Monday, December 30, 2019

HAVENHURST

Havenhurst Movie Review

After her friend Danielle (Danielle Harris, Halloween) disappears, Jackie (Julie Benz, Saw V) rents Danielle's former apartment to look for clues. The apartment building is called Havenhurst, and it houses recovering addicts...and a very dark secret. This under the radar horror film came out in 2016 and, at least right now, can be viewed on Netflix...actually, assuming Netflix never changes its propensity for streaming poor to mediocre horror films, it may be available there forever. If Harris is one of your favorite horror scream queens, don't get too excited for her appearance in this film--it lasts about five minutes. Another personal favorite, Toby Huss (a different Halloween) also appears, but his screen time is barely more than Harris'.

We'll give Danielle some time here

The movie does little to separate itself from the pack, choosing to pretty much follow the play book created by horror films before it. The uninspired premise is supported by a pack of cliched characters, from the frantic friend to the creepy kid (Belle Shouse) to the creepier old lady (Fionnula Flanagan). We have the jump scares, the bad CGI, and the flashback scenes to explain the evil. Not all is bad, however. The acting is much better than one would expect in a film such as this, and that is pretty much across the board. We also have some very uncomfortable, intense scenes, and there is no lack of gore. The pace is a good one for the most part, though it does slow at times. The ending is a bit surprising and decent--it won't go down as one of the greatest endings in movie history, but you may enjoy it (I did). Havenhurst will not be described as one of the all-time outstanding horror movies in anybody's book, but when it comes to what is available on Netflix as of December 2019, it stands out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Havenhurst Movie Trailer

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

CREEP 2


Creep 2 Movie Review

Our pal Josef (Mark Duplass) from the first Creep movie returns, this time experiencing a midlife crisis as he questions how much satisfaction he still receives from killing people. Much like in the first film, he places a Craigslist ad, seeking a videographer to shoot him doing...something. The ad is answered by Sara (Desiree Akhaven), a video creator trying to get views on her video blog site by producing episodes that feature unusual people. So yeah, if you've seen Creep, you know this sounds pretty much identical to that movie, and just as in that one, the videographer decides the money (or views) is worth being isolated with this madman. Interestingly, Josef calls himself Aaron in this one--that's the name of the videographer in the first film. Let me go ahead and answer the question you are likely asking...yes, Peachfuzz returns!

And he's as fuzzy as ever

One of the strengths of the original film is how real it felt--this movie still has that, but not to the same degree. Another strength was the chemistry between the two actors--this too is lost in the sequel, as Duplass can't quite capture that magic with Akhaven. This likely has a lot to do with Duplass' acting skills being far superior to Akhaven's, to the point where he more than carries the movie himself. Josef/Aaron is still awkward and bizarre, but at times this is taken far enough to border on feeling like a parody of the character we know. The movie plods along, and most unfortunately, most of it is rather predictable, right up to the ending. Allegedly, there is a third movie in the works...here's hoping that one brings some originality instead of being practically a carbon-copy of the first film. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5



Creep 2 Movie Trailer

Sunday, December 22, 2019

THE ELF

The Elf Movie Review

Not to be confused with the James Caan modern Christmas classic Elf, this is a 2017 horror flick that is centered around Nick (Gabriel Miller), a seemingly disturbed man who inherits a toy shop...and an evil elf along with it. Much to my delight, this one stayed largely away from comedy, coming across as more of a straight horror film, something we just don't get enough of these days, and did not expect from seeing the movie poster--of course, there are some unintentionally funny moments as well.

This IS our killer, after all

If you are a fan of the old Puppet Master films, you will likely be reminded of those flicks as you watch this one--unfortunately, instead of being a cool nod to the Full Moon films, this feels more like a cheap imitation of them. The Elf is one of those films that really walks a thin line between being a good scary movie and being an absolute disaster--it walks that line straight the entire time, never becoming either. The acting is rather abysmal and odd. Miller, our lead, looks like he is acting in some local avant-garde stage production, and he's probably the best actor in the film. On the flip side, there are some cool scenes, such as the Christmas lights in the yard, and some rather unexpected moments. Those, of course, are offset by horrible CGI, and the end leaves more than just a little to be desired. The Elf is ultimately a mediocre movie, but certainly not in a boring and forgetful manner as most movies I award a 5 to.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Elf Movie Trailer

Saturday, December 7, 2019

SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT

Silent Night, Bloody Night Movie Review

Jeffrey Butler inherits a house after the death of his grandfather. The house is a former insane asylum, and somebody is now killing the locals. This one is from 1972, and is a bit ahead of its time with the whole Christmas horror thing it has going on. The movie begins with one of the worst versions of "Silent Night" I have ever heard, and really takes a while to get going once we get through that. If you hang in there, however, you will see some scary stuff.

She's terrified

This movie delivers a somewhat surprising amount of blood--one scene in particular is graphic and shocking. Speaking of shocking, the true strength of this movie is in its surprises. The twists and turns the movie delivers offset the overwhelming boredom of much of the film--there is a LOT of time where very little is happening to move the story along, and the dialogue does little to help this issue. The acting in this movie is a little shaky, but none of it is bad enough to make you stop watching. As the movie builds to the end, the excitement level rises considerably, and you will find yourself glued--unfortunately, the ending disappoints. With the Christmas season here, if you are looking for some horror films with the holiday theme, Silent Night, Bloody Night is one to put on your list--just don't put it too high.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Silent Night, Bloody Night Movie Trailer

Sunday, December 1, 2019

SHARKMAN (aka Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy)

Sharkman Movie Review

Scientist Dr. King (Jeffrey Combs, Re-Animator, Dark House) tries to save his son from cancer by turning him into a human-shark hybrid creature. Tom (William Forsythe, Halloween, Raising Arizona) and Amelia (Hunter Tylo) are the heroes trying to stop the madman and his blood-thirsty son. This movie has two things going against it right out of the boxes, and both are even worse than the plot--this is a SyFy Original, and William Forsythe is the lead AND the hero. Had I known these facts prior to starting the movie I may not have watched it, but commit to it I did, and regret doing so I do. We may think the presence of of Combs would off-set all the negativity, but he seems beyond bored with this movie, and is given little opportunity to shine. As for our shark-man, most of the time we see him it is done with super quick cuts, and we don't get a great look at him.

Here's a bad look at him

The story is as lame as you are probably thinking, and it plays out worse than you are imagining. The movie looks cheap, the acting is dreadful, the "action" scenes are lacking, and the death scenes are all a bunch of quick cuts with some blood thrown in. SyFy movies are pretty much all awful, but many are at least entertaining--Sharkman is not one of these. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


Sharkman Movie Trailer

Thursday, November 21, 2019

PANIC (aka Bakterion)

Panic  Movie Review

An accidental explosion happens in a scientist's lab, rendering him deformed, mutated, and a killing machine. That's the terribly uninspired idea behind this Italian/Spanish film that sounds like something that would have come out in the 1950s but actually showed up in 1982 (you'd swear by looking at it that it would have come out at least ten years prior). This is another "gem" from my Chilling Classics collection which, if nothing else, is getting me quite accustomed with low-budget Spanish and Italian movies. Knowing we have a monster of sorts, I'm sure you are wondering what he looks like. I won't leave you in suspense...

He looks like a meatloaf we made for Halloween

As you can probably imagine, there's not a lot going for this movie. It starts off fine, as we get right to the accident, but from there things drag along--in fact, it took me three attempts to get through the movie, and the second and third times I put the DVD in, I struggled to recall where I left off and just ended up starting the movie over--that's how little it kept my attention. The movie is 90 minutes long, but feels at least twice that. The scientist, aside from looking like a decorative meal, did little on screen but hide in the shadows and make irritating howling sounds. As the movie comes near its end, we see the demise of the monster and, for a brief moment, a digital clock appear...and then it's just over, mercifully.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3



Panic: The Entire Movie

Saturday, November 16, 2019

GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE

Grave of the Vampire Movie Review

Leslie (Kitty Vallacher) is raped by vampire Caleb Croft (Michael Pataki). She gives birth to a blood-sucking boy named James as a result, and years later, after Leslie's death, the now-adult James (William Smith) ventures out to hunt down Croft and exact revenge. This low budget 1972 American film is one that will test your patience.

"I think we should just, you know, be patient and not rush things"

After a hot start, this movie cools off quite a bit, and doesn't really pick up at all until the final ten or fifteen minutes. Needless to say, by then you have likely lost interest in the film, but if you stick it out, the final moments almost make you feel like your patience was rewarded. Getting there we are treated with a story that unfolds painfully slowly, pretty bad acting, dreadful dialogue, and nothing else of real note. If you're in the mood for a vampire movie, do yourself a favor and pass on Grave of the Vampire.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Grave of the Vampire Movie Trailer

Monday, November 11, 2019

BLACK SUNDAY (aka The Mask of Satan)(aka La Maschera Del Demonio)

Black Sunday Movie Review

Asa Vajda (Barbara Steele, Shivers, Nightmare Castle), a witch, is burned alive, promising to return one day to get her revenge. Two centuries later, she begins to come back to life, brought back by some dope who discovered her tomb. One of Asa's ancestors, Katia (also Steele) lives nearby, and looks identical to Asa, giving the witch the perfect body to take over.

"You will work nicely"

"Please tell me there's somebody behind me"

This 1960 Italian film, originally titled La Maschera Del Demonio, is considered the breakthrough movie for Steele, who does an absolutely fantastic job with her dual performance. Long-time readers will know I am a fan of Steele (she may be my favorite horror actress of all time), and her performance in this movie is probably her best ever. The rest of the acting, however, is a considerable drop from the awesomeness that is Barbara Steele. The story is a solid one, though it does drag at times. The amount of violence and gore in this movie is probably a bit more than one would expect from a 1960 film, but it is executed extremely well. Unfortunately, the end of the movie is a bit underwhelming and rushed--you will leave it thinking they could have done so much more. Black Sunday is a creepy old movie that makes for a good late-night viewing with all the lights off.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Black Sunday Movie Trailer

Saturday, November 9, 2019

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Movie Review

Set thirteen years after the events of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we find the Sawyer family terrorizing radio DJ Stretch Brock (Caroline Williams) while being chased by officer Lefty Enright (Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider). The Sawyer Family, by the way, is now Drayton (the returning Jim Siedow), Leatherface (this time played by Bill Johnson), Grandpa (Ken Evert), and newcomer "Chop Top" (Bill Moseley, House of 1000 Corpses). Let us assume you have watched the original movie, which is considered one of the greatest horror films of all time, but not this sequel--you may be expecting something that at least tries to match the terror of the first film...this is not the case. Director Tobe Hooper wanted to go less horror, more dark comedy with this movie, and the results are shaky.

Yes, there's a chainsaw sword fight

The gore is certainly amped-up from the original film, but much of it is done in a comedic way--you will notice this atmosphere pretty much right out of the gate. The performances are odd, with Moseley being so over the top it's easy to see why his character completely stole the show from Leatherface. The direction seems very lacking in this film, as much of what we see is repetitive--it feels like they had a lot of time to fill, and didn't quite know what to do with the time. The ending is very sudden, but I was okay with that--leaving Chop Top potentially still alive had tons of potential for future movies, but alas, he was not to be seen again (at least as of 2019 and at least 5 or 6 Texas Chainsaw movies since). As a side note, in many circles this movie is known for being sampled in the Primus song "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver". As a fan of the band, I did find it amusing watching this scene in the movie, and may have hit the rewind button to watch it more than once.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about

Your enjoyment of this film is going to depend a great deal on your attitude coming in to it. I have known people over the years who have loved this movie while finding the original film boring--these people hold a special place in society, and the less said about them, the better. I have also known people with absolutely no sense of humor at all who loathe this film because it is "an insult to a classic". These folks actually scare me a little, so I will say no more about them. Me? I fall kind of in the middle, and appreciate what Hooper was trying to do with this movie. This had the potential to be an absolute dumpster fire, but Moseley's performance saves the day, making this movie much better than it should have been.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Movie Trailer

Saturday, October 26, 2019

AREA 51

Area 51 Movie Review

Three friends decide to raid Area 51 after one experiences a strange happening at a party. They meet up with a woman whose father had maps of the underground tunnels at the mysterious desert location. This movie, which was completed in 2009 but not released until 2015, is brought to us by writer and director Oren Peli--if this name is familiar to you, it's likely because he is the same guy who brought us Paranormal Activity, an extremely low budget film that made an absolute fortune and, more importantly, was an original, creative, and scary movie--Area 51 is far less inspired. Most of this movie is the three guys making their way to Area 51 and talking about their plans--for as dull as those conversations are, when they are talking about anything not related to Area 51, it's even worse. The movie is presented as a found footage film, as the guys record everything on their phones and small cameras, resulting in shots that look like...

this...

this...

and this.

We get some brief shots of Las Vegas, which is nice, as that's one of my favorite cities. The shots of the desert are also nice, and honestly, it is these settings that helped get me through this movie. Once the friends and the woman make it into Area 51, things pick up a bit, but we really get the case of taking the good with the bad once there. Some of the ideas about what could be inside Area 51 and the technology used is really interesting, and plays out well. Unfortunately, much of what happens there is in the dark--this, coupled with the constantly shaking camera, makes it nearly impossible to see anything happening for much of the time. We get just a brief look at the aliens, which is fine, as this approach works quite well here. The ending is a bit lazy, but certainly could have been worse. Should you decide to watch this film, be warned--everything that happens leading up to the characters actually being inside Area 51 is a LOT to get through, but what you see once there almost makes you feel like it was worth the wait. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Area 51 Movie Trailer

VAMPIRE CIRCUS

Vampire Circus Movie Review

As he is dying after being attacked by local villagers, Count Mitterhaus (Robert Tayman), a vampire, swears revenge on the aggressors and their children. 15 years later, the village is not allowing any outsiders to enter, but do (for some reason) welcome in a mysterious travelling circus. Does anybody care to guess why they are visiting?

"We're simply here to entertain you!"

This one came out in 1972, and is a Hammer Film. If you are familiar with the classic Hammer Films featuring Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing, and you watch this movie, you may find it hard to believe Vampire Circus came from the same company, but rest assured, it did. The story goes that, by the early 1970's, Hammer Film Productions was losing lots of money. Seeing the interest in horror films move more toward the seedier side, the company decided to begin including more violence, gore, nudity, and sexual themes into their movies--Vampire Circus is filled with all four, to the point I am surprised they pulled off a PG rating instead of an R...the first 15 minutes alone probably warrants an R rating, so know that going into this one. All that aside, this is an interesting movie for sure. The story is decent enough, though some holes in it are obvious. Visually, the movie is stunning at times. There is plenty of bizarre here too, including one of the vampires turning into a panther, and the dancing tiger lady.

All kinds of weird going on

The scenes of the twins jumping up into the air and turning into bats are cool, though one would think the villagers would have caught on to something upon seeing this. Speaking of the locals, we get the typical scenes of the villagers gathering, torches in hand, to destroy--I'm not sure I've ever seen a horror film set in the 1700's or 1800's that didn't have this scene in it, so for as original as this movie is, the old standbys are there too. I didn't expect much from Vampire Circus when I began watching the movie, and was pleasantly surprised by it. If you are looking for a vampire movie that is a bit different than most, I suggest checking this one out. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Vampire Circus Movie Trailer

Thursday, October 24, 2019

VERONICA

Veronica Movie Review

High school student Veronica (Sandra Escacena, in her film debut) and two classmates decide to play with a Ouija board during an eclipse. The result is an evil being unleashed on Veronica and her siblings. Spain brings us this 2017 film, which is set in 1991 and is based on true events that took place that same year. In real life, the girl this happened to was named Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro--she and two friends played with a Ouija board, and soon after, Lazaro began to experience hallucinations and seizures--she died 6 months later. After her death, her family's house became haunted. A year after her death, the incidents at the family home became so disruptive they called the police, who reported unexplained occurrences there. Lazaro's death remains a mystery, but local police and Estefania's family believe it was a direct result of her experience with the Ouija board. This story is a very interesting read, and one I recommend...after you're done with my site, of course.

Leave now and she will come for you

Veronica takes the real-life story and tweaks it quite a bit--in the movie, the mysterious events begin to take place almost immediately after the Ouija encounter, the story unfolds in much less than a year, and so on. Even with the changes, the movie is fairly frightening. There are many scenes that will have you glued to the screen and possibly jumping out of your seat. The visuals are a mixed bag, though practically all are of the CGI variety--some of the worst is very bad, bringing the movie down considerably. The pacing of the film is a bit off too--shaving about 15 minutes would have been wise. Still, there is plenty to like about this movie. The story is interesting and plays out well, Escacena does a wonderful job, and the ending is solid. Veronica may not be as good as you have read, but it is a decent horror flick that's worth checking out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Veronica Movie Trailer

PIECES (aka Mil gritos tiene la nocha)

Pieces Movie Review

A young boy kills his mother and chops her up after she catches him putting together a puzzle of a naked woman. We fast forward 40 years, and women are being killed and hacked to pieces at a college campus. We know from the start this is going to be the child as an adult doing the killing--we are introduced to several characters on the campus and we, the viewer, try to figure out which of them is the maniac. The film is unusual in a number of ways, not the least of which is the fact it is set in Boston, Massachusetts, but is a Spanish film, shot almost entirely in Spain, with plenty of voice dubbing (often by the same person playing the character) for the American release. Created during the tail end of the Grindhouse days (1982), this movie certainly fits that genre nicely. If it's bloodshed you're looking for, Pieces is a must-see. The amount of blood and guts in this movie is enough to satisfy every gorehound.

Here's a mild example

When I mentioned blood and guts, I was being quite literal--blood, organs, and carcasses from a slaughterhouse were used to create the gore, providing a very real feel to many of the scenes in this movie. The killer's weapons of choice are unquestionably inspired by two of the more popular slasher films of all time, Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre...yes, he uses a butcher's knife and chainsaw to kill and dismember his victims. Unfortunately, among all this chaos we also have awkward comedic spots and scenes that don't fit the story at all--the appearance of the martial arts expert is so off the wall you will wonder if parts of another movie were inserted here. That stuff aside, Pieces is a very entertaining slasher film that should be on your watch list...don't look away when you think it's over!

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Pieces Movie Trailer (This is a fantastic teaser)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

LADY FRANKENSTEIN

Lady Frankenstein Movie Review

Baron Frankenstein (Joseph Cotten) and his partner, Dr. Marshall (Paul Muller), create a monster out of a corpse. After the monster murders Frankenstein and begins killing the locals, Marshall teams with the Baron's daughter, Tania (Rosalba Neri, The Devil's Wedding Night), to create a new monster to destroy the original one. Straight off I will tell you that if you are picturing one of the classic Frankenstein movies from the first half of the 20th Century, you are way off base. This is an Italian film from 1971 that contains a bit more blood than those films (some of the worst looking fake blood you will ever see, by the way). This one also has a lot of nudity, creating a mixture of a 1960s Hammer film and a 1970s sexploitation flick--Italy produced many of these type films around this time. More memorable than any of this, however, is the look of the monster. Boris Karloff's Monster is iconic in its awesomeness--the Monster here is less awesome and more....

This

Some of the scenes we know from the original film are played out in similar ways in this movie, leaving one feeling they have temporarily slipped into an alternate reality. The movements of the monster are odd, often resembling a slapstick comedic performance more than a frightening assault. To her credit, Neri, credited in this movie as Sara Bay, is impressive in her role, bringing a proper amount of wickedness to her manipulative character. As a side note, Neri played Lady Frankenstein here, and Lady Dracula two years later in the aforementioned The Devil's Wedding Night...I guess Lady Creature From The Black Lagoon wasn't in the cards...or maybe it was, and I just haven't slipped into that reality yet. Anyway, this movie isn't bad for a cheap knockoff flick, but it really comes unhinged near the end when Marshall's brain is put into another man's body to create the perfect love interest for Tania. While probably a little better than it should have been, Lady Frankenstein isn't really one I can suggest going out of your way to watch. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Lady Frankenstein Movie Trailer (Rob Zombie fans will love this one)

HEAD COUNT

Head Count Movie Review

A group of twenty-somethings are sharing spooky campfire tales when one reads the story of Hisji, a shape-shifting entity that immediately arrives to terrorize them. The twist is, they have no idea it's there. Head Count is a slick little horror flick I caught on Netflix, and the film is very ambitious when it comes to trying to separate itself from the pack. For the most part, that goes a long way in this movie. Gore and jump scares are largely ignore here, traded in for creepy atmosphere and some things being left to our imagination. The anticipation of the arrival of the spirit is built well, as we see hints dropped throughout that it is, in fact, already there.

They may be catching on

Where the movie fails is when it does bring what we expect from similar horror films. The characters are a bunch of stereotypical ones--we have the hero, the stoner, the jerk, the jerk's jerky girlfriend and his heart of gold ex-girlfriend, etc, and they spend a large part of their time drinking and getting high. Repeated scenes of the parties and the aforementioned jerk and hero getting into it drag the movie down and makes the run time seem much longer than it is. That said, Isaac Jay makes a likable lead, and the movie never comes off the rails enough to lose your attention. The third act plays out exceptionally well, and will have you on the edge of your seat--unfortunately, the ending falls flat, taking all the air out of the balloon. Still, Head Count is worth watching for the fresh ideas. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Head Count Movie Trailer

THE WASP WOMAN

The Wasp Woman Movie Review

Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot) is the owner and face of a cosmetics company--unfortunately, her aging face is blamed for the decline in profits her company is seeing. Thankfully for her, a scientist has discovered that he can use the royal jelly from a queen wasp to reverse the aging process. The antidote works until...well, it doesn't, and Janice becomes a half-wasp creature. Schlockmaster Roger Corman brings us this one, a film often referred to (rightfully so) as a knock-off of the 1958 film The Fly. Let's not let that notion ruin the fun though! We know pretty much right from the start where this story is going, so most of the time is spent waiting for Janice to become the wasp woman...I won't let you wait that long.

"What's all the buzzzzz about?"

Something a bit out of the ordinary (though not completely original) is the scientist becoming the eventual hero of sorts--this fails in that the character isn't terribly likable, and the actor playing him, Michael Mark, doesn't do much to help this matter. Much of the movie is painfully dull and seems to take forever to take off. Once it does, of course, we get what we came for--a cheap looking monster and its attack on humans, though this is sadly minimal as well. Cabot does a fine job with her role as Starlin, so that will help get you through most of the film. The final scene is entertaining, though not in a scary way by any means. The Wasp Woman isn't Corman's best work, but it's certainly not his worst either. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


The Wasp Woman Movie Trailer

Monday, October 21, 2019

SATANIC

Satanic Movie Review

On their way to Coachella, four friends decide to do some sightseeing around Los Angeles. Once there, they find themselves in lots of trouble. Geico runs a commercial around Halloween every year--anguished teens run behind a wall of chainsaws instead of getting in a running car as the ad proclaims when you are in a horror movie, you make poor decisions--Satanic fits into this model perfectly. The group visits a Satanic store, where they instigate a fight with the guy working there. If that's not a bad enough idea, they decide to follow him when he gets off work. What they find is he and a large group are having some sort of ritualistic ceremony, and have guns. Do they decide to call it a day and drive off? Remember the commercial? Our geniuses instead go to the building this is taking place in, peek through the windows, and even record it. Run for the hills after this? Nah. They scream at the Satanists, drawing their attention. When one of the Satan worshipers meets up with them the following day to return a cell phone she found, does the group give her a big thank you and part ways? Of course not! They bring her along, and take her to the location of a very famous ritual. Once there, she acts weird and almost possessed. This is the perfect time to send her on her way, right? Well, I think you know the answer by now.

"Wait, we should keep her around, right?"

The problems with this movie don't stop there. The acting is atrocious, the characters are unlikable, and the story is thin. There is mild star power here with Sarah Hyland of Modern Family fame, but she seems completely out of her element in this movie, and sadly, her performance is better than that of everybody else. There are some interesting shots and settings throughout, which is nice, and the story takes a decent, if not original, turn at the end. None of this, however, justifies dedicating an hour and a half of your life to this film.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Satanic Movie Trailer

ALL HALLOWS’ EVE 2

All Hallows' Eve 2 Movie Review

A mysterious masked man leaves a VHS tape at a woman’s door. Curious, she watches the tape, finding it contains a series of disturbing videos. Of course, this is a series of shorts that comprise this anthology film, and the results are very much a mixed bag. We have the wraparound story, which is pretty much just like in the first All Hallows’ Eve movie, with a single woman instead of the babysitter and kids watching the tape—the ending is almost identical as well. If you are wondering why a woman in the year 2015 still has a VCR to play the tape in, she does provide a fantastic answer, explaining to her friend that horror movies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are scarier on VHS, and that Blu-ray makes movies seem too fake.

I couldn't agree more!

Also similar to the first All Hallows' Eve is the disjointed feel of everything as, just like the original, this is a series of shorts thrown together to make a film instead of segments made specifically for the movie. All that considered, when you read that this is an anthology, think less Creepshow and more The ABCs Of Death. The number of segments, eight, is odd--it doesn't allow time for the segments to build a lot of story, but also lacks the quick-fire feel of the ABCs of Death movies. The first segment, Jack Attack, gets things off to a great start, as we see a jack-o-lantern get revenge in a most unusual and disturbing way. Next in line is The Last Halloween, a segment that is almost as good as the one before it. The third segment, The Offering, is heavy on suspense but fails in its payoff, dropping the bar a little but keeping your attention--things fall apart from there. We'll skip ahead to the only other interesting segment, Alexia. Most of this one takes place on a computer monitor and the words are in Spanish--I understand just enough of the language to pick up the general idea of what is going on, but even if you can't do that, this is still a really good segment, as the visuals are very intense.

Muy atemorizante

Had these four segments been made for this movie, were expanded upon, and were the only segments in this movie, we may have had a modern day classic on our hands. Unfortunately, we have four other entries, none standing out as anything memorable, with M if for Masochist and Mr. Tricker's Treat lowering the excitement considerably. Descent and A Boy's Life are somewhat interesting, if not predictable. If you're looking for a good Halloween season movie, this one is worth checking out, if only for half the content.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6



All Hallows' Eve 2 Movie Trailer

Sunday, October 20, 2019

ALL HALLOWS’ EVE

All Hallows' Eve Movie Review

A child receives a VHS tape while trick or treating. His babysitter finally agrees too let him and his sister watch the tape, and what they see is horrific. That is the basis of this 2013 film, that plays out as a sort-of anthology, though I struggle calling it that...more on that momentarily. This movie takes a bit to get going, with the kids and babysitter arguing over the tape for far too long. Once they finally decide too put the tape in, we see a face who may be familiar to us, and one that certainly is not.

Alien Dude

The face that may be familiar to you is the one on the movie poster--Art the Clown of Terrifier pops up throughout most of the movie, which brings us back to my issues of calling this a proper anthology. This movie is basically a series of short films from director Damien Leone thrown together and held with super glue and duct tape, lacking any sort of flow whatsoever, as it was never originally intended as an anthology. How much this affects your viewing of the movie will vary--honestly, it didn't bother me, as I knew this going in, so I had zero expectations for an anthology. Seeing Art pop up in segment after segment, showing no injury from the segment before, is quite distracting, however, and the character lacks the general creepiness it would find in Terrifier. The acting is bad throughout, but this is made up for with the gore and scares, neither of which are lacking--the segment with the alien is particularly spooky. Much as was the case with Terrifier, you see plenty of potential in the films Leone makes, though they fall just short of being what one would call a really good horror movie...more originality and less borrowing from other movies would do wonders. Still, you could do a lot worse than All Hallows' Eve.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


All Hallows' Eve Movie Trailer

Saturday, October 19, 2019

ATOM AGE VAMPIRE

Atom Age Vampire Movie Review

After a woman is disfigured in a car accident, a mad doctor finds a cure, bringing back her beauty--unfortunately, this requires the doc to kill other people for the special serum required to keep the woman, who he has now fallen for, unscarred. The first thing you must know about this movie (a fact that would have stopped me from watching this at all) is that, despite the title, there are no vampires in this film. This is an Italian film that was originally titled Seddock, l'erede di Satana--this properly translates to Seddock, the Heir of Satan, but somehow, somebody mistranslated, and when it was released in the States, the movie was titled Atom Age Vampire.

"Stai scherzando?"

This one comes from 1960, and to call it a snoozefest would be insulting to some of the better insomnia treatments out there. Our doctor does inject himself with an old version of his serum to make himself a monster of sorts in order to kill, but that's every bit as interesting as it sounds. Some of the scenes of the doctor killing the victims are mildly entertaining, but that's as much as you are going to get from this movie. The remainder is slow, tired, and uninspired. When looking for a creepy older movie for Halloween, do yourself a favor and skip this one. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


Atom Age Vampire Movie Trailer

Saturday, October 12, 2019

THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms Movie Review

Atomic bomb testing in the Arctic thaws and awakens a dinosaur who eventually makes its way to New York City, where chaos ensues. This 1953 creature feature is unquestionably one of the inspirations for the countless large monster and dinosaur movies that would come out for the next decade or so (Godzilla included), and is considered a classic in the genre. Of course, it's easy to see why. The stop-motion animation used to create the creature destruction is really, really good, itself no doubt inspiring many artists and movie-makers over the years. The beast looks fantastic as well.

"They said I'd see the Brooklyn Bridge from here..."

Naturally, before we get to the destructive climax of the film, we have to sit through a lot of questionable science--one person theorizes that since a bear can hibernate for a winter, certainly a dinosaur can live millions of years frozen in ice. The acting is just as shaky, though nobody here is TOO terrible. The characters are under-developed, and scenes not featuring the beast can seem to last an eternity. We can easily overlook all this, because we don't watch these movies for any of this anyway--it's the monsters and their destruction we come for, and this movie delivers big time in those departments.

"Oooh! Cotton candy!"

To no surprise, it's New York City that gets it, as it tends to do--the scenes at Coney Island (not actually shot there) are an added bonus for me, as I love amusement park and carnival settings. The visuals of the dinosaur destroying a lighthouse, everything in New York, the roller coaster at Coney Island, and eating the man he captures are all absolutely wonderful. If you are into giant creature/monster movies and you have not seen The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, do yourself a favor and check it out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms Movie Trailer

Friday, October 11, 2019

US

Us Movie Review

As a child, Adelaide Wilson has a scary moment in a fun house on Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk--she comes across her doppelganger in a mirror. Fast forward 25 years, and the adult Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o, Black Panther) and her family return to the boardwalk for a summer retreat. The doppelganger returns as well, and now, she has company. Jordan Peele (Get Out) brings us this slick 2019 film that inspired a house at this year's Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights--in fact, it was after going through this house a few times that my girlfriend and I decided we must watch this movie before going back through the house. Speaking of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, if you're a fan of The Lost Boys, you know this location immediately, and there is a nice reference to that vampire classic in this movie.

Be sure to look up!

Once we get past the impressive opener and to the modern time, the first thing you may notice about this movie is how likable adult Adelaide and her husband Gabriel (Winston Duke, also of Black Panther) are. A good amount of time is spent developing their characters, which builds nicely into the rest of the film. Once the duplicates (called "The Tethered" here) appear, the scares come quick and often. The idea of this movie is an interesting one--there is an alternate version of us in the underground living out the motions of our lives without the emotions, and they are planning an uprising--the idea is more interesting when you drop the obvious political statement and look at it strictly on a horror level. Nyong'o is really good as Adelaide and her tethered counterpart--Duke is almost as good. The pacing is practically perfect--the film is almost two hours long, but never drags at any point. There is plenty of violence and many death scenes; though, save for a moment or two, they are never as graphic as one might expect, with much of the bloodshed being shot wide or occurring off screen entirely. The ending provides a nice twist--a second viewing may be necessary to fully understand it. Us is not a great horror film, but it does have many creepy moments, so I do recommend it...I can also appreciate the house at Halloween Horror Nights more the next time I walk through it. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Us Movie Trailer