Friday, May 28, 2010

976-EVIL

976-Evil Movie Review

People calling a 976 number to get their “horrorscope” get very personal messages and eventually evil powers. This 1988 film, Robert Englund’s directorial debut, is pretty standard 80’s b-movie stuff, complete with a weird plot, stereotypical teenagers, and really bad special effects. Stephen Geoffreys (Evil Ed from Fright Night) is a perfect choice for Hoax, the lead character. Geoffreys almost brings back Evil Ed in the performance, playing a similar, but nerdier, character.

"Don't call me Evil!...please"

If you are into hot 80’s rebel chicks, you will find some liking in this film. It’s also interesting to note that Darren Burrows of Northern Exposure fame made his film debut here. And, as a fan of The Wonder Years, I was happy to see Robert Picardo make an appearance here in a role MUCH different than Cutlip. The dialogue is pretty lousy and the fight scene in the bathroom is Ed Wood bad. The plot is terrible--the acting, for the most part, is equally as bad. Still, there is some weird charm to this movie that keeps you interested up to the awful ending. If you dig bad 80’s horror, this one’s for you. If not, skip it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

976-EVIL Trailer (This is actually a pretty awesome trailer)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) (From The Theatre)

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 Movie Review

A group of high school students having dreams of a burned killer named Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen, Shutter Island)) suddenly start dying. This remake of the 1984 classic keeps many of the same stories of the original while adding new stuff as well. I am going to say right off the bat that I am a huge fan of the original, so my expectations going into this weren’t really high to begin with. What did impress me, however, were some of the death scenes, in particular the first and the final ones. There are also a few moments that make you jump, which is always good. This movie has a few scenes taken directly from the original, with mixed results. The scene of the girl getting thrown about the bedroom is back and is actually better here. On the other hand, the bathtub scene also returns and is not nearly as effective as in the first film. One thing that really drags this movie down is the cast. With the exception of Rooney Mara as Nancy Holbrook (as opposed to Nancy Thompson from the original), the cast is very weak and, for the most part, irritating. This applies especially to Kyle Gallner as Quentin and Thomas Dekker as Jesse. The special effects are hit-or-miss throughout, alternating between really cool and really distracting and poorly done. Finally, there’s Freddy. This movie confirms what I believed going into it: nobody other than Robert Englund should EVER play Freddy. This is not at all a knock on Jackie Earle Haley, who is a good actor in his own right. He did as much as he could do with the role, but it comes off as a Halloween costume of Freddy, not the real thing, and that takes way too much from the movie.

Freddy?

It just never FEELS like Freddy. If you are a youngster and/or you’ve never seen the original, this may not affect you at all. For those of us who grew up with and love the original series of films this will just never feel like a Nightmare On Elm Street movie, though it does have tons of potential. Had they brought Englund back and cast better actors for the supporting roles, this could have been a wonderful movie. Sadly, it’s not--at least I caught the matinee.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

A Nightmare On Elm Street Movie Trailer

SLEEPAWAY CAMP

Sleepaway Camp Movie Review

Quiet teen Angela (Felissa Rose) goes to a summer camp where the mean kids and counselors are being killed off one by one. This 1983 low budget horror film is pretty typical of the movies from that era: camp setting, mean kids, nice kids, slasher killing people off camera, bad dialogue, bad acting. The two best performances are turned in by Karen Fields as the bully Judy and Desiree Gould as the super-weird Aunt Martha (a bit of a tip-off to the twist ending).

You've said too much!

Interestingly, Gould has only appeared in two other films and Fields has not done any other movies. This is a pretty forgettable film but it is VERY well known for one thing--the aforementioned twist ending is one of the most talked about endings in horror history. This alone almost makes it worth sitting through (though I was already aware of the ending before I saw the film). Otherwise, this is a fairly run of the mill slasher flick.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Sleepaway Camp Movie Trailer

Friday, May 21, 2010

TRIP WITH THE TEACHER

Trip With The Teacher Movie Review

A group of schoolgirls and their teacher are out on a field trip when they are tracked down and terrorized by a couple bikers. Now they have to figure out a way to escape the isolated shack they are being held in before they are killed. This is a classic example of a 70’s grindhouse exploitation movie. You have a group of scantily clad, slutty victims, psychopaths, a bit of nudity (though not as much as in many other movies similar to it), a couple rape scenes, deaths scenes, horrible acting, bad film quality, and dreadful dialogue--it’s all here. Zalman King plays head psycho killer Al, and appears to be a big fan of Last House On The Left as he seemingly tries to emulate the performance of David Hess from that film. He is much worse at it though, making his character way too laughable.

el oh el

Unlike many other such films, none of the girls really stand out here as they are all pretty evenly bad. If you like watching movies for plot holes, you will love this movie--they're everywhere. This movie drags on for about the first thirty to forty minutes, all the while accompanied by the strange cheery music that seems to pop up in all grindhouse films, but it sort of takes off from there. The ending, and the cheery feel that comes with it, is simply perplexing. This is fairly standard grindhouse stuff so if you are a fan you may like this one. It is not nearly as graphic as Last House On The Left, I Spit On Your Grave, and others, and is fairly tame for an exploitation film, so it may be more easily approached for non-grindhouse fans for that reason. I enjoyed it a bit for what it was.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Trip With The Teacher Movie Trailer

Thursday, May 20, 2010

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (LAT DEN RATTE KOMMA IN)

Let The Right One In Movie Review

Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a twelve-year-old boy constantly teased by his classmates. A young girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson) moves in next door to him and they quickly strike up a friendship. Oskar starts to fall in love with Eli, but what he doesn’t know is that Eli is a vampire who has been doing all the killings around their small town. Eli provides Oskar with the help he needs overcoming his enemies, while Oskar provides a human connection for Eli. This Swedish film is really quite a movie. The children both do a good job in their roles, especially Leandersson, who provides just the right mix of sweetness and creepiness for Eli.

You've got red on you

The film does move slow at times and runs a bit long, and some of the supporting actors are pretty bad; however, these things are not enough to drag the movie down. A good story, a fair bit of gore, beautiful scenery and a really good ending make this a movie worth checking out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Let The Right One In Movie Trailer

Friday, May 14, 2010

SATAN'S SLAVE (aka Evil Heritage)

Satan's Slave Movie Review

A young woman is taking a vacation to the property of her uncle and cousin, neither of whom she has met before. Once there she begins to have dreams and visions of her relatives participating in Satanic rituals. Soon enough she realizes they are going to sacrifice her to try to resurrect her dead aunt.

Rock on

This 1976 British film is pure grindhouse so I enjoyed it somewhat. The dialogue is terrible, the acting is worse, and it does drag out quite a bit. But there is a somewhat interesting story and a pretty good amount of gore for its time--the makeup effects for the gore are pretty good for the time as well. There’s also a ton of nudity in this one, which is notable because at one point you see a woman lying on a table, topless, the victim of a ceremony. You then see snakes put on her chest and it becomes really clear that another woman has taken her place on the table. Awesome. This movie was not remastered for this set (Gore House Greats Collection) so you get the pops, buzzes, lines, cigarette burns, choppy editing and off audible, all of which add to the enjoyment of watching this movie. I had fun watching this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Satan's Slave Movie Trailer 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

THE WOODS

The Woods Movie Review

Heather (Agnes Bruckner, Kill Theory, Vacancy 2) is a troubled teenager sent away to a boarding school. Once there, she is picked on by the school bully, Samantha (Rachel Nichols, Star Trek, G.I. Joe), is harassed by the teachers, and finds that the woods surrounding the school are haunted. This movie has a story line that really isn’t that interesting and it tends to drag at times; however, there is a lot going for it too, the first thing being the acting. Bruckner and Nichols are both very good in their roles. Patricia Clarkson (Carrie) is good as Ms. Traverse, the lady in charge of the school, and Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead series),as Heather’s father, is as awesome as always .

Father and daughter

The directing is interesting as you get not only unusual scenes but also unusual angles. There’s even a fine little twist involved in the story that makes the second watching of the film better than the first. This is not a great movie, but it is pretty enjoyable, and I recommend it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

The Woods Movie Trailer

WHITEOUT

 Whiteout Movie Review

A U.S. Marshall (Kate Beckinsale of the Underworld series) is working in Antarctica when a murder, the first on the continent, takes place. Now she must track the killer down in the extreme conditions. There is really not a lot going for this movie, other than Beckinsale, who is a good actress (and not bad to look at either).

Hello there

Even she seems to be phoning in this one though. The rest of the cast is pretty boring, as are the dialogue and most of the action. There are several scenes that feel like they were thrown in just to take up some time. There is a little bit of gore and two scenes that made me cringe a bit. There are some pretty beautiful aerial shots of the mountains and northern lights in the movie too, which may be overlooked in a good film but stand out wonderfully in a film as boring as this. I remember when this came to the theatre I almost paid to see it--I’m really happy that did not happen.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Whiteout Movie Trailer

DONNIE DARKO

Donnie Darko Movie Review

Teenager Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal, Zodiac, The Day After Tomorrow) is bothered by visions of a demented looking rabbit (Frank), who persuades Donnie to commit crimes, while also giving him clues about the end of the world. This is really just touching the surface of this bizarre film that also involves time travel and alternate reality. Filled with strange characters, strange scenes, and even stranger special effects, I have found this to be a movie that people tend to either love or write off completely because they cannot connect to it--I fall into the former. I think the story is phenomenal and the acting is very strong. Gyllenhall does a fine job as Donnie, Jena Malone (The Ruins, Into The Wild) is good as Donnie’s girlfriend Gretchen, and Patrick Swayze (The Outsiders, Red Dawn) is a scene-stealer as motivational speaker Jim Cunningham.

"Are you going to finish that popcorn?"

It should also be noted that the soundtrack is outstanding, featuring many of the best new wave bands of the 1980’s. The film does get bogged down at times and moves slow, especially if you watch the extended director’s cut. Donnie Darko is a mood-altering movie as well, so be warned. This truly is  a fantastic film that I recommend highly.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9

Donnie Darko Movie Trailer

Thursday, May 6, 2010

DOG SOLDIERS

Dog Soldiers Movie Review

British military forces in Scotland are out on a training mission when they encounter werewolves in the wilderness. A lot of this 2002 film is spent building up to finally seeing the werewolves and the battle between them and the soldiers, and it can drag out at times, though it does contain some pretty good dialogue and humor. There are also a few cool references to other horror movies (one of the soldiers name is Bruce Campbell). People will probably either love or hate the werewolves as they were done with no CGI, so if that is the type of horror you are used to you will likely not like this. I happen to love such things and found the werewolves pretty cool.

CGI free since 2002

It should be noted that there is tons of gore in this movie too. This film would have benefited greatly by cutting about fifteen to twenty minutes as, like I said, it drags at times, but this is still a decent film that is worth a look.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Dog Soldiers Movie Trailer

ALBINO FARM

Albino Farm Movie Review

A group of college students go to the backwoods to explore local legends for a school project. They come across a small town that is said to have the mysterious albino farm, so the kids go there to explore and find something they could not have expected. You will notice all throughout the movie that there is really not much here that is original at all as it is obvious the movie is stealing from borrowing heavily from other horror films. The acting is pretty bad in this one too but at least, mercifully, the worst is the first to go. I will give the film credit for the effects and makeup work though. For being a small budget film these parts were really well done.

For example

The film also has a fairly good ending. Unfortunately, these two things are not nearly enough to make up for the rest of the movie though. Skip this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Albino Farm Movie Trailer