My Bloody Valentine (1981)

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From the heart comes a warning with bloody good cheer. Remember what happened… as the 14th draws near.

In a deserted mine, two masked figures pick their way through the wreckage. One of the miners removes her mask and pulls down her overalls. The other caresses her, but refuses to take off his mask. Seeing the girl’s heart tattoo, he grabs her roughly and pushes her back against the wall, onto the blade of his pickaxe…

It is Thursday, February 12th, and the town of Valentine Bluffs is preparing for its first Valentine’s Day dance in 20 years. Finishing their shift, the boys from the Hanniger mine head into town to meet up with their girls. Among them are TJ, the mayor’s son who left town Continue reading

Creepshow 2 (1987)

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Thanks for the ride, lady

Welcome back, boils and ghouls, to another helping of comic book chills courtesy of the Creep. Young Billy’s already got his copy, hot off the presses, so why don’t we jump straight into our first story…

Old Chief Wood’nhead

In a dusty, deserted town, an old man is outside the general store, touching up the paint on his Indian statue. This is Dead River, and the old man is Ray Spruce (George Kennedy), who owns the store with his wife, Martha (Dorothy Lamour, in her last on-screen performance). Continue reading

Creepshow (1982)

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Anita Verrill didn’t raise no idjits.

A house, on a street, in Anytown USA. A father (genre veteran Tom Atkins in an uncredited role) is berating his son (Joe Hill, aka Stephen King, Jr) for buying a horror comic. They argue, and Atkins throws the comic out. His son, Billy, wishing his father would ‘rot in hell’ is delighted to see a figure at his bedroom window. It’s the Creep – kinda like the Cryptkeeper, only more floaty. Transitioning gently into animation, he directs us down and into the pages of the comic, where we find our first story…

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Gremlins (1984)

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Bright light, bright light

Chinatown. Searching for a christmas present for his teenage son, Rand Peltzer meets a young boy, who leads him to his grandfather’s shop. While trying to sell old man Miyagi his new invention, the “Bathroom Buddy”, Rand hears singing from the back of the shop. He investigates and likes what he sees, but the old man refuses to sell, so Rand leaves disappointed. Outside, the boy catches up to him with a box, inside which is a Mogwai. The boy takes Rand’s money but warns him: with great Mogwai comes great responsibility – he must ensure the creature is not exposed to bright light, keep it away from water and never, ever, feed it after midnight…

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Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)

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Only three more killing days till Christmas.

London, 1984. A man dressed as Santa follows his girl to a car for some private time. Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched by an unseen figure, who follows them to the car and stabs them both to death. Later, at one of the worst fancy dress parties in living memory, another Santa is killed when a masked man throws a spear through the back of his head. A third Santa is strangled, has his face chargrilled with his chestnuts and finally burns to death. Meanwhile, at New Scotland Yard, the police investigate a rash of Santa killings…

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Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

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Garbage Day!

For those of you who have seen Silent Night, Deadly Night, some of this may seem familiar…

Interior, psychiatric hospital, day – Christmas Eve. Ricky, the younger brother of Billy from the first movie, is visited by Dr Bloom, a psychiatrist (his 13th), who asks Ricky to tell his story. For anyone who hasn’t seen the first film, the highlights are all here. We see the death of Billy and Ricky’s parents (which Ricky remembers “because I was there”, despite being less than a year old at the time), their time in the orphanage, Billy’s first job and the triggering of his psychotic episode. Continue reading

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

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Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year.

Silent Night, Deadly Night

Christmas Eve, 1971, and Billy is visiting his sick Grandpa with his parents and little brother. While the adults are out of the room, Grandpa (who was pretty much comatose a few seconds ago) turns to Billy and warns him that Santa will come and punish him if he’s been naughty. What’s the old bastard hoping to achieve? Best case scenario, you’re left with a traumatised child who sits up all night in case an old bearded man comes into his room to ‘punish’ him.¬† But if that happened we’d have no movie; instead, Billy sleeps peacefully in the back of the car while his dad drives them home. Meanwhile, a guy dressed as Santa holds up a convenience store, shoots the proprietor dead and flees the scene, only to break down on the same road Billy’s parents are driving. When his dad stops to help, Billy freaks out – with good reason, as he watches his father get shot and his mother get almost raped before having her throat cut.

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The Shape of Things to Come

“Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are in power. The Berlin Wall and the Twin Towers still stand. Fans wonder if George Romero and Dario Argento will ever make Twilight of the Dead and Lachrymae… Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman live in Crouch End and Nutley. Some say Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is too grim ever to get released, and certainly wouldn’t be passed by the BBFC… Kristen Stewart and Daniel Radcliffe haven’t been born. Peter Jackson has just made Bad Taste in New Zealand. Doctor Who is about to be cancelled. Few people have heard of the Internet. VHS has trounced Betamax, and rules the high street rentals. Vincent Price and Peter Cushing are still alive…”

Kim Newman, from his introduction to Nightmare Movies.

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