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The Masque of the Red Death (1989)
* * out of 4.
A dying millionare decides to throw one last party for old times sake. The theme of the party is Edgar Allen Poe's Masque of Red Death, but someone seems to have token the theme of the party to heart, because all of the guests are being slashed by a mysterious red masked, cloaked figure.
Starts out suprisingly interesting with some good shocks in spite of Z grade cast and low budget, but unfortunately the film is not able to keep up it's momentum and it becomes flat and boring. Still, some of the visuals (sets, costumes, and a tad of the make-up) are lively and flashy enough to bring this film slightly out of the gutter at times.
Rated R; Nudity, Strong Violence, Profanity.
Satan's School for Girls (1973)
* * * out of 4.
Hold on to the edge of your seat! This is one exciting ride!
The story finds a young woman creating an alias so that she can attend the same school her sister did because she is convinced that her sister did not committ suicide, but was murdered instead.
One of those rare excellent made for television films of the 70's with a cast of raising stars. It is not the best film plot wise, but the film starts out strong with a lot of momentum and it never slows down to the point where it is ever dragging. It is exciting and fun from the very beginning to the end.
Not Rated, but would probably earn a PG. It contains some violence.
Anatomie 2 (2003)
* * * out of 4.
Surprisingly sharp sequel to the original Anatomy finds a young med student getting involved with a drugged up woman who gets him involved with the AAA. The AAA has expanded their field of medical research from the first film. This time around they are using their youngest members to test out synthetic muscles, but of course their experiements get out of control which results in plenty of murder and mayhem.
Right on the same level, if not slightly better then the original. The script expands itself and tries to head in a different direction instead of being a copy of the original. And the film crew give the film a visually appealing look. It's one fast paced, sexy, smart, and thrilling ride.
Rated R; Violence, Profanity, Drug Use, Sexuality.
* * * out of 4.
Vile, violent, but intelligent thriller about a writer for an expose newspaper shocked to discover that everybody he was going to ruin in the press is turning up dead and all the clues point to him as the killer.
The premise may not sound like much, but just give this film a chance and watch it. You'll be surprised. It goes in directions that you would never expect, yet they are all credible. It also doesn't go for the easy answers in trying to wrap up it's little mystery. As good as the whole film was I never expected them to create a good ending for it, but yet again the script surprised me there too. A very good film.
Rated R; Graphic Violence, Profanity, Drug Use, Adult Themes, Sexuality.
Dream a Little Evil (1990)
* out of 4.
A favorite on USA's now cancelled Up All Night and a very obscure title to find. The film is a horror updating on the classic teen comedy Weird Science. It makes very little sense, but I'll try to explain it for you....
The film is about two feuding brothers living together in an isolated mansion. One of them is a computer geek and the other is a stud. The stud seems to be in bed with his girlfriend all the time. However, one day the brother that is a computer geek finally is able to create his dream woman on a computer, but things get out of control and the computer generated woman turns into a demon who kills everyone in sight.
This could have been a campy low budget treat, but it isn't. The budget is so small that it doesn't even leave room for standard cinematic devices, like halfway decent editing or make-up. The film moves along at a snail's pace and the acting is really terrible. The cast must have known they were making a campy film, but they fail to play up to the camp elements of the film. And the horror elements are unfocused and rushed at best. Still if I ever happen to catch it on TV, I always find myself watching it.
Rated R; Violence, Profanity, Nudity, Sexuality
* * out of 4.
Family moves into their dream home only to have it turned into a living nightmare. Their son becomes possessed at random and the wife suffers from ghastly, violent images.
Mario Bava's final outing as director is extremely disappointing (Plus people who want to become familiar with Bava's work should avoid this one for a while, as this is a bad place to start). Sure, it does look handsome in the new digitally remastered Anchor Bay DVD, a few of the effects are a tad memorable and I will admitt one or two of the jolts scared me, but their is one big problem with this film. The material is so old, so tired, and so predictable. No real surprises. Every twist can be seen coming from miles, including the so called shocking finale. However, the dubbing is a bit better then usual.
Rated R; Graphic Violence, Profanity, and Sexual Situations.
A review for both the 80 & 123 minute versions.
Both versions * * out of 4. (Though I would say that I liked the 80 minute version slightly more)
123 minute version-
Sam Neil is shocked to discover that his wife doesn't greet him with the warmest of welcomes when he returns home from the war. He is shocked a little bit more when he discovers his wife is slipping into mental illness. What shocks him most is that she is having multiple affairs, one of which is with a tentacled monster. Her affair with the creature sends both of them into a murder spree to cover up her actions.
At 123 minutes the film is way too long given the material. The same metaphors, same sybolmism could have been told in a much quicker narrative. The material is too thin and too shallow to justify such a long running time. The tour de force acting by the entire cast grows tiring even punishing after a while. Some parts of the film are way too slow while other parts move at a brisk pace. Plus as everyone has mentioned some parts of the story can be confusing and require several viewings before you can get them. However, the gross special effects are terrific and the ending is an all out shocker filled with nasty graphic violence, sleazy sex and plenty of weird situations. Too bad only a few select scenes prior to the finale match the quality of it.
80 minute version-
Scenes have been rearranged, other scenes have been cut out all together and the violence has been toned down. Still it really isn't as confusing as other people try to make it out to be, but the editing in this version is pretty bad overall. Still at least with this version the acting is sensational and never grows tiring and it better sustains the twisted tone of the film. It moves quickly enough and keeps you entertained throughout.
House of the Dead (2003)
* * out of 4.
A bunch of people travel to a small island for a rave. When they arrive they find the island completely empty. Their is no rave going on either. So for a lark, they decide to have some fun of their own. However, they soon discover that zombies have token over the island and are intent on killing off everyone.
Recycled horror is a good term to describe the story and character of this flick. Totally and utterly predictable in every sense with the exact same people making the same dumb choices. However, I like the way the film was set up. It is exactly like a big old video game in live action. You get the introduction, different levels complete with bosses, and even a character selection in slo mo. Quick, quick pacing and groovey techno music make this a lot of fun. Plus the girl from Halloween 4 and 5 (I think her name is Eli Cornell, did I get the spelling right?) is pretty darn good in a role that is against type for her.
Rated R; Nudity, Sexual Situations, Graphic Violence, and Profanity.
Death Line (1972)
* *1/2 out of 4.
Several years ago, a crash in the subway system caused several people to be trapped alive. To survive the survivors ate the flesh of those that had died. Now all of those people that survived have died but one. The one lone survivor is now back in the subway system kidnapping innocent people to feed off.
One of the earliest cannibalism films ever made. A little slow to get started, but once it does it's pretty darn creepy. The script lets you understand what drove the cannibal to his existence without being corny or shallow. You even feel a little sorry for the villian of the film and this human side of the story makes the film all the more frightening. Plus the effects are realistic. However, don't get me wrong the script is not perfect. It's under plotted and for a film that isn't about gimmicks, the ending is awfully gimmicky.
Rated R; Graphic Violence.
Lo squartatore di New York (1982)
* out of 4.
Donald Duck is stalking New York city slashing all of the pretty women to death. Well it really isn't Donald Duck, it's just someone who likes to talk like Donald. And can you believe it, the police are baffled by the murders and have no clue to as to who it is. An uneasy mixture of laughs, gore, and sleaze. None of it really works. Lucio's film is striking to look at, but when it comes time for the other techinical aspects of the film, it looks as though he doesn't know what he is doing. The story is incoherent, illogical and a person that talks like Donald Duck...... Come on! So bad, some people just might consider it good.