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As of this writing I am currently a projectionist in my local cinema.
In my spare time, I dabble in scriptwriting.
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Safe Haven (2013)
Sleeping With The Enema.......
So it goes like this, my wife suggested the other day that we might go see a movie of a mutual choice, currently playing in the local cinema is Mama(my kind of movie) Being a fan of Nicholas Sparks's previous adaptations, particularly The Notebook & Nights In Rodanthe, the mutual nature of choosing together went completely out the window as I thought to myself, lets do the date movie thing.
Now apart from the Nicholas Sparks reference I knew nothing about the movie, and granted I prefer to watch horror movies, whodunnits, as I have done all the live long day, I have as I've gotten older broaden my scope when it comes to big screen entertainment.
However there comes a time in a married man's life when you gotta say, whoa nellie! what on earth am I watching here.
Now if ever a movie deserved spoilers to dissuade fellow patrons from parting with their hard earned cash, then this be the movie to spill the beans with, that being said, we should all judge for ourselves and be adult about it.
When my wife put forth the movie as said date movie, I kept calling it No Safe Haven(my mind was thinking about an old Wings Hauser movie) and I nearly asked for two ticket for that movie. As the movie began to unfold, my mind drifted toward the old Patrick Bergin/Julia Roberts rib tickler Sleeping With The Enemy.
Now I said no spoilers, and I will stay true to my promise, but sleeping with the enemy is all I will say, and truthfully that's all that permeated through my mind as the movie played. About half an hour into the movie I begged my wife to set me free, but she gripped my arm with a vice like grip and made me sit with her.
Many thoughts ran through my mind, Josh Duhamel you are better than this. Lasse Halstrom do you ever remember directing My Life As A Dog, good god man you don't need the money that badly and lastly Mr Nicholas Sparks, how dare you! In recent times you have systematically resurrected the romantic drama from it's slumber but with this glossy piece of dreck you are trying to pull the wool over the cinema patron's eye.
Something told me that we were not going to be in the same territory as his previous screen adaptations, and I said as much to the wife, when I exclaimed to her 'Something tells me my love, you are not going to shed a tear at this one' but hey what do I know, I'm a guy(as the character in Say Anything said, the world is full of guys, be a man) well I'm man enough to say, this was not the movie for me, and if you check out what I've reviewed in the past, you might well agree.
That being said, you've been warned, No Safe Haven.....sorry Sleeping With The Enema is instantly forgettable. Even My wife agreed with me and that's not an easy thing for her to do.
Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992)
A Bitter Disappointment
I've often thought many years after my first initial viewing of this sequel, just what was Anthony Hickox thinking when he wrote and directed this serious misfire to what was a very enjoyable and fun filled original.
Admittedly when it came to the first Waxwork, what drew my attention to the movie was the groovy looking cover, such a weakness for cool looking artwork covers still haunts me to this very day, even though I am no longer than impressionable teenager, but a man celebrating his fortieth year on this planet(how about that for ageing this review and indeed myself) Luckily the first movie was able to deliver upon the promise of the synopsis and the artwork on show. What the second installment was sadly lacking was direction, a cohesive storyline and more importantly that fun factor.
I remember when this was first announced, I was so excited, because after Waxwork, Hickox made what was arguably(for me anyway) his best movie, Sundown The Vampire In Retreat, so having watched both these movies, I felt a need to watch any movie that Hickox applied his name to.
With the first Waxwork, the story had an aim and fully formed structure, plus a great cast to see it through, alas all the name's attached to Lost In Time, we mere time fillers and what did he have them do, re-enact/rehash classic scenes from 'The Haunting' and 'Alien' et al.
I can still hear Lesley Gore singing 'It's my party' at the end credits of the original, too bad this monster mash up, that Hickox threw together couldn't find that necessary gel to make it all stick.
A bitter disappointment. 2/10
God Bless The 1980's
Yes indeed the 1980's when I was but a very impressionable teenager, it felt like my every waking hour was spent in my local videostore, and when I was in school, I was always thinking about what movie I was going to watch next.
As was the case back then, a cool looking cover was always the catalyst for me to hire the movie regardless of whether or not I enjoyed the movie.
So Ghoulies was to be my introduction to the cinematic world of a certain film producer Charles Band, and his company Empire Pictures. Having just recently revisited the world of Ghoulies, and just about to embark on my fortieth year on this earth, I have hand on heart began to realise that what I liked when I was a teenager, has not remained the case as I've gotten older.
No matter what the detractors think of Charles Band's riff on Gremlins, the movie does have more plus points than negatives. The overall acting is pretty spot on, Peter Liapis as Jonathan Graves truly devours his part as Jonathan Graves, heir apparent to the supernatural throne left to him by his late demented father Malcolm, Michael Des Barres.
Des Barres has never been an actor that I've been to keen on, maybe it's his accent that I find somewhat off putting, but then again if you've ever watched him in Diary Of A Sex Addict, the title pretty much summed that movie up, but let us not forget his turn in Nightflyers.
You know when your a teenager, and you just watch copious amounts of nonsense, you tens to forget what you've watched and just who was in it, back in 85, I had no idea who Jack Nance was, but then I still hadn't watched Eraserhead, but Nance participation was a bit of a shock to me, I did find myself doing a double take when I spotted him hiding behind that fake beard, but you never forget that crazy eyed stare.
But what about the movie itself. Like I've mentioned previously, viewing the movie as an adult, you still sensed the atmosphere, those pesky Ghoulies, still look as cheap and cheerful and not quite scary as ever, but Luca Bercovici does capture some pretty good stuff on camera.
Of particular mention was the scene when Malcolm rises from his grave, quite striking and very well lit.
Ghoulies was my first introduction to Charles Band, but it wasn't until I watched Trancers, that my interest in Band's output truly took hold of my teenage years, and throughout the next two decades.
Ghoulies 2 was a smart little follow up three years later, ignore the next two sequels, as really you can't hold a candle to the original.
My rating is 6/10
Melvin: Son of Alvin (1984)
What's The Definition Of Foreplay?
First there was Alvin Purple, then came Alvin Rides Again, just when you thought you'd never catch sight of the purple headed monster again, along comes Melvin Son Of Alvin or as I fondly remember it known as Foreplay.
I have to say that if it wasn't for Mark Hartley superb Not Quite Hollywood, his documentary on Ozploitation movies, I would never have realised that before Melvin there came Alvin Purple, but then again when I first saw Foreplay I was fourteen years old, and as such my hormones were just peaking, and any movie that had a whiff of T & A about it I had to watch it, granted such movies like this were released in the 1980's before the BBFC took control of the home video market and exercised their right to ruin your entertainment behind closed doors.
Released here in the U.K by that late great home video distributor Medusa Home Video, the movie's plot was very slight, Melvin discovers that he too has that same sexual charisma that his father had before him, and every woman that he comes into contact with just has to have a piece of him.
Of course all Alvin wants it to share his love with one woman, namely Gloria.
Gerry Sont, whom I can only remember from Home & Away exudes a certain charisma and breezes throughout the movie with effortless ease. Like I said the storyline is paper thin, as this is considered part of the Ozploitation package of movies that Australia churned out back in eighties.
The movie does contain one of the catchiest themes tunes ever, 'Melvin the son of Alvin, which seems to permeate throughout the movie, I did wonder back then, did the movies budget only allow for one song, that aside the movie delivers upon the promise of it's titillating artwork cover.
What the definition of Foreplay? Brace yourself for some naughty antipodean antics and enjoy this now ultra rare slice of saucy sexiness.
My rating is 6/10
Dangerous Game (1987)
Get Ready To Experience Some Horror In Your Life!.....
Back in the 1980's when you wanted to watch a cheap and cheesy little B movie, the only label that really delivered the goods on the home video front was the late great home video company Medusa Home Video(anyone in the U.K who might happen to read this review will instantly recognise the name) Medusa Home Video thrived on releasing some really good and seriously off the wall movies that would never ever see the light of day.
If it's was Italian action movies(Warbus & Blastfighter spring quickly to mind) then it was sterling efforts emerging from down under, some might not have been very good, but you can never fault the overall commitment when it came to movies like Kadaicha, Out Of The Body.
It is true what they say, for every miss-fire, you will inevitably discover a little gem, and as such Dangerous Game certainly delivered the goods.
At the time I wasn't familiar with the name of Stephen Hopkins(then again who was) but after this movie Mr Hopkins received the call from America and made a few decent genre movies(Judgment Night, Nightmare 5 & Predator 2) but with his directorial debut, Hopkins much like Russell Mulcahy displayed with Razorback, that even if you had next to nothing in the way of a budget, you could more than make up for in the way of style.
That is not to say that the film had many flaws attached to it, Yes its true that the movies plot revolving around five teens being terrorised by a maniacal cop is in any way original, but it does help if you have the actor Stephen Grives playing the crazy arm of the law, who through every scene we get to watch and feel the emotional breakdown of this troubled law enforcement officer.
It's been many many years since I last watched this movie, but it takes a certain something about a movie for me never to forget about it, Sundown - The Vampire In Retreat is one such movie as is Steve De Jarnatt's killer thriller Miracle Mile.
What is that one thing you might ask? Well it takes a few things, a decent concept, some really good dialogue and as always some barnstorming acting. With every thriller you have to have a really good villain, and not since Inseminoid has Stephen Grives had the chance to exercise his acting chops but equipped with some exceptional dialogue, his freak out speech when he toys with Marcus Graham's character Jack and that of Kathryn when he realises that they have never seen a dead body before just rocks! When I had the movie in my collection, I always had to rewind that one scene just to hear every line of dialogue.
What of the rest of the cast, yes it's true that Grives is the star of the show as the Irish cop working down under, but the young cast more than hold their respective own, Miles Buchanan(Bliss) as the computer nerd who holds a serious torch for Ziggy(Sandy Lillingston) and Marcus Graham who for the majority of the movie is the main aim of psycho cop Murphy psychotic attentions.
Whilst not a very bloody movie, it does deliver, the Medusa Home Video cover was always the coolest and whilst this movie has all but fell beneath the radar, if you can find it, check it out and get ready to experience antipodean horror in your life.
Ps, the ending promised a sequel, thankfully such a thing never materialised.
A Dangerous but very true 10 out of 10 for this lost little Australian gem
Still Lingers In The Memory!..........
As of this writing I've finally managed to bag myself the unrated director's cut of Scott Speigel seriously classy directorial debut Intruder(aka Night Crew) this release comes courtesy of Charles Band's Wizard Entertainment label, Prior to Intruder, Scott Spiegel name for me was only ever recognisable from his screen credit for co-writing my all time favourite Evil Dead movie, Part 2 - Dead By Dawn. With Intruder, Speigel created a very groovy suspenseful little thriller.
Essaying his soon to be recognised trademarks goofy camera angles(the camera in the shopping trolley) and writing some really good dialogue, Spiegel created for me personally a seriously cool little slasher classic.
All the actors excel, especially Dan Hicks(watch the movie to discover why) although the trailer I watched gave too much away with regards to the actual outcome of the movie, heck even the back of the Wizard release even shows the killer's identity, that being said, this movie hits all the right notes, such a transgression is oh so minor.
Then again I've watched this movie so many times down through the years, just to watch the movie build crank up the tension is always a joy to behold, and yes it's always nice to see the KNB effects team special effects fully uncut in this movie.
Although not really a horror movie, but after two decades this movie still lingers in the memory for all the right reasons.
A resounding 10/10
Fear Island (2009)
In The Name Of Fear!.......
For anyone out there who can remember and recall with fondness the many exhilarating tales written by Enid Blyton about the famous five and their many exploits, such was my thinking when I sat down to watch this movie.
My immediate thought was of course imagine if Enid had concocted The Famous Five Go Mad On Fear Island. alas such is not the case, but such is that feeling of familiarity that it never left me throughout this film's entire running time.
The main headliner in the cast is of course Hayley Duff, and she acquits herself admirably throughout, although I did find myself extremely distracted by her dimpled chin! As for the rest of the cast they also carry themselves through the story with aplomb, decent acting is hard to find in movies of this nature.
However that being said, my main concern was the film's narrative structure that really let itself down, I'm all for flashback in small doses, but dear lord, just when you find yourself settling into the story we get another flashback! I've never been one for spoilers, and you won't get any here, but if you find yourself watching this movie and your able to get to the ending, don't be surprised if you shake your head in disbelief and wonder why in hell the scriptwriter decided on a very familiar twist.
In the name of fear!.....In the name of God!.....If you feel anyway inclined to watch a decent little whodunnit, skip this one and check out James Mangold's Identity, at least that movie can tell a decent story and definitely deliver a killer twist.
This movie get 1 out of 10 and that's just for Hayley's dimpled chin.
Jason Versus Carrie
I realise that the original Friday the 13th set the benchmark for all subsequent sequels and any other teen orientated horror movie made during the eighties and beyond, and in truth it was a decent little chiller, especially that ending! However for me, Friday The 13th - The New Blood has always been my personal favourite of all the Friday movies made. Two reasons for that were the presence of director John Carl Buechler calling the shots and scriptwriter Daryl Haney credited as co-scripter.
I've always loved my B movies, and these two masters of their respective craft have been attached to some of my favourites down through the years, Buechler's Cellar Dwellar is still one of my favourite Empire movies, and as for Haney, he hit the nadir of his career when he worked for both Harry Bromley Davenport & Axis Films International.
Now as for Part 7 - The New Blood, how do you resurrect everyone's favourite bogeyman when he's been anchored deep beneath the murky waters of crystal lake, why not introduce a girl called Tina, who many years earlier consigned her errant father to a watery grave via her ability for telekinesis.
Then of course when she feels that she needs comforting she accidentally brings back everyone's favourite bad guy, who naturally picks up where he left off, slicing and dicing.
Lar Park Lincoln excels in the role of the adult Tina, emoting very well the stresses and strains of being a teenager with an unusual talent, but the Oscar for the best bad guy on screen, aside from Jason that is must surely go to Terry Kiser as Tina's snake in the grass svengali Doctor Crews.
Although many people expect a film like Friday the 13th and it's respective sequels to have bum acting and less than sterling scripts, but that is certainly not so, as Friday The 13th Part 4 - The Final Chapter & Buechler's seventh entry in the series will attest to.
Why even Kane Hodder brings his usual panache to the role he made his own.
As sequels go, this one get's my full attention every time, 10/10
Eric Weston Take A Bow!..........
For creating a movie so Godawful that it truly defies description! I first discovered this movie's title when I was browsing through John Carl Beuchler's list of credits here on IMDb, naturally seeing such a title listed captured my imagination and why wouldn't it.
Now I did harbour ideas of purchasing the movie, based upon Buechler's participation and of course that of Eric Weston as director, although it had been many a year since I had last sat down to watch Evilspeak, favourable memories of that movie still lingered in my mind! Trying to find a release date or even a website that was selling the movie proved impossible, but luckily for me(however dread was to follow) here in the U.K. we have the horror channel, who from time to time do show the odd decent little horror movie, so without hesitation I sat down to watch it.
From the opening beats of the movie, my initial thoughts of yeah turned quickly to Holy crap! You would think that the presence of headline star Costas Mandylor would at least elevate the movie, but having witnessed Mandylor sacrifice his dignity in the movie Dr Chopper I should have known better, if it wasn't for the Saw franchise the man wouldn't have a career! As for Eric Weston, what happened in the intervening years between Evilspeak and Hyenas? did he forget how to be creative? In this instance the artwork for the movie offers more than the actual movie delivers! 1/10
Lipstick, Powder And Paint!
When Empire Pictures folded back in the late 1980's Company founder Charles Band has often cited that the reason for his beloved company's demise was the many acquisitions that his company made.
One such pick up was this cheap and cheesy supernatural horror movie written and directed by Bruce Hickey, who as far as I can gather has never been tempted back to have another stab within the horror genre, of course for any of you out there who have actually sat through this movie, perhaps one bite of the cherry for Mr Hickey was more than enough for anyone to stomach.
However if you look beyond Bruce Hickey's initial involvement, the main point of interest for me was the man who produced the movie, that man of course being the legend that is Tim Kincaid, who was taking a career break from making gay porn to lend his name to this a few other choice Empire releases, remember such gems as Mutant Hunt & my own personal guilty pleasure Breeders.
The main star of this movie was LeeAnne Baker, who by all accounts was a personal favourite of Kincaid's as she turned up in nearly all of his low budget legitimate movies, whilst not overly endowed both in body and acting talent she did have that something special about her, and luckily given the lead role as Eva, the reincarnated witch, she goes about stealing virginity's all over the place.
A major highlight of the movie is when Baker's character suddenly develops multiple boobs and her minions of the night start to suckle upon her lady lumps, a seriously demented delight indeed.
The storyline doesn't hold much water, the sheer goofiness of it all makes it all quite endearing and the major attraction is of course LeeAnne wearing all her Lipstick, Powder & Paint, parading around the Goth chic you shouldn't cross for fear of your losing your mortal soul and virginity.
Charles Band's Empire may have vanished, but these pick up flicks that he chose to release straight to video are what made my teenage viewing all the more memorable.
A boobtastic 7/10