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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

[Aquaphobia] Alligator (1980)

This film opens up at a roadside tourist attraction, where audience members watch in glee and horror as an alligator wrestler is mauled by his reptilian opponent. Amazingly, young Marisa isn't emotionally scarred, and she still talks her mother into purchasing her a baby 'gator which she affectionately names Ramon. Her father is none too thrilled about the new house pet, though, and he flushes it down the toilet as soon as Marisa goes to school the next morning.

Alligator - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
We flash forward twelve years, and homicide detective David Madison is out shopping for a new canine companion. It seems that his last one mysteriously disappeared recently, something that has been occurring around town with a disturbing frequency—or so says sleazy pet shop owner Gutchell.

Another thing happening with disturbing frequency is the appearance of severed human limbs in the sewage treatment plant. That's two cases that Detective Madison finds himself involved in right off the bat—one large, one small—but things being what they are in horror movies, they're actually two parts of a greater whole.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

[Aquaphobia] Piranha 2: The Spawning (1981)

Piranha II: The Spawning - VHS Cover Image
VHS Cover Image
This sequel starts off the way that most great films do—with erectile dysfunction. After a husband can't get sufficiently aroused in the hotel, on the beach, or out at sea, he and his wife don diving gear and attempt to make the Beast With Two Backs on the ocean floor. Unfortunately, their sexual shenanigans land them too close to an old shipwreck, where some decidedly dangerous fish have taken up residence. Before you can say crimson tide, the water is awash with blood and bits.

The next day, would-be-marine-biologist Annie Kimbrough is leading a diving class at the exclusive and all-inclusive Club Elysium, where she works. She forbids her students from venturing into the shipwreck, but there's one rebel in every group, and this one wanders away from the others and enters the forbidden zone. Annie chases after him, only to find his half-eaten corpse.

This attack brings on an investigation by Annie's estranged husband Steve, a local police officer. Knowing her marine life, she is sure that no local animal could have made those bite marks, so she launches an investigation of her own. Tagging along for the ride is one of her students, Tyler Sherman, who knows more than he is letting on.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

[Aquaphobia] Piranha (1978)

Two hiking teenagers stumble upon an abandoned military facility and decide to break in. Upon finding a manmade lake, they do what anybody else would do: immediately strip naked and jump into the murky, stagnant water. Normally, this would be an invitation for a nasty bacterial infection, but as this is a horror movie, it is actually much worse. They are immediately devoured by a school of hungry, genetically-engineered piranha.

Piranha - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
A short time later, skip tracer Maggie McKeown has been dispatched to the area in search of the missing kids. Knowing that their last known whereabouts were along the river, she knocks on the cabin door of local recluse Paul Grogan, who knows nothing but still gets roped into helping. Their investigation leads them to the same military facility, where they drain the lake in search of remains. They don't find any—there isn't anything left to find—but they do learn that when they drained the lake, they accidentally released the piranha into the river. And now the fish are headed for the ocean, devouring everyone who gets in their way.

Monday, January 19, 2015

[Aquaphobia] Orca (1977)

Captain Nolan and his crew are prowling the waters in search of a great white shark to capture and sell to an aquarium, but when this ultimate predator that they are preying upon is attacked and ultimately defeated, they turn their sights on the only creature that could so easily humiliate the great white: the orca...a killer whale.

Orca - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
Nolan later captures a pregnant female orca, but once she is on board, she quickly suffers a miscarriage. Disgusted, Nolan uses a firehose to wash the unformed fetus from the deck, while the male orca watches on in horror. He proceeds to attack the ship, seeking the release of his mate. Fearing for the safety of his crew, Nolan eventually releases her (losing one of his own, Novak, in the process), but it is too late. She dies from trauma and the injuries sustained during capture.

Of all the interesting facts about killer whales that are bandied about in this film, there are two that are most important to the plot. Killer whales are a monogamous species, and they remain with their mate for life. Also, they tend to hold a grudge and have a penchant for seeking revenge.

So when Nolan accidentally brought about the death of the female orca and her unborn child, the surviving whale didn't just lose two members of his species. He lost his entire family. It's no wonder that he took it personally and pursued a vendetta against the captain. Unfortunately for him, Nolan and his crew made it back to shore—though his vessel was more than a little beat up—before vengeance could be taken. The orca then had to begin a systematic method of torment in order to coax Nolan back out to sea.

Friday, January 16, 2015

[Aquaphobia] Humanoids From The Deep (1980)

Humanoids From The Deep - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
In the modest coastal town of Noyo, a small group of fishermen think they've wrangled the catch of the day when they net something of a pretty substantial size. This isn't a school of salmon, though, but rather something else entirely that murders a child when he falls overboard. Sent into a panic, the crew scrambles to help, but a poorly aimed emergency flare ignites a puddle of gasoline on the deck, ensuring that there are no survivors left to tell the tale.

Local tough-but-nice-guy angler and family man Jim Hill witnesses the explosion, and the next morning he and his wife Carol find their dog dead. In fact, a vast majority of the dogs along the shoreline have been killed. The bigoted Slatterly is fairly certain that the Native American Johnny Eagle is to blame, so he kills Eagle's dog in return.

A short time later, horny teenagers Peggy and Jerry are cavorting in the ocean, when Jerry is dragged beneath the surf, half of his face torn away. The monster, who we see clearly for the first time, then abducts Peggy, takes her into the sand dunes, and rapes her.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

[Aquaphobia] Creepshow 2: The Raft (1987)

Creepshow 2 - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
The horror anthology film CREEPSHOW was released in 1982, written by Stephen King and directed by George Romero, with special makeup effects by Tom Savini. With a hard-hitting crew like that, it's no surprise that it quickly became a fan favorite, and CREEPSHOW 2 entered the scene in 1987.

Responsibilities were shifted for this sequel, though. King was responsible for the stories that the segments were based on, but King himself did not write the script. Instead, Romero took on the position of screenwriter and passed directorial duties onto Michael Gornick, who was the cinematographer the first time around. Savini plays "the Creep" in the prologue scene (though, interestingly, he doesn't supply the voice of the same character in the animated bumper sequences), and the special effects were provided by Ed French and Greg Nicotero. It seems as if everyone took a sidestep for this production, which may not have benefited the film as a whole, but at least it works quite well for the second segment, THE RAFT, which is the only one that is important for our purposes here. Moreover, it is the one that most people fondly remember, like the Zuni fetish doll episode of Dan Curtis's TRILOGY OF TERROR.

Friday, January 9, 2015

[Aquaphobia] The Horror Of Party Beach (1964)

Some unscrupulous fellows ditch a barrel of radioactive waste into the ocean, and literally the second it strikes the bottom, it begins to leak its contents. The waste drifts over to a mysterious human skull forgotten on the ocean floor, and the skull begins to regenerate flesh—once again, immediately. No time to waste here, folks! The regeneration process is a painstakingly slow one, though, and looks like a scene from some French surrealist film.

The Horror of Party Beach - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
What eventually emerges is a humanoid monster derived of mutant water plants and decomposed human tissue (or something like that), and where there's one, there's another...and another...and another...

Monday, January 5, 2015

[Aquaphobia] The Beach Girls And The Monster (1965)

Young surfer chick Bunny, who seems slightly preoccupied with feeding sand to her hunky beau, wanders off from the pack and is attacked by a silly looking monster that murders her and then apparently returns to the sea. The next morning, the newspapers carry headlines like SURF BEAUTY CLAWED TO DEATH, and IS SURF KILLER MANIAC OR MONSTER?

The Beach Girls and the Monster - Theatrical Poster
Theatrical Poster
The sheriff isn't too sure, either, so he visits famed oceanographer Otto Lindsay, who posits that it may be the work of a mutated South American Fantigua fish...or one of those no good surfer kids, who he sees as a bunch of loafers and tramps, capable of anything including murder. So basically Dr. Lindsay doesn't know anything more than the yellow journalists over at the Hollywood Star Gazette.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

MUSOPHOBIA is Now Available to Download...FREE!

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Musophobia: The Fear of Rats and Mice