Sunday, January 31, 2010

Door Into Silence




Door Into Silence 1991
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writer: Lucio Fulci
Starring John Savage, Sandi Schulz, Richard Castleman, Jennifer Loeb, Elizabeth Cudgen, Joe Davis, Bob Shreves and Mary Coulson

Lucio Fulci is known by many as the master of Italian gore, but his final film Door Into Silence is a far different animal than his classic works like Zombi and The Beyond. IT relies more on suspense and mystery than special effects or gross out scenes. The film is by no means a classic but it was a nice departure for him and a interesting take on the subject of trying to escape death, which has been explored before in films like Carnival of Souls and the classic short story "Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce. The film for it's first act takes it's time setting up the crux of the story, but once the viewer is hooked deep into it becomes very clear where the story is going. The interesting thing is how it gets to its inevitable conclusion, The film really works because of the pacing and the fine acting job by the always solid John Savage. It is not a film you expect to see come from the mind of Fulci, but I believe that is what makes it a all the more interesting film to witness.
The plot basics are this, in New Orleans Melvin Devereux (Savage) is attending his brother's funeral. He comes across a mysterious and beautiful woman (Schulz), who somehow knows him by name but he has no recollection of ever meeting her. After he chats with her he drives off and is going through the city when his car breaks down in a run down area of the city. The woman again reappears and tells him he should get a mechanic for his car. He then follows her but loses chase and soon starts to see a hearse everywhere and soon he becomes obsessed on finding whose body it is carrying as it's cargo. Melvin begins to lose his grip on reality and believes that he is the one in the hearse. The question is this all a bizarre hallucination or will this all lead to a revelation that Melvin does not want to accept?
This is a haunting film. The direction by Fulci is masterful. He uses the eerie atmosphere of New Orleans really well. Which he has done before when he filmed The Beyond there. There are scenes that are even evocative of that film too. When Melvin is driving down that stretch of highway it look as it is the same stretch of highway that you see in one of the main scenes in the Beyond. He also has a tense feeling of impending doom throughout the film and is able to sustain it masterfully till the final scenes in the film. The script is quite good too, Though it is similar to many other films and ideas, Fulci gives it his own spin and really makes it his own. The characterization of Melvin is interesting. He starts off as a incredulous skeptic but as the plot progresses he becomes more hysterical and sure that he is watching his own death. The cast is excellent too. Savage as Melvin gives another fine performance. You really believe in the unraveling of his mind as he goes along on this mad journey. Schulz as the mystery lady is quite good too and you really feel she is more than she appears to be. She is aloof and cryptic and that really helps the viewer to become entrenched in the story. The SFX and effects are minimal and that is a good thing. This film is more about mood and atmosphere than watching arterial blood flow. The score by Franco Piana is very eerie and haunting and really amps up the ambience of the film. This is a very good film by the master of Italian horror and a very classy way for him to finish his career. Any Fulci fan really needs to see this film.
This one gets 4 out of 5

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sick Girl



Sick Girl 2007
Director: Eben McGarr
Writer: Eben McGarr
Starring Leslie Andrews, John McGarr, Charlie Trepany, Ian Villalobos, Katherine Macanufo, Stephen Geoffreys, Chris W. King and Justin Marco

Sick Girl is one of those films that seems to take its inspiration from Grindhouse classics such as The Last House on the Left and I Spit On Your Grave, but it amps up the depravity to a nth degree. Any film that opens with she lead actress urinating on a nun and you know you are in for a brutal viewing experience. That opening gambit is just the beginning for this film. There is also a brutal rape at the end and hints of incestuous feelings peppered throughout the film. This is not a film that is for every one, but only fans of the more brutal and shocking examples of horror cinema. I think if you enjoy seeing films like Cannibal Holocaust or Ilsa, the She Wolf of the SS, this film will be right up your alley. The lead character Izzy, is a troubled mind and the deeper you delve into her history and her actions the less you will sympathize with her. Though there is a kind of maniacal glee in watching what she does to anyone that is a danger to her family. The film is quick and to the point and it really is all about the psychological damage that Izzy is suffering and how she decides to enact vengeance on anyone who slights her family in even the slightest manner. It is a harrowing experience, but one that I think is well worth enduring.
The plot basics are this, Izzy (Andrews) is a young woman who is taking care of her 9 year old brother while her older brother is away as a soldier in Iraq. Izzy has a unhealthy fixation on her older brother and this causes her to be somewhat over protective with her younger sibling. Anyone who dares to try to upset her brother pays a harsh price for doing so. She begins to torture and kill anyone who she deems as a threat. She also decides to take some enjoyment by abducting a teenage girl and her boyfriend and to have fun with them, which will include castration and rape by using the castrated penis by putting it on a pole and using it on the teenage girl. Izzy has many issues and she does not seem to have any limits. Until her younger brother finds out and does something that brings all her memories frothing up and then she decides to move on and to continue her path of destruction until she is stopped.
This is a raw and brutal film to watch. The direction by McGarr almost has a documentary feel to it, as if it is all happening before your eyes and someone is just documenting it. The way the film goes back and forth between flashbacks is jarring, but it is quite effective in the film. The way he shoots the rape of the girl is brutal to watch, but you find it very hard to look away. You just cannot believe what you are seeing is actually happening. The script is very emotional and jarring. The script really gives you a good picture of Izzy's issues and sometimes you feel for her, but the deeper down the path of depravity she goes the more you lose touch with her. The acts of degradation she performs really makes her a hard character to stomach, but you still are quite fascinated with her and that is a testament to the writing of her character. The cast is very good too. Andrews as Izzy is phenomenal. She starts off as seeming very sweet, but that changes quickly as she goes to extremes to appease her sense of fun and her sense of family. The deeper she sinks into it and the more you believe her as a truly sick girl. McGarr as the helpful biker uncle is one of the only redeeming characters and he plays it very well. Trepany as Kevin, Izzy's young brother is very believable too and when he discovers the true nature of Izzy, his solution is jarring but somewhat inevitable. These 3 actors really anchor the film and that is really why it works so well. It was also nice to see Stephen Geoffrey's again, as he was one of my favorite horror actors from the 80's. The SFX and effects in the film seem very realistic and unsettling. A perfect example of this is the castration and the rape scene. It is cringe inducing and horrifying, but is done so well that the viewer cannot look away. That is a testament to the power of the effects. This was a jarring and nerve wracking film and is recommended only to horror fans who have a strong stomach and can withstand a film with a feeling of amorality.
This one gets 4 castrations out of 5


Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Flashbacks: Christine




Christine 1983
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Bill Phillips
Starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky, Harry Dean Stanton, Christine Belford, Robert Blossoms, Kelly Preston, William Ostrandor and Malcolm Danare

Stephen King film adaptations have a long and varied history in the horror film genre. There are the flawless classics like Pet Sematary and The Mist, but along with those you have films like Sometimes They Come Back and Graveyard Shift. Thankfully, Christine falls into the former category. This film is a solid cinematic version of the book and though it streamlines certain things like the back history of the car, you don't judge it for that as the finished product is a great horror film that is not only scary but touches on the problems that face many teenagers as they try to endure high school. This is a film that is a great study of high school just like films like American Graffiti and Heathers. But, when it is time to amp up the horror elements of the story the film does not hold anything back. With scenes like the chasing down off the fat bully or the almost asphyxiation of Arnie's girlfriend, the film has many truly scary moments that make it a great horror film and by far the best one to deal with a demonic car. This was yet another film that shows Carpenter at the top of his game and shows how well he can work with someone else's material. The film balances the angst of high school life with the supernatural elements of a supernaturally possessed car deftly. That is why I see Christine as one of Carpenter's underrated classics.
The plot basics are this, Arnie Cunningham (Gordon) is your typical high school nerd, just trying to survive high school in one piece. His life is a perpetual hell, until as he is riding with his one friend, football player Dennis (Stockwell) and his eye catches on Christine an run down 1958 Plymouth Fury. He falls in love with the car and devotes all his energy and time to restoring her to her former glory. As he gets more wrapped up in the restoration, Arnie changes and begins to make himself an outcast to his girlfriend, Leigh (Paul) and Dennis and all he lives, eats and breathes is Christine. Dennis investigates on the past history of the car and discovers that it has a horrible and tragic past with its past owner. It becomes clear that there is something not right about the car and Dennis and Leigh decide that they must destroy Christine before the same thing happens to Arnie. Though, it seems Christine has ideas of her own and plans to destroy them before they can destroy her.
This is a great film. Carpenter's direction of the film is expertly done. The way he balances the monotony of high school life with the terrors of a demonically possessed car is masterful. This could easily feel like 2 disparate films but he commingles them together with craftsmanship precision. The whole conflict between Arnie and the bullies is done very realistically and when Arnie takes revenge on them after what they do to Christine it feels like a logical progression of his thought processes even though it has fantastical elements to it. It never feels forced and that is why the film works so well. The script by Phillips takes the central theme of King's book and distills it so it works perfectly in film form. The story is first about surviving high school and secondly about the horrors of a vengeful possessed car. The characters in the film are fleshed out completely, with a special note on Arnie and Dennis. You really sympathize and feel for Arnie and hope he survives the influence Christine has on him. While Dennis, is the caring friend who tries to make Arnie see the error of his ways, and though he has no success he keeps on trying like a good friend should do. The cast for the film is exquisite as it always is in a Carpenter film. Gordon is great as Arnie, his transformation from a geeky nerd to the all things car obsessed Arnie is gradual but inevitable. Its a testament to Gordon's acting that he pulls it off so well without over acting. Stockwell fills his role as the requisite hero very well, he has a stoic and empathic feel to his performance. Paul as Leigh is very good too especially in her opening scene in the library. The supporting cast is great too, with Prosky as the owner of the garage and Stanton as the cop investigating the rash of deaths attributed to Christine. The SFX and effects in the film are done expertly well. There is not much gore but what really works is the restructuring scenes of Christine, it is eerie and mesmerizing to watch. The score by Carpenter and Alan Howarth is another gem and is especially telling in the scenes when Christine is on the attack. Also, the use of 50's and 60's rock and roll music is a great addition to the soundtrack and really evokes the mood and period that the film is aiming for. All in all, this is another great film by Carpenter and well worth another view and I think any horror fan will get a deeper appreciation for this film with a second look.
This one gets 4 out of 5

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Necroville




Necroville 2007
Directors: Billy Garberina and Richard Griffin
Writers: Adam Jarmon Brown and Billy Garberina
Starring Billy Garberina, Adam Jarmon Brown, Mark Chavez, Brandy Bluejacket, Gene Grand, Scott Phillips, Jeremy Owen and Thomas Severinghaus

Horror comedies are a genre that many people try but very few get right. Necroville is one that gets it right. It combines the idea behind Ghostbusters with the dynamic of Clerks and it commingles the 2 themes together effortlessly. This is a film that has plenty of monsters and creatures to appease all horror fans and it also has some great comedic elements for fans of the films of Kevin Smith. It also deals with the problems with relationships and how they can get stale when there are life issues at hand. The film flies at a brisk pace and really works because of the chemistry between the 2 leads which also wrote the film. The banter they have throughout their battles with the undead and creatures of the vile sort is hilarious and really keeps the viewer enraptured on what is happening on screen. IT is rare to find a horror comedy that runs on all cylinders, but Necroville really delivers on all counts.
The plot basics are this, Necroville is a city overrun by supernatural creatures of all sorts. From zombies to vampires this town has it all. Jack (Garberina) is a down on his luck young man who has just been fired by his latest short term job thanks to the antics of his best friend and co worker Alex (Brown). Jack's girlfriend Penny (Bluejacket) is a overbearing shrew who wants him to find a decent job and to drop Alex. Alex talks Jack into joining him at a monster disposal unit company, Zom-B-Gone, that deals with cleaning up all the monster shenanigans that are going on in the town. The job progresses well, which allows Jack to put his martial arts skills to good use and to take out the aggression he feels toward Penny. Soon her ex boyfriend, Clark (Chavez), comes back to town and they discover he is a vampire but not just any kind, a master vampire. This causes their two worlds to collide and will lead to a showdown with Clark.
This is a great film. The direction by Garberina and Griffin is expertly done. It flows really well from the horror elements to the relationships elements. It never feels like you are watching 2 disparate films, which can sometimes happen while you are watching a film that commingles 2 genres like this. One of the best examples of this is when Jack and Alex are trapped in their van and surrounds by zombies and all they do is bitch at each other until they call their co worker Shotgun Dave, who they aren't supposed to call because it is his day off. When he does show up the film then turns into a variation on Evil Dead for those few minutes. It is a effortless transition and is one of my favorite scenes of the film. The script is quite good. The dynamics of the relationships between Jack, Alex and Penny is very well fleshed out. Jack is kind of a sad sack, who just goes along with whatever Alex says. Alex is kind of a jerk, but he always has a point. Penny is just a boorish, needy and horrible person to have as a girlfriend. All 3 of these characters are integral to the story and the film would fall like a house of cards without any one of them not being in it. The cast is uniformly excellent too. Garberina is a great lead that combines the traits of someone like Bruce Campbell with Jason Lee. Brown is great as Alex his best friend and all around jerk and he reminds me a lot of Nick Frost. Bluejacket as the horrid Penny is great, you really come to loathe her as the movie keeps going. Chavez as the main foil, Clark is hilarious and I especially love when he drinks a baby's brain like it is a smoothie. It was in total bad taste, but still hilarious. The SFX and effects are kind of campy but really work well for a film that is genuinely played for laughs. The best scene is the use of urinating holy water on the vampire, so bad but highly effective. If you love your horror comedies with humor in bad taste, check this one out.
This one gets 5 out of 5

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Evilution



Evilution 2008
Director: Chris Conlee
Writer: Brian Patrick O'Toole
Starring Erick Patrick Kaiser, Sandra Ramirez, Tim Colceri, Noel Gugliemi, Guillermo Diaz, James Duval, Nathan Bexton, Jonathon Breck, Ben Tolpin, Peter Stickles and Katie Corzola

This is yet another in the already overflowing sub genre of zombie films. Though the film does not really add anything new to the genre it utilizes a good many ideas and is able to sustain a entertaining, action packed and gory zombie film throughout. This film is made by the same crew that made a recent slasher film I saw and reviewed recently, Basement Jack. This film I would say is far superior to that film. It makes great use of the locale of a run down apartment building and reminds me of other films that have used a location like this, like Trespass and Tenement. The film at first starts off to seem like a military based zombie film but it quickly transitions to the apartment building and that makes it a far more original and intriguing basis for a zombie film. The added motif of the gang element that is peppered throughout the film really adds some flavor to the film and really makes it memorable. The zombie attacks themselves are done with a good deal of suspense and panache, which you do not see in many zombie films and that is a refreshing change of pace as well. I also thoroughly enjoyed the ending, there was no happily ever after and it had a bit of a malevolent feel to the ending which I always appreciate in my horror films.
The plot basics are this, the United States Military has discovered a microscopic alien life form which can possess the living and reanimate the dead. The Army has tried to develop a altered version of the organism which they can control. This is a plan doomed to failure as it infects soldier to soldier and only one lone scientist, Darren Hall (Kaiser) escapes in one piece and he takes the organism with him. He goes AWOL and moves into a run down apartment building and plans to unravel the secrets of the organism and to try to find a way to reverse what it does to any body it inhabits. HE thinks he creates a cure by testing it on mice and then decides to help a fellow tenant by injecting his cure into his bloodstream, but he does not take his time for his test results and he begins a chain reaction that creates a mob of flesh eating zombies that attack anyone who comes across their path. While this is happening the Army has found Darren and set a Sergeant (Colceri) to clean up his mess and eliminate him, but he falls deep into the zombie problem and him and Darren must join forces if they want to survive the onslaught.
This is a great little zombie film. The direction by Conlee is very tight. He uses the locale of a dilapidated and crime ridden apartment building very well. His use of shadows and lights is expertly done. I especially liked the scene early in the film when one of the first zombies stalks and attacks one of the tenants while she is doing her laundry. It was very suspenseful and kept you on the edge of your seat. The script is very good, it balances several different types of genres throughout the story. The film has elements of a military action film, a siege film, a romance and of course a zombie film. It is able to balance these all adroitly without losing its essence of a horror movie. The characterization is great too. The character of Darren is very likable, he can be seen at times as heroic and at others weak and it really works within the context of the story. The character of the apartment manager is a interesting one too. He always seems a bit off and at the end of the film you finally get some pay off for that feeling. The cast is excellent. Kaiser as Darren is a great lead and you really want him to succeed and escape with the girl. Ramirez as Maddie is very sexy and personable and you never get tired of keeping your eyes on her. Colceri as the gung ho Sergeant who begrudgingly helps Darren is very good too and gives a great action hero presence to the proceedings. The SFX and effects in the film are top notch. the zombie attacks are quick and brutal. The camera stays on them just long enough for you to get a good feel for the ferocity of the attacks. The climax of the film with hordes of zombies attacking the heroes is heart pumping and the blood sprays heavily throughout. This is by far one of the better independent zombie films I have seen recently and definitely makes up for the abysmal ones like Automaton Transfusion.
This one gets 4 out of 5


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mutants



Mutants 2008
Director: Amir Valinia
Writer: Jodie Jones
Starring Michael Ironside, Steven Bauer, Louis Hertham, Tony Senzamici, Randy Austin, Austin B. Church, Aron Biedenham Coates, Derrick Denacola, Armando Leduc, Richard Zaringue and Jessica Heap

Viruses and infections seem to be a topic that is ripe for plunder within the horror film genre of late. Films like 28 Days Later and Quarantine are proof positive of this. It is a subject that is always on peoples minds and can make for a entertaining and thought provoking horror film. Mutants is the latest film to tackle this subject and it does the former very well, not so much with the latter. IT has a good hook for a plot device and really seems to run with it well. IT also has some decent creature effects and a good cast that is spearheaded by the always reliable Michael Ironside and he really brings this film up a notch just for having him in it. This film also uses the whole military conspiracy paranoia ideas really well too. IT also uses the idea of how a corporation will do anything to make their product more successful and morals be damned. The film really moves at a rapid pace and is never dull. This is a solid B Scifi/horror film that would be very comfortable being shown as a double bill with a classic like Galaxy of Terror.
The plot basics are this, Brayton (Zaringue) owns the Just Rite Sugar Company and he wants to create a more addictive sugar so he can beat all his competitors. He hires a unethical Russian scientist Sergei (Leduc) to invent a more addictive sugar. Sergei uses people no one will care if they are missed as test subjects, people who are homeless or drug addicts. The sugar seems to have a undesirable side effect it infects anyone who ingests it and turns them into raving homicidal lunatics. At first the experiments are staying well hidden until they grab Ryan (Danicola), a photographer, who's father (Hertham) is the security chief for the sugar company. His father along with Ryan's girlfriend (Coates) decide to investigate and search for Ryan and discover that he is locked up at a secret complex. While they are trying to extract him another military unit spearheaded by Colonel Gauge (Ironside) is coming to shut Brayton down, as they are not pleased with the damage Brayton and Sergei may be causing. Will Ryan and his rescuers get out in time or will it all end tragically?
This is a fun little B movie. The direction by Valinia is quite good. He keeps the story flying at a brisk place and though the film has quite a bit of outlandishness to it, you never get a chance to think about it as the action and gore flies hot and heavy throughout the entire film. He stages the scenes of conflict very well and I especially liked the showdown between Gauge and Sykes at the climax. The script is very well done too. The idea of a highly addictive sugar that has the monstrous side effect of turning people into ravenous monsters is a great idea and the script runs with it really well. The characters are fleshed out pretty well, the character of Ryan is the one you empathize the most with and you hope to see him survive this ordeal. Though the most entertaining character is Colonel Gauge. He is gruff but strategically brilliant and is a delight to watch in the film. The cast is good, with the lion share of the best work going to Ironside. As always he brings his A game to the project and is mesmerizing to watch as always. Danacola as Ryan does good work here too and is the central character you really sympathize with. Hertham as Griff, the gung ho father coming to the rescue is great too, he has a great action hero presence throughout the film. Leduc as Sergei is quite good as the malevolent Russian scientist and he has shades of Andrew Divoff and Jeffrey Combs in his performance. The SFX and effects in the film are top notch for a low budget film like this and they really bring the film up a bar or too. My favorite bit is when Brayton gets torn apart at the end, a fitting end to a vehement character. If you enjoy zombie type films with great dollops of action and gore, seek this one out.
This one gets 3 out of 5




Saturday, January 16, 2010

Child's Play



Child's Play 1988
Director: Tom Holland
Writers: Don Mancini, Tom Holland and John Laffia
Starring Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Dinah Manoff, Tommy Swerdlow and Raymond Oliver

The killer doll sub genre of horror films has a long storied career in horror film history. From the classic anthology film Dead of Night to the recent Dead Silence. But, I think when any horror fan thinks of a killer doll their fist thought comes to the indomitable Chucky. He is by far the most memorable with a great maniacal performance by the always entertaining Brad Dourif. Though, what really makes this film work is how for quite some time the viewer is unsure if the doll is doing the killing or it is Andy, the little boy who is projecting his feelings and blaming his own actions on the doll. That is why the film works so well, for quite some time the viewer is unsure of what is really going on. The film is really a well polished horror film and one of the last great ones of the 80's/ The film has it all, a original and creative plot, a great cast and some excellent effects that really make you believe a doll can kill you. This is a film that spawned a series of sequels of varying quality and brought forth one of the last iconic horror film characters that stands right up there with Freddy, Jason and Michael.
The plot basics are this, Charles Lee Ray (Dourif) is a bloodthirsty criminal who is looking for a quick way out from the cops dogging his heels. He is mortally wounded and using a voodoo spell he transfers his soul into a "Good Guy" doll. He is soon purchased by Karen Barclay (hicks) a single mother for her son, Andy (Vincent). Andy is very pleased, but soon people around him like his babysitter (Manoff) die in mysterious ways. Andy tries to tell his mom that it is his doll, Chucky that is killing all of them, but she does not believe him and thinks he is just making it all up. A cop, Mike Norris(Sarandon) who was instrumental in bringing down Charles Lee Ray becomes involved in the case and soon they will discover that Chucky is not such a good guy after all and he has a malicious plan he wants to effect, to transfer his soul into the body of Andy and live again, so he can wreak havoc as a human once again.
This is a excellent horror film. The direction by Holland is superb. He keeps the viewers well in the a dark on what his true plans for the story is until you are hooked into the film. He really sets the mood and tenseness of the story ably well. When the viewer finally discovers Chucky is alive it is that much a shock and the scene where Karen discovers there are no batteries in the doll and it is still moving is effectively chilling. The script is also great, as it gives the viewer a great villain in Charles Lee Ray and you cannot help but like him. The characters of Karen and Mike are quite effectively drawn too. The cast is uniformly excellent, but the lion share of the success of this film has to go with the performance of Dourif as Charles Lee Ray/Chucky. He has a great presence and his dialogue is classic and a delight to watch. It is just amazing how he gets into the role and you believe his is a homicidal doll. Hicks as the single mom with her own issues is great and very sympathetic. Sarandon as the hero is quite good as always and one of the few times he actually plays the good guy. The scene where Chucky attacks him in the car is classic. Vincent is great as young Andy and unlike most child actors, he never gets on your nerves like some tend to do. The SFX and effects are amazing. Chucky is one of the finest works of puppetry and animatronics I have seen and I still marvel at how well it works. I just do not think if the remake ever gets off and running that CGI will be as effective as these practical effects. I think if you only see one killer doll movie, it should be Child's Play.
This one gets 5 out of 5

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Farmhouse



Farmhouse 2008
Director: George Bessudo
Writers: Daniel P. Coughlin and Jason Hice
Starring Jamie Anne Allman, William Lee Scott, Kelly Hu, Steven Weber, Sam Sarpong and Jack Donner

This was film that sounded very intriguing after the write up I read in an issue of Fangoria and I have to say it really impressed me. It is a film that at first seems like a film in the Hostel or Saw manner, but as the story unfolds it becomes more and more apparent that the film is not what the viewer is expecting it to be. It has a killer twist ending that M. Night Shamayalan only wishes he could pull off. The film reveals more and more with the constant use of flashbacks as it reveals how the 2 lead character have ended up upon this road and the closer you get to the climax the more you see that the leads are not the innocent souls that they appear to be. The film is tremendously well done, with a great script, solid production values, a great cast and some truly effective torture scenes. Kelly Hu and Steven Weber really inhabit their roles and really make the film that much more enjoyable as you watch their descent into cruelty and depravity. The film transcends from a psychological thriller into a truly disturbing supernatural horror film by it's ending and the viewer never feels like they are treated unfairly by watching this progression.
The plot basics are this, Scarlett (Allman) and Chad (Scott) are traveling cross country to start a new life after they have had tragedy befall them with the death of their newborn child, and money woes due to Chad's problems with gambling. They are traveling when Chad falls asleep at the wheel and totals their car and they seek refuge and help at a nearby farmhouse which is owned and run by what seems to be a very friendly and loving couple, Sameul (Weber) and Lilith (Hu). They are coaxed into staying the night, and as they are settled in they begin to see strange things and it soon becomes apparent that Sameul and Lilith are not the good samaritans they appear to be. They begin to sadistically torture Chad and Scarlett and through flashbacks it seems that Scarlett and Chad are not the innocent souls they appear to be. It all leads to a shocking climax that will have to be seen to be believed.
This was a tremendously well done horror film. The direction by Bessudo is taut and fearful. The way he juxtaposes the flashbacks with what is happening in the present is masterful. I love how with each flashback it reveals more of the truth between the 2 lead characters. The torture scenes are filmed with macabre relish too. The script is very intelligent and requires the viewer to have a sharp mind to get all the nuances that it applies. This is a smart horror film with interesting and fully realized characters. I was really surprised by it's twist ending and in a good way. This was a film I could not stop thinking about for awhile. The cast does an excellent job too. Allman is superb as Scarlett, at first you truly sympathize with her, but as the story is truly revealed you see what a truly monstrous side she does have hidden underneath her charms. Scott as Chad is great too, as the husband who will do anything for his woman and you really believe that. Weber and Hu are magnetic as the likeable but malevolent farmhouse couple. Hu really shines during a scene with a cheese grater. While Weber overacts with relish when he is pursuing Scarlett on the farmhouse grounds. The SFX and effects are hard to stomach but still a marvel to see. I especially liked the cheese grater scene and the eye gouging scenes in particular. If you enjoy horror films that can surprise you seek this one out, it has one of the best endings I have seen since the Mist.
This one gets 5 out of 5



Monday, January 11, 2010

Reborn



Reborn 2009
Director: Craig McMahon
Writer: Craig McMahon
Starring Jimmy Flowers, Davina Joy, David C. Hayes and Kathleen Benner

This films is a sequel to another DTV horror film form a few years back, Machined. Now, I never did get around to seeing that, and after watching this film, it seems as if you do not need any familiarity with Machined to understand ore enjoy this film. It is a film that really follows in the foot heels of the modern horror film tastes that are beginning to wane like the Saw and Hostel series. It is rather bloody and violent and one of the primary female characters seems to just be there to flash her breasts around. Hell, one scene primarily involves her walking around the junkyard in nothing but a G string, which really typifies the kind of film this is, it is a straight on B movie and has all the trappings that a fan would expect form films of those types. It has the blood, the boobs and the gore and for 90 minutes you are pretty well entertained.
The plot basics are this, Cade (Flowers) and Jess (Joy) have just bought an abandoned junkyard and are trying to make a new life together with Cade becoming a local mechanic. But, unknown to them is that this junkyard was the site of some horrific murders. Soon, they hear bumps in the night and it is not long before they discover they are not alone. Jess is abducted by the stalker (Hayes) and is forced into killing for his amusement or he will rip apart Jess. After his first battle, Cade is damaged in the face and then uses his skill as a engineer to build himself a suit that makes him into a self styled gladiator. With his mind unhinged, he agrees to the abductor's demands and kills anyone who enters the junkyard indiscriminately and in brutal ways. Everything is going well until the sister (Benner) of the one of the victims of the last killer at the junkyard shows up and begins to match her wits with the killer. It will only be a matter of time until one of them is beaten but who will prevail, the hunter or the hunted?
This is a solidly well done little horror film. The director does a good job, though at times it as if he is not certain what type of film this is. There are flashes of spectral images, so you wonder if this is a ghost story, but these scenes are never expounded upon. What it really comes down too is that this is a film that follows the formula of the Saw and Hostel films. Also, there is a lot of gratuitous nudity and sex in the film, so some parts of the film reminded me of a late night cable skin flick. McMahon does a good job of filming the kill scenes and that is really where the film excels. The script is all over the place, but it suits it's purposes. This is mainly a film that revels in blood and violence and the script reflects that. The characters are all two dimensional with not much characterization developed for them, so the viewer really is not invested into what happens to them. It is really like watching a bloody sports event. The cast is decent. Hayes as Motorman Dave is probably the only actor to give a decent layered performance. Joy as jess is mainly there for sex appeal, and that works just fine. Though it seems she would be more at home in a Emmanuelle type of film. She brings some nice titillation to the film which really makes it enjoyable. Flowers as Cade is decent in the beginning, but once he puts on the armor, he has to act through glances and body movement and he does this very well. The SFX and effects are the high point of the film. They are very bloody and graphic and the camera seems to dwell on the scenes of torture much longer than normal. The best scenes of gore were toward the end, when the one girl was getting nails put through her arms and stomachs, very brutal to watch. This is one of the better DTV horror films that Lionsgate has released recently and for gore and T & A fans, well worth a look.
This one gets 3 out of 5


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hurt




Hurt 2009
Director: Barbara Stepansky
Writers: Alison Lee Bingeman and Barbara Stepansky
Starring Melora Walters, William Mapother, Johanna Braddy, Sofia Vassilieva, Jackson Rathbone, Ava Gaudet and Cameron Goodman

The genre of the "bad seed" child has a long and storied career in the horror genre. Beginning with The Bad Seed going all the way to last year's Orphan. Hurt is the latest incarnation of this plot device and it does a very compelling job of making a good film out of it. The film is solidly structured and at first starts out as a family divided and trying to move on with their lives after a tragic loss in the family. Then it dovetails into a unwanted new mouth to feed brought into the family, that at first seems very thankful but it gradually turns into something malevolent and opportunistic. The film I structured very well with a great cast and a solid story. Sarah the unwanted addition to the family at first gains the viewers sympathy but soon she twists it and gets all the family fighting against each other, with none of them knowing that Sarah is behind all of it. This is a small independent film, but with its small budget it really pays off. This is by far one of the better independent horror films I have seen .
The plot basics are this, in the rural and arid desert of Arizona we meet the Coltrane family. Helen (Walters) has just lost her husband, Robert in a apparent accident and is taking her teenage children, Conrad and Lenore (Rathbone and Braddy) in tow to live with her husband's long estranged brother, Darryl (Mapother) until she is able to get back on her feet. They are trying to get settled in when a new problem arises as a social worker introduces Helen to Sarah (Vassilieva) a abused girl that Robert was trying to help. One of his final wishes was for Helen to take the girl in. At first, Helen seems to take a shine to her, but it soon becomes apparent that Sarah has issues and she has a ulterior motive for being there and it will not end well for the Coltrane family. She has a vendetta against the family and the question is will Helen and her children survive the onslaught of Sarah?
This is a exceptionally well done film. The direction by Stepmansky is very taut. At first the film seems like any typical drama about the fractured family trying to cope and survive with loss. Once Sarah enters the picture the film turns very dark very quickly. It is a quick transition and she handles it very well. She sets up the trap scenes in the film very adroitly too. The script is solid as well. The viewer really gets a feel for all the characters, all of their foibles and weaknesses are on full display and will be exploited very well by the attacks by Sarah. The character of Darryl is especially troublesome, and you never gain any sympathy for him. At times you get the feeling you are being steered to him as the problem but it is just a use of misdirection in the film. Sarah is a character your really love to hate as the film progresses and you really want her to get her just desserts as the film reaches its climax. The cast is excellent. Walters is great as the shaken mother, who is weak but must find a inner strength if she is going to survive this ordeal. One thing I really liked about her character was how her suffering with diabetes was a integral part of the plot. Mapother as always feels very scummy as Darryl and he does this performance flawlessly. Vassilieva as Sarah is a character you love to hate and she seems to really flourish when she reveals her total malevolence. I expect to see much more of her as her career progresses. The SFX and effects are great, I especially loved the scene where Conrad's girlfriend gets impaled. It is very bloody and quite the WTF moment. If you enjoy "bad seed" types of films definitely seek this one out.
This one gets 4 out of 5


Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Flashbacks: The Fog 1980



The Fog 1980
Director: John Carpenter
Writers: John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Starring Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Loomis, They Mitchell, Hal Holbrook and Buck Flowers

The Fog in my opinion is one of the best ghost stories ever put to film and one that just gets better with each repeated viewing. The opening bit with John Houseman telling the story of the ship, really sets the mood and atmosphere for the film and it is able to sustain that feeling of dread throughout the entire film. The film works more with subtlety and mood than with some of the kill effects that are used in the film. That is one misstep if any that Carpenter commits. The films power of fear and secrets carries the film more than sight gags ever will. The cast for the film is phenomenal, it is really anchored by the performances of Barbeau, Atkins and Holbrook. They all bring something different to the film and that is what makes the film so damn entertaining. It is a film that tells you secrets never stay hidden and they can come back and attack you at the most inopportune times.
The plot basics are this, 100 years ago the ship the Elizabeth Dane was lured to Antonio Bay and caused to wreck because of the gold that the Captain paid the founders of the town so they could live there, but they were lepers and all the townsfolk wanted was their money and not their company, so they caused their ship to hit the rocks and for everyone on board to die. Now it is the present day and Antonio Bay is getting ready to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the founding of the township. It seems that some kind of glowing fog is creeping into the bay and carrying with it are the risen dead of the Elizabeth Dane, who are hell bent on killing everyone in town that the fog comes in proximity too. The local priest, Father Malone (Holbrook) finds out about the conspiracy that has caused this night of terror and along with some other denizens of the city, hole up in the church and try to defend themselves from the risen spirits. Will Father Malone be able to stop the vengeful spirits or will they take their revenge?
This is a excellent horror film. The direction by Carpenter is flawless. From the opening ghost story by Houseman, he hooks the viewers and they are mesmerized from the beginning on what will befall Antonio Bay. His use of lighting and the fog is extraordinary too. The sense of foreboding doom from the encroaching fog is really palatable and ratchets up the tension with each scene. The script has a slow burn to it as it sets up the story of the Elizabeth Dane and then introduces you to all of the central characters crucial to the unfolding of the story. The characters are very fully realized and you truly feel for Father Malone and Stevie Wayne. The cast is phenomenal. Barbeau as Wayne is the focal point of the film and is really the heart of the film. How she tries to help and warn he town through her radio show works really well. Atkins as always is a capable hero and he is always fun to watch him work. Holbrook as Father Malone is the final piece of the puzzle, he plays to perfection a broken down drunk priest, who through his discovery of the evil his ancestors did tries to find himself a sense of redemption. Curtis is very good too and I love the bit with Houseman in the beginning, as that is my personal favorite scene in the film. The SFX and effects in the film are great too, most of the kills are off screen, but the ones that are shown are quite gruesome and fun. The musical score by Carpenter is yet another of his great scores and when you hear the first few beats, it really sets the mood for what you are about to see. This is one of the best ghost stories and one of Carpenter's finest films. Definitely seek it out if you have not seen this gem yet.
This one gets 5 out of 5


Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Witch's Hammer




The Witch's Hammer 2006
Director: James Eaves
Writer: James Eaves
Starring Stephanie Beacham, Claudia Coulter, Tom Dover, Harold Gasnier, Sally Reeve, Magda Rodriguez, Jon Sidgwick and Jason Tompkins

I am a sucker for vampire films and the idea of a vampire assassin was just too good to pass up. After viewing this film, I have to say it really delivered and was highly entertaining. It reminded me a lot of the late 90's vampire opus Razor Blade Smile, another film I have fondness for. This film has lots of action and some good martial arts fight sequence for such a low budget film. It has a capable cast that I mainly got into with the casting of Stephanie Beacham, who I have liked since her days as Hammer film beauty. She plays a credible bad guy in this film and as always is fun to watch, and still damn sexy to boot. The film combines different genre pieces like Blade with stuff like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It also leaves it open for a sequel which I would not be adverse to seeing. I watch a lot of low budget action films and this is one of the better ones I have seen come down the pipe line in quite some time. It also helps the film that Coulter is a credible and sexy heroine that you don;t mind seeing in sexy attire and kicking ass.
The plot basics are this, Rebecca (Coulter) is brought back fro near death by the top secret "Project 571". She is transformed into a vampire and trained in all sorts of lethal ways to kill as an assassin. The project has created her to kill other vampires, as they believe in the old adage "Fight fire with fire". Rebecca is then sent on a mission to find a book that has spells in it powerful enough to raise the dead. Rebecca is aided by two priests to hunt down master vampire Hugo Renoir. Hugo has the book and is well on his way to completing the ceremonies to open a portal through our world that will unleash hell itself. It will take all of Rebecca's skills to defeat all the vampires, demons and monsters between her and the book.
This is a well done film on a small budget. The direction by Eaves is very well done, he knows how to make a good action film with horror overtones. he stages the action sequences very well and they are very reminiscent of films like Blade, but just done on a smaller scale. The script is quite good too. It gives you just enough detail on Rebecca for the viewer to sympathize with her and to root for her through all the battles she must face in the story. The main villain, Madeline is written with enough ambiguity that you do not figure out till the end of the film what her true schemes and motivations are. The cast is excellent. Beacham as Madeline plays her very aloof and for quite awhile you really do not see what her full plans are. But when she does reveal them she really goes all out in playing an almost Bondian villain. Coulter as the vampire assassin, Rebecca is the anchor of the film and is made that way early on in the film. She is a capable actress and a excellent action hero that really carries all the fight scenes in the film. Her relationship with the priests in the film reminded me a lot of Jack Crow in Vampires relationship with the priest in that film. The SFX and effects in the film are low key and a little cheesy but the film works with the way they are used. The film really has a campy and comic book feel to it and that really makes the film all the more enjoyable. So, if you enjoy action/horror hybrids like Blade and Buffy, check this one out and you wont be disappointed.
This one gets 4 out of 5

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Plaguers




Plaguers 2008
Director: Brad Sykes
Writer: Brad Sykes
Starring Steve Railsback, Alexis Zibolis, Bobby James, Noelle Perris, Jared Michaels, Paige La Pierre, Erica Browne, Chad Nell, Stephanie Skewes, Maija Polsley and David P. Johnson

Science Fiction and horror has been a commingling that has worked very well since Alien in 1979 and Plaguers follows in that vein, but by doing a alien zombie story. It is a film that reminds me a lot of the New World cult classics like Galaxy of Terror and Inseminoid. It has the fun feel of a Roger Corman film, with the over the top gore and all the voluptuous women in the film. Though, unlike those classics there is not any rampant gratuitous nudity in the film and that is something a film like this really needs to make it more entertaining. The high point of the film though, has to be Railsback's performance as the ship's android, he hams it up really well and is fun as hell as always to watch. The film lets the gore and the fluids flow copiously in the film and what is hilarious is when the first female gets infected by the zombie virus she is covered in goo that looks too much like semen to not think that was the filmmaker's intent. The film has many veiled sexual references and that's what makes the film so much fun to watch. They knew they were making campy cult film and they went all out to bring that feeling to the viewers.
The plot basics are this, It is the far flung future, where space travel is a regular occurrence and the U.S.S. Pandora is retuning from a trip and they are carrying some ill gotten mineral that the crew hopes to make some quick profit on. While on the way back home, they receive a distress cal from the U.S.S. Diana and go to investigate. They rescue the 4 females left on the ship and they seem very shaken up, but it all turns out to be a ruse as they are all intergalactic pirates just waiting for someone to show up so they can plunder them. During a fight with one of the crew members Nola (Skewes) one of the pirates is infected by the ship's ill gotten gains and she is drenched in a glowing ooze and it transforms her into a rage filled zombie. She soon begins to infect others on the ship and then the crew of the ship and the pirates must work together to survive this horrible ordeal. But will they trust one another or will there be backstabbing aplenty as they get closer to earth and closer to ravaging mankind with this zombie epidemic?
This is a very campy and cheesy film, but it is very well done. The direction by Sykes really has that old school feel of films like Galaxina and Galaxy of Terror. The plot is set up quickly and it is not long before all hell breaks loose and that is where the mayhem and fun begins. He uses the long tunnels of the spaceship expertly and the entire location has a dreaded feel of claustrophobia that really works for the film. The script is good, it does not waste too much time on characterization, as this is a plot driven film and everything hinges on the action coming fast and furious. The best character in the film is by far Tarver, the android. He has the best lines and the best action sequences too. Darian, the captain of the Pandora is a very well drawn heroine too. The script shows both her strengths and her weaknesses and really shows that the reason she is in charge is that she will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. The cast is good, with the best performance being given by genre stalwart Railsback. This was by far the best thing I have seen him do since Ed Gein. He has a great sense of timing with his lines and his mannerisms as Tarver are right on point. Zibolis is also very good as Captain Darian, the viewer feels her predicament and roots for her during the climactic moments hoping that she will prevail. The SFX and effects are very good. I especially liked the prosthetic looks of the zombies and the initial transformation of the first one, Nola. It was very gruesome and effective. There is much blood splattered throughout the film and if you are a gore hound like me, you will really appreciate that. This is a fun SF/horror hybrid that will not disappoint. If you like those old New World films like this, check it out.
This one gets 3 out of 5

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Carriers



Carriers 2009
Directors: Alex Pastor and David Pastor
Writers: Alex Pastor and David Pastor
Starring Chris pine, Piper Perabo, Lout Taylor Pucci, Emily Van Camp, Christopher Meloni, Kiernan Shipka, Ron McClary and Mark Moses

With stuff like the avian flu and the swine flu in the news lately, viruses that become out of control are a topic that is ripe for picking in the horror film genre. Carriers is the latest film to take a stab at this topic. This was also a film that unceremoniously dumped by its studio in a few theaters and then went directly to DVD. It is a shame because this was quite a well done and capable horror film and one of the bleakest ones I have seen since the Mist. The film is a slow burner as it first it seems like a young group of friends heading on vacation, but soon turns horrific when you see that some kind of horrible virus has destroyed civilization and no one has empathy for anything but their own survival now. The film has a great cast in Pine, Perabo and Meloni and they all do a fine job. If there is any quibble with the way the film is structured it has to be, there are really no characters you like or sympathize with and that is what brings this film short of being a great horror film. It really should take a cue from the 28 Days Later series of films, no matter what is happening to the people in those films, there is always a glimmer of hope. There is none of that evident here and that is the ultimate downfall of the film, and a valid reason probably why it did not get the venue of viewers it could have gotten.
The plot basics are this, four young friends are driving down the road to the beach on what appears to be a idyllic vacation. As they come near a stranded car with a man (Meloni) and his child, things get deadly serious. All the kids put on breathing masks and the driver, Brian (Pine) pulls out a gun. It seems that civilization is nearing its end as a virus has decimated the population and it is now everyone for themselves. They agree to help the people, but they quarantine the little girl who has the virus and head forward to take them to a clinic that the father believes is in operation. When they get there they see that there is no hope, and through a rash succession of bad decisions Bobby (Perabo) becomes infected and she tires to hide it, until she is discovered and the decision that comes next is harrowing and extreme. They all keep trying to make it to the beach they remember from their childhood, but through many harrowing experiences only a few make it and it is not a happy ending that any of them will receive.
This was a great film. The direction by the Pastors is done very well, at first the film seems to be shot like a travelogue documentary you would see on the Discovery Channel, but then quickly diverts into a paranoia viral infection film. The desert locale really benefits the starkness of the themes in the film and really makes the viewer feel that they are in a wasteland. The script is very good, though it is more about plot as the characters are never really developed that well. It seems that they are more a means to an end to propel the story and re not all that important in the scheme of things. A perfect example of this is the character arc of Bobby, the way her story progresses you would think she is a focal point of the film but, once she gets infected she gets tossed aside without a forethought and you never see her again. That really kind of disappointed me. The cast is very good. Pine as Brian is very charismatic and very interesting to watch, he plays a charming but ultimately unlikable character. Perabo is probably the best performance in the film. She brings a sense of pathos to the story it is just a shame the film cannot capitalize on that. Meloni does very well with his small part, but he also disappears halfway through the film and you never get much closure on his story. The SFX and effects in the film are great, I especially loved the scene where Pine almost falls into the pool at the country club and almost comes into deadly contact with a virus ridden corpse. This film is ultimately a bleak affair, but what really detracts from it is that the characters are so unsympathetic. I would recommend it if you like bleak and of the world horror films, just don't expect more than a good plot with this film.
This one gets 3 out of 5


Sunday, January 3, 2010

My top 20 Horror films of the 2000's




This is my list of the top 20 Horror films released since 2000.

20. Final Destination - A great film that started one of the strongest horro franchises in recent memory.

19. American Psycho - a film that really works solely on the performance of Christian Bale

18. Dog Soldiers - one of the best werewolf films ever made.

17. Cabin Fever - A movie that at first I hated, but now has really grown on me.

16. Wrong Turn - just a great cannibals in the woods film.

15. Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon - Just a great satire of the slasher genre that pulls it off better than Scream could have ever hoped to.

14. Saw 3 - the best of the series in my book, that ties all the previous films together flawlessly.

13. Slither - just a fun monster movie with a great script and a great cast.

12. 30 Days of Night - Forget Twilight, this is a real vampire movie.

11. Grindhouse - Just a great throwback to the grindhouse film days.

10. The Mist - the best King film with the bleakest ending ever, still gives me chi9lls when i watch it.

9. Drag Me To Hell- Riami back in fine form.

8. The Descent - Just a creepy film that is just so damn effective.

7. Hostel - Just a great gore filled horror film that starts out as a soft core porn film and then spirles into a Italian horror film.

6. May - Just a really freaky film that really unnerves you.

5. House of a 1,000 Corpses - A great homage to Texas Chiansaw Massacre and just fun to watch.

4. Froniter(e)s - Just a brutal fucking film, never see a table saw in the same way again.

3. High Tension - A great brutal film with a great twist at the end.

2. Inside - Just a brutal and shcoking film that after you experinece it makes you feel raw inside.

1. The Devil's Rejects - Rob Zombie's Mangum opus that is the film that I have revisited the most this decade.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Top 10 horror films of 2009



This is my list of what I thought the best Horror films were of 2009, now some of these are older but this was the first time I saw them, so I count them as films of this past year.

10. 100 Feet - Just an awesome american ghost story that is really unflinching and brutal.

9. Grace - This movie really surprised me it was dark and did a great job of satirizings things like vegans and being green friendly.

8. Laid To Rest - A great modern slasher and one of the best ones since Hatchet.

7. Deadgirl - great take on necrophilia that had the feel of Heathers with its take on hich school class structure.

6. Header - based on a Edward Lee story, a really out there film, totally brutal and shcoking.

5. Splinter - A great original horror film that was suspenseful and scary.

4. Offspring - based off of one of Jakc Ketchum's best books, really brutal and unflinching.

3. Martyrs - Yet another great french horror film that really fucks with your head.

2. Drag Me to Hell - Raimi in top form and his best film since Darkman.

1. Trick R treat - this film took awhile to get here but was well worth it, definitely stands up there with the great horror anthology films like Creepshow.

Hanger




Hanger 2009
Director: Ryan Nicholson
Writers: Ryan Nicholson and Patrick Coble
Starring Debbie Rochon, Dan Ellis, Nathan Dashwood, Ronald Patrick Thompson, Lloyd Kaufman, Wade Gibb, Randy Jones, Alastair Gamble, Rochelle Lynn-Jones and Michele Grady

I have been a fan of Ryan Nicholson's work ever since I first saw the delightfully sleazy Gutterballs. So, when I heard about Hanger and its plot I had to seek it out. It is a film that revels in bad taste and if you are not a fan of genre films that wallow in that sort of thing this is not the film for you. The closest comparison to another movie I can come up with is Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. It has that level of bad taste and having no boundaries and that is why I so thoroughly enjoyed it so much. The idea of a aborted fetus surviving and growing up to seek revenge is just too good to pas up. The whole film is a delight to watch, with some great performances by Rochon and Kaufman in small but vital parts. Dashwood is great as the aptly named Hanger and the film would not be half as entertaining if it did not have Gibb as Russell, he really cracked me up throughout much of the film. This film also reminds me a lot of Street Trash, as it deals with the denizens of the city that are cast aside and ignored and it has some of the over the top craziness that it has as well.
The plot basics are this, Rose (Rochon) is a prostitute for a pimp named Leroy (Thompson) and he is pissed that she is pregnant and not making him the money he wants, so he decides to abort the baby himself with a hanger. Somehow, the fetus survives while Rose dies. The fetus is named Hanger (Dashwood) and grows up being raised by a bum, until one of the john's (Ellis) finds Hanger and tells him about what happened to his mother and they plot a plan of retribution and revenge. While plotting the destruction of Leroy Hanger goes to work at a junk yard where he becomes friends with Russell (Gibbs), who teaches him the way things are around there and introduces him to drugs and porn. While the john, goes on his manhunt for Leroy and his prostitute accomplices. This all leads to a bloody shootout with everyone the worse for wear afterwards.
This was a very well done film. Nicholson's direction has a very grainy, almost documentary feel to the subject. The way it is filmed reminds me of some reality show, just never the kind you would actually see on TV. He uses the locale of the junkyard to great effect. The script is quite good too, with the best characterizations going to Russell and the John. Russell has the best lines in the film and is hysterical to watch throughout the film. Especially during his tampon tea bagging scene. That was just too much, but you could not look away. The cast is very good, with small but essential roles played by Kaufman and Rochon. Ellis as the John is very good and really has a Charles Bronson vibe to his acting method. Biggs as Russell is the star of the film in my book though, as he steals any scene he is in. Dashwood as Hanger does a splendid job too, with all the prosthetics he has to wear, the viewer can really feel what he is going through during the entire film. The SFX and effects are very good as well. The killing of the prostitute when Hanger tries to get laid is one of my personal favorites. So over the top, but yet so much fun to watch. The look of Hanger is quite grotesque and really works well within the film. With each movie I look more and more forward to what Nicholson will do next. If you have a strong constitution and love sleazy exploitation films, definitely seek this film out.
This one gets 5 out of 5