For, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: This ‘Hicks on Flicks’ column, published in the Deseret News on June 6, 1983, under the headline, ‘Is Hollywood genre-ous to a fault?, was prompted by the announcements in trade papers of upcoming movies that, on the surface anyway, appeared to be little more than copycat efforts.

Reading about movies that are in various stages of production, and, for that matter, completed films that have been on the shelf for a time, is a fascinating pastime for a film buff. It’s certainly more interesting than having to sit through many of those same films.

But what’s really a kick is trying to figure out what a movie is about with only its title to go on.

Some are so ridiculous they stand on their own, others are just variations of other titles (and you can bet the movies are just variations on other movies, as well), and when productions are announced in the trade papers (Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Box Office Magazine), they often even print an artist’s conception of what the film will be about.

Those drawings are the real giveaways, of course — since they so often resemble ad art from films you recognize.

Each genre seems to have a life all its own. Of course, when you consider how many movies are made compared to how many movies manage are widely released, it’s understandable that titles of low-budget quickies might occasionally try to cash in on past hits. In some genres, however, it is apparently hard for filmmakers to come up with titles at all, hence some of the bizarre films listed below, all real — I didn’t make any up, except as noted — and all advertised in the trades as being in some form of production or planning.


As you might expect, it is the horror films that continue to dominate trade-paper ads, and there are some humdingers coming up. The titles probably tell all, and just when you might think they’ve exhausted the weirdest of them … well, try these on for size:

There are those obviously aimed at “Psycho” fans — “Madman” and “Unhinged.”

The zombie-“Night of the Living Dead” rip-offs — “Return of the Living Dead,” “The Evil Dead.”

Damien’s relatives in films resembling “The Omen” (which itself sprang off of “Rosemary’s Baby”) — “The Next One,” “Reborn,” “The Coming.”

Since “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” “My Bloody Valentine,” “Silent Night, Bloody Night” and “Happy Birthday to Me” took all the good holidays (I mean who’d go to a film titled “The Arbor Day Killings?”), someone came up with one that has to do with the time of day — “Just Before Dawn.” Who knows what could be next? “Right After Lunch” or “The Midnight Snack?”


“Spasms” sounds to me like a variation on “Scanners.”

And “places” are back in vogue — “Mortuary,” “Mausoleum,” “The Attic, “The Black Room” and “Deathouse.”

“Dawn of the Mummy” sounds like a traditional horror film, but “Superstition,” “Hospital Massacre,” “Harlequin,” “Demon Rage,” “Blood Tide,” “The Demons,” “Inseminoid” and “The Romance” (subtitled with bloody graphics, “It’s not a love story”) are anyone’s guess.

One that seems to stand alone is “Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker.” That could lead to all kinds of possibilities. Like perhaps “Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Killed.” Or how about “Little Bo Peep, Come Kill Your Sheep.”

It’s enough to make “Psycho II” more palatable.