Dracula

WEIRDO’WEEN #17: The Monster Squad [1987]

weirdoween2015As most of you know, I’m a fairly big fan of Monster films. Frankenstein stands as one of my all time favorites, and the Universal Monster films are something that deserve all the love they got when they were first released. [I’m even trying to collect them all on Blu ray. Slowly] If you had friends who liked the same topic, such as films, as well, chances are; you’d probably make a club dedicated to said topic. It could be about anything really: comics, movies, video games; you get the idea. Can you imagine a club dedicated to monsters! Now, that would be an awesome club to be part of: but what would you name it? Monster Madness? The Miniature Monsters? Oh I got it! Why not: The Monster Squad? Wait..that’s probably already taken.. In light of us trying to figure out a monster club name, let’s talk about a monster movie from the late ’80s that has not one but four different monsters in it – and the kids who try to stop them! That movie, is none other than The Monster Squad!

weirdo'ween-#17The Monster Squad was directed by Fred Dekkar, a man you probably recognize as the Director of another 80s classic horror, Night Of The Creeps. The Monster Squad though, follows in the tradition as a horror-comedy film about a gang of grade-school kids who save their town from Dracula and his band of goons. Although it’s a fun film, The Monster Squad is no doubt, a much more enjoyable movie than Night Of The Creeps.

In the movie, The Monster Squad refers to a tree house club of five kids who call themselves horror fanatics. They have comic books, magazines, and posters scattered all over this little tree house of theirs. Unbeknownst to them, their enthusiasm toward the genre they love so dearly, would suddenly come in handy as their town in abruptly invaded by Dracula [and a few other memorable horror villains] in their most classic form. According to the story we’re given at the beginning of the movie, Drac is terrorizing the town only because he’s trying to locate a powerful amulet which has the potential for ruling the world type business. It’s when no one else believes the kids, or when no one else is powerful enough to stop them using traditional crime fighting methods [if we can be honest, arresting the Wolfman didn’t work out as effectively as the cops hoped], it’s up to The Monster Squad [with the help of Frankenstein, who decides to switch sides!] to save the day! The film is filled with great scenes as well, especially with memorable characters. Take Boo Radley for example, he’s a strange recluse of a man who all the kids fear without knowing why. [he’s just an old man who lives a few houses down from the kids] in one particular scene, when we learn that Sean, the leader of The Monster Squad, is given a book [that his mother got from a flea market?] that can explain why the monsters are reappearing in modern 1987, he has no choice but to seek the man’s help. As it turns out, the book is in German, which definitely confirms that the team of kids need Boo Radley. Not only does this “scary man” speak the language written inside, he kindly offers to help them get through the important passages in the book! Also, it happens that he knows what monsters are.. If you’re going to watch this with a younger audience, you probably will need to explain to your kids what the numbers tattooed on the scary mans forearm are..moving on.

you can’t say this isn’t the coolest group of kids ever.. I’d join their club!

The Monster Squad was done in the most positive light possible – it didn’t talk down to kids and put them in control when the adults wouldn’t believe them that Monsters were taking over their town. Plus, there were other monster references besides the scary ones! The children, kids and teens cast in this film were adorable and cast properly: there was the smart leader type kid who was obsessed with monsters, your typical “fat” kid, – who’s known as fat kid – the adorable little girl/sister type who wants to be a part of everything her older brothers and his friends did, and shy little boy who was really the coolest of them all! Shane Black, who was a popular screenwriter of the 80’s, knew what he was doing with this one; and Fred Dekker directed his young group really well. The movie never felt silly, it was a believable kids’ world where kids were the heroes of the day, and the parents were thankful they were..cause let’s be honest, the parents had no clue what to do.

By keeping the film true to all the rules of the classic Universal Monster films, which is the main reason why this film works so well. Dekker manages to ensure that the film will appeal to two of the major horror audiences; fans of the classics that will appreciate the plot and humor, and younger kids, who are bound to get a kick out of the characters and their witty dialogue. It’s something, for everyone. Be warned though, the film is very short, running at just over eighty minutes, but it has enough to keep everyone satisfied, with enough screen time for all the different monsters. What made this movie so special is it felt like we were seeing a “what if” The Goonies took on the old monsters.. Not to mention, the movie has arguable one of the coolest lines in film history; “Wolfman’s got nards!”, It’s a very 80s movie, but it’s all part of it’s charm.

So check out The Monster Squad! It’s the perfect blend of monster madness and child like wonder. It also includes a ton of references to older horror films, so it really is something for everyone! It’s cheesy, but in the best way possible, so if you’re looking for gorier films; you’re going to be missing out on this one! But, If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow morning when I talk about weirdo’ween #18! – STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

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WEIRDO’WEEN #05: Children Of The Night [2014]

weirdoween2015

If you’ve been following warrenisweird for a while now, you’d know that I receive special screener copies of movies in the mail before their widespread release date. They’re usually foreign films that I’ll get an email about first but a couple days ago, I received one that I hadn’t heard of. [all the way from Argentina!] It had a evil looking kids on the cover, and had the title Children Of The Night yet everywhere I looked online, it was under as the title Limbo. Either way, with a name like Children Of The Night, I took it to obviously mean that vampires would be somehow involved – and were they ever! If you follow me on Twitter, I also used “#livetweet” last night as I sent tweets as I was watching the film – as a way to give my thoughts as the movie went along [if you want this to become a “thing”, let me know!] and by the movie’s end; I quite enjoyed it. So let’s talk about these Children, [Of The Night] assuming they really are kids..

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The story follows a secluded colony of child-like vampires who are being hunted by vengeful villagers. We meet Alice, a journalist, who decides to visit a secluded Orphanage she’s heard about where the children suffer from an unknown skin disease. According to Erda, a religious ex-nurse whose destiny in life is to find these ‘lost souls’ and raise them in her Orphanage, – which is called Limbo – this disease makes the children sensitive to the sun’s light, making them almost nocturnal; the kids only come out at night, and for some reason – they act fairly mature for their age. Oh, and you gotta give them points, cause this disease that the “kids” have is called “Translyvirus.” [if that doesn’t scream the word ‘vampire’, I don’t know what does..] 

Eventually, Alice learns [like us, the viewer, already knows] that they are in fact not children, but vampires aging anywhere from 4 to 120 years old, who have been bitten at an early age and forever remain in that physical state. [because, as we’re told, “young blood tastes better”] Through religious teachings, nocturnal rituals and the occasional visit to local towns for fresh human blood, Erda keeps them safe – at least, until a group of men from a nearby village plot to destroy the refuge. Now the children, headed by none other than the 90-year-old grandson of Count Dracula, must defend their way of life, or accept their defeat; in death!

Quite literally, because not even half an hour into the film and already one of these “vampire kids” is killed.

What’s great about Children Of The Night is that even if these “kids” are really “adults in kids bodies”, we see them act like kids, at least during the darkest parts of the evening. We see some kids sitting under a tree reading [although that kid admits to being over 80!] and another fixing a bicycle wheel! It’s really appealing to see that they’re still in some shape.. human.There’s also a subplot about how Alice, the journalist who’s been interviewing these vampires, [who seem very open to talking about it for some reason] knew Seigfried, one of the vampires when she was a kid, but didn’t recognize him until he explained that he had been protecting her for a very long time. He’s also a fairly young vampire; being only 33 [just like Alice!] and that he’s been in love with her ever since they were kids. It’s weird, and almost uncomfortable, to watch a child actor tell a grown woman that she has “great breasts”.. but it’s okay, because the character is actually 33…right? Either way, you’re here for the vampires; like the blood and the biting, and stuff..

[left to right: Seigfried and Alice. remember, they’re technically lovers..]

It’s only just before when the group of men come to attack, that things really take off in a bloody, messy way. About three-quarters into the movie, Erda allows the vampires to go to the nearby village to feed before they start hunting the men who plan on destroying the Orphanage. Sounds legit, until you realize that this movie isn’t the standard vampire flick!

Before they ‘head out’, [so to speak] the vampires all gather in the basement of Limbo..for a drink? The scene is actually really good, showing kids aerating the blood [like wine] and talking about it’s different scents. One vampire even offers another some ‘wine’ from an 80 year old nun, which he turns down because it’s too bitter. Then, the final showdown with the group of men happens.

Being as it’s a full out fight between just under 10 men versus [around] 20 vampires, it goes just as you’d expect it to..except with techno music, and kids. It’s bloody, it’s gory, and it’s actually really well executed. If vampire children wasn’t enough to keep you satisfied, there’s a scene where the two 80 year old vampire kids actually pull the intestines out of one of the men, and play jump rope with them.. it’s oddly satisfying. I tried to find a clip of it, because it’s arguably my new favorite thing, but to no avail.

y’know, for the Grandson of Dracula, he definitely has the look working for him..

I won’t say that Children Of The Night is a perfect film; it’s subplot with Seigfried and Alice was a little strange for my liking, [and in case you’re wondering; he does change her into a vampire by the end of the film. Thus, making them “together forever”..] and on my screener copy; the subtitles were a bit off with some words not fully in English. [almost like a half English, half Spanish hybrid] However, by the end of the credits, I can honestly say that I found so much more positive than negative within the film. There was many moments where I found myself smiling because the film found ways to make the vampires different and likable. I had a huge grin on my face during some of the more obscure scenes too; mainly the scene with the intestines being used as jump rope and another where one kid gets her finger half bitten off, only to be met with hearty laughter from Erda, who states: “it’ll be better by morning!

Hopefully, this review helps people understand that Children Of The Night was a surreal experience that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. [to say in the least] It had humor, as well as the vampire scare factor; which made the film an entertaining watch. Be sure to catch the movie when it’s released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 26th, 2015! what are your thoughts on a movie about vampire children? Nothing new? Or something that should be explored more? Let me know in a comment or two! Also, if you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review please let me know which movie[s] you want to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I post weirdo’ween #06STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

in today’s most depressing news: Sir Christopher Lee has passed away at 93

Let’s be real for a minute: it’s always sad when someone passes away, but nothing shakes the world more than when it happens to be a well known actor – it’s as if everyone goes haywire – we all know how we reacted when Robin Williams left this planet, or in the case of us horror fans; when Betsy Palmer [the original Mrs. Voorhees] passed on. However, today; we lose yet another horror actor – a veteran who has been in over 280 films over the span of his career, and that’s just his acting; of course I’m talking about Sir Christopher Lee. [above] According to The Guardian, Lee had been hospitalized for some time for respiratory problems and heart failure, and ultimately – led to his unfortunate passing.

Sir Christopher Lee was at the age of 93, where the actor – who is best known for a variety of films from The Wicker Man, Dracula adaptations, all the way through to The Lord Of The Rings trilogy – passed away on this past Sunday morning at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, England.

I already miss Sir Count Dooku..[just me?]

Later in Christopher Lee’s career, he could be seen in newer [somewhat]classic films, such as Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Sleepy Hollow, Star Wars: Episode II: Attack Of The Clones [above], Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Season Of The Witch, and even Dark Shadows. If it wasn’t clearly obvious, Tim Burton was clearly a huge fan of the man. As well as his career in [many] film[s], Lee also released a series of heavy metal albums, including, but not limited to: “Charlemagne: The Omens Of Death”, which argueably has the best heavy metal cover art. And if that wasn’t bad-ass enough, he was also knighted in 2009 for services to drama and charity, being awarded the BAFTA fellowship in early 2011.

In short, it’s a sad day already and it isn’t even ten AM yet.. I find it super sad to know that a man who has been a master at the craft of horror has passed on, but at the ripe age of 93; he had his share of the movie and music world at his fingertips..not to mention that Force Lightning! Today’s question is fairly straight forward: what was your favorite Christopher Lee film? Let me know in a comment or two down below!  While I enjoy Taste The Blood Of Dracula, My earliest memory of him is always Tim Burton‘s Sleepy Hollow and the Star Wars prequels. Also, if you found yourself to enjoy this piece of writing, please take a minute and follow me over on Facebook where you can click the “like” button on my Facebook page. By clicking “like”, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted. I also share links and pictures that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps a ton, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share the page with family and friends!

ChristopherLeeInsta[if you follow me on Instagram, my post from this morning is relevant; look above!]

THANKS FOR READING.