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110 reviews in total 
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7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Worst. Remake. Ever., 5 January 2007

Surely no one sets out to make a bad movie. But in the case of the Black Christmas remake, it's hard to imagine writer/director Glen Morgan honestly thinking that this was the best he could do. The original Black Christmas is a classic, a forerunner to the modern slasher movie - stylish and eery and unsettling. But most importantly, simple and straight forward. A slasher and a murder mystery, deftly directed by Bob Clark. The remake (WHY!?) is, to be blunt, absolutely dreadful. From the first frame to the pitiful end, Black Christmas (2006) puts its viewer through the ringer, from the absurd and outlandish to the just plain dull and stupid. Giving the killer an elaborate (and ridiculous) backstory is beside the point, meaningless, mere filler. We get lame attempts at humor and gross out moments that are bad camp. The inclusion of Billy's sister, Agnes, is so out-of-left-field that it feels like Morgan was simply trying to throw in a few extra kills and pad out the movie's already spare running time. The movie isn't even 90 minutes, but you feel every second, particularly with the completely unnecessary hospital finale dragging things out to an asinine, but blessed close. Fans of the original Black Christmas should feel insulted. Horror fans should feel taken advantage of. The human race as a whole should shudder knowing this slag of trash came from one of its own. We can only hope this movie will end the careers of all involved.

Wolf Creek (2005)
THIS is a knife!, 4 June 2006

The classic road trip gone horribly awry motif is used once more, only this time with results up to the king of road trips gone horribly awry horror flicks: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What a lovely and bloody and gutsy and raw morsel from the blokes down-under. Wolf Creek eschews the awful horror formulas - an opening murder, a maddeningly PG-13 rating - rife in the slew of tepid genre offerings these days and for the first forty minutes of its running time allows us to get to know the three leads and I liked that. I actually felt...sorrow for these poor blokes. Then writer/producer/director Greg McLean throws them to the...wolves, in the guise of a helpful stranger, whom we soon discover is a maniac who's roved the vast outback for many years, running across those stranded, offering to lend them a hand and then, once at his little shop of horrors, tortures, rapes, belittles and eventually murders them. This is honestly one of the better genre films I've seen in quite some time and it will undoubtedly draw many a coupling with Eli Roth's Hostel, although Wolf Creek is the better, far more disturbing film. Because it feels...real. Kudos, mate! A thoroughly ghastly, slippery, and very well done horror movie - reportedly based on true events, but, hey, why not throw another shrimp on the barbie? You already had me at hello. A must for serious horror fans.

Hostel (2005)
Girls Gone Wild Meets Texas Chainsaw, 26 April 2006

Eli Roth is obviously a huge fan of the genre. This was made clearly evident with his first feature - the fun, ghoulish, but ultimately flawed Cabin Fever. Hostel is likewise a fun, ghoulish, but lacking movie that is better than Cabin Fever, but missing something. If this movie proves anything is that in time Roth has the potential to make a film on the same level as the ones that obviously influenced him - Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead, Japanese horror films like Audition - but he's not quite there yet.

The first half of Hostel is Girls Gone Wild as a trio of friends beggar through Europe. The movie begins by finding the trio in Amsterdam. Need I say more? Soon, however, the movie thrusts its viewer into a nihilistic world where wealthy people pay good money to indulge their need for torture. And our three drug-addled, sex-crazed heroes are the main course.

Hostel has a lot going for it. It's fast paced. The characters are likable. The women are beautiful and barely wearing a stitch. And that's just the first half hour. The rest of the film takes place in a kind of hell of earth where limbs are amputated, fingers are chainsawed to the floor and the human body is reduced to the properties of a pin cushion. People are flayed and dissected with glee. Eyes dangle from their sockets. Ankle tendons are severed. Although the DVD boasts that its unrated, the gore level was not as stomach-churningly prodigious as I had anticipated. But still. Pretty much all bodily fluids are on display herein. The movie, despite all its bloodshed, seems to not take itself seriously. And neither did I. I'm not sure if the desired effect was to make the viewer squirm and dry heave or at times to laugh out loud at some of the more over-the-top effects. I did mostly the latter. For any horror fan, this is a must see, considering how stale the genre is it at the moment. More importantly, Hostel shows a horror filmmaker (and above all, a horror fan) improving his craft while delivering the visceral goods to those of us who eat that sticky stuff up.

Of the special features on the DVD, the only ones of note are the three behind the scenes features and the four separate commentaries featuring Roth and others, including one with exec. producers Quentin Tarantino and Scott Spiegel.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Easily, the worst movie of '05, 4 April 2006

The idea of communicating with the dead through the white noise emitted from radios and televisions placed on derelict stations sounds like a nice idea for a movie. If done properly, of course. White Noise went the other way. What might have been an interesting study of loss and our inability to let the ones we lose go, is in this movie reduced to a bewildering 98 minutes of inane, asinine, insipid murder mystery that in way even begins to add up. There are so many lapses of logic and plot holes in this stink that its hard to find any real story here whatsoever. There's no meat to the story. No bread. No condiments. The movie is starving to death, and as it plods along on increasingly tired legs, it simply withers away and dies, having to resort to some slasher movie-esquire reveal. The finale of the is a complete head-scratcher. WTF? And then you have poor Michael Keaton giving the most stalwart performance of his career. I felt like telling him: Lighten up, Mike. But the movie takes itself so seriously, seemingly unaware of its own deep festering flaws and overall brainlessness that you can't even laugh at it. It simply washes over, a stagnant wave, devoid of atmosphere, chills and/or thrills. And in the end you feel as empty and worthless as the movie itself for having wasted your time.

Cursed (2005)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
What happened?, 3 April 2006

Okay, I understand that there were production problems and script issues and the movie needed to be re-shot and re-cast and its release date was pushed back for over a year. Still, I rented this movie with fairly low expectations thinking: Hey, it could at least be goofy. I might be able to laugh at the movie. And besides its Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven and Christina Ricci and doesn't she have indie cred? But alas even with lowered expectations - and I'm talking the cellar here, subterranean, tomb-like expectations - Cursed is a debacle. The original script, as I have read, centered on three strangers coming together via a car accident and are subsequently attacked by a werewolf. Sounds cool. I'll bite. How the story of Cursed evolved from that premise to this one is the real question. Forget the lightening Williamson and Craven caught with their first collaboration, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that that original script was probably pretty good. Now, how does a good script get turned into this sludge factory of a boring, repetitive, contrived, laughable, plodding, dim-witted piece of schlock? Dimension Films is infamous for doing just this, taking a descent original idea and pissing all over it. So, if blame must be ascribed, blame Dimension Films. Craig Kilborn and Scott Baio, both playing themselves, and a fine job of doing so on, are the only rays of light in this bleak soulless abyss of a film. Half way through, you can actually feel Wes Craven's spirits broken and hear him saying: To hell with it. Just shoot the thing. Finish it. Put me out of my misery. I couldn't agree more. Rubbish.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Truly outstanding documentary about the golden age of horror, 13 February 2006

This documentary is an absolute treasure for any true horror film buff. Containing insightful interviews from film philosophers and sociologists analyzing films and the circumstances and reflections of the times in which they were made along with detailed and compelling interviews with such pioneering genre filmmakers as Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, George A. Romero, John Carpenter and others. The interview with Tom Savini in which he recalls gruesome instances from his tour in Vietnam is riveting, adding to the overall bleakness of the piece. Fascinating, thoughtful, chilling and ultimately unforgettable. I applaud director Adam Simon for assembling the components to pull off this highly analytical serenade to the most profound and influential horror films and filmmakers and his ability to do so with integrity and intelligence and an obvious love for the genre. Extra kudos for the Godspeed You Black Emperor soundtrack. Brilliant.

Was worth the wait!, 1 April 2003

Two misguided couples stop at Captain Spaulding's, a serial killer museum, chicken hut, and gas station in search of odd roadside attractions for a book. There they hear about the legend of Dr. Satan, a psychotic murderer who enjoyed torturing patients at the local nut house. Intrigued by the story, the kids venture into the night looking for the place he was hanged, instead they run into a family of psychos living in a nearby farmhouse. I think you can see where it's going from here.

"...where pain is God."

House Of 1000 Corpses as you should know, is the long (and I mean LONG) awaited debut from rocker/artist/sicko/genius Rob Zombie. Since it was first announced horror fans lined up by the throngs to check the movie out. After several false starts and one gutless studio that shall remain nameless (Universal), House was picked up by Lions Gate and will be hitting a limited number of theatres on April 11th. So, was it worth the wait. One word: Oh-Hell-Yes!

House Of 1000 Corpses starts strong and doesn't let go until the hard cut to black at the end. Reminiscent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre in quite a few respects House Of 1000 Corpses should gain it's own following and hopefully the respect it deserves not only from horror fans, but from the general population. House is simply an unrelenting exercise in style, gore, insanity, and fun. A spit in the face to the trendy Hollywood horror of recent years, House is a throwback to it's main inspiration Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A remarkable homage to that masterpiece is this masterpiece of the macabre.

The family unit is one of the most entertaining and fun to watch psycho families since the first TCM. First off, there's Captain Spaulding played side-splittingly by Sid Haig. My hats off to ya brother, great job! Among the extended family are Mother Firefly (Karen Black), her daughter, `Baby' (played very well by the extremely hot Sheri Moon), and the de facto leader of the house, Otis played diabolically well by Bill "Chop Top" Moseley. Great work Bill! Loved the hair! Writer/director Zombie injects loads of humor in the screenplay with witty/silly/fun dialogue and as a director he has a visual style all his own and I freakin' loved it! Zombie adds footage from classic black and white flicks, a kick ass opening title sequence, and some fancy editing to the fold. Add a grim, dread filled atmosphere to that and you have one impressively bleak looking and feeling flick.

From what I heard about the movie early on, I expected it to be a mindless bloodbath with buckets of gore and little sense. In reality, it's not all that gory or at least I've seen gorier. There's ample blood with stabbings, skinnings, tortures, mad scientist slashings, and shootings. It's not for the faint of heart that for sure. Loved the long drawn out cop execution and once Dr. Satan himself gets thrown into the mix, the movie takes on a whole new aura of madness. The story and plotting get thin toward the end, but by then I was so absorbed into the movie as a whole I hardly cared. As the film progresses it repeatedly one ups itself with grisly images and some truly crazy shiznit!

The protagonists in the film take a backseat to the villains. The only other movie I can remember that happening in was, well...Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The villains here are the movie and like in TCM I routed for them instead of the dumbass kids. House Of 1000 Corpses is one of the most impressive horror movies I've seen in recent years and proved to be worth the wait for any serious horror fan sick of the repetitive mainstream horror flicks that have been force fed to us recently. House is a horror movie by a horror fan for the horror fan and is definitely worth multiple viewings. It's funny (sometimes quite hysterical), it's gruesome, it's bleak, it's stylish as hell, it's well acted, it's well written, and damned if it didn't kick my ass. An instant classic! Burnout Central awards to Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sherry Moon (Rob's fiancée), Karen Black, and of course Rob Zombie!

Head Hunter (2002) (V)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A CUT above the rest!, 14 February 2003

A warehouse night watchman finds himself in the middle of a cat and mouse game with an escaped murderer known guessed it: The Head Hunter!

No budget shot on video horror movies are an iffy way to spend your night, but every now and again I come across one that manages to impress and prove that you don't need a load of dough to make a good movie. Competence goes a long way, forget the cheap gore special effects, and write something with substance that is actually fun to watch. Troy McGatlin took that advice to heart when he penned, directed, and even decided to act in Head Hunter. A competently made little horror offering that is not only fun as hell to watch, but dare I say...kinda mysterious and suspenseful.

The entire movie takes place in and around a large warehouse where twenty-something slacker T.J. (Derek Hoffman) has duties as night watchman. Soon he learns of the escape of a psycho that terrorized the area in the 80's and after he's left alone, the threatening phone calls begin to come in from someone claiming to be the Head Hunter who has some rather shocking information. As the story unfolds we're held to examine what's just transpired in order to figure out what's going on. Is this a game? Has T.J simply smoked too much weed? Whose to be trusted? What's going on?

Needless to say I fell into the story, appreciated the good acting, and the directing from McGatlin. Loved that long shot following T.J into the warehouse at the beginning of the film, good stuff duder.

If I sound impressed with Head Hunter, it's because I am. The movie came along, flew under my radar for a while, and when I decided to give it a shot was a pleasant surprise. Despite it's video box and the fact that's it's released through Dead Alive, Head Hunter is a well made horror flick obviously done by people who love and respect the genre. Two things that seem non-existent in recent horror offerings. And it's on this level that you actually find those films that play for the horror fan and not just for the simple purpose of making a PG-13 rated buck. Check this baby out if you get a chance.

Paperhouse (1988)
17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
A brilliant art/thriller/fantasy film, 11 February 2003

Anna (Charlotte Burke) develops a strange fever that causes her to pass out and drift off into a world of her own creation. A bleak world she drew with a sad little boy as the inhabitant of an old dumpy house in the middle of a lonely field. Lacking in detail, much like any child drawing the house and it's inhabitant Marc (who can't walk because Anna didn't draw him any legs) are inhabitants of this purgatory/limbo world. Anna begins visiting the boy and the house more frequently trying to figure what's what and in the process tries to help save the boy, but her fever is making it harder for her to wake up each time and may not only kill her, but trap her and Marc there forever.

Wow! Is a good word to sum up Bernard Rose's brilliantly haunting and poetic Paperhouse. A film that is so simple that it's damn near impossible to explain and impossible to forget. While you may find this puppy in your horror section it's anything but. It's more of a serious fantasy, expertly directed, and exceptionally well acted by it's cast, in particular Charlotte Burke and Elliot Speirs (Marc). And yet, it's not a children's movie either, but meant to make us remember those carefree days of old that are now just dark memories. Rose creates a rich tapestry of moody ambiance that creates a thrilling backdrop for the brilliant story and great actors to play with. Paperhouse stays away from trying to explain it's more dreamy qualities and leaves most things to the viewers imagination. There's much symbolism and ambiguity here to sink your teeth into. Paperhouse enjoys playing games with the viewers mind, engrossing you with it's very own sense of reasoning. As the story unfolded I was again and again impressed at just how powerful the film managed to be up to the finale which left me with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.

Bernard Rose's visuals are brilliant here. He's able to create an unnervingly bleak atmosphere that appears simple on the surface, but as a whole is much greater than the sum of it's parts. The acting is of young Charlotte Burke in this, her feature debut, is a truly impressing as well. Unfortunately she's not graced the screen since. A much deserved Burnout Central award only seems proper for that performance. Toward the end the movie lags a bit here and there, but I was easily able to overlook it. I wished they had took a darker turn creating a far more powerful finale that would have proved to be all the more unnerving and truly riveting in retrospect. The movie as is, is still one for the books and deserves to be seen by any serious film lover. It's a poetic ride told through the innocent eyes of a child, a powerful film in which much is left to be pondered and far more to be praised.

God's Mercy On You Swine, 24 January 2003

In the town of "Darkness Falls" when a child loses their last baby tooth, the tooth fairy pays them a visit. But this isn't the sweet tooth fairy we envision, instead it's a vengeful super bitch who will stop at nothing to kill you if you lay eyes on her. When Kyle (Kley) was a youngster he barely escaped a close encounter with the tooth fairy herself and has lived his life in fear (and the light) since. 12 years later Kyle is contacted by an old squeeze, Caitlin (Caulfeild) whose little brother is being terrorized by the old hag and thinks he can save the day or instruct them on how to deal with the bitch or something. Loaded with a bag of flashlights and prescription medication, Kyle sets out to stop her once and for all or something like that. It's all kinda vague.

Darkness Falls can be broken down into 3 parts.

Part 1: The first 20 minutes - Darkness Falls gets started well with a cool montage of burning images that tells the story of a sweet old lady who gave kids a shiny gold coin for their baby teeth. She was dubbed "The Tooth Fairy." After an accident leaves her horribly burned and regulated to stay in the dark (because the sun burns her flesh), two little kids disappear. She is blamed for their disappearance and hung for it, BUT with her dying breathe she vows vengeance on the children of Darkness Falls. The kids show up later and are just fine, D'OH!

After that sweet montage we meet the young Kyle who has just lost his last baby tooth, had his first kiss with a young Caitlin, and has plans to "kick it" with her at the school dance on Friday. Caitlin puts his little baby tooth under his pillow and tells him not to peak when the tooth fairy comes. Of course he doesn't, peeks at the Tooth Fairy, and will never be the same. Those scenes in the young Kyle's house were pretty cool and had me pumped, thinking that Darkness Falls was gonna be a moody, shadowy, and possibly frightening little flick. The first 20 minutes, give or take was pretty sweet. The young love thing was nice (the ghostly little girl from Ghost Ship plays the young Caitlin), the scenes are very well directed by Jonathan Liebesman with cool use of shadow and light, and was actually creepy. I love the way it ended with little Kyle in the bathroom. At that point Darkness Falls had endless possibilities in my book.

Part 2: The ho-hum middle - I learned rather fast that the possibilities of goodness that Darkness Falls created in it's opening got sucked out of the movie rather quickly. The substance here is totally non-existent, the character development is no where to be found, and why were they shooting for cheap laughs instead of cheap scares. The movie turns to the old bag of tricks by throwing plenty of "jump" scares at us that are very stupid. Where'd that cat come from and why the goofy dialogue? Disposable characters show up and get picked off one by one. I thought the tooth fairy just dined on kiddies not burnouts and defense attorneys. Yeesh! What happened? We get some fairly descent action sequences where the Tooth Fairy flies around and chases the protagonists. All mindless, CGI, well photographed fluff, but entertaining none the less. Then we get to the police station siege by the Tooth Fairy that made for a few ok moments and was kinda fun. At this point I was still fine with the film, although the substance was gone, the entertainment value was still high. It was mindless style over substance, then it got worse...

Part 3: The last act, extreme goof, the rolling of eyes, the echo of groans - As Darkness Falls nears it's end, it sinks deeper and deeper into the abyss of stupidity. Good god, this movie just got dumber and dumber 'til the very stupid finale. The horror aspect is totally thrown by the weigh side and they go for more laughs and plenty moments of failed suspense. Then one of the disposable characters mutters the line: "All this for a f--king tooth." That level of self awareness in a bad horror movie can either be seen as witty or a nod to the audience to let them know, if they haven't already figured out, that this movie is NOT GOOD. Yes, all this for a f**king tooth. What was the real message here, surely to God the writers of this movie didn't set out to write a movie like this. I can hear it now, a bunch of morons sitting around a table. "Yes, lets make a horror movie that is totally devoid of all substance. We'll fill it with cheap BOO scares, cheap laughs, and in the end we'll get all ignorant in a lighthouse. Brilliant! But wait, we'll play a cruel joke on the audience and start the movie with high hopes only to laugh in their faces with pure gonzo idiocy."

Darkness Falls is the poster child for how a movie can fall apart before the viewer's very eyes. A movie that had possibilities, only to p*** them away and ultimately be a simple, sometimes entertaining goof fest that is easily forgettable stuff. Not much makes sense, but then again it's probably not suppose to and if it did make any sense in the original screenplay, it was left on the cutting room floor. This a movie devoid of all substance, all character development, and all sense. It's basically a good looking piece of garbage, nothing more nothing (well maybe a little) less. Could this be another case of the studio destroying a horror movie? Possibly. Director Jonathan Liebesman has potential and deserves far better than this. If the movie is a hit, he may get a chance, but if this proves to be a money maker, then the studio has won and will unload more bad horror movies at us as long as throngs of misguided slackers will vacate their trailers for 75 minutes (a long 75 minutes at that) to spend their hard earned SSI money. If Kangaroo Jack can top the box office then anything can happen and we, the human race, is truly in peril. God's mercy on you swine.

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