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EyeAskance

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351 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Blue-Light Special on the horror aisle., 15 June 2012

In a sleepy little U.S. community, a cemetery is haunted by a family of ghouls intent on resurrecting an ancient demon. This evil deed cannot be accomplished until a certain artifact is retrieved from a group of local teenagers.

This juvenile regional chiller never found much of an audience upon its initial home-video release, and it remains relatively obscure to date. It's a bit more ambitious that the usual backyard monster movie, with some surprisingly inventive entry-level horror makeup being the highlight of the production. Beyond that, CURSE OF THE BLUE LIGHTS is precisely the amateur horror hayride you'd probably expect it would be, with cheesy Gothic sets that look like an annual Halloween spook-house attraction. Performances are uniformly substandard, and the whole film ultimately comes off feeling like a feature-length episode of the TV show "MONSTERS".

These criticisms aren't made to sway you from seeing it, mind you...it's actually pretty fun stuff, so long as your expectations remain squarely fixed at ground-level. Despite the perplexing(and quite possibly self-imposed) R rating, I would recommend this primarily to younger horror fans.

4.5/10

13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A concedable ghost-in-the-box handout., 28 September 2011

A trio of college pals merge their funds for an unusual online auction purchase...an 18th century box which houses the malevolent spirit of a murdered Irish servant girl. When the box is opened, the ghost is set free, and predictable carnage ensues.

KILL KATIE MALONE really offers nothing new to the horror genre, but it's a satisfactory little product, nonetheless. Performances from the key players are a notch or two above the yardstick, and their characters are surprisingly well developed. This is pretty subtle stuff for contemporary horror, though not entirely ineffective...I actually rather liked the way it skirted explicit visual shocks for a more veiled, spectral puissance.

All in all, a higher quality production than the flat material really deserved.

5/10

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Inci-dentally surreal., 29 August 2011

This disorderly late-30s singsong cartoon dares to examine the possible consequences of prohibitive parenting, animal cruelty, and the failure to massage one's gums daily.

A puppy follows a boy home from school(where musical oral hygiene class is part of the curriculum), but the boy's curmudgeonly father kicks the dog to the curb and sends the child to bed without his supper. Later that night, a wallpaper mural in the boy's room becomes a portal into some sort of otherworldly elf-kingdom, where the father is forcibly taken to stand trial for his patrilineal misconduct. Found guilty by the elf jury, the judge(revealed to actually be his son), sentences him to a bizarre age-regression chamber where he is transformed into a baby. The father wakes from his cautionary nightmare a changed man...and they all live happily ever after.

An awkwardly conceived and disjointed toothcare advert with a frenetic singalong interlude. Its sheer weirdness will appeal to some folks, but I personally found it borderline unpleasant.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A psychosexual mess-terpiece., 14 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We launch our story with the harpoon murder of a zaftig young lady, casually snuffed for failing to sit still while posing for the killer's artistic doodles. We're off to a good start. We next find our assassin in the employment of a well-to-do sexpot(we know she's a cheap little whore because her tits are hiked to her chin and she has the same on-screen saxophone leitmotif as "Ginger" from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND). Not surprisingly, she's killed as well, as is the next girl, and the next, etcetera...all for refusing to stay still while the killer is sketching them. The explanation revealed for this psychosis is ridiculous, but don't let that stop you from viewing this insanely mean-spirited exercise in misanthropic sexism...it's a lovable paragon of 60s-era filmtrash, and might be regarded as Canada's answer to H. G. Lewis' COLOR ME BLOOD RED.

The technical parts-and-parcels of PLAYGIRL KILLER are typically bottom-drawer, though sparks of enthusiastic abecedarian energy are occasionally evident. A very young and doughy Neil Sedaka is on-hand for a trivial "star-power" guest spot, obviously inclusive of a brief musical repose.

A delectably gauche, consistently watchable flick with a good sense of humor about itself, PLAYGIRL KILLER is semi-essential vintage sleaze.

6/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Trite little cockaMAMIE musical., 14 August 2011

I caught this stinker on an independent TV station "Late Show" sometime around 1979 or 1980, under the title METHUSALEH JONES. The story involves a shifty talent agent who swindles a family of music-minded country bumpkin bible-thumpers. Mamie Van Doren is in it, so it should be instantly understood that this is not going to be an Oscar Night contender...in fact, all these years later it stands out in my mind as one of the worst movies I've seen outside the confines of the horror genre. It's poorly filmed, laggardly paced, and features some dismally unmemorable music "highlights". The low-rent cast also includes B-movie has-beens Preston Foster and Gloria Castillo, both performing with understandable indifference.

Apparently, this film recently became available on DVD. With the high volume of classic films that remain unattainable, somebody actually decided to resurrect THIS?? I suppose the on screen presence of THE BANTAMS(a kitsch kiddie music trio who flirted with minor success in the 60s) makes it something of a time capsule, but that's the only redeeming value of this one, slight as it may be.

1.5/10...not even interesting in a retro sort of way.

Mirrors (1978)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Semi-successful voodoo thriller., 14 August 2011

Pretty, young Marianne is vacationing with her husband in a New Orleans French Quarter hotel. Nightmares involving mirrors and faces she's seen during her visit begin to plague her, but her suspicions of something sinister are roused when another guest from the hotel ends up mysteriously killed. The following night, her husband dies in his sleep from an evident asthma attack, and Marianne becomes convinced that forces of voodoo are pitted against her. Predictable terror ensues in this pedestrian thriller of the "is it all real, or is she nuts" variety.

It would require excessive leavening to say that MIRRORS a *good* film, yet it does succeed suitably in perpetuating a creeping buildup of tension, and the performances(namely from Kitty Winn and Peter Donat) are fairly solid.

Despite being erratically paced and largely inconclusive, it draws a voltage of lurking menace from the emotional and psychological duress of its central character...an indwelling nerve-center which fuels a troubling atmospheric carriage, variably reminiscent in tone to LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH. This intimacy with the protagonist during her inconsolable spiral of cruelly-induced madness is ably effectuated, and marks the chief distinction which saves MIRRORS from sinking like an iron anchor.

4.5/10. THE SKELETON KEY(2005) incorporates several very similar key elements

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Anemic horror/western underachievement., 14 August 2011

A band of old west outlaws rise from the grave to exact vengeance against the descendants of those responsible for lynching their top-dog 100 years earlier.

While there is little to complain about as far as technical aptitude is concerned, GHOSTRIDERS is far from a rewarding or memorable film-watching experience. There is a smidgen of suspense buildup within the final fifteen minutes, but that certainly doesn't make this otiose Hee-Haw of Horror the slightest bit recommendable.

Give me just a wee bit of bloodshed...maybe some boobs. Hell, give me ONE boob, just something, ANYTHING to make this all seem like more than just a goddamn waste of time. There was a fairly workable idea here, but somehow it took the form of this nothing-flavored mephitis of a motion picture...no scares, no gratuitous ANYTHING...not even an unintentional chuckle(besides the one that comes after you've finished watching it).

3.5/10

Warped obscuro kiddie drivel., 14 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Two especially irritating children meet in school and find that they share a peculiar mutuality...they both have the same imaginary friend, some dude named Rem Lezar. Rem is a robust fellow with a butch lesbian haircut, clad in skintight purple spandex with a cape and headband. He loves children(!), and sings with an impassioned Jim Nabors-style vocal delivery.

The kids manage to bring him to life with mannequin parts and the power of believing, but his time with them is limited to a single day because a gold chest medallion crucial to his existence has been hidden away by an evil and powerful entity(a cheap pixillating digital face in the sky). Rem Lezar and the children embark on a search for said medallion(even stopping by the World Trade Center in one scene), and as is often the case in kiddie films, love saves the day and everything's ducky in the end.

This brain-decimating travesty replaces THE APPLE as the worst musical I have ever seen. The songs(oh, Sweet Jesus...there are a LOT of them) are stentoriously racking and saccharine-sweetly twee(the diabetic stroke inducing synth-and-vocals lullaby "When I'm Dreaming, I'm Dreaming Of a Dream" will make your sphincter tighten and your toes curl). Also in the mix are a few numbers which woefully attempt to "rock out", among them a cacophonic fifties-style doo-wop ditty by a group of effete boys in the throes of Sha-Na-Na-gasm, as well as what is possibly the least urban rap tune in the history of music. What makes REM LEZAR so memorably harsh, however, is the inherent pedophiliac streak which runs through it...disturbing, to be sure, but not enough to counter the sheer hilarity of this highly irregular juvenile jumble.

Rates 7.5/10 on the Schlockometer.

Strangely restrained 70s drive-in sleaze., 14 August 2011

In a small coastal U.S. town, slutty high school cheerleaders and dough-brained football jocks indulge in the usual ribald behavior. Meanwhile, in a neighboring community where there's some pretty hinky goings-on, a Sheriff and his wife(disciples of Satan)have sinister plans in store for the girls...especially the one who's still a virgin.

If you're a fan of old-school jiggletit romps and/or cornball drive-in horror, you'll probably have a good time with this...it's hard to dislike SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS, despite the simple fact that it is, indeed, complete and total garbage. Surprisingly light on nudity and entirely devoid of gore, this is could have been classic stuff, but now merely holds one's interest as a nostalgic memory of a time when films were made in a way we will never see again. Amazing that they actually got some pretty big names from the Old Hollywood glory days to slum through this one.

5/10...not as special as it ought to be, but worth a look.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A likely genre-fan pleaser., 14 August 2011

A small crew of amateur pornographers head south-of-the-border in a van to find filming locations. In a drug-addled haze they lose direction, by-and-by ending up in a decrepit abandoned town. Finding this mysterious spot ideal for filming, they proceed to shoot their impromptu porn scenes and are having a great time...until they find themselves in a life-or-death face-off with a psychotic Mexican wrestling legend who inhabits the creepy ghost town in solitude.

This little movie surprised the hell out of me. This is not to say that I'm falling all over myself with praise for the high production qualities and flawless execution of WRESTLEMANIAC(which, truth be known, are merely average, or perhaps slightly better thanks to some interesting camera-work and a great atmospheric filming location). What I AM more enthusiastic about is the canny and eccentric handling of the material which, despite having a mildly intriguing slant in it's storyline, treads some mighty tired slasher ground. The characters(all complete losers, but likable regardless) are well written, and deliberately almost over-the-top. This makes sense, however, as the whole affair crackles with a mordant undercurrent and winks knowingly as it tosses out every exploitation film cliché in the book. Make no mistake, though...this isn't a genre parody. There is actually a decent buildup of suspense, and some brisk action(not to mention a few really gross gore moments)...it almost plays like a homage to grindhouse cinema without being a complete contrivance(unlike some films by a certain Hollywood Golden Boy who shall remain nameless). Performances are a tad spotty, but the largely unknown cast members handle their parts capably enough(and all obligatory female eye-candy bases are definitely covered).

Although it isn't by any means a stellar or important picture, it succeeds quite nicely as fodder entertainment...wisely, it never aspires to be anything more.

I enjoyed WRESTLEMANIAC as the base-level cheap thrill ride that it intended to be, and I'm not a bit sorry for it. 6/10


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