W.C.U.N Pittsburgh!!


Return of the Living Dead, 1985, Dan O'Bannon.

NIGHT VISIONS is where we turn off our brains, dust off our bad analogies and offer up capsule reviews of genre films. Be warned that these reviews are stream-of-consciousness and under the influence. While they are generally spoiler-free they are also often plot and rating free. If that doesn't sound like your thing, give IMDB a try. What? Did you think this was a fucking costume? This is a way of life!


THE DEVIL'S RAIN (1975) Dir. Robert Fuest. Written by Gabe Essoe, James Ashton and Gerald Hopman. Starring: Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, Ida Lupino, Keenan Wynn, Tom Skerritt, Eddie Albert, Joan Prather, John Travolta, and Anton Lavey.

Heaven help us all when the Devil's Rain!

The Devil's Rain could easily be considered, along with Race with the Devil, one of the more baroque opening shots of the Satanic Panic paranoia that started in the late 60's, flourished in the 70's and would eventually peter out in the 80's. While no…

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SPLIT SECOND (1992) Dir. Tony Maylam. Written by Gary Scott Thompson. Starring: Rutger Hauer, Kim Cattrall, Alastair Duncan, Alun Armstrong, Pete Postlethwaite, and Michael J. Pollard.



He's seen the future. Now he has to kill it. 


A flooded London is a great setting for a Sci-Fi Horror hybrid like this. Mix in some not too serious Rutger Hauer with a jones for chocolate, coffee, cigars and heavy artillery and you've got a fun diversion to help that six-pack i…

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VAMP (1986) Dir. Richard Wenk. Written by Richard Wenk, based on a Story by Donald P. Borchers and Richard Wenk. Starring: Grace Jones, Chris Makepeace, Robert Rusler, Billy Drago, Gedde Watanabe, Deedee Pfeiffer, Sandy Baron, and Paunita Nichols.

Ever have one of those nights?

Look at Grace Jones, right here and now and submit to the baddest bitch of the eighties. A terrifyingly beautiful example of an utterly unique woman doing shit her way. It's always baffled me that the notoriously vanilla gatekeepers ever let her into the collect…

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FULL ECLIPSE (1993) Dir. Anthony Hickox. Written by Richard Christian Matheson, and Michael Reeves. Starring: Mario Van Peebles, Patsy Kinsit, Bruce Payne, Jennifer Rubin, Jason Beghe, and Paula Marshall.

There's a new police force on the streets... and they only come out at night.

I've got a soft spot in my black heart for made for HBO movies, Patsy Kensit and Anthony Hickox as a director. Call it a side effect of coming of age during the heyday of all three. Full Eclipse then is a triple thr…

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TWO EVIL EYES (1990) Dir. George A. Romero & Dario Argento. Written by Franco Ferrini, Peter Koper, George A. Romero, Dario Argento and based on Stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, E.G. Marshall, Harvey Keitel, Tom Atkins, and John

When I wake you . . . You'll be dead.

I'm never quite sure what to make of my fellow horror fan's taste. The casual, mainstream viewer with a taste for the macabre is easy enough to figure, but the seasoned ghoul down in the trenches with the rest of us can sometimes perplex me. They can ratt…

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The Hard Way

THE HARD WAY (1991) Dir. John Badham. Written by Lem Hobbs and Daniel Pyne. Starring: James Woods, Michael J. Fox, Anabella Sciorra, Stephen Lang, Luis Guzman, LL Cool J, Delroy Lindo, Christina Ricci, and Penny Marshall.

There's only one way these two are going to get along... the Hard Way.

John Badham is one of those directors who never really seemed to be anything more than a competent craftsman with his ability tied directly to the quality of the script he was working with. From Saturday Night Fever and th…

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Over the years, my cinematically saturated brain has made more than a few strange connections between actors and their inspirations, directors and their crib sheets, writers and their muses. For Your Consideration is not so much a place to expose homages and rip-offs, but more a space to raise questions about more abstract and potentially subconscious influences on the work of film artists in general. Rather than further explanation, I will demonstrate. For your consideration . . .

When I first saw Kevin Spacey in Seven:

My initial reaction was that he was channeling HAL from Kubrick's 2001: 

I had been making this connection for years. How strange then that in 2009, Spacey decides to make his own foray into A.I. voices with Duncan Jones' Moon wherein he voices Gerty:

Mere Coincidence? Knowing homage? Spacey a robot? You decide. 


THE AMBULANCE (1990) Dir. Larry Cohen. Written by Larry Cohen. Starring: Eric Roberts, James Earl Jones, Megan Gallagher, Red Buttons, Janine Turner, and Stan Lee.

You'll be in perfect health . . . before you die. 

Before my latest re-watch of this forgotten Larry Cohen gem my main memories of the film were of James Earl Jones laying in the middle of the street obsessively and loudly chewing gum - one of the weirdest death scenes in film - and an out o…

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RUN (1991) Dir. Geoff Burrowes. Written by Dennis Shryack, and Michael Blodgett. Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Kelly Preston, and Ken Pogue.

Hunted By The Mafia And The Police, He's Running For His Life.

Smarmy law student/amateur card sharp, Charlie Farrow gets a job driving a Porsche down to Atlantic City, has some mechanical issues on the way, and lets his winning ways and running mouth get himself into big trouble at a little …

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NOTHING BUT TROUBLE (1991) Dir. Dan Aykroyd. Written by Dan Aykroyd based on a Story by Peter Aykroyd. Starring: Chevy Chase, Demi Moore, John Candy, Dan Akroyd, Taylor Negron, Brian Doyle-Murray, Daniel Baldwin, Digital Underground and Tupac Shakur.

All they wanted was a little getaway. All they got was nothing but trouble.

People far more connected than I have tried to get Aykroyd to talk about this little loved dark comedy and all have been met with total shutdown from brother Elroy. As soon as the movie is mentioned he hangs up or red…

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HAPPY HELL NIGHT (1992) Dir. Brian Owens. Written by Brian Owens and Michael Fitzpatrick. Starring: Sam Rockwell, Charles Cragin, and Darren McGavin.

Tonight The Party Animals Of Phi Delta Kappa Will Raise More Than Hell!

Well, what can be said about Happy Hell Night that could possibly make you want to see it? Sam Rockwell has a small part early on in both the film and his career. Kolchak himself, Darren McGavin plays Rockwell as an old m…

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BLIND FURY (1989) Dir. Phillip Noyce. Written by Charles Robert Carner. Starring: Rutger Hauer, Meg Foster, Terry O'Quinn, Brandon Call, Lisa Blount, Noble Willingham, Randall 'Tex' Cobb, and Nick Cassavetes.

He's lucky he can't see what he's up against. 

It's unfortunate that casting directors, agents and directors didn't know what to do with Rutger Hauer here in America. After Blade Runner, I think most us would have expected a different career path for the man who gave us Roy Batty and improvi…

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UZUMAKI (2000) Dir. Higurchinsky. Written by Takao Nitta, Chika Yasuo, Kengo Kaji based on a Manga by Junji Ito. Starring: Eriko Hatsune, Fhi Fan, Hinako Saeki, and Denden.

Based on Junji Ito's mindbending, gut-swirling manga of the same name, Uzumaki, the film, holds its place as one of the most unique films I've seen inside or outside of genre. The film's story and style is beyond strange even for Japanese Horror. Ultimately, we are bearing witness to a sma…

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TRESPASS (1992) Dir. Walter Hill. Written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis. Starring: William Sadler, Bill Paxton, Ice-T, Ice Cube, Art Evans, Tommy Tiny Lister, Glenn Plummer, and De'voreaux White.

Two Arkansas Firemen, Don and Vince come into possession of a treasure map that promises a 50-year-old cache of stolen relics from a Catholic church. The catch is it's in an abandoned building in East St. Louis. Paxton is a bit of a naive idiot in this one - an interesting departure from his usu…

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THE MANITOU (1977) Dir. William Girdler. Written by William Girdler based on a Novel by Graham Masterton. Starring: Tony Curtis, Susan Strasberg, Michael Ansara, Burgess Meredith, Stella Stevens, and Ann Sothern.

You have to understand that when I first saw the Manitou, I had heard nothing about it. It didn't come as a recommendation from an in the know buddy, or an evil algorithm. I just came across it one night on an old VHS tape and buckled in. I wasn't aware it was directed by William Girdler (oh he …

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RICOCHET (1991) Dir. Russell Mulcahy. Written by Steven E. De Souza based on a story by Fred Dekker and Menno Meyjas. Starring: Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Kevin Pollack, Ice-T, Victoria Dillard, Mary Ellen Trainor, John Amos, and Jesse Ventura.

John Lithgow seemed to be on a roll playing bad guys in the early 90's with this, Cliffhanger and Raising Cain apparently working out the kinks before he spent the next 10 years on 3rd Rock from the Sun. And as good as he is at playing the nice guy, he's even better at playing the baddie. Can …

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I COME IN PEACE aka DARK ANGEL (1990) Dir. Craig R. Baxley. Written by Jonathan Tydor, David Koepp as Leonard Maas Jr. Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, Betsy Brantley, Mathias Hues, Sherman Howard, and Michael J. Pollard.

Much has been made of the awesome impact the giant Intergalactic Drug Dealer of I Come in Peace made on genre fans in 1990 and he was certainly a stroke of genius in concept (early Koepp idea?) and realization. Often, the next point of praise falls to the killer CD-like weapon deployed by said a…

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THE RESURRECTED (1991) Dir. Dan O'Bannon. Written Brent V. Friedman based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft. Starring: Chris Sarandon, John Terry, Jane Sibbett, and Robert Romanus.

I'm one of those weirdos that has championed The Resurrected since catching it on cable in the 90's back to back with that other forgotten Chris Sarandon horror film, Whispers, and while I have never met anyone outside of a festival who has seen either, fans apparently exist. Enough so that Scre…

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RACE WITH THE DEVIL (1975) Dir. Jack Starrett. Written by Les Frost and Wes Bishop. Starring: Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Loretta Swit, Lara Parker, R.G. Armstrong, Jack Starrett, Paul A. Partial, and R.C. Keene.

If you're going to race with the devil, you've got to be as fast as Hell!

Released the same year as The Devil's Rain and presenting a far less supernatural take on Satanism in the good old U.S. of A., Race with the Devil is equal parts stunt-crazy action and frightening horror. In fact, it ma…

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Class of 1999

CLASS OF 1999 (1990) Dir. Mark L. Lester. Written by C. Courtney Joyner and Mark L. Lester. Starring: Stacy Keach, Malcolm McDowell, Pam Grier, Bradlee Gregg, Traci Lind, Patrick Kilpatrick, John P. Ryan, and Joshua Miller.

There's Just One Subject at Kennedy High ... Survival!

I'll probably take some heat for this one, but I much prefer Class of 1999 to Lester's Class of 1984. 1984 is great fun, but it doesn't have anything on the quick pace, Sci-Fi facelift and nutty cast being way nutty in 1999. I mean, check…

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Miami Blues

MIAMI BLUES (1990) Dir. George Armitage. Written by George Armitage based on a Novel by Charles Willeford. Starring: Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Fred Ward, Nora Dunn, Paul Gleason Jack Napier, Obba Babatunde, and Shirley Stoler.

 Real badge. Real gun. Fake cop.

1990 was a big year for Baldwin. With The Hunt for Red October and Miami Blues both released, he was on his way to becoming a household name, but still a year out from his romance with Kim Basinger and a couple of years out from his legendary performance in G…

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The Hitcher

THE HITCHER (1986) Dir. Robert Harmon. Written by Eric Red. Starring: Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jeffrey DeMunn.

The terror starts when he stops!

If ever a movie could lay claim to illustrating the perils of picking up strangers in the middle of the night to Generation X it's the first ten minutes of this movie. Penned by Eric Red in the midst of a run of ridiculous but excellent genre scripts, The Hitc…

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RUNAWAY (1984) Dir. Michael Crichton. Written by Michael Crichton. Starring: Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley, Chris Mulkey, G.W. Bailey, and Stan Shaw.

It Is The Future. He fought the horror of robots programmed to kill.

Runaway is the kind of movie I am all for seeing remade . . . if we could keep the performances and the majority of the script. It simply needs a visual make-over and a defter hand than Michael Crichton to smooth over some …

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Miracle Mile

MIRACLE MILE (1988) Dir. Steve De Jarnatt. Written by Steve De Jarnatt. Starring: Anthony Edwards, Mare Winningham, Mykelti Williamson, Kelly Jo Minter, Kurt Fuller, Denise Crosby, Robert Doqui, Jeanette Goldstein, Eddie Bunker, and O-Lan Jones.

There are 70 minutes to the end of the world. Where can you hide?

I was lucky enough to catch Steve De Jarnatt at a screening of Miracle Mile a couple of years back at Northwest Film Forum here in Seattle. He was there promoting the Blu-Ray release of the film which has haunted my dreams of n…

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DR. GIGGLES (1992) Dir. Manny Coto. Written by Manny Coto and Graeme Whifler. Starring: Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs, Cliff De Young, Glenn Quinn, Keith Diamond, Richard Bradford, and Doug E. Doug.

The Doctor is out . . . of his mind. 

Oh, what I wouldn't give to have a whole series of Dr. Giggles films. Of all the attempts at new franchise slashers made in the 90's, Dr. Giggles is the only one that ever really had a chance with me, beating out Brainscan's Trickster (who never really …

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THE FIRST POWER (1990) Dir. Robert Renikoff. Written by Robert Renikoff. Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Tracy Griffith, Jeff Kober, Mykelti Williamson, and David Gale.

 Satan has created the perfect killer. One who cannot be stopped. Be warned.

I saw The First Power upon its release in theaters, and I'm pretty sure I took my Mother to see it for Mother's Day. Being probably know more than 12 at the time, I am totally sure this was a mere ploy on my part to…

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JOHNNY HANDSOME (1989) Dir. Walter Hill. Written by Ken Friedman based on a Novel by John Godey. Starring: Mickey Rourke, Lance Henrickson, Ellen Barkin, Morgan Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Elizabeth McGovern, and Peter Jason.

Revenge has a new face. 

Johnny Handsome is the kind of lean, mean and well-wrought Crime Drama that Hollywood doesn't make anymore mostly because they don't let Walter Hill direct movies much these days. There are no overreaching themes of redemption or philosophical meditations on the natu…

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Benicia Del Toro initially made a name for himself as being the guy who demanded doing every role in some invented alien patois unintelligible to nearly everyone but himself and perhaps Pacino in Scarface; see his small role in Weir's Fearless as well as the following evidence - his most notorious: 

Thelonious Monk made a name for himself for being a genius piano player and eccentric;


Enjoy the music then at 3:30 listen . . . 

Del Toro a fan of Monk? Both simply mumble mouths suffering the occasional Tourette's outburst? Completely unrelated? You decide.


BODY PARTS (1991) Dir. Eric Red. Written by Eric Red and Norman Snider based on a Story by Patricia Herskovic and Joyce Taylor from a Novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Starring: Jeff Fahey, Lindsay Duncan, Kim Delaney, and Brad Dourif.

A medical miracle has become a murderous nightmare.

Body Parts is the third of an unofficial 'written by Eric Red' trilogy of kickass horror movies made in the 80's and early 90's with The Hitcher and Near Dark being the other two. While Red wrote and directed other movies during this time an…

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THE UNNAMABLE I & II (1988 & 1992) Dir. Jean-Paul Ouelette. Written by Jean-Paul Ouelette based on Stories by H.P. Lovecraft. Starring: Mark Kinsey Stephenson, Charles King, Laura Albert, John Rhys-Davies, David Warner, and Julie Strain.

From the depths of HELL.

With Dan O’Bannon’s The Resurrected recently treated to a Blu-Ray special edition by Scream Factory, we can only hope The Unnameable films aren’t far behind. It’s hard to gauge how much of my own love for these films is rooted in nostalgia from seeing them upon releas…

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GRAVEYARD SHIFT (1990) Dir. Ralph S. Singleton. Written by John Esposito based on a Story by Stephen King. Starring: David Andrews, Kelly Wolf, Stephen Macht, Brad Dourif, Andrew Divoff, and Vic Polizos.

 Stephen King took you to the edge with The Shining and Pet Sematary. This time......he pushes you over.

Another unfairly maligned screen adaptation of a King short story, Graveyard Shift delivers a solid bit of entertainment about a drifter taking a summer job at a textile mill and getting …

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DISORGANIZED CRIME (1989) Dir. Jim Kouf. Written by Jim Kouf. Starring: Corbin Bernsen, Lou Diamond Phillips, Ruben Blades, Fred Gwynne, William Russ, Ed O'Neill, Daniel Roebuck, and Hoyt Axton.

Salazar, a not bald Corbin Bernsen - this was the L.A. Law days - cases a local bank in a podunk Montana town. Before the opening titles have ended he's busted by two New Jersey Detectives (Roebuck and O'Neill) who have been tracking him for the robbery of several banks back East. Enter the rest…

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BRAINSCAN (1994) Dir. John Flynn. Written by Andrew Kevin Walker based on a Story by Brian Owens. Starring: Edward Furlong, Frank Langella, and T. Ryder Smith

"Death, Death, Death . . . Part Two." So says Michael (Furlong) when questioned about his in-class viewing habits by the School Dean and if that doesn't win you over to this morbid little sonovabitch with a bum leg and even bummer back story then his Igor inspired answering service, love for Fan…

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JUDGEMENT NIGHT (1993) Dir. Stephen Hopkins. Written by Lewis Colick based on a Story by Jere Cunningham. Starring: Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Stephen Dorff, Jeremy Piven, Denis Leary, and Peter Greene.

A group of middle-class dudes out for a night on the town end up fighting for their lives in the inner city when their party RV breaks down and they witness Denis Leary murder a body. There's no more plot than that which is perhaps why the subtext is so apparent, well the attempt at subtext. I m…

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maximum overdrive

IN DEFENSE OF . . . MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986) Dir. Stephen King. Written by Stephen King. Starring: Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, Yeardley Smith, Christopher Murney, Frankie Faison, and Giancarlo Esposito.

Declared a 'Moron Movie' by Stephen King himself, Maximum Overdrive stands as one of the least appreciated genre films of the 1980's. And it's really no wonder why - the movie starts at a sprint and delivers a solid forty-five minutes of batshit primo King before succumbing to an underwhelming 2…

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STONE COLD (1991) Dir. Craig R. Baxley. Written by Walter Doniger. Starring: Brian Bosworth, Lance Henricksen, William Forsythe, and Sam McMurray.

Craig R. Baxley directed three movies between 1988 and 1991 and for my money, the ex-stuntman turned action director is one of the best when it comes to stunt-heavy, brain-dead over the top fun. From Action Jackson to I Come in Peace to this Biker bacchanalia of tattooed tits and heavy artiller…

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POPCORN (1991) Dir. Mark Herrier, Alan Ormsby and Bob Clark (both uncredited.) Written by Alan Ormsby as Tod Hackett and based on a Story by Mitchell Smith. Starring: Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard, Dee Wallace, Tony Roberts, Kelly Jo Minter, and Ray Walston.

Oh, Jill Schoelen, where did you go? Horror sorely needs another actress with Schoelen's easy charm. The perfect Final Girl, though she never quite played one unless you count this movie as a Slasher which I don't. Looking back at her roles in Horror, it's surprising how little she actually did …

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