Saturday, September 30, 2006
For today, I have a movie that was suggested to me by Cattleworks. I really appreciate any and all suggestions so please keep them coming. I had actually been planing on watching High Tension (2003) at some point but I have been avoiding it. Kind of silly of me really but I have been doing so because I already knew what the big plot twist for this movie was. I was reading Final Girl's review of it and she goes into the twist some. Don't worry, that won't happen here but I will do so in the comments section. So you all have been warned. If you have not watched this movie and still wish to post a comment then please do so but you will probably not want to read any comments that are there yet. Speaking of the comments section, Cattleworks, you may want to just skip the review and head to there as there will be a comment waiting for you.
High Tension is about Marie (Cecile De France) and Alex (Maiwenn Le Besco) who are friends and law students. They are heading to Alex's parents house for a bit of a get away and to also study. After getting settled in, a man (Philippe Nahon) shows up. He starts to kill everyone in the house while Marie looks for a way to hide. She manages to hide, or at least stay out of the way, long enough for the killer to take a now gaged and chained Alex out to his truck and drive away. Marie spends the rest of the film trying to save her friend. Will she be able to do it and not get killed herself? I would talk more about the plot but to do so would give to much of it away so you will just have to settle for a short summery this time around.
The effects, I can't really say enough good things about the effects. They are done by Giannetto De Rossi. He has been doing makeup effects for a long time and it shows. These are some of the best effects around. The only complaint I had at any point would have been a throat cutting scene where the prosthesis is on the neck. I know it is a hard place to cover so that it can't be seen but I know it can be done. Outside of that, and it didn't take anything away actually, I thought the makeup was very top notch.
I enjoyed the acting as well. I could never tell if they were truely speaking english at times or if it was just being dubbed over. If it was simply dubbed then I didn't really understand why they would subtitle some of it and dub it other times. So I assumed they were speaking english and switching to french at times when they felt more comfortable. For the most part, the three actors listed above are the movie. There are a few other people here and there. The film follows those three and introduces others here and there. Basicly they don't have a whole lot to do with the plot other than getting in the way of the killer.
In a way, I am glad I knew the twist going in. Knowing the twist allowed me to understand the movie better I think. After watching the movie I got on to read reviews which I normaly do. There are a lot, and I do mean a lot, of bad reviews for this movie. I think this is mostly because they don't bother to try and actually think this movie out after getting hit with the twist. Even some people that liked the movie still gave it a bad review because of the twist. Then you have the people that say they had it all figured out 20 minutes into the movie and felt bored for the rest of the movie. I'm here to tell you that even if that was the case (ok I didn't have it figured out but I did know the twist), it is still one hell of a movie.
Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur are the writers/directors for this picture and also for the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. If you read my review for that movie, if you haven't then just check the 5 star links on the right side, you have a pretty good idea how well I like these two. High Tension was done before The Hills Have Eyes. It was for this reason that Cattleworks really pushed me to watch High Tension. As the movie title suggests, the tension is set to high in this film. Aja does a wonderful job of setting the bar high and weaving things around to make the tension build.
I can see why they plot twist will confuse people. That is the only bad thing I can really point my finger at here. That being said, that isn't always such a bad thing. It will make you, hopefully, want to watch this movie again in order to see if any clues were droped that you may have missed along the way. It will also make you think it out from a different perspective. I can say that I was never scared. In a small way I am disappointed by that. The Hills Have Eyes managed to do that so I guess I was looking for the same here. Since that is a must for a 5 star review, High Tension falls just short of that. I still think this is a great movie and should be watched by anyone that enjoys a good horror movie, more so if you like something that will make you think, a lot.
4 out of 5 Sexually confused killers
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Oasis Of The Zombies (1983) starts with two women who are lost in the desert. They have a map but are still lost. I never knew there were road maps for the desert but whatever. They stop at an oasis and decide to go walking around. There is close ups of old war guns and the nazi symbol, oh, and a close up of a spider sitting in the middle of its web. They both are attacked by something but we never see what it is. By the way, it is in the middle of the day or at some point in the day. More on this later.
Next up we see Kurt (Eduardo Fajardo) talking to Blabert (Javier Maiza) about 6 million dollars in gold that is somewhere in the African desert. After showing him where it is, Kurt plunges a needle into Blabert and Blaber dies in like 2 or 3 seconds afterwards. That is some fast acting poison! His son, Robert (Manuel Gelin), gets a telegram telling him of the death of his father. He talks some friends into going to Africa with him in order to find the treasure there. He is willing to split the treasure with them you see.
Kurt finds the oasis first and settles in for the night. Of course the zombies show up and this is really the first time we get a look at them. As they slowly walk towards the tent, Kurt's wife (Lina Romay) comes out and screams when she sees the zombies. Instead of running away from them, she runs straight into them. You would think Kurt would try and help his wife, but no, Kurt makes a break for the jeep. Sadly for him though, he didn't bother to check the back of the jeep. There was a zombie that was hiding somewhere back there and manages to bite Kurt before Kurt is able to drive away.
Robert and company arrive at last and take a walk through a market. They eventually spot two guys taking video and recording of a religious ceremony. Ronald (Eric Viellard), one of Robert's friends, walks up to them and asks what are they doing? Yeah, this is what they wanted a recording of I'm sure. Instead of telling Ronald off, they tell him and finish the recording and then invite them all to follow them around. They end up meeting a professor (Albino Graziani) and what I thought was his wife or girlfriend Erika (France Lomay). I guess I was wrong about her because she soon hooks up with Ronald. Either she is just helping the professor or she doesn't care. The professor gets a message about a sick guy found in the desert and they all go to see him. They try and find out where this oasis is and then poor Kurt dies. The locals set fire to him so he doesn't come back to life as a zombie.
The professor and crew head out to the oasis while Robert and friends head to talk to a Sheik (Antonio Mayans) who turns out to be Robort's grandfather. In a flashback to the second world war, we find out that the nazi's are ambushed at this oasis, they had 6 million in gold at the time. The battle was so big that everyone died except for Robert's dad. The Sheik finds him somewhere in the desert and brings him home. Blabert has sex with the Sheik's daughter and they have a son together. She dies from the child birth and Blabert takes his son home to his wife. Here we are told that the oasis is now cursed because no one survived. Wait, didn't Blabert survive? I guess we can't let that little detail get in the way of a curse now can we?
Before heading out to the oasis, the Sheik tells Robert that the zombies only come out at night. Ok lets review something here. The two women from the start of the film were killed by zombies durring the day and now we are being told they only come out at night. Yes, interesting, interesting indeed. Anyways, Robert and friends show up at the oasis finaly and find what is left of the professor and Erika. Actually they are still alive but once night falls the zombies show up again and all die except Robert and Sylvia (Caroline Aubret). The Sheik shows up the next morning and asks Robert if he found what he was looking for. Robert says "Now I finaly know who I am." Good way to find yourself, no?
I thought the effects were slightly better. Only one time does the zombie attack get even a little gross. Kurt's wife gets some of her insides shown, that was the only time anything like that happens though. The zombies look better this time around but still leave a lot to be desired. The makeup ranges from ok to laughable. The dubbing is once again very bad.
How can you NOT laugh at that?!?
Everytime a new group shows up at the oasis we are treated to the same close ups as before. They loved showing us that spider in the middle of its web. Another problem I had was durring the big final battle. They get the idea to make a fire around the tent they are all using. Yes only one tent that I could see. They pour gas around the tent and set fire to it. While this was a good idea since the zombie start to burn and fall to the ground, the smoke from the fire was making it very hard to see what was going on. You would think they would change the camera angle but no they just kept shooting, if the smoke got to thick, to bad for us I guess. As soon as the sun came out, the zombies litterly fade away. All except the ones that were burned anyways. Oh, I most tell you about the Molotov cocktails. In all movies, except this one, when they throw one, the bottle breaks and sets fire to anything the liquid hits. The ones in this movie actually explode!
What else can I say about Oasis Of The Zombies, not a whole lot really. While it made me laugh more than Zombie Lake managed to, I still thought this one really sucked as a horror movie. If you are looking for a laugh then I might suggest this one for you. If you should find it in the cheap cheap bin somewhere, it would be best used to keep those pesty water rings glasses make on tables.
1 out of 5 Flacky skined zombies
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Zombie Lake starts with a woman walking up to a lake and almost right away, starts taking off her clothes. She takes down a sign that basicly says no swimming and jumps on in. After showing her swim around, for like ever, they decide to show us that is a green skinned zombie walking around on the bottom of the lake. This almost felt like an after thought at first. After taking its time tracking her down, he pulls her under a few times and the scene ends with them both struggling against each other. Another woman is attacked a short while later in the town and a reporter looking to take some picture shows up after this. We learn from her interview with the mayor (Howard Vernon) that 30 some years ago, durring the second world war, the German's had control over their town. Durring an attack, one of the soliders manages to save a local woman and she falls in love with him.
They end up with a child but as the German's start to retreat, the town rises up against the German's and kill them. The woman dies soon after this. 30 years later, even though it doesn't look like any has aged any, the German's rise out of the lake as zombies. They bodies were dumped into the lake in order to hide the bodies you see. All that time in the water has only managed to turn their skin green appeartly. Their uniforms look as fresh as the day they were killed. Next up is a volleyball team that stand around in a small circle and hit the ball back and forth for a while. Two of them head to the lake and then the others follow. A bunch of zombies attack this time and then head for the town. While going through the town, dear old dead dad finds the house he remembers his true love lived in and finds his daughter inside. She only looks about 12 years old. Helena (Anouchka) doesn't seem to be afraid this the green skined guy has come walking into her bedroom without knocking first. He has a necklace that his beloved gave to him and he shows this to his daughter. She looks at a picture of her mother that shows the same necklace. He gives her the necklace and protects her from the other zombies. This results in a zombie knife fight, sorta. The mayor talks Helena into setting up her dad and the rest of the zombies so they can save the town folks from being eaten. She doesn't want to but gives in and the towns folk start shooting guns at the zombies at first. After this has no effect (including not even producing a bullet hole, those German's really know how to make a uniform!) they bring in some type of flame thrower and set the zombies a flame.
Sorry to spoil it but I really wouldn't suggest this movie to anyone and this is why. The effects are probably the worst I have seen, ever. The green skin is probably nothing more than greese paint. In one scene, one of the zombies is supposibly biting a woman on the neck. When he pulls away, the skin that is made to look like it is flaking off almost does come off. It sticks to the woman and pulls away from the guy before snaping back into place. I was never able to tell just how many zombies there were supposed to be. We start off seeing just one, then three, then five and then seven. I think only six were present when the flame thrower was brought into play. And no, the zombies weren't being added to by the people they killed. As far as I could tell, those people stayed dead. The zombies would almost always bite people on the neck and you could never see a bite mark until after the zombie walked away, and not always then. The dubbing was just as bad I think.
Speaking of the dubbing, even though it was bad, there wasn't much of it. There are long periods in this movie where no one speaks. At first I thought maybe they got lazy with the dubbing but no, no one truely speaks. There are a few under water scenes as well. The first one didn't look to bad but from there it went down hill and fast. It was very clear that it was shot in a pool. One wall of the pool was covered by a tarp to at least try and hide it but, in a way, that just made it stand out a little more. When the camera pans to follow the zombie, we see an uncovered wall. While this probably does provide a clear shot, brighter and don't have to worry about making the water muddy, it also makes me wonder if the women knew what they were getting into.
If you are the type that will like or dislike a movie because of the amount of nudity in it, you will love this one. In fact, while reading a few other short reviews, I ran into things like, "I would have given this a 1 star but the nudity alone makes it a 2 star." If this movie is any indication, the French don't skimp on nudity. There is lots of it and it is almost always full frontal. The under water scenes often showed the women swimming around and often times there are plenty of shots of them with their legs spread in order to stay above the water. That was funny in its own way. They make it look like they are swimming in deep water with the under water shots and the above water shots are easy to see they are actually swimming around in shallow water.
I was about to end this review but there are a couple of more things I feel I should point out. As an extra, there is what they call an optionally clothed scenes. These are the same scenes that had nudity in them before. Even though there is no sound, it was still fun to watch since some of the scenes had been chanaged just a little bit. There is also a scene (not in the extra's but in the actual movie) where one solider is shot in the eye. He covers his eye and leans back while blood starts to run down his face. Why I point this out is because when he leans back you can actually see the tube that is providing the blood flow. Unless you watch a movie for the nudity, I can't suggest this to anyone, even those that like that 'so bad it's good' movies.
1 out of 5 Hicky loving zombies
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Could it be 100 posts already? I guess it can be. One of the first things I did when I started this blog, was to set the number of posts. I believe the highest number was 999 posts. When I set it to that I was thinking, "There is no way I will ever get close to that number." Again, I would like to thank everyone that has been reading these reviews, and thank you to those that leave me some comments to read. They are really appreciated. I would have started this post sooner but I have managed to lose my keys and it is driving me nuts trying to figure out where they are. I know they are here, I had them when I came in. I just have to figure out where 'here' is. So if anyone finds a set of keys, let me know, thanks!
If you read my 50th post (if you haven't then get to it!) then you know that is wasn't so much of a review as it was me explaining why I picked it as a favorite movie of mine. I would like to do the same with The Blair Witch Project (1999). If you have read any of Jed's comments, you probably noticed that he will make a reference to what he calls, the one puny bone on the ground. He says that because he disagreed with me on this one movie. I'm fine with that, every movie effects everyone differently. He isn't the only person to knock me for my really loving this movie however. Cattleworks also stated that he didn't care for it as much as he thought he would. Some of my other friends have also asked what was wrong with me when I state how much I loved this movie. So this is why. Sit back and read on.
I don't really remember how I heard about The Blair Witch Project. What comes to mind for me is watching the Sci-Fi show called The Blair Witch Curse. If you get the dvd of the movie, the show is included as an extra. I know I had heard of the movie before this, maybe I had caught a trailer for it on tv or at some other movie. Either way, I was excited about the show and made sure I watched it when it came on. The show was made to look real. Interviews with teachers, police, friends and family of the "missing students". The show also goes deeper into the lore and legend of the Blair Witch. This just made me want to go see the movie that much more.
What stands out to me about this movie is the fact that it was the first movie I went to see by myself. By the time I was able to get around to seeing it, all my friends had already gone to see it or didn't want to see it. Since I was really wanted to go see it, I decided I would just have to go by myself. I didn't want to but I did. The place was packed but it did surprise me that so many people showed up to watch it. After all, by then it had been out at least a couple of weeks. As the movie played, I would look around once in a while, mostly to see if anyone else was looking as creeped out as I was feeling. Most of the time when I go to a movie on the big screen, I am used to hearing people talk, scream, anything other than just sitting there. I don't recall hearing anyone at anytime. By the end of the movie I was about to jump up and leave but everyone else was just sitting there, some not talking at all, some talking to each other. So I sat there as well until others finaly started to get up to leave. This also left a bit of an impression on me.
The movie itself is about 3 film students who are making a student film on the Blair Witch legend. They go out into the woods to try and find some of the places that are linked to the legend and get lost. While trying to find their way back to their car, all kinds of weird things start to happen. Doesn't sound all that scary does it? The key to this movie is buying into the lore behind it. If you don't pay attention to the first half hour or so of the movie, you won't find any of the things that happen to them scary at all. While I was sitting there waiting for others to leave, my thoughts were, this wasn't as good as I thought it would be. I still think that today. However, I still love this movie. The main reason why is because it allows my mind to run with it. Never once do we see the witch or whatever it is that is in the woods with the film students. Most of the time we see what they see, we hear what they hear. Sometimes the camera is on but in total darkness. Other times we can see what is happening but the camera is moving so much that it is impossible to really make anything out. While this can be annoying at times, it allows your mind to fill in the blanks.
So there you have it. To anyone that has not watched this one yet. If you get the dvd, please watch The Blair Witch Curse in the extras section before watching The Blair Witch Project. As I stated above, it adds more to the lore and legend of the Blair Witch. I was very glad I had watched it before seeing the movie. I felt the movie didn't get into the lore as much as it should have in order to get the viewer more into the plot. There was a sequel as well. I didn't like it at all to be honest. If anyone who hated the orginal did go see the sequel, I suspect they would have enjoyed the sequel much better since it was more in line with a traditional movie. There have been other movies that tried to capture the same feel as The Blair Witch Project of course. And there have also been your parodies, such as Book Of Babes: Bare Wench 2. Yes I did watch that one that is why I know the title. It is more of a soft porn than anything else. No I didn't know that when I rented it.
I went out and bought this one today. I wanted to watch it again before I started this post. Mostly to refresh my memory but I also was wanting to see about something that cattleworks had to say. He wondered how repeat viewings would be to someone that did like this one. I can honestly say that it still creeps me out. The ending alone gets to me everytime I see it or even think about it. For me, The Blair Witch Project offered up the best ending I have yet to see in a horror movie.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Night Of The Seagulls (1975) starts with yet another flashback to the knights back when they were alive. I guess this would be needed just in case someone should watch this one before the others or needed a refresh on why the knights are such bad guys. The actual story for this is about Dr. Henry Stein (Victor Petit) and his wife Joan (Maria Kosti). They come into a small sea side village to take over as the doctor for the villiage. The villagers basicly do their best to utterly ignore them however. They are hiding a secret you see. The only two that are willing to help them at all are Lucy (Sandra Mozarowsky) and Teddy (Jose Antonio Calvo). Lucy won't talk but Teddy lets things slip a bit and gets pushed off a cliff by some of the other villagers for his trouble. I would go into more detail but that would spoil some of the plot points for those that haven't watched it. Needless to say, it all centers around the ever present dead knights.
The effects for Night Of The Seagulls takes another step back. For the second straight movie, there are very few effects. At the start of the film there is another sacrifice. The woman gets stabbed once, no blood shown. But, the knight works his hand into the cut and pulls out her heart. The heart looked gorey enough but I guess the woman doesn't have a rib cage. Sadly, this was the biggest effect in the whole movie. The dead knights still look the same so no problems from me there. I guess I am just really disappointed since the movies started fairly well as far as gore goes. Since the gore found its way more into the Spanish versions and not the english dubbed versions, I have to wonder if the last two movies had scenes cut since both could only be watched in dubbed versions.
There are many odd things about this installment of the series. After a woman has been sacrificed by the knights, these crabs make their way to the dead body. The director (Amando de Ossorio directed them all and I believe wrote the scripts for them all as well) seemed to like to film these crabs but it is never explained why they get so much film time. The title of the film was a bit of a mystery to me but I learned that seagulls don't fly at night. I don't know if this is actually true but that is what they said in the movie. Yet they there were, flying around in the night. Actually, when they filmed in the open area's it always looked like predawn in all the movies, but we will forgive them for that right? This is explained away by saying the birds are actually the spirits of the sacrificed women.
The big secret is revealed fairly quickly but that just left me with more questions than answers. After an hour into the movie, things start to be explained more, like the big secret. However, this still left me with a few questions. The women in this film also annoyed me at times. Some would faint fairly quickly whenever they would be in trouble. One refused to exit out of a window because she was afraid of falling. Ummm yeah, the knights are about to kill her and she is afraid of falling. The biggest part of the time the sounds the swords made were given kind of a echo sound to it. This was used so much, just not for the swords, that I was getting tired of it very quickly.
There were times I found Night Of The Seagulls interesting but for the most part I found it really boring. I didn't see what others did in this movie. Maybe if one of you is out there reading this you can explain to me what I was missing. It is to bad the series couldn't have ended on a better note. They did give it a happy ending for once though. Did you know that a dead zombie knight, that has been dead for 100s of years, will have blood come out of its eye sockets? Not just a little blood either but a whole bunch of it! I would skip over this one unless you are like me and have to watch every movie in a series. My next post will be my 100th! It will have to wait for the weekend though since the next couple of days will be busy ones with classes starting up again. I could hint at which movie I will talk about being a favorite but that would spoil the fun wouldn't it?!? One last thing to say about Night Of The Seagulls, at least the nudity was back. Wait......did I really just say that?
2 out of 5 Sacrificing women to a frog idol
Monday, September 18, 2006
In The Ghost Galleon, we learn that two models, Kathy (Blanca Estrada) and Lorena (Margarita Moreno), are "stranded" on a boat in the middle of the ocean. They are in radio contact with Howard Tucker (Jack Taylor) who's company built the boat. The whole thing is a big publicity stunt. The plan is that the two girls will be rescued and will tell the press how the boat helped them survive. They are in radio contact just in case something really does go wrong. If so, they have a helicopter on stand by to go get them. Noemi (Barbara Rey) is Kathy's best friend (maybe more than that) and lets her boss Lillian (Maria Perschy) know that if anything happens to Kathy, then there will be hell to pay. Lillian is the person that selected the two girls for this job.
It is around this time that the two girls radio in that they have hit a bank of fog and eventually come across the galleon. Soon after they report the galleon, radio contact is lost. Lorena boards the galleon while Kathy goes to sleep. A little while later, screams are heard and Kathy wakes up but only to silence now so goes back to sleep. After waking up and trying the radio again, Kathy boards the galleon and finds Lorena's stuff but not Lorena. Kathy finds a radio and goes to sleep yet again. She awakes this time to some strange sounds and finds our pals from the other movies, a group of sea loving knights (wouldn't that actually make them sailors?), slowly, ever so slowly, walking towards her. They finaly manage to get her after she manages to fall a short distance and might as well have been yelling, "Help! I can't get up!" The knights pick her up and take her below deck where we once again don't get to see what happens.
After trying to find the two girls by air and failing, Howard and Lillian go and talk to a meteorologist, Professor Gruber (Carlos Lemos). They learn from him about the fog and the galleon. How the fog seems to only appear to small ships, not larger ships, radar or air craft. Every ship that has managed to report seeing the galleon disappeared completely. Gruber talks his way onto the search party since he wants to see this ship first hand. Howard, Lillian, Gruber, Noemi and Sergio (Manueal de Blas) head out to sea in search for the girls. Sergio is Howards assistant, in case you wondered. It doesn't take them long to find the fog and the galleon. Will they meet the same fate as all the others or manage to escape?
The effects in The Ghost Galleon have been the worst yet. The knights still look very cool and the ship did at times as well. They did a nice job of making the ship feel like a real ghost ship. The only problem was, some shots of the boat made it very easy to tell that a model ship was being used. I know this is used in a lot of movies but this had to be the worse I have seen, except the times the movie people don't care if you know it is a model. Maybe this is one of those times but I can't really see that since this whole series has been set to a fairly serious tone. Only one death is shown sadly. It was a nice death as far as the effects went but this one scene wasn't enough to carry the whole movie. More so since the previous two movies had their fair share of gore in them. Noemi gets her head basicly cut off, which ended all the noise she was making (thank God for those little things in movies). Then the knights get to drink her blood.
I was hoping this movie would at least as good as the last one but it came way short. There was a good setting and the knights are always fun to watch, even if they are very slow moving. They try and explain the fog as another dimenson which is why radar can't pick it up. What they failed to explain, or explore, is why only small ships are able to find/see it. There really seemed to be no rhyme or reason to when the knights rise up to hunt those on their ship. All the characters are unlikeable, but Kathy was nice to look at at least. I kind of get the feeling that there wasn't enough money for this movie. It was made within a year after the last movie. Maybe they didn't take the time to get the funding and rushed to get this one out. This one could have been so much better than it turned out. While I have watched much worse, I was just really disappointed in this one. The pacing was slow again and oddly enough, the knights weren't in it as much. Seemed like they were trying for character devolpment more in this one. Didn't work out to well though. At least the ending was good.
2 out of 5 Soggy knights
Saturday, September 16, 2006
This one starts off with a flashback to the 14th centuary. Here we see the knights being captured by the village people for their crimes. This was talked about in the first movie but it said the knights stood trail and were hanged to death. As an example, their bodies were left hanging until crows took the eyes, thus the blind dead. In this flashback, one of the knights swears they can't be truely killed and they will rise again to take revenge on the village. After saying that, the leader of the mob tells everyone to burn the eyes of the knights so if they should return someday they would be unable to find the village. Then the knights were burned to death. On a side note, I don't see why it matters if the eyes were taken by birds or burned out, after 100s of years of being dead, they wouldn't have any eyes to see with anyways.
The guy the village kids love to pick on, Murdo (Jose Canalejas) knows about the legend and has a plan to bring back the knights. He kidnaps a girl and sacrafices her like the knights did (which was also changed for this movie). This brings the knights back to life, not the bell sound heard in the first movie. Meanwhile, the village is in the middle of a festival that celebrates the victory over the knights. Jack (Tony Kendall) is hired to do the fireworks. He was suggested to Duncan (Fernando Snacho), the mayor, by his girlfriend Vivian (Esperanza Roy). Jack turns out to be an old flame of Vivian and she asked for him in order to see if she was making a mistake wanting to marry the mayor. Duncan's right hand man Dacosta (Frank Brana), also has a thing for Vivian. All these men after the same woman and she isn't even all that, all in the eye of the beholder I guess.
The knights first attack a house on the outskirts of the village where Moncha (Loli Tovar) happens to live. She manages to escape by stealing one of the knights undead horse. The horses were around in the first movie and I had wondered if they were also undead or just happen to be kept somewhere near by. This time around that is answered by showing the undead horse more closely. I still don't know where the horses were hanging out at though. After the big attack on the village, a small group holes up in the church where they only have themselves to thank for getting killed. Not all die though and the ending was a bit odd compared to the better ending of the first movie.
The effects took a step up this time around. Not only are eyes burned away but we also are treated to a woman's heart being cut out and eaten. While it could have looked better, it did look better compaired to the first movie. The knights seem to have more swords this time around so there are a lot more stab wounds and another arm gets hacked off. Lots more gore and blood this time around. One thing I didn't talk about in the last review, and should have, was the knights themselves. They looked pretty darn cool. Probably a thin layer of skin left, enough to hold the bones together somehow still and they still have all their face hair! This time around I will include a picture for all to see.
I didn't really understand why so much had been changed for Return Of The Evil Dead. I guess they could always say that what we learned about the knights was just legend that was handed down and it was wrong, this was the true story. They were still drinking blood but this time they collected it in a bowl and passed it around instead of drinking it directly from the body. I was disappointed in the changes, in the end though, I still ended up liking this one. It has a bit faster pace than the first one. The people traped in the church make things interesting for sure with their escape attempts. They did a good job writing in the way they betray each other just so they might be able to get away.
I don't know if this one was filmed on the same location or if they simply reused some of the fotage from the first movie. Some area's looked the same to me. Maybe I noticed it more than most people since I had just watched the first one and then this one right behind it. The changes confused me a bit but in the end I still enjoyed the ride. If you have watched the first movie then give this one a shot to, just remember the changes I talked about. If you haven't watched the first one then no worries, you don't need to see the first one since it is never even hinted at in this one.
3 out of 5 Alternate histories
Tombs Of The Blind Dead (1971) starts off with Virginia (Maria Elena Arpon) seeing her old friend Betty (Lone Fleming) at like a hotel or resort type place. There seems to be a little tention between the two. Virginia introduces Betty to Roger (Cesar Burner), Virginia's boyfriend/friend. Roger invites Betty to go along with him and Virginia on a trip they had planned and she agrees to go. Durring the train ride, we find out that Virginia and Betty knew each other from boarding school and that they had become rather close while there. Roger comes across them while huging and Virinia gets embarrassed over it. She then decides to jump from the train (don't worry, it's not a very fast train at all) leaving her two friends to enjoy the little get away by themselves.
Virginia walks to a deserted village and ends up spending the night there. What she doesn't know is that the village used to be a home to sect of devil worshipping knights. Some time durring the night, a bell starts to toll and the knights rise from their graves in search of a human they can sacrifice. They do this by drinking the blood right from their victim. She eventually falls to the knights and becomes part of the undead. Meanwhile, her friends find out what happened to her and go to a professor (Francisco Sanz) to learn more about the knights. The police happen to be listening in and tell the professor that they think his son is the one who murdered the girl. Roger finds Pedro (Joseph Thelman) and talks him into going to the old village in order to help clear his name. Will they be able to solve what happened to their friend or fall to the knights themselves?
One difference between the two versions is the effects. Most were cut out of the english dubbed version of the movie. Before I read about the differce in the versions, I was going to really knock this movie for its lack of effects. What was cut out was a scene in which a woman is straped down and then cut up by two knights and when given a sign, the other knights start to drink her blood. This was included in the english dubbed version but the diffence is there is some nudity in the Spanish version and some of the cuts are made to look very deep. The down side is that the effect is poorly done. It is easy to see they weren't using a real body, or anything close to a real body, to show the cuts and to show the knights drinking from the cuts. Another scene that was cut was a knight cutting off part of Roger's arm. That effect was actually nicely done. I guess I shouldn't be to hard on the effects since we are talking about a foreign film that was released in 1971.
Was the Spanish version better? Yes it was. It didn't add a whole lot to the movie but it did smooth out some plot points and added a little gore as well. I could maybe see some of the gore getting cut for the english dubbed version but it surprised me to see that all nudity had been cut as well as most of the sexual over tones. There is a flashback showing Virginia and Betty in boarding school. Virginia starts to giggle over a picture of a bride and groom. Betty comes over and puts some of her hair over her lip, points at man in the picture and then at herself. Betty then points at the bride and then herself. End of flashback. In the Spanish version, the flashback is expanded on. It shows them dancing around and then kissing each other. Betty lays back and we see Virginia's hand disappear under Betty's nightie. It was very much hinted at the way it was edited for the english dubbed version but actually shown in the Spanish version.
At one point in the movie, Pedro and Virginia have sex. This was shown in the english dubbed by showing Virginia finishing putting her clothes back on. In the Spanish version she admits to not having sex with a guy before and Pedro basicly helping himself to her. Neither scene was really all that important but did expand on things. I was just really surprised that it was all cut from the english dubbed version. I know there was worse in movies to come from America. Could all this really have been that bad at the time?
Tombs Of The Blind Dead is the first in a four part "horror masterpiece." I plan on watching the other three and doing reviews on those as well. That should take me right up to post number 99. This works out since my 100th post will not be a normal review. See my 50th post if you don't catch my meaning. This movie was a bit slow in places. In fact it never really becomes much of fast paced movie. They did keep it somewhat intersting though in order to keep it interesting enough. While I don't see this one as a "masterpice", it is a good film. Just make sure you watch the Spanish version with the subtitles.
3 out of 5 Sight impaired zombies
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Phone (2004) is about a reporter (sorry if I don't give the names here, it was a little hard to keep track of the different Korean names) who is writing about some sex scandles envolving young girls. She has been getting strange phone calls and emails from someone that is envovled with the story she is writing. She tries to go into hiding, in thanks partly to her sister. She changes her cell phone number but is still getting strange calls, they are different now though.
Then one day, her neice answers the phone in her place and gets a very strange look on her face and starts to scream. From then on, she acts pretty weird and really steals the movie from the other actors. Meanwhile, the reporter is trying to solve the mystery of the phone calls and discovers that two people before her had the number and both died a little mysteriously. As she delves deeper she finds out who orignally had the number and that is when the twist and turns of the plot really take off.
Phone doesn't use effects to much in order to get the story across. The only effects I can really pick out is when a character would see the ghost. I complained about the lack in effects in My Bloody Valentine but that was a slasher, slashers should have blood in them, after all, people are being killed in them. Phone is more of a supernatural mystery. It doesn't need a lot of blood to get the point across.
The acting seemed to be pretty good. In truth, I have a hard time judging the acting when i have to read subtitles or it is being dubbed. The little girl seemed to be the stand out. She did a great job of being very care free one moment to out right creepy the very next. The only problem I had was not with the acting but with the subtitles. Someone would be looking at a sign, book, article...anything with words. Very rarely would the subtitles tell us what it says. Maybe it had nothing to do with the story but it still would have been nice to be able to know what they were reading.
I didn't try to hard to figure out where the plot was taking me. I just sat back and let it go. Maybe if I had tried I would have figured it out before the big reveal, then again, maybe not. There is a lot of twists to the story. By the end it all falls into place. The director and the editor did a good job in not revealing to much to soon in order for us to figure it all out. I did manage to figure out at least one twist before it happened. Even then, I wasn't sure if that was the direction the movie would take. At least one reviewer said that there was a lot of loose ends to the plot but I didn't find that at all. I felt it wraped itself up nice and neat by the stories end. Fans of foreign movies will find parts of this movie take from others. Almost all movies borrows from others now days so might as well get used to it. As one director said, "It isn't the idea but how it is executed." In this case, they did a great job with it.
4 out of 5 Vengeful ghosts
Saturday, September 09, 2006
The Forsaken (2001) starts with Sean (Kerr Smith) being hired to drive a car across the country in order to be delivered to the owner. Along the way he picks up Nick (Brendan Fehr). As they get to know each other a bit they discover a young woman who appears to be in trouble. Sean doesn't really want to get involved but Nick forces him to. Turns out that Megan (Izabella Miko) has been bitten by a vampire and is changing. While trying to help her, Sean gets bitten by her. Nick informs Sean that he also has been bitten but has been taking drugs that slow the virus. Nick has been searching for the vampire that orignally bit him because if you kill the vampire that started the virus, you kill the virus within you. He thinks that Kit (Johnathon Schaech) is that vampire. Will they be able to kill one of the forsaken and get their humanity back?
The Forsaken doesn't offer much as far as effects go. There are a lot of shootings that are well done. A shotgun to the head of a vampire didn't go to well for the vampire. What surprised me most of all was that there are none of the usual vampire effects. Not once do we see fangs. In fact, the majority of the time, the vampires use guns to kill people. The only time they show someone being killed in a more vampire way is when Kit punchs his fist through a mans chest with the mans heart in his hand. That looked pretty darn cool. When the sunlight finds a vampire, it burts into flames and they did a fairly good job with that. Maybe to many sparks at first though.
Some people seemed to have a problem with the acting. I didn't see anything all that wrong with it. There is nothing outstanding about it but I have seen worse, a lot worse! The leads all do a good job. Izabella Miko is who most pick on the most but in all fairness, she wasn't given a lot of lines to work with. Her biggest scene was actually cut from the movie. Maybe that doesn't seem like a good thing. After watching the scene (included as an extra), it was an alright scene but I didn't like what they did with her voice to much. Phina Oruche plays Kit's side kick. And Simon Rex plays the still human Pen that drives Kit and Cym around durring the day.
The Forsaken offers up a little twist with the vampire lore. I will let you watch the movie in order to get the full explaination but the basic part of it is that there is a group of vampires, known as the forsaken, that are the very first vampires. I'm not really sure why they threw in the virus as well. I guess just as a way to truely explain why people are turned into vampires. Just one real complaint, the flashbacks are a bit confusing. They are shown in quick and short sequences. This is fine but they are so short and go by so fast that it is actually a little hard to put it all together. The Forsaken is a bit action packed. Not as much as Dog Soldiers but still has a lot of action in it. I'm not sure every vampire fan would like this one. If you like action mixed in with the horror then you might want to give this one a try. For what it is, I enjoyed it. It isn't one of the best vampire movies out there but it isn't all that bad either.
3 out of 5 Fangless vampires
Thursday, September 07, 2006
My Bloody Valentine came out in the heyday of slasher movies. Released in 1981, it followed the success of Halloween and Friday The 13th. It is often acussed of being a rip off of those two movies but I have to disagree. There is a mostly quiet killer as in the other two movies but the story and setting set it apart somewhat from those that came before. My Bloody Valentine takes place in Valentine's Bluff, a mining town. The town is getting ready for its Valentine dance but there is a problem. Someone doesn't want the dance to take place. 20 years before, a group of minors were traped in a cave in due to an explosion. The supervisors on duety skiped out to attend the dance, they could have stoped the explosion from happening. 5 weeks later they find the traped miners. Only one, Harry Warden, remained alive. He had been eating his fellow miners and was stark raving mad. A year later he returned to Valentine's Bluff and killed the two that was resposible and gave a warning. If the town ever held the dance again, he would return and kill more people.
The mayor decided that 20 years was long enough and decided to throw the dance once again. Two days before the dance, he gets a bloody heart in a candy box, with a warning about the dance. The next day (Friday the 13th actually), after another murder, the mayor decides to cancle the dance. A group of miners, and their girlfriends and wives, decide to have their own little party anyways. This doesn't please Harry to well. But, is Harry the killer? Or is someone else doing the killings now?
If there is one thing that is serverly lacking in this movie, it's effects. From what I have been reading, My Bloody Valentine came under the watchful eye of the movie ratings people and they had to trim at least 9 minutes from the film in order to keep an R rating. Because of this, almost all the murders take place off screen and we see very little of the after effects. This being a slasher movie, one would expect some blood and gore but that has mostly been cut out here. It isn't often that I feel a movie would be better with some effects added but this has to be one of those movies. The killer looks very cool. The mining outfit, mask and all, really makes him look very creepy. One of the best looking killers I thought.
The cast did a nice job. The acting felt a little over the top at times, but not bad enough to take away from the performance to much. There is a nice little side plot that turns out to be a love triangle. T.J. (Paul Kelman) left town suddenly and wasn't able to make it on his own so now he is back. His ex, Sarah (Lori Hallier) is now with T.J.'s best friend Axel (Neil Affleck). That is something that set this one apart some. We are only in this town for three days but we see their lives. We see where they work, what they do after work. We get to know them a little better than most slasher movies allow.
As much as I loved this movie, I just felt it was missing a little something. That something being gore. There is a great setting, the final showdown happens in the mind itself which is poorly lighted so adds a lot to what is happening. A decent cast and a decent plot. I don't mind if there isn't much as far as effects go but My Bloody Valentine offers almost zero for effects. The heart in the box was very nice. A lady found in a drier was also very nice but it just wasn't enough for me. Hopefully there will be a uncut version of this movie someday and I can judge it again. As it stands now, I will suggested to all my horror fans that like slasher because this is truely one of the better ones out there. Don't let my rating fool you, I just think if it had just a little more gore, I would have loved this one instead of just liking it.
3 out of 5 Breaking my bloody heart
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
The Faculty puts us in a high school and we meet 6 of the students. There is the school paper reporter Delilah (Jordana Brewster). The misunderstood girl, who everyone thinks is a lesbian, Stokely (Clea DuVall). The new girl in town Marybeth (Laura Harris). The also misunderstood guy, who is also the trouble maker at the school, Zeke (Josh Hartnett). The football jock Stan (Shawn Hatosy). And last but certainly not least, the shy guy, the school paper photographer, Casey (Elijah Wood). Delilah and Casey are messing around in the teacher lounge when they happen to see the football coach (Robert Patrick) and Mrs. Olson (Piper Laurie) attack the school nurse (Salma Hayek). They soon figure out that aliens are taking over the school and the town and are looking to expand. It is up to these 6 to stop it. Can they do it in time or will they also be taken over by aliens?
Since this was one of the bigger budget movies of its time, the effects look very well made. Not a lot of blood to be found the CGI effects looked great. For a change, the effects add to the movie, help tell the story, instead of simply being there to wow us. The big mother alien was a bit over the top but didn't take away from the over all feel of the movie. In truth it is a mix of a lot of genres. Horror, sci-fi, throw in a little but of comedy as well. The acting is also well done. Nothing that will win awards but all characters were fleshed out just enough to give us an insight as to what made them tick. Adding to the cast would be John Stewart, Famke Janssen, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth and Daniel von Bargen. No "major" stars but still a very nice cast.
As I said before, I liked this one but I feel it falls short as a horror movie. The more I think about this film, the more I feel like it borrowed a lot from The Thing. An alien life form taking over the human host, not knowing who is still truely human, using a test to find out who is human. In this movie, the alien needs water to help it survive. So everyone that becomes an alien suddenly starts drinking a lot more water. While this would certainly seem a bit odd to me, I don't think I would jump to the conclusion that an alien life form was taking over everyone. It is discovered that a drug (never named but its a white powder that is sniffed) dries out the alien and kills it. The only draw back is that it appears to kill the host as well. It's not often we see drugs being used in a positive way.
The basic plot is there. I just never found The Faculty to be scary. Entertaining yes, but not scary in the least. The other problem I have is that the alien mother (for lack of another way to describe it) is one of the 6 we get to know. I found it out of place that it just happens to get into the group that manages not to become infected right away. If you are looking for a scare then look elsewhere. I had fun watching this one. It made me laugh a couple of times and I really enjoyed the effects. Worth a watch, just remember it isn't a true horror movie. Go watch The Thing if you want that.
3 out of 5 Aliens stole my teachers!
Monday, September 04, 2006
Dog Soldiers is about a squad of soldiers that go out for a little war game with the special ops unit. When they find this other unit though, they can see something very bad has happened to them. There is blood everywhere. A few other body parts as well. They find one person that is injured somewhat badly but still alive. They soon find out that they are up against a pack of werewolves. As they try to get away they come across a woman that is willing to help them. She takes them to a house where they hole up and prepare for a long night. What follows is a lot of gore, a lot of action and a very good movie.
Not to many low budget movies will take on a werewolf movie. Lets face it, there requires a lot more effects when it comes to werewolves to say, vampires. That being said, Dog Soldiers offers up so very nice effects. What is being offered up as gore here is usually not seen but in quick shots. This was fine with me, I know I could have paused and checked it out better but most times I like the quick looks. This often leaves things open in my mind more than what would have done if we are faced with it all in front of us. The werewolves are the same way. Biggest part of the time we never see the werewolf full on. Even when we do it is never for a long period of time. It's not that they don't look great, because they do. There are some still photo's that are shown durring the credits that give a better idea of what the werewolves looked like full on. Some movies make the mistake of teasing us with what the creature looks like, once it is shown, it shows to much. This was not the case in Dog Soldiers.
Another nice thing about this one was the acting. Everyone does a very nice job with their rolls. However, some people will have a problem with the heavy accented english. This was a British film, 'nough said. Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Liam Cunningham, Thomas Lockyer, Darren Morfitt, Chris Robson and Leslie Simpson play the soldiers. Emma Cleasby has the honor of being the only female in the movie. Well the only major female. There is one at the very start but she doesn't last for very long.
Now for the bad news. Bad things don't always equal a bad movie. The werewolves are very big and very strong. But they can't seem to push a door open with a person against it. They nail wood across the windows and this manages to keep out the werewolves for the most part. I was rather confused by Emma's big secret. To me it came out of left field and wasn't explained very well why the secret didn't come into play sooner than it did. These are not major flaws but did make me go huh? just a bit. If you like action movies then I have to suggest this one for you. Yes there is the horror element but it is still high on action. To me there aren't enough good werewolf movies out there. Ginger Snaps is another great indy flick that does a great job with what they had. That one is more of a true horror movie. Dog Soldiers falls squarely into the horror genre as well but it mixes the action genre in with it. This makes sense since there are soldiers in the movie. It isn't forced, like some movies go about it in order to make the movie more appealing to a wider fan base. A must watch for all horror fans.
4 out of 5 Bad dogs
Friday, September 01, 2006
Killer Instinct (2000) has to story lines running through it. The movie switches back and forth between the two and then tie together at the end. The movie actually starts with something of a third story that ties into the other two that run the entire movie. It starts with a man being hunted down by a big crowd of people. We later find out that he has escaped an insane asylum and killed 8 people before the mob hangs him. 15 years later is when the two main plots work themselves out. One plot centers around a group of friends having a big camp fire and talking about spending the night in the old insane asylum that actually looks more like a house then an asylum. Since there is no power in the house they light up candles, I mean hundreds of candles. Where they got so many candles is something that is never explained. They start to play a game where they take off their underwear and put it in a bag. Each person hides one garment somewhere in the house. The person that finds the most, or their own, wins. Little do they know there is a killer in the house and they start to be picked off one by one.
The second plot is about a bigger company trying to take over a smaller company. I know, strange plot to include but it does work itself into the other two plots. Jennings (Corbin Bernsen) owns the company that is trying not to be taken over. Sarah (Dee Wallace) is the person in charge of the take over. Once she figures out that Jennings won't sell, she starts to explore the history of the land the factory is built on and finds out some interesting things.
There was only one effect that caught my eye. That was when a one was glass mirror, above a bed, was broken and impaled the guy tied to the bed. Other effects include: a guy being boiled to death (we only see the aftermath of this), a head being cut off, another throat being cut, and a woman sorta being blown up. The worst effect would have been the head being cut off. I was really disappointed in how that looked. In the defense of the movie though, IMDb says that Killer Instinct was shot over a 20 day period. I don't know a lot about movies but, this seems to be on the low side for shooting a movie.
I had no real complaints about the acting. Did the characters do stupid things? Sure they did, that had nothing to do with the acting though. The cast inside the asylum includes: Paige Moss, Jeanine Meyers, Bridgette Brooks, Andrea Langi, Scott Roman, Tim Carr and Larry Beyah. They all did a nice job really, nothing great and nothing special about it but at least none of the was really bad either.
There are some big time plot holes in Killer Instint. We eventually find out who is doing the killing but I will need to watch it again sometime to see if it really made sense in the long run of the movie. There were times when the killer had on different clothes. Did the killer really have time to be changing clothes without anyone else noticing or missing the person? It appears that the killer either lives there or had been there a lot. Traps had already been set up. There are video cameras recording things even though no one ever notices the cameras. They appear to be set up in every room so I would have thought someone would found at least one. We know there are cameras set up because every once in a while our screen turns into one. There is a frame and a flashing record light in the corner. We are never told why they are there, why things are being recorded. I can assume the killer is using them, but again, when does the killer have time to check it? While none of this really takes away from the movie, it did make me wonder a lot about it.
I can't say I loved this one but in truth, it isn't all that bad. I would love to know where all the candles sprang up though. Can the reproduce faster than rabbits perhaps? Nah. Anyways, the three plots tie together nicely at the end. My real problem with two plots going on at once is there was some bad editing at times. The third plot (with Corben and Dee) didn't really need to be there at all. The information brought forward there could have been done in a shorter way so I felt like that plot line was there to make the movie slighty longer. All in all, not a bad little slasher movie.
3 out of 5 Bondage fetishes