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Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Maybe not necessary but still entertaining
The original is a classic as it is the first or one of the first to portray zombies as we know them today, dead humans coming back to life hunting for the flesh of the living. What me always bothered about the original is the characters are not given much background. Here we get to know a bit more about backgrounds and the relations between the characters and that the young couple was actually related to the inhabitants of the house where the group is hiding. Another thing is that in the original Barbara is a vegetable for most of the movie which really got annoying. The remake makes her at least fight maybe a bit too much. I thought her changing into a GI Jane (as if she served in the army) was a bit too radical given I always pictured her as a feminine woman not the tomboy she was here. I prefer the ending of the remake even though still feel sad for Ben but the ending for Mr Cooper was well deserved I think (couldn't help to cheer there) as he was even nastier than in the original. What I miss mostly about this remake that the original got is the creepy atmosphere. I guess the original being in black and white sure helped a lot there as color in my opinion takes away some of that in my opinion. I would say I like both versions equal but I prefer the later Dawn and Day of the Dead (original versions).
The Resurrected (1991)
Takes too long to get going
The movie has certainly its good ideas and spends more than enough time to build-up. Unfortunately the build-up takes so long that I had more the feeling I was watching a drama than a horror movie and my patience was being severely tested. I like build-up and character development but still despite the long duration I still couldn't get much of a bond with the characters. Also a few plot lines ended up just dead such as the pregnancy of the blonde woman and the detective clearly having the hots for this woman. But after 70 minutes the viewer finally gets to know and to see what this big mystery was. The director has certainly taken well care of the effects and the gore and I must say I was rather surprised by its twist. However I also felt that why the need to show how the bad guy was disguised as a certain Dr. Ash in a flashback since we never got to see him before. The finale was OK a bit too flashy and Star Wars like at times with the lasers. It redeemed the movie a bit for me but it was mostly a case of too little too late. I suggest to watch Re-Animator instead.
Blood Feast (1963)
Not bad for an early splatter
I wanted to rate it higher than 6 but I think that would be too generous for it's simple storyline and it's underdeveloped characters. The killer does not really have a clear idea how to revive the Egyptian goddess and also it seems way too easy how he could victimize the young girls which had to serve as sacrifices for his plan. The final victim he wanted to make looks rather amateurish and the way he gets caught made me frown a bit. The ending feels quite rushed too. However where the movie excels and certainly for the time it was released is the graphical (read gore, blood and guts) department. It looks very real and still shocking to today's standards I think. It might not be the first splatter as I have read there is a Japanese movie which name escaped me now that came before it. But for one of the earliest movies in this genre is surely deserves some more recognition.
From Beyond (1986)
A few levels below Re-Animator
Had I seen this one as a kid I might loved it. As an adult I found this one lacking in many departments. The idea of a sixth sense wasn't too bad but the story that surrounds it is incredibly simple not to say dumb and the characters are flat. The only character who was given some kind of background is Dr. Pretorius who is the villain. The slimy effects and monsters are well done but it feels more like a cartoon than actual horror. TO be honest the only reason I wanted to see it was because it starred both Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs whose characters I loved in the Re-Animator. It was also nice to have Ken Foree who was my favorite character in Dawn of the Dead. Too cartoonish, too comedy, too dull. It gets some bonus points for Crampton showing her assets again and looking extremely sexy in a BDSM outfit. Also nice to see Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in a smaller role. I absolutely loved her in the movie Dolls (1987).
Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)
More surreal than having an actual storyline
Even though it never got boring I must say that halfway I knew that his movie was not going to have a storyline that would stick with me. Actually I am not sure if there is much story in it as the whole picture looked more surreal than anything else. Was it the protagonist's dream or nightmare? A place he cannot get out and one girl he just cannot get out of his head and she keeps returning in several disguises no matter how many times he kills her of. Lots of symbolism that might get over your head (it went over mine since I wasn't expecting that kind of movie). Too bad Rupert Everett's character was quite dull. I don't think he cracked a smile once, looking like sad animated character Droopy in pretty every scene. The character of Ghaghi was much more interesting to me. As disturbing as it was his love for the Mayor's daughter even when she became little more than an undead head was quite sweet. But when this angle was quite literally killed of by our tragic hero my interest in this flick was pretty much over.
Theater of Blood (1973)
Vincent Price again as mysterious killer
Yes this movie has some similarities with The Abominable Dr. Phibes in the sense of Vincent Price playing a killer. Instead of using plagues to kill of his opponents this time he is using the killings in the plays from Shakespeare into practice or of there aren't any deaths he alters it so the person ends up dead. Here Price is a drama stage actor wanting revenge on all his critics who not only gave him bad reviews but also gave the award he thought was his to another younger actor. Even though I pretty much knew there was nothing going to stop him it was still interesting to see how he would do the killings and be able to mislead both the victims and the police. Filled with dark humour before he does his evil deeds in word and/or disguise this surely is an enjoyable piece of cinema. However to label this as comedy before horror is quite a stretch.
The Monster Club (1981)
Cheesy but entertaining
I'm not a big fan of horror anthologies. It is always going to contain one I find silly or bad and it's usually the middle story. With The Monster Club this is no exception. Best story by far is the first containing most drama and horror. The last story surely had potential but the monsters looked more human, even the Addams family like monsters from the Monster Club looked scarier. Still I liked the sequence in the church with the creepy images from the picture book. And except for the first story the movie is not to be taken really serious, more comedy than horror. That we have Vincent Price as the vampire storyteller and host is always a treat and the songs in between were entertaining with the stripping to the bone scene as a pretty cool event. However the only song I thought was memorable was "Sucker for your Love" which felt very eighties and easy to sing along. Heck I even played that song again a few times after the movie was over.
Basically one gory scene after the other
There seems to be a pattern in the movies of Fulci. He does have a story with good to great potential and the graphics (especially the gore) are really well taken care of. However the execution of story and character development often lacks to enjoy the whole picture. Also the endings are not really satisfactory. I have seen this with his City of the Living Dead and House by the Cemetery. However I think I need to rate those movies higher because The Beyond really has nothing else than the gore. The killings which sometimes look like accidents are shown in gruesome details. They look very real, certainly a treat for the fans of graphical horror. And yes the spider scene was really chilling. I assume they were sacrifices to open the gates of hell and it needed to be a certain number. Too bad two very interesting characters in the little Jill and the blind lady were not elaborated on. But every character was a tool in this even the female protagonist. that doctor character he literally made me facepalm and scream "shoot the head, you idiot".
The Evil Dead (1981)
A few excellent things but overall still very disappointing
Things I liked (the good) - well the best parts are in the first half hour or so, decent build-up with the tape recorder, the old book with spells, the bridge that could fall apart every moment. - one of the girls being trapped by branches of tree and/or plants, that was a strong scene - the special effects surely are impressive - and while not the best horror make-up I have seen they surely did a good job there
Things I disliked (the bad) - Yes the story is as generic as the premise - The characters well they don't have background or personality whether they live or die in the end I wouldn't care, yeah maybe the character of Bruce Campbell was the most interesting but that is mainly because he got most screen time - Once hell started to break loose and the gore and splatter started, it will with some short breaks go on until the end. This overkill surely lost its effect on me before the 1 hour mark. At least Braindead kept most of the action and splatter until the end. - No rules how people get possessed/infected. One person becomes a demon while being cut an other doesn't while getting cuts and gallons of blood over him. This was way too random for me, at least give everyone a fair chance and not randomly make someone immune to it. - Not good when you like everyone to die asap and still think 80 minutes feels like 3 hours
Note that the only reason I did give it a chance was that it was a double bill on a DVD with The Brood, a movie I think is great.
I can see how this could have inspired Braindead
No real expectations with this movie, my initial thought was some weird comedy horror. While some things look silly and there is certainly humour in it, overall I do think the movie is serious. They actually do make a very good effort to present a good story and interesting characters. It is a simple Frankenstein like story, small cast of characters which relationships among each other are worked out pretty well. Especially our 2 scientists and the lovely Megan were likable, people I liked to root for. Even Megan's father wasn't that bad after all. It's not overly gory, I would say it's the right dose of it. It never gets too much if it would go the Evil Dead way it would have lost its effect on me. It even has moments that are truly heartbreaking and touching. I don't think without this movie we would have had movies like Braindead!