Reviews written by registered user
|23 reviews in total|
To be honest, I was very interested with the idea behind The Blair Witch
Project, an idea which many have claimed stemmed from The Last Broadcast.
Bottom line: "There aint nothing new under the sun." Before both films was
"Canibal Holocaust" in 1979. I don't care to compare the films in terms of
which one is better, or if "The Blair Witch" is truly original; thats
pointless. Last I remember the makers of "The Last Broadcast" were kind of
happy that "The Blair Witch Project" helped them get some more exposure.
I am not one to bad-mouth any independent film makers. Making a living doing independent feature films is not the steadiest of job professions. Both films showed that a lot can be done with a small budget. I'm a film student and personally know that 400 ft of film costs over $100 and only runs in your camera for about 11 minutes!! Trust me, add more film, developing, telecline, color correction, editing, paying your crew, and many other production costs together and your looking at least $20,000. Blow-up a 16mm film to 35mm and that'll cost you an additional $20,000 to $30,000 (I think Artisan picked up that tab for The Blair Witch Project but I'm not sure). The Last Broadcast got around the costs by shooting completely on digital video!! -I still like film better, but that was smart and effective way to budget!
My stance on "The Last Broadcast": Well, I knew about "The Last Broadcast" before I knew about "The Blair Witch Project" but I did not get a chance to see it until after. Both are similar in approach however, "The Last Broadcast" takes a sadistic twist that was honestly was quite unexpected. I thought it was a very clever idea, you should see it for yourself. Another thing I liked about this flick is that was done on an incredible shoe string budget (I think under $1000). It is very effective from that standpoint alone. I think those who like twisted dark endings with a sense of explanation will like this better than The Blair Witch Project (ie...you won't be left feeling like "What the hell was that?????") You will actually get to see the Jersey Devil in action (cleverly done I might add).
My stance on "The Blair Witch Project": I found out about "The Blair Witch" when I met director Ed Sanchez at a party after he got back from Sundance and let me tell you he was a very humble about the whole thing. He was still in shock I'm sure. It seemed to me that he didn't seem to have any idea how well this film would be received. He was just trying to pay his bills and enjoy his passion of film making. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy. A little while later, I saw a pre-screening of "The Blair Witch Project" and, in all honesty, I didn't find it scary or suspenseful. Now hear me out before you blast me!!! I'm a huge horror buff: I like'em all: Bava, Fulci, Hammer Films, Argento, Raimi, Romero, Hitchcock, Craven, Hoper, Carpenter, ...etc... I could go on and on. To me "The Blair Witch" was kind of weak on horror but I DID find it really entertaining to watch 3 people lose it in the woods; especially seeing that incredibly annoying "Heather" finally bite it in the end. (The award of most annoying actor in a horror film to "bite it" previously went to Fred Willard for his role in "Salems Lot", a position he held for exactly twenty years before she showed up!!) Nice going Heather!!
What was most ridiculous is when Blair Witch fans slammed those who didn't find it scary because "you have never been camping or in the woods at night" First off you are wrong. Second, how the hell do you know whether someone has been camping or not? STUPID!!! I often found that those same people almost never had comments about films from people like Argento, Bava, Fulci etc.... Need I say more????
All I got to say is this: CHEERS TO BOTH FILMS!!! Both films have gone up one Hell of a mountain in the film market and thats a lot more than I have done. Both "The Blair Witch Project" and "The Last Broadcast" are triumphs to the little guy. I am often amazed at people who think that just because something is on film (or in this case video) makes it good or if the quality is not quite there it gets blasted by the critics. Take both films for what they are: low-budget, gritty and grainy with honest intentions. Even if they are both kind of weak, thats the kind of film making that I love the best because its honest!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One word. Surreal!! I mean really Surreal!!!! I didn't realize what I would
be experiencing when I rented this, but it is without question one of the
most bizarre trips you'll ever witness in your life!!!!
SURREALIST SPOILER In short, Christ explores a world with a near limb-less handicapped man (often carrying him on his back)....the two venture in to town where Asian tourists are murdered execution style by soldiers wearing gas masks....while on-lookers in Sombreros take photos. Then Christ and the little man get hired by small circus to showcase a battle between Frogs and Chameleons in miniature Spanish conquistadors uniforms ..... Christ then gets drunk with Romans who make a mold of him and duplicate him... Christ gets angry and destroys the duplications (but keeps one for himself)...then runs into an Army of Mary Magdalen prostitutes...... This film also explores a surreal point of view on Astrology. In other words the planets and their influence on this incredibly bizarre world!!! END SURREALIST SPOILER
I realize that words can not even begin to describe this film, so I'll stop my self prematurely. You'll simply have to see it to believe it.
The first thing that popped in to my head when watching this film was a video documentary I once saw about the "1st generation of film-school directors". When Martin Scorsese was in NYU's film school he described seeing films from ULCA and USC that were very "psychedelic and "slick". The documentary then showed clips of dwarfs on psychedelic sets with very strange visual effects. One could clearly see that the west coast "psychedelic" style was much different than the east coast "tough lower east-side" style. Scorsese explained it with much laughter: "They had more powerful drugs on the west coast than we did on the east coast."
I don't know much about Alejandro Jodorowsky film career, but I don't think this film was simply conceived out of a drug induced state. Jodorowsky is a masterful surrealist and of course, artist. He had to be influenced by Dali at some point. As for the surrealist movement in general, cheers to those who stray from the beaten path, otherwise everything (much like Hollywood) would be the same story told over and over again in a different way. Surrealist film makers are the true engineers of film. Instead of advancing the technology of film itself, Surrealists advance the technology of telling a story by taking huge risks which may make the characters or outcome un-likeable by many. These so called "risks" are often regarded as crap by the more feeble minded and conceptual breakthroughs by the more open minded.
This film is astonishing, disturbing and just plain weird. I really enjoyed it!!!
I have to agree with one of the previous comments which says: "Wow! Where
should I start?" In fact, I have held off on commenting about this series
for quite some time because there is so much to say.
Nobody impacted Science Fiction more than Rod Serling. Its hard to imagine where Science Fiction would be today if he did not exist. Like an engineer or architect of thought, he truly broke new ground with "The Twilight Zone" in writing and entertainment. His ideas were expansive and thought provoking. Each idea, exploited our old fears and opened our minds by creating new ones.
He was a writer, director, producer, master storyteller and lastly, a magician because "The Twilight Zone" was surely pure magic!!
Why was the series so good? If ask anyone who makes feature films or produces an episodic series and they will all tell you the most important part of their work is a great script.
If you remember, Rod Serling was first an foremost, a writer, and a great one at that!! I'm not sure if its fair to say that he invented "the twist" in a story, but he sure as hell perfected it!!!
He was determined too. From early interviews he mentioned his battles against TV censors and uneasy advertisers. In one of his more memorable interviews he said that when he was a writer for a TV station in Cincinnati, he was instructed to write a fake product testimonial for some kind of "cure-all" pill that was supposed to cure everything from polio to the common cold. This upset him so much that he vowed to be in total control of his writing from that point on. This was evident later during "The Twilight Zone" when he refused to change his stories because an advertiser was uneasy about it's edgy content.
I don't think he even had an idea how important his series would impact the world and our perceptions of the supernatural because "The Twilight Zone" was perceived as risky and edgy to TV executives. It was more edgy than anything on TV back in those days, and only mimicked today. When the executives of "The Night Gallery" production tried to control him, the series failed miserably. If they only gave him complete control. I feel kind of cheated not seeing everything that Rod wanted to do! Don't you? Sadly Rod Serling is gone, but one does not have to look far to see that his spirit lives forever in the writing of science fiction and productions such as "The X-Files", "Star Trek", "The Sixth Sense", "Tales From The Crypt"....the list goes on and on...
I read in an interview where Burton said that he was very influenced by
Hammer Films. I think Sleepy Hollow pays homage to that beautifully!
Burton's films often have a dark, surreal, but yet corny feel to them. Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Mars Attacks are all proof of that. Of course, mixing Pee Wee's Playhouse with the darker side of life is going to yield some pretty interesting results no matter who you are!! I think what makes Burtons so unique is his ability to mix the lighter side of life with the darker side, and when he does its a totally unique vision!
In "Sleepy Hollow" we get to see a slightly more serious side to Burton with just a hint of his corny nature. Its is evident that he treated this project with great respect. I think it came out nicely.
Yeah, the story may have changed considerably from the original Washington Irving story that you remember as a kid, but the film still does a great job of capturing the gloom and doom of this classic gothic tale. I've never seen so much fog in my life!!
I actually didn't mind the rendering of the original story at all. Kevin Yagher (who is primarily known as a special-effects make-up artist) makes his first debut as a screenwriter. He crafts a decent mystery and gave the headless horseman a more evil supernatural background.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the cinematography is great!! You'd be surprised how much of the film was actually filmed indoors on a set in England. I've seen lots of behind the scenes footage from some independent film magazines showing the graveyard set. Did you notice the cloudy horizon in the background? Its fake, but astonishing to say the least!!! How'd they do that??? The headless horseman's dead tree was made of fiber glass, but Burton's team did an incredible job!!! Emmanuel Lubezki really knows how to use light; or shall I say lack of it!! Nice Atmosphere!!! Cheers!!
Although I've already commented about "Army of Darkness"
I felt I had to clear up a common misconception about the film. Sometimes
you have to spell it out for some of the slower people out there!!!
You see, I was just talking the other day with someone who was deeply offended that Sam Raimi released Army of Darkness, and that it was an insult to the whole Evil Dead Trilogy. This is because he didn't find it scary at all.
GEEEZ!!! Can you believe that??? He didn't find "Army of Darkness" scary... hmmmm???? .... I wonder why???? .....hmmmmm???
Maybe because "Army of Darkness" is first and foremost a COMEDY! Ever heard of it? Yeah, its something called COMEDY. You know, the kinda stuff we laugh at. It was a clever move on Raimi's part, but unfortunately some of the slower people on the planet didn't get it. In fact, have you ever noticed how the Extras in Raimi's films are credited as Fake Shemps? (As in SHEMP from the THREE STOOGES) .....Ahhhhhhh I'm seeing a pattern here.
So in the words of our dear protagonist Ash, "Listen up you primitive screw-heads!!!" The jokes on you!!!! You didn't get the joke because you have the sense of humor of a house plant!!
Whats that I hear?
"You mean ARMY OF DARKNESS is a Comedy???"
"Ahhhhhhhhh....... Now I get it!!!!!"
I just purchased this on DVD and its easily one of my favorite new disks.
Included in the DVD masterpiece are: the English Version, the German Version
with English subtitles, audio commentary by director Werner Herzog, 2
different US theatrical trailers, 1 Spanish theatrical trailer and even a
making of the movie mini-feature!!! Very worth the money!!!
This is not an average movie by any means!!! It also appears to be a salute to the great German Expressionist films of the early 1900's. The story line is very intelligent and compassionate. The dialogue is spoken very soft and slowly. There is not very much action in the film, but the performances and cinematography are nothing short of breathtaking!!
Klaus Kinski plays a very convincing Dracula in this 1979 classic. His slow movements are almost hypnotizing!!! Just watch how he moves his hands!! They move so slow and very mysterious!! The guy who played the "nut case" was great!! The images of coffins, crucifixes, rats, and how rumors of the plague were spreading were brilliantly executed.
If you liked this film, you might want to check out 1992's "The Cronos" for another example of a compassionate and intelligent story about Vampires, but set in Mexico. Both films explore the "humanistic" internal conflict in vampires.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had plenty of pleasant thoughts as a kid, that is, until I saw this movie.
Funerals, caskets, foggy grave yards with empty graves, and vampires ...
Simply put, Salems Lot was the end of my childhood innocence.
This movie scared the living s*** out me when I was a kid. I still remember it as if it were yesterday. They (CBS????) aired it in two parts I think. I remember seeing the first part against my parents wishes and then the following week I sneaked downstairs after bedtime to watch the finale and again, it scared the s*** out of me!!! I had trouble sleeping for days!!!!
Admittedly, I'm not the biggest Steven King fan in the world (maybe because he scared the s*** out of me) but I'll give him a lot of credit for this one (and of course Tobe Hooper)!
Actually, I never really thought about it, but that is probably one of the best complements a viewer could pay to a horror writer/director: "I don't like his films because they scared the hell out of me!"
<SPOILER> The images of the older brother levitating from the dead and scratching at his little brothers window did some serious psychological trauma to this noggin at age a very young age.
However, it was good to see the always annoying Fred Willard bite it in this one!!!! <END SPOILER>
I remember seeing it again a few years ago. It wasn't near as scary as I remembered it, but it was still very creepy.
I know Phantasm came out the same year (1979) as Salem Lot and had a similar setting: Funerals, caskets, foggy grave yards with empty graves, but mutant dwarfs instead of vampires... Thank God I didn't see that one till I was older!!!! Seeing those two movies would've really freaked me out!!!
If you are a fan of Vincent Price -GO SEE THIS FILM!!!
If you are a fan of Richard Matheson -GO SEE THIS FILM!!!
If you are a fan of "Night Of the Living Dead" -GO SEE THIS
If you are a fan of HORROR -GO SEE THIS FILM!!!
It is a very low budget film, but gets its money worth with pure creepiness!!
Some will argue that Romero got his idea for "Night of The Living Dead" from 1962's "Carnival of Souls" I think those people might wanna look here first....Its at very least, a mixture of the two.
It reminded me of a "twilight zone / zombie movie". The kind of thing you watch at 3:00 in the morning!!! That is understandable, since Richard Matheson wrote for the original Twilight Zone episodes.
If you are a fan of horror, go see this movie purely for a historical perspective!!
I rented this flick in the classic horror section at my local video store
under the incredibly cheesy title "Horror Hotel" only to find out it was
also called "City of the Dead".
"City of the Dead" is a more suitable title being that the entire town is inhabited by witches and for eternal life they must sacrifice two people a year. The story starts when a young college coed researching witches arrives on one of the ill-fated sacrificial days....Can you say, "Ooooops!!! Sorry, perhaps I'll come back some other time!!"
"City Of The Dead" is not a bad flick if you like classic horror, as I do. However, don't be confused by the title, it is definitely not anything like George Romeros 1968 classic "Night of the Living Dead", but it does give a pretty good indication of a well crafted 1960's "drive-in" horror flick.
What I liked best about this film is the atmosphere and the acting of an incredibly young Christopher Lee. If Peter Cushing would've showed up in this flick I'd probably like it even better!!!!
There are plenty of creepy images of fog covered graveyards, Salem witches, burning warlocks, secret dungeon chambers and a burnt body. Plus, the blind preacher was quite a character who would be perfect in a lot of modern day horror films.
I was actually surprised at some of the special effects- not bad for 1960!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Isn't it interesting that when ever you hear Dario Argento's name mentioned,
that it is almost always followed by the term "style" or "stylist"??? How
rightfully so!!! He's like the Versace of Horror!!!
In "Deep Red Hatchet Murders" Argento continues on in his unique "style", if you will. The plot is noticeably better than some of Dario's other films. However, I thought the killer could've had a better motive, but thats ok, because his films always seem to entertain the viewer one way or another.
The haunting nursery rhyme still played in my head for days after hearing it!!!!! His warped visions will never be forgotten in my lifetime. <Spoiler>Especially that freaky eyeball in the closet!!!! -Cool!!!!<End Spoiler>
When you want to go see an entertaining film, remember to pay a visit to "The Horror Stylist." As always, nice job Dario!!!
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