Hell Night - Scream Factory

Scream Factory: Hell Night Collector’s Edition (1981)

Happy New Year, friends! While 2018 might have barely rolled around, hopefully you all had a safe and happy Holiday. Scream Factory is already unleashing retro fright films. Case in point the 1981 cult classic Hell Night. So what better way to usher in a bright and shiny new year than with some retro horror? Furthermore, how can you top 80s horror when Hell Night stars the like of Linda Blair?
Hell Night - Original Poster

The filmmakers on Hell Night were definitely inspired by the likes of 1980’s Friday the 13th. As well as possibly Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse. However having said that I would be remiss in pointing out that Hell Night has something those two films did not possess. Namely a VERY strong H.P. Lovecraft vibe to the plot of the movie.

Hell Night focuses on four college students who are experiencing a legendary hazing ritual. To be inducted into their chosen fraternities and sororities. Marti (Blair), Denise (Suki Goodwin), Jeff (Peter Barton), and Seth (Vincent Van Patten) must spend a whole night in the abandoned Garth mansion.
Hell Night - Garth manor

Obviously, our teenagers aren’t going to have it quite so easy. For one thing, the head of Alpha Sigma Rho, Peter (Kevin Brophy) and his cronies Scott and May, have set up the mansion with all manner of electronic devices. All of course in the hopes of giving the four youngsters a very sleepless night.
Hell Night - Ghost

However, for all involved – they should have listened to the legend of Garth Manor. The urban legend that 12 years previously, something horrible happened at the mansion. Raymond Garth decided to end his Family line. Killing his Wife and deformed children before taking his own life. But what about that other part of the legend? That one of the children survived and might very well be hiding in his old home?!

As a matter of fact, a lot of blood and tears could have been avoided. If of course Peter and his cronies had done a little more research on the mansion. But on the other hand that would have certainly made for a less entertaining film.
Hell Night - Garth

Hell Night is a great example of 80s horror done right. It has atmosphere, some nice scares, and more importantly you care about the characters. Thanks in no small part to the chemistry between Blair and the rest of the cast.
Hell Night - Linda Blair

Now Hell Night is a Scream Factory release so that means it has plenty of extras. Friends, let me tell you this one is chock full of goodies worthy of this Collector’s Edition!

Blu-Ray Features:

  • New 4K Scan Of The Film Taken From The Best Surviving Archival Print
  • Brand New Interviews With Actors Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Vincent Van Patten, Suki Goodwin, Kevin Brophy, And Jenny Neumann
  • Audio Commentary With Linda Blair, Tom DeSimone, Irwin Yablans, And Bruce Cohn Curtis
  • Original Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots
  • New Interview With Director Tom DeSimone
  • Interview With Producer Bruce Cohn Curtis
  • Interview With Writer Randolph Feldman
  • Anatomy Of The Death Scenes With Tom DeSimone, Randolph Feldman, Make-up Artist Pam Peitzman, Art Director Steven G. Legler, And Special Effects Artist John Eggett
  • On Location At The Kimberly Crest House With Tom DeSimone
  • Gothic Design In Hell Night With Steven G. Legler
  • Original Radio Spot
  • Photo Gallery Featuring Rare, Never-before-seen Stills
  • The DVD disc contains the following features:

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Film Taken From The Best Surviving Archival Print
  • As well as the NEW Interviews With Actors Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Vincent Van Patten, Suki Goodwin, Kevin Brophy, And Jenny Neumann
  • Audio Commentary With Linda Blair, Tom DeSimone, Irwin Yablans, And Bruce Cohn Curtis
  • Original Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots

Hell Night is being released this very Tuesday, January 2nd! So that gives you more than ample time to rest up from your Holiday revelry, before heading out and picking up this classic. Of course you can also just hop on over to the and pre-order your copy today.

Enjoy one last vintage television spot for 1981’s Hell Night!

Top 10 Bigfoot/Sasquatch documentaries of the Seventies

Ah yes, the 70’s were a hotbed of Bigfoot goodness! 70’s television, drive-ins, and popular culture were all dazzled by the subject.

With that, I bring you my top 10 Bigfoot “documentaries” of the 70’s! Okay, four of them are In Search Of… episodes, but trust me every one of them is a shiny little gem! I’ve watched all of them many times over, you should too!

  1. In Search Of…The Abominable Snowman

This one follows the legendary Bigfoot/Yeti Hunter Peter Byrne as he searches the Himalayas, for the Abominable Snowman!

2. In Search Of…Bigfoot

This time, Byrne explores the Pacific Northwest for the Legendary Bigfoot Monster!

3. In Search Of…Monster Hunters

The Bay Area Group, led by Arch Buckley goes in search of Bigfoot in Northern California. The now famous Sierra Sounds are featured heavily in this one!

4. In Search Of…The Swamp Monster

Bigfooting goes Cajun in this episode! The Skunk Ape is explored here! The words “Honey Island Swamp” are enough for me to consider this one a classic!

5. Sasquatch The Legend of Bigfoot

We sink our teeth into this classic 70’s flick in hopes an expedition beyond the Peckatoe River in British Columbia turns up any Sasquatch Evidence. Boy howdy do we find what we are looking for too! This one is a scripted movie but does a great job recreating classic Bigfoot stories from the past.

6. Mysterious Monsters – hosted by Peter Graves

Peter Graves himself goes in search of Bigfoot, Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster evidence! What he finds may SHOCK the scientific world! …or not. If this program is the positive, number 7 is the negative.

7. Monsters! Mysteries or Myths?  – narrated by Rod Sterling

As number 6 was more accepting of the Bigfoot mystery, this next one approaches the subject with slightly more calculated caution. There is absolutely no accident both these documentaries share much of the same footage and tone.  Monsters! Mysteries or Myths came first which offered a more scientific look into the question. Mysterious Monsters offers a much more fanciful romantic look at Bigfoot, and other legendary creatures. Although both are practically the same documentary, they share very opposite views.

8. In Search of Manbeast!

This time, Peter Byrne gets his own feature! Consider it a much longer version of In Search Of’s Bigfoot, and Abominable Snowman episodes where Byrne is joined by his wife to unlock the secrets of the Manbeast! Keep your eyes open for recreated actor portrayals of comments made by Dr. Grover Krantz in this one.
It’s word for word from the In Search Of… Bigfoot episode, but put in a very odd context. Maybe In Search Of, or Krantz wouldn’t allow the direct quotes? I know Byrne and Krantz weren’t the best of buddies. We’ll leave that for another time perhaps.

Again, this one borrows liberally from the aforementioned In Search Of… episodes. Recycling abounds in the Bigfoot documentary world! Anyway, this one is a Sasquatchy Classic!

9. Bigfoot: Man or Beast?

This one is the oldest documentary on the list and is a treasure trove of Bigfoot goodness! Chocked full of eye witness accounts, Mt. Saint Helens pre-eruption, and classic Bigfooters Robert Morgan, Rene Dahinden, John Green, and Grover Krantz.

Side note, the anguished scream of Bigfoot (featured 11 minutes in) is featured ad nauseam in our number 5 selection! See? What did I tell you about recycled Bigfoot “evidence”?

10. The Legend of Boggy Creek

Another drive-in classic! This one explores the antics of Arkansas’s own Fouke Monster! This docu-drama is as creepy as you can get! From the first scene to the last, Olde Foukey does not disappoint! It stands on it’s own as one of the best known Bigfoot movies in history, if you can get past the singing that is.

Dishonorable mention. The Legend of Bigfoot  – Ivan Marx

Marx is now considered a notorious hoaxer of Sasquatch evidence. Back in the early 70’s he was busy cranking out “evidence” featured in this flick. Marx criss-crosses the map in search of migrating Bigfeet (Bigfoots) to finally catch up with them in Alaska. The classic Marx hoaxed “Cripple Foot” footage is featured within which is worth the look.

I hope you enjoy my list as much as I do! Bigfoot is a subject near and dear to me.

If you are an old Squatcher, consider this a refresher course on Bigfoot history. If this is all new to you, this list is a great shortcut to becoming a Bigfoot expert!

Ready Player One - Back to the Future

New Ready Player One Trailer Brings The Retro!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, was a book that celebrated its love of retro pop culture. Perhaps it went beyond celebration and into proudly flaunting it. So many references to 80s films, TV shows, and video games are in the mix. It should come as no surprise that I fell in love with it upon picking it up. And now we have a live action film set to debut in 2018. Ready Player One is directed by Steven Spielberg who knows a thing or two about 80s movies, right?

[Via] Warner Bros. Pictures

Ready Player One received a quite lengthy teaser earlier this year. Even then it was giving retro fans a glimpse at what was in store. Quick shots of everything from The Iron Giant, Joust, The Road Warrior, and many more. All of these elements are the digital representations of those people living in the online world of the OASIS. As you saw in the trailer it is basically the ultimate virtual reality simulator. Furthermore it is mixed with an advanced version of the internet. Certainly the dystopian aspects of the Ready Player One universe make it clear why people would spend all their time in the OASIS.
Ready Player One - The Stacks

Earlier today the full trailer for Ready Player One dropped. It too -like the teaser is full of Easter eggs. So I decided to point out a few of the worthy tips of the hat to some of the pop culture goodness. However…as a matter of fact we are going to start with a mystery. While the symbol on Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) backpack certainly looks familiar. I am afraid I can’t place it. How about you?
Ready Player One - backpack

Ready Player One - Backpack Symbol

Here is a better look

Far easier to spot in the Ready Player One trailer is the ’66 Batmobile. Which is located in the bottom as well as the Speed Racer‘s Mach 5. Of course we shouldn’t forget the fact that Ryu is walking past the legendary vehicle!
Ready Player One - Mach 5

The digital avatar of Wade Watts or Parzival as he is known in the OASIS – is decked out in some awesome retro gear. It was in fact Owen Treolo on the I Grew Up Star Wars Facebook page that pointed this out. Parzival is sporting the holster from none other than Han Solo of Star Wars fame. In addition his belt buckle is sporting the Thundercats insignia. To say nothing that he has wisely chosen Doc Brown’s DeLorean from Back to the Future as his ride. Wade obviously has good taste in pop culture!
Ready Player One - Thundercats

In this digital night club scene, we have none other than Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. I wonder if she is working there or just getting herself some digital liquid refreshment?
Ready Player One - Lara Croft

And while this motorcycle scene is exciting it also features the monster truck known as Bigfoot. As well as an almost hidden reference to 1987’s Robocop. You can see the Delta City billboard in the background!
Ready Player One - Bigfoot

Obviously around the same scene, it appears that King Kong is making his presence known. I can’t help but wonder if the mighty ape won’t try to stop the racers as they attempt to win the copper key?
Ready Player One - King Kong

In this scene we have a mighty charge of characters. I was certainly surprised to see who was leading the rush into battle. We have 1991’s Battletoads. Behind them appears to be one of the ostrich riding knights from Joust!
Ready Player One - Battletoads

Not to be outdone in the call to battle of course. We have Tracer from Overwatch who appears to be backed up by Chun-Li from Street Fighter.
Ready Player One - Tracer

While The Iron Giant makes an appearance in this full trailer. It looks like he is joined by someone piloting a Gundam. While I am not positive I assume this is a reference from 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam series?
Ready Player One - Gundam

So there you have it, friends. Just a few of the pop culture nods that made me excited. I’m very much looking forward to Ready Player One when it hits theaters next March. While I’ve drunk deeply of the Kool-Aid, it’s safe to say that there are many who are less than impressed. Which is understandable. Naturally. In fact the Retroist wrote a fantastic article about it all.
Ready Player One - Poster

Did I mention that in the new Ready Player One trailer – Chucky from Child’s Play shows up?

Who knew that Chucky had such mad ninja skills?!

Update: I totally missed a glaringly obvious nod to the 1992 Mortal Kombat series. When in the trailer we are told of the hidden Easter Eggs we see what certainly appears to be a shrine to the gaming series. Including in the shot are statues of Raiden as well as Scoprion and Sub-Zero. This I should add is all courtesy of Bloody Disgusting and I obviously feel like a fool for not catching it!
Ready Player One - Mortal Kombat

“One Magic Christmas” in my basement (movie review)

There’s a Disney holiday film that many find disturbing. It’s called One Magic Christmas and stars Mary Steenburgen and Harry Dean Stanton. In this video, Robie Juinor (1980s robot from Radio Shack) and I discuss this film. There are plenty of spoilers, heck, I basically tell the whole story of the movie in just under ten minutes. I try to explain why I like the film. There’s some silly stuff in the video outside of the fact that I’m having a conversation with a toy robot…

[Via] Justin Salvato

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Scream Factory

It’s A Christmas Miracle. Silent Night, Deadly Night Is Out On Scream Factory Blu-ray!

Silent Night, Deadly Night is not necessarily one of the “must sees” for the casual horror fan looking for a campy thrill. It’s savage, violent and punishing. The story opens with young Billy Chapman whose dreams of a white Christmas are obliterated when he witnesses a deranged criminal, dressed in a dime store Santa suit, brutally murder his father and mother on Christmas Eve. Orphaned after the killing of his parents, Billy and his little brother are raised under the oppressive arm of a devout nun who teaches Billy the consequences of being naughty, which mostly ends up with him being tied to his bed or beaten.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Old Man Peabody

Old Man Peabody sharing the bad news to young Billy about Santa Claus.

When Billy turns eighteen, he half-wittedly gets a job at a toy store around (wait for it) Christmas and ends up having to play (wait for it) Santa. Needless to say, the years of pent up anger and confusion surrounding the death of his parents at the hand of jolly St. Nick rip loose the fractured wiring in Billy’s head and off he goes hacking up anyone he deems is on the naughty list, which is pretty much anyone he meets. Nothing is left to the imagination as Billy dices his way through a blood splattered winter wonderland and the film’s conclusion shares very little with the Capra’esque triumph of George Bailey – it is inevitably not a wonderful life.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Snowman

“Snowmen were absolutely harmed or injured during the making of this film.”

I LOVE this movie. Like many kids of the 80s who remember the TV commercial, I was terrified and mesmerized at the same time. The image of Santa pulling the gun from his red velvet pocket was burned in my brain, etched there to this day. The film’s poster of an axe wielding Santa sliding down a chimney is macabre and brilliant marketing. However, all this violent Santa imagery didn’t sit well with parents and they pressured TriStar Pictures for the film’s removal from theaters. At the Beyond Fest screening of the film a few years back, the producers discussed this controversy and explained the money trail : Tri-Star Pictures (the distributor), Columbia Pictures (partnered with TriStar) and Coca-Cola (owned Columbia). Coca-Cola has a long advertising history with Santa Claus and the stirrings from angry parents didn’t sit well with the family friendly soft drink company. Mind you, this anger was all based on commercials only! It’s not like the film was meant for kids. Regardless, it was yanked from theaters.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Poster

“Maybe he’s just a fireman?”

I finally discovered the film on VHS in the 90s and immediately started having Silent Night, Deadly Night parties that consisted of four guys sitting around my dumpy Miami apartment drunkenly watching the film. Those humble beginnings turned into a full blown event in Hollywood that lasted for several years. I’ve owned the film on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD. I’ve got the Death Waltz vinyl signed by the cast and crew. The film’s eerie Doo-wop styled Christmas carol “Santa’s Watching” becomes my ringtone every December. Setting aside the conventional slasher fare of numerous creative kills, Silent Night, Deadly Night adds a very rich backstory to why Billy becomes a killer. Instead of a five minute flashback origin story, the filmmakers treat us to twenty five minutes of set up. I think that’s what separates it from the rest of the Halloween/Friday the 13th knockoffs and why I think we are still talking about the film 30+ years later.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Laserdisc

“My new Scream Factory Blu-ray along with my signed Death Waltz Vinyl, my Laserdisc and a bloody axe hand crafted by my wife as a prop for our former SNDN/Die Hard Christmas Party.”

This year, it’s a Christmas miracle because Scream Factory has released Silent Night, Deadly Night on Blu-ray, and it’s the best I’ve ever seen it! Scream Factory has done their established awesome job of loading the release up with fun extras (notably a “then and now” locations tour), but the centerpiece is the disc’s HD transfer from the original camera negative. How these guys at Scream Factory dig up the bones of these classics is beyond me, but thank goodness they do. Now, this two disc set also comes with the un-cut version, which has been available on Laserdisc and DVD. Sadly, the original camera negatives from the extended scenes could not be found, so Scream Factory used the best available standard definition versions and cut them in with their new mastered footage. It’s a bumpy contrast, but they did the best they could and the serious fan will enjoy it. Honestly, after having seen both versions over the years, you aren’t missing much in those extended scenes – some blood, guts and the occasional added sleaze – but to view the crispest version would be to watch the theatrical release. One thing I wanted to shine the Retroist spotlight on is the incredible shots from Ira’s Toy Store.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Toy Store

“Ira’s reminds me of Cut-Rate toys on Devon Avenue in Chicago.”

The store is featured heavily in the film’s second act and showcased some big toys of the era. These days that would be problematic and tricky with licenses and clearances, but this was the 80s man! Greydon Clark’s Joysticks features every popular coin-op game of the era, think he got the licenses to use Pac Man? Think again, internet lawyer troll. Now, for full transparency, I had spent time doing a bunch of screen grabs to curate a collection of stills from the movie but then I thought, ‘Hey, I bet some other toy nerd has already done this.” Lo and behold, a quick Google search turned up a few sites that have done a marvelous (and probably better) job cataloging and identifying the toys in Ira’s. One was written by the supremely talented John Squires (aka @FreddyInSpace) and he’s got a nice post you can read over at Bloody Disgusting.

Also, here’s a funny post from 2010 by writer David W. About how disorganized Ira’s shelves are.

I will add one more to the mix. Seen behind the shrewd Mr. Sims is the Zaxxon board game. I had that game, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you how to play it. In doing some research, I had no recollection of the board or pieces. My guess is I didn’t play it much, but I do love that artwork!

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Zaxxon

“Mr. Sims is nobody’s friend.

So, grab your milk and cookies and get your copy of Silent Night, Deadly Night on Blu-ray here!
Silent Night, Deadly Night - Scream Factory - Blu Ray

One last thing, I started my review stating that “Silent Night, Deadly Night is not necessarily one of the “must sees” for the casual horror fan looking for a campy thrill.” Please take that to heart. It’s not a goofy slasher romp. With the right audience, it’s totally entertaining. But with the wrong audience, you might get a few raised eyebrows. Definitely not for the faint of heart and certainly not for anyone who might take offense with a raging, axe throwing, homicidal Santa Claus. Before you share with your loved ones this holiday season, consider your audience.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Patrick J. Doody and Patrick Brian Wilson

Meeting Billy Chapman himself, Robert Brian Wilson. The Egyptian Theater, Hollywood. 2014.”