John Otteni

The Vault: Alice, Sweet Alice

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)

This is part 3 in a 300 part series of Fangoria Magazine’s “Top 300 Horror Movies”.

A week ago, cult cinema distributor Arrow Video announced the release of a special Alice Sweet Alice Blu-Ray August 2019. Why am I excited? Not only does this mean a proper release for the cult classic slasher film, but it’s also another opportunity for people to see one of the most underrated horror movies of the ‘70s. By all means Alice Sweet Alice should be a classic with merchandise and fan art and a shitty 2006-ish era remake. Instead, it’s an often forgotten slasher that launched Brooke Shields and did little else. Which is a shame. This movie is atmospheric with great characters and an even better mystery. That mystery including the question, “Why didn’t this make a bigger impact on the genre?”

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The Vault: The Abominable Dr. Phibes

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

This is part 2 in a 300 part series of Fangoria Magazine’s “Top 300 Horror Movies”. Here we go!

Why is it so damn hard to find a copy of The Abominable Dr. Phibes? For anyone who’s not a horror fan I’m sure the answer is “Because it’s called The Abominable Dr. Phibes.” Fair enough. It is a title that invokes the worst of b-movie shlock. Maybe a film you’d catch at 2:00 AM on a nostalgia channel or featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Yet there is a “Je ne sais quoi” to Phibes that is memorable. Or maybe it’s the fact that Phibes laid the groundwork for an iconic horror franchise and nobody talks about it.

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The Vault: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

I know people who can’t stand black and white movies. As if B&W is the dial-up internet of cinema. I have a theory that these people don’t actually care about the color of the screen. These people hate old movies because old movies are slow, dated, and because everyone talks like they just fled England to colonize the New World. Which is fair. Though I would argue there are old movies that work as well today as they ever did, regardless of color, or lack thereof.

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The Vault: Fangoria 300

Have you ever seen, or bought, or maybe even read a copy of the film reference book “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”? If you haven’t or have no idea what I’m talking about it’s a book that spans the entire history of film with 1001 “Must See’s” as suggested by editor Steven Jay Schneider and over 70 film critics.

When I was eighteen and a young film geek in the making I vowed I would see all 1001 movies in that book. The plan made no sense considering there are constant updates and rereleases of the book every year. Still, I went for it. How did I fare?

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Welcome to My Nightmare

Billie Eilish – WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?

Last weekend, 17-year-old goth-pop star Billie Eilish played a historic set at Coachella. At least that was the headline I read on Yahoo News, which is where I assume everyone gets their information. I became aware of Billie Eilish last February when I saw her video for “when the party’s over” on MTV Live. Yes, you can still watch music videos on TV if you stay up past 1 AM and browse through 900 channels. The video is a melancholy ballad backed by faint piano where Billie wearing all white in a white room drinks a glass of black goo which then streams out of her eyes. Kids love black goo, it’s like the new Tide Pod. The video is creepy yet beautiful which is the best way to describe Billie Eilish’s music.

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R.I.P. Larry Cohen

If you haven’t heard, Larry Cohen passed away on Saturday, March 23rd at the age of 77. There’s so much to say about the maverick filmmaker. I feel bad I haven’t written more about the acclaimed cult writer/director on this blog. I have reviewed Cohen’s 1974 killer baby film (no, that’s not a typo) It’s Alive along with his 1985 satirical sci-fi dark comedy The Stuff but there’s so much more to dive into. There’s Cohen’s years as a blaxploitation pioneer with films like Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem. There’s God Told Me To, a trippy religious sci-fi flick. Q, a movie about the ancient god Quetzalcoatl taking the form of a stop-motion dragon and taking over the Chrysler building. I haven’t even got to the Maniac Cop series.

There’s a lot to admire about Cohen as a filmmaker but for me, two things come to mind. 1) Cohen was the “King of the Concept”. All his films had such bizarre yet tantalizing premises. They sound like awful B-movies from the fifties, yet they were smart and satirical pictures with great characters and even better monsters. 2) Cohen was the original guerrilla filmmaker. This is a man who would film killing sprees and cars speeding down the sidewalk in the heart of New York City. Cohen was a risk taker a “Whatever-it-takes” to get the shot kind of guy. He was passionate about his stories.

Cohen was never a household name but he had a long and fruitful career. From his early years, creating TV shows like Branded and Coronet Blue while still in his twenties, all the way to writing thrillers in the 2000s like Phone Booth for Joel Schumacher. The man was prolific and beloved among so many fans of so many sub-genres. There are so many stories about Cohen that writer/director Steve Mitchell made an excellent documentary about the man two years ago called King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen. Which is available on Shudder at the time of this review. Or better yet, check out a Cohen film. I think you’ll find he has the STUFF.

Rokk Talk Ep. 18: I Love it Loud

Do you believe in Rock and Roll? Well if you do and if you like the taste of cold gin, you’re gonna love this special episode of Rokk Talk. This week, John, Colin, and respected journalist/personal trainer/rock god Matt Carstens reflect on seeing KISS on their “End of the Road Tour”. Is the show worth a deuce? You’ll have to listen to find out!

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