Reviews written by registered user
|26 reviews in total|
It's hard to believe that "Identity" Sprung forth from the same pen as
that of the author of that really bad killer snowman movie "Jack Frost"
and it's unwanted sequel, but hey never mind, Because in "Indentity"
Michael Cooney has created a true Mystery thriller.
As i write these words, the rain outside is coming down in sheets, which gave me the notion to watch this movie again. Which i duly did. The coolest things about movies such as this, is the way they are constructed, much like "Dead End" you can theorise and guess your way through the whole, but how often do you ever get it right, i know i never have.
Anyway, the perfect premise is set when we fade and it's a dark and stormy night, off into the distance lit up by neon light we see a desolate motel and thats when the fun begins. The introduction of the ten principle characters and how they came to be was truly something, some would call it the fate of the gods.
The cast, headed by John Cusack, all aquitted themselves most admirably, especially Pruitt Taylor Vince, in the pivotal role of Malcolm Rivers, the man with the story, unfolding within his own mind.
I had a sudden notion, by the time you arrive at the conclusion, once you have deliberated over the evidence presented, you are going to ask yourself one simple question, "Who am I Here"? after you've viewed the film in it's entirety, your going to think you did it.
Now that is a mystery fit for solving. I must also add that the extras on the DVD release are pretty smart, especially the writer's commentary, i didn't realize that Michael Cooney was English, nothing wrong with that, as his commentary, the evolution of a screenplay was one of the most involving commentaries i've ever had the pleasure of listening to.
On a rating out of 10, on a dark and stormy night such as this, dare i say 10 out of 10, without hesitation.
Everyone's a critic, isn't that what they say, Opinions in life are
like that of a certain part of the body, we know we all have. Anyway
when it comes to movies like "Hellgate" a low budget horror movie, we
take one look at the cover and we find ourselves sucked in or suckered
out, depending on your point of view.
Now low budget films fan's truly worth their salt, will have come into contact sometime in their cinematic life with the works of filmmakers like William Girdler[Day of The Animals, The Manitou] William Sachs[The Incredible Melting Man, Galaxina] or indeed the director of this South African lensed little gem[Oops did i give away my opinion on this movie so early] The Director's output will never send out shockwaves, although he did make "Blackenstein" and "Monaco Forever" my point is, everything the aforementioned directors have made has fallen into the category of, should i use the word exploitation, why not.
Good movies, Bad movies, it's all the same. We still feel the need to watch them, it begins with the artwork on the cover first remember. So anyway, "Hellgate" itself, it's been a long time since i've seen it, but my memories are still vivid. The notion that it was made in South Africa, is never apparent, although if you've watched many a movie made from there, you'll know the faces and not necessarily the names.
What does the movie have going in it's favour, yes it's does have it's faults, but i'm bot going to dwell on them. The Plus Points are, a snappy script, brought to life by the talents of a very droll Ron Palillo, yes i know that Abigail Wolcott looks hot, and that her acting skills weren't exactly up their with the likes of Meryl Streep, but hey that was not the reason she was hired for the movie.
The Director William Sachs, who if i may, makes a cameo appearance as a severed head in a fridge, gives the movie a competent look, and finally the soundtrack, if like me you like those golden oldies, the song that permeates throughout the movie, as well as playing out through the end credits is truly a gem, if inly i could remember the band who sings it.
Anyway, for those of you out there, who might not have seen "Hellgate" if ever you wondered, was it worth a look, is it any good, to that i say.
Hellgate a good film? Hell yes!
There will be times in a movie collectors life, when he or she will
purchase a movie based solely on hype alone, or maybe just mere
whispers that they might have heard through the grapevine.
Such was the case with Steve Sessions latest movie "Dead Clowns" now if you ever visited the web site dedicated to David Decoteau, run by Eric Spudic, the man himself has never been been short of mentioning his own movies within the said site.
This was were i spotted the possible potential behind the movie itself, i believe if memory serves, Spudic served up a still of himself playing a character confined to a wheelchair, Anyway, the title alone should sell the movie. Remember movies like "Killers Klowns From Outer Space" or even "Clownhouse" Two very different movies with varying approaches to both mood and style with perhaps a dash of wit and menace thrown in for good measure.
Alas, "Dead Clowns" Presents nothing of any of those qualities. Perhaps Budgetary constraints, i guess we'll never know. However if you borrow the basic premise from John Carpenter's "The Fog" of course putting putting your own unique spin on it. You would expect to gage some sort of entertainment value from the proceedings, do anyone remember the movie "Vulgar" made by people who should have known better.
One things for sure though, for marquee value if nothing else, Sessions does know how to fill his movie, with the likes of Debbie Rochon and Brinke Stevens being his main two stars. Actually come to think of it, they were the only two stars. Utilising Brinke Stevens to tell the grisly story of how the Dead Clowns came to be fifty years previous, always a good plot devise, when you obviously don't have the money to show it.
As the the Dead Clowns themselves, a motley crew at best, wearing what clowns should wear, although bearing a very striking resemblance to the zombie's within Lucio Fulci's Zombie, The movie was just too dark, so dark you'd need a flashlight to watch it, even in this Unrated version courtesy of a Company called Crypt Keeper, the gore was obscured by the need of the director feeling like he wanted to prolong proceedings.
The version i purchased came in at 111 Minutes. Too long, very uninvolving, a very nice idea, however poorly executed. Perhaps in the hands of someone with a keen eye, and a sharper imagination, Dead Clowns could really have been something, instead, it's just another movie trying to cash in and make out, failing badly.
Dead Clowns! Dead and Buried! and that's that.
This is a classic example of how to make a movie, without a dime in you
pocket, but with a mind full of ideas, please by all means ignore the
"In Name" only sequel which apparently was made with laughs in mind,
alas they were not to be found where i was sitting.
Anyway, back to business, I make no apologies for saying this, but C.H.U.D. is F.U.N. the script is littered with snappy one liners, a soundtrack slightly reminiscent of Lucio Fulci's "Zombie" which is no bad thing, also present we have a number of really good performances, from the likes of Daniel Stern, looking like a real junior hairball, My personal favourite John Heard[a serious highlight as the bartender in "After Hours"] also on show albeit in minor roles, the likes of Sam McMurray, Lee Richardson and also encoring at the beginning we catch a brief glimpse of the late great Jan Saint, you know who he is!
Now the version i purchased just recently, was the Anchor Bay release, back in the day, when Chud was first released here in the U.K. The scene in the diner prompted a notion that a sequel would come along at any time, however upon viewing the DVD release, the ending in now situated in the middle, which kinda makes me feel more positive about the whole viewing experience, The positives vibes being that the intended sequel viewed through the Medusa release, was never ever going to materialise
If i were to have one quibble, it would be with the Commentary track included in the DVD, the gathering of Heard/Stern/Abbott and especially Curry should have been a little more serious, that the anorak in me there, it's always good to know the little things that went on in a movie, especially one a fun a this, but hey, at the end of the day, the film still stands tall.
For as long as i can remember, this movie like so many made by Charles Band,
be they made under the banner of Empire Pictures, Full Moon Pictures or even
his latest venture Shadow Entertainment, the majority of his output has
mostly been looked down upon as poor low brow fare, why even from those
persons unknown, masquerading as fans.
For me my first introduction to the work of Charles Band was infact "Ghoulies" directed by sometime actor, sometime director Luca Bercovici, being of that teen-age, the memories of that movie, like that of their sequels still lingers. Anyhow Trancers was the movie that kick started my love and my entire collection of Fantasy or Horror Fantasy movies, the majority of my collection it must be said is that of every Charles Band Movie he's ever made.
Pardon me for deviating from my take on this movie, everyone has their view, but hey, it has the coolest tag line, you know it, so i don't have to say it. A really snappy script, written by the writing partners of Bilson/De Meo, who would later excell themselves more so with the likes of "Eliminators" and the really fun "Zone Troopers.
The Movie itself also brought Tim Thomerson out of the shadows of character acting, allowing him to bring to life the hard boiled character of Jack Deth, Presented much better here than in any of the other sequels, of which, I must give mention to part three, which was the better of all the sequels.
As for the man behind the movie, Charles Band, i think perhaps, he cuts it better as a producer rather than a director, but hey if he runs the company then he's entitled to pick up that megaphone.
Perhaps the Glory Days might be gone, time rolls on, that shining light that once shone so bright for Charles Band will shine again, of that i have no doubt, he has left a legacy and for me my maiden voyage truly began with a man named Deth, how many film fans can say that and live to tell the tale.
His Empire May Have Crumbled. The Full Moon might have slightly dimmed, And
as for the present state of being for Charles Band and his new company
Shadow Entertainment, Time will only tell, i for one will always
Now As for "Blood Dolls" upon only my second viewing i was suddenly struck with the notion, now if memory serves, Ever since my viewing of "Ghoulies" which was my very first Band movie, i can never quite recall Charles Band Actually writing the movie script himself, but here he did.
So here i was, Thinking. Did Band base the Character of Virgil on himself, all the major factors were present. Here was Virgil head of his company having to safeguard his own wellbeing as well as that of his company from the nasty clutches of outside forces.
You be the judge, and wonder just how many times Charles Band has had to swim with the sharks and if like me you are a real fan, enjoy the film, it certainly made for a different kind of viewing, pleasant yes for the film itself had a kind of voyueristic feel. If in Doubt check out Meridian or Head of the Family as prime examples.
His Empire May Have Crumbled And the Full Moon might have slightly dipped
behind the shadows, but Charles's Band's Legacy of Classics will always
begin and end with this vision of Jack Deth, a rogue cop fighting for his
right to live and breath in the city of angels in the year
My first introduction to the cinema of Charles Band began with the Low Budget riff on Gremlins in the shape of Ghoulies, nothing that great, just a slight distraction for eighty odd minutes, now this being the 1980's the video shops were littered with all sorts of mindless dreck cluttering up the shelves, and being of an age, with an enquiring mind, in short and even still to this day, a sucker for a good looking cover i stumbled upon Trancers, not really knowing that it was made by the same producer.
Now Comparisons have been made down through the years, that Band was lurking in the shadows of Roger Corman as the pretender to the thrown as King of the B Picture, Alas my own take on that notion, is that Corman was from another time and age, that while he still maintains a presence in the Low Budget Genre Market with all the Various Dinosaurs, Carnosaurs and bubble headed Muscleman pictures, Charles Band was the man with plan and so it was, and so it began with Trancers.
Now everyone seems to think that this movie should be compared to the likes of The Terminator, However remember this being the 80's what film didn't compare just a little like something they had just watched. This Movie written by the combo partnership of Bilson & DeMeo [the writers behind the just as brilliant Zone Troopers] had concocted a hard boiled vision of the future whereby Tim Thomerson essays the spirit of a down at heel gumshoe caught between a rock and hard place and hell hath no fury if you come between him and the answers that he seeks in his quest to save the future.
At a mere running time of 82 minutes, the standard running time for the majority of all Empire and Future Full Moon Movies, the movie benefits from a crackerjack script, bubbling over with witty one liners[Spoken by the Tim Man Himself]ably assisted on his travels by the elf like Lena, the sexy santa helper from the north pole shopping mall. I never thought about it back then, but as this arena of film-making has become Tim Thomerson's bread and Butter, does Helen Hunt still care to remember her early hike up the Hollywood Ladder by appearing in such a low budgeted but very high spirited movie.
Back then ofcourse, who knew? Then Again who was i to say that, when i was just a teenager, i would find myself hooked on low budget B movies or to be more precise, the low budget B Movie that rolled of the Charles Band Conveyor belt all those years ago and even still to this day, and it all began with the first adventure of a future cop called Jack Deth, he who said that dry hair was for squids.
The many sequels that followed down through the years may not have surpassed the class and feel of the original, but they still had Jack Deth as the main protagonist, in his world rules were for jokers, he lived by his own rules. My all time favourite from the Charles Band.
This Jack is the reel deal.If you haven't already seen it, which i seriously doubt, do yourself a favour and give it another watch, you'll see what i mean.
Forget any references to the "Blair Witch Project" as the back of the cover
dares to suggest, Enjoy for yourself, and become immersed in the dark
shadowy thrills and chills and Discover just what Session 9 is all
Very few movies have the power to hook you right from the start, if however you've seen the likes of "The Usual Suspects" or even Frailty, you'll know what i mean. As with every movie, you have to have a narrative hook, in this case, Every Stretch of Action takes place within the haunted walls of the Danvers State Mental Hospital, Long since Abandoned, but still shrouded in scandal.
With a good cast involved, a really dark and brooding script co-written by Stephen Gevedon, who also appears in the movie, he being the one who finds the Session Tapes. It's a rare treat, Especially more so as the story evolves, and parallels as we watch the characters and listen to Mary and her inner demons converse with her doctor.
Just a little curio for you, if you remember the movie "Wendigo" the director of that Indie Sleeper also shows up towards the tail end of the movie as the character of McManus, i was never really a fan of that movie, but as ever it's always interesting to wear the proverbial Anorak and spot the who's who or play Six Degree's of Kevin Bacon when it comes to watching these genre specific movies.
So if you feel like you haven't seen anything good, you find yourself driven to utter distraction by all the really bad movies out there, and yes there are many, just set those inner demons aside, put your feet up and enjoy.
It Just what the doctor ordered, wouldn't you agree Simon!
Remember the glory days of B Cinema, the artwork for the movie was
outrageous and colourful, fantastic ad campaigns pre sold the movie, and
ofcourse it didn't hurt at all at the time, if your name was Andy Milligan,
Al Adamson or even the grandfather of gore himself H.G Lewis, Alas however
names such as these have long gone, either onto pastures new(i.e H.G
Lewis)or past beyond.
Such flights of fancy are still maintained today, as when first viewed when you look at the cover for the latest slice of straight to video terror not only directed By Danny Draven, but upon looking through the list of credits, to note, but he also co-edited, was also the Dp and he also worked on the sound.
May one suggest that if he ever decides to forsake the art of Film-Making, perhaps he could pick up a trade more meaningful in life, say perhaps, maybe an optometrist, as yet again, i believe, he has found himself involved in another assault on the human senses with such a boring excuse for a horror movie.
I don't think it helps as the movie was shot on Digital video, but for the love of all that's unholy, i'm not to bothered if the characters paraded on the screen encompase the A to Z of Blonde bimbo's, Bill & Ted Stoners or hell even a Marilyn Manson Groupie Wannabe, but please allow the poor viewer some crumb of comfort, with something enjoyable to watch.
Anyway as it stands. It's Halloween at Hobbs Grove, a dying town is about to get the kick start it needs, with the arrival of haunted fairground amusement park, Several Jobs are up for Grabs, so we see the various auditions for the girl school screamers required, and once assembled they are given the low down, except that is for the little known fact the Haunted House Of Horrors was built on Sacred Ground.
An Intriguing idea indeed, Ably handled yes, even the gusto shown by the producer Chuck Williams hiding under the DarkWalker Costume should be applauded, however as this was a Chuck Williams production, that theory is always there, that he donned the costume to keep a close eye on the production, too bad it wasn't close enough, that even he couldn't smell that this turkey was looking slightly undercooked.
As ever with these films, if you thought you'd seen anything, apart from the non-existing ending, stick around just after the film finishes, just before the credits, we are threatened with the notion that DarkWalker 2 is just around the corner.
Just the mere thought, sends a shiver down my spine and that's all the horror i can take...
Ps. Some fools have all the luck, as ever the sucker, i bought the movie based upon the cover alone, i had high hopes, as i'm sure the producers did too, and as long as we are, for we i mean me is fool enough to buy into such disappointments, they will always be made.
Pps. Lets here it for the glory days! Because Something's gotta give!
Leaving behind the metal fatigued Badlands of Hardware, Director Richard
Stanley emerges from the hue almost without notice. A shame really as i
consider this movie in it's director's [cut] form as a cross breed hybrid
employing the visual technique's of Argento and Leone to be far superior,
either Hardware or dare i even say The Island of Dr Moreau, Although one
get's the feeling that the way in which Stanley was usurped from his pet
project, The production history of that film will linger far longer in the
memories of film anoraks, than anything that emerged from the cine delight
that was Dust Devil.
How would you describe Dust Devil to that most jaded of film fan who might have found themselves submerged in the mire of half baked, totally deluded big blockbuster or small ballbuster films, that they might have had to endure down through the years, that would make them want to watch this, Hmmm let me see.
Taking his cue from those aforementioned masters of "Chills and Spills" Messrs Argento/Leone, this film would be sumised as a Psycho-Killer Spaghetti western whose basic premise plays on the many facets of the dark side, with Robert John Burke portraying the title character, simply known as Hitch, who trawls through the sprawling plains of the Great Namib Desert, searching out and decimating towns which no longer have the will to live, his reason for doing this? an undying need ro quench his tortured soul, which for the most part within the movie appears in the form of mortal man.
The film begins in narrative fashion with an old desert bushman expositioning on the genesis that details the mythological boundaries in which the Dust Devil conforms to, down through the years the township locals believe that the devils strength is aided by the howling winds that blow so fierce.
Coming from the pop music background, Richard Stanley utillises every trick in the book, as indeed he did with Hardware, the difference between the two, was that Hardware was a pop video, Dust Devil had story and visuals, and dare i say more depth. I remember reading an article years, in which Stanley stated that his lead Actor was a bit too Hollywood for his liking, I'm inclined to think, not quite, as yes Burke has travelled in those circles, but let's not forget he did make his mark in two early Hal Hartley films The Unbelievable Truth and Simple Men, to me he essayed just that right amount of cool and menace.
Using these two essential techniques, Stanley's camera prowls like a panther through the nomadic setting as the titular character waits by the roadside for his latest victim, in this instance, this will be his first victim, as what follows is an energetic sex scene whereby the victim dies in mid pleasure from a broken neck, he then proceeds to decorate her house with the contents of her body, ofcourse not forgetting to take a little bodily souvenir for his troubles.
Once the initial set piece has been revealed, the second narrative plot strand involving Chelsea[Prison]Field as disenchanted housewife, Wendy trying to escape her from her less than happy home, leaving her bemused hubby in her wake as she tears away in the family car, off into unknown, ofcourse as we now, for the story to develop, the characters of Wendy and the Dust Devil will meet, the husband will search in vain for answers as to why his has left him.
Until they do meet, the film's scenery is chewed up by such horror stalwarts as William[Hardware/Death Machine/Flash Gordon] Hootkins, and Zakes[Serpent and the Rainbow] Mokae appearing as two hard bitten South African Law Enforcers, also if you can look out for the actor, Russell Copley as Cpl Dutoit, as when Richard Stanley made Dust Devil as a student short, he played the original Devil of the title.
Have i sold it to you yet, i haven't given too much away, lest i say, if you want watch the screen, as it welters in a sea of blood and exploding heads. So even if like me you didn't take to the brashness of Hardware, check out Dust Devil and get involved in the mysticism of it all, before you're left in the DUST!
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