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Halloween II (1981)
Brilliant sequel
20 October 2011
Halloween 2 begins from where Halloween ends. Michael has seemingly disappeared after being shot 6 times at point blank range and falling off a balcony. It is a race against time to find him, before he kills again. Laurie is transported to the Haddonfield hospital, but she is not safe from Micheal, as he pursues her to the hospital. This movie is an absolute gem of a sequel, and in my opinion is as good as the first installment. The theme music has been revamped, with creepy results. The atmosphere is electric, with some lovely shots of Michael suddenly appearing in the rear view mirror of a car, or under a light with an accompanying musical sting. This movie moves at a quicker pace than It's predecessor, and has a quirky array of characters. Special mention must go to Bud the paramedic and his girlfriend, nurse Karen,and that wonderful hot tub scene. I actually found this even scarier than the first installment, as this portrays Michael as more supernatural and mysterious, who seems indestructible. The hospital was a great setting, with all it's dark corridors and stair wells. Donald Pleasance is once again great as Dr Loomis and plays it with total conviction. An ideal way to watch this, is straight after the first Halloween, for a double dose of mayhem. This is a classic, 10 out of 10.
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The Thing (I) (2011)
Very Good
14 October 2011
John Carpenters The Thing is my all time favourite movie, so I was eagerly anticipating this film. The director has been very meticulous in adhering to the vibe of the 1982 film, the continuity and attention to detail is excellent.I really did believe this was set in 1982. Special effects were very good, I was initially worried this would be a CGI fest, but I was pleasantly surprised. The characters were quite good, with everything tallying up towards the end to fit in with the sequel. There were quite a few tense scenes,and the music was atmospheric and complimented what was on the screen. The only down side was the film had many moments that mimicked its predecessor. If this movie was a stand alone movie, I would have given this 10 stars, but because it borrows many tropes and situations from the 1982 movie, it loses a couple of points. Never the less I highly recommend this movie, for fans and newbies alike.8 out of 10.
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Piranha 3D (2010)
Clichéd rubbish!
7 February 2011
This movie is bad. First of all there is absolutely no plot. The characterization is one dimensional, your usual bunch of teenage kids who flash their asses and boobs. The dialog is totally inane and juvenile. You've heard it in a thousand other movies. There is also zero tension, as the characters in this are so shallow, we really don't care about them.

It is hard to fathom that the same director who gave us Haught Tension has resorted to this unimaginative drivel. Perhaps the Hollywood bean counters had more control than the director?

Memo to Hollywood, CGI just does not make an impressive film, I know it's much cheaper than model work, but the end result is also cheap and unconvincing. The beginning of this movie is testament to this.

Why even bother remaking this. A total waste of time. This one's for the stoner generation. Bomb!
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Powerful and insightful
6 February 2011
Mississippi Burning concerns the story of three civil rights activists that disappear one night without a trace in Mississippi. Two detectives are assigned to the case, amidst a backdrop of racial hatred and deceit. No one is willing to talk about what really happened that night on the lonely stretch of road.

This movie is a must see, It portrays the south as it was in 1964 with great accuracy and honesty. Films like this need to be made, warts and all, that depict the racial ugliness of the time. Some people argue that stories like this should be sanitized, because they are too politically incorrect. I disagree, for this is how history was, and it needs to be shown in an accurate light, no matter how hard it is to watch.

The two leads are great, particularly Willem Dafoe, as detective Ward who is determined that justice will be served, whether the crime victim is white or black.

I found this movie to be honest and insightful, telling history as it really was. If you are looking for an entertaining and educational movie, I can recommend Mississippi Burning. Nine stars!
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Black Swan (2010)
Very good
2 February 2011
Black Swan concerns the life of Ballerina Nina Sayers, and her quest to be perfect and obtain the coveted lead role of The Black Swan. But there are obstacles in her way, such as an over protective mother, a sleazy director and jealous dancers. Has she got what it takes to carry off this role?

First of all Black Swan is not a horror movie. It is more of a dark drama. Many people have gone into this movie with the wrong expectations, believing this to be a gory horror movie. There are plenty of disturbing moments, but these are more psychological in nature.

For me this movie had the perfect mix of characterisation, mood and some nice point of view shots. I never knew quite where this movie was heading and this maintained my interest throughout. There has been a lot of care taken with crafting this movie and it shows. Great acting from all concerned, especially Natalie Portman going from naive, insecure girl to decadent vamp. Vincent Cassel is also great as her sleazy director.

This is more of an adult thriller and thankfully, there are no annoying teenage characters with clichéd dialog. Catch this in the cinema if you can, as the soundtrack sounds great in surround sound. Recommended!
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The Mechanic (1972)
Good, solid movie
1 February 2011
This is a great film. Charles Bronson plays an aging hit-man who takes on an apprentice(Jan Michael Vincent)to teach him the ticks of the trade. Good realistic movie, with Bronson very believable as the lead. It's a shame they don't make them like this anymore. What movie in Hollywood today would have a 52 year old lead? Good cinematography and some nice subtle touches in amongst the action scenes. This is old school action with a believable lead who looks the part.

This was released in 1972 and still feels fresh today. A story of trust or lack thereof and the fleetingness of life.

This movie is recommended viewing.
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Suspiria (1977)
Art on celluloid
20 January 2011
This story concerns a young ballet student, named Suzy Bannion, who has arrived in Freiburg, Germany to study at a prestigious dance academy. Very strange things begin to happen at this school, with students going missing and one staff member mysteriously killed. Who or what is behind these bizarre goings on?

Suspiria is a must see for horror aficionados. This movie has atmosphere to burn. Director Dario Argento is exceptional here with his use of colour, especially reds and blues that are at times beautiful and other times disorientating. The music is suitably sinister, with many different compositions, conveying unease and tension. Jessica Harper is great as the anxious Suzy Bannion, portraying the haunted look very well, particularly in her eyes. The acting by all concerned is fairly solid. A special mention must also go to the interior sets. These are magnificent and give the school a real Gothic look.

If you are looking for something different, with heaps of atmosphere and imagination, this movie is highly recommended. Definitely not your usual bubblegum mainstream horror movie. Suspiria is also one of those films that can stand up to repeated viewings. A classic, 10 out of 10.
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19 January 2011
This can't even be called a movie, as there was really no plot to speak of. Just a killer in a motorcycle helmet dispatching naked women, interspersed with people having sex at every opportunity.

I don't have a problem with nudity or sex, far from it, but it should take place within the context of the movie and make sense. In one scene an obese man threatens a woman with a glass vase and demands sex, only for her to comply as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, and they begin to chat away happily!

I can't find a single positive thing to say about this movie. The characterization is non existent, the dialog is appalling, there is zero plot development, inappropriate incidental music and no suspense whatsoever. This is far and away the worst Giallo I have seen, and I have viewed at least 40, being a fan of the genre. Avoid this movie, even if you are a fan of this genre. 1 star for the fact Edwige Fenech was in it. Appalling.
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Tenebre (1982)
Stylish thriller
18 January 2011
Tenebrae is the story of author Peter Neal, who is on the promotional trail for his latest book, a thriller entitled Tenebrae. Unfortunately real life begins to mimic fiction, when a maniacal killer begins stalking Peter and murdering various women along the way.

This is a stylistic thriller directed by Dario Argento. The cinematography is excellent, with several memorable shots, including a camera sweeping down an apartment, taking in various views of it's inhabitants. The murders are quite gruesome and unique. It will keep you guessing as to who the killer is and there is a nice twist at the end. The musical score is superb, complementing the urgency being portrayed on the screen. This is supplied by the Italian music group Goblin, who also provided the music for several other Argento movies including Deep Red and Suspiria.

In summing up this is an excellent, imaginative example of the Giallo genre, even the English dubbing is well done here, which can sometimes be a problem in Italian movies. 8 out of 10. Recommended.
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Sicko (2007)
Shocking indictment on American health system
13 January 2011
This documentary is an expose on the capitalist nature of the American health system.

Quite frankly I was shocked at how unfair this system is. Michael Moore was able to show a well balanced account of this sensitive topic, talking to a wide range of people affected by this crisis, from patients to politicians.

The statistics and practices of these corporations and the lengths they go to turn a profit is downright evil. People are literally being given a death sentence, if they can't pay the expenses. I would not go to to the U.S for a holiday after viewing this.

Every US citizen should view this documentary to see the real damage corporate medicine can do. Very powerful, heart felt documentary. This should be viewed in American schools. Essential viewing.
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The Thing (1982)
Carpenter does it again!
9 January 2011
This movie is a remake of the 1951 film. It concerns an Alien organism that has landed in Antarctica and now wants to take over mankind by infecting them one by one.

The Thing is without doubt, one of the all time greats. The special effects in this movie have to be seen to be believed, all the more remarkable when you consider they were all made from model work. No computer generated rubbish here, just real craftsmanship. Current movie makers please take note.

All the acting is very credible and conveys the paranoia and genuine fear these men feel, as no one can tell who is infected.

Great musical score by Ennio Morricone adds to the tension. This movie is a must see, though definitely not for the squeamish as the effects are quite gruesome. If you are after realistic alien terror you can't beat this movie. It still packs a punch today and will exceed any current horror movie on the screen. 10 out of 10. Unforgettable!
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Halloween (1978)
Brilliant Carpenter
9 January 2011
Halloween is possibly the greatest horror film ever made. There is not much gore, but the atmosphere is unbelievable. Carpenter has created a chilling musical score, that even today sends shivers up my spine. This is complemented by fantastic lighting and camera angles and lovely shots from the killers point of view, especially at the beginning of the film.

The acting is also very credible, especially from Donald Pleasence as the dogmatic Dr Loomis. Jamie Lee Curtis also puts in a strong performance making the whole situation very believable.

The protagonist is Micheal Myers who has escaped from a sanitarium on Halloween night and heads back to his home town to wreak havoc, where 15 years earlier he murdered his sister.

The mask Micheal wears is super creepy and the fact that he doesn't speak lends an eerie unknown to his character.

This movie comes highly recommended to horror fans and indeed cinema enthusiasts in general. Not to be confused with the inferior Rob Zombie remake. 10 out of 10.
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Very disappointing Bava film
9 January 2011
This film is regarded as the first slasher film, that produced a myriad of clones such as Friday 13th.

Being a Mario Bava film, I held high expectations for this. Unfortunately i was to be very disappointed.

The first thing i noted was how drab and lifeless this film is. There is none of Bava's use of colour. The characters are one dimensional and the special effects are poor. In one scene a beheading takes place and you can clearly see the screws in the neck area after the beheading.

The plot is very convoluted and ultimately uninteresting. The surprise ending is OK, if a little silly.

In summary it feels as if Bava is just trying to shock and keep up with the trend of making an exploitation movie, rather than a good movie. Friday 13th is actually superior to this movie and more entertaining.
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Visual feast
8 January 2011
I was extremely surprised with the quality of this film. Mario Bava has created a flawless production. His use of colour is second to none. The sets and lighting are also top notch, conveying an eerie mood. Some lovely point of view shots are also utilized by Bava.

This film tells the story of John Harrington, who runs a fashion house specialising in bridal wear. He is unhappily married to his overbearing wife Mildred and he is also insane.

I would hesitate to call this a Giallo movie as the killer is revealed at the beginning of the film. This is more of a character study of the killer and his journey into madness.

For those interested in thrillers and atmosphere this comes highly recommended. Far better than Bavas better known Bay of Blood, which i found rather cheap looking in comparison.

This is a classic of Italian cinema. Highly recommended.
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Greed is not so good.
8 January 2011
Surprisingly good movie. This is a different movie to it's predecessor which is refreshing. It questions the importance of materialism and the loneliness that can creep into a persons life without the support of family and friends.

Micheal Douglas portrays Gorden Gecko as a somewhat matured man, scarred by his years in prison and family dislocation. Shea Labeouf was also solid and believable in his role as Jake Moore, an extremely ambitious stock broker. There was an interesting contrast between his character and his girlfriend, who was politically left wing.

Probably not as dynamic as Wall Street, but, particularly towards the end, an emotionally rewarding movie that the viewer should enjoy.
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Le orme (1975)
Interesting movie
5 January 2011
Footprints is an interesting movie. It concerns a young woman who wakes up and can't remember the previous three days. The movie subsequently follows her quest to uncover her movements of these 3 days.

This is a slow movie, but don't be put off by this. I was never once bored, my attention was held by this woman's plight and her interactions with the people around her. The characterisation was great. A wonderfully haunting music score is used, coupled with great cinematography.

This is not strictly a Giallo, more of a mystery. For fans of Italian cinema or movie fans looking for something a bit different, this comes highly recommended.
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Modern masterpiece
3 January 2011
Shutter Island is a breath of fresh air. An Intelligent and thought provoking film, that had my attention from beginning to end. Leonardo Dicaprio is on top form here, turning in a very credible performance as the troubled lead character.

Wonderful musical score and atmospheric sets make this film extremely entertaining. The movie has a surprising ending that will make you ponder exactly what did happen.

Some nice subtexts flowing through the film which will leave the viewer with questions to ponder and reflect on, long after the movie has finished.

In summary, this movie can be recommended as a thinking mans horror film. Entertaining for sure, but with a depth and gravitas so often lacking in the horror genre.
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