JOE DANTE and THE HOWLING (1981) at the Nuart

Joe Dante in the lobby at the Nuart. Photo by Matt Average

Joe Dante made it out to the Nuart on Wednesday night, October 20, 2021 to introduce the 4k restoration of his 1980s werewolf classic The Howling on the first night of the full moon. Talk about perfect timing! Tonight he will be back at the Nuart doing a Q&A before the 7:30 showing. Make a point of getting over there before it leaves the theatre.

Joe Dante introducing the 4k restoration of The Howling at the Nuart. Photo by Matt Average

DEAD PIT (1989)

DEAD PIT (1989)

Director: Brett Leonard

Written By Brett Leonard & Gimel Everett

Starring: Cheryl “underwear” Lawson, Jeremy “the drunk” Slate, Stephen “the creep” Foster

Viewed On Prime: Great transfer

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This film is a complete masterpiece.  I can not wait until my daughter is old enough to be able to sit through films like this with her old man.  Pizza and snuggles!   

I don’t even know where to begin with this.  The film is Brett Leonards first film as a director and he hits it out of the park.  The story is actually great, and has everything in it…a demented maniac dead doctor, zombies, sexy nurses, crazy people in a mental asylum, explosions, a flood, great music, cool effects, holy water, religion, boobs, blood, and lots of gore.  

The story is that of a demented doctor who is doing experiments on mental patients.  One of the other doctors catches him in the act, kills him, and basically seals him in a tomb.  Twenty years later and all hell breaks loose.  The Demented Doc comes back to life and brings all kinds of wrath and revenge with him.  There are so many twists in this story that it blows my mind that everything actually gets resolved or makes some sort of sense. 

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The most noticeable thing about this film to me is how cool the lighting is.  Its super obvious, but looks so cool and works great along with the cool music.  I’d give this one 9 stars out of 10.  This is a real beauty if you’ve never seen it before.  Throw it on… for Christ’s sake, it’s almost Halloween! (NW)


Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Matt Average: MA



Director: Michael Dugan

Starring: Bobbie Bresee, Marjoe Gortner, Norman Burton, Maurice Sherbanee, Julie Christy Murray



Dear Readers, please do not confuse this with the the other Mausoleum (aka One Dark Night (1982)) starring Meg Tilly. I made that error, and I’m here to help and warn you. Learn well from the mistakes of others. This Mausoleum is a turd: slow, dull, and dumb.

Starts off with a young broken hearted Susan (Julie Christy Murray) at her mother’s funeral. She’s also  angry about having to go and live with her aunt, so she decides to tearfully jog (not run, but jog) over to a mausoleum near by, and as she trots across the cemetery, her aunt (Laura Hippe, The Swinging Barmaids) stands by the waiting limo and wails, “Not Susan, too!” setting us up for some big reveal later in the film.

Susan enters the film’s namesake, and some drunk guy follows her in, babbling some nonsense, and the shadow of a demon appears on the wall pointing a clawed hand at the drunk, who begins to shake his head, murmuring something unintelligible. But you don’t care because when the demon points that gnarled claw the way that drunk starts shaking his head around is so comical you’re too in awe of it to even hear what he’s saying. He could have revealed how to easily become a millionaire, but who would care when there’s laughs to be had? Young Susan’s eyes glow green, á la Cathy’s Curse, and the wind blows.

Fast forward ten years later, to adult Susan (Bobbie Bresee), who is now married to Oliver Farrell (Marjoe Gortner, Earthquake), and living in a really drab mansion. It looks like the interior of a Best Western. They go off to some nightclub to dance, and while showcasing dance moves similar to a Charlie Brown cartoon, he’s called away from setting the dance floor ablaze to answer business call. While he’s on the phone, there’s a Grizzly Adams clone (Gene Edwards, who’s role is Drunk In Nightclub) who has noticed Susan, and decides he can woo her with his drunken asshole behavior. But first, he gets the best line of the entire film during an exchange with his girlfriend (Di Ann Monaco, who’s role is Girl In Nightclub) who catches him leering like a Warner Bros. cartoon wolf. When she sarcastically asks what is it that he’s looking at, he glances over at her and barks, “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but you’re always bitching about some old shit!” To which she replies, “That’s because it’s always the same old shit with you!” He steps out onto the dance floor and gropes at Susan in a ham fisted manner that she fends off, and they both leave in opposite directions. Of course, he meets his fiery end in the parking lot when Cathy’s, er, I mean, Susan’s eyes glow green.

The movie starts to slow down after the excitement of the nightclub when she’s back at the Best Western, er, I mean, her home and taking up space doing something. Her gardener (Maurice Sherbanee) is lurking about being a mild pest. We get to see him eating his lunch, sharpening an axe, mowing the grounds, and taking a nap next to the pond, and this montage of his day seems to go on and on and on. Maybe it’s character development in effort for us to sympathize with him? Maybe it’s a Marxist comment on the drudgery of the proletariat? Susan’s eyes glow green again, and she flirts with him in a clichéd porno film plot device. To want to fuck this guy she must have been incredibly bored. He meets his demise, and the movie slows down even more.

Eventually, in a conversation with Susan’s psychiatrist (Norman Burton), Oliver discovers she is, are you ready for this? Brace yourself, maybe you should be sitting down for this: Susan is actually a demon! Whoa! This surprise discovery finally gets us briefly back to the mausoleum, and things happen, but who cares, the movie is finally coming to an end.

There’s some gore and nudity, but not enough to save this dog. This feels more like an endurance contest than a movie. You keep hoping it gets better, as there are movies that are a slog, but then the final 20 minutes are spectacular. Not the case here. Even when the action does pick up it’s still a crummy film. Even LaWanda Page (Aunt Esther) can’t save it. (MA)


Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Matt Average: MA