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Heavy Metal (1981)
Cel animated anthology with mostly bad stories
This film is extremely odd. It combines different genres (adventure, crime, drama, sci-fi, comedy and horror) with R-Rated elements (sex, nudity, gore, extreme violence and profanity) all done in cel animation. I personally think this film is a huge mess but certain parts are very well done. The film opens in space with Elmer Bernsteins haunting score playing. As the credits role we watch a model animated astronaught return to Earth on a space-vehicle. This credits sequence is awesome, combining the stop-animated and sometimes hand painted animated astronaut. Then we meet a green globe which represents pure evil. It tells storys of how it has been around for ever all around the galaxy and what it has done to it. The first story is, OK. It's predicible and ends kind of lamely but it's OK. The second story is pretty much a big mess. It's called Den about a nerd who gets transported to a place where he is the hero and sleeps with every woman who wants him and saves the world and the alien civilization. It's really nothing more that a 12 year old perverts fantasy and it's a waste of time. The third story is better than the firts few called "Captain Stern" and it reminds me of the old Nelvana animated cartoon shows except for the language that is. The fourth story is a masterpiece. It's called B-17. It opens up as WWII fighters and planes are battling each other. The only surviving plane, being of course a B-17, flys off after all of the others have also gone or have been destroyed. The only surrviving people on the plane are the pilots and one of them goes back to see what's going on. He sees that everyone else has died of bullet wounds. Then a circular green meteor-like object lands on the plane for a short moment and then leaves. When the meteor leaves, the dead bodies of the men come back alive, as skeletons who's organs are falling out. Now the 2 pilots must face ultimate evil while trying to escape the B-17. This story reminds me of old EC comic books such as "Tales from the Crypt" and "Vault of Horror." This was extremely well done, accompanied by an awesome and haunting score by Elmer Bernstein, the animation was done so that it looks like you're watching a living horror comic book on your TV. The 5th story is another excuse to show sex and pathetic antics. This time with a sex-crazed robot and 2 drug addicted aliens. The last story is so boring, I don't even feel like talking about it; it's so poorly written and looong, it's the longest segment in the film and not even Bernstein's score can save it and it was worse to find out that the end that the whole bookended storyline (with the meteor and the girl) ties in with the last one. I'd say that this movie has one excellent segment which should be scene by horror comic book fans, but the rest is terrible.
Get ready for something unique
After a long 5 year wait, Henry Selick's next film, Monkeybone, was finally released. Although a strong dissapointment, Monkeybone delivers some great comedic comedy, the visually beautiful Downtown designed by Henry and some excellent stop-motion animation. The look and tone of the film is very sexual, something not explored in any of Selick's earlier films. Monkeybone, the title character from what I got while watching the film stands for the part of someone that gets aroused sexually and therefore the message at the end of the film `There's a little bit of Monkeybone in everybody' will make sense to those who got some of the subliminal messages. Besides the shock of there being sexual themes in a Selick film, there are some extremely well thought out and created visual effects and stop-motion animation special effects contained in the film. The film combines stop-motion animation and live action to the extent that hasn't been seen or attempted before. With scenes containing compositions between the puppet and the human actor they filmed the stop-motion monkey on a blue screen manaquin which is representing Brendan Fraiser in a scene when he must interact with the monkey. The cast is great- Brendan Fraiser, Bridget Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg and Chris Kattan. The film should have gotten an R rating for all of the sexual material represented in the film throughout but thus was rated PG-13. The editing is terrible and many characters are not introduced. A lot of stop-motion animation and scenes involving the relationship between Stu Miley and Kitty were cut which make scenes left in make little or no sense at all. The film's production was very slow and seemed to be a nightmare. The release date was in limbo for nearly 5 months until a trailer finaly appeared with the film Cast Away. The trailer made the film look like American Pie meets MTV. The film itself is a bit hard to describe. Indeed it does combine films like American Pie and Nightmare on Elm Street and uses the same kind of imagery from the Nightmare Before Christmas. But best of all this is something completely different from the usual brain-dead teen-age comedies that are being made today. It was a box office disaster and a failure to bring something new to screen. As it stands, it is a CULT classic and hopefully will achieve a Rocky Horror-like following sometime in the next 20 years.
This weekend I rented two films- Brainstorm and Altered States. Brainstorm was the better of the 2. While Altered States was a lot more like a bad trip, Brainstorm provided the audience with an original and interesting story line. The key element in Altered States are drugs, graphic gore, sex and evolution ( with some spectacular effects thrown in ). While the key elements in Brainstorm are love, the mind, science, and death with some great effects thrown in too. Rent it for a special science fiction experiance. A great scientific adventure! Highly recomended!!! 8 out of 10.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
This movie is so entertaining
I love this movie, for what it is. I do know, however, that if another director would have had his hands on this, it probably would have ended up a lot darker and a lot less funny. But I find a happy medium in everything so I take it for what it is. For what it is I give Mars Attacks a 10. For one thing the story is very well written and very witty. Second, this movie has the greatest aliens of all time. As a huge fan of the cards before this came out, seeing them look almost real is a treat. And third, the acting. Although I do think that some of the actors didn't need to be hear, Danny Devito had such a tiny part, but for what it is the acting is great. My fav parts of te film are all of the parts when the martians are on, in the saucer especially. Although I would have perfered the martians to be stop-motion animation, the computer graphics of these guys are excellent. And the saucer scenes are a nice homage to Ray Harryhausen ( those are his saucers you know).
Bad Movie, great aliens
Some awesome stop-motion animation in a bad film. The only good live action in this movie in every scene Eddie Dezen is in. He plays a real dork in this movie, so he is funny. The aliens in the movie, on the other hand, are fabulous. They were designed by David Allen ( *batteries not included ) and Jon Berg ( star wars ). They were animated by Randall Wiliam Cook The Gate ) and David Allen. With all of this talent on board, these aliens are truly majestic and awesome. Stop-motion animation fans need to check this one out for the aliens. I love them! The movie, however, is a drag. 4 out of 10.
entertaining, great movie
Equinox is a real good entertaining film. It's been rumored that this is the film that inspired "Evil Dead". The story is about 4 teen-agers (probibly 19) who go out in the woods to see their college professer and to have a picnic. Dr. Waterman, the professer, is missing and his home is destroyed. They go searching for him and they find a castle ( a matte painting by Jim Danforth ). And the strange ranger,Asmodeus, seems to have something up his sleve. Well, you go on from there. They then encounter- stop-motion animation monsters, a giant, and evil unworldly powers. Very hard to find a copy. Every once in a while, if you're lucky, a copy pops up on eBay. I got a copy on eBay that recorded from the original 35mm print. Just recently on AMC Stan Winston Theater EFX they showed it. It seemed to have been digitally restored. Stop-motion fans should definatly try to hunt down this rare GEM. The special effects were produced and directed by Dennis Muren, the stop-motion animation was done by David Allen, and the matte paintings were by Jim Danforth. 9 out of 10!
The Worst of 2000, next to Mission to Mars
Yes, this is most certainly the worst film I ever went to, along with Mission to Mars. When I first saw the trailer to it, it looked very campy and very dark. Playing in the was a 1960's rock song, right then I new the movie would be lots of fun. But also- I saw really good make-up of an alien- one looked scaley and another looked like the oval-shaped-slanted black eyes type of alien. Wow, this looks fun. When it opened up the first day, I thought it sounded like a good way to spend my Friday night. Boy was I ever wrong. First of all it was totally edited out. I could tell that a lot of the gore parts and sex scenes had been cut up a lot. When the movie was over I was extremly dissapointed that none of the aliens I saw in the trailer were in the movie. I was expecting some cool make-up and creatures. The story made absolutly no sense and it was all MESSED up. The violence and sex scenes were cut in order to receive a PG-13 rating I don't think any teens liked this movie anyway so it was a big waste of time. Too many mistakes made and too many missed opportunities.
Hollow Man (2000)
Never a dull moment
Hollow Man is one of those movies when you never get bored and it just keeps getting better and better. The acting is very good and Kevin Bacon is great. He is the same kind of villain he was in The River Wild except more evil and crazy. It starts off like a science fiction adventure, then it turns into a strait out horror. Science Fiction fans will love this movie. I was amazed at how good the computer graphics were in this great thriller. 8 out of 10.
The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977)
My friend and I rented The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977). We both enjoyed it and thought the make-up was outstanding. There is some good acting and the story was close to Wells's novel. The remake was awful. This one is much better, so if you want to see a good science fiction movie rent this one. You won't be dissapointed. 7 out of 10.
Lovers of 50's monster movies should seek out this one
This is a good old-fashioned monster movie. A mutated octopus man comes out of the water to kill, find a women, kill some more, and cause havoc in the woods. The monster was created by Doug Beswick( Planet of the Dinosaurs ) and Rick Baker ( An American Werewolf in London, The Grinch ). A lot like those old men-in-suits monster films of the 50's and 60's.
The octopus is a very well done monster.
One excellent story. The others are so-so.
Nightmares came out in 1983. It is a horror anthology with 4 short stories. One being truly excellent and the rest being ok. The first one has been done many times before. It's about an escaped killer on the loose. Now the second one is the highlight. A teenager is destined to beat a video game called The Biship Of Battle. The main character of this story is JJ Cooney, he is an interesting character, because it seems that he can't get this video game off his mind. The Game has 13 levels and , except for a rumor that "some kid in Jersey got to the 13th level", no one has ever beat it. After an unsuccessful night at the arcade trying to get to the 13th level, JJ goes home but just can't seem to get this game out of his mind. So he sneaks out of his house and breaks into the Arcade at night. He plays the game and reaches the 13th level. Well the 13th level is not like any other level he has ever seen before. Rent this movie for this story, it is like a very good episode of Amazing Stories or Tales from the Darkside. The rest of the stories are satisfactory-- othe 3rd about a truck from hell and the last about an ancient giant rat.
The Stuff (1985)
Good Movie, scary and funny too
This movie is a combonation of "Invaders From Mars" and "The Blob" and a good one. Written and directed by cult film director Larry Cohen ( It's Alive, Q ) and stars Michael Moriarty in an excellent performance. The Stuff itself is depicted in a variety of special effects shots. Including matte paintings, stop-motion models, gross make-up effects, Rod-Controled puppets and live action mechanical effects. There is also a lot of atmosphere in the story and cool miniature effects. The Stuff is a very different movie and if you're into these king of fantasy/horror films rent it tonight!
The Monster Squad (1987)
Winning homage to past monster movies
" The Monster Squad " is excellent. You get everything a real good monster/fantasy should have. A great director ( Fred Dekker ), great acting ( the kids in this movie are great ), awsome make-up effecs ( by academy award winning artist Stan Winston ), and what all monster/fantasy films should have--A great story. It follows the adventures of 5 teen-age boys called " The Monster Squad ". There is something in this movie for everyone--Lots of excellent visuals, a great old fasioned movie score, teen-age ghostbusters, scary and atmospheric scenes , lots of monsters, and it has a great 1980's feel to it. Rent it tonight if your in the mood for a scary different fun movie.
Aw, another good one
Aw, another good one. Yes, this is a good movie if you like neat creatures, awesome visuals and fantasy worlds. The cast in this one seems to act well and come out very fine. Especially Michael Moriarty (Law and Order) as Harry Potter senior (!). No, this is way before those popular books came out. Torak, the leader of the trolls, is a neat creation and is a likable "bad" monster. Rent it if your a fantasy film lover!
Jack the Giant Killer (1962)
great stop-motion animation and a fun story makes this movie great
If you like movies like " The 7th Voyage of Sinbad " or any George Pal film this is a must see. Stop-motion animation fans take note, there is a lot of stop-motion in this film. Jack and the princess are likeable characters as well as Peter and Sigard the viking. My favorite scene is when the puppet comes to like and slow dances with the princess. I also love the shot of the animated crow flying toward a beautiful matte painting of a castle. If you love these kinds of movies see it for sure, I bought it and still watch it plentiful to this day. Anyway that is a great flick. 10 out of 10!
Not that bad
This movie is not at all that bad. I rate it a 6 which averages out to *** out of ***** stars. There is some nice stop-motion animation by David Allen and some fine make-up effects, included a neat little creature puppet. The " Heavy Metal " segment directed by Charles BaNd does not have much of a point so this is sort of the downfall on the movie. The acting is somewhat corny but what do you expect. It would have been better if David Allen's sequence--Stone Canyon Giant--would have been longer. It is a fine model and the animation is rather smooth. There are only about 12 stop-motion shots, If there were 20 and add a little more plot to this sequence (the actual sequence lasted only about 6-7 minutes but the giant didn't really get to do anything except chase the protagonist around some large rocks before it gets destroyed. If you liked this movie ok and gave it *** or more you should see----Laserblast, Ghoulies 2, and Robot Wars.
This is one of those films that when I first saw it , it grew on me. It is one of the best horror/ fantasy films ever made. It first came out in 1986 in Britain, Rumania,etc. It was released on video by VESTRON in 1987. It is now hard to find but I'm sure most video stores carry it. It follows the story of a young girl, her Dad and Step-Mom while their driving in the middle of nowhere a storm hits and their car breaks down. They soon find a mansion where an old couple live and stay the night. Other people have also come to visit there and soon the fun begins. I don't want to give away anymore of the story but I suggest that if you want to get scared and yet interested and glued to the set I think you should rent DOLLS tonite. By the way fans of Stop-Motion Animation( a form of claymation) will be delighted to see some stop-motion very well done in this feature.
The Incredible Melting Man (1977)
A Homage To 50's Flicks
This movie is entertaining. A good plot and Marvelous make-up effects make this movie worth watching. The Make-up effects, by the way, were done by the great Rick Baker. This is actually the best part of the movie, but it's actually over-all fun. It was one of the last movies made by legendary B-MOVIE company American International Pictures(AIP). This is quite gory but in a fun way, it is a fine example of what the great Rick Baker is capable of. Worth renting if you like this type of movie.