Sunday, June 26, 2016

ISLAND OF LOST SOULS

Island of Lost Souls Movie Review

Mad scientist Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton) is the creator and master of a race of half human, half animal creatures on an island in the middle of nowhere. When Edward Parker (Richard Arlen) is dropped off there with the latest shipment of animals he is eventually tracked down by his fiancée and a ship captain, who arrive just in time for the human/beast uprising. This 1932 pre-code horror film, based on the writings of H.G. Wells, is one of the most inspirational films of its time, spawning several remakes, including one of my personal favorite awful films, 1996's The Island of Dr. Moreau, a movie I actually paid to see in the theatre back in the day.

It wasn't just to see Fairuza Balk...really it wasn't...

Back to our movie...this movie, aside from the esteemed actors already mentioned, also featured a white-hot at the time Bela Lugosi in a tragic misuse of his abilities...

as Sayer of the Law

...and, in her theatrical debut, Kathleen Burke as The Panther Woman.

Fairuza before Fairuza

The story here is a fairly interesting one, and the film does tend to move at a good pace. The makeup is decent for the time, and the acting isn't terrible. The movie, if nothing else, deserves credit for the impact it had not only on future films but also the music world--it has connections to bands ranging from Van Halen to Devo to Oingo Boingo to House of Pain. The dialogue leaves a little to be desired, the directing much more, but it's not hard to understand why this is considered a standard bearer in the world of sci-fi/horror--Island of Lost Souls may not be among the elite few of its time, but it is an enjoyable movie that everybody should check out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Island of Lost Souls Movie Trailer

THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE

WARNING: The following movie review is for a film that is not horror--it's not even science fiction for that matter. So no, this is not a film that would typically be reviewed on this site. You may be asking yourself "Okay then, so why are you bothering with this movie?". My loyal readers, it is for you that I make these sacrifices. You will find, as I did, They Look Like People labeled "horror" on Netflix...my friends, do not believe it.

They Look Like People Movie Review

So what does that leave us with? A movie about a guy with schizophrenia rooming with an old friend, a guy with no self esteem and a crush on his boss. For an hour and twenty minutes the boys rekindle a friendship, do guy stuff and, eventually, Crazy Guy lets Somewhat Less Crazy Guy in on his secret--aliens...or...somebody...is about to attack the city. He prepares for it...kind of. Less Crazy Guy makes no real connection with his boss. There is a slight bit of tension in the final scene...and then nothing happens.

And the viewer does this

It goes without saying this film doesn't work as a horror film, but it truly fails at being a good psychological movie, drama, comedy, or anything else it may have actually tried to pull off. They Look Like People only has two redeemable qualities--it is shot well, and is only 80 minutes long.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

They Look Like People Movie Trailer

Monday, June 20, 2016

POD

Pod Movie Review

Siblings Ed (Dean Cates) and Lyla (Lauren Ashley Carter of Jug Face fame) travel to assist their brother Martin (Brian Morvant), a war veteran who may or may not have captured an alien. This 2015 horror film relies strongly on slowly building suspense, and after struggling a little to get going, the movie does eventually start pulling the viewer in. There's a lot of bickering amongst the siblings as Martin tries to convince them the government is spying on him and he is housing an alien, Ed tries convincing Martin he's nuts, and Lyla...well, I think she just wants a drink. As a viewer you try to figure out what's real, what isn't, is the government really involved, and who will survive. A lot of people have compared this movie to the 2006 film Bug.

I'd be offended too

Okay, I guess I can see that comparison somewhat, but I hate the movie Bug so much that anything compared to it will probably seem all the better. The acting in this movie is actually pretty decent--I like Carter (not just to look at either), Cates does a fair job, and Morvant, when he's not trying to channel the spirit of Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys, is okay in his role as well. The build up and suspense eventually break down to a creature-feature throwback, and that's not such a bad thing. As an added bonus fans of classic horror will be delighted to see this one throughout. This low budget film isn't for everybody--there's not much gore, the story is slow at times, and there isn't much to see in terms of the mystery in the basement, but I think it's certainly worth watching.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Pod Movie Trailer

Friday, June 17, 2016

CHARLIE'S FARM

Charlie's Farm Movie Review

A group of friends head to a local haunt known as Charlie's Farm, a place where, according to legend, a family used to kidnap, torture, and kill people. As the story goes, locals killed the parents, but young Charlie escaped and continues to kill around the farm to this day. This Australian slasher film gives us a little blood and guts, some gory death scenes, and some interesting appearances--Tara Reid is the lead, Kane Hodder of Friday The 13th fame shows up as tough guy/potential hero Tony, and Bill Moseley stops by for a brief but memorable performance as Charlie's father. Speaking of Charlie--we first see him as some sort of deformed and/or retarded child before inevitably seeing him as some sort of deformed and/or retarded adult, a visual that may put long time wrestling fans in mind of a legendary group of grapplers from back in the day.

Moondog Charlie?

In reality, that guess isn't too far off, as he is actually played by former pro wrestler Nathan Jones.

The Moondogs are probably more memorable

There's a little bit going for this movie, but there's as much stuff going against it. There are several attempts at humor that miss terribly, leaving the viewer wondering why they didn't just make a straight horror film--of course we then remember that Australians are like American hillbillies so this is sort of to be expected I guess. Speaking of American hillbillies (and deformed and/or retarded people), this movie borrows a lot from Wrong Turn, so there are no points for originality here. The characters are mercifully not unbearable, but they're not particularly likable either--and then there's Tara Reid, who is much more in her zone in movies such as Sharknado than in a film like this. Charlie's Farm isn't a bad movie--if you're in the mood for a retro-esque slasher type movie you could do worse, and it's worth watching for Moseley's performance alone.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Charlie's Farm Movie Trailer (the director's official YouTube video)