Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Descent

Directed by:  Neil Marshall
Written by:  Neil Marshall
Starring:  Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Jackson Mendoza and Alex Reid.
From IMDB:
"A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators."
It's nice to watch something shot with a budget that's higher than the cost of my first car.
Good talent and beautifully shot.  Hopefully they'll come up with some original twists and turns.  Be nice to avoid the "everyone dies but one" cliche.  I won't hold out hope.
Strong opening.  Nice set up with the tragedy and the foreshadowing of an affair between the husband and the friend.  That's no spoiler - only a moron would have missed it - not subtle and I see no reason for it to be.
This movie moves along nicely. 
And the penalty for stupidity is pain.  I love it!!
Lots of panic going on.  I imagine I'd be filling my drawers as well if I was being attacked by CHUDs!
So Beth is dying and her last act is to tell Sarah "Juno did this - and she was fucking your husband."
She left the part out about how it was an accident - and the husband is already dead.  So what's to be gained?  Bad karma I tell you - that's what!!
The final escape scene is so over the top music video it's virtually impossible to really see what the hell is going on but one does manage to follow it.
And Juno certainly didn't deserve her end but some might disagree.
So in the end no one survives - there's a bold new twist :( And it turns out our protagonist is a woman willing to send another woman to a horrible fate for essentially having an affair with her husband - of course there was Beth's little white sin of omission - so that is factor - but still, some chicken shit writing in an otherwise EXCELLENT film.
I'm giving it 4 Bloody Eyes out of 5.

Killers from Space


Directed by: W. Lee Wilder
Written by: William Raynor, story by Myles Wilder
Starring: Peter Graves
From IMDB:
"A scientist monitoring atomic tests, killed in a plane crash, is revived by aliens so he can spy on the tests and help them conquer the world."
This clip is 4 minutes long.
The pilot's call sign is Tar Baby II - I'm pretty certain that wouldn't be acceptable in today's clinical world.
Peter Graves had a good career despite this mess.
This is great.  The aliens are guys in one piece suits and eyes created from ping pong balls cut in half.
They take 15 minutes to explain to our hero their plan for invading the earth.
Why they're explaining to him, hasn't been revealed yet.
Then he spends 5 minutes running from insects and lizards that have been enlarged - but he doesn't really run from them - it's more like he moves from creature to creature - stand and looks at the thing for a moment - runs his hands through his hair then carries on.  The creatures never attack - but I gather when the time is right the aliens plan to unleash the giant bugs on the population - thus paving the way for colonization.
Aaaauh - true freedom, a man wants to enjoy a nice smoke, he just lights one up, even if he's walking down a hospital corridor!
There's a chase scene inside a power plant - but they've only got a few sets so they just run by the same ones over and over again.
When I was 8 I wrote a story about an mad doctor who invents a machine that turns everything in the world ugly - yeah, I know, what's the motive?  I was 8, what do you want from me?  At any rate the doctor's plans were thwarted when Stephanie and Kevin unplug his machine.  It was a daring and brilliant move.  Perhaps I'd seen this movie and unintentionally borrowed from it - at any rate, that's about how it goes down.
This is a bad one but there's just not enough bad to make it good.
It get's 1 Bleeding Eye out of 5.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Earth Vs. the Spider

Directed by:  Bert I. Gordon
Written by: Laszlo Gorog, George Worthing Yates. story by Gordon
Starring:  Ed Kemmer, June Kenney and Eugene Persson
From IMDB:
"Teenagers from a rural community and their high school science teacher join forces to battle a giant mutant spider."
Even in the 50s cops in horror movies are dim witted bullies.
Despite the fact there are bodies laying about the place, the portly sheriff laughs at the thought that there's any real trouble to be found.
Wow - best friend Joe - a high school student is 35 years old - and he looks it!
The "professor" is 37 years old.
"You know teenagers.  They'll say anything!"
Lamenting his inability to get into the gym Joe postulates:
"Why the cats will have a blast if we don't swing solid."  You can't buy lines like that!  Did "blast" have a different meaning in 58 - or was the 72 year old screenwriter just throwing together some cool as hell lingo?
"Where you heading to, Jake?"
"I'm evacuating.  That darn monster run me out of house and home!"
The young ladies father has been eaten by a giant spider but her mother admonishes her "Get your homework done, young lady."
In a nice little homage - Mike is telling Carol he can't get away because he wants to watch the new movie his dad has at the theater - about puppet people.  Attack of the Puppet People was made earlier the same year by Bert I. Gordon (Mr. Big to his friends).  The movie currently playing at the theater is The Amazing Colossus Man - another Gordon flick.  Gordon made over 25 low budget horror sci fi movies and is, to the best of my knowledge, still alive.
The spider changes sizes frequently throughout the movie.
Some gal gets her little cotton skirt caught in the door of her car.  Rather than just rip the dress off she chooses to die a horrible death in the clutches of a giant spider.  Going a bit far for modesty, I'd say.
The noise the spider makes is hilarious.  It's like some guy groaning into a tin can. 
This movie is magic!!
Ooops - someone left a baby in the middle of the road!!  I guess the mother got distracted.
I'm giving this little gem 3 Bloody Eyes out of 5.  Tons of fun on a Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Prince of Darkness

Directed by: John Carpenter
Written by: John Carpenter (as Martin Quatermass)
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount
From IMDB:
"A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world."
I've seen this a few times but I just can't remember the movie.  So many elements I like - religion, the devil, John Carpenter, Donald Pleasence, 1987
Ahhhh - a Carpenter score.  It doesn't get better (except maybe Chris Young).
One of the first guys we meet is a blonde cat with a red golf shirt tucked into his pleated pants - and the finishing touch on this suave mofo - a big bushy blonde mustache.  For the love of all things holy, please let this guy be the bad guy. 
Hey - there's the amusing Asian guy from Tremors (Victor Wong).  That guy is funny.
We've got a handful of scientists entering the old church to investigate the phenom in the basement.  And the church is now surrounded by a bunch of homeless men and women - presumably under the control of Old Nick!  Fun stuff!
And there's Alice Cooper - leading the hobo revolution!  Perfect!
I wonder who's keeping all those candles lit in the basement - gotta be a thousand of the suckers and they were lit when everyone first arrived??
No one ever runs when faced with super creepy unexplained shit.  Why is that?
The guy with the mustache it turns out, is looking like the protagonist in our story.  Too bad.
Great set-up.  Satan locked up in the basement of a long closed church.  Sweet stuff.
3 million dollar budget and 30 days to shoot.  Brilliant!
I loved this movie.  It's everything right about the genre.  It's not as good as the Fog or Halloween obviously - lacking the scare punch of those films, but it's certainly watchable even after all these years.
I'm going to give it 3.5 Bloody Eyes out of 5 - I'm very close to going 4 and might come back later and adjust.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Basilisk: The Serpent King

Directed by:  Stephen Furst
Written by:  Wil McCarthy, Chase Parker
Starring:  Jeremy London, Wendy Carter and Cleavant Derricks
From IMDB:
"Two millennia ago, a Lybian king has a basilisk (snake-shaped dragon), which petrifies people, subjected to the same fate with a golden scepter during a solar eclipse."
Watch Yancy die here.
Wow.  This is really bad.
So the science nerd gal is trying to explain the legend of the big snake to a security guide (read - the audience) Fuck - writing doesn't get worse than that.
I had to look at the directors credits to see if he started his career directing Jerry Lewis movies.  This thing is zany - in a bad way.
Turns out he was the fat guy in Animal House - that was zany in a good way.
I understand he's not a fat guy any more.
I'm having a tough time watching this.
Griff Furst - I assume the director's son - is particularly hard to watch.  He's so far over the top he's a flight risk.  The thing is, I've seen this kid before.  He's not bad.  Something went wrong with the choices made here.
I like Yancy Butler but she's wasted here.
I'm giving this 1 Bloody Eye out of 5.  Just not much to recommend.

Reign of the Gargoyles

Directed by:  Ayton Davis
Written by:  Chase Parker
Starring:  Wes Ramsey and Joe Penny
From IMDB:
"During World War 2 a group of brave US Airmen are downed in Nazi controlled Europe, after their aircraft is attacked by Nazi-controlled mythological Gargoyles."
What's to even say about this.  Sorry.  Really - it's another Sci Fi Original - and it looks and feels like one - though certainly better than say - SS Doomtrooper or UKM: Ultimate Killing Machine.  The acting is better.  The script is better and the directing is stronger.  The spfx aren't any better though.
If you're sitting home and a six pack is your only friend then you could do worse.
So, my profound apologies for such a weak blog but there just wasn't much to say about this other than Nazis and monsters should be a lot more fun.
I was going to give this 2 Bloody Eyes out of 5 because I'd given the aforementioned movies 1.5 but they got more than they deserved so I'm giving it what it deservers 1.5 out of 5 Bloody Eyes, still, it's watchable.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Blob (1988)

Directed by: Chuck Russell
Written by: Chuck Russell & Frank Darabont based on earlier work by: Theodore Simonson, Kay Linaker and Irvine Millgate
Starring:  Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith and Donovan Leitch
"Remake of the 1958 horror sci-fi about a deadly blob from another planet which consumes everyone in its path. Teenagers try in vein to warn the townsfolk, who refuse to take them seriously."
Though it was made at the tail end of the 80s, it's still rich with the charm of that generation.  There's the dumb cop, the pesky little brother, the jock and the rebel. 
I see Frank Darabont had a hand in the writing of this.  That bodes well.  One of Frank's first jobs in Hollywood - if not his first, was writing Nightmare on Elm Street 3.
I always love how stupid they make cops - this goes back as far as I've watched movies.  Of course yesterday I read about a woman being punched so hard in the face by a cop he broke several bones in her face.  He then arrested her for assaulting him.  Of course she was unconscious so she learned she was under arrest when she came to in the hospital.  She was 56. 
I remember watching the original with Steve McQueen.  I was probably 12 or 13 years old and it scared me good and proper!
I've read Rob Zombie was going to remake the remake but changed his mind.
It's been too long since I've seen the original so I'm going to be short on spotting a homage here and there.  There's got to be a few.
There's Shawnee Smith with an automatic weapon screaming obscenities at the mindless killer.  You've always got to have one of those scenes.  I wonder if they worked then.  They don't now.  Now we laugh at them.
The story is very linear - the blob rolls along, gets bigger, is frozen.  One minor twist.  I won't pull a spoiler.  It's a shift from the original.
I liked the ending MUCH better than the original.   Nothing like a creepy preacher.  I should write a movie about a creepy preacher.  That'd be a good starting point for a good old fashion piece of horror.
I'm going to give this 3 Bloody Eyes out of 5.  It's a good fun horror movie from a wonderful time in the genre's history.