Reviews written by registered user
ODDBear

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509 reviews in total 
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Final Exam (1981)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
All around a decent, moody though bloodless slasher, 22 January 2017
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Slashers have it easy. Their target audience are among the most forgiving when it comes to actual quality and will take enthusiasm over competence into consideration more so than "real" film lovers.

"Final Exam" goes for the "Halloween" (1978) vibe (a low-key piano piece is a dead give away as to inspiration) in that it is light on blood and gore and goes for honest scares and mood. Too bad it's also light on scares but the mood is above average. There's also a novelty in that the killer is clearly seen, never speaks and has no motivation known to the audience. But then one character clearly states that most killers have no motivation and that, in itself, is quite scary.

The film has pretty decent actors, most of whom have never been heard from again, and the characters do have some personality. The biggest gripe the film has received is in it's very slow build-up. It's true that "Final Exam" takes it's sweet time until actual mayhem takes place but it goes by pleasantly enough.

Photography and lighting is fine and, as said, the film has a certain mood that's undeniable. It's a mood that seems was only attainable in late 70's and early 80's and distinguishes these slashers.

"Final Exam", for me, gets better with repeat viewings and it comes recommended; for slasher film fans. But make no mistake; this isn't the cream of the crop but enthusiasts should enjoy it.

The hypnotists and their puppet, 14 May 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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 definitive film on Ted Bundy, 2 May 2016
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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, 9 April 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.

12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable light horror with likable characters, 14 October 2015
7/10

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.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Elvis does Yoga and dives for buried treasure, 23 February 2015
6/10

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.

Intruder (1989)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
"I guess I got a little carried away" - an understatement to be sure!, 26 January 2015
8/10

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.

Highly recommended.

Spinout (1966)
Solid Presley vehicle, 26 January 2015
7/10

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.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Bitter sweet justice, 4 January 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.

Solid creature feature in most respects, 30 December 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.


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