Oct. 29th: Lady In White (1988)

Lady-in-White-posterI wouldn’t necessarily call Lady in White strictly a Halloween movie, but its first 40 minutes are so awesomely and insanely Halloweeny that they totally trump the dated ghost effects, cheeseball climax and even the touch of Christmas that all appear later in the film.

And Halloween is a solid 3rd of this movie, which is nothing to sneeze at, particularly considering the movies that’ll get nods for featuring Halloween.

Plus, there aren’t many movies that ramp up the Halloween and then just nail that atmosphere as much as this one does in those first 40 minutes. They’re dense. That classroom sequence alone feels like it was shot from inside a hazy Jack-o-Lantern into another hazier Jack-O-Lantern. It’s so perfectly and wonderfully Halloweeny.

Add to that, it’s a weird little spooky ghost story that predominantly features a child-murderer. How’s that grab ya? Keep in mind too, that I think this is suppose to be a kids movie. Which makes sense to me. What would appeal more to the concerns of children than other children being murdered?

I would describe it as the nexus point between Dark Night of the Scarecrow, The Halloween Tree and To Kill A Mockingbird. All solid Halloween fare.

Lady In White can definitely hold its head high among the titans of The Class of 1988, even graduating with an average well above the curve.

One cement covered Jack-O-Lantern and a bowl full of candy corn up!

Designation: Treat!

Oct. 28th: Flesh Eater (1988)

flesheater-lived-died-back-and-hungryOnce you’ve experienced enough completely atrocious or utterly unwatchable garbage, regular bad movies just don’t seem so bad anymore. Sometimes they even seem pretty fun and likeable, and some things that any normal person would completely dismiss become weird, small joys.

It was suggested to me that this is exactly happened when I watched Flesh Eater. Now, I’m almost inclined to agree somewhat, but I still think this one has a lot of legitimate good to offer.

It would appear that Bill Hinzman was pretty bored and not cashing-in enough on his former appearance as the cemetery zombie from Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead. So he set about writing, directing, producing and starring in this spin-off movie about just that zombie.

Sound pretty great? Well, it’s actually a whole lot of fun.

First and foremost, it’s got some great gore gags from Pittsburgh FXician and all around awesome dude Jerry Gergely. Bonus.

Plus, It’s got that low-budget, mid-80’s townie vibe that I just love in a horror movie.

Also, it’s got absolutely relentless, weapon wielding maniac-zombies that literally kill everyone they come across. This movie spares no one.

Additionally, it’s got all the weirdo dialogue, goofball acting, and almost unanimous under-reactions to all of its zombie chaos that make for an entertaining watch.

And last but by no means least, it’s got Halloween. There’s trick or treating, candy apple making, costumes, decorations and the requisite Halloween dance party.

While not quite the official sequel it imagines itself to be, Flesh Eater rather seems like some sot of bizarro Night of the Living Dead from another dimension where that movie was never made in ’68. This might actually be what Night of the Living would look like if it had been churned out in the mid-80’s by someone a lot less capable than George A. Romero and featured Halloween.

I can’t say you’ll enjoy Flesh Eater as much as I do, or at all really, but I’d gladly take this over any unnecessary remake, found footage nonsense, or whatever spooky ghostboy bullshit is clogging up cinemas, redbox and video-on-demand any old Oct. 28th of the year.

1 dead little angel and a drunk Dracula up!

Designation: Treat!

Oct. 27th: Slugs (1988)

slugs 1988Slugs is gross. Slugs is gory. Slugs is ridiculous. Slugs  is great.

But most importantly, Slugs, for no particular reason (other than that it’s more awesome if it does), takes place during Halloween.

Sure, it might appear to be an almost absolute afterthought, completely tacked on through some Godfrey Ho-style over dubbing and a sad looking Jack-O-lantern placed at an otherwise suspiciously unfestive party through reshoots…but it’s there goddammit and that’s all that matters.

Besides, Slugs doesn’t really need Halloween anyway. Between its grotesque death scenes, its gross slug photography, its bizarro performances and its intense, out of place score, Slugs is doing just fine without Halloween.

The unnecessary, and frankly half-assed inclusion of the holiday is merely one of many small touches that makes Slugs so great.

Now I may not have the authority to declare happy birthday…but I can confidently declare Happy Halloween and so can Slugs.

So, c’mon Weeners, get naked and get crazy!

2 Slugs Up!

Designation: Treat!

The Class of 1988

No year has produced as many movies set around Halloween as 1988.

1976, 1982, and 1985 all come closet, each offering 4 films.

The Hallowed Year of 1988 easily doubles their contributions producing 8 movies in total. I’m not sure what kind of cultural zeitgeist was taking place in the world of film in 1988, but it occurred never-the-less, and we were all thankful.

Perhaps it was the return of Michael Myers, who hadn’t seen the silver screen in 10 years, that inspired this resurgence. Maybe there’s something devilishly unholy about the year 1988. Who knows, but a bunch of filmmakers got on board.

Were these guys aware of what each other were doing? Were the screenwriters buddies? What’s the deal here?

The original 31 Days of Halloween Horror list contained 4 members. This year’s countdown features another 3.

The following is a list of all the known graduates of The Class of 1988 and their release dates.

and lastly…

The next 3 selections on our countdown here are all proud members of The Hallowed Class of 1988. Respect

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Oct. 29th: Night of the Demons (1988)

Oct. 29th

Night of the Demons (1988)

One of my absolute favorites, this one has slipped in and out of my Halloween night top spot over the years, and for a multi-feature Hallows Eve marathon, it’s a sure-fire selection.

This awesome late 80’s gore-fest has everything you want for a Halloween Movie:

  • An awesome title sequence with a great theme
  • A plot that takes place entirely on Halloween
  • A Halloween party as its main event
  • A haunted and abandoned house as its main setting
  • Demon possession
  • Drinking and bad decisions
  • A sexy and possessed goth chick dancing to Bauhaus
  • A naked Linnea Quigley shoving lipstick in her nipple
  • Fun gore and Special FX
  • A great soundtrack
  • Obnoxious and memorable horror victims
  • Choice one-liners
  • A crotchety old prick who hates Halloween
  • And enough Halloween ambiance to satiate all of the 31st’s requirements.

Weirdo goth girl Angela is throwing a Halloween party at the infamous and abandoned Hull House. Sounds like a deal, so even the squares decide it might be a lark.

Unfortunately for them, Angela’s party agenda happens to include a seance. Probably not the best idea in Hull House on Halloween, the night where all the creepy things are suppose to stalk the earth.

Though seemingly a dud, the seance works, and soon a torrent of Halloween hell rains down on everyone involved.

Classic 80’s horror on display here. If you’ve never seen Night of the Demons, this is the year. Wait for the 31st, imbibe the poison of your choice, sit back and let the Halloweeniness possess you.

Triple feature all 3 Night of the Demons for an extra Halloweeny evening.

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Oct. 23rd: Hack-O-Lantern (1988)

Hack-O-Lantern PosterFrom the hallowed year of our Lord 1988, comes the awesome, ridiculous, and thoroughly Halloweeny, Hack-O-Lantern.

Young Tommy has a pretty intense grandfather. The guy loves Halloween and pumpkins. He’s also a practicing Satanist with his eye of Horus firmly fixed on Tommy’s future. He also tried to rape his own daughter on her wedding day, but that’s another matter all together.

Tommy’s dad’s a tough cop though and knows all about Grampa’s dark artistry. So naturally, he doesn’t take too kindly to Grampa’s Halloween visit. When he approaches gramps at a barnyard black mass, he is quickly taken out by a hammer wielding occultist. So much for that.

Fast forward the present and Tommy’s a badass metal misfit whom grampa has taken graciously under his wing, as he grooms Tommy be the son Satan never had.

All is going well it seems. People are dying randomly, and Tommy is preparing for his big Halloween initiation. He’s got satanic heavy metal cassettes, cool horror movie posters, a slutty girlfriend and his own alter of evil in his closet. To hell with what his mother says, he’s the son of the devil, goddamit, and tonight’s his big night.

While Tommy is busy amping himself up, his studious sister, Sheriff’s deputy brother and the rest of the town preparing for a boring, vanilla, murderless and incest free Halloween party. When these two Halloween worlds collide, however, the Hack-O-Lanterning begins.

This film has everything you need for a satisfactory Halloween night. Ridiculous acting, low-rent barnyard Satanists, trucks filled with pumpkins, old diecut decorations, masked murder, tits, a Halloween party, graveyard shenanigans, one jarringly wedged and incomprehensible stand up routine, attempted (an incestuous) rape, a sweet ass heavy metal dream sequence, and of course, Halloween as its main focus.

If you’ve never seen this rare VHS gem, YouTube or Veehd can supply you with the stream-able awesomeness at the push of a button. Ah, what a wonderful world the internet is sometimes.

Hack-O-lantern comes highly recommended from the Shindig as part of a complete Halloween breakfast.

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Oct. 16th: Hollow Gate (1988)

It is not without a fair and honest warning that I suggest this entry at number 16 on our Halloween countdown, 1988’s Hollow Gate.

This shot-on-video gem is only recommended for lovers of true train-wrecks. Ya know who you are; you sit around trying to find the worst of the worst. You have Things on DVD. The Polonia Brothers crack you up. Troll 2 is an absolute joy, and nowhere near the worst movie you’ve ever powered through. If that’s your bag, then Hollow Gate is your Halloween movie.

While certainly not the piece de resistance of truly terrible cinema, there’s enough awfulness on display here to satiate any bad movie lover’s Halloween fix.

Mark has had a checkered past with Halloween. See, he was no good at apple bobbing, so his drunken father tried to drown him in the apple tub. Strike 1. Little Mark hates Halloween.

In his teen years, while working at a gas station, a horny young Halloween couple torment him during a routine fill-up. So he promptly blows up their car. Strike 2. Now Mark’s a Halloween avenger.

A few years later while at the convenience store on (you guessed it) Halloween, he attempts to take the cashier out to the movies. When she refuses, he locks her in the store with him and then…uh, scares her? Strike 3, I guess, so now he’s just a “nutcake.”

So these days, he just lives, locked up and taking medication at his grandmother’s estate, Hollow Gate. That is, until one Halloween where he loses his shit and murders her. Now he can hang out with all the other “nutcakes” for a Halloween party.

Some submarine sandwich loving kids on their way to a Halloween party at a hangar (?) are convinced by a lazy costume shop keeper to deliver an order out to Hollow Gate.

So, Mark get his costumes, and begins murdering the kids one by one in his various generic outfits; broke racist marine, goofy cowboy, foolish doctor, and weird British fox hunter.

It’s terrible, if you couldn’t discern that from this far too lengthy plot description, and any normal person would probably cancel this nonsense 5 minutes deep. But, I love me a bad horror movie, and so long as the ridiculousness and shitty acting is coming fast enough to keep me laughing, I’m all in.

Mark is a grade-A B-movie villain, giving it his all yet never seeming to inspire anything beyond general unease. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in a room talking to this nutcake, but genuine fear is nowhere on the map.

And the kids beat all, providing some seriously enjoyable overacting as they attempt to convey that same nonexistent fear.

So if you’re looking for a little early turkey for Halloween dinner, this fucker’s got the stuffing to boot. Get a few drinks and a few friends and have a few laughs.

Happy 16th, nutcakes!