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House of Wax (2005)
Back to the Basics slasher, I loved it
As a life long horror fan, I absolutely loved this film. This is your text book slasher film. The main set up has been done hundreds of times. Teenagers on a road trip, followed by separating the characters and killing them off. You have your 80's slasher formula, with a nod to the old Vincent Price film rolled into one. One expecting great dialogue and meaning , look elsewhere. It always amazes me how people who seem to abhor slasher films insist on ripping movies like this to shreds in their reviews. If you appreciate a mindless kill flick reminiscent of the 1980's style, this is your film. Again if your looking for a "Ring" like psychological paranormal horror drama, look elsewhere. This one is all about the murders and blood shed. Now, for a horror movie that is a good thing! Paris Hilon's death sequence is great incidentally. House Of Wax is easily one of the most entertaining horror offerings in a while.
The Village (2004)
When is a horror movie not a horror movie?
When M.Night Shamaylan is at the helm!! This film reminds me of classic 80's promotion, where a movie is advertised as something which it is NOT!! During the hey-day of B-cinema many films came out that were marketed as horror and ultimately were not. This film used that technique to fill the seats. The film "Funeral Home" comes to mind, marketed as a zombie movie, when it was actually a "Psycho" inspired thriller. Only with this film the movie is NOT EVEN CLOSE to what is shown in previews. Maybe I would have appreciated it more, if I was not tricked into thinking it was horror. It is obvious by the marketing technique that horror is still a profitable genre, so why is Hollywood not releasing any horror movies in 2004? So far "Dawn Of the Dead" has been the ONLY horror release to date (August 1st) and the new "Exorsist" is on the way. Give the audience that went to see "The Village", what they really want, an authentic horror movie. Not a lame attempt at social commentary disguised as a monster movie. Technically the movie looks great, the acting is solid too, but the script and writing is awful, uninspiring and for the horror movie fan you will be inspired to say "WHAT A WASTE OF TIME". Sorry this director, can not hold a candle to any of the great genre film makers. The movie is not suspenseful at all, the big "twist" is a let down, and the social commentary is very elementary, and nothing slightly thought provoking. If you actually think M.Night Shamaylan and the word brilliant belong in the same sentence, you have not seen too many quality films. After such a promising year (2003) of good horror movies such as "Wrong Turn", "Identity", "Texas Chainsaw 2003", "House Of 1000 Corpses" and others; this year has been a huge letdown for the horror movie fan. This film, is the biggest letdown in the slowest year ever for theatrical horror movies. Judging by the previews I honestly thought Shamaylan set out to make an authentic genre film, boy was I wrong.
It was a nice try
I seriously enjoyed this little made for home release movie. I eventually see every horror movie that comes direct to DVD/VHS and usually find them too unmemorable to review, but S.I.C.K had a lot of potential. I honestly enjoyed the cast especially the young lady who played Denise, she played the most memorable sex driven character in a long time. Seriously a hot actress and she worked the character well. . I enjoyed the little "twist ending" and the videography was seriously well done. The movie was made by people who had a concept at least of what they were doing. Being a life long horror fan, I have seen them all, S.I.C.K is by no means as good as your average horror film from say 1982, this film lacks effective gore and is more tongue-in-cheek than a serious horror movie still Overall this was a watchable little production.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
I have always loved horror films my whole life, always felt that they were the movies worth going out to see. Having grown up in the late 70's and 80's, I got to see a lot of great films, including the original Dawn Of the Dead among other "zombie movies". It seems to me the "zombie movie" just is not done right anymore. I can easily name 10 MUCH better horror movies of this type. Maybe it was the annoying hand held camera shots and the way the zombies were more of like "video game" zombies, than walking corpses.I hated the make up effects in this film, and the cinematography made them hard to see at times. Seriously for a $26 million movie, I WAS NOT IMPRESSED. I'm easily more impressed by a good old Fulci film like "Zombie" or "The Gates OF Hell". Computer use does not work in horror movies as well as old style "gore" effects. Ironically, I believe Tom Savini pops up in this movie for a minute. The "Gaylen Ross" store in the mall was a nice touch. Gaylen Ross was an obscure actress who starred in the original. DOTD (2004) was an overall disappointment, but this is coming from someone who has "Zombie Lake" and "Dont Go In The House" in the video collection. I have seen wayyyy to many horror movie and maybe I'm just a little biased to the old "grind house" cinema, more bold and uncompromising, less flashy and quickly edited. 2003 , was a decent year for horror in my opinion. SO far 2004 has been a pretty slow year for the genre and Dawn Of the Dead (2004) just does not make the grade.
Hippie, cross dressing, drug, psycho movie !
The idea of this film seems interesting enough. Paul and Stanley are two gay jewel thieves. Paul dresses up as "Aunt Martha", Stanley's supposed aunt. This is done to evade authorities, as it happens to be they are wanted for murder. Stanley is also a big time hippie who drives a colorful van, picks up the girls and does a lot of coke. Paul hates it when Stanley brings home girls and goes psycho each time, killing the female guest. The premise is original and entertaining enough to be a classic yet the movie misses it's mark. It's not really the fault of the cast, they do a good job. It's the screenplay and the development of the plot, after the initial set up, the film falls a little flat and fails to live up to it's potential. I would still recommend this one though, if you enjoy obscure strange films.
The Weekend It Lives (1992)
Nothing to see here, keep moving
Normally I'm very cinematically tolerant, I can find good in very bad movies. For example I think "Invasion Of The Blood Farmers" is a great film. "Ax Em" has nothing redeeming about it. This is a backyard production but that does not always mean a bad viewing experience, there are several creative amateur productions on the video market. This is not one of them. The sound is inaudible most of the time, yet you can clearly hear the director say "cut" after every painful scene. The cast frequently all talks at once making it impossible to understand anything. There is not one effectively executed sequence in the whole production. It is absolutely amazing this film got distributed WIDELY on home video by a company which specializes in "Urban" features. If you subtract all the technical ineptness, you still have a poorly written, poorly directed, poorly photographed, creatively sterile waste of time. Take it from me I have watched 20 years worth of B horror movies.
There Was a Little Girl (1981)
Above average 80's slasher movie
Ovidio Assonitis best known for "Beyond The Door" does a good job with this slasher tale of two sisters. One is a teacher for deaf children, the other is a dangerous psycho who just escaped from the hospital. The evil sister starts killing people who know her sister, including the landlord, the oriental handyman, one of her students(!) and her friend as well. Many of the victims face the jaws of a very scary looking drooling dog! Solid acting and script makes the viewer actually care for our main character. There is a great twist where a second killer is revealed and a good climax as well. Overall "There Was a little Girl (AKA Madhouse)" is a great horror movie. When the second killer is revealed you will find yourself saying "what a psychopath"! That is a sign of an acting and directing job well done.
A second review of this film
Blood Shed/Crazed/slipping Into Darkness was the first movie I ever reviewed on IMDB. Initially I totally bashed the film. After A second viewing I take it back completly!!! The fact that the video art work makes it look like a violent-gore film lead to my negative review. I was expecting a gore fest and instead got a film with low body count and no gore. This film is actually very good. Their are a lot of interesting little things in this movie proving way ahead of the current events of our time. The lead character is constantly having flashbacks of his childhood. Most interesting is the priest flashbacks, the film seems to hint that he was molested by a priest especially of the quick shots of the boy on his knees possibly in a confessional booth. Ironically this issue is currently all over the news. It's almost as if the writer knew of a dirty little secret and was exposing it with this film. The character's army flashbacks are interesting too, especially since real life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer had a bad experience in the army as well. It seems to me at second look that this film is a realistic look of how a lonley individual with serious past issues can slowly become completly insane and end up murdering people. To top it off there is some funny dialogue by the old ladies in this film to soften the serious tone. A second look at this film reveals a seriously under rated study of insanity. The original title Slipping into Darkness fits the movie better than the Blood Shed tag which will steer you the wrong way!
The Burning (1981)
Back when Independent films had GUTS there was the BURNING
Boy have times changed. In the 80's independent films usually were risk taking and bold. They pushed the envelope especially with violence! Slasher films of the 80's never received the credit they deserved. This film is one of the underappreciated independent films of the 80's. Can you believe Miramax, Disney's so called "independent film" studio put this out? This was before Disney controlled Miramax. I'm sure the politically correct Weinsteins try to bury this film as a mistake of the past, but this film gave them a career. Riding off the wave of success of Friday the 13th , The Burning was released. I remember it being highly popular when it played. I saw the film at a now defunct Brooklyn theater called "The College", right near Brooklyn College. I remember the house being packed and the audience hungry for gore and scares. The Burning supplied plenty, including the famous "raft" murder sequence in which the evil Cropsey kills off 5 kids at once. I suggest an alternative source to see this whole sequence uncut, the R rated video print has a couple of noticable cuts. Great special effects by Tom Savini, great acting and solid direction, makes Friday the 13th pale in comparison to The Burning. This film and Madman are in my opinion the 2 best slasher films of the 80's. Independent films currently are not really independent but rather backed by a major studio. So to all those yuppies who "love independent movies", you are clueless. This is real independent cinema from the golden age of film where everyone had a chance of their film getting theatrical release and the movie did not have to be a "gay/lesbian" comedy. No knock to anyone who is gay, it just seems to me every independent movie is a romantic comedy about gay people. Re-live the glory days, get a copy of The Burning right now!
Zombi Holocaust (1980)
Zombies, Cannibals and a mad doctor = PURE ENTERTAINMENT
Zombi Holocaust is a great Italian splatter film not to be missed! I remember it playing in the 80's when low budget horror was king, released in the US under the famous title DR. Butcher MD. The plot is totally rediculous but works well as a device to display gut munching, gory operating room scenes and machete slashings. Most of the film takes place on an island where the mad doctor has turned the native cannibals into zombies! So you have cannibals and zombies on an island controlled by a mad doctor. Next you add in the newspaper reporter from NY and a crew of island explorers and you have a film similar to Fulci's Zombie only with more gore and a goofier plot! I love this movie and have seen it at least 50 times. Don't fool yourself by renting some lame made for video junk, rent DR.Butcher MD if you can find it, and have a bloody good time!