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The-Spike

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2968 reviews in total 
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ATM (2012/I)
Cash - Point!, 29 October 2014
6/10

It's siege time as three yuppie types pop into an ATM booth at night and find themselves at the mercy of a hooded maniac intent on killing them. It's an interesting setting for a horror/thriller movie, but it leaves itself open for plot holes the size of bank! Which sadly is the case here as giant leaps of faith are expected of the audience as regards what the three "victims" do; or more precisely what they don't do actually!

It's just about above average because the suspense quotient is high and the character dynamics in the ATM booth are consistently interesting. But newcomers to the film are likely to find that for a good portion of the piece they will be shaking their heads in disbelief. 6/10

Literally a haunted house!, 29 October 2014
6/10

OK! Simple fact is that compared to the novel this Lifetime Television movie pales in comparison. Anne Rivers Siddons' novel is worthy of the praise it has received over the years. Directed by Jeff Woolnough, it's a film that is routine but effective both in atmosphere and story telling.

Lara Flynn Boyle and Colin Ferguson play the contented couple whose idyllic suburban life is tipped upside down when a modern house is built on the land next to their home. Embracing the community spirit of new neighbours at first, the couple soon come to realise that whoever lives in the house - or even those who visit it - are beset by tragedy or uncontrollable urges.

Each segment with the various "house" owners vary in quality, but always there's a smart thematic link pulsing away in the narrative. It's never scary as such, unless you count Boyle's cosmetic surgery (silly girl, she was a natural and sexy beauty), and the house itself is a monstrously modern ode to yuppiedom, which to some (ok, me) kind of negates the horror factor, yet this is worth a look on a time waster basis. But please do seek out the book if you haven't already. 6/10

And a child shall lead them..., 28 October 2014
6/10

Who would have thunk it, that one of Stephen King's short stories would spawn a gargantuan movie franchise? Children of the Corn is one of those movies that horror fans of a certain age, who started to blossom in the 1980s, remember fondly but agree that now it's a bit, well, corny.

Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton get trapped in a village of the damned where the children have killed the adults and established a religious order that gives worship to the devil of the corn. Isaac Chroner (John Franklin) and Malachai Boardman (Courtney Gains) head the creepy kid cult, corn does sway, blood does flow, poor special effects do down the devil, yet it's atmospheric as heck fire and still a bunch of fun if you forgive it its dated foibles. 6/10

Chucky has gone to seed., 27 October 2014
3/10

It would be pure folly to have expected Seed of Chucky to be a brilliant entry in the Chucky franchise, the big-wigs pulling the financial strings behind the scenes clearly had no idea what had made the series popular in horror circles in the first place.

Bride of Chucky (part 4 for anyone counting) was bold and it worked, it managed to be that rare old thing of a horror film able to marry up horror and comedy for good entertainment purpose. Unfortunately everything about Seed of Chucky is lazy and weak. There is no story of substance here, it is neither funny or scary, the parody and self awareness the makers go for runs out of steam after 15 minutes! When the writers are reduced to a masturbation sequence to get their meta kicks then you know there's problems. 3/10, and that is purely for Jennifer Tilly and her delightful way of not taking herself seriously.

Death Lives!, 27 October 2014
7/10

Horror anthologies are invariably a mixed bag and Tales from the Crypt is no different in that respect. Five horror stories of fluctuating quality, it is however one of the best of the bunch and arguably the best from the house of Amicus.

The wrap around has five people taking a tour of spooky catacombs who get lured into a hidden crypt where a cowl wearing man reveals to them exactly why they are there.

Stories 3 & 5 are the better efforts here, boosted considerably by top grade lead character performances from Peter Cushing and Patrick Magee, but as always with anthology movies, there's something for everyone. So roll the dice horror fans and take a chance, this is great fun, a real popcorn and wine night in by the fire. 7/10

Drifter, Shifter, Fanciful Mister., 23 October 2014
4/10

Serial killer movies have become two a penny, it feels like at least a couple come out each year. This one, directed by Michael Feifer, just feels like old hat, like it is treading water to make a point that has been made a hundred times before. It doesn't help that Henry Lee Lucas has already been covered in brilliantly grainy fashion previously with John McNaughton's 1990 skin itcher Henry: Portrait OF A Serial Killer, which quite frankly is superior to this in every department. On the plus side are the performances of Antonio Sabato Jr. (Henry) and Kostas Sommer (Ottis), where the former is broody and twitchy, the latter hyper insane, but ultimately it achieves nothing. Kudos, however, is due for at least cleaving close to what facts of the case are known to be true. 4/10

Excision (2012)
The last cut is the deepest!, 23 October 2014
9/10

AnnaLynne McCord stars as Pauline, a disturbed high school misfit who has delusions of becoming a surgeon. Dominated by her over bearing mother, Pauline battles with her sanity and unhealthy obsessions.

Superb, a teen based horror that's pungent with everything from necrophilia, growing pains, peer pressure, sexual anxiety, parental strife, mental illness and horror – real horror. Writer/director Richard Bates Junior does a brilliant job of filling an 80 minute movie with so many thematic smarts but never once over egging his bloody pudding. He gets excellent performances out of McCord and Traci Lords (as Pauline's mother), whilst the blending of surreal imagery via Pauline's dreams and the real world awkwardness – with some dry humour in the mix too – produces a picture that is in equal parts oddball and emotionally shattering.

When Dead Ringers collides with Ginger Snaps, Excision will stay with you for days afterwards. 9/10

Grace (2009/III)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
This childbirth thing is murder you know!, 23 October 2014
8/10

Oh no, not another evil child horror film I hear you cry! Yet there's something very fresh about Paul Solet's movie, it's deeply unsettling but emotionally complex, even gnawing away at our inner built capacities for empathy and sympathy.

Jordan Ladd plays the mother of the piece, hit with personal tragedy time and time again, her will is tested to the limit when a car crash strips her of her husband and renders the baby she is carrying as being a sure case of still born. But she's determined to carry it to term, and when she literally wills the dead child alive, it responds in kind and becomes Grace, the miracle baby…

What follows is the disintegration of Ladd's character and of the key characters around her. Meditations on grief are heavy but richly so, as is the nods to post-natal depression. The horror elements are strong, as baby Grace shows a thirst for something other than milk, and the slow-burn approach favoured by Solet pays off with a final quarter of heartbreaking devilment. Cast are dandy, especially a very committed Ladd, while other tech credits keep the film very much in the upper echelons of this sub-genre of horror. 8.5/10

Cropsey (2009)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The Facts or the Folklore?, 21 October 2014
9/10

What is a Cropsey? A Cropsey is the name given to a bogeyman used to frighten children by way of safe education (stay away from that place/that man/them woods etc). When Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio grew up they learnt that their Cropsey was in fact real. Or was he?

Andre Rand was a convicted child kidnapper from Staten Island who is strongly suspected to have committed a number of child kidnappings and murders between 1972 and 1987. Most of the missing children were special needs cases, and with Rand having close ties to Willowbrook State School, a sorry place for the mentally ill thats conditions were exposed by Geraldo Rivera's infamous documentary in 1972, and his known living arrangements out in the Greenbelt Woods around Willowbrook, he seemed the likely culprit for sure.

Zeman and Brancaccio do a sterling job of piecing together all available evidence and reports involving Rand, including interviews with family and friends of the missing children and the detectives who worked on the case. They even have epistle contact with Rand as they try to arrange a meeting with their very own bogeyman. The footage and stories involving Willowbrook are skin crawlingly effective, the visits to the ruins of the place equally creepy.

We constantly see pictures of the missing children, and that of the only one who was found, murdered, close to one of Rand's makeshift campsites. These are real horrors in this horror film, and they cut the psyche like a knife. Unfortunately the makers lose a little focus in the final third, as more revelations and accusations enter the debate some of the unease wears off, the doc gets chocked as it were, and some of the harsh realities are replaced by fanciful supposition.

Still, in the main this is a tremendous documentary, challenging and unbiased. It could just have been Zeman and Brancaccio walking around interviewing the usual suspects et al, but they go deeper than that to leave a lasting impression on both the mind and the soul. 8.5/10

Psycho II (1983)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
We all go a little sequel crazy sometimes., 19 October 2014
7/10

22 years after the murderous and maniacal events at Bates Motel, Norman Bates, freshly released from a mental institution, is back home; and the spectre of "Mother" is waiting to greet him.

We could say it was a cynical attempt at latching onto the coat tails of the 1980s slasher boom, but in spite of having the unenviable task of being a sequel to a masterpiece, Psycho II is a rather nifty sequel.

Director Richard Franklin is helped by having Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles heading up the cast list, this gives the film instant credibility, and while the mighty spectre of Hitchcock looms large, Franklin doesn't copy the maestro and brings his own visual smarts to the piece.

Tom Holland's screenplay doesn't mimic either, expanding the Bates story with a series of quality twists whilst keeping the mystery element strong and the gripping factor on the high heat. Dean Cundey (cinematography) and Jerry Goldsmith (music) round out the strong points of the film's tech credits.

Not to be dismissed as a lazy cash in, this is well worth a look. Great ending as well! 7/10


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