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Half-Caste (2004 Video)
Incredibly bad "reality show" horror
7 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Warning....possibly some minor spoilers ahead.

The DVD box to Half-Caste looked quite interesting, the movie description sounded very interesting, too bad the movie was worthless. I had to force myself to sit through the entire movie, it really was that bad. Most of the time I was so bored that it was sleep inducing. I'm still in shock of how terrible this movie truly was.

I still don't know what exactly they were trying to do with this film. It's an incoherent mess of a film that looks more like an MTV episode of The Real World than anything. The acting is about on par with a reality TV show program, in other words not very believable. In many scenes there's even an annoying web address in the corner of the screen. What was the point of this? It didn't look like a webcam broadcast at all...it was simply annoying and looked fake. There's nothing scary, nothing funny, and the characters are ALL intensely annoying. In fact there's nothing memorable at all in regards to the film. I only wish now that I hadn't rented this one!
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In the vein of the original Trinity films
7 August 2004
Sons Of Trinity was directed in the mid-1990's by the late Enzo Barboni, the same director of the early 1970's Trinity movies 'They Call Me Trinity' and 'Trinity Is Still My Name'

Sons Of Trinity features the Sons of the original characters of Trinity and Bambino, in yet another comedic spaghetti western. The sons have the same names as their fathers, the same looks, the same personality and mannerisms, the same quirks, etc... It still works quite well and has the same basic elements as in the original movies.

Shot in Spain and featuring two American actors in the lead roles of Trinity and Bambino, this was in stark contrast to the two leads in the original Trinity films played by Italian actors with fake Americanized names.

All in all, I enjoyed Sons Of Trinity. It isn't quite as good as the original movies, but it is still quite entertaining!
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Laurin (1989)
A Haunting, surreal masterpiece!
4 June 2004
Laurin is quite simply an obscure masterpiece of surrealism. Beautifully filmed and extremely atmospheric throughout. The story takes place at the turn of the 20th century, and even though the film is shot in color...it appears as though it could have really been filmed back then! The brilliant music score is also a high point. It's very haunting and otherworldly, and works absolutely perfectly in the film. To call Laurin anything less than thought provoking would be a grave understatement. It's one movie that will haunt your mind long after it ends. To classify Laurin into any one genre is next to impossible. The young actress who plays Laurin is extraordinarily beautiful and quite talented. Whatever happened to her?!?

This film is obviously rarely seen or heard of and that's a real shame. It was one of the few times where I actually bought a German DVD import (released by e.m.s.) without ever previously viewing the movie before. I don't regret it at all in this instance! Many great bonus features on the DVD such as deleted/extended scenes, director interview, a making-of featurette, photos, and the entire soundtrack as bonus DVD-Audio tracks. Much of the bonus material is in German, yet still fun to watch.
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Savage Island (2004)
Not too shabby...until the ending.
21 April 2004
I thought Savage Island was pretty good for a shot on digital video feature. The acting and direction were all surprisingly professional and believable. I absolutely hated the ending to the film though, it was so far out there that it was truly laughable. That definitely knocked off a couple of points in my rating, leaving a sour taste long after the credits rolled. But, I still enjoyed it mostly up until that point.

If you like demented backwoods films like Deliverance, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn, etc... then you'll probably enjoy this film. It's far from being a classic, but it's worth a rental for those interested.
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Screaming Dead (2003 Video)
Screaming Dead, pretty good
6 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Possible minor spoilers ahead...

This was the first movie I have seen a film with Misty Mundae. I had of course heard of her, but relegated her to the "softcore" genre of C-films. She was surprisingly good as an actress in Screaming Dead.

Screaming Dead is another fun, low budget offering from Brett Piper (Drainiac, Psyclops, Arachnia). Much of the film takes place in an actual abandoned mental hospital that dates from the 1930's. It's a rather unique location and serves the film's story and mood quite well. The plot concerns a famous S&M photographer and several female models which he quite literally "owns" while he shoots at the mental hospital. These girls are perfectly willing to do whatever it takes for his infamous depraved photo shoots, no questions asked.

As mentioned before Misty Mundae gets top billing, playing the lead as Bridget. Rob Monkiewicz (His 3rd Piper film?) evens out the cast as Sam, the ears and eyes for the real estate/insurance company. Rachael Robbins rounds out the cast as Maura, the photographer's assistant, who begins to see sinister side of her employer.

Suffice it to say that bizarre events begin to occur for the girls. There isn't really anything new in the film...it's simply a horror movie with some female exploitation thrown in, no more and no less. Screaming Dead isn't Piper's best film, but it definitely has it's moments and his unique signature style. The film's undead antagonist was fairly creepy and worked rather well I thought. A couple of scenes in the movie are somewhat STRANGE and make you think for a minute. You'll probably enjoy the flick if you enjoy very low budget horror movies, done right.
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Ozark Savage (1999)
Lens Ozark? Yeah!
15 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
=========== Possible plot spoilers ahead! ===========

Ozark Savage is a fun movie with enough originality to set it apart from others. Where else can you have a guy who finds a mystical coin giving him full control of Hong Kong, then gets sent to Hell to face Satan? Getting brought back to life through a nuclear blast and getting shot are bad enough for the guy. If that wasn't enough, imagine waking up locked onto a giant metal ball! And that's only a small portion of what happens in the movie.

I doubt the budget on Ozark Savage was very much at all, however it looks quite good considering. The magical coin and the supernatural elements make the plot very enjoyable, even if the budget wasn't quite large enough to convey it's full potential at times. The style of John Woo, Quentin Tarantino, and even John Carpenter is often evident throughout the movie. The actor who plays Lens Ozark nailed the part to where it's both hilarious and serious at the same time. Let's face it...the guy doesn't really look tough, but his acting method makes it seem so for this movie.

Ozark Savage is a definite gem of low budget filmmaking. It's surely far from perfect, but very few movies really are perfect. If you can luckily find it to watch...then do yourself a favor and watch it!
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Psyclops (2002 Video)
No-budget, but very original and inventive.
8 February 2004
From the same director that brought us the horrible yet lovable Draniac now comes Psyclops! I must say I really enjoyed this movie, it was quite inventive and bizarre. Obviously Psyclops was made on a super low budget like all Brett Piper films, but therein he works his magic.

If you don't like low budget films then you probably aren't going to like the movie. This isn't the latest $100 million Hollywood blockbuster, nor does it ever claim to be. Paradoxically this movie makes you think hard about possible parallel universes, and at the same time suspend your disbelief in order to enjoy the utterly fantastic story.

Scant few films still use stop-motion animation (ala Harryhausen), but Brett Piper still uses them in many of his movies, including this one. The stop-motion animation is very campy like a cheesy sci-fi film from the 1950's, and I'll guess that it's an homage to that era. Psyclops also uses opticals and various forms of CGI, but they are scant and it doesn't rely on them all that much. Did I mention that Psyclops has zombies with good old special effects makeup?

Watching many new films each week I generally see a heap of unoriginal films, or trendy forgettable films. Psyclops may not be exactly Oscar material, but for a "B-Movie" it succeeds where so many others fail in originality. I've seen Psyclops twice now, and it was just as good the second time around as the first.
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Mastorakis signature striking visuals
3 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
=========== Possible minor spoilers ahead ========== I generally like all of the films of Nico Mastorakis. I waited to get .com For Murder after seeing so many negative votes. I shouldn't have, because I really enjoyed this film as much as any of his other projects. You have to remember that Mastorakis co-wrote the screenplay, both produced and directed the film, edited the entire film on Avid himself, filmed most (if not all) of the DV sequences, and worked closely with the composer...among various other jobs for the film.

Yes, the "computer screens" and the "technical gizmos" in the film look striking and somewhat avantgarde...and in a sense, quite fake today. I have a feeling though that they won't look so fake some years down the road, and that was the main intention. They were meant to look visually off the norm from what you'd normally see in a techo movie. He did the same thing for the early cyber-thriller "Blind Date" from 1984. Some of the advanced technology portrayed in that film actually came into reality just recently. .com For Murder is very much an homage to a Hitchcock thriller, specifically "Rear Window" as Mr. Mastorakis himself has stated. It's a relatively simple thriller with a few plot twists which one would expect. If nothing else this film has visually stunning cinematography with effective lighting and a vast array of color schemes. The visual style is very much in the same vein as "In The Cold Of The Night" also directed by Mastorakis in 1991. The futuristic house used in the movie is very odd just to look at, made of steel/glass/concrete, with all the necessary computerized gizmos of a futuristic abode. I can only imagine the headaches of the director of photography when lighting the house for film.

The movie has a great cast in my opinion. Two pop stars and two beautiful female leads. The psychotic hacker-killer who quotes Goethe was an odd but interesting touch. I never really understood the significance of the "ring" around his eye though. It was also nice to see Kim Valentine in a movie again after so many years! .com For Murder is definitely a movie you'll enjoy more if you easily suspend your disbelief. If you can't then you probably just won't like the movie, which is understandable since it's not for everyone. This film obviously has some minor mistakes and isn't exactly oscar material. Just remember it's only a movie, not a biography of current technology and surely not a textbook for a realistic internet.

Oddly I never saw .com For Murder on any rental shelves. I probably wouldn't even know about it to this day if it wasn't for seeing it on the internet, which is ironic. I finally ended up just purchasing it when the DVD price went down lower. It's surely a must purchase for any Mastorakis fan. The DVD includes a 36+ minute behind-the-scenes feature, and unedited interviews with Roger Daltrey (20 minutes) and Huey Lewis (8 minutes).
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Avalon (2001)
Otherworldy and Beautiful, but not for all.
17 December 2003
Avalon is a beautiful movie, but not for everyone. If you mainly like action or fast-paced movies you may be turned off by some of the slow scenes during the movie. Avalon has action though, and explosions galore. Some of the story is a little ridiculous and hard to follow, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing at all.

This is the only film I know of that was a co-production of both Japan and Poland. Directed by Mamoru Oshii, but filmed mostly in Poland and in the native Polish language.

While watching this movie you get a feeling of a very unique quality. It was filmed (or altered in post) to resemble an old Sepia toned film, but still with the high-resolution of today's film standard. This adds a very bleak and depressive visual style to much of the movie. That's a good thing, because this is not a happy movie in the least.

Avalon relies heavily on CGI throughout the movie, due to the "cyber game world" that the movie is largely dealing with. Much of the CGI effects are quite interesting to watch. You can often tell they are CGI effects, but it's obvious that it's a computer dominating world with players inside it.

Another effective element to the film was the excellent music score by Kenji Kawai. This has to be one of the most beautiful and engaging film scores I've heard in a long time. It ranges through many different forms, even to the operatic. Very layered and complex, yet easy on the ears. Recorded with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, tons of people played the various musical instruments in the recording of the score, according to the end credits. I would compare it in a sense to Christopher Young's otherworldly and haunting score for the first two Hellraiser films. It's a shame that the soundtrack to Avalon is currently only available as an expensive import CD.

Even if you dislike the film, you must watch it once just for the amazing music...it really is that good.
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The infamous "revision" sequel
14 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
WARNING: Some plot spoilers ahead...

This film has various mistakes and errors...but it's also so over the top that it's quite enjoyable for a small percentage of viewers. I wouldn't exactly call it a scary horror movie in the least, it has more of a 80's era cult quality to it.

I love the first Silent Night, Deadly Night movie. This sequel uses a good 40+ minutes of flashbacks from that original film. Perhaps the only film I remember that used so much footage from an original was in Ulli Lommel's "Boogeyman II". Much of the footage used in Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is condensed and at times heavily edited for time and pace. Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails completely. The producers who wanted this sequel made explicitly wanted it to be a recut of the first film. The original film was cut from circulation soon after it's release due to a backlash of "Santa Can't Kill!" protests. So, a lot of people didn't even get to see the first film until TV and video years later. This sequel works better if you haven't already seen the first film. I'd much rather watch the original movie than the early recut scenes that are mostly shown in the first half of this sequel. But I do enjoy the latter half of this sequel that uses entirely new footage. In think Eric Freeman did a spectacular job as "Ricky". The way he performed the lines was classic, and who could forget his constant eyebrow movements with each line? It was way over the top and it worked perfectly for a killer that was clearly out of his mind.

A few other memorable things that I remember from the movie were the Umbrella death scene, and the all time "Garbage Day!" kill line.

There are quite a few continuity errors throughout the movie. A big error that really couldn't be prevented was the Mother Superior flashbacks, and then the new footage of Mother Superior played by another actress without the French-type accent. The new actress also had a disfigured face (with makeup) to try to make it tougher to tell that it's a different person playing the role. But we never learn why her face looks so grotesquely disfigured. If you watch the VHS/Laserdisc editions you can also see quite a few minor mistakes (Dolly Tracks, etc.) because the film was presented in open-matte and not properly letterboxed.

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is a guilty pleasure that the majority of viewers hate. I can understand why, but for some reason I enjoy the film...even with it's many shortcomings. Anyways, it made money and spawned 3 more questionable sequels in the franchise!
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Hollywood Mortuary (1998 Video)
Not too bad actually!
9 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Possible minor spoilers ahead......

Hollywood Mortuary is actually a pretty good no-budget movie. Two dead horror film stars who hate each other are resurrected as Zombies by their make-up artist to revive the genre of horror films...classic! The story is quite original, the script is well written, and most of the actors did an admirable job in the movie. There are a few funny moments peppered throughout the movie.

Most of the movie is in black & white, and I guess the movie was originally shot on video of some kind. The movie jumps from farcical present-day interviews back to the glory days of earlier Hollywood. Sometimes it jumps to color for a few seconds, especially in the interviews.

There are some problems in the movie, such as in the flashbacks to the bygone days you often see objects that are modern. But, this movie obviously had a small to non-existent budget so it's not that big of a deal.

Even with the problems in Hollywood Mortuary, it is enjoyable and unique. Better than most no-budget movies, watch it once if you have the chance.
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Ruby (1977)
Not too bad, despite the producer's lame ending.
6 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Possible minor spoilers ahead...

Ruby isn't too bad of a movie for a late 70's flick. It has the feel of a drive-in movie, and that actually is a part of the story. The similarities to CARRIE are evident, from Piper Laurie to the revenge motif in the plot. Ruby was marketed as being the movie up there with The Exorcist, The Omen and similar movies. I've even heard that it was the biggest independent money maker before John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN came along.

Ruby suffers from one major flaw and that is the incredibly cheesy ending of the movie. The director Curtis Harrington had nothing to do with that final shot and was completely against it. It was filmed entirely by the Producer. The original ending was not as "shocking" or as "cheesy" and was much more involved.

Another thing that should be noted is the old VHS releases were heavily edited from a TV version, from the same producer who screwed with the ending. All of the murder scenes were cut way back and it looked like a completely different film. That "Producer's Cut" version is really garbage. That may be a very good reason why this film does not have a higher rating on here. Find the Curtis Harrington "Director's Cut" version, even though the original ending is long since lost and sadly not included in it. That version is as close as you can find to the original vision of the film, even if it still has that awful ending.
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Nice idea, but way too LONG..........
3 December 2003
Interesting take on the vampire tale, but this film has one major problem...it is 2 hours and 15 minutes in length! Normally that isn't a problem with certain films. However, when scenes become so long that they begin to bore you to death you've got a real problem. This movie could have been easily cut by about 45 minutes and been much, much better. It's almost as if the director had never heard of deleted scenes or good pacing in a film. The editing job should not have been handled by the director in this movie. There is no way that this movie should have been as long as it is in it's finished product. I'd hate to even think that there was a longer Director's Cut edition out there. There is also a brand of comedy peppered in the plot that I really just didn't get or find all that humorous in the least.

One final thing that was annoying about the film, the "F" word and every other profanity is used in practically every line of dialogue in the entire movie. Again, normally this isn't a bad thing, but when you hear the same exact words in a movie over and over again it becomes really repetitive and downright annoying. I know I've seen literally thousands upon thousands of films in my life so far, and this easily ranks in the top 10 as far as that goes. There's also a lot of "moaning" in the sound mix if you get my drift, but curiously not very much nudity or sexual situations.

The film does have a few good points such as good characters and some memorable lines of dialogue spotted in here and there. But I'll wait for a heavily butchered TV edit version before I waste 135 minutes again.
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Utterly hilarious comedy!
26 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

This movie is nonstop raw comedy! The title alone is so ridiculous that you've just gotta love it. Cheerleader Ninjas is obviously a low budget effort, but it actually works in favor of the film. The movie reminds me of a cross between "Student Bodies" and "Kentucky Fried Movie". At times there are breaks in the film when an "announcer" comes on and cracks a commentary joke, or warning text on the screen and things like that ala John Landis comedy.

Cheerleader Ninjas doesn't take itself seriously, and some of the jokes and gags are so far gone from reality that you just can't help but chuckle at them. This isn't the best comedy movie ever made by far, but I was literally laughing out loud while watching the movie. The acting is actually quite good for a comedy movie. I doubt many of these people were actually career aspiring actors, but they did a good job in my opinion.

If you don't like really rough humor with many adult jokes and situations then you probably won't like the movie. But, if you enjoy edgy comedy that's so off the wall that's it's ludicrous, then this is the movie to see. During the course of the film almost nothing is left to make fun of. We have: Militant Catholics bent on bringing down the perverse Internet, A petroleum jelly obsessed pack of Trekkie computer nerds, A Kentucky hillbilly who wants to be a cheerleader, A homosexual cheerleader hater in league with the Catholics who would like nothing less than genocide of all cheerleaders, Sean Connery naked???, William Shatner Beer & Chips???, etc...... You get the picture, there's a lot of really, really, silly stuff in Cheerleader Ninjas. Highly recommended only for those who enjoy "Hard R-Rated" comedy.

WARNING: Quite a few situations of nudity and female blow up dolls in this movie!
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Sleepless Nights (2002 Video)
Better than expected for a low-budget Vampire movie.
13 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
=========== POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD ========== I'd seen a trailer for Sleepless Nights before renting it, and I wasn't too impressed with the trailer of the film at all. I really wasn't expecting too much from this movie as a result. It turned out to be much better than I had initially expected for a Vampire movie.

The best thing is a plot structure that is well developed and actually half believable. The characters are much more likable than many of the really disappointing Vampire "Direct-To-Video" movies I've rented lately. There are good and evil Vampires used throughout the movie complementing the dual human characters as well, with plot ties to the ancient order of the Templar Knights. You won't see any generic staple Crosses, Garlic or Holy Water used against the creatures of the night in this one.

Sleepless Nights has a dark atmosphere throughout the movie that is quite effective and brooding. It appeared to have been shot on either 16mm film or Digital Video, or both perhaps. The clarity of the picture (on DVD at least) could have been better at times, but it almost adds to the overall oppressive feel of the movie.

Sleepless Nights was obviously shot on a low-budget, but it still looks pretty good as far as indie films are concerned. It uses many locations and sets which make it appear as a bigger picture than it actually is. The acting is better than most movies of the same caliber. CGI effects are used only a few times during the film.

Don't expect a movie with a major Hollywood budget and you'll probably enjoy this one. I would definitely recommend Sleepless Nights to fans of the genre.
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Decent, but incredibly boring in parts.
10 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
=========== Possible Spoilers Ahead ==========> I normally really like low budget movies that are fantasy, swords and sorcery and the like. Movies like Deathstalker, Barbarian Queen, Ator, Amazons, etc... all the ones that are so bad they're good.

Slaves Of The Realm star Reno Mero, better known as Sable from the WWF and Playboy covergirl a few years back. Other than her, I didn't really recognize anyone except for one girl who seemed vaguely familiar.

The plot is fairly simple: Girls go to King's Castle. Girls get put into slavery by King's evil sister. Evil Sister has bad accent and superhuman swordsmanship. Slow-paced softcore nude scenes with a group of attractive female slaves in a narrow royal silver mine. Repetitive swordsplay throughout film that eats up too much time. High priestess saves the day at the end and gives corny speech.

Normally this might have been a decently entertaining, but ultimately forgettable fantasy film. It simply has too many faults to really enjoy all that much. The main problem is that many of the scenes take so long to finish that you'll easily become bored. At 99 minutes, this film could have cut a good 15 or 20 minutes off and been much better. If you like these kinds of films then it's worth a look, but for repeat viewings look elsewhere in the genre. Unfortunately this one is so bad that it's barely good except in certain parts.
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Deadfall (2000)
Evil Dead tribute, Shot for $13,000
3 November 2003
Deadfall is well above your average horror movie that you'll see on the video store shelves. It's obviously a tribute to Raimi's original Evil Dead masterpiece. Some might call it a ripoff, but I am positive it's a tribute to the sub-genre. It was made for only $13,000 and shot on 16mm film. It uses imaginative camera work and bargain special effects to get the job done well. I also enjoyed the music score used throughout the movie, it was a droning ambiance of horror recalling the glory days of the late 1980's. It also does not take itself too seriously, check out the TV for outrageous B-Movie clips used in the movie!

I must say I really enjoyed this movie. It was much better than I expected for such a limited budget film. This is how you can make an professional and enjoyable horror film on a micro-budget. This was the first feature directed by Vince Di Meglio. I am impressed enough to highly recommend this to fans of low-budget horror.
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Prom Night II (1987)
Original sequel...great 80's cheese horror!
31 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
<========== Possible Minor Spoilers Ahead ==========>

I just got finished watching Prom Night II right after watching the original first Prom Night movie. Prom Night II was made quite a few years after the original, no clue as to why it took so long to get a sequel made.

Prom Night II is quite original as a sequel idea, because it has nothing to do with the first film except for the "prom" if you want to count that. While the first one had nothing to do with the supernatural, the premise of the sequel is heavily based on a supernatural plot. This one reminds me very much of a "Nightmare On Elm Street" movie. Wendy Lyon plays a duel role that is very similar to the character played by Lisa Wilcox in parts 4 and 5 of the Nightmare series. It also reminds me of a Nightmare film by the effective way that it's filmed, and the music score is similar too. It also owes a fair amount to Stephen King's "Carrie".

We are introduced in Prom Night II to the memorable "Mary Lou Maloney", who plays a main role again in the third film of the series. Mary Lou becomes absent again in Prom Night IV for a newer story idea. Bummer.

For anyone interested, Prom Night II is finally out on DVD as an official Canadian DVD import...as of Halloween 2003 you can still order it cheaply on ebay.
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Very predictable, basic overused horror plot...
29 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
========== Some minor plot spoilers may be ahead =========> I usually like most foreign horror movies, but this one was average at best. While I was watching the movie I imagined what would happen next in the plot...and surprise surprise, I was 100% right in my predictions throughout the film. The ending I could clearly see from a mile away, it was so obvious that it was nearly hysterical. I was very shocked...this film follows a very, very basic horror movie outline with a few ridiculous plot twists that are easy to foresee far in advance. It almost reminded me of some lame teen horror flick, or a bad mainstream horror flick like Darkness Falls.

An accidental summoning of a demon while acting like moronic goofballs using a Ouija board? How many times has that already been in numerous horror movies as the basic rehashed plot? Scary? I didn't find anything remotely "scary" in this movie.

I also found the movie to be quite contrived, slow-paced and downright boring for the first hour. The last 30 minutes get a little better with more happening, but I found absolutely nothing in the movie to be memorable or worth recommending. This one will surely float quickly down to the dusty rental shelves. I can see why the DVD release had absolutely no special features at all...not even a trailer. If you want a movie about a Djinn, just watch the first two Wishmaster movies.
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One of the best films I've seen in a long time!
16 October 2003
Once in awhile there's a film that comes along that is amazingly fresh in it's idea. Interstate 60 is one of the best movies I've seen recently. I saw in a rental store and there was only one copy they had. I didn't see it in on the shelves of the other rental chains I usually visit several times per week. I debated whether or not I should even rent the movie. But, it had Christopher Lloyd in it...so it couldn't be that bad.

I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the movie. It's fun and utterly different than what I was expecting it to be. Interstate 60 cannot be classified into a single genre. It is many genres, from fantasy to comedy, to romance, to drama...and back again switching between these and so much more.

The script is very well written, with many memorable lines of intelligent dialogue. There are several notable cameos by high profile actors such as Michael J. Fox, Ann-Margret, and Kurt Russell. All of their performances made use of their stellar acting abilities. Another must see role was played by Chris Cooper.

Interstate 60 should really have had a wide theatrical distribution. It has the look and feel of a big budget movie, and surely has a wide ranging appeal. A lot happens in this movie and that is a good thing! It's a shame that a lot of people will probably never see or hear of the movie. If you can find it around you should definitely rent it. You also couldn't go wrong with just buying it, I know it is next on my list of movies to buy for my personal collection. I give this exceptional movie a 10 rating out of a possible 10!
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The Monster Man (2001 Video)
Bad "B" schlock, but somewhat fun...
14 October 2003
This is an absolutely bad movie...and I think it was meant to be. It obviously had a shoestring budget and very limited resources, but still manages to be somewhat fun. The only real complaints I have is that I couldn't make out and understand most of the dialogue in the movie, and I saw it on DVD. The other complaint is that the picture is as bad as a very used VHS tape. I guess it was either originally shot on video tape or digital camera. It's viewable, but only barely at times.

Denice Duff, Linnea Quigley, and Tom Savini are good reasons to catch this film. Duff is a major character in the movie, while Quigley and Savini have bit parts. Conrad Brooks of "Plan 9 From Outer Space" fame rounds out the minimal cast of The Monster Man.
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Contagion (2002)
Solid and tense virus movie!
9 October 2003
I thought Contagion was much better than the average type of film about a lethal virus gone loose. I've seen most of the bad knockoffs of the sub-genre over the years, and I personally think this is one of the better. The script is well paced and the movie is well shot. The acting is very professional with high marks going to Lin Shaye, Bruce Boxleitner, Megan Gallagher, and Jeffrey Combs (of course).

Maybe the medical science that occurs during the movie isn't exactly 100% accurate...but hey this is a movie! Not every movie has to be an exact comparison to reality. We already have enough crappy reality TV shows for that.

I wouldn't mind seeing this movie again in the future. Rent it at least once, you might just enjoy it also.
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Aswang (1994)
Strange story, poorly executed film
7 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
+---------------- WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD ----------------+

Aswang is a strange movie, but that does not mean it's particularly a great movie. Obviously shot on a shoestring budget, it would have helped to have had a larger budget and a better developed script and cast. The script itself has an interesting premise, but it's never really explained in detail and many things in the movie make little or no sense. Sometimes that works in movies, but at the end of this movie I was seriously asking many questions, and not really in a good way. They paradoxically reveal too much and too little of the story in this movie.

The movie leans on a popular Philippino mythic vampire/creature called the "Aswang". I looked up the definition after the film and learned that an Aswang looks like a normal human during the day, and like an Aswang creature at night assuming various animal forms. They are sometimes thought of as flying creatures and are afraid of metals. They are especially fond of human babies and human intestines. The movie correctly dwelled upon the Aswang extracting the baby from a mother's womb by extending their tongue. Okay, that explains the basics of an Aswang. I don't think it would have mattered too much if I did know this information before watching the movie.

There is some gore in the film, but I never found it to be necessary for the overall story. Gorehounds will enjoy this much more than the majority of viewers. One scene where a hand gets chopped off was so obviously fake it was utterly hilarious. The weird thing is, the camera was so close to the fake hand. As if the viewer wouldn't notice it inches away? Was this an inside joke perhaps? It's not like an original "Evil Dead" gore effect that works mostly because it doesn't take itself entirely seriously. It was as if the director was actually proud of that special effect.

The acting in Aswang is a mixed bag. The lead performances are fairly natural and believable. But, a few of the performances are downright terrible, even as far as indie films are concerned. I doubt those people had ever acted before (or since) in their life, it was as if they were drugged and reading lines off a screen with no emotion.

Aswang was made in 1993 or 1994 from what I gather. Supposedly it wasn't released due to the "shocking things that go on in the movie". I personally didn't find this movie all that shocking. Strange and bizarre as far as the story goes perhaps...but shocking even for the early 1990's??? I somehow doubt it wasn't released for so long simply due to that one factor. I suppose some people will automatically think this is a "campy cult film" due to it's long delayed official release. In some aspects it is, but there are many films out there superior to Aswang that actually deserve the cult status. Just because Aswang was an independent B-Movie doesn't make it brilliant or even particularly memorable.

So, Aswang is worth one viewing simply because the storyline is somewhat interesting and unique. On closer examination, an original idea for a film is only as good as it's execution in the production.
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Well done for a TV movie
7 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
+------------+ WARNING: SOME SPOILERS AHEAD +------------+

I really enjoy this film, simply because it's well made for a TV movie. Generally many TV horror movies are largely forgettable, simply because they are limited as to what they can include. Theatrical movies usually do more since they can show more that the TV genre cannot.

Grave Secrets was shot in 1992, so it's 11-12 years old as I'm writing this. The special effects may appear somewhat dated by today's CGI razzle dazzle, but they still work well. The only thing that some people might not be able to suspend their disbelief about, is the "ghost shadows" in a couple of scenes. But, if you research the unknown you may have heard of "Shadow People", or "Shadow Beings" as some would call them. It is an actual documented phenomenon, just as a normal ghost sighting is. When you research this in advance, it lends those scenes a much creepier and realistic effect.

I think the acting was especially talented and well executed. Patty Duke especially, but all of the cast members did a great job.

True, the story of Grave Secrets is nothing entirely original and has the feel of an Amityville Horror sequel, but it's still quite entertaining. I wouldn't say everyone will be scared or disturbed by Grave Secrets, but if you like ghost genre movies you'll most likely enjoy the movie. I've seen the movie at least six or seven times before, and I still enjoy it!
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Comedic zombies from Japan? Woo!
1 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
===== ===== WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD ===== =====

This movie is pretty hilarious at times. The story is almost a goofball parody of a Romero zombie film, hence the Romero squads in the movie. I wouldn't call this a real horror movie since there are more comedy antics than any real horror. There is a good amount of blood and gore in Stacy, and some of the gore is actually funny. If you're looking for guts and gore than you'll probably like the movie that much more. I am certain that this movie was meant to be funny in an unconventional way, and some people might not get that right away. Another funny moment is the commercial for the Bruce Campbell chainsaw version 2, to be used to "repeat kill" the Stacies! What exactly was with the American guy in the commercial speaking English and then having Japanese dubbed over him? I didn't quite get that one, but it was funny nonetheless. The Illegal "Drew" Repeat Kill Squad was also so utterly wacko that it was funny beyond any words.

I was entertained by the movie for the most part. The last 25 minutes were somewhat of a let down however, I didn't find very much that was enjoyable compared to the first hour. I wouldn't call this a masterpiece or anything, but it's worth at least one viewing. Rent it first if you can find it before you buy it. Just don't expect Stacy to be scary or horrific...instead prepare for Japanese offbeat humor.
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