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.

The Omen


  The Omen is a classic. Through and through. In fact, I think it's one of the few 'classics' from the 70's-80's era of horror that totally deserves it's reputation. It holds up incredibly well. It brings to mind Rosemary's Baby, as if it was a variation on a theme. If Rosemary's Baby played up the horror and suspense of something potentially evil growing inside of the main protagonist, The Omen is the aftermath, which is just as terrifying. Evil is typically personified as big scary brutes with a weapon of the week and something hiding their face, or a disfigurement. I hear 'evil', I think Freddy, or some larger than life portrayal of Satan. I don't, however, think of cute little kids.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Necropolis


  I had watched Necropolis a couple weeks ago and entirely forgot to review it. I don't review every movie I watch, but when there's a demonic witch lady with six boobs, breastfeeding zombies... you tend to wanna talk about it. The plot was fuzzy in my memory, but revisiting the movie for the sake of reviewing it didn't much help matters. There's a witch who can steal people's bodies, and she got killed or something a long time ago and now she's exacting revenge on the reincarnated versions of the people who killed her- all in modern day New York City. I think that's the gist of it. Or something. I don't know.

Rick and Morty


  Imagine if you had a cartoon about Doc Brown and Marty McFly... that took the formula of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids TV show, and then ripped all the plots and stories out of Charlie Sheen's mind after he spent a full day binging shows like Fringe and Doctor Who on Netflix. Then you'd have a vague approximation of the amazingness that is Rick and Morty. In my humble opinion, it's the only thing to catch my eye that's come out of Adult Swim in ages. With the possible exception of Black Dynamite and whatever the hell they do with Toonami these days. I also can't pretend like I keep tabs much on Adult Swim. Every so often someone shoves a youtube clip in front of my face, and what I see is just... inert. It's not funny, but it thinks it is.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

DragonBall Z: Resurrection 'F'


  Well if you're even remotely interested in Resurrection 'F' and haven't seen Battle of Gods yet, I recommend you do so. I mean, it's not essential in any significant way but they feel like decent companion pieces to each other. If you're on the fence about Battle' still, check out my review here, and you can get a feel for not only my opinion of the movie, but also gauge my love of the show against yours to see if these movies are for you. Being a fan is pretty essential to enjoying these movies. They really are made for the longtime devotees of the franchise.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Soldier



   Soldier is a movie that exists somewhere between a near-forgotten memory and movie bargain bins everywhere. It's not bad enough to bash, yet not unique enough to praise. It's completely serviceable as a Friday night rental, or a Saturday matinee. It's a slick looking, well packaged, good time- assembled from the spare parts of a hundred other movies. Sometimes those other movies are better, sometimes they're not. This movie has a leg up on plenty of other middle-of-the-road sci-fi actioners of the era, because it's honestly not bad and manages to be very entertaining.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Punisher


  This early effort to bring one of the most famous comic book vigilante characters ever to the big screen landed in 1989, albeit not with the impact the filmmakers had hoped. Due to major financial issues, New World Pictures was unable to give The Punisher the wide release in the USA that it had hoped to. The film debuted on silver screens internationally just fine though. I do firmly believe this is why the movie doesn't have more of a solid cult status now, because when all is said and done... this is a really solid flick.

   ...For the most part.