A Two Coreys Halloween: The Essential Horror Movies of Haim and Feldman
On October 29, just two days before Halloween, St. Martin's Press will release the long-awaited Corey Feldman biography Coreyography: A Memoir. It is a must-read for any fan, as it delves deep into the trials and tribulations of this actor's young life in Hollywood. Some of it is funny, some of it is heartbreaking and a great big portion of it is truly scary.
In the book, Feldman talks in great length about his best friend Corey Haim. In the coming weeks, you'll hear a lot about what happened to the two teenagers behind closed doors, and a lot of it's not that pleasant. Instead of dwelling on that in our own review, we'd rather look at the work Haim and Corey Feldman have left behind. Specifically, in honor of the season, their horror movies. The pair met on the set of one of the all time greatest vampire movies ever made, and before they fell victim to drug and sexual abuse, they made some of the best-remembered genre fare of the decade. All of which is discussed in the book. They also made some cheapies later on in their careers that are enjoyable when viewed on their own merits.
In celebration of Halloween, and to help usher in and point out that Coreyography: A Memoir will be available very soon (we definitely recommend the audio book, which Corey recorded himself), here is our special look at 'A Two Coreys Halloween: The Essential Horror Movies of Haim and Feldman'.
Monster of Choice: Vampires. The Heroes: Comic book enthusiast and new kid in town Sam Emerson (Corey Haim) and Vampire Hunter Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman). The Premise: Teenage Vampires have taken over Santa Clara, California turning it into the murder capitol of the U.S. as they party all night and sleep all day. It's up to Frog Brothers Edgar and Alan to help Sam kill the head vampire and save his older brother from eternal damnation. Released in 1987, this was the first time the Two Coreys worked together, and it not only stands as an iconic 80s horror comedy that redefined the vampire genre at that time, it also served as the begin of a long partnership that would flourish both onscreen and off for many years to come.
Monster of Choice: Werewolf. The Heroes: Wheelchair bound tween Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim), his drunk uncle Red (Gary Busey) and his patient sister Jane (Megan Follows). The Premise: The local priest in Tarker's Mill has been bitten by a werewolf, and is now on a brutal killing spree. As local kids start to disappear, leaving behind only pools of blood and ripped-up kites, young handicapped boy Marty makes a startling discover, and only his Uncle and sister believe him. The trio culls their personal silver collection together, making just one bullet. Will it be enough to kill the rampaging beast? When Stephen King adaptations are discussed, this one usually gets overlooked. But its one of our favorites, and one of King's best short stories.
Monster of Choice: Backwoods boogeyman and perpetual teen slayer Jason Voorhees. The Hero: Monster make-up enthusiast Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman). The Premise: Though mortally wounded in 3D, Jason isn't dead yet. After willing himself back to life, the lumbering machete swinger ditches the morgue for more familiar surroundings, heading back to Camp Crystal Lake for what should be his final hoorah. Unbeknownst to the mentally challenged zombie, the Jarvis family has moved in next-door to the abandoned campsite. When a group of teens (including George McFly himself, Crispin Glover) show up for a little sex, drugs and rock and roll, the party soon turns into a blood bath. But Tommy isn't your average little boy. Having been weaned on Fangoria and the classics of the era, he knows how to defeat this lake dwelling serial killer, becoming a huge part of the mythos in the process. After engaging in the single best chase scene this franchise has ever seen, Tommy dresses up like the bald headed former child entity that is the young moss and mold infected Jason, and tricks him into receiving a twelve inch blade buried in the forehead. It's a scar that would last through the remaining sequels, all the way up until the remake. And Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter is considered by most fans the best film in the series (though that is arguable). Corey Feldman would go onto have a cameo in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning.
Monster of Choice: Mutant Baboon. The Heroes: Perpetual new kid in school Travis (Corey Haim) and his hyper intelligent Golden Retriever Einstein. The Premise: Two genetically altered animals have escaped an experimental science lab, one being a very smart dog and the other being a very smart mound of melting flesh with teeth. The ugly beast wants to kill the very cute hound out of jealous, chasing him across the countryside, brutally chewing his way through any human that gets in his way. The dog takes shelter with a young teen and his single mother, who are constantly moving from town to town. Travis quickly learns that the dog is something special, and that he must save his new furry friend from being eaten alive. Together, they hide out in the woods, setting a massive trap for the mutated baboon in what plays like a very strange remake of Home Alone. All the while, they are being chased by a nasty NSO agent who might also be genetically altered. If you're looking for a tried and true adaptation of the Dean R. Koontz novel, you might want to go with Watchers 2, which stays closer to the narrative. The first installment of this B movie franchise takes some great liberties in bringing the story to the screen. But if you're in the mood for a crazy monster movie fit only for late night Drive-In screens, this will certain satisfy your schlock cravings.
Monsters of Choice: Mogwai and Gremlin. The Heroes: High school graduate and bank teller who still lives with his parents Bill Peltzer (Zach Galligan) and young neighbor boy and Christmas tree salesman Pete Fountaine (Corey Feldman). The Premise: Inventor and salesman Randall Peltzer wants to get his son something special for Christmas, and settles on a too-cut singing rat named Gizmo, which comes with three specific instructions: Do not feed the little guy after midnight, do not get him near water and do not expose him to bright sunlight. Very quickly, these rules are thrown out the window, resulting in the mass birthing of the Gremlin, a dangerous little creature with green scaly skin and razor sharp teeth. Led by Stripe, these nasty two feet tall monsters over take Kingston Falls, throwing an old lady out her second story window, destroying the local bar, and completely demolishing the movie theaters in the process. It's up to Billy, Pete, girlfriend Kate and father Randy to fight back the plague, and save the town before sunrise. Nearly thirty years later, Gremlins remains a true creature feature classic that has never been topped (yet often imitated).
Monster of Choice: Abusive Boy Friend. The Heroes: High Schooler Jake Livingston (Christopher Collet) and his younger brother Brian (Corey Haim). The Premise: Life is pretty alright for the Livingston family. Sure, dad's not around anymore, but Jake is taking care of things, and Mom (Teri Garr) is a woman of the 80s, she knows how to handle her business. But then Bad Ass Sam shows up, and everything goes straight to hell. This devil in a Peter Weller disguise drags Widow Livingston down deep into drinks, and drugs and late night parties...All while, gasp...Threatening her sons behind closed doors! He might even kill them if he can get away with it. Its time for Jake and Brian to take a stand! Sure, The Stepfather, which came a few years later and even got a reboot, gets all the glory for being the premiere destination in domestic abuse thrills, but First Born plays at the conceit with a realism that is hard to shake. It is the feature film debut of Corey Haim, and its not hard to fall in love with him here. From his first moment on screen, it's clear that he has a bright future ahead of him. Oh, and look for cameos from Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker in some of their earliest roles.
Monster of Choice: Cannibals. The Heroes: Overstressed Suburbanite Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks), Doofus Neighbor Art (Rick Ducommun), Military Badass Lt. Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern), and stoner teen Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman). The Premise: Work has been too much for Ray as of late, so he's taking a nice 'staycation' inside his own house. But dealing with mundane chores, and the wife and kids is boring. He can't help get wrapped up in the mysterious lives of his new neighbors. Along with his dim bulb best friend, a gun happy nut, and a pizza hungry horn dog, Ray sets out to uncover the truth about the cannibal cult that has moved in next door. Of course the wives all think he's crazy. But that doesn't stop the cul-de-sac gang from nearly burning down the neighborhood. From the makers of Gremlins, The 'burbs is packed with so much rich story detail and hidden jokes, you still won't get the full gist of what's going on by the twelfth viewing. It's the best cannibal neighbor horror comedy ever made. And Corey Feldman gets two of the best lines in the whole movie. Yes, Ricky, the pizza dude is coming!
Monster of Choice: Angry Indian Ghosts. The Heroes: Sex starved and party mad college students Albert (Corey Haim) and Steve (Mario López). The Premise: Way back in the 1940s, Indians cursed Mystic Lake and the house that sits upon it. That doesn't stop a group of horror cliché college students from taking up residency in this haunted abode, where, after one girl is chased down and eaten by a skinwalker, the rest of the kids decide to play hide and seek. This turns out to be a bad decision for all involved, as Albert may or may not be possessed by Chief Stabs A Lot. Its certainly not a high point in Haim's career, as it was made during his downward spiral. He did get clean and sober enough to turn in a charming performance that makes this a must-see for fans. Its not much, but it's a fun little slasher flick that knows a little too well that its stuck in the middle of 1996.
Monster of Choice: Tropopkin.The Heroes: Comic book enthusiast Todd (Billy Corben) and stoner teen Phlegm (Corey Feldman). The Premise: Todd has a problem. He's getting a hot new step mom. Only, she isn't human. She's a scaly green lizard-like humanoid with a taste for human flesh. She growls, she eats bones, and she chases joggers! Todd must enlist spaced out neighbor Phlegm and the ancient owner of the local comic book store to stop his stepmom from feasting. Only problem is, none of them are too familiar with the Tropopkin, and don't yet know its weaknesses. From Z movie maestro Roger Corman, this slick piece of schlock cinema proves to be a lot of fun, and it allows Corey Feldman to revisit the best elements of Edgar Frog and Ricky from The 'burbs all in one character. This marked the Felddog's descent into straight-to-video cheapies as the studios began not hiring him. But he still brings a fist full of charisma that's infectious. It's a forgotten gem that should definitely be sought out.
Monster of Choice: Elvis. The Hero: 90s Butt Metal heartthrob Tony (Corey Haim). The Premise: A simple hack and slash Ten Little Indians-style murder mystery that is both lite on the murder and the mystery. Four struggling, yet hard rocking, band mates have gotten the break of a lifetime. They are gathered on the sound stages of The Lost World, shortly after it has finished filming, to shoot their own sure-to-be-awesome music video. But in the shadows of this backlot lurks a serial killer in a rubber Elvis mask. Even though they are working on a closed set, the slasher takes after the band members and their girlfriends one by one, killing them in iconic settings such as an old hospital and a cowboy town. They even visit the Psycho house and The Hunchback of Notre Dame set. There's a lot of nudity, and Roger Rabbit himself, Charles Fleischer, eventual shows up. Fans of classic horror movies will have a lot of fun with this one. Its super low budget, but its heart is in the right place. And it has some great kills to boot.
Monster of Choice: Surfing Vampires. The Hero: Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman). The Premise: Franchises. They never grow old, they never die, and they never know fear. Obviously, they don't know a good script, either. The fans wanted a true on-screen reunion between Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. Instead, they got a solo Felddog flying high in what was one of his best performances in years. Any time the former teen idol is on screen is golden. Sadly, he isn't on screen very much. Maybe twenty minutes total out of the 90 minute runtime. His climactic end battle sequence against the surfing vampires is one for the books, but before we get to that, we have to suffer through a modern remake of the first The Lost Boys, only without its wit and charm. The story follows former surfer Chris Emerson and his sister Nicole, who have recently been orphaned. They move to Luna Bay to live with their Aunt. While the sis falls in line with the wave riding local vamps, brother Chris must enlist the help of Edgar Frog to save her and the town. And help he does, in true Rambo fashion. We're not too sure what happened to his brother, Alan, and Sam Emerson is nowhere in sight. Corey Haim's ongoing battle with substance abuse during production was well documented on The Two Coreys, and the result was a quick two minute cameo during end credits that saw Sam turning into a vampire. It's a must-see for Corey Feldman's go for broke performance, but there is a sadness that lingers over the whole thing, and its not one to revisit as often as some of the other movies on this list.
Monster of Choice: Zombies. The Heroes: Sergeant Brooks (Sticky Fingaz) and his right hand man Oso (Corey Haim). The Premise: Here we are, the final film in Corey Haim's established biography. We don't know how good it is, or how much Corey Haim participated in shooting. As with his last couple of films from around this time, he might only be in it for a few minutes. Its suspect, especially considering that the beloved teen idol died in the midst of shooting. But we're still willing to give it a shot, when it arrives on VOD early next year. The premise finds a boat captain and his team of mercenaries docking in the small coastal town of Castle, Brazil. There, the Os Mortis Festival is in full swing, which celebrates their annual 'Zombie Walk'. And, of course, this year, real zombies are going to join in! The Captain and his Mercs are sent out into dangerous waters, where they must contain a zombie outbreak aboard a naval carrier, before it can reach shore and totally devastate the festivities. Only problem is, they have to plant explosives in a hatch that is 7 decks down in order to blow up the ship. And to do so, they'll have to get past exactly 125 freshly anointed members of the walking dead. Will they succeed? I guess we'll know in 2014.
Monster of Choice: Hooker Vampires. The Heroes: Private Investigator Rafe Guttmann (Dennis Miller), overprotective sister Katherine (Erika Eleniak), and her delinquent brother turned blood sucker Caleb (Corey Feldman). The Premise: When a young man goes missing, his sister hires a smart mouthed P.I to find the missing gutter punk and his best friend. It turns out, the two were treating themselves to a couple of call girls at a whorehouse disguised as a funeral parlor. Recently resurrected Mother of All Vampires Lilith is using the operation to replenish the world's waning bloodsucker supply. But not if Rafe and Katherine have anything to say about it. The two embark on an adventure to close down the brothel, and save Caleb, who has been turned into Lilith's very willing vamp assistant. Even if they do survive the ordeal, Lilith will find a way to live on. The movie is known as Corey Feldman's last major role in a studio picture, and it was meant to continue the Tales from the Crypt movie franchise that launched with Demon Knight a year before. The movie wasn't a success, and both this horror series and Corey's big screen aspirations fizzled softly into the night.
Monster of Choice: Cultists. The Hero: Nebbish Norman Forrester (Corey Feldman). The Premise: Paying tribute to his Jewish heritage, which he would really start to embrace around this time, Feldman brings his best performance in a lifetime of great character work to the shy, nervous Norman who is very much in sync with his Woody Allen discourse in life. Embracing his midlife on-screen for the first time, Corey plays Norman as a man very much in love with his girlfriend. He agrees to attend her father's lavish birthday at a grand hotel, despite his hesitation and everyone's oblivion to who he even is. Once things get rolling inside, he soon discovers that a cultist sect has take residency a few floors down, and is preparing for the birth of the god they so lovingly worship inside the hotel. Shot in real time, it's not hard to get completely swept up into Norman's world as he struggles with the knowledge of what's to come. This one might be a little hard to get your hands on, but its well worth seeking out. And its definitely one of Corey Feldman's best and most interesting movies in any genre.
Monster of Choice: Evil Toys. The Heroes: Toymaker Robert Toulon (Corey Feldman) and his daughter Alex (Danielle Keaton). The Premise: In this home video mash-up, it's the undisputed plastic weight championship of the world as the Puppet Master goes up against the Demonic toys! Andre Toulson's great-nephew Robert is the only one with the power to make the toys come alive! A group of evil toy makers seek out his formula with the hopes of reanimating a group of killer toys and unleashing them on Christmas Eve for what will essentially be a blood bath. Its one of the better installments of this long-running franchise from the 90s and 2000s, and it finds the always youthful Corey Feldman really embracing his old man side, as he dons a mad scientist grey wig that isn't very convincing. It doesn't help that he is only a few years older than his on-screen daughter Danielle Keaton. This is a good Halloween/Christmas companion to the much superior Gremlins.
Monster of Choice: Deadly Virus. The Hero: Eternal romantic Allen (Corey Feldman). The Premise: Joe, a lonely well driller, unearths some primordial ooze that turns out to carry a deadly virus. He unwittingly drags it into the small Florida town of Montverde, where he spreads it around to the townsfolk, infecting them all. Cut to, a few days later. Our hero Allen has decided to leave his life behind and propose to the woman of his dreams, the sorta-pretty waitress Maria. This means taking up residency in Montverde for good! A frequent visitor to the tiny burg, Allen soon discovers that something is not right with the locals. Their sense of pleasure and pain has been transposed. And Maria? She seems completely indifferent to the idea of marriage, something she has long wished for. Allen decides to investigate, and suddenly finds himself battling for his life. Terror Inside is for hardcore Feldman obsessives only. He's the only thing going for this uber-cheap home video that feels like it was shot over the course of a weekend. The guy hasn't taken on a lot of starring roles as of late, so this offering from 2008 helps satiate the need to see Corey as a leading man.
Monster of Choice: The Id. The Hero: Johnny Splatter Corey Feldman. The Premise: Nickelback douche-like rocker Johnny puts a bullet in his own brain, but his self-loving runs so high, it brings him back to life as an unsightly ghoul. Now that he has fame, fortune and immortality, he's decided to have a little fun at his last will and testament reading, where he gathers all of his closest friends. What do they win? Eternal torment from beyond the grave as Splatter sets out to kill them all in glorious fashion. First run as a set of webisodes, the footage has since been culled into a thirty-minute mini-movie that's quite a bit of fun. Directed by Joe Dante, the project allows Feldman to reunite with the man behind his earlier hits Gremlins and The 'burbs. It's not much, but the pair seem to be having a blast reconnecting some twenty years later. Again, though, this might only be for the Corey Feldman obsessive, as most of its running time is devoted to close-ups of Johnny's nasty death-chewed face.
Monster of Choice: Twilight Vampires. The Heroes: Edgar and Alan, The Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander). The Premise: With Alan turned into a Half-Vampire, Edgar must go it alone when he is recruited by a romance novelist to infiltrate and decimate a Vampire cabal led by DJ X, who is tricking kids into drinking blood at raves. We end this list with a crowd-pleasing favorite! After the disappointing Lost Boys: The Tribe, Warner Bros. listened to fans, realizing that all they wanted was a true Frog Brothers movie. And that's what we get here. Sure, its low budget, and its got a goofy story, but for longtime fans, it certainly hits the spot! Seeing (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander back together again is a real treat, and there is some awesome action that proves this would work as a TV series. Sadly that may never pan out. Lost Boys: The Thirst also serves as a loving tribute to the late Corey Haim, who didn't pass away until after filming was completed, but came out afterwards, so the scenes of Sam's tombstone hit a little harder than intended. If you haven't seen it yet. You could do a lot worse this Halloween.
Coreyography: A Memoir marks a turning point in Corey Feldman's career. He will undoubtedly go onto make more movies in the coming years, but it's hard to know if he'll continue contributing work to the horror genre. As he enters middle age, he's now open to playing a vastly different set of individuals on screen, and we hope he embraces his talents, pushing himself to new heights. We also hope we get to see Edgar Frog at least one more time. We hope you enjoyed this look at the horror careers of Corey Feldman and the late Corey Haim. And if you watch only one of these movies this spook-filled season, make sure its Watchers! You know, just because...