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berjohn12

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9 reviews in total 
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They (2002)
5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
An excellent movie, 9 July 2004
9/10

Exceptionally restrained and atmospheric, for one of Wes Craven's productions. He must have been watching Val Lewton in between directing/producing Freddie Krueger, et al.

A good story, with great direction, good acting, and fine camera work. Val Lewton's influence is apparent in what you DON'T see of the creatures of "They". I believe that the only clear view is that of a claw at one point in the film. Your imagination is left to fill in the blanks.

Along with "The Others", "The Ring", and "Signs", I think we're seeing a rennaissance in the horror film industry from the monotonous slice-and-dice teen flicks of the '90's and '90's.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Getting better all the time, 13 August 2003
9/10

I did an earlier review of the this film, and gave it a positive rating.

After ten repeated viewings I have to rate it even higher than I did previously. It's scary, it's riveting and it's well made. I'm not at all a fan of slasher/gore flicks (the 30's Universal classics are more in my line of horror films). Aside from the gratuitous foul language (I retired from the U.S. Navy, and even we don't punctuate every sentence with the word "f*ck"), I enjoy the movie more every time I watch it. I liked William Castle's original version, but this one left his in the dust. Nine out of ten in my book. I'm going to rewind it now.

Vampyr (1932)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Castle of Doom - Butchery of a Classic, 4 May 2003

One word describes "Castle of Doom" (a badly cut and overdubbed version of the classic "Vampyr") - dreadful. Actually, I can think of many other words, but none of them are printable. Instead of allowing the storyline of the film to progress as originally intended (mainly in the mind of the viewer), some incompetent bungler cut about 15 minutes from the film with a meat cleaver, and hired an almost inaudible and incomprehensible narrator with a plummy British accent to talk all the way through it. He even speaks the characters' dialogue with no attempt at synchronization with their lip movements (and you thought the dubbing in Japanese monster movies was bad!). The effect is such that the film is better to watch with the sound turned all the way down. Too bad that there's no way to fix the poor cutting. To make a long story short, hold out for the real thing and don't even bother with this version.

Repo Man (1984)
13 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Either you get it or you don't, 4 May 2003

From some of the comments made by contributors here, it is plain that with "Repo Man", you either get it or you don't. I've been watching it since 1984, and it's still as blackly funny and nihilistic now as it was then. Of course, some people don't like The Three Stooges, either. Lighten up, AND LET'S HAVE A DRINK!

Cape Fear (1962)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, 8 April 2003
10/10

The remake doesn't even come close to the standards set by this classic. I'm not going to go into the plot details, since they've all been well rehashed in previous reviews. I recently saw it on AMC after having not seen it in about 30 years, and I was absolutely riveted in my seat. Mitchum was superb -- chilling in his portrayal of an ex-con with his mind set on one goal -- revenge. Having worked as a corrections officer, I can assure you that there are many people like him in the corrections system. They are real, they are in prison, and they are biding their time for release, just as Max Cady did in the film. I know Mitchum did a little jail time for marijuana, but I don't know how he got the mannerisms of a con down so well. Just watch the scene when he first gets released, and checks out a woman walking down the street. Those sleepy old eyes of his ain't missing a thing. And when he's watching Gregory Peck's daughter on the dock, he looks like an alligator examining his next meal. I'll buy the comparisons with "Night of the Hunter" (another classic, and God help the S.O.B. who tries a remake of that one). When it comes to playing stone-cold psychotics, Mitchum dusts all the imitators. Who needs Hannibal Lecter? To wrap it all up, a great story from John MacDonald, strong direction, superb cinematography and a solid cast. Watch this one on the all-night movie channel and you won't be going to sleep.

The Ape (1940)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Boris must have been hard up, 4 March 2003
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Aaaaargh, atrocious, a terrible waste of a most talented actor's skills. This little gem runs under 60 minutes, but seems to last as long as James Cameron's "Titanic". Typically formulaic, but unsatisfying (I like most of Karloff's mad scientist films). The only good part **SPOILER HERE** is when the ape takes out the scumbag who's cheating on his poor, mistreated Okie wife. I wouldn't have minded breaking his worthless neck myself. Karloff gives his all in this poorly-scripted, badly-filmed and rottenly-directed spontaneous abortion, and you just gotta admire him for it. What a work ethic. From what I understand, Karloff's contract with Universal ran out in 1939 -- poor Universal. The golden years were ended, and we are all worse off for it. I only wish Val Lewton had worked for Universal. Cinematic history would have been a great deal different.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A fascinating psychological drama, 19 February 2003
10/10

"The Ghost Ship" is an interesting psychological drama, which is one of the hallmarks of a Val Lewton-produced film. Although devoid of supernatural elements, it is drenched in an atmosphere of subtle terror. Watching the mental disintegration of Richard Dix, a former silent screen star, as the ship's captain is both chilling and disturbing. His performance really makes me wish that more studios had used his talents as a character actor in the 30's and 40's. Russell Wade, as the victim of the captain's mania, is somewhat disappointing as the film's lead (as he was in "The Bodysnatcher") -- he comes across as a goody two-shoes, one-dimensional character, with very little of the psychological depth found in Boris Karloff's Cabman Gray in the aforementioned film or Richard Dix's character in "The Ghost Ship". The video is very difficult to obtain, since there was a copyright dispute which continues to this day. With a little persistence, you may be able to get a copy on eBay. It's definitely worth the effort.

A Christmas Carol (1971) (TV)
12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Best animated version of a Dickens classic Xmas tale, 17 February 2003
10/10

This is the best animated version of the hoary old Dickens tale ever brought to the screen. This is no assembly-line cartoon; this is a Victorian lithograph brought to life. Splendid artwork, dizzying camera angles, magnificent and painstaking animation at its best. There are master craftsmen at work here; no shortcuts or sloppy work. The only criticism I could make of it is that it's too short. I sure wish that Santa had given them an unlimited budget to work with. Probably not suitable for younger children, as some of the images are a little terrifying (the children under the robe of the second spirit send chills up my spine every time I see it). I first saw it on PBS back in 1972, I think, and it has haunted me ever since. I was fortunate enough to find a copy on eBay, and it was as good as I had remembered from 30 years back. It's a rotten shame that it's been neglected by the networks ("A Christmas Story" and "Miracle on 34th Street" are great films, but they flog them to death every Christmas). If you want to get in the Christmas spirit, do yourself a favor and beg, borrow or steal a copy of this film.

47 out of 70 people found the following review useful:
Not bad at all for a remake (and maybe better than the original), 17 February 2003
9/10

I've seen some of the comments on the film here, and would beg to differ with many. I found the film to be entertaining (wouldn't William Castle have wanted that?) and that it actually paid homage to the original in so many ways (how many remakes ever do that? Generally they add a flavor-of-the-month star, a bunch of irrelevant plot changes and a soundtrack from a has-been band or one that should never have been). As a bonus, a supernatural element was brought to this film that wasn't there in the original version. I've seen a lot of complaining about the ending, but hey, life sometimes sucks and I could certainly see something like that happening to me. To tell the truth, I'd have to say that this remake was better than the first version. And this is from a stone-cold believer that Karloff was the best Frankenstein monster and Lugosi the best Dracula. Tongue in cheek this movie is -- James Whale would have loved it.