Monday, June 29, 2015


Starry Eyes Movie Review

Struggling actress Sarah (Alexandra Essoe) is about to get her big break in show business, but landing her first role will cost her more than she anticipated. That is the basic idea of this dark horror flick from newcomers Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer. We see Sarah go through what you expect a struggling actress in the movie to go through (a job she hates but that pays that bills, a producer wanting sexual favors, etc), but Essoe brings a smooth eeriness to the disturbed Sarah. Essoe and Fabianne Therese, as mean girl Erin, turn in nice performances, but some--scratch that, most--of the acting in this film is pretty bad. The movie does tend to drag and build a slow burn, with little in the way of thrills, scares, or horror until the final fifteen minutes, but those fifteen minutes almost make the wait worth it. Once Sarah agrees to do what the producer wants her to--it's sexual as well as a classic "trade your soul for..." deal--we see her really melt down, switching from her normal self...

She likes to pull her hair, but she looks fairly normal changing a bit...

Meth addict Sarah, well, this...

What bald cap?
...and it's all brought on by these people...

"The greater good."

Somewhere between phases two and three of Sarah's transformation we get the best part of the movie: it goes from melodramatic self-loathing indie flick to jaw-dropping slasher "Oh my God, did you just see that?!" horror flick, offering up some of the most brutal killings (the dumbbell scene was actually kind of hard to watch) in recent memory. The thing I found most interesting about the killing spree was how Erin, who was nothing but mean to Sarah throughout the film, actually wanted to get Sarah help when she saw the condition she was in. Unfortunately, after the series of killings, the movie goes in a direction that is fairly standard fare and uninteresting, making one feel they were doing weird stuff simply for the sake of being weird. This movie is an interesting one--I am tempted to recommend it based on the performances of Essoe and Therese, the death scenes, and some really fantastic music, but honestly, this film is a lot to sit through for that. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Starry Eyes Movie Teaser Trailer

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Cult of the Cobra Movie Review

Six American Air Force men encounter a snake charmer who will let them be the first outsiders to view the ancient transformation of a woman into a snake on just two conditions: they pay a hundred dollars, and they cannot take pictures. Naturally, one of the dopes takes a picture (with flash, no less) during the ritual, resulting in a curse being placed on them and the snakewoman stalking them back in New York City. This 1955 feature gets off to a pretty good start, jumping almost immediately into the action. The snakewoman we see in the ritual is...interesting... she is...

..but from this scene on we always either see her in her normal human form or as a very cheap, fake cobra. Faith Domergue plays the Lisa the Snakewoman, and does a decent job with the role, as do the actors playing the Air Force guys, though the script does little to build character with any of them. Also appearing in the film (far too little) is Kathleen Hughes as Julia. You may recognize Kathleen from somewhere else...

Where have I seen this face?

The story is a decent one that takes a somewhat unexpected turn near the end--I could have done without this as it takes away the callous nature of Lisa too much. The big problem with the movie is the execution of the snake attack scenes. We are given a very fake looking snake, complete with first person shots from the point of view of the snake that look blurry and...sparkly?

Snake Vision!

This all leads to a fairly anticlimactic ending that at least finally SHOWS the transformation on screen. Overall, Cult of the Cobra is a fun little movie that simply falls well short of the potential it had.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Cult Of The Cobra Movie Trailer

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Invisible Invaders Movie Review

Invisible aliens arrive on Earth to warn they will destroy everybody on the planet if the humans do not surrender. When the threat falls on deaf ears, the invasion begins. Now it is up to a couple scientists, the daughter of a scientist, and a member of the military to figure out a way to stop the invasion. This 1959 film is actually quite an interesting film. The aliens make their presence known by entering dead bodies, giving us a precursor of sorts to the legendary Night of the Living Dead--the zombies here, referred to as "The walking dead", look strikingly similar to those George Romero would use in Night of the Living Dead almost a decade later.

The Walking Dead

Naturally, there is a lot of 1950s sci-fi silliness here: repetitive shots, the over-dramatic narration of the story, the repeated use of newspaper headlines, the use of stock footage--and why in the world do the aliens drag their feet when they walk while invisible? Oh yeah, so they could use "special effects" to show the dirt moving and nobody there to do it. Also, the aliens, with their "advanced intelligence", have determined the moon is a planet, not, you know, a moon. The first alien to make contact refers to the moon as a planet not once, but twice. Still, all this stuff really only adds to the charm of the movie for me. The acting is what you would expect from this era. The pace of the movie is really well done, but it is a short film, clocking in at just 67 minutes. One thing I really disliked about the movie was the sounds they use, especially in the final five minutes of the film--it really made the movie almost unwatchable. The end also felt extremely rushed and left a lot to be desired. This really is a nice little movie, however, and could be described as inspirational for movies to come. If you're a fan of movies from this era I recommend this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Invisible Invaders Movie Trailer


 Don't Blink Movie Review

Ten people on vacation arrive at their lodge only to discover it is empty. They soon find there are no bugs or animals around, the temperature begins to drastically change, and one by one they begin to disappear without a trace. This film is a classic example of having a ton of potential but too many flaws to really live up to it. To me the first thing that really pops out is the lack of character development. Other than the jerk of the movie, Alex (Zack Ward, Titus, Freddy vs. Jason), pretty much all the other characters are interchangeable. Writer/director Travis Oates gives us no reason to care that these characters are vanishing. Also, if you want to watch this movie because you are a fan of Mena Suvari, you may want to skip it--she's in it very little in spite of having top billing. I personally was disappointed this guy was only in the film for about ten seconds...


The acting is passable--there is nothing award winning, but nothing offensively bad either. The premise and suspense of the movie are both fairly decent, even though you may find yourself comparing it to the far superior Identity. You will likely develop theories as to why the people are vanishing, and the movie will even address some of your theories. References to other horror movies will be dropped and the film delivers a wonderful final ten minutes or so, but there is one thing you will have to come to grips with if you watch this--though hints are dropped throughout, what exactly is happening, or why the people are disappearing, is never fully explained. I guess Oates wanted to leave this to your own interpretation, and with a better film he may have had more people contemplating this, but unfortunately this is a just above average film that not a lot of people will spend a lot of time thinking about once they have finished viewing it. That said, Don't Blink is still a little better than I expected it to be. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Don't Blink Movie Trailer


Frogs Movie Review

A wealthy family on their own island have just one worry in life: the croaking of frogs keeps them up at night. After attempting to poison them, the frogs, and their friends, get fed up and seek revenge on the humans. The first thing to mention is that, despite the title, the frogs themselves have plenty of help. Their allies include toads, many different types of snakes and lizards, alligators, leeches, superimposed birds, turtles, crabs, scorpions, spiders, a butterfly, and possibly even...moss (?).


This 1972 horror film may qualify as being so bad it's good. The errors throughout the film are hilarious--there is a scene where lizards are supposed to be knocking bottles over but it is hysterically obvious they are not. A smoke machine is fairly visible in one shot. My favorite of the numerous errors is seeing the allegedly dead first victim breathing very deeply as he lies in a water puddle. They never really mention where the movie takes place, but given the scenery I pictured the Everglades in Florida, leading me to wonder throughout the film why on Earth anybody would want that island to begin with (it turns out it was filmed in the panhandle section of Florida). There are actually a few faces you may recognize in the movie, including a young Sam Elliot and Joan Van Ark, and legendary Ray Milland, who does a pretty good job as the grumpy lead rich jerk Mr. Crockett, a character that reminded me a bit of the old man from the Father's Day segment of Creepshow--I was expecting him to scream "Where's my cake?!" at any moment. There is little blood and no gore in this PG rated film, so do not go in expected anything extreme. As I said, this is a movie that is kind of so bad it's good, and I enjoyed it probably more than I should have. Also, if you decide to watch this movie, wait for the extra bit at the end of the credits. It's actually pretty awesome.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Frogs Movie Trailer

Friday, June 19, 2015


Apartment 1303 Movie Review

Janet Slate (Julianne Michelle) makes the first big decision of her life: she moves away from her alcoholic mother (Rebecca De Mornay, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle) and sister Lara (Mischa Barton, The Sixth Sense) and signs a one year lease for an apartment she has never seen in person. As she spends her first night there she learns the place may not be quite the dream apartment she pictured. Spoiler alert--it's haunted.


Holy smokes, is this movie ever bad. You likely will first notice the acting, which is akin to something you may see in a college classroom production--scratch that--I have been involved in college classroom productions and they did not come close to the ineptitude of this film. Even De Mornay, who has been fantastic in films in the past, is awful here--one suspects she observed the "actors" around her and decided not to even try, instead opting to collect a paycheck and call it a day. The directing seems to lack any direction whatsoever. The "creepy" girl is anything but. The writing--oh God, the writing--honestly, Ed Wood wrote better stuff than this. The story hits a lull that seemingly lasts forever. I cannot off the top of my head recall a movie that hits a dead end so early in the film and just does not move at all. The ghosts are probably the least scary one can imagine (see photo above), and to make it all even worse, the CGI is atrocious. Even the music in this film is terrible. The fact that five million dollars was put into the making of this film is astounding. I can only say three positive things about Apartment 130: about midway through it takes a direction I didn't expect, a couple of the more irritating characters get killed, and it's mercifully short (85 minutes that seemed at least twice that). Avoid this movie at all costs.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

Apartment 1303 Movie Trailer

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Honeymoon Movie Review

For their honeymoon, newlyweds Paul (Harry Treadaway) and Bea (Rose Leslie) go to the small lake house Bea grew up in. Things begin to turn strange, however, after Bea sleepwalks one night and begins to act...different. This movie gets off to a slow start as the characters are introduced and they pound home the fact they are newlyweds and in love--cutting out about ten minutes of this would have done wonders for this film. This movie had a small budget and they obviously decided not to spend much of it on a cast. With the exception of very brief appearances by Ben Huber and Hanna Brown playing another couple up the road, Will and Annie, the only actors in the film are Treadaway and Leslie. When you decide to make a film with a cast this limited you are really banking on the actors turning in strong performances--unfortunately, though Treadaway and Leslie are decent actors, they are not good enough to carry an entire movie on their own, and their limitations become evident on a few occasions. All that said, the movie does have a number of things going for it. The presentation of the changes in Bea are subtle in the beginning, and grow at a comfortable rate, leading up to a really impressive final seven or eight minutes. The rate at which the film goes darker and darker is also quite nice, making the viewer feel uncomfortable a little at a time before the end punches you in the gut. There is not a ton of gore or death scenes (not that you expect a lot of that from a film with just four actors) but there is enough blood to possibly leave you queasy.  While Honeymoon may not go down as a great horror film, it is a nice little surprise--I just wish I had not read spoilers about it before viewing it (curse you Netflix reviewers).

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Honeymoon Movie Trailer


The Sleeping Car Movie Review

After leaving his wife, thirty-something Jason (David Naughton of An American Werewolf In London fame) enters college and moves into a train car turned apartment that happens to be haunted. This 1990 comedy-horror has all the direct-to-video weirdness one would expect from this era: a ridiculous plot, obnoxious characters, enough blood and gore to keep the audience interested, topless women, horrible acting--you get the point--and it delivers in spades. The MOST obnoxious character? Stick it out and you will see his death (this being Jeff Conaway from Taxi). The lead actress? Hang around long enough and you will see her topless (this being Judie Aronson of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter). The horror aspect of the movie is fine--if you can accept a sofa killing people via the ghost that haunts the car. Speaking of the ghost, once we finally see him, he actually looks at least a little creepy.

Get off my train car!

A lot of the movie doesn't make sense--why is the guy who was so distraught over people dying in the beginning killing people? Why doesn't Jason ever lock his door?--but if you get too caught up in these details you will only beat your head against a wall. Where the movie really fails is in the comedy department. Had the writing actually been good, this movie had all the potential to have an Evil Dead sort of cult following. Unfortunately, it's just not funny, and the desire to be the next Evil Dead is obvious. Instead, what we get is another somewhat forgettable film from the bizarre time in horror films between the classics of the 80s and the resurrection of the mid 90s.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Sleeping Car Movie Trailer

Monday, June 15, 2015


So I am going to go against what I typically do on this site and bring you some somewhat breaking news. It was reported today that Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the masterminds behind Feast, have teamed up to bring us Halloween Returns. Casting got underway today with shooting set to start next month. This will NOT be directed by Rob Zombie, and reportedly will not have anything to do with the Zombie films, and will not be a direct sequel of the original film. Instead, it is said to catch up with Michael years after his initial killings as he sits on death row, with the offspring of his original victims either coming after him for revenge or simply being next in line as he continues his carnage.

A few things come to mind as I ponder yet another retooling of a classic horror film. First, it's Michael Myers, so of course it has potential to be really good. The fact they are calling it Halloween Returns may be a jab at the two films Zombie made, as in saying "Zombie came way out of left field with his take, so we are bringing back the Michael you know", in which case, fine, I can be on board for that--not that I hate the Zombie movies at all--I actually quite enjoy them, but I know they alienated a lot of fans of the original. Lets face it though: the original Halloween and part two are masterpieces of horror, the third one does not exists in my mind, and the fourth and fifth films were decent enough, but the wheels completely fell off after that, so to me what Zombie did was a redemption of sorts for the character and series. All that to say this: when Melton and Dunstan (who is taking over as director) say Halloween is returning, I ask "from where?". If you follow the story of the first (even if you ignore every sequel after it), which was based in the late 1970s, and the new film is set in 2015 or 2016, Michael would be well into his sixties--this hardly screams scary to me. Short of going this route, you are simply rebooting the franchise (again), something that could have very hit or miss consequences (as Zombie's films did).

The next thought that comes to mind--Myers is in prison (not an insane asylum as in the Zombie film), awaiting execution--does this mean we see Michael's face for at least the beginning of the film? Certainly they would not have him wearing a mask in prison. How exactly does he escape a maximum security prison? Are they going to go all super-natural with him, ala Shocker? (God I hope not) The suggested premise of the film seems pretty absurd, and I am holding out hope it is a joke.

Finally, I really hope they do not bring Dr. Loomis back for this one. Mention him to show respects to him, possibly even explain his fate, but do not make him a character in the film. I am a big fan of Malcolm McDowell and believe he did all one could do with the character in the Zombie films, but seeing anybody other than the late Donald Pleasence play Loomis is tragic.

I am cautiously excited about Halloween Returns. The guys behind it have done some really good stuff in the past, so the potential is there, but we all know how some of these films tend to turn out. If you have any thoughts on this I would love to read them in the comments section below.

UPDATE: I can't believe it was so long ago that I wrote this. This movie did come out, and was quite a bit different than what the initial reports of it said would be (thank God). Catch my review of the movie, titled simply Halloween, not Halloween Returns, here: Halloween 2018

Sunday, June 14, 2015


The Bride Of Frankenstein Movie Review

Having survived the fire at the end of Frankenstein, The Monster is on the loose again. This time around, another mad scientist, Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), has the idea of creating a companion for The Monster. This movie starts out interestingly, as Mary Shelley, the author of the novel that inspired the original movie, explains to her husband Percy and Lord Byron that the story of Frankenstein does not, in fact, end as the movie does, and proceeds to tell the story that is the movie Bride of Frankenstein. I vaguely remember seeing this movie as a child, but this is the first time I have watched it since, and I was actually somewhat surprised to see the amount of comedy thrown in here and there. Unfortunately, most of it is unfunny and very much takes away from the entire theme and feel of the film. That said, there is a lot to like about this movie. Hollywood legend Boris Karloff does a fantastic job as cinemas most misunderstood misfit, The Monster, making him both terrifying and likable. I sort of wish they had not made him speak in this film, but this does result in him delivering one or two of the more memorable lines in film history. Elsa Lanchester is phenomenal in her iconic, albeit brief, portrayal of The Monster's Mate. I really, really wish she was in the movie longer than she is. Everybody knows who this character is...

...but many may not realize she is only in the movie for about five minutes. Lanchester herself, however, is in the film longer, as she plays not only the mate, but also the aforementioned Mary Shelley.
Elsa as Mary

Colin Clive returns as Frankenstein and also does another stellar job. One thing that really stands out to me in this film is the effective use of lighting to set the mood--at times this looks downright creepy. Another scene that I found particularly weird was when Pretorius was showing Frankenstein the people he had created. The special effects used to create this scene, to me, were breathtaking for a film shot in 1935. The scene seemed a bit out of place and walks a thin line between surreal and absurd, but it is one you will not likely forget. Even the credits for this film are interesting, as Karloff is credited simply as "Karloff", and Lanchester is not credited as The Mate. Instead, "?" is credited as The Monster's Mate. If that were not enough wackiness, the credits show at the start of the film, and when they show again at the end of the film they are headlined "A Good Cast Is Worth Repeating". I think the film tends to drag at times, which is unfortunate for a movie that is only 75 minutes long to begin with, but the last ten minutes or so, which combine heartbreak, horror, and splendid cinematography are and absolute must see

Our happy couple?

This movie is considered a masterpiece in Hollywood and horror movie history, and rightfully so. It brought back a legendary movie monster while introducing a new one, and eighty years later both live on as icons. If you can get past the misfires of the attempted comedy, you will find great pleasure in this movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

 The Bride Of Frankenstein Movie Trailer

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Rites of Spring Movie Review

A group of small time criminals kidnap the daughters of a wealthy family, demanding a ransom for their safe return. At the same time, a farmer (Marco St. John) kidnaps two girls, continuing a pattern of missing girls that has taken place since the mid 1980s. This movie combines these two plots pretty effectively, resulting in a decent horror film here. The acting varies widely, ranging from the screaming of the girls being unbearable at times, to a very good performance by AJ Bowen of You're Next fame as the one person who sees this entire situation as messed up. We find out the girls have been kidnapped at the start of each spring as a rite (hence the title) and a sacrifice to the...creature thing...


...who, in return, brings a good harvest. To me this movie was a throwback to so many movies I have enjoyed in the past, from 70s grindhouse films to 80s and 90s scarecrow B movies. The creature itself is actually pretty scary, as he moves very quickly and is sadistically violent. The blood and gore is here, but there's not too much that it's distracting, and the movie tends toward old school effects and away from CGI, which score points in my book. The music and cinematography are also very good in this movie, and there are some interesting plot twists along the way as well. However, not all is well here. The movie is tragically short (81 minutes), there are plot holes and loose ends here and there (what happened to the little girl anyway?), and the end leaves a little to be desired (even taking into account the bonus scene after the credits). Even with these shortcomings, Rites of Spring is a pretty good little indie horror film that I think is worth a viewing.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Rites Of Spring Movie Trailer


The Slaughterhouse Massacre Movie Review

A couple young fellas take their girlfriends to an abandoned slaughter house where years prior a loner named Marty Sickle was killed. Naturally he has returned to terrorize anybody who comes near his place of death...or maybe he died...or maybe not. The movie kind of says both. He may have had his head cut off. But then again, maybe he didn't, but of course in the end, that is the only way to kill him, because, you know, that's how they killed him before, except he is not headless now. Yes. this gibberish basically sums up this horrid mess that looks like some college project gone awry. The sound is terrible throughout most of the film, and the video looks like it was done on a high tech camcorder from the 1980s. They loved using slow motion in this film too, which is a personal pet peeve of mine. To me slow motion should be used in sports replays and...well, that's all really. I have said before that when you see the same name repeated over and over in the credits it's probably a pretty awful movie--that happens here with writer, director, producer, editor, and even Marty Sickle himself, Paul Gagne. And lets talk about ol' Marty a second. His voice goes from sounding like Freddy Krueger to, well, not, and it happens so often it's hilarious--if that's not enough he looks like some weird cross between old school Undertaker from the 1990s WWF days and a retarded brother of the talented actor Giovanni Ribisi.

"My name's Marty Sickle. People call me Marty Sickle" 

This movie borrows a ton from many other movies from the past that did absolutely everything better. The continuity errors are pretty much everywhere. The acting--I won't even go into how bad the acting is. There's also a stoner character (of course) named, what else, "Stoner", who, among other things, calls for help at one point with the exclamation "Yo! Sheriff dude!" and attempts to cop a feel on the chalk outline of a dead girlfriend had warned me this was the worst movie she has ever seen, and while I wouldn't go that far (she has yet to experience the masterpiece that is Hill 171) I would say it's not far off.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

The Slaughterhouse Massacre Movie Trailer


 The Snowtown Murders Movie Review

This movie, based on a true story, tells the tale of John Bunting (Daniel Henshall), the most notorious serial killer in the history of Australia. However, if you are expecting a bloodbath, this is not the film for you. This centers more on the psychological effects Bunting had on Jamie Vlassakis, the sixteen year old son of his girlfriend Elizabeth. So instead of gore and blood, what we have here is a slow burn story that lasts two hours and results in little payoff. That said, Henshall turns in a fantastic performance as Bunting, and Lucas Pittaway does a pretty good job as Jamie, the impressionable kid. The interesting thing about Bunting is his victims--he didn't go after so-called "innocent" people. Instead, Bunting targets people he sees as not fit for living--drug addicts, pedophiles, etc. The movie does a decent job showing the impact Bunting has on Vlassakis, but at two hours, this is a lot to sit through. Also, a warning: some people are going to have a very difficult time understanding a lot of the dialogue. The accents of some of these actors is very thick. If you are expecting a traditional horror movie, The Snowtown Murders is not one--it's more a psychological thriller, and a fairly average one at that.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Snowtown Murders Movie Trailer

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Curucu Beast Of The Amazon Movie Review

Plantation workers are being killed off in an area near the Amazon River, so Rock Dean (John Bromfield) and his doctor, Andrea Romar (Beverly Garland) set off to solve the mystery. This 1956 film, unfortunately, doesn't have a lot going for it. The beast, aptly named "the curucu", looks...well...

..yeah, like this...

...which lead to me recalling one of the most disappointing and ridiculous things involving my days as a pro wrestling fanatic...

...ladies and gentlemen, the Gobbledy Gooker.

Mercifully, we only see this abomination a few times before the big twist of the film is revealed about 45 minutes in (by the way, the twist of the movie was spoiled in the description of the movie on my television--thanks Bright House). The 45 minutes leading to this monumental moment are filled with Bromfield portraying one of the least likable heroes you are likely to see in film, stock footage of random animals one may or may not see in the Amazon region (I especially enjoyed the murky piranha clips), and a plot as thin as a blade of grass. So we get the big reveal about 45 minutes into the movie (it feels like two hours by this point) and then what little plot there was leading to this moment is blown up, giving way to absolute nonsense and chaos for the next half hour or so (this feels like another two hours). We end the movie with another reveal that is more predictable, yet more interesting, than the first. The acting is bland, the directing is awful (the quick cuts between the stock footage and film shots is hilarious), and there is no real payoff in sight. There is one superimposed shot of the heroes looking out upon the wildlife that is hilarious, but sadly, I cannot find a picture of it (it is in the trailer below, however). I really, really wanted to like this film, to label it as "so bad it's good", but alas, it turned out just bad. Avoid it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3 

Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon Trailer (it's much better than the movie).

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


The Amityville Horror Movie Review

Young couple George and Kathy Lutz (Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George) and their kids move into a house that was once the sight of grisly murders. Soon after, strange things begin to happen, and George starts to lose his grip on reality. This remake of the 1979 classic is enough like the original to maintain the story, but different enough to keep you interested while establishing it's own identity. George does her typical good job in the movie, and Reynolds, surprisingly, is fairly creepy.

Just kill the kid already!

Some of the quick shots throughout the film are genuinely scary, and there is a fair amount of gore in it, but nothing it over the top. It's also worth noting this is based on a true story, though how much of the real story is true is of question. Unfortunately the end of the movie is somewhat anti-dramatic and disappointing, and the acting of most of the supporting characters--in particular Jesse James as Billy--is dreadfully bad. Honestly, you will find yourself hoping George just offs the little brat. Still, this ranks as one of my favorite remakes, and is a film I recommend.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

The Amityville Horror Movie Trailer