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Post Impact (2004)
As usual, anything less than Hollywood megabucks gets spanked!
I'll be honest, unless I had a couple of hundred hours of recording space, I wouldn't have bothered with this. US TV Movies rarely pack a punch (there ARE some notable exceptions). This is clearly one more sci-fi disaster pastiche in a long run that have been foisted upon us since the success of Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, etc. Its cast has television actor written all over it, whether US or UK performer - for Dean Cain refer to Superman, for the UK dwellers amongst us, Joanna Taylor (Clark) is an escapee from Hollyoaks, the vapidly bland teen soap opera. Basically, it should never be expected to be anything near engaging. However, as I said, I had lots of space available and I'm a great lover of all aspects of the Fantasy genre: Sci-fi, horror, old, new, big budget and zero budget, UK, US, anywhere in the world. Now, having established what this film IS, let's re-emphasise what it ISN'T. It isn't a megabucks Hollywood production, it has no aspirations to be original and it is making the most of a committed cast and crew more likely to be seen on television.
Everybody got that? No problems in understanding? So, metaphorically speaking, why the hell kick a donkey for being a donkey?! Would you order a lasagne from a restaurant and then complain because it wasn't a curry? Okay, metaphors over, hopefully my point is grasped: a sci-fi TV movie starring Dean Cain is what it is. It's not got loads of money for effects and box office smash cast lists. It's intended to provide lightish entertainment for people relaxing in their own homes and looking to kill an hour or two.
For once, why can't we just judge a film on what it is? Let's try it...
Dean Cain makes a likable good guy and at least tries to rid himself of Superman's clean shaven and impregnable heroism.
Joanna Taylor works well as a waspish tough girl and then **SPOILER** manages to successfully present another character development reasonably convincingly.
The effects are not great but successfully convey their intent.
There are things that happen that avoid the usual need to give absolutely everyone and everything a happy ending.
TV Movies like this NEED to be made because if everything was Michael Bay then film-making would be moribund, if not completely, officially dead! Post Impact is a low-budget and derivative sci-fi disaster movie featuting television actors. Does it succeed within those parameters? Yes, it does.
A very decent effort!
One reviewer claims this isn't a horror film then seeks to justify that comment by saying there's very little gore. Dear me, when did good horror require gore? If done with a bit of style, atmosphere, decent acting and a proper understanding of and respect for the genre, then it's not needed at all. The interesting thing is that the writer and director is none other than Martin Kemp. The man has gone from child actor to pop start to cinematic gangster to soap star to music revivalist to screenwriter and director...and like everything else he's done, he's been successful! Interesting too that he would know much about the infamous Hose on Straw Hill/Expose film of the mid-70s. Perhaps other reviewers would question that films horror veracity too? Here Kemp remakes with a considerable twist (albeit a somewhat clichéd one) and even brings back Linda Hayden who played a younger, saucier character back in the day. From the original film to Hammer Dracula to the awesome 'Blood On Satan's Claw', Linda is always a welcome contributor. Convincing performances from Jane March and Billy 'The Bill' Murray also help and it's mice to see the excellent Colin Salmon, though he seems less comfortable. In short, a psycho thriller type horror film that isn't particularly original but successfully evokes the feel of mid-70s independent British horror. I hope that Kemp makes more of these.
It's all relative...
It really is all relative, folks. Before we proclaim that another film is "the worst ever", let's check a few points...TV movie, generic monster movie, TV actors...right. So, lower expectations a little bit.
My wife always asks me why I watch stuff like this and, to be honest, it's the completist in me. I've been watching horror, sci-fi and fantasy all my life...I can't stop now!!! Unfortunately, whereas the puppets and men in rubber suits of yesteryear were cheaply budgeted but had charm, creativity and still a sense that at least the man in the rubber suit actually existed in a real sense, the modern TV movie variation is often bland, unimaginatively clichéd and the cheap CGI hammers home the fact that there is nothing genuinely threatening our heroes.
Watch a few of them back to back, however, and you begin to spot the ones that are a bit better. More interesting, or at least likable characters, slightly better effects, better performances.
That's 'Wyvern'. It's not great but I liked the characters, got interested in their lives and the monster didn't outstay it's welcome. A good film? Like I say, that's relative, but 'Wyvern' is okay.
Much better than they say
This is a good effort - much better than other reviewers have suggested. As usual, as soon as reviewers are even slightly disappointed they suffer from a knee-jerk reaction and start to proclaim decent films as "the worst ever". Time to put things straight... The director's previous horror effort, 'Shrooms',was a great disappointment to me - many had bigged it up but I found myself fairly unmoved throughout. This, however, is much better. It comes across as a combo of 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' and the Australian 'Carrie' rip-off from the 70s, 'Patrick'. Character development could be better in some cases and some characters might have benefited the story by sticking around longer than they did. Occasionally we suffer from trite dialogue, too. However, it has pace, decent production values and an interesting cast made up of British, American, Canadian and European actors, all of whom acquit themselves well. They all have admirable track records prior to this film, too. Overall, an involving, entertaining film - and nice to see Michael Jibson, star of the West End stage show 'Our House: The Madness Musical', get another cinematic outing - I enjoyed him alongside Statham in 'The Bank Job', too. Best horror film ever? No, but the best British film pretending to be American that I can recall seeing in a long time, and the best slasher-ish film I've seen in absolutely ages. Don't be put of by the doom-mongers - this is worth a watch.
Le vampire déchu (2007)
Of interest but flawed.
I suppose that it is somewhat appropriate that a biography of Bela Lugosi should come across as being interesting yet flawed because, and don't lynch me here, Lugosi fans, that is exactly how the man's film career and personal life panned out. I have a great love of all the horror greats of yester year and so have plenty of time for Lugosi. However, it has to be admitted that he made some poor choices - and the biggest, the rejecting of the Frankenstein's Monster role that made Karloff a legend, was made purely on egotistical grounds. A lot of his issues were of his own creating - lots of divorces, a four day marriage, drugs. Fair play to the man that he battled on - and you will never hear me disrespect an actor who is working, particular in the genre that made him, until his death. You won't hear me criticise the films of Ed Wood Jnr, Lugosi's last director, because his films were poor, low-budget efforts. Like Lugosi, he was trying his best. My biggest gripe? That excuses are made every step of the way in this documentary. Poor old Bela, all the time. Poor old Bela - trapped in mad scientist roles - as if that stopped Boris Karloff! Poor old Bela - all those marriage issues - didn't stop Oliver Hardy! Poor old Bela - stop making excuses! Bottom line - he was a horror legend who didn't quite keep the boat steady as well as Karloff - end of story! The other problem with this bio? Well, the background filming from Lugosi's home country and scenes of still superstitious villagers might be interesting but it feels tacked on. Feels like two documentaries trapped in one body - now there's an idea for a B-movie!
I must disagree with the other review which suggested that this wasn't shocking. I felt that it left a genuine feeling of horror completely missing from the main feature. A sad thing when the animated extra provides more of a frisson than the big budget movie! The music and animation is haunting with violent splashes of colour that effectively act as a visual parallel for what is occurring. The idea is straightforward and perhaps obvious but it remains with you and does more to emphasise the collapse of civilisation than all of the main feature. In fact, all four animations are excellent. Funny - I like Will Smith's work but was more disappointed with the main event in which he appeared than in the DVD extras that his wife worked on!
Ghosts in the Machine (2009)
A reasonable little time waster.
If nothing else, this is a worthwhile look at some of the more interesting ghost related television shows to have appeared on British television, including a clip of a little scene version of 'Hamlet' featuring none other than Michael Caine. Eyes open too, for Hammer regular Andre Morell playing arguably the best version of Quatermass in a clip from the original BBC TV version of Nigel Kneale's 'Quatermass and the Pit'. More Kneale is glimpsed as actress Jane Asher reflects on her involvement in the much revered scientific ghost story 'The Stone Tape'. Best of all, is a chance to glimpse snippets of 'Ghostwatch', a BBC TV film that parodied ghost hunting television before it was even popular. Other countries will not know this production but, believe me, it is now legendary in the UK, having convinced much of the viewing public that it was real - it caused a similar furore to that caused by Orson Welles with his infamous radio recording of 'War of the Worlds' in the States. Biggest grumble? The 'talking heads' celebrities/experts. One guy observes that Robert Hardy appeared in most of the BBC's legendary 'M.R. James' Ghost Story for Christmas' shows. He actually made one. Also, too many of the speakers wish only to mock people with any sort of spiritual belief. Too much of that these days - lazy and offensive, not to say arrogant. At least Derren Brown admitted that even if only false comfort is given by spiritualists then it is still comfort. Myself, I would prefer it if everyone was allowed to hold their own beliefs without fear of reprisal - whether that be ghost believer, religion follower, spiritualist or atheist. Personal faith should be allowed and not mocked. To finish,this documentary shows that the BBC still make a damned good job of sustaining their heritage when it comes to classic fantasy, etc. In recent years: Mark Gatiss' 'Crooked House', two new M.R. James adaptions, new versions of 'A is for Andromeda' and 'The Quatermass Experiment' and adaptions of works by Saki, Dennis Wheatley and John Wyndham. All those on BBC4 whilst the main channel has provided new versions of 'Day of the Triffids', Turn of the Screw', 'Survivors' and, of course' the mighty 'Doctor Who'. Who says the BBC has lost its grip!?
The Asylum (2000)
Low Budget Effort - Good Try
This is no great film! However, as a huge fan of the British cinema of yesteryear that produced such wonderful horror/fantasy films, I am always going to have a soft spot for any similar product that manages to get made today. Well, in actual fact, British horror films seem to be having something of a renaissance at the moment. Not so much when The Asylum was made, however. Still, at least a decent cast list of familiar faces is gathered together. Some good performers, some cheesy, but all professional and familiar. Lovely to see Hammer's Ingrid Pitt, Doctor Who Colin Baker and Robin 'Confessions' Askwith. Also, Patrick Mower (post-Target, pre-Emmerdale) and Jean Boht from Scouse sit-com 'Bread'. This is quite low-budget, a little dull and confused at times but ultimately a good try. Colin Baker himself has never seen it (or at least, not up till a couple of years ago) and actually asked me if it was any good. I told him he was great and he said I'd make a good agent! Don't expect too much, just be thankful that something bridged the gap between the UK's golden horror years and the latest revival led by the likes of 'Dog Soldiers', 'Wilderness', 'The Descent' etc.
There must be a market for this rubbish but...?
...I have no idea what that market is! Now, I'm a film fan of eclectic tastes - I like an awful lot of the films that cinema snobs tell me I should - but I also absolutely love the horror/sci-fi genre and am a great fan of exploitation films from B-Movie to Z-Movie. Favourite actor? Peter Cushing. Favourite comedies? The wonderfully British 'Carry-On' series. Favourite directors? Terence Fisher, John Carpenter, Alfred Hitchcock. Shane Meadows. Favourite films? Everything from Muppet Christmas Carol to Halloween (original), Casino Royale, Hitchcock's Rope and Frenzy, It's a Wonderful Life, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell. See what I mean? Eclectic? I'm no film snob. BUT I STILL DON'T KNOW WHO WOULD WATCH THIS FILM!!!!! So, hold on. Why did I watch it? Because B-Movie horror starlet Tiffany Shepis made a brief appearance in it and, as B Movie horror starlets go, she's pretty good. And whilst watching it, I might as well try to watch with an open mind. Only....well, it's complete rubbish, isn't it? Can any of the principal actors actually act? Not really. Any decent effects for sci fi lovers? No. Any atmosphere created? No. Are the soft core sex scenes erotic enough for daylight dodging pervs? No. So who gets what they want? Nobody. Now, I've seen the original 'Emmanuelle' because it's one of those films that has entered into legend. Didn't think it was great but it had a touch of style and it was pretty erotic. Good - came good for its audience (is there a joke in that sentence somewhere?). Now, this mess of a film has nothing in common with the original bar the name. Rip-off! The only interest for me was the afore mentioned Shepis and the fact that the general storyline bears passing resemblance to Michael Reeves' British shocker for Tigon films - 'The Sorcerers' (1967) starring Boris Karloff. Now that was a great B Movie! This? If you like sex films - don't bother. If you like low budget sci-fi - don't bother. Just don't bother. Anyone. I gave this 3 stars, by the way, for the number of different girls who got their kit off in the first hour of the film!
The Inbetweeners (2008)
Hilarious and truer than we'd often want to admit.
A couple of mates with similar senses of humour got me into this during the second series and I have gone back and unearthed the first series. Well worth the effort! British comedy is alive and well in the cult shadows! This is hilarious because it represents a comedic image of how tragic most of our lives were as teenagers. It pulls off the awesome trick of being cool whilst proudly boasting central characters who aren't cool. They're not always nice, even. But they ARE true - and you've gotta love 'em for it! Check this out and laugh your nuts off, whilst guiltily hiding the fact that you were either as lovable yet pathetic as the heroes or as cool, snide and, deep-down, insecure as the bullies.