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From the archives…”Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2″

Posted in From the archives... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2011 by Doctor Gash
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
(Released Oct. 27, 2000)  0 of 10 on the Gash-O-Meter
Director: Joe Berlinger
Starring: Kim Director, Jeffrey Donovan, Erica Leerhsen
Running Time: 90 minutes Rated: R
Budget: $15 million Gross: $47,737,094  One of the most disturbing films of recent memory. Not for anything the filmmakers attempted, just disturbing for the sheer lack of anything worth viewing. This is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Not only does it waste an hour and a half of your life with a disastrous offering, but it sullies the name of the original, which is a real gem. The fact this nonsense is tied to it is unfortunate. This is nothing short of a huge money grab, capitalizing on the incredible original.. Not only is this film horrendous, but it does damage to that which came before. DO NOT WATCH!!! If you do, you’ll be pissed. Terrible.

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From the archives…”Bubba Ho-Tep”

Posted in From the archives... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2011 by Doctor Gash

Bubba Ho-Tep (Released June 9, 2002) 4.5 of 10 on the Gash-O-Meter
Director: Don Coscarelli
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce, Bob Ivy
Running Time: 92 minutes, Rated: R
Budget: $1 million  Gross: $1,239,183

I wanted to love it. Almost felt like I was obligated to love it. I didn’t love it. Not sure this film belongs on a horror movie list, but the pedigrees of director Don Coscarelli and star Bruce Campbell solidified it. The concept of the film is funny, but it gets old very quickly. Campbell and Ossie Davis are an entertaining duo, but there’s just not enough going on here to keep the audience’s interest. Odd, but solid idea on paper, but loses something in the delivery.

Tip of the Scalpel–A Gash tribute–to Bill Moseley

Posted in Tip of the Scalpel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2011 by Doctor Gash

“The boogeyman is real, and you found him.”

It was those words that transformed our tip of the Scalpel recipient, Bill Moseley, from a ‘one-hit wonder’ to an iconic figure in modern horror.

Moseley has been in a number of films, but it’s two roles in particular for which he is recognized here.

He skyrocketed to prominence in the horror community in 1986 with his role as Chop Top in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Although moviegoers were standing in line to see Leatherface up to his old tricks again, it was Moseley’s portrayal of Chop Top which completely stole the show. From the original look of the character with the “Sonny Bono wig,” to his unveiled head wound, plate and all, Chop Top was an unsettling sight. However, Moseley was able to make the character even more disturbing with his spot on delivery of some of the most memorable lines of 80’s horror. Who could forget the Chop Top-isms “Music is my life,” “You’re my faaaave,” “Incoming mail!,” “E-X-I-T…exit. Goodbye,” or the unf0rgettable “Lick my plate you dog dick!” All these and more (“Dog will hunt!”) as well as the creepy, at times nearly orgasmic, head wound scratching with the heated coat hanger all came from one brilliant horrific performance. And then, as quickly as he arrived, Moseley disappeared from the spotlight.

He could be spotted in smaller roles from time to time, appearing in remakes of The Blob and Night of the Living Dead and even Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. But it wasn’t until 2003 when he returned with a character that was even more memorable than his first.

I clearly remember sitting in the theater when the first trailer for House of 1,000 Corpses ran. The audience was staring at the screen in rapt attention. No one spoke until the name “Rob Zombie” appeared. An audible intake of breath could be heard as moviegoers collectively gasped at the prospect of a Rob Zombie directed horror film. Then the final scene of the trailer, a tight shot of a man pulling a mask off his face. He stares into the camera and says “…the boogeyman is real…and you found him.”

I recognized the face, but I couldn’t immediately place where I’d seen him before. Then it clicked…”That’s the dude from Texas Chainsaw 2!” I gave quick mental kudos to Zombie for casting him as I instantly remembered what a fantastic job he had done the last time I’d seen him.

Unfortunately, it would be awhile before we ever got to see House of 1,000 Corpses as Universal Studios did not release the film, fearing an NC-17 rating. However, Lion’s Gate stepped in and House of 1,000 Corpses made it to the big screen in 2003. It was well worth the wait.

And once again, Moseley led the way. His character, Otis B. Driftwood, was by far the most disturbed of the Firefly Clan (and that’s saying something). Already assured of being a horror convention mainstay with his Texas Chainsaw 2 performance, Moseley made himself into a horror hall of famer by bringing Otis to life. And as excellent as his portrayal was in House of 1,000 Corpses, he raised the bar again in the sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. Stripped away was the comic undertones of House of 1,000 Corpses, leaving Rejects with nothing but raw power and nowhere was it more evident than in Otis’ “let’s go get the guns” scene where he puts a permanent end to “The Banjo and Sullivan Show” and returns with a horrific trophy.

He’s recently appeared in Repo! The Genetic Opera, Tortured and the upcoming Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3D reprising his role as Johnnie but it was that initial role of Chop Top that made us fall in love with him and he solidified his place in horror history with Otis, perhaps the most notable slasher of the new millennium.

For more on this actor/musician, check out his website, but for today, we thank him for all the memorable performances and recognize Bill Moseley with a Doctor Gash Tip of the Scalpel.

Cuatros Cuertas

Posted in Doctor's orders, Everyday horrors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by Doctor Gash

This is a story for those of you who have children and have seen The Exorcist (and I’m sure many of you thought twice about the former after doing the latter). The rest of you can certainly read and enjoy this entry, but I think it’ll really hit home with you parental Exorcist veterans.

As many of you know I recently completed Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Horror Movies…ever! and the number one movie was, of course, The Exorcist. Well, if you think the film is off-putting just from viewing it, try researching it and kicking ideas for a write-up around for a couple days. It really begins to settle in on you. I saw more images of Regan MacNeil during those few days of research than I care to see ever again. There is just something about that movie. You know it and I know it. So to set the stage for the story, Captain Howdy had taken up residence in my head and he didn’t seem like he would be moving along any time soon.

Eventually the review got written and that unsettling feeling began to recede every so slowly. That was until I heard the words cuatros cuertas.

Doctor Gash is a family man and I was in the process of tucking my nearly four-year old daughter into bed one night, shortly after the review had been written. The slow recession of Captain Howdy described above had begun and I was starting to believe everything would be okay when my daughter looked and me and said “cuatros cuertas.”

“What was that?” I said.

“Cuatros cuertas,” she said.

“What does cuatros cuertas mean,” I asked, curious as to what Spanish phrase she may have picked up from Dora the Explorer or Sesame Street.

“Cuatros cuertas,” she said, pointing to my arms. “Four tattoos.” I happen to have two tattoos on each arm.

“Cuatrtos cuertas means four tattoos?”

“Yes.”

Now having two kids, I’ve seen my share of children’s programming and I can say with absolute certainty that I have never seen Elmo, Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder, Handy Manny or any other cartoon or children’s programming character talk about tattoos (except for maybe Spongebob Squarepants, but it’s common knowledge that he doesn’t speak Spanish).

So I inquired yet again. “You’re telling me cuatros cuertas means four tattoos in Spanish?”

“Yes.”

And I could have just left it at that. I could have just accepted the fact that somewhere along the line this child, who was just about to turn four, learned how to say ‘four tattoos’ in Spanish. But I couldn’t leave it at that.

“Where did you hear that?” I asked. “They don’t talk about tattoos on Dora.

“My brain told me,” was her answer.

Okay, moderately creepy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. It wasn’t until the next thing out of her mouth that the images of Captain Howdy, Regan MacNeil and Fathers Karras and Merrin came flooding in.

“Your brain told you?”

“Yes, my brain whispered in my ear and told me ‘cuatros cuertas means four tattoos.”

Oh my God! Her brain whispered in her ear and now the child is speaking in tongues.

This was not good. All I could picture was the scene from The Exorcist with the yet-to-be transformed Regan sitting in the chair with her right up raised strangely in the air. I believe she was talking about her nice friend Captain Howdy right about then. I wonder if he mentioned anything to her about cuatros cuertas?

I backed out of the slowly, not taking my eyes off the child. I explained that I would be right back. I just had to look something up on the computer. As soon as I was out of the room, I rushed for the computer in the bedroom, being mindful to keep an eye on the door, in case she decided to take a run at me.

My wife noticed my frantic state and asked me what was wrong. I gave her a very quick recount of what had just happened as I typed ‘spanish to english translation’ into Google (I didn’t bother with the capitalization then either). I explained that if this search verified that ‘cuatros cuertas’ means ‘four tattoos’ we would be packing our bags and leaving. I’ve seen far too many movie families hang in far too long in situations like this. We weren’t going to be next. “Let her have the house!” I declared.

As the small Firefox circle spun to indicate work in progress, I heard little feet approaching the door. I quickly accessed the first translation site and typed ‘cuatros cuertas’ into the ‘Spanish’ side and asked for a translation. Not sure about the spelling, I hoped for the best.

While the site searched for the translation, she appeared in the doorway and began walking toward me. My eyes nervously darted between the processing computer screen and the oncoming child/potential demon.

The search results appeared just as she jumped into my lap. “Cuatros cuertas” doesn’t mean anything.

I looked at her and asked “I thought you said, ‘cuatros cuertas’ means ‘four tattoos.’”

Her response was nothing more than a wide grin that seemed to say ‘got you, Dad.’

If she only knew how well. Pazuzu had been avoided…for now.

Check out Doctor Gash’s Facebook page

Posted in Doctor's orders with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2011 by Doctor Gash

  We’ve been getting a great amount of traffic here at the Gash Blog. Just wanted to direct all you Gorehounds over to the Doctor Gash Facebook page where we’d love for you to give the Doctor a ‘like’. So if you’d like to support the cause (and keep the Doctor in a good mood…please keep him in a good mood, won’t you) follow the link to the page and we’ll keep the Doctor busy writing. Thank you. -The Staph

Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Horror Movies…ever! #1-“The Exorcist”

Posted in Doctor Gash's Top 10 Horror Movies...ever! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2011 by Doctor Gash

Demon: What an excellent day for an exorcism.

Father Damien Karras: You would like that?

Demon: Intensely.

Father Damien Karras: But wouldn’t that drive you out of Regan?

Demon: It would bring us together.

Father Damien Karras: You and Regan?

Demon: You and us.

There can be only one. And in compiling Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Horror Movies…ever!, this was the easiest selection of the bunch. There was never a doubt of which film would be number one on this list. And it’s number one with a bullet. You can get a second opinion, but for me, this is head and shoulders above the rest on being just plain scary. Sure, when you’re growing up, plenty of movies scare you, but once you’re older and jaded, very few movies can really get to you. This is one of them.

A Christmas gift to us, The Exorcist was released to an unsuspecting world on December 26, 1973, was nominated for 10 Academy Awards (winning for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay) and enjoyed incredible success at the box office. In fact, until Jaws surpassed it in 1975, The Exorcist had a brief run as the highest grossing film of all time. Not only is it incredibly tense and suspenseful while viewing, The Exorcist sticks with you long after. I’m talking years afterward. I still get chills when I see a picture of young Linda Blair in her full Regan MacNeil plumage and the theme song Tubular Bells is simply haunting.

Director William Friedkin builds the story masterfully. And what an amazing story it is. Aside from the obvious focal point of the possessed girl, Father Damien’s painful personal struggles add an additional level to the film and his loss of faith is woven into the main tale brilliantly. The demon cuts deep into Father Damien’s psyche, using every possible angle to weaken the faltering priest. Max Von Sydow’s experienced exorcist, Father Lankester Merrin, and his familiarity with the situation enlightens us to the power of the creature, making darkening the climax of the film even creepier.

But what is it that really sticks with you after viewing the film? Everything behind that bedroom door is what sticks with you. The imagery of Regan as her body is ravaged by the demon is intense enough on its own. Add to this the incredible vocal work done by Mercedes McCambridge (the voice of the demon) and the intense content of the scenes and you have the perfect storm of horror.

The Exorcist appears unapproachable as the scariest film of all time. It is Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-game, DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Even the great movies gracing Doctor Gash’s Top 10 list come up short in comparison to the lasting impact this film has on its viewers. It’s a masterpiece of horror. Simply put, this is how it’s done.

Number 1 on Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Horror Movies…ever! The Exorcist

Click for #2 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Click to return to #10 Scream

Thanks for reading Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Horror Movies…ever! I put a lot of thought into this list and I think I got them all right, but I’m always willing to listen to other opinions. Drop a line! -Gash

Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Horror Movies…ever! #4 “The Silence of the Lambs”

Posted in Doctor Gash's Top 10 Horror Movies...ever! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2011 by Doctor Gash

“I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.”

The perfect ending line for the most critically acclaimed horror film of all time. That list of accolades includes five Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor (which Anthony Hopkins won, despite being on the screen for only about 16 minutes of the two-hour film), Jodie Foster took Best Actress, Jonathan Demme was Best Director, and the film also won Best Adapted Screenplay). Many have fooled themselves into believing that The Silence of the Lambs is more of a thriller than a horror film. Don’t make that mistake. Anytime you think that this isn’t a horror movie, go back and watch it again and let me know what you think. How did Hannibal Lecter escape police custody? I rest my case.

This film, especially the scenes with Lecter, is a master class in suspense. Before her initial meeting with him, Agent Clarice Starling is repeatedly warned about the danger Lecter poses. And it is through these descriptive images of his crimes (especially those warnings of Dr. Frederick Chilton, describing how Lecter attacked a nurse and ate her tongue) that we are introduced to the monster that is Hannibal The Cannibal.

Hopkins is absolutely hypnotic in this, his most memorable role. You cannot look away while he is on the screen, even while re-watching the film. His portrayal of Lecter is simply brilliant. Every line is delivered perfectly, whether it be his probing of Agent Starling, his verbal assault of Senator Ruth Martin or his farewell to Sergeant Pembry, Lecter is played perfectly.

Opposite him, Foster offers an excellent light to Lecter’s dark allowing him to dig into her mind in exchange for his assistance in the “Buffalo Bill” murder case. Anthony Heald is also great as the smarmy doctor overseeing Lecter in prison.

However, often lost in the power of Hopkins’ performance and his chemistry with Foster is the other monster in Silence of the Lambs, Jame Gumb aka Buffalo Bill, played disturbingly by Ted Levine. Yes, Lecter did utter the “…I ate her liver…” line, which would go on to be the trademark of the franchise, but we mustn’t forget that Jame Gumb had some memorable moments of his own. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was up against one of the greatest film performances ever in Lecter, we can be pretty sure that The Silence of the Lambs would have been remembered for either a) “…it puts the lotion in the basket…” b) Gumb’s crazy final scene and death image, crumpled on the floor, coughing up blood, with the night-vision glasses on; or (most likely) c) Buffalo Bill’s infamous “dance scene.” Yeah, you know the one.

The suspense never lets up. A great twist scene on the apprehension of Buffalo Bill wraps up an amazing adventure and Lecter’s exclamation point in the final scene as he fades into anonymity is brilliant. Not the scariest, not the goriest, but this may be the most perfectly polished horror movie of all time. It is a masterpiece.

Number 4 on Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Horror Movies…ever! The  Silence of the Lambs

Click for #3…

Click for #5 Night of the Living Dead