First, a little explaining and introduction of what a Horror Remix is might be in order. The concept of the whole Horror Remix experience is pretty simple. You take three or four 90 minute horror movies and whittle them down to their bare necessities, which usually time out to about 30 to 35 minutes. Throw a few extra features in the mix that match the theme of the night and then get commentary from two very funny and foul-mouthed sock puppets – Thunderclap and Cheesecake.
August 25th’s edition of Horror Remix was titled Shopping and featured three main segments and a mini-movie. The three main segments were The Initiation, Hide and Go Shriek, and Chopping Mall. The mini-movie was Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge.
The first movie given the time surgery was 1984’s The Initiation. Basically the main plot of the film revolves around “Kelly, a young woman who has been plagued by nightmares of a burning man her entire life. Upon entering college, she pledges a sorority that forces them to perform an initiation night prank. With several of her friends, she breaks into a store and unfortunately discovers that it is impossible to exit from the building after it is entered illegally. Trapped in a new nightmare, Kelly must fight for survival when a madman begins killing her pledge sisters one by one.” This had everything you could possibly want out of a cheesy 80’s slasher movie. You’ve got dumb teenagers running around playing tricks on each other and partying. Of course, the entire time somebody is offing them, they throw a suspect in the mix who isn’t doing the killing, and then they spring a twist ending on you. This movie featured two well-known actresses that I would imagine everyone is probably familiar with. The first one was Daphne Zuniga from Melrose Place, Spaceballs, and One Tree Hill to name a few. She played the whiny, super-rich spoiled brat of the owner of the mall the students break into. Man, she even whines through her hypnotic trances. She’s extremely annoying and pulls the part off pretty well. The next actress is quite a genre legend – Vera Miles from Psycho and Psycho II, as well as tons of other TV shows and movies. She plays Zuniga’s mother, who seems to be covering something up and drinks a whole lot. I don’t know how the producers of this film talked her into being in this thing. The real gem in this film is Peter, the guy who runs a hypnosis dream study lab. He needs to go to some kind of anger management classes. He yells at everyone and has serious impulse-control problems grabbing things away from his assistant. It could be worse though. He could need to attend acting classes like most of his co-stars need to. We also dubbed this the stupid hat movie, as it seemed as if everyone in the film found it necessary to wear some type of ridiculously ugly hat.
Next up was 1988’s Hide and Go Shriek. This movie is about “a group of teens who decide to spend a night at a furniture store the father of one of them owns. A homeless ex-con security guard is staying the night too. During the night, someone with a taste for cross-dressing breaks in and begins to pick off the teens during a game of hide and seek.” What can be said that wasn’t said in the synopsis? It was very unnerving to see a guy in a woman’s lacy brazier throwing a kid onto some spikes and impaling him. There are lots of other weird things happening, too. Like the security guard keeps his wine in a box of leather S&M equipment. Also, one of the guys runs around the entire movie with his shirt off and still wearing a bolo tie. Another interesting little tid-bit was that they couldn’t get out of the building supposedly because all the doors were locked from the outside and the windows had unbreakable glass. I’m not even entirely sure there was such a thing as unbreakable glass in 1988. The other problem with this little set-up is the fact that at the end, one of the paramedics opens the delivery garage door from the inside to wheel out a corpse. It’s these little incidents that make these movies the classics they’ve become. The only real actor of note in this flick is Sean Kanan, who went on to be in The Karate Kid, Part III and The Bold and the Beautiful. He’s the dude that runs around with the bolo around his neck with no shirt. Another scene of interest in this film – one of the teens announces to the group to “Walk this Way” and then they all strut in a line to a generic rip-off of the song “Walk This Way” that was done around that time by Run DMC and Aerosmith. Priceless. So the killer ends up being the night guard’s boyfriend from prison, who feels betrayed and forgotten after they served their time together. Again, priceless.
I believe this was where they threw in the little 1989 mini-movie Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge. This was cut down from 90 minutes to about 5, which just shows you how much time Horror Remix felt was wasted on the rest of the film. This had everybody’s favorite Weasel Pauly Shore in it as an ice cream shop worker in a mall. From what I could gather he was killing people and putting their body parts on the ice cream as toppings, but everybody thought he was just a prankster and would eat the dairy delicacy anyway. Watching a scene of a high school cheerleader type girl pick an eyeball off the top of her ice cream and then eat it had a certain air of beauty surrounding it. Apparently, the original version of the movie is about “a guy called Eric (hence the title) that owns a huge house and some greedy people want to build a mall over it. So they get someone to burn down his house. Eric is badly burned but not dead, and a year later the mall opens. What they don’t realize is that Eric is living underneath the mall and he’s very angry!” I would have never gotten that from the five minutes I saw.
Last, but certainly not least was Chopping Mall. I actually saw Chopping Mall in it’s entirety at Texas Frightmare Weekend with director Jim Wynorski and actress Kelli Maroney introducing the film for the screening. I thought it was a pretty cool movie then. What you get here is Diet Chopping Mall. Horror Remix wrapped this one up in less than 30 minutes. The basic story behind Chopping Mall is “a group of teenagers that work at the mall all get together for a late night party in one of the stores. When the mall goes on lock down before they can get out, the robot security system activates after a malfunction and goes on a killing spree. One by one the three bots try to rid the mall of the “Intruders”. The only weapons the kids can use are the supplies in other stores. Or…if they can make it till morning when the mall opens back up…” This has one of the greatest Tom Cruise wannabes I’ve ever seen. All gum chewing and smiles with that feathered Risky Business hair we’ve all come to love when revisiting Cruise’s old 80’s films. It also has one of the greatest head-exploding scenes I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. Plus, it helped me to realize that the mall really DOES have everything. These kids found cans of gasoline that were being sold right off the shelf. The guys went to a hardware store to find weapons to use to fight back against the killbots. While there, they not only happened across some easy access rifles and handguns with the shells just sitting right next to them, but an actual semi – automatic machine gun. Thank goodness for those well-stocked mall hardware stores. The only thing I really was bummed out about with this Horror Remix is that they cut out the scene of iconic actor Dick Miller playing the janitor and getting zapped by one of the bots. That should have been left in there just out of respect for him.
Overall, I would almost have to say that this was one of the best ones I’ve seen yet. I actually was laughing at times so hard I couldn’t breathe. Thunderclap and Cheesecake were right on the money with their commentary between segments. There were many parts in the film where there was thunderous applause and laughter from the audience. It was another successful night for Horror Remix.