Bob Clark

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Four – 10/04/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Four – 10/04/18

10/04 – 1990: JACOB’S LADDER


I was a pretty big Adrian Lyne fan when JACOB’S LADDER came out. I mean, come on! FOXES, FLASHDANCE, FATAL ATTRACTION, NINE AND A HALF WEEKS.  If anyone had the kind of eccentric visual flair that would translate very well into horror, it would be him. Plus, the script was by BRUCE JOEL RUBIN (BRAINSTORM, GHOST, DEADLY FRIEND). How could I not anticipate this movie?

Well, anticipate it, I did.  And hate it, I did, too (sorry for the “Yoda-isms”). But the strong emotions that it evoked in me and the audience I saw it with – who were about as pissed-off as I was by the ending – may have been Lyne’s intention all along. It just took me a decade or two to realize that. And now I kind of see it in a different light than before, because…why? I can relate to it better, now that time has passed, and I have a bit more life experience under my belt? Maybe.  But enough about me. The movie is what’s important here, and if you’ve never seen it before, it’s one of those where you owe yourself the chance to start it at the very least.  As with any cinema, you can always bail if you’re not into it.

TIM ROBBINS plays Jacob Singer, a Vietnam vet affected by a pretty severe case of a kind of dissociative disorder. In English, that means he has an extreme problem keeping fantasies, nightmares and delusions separated from reality, and that’s if he can keep track of when and where they happened.  Or even if they happened to him at all.

He may be back ‘in country’, but it doesn’t appear that he came back alone, as he is constantly bombarded with horrific visions and images that only he is able to see. He literally brought his demons back from the war with him, and they seem ready to skin him alive…and do things much, much worse than that.

Only two seemingly bright spots in his life give him a reason not to go completely fucking looney tunes: his sympathetic girlfriend, Jezzie (ELIZABETH PENA) and a good friend who’s also his “doctor”, Louis (DANNY AIELLO.)

It seems that the harder Jacob tries to run from the apparitions pursuing him, (in a series of eerily shot, terrifying set-pieces), the more intense and terrifying his experiences become, leading to a climax where…well, I won’t say here, but I will give you a hint: think back to when you studied Ambrose Bierce in high school English. And for you more literate types, that is one helluva huge spoiler.

JACOB’S LADDER was, to my knowledge, my first exposure to the concept of an ‘unreliable narrator’, where the lead character you’re invested in either purposefully, or through no fault of his or her own, are caught up in circumstances that convince you that one thing is happening, until you find out at the end that everything you thought you knew was dead wrong.  Which explained the pissed-off audience.  And little did I know – it wouldn’t be the last time I encountered this kind of thing in a film, especially a horror film.

But overall, Lyne, the cheeky bastard, did a splendid job of mind-fucking his viewers, as he should have, following the Rubin script. And it is pretty much one of Tim Robbins’ best performances.  Not to mention that the striking and disorienting special visual FX were the kind of images that no one had really seen at that time – not outside of a weird MTV video, anyway. Now, it’s par for the course for many horror films, and usually considered “tried-and-true.” Whether or not I think it’s Lyne’s best work is irrelevant now.  When people ask about good horror films with a Vietnam theme, I always mention JACOB’S LADDER in the same breath as Bob Clark’s groundbreaking cult classic, DEATHDREAM, or even “ANTHONY M. DAWSON’S” CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE.

The Vortexx: Schedule for June 6 – 12, 2016

The Vortexx: Schedule for June 6 – 12, 2016

Welcome to The Vortexx - A Special Friend of House of Tortured Souls

By Woofer McWooferson

The Vortexx 5 years header

House of Tortured Souls would like to welcome The Vortexx as a friend of the House. Please give a warm welcome to those crazy horror hosts at The Vortexx and check out their shows this week.

The Vortexx Hosts

Welcome to THE VORTEXX where it's ALL HOSTS ALL THE TIME! We've got another great line-up of hosts, shows, and movies for your viewing and chatting pleasure this week, with two movies making their Vortexx debut along with some cool indie films and several returning favorites. Our hosts are Doctor Mortose, Freakshow & the Bordello gang, Edgar von Ghoul, The Reaper, Dr. Lady & the Usual Suspects, Rizzle MaNizzle the Clown, Lord Blood-Rah, and Bobby Gammonster & Boris the Buzzard. Please note that during the month of June, we will be adding a Sunday show to our weekly line-up, so there will be a featured movie and moderated chat every night of the week. Enjoy the shows and thanks for hanging out!

20150606-12_The Vortexx - Doctor Mortose


Monday (6/6). 9:00 P.M. (ET). DOCTOR MORTOSE COMMANDS presents The Vortexx premiere of SCARED TO DEATH (1980). No, folks, this is not the Bela Lugosi movie from the 1940s that we've aired a few times before. This film by Bill Malone, who was the chief designer at the Don Post mask studios, is about a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. The result is an Alien-like creature with an appetite for spinal fluid called Syngenor (Synthesized Genetic Organism).

20150606-12_The Vortexx - Bordello of Horror


Tuesday (6/7). 9:00 P.M. (ET). BORDELLO OF HORROR with Freakshow, Mistress Malicious, Sgt. Drizzlepuss, and Ali Katt presents MONSTER OF GOLDEN GATE (2013). This throwback to those awesome black-and-white cheesy monster movies of the ‘50s and ‘60s was directed by Renya Young better known to horror fans as Miss Misery, the host of Movie Massacre. Freaky will kick off the show with two short indie horror films -- Hi Neighbor directed by Chad Halvorsen and Frigid Night directed by Robby McBride. There will also be interviews from the Milwaukee Twisted Dreams Film Festival with Christopher Kai House, Michael Viers, Alice Wilson, Hart Fisher, James Bett Jr and Kevin Jamison, as well as musical guests Kitty in a Casket.

20150606-12_The Vortexx - Your Final Answer & Midnight Chillers


Wednesday (6/8). 9:00 P.M. (ET). Join us tonight for a WEDNESDAY DOUBLE FEATURE! We kick off the evening with a generous serving of YOUR FINAL ANSWER -- a weekly comedy series (2-3 minutes per episode) hosted by The Reaper who answers Q&As from his viewers. He's bumbling, idiotic, has a habit of never getting around to an answer -- and is absolutely hilarious. Next up is MIDNIGHT CHILLERS with Edgar von Ghoul, who will be presenting The Vortexx premiere of Andy Milligan's GURU: THE MAD MONK (1971). It's about a deranged chaplain at a 15th-century prison colony, who's got a vampire mistress and a one-eyed hunchback servant named (of course) Igor. Edgar's special guest tonight is former disc jockey Ray Green, whose main claim to fame is being one of the first to interview Elvis Presley (on his radio show in May 1956) -- and the first to record an Elvis concert in its entirety.

20150606-12_The Vortexx - Late Dr. Lady


Thursday (6/9). 9:00 P.M. (ET). THE LATE DR LADY SHOW with Dr. Lady and the Usual Suspects presents a Vortexx favorite -- CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS (1972). Although dismissed at the time of its release as just "another zombie movie," this film has since been recognized as being years ahead of its time in its frank depiction of same-sex undead marriage. It's about a group of friends who go to an island to act out a satanic rite involving a corpse they name Orville. Needless to say, it all goes horribly awry. Director Bob Clark would go on to bigger and better things with Porky's and A Christmas Story.

20150606-12_The Vortexx - Rizzle MaNizzle

Friday (6/10). 9:00 P.M. (ET). Join us tonight for a RIZZLE'S FUNHOUSE OF LUNACY DOUBLE FEATURE! First up is Ed Wood's GLEN OR GLENDA (1953) starring Ed himself as Glen, a tortured soul who is afraid to tell his wife (real-life girlfriend Dolores Fuller) that he enjoys putting on Angora sweaters and going out at night as Glenda. Bela Lugosi is also on hand, sitting in an easy chair in a room full of skulls, shrunken heads, and voodoo dolls, and uttering non sequiturs such as "pull ze string!" Then be sure stick around as Rizzle and co-hosts Midnight Murray and The Crimson Executioner present BLOODY PIT OF HORROR (1965) like you've never seen it before. There will be plenty of voiceovers, cartoons, accordion music and other audio goodies, and CE will be trying his hand as Uncle Crimmie, host of a children's show at the Crazy Castle of Lunacy, and as an anchor man on Crimson Action News. We guarantee you'll all be scratching your heads in total amazement! [CE artwork courtesy of Doc Mortose.]

20150606-12_The Vortexx - Lord Blood-Rah


Saturday (6/11). 9:00 P.M. (ET). LORD BLOOD-RAH'S NERVE WRACKIN' THEATRE presents TRACK OF THE MOON BEAST (1976). After a beefy young mineralogist (Chase Cordell) gets boinked in the head by a meteor fragment, he is transformed into a hideous lizard-like monster whenever the moon comes out. Badly paced and badly shot, with a badly constructed story and a mostly talentless cast playing cardboard characters, its one saving feature is that soon-to-be-famous Rick Baker designed the beast. As always, Lord Blood-Rah will be spicing up the mix with some cool trailers and a Cranial Cavity Search.

20150606-12_The Vortexx - Bobby Gammonster

EMBRYO (1976)

Sunday (6/12). MONSTER MOVIE NIGHT with Bobby Gammonster and Boris The Buzzard presents EMBRYO (1976). You don't have a lot of opportunities to see Rock Hudson in The Vortexx, let alone Rock Hudson playing a mad scientist, so come on by tonight and enjoy! In tonight's movie Doc Rock figures out a way to grow a fetus into adulthood within a matter of weeks, and, of course, things soon go horribly wrong. Sultry Barbara Carrera co-stars, with guest appearances by Roddy McDowall and Dr. Joyce Brothers.

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Posted by Alan Smithee in HOSTED HORROR, 0 comments