HIDDEN HORROR – Orca

Orca PosterRich with emotion conveyed by the lead cast, and a stirring score by film’s all-time greatest composer, Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), Orca sets its sail not only to horrify audiences, but to undertow the viewer with a sense of love, loss, and yes, bloody revenge.

The film begins with a great white shark hunt along the coast of Newfoundland, lead by Irish-Canadian Captain Nolan (in an outstanding performance by Richard Harris).

When an unknown underwater assailant obliterates the mean mackerel, whale expert Dr. Rachel Bedford (Charlotte Rampling) unscientifically states “there’s only one creature in the world that could do that – a killer whale.”

Nolan then turns his sights on bringing home the wild orca, instead of a great fish tale, but when he accidentally captures a pregnant female, who happens to abort her unborn calf aboard his ship (in probably one of the most gruesome scenes comprised of rubber latex and blood-curdling sound effects), the captain himself aborts the mission and sets his sails for home, unknowing that the once soon-to-be father bull is planning his revenge.

The film escalates into an epic revenge tale, where viewers are subject to feel compassion for the antagonist bull, while also siding with Captain Nolan.

As the titular blackfish constantly picks off residents of the coastal town, it’s up to Nolan to reluctantly voyage his vessel into the desolate deep, until they both reach a front to finish the confrontation.

Upon its release, Orca was labeled a blatant rip-off of Jaws, yet, it’s difficult to see any similarities, except for the conflict of man against nature (Jaws 2 even took a nip at the film, when a killer whale corpse washes ashore, and Chief Brody is told that “there are far greater predators in the deep.”).

One should also note that Orca is an adaptation of an Arthur Herzog novel, with a nod to the ending of Mary Wollstonecraft-Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Whether Orca is a rip-off of Jaws or not, it’s still a fun watch for the natural horror sub-genre fan, and it is by far a superior revenge story than Jaws IV: The Revenge.

 

– Matthew McPhee

 

 

HIDDEN HORROR – The Mutilator

mutilator Horror fans know there is no denying that there were many 1980s slasher films that fading into obscurity due to little press or due to that they just were not that good partially to the bad acting, bad dialogue, uninspired kill scenes or just bad pacing. well here I will be reviewing a 1980s slasher film that actually has most of those bad qualities BUT has terrific kill scenes. That uninspired but gory as hell 1980s slasher film is none other then THE MUTILATOR.

A group of teenagers decide to take a vacation at the beach house of one of their fathers. The kid whose father owns the house just happened to accidentally kill his mother when he was a child. When they get to the house, the father has mysteriously disappeared. little do they know the crazed father is now hunting them down one by one.

Now let me just say that this is actually a bad slasher movie. The Mutilator suffers from terrible acting, wooden dialogue, slow pacing, unlikable characters and a weird happy go lucky folk like pop song for the opening and closing music!…but what does make up for all of those bad is the kill scenes during the film and DAMN are the kill scenes the most memorable part. Here we are treated to chopped off heads, wooden blanks shoved into a face, boat motor fan to the chest, yes you read that correctly, pitchfork to the neck, chopped torsos and legs and finally a meat hook shoved into a girls vagina and out her stomach! and it is all shown in gory detail with wet,meaty and practically nasty detail by makeup effects artist Mark Shostrom and Anthony Showe. the gore fx in the film are the high point along with the last 10 minutes being surprisingly tense and filled with even more wet and practically nasty styled gore FX, Hell one can practically watch the film with the fast forward button in the lowest speed only really watching the death scenes and the last 10 minutes.

So if your wanting some great slasher movie death scenes with gore bordering on the wet,meaty and nasty side then seek out the obscure little 80s slasher film the Mutilator. just be aware that the kill scenes are the only good aspects to the film. – James J. Coker

HIDDEN HORROR – Matango Attack of the Mushroom People

matango When it comes to the legendary Japanese movie company Toho Godzilla instantly comes to mind. However Toho made several other great films that are overshadowed by their Godzilla films. And “Mantango Attack of the Mushroom People” is the perfect example that statement. The film has gained a reputation and became a cult classic but it’s not famous as Toho’s Godzilla films therefor making it a hidden horror.

The film opens up with a guy going to a mental hospital to see a psychiatrist who is crazy, and his story is even crazier. The psychiatrist tells the man what happened to him and it plays out on screen. Some people aboard a yacht run into a bad storm. The storm ends eventually and the people aboard it venture onto an island that seems to have no inhabitants. Their ship is damaged from the storm so they have no choice but to look on the island to search for some food. They discover a huge forest full of large mushrooms . They decide not to eat them as they may be poisonous, although they have no other source of food. They also find that no animals are on the island at all either. And to make matters worse they find the remains of another ship that appears to have crashed there. Eventually the people aboard the ship give into starvation and begin eating the mushrooms and the results are hideous…

Despite the weird title and concept this film has it’s a great flick. Even if the plot sounds kind if campy, it is not as this film is a dark movie with a serious tone. It is also directed by legendary Toho monster/ Godzilla director Ishiro Honda. And it features special effects by Eiji Tsubraya who was behind all the visual effects of all Toho’s classic films from the mid ’50s to late ’60s.

This film is an adaption of a story called “The Voice in the Night” by William Hope Hogdson. The story has been adapted a few times and this film is by far the best adaption of it. This film gets pretty tense at some moments as the characters begin to get paranoid and angry at each other, and they eventually break down as the film progresses and give into the temptation of the mushrooms.

Lately this film has became hard to find at a reasonable price. But if you do buy this film it is worth the price because it’s a good film. It is not very often a film can take a campy/cheesy sounding subject matter like mushroom people and make it a dark and serious film. This movie is also the perfect summer time Toho/Japanese horror film. With the island and ocean environment this movie has, it screams summer time horror.If you want an outside of the box horror film this is for you, or if you love Toho or Godzilla films you are sure to love this one.
-Dakota Bailey

TERROR TV – MONSTERS – the Waiting Game

14 The Waiting Game.avi_001105511The third and final season of the obscure horror anthology show Monsters was a mixed bag. there was quite a number of noteworthy almost too good for the show itself episodes along with unwatchably bad episodes. One of those noteworthy episodes is one with a terrific story concept, it was “the Waiting game”

After a nuclear blowout, only two factions remain. Humans inside of a small locked shelter, and nuclear holocaust vampires. With the two sides only separated by a small digital code on the outside of the shelter.

Now along with the storyline which you have to admit Nuclear holocaust vampires sounds pretty damn entertaning, the episode also boast decent characters and performances along with a creepy tone especially when the character are not sure what is out there in the ruins ut they see shadows pass by and hear eerie wailing outside. So it does rank up the creep factor before it is revealed to be vampires led by a “vampire Jesus” of sorts. And finally it also has a rather grim ending not by what is shows but by what it implies and what it implies goes along the the episode title.So if you want a episode of Monsters that has a entertaining storyline to it, seek out “the Waiting Game” – James J. Coker

TERROR TV – ONE STEP BEYOND – The Bride Possessed

OSB themeWhen you hear terms like “the Golden Age of Television” or “horror anthology series”, what is the first thought that comes to mind? The Twilight Zone? The Outer Limits? Alfred Hitchcock Presents?

Although we here at Hidden Horrors You Must See love to share some of our favorite anthology television, we also like to dig deep and find the more obscure horror gems.

Produced around the same time as Rod Serling’s magnum opus, The Twilight Zone, is a series long living in the Zone’s shadow: One Step Beyond.

According to Mill Creek Entertainment’s release of the series, One Step Beyondcapitalized on the country’s burgeoning interest in paranormal mysteries in a unique fashion. Instead of developing fictional stories with supernatural plots, this series presented ‘real-life’ incidents from a dimension beyond our understanding, including spirits, disappearances, fantastic creatures, etc., and re-creating them for each episode.” This explanation alone makes the series stand apart.

But does the show itself have its merits?

For the Hidden Horrors’ inaugural One Step Beyond review, what better way than to take a look at the series’ premiere, The Bride Possessed.

The episode begins – like every other – with host John Newland (who would later direct the 1973 classic Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark), introducing us to the characters, plot and setting.OSB the bride possessed

We are then introduced to newlyweds Sally (Virginia Leith, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die) and Matt Conroy (prolific television actor Skip Homeier), who are en route to their honeymoon destination via automobile.

When the new Mrs. Conroy begins to give her husband directions to an alternate destination, Matt finds it strange that his southern belle wife, new to the northern states, knows the route like the back of her hand.

When they arrive to a cliff, Sally suddenly loses her Louisiana accent and strangely doesn’t recognize her husband.

She begins to claim that she is not Sally Conroy, but Karen Wharton, a woman who, according to the police and doctors, had previously committed suicide. “Karen” then begins to claim that she did not commit suicide, but was, in fact, a victim of murder.

The strange plot takes a turn for the paranormal, as the reason behind the wife swap is explained in a what-the-fuck-just-happened dénouement.

The episode is well-paced, favorably-written, and admirably-acted, but it’s not hard to see why the series was overshadowed by the more popular Twilight Zone; as brilliant irony, social commentary and tales of morality clearly surpass tales of terror supposedly based on “true events”. Yet the great thing about One Step Beyond is that it didn’t try to be the latter.

It is an original concept, and a well conceived one at best, and we hope you stay tuned for future reviews from this buzz-worthy show.

– Matthew McPhee

 

TERROR TV – TALES FROM THE CRYPT – Carrion Death

08 Carrion Death.avi_001443556In all honesty the third season of Tales from the crypt only had a handful of noteworthy episodes, one of those episodes was “Carrion Death” which stared Kyle Maclahlan and was more of a crime episode with a rather gruesome ending then straight horror.

A sadistic serial killer named Digs has unforeseen complications when pursued by a determined motorcycle cop in a barren desert. But during the eventual confrontation between the two. The cop handcuffes Digs to himself, Digs winds up killing the cop only for him to swallow the handcuff keys, So now Digs is forced to drag the body of the cop across the barren Desert hoping to cross the border into mexico but all the while a vulture has had its eyes on Digs from the start and has been haunting him throughout.

now though this episode isnt horror it is still a pretty damn entertaining episode. the first half is practically a cat and mouse game between the Cop and digs whereas the second half turns into a survival story for Digs, but the real show stealer is the Vulture, the Vulture is constantly there harassing Digs every single time something goes wrong for the character until finally Digs makes one stupid mistake and the vulture takes care of him for good as you can see from the picture. So the viewer almost gets the sense that the vulture is some punishing force out for Digs, none the less it is still a quite entertaining episode and one of the few good episodes of season 3 of the Crypt. – James J. Coker

TERROR TV – TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE – No Strings

07 No Strings.avi_000788095Whenever horror fans bring up the topic of the 80’s horror anthology show Tales From the darkside, they mostly bring up the classic episodes like “halloween Candy” or “inside the Closet” and hardly every mention the series one killer puppet episode, that episode is called “No Strings” an episode of the darkside that needs more mentioning among Tales from the Darkside fans

Mobster Eddie Minelli plans a private performance by a famous puppeteer, but with a ghoulish new puppet: the bloody remains of Don Paulie, the man Eddie has just murdered.

now its a darn shame that darkside fans dont mention this episode. its quite good for what it is. The performances are all good, there is actually a tiny bit of gore in it, rather creepy and well done carnival-esque music to it, a classic comeuppance for mobster Eddie and a statement made by the puppeteer about the connection between the puppet and the puppeteer and the power making people feel through performance. Also to note the whole episode has this dark and macabre tone throughout even more so then other tales from the darkside episode. So if you want to visit the old 1980s show but want a rather obscure episode then look into No Strings. – James J. Coker