The Nightmare on Film Street Video Vault is open once more and this month, since the NOFS theme is Guilty Pleasures, we have decided to feature five of our employee favorites. A staff picks section just like the old days at the video store where one whole section was dedicated to the real movie buffs, the staff. We have a wide selection ranging from subterranean monsters, the King of anthologies, hitch-hiking serial killers, rough and randy ghosts, and an amusement park of vengeance.
Yes, siree-bob, we have put together the guiltiest of pleasures straight from the staff here at the Video Vault and we promise you, you won’t be disappointed. Five devilishly delicious delectables for your descrying displeasure. You’re sure to have trouble sleeping after you read (and watch) this list.
THE NEW KIDS (1985)
Picture this. You’re the new kid at a new school, there’s a violent gang that has you in their sites, an amusement park where decapitations, electrocutions, and dog maulings are as common as rollercoasters, funhouses and cotton candy, and it’s all orchestrated by Sean S. Cunningham (Friday the 13th, 1980). That is The New Kids in a nutshell. The film is stocked with so much awesomeness, it even offers a wicked cast including pre-John Hughes James Spader (Wolf, 1994), pre-prison term Lori Loughlin (Amityville 3D, 1983), pre and post-Marty McFly Eric Stoltz (The Fly II, 1989) and full-time genre legend Tom Atkins (Night of the Creeps, 1986). Who could ask for anything more?
The story goes something like this. After the death of their parents, siblings Loren, Shannon Presby (TV’s Five Mile Creek, 1985), and Abby (Loughlin) move in with their aunt and uncle in some backwater Florida town. They start at a new school where the leader of a violent gang of thugs named Eddie Dutra (Spader) gets the hots for Abby, and secretly Loren too. Let’s face it, it was the 80s. The result is a kidnapping and a showdown at an amusement park that flips the script on this picture turning it from a coming of age thriller and to a balls-out, no holds barred revenge flick.
THE ENTITY (1982)
Watching The Entity is like getting slapped across the face by an invisible hand. You never know what’s going to happen and you never know when. That is the beauty of Canadian director Sidney Furie’s 1981 supernatural thriller, The Entity, and boy, oh boy, what a slap in the face this film is.
Based on the real-life 1974 case of Doris Bither, the film follows the case of a woman, Carla Moran, played by Barbara Hershey (Insidious, 2010), who is repeatedly sexually assaulted by an invisible entity. Moran seeks the help of a psychiatrist, played by the late Ron Silver (Silent Rage, 1982), who in turn observes the attacks with a group of students at the University of California, Los Angeles. Director Furie (The Fraternity, 2002) paints a stark, violent picture of the plight of rape victims and the terrifying notion that the perpetrator cannot be stopped, crafting an in your face metaphor for real-life victims of violent sexual crimes.
Admittedly, Road Games slipped under my radar for most of my life. It wasn’t until I researching this article that I discovered it’s existence and I wish I had found it earlier. Not only is it a slasher, but it also has my favorite Scream Queen in it, Miss Jamie Lee Curtis (The Fog, 1980). And personally, anything that Jamie Lee is in, I’m down with it. And let’s not forget that Mike Hammer himself, Mr. Stacy Keach (Class of 1999, 1990) is in it along with Grant Page of Mad Max (1979) and Death Ship (1980) fame.
This Australian film tells the tale of truck driver Patrick “Quid” Quidayed (Keach) and hitch-hiker Pamela “Hitch” Rushworth (Curtis) as they track down a serial killer (Page) responsible for a trail of bodies being left across the Australian landscape thus proving (to me at least) that Auzzy movies are pretty much all badass. I suppose there’s a reason that Quentin Tarantino cites Roadgames as one of his favorite films.
It’s kinda tough to find a better pairing than the master of the macabre, Stephen King, and the Godfather of Zombie films, the late George A. Romero. Go ahead, try, and find one. I’ll wait… Creepshow is the perfect unholy union. This film saw these two titans of terror combine forces to deliver, not one, but five tumultuous tales of torment all tied together with one frighteningly fantastic bow to bring them all together.
It’s not just King and Romero who give this cult classic it’s clout, the cast is a powerhouse of Hollywood might. The prologue and epilogue feature genre favorite Tom Atkins (Haloween III: Season of the Witch, 1982), King’s son, and future NOS4A2 author Joe Hill (credited as Joe King), and F/X master Tom Savini (From Dusk ‘Till Dawn, 1996). The various segments showcase the likes of Ed Harris (Needful Things, 1993), the late Leslie Nielsen (Prom Night, 1980), Ted Danson (Body Heat, 1981), Hal Holbrook (The Unholy, 1988), Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing, 1982) and the late E. G. Marshall (Two Evil Eyes, 1990). Heck, even Richard Gere (The Mothman Prophecies, 2002) has a cameo in this film.
Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. Say that five times fast. C.H.U.D. tells the subterranean tale of the New York City sewer system and the humanoid creatures who inhabit them. They’re a vicious species that are out to eat the residence of New York and it’s up to a fashion photographer, turned sleuth, and an NYPD cop to stop these creatures before New York is devoured.
C.H.U.D. is packed with stars before they were stars, showcasing the talents of Daniel Stern (Leviathan, 1989), John Goodman (Red State, 2011), the late Jay Thomas (Freddy’s Nightmares, 1989), Brenda Currin (Happy Death Day 2U, 2019), John Heard (Cat People, 1982), Christopher Curry (Red Dragon, 2002), and Frankie Faison (Maximum Overdrive, 1986). This creature-feature is not to be taken too seriously. There is a very tongue-in-cheek vibe throughout this movie and if you watch it with that in mind, you’ll be in for a treat.
Fun fact: There is a weird Home Alone franchise connection with C.H.U.D. as well. Actors Daniel Stern, John Heard, and Christopher Curry have all appeared in one or more of the films in the series.
And with that, fellow fiends, we come to the end of our staff suggestions. We hope you enjoyed our picks as much as we did choosing them. There are some great hidden gems here and some absolute classics, but if its more recommendations, new school or old, you’re looking for, be sure to check out our on Twitter, Reddit, and in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook. There you’ll find everything horror under the moon. Until next time fellow fiends… Stay creepy!