Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PREDATORS

Predators Movie Review

A group of assassins, killers, special ops, etc, from around the world are sent to battle Predators, a group of aliens on the hunt. This is a continuation of the first two Predator movies, but this time the humans are on the Predators’ turf. I am a fan of the original and the second one wasn’t bad, so I was looking forward to this movie--I was disappointed with almost all of it. Adrien Brody (The Jacket, Summer of Sam) plays Royce, the main character—I am usually a big fan of Brody, but he was miscast in this role. He is simply not believable as the tough guy leader of this group. The script and especially the dialogue in this movie are awful. The characters are not likable and, other than Edwin (Topher Grace Ocens Eleven, That 70's Show), none are interesting in the least. The only character I really liked was Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), and that’s probably only because he barely speaks. The Predators look pretty cool for the most part, adding to the bit of enjoyment I had watching it.

Hanzo v Predator

There are a couple surprise twists as well, with varied results. One thing I will give this movie credit for is that they (producer Robert Rodriguez especially) continued the story of the first two Predator movies and ignored the Alien vs. Predator films. Overall, however, this is a pretty average action movie and nothing worth going out of your way to catch.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Predators Movie Trailer

Friday, November 26, 2010

.COM FOR MURDER

.com for murder Movie Review

A computer hacking killer (Jeffrey Dean), who stalks his victims through an online chat site, is now going after the wife of a millionaire (Nastassja Kinski Cat People, Terminal Velocity) and her friend (Nicollette Sheridan). I was excited to see this movie as it has a few people in it I really like—Kinski, Huey Lewis (the singer), Roger Daltrey (the singer), Melinda Clarke (Return of The Living Dead 3), and Kim Valentine (Grandma’s House). Ah, but how letdown I was. This movie is a great example of why they say “just because you CAN use special effects and enhancements doesn’t mean you SHOULD”. Every thing “special” they try to do visually just looks really cheap and amateurish.

Like whatever this is

Dean is a terrible actor, and a horrible choice for the role, which could have been interesting had somebody with actual acting talents been hired. In fact, the entire movie could have been interesting as it had a somewhat cool story base, but the script and dialogue are so bad that it is hard to keep interest. As for the rest of the cast: Kinski seems bored, Sheridan was bad, Lewis was awesomely bad as an FBI agent, Clarke was oddly miscast as his partner, Daltrey is only in it for about the first 8 minutes, and Valentine, who I had a crush on as a teenager, is only there to play a victim (at least I saw that she still looked good into the 2000’s). Unless you are a fan of any of these people, and probably even if you are, you should just skip this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

I couldn't find the trailer, but here is about 4 minutes of the awfulness (it may contain spoilers)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

BLOODTIDE

 Bloodtide Movie Review

American divers have unlocked a monster off a Greek island. Now virgins must be sacrificed to keep the monster from killing everybody. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite deliver on the promise. Instead, what we get is a movie that seems to just keep going on and on with little to nothing actually going on. They try to keep you interested by making you guess who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, but at some point you lose interest. The acting is pretty bad all the way around with the exception of James Earl Jones (Star Wars, Field Of Dreams), who does a decent job with his very poorly written character. It’s also interesting seeing Jones so much thinner than I am used to him being. The sea monster doesn’t have much screen time, but it is so badly cheesy that I had to like it.

Smile?

All this eventually leads to a twist of sorts and one of the most unintentionally funny moments I have ever seen--it’s not worth watching the entire movie to get to it though.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Bloodtide Complete Movie 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2009)

Night Of The Demons 2009 Movie Review

Angela (Shannon Elizabeth, Thirteen Ghosts) is having a Halloween party at a mansion. Soon the guests start becoming possessed by demons. Based on this basic plot summary you would assume this is a remake of the 80’s Night Of The Demons, but calling this a remake is very much a stretch. Other than the very basic idea and the use of the name Angela, there is little about this that resembles the original (a movie I am a big fan of). Elizabeth is a horrible actress, and her portrayal of Angela doesn’t even come close to the original (portrayed by Mimi Kinkade). Not that Kinkade was an extremely talented actress herself, but she made a much more effective Angela, bringing the whole Gothic thing that Elizabeth sorely lacks here. Something that differs a lot from the original is that, in the original, you bought the characters/actors as late teens-early twenties. Here they all look to be in their thirties, especially Edward Furlong (Terminator 2, American History X), who is now fat and looks like he’s about forty.

Ouch

The acting is bad all around in this one too, which is a shame because at least two of the actors involved (Diora Baird of 30 Days Of Night 2 and Monica Keena of Freddy vs. Jason) have actually been enjoyable in other parts. The special effects, and demons themselves, are rather awful for the most part. There is way too much attempted humor in this, though I have to admit I did laugh twice. The movie does pay homage to the original a few times; the infamous lipstick scene is sort of recreated (not as cool as the original), Angela’s dancing scene is sort of recreated (the only cool thing about this one is Type O Negative’s Black Number 1 playing), and Linnea Quigley has a cameo, complete with her ballerina costume and a nod to a scene she had in the original (this is actually really cool, and probably the best part of the movie).

Suzanne?

This is not a terrible movie really, but given my love of the original, I guess I was expecting much more. Instead, I got a run of the mill horror that is neither good nor bad--it's just sort of a harmless, at times fun, throwaway of a movie that is just there.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Night Of The Demons Movie Trailer (includes profanity, gore, and nudity)  

30 DAYS OF NIGHT 2: DARK DAYS

30 Days Of Night 2: Dark Days Movie Review

Picking up where the original left off, Stella (Kiele Sanchez) and a small group of vampire hunters are in search of Lilith (Mia Kirshner The Crow 2, 24), the “Queen Bee” of the vampires, in an attempt to stop more attacks. This direct to video sequel to 30 Days Of Night fails to really capture the horror of the first. For me, the first, and probably biggest, disappointment is that Melissa George did not return to play Stella. She was really good in that role, and brought a lot more to the character than Sanchez does. Not that Sanchez did a horrible job--she simply is not nearly as talented as George. Another hang-up, and maybe one that is not a major deal, is the fact that the vampires are now suddenly speaking English. I thought one of the things that made the vampires in the original so effective was that they had their own language, when they spoke at all. Plus, the vampires here don’t look as scary. But this movie isn’t all bad.

Tread lightly

Kirshner does an incredible job as Lilith (but is sadly not in it nearly enough), Diora Baird (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Night Of The Demons) is very good as vampire hunter Amber, and veteran television actor Troy Ruptash is creepy as Agent Norris. There are a few clever scenes here and there as well. The story is somewhat weak at times, strong at others, and the dialogue is, for the most part, uninteresting. Another major problem is that Stella, who I really wanted to live through the first one, becomes so unlikable and utterly stupid by the end of this film that I was actually hoping she would die. This movie does not live up to the original (one of my favorite horror films of the current Century) but it does an acceptable job.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

 30 Days Of Night 2: Dark Days Movie Trailer 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

THE PYX

 The Pyx Movie Review

Junkie prostitute Elizabeth (Karen Black House of 1,000 Corpses, Firecracker) is found dead, having fallen from the top of a building. Now the detectives have to piece together the events leading up to her death. Though included in a horror movie collection, this is very much more a crime drama with the only bit of “horror” being very near the end—and calling that horror is a stretch. Black’s performance is a strange one, shifting from pretty good to really bad at the drop of a hat. This movie has an interesting story but the delivery is just poor, mainly because the acting is bad throughout. Another thing really distracting that takes a lot from this movie is the sound quality. It is barely audible at times. I do like the reel to DVD transfer, however, as the movie jumps at times—this isn’t for everybody, of course, but I enjoy it. Few things of any real interest happen in this movie, and the end is a cross between the bizarre, the boring, and the anti-climatic. This isn’t a horrible movie, but it's not one I would recommend either.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

The Pyx Movie Trailer 

FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD

Fangs Of The Living Dead Movie Review

Sylvia (Miss Sweden 1950 Anita Ekberg) inherits a castle, but once she arrives she finds it is full of vampires. This is another European Gothic vampire film in a castle, and, like most of the rest, moves at a snails pace throughout, features little action, and a few creepy things here and there. This one is actually better lit than most similar movies, which is good because a lot of the scenery is actually worth looking at, including, but not limited to, the vampire women.


Outside of what you see above, there's not much to this film. As is typical with these types of film almost all the action is saved for the final scene, but unlike in most, this ending is almost as boring as the rest of the movie. Another oddity is the amount of humor used throughout, to mainly poor results (though the character Max did remind me a bit of Rowan Atkinson, so that was entertaining). This movie was originally in Spanish and was dubbed--poorly--to English. The acting is bad throughout and the story is bland. Save yourself a good bit of time and just skip this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

Fangs Of The Living Dead Movie Trailer  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH

The Last Man On Earth Movie Review

Dr. Robert Morgan (horror legend Vincent Price) is the last man on Earth after a deadly virus has killed mankind and turned them into vampires. He now lives day-to-day trying to survive and kill all the creatures of the night. This 1964 film, much like the more recent I Am Legend, was based on the novel I Am Legend, but this one differs from the more recent movie, as well as the novel itself, quite a bit. The creatures are referred to as “vampires”, but, other than the fact they can only come out at night and at one point it is mentioned that they like blood, they don’t act like vampires. They are very slow and brooding, much like zombies, but they talk and feel pain, so they are obviously not zombies--we'll just call them some sort of combination of the two.

Don't think too much about it

Anyways, the movie is basically a look at Morgan’s day-to-day life and his slipping into madness with some interaction of the vampires thrown in. This isn’t really a scary movie—Morgan himself is not scared of the vampires—but more a grim look at the future of humanity. It is a dark movie from start to finish, with an ending that keeps that feel. Price, of course, is good in this role, especially since a lot of it is voice over stuff and he has one of the best voices in Hollywood history. The only thing bad I can say about this film really, other than it not being scary at all, is that it moves very slowly at times. Other than that, there's not much to complain about, and the behavior of the vampires obviously inspired those of the zombies in Night Of The Living Dead a few years later, so that’s a good thing. This is not a great film, but it is pretty enjoyable.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

The Last Man On Earth Movie Trailer 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

DRACULA AND HIS VAMPIRE BRIDES (aka The Satanic Rites Of Dracula)

Dracula And His Vampire Brides The Satanic Rites of Dracula Movie Review


Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing, Star Wars) is enlisted by Scotland Yard to help them track down Count Dracula (Christopher Lee, Star Wars, Alice In Wonderland). The first half of this movie absolutely drags, with boring story development and bad dialogue. The second half, once you start seeing, you know, vampires, is much better and moves at a very good pace. My main problem with this movie is that you don’t see Dracula until about the final fifteen minutes of the movie, which is s shame because Lee is very good in the role (he has played Dracula numerous times). Instead, we get a movie that is basically Scotland Yard versus Dracula’s non-vampire henchmen. You don’t even see Dracula’s brides much, and when you do, they are shackled in a basement, and you never actually see Dracula WITH his brides. Strange.

You're the boss

Anyways, besides Lee’s impressive work you also get a pretty good performance out of Cushing and some somewhat impressive special effects for the time. This movie comes off more of a thriller than horror film, and is a mix between the good, the bad, and the boring.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Dracula And His Vampire Brides Movie Trailer 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

DEMENTIA 13

Dementia 13 Movie Review

This movie starts abruptly with John Haloran (Peter Read) telling his wife Louise (Luana Anders) that she will not get any of his mothers inheritance if he is dead. Of course he dies almost instantly, so now Louise has to arrive at his mother’s house pretending John is still alive and on an assignment in New York. Louise arrives at the Haloran mansion, which is also occupied by John’s mother, two brothers, the fiancĂ© of one brother, a doctor, and various servants. They are all mourning the passing of Kathleen, the younger sister of the Haloran boys, when suddenly an ax-wielding killer starts whacking the guests. If that sounds like a lot for a plot, it is, as this film tries to balance everything going on and deliver something cohesive—and surprisingly, it works.



This 1963 film, written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather Trilogy, Apocalypse Now)—his first directing job, and produced by B-Movie legend Roger Corman--is creepy at times, shocking at others, and wonderfully shot (the boom mike cameo notwithstanding). Yes, it obviously borrows a lot from Hitchcock films, but most good movies around this time did. The acting is pretty solid for the most part, with Anders and Bart Patton as Billy Haloran being the standouts. Unfortunately, the ending of the movie is anti-climatic and comes on as abruptly as the film starts. Still, this is a good, classic horror-suspense film worth a watch.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Dementia 13 Movie Trailer 

BLOOD CREEK

Blood Creek Movie Review 2009

Marine Victor Marshall (Dominic Purcell, Prison Break) and his brother (Henry Cavill, Hellraiser: Hellworld) return to the farm where Victor was held captive for two years to get revenge on the family that kept him there. Once there they realize they are facing an evil they could not imagine. This movie starts off pretty strong and just sort of stays together from there. The acting of both Purcell and Cavill bring this film down considerably—sometimes casting people from Great Britain to play a couple of boys from West Virginia isn’t such a great idea. The story is an interesting one, rooted in Nazi Germany and the arrival of a stranger (Michael Fassbender Inglorious Basterds, Eden Lake). The “evil” looks interesting, has interesting powers, but fails to really do what is intended: scare the audience.

Are you not scared?

His motive is somewhat unclear and the story crumbles by the end. Fairly poor CGI brings this one down a notch too. Fassbender does a really good job in his limited role, bringing the only really decent bit of acting to the film. The setting, the farm, is a good one, and bits of the movie reminded me of Night Of The Scarecrow, an old favorite of mine, so it gets points for that. Overall though, this is a mediocre movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Blood Creek Movie Trailer 

NIGHTMARE CASTLE

Nightmare Castle Movie Review

Muriel Arrowsmith (Barbara Steele) and her lover are killed by Muriel’s husband Stephen (Paul Muller) after he catches them together. Stephen then realizes Muriel’s sister Jenny (also Steele) inherited Muriel’s fortune and marries her with the hopes of driving her mad so he can then inherit the fortune from her. Things go wrong, however, when Muriel and her lover return from the grave to exact revenge.

Scary

If this sounds somewhat familiar it could be because you read my review of The Ghost, also starring Steele. This 1965 Italian horror seems to have a lot going on, but it truly plods along throughout the movie, with little happening. Steele gives a good performance again, though, keeping your interest until the end. This is typical Italian gothic horror—slow moving, a few weird things here and there, and then the somewhat surprise ending. The ending to this movie, however, is better than most for its day, and truly horrific for its time. This is not a really good movie, but one worth checking out if you are a Steele fan (I am quickly becoming one) or if you can appreciate the style and ending.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Nightmare Castle Movie Trailer

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BLOODY PIT OF HORROR

Bloody Pit Of Horror Movie Review

A photographer and a group of models break in to what they believe to be an abandoned castle. Once in, they discover the owner (Mickey Hargitay, best known for being the husband of Jayne Mansfield and the father of Mariska Hargitay) is still there, and he believes himself to be the reincarnation of The Crimson Executioner, a sadist killed in an iron maiden in the 17th Century. Now the models must try to avoid the Executioner and his torture devices. If you have ever wondered what is meant by “a movie so bad it’s good”, this is it. This is classic cheesy cinema at it’s best. The dialogue is beyond funny (unintentionally, of course), the set is horrible, the acting is bad, and the storyline defies explanation. This is a MST3K quality movie, and I liked it a lot. “The Crimson Executioner” looks like a professional wrestler, complete with red tights, a black mask, and a tendency to refer to himself in third person.

Hailing from Parts Unknown

One of the traps has a fake spider on it that would make Ed Wood proud. Throw in a handful of hot chicks that have zero acting ability and it feels complete. If you are into this kind of movie, this one is a must see.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Bloody Pit Of Horror Movie Trailer

DOMINIQUE

 Dominique Movie Review

Millionaire David Ballard (Cliff Robertson) is haunted by the ghost of his recently deceased wife Dominique (Jean Simmons), who he had tormented during her life. This is a really, really boring, and overall terrible, movie. The dialogue is a joke, it moves miserably slow, the acting is bad (and not in a good way) and little to nothing actually happens throughout. The end is somewhat decent, or maybe it just appears to be compared to the ninety minutes leading up to it. The only thing remotely interesting about this movie is the lighting, which is often all red, blue, or green. Also, it was transferred from reel to reel, which adds a touch that I personally enjoy, but none of these things make this film is remotely worth watching--avoid Dominique at all costs.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 2

I couldn't find the trailer, so here is the entire movie. You've been warned. 

THE GHOST

The Ghost Movie Review

The first thing I noticed: This movie is mislabeled on the DVD menu. The movie that says The Ghost is actually Dominique. So I clicked on Dominique Is Dead (also mislabeled) and finally got to this movie. So if you pick up the Do Not Watch Alone collection, be ready for that.

A woman (Barbara Steele) and her lover (Peter Baldwin), the doctor taking care of the woman’s sick, wealthy husband (Elio Jotta), plot to murder the millionaire to inherit his fortune. After the man is killed, however, his ghost returns to haunt his widowed wife. This Italian film has a very gothic feel, with the entire movie taking place in a mansion, and is typical of these sorts of movies. You have creepy music box music playing by itself, unexplained happenings all around the mansion, and a very slow pace. This all leads to an ending full of twists (one of which isn’t too bad). Steele is actually a pretty talented actress and does a good job carrying this film (she’s also easy on the eyes).

Hey there

This isn’t a bad movie, but it does drag on way too long. It would have been much better suited as an episode of The Twilight Zone.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

The Ghost Movie Trailer 

THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS

The Undertaker and His Pals Movie Review

I saw the title to this one and dreaded watching it--as it turns out, it’s not too bad. An undertaker and two friends who run a deli in the city team up to kill people—the undertaker does it to make money burying the dead, the deli owners chop the bodies up and make food out of them. This movie is pure grindhouse, filled with choppy editing, off audio, and a grainy look. There is plenty of blood and gore in this one for its time and several very attractive women in it.

Keep your eye on the picture--if you can take it off the blonde

One thing that takes away from the movie is that they throw a lot of comedy in it—this would not be a problem if this stuff was actually funny, but it’s not--at all--leaving one to wonder how much better this could have been as a straight horror film. The acting throughout is awful as well. These things combined knock this one down a point or two. This movie is worth a watch, but fast forward through the comedy stuff (the music will cue you when it is coming).

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Undertaker and His Pals Movie Trailer  

I BURY THE LIVING

I Bury The Living Movie Review

The new chairman of a cemetery (Richard Boone of Have Gun Will Travel) discovers that by putting black pins instead of white ones in the cemetery map he can kill whoever has reserved that plot. So he keeps doing it. And doing it. And doing it.

"Can I do it again?"

This 1958 film has a fairly good idea that is never executed to it’s potential. Boone, who was a really good actor, seems to phone in his performance, and Theodore Bikel is dreadful as Andy the Scottish groundskeeper (though one has to wonder is Groundskeeper Willie was inspired by this character). The pace is slow, the action little, and the story fairly boring--all that said, this movie is a bit ahead of its time, and was shot wonderfully. Still, these are not reasons enough to watch this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

I Bury The Living Movie Trailer (This is a wonderful trailer)