THE LAST KNOCK presents: Horror Home Invasion

The Last KnockThe home invasion subgenre of horror continues to expand like that Satanic village of lame looking McMansions in that new subdivision. We take a look at the tropes and cliches, and separate the good films from the bad movies like INSIDE, MOTHER’S DAY, FUNNY GAMES, THE STRANGERS, YOU’RE NEXT, and many more. Lock your doors and pay attention…

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS: @inthenightdoc @TimothiousSmith @FriscoKidTX @OgOrangeBlade @BleedingCritic @aicforever @AnnThraxx @JohnRosePutnam @BerganJonah @ElectricStarPub @Theladyphantom @RealJillyG @Mel_McBoutin @machinemeannow @NylaVox @issyblack @RSBrzoska





THE LAST KNOCK presents: Thespians of Terror: Christopher Lee

The Last KnockWe pay tribute to the man who not only put Hammer Films on the map and played the role of Dracula more than any other actor, but a man who brought style and coolness to the genre. Come with us as we take a look at his films, his partnerships with the great Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, and we’ll hear some of his amazing quotes about the industry in which he thrived.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS: @machinemeannow @AFiendOnFilm @BleedingCritic @PromoteHorror @DarcWorks @TimothiousSmith @Annie_Acorn @aicforever @RealJillyG @Mel_McBoutin @Netflix @shoutfactory


Crash Analysis: Why I Love LIFEFORCE (UK/USA, 1985)

MovieRoom2I hadn’t planned on writing a review (of sorts) about a thirty-year-old horror that’s been much maligned, but Lawrence Roy Aiken compelled me to do so.

Like many horror fans, Lawrence thinks Lifeforce is “awful”, and I admitted that it’s a guilty pleasure of mine. Yes, that means I’m admitting that the movie isn’t necessarily spectacular, but for reasons I’ll share, I find the film compelling.

When I went to see Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce I almost walked out before the opening credits. As soon as I realized that it was a Cannon Films and Golan-Globus Productions movie, I knew I should bail. After all, both entities had developed and released a multitude of cheesy, B-movie bombs from Delta Force to Superman IV. (Both companies failed to survive the 1990s.)

Then I saw a couple of things that gave the movie merit: The film was co-written by Alien scribe Dan O’Bannon, with music from the respected Henry Mancini. Furthermore, the man who helped bring special effects to an entirely new level with the original Star Wars franchise, Jon Dykstra, was also the master of effects on this project. Finally, and originally the most important element to me at the time, the movie starred the under-appreciated character actor, Steve Railsback. Therefore, I stayed put and indulged.

Lifeforce is about a UK/USA crew on HMS Churchill, a shuttle following Haley’s Comet. As they approach, they see something gigantic in the comet – a space ship. Of course, they must investigate, and when they do, they unleash an alien presence that could consume the world, starting with the city of London. Based on “The Space Vampires” from Colin Wilson, O’Bannon and Don Jakoby adapted the work. However, Wilson’s book is a total bore. Other than the opening, the remainder of the novel is equivalent to a stage play of two talking heads discussing vampirism. The book had no bite, but at least Hooper and company were set to inject life into the narrative.

Although Lifeforce was a major expense for Cannon Films, and even though Railsback told me that this was the largest production he had ever worked on, the movie has a definite “B” feel. Unlike other movies of that type, John Graysmark was diligent with production design, along with the art department, in helping to create or enhance a multitude of settings: a British shuttle, an alien spacecraft, a church, several offices and other interiors, along with many outdoor shots. Bringing the visuals together is the late, great Alan Hume, who handled cinematography for The Legend of Hell House, The Legacy, and one-hundred more films. The movie also stars several renowned actors, from Frank Finlay and Colin Firth, to future Enterprise captain, Sir Patrick Stewart.

Why do so many people hate this thing? A couple of the visual effects could certainly be better, but for most who’ve discussed it with me, they didn’t care for much of the jumping around (there are many locations and an abundance of characters). Others think the story got out of hand and ultimately came off as silly.

No, I don’t like the film because Mathilda May is walking around naked almost the entire time (she had completely divorced herself from the movie, and from what I understand, you couldn’t even mention Lifeforce in her presence. However, she now seems to have a new appreciation for what became her introduction to feature film.) What I loved about the movie is that it was a fun horror full of action and intrigue. Yes, I immersed myself in the story and went along for the ride. I loved Dykstra’s emaciated vampires, Railsback and Firth made for a great buddy team, Finlay crushed it as Dr. Fallada, and I got to go on a whirlwind ride. Plus, I liked the story overall. Simply put, Lifeforce was an ol’ time matinee blast – a real popcorn movie.

Why should you see it? Because it’s fun, dammit. Plus, for Sir Patrick Stewart fans, you get to see him get his first on-screen kiss – at the lips of Steve Railsback. And if you love the vampire subgenre, the tale is certainly different from the typical fair, so feel free to engage in something far removed from the Transylvania legend.

About ten years ago, I purchased an original, mint condition movie poster of Lifeforce for a mere $15 (US). Sure, I felt like I had made out like a bandit, but then I realized that if the movie had been well received, the price might have been through the roof. Still, it hangs proudly in my dark purple living room in a custom frame that cost almost ten times as much…

4.5 out of 5 stars

(Photo from Billy Crash.)

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Spring (2014)

The Last KnockThere’s been a ton of buzz about Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s horror/romance SPRING. But is it worth a watch, or just disposable mind candy? We’ll take a look at the tale from story to acting, and cinematography to dialogue.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS: @Tammysdragonfly @EscobarGolderos @Theladyphantom @Mel_McBoutin @CirrusProject @RonGizmo @AnnThraxx @RiversofGrue @EmilieFlory @RealJillyG @craigster1970 @FriscoKidTX @sg_lee_horror @BleedingCritic @dixiefairy @JohnnyVeins @deepfocusllc




Crash Analysis: Haunted from Within (2004)



Women’s murder/suicide leads to a curse against young mothers.

If I could give this unredeemable piece of trash negative stars, I would definitely do it.

This ultra-low budget “movie” has problems on all fronts: The story is extremely weak. Furthermore, HAUNTED FROM WITHIN (aka SPIRIT HUNTER: LA LLORONA) is loaded with “talking heads” and too many people on phones, which is absolutely ridiculous. The directing is god-awful, the acting is atrocious, the editing is third rate, the music is abysmal, the cinematography is shameful, and the lighting is horrendous. Give me a second, and I’ll tell you why the credits are hideous…

As an example of bad storytelling: Detective Luppino (Robin Raedeke) tells a doctor during a scene that he’ll be back in a minute. There is a slight fade out as Luppino exits the room, then a fade in as he returns – and that need for the character to leave is never addressed and serves absolutely no purpose to the story. Was it a way to add a few more seconds to the film? Was it a one take with Raedeke who had to duck out and go to the bathroom? The movie is loaded with these kinds of egregious moments that set filmmaking back almost a hundred years.

Granted, the budget for this thing was roughly ten dollars (maybe less), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give a damn about the work you create. When my parents were poor, survived on welfare, and lived in the projects of Newark, New Jersey, they still managed to keep a clean and presentable homestead. I’ve seen no budget films, such as the incomparable INK from Jamin Wanans, that rocked on every level. And have you seen the green screen cult phenom that is MANBORG? Horror-wise, there are many ultra-low or micro-budget films that come to mind, including amazing ones like Tony Brownrigg’s RED VICTORIA and Lance Weiler’s HEAD TRAUMA, as well as 2012’s amazing RESOLUTION. There’s no excuse for bringing quality – for bringing art – to the screen if you really have talent, passion, and give a damn.

I have only seen one low budget movie worse than this garbage, and it’s GONE THE WAY OF FLESH – which I can’t discuss without my therapist present. Most important, writer/director/producer Jose L. Cruz – who most likely attended the Ed Wood School for Misdirecting – should be embarrassed. Just put the camcorder down and walk away… I know many artists of all types who admit they have much to learn about their craft, but at least they study, grow, and improve. This is what separates those who care about the work they create versus those without talent. Unfortunately, Cruz has picked up the camcorder once more, and continues to bring us pathetic and poorly crafted movies. Hell, I couldn’t even get through the four-minute trailer of SAVING MELANIE without wanting to vomit. Yes, it’s that atrocious.

As for HAUNTED FROM WITHIN, I wouldn’t even use the DVD as a coaster for drinks.

0 out of 5 stars.

(Photo from YouTube.)

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with Author Heather Herrman

The Last KnockAuthor, Heather Herrman says her “…fiction seeks to explore the relationship between body and landscape, utilizing genre as a medium. She believes that American Horror Fiction provides a lens through which we can undress and view the timeless dis/ease of our society.” On the show we discuss her philosophy of horror, the role of women in the genre, as well as her new novel Consumption – and so much more!

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS: @RonGizmo, @419Randall_P, @MuskaGary, @EscobarGolderos, @DarcWorks, @JohnnyVeins, @machinemeannow, @Tammysdragonfly, @FriscoKidTX, @ZedKosnar, @LyndaCoker, and @bethanyhalle.