“Jacobs Ladder”

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Eleven – 10/11/18

10/11 – 1997: LOST HIGHWAY

For viewers who are about linear, sensible, relatable storytelling with the whole ‘beginning-middle-and-end’ thing going on, DAVID LYNCH has always been a tough nut to crack. If you cannot accept that it’s about his own unique vision, and just go along for the ride, then it’s best to avoid his body of cinematic work. Even his more accessible films like WILD AT HEART and BLUE VELVET, still never stray far from his strange sense of playing with time, identity and very unreliable narrators and narratives. And nowhere is this more true than in his seemingly undecipherable horror-melodrama, LOST HIGHWAY.

Some critics and Lynch fans have called it a meditation on the creative process itself; others have called it yet another chronicle of dissociative identity disorder, as in Adrian Lyne’s JACOB’S LADDER, or Alexander Aja’s macabre murderfest, HIGH TENSION (a.k.a. SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE). In any case, a film where BILL PULLMAN suddenly morphs into BALTHAZAR GETTY, isn’t going to be something you casually pull up on Netflix for date night.

Fred Madison (PULLMAN) is a musician by trade, specifically a sax player.  He and his wife, Renee (PATRICIA ARQUETTE) have been having problems of late, with Fred convinced that she’s having an affair, while he’s out working. Meanwhile, they experience the kind of random weirdness that any couple in a David Lynch film would – with one of the most startling things being the tapes.

The tapes? Yep – mysterious video tapes in plain brown envelopes that just appear on the Madisons’ doorstep. And each time they play them, it’s a view of their house, with the ‘cameraman’ coming in a bit closer each time. Strange, for sure, and you’d think they’d be more alarmed about it.  But they don’t feel the need to get the cops involved…until one of the tapes turns out to have been shot not just inside the house, but in their bedroom…while they were sleeping.

But things are about to get even more effed up. At a party, Fred meets a “Mystery Man” (probably the strangest and most unsettling role that ROBERT BLAKE ever had in his career), who seems to know Fred…very well. Something this man does during their encounter plays like a party trick…or is it a warning? A way of explaining events that haven’t happened yet?

You won’t have time to think too hard about that, because shortly after that party, Renee Madison is found brutally murdered, and Fred goes up for it immediately.

But wait. If you thought things were strange before, here, hold David’s beer. While Fred is locked up in jail, awaiting arraignment, weird lights flash in the cell, Fred seems to have one hell of a headache, and then suddenly…he’s just not there anymore.  He’s been replaced by a much younger guy, named Pete Dayton (GETTY). Completely flabbergasted, since Fred Madison is their alleged perp and not Pete, the cops have no choice but to let him go.

While Fred played music, Pete’s a mechanic, and he works for a very volatile gangster who goes by the name of Mr. Eddy (the late ROBERT LOGGIA, adding another great role to his already impressive collection.) Eddy has a stunning blonde girlfriend named Alice Wakefield, and isn’t it rich, that except for the platinum blond hair, Alice could be Renee Madison’s twin sister?

Pete is immediately smitten with Alice, of course, and a dangerous affair begins between the two of them. But as if Pete didn’t have enough problems already, there’s the ‘small’ matter of how the hell he managed to wake up in Fred Madison’s cell. Pete’s parents (GARY BUSEY and LUCY BUTLER) seem to know all about how that happened, and it has something to do with a “mysterious man” they met.

Starting to get it now? No? That’s probably intentional, as it seems to be with most Lynch films.  You always seem to be just on the edge of figuring out what the hell is going on, and then the answer is snatched away again by another weird, random event or characters.

The rest of the film is just like that: feeding you clues and hints about how Fred’s and Pete’s lives intersect; their connection to Renee/Alice, and the part that the Mystery Man plays in all of it – someone whom even Mr. Eddy seems to know. And yes, Fred does eventually come back into the picture, but how it happens and what it means, takes a whole lot more time and ink to ponder than what we have here.

If the ambiguities of TWIN PEAKS were a major turn-off for you, and/or you just don’t care for Lynch’s work, anyway, you might want to stay as far away as possible from LOST HIGHWAY. It makes it more than a little difficult to judge the quality of the performances, if you have absolutely no idea what the hell the characters are supposed to be doing in the first place. But the cast – at least to me – seemed to be doing pretty well.  And there’s the usual raft of cameos from a diverse range of actors that goes from HENRY ROLLINS, to GIOVANNI RIBISI and NATASHA GREGSON WAGNER. Hell, even RICHARD PRYOR (in his last screen appearance) turns up for a hot minute!

Technically, as with Lynch’s other films, it’s damn near perfect. DP PETER DEMING, who shot all of the SCREAM sequels after the original, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, and would shoot MULHOLLAND DRIVE for Lynch after this, does his part to…enhance the weirdness, I guess? And of course, no Lynch film would be complete without the presence of composer ANGELO BADALAMENTI, who does one of his best jobs creeping out viewers since the TWIN PEAKS score, while NINE INCH NAILS’ frontman TRENT REZNOR kicks major ass on putting together the soundtrack, one of the best ever for a Lynch film (it introduced me to RAMMSTEIN, SMASHING PUMPKINS and a LOU REED cover I’d never heard before!)

They say that if something is a piece of art, it’s not going to be a thing that everyone can agree upon, which I guess means that LOST HIGHWAY is definitely art.

Back in my video store clerking days, I issued a challenge about HIGHWAY, to co-workers and customers alike: I would come out of my own pocket to pay $100 to anyone who could sum up the plot of this film, in a way that made complete sense as a straightforward, logical narrative.

Take this as a recommendation, a warning, or whatever you like…I never had to pay up.

Other “HONORABLE MAYHEM” of the cerebral kind released that year included CUBE, EVENT HORIZON, FUNNY GAMES, THE KINGDOM, THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE and SCREAM 2.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, OPINION, PARANORMAL, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
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.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
History of Horror in November

History of Horror in November

By Woofer McWooferson

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in November. Click on thumbnails for full images.

November 1 - 7


11/01/1985 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge released theatrically

A Nightmare on Elm Street / Fair use doctrine.



Castlevania: Symphony of the Night / Fair use doctrine.


11/01/1997 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night released on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in the European Union



11/01/2000 – Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem released on the Nintendo GameCube in the European Union

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem / Fair use doctrine.



28 Days Later / Fair use doctrine.

11/01/2002 – 28 Days Later released theatrically in the United Kingdom



11/02/1990 – Jacob’s Ladder released theatrically

Jacob's Ladder / Fair use doctrine.



Carrie / Fair use doctrine.

11/03/1976 – Carrie released theatrically



11/03/1946-Tom Savini pioneer F/X artist born

Tom Savini / Image: IMDb



The Snake Pit / Fair use doctrine.

11/04/1948 – The Snake Pit released theatrically



11/05/1943 – Son of Dracula (1943) released theatrically

Son of Dracula / Fair use doctrine.



Castlevania: Curse of Darkness / Fair use doctrine.

11/05/2006 – Castlevania: Curse of Darkness released on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in North America



11/06/1931 – Mike Nichols (director of Wolf) born

Mike Nichols / Photo by Steve Granitz - © WireImage.com - Image courtesy WireImage.com



Thandie Newton / Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage.com

11/06/1972 – Thandie Newton (actress in Interview with the Vampire) born



11/06/1972 – Rebecca Romijn (actress in Godsend) born

Rebecca Romijn / Photo by John Shearer/WireImage.com

November 8 - 14


Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde / Fair use doctrine.

11/07/1971 – Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde released theatrically



11/07/2000 – Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem released on the Nintendo GameCube in Australia

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem / Fair use doctrine.



Bram Stoker / Fair use doctrine.

11/08/1847 – Bram Stoker (author of Dracula) born (d. 1912)



11/08/1968 – Parker Posey (actress in Scream 3) born

Parker Posey / © 2004 USA Cable Network. All Rights Reserved.



Tara Reid / IMDb

11/08/1975 – Tara Reid (actress in A Return to Salem’s Lot, Urban Legend (film), Devil’s Pond, Alone in the Dark, and The Crow: Wicked Prayer) born



11/09/1984 – A Nightmare on Elm Street released theatrically

A Nightmare on Elm Street / Fair use doctrine.



Silent Night, Deadly Night / Fair use doctrine.

11/09/1984 – Silent Night, Deadly Night released theatrically



11/09/1988 – Child’s Play released theatrically

Child's Play / © 1988 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Castlevania: Chronicles / Fair use doctrine.

11/09/2001 – Castlevania Chronicles released on the PlayStation in the European Union



11/10/1889 – Claude Rains (actor in many horror films) born (d. 1967)

Claude Rains / Photo by Hulton Archive - Image courtesy gettyimages.com



Bill Moseley / IMDb

11/11/1951 – Bill Moseley (actor in many horror films) born



11/11/1995 – Interview with the Vampire released theatrically

Interview with the Vampire / Fair use doctrine.



Resident Evil Zero / Fair use doctrine.

11/11/2002 – Resident Evil 0 released on the Nintendo GameCube in North America



11/12/1904 – Jacques Tourneur (director of many horror films) born (d. 1977)

Jacques Tourneur / Image: IMDb



The Mad Ghoul / Fair use doctrine.

11/12/1943 – The Mad Ghoul released theatrically



11/12/1999 – Resident Evil 3: Nemesis released for the PlayStation in North America

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis / Fair use doctrine.



Seed of Chucky / Fair use doctrine.

11/12/2004 – Seed of Chucky released theatrically



11/13/1933 – The Invisible Man released theatrically

The Invisible Man / Fair use doctrine.



Cape Fear / Fair use doctrine.

11/13/1991 – Cape Fear (1991) released theatrically



11/13/1992 – Bram Stoker’s Dracula released theatrically

Bram Stoker's Dracula / Fair use doctrine.

November 15 - 21


Night of the Comet / © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

11/16/1984 – Night of the Comet released theatrically



11/16/1990 – Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 released theatrically

Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 / Fair use doctrine.



Frailty / © 2002 - Lions Gate Films - All Rights Reserved

11/17/2001 – Frailty released theatrically



11/18/1990 – It premieres on television

It / Fair use doctrine.

November 21 - 27


Frankenstein / Fair use doctrine.

11/21/1931 – Frankenstein released theatrically



11/21/1964 – Onibaba released theatrically in Japan

Onibaba / Fair use doctrine.



Predator 2 / Fair use doctrine.

11/21/1990 – Predator 2 released theatrically



11/21/2002 – Resident Evil 0 released on the Nintendo GameCube in Japan

Resident Evil Zero / Fair use doctrine.



Gothika / © 2003 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

11/21/2002 – Gothika released theatrically



11/22/1958 – Jamie Lee Curtis (actress in Halloween, The Fog, Prom Night, etc.) born

Jamie Lee Curtis / © 2010 20th Century FOX All Rights Reserved



Boris Karloff / Image courtesy mptvimages.com

11/23/1887 – Boris Karloff born (d. 1969)



11/23/1917 – Michael Gough (actor in Hammer horror films) born

Michael Gough / Image: IMDb



Silent Hill 2 / Fair use doctrine.

11/23/2001 – Silent Hill 2 released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in Europe



11/24/1999 – End of Days released theatrically

End of Days / Fair use doctrine.



Castlevania: Curse of Darkness / Fair use doctrine.

11/24/2006 – Castlevania: Curse of Darkness released on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in Japan



11/26/1992 – Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge released on the Game Boy in Europe

Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge / Fair use doctrine.



Alien: Resurrection / Fair use doctrine.

11/26/1997 – Alien: Resurrection released theatrically



11/27/1988 – John Carradine (actor in numerous horror films) dies (b. 1906)

John Carradine / Photo by Ulvis Alberts - © 1978 Ulvis Alberts - Image courtesy mptvimages.com



Castlevania: Legends / Fair use doctrine.

11/27/1997 – Castlevania Legends released on the Game Boy in Japan



11/27/2003 – Castlevania: Lament of Innocence released on the PlayStation 2 in Japan

20032711_castlevania-lament-of-innocence

November 28 - 30


Let Sleeping Corpses Lie / Fair use doctrine.

11/28/1974 – Let Sleeping Corpses Lie released theatrically



11/30/1999 – Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness released on the Nintendo 64 in the United States

Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness / Fair use doctrine.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
Jacob’s Ladder remake announces cast

Jacob’s Ladder remake announces cast

By Dixielord

The Jacob's Ladder remake that has been simmering for a few years now, appears to be heating up. News from the film is that Nicole Beharie, of Sleepy Hollow has joined the cast along with Jessie Williams from Cabin in the Woods, and star Michael Ealy from The Perfect Guy. Ealey will be reuniting for the film with his director from The Perfect Guy, David Rosenthal who helms the remake. The script is being written by Jeff Buhler and Sarah Thorp and is set to start filming mid May 2016

Tim Robbins from Jacob's Ladder -Jacob's Ladder remake

Tim Robbins from Jacob's Ladder

While there still hasn't a huge amount of info released on the Jacobs Ladder remake, what has sounds nothing like the original. There's no mention so far of the characters the actors will be playing or if there is any real connection between the remake and original other than the name. The remake is being called a “paranoid action thriller about two brothers, which is about as far from the dark, thoughtful as you can get without hiring Mel Brooks to direct.

Nicole Beharie of the Jacob's Ladder remake

Nicole Beharie of the Jacob's Ladder remake

For those who don't know the film is a remake of the 1990 film o f the same name. The original Jacobs Ladder revolved around a Vietnam vet, played by Tim Robbins, who saw ghostly apparitions visible only to him. Were the apparitions real? Were they a supernatural force? Or were they just delusions of Robbins damaged mind. The film was a taut psychological horror film that, while not making a killing at the box office, became a cult hit with horror fans.

This seems to be a common theme with rip offs, excuse me remakes. Take the name and throw away everything else. There also seems to be a desire to turn non action films into action remakes. The same type of treatment was touted for the (hopefully dead ) Videodrome remake. Taking a violent and deep film about our fascination and worship of television and mass media and turning it into a science fiction action thriller. Because obviously American film goers needs fast paced chases and 'splosions and can't be tasked to watch a deep film with substance. At least not without quick MTV edits.

Like it or not though the film is coming. I know I'll end up seeing it so hopefully it will be worth the wait.

Posted by Allen Alberson in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Strangeland (1998)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Strangeland (1998)

By John Roisland

Strangeland

October 2, 1998, was a time when people were still learning about the Internet and body modification was really breaking through. Director John Pieplow brings us Strangeland.

The story is about “Captain Howdy” (played by Dee Snider of rock band Twisted Sister, who also wrote and produced the film), a sadist Internet predator who invites other internet friends over for a party, where they soon meet their end.

Kevin Gage (Heat, Blow, G.I. Jane, Laid to Rest), the town sheriff, is quick on the case after his daughter, played by Linda Cardellini (Grandma’s Boy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Freaks and Geeks), falls to the hands of Captain Howdy.

The chase continues to find Howdy, and the scenes of the torture with his victims and his own self-mutilation are actually pretty impressive. A few scenes are actual textbook history of how different cultures used different devices to either torture or elevate one to a higher sense of body limitations.

Now I’m not saying its the best film ever made…it’s not. At moments it’s actually kinda slow. But I will give Dee props on his first attempt and writing, producing and starring in….he put forth a very valiant effort. At the box office, this film actually lost money. If not for its huge impact as a cult classic…it would have been a complete bomb!

It offers a pretty impressive cast, aside from Dee Snyder, Kevin Gage, and Linda Cardellini, it also stars Elizabeth Pena (Jacob’s Ladder, Down in the Valley, Things Behind the Sun), Brett Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Wishmaster, Urban Legend, 2001 Maniacs, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon), Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect, Crank, Just Friends, Starsky and Hutch) and Robert Lasardo (Death Race, The Human Centipede III, Anarchy Parlor, Nip/Tuck). Now with this line up, one would expect a little more…but they only acted in it

For those headbangers out there like myself, the film did have a pretty kick fucking ass soundtrack though: Bile, Pantera, Megadeth, Coal Chamber, Anthrax, Soul Fly, and Hed PE – to name a few.

I can’t say this is honestly on my every year must watch Halloween films…but it is always this time of year when I do think about it the most. Does that count?

I REALLY want to say better things about the film, but sadly it is what it is, a great idea, that just wasn’t executed to its fullest potential.

images1677001P

“So much flesh…so little time”- Captain Howdy

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments