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The Sorcerers (1967)
The hypnotists and their puppet
Married couple and hypnotists Karloff and Lacey control the mind and actions of young Ogilvy and the wife, after years of pent up frustration and anger, starts indulging her psychopathic tendencies through the young man.
Surprisingly effective thriller. Starts out somewhat clumsily with a too convenient setup but once past that the film becomes quite involving once the hypnotists start living, and feeling, through Ogilvy who becomes, in a sense, their puppet. As the couple go further in their control Ogilvy's whole life crumbles and he doesn't even know it.
"Sorcerers" moves pretty fast and doesn't outstay it's welcome but you get a clear idea of the characters and really feel for Ogilvy (who gives a good performance) as it becomes clear there's not gonna be an easy way out for him. Karloff and especially Lacey are very good as well.
Only the second movie of three that director Michael Reeves made in his short life and despite an obvious low budget the film is very well done, well paced, somewhat stylish and quite suspenseful.
The Deliberate Stranger (1986)
The definitive film on Ted Bundy
This one always stays with me; even twenty some years after initial viewing.
Mark Harmon is chillingly perfect as Ted Bundy; one of the most notorious serial killers and this 1986 TV Movie depicts his vast amount of evil-doing and his eventual capture. It's split into two 90 minute segments (the old mini-series) and while you don't get a solid glimpse into what made him tick the story is thoroughly engrossing and almost a little hard to believe.
With strict censorship, being a TV movie in the 80's, the film nevertheless manages to convey Bundy's actions all too vividly with well handled characters who are impacted by him one way or another. Particularly heartbreaking is Rita Zohar's (as Elenor Rose) story as her only daughter is a victim of Bundy's. The cops who pursued him are also portrayed well by good actors and their characters aren't one-dimensional but well realized.
And although no outright violence is depicted; there's a scene where Bundy attempts to kidnap a girl by handcuffing her in his car and heading off; that scene is just terrifying in it's buildup and execution thanks to an intensity Harmon somehow conjures up with very menacing looks and behavior.
"The Deliberate Stranger" is, so far at least, the definitive film on Ted Bundy. These films don't always have to be exceedingly graphic or vulgar (no bad language to speak of either) to make their point and depict a truly horrible individual who caused a lot of harm and suffering.
Cozzi delivers a fine piece of copycat entertainment
There's something about Luigi Cozzi's (aka Lewis Coates) movies that make them enjoyable despite never actually being good. Granted; I have only seen four of his films ("Killer Must Kill Again", "Starcrash" and "Hercules" being the other three) but his outright determination to entertain pays off.
"Contamination" is a rather muddled affair that has drastic tonal and location shifts and veers from horror territory to sci-fi and always with a "wink wink" attitude. Characters are wholly unbelievable and badly written but the game cast sell them well. After a few too many Italian flicks I've become immune to the bad dubbing and see it as an essential part of the experience and here, as in many other films, some choice dialog is simply hilarious.
There's a bit of "Alien" here, a bit of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and a lot of "white zombies" (as one character puts it) that are packed with machine guns but never hit a thing and a big, nearly motionless monster to cap things off. It's all done in the most sincere way to simply give the audience a hell of a time. And in that respect; "Contamination" delivers. And Goblin do provide a fine soundtrack.
I enjoyed it and do recommend it. But those who are interested probably have a pretty good idea what to expect.
Enjoyable light horror with likable characters
I'm a big horror nut but sometimes I like the soft stuff. I've read a few R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" novels and they're always an enjoyable read. I feel like he captures teenage life quite nicely and he creates likable characters who you root for. He's been well served by the television medium as his "Goosebumps" TV series is quite well done and I've just began watching his "The Haunting Hour" show and so far so good.
"The Cabinet of Souls" is, likewise, a very solid TV offering of light horror aimed (mainly) at kids and adults alike. The setting is good; a traveling house of horrors with a mysterious owner who collects the souls of customers and feeds off of them. It could very well be a premise for a full out gory R-rated film but it manages to generate a few creepy moments and is always entertaining.
The cast is likable and their characters as well. They do possess qualities that are admirable and that's a nice thing for a parent to know if they'd like to sit down with their kids for something a little bit on the scary side. Bad language is nicely sidestepped without the film feeling corny or something like that.
"The Cabinet of Souls" is an all around decent flick which many age groups can enjoy.
Easy Come, Easy Go (1967)
Elvis does Yoga and dives for buried treasure
A frogman (Elvis) working for the Navy discovers treasure in a sunken ship and once he becomes an ordinary citizen he sets out to retrieve it; but he's got competition for it.
One of Elvis's later entries; quite shallow and cheesy but fairly enjoyable. The slapstick humor works OK in parts and there's an underlying comic jab at the hippie lifestyle that's well played out. There are also some impressive underwater sequences here; "Easy Come, Easy Go" is a little more visually compelling than other Presley flicks around this time.
The songs are few but pretty good (6 in total) and many have commented on "Yoga is as Yoga Does" as Elvis's most embarrassing moment on film. Personally I think nothing can top his singing to the dogs in "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" but I also think the Yoga moment here is pretty funny and the song OK; in a cheesy sort of way. You gotta admire how the King was a professional through and through and pulled this off and manages to be funny as well in his bungled Yoga attempts.
"I guess I got a little carried away" - an understatement to be sure!
I thought I'd seen every relevant slasher worth a damn and I'd quite comfortably ruled out years '87 and upwards (mostly) as the genre had it's creative period between 1978-1984. Anyways; most likely I still have a few undiscovered gems to look forward to if "Intruder" is anything to go by.
Plot wise it's as simple as it comes. An especially gruesome maniac is dispatching a few people at work after hours in a grocery store.
Most seasoned genre fans will spot the twist a mile away but no matter; "Intruder" has everything a slasher fan could possibly want and the humor works especially well; really dark humor mind you!
You have to get through a little rough spot in the very beginning as it starts out rather clumsily but it soon finds it's ground and climaxes with some incredibly gory (and quite inventive) murder sequences. Very methodical build-up (first half hour is ho-hum introductions and false scares, the second is gore galore and the third is a final girl showdown) but the flick's sense of humor and outright nastiness ensure it a special place in a slasher lover's heart.
Casting in fun too with the Raimi brothers (Sam in particular) getting ample screen time and a Bruce Campbell cameo is always a good thing.
Solid Presley vehicle
Elvis is Mike, a racer/singer/gypsy living free soul who impresses a spoiled rich girl (Fabares) and her dad (Betz), who desperately wants Mike to race his car and NOT marry his daughter. Along for the ride is an author (McBain) who also wants to marry Mike and a tomboy drummer in his band (Walley) who's quite obviously vying for his affections.
As formulaic as Elvis's later flicks tended to be; but somehow a little better. The goofy atmosphere is energetically played out by a willing cast, the slapstick humor works surprisingly well and the songs aren't too shabby. Granted; "Adam and Evil", "Beach Shack" and "Smorgasboard" are no "Love Me Tender", "Jailhouse Rock" or "King Creole" but they're quite fun and fit well in the movie.
Elvis isn't quite as front and center here as in most other flicks and supporting players get room to breathe and develop a little. The racing scenes here, as was the case with "Viva Las Vegas", are fairly impressive as well.
Make no mistake; this is pretty shallow stuff and Elvis looks a little bored at times. But as far as Elvis's later flicks go; "Spinout" rates pretty high.
Criminal Minds: Strange Fruit (2013)
Bitter sweet justice
Up till this episode everything in Season 9 of "Criminal Minds" has been pretty routine and mediocre with the team nearing complete supernatural heights of deduction skills with a series of incredibly gruesome killers and very elaborate schemes. Not that that's boring but with what seasoned viewers of the show have become accustomed to; it's pretty forgettable. This episode, however, reminds me just why I stick with the show.
Bones are discovered in the backyard of a middle class African American family and the mother, father and son are rushed to headquarters for interrogation. At first the son is suspected but soon it seems more likely the father is the guilty person. Meanwhile more bodies are being unearthed as Rossi gets in a heated situation with the household father.
We have here a bona fide victim of hatred who's killed because of what was done to him and viewers understand him, if not sympathize to a large extent. The episode also unfolds in a very different fashion in that it mostly takes place in an interrogation room with primary focus on Rossi and the guilty party. In order to try and dig deeper; Rossi admits to a heinous act in his past hoping that it will get the suspect to open up to him (and all indications point to that Rossi was telling the truth). When confession time finally comes most viewers will probably be quite shocked at what the man had to endure and fully understand his rage. This becomes at the end a bitter sweet justice at best.
This episode doesn't stray from the usual hard-to-believe fast nature of the unfolding; with DNA results getting the rushed treatment and delivering concrete data in a matter of hours being one of the more irritable "unbelievables" in the show but no matter; this is still a top tier "Criminal Minds" episode. Rossi has always (at least from Season 3 onward) been the richest of these characters and here we get another glimpse of his past and Mantegna is in top form here. Glynn Turman, as the suspect, gives Mantegna a run for his money as their scenes play out in a tense manner and could easily have gone on longer had running time permitted.
In the end; the crimes included innocent individuals so retribution is necessary. "Strange Fruit" will go down in my books as one of the more interesting episode in this long running series.
The Boogens (1981)
Solid creature feature in most respects
A boarded up silver mine in snowy Colorado is blasted open and nasty creatures are unleashed and start wrecking havoc. Caught in the crossfire are a pair of couples (and their seriously adorable dog) in a guest house where the "boogens" can easily enter through the basement.
The film is very atmospheric and the snowy locations and nice cinematography provide gorgeous scenery throughout. The small town setting is nicely captured and you really get a feel for the place. The horror; well, not so much a scary movie "The Boogens" is but it does generate a sense of dread, an eerie mood and a few set pieces are very well done. The acting, by relative unknowns, is first rate and the characters are all likable; not that common for a creature feature from the early 80's.
"The Boogens" does boast spectacularly fake looking creatures but they're wisely kept out of sight 'till the very end. Most horror aficionados will probably be in a forgiving frame of mind as a low budget most definitely contributed to that factor and they'll appreciate all the other things the flick does so well.
All in all; highly recommended for horror buffs.
Killer show from a master showman
The first Zombie concert on film and it's a good show...a f###### great show to be exact :)
I doubt I'll ever see him live so this is the closest I'll come and a Blu-ray of the show does this justice; best enjoyed when cranked up real loud. I'm not much of a heavy metal type but Zombie's music has always had that dance rhythm and catchy as hell hooks with an added oomph! to it. The guy is also a real showman and props the show with gadgets, snow, monsters, robots, film clips, a space-mobile and you name it! It's there. And that John 5 is a killer guitarist.
The set list is good but a fan of his can always point out a few tracks he'd love to have had. Particularly great here are "Teenage Nosferatu (you know the last word)", "Sick Bubblegum", "Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga" and "House of 1000 Corpses". Would love to have had "What" included here but we can't have it all.
There's loads of breast bearing women to be seen here as well as a few brawls between able bodied men; all part of the experience of a Zombie concert I'm sure.
Highly recommended for Zombie fans.