Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factory - NIGHTMARES & THE DUNGEONMASTER/ELIMINATORS on Blu-ray ""

Friday, December 18, 2015

Scream Factory - NIGHTMARES & THE DUNGEONMASTER/ELIMINATORS on Blu-ray

NIGHTMARES (1983; Joseph Sargent)
It's been my dream to one dat put together a "anthology horror mix" night wherein I show a buch of my favorite pods from different movies. I'd statrt with "The Crate" from CREEPSHOW and then move into "The Gas Station" from BODY BAGS. NIGHTMARES has some choice segments in it for sure. "Terror in Topanga" is actually a little bit like "The Gas Station" in some ways so I feel like those two would play well together. And "The Bishop of Battle" is an 80s classic and one of the things I most remember Emilio Estevez from. When it comes to Estevez, it goes: THE BREAKFAST CLUB, REPO MAN, MEN AT WORK, MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, YOUNG GUNS and then NIGHTMARES. "The Bishop of Battle" is one of those things that those of us who remember arcades fondly can't ever get out of our heads. Arcades were such touchstones for people my age, that I think a lot of the movies that feature them prominently kinda stand out for us. WARGAMES, TRON and to a lesser extent JOYSTICKS are all part of the collective unconscious of 1980s teenagers because of the obligatory nature of arcades. "The Bishop of Battle" is one of those things though that I feel like a lot of folks saw on cable or VHS at some point, but since it was part of an anthology they perhaps can't remember what it was called. They might find themselves asking, "What was that movie with Emilio Estevez where he plays that arcade game and then the creatures in the game fly out of it and attack him?". It's a pretty memorable bit and certainly a huge part of why NIGHTMARES has hung around and is still talked about today. All the stories in NIGHTMARES are pretty good and it holds together. "The Benediction" is the weakest part of the whole, despite having Lance Henriksen. "Night of the Rat" holds a special place for me in that I am fond of "animal attack" stuff. It makes me think of two of my favorite animal attacks movies, DEADLY EYES and OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN, both of which have to do with killer rats. Altogether though, it makes for a nice evening of 80s horror and I do recommend folks pick it up.

Special Features:
-Available In Two Versions: Widescreen (1.78:1) And Full Frame (1.33:1)
-Audio Commentary With Executive Producer Andrew Mirisch And Actress Cristina Raines.
-Original Theatrical Trailer
-Radio Spots

BUY NIGHTMARES on Blu-ray here:
http://amzn.to/1Nh6L8V

THE DUNGEONMASTER (1984; David Allan, Charles Band...)
This movie is just bonkers and it is similarly nutty like another film called NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR. In the case of NIGHT TRAIN, a whole bunch of different shorter films were squashed together under the guise of a sort of anthology tale that makes little to no sense. THE DUNGEONMASTER (aka RAGEWAR) opens with an almost DePalma-esque slow-motion dream sequence of a man chasing a thinly dressed woman through some sort of odd complex. She undresses and squeezes through a crevice into a dark room with a bed. As the two begin to embrace, she is dragged off by bizarre-looking demonoids. That strange interlude sets the tone for the bugged out things to come. This flick features computer nerdery, cheesy new-wave 80s tunes, dance aerobics, short shorts and Richard Moll and that's just the beginning! The story centers around Paul, a geeky dude with huge glasses who took part in an experiment that allowed him to link up his brain with his supercomputer named X-CALiBR8 (or "Cal" for short). He uses Cal to help fix computers (his job), control traffic lights and ATMs among other things. His unique relationship with the computer often leads to him having strange dreams. The interface also makes him a target for an ancient sorcerer named Mestema (Richard Moll) who has been seeking a worthy opponent to do battle with for eons. Mestema snags Paul's girlfriend and makes her the prize of the battle games he proposes to have with Paul. What follows is a half dozen or so little episodic "challenges" that Paul has to get through to defeat Mestema. Because the movie has a heavy magic/dream logic vibe, each segment ends up being pretty trippy. Charles Band produced this film and wrote one of the segments. Special effects wizard John Carl Buechler also contributed a segment and worked on the film's various effects. The movie has demons, heavy metal, monsters, lasers and more. It's silly, but I have to say I enjoy it.

ELIMINATORS (1986; Peter Manoogian)
Do you know what I miss about 80s movies? I miss main titles that looked like they were actually made out of metal. Like where the letters themselves have bolts in them as though they were constructed out of some seriously tough steel. That was a cool thing that 80s movies used to do, ELIMINATORS included of course. You know what else I miss about 80s movies? Cyborgs. Sure I know cyborgs haven't gone away, but the days of the practical FX makeup cyborgs have. ELIMINATORS opens on a close-up of a cyborg's eye and then it pulls back. Cyborg-eye close-up opening shots never became a thing and that's a shame as it's a potent way to kick off your motion picture. Leave it to another Charles Band production to start like that. And by the way, I love that I have the context now of what it means to be a Charles Band production. When I first saw ELIMINATORS on VHS when I was a kid, I'm sure it never occurred to me that it was a low-budget affair. Any movie with action, shooting and martial arts as well as science fiction elements has plenty of production value in my mind.
In the world of ELIMINATORS, the cyborg is known as a "Mandroid". Charles Band movies often tend to have a good sense of gadgets and tech toys that the characters within them can make use of. In the case of ELIMINATORS, we get to see the Mandroid using hor wrist laser. (And other arm attachments) and driving around in his mobile unit (basically he has tank treads instead of legs). This feels like one of the higher budgeted Band productions so it makes for a fun time. The Mandroid ultimately gathers a ragtag team of misfits (a scientist, her pet robot, a ninja and a riverboat captain) to attempt to thwart the evil plan of one seriously bad dude.
The cast is cool and memorable and features Andrew Prine, and Denise Crosby. Crosby's presence in particular (and her connection to STAR TREK) and the films sci-fi nature has contributed to this movie's cult following.

Special Features:
-A New Interview director Peter Manoogian.
Buy this Double Feature on Blu-ray here:
http://amzn.to/1OXjyzC

1 comment:

Francisco Gonzalez said...

Wow cool, a bunch of cheezy fun! Can't wait to see Nightmares, I saw that one when I was a little kid and it spooked me to hell! Loved that video game story with Emilio Estevez!