Beyond the Gates (8/10)

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Gordon and John’s father has been missing for 7 months. Gordon, with unfortunately fully-clothed girlfriend Margot in tow, returns to his hometown and reunites with John to liquidate their missing father’s old-school VHS video store. There, they discover a VHS game with the titular title of “Beyond the Gates”. Back at the old man’s old homestead, they pop in the tape and find themselves playing against a beautiful but mysterious woman, played by the legendary (and still smokin’ hot) 80s horror icon, Barbara Crampton. While the game promises to reveal the fate of their father, they find that the answer may cost them dearly.

This movie doesn’t pretend to be anything other than it is — a throwback to the glorious days of 80s horror movies and gaming. We’ve got VHS tapes, a video store, a lovely synth soundtrack, and even the Crampton herself. What we don’t have is titties, but everything else is good enough that I can (grudgingly) give that a pass, even though cutie-pie Brea Grant as Margot is just begging to be objectified. Sigh. Anywho, this is spot-on in tone, photography, lighting, and whatnot. While things do wrap up perhaps a little too neatly, it’s still quite a nice romp through the VHS golden age. Definitely worth a watch.

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Chopping Mall (7/10)

The Park Plaza mall has just brought its new Protectors robot security program online, and promised “Don’t worry. Nothing can possibly go wrong.” So we now how that’s going to go. The way it goes is a freak lightning storm that scrambles the brains of the Killbots. Or does it? Yeah, it does. I’m not sure why I asked that. Coincidentally, some guys that work at the furniture store are planning an after-hours party with the food court girls. As you may have guessed, mayhem ensues. Fortunately, this is the 80s, so the mall has a gun store, and our spunky kids are able to arm themselves and fight back!

God I love the 80s. They really knew what you need in a horror movie back then: Killer robots, lasers, electrocutions, oddly colored fake blood, exploding heads, flame-throwers, and boobs. Lots and lots of boobs. Well, maybe not lots ands lots, but it’s not a paucity. Anywho, this is a semi-classic Roger Corman 80s movie featuring some familiar faces — including Barbara Crampton (boobs!) and Kelli Maroney, and cameos from Mary Woronov, Dick Miller, and Paul Bartel. And the Killbots are actually pretty cool. It’s not the best the decade has to offer, but it’s not bad either. Worth a watch for nostalgia and boobs, if nothing else.

Waxwork (7/10)


A waxworks opens in the middle of a suburban neighborhood for some reason. A group of twenty-something trust-fund losers get invited to visit after hours by the owner, the always excellent David Warner. When the arrive, they are greeted at the door by a midget best described as a white version of Tattoo. Left to explore the disturbingly realistic tableau, they are soon drawn, one by one, into the scenes, and find they are even more real than they appear.

First off, this is not to be confused with Haris Pilton Paris Hilton’s House of Wax from 2005. This is, in fact, a fun little film from the Golden Age of Horror, that wonderful decade known as “The 80s”. The bulk of this movie is taken up with the trust fund kiddos exploring, being trapped in, and, for some of them, dying in little vignettes that reference classic horror monsters like the mummy, the wolfman, and even a nice black and white homage to The Night of the Living Dead. By far the most memorable vignette is the super-hot scene with Deborah Foreman’s character falling victim to the Marquis de Sade. While this is certainly far from the best of the 80s, it’s reasonably entertaining and worth a watch. Recommended.