Thursday, December 31, 2015


Re-Animator Movie Review

Mad scientist medical student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) has found a way to bring the dead back to life. When his secret gets in the hands of the wrong person, mad scientist Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale), West must team with his roommate Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) to rescue Dan's girlfriend Megan (Barbara Crampton) from the grips of the evildoer. This 1985 schlockfest is very loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's novel Herbert West-Re-Animator while also being a comedic take on Frankenstein.. The craziness doesn't stop there--there's a talking severed head, a naked chick, a bunch of naked dudes, glow-stick looking formula, Arnold Schwarzenegger's body double, a dead cat that looks like it came straight form an Ed Wood set, and gallons upon gallons of fake blood.

Am I forgetting anything?

Make no mistake about it, this movie has tongue planted firmly in cheek, but to me, not much of the comedy is actually funny--you kind of need that for a comedy horror to work. Not that the actors do a bad job--on the contrary, they, for the most part, do an exceptional job with what they were given. Considering the relatively low budget the film had, the special effects and splatter scenes are pretty decent as well. The story moves pretty slow and really seems to have no direction at all throughout most of the movie. If you can stick it out, though, the final fifteen minutes of the movie are really well done. Re-Animator is undeniably considered a horror comedy classic, but for me there is nothing really spectacular about the movie. Watch it so you can say you've seen it, and for the fantastic finish.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Re-Animator Red Band Movie Trailer

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Occupied Movie Review

Sarah (Liza Binkley) comes to her uncle's secluded, woods-surrounded home to babysit her little cousin Charlotte (Lucy Bock). While there she begins to hear voices and go a little mad. We've all heard the following: "I sat through that entire movie and nothing happened". This statement has never been more aptly applied to a film than it is to Occupied.

Here's a highlight

The entire movie revolves around Sarah and Charlotte--in fact, only one other character even appears in the film, and most unfortunately, neither Binkley nor Bock are even remotely close to being talented enough to carry an entire film. The movie looks almost like a home video and it clearly has no budget--I suspect that nobody will be surprised when the names Binkley and Bock appear time and again in the credits. I can only assume the two families have been friends for years, had a little extra money to spend, and decided to make a film. So early in the film Charlotte tells Sarah a series of stories about what has happened outside the house, and this actually does build a good bit of suspense, but it is never really touched upon again. As we see Sarah start to go crazy we get a flashback sequence...and then the same sequence again...and again...and again...I honestly lost count how many times I saw the exact same flashback sequence. The director (Mollie Binkley, also the writer...surprise!!) goes with distorted visuals to portray Sarah losing her mind--unfortunately, we are shown Sarah and her surroundings being distorted, giving the impression it is the viewer, not, in fact, Sarah going crazy--of course sitting through this movie for 90 minutes could do that to a person. Even when we are not presented the overused distortion, the focus is way off in many shots. Fortunately, not everything about this movie is bad. Other than a good premise that was never given the light of day, the characters are quite likable and seem like real people (even if the actresses appear to be struggling with their lines and give an obviously scripted delivery). The music, as songs, are decent, but they distract far too much from what we are seeing unfold before us--of course since you're reading this review, if you've never seen this film and decide to watch it in spite of what I have said to this point, you are very aware that nothing is happening anyway, so just enjoy the songs when they come up and don't worry about what is (or isn't, as the case may be) happening on the screen. Occupied really isn't a terrible movie--the story could have gone in many interesting directions (but didn't), leading me to believe this would have been much better as a book. As a feature length film, it feels like a waste of time.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Occupied Movie Trailer


Hangar 10 Movie Review

Three people with metal detectors and cameras go to a wooded area in search of gold. The location? Rendlesham Forest, which UFO enthusiasts recognize as a place where, in 1980, several unidentifiable lights were spotted and reports of extraterrestrial aircraft landings surfaced. What ensues is two blokes and a lass walking about the woods recording each other as they get lost, confused, and angry--the Blair Witch comparison is obvious, and a large part of the film feels like a remake of that film, with the unseen antagonist being aliens instead of a witch. Eventually the group begins to see lights and objects in the sky and attempt to leave the woods.

But not before trying to determine if there's metal in the sky

Unfortunately, not a lot actually happens in the film outside of the group attempting to leave the woods and get to safety. Lights are seen. Noises are heard. Weird things are all around (still sounds like Blair Witch, doesn't it?). For most of the film, when something does finally happen the cameras are shaky and the lights strobe, so it's virtually impossible to see what's going on. Not all is bad here, however. The actors aren't great, but tolerable, and the characters somewhat likeable. The CGI is decent for the budget the film had, and some of the visuals are actually pretty cool. The final scene is one that is visually pleasing, albeit a letdown when it comes to the ending. I've seen a ton of alien movies in my life--many are better than Hangar 10, but there are also a lot that are much worse.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Hangar 10 Movie Trailer

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Asmodexia Movie Review

About five thousand years ago the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar (or Mayan calendar, if you will) was created, with an end date around December 21, 2012. With this in mind, half the world went mad believing this predicted the end of the world--others did things such as post the music video to R.E.M.'s It's The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) on their Facebook page, but we're not naming names here. Needless to say, December 21, 2012 came and went with nothing of great note happening. This is all a true story, and also the background of sorts to our movie, Asmodexia, which proves less interesting and even more uneventful than the real life dooms day. This movie is a whole lot of...


...a good bit of...


...and, to keep things mildly entertaining, they throw in some of...


Yes, the pictures really are worth a thousand words here--an old priest and his granddaughter walk around Spain performing exorcisms for the few days leading up to December 21, 2012, leading to the day of reckoning and a twist ending that is only somewhat interesting, and almost completely without explanation. The acting is quite bad, with the possible exception of Claudia Pons as Alba, the aforementioned granddaughter--of course it could be argued that her performance only stands out because all the rest were just that bad. What the movie lacks in story, performance, and delivery, however, it makes up for somewhat in the atmosphere it manages to create and wonderful cinematography. The music also shines here and compliments the imagery nicely. Also, if it matters to you, this movie is in European Spanish with English subtitles, and, for reasons I could not resolve, was also closed captioned--it really takes away some of the enjoyment of the music when you see descriptions of it on the screen, but at the same times makes you appreciate your ability to hear it in the first place, so, well, there you go. Asmodexia is not the worst exorcism movie you will ever see, but I feel pretty safe in predicting nobody will claim it to be the best either.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Asmodexia Movie Trailer

Sunday, December 20, 2015


The Lazarus Effect Movie Review

A small team of researchers discover a way to bring the dead back to life--it starts with a dog, and inevitably is used to bring back one of their own after she is accidentally killed. Of course, being a horror film, when she comes back she is able to access all parts of her brain at once, and chaos and havoc ensue. Tying into this is the question of what happens after death, and the possibility that Zoe, the woman who is brought back, will be spending eternity in Hell for one bad thing she did while she was alive. Right off the bat you will recognize at least a few members of the team, lead by Olivia Wilde (House, Turistas) and also including Evan Peters (American Horror Story, X-Men Series) and Mark Duplass of Creep fame.

Sans Peachfuzz, sadly

These actors do a pretty good job in their given roles, and do what they can with a fairly thin script that fails to develop any of them beyond the bare minimum. Wilde is particularly good in her role of Zoe--I think the combination of her ability to switch from sweet to sadistic at the drop of a hat and the naturally unusual shape of her face adding to the creepiness of the character made her the perfect choice for this role.

It's a compliment Olivia--I think.

Otherwise, unfortunately, this movie is one that had potential but, for the most part, ends up a letdown. We don't get to the resurrection of Zoe until over thirty minutes into the film--this wouldn't be a bad thing but for the fact it has a run time of just 83 minutes, about 7 or 8 of which is credits. This doesn't allow much time at all for the aforementioned chaos and havoc, and when that does finally come, it is crippled considerably by mediocre to awful CGI. The concept of this movie has been done many times prior (for a better take on it, see Flatliners), but it's always a concept that keeps me interested--it's kind of a zombie movie, but then again it's nothing like most zombie films. The Lazarus Effect certainly is not a bad movie, but it is one that should have been much better than it turned out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

The Lazarus Effect Movie Trailer

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Hellraiser: Revelations Movie Review

Two terribly irritating teenagers travel to Mexico, where they are given the box that unleashes the Cenobites. After being missing for quite some time, one returns home to tell their families the events of their trip. This 2011 is, to date, the final installment of a series that initially hooked audiences, but eventually left them feeling soulless. The first thing you need to know about this movie is that, for the first time, Doug Bradley does not play Pinhead. Instead, veteran voice actor Fred Tatasciore gets the nod. Allegedly Bradley read the script and said there's no chance of him returning, so instead of creating a new character (which they should have done) they cast Tatasciore as the new Pinhead. I get all of that--what I don't get is casting a guy who makes Pinhead look less demon and more...cuddly bear.


The second thing you will likely notice, as it's obvious from the opening seconds, is that the acting is worse than you can likely imagine. I am not exaggerating when I state I have seen far better acting in high school productions. There are many, many films that have horrible acting, but almost all have at least one person who has at least a small bit of acting ability--not here. Then there's the storyline. For the first time a bit of found footage is incorporated into the series, but it does little to add anything--the guy is already telling to entire story. Why mix in found footage? All that said, there is a little to like about the movie. For the first time in over fifteen years a Hellraiser movie was written as a Hellraiser film, and actually feels (at least a bit) like a Hellraiser film. Not that the story is without flaws, but it was somewhat refreshing to see them rehash something we have not seen in the series in a long, long time. 

Look familiar?

The special effects are pretty awful, but that's expected in a film with a budget hovering around three hundred grand, and the gore makes up for that. The final fifteen or twenty minutes are actually decent as well. The ending promises a tenth film, but over five years later that has not happened. Given more time, a higher budget, and better actors this could have been a decent movie--a return to the Hellraiser movies we know and love. However, this was a last second throw together film from Dimension simply to avoid losing the rights to the series. This is far from a good film, but I truly don't think it is as bad as most make it out to be...or maybe it just looks okay compared to the last few Hellraiser films.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Hellraiser: Revelations Movie Trailer

HELLRAISER: HELLWORLD (aka Hellraiser 8)

Hellraiser: Hellworld Movie Review

Two years after losing their friend to the game "Hellworld", a group of teens accept an invitation to a "Hellworld" party, where nothing is quite as it seems. So we are into the 21st Century, and "Hellworld" is an online game based on Hellraiser--though the film never quite makes it clear if the cult following is based on the Hellraiser films or based on real life events, and Pinhead and company have become urban legends--not that any of this really matters. The group gets to the creepy house that holds the party, and we meet the host with the most--a mysterious man played by horror legend Lance Henriksen.

"Were you invited here, officer?"

As has become tradition at this point, this was based on a project that was not originally a Hellraiser film, but it feels much more like one that certain other movies in the series--unfortunately, that's not nearly enough to save it. The acting, aside from Henriksen, is abysmal, and yes, that includes pre-Superman Henry Cavill. The plot is highly questionable, and the utterly ridiculous actions and behaviors of the lead characters pretty much leave you wishing they would all just die already. The dialogue? Don't even ask. All is not lost in this film, however. There is a fair amount of gore and some interesting death scenes. The ending, while not completely unpredictable, was enough to satisfy--I know that not all the questions were answered, but with such a convoluted attempt at a plot, that was bound to be the case. More than anything, however, this film is known as the final time Doug Bradley took on the pinhead role before bowing out of the series.

Can you blame him?

Honestly, there's not a lot to like about this film. It's worth seeing if you care to take in the entire series, and is mildly interesting here and there, but is certainly not something you should go out of your way to catch otherwise.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Hellraiser: Hellworld Movie Trailer

HELLRAISER: DEADER (aka Hellraiser 7)

Hellraiser: Deader Movie Review

After viewing a video that appears to show a woman being brought back from the dead after shooting herself in the head, a journalist (Kari Wuhrer) travels to Romania to uncover the secrets of the underground group responsible for the video. As was the case with installments five and six of the Hellraiser series, the script of this film originally was not a Hellraiser script, and just like with those films, it shows. They throw in the box and a couple appearances by Pinhead, and even tie the leader of the underground group (they call themselves "Deaders") to the toymakers of past Hellraiser films, but the glue is pretty thin.

It's a Hellraiser film now--see, there's the box!

The film itself is...well...Kari Wuhrer plays the lead character, so you get what you expect. For the most part it comes across as a SyFy Original, with some profanity and nudity thrown in (yes, it IS a Kari Wuhrer film). Nothing of particular interest happens in this film, and much of it is a balancing act between fact and fiction. I think this film actually would have had some potential had they stuck with the original premise, not made it a Hellraiser film, had better acting, and better makeup and special effects--a lot to ask, I know, but the story itself was there. Unfortunately, what we got from it was a muddled mess of mediocrity.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Hellraiser: Deader Movie Trailer


Hellraiser: Hellseeker Movie Review

Following a car accident, Trevor (Dean Winters) attempts to figure out what happened to his wife Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) while also trying to differentiate his dreams from reality. The sixth installment of the Hellraiser series, like the one before it, was originally not a Hellraiser film at all, rewritten last minute to incorporate things familiar with fans of the horror series. Thankfully, this one pulls off this little trick better than Inferno, but we're still left with a film that feels out of place. My main issue with this movie is Winter's performance.


Don't get me wrong here--I do not dislike Winter. In fact, I have typically been a fan of his work, but he was terribly miscast here. Multiple scenes were ruined by his apparent attempt at holding back a laugh or smirk. The story itself is rather bland and relies on dream sequences far too often. Practically every scene turns out to not be reality, resulting in my interest in each individual scene diminishing as the movie progressed. The film is somewhat saved by the end, however, and the connection of Kirsty to Pinhead and the first two films is well done. Unfortunately, this movie feels far too disconnected from the series to seriously be considered a Hellraiser film, and it seems a waste of Kirsty's return to the series.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Hellraiser: Hellseeker Movie Trailer

HELLRAISER: INFERNO (aka Hellraiser 5)

Hellraiser: Inferno Movie Review

Detective Joseph Thorne, a crooked cop with few, if any, redeeming qualities, is assigned the case of the mysterious "Engineer" killer. While investigating he comes across some strange, disturbing incidents, and all fingers point to him being behind it all. The fifth installment of the Hellraiser series feels like anything but a Hellraiser film--and for good reason. But more on that in a moment. This film, other than not feeling like a Hellraiser movie, is filled with things to dislike, and it starts with our lead character.

This guy--no, it's not Angel

Off the top of my head, I cannot think of a lead character in any film I have cared so little about. There is literally nothing to like about this character, thus no reason to be concerned for his well being. When he meets his inevitable fate, you likely will find yourself cheering. The story is somewhat interesting, but not as a part of this film franchise. Now for the story of this film--the reason it doesn't feel like a Hellraiser film is because it wasn't supposed to be one. This was a stand alone thriller that Dimension turned into a Hellraiser film last minute. Thus, the box is vaguely brought into the story, Cenobite-esque creatures are seen throughout, but ultimately have little to do with the story, and Pinhead doesn't show up until about an hour and twenty minutes into the film. This plays out as more a crime mystery, and a below average one at that, though it is shot wonderfully. The false finishes near the end assume that by this point you even still care about the ending--I didn't.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Hellraiser: Inferno Movie Trailer

HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE (aka Hellraiser 4)

Hellraiser: Bloodline Hellraiser IV Movie Review

We start off in the year 2127, on a spaceship, with some guy who looks like Rob Van Dam (actually Bruce Ramsey from Alive) telling a woman who looks like Hilary Swank the history of his family--the family that created the box that brings the Cenobites from Hell into our world. We flashback to the late 18th Century, get the story of the box being created, flash forward to 1996 to see his family battle Pinhead, and then back to 2127 to see another battle with Pinhead and dog?


This movie somehow manages to spend about equal amounts of time on each individual setting, with, honestly, none being any better or worse than the other. Ramsey plays all three members of his bloodline, to equally poor results. Some of the things we are used to in the series are still here--Doug Bradley returns as Pinhead (albeit a somewhat toned down Pinhead from the third installment), the box is back, and the general idea is here, but much of what we know from the previous installments is gone. No other Cenobite returns, and, other than the box being buried amongst a building, nothing really connects the story to the storyline from before. Also gone, for the most part, are the fantastic makeup, special effects, and brutality. Overall this isn't quite a jumping of the proverbial shark--it's more Hellraiser Lite.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Hellraiser: Bloodline Movie Trailer


Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth Movie Review

Club owner J.P. Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt) unleashes Pinhead from his captivity in a statue. Now reporter Joey Summerskill (Terry Farrell), with the help of Elliot Spencer (Pinhead in his human form, both played by Doug Bradley), must attempt to send Pinhead back to Hell. The third installment of the Hellraiser series takes a turn in a few different ways--Julia is gone, Kirsty is almost gone (she's used to connect the first two films to this one), and, most importantly, Pinhead is given much more personality (and one liners), and is finally brought front and center.

At last!!

Also of note is that all the Cenobites besides Pinhead are gone, and are not replaced until toward the end of the film. This, to me, is a fantastic film. For the most part the special effects and makeup jobs we are accustomed to in the first two films are gone, but the brutality is not. The acting also is a step up here--Farrell turns in a decent performance, Bradley, of course, is good, and Bernhardt is a scene stealer as the cocky club owner. This movie includes one of my all time favorite horror movie scenes as well--the fury Pinhead unleashes on the club. That scene--and the aftermath scene with Joey walking through the club--is a wonderful combination of brutality and "so bad they're good" special effects. To me the big drawback of this film are the dream sequences Joey has of her father. I understand this all sets up the finish, but the scenes are poorly directed, poorly written, and take away the mood set by the rest of the film--however, this is not enough to take away from this film. I have seen Hellraiser III more than any other film in the series, and I continue to enjoy it to this day...

...even if I now find her more annoying that hot

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth Movie Trailer


Hellbound: Hellraiser II Movie Review

Following the events of the first film from the Hellraiser series, we find Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) in a psychiatric institution. There, Dr. Phillip Channard (Kenneth Cranham) discovers the secrets of the Cenobites, and feeds inmates to a returning Julia (Clare Higgins). Now Kirsty, with the help of puzzle solving savant inmate Tiffany (Imogen Boorman), enters the realm of the Cenobites to attempt to destroy Julia and the rest of the evil demons. This is a pretty solid follow up to the original film. The visuals are fantastic throughout the movie, particularly when they enter Leviathan.

Or Hell...whichever

As in the original, the makeup is also very impressive, and the special effects and acting less so. Laurence somehow goes from a good performance in the first film to being borderline awful here. This film brings Pinhead more to the forefront, and for the first time he is credited as "Pinhead", but he still somewhat plays second fiddle, this time to Julia. We do, however, get a small look into his past, and in fact get to see all the Cenobites in human form. This film had a much larger budget than the first film, but that does not translate into a better movie. The story is not quite as good, the acting is much worse, and the ending doesn't do much to help. Hellraiser II is a step down from the first film, but it is a small step as this is still a very enjoyable movie. As an added bonus, if you're a Queensryche fan your ears will likely perk up a couple times while watching this.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Hellbound: Hellraiser II Movie Trailer


Hellraiser Movie Review

A mysterious box unlocks demons who take the possessor, Frank, to Hell--Frank escapes, and now calls upon his former lover Julia (Clare Higgins), his brother Larry's wife, to bring him the flesh and blood of others to bring him back to complete human form, all the while fearing the demons, known as Cenobites, will return to take him away again. This 1987 horror film from Clive Barker is an absolutely horrific film--in all the right ways. The story is interesting, original, and frightening, but the real highlight of the film comes from the makeup department--the progression of Frank alone is something to behold.

Frank coming back

Frank coming along

Frank almost there

The acting is pretty shaky throughout, with the exception of Ashley Laurence, who does a really good job as Larry's daughter/our hero Kirsty. While the makeup is fantastic, the special effects are a bit dated, especially the final scene, which is so bad it is hilarious--it reminds me of something you'd see from a 1950s creature feature. And interestingly, though Pinhead is the iconic character of this series (and rightfully so), he is not in the film much--in fact, there is not a lot that differentiates Pinhead from the rest of the Cenobites, and he's not even known as Pinhead yet--he's credited as "The Lead Cenobite".

The Cenobites

This movie kicked off a very successful horror franchise, and as a stand alone movie it is really good. It may not be a perfect film but it is innovative, brutal, intense, and a must see for all horror fans.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Hellraiser Movie Trailer

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


House of Frankenstein Movie Review

An insane Doctor (legendary horror actor Boris Karloff) and his hunchback buddy Daniel (J. Carrol Naish) escape prison and set off to discover the secrets of Doctor Frankenstein. Along the way they encounter, and resurrect, Dracula, The Wolf Man, and The Frankenstein Monster. So everybody knows these classic Universal Monsters, but what many may not know is that countless numbers of sequels and crossover films were made that included the characters we all know and love--House of Frankenstein falls into this category. It offers up the monsters we know, but other than Lon Chaney Jr. returning as the Wolf Man, they are all played by different actors--and it shows.

The Monster talking to The Monster

The story is, honestly, fairly weak and comes across as lazy--it's clear there was a rush to get all the classics on screen, but it is terribly hurried. If you're expecting the Monsters to fight at some point you'll be let down. Every classic character in the film (the Mad Scientist, The Hunchback, Frankenstein's Monster, Wolf Man, and Dracula) all meet their demise in this film in less than fantastic fashion--not that any of that matters, as they're all brought back in future films anyway. There is some good in this film. Karloff turns in the performance you would expect, and Naish steals the show with his portrayal of Daniel--there is even a Hunchback of Notre Dame type subplot involving Daniel, The Wolf Man, and a gypsy dancer that is more interesting than the main plot. House of Frankenstein is a fun enough movie to watch, but don't expect a classic film here--it's much more a gimmicky cash in of beloved characters.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

House of Frankenstein Movie Trailer

Friday, December 4, 2015


Silent Night, Deadly Night Movie Review

After seeing his parents killed by a man dressed in a Santa outfit, Billy is sent to live in an orphanage, where he is treated poorly by Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin). Now an adult, Billy works at a toy store, and when he is asked to be the store's Santa, he snaps and begins to kill everybody around him. This 1984 flick is a cross between a slasher film and a psychological thriller that really works well on both fronts--the problem is there's not enough time to give each a fair balance, leaving the viewer wishing they had either extended the length of the film or focused more on one of the two aspects. Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) is an effective enough killer--the character will never be considered a legend on the level of Freddy or Jason, but he certainly is memorable.

If you thought his boss was hammered before...

Not all is right with this film, however. For the most part the acting is rather atrocious, the actions of the characters will leave you wondering how some of these people get through life (or become police officers), and, most interestingly, no character is developed at all except Billy. There is even a scene of a completely random couple thrown in for no reason whatsoever except too give Billy a couple more victims.

And get a cameo from this scream queen

Once Billy begins his murderous spree the body count skyrockets quickly--some of the death scenes are gory, others take place off screen and are far less interesting. The end, unfortunately, is rather anti-climatic and sucks the wind right out of the film. As a side note, when this film was released in theatres, it was done so with a great deal of controversy and boycotting due to the depiction of Santa Claus--it makes you wonder if anybody would even care thirty years later. If you're looking for an 80s slasher film you could certainly do worse than Silent Night, Deadly Night--you could also do much better.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Silent Night, Deadly Night Movie Trailer

Thursday, November 26, 2015

RING OF CURSE (aka Gomennasai)

Ring of Curse Movie Review

Tired of being bullied by classmates and her sister, and ignored by her parents, high school student Kurohane finds a way to kill them all--by having them read cursed stories she writes. When classmate Yuka finds out Kurohane's secret she tries to find a way to stop the curse. This 2011 Japanese film is a mix of the familiar with the original, but those familiar with Japanese horror will know what to expect--for the most part anyway. The movie opens with the lead actresses (the members of a Japanese pop band, as it turns out) introducing us to the film and explaining they are playing the roles of real girls and this is based on a true story. When we get rolling we get the story from the perspective of Yuka, hit the turning point in the film, and then get the story told from the perspective of Kurohane. When the story returns to the turning point it is (primarily) told from Yuka's viewpoint once again.

The aforementioned turning point

I am a big fan of the shift in the viewpoint midway through the film, as it gives the viewer a chance to enter the mind of Kurohane and attempt to see what has driven her to where she is in life (and we get to find out how she came across the curse idea). The acting is about what you would expect in this film, though Airi Suzuki does turn in an impressive performance as Yuka. As is standard with this form of Japanese horror there is not a lot of blood or gore, but this film really didn't need it. The story isn't terribly original, but the presentation is slick, and the writing and dialogue are impressive--it comes across almost like a campfire story. You will find yourself questioning the actions of many of the characters, but this is only a little distracting. If you have the patience to sit through a ton of dialogue and slow build you will be rewarded by a fantastic ending--and be sure you stick around for one of the best post-credits scenes you are likely to ever see. Ring of Curse is not a fantastic film, and is not particularly scary, but it is a really well made film--I recommend it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Ring of Curse Movie Trailer (in Japanese)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Night Of The Demons Movie Review

Angela (Amelia Kinkade) is throwing a Halloween party at an abandoned funeral parlor, and when the party goers arrive, things get spooky. This 1988 film is low budget, has horrible acting, and doesn't bring a whole lot of new ideas to the table, but it is such a fun film. Once the demons start to take over the movie really takes off. The characters are actually interesting, and Kinkade is frightfully fantastic as Angela. One thing I love about this movie, and something that makes it stand out from so many other films of this era, is that it has so many memorable scenes--for example...

Who doesn't love Bauhaus?

Casket lovin'

"How 'bout a magic trick? I'm gonna make this lipstick disappear..."

The makeup and special effects are really well done in this film, especially for a film that, again, had such a low budget. The death scenes are interesting, and, though the movie has more than it's share of horrifying scenes, there are splashes of humor thrown in as well. A couple faces will be familiar, especially legendary scream queen Linnea Quigley, who turns in a memorable performance as Suzanne (see above, third photo). Night of the Demons is not a film that turned the horror world upside down, but it had modest success, amassed a cult following, spawned a couple sequels, and inspired a remake in 2009. The demon voice is laughably bad, the demon itself is a riot, and the sound quality isn't great, but these things, as bad as they are, add to the enjoyment of this movie, and the final scene is absolutely fantastic. I first saw this film when it hit the pay channels of the late 1980s--I loved it then, and almost thirty years later, and countless viewings since, I love it to this day. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Night Of The Demons Movie Trailer

Monday, November 16, 2015


Creature From The Black Lagoon Movie Review

While searching for fossils in the Amazon River a group of scientists come across something they could not have anticipated: a prehistoric man-fish creature. The team now make it their mission to capture (or kill) the Gill Man creature--meanwhile, the creature attempts to capture Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams), the female of the group, as he appears to have fallen for her. This 1954 film is an absolute classic, and the Creature (or Gill Man, if you prefer) is considered one of the Universal classic monsters, and for good reason. First, his look...

"Turn off that light!"

During a time when almost all horror/sci fi creatures and monsters looked cheap and ridiculous, the Creature was actually scary looking, and his suit didn't look like it came from the nearest department store. Second, the story itself is interesting, and the suspense is built exceptionally well. The acting is also very good throughout (another rarity at this time in film history). The movie is not without its setbacks, however. The first is this...

Look out below!

A LOT of this film is underwater shots of people swimming--while this adds genuine fear in the case of scenes such as the picture above, when Gill Man is swimming beneath Kay, this, most unfortunately, does not account for much of the underwater scenes--it's usually the doctors swimming...and swimming...and swimming, which, aside from being boring, strips the tension and mood away from the film. The abrupt, ambiguous ending may also turn the viewer off (though it clearly ended as it did to set up possible sequels). These couple minor complaints are certainly not enough to discourage a viewing, however. This was one of my all time favorite movies when I was a child, and I still love it to this day.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Creature From The Black Lagoon Movie Trailer