Saturday, February 28, 2015

ALICE IN MURDERLAND

Alice In Murderland Movie Review

Twenty years after her mother is murdered, Alice's (Malerie Grady) friends take her to the building her mother was murdered in to celebrate Alice's twenty first birthday. The theme? Alice In Wonderland, of course. Once there, a killer eventually (and not soon enough) starts killing off the party goers. The first thing you notice is the movie is very cheaply shot--this in and of itself is no reason for me to stop watching, as I have seen many interesting, and even good, movies made on a shoestring budget. The movie starts with a very 80's horror feel, and I started to think I may actually like this, but alas, it all fell apart. First, the acting is some of the worst you can possibly imagine. This is to be expected in a low budget film, but this is on a new level of bad. Christopher Senger as Mr. White is unquestionably the worst actor I have seen since...honestly, I can't remember ever seeing acting this bad. Kelly Kula as Kat is almost as bad. Marlene Mc'Cohen does a decent job as Alice's best friend Malory, and Heath Butler does what she can with Donna, a one dimensional character if ever there was one. The killer is a goof in a "Jabberwocky" outfit....

Yeah...

The sets in this movie are laughable. The sound is extremely inconsistent throughout. They attempt--and fail miserably--to add humor here and there as well. The funniest moment in the movie is seeing the shadow of a microphone in one scene. Speaking of mistakes--references to Alice In Wonderland are off, a plastic device and blood tube are obvious in one scene, and toward the end of the movie the women are all looking for a way out of the building, even though one characters boyfriend snuck into the building earlier in the film and told her exactly how and where he did it. All this leads to a very predictable and clich├ęd ending. One good thing I will say about this film is that some of the death scenes are not bad for a low budget outing--others are terrible, as is this movie as a whole.

One A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

Alice In Murderland Movie Trailer

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL

Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil Movie Review 

Country boys Tucker and Dale go to the mountains to restore a cabin to use as their vacation home. When they rescue a college girl from drowning and take her back to the cabin, all the girls friends come to rescue her from who they assume are killer hillbillies. I first watched this film a couple years ago, and decided to introduce it to my girlfriend this time around. This is a horror comedy movie that is two things most films in this genre are not: it's very original, and very funny. Tyler Labine is extremely likable as the dimwitted but love-struck Dale, and Alan Tudyk (Of Firefly fame) steals the show as the "wise" Tucker.

Killer hillbillies or misunderstood, nice fellas?

Even the college kids, for the most part, are well played. The special effects in the movie are impressive, and the story is both hilarious and sweet, even presenting a life lesson. All this said, it is also extremely bloody and violent. The dialogue is funny--picture Three's Company type situations combined with Shaun Of The Dead type results. Fans of horror will appreciate the absurdity of the premise, and if horror-comedy is your cup  of tea, few are as sweet as this.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9

Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil Movie Trailer

PUPPET MASTER 10: AXIS RISING

Puppet Master X: Axis Rising Movie Review 

Puppet Master X: Axis Rising picks up where the ninth installment left off, with Danny and Beth (this time played by Kip Canyon and Jean Louise O'Sullivan) out to retrieve the kidnapped Tunneler from the evil Ozu (now played by Terumi Shimazu). The story eventually evolves into Danny, Beth, and a Sarge Stone battling the evil Nazis and the equally evil puppets their kidnapped scientist created. This is an absolute mess of a movie. First, as mentioned, we have returning characters with different actors. Why? I have no idea, but Canyon and O'Sullivan are far worse than their predecessors, Levi Fiehler and Jenna Gallaher, themselves no threat to an Academy award. The acting gets no better from there either. The puppets look cheaper than usual, and even given a larger budget, the special effects are dreadful. The new Nazi puppets are not impressive either, though the Kamikaze puppet is hilarious in an awful way.

Kamikaze kill!

The movie has a direct-to-television feel, the action is almost nil, and there are no horror elements to the film at all--in fact, they seem to be going toward a more comedic route--God help us.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

Puppet Master X: Axis Rising Movie Trailer

Saturday, February 21, 2015

PUPPET MASTER: AXIS OF EVIL (PUPPET MASTER 9)

Puppet Master 9: Axis Of Evil Movie Review

This one picks up immediately after Toulon commits suicide (as seen in the original Puppetmaster). Young Danny Coogan (Levi Fiehler) finds Toulon's body as well as his puppets. He takes the puppets home and discovers their secret, just in time to help save the plant his girlfriend works at, which, as it turns out, is about to be bombed by the same Nazis who were chasing Toulon. The two Nazis are also joined by three Japanese folks in their effort to destroy the plant that makes weapons for the U.S. military.
The Japanese folks.

This is an absolute mess of a movie. The sets are awful, the script is painfully bad (just try to count the historical inaccuracies), and the acting, for the most part, is dreadful. Ada Chao, as the lead Japanese villain Ozu, turns in one of the worst performances I have ever seen--Ed Wood himself would have winced at this. The two guys playing the German Nazis don't even bother attempting a German accent. They sound like two Americans from 2010 California. It really is so bad it's laughable. The only decent performance of the film is turned in by Fiehler--it probably wasn't even decent, but instead seemed that way in comparison. The puppets themselves look--different. There is virtually no blood or violence in this film either. The end of the film is abrupt and promises another installment--it can't possibly be as bad as this one, can it?

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Puppet Master 9: Axis Of Evil Movie Trailer

PUPPET MASTER: THE LEGACY (PUPPET MASTER 8)

Puppet Master 8: The Legacy Movie Review

A woman named Maclain (Kate Orsini) holds Eric Weiss (Jacob Witkin). an old friend of Andre Toulon, at gun point, demanding the puppets and Toulon's secret. This movie was essentially made to tie up all the loose ends of the seven films the preceded it, and almost the entire movie is comprised of scenes from the aforementioned seven films.

You're really going to explain ALL 7 of them?!

Only about a half hour of this film was original, and it was just sort of okay. It does do a fairly decent job of explaining the fate of many of the characters of the past, and includes some of the better scenes from the other seven films, but unless you have seen those films, and care enough to want answers about them, there isn't much reason to watch this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Puppet Master 8: The Legacy Movie Trailer

RETRO PUPPET MASTER (PUPPET MASTER 7)

Puppet Master 7: Retro Puppet Master Movie Review

Retro Puppet Master is a prequel to all other Puppet Master films, taking us all the way back 3,000 years to Egypt, where Egyptian sorcerer Afzel has stolen the secret to life, and back to 1892, where Afzel shares his secret with puppeteer Andre Toulon. Now Egyptian God Sutekh has sent three bumbling mummified priests to destroy Afzel and return the secret. The opening of this movie is absolutely horrible, and not in an enjoyable way--more in a way that I contemplated turning it off and throwing the disc in the garbage. But I stuck with it, and once we got to 1892 Paris, it wasn't too bad. Greg Sestero of the legendarily awful The Room plays a young Toulon, and delivers a decent performance. The puppets in this are interesting, as they are a combination of an early version of the puppets we come to know (the elder Toulon is telling them the story of how they came to be) and some we have never before seen.

Retro Blade

The violence is toned way down in this one, to the point of being rated PG-13. I am not sure it is good enough to warrant a recommendation, but on the heels of part 6, it is a step up in the series.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Puppet Master 7: Retro Puppet Master Movie Trailer

CURSE OF THE PUPPET MASTER (PUPPET MASTER 6)

Puppet Master 6: Curse Of The Puppet Master Movie Review

Scientist Dr. Magrew (George Peck) hires a misfit woodcarver named Tank (Josh Green) to create new puppets for his show, while repairing the puppets we have come to know and love from the previous six films. Magrew purchased the puppets at an auction, and they have become a part of his family, along with his daughter Jane (Emily Harrison). What Jane and Tank don't know is that the good doctor is trying to create a race of human puppets.

Like this...

So basically take the storyline and continuity of the first five films and blow them up, as they have no place in this film. The puppets, already good guys at this point, are beyond that here, to the point Jane actually cuddles with Pinhead. The story of this movie is lame, the acting bad, and the ending worse. There is a fairly decent revenge scene in the film, but not much else can be said in favor of this outing. It's the worst of the series to this point.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Puppet Master 6: Curse Of The Puppet Master Movie Trailer

PUPPET MASTER 5: THE FINAL CHAPTER

Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter Movie Review

Part 5 picks up the day after Part 4, and is essentially the same film, only this time it's the lead demon coming after the puppets and Rick Myers. See my review for part 4 and fill it in for the rest of this review.

How I felt at times during this movie

It actually has a decent ending, leading one to believe Myers would be the new puppet master, and was supposed to wrap up the series, but that wasn't to be, for as we have learned throughout horror history, "The Final..." anything is never actually the last.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter Movie Trailer

PUPPET MASTER 4

Puppet Master 4 Movie Review

Rick Myers is a scientist working on trying to find the secret of artificial intelligence when a group of demons are sent from Hell to Earth to locate and destroy Toulon's puppets who, of course, are with Myers. This is the absurd plot of the fourth installment of the Puppet Master series, the installment that sees the puppets go full fledged good guy. The acting is a considerable step down from the previous installment, and the previously solid story is replaced by nonsense. Still, it's not all bad. The special effects are nice in a so bad it's good way.

Laser tag?

Fortunately there are at least still some decent death scenes. However, this is the movie that would really begin the demise of the series.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Puppet Master 4 Movie Trailer

PUPPET MASTER 3: TOULON'S REVENGE

Puppet Master 3: Toulon's Revenge Movie Review

This prequel to the first two Puppet Master films is set in Berlin during the second World War. The Nazis are trying to develop a drug that will bring the dead back to life, and hunt down Andre Toulon, a puppet master who has used a formula to bring his puppets to life. The Nazi's kill Toulon's wife, and, with the help of his puppets, he seeks revenge. The special effects and acting are a step up from the first two films, but this one lacks the intensity of the first two. Maybe it's how the puppets gravitate even more to the good side, I don't know, but it didn't keep my interest like the first two films. Add to this some continuity issues (in the original Toulon kills himself in 1939, but this film is set in 1941) and you are left with a film that doesn't quite live up to what came before it. I do still enjoy this one, however. The death scenes are pretty decent and Six Shooter, a staple puppet in all the films to follow, is introduced in this film.

Howdy

Again, this is not on par with the first two movies in the series, but it is still worth a watch.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Puppet Master 3: Toulon's Revenge Movie Trailer

PUPPET MASTER 2

Puppet Master 2 Movie Review

The puppets from the original Puppet Master are back, and this time under a new owner. Deciding they don't much care for this owner, they kill him and others to get their brain fluid in an attempt to bring back their original owner, Andre Toulon. They succeed, but Toulon isn't exactly as they recall, and now they must battle him as well. This is a really good sequel to the original, though it does see the puppets begin to gradually become "good guys". All the puppets from the original are back, and are joined by a new one, Torch.

Him

As in the original, the effects are pretty good for what it is, and the acting is on par for what you would expect. I really enjoy the originality of the story in this series, particularly the first two. This one is less story, more action than that of the original, leaving both, in my opinion, on par with each other.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Puppet Master 2 Movie Trailer

PUPPET MASTER

Puppet Master Movie Review

Back in the 1940's, puppet master Andre Toulon discoverd an ancient Egyptian formula to create life, and decided to bring his puppets to life. The Nazis then hunted him down, and, just before they could catch him, he commited suicide. Fast forward to the 1980's, and the secret is discovered by Neil Gallagher, who is now dead and sending messages to his psychic friends, who are investigating his mansion with his widow. As the night wears on, Toulon's puppets come back to life and begin to terrorize the humans. I know this sounds like a ridiculous story, and it really is, but this movie has had a special place in my heart since I saw it so many years ago. For it's time (and budget), the effects of the puppets are pretty good. This film introduces us to puppets Leech Woman, Tunneler, Jester, Pinhead, and my personal favorite, Blade.

The original five

The puppets in this film are absolutely ruthless, and I love it. The acting leaves a lot to be desired, but that is to be expected in this sort of film and can be overlooked. This movie is certainly no masterpiece in cinema history, and is not for the masses, but I always enjoy it. The movie would also lead to many sequels, all of which will be reviewed in coming days.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Puppet Master Movie Trailer

THE LOFT (From The Theatre)

 The Loft Movie Review

After a layoff of a couple years, I am back to do more reviews, starting with The Loft. This film tells the story of five married guys who go in together to rent a loft to serve as the place to take their ladies on the side. One day they arrive at the loft to discover a dead woman laying in bed, and nobody wants to take responsibility for it.

So much for tonight's plans

Interestingly, this is the second remake of a film that just came out in 2008. The movie is filled with twists and turns, and the way it's shot, switching from present time to flashback scenes, keeps you interested in the story. The acting is a bit bland, which brings the film down a notch, and you find some characters can be interchangeable. As a fan of Modern Family, it was beyond weird seeing Eric Stonestreet play a womanizer, but he does a really good job. James Marsdon (X-Men, Straw Dogs) also turns in a pretty good performance as the only really sympathetic character in the film. All other performances are forgettable. The final act is filled with twists and turns, and in fact are too many--had the film ended after the first big reveal it would have been much better. Alas, they went for the twist after the twist after the twist, and it just sort of fell apart for me. For this reason, I can only give this a mild recommendation.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

The Loft Trailer