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Disclaimer

Unless otherwise noted in the post title, these are not
reviews, per se. They are articles for people who have already seen the film or read the book in question--meaning that there will be spoilers. If you're already familiar with the material being covered, or don't mind the plot being spoiled, please read on and leave a comment.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

[Musophobia] eRATicate (2003, Short Film)

"Once upon a time, there was a girl and her rats. The rats were the girl's only friends. They spent every moment together. Until one day, when the girl met a boy. The boy and the rats immediately hated each other. They all yearned for the girl's attention. Soon enough, the girl began to favor the boy. The rats were not pleased. They demanded revenge!"--Official Synopsis
This 2003 short film, clocking in at about 10 minutes, was shot in B&W on 8mm.  It's a silent film, complete with old fashioned intertitles, and the actors over-emote as was the norm in the old days of cinema.  Despite their best efforts, it doesn't look like an old silent film and it doesn't feel like an old silent film. It just feels like a modern film failing in its attempt to appear vintage.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

[Musophobia] Deadly Eyes (1982)

Deadly Eyes - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
Health inspector Kelly Leonard orders a massive quantity of steroid-infused grain to be destroyed after she discovers that it is infested with rats. Perhaps her investigation should have dug a little deeper, because the rats that have been living in and feeding on this grain have grown substantially, and when it is set aflame, they are forced to find a new home in the city.

Apparently city food doesn't offer all the vitamins and nutrients that they require, because they quickly turn their sights on humans, cutting a bloody swathe through the population...or at least a very distinct subsection of the population. It seems that nearly everybody who is being attacked is, in some way, connected to college professor and basketball coach Paul Harris. (No, there's not any sort of reason behind the rats targeting only the professor, his students, and his associates—it is merely a convenience of plot.)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

[Musophobia] Beasts: During Barty's Party (1976)

Beasts - DVD Cover Image
DVD Cover Image
BEASTS was a six-episode British miniseries of sorts that aired on ITV in 1976. None of the episodes were related except in theme, each of them a horror story revolving around a different beast (mostly animal, but in one case man). All six episodes were written by Nigel Kneale, who was probably best known for the various Quartermass television series: THE QUARTERMASS EXPERIMENT (1953), QUARTERMASS II (1955), and QUARTERMASS AND THE PIT (1958-1959). The year prior to BEASTS, he had also written the highly regarded TV movie THE STONE TAPE.

DURING BARTY'S PARTY was the second episode of the series, and originally aired on October 23, 1976.

Monday, December 22, 2014

[Musophobia] Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Water's Edge (1964)

Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Water's Edge - Title Screen
Title Screen
Rusty Connors has been rotting in a jail cell with his bunkmate Mike Krauss for a good couple of years now. With nothing but chatter to keep them entertained, Rusty has heard a great deal about Mike's life on the outside, such as his drop dead gorgeous wife Helen, who has been patiently waiting for his return. Rusty has also learned about the supposed crime that landed Mike in the clink: a payroll heist, from which the stolen money was never recovered, and the subsequent murder of his best friend and partner-in-crime Pete Taylor, whose body was never found. (It almost makes you wonder how they know that a crime had even been committed.) Mike, though, has always claimed that he was innocent. Not that such a declaration is any surprise. Aren't most men in prison "innocent"?

Friday, December 19, 2014

[Musophobia] Ben (1972)

Ben - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
This sequel to WILLARD (1971) pretty much picks up exactly where its predecessor left off. In fact, the opening scenes to BEN are the closing scenes from WILLARD, following which we cut to the crowd gathering outside of Willard's house in the aftermath of the rat attack that left him dead.

Among the curious spectators are Danny Garrison, his older sister Eve, and their mother Beth. They gawk and gape for a bit before Danny is ushered home for his own safety, as he was born with a heart defect and too much excitement can kill him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

[Movie Review] Alien Abduction (2014)

Okay, so it doesn't exactly have an original title, but at least you know precisely what you're in for.
Alien Abduction - Poster Image
The only way that it could be more truthful is if it was called CAMCORDER ALIEN ABDUCTION. Because yes, it's a found footage film.

A family goes camping in the Brown Mountain region of North Carolina, where they experience the (very real) phenomenon of the Brown Mountain Lights...which of course turn out to be alien spacecraft. They run, try to hide, get abducted one-by-one; it's a slasher film without the slashing, basically.

Riley is the young son who does most of the recordings on his camera. He's got autism, and looking at life through the camera lens helps him to cope with everything, no matter how mundane. I'm not sure if this is medically accurate, so to speak, but it sounds legit, and at least the filmmakers bothered to come up with a reason why someone would continue to film while the shit is hitting the fan all around them.

Alien Abduction - The TunnelThere were a few genuinely creepy moments, such as the scene in the tunnel full of mysteriously abandoned cars; and we caught only fleeting glimpses of the aliens, but it was enough to make my hair stand on end. Tack on a couple of jump scares and an amusing backwoods survivalist-type, and it kept me moderately-entertained for the 85 minutes that it graced my TV screen.

The complaints that it didn't bring anything new to the table are accurate. It sticks strictly to the standard tropes and characteristics, never meandering too far from the beaten path. A little additional creativity would have bumped this up a hair beyond "decent", but still, decent ain't terrible, and there are a lot of terrible found footage films. You can put that on your video box.

Alien Abduction - The AbductionIf you're still of an open mind when it comes to found footage films, and you're looking for a little something familiar, you'll likely find a modicum of enjoyment here. If you hate found footage, this certainly isn't going to change your mind—and furthermore, there's a fairly simple solution: JUST STOP WATCHING FOUND FOOTAGE FILMS. Seeing the phrase "This movie sucks, like every other found footage film!" in your assessment doesn't instill much confidence in your objectivity.

Just sayin'. 
—J/Metro

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

[Musophobia] Willard (1971)

Willard - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
Poor put-upon Willard. He wants nothing more than to find a friend in this unfair life, but he just keeps getting dumped on. His boss is too demanding, his invalid mother is overbearing, and the rest of the world just doesn't get him. He's so lonely that it's understandable he would seek companionship wherever he could find it. Most people would buy a dog, but Willard? He adopts a rat.

Well, multiple rats, really. They start off as a handful that he finds in the unkempt backyard, but they multiply quicker than Disney Dalmatians. Before you know it, there are hundreds of them rifling about in the yard, in the cellar, and even in Willard's bedroom. Out of all these squeaky bastards, only two of them really stand out. A stark white one amongst all the grey furs that Willard names Socrates, and a big black one that he calls Ben.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

[Musophobia] Trilogy Of Terror II: The Graveyard Rats (1996)

Trilogy of Terror II: The Graveyard Rats - Promotional Poster
Promotional Poster
The original TRILOGY OF TERROR was a 1975 ABC Movie of the Week from Dan Curtis, who I like to call the dark Aaron Spelling. It was comprised of three segments that were unrelated to each other aside from the fact that each was based on a short story by Richard Matheson, and each starred Karen Black.

In 1996, Curtis returned with this sequel. Once again, there were three segments, but they stemmed from different sources, and Karen Black had been replaced as the star by Lysette Anthony. For our purposes here, we are concerned only with the quirky but ultimately somehow satisfying first segment, “The Graveyard Rats”.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

[Musophobia] Nightmares: Night Of The Rat (1983)

Nightmares: Night of the Rat - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
NIGHTMARES is a 1983 anthology film that began life as a made-for-TV movie, but somewhere along the way, plans changed and it was released theatrically instead. It is comprised of four different segments, but for our purposes here, we are only concerned with the final segment, "Night of the Rat".

The Houston family has a problem. Housewife Claire has been hearing the tell-tale scuttling sounds of rats around the abode lately, and when she mentions calling in an exterminator, her curmudgeonly husband Steven vetoes the idea, insisting on going the alpha male route and capturing the critters himself. He returns home that evening with a few traps, which he places in the attic, and when the married couple's bedtime bickering is interrupted by the distinct snap-and-squeal of success, she forces Steven to get dressed and dispose of the dead rodent in the outside trash immediately.

Friday, December 5, 2014

[Musophobia] Of Unknown Origin (1983)

Of Unknown Origin - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
Bart Hughes is one of many financial big shots that were all the focus of the 1980s, just this side shy of being a yuppie. He and his wife Meg are nearly done remodeling their townhouse, their young son Peter is happy and healthy, and Bart is practically a shoe-in for a big promotion, so all-in-all, life is pretty damn good. Meg and Peter go on vacation with her parents, but Bart has to stay behind for his job. What should have been a fairly relaxing bachelor respite proves to be anything but, beginning practically the moment his family walks out the door.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Headlines: Hobo Stops Begging, Demands Change


This classic headline comes from the 2011 film HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN.  The nameless hobo is tired of the crime that is overrunning his town, so he picks up a shotgun and starts blasting his way into a better future.  Judging from the other headlines on display, he's got his work cut out for him.

--J/Metro

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Short Film: Devil in the Room (2013)

This short documentary from filmmaker Carla Mackinon explores the phenomenon known as sleep paralysis, where one awakens in bed, unable to move, and sometimes feels (or even sees) an alien presence among them. Although this is a real phenomenon, and the film explains it away using science, much of the brief (8 minute) running time is spent detailing the folkloric explanations--which proves much more interesting, anyway.  Accompanied by a great deal of unsettling stop-motion animation, and offering up some genuinely creepy moments, every genre fan should set aside a few moments to give this amazing short a watch.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ephebiphobia Is Now Available To Download...FREE!

The EPHEBIPHOBIA 'Zine is now available to download for absolutely free, simply by clicking HERE!

Ephebiphobia: The Fear of Teenagers
Ephebiphobia: The Fear of Teenagers

Friday, November 28, 2014

[Ephebiphobia] The Last Days Of The World (2011)

The Last Days Of The World - Japanese Theatrical Poster
Japanese Theatrical Poster
Teenager Kanou's life isn't exactly ideal. His father is unemployed and unable to land a new job, his mother is having an affair with another man, and Yumi, the girl he loves, is dating the school bully. He must have something going for him, though, because God appears to him alone to tell him about the impending end of the world. In fact, God wants his help putting a stop to it, by defeating "him" (presumably the antichrist).

Perhaps if God had chosen a more impressive form than a three-inch businessman, Kanou would have listened to his pleas for assistance. Instead, he decides to spend the last remaining days of existence living life however he wants to, no longer kowtowing to societal rules.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

[Movie Review] Deadly Revisions (2013)

Horror scriptwriter Grafton Torn (how's that for a name?) wakes up from a coma with no idea of
DEADLY REVISIONS - Poster Image
what happened to him. In fact, there's a sizable chunk of time prior to the mysterious accident that is either fuzzy or missing all together. When he is released from the hospital, he retires to an unused country home owned by friend and colleague Deter McMannus (Mikhail Blokh) to recuperate.

It's a secluded home, but he's not all together alone. There are some nocturnal deer on the premises, Deter stops by for the occasional visit, and he's frequently accosted by a possessed doll and a disturbed man with a noose—these last two being previous subjects of his horror films. What's real, what's not, what happened to Grafton before, and what's happening to him now? Those are the questions that the film wants you to ask yourself.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Iconography: My Name is Taylor


Today's iconography comes from the classic 1968 film PLANET OF THE APES.  Chuck Heston, sans voice, had to find some way to communicate with his damn dirty ape captors.  This hastily scrawled note was the result.

--J/Metro

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

[Ephebiphobia] Rock 'N' Roll High School (1979)

Rock 'N' Roll High School - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
When severe disciplinarian Evelyn Togar takes over as principal of Vince Lombardi High, she has one goal in mind: whipping the rebellious student body into shape. The method in which she plans to do this is by an outright war on rock music, which, she assures us, has proven dangerous to lab mice during scientific trials. The students aren't so keen on falling into line, though, especially rock fanatic Riff, whose sole ambition in life is writing songs for the Ramones...and basically just rockin' the hell out.

There's something of a romantic subplot involving a love triangle between the teens—Riff's best friend Kate (Dey Young) is crushing on football quarterback Tom (Vincent Van Patten), but Tom only has eyes for Riff—but basically the majority of the film is about rebelling against an oppressive system, scrambling to get to a rock concert, and then combining both into a (literally) explosive finale.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

More reading at WickedHorror

It's a few days old at this point, but I failed to mention it earlier.  I have a new post up over at WickedHorror.com, where I rewatched all four of the SCREAM films back-to-back in order to gear up for the impending MTV television series.

A Viewing Guide to the Scream Franchise.

Also, I seem to be getting a lot of hits on my Top Ten Urban Legends That Should Be Horror Movies, so make with the clickity-clickty and give that a read, too.


Check 'em out!
--J/Metro

Saturday, November 22, 2014

[Ephebiphobia] If.... (1968)

If.... - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
Classes are back in session for the student body of a British boarding school, and that means that the students are going to have to reorient themselves to the strict rules and discipline that go hand-in-hand with attending. Some fall quickly in line, but others are developing something of a rebellious streak.

Chief among the rebellious boys are Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell in his first major film role), Wallace (Richard Warwick) and Johnny (David Wood), all three of them roommates in their junior year. Initially, they act out in the expected ways—drinking, smoking, growing their hair out, and disrespecting authority figures—but as the punishment they are meted out intensifies, so does their behavior.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Headlines: How to be a Crack Whore


Today's headline comes from the 2005 horror flick HELLRAISER 7.  American expat reporter Amy Klein may be known for her hard hitting stories, but it's really her headlines that pull you in.  Dig a little deeper into the article, though, and you find this isn't a step-by-step guide, after all.  What a rip-off!

--J/Metro

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Moon Memories: Child's Play 2 (On Cable)

Right around the time that CHILD'S PLAY 2 was first being shown on cable television, my cousin
Adam was spending the night at my house. After our usual Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figure fights, we settled down to watch Chucky do his thing on TV.

I remember very few moments from this particular viewing, but I do recall Adam's reaction when one of the characters drove into frame in a red car--which I now know to be a 1986 Ford Taurus station wagon.

"Wow!", he shouted, likely spraying sour cream and onion potato chips across the room. "That's a nice car!"

"Uh, yeah," I said outwardly.

But inside, I was thinking, "What an idiot."

--J/Metro

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[Ephebiphobia] Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Memo From Purgatory (1964)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Memo From Purgatory - Title Screen
Title Screen
Aspiring author Jay Shaw wants to write a novel about youth gangs, but he's not content to sit at his desk in the Midwest and hammer out some piece of pulp fiction that draws only on that which he has read about elsewhere. No, Shaw wants to go full gonzo for his art, so he moves to the infamous Red Hook neighborhood of New York, crafts a new identity for himself, and plans to infiltrate a youth gang under the guise of Phil Beldone.

It's not happenstance that Shaw stumbles into the soda shop that the Barons frequent, channeling the raw machismo of Marlon Brando. He had already done his research, and knew exactly where to find them, and who he had to impress when he got there. After a dust-up with prickly members Fish and Candle, Shaw is granted an audience with their fearless leader Tiger. Suitably impressed with the way that Shaw handled himself, Tiger offers him membership into the gang. But before he can earn his Baron jacket, he has to pass a three-step initiation process.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Documentary Review: Killer Legends (2014)

In 2009, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills brought us CROPSEY, a fantastic documentary
Poster Image
that began as an investigation into a local legend and ended up delving into a true murder mystery and examining the treatment of the mentally ill.  In this long-anticipated (and sorely unpublicized) follow-up, Zeman and Mills give similar treatment to urban legends that extend beyond their hometown of Staten Island and into America at large.  Four different legends are explored, uncovering the possible real-life origins of the myths, or at the very least, genuine examples.

The first segment covers the myth of the Hook, in which young people on Lover’s Lane narrowly escape with their lives from an escaped convict with a hook for a hand.  Taken as a warning, this is an early example of the slasher-film trope that sex equals death, but it’s feasible that there is a kernel of truth to the story.  Only a few short years before the legend began making its way across America, the Moonlight Murders rocked the town of Texarkana, Texas.  A masked character known as the Phantom was murdering teenagers found in such locations, a crime spree that would eventually become the basis of the horror film THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (1976) and its 2014 remake.  In what is either a brilliant or tasteless move, the Texarkana Parks & Rec department puts on an annual showing of the original film in the area of the actual crime scenes.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Visit Me at Wicked Horror!

Hello reader!

I just wanted to give you a quick heads up that I have been asked to contribute to up-and-coming website Wicked Horror as a regular writer, so I hope that you will check me out over there.  Flag on the Moon will remain my home, but there's enough genre love in me to spread around.

My first article, A Guide to Robert Bloch's Psycho Trilogy, went live today, so please click HERE to give it a read.

Many thanks!
--J/Metro

Sunday, November 16, 2014

[Ephebiphobia] Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Young One (1957)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Young One - Title Screen
Title Screen
Teenager Janice is tired of living under the old fashioned rules of her stodgy aunt Mae, always dreaming of living a life of luxury and freedom to do whatever she damn well pleases. She has latched onto Stan, wrapping him around her pretty little finger in an attempt to manipulate him into rescuing her. He is only 18, though, unemployed and unable to take her away from this life of doldrums.

Janice decides that she needs an older man, and so in the midst of her date with Stan, she breaks into a swing dance that earns the attention of the much older blue collar bad boy Tex. They have a fantastic bit of give-and-take, and he appears interested in her but ultimately blows her off when she tries to persuade him to run away with her. Rejected, she says she has to return to Stan, who has already stormed off in a huff but is waiting for her outside. How does she know he’s waiting? Because that’s what Stan does. “He always waits."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Unholy Grails: Coffin Joe Comics

I'm of the belief that Coffin Joe is the coolest horror movie villain in existence.  Sure, he's not as well known as Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees, but those who do know him tend to love him. Nowhere, though, is he quite so beloved as he is in his home country of Brazil.

With his black suit, top hat, cape, and obscenely long fingernails, Coffin Joe (played by writer-director Jose Mojica Marins) first appeared in 1963's AT MIDNIGHT I'LL TAKE YOUR SOUL, and went on to appear in THIS NIGHT I'LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1967) and EMBODIMENT OF EVIL (2008).  Although these three films comprise the official Coffin Joe Trilogy, the character appeared in other films of Marins, as well as TV shows.

Only a selection of these appearances are available to the English-speaking world (and, in the case of the TV appearances, some are lost all together).  But what I truly crave is the combination of freakery and geekery that can only be found in the art of the horror comic.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Artwork: Troll Hunter

 

Today's artwork comes from the 2010 film TROLL HUNTER.  These sketches are found in hunter Hans' headquarters, detailing a few of the mythical creatures that he is tracking. Godspeed, Hans!

--J/Metro

Thursday, November 13, 2014

[Ephebiphobia] Village Of The Giants (1965)

Village Of The Giants - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
A group of city kids out looking for kicks wreck their car and have to walk three miles to the nearest town—Hainesville, CA. Their leader Fred (Beau Bridges) makes an executive decision to spend a while checking out the local scene, so they find a crash pad in an abandoned theater.

Meanwhile across town, a young boy known as Genius (Ron Howard) is showing off the formula he created to his older sister Nancy (Charla Doherty) and her boyfriend Mike (Tommy Kirk). The formula, which he dubs Goo, has the power to increase the size of animals roughly six-fold when it is consumed. First a stray cat and then Genius's pet dog are accidentally giantized, and then they feed it to a few ducks, apparently just to be sure that it works. While Mike and Nancy are busy pontificating how to make a quick buck with the Goo (while simultaneously solving the world hunger crisis), the ducks fly away, threatening their plan to keep the Goo a secret until they can file a patent.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

[Movie Review] Starry Eyes (2014)

Theatrical Poster
I've never been to Los Angeles, but from what I understand (based solely on film and television that depicts it, mind you), it is a cold and shallow place. It's a mecca where dreamers go to achieve success, thinking that they will somehow beat the odds and emerge as stars. Nine times out of ten, they are chewed up and spit out by the entertainment machine, a broken and drug-addled mess. If they are lucky, they might land halfheartedly in the porn industry. But if they're really, really lucky, they just might find their big break.

Welcome to La La Land, ladies and gentlemen, where nothing and nobody is what they seem.

Sarah Walker is young and attractive, and while she might appear to be just your average waitress at the local Big Taters establishment (Think a spud-centric Hooters), she's actually—surprise, surprise—an actress just playing the part of potato pusher until she hits the big time. Between auditions and work shifts, she hangs out with a bunch of other struggling Hollywood types (her apartment complex is lousy with them) and attends some pretentious art crowd parties. It's no wonder she's so desperate to make a name for herself, so she can move on to bigger and better things.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reccomended Reads: Five Series All Horror Fans Should Read

Dexter Series by Jeff Lindsay
Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004), Dearly Devoted Dexter (2005), Dexter in the Dark (2007), Dexter by Design (2009), Dexter is Delicious (2010), Double Dexter (2011), Dexter's Final Cut (2013)

If you've only seen the cable television series, you're missing half the fun. Season one followed the plot of the first novel fairly closely, but after that, both mediums ran off in drastically different directions--almost as if they are alternate universe adventures of the same character. In Book Dexter's world, there are serial killer children, mutilated enemy cops, supernatural cults, mad artists, cannibals, and much more to contend with. It may not be the Dexter you know, but any additional tales of a cult favorite anti-hero like this one deserve a fair shake.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Moon Memories: Addams Groove

To coincide with the new big-screen adaptation of cult favorite characters THE ADDAMS FAMILY  in 1991, Hammer (having recently dropped the MC from his name) released the hit single Addams Groove, which appeared not only the film's soundtrack, but also on his new album Too Legit To Quit.

MC Hammer - Addams Groove

I was only 12 years old, and my taste in music obviously hadn't matured much, as I fell in love first with the music video and then with the song itself.  Can you blame me?  Check out these lyrics: 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

[Ephebiphobia] Teenagers From Outer Space (1959)

Teenagers From Outer Space - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
A scouting group of extraterrestrials land on earth to determine if the conditions are suitable to support their primary food source, a mysterious creature called the gargon. When the results come back positive, they plan to leave one gargon behind as a test subject, and return later with the rest of the intergalactic livestock in tow. Sensitive alien Derek realizes that the planet is populated with civilized beings and doesn't want to turn it into a feeding and breeding ground for the lethal gargon. Dubbed a traitor and threatened with torture by the rest of his crew, he flees the scene. Alpha-male Thor is dispatched to capture him while the others return to base.

Derek becomes entwined with the pretty human Betty and her kindhearted Grandfather, accidentally placing them in danger as Thor vaporizes anyone who stands in his way. Derek has to not only stay one step ahead of his pursuer, but also find a way to halt the impending invasion that will leave the planet in decimation...and maybe, just maybe, find love.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Poster Art of Jakub Erol

In recent years, blog posts celebrating foreign editions of popular American movie posters have become rather common.  These alternate versions seem quite alien to our Western eyes, almost as if they had fallen from a different dimension and landed on our doorstep.  One of my favorites has always been this Polish poster for ALIEN, which is as amazing as it is inexplicable.


Turns out that this is from artist Jakub Erol, whose posters are routinely surreal. A quick search at the Movie Poster Database turned up a number of other sterling examples, my favorites of which that I have included here.

Friday, November 7, 2014

[Movie Review] The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

A crew of documentary filmmakers (Michelle Ang, Brett Gentile and Jeremy DeCarlos) looking to make a thesis film on Alzheimer's contacts the Logan family, hoping to document the effects of the disease on both the sufferer and the family. Daughter Sarah (Anne Ramsay) is all for the project, as the stipend they will receive will go a long way towards paying off the increasing medical bills. Mother Deborah (Jill Larson), though, is hesitant, fearful of being exploited. Exploitation is a fine line, though, and she is eventually convinced that their motives are pure. 

The effects of the disease are horrifying and otherworldly in and of themselves, but they are very much grounded in reality. They are captured on film by our documentarians, but eventually symptoms begin to manifest that can't readily be explained by medical texts. It seems that Mrs. Logan—along with the too-protective neighbor Harris (Ryan Cutrona)—has a secret history, and it is finally catching up to her.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Short Film: Red Balloon (2010)

Not to be confused with 1956's THE RED BALLOON, this 2010 short film from directors Damien MacĂ© and Alexis Wajsbrot is something of a twist on the "babysitter-in-danger" subgenre of films.  Julie (the beautiful Rachel Bright) is babysitting young Dorothy (Niamh Palmer Watson), who is having difficulty sleeping.  Julie first assumes that the girl is suffering from nightmares, but as we soon discover...the nightmare is hers.

Clocking in at only 13 minutes, there isn't a lot of time for character development, but the filmmakers still manage to squeeze in an impressive amount of feats.  There is a definite creep factor on display the entire way through, not only through the character interactions but also through some less-noticeable background elements that help to weave the fear into a more complete tapestry (i.e., the news report on television, and the unusual family photo).  There are also some truly fantastic shots, such as when the camera backs through the house, through a glass vase, through the pierced ear of a Buddha statue, through the window, and into the garden before reversing its trajectory and taking us into the upstairs bedroom.

The character design showcased at the end was pretty cool looking, although it was never clearly shown.  It would be an unnecessary move to turn this into a full-length feature as the short pretty much stands on its own, but I would still be in line to see it.  Picture this as an epic pre-credit sequence to a movie that unfolds on a grander scale, and you would probably be in line, too.


RED BALLOON from Alexis Wajsbrot on Vimeo.
--J/Metro

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

[Ephebiphobia] The Beatniks (1960)

The Beatniks - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
Four young hoods in masks get their kicking-around money by knocking over local businesses at gunpoint, while the sole lady of the group waits behind the wheel of their getaway vehicle. After the latest robbery turns up enough scratch for chicken fried steaks at the local diner, Iris (Karen Kadler), drops a couple of shiny nickels in the juke box and pleads to her gang leader boyfriend, "Sing to me, Eddy." Which he does, an interesting little novelty tune with the unforgettable lyrics "Sideburns don't need your sympathy."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

[Movie Review] Fantasm: A Convention Documentary (2013)

Lifelong horror fan Kyle Kuchta attended his first horror convention at age fifteen.  Years later, he returned to the convention circuit with a camera to document the events, and attempt to capture the heart and the spirit of them.  Interviewing fans, stars, filmmakers and merchants alike, he often fails to portray the experience of attending, but it is, at least, an honorable attempt.  The problems with these sorts of documentaries, which rely primarily on “talking head” footage, is that all they do is talk—and it’s exceedingly difficult to capture an experience simply by talking about an experience.  That is something that a good documentary does, but a great documentary will somehow manage to show you.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Artwork: Return to Horror High


Today's artwork comes from 1987's RETURN TO HORROR HIGH.  With the neck of a turtle and the mane of a (red) lion, this mystery man must have had all of the cheerleaders taking numbers to meet him beneath the bleachers.

--J/Metro

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Bedroom of Fright Night's Charley Brewster

I always find it interesting how Hollywood films depict the bedrooms of "average" teenagers.  While watching the original FRIGHT NIGHT (1985) the other day, I was struck by the bizarre combination of things that were packed into Charley Brewster's room, and decided to take a closer look.

Television, always playing horror movies

Saturday, November 1, 2014

AUTOMATONOPHOBIA is now available to download...FREE!

The AUTOMATONOPHOBIA 'zine is now available to download for absolutely free, simply by clicking HERE!

Automatonophobia - Cover Image
Automatonophobia: The Fear of Dummies

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN - From THE ROTARIAN, October 1939

Happy Halloween!

This ends my first full month blogging here at my new home of Flag on the Moon, and tomorrow will see the release of the first issue of the 'Phobia Zine--AUTOMATONOPHOBIA, the Fear of Ventriloquist Dummies--so be sure to swing back around to download your copy.  At my previous blog, a Halloween Blogathon had become something of a tradition...unfortunately, I was too busy getting things set up around here to prepare such an endeavor (there's always next year!).

To the few of you who have been reading my posts, thank you so much.  If you know of anyone else who may be interested in the films that I cover, please send them the link.  I don't want to beg, but... I'm begging you!

Have a boo-tiful day!
--J/Metro

Thursday, October 30, 2014

[Automatonophobia] Tales From The Crypt: The Ventriloquist's Dummy (1990)

Tales From The Crypt: The Ventriloquist's Dummy - Title Screen
Title Screen
Ever since he was a young boy, Billy Goldman has only wanted to be a ventriloquist. On the verge of making his first public appearance, Billy seeks out his hero Mr. Ingles, hoping that the elder ventriloquist will watch his show and offer up some career advice. Ingles is not quite the same man that he used to be, though. After losing his hand in a fire fifteen years ago (a fire that Billy himself witnessed), Ingalls has not been able to perform. He has become a morphine-addicted recluse, fiercely protective of his privacy...and of his dummy Morty.

After some cajoling, Billy convinces Ingles to attend the show, which Billy promptly bombs. Ingles tells him to give up on his dream and find another career path. Dejected, Billy leaves the club and stumbles upon a crime scene. A young woman has been murdered, her corpse doused in gasoline, but her killer was interrupted before he had the chance to set her on fire. Billy, remembering the fire from 15 years ago, somehow deduces that the culprit is none other than his childhood hero. Maybe Billy should have been pursuing a career in law enforcement. Anyway, he confronts Ingles about his crimes, but the ventriloquist insists that it wasn't him...it was Morty. Morty hates women, he shouts, because he's never been able to have one.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Moon Memories: The Crush

THE CRUSH - Movie Poster
When THE CRUSH came out in 1993, I had a pretty big crush myself on that film's Lolita villainess, Alicia Silverstone. I had seen it numerous times between the theater and home video, and when I saw that it was going to be on a cable movie channel one summer while visiting my father, I talked the family into watching it with me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Horror Patents 3: Ventriloquist Dummies

To go along with this month's theme of AUTOMATONOPHOBIA (the fear of ventriloquist dummies, naturally), I thought we would take a look at the inside of these creepy bastards to find out what makes them tick.  As always, outsider art courtesy of Google Patents.
Automatonophobia - Ventriloquist Dummy - Patent Art
Ventriloquist's Doll, 1956

Monday, October 27, 2014

[Automatonophobia] Twilight Zone: Caesar and Me (1964)

Twilight Zone: Caesar and Me - Jonathan West, Ventriloquist Extraordinaire
Jonathan West, Ventriloquist Extraordinaire
Jonathan West is a down-on-his-luck ventriloquist, forced to pawn his personal belongings just to make ends meet. He's got a pretty good act with his dummy Caesar, but there just doesn't seem to be anybody willing to give him a chance. Which is unfortunate, really, because he is rapidly running out of belongings to sell.

Luckily for West, though, his partner in ventriloquism is also his partner in crime. Caesar is not only very much alive, but he's also something of a lowlife. "There's all kinds of ways to get money," Caesar tells him, resembling nothing so much as a Chicagoland thug. From his affected accent to his fedora, suit, and burning cigar, Caesar is pure puppet goodfella.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Iconography: Zombie Blood Nightmare

The Video Dead - Zombie Blood Nightmare

Today's iconography comes from 1987's THE VIDEO DEAD.  The plot revolves around a magical TV of sorts, and the zombies that crawl out from the screen to prey on the suburbs stem from this cheap-movie-within-a-cheap-movie...

ZOMBIE BLOOD NIGHTMARE.

--J/Metro

Saturday, October 25, 2014

[Automatonophobia] Twilight Zone: The Dummy (1962)

Twilight Zone: The Dummy - Jerry & Willie
Jerry & Willie
Jerry Etherson and his dummy Willie are actually quite a talented duo, but their agent Frank is the first to admit that they are stuck performing in smoky nightclubs instead of living it up at the top of the world because of Jerry's demons. He drinks too much, he has been diagnosed by psychiatrists as schizophrenic, and he also believes that Willie is really alive. In Frank's words, Jerry is a "self-indulgent sot with an overactive imagination," and he gives him 24 hours to clean up his act and get his head on straight, or find himself another agent.

For his next performance, Jerry gives Willie the cold shoulder and tries things out with Goofy Goggles, whom Jerry is quick to point out is just a dummy. The performance goes well enough, and so Jerry decides to make a break for it. Willie, though, despite being locked in his trunk, is not going to allow himself to be replaced so easily.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Horror Patents 2: Ouija Boards

With the new OUIJA movie opening today, I thought we'd take a look at some of the real-life devices upon which the movie is based.  As stated in a previous post, the graphics which accompany patent paperwork can easily be viewed as outsider art, and genre fans would be happy to have any of these hanging in their nightmare gallery.  Click on the caption to be taken to the online paperwork, courtesy of Google Patents.

Toy or Game, 1891

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Poster Art of Saul Bass

For my money, two of the most striking movie posters have always been those for Otto Preminger's THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955) and ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959).  Both feature stark colors and a minimalist design that convey not only the basic plot of the film, but the very mood of it as well.  The first shows the perils of heroin addiction, while the second showcases a corpse (which has been cut into seven distinct sections).  Both have obvious similarities, but being for films from the same director within the same era, why wouldn't they?

Saul Bass - The Man with the Golden Arm - Poster Image

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

[Automatonophobia] Making Contact AKA Joey (1985)

Making Contact AKA Joey - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
After the death of his father, young Joey discovers the newfound ability of telekinesis, and furthermore, an unlikely means of communicating with his deceased daddy—via a glowing red toy telephone. A short time later, Joey discovers a creepy ventriloquist dummy in an abandoned house, but the dummy is no mere plaything. It is housing an evil entity with powers similar to, but superior to, Joey's own. Joey has to fend off the evil dummy's increasingly dark magic, as well as the bullying of his peers, in order to save himself, his family, and the entire neighborhood from destruction.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Short Film: Moving Takahashi (2011)

Moving Takahashi - Title Card

Craig, an unscrupulous employee of Takahashi Moving, is planning on taking the belongings from the wealthy family that hired him and selling it all on the black market for a pretty tidy sum.  Things take a turn when Juliana, the petulant daughter, tells him that she has swallowed every pill in the house and will be dead within twenty minutes.  Finding himself in an unexpected situation, Craig has to decide whether or not Juliana's impending demise is his problem.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Recommended Reading: Form-Shattering Fiction Edition

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski - Cover Image

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Probably the most well-known novel to be found on this list, HOUSE OF LEAVES seems to exist in a love-it-or-hate-it universe--there is no middle ground. It's a post-modern haunted house tale with elements of Greek mythology tossed in for good measure. Presented as a scholarly discourse analyzing a documentary film which does not exist, complete with footnotes and endnotes added by multiple sources, comprehensive appendices, stacked narratives, various fonts and colors, and text that weaves itself creatively around the page, this is just as much an art project as anything else. There is so much happening both on and below the surface that I find something new to appreciate every time I read it.