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Razor Glove, Bed Sheet, Coffee Pot, Sledgehammer Booby-Trap, Light-Bulb Explosive, Jar of Gasoline, Fire


Reviewed by: Pontifex Aureus

A boogeyman that haunts your dreams, the sound of blades scraping stone, flickering shadow, fire, smoke—this is the stuff of childhood nightmares. This is why this film hit me so close, too close, as a child, because it deals with something that I (and all people) know something about: nightmares. As adults, our boogeymen tend to be real-world characters like home-invaders and psychopaths, but as children, our first boogeymen hid in the shadows of our bedroom closet, or under the bed, and made creaks and bumps in the night. You imagined something was there, watching, and you hid under the covers waiting for sleep to save you, but the terrors would follow you into your dreams and become more real than ever. This is the sense of primal fear that A Nightmare on Elm Street captures so well, the fear that comes from within your own mind.

In an archetypal American suburb, the kids of Elm Street dream of violent death at the hands of a razor-fingered man with burnt flesh named Fred Krueger. When people start dying in real life, teenager Nancy Thompson becomes determined to uncover the truth behind Krueger’s past in order to find some way to combat this deadly menace that exists only in her mind.

Freddy's Boiler Room This is God

Much has been said about A Nightmare on Elm Street’s ability to toy with the audience’s perception of reality; with its mind-bending dream-within-a-dream sequences, you’re never quite sure of what’s real and what isn’t. But this is only part of what the film accomplishes as a whole: it captures the look, sound, and feel of a nightmare and, in so doing, creates one of the best representations of nightmares committed to film.

Freddy in the Tub Johnny Depp Hero in a Half Shirt

The ambiguity and strangeness of the narrative makes you feel disoriented and wary, as it should, since this is just the feeling we would expect of a nightmare. But this alone wouldn’t be enough, not without the chaotic, disturbing imagery brought to us by the boogeyman himself, Fred Krueger. He shape-shifts, his arms become impossibly long, he gleefully mutilates himself just to see the look on your face—this is a villain that is not bound by the laws of physical possibility and that makes him truly unpredictable in a way that other movie-monsters seldom achieve. And perhaps the most overlooked aspect of director Wes Craven’s nightmare-world is the sound. The soundtrack ranges from ominous to campy in an interestingly disjointed fashion, but when I talk about the sound of A Nightmare on Elm Street, I refer specifically to the subtle sound effects and strange inflections of speech. One of my favorite parts is a classroom scene where Nancy slips into sleep while listening to a recitation of Hamlet: “…were it not that I have bad dreams…” that voice—a hoary, unreal whisper hits especially close to the truth of dream-experience. Perfection.

I'm Your Boyfriend Now Nancy and John Saxon

By its very abstract nature, A Nightmare on Elm Street is greatly open to interpretation. Legions of horror fans have put forth dozens of theories, dealing variously with the sexual subtext of the film or the coming of age of Nancy into the bleak adult world inhabited by her mother and father. While arguably true, I feel these theories are subservient to a greater theme; I believe this film is above all, an examination of the enemy within ourselves. We are the victims of our own fears—fear of death, fear of sex, fear of growing up and though we wish salvation were as easy as wishing those fears away, they lurk within us always, ready to sneak up from behind and grab us by the throat. Watching the movie as a child, I felt this fear without understanding it. As an adult, lying in bed, watching the shadows on the ceiling, hearing the house creak, I know that something is watching. It watches from within. If you’ve never seen this movie, get to it. If you have, see it again; you’ll find new treasure every time you do.

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Kicks, Bare Hands, Cane, Knife, Teeth, Towel Rod


Reviewed by: Pontifex Aureus

In essence, Cronos is a vampire movie. It’s a very different kind of vampire movie, but a vampire movie nonetheless, and while it can be considered a horror movie, I prefer to think of it as a dark fantasy movie. That’s because Cronos is not scary—not one little bit. But don’t let that bother you, because while it may not be scary, it is original, it is highly imaginative, it is rich with devilish imagery and possesses a thoroughly human character. These characteristics are hallmarks of all high-quality dark fantasy.

In Veracruz, Mexico, an elderly antiques dealer, Jesus Gris, and his granddaughter stumble upon a strange and ancient artifact created by a 16th century alchemist. The artifact, the Cronos Device, grants the user eternal life, as Jesus soon finds out upon accidentally triggering the insect-like machine. The price for eternity is steep however, as Jesus begins to develop a terrible craving for blood and draws the attention of an evil man who would claim the device for himself.

Jesus and Aurora Cronos Close-Up

You have to admire a vampire movie that never once uses the word “vampire”. Cronos is a wonderfully understated movie, never clobbering you over the head with its themes. It’s just as well that the film doesn’t mention vampires, since the movie is more about humans than vampires. We have three central characters: Jesus Gris, a kindly grandfather and respectable shop owner who becomes so addicted to the vitality offered by the Cronos Device that he winds up licking blood off a men’s room floor. We have Dieter de la Guardia, a ruthless businessman so against the idea of natural death that he spends his life in a germ-free room with a cabinet full of his own body parts. And lastly, there’s Angel de la Guardia, the bootlicking nephew to Dieter, who wants nothing more than for his uncle to die and leave behind a fat inheritance.

Jesus Using Cronos Nose Bleed for Dinner

In much the same way that a vampire is motivated by its desire for blood, these people are motivated by their desire for power. Each is ruled by their desire—the desire for youth and vigor, as in the case of Jesus and Dieter, or desire for wealth, as in Angel’s case. Each is a kind of power. They live wretched lives and all but Jesus are willing to kill to fulfill their desire. It’s this complex interplay of human frailty that makes Cronos such a sly winner. Keep this in mind while watching and you’ll find a rich layer of symbolism throughout the film (lots of religious subtext—Jesus Gris is phonetically similar to Jesus Cristo, the Cronos Device is concealed in an angel statue, Angel de la Guardia means literally “guardian angel”, and so on).

Perlman Broken Nose Jesus Vampire

Aside from all these subtle qualities, Cronos has several other things going for it as well. Being a Guillermo del Toro movie, it carries his visual flair for dark fantasy. The Cronos Device itself is a work of art, looking like a golden clockwork scarab, it is suitably creepy and evil-looking. There’s also the wonderfully muted performances by the whole cast, but especially by Federico Luppi in the role of Jesus Gris, as he transforms from twinkly-eyed grandpa to skin-peeling vampire without ever feeling over-the-top.

Cronos is a sumptuously dark fairy tale brought to you by the modern-day master of dark fantasy; if you’re a del Toro fan, you should find plenty to like here. Incidentally, this film also marks the first collaboration between del Toro and Ron Perlman, for you Hellboy fans out there. So if you’re looking for scares, look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a visually striking, stylish, thought-provoking vampire movie, then look no further than Cronos.

Greetings gore-addicts! We here at splatterjunkie.com, being based in Texas, enjoy a closeness to Mexico which offers us easy access to Mexican films–films which we are quite fond of, but we were shocked and dismayed to find so little information about them online. Subsequently, we are so excited to announce our new ongoing series: Ciné Oscuro, Horror Treasures of Mexico!

From time to time, we will be taking a look at some of Mexico’s greatest horror offerings, beginning with a rather well-known specimen: Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos! So keep an eye out for our Cronos review, because it is coming soon, soon, soon!

by: Pontifex Aureus

The first time I went to the Josephine Theatre, I was smitten—powerfully and immediately smitten with the place. It sits at the far west end of Josephine Street, the sole sign of life in an otherwise desolate stretch of nighttime road. It is close enough to the hustle and bustle of St. Mary’s Street that I could probably hear the music coming from the White Rabbit if I tried, and it may be that this lonely street might likewise be lit up with bars and restaurants someday in the near future, but for now it is dark and solemn—befitting of, what is to me, a sacred cathedral.

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It’s an old place, classic, but not in a self-consciously retro sort of way, it’s just distinctly ‘of the past’. The Josephine opened its doors in 1947 and, as was common for the era, had a now-unthinkably huge 700+ seating capacity to accommodate all the surrounding neighborhoods. Like many other classic movie theaters, it faced a slow decline during the 70’s culminating in bankruptcy, but the Josephine was among the theaters lucky enough to be saved. Standing inside, I’m greeted with a cool-blue interior decorated with large etched-glass depictions of fairy tale characters. It’s dark, with the muted elegance of a Bogart-era nightclub. Now sporting a bar and lounge-area and a more reasonable amount of seats, the Josephine is looking a little more modern, but its old-fashioned charm still shines through.


Tonight especially, the place has special significance. The lounge is filled with vendors and movie-goers here for the monthly Pigstagg Creature Double Feature. Since late December of 2014, David Gore of Pigstagg Records & Video, in conjunction with George Ortiz of theHorrific Film Festival, have come together to host a monthly double-feature movie event at the Josephine, celebrating classic schlock, horror, and cult movies from the old-school—absolutely nothing made past 1989. Previous showings include: Return of the Living Dead, Nightbreed, Heavy Metal, River’s Edge, The Wraith, and Trick or Treat. And while not always strictly horror, I promise all you horrorphiles out there: you will not want to miss out on this treasure-trove of cinema gold.


(left to right) David “Pigstagg” Gore, Tony Chainsaw, and George Ortiz

The setup at the Josephine is unique; with its large, open floor-plan, you can choose the traditional route of sitting in the actual theater, or you can choose to relax in the lounge and watch the movie from the comfort of your table. Being as there is a bar in the lounge, you can easily get up, order yourself a drink, and not miss a minute of the movie. If two movies sounds like a lot to sit through, don’t worry; there is an intermission between movies, enough time to stretch your legs and perhaps check out some of the vendor’s tables in the lounge. The Pigstagg Records & Video table is there, of course, offering a range of schlocky, obscure movies for your viewing pleasure. This is a full evening of entertainment, 2 movies back to back, all for the price of $10 ($5 with costume and $5 for kids).

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This series of double-features will be running from now until November, on the last Saturday of each month. This month’s event will take place on February 28th and will feature two street-gang classics: The Warriors and The Wanderers. And don’t forget, come August, the Josephine will also be host to this year’s Horrific Film Festival, where you’ll be able to enjoy a slew of independent horror films and celebrity guest stars. If you’re a horror-lover living in San Antonio, or simply a movie-lover in general, this is where you should be in 2015. So come and join us at the Josephine and see for yourself what kind of magic this old theater still holds.

Horror friends, we are gathered here today to pay our respects to a great friend—a friend who could take a perfectly tedious day like Thursday and turn it into a holy-day for the horror faithful, a friend whose monthly morsels of the macabre eased our gore-hunger, and made all the non-Halloween-months a bit less lame; this friend, Bloodthirsty Thursdays, is gone now, but shall remain with us in our hearts.

Born on August 12, 2010, Bloodthirsty Thursdays came ripping to life at the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater with a triple-feature showing of the first three Friday the 13th movies. Unlike most new institutions, there was no gradual, word-of-mouth climb to success; the event was immediately popular, the auditorium was packed on that first day and would be packed for every event from then on. Demand was great enough that it was necessary to hold 2 showings, one at 7 and another at 10. And so it was that the second Thursday of every month would come to be known as Bloodthirsty Thursdays.

It really was a beautiful tradition, watching a horror movie on the big screen—some old favorites, some little-known gems, whatever was playing was worth the ticket price. The man behind Bloodthirsty Thursdays, Kelly Warren Hammond, would be there himself at each event to curate the evening’s proceedings, providing us with movie trivia, and sometimes handing out prizes. From all over the city, San Antonio’s horror community would gather and, for at least that day, we were among our own kind—fellow gore-hounds, thrill-seekers, gothic romantics, and horror cinephiles all drawn to the flickering flame of the silver screen, gathered before it like worshipful druids, bound together by our reverence and passion. This was the true magic of Bloodthirsty Thursdays.

And that is what I find myself missing most of all. I miss the company of my fellow San Antonio horror compatriots. Sure, some of us still meet up for informal get-togethers, but nothing can quite compare to the feeling of all of us there as a united entity, strangers no longer, for simply by being there we each knew something of the other—we love horror. When Bloodthirsty Thursdays passed away in 2014, that community of horror-lovers once again dispersed into the loosely-connected nomad population it had been.

And so, my fellow horror enthusiasts, it is with some bitterness that we must bid Bloodthirsty Thursdays a fond adieu. But rather than focus on our terrible loss, let us instead remember the good times, the many happy evenings spent in the cozy confines of a theater seat, eyes raptly glued to the screen. Shed a tear if you must and drop a handful of dirt upon the Drafthouse box-office as you pass it, and remember that something great once lived there.

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Teeth, Anchor, Bare Hands, Wooden Post, Machete, Rifle, Torch


Reviewed by: Pontifex Aureus

From one of horror’s more bizarre subgenres, porno horror, comes Joe D’Amato’s Erotic Nights of the Living Dead. Never heard of porno horror? Then congratulations—you’re a well-rounded person who doesn’t waste time on rubbish. Anyway, porno horror is exactly what it sounds like; an unholy combination of horror and hardcore pornography, but instead of bringing these two elements together in any uniquely startling or disturbing way, Erotic Nights of the Living Dead simply takes a lackluster horror plot and haphazardly slaps in porno scenes whenever the story drags (which is constantly).

main cast maggot face

A boat captain takes a wealthy foreign investor and his female escort to the mysterious Cat Island, so named for its reputation of being haunted by a black cat who controls a horde of zombies. Upon arriving on the island, the three visitors are met by a mysterious woman and her grandfather and strange things begin to happen, yet this doesn’t stop anyone from periodically engaging in graphic sex, at least not until the zombies show up.

The main problem with Erotic Nights of the Living Dead is typical of the porno horror subgenre as a whole—the pacing is absolutely horrible. It is impossible for the movie’s plot to gain any momentum whatsoever when it keeps getting interrupted by sex scenes; the movie comes to a grinding halt every time. None of the sex scenes advance the plot or character development; they are absolutely unconnected to the rest of the film and truly serve no purpose other than to pad out the running time of what is essentially 60 minutes worth of actual movie.

zombie and doctor island girl and main guy

Because the movie can’t keep a sense of pace, it can’t develop any atmosphere either, and without atmosphere, there can be no real horror. Erotic Nights absolutely fails as a horror movie and isn’t a particularly good porno either. Not only is the pornography prosaic and by-the-numbers, it also lacks any sense of true eroticism; there is no titillation, only exploitation. Moreover, the main male sex actor is fairly gross-looking and appears to have genital warts…gag! The only really amusing porn moment was of a woman who opens a bottle of champagne with her hoo-ha. That, at least, was outrageous enough to achieve novelty value.

zombies at night island girl

Overall, the film is very boring, with scarcely any zombie mayhem at all; I would estimate that about 95% of the zombie action occurs within the last 10% of the movie. And even when the action finally comes, we’re met with a pretty lame zombie horde that apparently bleeds chocolate milk. And for being erotic “nights” of the living dead, the film is pretty damn bright, with all of the night scenes having clearly been filmed in the day and then tinted a nasty ultra-blue. Adding to this laundry list of problems is bad special effects, bad makeup, and a bad English dub replacing the original Italian audio (which, I’m sure, is probably not any better). Avoid this movie like Joe D’Amato avoids good production values, because for all its gross sex, the only one who’s truly fucked is the viewer.

We here at splatterjunkie.com decided to attend this year’s annual San Antonio Zombie Walk and it was phenomenal! There were lots of music, food, drinks, and costumes, costumes, costumes! But why read about it when you can check it out for yourself with this Video Report! Enjoy!

So, we’ve been harping about a new feature for a while now: Movie Executions–a video feature where we destroy a copy of a terrible movie that deserves to be punished. However, it has taken a long, long time to realize this feature, as making a video is perhaps a little harder than we anticipated. But, we are revealing to you now the identity of our first condemned: Nail Gun Massacre–a movie truly deserving of our vigilante fury.

Yes, a copy Nail Gun Massacre will be destroyed before your very eyes with (naturally) a nail gun! So look for that soon and while you’re waiting, check out our review of Nail Gun Massacre in the Review Morgue section.

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Nail Gun


Reviewed by: Pontifex Aureus

Originally titled “The Texas Nail Gun Massacre”, Terry Lofton’s seminal cheese-fest, Nail Gun Massacre, featured the tagline “Cheaper than a Chainsaw” in a sly (no wait—ham-fisted) homage to the 1974 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If by “Cheaper than a Chainsaw” they meant the entire cost of production, then yeah. Firmly within so-bad-it’s-good territory, Nail Gun Massacre is actually quite watchable; in fact, if Nail Gun was in on its own joke, this bad horror movie could actually pass for a good comedy. But despite Nail Gun Massacre’s numerous crimes against cinema (bad acting, bad FX, total lack of atmosphere), perhaps its greatest failure is in its fundamental inability to tell a coherent story. It really says something about a movie when being formulaic would be an improvement.

In the town of Seagoville, Texas, a crew of construction workers gang-rape a young woman and soon thereafter, local construction workers are being murdered by a crazed killer with a nailgun. Wondering who the killer is yet? Have you figured it out? Anyway, a local sheriff and doctor begin investigating the series of nail-related murders and bumble around without ever meeting the killer until the lame final confrontation.

Nail Gun Killer Doctor and Sheriff

If that synopsis is vague and unsatisfying, well, so is the movie—a symptom of the lobotomy-style storytelling. This is an even more fatal flaw than simple bad writing; writing can be bad and still be coherent, but if the storytelling itself is bad, if it has no logical progression, no structure, no clear sense of direction or purpose, then you’re left with pointless nonsense.

For example, experienced horror-viewers will know that in slasher flicks, you have your cast of kill fodder; usually a group of teenaged friends introduced at the beginning of the movie. Not so in Nail Gun Massacre; instead we are introduced to the cast of characters in sporadic bursts, two or three at a time, throughout the movie, and most of these characters do not meet, interact, or have scarcely any relation to each other at all. The plot structure of this movie is like a blob of ice cream melting in the sun—messy and all over the place.

Nail Hand Nailed Prayer

In addition to that, Nail Gun Massacre also features all the usual problems that bad movies have. Bad acting? How about a guy that falls over dead onto a BBQ grill, starts tipping over, pushes himself back up, and then looks at the camera? Bad FX? How about wobbly nails and a non-firing nail gun? Bad writing? Here’s a direct quote: “Do you remember when you could sit outside and not worry about the mosquitoes and the killers?” Even the soundtrack is bad; it is literally someone yelling WAAAHH and MUAHAHA into a synthesizer so persistently that you’ll find yourself daydreaming about what death is like.

Roadside Nailer Nail Face

And the ending? Jeeesus…there’s simply not enough room to go into that in a single review, so I’ve added an addendum at the end; look there for a more in-depth discussion of one of the stupidest endings in all of horrordom. Still, despite repeatedly spitting in the face of all that is good and decent in film, Nail Gun Massacre is a fun movie to watch, if only to laugh at how much of a train-wreck it is. But I can’t recommend this movie for the same reason I can’t recommend huffing spray paint—it’s bad for you and it’ll make you stupid; but, meh…it’s kinda fun.

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Let’s get this spoiler out of the way right now: the killer is Linda, the girl that gets raped at the beginning. Oh my God! Bet you didn’t see that coming! Especially since the killer’s fairly snug jumpsuit reveals to us early-on that the killer is obviously a woman. Although, there is actually some controversy about the killer’s identity, and understandably so, because the storytelling is so horrendously poor and the movie is so war-crime-ingly directed that you may very well not notice who the killer is.

Many people, after having seen Nail Gun Massacre, believe that the character Bubba is the killer because early in the movie, he very unsubtly states that he’ll be seeing the victims “…sooner than [they] think.” Plus, at the end of the movie, the killer dies, is unmasked, and is revealed to be Bubba. Okay…that’s a strong case for the “Bubba is the killer” theory, but hear me out.

Number one: since the whole movie takes place in broad daylight, we can very clearly see that the killer is female, judging by the curvaceous hips and the fact that the killer is way shorter than Bubba. Number two: At one point the killer states: “You guys played with me; now it’s my turn to play with you” and “…nobody came when I screamed”. Number 3: After Bubba’s death, when the doctor declares that it’s all over, the sheriff utters the unbelievably corny line: “Is it? Is it over?” Number four: as the doctor and Linda walk off into the sunset, Linda’s right arm falls to her side, revealing that she is holding the killer’s motorcycle helmet, and we hear a dramatic DUUUNN from the soundtrack as this happens.

Okay, so those are some good reasons for thinking that Linda was the killer, but if that’s the case, then WHY DOES BUBBA SAY HE’LL SEE THOSE VICTIMS SOONER THAN THEY THINK?! Why would Bubba EVER see the victims AT ALL if Linda was the one doing the killing? Was Bubba also killing? If so, nothing happens in the movie that would suggest this other than him wearing the costume at the end—but then that could be explained by saying that Bubba was merely taking the rap for his sister. My guess is that the character Bubba was a clumsy attempt at inserting a red herring into the storyline, but it is done so poorly that it defies all sense and logic. Secondly, we need more than a dramatic DUUUNN to highlight the fact that the killer is Linda; what should be a cool Basic-Instinct-style surprise ending is instead so lazy and ambiguous that many people don’t even notice it. Or maybe I’m just imagining things and Bubba really was the killer; in any case, the ending should not be this difficult to figure out!

So there you have it: one of the most colossally incompetent and nonsensical endings to a horror movie ever. Whether you believe that Bubba was the killer or Linda was, the ending still leaves you with logical loose-ends so flagrant that you’ll rage against the audacity of the mind that created Nail Gun Massacre.

We got some really cool splatterjunkie art recently from Jimmy Dellamorte, check it out!

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Jimmy does some work as a graphic artist, so if you’re interested in getting some artwork done, drop him a line at doyouhoodoovoodoo@gmail.com