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Get with the program! Gotta love Manborg!
Some reviews here just irritate me. Did they even watch the same film I did? Or are they too dense to get it? This film is made by and for people who love bad cinema. It is suppose to be cheezy! It is supposed to have overacting! It is like a blazing inferno of rapid fire sight gags and actions scenes rolled in one huge enchilada! I love this film. It is an action-packed love letter to the Drive In movies of yesterday. It cost about 12 bucks and it shows, but it has tons of imagination, heart and passion.
Manborg is basically a series of cool fight scenes all held together by bad special effects scenes and insane dialog. To say more would ruin the fun. The costumes are awesome, the green screen can be awful, the gore splashes all over and there are so many inspired moments to find that they could invent a "Name that bad 80's Post-Apocalyptic Movie" drinking game, but damn it sure was a fun ride.
Kick back, throw some brews down your throat, grab some friends and relive the awesome 80s with Manborg!
The Hype Machine got me! Needing a hero to save the day!
I am a huge fan of Michael Keaton. This film has so many amazing talents that it just boggles my mind what went wrong. It derails about 40 minutes in and this train never gets back on track. Sadly, it seems these days that it's all about hype and glitz and the Oscars can be bought and paid for. To be honest, when they are not snubbing films like Dark Knight and praising anything from France and "Bollywood" they are sitting around acting self important and giving awards to films like this. A great idea that is so muddled and wrongly executed that it borders on ridiculous. I did find the cinematography to be fun and creative, if done too much these days. The one continuous shot idea has worn out it's welcome faster than the horrible shakycam "found footage" even. But this one does it well, and the performances are simply amazing. The issue lies in the director I think. Showing us the world through pretentious, art-house colored glasses that reek of self-importance and ego. It is a film that has divided the audience. And it also divided me. Part of me was impressed with Keaton and the cast so much that I loved it, the other was ready to punch the Pretentious Product-Make director in the Puss. I'd say rent it if it's real cheap, but only for the great cast, not the forced tragedy story. Predictable ending be damned.
Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8) (2013)
It's low tech, high Imagination!
The kings of Microbudget films join together in this rare Horror treat!! Hi-8 is an anthology type of film much like Creepshow, Tales From The Crypt and Deadtime Stories. Many times these types of films are short films thrown together with no real reason. Not the case here. Sure, it is still a bit uneven, but when you have 8 directors, technically 7 because Brad Sykes does double duty making a segment for the film AND the connecting story that goes between each story. I actually thought the connecting story was the weakest. It just didn't make sense or tie the other stories together in any way. I may have had some guys break into an old b=video store and find a bunch of old tapes, and the individual movies would have been the tapes they found, or something similar.
Quality of each film ranges from really good to passable. One is pretty terrible, but I think it was on purpose. Tim Ritter, Brad Sykes, Marcus Koch, Ron Bonk, Donald Farmer, Todd Sheets, Chris Seaver and Tony Masiello are the directors.
As for the stories, they were pretty much all over the place. I liked the diversity. I also liked the rules of Hi-8 shown at the end. Should have shown that at the start I think, it would have been fun to see how close each director followed the rules. It was great to see all the old school gore effects as well. No CGI at all. And I for one am very thankful.
Some standouts are "Gang Them Style" from director Ron Bonk. It's a funny story of a guy saving his Grandmother from the Undead. Tim Ritter keeps things gruesome with his "Switchblade Insane" segment. It follows Tim's formula of domestic darkness, this time though the husband and wife end up teaming up: The family that slays together stays together. Marcus Koch "A Very Bad Situation" seemed to have a blast with his segment featuring a pretty nifty monster and some good tension. Did I mention I am a sucker for rubber monsters? Todd Sheets "The Request" shocked me, creating what I think is probably the best looking segment technically, and showing restraint in his story of a late night DJ who gets some very strange phone calls. It got under my skin a bit and was probably the most professional looking story. Chris Seaver has a segment that is best described as over the top, more humor than Horror, but still ended up winning me over just for the tone and insanity of the whole thing. And Donald Farmer is here too! More domestic terror on tap, with a poor guy who is dating the worst excuse for a girlfriend in the world! There are some I am forgetting, but the whole thing really is a fun time. It's like a K-Tel Party Album from 1978 only better! I know they had a limited VHS release but it is out on DVD now and I found it at Amazon. Fans of creative, old school style Horror should check this out for sure!
House of Forbidden Secrets (2013)
Vivid imagery and amazing music make this HOUSE special!
"House of Forbidden Secrets" doesn't break new ground in the horror genre, but it mixes things up, throws in some real surprises and end sup being an effective love letter to the Italian Horrors of the 70s and 80s. I didn't know exactly what to expect when I sat down to watch this new Horror flick from director Todd Sheets. Todd's career has been filled with really good microbudget films (Violent New Breed, Fear Of The Dark, Shivers) and very bad zero budget gorefests (Goblin, Zombie Rampage) and all levels in between. It had been a while since I had seen any activity but when I heard about this one, I was excited to see how the years had changed things for Todd. I got my answer and it was quite a shock. Not only has this film won awards at film festivals worldwide, it's a damned good movie! Todd Sheets has grown into a director with a genuine flair for the aesthetics Horror - to say he has improved between his last film, some 8 years ago, and this one is not only true, but astonishing when you look at his filmography. Not only does this film generate real suspense, but also atmosphere, above average acting from the cast, lighting that would make Argento proud and tons of what Todd is known for: buckets of nasty, sticky, gross out Gore effects.
Fabio Frizzi's (THE GATES OF HELL, ZOMBIE, THE BEYOND) score is a real plus, creating tension and building suspense throughout the film. It truly helps Todd and his crew hammer home that this is dedicated to Italian Horror. Additional music by Toshiyuki Hiraoka is also very effective, adding texture and a modern twist to the soundtrack. The two actually merge together in such a seamless way, leaving such an impression that you will be humming the songs after watching (Good thing it has been released on a Soundtrack via BEAT Records - on AMAZON).
Let me make this clear, while this film is in many ways similar in style and feel to those Italian films of the past, House Of Forbidden Secrets is also very much a modern Horror movie, bringing us the best of both worlds. Truly creating a fresh and original storyline that spans not only your darkest nightmares, but also other dimensions and time periods! I was pretty amazed how ambitious this story was. It has plenty of twists that I never saw coming. Starting like a standard "Haunted Building" movie and taking several unpredictable turns into some very "Out There" scenes and set pieces. And it all flows in a very natural and cohesive way. I never got lost. But I will say this is a film that requires you to pay attention, listen to the dialogue and retain things from earlier in the film. It is not some brainless slasher. It is quite the opposite. This has a dark, twisted, complex story that really pays off in the end.
Many shots in this film truly border on gorgeous. The framing and lighting are truly otherworldly, lending the film's horrifying events a sense of classic cinematic poetry. Many shots boast a remarkably graceful and consistent level of artistry that rise above the limited budget and truly take this film to a higher level. And more than most of the indie Horrors I have been watching, It looks like a real movie, and more than that, a very well executed one. Having seen the film twice now, at two different theatrical screenings, in my opinion the story gets stronger with each viewing, and visually, it also improves. The imagery drives the atmosphere, creating a surreal vision of both this world and the other dimensions we travel to in the film. Every time I watch this film, the more impressive it gets. I see more and understand to a greater extent the vision of director Todd Sheets. My admiration for his new contribution to Horror cinema has grown as well.
In the end, "House of Forbidden Secrets" is a damn good film. It's a fine example of Independent horror cinema made by people who really love the entire Euro-horror scene and have a huge passion for Italian Horror Cinema. It's the masterwork of a director who doesn't get nearly the respect he deserves, standing well above his other films and most of his microbudget peers. This is the film that takes Todd Sheets to the next level. Glad I could witness it.