Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The French fuck with my head yet again

Martyrs 2008
Director: Pascal Laugier
Writer: Pascal Laugier
Starring Morjana Alaoui, Mylene Jampanoi and Catherine Begin

The modern French horror film really seems to be showing Hollywood how to make great horror again, beginning with Inside and continuing with Frontiere(s). The trinity seems to be complete with Martyrs. I had heard many great things about this film but I was wary, as I doubted anything could have topped Inside, my favorite horror film of last year, but Martyrs has surpassed it by leaps and bounds. Martyrs is a descent into despair and depravity, that anyone who witnesses it will not remain unscathed. This film makes Inside look like Bambi. I don't think a film has affected me this much since I first viewed Cannibal Holocaust.
The plot setup is such, Lucie (Jampanaoi) as a little girl escaped from a den of torture and is residing in a orphanage with Anna (Alaoui) who she befriends. She tries to comfort her, but she has emotional issues until one evening it seems as if some ungodly beast is attacking her. Flash forward 15 years later, and we meet a family of 4, and it seems an idyllic vision till Lucie bursts in with a shotgun and kills them all even the kids. She then calls Anna and she arrives and it looks as if Lucie was attacked by her demon again. Anna treats her, but is conflicted with what she is done, and sees that one of the victims is still alive and tries to save her, which fails and things just spiral out of control from that point, until you reach the utter depravity and bleakness that is the ending.
Damn, this was a hard film to sit through, but you couldn't tear your eyes away from it. It was horrifying but somewhat hypnotic. Even after finishing watching this yesterday, I cannot stop thinking about it and it has been a long time since a horror film has done that and that is what all the best horror films do. The direction is tense and surprising, this movie shifts on several occasions, as you think the film is going down one road , but leads you down another. The writing is really tight as well, you really feel for Anna and want her to survive this ordeal. The effects were insane, some of the best technical make up effects I have sen since Inside. The actors were all amazing too especially Alaoui and Jampanaoi. They really bring a gravitas toward their performances that make you feel for them body and soul. Also, I enjoyed Begin as Mademoiselle, who reminded me quite a bit of the Architect from the Matrix Reloaded. This was a jarring film, but a important one I think and every horror fan should see this one, just don't expect it to be a pleasant experience.
This one gets 5 out of 5

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another crappy Argentoesque flick

Cemetery Man 1994
Director: Michelle Soavi
Writer: Gianni Romoli
Starring Rupert Everett, Anna Falchi, Francois Hadji-Lazaro and Mickey Knox

The Italian Horror film has always been a favorite of mine particularly the films of Lucio Fulci. I also enjoy some of Argento's but not all of it, it's always been a bone of contention with some people that I don't adore Suspiria as some people do and I think Cemetery Man, falls into that category as well. It is rather surreal and at points confusing, though it does have some good elements to it, though these do not equal to a good horror film by my estimation.
The plot basics are this, Francesco (Everett) is the caretaker of a cemetery with his assistant Gnaghi (Lazaro). This cemetery has a interesting problem, the dead keep coming back to life, so Francesco has to put them back in the ground with his revolver. His assistant helps him by burying them back into their graves. It seems everything is going well till he meets a widow he falls for (Falchi) and he has a tryst with her over her husbands grave and her husband rises and bites her and she ends up dying. This seems to drive him a little mad and he starts killing more zombies, till he actually starts killing the living, which leads to a bizarre and surreal ending.
This film was just bizarre and surreal. It starts off well enough but quickly goes bizarre when the grim reaper shows up and continues to spiral out of control leading to its wtf ending. Soavi directs the film with the style over substance touch of Argento, which may work for some but not for me. The story really needed to be more linear and less art film style, was almost like watching a Fellini film, that is if he had done horror. The acting was good, I enjoyed Everett but the real enjoyment I got out of this film was Lazaro as Gnaghi the man child servant. He was funny and delightful to watch. This does not save the film for me though, the sum of its parts just do not equal a good genre film. I probably won't get much love for my judgement of this films and Argento in general.
This one gets a dismal 2 out of 5

Monday, April 27, 2009

PCP is not your friend

Perkins' 14 2009
Director: Craig Singer
Writer: Lain Shadgett
Starring Patrick O'Kane, Shayla Beesley, Mihaela Mihut and Richard Brake

The living zombie genre is a subject that has gotten very popular ever since Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, and though I disagree that they are zombie films as they are not the undead, it is still a viable and interesting subject for horror films, which I think Perkins' 14 mines quite well. It creates a tense and oppressive atmosphere throughout and reminds me both of Night of the Living Dead and Assault on Precinct 13. It is tense, gory and bleak as hell, which seems to be the norm for all of this years Afterdark Horrorfest films.
The plot setup is this, Dwayne Hopper (O'Kane) is a policeman in the small town of Stone Cove and he is still haunted by the disappearance of his son from 10 years ago. He is obsessed with it and it is driving a wedge in his family, his wife (Milhut) is sleeping around and his daughter Daisy (Beesley) is in full on Goth mode and trying to alienate everyone. He goes to do his shift at the police station and there is a man in the cell (Brake) and he has a weird way about him and Dwayne playing a hunch and investigates and discovers he is behind the 14 kidnappings from 10 years ago which included his son. He sends a friend to investigate the man's home and he is killed, so Dwayne goes to investigate and finds his friend dead and sees videos of these kids being brainwashed and drugged into psychopathic zombies. He kills Perkins but the zombies are still loose and are unstoppable. The rest of the story consists of Dwayne and his family trying to survive this savage onslaught of barbarity.
This was a tense little film. It was brutal and very gory at times. The direction was very good, as you always felt on the edge of your seat as you were watching it. The writing was good, you really felt for the characters especially Dwayne. The gore scenes were quickly edited but effective nonetheless. The acting was good especially O'Kane as Dwayne. You really felt his desperation as he tried to reach out and save his son. Brake as Perkins was great too, he had a real manic glee to his role which I really enjoyed. This was yet another one of the films that surprised me and its always good to be surprised when seeing a horror film. The ending was bleak and dark too, which I prefer in my horror films. This one gets a solid recommendation from me.
This one gets 3 neck twists out of 5

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Don't fuck with Witches

From Within 2008
Director: Phedon Papamichael
Writer: Brad Keene
Starring Elizabeth Rice, Thomas Dekker, Kelly Blatz, Laura Alan, Adam Goldberg and Rumer Willis

Witchcraft is a very rarely touched upon subject in the horror film as it very rarely works properly in a horror film. The last time I have seen it used properly is in the 80's film the Craft. From Within uses Witchcraft and the device of a curse which is used over and over again in J-horror films like Ju-On. From Within takes Witchcraft and curses and melds them together and does a competent job of melding them together. It makes an good and entertaining horror film and yet another of the Afterdark Horror fest films that I have enjoyed.
The plot basic is this, it opens with two teens looking as if they are going to consummate their blooming relationship, when the young man pulls a gun and puts it in his mouth and blows his brains out. We fade out to a used clothes store where we meet Lindsay (Rice) who is with her mom at a used clothing store shopping for a new dress for church when this panicked girl comes in, the store owners daughter and she is all bloodied and runs into the back room and locks herself in there. Her father breaks in but not before he finds here with a pair of shears imbedded in her neck. Before she does this she mentions that someone is chasing her but no one see this supposed chaser. Not soon after this people start dropping like flies, supposed suicides, but it seems something sinister is happening. We then meet Dylan (Blatz) the town's Pastor's son, who has a relationship with Lindsay and we see him beat up Aidan (Dekker) the son of a woman the townsfolk thought was a witch and Dylan thinks that he is following in his mothers footsteps and wants to put an end to him. IT all leads to a showdown at Aidan's house with a murderous mob of religious zealots.
This was a tense film, you really felt the oppression that the lead feels over the control the Christian community has over this town. The direction was good and solid, with some nice mood set during the terror scenes. The writing was solid with a solid background for Lindsay amend you really got to dislike Dylan. There isn't much gore in the film but what is there is quite effective. The film has the subtext that is stating something about how stupid and one minded Christians can be, it also felt like this was the point of the story more than the horror elements. I didn't mind that because I share this belief, but it might seem a bit heavy handed to people just looking for a good horror film. All in all, this was a good horror film , but nothing phenomenal.
I give this 3 out of 5

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Humans taste like Chicken

Dying Breed 2008
Director: Jody Dwyer
Writers: Jody Dwyer and Michael Boughen
Starring Leigh Whannell, Mirrah Foulkes, Nathan Phillips and Melanie Vallejo

Back to my thoughts on this years Afterdark Horrorfest films. This is the 4th one I have seen thus far and this is by far the best one. I was blown away by this one. I am always game for a cannibal film and this is one of the best cannibal films I have seen in a long time. Makes me forget that utterly terrible one from a few years ago Welcome to the Jungle. This film starts off brutally and then slows down for awhile but then picks up during the last 45 minutes and never lets go of your jugular till the brutal ending.
The plot basics are this, Nina (Foulkes) heads to Tasmania with her boy friend (Whannell) to search for the long thought extinct Tasmanian Tiger, a search her sister died looking for 8 years ago in a drowning accident. They meet up with her boyfriends friend Jack (Phillips) and his girlfriend Rebecca (Vallejo) who comes along for the ride. The trip seems to be going without any surprises till they go to a bar and Jack is a jerk to some of the locals and soon strange things begin happening, till Jack's girlfriend disappears and then they are on the hunt to find her and to stop the ones who seem to be hunting and following them.
This film was brutal and it really surprised me. The direction was great, with some beautiful cinematography. The mood that was created was oppressive and claustrophobic. The writing was excellent too, the characters were fully developed and you felt for most of them, except for Jack, he was just an asshole you couldn't wait to see get it. The effects were great too, I kept going holy shit as I was watching it. The ending to the film was brutal and bleak as hell too. The film was really a combination Deliverance and the Hills Have Eyes. If you dig Cannibal films, I highly recommend this one.
This one gets 5 chomps out of 5

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Flashbacks: The Crow

The Crow 1994
Director: Alex Proyas
Writers: David J Schow and John Shirley
Starring Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, Tony Todd, Rochelle Davis, Bai Ling and David Patrick Kelly

I am going to be starting a regular Friday feature over here now. I am going to revisit some of the classic horror films of the past that I enjoy and give a bit of an indepth analysis on it in only the way that I can. I hope all my readers out ther will enjoy it and so I am going to start off with one of my fave horror revenge films, The Crow.Revenge and Horror is something that mixes together well. Films like The Abominable Dr Phibes and Deadly Friend are just 2 of the classic films that have used it as a springboard for their story. The Crow is a classic of the modern horror genre and hard to believe it is 15 years old now. It really brought the Goth look into the forefront of modern consciousness now too. The sequels are really hit and miss but this film with the tight direction by Proyas, the great pulpy writing by Schow and the magnetic lead performance by Lee all elevate this film into the modern classic category.
The plot setup is this Eric Draven (Lee) and his fiancee Shelly are brutally murdered by a gang that wants them out of their dilapidated apartment. Now a year later, Draven rises from the dead to enact his revenge on the scum who took his love away and it won't be pretty. Along the way to his revenge he meets up with a beat cop (Hudson) and Sarah (Davis) the little girl who was friends with him and Shelly and they help him along the way and help him to remember his humanity as well. The gang is led by the vicious and maniacal Top Dollar (Wincott) and his sister (Ling) who he has an incestuous relationship with. Draven starts knocking off the gang leading him to Top Dollar and there is a brutal final showdown that leaves everyone either damaged or dead.
This is just an amazing film and I enjoy it more and more every time I see it. The direction by Proyas is amazing, it is like he filters Burton's Batman and somehow makes it even more bleaker. The writing by Schow and Shirley who were some of the creators of the Splatterpunk genre, do excellent work here being bloody and violent when its called for and being touching and sweet when that is needed. The soundtrack is great for the film as well, really brings forward the despair that is tinged throughout the film. What can I say about the acting, Lee is great and its a shame he couldn't do more after this. Also loved Hudson, Wincott and Todd they all left indelible marks in the roles they played. This is a great horror revenge film that all horror film fans should see, and do not be scared away cause it is based on a comic book. The film is an achievement onto itself.
This one gets 5 caws out of 5

Dying to get Laid

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane 2006
Director: Jonathon Levine
Writer: Jacob Forman
Starring Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able, Michael Welch and Melissa Price

This is a film I had heard a lot of rave things about and was worried that when I finally watched it, that it would not live up to my high expectations. Thankfully, that was not the case, this a good slasher film with a great twist at the end that I never saw coming. If you are looking for gore, though I would not recommend this film as it is not very gory, the story is more about the characters. But that's what makes this film a cut above the rest I think. Its a shame this still has yet to be released as its an original and interesting take on the slasher genre.
The plot basics are such, Mandy Lane (Heard) and her best friend Emmit (Welch) are at a pool party and all the jocks are ogling her and emmit stops one jock from hitting on her and gets pummeled for it, then him and the jock are on the roof and he eggs him on to jump off the roof and into the pool, the idiot being drunk does it and bashes is head on the pool's edge. We flash forward a little bit and Mandy has been invited to a party at a classmates Ranch, where all the guys that are going are trying to get with her. The party is going good, until people start disappearing and soon they are all fearing for their lives, and it seems someone is picking off everyone but Mandy. It all leads to a twist ending that will leave you going, damn why didn't I see that coming.
This was phenomenal movie. It starts out to what seems to be a teen age high school story, but slowly evolves into an hunt and kill slasher film. The direction was solid and the writing was very believable, and the characters were well rounded. When some of them died you were sorry to see them go. There is a lot of sexuality in this film too, which just accentuates the story line. The actors were great especially Heard as Mandy, you really rooted for her to survive the film and Mount as Garth the ranch hand was really good too, though he doesn't play the role you think he will. The effects were good, very minimal but effective. I also really loved the soundtrack for the film too, especially the ending song, it just fit the film so well. I would highly recommend this if you want to see something new and different in the horror genre.
This one gets 4 out of 5

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Skull is the Thing

Laid To Rest 2009
Director: Robert Hall
Writer: Robert Hall
Starring Kevin Gage, Bobbi Sue Luther, Lena Headey, Sean Whaley and Richard Lynch

The slasher film is one of the major horror sub genres since the early 80's. You always see a lot of the same things and it is very hard to surprise or shock the jaded slasher fan, but Laid To Rest does this in spades and is one that I think many a slasher fan will be rewatching again and again. By far the best one I have seen since Hatchet, and a lot darker than that one. This is bloody as hell, with some extremely sick and twisted kills and great performances by Kevin Gage and Bobbi Sue Luther.
The plot setup is such, A girl wakes up in a coffin and freaks out and gets out, but she cannot remember who she is or why she is there. She discovers she is in a funeral home and escapes it after the undertaker opens the door, but not before he is brutally killed by someone wearing a chrome skull mask. She runs out to the highway and a driver (Gage) picks her up and takes her to his home with his girl (Headey) and soon the killer follows her there and kills his girl and then they are on the run while the killer is chasing them and the true game begins.
This movie just fucking rocked. The kills were amazing, I have to give props to the deaths of Headey and Jonathon Schaec, as they were brutal and gory as hell. The direction was tight in this film, as you never felt it slow down at all till the end credits rolled. The writing was good as well, the characters were well rounded, especially Tucker, he was by far my favorite character in the film. Though Luther as the girl was great as well, she has great acting chops as well is great to look at. The gore effects were amazing, and it looked to be all practical which is something I see less and less of nowadays, and I miss that. The killer was cool as well, he was imposing and scary as shit, and I loved how he used technology like GPS to track his prey. If you love the slasher film and want to see something new definitely check this one out.
This one gets 5 decapitations out of 5

Those Slugs'll Kill You

The Burrowers 2008
Director: JT Petty
Writer: JT Petty
Starring Clancy Brown, William Mapother, Doug Hutchinson and Karl Geary

Horror and westerns are a genre that are not put together very well in the past, anyone remember Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter or Billy the Kid Vs Dracula? Not films that are ever going to be regarded as classics, by any standards. The Burrowers though melds both genres together in a way that anyone who tries to bring them together will follow it as a template. The 2 genres haven't worked so well together since 1987's Ghost Town.
The plot setup is this, the year is 1879 in the Dakota Territories and Coffey (Geary) is about to ask the girl he is courting, Maryanne to marry him and when he goes to her farm, he finds bloody carnage and her nowhere to be found. He automatically thinks that they were attacked by hostile Indians. He gets help form a rancher (Mapother) and they join up with a army calvary and begin the search for the Indians and his woman. Though it soon seems clear to him that they are hunting something that is far more sinister than warring Indians. As Coffey and his band continue to hunt the attackers, they seem to be dropping like fires which leads to a tense and bloody showdown, that doesn't end very well.
This was a taut horror thriller, that at first plays out like your typical western, but soon develops into a creepy monster flick. The direction is tight and you feel as if you are watching a classic western first and then jumps into a creepy creature film. The cinematography is amazing in this film. The locations are beautiful and dazzling to watch. The writing is good too, you get a feel for the characters, and there is the occasional touch of humor. The cast was great too, especially the great Clancy Brown as the tracker John Clay, he was magnetic when on screen and had the best line in the movie. Mapother as Parcher was good too, he was a gruff man who you didn't like but respected. The lead Geary, did a fine job too, as you felt his pain as he was looking for his girl. The creatures were very cool looking too, they sort of looked like slugs, and was quite gory during the munching parts. If you like horrors and westerns, you could do far worse than check this flick out.
This one gets 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Never trust sexy girls you meet in bars

Slaughter 2009
Director: Stewart Hopewell
Writer: Stewart Hopewell
Starring Amy Shiels and Lucy Holt

This is the 3rd of this years batch of the Afterdark Horrorfest films I have seen, and so far they are batting 2 to 1, as this was yet another surprisingly good one. It had a flavor that was parts Texas Chainsaw Massacre and parts Single White Female. The story had a very slow burn ala Wolf Creek, but once the shit started hitting the fan, it didn't let up till the ending which was quite brutal. Some people will probably really hate this film but it kind of grew on me, and after thinking about it before letting my thoughts out, I have to say it is a quite memorable horror film.
The plot setup is as follows, Faith (Shiels) is trying to get away from a bad and abusive relationship so she goes to hide out at a secluded farm, where she meets Lola (Holt) a girl that just seems wanton and wild and loves to have fun. She sees Lola bringing back men to the farm which she has sex with and then by the morning they are gone. She also sees Lola's father who seems very odd and strange. It seems that Lola and Faith are becoming good friends and Faith offers her to leave with her, as Lola has a home relationship she doesn't care for. Things are looking up until Faith goes into the slaughterhouse that is on the farm, and discovers some strange and unsettling things and then the real fun begins, which leads to one of the most bleak endings I have seen since The Mist.
This film was a very slow burn as the first 50 minutes are all set up for the last 40. I was at first getting bored with it, never thinking anything scary was going to happen, but then boom they hit you with it. It was quite a surprise to me how much I enjoyed this film. Its always nice to be surprised like this. The direction in the movie is both creepy and friendly and sometimes you don't see where he is going until it is too late. The writing is good too, at first it starts out like an episode of Beverly Hills 90210, but quickly devolves into a grim horror story. The acting by the 2 leads Shiels and Holt were outstanding, you felt for Faith, and didn't see what was coming with Lola till it was too late. This had excellent pacing with the suspense and some really ugly violent moments too, involving piercings and teeth removal. This is a film that ends in a very dark place so if that isn't what you want to see in a horror film I would stay far away. But if you are like me and love to visit the dark recesses of human nature check it out.
This one gets 3 out of 5

What the Fuck did I just watch?

Voices 2007
Director: Ki-hwan Ho
Writer: Lee Hyo-chu
Starring Jin-Seo Yun, Gi-Woong Park and Ki-Woo Lee

The Asian horror film genre is a genre with a lot of repeating subjects, ala the ghost girl and the revenge motif. Voices is a Korean supernatural film that is the 2nd of this years Afterdark Horrorfest films I have seen. And so far they are tied one good one and one not so good. It looks good but upon closer inspection you leave the film feeling confused and cheated. I was expecting something good especially after seeing The Host not too long ago, which is a by far better giant monster film that the utter shit that is Cloverfield. I am sure this will probably get a U.S. remake too as they are remaking every Asian horror film now it seems.
The plot basis is this a young schoolgirl (Yun) who is an excellent fencing student, goes to the wedding of her aunt and for some bizarre reason she jumps off a high balcony and is then escorted to the hospital and she witnesses her other aunt brutally stabbing her to death. She is shocked by this, but soon after that, people she trusts and loves start attacking her telling her life would be better if she was gone. A mysterious stranger then tells her to trust no one and she may survive it. As she investigates, she discovers that all the people who are attacking her claim to hear voices urging them to kill. It all leads to a bizarre ending that really doesn't explain or resolve anything.
Watching this film was an exercise in futility. It had its good points but overall this film was a failure. It was confusing and the subtitles a lot of time made no sense. Though the direction was good, and the atmosphere was generally creepy and it was also quite gory. But these things do not always equal a good horror film. The actors were good to especially Yun, she was believable when she was in peril and also very cute to watch. She was one of the few shining points of this bizarre film. I just cannot recommend this film to anyone but fans of Asian horror who have to see everything.
This one gets 2 out of 5

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brown Cow, Brown Chicken

Butterfly Effect 3: Revelation 2009
Director: Seth Grossman
Writer: Holly Brix
Starring Chris Carmack, Rachel Miner, Melissa Jones and Kevin Yon

Afterdark Horrorfest is a Horror film series that for 3 years now has been putting 8 independent horror films together under one umbrella for the last 3 years. Every year they have some winners, some ones that are decent and some that are just plain bad. Starting with this one I will be reviewing all the ones form year three. This one made for a good start, I really enjoyed the first Butterfly Effect, But I had never gotten around to seeing part 2. I am glad I saw this one as it had a lot of elements that came together and made this a gripping film to watch.
The basic plot follows Sam (Carmack) who jumps back in time to help the police solve cases they just cant get a grip on. His sister Jenna (Miner) helps him with his jumps. Soon, a girl shows up at his doorstep who is the sister of his murdered girlfriend and she found her diary and doesn't believe the man who is awaiting the death sentence after being convicted of the brutal slaying is guilty. First Sam balks at doing this, because you should never jump back to anything you have a personal stake in and he seeks advice from another time traveler (Yon) but he ignores his advice and goes back and things just get worse. As the story progresses he keeps jumping back trying to find the killer, and as he does the body count gets higher and he discovers he has helped make a serial killer. Things get more dangerous until he finds the killer and has to decide if he has the strength to do the unthinkable.
This was a tense film and it really grabs you from the opening shot till the final jarring scene. The direction is solid and tight. The writing is tight as well and there are several twists and turns, though when you get closer to the climax all the pieces come together and it is easy to piece together who the killer is, but that did not hamper my enjoyment of the film in the slightest. The acting was good as wee;. Carmack was great as the hero who for every step forward he makes he takes 2 back. Miner as his sister was great as well. You also got some great eye candy with the very sexy Jones, who has a rather over the top and gratuitous nude scene. The gore in the film was very well done too, much better than I thought it would be. This was a good film and a great start for this batch of films. Not on the level of the original Butterfly Effect, but a well done and entertaining genre film.
This one gets 3 out of 5

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This Pussy has Claws

Cat People 1982
Director: Paul Schrader
Writer: Alan Ormsby
Starring Nasttajja Kinski, Malcolm Mcdowell, John Heard, Annette O'toole, Ruby Dee and Ed Begley jr

Horror and sex are a potent combination, but do not always go together well, Andy Warhol's Dracula and Frankenstein films are good examples of that. But the remake of Cat People by Paul Schrader, I feel is one of the first good examples of a happy marriage between horror and sex, that we would not see again till Clive Barker's Hellraiser. The feeling of sexual need and anticipation permeates throughout this entire movie and I think without the sexual aspect of the story the film would not work nearly as well.
The plot consists of Irina (Kinski) who arrives in New Orleans to meet her brother who she has just discovered as she was raised in foster homes. Paul (Mcdowell) is her brother and he takes her to his home and she gets settled in but things start getting strange and Paul disappears and then there is a black panther found in a slum hotel that attacks a hooker. A zoo curator, Oliver (Heard) comes with his crew to take out the Panther and catches it and brings it back to his facility. Irina follows the panther drawn by some primal instinct and meets Oliver and begins to fall for him. Soon though, the panther kills one of his workers and then escapes and is finally killed after it kills another woman but not before telling Irina that they are brother and sister and telling her they must have sex or they will change into panthers whenever they have sex with another person and cannot change back till they kill. The rest of the story deals with Irina trying to come to terms with her newfound dilemma.
This is really a mesmerizing film. Whenever kinski is on the screen you are glued to her every move. She is just so dynamic and very sensual. Paul Schrader does an excellent job with the film and it is by far my favorite film that he is done. The cinematography is great especially the opening sequence and Irina's dream sequence. They both have an ethereal quality to them. The writing by Ormsby is tight too, he wrote Deranged the 70's take on Ed Gein and he does a great job with this material as well. The acting talent is great in this too Mcdowell gives my 2nd favorite performance of his after Clockwork Orange, and Heard is good as the protagonist. Ruby Dee is great as the caretaker of Mcdowell and Annette O'toole is great as the other love interest and is very sexy as well especially during the pool scene. The special effects are good too, especially the transformation from human to cat for Kinski and the arm coming out of the cat during the autopsy scene. I have never really had any love for the original, as I am not a fan of implied stuff, it just seems to me to be the lazy way for a director to get his point across. I also think the film has a lot of similarities to American Werewolf in London, but they do it differently enough that you do not really mind it. I really see this film as a minor classic of the 80's.
This one gets 4 claws out of 5

Friday, April 17, 2009

Its a head exploding good time!!

Dawn of the Dead 1979
Director: George Romero
Writer: George Romero
Starring Gaylen Ross, Ken Foree, David Emge, Scott Reiniger and Tom Savini

The zombie film is one of the most popular genres of the modern horror film and Romero is the father of this genre. Each of his films brings us something new, but I think Dawn is the pinnacle of his creative genius. This to me is the Citizen Kane of horror films.This is the film that spawned tons of Italian knock offs but the original is the best. Its influence is still felt today in any zombie film that gets put out today and Romero's other zombies films are always judged harshly next to this masterpiece(though I have a certain fondness for Day of the Dead). But lets get onto the meat of the story, pun intended.
The plot is this, there is an ever growing epidemic of zombies and the people are having a tough time dealing with it, and most of them run. The story follows a couple Fran and Stephen who work for a Pittsburgh news station, Steve is a Pilot and Fran is a producer and they are sick of it so they decide to make a run for it with the helicopter. Along for the ride is their friend Roger and his new buddy Peter both members of a tactical SWAT unit that have had enough. They all fly out and after a near miss they find an indoor mall and decide to check it out. They like what they see and decide to hole up there. They clean it of the zombies and live it up until some raiders notice their helicopter on the roof and decide to lay siege to the mall, pissed that they won't share it with them. It all leads to an explosive climax where the future is uncertain.
This film is just exemplary. The direction by Romero is flawless and I only think Creepshow comes close to showcasing his great directing style. The writing is good as well a lot has been said about the zombies as consumers analogy, and I think he pulls it off well without being too heavy handed or preachy. The acting is solid but the crux of the movie falls on Foree who really carries the film and I think without him the film wouldn't be as powerful as it is. Emge is great as Stephen who always seems out of his element. Reiniger as Roger is manic in his portrayal and you just know he is going to do something stupid at some point. Ross is great as the female lead who is just as commanding as the males. A special shout out goes to Savini as Thor too, he is just a delight to watch. The effects are phenomenal and are only surpassed by Savini's work in Day of the Dead. And this has one of the best soundtracks for any film, the Beyond is the only one I can think of that equals it for its use of music in a film. This film is just flawless in every way and it never gets old. I must have watched this over a hundred times now. Not much else I can say other than if you have not seen this and you are a horror fan you are doing yourself a disservice.

This one gets 5 shotgun blasts to the head out of 5

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Killer Movie or reality shows are killer

Killer Movie 2008
Director: Jeff Fisher
Writer: Jeff Fisher
Starring Kaley Couco, Jason London, Paul Wesley and Cyia Batten

Slasher films are a huge part of the modern horror film and many of them are just recycled ideas with the same kills. But every once in awhile a fresh idea is brought in that breaths fresh life into the genre. This one while not the greatens film is done ably well and has some great kills and some sharp and witty writing that brings this above some of the more recent slasher films I have seen.
The plot basis is this Jake (Wesley) is a director of reality shows that has fallen on hard times and his agent offers him a deal to go to a town in Nebraska to film a High School Hockey team that is an underdog but is moving up and may win the state championship. He has to deal with a pampered starlet Blanka (Couco) as she is going to be his P. A. as a study for her next film role. He gets there and meets his bitch of a boss Lee (Batten) and she tells him a girl was died horribly and she would rather film that than the sports story. He starts filming and slowly his crew members keep disappearing and soon it is discovered some masked killer is picking them off and he goes on the hunt for the killer before everyone ends up dead.
This was a fun flick. The direction was solid and played out like a reality show which was quite refreshing. The director was a director for reality shows, so he brings that expertise to it. The writing is funny and witty, with some good suspense in the film as well. The acting was solid especially Couco and Batten. Couco played the pampered starlet with gusto and when it came time for her to be imperiled she pulled that off well too. Baten was great as well she really played a mega bitch and you really wanted her to die horribly. The effects were great too, had some creative kills which quite surprised me. This is probably one of the best slasher films I have seen since Hatchet, just not quite as excellent as that.

This one gets 3 decapitations out of 5

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Splinter or I've Got You Under My Skin

Splinter 2008
Director: Toby Wilkins
Writers: Kai Berry and Ian Shon
Starring Jill Wagner, Paulo Costanzo, Shea Whigham and Rachel Kerbs

It seems to be very hard in the horror genre to ever come up with something no one has seen before. in this world of remakes, sequels and reimaginings its always refreshing to see something you have never seen before. Splinter is one of those things.. It takes a basic horror setup and takes it in a completely different road than what you would expect. It starts off to be what seems like a hostage film and quickly turns 360 degrees and becomes a damn creepy monster movie.
The plots basis is this Seth (Costanza) and Polly (Wagner) are a couple that are celebrating their anniversary by camping but there is a snafu where there tent gets screwed up and they pack it up and head to find a motel. Then you meet 2 more characters Dennis (Whigham) and Lacey (Kerbs), their car breaks down and you soon discover they are fugitives on the run and are headed to Mexico. They walk on down the road and flag down Seth and Polly and take them hostage and have them drive. Not long after they get a flat and change it but find these strange splinters in the tire and they come across a ravished animal that comes to life, they then jump back in the car and stop at a gas station where they hole up when it seems like they are being attacked by mutilated humans but it is something far more savage and sinister.
This was a fun as fuck film. The direction was very Claustrophobic and creepy. The story gave you just enough to get the story going. The acting was great especially Wagner and Whigham. Wagner was very sexy and very capable while whigham brought a great depth to the villian role which reminded me a lot of Napoleon in Assault in Precinct 13. The gore in the film was phenomenal. especially loved the arm amputating scene. This was a nice change of pace from the remakes and sequels, which I still enjoy it is just refreshing to see something fresh.

This one gets 4 splinters out of 5

Burnt Offerings or Watch out for falling Chimneys

Burnt Offerings 1976

Director: Dan Curtis

Writers: Robert Marasco and William F Nolan

Starring Oliver Reed, Karen Black, Bette Davis and Burgess Meredith

The Haunted house sub genre in horror films has a long and storied history in horror films. There are classics such as the Uninvited, the Haunting and the Legend of Hell House. Burnt Offerings deserves to be right up there with these benchmark classics and I don't believe it gets the credit it deserves. This is one of my favorite haunted house films and is one of the ones i continue to revisit.
The plot consists of a vacationing family looking for a house to rent for the summer and they come across this summer home in the wilderness and they meet the owners a very bizarre brother and sister who give them an unbelievable deal on renting the house for the summer and the only caveat they ask is that their 84 year old mother lives upstairs and doesn't leave and wants them to bring food up to her 3 times a day. Ben (Reed) is uncertain about the house but acquiesces to Marian (Black) and they move in as caretakers, along with Ben's aunt Elizabeth (Davis). As they get comfortable weird stuff begins to happen like near deaths and mood changes that erupt into violence. It keeps getting progressive worse until the explosive final that doesn't end well for anyone.
This is just a superb film. The direction by Dan Curtis who you may know from Dark Shadows and the Night Stalker. The feel of the film is very oppressive and you feel as if a match is going to strike the powder keg of this house at any moment. The writing is great too, you really care about the family and want to see them survive the experience. The acting is stellar too especially Reed and Davis, with a special shout out to Meredith as the crazy brother in a bit role. There is not much gore in the film but it is still a enjoyable little horror film. This is one i love revisiting again and again.

This one gets 4 out of 5

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bad Biology or mutated penises need love too

Bad Biology 2008
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Writers: Frank Henenlotter and R. A. Thorburn
Starring Charlee Danielson, Anthony Sneed and Tina Krause

Twisted love stories are always a tough thing to pull off, you don't want it to be too dark or too sappy and that is a hard line to walk upon. This film reminds me a lot of films like Harold and Maude and Lunatics: A love story. This film goes way over the edge but its an edge that I happily loved visiting it. It is also the return of classic cult director Frank Henenlotter who made some of the classic films of the 80's like Basket Case and Frankenhooker in the 90's. It is a film that is very up front about its rampant sexuality and you will either get into it or you won't.
The plot setup is this, Jennifer (Danielson) is a photographer who admits that she is built differently. She says she was born with 7 clits and is a nymphomaniac. She has been having orgasms since she was 8 years old and when she does have sex she has a accelerated reproductive system and brings a baby to birth within 2 hours. She has sex with men and usually kills them and just discard the babies when they are born. Next we meet Batz (Sneed) who has a problem with his penis it has a mind of its own and he has to keep pumping it with steroids and male enhancers to keep it happy. Then the story begins as these two characters interact and slowly build to a insane climax that has to be seen to be believed.
This film was insane but in a good way. I am a fan of films that cross the line and stay way over it. This film does that in the beginning and stays far over the line all the way through the ending. The plot is insane but done with a nice deft touch of dark black humor. The leads are great especially Danielson. I especially have to give a shout out to Tina Krause as a model who messes with Batz, she was one of my favorite bits in the film. The direction was great, the film had a real sleazy feel, reminded me of Less than Zero but with mutant vaginas and penises. The effects are great too especially loved the mutant penis, classic shit. I fucking loved this film and think if anyone loves the sleazy underground shit like I do should check it out. Though it is not available on dvd yet, I had to see it online, but it was worth it.

This one gets 5 out of 5 mutated penises

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tokyo Zombie or A Not So Happy Ending

Tokyo Zombie 2005
Director: Sakichi Sati
Writers: Yusaka Hanakuma and Sakichi Sati
Starring: Tadanobo Asano and Sho Aikawa

Zombie comedies seem to be becoming a burgeoning sub genre in horror films start with Shaun of the Dead and leading up to more recently Zombie Strippers. So far all of these films have been fun and quite enjoyable, Shaun of the Dead being the benchmark that all zombie comedies are judged by. Tokyo Zombie is a Japanese comedy, which really deals more with the two main characters than the situation that they are in, and it works quite well for the film.
The plot consists of two guys who are working in a fire extinguisher plant and instead of working they are practicing Jujitsu. Fujio and Micchan are the leads, soon their employers sees them goofing off and starts slapping around Micchan and Fujio hits him in the head with an extinguisher and it is soon discovered that he is dead. They then go and bury him at Black Mount Fujii where everyone in Tokyo buries there trash and people they want buried. Soon everyone starts coming back to life and Micchan and Fujio leave Tokyo and head to Russia where Fujio wants to become a great Jujitsu fighter. But of course problems come up and there begins the journey of the film.
This was a weird and quirky little film. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you enjoy Japanese genre films, I think you will really enjoy this. The two leads Asano and Haikawa are a delight to watch in the film, specifically Haikawa. The effects are done well and some of the gags in the film are priceless such as the guy who tries to get a blow job from a zombie, I was rolling on the floor during that scene. This film is really a farce that involves Martial arts and zombies and really melds the two together flawlessly. The writing and direction are quite good and this is based on a manga. If you are a fan of the zombie genre I would definitely say check this one out.

This one gets 3 brain munching zombies out of 5

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Shuttle or Never Trust Shuttle Drivers

Shuttle 2008
Director: Edward Anderson
Writer: Edward Anderson
Starring Tony Curran, Peyton List and Cameron Goodman

There seem to be a lot of films made today about a seemingly ordinary and mundane situation that quickly turns horribly awry. Be it answering a pay phone ala Phonebooth or helping someone in distress ala the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now you can add taking an airport shuttle to this ever growing list. Shuttle takes one of the most mundane things you do at an airport and turns it on it head and makes you think twice about airport shuttle drivers from that moment on.
The plot consists of 2 girlfriends Mel (Peyton List) and Jules (Cameron Goodman) just getting off a flight from a last fling vacation in Mexico before Mel gets married and they are having trouble finding a airport shuttle when a driver (Tony Curran) shows up and offers them a great deal for transportation, they take him up and get 2 young men to join them and they start out on their way. But soon after that the trip turns into a descent into hell, as they are forced to chin themselves up and do whatever mad whim pops up in the drivers head. It just gets worse from there, but I won't spoil the ending as there are some major twists in the movie that you should experience rather than be told.
This was a tight little horror suspense film. The direction by Anderson was top notch and the writing was solid as well, as you really got a good feel for the characters. All the acting was top notch too especially Curran and List. Curran really brought menace to the role and List were a strong female protagonist who still had moments of weakness that worked well within her characters journey. The effects were done well here as well, nothing too flashy but still done well. It also had a muted lighting scheme which almost made the film black and white which worked really well for the starkness of the subject matter. As I mentioned before there are two big twists in the movie, the first one happens at the halfway point and I did not see it coming at all. The twist towards the end after watching the film I could see coming but still was enjoyable. This is definitely a good suspense thriller that is well worth checking out and I think horror fans will quite enjoy this one just as I did.

This one gets 4 out of 5

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Donkey Punch 2008
Director: Oliver Blackburn
Writers: Oliver Blackburn and David Bloom
Starring Robert Boulter. Sian Breckin, Tom Burke, Nichola Burley and Julian Morris

Films that have a night of wild partying that goes horribly awry are a subject for many films. Two great examples are Very Bad Things by Peter Berg and Night of the Demons by Kevin Tenney. Donkey Punch is another of these types of films and I believe it deserves to go up there with these two and also has similarities to Dead Calm and Shallow Grave as well.
The plot is fairly simple a group of young people decide to go out to do some yachting and have some fun. It starts just with drinking and dancing and then progresses to Crack and a orgy. Earlier in the film a few characters talk about weird sex acts and they mention the Donkey Punch, and while they are having the orgy one of the guys eggs on another to do this and he breaks the girls neck with his punch. Then things just go from bad to worse as the guys want to cover up the problem while the girls want too report it. Then as the evening progresses people start going crazy and killing each other off till just one survives, but the question is should she have.
This was a brutal film that starts off like a teen sex comedy but very quickly goes horribly awry. Their is a pretty graphic sex scene toward the end of the first act, you see swinging dicks and lots of naked chicks, but the ending to the scene is the volcano that sets off the remainder of the film. Blackburns's direction was top notch, this was his first film and he is a director people should be keeping an eye on. The story is simple but tight and you really get to know all the characters, particularly interesting was Julian Morris as Josh, he was likable but cruel and vindictive. The girls were great as well Burley as Tammy and Breckin as Lisa. The kills are quite affecting and shocking, with lots of blood and the last one is really done quite ingeniously. It is one of those films that takes place in one setting just like Dead Calm and it is just as suspenseful and gripping as that film. This is a shocking and brutal horror film although it is a much more reality based one, but still pulled off marvelously.

I give this one 4 out of 5

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tokyo gore Police or Watch Out For Shooting Penises

Tokyo Gore Police
Director:Yoshiro Nishimura
Writer:Kengo Kajj
Starring Ehii Shiina, Itsuji Itao and Yukiihide Benny

Out of all the types of Japanese horror films I have to say I enjoy their extreme gore films the best, films like Meatball Machine and Battle Royale spring to mind and always leave a smile on my face after I watch them. Tokyo Gore Police is another one of those gems. I had my doubts that this would top The Machine Girl but this movie by far exceeded my expectations.
The plot is this Riku is a police officer for the Tokyo Police Corporation this is a near future where the police have been privatized and are now run like a business. The main crime problems are criminals called "engineers" people who have had their bodies modified so when they are injured their wound becomes a devastating weapon. Riku is the top hunter of the "engineers" but as the story progresses she gets pulled into their world and transformed into one of them and then has to decide whether she will join them or exterminate them all.
WOW!! This movie was extreme and over the top in ways I have not seen in awhile. Probably the most over the top gore film I have seen since Street Trash. You really haven't lived til you have seen a mutated penis that shoots bullets or a pussy that turns into an alligator. And that's really just the tip of the Iceberg to this film. It also starts each scene with commercials not unlike Robocop or Starship Troopers. The direction was really good, very much like the cutting of a video game, which is what the film plays like. The director was a makeup effects person on Machine Girl so he really knew what to do with this kind of film. Shiina was great as Ruka and horror fans will remember her best as Asami in Miike's Audition. She is great here and makes you feel her pain and rage just by her facial expressions. The effects were phenomenal in the film as well, and there was very little cgi which I appreciated even more. The story is simple but it is done very tightly and suits the film well.
This was a great Japanese Gore film and well worth seeking out. This ranks up there with Machine Girl as one of the best Japanese horror films.

I give it 5 shooting penises out of 5

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Name is Bruce or Gimme Some Sugar Baby

My Name is Bruce (2007)
Director:Bruce Campbell
Writer:Mark Verheiden
Starring Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Grace Thorsen and Ellen Sandweiss

Bruce Campbell. What can a genre fan say that already hasn't been said about one of the stalwarts of the modern horror genre. Anyone who has followed the Evil Dead series or Sam Raimi's film career knows him quite well, and if you don't know who he is you are probably reading the wrong review right now. Recently Campbell released My Name is Bruce a film where he plays himself but is thrust into the role of hero like one of his films. This film is comedy gold but really only if you are a Campbell fan as there are so many in jokes that you really need to be well versed in the Campbell universe to get.
The plot consists of a few teens going to a graveyard to hook up with some Goth chicks and one is a huge Bruce Campbell fan and he unwittingly lets lose a demon/god that protects the dead Chinese and Bean curds. He kidnaps Bruce, who is filming a crappy B movie Cavealien 2 to save his town from the monster thinking he is like his characters in his films. Bruce though is a wise ass asshole who only cares about himself and what follows is just damn hilarious as you find Bruce trying to deal with a monster in his real life.
This was a great horror comedy with lots of great humor, I was bowled over too many times to count while watching this film. The direction by Campbell was great, and the writing by Verheiden was spot on and had lots of great in jokes. Bruce was great as always playing a sardonic asshole version of himself. Grace Thorsen who played Kelly Graham the mom of the kid who recruited Bruce was great too with great comedic timing and lots of sex appeal. Also Ted Raimi played three roles in this and was great in every one, be it Mill Bruce's agent, Wing the China man who proclaims doom for all or Luigi the population sign painter. Also, Ellen Sandweiss who plays Bruce's ex wife was great who was also in the original Evil Dead. But the real gems were Timothy Patrick Quill and Dan Hicks as the gun shop owners and gay lovers. You may recognize them from Army of Darkness and Evil Dead 2 respectively.
This was just a fun as hell film and I can see myself watching this one repeatedly. If you are a Campbell fan I would highly recommend you seek it out.

This one gets 5 out of 5 stars.

The Haunting in Connecticut or finally a good ghost movie

The Haunting in Connecticut
director:Peter Cornwell
Writers:Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe
starring Virginia mad sen and Elias koteas

Haunting films are always a tricky business to pull off. If they aren't played out pitch perfect they can end up falling flat on their face, good examples of these are Jan de bont's remake of the haunting or the one from a few years ago with Donald Sutherland an American haunting. Thankfully this doesn't happen with the haunting in Connecticut this film is pulled off ably well and if you enjoy a good ghost story you will really enjoy this movie.
The basic setup is this, the year is 1987 and Sara Campbell((Virginia Mad sen) has a son Matt(Kyle gallner) who has cancer and is going through a test treatment to see if that helps but the hospital is very far away so she looks for a house to rent near the hospital in Connecticut. she finds one with a great price and rents it but strange things begin happening and matt keeps on seeing bizarre things. Matt meets another cancer patient who is a reverend, Reverend Popescu(Elias koteas) and he explains that since he is sick and close to death he can see things ordinary people cannot, and soon after this the attacks get worse and build to an explosive climax.
This was a very good film that does all the things a good haunting film should do, it is very moody and atmospheric with some great scares and a great mood enhancing score. It has a few gross out moments but doesn't go over the top with them and shows that a good horror film can still be made with a pg 13 rating. the film has shades of the amityville horror with the slow dissolution of the family and shades of the exorcist with reverend popescu who really reminds me of father merrin. Koreas and mad sen were great in their roles, Mad sen brought a real gravity to the sorrowful mother role and koteas was great as the wise older person who helps matt through the haunting. The direction was pulled off very well and this is a film I would watch again, which I cannot say for many other haunting films.

this one gets a 3 out of 5.

April Fool's Day Remake review or I am back motherfuckers!!

I know its been a long ass time since I put any reviews up here but I guess I just needed someone to light a fire under my ass, and a friend did that as I am now doing reviews for his sie, so anytime I do a review from now on I will put it up here as well,. If you want to check out the site I am posting on here is the link.
The basic setup for the film is quite similiar to I Know What You Did Last Summer. It begins at a debutante party for a high society girl Torrance Cladwell(Scout Taylor Compton) being held by Desiree Cartier(Taylor Cole) and there is this girl that she hates so she sets her up to get videotaped having sex and she freaks out and falls off a stairway bannister and dies. Flash forward to a year later where Desiree has been cleared of any wrongdoing, and then everyone who was there during the death gets a leter to show up at the dead girls gravesite and then a package comes and says if whoever killed her doesnt turn themselves in they will all die one by one on April 1st. After that the fun begins in earnest.That is all I will say about the plot as I think it will be much more fun for anybody watching it to not know too much after the setup.
This was a fun ass hell remake I thought and it was a shame it didn't make an appearance in theaters because I would definitely have checked it out. This is a film that works with the basic premise of the original and builds upon it. The kills were fun and I thought the direction of the film was top notch. All the actors were great especially Scout and Taylor, Scout was lovable as always and Taylor played a bitch of Joan Collins Proprtions. The ending was similiar to the original but had an added twist that made me like this ones ending even moreso than the originals. This is definitely one all horror fans should check out. Only complaint is I would have liked to have seen some skin but the original didn't have any t&a either so it's probaly more fitting.
This one gets 5 out of 5
Hope all you people out there enjoyed the review and I should have another for you to read on Wednesday, peace out people.