Reel Horror (1985)

Author: Josh G.
Submitted by: Josh G.   Date : 2008-02-26 19:55



Directed by: Ross Hagen
Written by: Jeanne Lucas
Starring: Alexandra, John Hayden and Howard Honig
Films featured: Night Creature, Nicole, Savage Abduction, The Butcher, Mother, Pigs & Bad Charleston Charlie


Reviewed by: Josh G.





I have a question for you. What do the films Night Creature, Savage Abduction, Nicole (The Widow), Maxie (The Butcher), and Daddy’s Deadly Darling (Pigs) have in common? Yes, they are from the 70s, but there’s something else too. They are all featured in the shot-on-video, low budget movie, Reel Horror. Isn’t that a good thing? Catherine “Daisy Duke” Bach is in Nicole and Donald “Sam Loomis” Pleasence is in Night Creature. I’d say that’s a pretty great deal, but then there’s that small factor: shot-on-video. It’s tough to find great flicks to begin with, let alone ones that are captured with a handheld video camera. Though, there’s always hope, and maybe, just maybe, with the couple of stars that highlight this piece, we’ll find a heavenly gem.
In a small neighborhood, evil spirits that arise from reels of 70s’ horror films haunt the spooked residents. Enter Hecate (Alexandra) and her assistant Irving (John Hayden). They have been called upon by Murray Mogul (Howard Honig of Airplane!) to send the spirits back to where they came from; the old movie cans in which their filmstrips reside. Hecate assures the skittish man that she and her short partner will get to the bottom of the problem. They first go up to the projection room, where the projectionist (Robert O’Neil) also seems to have a case of the willies. Hecate tells the man to calm down, ‘they’re only movies’. The projector, however, is not rolling any film, yet the horror feature continues to play!

Hecate and Irving enter the theater, where the entire audience appears to be mesmerized in fear. Foaming at the mouth, wailing, and eyes wide open, the duo understands that they have to do something fast, as Night Creature continues to play. They meet up with a make-up artist (Tony Lorea) who seems to have the same problem, as clips of Savage Abduction terrorize him and his patient. A large, aspiring actress, Zena Zoft (Jeanne Lucas) is trapped in a small room, unable to escape The Butcher’s clutches due to her overweight figure. Hecate and Irving meet up with a candle wielding ghost (Meredith Dee), and eventually, perform a seance to contain more out of control filmstrip demons. As the movies get stronger, Irving and Hecate have to fight back even harder, but are they good enough? Or will they fail?

Is this a joke? Seriously, how did this movie receive a release? First off, it seems as though the makers of this movie, if you can call it that, just shot under thirty minutes of footage, and added a bulk of other, much better movies in-between. There’s where they rip you off! One look at the cast, and you believe that you have a classic in your grasp. In all actuality, none of the supposed stars make a new appearance for 1985, but a rerun of their previous work. It seems as though Ross Hagen, who had tie-ins with Night Creature (he played ‘Ross’), just took movies he had seen at random, and for no reason except to increase the runtime, added them in. The major issue I’m trying to tackle, is whether or not he bought the rights to use all of these movies. Independent as they are, they still must have costed an arm and a leg, and for SOV horror, what’s the point? Perhaps, that’s the reason it’s SOV. Well, now everything starts to make sense.

This movie is only a tad gory for inserts of the psychotic horror, Pigs, and only thanks to Catherine Bach did we get a glimpse of nudity. You almost feel guilty saying that Reel Horror had breasts, since it was all The Widow’s doing. The terrible transitions are laughable, but the sound quality is completely uncalled for. Hecate’s echoing voice is too hard to hear, and the continuity is pretty bad. In one scene, when she’s communicating with the projectionist, her voice has that echo effect, but in the next shot, she sounds completely normal. Speaking of continuity errors, Hecate is first shown with a patch on her left eye. Then, it travels to her right eye, then her left eye again, and in one scene, she’s not even wearing any. Why the hell does she where it? Is it for looks, because if so, she’s got a lot to learn about fashion, even if it is smack dab in the middle of the 80s. Perhaps the best scene that wasn’t stolen from actual films is the singalong scene, where Hecate informs the audience to “follow the bouncing head”, and sing a wacky, nonsensical tune. Half of the words are completely made-up, but this little addition made me crack up. Too bad nothing else did.

In the credits, they actually list the eyepatch maker, and the limo driver. At least, I think it’s the limo driver. All it said was “Limo by” so and so. Very professional. Much like the beginning, where a voice yells out “sit back and watch our movie!”. Good Lord. I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece going in, but I never thought this would make ‘one of the worst flicks I’ve ever seen’ list. Do yourself, and everyone else a favor. If you see a copy of this, DVD or VHS, burn it up quickly. The end promises a film with a probable similar theme, Reel Monsters. Somehow, I don’t think that was ever produced. There is one good thing that this mess does right. It makes you want to see all of the exploitations featured inside and out. Most notably, Night Creature and Pigs. Reel Horror? More like ‘reel shit’. Trash it!




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