The Lightning Bug

The Lightning Bug is the Boss Man of the Moon. When he’s not teaching people how to talk like him (“reaaaal sexy”) or taking his flying wing out for a spin, he enjoys watching and reviewing all kinds of cult, exploitation, sci fi, b-movies, and horror goodness to bring to the people of Earth. New reviews come out every couple of days so check back early and often.

From the Desk of T.L. Bugg

My thoughts about movies can’t be contained by a brief profile. Legend has it they are bigger than a breadbox, and four times as dangerous, and with a better beard than George Eastman. Ok, that last part is not true… Here’s what is true. Five days a week. One year running. Reviews at your service. Thanks for visiting the Lightning Bug’s Lair.

-T.L Bugg
Greenville, South Carolina, United States



Terrifying Tuesday: Mausoleum (1983)

It's Terrifying Tuesday again, and have I got one for you folks out there. It's the sweet story of an orphaned girl who grows up to have everything a girl could ask for. She has a fine house, a loving husband, and her boobs occasionally turn into flesh eating demons. So maybe it's not the perfect life, but it might have been a lot closer if only she could have kept herself out of the.... Mausoleum (1983) starring Bobbie Bresee, Marjoe Gortner, Norman Burton and LaWanda Page. Directed by Micheal Dugan. When Susan was just a young girl of 10, her mother died and left her in the care of her stern Aunt Cora. Little did Susan know that her Aunt was overprotective due to a family curse that left the girl open to demonic possession. All should be well though as long as the girl says out of the family mausoleum. Naturally when young Susan got away from her Aunt at her mother's funeral she headed straight for it. Now 30, Susan (Bresee) lives an idyllic life with her lawyer husband Oliver (Gortner). She has been under the care of a psychologist, Simon (Burton ) ever since she was a girl, but he never noticed anything amiss. Yet something takes a hold of Susan and soon with her eyes glowing green her demon side begins to show though. She causes a man to burn to death in his car after he insults her, kills her gardener and her Aunt, and even runs off her maid (Page). Soon Simon and Oliver learn of the curse, but can they stop the demonic force before it consumes Susan. Film Facts --Marjoe Gortner was one the world's youngest evangelists getting his start when he was only 4 years old. In 1972 he was ...
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Terrifying Tuesday: Frontière(s)

What is it about France lately? Well, I think I’m caught in the aftershock of watching Martyrs, and I feel the need to dig further into this new wave of French horror. When I was checking out some of the titles out there, I saw that this one had been banned in Thailand for its violence. Seriously? The land that gave us Muay Thai felt like this crossed the line? It sounded like a ringing endorsement to me. So I had to check out this film that was so far out on the…. Frontière(s) (2007) starring Karina Testa, Aurelien Welk, Samuel Le Bihan, and Patrick Ligardes. Directed by Xavier Gens. When an election goes bad in France, rioting breaks out in the streets, and the right wing government tries to take control, a group of friends tries to escape the city, and they find refuge in a hostel in the country. Unfortunately, it is run by a family of cannibalistic Nazis who want the lone girl in the group, Yasmine (Testa), to join them and continue the bloodline. One of the things I had heard before I saw this film was that it was, in essence, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I can’t say those commentators were incorrect. Unlike the nosy kids in TCM, this group walks willingly into the hostel, but then they are perused relentlessly by a hungry family which includes a large imposing looking fellow who is a butcher. That being said, I will admit there is a lot here that differs from the Tobe Hooper classic, but what left could be tracked down to other films in the genre. Other than the setting and political undertones, there is very little original here. At its core, I believe Frontère(s) is intended to be commentary about the state ...
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The Grab Bag: Ils (2006)

Into the murky depths of the great beyond, I reach my hand down into the Grab Bag once again, and this time come up with a movie I’ve wanted to see for a while. With the to-do about French horror with Inside, Martyrs, and Frontier(s), I wanted to check out the French film that has already garnered an American remake. (Unlike the other three which I’m sure are being watered down as we speak.) Tonight’s film departs from the visceral aspects of the aforementioned films, and instead it culminates in a forty five minute thrill ride that left me hanging on the edge of my seat. The film I’m here to talk about tonight is Ils, or Them (2006) directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud. The plot is so tiny that it practically doesn’t warrant explanation. It’s not at all the reason this film is good, but I suppose a brief summation might be in order. Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) and Lucas (Michael Cohen) are a young French couple living in Romania. She is a French teacher at a local school, and he is an easily distracted writer (Is there another kind?). One evening, Clem awakes to noises outside, and she is convinced there is someone there. She wakes Lucas, and as they investigate they find there are several hooded individuals in their house who begin to terrorize the couple. Just take a minute to think about how you’d feel. It’s the middle of the night. You hear a sound. You look out your window expecting to see a limb scraping against something or at the worst maybe a stray cat or dog, but instead there is someone there. Someone faceless behind a hood, shrouded in darkness, and they’re coming into your home. Ils perfectly captures this panicked feeling, and ...
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Terrifying Tuesday: Martyrs (2008)

Martyr - from the Latin martyr < Ancient Greek μάρτυρ (martyr), later form of μάρτυς (martys) "witness". 1. Someone who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles. 2. A person who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle. 3. One who endures great suffering 4. To make a martyr of, especially to put to death for devotion to religious beliefs. 5. To inflict great pain on; to torment. 6. A witness, but is applied to one who witnesses a good confession with his blood. Martyrs (2008) starring Morjana Alaoui, Mylene Jampanoi, and Catherine Begin. Directed by Pascal Laugier. After escaping the clutches of her tormenters, Lucie (Jampanoi) grows up in an orphanage where her only friend is a kind girl named Anna (Alaoui). Fifteen years later, she recognizes one of her captors from a picture in the paper and becomes determined to confront them. Accompanied by Anna, Lucie tries to get closure but finds no solace, and Anna is delivered into the clutches of the very people her friend was seeking to stop. The Bugg Picture This is not going to be my standard review. I am writing this mere minutes after watching Martyrs, and I feel compelled to get my thoughts to paper (or screen as it were.) I started this review off with a series of definitions and the entomology of the word Martyr because I feel this is an integral part of beginning to understand this film. I think most people equate the term with a religious principal, but the word is older than that. The sixth definition may be the most important to keep in mind with this film. Martyrs is a film which really must be seen to grasp what it’s like. It is unlike ...
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Dollar Deals: Five Minutes to Live (1961) starring Johnny Cash

Sometimes when you're diving in the bins of Dollar movies, it's a chore. Really on several fronts. I am a compulsive buyer and bargain hunter, so when I see flicks for a buck well I don't hold back. This is what leads me to have two or three copies of Black Cobra (which we'll get to one Saturday, trust me.) It can also be incredibly boring sifting through the DVDs of TV shows, romance movies, and all the Lassie you can throw a stick at, but then there are the moments when you pull something out that really makes it all worth it. Today's movie is one of those type of films. When I pulled it out of the bin I even shuffled though to see if there were any more copies that I could give to friends, the cinematic destitute, or perhaps even horde all to myself so I could revel in their greatness. Sadly, this was the only copy they had at the old Dollar Tree, but I'm sure there are more out there just waiting for someone to find them. If you do stumble across it and love this guy like I do, then you'll feel like you might just have.... Five Minutes to Live (1961) starring Johnny Cash, Vic Tayback, Ron Howard, Donald Woods,Merle Travis and Kay Forrester. Directed by Bill Karn. Johnny Cabot (Cash) is on the lam, and he's holed up in a seedy motel with only his girlfriend and his guitar to keep him company. It seems Johnny got caught up in a set up back in Jersey, and he shot a cop down in cold blood. Now all he can do is lay low in this sleepy suburban town and wait for the heat to blow over. All that changes when a ...
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Halloween Top 13: The Sequel #5- Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors (1987)

Freddy was at his best when he was scary. In Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Kruger was terrifying. Sure, he might have had a couple of one liners, but they weren’t intended to make anyone laugh. They were intended to send chills up your spine. Then in Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, the character began to lighten up, and some have said that the plot was a bit light in its loafers as well. I never could get into that flick anyway. The whole idea of Freddy leaving the dream world to cause havoc in real life didn’t appeal to me. The next time out they did things right. Nancy was back, it was all about the dream world, and there was a Dokken song! This rockin’ sequel is the shining moment of the series, and I proudly choose it as my Number 5 on the Halloween Top 13 countdown. Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors starts off right into the dream world when Kristin Parker (Patricia Arquette) starts having a dream about Freddy. When her mother finds her, Kristen awakes with a razor blade in hand and her arm slashed. Mom quickly commits Kristin to Westin Hills sanitarium for her attempted suicide. When they try and sedate her, she fights them and cowers in a corner singing a nursery rhyme about Freddy that she heard in her dream. Luckily for her, new therapist Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) shows up and recognizes what is troubling the girl. Nancy gets to know all the kids in the ward, and soon she discovers that they are “the last children of Elm Street.” They devise a plan to beat Freddy at his own game by using their unique dream powers, but when their doctor, Neil Gordon (Craig Wasson) ...
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Halloween Top 13: The Sequel #1: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Here we are at long last. After 31 days of horror films including 13 days of sequels, we’ve finally ended up at the big day itself. Now that it’s Halloween, I can finally unveil the number one film on the countdown, Dawn of the Dead. Where Romero’s Night of the Living Dead invented a genre of film, Dawn of the Dead redefined it for a whole new generation. The societal woes that influenced Night had faded in the ten years since it had been released, and Romero turned his sites on a new set of problems with this sequel. It’s hard to imagine that it came about from something so simple as a trip to the mall. Four years before the film was released, Romero was invited by an old friend of his to visit the Monroeville Mall that his friend’s company had built. At the time, malls were just beginning to be all the rage, and Monroeville was the largest of its kind ever built. Romero marveled at the blissful, slack-jawed look on the shoppers as they moved from store to store, and when his friend mentioned that in case of an emergency someone could survive quite well in a mall, inspiration struck the director. Romero and his producer started feeling around for investors in the film, but they were unable to find anyone willing to take a chance. Word got around to Italian director Dario Argento, and a deal was struck, in exchange for the international distribution rights for the film, Dario would get his brother Claudio to help with the financing of the film. At Argento’s request, Romero traveled to Rome for a holiday, and there with input from the Italian director, the script began to take shape. Three years after the first inkling of the film ...
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Terrifying Tuesday: Susperia (1977)

It’s well known, to readers of The Lair that is, that I have yet to fall into the throws of passionate love with Dario Argento which seems to dominate the minds of many horror fans. Today however that day may well have finally arrived. I will admit my experience with Dario is kind of limited, and I have seen only a handful of his films, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Opera, and The Card Player. Of those, only one reached the above average point for me, and for that reason alone, I have spent far more time with the works of other Italian directors. Tonight’s film has changed my mind considerably, and I have had to reassess my priorities when it comes to Mr. Argento after seeing his film…. Susperia (1977) starring Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Ailida Valli, and Joan Bennett. Directed by Dario Argento. Suzy Banyon (Harper) travels to Germany to attend a ballet school. She arrives on a dark and story night and is turned away from the school when she arrives. As she is leaving, she sees a girl running through the woods, the girl, Pat Hingle will die before the night is over, the victim of an unnamed killer. The next day Suzy begins her time at the school in earnest, and she soon is beset by many strange occurrences that lead her to question if the school is more than it seems. The Bugg Picture So this is the review where I make up for being under whelmed by Argento’s other films because, with Susperia, I was plenty whelmed. This was Dario’s sixth film, and perhaps his most well known and with good reason. It is an astounding effort not only of suspense and terror, but of cinematography, art direction, and acting. This is ...
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Trick or Treat (1986): I Want To Rock and Roll All Night (And Electrocute People With My Guitar)

For October 1st, I wanted to watch a movie for the first time, and so for nearly a year I have held on to today’s film, Trick or Treat (1986) and resisted the urge to watch it. I’m so glad I did. It turned out to be the perfect way to start October. I love the supernatural serial killer genre, but this one had something special to it. While Freddy needed you to sleep, Jason needed you to come to camp, and Michael Myers was devilishly picky about what zip code you live in, all Trick or Treat’s dastardly heavy metal killer needs is for you to WANT…TO… ROCK! What a terrible thing to have to fear, never rocking again. How would the world cope? We’ve been rocking and rolling for over fifty years now, and almost nothing goes better with Halloween and horror than rocking. There’s a reason every classic radio station ever programmed calls this month Rocktober, and that’s because it’s an unimaginative play on words. However, there is some truth to it. Would we really want to have to spend the month surrounded by ghouls, ghosts, and goblins while the gentle strains of Laurence Welk’s smaltzy waltzes float though the air. Wonderful, wonderful, my ass. If for no other reason Trick or Treatdeserves to kick off my 31 Days of Horror. As the film kicks off, we are introduced to Eddie ‘Ragman’ Weinberger (Marc Price) an outcast metal kid who finds his only solace away from high school bullies in the music of Sammi Curr (Tony Fields), a metal god who came from the same town as Eddie. Unfortunately, the teenager finds his one ray of hope taken from him when the heavy metal singer dies in a hotel fire. Taking pity on Ragman, local D.J. Nuke ...
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The Grab Bag: Four of the Apocalypse (Quattro dell’apocalisse) (1975)

Fabio Testi, the last time we saw him he came out of the grab bag with a gripping performance in What Have You Done To Solonge? With a beard and cardigan he was the very manner of the '70's scamp. Tonight's film finds him in a very different seventies, but still a scoundrel in his own right. The clean shaven Stubby Preston fancies himself as a dandy and a card sharp, but soon he will be one of the... Four of the Apocalypse (1975) starring Fabio Testi, Thomas Milian, Lynn Frederick, Michael J. Pollard, and Harry Baird. Directed by Lucio Fulci. It's Utah, 1873, and the town of Salt Flats is as wild as they come. Card sharp Stubby Preston hits town with a suitcase of tricks only get accosted by the local sheriff and thrown into a cell. Turns out to be a lucky turn for the gambler when the town erupts in vigilante justice. Masked gunmen stalk the streets cutting down anyone involved in unsavory activities. The sheriff cast a blind eye while he sneaks his prisoners out the back. And so Stubby Preston sets out across the flats with his three companions. Stubby is joined by town drunk Clem (Pollard), the crazy or clairvoyant Bud (Baird), and pregnant prostitute Bunny (Frederick). They begin to form an unlikely band as they avoid gunmen, encounter the faithful, and scrape to survive. While having a meager dinner, they are joined by Chaco (Miliard), a strange gunman with dead eye aim, who wants to join the group in their travels. The gunman offers his services as a hunter, but soon proves to be protection as they are ambushed. Stubby and the group soon discover all is not as it seems when the assailants turn out to be the law, and Chacoexacts ...
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