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K-9 would say--"Affirmative!!!"
7 October 2002
Most of the other reviewers here can't seem to get past the theme song--yeah, it's silly but hardly something you would want to commit suicide over! The producer John Nathan Turner wanted a Hart To Hart opening credit sequence and that was a bit of a bad idea considering that the two leads in this are a woman and a mechanical dog! However, there is something bizarrely funny about it that acually draws you in. Maybe it's the camera zooming in on K-9 sitting on a stone fence--just how the hell did he get up there?! All of that aside, the actual story of witchcraft in the English countryside is rather fun stuff. There is some nice nightime atmosphere surrounding the coven's ceremonies and the actors who portray the various locals are all well cast. The only real negative is the short running time which is why there is not a lot of tension built. If one reads the novel it can be seen there was much more going on in the background to create tension but this does an acceptable job. Anyone who takes this too seriously or gets mad over this needs to relax and take a few deep breaths. This is great fun in the solid tradition of Doctor Who and it is too bad it never became a series.
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8/10
A must see
18 September 2002
This is a movie for anyone who loves English horror films from the early 70's--and that should mean you!! A fog enshrouded island, a derelict lighthouse, plenty of blood, sex and dated slang--oh yeah it's here in abundance!! Don't listen to the other reviewers when they say this film would have been better if it had been made with today's effects and a larger budget. This film becomes better because it was made on a tighter budget, when the crew had to come up with inventive ways to create atmosphere, menace and a sustained mood. All of these things drip from every frame of this film and the cast is actually very good and even features George Couloris (of Citizen Kane fame) in a short but blood filled cameo at the start of the film and Jill Haworth, who had prior to this film starred in such acclaimed flicks as "Exodus" and the Broadway version of "Cabaret". Forget those films though this is the highlight of her career--everything else was just practice for this baby!! Some might say I'm going too far but that would be wrong. The twists in this film are truly fun and surprising and the musical score adds a real sense of unease to the well directed carnage and misty vistas (hats off to Jim O'Connolly!) So what are you waiting for--this is now out on DVD and looks crisp and vivid. Get it and see how good horror films were not all that long ago!
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Wartime (1987 Video)
Good first attempt at Doctor Who spin-off!
26 June 2001
Wartime was the first independent Doctor Who spin-off (made when the show was still in production in 1987) and is pretty good. John Levene stars as Sgt. Benton of U.N.I.T. (from the Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker years) on a delivery mission who gets sidetracked to a haunting landscape that holds a painful secret from his past. Younger versions of himself and his brother, who died in a tragic accident at the location he finds himself in, assault his senses, as do images of his mother and father (the latter played by original Doctor Who Davros, Michael Wisher). Benton's confrontations with his father are well handled and sometimes quite eerie. A major issue that had haunted Benton is finally resolved and it is never really clear whether the images of his family are mental projections brought on by the previously unresolved trauma or actual ghosts and this ambiguity is a positive attribute of this production. The acting itself varies, with John Levene putting in an adequate performance (with a couple of minor lapses) and Wisher contributing a marvellous and occasionally spooky one. The overall look and some of the effects are strictly low budget but credit must be given to the crew who proved people outside the BBC could treat characters in a sensitive and interesting fashion. Also on the video is a Making Of Wartime section that is revealing in the trials and tribulations of a low budget production. Some of the remembrances are long winded but most are fresh and sometimes quite funny. Buy this to see where the Doctor Who spin-off phenomena began and give it a few viewings before passing judgement on it as it is really very intriguing and moody.
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The Return of Charlie Chan (1973 TV Movie)
7/10
Not as bad as reputation suggests
14 May 2001
I found this to be a fun, if overly complex, updating of the Chan legacy--Charlie is now sixty years old and has been in retirement for ten years. It is a bit jolting to see him roll up to his house at the beginning in a dune buggy wearing a gaudy Hawaiian shirt but it's got a good spirit about it. Ross Martin is certainly not the best choice to portray the great detective but he certainly is credible and grows on you with subsequent viewings. The mystery itself, as I mentioned, is quite confusing on the first go round but becomes clear on a second viewing. I suppose that this complexity is what landed this pilot film on the shelf for so many years before it was finally released. Unlike some other reviewers here, I love the "tacky" 70's feel of this and it adds a certain camp quality that makes it even more fun. The two offspring of Charlie's that appear as his companions here(one son and one daughter)again grow and you and showed promise as potential regular characters. This would have been a good regular series in the mould of McMillan And Wife, Columbo etc. etc. At any rate it is an enjoyable one off that is never less than diverting. In the end maybe it was right this didn't become a series, inasmuch as Ross Martin was not Asian and it was getting to a point where it seemed out of place to have caucasians portraying the great sleuth. Hopefully the latest chapter of Chan,with Chow Yun-phat will rectify this issue! So, if by chance your a fan of Charlie Chan, give this a try and realise it was simply a different take made for an early 1970's audience and enjoy it!
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7/10
Whirlwind two part skit!
20 October 2000
This story starts like a regular episode with the Rani in her TARDIS following the Doctor's TARDIS and generally up to no good ( she is trying to collect all the Doctor's selves to complete her menagerie), with a young travelling companion. The Rani has trapped the disembodied heads of the first two Doctors in a Time Tunnel (this must have looked very wild in the original 3-D transmission!). We then join the Seventh Doctor and Ace exiting the TARDIS in front of the Cutty Sark. Things then move very fast and get very confusing. The Rani apparently wants to capture one specimen of every living thing which will then allow her to have the power to control evolution (I gleaned much of this information from The Seventh Doctor Handbook as it's not really clear in the two part skit). Why many of the companions are needed instead of just one human, for instance, is not explained. However, this is still a ton of fun. This came out the year (1993) that the Doctor Who movie "The Dark Dimension" was to have been released and as a bonus this would have been the cherry on the cake. In reality, though, "The Dark Dimension" was cancelled and this was the consolation prize thrown at fans--quite a letdown in that context! It should be remembered, however, that this production was made for Children In Need and all actors donated their time and services free of charge. One wishes there was more screen time for each Doctor and interaction between them but time is literally of the essence here and even with the brevity of time on screen each shines as if they have never left the role (except Hartnell and Troughton of course who are just floating heads!). Many companions appear as well and one can only think of what could have been with more time. I mean the Sixth Doctor with the Brig as well as Susan and the Third Doctor and Victoia are just three examples. All of the meetings of Doctors and companions are fun but oh so brief. Towards the end tons of old monsters appear (a Tractator, Tetrap, Sea Devil, Zog from the stage play "Ultimate Adventure" among many others). The final resolution to this mystery is very confusing but it's still fun to see the Seventh Doctor, Leela and K9 together! One will miss the 3-D effects that this was originally filmed in and may become a bit dizzy with the rotating camera work but this is harmless Who fun. If you can find someone with a copy of this give it a view, if not for any other reason, to see the final official screen adventure of Jon Pertwee as the Doctor!
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Ghost Riders (1987)
1/10
Avoid this junk!
18 October 2000
To keep it short just avoid this movie. The premise of an old west killer putting a curse on the preacher of a lynch mob that subsequently haunts the family for generations may sound promising but in delivery it simply fails. After moving from 1886 Texas we join a Professor of Texan history in 1986, who happens to be the great-great grandson of the hangin' preacher. His son(a Vietnam vet and stunt pilot) is coming for a visit with his two mechanic buddies and a young lass who is smitten with him in about as much time as it takes to say "this movie sucks". Now the idea of old outlaw ghosts seeking bloody revenge should have been good for a few chills but the majority of this no budget affair takes place on a sunny blue skied day, which certainly takes away much of the fear of not knowing where the spectres are coming from! Add to this lame mix bland to just plain bad acting, generally annoying characters, a simplistic, non suspenseful and amateurish script, horrible sound quality and a limp pay off and you have a text book example of a time waster. Avoid this movie. It had potential but simply blew it!
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2/10
A wasted opportunity
17 October 2000
This was a letdown in many ways. The location filming in Ireland, though quite beautiful at times, cannot save this uninspired flick. Greg Evigan and Alexandra Paul, as the married couple trying to get their marriage back on track and who inherit a haunted mansion, just aren't interesting characters. Paul, towards the end of the film, becomes incredibly annoying and one wishes she would just close her mouth and shut up, as it seems she is screaming as if it has just become an Olympic event! Other problems with this film are odd segments that have nothing to do with the core of the film, such as the opening sequence with two cleaning women and the woman in a bed with a severed hand climbing over her writhing, naked body. Although the woman is quite adequate doing this it does nothing storywise. One is left thinking the production team needed to pad out a short running time and just tossed in some padding and a bit of T and A. The CGI effects are cartoonish as well and the fiery finale rivals co-executive producer Roger Corman's much earlier and far superior film The Fall Of The House Of Usher in all its ineffective cheapness. Any attempt at true tension and suspense, and as a result chills, are thrown out the window in this low budget bust. If you like images of Ireland you might find something here but you would do better renting or buying a travelogue. Skip this unless you are undiscriminating and think plot is secondary. Rent another low budget ghost story(if you can find it) titled The Woman In Black and see how good and scary a movie can be. This was a wasted opportunity.
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Scared Stiff (1953)
6/10
If you liked the film this is a remake of you should find something to enjoy in this movie.
2 October 2000
If you liked the film this is a remake of (The Ghost Breakers) you should find something to enjoy in this movie. One improvement is that there are no glaring racial stereotypes that hindered the original and which make the viewer uncomfortable. Taking the place of Willie Best in the first film is Jerry Lewis, which at least allows Dean Martin to get cheap laughs off of him without relying on negative racial facial expressions and speech. Lewis certainly has a LOT of facial expressions and voices on display but they don't demean anyone but himself!! Martin is adequate in his role but lacks the natural pizzazz of Bob Hope in the original and Lizabeth Scott as the inheritor of the old Cuban estate is again merely passable in the role that Paulette Goddard sparkled in. All of that said, the story is still fun and the mystery diverting. The sets rival, and in some cases surpass, those of the earlier movie (although some seem to almost be the same ones)and the supporting acting is good. If you like Carmen Miranda and Dean Martin songs and Martin/Lewis comedy routines you will also be in for a treat as there are plenty of musical and comedic interludes that are pleasant in their innocent dated way. There are probably too many songs for this movie that stretch the length of it to nearly two hours but at least they are not horrid and pass with little boredom or desire to hit the fast forward button! The new dialogue is good but much of it, not to mention scenes in general, are verbatim rehashes of the first movie that suggests the production team and stars were not feeling particularly inventive or willing to try to outdo Hope's film. If you haven't seen The Ghost Breakers this will be fun for you and if you have but feel uneasy about the racial stereotypes of the first film you can watch this without that concern. This is a good looking movie that captures the creepy elements of The Ghost Breakers (and as I said surpasses in some instances) in all but the zombie which is merely okay here as opposed to truly frightening as the first one was--which might make it easier to watch for young kids. So, this is not as bad as some say and depending on your ability to stomach Lewis' comedic excesses a worthwhile view.
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8/10
Another fun Monogram Charlie Chan
4 September 2000
This is a very good Monogram Pictures Chan that has snappy dialogue, a lot of funny lines from Sidney Toler (as Chan) who berates No.3 son Tommy more than any other of his prodigious offspring and a couple of scenes with Mantan Moreland and Ben Carter which are priceless!! The plot may stretch credibility a bit but the movie has a fast pace, good direction and sets that are above the norm for a Monogram Chan. Keep an eye out, as well, for the great elevator segment that is surprising and innovative. The banter between the actors in the broadcasting studio is also inspired and fun. Although not quite up to par with the Twentieth Century Fox Chan's this is damn close! Monogram Chan's get a bad rap sometimes but this again proves there was magic in the old detective series still. Check it out.
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8/10
Saccharine fun that achieves what its supposed to!
27 August 2000
Sure, this movie has its fair share of saccharine moments and heavy dollops of schmaltz but it also works remarkably well as a tale of following one's dream and the sacrifices that litter the path towards achieving it. Neil Diamond is no Lawrence Olivier and it is a bit surreal to see his name billed above the late great actor but he's credible and he certainly doesn't embarrass himself. Olivier is the acting highlight here and imbues every scene he is in with passion and heartwrenching grace. There are several highly emotional moments to be found here in some well constructed and directed scenes designed to bring out the tears--and they do! Fans of Diamond's music will also find much to enjoy here as such schmaltz classics as "Love On The Rocks" and "Hello Again" compliment the drama remarkably well. Supporting actors Lucie Arnaz and Franklyn Ajaye are also game and put in solid performances. Also, if your looking for jazz look elsewhere as the only jazz reference is the name of a particular baby!! All in all this is old fashioned fun that should reward the viewer. Saccharine yes, but a movie that achieves its goal admirably.
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8/10
Classic Chan didn't end when Fox retired the great sleuth!!
13 August 2000
This is an excellent Monogram Charlie Chan that sets a mood and plays it to the hilt. Although the Monogram films never had a budget anywhere near those of the Twentieth Century Fox Chan's, this one comes close to creating the same sense of style that imbued the earlier films. From the film-noir rain slicked opening segment to the fades between scenes, this has a bold feel that overcomes its budget considerations. Sidney Toler is in fine form and appears to appreciate the enthusiasm of director Phil Karlson and the script, as he gives his all in every scene he is in. Benson Fong is good as Number 3 Son Tommy and Mantan Moreland sparkles in his comedic moments which are well timed and effortlessly diverting and not distracting to the central mystery. And it's a very good mystery too, that reminded me a bit of Castle In The Desert, inasmuch as you really have to keep a sharp eye on EVERY major character and try to remember names and relationships to keep on top of the proceedings! Your always double guessing yourself and that is the sign of a mystery doing its job! Everyone is having a great time on this one and it shows--credit too must go to the production team who "opened up" the feel of this one and didn't simply use two sets. Check this out with an open mind and you will realize that classic Chan didn't end when Fox gave up their lease.
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Return to Devil's End (1993 Video)
9/10
Let the good vibes roll in Aldbourne!
28 June 2000
If you are a fan of the classic Jon Pertwee story "The Daemons" then this video is a natural! Part of the cast and crew return to the town of Aldbourne, where the story was filmed twenty odd years earlier. On hand are the late and great Jon Pertwee(in costume no less), U.N.I.T. lads Richard Franklin and John Levene and the man who portrayed the Brigadier--Nicholas Courtney. From behind the scenes there's director Christopher Barry who contributes some very interesting facts about the technical(and natural) difficulties that came with shooting this story on location. It's great to see the cast members saunter through the village fielding questions from presenter Nicholas Briggs and bantering so humorously with each other--it's easy to tell that these folks loved working with each other and remain good friends. Comments from locals who lived in the village also add their memories and behind the scenes film of when the cast and crew originally invaded the small hamlet add to the marvelous afghan of nostalgia and good vibes that pervade this unique presentation. The only things missing are actual clips from the story and third Doctor companion Jo Grant(Katy Manning) but watching this immediately after watching "The Daemons" will take care of these omissions.This serves as a wonderful testament to the presence and charm of Jon Pertwee who died soon after filming was completed and just to see how unchanged and quaint the town remains makes it worth purchasing alone! If you were a fan of the Pertwee era of Doctor Who buy this without hesitation and get ready for a steady stream of nostalgia and coziness to wash over you like a warm summer rain. Enjoy!
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Downtime (1995 Video)
8/10
Doctor Who spin-off that does justice to original show!!!
22 June 2000
After the cancellation of Doctor Who back in 1989 a lot of fans were starved for characters and scenarios that they had found so comforting and spin-off videos like this were(and are)the next best thing. Fans of the show should be very pleased to see the return of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart(played by Nicholas Courtney) along with third and fourth Doctor companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), second Doctor companion Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling) along with John Leeson, portraying a DJ (who was the voice of K9 in the series) and Professor Travers (Jack Watling) who appeared in the two Doctor Who's this video follows up on. Yeti again fill the streets of London, the top secret U.N.I.T. is called in, The Great Intelligence is seeking to spread its web across the planet--ingredients right out of a Doctor Who! Missing, of course, is the Doctor himself and the Earthlings are on their own to save the world. Also unlike the show is the somewhat serious theme of the troubled relationship between the Brig and his daughter. The fact that this video explores the repurcussions of the Brigadier's years of secrecy working as the head of U.N.I.T. is welcome and intriguing and is dealt with in a very mature and sensitive manner. Although this is a low budget independent affair, it pulls off its story well (even though you may need to watch it a few times to fully understand the complex plot, especially if you haven't seen or read its predecessors). All in all, this is a well produced and directed video that should satisfy, especially, fans of the older series. Reeltime Pictures should be applauded for creating such diverting Who related stories that do the old companions and monsters such justice! Watching this is like slipping into a well worn comfy chair. A bit downbeat but definitely worth watching.
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Doctor Who (1996 TV Movie)
9/10
THE DOCTOR IS BACK AND FOX IS CLUELESS!!!
9 June 2000
The script for this is a bit on the simplistic side but it makes sense that it was, considering the show was trying to draw a new market. At any rate, the positives far outweigh the negatives in this face paced romp. Paul McGann is splendid as the Doctor and instantly makes the role his own--something it occasionally took the TV Doctors a few episodes to fully achieve. Sylvester McCoy, as the outgoing Doctor is flawless. Solitary, a bit more serious and melancholy in appearance and urgent and insistent in his heartrending final moments in the operating room. This scene is one of the most emotionally charged scenes in all of Whodom and certainly makes for one of the most intense regenerations of the Doctor's centuries spanning existence! The new set design for the interior of the TARDIS is breathtaking in all its dark Victorian splendor and the supporting roles, filled by Daphne Ashbrook, Yee Jee Tso and Eric Roberts (as the Master), are top notch. Even minor roles like that of the morgue attendant, played by MADtv's Will Sasso, are good. The locations are also standout and there is some very nice dialogue between the Doctor and Grace Holloway (played by Ashbrook) and some fun moments where Roberts really gets to ham it up! It was very disappointing that this pilot never led to a new Fox series but this movie is a real treat. Let's just keep our fingers crossed for a new BBC series in the near future!!! Don't let the somewhat simplistic plot detract from an otherwise wonderful production. If this ever comes out on video rent or buy it post haste!
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1/10
BEYOND SIMPLY BAD
4 June 2000
Worthless time waster that has a central character whose predicament is so obvious from the get go that what follows can only be described as interminable! Add to the mix a horrible script,ham fisted direction and some of the most inane and ludicrous dialogue ever put to film and you have one of the worst remakes ever made--make that one of the worst movies ever made,as this has little to do with the original!! See the brilliant original instead of this abomination. Executive producer Wes Craven has done much to destroy the horror movie genre and this is his piece de resistance. Again, this is totally worthless and completely absurd!
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Playroom (1989)
5/10
Good looking movie with (mostly) annoying performances
31 May 2000
I was surprised to see that the other user reviews for this were so completely positive. I will say that the look of the film was great, the direction well observed and the sets and locations effective. The problems with this film, however, are mainly in the characters--none of them are really likeable(the main characters girlfriend, played by Lisa Aliff is alright) with the annoying award going to the lead actor(Christopher McDonald) who is too over the top for you to have ANY sympathy for him. The main character's "playmate" that appears to him at the old monastery is another annoying character you'd just like to slap. The playmates "real" self is just as bad coming across as a cheap Yoda clone that spouts incredibly lame wisecracks that quickly grows stale. Vincent Schiavelli(who played the weird biology teacher in Fast Times At Ridgemont High), who has ties to the past at the monastery, is somewhat amusing in his whacked out role but when all is said and done this could have been a better movie. Maybe if the characters were a little more likeable or sympathetic the other shortcomings would have been overshadowed but as it stands it's mainly worth checking out for the overall look of the monastery, as well as location shots and a couple of imaginative kills. OK, but not all that special.
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The Woman in Black (1989 TV Movie)
10/10
One Of The Most Frightening Ghost Stories Ever Made
30 May 2000
I was lucky enough to find this film at a video store and was completely sucked into the increasingly spooky ambiance it creates. As other people have commented here, this is simply one of the most frightening movies you may ever see. The young solicitor sent to a tiny seaside village in England is perfectly cast as is every other actor that leads the viewer to the conclusion that there is more than just the matter of taking care of a deceased womans estate! The unease that pervades the townfolk is tangible and really adds to the menace. Although there are many terrifying scenes in this movie, two really stand out and without giving them away I will say that they will leave there imprint in your mind and probably your dreams (nightmares). I suppose you have to enjoy horror films that are from the old school of chills to really appreciate this but it is really all the more effective for sticking to its guns and scaring us with its subtleties. Let's just say the ghost in this film is absolutely chilling and thoroughly effective. The ending is a corker too! Great direction, beautiful locations and a splendid story contribute to this brilliant film which is an absolute must see. The scariest ghost story since The Haunting and certainly the scariest of the 90's!
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9/10
This movie is worth watching for the caterpuppy alone...
26 May 2000
I love this movie because it just keeps getting goofier and goofier and throws all sorts of disparate elements into the mix. You have the the great old mansion, you have the nutty friend, you have the obligatory 1980's party segment but you also have alternative universes, pterodactyls, feuding Wild West zombified cowboys and one of the cutest creations in filmdom the caterpuppy!! Arye Gross is right for the lead and has great comic timing,Jonathan Stark is very funny as Gross' wacky party buddy and Royal Dano takes the prize as Gross' zombified great-great grandfather who had discovered a crystal skull that creates all the ensuing havoc!There are also two great supporting roles for John Ratzenburger(from Cheer's) as an electrician/adventurer and Politically Incorrect's Bill Maher as a smarmy record exec. Watch out for some imaginative special effects that bring to mind the work of Ray Harryhausen (like the skeletal horse ridden by Royal Dano's nemesis) and the super cute caterpuppy! If every scene doesn't work it hardly matters as it is always an enjoyable and wild ride. Watch this for a dose of imaginative fun.
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3/10
So-So movie for night owls who have nothing else to do.
26 May 2000
There was the potential for this to be something quite good, except the script and acting got in the way. The backwoods locales are, for the most part, effective and promising but with Nichelle Nichols as the Sargeant you know your in trouble. Maybe if she just tried to act a little bit instead of sleepwalking through her role another dimension could have been added to this yawner but seeing as how she's not getting much help from her supporting actors(including Star Trek:The Next Generation's LeVar Burton)or limp script, who can really blame her? In the midst of the regular lulls in the action there actually are a few inspired scenes of zombie Confederate troops lumbering across mist enshrouded fields and a scare or two in a well conceived and spooky underground bunker but before anything much happens the movie is over. That the production team does deliver a few rather cool effects and scenes is a credit to their frugality as this was a very cheap film indeed! Maybe they should have saved up a few coppers more and invested in a better script and a director who could get something out of his leads. Oh well, if this is ever on late night TV you might want to tune in for the two or three effective moments,otherwise keep lookin'!
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Black Sabbath (1963)
8/10
Chekhov ghost story highlights this trilogy!
26 May 2000
A very good horror trilogy, hosted by Boris Karloff in imaginative linking segments. The best by far is the first episode which is based on an Anton Chekhov ghost story. Mario Bava knows a thing or two about unsettling noises and how to amplify them to add to the suspense of a piece just as he does about odd camera angles and the zoom lens which equally add to the mounting sense of tension in this one. After caring for a bed-ridden old woman, the lead actress removes a ring from the corpse only to wish otherwise in the maddening buildup to the final revelation.The woman's apartment is perfectly realized as the setting for her slow descent into the unknown. It wouldn't make sense to give away any more plot details but only to say this is the masterpiece of the bunch. The second episode, which concerns a woman who receives mysterious calls is very weak in that it seems to have been edited at crucial moments which weakens the overall impact. It's well acted but forgettable. The final story sees Boris Karloff himself take center stage in a moody and atmospheric vampire tale which is marvelously realized. Lots of mist,baying dogs and creaking doors here, all splendidly amplified at the proper moments to add to the increasingly claustrophobic ambiance. This is one movie definitely worth seeking out or catching on the tube. And get ready to be frightened by the first episode--especially if you watch it alone with the lights out!
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The Nesting (1981)
7/10
Good haunted house romp
25 May 2000
This movie is well worth renting for several reasons--one is the atmosphere of the house the leading lady rents in the countryside which is superbly eerie. The house itself is unique too in haunted house films as it is octagonal, which allows for some interesting shots and angles ( the crow's nest segment is truly nailbiting). Two, the unpleasant realism of the town folks also adds a dimension of unease that amplifies the existing tension of the ghost story and then finally merges with it. That this film was all shot on location helps add to the gritty tension that would have been missing if the producers had tried to recreate the atmosphere in a studio (something too many modern day horror films repeatedly do). As a bonus for film buffs, Gloria Grahame, of It's A Wonderful Life fame appears here as a ghost that could help solve the mystery. Although the movie is not perfect, it is a creepy romp that is more often than not unsettling on more than one level.
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The Island (1980)
Superb modern day pirate tale!
25 May 2000
I've always loved this movie. The first part of the film nicely details the troubled relationship between father and son (played by Michael Caine and Jeffrey Frank respectively)and helps you build a sympathy for them that then makes the final part of the movie all the more intense and gut wrenching as a result. As this is essentially a modern day pirate tale you can rest assured that there is no shortage of crusty pirate talk, filthy bodies (although the pirates wife's body makes for a pleasant exception to the rule)unrelenting carnage and David Warner,all of which add up to make a splendid entertainment! The locales are also lush and pleasing. You really have to love a film that can take such beautiful surroundings and add that edge of real menace and danger. The finale is a whole lotta fun too. Check this one out , it's a work of art!
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Death Ship (1980)
9/10
This ain't no Love Boat
25 May 2000
This is one of my favorite horror films. Yes the beginning ship collision is poorly done but nothing afterwards is. The mysterious roving Nazi "death ship" that picks up the survivors of the rammed vessel(including George Kennedy and Richard Crenna) is perfectly creepy--all rust on the outside and dust covered rooms within. That the ship seems to have a mind of its own and that unseen crewmen seem to be just around the next corner compliments the aire of uncertainty and mounting claustrophobia which builds as the one time survivors fall prey to the forces of the ship. One scene in particular, when Nick Mancuso falls into a water filled hold of the ship only to be scooped out in a net full of rotting corpses is the stuff of nightmares! Check this one out and give it time--it won't let you down.
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8/10
Jon Pertwee highlights this good anthology
25 May 2000
This is a very amusing and sometimes quite creepy anthology, that if a bit short in the screenwriting department, more than makes up for the shortcoming in the acting, location work and overall exuberance. The best episodes of this are the first with Denholm Elliot playing a horror writer stalked by a character from his novel in the works ( a perfect example of the acting pulling this out of the merely pedestrian); the third, with Christopher Lee as a man terrified of his own daughter and the final episode with the late great Jon Pertwee as a pompous horror film star who gets more than just a new role on his latest project. The dialogue between Pertwee and Ingrid Pitt is sparkling and inspired, both obviously relishing the opportunity to really ham it up! Cushing is typically good in the weakest segment, which certainly isn't helped by the fact that the wax figure of the woman he's obsessed with down at the local wax museum, is anything but "beautiful" as we are told to believe she is! Someone of shocking beauty was needed and instead we're given a woman with a jaw of a turtle. Minor quibbles aside this movie and it's wonderful country house setting is one to catch when you can.
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10/10
One enchanting film
25 May 2000
One of my all time favorite films which captures the innocence and free imagination of youth set against the pragmatism of adulthood(as portrayed by the young girl and her father respectively). Only the little girls schoolteacher is supportive of the girls rich imagination, as even the old woman she befriends is caught up in irrational personal demons that have none of the simple beauty and longing that the girl carries in her soul. The direction, by the great director Robert Wise and Gunther Von Fritsch is perfect, the musical score haunting and expressive of the girl's altering state of mind and the screenplay by Dewitt Bodeen, gentle, observed and haunting. Bodeen also wrote the screenplay for the film The Enchanted Cottage which has a similar feeling about it and also focuses on the power and healing of a rich imagination and love.Enchantment is the perfect word to describe the whole essence of Curse and the magical moments when Simone Simon(as the spirit of the little girls mother) appears to her. These two movies would actually make a perfect double feature. An absolutely captivating film that is enchanting and does indeed call to mind glimpses of the open minded acceptance and wonder of a childs mind.There is even one scene towards the end that IS frightening and shows how a childs accepting attitude can sometimes put them in harm's way. This scene, however, turns its attention to the enchantment that the rest of the movie shares. Simone Simon is also flawless and equally mysterious, alluring and sympathetic at the same time. Some of the images in this film will stay with you. A must see.
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