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BaronBl00d

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The Video Dead (1987) (V)
"Just Pray It's Not drugs Dear", 20 July 2013
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Probably more famous for its video box than as a film, this direct-to-video film is not all that bad. In fact it really grew on me. Why? It is not because it is particularly good or has great action or wonderful special effects. It does have a lot of heart and a sense of humor AND despite the low budget and the cast of mostly one and dones - it is fairly well-made. An odd package is sent to a writer who opens the box, finds an old black and white TV, plugs it in...and then the only thing that plays is a zombie flick. Wait! He turns off set and it comes back on. He unplugs it and it comes back on..and he is killed by a group of undead that come from the TV set. These rogue zombies then disappear for three months until a new family moves in - and then they start killing. Why did they wait three months? Your guess is as good as mine! Apparently they were in the woods the whole time. Anyway, the new people in the house are just a teen-aged boy and his hot sister. A guy that originally bought the TV set comes along - and its zombie hunting time. Now, do not get me wrong. This is no great cinema. How about that scene with the poodle going into the woods? Or the whole bit with the kid tied in the air? Or even the ending. these zombies are MIGHTY smart! I liked the performances of several most notably Sam David McClelland as Joshua Daniels(the guy that kept calling Jeff "Kid." He was not great but genuine. The girls were all hot in that 80s hot way. Victoria Bastel as April the cute blond and Roxanna Augenson as Zoe Blair - very pretty though not always convincing. The make up really is pretty good and the TV scenes were really pretty suspenseful. For what it was - I liked it. I do want to check out the new blu ray. I watched my old Embassy tape once again. Who says video is dead?

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
My Vote for Best Film of 2012!, 20 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lots of division here - actually I am very surprised. I am not going into some long review. MANY on here have done so. I loved the movie and, after seeing most of the films nominated for an Oscar in 2012, was very perplexed why this one had not even been nominated. To me, it clearly was the best. Yes, I have read The Hobbit many times. Yes, Peter Jackson changed and heavily "added" but in the end he crafted a masterpiece - and I for one longingly await the second installment. Could this have been done in two movies? Sure. But it was not. At least you are getting your money's worth with these films. The action, story, acting, special effects, music, etc.. are all top-notch. That is all I have to say now - I told you I would be brief.

It's a Hybrid between Frankenstein and Freaks, 20 July 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, to keep the puns going, this grows on you after awhile. Really, it does. While I had never heard of it before, I was pleasantly surprised to find this film about a British bio-engineer/professor mixed up with a carnival and who uses bodies(inexplicably) to help with his experimentation to create an animal/plant race of beings. We get a Frankenstein type film, but when you add the oddities(most REAL) from the carnival - and who create scenes eerily reminiscent of Tod Browning's Freaks - we get so much more. While undeniably cheaply made - the special effects are ridiculous as is the final "invention" of man and plant, The Mutations(I saw it under the title The Freakmaker)does have some truly jarring scenes. The carnival freaks in this movie are allowed to act - and, quite frankly, are the scariest thing in this film as they lynch Lynch(played nicely by a heavily made-up Tom Baker - make-up here is quite good too!) - a deformed man who wants to be 'normal" whilst distancing himself from his freak brethren by calling them freaks and himself normal. Needless to say things do not work out well for him. This is the subplot of the film but I found it more interesting than the story of Donald Pleasance working with plants and creating some starved half-animal half-plant creature the size of a human. Pleasence is good as he always is - but really is given little to do EXCEPT for his wonderful lecture at the beginning of the film. There we are also introduced to four students(later Brad Harris will join them)who will come to know the doctor's work firsthand. The only thing you need to know about these four is that three of them are HOT, beautiful girls: blonde Jill Haworth, sensuous Olga Anthony, and the incredibly stunning Julie Ege - we also get to see them in various states of disrobe - a MAJOR highlight. Harris is OK, but it really is the real-life "freaks" that caught my eye. Michael Dunn plays the dwarf running the carnival - and I think he gives his best performance in film. I always thought he was a pretty good actor that went beyond his stereotyped image. This unfortunately was one of his last films as he died at the age of 38. The Mutations is a solid film with many undesirable elements but does, in my opinion, scare - why? Well, that will be for you to determine.

Holy Flying Flapjacks!, 20 July 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I too remember this film from my youth. I think I saw it on HBO in the early 80s - some thirty years better. What did I remember from the original? I remembered the flying alien discs. Aside from that nothing else except Larry Storch. As I watched the credits roll recently, I kept saying "Larry Storch is in this! He is some kind of boy scout or something." Indeed, he was - and still, for me, the best thing about this movie. He has one of those humorous cameos that steals scenes as he talks about Guapo Indians trying to impress his scouts. Well, let's backtrack. The film opens with a man(Cameron Mitchell in need of some bucks and bad!)out to hunt with his, in his words, "sissy" son when both soon find these aforementioned alien discs attack. What does such an attack look like? It looks like a disc being thrown at someone then sticks its tentacles into the flesh and soon the victim dies. We then go to Storch meeting the same fate and then we get a group of teens going to the lake to have fun. Are they aware that something is not quite right at the lake? Of course they are as they have been warned both directly and indirectly - but go nonetheless. Two die and two fly. Well, the film looks and feels very cheaply made. The actors over-act madly. Martin Landau plays a Fred Dobbs(yes, it is Bogart's name in Treasure of the Sierra Madre - and yes, he is crazy too!) Landau really looks like he took an overdose of acting pills, which is good because Jack Palance must have finished the bottle! These two are so far off the chart as to turn this from any serious vehicle to something of a parody nature - though unintentional I assure you. The film is not all bad. There are some nice scenes in an abandoned house toward the end of the film. The master alien is cool looking and the final part of the film FAIRLY effective. There is also a host of character actors given little to do such as Ralph Meeker and Neville Brand. The young foursome are decent at least. But what the film has going against it is quite ponderous: dark lighting throughout, over-acting - did I mention over-acting?, a novice-like feel for the direction of the film, etc... This is a hard movie to find. I watched a horror convention DVD - it took forever just to track that down. Once I watched it I was like - okay, I saw it again. I probably won't for another 30 years again.

Madman (1982)
"I'll Find Him One, two, Three.", 8 July 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had always heard of this film but never had an opportunity to see it. Once I saw it - I confess I fell in love with it. It is in the tradition of Halloween and Friday the 13th and that whole slew of slasher films that littered the movie scene in the late 70's and more aptly the early 80s. While not on a par with Halloween(few films like it are) I thought Madman was MUCH better than Friday the 13th. It is undeniably cheaply made but really does not show. The film opens with a wonderful red drawing of two clutching, gnarled hands whilst the titles play and this loud yet engrossing theme plays. We then go to a campfire where we see an older-looking camp counselor singing some bizarre ballad about people getting killed as he goes from person to person(the counselors out-number the children). Then the leader of the camp, an older guy named Max, tells this terrifying tale of Madman Marz and how he butchered his family with an axe and then was strung up by a group of people but escaped from being hanged where he now waits to do the like to any one who says his name above a whisper. Well, his name is said above a whisper and you can imagine what follows: deaths - many of them. While this is a very formulaic film, it has style and I was truly impressed. None of the actors except the lead female - Gaylen Ross who was one of the leads in Romero's Dawn of the Dead and Creepshow - has had any career(hers as an actress preceded this film actually). None of them are embarrassing - in fact I though everyone was pretty good, BUT it is the tension of the film that carries it. The Madman looks scary as we really see little of him through the film. The deaths are scary - from a guy being strung up and almost freeing himself to a girl hiding in a fridge to, my favorite, the hot girl(Harriet Bass as Stacy) taking the lyrics to "Keep truckin" a little too seriously. The film is mostly separate killings until the end when Ross realizes what is happening. The ending takes place in Madman Marz's dilapidated house. The direction by Joe Giannone and the story by Gary Sales and company really are quite entertaining and I am surprised more did not come out of their careers. They have obvious talent. The print I saw was by Anchor bay and was PRISTINE. I also enjoyed much of the director/cast/crew commentary provided.

A Host of Character Actors, 16 February 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When it comes to seeing an actor's face that you know BUT may not know the name that goes with it...Hunter's Blood delivers. Hunters Sam Bottoms, Ken Swofford, Clu Gulager, Joey Travolta(I knew he was related to John but not his name), and a bunch of yelling, heehawing Arkansas rednecks like Bruce Glover(more on him later) and Bill Drago(The Untochables and Frank Nitti) and several others are just some of those FACES. Hunter's Blood, a movie which currently is only on VHS(old) and laserdisc(old) - with a GREAT cover, tells the story of five city guys going hunting deep in the Arkansas woods where a bunch of semi-civilized poachers live, eat, kill, procreate, etc... It falls into that sub-genre of horror of wilderness horror like Rituals(a great film). This is a good film as well. The direction is taut and suspenseful. The beginning is a bit slow and talky, but we get invested in the characters. I liked the five hunters. None of them were bad men really. There is even a great little talk about hunting and how it brings men closer together. The musical score is just right in keeping that suspense going - particularly as the film winds down to that inevitable climatic end. We get some great scenes like the bar scene with its tension. There is the bloody close-up of a head after having been blown off(not completely) by a shotgun. There is the battle with David and several different backwoods hillbillies. The acting was surprisingly good as was the script. Clu Gulager is at his best as is Ken Swofford. Joey Travolta is annoying - but he was playing an annoying character. God, does he do it well! Then there is Bruce Glover as One Eye....putting on his own Barnum and Bailey circus as all the acts rolled into one! Watching him bob and weave and repeat, "We're gonna get ya!"...over and over and over became quite chilling. Eye candy Kim Delaney is really unnecessarily brought along for the ride, but she does not really detract from the film. Two things other than the general quality of all involved stood out for me. One - If I were from Arkansas or anywhere near it I probably would be offended. These hillbillies are unkempt, sadistic, inbred, and cannibalistic(so it appears) as well as amorous toward members of their own gender(one guy really had the hots for Joey!). It is a stereotype of backwoods rednecks first enunciated by the city guys as they drive there and, rather shabbily I might add, interact with the locals and then later proved to be true(?) Two - I liked the twist at the end and how the movie throughout had, directly or indirectly, paid homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre(there) or Deliverance or others. Hunter's Blood is a good film that deserves DVD treatment soon.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Drake Goodman and Patty Palmer Build their Dream House, 16 February 2013
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rather typical, yet fun and exciting thriller that starts out somewhat slowly but builds nicely by the close of the film. The story involves a young unmarried couple who allow a man to "rent" a studio apartment in their newly financed Victorian home only to discover he has no intentions of paying and has other financial plans ahead...the story gets a bit convoluted by the end. Matthew Modine and Melanie Griffith play the couple well-enough. Neither is great but both serviceable(and Griffith even in attire NOT made to accentuate her beauty) is a treat for the eyes. The real talent here is Michael Keaton who has a knack for playing psychopathic men. I wanted to bash his head half-way through the film as my heart went out to this couple for being right but laws supporting the real crook prevailed! Director John Schlesinger creates a nicely taut denouement and step by step we reach the chilling climatic moment. Tippi Hedren(Griffith's real-life mother) has a small part as does Jerry Hardin(of X-Files fame). Dan Hedaya also has a small role and Beverly D'Angelo has an uncredited role. Mako, as a Japanese renter, also is on board with a nice small performance. I enjoyed Pacific Heights despite the story which...if you think about things too long - just does not make sense completely.

Like a Twig on the Shoulders of a Mighty Stream - OR Literally SHIVER Your Timbers(Fingers)", 25 January 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I must have been in a mental fog when this came out initially as I just recently "discovered" it on Netflix Streaming. The beginning of the film opens with a camp worker getting pranked but then the prank goes awry by the juvenile boys that produce this prank and the worker ends up being engulfed in flames. The film starts like many of those slasher films of the early eighties like Friday the 13th, Happy Birthday to me, etc... BUT what transpires afterward - well, I got to admit surprised me. I was expecting a slew of teen murders at a camp, lots of blood and gore, and some maniacal killer with almost inhuman qualities. I did get the second and, to some degree, the third BUT what I did not get was a bunch of teen characters cavorting in the woods and then brutally slain when about to have sex. You know those characters that you do not even know their names, because they are just fodder for Jason or Mchael or Freddy. The camp in this film was humanized. The kids had names. We got to know them a bit. We got to care for some of them a bit. The girls were not wholly objectified. Don't get me wrong: this is a slasher movie, but it is better than most of the junk that was made in that period. Special effects maestro Tom Savini does his grisly best to supply vast bloodletting. There were a couple scenes where I had to turn away(the hooker scene with the belly was for me the absolute worst and also the least necessary). The famous or infamous raft scene - well, it was indeed something you would not forget. But the film does have a story beyond the killings. That may be because it was scripted by the Weinstein brothers before they started Miramax. They obviously have talent. The settings were very good and LIT - this film is pretty bright for a slasher film. The acting by a cast of then no-bodies was very good. We get three future "stars" if you will here - all young, enthusiastic, and carefree - Fisher Stevens, Holly Hunter, and Jason Alexander WITH hair! I liked this film. The whole thing with Cropsy and his garden shears was effectively done. The story of his revenge was interesting and the film as a whole was entertaining and invested more from me then just a desire to see sick gutting on the screen. There is also, just as a reminder again, a lot of bloodletting in this film. It is a slasher film, but just one of the better ones made. The print streaming on Netflix now is pristine too! the end of the film in the caves was very well shot and paced.

"There is a difference between Admiring and Ogling.", 25 January 2013
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Poverty Row production by PRC and directed by journeyman director Sam Newfield, The Monster Maker is very good when one considers what the director, actors, and crew had to deal with with regard to budget, etc... The major premise here is that a doctor/scientist goes to a concert to see a great pianist and instead falls in love with the maestro's daughter because she resembles his former wife. He leers at her throughout the concert and gives an introduction to meet the pianist later. Now, we then get this scientist not taking NO for an answer - so what does he do when Dad goes to tell him to leave his daughter alone...why he injects him with a serum that gives him acromegaly(this is what actor Rondo Hatton had). This disease quickly transforms the urbane feature of Ralph Morgan into a shuttered "monster" with a face full of giant bumps and lesions and growths. For it seems that Dr. Igor Markoff has a specialty in this field and knows that he will be the only person Morgan can go to for help...then he will ask for his daughter for the price of that help. The script, despite this film being roughly an hour, is amazingly crisp and interesting. The acting by J. Carrol Naish and Ralph Morgan is good as well. Naish plays one of the sickest, depraved mad scientists in this era. He even is made to look like the devil with his pointed beard! I thought his twisted Dr. Markoff was very enjoyable a performance to watch. The rest of the cast - Tala Birell as Dr. Markoff's assistant and idolizer is particularly good as is Wanda McKay the pretty blonde daughter and Terry Frost as her boyfriend. Glenn Strange is a servant for Naish and we do get Ray Corrigan dressed in a gorilla outfit and Ace - the Wonder Dog. The scene with the gorilla and dog was one of my favorites. But it really is Naish and Morgan doing the heavy lifting here. They both were good and Morgan's make-up was very credible. Though this is a low-budget film, it is definitely worth a look.

What Can Be So Wrong with an Iron Maiden?, 25 January 2013
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, yes, this is a pretty bad Euro-sleaze picture that has liberal doses of blood and murder but far more nudity and sex. Not really all that bad a combination is it? We get an asylum for rich women relaxing, playing croquet, and having fun - only to be visited by a masked, heavy-breathing murderer wielding a variety of medieval weapons. If you are looking for cogent and coherent story here, pass, BUT if you are looking for one of those classic entertaining, sleazy pictures that you could only get from the 70's(and in particular Italian cinema) then sit down and enjoy. The film has a pretty impressive cast from that era of "genre" stars like Klaus Kinski. He does virtually nothing in the movie and I barely noticed he was in the picture at all. True, most of my attention was focused on the female cast, but Kinski does nothing with his role of a doctor helping these women cope with their problems(he does start an affair with one later though). John Karlsen as Professor Osterman does a far better job engaging the audience with his acting skill as the man seemingly running this institution. But make no mistake, it is the female cast that is a veritable buffet for the eyes. First, there is Sara Bay - Rosalba Neri - she went by Bay in the classic sleaze-fest Frankenstein' Daughter where she played a nymphomanical scientist out to create the perfect lover to satiate her carnal desires. She disrobed frequently in that film and does so here. Guess what? In this film she plays a patient with a seemingly incurable disease - nymphomania! What acting range! Who cares. Just look at that black outfit she wears through most of the picture. Then there is Margaret Lee - a beautiful Englishwoman who is no stranger to these types of films and is very integral to the revelation of the denouement. Next we have beautiful blonde and buxom Gioia Desideri as a woman who tries to kill herself(fortunately she later gets some much needed help). There is a hot, steamy shower scene with Neri, but hands down the most erotic aspects of the film deal with a bizarre relationship with Nurse Helen and patient Mara. The way Nurse Helen - Monica Strebel - seduces and ravages Mara with just her delicious blue eyes is a real treat to see. She is so blatant that I was laughing. Then we get the massage scene where Mara has her exotic buttocks caressed for what seemed like twenty minutes. There is more. Both girls are pretty, and we even have Mara do one of her homeland tribal dances or something along those lines. But I digress from the horror of the film, for it does have some. No one dies until 30 minutes into the film. But the opening SUGGESTS a murder will take place. The deaths are interesting though we never really are given a real reason for why they happened. We get sword deaths, death by iron maiden, a crossbow, an axe, and even a scythe. The ending is very bloody and very surrealistic almost as a mace is used with frequency and energy - like the energizer bunny it keeps going and going. Look, this is no great film by any means. It is fun though(on many levels) and somehow keeps your full attention. It does have great atmosphere. It does have lots of eye candy. It does have some wonderful Euro-sleaze music. Before I set down to write this review, I gave it a 5...I have now convinced myself to give it a 6. It might be worthy for you to take a peek.


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