Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Do I really need to touch on the plot? Not too many horror fans have yet not to watch at least the original movie. Ok, I guess I will a little bit. Robert (Liev Schreiber) and Katherine Thorn (Julia Stiles) have a little boy. Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) might be the son of the devil himself if the prophices are true. There you have it, in a tight little nut shell. There is a lot more to it than that though, trust me. That is the main plot that runs through the film.
The effects are done nicely as you would expect. The deaths are the same, but have been changed just enough to make them somewhat orignal for this movie. Death by hanging starts things out. The priest (Peter Postlethwaite) still gets his due outside of the church. The photographer (David Thewlis) still loses his head but in a different way. The nanny (Mia Farrow) has a different death. There are some people that ripped on the effects, but I liked them well enough. I liked how they changed the deaths to keep them the same but also different as well.
The acting is...flat. Maybe I was expecting too much from these actors, but I just felt they could have done a lot better job then what ended up in the movie. It wasn't often that they seemed to show that they were getting into the character. It has been a long time since I have watched the original movie, but I seem to recall that Damien was a very creepy kid when he wanted to be. In this version he isn't all that creepy. In fact, he barely even talks at all. I can only remember one line that he spoke until the final sequence. Peter Postlethwaite and David Thewlis are the only two that I felt were getting into their roles somewhat.
Remakes tend to fall into one of two groups. You have some remakes that are a complete overhaul of the story. The basic story and its characters are still there, but that is about all that you will still see. Think The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The other group is where things have been changed, but you will still see a lot of the original picture inside this new one. Think The Hills Have Eyes. The Omen falls into this second group. There are a lot of scenes that are lifted straight from the orignal. Even the lines said are still the same. It has been updated to fit more into today's times. You will see images, at the start of the film, that will show this.
In all, it isn't too bad of a remake. It is nicely shot and edited. Some of the added stuff is nice as well. This could have been one of the better remakes, but because of the acting it falls short. The music is a complete overhaul as well. I liked the music in places. I felt it did its job of building tension at the right places, but it didn't stand out like the music did in the original movie. I hate to keep falling back and compairing it to the original movie, but it is hard not to do that. I try to take each movie in and appreciate or hate it for that movie's own reasons. I enjoyed this one but if I was given a choice, I will take the original every time.
3 out of 5 666s
Deep Red starts off with a murder that is seen through someone's eyes, a child actually. Many years later we meet Marcus (David Hemmings). After talking to his drunk pal Carlo (Gabriele Lavia), Marcus watches his neighbor, a famous psychic (Macha Meril), being killed. She is killed because she sensed a killer among an audience that she was speaking to. Marcus rushes up to help, but it is too late. He tells the police everything but he feels he is missing something important. He meets a reporter, Gianna (Daria Nicolodi), who writes up a story saying that Marcus knows who the killer is. While Marcus did see someone walking away from the building, he certainly doesn't know who the killer is. Or does he?
After an attempt on his life, he decides to try and find out who the killer is on his own. Everyone that he gets to help him or tries to get help from, ends up dead. Sometimes before he can even talk to the person. How has the killer managed to stay one step ahead of him? Could it be someone he knows? Why do people in movies always try and solve things on their own, instead of letting the police handle it?
The effects are pretty good. There are a few slasher moments with a meat cleaver. Some people go so far as to say that Blood Red helped inspire slasher movies. To me, they have always been around in one form or another. Just by the late 70's and early 80's, we were starting to take it to the next extreme. Another person gets her face held into some very hot water. There was a mistake here and I have noticed the same mistake in other films that use this type of death. The woman is trashing around and trying to pull the hands that are holding her head in the water away. The mistake is this, the face is always blistered by the time the scene ends but the hands are not. They aren't even red most of the time. I realize the hands aren't in the water nearly as long. But if the water is truely as hot as they are trying to make us believe, then the hands should still show signs of this. It isn't something that ruins a film for me, but it always bugs me when I notice it. Another scene is of someone getting their mouth/teeth pushed onto corners of different objects. Talk about an ouch moment! And a couple of bad things happen to not one, but two different heads.
I thought the acting was pretty well done too. The voices are sometimes dubbed and sometimes in subtitles. I think, I don't know for sure, this is because this is a longer version of the movie, that was allowed through to American theaters. That version had some cuts to it, and this one is the uncut version. So, I'm thinking the parts that were added back in are simply subtitled, so as not to have different voices doing the dubbing. I enjoyed David Hemmings acting. He was funny at times but not overly so, and his wise cracks seemed to work fairly well.
I enjoyed Deep Red but I think it will take a second viewing in order for me to enjoy it more than I already do. Not everything made sense, and there seems to be some plot holes that have left me a bit confused. Plot holes are something that most people tend to complain about, when it comes to Argento movies especially. I thought I knew who the killer would turn out to be, and was off base this time around. The blood is something that bothers some people because it is a bright red. It almost looks more like paint at times instead of blood. I took this in stride, because that is pretty much the norm for Argento. Most of his movies seem to have a lot of color to them.
This wasn't one of my favorite movies, but I did like it. Maybe after I watch it again someday down the road, I will enjoy it a little more. Even though it is always nice to see an uncut movie, I felt this one ran too long. At just over 2 hours, it seemed to drag a little in places. Worth checking out, more so if you are an Argento fan.
3 out of 5 At least it wasn't another Fulci film
I really wish I would pick better movies to start things off like this. I decided to finish off my Netflix movies while waiting on my friends to get ready for tonight. The next one in my small pile is another Fulci movie. I didn't know it until after I had watched the movie, but this was a made for TV movie. Now that I know that, the movie makes a little more sense. At the same time, I was surprised by some of the gore that was shown, even though it was made for tv. Guess they will show more over there than they will here.
The Sweet House Of Horrors (1989) is actually a very misleading title. Sure some stuff happens in it that could justify the title, but over all I would have to say it is way off. A couple comes home and discovers their house is being robbed. The robber (Lino Salemme) tries to make a break for it, but the husband (Pascal Persiano) stops him. After a bit of a struggle, the robber gets the upper hand and kills the couple. They leave behind their two children. Carlo (Jean-Christophe Bretigniere) and Marcia (Cinzia Monreale) are some family members that move in, so they can take care of Marco (Giuliano Gensini) and Sarah (Ilary Blasi). They decide to try and sell the nice big house. When realtor comes around, he has a nasty little accident after a stair seems to move on its own, which causes him to fall down the stairs. At first I thought it was a evil kids type movie, but in fact it turns out the parents are reaching out from beyond the grave in order to still be with their children.
The effects, as I said, are a bit surprising. The dad gets the back of his head beat in by a door frame. Hair and other things stick to the door frame making it look pretty gory. The wife gets her eyes smashed by some blunt kitchen tool. I don't really know if it was enough to kill her, but she dies all the same. While this was both well done, it felt out of place. The wife's death more than the husband. I just felt like they were doing it that way for the sake of gore. I mean they are in a kitchen, more than likely the death would be by a knife. Other effects include a burnt hand and a melting wax hand! That was exciting, let me tell you. Some other effects that don't include gore would be two floating candle flames and a blueish type...mist, I guess that was supposed to be the ghosts. This was all done badly. It was easy to tell the flames were added in later, since the children were talking about them but not actually looking at them. The dubbing was really bad. I think for the voice of Marco, the person doing the voice over was actually changed, since the voice sounded different towards the end.
The problem with this movie is how it seems to change genres as the movie plays on. We start with an ok beginning to a horror movie. Then it switches to something of a suspense movie, trying to figure out why things are happening in the house. Then it switches to almost a fairy tale, once we see the flames and come to realize it is their parents. Once again it switches as the killer comes back as the gardner, and the ghosts take revenge on him, kind of. Then it switches one last time to be more of a comedy. Once in a while they will throw a horror effect in, just to remind us it is a horror movie I guess.
A weak script, bad dubbing...who could ask for more right? I don't know how the ratings were on this movie, but I'm sure they went down as the movie played on. It didn't start off all that great, and just took a nose dive from there. Unless you are looking to watch every movie Fulci made, I would stay away from this one.
1 out of 5 Kids laugh at the darndest things
Monday, October 30, 2006
Anyway, it is almost here! The best day for us horror fans is almost here! Tomorrow I only have one class to go to, so my plan is to watch and review as many movies as I can. I might have to take a small break for trick or treat, since the college is allowing kids to come to selected areas to get candy, and students are encouraged to give out some candy. Always fun to see what people dress up as anyway, so I might go do that for a bit. I wasn't sure if I should watch a movie tonight or save it for tomorrow. But I had to watch at least one movie to get me ready for tomorrow.
The New York Ripper (1982) is another Fulci movie. This makes my third review of a Fulci movie, not second, unless I am just confused again and have another review in here somewhere of a Fulci movie. Lt. Fred Willams (Jack Hedley) is hot on the trail of a seriel killer, who stands out somewhat because he(?) talks in a voice of a duck. Yes a duck. I am starting to think that Fulci has a thing for ducks (see last review as well). The killer is going around killing some beautiful women. The killer starts to call the Lieutenant and taunts him, even at places the cop can't figure out how the killer would know he was at. One woman, Fay (Almanta Suska), manages to get away with her life, and points the police at a man that followed her off the subway. The Lieutenant gets Dr. Paul Davis (Paolo Malco) involved to try and gain some insite into the mind of the killer. Can they figure out who the killer is before it is too late?
Unlike the last movie I reviewed, The New York Ripper has plenty to offer for effects. The women in this film are cut up pretty badly, and it can be very graphic. One woman gets cut up inside a car on a ferry. I realize the ship's horn will cover up some of the screaming but come on, someone had to hear something. Another woman gets a broken bottle in her private area. One of the last deaths is also the most graphic. The killer, using a razor blade, slices open one woman through her mid section, nipple and eye. While some of it looked slightly on the fake side, it still made me squirm some. I had to cut this movie a little slack, considering it is an Italian movie and filmed in the the early 80's.
The acting, well I'm not sure, as I always have a hard time judging acting when the voices are dubbed over. The dubbing isn't all that good here however. I'm not good at reading lips, but sometimes I could swear the actor was speaking in English because it seemed to follow along with the lip movement just right. That may not have been the case though. The characters are fairly developed, and there are a few side plots to go along with the main one. They don't really have anything to do with the main plot, but they eventually tie into it, by at least one person in the side plot being killed by the murderer.
Even though The New York Ripper has a close feel to a giallo, this one felt more like a horror movie, than most giallos I have watched in the past. By the end of the movie, I felt like I was missing something though. I don't mean this in a bad way mind you. I was trying to figure out if there was more than one killer and/or people working together. Maybe Fulci meant this to happen, or maybe I am just trying to read too much into it. I wasn't the only person that felt this way though. The film does have its share of short comings, but I still enjoyed it. It caused me think about things, even now. Too many of the characters are seen too often around the same area too many timeso for it to be a coincidence. That is how I see it anyway. Another coincidence, or maybe it isn't, is that a show about Jack The Ripper is on tv as I am writing this review. So, not the best movie for sure, but worth looking into at some point I would say.
3 out of 5 Quack, quacks!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Speaking of masters of horror, today's movie was directed by one such person. I guess it depends on who you ask, but in some circles Lucio Fulci is considered one such person. Even though I have watched a couple of his films, this will be the first time I have reviewed one. Don't Torture A Duckling (1972) is one of Fulci's earlier works. Fulci is known to his American fans for his movie Zombie, because it has a lot of gore in it. This movie is more of what they call a giallo. In my mind, that is usually a thriller with some added gore to it. I don't really see these as horror movies, but they are often listed as such.
Don't Torture A Duckling is a movie about someone who is killing young boys. The movie opens with Maciara (Florinda Bolkan) digging up some bones of a baby. A little later we find out that she is considered a witch of sorts, and has set a curse on three boys. When these boys all turn up dead she takes the blame for it. Patrizia (Barbara Bouchet) is a rich girl, who is hiding out in this small villiage because she is involved in a drug scandal back home. She was born in the villiage, so her father sent her back there to get her out of the public eye. She is very care free and loves to flirt. Not only with the men, but also with the young boys that are starting to take notice of her. There is also Don Alberto Avallone (Marc Porel) the villiage priest, and his mother (Irene Papas). A newspaper reporter (Tomas Milian) is trying to solve the murders along with the police. Which person is killing young boys and why?
Unlike Fulci's later films, Don't Torture A Duckling doesn't have a lot of effects to offer. One person gets attacked by some people with some chains and such. The group thinks the person in the killer, so take the law into their own hands. This was a pretty good scene. I don't know how much damage a chain could do, but it cut up this person pretty good. The only other gory part of the film was at the end, when the murderer is killed. This scene and a scene that shows a boy that has been drowned (floating under the water) were almost laughable however. The acting seemed to be pretty good. The dubbing could have used a little more work, but then it isn't often that dubbing works completely.
This is one of those films that I have a tough time deciding on a rating. I liked the way the characters are devolped, and the plot kept me fairly interested, enough to keep watching without getting too bored. This movie reminded me a lot of another movie with a similar plot, Who Saw Her Die. Because of that I was able to guess the who and why of this movie and, I was right. That and some of the poor effects are what is causing me to consider giving it a lower rating, than I debated. If you like giallos, then you might want to check this one out. Other reviewers who are into giallos, consider this one to be one of the better ones. I, on the other hand, didn't find it to be much of a horror movie.
2 out of 5 What is so shocking about killing kids anyways?
Saturday, October 28, 2006
In The Baby, we are introduced to Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer), who is a social worker, and has become very interested in the Wadsworth case. Mrs. Wadsworth (Ruth Roman) and her two daughters, Germaine (Marianna Hill) and Alba (Susanne Zenor), are taking care of a grown man simply know as Baby (David Mooney). Baby is Mrs. Wadsworth's son and she claims he is, and always will be, a baby. Between her and her two daughters, they take care of Baby. Ann feels that Baby is much smarter than he appears, and that his family are the ones that are keeping him in this baby state. She spends a lot of time trying to prove this. So much time in fact, that even her boss complains that she is not spending enough time on her other cases.
We find out that Ann is correct after all. Baby becomes somewhat sexual with a babysitter. The babysitter gets pretty beaten up by the mother, and is possibly killed by the sisters. Ann tries to get Baby to stand at one point, and later we see Germaine punishing him with a cattle prod, telling him that babies can't stand or talk. So maybe Baby is a normal man, who is just trapped in this state of mind by his family. Why does Ann have such an interest in Baby though? Does she truly want to help him, or is there some other reason?
Being a PG movie, I wasn't expecting too much as far as effects go. There are a few minor effects. There's a little blood when the babysitter gets beaten up. There is also some blood around the neck to give the appearence of a cut throat, and a knife sticking out of a back. Nothing great but again, it is rated PG after all. The acting was actually pretty good. Ruth Roman was very good, and should be ranked right up there with the other great demented mothers. The sisters are pretty creepy as well. The characters are scripted well, but they seemed to send mixed singles at times, and that was a little confusing to me.
I don't know how to list this movie. They market it as a horror movie, but I don't see it as one. True, there are some killings to be found, but they are all done off screen, and killings don't make a horror movie anyway. If that was the case, we would be seeing a lot of action movies being marketed as horror movies. While The Baby kept me interested in the plot, I just wanted to see why Ann seemed so obsessed with Baby. I figured it had something to do with her husband. We never see him, and sometimes when brought up, she reacts in an odd way. She looks at pictures of him, and always seems sad during those moments. But why the big interest in Baby? This all leads up to a show down between Baby's family and Ann. The reason for her interest is at last shown to us. Some people have described the twist ending as shocking or jaw droping. I found it...rather stupid actually. From my view, I don't think the ending fits in with Ann's character up until that point. Maybe I am wrong, but I just felt it didn't work. I can't really say I would suggest it to anyone. But who knows, maybe you would be more interested in it than I was.
2 out of 5 Big hair women
Monday, October 23, 2006
Hitcher In The Dark (1989) is about Mark Glazer (Joe Balogh), a man that seems to have trouble letting go of his feelings for his departed mother. It seems he loved her very much, but his dad didn't. Mom runs away with some other guy when Mark was 10. I'm not really sure if she ever came back, but it is clear that he has mixed feelings about his mother. He does love her, but at the same time, sees her as a slut since she ran off with some other man. Mark has been traveling along, picking up any woman that has her thumb out. When we are first introduced to Mark, he picks up a woman, and then that night we find her in the back of Mark's RV with her throat cut.
After getting rid of the body, he pulls into a camp resort, and sees Daniela (Josie Bissett) catching her boyfriend Kevin (Jason Saucier) kissing another girl. Of course Daniela isn't too happy about this, and decides to leave. Mark offers her a ride, and soon drugs her so she falls asleep. Mark claims he picked her up because she looks so much like his mother. He even goes as far as trying to have sex with Daniela, but in the end, he can't. Like most guys with this problem, he wants something more, but thinks all women are sluts. Meanwhile, Kevin is trying to find out where Daniela has run off to, and has some amazing luck doing just that. Will Kevin be able to save Daniela, or will he simply get them both killed?
Even though Hitcher In The Dark is a movie about a serial killer, there are little effects to speak of. We never see the woman getting her throat cut, just the after the fact effect which looked alright. There are a few other cuts, and the word pig gets carved into a chest. I also shouldn't forget to talk about when Mark gets a fork plunged into him. What was funny about that was, even though a police officer makes a comment about the blood (to which he makes a lame excuse, and of course the police let it slide), he wears the same shirt all day. Holes in a shirt with blood all around it. No, that won't draw any eyes towards it.
The acting was alright, but could have been better. Umberto Lenzi, the director, seemed to really like both the lead actors. Joe Balogh didn't go on to do much. He did appear in another movie that I reviewed, Black Demons. For Josie Bissett, this was her first acting job. She is good, but there are times I felt she could have been better. She has gone on to bigger things, most noteable is Melrose Place. I never had too much of a problem with the acting, I have watched a lot worse than this. Some of the fight scenes could have used a lot of work though. Did I say some? Make that all the fight scenes.
Hitcher In The Dark falls short, because of the story in my eyes. It gets rather boring watching Mark drive around to place to place, then stop and talk or fight with Daniela. It was interesting to get into Mark's head once in a while, but the long periods between those scenes just don't make them worth it. The ending of the movie made me feel cheated as well. Umberto Lenzi says he shot a different ending, and explained what it was. But even that ending didn't feel right to me. I have no idea how I would have ended the movie, but I felt disappointed by what the ending shown, mostly because of the way it was edited. He also said this movie could have been a master piece. I don't know about that, but I do feel, if done a little differently, it would have been a much better film.
2 out of 5 Shooting blanks
Monday, October 16, 2006
Eaten Alive (better know as Mangiati Vivi actually) starts with three guys being shot by darts. As far as I know, we are never told why. If it was explained, then I missed it and I'm sorry for that. After the last guy is killed, the man blowing the darts is hit by a truck and dies. A film is found on him which shows a woman that has been missing. Sheila (Janet Agren) has been looking for her sister, and finds out that the film was shot in New Guinea, so off she goes to find her sister. Once there, she hires a guy, a Vietnam deserter, to help her find her sister. Mark (Robert Kerman) agrees to do it for $100,000. Why so much? Because big sister is in the middle of the jungle, with cannibals all around the area. It turns out that Diana (Paola Senatore) has joined a Jim Jones type cult. Jonas (Ivan Rassimov) uses some sort of drug to keep everyone under his control, and when Sheila shows up, he wants her in the cult as well. Diana wants out and with the help of Mark and a native girl, Mowara (Me Me Lai), they try and make a break for it. Will the members of the cult kill them, or perhaps the cannibals?
Eaten Alive does offer some very gross effects. It shows some skinning and gutting of animals. I don't know if this was actual effects, or really being done. There are also a few scenes of humans being gutted, and some even being eaten alive by cannibals. Some of the effects looked very nice. A couple of people that are eaten alive, are shown with a few limbs missing. That is what looked very nice. The cannibals eating the missing limbs, looked pretty fake. Not the eating part, that looked pretty gross. But the limbs themselves looked too yellowish and fake. Over all, the effects will make some people turn away.
The acting wasn't all that bad, but nothing great will be found here either. At least the characters are smart this time around. For the most part anyway. I never understood why people throw their only weapon at someone, and then run off when not out of danger yet. Ivan Rassimov was probably my favorite actor for this movie. He was pretty creepy as the leader of the cult, and just like Jim Jones, when the police show up, he orders a mass suicide. In an interview on the DVD, he said that it was probably his favorite role up till that point, because he got to play the bad guy for a change.
I don't know about this film. It was alright I suppose, but it just didn't really do anything for me. Maybe it was the plot. Maybe it was the somewhat slow pacing that did it. Or maybe it was the violence against the women. I don't normally complain about that, but in Eaten Alive it seemed like a woman was being back handed everytime she turned around. It didn't bother me when seeing a woman being eaten by the cannibals. I know they might have done this on purpose for the film. But a cannibal, a true one anyway, probably doesn't care if his/her food is male or female. Maybe the effects alone can be worth watching. But in all honesty, I can't suggest this movie to the average horror fan.
2 out of 5 Being painted with gold paint
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Black Demons starts out with Dick (Joe Balogh), being put down by his sister Jessica (Sonia Curtis) and her boyfriend Kevin (Keith Van Hoven), for believing in voodoo. Dick is looking for someone that can show him a voodoo ritual and finds such a person. He starts to record the ritual using a tape recorder, a necklace is put around him, and he is given something to drink. After this he passes out, and then wakes up back in his hotel room. They all head out, going to travel to the next town (this all takes place in Brazil, if you was wondering). But, wouldn't you know it, the jeep breaks down. Luckily for them, Jose (Philip Murray) and Sonia (Juliana Texeira), happen to be back packing close by and offer to take them to their house, which isn't too far away.
They meet the housekeeper, Maria (Maria Alves), who picks up a strange vibe from Dick and soon sees the necklace he wears. She tries to counter the "black magic" on her own, by making a voodoo doll. That night, Dick wakes up in almost a trace, and makes his way to a graveyard, that feels like is right next door, since no one ever seems to walk to far too get to it. He starts to play the tape, and falls to his knees. Fog rolls in and graves start to open. Turns out that through him, a voodoo priest has raised 6 slaves, that died after they tried to run away from their owners. They are out seeking revenge now, and can only be returned to their graves after they kill 6 white people.
Not a lot of effects here, but what there is are fairly good. The zombies (not true zombies since they don't eat anyone, but then that is something that the movie created for them I think) are well done even though I would have thought they would have a more rotted look to them. There are a couple of nice eyeballs being pulled out of the socket. What I didn't get about this is the zombie was using a hook, swings at the person and all the hook manages to get in the eyeball. Can a zombie really be that skilled? The only effect that I didn't care for is when someone got an axe (if I remember correctly) to the head. It just didn't look all that great to me.
The plot was fine in my book. I have watched movies with less plot, and ended up still liking them a lot. The acting is what really hurt the movie. Not only is it bad acting, but it is a bad script as well. Lenzi places the blame on the film not working firmly on the acting. He offers up excuse after excuse: the location was a stressful one, the leading actress (Curtis) isn't the one he actually hired, the guys didn't get along personaly. Bad actors are simply bad actors, nothing you can really do about that. When you get a scene like when Curtis is running away from one of the zombies, and falls to her knees for no apparant reason, and simply stays there yelling for Kevin to come save her, I can't blame that on bad acting. That is bad story telling and/or bad directing.
The above scene is just one example. Some of the lines given to the actors are badly done or badly executed as well. Jose seems to know that the zombies have to kill 6 white people before they can rest again. Isn't it amazing how just the right person happens to be there, with the right information? Anyway, Kevin is trying to make sense of this and says, "Wait a minute! This doesn't make sense because there is only five of us!" Way to go Kevin, you can count! Perhaps the zombies will go somewhere else for their sixth kill, or perhaps they will just wait around for someone to come by. There are also lines like:
Jessica: "There is no way we can kill the undead."
Kevin: "Yes there is."
Good sized pause
Things like that I can blame on bad acting. That isn't what makes this movie fail though. Sure it helps, but it isn't the only reason. The movie itself is a bit slow, and the characters aren't all that smart. Their jeep gets stuck at one point, and since they can't drive it out of the rut, they decide to take off on foot. There are four people, ever heard of pushing? Dumb things like this, and also one of the worst death scenes I have watched on film, is what made this movie fail in my eyes.
2 out of 5 Jessica giving blondes a bad name (is that possible? just kidding)
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Alucarda (1975) happens to be a movie that has some moments that would make me think that it was....I don't want to say bad so I will settle on not so great. I will get into this a little later. First, lets get into the movie and see if it is anything you would even be interested in. Alucarda is about two girls basicly. Justine's (Susana Kamini) parents have died and she is going to live in an orphanage/convent. There she meets Alucarda (Tina Romero) who almost seems to appear right out of the shadows. It is unclear but I think Alucarda is into witch craft a bit. Very quickly Alucarda attaches herself to Justine. They become very close and it very much hints that they eventually become lovers as well.
They come across a crypt that looks interesting to Alucarda, she doesn't know it but she was actually born in this place. She tries to get Justine to make a blood pact with her but Justin is unsure about it. They open one of the coffens that is in this place and Alucarda loses it. A little later, back at the convent, a gypsy (Claudio Brook) appears and helps the girls make their blood pack which I think also helps them become possessed by the devil. Alucarda and Justine begin to come involved in orgies and speak about the devil to the nuns that take care of the orphans. The nuns and Father Lazaro (David Silva) try and step in in order to save the girls. Can they do it or will Satan win out?
Netflix (yes I finaly got some movies from them) listed Alucarda as a foreign movie but I wasn't sure where it came from until I started watching some of the extras. It comes out of Mexico. As far as I am aware of, this is the first horror movie I have watched out of Mexico. You can watch it one of two ways, dubbed in english or watch it in spanish. From what I understand, the spanish track has better sound effects but it isn't subtitled at all.
The effects could have been better I suppose but there was nothing I could complain about all that much. I just kept telling myself it was a movie released in 1975 and a foreign film so the effects, while good, can't compete with some of the American films of the same time period. Alucarda can be a bloody movie at times. A nun thought to be dead, has her head start to be cut off and comes back to life at that moment. That was probably the bloodiest and biggest effect of the movie. Another scene is when they are pushing a nail into Justin in order to try and get the devil to leave her. It is easy to see the nail is only pushing the skin in just a little while blood runs down the skin from that spot. After a couple of times of this they make the mistake (to me anyways) of showing a close up and we can see blood goes pretty far back on the nail. Trying to give the impression the nail was being pushed in more than just the tip in other words. It was obvious it wasn't going in so why try and fool me otherwise?
The acting was a real joy to watch. Some people complained about the dubbing but I felt there was nothing all that wrong with it. Tina Romero's acting can boarder on silly at times. Just the way she can thrash about at times. It almost goes to over the top and some people say that is because of the dubbing but I have to disagree some. She is really thrasing about sometimes and while it could make me grin just a little, I understood at the same time that it was in part due to the possession. During a scene when the Father and the nuns are trying to exorcise the devil from the girls, the way the nuns acted did make me laugh out loud the first time they showed it. Tina French is Sister Angelica, a nun that is a bit over protective of the girls. Birgitta Segerskog rounds things by playing the Mother Superior.
Alucarda mixes in a bit of vampire lore as well. There are no true vampires, didn't see anyone with pointy teeth walking around. However, holy water burns Justine, to the point that it kills her. The nun who has her head removed hints at it as well. There is one other scene but to talk about it would spoil the ending so I will leave it out. Alucarda eventually is able to burn people by a mear thought. So there is a movie of Carrie as well. Almost every movie will borrow from others, some more than others. This has never bothered me all that much and I didn't really even see that in Alucarda until the movie had already ended. One complaint from other reviews was that there is a lot of screaming. I have to admit that there is a lot of it to be heard. Maybe this would bother me if the movie really sucked but I barely noticed it a lot of the time here.
I can't hold it back in longer. I loved this movie. Yes you read that right, I loved it! Even with its faults, boarder line acting and scenes that could have been explained just a little more to help solve some confusion, I found myself being drawn into the movie more and more as it played on. Even though I had a small complant about Tina Romero, over all I loved her performance. She is a very pretty woman which just adds to the performance. I'm trying to find the right words to explain why I liked her so much and I'm having a hard time doing it so just believe me on this. I don't normaly go on and on about a performance so that should be a big clue how much I liked her. The nuns themselves look a bit weird, never seen a nun dress like they do in this movie. The convent almost has a cave quailty to it. There is actually a few things that come off a bit weird but that is all part of its charm to me. I liked this movie so much that I jumped online to order it. If it wasn't for my rule about feeling a little scared by the movie, this one would be a 5 star review. A must see for sure!
4 out of 5 Levitating nun
Friday, October 13, 2006
Now for the review. Tonight I (we actually) watched Dark Water (2005). I watched the Japanise version some time ago and thought it was an alright movie. Not one of the best out there but it was an ok movie. If you are interested, you can find it under the same name, it was released in 2002. I'm not here to review it but it would have been given my middle rating. Dark Water follows pretty much the same story that the Japanise version did. There are some differences which include the ending.
Dark Water is about Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly). Dahlia has a young daughter, around the age of 5 or 6, named Ceci (Ariel Gade). Dahlia is going through a custody battle with her ex-husband Kyle (Dougray Scott). Kyle wants her to live closer to him so he doesn't have to go as far to pick up his daughter (personaly I thought he should be glad he could even go get her but what do I know?), he threatens to take her to court if she rents the apartment that she has been looking at and so on. She meets Mr Murray (John C. Reilly) and takes a look at the apartment. She thinks it is to small for the money ($900 a month) but Ceci seems to really want to live there. Ceci didn't like the building but after being in the apartment and seeing a leak, she suddenly changes her mind about it.
Ceci goes to school and starts to have some problems there thanks to her imanginary friend Natasha (Perla Haney-Jardine). This worries father and mother alike and the father is worried Ceci is having mental problems like his ex-wife. It seems that Dahlia also comes from a "broken" family and suffers from it even now. The leak in her apartment keeps getting worse and sometimes she hears someone running around in the apartment above her but is assured no one is living there. Will she be able to figure out what is going on and figure out who Natasha is before it is to late?
All the effects have to do with water. Sorry, no blood and gutes to be found in Dark Water. Instead we get water, water everywhere! Lots and lots of water. Just like the original Japanise movie. Most reviews complain about it because they don't find it scary and it isn't to tell the truth. But, it is key to......well, I can't actually tell you why it is a key to the plot, just watch and see.
The acting is pretty good. Jennifer Connelly always seems to give it her best in every movie I have watched that she was in. Both of the child actress's do a fine job as well. Tim Roth plays the part of Dahlia's lawyer. Pete Postlewaite is the creepy fixeruper type guy. And we have Camryn Manheim as Ceci's teacher. I had no complaints out of the acting. Natasha wasn't as creepy but I thought this was the fault of the film as compared to the acting of the part.
In the original Japanise version, we are given a glimpse of the life of Natasha and through that we understand better why she is doing what she is doing. In the American version we aren't given so much of a glimpse into her life. What we get instead is a more fleshed out Dehlia. Excuse me for using the American names instead of the Japanise versions of the names but I think everyone can still follow along that has watched only the Japanise film. We are showen Dehlia's past, how her mom was towards her. In a way, we are given a glimpse into Natasha past by seeing Dehlia's past. I don't think most reviews picked up on this though. Natasha identifies with Dehlia because they had similar experiences in their childhoods.
Dark Water is a ghost story at its core. I felt they could have used the ghost a little more in order to set up the mood better than what they did. Most of the time when I watch a remake of a Japanise movie done here, I end up liking the American version better. I did like this movie, don't get me wrong about that. I just think the Japanise version wins out. Not by much but it still wins.
3 out of 5 Loves water but not when it is black
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Night Creatures (1962, know as Captain Cregg in the UK) is about Captain Collier (Patrick Allen) leading his men into a small England town to investigate the claims of smuggling. The man that gave him the tip is found dead. The towns folk claim it was the swamp phantoms that frightened the man to death. Can he get to the bottom of the mystery and that of Captain Cregg?
Short description, sorry about that. But there really isn't a whole lot to this story, which is what hurts it. The swamp phantoms are pretty easy to spot as people in costumes. The towns people are using it to scare people away from what they are truely doing, smuggling liquor. Some of the shots of the phantoms do look very cool. Sadly though, they are only used for a short time towards the start and end of the movie. There is over an hour worth of film between the appearances.
The acting is the true gem of the movie. Peter Cushing plays Rev. Dr. Blyss. No monsters for him to hunt here. He seems to be enjoying himself as well. Yvonne Romain plays a serving girl who has a secret that even she doesn't know about until late in the film. Oliver Reed and Michael Ripper round things out. Actually there is a fairly big cast, but these are the main players. Everyone puts in a very good performance, it's just too bad there wasn't more to the plot.
While I really enjoyed the acting, I didn't see this as much of a horror movie. If they had done more with the phantoms I think I could have enjoyed it much more. Even though it was easy to tell it was a put on, some of the masks did look very well done and seeing them partly disappear in the dark was a very nice touch. Hammer fans seem to swear by this movie. Me, on the other hand, found it rather boring. Sorry. I know there are some truly great films that came out of Hammer, I just don't feel this was one of them.
2 out of 5 Scarecrows with real eyes is pretty creepy
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
House On the Edge Of The Park (phew long title) starts right away with a rape scene. Alex (David Hess) sees a girl that he met at a club and just about wrecks them both trying to get her to stop her car. He jumps in and pushs her into the back seat, rapes and kills her. We don't actually know that she dies but she looks it. Later, never told how much later, we see Alex getting ready to go out for a night at the club again with his friend Ricky (Giovanni Lombardo Radice). Ricky seems a little bit on the slow side at times.
Tom (Christian Borromeo) and Lisa (Annie Belle) are having car troubles and pull into Alex's shop. Turns out the fix is easy enough and Alex somewhat invites himself and Ricky to the party that Tom and Lisa were heading to. They go to a very nice house, all the people, including Tom and Lisa, are very rich. Howard (Gabriele Di Giulio), Glenda (Marie Claude Joseph) and Gloria (Lorraine De Selle) are already there. They quickly start to make fun of Ricky a bit and get him to start dancing and to do a little strip dance as well. Alex gets upset at this and puts a stop to it. They invite Ricky to play some poker with them and get him to start drinking while Lisa hints to Alex that she is going upstairs to shower. She puts on a little show in the shower and really teases Alex and then leaves him hot and bothered. Meanwhile, Ricky is being taken at the poker table. They are cheating somehow and end up taking all of Ricky's money. When Alex notices this he gets upset yet again and Tom and Howard move to attack him which Alex easily fends them off. After this he starts to beat up the guys and humilate the women. This goes on for a good while until Cindy (Brigitte Petronio) shows up. Alex starts to humilate her and figures out she is still a virgin. He assults her and when Ricky tries to interfer, Alex cuts him pretty bad. This all leads to a twist ending.
As far as effects go, there isn't much to talk about. The guys get beat up some and of course they show the effects which do look real enough. Cindy gets cut up with a straight razor (Alex's weapon) and some reviewers said that this was done with the blunt end of the razor. I didn't happen to notice that. While the effect only leaves streaks of blood, I thought it was probably the most disturbing part of the whole movie.
The acting wasn't the best here. Of course the movie was dubbed, which seemed a little funny to me since I know at least Hess can speak English. I know this was probably done on purpose but the rich people are very hard to like. It was very hard to feel sorry for them at all. The fight scenes are very lacking. If that is the best they can do then they deserved to be beat up. The only person I ever felt sorry for was Cindy since she just happened to come over at the wrong time.
House On The Edge Of The Park is close to Last House On The Left. I do feel though that it can stand on its own. It is funny that Hess ends up being in both films playing almost that same character. The movie is supposed to show the dark side of people. Not just the already bad Alex but also that of the rich people. Even though Alex forces himself on Lisa, she seems to enjoy that. She fights a little but then just gives in completely and even goes along with it. Ricky wants Gloria but can't bring himself to force her into sex. At one point, when Cindy shows up, she makes a run for it. Ricky goes after her and eventually finds where she is hiding. After convincing Gloria that he doesn't want to hurt her, she has sex with him. This seemed very out of place to me.
I don't normaly do this but the twist ending was another reason I didn't care for this movie. So if you want to watch it on your own and not know, turn away now. The twist is that this was all a set up. The woman who was raped at the start of the film (turns out this was or would be Hess's wife Karoline Mardeck) was Tom's sister and he set all this up in order to get revenge. Two thugs "break in" and in the course of defending himself and his guests, he kills Alex. Tom reveals this in the last 10 minutes of the film to Alex just before they kill him. I'm fine with the twist really but what I don't understand is why go through almost an hour of hell, getting beat up, watching your friends being humilated, watching another friend get cut up, before acting out the revenge?
While not a bad film, it just isn't my idea of a true horror movie. I liked Last House On The Left more because I felt very uneasy after watching it. Wes Craven also added just a pinch of horror to it as well. Being held against my will and made to do things would be very scary to me in real life. In a movie it always makes me feel lacking, I'm not scared since I know it just an act being put on for all of us watching it. Last House On The Left felt more raw and therefor real. The characters were also easier to indentify with. House On The Edge Of The Park (in the trailer they swap the words On and Of around making a funny title) is an ok movie but not one I really enjoyed. The interviews with Hess and his wife (they would not talk about her being in the movie at all) and Radice are probably the best things on the dvd, at least I enjoyed them more than the movie itself.
2 out of 5 Hoping the next movie will have a shorter title
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
In Night Of The Demons, a group of friends are getting ready for a party on Halloween night at a place called Hull House. Hull House is a run down funeral home. Judy (Cathy Podewell) and her boyfriend Jay (Lance Fenton) are heading there. Angela (Amelia Kinkade, Mimi in the credits) is holding the party for everyone. Her best friend Suzanne (Linnea Quigley) is always worried about how she looks. Stooge (Hall Havins) is the somewhat fat guy that they all call Hog. Max (Philip Tanzini) and Frannie (Jill Terashita), are best friends of Judy. Sal (Billy Gallo) is Judy's ex-boyfriend. Roger (Alvin Alexis) and Helen (Allison Barron) help round things out. Is that everyone? I believe that it is.
After they party for a little while, Angela comes up with the idea to have a seance. All this manages to do is awaken the demon that was sleeping peacefully. Suzanne becomes the first person to be possessed by the demon. It uses her to kill the others and it also manages to control those that have died. The house is surrounded by an underground river. They let us know fairly early that demons can't cross over running water, so the question becomes - who will be able to cross that running water?
The effects are top notch for this movie. Steve Johnson does a great job here. There are many different types of deaths that have left people talking over the years. The effect that has left people talking the most is when Suzanne pushs her lipstick into her breast. This is one movie I don't want to talk about the deaths too much, since it is more fun to see them for yourself. The movie itself, along with the acting, isn't always the best but it gets the job done. For some reason it all seems to fit together rather nicely.
I think most people went into this movie expecting it to be your typical 80's horror movie but walked away with a whole lot more. Some of the things the characters do are questionable, but they aren't bad enough to take away from the movie. One small draw back is how some of the characters reverse themselves. By this I mean the way they act. Might start out nice but then turn into a real jerk or vice versa. This isn't always the case though. I'm guessing the writer was trying to throw in some twists to keep us guessing. Some great effects, not great but certainly not bad acting and a fun plot make this one a must see. There is some comedy here and there but it is never forced and plays into the characters. This isn't a comedy movie however, just a horror movie with a little comedy mixed in with it. Not as great as I remember it being but then time has a way of doing that.
4 out of 5 Funky looking demon
Monday, October 09, 2006
The House By The Cemetery opens with a woman (Daniela Doria) with no shirt on. She is getting dressed while calling out to her lover. She finds him all bloody and dead hanging on a door. As she is screaming, someone plunges a knife into the back of her head that comes out of her mouth. Switch to Bob (Giovanni Frezza), a little boy that is looking at a photo of a house. In the photo we can see a girl holding the curtains back and looking out the window. We find out later that this girl is Mae (Silvia Collatina). Bob's parents are about to move to somewhere outside of Boston. Norman (Paolo Malco) and his wife Lucy (Catriona MacColl).
Mae warns Bob not to come but he has to since he is just a kid. While Mae is waiting in the town, she is looking in a store window and we see a forshadowing of a death. We soon discover that Mae is actually a ghost. Her and Bob can seem to talk to each other. No one else can see or hear Mae it seems. Once they get to the house we are introduced to Ann (Ania Pieroni) who is the live in babysitter. The house (same house as the woman was killed in at the start of the movie) was once owned by a Dr. Freudstein (Giovanni De Nava). This name pops up a lot and becomes very important.
The effects are true to horror. I have to say that since a couple of the last few films I have reviewed were falling short as horror movies to me. This one falls squarly into the horror genre thankfully. There is a lot of blood here and some of it gets pretty gory at times. Not a lot of deaths but the effects for the deaths they do show are always well done. We can see some of the makeup at times but since this is a bit of an older film, I am more forgiving for that. We are treated to a couple of cut throats (or simply ripped open), death my a fireplace poker, and a room full of various body parts.
The dubbing (even though it was shot here in America, it is still a foreign film) isn't to bad except for when it comes to Bob and Mae. They used adults trying to sound like kids so can be rather annoying at times. One thing that really bugged me wasn't so much the acting as it was that the writer and/or director never gave these characters much for common sense. Lucy is taking pills to help with her nerves and just leaves them all scattered on the table. Guess she doesn't care if her son should happen to come in and decide to take them. Another scene we have Norman, and later Lucy, trying to turn a key with a knife. The locks use the very old big keys still, no one had bothered to change any of the locks in all these years I guess. So when a key doesn't want to turn, Norman grabs a knife, sticks it into the rounded open area at the end of the key and tries his hardest to get it to turn. Who in their right mind would try that with a knife of all things?
The house is very old. It dates back to at least 1915. That is when Dr. Freudstein's wife died. I don't think we are every really told this in the movie but the casting on IMDb confirmed it for me. Mae was his daughter. This all plays into the plot and, what I thought, the bad ending. Another thing that bothered me was peoples reactions to things. Ann cleans up a very long streak of blood off the floor after someone had been killed and draged through the house. Lucy asks what Ann is doing and even looks but there is no reaction from her at all. All Ann says is that she made coffee and Lucy goes straight for it. I felt that Ann knew something about the house, she takes off a board that was nailed across the basement door. When Norman sees her doing this he says Ann's name in a sharp way. What follows is the camera going back and forth between them, neither saying anything. Then Norman walks away. Another time, Bob is trying to get out of the basement but can't. The zombie (sorry but that is what it is) holds Bob's head against the door while Norman tries to axe his way through the door. Does Bob yell out to his dad in any way in order to warn him? No! I know the kid is young but come on. The zombie seems to be able to open and close doors without ever touching them which is pretty odd for a zombie.
I really enjoyed the gore in The House By The Cemetery but my enjoyment ended there. I was glad to see plenty of gore but the rest of the movie draged it down to much. Bad dubbing, bad characters and a few plot lines that just didn't make a whole lot of sense. It was directed by Lucio Fulci. I have liked some of his films and been disapointed by others. This happens to be one I was disappointed by. If you are wondering, the house is really next to a cemetary so at least the title relates to the film.
2 out of 5 Zombies crying like children
Sunday, October 08, 2006
In Strip Nude For Your Killer, Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo) is a photographer for a modeling agency. Magda (Edwige Fenech) is also a photographer and often helps Carlo. Lucia (Femi Benussi) and Patrizia (Solvi Stubing) are models. Gisella (Amanda) is the owner. Someone starts to kill people that is in a certain photograph and all of these people are in it. Shouldn't be to hard to figure it out then right? The only thing is, no one but the killer seems to realize that everyone is in this one photo. Will Carlo and Magda figure out what is going on or just add to the body count?
The plot really is that simple. At the start of the movie we see a woman that dies but it was hard to know why she died. Turns out, as we learn towards the end, that she was having an abortion and died from a heart attack durring it. The killer blames the model agency and seeks revenge. I'm guessing the agency pushed this woman into having the abortion or she felt she needed to in order to keep her job.
The effects were mostly just a little blood through out the film. There are times when more was added. The killer would mutilate the body in some way but we never really see this until it was getting closer to the end of the film. Gisella had her ears cut off for example. The last two murders we see even more. I couldn't tell what they used to make the effect here but the man that was murdered had his privates all cut up and the woman had one breast all cut up. Actually there was nothing that looked like those two things. They tried to make it look as mutilated as possible and did an ok job with it.
I have a tuff time enjoying these types of movies because, to me, they aren't true horror movies. Most of the time they don't even come close. I guess you could almost call this one a slasher but with so much nudity (even comes close to being a soft porn at one point) and the plot being more of a thriller, it is hard to like from a horror movie stand point. As a thriller it isn't a to bad of a movie. As a horror movie, Strip Nude For Your Killer falls well flat.
2 out of 5 At least they didn't kill the blow up doll
Saturday, October 07, 2006
The Other Hell (1980) has some strange nuns in it. It starts with two nuns talking over the corpse of other nun. One is saying how the vagina is the 'gateway to hell' and starts to mutilate the corpse. Then a pair of glowing red eyes appear and the same nun kills the other nun and then herself. Because of the deaths, Father Inardo (Andrea Aureli) is called in to figure out what is going on. He, like the nuns, thinks it is the work of Satan himself. Only one nun is willing to talk but she starts to bleed from the mouth. While the Father is blessing the convent, Mother Superior Vincenza (Franca Stoppi) begs the Father not to bless the attic. Before he can really find out why and move on, Sister Rosaria (Paolo Montenero) screams as she sees her hands and feet change as the stigmata begins. When everyone rushs to see what is wrong she is then found dead. The Father tells the Bishop (Tom Felleghy) about what he thinks is going on but the Bishop doesn't really believe it. So he sends Father Valerio (Carlo De Mejo) who believes the devil is only in peoples minds. He truely believes that it is an actual person that is doing the killings, not Satan himself. Will he live to find out the truth?
A lot of people talked about how gory this movie was. They must have been watching another film. While there is a lot of blood to be found, I wouldn't call any of it all that gory. Maybe I am just used to todays movies that can really push the limits of gore on screen. Father Inardo is burned to death. It must have been one hot fire since he is reduced to bones in a short time. Another person is bit by a dog in the neck. That is about as gory as this one gets. The acting looked to be over the top even without the really bad dubbing.
The truth behind it all is a girl that has special powers. So it isn't Satan, or is it? The glowing red eyes appear to be from a devils head. We are never shown what it looks like but that was the impression that was given. A lot of things, and I do mean a lot, went unexplained. While I don't want everything served to me on a silver platter, there are times when a push in the right direction would be nice. The plot makes sense as long as you don't think on it to much. There were some interesting ideas here but never carried out in a way that would have made this movie much better. If you like horror movies with nuns then check out The Other Hell. If you can care less then you won't like this movie.
One thing I found funny was one of the reviews I read for this film. It was a short review but still made me laugh.
There's something hugely entertaining about nunsploitation... It must be because we grew up holding them in such high regard as children. However, this film reveals what goes on behind closed convent doors - the nuns worship the devil, conduct orgies in the basement, and indulge in murder. It makes perfect sense.. Yes, mistress, I mean Sister...
I found this review funny because they must have left all that out of my movie. I didn't find any devil worshiping, certainly no orgies and the murders weren't conducted just to indulge. At least I don't think the person was indulging in it. Even though the person seemed to really like this one, it was given a 3 star rating. I didn't hate this one, I liked some of the ideas, just wish it would have been better done. I found out after I watched this one that the same director did Hell Of The Living Dead, that should have told me a lot. Another complaint for me was the music score. A lot of people seemed to like it as it was done by Goblin, who is well known here in the States for his score on Dawn Of The Dead. His music seemed out of place in The Other Hell to me. I wasn't alone in that feeling but I am in the minority. Going by the over all Netflix rating, most people have felt the same as me, if you go by reviews though, most liked it. Figure that one out.
2 out of 5 Obvious use of a plastic doll in place of a real baby
Friday, October 06, 2006
I wish I could give this one a real review but there is just one problem, I couldn't understand a word that was being said. I watched the entire movie anyways. I could figure it out for the most part but it is so much easier when you know what is being said. There are no options, just play movie and chapter selection. This was the second movie of the double feature dvd I was telling you all about yesterday see. There are subtitles so you are probably wondering why I just didn't read those right? I was trying to but you see whoever edited the movie cut the subtitles off in must places. There are two sets, I assume the first was Japanise and the second was English. At the start of the movie most of the english subtitles were cut in half. That is a pain but at least I could make it out for the most part. Then about 20 minutes into the movie, they disappeared off the screen completely. Once in a while, when something long was being said, I could read some of the subtitles. Then the problem was this, they are somewhat translucent so blended in very well with anything white and most other colors as well.
As best as I could figure out, this is Here Comes A Vampire. A group of people, 5 men and 4 women, are bing trained to be police officers. Some scenes are taken straight out of the Police Academy movie. One of the trainies pretends to be an officer and tries to get one of the women's phone number and get her to show her thighs to him. Later on he puts on a shower cap and a long bath robe, much like in the Police Academy movie, in order to go meet the women. This movie seemed like it was trying to be more of a comedy than a horror movie. One night they start telling scary stories and stuble on a Ouiji board (looks a lot different than all others I have seen) and decide to give it a try. The use a saucer (named the spirit of the saucer as seen in a rare glimpse of subtitle) with a red line marked on it. In the overhead shot it was funny to see 9 hands touching this small saucer and yet they still knew what the saucer was pointing at. They manage to release the spirit of a female vampire.
The spirit possesses one of the males later that night. He goes around biting people here and there until the spirit is knocked out of him by a bracelet that looked like it was made from yarn. It then possesses one of the females until it is knocked out of her, this time by a strip of paper with writing on it. This time the spirit is no longer, it is a real person yet again. The vampire chases after the trainies, some take her on a run while some of the others try and figure out how to kill the vampire. The ones that are distracting her take her through the training course. One such object is the wall they jump up on, pull themselves over and drop down the other side. When they come to this, they all do just that. While watching this I was thinking, wouldn't it be easier and faster to just run around it? Only one person, and the vampire, does just that.
To kill a vampire in China, all you have to do is throw strips of paper with writing on them and then shoot the paper. The paper will then burst into flame and no more vampire. Much easier than staking them right? The effects, besides the burning vampire, are nothing more than a little blood coming out of the vampire's victim and a little smear of blood on the neck. I have no real idea about the acting on this one at all. Since I have no idea who was who in this movie, here are the people that was in it. Joanna Chan, Charlie Cho, Tat-wah Cho, Andy Chi-On Hui, Meg Lam, Billy Lau, Yuk-Ting Lau, Sandra Ng Kwan Yue and King-Tan Yuen. That was for you Mike since I know you don't like a review without the names of the actors in it. What I do to please the fans!
As I said before, this was trying to be more comedy than horror. Dumping a bucket of milk on the vampires head when she opens a door is not taking it very seriously. Even if I was able to read the subtitles, I really don't think I would have enjoyed this one any more than I already have.
1 out of 5 Vampires that can't decide to float or actualy run
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Fear or L' Ossessione Che Uccide, as it was titled in its orignal langue, is about an upcoming actor Michael Stanford (Stefano Patrizi) who has a bit of a haunted past. After just finishing a movie, he decides to take a break and visit his mother (Martine Brochard). Taking his girlfriend Deborah (Silvia Dionisio) with him, he heads home. Oliver (John Richardson), the butler, helps him get settled in and tell him that his mother has been ill. Shirely (the mother) wakes up and finds her son. Right away they seem to be rather close to each other. More so than normal I mean. When Deborah comes in and Michael introduces her as his secretary! Hint to guys, that only pisses us off.
The next day some of the people he worked with on the film shows up to talk over their next project. Hans (Henri Garcin) is a director and a somewhat sleezy one at that. His assistant, Glenda (Anita Strindberg), and the leading lady from the last movie, Beryl (Laura Gemser), also show up. That night someone tries to kill Beryl by drowning her in her bathwater. Then later on Deborah has a wild dream. It involves a big black spider web that she couldn't see until she ran into it even though there was a big fake spider right in the middle of the black web. Bleeding skulls and a black mass are also included. But it was all just a dream, or was it? After this people start to drop like flys. It wasn't all that hard to figure out the who but I was having trouble with the why.
The effects are pretty laughable most of the time. There is an axe to the head, a very fake head that didn't come close to looking like the actor but it was a quick shot so maybe you won't catch on. A chainsaw to the throat. This looked rather fake as well and if you are going to cut someone throat open with a chainsaw why not just go ahead and cut all the way through? This half ass crap has got to go! The dubbing wasn't to bad for once.
I was pretty bored through the biggest part of Fear. I like a good murder mystery, more so when they throw in some horror elements to add to it. This one was not a good mystery. At least there was some character devolpement which some big budget movies fail to do. I won't say any film titles The Cave, I wouldn't want to single out any. Normaly I like a movie that starts somewhat slow and builds from there but this one never really got going until they started to explain the why of the murders. Most felt this is when the movie fell apart and enjoyed it up until then. For me I didn't like the movie until that point but it wasn't enough for me. Slow plot and eh murders. There are a lot better movies out there.
2 out of 5 Evil mothers
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Hell Of The Living Dead (1981) is more or less a Dawn Of The Dead rip off. Male and female reporters and a swat team of four. Only thing they left out was the mall. Maybe because New Guinea doesn't have a mall. That is where the movie is supposed to be taking place. There is a very big chemical plant there called Hope. You know, as in "Hope there isn't a chemical spill" and "Hope I don't die today". Up in the control room it sounds like more of a sci-fi film from all the different noises they add for all the different little lights on the control pannel. Oh and there is this buzzer that is going on and on. I'm telling you now, if I ever work somewhere that is like this, they wouldn't have to worry about a chemical spill but a very mad employee. Two guys are walking around checking for any leaks. One guy is holding what looks one of those things people use to check for radiation. He finds a leak because the needle starts to climb. It could be that he is just turning a dial that is causing the needle to climb. I had to laugh at that. "Hey look, the needle is going off the chart!", he says as he turns the knob and the needle moves when the knob moves. Soon after he finds a dead rat that comes to life and manages to get inside his containment suit, yeah that would work just great if chemicals actually did spill. His buddy just stands there and watches while the other guy dies from this rat and the zombies are born.
Then we are introduced to the swat team. They are trying to free some hostages from some group that wants the Hope plant shut down. They manage to kill all these people. At one point they get one of the guys to put his gun down and then another swat guy jumps in from behind and slits the now unarmed man's throat. What a good group of guys! After this we see them in the jungle awaiting orders and talking about the jeep they had to steal, oh sorry, borrow because stealing would be against the law. Ok, killing a man that gave up is good, stealing a jeep is bad. Everyone clear on this? Great!
Eventually they all get to the Hope chemical plant. When asked what the plan is, the answer is "I don't know but we will figure it out when we see it." So basicly they are just wandering around and fighting off zombies once in a while. There is stock footage of the natives and wildlife weaved in once in a while as well. The natives I could understand at times but the wildlife? We must not forget such classic lines as:
"...until there is nothing left but chared human flesh!"
"Well, it is getting late. We will continue this tomorrow." (said durring the U.N. meeting)
The effects could bounce between really bad and really good. When there are a bunch of zombies, you could tell not a lot of effort was put into the makeup. When there are just a few zombies or a close up of some special effect like a head exploding because of a point blank shot, it was very well done. My favorite effect was when one of the swat guys finds an old lady in a rocking chair and her mid section has been cut open. He touches this area and something inside moves. He touches the area again and something inside moves again. I figured it was a big rat but a cat jumps out!
The acting is hard to judge since we are dealing with voice overs for dubbing. Margit Everlyn Newton is the female reporter who, at one point, gets naked in order to go native. Franco Garofalo, Selan Karay, Jose Gras, Gaby Renom, Josep Lluis Fonoll and Piero Fumelli round out the cast.
One thing that was silly, well ok there was more than one thing, was that they never seem to run out of ammo. Never once did I see them reload. Another thing was after they figured out a head shot would keep the zombies down, they have to be reminded of this. Even the guy that reminds them all the time rarely shoots one in the head. They always go for the body. I was going to give this one a 1 rating but after thinking about it while writing this up, I didn't hate it that much. Yes it is a bad film but I have to give it some credit for some of the nice effects they did. Still wouldn't really suggest this one to anyone unless you just like silly/stupid movies.
2 out of 5 Eyes popping out
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
The Cave is about a team of under water explorers that are called in to explore a newly found underwater river. The team that is already there is wondering where this river leads so they call in the best underwater team around. Jack (Cole Hauser) is the team leader. Tyler (Eddie Cibrian) is his brother. The rest of the team is Top (Morris Chestnut), Charlie (Piper Perabo) and Strode (Kieran Darcy-Smith). Some of the scientists already there also join in. Dr. Nicolai (Marcel Iures), Kathryn (Lena Headey) and Alex (Daniel Dae Kim). They soon discover that the river leads to a series of caves. Strode gets attacked by something, as he is trying to get away he manages to set off an explosion that traps everyone else in the cave system. As they explore and try and find another way out, Jack is attacked but survives. They discover that he has been infected with something that is slowly changing him. Local legend as it that knights used to fight demons here and manged to entrap them before dieing themselves. Is this a way for these "demons" to escape the cave? Who will manage to make it out alive?
The effects are mostly CGI creatures. There is all kinds of different creatures here. From little ones to the big ones. There are scorpion like creatures, ones that look a bit like eels and some creatures that can even fly around. They did a nice job of never really giving us a long hard look at what most of the creatures look like. We are shown quick shots when they do close ups. On the other hand of this, they did a little to good of a job at times. There are times when is next to impossible to see what is attacking someone, we only see the reaction of the person. If we are lucky, they might show just a quick shot of some part of the creature, I guess to clue us in.
The acting wasn't to bad either. Cole Hauser and Eddie Cibrian both do nice jobs as the two leads. What I didn't like to pretty much the entire lack of character devolpement. I know you can't get much in with an hour and a half movie but you can at least drop us hints here and there about their past some. How did they meet? How long have they been a team? It is little things that help us care about the people we are watching on the screen. Knowing a bit about a character helps us care for them and that leads to the feeling of being more scared when something happens to them. That is the theory anyways.
I enjoyed The Cave but not on the same level as the three previous movies I watched and reviewed. The underwater scenes are wonderfully done. One review I was reading was funny to me. The person said that he/she was into diving and exploring and the scenes in this movie are laughable because they weren't done in a realistic way. After they movie I watched one of the features which I thought was going to be like a making of feature but it turned out to be two people talking about exploring caves and underwater caves. They do this for a living and were called in to help with the filming and training of the actors. I understand that not everything may have been done in a realistic way, it is a movie after all, but I'm sure they tried to make it as real as possible.
One of the complaints I had was with the big creatures. They were the ones that seemed to do most of the attacking and to me they were just to big to be getting through some of the tight spots that we were seeing people getting dragged through. The Cave is an ok movie to sit back with some popcorn and enjoy, just don't expect a lot from it. For a better creature movie set in a cave, go watch The Descent.
3 out of 5 Having the habit of holding my breath when they do on screen
Monday, October 02, 2006
The Exorcism Of Emily Rose is based on a true story. Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson) is being accused of negligent homicide in the death of Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter). Emily goes off to college and while there starts to see and hear things that most peope don't while at college. She eventually comes back home and her parents ask Father Moore to help with their daughter. Father Moore tries, and fails, at an exorcism and Emily dies later on. Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) agrees to defend Father Moore. Doctors believe that Emily could have eventually gotten better if she had stayed under a doctors care and allowed the medication she was on to work. Emily, on the other hand, believed the medication was not making her better and truely believed that she was being possessed by six demons.
I can't spoil the plot since the title itself tells you what the movie is basicly about. The movie was disappointing to many because I think they were excepting something along the lines of Exorcist, which The Exorcism Of Emily Rose is nothing like. The Exorcism Of Emily Rose is a tad misleading though. I have always seen it listed as a horror movie. After watching this movie I have to say that while the horror element is there, a more true description would be a drama. While the movie centers around the events of Emily and her possession, it actually shows little of it compared to the drama of the court room. This film isn't much of a horror film but it is a very good movie.
The acting was very good from the main actors. Jennifer Carpenter doesn't get a lot of screen time and most of what she does get consists of screaming and talking in tounge. Even so, she puts on a wonderful performance, never once did I not role my eyes and things she was doing. Not all is good with the acting in this movie however. The parents and the boyfriend seem sad but never truely upset that their daughter or girlfriend has passed away and in such a manner. Maybe I am being to hard on those characters but that was just how I felt while I was watching this film.
The Exorcism Of Emily Rose is based on the true life events of Anneliese Micel. The movie deviates by placing the story here in the United States when it actually happens in Germany. They never really give a date in the movie but I always had the feeling it was set in recent years. The possession and death of Emily seemed to go by fairly quickly. With Anneliese, she started to show signs of possession in 1969 at the age of 16 and died in 1976 at the age of 23. Emily was said to be 19 when she died. They also talked about a different type of drug than what was actually given to Anneliese. At least I don't see the drug listed but they may not have listed all of them on the web site I am looking at. In the true story, two priests are accused along with the parents. From what I am reading, the movie Requiem (2006) offers a more true depiction of the actually events.
Is possession possible? I don't feel I am the right person to answer that. What it boils down to is belief. Studies show that belief is as powerful, if not more powerful, than actual medication. For the purpose of a movie review, I will stick with what was shown in the movie. Emily believed she was possessed and in the end, that is all that matters. If she didn't think medications would help, more than likely they wouldn't help. Even though the facts were changed (nothing new for a movie in truth), and even though this isn't much of a horror movie, I still want to suggest this movie to everyone. It really made me think about things. Any movie that can do that is on the right track. I don't like it when people come to my door and start asking me about my religion and such and want to try and push their views onto me. While The Exorcism Of Emily Rose touches on faith and religion, it never felt to me that they were trying to change my views on the subjects, only trying to get me to think. Even if you don't believe in this sort of thing, I will still suggest it. Maybe, just maybe, it will turn you into a believer.
4 out of 5 Never seeing 3am the same way again