Sunday, August 30, 2015

THE THING THAT COULDN'T DIE

The Thing That Couldn't Die Movie Review

Jessica (Carolyn Kearney) is a young lady with the power to discover buried water by using a stick from a tree--apparently she can also discover other things with this stick, as she comes across something she warns everybody not to dig up because it's evil. Of course nobody listens to her and they dig up an ancient box that holds a still alive severed head that uses the power of telepathy to take over peoples' minds, leading them to search for the head's body, which, once found, will make the 16th Century Satanist whole again and unstoppable--or--the thing that couldn't die. So in this movie we  have a girl, Jessica, with really undefined powers (she somehow is able to have a flashback of the heads life), a ridiculous story that eventually leads nowhere, and a few people carrying a head around aimlessly.

What does everybody want?

There really is not a lot going for this film. The acting is extremely poor, especially Kearney, who could have taken off with a character such as Jessica but instead plays her as a mopey, uninterested teen. The movie plods along at a pace that will likely put the viewer to sleep (I have no idea how I made it through), which is sad considering the run time is only 69 minutes. To make matters worse, when the head finally meets the body, the thing that couldn't die does just that--very quickly and easily. This movie is saved a little by the head itself.


She thought there was a hat in this box...really 

Though it doesn't speak, it does look rather sinister, which adds a little creepiness to the film, especially in this scene... 

Peeping Head 

Of course any uneasy atmosphere they attempted to create was destroyed by the horrible acting and dreadful script. It's also interesting to note that the same music from Creature From The Black Lagoon is used when the head is first revealed. Upon searching for pictures I discovered this movie was once featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000--I would recommend checking that out instead of the movie itself. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

The Thing That Couldn't Die Trailer

Sunday, August 23, 2015

THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF

The Curse of the Werewolf Movie Review

A beggar enters a castle and, after being purchased by the owner, is thrown into a dungeon. While there, a mute servant girl is seen visiting him. Many years later the servant, now a woman, returns, but is this time thrown into the dungeon with the beggar. After being raped by the beggar the woman escapes, kills the castle owner, and is found face down in a river by a friendly townsman. He takes her to his house, where it is discovered she is pregnant as a result of the rape. On Christmas Day she dies while giving birth to Leon, a child who becomes a werewolf at some point after going hunting. Leon eventually grows up, falls in love, and tries to fight off the unhappiness that makes him a killer animal (we learn earlier only love can contain his werewolf metamorphosis). Yes, this movie really is this convoluted and stretched out--and by the way, leading up to finding the servant, the man who finds her narrates the story, even though, since she was, after all, mute, he could not have known the details of the events leading up to that moment.

It's just occurring to her

Like many Hammer films, this one tends to offer very little in action for most of the movie, though the story does move at a lightning pace (obviously), and it has a good ending. The story is an interesting one, though a bigger werewolf presence would have been nice. I wish most of the beginning of the film would have been traded in for more carnage in the middle and end--really, the whole thing with the beggar could have been cut entirely, but I guess that's how we find out that beggar raping mute equals this guy... 

Don't judge

This is such a hard movie to like and also a hard movie to dislike. It is a very crisp looking film, and some of the acting is pretty good, but too much of it is just inconsistent. I write The Curse of the Werewolf off as a decent enough movie, but one that had the potential to be a lot more. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Curse of the Werewolf Trailer

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

SIN REAPER

Sin Reaper Movie Review

Samantha Walker (Helen Mutch) has been having nightmares of a killer for over ten years. Her therapist (horror legend Lance Henriksen) discovers the location of her visions is in Germany and encourages her to go there to face her fear. Once there the killer she has been having visions of begins killing. This is an absolute mess of a movie. I'll start with the good (this won't take long). Henriksen is in the movie (albeit briefly), it's presented by Fangoria (a pretty good magazine), and the killer's costume looks like something from an 80s metal bands album cover.

Metal health'll drive you mad

Yes, that is all the positive I can find in this film (and I don't even like metal). From there it's...ugh. The directing is so poor I really cannot pinpoint the worst of it all--I'll lean toward the out of focus zoom shots near the end of the film. The camera work is shaky--and no, this is not a found footage film. The acting is horribly insulting. At one point in the film a guy says the following to Samantha: "Oh good, you're American!". As she is clearly speaking with an English accent I can't tell if a) the character was supposed to be a complete moron (the rest of the movie implies he's not) or b) Samantha is supposed to be from the United States and Mutch is not a talented enough actress to do an American accent. The death scenes are bland. The reveal at the end is not interesting at all. The cuts from scene to scene are without rhyme or reason. The fight scenes appear to have been choreographed by a nine year old. Most of the movie looks as if it were shot on a home camcorder. And though the movie only comes in at just over 90 minutes, you will feel it has drained you of at least 5 hours of your life. If all this is not bad enough, the movie was shot in 3D and not cleaned up well for home release, making already poor scenes even worse. One would likely be accurate with the assumption that the filmmakers of this disaster were trying to create an homage to old Hammer films--they mastered the boring portion of the Hammer films but failed miserably in delivering a good, or even interesting, ending.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3 


Sin Reaper Movie Trailer

INNER DEMONS

 Inner Demons Movie Review

When Catholic school girl and straight A student Carson Morris (Lara Vosburgh) becomes addicted to heroin her parents agree to let a television crew film her intervention. What they discover is that her "inner demons" go beyond a drug addiction. This low budget film is delivered by little known writer Glenn Gers, a director (Seth Grossman) best known for The Butterfly Effect 3, and a ton of actors nobody has ever heard, but, surprisingly, it's actually not too bad. The film has a very slow pace in the beginning but it does eventually pick up (be patient). Vosburgh certainly has potential to be a good actress, but one can't help but think she was cast due primarily to her ability to somewhat distort her face to make her "look creepy" naturally.


We get the idea

The main pitfalls of this movie involve it falling into too many horror movie clich├ęs. Of course Carson becomes "goth" after she begins to use drugs. Why is this? She shows no signs of this before her drug use, and we see that she has books that help her understand what is happening to her (Satanism, demon possession, etc), nobody she is ever around dresses like this, so why does she? The movie seems to imply the demon inside her influences her dressing this way, but that really only serves to undermine the intentions of the demon (as well as people who dress this way in real life). The movie also falls victim to questionable special effects and CGI...

like this...
  
..., the deep "demon voice", jump scares, the issue of "why are they still filming" that most found footage films face, and the mysterious winds of exorcism. That said, there is a lot to like about this film. I love that the "hero" of the film is a cameraman (that job holds a special place in my heart). I enjoy how they present the crew, the intervention expert, and the doctor in the rehab--the film does a fantastic job of showing how practically nobody has Carson's best interests in mind. The film also has a pretty strong ending that you may not see coming, though the demon mugging it up for the camera at the end is really tired at this point. While Inner Demons is no Paranormal Activity, it is an above average horror film that really is better than it should have been. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6
  

Inner Demons Movie Trailer

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

THE RAVEN

The Raven Movie Review

Edgar Allan Poe fanatic Dr. Richard Vollin (Bela Lugosi) saves the life of Jean Thatcher (Irene Ware), but seeks vengeance when Thatcher's father, the local Judge, forbids the doctor from pursuing his daughter. When criminal on the run Edmond Bateman (Boris Karloff) appears at Vollin's door asking for facial reconstructive surgery, the doc makes Bateman's face a hideous mess.

Eye can't look

Vollin promises to fix his face only if Bateman agrees to help kill the Judge, using, of course, the Poe-inspired torture devices Vollin created. This 1935 film is pretty much every bit as cool as the description sounds. The level of celebrity of both Lugosi and Karloff at the time this film was made truly cannot be understated, and the decision of Universal to pair them was a no-brainer.

Cha-Ching!

The performances are a bit of a mixed bag here--Lugosi is pretty much Dracula again, only toned down a bit in the creepy and amped up a bit in the rage. Karloff's performance is more interesting, as he brings the bizarre charm of Frankenstein's Monster and combines it with a desperate struggle of vanity versus doing the right thing. Unfortunately the rest of the performances in the film are forgettable. The movie hits a lull it seems to have a hard time escaping, and at just over an hour long this is really very unfortunate--one wishes they would have focused on more elements of the works of Poe to advance the story. This is a wonderful film visually. The images are dark and scary, and the devices--particularly the bedroom--are effective. This is a classic horror film starring two of the greatest the genre has ever produced, and while it has its flaws, it really is a must see for horror fans.

 On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7



The Raven Movie Trailer (This is fan made, but it's actually pretty good)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA

Repo! The Genetic Opera Movie Review

Set in the year 2056, the world has gone through an epidemic of organ failures. One company, GeneCo, has created a program of financed organ transplants, but when the buyer cannot pay, they face the wrath of the repo man.

Not this one

One thing you should know right off the bat is that this, as the title implies, is indeed a musical first and foremost, as practically every line in the film is sang, not spoken. But my fellow horror fans, fear not--there is plenty of gore to enjoy here. This is just a really, really cool film. First off, the idea of combining horror and science fiction with musical is pretty uncommon--yes, I know Phantom of the Opera does the same thing, but this film takes a very different approach. Repo! combines the desperate futuristic feel of Blade Runner with the gore of Saw (same producers and Darren Lynn Bousman, who directed a few of the Saw sequels, directs this one), cool comic strip style animation and the music of rock meets opera...and the formula is fantastic. The cast is strong in this film--Paul Sorvino of Goodfellas fame is the lead villain Rotti Largo, and I would have never suspected he could pull off such a character. Multi-lingual singer Sarah Brightman (a veteran stage performer of the aforementioned  Phantom of the Opera) delivers the best and most interesting performance as Bling Mag, the "rock star" of GeneCo.

Mag

The story revolves around a couple things: seventeen year old Shilo Wallace (Alexa PenaVega) is the ailing daughter of the Repo Man (played wonderfully by Anthony Head), a man working for Rotti after stealing Rotti's girl, Shilo's mother, and accidentally killing her via poison Rotti slipped him. The other story of note is that Rotti is dying, and his three children are all vying to inherit the company--I am fairly certain there has never been a more eclectic cast of siblings in film history than...

Paris Hilton...

Bill Moseley...

and Ogre of Skinny Puppy.

Believe it or not, this combination works really well, and (it truly pains me to admit this) Hilton actually does a pretty good job. Honestly, there isn't a whole lot that misses in this movie. The pacing slows down somewhat in the middle of the film, and a few of the songs are really uninteresting, but the biggest fault in this movie is the attempt at comedy. Granted, the more clever points hit, but there is some that just falls flat. The CGI leaves a little to be desired at times as well--all that said, this is still a really wonderful film. Uniqueness is something that is hard to come by in the world of film these days, but Repo! delivers just that. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8 


Repo! The Genetic Opera Movie Trailer

Sunday, August 2, 2015

THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE

The Kiss of the Vampire Movie Review

A newlywed couple, on their way to celebrate their honeymoon, experience car trouble and must turn to the locals for help. Unfortunately, the locals are a clan of vampires. This 1963 film is a fairly typical Hammer vampire film, minus the awesomeness of Christopher Lee, which in itself loses points. There's a castle/mansion (this one is actually pretty nice), a slow, plodding pace, a couple hot chicks, and little to no action until the closing minutes. That's the formula that worked for many movies during this bizarre decade, and is one this movie follows pretty closely, minus, unfortunately, the hot chicks.

As good as it gets here
  
The performances in this movie are bizarre--it's almost as if the cast knew how boring this movie would turn out and decided to not even try to bring life to it, with the exception of Edward de Souza as Gerald, the man on his honeymoon, who is so over the top it's hilarious, Clifford Evans, who as Professor Zimmer, is as stone boring as an Ahab could possibly ever be, and Barry Warren, who turns in the only truly good performance as Carl, an Inn keeper. If the movie has not bored you to sleep by the time you finally get to it, the masquerade party near the end is when things begin to pick up.

He's happy--something is finally happening 

A kidnapping, deception, the weakest vampires you will likely ever see, and breaking and entering all lead to a fantastic climax that involves more rubber bats on strings than one could possibly count--that almost made this movie worth watching. If you are a fan of Hammer films from the early 60s (keeping in mind Christopher Lee is not in this) you may want to check this one out. If not, skip it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


The Kiss Of The Vampire Trailer