In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Mar 27th Horror Trivia Screening Guide

To all those who came here from the event or Storm Crow's FB page, welcome! I am Jay, one half of the horror trivia quizmasters and this is my humble blog. Here's the selected list of titles mentioned at the last event. Click on the titles to be redirected to their Imdb listing.

Horror Trivia Night happens at Storm Crow Manor in Toronto. If you're in the area, come on down! Register here. If you're not local, we do occasionally stream the event on @ruemorguemag Instagram.

Vacancy (2007)

Troll (1986)

They/Them (2022)

Slugs (1988)
Troll 2 (1990)

Friday, March 15, 2024


The next VHS on the pile was Brian Thomas Jones' 1988 flick The Rejuvenator. This was a movie I'm kind of shocked I never got to because the coverbox was omnipresent during my youth. Let's see what I missed out on...

A doctor (John MacKay) looking to reverse the aging process finds a willing test subject in wealthy over-the-hill actress Elizabeth Warren (Vivian Lanko, not the US Senator). As you would expect, things go awry.

With experimental treatments really hitting the public eye in the eighties there were a glut of B-movies about mad scientist's work spiralling out of control. However, the floodgates really opened with the cult success of Re-Animator in 1985 and The Rejuvenator was no doubt a by-product of this boom.

As you can see by the cover, this movie presents itself as an FX picture and thankfully they had Ed French there to steer that ship. French worked on a ton of notable pictures from the eighties, including The StuffC.H.U.D & Creepshow 2 so he was well versed in bringing creatures to the screen. The evolution of the effects in The Rejuvenator is fun to watch and kudos to Lanko because she was a trooper. Acting with what must have been at least ten pounds strapped to the back of her head for hours on end must have been unpleasant to say the least.

And that's not even mentioning the air bladders galore, or the bonus mutant rats throughout. Also, in the positive column we have a pan flute accompanied sex scene, an elongated club sequence with the delightful female punk band, The Poison Dolly's and an optional drinking game involving the oft-said phrase "synthesize the serum".

Katell Pleven & John MacKay in the Rejuvenator.

Despite our good doctor's insistence that "the science is sound", Elizabeth starts leaving a trail of bodies in her wake, including the dutiful assistant, Stella (Katell Pleven) - whom I'm sure was only named that so the doctor could yell that over her dead body Brando-style. By this point, Lizzie was sucking the brain juice right out of people's heads, cutting out the middle man so to speak. Soon after, the place is raided by the authorities, half of whom look like mob goons and cab drivers rather than detectives, and you can guess what happens next....

No one would say The Rejuvenator is top tier stuff, but despite being pretty dry for the first half-hour, it does have a lot of what you look for in an eighties FX picture so it's worth checking out if that's your bag - and you're reading this so I assume it is.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Halloween Meets Three-Mile Island.

I just wanted to post about something really cool I discovered recently. I think a few sites wrote about this last year, but I didn't hear about until a friend of mine told me about a treasure trove of unproduced movie scripts over at

So legend has it that circa 1977, John Carpenter took a job writing a script for a project called Prometheus Crisis. This screenplay, which was later called Meltdown, is essentially "Halloween in a nuclear power plant".

This script is fascinating for a few reasons. If you read it (you can find it here), you can see elements that would later end up in his future projects. The characters arriving and exploring the abandoned facility echoes that of MacCready and Doc Copper at the Norwegian camp in The Thing and there is a sequence that would be lifted verbatim a decade later for Prince of Darkness. I even saw a shot or two that would end up in Halloween II, but that could just be coincidence.

Perhaps most impressive is that the technical jargon sounds accurate - at least from my rudimentary knowledge watching Chernobyl and a few Netflix docs - even though it was written at a time when I can't imagine information of nuclear energy was readily available. Carpenter wrote this before meltdowns were a reality, as Three Mile Island or even the film The China Syndrome wouldn't happen for another two years. It's basically like when Stanley Kubrick made 2001 before anyone actually went to space. 

Aside from that though, Meltdown is  a pretty brutal slasher script with an atmospheric and unique location and some really good set pieces - one kill I've still never seen even to this day! It's a bummer this was never made. Carpenter & Co were trying to get it done as recently as 1997, but things just never came together. Oh well, at least we have the script. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Horror Movie Guide: The Boogeyman

The next title in the Guide is one of the more infamous and possibly surprising I'd never seen up until this point; Ulli Lommel's The Boogeyman. I mean, I was aware of the coverbox of this and its 1982 sequel to be sure, but I guess it just slipped through the cracks for two reasons. First, there was the dull-as-dirt 2005 version that I probably incorrectly assumed was a remake, and second my actual introduction to Lommel was through his shit parade of direct-to-video serial killer flicks in the mid 2000s. Neither of these occurrences incentivized me to check out the original 1980 one until now...

A brother and sister's (real life siblings Nicholas & Suzanna Love) traumatic event in their childhood comes back to haunt them through a cursed mirror. That's the best I got...

I struggled to come up with a place to start on this one because I have so many questions. Does every house in New England have those Amityville windows? What is the purpose of the brother in this story? Which one of the filmmakers had a thing for pantyhose?

Suzanna & Nic Love as Lacey & Willy in The Boogeyman.

Paramount among my queries while watching The Boogeyman though was how was this not an Italian production? Even without the tremendous score by Tim Korg (which truth be told is the best thing about this movie), you also have the inherent incoherence of the story. I mean, what are the rules here? Lommel must have been subscribing to Argento's "things just are." credo here. Apart from that, it seemed like he was mashing up The Exorcist and Amitville Horror, with a dash of proto Final Destination

What you get is something that feels long, even at eighty minutes, padded out by scenes with low budget royalty John Barrymore - who they likely had for a day - and the glowering of the aforementioned superfluous brother character.

At the end of the day, it's a somewhat entertaining watch, but there are other films of this ilk that offer way more bang for your buck (1982's Superstition for instance), but I can't deny that I did see its influence. The last scene in the kitchen did remind me of a similar sequence in 1983's Blood Beat. Lommel also was able to carve out a prolific career for himself, working regularly all the way up until his death in 2017. Not many maestros can say that. The Guide was surprisingly generous with this movie.

I find it weird they would praise the colour lighting as if this wasn't something the Italians hadn't been doing since the mid sixties. Oh well, I'm at least glad I was able to finally cross this one of the list.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Horror Movie Guide: Bog

Next up in the Guide was Don Keeslar's 1978 movie Bog. I had no previous knowledge of this movie, but wagered I knew what to expect, as everything by appearance screamed Z-grade. But hey, maybe I'd be lucky and get something orbiting the oeuvre of Don Dohler.

An aquatic prehistoric beast is awoken by fisherman using dynamite and starts to pick off the townsfolk.

Sadly, Bog was a bore. It kind of plays like a PG version of Humanoids From The Deep, where the beast is killing dudes and using the ladies to lay its eggs. Although, that is merely heresay, as absolutely none of it is onscreen. You get the ol' zoom-in-to-screaming-face and cut to red time and time again.

This movie has many similarities to Bigfoot, a film from the Guide I watched about this time last year. It's a lot of people talking and walking, is largely bloodless and has one recognizable character actor keeping things mildly interesting - in Bog's case, Aldo Ray. They both also have a pleasing theme song, as well.

Aldo Ray as Sheriff Rydholm in Bog.

You do at least get more shots of the creature, even if it does look like it came from the set of Pertwee-era Dr. Who. I'll also give credit to Gloria DeHaven who I never clued in to that in addition to playing the scientist, was also the forest hag, Adrianna. I also have a question - this movie was shot by Wings. Like Paul McCartney's band Wings??? I assume that can't be true otherwise the end credits would've spooled out to Live & Let Die...

In Bigfoot's defense, it had a few buxom ladies in swimsuits. Bog gives us a couple of harpies off the hop that I couldn't wait to get slimed. It also featured the most unappealing middle-aged make-out scene this side of Nightbeast

Yes, my reaction to this scene too.

Overall, I give the edge to Bog, but they are both pretty joyless affairs. The Guide would seem to agree with me, although they make it sound way more extreme a movie than it actually is. Hell of a font though!