Saturday, January 30, 2010

TERRIFIED

 Terrified Movie Review

Terrified is a black and white 1963 film about a student doing a study on terror. He soon finds himself in the hands of a masked serial killer. This movie starts off pretty well, with a scene of a young man getting buried alive in what looks like concrete, something kind of extreme for 1963.

Terrified indeed

There is another scene in the movie that I also thought was rather graphic for it’s time. This film actually does well with a creepy feeling, especially for it’s time, where the center of the story is more about terror itself than it is about the killer. Wonderfully bad dialogue full of nonsense, at times reaching close to Ed Wood levels, will either leave you smiling or shaking your head. It has a fairly weak ending and the acting is terrible, but those things almost add to the enjoyment of the film. This is not a great movie, but one I enjoyed for the most part.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Terrified Full Film

Friday, January 29, 2010

SLITHER

Slither Movie Review

A meteor hits Earth, bringing with it an alien slug that soon enters the body of Grant Grant (Michael Rooker of Mallrats and Cliffhanger). Grant then transforms into a constantly growing slug-like creature and soon many smaller slug creatures terrorize the town, entering the bodies of people and turning them all into zombies with the mind of Grant. Now it is up to the town’s sheriff (Nathan Fillion of Firefly), Grant’s wife (Elizabeth Banks, Spider-Man 1-3), the town’s drunken mayor (veteran television actor Gregg Henry) and a teen girl (Tania Saulnier) to save the day. It had been a couple years since I watched this and I forgot how much I liked it. This movie is an outstanding blend of comedy, gore, horror and creature features with many nods to classic monster movies.

Monster awesomeness

Henry is a riot as the mayor and Fillion, Banks and Rooker are wonderful in their roles. There are tons of classic lines here too. There are a few genuinely creepy scenes in the movie, particularly when the slugs get into the Strutemyer house and follow Kylie out to the truck. The little girls are actually pretty scary in that scene! Pam from The Office (Jenna Fischer) also has a brief but memorable appearance as a police dispatcher. My only real complaint with the movie is that some of the gross out scenes are, well, too gross for my liking. Otherwise this is a very fun movie that I recommend.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Slither Movie Trailer

Thursday, January 28, 2010

THE HILLS RUN RED

The Hills Run Red Movie Review

A horror movie titled The Hills Run Red was shown for a very brief time, and due to outcry over the gruesome deaths scenes, it was never seen again. Now a young man named Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrink of Lost Boys 2) is determined to find the film. He seeks out the director’s daughter (Sophie Monk) and together with his girlfriend (Janet Montgomery) and best friend (Alex Wyndham of Freakdog), they go into the woods the movie was filmed in, searching for the director’s house.

But find him

The premise of the movie is pretty much a direct rip off of the John Carpenter Masters Of Horror episode Cigarette Burns and the remainder is some combination of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Wrong Turn. To make this sort of movie work I think you have to make the characters likable--they fail miserably in that regard. Little is known of the girlfriend and best friend, who sleep together once in a scene that makes little sense as there is no real payoff for it. The lead is one-dimensional and the daughter is a terribly unbelievable stripper/junkie character. There is a twist near the end that may be the most predictable twist in film history--they try to tie it together with a Saw like flashback sequence. There is a cool death scene or two, and the end starts to feel like it might be a good one, but it comes up short. Veteran actor William Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption, RocketMan, The Green Mile) makes an appearance as the director and does a fine job. There’s really not much more positive to be said for this film. It is pretty overrated and disappointing overall.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

The Hills Run Red Movie Trailer

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BLOOD MANIA

Blood Mania Movie Review

Before I get to the movie itself I should mention that the scene going on during the opening credits and the Blood Mania graphic at the start are fantastic.

Victoria (Maria De Aragon) has had a crush on Dr. Craig Cooper (Peter Carpenter) for quite some time. When he tells her he needs $50,000 to pay off a blackmailer, she kills her father to get his inheritance. That plans backfires as he leaves his fortune to Victoria’s younger sister Gail (Vicki Peters). Tying up scenes between all this is a bunch of sex scenes with Victoria, Gail and Cooper’s wife Cheryl (Reagan Wilson), all topless throughout--this 1970 film should have called it Boobs Mania instead of Blood Mania.

Lots of this

This is a pretty boring movie that moves at a very slow pace. Carpenter is an awful actor and for all the three women have in beauty (especially Wilson) they are certainly lacking in acting ability (especially Peters). Not that this is a terrible movie--there’s just not a lot going on. There is pretty entertaining/weird music throughout and the ONLY scene with blood (almost at the end of the film) is shot very well with spastic music and camera movements. It is a lot to sit through for the one cool scene though. Skip it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Blood Mania Entire Movie

BLOOD OF DRACULA'S CASTLE

Blood of Dracula's Castle Movie Review

This film comes from a collection known as Gore House Greats, 12 movies on 4 discs purchased for five dollars--In other words, a bunch of B movies for really cheap. I will be reviewing them in the coming days. First up is Blood Of Dracula’s Castle, a 1969 film.

A young couple inherits a castle, but when they go to move in they find it houses Dracula, his bride, their butler (John Carradine), a deformed, retarded giant, and a random killer with some captured women in the basement who serve as food for the vampires. They also need to make a virgin sacrifice to a God named Luna. Needless to say, the dialogue in this movie is dreadful and the acting is almost as bad. The action scenes are laughable. Alexander D’Arcy makes possibly the worst vampire I have ever seen.

I'm scary...really

Somehow I managed to enjoy this movie though. A big reason for this is because the movie was not remastered. It looks like it was transferred from the reel directly to the DVD (maybe it was?) so you get the feeling you would have had watching it in the theatre with all the pops, buzzes, vertical lines and cigarette burns. I really liked the music in the film and the settings outside the castle (a carnival, Oceanside, et cetera). The first 30-45 minutes of the movie are fairly decent and it falls apart after that. I give a very mild recommendation for this film, as long as you understand what you are getting into before you watch it. These old films are not for most.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Blood Of Dracula's Castle (Basically the entire movie told in about 4 minutes)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SURROGATES

 Surrogates Movie Review

We currently live in a society where the technology has advanced so much that it is considerably cutting into actual human interaction. This movie, based on a graphic novel, takes that to the next level, as almost all humans have a surrogate that go out and live their daily lives for them. Officer Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) is forced out of his home for the first time in a long time to try to solve murders of surrogates. This movie has a fairly interesting story and succeeds in giving some interesting visuals, especially the ending. Also interesting is to see the differences in the surrogates and the people operating them. Willis is his typical action hero character here, which, of course, is a good thing if you are a Willis fan and not such a good thing if you are not (I am).

Bruce being Bruce

Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill, Nobody’s Baby) is pretty good as Greer’s partner Peters, and Ving Rhames (Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead) is his usual awesome self as The Prophet, a character that is in the movie way too little. That aside, this movie struggles with some very poor special effects, questionable editing, and some very obvious plot holes--I have never read the novel so I can’t say if these holes are there too (one would assume not). This is sort of a roller coaster of a movie that you will really enjoy at times and throw your arms up in disappointment at other times. I give it a very mild recommendation.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Surrogates Movie Trailer

Friday, January 22, 2010

BLACKOUT

 Blackout Movie Review

Three strangers are trapped in an elevator for hours. During this time we see why it is so important that they get out as we get flashbacks of the events leading to them being in the elevator. Claudia (Amber Tamblyn, Joan of Arcadia, The Grudge 2) is a college student whose grandmother is dying in the hospital. Karl (Irish actor Aidan Gillen) is a doctor trying to get home before his daughter comes for visitation. And Tommy (Armie Hammer—honestly, that’s his name) is a hood with plans to run away with his girlfriend Francesca (Katie Stuart).

Escape?

Given all this, the movie had potential; however, it failed miserably to deliver. The first thing you would think with such a situation is that they would play on at least one characters fear of confined spaces--that didn’t happen. They try to build suspense around the characters to make us guess who the inevitable killer will be, but the payoff on this is WAY too predictable. The shooting of scenes of the elevator shaft seems a direct rip-off of Saw style directing. And the building seems thousands of feet tall when we see shots inside the shaft, but outside shots show it much smaller. One of the few bright spots here is Tamblyn, a pretty talented actress who plays this part well. And oddly, the character you end up caring the most about may be Tommy’s girlfriend Francesca, a character that is not in it much at all. Mark Boone Junior (30 Days Of Night, Memento, tons of other cool movies) makes a very brief appearance as Francesca’s abusive father, so that's a plus. The tension inside the elevator is weak, Gillen is awful in this role, the dialogue is sub par, and the thrills are very few. As I said, the movie had tons of potential, but sadly it did not live up to it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Blackout Movie Trailer (In English)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON

Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon Movie Review

Have you ever, as have I, wondered how movie serial killers such as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers prepare for their killing sprees, are able to know exactly where the victims will go next, what they will do next, and how they were able stay to a couple steps ahead at all times? If so, this mockumentary is for you. Killer Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) hires a documentary crew headed by reporter Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals of 24) to film him in preparation for his big night of killing teenagers in his former house. He explains everything that goes into preparing for this, from how he chose his victims to how he will kill them to how his Ahab (Robert Englund of the A Nightmare On Elm Street series) will come to the rescue of the virgin survivor girl who will either kill him in the end or escape.

Cardio is very important

This is an absolutely hysterical and smart horror movie spoof. Englund is gold as Doc Halloran, a direct homage to Dr. Loomis of the Halloween series. Throw in other classic horror references and cameos (Kane Hodder of the Friday The 13th Series, Zelda Rubinstein of Poltergeist) and a wonderful performance by Baesel as a happy-go-lucky killer, and you can’t go wrong. You will laugh for the first hour and ten minutes, and then the movie suddenly turns into an actual horror movie (albeit with a few laughs left in it) with a bit of gore. There have been a ton of horror spoof movies come along and most are not actually funny (Scary Movie comes to mind)--this one is incredibly funny and, with the many references throughout, is a must see for horror fans. This is not quite on the level of Shaun Of The Dead (though nothing is yet) but it is certainly at least as good as Black Sheep (not the Spade/Farley movie). I highly recommend this movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9

Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon Movie Trailer

Monday, January 18, 2010

ALTERED

Altered Movie Review

Aliens kidnapped four friends when they were young. Fifteen years later, three of them capture one of the aliens in the woods and brings it to the garage of the fourth friend, Wyatt, who was held by the aliens longer than the others and knows more about them. One important thing he knows is that if they kill the alien the others will come back. The friends now finds themselves stuck with a vicious alien and no idea what to do with it.

Ummm....now what?

This spooky film is brought to us by the same director who did The Blair Witch Project and is pretty action packed from start to finish. Your patience may be tested a bit in the start with the characters (rednecks), in particular Paul McCarthy-Boyington as Cody, but if you stick it out the characters actually start to grow on you a bit and the alien is fairly creepy. Good directing and good makeup, along with some gory scenes, make this one worth a watch. Some of the special effects are weak and the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired but once you get past these things you may just like this movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Altered Movie Trailer

JOY RIDE 2: DEAD AHEAD

Joy Ride 2 Movie Review

Melissa and her fiancĂ© Bobby, along with Melissa’s sister Kayla and her date Nik, are on their way to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Along the way their car breaks down. They walk through the desert of Utah until they come to a house that has not been inhabited for a while. In the garage they find a car and take it, but not before leaving a note, with Melissa’s phone number, promising to return the car once they get help. The car's owner (if you’ve seen the first Joy Ride you know exactly who it is) kidnaps one of them and the remaining three must follow the kidnapper’s instructions if they hope to get their friend back.

Trouble's waiting

This sequel to the 2001 original has some pretty intense and interesting moments, notably the game towards the end, but ultimately suffers from very poor writing. Some of the stuff in the movie is simply inexpiable and so bad it's distracting. Nick Zano (The Final Destination) turns in the strongest performance as Bobby and Nicki Aycox (Jeepers Creepers 2, Dead Birds) does a good job as Melissa. On the other hand, Laura Jordan is pretty bad as Kayla and Kyle Schmid (A History Of Violence, The Covenant) is absolutely dreadful as Nik, the self-proclaimed “third wave emo punk”, coming off as somebody doing a really bad impersonation of Matthew Lillard. Being a fan of Joy Ride, I really WANTED to like this movie, and I did like some parts of it, but there is just so much ridiculousness here that took a lot away from the film. Still, with some pretty good scenes and some intense moments, it’s not a total loss, and I did enjoy it a bit.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Joy Ride 2 Movie Trailer

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

MARTYRS

Martyrs Movie Review

Lucie, a young girl who has been captured and tortured, escapes one day and is taken to a home, where she befriends another young girl named Anna. 15 years later, Lucie, who has been haunted by ghostly visions, goes back to the home of the people who tortured her to seek revenge. Once there she calls Anna to come and help her. What they find at the house though is a lot more than they bargained for. That is just scratching the surface of this 2008 French horror film. I would like to say more about the plot but to do so would be spoiling it. This is a truly dark, disturbing sort of movie that gives very little, if any, hope at all. The scenes of violence and torture are very extreme here, giving it ratings all over the world equivalent to an NC-17 here in the states.

One of the tamer photos out there

Some of the scenes are so brutal they are hard to watch. This is not the stuff that makes this movie so good (though it certainly doesn’t hurt). The story and the twists and turns are what really make this film, with an ending that is quite good. The movie is a nice blend of psychological thriller, gore and Asian horror. It’s really hard to recommend this movie to the general public because most people will not like it at all. It was a very well made movie though, the acting was pretty good and it certainly leaves an impression. It is a hard, if not impossible, movie to enjoy but I did like it for what it was…. if that makes sense.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Martyrs Movie Trailer

Sunday, January 10, 2010

THE ECHO

 The Echo Movie Review

Ex-con Bobby moves into his recently deceased mother’s apartment and soon starts hearing and seeing a police officer beating and killing his family--the problem is nobody lives there. After trying to get involved, he finds himself cursed with seeing and hearing the ghosts of the family. If that sounds vaguely familiar it could be because this film, which is a remake of Filipino horror movie Sigaw, is very similar to The Grudge, the remake of the Japanese horror movie Ju-on. The problem with this movie, other than being so similar to The Grudge, is that is not nearly as good or scary.

A little scary

It certainly has the similar slow build (a standard among Asian horror) but the payoff for the wait is a letdown. Jesse Bradford (Cherry Falls, Flags of Our Fathers) is tolerable as Bobby, but Amelia Warner (Aeon Flux) as his girlfriend comes off as whiny and just irritating. Pruitt Taylor Vince (Identity, Beautiful Girls) is the best actor in the film and plays the most interesting character, but sadly he is not in it much. The Echo is not a terrible movie, but it’s not a particularly good movie either.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Echo Movie Trailer

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE

Shadow of the Vampire Movie Review

F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) wants to make the ultimate vampire movie. He is denied the rights to Dracula, however, so he must change the title to Nosferatu, and the name of Dracula to Count Orlock (along with some other changes). He brings in the mysterious Max Schreck (Willem Defoe), an actor who always stays in character, to play the Count. Strange things start to happen around the movie as Schreck’s behavior gets more and more bizarre, but Murnau is determined to finish the movie no matter what it takes. It had been a few years since I watched this and I forgot how amazing the movie is. Defoe, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance, is outstanding as Schreck, and, Malkovich turns in one of his best performances.

Defoe bringing the creepy

Catherine McCormack's (Braveheart, 28 Weeks Later) performance as Greta is strong as well. The directing and the way this movie was shot are incredible. There is dark humor throughout the film, touching moments, and just plain creepy moments as well. The final scene is one of the greatest, most surreal scenes in film history. A note to all Twilight fans: This (and the actual film, Nosferatu) are what vampire films should be. I really cannot recommend this movie enough.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9

Shadow of the Vampire Movie Trailer

P2

P2 Movie Review

It’s Christmas Eve. Angela (Rachel Nichols, The Woods, The Amityville Horror) is the last person to leave work. Her car is in a dark parking garage and will not start. Insecure and lonely security guard Thomas (Wes Bentley, Ghost Rider, Soul Survivors) offers to have dinner with her, and when he is refused, he kidnaps her and locks her in the garage. From there she struggles to escape.

You better run Thomas

I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, as I remembered not being interested in it when it came out. It did surprise me how violent and bloody some of the scenes were and Bentley, who seems to have really found his niche in playing the weird guy character, really steps beyond that to a psychopathic level and he pulls off the character nicely. I think what made this movie hard to like was that they made Thomas too likeable and Angela not likable enough. For this sort of film to work you have to really feel bad for the victim and cheer for her to kill or escape from the villain--that’s really not the case here. You end up feeling sorry for Thomas at times, particularly in the end. This movie has a couple good moments here and there but I can’t really give this a high recommendation.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

P2 Movie Trailer