Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Time For The Prom Again

I'm trying to double up at some point on reviews. I should have time to get a review in all week, which will leave me one review short of my goal, so I need to double up at least one day. It is time to watch something I have here at home, so I decided to knock off another movie that I have on my DVR. I have two horror films on there and I went with Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987). I do recall watching this one before, but it has been many, many years ago. Because of that, I didn't really remember a whole lot about it. It did feel like a movie I haven't watched before when I watched it this time, so I assume it didn't leave much of an impression on me back in the day.

Back in 1957, Mary Lou (Lisa Schrage) was a "popular" girl, if you catch my drift. Apparently her boyfriend Bill (Steve Atkinson) didn't get the memo though, since he is pretty upset when he finds her with another guy on prom night. He finds a stink bomb and plans on getting revenge, but it all goes wrong and Mary Lou is killed. Now, 30 years later, Bill (now played by Michael Ironside) is the principal of the high school and his son Craig (Louis Ferreira) is dating good girl Vicki (Wendy Lyon). Vicki is a bit shy and gets picked on by some of the girls in the popular crowd. That is until Vicki finds a trunk in the props room of the high school and releases the spirit of Mary Lou. Now Mary Lou is looking to possess Vicki and get revenge in the process.

Prom Night II doesn't have much in common with the original film that came out seven years prior. The story doesn't touch on anything that happens in the first film, but the name of the school is the same. I was a little surprised at how good this movie was. I didn't care for it as much as the first film, but it is still a solid stand alone film. I found it to be a little slow in places, as my attention did wander a little at times. The story by writer Ron Oliver and director Bruce Pittman bored slightly from Carrie at times. It isn't a copy of that film at all, but there are times I'm sure it will remind you of Carrie. The possession was kind of interesting, as Vicki seemed to know what was going on slightly. What bugged me about some though was that not many people took notice that she was acting different. Maybe it is just me, but I would think someone dressing and acting differently would throw up some red flags with more than a couple of people. You have to let some thing go as far as the plot anyway. I'm assuming Bill wasn't charged with anything in the death of Mary Lou since he is now a principal. The people Mary Lou kills at times is a little strange. Like she kills the guy who she cheated with on her boyfriend. One can probably get around this, since he is now a priest and Mary Lou just comes across as a spiteful bitch anyway.

Some of the kills and special effects are what really made Prom Night II a fun film to watch for me. Death by computer was probably my favorite since we all pretty much use computers most days anymore. The effects were well done and actually a little gory in places. There are places that the effects didn't turn out great, but with those we just catch a glimpse of them, so it didn't really take me out of the scene. The scene where Mary Lou comes back officially could have been done better as far as gore goes, but it is still a stand out scene. The acting was pretty good as well. I wasn't real sure if I liked Wendy Lyon, but she proved to handle her role well. I was actually surprised that she offered up some nude scenes. Not just topless, but full frontal as well. It actually did fit with her changing character rather well. Michael Ironside is...well, Michael Ironside. He isn't in the film a lot but still makes his presence known when he is around.

Prom Night II does its best to try to offend someone it seems. With Mary Lou trying to not only seduce a priest, but also Vicki's father while she was Vicki. The whole story had a mean spirited feel to it that fits in with how Mary Lou acts. I didn't get into Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II a lot, but I still found it to be a good film. It is a movie that I will be happy to watch again someday. I'm a little surprised it took me so long to get back around to watching this one again, but then again, it isn't like it is on TV all that much. At least I caught it on a movie station so I got to see all the nudity. If you haven't watched this one yet, there are some plot points that might not make a lot of sense, but it is still an enjoyable movie. The ending is a little confusing with what it is trying to say as another example. Still worth a watch though.
3 out of 5 Nothing exciting happened at my prom

Sunday, July 26, 2015

No, I'm Next!

I hate stress, don't you? My oldest cat was in the vet recently, hopefully getting better. Not sure how things will work out with him, but I am beat after not getting much sleep over those couple of nights. I started watching You're Next (2011) and with about a half hour left, my oldest cat started getting sick. I didn't think too much of it until I noticed some blood mixed in it. Once I was able to get back around to You're Next, I wasn't really into it anymore. You're Next has been a movie I have been wanting to watch ever since it came out, but for whatever reason, I kept putting it off until now.

Erin (Sharni Vinson) is heading to a family reunion for her boyfriend Crispian (AJ Bowen). It is a fairly large family with the parents, three brothers and a sister, along with boyfriends and girlfriends. There is a bit of tension between the family, but things still start off fairly well. Erin even seems to think that she is starting to connect with some of them. During the big dinner, things start to take a turn for the worse when Crispain starts to argue with one of his brothers. While they are fighting, a crossbow bolt kills one of the other guests, and so starts a night of terror.

I have always heard a lot about You're Next ever since it came out. That might be why I waited as long as I did to get around to it. I didn't know a lot of the plot details, but I knew it had a strong female lead. After watching You're Next, saying she is strong is almost an understatement. I was a little surprised to see how the film started. I was expecting it to start by showing a couple being killed by masked intruders. I already knew that this would happen to Crispian and his family, but it made me wonder if it would have been more effective if director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett had just surprised us with this information instead of giving it to us pretty much right away. I also didn't really care for all the family drama. It wasn't that it was bad, it just wasn't all that interesting to me. Once the action kicks in though, it becomes a different movie. What made all this great for me was Erin. While she doesn't really look like much, as in someone that you wouldn't see as kicking your ass, she was one tough woman. I also liked that it wasn't a big deal to her. I noticed some people saying the twists were easy to see coming. I caught on before the twists happened, but I wouldn't say I did real early on though. I know people have done what the twist is about in real life, but I wasn't sure I cared for them much as I just can't get why someone would do that. It did bring in some more black comedy though, so there was that going for the twists.

The effects are pretty good. Things get a little gory at times. A few cut necks, a nail through the foot and other stabbings. The effects look good and can be on the bloody side of things. Not all kills are shown though. The acting was very good. As far as I can remember, I have never heard of Sharni Vinson until this movie. I loved her acting and her character. It really was a combination of the two that I enjoyed so much. I could see this role so easily going south because of bad acting, but at the same time, it was also the character that made things so interesting. It was cool to see Ti West in the film. His acting wasn't the greatest, but it was still cool seeing him. Joe Swanberg has a good sized role in the film and does a great job with it. You can also find Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, Margaret Laney, Amy Seimetz, Rob Moran and Barbara Crampton.

One of the things I really enjoyed about You're Next was just how brutal it was, especially Erin. The first time she goes to town on one of the attackers was just a "Damn!" moment. It was actually refreshing to see this from Erin. After all, how many times does a person attack the bad guy, just for the bad guy to get back up because the person didn't actually make sure the bad guy would stay down? On the other side of things, I'm still not sure how the start of the film fits in with the twists. With the twists, the start of the film seems like a very stupid move on the bad guys part. Even with its faults though, I still loved You're Next. It kept me glued to what was going on, except when the cat got real sick. If you are like me and haven't given You're Next a chance, it is about time you did.
4 out of 5 Never use a blender around women

Friday, July 17, 2015

Damn Ravens

It has been over a week since I have done a review here. I did manage to get one done over at my other blog just yesterday, after taking nearly a week to finish it. You can read my review for Creep just by clicking on the link. Even though I had an easy week at work, I was busy spending money when at home. Lets just say I'm nearing $2,000 spent and leave it at that, shall we? Hopefully my writing will pick up now. It sure needs to since I have only done one review this month and we are almost half way through it! As soon as I got done with my last review, I jumped into the movie Kaw (2007).

Wayne (Sean Patrick Flanery) is a sheriff for a small town. It is his last day, as he is getting ready to move away with his wife (Kristen Booth). His day starts with a call to investigate a death. Finding the body, he isn't sure what happened, but we know that ravens attacked the person. As the day goes on, the ravens become more and more aggressive, and no one can figure out why. They even seem to be working together, with some of them seemingly calling the shots even. The key might be with some Mennonites.

I haven't been able to find out for sure, but Kaw felt very much like a Syfy original film. It has aired on Syfy, I'm just not sure if it was meant for their station though. Anyway, while writer Benjamin Sztajnkrycer and director Sheldon Wilson doesn't give us the best story around, I still rather enjoyed it. I didn't find Kaw to be a great film, but it was still fun to watch. I ended up being a bit confused at one point though. I'm sure I just managed to miss something, but I thought Wayne's wife calls him when she shouldn't have been able to. It has been a while since I watched the movie now, so I'm sure I just missed something, or was mistaken. The reason for the ravens, mostly crows but the movie still calls them ravens, attacking everyone might have been a bit of a stretch, but it was still kind of interesting. I'm not really sure it would work the way it is described in the movie, but what do I know? What I didn't really care for was having three different story lines going. They were all connected in some ways, but we follow Wayne around for the most part. There is his wife visiting the Mennonites and finding something wrong there and sort of being held. Along with a bus full of kids that are in a lot of trouble. Actually the bus isn't that full. Even though I liked the teens on the bus, there was just too many story lines going to really care about them. The ending of the film also could have used a bit of work, as the way they end up getting the birds to move on didn't really make a lot of sense to me.

Kaw ended up being more gory than I was really expecting it to be. It wasn't real gory, but seeing the ravens/crows pulling tissue away was pretty cool. The effect is done well, but I would liked to have seen it done even better. For the most part, we don't get to see the area the birds are working on. One scene was a little out of place as it shows a bird eating away at someone's leg. It isn't until just a little later that we find out who the leg belongs to. Just thought they should show us who it was before they actually did. The acting wasn't too bad. I like Flanery in the lead role. Also thought that Booth did a real good job in some of situations she was put in. Stephen McHattie has a good sized role as the bus driver, and somewhat town drunk. Megan Park and Ashley Newbourgh were both pretty good as a couple of teens trapped on the bus.

There was plenty of things wrong to be found with Kaw, but it happened to be one of those films I was able to look past the faults and still enjoy it. As I said, I didn't find it to be a great film. Maybe it had to do with just not seeing very many films like this one. I don't think there are all that many horror films that have to do with birds. I got Kaw on DVD from Netflix. It is one of those movies that I wasn't in a hurry to get, and that is really how I would suggest going about getting this one if you do decide to watch it. Add it to your queue but just watch it when it gets to you. Worth a watch if you are just looking to have fun with a film and not take it too seriously.
3 out of 5 Birds and cows just don't mix

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Teenage Bottlerocket - Haunted House (Official Music Video)

I haven't done a post about a music video in a very long time. Since I'm behind on posts anyway, I might as well make it an easy one. I caught this video off my Facebook feed actually. I had never heard it until tonight. Haunted House by Teenage Bottlerocket is even by a group I had never heard of before as well. While I listen to some music that is considered punk, I'm not big into it like I am with alternative rock in general. I couldn't pass up posting the video here just because ghosts/haunted houses happen to be my favorite sub-genre in horror. Enjoy the song!

Monday, July 06, 2015

Headless DVD Winner

Yesterday I got around to picking a winner for my giveaway. Ten people signed up for it, which is honestly less than I thought I would get. Considering I got nearly 100 views. Since I don't do many giveaways, maybe some of you don't think I was actually giving anything away. Anyway, this was still the most people I've had sign up for a giveaway, so there is that at least.

I wrote down all your names, put numbers out beside them at random, and had a friend of mine that wasn't signed up for the giveaway pick a number. I thought this would be the most fair way to do this. I had people I see as friends sign up, so I didn't want to make it look like I was playing favorites if one of them did happen to win. The number that was picked ended up being for Vale! She left a comment at my other blog. Congrats to you Vale. I hope you like your signed DVD. Let me know what you thought of the movie once you get a chance to watch it!

To those that didn't win. I was hoping to have something worked out, but I haven't heard back from anyone about it yet. I'm trying to find out if I can get some more signed DVD's. If I can, you all might still be hearing from me. If I get more, I will not be holding another giveaway. Only those of you that signed up will be able to get them. If you didn't sign up, well too fucking bad. Stay tuned to this space. I will update things as I find out more.

Edit: I have ordered more copies of the signed Headless DVD. I will be in contact with everyone, yes everyone that signed up, soon. Be on the look out for messages or emails. Thanks and congrats to all!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Is It Curtains For Me?

One of the things I did at the convention I went to, besides picking up something to give away, was to look for the movie Curtains (1983). It is a movie I have always heard about, but never actually seen a copy of it anywhere. Then last year, I think, it was released to Blu-ray. I was tempted to get it, but the only place I would see it for sale at was at horror movie conventions. I usually had plans for the money I would take with me, and $25 seemed rather high anyway. This time around there was someone selling it for $20 still new, so I went for it.

Samantha (Samantha Eggar) is an actress looking to get the lead part in Stryker's (John Vernon) next movie. She has been in his movies before, and they are lovers as well. Stryker talks Samantha into acting crazy in order to get committed for research purposes. The place starts to really get to Samantha though, so Stryker just ends up leaving her there. Back at his place, Stryker has invited a few younger actresses to try out for the part. Samantha somehow is able to show up as well. Someone there is willing to kill for the part, but who could it be?

I had always heard that Curtains isn't that great of a film. Sure there are those that enjoy it, but even most of those use a disclaimer that Curtains isn't a very good movie. After reading about the problems the movie had, it is a wonder it came out as good as it did. The movie was shelved after filming began, only to start filming again a year later. At least one role was recast in the mean time, and scene ended up being re-shot. The director, Richard Ciupka, wanted to film to be one way, while the producer wanted it to be a different way. You can almost feel the two different directions trying to fight each other. In the end though, Curtains is a slasher at its heart. Having known a bit about the film before watching it, I was a little confused at first. Things start off with Samantha as the focus, which I didn't think she was. Even though she shows up for the rest of the film, after being left behind, she is no longer the focus. It was a bit strange to give a character so much focus and then more or less drop her for the rest of the film. If she had been killed, that would be one thing. I thought the pacing of the film was a bit slow at times. Not bad enough for me to lose interest, but bad enough for me to take notice of it. Curtains is a film that I didn't really have a lot to complain about, but it was just kind of there for the most part. I didn't find it bad, but I wasn't finding it all that good either. As others have noted, there are some good scenes to be found. The ice skating scene was probably the best to be found, along with the final chase scene being a close second.

The effects and kills might disappoint some slasher fans. There wasn't much for effects to be found. Nothing very gory happens. There is a scene where someone gets a big chunk of glass run through them, but we don't actually see that happen. Most of the kills happen off screen, or just enough off screen where we don't see much. The acting wasn't too bad. I don't think I have watched John Vernon in a horror movie before, and I haven't watched him in any movie where he looked so young before. The following people can also be found: Linda Thorson, Anne Ditchburn, Lynne Griffin, Sandee Currie, Lesleh Donaldson and Deborah Burgess. It wasn't so much the acting as it was the characters that could bug me. One of the six women to try out for the new role never seems to talk. There are other guys besides Stryker, but we hardly ever see them.

Another scene that works very well turns out to be a dream about a doll. It is used outside of the dream to, though it isn't as effective at those times. The movie really should have ended sooner than it did, or maybe the ending just needed to be changed. The final scene didn't bother me, it was the scene just before that one that did. While it did clear up who the killer was, I just felt it should have come sooner. The last scene leaves things open for us to decide what really happened. Was Curtains worth the long wait to watch it? Not really, but it is still an okay film. I am glad that I picked up the Blu-ray though, as I'm willing to watch it again someday, along with the special features. Netflix doesn't have this movie listed, which is partly why I ended up buying it. If you have always been curious about Curtains, then you should check it out someday, especially if you can get a good deal on the Blu-ray.
3 out of 5 Makes me want to go buy curtains now

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Killer Hayride Part Two

I can say one thing about my giveaway that is still going on, it has managed to get me excited about things again. I found that the movie Headless has a movie page, so I decide to message it and asked if they might mention the giveaway, and they did! It hasn't really cause an increase in people signing up, but I was still excited about it all. Anyway, as promised, I watched Hayride 2 (2015) yesterday so it could be my next review. That being said, it is hard to believe that half the year is already gone!

Following the events of the first film, we pick up on Pitchfork (Bennett Wayne Dean Sr.) as they take him to the hospital. Detective Loomis (Corlandos Scott) follows behind when he sees the EMT being attacked by Pitchfork. She gets thrown out of the ambulance and while Loomis tries to avoid running over the woman, Pitchfork attacks the driver. Both crash, and Pitchfork heads to the hospital on his own. Meanwhile, not knowing this is going on, Amanda (Sherri Eakin), Steven (Jeremy Ivy) and Corey (Jeremy Sande) are being checked out for their injures and to make sure Amanda's baby is doing okay. The hospital is currently going through repairs and remodels, so not a lot of people are there, which is just fine for Pitchfork since he is looking to finish what he started.

Taking a page from Halloween 2 (the original sequel), Hayride 2 has a good part of the movie set in a hospital. While it eventually leaves that setting, it was interesting to see that this sequel was mostly set there. Of course, it makes sense that it would since it is picking up shortly after the first film. Returning as writer and director, Terron R. Parsons has managed to improve over the last few years since the first Hayride film. This one still isn't perfect by any means, but I thought it was a better film overall. You wouldn't know that from average scores though, as so far they are under the first film's average so far. Hayride 2 ends up with better action, a few more kills and they are spaced out better. We still manage to learn more about some of the characters along the way as well. We end up learning more about who the person behind the mask is. Not a lot of information is dropped, and it doesn't completely help explain why he is going around killing people. What isn't really explained, in either film, is why Pitchfork is going after Amanda so much. I assumed it was because she reminds him of his daughter. We also learn a bit more about Steven and Corey. I didn't realize they are supposed to be brothers, as I'm sure it was actually talked about in the first film. What we learn about them probably should have been something I could have guessed, but I didn't. A couple of things I didn't like about the story was I still didn't see any police warning locals yet again. Maybe not that big of a deal this time around though. I couldn't figure out how Loomis was able to figure out a key point just by looking at a picture. Thinking back, he may have been clued in by police reports as well, but it isn't something we really get to see, just see him staring at a picture and suddenly figuring something out.

The effects were slightly better this time around. There wasn't as many problems, and things were slightly more gory. Something I was actually very impressed with was the makeup for wounds. Corey gets the crap kicked out of him, and after we see his face swollen up. If I knew it wasn't a movie, I'm sure I would have been fooled otherwise, it looked that good. A pitchfork to the neck looked much better this time around. The only thing that didn't work was a hanging. While the harness couldn't be seen, the rope was pulling the shirt away in the back, which it shouldn't be doing if the rope was actually around the neck. The acting was also a slight improvement. I think it helped that there wasn't any one character that was the focus. Since most of the film had to do with the manhunt for Pitchfork, characters were sharing the lead roles. I'm still not overly impressed with Jeremy Ivy, but at least he wasn't constantly smiling...as much. I did really like Rachel Varela. This is her first feature length film, and I'm looking forward to seeing her in more movies. I was actually rather impressed that every character that is carried over from the first film is played by the same actor.

Overall I wasn't that impressed with Hayride 2. There are still plenty of problems with the story and other things. However, it is a rare sequel that I liked better than the original. I bounced back and forth between a 2 and 3 star rating, and decided on the higher of the two just because it was a better sequel. It might not deserve to be that high, but I would watch this one again before I would the first film. Even though the first few minutes of Hayride 2 gives us a quick overview of the story from the first film, I still wouldn't really suggest that it be skipped in order to watch this one. I still wouldn't have anyone rush to find Hayride 2, but if you have watched the first film, hopefully you can see it is an improvement as well.
3 out of 5 Don't forget to look under the house