me wanting to see a third film in the series. The films rooms are well thought out and add a level of Saw to them making them more dangerous then ever and the film is also casted really well with Taylor Russell, Logan Miller and Deborah Ann Woll return to their rolls from the first film and new names like Holland Roden and Indya Moore bringing new characters to this sick and twisted game. The film did well for Sony at the American Box Office given the time bringing in $25,188,958.00 on a budget of $15 million, and this I hope makes it that we get a part three. To sum it up if you liked the first film you will more than likely enjoy this second film and it is one I bought once released on home media.

# 12

The Vigil (2020) Poster

Yakov Ronen is a Jewish man who has went through a tragic event that has shook his faith, but running low on money he takes a job to act as a Shomer for a man who has just passed away. While in the house late at night watching over the mans body he meets the mans wife Mrs. Litvak who is battling Alzheimer’s as well as he starts seeing a shadow person as well as has bad visions of not only his past memories but the dead mans as well! Now trapped in this home with something demonic he must find his inner power to forgive himself for his past as well as fight for his soul as well as that of the one he is there to watch over. What a fun little ghost haunted house style film that feels like it could be right at home in the Conjuring film universe, the creature known as a Mazek that is a demonic sprit that’s head is backwards as it is always looking to the past is a creepy and strange creature that is fitting for its own film franchise. The acting is fantastic with Dave Davis, Lynn Cohen and Ronald Cohen being the standouts and the score by Michael Yezerski is top notch. A great and creepy PG-13 horror film that did pretty well for IFC at the American Box Office bringing in $50,439.00 on an unknown budget for a limited release. On a side not it was odd the films USA rights was originally with Blumhouse they sold the film to IFC for release, and that’s odd as this film was a perfect fit for Blumhouse.

# 11

halloween kills poster

Michael Myers survives the inferno trap that the Strode family left him to die in and is now back on the killing rampage in Haddenfield and the people have had enough and are wanting to fight back and kill the evil that has tormented their town for decades. Tommy Doyle as well as other survivors of the original 1978 massacre have came together and along with others are now looking for Michael to make evil die tonight. But they soon find out that Michael Myers might be more than human and his want for murder might just be stronger than their hatred for him. This sequel to the 2018 film is a down and dirty bloodbath that is filled with gruesome kills and showcases that Michael Myers is truly a killing machine who is brutal and cruel and kills for killing sake. This was a entertaining slasher film that was a fun watch on the big screen, but also had lots on puzzling moments that was tied into bad scripted segments with characters making head scratching decisions that didn’t fit the vibe of the film. But keep in mind while I did not like it as well as the 2018 film I did still enjoy it and it was a fun experience seeing it on the big screen opening night with a theater filled with Horror fans. It is well casted as well with Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Anthony Michael Hall, Judy Greer, Michael McDonald and actress Andi Matichak steals the film again as Allyson. The film did well for Universal at the American box office bringing in $92,002,155 on a budget of $20 million dollars. If you like the Halloween series, check this one out and of course got it on home media when it was released.

# 10

forever purge poster

The New Founding Fathers are back in control and the Purge has returned the night that all crime is legal is back as a yearly event, but there is something else brewing as a new movement has gripped the nation called Forever Purge a group of people who are now on a mission to kill any and all foreigners and wrong doers and keep the Purge going every day as their American right! And now ranch owners The Tuckers have to try and stay alive as they join their Hispanic helper Juan his wife Adela and friend T.T. in order to get to Mexico for safety as they have been marked by the Forever Purgers for death! And on their way to Mexico they must fight off their would be killers as well as try and help each other stay alive to see safety south of the border. This was a good Purge sequel that had a Horror Western feel to it and tried to mirror what was going on in society at the time. The film has some great kills, cool effects and some of the masked Purge killers have cool looks. I really liked the idea of a radical group who want to keep the Purge going year round being the ones that even the Founding Fathers do not like as they are to extreme even for them. The film did ok for Universal at the US Box Office during the ongoing pandemic bringing in $44,500,860.00 on a budget of $18 million. Over all a good sequel with a good story and is well acted…bought on home media when released. And I have to say also that this was leaps and bounds better then 2018’s “First Purge” film.

# 9

Night House (2021) Poster

Beth is a schoolteacher who’s husband Owen built them a dream house on the lake, and her life changes when one night Own takes the rowboat out on the lake and commits suicide. She is now alone at this house and strange things start to happen as if her dead husband is trying to talk to her from beyond the grave and the deeper she digs into his life the more strange things she discovers from the occult, to affairs to a weird unfinished home he built across the lake. Now Beth must try her best to find the truth and uncover if she is really being reached out to by the spirit of her husband or something much worse. This was a great spooky watch in the theater and several time throughout it my gal Juliet and my cousin Stephen both jumped from the scares. The blurred line between what is reality and what might be in her mind or even another dimension is really well done and the film has a great atmosphere that captures the feeling of loneliness and sadness. The films cast is also really great with Rebecca Hall killing it as widow Beth and Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis-Hall and Stacy Martin all being fantastic in their supporting roles. The film did well for Searchlight Pictures giving the on-going pandemic at the American Box Office bringing in $7,100,581.00 on an unknown budget. This was a fun little fright flick and is one I got once on home media.

# 8

Malignant Poster

Maddie Mitchell is pregnant and when home from work with labor pains her husband and her get into it and he slams her head into a wall, and oddly enough that night the husband is killed by a long haired, mutated melted faced, disjointed killer who then also kills many old doctors who are all connected to helping kids. And Maddie is starting to have bad visions of the murders and are seeing how brutal they are being committed, and the killers name is Gabriel and some how he and Maddie are linked. Why are they connected? Why is he killing Doctors? Will the cops find the link? Is there more to Maddie then what is seen? Watch this weird and highly entertaining film to find out for yourself. The film has great effects and was way bloodier then expected and the killer Gabriel is really cool looking. And you know the film has to be good as it was from the mind of James Wan one of the new masters of modern Hollywood Horror. The film stars Annabelle Wallis, Marina Mazepa, Maddie Hasson and George Young in lead roles and are all well casted. The film did ok for New Line Cinema at the US box office bringing in $13,374,014.00 on a budget of $40 million, and keep in mind they did the same day release on streaming for this film on HBO Max. Very creepy a cool film that is one I bought when released and is one you should checkout if you like weird films.

# 7

Saint Maud Poster

Katie who is now going by the name Maud was a nurse at a hospital that had an accident during CPR to a patient and now finds herself as a home caregiver to a woman named Amanda who was once an actress who is now battling stage 4 cancer and is an atheist. Maud has found religion and wants so bad to save the soul of Amanda who she thinks has been sent her way by the will of God, but when Maud is fired she goes on a downward spiral and feels that she really needs to save the soul of Amanda and goes on a soul searching mission to do so, but Maud is so far gone mentally she does not live in reality and thinks God is always with her and is speaking to her. In the end Maud thinks she has done what has been asked of her she does an act that will deliver her to Gods waiting arms. This is a really downbeat film that captures the creepy slow burn feel of films like Carrie and The Exorcist and is a must watch for fans of A24 Horror! The film is filled with a very uneasy feeling throughout and is a Horror Film that feels real to life. The film had a very limited release here in America and did well for A24 at the Box Office world wide bringing in $1,383,868.00 on an unknown budget. This is a great film for those who like slow burn Horror Films that have a touch of art house film feel thrown in. Got on home media when released!

# 6

Army Of The Dead (2021) Poster

After a military experiment zombie escapes from a road accident he infects all of Vegas to the point where a group of survivors try to save others before the whole area is sealed off by metal containers. After time passes a rich businessman tracks down the survivors and offers them millions of dollars in order to go back into Vegas and get the large amount of cash out of his casino vault before the government drops a nuclear bomb on the city to kill the zombie horde. So this new group is lead by Scott Ward and his daughter Kate as the enter the city and learn that these zombies are way smatter then thought and have created their own savage society. But when something goes wrong and the Queen of the zombies is killed the group is in real trouble as the zombies want to rip them apart to avenge their Queen. Can Scott get the money and his crew out of Vegas before they become zombie dinner or are blown up by the bomb? Watch this Zach Snyder zombie flick to find out! This is an epic and fun zombie action film that had Zach Snyder return to the zombie genre and was well casted with names like Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Harwick, Ana de la Reguera and Nora Arnezeder to name a few. The film is loaded with zombie kills and is bloody and even brings in a zombie tiger! A fun, bloody ride the whole time! The film did well for Netflix on a limited release at the US Box Office bringing in an unknown amount on a budget of $90 million. This is a fun fright flick that I cannot wait to see a sequel to and hope Netflix ends up releasing it on Blu-Ray and DVD so that I can get a copy for my collection.

# 5

Psycho Goreman Poster

Mimi is a young girl who does what she wants to do and is a very strange kid and her older brother Luke just goes along with her strange ideas including her game “Crazy Ball” and after loosing she makes her brother dig his own grave in the backyard and instead they find a jewel stone that frees an imprisoned alien killing machine called Arch-Duke Of Nightmares! While the monster is a killing machine he has to follow the orders of Mimi who holds the stone and she turns this killing machine into her fiend and calls him Psycho Goreman or PG for short! But when a group called The Templers find out they send Pandora to Earth to kills PG once and for all. But with the help of Mimi and her family Psycho Gorman does battle with Pandora and if he wins he can fulfill is mission of murder and destruction and if Pandora wins the world will be filled with slavery and no free will. This is an amazing Horror Comedy from writer director Steven Kostanski the man behind such films as The Void, Manborg and Father’s Day that is gory and funny all at the same time and has what I think could be the next creature feature icon of Horror Comedies along side the likes of Wolf Cop. The film had a limited release in theaters during the ongoing pandemic and did well for RLJE at the US Box Office bringing in $95,182.00 showing that Indie Horror is alive and well. If you have not seen this one yet, make sure to check it out and of course I bought this on home media when released.

# 4

last night in soho (2021) poster

Eloise is a young woman who is going to London for fashion school and finds that she does not fit in and when leaving her dorm to live in a old apartment building visions of the cities past fill her dreams and she finds herself involved in finding out who killed inspiring singer Sandie who’s manager promised her the world, but delivered her into sex work. But when Eloise thinks she has figured out who has killed Sandie she tries to bring them to justice as well as find Sandie, but this causes her classmates and the police to think she is crazy! But is Eloise crazy and will she uncover what really happened to the missing singer…well watch this film and find out. First thing I have to say is that this film made me fall in love with Thomasin McKenzie who plays Eloise as an actress and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite newer actresses in the Horror genre. The film does a great job of going from modern times to flashing back to the 1960’s and the characters and story had be drawn in and that’s surprising as I am not a big fan of most of Edgar Wright’s films but this one I think is his best. The film had a few spooky moments and enough twist and turns to really help add to the chills, and yes some of the twists can be predictable but I still enjoyed it. The film is well casted with names like Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp and Michael Ajao making up the lead cast. The film sadly did not do well for Universal at the US box office bringing in only $10,127,625 on a budget of $43 million. This was a really cool stylish Horror Film that does a great job also on the use of lights, and yes will buy on Home Media.

# 3

Candyman (2021) Poster

Anthony McCoy is a visual artists who has it all, a beautiful and successful girlfriend named Brianna, he lives in a upper class high rise apartment and is loving life even if he is having an artist block that is keeping him from painting his next masterwork, but when hearing the legend of Helen Lyle and Candyman he gets the inspiration for his next series of work. Anthony has made a big mistake though as he has gotten the attention of Candyman and he learns the legacy, roots and horror that is behind this hooked handed boogeyman killer…but he also learns that his own life just might be connected to him and that the hive is many when it comes to Candyman. This is a great sequel to the 1992 cult classic film and helps add to the legend of the film series and even does a good job of not totally forgetting about parts 2 and 3 in the series. The film is well casted with names like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Michael Hargrove and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett all being fantastic in their roles and it was also amazing seeing Tony Todd and Vanessa Williams returning in their roles from the first film. The film has some bloody and creepy moments and really was a fantastic fright film on the big screen. The film did well at the American Box Office given the pandemic was coming back around with a new wave as it brought in $61,186,570.00 for Universal on a budget of $25 million dollars. If you like the Candyman film series give this one a watch, and yes bought on home media when released.

# 2

Godzilla vs Kong (2021) Poster

Godzilla is running wild and attacking company Apex factories and they seem unprovoked turning mankind against the titan they once called a protector. Their only hope is to use Kong to find out if the Hollow Earth energy is true as it is the place they think the titans might have came from and was the place Godzilla and Kong’s kind had wars with one another making them bitter enemies. With mankind taking Kong from Skull Island and taking him to the gateway to Hollow Earth in Antarctica Godzilla is annoyed that another alpha Titan is present and goes on the attack causing the two Titans to be at odds with each other even when the battle ends and this makes it that Godzilla and King Kong are bitter rivals that while they respect each other they also clearly hate each other. While Kong enters Hollowed Earth and learns about his own families past as well as finding a powerful axe that holds lots of power. All the while Godzilla is stomping around and destroying Apex factories causing Monarch and mankind to fear his wrath! And when Kong shows up in Hong Kong he and Godzilla have a massive fight that leaves them both wounded and one Titan near death, and worse for everyone Apex has been working on a project that is creating their own Titan made of metal and is called Mechagodzilla! Who will win this epic battle of Kong vs. Godzilla and what terror does Mechagodzilla have in store for the winner? Check out this Monstervese movie and find out for yourself. What a fun film that pits the worlds two most iconic Kaiju against each other for the amusement of the viewers, plus for me I am always up for a new King Kong and Godzilla film! Plus its been way to long sense we seen these two Titans of cinema in the same movie again as it was 1962 when they last shared a film, and that’s crazy. The film did great for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office bringing in $100,563,133.00 on a budget of $200 million, even though WB tried their best to ruin the release with the crappy HBO Max same day release. You can never go wrong with Giant Monster Horror, and this is one that I bought on physical media when released.

# 1

Quiet Place II Poster

Evelyn Abbott and her kids Regan, Marcus and the baby are leaving their farm behind and heading towards another survivors shelter and find that the long time family friend Emmett is the one that has been signaling to the family for years. And once inside his shelter in a factory they find out that a radio station has been playing the same song “Beyond The See” by Frank Sinatra and Regan has an idea to get onto the air and use her hearing aid to broadcast over the airwaves and give the humans a chance to fight back, and she sneaks away from her family to become the hero the world needs. Emmett goes after her and together the two go on a quest to get a boat and get to the island to pull off this plan and along the way must dodge the creatures as well as the corrupted humans who want to steal what they have. In the end Regan and Emmett make it to the island and find that its filled with peaceful families and survivors…and one creature has also made it ashore. So now it’s a race to the radio station to give humans a chance to strike back against these killing machine monsters. This was a great sequel that I would say is on par if not slightly better then the original and that’s saying something as the original was an amazing fright flick. They also did a great job of making sure the original cast of Millicent Simmonds, Emily Blunt and Noah Jupe returned as well as added names like Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou to the cast. The film did great for Paramount Pictures at the US Box Office bringing in $160,072,261.00 on a budget of only $61 million. A great film that took my # 1 spot and once released on home media I for sure bought a copy.

What a fun year of seeing movies at the theater as during these last stressful years, getting lost in films on the silver screen is a great way to relax and forget the issues that are plaguing the real world. And man I have to stress that so many amazing horror films got released this year and many are sequels to series that I really have enjoyed and glad to see horror alive and well at the cinema and I am looking forward to the films of 2022! While we are sitting here in the Rotten Ink Theater, I also want to think you for reading Rotten Ink as its amazing that this blog is now 10 years old, and I would also like to let you know that the next update will continue our look at the original cast Star Trek movies and we are on “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” so that should be a fun one. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie at the theater or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for another voyage with the crew of the Enterprise.

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SOV Flashbacks Classics – “Hatchet”

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another entry in my “SOV Flashback Classics.” This one will be short and sweet and something very fun! The film we will be talking about is one that I know very little about as it was a found gem that I was able to get on DVD thanks to the guy who discovered it on a VHS tape and made it available to fans of Shot On Video Horror. The film is called “Hatchet” or so its said by the tape finder and this could be the original Hatchet film and could even maybe be the start of Victor Crowley as this film was made sometime in the 1990’s. So I know you are really excited to learn about “Hatchet” as I am to share the little information I have on it! So sit back and relax as we take a SOV Flashback look at a film that was once lost and now has been found, the spooky slasher flick dubbed “Hatchet”. And with that also Happy Halloween as what a better way to spend this spooky Holiday than with a SOV Horror flick!!

Hatchet SOV 1Hatchet SOV 2Hatchet SOV 3

The story for this little shot on video gem is that it was found on a VHS tape by a guy and he saved it by transferring the short film to a DVD and then shared it with the fans of SOV Horror. The short seems to have been shot in the 1990’s and was filmed in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and had a cast of maybe four people tops with only two of the kids being the stars and sharing duty of also being the camera guy. The odd thing about the film is that it feels like it was very influenced by films like “Blood Hook” and “Savage Weekend,” but I doubt if these kids making this film had seen those films before making it. The film could have been made by the friends for the fun or it or even could have been made as a school project. And if these kids made this film for the fun of it I wonder if they made any more Horror Movies and if either of them grew up to continue to make films, I mean who knows, maybe one of them is a famous Horror director now or could even be on the crew of the newest Blumhouse Horror Film. It’s a shame that “Hatchet” does not have any credits as the identity of the makers of this flick are truly unknown at this time and makes it hard to know the history of this short Horror film as well as that of the makers.

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So it’s now time for us to take a look at “Hatchet” the film that could have started it all for these young unknown filmmakers and who knows maybe one of these kids in this film was Adam Green, the creator of The Hatchet film series…yeah I doubt it too, but it’s fun to pretend that this might in fact be Hatchet 0! This will in fact of course be a first time watch for me, and I would like to thank the guy who discovered this tape and sold me a copy on Etsy for having it in stock and making this SOV Horror Flashback Classics update possible. I also want to say that for these SOV films, I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for SOV Horror films as I feel it would be unfair to grade it on a scale that Hollywood or even bigger budget Indie films are graded on. So with that let’s head into the world of “Hatchet”!

Hatchet SOV DVD

“Hatchet”
Starring – ????? & ????     Directed by ?????
199?     Not Rated     7min     Unknown     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: A hillbilly in sunglasses with a flashlight to his face talks to the camera about a group of missing people that headed to a old haunted shed and never where seen again, and says that the only way to find out if the legend was true is to go to the shed yourself. We then cut to a warehouse and a delivery driver is asked to make a drop off to the old shed and as he packs up some VHS tapes and heads out his boss goes home and sharpens an ax with a file. Back to the shed, the driver makes the mistake of entering and finds a bloody ax hanging on the wall and learns that he can not leave now as he is trapped in this spooky place and he starts to freak out as he finds that there is no way out! As the deliveryman sits in the dark questioning his life choices, he hears music and follows it only to find a bloody faced dead man in the corner of the shed and then a man with a hatchet appears and starts to chase the deliveryman around and then kills him with the hatchet. We then cut back to the hillbilly from the start of the film and it shows that he is really the Hatchet Killer of the Haunted Shed.

Thoughts: “Hatchet” really seems like a short film that two friends made in one day over the weekend to have fun with a VHS camera that they got in contact with. They filmed in one location with the Haunted Shed clearly being a work shed that is connected to a garage and they did a really good job of using the environment around them to try and pull off a spooky film. The garage does have a great atmosphere as its dark and dingy looking and the only one thing I would say is they should have shot the trapped inside parts at night so that no sunlight would appear in the film. The killer is great as the kids did not go for the normal Halloween masked killer as they used the look of a creepy guy you would see hanging around a fishing pond on a Sunday morning who is trying to make small talk about the bluegill not biting all the while he is looking at you deciding if he could gut you like a fish in 40 seconds flat. The acting is not terrible for this level of SOV Horror with the Deliveryman and the Hatchet Killer only grinning a few times. The film has very little blood and when shown it’s clearly ketchup, the blood substance that all young filmmakers started with. And oddly enough the film also has a first person scene that reminded me of a part of my old film Werewolf Of Ohio as it was shaky as hell as well and was filmed by the films lead as he was fleeing the killer. Over all this little short has charm and was clearly made by friends who were bored one weekend and wanted to make a Horror Movie for them to share with friends and laugh at when they got older.

Grade: B

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I love that this film was found and saved and is now out in the world for fans of cheesy zero budget SOV Horror films can see! Nothing bothers me more then knowing that so many of these types of films as well as Horror Host shows are floating around on Beta and VHS tapes rotting in garages, basements and landfills when so many people out in the world would love to see them. Films like “Hatchet” also show that creative minds are everywhere and that fans of Horror will always find creative outlets to showcase their love for the genre as well as show the viewers their skills in chilling the blood of viewers, readers and listeners. I also want to say that this might sound silly but I would love to see “Hatchet” get a SOV sequel or even a remake and I could do one heck of a fun comic book based on this tale of terror for Blood Scream Comics. Well it looks like the tape is over and the film is starting to rewind, so before we end this update I would like to alert you all about the next one that will be taking us away from the world of SOV Horror and will be taking us back to comic books and better yet one that is based on a Western TV Show, and I am talking about Brave Eagle! I hope you are having a spooky Halloween this far and that this look at “Hatchet” made your holiday a little more dark and spooky! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Shot On Video Horror Film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for out time with Brave Eagle and his tribe.

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SOV Flashbacks Classics – A Night Of Total Terror

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. For this update, we will be taking a look at another Shot On Video Film of James Rolfe and his Cinemassacre Productions, and when looking at the DVDs I have of some of his movies I decided to choose his 1996 Silent Film “A Night Of Total Terror” as it’s one that seems to be a one he truly loved making and is a major influence of his creative life that followed. The film was made because of a mix of boredom and creativity and was inspired by “Night Of The Living Dead” and the silent film masterpiece “Nosferatu”! So what awaits you readers on this Night Of Total Terror? Well read on and find out as this SOV Flashback update is going to be a blast, and I hope will inspire some of you to pick up a camera and film your own backyard films.

James Rolfe was hooked on making movies at a very young age and armed with his family’s VHS camera he would write and direct his own fright flicks and would try his best to get his friends to act in them and allow his visions to come alive. In May 1996 James at the age of 15 was itching to make another movie and after two of the SNIX flicks and some shorts were in his past, he knew that getting his friends to be in another was not in the cards so he came up with a Silent Horror Film that he himself could play all the roles! You see James was a big fan of classic Horror with the Universal Monsters being some of his all time favorites and during this boring summer he knew he had to make this film and nothing was going to stand in his way and his dream to make this creepy classic style Silent Horror Film. And it was at that time while bored in his room hearing the lawnmowers of his neighbors going outside that he made the decision that this was the summer he was going to make another film and he was going to give it his all as he was going to be a one man cast and crew! And on that day the shot on video film “A Night Of Total Terror” was born and James’s creative life would forever be changed.

James spent a whole day filming and coming up with the film’s plot on the spot and putting the ideas that would come to his mind onto tape, and thanks to all the Halloween masks and props he had from the haunted house he held every year in the family basement he had all the tools he needed to create his monsters! James played all the parts in the film and would have to set his shots up change into another character then hit record and the camera had a three second delay and he would have to run and be in the spot in order to get his shot. When needed during this day of filming he would ask his younger sister to put on the outfit of one of the ghouls in order to get a certain shot, and once she filled in he would take the role back over. He of course shot the film during the day and knew that by turning the film black and white he could play it off that it was late night. And after a long day of filming and editing James had a very interesting short horror film that he could be proud of…but this first day was not the end of this film!

The second day of filming James ended up showing the first part of the film to some of the neighborhood kids and they loved it and wanted to help make the second part of the film, and this gave James the cast and crew he needed and was able to make the film a little easier for him to pull of shots and his ideas could get a little bigger! Plus he could add more monsters to his story, and that is always a good thing in the world of SOV Horror. And things started to move faster on set as he was able to shoot scenes faster and was able feel that rush of making a film at that age and being creative with his friends. He wanted to make a film that built a spooky atmosphere and for that level of filmmaking he pulled it off! James really was a one man production team as for the most part he not only was the story creator, actor, director, special effects guy he also was the film’s editor that he did all in camera…think about that he edited the film in camera and had to rewind the tape in order to take out bad and messed up takes. He also in order to get the silent and black and white look he wanted he had to play the tape on his VCR and turn the sound and color down on the TV and then use the camcorder to tape the TV Screen! And when this film was done James was proud of it, and this is the film that gave him the encouragement to prose a career in filmmaking.

A Night Of Total Terror is for James what “Werewolf Of Ohio 2: 10 Years Before” was for me that moment of picking up a camera and filing with your friends watching your story and characters come to live, the feeling of knowing you want to make films your life…it’s a feeling that is hard to describe but really does give you that bug to want to film more and get better at all aspects of creating a movie. James was so inspired by this film that he would go on to do a “Making Of Film” did a sequel he called “ An Evening Of Real Supernatural Horror”, at one point was working on a remake and even did a mini version for collage called “A New Night Of Total Terror” and even other films he made have taken elements from this film. So while SNIX and a few other films came before it truly his first film that brought him to the SOV dance was A Total Night Of Terror. The film was mostly seen only by his friends and family and would run around 30 minutes, and in 2006 he recut the film and released a shorten version on the internet…it’s a shame as I for one would have liked to see the original version of the film as to me that also shows the heart of the production as well as the skill of the director. But I must also say at least we get to see the film in some sort of way and for that thanks James for sharing your early creative film works with the world.

So I want to say that for this film I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale. Now keep in mind it would not be fair to grade SOV films like you would a big budget Hollywood Movie or even a bigger budget Indie Feature, that’s why much like I do for “Fan Films” I will be grading them on its own scale on a scale of true to life backyard cinema the true shot on video warriors of the camcorder days. So grab a flashlight and lets take a spooky journey into a Night Of Total Terror!

A Night Of Total Terror
Starring – James Rolfe & Gina Rolfe       Directed by James Rolfe
1996     Not Rated     10min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: A thief breaks into a tomb in order to steal a magic lamp, but unknown to him this has caused ghouls and creatures to track him down as they want back what is theirs! The enter his home and try to scare him with eye balls and hands that they leave around even a rat attacks him and bites his neck causing the thief pain…his defense is to throw it all out the window! But when a hockey mask wearing Creep with a top hat and cane enters his home all hope is lost as the Creep attacks him with his cane causing the thief to fight back and bash the Creep with his fists as well as taking the cane and beating him with it, but before he can truly escape or get help a ghoul as well enters the house and the Creep comes back for more causing him to have to flee his house and run into the near by woods at night and finding shelter with a young man who has a tent up as he is camping. The thief will not give up the lamp and has it with him as he sits in the tent and tells the man that he has it and that’s what they want! Meanwhile outside the monsters are gathering as besides the Creep and Ghoul such monsters as a Dinosaur Man, Vampire, black hooded man, the rat and Werewolf have joined in the stalking! The youngster in the tent takes out a gun opens fire on the ghouls and then the thief as well takes the gun and shoots the ghouls and they hurry back into the tent. Once inside the thief asks the kid if he believes in the curse of the lamp, and before he can fully answer the tent is attacked by the ghouls! When one finally gets in they remove their mask as does all the ghouls outside as they only dressed this way to scare them and take the lamp as they are thieves as well! But the joke is on them as the lamp curse is real and turns the original thief and the tent kid into monsters who kill them in the end.

Thoughts: A Night Of Total Terror is a fun backyard shot horror film that you can tell was very much thought up on the spot and props pulled out of the Halloween boxes from the basement, but because of this is why I think it has a charm of being a early work of a director that went onto bigger and better films and shorts. The film for the most part is a silent horror film all though very little title cards are used to explain the plot, but to be honest it’s very easy to follow. You can tell that James had his heart into the film even with the zero budget and at the start lack of help and you can also see his influences from classic black and white horror films throughout. He also had a nice twist ending that was very popular in classic horror that has not everything you see being what it seems. Plus in the end when the thief who is played by James Rolfe turns into a monster cause of the lamp he transforms into a gorilla creature and this makes me wonder if he does so cause of his love for the film King Kong or because Gorilla’s were super popular in classic horror to be the monster on film? The films effects are super backyard and charming with clearly store bought plastic limbs and eyes being used to pull off the “gore”. Also I am not sure but I think that the magical lamp is a Disney Aladdin toy and that is awesome as kids and teens in their backyard epics use what they have and that’s lots of toys, I mean in Werewolf Of Ohio I used a old Lone Ranger gun as the leads weapon! While A Night Of Total Terror is not super scary nor is it the best film James has made, I will say that holds lots of magic as you can tell it was made with the love of horror cinema and filmmaking. Check it out if you are a fan of silent horror and zero budget backyard films.

Grade: B+

After watching this chopped down version of this film I for one once more must stress that I would have liked to have seen the full 30 minute version and hope that one day James will stop chopping these down and allow us to also see the true original versions, no need to George Lucas these films as those who love SOV films enjoy them no matter how flawed they are. In fact I am hoping that someday a company like SOV Horror get the rights from James and put this film out in a collectors edition DVD as the world needs it! I am having such a great time doing these updates based on Shot On Video Horror Films and I hope you are enjoying reading them, and in 2022 I will be doing a few more so that is something for you to look forward to as one of them will be Werewolf Of Ohio the first film I ever made! But for my next update we are leaving the SOV films behind and will be once more looking at a Horror Host and a very awesome one at that as its time we take a look at Dayton, Ohio’s own Baron Von Porkchop! So until next time make sure to read an indie comic or three, watch a SOV film or two, and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a Terrifying Tale Of The Macabre!

The Best Active MLB Mascot Countdown!

Baseball is America’s favorite past time and a sport that is embedded into our culture and has driven collectors markets for decades with trading cards and even autographs. Growing up in Waynesville, Ohio almost all my male classmates and even some of the females collected baseball cards, showing that the appeal of this sport in the 80’s and 90’s was strong. In town we had a place called Bill’s Baseball Den that had tons of classic ball cards as well as new packs from the industries top companies like Topps, Donruss and Fleer. I can remember going to a few Cincinnati Reds games back then along with my father, brother and my dad’s close friends and seeing the likes of Barry Larkin and Eric Davis doing their thing, as well as seeing Mr. Red their then-mascot…and at those Red’s games is where I discovered that baseball was fun to watch live…but also that Mascots for sports teams are amazing! And when planning updates for 2021 I knew that I had to cover MLB Mascots and then knowing how many of you readers love when I do a countdown this just seemed like a no brainer to do. To me, mascots are a major part of baseball just like hot dogs, peanuts and beer are part of the experience.

Now let me take a moment to say what rules I gave myself when ranking these mascots as it was both very easy and very hard all at the same time as I think each and every one of these mascots are great in their own ways. So here is what I used for my rankings: I took my time and watched videos of each mascot doing their thing from on field antics all the way to videos on their social media. I looked at how well loved they are by the fans, critics as well as the team they represent. I looked at how well their costumes look as well as their personality. I looked at if they had any limitations in their antics as well as slightly how well they fit the team they mascot for. I ruled out any sidekick mascots and only rated the team’s main mascot. I as well ruled out teams that try to use real animals (looking at you Angels) as well as fans as their mascots, because those are not true mascots, as we all know and love them. I ruled out my love for the team – just cause I love the team doesn’t mean they have a great mascot. And most importantly is, of course, my personal like for the mascot again not the team but the mascot themselves. And again remember this is all for fun and I must stress I feel all of them mean something to their fans just like Horror Hosts so they are all important in their own ways. So with that, let’s find our seats at Rotten Ink Stadium and order a drink and some junk food and let’s talk MLB Mascots as I give you my personal countdown from least favorite to my top pick. Oh and I want to also take a moment to say shame on the following teams for not having a Mascot at their ball park” New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers, get it together and bring in a mascot.

# 27

Billy The Marlin
Team: Miami Marlins     Debut: 1993     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Poor old Billy finds himself in the last place spot.  Since he was introduced in 1993 all the way to this day, I have always found him to be the least interesting mascot in the MLB as his antics and style are just bland as is his over all appearance.  Whenever I watch a game, he never is one that makes me wonder what he is up to during halftime. But while Billy The Marlin might not be my favorite mascot, he does have a very big following in his home state of Florida and even has his own fan club for youths. But while Billy is a lovable mascot, he also has a “dark side” aka some silly mishaps that includes firing a t-shirt into the crowd and knocking out an older man when the shirt hit him in the eye or so the old man claims. Also during a 1997 parachute stunt his head was blown off by high winds and was found 2 months later near the highway. But even with those silly mishaps, Billy is well loved for sure, he just is not for me. Oh yes and he has also gotten his own baseball cards from Topps over the years. When USA Today did their countdown, Billy was ranked # 15.

# 26

Southpaw
Team: Chicago White Sox     Debut: 2004     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 3

The White Sox is one of those iconic teams that started in 1900 and their original mascot was Andy The Clown who was later replaced by Ribbie & Roobarb who in turn were ousted by the animated White Sox Wolf…but his time as well was numbered by Southpaw who took over in 2004 and is the team’s mascot still to this day. Southpaw is a green furred monster who looks like a Muppet and cartoon character and is really solid at entertaining the fans during White Sox games and is a master of silly dances and silly pranks on players and fans.  But that’s kind of the thing about Southpaw, he just is kind of average all around and does not have a presence like the other mascots on this list and that’s why he ranks so low in my eyes. Southpaw has been on ball cards from companies like Topps and USA Today ranked him # 23 on their list.

# 25

Lou Seal
Team: San Francisco Giants     Debut: 1996     POP: No     World Series Wins: 8

While Forbes and Hulu will tell you that the iconic Lou Seal is one of the best mascots the MLB has to offer, I sadly disagree as his antics are fantastic but the character’s over all look is very bland and does not capture my attention nor imagination like the others that will be making up this list. But while I might not think the look of this sports mascot is the best thing going, those who go and see a Giants game are highly entertained by Lou who tries to appear at almost very home game and brings smiles to the young and young at heart. A fun little fact is that Lou Seal got his name from a contest that allowed fans to name the character before his debut in 1996 and a total of six fans all wrote in with the name “Lou Seal” and so the name was picked and all those fans got invited to the game when he made his on-field first appearance. Also Lou Seal and the man who wears the costume were one of the subjects followed on the Hulu show called “Behind The Mask”. And for those wondering, yes, this massive seal has graced some baseball cards. USA Today ranked him their # 6 best MLB Mascot.

# 24

Dinger
Team: Colorado Rockies     Debut: 1994     POP: No     World Series Wins: 0

Dinger is the Rockies # 1 fan and has warmed his way into the hearts of the fans that pack the ballpark to watch the game and see his antics, and he has became a icon in the minds of the kids who love watching the purple dinosaur do his thing to cheer on his team. Dinger is a purple triceratops and his name is slang term for home runs, and for those wondering why he is that type of dinosaur its cause many fossils were dug up in Colorado and this caused the ball club to choose a one to be their mascot. Dinger during a game can also be found in the stands interacting with his fans and even at times doing his best to distracting the opposing team in order to try and give his team an edge to win. Dinger is a fun mascot who is very much beloved by Rockies fans and while he is low on my list he is a great mascot for baseball and brings the smiles and joy to fans at the stadium. USA Today ranked him # 8 of their top MLB Mascots.

# 23

Clark
Team: Chicago Cubs     Debut: 2014     POP: No     World Series Wins: 3

The Chicago Cubs is a ball team that always seems like the underdogs that have you rooting for them, and crazy enough they always have great players they just never seem to get the wins they need…and for me their mascot Clark just does not bring the home runs when it comes to look and sideline antics, and over all has a very generic Party City rented suit look to him. But while I find Clark to be dull and boring in look he does bring the joy to fans of the Cubs and many younger fans look forward to seeing him and his silly ways and for that I have to give him respect. Plus Clark is a newbie in the baseball mascot world so he still has time to grow as a character and I am sure will become a major icon over time. I love that he was created when fans wanted more friendly things at Wrigley Field for kids to do and Clark was born to greet them before, during and after the games. Over all while Clark is just kind of silly looking and still green when it comes to being a thought about mascot, he is quickly building a fan base and helps add the fun times of attending a Cubs game. And yep, he has graced some baseball cards. Clark was rated # 22 on USA Today’s countdown.

# 22

T.C. Bear
Team: Minnesota Twins     Debut: 2000     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Another bear mascot with a very generic rental store look, but T.C. Bear has more history to his look as he is based on the old Hamm’s Beer Bear, mascot of Hamm’s Brewery that was on original sponsor for the Twins. And his name T.C. of course stands for Twin Cities and he stepped into the role of mascot when the original was sent to the Mascot Retirement Home in the sky the original was named Twinkie and was a Loon. One thing that sets T.C. apart from Clark is that he has a more classic mascot look to him, and while they both are great at entertaining on the sidelines and in the crowd I give T.C. the slight edge as I find him to turn it up when needed. Going on over 20 years as the teams mascot makes T.C. Bear a major part of the Twins game experience and like all other MLB mascots he has a major hometown following and has graced many baseball cards. And for his USA Today rating they gave him the # 26 spot.

# 21

Raymond
Team: Tampa Bay Rays     Debut: 1998     POP: No     World Series Wins: 0

So Raymond here is a strange looking creature that is said to be a “Seadog” that lives at the ball field and loves to show support for the Rays as well as entertain the fans during the game. Raymond is a very cool, cartoonish looking mascot who has a great act when it comes to entertaining the fans, and like all mascots not to mention helps bring the laughs to the crowd. Raymond over the years has gotten the respect from such sites as GameOps and USA Today who ranked him # 14 on their Mascot countdown. One thing that makes me enjoy Raymond as well is that he looks like a friend creature in some photos while others he kind of looks mean! Raymond is a great mascot and The Rays have done a fantastic job of bringing the laughs with him, and yep also got the baseball card treatment.

# 20

Ace
Team: Toronto Blue Jays     Debut: 2002     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Ace is a mascot for Canada’s only pro baseball team and he took over the role in 2002 from the teams original mascot named BJ Birdy who was forced into the Mascot Retirement Home by the ball club who wanted something new and fresh for fans to see while at home games, and this did not go over well with fans as Birdy was well loved and they did not want a new mascot as they were all very happy with the old one! And when the Blue Jays asked the fans to help name one the new replacement they got flooded with bad names as fans were not happy. But while at first fans where not happy Ace did what he does best and that’s entertain, bring the silly laughs and fill the fans with home team pride and has won their hearts over with time. Some fun facts about Ace is that he has graced baseball cards, his original name for a short time was Slider, his beak was changed from grey to blue, he wears team # 0 and his look was created by Sugar’s Mascot Costumes based in Toronto Canada. For me I see what Ace had to face in order to win his own towns respect and he does a great job of pulling off his antics and that’s why I respect the little feathered guy. USA Today ranked Ace at # 20 in their countdown.

# 19

Rangers Captain
Team: Texas Rangers     Debut: 2002     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 0

Who don’t love a horse that attends baseball games in Texas and jumps around swinging flags and entertaining you during the slow parts of the game! Rangers Captain is truly one cool and total “American” style mascot who loves baseball and also bringing the laughs to fans in the bleachers. When watching moments on YouTube of Rangers Captain doing his bits its great to see the fans face light up with smiles as they see him, and that goes for young and old as its clear he is well loved by his hometown fans. For some reason many outside of Texas fans have a weird dislike for Rangers Captain as they say that he is silly looking, stuff of nightmares and even generic…but I for one when watching him do his thing have nothing but respect for him as he is great at what he does and that’s bring on the laughs during a Rangers ball game. Some fun facts about Rangers Captain is that the number he wears 72 is the year that the Rangers relocated to the Dallas Metroplex, and he has many change of jerseys that follows the teams change in uniforms. Rangers Captain has graced Topps baseball cards and ranked # 18 of mascots of Major League Baseball.

# 18

Slider
Team: Cleveland Indians     Debut: 1990     POP: No     World Series Wins: 2

When the Cleveland Indians showed their new mascot Slider to the fans in 1990 they seemed a little confused as they replaced Chief Wahoo and Tom E. Hawk with this strange bright colored Muppet looking creature that just seemed out of place. And like many new mascots that took the place of beloved ones it was a little rough for Slider to win the hearts of the fans…but like all good mascots put in this position Slider worked his butt off and used his silly and funny skills to win them over. Slider is known for his dance movies and while he is a part of the Ohio sports family he also seems to have a feud with Cincinnati Reds secondary mascot Gapper who is also a fuzzy Muppet like creature. While Slider here might look very silly he does have the moves to get the attention, and has become a staple for fans who attend Indian games. But while Slider is super goofy he did have a bad mishap in 1995 when he fell off the outfield wall during an American League Championship Series game and tore ligaments in his knee, ouch! Slider is loved here in Ohio now and has graced some baseball cards and was ranked a very low # 25 by USA Today on their countdown. Slider got the honor of being inducted into the Mascot Hall Of Fame in 2008.

# 17

Blooper
Team: Atlanta Braves     Debut: 2018     POP: No     World Series Wins: 3

What can be said about Blooper, the newest mascot on this list, besides I have not seen so much anger and confusion over a mascot in my life.  This poor guy has gotten so much hate from not only MLB fans but also the media! But what really matters is not what none Atlanta Braves fans think and what does is how the home team fans feel about him and they seem to have opened their arms and love him now! This cartoon character looking mascot has all types of ways to make fans laugh and pop that include driving go-carts around, covering players heads under his shirt, dancing around, using a toilet paper gun, taking fake falls and even given out free snacks to fans by stealing it from the venders! And again I think Blooper came at a time of high critical social media and like others on this list he had to fill the shoes of retired former Brave mascots Chief Noc-A-Homa and Homer The Brave and that is hard work to do for any mascot. Blooper has had a small amount of baseball cards made with his image and ranked a # 27 on USA Todays list making him in last place for them. While Blooper does seem like a cheap imitation of the Phillie Phanatic and seems to recycle many of the other mascots bits, I think Blooper over the years will grow into his own and will find the respect of MLB fans.

# 16

Stomper
Team: Oakland Athletics     Debut: 1997     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 9

The Oakland A’s has always been a ball club that has had a tie to Elephants in their logos and in 1997 they unleashed Stomper into their fans and he quickly became a staple for those at the stadium. Stomper is a great mascot as he does all the classic bits from messing with the other team, dancing around, pulling fun pranks on players and fans and even has taken part in Mascot races and boxing matches. By all accounts Stomper is a top notch mascot that embodies the ball clubs spirit and legacy not to even mention he has all the hometown fans and mascot critics loving him. While I feel that he is an icon in MLB mascot history and has graced baseball cards over the decades…I shockingly do like and respect Stomper and his legacy and abilities, but I do find other mascots in baseball to be better and more fun for me and that’s why Stomper is only at # 16 for me. USA Today however gave him their # 10 spot.

# 15

Mr. Met
Team: New York Mets     Debut: 1963     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Okay I know many of you are ranting right now on how “low” I ranked Mr. Met on my list and I get it as Forbes placed him at # 1, USA Today had him ranked at # 2 and many sports fans say that he is truly the best mascot in baseball history…its just I disagree and that’s why he is only # 15 on my list! So let me first point out why Mr. Met is so iconic to fans and first is that he is a fun looking mascot with a friendly looking baseball for a head, he does a fantastic job of getting the crowd railed up and cheering The Mets on, he is great with the fans and is an attraction in his own right when fans attend a game they look forward to seeing him and lastly he truly is a pop culture icon and is in the Mascot Hall Of Fame (2007 class). Now for my reasons of not being super high on my list is that he is limited in his antics as the giant baseball head makes him unable to pull off normal mascot bits, while his look is fitting for the Mets I do feel that he lacks any real character in appearance as I do feel his actions do have lots of character and to be honest I also I have to say that he just is a clone of Mr. Redlegs (Cincinnati Reds) who was created 10 years before him. One funny Mr. Met moment is when in 2017 a fan recorded the beloved mascot given him the middle finger after a loss for the Mets, that’s right the three fingered icon figured out how to give a rival fan the bird…awesome! Mr. Met of course has graced baseball cards as well as has been on many TV Shows as well as commercials. Keep in mind while Mr. Met is only # 15 for me I still love this mascot and 100% think he is an icon of American culture.

# 14

D. Baxter The Bobcat
Team: Arizona Diamondbacks     Debut: 2000     POP: No     World Series Wins: 1

I feel that D. Baxter The Bobcat is a harshly judged mascot in MLB and for some reason people dislike the characters look and a few even use the word “creepy” when describing him and that word I feel is over used in the internet culture when talking about mascots in not only sports but also fast food. Baxter is great at what he does and his costume allows him to move around way more freely then many of his peers and pull off some great antics and goofy style stunts. His interaction with players and fans is great and he knows what to do to get a laugh, plus he also uses go-carts, costumes, props and other items to enhance his antics. Baxter also does classic dances and in my opinion has a great look for a mascot plus he is fitting for being Arizona’s mascot as bobcats are native to that state plus his name is a play on the teams name and old stadium’s name. Over all I think Baxter is a great mascot who does thinks that many of his fellow baseball mascots cannot do and that’s why he gets my respect. And yep if you are a fan you can get him on many baseball cards and USA Today ranked him a very low # 24 on their countdown.

# 13

Paws
Team: Detroit Tigers     Debut: 1995     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 4

The Detroit Tigers when selecting a mascot new that Paws was the winner, well cause he himself is a tiger! Paws is a very classic looking mascot and while his costume does look a little cheesy and generic, its that simple look that in my opinion works so well as he comes off looking very friendly and also just fits the ball clubs family friendly nature. Paws brings to the table of antics silly dances, costume changes, and even does silly skits to get the laughs. Paws is also very well loved by his home town crowd as he always makes time for them to takes pictures or even give high fives and most important gets them fired up to cheer for The Tigers. Paws to be is a great traditional mascot who is fitting for his team and brings all the entertainment he needs to in order to put smiles on the faces of fans. Paws has of course been on baseball cards for collectors, and USA Today of course rated him really low on their list given him the # 19.

# 12

Mariner Moose
Team: Seattle Mariners     Debut: 1990     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 0

Who don’t love watching a silly moose dance around and do goofy things for a laugh, well the people of Seattle do as their mascot Mariner Moose does just that. Mariner Moose is a mascot who does what he can to get the crowd to laugh and cheer for the home team and is well loved by the fans as they enjoy his antics and style of funny crowd hyping. The Mariner Moose character was created by a young boy when the Mariners wanted a mascot and held a contest, and he was selected from over 25,000 submissions! Mariner Moose’s trademark was roller skating while being pulled by an ATV in the outfield this lasted until 1999, and with a switch of fields Mariner Moose started himself to drive the ATV around to the delight of the fans. Mariner Moose has built himself up as being one of the most popular and well loved mascots in Baseball and fans even have their own ways for cheering him by using their hands as antlers to their heads and Mooing! But while this Moose has graced many of baseball cards over time he did have a bad accident while being pulled by the ATV the lead to him breaking his ankle! Mariner Moose is a true very cool mascot who makes appearances all around Seattle as well as even in Nike Commercial along side Ken Griffey Jr.! USA Today gave the # 11 spot on their MLB Mascot countdown.

# 11

Wally The Green Monster
Team: Boston Red Sox     Debut: 1997     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 9

Wally The Green Monster is a mascot for one of the world’s most popular teams in baseball and he himself has climb to become one of the worlds most loved characters in the sport. Wally is named after the 37-Foot wall in left field at Fenway Park and he himself is said to live at the ballpark inside that very wall as you see Wally is a big mark when it comes to hits and ones that could have and should have been homeruns, but are not cause of his wall home. Wally The Green Monster is great at entertaining the fans and will do what he needs to do to get the laughs, and most important he his top notch to the fans and makes sure that they get that special moment with an interaction with him. Of course the kids in the stadium really love seeing Wally and over time even the adults have come to love him as he leads them in sing alongs and does silly things to entertain them during the seventh-inning stretch. Wally’s look is also great and will remind you of not only a Muppet but also just a classic style 80’s cartoon character and this helps his appeal to ball fans my age. Wally also wins extra points as he ties into the team as the Left-Wall that is painted green is one of the biggest legends of Fenway Park and Wally being the one who has lived inside it for over 50 years makes his legacy also apart of the teams history. Wally of course has graced ball cards and USA Today ranked him # 3 on their list and to be honest I can see why!

# 10

The Swinging Friar
Team: San Diego Padres     Debut: 1958     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 0

For some reason The Swinging Friar has always captured by attention and sense I have been a kid I have been a fan of his look and style and love that his look fits in with the name of the team The Padres. And the cool part about him is over the years his look has changed but his style and name has stayed the same. The Swinging Friar has been a very super popular mascot for Padres fans and really has been with the team forever even starting when they were just a minor league team and followed them up to the pros! Swinging Friar is great with fans and everyone loves meeting him and getting a picture with him and his main attraction is when he swings a giant bat that pops the fans and is his trademark bit. He also at times will change his robe to fit a theme night held at the stadium, helping add to his community love. The Swinging Friar has of course graced baseball cards and ranked # 4 on USA Today’s baseball mascot rankings. Not sure why but I really do dig The Swinging Friar and have lots of respect for his legacy in baseball history.

# 9

Bernie Brewer
Team: Milwaukee Brewers     Debut: 1973     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 0

For many Baseball fans things like hotdogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack and beer go hand and hand with a good time at the ballpark and one mascot really brings the bound of baseball and beer together and that’s Bernie Brewer who’s massive grinning face just screams let’s get drunk, do some silly stuff and have a good time while doing it! Bernie over the years besides being playful with the players and fans was known for sliding into a giant beer glass when a Brewer would hit a home run at a home game, and the fans just ate it up! But over time the giant beer mug slide turned into a slide to a giant home base plate. Bernie does a great job sitting in his own private dugout and getting the crowd to cheer on the Brewers and is one of the ballparks top attractions. Some fun quick facts about Bernie is that he has graced many baseball cards, was forced into retirement in 1984 but by 1993 the fans got their wish and he returned, he was based on a real life fan named Milt Mason who camped out on the scoreboard until at least 40,000 fans would attend a game and was up there for 40 days. Bernie is a fun mascot with a great history of entertaining fans and is an icon that I hope is around forever. USA Today ranked Bernie their # 13 spot.

# 8

Orbit
Team: Houston Astros     Debut: 1990     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 1

Orbit is a master of being a funny, silly and entertaining mascot and knows just how to work the fans to get that laugh! Orbit was the team’s #2 mascot after Chester Charge but to me, he is the most fitting as he his a green alien that plays on the fact Houston was a main hub for NASA back in the day and why not have a baseball loving alien be your teams mascot…am I right? Orbit is super popular and well loved by Astros fans that when the tried to retire him in 2000 with Junction Jack and the fans were not pleased as they did not connect with Jack like they did Orbit, and by 2012 after fans outcries they brought him back home as the mascot where he belongs…now don’t get me wrong, Junction Jack also had his fans he just could not replace the love the fans had for Orbit. The thing that makes Orbit so special is the fact he knows what to do to entertain the fans and that could be silly pranks all the way to his famous silly dances and the fans just eat up his silliness.  Do yourself a favor and look up some of his bits on YouTube to see just how good he is at his job. One thing Orbit is also known for is being thrown out of a game in 1996 after making gestures at the umpire after some bad calls, showing that Orbit is a true fan of the team he represents. Orbit is a cool looking alien with green fur, baseball antennae and has of course been on baseball cards for collectors. USA Today on their countdown gave Orbit the # 17 spot and I feel that is way to low for this guy.

# 7

Fredbird
Team: St. Louis Cardinals     Debut: 1979     POP: No     World Series Wins: 11

Another bird mascot swoops in and takes the # 7 spot and what’s cool about this guy is that he was unleashed the same year I was born! Fredbird is a true icon of mascots and when it comes to antics he brings all the classic bits to the fans the Cardinals as he greets and entertains the kids and young at heart, gives out free t-shirts and merchandise, dances around the stadium and his classic move is called the “beak-ing” where he places his mouth on fans heads and that is the highlights for many fans in the stadium. He also is seen swinging the team’s flag on field during wins, has young women that help him in his antics that are called “Team Fredbird”, he has been a cohost on a kids show on local St. Louis TV, makes hundreds of public appearances at events and most important is one of Baseballs most known and iconic mascots. Fredbird is a true topnotch mascot who brings the fun to the field, and for me his cheesy look just adds to his awesome over nature. Has graced ball cards and USA Today ranked him # 16 on their list.

# 6

Sluggerrr
Team: Kansas City Royals     Debut: 1996     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Sluggerrr is a very cool looking mascot as he is a muscle bound lion who has a crown for the top of his head and for some reason has always caught by attention as I think he really is one of the coolest looking mascots in Baseball. Sluggerr is an attraction at the Royals games as he does what he can to entertain the crowd by swing around the teams flag, getting the crowds to cheer and even firing free hot dogs into the crowd via a cannon, and speaking of the Hot Dog Cannon at one point Sluggerrr was taken to court over hitting a fan in the eye with a hotdog…or so the guy claimed. Sluggerrr is a mascot who is slightly limited by his costume, but does a great job to work around its limitations and really does a great job of bounding with the fans. And I am sure you longtime baseball fans also get that his name is a reference to a powerful batter and to me that name fits for this characters look, and then his crown being Royal and the Lion is said to be the King Of The Jungle so Sluggerrr to be fits like a glove as the face of this ball club. Sluggerrr has made appearances on cards and USA Today placed him at # 12 on their countdown list. Not going to lie I am a fan of Sluggerrr and think he really is one of the best mascots in baseball based on his look and connection to the teams name. Oh and Sluggerrr was put into the Mascot Hall Of Fame in 2019 showing that he is truly a great sports mascot.

# 5

Mr. Redlegs
Team: Cincinnati Reds     Debut: 1953     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 5

The Cincinnati Reds is not only my local team but are also my favorite team in baseball and over the years I have caught many live games, watched many on TV, listened to several on the radio and heck even one of my friends works for the team! And their mascot Mr. Redlegs is a true legend in our area and is well loved and truly is an attraction when heading to the stadium. Mr. Redlegs has a baseball for a head, has a thick mustache, dresses in the reds old style uniform and was the team’s original mascot and was so popular that he was reintroduced in 2007 after decades of being retired. Mr. Redlegs is great with fans with kids loving him and always wanting high fives and pictures with him, and to entertain and get the laughs he will have races, wave flags, fire water guns, dance and even drive around on a ATV. But while he really is a true icon in Ohio, I have to point out the flaws of Mr. Redlegs and the major flaw is the same thing that effects the likes of Mr. Met and that’s his costume is to top heavy and limits what he can do when it comes to antics! One other thing is that sometimes Mr. Redlegs gets lost in the shuffle at events, as he is joined on the field and stands by Mr. Red, Rosie Red and Gapper all who are as well Reds mascots. But even with his limitations I am a fan of Mr. Redlegs and he is one mascot that I have seen live many times and he has always delivered the fun entertainment. Mr. Redlegs has of course been on baseball cards for fans to collect and USA Today placed him at their # 7 spot for best baseball mascot. See this is proof that so much has went into this rankings as if I was going on just my love for the team the mascot is tied to would have put Mr. Redlegs at my # 1 spot. Ok I have to also tell a funny Mr. Redlegs accident story as in 2008 while driving around on a ATV he fell off the vehicle and the baseball head fell off exposing the actors real head, and a few days later Mr. Redlegs was seen wearing a neck brace to embrace the embarrassing moment and turn it into a funny joke…classic silly comedy stuff.

# 4

Screech
Team: Washington Nationals     Debut: 2005     POP: No     World Series Wins: 1

Call me crazy but for some reason I really like Screech who is the mascot for The Nationals and is so fitting as he is a bold eagle that is our nations bird and the team is out of Washington! Screech by all accounts is very generic looking in appearance and once more suffers from the rented suit from Party City look, but for some reason it just works for him and adds to his awesomeness for me. Screech is great with kids at home games and as well interacts with the fans making him a fan favorite of his hometown crowd. Screech is great with his antics to make the crowd pop and will dance around, does gags, pulls pranks including the classic pie to the face of a “fan”, waves the teams flag and is really great at what he does. And the thing is that fans seem to pop for his antics showing that he really is apart of the Nationals game experience. It’s crazy that such a cheesy mascot has become one of my favorites but he really has captured my attention and is one I hope sticks around for centuries to come. Many ball cards have features Screech and USA Today placed him very low at their # 21 spot, showing that for some reason people show him no respect as while writing this update and doing research I noticed many people seem to be hard on him, but to them I say he his my # 4 favorite!

# 3

Pirate Parrot
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates     Debut: 1979     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 5

The Pirate Parrot is another MLB mascot that made his debut the same year I was born and this funny guy has been a fan favorite for decades now and is truly one of the best of the best when it comes to getting laughs from his antics. The Pirate Parrot is green in color and when he first was hatched, he was more mean in nature and wore sea pirate gear and hats and was leaner, but later he gained weight and traded the real pirate gear for team gear and became more of a goofball looking to get that laugh from fans. The Pirate Parrot is super popular among fans and is embraced by them as he has become one of the best in the business at messing with the other teams players as well as annoying game officials. The Pirate Parrot does all types of antics during a game from shooting free hotdogs into the crowd via a cannon, pulling classic and silly pranks, leading the crowd in cheers and songs, dancing around the dugout and field and just being a total goofball! No joke when watching the Pirate Parrot do his thing I crack a smile and he makes me laugh, and that’s why I think he really is one of the all time greats as his antics really are funny and its crazy that he is not in the Official Mascot Hall Of Fame yet! But while the Pirate Parrot is an icon in my eyes he has had his bad press as back in 1985 the man in the suit was using drugs while playing the character and even was a middle man for hooking up players with cocaine…he was fired and a new guy was hired to be the character. The Pirate Parrot of course has been on trading cards and USA Today put him at their # 9 spot on their countdown. No joke get this guy in the Mascot Hall Of Fame already!

# 2

Phillie Phanatic
Team: Philadelphia Phillies    Debut: 1978     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

When people talk about the best arena/stadium mascots of all time, the top of almost everyone’s list is the Phillie Phanatic as he really is iconic and considered one of the best in all of sports. What sets the Phillie Phanatic apart form the rest of the mascots on this list is he was truly the first fuzzy creature to grace a ball field and brings pure joy and entertainment to everyone at the stadium from the cotton candy seller all the way to the first baseman. The Phillie Phanatic is a master of the art of entertaining the crowd and is no joke a true icon of Sport Mascot history and is one of the most loved in any sports! The people of Philadelphia love the Phanatic so much as he really is a major icon of the state and is well loved by young and old as his antics at the ballpark bring so much joy. But because he is so good at his job this has also lead to some drama for the Phillie Phanatic, who is the most sued mascot in sports history as some fans claim injuries from his antics as he also has also really angered players and managers of the teams the Phillies are playing as they find some of what he does to be disrespectful to them. But to be honest those who try and bring the drama are just sticks in the mud and will never bring The Phillie Phanatic down. The Phillie Phanatic was one of the first Sports Mascots to be inducted into The Mascot Hall Of Fame way back in 2005. And in USA Today’s ranking he took their # 1 spot and I can truly understand why as The Phillie Phanatic is awesome!

# 1

The Oriole Bird
Team: Baltimore Orioles     Debut: 1966/1979     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 3

Hands down for me the best MLB Mascot is The Oriole Bird, and he has been my favorite since I was a kid as his look as always put a smile on my face and I loved that he has the colors of Halloween with black and orange. The Oriole Bird is a mascot who has as well mastered the craft of entertaining the fans and messing with the opposing team. The Oriole Bird brings lots of A-Game material to his antics as he not only dances around all over the ball field, he interacts with players and fans and does a great job with the youngsters, does funny skits that he as well can be the butt of the jokes, of course he does the “beak-ing” spot, hiding baseballs in his mouth, but he is also known for shaking his tail feathers at the crowd and players that always seems to get a pop from the fans. While the walk around mascot did not show up until 1979 (hey that’s the year I was born!) his smug smiling face has been on the teams cap sense 1966 making him a truly iconic and long lasting mascot of the sport. Another thing about The Oriole Bird is he looks like he is always having a blast wherever he is, be it at the stadium or at a public appearance, and it’s crazy as he also seems to always be able to show emotion with the face, and that’s hard to do for sure. Another thing I am going to point out is that The Oriole Bird also does it right when it comes to social media as he posts on his sites and keeps people laughing and builds that bound with his fans. USA Today ranked him at the # 5 spot on their countdown list and The Oriole Bird made it into the Mascot Hall Of Fame in 2020, and his induction was long overdue. And for me The Oriole Bird really is the best MLB Mascot and that’s why he has taken my # 1 spot on this countdown list!

This list was a blast to put together and was a great excuse to watch old YouTube videos of these mascots in action as well as gave me even more reasons to watch more Baseball games…as its crazy in my old age I am starting to become a full fledge baseball fan. And if you are wondering my top 4 favorite teams are the following in order Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays. Plus I have to be honest the Reds and Orioles are on the same level as I love the Reds cause they are my home team and I have history with them by attending games and collecting the team sets and the Orioles are a team I just enjoy watching. I also have to give a shout out to The Dayton Dragons, a Class A team that I use to live by their stadium and have caught games of from time to time. And because I had a great time writing this Mascot Countdown I may just do more on future updates as I could cover Retired MLB Mascots, NFL Mascots, NHL Mascots, College Football Mascots and even Fast Food Mascots…but we will see if you readers enjoy this one. For my next update we will be continuing our look at iconic Horror Hosts and for the next one we will be talking about Gorgon The Gruesome of Nightmare that aired in Texas. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a sports game or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Gruesome Nightmare!

SOV Flashback Classics – Suicide 2

Welcome back to another SOV Flashback Classic update and another entry from the history of Independent B Movie’s video vault! We are on the fourth film in the history of this Dayton, Ohio shot-on-video company and marked the end of Fairmont Productions and the start of Independent B Movie and all its sub branches that include Acid X, Dark Soul Productions and Jive Turkey. And the film that is the topic today is the first sequel we ever made and one that for years was considered our most watched film as it always played at parties and gatherings and was considered our peak film for quite a while. I am talking about Suicide 2, the hit sequel to our first film Teen Suicide! I am very much looking forward to looking back on Suicide 2 as this film is the one that the likes of co-founder of Independent B Movie Brandon Womeldorff always looked at as the best film in the company’s long history of shot on video films only rivaled by 2002’s “Razor” in his eyes, and really was the film that kicked off years of films to follow as it was the bar that was set for them to reach. So if you are ready, let’s go back to 1999 when Matt returned to get his revenge on those who tormented him and forcing him to attempt to take his own life!

In 1999 after making the films Teen Suicide, Twisted Batman, Cask of Amontillado and The Things They Carried, I graduated High School and so ended my time at Fairmont and I also thought maybe could have ended our movie making days as a group of friends because we had always used the school’s cameras and editing systems to pull off them all besides Twisted Batman. While I was out of school, the rest of the guys Matt Hoffman, Brandon Womeldorff, Dan Salter, Dave Wean, Rion Neeley and Linda Webb were all still students starting their senior year, and we all stayed close friends as while they were at school, I was working a job at the grocery store Krogers as a bagger. And the thing that was killing me was the fact I knew that they could and would make more films that year and maybe if I was lucky I would be asked to act in them, and then the idea happened. One day while eating lunch at fast food restaurant Wendy’s Brandon pitched the idea of making a sequel to Teen Suicide and calling it Suicide 2…and during this talk many ideas were thrown around from it following another kid from the school who was being picked on by the same group of bullies, the idea of a unknown masked killer stalking the bullies was very briefly discussed and also the idea of having Matt survive the suicide attempt and going for revenge was chatted. And after everyone saying their ideas and which ones they liked, it was decided that Matt had to return as he needed his time to shine and fight back. Plus this time it was not going to be a silent film and would be more of an Action Horror flick with lots of supernatural elements.

The film was cast first before the script was even written and of course Matt Hoffman was back as Matt, Brandon Womeldorff once more played The Car Thief Bully with Scott Harman back as Bully 3 with a name change to Karate Killer Bully, and I was Bully 2 this time around called The Silent Predator! Dave Wean was the Crazy Man Bully, Dan Salter was Skate Boarder Bully with Rion Neeley being Roof Man Bully, who rounded out film’s baddies. We also added to the cast was Linda Webb as the Girlfriend and Jacquelyn Maxwell as a streetwalker. And once the names were in place, Brandon got hard at work on doing the script and also took ideas that both Hoffman and I added as I wanted to add a dark satanic element to the bullies and Hoffman picked the ways he would get revenge on the bullies. After only a week, the script was done and Suicide 2 was ready to film! And the film was shot on a Super-VHS camera for those wondering.

We started filming and tried to stay in order of the script as the film was made in the middle of the school year for them, and graduation was just around the corner so as we filmed it, Brandon was editing away on the Avid Editing Machine and I was asked to also run camera for many scenes as well as produce it, as I had a job at the time and could pay for some of the small amount of supplies. The first day of filming took place on a sunny day just after a night filled of thunderstorms, and we headed back to State Farm Park and the “Suicide Hill” location only after stopping at K-Mart once more and picking up some ketchup to use as blood. The first day of filming used a very small crew as it was Hoffman, Brandon, Dave and myself and with me getting the honor of squirting the “blood” on Hoffman’s head started the production of Suicide 2 and set the mood and tone of this second film. The production of this film took a few months as it had the biggest cast we ever worked with and they were lucky that they were able to film during the school day so Brandon and Hoffman were able to film with the likes of Dan Salter, Linda Webb and Scott Harman during the day, and in the evening and weekends I would join the film team again as well as play the part of the Silent Predator who was now the leader of the bullies as well was a Satanist who was using dark arts to help gain “powers” for myself as well as my bully crew, and man I had a blast playing this character as he was mean and just scummy and took joy in tormenting Matt who was just trying to live his re-given life and figure out a way to get revenge.

The film during production had many fight scenes and they are some of the worst we have ever filmed, but at the time we thought they looked great…but they were so bad with us looking super stiff and awkward doing fake style moves on each other…but of course because none of us were trained, accidents did happen as on one scene I gave Hoffman a running clothesline while he was sitting on a swing, and well I hit him a little too hard! On many of the Dave Wean and Hoffman fight scenes, things got a little rough and poor Hoffman was on the bad end of a move. In one scene Hoffman is getting beat up by Rion, Dave and myself and by accident I kicked him in the gut and knocked the wind out of him. We also thought that we could pull off many stunts and like with the fighting we were wrong and people ended up getting hurt like in one scene Rion Neeley was hit by a car by Hoffman and the car hit him a little harder then it should have and when he fell to the ground he screwed up his back. Another amazing thing about making this film is that we filmed part of it after the Columbine High School Massacre as were able to pull off fake guns in the schools parking lot as well as show fake bullying in their hallways. Plus the satanic elements of my character were based on my high school time at Fairmont and was a way to make fun of the label that school workers placed on me. Plus we also played with lighting in this film that was a first for us, and Brandon during editing found his love for the use of slow motion to draw out the drama and action of the movies he worked on in the future.

The final shots of the film took place in Hills & Dales Park in Kettering and then Waynesville, Ohio and it was Matt’s showdown revenge with The Silent Predator, and was filmed very late at night with the first part being shot at a shelter at the park with car headlights and a red light used to build the eerie feel, and the Silent Predator even spits out blood like a vampire (it was food coloring and it tasted gross) and after the final fight, we packed up and headed towards Waynesville and at the side of the road we filmed a scene of The Silent Predator with candles and chants bringing back the Car Thief from the dead…it was silly and was cut from the film in the end. Once done Brandon worked super hard to polish the film up and make it look just right and placed music throughout that was mostly just 90’s Techno and Alternative Rock tracks, and once he was done, we had a massive gathering at Linda Webb’s apartment that was complete with pizza, pops, chips and other drinks and we watched the film as a group and we all had a blast laughing and goofing on each others performances. And from then on at many house parties and gatherings Brandon would bust out Suicide 2, and I cannot even count how many times I have seen the film, and for the longest time it was considered the top of the line for our filmmaking group…but that would change a few years later. When Independent B Movie was finally created and we started selling our films Suicide 2 was released on VHS and sold pretty well and made its rounds also doing some small screenings at Conventions, and even played a handful of times on a local Public Access station. Later it would be paired with Teen Suicide on DVD and was our first DVD release that even included commentary and extras and was put together by a young filmmaker Henrique Couto.

Suicide 2 was the main film that kicked off our want to keep making movies as a group as we had a blast making it. I mean sure, at times Matt Hoffman and Brandon Womeldorff would get into drag out verbal fights and would be at odds with each other for days while filming it still was something that just felt very special that we all created together. Even now in 2021 when watching this film it holds a special place in my heart. So I want to say that for these I.B.M films I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. So if you are ready, let’s take a look at Matt’s second round of fighting for his life against bullies, and also his quest to find death.

Suicide 2
Starring – Matt Hoffman & Linda Webb     Directed by Brandon Womelforff
1999     Not Rated     54min     Independent B Movie     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Matt awakens in the field with blood all over the side of his head five days after he put a gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. He is confused and stumbles away from the scene. We then join the Car Thief as he picks up the Kung-Fu bully from school, he is still driving Matt’s car and the pair discuss the return of Matt after the suicide attempt and that they will make Matt pay for not dying. Once back at school Kung-Fu Bully has a run in with Matt and leaves him once more beaten up. The next day Matt is beat up by the High School Security Guard and the next day he is beat up by The Silent Predator and the Crazy Bully! Day after day Matt finds himself the victim of beat downs at the hands of all his tormenters including a new ones called the Roof Man Bully and Skateboard Bully as they all beat him up by themselves or in a groups. Matt’s girlfriend is cheating on him with the Car Thief Bully and even a Prostitute degrades him when he goes looking for love. Day after Day Matt is made fun of and bullied…and he snaps and this time suicide is not his first answer as revenge is on his mind! One by one Matt hunts down his tormentors armed with his gun, car and bare hands and makes them pay by dealing out death. In the end he has a showdown with the Silent Predator and after shooting him all his bullies are dead! Matt then returns home and makes a bomb and straps it to his chest and blows himself up…ending his torment as well as the lives of his bullies.

Thoughts: Watching Suicide 2 after all these years was very cool as so many great memories came back to me about filming this “epic” shot on video backyard film as it was a blast to be once more being creative with my friends from school. Plus I think the making of this film made us all even better friends as we all got to hang out all the time and not only film, but also plan more films as well as other creative outlets even forming a band and well as going on ghost hunts together. The film allowed many of us to also give our ideas and develop our own characters with poor Matt Hoffman being he one who ended up having to be the one who had to be the butt of all the on screen jokes and butt kicking’s. But I must say that Hoffman is the one who got to pick the way we killed off each of the characters that made his characters life miserable and I think he enjoyed that as he got to really build the films action climax. One thing that was also lots of fun was just traveling around town at all hours of the day and night armed with our trusty school borrowed camera setting up shots and situations. This was also the first time in a shot on video film that I used food coloring as blood, and learned that putting a bunch in your mouth to spit out does not look good when you do it way too fast. While this was the fifth film in the history of what would become Independent B Movie it was one that was a blast to make and was our biggest and boldest made for the time as we pushed the limits of what we could get away with while many of the creators and actors were in school. Is it my favorite film we made…not at all…but it is one that I say helped push us all into making the movies that followed that got us some attention in the world of backyard shot on video films.

Grade: B-

Suicide 2 was to also be the start of a series of Suicide films that would have starred Hoffman as the undying anti-hero Matt as he would face off with not only the bullies but later would have fought Asylum workers, demons and even The Devil himself, but this franchise was just not meant to be even though it started production many times and went through many of scripts over the years with Brandon, Hoffman, Wean and myself all have written a treatment at some point. But who knows, while I doubt if a third movie is ever made, I would not rule out Suicide 3 from one of the many scripts being made into a Blood Scream Comic one-shot issue. And also for those interested the character Matt from Teen Suicide and Suicide 2 does make a comic book appearance in the first issue of the Sparkle Comic anthology comic called “Weird Sci-Fi Tales” with the story and art being done by Bruce O’ Hughes. And a “technical” third film was made in 2003 that also acted as a remake called Teen Suicide and was directed by Henrique Couto and featured a female lead being bullied. Well I hope you enjoyed this look back at this SOV classic from not only my past but that of Independent B Movie, the little indie company that could and did. For our next update we are walking away from the shot on video world and entering the world of Puppet Master as we will be taking a look at the Deadly 10 Comic based on puppet Blade for a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! So until next time read an indie comic or three, watch a SOV film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Full Moon Entertainment Comic good time.

Matt Goes To The Movies 2020

Hey readers and friends, welcome back to Rotten Ink and the first update of 2021. I am sure so many of you are, like me, and glad to have 2020 in the rearview mirror as the coronavirus crisis that has effected the whole world has people very scared and also shut down movie theaters to protect the public and slowdown the spread. And that while that was the right thing to do, it also made me very sad as going to the cinema has always been my time to unwind from stress of work and the world. Plus sadly many of the films that were set for release got pulled from the lineup with some getting new dates and others still waiting. But even with that major set back, 2020 still had its fair share of some amazing films released to the masses to enjoy when we could. And I was able to enjoy these movies at some great theaters like Cinemark and Englewood Cinema. So while many films slated for 2020 got pushed back a year or sadly went to the soulless streaming sites, the good old theater still brought me some amazing joys, and nothing, and I mean nothing, will take the place of watching a movie in the theater! So let’s find our seats, social distance from each other and talk movies here at the Rotten Ink Theater and please make sure in 2021 to support all the theaters in your town as well as drive-in’s as they are the true way of watching films. I want to also stress that this year the movie industry not only had to depend on the Box Office numbers of America but as well those of the Foreign Markets and the sales of physical and digital media to turn profits and bring money in.

Well I think we all needed a good laugh in 2020, so what better way to get a belly laugh than seeing a good old Comedy film in the theater…and well I saw one and it was really good but also very depressing much like 2020!

# 1

Cassie Thomas is a 30-year-old woman who dropped out of medical school and now works at a coffee shop and still lives with her parents. She has a life that no one knows about as at night she goes to bars and acts extremely drunk and has sleazy men try to take advantage of her in order to put them in their places. You see, she dropped out of medical school because her best friend Nina was raped and no one believed her…now when the boys of medical school are back enjoying their lives it’s time for Cassie to get her revenge. This is a fantastic dark comedy-drama-thriller with a dash of horror movie that will leave you laughing, happy, angry and sad all at the same time as it plays with your emotions. Actress Carey Mulligan, who plays Cassie Thomas, is fantastic as the revenge-seeking woman who is righting so many wrongs that were done to her friend, and I found myself cheering for her all the way. The film has an amazing cast with such names as Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Molly Shannon and Alison Brie, all being perfect in their roles. The film was released on Christmas during the pandemic and brought in (as of the date of this posting) $1,094,640.00 for Focus Features at the American Box Office. And it’s a shame more people didn’t go and see this film as it really good and one I cannot wait to own on home media when released.

Seeing action films in the theater was a bust this year thanks to this cursed virus crisis, but I can at least say that I was able to see at least one action film in the cinema and best of all it starred an icon of action films, Jackie Chan! So let’s talk about this film.

# 1

A man and his wife are being kidnapped by a paid mercenary group lead by a man who wants answers about his father’s lost fortune, but unlucky for them security group Vanguard is on the case and save their lives! But when they go after the couple’s daughter, Vanguard must travel to other nations and stop them from finding the lost money as they want to buy a weapon of mass destruction to get revenge on the Americans that killed the man’s father. This is a fun fast Chinese action film that stars Jackie Chan, who is as fantastic as ever and shows that he still is an action superstar at his age. The film is filled with lots of over the top action and some great martial arts fighting. The only downside is some of the CGI looks a little bad and awkward in spots. The film came out during the pandemic and did okay for Gravitas Ventures at the American Box Office bringing in $793,525.00 on an unknown budget. If you like Jackie Chan films that feel like they could have been a direct to DVD release in the early 2000’s, give this one a watch. I really enjoyed this film, and it was a great film to see on the big screen on Thanksgiving week.

Let’s next go with the Sci-Fi and Fantasy films I saw this year at the theater, and again I must stress that sadly due to the pandemic, I did not get to see many films from these genres as most films have been yanked off the release schedule, but with that in mind, let’s take a look at the ones I did get to enjoy on the big screen.

# 3

Captain Natalie Artemis is an Army Ranger and is leading her team to investigate a missing convoy, but after a freak lighting storm they find themselves in another world that is filled with giant monsters who all want them dead! And dead they all become until only Natalie is left and alongside a warrior from that world who does not speak her language, they together must find a way to survive and return Natalie to her own world as well as save this one from the destruction of giant monsters. This film is based on the popular Capcom video game series and was even has ties to Toho the studio behind the Godzilla and other classic Kaiju films. Milla Jovovich plays Natalie and Tony Jaa plays Hunter, her newly made friend, and both do a great job and help bring this scifi-action-fantasy film alive. I really enjoyed this film on the big screen with my only major issue being the fast cut jerky fight scenes as the monsters and acting is well done for this type of film. The film has done pretty well at the USA Box Office during the virus time bringing in $4,216,000.00 on a budget of $60 million at this time of posting as the film is still in theaters. If you like movies about giant monsters and or enjoy the game series, check this one out. I will probably buy this one once out on home media.

# 2

The Protagonist is a member of the CIA who finds himself involved in a strange world altering plot that has events not only happening forward but also in rewind. One mad man plans on ending the world with this tech and he must find away to stop it, along the way making allies and trying to wrap his mind around what the hell is really going on! That is the quickest and easiest way to sum up the plot to this mega budget Christopher Nolen scifi-action-spy thriller film that was used to kick off the big movies are back in cinema campaign. And sadly, the film did not set the numbers the studio was looking for and this made it so many films planned for later in the year got moved from 2020 to 2021 and beyond…and that’s a shame as I also feel that this was the wrong choice to bank all that decisions on as the film was a fun popcorn movie, but was hardly the amazing mind mess flick that Nolan in known for and in fact at times the dialogue was just plan bad! Now I need to stress that I enjoyed this film and the acting was great as John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Dimple Kapadia and Elizabeth Debicki are all fantastic in their roles, it’s just the over all presentation was a little lacking to make it a major blockbuster, and keep in mind I did enjoy the film. The film did good considering the virus crisis at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers bringing in $57,909,000.00 on an over blown budget of $200 million. Please note, however, that Warner Brothers has been a bit deliberately vague about the numbers. Tenet is a fun watch but not the mega hit that I think he or Warner Brothers thought it would be.

# 1

Bill S. Preston and Theodore Logan are now middle aged men whose band Wyld Stallyns was supposed to change the world with their music, but thus far it has not happened and their music career has tumbled and they are playing at small dive bars and family weddings and their CDs are in discount bins! Then things get worse when they find out their marriages to the Princesses are on the rocks and they get a visit to the future and find out they have to write the perfect song that will save time and space as a massive rift in time has opened and is causing chaos and people to be placed out of time! And their biggest fans, their daughters, are trying to figure out a way to help their dads create the song that will bring the world together. This third film in the Bill & Ted series is a fantastic follow up that delivers the laughs and classic delivery that we all love about the characters. Also it brings classic characters like Death, Missy and Ted’s Father back as well as delivers new ones like Kelly who is Rufus’s Daughter, killer robot Dennis Caleb McCoy and Billie & Thea, the duo’s daughters! Hands down this was one of the films I had the most fun watching in a theater and delivered pure entertainment all the way through. The film was released to limited screens during the soft re-openings of theaters and did pretty well for Orion Pictures bringing in at the US Box Office $3,439,660.00 on a budget of $25 million. I for one hope that we get a fourth film in the series as Bill & Ted are two silly 80’s cinema icons we need more of in our lives. And of course I got this on DVD when released.

So we are going to take a look at super hero films now. It’s crazy as 2020 was supposed to have Black Widow, The Eternals, Morbius and Venom 2 all bringing action to the cinemas…now they are all slated for this year (2021) and 2022. But with that let’s talk the super hero films I saw this year at the cinema.

# 3

Max Lord is a man who wants it, all not just for himself but for all of you, as he is a TV salesman who is selling you oil and big dreams, but in reality he is a failure who, after conning his way into getting a wish stone, is now a evil wish granting power hungry business man who has made a big mistake as making himself and the stone become one. But before Max gets his hands on the stone, Diana Prince along with her co-worker Barbara Minerva at the museum make wishes on the stone as a joke that ends up turning Barbara into the Cheetah and Diana gets her love Steve Trevor back…but they all learn that making wishes comes with a price as to get what you want you lose something super important to you as well. With the world in chaos thanks to Max and his wishes, Diana must become Wonder Woman and try to set the world right again. If you readers remember back in 2017, the first Wonder Woman took my # 1 spot for superhero films, well sadly the sequel finds its self in last place. The film was a fun watch at the theater and was a total popcorn flick, but the downside to the film is Diana is barely Wonder Woman in the film as much of the film is spent on her and Steve and their love…and it has a long runtime and could have been cut by a good 20 minutes or so. The film has done well for the pandemic Box Office in the US as of the time of this posting it has brought in $16,700,000.00 on a budget of $200 million for Warner Brothers. Again, Warner Brothers has been a little vague about their numbers. While not a perfect superhero film, it was a fun theater watch and Gal Gadot is the perfect Wonder Woman and it as well has an amazing cast with names like Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright and Lynda Carter.

# 2

Danni Moonstar finds herself in a hospital for mutants after her tribe was killed by a “tornado”, and Dr. Cecilia Reyes is there to try and help her learn what her powers are and how to control them. While in care, she meets the fellow patients Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane), Illyana Rasputin (Magik), Bobby da Costa (Sunspot) and Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) and even she finds love with Rahne….but things get bad when all the young mutants fears are used against them and what was supposed to be a place to help them is really a prison that keeps them inside! Can Danni and her new friends over come the darkness? Watch this final film in the Fox X-Men movies and find out! This was a fun superhero film that had lots of elements of horror in it and has a fantastic cast of young stars like Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Blu Hunt and Charlie Heaton to name a few. The film was released at the start of main theater chains limited capacity re-openings and did what it could for Disney at the US Box Office brining in $23,851,511.00 on a budget of $67 million, making it a good start for Disney and movies in general to return to the cinema. While not a perfect film, it really was an entertaining one that was a blast to see on the big screen.

# 1

Harley Quinn has split from The Joker and her life is going out of control, and worse her actions of the past are catching up with her and many people she has wronged want revenge including crime lord Black Mask. At one of Black Mask’s clubs, Black Canary sings and she ends ups working secretly with Gotham cop Renee Montoya who wants to bring a case against Black Mask….but also on the loose is Huntress, a woman who is going around killing a crime family with arrows! Not to even mention that crazed serial killer Victor Zsasz is on Black Mask’s payroll! And when a young pickpocket girl steals a diamond from Black Mask that is the key to a massive amount of money, the ladies have to stand their ground and fight for their lives as the crime lord is not happy and has an army ready to bring him their heads! This superhero comedy film was super well done and the humor throughout worked really well, not to even mention the acting being well done with Margot Robbie being amazing as Harley Quinn as always, and to me, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress steals the show as her awkwardness is charming. I grew up reading Batman comic and seeing Black Mask and Zsasz as the main bad guys in a movie was really cool. The film did oddly bad at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers only bringing in $84,158,461.00 on a budget of $84.5 million. And overseas it did another $117,700,000.00 showing that it did well for itself. This was a great superhero movie and once more in my opinion shows that DC is doing all the right things to get their movies back on track. Worth owning on home media, and one I did buy when released.

So as you long time readers know, horror is my favorite genre of films and in the short time the cinemas was open in 2020, I did get to see my fair share of them sitting in my reclining chair with some popcorn to munch on listening to the fear of those around me grow every second as the suspense on the big screen kept going along. So sit back in your chair and grab some more popcorn as it’s time to talk….

# 15

Kate Mandell takes the job of being the live-in nanny for the Fairchild children (Flora and Miles) who were orphaned at a young age but come from a family with money. At first she thinks she is going to love this job as she and 7-Year old Flora hit it off and the mansion is very lovely. But something is very odd as the maid of the family Mrs. Grose is very cold and Miles comes off as a psychopath…not to mention Kate begins to hear and see things! Now it’s up to Kate to figure out what’s real, what’s in her mind and if she herself is the true psychopath…or is it the ghosts of the mansion. This atmospheric horror movie is based on the novel “Turn Of The Screw” by Henry James and delivers a none explained and lackluster ending that will surely leave a bad taste in most viewers’ mouths, and the blah ending is why the film is ranking so low on my list. The acting in the film is fantastic with Mackenzie Davis as Kate being the true standout. The film dis so-so for Universal at the American Box Office bringing in $15,472,775.00 on a budget of $14 million. While this film is not for everyone, the slow burn horror, the creepy atmosphere and good acting are reason why you should check it out, but be prepared to be letdown by the film’s ending.

# 14

Lily is a young lady who along with her mother move in with Adam Harrison and his three sons and she has a hard time at school after an accident happens in class that leaves her the butt of many jokes. While feeling down and out, she meets three new friends Frankie, Lourdes and Tabby who invite her to join their witches’ coven, and the four become super close and even use their spells to try and better their town and school. But things turn bad when a jerky guy from school they used a spell on ends up dead, and her friends blame Lily who used her magic on him as she had a crush and the friends disband the coven and distance themselves from Lily…and worse Lily finds out that she is not who she thinks she is and some evil power wants her witchcraft abilities…what is a young witch to do…well call upon her friends of course! This sequel to the 1996 film The Craft was produced by Blumhouse and was scheduled for a full theatrical release before the virus shut down theaters, causing it to be VOD and shown at small theaters via private events (the latter is how I saw it). The film is well cast with Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone and Zoey Luna all doing great as the new witches, and the only main complaint I have is that they drained the film of all horror and it feels more like a CW teen show. While not a great sequel to the cult classic, it was a fun watch in the theater the way it was meant to be seen…I am looking at you Sony and Blumhouse.

# 13

A small snowy mountain town is being rocked by terrible murders of females and it’s started talks among town people of a serial killer or a werewolf being on the loose! And worse officer John Marshall is on the case and is dealing with a ton of other issues that includes being a recovering alcoholic, a bad divorce, a strained relationship with his daughter, anger management issues and his father who is the Sheriff will not retire even though he is having bad heart issues! The bodies keep piling up as the victims keep getting more and more mutilated and the cops are clueless! And when John’s daughter is targeted as a victim for the killer, he sees that it’s a massive werewolf or is it? This horror comedy was a fun watch in the theater and the werewolf looks great as do the gore effects when used. Jim Cummings plays John Marshall as well as wrote and directed the film and does a pretty good job in all three roles and actors like Chloe East, Riki Lindhome and the late Robert Forster are all great in their roles. The downside of the film for me is the big reveal at the end of who the werewolf is as I felt it was a little flat, but did not fully drag the film down. I also was happy that this film was released in limited theaters in October as it was great to see a new horror flick in the theater just in time for Halloween. The film brought in $185,026.00 at the US Box Office for Orion Pictures on a small budget making it a win for them during this terrible time. This is one that I will pick up on DVD when released as I would like to see it again and see if I can pick up on clues that lead to whom the werewolf is.

# 12

Marquis Woods and his family take their plane to the funeral of his father that is in the Appalachia area, when a storm causes them to crash in the woods. When Marquis awakens, he finds himself with a terrible foot injury and in a bed in an attic being cared for by Ms. Eloise and her husband Earl and hulking farmhand Lewis all who seem to be keeping him not only as a patient but also as a prisoner! And when trying to escape Marquis soon finds these people are into dark magic and he must find a way to escape, find his family and escape the farm all before the red moon as these wicked people have major plans for him. This horror thriller was a fun watch at the cinema and had some good thrilling moments as well as some good effects with one of a massive nail in a character’s foot being really well done. Actor Omari Hardwick is great as Marquis, with actress Loretta Devine doing an amazing job at playing Ms. Eloise and Lorraine Burroughs who plays Veora Woods is beautiful. The film was released on VOD and shown at select theaters and did okay given when released for Paramount Pictures bring in $500,104.00 on an unknown budget. It’s worth a watch for horror fans who enjoy black magic and voodoo style films, and is one I bought when released on home media.

# 11

A house on Reyburn has been the site of many murders since a mother returning from Japan came home and killed her whole family and then herself! The real estate agent who tried to sell the house after the killings as well follows the same path, and lastly an older couple who moved in as well find themselves the victims of death. After her husband passed away from cancer, single mom and cop Detective Muldoon gets wrapped up in a town’s past case that had driven her new partner, Detective Goodman’s last partner, crazy…and she herself starts to lose her mind as the deeper she digs the more madness she uncovers and then she starts to see things including the evil spirit of Kayako Saeki who has marked her with the curse as she made the mistake of entering the home of murder. Now she must do what she can in order save her life and end this curse once and for all. This new reboot to The Grudge series takes place at the same time as the 2004 film and follows how the curse spreads, and is the first in the series to get a R rating. The film is filled with lots of mean spirited deaths and brings some good and solid special effects. This fright flick also brings some great actors like Lin Shaye, John Cho and William Sadler in roles of the damned. The film did pretty well for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in $21,221,803.00 on a budget of $10 million, showing that the series might have some legs left on it. Trashed by critics this super natural horror movie is one you should make your own mind up on. Worth owning on home media if you have the rest of the series already.

# 10

Five strangers have been selected to win a contest to stay on Fantasy Island, a place that is said to grant all your fantasies! Gwen Olsen is granted to have the family she always wanted, Melanie Cole wants revenge on her high school bully, Patrick Sullivan who wants to be a war hero like his father and stepbrothers JD and Brax who just want to live large and have it all! And they meet Mr. Roarke and his assistant Julia who welcome them and let them know their fantasies will start very soon. But when the fantasies start, they are pleasant and magical and then quickly take a sinister turn as murder and torment is on the minds of those in the fantasy. Now the five winners must come together and survive this twisted island and all its secrets…but whose fantasy are they really in as this horror thriller takes a few twists. This film, while flawed, was a fun watch at the theater and reminded me of the early 2000’s released horror movies. The acting is pretty well done with Maggie Q, Michael Pena and Lucy Hale being the standouts. The film did pretty well for Sony at the American Box Office bringing in $26,441,782.00 on a budget of $7 million. While not a perfect film and at times not a full horror movie, this is one silly Blumhouse release that’s good for a late night watch.

# 9

Liza is attacked and suffers a massive head injury during a random home invasion while her husband Sean is at work, all in front of her son Jude who stops speaking after witnessing it. So to try and help both of them heal, Sean rents a house in the woods on the old Heelshire’s estate and things start to look up when Jude finds the doll Brahms buried in the woods and takes him home as his new friend. But things get worse when Jude starts even acting more odd and strange thing happen at the home as the young man blames them on doll Brahms who he is becoming super attached to and even helps him to start talking again. But soon Liza and Sean find out that something is very wrong with Brahms and they must try and save their son’s soul as this evil doll wants a new vessel for evil. This follow up to the 2016 film does a pretty good job adding a new chapter to the story of the evil doll Brahms, but this time around there is no killer in the walls, it really is the doll calling all the shots…and it appears it has all along. The film is not that overly bloody or gory but does pack in a few scares making it a good PG-13 horror film experience. The film did not do well at all for STX Entertainment at the US box office only bringing in $12,611,536.00 on a budget of $10 million, and I am sure this sadly will mark the end of The Boy movies series.

# 8

Rachel Hunter’s life is falling apart as she is getting a divorce, her hair salon has closed and her son is doing his best to deal with all the drama that is going on around him, but while driving him to school, they have a road incident with Tom Cooper who is on the run after killing his ex-wife and her new boyfriend and now wants to show Rachel the meaning of having a bad day as well as teach her respect! So starts a game of life and death on the road as Rachel and all those she cares about are now in the sights of a manic who has a real bad case of road rage. This horror thriller is a great example of how a simple bad interaction or mistake on the road can lead to something bigger and deadlier as you never know who it is that is raging out. Russell Crowe is creepy and great as Tom Cooper a psychopath who has lost it all and now wants to ruin the lives of anyone who crosses him. Caren Pistorius is also great as Rachel, a mom who his pushed to the limits and finds away to fight back. The film was released at theaters right at the slow start of theater re-openings during the virus crisis and did okay for Solstice Studios bringing in $20,831,465.00 on a budget of $33 million. If you like movies set with murder on the roads that has lots of thriller moments, this one is a heck of a fun ride.

# 7

Amanda and her friends are on a bridge and try an urban legend she heard of to summon an entity called the Empty Man, and to their horror, it works! The “rules” of the legend are that you hear him on day one, on day two you see him and day three he gets you! Amanda goes missing and family friend and ex-cop James Lasombra goes looking for her and uncovers a trail of suicide, unknown people, a cult, a Himalayan creature and events of the past. The Empty Man is real and has followers and with Amanda missing and in danger, James must enter the darkness of our world to unravel the Empty Man and his meaning. This supernatural horror movie is based on the comic by Boom Studios and adds in elements of film noir and the X-Files. Actor James Badge Dale is great as James Lasombra. Sasha Frolova who plays Amanda is also great and has a Louise Brooks look to her. The film did well at the US box office for 20th Century during the virus times bring in $2,992,403.00 on an unknown budget. Worth watching if you like supernatural horror done a little different and has a cool looking monster, bought on media when released.

# 6

Oliver is a young autistic boy who uses his cell phone to communicate and spends most of his time watching episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants as he does not have any friends and the one he did have now picks on him at school. One night a storybook keeps appearing on his cellphone called “Misunderstood Monsters” about a monster named Larry who is looking for a friend and has been watching the boy from his phone screen, and after reading part of the book, the lights in the house go out and Larry comes looking for his new friend! Now Oliver’s mom and dad are up against a monster from another dimension that wants their son to come back to his world and become his friend for life. But what can they do to stop a creature that can travel via screens of electrical devices? This was a super fun PG-13 horror film that has a good storyline, interesting characters and a cool monster that, while bad, does what he does cause he is lonely. Plus it really holds an urban legend, storybook feel and you cant go wrong with a monster named Larry. The film did pretty well for Focus Features during the virus crisis at the American box office bringing in $9,505,540.00 on a budget of $9 million. This is one I hope gets a sequel or at least a comic book mini series and will buy when released on home media.

# 5

Charlie and Mina are business partners who decided to rent a massive house in the middle of nowhere that has a great view of the ocean. Josh is Mina’s boyfriend and Charlie’s brother while Michelle is Charlie’s wife and the house is perfect besides the creepy, racist caretaker of the place. But after a night of drinking and drugs, Mina and Charlie end up sleeping together and to make things worse they find a camera that taped the whole event and they think that the caretaker watched and has it on tape! After Mina confronts him about it, as she don’t want her boyfriend to find out, an accident happens and the group of friends must figure out what to do as someone else was responsible for the cameras that has way more sinister attentions then just being a pervert! This is a really good indie thriller film that is mixed with a slasher and is well cast as Sheila Vand is fantastic as Mina and Alison Brie is perfect as the wife Michelle who you find yourself cheering for to survive. The masked nameless killer is interesting and seems to pick who to murder by random as by the end it appears that he has his cameras set up in many different rental properties. The film did well for IFC at the US Box Office given it was an indie film being shown on limited screens and drive-ins as it brought in $1,635,175.00 on a small budget. The Rental was a fun summer release and was the first movie I saw in the theater after the shutdown and lockdowns due to the virus and is a film I own on DVD and is one you should check out if you enjoy a good slow burn Horror Movie.

# 4

Norah Price works for Titan Industries many miles underwater when her station blows up and causes major damage with very few survivors. And when all those who are left meet up, they soon have to make a very dangerous decision as the station is about to collapse on itself and they must suit up and walk the ocean floor to get to a nearby rig that has escape pods. But as they make their escape, they soon find they are not alone as humanoid man-eating creatures are hunting them down one by one, and in the end, the humanoid creatures are they least of her worries as something bigger and badder waits them! This underwater horror film delivers a creepy and hopeless feeling watching experience and all the characters are likable with Norah being the most likable. I have to say Kristen Stewart does a great job in the role. If you like giant underwater monsters, killer fish humanoids and grim moments of horror dread this one is for you! Sadly this film did not do great for 20th Century Fox bringing in the low number of $17,291,078.00 on a budget of around $80 million. If you like horror movies like DeepStar Six or Leviathan, then do yourself a favor and give it a watch, worth owning on home media.

# 3

Gretel and her young brother Hansel has been chased away by their mother as time in their small village is very rough, as it appears the land has been cursed. Gretel takes her brother and runs into the woods and tired, cold and hungry, they run into a Huntsman who feeds them and draws them a map to a family that could house them. Along the journey, they find a house with a table filled with tons of food and they are invited in by the owner a creepy old woman to eat and find shelter, but things are to good to be true and the kids start feeling odd as the old woman truly enters their lives. And when Gretel is taken under the old woman’s wing to become a witch of darkness, things go really bad when Gretel is told she must eat Hansel to become a true powerful witch and the young woman finds out the old lady is a witch who kills and eats children. Now its up to Gretel to save herself and her brother from evil and change the course of their lives forever! This creepy fairy tale movie is filled with creepy moments, great atmosphere and is a sold PG-13 Horror Movie watch that is filled with blood and even guts. The film is well acted and reminded me of a good 70’s style British horror movie. The film did okay at the American Box Office bringing in $15,347,654.00 on a budget of $5 million. This is one film I feel that is worth owning on home media and I hope this spawns a whole dark fairy tale horror universe. It’s one I bought on home media when released as I will watch again.

# 2

Teenager Millie Kessler is having a very rough time as her father passed away a year ago, her mother has been drinking, her older sister has wrapped herself up in her job as a cop and worse kids at school bully her! Well one day after a school football game as she waits for her passed out mother to pick her up she is killed by the town’s serial killer The Blissfield Butcher who is using a special knife that causes them to switch bodies the next morning! So now Millie is in the body of the Butcher who is being tracked down by the police and The Butcher is inside Millie and is killing kids and teachers at the school, and worse Millie has only until midnight to stab The Butcher to switch back into her body, and he doesn’t want to switch back. This horror comedy was done by the team behind the “Happy Death Day” series and is a funny and bloody good watch, not to mention the characters are fantastic and casting is well done with Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn being top notch. The film was way bloodier then I expected and I for one hope for a sequel or even a crossover with Happy Death Day. The film did well during the virus crisis at the US Box Office bringing in $8,702,060.00 on a budget of $6 million. I plan on buying this when released on home media and really enjoyed this one lots.

# 1

Cecilia Kass is in a very abusive relationship with scientist Adrian Griffin and with help of her sister Emily she is able to escape his mansion that is more like a compound! Free from his abuse, she lives with her cop friend James and his teenage daughter Sydney, but is paranoid that Adrian will find her…that is until she gets the news that he is dead by committing suicide and has left her tons of money as a way to say sorry for the bad years they spent together. But this money comes with a price as strange things start happening all around her, and while her friends think she is losing her mind, she knows that an invisible person is tormenting her and trying to drive her crazy and she thinks its Adrian who has faked his suicide and found a way to become an Invisible Man…now with crimes being committed and Cecilia being set up she must fight for her life and prove she is not crazy and that Adrian is not dead and is the true monster she knows he is. This modern take on the classic Universal Monster is a great start for the Blumhouse team up and does a fantastic job of bring The Invisible Man to a new generation of Monster Kids and moviegoers. The film is Rated R and has lots of scares and some shocking murders and delivers a great watch featuring a classic movie monster. Elisabeth Moss is great as our hero Cecilia, and Oliver Jackson is the right amount of crazy sleazy as Adrian Griffin and I for one cannot wait to see what’s next for the Universal Monsters at the cinema. The film did great for Universal at the American box office bringing in $70,410.00 on a budget of only $7 million. Well done shocker and one that I bought on home media when it was released, and proves that the classic Monsters can still bring people in if done right.

I think we all can agree 2020 was a very terrible year, but I do want to say a big Thank You to every Movie Theater, Filmmaker, Home Media Release Companies, Horror Host, Streaming Service and YouTube for bringing entertainment and joy to not just me but so many others during that time. And I want to also say that AT&T and their crappy day of release for Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema films to HBO Max can suck a big one as films like Wonder Woman 1984, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong and Conjuring 3 are meant to be seen on the big screen and not used as a tool to save a terrible streaming service. And I for one will not be streaming these films and will be seeing them all in theater as I support cinema and theaters and not a soulless communication company’s terrible decision to cheapen their films by dumping them on a servers that is failing. I am very much looking forward to heading to all my local theaters this year and watching films on the silver screen and ranking them up for Matt Goes To The Movies 2021! So until next time be safe, watch a film of three at your local cinema and as always get yourself a popcorn. See you next update as I talk about Star Trek IV!

SOV Flashbacks Classics – Twisted Batman Theater

In 1998 coming off the short film Teen Suicide, another project was in the works that was being created by my brother Bryan called Twisted Batman Theater and this was so much different then Teen Suicide as this film did not have any live action actors, it was done completely with action figures with only two voice actors. But I am getting ahead of myself here so let’s take a look at the making of Twisted Batman Theater, the second film ever made in the world of Independent B Movie’s long and winding history!

In 1998 my brother Bryan was attending Sinclair Community Collage in Dayton, Ohio. He was taking a class about the works of William Shakespeare, and for one of his class projects he decided to do a video that would combine the Shakespeare stories Romeo & Juliet as well as Macbeth with DC Comic book characters Batman and Robin, more specifically the 1966 TV versions of the cape crusaders…and he decided to do the film using action figures and make it stop motion! So he spent a couple of weeks writing the script and taking elements from the plays and added in cheesy jokes filled with pop culture references as well as cameos from many super villains and actors. Before the script was done, he contacted our grandparents on my dad’s side and borrowed their VHS camcorder as it had some great built in effects and was perfect for what he needed. He also started digging through our old action figures using his Kenner Superpowers Batman and borrowing my Superpowers of Robin, The Joker and Penguin, my Catwoman figure from Kenner’s Batman Returns toyline not to mention my Toy Biz DC Superhero Figures of The Riddler and Mr. Freeze as well as many other figures from both of our old collections. And once the script was written, he asked me to run camera for him as well as voice a few of the characters and he created the production company Brass Bros, and with that, a second film was in my future.

My brother spent time building sets out of cardboard, construction paper, and we messed with the camera to make sure the angle and zoom was just right to pull off the effect of the figures moving, and of course like all good brothers we argued about many of the technical aspects as at the time of filming Twisted Batman I was also working with the Fairmont Production crew on a few ideas and we were talking about doing a sequel to Teen Suicide and was asked to help my fellow students on some class projects, that I was not fully involved in, but was happy to help on. And of course, this made me think I knew it all about making shot on video films…and of course I didn’t and this production helped me learn that as well as that when its’ someone else’s vision and film, you do what they ask to make it come alive for them. It’s not about me, it’s about them. My brother set up his “sets” in the basement and used the kitchen table we had down there as his base, and once the script was locked and figures selected to play the parts he needed, the true production started. It was a very time consuming production as it had to be done just right as the camera was not only for filming but was also his editing machine so I had to be on and fast moving on that record button. I remember that we did do some test filming, but I honestly do not remember what we shot or used to make sure that the stop motion movements would also be good for the film. Also to keep some figures in place my brother came up with the idea of using poster putty on the bottom of the figures’ feet.

It took several weeks to film it, and I had to film it between school and running around with my friends. What helped make the shoot smoother was that he needed it filmed in order so we started with the credits and with the lights off and a flashlight in hand we filmed the cast near printer paper that looked like brick walls while the classic Batman TV show theme played. It was a really cool opening credits and a great idea by Bryan. We next filmed Batman and Robin investigating the suicides of Romeo and Juliet, and they of course are bumbling around with cheesy dialogue as most of the characters around them were talking from lines from the Shakespeare writings, and best of all Bryan was also voicing the characters and even playing music cues from a boombox and all the while I had to man the record button to get it all just perfect. And even in the middle of this segment, we had to switch backgrounds to make gag that was tied into the 1997 film Titanic! After the case of Romeo and Juliet was “solved” Batman and Robin along with the Gotham Police head to investigate the murder of King Duncan and have to question Macbeth about it only to have run ins with Super Villains and even sinister witches. And after filming a shocking and cliffhanger ending, the principal photography was done and it was a wrap! And once done my brother took the footage and hooked up two VCR’s and editing started. It was a grueling process that took him a while to get just right, but finally the film was done, Bryan had me and my parents watch it as the test group, and it was lots of fun and even while stressful to make, as I have said we had lots of clashes that even had me quitting and coming back several times…the film was something I am proud of being a part of. Oh and on a very cool note, the end credits were written on paper and done INXS style from the music video for Mediate.

So Bryan then took the film to show his class at Sinclair, and it went over very well with his fellow classmates and his teacher really liking it and of course he got a good grade for it, showing that all his hard work was worth it. The crazy thing was that Sinclair even asked Bryan if they could show the film on TV Screens in their newly designed media building for other students to see, and as far as we know, they played it for a few years. Once the film was done, Bryan donated it to the growing Independent B Movie film library and it became apart of the Indie SOV history for us. Bryan after making the film toyed with the idea of making a sequel as the original film ended on a cliffhanger and he figured it would be fun to mix Batman with a few more Shakespeare stories, but sadly it never went past just talking about it that went on for a few years after. The film would make its way to VHS and sold pretty well at conventions for Independent B Movie, but was done in limited amounts as the same thing could be said for the DVD that was very limited in release. Bryan would go on to make a short film called “Nightmare” in 2001 and that year also started a film called “The Kenny Rogers Project” that had stuff filmed but never finished…but more about those on a future update. On another side note, some time around 2006 my friend Joe Grunenwald and I were developing a spin off movie of Twisted Batman that would have been based around Superman and would have had him doing 12 Labors like Hercules in order to save his friends from such super villains as Lex Luther, Brainiac, Doomsday and King Shark, but sadly this film did not make it too far into creative as both of us were short on time. So while Twisted Batman at this point is not available on home media, you can catch it from time to time on the show “Moraine Playhouse Theater” with host The Creeper has hosted it and it plays on Dayton Public Access stations DATV and MVCC and online station The Monster Channel, and for some years many moons back DATV did play the film on air un-hosted.

So I am sure you toy collectors out there reading this are wondering what toys were used in this film and because I am not cruel, I will do my best to let you know! From Kenner’s “Star Wars: Power Of The Force” line he used Lando Calrissian as Lt. Bando the head of Gotham Police. Also used from Star Wars were Stormtroopers as Gotham Cops, Luke Skywalker was Romeo, Grand Moff Tarkin & Luke Skywalker played Romeo and Juliet’s Dad’s. Dengar played the Friar, Jedi Ghost Of Obi-Wan Kenobi played the Ghost of Macbeth, and from Kenner Return Of The Jedi series Princess Leia played Juliet with The Emperor playing King Duncan. From “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” figures from Matchbox, Pee-Wee played a Gotham Cop and from Kenner’s “Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves” line, Robin Hood played Macbeth. From Toy Biz line for “Hercules And The Legendary Journeys” he had Xena Warrior Princess play Lady Macbeth, Hercules played a dead guard and Iolaus played a cutthroat assassin. From the McFarlane Toys, KISS played the Witches from Macbeth. From the Toy Biz series “Spider-Man” he had Kraven The Hunter be another dead body for Macbeth’s segment. And he used the following Batman baddies from the following toylines: from Kenner’s “Batman The Animated Series” he used Bane, Kenner’s “Batman Returns” he used Catwoman, Kenner’s “Super Powers Collection” The Joker and Penguin, and from Toy Biz he used Mr. Freeze and The Riddler from “DC Super Heroes”. He also used a generic plastic boat that was bought from K-Mart to use for one small gag. So as you can see, many action figures made up the cast of this film!

In my long time in the world of shot-on-video filmmaking Twisted Batman theater has remained the only stop motion film I have ever made, and while I have said above Joe and I were working on a Superman idea and even at one point I had an epic Flash Gordon one in mind that would have had Flash Gordon mix with Star Wars, Star Trek, Wizard Of Oz, Saga Of Crystar, Buck Rogers, Battle Star Galactica and King Kong, they just never came to life. So I want to say that for these I.B.M films I will write about the plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. Now it’s with great honor that I bring to you the 1998 short film masterpiece Twisted Batman Theater!

Twisted Batman Theater
Starring – Bryan Brassfield & Matt Brassfield     Directed by Bryan Brassfield
1998     Not Rated     38min     Independent B Movie     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Detective Bando and the Gotham Police Force are at the site of a suicide of a young couple Romeo and Juliet, and they call in famed duo Batman and Robin to help solve the crime as it appears to be a suicide but Batman has his doubts as The Riddler and Bane are on the scene and he thinks they murdered the youths! And once the Friar shows up and alerts Bando that the youngsters killed themselves over their love, he is shot by The Riddler, and Batman and Robin take him and Bane down…but Batman also thinks he is still right and that The Riddler is the one who killed them. Bando gets a call that King Duncan has been murdered, and the Cops and Dynamic Duo rush to the castle to investigate the crime. While there, they meet Macbeth and Lady Macbeth who are acting strange and things get out of hand when The Joker is shown to be the Court Jester and the rock band Kiss are Witches who helped set the stage for why the King had to be killed! As Bando rushes Lady Macbeth to safety, she turns out to be Catwoman and knocks him out, as Batman and Robin are captured by The Joker who is joined by Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Penguin and Kiss and are strapped to the big book of Shakespeare and when a gag trap goes off they will be crushed! And this is how this shot on video film ends.

Thoughts: This film is a true flashback of my early days of shot-on-video movies as it really was the first and only time I ever got to work on a stop motion film and is the only shot on video film that I worked directly with my brother on that was finished. When watching what Bryan and myself were able to pull off with a consumer VHS Camera and some old action figures is pretty great as while their movements are crude, they nonetheless are pulled off and it does make the toys feel like they are actors and not toys. Also I must say that Bryan did a great job of showcasing the stories of Shakespeare and while keeping true to the stories for the most part was also able to add a very cheesy 60’s Batman humor to them and have Batman being a goof and Robin and Bando being the true detectives doing the work to solve the crimes. The film’s backgrounds and “sets” are cheap looking yet charming and are clearly homemade but it really does add to the film’s charm. Over all this film is very dated in spots with dated jokes and lines, but it does do a great job of bring goofy laughs to viewers…not to even mention the classic music that he used was lots of fun and helped bring scenes to life, even if he had to rush and hit play on a boombox to make the cues happen. Also watching this made me laugh when I heard my voice doing Paul Stanley of Kiss as well as the laughs for Pee-Wee and The Joker…terrible! Also re-watching this made me remember how fun and stressful this film was to make and also made me really look back and think, man Bryan should have done a Twisted Batman 2 as I think he would have made it bigger, better and funnier!

Grade: B

While Twisted Batman Theater was going strong and wowing the people of Sinclair, at Fairmont High School two other films were being worked on by the Junior Media Class, and one would go on to be an adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe story “Cask Of Amontialldo,” that by many of our original crew is considered one of the best films in our early productions and the other is a bit of a forgotten memory! You see many of my classmates were in other classes together and because most of Fairmont faculty hated me, I was only in a small amount of classes with them and spent most of my days in Media Class being a DJ and editing clips as well had many Study Halls. But for one of their classes, they all had they had to make short films and break into two groups to do so…and because my media teacher seen that deep inside my Metalhead Monster Kid attitude mind, there was an extremely creative person, he talked to that teacher and I was placed in a group to lend a helping hand. I was placed in the group alongside Matt Hoffman and Sarah McMurchy among others and I helped on a production that was based on a war story “Sweetheart Of The Song Tra Bong” that was written by Tim O’Brien, and I even played a dead body in the film killed in action and the worst part of it all is that the film is considered a “lost” film from us, but I am working on some leads to find a copy of the film and when I do, I will do a small update here on Rotten Ink about it. But while that one is gone, Cask Of Amontillado lives on so let’s talk briefly about this film from the early days of Independent B Movie.

Cask Of Amontillado was the second film made at that time and was done by the second group and was of course based on the classic 1846 short story written by Edgar Allen Poe. The film was directed by Rion Neeley, and the group cast Dave Wean as the drunken wine lover Fortunato and Dan Salter played the revenge driven Montressor with Brandon Womeldorff on camera as well as editor, graphics and co-producer. The rest of the crew was made up of Josh Razauskas, Linda Webb and Kelly Ramage, and they filmed many scenes at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Carnival as well as Woodland Cemetery (that they snuck into at night) both places in, of course, Dayton, Ohio! The climatic end of Fortunato being bricked up was done in the basement of Rion’s home and pulled off with a handful of bricks and some cardboard boxes, and the effect looked great for a bunch of High School Media students. The film of course got the group a high grade in the class and the short film would be watched for years at gatherings and parties. I sadly was not involved at all with the making of this film besides releasing it on home media and allowing Horror Hosts to host it on their shows. The short film that was a Fairmont Production had a run on VHS and sold okay for Independent B Movie. It also was released as an extra feature for the DVD release of the 2002 Brandon Wolmeldorff film Razor. It also got the T-Shirt treatment when Independent B Movie decided to celebrate some of the films with shirts. This short film for me also proved that when Brandon Womelforff teamed with Dan Salter, Dave Wean and Rion Neeley, a team like that could not be beat in the world of shot on video films, oh and the film was shot on Super-VHS.

So just like before, for this I.B.M short film I will write about the plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. Now it’s with great honor that I bring to you the 1998 short film Cask Of Amontillado!

Cask Of Amontillado
Starring – Dan Salter & Dave Wean       Directed by Rion Neeley
1998     Not Rated     14min     Independent B Movie     VHS     Full Frame

Movie: A carnival is going on and Fortunato is drunk on wine and is stumbling around when he runs into Montressor, a man who unknown to the drunken fool has a taste for revenge in his heart as he feels that Fortunato has disrespected him and his family name. Montressor tricks the drunken fool to follow him with the promise of tasting some wine that he is thinking about buying and the pair leave the carnival and start the journey to the wine cellar. Fortunato follows Montressor across a cemetery and finally they arrive at the wine cellar that is empty and Montressor chains his “friend” to the wall and then bricks him up leaving him to die…before blowing out the candle and ending the feud forever.

Thoughts: Edgar Allan Poe is a master of gothic style horror stories and it was a great choice for Rion Neeley and his crew to pick to do as I know that Rion along with Dave, Dan and Brandon all loved the work of Poe and this was one of his short stories that they could easily pull off with the no budget they had. Rion was also super smart to ask Brandon to step in and be the cameraman as Brandon always had a great eye for shots as well as using his surroundings and even slow motion to build up the tension. The fact that they were able to get night shots at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio also in my opinion built up the foreboding gloomy fate of Fortunato. I also like how they were able to get Wright Patt Air Force Base Carnival to allow them to film as it added that mood of a festival and why Fortunato was so drunk when he meets his “friend” Montressor. They also did a great job casting as Dan Salter pulls off the moody and broody Montressor who has only revenge on his mind and Dave Wean did a great drunk Fortunato. While sadly I did not get to work on this film and only got to see the finished short film, it is a great little student shot on video film that pulls off an entertaining watch.

Grade: B+

1998 was a great year for Independent B Movie as not only was it the year of Teen Suicide but also Twisted Batman Theater, The Cask Of Amontillado and the The Things They Carried (the only lost finished film in our history) and this was only the start of our long legacy in the world of backyard cinema. When we next take a look at a film from I.B.M’s past, it will be Suicide 2 and good news for you readers that update will be coming later in 2021 so make sure to keep your eyes open for that! Our next update will bring us to our Christmas Eve update and will take us to the jungle to meet the Lord Of The Jungle the man named Tarzan! So until next time, read an indie comic or three, watch an indie film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update wait listen “Aaaaah-ah-ah-ah-aaaah-ah-ah-ah”!

SOV Flashback Classics – Teen Suicide

Way back in 1998 I was a senior at Kettering Fairmont High School, a place that I both loved and hated as my fellow students were great, but much of the facility disliked me as I was labeled a Satanist, a trouble maker, and a scumbag metalhead. They threatened to call the police on me  and they had no issues giving me detention, suspending me, kicking me out of classes, trying to expel me and even calling my parents and telling them that they should make me drop out of school! It’s crazy to think that in the late 90’s I was judged by the teachers and such based on the way I dressed as I wore horror movie shirts, 80’s hair bands and comic & TV characters. Plus I was always poorly judged on my artwork of monsters and demons and my writings of spooky stores about killers….they labeled me a threat to others and that’s how the Satanist label was branded on me, because of one terrible art teacher I had in the 9th grade. But because their small minded judgments I would be pulled from classes even if I was getting passing grades and forced into study halls or other classes that they could tuck me away in, and because of this I was placed in Media Class my senior year and that was the best thing for me, even though when they first placed me in the class they had two security guards and a principal escorted me in and sit me away from everyone. Great first impression, am I right? But because of this move I got to learn how to use Super VHS cameras, shoot live school broadcasts, learned how to deck to deck edit, learned Photoshop, how to edit on Avid and how to become a Radio DJ and even had my own shows one being called “Matt And Matt” that was me and Matt Hoffman, a guy that because of this class I became life long friends with. And that was one of the best things about them putting me in this class, I got to meet so many amazing people and friends like Brandon Womeldorff, Dave Wean, Linda Webb, Rion Neeley, Sarah McMurchy, Abigail Keyton, Scott Hunter and many more, all of whom are great people. And because of this class, the shot-on-video, no-budget backyard filmmaking bug that sparkled a creative part of my brain I did not have a means to let out and sparked the birth of Fairmont Productions that would later become Independent B Movie.

Over the years we shot goofy little skits, self-portraits and us just being goofs in the hallways, but it was because of Sociology Class that some of us got to make our first short film about subject that faced teens. This was called “Teen Suicide,” and it became a school cult classic and was a big part of our grade. Many of the Media Students were placed together in this class, and naturally we stuck together as Matt Hoffman, Brandon Womeldorff and myself became a group and took in Scott Harmon and a dude named Chris, and we started to brain storm the idea of what Teen Suicide the short film would be about. After many different ideas we landed on the idea that bullying can lead to youth suicide and we stuck with that idea. Because we were in media class, we also had a pass to leave school grounds to film it and that was a major help as we could take the bullying out of just the hallways and into our character’s normal day-to-day life as well. The “script” was really just ideas that all of us minus Chris came up with. We cast Hoffman as the young man being bullied as sadly he was bullied a lot in school, and Brandon, Scott, Chris and myself all played people that bullied him (I was “Bully 2″), aka we were the real scumbags. When it came down to who was going to direct plus edit the film we all landed on Brandon as he was the best editor of the class and it seemed right that he should also get the directing credit. When it came to camera work, all of us did our part behind the super bulky and heavy Super VHS Camera, and I was slated to also pick some of the music to be used along with Brandon…and of course my selections were W.A.S.P., Motley Crue and Pantera!

The filming took us all over the hallways of the school and we also used the houses of Hoffman and myself. We shot behind Mavericks Cards and Comics in Kettering as well as State Farm Park in Kettering for the film’s tragic ending. My big bullying scene took place behind Mavericks near a weird manmade concrete creek that had me trying to push Hoffman into the water as he hung on for dear life to a pole that was near by. The whole time I had a David Lee Roth type smile on my face with a flannel around my waist and rocking a Whitesnake T-Shirt. The scene went really well and Hoffman looked nervous and slightly scared in the scene, as he really did not want to go into the water…like the scene was planned out. So a few days later we went back to the creek to film him going into the water to maybe slice into the scene and he did so but wore swimming trunks and the add on scene was terrible and was never used and footage lost, so sadly him going into the water will never see the light of day. The film’s ending scene was our big day of production, and if memory serves me right, the only people on set that day was Hoffman, Brandon and myself. The climax had Hoffman shoot himself and fall backwards down a hill in State Farm Park, and I can remember Hoffman was nervous as the stunt was dangerous but after some coaching from Brandon and I, he did it and it looked pretty dang cool for the time. The “blood” we used for the end shot of Matt after he shot himself was ketchup that we bought from K-Mart that was right down the road from the park. Once done with filming that took about 2 weeks to complete, Brandon took the footage and worked his editing magic on the Avid Editing system and it was official Teen Suicide, our first film under the Fairmont Productions banner, was complete!

The day the film was to play in class, our group had to have two people go up and speak to the class about suicide and the film Teen Suicide and after the movie they would have to do a Q&A. After talking it over, it only made sense if Brandon and Hoffman went up as one was the director and the other the main star of the film. The pre-screening talk went well and Brandon and Hoffman gave facts and such about the topic and then it was showtime and man did the film go over well as our fellow students seemed to be drawn in by the film’s subject and the song by Pantera that was Suicide Death Note Part 1 got comments about being well used from them as well. But after the film was over and the Q&A started, things got a little awkward and sad as Hoffman dropped a bombshell on everyone and admitted he had tried to kill himself in the past and ran from the classroom after admitting it. Everyone was shocked and Brandon did his best to wrap up the presentation. The teacher then let me and Brandon go and find Hoffman and talk with him. I am glad she allowed us to do this, as it was something I think that was weighing on Hoffman for a long time and you could tell he felt really good after talking to his friends about it. When it came to it getting a grade, we all got an A for it and the film was considered a staple for watching among our friends at parties and get togethers, and remains one of the films that lived on with the crew of Independent B Movie with a sequel and a remake (but they are for another update). It has shown at Horror Conventions like Scary Camp and even played at local now sadly gone theater Paige Manor. While Teen Suicide was surpassed in quality and fanfare by other films we made over the years, it’s one that holds a special place in my heart and I am glad it lives on via DVD and screenings. One other interesting thing I should note about Teen Suicide is that for the most part it is a silent film with just music playing over the scenes from bands like Bush and The Offspring, but during the film climax Matt has the only bit of dialogue in the film as he reads his suicide note left behind for his parents.

I want to also say once we started up as a full indie production company Teen Suicide was released on VHS and later as a double feature with the second film in the series. The film sold just ok on VHS and did better on DVD and was reviewed on many websites and even in print magazines. The cover for the VHS release was done by Brandon and the DVD release cover was done by my brother Bryan and both for the time were well done and I really dig the cover for the DVD as I think it’s eye catching for a very cheaply made film series. Oh and for those wondering, Henrique Couto and his Freak Productions is who made the DVD for us way back when. It’s shocking that a film called Teen Suicide being sold at Horror Conventions in the early 2000’s didn’t sell like hot cakes. The film would also go on and get a limited long sleeve t-shirt released that was designed by students at Fairmont High School that had a white figure with a bullet hole in its head with the words Teen Suicide on him…yep, this was made around 2003/2004 and the teacher let a student make that for us…awesome and how the times changed from when I was a student. The shirts sold really well and sadly over the years I no longer have mine but my pal Josh Weinberg still has his and sent a pic of it so that I can share. So as you can see, Teen Suicide made its very tiny mark on SOV cinema here in the Dayton, Ohio area.

This was so much fun remembering back on the production of Teen Suicide and made me feel like I should go back to my roots so during the Stay At Home 2020 Order here in Ohio, Juliet and I decided to revisit one of the filming locations from the film, the site that was where my first scene ever was filmed in any SOV film…and that was behind Christopher’s Restaurant in Kettering Ohio was the opening to the creek that my character Bully 2 tried to push Matt into the water…and man the area like every thing has changed as the plants and weeds have grown taller and the concrete has became way more beaten up. While we barely visited the spot, it was very cool to take a moment and see it again. Take a look at the picture below as I took it on the day we visited that was May 7, 2020.

So let’s now take a look at Teen Suicide the film and characters that made up this universe, and what it was that drove the Matt character into wanting to end his life. So I want to say that for these I.B.M films I will write about the plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for Independent B Movie/Bloodline Video films. Now it’s with great honor that I bring to you the 1998 short film masterpiece Teen Suicide.

Teen Suicide
Starring – Matt Hoffman & Scott Harman     Directed by Brandon Womeldorff
1998     Not Rated     11min     Independent B Movie     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: The film takes place in the life of a high school student named Matt and follows him through a week of being bullied by his peers. Day 1 has Matt trying to get his locker open when Bully 1 walks by and shoves him hard into the metal lockers. Day 2 Matt is at school again this time Bully 1 shoves Matt’s face into a sink getting it all wet, and Matt is clearly getting more tired of the constant bullying. Day 3 that damn Bully 1 is at it again and this time in the hall way knocks Matt down making him drop all his books all over the hallway. Day 4 has Matt is outside of School driving to a creek to walk around only to run into Bully 2 who tries to shove Matt into the water, ruining his chance to find some peace with nature. Day 5 while driving around he is carjacked by a bully Car Thief, after walking home the Thief follows him home and fake apologizes in order to get into Matt’s house where he steals his CDs and Car again! Day 6 after losing his car and music Matt decides to visit a park and while looking at flowers Bully 3 appears and beats Matt down and leaves him in a field and Bully 3 jumps into Matt’s car still being driven around by the Car Thief Bully. Day 7 poor Matt has had enough of his torment and writes a suicide note that he reads aloud, he then grabs a hand gun and walks across a bridge and goes atop a hill and kneels and puts the gun into his mouth and pulls the trigger and falls down the hill, with the end shot being Matt with blood on his head and the camera fades out.

Thoughts: Watching this film over 20 years after we made it brought back a wave of nostalgia and makes me miss making these old shot on video films with my friends, as this is the film that really started it all for us. Plus to think I was only 17 years old when we made this film…crazy. The film’s plot is very simple as it just takes a week in the life of a kid who is being bullied and beaten up by his fellow classmates who all seem to just not like him for some reason, and finally on this final week of life all the bad stuff he has gone through piles up and with no help from his parents nor the school he does what he thinks he has to do to end the pain and that’s take his own life. The film is an odd mix of drama, action and even a touch of humor with the end of the film being very downbeat and got the impact we wanted from our fellow classmates. Plus I am a mark for Silent Films and this being a mostly silent film has always made me happy, as our group would not make another silent film until 2002 when we did the Horror Comedy Short “Last Man On Earth”. The “fight” scenes are so cheesy with Bully 3 played by Scott Harmon beating up Matt being one of the worst fight scenes any of us at Independent B Movie has ever been involved with or even shot in our company. I mean it’s super bad, and because it’s so bad, it is fun to laugh at. The true shinning star of this film was Matt Hoffman who plays Matt as he did a great job of allowing his fellow actors to knock him around and even put his heart into the suicide note in the film the he wrote himself, because of this role as well Hoffman would go on to be casted in lead roles in many of our films and would also go on to be a director and script writer. This also was the major jumping off point for Brandon Womeldorff as his editing skills for this time and for his first film edited are solid, and he also showed that he understood how to direct his goofy friends in a serious subject film. The downside is because of being edited on an Avid system and its age, the film is a little bleached out and the whites tend to take over some shots.

Grade: B+

The short film Teen Suicide and Fairmont Productions are two very important creative elements in my life and helped truly lead me down the path of picking up a camera and filming ideas that popped into my mind and lead to many amazing films, shows and skits that I have made over the years. It’s really crazy to think that all of this happened for me by chance as if not for being treated poorly by the school system and placed in the Media class, none of this would have been in my life. I would have never made Teen Suicide as a class project and I would have never met the creative minds and lifelong friends like Matt Hoffman and Brandon Wolmeldorff who both helped birth Independent B Movie along with me as well as Dave Wean, Josh Weinberg and Patrick Neeley. So when writing this update looking back at the short film Teen Suicide, I feel very nostalgic for it and all the creative hard work that little rag tag group of high school students put into it. Below I wanted to share the original VHS tape of this cult classic SOV film and one day soon I hope that Teen Suicide and Suicide 2 will see the light of day again in some home media.

I would like to tell you readers that this is not the last of the films of Independent B Movie that I will be breaking down here on Rotten Ink as sometime in the very near future we will also be talking about the second film I was apart of called “Twisted Batman Theater” as well as a Fairmount Production I helped on called “Cask Of Amontillado”, so make sure to keep your eyes and ears open for that update! And guess what, that Twisted Batman update is next!! So until next update read an indie comic or three, watch a SOV film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a fun time with Batman and Robin in the world of stop motion shot on video films!

SOV Flashbacks Classics – SNIX Series

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! For this update in our countdown to Halloween 2020, I decided to do something a little different and not cover a comic series or even a horror host. Instead, I’ll be covering a shot-on-video horror movie series from the 90’s that was made by James Rolfe, who is better known as The Angry Video Game Nerd!

This series was something James made with friends that ended up growing into something that is very slowly gaining its own cult following and could also be sparking a new generation of indie filmmakers into wanting to make their own films.

James Rolfe started out much like myself as he was a fan of classic old monster movies and enjoyed very much being creative and would do projects with friends or even solo to get it done. When I was a kid, I made my own comic books like Benny The Squirrel, Robo-Raccoon and Miss Freedom, to name a few. At the same time, armed with my tape recorder, I would do my own radio music and dramas as well as comedy skits, mostly about paranormal themes. But one of my biggest outlets for my creative mind was writing short stories, as I would spend so much of my time putting pen to paper and creating characters and the worlds they lived in.

And when I discovered movie making back in 1998, I was hooked on the creative outlet as the films “Teen Suicide” and a short time later “Suicide 2” and “Twisted Batman” were projects my family, friends and I created together and would lead to me making “Werewolf Of Ohio” and “Werewolf Of Ohio 2: 10 Years Before” that would spawn “The Wolf Hunter”, “One Second Too Late”, “Nightmare” and so on over the years! When thinking about Halloween time, I think of backyard shot horror movies that I grew up watching on TV and VHS, like “Trail Of The Werewolf” and “Frankenstein Stalks,” and that’s why I think it’s the perfect time of the year for me to cover the Snix film series and take the Snix Pack Challenge!

For each film, I will write about the plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a report card grade on the classic A-F scale. Now keep in mind, it would not be fair to grade SOV films like you would a big budget Hollywood Movie or even a bigger budget indie feature, that’s why ,much like I do for fan films, I will be grading these on their own scale — a scale of true to life backyard cinema, the true shot on video warriors of the camcorder days. I chose to start my SOV film reviews and topics with the SNIX films because to me it’s clear that James Rolfe had and has a love for making these movies like filmmakers Chris Seaver, Henrique Couto, Matt Hoffman and Dustin Austen, all of whom in my opinion are the godfathers of backyard films for my generation. So if you are ready, let’s see what this James Rolfe horror comedy short series has in store for us this Halloween season.

SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe & Philip Smith     Directed by James Rolfe
1993     Not Rated     12min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Letterbox

Movie: SNIX was killed 3,000 years ago. The evil ghosts he controls are held behind a door, and a young girl sets the spirits free by accident! Two friends Jim and Philip are in the house, and the evil ghosts are targeting Philip as they want him to put on the mask of SNIX so he can live again. The ghosts torment him all around the house to put the mask on…and he does! SNIX has now taken over Philip, and armed with a sword, he starts to stalk Jim all around the house! Jim is able to get the sword and comes up with a plan to take off the mask and try to save Philip, but he must take on the Ghosts who want to protect SNIX. After beating a ghost, he gets a delivery of a special box that takes away all the ghosts by using fear on them. Jim then comes face to mask with SNIX, and he uses the box once more that frees a creepy old man who brings down SNIX. The mask is burned to keep try and stop him once and for all. In the end, Jim cannot help himself and looks in the box himself and passes out from fright.

Thoughts: The first film in the SNIX series is a little rough to get through as it was clearly made by James when he was around 12 years old, and he cast himself and his friend in the lead roles and neither at the time were skilled actors. But to be fair, that cheesy acting is part of the charm of shot-on-video backyard films. The plot is simple: a young girl unleashes ghosts in a house by opening a closet door. The ghosts use their haunting powers along with the mask of SNIX to get one of the two young boys in the house to wear it, and when he does, he becomes SNIX and it’s up to the other to stop the evil again. SNIX spends most of the film as just the mask and demanding to be put on. Once he becomes whole again, he is defeated by the creepy old man (that is really just art pages from a kid’s book done with voice over) pretty quickly and his cursed masked is burnt up. SNIX is not a major threat nor are his ghost minions that are running wild through the house. Jim is our hero and armed with a sword and a magical box that just so happened to be delivered as he runs around his house kicking supernatural butt! Some of the fun parts of this film are when you can clearly see parents in the background and they are just going about their normal day as James and his friends are running around with a plastic sword and a mask made from construction paper. The film is bloodless, as to be expected from a film made by a 12 year old with a zero dollar budget, and of course the plot is not great but shows lots of creativity from James as the essential elements of a spooky story are there. Like everyone’s early films, it just sometimes gets jumbled. This is a good start for the series as it’s clear that it will only go up from here. One other thing about this first film is that it goes from Letterbox to Full Frame from scene to scene!

Grade: C-

SNIX: The Return
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk     Directed by James Rolfe
1996     Not Rated     21min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Three years later, Jim is at his house telling his friend about the mask of SNIX and how Philip put the mask on and was brought down by the old man’s box of fear. SNIX’s mask has returned and is now trying to get Jim to put it on as he wants to be reborn again! Jim tries his best to get his friend to see the mask, but every time the friend looks, it disappears. When Jim is finally able to pick it up, he makes the mistake of putting it on and goes after his friend who tries to fight for his life….but the mask jumps to the friend as he wants his revenge on Jim for defeating him three years ago and chases him around the neighborhood. Jim uses a small stick to beat down SNIX and escapes, but once inside his locked basement the ghosts show back up as does the creepy old man who informs him that he cannot defeat SNIX alone and that they are related and together they can bring down SNIX with the Box of Fear and luck. He once more captures the ghosts and uses the sword on the mask and removes it from his friend, throwing the mask out the window. Then they bury it for good measure, this time hoping SNIX will stay dead.

Thoughts: The second film in the SNIX series plays up the comedy and has the mask playing mind games against Jim before taking over his new friend and trying to kill Jim. This time around, Jim is a little older and a tad wiser, and armed with his Box Of Fear, he once more captures the ghosts and uses the sword to bring down the evil of SNIX. Jim is a hero much like Ash from the Evil Dead series as he doesn’t want to be the hero of the day and thus far seems to fall backwards into defeating the evil mask and his ghost minions. Jim also seems at to be bad luck for anyone that he is friends with as two times now his friends get possessed by SNIX and they are lost to evil. They also add a new plot twist as The Old Man with the Box of Fear is related to Jim and in fact is the one who claims to have brought the evil SNIX down those thousands of years ago. SNIX in this one is just the mask for large parts of the movie demanding to be put on and then jumps from Jim to his friend with the goal being to kill Jim! In the host body, SNIX wanders around and tries his best to frighten and scare Jim at every turn. The ghosts are around, but as fast as they show up, they disappear as that weird old man and his box return to help. This sequel does have some blood in it as Jim is cut by his friend with a knife to the arm, showing that the budget must have been a tiny bit higher than zero. It’s also clear that this film is half spoof and half remake of the original film, and from what James has said, he even used the original paper mask for this one. SNIX: The Return is a fun silly watch and even though the picture quality on the DVD-R I have is not great, it was still fun to see how James was growing as a filmmaker and how the legend of SNIX was growing. And keep in mind James made this film when he was only 15 years old, so I have to give him props for pulling it off as it’s hard to make a solid horror comedy.

Grade: C-

SNIX: Again
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk     Directed by James Rolfe
1997     Not Rated     22min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: In 1693, SNIX was a powerful warlock who stole souls and was defeated by a master swordsman who left his body on an island to rot. But SNIX went after the swordsman and caused him to commit suicide in order to save his own soul. That swordsman was Xins, the Old Man with the box of fear, and he is also a spirit that is always in a fight with the evil of SNIX. Jim now understands the true nature of SNIX and the goodness of Xins, and now three months after he buried the mask, he and his friend go back and dig up the SNIX mask and take it back to Jim’s home. Once more the mask tries to force its way onto Jim’s head but fails as Jim places it into his fireplace and before he sets it ablaze, a creep headless body appears and saves it, knocking Jim out in the process. Jim calls his friend over and when he arrives, he is chased around the house by SNIX who is holding a plunger as a weapon. The young man fights for his life against the possessed Jim who was forced to wear the SNIX mask. In the end, the young man leads SNIX into the woods and is able to help Jim get the mask off, and this time around they flush the mask down the toilet….ending his rampage for now.

Thoughts: The third film in the shot-on-video cult classic series brings the true history of SNIX to light and highlights that three thousand years ago he was indeed a true force of evil and something to be truly feared and then goes into the fact that SNIX is back again only three months after we last saw him! This time around Jim understands the true evil nature of SNIX and is coming to grips that the Creepy Old Man named Xins, the keeper of the Box Of Fear, is one of his past relatives, but he still makes a dumb move when he digs up the mask with the idea to burn it again, only to find himself possessed by it and on a rampage to get his friend! The friend is the true hero of this story as he out smarts the possessed Jim and is able to get the mask off him, and together they flush the sucker. SNIX is now shown to also have a headless body wandering around who for some reason has a sock for a hand. It makes you wonder what will happen when, in a future sequel, the two will come back together. This sequel is clearly scripted, as James has stated. and this helps give the film a little structure and takes away some of the more odd moments the other films had. The downside to this sequel is that Jim’s motivation does not make sense at times, and while I can forgive it, I still have to point it out, as this is something that so many shot-on-video film heroes do…mine included. The film is bloodless and once more plays up some humor, much of which has a Scooby-Doo feel to it. This film has a cool animated opening, and I really do like that they dive deep into SNIX’s back story as up to this point it was kind of lost in the shuffle of the series as he had no real backstory. When this one was made, James was 16 years old showing that being creative really was in his blood. While not an amazing SOV film, it is a quick fun entertaining one that adds a little more legacy to SNIX and his cult character status.

Grade: C+

The Rotten Corpse Of SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk     Directed by James Rolfe
1998     Not Rated     21min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Three days after being flushed down the toilet, SNIXS returns. His headless corpse is still wandering around preparing for something big and that’s to bring the mask back. Now SNIX is whole and looking for revenge! Jim is once again on the run as SNIX goes after his friend with murder on his mind. Jim goes to the Temple of Xins and chats with Xins and learns that the Box Of Fear has been stolen and that Jim is the chosen one to kill SNIX and is given a special sword to do so. All the while, SNIX chases Jim’s friend all around town and before he can kill him, Jim shows up with his new sword and has an epic sword fight with SNIX that leaves the warlock decapitated and his rotten body thrown from a window. Jim takes the mask, and this time places it on train tracks where its run over!

Thoughts: The fourth film is the SNIX series is lots of fun and has the evil warlock monster SNIX becoming whole and targeting Jim and his pal who have defeated him movie after movie! In this film Jim finally gets that he is in fact the only person that can bring SNIX dow, and he now has no fear of the evil warlock and uses his gifted sword to bring the monster down. That’s the one thing about the Jim character at this point, he really has grown from being a scared kid to a sword-swinging hero who is more annoyed that the evil mask keeps returning. His friend in this movie also gets a name, Brian, and this time around he is a major target of SNIX who seems to get enjoyment chasing him all around town with the goal being to catch him and choke the life out of him! Xins himself makes an appearance in the film and is no longer just pictures from a book, but is a costume that glows, and he sadly loses his Box Of Fear (that is used to bring the mask back from the toilet) and passes down his very own sword to Jim that was used to kill SNIX some three thousand years ago. I like the outfit for Xins way more than the pictures as the character now comes off more ghostly. Our ever-returning villain SNIX becomes whole in this film and is filled with mischief and rage as he once more targets Jim and Brian. This time around he even uses a sword with the goal to chop up Jim. But as always, he is defeated, and this time around his mask is run over by a train that shreds it into pieces. I like SNIX’s look in this film as he has a real video game island bad guy look to him. The film has a little blood that is used in the sword fight between Jim and SNIX, and James Rolfe said that at the time this was the longest film for him to make as it took 10 months due to actor schedules. The Rotten Corpse Of SNIX is a great cheesy shot-on-video film that really does capture the fun nature of backyard filmmaking and is one that I think fans of this micro genre of horror should check out. It’s the best in the series this far. I should note that James was 17 when he made this entry in the long running series.

Grade: B+

The Possessed Mask Of SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe      Directed by James Rolfe
1998     Not Rated     13min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame 

Movie: Only three hours after destroying the SNIX mask again, Jim returns home to find the mask of SNIX in his fridge wanting to be put on! He tapes the fridge shut, but the mask once more follows him around the house asking to be put on as Jim is quickly losing his cool and is getting mad as he wants to be done with this evil curse once and for all. The SNIX Mask tricks his way on to his head for a moment, but a quick fall from a chair knocks it loose and Jim this time throws it outside and looks at the mask via the basement window, that is until the mask returns inside again only to be washed in the washing machine. Xins appears and tells Jim that he needs to really stop SNIX once and for all and that the Box Of Fear is still in Jim’s bathroom. He warns him the scariest thing in the world is still in the box. Jim then comes face to mask with the mask of SNIX, and this time after a quick chase and lots of beating the heck out of the mask, Jim thinks he ends the terror burning him up in the fireplace. But as the mask burns, SNIX warns him that he does not need the mask; all he really needs is something to possess!

Thoughts: We are five movies into the SNIX series, and this time around it’s just a showdown between Jim and the mask of SNIX who really wants to be put on and restart his reign of stealing souls. But it’s clear by this fifth film that Jim has really had enough of SNIX and wants to figure out how to stop its curse once and for all, and does what he can to ignore the mask while thinking about what he can do to kill it or at least get it to leave him alone. The ghost of Xins is hanging out in Jim’s basement. He also seems like he wants the curse of SNIX to end and tells Jim that he is the key to stop him. I like how they say all the ghosts are taken care of as they got flushed down the toilet to get the mask back and then Xins captured them all again. One odd thing is they call The Box Of Fear the Box Of Horror in this sequel. The Mask of SNIX also comes off like he just wants to be such a pain in the ass to Jim and is taking pleasure annoying him throughout his life. I also think that when he is set on fire, he knows that this will not end him, and in fact I think this allows his evil spirit to travel beyond just the mask…just a vibe I was getting. The pacing of this film is super fast and is clearly just a sequel that is used to help build up to the final film in the series. This one has zero blood and showcases what James at age 17 could pull off just by himself with some assistance from his family. While not as good as the previous film in the series, this one is a good chapter to build up the world of SNIX and shows that he is angry and wants his revenge on Xins’ bloodline and the world.

Grade: B-

The Banishing Of Evil Spirit Of SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk          Directed by James Rolfe
1998     Not Rated     14min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Widescreen

Movie: Only three minutes after being set on fire, SNIX is back again and Jim makes a quick phone call to Brian to get over to his house. He calls his pal Joe as well to come over to help bring down SNIX…you see Jim is calling in all his pals to help in this fight! But sadly as his friends rush to get to him, the evil spirit of SNIX starts to possess Jim who now becomes the one and only SNIX! Joe is being targeted as SNIX’s next victim as Brian runs home swearing to never visit Jim again.. With the voice of Xins guiding him, Joe gets the Box of Fear and uses it against the evil warlock to knock him away and then beats the possessed Jim with a gold club till he is out cold. As Joe sits on the couch tired from the battle, the spirit of SNIX enters the TV and threatens the world that he cannot be stopped! While SNIX is in the TV, the spirit of Xins appears and uses all his energy to take him and SNIX to the spirit world, ending the evil Warlock’s reign of terror. Jim wakes up, and he and Joe look into the Box Of Fear and find it to be empty as whatever terrible thing that was inside was flushed down the toilet by the body of SNIX when he used the ghosts inside the box to get the mask. In the end Jim walks down the road knowing that he and his friends stopped the evil right there in New Jersey and that the rest of the world will never know about the horrors that could have been unleashed on them all.

Thoughts: The sixth and final film in the SNIX series is a clear love letter to the character that James created when he was only 12 years old and was a way to tie all the movies together as well as finally bring it all to an end. This time around SNIX enters the body of Jim and turns him into SNIX himself. He wants to kill Joe who is a friend of Jim’s and sadly was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But as always, the power of good brings down evil as Xins’ ghost comes to the aid of the young men and rids the world of SNIX once and for all. In this movie Jim knows that SNIX will return in three minutes and does what he thinks is right and that’s bring in his friends to help, and then for most of the movie he himself becomes the snarling evil SNIX! That’s right, think Ash from Evil Dead II when he is possessed and that’s what happens to Jim until he is beaten down with a golf club and has his soul saved by Xins. Throughout this series Jim has faced the evil of SNIX six times and has been a hero and a victim as well has grown into the savior the world didn’t even know it needed. Philip, Brian and Joe are the friends who sadly get caught up in all this madness just because they are friends with Jim and each has changed in some ways with Philip getting the worst of it as once he is possessed, he disappears never to be seen again! Brian has battled, been chased and almost killed by SNIX, and by the end of the series it’s made clear that I think he is done hanging out with Jim ever again. And Joe is just a poor young man who got sucked into the madness after he saw Jim throw the body of SNIX out the window in the fourth movie, and he has to become a hero himself. The ghost of Xins is the story’s real main hero as over three thousand years ago he took SNIX for the first time, and in this final film he is the one that takes him away again. I have to stress I like the glow in the dark/black light costume better then the art from the book version of Xins. SNIX goes from just a haunted mask to possessing people to even finding his old rotten body and wanting to come back to rule the land so badly. The only thing in his way is kids that ruin his plans, resurrection after resurrection! And while he is a soul eating, master of ghosts, he still is a very playful and goofy villain who talks like a cartoon bad guy and even does weird little dances. When he takes his mask off, I love the fact he looks like a stranger version of B-Actor Tor Johnson, fun stuff. While the final film in the SNIX series is not prefect, it still was a great fitting ending to a film series that meant something to James and his friends when they made it.

Grade: B

The SNIX film series is a great look at the beginning days of James Rolfe and his Cinemassacre Productions and is a great tool for inspiring filmmakers to watch as each film shows how James grew as a filmmaker, from his camera angels to his scripts. And now he is one of the best YouTube celebrities going. It’s also a great time capsule of the golden days of home camcorders as well as New Jersey from the eyes of young kids during the 90’s. Plus each of these movies have vintage intros to them done by James that give you a little more insight to each film and the motivation of its creation. I love hearing how he used two VCR’s to edit the films as that was the same way my brother edited his first film, Twisted Batman. Plus hearing that he also used in-camera cuts to edit parts of the film reminds me of some of my early days making backyard films. As of this update, it’s been about 22 years since the final SNIX movie was made, and while I am sure James and his crew will never make another, I for one would love to see him make one last film in the series and use all the knowledge and resources he has now to make one last epic SNIX flick…I mean come on, James could play Jim again and imagine roles for Mike Matei, Justin Silverman, Kieran and Tony from Hack The Movies as they all run away from the evil SNIX…just saying, you know you all would watch it. Honestly, it would also be lots of fun to do a SNIX comic book mini series at Blood Scream Comics as the character should live on and entertain the masses again. Over all while the SNIX films are not prefect, I will say that they are entertaining and show that all creative minds started somewhere.

I hope you enjoyed this update about this shot-on-video movie series as I had lots of fun working on it. I have been thinking about covering more movies here on Rotten Ink, and I am looking at covering films from the following genres: martial arts, sword and sandal, fantasy, westerns, indie horror, Mexican horror as well as, of course, more shot-on-video. And don’t forget, I will still be also looking at fan-made horror films. Plus, I will also be taking a look at talk shows that I grew up watching when I was a kid as seen on my Talk Back update that was about Morton Downey Jr. talking about slasher films that will be joining the ranks of Made For TV Movies and Specials! And I will always have a place for horror hosts as they are some of my most favorite updates to write for my blog. And do not get worried as comic book reviews are still my bread and butter, and they are and will always be the main focus of Rotten Ink as they are what sparked the blog and have kept me writing this long!

So as you can see, lots of great write-ups are coming your way in the next few years, and I truly hope you enjoy reading these updates as much as I enjoy writing them. For our next update, we are walking away from the world of SOV Films and will be heading to The Colony, a nice resort in the middle of the woods and tonight it’s supposed to be a full moon….so you know that the werewolves will be Howling! That’s right, we will be taking a look at the 1981 film The Howling and the Space Goat comic mini series based around it. So until next time, read an indie comic or three, watch a shot-on-video flick or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. See you next update for some quality time with Marsha Quist.

Talk Back: The Morton Downey Jr. Show – Slasher Films

In the 1980’s talk shows, both daytime and nighttime, were all the rage as names like Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, Arsenio Hall, David Letterman, Johnny Carson and Oprah Winfrey all hosted must-watch shows TV for viewers. Each covered topics that the masses cared about like celebrities, racism, devil worship, gay rights, wrestling, scandals, horror movies, heavy metal music, teens dressing weird, serial killers and everything in-between. While thinking of what kind of subjects I wanted to cover for my Made For TV updates, I knew that late night and day time talk show episodes had to be talked about as they were shows I grew up watching and have good memories of some of the over the top topics! When selecting the first talk show host and episode to showcase, many came to mind and Geraldo Rivera was always in the lead as his show was always my favorite and some of his episodes are ones that are blog worthy for sure! But I made the choice to cover an episode of The Morton Downey Jr. Show as I really think he was the true start of trash TV when it comes to talk shows and was Jerry Springer long before over the top antics and overly sleazy TV was cool. So for my first every “Talk Back” update here at Rotten Ink, I have decided to cover a Morton Downey Jr. Show that I feel captures the true nature of the show as well is a topic I am interested in back then and still am now and that’s Slasher Films! That’s right the topic, I will be covering is about the 80’s boom of Horror Films that not only flooded theaters but also the video store shelves. So this will not only be my first Talk Back update but will also be my first update in my countdown to Halloween! So let’s sit back and Zip It with this first update in my Talk Back theme.

Sean Morton Downey was born on December 9, 1932 in Los Angeles, California to parents Morton Downey who was a popular singer in the 1920’s-1930’s, who was given the nickname The Irish Nightingale, and mother Barbara Bennett who was an actress known for her roles in films like Black Jack from 1927 and Syncopation from 1929. Downey was raised rich and lived a good life even attending college at New York University. In the 1950’s he started work in radio, first as an announcer and program director and then became a disc jokey where he started perfecting his snarky attitude and take no prisoners rants. Around this time as well Downey tried his hand at becoming a singer songwriter and recorded such songs as Green Eyed Girl that charted on Billboard reaching # 95! While he was not a popular singer, he was a solid one that showed he did get some of his father’s talent.

Downey was a loose cannon, and by the mid 80’s he had been fired by and avoided by radio stations. Also in 1980 Downey made a bid for the President as a Democrat; he was not selected but he did stay active in politics for a short time hosting Pro Life rallies. In 1987, Downey decided to try his hand at TV and started a show called the “Morton Downey Jr. Show” that started on local New York/New Jersey station WWOR-TV and by 1988, the show went into syndication and became a very controversial late night talk show, and made the phrase “Zip It” popular in the vernacular of viewers.

His rise came fast and hard, as viewers seemed to not be able to get enough of his in your face style of talk show hosting and this lead to him getting appearances on TV Shows and even Movies…and even more crazy is the fact that his own peers in the world of Talk Shows seemed to be puzzled to why people enjoyed his show. On his show, Downey covered all types of taboo topics of the time, and he played two sides against each other and would be rude to everyone by playing devil’s advocate during most shows. But because of his type of hosting, many stations got worried about airing the show and sponsors as well were reluctant to advertise during it…and this was the beginning of the end for it! In 1989, Morton Downey Jr. also recorded another album this time based around his show, during that same year Downey was “attacked” in the bathroom at the San Francisco International Airport by neo-nazi’s who held him down tried to shave his head and painted a swastika on his face….this was looked at as a fake incident that Downey fabricated in order to help his falling ratings.

On September 15, 1989 the show came to an end and as fast as he rose to power, he just as fast crashed and burned. After the show was gone and his star fading, he filed for bankruptcy in 1990, but still took small roles in films like Revenge Of The Nerds III, Body Chemistry II and Meet Wally Sparks to name a few. Things got worse for Downey as in 1996 he was diagnosed with lung cancer from years of chain smoking, and this made the pro smoker change his stance on cigarettes and he spent years trying his best to warn others of its dangers. But sadly on March 12, 2001 Morton Downey Jr. passed away from pneumonia and lung cancer. While in modern times Morton Downey Jr. and his show are almost forgotten, his legacy of “take no crap” hosting style lives on with shows like Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos. Plus for those readers who want to know more about Morton Downey Jr., there have been books written by him as well as a documentary movie made about his life, so check those out as well.

Growing up I can remember the craziness that was The Morton Downey Jr. Show as my parents disliked him lots. I can remember my Mom always saying that he was a jerk to his guests and that she didn’t understand why people watched his show…this of course made me and my brother more curious about it and even made us watch a few episodes from time to time. I can also remember him being parodied in MAD and Cracked Magazine. But for me the main reason I knew who Morton Downey Jr. was came from WWF WrestleMania V that took place in 1989 when the loud mouth Downey Jr. came face to face with Rowdy Roddy Piper on the set of Piper’s Pit! In this segment while Piper tried to interview Downey kept smarting off and blowing cigarette smoke into the face of the wrestler, and finally Piper asks for a cigarette of his own and when Downey is lighting it up, Piper gets a fire extinguisher and blasts Downey several times in the face with it! As Downey flops around on the mat, Piper seems to be enjoying himself. This was 100% classic old school WWF wrestling and showcased that Roddy Piper was the man when it came to putting celebrities in their places when they entered the squared circle. I also growing up enjoyed Morton Downey Jr. as Tony Pope a loud mouth journalist in the 1990 Sci-Fi/Horror Movie Predator 2, and this role was perfect for him!

One thing about Morton Downey Jr. is the fact he loved drama and pushing boundaries as well as pushing the buttons of guests and viewers. And many of these style episodes will be the ones we will cover here on my “Talk Back” update and the one I choose to start with is the episode were Morton Downey Jr. talks about Slasher Films and their impact on viewers. So I am not going to give this Talk Show a star rating nor a grade, but instead I am going to just break down the episode from commercial break to commercial break and discuss the topic and mood of the guests and audience on hand. I want to thank my brother Bryan for getting me this copy of the show for this update, and now I must Zip It so we can get to this classic episode of the Morton Downey Jr. Show.

Morton Downey Jr. Show: Slasher Films
With: Michael Berryman & Rick Sullivan       Topic: Movie Violence     1989

Morton Downey Jr. starts the episode off wearing a Freddy Kruger glove and mask and tells the viewers about how Horror Movies are super popular, and then asks the question if they know what kind of films their kids are renting from the local video store…he then says Slasher Horror Movies are the night’s topic and we are treated to his overly cheesy theme song as well as the amazing graphics of him that go along with it. The crowd already seems hot and ready for some arguments and extreme debates.

Morton starts off with his big white teethed grin and pulls out his pack of cigarettes and warns parents that in this episode they will be showing clips from slasher films, and warns that some of the weaker stomached viewers may puke! He then introduces us to his first two guests, John Anastasio, a film critic, and Rick Sullivan, who works for Gore Gazette and claims slasher films are “Cotton Candy For The Mind.” After asking Rick a question, Morton quickly cuts him off to show a clip of “Last House On The Left” by Wes Craven, and then asks Rick what he finds so sweet about the clip that showed a young woman being stabbed. Rick takes up for the film and says that most viewers go to see the state of the art effects, and to watch the villains get theirs in the end when John adds his two cents in claiming that all the viewers really go to these movies for is the blood and gore that rots the viewers’ minds and hearts, and the crowd goes crazy cheering him on.

Morton then asks the question that while kids cannot see these films in theaters, they can however rent them from Video Rental Stores, and both Rick and John agree that the same rules should be held at both to not allow kids to view these films without a parent’s permission, But then John turns it around to that no one should watch these films all the while Morton is making jokes about his ex-girlfriend and then asks Rick about Good beating Evil in these films. Rick says that everyone knows in the last reel good will win and that kids love these films because people like John tell them not to, and compares it to Rock N Roll Music.

Morton then brings out an issue of Rick’s magazine with a graphic image on the front and John spins it around to his other issue with Slasher films being the sex and degrading nature of women in the films. Morton stands up for the magazine and Horror when he claims there is nothing sexual about the image on the cover! Morton then asks if films like Cannibal Holocaust should be used to teach people about good and evil, and John says no movies like the Star Wars Trilogy and Universal Monster Movies Dracula and Frankenstein should be uses as it shows good beating evil without blood and extreme violence, Morton says to him in Frankenstein good did not prevail over evil as you are set as the viewer to feel bad for The Monster. And with that Morton brings in our first commercial break.

I must say that in this first segment I am shocked about how Morton does a great job of being down the middle for the most part, but does seem to be more on the side of the Slasher films as he points out more of what he dislikes about what John is saying as he comes off really bad as a snotty film critic who thinks his opinion is what matters. Meanwhile Rick Sullivan is pretty well spoken and is clearly a true fan of Horror Movies as he is ready to debate to stand up for the genre he loves. The crowd is also mixed, but so far seems to be more on the side of John thinking these films are trash cinema, with only a small amount cheering for the Slasher flicks…in fact, the crowd while cheering at times are pretty tame for now with only a few outburst of laughing at the guests. So far I would say the mood is pretty tame and Morton is doing a great job of keeping the topic fast paced and entertaining.

When back from the commercial the crowd is yelling and cheering as Morton next welcomes actor Michael Berryman to the show who is the star of films like The Hills Have Eyes, and they show a clip from the film. Also on stage is Feminist Paige Mellish who is against pornography and claims that Slasher Films have studies done about them that prove men want to attack women more after watching them. The crowd does not like her statements.

Michael comes back and says that if people find the sick actions of what happens in horror movies sexual then they are unbalanced people, and he does not make films that promote that kind of thoughts. The Crowd loves what Michael says and he gets a loud cheer and a few laughs at his jokes about dates jumping into your arms during Horror Movies in the theater. Paige then comes back and claims that all the violence in these films is sexualized and says a quote from serial killer Ted Bundy and the link of sex and violence before he was “killed” when Morton says he was not killed, he was executed and goes on to call Bundy a liar and slime!

Paige is un-phased and sticks by the statement that Horror Movies and violence toward women go hand and hand, Rick is asked if Slasher Films and his Magazine are pornographic and he says they are not, when John points out the Gore Gazette code that links some sex to the films…Rick claims it’s taken out of context. Because of this Rick and John start to go back and fourth over the topic, and Michael chimes in that even TV Shows have rotten moments and Morton once more cuts a joke acting like the actor was going to say his show, as Rick and John still go back and fourth with John saying his magazine is garbage!

Morton comes into the argument and says the magazine is sold to 17 and up, and they are adults and no one needs to be their censors, when Paige chimes in that its adult males that attack women when Morton brings up a case of a woman who was attacked an put into a coma by teenagers in New York. Paige agrees but goes back to saying men who watch horror attack women, and Morton cuts her off and takes us to our next commercial break.

Once more I will have to say Morton does a pretty good job of walking the line between the two sides, but it is clear he sides slightly more with the Slasher fans as he hates the fact John is talking censorship and Paige is on a role that all horror is porno! Plus I love how Morton gets worked up over Ted Bundy and runs the psycho’s name through he mud and back again. Michael Berryman comes of well spoken and funny, as Paige Mellish seems really hung up on the “facts” that horror and adult films and crime go hand and hand, and that’s crazy talk. I think Paige really chose the wrong talk show to get her message out as the crowd does not like what she is saying nor does the host. Watching Rick and John go back and fourth is lots of fun, and I almost wish it would have gone on longer as John clearly was getting annoyed as he sunk so low to trash another guests magazine. The crowd is having a blast with this topic as they seem to be laughing, cheering and booing all the while with grins on their faces, so far a solid episode for Morton as he is handling the topic at hand really well.

Morton comes back and welcomes guest Doug Harpool, a representative from Missouri who wants to pass a law that makes it illegal to rent rated R movies to minors and talks about how he heard about a 12 year old and his friends renting Slasher movies from the video store and his parents being so upset about it.

His next new guest is Tony Timpone of Fangoria Magazine who says to him the government should not be stepping in and saying what kids can and can’t watch as the video store should regulate themselves and not be forced by the government. Morton says that Video Stores will not do that as he compares it to the lewd acts that happen at adult video stores and says the regulation needs to happen with the people who make the movies, and Tony disagrees and says it should be up to the person if they want to watch the movie or not, and that parents should be the ones who step in with their own kids and decide if they should be watching the movie or not. Morton mocks him for this statement and acts like parents cannot be everywhere to look into everything that their kids like or want to do, and before Tony can respond, the crowd cheers for Morton’s snarky response.

Paige quickly jumps in with a law that was being drawn up that is about if victims of a terrible crime can prove that a film is what caused the crime, the company who put out the film can be sued. Morton laughs that off and says the it would never pass the Supreme Court, and many of the guest get riled up over this as both sides clash. Doug Harpool takes up for his bill and says the government has had to step in on many issues when it comes to what kids can read and watch and that times are hard as many families have both parents working, leaving kids alone to make decisions. As Paige talks more about adult males hurting women, Tony screams about kids liking Horror Movies! John chimes in after Morton asks him about if he caught his child watching “I Spit On Your Grave” about how he would react, and Michael Berryman chimes right in with you need to talk with your kid and about it!

John then admits he has never even watched a full Slasher film from start to finish, and Rick lets him have it.  Paige once more starts in on adult men watching these films and attacking women and her study facts, and Morton once more just goes past her claims. Doug Harpool talks about the laws on what type of films would be off the books for kids from the Horror genre and says his bill would not block kids from seeing Slasher films – they could with a parent renting it for them.

John does not like what he hears and starts to go after Morton for saying that parents cannot always see what their kids are watching, as Morton once more says how can they when many worth 10-12 hours a day and that both parents have to work now because of mistakes of the government. John says it’s a matter of money or being there to make sure your kids grow up right. Paige starts on adult males and Ted Bundy talk again when Rick screams “Oh come off it with The Ted Bundy…are you in love with him or something?” And Morton takes us to the next commercial break.

This part of the show is a little more heated as I think Rick and Tony are very much sick of the Slasher film bashing. John clearly has zero clue on what he is protesting and Doug Harpool and Michael Berryman chime in when needed as Paige just babbles about Ted Bundy and crimes done by adult males. At this point of the show it’s also more clear that Morton is stirring the pot and getting both sides worked up against each other and playing up to his audience. And it’s clear both sides of the argument are just ignoring the words of Paige who almost seems like a broken record at this point. The crowd was loving all the back and fourth, and this segment showcases the true nature of Talk Shows being trash TV, and it’s amazing.

Morton welcomes us back, and he has a new guest filmmaker Dave Juskow, who made the indie Cannibal Slasher Musical film “Splatter Girls.” They show a clip, but not before Morton takes a few shots at the film and its production. After the clip the crowd boos, as they clearly did not like what they saw and some shout that it was stupid as Paige enters the talk and brings up more violence against women as Dave looks annoyed.

Morton asks an audience member what she would do if her kid brought Splatter Girls home, and she responds she would throw it away and Morton once more pokes fun at the film. Tony tries to take up for the film saying its no more violent then a cartoon, as Paige again talks about adult male violence against women and Dave gets worked up and pushes Paige off the microphone. Morton asks why he has an upside down baby for an earring, as Dave and Paige go back and fourth about Horror films and if it pushes toward real life acts of violence against women. Morton once more corrects her and says teens also do bad crimes and Michael Berryman says that people who do these acts should be thrown in jail.

Morton asks would Splatter Girls fit in the bill that Doug Harpool wants to pass about video rentals and he says yes. Tony quickly tries to win the crowd back with a statement about what would you rather have your kids doing smoking crack or watching Horror Movies. The crowd as started to turn on some of the Pro Horror Guests as Dave has come off as a loud mouth wise guy punk. As he starts saying kids should be able to watch these movies with no restrictions, the crowd boos him loudly and Morton asks if kids should be able to watch snuff films or even a fake snuff film? Dave says they should not watch a real one but a fake one is okay. Morton then takes us to a commercial break.

Wow, while Michael Berryman, Tony Timpone and Rick Sullivan have done a good job defending Horror Movies and their fans, indie filmmaker Dave Juskow undid all their hard work by coming off as a cartoon parody of a punk rocker indie horror movie maker with his dumb responses and goofball faces. It feels that Dave’s whole function on being in this episode was so the producers could show a stereotype of what mainstream media and critics thought all horror fans was like. Morton again is clearly just stirring the pot and getting the guests and the crowd to feel more emotions from his questions and the answers given. Poor Paige really is this episode’s punching bag as she has a one-track mind and the crowd and the guests are sick of hearing it. A good segment this was even, if Dave made Splatter fans look like goofs.

With this part of the show, Morton opens up the microphones to his audience and lets them talk about their thoughts on the topic of Slasher Films being a bad influence on those who watch them and kids.

Paige gets into with a guy in the audience about males being the attackers in crimes against females as he points out most crimes against other males are done by males. As a female member of the audience goes off on Dave about him saying that kids should be able to watch any of these types of films. She said when she was twelve she was able to get into an R rated movie at the cinema and she thinks that it was wrong. Tony asks how it affected her and the crowd is getting worked up as all sides are trying to make points and counter points against each other with Morton playing devil’s advocate in the middle. One audience member who is against Slasher films starts to talk about Child’s Play and says that the killer is a little kid with a knife named “Charlie” once more proving that the haters of Horror have never really watched these films and just want to jump on the hater train, and they compare kids with guns to them renting Horror films. The sides are split as Morton goes to our final commercial break.

With the audience now joining the debate the tensions are growing as both sides are super passionate about why they hate or love Slasher films and as always Morton plays both sides as he takes up for them and also trashes them. Both sides make good points and both sides as well make some eye rolling points, with the young woman who was allowed to go into a theater to see an R rated film being very well spoken and a true New Yorker…I think they should have given her a talk show. A very quick portion of this Hot Topic of the 80’s themed show and helped both sides get their message out to home viewers.

Morton ends the show  asking why the side for Slasher films are for it, but before an audience lady answers, she takes a shot at Paige for saying these films are what causes attacks on women, with a gentleman from the none-fans speaking against them as he brings up that kids emulate and look up to what they see on the TV and that kids should not be watching Horror Movies, the Slasher fans saying parents need to teach their kids and make the judgment call on what their kids watch. The sides go back and fourth on kids watching Horror Films, and Morton once more clashes with Dave Juskow who still thinks kids should be able to watch all types of Horror Movies.

In the end Morton takes a shot at Tony Timpone for not wanting ratings on direct to video films and calls him “Uncle Barney” and implies that he would do things with kids before running off and ending the show as the crowd and guests clap and cheer and Tony looks annoyed.

This last segment is pure audience member arguing with audience member with the guests chiming in and Morton lurking around. For me the whole show the Horror Fans make more sense and are correct in that parents should be parents and that not all who enjoy and love these films are weirdos looking to commit crimes against young ladies. I do think Morton Downey Jr. does a great job of handling this topic and while he does take a few shots at the guests who are pro Horror, it’s clear he is more on their side even if its only by a little. The one thing that Morton did that was a cheap shot is the joke he makes about one time Fangoria Magazine worker Tony Timpone as it was uncalled for and then he runs off with the microphone not allowing him to respond as he had to stand their with an annoyed smile on his face as the show ends.

Over all a great episode and one that’s topic is something I am very interested in. Also I really want to say that I am not sure if Dave Juskow was a director and producer of Horror Movies as youcan not find anything about his film Splatter Girls and its very strange they let his clip go on for longer then the others, you almost get a feeling that he and the film could be fake or he maybe he was just a shot on video filmmaker who never made it.

I grew up on watching Horror Movies as the classic Universal Monsters, Godzilla and King Kong were films that I could not get enough of, and thanks to many Horror Hosts like Commander USA and Grampa Munster and shows like USA Up All Night and Saturday Nightmares, I was introduced to so many other types of Horror and Cult Cinema. And with rental stores, the doors to these films opened even wider and helped grow my love for the genre and introduced me to so many Slasher films. And while I have seen films like A Nightmare On Elm Steet, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday The 13th and Trick Or Treat at a young age none edited, I have never had a notion to go out and do a terrible crime. I mean sure, I have had my fair share of fist fights and arguments, but I have never grabbed a rubber mask and a knife and stalk people in the night. And that’s because from a very young age I was taught by my parents that you can not do the things you see in movies or on wrestling to other people as that would hurt someone and was not right…you see, I have fantastic parents who took time with me to shape my creative mind and also really put me on a path to understand the difference between fantasy and reality, right from wrong and respect. I take the stand that if your kid was like me growing up and a monster kid who is into horror movies, let them watch them and teach them they are fantasy and that it’s not ok to mimic what they see in any film, TV or Sports Entertainment! Just my quick two cents on this topic as I for one loved Horror Movies as a kid and still love them to this day.

I hope you enjoyed this first “Talk Back” update as I had a blast writing it, and to be honest I as well hope you enjoyed this format for it as I think this is how these updates will end up looking on future update for Talk Back as well! Plus I feel that Slasher Films on Morton Downey Jr. Show was also a great way to kick off my countdown to Halloween 2020! And I should say with these Talk Back update, we will be covering some very fun stuff like Films, Music, Celebrities and Oddballs but we will also cover topics that are very serious like Murder, Racism, Religion and Politics, so please keep that in mind when our next one goes up in 2021. But for our next update we are walking away from Talk Shows and Slasher films and are heading to the forest that a witch roams around in…but she is not the topic the troll that wonders those woods named Irwin is! That’s right, we will be taking a look at Broom-Hilda’s Own Irwin Troll and the paperback comic made around him. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a Talk Show or two and as always support your local Horror Host. I cannot wait to chat about Irwin Troll, as he is a true icon of classic comic strips.