Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

Very fun possession tale of a small township overcome by a growing evil infecting the towns youths. A farmer uncovers the rotted corpse of a fiendish being, and soon after the towns children slip out of their homes and begin worshiping Behemoth at black masses in the woods. The film is light-hearted though it deals with dark subject matter, with a playful nature, bright colors, and upbeat music contrasting the witchcraft, seduction, and sacrifices occurring on screen. Though it is a bit disjointed at first, the plot is very original, straightforward, and simple. I wouldnt go so far as to say the performances are campy, but they are not played as straight and serious as the Hammer period pieces, yet character still offers a complete sense of credibility. The makeup work for the devil is unlike any other as well, though he is kept in the shadows for the majority of the film. Blood is a great watch, with elements of Children of the Corn and Rosemary's Baby all wrapped up into one. Recommended!

Rating: 8/10.

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Hitch-Hike (1977)

The unofficial third chapter in David Hess' rape-revenge trilogy, pitting an unhappy married couple against a murderous hitch-hiking thief on a trip back from Nevada. Hess plays very much the same distasteful and hated character molded after Krug from The Last House on the Left, a role that seems to come naturally to him since he is just as convincing in this film. Franco Nero plays the lead protagonist (if you can call him that), lending a strong and emotive performance that is empathetic at times while repulsive at others. Clery plays opposite the men, and is both beautiful and disarming. The film is pure Exploitation, but the beautiful cinematography and multi-layered story add a little class to a series of otherwise disgusting events. It meets the criteria of the sub-genre, with plenty of nudity, sex, rape, violence, bad dubbing, and bloody deaths. It is fast paced though repetitive at times, but all in all Hitch-Hike is an above average effort. The one thing I would have left out was the scene with the teens at the end, as it was a failed attempt at irony. A staple for Exploitation and Last House fans worth seeking out!

Rating: 7/10.



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Horror Games: 50 Movies, Hidden in a Painting

For anyone that missed this game when it first debuted years ago, this is an excellent little riddle game based off of Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights and horror films we are all familiar with. See how fast you can get them all and be sure to post your scores below! I cant post mine, because I have never successfully answered the entire thing without cheating. Good luck with the Grim Reaper, and have fun:

http://us.mms.com/us/dark/dark_game.jsp

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Friday, May 29, 2009

The Asphyx (1973)

A photographer discovers the spirit of death that survives off of the souls of those about to die when reviewing pictures taken of his family right before their deaths. He attempts to reverse the Asphyx's powers to gain immortality. Definitely an original plot that is executed very well as a believable period piece, but the pacing is extremely slow and I struggled to keep my attention on the film. The FX for the transparent spirit are very neat considering the time at which it was made. The sets and acting all recall the style of the Hammer films, so Hammer fans will find a lot to like. The film is more dramatic than it is suspenseful really, but it is backed by very good acting. Worth checking out, but not top priority.

Rating: 7/10.


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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Subterano (2003)

While the premise seemed promising, this indie horror from down under didnt make the cut. An escaped convict must help a group of social misfits escape when they are trapped into a deadly game of survival in a parking structure rigged with killer robotics. Seems great? The robots are probably the least intimidating looking RC cars that have been mocked up to be cyber-futuristic whatsits, which detracts from the sense of suspense and makes them soft. The characters, acting, and dialogue are enough to get by, but definitely fall into the generic indie pitfalls. Where the film does succeed is in its decent CGI and interesting camera work, which at least keeps the film moving forward as the characters progress down each level in the subterranean structure. The final conflict should be the culmination of everything the film has built up to, and it does offer a bigger, badder villain, but that still isnt saying much. Overall, its a pretty bland attempt on a video game adaptation from a game no one has heard of or cares about.

Rating: 6/10.
Entertainment: 5/10.



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The Bone Snatcher (2003)

Pick this one up immediately. I have passed over this one a million times, but for a small independent film, it is an excellent effort and has a lot to offer the average horror fan. Set in the deserts of South Africa, a group of miners happen upon the skeletal remains of three of their colleagues that had only been missing for a day. They soon find out there is a flesh-eating ghoul roaming the barren wasteland, collecting bones to give itself form. The combination of physical and computerized FX is handled evenly, and is very well done. The viewer is given glimpses of the beast, but since it has to constantly collect new bones to retain its shape, it has no singular form, which keeps the audience guessing what shape the monster will take each time. This also sets it apart as an entirely unique creature unlike any other, best described as a humanoid blob of tar interlaced with the bones and skulls of the fallen. The performances of each of the actors are far superior to the average direct to DVD fare, and though they are not entirely original, they are convincing and believable. What is most surprising is the professional cinematography for such a low budget film. The director takes full advantage of the setting, painting the sand dunes into a desolate but beautiful landscape using inventive framing and angled shots. The film certainly isnt without its flaws, but it has not received the recognition it deserves in the indie horror realm. Considering I got it for $0.01 on Amazon, what do you have to lose?

Rating: 8/10.
Gore: 6/10.



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Split Second (1992)

More of a Rutger Hauer vehicle than anything else, this Action / SciFi / Horror flick offers some bloody fun and a sweet monster design, even if it it is a pretty average film in all other ways. A renegade cop tracks a heart-eating alien beast through the futuristic streets of a flooded London in an attempt to avenge his murdered partner. There are plenty of awesome sets, big guns, clever quips, and Hauer still proves to be James Woods and Dennis Hopper's love child, but my biggest problem with the film is it just never amounts to much. After over an hour and 15m of quick glimpses of the monster and implied violence thinned out by uninteresting and unnecessary exposition, the final battle is entirely anticlimactic, with very little action ending in even less bloodshed. That isnt to say that the characters arent likable, nor that the film isnt entertaining, there is just far too much build and dialogue revolving around what ends up being an unworthy adversary. Some may disagree, but I dont think the film is the greatest by any means, but it is a fun monster romp, and Hauer is always a blast, so this is worth seeking out if you can find it!

Rating: 7/10.
Gore: 6/10.



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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mutant (1984)

Cover art:


Actual monsters:


So as it turns out, the version of Mutant I received is actually the film Mutant AKA Night Shadows (AKA How I Wasted Three Dollars), as opposed to the film depicted in the cover art, which should have been Mutant AKA Forbidden World.. This led to much confusion, anger, and sorrow. Night Shadows is about a shit ass town that gets turned into alien leech zombies when the citizens are exposed to radiactive waste. Artists rendition:

Most of it sucks, but once the zombie outbreak reaches it climax in a full scale town invasion, the film picks up. The make-up is ok, calling back to Orville from CSPWDT, but there is little gore (from what I could see in the craptacular VHS-rip DVD). Every other aspect of the film is pretty middle of the road low budget 80s, with average acting and a bland, derivative plot. My favorite part of the whole movie is when the protagonist goes to the doctor after touching a dead body, and the doctor dismisses his symptoms as a "chemical reaction" that should go away soon. Which she deducted from his burning skin and vomiting. Miss this one intentionally unless you hit the bottom of the bucket and still want more.

Rating: 5/10.



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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1993)

So every day, we would be out in the streets playing tag football, and once it got to be around 5:00 I would tell everyone my mom wanted me in before dark. They knew, and they called me on it: "You're just going home to watch Power Rangers!" Looking back at the series, I know in my heart that its terrible, but Ill be damned if it wasnt awesomely terrible in its giant monster, awful kung-fu action. Plus, Kimberly was hot. So, getting to the movie.. The costuming is still really cool, with Lord Zed and Goldar looking sweet as always. The Rangers have vamped up costumes, which I actually felt were too cumbersome compared to the classic designs. The film introduces a new villain that is just plain annoying in his haughty humor, which may have appealed to the kiddies but I prefer a mean-spirited villain in any horror (?) film. The acting and plot are naturally terrible, but again taken from the perspective of the intended audience, dramatic overacting is expected in a kids flick. In the final Zords battle, the film makes a leap in introducing some early CGI, which was actually impressive for the time but is incredibly aged now. I found myself missing the stupid, clunky Kaiju costuming from the series, which always had more impact even if they were fighting on miniature sets. Overall, I found the film to be incredibly taxing after the hour mark, and it proved that the premise of the show could carry a half-hour but should never have made it to the big screen. It just doesnt offer the nostalgic throwback fun that it should, and though it gains points for the big budget set designs and costuming, it is a big pass. The Power Rangers must unlock the Great Power and their new Ninjetti powers in order to save Zordon from a terrible new villain.

Rating: 6/10.
Entertainment: 5/10.



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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rumpelstiltskin (1995)

Here's my impression of Rumpelstiltskin: "Oh wow, Im Rumpelstiltskin, I think Im smart and clever like Leprechaun, Im so funny, Im SO going to get a series!!" Now heres a one word review of Rumpelstiltskin in a Russian accent: "Terrible." Lame attempt to recapture the success of the Leprechaun series, lacking the humor, over the top gore, and campy acting that made the mean greenie a classic. The film blew most of its budget on a semi used in an overextended chase sequence, leaving them with no other option but to hire D-grade actors and cheap FX. There are tons of laughable (but not funny) scenes, my favorite always being how Rumpelstiltskin has magical powers, but he still cleverly sneaks through doors and windows. The film never generates any scares or suspense, and isnt even the fun excuse for a gorefest it should have been. My wife wont let me finish the review without adding that "At least Rumpelstiltskins makeup was pretty kewl." I cant get through this review without demeaning the film or adding more sarcasm, so I am just going to leave it as a pass and move on with my life.

Rating: 4/10.
Gore: 5/10.



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Monday, May 25, 2009

Se7en (1995)

I would beg to have anyone find fault in Se7en, which is as close to perfection in the Suspense / Thriller sub-genre as any film has gotten since The Silence of the Lambs. With dank, musty sets shot in cool blues and greens, the design of the film maintains a high level of grit and disgusting reality that compliments the theme beautifully. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman each offer excellent performances, but for my taste Kevin Spacey takes the role a little over the top, making the killer unnaturally evil and awkward. The plot is intelligent, clever, and intricately constructed, while never compromising its integrity by feeling contrived or portraying events that are outside of the realm of reality. Im cutting this one short because the film does not need a defense, it is an excellent piece of filmmaking that transcends the genre and has a mass appeal to film fans at large. A rookie detective joins a seasoned veteran on a case involving a series of murders based on the seven deadly sins.

Rating: 10/10.



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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mosquito Man (2005)

This is the perfect example of why I want to just e-mail bulk DVD sellers on Amazon and see if they will unload 1,000 independent, no-name horror titles for $1.00/ea so I can finally see all of the titles that I have overlooked in the past because I judge books by their covers to find hidden treasures like this one. Mosquito Man is a surprising little creature feature with elements of The Fly mixed with The Bride of Frankenstein that offers a SciFi Channel Original plot with very decent acting and directing along with superb FX work. The plot is simple enough, with a death-row convict being transformed into a mutant mosquito man after being exposed to a new antivirus in a shootout at a test facility. Naturally, he escapes and goes on a murderous rampage. The physical FX and costuming are unbelievable for the budget, and are almost on par with the work on The Fly and The Fly 2. What is more amazing is that the CGI in the film is not only not bad, but quite good, and the transitions from physical to computer FX are almost untraceable. There is also a great deal of blood and gore, which is always welcome in a creature flick. In terms of the production qualities and performances, I cant find any fault in any of the areas of filmmaking given the budgetary constraints and scale. It is a good low-budget effort that is way above average for the current SciFi Original fare, and though the film isnt great in the grander scheme of things, it is much better than it should be. Recommended to fans of The Fly and cheapie killer creature films!

Rating: 7/10*.
Gore: 7/10.

*Its always important to note that my ratings scale is a graduated scale that adjusts for budget and independent films, since it would otherwise be unfair to directly compare a film shot on $30,000 with a film shot on $10M.



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The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

Considering this Hammer entry has seemingly been pirated more than any other since it became public domain, I have to admit I had extremely low expectations for the film. To my surprise, this Dracula effort retains the high Hammer production values and offers a unique plot. Police investigators enlist the help of Abraham Van Helsing's descendant when a series of deaths plague the city once again in the 1970s. It seems a plague is being spread to destroy mankind, but who is the villain behind the curtain, and what could his motives be? This sequel has much more in common with Dracula AD 1972 than it does with the earlier entries, using the modern urban landscape in drab tones over the stylized and colorful set designs of the period pieces. That doesnt stop them from creating eerie underground lairs for the vampires to inhabit, making for more great stakings. Cushing and Lee return in true form, and give good performances nearly two decades after the original films release. This film isnt nearly as bloody as the earlier efforts, and lacks much of the atmosphere and amazing design Hammer had become known for in the 50s and 60s, but it is still an enjoyable film and should please any fan of the series.

Rating: 7/10.

*Anyone looking to pick up the film, the Digiview release of the film available for nothing (I got my copy at Dollar Tree for $1.00) has amazing picture quality and is in widescreen format. It looks to have been a stolen copy of either the region 2 or Anchor Bay release, so it comes recommended!



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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dog Soldiers (2002)

Despite the name and the introductory title music / opening scene, what seemed to be a run-of-the-mill SciFi Original paid off in spades, quickly becoming one of the best werewolf films in decades. A British military training mission turns deadly when the soldiers come face to face with an unexpected pack of werewolves in the forest. The creatures are hidden throughout the majority of the film, only showing glimpses of the beasts as they dart between trees while they rapidly stalk their prey. The forest setting makes for beautiful atmosphere, punctuated by blue filters and fog effects. The latter half of the film follows the typical Night of the Living Dead scenario, with the wolves surrounding the men in a farm house that was thought to be abandoned. The final reveal shows impressive costuming and design for the wolves, standing 7-8' tall on stilted haunches, made all the more scary and menacing through the use of low-angled shots. Marshall was able to take familiar elements from previous genre efforts and create a fast-paced werewolf film that is both unique and engaging, which is made all the more believable through the solid casting and acting. Dog Soldiers is an absolute must-see, and ranks among the best for 2002 and the werewolf subgenre!

Rating: 9/10.



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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Child (1977)

This no budget zombie effort offers completely surprising and awesome FX if you can make it through the slow pacing and generic 70s acting / plotting. A babysitter becomes suspicious of the young girl she is looking after when she continually sneaks out to visit her 'friends' in the cemetery. As the girl's nocturnal visitors begin killing off the locals, the babysitter is left to defend herself against the ghoulish offenders. The film offers excellent atmosphere at times, with surreal and nightmarish dream sequences and creeping fog effects. At others, it is a drab and lifeless walk through 70s low budget tedium as we are introduced to disposable characters and pointless dialogue. The one character that does stand out is the daughter, who is slightly off-kilter, calling back to Cathy from Cathy's Curse in that she is disturbed and has a menacing, vengeful sense about her. There is a change-up after the first hour, when the suspense and build up that has been solely psychological up to this point switches gears and becomes a blend of dark Gothic and survivalist horror. The zombie make-up and costume designs are unlike anything else in the genre, and the film becomes a graphic gorefest with outstanding FX that are as bloody as they are unexpected. This film wont soon win any awards, but for the patient viewer the slow build will definitely pay off. Recommended as a creepy 70s zombie effort for fans of films like Cathy's Curse or dare I say House by the Cemetery?

Rating: 6/10.
Entertainment: 7/10.
Gore: 8/10.


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Scream 3 (2000)

Here we have a case where the stretch to make a surprise twist ending was so far out of left field that it bordered on stupidity. And by bordered, I definitely mean crossed into and wallowed in. I wouldnt say I hate Scream 3, but I sure dont like it. None of the returning characters serve to better the plot, the acting and dialogue are standard and passable, the kills and gore are unoriginal, it just plain isnt a fun film. The one scene that I will give it credit for is the return to the Woodsborough lot, recapturing several sequences from the original, but everything else in the film is hokey and leaves a distinct distaste of overbudgeted teen horror at its worst. Bring on Scream 4, Craven. A new masked killer stalks Sidney and the cast of Stab 3, but what could possibly be the murderous motives this time?

Rating: 6/10.
Entertainment: 5/10.

Justification: A 5/10 is a complete fail in my book, but its many flaws, the filmmaking still deserves some credit for at least making an effort that desperately wanted to be original.



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Scream 2 (1997)

Following the success of the first film, the expectations for both sequels were set higher than normal. Ultimately, they both fail for similar reasons. Scream 2 is a retread on the original plot in many ways, with a contrived plot formulated in an attempt to bring back as many of the original characters as possible. It follows the same basic structure of the first film, while trying to break even more rules in the horror code of conduct, but when being unconventional becomes conventional, breaking all the rules just feels like a gimmick. Sidney and the crew are faced with what they believe to be a copy cat killer on their college campus, but who will be the surprise killer in a film filled with cameos?? Ugh. The film does start off with a brilliant opening scene that offers the same sharp humor used previously to comment on the horror genre, but from there the plot is left with the standard slasher cat and mouse and underwhelming kills. I commend fans of the series, since it takes a lot of justification and overlooking to like the followups, but please, tell me Im wrong!

Rating: 7/10.
Entertainment: 5/10.

Now this is the point where my ratings system will fall under fire, but despite my disdain for the film, it is shot ok, the acting is average, there is a high body count, and all in all it is still better than the films I would typically rate a 6/10. Sure, I could have put all that in the review, but where would the fun be?



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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Baby Blues (2008)

Backed by several Top Ten lists ranking it highly for 2008, I have to admit I bought into the hype behind this film. Unfortunately, after a promising opening, the film immediately falls into a tedious and conventional survival flick, relying on the taboo-breaking child murders to sensationalize the picture over building any true suspense. One cant deny that it is truly horrifying in that it centers around a mother losing base with reality due to a bad case of post-partum depression causing her to slaughter her children, which is sure to shake even hardened horror fans. The problem is that it just isnt overly interesting, and once the shock fades, the remaining game of cat and mouse could have come out of any other genre film. The acting is above average, with the southern dialect selling the characters and the mother's fall into delirium lending the role credibility, however the film just pushes her character too far to the point where she is above and beyond any believable level of crazy, entering the realm of super-crazy. The result is a detachment between the film and the audience, which simply cant happen in a film based on a true story. Good editing, beautiful color palette, decent writing, and overall an ok film, but I just wasnt won over by it.

Rating: 7/10.



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My Bloody Valentine 3D (2008)

In theaters, this was one of the best movie-going experiences I have ever had. At home with the magenta / green glasses, despite all fears, the film still looks fantastic and is just as much fun. In an era where shitty remakes and cash-ins prevail, the biggest underdog of them all stepped in and raised the bar for awesome. The 3D filming in MBV3D is extremely impressive, not only popping blood and pick-axes off of the screen at the audience, but creating a full depth of field unlike anything in the past. There is no point where the feature looks or feels gimmicky, and every shot shows care and precision in planning and execution. The lighting effects are incredible, with the flashlights and head lamps shining right off the screen.

On to the film itself, though it isnt the most suspenseful horror movie, it makes up for it in surprise, gore, and brutality. It is a balls to the wall slasher that is relentless from start to finish, and it does not pretend to be something that its not by forcing any kind of depth in storytelling or message. The plot exists only as an excuse for the bloodfest to come, and though it completely lacks originality and falls strictly along the lines of the classic 80s slashers, it recaptures the basic, pure nature of the slasher that has been lacking in recent years. This may be considered heresy in the horror community, but this is one of the few remakes that I strongly feel outdoes the original in every way. The Miner is just as pissed off and forceful as in the first, but the filming, directing, design, and gore all surpass the 1981 film. The acting cant be defended, and is very average teen horror-y in every way. This causes the suspended disbelief to be lifted throughout the film, but when a miner is running around popping jaws off and eyeballs out with a pick-ax in 3D, I would venture to guess the audience can overlook the fact for the most part. One of the best of 2008 and an absolute must-see for any slasher fan. Seriously. As in, go buy it right now!

Rating: 8/10.
Entertainment: 10/10.
Gore: 10/10.



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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Lawnmower Man 2 (1996)

Wow. I am a huge fan of Leonard's The Lawnmower Man, which was groundbreaking for the time, but this ridiculously over-budgeted sequel manages to single-handedly undo everything that the original film succeeded in. None of the cast members return for the sequel, which is quickly dismissed by stating that Jobe's face had to be reconstructed in the introduction, and the new cast members range from terrible to terribler. Though there are some incredible set pieces and decent CG work at times, they are met with equally terrible FX and greenscreen sequences that are entirely laughable. The film is also clearly geared towards a child audience, capitalizing on the visuals and the predominantly teen cast to attract a young audience while entirely alienating the adult viewers that the original had appealed to. The pacing and structure dont contribute to the film on any level either, with the new male lead playing a game of cat and mouse in trying to recover his stolen Virtual Reality chip to stop Jobe in several failed attempts. I cant recommend this film to anyone unless its as a joke to drink beer to with friends. It fails on every level and never generates interest. Jobe is found next to death and is revived and employed by an evil corporation set on world domination to help build a virtual world that they can control. It is up to a bunch of dumb ass kids and the builder of the VR chip to stop him.

Rating: 5/10. The 5 is extremely liberal, but is awarded to the set and art designers for their craftsmanship. The film itself..



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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Scream (1996)

Intelligent, scary, funny, Scream was just what Horror needed in the 90s. It breaks all conventions while also breaking the 4th wall by addressing its predecessors and rules of the Slasher genre. This was also the first film to introduce a teen-star cast, which became sickeningly cliche in the years to follow. The film retains many of the key Slasher elements while offering an original storyline where a group of high school students are tormented by a masked killer that is obsessed with Horror movies, basing his threats and murders on the films. With intricately designed twists and smartly written characters, Scream transcends the surface-level Slashers of the late 80s and early 90s by identifying with the modern audience (particularly the genre fans) and delivering sharp, clever dialogue that is relevant and relatable. It is also very frightening and suspenseful, with perfectly timed scares and a sleek and familiar costume design that makes the killer accessible and grounded in reality. Scream is a staple in the genre that is best appreciated after seeing all of the films that came before it and placing it in the context and time in which it was made.

Rating: 10/10.

The unfortunate side effect of being good: seen this film way too many times, and I fear it is slowly losing effect..



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Monday, May 18, 2009

Contamination (1980)

Terrible. There is no excuse for this film, I dont want to hear "Yeah, but it was bloody!!1" This cheap Italian Alien cash-in offers nothing more than bad acting, bad dubbing, bad directing, abusively long shots that contribute nothing to the plot, and awesome FX. A harvest of eggs containing a deadly virus that causes your organs to 'splode is uncovered, and it is up to a government agent and her dimwitted colleagues to track down the source behind the alien conspiracy. The dialogue is downright annoying and completely out of place, begging the question "Did the dubbing agency receive a copy of the script, or did they wing it?" For a film about an alien conspiracy and a bacterium that causes people to explode, one might hope to get more than 15m of alien and gut-blasting action, but the gore drops off after a promising prologue and doesnt pick back up until the climax. Cant.. think.. of anything more to say.. Skip it and be all the better for it.

Rating: 4/10.
Gore: 7/10.



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Interview with a Vampire (1994)

What can I say, I like Interview with a Vampire. The film has a very cinematic look and feel to it, and offers a rich history and story behind an interesting and empathetic vampire. It captures the period nicely, with rich, colorful sets contrasted against the pale, lurid bloodsuckers. I never thought I would say this, but Kirsten Dunst offers the best performance as the voracious young vampiress. As for the rest of the cast, Cruise is overly eccentric, Pitt captures the emotion but not the accent or period, and Banderas is over the top, but none of the performances are bad enough to distract from the plot. Much of the credit is due to Rice's writing, who fleshed out each of the characters and made them more interesting than the played out ghoul in a black cape. There is plenty of blood, but not too much suspense or true horror. The film plays out more like Legends of the Fall than Dracula, spanning several decades and using death and revenge as the centrifugal forces driving the plot. Though Interview struggles with pacing at times and the plot lacks a clear, linear focus, it is very well shot and engaging, and recommended to any genre fan!

Rating: 9/10.



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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Event Horizon (1997)

Event Horizon is always a mixed bag for me. On the objective side, the set design, special FX, and acting are all very well done. The plot is also very unique and original, which should make this an exciting and engaging SciFi / Horror adventure. Subjectively, I have seen the film 4 times, and I just never liked it very much. After this rewatch I can say that I appreciate the craftsmanship of the film more, if not the film itself. Each of the rooms of the ship offer amazing visuals, with set pieces unlike any other SciFi flick. There are several scenes of intense, bloody imagery and unsettling ghostly apparitions that are pretty disturbing. I do love the idea of the plot, I just felt that there was much more they could have done with it to give it more appeal. With the exception of one or two over the top comic relief scenes, the acting is pretty solid. For a dark, sinister SciFi / Horror flick with equal elements of both, it is a must-see for most fans, and outside of my personal feelings towards the film, it is a very good entry. A rescue crew is sent to recover an abandoned spacecraft to find out where it has been the last 7yrs and what happened to the crew, only to find out the evil secrets behind its disappearance.

Rating: 8/10.
Gore: 7/10.



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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Signal (2007)

This indie horror effort may have fallen through the cracks, but anyone reading this must pick up the film immediately. The Signal is extremely smart and clever, playing off of paranoia, dillusion, and madness but done so with a biting dark humor that is as funny as it is chilling. The combination of writing and perfectly adapted acting lends credibility to the absolute insanity being displayed on screen. The film is told in a series of three vignettes, but follows the story of a town gone crazy as the result of a broadcast signal that distorts perception and reality. A woman's husband and lover battle through a city of madmen to get to her, one out of love and one out for revenge. Packed with plenty of violence and gore, the film functions both as a psychological thriller and a straight horror film. The digital video filming also gives it a gritty reality, and despite the reduced budget, the desolate streets and filming locations give the film a HUGE scope and earned believability. This is one of the best films to come out of 2007, I highly recommend finding a copy today!

Rating: 9/10.
Gore: 7/10.



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Night of the Demons 2 (1994)

Despite what I remember, this was actually an entertaining and decent sequel, although the plot is a complete retread of the original. Angela's sister is tricked into going to Hull House with a new batch of teens for a Halloween party, only to have the demons reawakened for more ghoulish fun! The make-up FX are easily on par with the original, making for more terrifying scenes with just the ugliest demons you have ever seen. Of particular note is the snake demon Angela transforms into in the closing scene, which is absolutely amazing and rivals the Freddy snake in Nightmare 3. The plot is thin, acting and dialogue are bland, but the film is very fun and moves along at a quick pace. Fans of the original will not be disappointed, check it out!

Rating: 7/10.



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Friday, May 15, 2009

The Descent (2005)

Neil Marshall comes through for English horror again with the best genre film of 2005! A group of friends enter an uncharted cave, but after a collapse, they are forced to struggle through the serpentine passageways to find daylight. Too bad they arent alone.. The craftsmanship implored in the careful writing and making of this film is unmatched in recent horror, and Marshall is able to make the first half of the film (completely devoid of monsters) even more terrifying than the climax. Gut-wrenching scenes of claustrophobic cave crawling, the unseen in the dark, and protruding bones are just a few of the universal fears that are tapped into, creating an immediate emotional bond between the characters and the audience. The women may not be given complete backstories, but what works is that they are portrayed as real people. In what situation in real life are we given flashbacks or do we commonly reveal our personal histories in our daily dialogue? Rather, Marshall has written distinct cadences and personalities that distinguish a group of individuals rather than a group of talking heads.

Then, there are the monsters. By the time the cave dwellers enter the film, it is already established as a terrifying and successful feature, but the viscious Gollum-like monsters in the film heighten the tension and fear to a whole nother level. Though I typically despise surprise scares, Marshall has perfectly timed reveals for the creatures to scare the piss out of the audience. Though humanoid, they have regressed into bat like creatures hunting by sound, which makes for creepy visuals and allows the characters a plausible advantage in attempting to fight them off and escape. As the title implies, the film is not just a descent into the cave, as a surface level reading might suggest, but also a descent into madness for several of the characters, pushed to the brink of sanity at the thought of being trapped and having to fight for their lives against the impending foes. Our lead heroine, Sarah, takes control and makes a fighting effort, leading to tons of monster bloodshed which are handled with fantastic FX and gore.

I can sing the praises of The Descent all day, Marshall has succeeded on so many levels and proven himself as a modern master of horror. Must-see, must-own for any rightful horror fan!

Rating: 10/10.



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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Night of the Demons (1988)

Night of the Demons is one of the films that completely embodies 80s horror. From the cheesy jokes and dialogue to the frantic, fast-paced electronic score, the film screams big hair bands and legwarmers. Kevin Tenney implores terrifying make-up, excellent lighting and set design, and a combination of high and low angles along with both fast and slow motion to create a heightened level of fear and tension throughout the entire second half of the film. The plot is derivative of many haunted house films from the past, but the film differentiates itself by giving the characters a young, modern appeal and making the monsters more menacing than ever before. What the film lacks in acting and originality, it more than makes up for in fun and entertainment, making this a must-see 80s flick for all horror fans!

Rating: 8/10.



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Dracula: Dead and Lovin' It! (1995)

By far, one of my favorite Dracula adaptations ever. Vampire movies tend to bore me, but this one keeps things fresh and hilarious. Brooks is a genius, and this is easily as funny as Young Frankenstein. The comedy ranges from slapstick to parody and is complete with plenty of witty puns. Nielson, Nichols, and the entire cast all provide excellent performances, each with their own quirks and unique physical humor. More surprising than anything else are the elaborate sets and ridiculous amount of blood throughout the flick, both of which call back to the classic Universal and Hammer films. The plot takes many liberties with the original story, which is refreshing after so many other adaptions, but still follows closely enough to the source material to make it pertinent. I may be partial to the film since I grew up on it (having missed Young Frankenstein by over a decade), but I am a big fan of the film and recommend it to any Dracula or Horror / Comedy fan!

Rating: 8/10.



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Dagon (2001)

This is Stuart Gordon at his absolute best, taking a minuscule budget and producing an outstanding and surreal world out of it. Dagon is a Lovecraft adaptation involving a couple whos boat is marooned on a mysterious island inhabited by strange malformed hedonists that worship Dagon, a god of the sea. The denizens of the town dont take kindly to intruders, and the couple battle to survive against the half-men / half-fish. The setting of Imboca is amazing, setting a brooding mood and atmosphere in a ramshackle town that lives under a never-ending rain cloud. Gordon incorporates deep blue tones and filters along with the constant use of water, which emphasize the importance of the ocean in the film. To reduce costs, the movie was filmed in Spain, with a predominantly Spanish cast, which gives it an authentic and unsettling feeling as compared to a town of Americans with terrible Spanish accents. On top of everything else, the FX work in the film is stunning, offering an amalgamation of different fishmen ranging from subtle webbed fingers to a woman with octopus tentacles for legs to various incarnations in between. The mobs that chase the couple make chilling calls similar to those of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park as they hunt their prey, which combined with the dark setting and claustrophic alley ways of the town makes for suspenseful and frightening chase sequences. Ezra Godden also plays a loveable geek, and though he isnt the best actor, he is excellent in the role and lends credibility to the situation. I hate to compare it to a video game, but Dagon offers the look and feel of Resident Evil 4 in a tight script and beautiful setting. I cant recommend this film enough, it ranks in my Top Ten Underrated Films.

Rating: 9/10.



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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Amusement (2008)

Conventional slasher that suffers from style over substance. The sets and directing are far superior to the plot, which lacks a voice and identity as it jumps between three story and timelines without deciding if it is a slasher, a revenge flick, or torture porn. The acting carries the flick well enough, but the killer can be completely over the top at times. There are a few attempts at suspense and gore, but it ultimately fails to gross out or scare. It also fails to give any insight as to how or why the killer can create such intricate traps a la Saw, or why he is killing to begin with (minus a brief flashback). The film just doesnt succeed on any more than a visual staindpoint. A trio of friends are stalked by a mysterious figure from their past in a clown outfit.

Rating: 6/10.



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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

30 Days of Night (2007)

Things I learned about Alaska: Draculas live there, 30 days seem to take place in 1 day, vampires give speeches every time they kill people, its better to kill yourself and your family than try to survive, and characters are all one-sided. It is stylishly shot, the vampires are unique and more menacing than ever, and the acting is good (particularly the vamps), but there is just no point in which the film generates any remote level of suspense or believability. The imagery with the pale-faced vampires contrasted against the jet-black skies make for memorable scenes, and their screeching, Eastern inflections, and designs differentiate them in the genre. The problem is, we know vampires are going to bite you in the neck, and we know thats all they are going to do. Outside of giving monologues, the creatures in this flick are no different. It is extremely bloody, and even though I dont particularly like the film, I can see why many do. I find it to be boring, pretentious, and completely overrated, but this is coming from a guy that desperately hates vampire films. Vamp fans will probably find a lot to like, and I did enjoy it more on the second watch through, so its worth checking out.

Rating: 8/10.
Entertainment: 7/10.
Gore: 7/10.



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Them (2006)

Home invasion has never been scarier. Them offers a gritty, suspenseful, and terrifying tale of a husband and wife being stalked in their isolated home by unseen assailants. The film relies on sound, close settings, and anxiety to drive the audience to the edge of their seats. Much like the similarly themed The Strangers, there is very little violence or gore for most of the movie, so the filmmakers must rely on the universal fears of the dark, the unseen, and invasion of privacy to scare the audience. It manages to tap into the idea that the events could happen to anyone, and does not compromise its integrity by having the characters do anything out of the ordinary. At just over 70m, it is a short runtime, but it is extremely fast-paced, and does not attempt to add filler just to meet a feature length. Highly recommended, crank the volume up and the lights down!

Rating: 8/10.



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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ted Bundy (2002)

Extremely brutal and disturbing Docudrama horror entry that hits really home. The film accurately follows Bundy's progression through his early days as a petty thief through his murderous rampage. The low-budget, gritty filmmaking gives it an unsettling realism, and some of the most frightening moments are either implied with devastating effect or portrayed in the intimate moments between him and his long time girlfriend, where he assaults her mentally and physically. This is not a trashy Lommel cash-in on the name recognition, it is a terrifying character study that will cause any viewer to suspect even the most unassuming neighbor. Burke is absolutely convincing in the role, taking it from charming and classy to deathly terrifying. Another highly recommended film that is often overlooked, try to check it out if you get the chance!

Rating: 8/10.



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Alone in the Dark (1982)

A group of psychotics descend on the house of their new doctor and his family after convincing themselves he killed their old doctor and escaping the mental institute. AITD is a highly underrated and undermentioned slasher that offers excellent performances (including Donald Pleasance, Jack Palance, and Martin Landau!), an original plot, and many chilling scenes. The audience can readily empathize with the killers while fearing them, owing as much to the heavies as to the writing behind them. The scale is very small, with only a few select settings, but they are well crafted and create a sense of isolation and hopelessness. On top of that, the score is very subtle but extremely unsettling. There are some pacing issues, but they dont impede the film much. Favorite scene: Dr. Potter calls out to the psychotics, and the camera pans around the dimly lit swing set creaking in the dark, then to the empty trees, with the villains hidden off-screen. Highly recommended as one of New Line's earliest and strongest entries in the genre!

Rating: 8/10.



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Friday, May 8, 2009

American Psycho 2 (2002)

This followup is much better than anyone will lead you to believe. An escapee from Bateman's reign of terror begins knocking off her college rivals to secure her place at the top of the class. The film retains much of the same tone and humor taken a bit lighter, the deaths are interesting and frequent, and Mila plays the role with the right amount of humor and terror when needed. Consider it the Dawsons Creek of American Psycho. Granted, even with a similar tone, it doesnt even come close to retaining the same level of wit or social commentary, but it serves as a fun if not cheap college slasher. The filming also lacks the style and sophistication of the original, with a made-for-TV look and feel. Dont go in expecting the same results as the first film and you will be much better off. I recommend it, so if you dont like it take it as a knock against my credibility!

Rating: 6/10.



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American Psycho (2000)

The gross mismarketing of this brilliant film led many genre fanatics astray, portraying it as just another cheap slasher. Really, American Psycho accentuates Ellis' smart and biting social commentary with the added effect of Christian Bale in his single greatest and most defining role. Humor has never been darker; Horror has never been smarter. The plot follows an 80s yuppie suffocated by the burden of status and surface level humanity, whose calm demeanor begins to snap as his psychotic inner being struggles to differentiate itself in a society where one is only defined by the material. The film is left intentionally ambiguous as to whether or not Bateman is slowly losing his sanity or actually murdering those around him, which leaves much to be interpreted and begs revisiting. Many of the strengths of the film lie in the details, like Bale's subtle nuances, and small but clever set pieces and props that accentuate the theme. American Psycho will have a lasting effect on the genre and film in general, and is a work that is sure to inspire many thesis papers and film studies.

Rating: 10/10.



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Thursday, May 7, 2009

ILHM Interviews Indie Horror Director Pat Higgins!!

ILHM received a pleasant surprise during this week's DVD Releases, when the director of one of the releases took the opportunity to stop by and introduce himself! Pat Higgins is on the fast track with several genre releases making their way to DVD in only a few short years, and he has taken the opportunity to sit down with ILHM and discuss his past and future projects:

ILHM: Pat, its great to have you on today! It must be exciting to see the domestic release of Hellbride taking off across the web!

Pat: Good to be here! Yeah, it's great to see Hellbride out on the shelves and heading into people's homes. We're really proud of the flick, and people are really responding brilliantly to it.

ILHM: For anyone unfamiliar with the production company, please give us a little more information about Jinx Media.

Pat: We're over in the UK and based in Southend-on-Sea, which is just outside London. We shot our first movie, TrashHouse, back at the beginning of 2004. It's a goofy midnight movie with retro clothes, pink blood, guns, chainsaws and stuff like that. We got a terrific UK DVD release for it and made it into pretty much every rental shop in the country, which was fantastic. We followed that up by shooting KillerKiller and Hellbride back-to-back. KillerKiller has already been released all over the world, including a cinema release in Germany, and of course Hellbride is out in the US this week. Our ongoing mission is to make interesting, fiercely original horror movies on low budgets, and I reckon we live up to that.

ILHM: Are each of the scripts being produced through Jinx written in house, or do you also accept solicited scripts from outside writers?

Pat: In-house. Our scripts are fairly distinctive, and are one of the things that make us who we are. Plus, we're only a small company and the more stuff we can do in-house the easier it is for everyone!

ILHM: Many of the titles being produced through Jinx combine both words in the title with no space, ie KillerKiller, Hellbride, and TrashHouse. Is this a strategic way of differentiating yourselves on the market?

Pat: There wasn't any big gameplan behind it.. It came about because I thought 'TrashHouse' looked better than 'Trash House', and we decided to keep the same idea for the next two. It proves to be somewhat of a mixed blessing on things like search engines and listings sites, though, so we tend to have a version with a space listed as an alternate title.

ILHM: Where did the idea for Hellbride originate from?

Pat: I had this image stuck in my head of a furious bride-to-be breaking off her engagement by biting off her ring finger and spitting it at her prospective groom. It struck me as funny, in a sick kind of way, and was the seed from which the screenplay grew. The last line of the movie also popped into my head fully-formed, and was the first thing that I ever wrote down.

ILHM: What can fans expect to see in terms of blood, gore, and nudity in this film?

Pat: In terms of how extreme our movies get, we go for whatever feels right for the movie. This particular flick is like a romantic comedy from hell, so we stayed true to that mood. There's some nasty stuff in there, but the mood is pretty light.

ILHM: Do you find that it is easier to approach Horror / Comedies than it is to approach straight Horror films when writing and directing in the genre?

Pat: I've got a background in stand-up comedy, and that influence seems to creep into more or less everything that I write. I don't think I'd be able to write something with no humour in it whatsoever. The balance varies wildly, though. Something like KillerKiller has a very different kind of humour to something like Hellbride. There's also a screenplay I'm working on called House on the Witchpit which is far and away the darkest thing I've ever written.. The only jokes in that screenplay are pitch black. I think the screams will always need the laughs as a counterweight, it's just a matter of how those things are expressed.

ILHM: Are there any films that have had a direct influence on the writing or directing of Hellbride, or any influences in particular that have contributed to your own style?

Pat: Trace elements of The Shining, The Evil Dead, Gremlins and Fred Dekker's Night of the Creeps can probably be found lurking in every frame of my movies. Gremlins was the movie that really turned my head when I was a kid - I saw it over 50 times in the first year that it was out on video. I just loved how it could be incredibly sweet yet dark and violent all at the same time, and I still consider it to be the most subversive blockbuster ever made.

ILHM: England and Europe at large seem to be entering another "Horror Renaissance" after decades of silence following the fall of Hammer and Amicus. What is it liking being part of this new Horror revival in the UK?

Pat: I've just shot a chapter of an anthology movie called Bordello Death Tales, which meant teaming up with a couple of other UK directors (Jim Eaves and Alan Ronald). That was a great experience. Horror seems to be really finding its feet again in this part of the world, and as the technology gets cheaper I think more and more movies are likely to go into production. It's an exciting time all round!

ILHM: Are there specific actors and actresses that are closely tied to Jinx that we will see in Hellbride and recurring in future endeavors, or are each of the films created with their own set of unique talents?

Pat: We've got a fantastic pool of talent both in front of and behind the camera, and there are certain people who have ended up working with us on several projects. Cy Henty, for example, has appeared in just about everything we've ever shot. On the other hand, every film does have its own vibe and we need to be 100% sure that each actor is right for the role. We never cast people just because we've worked with them before, but we wouldn't turn them down for the same reason. We end up using Cy a lot because I think he's one of the most underrated actors in the country, and also because he pays me $100 every time I say that in interviews.

ILHM: What was your most memorable moment working on the set of Hellbride?

Pat: It was probably the most fun project that I've ever worked on. For the majority of the shoot, it just felt like the whole project was blessed; everything went right, all the time. If you want an example; we had a scene that took place in a nightclub. We'd dressed the set to look like a nightclub, but we arrived on set that morning and discovered that somehow we'd overlooked ordering any disco lighting. It just fell through the cracks. So I was just on the point of sending out runners to try and get a load of disco lighting on no notice whatsoever when our lead actor James Fisher turned up with a car full of disco lighting. For reasons totally unconnected with the project. It was just one of those weird times when everything always seemed to work out right. Except, of course, for the inevitable day when EVERY SINGLE THING went wrong, but that's a story for another time.

ILHM: Jinx Media has a full plate lined up in the coming year; tell us about some of the current and future projects we can expect to see in 2009 and 2010!

Pat: Well, our fourth film (The Devil's Music) is still playing festivals in both the UK and the USA and will be heading to DVD either at the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010. It won the Independent Feature category at the Festival of Fantastic Film in the UK, and a lot of folks have been calling it our best movie yet. After that, we've got Bordello Death Tales, which is the old-school anthology movie that's currently in post-production and was a co-production with Amber Pictures. Sitting in pre-production and development, we've got House on the Witchpit, Strippers vs Werewolves and Brainbath. So, yeah, we keep ourselves busy. I haven't slept since 2003.

ILHM: The floor is yours for any additional information you may have regarding Hellbride or any other topics we may have missed. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and chat with us, we wish you and Jinx the greatest success on your future projects!

Pat: Thanks for having me! Additional info? Um.. Well, Hellbride and KillerKiller are both available on DVD across the US. If you want to pick up our first film, TrashHouse, you'll need to import it from the UK, although we're working on finally getting a US release for it before the end of the year. Hit http://www.jinxmedia.co.uk/ for more info, and feel free to stop by and chat on the forums whilst you're there. Thanks again!

We want to encourage everyone to stop by and visit Pat at the Jinx Media homepage! ILHM has always been a huge promoter of Independent horror, and we are extremely excited to get some reviews posted shortly on KillerKiller and Hellbride in the coming weeks. Also, dont forget to keep your eyes peeled for The Devil's Music once it completes its touring circuit!

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory (1961)

A girls school is plagued by a series of murders after a charming new professor starts teaching, but the wounds appear to be caused by a large animal.. Who or what is the killer? For a no-budget sleeper, the film is better than expected, with decent filming, a few excellent exteriors capturing beautiful contrasts in B+W, and simple but effective make-up. There are some pacing issues that cause the film to crawl at times, but it keeps the audience guessing until the end. After watching many terrible public domain bores, I always expect the worst, but this is actually a decent little film even with its standard B-movie plot and average acting.

Rating: 6/10.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Poultrygeist (2006)

Words used to accurately describe Poultrygeist: absurd, ridiculous, pure Troma, awesome, awful, bloody, hilarious, original, gross, gory, amazing, terrible. The film absolutely hilarious at times, and dreadfully boring and stupid at others. Fans of the past decades of Troma films will find plenty to love here, but the average horror fan might not be able to take some of the stranger elements, like the frequent musical numbers and asinine plot and dialogue. The acting and humor are in true Troma form, along with geysers of blood and tons of gore. There is no point at which the film isnt alienating some stereotype, trampling societal taboos, or giving the MPAA a run for their money, so Lloyd Kaufman has certainly outdone himself. Now then, once you get past all of the Troma craziness, the film just isnt all that great. It runs long at times, the plot is extremely thin and built around the gore, and the musical aspects are distracting and annoying. Despite its flaws, it is very entertaining and insanely gory, and certainly worth checking out! A fast food restaurant built on an Indian burial ground is taken over by vengeful spirits that return as mutant chicken zombies!

Rating: 7/10.
Entertainment: 8/10.
Gore: 10/10.



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Monday, May 4, 2009

100 Years of Horror (1996)

AKA "The Most Deceiving Horror Retrospective Ever Created." AKA "40 Years of Public Domain Titles." This retrospective documentary boasts 10,000 terrifying horror movie moments and a thorough review of the horror genre spanning the last century. Wrong. Most of the films covered pre-date 1950, and nearly all of them have fallen into public domain. The titles that havent (particularly the Universal films) only show behind the scenes footage that was secured without copyright. To the series' credit, Christopher Lee hosts with a touch of dry British wit, and it does offer many unseen video interviews with Karloff, Lugosi, Corman, and others. It is just baffling how they can call it 100 Years of Horror and show 25m of black and white films followed by a brief photo montage of the remaining 50yrs in a 5m span. The versed horror fan looking to discover those rare horror finds need look elsewhere, but it offers an invaluable encyclopedic entry for fans of classic horror looking for deeper insight into films like The Invisible Ray, The Terror, Dracula, and others in this 667m series.

Rating: 7/10.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Another failed attempt at bringing these iconic monsters together on screen, but the film isnt without its merits. The human element is completely unnecessary and underdeveloped this round, with walking stereotypes only being built up to be knocked down. The throwaway characters and dialogue only exist as more excuses for the excessive bloodshed. The film offers call backs to both series through the costume designs, body language, sound effects, and music, then kicks up the gore for a hard R-rating. The action is interwoven more evenly with the character development than in the first film, and there are far more battles between the beasts to the satisfaction of most fans. The new Predator, Wolf, shares much more with the first two films than AVP, and has a sleeker design and far superior combat skills. He is met with the Predalien Alien-Predator hybrid spawned at the end of the first film, which is a fierce, unique, and powerful new villain. The biggest problem in all of this is that the film really serves no purpose and does not propagate any significant plot. Aliens break free in a small mountain town, and the Predator must destroy them. Period. I enjoy the film for the mindless action / horror sequences, but it is far from great filmmaking.

Rating: 6/10.
Gore: 7/10.
Entertainment: 8/10.



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Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

An expedition explores an ancient Aztec ruin found miles under ice in Antarctica that turns out to be a hunting ground for an alien species. This may be the most self-indulgent, over stylized, and disappointing films in the genre. Anderson has complete disregard for the fans and each of the series leading up to this film. Even if fans were to disregard the incontinuities, ranging from the gestation rates of the Aliens to the size of each of the species, it is hard to ignore the frequent logical errors that the film presents. The bulk of the film is spent developing throw-away human characters, and doesnt get into the action until nearly the hour mark. Once the film gets moving, there is still only about 10-15m of actual battle between the species. To the films credit, the costume designs are pretty awesome (even if the Predators are incredibly over-sized), the production qualities are top-rate, and the concept of the film could have worked well in better hands. AVP is just far too 'big-budget blockbuster' for its own good, and loses the dark grittiness of the previous films. I wont even get in to the fact that one Alien kills two Predators. OK, I will.. Fuck that. This movie proves to be nothing more than a guilty pleasure with little contribution to either series, and is a PG-13 borefest at best. I just hit rewind and watch the Alien / Predator battle for an hour to get my fill. It was a waste of a perfectly profitable opportunity, and though watchable, doesnt even come close to reaching the level of awesome it should have. Yet.. I will still pay to see any other sequels no matter how bad. Weird. Did I mention I hate Paul WS Anderson and his touch corrupts anything it comes in contact with besides Mortal Kombat?

Rating: 6/10.



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Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

This film is what I imagine going to an Evanescence concert is like: whiny girl rock, emo kids, and guys in makeup. Of course, I jest, but the truth is this film is entirely original from start to finish and unlike anything else in the genre. The production values are unmatched, with amazing design, great acting and directing, and a nightmarish post-apocalyptic setting. I did not take to the operatic format readily, but it perfectly suits the film and gives it a larger than life feel. Each of the characters have their own distinct personalities, none of which feel bland or generic. As much as I hate to admit it, the songs are catchy as well, so beware. On the subjective side, I've seen the film twice now, and in spite of its many strengths, I just dont particularly like it much. The film has excellent pacing, but every minute felt like three. I enjoyed it more the second watch through, and it is starting to stick in my mind much like Napoleon Dynamite, so I have the feeling I will be revisiting it more and more often, and it was grow on me. An evil corporation sends out collectors to repossess synthetic organs if the recipients dont pay the bills, but as the owners own health begins to fail, he looks for a worthy successor in his arch-nemesis' daughter to take over his empire.

Rating: 9/10.



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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

Ridiculous comic gore at its best! The film is like watching a live action anime, with literal fountains of blood and insane effects. The Tokyo Police Force is privatized after The Engineers, living bio-weapon killers, begin invading the city. A female cop must destroy them while searching for her father's killer. The plot is non-sequitor at times and definitely secondary to the effects, but the visuals keep the film interesting the entire time. On top of a bright color palette, the costumes, editing, and design all feel like a living comic book. The comedic tone and timing contribute just as much to the fun of the movie as the absurd amount of blood. For straight Horror fans, this may be a little too off the wall, but if gore is your game, this is an absolute must see, must own!

Rating: 8/10.
Gore: 10/10.

DVD Provided By: J. Astro of The Cheap Bin



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