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The Landlady (2013)
It doesn't miss a step. A must see!
Four rules...just four rules. No smoking, no loud noise, no pets and no visitors after midnight. Sounds simple, yes? Ah, no. Not really. The tenants can't seem to follow four simple rules. And what happens to them is worth seeing. Caroline Munro does the strongest work of her career. She's given a well-written part and seems to be having fun with it. The character could easily have been played as one-note, like Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca. But Miss Munro goes all out and gives a solid, expressive performance. The filmmakers have done an outstanding job, and I hope for the sake of all involved this film gets widely seen. It deserves an audience! An the audience deserves this treat of a dark-humored horror film. I look forward to seeing more work from this talented crew.
Impressive, very well done, faithful to Toho
It's refreshing to see a Godzilla movie that takes its subject seriously. GODZILLA 2014 is an impressive work by a director who clearly wanted to pay tribute to Toho Studios original creation. Having said that, Godzilla isn't in the film all that much. But he looks realistic and is the Godzilla we know and love. This is one of the few films that actually lives up to the expectations set up by the trailer. There are two other creatures in the film, as well as a few human characters. It's not often I see a film where "big Hollywood special effects" as balance with a good, solid, well-told story. Kudos to all involved. This is a Godzilla film to remember.
I honestly can say I liked this movie
I liked this film. I admit, I am a Dave DeCoteau fan, although I had not seen one of his films in a long time. His films are not for everyone. He has single-handedly created a niche market for homo-erotic horror, and has done it very well. This film looks great. The location is astounding, and is a character in itself. The men are gorgeous (of course) although only one of them, Preston Davis, is a professional actor. Some of the others are quite good (Quincy Ndekwe and Jerrell Pippins); others not so much (no names, please). I doubt the budget was anywhere near what IMDb says it is, but the film does look great. I suspect a hefty part of the budget when to hair and make-up for Tina Parks, gowns for Miss Parks, stylist for Miss Parks. She's the only one besides Preston Davis who gets to wear any clothes. The "plot" of the film could fill a running time of 5 minutes, but that's the not the point of a DeCoteau film. DeCoteau is very good at what he does, and this movie doesn't disappoint. Sure, some of the action happens off-screen and the middle is a little slow, but I would watch it again. Note to the director: there is a reason why Miss Parks hasn't done a picture in 36 years. What next? A vehicle for "Bambi?"
Grefe knew how to churn them out
William Grefe had a knack for turning out low budget yet effective films in the 60s and 70s. STANLEY is one of his more popular releases. The film is very dated (mainly from the guys' clothing), but worth a look. The film is at it's most creepy with scenes of real snakes crawling all over the home of the snake-man. You can imagine what it must have been like to be on the set - Grefe was probably the lone crew man. The film's weakness is in it's running time - more than an hour and forty-five minutes is much too long for this kind of drive-in/exploitation fare. The film would have been more effective if trimmed down to a 90 minute or so running time. Like one character who got bit on the ass, it hurt to sit down that long!
L'isola degli uomini pesce (1979)
I saw this movie on television as SCREAMERS and loved it. I heard an interesting story about this film. When Roger Corman released it to drive-ins in the summer of 1981, his trailer department sent out an advance trailer which was not actually footage from the film. It was allegedly footage of a naked woman being chased around a laboratory set by a monster. During the film's opening at drive-in's, irate customers complained the did not see the movie they paid to see. Theater owners called Corman and said their customers felt ripped off. So Corman had to run off copies of the footage, and send the positive film to theater owners to splice into the film themselves. Since the footage was never part of the film negative, it has not appeared in any video, DVD or television broadcast. Has anyone ever seen this footage? Anyone who saw this film at a drive-in in the summer of 1981 remember this?
The Velvet Vampire (1971)
Underrated, unique take on the vampire tale
THE VELVET VAMPIRE is really one of the most underrated vampire movies, and well worth searching for a copy. Not available on DVD, the film's long out of print VHS tapes have sold for high amounts on eBay. Directed by 70s cult director Stephanie Rothman, THE VELVET VAMPIRE is a very low budget, yet very well done movie. I saw it screened in a theater once, in 1981, on a double bill with DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS. It was a perfect double feature, yet THE VELVET VAMPIRE does not have anywhere near the strong cult following DAUGHTERS OF DAKRNESS has achieved. A young couple meet a beautiful, mysterious woman in an art gallery in downtown Los Angeles. She invites them to spend the weekend at her desert home. They both have dreams of being seduced by her, and the dreams, in one way or another, become a reality. Celeste Yarnall is outstanding as Diane, The Velvet Vampire, and it always puzzled me that she did not achieve greater success as an actress.
The Frightening (2002)
Interesting horror flick with one major flaw
Well written, well acted, well photographed, well directed but absolutely hideously edited horror film. Good editing should be invisible. It should never call attention to itself. The editing in THE FRIGHTENING makes the film unwatchable. There are these absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary flashes of white every two seconds. This makes watching THE FRIGHTENING about the same as experiencing Chinese water torture. What were they thinking? Brinke Stevens makes a nice cameo appearance, and the lead actor who plays her son is very good. I can't believe a director as accomplished as David DeCoteau would give his movie to an editor who made the film an unwatchable experience.
Voodoo Academy (2000)
A Horror Film with a Twist
I love this movie. I love seeing horror movies that dare to be different, that don't do the same thing I've seen over and over in horror movies before. VOODOO ACADEMY is a dark, intimate little horror movie about some creepy activities going on at a school for boys. The twist is that it has a strong homoerotic overtone, which works for the story. It's also a good example of how creative horror can be on a minuscule budget. I would have given it a 10, but it suffers from some horrible acting. The female lead spends the whole movie reciting memorized lines, but at no time does she give a performance. And the dude playing a priest...well...let's just say he comes across as someone who may have been in movies before, but never actually had to speak a line of dialogue until now. The young actors playing the students are all great, and more than make up for their adult co-stars' lack of acting ability.
Stazione Termini (1953)
Often dismissed as a failure in the film history books, this is actually an outstanding gem which deserves to be seen. I have not seen the Criterion disc, but I have seen the film twice. In a theater, it was re-released in the uncut version as STATZIONE TERMINI some time in the 1980's. I also saw the much shorter INDISCRETION OF AN American WIFE, which is also very good. The film works due to the outstanding performances of Jennifer Jones and Montgomery Clift, and also due to the outstanding location filming. Produced by Jones' husband, the camera adores her. She looks radiant (she was about 34 at the time), and the camera seems to be on her in nearly every frame of the film. Well worth checking out in any version!
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Astonishing...an awesome film which earns it's place in history independent of the original
DAWN OF THE DEAD is one of the most astonishing films I've seen recently. When I heard it was being re-made, I rolled my eyes. The original was fine, thank you very much. I missed the theatrical release, and just saw the uncut version on DVD. What makes DAWN OF THE DEAD so good is that at no time does it draw comparison to the original. Although the basic story line is the same, the style and interpretation is so different, that DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) earns it's place in history independent of the original. For a remake, that is unheard of. It's one of the best remakes I have ever seen, along with THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005). If you are curious about the WORST remake in the history of cinema, check out PSYCHO (1998).
DAWN OF THE DEAD benefits from an outstanding cast, lead by Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames. The director, Zach Snyder, should be in the horror hall of fame for making such a great film. He seems to be a director more interested in action than horror, but he pulls no punches with the gore.