Reviews written by registered user
|19 reviews in total|
(The following is a review of the "Through the Looking Glass" portion) This is a senseless travesty that turns a classic children's book into a cheesy semi-horror picture. Disguised as star-studded family entertainment, this garbage is guaranteed to induce nightmares in all but the most desensitized children. Especially disturbing is the depiction of the Jabberwocky. My tough younger sister who is not normally rattled by monster movies was reduced to tears at the unnecessarily freaky depiction of this creature. The writers seem to have rejected the fact that in the book, the Jabberwocky is a cryptic metaphor for a difficult logic problem. In the film, it becomes a catalyst for sleepless nights for youngsters. Irwin Allen should have stuck to his true calling:disaster epics and left family entertainment to those more qualified to create it.
This is a satisfying little B gem from Associated Artists with a solid performance from Darro as a streetsmart, yet self-sacrificing adolescent willing to endure a tough reform school for the sake of protecting his foster family's good name. It never fails to amaze me how these low budget 1930s B-directors were able to pack so much plot into a one-hour movie and Boys' Reformatory is a prime example of what seems like a truly daunting task. Maybe it was because I watched this late at night but a certain plot twist towards the end really floored me. However, those accustomed to the grittier,more realistic exposes of the thirties juvenile justice system like Crime School that Warners was putting out about this time may be disappointed that this movie focuses more on the issues that caused the kids to be sent to reform school as opposed to the conditions inside the institution. Still if you are looking for one of the more entertaining, action-packed efforts of one of the great, but nearly forgotten young B actors, this movie is well worth your while. P.S. If you own a video projector, I don't recommend watching the DVD on the big screen as Alpha used a somewhat shaky 16mm for the source print. Nostalgia Family Video has this on VHS but I have no idea of the quality on that one.
Despite the nearly overwhelming subplot and a flubbed line that was not reshot,I genuinely enjoyed this low-budget stingfest. The CGI bees were a hell of a lot better than those in that made-for-cable travesty Deadly Swarm and the attacks were effectively staged. This coupled with the exuberantly over-the-top characterizations will guarantee this film cult status in about 20 years.
When I saw the ad for this, I naturally assumed this remake of the 1939 classic would be a sentimental period piece with a soundtrack replete with Elgar and choirboys. Instead I experienced one of the harshest exposes of hazing in the British public school system since If. Nothing is left to the imagination, making this movie unsuitable for anyone under 13. However, unlike the exploitative Oliver Twist miniseries that Masterpiece Theater did a few years ago, the writers did not go overboard trying to create a realistic atmosphere. This allowed a fine cast to turn in some superb performances without being overwhelmed by the plot and that's what makes this the BBC's best effort since the 1983 version of "Jane Eyre".
The director of this limp excuse for a monster movie Arnold Laven had never done sci-fi before helming this stinker and it shows. Roger Corman's trash bag critter from Creature from the Haunted Sea could annihiliate these lethargic caterpillar hand puppets in seconds. And yet the audience is supposed to believe that these benign beasties are capable of ripping someone's face off? Maybe one of these days some "lost" footage will turn up showing the caterpillars had a little help from Godzilla. Until then, this stands as THE fifties monster movie least likely to hold up today!
While watching this well-executed superior entry in the long-running Amityville series, it is difficult to imagine that this is the prequel to one of the campiest adaptations of a classic modern horror novel ever.The picture's intelligent use of motifs makes this a great choice for those who watch horror for other reasons than to simply get scared.The fog swirling around the house helps to accentuate the family's hazy perception of the dark enigma that is their oldest son's demon-plagued mind.The recurring distorted schoolyard chant(a carry-over from the original)in the score emphasizes the characters' loss of innocence and virginity. The special effects are fantastic especially in the scene in which the priest is alone in the house with the killer. Only drawback-an unnecessary incest sequence that foreshadows the increasingly perverse nature of post 1989 Amityville films-especially Amityville 1992. This film has been villified for its mediocre acting-but I have never gone into a horror picture expecting Oscar-quality performances. Basically if you're looking for 100 minutes of premium-grade retro chills, you've come to the right place!
Without a doubt, this low-budget haunted house thriller pales in comparison to genre classics such as Poltergeist due to horrendous acting and a pervading student film feel. However, if you enjoyed the Amityville Horror movie and book (especially the book) you might want to give Beyond Darkness a try. Many of the most terrifying aspects of the Amityville book are an integral part of this movie including hooded entities lunging at the cast out of nowhere, doorways to hell, and some unforgettable scenes of inanimate objects like an antique radio becoming possessed by the dark forces in the house. Yes it's true that the portrayal of the family is perhaps too clean cut (I know for a fact that pastors' kids can sometimes be brattier than other people's!) and that the actress playing the executed serial killer is more than a little wan. However, if you don't expect Oscar winning performances in horror films, then you will find Beyond Darkness a creepy treat to watch alone on a stormy night. And before inserting the tape, you might want to turn off the radio first.
My main beef with this movie is that there is no one to sympathize with to the extent that you want them to own the estate at the end. Blanche is manipulative and ruthless, not to mention butt ugly. Her boyfriend Phillip cares for his horse more than other people and harbors twisted delusions that he is entitled to the property he works on, despite the insistence to the contrary by his harried lawyer. The Furies are a bunch of arrogant bigots and I don't really feel sorry for them when Phil dresses up as a gypsy and offs Simon and Lawrence. When I found out who finally got the house, I wished the gypsies had torched the place. My other problem with this film is that it's in color. Postwar British filmmakers were doing such fantastic things with black-and-white photography in terms of elevating the importance of atmosphere and shadow in cinema,especially in moody Victorian pieces. Unfortunately the talents of Guy Green who worked with David Lean on the classic versions of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist are obscured in a garish Technicolor haze. So if you want a more satisfying example of British noir seek out any of the Dickens adaptations made between 1946 and 1954 or the screen versions of Terence Ratigan's The Guinea Pig and The Browning Version. Leave this ill-begotten mess in the family therapist's office.
It is possible that if this picture had been shot in black-and-white,the good folks at Cinemagic could have saved precious finances that could have gone into improving the special effects and hiring some decent actors. However for those of us who enjoy laughing our butts off at movies that display such a shameless degree of ineptitude,maybe it's "better" this way. Half the humor comes from imagining what Godzilla would do to this scaly,acid-puking hand puppet who due to the worst stop-motion photography ever seems to be destroying Copenhagen while combatting a prehistoric case of osteoarthritis.Of course the critter probably is diseased because he was spawned from what the cast refers to as a tail but looks more like a giant turd. The rest of the guffaws come from the over-the-top characters. There's electric eel-loving Peterson who comes off like a Danish Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies. There's General Grayson who never passes up a chance to remind us that the days of dialogue censorship were behind us by 1962 as he flaunts his expertise in the usage of the word "damn". There's Professor Martens who tries so hard to keep a straight face he sounds like he's reading from cue cards. In other words,you are not a true connoiseur of truly awful cinema until you have sampled this limburger Danish.
This is by far one of the worst sci-fi flicks of all time. The special effects were so glaringly artificial I might as well have been playing a computer game instead of watching a movie. The writing and acting are gratingly amateurish, in fact, I have seen student films that are more professionally executed. Reptilian and his alien cohorts look like wasted refugees from "Power Rangers". If this pops up on the Sci-Fi Channel again avoid at all costs.
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