Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Heavy Metal 2000


  I've seen this movie before, and I'm very familiar with the amazing work of the minds behind it. Particularly, Simon Bisley, who illustrated the graphic novel which Heavy Metal 2000 is based on. You can see a small sample of his work on the cover for the DVD of the movie here, and sadly... it's more exciting and interesting than the movie itself. See, the cover makes promises the movie simply doesn't deliver on. It's never once as stylish, as gritty, or as weirdly sexy as that image is. The movie exists as an odd curiosity for fans of the Heavy Metal magazine (google it if you don't know about it) and the 1981 movie as well- but little more than that.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Force Awakens


  I can't decide if I'm the worst person to objectively review this movie, or one of the best. I'm only 21, but I fit in this perfect generational window that had the chance to see the original trilogy in theaters when it was re-released as the special editions. So, to date, I've seen every Star Wars movie in theaters, with my family. I could write article after article about everything Star Wars means to me, about how it defined my childhood, about how some of my first memories are of seeing the original trilogy on the big screen- larger than life. And, after all that I would be but one of millions saying pretty much the same thing.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Hateful Eight


   I was hesitant to write a review of this one because after watching it, I was unsure if I even liked it. For sure, there is a great concept here, and the acting is great all across the board... but this was a misfire in my book. Tarantino can do a lot with a little, that's already well known. He's a master of engaging dialog, but sometimes it just doesn't click. The Hateful Eight's dialog is never engaging enough. Thus, the movie feels meandering. The scenery shots are gorgeous, and maybe I'm missing the point or something, but far too many of them go on for too damn long. Coupled with more than a few running gags that aren't funny in the slightest, the movie feels like it's wasting my time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Steele Justice


  If you know me, even a little bit, you know I'm crazy about 80's action movies. The crazier the better. Guns that shoot knives are definitely a plus. Within ten minutes, Steele Justice was already deep in my good graces. It's a by-the-numbers 80's one-man-army flick that's pretty darn cool. It's full of memorable lines, albeit ridiculous ones- and intense action sequences. So who cares that it's just one big cliche? Not me, that's for damn sure. I should also point out, I watched this movie on VHS. The sleeve is faded, washed out, and adorned with age old rental stickers telling potential renters that this is, indeed, an "ACTION" movie. My VHS copy of Delta Force 3 has two "ACTION" stickers. Does that mean it has twice the action? I hope so.

Extraction


  The trailers for this movie made it look like fun. Cheap, mindless fun- but fun nonetheless. It looked adequate and fast paced. There was nothing to indicate it would be so boring and poorly acted. Now, I might seem a bit hypocritical judging this movie based on it's writing, directing, and acting, when I can give a movie like Invasion U.S.A. a hall pass without even blinking... but come on. That's implying that Kellan Lutz has the charisma and badass-gravitas of Chuck Fucking Norris. He doesn't by the way, and considering Bruce Willis' screentime might generously total out to maybe five minutes... Kellan is definitely the star of the movie alongside a completely wasted Gina Carano.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Creed


   In a day and age when the premise for this movie sounds like just one bad idea cash grab in a whole summer lineup of bad idea grabs, it's nothing short of inspiring that this movie is as good as it is. Of course, it had a lot of talent in it, and behind it. You'd almost be doing yourself a disservice thinking you're going to see a new "Rocky" movie. He's in it, and like an old friend it's a delight to see the character again, but this isn't his movie. Not by a long shot. You won't see the opening credits roll in the same way like a Rocky movie, you won't see Michael B. Jordan's character Adonis doing all of Stallone's old stunts. This isn't Rocky VII, this is Creed.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Death Wish 3


  I suppose there's another interesting conversation to be prompted by Death Wish 3, and like it's predecessor before it- it's a not-so-interesting movie. But, that's all irrelevant because Death Wish 3 is outright in-your-face crazy. It's far from the meticulous and calculating revenge thrillers of Death Wish 1 & 2, it's... something else. It's climax wouldn't be out of place in a Rambo movie, and the wit sizzles with the snappiness of a Dirty Harry flick. This isn't a low key vigilante movie- like the other two before it. This is an all-out action fest. Not that I'm complaining. This movie focuses less on sexual violence (although again, it's not entirely absent- regretfully) and more on widespread chaos and carnage- and apparently, Architect-turned-vigilante, Paul Kersey... is the right guy to clean these streets up.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cyborg


  This post-apocalyptic action movie is a damn sight darker than your average world-in-ruins flick. The first few scenes show the devastation up close and with chilling visuals. One of the first things we see is the bloodied and naked corpse of a crucified woman just hanging there as things happen around it. All the characters are so jaded, nobody even notices. As the scene goes on, we see more bodies, dismembered, bloodied, et cetera. This scene would have way more effect if one of the bad guys in it wasn't a sweaty bodybuilding meathead with a perfectly cut 80's mullet. The movie is full of jarring contrasts like that, the least of which have anything to do with it's star- the then-rising star, Mr.Van Damme himself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2


   It's really saying something when you can safely say this movie is probably one of the weirdest in Cannon's whole library of movies. It's horror-comedy that stands in stark contrast to it's almost cinéma vérité predecessor. It's big, it's loud, it's silly and over-the-top and somehow really really disturbing to boot. Director Tobe Hooper, who also did the first one, had no interest in a straight-faced sequel, and the producers apparently didn't quite get it. They thought they just had a dud of a horror movie on their hands. Something completely un-scary that nobody would ever wanna watch. Well, it is divisive- and I disagree about it being completely un-scary, it has some pretty terrifying scenes towards the end. Still, no matter how you slice (and dice) it, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 is weird as hell.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pacific Rim


   In my short break from my Cannon-a-thon, I didn't really go too far off the menu. Giant alien monsters vs guys piloting giant mech robots. Which is the entire concept of Pacific Rim. It's colorful and filled with detail that your average summer blockbuster wouldn't have bothered with. Of course this is no surprise since it's none other than the excellent Guillermo Del Toro at the helm here. I know this review is at least a couple years overdue, and it's not like I haven't seen this movie (several times) before, but better late than never right? Either the giant monsters vs. giant robots line hooked you... or you're wrong. I kid, but only kind of. If the concept doesn't do much for you, the movie won't either. You gotta be a genre fan going into it, or you won't get much out of it. A lot of GDT fans ended up disappointed that this didn't transcend it's own genre, and I'm over here thinking... but why would you even want, need, or expect it to?

Runaway Train


  I didn't expect much from this mid-80's thriller. As a Cannon film, it doesn't really fit in their usual wheelhouse. There's no major action hero, no martial arts, no ninjas, no war, none of that stuff. Instead it's a gritty survival thriller with two escaped convicts on a runaway train. This isn't a premise with a lot of wiggle room. I mean, you either deliver a taut, suspense-filled flick, or you don't, and your movie sucks. Much to my surprise, Runaway Train is actually rather great. Jon Voight and Eric Roberts play the two convicts, and somehow everything just clicks. Their acting is phenomenal, the script is great, the direction is simply electric. Everything about this movie just... works. It's a massive well-oiled machine that runs on pure unleaded tension.

Invasion U.S.A.


   There's a scene in this movie where Chuck Norris' character says "I'm gonna hit you with so many rights, you're gonna beg for a left." with a completely straight face. If that doesn't make you smile, you're not the right audience for this movie. It has an interesting premise, albeit a mostly squandered one. Squads of terrorists infiltrate America, and disguise themselves as police officers, guards, soldiers- etc, and then set out on a campaign of chaos and carnage. Thus... effectively turning the American people against their own protectors. This movie could never be more cultural relevant than right now, except it never will be because the movie doesn't do much with this concept and it devolves into Chuck Norris vs. several hundred of stock bad guys.

Friday, December 4, 2015

American Ninja 2: The Confrontation


  Cannon sequels are great. Last night, before I decided on Death Wish 2, my other two options were American Ninja 2, and Delta Force 2. There's no way you can have a bad time there, no matter what you choose. Though, decidedly I'm a sucker for the more in-your-face, over-the-top kind of punch-em-up, slice-em-up, action flick like American Ninja 2 is. Nothing against Bronson and his brand of justice, I just really like these hokey-but-violent ninja movies. I took the liberty of inviting my little brothers to watch this one with me, and they loved it- of course. What pre-teen boy wouldn't get the biggest kick out a flick like this? They were also very appreciative of the humor in the movie, which was rather cheesy- but I can't deny it, I laughed too.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Death Wish II


  It donned on me in the first ten minutes or so while watching Death Wish II, that I was getting impatient waiting for whatever tragedy that would prompt Paul Kersey (Bronson) to pick up his old... 'hobby'. I realized this from a completely detached perspective and I had a horrible knee-jerk reaction to it. I was literally getting impatient, waiting for some innocent people to get maimed- likely raped and killed, so that the movie could finally get underway. It puts the viewer in a weird predicament. We want to see movies where the bad guys get what's coming to them- which is in this case, murder, but that means innocent people have to get seriously hurt first. Otherwise we can't justify enjoying the subsequent revenge/violence.

Enter the Ninja


  Continuing with my Cannon film binge, Enter the Ninja was next up- the only one out of the ninja 'trilogy' I hadn't seen. Starring... Franco Nero (the original Django) as a Texan named Cole... who's also a ninja... who goes to the Philippines to meet an old friend, and ends up fighting a personal war for said friend against some greedy land developers. I didn't make any of that up. I mean, this "trilogy" gets crazier with each entry, and I believe this was the middle one.  This is a mash up of wildly different cliches and tropes which somehow come together to make a really fun and ridiculous movie. Nero is dubbed with a stereotypical American accent, and it sounds rather silly to me. Not necessarily a bad dub, but still.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Missing in Action


   I seriously tried to watch Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines. I tried to watch it for a whole week. It just wasn't engaging on any level. I watched some other movies during the tail end of last month, but couldn't bring myself to review any of them because... well... Fallout 4 happened to me. Anyways, I decided to treat myself to a documentary today about Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the two 'shlockmeisters' behind Cannon films. One of my favorite names in 80's movies. The whole thing was a weird nostalgia trip for me and now I couldn't help but dive into their 'canon' of movies I've never seen before. It was a no-brainer to start with a Norris flick- and it was almost going to be Invasion U.S.A. but the VHS copy I had bought of it last year (a hobby of mine) was completely destroyed. So Missing in Action was the obvious next choice.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Collection


  With how much The Collector impressed me, I knew I was going to be watching it's sequel the same day. Lo and behold! Here's a decent sequel that tries hard and manages to be well worth a watch. The Collection is Aliens to The Collector's Alien. It's bigger, louder, nastier, and there's just... more. Especially more blood and guts. Does this mean it's better? Well... no. It's not. The first one almost had an elegance in how simple it was, it effectively utilized every second of screentime and delivered so much raw suspense and tension, it legitimately had me squirming in my seat. This one is a gore fest with some great sets, but it's rather lacking in the suspense/tension department. It feels a lot like Saw II as opposed to Saw. In this one, they find the lair of the villain from the first movie and a privately funded team of mercenaries go in to rescue the daughter of a very wealthy man. Oh boy.

The Collector


  Apparently it's possible for a total gem like The Collector to completely fly under the radar of an obsessive movie watcher/horror buff like me. Before anything else, the movie pulled me in with a really mysterious and horrifying hook within the first five minutes. Then... the opening credits. Right away the movie hit me with it's stylish editing and vibrant visual flair. It has the energy of a hardcore music video for a grungy, ear-shredding, genre song. Once the plot kicked into gear, which didn't take long at all, this movie is exceptionally well paced, things go crazy and only get crazier as the movie goes on. I'm kind of dumbstruck by how good this flick was. I had no idea it was going to be so good, but boy am I glad I watched it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Fly


  There's a scene in this lurid, gross-out, sci-fi tale in which Jeff Goldblum's character- Seth Brundle, has discovered he can wall-crawl. Without the heroic pomp and circumstance a movie like Spider-Man would have, all we see is a scared man who's turning into something horrifying. But, my point is specifically about the wall-crawling. This movie was made in the era before CGI became the go-to medium for special effects. When Seth is crawling around on the ceiling, I was looking for wires or bolted down furniture- tell tale signs of an upside down set, that would obviously give him the illusion of being on the ceiling. Except, he starts to descend... down the wall, and seamlessly starts walking across the floor. The effect is so good, I forgot for a second I was looking at an effect.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Terminator Genisys


  Terminator 2 is one of my favorite movies, ever. Easily in my top three of all time. It's predecessor, is in my top ten. Terminator 3, and it's successor aren't even in my top 250. The short answer? Neither is this one. Except... it's still better than 3 and Salvation. I don't hate the casting but it's generally pretty bad. I think at this point you could've actually had Edward Furlong come back as John Connor and it would've been okay. But Jason Clarke? Really? The guy is about as threatening as a sitcom. He's arguably a worse casting choice than both Christian Bale and Nick Stahl. Of course, this is me- Terminator 2 fanboy arguing that nobody is able to live up to the standard set by a preteen from the early 90's. In fact, that's my whole attitude towards this whole movie.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings


  The most impressive thing about Wrong Turn 4, besides it's great practical gore effects, is how it manages to make me despise a group of 20-something party brats more than the bunch of vicious convicts from the previous movie. They're almost as annoying as the 'rookie soldiers' from The Hills Have Eyes 2. They're nothing but obnoxious sex machines. I couldn't care less about who lived or died, save for maaaybe two characters. Also, just like The Hills Have Eyes 2, this is a movie that punishes intelligent thought. When a character suggests playing it safe, or being logical, everyone scoffs at him like he's an idiot. These aren't just college brats, these are stupid college brats. Imagine for a moment how fast a movie like this would be over if the characters were actually smart?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wrong Turn III: Left for Dead


  Not as stylish and atmospheric as the first, nor as crazy as the second, Wrong Turn 3 just seems to... exist, and little else. I suppose the way odds and such go, that even bad movies can have a few really good moments in them. Even an interesting concept behind it all. Wrong Turn 3 seeks to juxtapose a ruthless criminal against the hillbilly mutant cannibal known as Three Finger. "I don't know who's worse-" a character points out in one scene. The problem is, it's a no brainer. No matter how bad the ruthless criminal is, he won't stab you and then start eating you alive. He's motivated by survival, not a homicidal sense of fun.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ant-Man


  Ant-Man is Marvel's latest stylish entry in their cinematic universe, and by far it is one of the most fun. Not saying it's one of the best, but certainly one of the most enjoyable. It has one thing going for it that none of their movies have had since the original Iron Man, and that would be the fact that it's simply uncomplicated. Sure there's easter eggs and nods to the other films in the franchise, but Ant-Man works independently of those movies. It's also not a dog and pony show like the Avengers movies. It's just a fun little adventure flick. With Daredevil darkening things up on Netflix, and Age of Ultron complicating the hell out of things on the big screen, it's nice to see a Marvel movie that does neither- it's just pure Saturday matinee fun.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Avenged


  I gotta admit, the poster art (sampled in the banner above) for Avenged (a.k.a. Savaged) really caught my eye and got me to look the movie up. Though granted the poster is a shoddy Photoshop job upon closer inspection, but still... it did it's job, and I tip my hat to the designer accordingly. Because this movie is friggin neat. I can tell it was a labor of love, and by one man above all. This movie was written, edited, and directed by Michael S. Ojeda. I've never heard of this guy before, but I'll be keeping an eye out for his movies in the future. He spun a wicked tale of murder, rape, and revenge and all with a big supernatural twist. Avenged is part romance movie, part horror, part fantasy, and part action movie. What more could you ask for?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Crimson Peak


  Sure, Crimson Peak might be predictable and people are taking issue with that because the movie carries itself like a mystery but I think in reality it's little more than a showcase of style and atmosphere. On those terms, Crimson Peak is fantastic. It's a brooding and lurid romantic tragedy with ghosts, murder, sex, and lots of eeriness. It's plot might not be it's strong suit, and the casting might be a little stale in some areas, but the majority of Crimson Peak is something to cherish. I've heard plenty of people say this isn't really a horror movie, and I guess they're right to a large degree- but it's more legitimately frightening than a lot of horror movies that consider themselves as such. Why the distinction? Crimson Peak is many things. It's a period piece, a romance, a drama, a fantasy story, a ghost story, and most certainly a horror movie. But, above all... Crimson Peak is simply great.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Hills Have Eyes 2


  Oh man, if liking Wrong Turn 2 made me question if I've grown fond of crappy horror movies, The Hills Have Eyes 2 had the answer, and the answer is a big resounding "No." I don't see how anyone could like this one. In this 80 something minute slog, there's maybe 5 minutes that are actually watchable and borderline good. If you lower your standards even more, maybe- just MAYBE you could possibly find the last 20 minutes approaching something resembling 'interesting'. But, in all honesty this is one of those movies that you either feel you have to see, or you're a sane person and stayed the hell away.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End


   By all known laws of the universe, this movie should be a horrible piece of crap. It's a direct-to-video sequel to a modestly successful horror movie that had one vaguely recognizable actress in it, and this one virtually has none. So how is this one so friggin fun? Either some serious magic went down behind the scenes here, or I've become keen on shitty horror movies. I'm much more inclined to believe the former. I think the first thing this movie does right is that it never takes itself too seriously. It's a ridiculous movie and it's aware of this. It seems very conscious of the fact that it should be crap, and they must've had a blast defying all those expectations.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Joy Ride



  Another blind buy from last month's impulse grabs, this white-knuckle thriller took me entirely by surprise. I'm learning new lessons every day, and this movie taught me not to judge a book (or in this case, a movie) by it's cover. It's not a new lesson per se, but it's one that's easy to forget- or at the very least, fail to heed. For all intents and purposes, The Green Inferno should've blown me away, and this should've been a turd. Quite the opposite in point of fact. I feel bad, because in the past- I took one look at all the young hip and ridiculously photogenic actors on the poorly photoshopped DVD cover and dismissed it as lowest common denominator drivel from an era of movies that nobody is going to give a shit about in ten years.

The Green Inferno


   Director Eli Roth has a big reputation for making extremely gory movies, and the prospect of him tackling the cannibal genre tickled me pink. Especially since Cannibal Holocaust is one of his favorite movies, and probably one of the most disturbing and notorious cannibal movies ever made. How could this possibly go wrong? Right? Well, lemme just say right now I enjoyed The Green Inferno. I thought it was alright. Is it great? Not really. It's kinda silly to be honest. It's little more than a soft-pedaled intro into what's usually a much bloodier genre. Newcomers to cannibal flicks might enjoy it a lot more than veterans would. But, when all is said and done it's not a bad movie. Just an underwhelming one.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation


  This was like a splash of cold water to the face after watching practically nothing but horror movies for a whole month. Swinging back into action is Ethan Hunt and his IMF team. This time, there's a whole anti-IMF agency called The Syndicate. They're set up as a major threat, like Spectre is to Bond and MI-6. Only the Mission: Impossible movies don't have that kind of franchise-long dedication, so we know by the end of the movie the Syndicate will be brought down. If you think that's a spoiler, you haven't been paying attention to these movies. Nevertheless, Rogue Nation is a fun thrill ride with plenty of familiar faces that have definitely become franchise mainstays as much as insane action sequences and death defying stunts.

Ash vs. Evil Dead


   What a way to end October and kick off November! I'm probably going to be spending most of November revisiting horror faves of mine that didn't make the cut for my October horror-thon, which most likely means I'll be digging up the original Evil Dead movies. Not to mention I just ordered the Shout Factory release of Army of Darkness, so hell yeah. Bring it on. But, even more exciting than that was the premiere of Ash vs. Evil Dead. It marks the return of Bruce Campbell to his most famous role, that of Ashley J. Williams, the protagonist of the Evil Dead trilogy. I don't know what inter-movie connectivity they have going on since the Evil Dead remake, which was apparently not necessarily a remake at all. (Scroll a little more than half way down on the page that links to) So... what does that mean for this show?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Creature from the Black Lagoon


   As a movie buff in general, there's always a whole heap of classic films I feel guilty for not watching. When weighed against a lot of the junk I usually watch, it's almost a crime. With my October Horror-thon and Halloween itself coming to a close, I decided to end it with a bang. What better flick to cap it all off with than one of the original creature features? It was a no-brainer actually, and one I had been planning all month. I dimmed the lights, popped the popcorn and started the movie up. It's breezy 80-ish minute long runtime left no room for sluggish pacing. Almost right away, Creature from the Black Lagoon was proving it's reputation with frightening gusto. This is definitely the penultimate granddaddy of all creature feature flicks.

Ringu


  Now here's a movie with a ton of exposure. Ringu is the victim of at least two remakes, one prequel that I know of, and a few sequels so far. So, in the wake of all of that... how does it hold up? Exceptionally well actually. It's far from what I expected, and much better to boot. I thought this was going to buckle under it's weighty reputation a lot like The Exorcist did for me, but that wasn't the case at all. Ringu is a horror movie in the sense that it revolves around horrific things like a deadly supernatural curse and murder and stuff like that- but... Ringu is nothing like a conventional horror movie.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dog Soldiers


   Another werewolf movie that has simply blown me away. I'd heard about Dog Soldiers a long time ago, and always meant to watch it, but just never got around to it. After the fantastic Late Phases, I figured I owed myself another solid werewolf flick. This one might get off to a weird start, and the thick English/Scottish accents are almost indecipherable at times without subtitles, but make no mistake, this movie is a hell of a ride. It has the same kind of tension and scary action as Aliens does, and that gives it major brownie points in my book. Yet, it wouldn't get any praise from me if it wasn't done right. Dog Soldiers pulls it off and then some.

Candyman


   All I knew about Candyman before watching it was that it had Tony Todd as the eponymous villain, a hook-handed killer spawned from urban legends, and Virginia Madsen in it as the lead protagonist. I figured it would've easily fit alongside other popular horror flicks like A Nightmare on Elm St. or Child's Play. Yet I should've known better. With Clive Barker attached, and it being based on one of his works, I should've known this would be anything but conventional. This is right up there with Hellraiser. Candyman is a thoroughly surprising, unique, and disturbing psychological terror trip. I'm just surprised I hadn't seen it sooner.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Uninvited


   I knew that by the end of the day I was going to end up in crappy territory. Lo and behold, I was right. I don't know why this movie got three stars from Roger Ebert, or why user reviews tend to be so favorable towards it. It's cliche, drawn out, anti-climactic and a chore to sit through. I kept hoping it would get better, but I blame the script. The directors clearly know how to generate tension and scares through visuals and the like, but the characters are so static and un-engaging that by the time we get to the twist ending, we've only traded one crap story for another.  Regardless, if you must know, the movie isn't entirely without merit.

Let Us Prey


   Let Us Prey is a movie that for the most part just lets you make up your own mind about what happens, and boy... a lot of stuff happens. The movie is about a rookie cop's first night on the job in a small Scottish town where a mysterious man arrives, and appears to know something about everyone. I mean, that's about as much info as we can really grasp onto for 95% of the movie. It's not so much a horror movie as it is just... a gory movie, but it also doesn't really fit neatly into any other genre I can think of either. So, horror will just have to do. Anyhow, the movie is full of killers, scumbags, and generally just... really bad people. A big theme of the movie happens to be paying for your sins, or something. Well, there's no shortage of sin around these parts!

Late Phases


  I'm well aware I've been slacking off with my nightly horror reviews, but this should be the first of a couple I cram in today. If they're all as good as Late Phases, I'm in for a real whole-day-long treat. I'm not overly fond of werewolf movies. I love the concept, but haven't found too many that have struck any real chords with me. Many refer to An American Werewolf in London as a great werewolf movie. It's humor and lack of an actual werewolf for the majority of the movie threw me off, and I ended up disappointed. This movie though... damn. It's as stylish and cool as it is bloody and intense. The movie revolves around a blind and aging Vietnam vet named Ambrose, who recently moved into a small retirement village... town... thing, only to find that it's been plagued by a monster.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

From Hell


  A movie about Jack the Ripper, starring Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, and Ian Holm. What could go wrong? I ask un-ironically as that was literally the pitch that made me want to watch this movie. From Hell is a nightmarish and highly fictionalized romp that plays fast and loose with facts despite dealing with real events. But, see, it's not based on real events. It's based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, etc.). Oh and this movie is not directed by Tim Burton. Go figure. The movie is directed by The Hughes Brothers, who's previous efforts include Menace II Society and Dead Presidents. Neither of those movies clicked with me, but their foray into Gothic slasher territory has at last caught my attention.

Monday, October 26, 2015

[REC] 2


   I'm not a massive fan of the found footage genre. Not even a moderate fan. However, from time to time I do find myself enjoying certain found footage movies like the original [REC], The Taking of Deborah Logan, and a few others. [REC] and this one, [REC] 2 are sterling examples of how found footage can be an excellent storytelling medium without being annoying or contrived. I discovered the first one a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, and soon after a good friend of mine urged me to watch the sequel. I got myself a copy straightaway, but never got around to watching it until now. Oh man, I had no idea the awesomeness that I had just laying around, un-watched, for a full couple years.

Wrong Turn


   This blood n' guts thriller predates The Hills Have Eyes remake by three years, but I was going through some major deja vu while watching this. It feels like a cousin to the 'Eyes remake. Well... a cousin, and a brother. Simultaneously. Y'know, because... the flavor of the week here isn't atomic radiation, it's the effects of inbreeding! Nevertheless, swap the new mexico desert for the woods of West Virginia, and swap one batch of stranded people for a different group of stranded people, add some inbred mutant cannibals and presto! Wrong Turn!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Hills Have Eyes


  I may not have been into horror movies when this one came out, but the concept of killer cannibal mutants terrorizing a family stranded in the desert stuck in my head. Over time curiosity would get the better of me every now and again, and I'd look the movie up, but never brought myself to watch it. Yet the concept grew on me. I liked the backstory of atomic tests in the desert resulting in these people mutating. Scary stuff man. Anyway, a while ago I decided to at least watch the original, which I quickly found out had none of the mutant stuff. The antagonists were just deranged cannibals. No atomic testing, no mutants, and my interest quickly waned. But, I had no idea then that I would come right back to this one, and enjoy the hell out of it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Serpent and the Rainbow


  This is the third Wes Craven movie I've reviewed in the span of a month or so. Give or take a couple weeks. They've all been wildly different, and all far from his towering icon of terror, A Nightmare on Elm St. It's been fun to explore his filmography, but it really hasn't been intentional. I didn't set out to watch Wes Craven films, I set out just to watch horror movies. I suppose those two things are wholly synonymous any way you slice it. Last House on the Left, Deadly Friend, and now this one, The Serpent and the Rainbow- have all been very unique experiences, but this movie was undoubtedly the odd one out. Set against the backdrop of revolution and corrupt local politics in Haiti, the movie is about an anthropologist hired to investigate the process of "zombification", which seems to have been perfected in the area.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Evil Dead


  A long time fan of the franchise, I was keen to see what they'd done with this remake back in 2013, and without fail, I immediately saw it, and reviewed it. But, I wasn't thrilled with it. It was just 'okay' to me. Yet for some reason, it seriously stuck in my head and I've been nursing a desire to see it again for well over a year. Given that it's October, and I'm all about seasonal viewing this month, I figured... why the hell not? I've mainly been shooting for movies I haven't seen before, but I was really going to dig into this one and give it a good thorough once-over. I can safely say it was one of the best picks I've decided on all month. This movie was simply begging to be let out of the cellar.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Deadly Friend


  So, Deadly Friend is basically Frankenstein + Short Circuit. I mean, that should tell you all you need to know about this movie. It's painfully dated, but still ridiculous fun. I had heard opinions from both sides about this movie. Some people hate it, some love it- but regardless, the most common gripe was about the tone of the movie, not the quality of it. I popped this movie in without expecting much, despite the fact it was directed by Wes Craven. It was going to be nothing but a filler entry between yesterday's It Follows and my planned entry for tomorrow. Yet, despite not being very into it, the movie drew me in and made me more invested than I had any intention of being.

Monday, October 19, 2015

It Follows


  Horror movies nowadays are faced with one of the most over-exposed and critical generations of movie-goers imaginable. We've seen it all, and we can't decide if we want more of the same, or something completely different. We praise certain movies that harken back to the good ol' days of horror movies (70's, 80's) but then chastise others for doing the same thing. Some are nostalgic, some are antiquated. I can imagine there's some studio executive somewhere nursing an ulcer trying to figure out what audiences actually want. Nah, who am I kidding? Studio executives clearly don't care about the viewers, it's the creative types who're trying to deliver the good stuff these days.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tremors 5: Bloodlines


  The Tremors movies and I go way back, like way way back. Some of my first experiences with the concept of creature feature movies was with Tremors. I couldn't have been older than... seven. Or eight. These movies were fun and scary, humorous and intense. It's been the crux of the franchise as much as Michael Gross has. On those basic concepts Tremors 5 does not fail, in fact it actually does rather well. It cuts back on the comedy, and goes back to basics... somewhat. This Tremors movie takes place in South Africa, where franchise stalwart Burt Gummer has been enlisted to help with an outbreak of Assblasters. If you don't know what Assblasters are... you got some catching up to do.

Slumber Party Massacre II


  I love the 'Massacre' movies. They're laughable junk for the most part, and even when they're not they're just competent slasher thrillers. The first Slumber Party Massacre was very serviceable. Nothing amazingly memorable, but it had some good looking protagonists, and some cool gore effects. So, I wasn't expected much from this one besides more of the same. Imagine my surprise then when this movie is nothing like that, or any of the other 'Massacre' movies. This movie is sheer off-the-wall insanity! I haven't seen a slasher flick so wild outside of Freddy's franchise. This movie was a wild ride, and one I can't believe I didn't go on sooner.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Fan


   After sticking it out through the last crappy movie I watched, I decided to (hopefully) treat myself with a well reviewed movie this time, a rather obscure cult flick called 'Der Fan'. I didn't know much about this movie when I landed a copy to give it a watch. I read about it in an article which thankfully didn't give much away. I knew that it was a West German horror flick about a teenage fan-girl, Simone, who goes to great lengths to meet a super famous pop star known solely as "R". From knowing only that, you can see how the premise could go in many different directions. Not knowing which one only made the movie all the more suspenseful and intense for me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Necromentia


  I started thinking up my review for this movie before it even hit the halfway mark, and even then I knew it was going to be a negative review- which is quite the understatement. Amazingly, I have a bit of a history with this flick. I saw an advertisement or something for it somewhere when it just came out back in 2009, right around the time I was discovering the horror genre on my own. The poster promised it was like 'Hellraiser meets Saw', which at the time were on the forefront of all the horror movies I was discovering, and those were sitting atop the heap. I loved em. Anyways, normally bait like that wouldn't outright hook me, but I was young and dumb and very much interested.