Oh man – nothing got ol’ Gene Siskel riled up more than those damn 80’s slasher movies! And he was fired up and fuming over our favorite Valentine’s Day themed horror movie, My Bloody Valentine back in 1981.
I always just have to chuckle when Siskel & Ebert would review horror movies. At least they acknowledged that Halloween was good in this review, and I admire Roger for even mentioning New Year’s Evil – but geez were they a couple of Grumpy Guses. The funny thing is, I had just watched a review they did for Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer and they loved it! Granted, it’s a much better film than My Bloody Valentine – but two completely different styles obviously. Don’t listen to Ebenezer Siskel though, folks – you go watch My Bloody Valentine by yourself or with your significant other next month, and you cheer on Harry Warden while he murders those kids that look like they’re in their 30’s! It’s what any 80’s slasher movie would want you to do.
It’s time for one of my favorite moments: Going back and watching Siskel & Ebert tear apart horror movies! And in this episode, they go for the jugular of George Romero’s Day Of The Dead.
Well, at least they liked Dawn Of The Dead. I’ll give them that. I was a bit surprised that they hated the follow-up that much though. Day Of The Dead did take a bit to grow on me when I saw it in the 80’s, I do have to admit. I hold Dawn Of The Dead in such high regard, and Night Of The Living Dead was possibly the first movie that scared the shit out of me.
What Day Of The Dead did so well (besides the amazing effects) was create a true villain in Captain Rhodes (Joseph Pilato) in addition to the ghouls (as Mr. Ebert likes to call them). Rhodes in my opinion is one of the greatest villains in horror movie history. A true monster without the make-up on. And while you watch Day Of The Dead, it’s a certainty that Rhodes will get his by the end of the movie. And boy, does he – with also one of the greatest death scenes in horror movie history. So because of those factors alone, I have three words for Siskel & Ebert for their review: Choke On ‘Em!
Not sure if you’ve ever heard of the movie Phantasm, but chances are you have. And chances are that you liked it more than both Siskel & Ebert did back in 1979. Ah yes, one of my favorite pastimes: Looking up old Siskel & Ebert horror movie reviews on Youtube. And given that this year is the 40th Anniversary of Phantasm, I figured I’d snoop around and see if these two jokesters ever did a review when it originally came out. And, they did! Check it below:
Ok, ok. We get it. You didn’t like the ‘weird little stainless steel ball‘, Roger Ebert. And Siskel’s snickering during Ebert’s rant only irked me more. They did both enjoy the severed finger though, so there’s that. I never did take their horror movie reviews seriously, but this one made me chuckle due to their obvious disdain for the ‘lack of explantation’ of anything in Phantasm. Rule #1 for watching Phantasm: Don’t take it seriously! Just sit back, enjoy the visuals, enjoy the score, enjoy Angus Scrimm, and enjoy this song:
Ah yes, one of my favorite guilty pleasures is back: Finding old Siskel & Ebert horror movie reviews on Youtube! Sometimes these two would surprise me with their views on 80’s and 90’s horror……and then other times things would go as according to plan. Such was the case with the 1988 review of Hellhound: Hellraiser II. Peep the video below and take a toboggan slide into hell…….
Well clearly all those involved with this movie missed an opportunity to call it Skinned Alive…..at least according to the late great Gene Siskel. Now granted, I didn’t expect these two to like Hellraiser II – but it always tripped me out with how ‘out of touch’ they sounded with most horror movies they reviewed. Easily my favorite bit from this particular review was Mr. Ebert proclaiming his annoyance with Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) and Tiffany’s (Imogen Boorman) names being said too much in the film (lol)! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again by the way, if you are ever in need of an escape from reality……go on Youtube and watch Siskel & Ebert review old horror movies. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
I’ve written about their show before, but one of my favorite memories of growing up was watching Siskel & Ebert every week to see if they were going to review any horror movies. And nothing is more of trip than when they reviewed Roger Corman’s Carnosaur back in 1993. I can’t do the clip any justice, but I will say that one of the highlights is Roger Ebert emphasizing that he thinks Stephen Spielberg will do a better job with the look of his dinosaurs in his upcoming movie (which of course was Jurassic Park). And also Gene Siskel gleefully discussing and pleading his case for how good the plot was for the movie. Just do yourself a favor and watch below, please 🙂
Ah yes. Thank the heavens for Youtube. Because that’s where you can find old Siskel & Ebert clips from their show and see them reviewing old 80’s horror movies. Up to bat in this post: Stuart Gordon’s…….From Beyond! Let’s hear what the boys had to say about it:
Where to begin with that. Well, for starters – how about that kinky sex?!?! Such prudes those two were. How can you not appreciate Barbara Crampton in a leather dominatrix outfit?? But anyway, kudos to Gene for loving From Beyond! He loved it so much that it “tickled” him too. Sounds fun. Roger was on the bubble with it – but at least he noted several times that he loved The Re-Animator. It’s just called Re-Animator, Roger! Geez. I love watching these old reviews because it’s actually a huge piece of my childhood, and I can vividly remember watching this show just for the horror movie reviews. Rest in peace to both of them – especially Gene. Because he loved From Beyond, just not the kinky sex.
With the kinda great news that our favorite psychopathic killer doll Chucky would be gracing us with his screen presence again in the upcoming Cult Of Chucky, I thought it would be fun to snoop around Youtube for anything Child’s Play related. And boy am I glad I did! Remember Siskel & Ebert? They were a thing one time. And it’s not an exaggerated fact to say that they really didn’t like horror movies. But man oh man are their reviews of horror movies fun to watch! Let’s watch Roger Ebert confess that Child’s Play 2 made him feel “unclean and disturbed“:
Well, at least Ebert gave some props to the overall production value of the movie. After he called it “Sick, unwholesome, and a completely malignant exercise!” though. If you do watch a majority of their horror movie reviews, you would come to the conclusion that horror movies were responsible for the hunger and famine problems in the world today. But anyway, to say this is an enjoyable watch would be an understatement. Btw guys (and I know they can’t read or hear this because they’re both dead now), Child’s Play 2 was a movie about a talking killer doll trying to play a game called ‘Hide The Soul’ with a little boy. Let’s not overthink things, mmkay?
With the year 2016 approaching at the end of the week, it’s time to dive into the shallow pile of horror movies that are set around the moment of New Year’s Eve. Not many to choose from, but Terror Train is always a crowd favorite. Not to Siskel & Ebert apparently though……
Gruesome stupidity! Oh if I had a dime for every time I heard that about a horror movie, I would really only have a dime because that’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone use that phrase. Good ol’ Siskel & Ebert and their horror movie hating ways. I think any self-respecting horror movie fan knows that Terror Train wasn’t made to win any Oscars. Which is why I always love watching these old clips from when Siskel & Ebert would review horror movies because they just don’t seem to get it. And I’m pretty sure that there weren’t “buckets of blood” in the movie. In fact, Terror Train was pretty tame when it came to the gore. But alas, it’s still fun to listen to people who hate horror movies talk about hating horror movies. Happy New Year, everybody!
Growing up, I would constantly turn on the Siskel & Ebert TV show on Saturday afternoons to see if they were reviewing any horror movies that week. It’s not a revelation that most horror movies that they did review got trashed (except Carnosaur for some reason), and one of my favorite reviews that they did was for The Evil Dead:
I think I will call horror movies ‘Ghoulies‘ from now on thanks to Gene Siskel. I had never heard that term before, but I must start using it now. But anyway, their review for The Evil Dead wasn’t a shock – but I was glad to see that they recognized the effects that were used at the time, even on the shoestring budget that Sam Raimi had. Part of me kind of wishes that Siskel would have actually barfed while watching the movie though. It would have been an accomplished mission from Sam and his crew. Fun fact btw: Roger Ebert actually gave Evil Dead II a glowing review when it came out in 1987.