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2001 Maniacs (2005)
Oh Boy Was It Corny
I had the
fun of watching a very campy movie known as "2001 Maniacs," which I guess was a remake of the '64 movie "Ten Thousand Maniacs." It's really about a group of college kids that travel to a small southern town for spring break only to find out that everybody that inhabits this town are psychopathic cannibals. I don't know where to begin with this review.
First off, there were a lot of bloody effects and it was pretty gory. I enjoyed this, and some of the strategies used to 'off' the characters were pretty gruesome. The main problem that I had with this movie was that the horror and gore aspect of the film is overshadowed by the slapstick comedy, the crude redneck humor the terrible puns. Most people would find some of the puns funny but I found them campy and unnecessary and it was so over the top.
What I found a little displeasing was how they viewed Southerners: there is a retarded kid that likes to kill cats, a young man who wants to have sex with a sheep, inbred sisters, a dumbfounded black man and everybody seems talks in stereotypical southern lingo. I am from the south so I am a little iffy on that but I can overlook it.
This movie wants to be a horror comedy but it failed as a horror movie and I can only consider it as a comedy. Sure there is gore, some scares and a lot of deaths and cannibalism but I found myself laughing over ridiculous actions. The movie, of course for sex appeal, it littered with gorgeous girls who serve no purpose but as eye candy.
I have not seen the original one, I might have to so that I can compare them but I could still watch this movie again and find it appealing as a dark comedy, but I cannot say that this is everything a horror is. If you like "Dead Alive," "The Frighteners" or even "Shaun of the Dead" then you might like this movie.
I Virus I Wouldn't Mind Catching
I had the extreme pleasure of watching the movie "Virus" for the second time and after watching it this time, I really liked this movie. The story is based off of a Dark Horse comic of the same name and it's essentially about an electronic alien life form that inhabits a ship and controls the robots in it. It was my surprise that Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Sutherland and William Baldwin were in this movie but then again, it was a good movie.
What I liked about it was the whole premise of a life form that lives within computers and attack using robots and fusing machines with real people. I don't know why but it reminded me of "TerrorVision" because the idea is the same and alien that tries to invade Earth via satellite.
I think what I really enjoyed about this movie was the unexpected amount of gore. Throughout the movie, and especially near the end, there are graphic scenes of robots fusing robotic arms and legs on disemboweled torsos and heads. There are scenes where there are spilled intestines and skin peeling when the crew captures one of the cyborgs and decides to pick it apart.
Not much else can be said about the movie, the acting was good and the visual effects were astonishing for 1999 and it should be it was directed by special effects guru John Bruno and you can definitely see his influence.
It was a fun ride and I really enjoyed seeing all those different kind of robots working together and making cyborgs... it was a wild ride.
Dressed to Kill (1980)
One of De Palma's Best Works
This is movie was a wonderful horror/thriller in the style of Hitchcockian storytelling and even, in some way, is a tribute to Hitchcock's "Psycho." That's why I think that "Dressed to Kill" is one of De Palma's best works of modern horror but why is it that this movie was so controversial and gained so much critical response?
This movie is a dark look into human sexuality, where few people are what they seem and the movie is driven by erotic visuals and sexual violence. It is because of these themes this movie was subject to much ridicule and criticism especially from Feminists. This is one of the first mainstream erotic thriller movies to have been such a blockbuster success and what's interesting enough is how acclaimed it later was considering how risky it was for its time.
The acting in the movie was so-so but what made this movie so memorable was the technical aspect and the 'interesting' character development. From a cinematic standpoint, De Palma uses a wide variety of techniques that he used in his early work such as split screens, sound layering, voyeuristic and canted camera angles all of which are used to manipulate the audience. What we get in the end is a roller-coaster ride of emotions.
There are so many themes of sexuality, gender roles and stereotypes/profiling to fit into one review although what I can say, without hesitation, is that this movie is one of De Palma's best work.
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
It Scared the Hell Out of Me!
I decided to go see the new movie "Drag Me To Hell." Here is what I thought:
For a Sam and Ivan Raimi flick, it was pretty cool!!!! I was very surprised to see that there were so many great 'jump-out' scary scenes for a PG-13 and there were some great make-up effects too. There were points where the movie scared the hell out of me and I would jump back or scream out obscenities.
For those who know the Raimi bros and their unique style of horror, you'd know that there would be some pretty funny moments in any of their horror movies. This movie isn't an exception. There were several subtle humor points throughout the movie and I really enjoyed the scene with the goat (It's not that kind of scene) and the scene where the old lady attacks the young woman both alive and dead. There were some points where it was so sick and gross that it was funny. Overall it was pretty scary and pretty funny at the same time.
A Really Good Movie with Comedy
So, after a year of waiting, I finally saw "Re-Animator," by Stuart Gordon. I had previously saw this movie once but fell asleep watching it about 15 or 20 minutes into it. So, when I picked it up I thought that it would bore me to death like it did the first time. How wonderfully wrong my assumption was.
The movie was really good. From what I heard, it was one of the most accurate adaptations of Lovecraft's stories and now after viewing this movie, it makes me want to read the story it was based off of. There was plenty of gore and great creature/zombie effects and some amazing puppetry. The acting was so-so, but that wasn't why I watching it. It was also pretty campy in the style of "Evil Dead;" combining spoofy humor and real drama along with its overall horror atmosphere. There were points where I was laughing but also disgusted at the same time.
What I especially love is how much it compares to Frankenstein and how it completely reworks the entire 'mad scientist' character arc. West is a very brilliant and very driven man whose intentions are for a good purpose but his work has driven him to become unstable, his sanity is diminishing and he lacks any respect for life and death, so is he an anti-hero, hero or villain?
It came to my attention that when I first tried to watching this movie, it was around 3am and I was very tired. It would make sense because movies like this don't usually put me to sleep.
The Ruins (2008)
A Pretty Good Horror Movie
I will be honest and state that when I went into go see this movie, I had low expectations and I prepared myself to walk out of the theater in utter disgust, but surprisingly that wasn't the case. It was probably one of the best movies of the 'killer plants' subgenre that I have ever seen. This movie has some pretty intense horror scenes as well as primitive surgery; it has some top-notch acting and a very out of the ordinary plot line to drive it. This movie is based off of the novel written by Scott B. Smith and tells of the story of a group of college kids who travel, with their newly found friend, to an ancient pyramid on an archaeological dig. The problem is, the natives trap them on top of it while an ancient evil lurks within it. So the kids are screwed either way but nonetheless a good movie.
To begin, this movie had a great amount of gore and horror to it, which I did not expect to any stretch of the imagination. The gore in this movie should mostly be attributed to the primitive surgeries that the kids had to resort to in order to rid themselves of the deadly plant worms. In one scene, they had to break, cut off and cauterize a character's legs. There are many scenes that involved skin removal and vines growing into people's body. I honestly did not expect any of this to be in the movie. As for the horror, you'd think that flowers that can imitate a cell phone ring would be campy, but they manage to scare you by tricking you into believing it would be funny scene. I think that most of the actual 'jump out scares' are within the temple and involve the creeping vines but as far as that, the only thing that is scary is the repulsive the med-school surgery.
The acting in the movie was outstanding and seemed as though it was natural dialogue. I think that the two most notable and, for me, the most memorable is the performance by Jonathan Tucker (Hostage & The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Laura Ramsey (The Covenant). Their performances were so incredibly realistic it's almost as though someone was actually there with a camera recording this tragedy. Other great supporting roles came from Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Joe Anderson and Dimitri Baveas. Again, a notable scene that shows the great performances is the pre to post-surgery scenes and the scenes when the characters become very paranoid.
What I actually found interesting was the subtle elements within the story. So in essence I'm talking about the book rather than the movie. There have been many movies that have revolved around killer plants (Creepshow 2, The Double Garden and The Land Unknown). However, what they all have in common is that the plants are just plants and they are not intelligent. The one horror/musical that comes to mind that has a smart plant is "Little Shop of Horrors." The plants in this movie have flows, that if they vibrate in a certain way their pedals and ovary resemble a sound close to a cell phone ring or whispering. It sounds cheesy and stupid, but it's not. The story focus a lot on the plants, but it also focuses on the paranoia that the kids have as well as their sanity break down. This is effective because then the whole movie does not rely on the plants as their main "scare factor." Overall, I think this movie is going to be one of those films that will be overlooked as just another stupid plant-dumb-teenager-vacationers horror movie when it's not. It's a clever and witty blend of "Turistas" and man eating plants. There are outstanding performances by the actors and actresses, some gritty and gory surgery scenes, great scares and some very interesting story elements. I think that any horror fan should watch this film especially those who love jungle themed or surgery theme horror movie. This is a teenage oriented horror movie so if you like teen slashers or teenage-vacation-gone-wrong movies, you'll love this movie. As for me, I thought it was one of the best executed adapted story from a horror novel.
The Stuff (1985)
It's Low Fat But It's Full of Cheese
A quick review: It's easy to see that Larry Cohen got his idea for "The Stuff" by the 1958 film "The Blob." The substance of the "The Stuff" is vaugly similar to the blob. The story is about the discovery of a white gooey substance that comes from beneath the ground that is turned into a widely loved food item. The problem is, once you consume it, you become a part of it and begin to crave more and more until you become a slave/zombie to the substance.
Apart from being a slimy substance that eats people to gain mass, slides, gooey and shapeless it's nowhere near being close to the blob. What is distinguishable between the stuff and the blob is the way it looks while it's in the ground as opposed to being in a comet. While in the ground, it's like a white pool of yogurt with mounds of the stuff popping out of the pool.
There isn't much gore or even scares, the only things that can be pretty creeps is when Chocolate Chip Charlie opens his mouth and the white stuff starts to squirt out. There are numerous scenes like that. What is also kind of creepy is the hotel scene in which a man is attacked by the stuff and is thrown against the wall and engulfed by the white substance. These scenes aren't necessarily scary or creepy but when you watch it you begin to marvel at the special effects that went into those scenes.
The acting was corny and way over blown, referenced by a kids knocking over cartons of The Stuff and taking a mop to knock over the supermarket signs and to break through the refrigerator door. It was a bit over-dramatic. Michael Moriarty's character of 'Mo' is a bit too calm and reserved at times, the character Jason was too over enthusiastic and too determined for any young boy. However, if it wasn't for this kind of acting, the movie would not be funny.
When you first watch the movie you can't help but laugh at some of the sly jokes and puns the movie makes about the food industry, however, taking that into account it can be said that this film is a satire on the food industry. It shows how the corporate top cats will go to any lengths to make a prophet, by either mass producing a fatal product or by chemically altering it to numb the side effects. The character Chocolate Chip Charlie is an obvious parody on Wally Amos of the "Famous Amos" brand cookies.
Overall, if you have the opportunity to watch this movie, please do. It's funny, it's smart, it's relevant and it has some bad acting. If you are a fan of "The Blob" or any kind of horror movie that has a gooey or shapeless substance would love this film. Even if you enjoyed "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" or "Soylent Green" you'll love this movie. It's a film that I enjoyed for all the wrong and some of the right reasons. It's not just a horror movie, but a very honest and important movie as well.
Note: Might I add, the television commercials for "The Stuff" is hilarious. "Where's the stuff!" The jingle will get stuck in your head.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
This is No Christmas Present
I still love this movie for all the wrong reasons. The movie is essentially about a young boy who has been tortured his entire life after his parents were killed by a mall Santa. Now as a grown up and dressed like Santa, he goes on a brutal killing spree to punish the naughty. For this movie, it's the acting and corniness that did it for me, but it did have some would-be scares in it. It was just a weird movie overall.
The acting in this movie was really bad and seemed as if the actors and actresses put no effort into trying to even be remotely good. However, you can't have good acting if the character is wooden. The only notable performances were from Britt Leach (Mr. Sims) and Lilyan Chauvin (Mother Superior), and they were supporting roles. Performances from Robert Brian Wilson (Billy Chapman), Linnea Quigley (Denise) and H.E.D. Redford (Captain Richards), were all pretty bad performances. The movie wants you to feel for this kid, but at the end of the day you end up laughing at him.
Because this movie has so many corny moments, there is not subcategory to categorize them. Just by the look of it, it was very low-budget. Santa's costume looked as if it was gathered by the Salvation Army and there wasn't really anything special about production value. There was noticeable picture quality and lighting jumps and it seems as if the movie was shot and made in a month. Even the special effects, which there weren't that much of, were a bit corny and looked as though it was done on a strict time budget.
There were really no scares in this movie but there were some great attempts to try to frighten the audience, but it backfired. The killings were not all that special, but what I did enjoy was the style to each murder, even though they were out of way. You had a great scene where a girl gets impaled on a false moose head's antlers. The gore wasn't all that special. The only thing that was scary is the idea that Santa, a children's icon, is now killing people for no reason, which is why many people from that time considered this movie controversial and "inhuman." Overall it was a fun and weird ride. It's one of the most stupid and strangest movies that I have ever seen, and those are the very same reasons why I love this movie. It's these kinds of movies that made the 80's so notorious for dishing out this brand of horror. I would recommend this movie to anybody who loves horror movies, particularly slasher flicks or stalker movies. To those who enjoy cult classics or b-movies would also love this movie. It was just a really crazy movie with a weird plot and I have to admit, it tops my top 5 of guilty pleasures.
Night of the Creeps (1986)
The Original Slither
This movie is probably, in my view, one of the best zombie/alien movie that I have ever seen and Tom Atkins would agree with me. This movie tells of an alien slug species the invade a small town back in the 50's, and a pair of geeky college friends accidentally release the original host of the life-forms after a fraternity prank went bad. What I enjoyed so much about his movie are three things: the acting, the excellent editing and the creature features, all of which made this move so memorable.
EDITING: Like the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, this movie effectively transitions from the 1950s to the present day 1980's using a careful edit. The killer is about to kill the young woman when as soon as he brings the axe down it's the year 1986. It's this kind of technique that I love to see in horror movies, the concept of contrasting images that horror movie lack. If you pay attention to some of the action sequences, the two different shots match up perfectly so it doesn't look like they are two different shots, they are practically seamless. It was an overall great use of juxtaposition.
ACTING: What I want to point out is that this movie, character wise, is a huge tribute to all the great horror directors just like Evil Ed is to Evil Dead. The character list is as follows: Christopher Romero, James Carpenter Hooper, Cynthia Cronenberg, Det. Ray Cameron, Det. Landis and Sgt. Raimi. There were great performances by Jason Lively (Romero), Jill Witlow (Cronenberg), Tom Atkins (Cameron) and Steve Marshall (Hooper). There were even great performances by supporting actors like Vic Polizos and Dave Alan Johnson. It's these kinds of formulas that I love to see in horror movies, a great character tribute with great performances by the cast.
CREATURE FEATURES: As far as the special effects go in this movie, they were not all that bad, and for that time they were pretty decent. You can tell that the zombies that are about to be decapitated are pre-cut heads and the blood looks pretty fake, and the zombie cats and slugs look too much like puppets, but it's these things that make the creature features all the more recognizable. The gore was pretty good and some of the decapitations and head blowings were pretty cool and there was a reasonable amount of blood and flaming zombie drones.
It's easy to see where James Gunn got his idea for Slither; only in this movie it jumps from the 1950s to present day. It can even be inferred that the 50s portion of the movie is a tribute to the cheesy 50s b-grade horror movies the probably inspired the director. I would recommend this movie to anybody who loves horror movies, especially those who love either zombie flicks or alien farces. As for me, it would probably be one of my favorite horror / sci-fi's that I have seen.
This is one of those movies that I haven't seen in a while, but before I viewed it, I loved it and I thought the acting was top notch, it was really bloody and it was scary. Now, after I've seen it at this age, I can say that it doesn't have the same effect on me as it did before, but it still was a good movie. It's about a deranged man who was supposed to be trapped in a puzzle box, but somehow escaped and now he must feed on other humans to sustain his body. His previous girlfriend helps him out in leading men into his trap. The problem is, the being that inhabit that world want him back and will do anything to get him.
What I want to mention, that should get some credibility, is the excellent set design and general décor the movie. It's a fantastic blend of fantasy scenes and Gothic decorations, with a bit of a S&M touch to it. Specific sets that should be noted are the attic of the house (A great example of Gothic style), the set with the turning blocks of wood and chains (a great example of S&M meets Gothic design) and the hospital sequence, which is a great example of horror fantasy. It's one of the things that really stood out in this movie that I don't think many people notice.
Now to brass tax; the horror and the gore is so overdone in this movie that it's practically blinds the movie from anything else, but that's exactly why I love this movie. There are so many great scenes where there was an excessive amount of bloody violence including people getting pulled apart by chains, skinless people eaters and a strange room with skin and chunks of meat nailed to wooden boards. Aside from the gore, there were some scary moments in this film that include that "thing" between the walls of the hospital, that sequence creeped me out a bit. Even the Cenobites had a pretty freaky design, mostly Butterball and Chatter. Even with the unnecessary amount of blood and guts, it's still fun to watch.
Overall, this was a weird and wild ride that is both strangely erratic and horrifically Gothic and gory. It's one of those movies that you expect to have a lot of production value and revolutionary set pieces and animation, and though it's not it still blows you away with some pretty good sets and a whole lot of blood and guts. With the acting aside and the complicated plot, this movie is not all that bad and is perhaps one of my favorite movies. I would recommend this movie to anybody who loves Clive Barker for one, and to those who love a good gore film. However, this is not a horror film that suits every horror fans fancy, but you have to like the genre. As for me, I still love this movie aside from the cheesy acting and excessive unnecessary gore.
Run Mr. Rockwell, the 50s are Back!
This was like no other zombie flick that I have seen in the sense that it combined the "innocent" era of the 1950s and the grim, grittiness of a zombie outbreak. The movie is about a typical nuclear family living in the early 50's after the Zombie Wars. In this scenario the zombies have been modified, via neck bracelet, to be the work force of the entire town thanks to ZomCom. However, when the family's young son accidentally turns off the collar temporality and the zombie kills an old lady; the head of security of ZomCom goes nuts. What this movie does for the zombie genre is provide "zombie sympathy" to the walking dead.
Like most zombie movies, the walking dead are perceived as horrible, vicious, man-eating monsters, however, in this movie when the zombies have the bracelet they are almost human; they have hidden emotions of love and the simple pleasures in life they once had. In this case, Fido, the zombie, eyeballs the housewife as though he has feeling for her, he calms down when he has a smoke and with his collar off he still restrains from eating the little boy and the housewife. Evidenced by these actions we can assume in this movie the zombie, Fido, is not the bad guy, but rather a protector and a friend of the family.
The movie effectively shows the image of the typical Norman Rockwell house and the stereotypical nuclear family. The yellow house with a garage, white picket fence, the stay at home mom with the Jaclyn Kennedy pearls and father who smokes his pipe and plays golf. The set design is beautiful and really stands out in the movie. They have the vintage cars; the costuming was amazing and even the music fits the time era. The production design wasn't your typical indie or even zombie-horror movie, but rather a great experiment with color and editing. It was an overall outstanding achievement.
The acting in this movie wasn't that bad, but it wasn't the good either, but because this movie is supposed to have a calm, innocent feel to it the acting must be the same way. The only real postal-type acting that was good in this movie was by Henry Czerny, who plays Mr. Bottoms the Security Manager of ZomCom. There was great acting by Billy Connolly, who plays Fido and Carrie-Anne Moss, who plays Helen Robinson. However, for the supporting roles the actors and actresses mention are the most notable; Time Blake Nelson, who plays Mr. Theopolis, Sonja Bennett, who plays Tammy and K'Sun Ray, who plays Timmy Robinson. But each of these characters has a somber and calm emotion throughout the movie that I think could have been amped by tenser emotions.
There wasn't any real scares in this movie, not even gore except till the end, but this movie makes up for the lack of scares with great zombie characterization and a brilliant achievement in production design. Aside from some okay acting and a radiantly crafted satire piece, this movie was a great "horror" move for anybody who loves zombie comedy movies like Shaun of the Dead. It's not necessarily a parody on zombie flicks, but a new outlook on them. I would recommend this movie to any horror fan, but if your looking for something with a kick and a scare here and there, than you may want to avoid this movie.
Maniac Cop (1988)
The Bullitt of Horror
So I had the pleasure of watching a movie that I haven't seen in a long time and that was Maniac Cop. I knew off the bat that I would enjoy this movie, however, what I was not prepared to enjoy was the action scenes and the makeup. I was not expecting to enjoy any of those but I found myself entangled in suspense and stunned by the make-up for such a low-budget movie. I found that this movie has some pretty nice action sequences, some cool scares, but not good acting, but back then, good acting was not the icing on the cake. The movie is what the title says it is: a "dead" cop is going around New York killing people that have done him wrong, and a team of investigators are trying to fathom how and why.
Like I said, I was not expecting to enjoy the action sequences in this movie, mainly because I wasn't expecting any at all, however, after a great car chase, a suspenseful fight on a roof, an edge-of-your-seat walk through a police station and a few killing here and there, I found that this movie gives to the public. Within these action sequences, it's easy to see where the writer (Larry Cohen) got his inspiration. When 'Maniac Cop' shoots up the police station and Forrest and Mallory are walking through it, it's very reminiscent of The Terminator. The car chase through New York blends, effectively, French Connection and the iconic car chase in Bullitt. Out of the entire movie, the best stunt was at the end; I did not expect to see a stunt like that in this kind of movie. It was an overall success.
There aren't any points in this movie where you'll jump out of your seat, maybe one or two, but the killings and the way that it's executed are pretty fun. There is a nightstick that has a concealed sword/knife in it; some guy gets suffocated with cement, some pretty good stabbings and choking too. It's not top notch, but it's fun to watch and it doesn't let up. There wasn't that much notable make-up, character wise aside from the make-up for Matt Cordell's character. The camera and the lighting do a fantastic job of keeping his face away from light so we don't see him, but when we do, it's a pretty good job and not the kind that you would expect from this film.
The acting in this movie is far from Oscar worthy or award winning, however, with a movie like this that combines both horror and action, dialogue structure and performances should be overlooked (case in point Dead Alive). There are pretty good performances by William Smith (Capt. Ripley), Tom Atkins (Frank McCrae) and Robert Z'Dar (Matthew Cordell), but the big surprise was a somber performance by Laurene Landon (Theresa Mallory) and Bruce Campbell (Jack Forrest). There was also an okay supporting performance by Richard Roundtree and Lou Bonacki. Overall, some okay acting and some not-okay acting, but again, in this movie I don't think it matters that much.
Overall, like other critics, I agree that his movie is a great blend of action and horror, taking memorable action sequences and adding a horror feel to it, but still paying respects to its inspiration. To say that Maniac Cop is a fright-fest or intensely scary is a gross misunderstanding, though it is still fun to watch what could be potentially scary moments for other people or people of that generation. I would recommend this movie to any kind of horror fan because it is a cult classic and it is very memorable in the eyes of horror fanatics, even to those who enjoy cult classics or a slasher flicks, it's just a different type of horror movie that I found very interesting. I enjoyed it, and hopefully everybody else will too.
The People Under the Stairs (1991)
It's Not the Boogeyman
This movie caught me completely off guard because I thought it was either a ghost story or something supernatural, but never in my life would I ever have suspected child abuse to be the driving force of this movie. This movie is about a young boy, and his grown up friends, who invade their landlord's house to take their gold coins. Little do they know that the landlords are sadistic, psychotic child abusers who have a morbid secret hidden under their stairwell. The reason why the kids wants the gold; to help pay off his poverty stricken family and to get his mom an operation for her cancer. The plot is far thicker than just that, that's only the tip of the iceberg. What this movie has, that makes it so well is the pretty good performances, effective set design, a good amount of scares and a slightly overpowered theme.
There are some great performances as well as good supporting performances by "mom" and "dad." In my opinion, I think that there are three actors and actresses that really showed outstanding abilities to act. There was the brilliantly carried out performance by Brandon Quintin Adams, who plays Fool, the youngster that becomes the thief. Everett McGill, who played Dad, and Wendy Robie, who played Mom, both showed dedicated enthusiasm to play their character right, but perhaps too much. After being psychotic for a good half of the movie, they started to seem a bit too cocky and they lost their touch. After a while it seemed a bit too over the top and it started to get real silly at times. Ther was also a surprisingly somber, yet vulgar performance by Ving Rhames, who plays Leroy, the mentor and father-figure for Fool.
There are some pretty effective jump-out-scares in this film that I admit to jumping out to, though it's not the "jump out factor" that really scared me, it is the disturbing overtone this movie has. The two "parents" are psychotic killers; the mom is a doctoral neat freak and the dad runs around in a leather S&M suit and shoots the kids that live in their cellar. Just the notion that there is "something" living in the walls of the house was pretty unsettling, especially when it's people. When mom or dad jump out of nowhere with a clever or a shotgun it is still crazy, not matter how quiet it gets. The kidnapped kids under the stairs, before we knew them, look like monster trying to break out of their cage. It's these kinds of things that made this movie so weird and creepy.
What is even more horrific is that the central theme of this movie is child abuse and there is no hidden meaning or something more profound, Craven jumps right in and says its CHILD ABUSE. There are numerous examples of extreme inhumane punishment ranging from scolding hot baths to wash the blood of a girls dress, getting tied up in the attic to the chimney, to getting your tongues or lips removed for bad mouthing the mom or dad. However, though we want to feel sorry for the kids that have to go through with this in the movie, I found myself unsympathetic for the kids since the abuse went from horrifying to just plain Looney. You want to feel for the characters, but the conditions have a comic feel to them as they continue to incline.
I would recommend this movie to those who enjoy Wes Craven, considering that it is a hidden gem in the Craven genre. Any kind of horror fan should watch this because it is a new kind of horror that comes from the parent side of human nature. However, to those who hate to see children get eaten up or killed, this may be a movie to avoid. To those people who like movies that are very unforgiving and show no sympathy for its characters would also like this movie. I however, enjoyed this movie and I probably not want to see it again, I still enjoyed it for what it was: a damn good horror flick.
A Model's Worse Nightmare
This is a movie that I owned for such a long time, why? Because it was so bad, it was good. In my personal vision it was a huge guilty pleasure that I'm guilty of owning. The story tells of a mysterious occurrence of young virgin women getting raped and experiencing selective memory loss. The only problem is, the people who are responsible for this violent act some sort of slimy creature that lives beneath the city. Things become even more complicated when the DNA match turns out to be not human. What this movie does do a good job of is the gore and creature features that are peppered throughout this tale. However, what this movie does not do a good job is the acting. It had a very interesting concept of combining pornography with horror, through even with good intention it fell through the roof.
First off, this movie had some very good gore and creature effects that I did not expect this movie to have. When it came to things popping out of people's stomachs, tearing open skin, attacking people and horrific creature design, I will give this movie a standing ovation. There was one scene, in particular, that really mesmerized me when it came to make up and effects. Ted, one of the photographers, has one of the Breeders coming out of his chest and we see him tear open his chest skin while pockets of pink, slimy flesh start to pop out. That was probably the worse scene in the entire movie. There was a great "Scanners" scene were a head explodes and a Breeder emerges and a horrifically creepy end scene where all the virgin women are bathing in a pool of alien sperm. This movie just freaks me out when it comes to make-up and creature features.
The acting in the movie was far from good, though surprisingly not the worse. You have Teresa Farley, who plays Dr. Pace, and Lance Lewman, who plays Det. Andriotti who had some great potential but they were much too somber even when things were coming to a boil. They didn't seem dedicated to their role or even put effort into trying to look panicked or scares. One line of dialogue, uttered by Lewman's character, should have been yelled but instead it was said, "Your f**king bananas." You have painfully over-dramatic roles that came from Frances Raines, Natalie O'Connell, Amy Brentano and LeeAnn Baker, otherwise known as the main virgins in this movie. The movie wants you to feel sorry for them, but they all seemed too stuck up and paranoid for me to feel sorry for them. In other words, they were begging to be taken.
What this movie tried to do and I will give them credit for a good concept with good intentions, was to combine "soft" core porn with a horror movie. There were plenty of scenes with naked women and a lot of sexual related themes; in fact, it's almost like a reworking or even homage to Cronenberg's Shivers. However, after seeing so much nakedness the nudity became overrated and very redundant, like there was no need for a woman to come home to her kitchen and just strip to take a shower. It's almost like the girls wanted the role so that they can show off what they have, only problem is, they have nothing to show off. They tried to combine suspense with this concept and it just looked weird and awkward for an alien to attack and rape a naked young girl. It just seemed way too uncomfortable for any kind of thing to do that.
Overall, there was some bad acting and a failed concept of horror-porn and some top notch creature effects, but I enjoy watching this film for those exact reasons. I have my share of guilty pleasures, two being Chopping Mall and Snakes on a Plane, and this is another timeless classic that failed when it came out, but has a cult following. I would recommend this movie to those who enjoy cult classics as well as any horror movie fan, though if you are younger then you may want to avoid it because of the nudity. In my opinion, its probably one of the great cheesy and stupid horror / sci-fi movies of the 80 and I think it will go down as a timeless classic.
Day of the Dead (1985)
One of the Better Zombie Flicks
I think that I'll have to agree with Romero and say that this is one of my favorite zombie films that I've seen. Unlike other zombie flicks like 28 Days, Return of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead, this movie effectively does a fantastic and almost perfect job of zombie character development. This was a great prelude to Land of the Dead, because it shows how the zombies started to learn and develop basic and primitive thinking skills. Essentially this movie is about a group of scientists and soldiers locked up in a missile silo trying to find a cure for the infection. What makes this zombie flick different from others before it was the excessive amount of gore that was used, pretty good acting and the set design for a post-apocalyptic world was amazing, with such a low budget. This movie also had a great undertone that was very similar to the recent movie The Mist. This movie also shows the progression of the zombies as well through clever makeup.
The acting was very well done, though not the best, it still was a great performances on both ends. Though I think the credit for the best performance in this movie would be Sherman Howard, who played the "test" zombie Bub, who is captured by the scientist to study and to teach him to talk and listen to music. A great and almost misunderstood performance would be Richard Liberty, who plays Prof. Logan, the "father" figure and chief scientist working on Bub. His performance was outstanding next to Howard. There were also great performances by Joseph Pilatro (Rhodes), Lori Cardille (Sarah), Terry Alexander (John) and Jarlath Conroy (William). Their acing and fantastic performance gave this movie a more real and scary atmosphere; if not for their acting, then this movie would have nothing for it.
The set design and make-up in this movie was amazing. Though, coming from Tom Savini, it's very expected to have great work. What I enjoyed about the make-up was that Romero and Savini showed how the zombies become more and more "rotting" as time passes on. What was once regular faces (Night), turned to gray dead faces (Dawn) are now green and peeling off. Though in the opening scene, this movie really tapped into the severity of the zombie outbreak by showing scenes and overhead shots of a city that is completely abandoned and dead, and just to see that, for it's time, was a wonder. It gave the illusion of "loneliness" and it delivered it well.
The blood and gore was excessive, to say the least. There was a lot of blood in Dawn and Land, but when you look at this one, the blood comes out almost like a waterfall and squirts out like a fountain. Romero doesn't forgive when he shows how hungry or how vicious theses zombies are, he shows, near the end of the film, the zombies eating, chewing, clawing, fighting, tearing and slurping up body parts and blood. This movie does not forgive people when it comes to zombie chow downs; it truly shows the nature of these vicious creatures. When somebody gets slashed or amputated the blood that comes out is almost too excessive and too watery that it works! Though curiously enough, this movie does not tap into the notion that once your bit by a zombie, you turn into one. This one implies that if you cut off the effected area and cauterize it, you'll be fine.
This movie is like the 80's version of The Mist when it comes to its central theme. When viewing this movie you become part of the isolated group of people, and you get to see how each one progressively changes throughout the course of the infection and you start to worry; the people inside and barricaded are more violent and "loose" than the zombies. This movie plays on the theme that humanity is a greater threat to itself than any other outside threat. This film, like Lord of the Flies, makes its character separate into three different sects; The Military, who wants to kill all the zombies, The Scientists who want to study the zombies for medical purposes and The Civilians that want to survive this whole thing. The different views of each sect cause the cliques to war against each other, ultimately showing how man can be easily thrown back into its primitive stage.
I will highly recommend this movie to any hard-core horror fan or any beginning horror fan because it shows a lot about the horror genre, and is a prime example of great film-making and character development. To those who enjoy zombie flicks or Romero, if you haven't seen it yet, then you really must make this top priority. However, to the younger horror audience, you may want to hold out on this movie because of the gore and zombie attacks. But I enjoyed this film so much, its probably the best zombie flick that I've seen since Night of the Living Dead and really at the end of the day and of the movie, you have to shed a tear for Bud, after he lost the only father he really had.
A Hip, Stylized, Reworking of a Timeless Classic
This is probably one of the most disturbing PG rated horror movies that I have ever seen, and one of the best remakes of an old classic. This movie is basically about the world being taken over by alien pods that replicate people, and then their clones become emotionless drones. A small group of survivors now must band together and stop them before they too become infected. There is one major factor that makes this movie so good and that's the way that it was written; in my opinion, remakes now a days don't have this kind of writing. This movie had a great cast of characters with excellent performances and a great theme that goes with the story. But, I cannot stress the fact that it is the best remake of its kind.
The acting in this movie was very well done and performed by top notch actors and actresses. This movie had two great performances by Brooke Adams, who plays Elizabeth, and Veronica Carthwright, who plays Nancy. They both did outstanding job acting extremely paranoid and overall scared, which I think heightens the emotional intensity of this film; something that the clones in the film obviously don't have. There are outstanding performances by Donald Sutherland, who plays Matthew, and Jeff Goldblum, who plays Jack, whose somber yet paranoid performances encourage the overall theme of the movie. There is a good supporting cast by Leonard Nimoy, who plays Dr. David Kibner, and Art Hindle, who plays Dr. Geoffrey. There performances give this movie that extra bone chilling kick that makes this film so good. It's just an overall great performance by all the actors and actresses.
As I said before, this movie is one of the best remakes ever, mainly because of the well-crafted writing and the plot structure that gives respects to the original movie. Because of the writing, there were a lot of disturbing undertones and scenes that the original movie could not accomplish, because of it's time, and those scenes are the "larval" stages of the clones, the slow build up of how the clones eventually take over everybody and just the way that the pods take over people. It's hard to explain, but the clones aren't just people running around taking over people, they are well organized, intelligent, systematic and horrifyingly emotionless. There screams haven't change that much, but in this reworking they are more of a horrible air raid siren. When you watch it, you'll notice that the clones and the progression of the alien take over is vastly different from the original and has a flavor to it that makes this movie raw, so to speak.
Like the first movie, the central theme of this film is paranoia; however there is not allegory for real live events that would have caused this theme to work. However, what this movie does accomplish that the original one did not do is provide metaphors for what the world is experiencing. Case in point, there is a scene in which Sutherland is driving down a city block and we see a POV shot with a cracked window; this shows how the world we see is about to be shattered by the newly arrived guests. There are plenty of paranoia scenes, mostly dealing with Elizabeth and Mathew, but the one sequence that shows Mathew's paranoia is when he is calling all the emergency agencies and they all refuse him while he is vision is blurred with paranoia. There is plenty of third-characters that heighten this theme even more than the main characters and secondary characters. A good example is when an old man jumps on Sutherland's car and screams about how "they" are taking over the world. This old man is played by none other than Kevin McCarthy from the original movie.
Overall, this movie is one of the best remakes ever; I really cannot stress that enough. This remake had things that remakes now a days don't have and that's a well crafted plot, great performances and a hard hitting central theme. This movie's plot structure pays tribute and respects to the original 50s classic. This is one of those few cases were the remakes is equal are better to its predecessor. I would strongly recommend this movie to any horror fan as well as any beginning horror fanatic. Those who are a fan of the original and cult classics would enjoy this too; ultimately I think any kind of horror fan should see this movie because it is very memorable. As for me, this is a movie that I can watch again and again because it's just very well made.
Okay, But Not the Best
I remember watching this movie a long time ago and I specifically remember liking this movie so much and I saw it about another 20 more times, now after looking at it again in 8 years I ask myself: "What made me like this movie so much?" This movie essentially tells the story of a shuttle mission gone wrong. When a solar flair hits a space shuttle affecting a select number of spiders that have been injected with alien DNA, it crash lands in a secret government base outside of L.A. Now, after a huge spider is on the loose, it's up to a pretty boy MIB, a somewhat cute college reporter and an oddball group of college photographers to stop it. This movie had some impressive make-up and special effects, really bad acting and voice-overs and did a great job utilizing some conspiracy theories to intensify this story.
First off, this movie had some very impressive and very gory make-up in this movie that I remember. Whenever somebody got bitten by these spiders, they become deformed and huge sacks of pus or swollen skin starts to form on their faces and bodies. The make-up really enhances this syndrome and it really brings justice to the "scare factor." The notable make-up jobs would be the astronauts that were in the shuttle and how each of them looked like after the spider attacked them. There is a great amount of gore in this movie that ranges from puking, to spider transformation, to shootings, even to spider bites. There was one scene in particular that I remember for being very disturbing was when a huge spider tunnels its way out of somebody's mouth and attacks someone. There was a great effect when the lead villain turns into a spider and legs start exploding from his back. There was a lot of gore when people got shot or when the camera showed the aftermath of when the spider exploded out of somebody's stomach. When it came to the spiders, they were CG, of course, but for that time and for this kind of movie, the CG was pretty outstanding and the director knew how to utilize the real life thing to accompany for the computerized monster. Though, this is coming from the guy who did Skeeter. For a no-budgeter, it had some very good gore scenes.
The acting was far from being good; in fact, most of the dialogue was later enhanced with a voice-over, which really tells you something about the sound quality of this picture. Not only did the actors and actresses do a mediocre job of physical acting, but because they had to voice-dug later, they seemed way too tired to even put effort or character into their voice. You have some okay acting by Lana Parrilla, Josh Green and Nick Swarts, who all did an okay job trying to devote themselves to their characters. However, Oliver Macready, Mark Phelan and Mark Totty, did not do a good job at all, both physical and oral. About half way into the movie I said to myself, in a sarcastic remark, "Wow! This movie has some top notch, brilliant acting." It just seemed like these guys were not that involved with the project, so they didn't put much effort into their characters.
What I noticed, almost right away, was the sort of X-Files theme that this movie incorporated into its plot. You have numerous, and almost brilliantly subtle, references to the Men in Black, evidenced by Agent Grey and Murphy. There was a brilliant parody of Area 51, though in this movie it goes by the name of Area 21. The heroine of this movie is a conspiracy theorist and believes in the existence of extraterrestrial beings, while her male co-workers are skeptical, again an X-Files reference with switched genders. There are alien cameos an even a disturbing scene of a frozen astronaut that is wearing an Apollo 18 badge; for some reason that scene creeps me out. It's easy to see where they got their inspiration for this kind of movie and I think it was really well done.
Overall, this movie is loaded with some great spectacular make-up and gore effects that are worthy of viewing and a great harbor for conspiracies. Though what drug this movie down for me was the unbelievable bad acting and voice-overs as well as a plot line that has been used over and over again, it's become cliché. However, because there are two wrongs and two rights, this movie gets an honorable average rating. I would recommend this movie to any kind of horror fan simply so that you can say that you've seen it. Because if you haven't, then I'll be shocked, it's the kind of horror movie that you should see once and respect it for trying but certainly not honor. I would strongly recommend this movie to anybody who loves cult classics too. As for me, I really only need to see it once and my whole 20-time campaign still baffles me today.
A Fashionable Return
This movie is like punk rock meets "American Graffiti" meets "Night of the Living Dead," when all mixed together you get Return of the Living Dead; probably one of the best zombie flicks that was not done by George A. Romero. Essentially this movie is about a group of people and young rebels who unwillingly, and accidentally, open a drum of chemicals that brings the dead back to life. This movie is very well made since it made numerous references to "Night" and the way in which the zombies act and attacked people. The acting, to say the least, was very over dramatic, there was some good scares and gore and I loved the punk rock theme that they had. This movie was just really well done and the only thing that I did not like about this movie was the overuse of the F word and the unnecessary nudity. Cursing is okay, but in small amounts, but should not be overused like in this movie.
First off, the plot structure was vastly different from your typical zombie flick, in a good way. It plays on the fact that "Night" really happened and it was true that the dead coming to life. It provides a reasonable and logical explanation behind the walking dead. While everybody knows that to kill a zombie, you must take the head off or damage the brain; in this movie, this is not true, they are still living after you take the head off. You cannot kill what is already dead. What was so different about these zombies was that they were completely conscience of their actions, they can talk and not mumble and they provide, through dialogue, why they have the craving for brains. I find this approach very unique and very different. This movie even plays on the theme of individualism through the lead rebel of the rebellious gang. He explains that his clothes, which is nothing but black leather and chains, is an expression of his being, but never explains why. Therefore it provides to be a great quagmire. To some extent it shows the rebellious side of the 80s.
The acting was very similar to that of The Toxic Avenger; it was so over-dramatic that it was good. Two the lead characters in the beginning of the movie, played by James Karen and John Philbin, did a great job playing a panicky role, but so overdone. Clu Gulager, the male lead actor, also did a great job of being optimistic and his friend did a great job of being a bit skeptical, played by Don Calfa. The roles and performances that deserve a big applause for "Most Over-dramatic Performance" should go to Mark Venturini, who lays Suicide, Linnea Quigley, who plays Trash the death enthusiast and Beverley Randolph, who is the love interest of Phipin's Chuck character. However, if not for these performances, this movie would not have the b-movie and cheesy feel that made this film so entertaining. When you think about it, it's the acting that makes it work.
The blood and the gore is very limited when you compare it to some zombie flicks, however, it is very effective. The gore limits itself to zombie make-up and some eating scenes so that way they don't overpower the film with unnecessary blood and guts. There is a scene, that should be notable, that has a zombie melting and decomposing which I though was very well done for it's time like what American Werewolf did for werewolf transformation. Even at some points were directors would go crazy with blood and guts, they try not to embellish; this style is best shown through one of the zombies that just got acid thrown on its face, but there is not blood, just cauterized eyes and mouth. There weren't that many scenes that were "jump out" scary scenes, though it didn't phase me. Granted, it had good intentions and they had good ideas, but nothing. I guess for me there were more funny scenes that real scary scenes, but that's another thing that makes this movie work so much, the almost slapstick, tongue-in-cheek horror.
The one thing that I really enjoyed about this film is the punk rock theme that was present through the entire film. As soon as the zombies bust out o the ground, hard rock and roll starts to blast through the speakers. It really brings the zombie genre to a whole new level of excellence. Even a majority of the main characters seem like they kind of guys that like rock and roll. It's just a fun theme to play with and works very well with the zombie genre; evidenced by the remake of Dawn of the Dead, when they played "Get Down with the Sickness." Though for me, it really gave this movie that retro 80s theme that I love so much. Rock N' roll and horror mixed together, it's a good thing.
Overall, this movie is just one great roller coaster with some great thrills, creature features, rock and roll, over-dramatic acting and a whole mess of zombies and action. I'm glad that this movie was made because it paves the road for a whole new outlook on the zombie genre and give a new style of viewing the living dead as well as destroy it. It's just a fun movie to watch and just really entertaining in horror sense. I would recommend this movie to any horror fan or beginning horror fan, but I would strongly recommend this movie for anybody who loves zombie flicks as well as Romero fans. For me, I love this movie way too much.
Basket Case (1982)
Hell in a Handbag
These are the kinds of movies that I would not mind paying for, only because they are a classic source of nostalgia and original horror movies. On first glance, this movie seemed like it dealt with an unruly tenant who, at night, kills people in his hotel, therefore he himself is the 'basket case.' For the most part, I was right, however, the young man carries around a wicker basket with something in it that loves to eat and kill people, but not just any people, select doctors and physicians. The young man and the 'thing' in the basket are teamed up to raise hell in NY. What I enjoyed about this film so much was the gore and the central theme of the movie. What I did not like was the acting. Though, despite one major flaw in this movie, I still enjoyed watching this great piece of horror film.
To start off, the excessive amount of gore is here. In fact, there are some key scenes in the movie that have been heightened due to the gore and the blood. Take for example a very memorable scene, at least to me, where a female doctor falls victim to the thing and gets her face hammered into a drawer full of scalpels, and they continue to stick in her face. However, the only downside to the gore is that it doesn't look too much like blood. It looks too false and it took me out of the film for brief second. The "jump out" scares in this movie are not in an abundance, though the one thing that really freaked me out was the "thing" in the basket, just the overall design and the way it looks gave me the heebie jeebies. Though, when it came to the thing attacking people, it wasn't scary because I could see the line in which the two molds came together. It just seemed way too corny for my taste, but that's why it was so good, it was so bad it was good.
Next is the acting, boy was the acting in this movie really bad, but not too bad, but still noticeable. Though the only good acting came from Kevin Van Hentenryck, who played Duane Bradley, who did a surprisingly amazing job performing his role. It wasn't too over the top and when the situation calls for it, you can really see him put as much effort into his performance capabilities, and give us the illusion that he is loosing it. Though the other performances like Terri Susan Smith (Sharon), Beverly Bonner (Casey), Diana Browne (Kutter) and Lloyd Pace (Needleman). The ones that I especially had a hard time with would be Smith and Browne, who's screams just got so annoying after a while. I never have been so annoyed with such an ear-piercing scream. Another great performance was Robert Vogel, who played the hotel manager, and he had a secondary part. I guess the acting really have me an earache that I won't soon forget.
The theme was a very used theme throughout many of these films, but is still a very important and valuable theme that should be repeated. I won't reveal the ending but this movie shows that true love, for family for friends, is a strength that nothing can match. It shows us that no matter how you look or no matter how you may feel about yourself, your family will always be there. Though in this film, it is very subtly hinted and we can clearly see it demonstrated near the middle of the film, but it's a very important theme.
Overall, this movie was the exact kind of bad, cheesy b-movie that I need to boost up my enthusiasm of horror movies. It's one of those movies that you should only see once, but that one time will be the time of your life. The blood was prime, the acting was bad and it had a good theme attacked to it. I paid about $2 for it at Hollywood and I don't have any regret doing so. This is the very definition of a good 80s monster movie, lots of blood, weak plot and bad performances by the actors. I would recommend this movie to those who enjoy 80s style horror movies as well as really bloody movies, or other words, pre Peter Jackson. Even to those who are just starting the horror genre should watch it, not because it's a cornerstone in American horror, but because it's a classic stupid horror movie that shows what horror once was. For me, it was a wild ride and it was worth it.
Good Slice of Horror
I finally got to see this movie and I was a bit, just a bit, disappointed that it wasn't that much of a return to "old school horror." Granted, it had some of the story lines, gore, killers and back-story of a good ol' 80s or 90s slasher, psycho killer story, but it wasn't. Instead, it provided me with an excellent source of entertainment as well as a good movie to watch when I need the time to pass. This movie had some okay acting, great gory effects, an ill-constructed set and a great overall technical side to it. In my opinion, I think that Victor Crowley might just squeeze himself into the line of Fred Krueger, Jason Voorhees or Michael Meyers, but the only way he'd be able to do that is if this movie gets a huge cult following by fans of the teen slasher genre.
The acting in this movie was okay. I didn't expect much from Joel Moor after Dodgeball, but Tamara Feldman, Deon Richmond, Perry Shen and Joel Murray did a fantastic job. I was so happy to see Richard Riehle, from Office Space, in this movie and even more thrilled to see him teamed up with Patrika Darbo, of Madhouse, to form the perfect stereotypical tourist hick. They were extremely funny and brought a sense of humor and comic relief to the story. Perry Shen, with his intentionally poor rendition of an American accent provided even more humor to the story. However, Joleigh Fiorevanti and Mercedes McNab, who played the two ditzy armature porn starts, made this movie laughable in a bad way. In other words, their performances were horrible. Joel Moor cannot do a good horror movie because it looks like he's about to laugh right in the middle of a scene, and I think that he should stick with comedy, because he seems more natural at it.
The gore in this movie was amazing and extremely violent, however when it comes to scares, this movie does not deliver. The gore in this movie is at a prime and serves us a great dish of horrible hatchet killings, dismembering, neck breaking and a scene when somebody's spine was removed. The blood effect is rather exaggerated a bit; examples include a close up of a stream of blood dramatically splashing against a tree in moonlight. There is a great creature design to Crowley, but again, it was too exaggerated and seemed very close to a mutant from The Hills Have Eyes. The "scare" factor of this movie isn't really all that mesmerizing nor is it all that scary. I see that they tried, with good intentions, to have a creepy voice howl the word "daddy" but it backfired when the voiced seemed too distorted and unrecognizable. When Vic pops out of nowhere, it's almost too campy and way to random, very close and almost comparable to that of a Scooby Doo show where the villain pops out of the middle of the group and yells, but doesn't make an attempt to kill. I guess I was expecting a bit more "jump-out" scares rather than a lot of gore.
As for the set and the technical aspects of this film, I would say that the set is a work in progress and the lighting, camera angles and editing are some of the best things about this film. The set, aside from the obvious on-location to Baton Rouge and a pretty good everglade set, was not that good and I knew right away that it was in a cramped movie studio with plastic and or real plants. The reason why and how I noticed this was because they kept reusing the same set, just a different camera angle to disguise the fact it is recycled. Though the lighting in this film was very professional and really dramatic. It gave me the senses of fear and the unknown, and only a few areas there were some lights, but only that bounced off of the leaves. The camera angles were very well crafted including the close-ups of the blood splatter, the quick tracking shots and the establishing shots all contributed a great deal of professionalism.
All in all, this was a fun little movie with some okay acting, some great gore, but not that many real scares. It was one of those movies where you don't have to watch it on the big screen, rather watch them in your home entertainment room. It's a great movie to pass the time, and should not, at any stretch of the imagination, be taken as a serious and landmark masterpiece in modern horror. It is debatable of whether or not it is old school, I don't think so, but that's my opinion. I will recommend the viewing audience to watch this movie while having a cold soda and eating pizza, it'll make the day seem a lot better.
Left the Nest Too Early
It doesn't take a genus to know that a huge inspirational factor behind this guilty pleasure was Hitchcock's The Birds. I thought this movie would be a terrible B-movie that should never be enjoyed by the general public, for the most part it is true, but because of that I enjoyed this film. The birds were so badly CGed and the acting was okay, the scares were not there and the gore wasn't enough. There were points in the movie where I could not watch it because it lost and bored me, so I had to resort to other things to keep my mind interested. The attack scenes were kind of humorous and laughable.
However, despite these negative factors that drug this movie down, these very same factors made me like the movie a lot. I'm not ashamed to watch it again, and I probably will, but it's like Snakes on the Plane or Chopping Mall, it's so bad it's good and I can't deny that. I watched it and knew fully that I would not be able to take it seriously, which is why when the movie ended I sat back and said "That was a very long, boring and entertaining roller coaster ride." I would recommend this movie to those who love cult classics or really bad B-movies; even those who enjoy indie films or low-budgeters would enjoy this. Though, if your palate includes something a bit more scary or disturbing, you might want to stay away from it. Relationship wise, it's all bittersweet for me.
The Day the World Ended (2001)
Pretty Bad, But Not the Worse
This was a movie that I saw a long time ago that I finally decided to do a short review on. The movie is essentially about a psychologist, Natassaja Kinski, who is investigating the death of a mother and believes that it is a boy who may be related to an alien. Another psychologist, played by Randy Quaid, holds the boy in his custody and believes that it is all in the kids head. From what I remember from this movie was that the creature effects seemed a bit too corny and seemed more like dreadlocks that anything else. The acting was far from anything that should be noticed, especially Quaid's. There was one very random and horrifically odd sex scene between the school secretary and the principal, played by Steve Tobolowsky. I also remember that this movie wasn't really that scary as much as it was funny.
However, what I did enjoy what it's, either intended or not intended, tribute to the good old 1950s alien movies that you watched on TV, or some kind of older Roger Corman movie. I also did enjoy the plot structure that this movie that many horror films like this didn't have. Though I would probably never see this movie ever again, I guess the I would recommend this movie to those who do enjoy really cheesy 50's and 60's sci-fi movies as well as those who enjoy cult classics. As for me, this movie could destroy the world and I still wouldn't care.
Buried Alive (2007)
This was a pretty descent movie compared to some horror movies that I've seen. I though, based on the cover art and the hype that Tobin Bell is in it, that it would be a terrible movie but it's pretty good. Essentially it's about a group of college kids who take a trip up to a Native American style house where there is supposable treasure. The problem is, there may be a ghost haunting the house and killing people and the fact that Tobin Bell is a complete creep. The acting was okay, there was some gory bits and for a somewhat indie movie it was okay. I enjoyed it.
The acting was pretty good and the obvious Tobin Bell did a fantastic job, like he always does but you also had some great acting by Terence Jay and Leah Rachel. Granted, there were points that they seemed a bit too scripted and they didn't quit perform to their potential, but they made it up for a good effort. You have Germaine De Leon, whose character Phil, was so annoying and seemed as an oddball in the story. They really could have done without him. Lindsey Scott, who played the ditzy eye candy, did an okay job portraying a complete rube. To say the least, the acting could have been a lot better, but it could have been a lot, a lot worse.
There was some pretty good gore effects, though coming from Robert Kurtzman, who did Dusk Till Dawn, I was a bit disappointed to see noticeable pre-cut and pre-expression dummies, CG blood and rubber bodies. Though a nice attempt at cutting people in half and taking off a face or two, but compared to his other work, this kind of gore seemed to out of place. Granted, I enjoyed the chopping and knifing and "face off" scene, but when you do good blood effects, please take it to the next level and not rely on computers.
The one thing that I did not like about this movie was the unnecessary nudity and sex. Right after touring a creepy sub-cellar you do it on a couch, let's strip down for no reason, lets run naked to the nearby trailer home and steal something for no reason at all, there were just too much nudity and udder ridiculousness when it came to the sexuality. I think that by half way into the movie, the writers or the director wanted more nudity and sex so they though of excuses to show it. Bad excuses like "it's for a sorority" or "because I want to." They could have done without all of that and it would have been a movie twice as good as it could have been.
What this movie did accomplish, that surprised me, was the plot set up that the writers had pieced together. Usually when it comes to these kinds of horror movies, you can tell who gets killed before the movie even starts, and for the most part that is correct, but at the end it's a complete twist. The person who survives was the last person who you'd think would make it. It's almost freaky to have a would be cliché ridden and obvious movie turned into a half-descent movie with a good twist ending.
Overall, this is one of those movies that you would normally pass by at the library or the Blockbuster, but when you get it, it leaves a whole new impression on you than what you originally though. I'm not saying it's a work of art, but I will say that if you enjoy horror movies, give it a whirl. The worse that could happen is it turns out to be a comedy. I recommend this movie mainly to those who enjoy indie horror movies as well as horror movies that have a cult following. However, to those who enjoy a more sophisticated palette of horror, I recommend this movie to, but with a warning that it may not turn out the way that you intended. I enjoyed it, for the most part, but I would certainly not see it again and it is certainly not the best piece of indie horror there is.
A Host for all Parties
I always love Japanese horror movies, the reason being is because they are always one step ahead of us when it comes down to character analysis, real horror, clique situations and moral family values. When it comes to The Host, we see many of this stuff, but we also see that they have added in American influence to the mix. The story follows a family and their emotional struggle to survive when a monster attacks the city, after kidnapping their younger daughter. What makes this movie work so efficiently is the great acting, the family situations that they experience, the subtle comedy and the American influence. The horror itself was limited, though it was nonetheless a very good addition to the Japanese horror lineup. However, this movie came out in 2007 and it is not a rip-off, sequel, prequel or homage to Cloverfield as many of the online fans have thought.
First off is the outstanding acting. The notable acting came from the father character, whose performance was very brilliant and emotional, the big brother character, who may seem dumb but his performance was very great and humorous, and lastly the suave brother, who may have been a bit too harsh and uncontrollable, but very good. Other great supporting casts came from the kidnapped daughter and the archer sister. There was also an okay small role for the homeless brothers. The only problem with this great analysis of the characters was that it took up most of the movie; I wanted to see a bit more monster attacks rather than character balance. Though, I enjoyed the acting and it really brought some emotional tension and heartbreaking scenes that this movie couldn't have done without.
I enjoyed the fact that they touched based on. There were some great values on issues like "taking over the family business," the responsibility that the big brother has over his younger sister and his ascension into becoming a man of responsibility and trust. I enjoyed the scene in which the grandpa gave his lecture as to why the other brother is "slow," which demonstrates the perfect example of respecting your family. There was that heartbreaking scene, which was oddly funny too, on the morning wall that really gave an impact on me. There are just so many great examples of family and moral values that are demonstrated through this movie.
There are also some great comedy scenes that almost felt like they didn't even belong there. Some of them were average day things like slipping or tripping and then making it seem like you did nothing, giving your dad the empty gun to shoot the monster, hysterically crying then falling down and causing a chain reaction, not watching to see if you burnt your food and falling asleep on the job. Just the mundane things that this movie pokes fun at and it's ultimate effect on the horrific outcomes. There were points in this movie where I did laugh, mostly at the big brother and the father characters. The humor seems to be there to lighten up the mood when things turn grim or to give otherwise serious people a funny side to them, rather than keeping them their boring stereotypical monotone personalities. This movie utilizes humor to show how human some of the strictest people are.
The scars in this movie were not at its prime, which is why this Japanese horror flick seems odd when comparing it to other notable horror movies from this part of the world. When the monster does come and the girl is in focus and the monster is in the back charging her was scary, but some other things like the overall monster attack wasn't all that scary. Though, the sewer trench that it lives in is pretty creepy, especially when it has dead bodies lying all over and bones. I didn't jump as much as I thought I would, nor did I get the uneasy feeling that something is very disturbing. The scars seemed more Americanized than actual Japanese style of horror, but I'm not complaining, I enjoyed the new outlook on horror that the Asian community is testing.
Overall, we can see that through this movie there is a great balance of satirical and tongue-in-cheek humor as well as some really good acting, ultimately giving the impression that this movie was heavily influenced by America's monster movie. I enjoyed this movie a lot and it is one of my favorite Japanese horror/monster movies and one of the best foreign films of the year. I would recommend this movie to those who do enjoy Asian horror, foreign horror flicks as well as those who enjoy a good monster movie. However, to those who do not enjoy comedy-horror or noticeable voice dubbing, then you may want to stay away from this movie. I enjoyed it, and I sincerely hope you will too.
The Tripper (2006)
An Acidic Trip
What do you get when you cross Republican president Ronald Reagan, hippies, hatchets, a homicidal maniac and a whole lot of drugs? You get David Arquette's The Tripper. Basically the movie is about a group of friends, who are hippies, that travel through the northern wood of California for an all night rock n' roll concert, similar to that of Woodstock. The problem is, people start dying and turning up in pieces by the hands of a lunatic dressed up like Reagan. This movie was an equally balanced horror flick in my opinion. I enjoyed the horror/scares; I loved the outstanding lighting techniques, but I somewhat enjoyed the acting and the plot structure. In fair's game, I enjoyed this film and I did not think it was a waste of time, and it is a very good average horror movie.
First off, I enjoyed the horror and the gore that is placed throughout this movie. It's easy to see that this film follows "standard serial killer guidelines," which is why it was such a good homage to slasher flicks of the 80's and 90's. in this movie "Reagan" wields a non-firearm weapon (hatchet), super human strength, brutal attacks and a scary mask, your typical Republican serial killer. We even have our anti-survival-girl (the heroine that does seem like the hero of the movie). There is a good amount of blood and gore that is NOT typical in slasher flicks, but when dealing with a hatchet it is very necessary to have that amount of blood. The killer does pop out of nowhere at the most inopportune times, which plays for an effective "jump-out scare." There is a good helping of all to familiar blood. The blood in this movie is not as clear as other movie blood, but rather thick and red-pinkish, similar to that of Tim Burton blood that we saw in films like Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd. All in all a good scare from this movie.
The lighting in this movie was a marvel; in fact, it was a huge component to the films genre and its drug themed story. The lighting provided a great mind expander to enhance the already intoxicated feel this movie has. There was a beautiful circular array lighting that had a tie-dye design to it whenever somebody was in silhouette, there were fantastic straight primary colors used and the natural coloring (green plants, blue sky, fire and blood) were amplified to give the audience the blinding feel of the mind on horrible drugs. Ultimately and curiously enough, these amped colors and tie-dye designs only seemed to be present when one of the main characters took a hit. The lighting, as funny as it sounds, played a huge part in the films genre.
The acting was sort of a bittersweet thing for me because by a normal eye, the acting was great but I can see that the emotion and the reactions didn't fit the characters or the situation. Jamie King, who plays the main actress, does a good performance but she tends to overreact to the most subtle things, but when the killer comes, her performance lowers. There were okay performances by Lukas Haas and Balthazar Getty. Jason Mews did not seem like the pot-smoking-foul-mouthed bad boy in this movie, I enjoyed that, he performance was good but I don't think that his character should have been so "light." And Paul Reubens, who plays Frank Baker the owner of the concert, was an obnoxious character who swore too much and seemed like a plot device to set up the ending.
Overall, this movie had a great homage to slasher movies with some good scares and amazing lighting, though the acting and the plot seemed a bit unorthodox, ultimately giving this movie a good average rating. I do recommend this movie for people who enjoy a good slasher flick as well as humorous political satire. Though, I would not recommend this film to those who don't like comedy-horrors like Cabin Fever or Slither. I enjoyed it but I did not like it, basically I have a bittersweet relationship with this movie.