Thursday, November 30, 2006
Mark Of The Devil sets itself durring the 17th century witch hunts. Not to long after the movie starts, we are told that the film will show us 3 cases durring this time period in order to show some of the cruelties that was done to people that were accused of being witches. The story we are shown is when Count Christian von Meruh (Udo Kier) shows up in the town that we have been introduced to in order to prepare for the arrival of Count Cumberland (Herbert Lom), the witch hunter himself. He meets and becomes attracted to Vanessa (Olivera Vuco), a local barmaid. But when the local witch hunter, Albino (Reggie Nalder) tries to make some unwanted advances and gets cut for his troubles, he accuse her of being a witch. Christian then has to decide if he believes his teacher or do the right thing and help Vanessa. There are also side stories of at least two other people that are accused of being witches. There is Baron Daume who has been accused and must give up all his father's holdings to the church if he wants to live. There is also Jeni (Gaby Fuchs) who says she was raped by a Bishop and because of this, she now stands accused of having sex with the devil.
The effects are actually really good considering this movie came out in 1969-1970. Even though films such as Hostle and Saw have taken torture to the 'next' level, Mark Of The Devil is still pretty graphic. I think they held back a bit but it was still hard, yet interesting, to see how they would torture people way back then. Using a clamp on fingers and closing it until blood burst. Dripping cold water on the top of the head. Stretching a person. Sitting them on nails and whiping the bottom of their feet. Lighting a fire under the chair they are chained to. And probably the most memorible for most people, pulling out the tongue. There are other ways that were used as well.
The acting was alright. The dubbing was a little bad in places but over all it was easy enough to follow. It was interesting to see a young Udo Kier. All the movies I have watched with him in them, he is an older man in them so it was interesting to see what he looked like when he was younger. He almost looked to good to be in a movie about the 17th century. Then again maybe not, I seem to recall some paintings of men that looked almost feminine. You will find interviews as extra's on the dvd with Udo Keir. He talked some about an alternate ending and they left in some comments that he made while the credits for the interview were rolling. Like, "Why do you want to talk about a movie so old? I have made a 100 movies since then and you expect me to remember a movie that is 30 years old?" I think they left this and other comments in to show that he can be a bit of a jerk at times. Other interview include Gaby Fuchs, Ingeborg Schoner (played another woman accused late in the movie) and Herbert Fux (his character name on IMDb is Executioner).
I liked Mark Of The Devil more from the history stand point. The plot for the movie I found pretty lacking really. They throw in this love story that isn't much of a story at all. Once Vanessa is thrown into jail we just don't see her all that much and she is rarely talked about. Instead, the movie shifts to the other people that stand accused and also follow the witch hunters and try and give us an idea of why they are accusing the people that they do. Every once in a while Cumberland would walk through the jail area and he would exchange a few words with Vanessa that basicly said all of "I know what you are." Between the two of them saying this to each other every time they met, I got pretty tired of hearing it.
It is hard for me to see how people could believe in the people that are in charge of finding witches. I have never read a book or anything like that about this period in history but I have watched enough shows to know that a lot of the people accused were accused for personal gain. The movie tries to convay that, mostly with the side story of the Baron. I did like this movie but I also didn't like it because of the stories they passed on to us. I just didn't find them that interesting but I still have to give it a middle rating. So in closing, I have a question for you all. Do you think anything like this, rather it be about witches or not, could happen in today's world? Under the right conditions, I think it could.
3 out of 5 Don't all women have the ability to charm men?
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Monster House plays off a story that I think everyone can relate to. In every town there seems to be a house that is a little run down and has a history behind it that will scare kids. DJ (Mitchel Musso) is one such kid who happens to live right across the street from one such house. He has been spying on the house and taking notes on any changes the house seems to make. He also makes note of what old man Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi) who hates anyone being on his lawn. The movie actually opens with a little girl (Ryan Newman) riding along on her tricycle and getting stuck in Nebbercracker's yard. He comes running out and scares the little girl and takes the tricycle away and into the house.
Chowder (Sam Lerner) comes over to play a little basketball but it ends up rolling onto Nebbercracker's lawn. DJ tries to get the ball but Nebbercracker grabs him and appears to have a heart attack. Late that night, DJ's phone rings and a weird sound is heard coming from the phone. Thinking it is a prank, DJ calls the number back and can hear the faint sound of Nebbercracker's phone ringing at the same time. He calls up Chowder and of course Chowder doesn't believe his friend so he makes his way to the door bell of Nebbercrackers house. When he rings the bell the house comes to life and almost manages to pull Chowder in. The spend the rest of the night in DJ's room watching the house closely. Jenny (Spencer Locke) comes around selling cookies. As she makes her way up to the old house, Chowder spots her and for both Chowder and DJ, it is love at first sight. Once they realize where she is going they run out to stop her and barely save her before she is pulled into the house. Can these three kids figure out what is going on with this house and save others from it?
Monster House is a computer animated movie so the entire movie is one giant effect. Being a PG movie, you won't find any blood but it does a fairly good job of building some suspense. I can see this movie being scary for young kids and for adults it can be a fun time. It took me like way way back to when I was a kid watching saturday cartoons and I could imagine myself jumping everytime the house would come alive. The acting is good as well. You will also hear the voices of Jason Lee, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard, Jon Heder and Kathleen Turner.
The animation takes a little getting used to since they went for more realistic images instead of the 'cute' images most animated movies seem to go for. Some of it even reminded me a bit of some of the claymation stuff I have watched in other movies. The only thing I can really complain about is that it wasn't scary. But then they weren't making this movie with my age group in mind so much. Some people complained about some of the bad jokes but like I said, it wasn't made with adults in mind. If you don't take Monster House to seriously and just let yourself get into the moment, maybe even allow that kid in you to come back for a short time, I think you will enjoy this one. I know I did.
3 out of 5 Staying away from old houses from now on
Nude For Satan (1974) starts off with a doctor looking for directions. He gets them and heads off again only to wreck his car after seeing a mostly nude woman running along side the road. I guess that would cause most people to crash. William (Stelio Candelli) goes in search of the woman but doesn't find her. In truth, he didn't look very long or hard. He goes back to his car and hears another crash. He finds Susan (Rita Calderoni) has crashed her car as well and is now knocked out. He helps her to his car and she wakes up enough to tell him what her name is and then is out again. Since William's car won't start, he starts the treck to a house that he can see above them.
There he meets someone who introduces himself as Giuseppe Mattei (James Harris). He gives William a room and basicly tells him not to worry about Susan. William soon meets Evelyn. She looks like Susan and all but she is dressed in a old style dress, also doesn't want to be called Susan. William writes this off as a side effect to the crash and being stressed out. Meanwhile, Susan finaly wakes up and makes her way to the house where she eventually meets Peter. Peter looks like William, but again, is dressed in an old fashioned suit. It takes a while before William and Susan meet up again. William saves her from the worst fake giant spider seen in movies so far. It manages to walk up the web without ever touching it. Anyways, we find out that Peter and Evelyn are the 'darker' side of themselves and if they choose to accept this then, I think, will become Satan's servents.
It has been a few days since I watched this movie and already my thoughts on it are a bit fuzzy. It didn't leave a big impression on me. The only effect that had any blood involved in it that I can remember is a whipping scene. The marks and blood are already there when the scene starts and the whip, strangly enough, never leaves new marks or draws more blood. I could have set the movie up to be dubbed I think. When the movie started it was being subtitled so I just left it on those settings. I can't complain about the acting as it was about as good as it gets for a movie like this. What I can complain about is the script. Characters would leave off at mid sentence a lot. It isn't like they are being interupted or anything like that. We can hear what they are thinking at times, which is something that I liked. However, it becomes rather a confused mess when they drop thoughts at mid point and never pick up on them again. It starts to get a little interesting and then suddenly stops.
The plot itself was very confusing as well. Characters will walk into a scene that seems to spring up out of no where and it is hard to figure out how these scenes advance that plot any, if at all. I had to be told that Peter and Evelyn were the darker halfs, I never picked up on this. Evelyn seemed the same, maybe a little more needy but didn't act that much different. Peter, on the other hand, seemed almost a little crazy. Always walked around with a big grin and just came across as a little crazy. We aren't told about what the entire movie was supposed to be about until the very end. Even after William defeats evil, I wasn't sure about the ending. He wakes up in his car and walks to where Susan's car is and opens the door to find her laying in the front seats. She is holding a pendent that was given to her in the house. William finds his own pendent and holds it next to hers and the movie ends on a shot of the two pendents together. Was Susan dead? He never bothers to find out. Maybe it was obvious to him but it sure wasn't to me.
In case you are wondering, the title, Nude For Satan, is true to itself. You will find plently of nudity to go around. To my surprise, in some of the reviews, there was actually a complaint that there wasn't enough nudity. Maybe they watched a cut version since there seemed like there was plenty enough to me. As much as I hate to admit it, the nudity actually saved Nude For Satan just a little. Rita Calderoni is a beautiful woman and does have a very nice body. Even so, the plot was a mess, even worse than Manhattan Baby. I can't suggest the movie for the nudity alone but maybe if it is ever one a cable movie channel somewhere you can catch it there.
2 out of 5 Nicest dressed Satan award
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Aenigma (1987) starts off with Kathy (Milijana Zirojevic) putting on some makeup and getting ready for a date. She is a not so attractive girl (the makeup makes matters worse) and ends up being set up for a joke. While sitting in a parked car she starts to talk to the guy she is with and tells his some rather personal things and starts to make out with him. I wasn't sure but I think the car was wired so the people in the cars hiden around this parked car (sorta in the woods) could hear what was being said. They all turn the lights on their cars which are pointed at the parked car. Kathy jumps out of the car once she realizes what has happened and takes off running. I have to give her credit, I've never seen anyone run as good as she did while looking over their shoulder the biggest part of the time. She runs onto a street and in the path of a car. Next thing we see is Kathy in the hospital connected to all kinds of machines and her cheek stabled shut. Looks like she flatlines and they put the paddles on her. Instead of a jolt though, it is a constant current?
Instead of letting us know if she lives or not, we move on. Eva Gordon (Lara Naszinsky) is just arriving at college. She gets Kathy's old room and soon meets the people involved in Kathy's little accident. People start to die but who is doing it? Eva seems to be in the right area at the time but always as some reason as to why she wasn't the one. Could it be Kathy's mother? Or maybe it is Kathy herself. She is a coma though so how could she be the one?
For a Fulci film, the effects are few and far between. I was actually unimpressed by the effects and deaths. One guy gets killed by his image in a mirror, it comes to life and strangles him. One woman is killed by snails. This death is the one everyone seems to talk about in their reviews and for whatever reason, it has become a 'famous' scene. I found it rather silly. She is covered in snails and doesn't wake up from it until they start to crawl on her face and then she doesn't move at all. I think I would be brushing them off and/or getting up instead of just laying there and I guess smother me to death. As for gore effects, there is a dream sequence where a woman literly takes bits out of her lover. The other is when a painting comes to life somewhat. A persons arm gets cut off in the painting and it drops to the ground for real. Pretty good actually. I had no real problems with the acting or dubbing.
Minor spoiler here, Kathy is supposed to be possessing Eva at times. To me it was hard to tell when this was happening. I wasn't sure if Eva was possessed all the time or just part of the time. She did act a little different but not all that much. When I would have expected her to act a little different, because they drop the hint that Kathy is in control of Eva, she doesn't seem to be acting that much different than she normaly does. I didn't like the doctor to well either. Dr. Robert Anderson (Jared Martin) starts to date Eva at one point and when he is told she has left he starts to date one of the other girls right away. This wouldn't have bothered me if it wasn't for the fact that this is the doctor that the college calls on whenever one of the students needs medical help. He tries to keep it a serect but doesn't do a very good job of it. I would think someone at the college would have noticed but nothing is ever said.
I didn't hate this Aenigma but it could have been a lot better. I found that the plot was a little confusing at times. I don't mind not being told everything but a story needs to explain itself enough so it avoids being confusing. It would have been nice to know why Eva was picked to be possessed. Was it with the help of Kathy's mother or just because she was new? The ending didn't help with my confusion either. It is easy to see that at least some of the plot is borrowed from Carrie but it was changed around enough to make it a somewhat orignal movie. I like that they changed it up a little and gave Kathy a few powers that Carrie didn't have, like making people see things that aren't actually there. One thing that surprised me is that the prank happens right off the bat. This doesn't give us any time to know who Kathy is and it is hard to be on her side when she does get revenge.
2 out of 5 Wonders if there are any possessed women at my college
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I expressed this to Cattleworks and he was nice enough to offer some advice. He liked it when I reviewed all of the Blind Dead movies all in a row. That is something I have been planing to do with some other series, I have just been debating with myself on which series to do next. He also suggested that I might try and do something like a tribute. Maybe to a director or scream queen. This interested me. I will be doing both I think but this one will serve to see what you all think of it. But how to keep to, what I see as, the core of this blog? Since I have heard so many good things about the series Masters Of Horror but have yet to watch any of them, I decided that the series would be a good way to honor the director and do a review. I will warn you now, this post is going to be long winded. Before I get to it, however, I have a little favor to ask of you all. After reading this post, would you please let me know what you think of it? Would you like to see more of this type of post? Is there anything I should change or do different? Or should I just stick to reviews? So, without further ado, my tribute to the one of the masters, Dario Argento.
Dario Argento was born in Rome on July 9, 1940. Growing up, he has said in interviews, he read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe. He is quoted as saying, "Poe opened a door inside of me. It was a landscape, a new world." His first job was as a film critic. This lead to his being invited to write a script, along side Bernardo Bertolucci, for the movie Once Upon A Time In The West. Yes, a western. He wrote 14 movies before making the move to director. His first film, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, was an international success. His first few films are considered giallos instead of straight up horror movies. The first movie that most people credit as his first true horror movie would be Suspiria. Suspiria and Deep Red are often debated among fans as to which is the better movie. Between the movies Suspiria and Inferno, Dario earned a producer credit on the George Romero movie Dawn Of The Dead. Dario helped market the film in Italy which became known there as Zombi. Zombi, from what I understand, is slightly edited and features more of the score done by Goblin. As a writer, his most well known movies, to horror fans anyways, are Demons and Demons 2. Both were directed by his friend Lamberto Bava. For a complete filography you can go to IMDb's page here
I selected Dario Argento as the first tribute for two reasons. First reason being that of late, I have been doing a lot of foreign movie reviews. I decided I might as well keep with that theme even though the movie reviewed later on is not a foreign movie but it does lead me to my second reason. Dario Argento happens to be my favorite out of the foreign directors I have watched movies from so far. It just seemed to be a logical step to me. My personal favorite Dario film would have to be Suspiria. I'm not sure if this is because it happened to be the very first Dario movie that I watched or if it has more to do with the film itself. I really got into Suspiria not because of the plot, but because of the sounds and colors that was used in the film. I had never watched a movie that relied so much on this. The directing itself, along with the sounds and colors, managed to really draw me in. I actually had to watch it a couple of times, and try to make myself not be drawn in so much, so I could figure out what the plot of the movie actually was. That became secondary to me. Some people complain about this as Dario will, at times, allow the plot to become secondary to the visuals. Dario Argento's movies are something of an aquired taste. I have noticed that for some people, they can never get into his movies.
Reviews I have done of Dario Aregnto movies are:
Two Evil Eyes
And now for the review. See, I told you this was going to be a long post. Dario Argento agreed to do a movie for Masters Of Horror after he was told who all else would be involved. The next step was to try and figure out what he wanted to direct for the series. After reading the comic book, which is also called Jenifer, he says it really grabed him and that is the story he wanted to do. The story was actually pitched and wrote by actor Steven Weber. Dario made some changes to it once he received the script.
Jenifer is a about Frank Spivey (Steven Weber). The movie opens with him and his partner sitting in a car trying to eat while a fly bugs them. We slowly discover that they are cops. When Frank gets out for a stretch, he spots a man pushing a woman who has her hands tied behind her. Frank yells for his partner but he has the radio up to loud to hear. Frank goes alone and soon finds the man Frank seen. The man puts the woman over a barrel and pulls out a meat cleaver. Frank pulls his gun and tells the man to drop the weapon. The man babbles on about it being to late and that Frank has no idea what is inside of this woman. Frank has no choice but to shoot the man. Before the man dies, he utters the name Jenifer. Frank then helps the woman and while we don't get to see her face yet, except for a black eye (I mean the eye itself), Frank reacts in a way that lets us know it isn't a pretty sight.
Frank tries to find out more about Jenifer (Carrie Anne Fleming) and discovers there is very little to be found out. No one seems to know who she is or where she came from. Before this, we find out a little about Frank's personal life. He has a wife and son. We find out he is upset about killing a man even though he had no choice. We also discover that his home life isn't all that great. It is never explained in detail but it is something that you can sense. His wife tries to get him to have sex and it works but his mind is flashing back to the shooting and, perhaps more importantly, Jenifer. He goes to visit Jenifer in a mental hospital and it becomes obvious that she likes him. Because she has no place to go, Frank talks himself into bringing her home with him. His wife and son are sleeping when he gets home so Frank makes a bed for Jenifer on the couch. Durring the night Jenifer hears the family cat and wakes up. She doesn't seem to like the cat to well nor does the cat like her to well either. In the morning Jenifer is in the bedroom with nothing more than a sheet covering her. Frank gets up and goes to her and it is about this time his wife comes out of the bathroom and starts to scream when she sees Jenifer. She wants Jenifer out of her house, not because she is standing next to her husband in only a sheet, but because of the way Jenifer looks. Frank refuses to just throw Jenifer out on the street though. The wife and son end up leaving soon though when they find Jenifer eating the cat. Frank, for whatever reason, still won't leave her though. At some point, he becomes obsessed with Jenifer.
The effects in Jenifer are very good. The makeup done on Carrie Anne Fleming to make her into Jenifer end up being very unnerving. She looks normal enough until you see her face. I won't try and describe it, I will instead let you watch this movie and see for yourself. The movie is also very gory at times. We see Jenifer eating the now dead cat and....well, a couple of humans as well. The acting is also very good. Steven Weber reminded me a lot of James Wood. Not only in how he acted in this movie but also because of his looks. I could probably go into more detail on both effects and acting but this post is going to be long as it is. Just know that I really don't think most people will be disappointed by either.
I was never actually scared by Jenifer but it did envoke other feelings that horror movies should envoke. It was disturbing, a bit shocking at times and, dare I say, revolting at times as well. Jenifer really surprised me in how far the film makers were willing to go with this movie. Even though this film is a bit of a departure for Dario Argento, you can still see his directing hand in the film. Overhead shots, crane shots, shots showing how nice the country side looks. Like other Dario movies, the music plays a big part. I really enjoyed it in this movie. Even though he didn't actually write the script, it is still a Dario movie.
I noticed some people are very disappointed in the plot of the movie. The plot is pretty simple really but it is there. We know nothing about Jenifer. No idea who she is. Where she came from. Was she born disfigured or did it happen later in life. None of these things are ever told. We never learn why she does, or doesn't, kill. It would seem it is because she becomes hungry, jealous and even does it to please the one she has devoted herself to. These things, and more, are left up to you. Some people don't like that but it has never bothered me at all. Jenifer comes across as playful, frightened and almost....cat like. The plot, in a way, hits on the fact that sometimes men are doing things because of their sex drive instead of what their minds are telling them. As one character put it in the movie, "How did a head like that end up on such a great body?" A must watch for all horror fans.
4 out of 5 Deformed killers
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Lady Terminator starts off being losely based on a local legend called the South Seas Queen. She lives under the sea and calls men there so she can have sex with them. Thing is, she has some kind of eel inside of her that bites off the personal part of the man and kills him. The horror part of the movie I'm guessing. One man is able to trick the Queen and gets the eel before it gets him. Somehow he turns it into a mystical dagger that can defeat the Queen with it. She swears revenge and disappears. Of course she swears revenge by saying that in 100 years she will have revenge on his granddaughter. Why she has to wait that long I have no clue.
Fast forward 100 years. Tania Wilson (Barbara Anne Constable) is looking into the legend and manages to be possessed by the South Seas Queen. This transformes Tania into the Lady Terminator. She is after Erica (Caudia Angelique Rademaker), an up and coming singer. The only person that can seem to be able to save her is Max McNeil (Christopher J. Hart), the only white cop on the entire Indonesia force. Tania can no longer be harmed by meer bullets it seems but that doesn't stop everyone from trying. Can Max save the day?
Lady Terminator has some bad effects and not so bad effects. The only effect I was actually somewhat impressed with is when she cuts her eye out. She takes a knife around her eye and pops it out which we see an over sized eye plop into the water in the sink. She then washes it off and puts it back in, good as new. I honestly didn't notice the effects that much because this movie just screams of cheese. The way it is filmed, some of the effects, and most of all the acting! The acting is bad but the dubbing makes it even worse, I guess I should say it just makes it out right funny.
To start with is when Tania gets possessed. She is out diving one minute and the next minute she finds herself on a bed in some void. Next thing you know her arms and legs have been tied and an eel snakes its way under the sheets and then magicly goes through those and onto Tania and magicly goes through her bikini bottoms into her. The eel looks very fake. Next she comes out of the water, fully nude I think but the shadows make it very hard to tell for sure. Finds a couple of guys getting drunk together. Has sex with them and kills them both. She takes some of their clothes, like to know where she gets the tub top from though, and somehow manages to find a very nice rifle. She kills Erica's friend, I'm thinking because she thought it was Erica and then finds Erica in a bar/club like place and just starts shooting up the place. You can easily tell this was filmed in the 80s even though it wasn't filmed here in the States. Let me show you one reason why:
From bad hair cuts, silly effects like missles that look more like fireworks, to spead up action sequences, what is there not to love about this movie? There is even a shot out at the police station that strangly looks more like a hotel instead of a police station. Tania manages to fire off what seems like a million rounds before having to change the clip. She shoots one guy I don't know how many times but it goes on for a lot longer than was needed to kill someone and then kicks him for good measure before moving on. One lady I swore was shot from the side but then we see Tania in front of her. Tania seems to be able to hit everyone except for the heros of the story.
Just when you think it can't get any better, it does. Max calles in his friends who bring along a helicopper that can fire a bunch of missles and an armored car. They finaly mange to blow up the car she has been driving around in but she still won't die! She comes out of the wreckage all burnt up and she lost her gun, what is a lady terminator to do? I know, shoot laser beams out of her eyes! And then to top it all off, when she is being shot she does this jerky dance that will leave you laughing so hard. This is a pretty rare moment for the mermaid heather blog, a movie so bad that isn't just good, it's great!
4 out of 5 Wanting to be the next Lady Terminator
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Back to the review. Manhattan Baby starts off not in Manhattan but in Egypt. Professor George Hacker (Christopher Connelly) is messing around in a cursed tomb. He firgures out how to open one door when the item he used to open the door with falls off the wall and a snake comes flying out of the hole as if spring loaded. The guy George is with manages to kill the snake. While trying to figure out the next door, the floor falls away! Because George's buddy somehow managed to fall first, he is the first to find the spikes awaiting him at the bottom. George uses his buddies body to avoid the spikes thankfully. He soon discovers a blue gem or something in the wall that starts to glow. Then it shoots out two beams of blue light, one for each eye. Wait, I thought this was a horror movie, not Indiana Jones.
While all that is going on, his wife Emily (Martha Taylor) and his daughter Susie (Brigitta Boccoli) are taking in the sites. While Emily goes off to take some more pictures, Susie stays where she is. Some woman who is either blind or has white eyes, turns up and gives Susie a pendent that looks a like what dad found in the tomb. Dad comes out of the tomb blind as a bat and they all head back to Manhattan. There we find out that George won't stay blind but it will be a long while before he gets his site back, that is until some more blue flashs of light return his site for whatever reason. Susie becomes possessed by the evil in the pendent, at least I think she does. From this point on the film becomes nothing but a big mess that is next to impossible to sort out.
The effects are few and far between. This is pretty odd considering it is a Fulci movie. He is pretty well known for his gory films. The man falling on the spikes at the start of the movie is very quick shot but was very good. Looked like one spike came close to the eye but not into it, instead forcing the eye out a little. Another effect was when a security guard gets traped in an elevator. He tries hard to get the door to open, so hard in fact that he makes his fingers bleed. Just as he gets the doors to finaly open some, he notices that the floor is starting to give way. Do you think he goes back to the doors and try to get out? No, he just stands there and watches as the floor goes away and he falls with it. I'm glad he will never guard me. I bring this up because of the floor. It looked like the person who built the elevator simply glued the floor to the elevator and now the glue is starting to give way. The last effect was when a guy is attacked by stuffed birds. The birds come to life long enough to peck at him until he dies. This was going ok at first, it was starting to get fairly gory and then I noticed you can still see the string/wire that is attached to the birds.
The acting is just as bad as it was in The House Of Clocks, if not worse. Tommy Hacker plays the little brother. You may remember him from the film The House By The Cementery, then again you may not. He is just as annoying in this movie and once again it sounds like he was voiced over by a female. Poor kid. Cinzia de Ponti plays Jamie Lee. I couldn't figure out at first if she was the older sister or just a babysitter. I guess in the end it doesn't matter anyways. And last, and possible least, there is Cosimo Cinieri as Adrain Mercato. I don't know what his character is supposed to be but he ends up trying to exorise the evil from Susie. I have to admit I have never been to one but aren't you supposed to chant or something instead of just sitting there having a stare off with a pendent?
The whole problem with this movie is the plot, or maybe the lack of plot. So many things happen that are never explained and don't seem to have any connection to the things that happen before and after. People disappear and sometimes this might be questioned by the others but even if it is, only for a short while before it is forgotten. The parents can sometimes hear one of the kids yelling for help and once finding the kids to be safe and sound all is forgotten. No why were you yelling for help or anything like that. I think the boy gets possessed as well but no one seems to notice or care. Like I said this is just one confuse mess that is better left unwatched.
There is one interview to be found and it was from the writer. I actually glad for this interview since I was hoping he would shed some light on this movie and maybe even explain what the hell it was supposed to be about. He says that it was an attempt to take horror movies into a different direction. Which direction would that be? Total and utter confusion? Then he goes on to say that the budget for the movie was cut big time before it got started so a lot of the movie was changed. The start of the movie was shot to try and give it a more international feel and so the ending had to be changed as well to try and tie it more into the start of the movie. The start of the movie was ok and the ending while not great was at least watchable but the middle was the worst part.
1 out of 5 Wondering how many times I said huh? while watching this mess
Anyways, The House Of Clocks starts off fairly well. We are introduced to Vittorio (Paolo Paoloni) and Sara Corsini (Bettina Milne), an older couple that live in this big villa. Maria (Carla Cassola) is the housekeeper and is starting to get a little to nosey for her own good. She happens into a room that is like a chaple. Inside this room she finds two bodies. These bodies turn out to be the nephew (Paolo Bernardi) and his wife (Francesca DeRose) still dressed in their wedding clothes. They look like they have been laying there for a little while at least. Their skin is starting to bubble in places and that railroad spike through their necks is pretty obvious as well. Vittorio is going around cleaning and fixing his clocks, he collects them you see, while outside, Maria is telling Sara that is will be quiting. Sara seems pretty nice about it all until she picks up a poll with a pointy end and drives it into Maria's gut! Sara twists it around and pulls it back out along with some of Maria's insides. Take that you snooping maid!
Meanwhile, we are introduced to three punks. Tony (Keith Van Hoven), Paul (Peter Hintz) and Sandra (Karina Huff). They are talking about breaking into the villa we have already been introduced to. It must be a long drive to get there since for most of the first half of the film we watch them just getting to the villa. They stop off at some town and even though it is Italy, I never once see a pizza or spaghetti place. They do go into a grocery store though. Sandra distracts the clerk/owner, whatever he is, by giving him a pair of her panties and asks if he has any of that brand in his store. She keeps looking back at her two men to see if they are stuffing food items into their jackets and when she does this, the guy she is distracting takes a whif of her panties. This is all true, it actually happened. Sandra isn't very grateful though, all she does is complain about what they managed to steal. Paul happens to look down at the floor of the car and sees a cat. No idea how the cat managed to sneak in but for whatever reason, Paul puts it in a plastic bag and ties it shut. He tells the cat if it can get out then he will let it go. Sounds cruel and it is but it actually does play into the lame ending.
The punks finaly make it to the villa and Sandra tells the couple that her car broke down and would like to use the phone. While inside, she opens a window for her two men to get in. Everything goes fairly well until Peter (Al Cliver), the gardner, comes in with a shotgun. After a big fight, Peter cracks his head on the table, the gun goes off and shoots Sara. Vittorio gets mad and almost kills Tony but Paul blasts him with the other shot in the shotgun. After it is all over they seem very upset that they actually killed someone but instead of just leaving right then, they of course aren't that upset to still rob the place. As they get ready to leave, they discover a lot of dogs outside so decide they should stay longer. Oh almost forgot. When Vittorio dies, all the clocks in the villa stop. A little later the clocks start to go backwards.
There are some pretty gory effects to be found considering this was supposed to be a made for tv movie. It was rejected, however, because it was deemed to violent for even them. At least I assume it was, the interviewer seemed a little confused if it ever aired or not and no one could answer his question on it because they didn't know either. As far as the gore factor goes, I would have to say that the maid having her insides being pulled out was the best. However, I swear to you that some of her insides looked like worms. Other effects include a few shotgun blasts, very bloody stuff there. You will also find a bracelet that somehow is concealing a knife in it. Sara has this and she uses it to stab the hand of Sandra in order to get her ring back. Impaling by some spikes. And being killed by a wedding veil. I could be wrong about this but isn't it like impossible to kill someone by wraping, oh lets say a wedding veil, around the back of the neck? I assumed she was trying to suffocate her intended victim but wouldn't the veil need to be around the front of the neck in order to do that? Appeartly not since the person died anyways. The acting seemed pretty bad, at least I know the dubbing was. It's pretty bad when they can't get the voice over to match the person speaking nothing more than a name.
The concept of The House Of Clocks is an interesting one and it is was the main reason I decided to give this movie a chance. Time is some how able to reverse itself. It is never explained how this old guy is able to do this but appartily it has happened before since a line at the end of the movie states "Your precious clocks won't save you this time old man." It doesn't bother me to much that the how was never explained. It did bother me with how they went about showing time going backwards. Does it only effect the house and the grounds around the house? At first it would seem so but then Sandra makes a comment that it can't be daylight out yet since her watch says it is 2am. Then the same police officers that showed up durring the previous day show up again and ask the same questions they had asked before. Same responces and looks. So this leads me to belive that possibly time is being reversed everywhere. Now I get into the problem of if time is going backwards, how are the things we are watching going forward? It would have been a much cooler concept if they had shown time going backwards and then it stoping at some point before the crimes start. Everyone remembers how it played out and the owners of the house are able to take advantage of the situation because the punks are still to confused over what just happened.
If anyone is wondering or even cares, the cat manages to escape the plastic bag at the end of the movie and claws the driver who then sends the car off a cliff side. It doesn't look like it is a bad ride down the cliff but when shown the people inside the car, they are doing their best acting in the entire film by screaming and yelling and making it look like they are being thrown around but good. They all die and when shown one of the watches, it is still going backwards. Does the cat manage to survive the wreck? No idea, we don't see it anymore after clawing up the driver.
There are a couple of interviews for extras. One is of Paolo Paoloni that is pretty much a waste of time. He talks about breaking a rib in one scene but for the most part doesn't seem to remember to much about the movie now. Mostly he just seems pretty honored that someone wants to interview him. The other interview is of Carla Cassola. She talks about a scene where Tony runs over her grave and she pops her arms out and grabs his legs. She goes on and on about how she had to lay there in the cold earth while they put a lid with holes in it and cover it with dirt. She then goes on and on about how she had to lay there for half an hour and when it was over no one brought her any hot tea or asked how she was feeling. I say, stop your bitching! No one ever brings me tea or asks how I feel after I watch this crap.
2 out of 5 Only because it could have been so much better
Thursday, November 16, 2006
George Romero starts things off with his adaption of the story "The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar." Jessica Valdemare (Adrienne Barbeau) is the wife of a very rich, and dieing, man. Dr. Robert Hoffman (Ramy Zada) is Jessica's lover and they have come up with a plan to get old Ernest's (Bingo O'Malley) money before he passes away. The good Dr. knows how to hypnotize Ernest and can get him to sign papers and basicly say anything he wants Ernest to say. Just one problem though, Ernest dies before they can get everything done. They put his body in the freezer so they don't have to tell anyone just yet that he has died. Soon after this, Jessica starts to hear moaning coming from the freezer. Ernest can't possible still be alive can he? Turns out Ernest was hypmotized at the time that he died and because of this he can still commicate from the beyond.
Dario Argento does his adaption of the story "The Black Cat." Roderick Usher (Harvey Keitel) a crime scene photographer. His girlfriend finds a black cat and Annabel (Madeleine Potter) talks him into keeping it. The cat doesn't seem to like Roderick at all. One day, when Annabel is away, Roderick starts to take pictures of the cat and starts to get pretty rough with it. The cat disappears after this. Even though Roderick says he had nothing to do with the cat disappearing, it is easy to assume that he ended up killing the cat. So what happens when the cat keeps coming back?
The effects are very nice. The first story doesn't offer to many believe it or not. Romero falls back on his zombies some and they do look nice. There is some nice blood splatters when the zombies are shot and the last couple of effects at the end of the story are also very nice. Argento's story is much more gory. The opening shot is a great one and right away you can pretty much tell you will like this story. There is a death by hanging, a pole going through the body and out the mouth, and by butcher knife. There were a couple of effects I thought was just so-so but over all both stories offer some nice effects.
In truth, I liked this movie more because of all the stars in it. Maybe none are considered big stars but to horror fans, you will know who they are right away. Adrienne Barbeau and Harvey Keitel are both outstanding in the lead roles. E.G. Marshall and Tom Atkins are two others that jumped out at me from the first story. Tom Atkins once again plays the tuff cop. Christine Forrest also make an appearence as a nurse. If you don't know the name, she is George Romero's wife. John Amos, Sally Kirkland, Kim Hunter and Martin Balsam help round out the second story. Also look for an uncredited Tom Savini!
Most people that liked Two Evil Eyes seem to have liked Argento's story better. I did as well but I liked both stories, I just happen to like Argentos a little more is all. There are a few that liked Romero better but not very many. Romero offers up a pretty straight forward story. It almost has a 'been there, done that' feel to it. Argento gives us a much weirder story and, for the most part, I like weird stories. There is a very nifty dream sequence that is almost a lesson when it comes to black cats. Argento also tries to include nods to other Edgar Allen Poe's stories. See how many you can spot.
I really got into this movie. Neither story can be considered the best that director has done but put together it turns into a very nice movie. It was also nice to be able to contrast the two movies. You can easily see a difference in the two directors. Argento uses a lot of different kind of shots. There is the view from the cat, a view from the bathtub drain as the bloody water drains out and around the camera. Even though each movie is right around and hour long, neither movie is all that fast paced which disappointed some fans. I for one, even though I don't mind a fast pace, didn't care. The acting more than makes up for this I thought. Give this one a watch, I really don't think anyone would be to disappointed by it.
4 out of 5 Poor kitty cats
Monday, November 13, 2006
Slither (2006) is a mix of other horror movies. A little of The Blob and a little bit of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. In truth, if you have watched Night Of The Creeps, you have almost watched this movie. Night Of The Creeps (a somewhat favorite of mine, I will watch it if I happen to catch it on) and Slither differ enough to keep both movies seperate but you can also see how close to each other they are. Grant Grant (Michael Rooker), yes that is his name in the film, finds a meteorite and then finds what came out of it. In a bad horror movie move, he pokes it with a stick. Whatever it is, it doesn't like that and shoots something at him which causes Grant to be infected. He thinks about infecting his wife, Starla (Elizabeth Banks), but is unable to do so. Instead, he goes to a woman that he was with when he found the meteorite. Brenda (Brenda James) admited to having a crush on him when they were younger so he takes advantage of this. Once....impregnated I guess, he starts to feed her lots and lots of meat. You might remember her as the big round thing that says "There's something wrong with me" in the trailer. This creates enough of these slug like things to infect the entire town. Only a small handful of people manage not to get infected, will they be able to save mankind?
Slither offers up some sweet effects. There are some CGI effects but for the most part they do it the old fashion way, pupets. Most of the effects center around the slugs and what the characters in the movie end up calling the squid. That would be Grant, he transforms more and more as the movie plays out. It is fun to see this and see how it all ends up for him. The effect that I loved the most would have to be when a man is cut right down the middle. You can only see a small cut at first but then it opens up and his guts fall out. It was a truely great scene! No I'm not a sick minded person, honest!
The acting was also a nice treat. The acting got some mixed reviews but I enjoyed it well enough. Not a lot of character devolpement but enough to get by with. I have to say that Michael Rooker is looking pretty old now days. Greg Henry plays the mayor of the town. He also swears, a lot. I have to point out two people just because I seemed to like their acting the most in Slither. Those would be, Nathan Fillion and Tania Saulnier. Nathan Fillion delivers some great one liners that are often mumbled under his breath so you have to be on the look out for them. This is also a reason why I will eventually watch it again. Tania Saulnier plays a character that I think is close to my own age so I was able to relate to her a little more than the others and I just liked the way she handled herself in the movie.
Slither does have some problems. The main problem being that it can't make up its mind if it is trying to be more of a comedy or more of a horror movie. Movies that try to be a comedy first and a horror movie second rarely work for me. If I wanted to see a comedy I would go watch a comedy. I watch horror movies to try and feel scared by them, not laugh at them. That doesn't mean I don't mind a laugh here and there though. There is a very long debate going on over on IMDb about how unfunny Slither is compared to Shaun Of The Dead. Even though I liked Shaun Of The Dead, I guess I didn't get all of the humor to be found in it. To me the arguement is a mute point since everyone finds different things funny. Why argue over it?
Even though I really enjoyed the effects and acting, I never reached a point where I felt I loved this movie. One thing I didn't understand is why did the slugs have to go into the mouth? We do have other holes after all. It would be a tight fit but they are slimy and soft, I'm sure with some effort they could get in. I know I am leaving myself open for some comments on what I just wrote so take it easy on me guys. If you like these types of movies then I suggest giving it a watch. It is entertaining and a lot of fun.
3 out of 5 Wondering what kind of comments await
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Delirium is about Gloria (Serena Grandi), a formal model and I think a formal adult movie star. She now runs a successful men's magazine. The movie opens with a photo shoot. Mark (Karl Zinny) lives next door and can't walk. To pass the time he watches Gloria and the photo shoots through a telescope and often calls Gloria. Most of the time he talks a little dirty to her. I was a bit confused by her reactions. She didn't seem to like Mark talking to her in this way but would still talk to him whenever he calls. Only when she was really upset over something else would she basicly tell him off.
Gloria's brother, Tony (Vanni Corbellini), helps her with the photo shoots most of the time. He also has some trouble getting it up if you know what I mean. After the shoot is over we see the model walking around by the pool when some odd colors are thrown in. Then the model's head turns into an eye. It sounds weird but this is what Bava called the killer vision. It is how he thought a killer would depersonalize the woman to make it easier for him/her to kill the victim. The killer strikes and Mark seems to have seen it all and calls Gloria about it. She goes out to have a look but not finding anything, gets mad at Mark. The next day a photo shows up with the dead model in front of a big picture of Gloria from back in her modeling days. Gloria is shocked and upset of course while everyone else starts to think about selling more magazines since the model that was killed is the one they happened to feature on their magazine.
Who could possibly be the killer? Is it Mark? Maybe he can walk after all. Is it her sometime boyfriend Alex (George Eastman) who has been lieing to her about where he has been? It could even be her best friend Evelyn (Daria Nicolodi). Evelyn is looking to become what Gloria already is. Might she be trying to scare off or even kill her friend so she can take over? Or maybe it is just the competition trying to take over Gloria's magazine. There is also Roberto (David Brandon), the photographer with seeingly something to hide. Delirium, as you can see, offers a lot of people that the killer could be but you won't know, unless you figure it out, who it is until the very end.
Not a lot of effects to be found. There is a death by a pitchfork that is nothing all that special. There is a death by bees that most people seem to remember the most about this film. The killer comes in wearing a bee suit which I thought was a bit strange. Then the killer sees the model with an insect head. Didn't really look like a bee head to me but maybe that is what it was. After making sure the windows couldn't be opened, the killer opens a shoe box that unleashes a very big amount of bees. As she is running around to try and avoid the bees, we don't really see any on her. When she is in close to the camera we can see a few on her and on the extreme close ups we see a lot in one area with the stingers going into the flesh. While I couldn't help notice when there were no bees what so ever on her, it was still a chilling scene.
The acting, or I should say the dubbing, was much better than in the last movie I reviewed. No one was a real stand out to me but it wasn't all that bad either. Serena Grandi was more well known for her nudity in films than acting in them. Bava liked that she was well known but was also trying to give her more acting to do but still gave her some nude scenes of course. How did this turn out? Hard for me to say since I'm listening to so so dubbing but Bava liked how it worked out. Only problem I really had with the dubbing is that we hear a voice at one point that Gloria said was very much a female voice. I thought it was a male voice, a high pitched voice but still a male voice. Maybe in the original sound track it did sound more like a woman's voice.
The nudity is hard to ignore in Delirium. While some people certainly won't mind this, I found it had to be scared that there is a killer out there. Ok so maybe it wouldn't have scared me anyways but I'm sure you know what I mean. The deaths are interesting just because they change it up from death to death. Even though it is basicly a slasher movie, it doesn't have the same feel as most slashers. The killers visions were a little to weird for me as well. They looked nice, espically the eye. Still a little to weird for me though. The only reason I know this is because of the interviews, it is never explained in the movie, you just have to assume it. The ending for the movie also left something to be desired. I didn't hate this movie, I like it but not well enough. It tried to be more of a sexy thriller than a horror movie. A little less nudity and some more scares, then maybe I would have liked it more.
2 out of 5 Hoping I never see people in weird ways
Saturday, November 11, 2006
A Blade In The Dark is about Bruno (Andrea Occhipinti), a music composer. Bruno is working on a score for a horror movie of all things. Actually, I like it when they write things in like this. The movie actually starts with a movie within a movie. It shows three boys at the top of some dark stairs, one holding a ball, another is holding a candle. One boy throws the ball down the stairs and tells the third boy that he needs to go get it. When he doesn't want to they start to chant "you are a female." Wtf, who wrote the translation and who was stupid enough to repeat that for the dubbing? Anyways, the third boy heads down the stairs while crying some and a few seconds later there is a scream. The boy holding the candle drops it and both boys take a step back. Then the ball comes flying back up and hits the wall behind them and leaves a bloody mark on the wall and the boys take off. I thought this was a great way to start the movie but then we find out it is actually the movie Bruno is writing the score for.
After talking to the director of the movie, Sandra (Anny Papa), he heads home to work on the score. Before he gets there we see that someone is already there. Whoever it is picks up a box cutter and cuts up a picture of a woman, actually it is a picture of a woman's breasts. When Bruno gets home he discovers the side door is open but this doesn't seem to bother him, he just closes it and goes about his work. After hearing a strange noise, he discovers the cut up picture and now he decides to go exploring. He finds his neighbor Katia (Valeria Cavalli) hiding in a closet. The only reason he discovers her is because she is trying to get away from a spider. He says it isn't a spider, it's a cockroach. I know the difference between the two and it was a spider. He doesn't seem all that surprised by this woman being in one of his closets and never really questions her about it. After getting a phone call, she asks for the bathroom and kinda sneaks away. Bruno does go looking for her but after looking around for a short time, gives up and starts on his work again.
Katia meets up with the killer and of course gets herself killed. The killer is draging her body behind some hedges and we see a break in the hedges to show the villa and Bruno so we know they are still on the grounds. Bruno steps out and hears the hedges moving so goes to see if anyone is there. He goes through what looks like the same break in the hedges (angle on the house is the same) and all but steps on the dead body even though we just watched the killer drag the body past this place already. Even though the body is like right there, he never discovers it. Instead he hears the phone ring so goes back in the house. What do we discover once he is back in the house? He some how managed to get blood on the knee of his pants. How the hell do you get blood on the knee of the pants when the body is being draged along the ground? He discovers the blood and goes looking again with a flashlight this time. Finds some blood on some stairs but completely misses some hair, a good bit of hair actually. His girlfriend Julia (Lara Naszinsky) shows up and he tells her everything but she just blows it off. Bruno eventually discovers that the movie he is writing the score for has something to do with the missing girls around his villa but what?
I can understand why the network rejected the film. The first murder isn't to bad really. She gets slashed by the box cutter a couple of times and then ends up beind some kind of wire while trying to hide. While there the box cutter seemingly can't reach her face but it can reach her midsection and throat which both get cut open. All we really see is some blood here. The second murder is the one that takes the cake so to speak. The woman is attacked in the bathroom while washing her hair in the sink. First she gets her hand knifed to the counter. This was pretty graphic since she is trying to free her hand. It shows her hand moving up and down the blade some. Next she has a plastic bag wraped around her head. She never really tries to tear it which I guess I can understand. She is in a panic, a bag over her head and her hand knifed to the counter. After getting her head bashed a few times on the counter, she is thrown to the tub, after getting her hand free at last by pulling it off the blade. Ouch!! Even though I think she is dead, she gets her throat cut open and we see a big splatter of blood in the tub. Very well done. There are a couple of other effects that are nice as well.
The acting is what I didn't care for. The lead, Andrea Occhipinti, was supposed to be a very popular actor in Italy at the time. Bava was very pleased to have him on the film and Occhipinti worked for very little pay since he liked the script. That is great but I just never got into his character. If I was a killer and had to deal with Bruno, I wouldn't worry about getting caught. This guy made the worst detective I have yet to see in a movie. The dubbing was also very bad. As I said, I don't know who wrote the translation but there are times in the film when things just don't come out right. Other example would be when one of the characters complained about having 'goose flesh'.
This is another movie that is generaly considered to be a giallo. I have yet to find one of these films that has impressed me a great deal. Sure some are nice little mysteries but nothing I have ever felt the need to go out and check out other such movies of this type. If it wasn't for Netflix recomending them to me, I'm not sure I would have ever bothered with them. I wanted to enjoy this movie more than I did. I know Bruno isn't a true detective but come on! It was hard not to miss some of the clues left behind and put everything together. On top of that, he never seems bothered by anything. After coming back looking around with the flashlight he finds that someone had been in his villa and trashed the tape he had been recording on. He never once looked mad but he did pick up the tape and sorta threw it back on the table. Try not to show so much feeling next time Occhipinti. Wouldn't want you to hurt yourself there. A Blade In The Dark could have been a nice little thriller/horror movie but I felt it falls short.
2 out of 5 Killed by your own film
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Macabre introduces us to Jane Baker (Bernice Stegers). At the start of the movie, her husband is leaving and she makes a phone call to meet up with someone. Then she tells Lucy (Veronica Zinny), her daughters, to watch her little brother while she runs out. Lucy isn't to happy about this because her mom promised to take her to a movie so not only is mom breaking her promise but she is also getting stuck watching little brother. Turns out that Jane is having an affair with Fred (Roberto Posse). They meet up in an apartment that Jane rents. She seems to know Robert (Stanko Molnar) real well. Robert is a blind man who seems to run the building. While Jane is waiting on her lover, Lucy starts to get rather nosey and finds the number to the apartment and discovers her mom is actually there instead of at a meeting like she was told. Lucy then fills up the bathtub with water and gets her little brother to get his toy boat. While he is playing with the boat, Lucy pushs him in and drowns him! Chalk one up for killing kids! While Jan and Fred are having sex, she gets a phone call about her son drowning. They rush off to head back home and Fred isn't really paying close attention to his driving, he is to busy trying to find out what is upsetting Jane so much and runs right into a guard rail. It smashes through the windshield and Jane gets splattered with blood.
One year later we see Jane leaving a mental hospital. Instead of heading back to her family, she heads to the apartment. It becomes obvious that Robert has a little thing for Jane. He cleans up the place and invites Jane for dinner but she has other plans. He heads back downstairs and soon after he can hear Jane getting it on with either herself or with someone. Her husband and daughter show up to see her and she doesn't seem to take to well to them. Doesn't like her daughter trying to hug her. Of course the daughter is still trying to play games. She shows up when she knows her mom isn't in and convinces Robert to let her into her mom's apartment so she can leave a present. The present turns out to be a picture of her little brother. Mom, upon seeing it, knows right away who left it. Is there someone new in Jane's life? Or is she just plan crazy now since she still seems to talk to Fred? And what is it she is keeping in the freezer that needs to be locked up?
Not a lot of effects to talk about. There is the blood from the crash of course. There is part of an ear with an earring in it that ends up being put in a bowl of soup and partly chewed on (eww). And one other effect that I can't really talk about since it will give to much away. Even though the effects are nothing special, they are done well. The acting is the true gem of Macabre. The dubbing isn't the best of course but the perfomances still shine through. Veronica Zinny is a great evil daughter. This was her first and only movie which is a shame. Bernice Stegers sells her part wonderfully. Some people complained that the characters didn't act like real world people all that often, maybe they didn't completely but the acting still sells it.
Macabre started off fairly interesting and then slowed down some. I was starting to get a little worried about it but the acting kept it interesting and once the plot started to pick up more, it really drew me in. This isn't one of the great movies but it was weird enough for me to end up enjoying it. The big problem with the movie, even though I think it was the only part of the true story that is being told, is you have to let you mind just go with things because it is never explained how she ends up with what she has in the freezer. It isn't hard to figure out what it is she has but still fun when they finally reveal it to us. The last half of this movie is what I enjoyed the most and the actual ending is pretty wild. Not a movie to rush out and get but I would suggest it all the same. If you happen across it, give it a try.
3 out of 5 Giving "getting some head" a whole new meaning
Monday, November 06, 2006
The Ogre starts off with a little girl (Alice Di Giuseppe) waking up in a house in Oregon but as she leaves her room she somewhere else. She goes down into the basement and discovers what looks like a cocoon that glows and drips a green ooze. This sequence is very creepy and is a good way to start this movie. Years later we meet Cheryl (Virginia Bryant) and her husband Tom (Paolo Malco). Cheryl is the grown up version of the little girl we saw back at the start. She is now a horror author and has a son (Patrizio Vinci) of her own. They rent an old mansion in Italy so she can spend some time with her family and work on a new book.
As Cheryl begins to explore the place, she soon discovers that the basement area is the same as the one that has been in her dreams since she was a young girl because she finds a teddy bear that looks like the one she drops in the dream. Durring certain times we go back to the dream and each time they do this, the dream becomes longer. Cheryl starts to believe that the ogre of her dreams is real and living in this mansion while Tom just thinks that since Cheryl is a writer, she has an over active imagination. Cheryl starts to see things that once she draws the attention of someone else to it, it disappears. She hires Maria (Stefania Montorsi) to help watch Bobby while she works on the book. Maria eventually disappears after being attacked by the ogre. Cheryl and Tom are gone at this time because Tom got mad about Cheryl seeing things and gives her a good slap. She slaps him back and walks off with Tom giving chase. After Tom saves Cheryl from a cow (of all things), everything seems to be forgotten and forgiven.
After getting a phone call saying that Maria never made it home, Tom takes off to look for her on the road back to her home while Cheryl goes looking for a missing page to her book. She finds it in the basement. There is a section that is partly flooded and she sees the page in something that looks like a chest and dives in after it. This sequance looked like it was filmed in a pool. Not only does she find the missing page but also the missing Maria. Maria doesn't look so good and there are some other bodies in the water as well. When she comes up she is attacked by the ogre but then it turns into Tom. We soon discover that what Cheryl is writing about is seemingly coming true. After a battle between Tom and the ogre, Cheryl runs the ogre over with the car a few times and it simply disappears. By the very end we find out it was all part of her story that she is writing and I guess somehow projected into real life. Maria isn't dead after all, she simply went off with her boyfriend.
Unlike the last movie I reviewed that was made for tv, this movie has no effects in it. There is the dead bodies in the pool that didn't look half bad at all. Then there was the ogre himself. While it looked ok, it wasn't scary simply because of the clothes it was wearing. It had on a shirt or vest that actually had lace along going down the middle. It just looked funny for a monster to be wearing something like that. I can see the ogre being scary to little kids but not for anyone else. The acting was pretty good actually. Virginia Bryant does a good job of going into fits of hysteria.
Even though there is a lack of effects, that isn't the problem I really had with this movie. The problem was that it was incredibly slow. The ogre showed up once in a great while but really not until the end of the movie. Then we a little to much of it. I don't mind slow areas in a film as long as there is at least some character devolpement. In The Ogre we often just see people wondering around, mostly in the basement. We see the glowing cocoon but no one else seems to ever see it, even when hanging up some lights. That seemed like a lot of work to me for a place that you are simply renting for a couple of months. I started to think that they were going to give us the ending that they did at this point and also when Cheryl comes out of the water.
The last tv movie I watched surprised me because of some of the effects that were shown. This movie didn't have that but I was surprised by some nudity. There wasn't a lot but still showed some. May not be to big of a deal there but it is something you won't be seeing on tv here unless you get a cable movie station like Showtime. The ending didn't bother me to much, I have to admit I was a little disappointed that they used that ending though. The true problem is how slow the movie is. Add a little more action, maybe some jump scares here and there, then maybe The Ogre wouldn't be so bad.
1 out of 5 Goofy looking ogres
Sunday, November 05, 2006
After exploring the site, I noticed that this isn't a site about horror movies. These two episodes are just something they put together for holloween. I bring this up not to say this is a bad thing but because I want to know what to expect from the effects. Since horror movies aren't normaly their thing, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from effects. They don't get to elaborate with effects but that is fine. To me, they were just having fun. No one is laughing or anything like that so I'm not saying it was funny, just fun. Some of the effects made me smile because of how nice they did look.
The acting is much the same as the effects. The actors are fun to watch. After watching the holloween stuff, I might look at some of the other movies they have posted. If I can get them to run that is. So for a fun time with some zombies, head on over to Something To Be Desired and check it out. I'm sure you will have a good time as well.
3 out of 5 Zombie goodness
Friday, November 03, 2006
Tamara (2005) is about, well, Tamara (Jenna Dewan). Tamara comes across as a very shy person with either no or very few friends. She is on the school paper and when an article she wrote about some of the football players using steroids is published, it draws the wrong kind of attention to her. Bill (Matthew Marsden) is one of Tamara's teachers who is trying to get her more involved with the other students. Tamara takes this attention the wrong way and starts to have a bit of a crush on Bill. Bill is flatered but is also married to the guidance counselor (Claudette Mink). Because of this, she tries to cast a love binding spell. It appears as though she has been practicing magic for some time.
A couple of the football players decide to get back at her and use a party in order to humilate Tamara. It isn't an actual party see, they get two hotel rooms while everyone for the party is in one room and a video camera has been set up in the next room. They leave a note that is supposed to be from Bill telling Tamara to undress and he will be in soon. She does so and the one of the jocks burts in with another camera. Of course she panics and runs away. She trips when she gets outside and Chloe (Katie Stuart) stops her. Chloe had been trying to befriend Tamara so when Tamara sees Chloe she goes after Chloe. The other jock pulls her off Chloe and throws Tamara to the floor. When he does she hits her head on the table and dies from it. They make a pack and swear not to talk about it and burry the body in the woods. The next day Tamara walks back into the class room looking much sexier than she ever had before. She is out for revenge but this is no ordernary revenge movie.
I think this is a direct to dvd type movie, at least, I have never heard of it until the trailor advertising it being on dvd. Because of this I wasn't really expecting all that much even though the trailor didn't look half bad. Once the effects started to show up, I was surprised at how well done they were. Some nice makeup here and there and we are also treated to some worms under the skin and then they burst through. Cutting off an ear and part of the tongue as well. That made my friend squirm some. There was also some very bloody and chunky puke that was very gross. I can't stand seeing someone getting sick and even though I know it is fake in the movies, it still gets to me some.
The acting was also a nice surprise. Jenna Dewan and Katie Stuart are both very good. I have read some complaints about the acting but when you watch a horror movie, more so a direct to video movie, you don't always get the best actors. I enjoyed it and in the end, that is all that matters. Chad Faust, Bryan Clark, Melissa Elias and Marc Devigne all play either the jocks and/or those at the party that Tamara is killed at.
A big problem most had with the Tamara is that it isn't much of an original story. Most compaired it to Carrie and I think that is a bit unfair. Sure they are somewhat close in story but there are some big differences. You can also say they borrowed from I Know What You Did Last Summer as well. I think most of these types of reviews didn't give the movie a chance once they realized it was close in plot to other movies. I have always felt that it isn't just the plot that is important. Even if a movie does take from other movies, as long as the story is well exectuted and well acted, it can still be entertaining. Tamara gives us this. Another complaint was that there is no nudity even though some of the scenes could have worked it in if they had wanted to. That has never been an issue with me. One of my complaints was towards the end when everyone ends up at the hospital. We see doctors and nurses and even police all around but once Tamara gets there, all of these people seem to just disappear. Felt odd but it didn't spoil things for me.
Tamara isn't one of the classics but it is a nice surprise. Tamara starts out like a typical revenge movie (once we get to the revenge part) but I think she realizes this is a waste. She still gets revenge but she also uses the people for her own gain which is what I think sets this movie apart from most. This isn't a movie to go rushing out and buying but it is worth a watch. Check it out sometime, I think you just might like it.
3 out of 5 Never a doctor around when you need one
An American Haunting starts in present day then goes into the story of the Bell family. The father, John Bell (Donald Sutherland), makes a deal with Kathryn Batts (Gaye Brown) over some land and he charges her a very high interest rate. Kathryn takes this up with the church law but loses so she curses John and his lovely daughter Betsy (Rachel Hurd-Wood). Soon after, John and John Jr. (Thom Fell) are out hunting. John sees a wolf and shots it and it promply disappears. This happens again later or they can hear it growling but can't find it. They can also hear scratching noises at times to but is it the wolf? Attacks on Betsy soon start. It starts with something simple like the bed covers being pulled back seemingly by no one. At worst, something is holding her up and slaping her face, very hard from the sound of it. Richard Powell (James D'Arcy) is the school teacher and he becomes worried about Betsy because she is falling asleep durring class and just acts odd at times, very quick to temper. Once he hears about what is going on at home, he goes and tries to help. Is the ghost something that Kathryn brought to the family or is there something more to it?
Not a lot of effects to speak of here. Mostly the effects are of Besty being attacked. They do a good job of showing her hair pulled, blankets being pulled off or of Betsy being draged around and held up by something. I was always impressed by it all. The other effect worth talking about isn't really an effect at all. It was the camera that was the ghost. Sometimes we would see what the ghost was seeing. This was often shown in black and white. What was annoying to me about this is that it would flip between black and white to color and back again, often at times. I even made a joke about there must be something wrong with the tv because the color keeps going out on it. Another thing that confused me some is when the spirit realized that Betsy was no longer in the house. It was interesting to see it panic like that but once it did it would pass through the house like it was nothing when as before it would actually open and close doors. If it could pass through it all along, why bother opening doors?
I enjoyed the acting. I didn't hit everyone in the overview of the plot. The big one that I left out was who played the mother, that would be Sissy Spacek. When I first saw a trailor for this movie, I was really impressed that Spacek and Sutherland would be in it. Rachel Hurd-Wood was very convincing as well. No real problems as far as the acting went but I did have a problem with how the characters handled things that were happening to them. I could see Betsy staying in her room even after seeing the bed sheets being pulled off by seemingly no one. It would creep me out big time but I don't think I would refuse to sleep there still. After being attacked by some unseen force though, no thanks, I will find somewhere else to go sleep. She wasn't the only character I had wondered about their reactions to things.
An American Haunting starts off following the actual legend. It is "based on a true story" after all so it should follow the actual story right? The longer the movie played on, the more confused I was getting about the explaination that writers Brent Monahan and Courtney Solomon were trying to give. By movies end, and this is no lie, I felt mad and cheated. What is supposed to be a ghost story turns into more of a Lifetime story. The writers slowly pull away from the actual story and try to give the story a moral meaning. In the real accounts of the Bell hauntings, there is never any mention about what happened in the movie's ending. So, since they put the tag of based on a true story and used the real names of the people in the family, everyone will now think that John Bell was a real....well I can't say anything to bad here, ok I could but not my style generaly. Just say they give John Bell a bad rap when as far as anyone truly knows, he doesn't deserve it.
Up until about the middle of the movie, maybe even pass the middle, I was enjoying it. I didn't think it was going to be a big favorite of mine but thought it was an ok movie. I liked it well enough. It is well acted, some of the scenes are very well shot. The scene where Roger and John Jr. try to escape with Betsy was very exciting. In truth, An American Haunting isn't all that bad of a movie. However, I don't give my ratings on how well the movie looks, how well the movie was directed and/or edited. I give my rating to a movie by how well I liked or disliked it. If it wasn't for the ending you would see a higher rating here. If they would have stuck with the facts I think it would have been a much better movie. I don't want to scare people away from watching this one but just remember, the ending doesn't fit.
2 out of 5 One pissed off ghost
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The Fog is about a town, Antonio Bay. Why center a story around a town? Because back in the 1800's the founding fathers of this two did something horrible. They murdered a bunch of people in order to take their money so the town would be able to thrive. Over 100 years later, they town has decided to pay tribute to these founding fathers. The past has been awakened and the ghosts seek revenge.
Nick (Tom Welling) and Spooner (DeRay Davis) own charting company. Nick is one of the decedents. Some of the other decedents include Stevie (Selma Blair) the local radio dj and her son Andy (Cole Heppell). Elizabeth (Maggie Grace) who is returning to Antonio Bay after having some nightmares about something horrible happening back home. Her mom Kathy (Sara Botsford) is the towns mayor. Tom (Kenneth Welsh) takes care of the town's history museum. And last but not least is the town's priest Father Malone (Adrian Hough). Will they be able to figure out why the ghosts want revenge and be able to save themselves?
The effects are a mixed bag. Some of the deaths looked real good. I liked Tom the weatherman's (Jonathon Young) death the best. Bunch of flames and other goodies there but I did think his screaming probably lasted long after he was most likely dead. Sometimes when the ghosts touched things it would start to turn black and disintegrate. This was never explained nor did it make any sense to me. Cool looking effect in a way but that is about as far as it went for me. Sometimes it didn't even show a ghost touching something that started to do this, just the fog. I had to assume there was a ghost there since not everything did this when the fog touched it. Another complaint I have is the use of CGI. I don't mind CGI except when it is used durring a lot of the film and this case all fog (I don't know if all of the fog was actual CGI, just going by what a lot of other reviews have said about it) and the ghosts are CGI made. To me, a transparent object would have a very tuff time making a noise.
The acting once again feels a bit flat. Maggie Grace does a good job at acting scared. Tom Welling is just there as her side kick really. The only person I enjoyed would be Selma Blair. Like Adrienne Barbeau before her, her voice fits for being on the radio. It is just to bad they down sized her character some in this version of the movie. Another problem is that they don't give us much of a reason to care for the different characters. I can't express how important this is. If we don't care what happens to the characters then the shock of them being killed is lessoned at least or we can care less at worse.
Do you remember the two groups of remakes I talked about in my last review? The Fog falls into the first group. Some of the characters are the same and there is a scene or two that come out of the original but the rest of the movie is a complete revamp. The secret of the town has been changed a little and expanded on. Instead of just telling us the secret, we get a few flashbacks to it. I'm not complaining about this really but I thought one flashback would have been just fine.
Some things just didn't make a lot of sense to me. The ghosts for example, why do they need to bother to knock? We see some that seem to just float around but the majority of the time we do see them walking. Still, we can see through them so they aren't solid. I would think they would be able to just go through a door, not have to open it or even knock on it. CGI ghosts can be scary when done right. I never felt anything over these ghosts. The only creepy scene was when they showed the ship that we could barely make out people on. That was only used twice in the whole movie but maybe that is a good thing. Over exposure to it would have made it less effective.
One person that complained about this and the original was saying that fog is just not scary so why should the two movies be scary? I can't say I have ever felt scared by fog, nervous maybe if the fog was thick but never scared. I can relate to this person. However, if you know that there is something that is using the fog to hide in and whatever it is is more than willing to kill you when given the chance, wouldn't the fog become scary to you? Even if the danger has past, seeing fog from then on would make me think twice before going into the fog. It isn't the fog itself that is supposed to be scary, it is what is using the fog to hide in that is what makes fog scary. That was the whole point behind both the original and this remake. Even so, unless you are just curious about the remake, I can't suggest it.
2 out of 5 Very bad endings