Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Cannibal Ferox!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2015 by Brain Hammer

Positively the most VIOLENT film ever made! Guaranteed to upset your stomach!


A young pair of brother and sister anthropologists – Gloria & Rudy Davis (Lorraine De Salle & Danilo Mattei), take a trip to the jungles of South America to help prove correct Gloria’s theories on the “myth” of man eating man. Gloria intends to prove that cannibalism no longer exists, and has NEVER existed! How she can prove cannibalism never existed by simply visiting a jungle is not explained. Also not explained is why she would want to bring their hot pussied little whore of a friend Pat (Zora Kerova) along for the trip. After Pat has sex with a stranger in exchange for a shower, the three idiots quickly manage to crash their jeep and then have to trek through the jungle on foot.

After a tasty encounter with a native who is contently munching on some fat green worms, the gang runs into a dead body and pair of lowlife drug pushers that are on the run from the New York mob after pulling a sting on a couple of Brooklyn horsemen and running off with $100,000. At first, the rather strung out Mike Logan (the legendary Giovanni Lombardo Radice!) tells a tale about a tribe of vicious cannibals that attacked them and mutilated their Portuguese cocaine and emerald harvesting companion. His buddy Joe is wounded, and lets Mike do most of the talking. Later that night and the next day Mike has some fun with Pat. After a few coke fueled fuck fests he asks her if she would like to “make” an Indio girl. Pat, being a well established slut, is intrigued by this offer and agrees, which leads to the attempted rape and cold blooded murder of one of the young natives.

Shortly after this senseless murder the now sick and delirious Joe finally breaks his silence and tells the real story behind the death of the“Portuguese.” It turns out that the story Mike told the gang was a lot of batshit. The so-called “Portuguese” was really a young Indio boy that Mike had tortured and murdered for not producing any Emeralds from the local rivers. With the cocaine Mike was on, he went completely crazy and seemed to get a perverted kick out of make the poor bastard suffer. Mike gouged out one of the Indio’s eyes, then castrated him and left him to bleed to death. After telling Gloria and Rudy his incredible story Joe dies from an infection. This gives Mike and Pat enough time to steal all of the supplies and leave the others for dead.

The adult men of the Indio tribe had all conveniently been away on a hunting trip while Mike was on his rampage. After returning home and discovering this incredible outrage the tribe decides that all of the white people must die, slowly. It doesn’t take long for all four of the survivors to be captured and brutal and primitive justice is dished out in short order. Once the unholy cannibal ferox has begun the natives have a blast hanging Pat with hooks through her tits and then give Mike more than a little taste of his own medicine. Humiliation and mutilation are only the appetizer for this blood feast – castration and decapitation are the main course. And of course no jungle revenge would be complete without a little cannibalism for desert.

This totally outrageous 1981 Umberto Lenzi film begins with a thoughtful pre-credits disclaimer that warns viewers that “the following feature is one of the most violent films ever made” and that “there are at least two dozen scenes of barbaric torture and sadistic cruelty graphically shown.” I lost count somewhere along the way, but that number sounds about right to me! Pretty much every other scene consists of nauseating footage of animals being killed, either by other animals or humans. One particularly disturbing moment features a tied up and defenseless little mongoose being savaged by a large snake! However, with all the flack that Lenzi (and Ruggero Deodato, and all the other “jungle” flick directors) deservedly gets for his completely unnecessary cruelty to animals, I’m left wondering why more people don’t hate Francis Coppola for doing the exact same thing in “Apocalypse Now,” or despise Walter Hill for similar scenes in “Southern Comfort.” I guess when they do it – it’s considered art. I always rationalize these scenes by remembering the cruel reality of jungle life, where animals are killed and eaten every day, and then remember the real cattle being primed for the final slaughter are the humans.

CANNIBAL FEROX (aka Make Them Die Slowly) is my hands down my personal favorite of all of the incredible Italian cannibal/jungle flicks. I find this one to be ridiculously entertaining. Say what you want about the quality of the film, it certainly isn’t boring. The dubbing, the dialog, the score – all cheesy and sleazy perfection. This one wins the prize for featuring the most plentiful blood and gore of all the early 80′s jungle flicks, with a “tit torture” scene that tops the more notorious “impalement” scene in Cannibal Holocaust!” It also wins the prize for the most frequent use of the word “twat” in any non porno film! Speaking of porno, the infamous Robert Kerman of “Cannibal Holocaust” “Debbie Does Dallas” legend makes a brief appearance as a NYC cop tracking down Giovanni’s character. It’s too bad Robert didn’t make it down to the jungle this time around. This one has a delightfully sleazy vibe throughout that lends itself to a lot of repeat viewings. I was first introduced this flick back in high school, when it was first hyped to me as one the sickest flicks ever. I wasn’t let down with my first viewing, and countless viewings later I’m still a huge fan.

The freaks at GRINDHOUSE RELEASING have topped themselves with their latest release of CANNIBAL FEROX, which is an absolutely STUFFED 3-disc special edition blu-ray/cd combo. The blu-ray features two different versions of the film, including a brand new extended cut with newly discovered violent footage! The pig-killing and piranha attacks are now available in extended versions, which can also be watched separately. The other incredible highlight of the blu-ray is the amazing 85 minute documentary on the Italian cannibal craze entitled “Eaten Alive! The Rise and Fall of the Italian Cannibal Film.” This extensive and comprehensive documentary features interviews with legends such as Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato, and Sergio Martino, as well as a slew of others. I personally would have bought this documentary as a separate release, it’s that damn good.

The second disc is loaded with additional interviews, including in-depth sit downs with director Umberto Lenzi, actors Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Zora Kerowa, and Danilo Mattei, and special effects artist Gino De Rossi. There’s also a nifty Easter egg that hides an interview with the infamous Terry Levine of Aquarius Releasing! There’s also the usual trailers and still galleries, which are killer. The highlight of this whole release might be the third disc, which is a CD containing the freshly remastered soundtrack from Budy-Maglione! As if this wasn’t enough of a treat, the CD also includes 20 different alternate takes and remixes! Suffice to say, this is hands down the coolest release of the year so far. This is a MUST HAVE if you are a fan of FEROX. I will even go a step further and add that no gorehound’s collection is truly complete without this gem, SHITFACE, so buy or DIE!!!


Class Of 1984!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2015 by Brain Hammer

We Are The Future!

…And Nothing Can Stop Us!

CLASS OF 1984 (1982)

An idealistic pacifist music teacher named Andy Norris (played by the bearded and sensitive looking Perry King) is transferred to Lincoln High, an ultra violent and dangerous inner city high school. Unfortunately for Mr. Norris, the teachers at Lincoln High have a very dangerous problem…their students! After settling into the neighborhood with his pregnant wife (Merrie Lynn Ross) he immediately runs afoul of the local teenage gestapo, led by the brilliant yet twisted student Peter Stegman (played by Timothy Van Patten of “White Shadow” & “Master Ninja” infamy).

Stegman is a sensitive, classically trained pianist AND a ruthless kingpin of crime who controls the booming high school drug and prostitution rackets. His slightly less than impressive gang consists of: Drugstore: the skinny and strung out drug dealer and wisecracker, Fallon: the muscle who beats people up and breaks in the new prostitutes, Barnyard: the token fat slob (played by Keith Knight, who also played the token fat slob in “Meatballs!”) who loves The Clash, and Patsy: the punk rock skank. The five of them somehow manage to control the entire school population and staff AND dominate other rival gangs via intimidation and brutal violence.

There’s an awesome racially fueled gang fight between the Swastika sporting punks and a Black gang highlighted by the young Caribbean accented gang leader saying “No one messes around with my man Leroy. I’m gonna cut you white meat!” We’re also treated to an extended sequence where Stegman auditions prospective prostitutes and drug dealers. A fresh faced and non twitchy Michael J Fox appears in an important supporting role as a lovable band geek who takes a shank to the kidneys after narcing on Drugstore for selling his pussy best friend a lethal dose of dust.

Mr. Norris tries his best to do things by the book and keep the kids in line but it ultimately proves useless. He tries to turn the kids in but the police are unable to do anything because the kids are underage and there’s no real evidence. The school’s Principal and security staff are equally worthless. His only ally in the school is the burnt out and booze addled Biology teacher – Terry Corrigan (played very convincingly by the legendary Roddy McDowall). After a sick and disgusting act of retribution where the vicious punks skin every cute little bunny in the bio lab, Terry eventually snaps and decides to teach his class at gunpoint! Mr. Norris barely manages to talk him out of blowing the students away, and he will soon regret that decision.

Terry tries to get the last laugh by running the punks over but winds up crashing and burning. After a bizarre bathroom showdown with Mr. Norris, Stegman violently smashes his own face into a mirror and convincingly blames the teacher for it. Andy finally gets pissed off and destroys Stegman’s beloved automobile in return. Stegman then declares all out war on the teacher. “Life is pain. Pain is everything. You will learn. I will teach you.” The movie reaches a whole new level of nastiness when the punks show up at the Norris household and gang rape his pregnant wife!

This unspeakable act leads to the final showdown at the big band recital. The punk rock skank shows up and presents Polaroids of the dirty deed to Mr. Norris, which is enough to finally make him ditch his pacifist ways and start spilling blood like a man! Andy Norris: a teacher equipped to deal with students. But they pushed him to the limit that has gone too far. Now he’s about to teach the Class of 1984 the most dangerous lesson they deserve. This teacher will assure that the class of 1984 will earn a higher degree in pain!

I’m a HUGE fan of this masterpiece of prophetic punk rock perfection, which was written and directed by Mark L. Lester, who also helmed the all time 80′s action clas-sick “Commando.” Few revenge themed genre flicks are this satisfying. The gut crunching sequence where Mr. Norris has to fight his way though the high school and finally gets his revenge on the gang is fantastic. Arms are severed, table saws sever spines, people are set on fire, plummet to their deaths, and are crushed with cars! This flick is also exceptionally well made and acted. It almost plays out like an after school special, only with a really bad case of herpes.

This flick drips with a genuinely sleazy punk rock atmosphere. There’s a nifty scene where Stegman and his pals go to a punk rock club and skank to the ripping sounds of Teenage Head! The non-violent highlight of the flick for me has to be the incredible scene were Stegman “auditions” for Mr. Norris’s “asshole band” by unexpectedly busting out a stunningly beautiful classical composition on the piano, and then demands to know if he got “the fucking gig!” This scene is especially cool because Timothy Van Patten actually composed and performed the piece! Talented guy. Speaking of music, I almost forget to mention the incredibly cheesy theme song “I Am The Future” which was provided by none other than the incredibly cheesy Alice Cooper. Quite an embarrassment for old Alice, as it sounds like a very lame Broadway tune! But as much as I hate the song, I have to admit, it’s impossible to watch this flick without getting it stuck in your head.

Anchor Bay was the first to release a beautiful DVD of CLASS OF 1984 back in 2005. The goodies include the trailer, a commentary track with writer/director Mark Lester, the “Blood And Blackboards” featurette that includes interviews with Perry King and his on-screen wife Merrie Lynn Ross, and a killer booklet full of cool photos and extensive liner notes. This DVD was the best available release of the film for many years, until the good folks at Scream Factory recently topped it by unleashing their unbelievable collector’s edition Blu-Ray! 

class of 1984 cover

This brand new release features a stunning looking high-definition transfer of the film. CLASS OF 1984 has never looked or sounded better. This new Blu-Ray is much brighter and more colorful than the previous DVD release. The exclusive bonus features consist of new interviews with director Mark Lester, actors Perry King, Lisa Langlois and Erin Noble, and composer Lalo Schifrin. The rest of the bonus features, including the trailer and still galleries have been ported over from the Anchor Bay DVD. This collector’s edition is now the definitive home video release of CLASS OF 1984 and I highly recommend a purchase! This one definitely gets better each and every time I watch it, and I don’t think I could count how many times I’ve watched this one over the years. A true cult clas-sick! 

Mark Lester went back to school in 1990 with his campy sci-fi semi-sequel CLASS OF 1999. Leaving the gritty realism of “Class Of 1984″ far behind, this one takes a one way trip into Goofytown. Set in the not too distant future, schools across the nation have become the setting for widespread bloodshed and gang violence. Some of the areas surrounding the schools have become so deadly, they are declared “free fire zones”with no police presence. One of the very worst is Kennedy High School, which is understandable because the Principal is Malcolm McDowell. There’s just one subject at Kennedy High…Survival!

Malcolm hires an especially creepy looking albino Stacey Keach to clean up the school with the help of his specially trained robotic “tactical education units.” These robot teachers include none other than Blaxploitation legend Pam Grier, John P. Ryan from “It’s Alive” & “It Lives Again” and the always awesome Patrick Kilpatrick of “Toxic Avenger” infamy. As to be expected, the androids eventually snap and start using their deadly force against innocent students. It’s up to a punk kid named Cody (Bradley Gregg – who also starred in “Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”) to avenge his younger brother Angel (the one and only Joshua John Miller from “River’s Edge!”) and to unite the warring student factions and uprise against the cyborg substitutes. It’s the last lesson they will ever learn!

This one fails as any sort of sequel or follow up to the far, far superior “Class of 1984,” but as a stand alone action flick it’s pretty entertaining. Especially if you have any fondness for familiar faces and the gloriously cheesy early 1990’s. The futuristic fashions in this one are absolutely ridiculous, and the fact that the lead character is named “Cody” doesn’t help me take things any more seriously. It’s interesting to note that this film was actually written by “Cody” himself – Bradley Gregg. It makes the flick seem a bit more of a vanity project, but also adds to the unintentional comedy. It’s hard to say how serious any of this was meant to be taken, but the flick is so silly & stupid that it doesn’t really matter. With lots of laughs and plenty of action, I can easily endorse this one for anyone who wants to kill a few brain cells. CLASS OF 1999 is currently available on a bare bones DVD from Lionsgate. 


Massacre Mafia Style!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2015 by Brain Hammer

The most violent picture ever made!


The late great Duke Mitchell commands the screen as Mimi Miceli, a proud Sicilian, ruthless mafioso and expert killer. After many long years living in exile alongside his father, the patron and lord of organized crime – Don Mimi, Miceli returns to the states looking for payback. With his right hand man Jolly Rizzo (Vic Caesar), Mimi forms a small army of guts, balls, and trust and invades Hollywood. Although his father warns him that the law is not for sale in Los Angeles, and there is no money to be made, Mimi wants the black pimps and the bookmakers. It’s that simple.

Mimi gets what he wants. A crippled prick learns this the hard way when he is wheeled into the john and electrocuted in the urinal. Mimi and Jolly make an immediate impact in Los Angeles by snatching the number one man right out of church and sending his finger home as a warning. Pay up or they will send him home in pieces. The local mobsters pay largely out of respect for Don Mimi, and Mimi is in business. As promised, Mimi begins putting the heat on the pimps and bookmakers. “You’re in, or you’re in the way.” A jive talking pimp that Mimi dubs “Super Spook” is the first to get in Mimi’s way, and bloody shotgun blasted corpses promptly begin stacking up like cordwood.

Mimi eventually steps on a few too many toes, and his father steps in with $50,000 and the demand that Mimi stop his Sicilian slaughter immediately and start a legitimate business. Mimi funnels the funds into porno flicks with dreams of scoring the most mainline broads you’ve ever seen in your life. After a few years trying to go straight and not making a nickel, Mimi decides it’s time to go back into business for himself again. If a Sicilian is going to known as a killer, then Mimi will show them how to kill. When a contract is put out on Mimi, he doesn’t wait to find out who did it, he nails every last son of a bitch. Office buildings and restaurants full of people are blown to pieces, tubby martial arts enthusiasts are pumped full of lead, double crossing mobsters are hung from meathooks, and jive talking pimps are crucified.

When Mimi kills the son of a boss, he finally goes too far and becomes a marked man. The few people in Los Angeles that Mimi can love and trust are brutally murdered in retaliation. After one last explosive act of revenge, Mimi is forced to leave LA in disgrace. He spends a few years on the mattresses, and then goes back to the old country for a final, emotionally charged reunion with his father and son. An Italian son’s future is not written in the galaxies, but dictated by the code set down by generations before him. Like father, like son.

Duke Mitchell’s MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE has to be one of the most underrated and overlooked crime flicks ever made. After a few repeat viewings, I now consider this one to be the definitive mafia movie of all time, far surpassing both “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas.” Duke Mitchell is probably best known as a singer, but he deserves all the credit in the world for creating such an unbelievably bad ass flick. This is an incredibly authentic display of proud Italian American power violence! MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE is definitely a low budget, grimy ass action flick, but it still has a ton of class and a polished production value. It’s an incredibly emotional picture, heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time with a lot of passion and some truly epic dialogue about the suffering of the Italian immigrants.

This is also one of the most violent pictures of all time! Anyone who has ever seen the incredible trailer for this one knows that the first five minutes of this flick are a non stop blast of carnage. I lost count along the way as dozens of people are blown to pieces throughout the entire film. The promises of “more guts, action, and dynamite than The Godfather” are more than lived up to. No false advertising here. This flick makes The Godfather look absolutely pissworthy by comparison. MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE should be more than bloody and mean spirited enough to make even the most jaded splatter and exploitation fans stand up and cheer.

The good folks at GRINDHOUSE RELEASING recently unleashed an absolutely incredible deluxe edition blu-ray/dvd release of MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE. After many years spent watching the trailer for this flick on other Grindhouse Releasing dvds and salivating at the thought of finally seeing it, I can say that the wait was MORE than worth it! The flick is even better than the trailer, and the blu-ray/dvd set is loaded with cool special features. The goodies include interviews, extensive still galleries, radio spots, the theatrical trailer, almost an hour of never seen before Duke Mitchell home movies, lost audio recordings and bonus TV specials! There’s also a few other surprises that I don’t want to spoil for anyone, but I will give a hint or two and say that they include pin up pics and Brooklyn gorillas! This is yet another top notch release from Grindhouse Releasing, who continue to set the standard for special edition releases that all other companies need to try to live up to. After reading the liner notes from David Szulkin, I can truly say that MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE perhaps more than any other flick truly represents what Grindhouse Releasing is all about. A film with BALLS, presented with the sort of love and attention to detail that it deserves. Needless to say, this is an essential purchase. You’re in or you’re in the way, so buy or die!


The Deadly Spawn!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2015 by Brain Hammer

It’s 2015. Your old pal Brain Hammer is back from the grave and ready to party!


This cult clas-sick begins with a shot of a fiery meteorite crashing to Earth. A group of unfortunate campers decide to investigate and quickly get turned into a hot lunch for their efforts. The meteorite contains a nasty looking flesh chomping alien monster with razor sharp fangs and a ravenous appetite for destruction. After devouring the campers, the alien slithers its way into the basement of a small secluded home in the New Jersey suburbs.

A rash of rain showers then floods the basement and provides the perfect breeding environment for the monstrous carnivore. After a few hours spent in the dark, dank basement the monster swells in size and begins to asexually reproduce, unleashing a small army of pint sized predators. The mother of the household (I don’t believe the family’s last name is ever mentioned) eventually wanders into the basement looking for her missing-in-action husband and finds what’s left of him falling out of the mother alien’s bloodstained jaws.

Mom is promptly devoured as well, with the exception of her head which is left on the floor of the basement for the alien’s offspring to tear apart and feast upon – much to the shock and disgust of her son Charles. Charlie had snuck into the basement to pull a prank on his Uncle Herb who was in town for a visit. Instead of finding the fusebox, Charles finds his mother’s savaged remains and gets up close and personal with the virulent visitors.

Meanwhile upstairs, Charlie’s older brother Pete and a group of Pete’s friends also discover the alien’s deadly spawn when they stumble upon Uncle Herb’s corpse, which has been turned into an alien incubator. The mother alien gives chase and the teens are forced to run for their lives and take shelter in Charlie’s bedroom. Downstairs, Charles discovers that the aliens are essentially blind and that they hunt after their prey using super sensitive hearing. Armed with this knowledge, the lad vows revenge on the intergalactic invaders and heads upstairs to try to stop the voracious villains once and for all. It’s mankind vs. the ultimate eating machines!

“The Deadly Spawn” is one of my all time favorite flicks, and one of the very best homemade horror efforts of the early 80’s. This was a true labor of love, a very low budget affair that took about three years of painstaking weekend shoots to finally complete. Despite the micro-budget, there’s no shortage of jaw droppingly impressive gory special effects. The creature designs and special effects by John Dods (“The X-Files”) are nothing less then spectacular. This flick is chock full of scenes with outrageous gore and can be considered nothing less than a 10/10 splatterpiece. There are many highlights along the way, but my favorite scene has to be the hilarious sequence where the deadly spawn chow down on a group of little old ladies attempting to enjoy a vegetarian luncheon!

When searching for clips on youtube I was disappointed to see several comments along the lines of “OMG! What a cheap and crappy looking Alien rip off.” Obviously these idiots have never seen the film, and can’t appreciate what a loving tribute this film is to the monster flicks of the 50’s. The greedy distributors were the ones responsible for the film’s alternate title – “Return Of The Alien’s Deadly Spawn,” not the filmmakers. This flick clearly owes a lot more to classic sci-fi flicks like“The Blob” than it does to “Alien.” Watching 30 second clips on the net won’t give you an appreciation of the film’s superior pacing, the quality of the performances, or the creepy sounding score. I think this flick is terminally misunderstood and criminally underrated. I could attempt to get more in depth with my defense of the film but I’d rather keep it simple (and stupid!) and sum up my review as follows – if you don’t like this flick you fucking suck.

Synapse Films gave THE DEADLY SPAWN exactly the type of special edition dvd release that it deserves. The film was digitally remastered with a new pristine looking windowboxed transfer. Incredibly, the process of remastering the print cost more than the total budget of the film! The bonus features are quite extensive and include two different audio commentary tracks, extensive still galleries, a comic style prequel, an alternate opening sequence, the theatrical trailer, and much more! This is a dvd that no respectable horror collection should be missing.


X-mas Evil!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2014 by Brain Hammer

Better watch out…better not cry…or you may die!!!


This off the wall 1980 horror film from writer/director Lewis Jackson begins on Christmas Eve, 1947. Naughty little Harry Stadling sneaks down the stairs after his bedtime and catches Santa Claus nibbling on Mommy’s Christmas cookie. Harry is horrified by the sexy sight and runs upstairs to do what any kid in his situation would do – take comfort in a little self mutilation with a broken snow globe.

We then flash forward thirty years and find little Harry (Brandon Maggart) all grown up with more then a few screws loose. He works as the manager of a toy factory and is now completely consumed by all things Christmas. He applies shaving cream to his face while staring into a mirror and hallucinates that he IS Santa Claus. He then begins to snoop and spy on the neighborhood children and rushes home to feverishly take notes about who’s been naughty and nice in his big red book.

His madness reaches a peak on Christmas Eve. Harry dresses up as Santa and delivers stolen presents to all the good little boys and girls at the local children’s hospital. He also delivers death to a few naughty adults that had done him wrong via toy soldier sword impalements and lethal toy axe head splitting! He then attempts to break into a home and gets stuck inside a chimney in the process. He awakens the family in his struggle and while the children are delighted to see Saint Nick, Mother and Father are none too pleased to find a fat jolly lunatic in their fireplace. Santa slays the Scrooge-like parents with a little help from the razor sharp star from the top of the Christmas tree and then winds up on the run from a lynch mob out for his blood. You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry, or you may die!

Legendary director and pervert John Waters not only calls CHRISTMAS EVIL “the best seasonal film of all time,” he also declares it “a true cinematic classic.” I wouldn’t go that far in praising the film, but it’s certainly a unique viewing experience. Hardly a run of the mill hack ‘em up holiday slasher, this one plays out as more of a character study – exploring in depth the twisted mind state and motivations of the eventual psycho killer. Brandon Maggart (the real life father of bad, bad girl Fiona Apple!) does a great job playing the demented lead. My only complaint is that he never really comes across as menacing or scary. He plays the role so broadly, its hard to see him as anything but odd and comical.

There’s a lot more characterization (and black humor) than carnage in this one – so hardcore gore junkies might want to look elsewhere for a ho-ho-holocaust, but I highly recommend this to naughty boys and girls looking for an unusual holiday horror flick. Synapse Films released a beautifully remastered director’s cut of CHRISTMAS EVIL that sports several stocking stuffing bonus features including deleted scenes, audition footage, storyboards, and best of all – a commentary track with writer/director Lewis and none other than John Waters himself!

Lewis Jackson Interview!!!

It has been 30 years since Lewis Jackson wrote and directed Christmas Evil, and I was honored to have the chance to briefly chat with him, and ask him about creating a Christmas cult phenomenon.


Brain Hammer: What was your inspiration for writing and creating Christmas Evil?

Lewis Jackson: It was Christmas Eve 1970 and I smoked a joint. I saw an image of a Santa Claus with a knife in his hands. Ten years later, I figured out how to make the script work.

BH: How did the chance to direct your debut film come about?

LJ: Because I came up with a great idea of how to make a soft-core comedy.

BH: Christmas Evil is widely regarded as one of the very best Christmas themed horror films. Was that your intent when making the film – a pure horror film, or were you going for something more psychological and character driven?

LJ: I was trying to make a black comedy and truthfully, if you are not trying to make the best movie you possibly can make, then you are a hack – which is basically 95% of the people in Hollywood.

BH: Are you a fan of the horror genre? Where do think Christmas Evil belongs in horror history, especially when compared to other X-mas horrors.

LJ: There are no other great horror Xmas movies and I believe I am in a genre with Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock.

BH: The film is also known as You Better Watch Out & Terror In Toyland. Do you have a preferred title?

LJ: I originally called the film You Better Watch Out, some asshole who bootlegged the film changed the title card over and over and over again – and only because I had an original print, did Synapse allow me to use the original title because I had the original print.

BH: It’s impossible for me to imagine anyone other than Brandon Maggart in the lead role of Harry Stadling. Was the part written for him specifically or did you discover him through casting?

LJ: I discovered him thru casting. Originally I cast George Dzundza who played the bartender in Deerslayer. We started working and he said to me that we needed to rewrite the script and I realized he wanted me to write him “Marty.” It was a disaster. Somebody found me a great NY casting director who sent me a whole new group of actors. They all came in, they all did videotape auditions. Brandon’s audition turned out to be Brandon’s performance and that was quite a revelation.

BH: The film has a number of violent scenes. Did you find the filming of the violent sequences to be difficult or more time consuming?

LJ: The answer is both. Filming violence is not pleasant, but it has to be precise.

BH: One of the film’s most outspoken fans is John Waters. He mentioned the film at length in one of his books and even participated in a commentary track for the Synapse dvd release. When did you first become aware that you had such a famous fan? What are your thoughts on John and his love of your film?

LJ: 1983 someone told me that John had written about it in Rolling Stone, but I had never seen the article. After the book came out, someone called me and said “have you seen the book?” I hadn’t. When I did, I was overwhelmed basically because I had been treated like a crazy person for making this movie. I didn’t meet John for 20 more years, but then he started to do art shows and invited me to be a part of the film showings accompanying the art shows. I finally met him at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg.

BH: When the film was originally released did you receive any sort of criticism or protests from moral crusaders?

LJ: I was treated like a leper and I thought I was making a comedy and only John understood it was a comedy.

BH: Christmas Evil has been released on vhs and dvd several times. I’ve even seen dvds selling for as little as $1. Did the film ever slip into the public domain?

LJ: No, it was stolen and it has taken me 5 years to regain the rights.

BH: In an age when seemingly EVERY horror film ever made gets a remake, it seems like only a matter of time before someone attempts a Christmas Evil remake. Have you been approached about this?

LJ: Yes. Twice, but this one seems to be one that no one wants to touch. It still seems too transgressive. It may be the most impressive thing I have done in my life.

BH: The remake of Bob Clark’s Black Christmas was met with a fair amount of controversy because of the title. Do you think a remake of Christmas Evil would have the same sort of reception?

LJ: Worse.

I’d like to thank Lewis for taking the time to do the interview and big thanks to horror society for hooking it up!


Hide And Go Shriek!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2014 by Brain Hammer

It’s the last game you will ever play!


The nifty pre-credits SHRIEK sequence features loving closeups of what appears to be a man (we never see his face) applying makeup over his stubbled cheeks. He then throws on some eyeliner and lipstick before hopping into his car to go cruising for whores. The man quickly picks up a blonde tits-on-a-stick hooker and takes her into a back alley to fuck her against a wall for a spell before stabbing her with a switchblade. Cue opening credits.

We then meet a pair of buff young bros named John & David. The lads are pumping iron and planning a big evening with some gals and pals. In what has to be one of the gayest things I’ve ever seen or heard, David actually tells John that “It’s time to motivate. It’s time to shower!” while knowingly nibbling on a banana! Then we get to meet the girls, a rather skanky and unappealing foursome consisting of: Kim the whore, Bonnie the bitch-whore, Malissa the virgin, and Judy the virgin with a boyfriend. Malissa is excited about the possibility of having sex for the first time, and Kim assures her that “You’re going to love making love. You’ll never want to stop.” She also lends her a sexy black negligee for the special occasion!

Two more idiots named Randy and Shawn (also a virgin) show up so that everybody has a fuck buddy and once paired up the eight imbeciles embark on “the adventure of their lives,” which sadly consists of a“Chinese Fire Drill” and sneaking inside the large furniture store owned by John’s father for a night of drunken hide and seek. If this is truly “the adventure of their lives” it must be said that their lives are fairly pathetic. The gang hides out until the store closes for the evening. John’s father is briefly shown after closing, and we also get introduced to a dock worker named Fred – a creepy looking tattooed ex con who was recently released on good behavior after a long and lonely stretch in the joint for armed robbery. John’s father is nice enough to let Fred stay inside the store after hours because Fred just broke up with his girlfriend and has no place else to go.

Once night falls and the store is deserted, the kids come out of hiding and begin the night’s festivities. As the title suggests, a good portion of the film consists of kids playing hide and seek inside the large dark store. The creative touch is that this is a “fine furniture”store, which means there are plenty of beds for the horny teens to jump in and out of while they play. Things pick up considerably once the killer shows up and bashes Malissa’s head into a sink just before she can try out her new nightie. The transvestite killer slips into it instead and then gives her eagerly awaiting love interest the shock of his young life, blocking his cock in a BIG way by impaling him on giant ornamental spikes!

The giggling made-up madman frequently switches disguises and happily stalks after the kids in the darkness while wearing the clothes of their dead friends. Once the dimwitted teens finally discover that there is a killer in their midst they decide to “arm” themselves with the deadliest weapon they can find – mannequin arms (!) and go looking for the madman to turn the tables. Close your eyes. Count to 10. And run for your Life! It’s a horrifying game of life and death! 

But who is this cross dressing killer, and what brought him to the store in the first place? The incredible answers to those burning questions are revealed in the films mind blowing ending, which I do not wish to spoil for anyone. All I will say is that the identity and motivations of the madman are very “unique,”and make this often overlooked slasher flick quite memorable. Fans of fun 80’s slasher flicks with perverse twists and turns such as “Sleepaway Camp” and “Girls Nite Out” should really appreciate this one. I’ve been a big fan ever since I first stumbled upon a used copy of the unrated VHS. 

Hide And Go Shriek is certainly a product of the gloriously cheesy 80’s. The hair and fashions (check out the sweet jams the character David is wearing!) on display are truly cringe worthy. Extra special attention must be given to lead actress Bunky Jones, who sports one of the skankiest slut outfits ever captured on film. I also have to applaud director Skip Schoolnik for his infinitely wise decision to have three of his four leading ladies take their tops off! Hats off Skip!

The dark store makes an ideal setting for this type of mad slasher flick. There are quite a few scenes of the kids trying to find their missing friends, and interacting with the cross dressing killer that manage to be very creepy, tense and atmospheric. This flick takes it’s time to get going, but once it does it rarely stops to let you catch your breath. The impressive splatter effects were done by the legendary lunatic Screaming Mad George. The highlight of the film for gorehounds is an elaborate set piece that concludes with a semi-nude girl being decapitated by an elevator! A rather weak body count is the film’s only minor fault. I wanted ALL of these annoying kids to die and was a little disappointed to see so many of them still alive and kicking when the end credits rolled. But that’s nitpicking, overall this flick is a blast. 

Sadly, HIDE AND GO SHRIEK has slipped into a state of semi-slasher obscurity. This is one of the more underrated late 80’s slasher flicks in my opinion. Probably because there hasn’t been an official dvd release as of yet, and the rights to the film seem to be in dispute. I for one would love to see a special edition dvd of this flick with a director’s commentary and perhaps a “where is she now” piece on Bunky Jones! Every other horror flick in existence seems to get the red carpet treatment, so hopefully one day Hide And Go Shriek will get the type of release it deserves. And if Skip Schoolnik is reading this, it’s time for the long awaited SHRIEK sequel!!! 



Sleepaway Camp!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2014 by Brain Hammer

A nice place for summer vacation – a perfect place to die!


This legendary film begins with some especially eerie shots of a deserted summer camp accompanied by the distant sounds of children playing. This immediately puts the viewer off balance, which is where they will firmly remain for the next 88 minutes. The madness begins with a seemingly harmless afternoon on a sailboat. A man named John and his two children Angela and Peter are enjoying some fun in the sun when they suddenly cross paths with some careless teenagers in a motorboat.

Tragedy strikes when a girl takes the wheel (doesn’t it always?) and the motorboat smashes into the family as they happily bob in the water. The boat kills the father and one of the children, although it isn’t clear who survived. This mystery is solved eight years later when we see that the survivor was Angela (Felissa Rose), and that she now lives with her tough but tender cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) and her batshit insane Aunt Martha.

Aunt Martha is one of scariest characters in all of horror history. She gives the kids a goodie bag full of snacks and ties a string around her finger to remember the kid’s permission slips for camp. The nutjob then implores the children not to tell anyone at camp that she had performed the physical needed for the kid’s admission. No one would understand…even if she is a doctor.

The kids are then shipped off to Camp Arawak. Upon arrival Angela is shy and withdrawn and talks to no one. Ricky runs into his old pal Paul, who excitedly tells him about the massive jugs his ex-girlfriend Judy is sporting. Ricky tries to turn on the charm with Judy but she quickly proves to be a heartless cocktease. She also despises Angela and proceeds to make her life miserable. Angela also refuses to eat, which causes the musclebound main counselor Ronnie to thoughtfully send her along to meet her doom with the perverted head cook Artie. Artie’s mouth waters when he sees the fresh young chicken and he wastes no time attempting to force feed Angela his tubesteak. Ricky catches him in the act and the scared kids run away before anything worse can happen.

Later that day Artie is still steaming from having his cock blocked. He’s also pissed off because his comically oversized pot of water won’t come to a boil. As he fumes over his shortcomings he adds about three pounds of salt into the 200 gallons of water. As the tubby chickenhawk precariously dangles on a tiny footstool a silent assailant makes their deadly presence known. The small person is obviously a child, but manages to push Artie off balance and leave him hanging onto a filmy shelf above the olympic swimming pool of salty molten lava. Artie tries to bribe his attacker with an ice cream sunday, which confirms that the would be killer is a child. The stool is yanked away, causing Artie to tumble and drop the the barrel of toxic waste on top of himself. Artie somehow survives the attack but is very badly burned. The paramedic even remarks that the pain must be incredible. This angers the hideously old and misshapen camp owner Mel and causes him to snap that it must have been an accident. The greedy grandpa decides to cover up the incident to avoid bad press.

Meanwhile, Ricky has his hands full with a pack of meathead jocks that continually torment him and knock his sweet cowboy hat off his head. The goons also have Angela in their sights, and for a couple of laughs they decide to invite her along for a midnight skinny dip. Angela of course says nothing, and stares holes into them. Later that night the boys take the plunge and an idiot named Kenny manages to convince a girl named Leslie to go on a moonlight canoe ride with him. Kenny starts acting like a jackass and both of them wind up in the water. Leslie swims back to shore and for some odd inexplicable reason Kenny decides to swim underneath the tipped over canoe and begin singing a song called “Hey Hey Baba-Re-Bop.” The unseen slayer suddenly strikes again and Kenny is mercifully put out of his misery by drowning.

The next morning a profane lifeguard discovers Kenny’s waterlogged and snake ridden corpse. Police and paramedics are suspicious, especially considering Kenny’s reputation for being “a pretty damned good swimma.”Mel once again interrupts the conversation and swears that the whole thing is an unfortunate accident. The next day Angela is humiliated by Judy in their cabin and then pelted by water balloons by the mean boys. Ricky rushes to Angela’s defense and tells the cocksuckers to stop messing with his cousin. Mel steps in, and the wrinked old dick punishes the boys. He also punishes Ricky for his rotten mouth. The leader of the gang is a blonde doofus named Billy who proudly tells his fellow campers that he has to take a wicked dump and trots off to the shitter to meet his demise. The unseen slasher strikes again, this time armed with a well placed broom and an beehive full of angry bees.

After finding another dead body Mel begins worrying more about the reputation of his camp than the safety of the remaining children. He also begins to suspect that Ricky is the culprit. Things get even more complicated when love enters the picture and Ricky’s good pal Paul falls for Angela in a big way. Paul even manages to almost get to second base with Angela before she freaks out and runs away. The next afternoon Judy gets involved and begins mocking the new couple and coming on to Paul. A bitchy counselor named Meg gets fed up with Angela refusing to swim or shower with the other girls and decides to throw her in the water. Everyone laughs as Angela almost drowns before Ricky can finally break away from the increasingly unstable Mel and once again come to her rescue.

This is where an already off the wall flick goes even further off the rails into crazy town. The bitch counselor Meg has the hots for the rather decrepit and disgusting looking Mel and throws herself at him. The old man then invites the sexy young thing back to his place for a late night meal. Meg then goes off to wash her cootch and get it clean for the elderly man she is planning on having sex with. As Meg showers and hums a catchy little tune that will drive you bananas, the killer shows up to spoil the fun and stick a knife in Meg’s back.

Mel eventually gets a bad case of old man blue balls while waiting for Meg to show up for their hot date and goes looking for her. He discovers her sliced up body in the shower and once and for all goes bananas. He shakes his feeble and brittle fists and rows revenge against Ricky for Meg’s murder. As all this is happening Angela arranges a late night rendezvous with Paul. These combustible elements combine to create one the most thrilling third acts in horror history. Judy gets what is coming to her in a big way, Mel finds out that looking for Ricky will be a pain in the neck, a cop shows up with a mustache that is clearly made out of black masking tape, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, arguably the greatest shock in the history of horror is revealed at the waterfront…after the social. You won’t be coming home!

Growing up as a wee Brain Hammer, I had a wacky lesbian aunt named Aunt Martha (RIP). As you can imagine, the “Sleepaway Camp” films have a very special place in my blackened heart. My cousin beat me to the video store back in the day and snared a used copy of “Sleepaway Camp.” We watched that movie dozens of times in high school. I’ve watched it so many times over the years, with so many different people, I’ve lost count. “Sleepaway Camp” is one of the most entertaining horror movies ever made. A bad time can never be had during a viewing! But don’t mistake this for a “so bad it’s good” sort of experience, “Sleepaway Camp” is a amazingly creepy and disturbing horror film that also happens to be hilarious.

Robert Hiltzig is a genius for making a summer camp movie that shows kids being kids: playing pranks on each other and swearing like drunken sailors. The film is ruthlessly padded with softball, but the non stop vulgarities spewing from the mouths of the players during the game makes the scenes hilarious. Who didn’t tell someone to “eat shit and live” after watching this one? Jonathan Tiersten is a riot in this movie. No one call yell out “COCKSUCKERS! PRICKS!” like he can! Even more obscene is the vomit inducing wholesale hatchet slaughter of a gaggle of little kiddies all tucked into their sleeping bags. You don’t see that in most summer camp slasher flicks. The over the top violence in this movie has a mean spirited edge that I really enjoy. Not only is “Sleepaway Camp” of one the very best slasher flicks, it is also one of the most brutal revenge movies ever made. The intimate and sexual nature of some the killings, particularly the vulgar deaths on the toilet or featuring curling iron violation are far more lurid than your usual horror and exploitation fare.

“Sleepaway Camp” has it all. The perfect summer camp setting. The spectacular death scenes and make up effects needed to make a gruesome slasher flick. The quirky characters and offbeat performances that make it so unique. An unbelievable performance from Felissa Rose. A chilling theme song. I think there is no other slasher flick that compares when it comes to sheer unnerving perversion and horror. The film is full of scenes featuring the violent death of children and young adults and it is laced with a lascivious dosage of homoerotic imagery. Sure, there may have been a lot of other horror flicks in the 80′s that took place in summer camps, but only “Sleepaway Camp” had the balls to feature a leering pedophile who expresses his mouth watering love for “baldies!” The ending packs a wallop that never fails to make jaws drop when seeing it for the first time. The ending of the film is iconic. It has to be considered nothing less than the greatest of all time.

A trio of (almost) equally excellent sequels followed and another is (apparently) in the works. The horrors of Angela and Camp Arawak will never die. The legions of “Sleepaway Camp” fans have kept the series alive for decades and are always thirsty for more. This flick perhaps more than any other I can think of truly defines the term “cult classic.” I think I speak for all Happy Campers when I demand the return of Aunt Martha! Robert, seriously bring her back for the sequel!

SLEEPAWAY CAMP is available on dvd from Anchor Bay Entertainment. It’s a nice looking dvd that includes the trailer and a wild commentary track with Robert Hiltzig and Felissa Rose. The only drawback to this release is the fact that the print is missing some footage, including some gory shots that extend the death scenes. Lovers of hot boy ass will mourn the missing shots of the lads going skinny dipping. Hardcore fans that want a totally uncut version of the film should seek out the Legacy Entertainment release instead. Both are still easy to find online.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP is also available in a collector’s edition Blu Ray/DVD combo pack from Shout! Factory. This 2014 release features two brand new commentary tracks: one with stars Felissa Rose (Angela) And Jonathan Tiersten (Ricky), and another with director Robert Hiltzig. The highlight of the package is the 45 minute featurette “At The Waterfront After The Social: The Legacy Of Sleepaway Camp” which includes interviews with assorted cast and crew…including Aunt Martha herself Desiree Gould! There’s also a short fan-film titled “Judy,” a music video from Jonathan Tiersten, and a Camp Arawak Scrapbook still gallery. All in all, a fantasic release, and an essential purchase for diehard fans (is there any other kind?) of this clas-sick. 


Massacre At Central High!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 by Brain Hammer

You better get those kids the hell out of there!


In what can only be described as a “what the fuck?” moment, “Massacre At Central High” actually begins with the final shot of the movie, and then works its way through an opening credits montage consisting of the film’s many brutal and explosive highlights set to a sensitive sounding Seventies soft rock song called “The Crossroads Of Your Life.” Once that insanity winds down we are introduced to David (Derrel Murray) – the new kid at Central High, a large high school located near the California coastline. David immediately runs afoul of the little league gestapo that dominates the school.

The terrible trio of Bruce (a snobby and domineering hang gliding enthusiast), Craig (an ill tempered diver with an impressive mane of chest hair), and Paul (a big blonde doofus surfer) have turned the students of Central High into scared mice. On David’s first day the thugs decide to punish a geek named Spoony (Robert “Revenge Of The Nerds” Carradine!) for painting a swastika on a locker as a form of social protest. David interveins, asking Spoony where to find the student lounge. Bruce informs David that he is looking for trouble, and that he will quickly find it unless he minds his own business.

David walks away and has a much more pleasant encounter with a pretty gal named Theresa. (Kimberly Beck of “Friday The 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter” fame!) Theresa points David in the direction of the student lounge, where his old pal Mark (Andrew “10 To Midnight” Stevens!) is waiting for him. David is shocked when he discovers that Mark is the fourth member of Bruce’s gang. Mark assures David that he’s riding pretty high around the campus with Bruce and the boys. He tries to convince David to drop his loner shit and just lay back and enjoy the place. Then Mark introduces David to his girlfriend – Theresa. The same Theresa that David met and fell in love with earlier. Bummer.

An afternoon with the gang spent showing David around degenerates into destruction when the boys decide to trash the beloved old jalopy belonging to Rodney (Rex Sikes), one of their less fortunate classmates. David comes along for the ride and hates it. He later apologizes to Rodney and agrees to help him fix his car. Soon afterward David is again appalled when he sees Bruce and company threaten a fat slob named Oscar with a switchblade. Then the bullies turn their attention toward the obnoxious handicapped volunteer assistant librarian Arthur and trash the library. When David goes to help Arthur clean up the mess Mark asks him what in the hell he’s doing and tells him that he’s going “to blow it.” David responds by telling his old friend Mark that he’s “already blown it for thinking you’re more than that poor guy.”

Things get really nasty when Bruce decides that a couple of his “bull dyke”classmates named Mary & Jane (Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith & Lani O’ Grady – both RIP) need a good fuck. Mark won’t have anything to do with the proceedings, but does nothing to stop it before leaving. Paul on the other hand thinks that rape “might be a new kick!” The three bastards drag the girls kicking and screaming into an empty classroom and attempt to have their way with them. Theresa shows up to interrupt the gang rape but Bruce quickly sends her packing. Then David shows up and hands all three of the punks their asses! David’s right hook is more than enough to rattle their brains. Incredibly, Theresa gets angry at David for fighting and runs off.

This leads to a tender sequence on the beach where David apologizes to Theresa. He admits that if he keeps jumping in without thinking and starts swinging he could “really blow it.” He then explains to Theresa that running is the only thing that keeps his anger under control. David and Theresa then frolic on the beach in the proud “Rocky III” tradition and then go for a night time swim in the nude. Mark and the gang find David’s jeep on the side of the road and Mark convinces them to give David one last chance. Bruce agrees, and sends Mark off to talk to him. Mark stumbles down to the beach and finds his best friend and his best gal too close for comfort. Devastated, Mark goes back to Bruce and tells him that he couldn’t talk any sense into David. He then begs his friends to settle the score with David later, when he’s not around to see it.

Later that night, Bruce, Paul, and Craig go to David’s house and confront him inside the garage – where David is working on Rodney’s car. David refuses to come out from under the car so Bruce gives him a shove which accidentally causes the heavy car frame to crash down onto David’s leg! David is crippled for life, but tells authorities that it was simply an accident and that he was alone at the time. After a few weeks in the hospital David returns to Central High with a limp and a thirst for revenge. He decides to liberate the students of Central High by eliminating the brutal bullies that oppress them. First on the hit list is Bruce, who is electrocuted after some hang glider sabotage. Then Craig is snuffed after diving headfirst into a drained pool. Finally big dumb Paul gets his in a fiery auto wreck.

The students of Central High are happy to finally be free, but it doesn’t take long for the formerly abused to become abusive themselves. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Fat slob Oscar begins throwing his weight around. Rodney becomes a snob who can’t stop fawning over his new car. Arthur becomes even more obnoxious and uses his superior intellect to insult the library patrons. Worst of all, Spoony, Mary, and Jane turn into self righteous hippies that decide who could use a “good fuck!”

One by one, the students all go up to David, looking to “join up” with him and rule the school together. Disgusted with the hypocrisy, and how quickly it takes place, David decides the only fair thing to do is to kill them too. David is no mercy killer. He decides how and when they will die. Arthur dies from lethal hearing-aid sabotage, Oscar and Rodney both get blown up real good, and Spoony, Mary, and Jane have their torrid three way fuck fest interrupted with dynamite and falling rocks! Then David goes to the student/alumni prom with a bomb. Can Mark and Theresa stop him in time? It’s a horror showdown in the hallowed halls! Thank God you’ve graduated!

Writer and director Rene Daalder was the mastermind behind this one, which I consider to be hands down the greatest teenage revenge flick of all time. Really, no other flick comes close when it comes to exploring high school fascism. I love the fact the the parents and teachers are completely absent from the proceedings, and the kids are left on their own to form cliques and savage each other, which is completely true to real life. One of the greatest lines in the movie is “There’s definitely a message in all these accidents – the higher you feel, the deeper you fall.” It’s much more thought provoking than the usual Seventies exploitation fare, and it works because the characters and the storyline are realistic and the actors and actresses all do a great job.

This flick is literally a BLAST from start to finish. There’s no shortage of mayhem throughout, so while not a straight up slasher flick by any means, horror fans should still be entertained by the bloody violence. The hang gliding and diving board deaths in particular are both fantastic. It doesn’t hurt that the trio of bullies are all throughly unlikable, and it’s easy enough to start rooting for their demise, especially after the attempted rape scene. Another fantastic, and again completely realistic touch is how quickly the formerly tormented students turn into bullying pieces of shit themselves. I really do have to give writer Rene Daalder a lot of credit for his script, which rings a lot truer to real life than a lot of other high school flicks I can think of. It’s also worth mentioning that the film’s explosive ending was later lifted and recycled in the comedy cult clas-sick “Heathers.” It’s good to know someone else in the film biz watched this flick and actually payed attention.

My first encounter with MASSACRE was a 49 cent rental at my local Showtime Video. I’ve been a huge fan of this one ever since, and have enjoyed more repeat viewings over the years than I can count. Sadly, this flick has never been released on dvd, and I still make due with a dvd-r copy of my old Electric Video Inc vhs. Cult Epics and Rene Daalder have wrestled around with the idea of dvd release for YEARS and nothing has ever come of it. I would very much like to see a special edition dvd release of MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH. This one deserves a much larger audience, if only for being one of the few horror films that could never be remade.

A while ago, I conducted an extensive interview with Massacre At Central High star REX SIKES. (which you can read here: Here are a few of the highlights:

Brain Hammer: Where and when was MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH filmed? How old were you at the time?

Rex Sikes: MASSACRE as I recall was shot in the early part of 1976, seems like late winter early spring, it’s always hard to tell in Los Angeles where the weather is perfect year round. I would have been approaching 21 or 22 at the time, we all were in our twenties as I recall.

BH: How long was the shoot?

RS: 3 or 4 weeks. I believe I worked at least 3 weeks nearly consecutively. We worked a few national holidays so union wages were good for those days as I mentioned before. Although, as is often he case, I believe we were asked to waive certain bumps to our salary due to budget constraints.

BH: What was the atmosphere like on the set?

RS: We all met at production offices on Sunset on a Saturday while they were casting the last role of Oscar – Jeffrey Winner, another nice man. He won the role. How long after that shooting began I don’t recall. But we all became friends quickly and spent nearly every evening going to dinner together. Andrew Stevens bought me my first shot of Courvoisier and as I recall I shot it down to his dismay. “You have to sip it!” he told me. I do believe he bought another. So we were all pretty relaxed together and the atmosphere was happy. There are always production tensions, delays, and issues that surround film making but it was good to be with everyone. I don’t recall any fights, any incompatibility issues, perhaps minor artistic squabbles. I don’t recall ever feeling rushed.

BH: It was a genre flick shot in the Seventies so I have to ask: any coke-fueled orgies on the set to report?

RS: None that I can recall. HAHAHAHAHHA! Actually, I recall getting really drunk on Southern Comfort at a party Rainbeaux Smith had at her house once, but I know of no drugs on the set to report. And yes the 70′s were quite the era of drugs and free sex. Wow, to be able to relive those days would be great – not the drugs but the freedom from fear of disease and death. Lot’s of partying for sure but what a different time. I would never again do that to my body or brain, ever. But ohhhh the freedoms!

BH: What are your memories of Rene Daalder? Was he an easy director to work with?

RS: Rene was fun to work with. I can’t say I understood his vision for this movie, maybe none of us did but we did what we had to get it done.


BH: Tell me about the scene where the bullies wreck your beloved jalopy. Do you remember shooting that scene? Were any stunt people used, or did Steve Bond really drive the car?

RS: We shot some of it at Griffith Park, the drives and the stop. After they get in the car we shot at another location, a condemned school in Burbank. When they stop me I obviously was driving as was Steve I believe. After a few takes I hear someone yell “Sikes hit the van!” and I got blamed for crashing into the van. It never happened and eventually I was exonerated. But at first I was blamed.

The guys get into the car and we drive off, cut to driving at the condemned school. We all were in it for much of it except the final car jump. I believe some of us were replaced with stunt people. Danny Rogers was the stunt co-coordinator and another really good guy. I don’t remember if we were all in the car going over or not. Funny, it seems like I remember being in the front seat with stunt men in wigs in the back. That way those in the front would be seen through the windshield – but it would have to have been Danny the stunt driver. I honestly don’t recall it for certain.

BH: At the end of that tragic scene you unleash quite the raw display of emotion. After the bullies walk away you slam your car door and then kick the car while spinning around in frustration! Was that method acting?

RS: Yes pretty much. Although I did use a grass reed to tickle my nostrils to tear up. I think the bullies found that most enjoyable. So I am teary eyed and in the “moment” when action starts. And then the anger and the spin!

BH: Were you present for the shooting of any of the death scenes? If so, please share your memories!

RS: I was present for the pool death. And upon discovery of Steve Bond’s body Andrew Stevens broke my nose for real! I utter something, Harvey (Tom Logan, good guy and we are still in touch) says something like “and to think he was so full of life” then Andrew rushes to take him out and he accidentally koko-butted me in the nose.

I bled immediately. They grabbed me, threw me in a make up chair and grabbed my nose. The producer Howard Sobel comes by and asks “Do you have a history of bloody noses?” I angrily say no and tell him to get lost, to which he replies “Oh I do, that’s why I wondered.” Geeeesss! Anyway, I recovered moments later and we shot the scene. Turns out my nose was crushed. I have a broken nose throughout many scenes in the movie and a puffy face because it was shot out of sequence. In 1999 I finally got it fixed so I could again breath properly. There should have been a workers compensation claim but I never reported it.

I was there for Oscar’s death. During rehearsals the explosion knocked out Danny the stuntman briefly and the lights and set went dark. Tom and I were supposed to be in the scene next to Oscar but wardrobe put us in the wrong day’s clothes so they just went ahead without us. It was scary although no one was ultimately hurt.

I also was there for Arthur’s death at Hollywood High Library. We all thought the blood looked cool running down the page.

BH: Your character has a fiery demise! Any memories of that car explosion?

RS: It was filmed at Griffith Park which we used for the parking lot. It was a little spooky watching a dummy – with MY blue jean jacket on it get blown sky high. I was holding a girl’s hand I was dating and watching me and part of my clothing go bye bye. The production crew asked if they could use my jacket because they forgot to get one and promised that they would replace it – well not to my satisfaction did they replace it. Instead I got some crummy old blue jean jacket. Not cool at all.

BH: Was there ever a premiere for MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH? If so, where was it, and did you attend? What was the audience reaction to the film?

RS: I think it opened on Hollywood Blvd at the Pacific theater on a Wednesday night and the cast all went. I don’t recall if it was a special screening of it or not. We sat together in two rows. As the credits rolled Lani yells out “Hey, how did I end up after Sikes?” since the original film credits somehow moved my name further down the list of costars.

It was bitter sweet for me. It is difficult to watch oneself and then I see my broken nose throughout. The audience that was there seemed to like it. Tom Logan and I hung out quite a bit and there were times in Hollywood when people would spot us and ask for autographs because we were kids from CENTRAL HIGH. I later took a director friend of mine to see it at another Hollywood theater so she could see my work in the film. She was positive. I am glad it has been well received through the years, surprised and glad.


BH: What were/are your thoughts on the finished product?

RS: I like it and I cringe, as I mentioned it is always difficult to watch yourself. What you could have done differently-and “gd math problems”and such. I thought it should be longer. Things happened too quickly. I don’t know what if anything was left out of the filming. But the market at the time was dictating and it was more of an exploitation flick. Fast deaths, no grief, revenge, and then end. That sort of formula. Embedded in it however are the subtle messages of class rivalry, power corrupting, and the dialog of children attempting to act like adults or movie tough guys. It made for an intriguing blend with the sappy music. It was bound for cult fame – I just didn’t see it at the time.


Mother’s Day!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2014 by Brain Hammer

I’m so proud of my boys. They never forget their momma.


This holiday favorite begins inside a rather tatty looking self help meeting. After the groovy graduation ceremony, a young couple bums a ride home from a sweet looking old lady. The shady acting couple seem to have sinister intentions, and when the old woman’s car suddenly breaks down on a lonely stretch of road in the woods her imminent demise seems inevitable. Suddenly a pair of masked psychopaths show up and attack the couple. They swiftly decapitate the dude sitting in the backseat and then violently assault the girl on the roof of the car. Then things take a turn for the bizarre when the old woman joins in. She kisses and strangles the girl and then congratulates the killers for a job well done. The masked psychos are the demented old woman’s sons – Ike & Addley, and they have made their mother VERY proud!

As the opening credits roll we take a trip down memory lane with a tasty trio of wacky prank pulling college roommates that call themselves the rat pack. We then get to spend a little quality time with each of the girls, now all grown up after college. Trina is a pool party throwing high roller enjoying the fast life in Beverly Hills, Abbey is a mousy loser suffering under her sick and dying mother’s oppression in a tiny apartment in Chicago, and Jackie is a spineless slut constantly being taken advantage of by sleazy men in the Big Apple. The girls had made a vow to stay friends forever and reunite once a year for a mystery weekend where they meet at a different place chosen by that year’s leader.

This year it’s Jackie’s turn to pick the destination and she chooses an out of the way stretch of woods in upstate New York called Deep Barrons. A toothless prophet of doom in a country store warns the “Lez-Beans” not to go messin’ up in Deep Barrons, but being your typical know-it-all city slickers they choose to ignore him. The gals set up camp and have a few laughs stepping in bear shit, fishing, and splashing around topless in the river. We’re then treated to an unbearably wacky 70′s flashback of the rat pack in action, humiliating a dipshit former lover of Jackie’s named Dobber to the tune of Tommy James & The Shontelle’s classic “I Think We’re Alone Now!” The fun is short lived however. Unfortunately for the girls, Deep Barrons also happens to the home of Ike, Addley, and Momma!

Soon enough, the girls are abducted by Ike & Addley and are dragged kicking screaming inside their sleeping bags back to their isolated house deep in the woods. It turns out that Mother is training her sons to be the very best murderers and rapists that they can be. She also needs her sons for protection, as she is convinced that her supposedly dead, feral sister Queenie is actually still alive and stalking the woods at night. As expected, her beloved boys Ike & Addley are a real pair of winners. They have a Sesame Street alarm clock in their bedroom, brush their teeth with beer, eat EZ Cheese out of the can, and debate endlessly as to whether “Punk Sucks” or “Disco’s Stupid” (reminds me of some of my former house mates!). They are also consummate media junkies, with a television constantly blaring in the living room. Being called a sadistic motherfucker simply makes Ike smirk but the accusation of being “backwoods” is enough to make him snap and exclaim “Don’t you ever say backwoods again! We’re CITY-FIED! You look around!”

The two dim witted savages have a blast humiliating, beating, and raping Jackie, as Mother happily watches and barks out orders. The next morning during the brothers’ daily workout the girls manage to escape, but Jackie is badly injured and Abbey suffers a nasty hand wound in the process. Trina tries to make a break for their car but discovers that the brothers have already sabotaged it and that there is no way to escape. Jackie dies soon afterwards from her wounds and her tragic death inspires Trina & Abbey to swear revenge. The girls pool their resources and begin an unbelievable final assault on the sadistic family, which includes hatchets to the groin, electric knife chest carving, Drano down the throat, television set head bashing, and suffocation via inflatable breasts! And just when you think you’ve seen it all, the always annoying post- “Carrie” shock epilogue is unleashed to further assault the audience. If you go down to the woods today…

This infamous 1980 revenge epic from writer/director Charles Kaufman is easily my favorite of Troma’s original productions (I almost always prefer the films that they only distribute). This one is a lot less silly than the usual Troma fare and plays out more in the depraved and violent vein of clas-sick flicks like “Last House On The Left.” Your brain will be battered by the constant switching of tones, which vary from light hearted comedy to gut punching misery. The special effects are also hit and miss. The opening decapitation is laughably fake, while the hand wound later suffered by Abbey is hideously realistic looking. Either way, there is plenty of nasty splatter throughout to keep the gorehounds happy. I have to say that the “Shirley Temple” rape scene, which includes forced role play, photography of the outrage, and a particularly savage beating is one of the most disturbing that I’ve seen. This especially brutal scene makes the final turning of the tables against the rapists even more satisfying.

Another big positive is the surprising amount of characterization on display. The opening scenes of the girl’s day-to-day lives give us considerable insight into their characters and add a lot of impact to the film’s climax as well. There’s a lot of irony and a considerable amount of satire too. I’d say more, but I don’t want to ruin any of the surprises. Speaking of surprises, the tacked on shock-ending is pretty weak in my opinion. It doesn’t ruin the film by any means, but it’s a bit of a groaner. Bonus points if you see it coming, as a lot of fans seem to miss the obvious set up on their first viewing. I’ve been a big fan of this one since my days as a wee, impressionable Brain Hammer. Unbelievably, my parents let me watch this one more than once, which is another big reason why I am insane. When I first started collecting horror flicks on VHS, the Media Home Video release of MOTHER’S DAY was one of the first tapes I tracked down. I actually wore out my first copy from repeat viewings and had to replace it, which is a testament to just how entertaining this clas-sick flick really is.

As to be expected, the wacky bastards at Troma released a beautiful digitally mastered director’s cut dvd of MOTHER’S DAY. The bonus features include a very informative and funny commentary track by Charles Kaufman, interviews with, and a special introduction by the Kaufman family, and all of the other cheesy crap you’ve come to love and expect from a Troma dvd, including tons of trailers and the always touching Power Of The Radiation March. This all time, independent horror clas-sick demands a spot in any respectable collection. Never forget your momma!




Posted in Uncategorized on May 3, 2014 by Brain Hammer

Slaughter In The South Bronx!


TENEMENT is the tender tale of a rat infested slum in the South Bronx taken hostage by a crazed gang of junkie street punks. The tenement’s greasy and loathsome superintendent Hector finally gets fed up with the gang using the basement as their personal shooting gallery (in more ways than one) and calls the cops on them. The police show up and remove the gang from the tenement, and Hector and the rest of the tenants throw themselves a little party to celebrate.

Sadly, the good times don’t last long, as the gang is released only a few hours after being arrested. The leader of the gang, Chaco, swears bloody revenge on the apartment dwellers and vows to take “his building”  back. His plan of attack is simple: cut the phone lines, take over the building one floor at a time, and rape, torture, and terrorize every single tenant before violently killing them. The hapless and helpless tenants have no choice but to band together against the maniacs and fight for their lives. The building becomes a battlefield of madness and the game of survival begins. The game is played with knives, guns, drugs & sex… there can only be one winner!

TENEMENT (aka Game Of Survival) has the unique claim to fame of being the very first genre flick in the 80′s to repeatedly receive an X rating from the MPAA for excessive violence. The film was also denied a UK video release. The clas-sick tag line “Too violent to be rated!” was more than just hype, it was a fact! The film had to be released unrated, and I honestly can’t imagine watching it any other way and enjoying it. This has to be considered one of the most spectacularly gruesome exploitation flicks of all time. Chaco’s army arm themselves with machetes, knives, and guns, and the death scenes are always excessive and gory. The most notorious moment of the film has to be the incredibly vicious scene where a woman is raped to death with a broomstick. This nasty scene is especially disturbing because of how much the gang beats the woman before, during, and after the rape, and because the victim’s young daughter witnesses the bloody aftermath. For sheer brutality, this scene rivals anything else I can think of.

But there’s more! A seeing eye dog is gutted, a fat chick has her throat slit, a old Jewish lady runs around gingerly hitting punks with a baseball bat, a horny and insistent John gets impaled with a crowbar, a tubby Puerto Rican woman in purple pants falls out of a window, a gutter skank has blood lovingly smeared on her tits and later has a refrigerator dropped on her head, and the bug eyed guy who played “Cigar Face” in “The Toxic Avenger” overdoses on rat poison! WOW! This insanity all leads up to a spectacular thundershower showdown on the roof of the building between a pregnant woman and the leader of the gang that should make fans of sleazy and violent revenge flicks finally stand up and cheer.

This flick is a real crowd pleaser…if you can stomach the graphic violence and then endure the long stretches of the film where nothing really happens. I’m a big fan of this flick, and have enjoyed numerous viewings over the years, but I have to admit that it’s far from perfect. The biggest problem with the film is the fact that the pacing sucks. The scenes where the building is being taken over by the punks should always be riveting, but they often wind up feeling tedious. You’ll have a great death scene or two, and then a long meandering stretch of the gang trashing up empty apartments or worthless scenes with the tenants bickering with each other.

The tenants are the other big problem with the film. It’s almost impossible to feel sorry for them or cheer them on. It doesn’t help matters that the super is a vile, racist alcoholic, and that his tenants are an odd assortment of feeble old ladies, drunks, cheap prostitutes and their strung out boyfriends, and a gaggle of welfare moms and their bastard offspring. They spend the majority of the film incessantly arguing with each other or pathetically begging “Mr. Washington” to help them. Mr. Washington (actor Joe Lynn) is our angry, loner hero who also happens to live in the tenement and plays a mean saxophone. He’s a big Black bad ass in the proud Fred Williamson tradition. Mr. Washington eventually rallies the troops and saves the day, despite the fact he really doesn’t want to…and I really can’t blame him. I actually find myself rooting for Chaco, but only because he slightly resembles Steve Perry from Journey. Speaking of music, the theme song for this one is a rap number by the Kool Krew that is pretty much the dopest thing ever recorded! Any complaints about this flick are instantly made irrelevant by that kick ass theme song. It’s also worth mentioning that the film’s one-sheet poster was drawn by none other than John Fasano of “Rock ‘n’Roll Nightmare” legend! That little factoid alone makes this flick Brain Hammer approved.

The fine fiends at Shriek Show were sick enough to release TENEMENT uncut on dvd. The special features include a very entertaining interview and director’s commentary with Roberta Findlay. Roberta is a fucking blast to listen to here as she claims the script reminded her of her childhood! She tells incredible stories about discovering a dead bear and assorted human remains while shooting the film in the South Bronx! Good gritty, gory fun! I can’t recommend this one highly enough. You can also find TENEMENT included in Shriek Show’s “Grindhouse Psychos!” triple feature set along with “Cop Killers” and another personal favorite of mine – “Don’t Go In The House.” Essential exploitation and a must have in any respectable scumbag’s collection.