Monday, March 30, 2015

The Last Dinner: A Short Film



8/10

This morning, I was contacted by a writer/director named Steve Lanthripp to watch his short film called "The Last Dinner." I had never heard about the clip before and had no pre-judgement about how it would be. In the end, I was completely shocked by it for its morbid sense of humor.

The video starts with a man named Johnathan breaking up with his girlfriend Tina. Tina immediately demands an explanation from him, and he gives the whole "you're not the same person you were when I met you, because you were full of life then" story. The girl becomes very mad and asks if there is someone else.  What is revealed in the next few minutes was a twist shocking enough to make one's head spin.

The short was all around great, with awesome acting, great writing, impressive editing, and an amazing sense of macabre humor. I honestly didn't know how to react the first time I watched the movie, but on the second viewing it sinked in, and I laughed very hard. It had the feel of "Creepshow" and "Tales of the Crypt," in the way that you get a whole bunch of meaning out of one small clip. I honestly would love to see it be put in a compilation of clips, because it would do very well. I can't wait to see more work by Lanthripp, because his skills are quite plentiful, and I see a bright future ahead for him. 


Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Howling


7/10 

In 1981, "The Howling" was released. The movie was from director Joe Dante, and starred a superb cast.  Ever since its release, this movie has been one of the most famous in the horror genre.  I thought the movie was fun for its climax and related scenes, but also saw multiple flaws too. 

The movie begins during a news show, where anchor Karen White. White is currently scared, because she is being stalked by a serial killer.  She decides to help the police out by going to see this man named Eddie in an adult theater. While there, Eddie tries to assault her, and he is killed by the police. After this event, Karen gets amnesia, and is also very scarred. As a form of treatment, her therapist sends her and her husband Bill off to an area called "The Colony."  This beginning was quite good, because it had a shady nature, and it develops the characters well; especially Karen.

After the arrival to their destination, the couple meet a lot of strange people at the resort. There is Erle, whom is a troubled old man that attempts to kill himself in the fire all the time. There is also a girl named Marsha, whom is a beautiful yet bizarre girl that tries to make advances on Bill. Being he is faithful man to his wife, Bill turns her down multiple times.  One time after leaving Marsha's house, Bill is attacked by a werewolf, and after this, a whole chain of terrors begin, until the climax of a lifetime....

The first thing that I loved about this movie was its cast. Dee Wallace was superb as Karen, because she was tough and lovable, and strikingly beautiful in all ways possible. She gave the character the edge that it needed, and in my opinion completed her best performance ever. Christopher Stone did a fair job as Karen's husband Bill, because he had a hard way about him, which eventually became an uncontrollable monstrosity in himself. Dennis Dugan really excelled as Chris, because he had the right amount of internal strength in his performance that the viewer could believe that he would complete the actions he did. Elisabeth Brooks was pretty awesome as Marsha, because she had such a bizarre and seductive way about her, and she ended up playing the evil role very convincingly. The last standout of the movie was Belinda Balaski as Terri, because her scenes where she was in danger were so realistically portrayed that I cringed from her screams. She honestly knew everything that was needed to be done to seem freaked out, and made some of the most memorable scenes of the movie. 

I thought that the special effects had their good and bad moments throughout the film. The scenes where puppetry and costumes were used were pretty awesome, because the wolves looked very inhumane and freaky. On the other hand, the brief scene of animation for the wolves was absolutely terrible, and one of the cheesiest things I have ever seen. The smoke used throughout the film was a nice touch, because it gave an eerie feeling to the whole movie, and was very well executed. The gore effects were also very nice, because the blood looked real, and wasn't too excessive. The one other bad special effect was a couple of the transformation scenes, because they went way too long. What was meant to be scary with this ended up being goofy and almost boring, because there was close to a minute of watching the human turn into a wolf. This didn't effect my opinion of the movie too much, but at the moment it was happening I was pretty annoyed. 

I thought that while certain moments of the film got slow, there was still a grittiness that kept it watchable. Seeing the realistic portrayal of these simple people of "The Colony" was nice, because instead of just hearing dialogue from them, the viewer also gets to see their customs in life, and their interactions with outsiders. 

The climax of the movie was so much different than I expected, and it really kicked butt. It was brutal, suspenseful, and at times completely terrifying. This last twenty-twenty five minutes amped the movie up way higher than before, and it may be one of the greatest scenes ever. The ending itself was also very crazy, because it was a sad idea, yet there is something humorous about it in a way. 

Overall, this movie was not the best I've ever seen, but it was still very good. There were some truly fun moments, and a great cast. I think that certain aspects like the special effects needed more effort, but looking past them opens to the doors to a werewolp film with lots of bite.  



Creepshow



10/10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When George Romero and Stephen King team up, one could expect something pretty cool. In 1982, this miracle actually took place, leading to the creation of "Creepshow."  The final product was something better than I could've ever imagined. It was a film of humor, and horrors that only a genius could imagine.  Being the "Heavy Metal" of live action, it is an anthology movie, and definitely the best of them all. 

The movie begins on a dark and stormy night. A young boy named Billy is seen being disciplined harshly by his father for having a horror comic book called "Creepshow." The boy is very upset by this, because the horror genre is very much his love. As he looks out the window, a ghoul looks right at him, and the opening credits begin. Personally, I thought this was great, because I can connect with Billy's passion for horror, and one feels a lot of sympathy for him. The intro credits were also awesome, because of the snazzy animation, and spooky music. 

The rest of the film is an anthology that includes five horror stories with black comedy. It is meant to go through the very comic book that Billy's father threw away, and the stories were all either written for the movie, or adaptations of Stephen King's short stories.  I thought this was very cool, because it saved us from being bored by one plot the whole time, and gave a 5 in 1 deal. 

1. Father's Day: I thought that "Father's Day" was a very good story, because it gave a lot of good horror moments, while also being hilarious because of its morbid elements. It basically tells the story of a man rising from the dead getting revenge on his family for not giving them his cake. This plot sounds absurd, but honestly that makes it all the better. I really thought that the cast was pretty great in this number, with Ed Harris giving a cool and sarcastic performance as Hank, and Elizabeth Regan being the other standout with her unmistakable sass as Hank's wife Cass.  The ending to this short was also absolutely crazy, and everything one would expect with King's disturbing supernatural narrative. 

2: The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill: Fast paced, bizarre, and much funnier than "Father's Day," "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill kicked the sophomore slump right in the butt. It tells the story of a simple man named Jordy Verrill, whom finds a meteor in his field.  Making a very bad decision, Jordy touches the space rock, and begins to get lumps on his fingers. These small marks turn into green patches of weeds, and they spread onto everything he touches.  This story was absolutely hilarious for a few great reasons. The first was Stephen King's performance of the lead.  I never really thought of his acting skills before, but this really showed the depth of his talents. He gave such a goofy and over the top performance, while still staying appropriate for the story.  I could almost call his portrayal a crossover between Jim Carrey and Jack Nicholson.  The faces he made were priceless, and he gave such a satirically perfect performance as a hillbilly. The next thing that made this story hilarious were the dream sequences. Even though they were dark in nature, there was such a light hearted and macabre way about them that I was laughing so hard.  The ending of the story was also potentially sad in a lot of ways, but it was handled well to the point that I could still laugh. Overall this story really gave me even more interest for the film, and I was thoroughly impressed. 

3. Something to Tide You Over: This third installment in the anthology was one of the darker(if not the darkest) of the bunch. Obviously being influenced by the works of Poe, "Something to Tide You Over" tells the story of a man named Richard, whom decides to get revenge on his wife and her lover Harry.  He forces them to bury themselves on the beach with sand, and they have to withstand the tortures of the tides.  While Richard thinks he will get away with this, there is an event to later take place that he would have never expected. I thought it was an interesting move to have the two funniest people in the whole movie(Ted Danson and Leslie Nielsen) be in the least comical story of the movie. Luckily, both of them have incredible depth in their acting, and they pulled it off to the max.  Nielsen's evil side was actually terrifying in my opinion, because instead of being his bumbling self, he took his wit to portray a character that was sadistic beyond all belief. The ending of this chapter was particularly insane, and it ended on a humongous laugh showing how bad Richard messed up. At this point of the movie, this story was second to the previous one. 

4. The Crate: The next story takes a turn even further into darkness with a tale of lying, sabotage, and death. Henry Northup is a man unhappy with his marriage. He is controlled, and not even loved by his wife, who seems to only want him for his money.  His friend Dexter is just about the only person who keeps him sane, yet he still fantasizes of killing Wilma(Billie) all the time.  Dexter has recently been informed by a janitor named Michael at the college that he teaches at that there is a mysterious crate from an expedition in the 1930's.  The two men go to check it out at night, and it ends up holding a murderous creature.  Completely shocked by this revelation, Dexter runs to Henry for help. Northup decides to go to the college to check things out, and when he sees what has happened he thinks of a plan that will affect the lives of many.  Honestly, this was my favorite story in the whole film. It was gorier than all of the others, and it was also the funniest in my opinion. It had such a macabre sense of humor, and I was honestly laughing most of the time. The cast in this one was also pretty awesome, with Hal Holbrook as the unhappy husband Henry, the notorious beauty of the era Adrienne Barbeau as Billie, and Fritz Weaver giving a paranoid and emotional performance as Dexter. The thing that really set this chapter apart from the others was the attack scenes with the monster; now credited as "Fluffy." The puppetry for this character was actually the main reason I watched this movie, because the details of the body and movements were so intricate, and it was some of the best work in the field I have seen since "The Muppets."  The last quarter of this one was pretty mindblowing, because the insanity really flows, and even though the ending was somewhat predictable, it still had an ounce of suspense left in it. 

5. They're Creeping Up On You:  The final story in this amazing anthology is a tale of karma. Upson Pratt is the scum of the earth.  He shows no kindness to people at all, and he is just plain unhappy. This man is also a huge germaphobic, and he freaks out when he starts to see roaches in his house. Calling for help immediately, he hopes this can be fixed. To his bad luck, people don't come quick enough, and the house begins to swarm. Will he be able to make it? Or is this his horrifying end?  I thought that this was the second best of all the parts in the movie, because it was so well done. E.G. Marshall gave a perfect performance as who may be the meanest man on the earth.  The sight of his insanity that he creates from the isolation is priceless, and I thought that this was one of the darkest chapters. The ending scene was absolute shocking in my opinion, and it stands to be one of the greatest clips of horror history. 


I thought it was very neat how the film followed comic book format of its inspiration. There were so many cool touches to add to this, including pauses with banners shooting to the screen in scenes of fear, funny sound effects, and the color schemes; especially during the attack scenes of "The Crate." I also loved how after each story, a page in the comic flipped to the next one.  The animations for the book were absolutely beautiful, and they were so intricate that there ended up being a graphic novel in the future.  All of these factors really reminded me of a classic cartoon movie called "Heavy Metal," because they followed the same formula in a different format. 

Another great thing about the film was the special effects.  Tom Savini did a beautiful job with the gore and makeup, because everything looked so natural, and it was nasty and detailed.  The puppetry work throughout the film was also pretty awesome, and it including movie skeletons, ghosts, and the iconic "Fluffy."  I think that while they all could be construed as cheesy now, it was such a great artistic achievement, and I love them dearly. 

The ending of the movie brings us back to Billy's house again. The garbage men find the comic book, and take it home in fascination.  Then to our surprise, Billy does something that blew my mind immensely. I thought that the ending was so morbid, and so unexpected that it completely lived up to every story from before. 

It is very rare that I feel the way I did after watching this movie. I was so full of awe, because this film was a true masterpiece. It was sharper than a knife, it made me laugh like crazy, and it had some truly amazing scenes of horror. The acting was superb, and the writing/special effects were just top notch. I definitely see this as my favorite Romero film, and probably my second favorite Stephen King movie(behind "The Shining").  I definitely recommend it to all fans of the genre, because it is probably one of the all time  best, and it will be the most fun horror experience of your entire life. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Wizard of Gore(1970)


7.5/10 

A while back, I got the chance to interview Herschell Gordon Lewis. Ever since that day, I wanted to be able to review one of his movies. Now thanks to Amazon, I have this opportunity.  "The Wizard of Gore" is one of the most iconic films that Lewis made, because of its dark nature and extreme gore that had never been seen before. I liked the movie a lot, because it was very original, and it had pushed boundaries like no other. 

The beginning of the movie introduced the viewer to Montag the Magnificent; a magician on tour. He raises the question of what magic really is, and engages the audience instantly.  He then does a shocking trick with a guillotine, and appears to take his own head off. To the audiences' surprise, the head wasn't real, and he was completely fine. After this, he announces his next trick, which is to saw a living woman right in half. He takes a volunteer from the audience, and completes the illusion. The weird thing is that we don't actually know if it was just a trick, or if it was real.  Even though all of the blood and gore is right in front of us, the woman appears completely fine moments later.  The next thing we know is that this same woman is found dead of the same wounds at a restaurant went she to. This intro was pretty thrilling, because everything as macabre and dark, and it was just really well done. 

The rest of the movie follows this pattern, where a seemingly harmless trick by Montag actually ends up being a secret murder. I find this plot extremely original, and it's weirdness intrigued me. I honestly don't think anything like this was done before, and even if someone tried to repeat it in the future, it couldn't be the same. I think the craziest element is that the audience of the magic show never really sees how morbid he is being, because it brings a supernatural idea that bends things a lot. 

The movie really lived up to its title, because even 45 years later, this film is still outrageously gory in all standards. Guts fly, and blood pours, and in the most morbid ways too.  I can't believe that any man could've thought of being this innovative, and it impressed me a lot with how much he pushed the boundaries. Even though the blood looks fake, it doesn't take away from the nastiness at all, and I find it to be one of the craziest movies ever. 

Along with the blood, the tactics of killing were extremely brutal and sadistic. Punch presses were used, mallets, swords, etc, and they were done in ways most people wouldn't even think of.  Herschell did an amazing job with spicing up the genre with these ideas, because I feel that they influenced a lot of people in the future. 

The acting was nothing spectacular, as it was obviously low on the agenda for Lewis' vision. Regardless, there were still some good performances that worked well for the movie. The greatest of all was Ray Sager in the lead role of Montag. He did a really awesome job at portraying the sadistic nature of the magician, because I could sense the darkness from a mile away. His voice in the monologues was very powerful also, and he was just really professional. 

The film was on a very low budget, yet Lewis did a great job of making the product look pretty amazing. I thought the red tinted graveyard scenes were a great touch, because it made everything much more psychedelic, and it also made things more mysterious.  The idea of switching back in forth from seeing a murder, to going to what looked like the harmless stunt was not easy to complete without looking dumb. I thought this was done well, because it had a very eerie and disturbing way about it that successfully made the viewer extremely confused. 

The ending of the movie was quite a surprise, and while it could've been better, I still liked it a lot.  I thought that the last minutes were very worthy of leaving the viewer in shock, because it was a plot twist that I wouldn't have expected at all. 

The only thing that I thought the film was lacking was its pacing. Sometimes the story went too slow for my taste, and in others it really breezed through important things.  For instance, the movie spent way more time with dialogue than showing scenes in graveyard, which could've possibly added to the suspense with more screen time.  While this did not ruin the film at all for me, I just think that it was something that could've definitely been improved upon. 

Overall, this was a very fun movie.  It wasn't the best I've ever seen, but it was an original, extremely gory, and crazy movie. I definitely recommend it to all horror fans that can take the violence, because it was pretty iconic in the genre's history for sure.  It has also made me look forward to watching many more Herschell films in the future, because it was a piece of art for sure. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gamera Vs. Guiron(Attack of the Monsters)


5.5/10

"Gamera Vs Guiron" was a 1969 entry in the Gamera series. It took a very bizarre plot, and made it B-Movie fun. I personally can't put this movie even close to the original, but it is still a fun movie about one of the greatest monsters ever. 

The movie begins in space, as the narrator tells about the many stars, nebulas, etc in the sky. After describing them all, he said "a star is in trouble."  The movie then cuts to the opening credits, and some very trippy scenery of lava fills the screen. I thought this was pretty neat, because it had the very cool vintage 60's feel, and I was drawn in. After the credits, the narrator then talks about satellites, and how they get messages that may be from outer space. After the narrator is done, the movie goes into a huge astronomic meeting, where many questions are asked about these signals and space.  Soon after, the scene cuts to two boys named Akio and Tom looking through a telescope, where they see a spaceship.  These boys go to the spaceship after it lands, and they fly it around. In space, they find their friend Gamera, and he helps them fly around. Suddenly, Gamera gets freaked out, and they think that he is trying to help them stay away from something. The boys then land on a planet, and it is an interesting place where water runs backwards, and monsters take over the land. One of these monsters is named Guiron, and he is a unique looking monster with a knife for a nose, and strong body.  He has the power of shooting lasers, along with stabbing creatures.  After Guiron goes back into his home, the boys become curious, and they go into a mysterious building on the planet. This was a mistake though, as two women take control of them.  These ladies hypnotize the boys, in preparation to eat their brains.  The boys have no hope, except for Gamera. Luckily, Gamera attempts to save them, but it won't be easy, because first he has to fight Guiron...

Being the original Gamera film was the only one to have the monster as a villain, this one especially shows him to be a hero, and "child's best friend."  Personally, I don't find this isn't awful, but I thought that the character was much cooler as the bad guy. In this movie, he is basically like the dragon from "The Neverending Story," because he just flies around saving the kids. Personally this really took the series from its original horror background to being a "kiddie flick."  This was also very apparent in the writing, because of how ignorantly literal the dialogue was. One of the funniest lines was "I just found out that these people are cannibals."  It does fit the mouth of the young people well, but I just wish that the movie had a more mature way about it. 

Even though Gamera is good now, he still has some pretty cool battle scenes with Guiron to save the kids.  The fights were very exciting, as the monsters brutally threw each other around, and just smashed each other into a pulp. It was also cool to see the individual creature use their different powers at times, because it made them stand out more. I found it pretty awesome when "Guiron" shot ninja stars out of his head. I also thought it was good that their was a lot of concern as to whether Gamera could win, rather than it just being an easy match, because it gave some more suspense to the story, and made the movie cooler.  

I was quite surprised by some of the Communist undertones that came up in the film, because you would think that they would be better hidden. One of the most alarming lines showing this was, "when someone is useless, it is time for them to go." Even though a naive person could see this as a line to spice up the movie, I personally saw it as an extremist line that may have been sadly true to nations under the political method. 

The movie's budget was obviously very low, and it added to the hilariousness of everything. The costumes of the cannibals ladies were pretty corny, because they looked like silver Martians, and rather  than being scary, they were just goofy. I don't see this as bad in my eyes though, because I love the cheesiness, and it makes the movie more fun.  The movie had the typical voice dubs of foreign films, and they were actually pretty good. I don't know if it was that the amount of words in the Japanese language were closer to English or what, but the lips matched up pretty well, and it were easy to follow. The costumes of Gamera and Guiron were your "basic man in suit," and they were pretty sweet because of it. I especially liked the look of Guiron, because he had a campy menace to him. Overall, this low budget was a helping factor to the movie, because it was a silly premise overall, and would've been innapropriate as a big money film. 

The climax of the movie was pretty exciting, because the lives of the boys and Gamera were really at stake. Things looked terrible for all three of them, and many crazy fights take place. I was pumped by all of this, because the battles became more and more brutal, as did the pressures for the children. The ending was obviously happy, and this wasn't good or bad for me, because I knew it was going to happen, and it was the appropriate thing to do for a film of its nature. It would've been cool for a surprise ending though, because it would've really shocked people.  The message conveyed by the boys at the very end was so corny, and I was laughing my head off from their words. 

Overall, this movie has no merit to be a masterpiece at all. It is very cheesy, and it was nowhere near the quality of the original. Regardless, the movie was still enjoyable, and I spent a lot of the time with a smile on my face. The absurd plot, cool monsters, and laughable acting all make a fun B-Movie experience for all fans, and it is definitely worth a watch. 

Gammera the Invincible


7.5/10

Are you one of those people that gets all gushy at the sight of a turtle? If so, your opinion might be changed after your first encounter with "Gammera." "Gammera the Invincible" is a 1966 film from Japanese director Noiaki Yuasa, and it tells the story of a killer turtle that tries to take over Tokyo. I personally find this movie to be one of the most enjoyable monster flicks of all time because of it's awesome action, great creature, and hilarious elements of creativity. 

To start the movie off, there was just about the campiest and most hilarious theme song ever.  "Gammera..... Gammera.... Gammera." When this happened I was laughing so hard, and was drawn into the movie immediately. After this, the movie randomly goes to some Eskimos, and then a second later at a military base. Personally, even though this fast pace is mildly hard to follow, it also is kind of symbolic to the panic taking place in the scene. It also makes things more interesting. In the military base, the leaders are informed by the Air Force that the world is under "Red Alert," because of threat of atomic warfare, and that they need to take action right away.  As all of the planes fly around, the scene cuts to a sheet of ice that breaks from the explosion, and out of it comes "Gammera," a giant turtle that will take over the Tokyo as revenge for this interruption his two million year hibernation.  Now the people of the world must fight for their lives, or be done forever.....

While this movie is basically a "Godzilla" copycat, I really still thought it was cool in its own way. I think that the fact that "Gammera" is a turtle is quite hilarious, because in our real world, the animal is the most harmless and slowest creature, yet in this movie, it has the capability of making the world Hell.  I also like that there is a reason for the monster terrorizing the world, instead of just doing it for the film.  Something that is also original about the character is that he can make himself look like a UFO and fly. I like this a lot it adds to the campy outrageousness of the movie, and helps out stand out from its inspiration.  The movie has a political undertone like the former film, but in this one, it is much more isolated and conflict driven. In "Godzilla," the monster's attacks were just a trigger to memories of the 40's in Japan, but in this one, there is actually war taking place, and the fighting actually caused the problems with Gammera. The  For all of these reasons, I personally had more fun watching this movie than "Godzilla." 

In movies, the military meetings are often very boring for me, because of their lack of emotional connection. In this movie, this was different for me, because it was all very interesting. I like the fact that the leaders are skeptical about "Gammera" being real, because it makes the movie authentic since the idea of this creature is also unlikely in our society. It is also cool to see everyone butting heads, since they're from all over the world. This shows some cultural diversity in the movie that wouldn't be dared shown very often in the era. 

The acting in the movie is good for what the movie is, but not anything special. I think it is pretty amazing that all of the actors could keep a straight face while talking about the turtle, because honestly their lines are so hilarious that I would've broke. Everyone also gives a lot of emotion in their performance, and definitely put a lot of effort into their job. Albert Dekker was the standout for me as "Secretary of Defense," because he portrayed a tough man that can get things done very well. 

Watching the movie, I really appreciated practical effects even more than before. Gammera's costume was so cool, because even though it is a man in a suit, I would never believe it since he looks gigantic compared to everything else. This camera work was very skillful in my opinion, and I feel that is is much more impressive than using CGI to get things done. The scenes where the character fly are also pretty sweet for its time, because even though it's very fake, it still has a nice and vintage look that people like me really appreciate.  The action scenes were pretty fantastic in the movie, because they were full of destruction, and the monster showed a lot of threat. Buildings crashed, and fire flew through the air, and I was highly impressed in all ways. 

The climax of the movie is very cool, because it portrays the military doing everything they can to dispose of this monster.  While Gammera is obviously the villain, these scenes really gave a little bit of empathy for him, as the viewer doesn't want him to do(nor does some of the characters). These scenes are very action packed, and full of laughs the whole way through, and they kept me excited constantly. I thought that the ending was pretty awesome, because it was extremely outrageous and absurd, yet it was exactly what was needed for success. 

"Gammera the Invincible" is definitely not a cinematic masterpiece in any standard, but it is one of the most enjoyable movies ever. There are so many moments where I was sucked in by the action, and laughing at the goofiness of the filmmaking. I definitely recommend this movie to all fans of the classics, because it is one of the greatest monster movies of the "golden era." 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Carrie(1976)


10/10!!!!!!!!!

In 1976, Brian De Palma directed the first ever adaptation of a Stephen King book. "Carrie" too the world by storm with its shocking content, and it's realistic look at the angst of teenagers. This movie is tied with "The Shining" as the best Stephen King movie, and I can't ever see any other being better. 

The movie begins at a volleyball game. At this tournament, we meet Carrie White. Carrie is an outcast, a "weirdo," and she is picked by everybody.  After the game is over, all of the girls go into the locker room to shower. This scene was so masterfully done, because everything is in slow motion, and there is a beautiful soundtrack in the background. Every shot of the camera is so intricate and beautiful, and it shows how careful of a job the filmmakers did.  Even though everything seems fine at first, Carrie then has her period, and everyone starts throwing tampons and such at her.  She then has a nervous breakdown as this happens, until her teacher Miss Collin saves her.  Miss Collin and her principal allow Carrie to go home, and this is much to her reluctance. We then meet Carrie's crazy and abusive mother Margaret, whom is a radical "Christian," yet she basically tortures her own daughter.  With all of these horrible things happening in her life, there is also something very weird taking place. Carrie worries that she may be a telekinetic. She is able to shatter mirrors, move objects, etc.  She learns that she can use these to her advantage, as a way to get back at all of the people that had been cruel to her.  This results in one of the most shocking proms to ever exist, and a change in the life of many.

The cast in this movie is one of the most superb lineups ever.  Sissy Spacek blew me away as Carrie, because she is such a likable girl, and one really feels so much sympathy for her during all the hardships she goes through. She also really knows how to portray so many emotions, whether they are kindness, panic, or complete insanity.  Piper Laurie really freaked me out as Mrs White, because she was so convincing in the role of a mentally imbalanced woman.  She would try to act kind at moments, but then she would be completely psychotic with her brutal behavior toward her daughter. The way that she projects herself is truly scary, because it almost seems like the behavior is natural for her.  I really liked William Katt as Tommy Ross, because you could really sense the good in his personality, even though he is one of the populars that picked on her. He just had a very charismatic presence to him in the way he acted, and seemed to care a little for Carrie. Betty Buckley was exceptional in her role of Miss Wilson, mainly because of her ways to realistically change personality. There are moments where she will be the sweetest and most laid back person in the world, and then in a split second she will become completely furious. Amy Irving was pretty cool as Sue, because much like Tommy, she was completely likable, and she really let off the vibe that she liked Carrie. The most hated character of the movie is Chris, and she was played by Nancy Allen. Even though she was attractive by looks, she had the worst personality in the world, and Allen portrays this perfectly. She played the role of a cruel, heartless, and shallow girl that wanted nothing but to ruin the life of Carrie. John Travolta came in as a close second as the biggest jerk in the school as Billy. He was a rude, abusive, and dumb punk that had no redeeming qualities. I thought that Travolta did a good job at the role, because he is usually so likable, but in this one one can't help but hate him. 

I mentioned earlier that the cinematography in the opening scene was amazing, but this actually takes place throughout the entire movie.  Mario Tosi had such a genius way of capturing the mood and environment in his camera work.  When there was peace, the lighting was bright, which made it feel like a dream(or actually one). I think the most clever use of this was when Tommy and Carrie dance at prom together, because she must've felt like it was unreal.  When the darkness of Carrie's revenge came about, the screen tinted red, which made it scary as can be.  During the scenes where Carrie gets very scared, the camera really zoomed into to her expression, because the look on her face showed better than anything of how she felt. Overall, I think that this aspect of the film was brilliant, just like "The Shining," and it is really a big part of why the movie is still a masterpiece now. 

Being the movie was released close to 40 years ago, there are many activities that take place that are extremely dated. The first is the fact that Miss Wilson has the ability to strike her students, which would not fly now.  The next is when Billy drinks and drives casually. Even though this still happens now, it would not be shown as lightly as it was in the media. While none of this hurts the film in any way, shape or form, I just found it funny to compare society in present to then. 

The climax of the film really starts at prom, where life is looking good for Carrie. The romance between her and Tommy begins, and it really felt good for her to find someone to be close with. The scenes where they dance and such really gave me chills, because they were both so happy, and the chemistry between the two actors was absolutely priceless. Sadly, the happiness can't be forever, and some unnamed characters do something horrible to Carrie. My heart literally split in two when this happened, because Carrie was so likable, and the fact that I had to see her be hurt again was just awful. I loved how even though people talked, all of the sounds were drained out. Because of this, all we see is lips moving, and I feel that this really shows the shock that people were feeling at the time. Right after, the iconic scene takes place. Carrie gets her revenge..... This scene was so shocking that my eyes bulged out of my head.  Everything turned into a disaster, and it was like hell broke loose. Even after she leaves the dance, the vengeance takes place.  This really effects everyone that surrounded her in life, and even herself. I really found this climax and ending to be perfect, because every moment was unexpected, and they engrossed my emotions majorly. 

"Carrie" is much more than your typical movie, because it is also a movie about adolescent life. You get both spectrums of these years, which are the magical moments, and the times of great pain. Even though Carrie's life is probably a lot harder than most, there are still little things that everyone can relate to. Whether it's bullying, abuse from family, or just pure loneliness in the world, everyone has experienced at least one of those.  Outside of the negative moments, we also get to see Carrie go through her first love, which is something that everyone does at some point. The girl also witnesses /causes death in the film, and this is relevant because every teenager goes through loss. So overall, the underlying messages of the movie helped it set itself apart. 

It is rare for me to feel the way that I did after watching this movie. I was completely flabbergasted by what I had seen, yet totally in love with the masterpiece I had experienced. "Carrie" is most definitely one of the best horror movies ever. I would actually go as far as to tie it with "The Shining," because they both gave me the same effect. I highly recommend this movie, because it will be a movie that makes you cry, a movie that makes you cringe, and a movie that will freak you out in every possible way. 






Friday, March 20, 2015

The Brain That Wouldn't Die


6.5/10

What would you do if a love one was injured in an accident? Would you do anything to help them be better, even kill?  This 1962 classic tells this story to high extreme, and while I enjoy it a lot, it definitely isn't as good as "The Killer Shrews, and other films like it. 

The movie begins by showing Dr. Bill Cortner attempting to save a man in operation. Sadly, this does not work, and the man dies. Cortner is broken up about this, and he decides to try something different on the body.  Miraculously, he actually saves the man, and is applauded for it. The only man that seems to be against Bill's methods is his own father, who believes that experimenting on a human is wrong. After leaving the office, Bill and his fiancée Jan drive home, and they get in a terrible car crash.  In the accident, Jan is decapitated, and Cortner is absolutely heartsick.  The only thing he can think of doing is bringing the head back to life, and making a new body for her.  He would die to do this for her, and even kill.....

The plot is very cool in my opinion, because while some aspects of it are absurd and familiar, it is also very dark and interesting.  I think it is very cool to see how Cortner's love for Jan drives him to his insanity, which gives him the idea to make this new body.  I feel like this is kind of a less scientifically accurate version of the Frankenstein plot, but it gives its own twist. It was definitely more complex than most storylines to B-Movies, because it had many unexpected elements that threw me off the first time I saw the movie. On the other hand, I kind of feel like this movie was made to show off a bunch of hot womens' bodies, being that is basically what 90% of the movie is about. 

The cast in the movie is good for the most part, and while no one was Oscar-winning performances, they all do there job, and convince the viewer that they are their character.  Jason Evers is amazing at the character of Bill, because he has such a downfall from the nice guy he was in the beginning. One can really tell this in the hardness he gets in personality. Even as becoming a potential murderer, he still keeps a suave way to his talking to the women. His character almost reminds me of Macbeth for all of these reasons. Virginia Leith did a good job as Jan, but it was uncomfortable to watch her the whole time. The fact that her head doesn't move around much was very hard, because it is almost claustrophobic to see her. Leslie Daniels was very likable as Kurt, because he was the very happy go lucky sidekick to Dave. He portrayed the intelligence of the character very well, and gave some great emotions later on in the film. Adele Lamont was very unique as Doris. She had such a seductive way about her, yet at the same time she portrayed insecurity that made her character very bitter. I'm pretty sure she was one of the first open lesbian characters in movie history. 

While there isn't a plethora of violence in the movie, the scenes that featured it were actually surprising for their time. One scene involved someone's arm getting ripped off, and there was blood all over their arm as they struggled. While everything was extremely fake, it was still somewhat shocking, and I liked it a lot. 

The ending of the movie is pretty cool, because it was something that had been built up the entire time, yet it was even more shocking than I would have ever thought it to be. I think the sudden change in course during the movie was pretty cool, because it saved the film from going into the typical happy ending. 

The weaknesses of the film were existent too, sadly. The first is that while the plot is very cool, there are a few scenes that get very boring.  Things get too talkative, and there isn't enough action.  The next weakness is that the music was a little out of place, being the same theme was used at least ten times, even though it's context was only good for three. While these weaknesses weren't movie ruiners, they were definitely things that the filmmakers should've been more careful with. 

Overall, this movie is good, but not the best. As a B-Movie, there are a lot of impressive qualities, but at the same time there were flaws too. I definitely recommend giving the movie a chance, because it's one that you'll love or hate. 

The Killer Shrews


8/10

Anyone afraid of rodents?  After watching this movie, you will either find them to be the scariest thing ever, or the funniest. "The Killer Shrews" is a 1959 movie that was directed by Ray Kellogg. It is a very underrated movie, and it doesn't deserve the bad reputation people have given it. I personally love it for its hilarious nature, great climax, and likable cast. 

The movie begins on a boat, with two men named Thorne and Griswold sailing to an island. When they arrive at their destination, they meet a couple other people. Their names are Dr. Marlowe and Ann Cragis, and fiancée Jerry Farrell. The three veterans to the area are concerned when they find that the pair aren't leaving, because their is apparently going to be an invasion of animals. Knowing that their minds won't be changed, the civilians decide to welcome them into their home, and they introduce him to their colleagues Mario and Dr. Radford Baines.  Baines shows the men his idea to test shrews, and for serums.  After a while if socializing happens, the movie cuts to the woods, where a mysterious creature attack Griswold. We are later to find out that these monsters are....the killer shrews..

One of the reasons that I love this movie is its low budget. It may not be scary, but I have more fun watching it than most other movies. It is absolutely hilarious, and surprisingly cool at the same time. The giant shrews are one of the funniest practical effects ever, because they were both hand puppets and dogs in a costume. I think that rather than this being a weakness, it really shows how inventive the filmmakers were, and it brings a lot of campiness to the movie that made it more engaging. What is even crazier is the attack scenes. When the shrews bite, they don't even connect, yet a big bloody wound is shown. I honestly laughed so hard at these scenes that I almost cry. I personally like this fairness a lot because it is way more fun than some of the brutally realistic movies. 

For a B-Movie, the acting was actually a little better as expected.  James Best took the lead of Thorne, and even though this movie was made decades before, you can really feel the Roscoe in his character(except not as dumb). He is a very likable guy, and has the perfect way of portraying the tough character.  Ingrid Goude was your typical scream-queen as Ann, but she had a great chemistry with Best, and was highly enjoyable. The one trip up she made was trying to hold back a laugh after the death of a character. I honestly can't blame her, because she was looking at the puppet, but it was quite apparent. Ken Curtis was the usual jerk fiancée that gets in the way of the ️love story, and he did a great job of making the viewer hate him.  Gordon McLendon and Baruch Lumet were the weak links in the cast as the doctors, because they didn't have much depth to their acting. Even so, they still did their job, and were likable enough. 

I feel like the climax of the movie was impressing in the way that it was actually pretty suspenseful. As the characters try to barricade the area for their own safety, while the shrews come from everywhere. I almost forgot how stupid they looked, because they started to really impose some threat to the people. I also like the how arrogance of Jerry becomes a huge indicator of his fate, because it is actually quite real to life. The ending itself was happy(for some of the characters), and even though it was predictable, it was the typical B-Movie ending that I have grown to love. 

If there was one weakness(not counting the low budget that I like), it would be that the movie was too fast. At 69 minutes, I felt robbed about how quickly things flew by me. I wish there could've been more scenes with the shrews, because there could've been at least 10-15 more minutes worthy. 

Overall, while extremely cheesy, this movie has always been one of my favorite B-Movies. It is fun, hilarious, and actually executed quite well. I definitely recommend it to all fans of cinema, because it is one of the great monster movies of the 1950's.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Taste the Blood of Dracula: Movie Review



7/10

In 1970, Christopher Lee was back at it for a fifth Dracula movie from Hammer. "Taste the Blood of Dracula" is a very good movie, and while it has its weaknesses, there is also a lot of great things that make it a worthy horror film for all fans.  

The movie begins quite strangely on a stagecoach. There is three men riding, and two of them gang up on the other and throw him out. This stranded man named Weller then travels alone in the woods, where he hears screams. Running to find what was happening, he finds Dracula with a stake through his heart. I found this beginning pretty cool, because it helped the audience remember where the last film took off, and it was quite intense. 

The movie then skips time a bit, and we meet a girl named Alice, along with her family. Right off the bat, we see conflict between her and her father, because of the man she likes. We also get introduced to three men(one being Alice's father) that are looking for a good time. Their idea is to go to a cathouse, and mess around a bit.  After some time with the ladies, they go out to eat where they speak about dark things like "selling your soul to the devil."  They then meet Weller, and he shows them the ring, cloak, and container of blood that he had from Dracula. After finding these items, the men meet up with a man by the name of Courtley in an abandoned church. Courtley is a man of black magic, and they are quite skeptical about him.  They show him the objects, and he tries to make them drink the blood.  They refuse, and tell him to ingest it. Courtley then reluctantly does this, and it turns him into a vampire.  As he tries to attack the men, they beat him to death. What they didn't know was that Courtley was a servant of Dracula's, and after his death, his body turns into Dracula. Right after this change, Dracula expresses his anger, and sets out for revenge on everyone one of the men. 

The cast in this film was very good, because of their convincing portrayals of the characters, and their depth in talent. Christopher Lee was great as always, and even though he wasn't at his best in this, he still kicked butt. In this movie, he showed even more that words don't matter at all for his performance.  Lee may have spoke twenty words in the whole movie, yet he draws the audience in right away. There is just something special about his intimidating personality, and his way of giving off animal magnetism to women immediately. Geoffrey Keen really excelled in the role of William Hargood, because he really shows Hargood's downfall as realistically as possible.  Whether it was his abusive behavior, or the indulgences in alcohol, he makes it as perfectly executed as possible, and I really respect that. Linda Hayden was pretty awesome as Alice Hargood, because she was extremely sexy in looks and personality, and she had a great way of changing her emotions quickly. There were some scenes where she was happy, some scared, and some where she is seduced intensely. Isla Blair was pretty cool as Lucy Paxton, because she was much like Hayden with her emotions, yet there was also a little bit of darkness that one could see right out the bat. The last standout in my opinion was Ralph Bates as "Lord Courtley." He have such a dark and insane performance, that you could really believe he was part of the black magic cult. 

I thought that the cinematography in the movie was particularly good, because it had a grainy tone to it that helped portray the dark nature needed. It also gave a very authentic feeling that impressed me. One of the great examples of this is a scene where Secker walks into his house. There was such a high definition look to this scene that it looked like an old documentary. 

There was some very cool scenes in this movie, and they were both gruesome and just plain awesome. There was wooden stakes used, biting, etc. Part of the whole idea I liked was how two of the main characters became vampires too, and they were extremely evil because of their slavery to Dracula. It definitely gave an overall creepy tone, because they were very innocent people at first, and now they were harming others sadistically.  

The ending of the movie was pretty weird, but also amazing at the same time.  It was something that hadn't really been done before in the series, so it was much fresher than the typical stake through Dracula schtick. It was also pretty trippy at the same time, which I really liked and appreciated. I was definitely like in a state of being like "what the heck?" so it was a success in my eyes. 

The only weakness I could see in this movie was that their was a lack in the intensity compared to the others. While there was exceptions in a couple scenes, I just didn't get the same feeling of being drawn into the suspense, because there wasn't at much threat.  While this didn't ruin the movie in a big way, it definitely kept it from being one of the better in the series. 

Overall, this movie is one of the weaker in the Hammer Dracula series, but it is still a pretty enjoyable movie. There is some great acting, and some awesome scenes of violence. I definitely recommend watching the movie, because it will be enjoyable like all of the others, but don't expect it to be anywhere near the content of "Horror of Dracula" and "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave."



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dracula Has Risen From the Grave: Movie Review


8.5/10

The year was 1968, and Christopher Lee was back for his fourth Hammer Dracula movie.  "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave" really stuck out in the series for its gruesome violence, it's great display of terror, and some beautiful camerawork too. I can definitely call it one of the better in the series, and one of the coolest horror movies of all time. 

The introduction credits were really awesome in my opinion, because they were super psychedelic, with the dripping colors running all over the place.  While this could be considered dated now, I really find it cool, because I love the vintage films of this time. On these credits, there is also some amazing music in the background that may be one of the most epic scores ever.  When the movie actually starts, right off the bat comes shocking horrors. A man is walking through the church, when he finds a dead woman hanging and covered in blood. The question is who did this, and why?  The presumption is Dracula, because of the lines said by a priest. Soon after, the movie moves forward a year forward to 1906, and a man named Monsignor Ernest Mueller claims that Dracula has been destroyed.  Mueller decides to check on East European Village, and is surprised to see what has happened. The first person he ran into was an altar boy that had now become a mute. The second person is a priest that has really lost any belief in his own religion. The two of them talk about concern that Dracula is back. They then take a journey to a mountain, and the priest decides to turn back about half way through. As he goes back, he falls and hits his head. In this moment, the blood from his body falls into the mouth of dead Dracula, and he is revived.... This foolishness begins a chain of attacks at the hand of this vampire, and the control that he puts on them.

The first forty minutes were very slow. There was a couple little shocks here and there, but a lot of it was used for character development and such. I really didn't mind this, because all of these scenes were done very well, and they set up the later parts to be even more shocking. This becomes very apparent during the forty five minute mark, because there is a very intense and amazingly done scene that takes place in the woods. This actually happens to be one of my favorite parts of the series, because it was so claustrophobic, and it was filmed very well to the point where one feels like they're experiencing it. I also love the setting of the woods in this moment, because even though there are places to run, there is no one there to help. 

Even though the idea wasn't first used in this movie, I really liked how apparent that the film made it that the victims of Dracula became his slave in a sense. You can really tell this in the ways that their sanity is compromised, and by the smiles on their faces when he comes by. They become mindless minions that have no problem at all in do exactly what he wants.  I think that this is much darker than just killing people, because it shows how the people that were loved at one point became evil in a sense. The other part of it that is really crazy, is that even though signs of the people going mad happen, a lot of the public don't care to say anything or even notice.

To make the movie even better, the cast was absolutely amazing. Starting off with my favorite horror actor ever, Christopher Lee completely kills it as Dracula in this installment.  He was darker than ever in this movie, because he didn't have to say anything, but just give a look with those sinister eyes, and stand there in the presence of scared people.  He was also extremely well at portraying the seductive side of Dracula for this movie in particular, because you can show how much the characters take pleasure in his advances that lead to their bite.  Even though we know he is bad, and the people probably do too, he just has a way of drawing them in with his suave nature, and there is really no going back for them.  Rupert Davies gave a very good performance as Ernest, because he was extremely likable with his aura and personality, and he was very convincing at showcasing his fear and such. Veronica Carlson was really neat as Maria Muller. She was an extremely beautiful girl, and you can initially sense a very pure nature to her.  This changes though, because when Dracula comes into her life, she becomes a very intense and romantic girl because of his seductions. Ewan Hooper gave a very realistic and suspenseful performance as the possessed priest, because one can totally sense how much change happened to him in his life, and even though he turns somewhat, you can tell that he has a want to be good, as he battles for his own life. 

When I first saw that this movie was rated G, I was worried that it was a weak movie with low caliber attacks. I was very surprised when I saw the actual product though. There is no way that this film would be G now, and it may actually be closer to PG-13 or R. There was some pretty gruesome scenes, especially one that features blood spraying everywhere.  This is a prime example of how censors really missed the mark at times, and I find it quite humorous to be honest. 

 I was actually super impressed, because the film had a much darker tone than a lot of the ones before, whether it was because of the violence itself or the atmosphere. I think part of this was the camerawork too, because the red tinted screen made very trippy and crazy feeling when it happened a couple times. 

The last half of the movie was pretty epic, and it blew my mind. There was constant pressure about Dracula, and there was a lot of fighting too. The ending was also pretty intense, and gruesome for sure, and it left the audience at a shock, which is always the best way to finish a horror film.  All of these scenes really shaped the movie to be one of the most exciting of the genre. 

Overall, this movie really made my day.  It was a high quality, and extremely intense horror movie, and even though it started off slow, it ended up blowing me away.  There was a great cast, great technical aspects, and it is worth the time of every horror fan.  Definitely give this film a chance, because I guarantee that it will blow your mind away. 




Saturday, March 14, 2015

Horror of Dracula: Movie Review


9.5/10 

Ever since the 1920's, vampires have been a big part of cinema. Whether it was Nosferatu, or the Dracula played by Bela Lugosi, they were all great, and the monsters had become a cultural phenomenon. In 1958, the character of Count Dracula was portrayed in a way like never before, and better than anyone could've ever expected. "Horror of Dracula" was the first Dracula movie by Hammer, and it starred the legend himself, Christopher Lee. Not only is this the best vampire movie ever, it also happens to be one of my favorites over all. It is a dark, macabre, and masterful movie that has captured the world since its release. 

The movie begins with a narration, and it tells of a man named John Harker. As the narration goes on, Harker enters the castle of Dracula. John journeys alone at the castle, until he runs into a woman that says she is a captive of Dracula's. Soon after Count Dracula introduces himself to John, and shows him to his room. Even though Count seems normal at first, but things get a little weird when he locks John in his room. Harker just shrugs it off, and everything seems fine.  These beginning scenes are very interesting, and their is such a beauty to all of the sets and filming. It really makes one feel like they're really in the 1800's, because their is a very bright tone in the lighting that gives the complex feeling of the times. I also found the credit sequence to be awesome, because of the great look of the words, and some very intense background music. 

In just moments to come, the movie takes a very different tone.  John meets the young lady again, and tries to help her.  She then leans into him like she's going to kiss him, and bites him.  Now extremely shocked, John gets the idea that there is vampires.  This turns into a showdown between the three in the castle, and it is one of the greatest scenes in a classic movie that I've ever seen. I could really sense the tensity and pure anxiety that the characters were feeling, and it just had such a cool look to it. In the course of the movie, we then meet Dr Abraham Van Helsing, and a rivalry of good vs evil takes place like never before. 

The first thing that I really appreciate about this movie is the stereotypes it broke from being dry. First off, it was a film about the 1800's which, sometimes lag, and second, it's a film about the period from the 1950's. Regardless of these two factors, the movie is still very refreshing, and I never got bored at all. In fact, I actually found it to be even more engaging than later films on the subject.

The next thing that is very perfect about the film is the cast. For starters, Christopher Lee was absolutely born to play Count Dracula. He really had a way of being super dark, but also suave at the same time, and I have never seen anyone be able to pull this off before. I would go as far as saying that I like him even more than Lugosi.  I really thought that Peter Cushing fit the role of Van Helsing very well, because he had the qualities of a hero, yet he could be stern and dark at the same time. These qualities were absolutely necessary for the character, because he was never written to be a bright and happy person. Another member of the cast that was special was Carol Marsh as Lucy. The reason that I really liked her is that she definitely portrays fear in her first scenes, but she turns evil and seductive in just moments later. Michael Gough was cool as Arthur, because he really gave off the vibe of a cocky scholar that thinks he's better than everyone.  I thought this was funny, because then when he is in trouble with the vampires, he depends on everyone else. Melissa Stribling's character of Mina was the most stereotypical of everyone, because she wasn't shown as strong at all, yet a woman that needed the aid of a man at almost all times. This really shows the time period of the movie, because Stribling showed no remorse for it at all. 

The portrayal of vampires and their attacks was absolutely awesome in this movie, because they were very raw, and dark, and had a lot of shock value for their time period. You could really sense the bloodthirsty lust coming from every one of them, and it's totally convincing that the actors aren't full humans anymore. Even the vampire fangs looked pretty good, because they weren't overboard, but subtle as a way of boosting the realism.  I also liked that the movie stayed very true to the vampire legends, with the garlic, crosses, and wooden stakes, because it really gave a lot of the familiar nostalgia that made the movies awesome. Even though the idea wasn't done for the first time in this movie, I actually found it quite interesting that Dracula could seduce his future victims, regardless of the fact that he is a vampire. This movie really emphasized the erotic side of the story without even being explicit, because you could feel the sexiness from a mile away. 

The ending of this movie really blew my mind, because it is a full throttle showdown between two of the main characters. In this scene, there was an immense brutality that went along with it, even though it was bloodless for the most part.  These last five minutes really made up a lot of the movie for me, because they had all of the shock that I wanted in the movie, which raised my opinion of it very high. 

If there was one weakness to the whole film, it would be that it was too short. The 81 minute run time went very quick in my opinion, and I could have sat through even more.  While keeping it short and sweet didn't hurt the movie, I wish it could be changed somehow. 

Overall, this movie was really really amazing. It had such a fun vibe to watch, because it was truly as perfect as you can get in making a vampire movie.  It was shocking, clever, and one of the best horror movies I have ever seen. It is most definitely the best Dracula movie to start, and also probably one of the best of the 1950's. Definitely check it out, because you won't be disappointed. 



Friday, March 13, 2015

I Bury the Livíng: Movie Review


6.5/10

What if one could play God? In this 1958 movie, the main character(played by Richard Boone) almost lives this in the way where he can control the deaths of anyone.  I found this movie to be quite enjoyable, because of its unique qualities compared to other films of its time. 

The movie begins in a cemetery, where Robert Kraft and Andy McKee are looking at a map of every grave site. On this map are white pins and black pins. The black pins show graves that are filled, and Robert accidentally puts some pins where they aren't supposed to go, and soon after the death of two newly weds occurs.

As the movie goes on, this keeps happening to Robert. As he puts a black pin on the map, somebody dies. He wonders if he is cursed, or if there is something with the board that is wrong.  While I find this storyline to be absolutely brilliant, it could be very slow at times, because of its lack of onscreen events. This really does help make a subtlety to everything, and a lot more mystery, but also makes the movie mildly hard to follow at times. 

One of the things that the film has in its favor is the cast. Richard Boone was very good in the role of Robert, because he was very dark, and did a great job in portraying the emotions of guilt and sadness in his character. Theodore Bikel was satisfactory in the role of Andy McKee, because he gave the role of the likable friend that isn't afraid to speak his opinion. His English accent also gives him an intelligent sound, and it's a huge asset to the performance.  Peggy Maurer was also was also very well suited for the role of Ann Craig, because she had a seductive nature to her that really worked. 

One of the other factors to this movies to this movie that also worked was the tone. Even though their wasn't anything shown on screen(as said before), there was a dark tone that really matched the story line. This helped bring some interest to the film, because regardless it would be wooden as a tree. 

The climax of the movie is actually quite exciting, as the crazy coincidences take a toll on Robert. The viewer can really see his insanity coming about, and it is a very sad sight to witness.  He begins to run all over the place, and there is actually one of the coolest still shots in film history. The actual plot twist in the end was quite intriguing, because it was very authentic, yet I would've never seen it coming. I thought that in these scenes, a movie that was once slow actually became very exciting and amazing. 

Overall, this was a very fun B-Movie. It was not flawless in any standard, but it had a genius story that was ahead of its time, a great cast, and an overall awesome tone to make it stand out from others. While it could be very slow at the time, it saved itself unlike other films of the era, and it could be argued to be one of the better Black and White horror movies. I highly recommend checking it out, because it is a novelty piece of work that should not be missed. 









Saturday, March 7, 2015

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors



9/10 

It is always interesting to watch sequels, because you never know if they will be able to hold up to the original. The best feeling is when you find one that was actually better.  This happened with "Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors".  I personally find this film to be darker, gorier, and much more fun than the first, and it's my favorite of the entire series. It also did well with mainstream critics, and it was a box office success.

The movie started off very intensely, as a girl named Kristen Parker has crazy nightmares.  Things get even stranger when Kristen's mother thinks that the injuries from the dreams were her fault. Kristen is then sent to a mental institution with other teens that are facing these problems.  I think this plot was extremely genius, because it hit a place in the mind that makes it more than a slasher, but a psychological thriller. 

One of the things that really helped this film was the cast/characters. For starters Nancy Thompson(Heather Langenkemp) returned for this sequel, and she really helped move the movie along with her kind and likable personality. Patricia Arquette really excelled in the role of Kristen, because she could show her fears and insanity that comes from the fear very convincingly, and she made the character gain a lot of sympathy from viewers. Craig Wasson was awesome as Dr. Neil Gordon, because he really gave off the caring nature for the kids and Nancy, and he was a very genuine and awesome guy. Another fun cast member was Larry Fishburne in the role of Max. He was so chill as the character, and there wasn't any way of not liking him. 

The next thing that I really liked about this movie was the kill scenes. They were so graphic and brutal, and some of them even made me cringe.  The vein puppet scene is possibly the sickest part of the entire series, because it is so warped and gory.  Along with the killings, there is also very dark and brooding tone that overlaps the movie, and it was amped up from the previous installments. 

A big turn in approach that happened in this film was the comedic undertone. Freddy's character said a lot more one liners than before, and his character is hilarious. I think that in part, this makes him much more sadistic, but also I feel that it showed the series was taking itself less serious. 

A lot more is found out about Freddy, and the viewer even learns the details of his birth. I thought this was a good idea, because it gives the reasons for why he was so crazy.  I usually don't like back stories, but this one was done in a way that was not too cheesy, and it was interesting enough. 

The last twenty minutes or so of this movie were high throttle scenes of tensity, and I think it was the best climax of the series.  There was lots of fighting, and surprises that I wouldn't have ever expected.  I also noticed that the boiler room symbolizes hell with its flames and horrible vibe. The actual ending itself was not as good as part 2, but this was all saved by the credits. The outro song was "Dream Warriors," and this song had been my favorite since my childhood(even before seeing the movie). I remember that the first time I watched this movie, I was so pumped by this that I started to cheer.  So even though there wasn't the crazy surprise ending like the others, it had its own place, and it was still very good. 

Overall, this is my favorite of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. It is such a close battle between this and the original, but I feel that this one was just on top because of the way it really captures the viewer emotionally, and for its sadistic violence.  I definitely recommend the movie to all horror fans, because it is a fun flick that will leave you pleased. 



Thursday, March 5, 2015

Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Movie Review


8.5/10

In 1985, New Line Cinema put out a sequel to the new classic "A Nightmare On Elm Street." His time, it was an all new cast(except Robert Englund), a new set of filmmakers, and a completely different feel of campiness. While this movie isn't one of the more loved of the series, I did particularly enjoy it, because it's fun, and its great portrayal of Krueger. 

Right off the bat, the movie starts off with a twist.  You think that you're experiencing a normal bus ride. The kids are laughing and having fun, but then the bus driver(Krueger) starts to go crazy, and drives into the desert.  In this desert, then ground crumbles in, and the bus goes into the inner depths of hell.  I loved this intro so much, because it really respects the surprise that the original had, and it was executed very well. 

Thankfully, this previous scene was all a dream, and we meet Jesse. Jesse is new to Elm Street, and he is a very kind person.  It is shown that he has a crush on a girl named Lisa, whom he drives to school every day. Life seems to be going great for him, until his nightmares of Freddy worsen...

One of the things I really like about this movie was the cast.  The star, Mark Patton was extremely likable in his role, because he was very funny and genuinely kind.  He was also one of the first male "scream queens" I have ever seen, which was pretty awesome. Kim Myers was great in the role of Lisa, because she had a pretty good connection with Patton, and she was very nice and cheerful.  Robert Englund gave one of his best "Freddy" performances, because he was creepy and darker than ever. I also like that he didn't give as many one liners as usual, which made things more realistic and intense. 

As I watched the film, I noticed that it was extremely campy and homoerotic.  While the filmmakers claim that this was not intentional, I really don't buy it at all. The most apparent scene of this is when Jesse enters a gay bar in his dream. I don't know how this could be explained as anything else, because it's pretty straight forward.  I also feel that Jesse is a character full of gay undertones, and this may have come from the fact that Patton is a homosexual in real life. Honestly, while some people didn't like this change in direction, I really had no problem with it, because it didn't make a difference in my watching experience, and there really isn't any problem with change. 

While the film has a little less of a blood amount than the original(because of the bed scene), the violence in this film is much more graphic and realistic. I really like this a lot, because it brings more of a slasher feel, and it is absolutely insane.  The only thing is that while this one has this advantage, the original was much darker and intense and it had more of a scare factor.  The thing that this one does have is a much more psychological terror to it, with the many questions that come about with Jesse and Freddy. You can really tell the deterioration of the mental health of the characters, and this a lot gives some chills. 

The ending really kicked butt, because there was a great showdown with Freddy. I actually liked it more than the first one's ending, because it was much more intense, and the last twenty seconds were even more surprising in a macabre way. 

Overall, this movie is a lot of fun. Even though it is one of the most frequently picked on movies of the series, I enjoy it a lot, and find it to be one of the best. It is definitely a far step away from the original, which gave it a refreshing feeling that was very much needed. Definitely check this film out, because it will not disappointed. 

  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Fury of the Wolfman: Movie Review


2/10

This 1972 film is not known by many, and I can really see why. It is a boring, poorly made piece of crap that has next to no redeeming qualities to it(other than the Wolfman himself). 

This movie begins extremely slow, and with little direction at all. Basically a college professor named Waldemar Daninsky finds out his wife is cheating on him, and he becomes completely crushed. While this sets the movie up somewhat well, the scenes are kind of scattered and hard to follow. Then the scene gets good when Daninsky turns into a werewolf and mauls his wife and lover.  Soon after, Daninsky gets killed after trying to run away. I think while this scene was good, the problem is that soon after it became dry again. 

After the death, a scientist named Ilona brings Daninsky back to life, and she's uses him as a guinea pig. Daninsky then begins to terrorize the entire town as a werewolf, and a true chaos begins. This plot is somewhat interesting I guess, but it's nothing original, and it's kind of absurd. 

By now, many of you have probably figured out that I really love my B-Movies, but this one is just bad.  I honestly think this one broke boundaries in absurdity, with its lack of direction and emotion, and the fact that the majority of the movie is uneventful. I also find it laughable that the writing tried to sound complex, but it was so stupid. It doesn't make any sense that someone became a werewolf from a yeti bite, unless yetis are somehow also wolves?

The only thing that I found good at all was Paul Naschy as the Wolfman. He had a very cool appearance, and when him and his wife face off, it is pretty neat. But being these scenes are only about five minutes of the whole movie, it isn't enough to save it at all. 

Do not waste your valuable time watching this dumb movie. Other than one costume/actor, this is one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and I highly recommend that you stay away from it. There are plenty of great werewolf movies, and this isn't one, so choose Lon Chaney's "The Wolfman. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Saw: Movie Review



9.5/10

Everybody loves a good game, but what if your life depended on winning?  This 2004 film took this idea and made one of the most controversial and gripping films of the decade.  Ever since its release, it has acquired a near infamous status, and is a favorite amongst fans of the genre.  I personally loved this film, because of its high energy suspense, it's originality, and it's proficient filmmaking traits. 

The movie begins very weird with two men named Adam and Lawrence trapped in a room. They don't know how they got there, and they really have no clue of why either. This scene really sets the mystery for what is to come, and it was done extremely well.  I really love the way that they use their brains and find clues rather than just panic, because it sets the film apart from many others in the genre. 

As the two of them try to figure things out, they both find a tape in their pocket.  Using a casette player, they hear a message from a mysterious man.  Basically, these two are in a game, and they have to kill the other person, or they will die.  I honestly have never heard of a plot like this before, and it is one of the most genius ideas ever.  

Along with the originality in plot, there is also very unique and twisted scenes of violence.  Even though the gory scenes aren't as often as many other films, everything is still sadistic, disturbing, and disgusting as can be.  I honestly don't know how the writers came up with the events, because they're so out of the ordinary that they were all original visions by these people. 

One of the things that I find quite innovative about the film is the motive for these sick crimes. The killer "Jigsaw" takes people that are morally corrupt, and does this as a way of "teaching them to value their life." This is why he gives them a chance to live if they do whatever he asks.  The thing that really blew me away was how the survivors said that they actually learned from what he did.  This isn't something I've ever seen before, because these people that went through the horrible event actually credited him for their recovery.  I almost see this as bringing the movie closer to real life, because that thought process never happens in the typical horror film. 

Another thing that I really like about the movie is the cinematography.  David A. Armstrong really did a great job of capturing the different moods in the atmosphere.  There is a general dimness to the lighting that really symbolizes how dark the film is, and there is a white motif in the room to make the viewer feel like they're in an interrogation room. The speeding up of the filming at certain points really gives a feeling of the time crunch victims are going through, and the abundance of stress that they're feeling.  These quick shots were also used very well to portray the pictures being taken at the investigations.  What all of these factors showed was that even though the filmmakers were on an extremely low budget, they used their resources well, and really did some artistic things.

The acting in this film was very very good.  Cary Elwes gave what I saw as his best performance ever.  He was such a likable person, and learned that he would do anything for his family.  The scene where he broke down crying about his wife and daughter was so genuine, that it put a tear in my eyes.  He obviously had a lot of inspiration for the scene, because he treated it like it was his real family.  Leigh Whannel was also pretty amazing, because he started off as such a jerk, but then completely changed his performance as the most selfless person in the room. Even though his character never said it, I feel it was symbolized that he really learned a lesson from the game. Michael Emerson really kicked butt as Zep, because he could pull of insanity in a way that many can.  Monica Potter and Makenzie Vega did great as Lawrence's family, because they really made us feel so much for them, because of their kind and helpless nature. The last significant actor in the movie was Danny Glover as Detective Tapp, because he was very tough in the role, and showed a lot of force in his tactics. 

The last half hour of this movie is extremely intense, and it is possibly one of the greatest climaxes in the genre.  Time is running out for the pair, and they become extremely desperate to save themselves and their families. In these scenes, there are full throttle fight scenes, and a whole lot of surprises.  Then to top things off, the film ends itself on one of the most surprising plot twists ever. I was so thrown off guard, and it made the entire movie so much better. 

"Saw" is definitely one of the coolest horror movies I have ever seen. It was brutal, twisted, and full of clever surprises that kept me on the edge of my seat until the credits rolled.  I truly see this film as one of the best horror flicks of the 2000's, and it is a worthy watch for any horror fan.  I will warn any potential viewers that it is a little morbid at times, but if you are down with that, then I definitely recommend it.