When I sat down on a tired Friday evening to watch this Western-themed horror, I admit, I was expecting something cheap and flat.  A screensaver with some blood and guts and a bunch of yipping gunslingers saving damsels and such.  Maybe I would get a few laughs at Blazing Saddles comparisons, etc..  So I hunkered down as the sun set and I sipped my moonshine, prepared for for the inevitability of turning off the movie when I got bored.

...dead wrong, Betty, dead wrong.  
The Burrowers (2008) is a unexpectedly wild ride through twisting unclaimed terrain.  The haters will say this is just another version of Tremors...and they would be the kiddies who look up the wikipedia instead of reading the book so they can look smart in their shitty community college classes.  Note: don't diss this movie around Betty. Why?

Because you can see when a movie is half-assed.  You can feel it when the actors don't care, when the directors are just collecting paychecks to buy another summer home in LA or the south of France or putting another notch on their lame resume.  Some of those movies make it to the so-bad-it's-good list.  Most are just insipid (hopefully) forgotten reels. But what I was taken by was that this movie is trying its hardest to put a new twist on a once-popular American genre that's more or less gone out of setting and style after the likes of John Wayne and Hi Ho Silver, etc.. That's why most of us (myself included) generally scoff at the idea of a Western horror, because its outside of the typical framework of where we are expecting to feel fear (haunted houses, spaceships, zombie-infested shopping malls, sunken cities, high school proms, republican conventions, honey-boo-boo and so on).   But this is a powerful mix of both those elements, with a message to boot.

After the savage slaughter/kidnapping of members of a pioneer family, local law and gunmen set off to discover what they believe will be hostile Native Americans or bandits.  What they discover is a creature whose history predates any tribe they might hold responsible for these acts.  The men, consisting of an Irishman looking for his girlfriend, a freed slave, some prideful Calvary dudes, and locals who sense something is dreadfully wrong with the initial assessment of the crime committed.  A girl found buried alive, in a state of paralysis, is the first signal they are not seeking a group of angry natives, but something far more sinister and - what surprised me - complicated. 

The creatures these men seek are killers from before Western civ came to the Western world, beings as brutally foreign to the posse as the land is to newcomers from the East.  Here we have hints of films like Alien, and yes, Tremors, if you must, but the main thread and connection to characters is unique onto itself.  My one criticism of the piece is that, I wondered if it was almost too brutal, that there was too much of a sense of hopelessness.  And also, I am never a huge fan of anything CGI, but I thought this was tastefully done in most parts.  It's all offset by the dynamic within the hunting party; there is a LOT more going on between the group of characters than just a simple manhunt, which makes the film a period piece in its own right.  Part of it is just the setting of the 'untamed' territory of the west itself, and how it must have appeared to settlers coming from what they termed as a civilized, orderly, and predictable world.  I imagine that the kind of pride and self-assurance needed to exist in such uncertain and seemingly hostile terrain must have saved and/or killed a lot of folks back then.  That same manifest destiny drives the group of hunters to a conclusion that I did not soon forget.  Watch this one.  It's a horror diamond in the rough. 

WTF = 26
W = 9
T = 9
F = 8




TRAILER - (as in the parks these actors now live in!)

Even considering that ghostly hitchhikers are about as frequent in horror as pre-pubescent vampires are in the red box; Hellgate is campy horror gold for the ages. For a movie that can only be purchased on DVD as a double feature to Canadian stinker The Pit, Hellgate is far more enjoyable than one would believe at first glance. With sex, senseless violence, and terrible hair choices; this film has everything that is essential for a camptastic kneeslapper. In comparison to a long line of campy, incompetent, ludicrous, movies that were so bad they were good; this film is so bad it's amazing.

With it's dollar store leading man, the late Ron Palilo of "Welcome Back Kotter" (insert Travolta joke) and "Little Clowns of Happytown" notoriety; Hellgate manages to present turn of the decade, brain dead youth in all of their flannel might; equipped with stereotypes for all races and creeds! The two-couple lineup of protagonists is so obnoxious that your wishes to see them slaughtered coupled with it's high likelihood is enough motivation for anyone to finish the film; much less love it.

This sizzling slice of 1990 takes place in both the then-present-day, and the 1950's; where the tale began. Piggybacking on the genre-heavy tale of the unjustly slain damsel turned undead pedestrian, the film introduces Josie. This ghost-to-be is a smoke show with abysmal acting skills in her only film to date. Josie is instant motivation for all male viewers; who will be aptly rewarded by no shortage of scantily clad and not clad scenes! Josie is promptly kidnapped from a picturesque 50s diner by "The Strangers", a ravenous biker gang, and a godless bunch they are.
An altercation with Josie's pops proves fatal for all but one of the sleazy bikers, leaving the girl crushed to death via motorcycle, and daddy disfigured and repaired with metal plates (no explanation for choice of metal plates over bandages whatsoever). The viewer comes to find that Josie's father is in control of a magic crystal that allows him to resurrect her ghost, and commit evil acts throughout the film. The origin or importance of this crystal is left as vague as all other seemingly important, but neglected details in the film; to great effect and the absence of explanatory bore.

Cut back to year nineteen hundreed and ninety, and four total boobs are renting a cabin out in the boonies. These utter morons tell one another the spooky Hellgate hitchhiker story of old; with poor acting  by Chuck, the largest of sweater-wearing tools. One of the female actresses looks like a poor man's Molly Ringwald, and the other looks like a person of no distinct gender. This is really a murderers row of pre-grunge 90s losers that you wouldn't mind seeing get murdered by the undead; in which case you're in luck!

Anywho, one of the nincompoops, namely Ron Palilo, is arriving late from "graduate school", when he has an encounter with the hitchiker; none other than Josie. Not to give too much away, but things obviously go completely to hell once the group stumbles across Hellgate, the perverted ex-roadside attraction of the dead, which is including but not limited to, exploding mutant fish, melting elderly men, crystals with dark powers, and the icing on the cake, zombies.

This movie has all of the intangibles that make a campy movie worth it's weight in fine luxurious cheeses; an overabundance of nudity, lawless sadist bikers, and a directorial penchant for killing main characters in brutally abrupt fashion! With the capable special effects staff of Hellraiser and HellboundHellgate has the weaponry to keep things interesting, albeit not the heavy artillery of a big time gig.

With laughs and occasional scares that are well worth the price of admission, synth-heavy soundtrack that will make you want to break out a white suit and do the Carlyle, and the most anticlimactic building collapse ever filmed, Hellgate definitely has more than enough cheese to please!

W -4 (not brilliant, but not trying to be)
T -6 (pretty decent job on the major effects, but not cheeseless)
F - 7 (thoroughly enjoyable)



Welcome to 1987, where vampires have the outward appearance of soft-core pornographic villains, horror movies are accompanied by cheesetastical original sound scores, and plot lines are flimsier than the Styrofoam tombstones in "Plan 9 From Outer Space." This is the era that gave us the the critically abandoned, yet very enjoyable Graveyard Shift (aka Central Park Driver); companion film of a largely untapped host of horror movies that have only recently made the jump from VHS to DVD (or are still waiting). This title is not to be confused with the Stephen King work of the same name and time period, but I was startled to find how frequently this has occurred on the interwebs. Back on track.
I bought this VHS on one of the most historic horror binges I've ever made, being when my local West Coast Video (RIP) went out of business, soon to be followed by every remaining video store in America. This was the same brilliant run that scored me The Crazies (original obviously, I said score, not uberfail), Creepazoids, The Body Snatcher, and Creepshow 2, among others.This was years prior to it's barely capable DVD release in cheap DVD bin hell. Anyway, I had never heard of or cared to rent this title before the store went under, but I am exceedingly glad to have discovered Graveyard Shift in West Coast's final act.

In essence, this film deals with a poorly advised love affair between Stephen, a modern-day taxi-driving vampire, and Michelle, a newly discovered to be terminally ill music video director in the Big Apple. Let me assure you, things are as dysfunctional as they might sound at first thought, but even more bizarre when Michelle's estranged husband gets involved in the love triangle. The casual ridiculousness of the vampire underworld depicted in New York City is definitely worth the ride; with all of it's accompanying gratuitous violence and nudity. Stripper vampires slashing dude's throats in sleazy alleys and hot vampire cops moonlighting central park? Shit, you had me at stripper. But in all seriousness, let's face it, fans of horror near and far are no stranger to the fact that even not so subtly delivered sex, violence, and similar exploitations can carry a cheesier horror movies to the upper echelon of it's group. Hell, Sam Raimi made a career out of it!

This film doesn't pretend to be something that it's  not, and this is precisely what allows it to succeed as a horror film, albeit a cheesy one. Graveyard Shift succeeds purely on style, guts (literally and figuratively), atmosphere, and rhinestones.

Although the lead roles are decent in their portrayals, the cast is barely capable where it needs to be, and absurdly below capable beneath that. Fortunately, cheesy late-80's vampire films don't require ensemble casts; in fact they encourage the opposite, with positive results! (See Lost Boys, Fright Night).

For example, not only does the film have copious amounts of cheesetastic soundtrack, but it also delivers an appropriate amount of atmosphere and action to make up for any shortcomings in the film's engineering. Graveyard Shift's sets and lighting are creative and well done, which lends to the fantastical elements of the story. This is reminiscent of Suspiria, albeit less magnificent.

Stephen's attempts to not only keep his belly full and bills paid, but  most importantly, keep his heart from being broken, staked, or both prove ultimately satisfying.This film is definitely worth a watch to the moderate to experienced level horror nerd; which I suspect you may be if you've made it here. 

Although this should not be confused with an accomplishment (See CHUD II, Ghoulies 2, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, etc), Graveyard Shift was awarded a sequel, which clearly puts it above those that were so laughable as to bar any further sequels, prequels, or the like (ex: Hellgate). I don't know why I feel the need to bolster this film's credentials, it's a quasi-pornographic vampire horror love story filmed with performance art lighting; it speaks for itself.

WTF =15

W - 3 (shallow as a pot hole, but doesn't pretend to be otherwise)
T -5 (delivered the bacon, given it's budget)
F - 7 (a good mix of shock, awe, atmosphere, 80s cheese, and lust)

pseudo-pornographic vampire bite

TRAILER - 1987



I would recommend this movie for every pregnant woman.  Because if you can't handle the horror of this film, you definitely can't handle 22 years of indentured servitude.  

My guess is that most women don't have the words to capture the fear of childbirth and raising a baby.  I certainly don't.  But this movie does a good deal in taking those nightmares and magnifying them, from almost every possible angle.  Women are pressured to have children by families, peers, and themselves, but for most parents, children actually create more stress, health issues, regrets, and misery than it is acceptable to socially admit.  It's great to see a movie that unabashedly plays with those fears.

WTF: 19
W =7
T = 6
F= 6

Your main character is Madeline, the typical ticking biological clock so obsessed with the 'mother experience' that she's had three miscarriages, been on fertility drugs, and somehow the light bulb doesn't go off that if you are really intent on making the world a better place with your parenting skills there are bazoodles of homeless parentless kids out there in need that would be grateful to have the love of a forever home and family.  But we live in a self-centered society, and it stands to reason that for thousands of years we've been biologically procreating for entirely selfish reasons.  Back when we needed labor on our farms, kids made for the cheapest you could find and lack of birth control made it impossible to avoid sans celibacy.  Even nowadays parents like Madeline will be easily understood by most viewers (aka not me).  They will understand her 'plight'.  I'm not sure why everyone including idiots, abusers, and talk show hosts believe it is somehow their 'god given right' to bring their squalling crotchfruit into existence like we don't have enough creatures ruining this planet, but for viewers like me, there's a certain satisfaction in watching this thing play out for all parties.  To a degree the film brings parallels to The Walking Dead, taking a horrible premise and making it believable, almost banal is Madeline's resolve to keep her child at all costs.    

Like anything in life, having a child comes with one hefty-ass price tag.  Check out the New Yorker's article on unhappy parenting (I think it went out in 2010) and we  encounter a slew of anonymous parents who confess (obviously is highly inappropriate to publicly wish your kid was never born) that things were better before kids were ever in the picture.  But I refer to the baseness of life, the daycare costs, vomit, screaming, shit, more screaming, crashing your car, getting herpes at 14 from half the football team, then maxing out your credit card at a head shop.  That MUNDANE kind of stuff that kids do.  We don't get that far into the picture with Grace, and perhaps that is the point of view of the piece: that the beginnings of life are insane enough to speak for themselves.

Madeline is a whole different bag of monkeys.  To begin with her family or 'support network' is strange and convoluted, her mother-in-law namely, and the doctors she seeks vs. the doctors she avoids.  Her history with the vegan dharma namaste midwife unfolds, but the actress is fabulously serious.  Her husband, interestingly, but I decided well-played, is kind of a non-entity.  Often when you have a hankering woman ready to pop one out, you have a reticent man wondering wtf he is getting himself into.  In the second scene, (weird sex scene), she clearly is looking for a fertility hose rather than an orgasm.  Then comes the product of the whole exercise: when the baby is pronounced dead, she decides to carry it to term and go through the grueling and gruesome experience of a stillbirth.  Pretty much every potential mother's nightmare.  But Grace lives. She is soon to discover that motherhood, in her case, is far from what she or anyone could ever envision, that it means sacrifice on a whole new level. Because as many of us say, unknowing, and sated with wine at family dinners: "Blood is blood."

I like this movie because it is brave, because it manages to challenge the stereotypes of both liberal and conservative approaches to family planning while taking the viewer on a gory ride through an 'unexpecting' mother's life.  While I must mention there are a few side characters whose acting is so poor and clearly waiting for a cue for a poorly meted out response they almost ruin the film (the midwife's assistant...needs to go back to the acting clinic stat...and a few others), the plot choices and the unraveling of this story make up for its shortcomings.  

So kiddies and potential parents, consider this your first "informational" video in Nurse Betty Bloodletter's Parenting 101 ("What to Expect When You're Expecting: The Horror!") Course.  

Because children are our future...or not.   




Hausu is an exercise in awesome, a queen of kitsch foriegn cinema.  I first saw this in a movie theater, so I got to experience the film in its full beautiful colorful glory.  

Basic premise is the main character is a young girl grapples with the loss of her mother, the addition of her new stepmother, and decides to go with her schoolmates on a summer trip to her distant aunt's house.  What these girls do not know about the aunt and her home is what makes the story.  

But I think what makes the movie is the fucking hilarious characters like some real-time Sailor Moon (on acid) meets Abbot and Costello (on acid). *

*Note: unfortunately, whilst I have never actually done acid, I like to speculate that this movie is exactly what it would be like.  What this also translates to is: I have a lot of trouble imagining that sober people created this film. But maybe that's just me. 

Case in point severed head of girl biting the ass of other girl at random point in the film which will be explained during the film but not really. 

This is the beauty of some films...many of them foreign because we Americans like to have everything tidily explained n wrapped up.  Maybe that's a mean generalization, but maybe my generalization is true.  This isn't artful, gorgeous hole-in-the-story ambiguity we get in movies like 'Antichrist', but it is a horror movie that is all about going along for the ride and enjoying the trip...whatever it is you are tripping on be it your own unique brain chemistry or a can of rubber cement.   

I would recommend this movie as a must see even though I'm not planning on giving it a super high score.  The plot is really dumb, not gonna lie.  The characters are a step above mental retardation.  And I imagine the effect was more scooby-doo than fear-inducing.  But there you have it, in spite of my well-crafted scoring system, we have a kick ass movie that everyone who enjoys the variations of the field of horror films should SEEEEE!

It's visually gorgeous, ridiculously funny, a self-parody probably (?)  The music is laughable with it's own flare of late seventies ballad gold embedded in parts of the film.  The characters are cartoons, and if you can deal with that and not expect depth or explanations of what you are seeing, this movie may also earn its place as one of your own favorite horror flicks.  Think of it as a cross between scooby doo, a bubble gum commercial, and an art film.

Watch it folks!

WTF = 20

W= 5
T = 10
F= 5

Here is the film's trailer:


After a year off writing horror reviews in lieu of doing more interesting stuff we have returned to our previously scheduled program, with a few changes.  We at Betty Bloodletter simply did not have the time to review stuff...so now the backlog is intense.  To fit in the sheer amount of awesomeness that needs to be seen by our adoring horror loving public, we may shorten our reviews, but will try to keep them equally offensive riveting!  But blogging, no matter how interesting, fun and awesome the product is, is still admittedly a ginormous waste of unpaid time.  And there's nothing Betty Bloodletter hates more than wasting time.  Except romantic comedies.  
So, again for your amusement, here's a cornucopia of other wastes of time...entitled...

................by Betty Bloodletter 

 Because nothing turns you on more than hours of creeping up to read the ignorant bumper sticker on the car in front of you.

 Yeah!  Why live a real life when you can live a thousand vicarious ones!

Overly-padded men strut back and forth for hours over a hundred yards of boring.

Children.  Enough said.

I get a buzz putting children next to cigarette butts. 5 seconds well spent.

 There IS a reason for the first four letters. Have YOU figured it out?

Kill yourself with chemicals!

 Your boring status is wasting my precious time. Nobody wants to hear about your amazing time at the Blink 182 concert.  

Hipsters.  Waste of time, oxygen, blood, and caring.