The Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day One: “Terror in the Aisles” (Reviewed)
It’s October, and even though Target has had it’s Halloween aisles prepped for weeks, I’m finally ready to usher in the season proper. I’ve decided to take October as an opportunity to get this blog back on track with regular updates and a promise for a Halloween-themed post every day throughout the month. I’ll continue to post some reviews but with a horror-only focus until after the 31st. In addition to reviews, I’ll also be posting other stuff like links to free movies, downloadable obscurities, and all kinds of audio fun. Every day I’ll recommend at least one horror movie, but instead of supplying you with the familiar “best-horror-movies-of-all-time” type of list you see everywhere this time of year, I’ll concentrate on pointing you in the direction of creepy features you might not be familiar with. These won’t necessarily be the BEST horror movies — but I’d consider every title worth any horror fan’s time. I’ll include overlooked indies, unfairly maligned sequels, b-movie obscurities, 60s sexploitation horror nudies, and a few fairly well-known mainstream titles that never received the attention or praise that I think they deserve. Vampires, zombies, monsters, mutants, werewolves, serial killers, ghosts, witches and slashers — in short, everything you could want in a horror movie list– will all be represented. Additionally, you have my personal guarantee of NO mention of Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, torture porn or the Saw franchise from here on out.
Here’s a preview of some of the upcoming features I’ve been preparing:
…a tribute to the Disney theme parks’ Haunted Mansion.
…Power Records/Marvel Comics Read-Along Monster Book and Record Series.
…Old Time Halloween Radio Horror.
…Great Moments in Gore.
…Halloween Kids’ Records.
…Orsen Wells’ Mercury Theater.
So, without further ado, let’s kick-off the holiday season with my first October recommendation:
TERROR IN THE AISLES (aka That’s Shock!) (1984)
Terror in the Aisles is a psuedo-documentary, clip collection of scenes from more than 70 horror and suspense movies. The selected scenes stretch back as far as 1935′s The Bride of Frankenstein and extend up to the adaptation of Stephen King’s Firestarter which was released in 1984 (only five months before TitA). The clips, while hardly comprehensive, provide a passable horror tutorial that mention most of the genre’s touchstones (Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.) in addition to making room for a bizzare collection of head-scratchers like the Sylvester Stallone cop thriller Nighthawks, the ultra-violent revenge pic Ms. .45 and the lame “horror-comedy,” Saturday the 14th. The clips are organized thematically into categories like “the occult” and “sex and terror” to mixed results, but this is made more fun by the bumper segments which feature Donald Pleasance (Dr. Loomis from the original Halloween franchise) and genre-queen Nancy Allen (Carrie, Blow Out, Poltergeist III, RoboCop) introducing each set of clips from the aisles of a crowded movie theater where they speak directly to the camera as audience members around them (actors) scream, flinch and cover their eyes. Like Bravo’s annual 100 Scariest Movie Moments, TitI will almost certainly send you running to your Netflix que to add titles. As a kid I must have watched this movie a dozen times on cable. It would be an ideal background movie for your Halloween party if only it– …well…I have good news and bad news. The bad news? TitI was never released on DVD in the U.S. and new copies of the long out-of-print VHS version go for nearly $100 on Amazon. The good news? Like several other movies I’ll recommend this month, you can watch the entire feature for free on YouTube, starting RIGHT NOW! Enjoy:
“…you tell yourself ‘it’s only a movie!’…but sooner or later…it’s time to go home…”
Like clip movies? It Came from Hollywood is another out-of-print, never-released-on-DVD collection with a focus on B movies from the 50s and 60s. The 1982 Paramount feature stars Dan Akroyd, Cheech and Chong and late greats, Gilda Radner and John Candy, in fairly weak comedic sketches that introduce the clips. The biggest problem with ICfH is that it lumps classics like The Incredible Shrinking Man and (ahem) Creature of the Black Lagoon in with lesser b-flicks, without respectfully acknowledging the vast canyon of quality that separates them from titles like Prince of Space and The Killer Shrews. Still though — it’s always nice to see John Candy and Gilda Radner, and many of the clips stand on their own as either entertaining or otherwise hilarious. You can watch IT for free on YouTube too…right here: