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.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bloody Mary

Directed by:  Richard Valentine
Written by: Richard Valentine
Starring: Jaason Simmons, Kim Tyler, Danni Ravden and Matthew Borlenghi.
From IMDB:
"When a group of psychiatric hospital nurses invoke the spirit of Bloody Mary-a supposed urban myth-the slaughter begins..."

I've seen this before.  Can't remember jack shit about it.
Few breast shots, right out of the gate.  Always good for the genre fan.
This is certainly low budget but they're trying hard.
The woman playing Jenna (Danni Ravden) is very good.  She looks VERY familiar to me but looking at IMDB I can't say how I would know her.  I'm going to keep her in mind.
Unfortunately the rest of the cast is not as strong.
The dialogue isn't too bad - it's just not being delivered.
The story is convoluted.  Not really sure what the evil nurse is meant to get out of this unholy alliance with Bloody Mary.
Okay - this guy playing the male nurse - Luther, is as annoying as a pepper in your shorts.
So Jenna has to give a blowjob to get access to the crazy guy's cell - but then it turns she's in cahoots with the doctor - so the BJ was unnecessary. 
And who was that crazy guy?
There's a few really bloody scenes.  I guess it is "Bloody" Mary.
This is badly lit but I'm gonna let that pass because I understand the budget was only 70K.  That's ridiculously low.
Well the best I can give this is 2 Bloody Eyes out of 5.  I would have been justified going 1.5 but I'm feeling generous tonight.

The Atomic Brain

Also known as Monstrosity
Directed by:  Joseph V. Mascelli
Written by:  Sue Dwiggins, Dean Dillman Jr, Jack Pollexfen, Vy Russell
Starring:  Marjorie Eaton, Frank Gerstle and Frank Fowler.
From IMDB:
"A rich but unscrupulous old woman plots with a scientist to have her brain implanted in the skull of a sexy young woman."
Yay - I found a trailer for it!
Four writers?  What the hell.  One kid huffing glue could have written this without any difficulty.
So the old woman gets three women to apply for a domestic job.  The old gal is pleased with the beauty of two of them but quite put off by the "homeliness" of the Mexican girl - who is, in fact, quite lovely.  At any rate, she has her mad scientist put the brain of a cat in her to see if the procedure works.  The Mexican girl ends up eating mice and climbing trees, so I guess it did.
Mrs March to hottie: "I don't want you running up and down those stairs.  You'll develop ugly muscles."
Mad Doctor:  "The cellular structure of this eye is being kept alive by these electrical vibrations."
Not sure why the Mad Doctor bothered to put Mrs. March's brain into a cat.  Why not just kill her?
This one certainly falls into the "so bad it's good" category - not great, but fun enough to watch.
I'm going to give it 2 Bloody Eyes out of 5.

Wes Craven's New Nightmare

Directed by:  Wes Craven
Written by:  Wes Craven
Starring:  Heather Lagenkamp, Robert Englund and Miko Hughes.
From IMDB:
"A demonic force has chosen Freddy Krueger as its portal to the real world. Can Heather play the part of Nancy one last time and trap the evil trying to enter our world?"
I saw this one in the theatre.
Hey there's my buddy Bodhi Elfman!  Yay.  That guy is CRAZY talented!!  I would love to put that cat in a film!  We attended acting school together many years ago.
Fun premise - all the actors playing themselves.  The real Freddy is trying to get back in the real world though Heather Lagenkamp's son.
This is a strong movie considering it's the sixth in a series that showed some pretty harsh decline after the first piece of brilliance was forged.
While New Nightmare isn't overly scary in any real way, it's fun and possesses hardly any cheese.
As a real horror fan I love all self indulgent pop references.
In the end credits it says Freddy Kruger played himself.
I'm giving it 3.5 Bloody Eyes out of 5.  Had it contained any real scares it would have gotten a clean 4.

The Wages of Sin

Directed by:  Aaron Robson
Written by:  Aaron Robson, Adam S. Leslie, Christine Locker, Lee Ann Riddle
Starring:   Ashlie Victoria Clark, Emily Lucas, Brandon Michael.
From IMDB:
"A Supernatural Thriller that weaves a tale of darkness and suspense. The past will never stay hidden. Sue Walker receives a letter from a lawyer informing her that she has inherited a mysterious house in the countryside. She decides to take a weekend trip to the house with her boyfriend, Ron and friends from college. By entering the house, Sue unlocks the dark secrets of her forgotten past. Hold on for this terrifying ride into darkness and despair."
Can't believe I even found a trailer for this one.

I'm afraid this one isn't going to live up to its log line.  These guys had twice the budget and then some of the first movie I ever directed (and only one as of this writing).  Hard to say which film is coming off better.
I'm sure they both play like a group of friends with a camcorder.
Camera work is weak.  I'm finding this really hard to watch.
So the girl gets her boyfriend to check out the gas station washroom before she goes in.  He does and proclaims it to be clear.
She goes in and is assaulted by a cartoonish "wino".  She runs out of the john and gives her BF shit for missing the wino on his examination.
He rushes into the bathroom to find it empty.  He tells her she's just seeing things.
She apologizes for over reacting.
Okay - you get assaulted in a bathroom and then when the guy appears to just disappear you just dismiss the event??  That makes no sense at all.
They got a good little haunted house - for the budget.  Obviously they couldn't afford to build sweet fuck all so this place is a good score.
WTF - Romeo drags his gal out to the car in the dark to ask her to marry him.  Not a very romantic setting - but then I asked my wife to marry me in a parking lot - but it was Hawaii.
The girl doesn't say yes right away and he storms off to start drinking.  Could happen i guess.
Now she's hacking up her guts in the sink - literally - but she's not overly worried about it.  She has a drink - a little hallucination (with a little girl who talks like she's MUCH older).
Then she's asked if she's okay - "Yeah, I'm fine."  What?l  You just blew a wad of bloody phlegm that would fill a Mason jar and you're fine?
I do like the location (I know, I've already said that)
Everyone is freaking out over a cut on the drug head's arm.  He tells them to chill because it's just a scratch.  There's a close up of the cut - it really is just a scratch.  No one would ever even comment on a scratch that small.
A lot of static medium shots.  Not much to be done about that if you don't have the time or money.
"That's the old preacher's place.  You don't want to be hanging around there.  Bad things happen there."

Gack - the dialogue just isn't working for me - none  of it!!  One of the problems is the edit.  They're holding an extra frame or two after each line is spoken causing a retched pause that is just killing any hope for some flow.
Symonds the lawyer might be the worst performance I've seen since the last school play I was subjected to.  He didn't get a credit in IMDB.  I'm not surprised.  I checked just to see if he was the producer or director or something.  Lesson for everyone - leave it to the pros!
(post note - in the end credits he's listed with the unlikely name of Ray Gunn)

Alright.  I think I've said enough.  This thing is not going to get any better.  If something remarkably fun or hideous happens I'll report - but I seriously have my doubts.
Okay - I'm back.  This movie is not good.  I've been ragging on it more than most but a weird thing is happened on the way to the ending - I'm finding that it's getting a little bit creepy.  The characters are not believable.  The dialogue is shite.  The camera work is utterly amateurish - but there is something mildly creepy about this film - mild being the operative word here, but it's undeniable.  It's not going to give me nightmares or anything - but there is a creep factor.  I'm going to raise my .5 Bloody Eye I was going to give it to 2.  Many people will call me on this, I know but I watch at least 5 horror movies a week and don't remember the last one that made me even mildly uncomfortable.  Not sure why this one did, even as slight as it did - there's no good reason, but it did so it gets 2.