Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)
It's like another sequel to Jacob's Ladder that we never wanted.
If one can overlook two MASSIVE implausiblities, this is the best of the Hellraiser sequels. We are reintroduced to Ashley Laurence as Kirsty, before seemingly killing her in a car crash during the first scene. The focus is then shifted to her husband, and his fragile mental state following the accident, exacerbated by the odd behaviour of some of those around him, and the fact that he becomes the suspect in her death, and the deaths of several others.
After tricking us into thinking Ashley Laurence's appearance is confined to a cameo appearance in the first scene, she is reintroduced again in the final third, when we learn it was really her husband who died in the car crash, and the entire film is taking place in his mind, as he lie dying. Pinhead plotted to get Kirsty after all these years, she made a deal with him to kill her husband and the women he was cheating on her with, in exchange for her own life. Kirsty herself killed her husband in the crash, after killing his mistresses, and the entire film is taking place in his mind in the final moments of his life, just like in Jacob's Ladder, again.
Indeed, the biggest problem with this one is that it's almost identical to the previous film ( Hellraiser Inferno ) which itself was very similar to Jacob's Ladder. If this film had been made before the previous one, it would have fared better, and been more surprising. But as it is now, it really seems like they used almost the same script.
Turning the heroine from parts one and two into the villain here is a daring move, not an easy feat to achieve successfully, but I feel they pulled it off well here. There should have been a final scene with Pinhead, perhaps proud of himself for tricking Kirsty into killing several people, thus ensuring her a place in his hell upon her ultimate death, and thus making it only a matter of time before she is his.
Terrible colour tinting gives most scenes a deep blue tinge.
Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)
It's like the sequel to Jacob's Ladder that we never wanted.
This one had to grow on me a bit. The first viewing, I thought it sucked. Then after thinking about it, and watching a couple of online reviews to learn others perspective of it, I watched this a second time, and it set a little better with me. I still don't think it's a great entry in this series, as it does still feel wildly out of place, it's worthwhile checking out.
My biggest problem with this one is that we keep waking up and realising the previous moments were all a dream. In the earliest Hellraisers, we knew what they were experiencing was real, not imagined. Physical, not psychological. Here, we go off into Jacob's Ladder territory for most of its duration, and learn this character is in his own mental Hell, forced to relive his mistakes for eternity.
An odd new direction for the series, and while it's not entirely a success, it isn't a complete misfire, either. Just don't go into it expecting it to match the tone of previous entries.
Pinhead, in his two brief appearances, appears almost glowing white. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but it's a great effect.
Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
This is like a Cliff's Notes version, without the notes.
With the cinematographer, the A.D., and the entire art department fired one week into production, the producers unhappy with director Kevin Yagher's 110- minutes-long cut, the producers hired a new director ( Joe Chappelle, who later had the same decisions forced upon him, during filming of the sixth Halloween film ) the producers edited, rewrote, partially refilmed, and completely restructured this, frustratingly turning it into a hacked to ribbons shell of its former self.
The ambitious expansion of the LeMarchand history from the 18th century, following their bloodline for centuries, through the 22nd century, where a distant descendant attempts to break the " curse " on the lineage, the construction of the Lament Configuration, almost like an anthology film, in the 110- minutes-long bootleg/ workprint/ reconstruction, and while it was confusing at first, once I figured out the plot, it was quite good. It genuinely seemed an attempt at expanding the plotlines, rather than just simply rehashing what happened before.
But the 80-odd minutes-long theatrical cut omits all but the gore, and the bare essentials of the original plot, and tacking on a silly happy ending, ruining the original downbeat, profound ending.
The two different cuts of this film are dramatically different, and a must for fans of this series. The 82 minutes-long cut is okay, not as bad as some have labelled it, but not particularly good, either. The 110 minutes-long cut is flawed, slower paced, but expands dramatically on plot threads which are barely given a passing glance in the theatrical cut.
Quick thoughts on this one.
If one can overlook the needless steps toward mild comedy, and a more mainstream feel to this entry, it can be a gruesomely good time, with Doug Bradley in fine form as the s&m demon from Hell, now known as Pinhead. His entrance in the church, as well as his subsequent monologue, is chilling. A horrifying image of him, briefly losing his control, as he shoves the cross off the altar, before, arms outstretched, he then calmly, intensely declares, " I am the way " , immediately before the Gothic windows explode, is the film's most memorable scene.
The movie veers off into action film explosions at one time, in a simultaneously out of place, and also fun, scene.
If only the filmmakers would have dropped the cameraman's annoying attempts at humour ( every time he answers his brick-sized cell phone, he annoyed says, " Speak. " Seriously? How did that cringe-inducing line make it past the first draught of the script? )
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
A step down from the original, but still worthwhile.
Mere hours after the events in the original, adorable Kirsty ( Ashley Laurence ) quite literally goes to Hell, attempting to bring her father back, with an puzzle solver in tow, who might know how to close the Lament Configuration once and for all.
It is most unfortunate, however, the young puzzle solver ( Imogene Boorman ) is so awful in her role that it becomes distracting, not to mention that I spent most of her scenes wondering if the role was being played by a real girl, or an androgynous guy?
Pinhead and his Cenobites are still gruesome and ghoulish, simultaneously frightening, and also what keeps most watching, but the depiction of Hell is only a mixed bag. Hell is shown here as a labyrinthine series of concrete hallways, dusty, seemingly endless, like we're just wandering through a castle. Some shots of it are convincing, and look good, while in other scenes, it's clearly just painted backdrops.
Claire Higgins, as Julia, is an evil creature, cold and ruthless. It's interesting to wonder how the series would have progressed if she had agreed to return for more sequels.
Whoever redesigned imdb needs to be sent to Pinhead and his Cenobites
I enjoyed this a lot more than my first viewing of it, likely fifteen years ago.
A woman has to basically harvest souls for her half-zombie ex-lover, so he can feed on their life energies, and return to life, and escape a group of sadomasochistic demons sent to reclaim him, and take him back to Hell. When her second husband is claimed victim, his college-aged daughter investigates, and learns his horrifying fate.
Some surprising twists, good looking lighting and colour pallet reminded me of some old giallo films, like something Mario Bava, or Michele Soavi ( one of my favourites ) might have done. Andrew Robinson is always fun to watch, and always reminds me of Scorpio, from Dirty Harry. Ashley Laurence is adorable, she makes a great contrast to the gruesome tale playing out. The house itself almost becomes a character in its own right, by the end of the film.
A lot of fun.
Film shows us a fictional, fairy tale- like approach to how Dickens wrote the story, his inspirations, his brainstorming, how he might have imagined the characters while he was writing, and most amusingly, how difficult it can be to write is depicted by Dickens characters themselves appearing in physical form, to playfully argue with him about plot points, and what their characters would and would not do.
Much more comedic than I expected, and that's a positive note about the film, with lead actor Dan Stevens hamming it up quite nicely, without over doing it, and Christopher Plummer a wonderfully grumpy Scrooge, without turning the character into a depressing old man.
Beautiful sets and costume design and lighting, too
Daddy's Home 2 (2017)
It's better than Bad Mom's Christmas.
Mel Gibson is the sole saving grace to this one, even though his character is a sociopath.
Here is yet another movie about an extended family, portrayed by an ensemble cast, reuniting for the holidays, and personalities clash, hilarity .... um, ... ensues ... ? and everything works out because * PLOT * , and we can't forget the face palm-inducing song and dance routine at the end. Fifteen minutes of this dysfunctional, ensemble family going to a cinema, and " Do They Know It's Christmas? ", to the accompaniment of choreographed dance routines.
Gibson's character seems to be in on the joke here, almost like he's aware of the fact that he's watching Will Ferrell acting like an idiot in a dim witted movie, and Gibson just stands back and says things like, " What an idiot " , as Ferrell demolishes a Christmas lights display with a snow blower, or chainsaws a high tension power line, in two of the lamest, longest scenes.
Nothing in this film goes anywhere. None of what happens seems to genuinely happen, it seems like it only happens because that is what the formulaic plot needs to have happen, although, as sociopathic as Gibson's character is, he is the only one who made me laugh at all here. Without his character, I would have loathed this one, whereas now, I'm just indifferent toward it. Even Mark Wahlberg, who I'm a fan of, didn't get many laughs from me this time.
A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)
It must have taken them minutes to write this laughless, creepy movie, but, hey, Merry Christmas.
As I purchased the tickets for this one, I said, " Bad Mom's Christmas, although I'll probably regret it " Some girl standing in the line next to me said, " You won't regret it. Go for it. "
I wish I had run into her again, after the movie, just so I could tell her how much I regret it after all.
I was really, really annoyed by this movie, because we get this exact same movie every year. You know the routine: dysfunctional, extended family reunites for the holidays, personalities clash, hilarity ensues, they must put aside their differences, more hilarity ensues because PLOT. Regardless of what happens, we know there will be a dance routine in the penultimate scene, rounded up with a contrived, seemingly contractually obligated happy ending, again, because PLOT.
I didn't see the first film, and went to see this only because it was Thanksgiving, and I was on a binge watch at the cinema all day, catching up on recent releases I've missed ( this movie, followed by Daddy's Home 2, and The Man Who Invented Christmas, concluding with a rewatch of The Shining ) , and because Mila Kunis is still very attractive, and I'll admit, I was a bit unclear of the characters' names until about 30 minutes in. I was also unsure why hasn't 32 years old Mila stood up to her mother yet, rather than acting like a scared, timid child, every time her mother calls her fat, or undermines her in front of her family? that subplot is depressing and grating, while the clingy mom subplot was creepy as hell ( she has her grown daughter's face emblazoned on her sweaters, watches her having sex with her husband, tells her she has a variety of fatal diseases just for sympathy, and even * buys * the house next door to her, just to be near her! Boundaries, bitch! That's not funny, that's stalker material, but Merry Christmas. )
Random " celebrity " cameo: Kenny G., who has one funny line, after Mila Kunis tells him to take his flute and leave her home, he responds, " It's not a flute, bitch ... ! "
There's a huge, on-going argument between Mila and her mother's character, who wants to lavishly decorate her home for Christmas, while Mila wants a modest Christmas. Who cares? If the bitch wants to decorate her home lavishly, and AT HER OEN EXPENSE, who cares? Let Mila quietly tell her kids " We'll have a quite Christmas next year, but for now, let's just let her decorate, she's paying for everything "
One of the bad ( grand ) moms is named Isis, like the terrorist organisation. Seriously. That's the joke, and it's funny because movie.
They get drunk in a mall, at lunchtime, and take naughty photos with an elderly Santa, and again, it's funny because movie.
I face palmed so much when, in the penultimate scene, the Sexy Santa announced he was going to " express his feelings through dance ".
Random and disjointed, it's a series of barely connected vignettes, linked together only by cast, and quite frankly, this looks like it was only the first draft of the script, fleshed out with ad- libs, and dance routines.
If you absolutely * must * watch this, see if you can figure why the first two thirds of the story are told through flashback?
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
That hideously distracting moustache, was it meant to be comical?
Because it was hypnotically distracting. I kept staring at it, and its obviously visible glue-lined edges, trying to figure why he didn't just simply grow a real, time-appropriate looking one?
Elegant retelling, has a slow, and silly, beginning, which makes Poirot seem just a finicky old man, who happens to solve problems by bumbling and pure luck alone. Far too much slapstick before we arrive in the train. In fact, the opening could be completely taken out, and the film begin when the train arrives ( fifteen minutes into the movie ) , and it would be all the more better.
Depp does well in his role, for his fifteen minutes of screen time, the perfectly portrayed, perfectly sleazy character, who fears for his life, from any number of suspects. Judy Dench's presence kept reminding me of my all time favourite movie, Skyfall, and kept making me wish I was watching that again. Furthermore, she is basically just sitting in the background for most of her screen time, leaving no impression.
The avalanche, trapping everyone on board, sealing them in tightly, looked impressive, and was well done, but defeated by the fact we see them walking around in frigid temperatures, and snow covered mountains, ruining any sense of claustrophobia there was built up, and furthermore, they walk in the snow in regular clothes, as though its just a cool morning, and nothing more. Also, after the avalanche, the majority of the train is stuck teetering and balancing on the wooden tracks, high above ground. I kept waiting for them to address that, and do something with that, but nothing.
This is very well photographed, elegant looking, but occasionally show-off camera-work was distracting.
Overall, this is a mostly good looking, mostly well acted and photographed, bit of mediocrity, with bits and pieces of something good scattered throughout, but it can't quite add up. It never really came alive, and the song playing during the closing credits is awful. It sounds like the end theme from Faces Of Death
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
Brilliant horror anthology, one of the best horror films in decades.
I've always had a weakness for anthology horror films, and this is easily one of the best I've seen, presenting five short stories, all running concurrently, on Halloween night in this small town.
A seemingly normal man is a killer, trying desperately hard to bury his latest victim, while his hyperactive son interferes, and a neighbour won't mind his own business. A, quite frankly, silly story about sexy Red Riding Hood, which is the only weak link, as far as I'm concerned, in terms of storytelling, but I dug the sexy costumes. A group of kids tell a savant a story of a horrific bus accident, before playing a cruel joke on her, only to meet their demise, as the Crux of the main plot kicks in, and vengeful souls rise from the dead. A girl who is bored with Halloween must deal with Halloween obsessed boyfriend, who doesn't want to take down his glorious decorations before Halloween is over. Then, the main point to the film kicks in, as the earlier mentioned vengeful souls seek to avenge their own deaths, by going Trick or Treating at the home of same man responsible for their deaths: the earlier mentioned neighbour, who won't mind his own business, right next door to the earlier mentioned killer, and right across the street from the earlier mentioned girl, and her Halloween obsessed boyfriend.
Creepy, scary, with a good sense of humour, and very well written, and with a great attention to detail, as various characters from each segment seem almost as background extras in other segments they're not involved in, only to reappear as the main characters in a later vignette.
Beautifully filmed, with rich, vibrant, realistic colours, not overly saturated with colour filters, this looks and feels like a small town at Halloween, The lore of Halloween, its appeal, is the inspiration here, how it can be a bit of a scare, but it can also be a lot of fun, often times simultaneously, just like this movie.
Blood Frenzy (1987)
If you've ever wondered why Lisa ( Wednesday Addams ) didn't continue acting...
Supremely annoying characters are driving through the desert, when their van breaks down, only to be set upon by an unseen killer.
As in the vastly superior 1977 film, The Hills Have Eyes, the desert location gives a creepy atmosphere to the proceedings, but the characters are all so very annoying, and the gore effects are all so underwhelming they aren't worth waiting for.
Directed by hardcore pornographic filmmaker Hal Freeman, and allegedly based on a script by Ray Dennis Steckler , pointlessly titled " Warning - No Trespassing " , which was rewritten by Freeman's frequent collaborator, Ted Newsom, this will, at least, answer anyone's questions about why Wednesday Addams didn't continue acting.
Ten rocks out of ten
I watched last evening, for the first time since I was a child ( in the 1990s, not 60s ) and I still loved it. Beautifully animated, with vivid colours, as Lucy and Linus begin chopping away at a pumpkin, beneath the glow of a deep red sun, oddly looking straight from a nuclear Holocaust, before Linus plants himself in his sincere pumpkin patch, waiting for his Halloween equivalent of Santa Claus, the titular Great Pumpkin. The music is a character in its own right Especially clever, in that it's not even remotely scary, but is still completely engaging as a Halloween story, without feeling watered down, or sanitised. It's childlike, but not childish. It's a very sweet and funny and clever story, and a good distraction from a chaotic day.
All Hallows' Eve (2013)
I wanted to bash the clown in the face with a frying pan
I've always had a weakness for anthology horror films, so this one, about a babysitter watching a mysterious VHS tape secretly given to her charges, intrigued me, but the end results are only a mixed bag. Built up from several short films made by this film's makers, this comes off as a patchwork, vaguely reminding me of the trainwreck, Night Train To Terror, only not as howlingly awful.
Vignettes are about a demonic clown kidnapping women, a silly looking alien invading a woman's home, and another story of the same clown terrorising another young girl on the highway late at night, with a twist which doesn't seem plausible, so much as it seems like the filmmakers desperately just wanted a pointless surprise twist ending.
The compilation film works better when it focuses on mood and atmosphere, because it is good looking and well filmed ( for the most part ) and it makes good use of colours, in a lot of scenes, but it goes way overboard trying to make the short films presented on the VHS look like old film footage, with artificial scratches, and static on the soundtrack. No VHS tape ever had things like that. Nor did a VHS tape ever have such ridiculous colour saturation, as is show here.
The torture effects drown out what atmosphere is built in the other scenes. The twist ending is well done, if predictable. Overall, go into this with middle of the road expectations, it will be mildly amusing, and at only 76 minutes ( without the opening and closing credits ) it's a quick sit.
As subtle as a sledgehammer
The title appears, barely legible, in blocks, on screen for nineteen slow seconds, before being smashed with the title object. We, the audience, are then seemingly beaten over the head with some of the poorest picture quality imaginable, even for shot-on-video flick, during the opening title sequence, while an imitation of the Phantasm theme is played.
Obnoxious, amateur actors/ amateur porn stars gather in a farmhouse where, ten hyperbolic years earlier ( because nine years is never enough time, but eleven years is always too much time ) a double murder was committed. At one point, the filmmakers seemingly forgot they were doing a slasher film, and meander into a food fight, which lasts for nearly eight minutes, before setting up a seance, to contact the spirit of the killer from a decade earlier. " Some of you may have already heard what I'm about to tell you, " Mr. Polo Shirt informs us. We all have, because at this point, the filmmakers pad out the run time with a lengthy expositional flashback to the first scene from this very movie, in a Friday the 13th part 2- inspired bit, telling the audience what we already know. Two of these dip****s are later killed with a sledgehammer, which prompts another dip**** to ask, " Any clues? " Perhaps the sledgehammer, and the dead bodies themselves, which they move, because they're all drunken morons? They remain in murder house overnight, basically waiting to be killed. The ghost/ killer/ whatever he is materialises/ crawls out of the woodwork, to off these nitwits one by one, and they kind of, sort of, fight for their lives.
Chuck, seemingly cast for his muscular physique, and willingness to wear a polo shirt.
Joni: completely forgettable.
John: This guy just sucked.
Mary: kind of pretty, but has the same awful 80s perm as Joni.
Jimmy: looks likes he's killing time until the next Hall and Oates concert, or until he and Mary and Joni go have their hair permed at the same place.
Carol: probably the best of an admittedly lousy cast, but with the same perm hairdo as the rest of them.
Joey : I don't even remember this guy, but I'm sure he sucked.
Mother: tolerable, but she and Jimmy and Mary and Joni look like they all have the same hairstylist, who only knowshow to do that same perm.
The boy: was a lame villain.
Killer: was he the killer? I thought it was the boy?
The driver: why was he even here?
But for all the grief and aggravation, I must admit I watched this film twice this month, before writing this review. It has some occasionally inspired camera-work, especially during the climax, among static shots of hallways. The music score is eerily effective, it reminded me a bit of German industrial band Einsturzende Neubauten, particularly their record, Zeichnungen des Patienten O. T. Plus, the added terror of a killer stalking his victims in their own home is a terrifying thought in and of itself. Gore fans should find enough in the ending to make it worthwhile, too.
I'm not saying this is * good *, but there are worse movies out there, like Blood Massacre, for example. Without the opening and closing credits, this is only 74 minutes long. Without the use of slow motion, it might only be about 20 minutes long.
Only slightly less awful than the director's earlier, Night Of Horror
This movie sucks. Oh, my Christ, does it suck, but it doesn't suck quite as badly as its predecessor, Night Of Horror, as things actually happen in this one. Granted, not much happens, and it's usually too dark to tell what is going on, but least * something * happens, and the movie seems to move by much quicker than its predecessor. The ruins shown in several scenes are interesting looking, and give the film the slightest bit of atmospherics, but Night Of Horror had a couple more unintentionally amusing lines.
Not exactly a remake, as is sometimes claimed, as Night Of Horror is about a dim, grimy guy recounting an experience about camping with friends, and ghosts of confederate soldiers haunting them for help in burying their leader's skull. This film is about a group ( played by much of the same cast ) camping in the woods, who are attacked by confederate cannibal zombies. There is an explanation as to why this is happening given toward the end, but by that point in time, my mind was wandering so much that I can't recall what that explanation was.
Even morseo than its predecessor, day changed to night, and back and forth, many times throughout this one. Does this film also take place over the course of one night, or about nineteen?
The alliterative cursed cannibal Confederates look like Herk Harvey's ghouls in 1962's infinitely better Carnival Of Souls, which only made me wish I was watching that film again.
Let's not forget those chewing sounds. Those horrible, ridiculously loud, unsynchronised chewing sounds, present throughout a lot of the final act, which only serve to induce nausea in viewers, both of them.
The cut I watched has ' Curse of the Cannibal Confederates, 1987 ' , immediately followed by ' Curse of the Screaming Dead, 1982 ' , even the film doesn't know when it was released, or its title. As with Night Of Horror, judging by the hairstyles, and clothing, I'm guessing this was filmed in the mid 70s, and sat unreleased for a number of years.
This film, like the director's previous film, Night Of Horror, both appear to have been filmed in the 1970s, and sat unreleased for a number of years before being released, if they were ever publicly released at all, prior to Troma getting hold of both of them in the 1980s, as all of the opening and closing credits are obviously added in much later.
Night of Horror (1981)
Where do I even start with this one?
"The film you are about to see, ( sic ) is a depiction of an actual event, well documented in the annals of the paranormal" - I should have gone with my instinct, and immediately switched off the film when I read that statement.
This " film " (and I use that word in the loosest sense) begins with a three minutes-long title scene, accompanied by a horrendous piano ballad by the filmmakers' own real life band, leading into an eight minutes-long conversation. Eight minutes of stationary, over-the- shoulder photography, meandering, nearly stream-of- consciousness conversation, barely audible in the crummy audio, with these two men babbling, name-dropping their band, eventually about a bizarre, boring experience one of them, Steve, had, as he obviously stutters his lines a couple of times. The audio is so garbled that much of it is unintelligible, but we do know they used lighting equipment, because it is clearly visible on the right centre of the frame, largely blowing out the shot. After so very slowly setting up the paper- thin plot in this over-the-shoulder prologue, the film lapses into flashback for some reason, as we're told the story of Steve, his half brother and his wife, and their friend driving. When asked what did he use for money, Steve responds, " Chocolate milk, and batteries. " What?
From 16 minutes on, they drive. We see them driving underneath a bridge, looking out the window at passing landscapes, passing ships on the river, one girl reads an Edgar Allan Poe story in its entirety, while literary critic Steve criticises it, then critiques their food and beer. Breathtaking.
From 23 minutes to 29 minutes, a triangular blotch appears at the bottom centre of the frame.
At 26 minutes, the quartet get out and argue, and it's difficult to take them seriously when Steve is obviously smiling and trying not to laugh. Characters interrupt each other, frames abruptly cut out, probably to avoid the awful dialogue. Back in the camper, for more driving.
At 29 minutes, they allegedly hit someone, off camera. If they couldn't get an actor to play the character they hit, why didn't they just take this scene out? It doesn't go anywhere, or lead to anything, so why is this scene even here?
At 30 minutes, back in the van for more driving, and awful piano balladry.
At 33 minutes, the camper breaks down. Good! No more driving. Day changes to night, and back and forth, many times, as they try to figure what to do. A real exchange of dialogue in this scene: Chris" " Don't tell me you're taking a coffee break? " to which Steve responds: " Nope, a beer break, and not even a beer break. " Again, what?
At 38 minutes, one girl begins having a one-sided conversation with a spirit ( I think. ) Footage here is so dark, I'm not sure even what the bloody hell we're looking at here. Tree limbs? Why don't we see, or more importantly hear, who she is speaking to? She convinced two of her three friends ( Steve was likely too drunk or too disinterested to show up to film this scene, so he is represented in voice over narration ) to hold a seance to speak to the spirits. Unfortunately, the spirits answer them.
At 40 minutes, the seance begins. We then catch a glimpse of the rare and elusive * flashback-within-a- flashback * , as the Civil War reenactment footage begins, and the piano balladry begins yet again. The actors' real life band performs seemingly endlessly ( " How manyyy mooooore? " ) Were they trying for an anti-war message here? I lost track of how long this putridity goes on for, but the seance, and Civil War reenactment footage, continues until 63 minutes.
Apparently, a Civil War captain lost his head, and needs their help to get it back, and bury it with his body, so he can at last rest in peace. The three of them ( again, Steve isn't in this scene, except for his voice over narration) dig up his skull, which is obviously plastic, and bury it with the rest of his plastic body.
I wish I could say I'm making that up, but I'm not. That's your plot right there.
Film concludes with an epilogue, and the stationary, over-the-shoulder photography, meandering, nearly stream-of- consciousness conversation, barely audible in the crummy audio, with these two men babbling, and the visible lighting equipment blowing out a lot of the frame return, before the piano muzak, again performed by the filmmakers' own real life band, returns yet again for the closing credits. This film seems merely an excuse to showcase their music, and name drop their no-name band.
Every single scene is just filler material. Nothing that happens sets up anything that happens later, and there isn't even any sex or nudity, no violence, there's not even a single bit of profanity, but yet this is supposedly " Rated R ". The cinematography is so faint and blurry, the " actors " ( again, used only in the loosest sense of the word ) look like spectral holograms drifting in the breeze. Speaking of breeze, the flickering, slightly wavy image looks like this entire film is being projected onto a sheet hung on the wall, and then filmed by someone else, using the lowest quality camera equipment possible, and microphone which sounds like it was in the cellar, while the actors were upstairs, and edited using child- proof scissors and duct tape. Furthermore, this was obviously filmed sometime in the 70s, judging by their hair, and clothing, and not released until quite some time later.Although, I must admit, a documentary about the making of this movie might be funny
Blood Massacre (1991)
Almost worth watching just for its baffling twist ending.
This long shelved ( filmed sometime in the mid 1980s ) shot-on-video horror begins with Cinemagic Visual Effects logo staying on screen seemingly endlessly, while mashing down random keys on a low quality synthesiser, before crummy 80s music from no-name bar band. Everything in this opening scene in the bar is filmed in close-up, and with a fog machine being used to simulate smoky atmosphere, making it difficult to follow what is going on, or to notice the cash register, which is seemingly left over from an old western from the 1940s. Lead guy then orders " Beer ". Not, for example, a Heineken ( my preference ) , he just orders a beer. I love it when a movie does this, as though there is only one single type of beer on Earth.
" 🍺 "
After drinking his * beer * , bar guy kills people, later meets up with a trio of thugs, they debate what to do next. " I don't give a f***, let's just do something! ". Indeed.
So, they rob a video store! While wearing their Kim Carnes '81 Tour shirts, with a Freddy Krueger standee watching, these morons rob a mom and pop video store, and kill one person in the process. The entire robbery sequence is silent, with more terrible, almost comical, music dubbed in.
Later, a witness by the name of Captain Obvious tells police, the killers are " gonna hurt somebody! " , after they've already committed murder.
The Last House On The Left plot elements kick in, as the quartet of killers hold up in farmhouse with a family held hostage, but the hostages turn out to be cannibalistic killers, more dangerous than the original quartet of killers, and the family hunts them down and kills them one by one, in slightly gory fashion.
Film then switches gears, and becomes a wilderness survival horror in final fifteen minutes, as the original killer bar guy is the only survivor, ( making the presence of the other three villain characters completely pointless ) and he must fight for his life in the woods, against this cannibal family.
This film then features one of the most baffling, " What the f***? " plot twists I've ever seen, as the cannibal family peels their flesh off, to reveal not only are they cannibalistic killers, but also unkillable skeletal aliens!
* speechless *
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
One of the Bottom 3 films of all time
This, one of the Bottom 3 films of all time, was screened last week in New York, where it likely made more money than in its original theatrical run.
I spent about two-thirds of the film's run time shouting " What is this god-damned movie even about? " For its final third, I didn't care what it was about, I just wanted it to end. Seriously, I couldn't even tell you what genre this film could be classified as, nor could I tell you what the plot is about.
Apparently, filmed in a matter of days, on a budget of only a few thousand dollars, and screened only a couple of times in El Paso ( where it was filmed ) , and then lost for decades, until its rediscovery by Mystery Science Theatre 3000, this is seriously one of the worst, most excruciatingly boring films ever made. It's barely even mockable, let alone reviewable. The music score consists of competing sax, and ivories being tickled in the most obtuse, out of place fashion, seemingly intended for some other movie, and it's used throughout almost every scene. Most times I've heard the title/ lead character's name spoken, it's MAN-os, but in the dialogue in the film, it's pronounced like MAH-nos. However his name is correctly pronounced, I kept waiting for his dog to bite him. No such luck.
A middle aged nuclear family ( a grumpy old man in ridiculously over-sized trousers, his whiny, nagging wife, and their young daughter, who serves absolutely no purpose in the plot of film ) are driving in the desert ( for the first nine minutes of this movie ) and lose their way. They babble about the weather, are stopped about a broken taillight by a cop with nothing else to do, who later hassles a young couple kissing in a parked car ( and the visible guy holding the clapperboard ) on the roadside. The female half of this couple is clearly bored, as she repeatedly delivers her lines while looking directly into the camera. Was this nine minutes long scene really necessary in setting up the plot of this movie?
The family comes across some type of home, inhabited by Torgo, a 25 years old man in old age make-up ( because that always works so well ) , hobbling around, who repeats almost every line of dialogue twice. After their car won't start, they're stuck in this desert overnight, where slightly weird, but mostly just interminably boring, things happen. Torgo tells them " The Master " is dead, but eventually, a hidden, sort of Satanic-looking room is found, where " The Master " is shown apparently alive after all. He's a John Astin lookalike in black robe with red hands, acting grandiose, in front of a group of women, who do little more than sit around and talk for several scenes, before a catfight erupts. The family from the first half disappears for most of this second half, while the John Astin clone and his six wives do ... stuff, ... possibly killing Torgo, because yeah, sure, of course they do.
The kissing couple appear again, at night. It looks like they're parked next to a gas station, judging by the lighting equipment reflected on their car.
About an hour in, it's revealed the father from the first half has a gun... ( ! ) He's been armed for this entire time? He shoots ( shoots at? ) The Master, then for some reason, a lesbian couple is introduced in the last scene, and it appears as though the entire plot is starting again, as this pair of girls get lost, with writer/ director/ producer/ star Harold Warren standing in for Torgo.
A lame joke in the closing credits reads, " The end? "
Yes, it is mercifully the end.
" Our sincere thanks to the city & county of El Paso for their cooperation " I bet they just LOVE having their name attached to this one.
I then shouted at the screen, " What? "
It even has 666 in its url!
Even better than the original
Creepy as hell, it managed to even outdo the original, as it focused the entirety of its run time on " It " stalking and terrorising the group of kids in 1989. The cast of unknown child actors handled the fear, and humour in perfect balance, while Pennywise was even creepier than in the original. There were also a few brilliantly subtle music cues, amongst a lot of crescendos
I want to see horror films return to having a physical villain ( as last year's Green Room, and Don't Breathe, as well as this film has ) rather than yet another ghost story/ supernatural/ haunting flick, like we've had seemingly never ending examples of in the past several years. Granted, this film has supernatural elements in it, but it simultaneously has an actual villain, a physical entity threatening the protagonists, which is where I hope horror films return to.
Its 135-minutes long run time basically flew by quickly.
The opening credits call the film, It, while the closing credits call the film, It Chapter One.
The Cult, my all time favourite band, are on the soundtrack, also. Fifteen minutes in, we hear about thirty seconds of Love Removal Machine
The first half is the strongest
Creepy tale of demonic clown terrorising and trying to kill a group of kids in a small town in the 1950s, and returning thirty years later to try to finish the job.
The sections dealing with the kids are more effective than the adults' scenes, I think there was more of a genuine sense of fear and dread in those scenes. The segments dealing with the adults just simply had an ensemble cast ( something I've never really been a fan of ) going through the motions. The entire cast did well, but I'm just not a fan of ensemble casts in a film. Let the plot and the film itself stand on its own merit, without bringing in a number of familiar, famous faces to sell it.
For all its good acting, cinematography, and pacing ( despite its three hours long run time ) the film is sunk by a terrible ending, like something out of a dime store 1950s monster movie. If they are going to spend three hours building upon peoples' fear of a demonic clown, don't have the climactic battle between those people and a poorly rendered, glowing green spider.
Valley of Bones (2017)
Good photography is about the sole saving grace here
Dingy, violent little number, about a paleontologist ( recently out of prison, and trying to redeem herself, obligatorily ) who receives a tip from a meth junkie ( with vaguely defined ties to, and undefined debt to, a drug cartel who is threatening his family ) about a tyrannosaurus Rex buried on a desolate plot of land in North Dakota, which could potentially be worth a fortune.
Characters with overly cluttered backgrounds people this well photographed drama/ Western/ horror thriller, which never climaxes, so much as it just stops, with no resolution to any of its numerous plot lines. However, if we were to take out the overly complex character backgrounds, all we would be left with is the odd story of an archaeological dig, with the vaguely defined prize going to the undefined highest bidder, and again, some good cinematography, making good use of the bleak North Dakota land.
This is another film ( similar to The Gracefield Incident, from a month or two ago ) which was filmed several years ago ( in this case, this was filmed from 5 October 2015 - 2 November 2015 ) and sat unreleased until its abrupt, barely advertised limited release ( in September 2017 ) and has barely any information on its IMDb page, or Wikipedia page, and doesn't have a Boxofficemojo page, and didn't get a Thursday night preview screening. I saw a trailer for this one single time, about a week ago, and there was a standee in the cinema lobby, and apparently that was all of the promotion this received.
Edit: it now has a Boxofficemojo page, and this opened in a limited release, on only three hundred screens, bringing in $164.738, placing it at number 44 for opening weekend. The following week, it plummeted from 300 screens down to only 13, and from 44th down to 105th place.
Armed Response (2017)
Your guess is as good as mine, when it comes to the plot.
This is the third time recently, I have been the only one in the cinema, and the second time in about a month for a movie which doesn't have a Boxofficemojo page, and with a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
A recently abandoned prison is ... haunted? Alive, ... via artificial intelligence? ... and kills a group of people working there, knowing that a specific military group would be sent to investigate, and it would be the same people who are responsible for a killing in Afghanistan, and this haunted/ alive prison kills them one by one, after having " judged them " , while each person individually plots to double cross and kill each other ... ? I don't know, this makes absolutely no sense, and it genuinely left me feeling disoriented afterward. I'm not joking, I sincerely felt like I was in a fog, and couldn't immediately think clearly after this one, basically speechless as to what I had just witnessed.
Director/ former actor John Stockwell has his moments, but this isn't one of them, but at least he, and cinematographer Matthew Irving, try to make this good looking, but novice screenwriter Matt Savelloni's incoherent screenplay sinks this from minute one. ( Why was the opening scene, of the kid dying, even here? It has no effect on the plot in any way. It seemed like it was going to be yet another film where the lead actor has to rise up, against all odds, and redeem themselves, but happily, that's not the case here. Faint praise that. )
Any Wesley Snipes' fans who may watch this just because he is in it, and featured prominently on the poster, will be sorely disappointed, as he:s just standing in the background during most scenes. There is no real main character here, most characters have about equal screen time, and a lot of it is just them looking in empty rooms, and shouting, " Clear! " for most of the early scenes.
The most baffling moment comes when the building comes to life, and grabs a guy by both arms, and simultaneously rips both arms out of their sockets
Another laughably bad time
A ten minutes-long setup ( involving the most over used trope in cinema history: obligatory estrangement from a character, and custody battles ( which is never mentioned again ) , and Halle Berry running down a car, grabbing it, and holding onto it for dear life, a la The Terminator, to get back her kidnapped son ) leads to ( not exaggerating here ) a forty- five minutes long car chase, wherein Berry seemingly chases them from one end of Louisiana to the other, ultimately turning it into a demolition derby, as she repeatedly rams their car, trying to force them off the road, and putting her son in untold additional peril, in attempt to save him.
I wondered for a bit, whether this would turn into a Duel-like film, where the unseen driver would die in horrible firey crash, taking their identity and motivation with them. No, we do see them after a while, after they both drive off the road, stop, stare at each other's vehicle for a while, before getting out. I'm not going to lie, though, the kidnappers, when shown, are creepy and unsettling. Hillbillies with a violent bent, who seemingly have nothing to live for, make a good villain in almost any situation. Also creepy, if a bit predictable and formulaic, is their desolate farmhouse hideout, where they're holding several other kids hostage, as part of a kidnapping organisation covering four states, which a convenient VO narration tells us in the denouement, after an extremely absurd twist in the penultimate scene, where a third kidnapper is brought into the plot, and pretends to be an innocent neighbour, only to turn on Berry, forcing her to kill him too. Because yeah, sure, of course that happens.
Someone in my audience said out loud, " Is everyone in this movie deaf? " , only to have someone else in the audience paraphrase that a half hour later, as seemingly all characters had soundproof car windows, and/ or couldn't hear someone unless they were standing directly in front of them, and making eye contact with them.
Likely the victim of untold rewrites and re-edits, this was filmed between October - December 2014, and had five separate release dates scheduled and cancelled, before finally being released in summer 2017 ( because it has " Summer Blockbuster " written all over it ) , it's good for unintentional laughs at its genuinely stupid characters, but nothing else. The entire plot relies entirely on Cupcakes dropping her phone, which doesn't feel like something which would likely happen, considering she hangs on to her handbag, but it happens just because the script required it to happen, otherwise, the movie would only be about ten minutes long, which would have been an improvement.
Wind River (2017)
A good, but not great, follow up to Hell Or High Water
Slowly paced thriller, telling of the FBI's investigation into a girl's death, after she is found, frozen and barefoot, in a desolate region of Wyoming.
A slow start had me, quite frankly, bored, for the first 15 or so minutes, but once we arrived at the coroner's office, and the debate and conflict about what is legally permitted to be listed on the autopsy report as her cause of death, the plot finally kicked in. This may be my favourite scene in the movie.
This film has some of the same occasional sense of humour with the characters, giving them depth, and humanistic characteristics, but I found the pacing to be a bit uneven. Also, while Hell Or High Water had extremely relatable antiheros for its lead characters ( we knew what they were doing was wrong, but we still wanted to see them victorious ) , this film has violent, repulsive killers as its lead( ish ) characters.
There is comment that some citizens would rather be in prison instead of living in this desolate, unforgiving, sprawling wasteland, effectively shown in many scenes, like writer/ director Taylor Sheridan did with west Texas, in his magnificent, Hell Or High Water, using the landscape as a character in its own right.
Olsen does well as a seemingly inexperienced FBI agent ( watch as she wisely orders one man to show her his hands, before being sprayed with chemicals, in a particularly brutal scene, but later, doesn't know she is walking into an ambush, and ends up getting shot for her troubles )
Spoiler alert: the fact the villain's ultimate fate is taken exactly from Quantum Of Solace left me feeling a bit flat.