Wednesday, December 30, 2009

RED VELVET

Red Velvet Movie Review

Aaron (Henry Thomas E.T., Fire In The Sky) meets his neighbor Linda (Kelli Garner), a woman upset that she is stuck in a bad relationship and that she has missed her sister’s party. Aaron takes Linda to lunch, where he tells her stories, including a story of what Linda is missing at the party…a killer taking out her friends one at a time. This is a somewhat funny film that is a tongue in cheek nod to 80’s slasher films.

Weirdness

The strength of the film is the scenes of what is going on at the party as Aaron tells the story--less entertaining are the scenes of Aaron and Linda, but what irritated me about those scenes (wondering why Aaron would continue talking to somebody so rude and mean) makes more sense in the end. This could have had a fantastic ending--the potential was there--but sadly, it didn't turn out that way. Pretty unique and gory death scenes here and there, with some humor thrown in as well, make the film worth a watch.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Red Velvet Movie Trailer

DEATH FACTORY

Death Factory Movie Review

A group of friends decide to party in an abandoned factory one night. There, they come across a woman who had become infected with a virus and had previously killed all her former co-workers. This is a low budget film from Brain Damage that reminded me a bit of Night Of The Demons (the original 1988 version), though this isn't nearly as good. It takes the formula of throwing a bunch of different kind of people together (the innocent virgin girl, her preppy boyfriend, the rocker guy, thug Latina woman and of course the black guy and his woman) and trying to sell them as best friends. It is assumed they are supposed to be teenagers but about half of them look to be near 30 years old. The acting is awful, in particular the black guy (David Kalamus), who incessantly laughs throughout the film, and Rachel (Lisa Jay, who as it turns out has appeared in quite a number of television shows since, as has Karla Zamudio, the tough Latina chick). But it’s not all bad. There is a fair amount of blood and the killer (Tiffany Shepis of dozens of such low budget horror films) looks kind of cool at times.

Killer

There are some things that are laughable about the movie but it’s really not too bad...it's not really too good either, but the 80’s throwback feel and the somewhat interesting ending made it worth watching.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Death Factory Movie Trailer

Monday, December 28, 2009

TOKYO GORE POLICE

Tokyo Gore Police Movie Review

Ruka (Eihi Shiina of Audition fame) is a Samurai sword-swinging member of the now privatized Tokyo police force. Her specialty is killing mutant humans, known as “engineers”, while on a mission to avenge her father’s assassination. I’m really not sure I have the words for this movie--picture a live action Anime movie crossed with over the top blood and gore from Dead Alive with a political statement to boot. There are lots of be-headings, odd mutant weapons, gore, blood, humor, and some of the most bizarre moments ever in a movie.

Like this

For the most part the gore in this is not the make you sick to your stomach type like in Hostel type movies--this is more comedic (for the most part) and ridiculous (in a good way). I actually liked this movie quite a bit more than I thought I would. Shiina is wonderful in the movie, and the public service announcement/commercials thrown in throughout are pretty funny.

Kill, kill, kill!

The one thing that brought it down for me was the mutant that was made during the club scene. If you cut out the 10 minutes or so surrounding that character this movie would be ranked a point higher. This movie is far from a masterpiece but it is fun and so outlandish and, though most probably would not like it, I can’t help but recommend it. An extra scene in the credits promises there is more Gore to come--can’t wait!

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Tokyo Gore Police Movie Trailer

Sunday, December 27, 2009

BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006)

Black Christmas Movie Review

It's Christmastime so I went to The Stash for a Christmas Classic: Black Christmas, the 2006 remake of the 1974 film. Okay, it's not really a Christmas Classic, but the film takes place during Christmas so that's close enough. Billy Lenz, in a mental institution since killing and eating his mother, escapes the asylum, promising to be home for Christmas. His home is now a sorority where the girls are getting disturbing phone calls from each other’s cell phones. This is not a great horror film, but I like it for a few reasons, the first being that I enjoy a horror movie where the victims are so irritating you actually hope they get killed. This of course lives up to that, as the victims in this case are perhaps the most irritating group of people of all: sorority sisters.

"Like, what do you mean?"

There is not a likable one in the group. There are plenty of death scenes to keep you interested as the story itself sort of jumps around a bit and at times makes little sense. This is definitely a throwback to 80's slashers, which is a nice touch. This certainly ranks as a guilty pleasure movie, and I am only a little embarrassed to say I like it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Black Christmas Movie Trailer

FREAKDOG (aka Red Mist)

Freakdog Red Mist Movie Review

Northern Ireland brings us this little horror film, titled Red Mist here in the States. A group of medical students pick on a geek named Kenneth. One day they take their tomfoolery a bit too far, resulting in Kenneth slipping into a coma. Fearing loss of their scholarships, the group drops Kenneth off at the E.R. instead of helping him themselves. One of the students, Catherine (Arielle Kebbel), feels bad about it and tries to help Kenneth with a new, untested drug. Things go bad, however (this IS a horror movie after all) and the drug allows Kenneth to have out of body experiences and posses others bodies to exact revenge on the students. This is a pretty enjoyable film in spite of reminding me a bit of the worst Friday The 13th movie ever made. A little gore, fairly good acting and a twist and turn here and there make for a decent movie. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Freakdog Movie Trailer

LAID TO REST

Laid To Rest Movie Review

A woman wakes up in a casket with no memory of who she is or how she got there. She soon finds herself running from a masked killer. She comes across a family that tries to help her but the killer is only steps behind. This is a fairly good flick that reminded me of 80's slashers. There are a few plot holes here and there but it's nothing too terribly distracting. The movie contains very graphic and at times surprising death scenes. The special effects were pretty well done. The killer's mask is a bit silly looking, especially for a killer who can afford such a nice car, cell phone and knives, but hey, maybe he thought it looked cool. There's nothing groundbreaking here but it's worth a look.

At least he likes it

Also, it stars Sean Whalen, the ultimate "Hey, it's that guy!" guy, so I have to give it at least a half point for that.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Laid To Rest Movie Trailer

THE DEVIL'S TOMB

The Devil's Tomb Movie Review

A soldier of fortune outfit lead by Cuba Gooding Jr. and full of familiar faces--Zack Ward (Titus, Freddy vs Jason, A Christmas Story), Franky G (Saw 2), Jason London (Dazed and Confused, not Mallrats)--are hired by a CIA agent (Valerie Cruz) to rescue her father/scientist (Ron Perlman), who is working in an underground facility in a Middle Eastern desert. But when they get there they find a lot more than they expected (dead bodies, the undead, etc). There is not a lot of originality in this movie and the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. The movie actually reminded me a lot of some strange combination of The Prophecy, Ghost Ship, Alone In The Dark, and Automaton Transfusion.

"Did he just say Automaton Transfusion?"

All that said, I actually enjoyed the movie. The biggest strength of the film is the acting, particularly Gooding (no surprise there) and Taryn Manning, who is genuinely creepy at times. Henry Rollins shows up for a must see performance as a Priest (awesome) and Rob Zombie film fans will be happy to see Bill Moseley make an appearance as well. What the film lacks in dialogue it makes up for in action and gore. This is by no means a classic, but it's an enjoyable movie nonetheless.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

The Devil's Tomb Movie Trailer

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST

Cannibal Holocaust Movie Review

This is one of the most controversial films of all time, banned in many countries, and the director, Italian Ruggero Deodato, was actually arrested and charged with murder in Italy when this film came out (1980), having to produce proof that the actors were alive. So, given all this, I of course had to watch it, and having seen it, I can't help but wonder one thing...why? It is pretty standard grindhouse stuff. What probably separates this film is that some of the gruesome effects are actually quite good for it's time, in particular the infamous impalement scene.

This

That's really about the only good thing I can say about this movie though. Poor acting, poor dialogue, lots of fast forwarding. Also quite disturbing is that several animals are actually killed in this movie, which I thankfully knew before hand--I could see the scenes coming, so I was able to fast forward through them.

The plot is a group of four documentary film makers go into the Amazon to document rival tribes. When they don’t return, a group of military people and a professor go in to search for them and find their remains along with the film they had shot. This is about the first half of the movie. The second half is the professor showing the film to a group to decide if it should be made into a film. Other than extreme gore there’s not much to see in this film. If you have a weak stomach avoid this one. If you are a fan of gore or grindhouse this is kind of a must see if just for the historical significance.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

Cannibal Holocaust Movie Trailer

CARRIE

 Carrie Movie Review

This is a 2002 T.V. Movie remake of the 1976 horror classic. First off I will say I am a fan of the original. When watching this remake it is kind of hard to compare it to the original for many reasons. First, it is a TV movie, so obviously it lacked budget and worked within many limitations as far as what they could and could not show and say. Also they bring the story to modern times (well, 2002 anyway), so it includes things like cell phones and the Internet. It does follow the basic story (Carrie gets picked on, crazy mother, guy she has crush on takes her to prom, the big moment at the end) but it also has enough original stuff to separate it from the 1976 classic. Angela Bettis is very strong as Carrie White. She brings a lot more personality to the character, a lot more crazy, but also more humor. She also makes the character a lot more likable, which actually makes you feel a lot worse for her.

It's about to hit the fan

Katharine Isabelle (Freddy vs Jason, Ginger Snaps series) and Chelan Simmons also put in good performances. Patricia Clarkson as Carrie’s mom is a bit odd as she reminded me a lot of Lillith from Frasier. The casting of the two main villains was awful, with the guy playing the bully looking like somebody who himself would be picked on and beat up on a regular basis. Another setback for this movie is the special effects towards the end. This is of course typical of made for television movies though, so you really shouldn't expect anything more. I have read that this is actually closer to the book than the original as well. There are some really fantastic scenes here, including an exchange between the school principal and a lawyer that resulted in me actually cheering out loud--classic. I would recommend this movie given that 1) you understand this is not going to be JUST LIKE the original and 2) you keep in mind this was a made for television movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Carrie Movie Trailer

DAY OF THE DEAD (2008)

Day Of The Dead Movie Review

This is the 2008 direct to video remake of Romero's 1985 film, though to call it a remake is a bit misleading. Much like the original, this does have a combination of civilians and military, but it does not take place underground, and the cast, for the most part, is much younger than in the original. Unlike the original, this one has the fast moving zombies, and, I have to admit, though I love old, classic horrors, the fast moving zombies (popularized by 28 Days Later) are much scarier and intense.

See?

Other than Mena Suvari (The Rage: Carrie 2) and Ving Rhames (Dawn of the Dead), the acting here is pretty poor. This has tons of gore; unfortunately, bad CGI ruins some of it. All in all, it's not a bad movie and certainly one worth checking out. It moves much faster and smoother than the original and, this may be horror movie blasphemy, but I prefer this one to the original.

On A Scale Of One To Ten:6

Day Of The Dead Movie Trailer

DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)

Day Of The Dead Movie Review

This is the original 1985 George Romero film. Soldiers and civilians share an underground bunker to escape the horrors of the undead. However, a group of scientists in the bunker are working on domesticating the zombies. Like Romero's other zombie movies (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Land Of The Dead) this one focuses on human conflict, and to pull that off well you need good acting (for the best example of how to do this right, watch Land Of The Dead)). This movie does not have that--in fact, the acting in the movie to so bad it is distracting and laughable and really, really brings this movie down, along with some terrible, repetitive dialogue.

Yes, this happens

This is a very slow moving movie as well, saved only a bit by the last 20 minutes, which is, for the most part, a gore fest. This is easily the weakest of Romero's zombie films.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Day Of The Dead Movie Trailer

MASTERS OF HORROR: JENIFER

Masters of Horror: Jenifer Review

There will be several Masters of Horror reviews coming up soon. Masters of Horror was a series that ran on Showtime. Each episode was about an hour long and directed by, well, masters of horror.

Jenifer, directed by legendary Dario Argento, is the story of a cop (Steven Weber of Wings fame) saving a mentally challenged and disfigured woman from murder. He finds himself falling for her and her seductive ways, and soon finds out a disturbing secret about Jenifer.

Yikes

This is a pretty well made episode. Weber does a very good job as the cop and Jenifer is very frightening looking. This is a must see for any fan of the old Tales From The Crypt series, which I am.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Masters of Horror: Jenifer Trailer

MASTERS OF HORROR: SICK GIRL

Masters of Horror: Sick Girl Movie Review

Lucky McKee brings us this love story. Entomologist (bug geek) lesbian Ida Teeter (Angela Bettis) comes home one day to find a package on her doorstep from somebody in Brazil. Inside is an odd bug she has never seen before. This bug soon becomes a large part of the life of Teeter and her new lover (horror/porn star Misty Mundae/Erin Brown). Honestly, I was a bit disappointed in this one. I am a big fan of Bettis (horror fans know her from Toolbox Murders, the TV remake of Carrie, May etc) but her talents can only carry this one so far. This is a boring story that is painfully slow at times, and a really annoying character (a guy Ida works with) really bring this one down. It does have a fair bit of gore and is a throwback of sorts to creature features, so it does have that going for it.

Something's bugging her

If you have an hour to kill, or if you are a fan of Bettis or Mudae/Brown, give it a look. If not, avoid it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Masters of Horror: Sick Girl Trailer

MASTERS OF HORROR: CIGARETTE BURNS

Masters of Horror: Cigarette Burns Movie Review

One of my favorite directors, John Carpenter, brings us this episode. A millionaire collector hires a movie theatre owner (Norman Reedus of Boondock Saints and The Messengers 2) to track down and purchase for him a copy of the film titled Le Fun du Monde, a movie shown publicly just once, and known for turning it's viewers in homicidal maniacs (think The Ring, except instead of dying you kill others-- or yourself).

Something is happening here

A very interesting plot evolves as the film moves. I liked this one a lot. Carpenter's directing is obvious here; there are tons of gruesome scenes, and a very strong performance by Reedus carry this one. Recommended to any horror fan.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Masters Of Horror: Cigarette Burns Trailer

MASTERS OF HORROR: PICK ME UP

Masters of Horror: Pick Me Up Movie Review

Larry Cohen directs this episode about a bus that breaks down in the woods and the passengers become victims of two different serial killers--Wheeler (Michael Moriarty) and Walker (Warren Kole)--on a collision course with each other. At about 55 minutes long it drags a bit--it would have been much better at just 40-45 minutes. Moriarty's acting is pretty lousy and quite irritating. Walker is a much more interesting character and Kole is a better actor. It does have some intense scenes and the last fifteen minutes of the episode are rather good. Plus, Fairuza Balk (The Craft, American History X) is in this one, which only adds to my enjoyment.

She's still the weirdo

I don't want to give too much away, but the ending I believe is a nod to a classic from the early 80's. I recommend this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Masters Of Horror: Pick Me Up Trailer

MASTERS OF HORROR: DANCE OF THE DEAD

 Masters of Horror: Dance of the Dead Movie Review

Set in a post World War 3 society, this is the story of a young waitress meeting a group of drug dealers in her overprotective mother's restaurant. They lead her into a world of drugs, sex, and an underground club run by Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street series). The main event at this club is "The dance of the dead", where the undead are drugged and shocked with cattle prods, resulting in the dance.

Dance zombie!

This sounds like a cool story, but the film suffers from trying to fit too much plot into a one hour episode. A pretty weak cast hurts this one as well, especially Ryan McDonald, who is like the equally annoying evil twin of Jack Black. However, it does have some interesting directing (compliments of horror legend Tobe Hooper) and Englund is at his creepy best. It really makes me wish this were a full-length film. If this has another 30 minutes to build the story and better casting it may have been a classic. It's worth a watch, especially if you are a fan of Englund, but alas, this is nothing spectacular.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Masters Of Horror: Dance Of The Dead Trailer

MASTERS OF HORROR: FAIR HAIRED CHILD

Masters of Horror: Fair Haired Child Movie Review

A couple loses their child in a drowning accident and decide to conduct a ritual to bring him back to life. In order to do so, however, they have to sacrifice twelve other children. With eleven down they kidnap outcast Tara (Lindsay Pulsipher) and throw her in the basement to complete the mission.

Where's the hair?

William Malone directs this episode, which is a rather boring one. Lori Petty stars as the mother and is actually not quite as irritating as usual. Pulsipher does a fair job as well, but nothing really makes this episode stand out. This isn't horrible, but it certainly isn't good either. Unless your mission is to watch every episode of the series I would skip this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Masters Of Horror: Fair Haired Child Trailer

RAVENOUS

 Ravenous Movie Review

Set during the Mexican-American War, this is the story of Captain John Boyd (played brilliantly by the very underrated Guy Pearce) being sent to a post in California after a battle. He joins a small group there and madness ensues, involving cannibalism/vampirism, Indian legend and survival.

"Sounds good to me"

This is a different sort of movie, with a comedic tone set early and gradually getting darker and darker throughout, resulting in a fairly interesting horror/comedy film. There are some pretty good performances here from Pearce as well as Robert Carlyle, Jeffrey Jones and Neal McDonough (another lesser known but talented actor). David Arquette also makes an appearance; however, it is mercifully brief. If you are a fan of dark comedy and/or horror, this one is recommended.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Ravenous Movie Trailer

CURSED

Cursed Movie Review

Horror legend Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson (Scream movies) bring us this werewolf flick starring Christina Ricci (Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas). This movie had some pretty cool moments (werewolf going after a woman in parking garage) and some really, really bad ones (the wrestling scene), with a very predictable ending. Ricci is bearable as the lead--her brother a bit less.

The wolf

This has some of the humor you typically find in a Craven film, but it's not nearly as clever as most of the rest of his stuff. Cameos/short appearances abound, including Scott Baio and Craig Kilborn playing themselves, as well as Shannon Elizabeth and Portia de Rossi. A few graphic scenes make the movie worthwhile. How much you enjoy this movie will largely depend on the mood you are in when you watch it--I was fairly indifferent.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Cursed Movie Trailer

FRONTIER(S)

Frontier(s) Movie Review

A group of young people steal money during a riot in Paris and head for Holland, deciding to stop along the way at a hostel run by a family of insane cannibal Nazis.

Nazi cannibals

The torture and death scenes from there are very brutal. Horrorfest brings us this French film, which is in French and German with English subtitles. This is easily one of the most intense films I have ever seen and is by far the best of the Horrorfest films so far. It is a mixture of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hostel and 70's grindhouse stuff. If you do not like movies like Hostel, Touristas, etc, avoid this one. If you do like such movies, this is a must see, and really THIS is the movie that Hostel WANTED to be. I couldn't take my eyes off this film--I got very wrapped up in it, and actually felt bad for the victims (a rarity for me). Of note, this movie was given an NC-17 rating due to the extreme violence. The acting is actually pretty good with a couple small exceptions. The lead characters movements towards the end are, well...I'm not sure, either quite disturbing or so badly acted that it is distracting...I have yet to figure it out. And Maud Forget as Eva "the good sister" is outstanding; she is easily the best actor in the film, as well as the most interesting character. I personally loved this movie and give it a high recommendation.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9

Frontier(s) Movie Trailer

BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2

Butterfly Effect 2 Movie Review

And to continue my series of movies that do not live up to the original, we have The Butterfly Effect 2. The Butterfly Effect was a surprisingly good movie, going beyond my expectations as I generally find Ashton Kutcher about as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist. The Butterfly Effect 2 basically tells the same story as the original, but now, instead of a college student, our lead character works in an office. This one has the same basic idea; the more he goes back in time to correct things, the more he screws things up.

All he wants is this

This is a decent movie overall I would say. The acting, for the most part, isn't terrible, but not great either (it was direct to video after all). If you have seen the first one, do not expect this to live up to it, but don't dismiss this one either. A bit of a warning though: this one has a really, really bad ending. This is worth checking out though.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Butterfly Effect 2 Movie Trailer

FEAST 2

 Feast 2 Movie Review

If you are a fan of horror/comedy, I highly recommend the movie Feast--Henry Rollins in pink sweat pants is gold. "Feast 2" is the sequel to that movie, and it falls well short of living up to its predecessor. This picks up the morning after Feast, with a group of biker chicks coming into town to the mess. This outing has the gore of the first, but tends to go for more gross out moments, including a dissection scene that is just, well, gross--and not in an entertaining way.

Not funny

I am a big fan of horror/comedy if done right (Shaun Of The Dead, Undead, The Evil Dead series) but this movie tries too hard and is way over the top with the comedy aspects. Skip it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

Feast 2 Movie Trailer

THE HAPPENING

The Happening Movie Review

As a fan of M. Night Shyamalan films I was pretty excited when this one came out but never got around to seeing it in the theatre--now I am glad I didn't drop ten bucks or so to go see it. The first 30 minutes are pretty solid, but it really tanks after that. Mark Wahlberg, who I think is a decent actor, gives us a, well, odd performance as the lead character. John Leguizamo, not surprisingly, gives the best performance, but sadly is not in the film much.

And she looks like this the entire film

The story is very weak in this one, probably Shyamalan's worst to date. The reason it gets as high a score as it does from me is because the first 30 minutes are so good, has a few "Holy Smokes" moments, and at least one movie taboo scene. After watching The Lady In The Water I commented that Shyamalan could make a film of two monkeys banging sticks together for two hours and people will pay to see it just because Shyamalan made it--after this outing I'm not so sure that stands true anymore.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Happening Movie Trailer

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 5: RAVE TO THE GRAVE

Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave To The Grave Movie Review

We see early that many of the characters from part 4 return for this one, and with the exception of Aimee-Lynn Chadwick as Becky, that's not a good thing.

Rave On

After his uncle is killed, Julian finds two barrels in his uncle's house. Unsure what is inside, he and his girlfriend take one of the barrels to their chemist friend Cody, who determines it is something similar to the drug ecstasy. Jeremy (perhaps the most irritating character in a film this side of Pauly Shore) puts a drop of the liquid on his tongue and trips to the verge of death. He and Cody decide to put the liquid in pill form (think Advil gel caps the size of a horse pill)(remember, one drop almost killed Jeremy) and sell the drugs to local college kids. I don't think I have to mention the result. This really is not a bad film; it's considerably better the previous installment, but it's not really great either. The acting and makeup are just as bad as ROTLD 4 but there is still plenty of blood and gore as well. They tried to bring more comedy into this one, which really drags the film down (and cost it a point on my score). But as a horror movie it has legs. Oddly, the same characters that fought the zombies in ROTLD 4 return here but never mention they have fought or even seen zombies before.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave To The Grave Movie Trailer