Monday, August 29, 2016

MEADOWOODS

Meadowoods Movie Review

Three college students, bored with their small town lives, decide to liven things up, while simultaneously assuring their names will be remembered long after they're gone, by recording themselves killing a random person.

What could go wrong?

This movie looks like it could have actually been made by three bored college students, possibly for a school project (probably by no coincidence, reference is made to this scenario in the movie). Our troublesome trio includes Travis, the psychotic leader; Stephanie, the moody chick; and Ryan, the introspective, reluctant camera guy. We see the group plan out the killing, wax intellectual on matters pertaining to life and death, and, after they choose their victim, interview her to learn more about her and her fears, all in mockumentary form--picture Behind The Mask: The Rise and Fall of Leslie Vernon without the humor and unforgettable awesomeness. All this actually added up to build a fair bit of tension, though it did tend to get repetitive at times. Much to my shock, the acting, while far from Academy worthy, wasn't nearly as bad as one would expect in a film of this caliber. On the down side, the audio is terribly unbalanced here. I literally had my television turned up to maximum volume for the first ten minutes or so--worse, throughout the entire film, whenever music played in the background it was so loud it would drown out the dialogue. Also unfortunate is the ending--they set this up perfectly to pull off the unexpected, but chose to go with the obvious. While certainly no masterpiece, Meadowoods delivers more than what one may expect from a movie with a $15,000 budget. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5



Meadowoods Movie Trailer

Saturday, August 27, 2016

THE FAMILIAR

The Familiar Movie Review

After his wife dies, Sam (Bryan Massey) contemplates suicide...until his estranged former sister in law Laura (Laura Spencer) shows up. Soon after, she is possessed by a spirit that has haunted Sam since he was a child. So imagine you have watched every demon possession movie ever created and one day think to yourself  "Hey, I think I'll gather up some friends, pull our money together to rent equipment, and make a movie--in fact, my movie will contain every cliche from every film I just watched!". If you were to do this, The Familiar would likely be the result.

"How dare...wait...yeah, you have a point"

The acting in this movie is...well, again, imagine you gathered up a few friends...you will at least have fun trying to decide which you think is the worst. In my book Massey was, by far, the worst of the lot. Have you ever listened to the band The Transplants? You know the one guy in the band, Skinhead Rob Aston...

He comes in at 1:53

Tim Armstrong of Rancid and Travis Barker of Blink 182 are in this band and, I guess deciding that was enough awesomeness for one group, brought along this untalented boob to round out the trio. So if you are a fan of Rancid (as I am) and rushed to buy the Transplants debut album, you were likely beyond disappointed (and still are for that matter) any time Rob's voice came on...at this point you may be asking what this has to do with The Familiar. Just as Rob sings raps screams every line of every song THE EXACT SAME WAY, Massey does the same with his lines in this movie. If you have the misfortune of watching this film you will likely be floored to learn the guy has over 100 acting credits to his name, and more astonishing is that many are for voice acting gigs...somebody somewhere must have needed emotionless dribble in their animated short and/or video game. Spencer is the only person in this film to have even a little bit of acting ability--she actually does a decent job with her character once she starts on the darker side. The ending is abrupt and, yes, cliched---right down to the demon voice. The only saving graces of this movie are Spencer's possessed performance, a decent pace, and the awkwardness between the two lead characters (which, naturally, Massey ruins).

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3



I couldn't find a trailer for this movie, and since I really want to listen to them, here's some Rancid

Sunday, August 21, 2016

THE BLACK CASTLE

The Black Castle Movie Poster

An English bloke (Richard Greene) ventures to Austria and a castle owned by Count von Bruno (Stephen McNally) in hopes of finding some missing friends, stealing the Count's wife, and, of course, doing battle with the evil count, who himself is seeking revenge for a previous incident in Africa. It sounds like there's a lot more going on in this 1952 film than there actually is--in reality, this is a dreadfully boring outing that attempted to capture some magic by reuniting Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney.

Boris and...two dead people?

Karloff, despite being near the top of the bill, is barely in the movie, which is unfortunate not only in the fact that there can never be enough Boris Karloff, but also because his character was the only one that was even remotely interesting--I shudder to think what this movie would have been like without him. The plot is boring, the pacing is excruciating, the acting is the most terrifying thing about the movie--this film is what should be prescribed to people suffering from insomnia. Take a typical Hammer movie, remove the good ending, and The Black Castle is what you have left. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

No movie trailer, but here's a clip featuring alligators

RIGOR MORTIS (aka Gueng si)

Rigor Mortis Movie Review

A down on his luck actor finds himself living in public housing in Hong Kong. After he fails to commit suicide he finds the building also houses ghosts, vampires, and zombies. After a quick read I discovered this movie pays homage to Chinese vampire movies of the 1980s, so I have that genre to look into now. This film starts out slow but soon picks up and packs the weirdness one might expect from an Asian horror film.

See...weird!

The story itself reminds me in many ways of Day Watch and Night Watch, which takes away from any points it would earn for originality, but hey, if you're going to steal borrow from a movie, those are pretty good choices. 

There two might remind you of another movie too

There is a tremendous amount of blood and gore, and some scenes are so graphic they border on disturbing. The film is shot wonderfully as well, and if you're into martial arts films, there's some of that thrown in for good measure. The ending is one you may not see coming, but this is an example of a twist ending taking the air out of everything leading up to it...and it's been done to several times already. That said, Rigor Mortis is a very interesting, intense film, and, assuming you are not completely anti-subtitles, you should check it out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Rigor Mortis Movie Trailer

Saturday, August 20, 2016

KNOWING

Knowing Movie Review

Fifty years after an elementary school class leaves a time capsule filled with their visions of the future, it is discovered one girls paper, which appears to be just a random numbers, is actually a series of numbers predicting disasters that would occur over the next fifty years. This 2009 Nicholas Cage film isn't so much horror as it is a sci-fi big screen disaster movie, but I feel it has enough horror elements to warrant an addition to this site.

This would give me nightmares

The underlying question in this film: is everything predetermined, where every little thing in life leads to the present, or is everything random? Sooo....smoking a joint before watching might not be the worst thing you could do. The acting is...well, it's almost all Cage and Chandler Canterbury, who plays Cage's son Caleb--you know what to expect from Cage, and Canterbury is pretty unbearable. An actress horror fans are very aware of, Rose Byrne (Insidious, 28 Weeks Later), stops in about midway through the film as well. The effects are very CGI laden, to very mixed results.

This one is particularly good

Another debate in this film is angels or aliens? I know where I stand on this, but I won't make an argument here. The lead up to the ending is actually pretty good, but the actual ending falls flat. Knowing is one of those films that hit the box office, did fairly well, but didn't set the world on fire...

Or did it?

...and was a decent movie, but one that ultimately is forgettable, having been surpassed in many ways by several similar but better outings--still, this is a movie worth checking out--just be sure you have a bowl of popcorn (and possibly a bong) in hand.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Knowing Movie Trailer

Sunday, August 14, 2016

NIGHT MONSTER

Night Monster Movie Review

A crippled millionaire invites a handful of doctors to his remote mansion to assess himself and his apparently insane sister. Once everybody arrives they start dying off one by one. This 1942 murder mystery is slow...oh so slow. The only thing that will likely get you through the first hour of this movie is appreciation of the direction...and caffeine. Lots of caffeine.

Looking for a monster? This is as close as we get

A little name recognition will carry you along the way as well--horror legend Bela Lugosi phones in a performance, Lionel Atwill does a decent job as Dr. King, and Hitchcock fans will recognize Janet Shaw from the classic Shadow of a Doubt. Night Monster plods through about an hour before things pick up toward the end, when we are presented with a few murders, an unsettling scene or two, and an ending that is as abrupt as it is predictable. This movie isn't really as bad as it is just bland. Should you decide to check it out be sure you've had a nap before, and possibly a pot of coffee during.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Night Monster Movie Trailer

Sunday, August 7, 2016

THE CRAWLING EYE

The Crawling Eye Movie Review

An ominous cloud hovers along the side of a mountain in the Alps, and someone--or something--is decapitating people scaling the mountain.

The identity is clouded in mystery

I came across this one Saturday night--Svengoolie was an episode I had already seen, airing a movie I had already reviewed, so I channel surfed and quickly landed on another horror host show: Macabre Theater. I had heard about this show and its host, Ivonna Cadaver, but had never actually seen an episode, so with nothing better to do on a Saturday night (sad, I know), I decided to give it a shot. If you have seen this show, you know what to expect--if you haven't, you're probably wondering what Ms. Cadaver looks like...

Elvira she's not

The graphics for the show are pretty horrible, but in a retro, likeable sort of way, so it scores points for that--the bumper music scores a few more. As for Ivonna...oy vey. Her delivery is terrible, she has no timing, the writing is dreadful, and she seems totally devoid of any personality whatsoever...picture yourself in your nearest white ghetto, where you stop off at the Texaco to grab some snacks, and the 19 year old girl who looks like she hasn't bathed or brushed her hair in days mumbles something about the three kids she has already, and how they cut into her drug and smokes money as she stares blankly at you...with me so far? Okay, now put said chick in some insta-goth wardrobe and makeup, put her in front of a camera, and cross your fingers that she can actually read the cue cards you have made...I think you get the picture. The format of the show is as follows: play the movie for approximately six minutes, take a two minute break, six more minutes of movie, another commercial break--repeat for two hours. Ivonna opened the show, popped up for a painful five minute plug for her sites newest merchandise (a Corpse Bride cake topper), and didn't really appear again until the end segment, which was unbearably bad but mercifully short. Svengoolie, if you're listening...PLEASE STOP SHOWING RERUNS!!

Vampira...just because

Okay, lets get back on track--The Crawling Eye is one of those 1950s B Sci-Fi flicks that has reached cult status largely because it's so bad (it WAS on Mystery Science Theater 3000 after all), but in such a wonderful way. The final ten minutes, when the creature is FINALLY revealed, are fantastic--the 70 plus minutes leading up to that point are enough to put a person to sleep...if not for the catchy Macabre Theater bumper song every six to eight minutes.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Crawling Eye Movie Trailer


Added Bonus: If you're wondering what the creature looks like...

Eye got you covered

Saturday, August 6, 2016

CRY_WOLF

Cry_Wolf Movie Review

After a woman is killed in nearby woods, a group of boarding school brats circulate a hoax email around the school claiming the murder was committed by a serial killer, and the killer will be targeting them next--It's all fun and games until more people start showing up dead.This 2005 horror flick is a nice combination of an interesting story and enough violence to keep your average horror fan tuned in. In some ways it is a throwback to the 80s slasher genre.

The killer is the one on the right

The cast is a mixed one--Lindy Booth (Dawn of the Dead) is very good at playing the manipulative nice/mean girl, and fans of Gilmore Girls..uh...I mean, Friday The 13th...will be happy to see Jared Padalecki make an appearance. My only issue with the cast is Julian Morris as Owen, the lead character--not that the actor alone made the character so dreadful, as it was overall a poorly developed "hero", but a more talented actor could have at least made the character borderline likable--poor Morris takes what is already bad and makes it worse. The movie plays out like a whodunit, leading to surprisingly satisfying results. As is the case with many movies such as this one, suspension of belief is needed to truly enjoy and appreciate the film--patience also helps, as the movie does slow at times. More than making up for these shortcomings is the ending, which, while not completely original, is very clever, memorable, and delivered wonderfully. Cry_Wolf is a movie that, unfortunately, didn't make a lot of waves when it was released, but is truly one of the better PG-13 horror films to have come out in that era.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Cry_Wolf Movie Trailer




Oh yeah, Jon Bon Jovi is in this movie too

You're welcome Sani

Thursday, August 4, 2016

STRANGER THINGS (Season One)

Stranger Things Season One Review

It has occurred to me that in the X number of years I have been doing this site I have never reviewed a television show, so on this Thursday night, in honor of the social media theme related to this day, lets look at a TV show that throws things back to the 1980's: Stranger Things. After a middle school aged boy disappears in a small Indiana town, his group of friends, his mother, and the police department go looking for him. Along the way they uncover government secrets and experiments, mysteries, a monster, and a little girl who possesses incredible powers.

Her...yes, this is a girl...I think...

This Netflix original series is a wonderful blend of horror, science fiction, a dash of comedy, and a Twilight Zone creepiness. There isn't really a great deal of gore, but the suspense throughout the season more than makes up for this. For the most part the acting is good--even the children, believe it or not. Some of the teenagers turn in questionable performances, and they certainly could have casted a better actor for the sheriff. The biggest name attached to the show is 1990s icon Winona Ryder--Gen Xers, be warned--seeing Winona at this age, and playing the mother of a high school kid, may be a shock to the system.

My thoughts exactly

The show isn't entirely original--it borrows a bit from Insidious, and its nods to Poltergeist, E.T., IT, and A Nightmare On Elm Street are anything but subtle. As for the 1980s, they really nailed the look and feel of an 80s horror film, and the selection of music is fantastic--you can't go wrong with The Clash, Joy Division, and New Order, but it can be distracting when a show set in 1983 plays a song that wasn't recorded until 1987.

Specifically, this song

But hey, we all love The Bangles, so this can be overlooked. Overall, Stranger Things breaths fresh air into a genre of television show that is rarely good, or even interesting for that matter--a better ending could have done wonders with how the show (or at least the first season) will be remembered. While season two has not been announced officially as of this moment, one can only assume it's inevitable, and one can only hope they maintain the momentum of season one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Stranger Things Season One Trailer