Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
With a name like "Frankenstein's Army" I really expected a "schlocky" film. Boy was I surprised...it's basically a cross between "The Keep" (which I love) in it's dark, foreboding and oppressive hopelessness of war and any of the nightmares that Lovecraft put out. The story is thin, but that's not why we watch these movies. You truly feel like your on a thrill ride, with the slow build up, fast few turns, a momentary lull followed by yet another, more intense thrill, until you're barreling along at breakneck speed. It consistently picks up the pace, almost like one of those old Russian dances that gets faster and faster until it is a full-out sprint...dark atmosphere, inventive effects, realistic (and plentiful) gore makes this a winner for me.
Shaun of the Dead ? No. Waste of time ? Not if you love zombies. Everyone knows that zombies have experienced a resurgence of sorts from its heyday back in the late 70's, early 80's. Problem is, how many different ways can you tell a story involving re-animated corpses ? We've got Nazi Zombies, Ninja Zombies, Zombie Gangs, Zombies on a train, plane or automobile, etc. There's even a TV series, The Walking Dead, which simply uses zombies as a prop to distract from the real story about survivor interaction. "Stalled" is (not just) another installment in the Zombie Comedy genre, the best of which started with the above-mentioned "Shaun of the Dead" and continued with "Zombieland"... Stalled is an inventive take on the whole "holed up" premise started way back with the original; Romero's Night of the Living Dead. But instead of a farmhouse, it takes place in a women's commode. It's got it's funny bits, it's got lots of blood, and it gets right to the action; it's even has a little sexual thrill (nothing explicit); that's it's positives. What it's got going against it is, it's fairly predictable and it's just not as funny as it thinks it is...but, with zombie comedies, they've got a huge yardstick to measure up to with Shaun. For those that view zombies as just another horror character, Stalled may seem like so much crap, but for the true zombie connoisseur, it's an inventive way to tell another zombie story. Any movie that can hold your attention and (nearly) everything takes place in a restroom, must have something going for it.
Take a dash of atmospheric horror, add a huge helping of giallo, an equal amount of slasher films and a sprinkle of sci-fi horror. Filter through Dario Argento's 'Suspiria'-like soundtrack and use of primary colors and Shi'nya Tsukamoto's 'Tetsuo: Iron Man's frenetic black and white images and industrial soundtrack and you've got Evil Dead Trap. Throw in a pinch of B-movie horror ala Frank Henenlotter and Alain Roback to spice things up further. The English translation is top-notch and over all the movie is easy to follow. The lead actress comes across well and the deaths are inventive for the most part. The gore is fairly graphic, with squirting blood foreshadowing the Tokyo Shock films to come almost two decades later. Sure, it's not Oscar material, but cinephiles will enjoy picking out the various influences and the average viewer will get an over-the-top cult film. My only bone with the film is that the director didn't have to use EVERY influence, perhaps picking one or two themes only, but I guess that's one of the things that makes it over-the-top.
Huo boa xing dong (White Lotus Trio), features a little rock-em-sock-em, a little comedy, a little cops and robbers, a family reunion, warring triads and a whole lot of unintentionally hilarious captioned translations. Fare such as "Are you a dump ?" and "All beautiful woman stupid" had me rolling on the floor. That's really it's only saving grace. Mediocre plot, mediocre effects (sometimes the gun's bullets 'explode' when they hit, other times they seem like normal bullets), and clichéd acting make this a real 'dump' otherwise. The at-times nonsensical, always hilarious captions steal the show--I'd watch it again just for that !