Saturday, January 31, 2009
House Of Dracula starts off with Dracula (John Carradine) showing up at Dr. Edlemann's (Onslow Stevens) castle, and asking for some help. Calling himself Count Latos at first, Dracula reveals himself to Edlemann, and asks if he will help cure him. It seems Dracula is tired of being a vampire, and is hoping that Edlemann can come up with a cure. Edlemann agrees, since he thinks it would be a scientific break through if he could do this. Before Edlemann can really get going on finding this cure though, Larry Talbot/The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.) also shows up looking to be cured. Edlemann has ideas on how to cure both men, but before he can, Dracula decides that he wants to make Miliza (Martha O'Driscoll), one of the nurses that helps Edlemann, his undead bride. The Frankenstein Monster (Glenn Strange) eventually shows up, and we get the hunchbacked nurse (Jane Adams), who was also billed as one of the monsters.
House Of Dracula picks things up where House Of Frankenstein leaves off, more or less. This was the last movie in the monster mash trilogy, of which Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man was also part. I understand the appeal of these movies, since we get to see all the monsters in one film. In past movies, we got to see a battle, or two, between the monsters. Even if they were kind of lame, to me anyway, it was still nice to see. It seems that Larry, yet again, gets most of the story in House Of Dracula. As much as I like the character, lets get the others in the spotlight as well. It was nice to have the three main monsters on the same screen, but it would have been a lot better if they had actually shared some screen time together. Actually they do, but more in passing than anything else. The Frankenstien Monster feels more like an after thought, than anything else.
The effects are pretty good in this one. The transformation from bat to Dracula wasn't as good, as it was in Son Of Dracula though. At least the bat looked a little more realistic, even if you could see the strings clearly every time. The Frankenstien Monster and Wolf Man looked good as always, from what little we see of them. Not sure how well I liked the Wolf Man's transformation though. The makeup that I enjoyed the most, which was also probably the easiest, was Edlemann's crazy look. As much as I liked all the other actors, it was Onslow Stevens that I liked best in House Of Dracula. I didn't really care for the character all that much, until he went a bit crazy. Many people seem to like John Carradine as Dracula. I thought he did a fine job in the role, but it wasn't anything that really stood out to me.
I was rather disappointed with House Of Dracula. I didn't really expect much, since the one before it didn't impress me much either. I think these films would have been better if they had given all of the monsters the same story line. Have them ban together and kill a bunch of people, or something like that. One thing I didn't get, is why Edlemann didn't become a vampire out right. It was established that Dracula had people drink his blood in order to turn them into vampires. It is something that shows up in vampire movies from time to time. While Edlemann didn't drink Dracula's blood, he might as well have. House Of Dracula was a film that people were happy to see in this set, since it had not been released to DVD prior to this. Too bad it had to be the weakest on the set.
2 out of 5 Vampires, werewolves, monsters...oh my
Last week on the show, the Mastermind promised that the killer would be revealed on this episode. The only reason I could think of, at the time, is that the killer was going to get caught trying to kill someone off. As the show opens, we find the guys have gotten together to try and keep the women awake all night. They go into the fort, and try to make strange noises to scare the women with. All they manage to do is keep themselves awake. The next day the guys corner Rodney, and pretty much tell him they know he is the killer, and want to help him by getting one of the women alone for him. Rodney denies being the killer though. Then they get a package, which says they will be moved to a school that is no longer being used, supposedly because of some murders that took place there.
Once at the school, they find a shrine to those that were killed, in the middle of the gymnasium. For this ceremony, they find out that the killer kept the class rings of each of his six victims. Those rings can be found in each student's favorite class room. The two people who fail to find a ring, will be up for execution. Every room makes them search for clues, as to where the rings might be hidden. Sometimes they are able to find a ring, sometimes the clues lead to a message that tells them there is no ring in that room. I guess since Rodney didn't want to plan things out with the other guys, they made sure that he was the only guy who doesn't find one of the rings. Leah is the other person that finds no ring. I don't know if the murders actually happened or not, but it was a neat twist to add this to the history of the school. I know it would creep me out being there knowing stuff like that happened there.
It is after this that we discover that Rodney is the killer. I was wrong, I thought it was Nasser all this time. Don't get used to me being wrong though, it doesn't happen very often! Rodney talks about how he managed to get the death box without anyone knowing. How he noticed that Steffinie was hanging out by herself, so he made her the first kill. No mention of what was said though to let her know she was off the show. He talks about his feelings about being the killer, and also about how hard it is to find someone alone. So now I'm thinking, they are filling us in because Rodney won't make it out of the execution ceremony. Why keep us guessing all this time, only to reveal it now on their own, if that isn't the case?
The execution ceremony has Leah and Rodney tied to a table the raises up once in a while, while a pendulum is swinging ever closer to them. They have to get their hands free in order to find something to cut the straps around their bodies. Leah manages to do this first. She uncovers a pan where she finds what she needs to cut the straps, but there are a bunch of scorpions in the pan as well. She manages to overcome her fear, and gets away. Leaving poor Rodney to get sliced in half. Before the show is over, they are told to pack their bags, because they are being moved to the worst place so far.
Since I don't know what the rules are for being the killer, I have to assume that killing off your partner in the execution ceremony is impossible. Or maybe Rodney just didn't consider it? If I were the killer, and if the rules allowed it, I would simply kill off the other person. Wait for a while, then return to the others. They wouldn't know the difference at all. Isn't it true that all is fair in war and money?
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Checking out The Horror Section and But What I Really Want To Do Is Direct, I discovered that I was issued not one, but two challenges. Jay's challenge, so to speak, is to make 9 New Years resolutions that are movie related. Even though it is, you know, just a tad late. That's ok though, lets see if I can do this, shall we?
- Watch more films at the theater. In years past, I tend not to go to very many films at the theater. I have too much stuff going on usually, or no money to go. I have already been working on this one, three films in four weeks. Well, actually two, but a third this weekend for sure.
- Catch at least one film festival. Since I missed the 8 Films To Die For, no fault of my own, I'm not sure where I can fit this one in at. I just don't know of any film festivals. There is a convention coming up, that I have tickets for already. They will be showing films there, does that count?
- My second item on the list sort of leads into this one. Set up a movie night for my friends that also love a good horror movie. Why would I do this for them? Simply because I tend to watch a hell of a lot more horror movies than all of them combined. I do lend out movies that I really enjoyed, but the problem with that is some take freaking forever to return them! So to get around that, and make sure no one loses a movie of mine (which has happened before), I figure I will just invite them over like once a month, and play a movie or two.
- Watch more movies that aren't horror films. As much as I love horror movies, it is nice to mix it up sometimes. There is a long list of films I wouldn't mind watching at some point. The problem is, I tend to keep pushing them back so I can do horror reviews instead. Not that I want to slack off on my reviews, I just want to mix things up more than I have been. Maybe that will help me not get so burned out at times when it comes to blogging.
- Watch Rosemary's Baby. I have been saying this for years now. It is the one film I keep saying I will watch, and then year after year, I don't. Will this be the year?
- Maybe this counts, maybe it doesn't, I will let you be the judge. I have never had a contest on this blog. It is time to change that. I have an idea swimming around in my head that will test everyone's knowledge about horror movies. I'm not talking about a simple contest, where everyone emails me and I pick a winner at random. No, I am thinking more along the lines where it is drawn out for a longer period of time, and will even have more than one winner.
- Explore different genres. I watch mostly horror movies of course. I also like a good comedy, stupid or otherwise. Some drama and action. Some I rarely watch, like westerns and martial arts. Since a certain someone keeps telling me I should branch out more, maybe it is time.
- Help support the independent film makers more. I try and do my part, I really do, but maybe not enough. I try to buy the films that I have really enjoyed of course. Those deserve it more of course. What I want to do the most though is get more reviews of these films out there. And if at all possible, get more interviews done. Any kind of exposer, good or bad (even though bad isn't good, at least people know about it, and it might even sound like something they might like even if I didn't), helps out sometimes. I have done this some in the past, but I want to try and do more of it this year.
- Last but not least, and maybe the hardest thing to do, research what it will take to get a film festival going. One thing I love about The Horror Section, is Jay talking about all the different film festivals he either goes to, or at least wants to go to. I hear very little about film festivals here in the States. If there are any, they are either in New York or L.A., which makes sense really. But if you don't live there, or near there, and don't have the money to travel, you're screwed. That needs to change. I'm not saying I'm the person to do this, but I would like to find out what it would take to try it.
I'm to report how I did on these things at the end of the year. Someone remind me, ok? Over at Cattleworks blog, I was also issued a challenge, like a day later I think. On the plus side of all these challenges, at least it gives me something to post about, right? Cattleworks came across the 999 Challenge. What's with all the 9's all of a sudden? Nine movies in nine genres, which I can define myself, in 2009. This is all part of a challenge set out by the blog Hammer And Beyond. It started as a personal challenge, but then he decided it would be cool if eight other bloggers joined him, thus making nine blogs (there is that number again). So if I get my list in on time, and approved, I can be one of the nine. Here is what I am thinking so far:
- 9 Hammer films. Since I have watched all of one film from Hammer, this will give me an excuse to watch more.
- 9 Universal Classics. Even though I have explored this area some already, I still have plenty of movies to go.
- 9 remakes. One of the things horror movies are known for are how many remakes get made. I'm sure I can come up with nine remakes I haven't watched yet.
- 9 haunted houses. Since I love a good ghost story, this will give me a good reason to find more of what I like.
- 9 werewolf films. An underused genre. It would be fun to explore this one more.
- 9 Masters Of Horror episodes. I have watched a few, but I keep pushing actual movies in front of these. Time to stop that and watch some more.
- 9 Linnea Quigley films. I have watched a few already, but I'm sure I can find nine more films she has been in. She was one of the biggest scream queens after all.
- 9 Mad doctors/scientists. A genre I have barely explored so far.
- 9 films where a child dies. Did you really think I would leave this one out? Of course I will have to research this one, and some of the others, but there is no way I am leaving this one out. Not an offical sub genre, but one I am working on making!
Any more challenges? I thought not. Lets take both of these, and see how well I can do them. I guess I better get started and get my list in.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I watched a new episode of 13 - Fear Is Real tonight. When I was home Friday, my DVR started to record. I stopped it, thinking it was trying to record Wednesday's episode again. It wasn't until today that I found out the show has gone through a time change. It is now on Friday nights. Thanks for letting me know on the last episode, jag offs! A time change usually means the show isn't doing well, so they are trying a different time slot. To be honest, I'm not completely surprised. I went looking around on the net, and discovered that on CWTV, you can watch all the episodes that have already aired. So if you are looking for a way to catch up, or find an episode(s) you have missed, there you go.
On this episode, the nine remaining people are moved to an old fort that is somewhat near by. The Mastermind gives them a quick history lesson on the fort, and then sends them on their ceremony. This time around, the Mastermind has hidden keys all over the fort "in places you won't want to look." Each team member needs to find a key. Last teams to unlock their locks, loses. This time it was Kelly and Erica, who have both been survivors of the execution ceremony before. After that has been decided, everyone beds down for the night. Before they can do that though, there is a very heated exchange about who the killer might be. During the night, some of the guys decide they can't sleep, so they get up to explore the fort. What they don't know is that the killer is also doing the same. As the killer finds ones of the guys alone, s/he moves in for the kill. But one of the other guys shows up, so the killer backs off. I couldn't help but notice that Nasser wasn't one of the guys shown during this time.
The execution ceremony was kind of cool this week. They were chained to a post with a lot of wood around them. They start things off by having to figure out a word lock. While they are trying to work on that, a circle of flame shoots up. Looks like there is going to be a burning at the stake. As they keep trying different words, the flames creep ever closer. At last, Erica figures out the word. She gets the key that will unlock the other locks and heads off. Kelly, the only one I really even liked, was left behind to burn at the stake. They guys were also disappointed by this, because they all feel that Erica is the killer. Next time, the killer is supposed to be revealed.
This episode wasn't as bad as the last one. Since they were moved to a different location, it gave everyone something to do, besides sit around and point fingers at one another. As much as I love a good argument, it was getting very old watching them do this. Maybe this is something they should have been doing from the start. A new location each episode. It would throw everyone off, and keep them from arguing with each other so much. The jury is still out for me on this show, but I still think an hour is too long.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
All The Colors Of The Dark is about Jane (Edwige Fenech). Jane has been having strange dreams of when her mother was killed. The dreams seem to have been triggered by a recent car accident, where she lost her unborn child, which is also in her dreams I think. Barbara (Nieves Navarro), Jane's sister, is trying to help her by sending her to a doctor (George Rigaud), against Jane's boyfriend, Richard (George Hilton), wishes. One day, Jane meets Mary (Marina Malfatti), while waiting for the lift in their building, and they start to talk. Mary is part of a group and wants to leave it, but she needs someone to take her place. Mary invites Jane to go with her, and see what she thinks about it. What Mary doesn't tell Jane, is that this group is a bunch of devil worshipers. They waste no time making her part of their little group. Once in, there is no way they are letting her out.
If the plot doesn't sound like much, that's because it isn't. Jane struggles with being in this group. Does she accept it or doesn't she? Who is the guy that she seems to see where ever she is at? Does it have anything to do with the dreams she has? Does anyone even care? Actually, this film does have its fans. I'm just not one of them. All The Colors Of The Dark starts off in a nice way. The dream sequence if full of very weird things. It was a good way to start the film since it grabs the attention of the viewer right away. From there though, I was slowly losing my interest with it. I wasn't tired at all before watching this movie, but after it was over, I was ready for a nap. I think some of it has to do with the fact that I have watched movies like this one plenty of times before. That is a draw back to being young in a way, I see the movies barrow from the older films. The older films then feel like movies I have already watched, when it should be the other way around.
Many people call All The Colors Of The Dark a giallo. While it is in the right time period to be one, at least when they were very popular, I can't see this film being a giallo. It has always been my understanding that a giallo is a murder mystery type film, where the murderer is not generally known. With All The Colors Of The Dark, there is a little bit of mystery involved, but no murders. I take that back, there are some, but they just aren't done in the typical giallo fashion. We know the who, and they why, straight away. The only mystery is if Jane is actually crazy or not.
The effects...were there any? Just some blood, bright red blood at that. The acting was fine. A lot of the actors are main stream giallo actors, so maybe that is where it gets the giallo label from. I can't blame the actors for me being bored this time. I don't think that was the problem at all. Edwige Fenech shows that she can play a good crazy person. She also shows off a lot more than that, if you catch my meaning. She is a very beautiful woman, so I get why people don't mind that she shows off more than her acting talent. I'm not really sure why All The Colors Of The Dark bored me. It starts off well enough, but quickly went down hill for me from there. I don't know if it just takes too long for things to get going, or maybe not enough things were going on. Either way, I thought this review, posted on Netflix by Mutants_Dad, said it best: "Zzzzzzzzz. Oh look Edwige Fenech's boobies. Zzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzz. Oh look some hot blonde's boobies. Zzzzzzzz."
2 out of 5 At least I didn't fall asleep
Friday, January 23, 2009
Son Of Dracula starts with some people waiting for a train to come in. When it arrives, they discover that the person they were waiting on, Count Alucard (Lon Chaney Jr.), isn't on the train, just his belongings. Alucard is supposed to be staying with Katherine Caldwell (Louise Allbritton), who met Alucard while traveling overseas. Frank (Robert Paige) is worried about Katherine, because she is acting distant from him. Katherine reassures Frank that she still want to get married to him, but he has to trust her. It seem Katherine has something planned, but what could it be? Doctor Brewster (Frank Craven) checks into this Count Alucard, by talking to Professor Lazlo (J. Edward Bromberg), and discovers there is no Count that uses the name Alucard. Brewster does happen to notice that the name spelled backwards becomes Dracula. Katherine and Alucard get married one night, even though she said she would marry Frank. Frank shows up and learns about what has happened. In a fit of jealous rage, he shoots Alucard. The bullets pass right through him though, and hit Katherine, who hid behind Alucard when she caught sight of the gun. Katherine falls to the floor dead, or is she?
Even though they didn't bring Dracula back for this movie, he has stayed dead so far, there is a debate if Lon Chaney Jr. is Dracula, or someone from the line of Dracula. Since the name of the movie is Son Of Dracula, I'm not sure why there is a debate on this issue. In Dracula's Daughter, Marya doesn't use the Dracula name, but she does claim to be his daughter. That doesn't happen here. Alucard never says anything about being Dracula, or a son of Dracula. Lazlo does talk about how Alucard is most likely a descendant of the first Dracula, which is something else that should end the debate. I never felt that Lon Chaney Jr. was trying to be the original Dracula. He is playing a vampire that has taken the name of Dracula.
There were a couple of things I didn't like about Son Of Dracula. The plot seemed to advance rather quickly right from the start. It doesn't take long at all for Brewster to begin to check up on Alucard. I get that Brewster is a family friend who is looking out for Katherine. What I didn't get is why is Brewster so suspicious of Alucard right from the start? Alucard seemingly misses his train, and suddenly Brewster decides he has to check into who Alucard is. Why? Is this a major no-no in Louisiana? If that is the case, I hope I'm never late for anything, if I should ever visit there. Because the plot hits the ground running, we get a slow period more towards the middle of the film, when it least needs it.
Another thing I didn't like was that even though Dracula is the main character, at least according to the title of the film, he is barely in the thing. Towards the end of the movie, Dracula has a bigger part in the film, but it almost feels too little too late. A lot of people feel that Lon Chaney Jr. was miscast as Dracula. At times I have to agree, and at other times I felt he did just fine. He isn't given a whole lot to do for a long time, so maybe that is why it felt like he wasn't doing a very good job with the role. Louise Allbritton is also a name I noticed people talk about. Most comment on her beauty, which I agree she is very beautiful. But some do say that she is a very bad actress. I think the problem with both actors is that they were trying to show how much power they have. Because of this, their acting comes across as stiff at times. This is how I felt about them, and some of the other cast as well. Still, overall the cast did a fine job for this film.
I have been complaining that there have been no bite marks in any of these films so far. I can't complain about that anymore. Son Of Dracula does actually show some bite marks, but still no biting. No blood to be found anywhere either. Even so, I was impressed with the effects of this film. They started to get creative with some of the effects for once. The appearance of Dracula floating across water was a very nice shot. Dracula turning into mist, or a bat, and back again. While these effects are much more impressive in today's films, these still look good. The only down fall of the effects would be the rubber bat shown flying around. If they had not lingered on the bat for so long, it would probably have worked a lot better.
I have mixed feelings about Son Of Dracula. To me it is the weakest of the series so far. I still have one more to watch, so maybe I will change my mind after seeing that one. There are things I didn't like about this film, but there are also things I really liked about it. I loved the ending to this film. It still left some things up in the air, but it has a real ending at the same time. In the end, I feel like I liked it more than I didn't like it. Not sure I would tell people to go out of their way to watch it, but for those that like watching all sequels, it could have been a lot worse.
3 out of 5 Surprised a kid was the first vampire victim
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Everyone was surprised that the killer struck near the cabin they were all staying in. No one heard anything, so no one actually knows when the actual kill took place. That night, the phone rings. The Mastermind has set up a new challenge for them. This time the teams are random. One person has a map that has locations for wooden pieces. The other person has to follow their partner's instructions, via walkie-talkie, to find these pieces, and then make a pentagram out of them. The team of Erica and Ryan were the last to do this. Ryan was getting frustrated with Erica, because she wasn't following his instructions well, and was always saying his name. Erica could have won it for their team, but she didn't grab one of the pieces, for whatever reason.
The execution ceremony sent Ryan and Erica into the woods. Once there, they were tied to a tree. With dogs barking and lunging at them, along with someone near by using a chainsaw, their objective was to get loose and head back. Ryan spent different times looking around at what might get him, while Erica stayed focused on her task, and got away. They are now down to ten. Nasser, I mean, the killer is still out there. Will s/he strike again next week?
I'm starting to wonder if they made a mistake, making this show an hour long. The first episode I can see why it was. There was a lot going on that first episode. Kind of getting to know all of the players some, the challenge, the introduction of the death box, and the execution ceremony. The second episode was feeling a little drawn out, but at least it was fun watching everyone point fingers. Now with the third episode, it was still interesting to see people pointing fingers, but not nearly as much. Since nothing was resolved, it felt a little pointless this time around. Well not so much pointless, but repetitive I guess. Can't say that I was bored, but I was getting close. I was ready for them to move on to something else, since the question on their minds took up roughly the first half of the episode. Next week, more finger pointing. Yay.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Seven Blood Stained Orchids starts off with a series of murders. A lady of the night gets picked up for some work. Along the river, the person that picked her up hits her a few times, killing her. The person leaves a crescent moon in the palm of her hand. Another woman comes home for the day. She gives her cats some milk, and goes about doing the usual things people do when getting home. When she comes back into the kitchen, she discovers there is something wrong with her cats. When running to the phone, she meets up with the killer. Again, a crescent shaped moon is left in her hand. Giulia (Uschi Glass) is traveling on a train with her husband, Mario (Antonio Sabato). After Mario leaves her for a moment, Giulia is attacked. Mario hears something is going on though, and returns before the killer can kill his wife. As the murders keep happening, Giulia realizes that she has seen the crescent moon before, it was left behind by an American, years ago at the hotel that Giulia owned at the time. They look back into the records of who was staying there at the hotel at the time, but find that one of the pages has been torn out. They are able to figure out that seven women were either staying at the hotel, or worked there, on the day of the missing page. These are the women that are being killed. Why though?
With Seven Blood Stained Orchids being a giallo, I went into this film not really caring. More times than not, I can't get into these type of films. Even though they are called Italian horror, they are more in line with the mystery genre, just a little more gory at times. I was actually surprised by this film though. It took me a little while before I got hooked by it. But once I did, I was enjoying the film. What makes this giallo different for me? It seems that giallos are known for the killer always having gloved hands, often that is all we see of them, until the reveal. Like any good who done it type film, the killer isn't shown until late in the film. That I'm fine with. What I don't like is that the reveal, and often times the reason behind the killings, makes little sense. At least to me anyway. Seven Blood Stained Orchids manages to avoid those pit falls. The motive is revealed around the halfway mark, which is sooner than some other movies of this type. The reason, avenging someone's death, has been used a lot, but it is an easy one to accept. I was a little surprised by who the killer turned out to be, but the reason behind the murders made it easier to accept this as well.
Not a lot of effects here, which is a little surprising since Umberto Lenzi directed. Some blood to be found of course. People get stabbed at times, or hit with a blunt object. There is also a death by drill, which is probably the most creative death in the film, and maybe the most questionable one as well. I say this just because the killer plunges the drill into the woman once, where I'm sure it would hurt, but not kill a person. Then again, maybe she just passed out, and the killer finishes things off screen. The acting wasn't too bad. I wasn't greatly impressed with anyone in this film, but no one did a bad job either. Some of the interactions between different actors ended up working out very well.
Seven Blood Stained Orchids does leave one question open. How is it that Mario is finding things out, and then informing the police? Are the police in Italy that bad at their job? This is another mark of the giallo, and many other films actually. Some films get around this by having the character not tell the police something that they know, and then tracking down the lead themselves. That isn't the case here though. While Mario doesn't call up the police right away, he does share what he learns with them. Mario still manages to stay ahead of the police though. It almost feels like the police in the film decided to pool their resources into protecting the women that are still alive, while letting Mario find out who the killer is. Of course they can't even do that well, since one woman gets killed right under their noses. While I didn't fall in love with Seven Blood Stained Orchids, I did enjoy trying to figure out the plot for once. I'm still not completely sold on giallos, but for once I had a fun time watching one.
3 out of 5 Hoping the real police in Italy are better than this
Saturday, January 17, 2009
To my surprise, Dracula's Daughter picks up where Dracula left off, more or less. We see the police finding poor Renfield's body, and then they find Von (sic?) Helsing (Edward Van Sloan), and Dracula with a stake in his heart. Not believing in vampires, Von Helsing is arrested, and the bodies guarded by the police that found them. A woman, who we later discover is Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden), manages to take Dracula's body, and dispose of it in her own way. Marya now feels partly free from Dracula. If you haven't guessed it yet, Marya is Dracula's daughter. Von Helsing is told that one of two things will happen to him. Either he will be convicted of murder and thrown in jail, or he will be convicted of murder and put in a mental hospital. In order to try and convince these people there are vampires, he manages to get a hold of his close personal friend, psychiatrist Jeffrey Grath (Otto Kruger). Jeffrey isn't sure what he can do, but promises Von Helsing he will do whatever he can for him. Marya meets Jeffrey at a party. After hearing him talk about Von Helsing's case, she believes that he is the only person that can help her. But will he, when he discovers the truth about Marya?
Dracula's Daughter is considered to be one of the worst of the Universal monster movies. I don't agree with that statement. There have been better, for sure, but I didn't feel this movie was bad. Many argue that Dracula's Daughter was doomed from the start because of Lugosi. I think it was just more of not giving a sequel a chance since only one actor returned for it. Hats off to Universal though for keeping Dracula dead. Dracula's Daughter started out as a project for James Whale (Frankenstein), but his script was considered to be to outrageous, and the project was passed on. This film is also noted as being one of the first, if not the first, vampire film with some lesbian overtones. I read about this after I had watched it, and was rather confused by it. Marya takes blood from women and men alike. After thinking about it for a while, I can see where people get this idea from, but I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around it. For one thing, the term lesbian is being misused, since a lesbian likes women only. Marya could be considered bi-sexual, and I think that might even be pushing it.
Three things point to Marya being either bi-sexual, or a lesbian. There are two things that get pointed out by many. First thing is that Marya is an artist. At one point, Sandor (Irving Pichel), her human servant, goes out and finds a young lady, Lili (Nan Grey), that is apparently homeless. With the promise of a warm place to stay, food and drink, she relents. She is also given the promise that she is just going to pose for his Mistress, nothing more. In the original script, Lili is supposed to pose in the nude, at least we would have been given the impression that she was. But the studio pulled the plug on that right away. Marya is very kind to Lili, and was trying to make her feel more comfortable. I never felt Marya was attracted sexually to Lili though. The other scene has been described as "the longest kiss never filmed." Marya has Janet (Marquerite Churchill), who works for Jeffrey, and obviously has feelings for him. Janet is out, and Marya is hovering over her for a very long time. Again, I didn't see this in a sexual way. In fact, I thought she was trying not to bite Janet, not kiss her. The third point is mine really, since I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere. If you can buy into that Marya likes women, then you also have to buy into the fact that she likes men. That she liked Jeffrey was much more obvious to me. I honestly thought she wanted Jeffrey for more than helping her with her little problem. If she likes Jeffrey sexually, as well as women, then that would make her bi-sexual, not a lesbian.
No effects to be found, but this didn't surprise me any. No bite marks yet again. The acting, while not as good as it was in Dracula, is still pretty good. It must have been hard for both the studio, and Gloria Holden, to live up to what Bela Lugosi started. Gloria isn't as good in the lead role, but I have to wonder what we would have thought of it, if this had been the start of the franchise. I enjoyed everyone's performance, but it was a small role that stood out to me. I have no idea why it did, but I really liked Nan Grey as Lili. It wasn't anything special really, it just stood out to me. I'm weird, I know it, and I'm proud of it!
The only complaint I have about Dracula's Daughter is that it felt a little slow, despite it being barely over an hour long. I have noticed that the Dracula franchise stands out from the others. The next film, Son Of Dracula, also proves the point. At least I hope it does since I haven't actually watched it yet. In the other monster franchises, that I have watched so far, the "monster" seems to have died at the end of each film, but we find out in the next film that wasn't the case after all. So far, the vampires have stayed dead, which is setting them apart from the others. Just one question, how does Dracula come about having a daughter? Interesting in hearing from you all, I will give my answer as well at some point.
Tomorrow, if all goes well, and if I feel up to it, I am going to go see My Bloody Valentine 3-D. You can find that review over at Top Horror Movies Club! It will be up sometime late tomorrow, or on Monday. If any of you are thinking about going, be aware that it is being shown as a regular film as well. Make sure it has the 3-D tag behind the film name if you want to see it that way.
3 out of 5 Lesbian? Get your minds out of the gutter!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
This week, the big question on everyone's mind, was who has the death box. I didn't cover this last week, so I will do so now. The death box will allow the person that has it to kill off three of their fellow players. How they are to do so, is a mystery to us so far. The instructions are inside the box, which we haven't been able to see just yet. If the killer is discovered though, the killer will be up for execution automatically. We discover this week that a formal accusation can be made by anyone, if they believe they know who the killer is. However, if they are wrong, they will be put up for execution. To start the show, everyone is talking about who the killer might be. Nasser seems to be the most worried about it, and talks to everyone. He feels that Laura is the killer, because her story changes at one point. He decides to make an accusation against Laura, and is wrong.
After this, the Mastermind tells those remaining that one person needs to stay behind while everyone else is to put on life jackets and blindfolds, and will be lead to the water's edge after they pair up. They are placed in boats, and eventually transferred to other boats, with a covered box in the middle of the boat. They are put through a series of tests, pull some plugs in the boats so that water comes in, unwrap the box which has snakes in it, as well as some things to bail the water out, and then actually hold some of the snakes into the air. The first team to give up loses. The snakes proved to be too much for Laura. She was able to hold them until they started to twist around her hands. She threw them into the water, and raised her flag. So Laura, and her partner, Adam, joined Nasser for the execution ceremony. Meanwhile, back at the cabin, Nasser and Erica, who elected to stay behind, began to talk about who could be the killer. Nasser begins to think that Erica is the killer. The guy thinks everyone is the killer at this point I think.
The execution ceremony this time is inside a shipping container, that you would find on a ship. Inside they find a bunch of chains. They are told to put a blindfold on. Once they have done that, the Mastermind's minions put a round cage, double sided, over their heads which is full of rats. It is bolted down with the chains. The mastermind tells them that the last person left will have their face attacked by the rats. Nasser and Adam go to town, while Laura spends too much time trying to see what the others are doing. Even though Laura and Adam are friends, Adam is forced to leave Laura behind. Good bye Laura, have fun with those rats.
So the question remains, who has the death box? I'm thinking it is either Steffinie (damn alternate spellings), who first got the box last week, but put it back, or maybe even Nasser. I'm thinking Nasser just because he seems to want to pin it on someone else so badly. Why? I know they don't want to be killed off, so knowing the killer helps in that way. But at the same time, pointing the finger at someone else, gets everyone thinking about that person, instead of you. Who are all of you guessing it to be?
The thing I liked about this episode is they do show us who the killer is, sort of. We just get to see an outline of some person, who may not even be the actual person, with all the remaining names stacked onto one another. The voice is also scrambled, so we can't figure it out that way. I also like how they are keeping everyone in the dark about what the ceremonies are. I'm sure they know nothing serious will happen to them, hopefully anyway. But it is the fear of the unknown that keeps them on edge. Until next week!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Botched starts off with a robbery. It starts off successfully too. Ritchie (Stephen Dorff) manages to get away with a case full of diamonds. He gets into a get away car, and they take off. All according to plan right? Well things never seem to go as planned for Ritchie. As they are driving, a woman steps into the street while walking her dog. They swerve to miss the woman, swerve again to miss a truck, a crash into a wall. This kills the two guys that were in the car with Ritchie, who manages to get through it without a scratch. Thinking he better leave before the police show up, he takes off on foot, only to be hit by a car. Ritchie once again lives through an accident, but the case goes flying, and opens up once it hits the ground. Ritchie doesn't bother to get the diamonds, probably afraid the police will show at any moment, and heads to his boss. The boss turns out to be a Russian mob boss (Sean Pertwee), who isn't very happy with Ritchie. But the boss is willing to give Ritchie a second chance.
Now Ritchie needs to steal a priceless cross from someone in Russia. Ritchie doesn't know much about it, except what it looks like and where to find it. He meets up with Russian brothers, Peter (Jamie Foreman) and Yuri (Russel Smith), who will help Ritchie with this mission. They head up the elevator, and then manage to trick it to take them to the penthouse, where this cross is at. They head in, and with a quick exit, they are back out and making their escape. Yuri is covered in blood, thanks to Peter shooting someone so they have to be careful now. The elevator stops on the way back down, and three women get on. Despite Peter telling them, in a mean way sometimes, to get off and take the next one, they refuse to leave. Each time Peter opens the elevator doors, someone new gets on. Before long, they have seven people! Ritchie gets Peter to give up, and down they go. The elevator acts like it is stuck when it reaches the thirteenth floor, and they all get out. They find the floor apparently empty, so take their now hostages to one of the rooms until they figure out what to do. One of the hostages is a security guard (Geoff Bell), so Ritchie is able to talk to the rest of the guards. They make a deal, a hostage in exchange for no one making a move on their floor. Peter takes one of the guy hostages, and takes him to the elevator. When it opens, something comes out, and cuts the guy's head off!
Botched is considered a dark comedy/horror film. I frowned some when I found this out, before watching the film. I think film festivals might work in a movie's favor when it is part comedy. I know I enjoyed Dance Of The Dead at the festival I was at, more than I might have, if I had watched it alone. Once people start having a great time with the film, it is hard not to get caught up in that. The comedy in Botched was rather stupid to me at times. A giant rat, that is obviously fake, is picked up by Peter. As he holds it by its tail, the rat starts to pee on Peter. I just didn't find that funny. At other times, the comedy can work very well. And at other times it is just so silly, you can't help but laugh at it. Some of the music choices are great to add to the comedy. Music I wasn't expecting starts to play, while the killer twirls around as the killer chases after the next victim. Or disco music, complete with disco lights, snap on as spikes come out of the floor. It was unexpected, and funny because of that.
The effects are well done, considering this was a festival film. Not only do we get a bloody mess when the guy loses his head, but there are also some other gory effects to be found within Botched. A hand gets cut off, we find a body cut in half, skinned flesh, and much more. The acting could have been better in places. Stephen Dorff is good, I enjoyed watching him in this film. Jamie Foreman was also great as the trigger happy Peter. Bronagh Gallagher is one of the three women that first get on the elevator after the robbery. She ends up being the leader of the three women. Jaime Murry (The Deaths Of Ian Stone) shares the lead female role, sort of playing the girlfriend again. You can also find Hugh O'Conner, Norma Sheahan, Gene Rooney, and Edward Baker-Duly.
A minor complaint by some was that even though the story takes place in Russia, no one ever speaks Russian. They all speak English, but with a Russian accent. This was never an issue for me however. I just assumed that they were speaking Russian, but to make things easier, everything was being said in English, instead of messing with a bunch of subtitles for the majority of the film. I guess the only complaint I have, which isn't one to be honest, is that some of the comedy was lost on me. We all find different things funny to us, and other things not funny at all. I can't really blame the film for this, you know? I'm giving it the score you will find, mostly because the comedy didn't work as well as I had wanted it too. That being said, I really do think that if I were to watch Botched once or twice more, it would grow on me a little more each time. It is a fun film though. If you generally like these types of movies, there is a chance you will like this one as well.
3 out of 5 Follow the trail of blood
Monday, January 12, 2009
I think I will skip that synopsis for this film, since it is the same as the other Dracula movie I reviewed just a few days ago. If you are wondering why there is a Spanish version of this film, then I will tell you. That is unless you did read Jed's comment (thanks for talking about something I was going to post here by the way Jed), then you can skip over this. When Dracula was being made, talking films were still somewhat new. Universal wasn't sure how to deal with the international market, and subtitles were something that were also new, and somewhat unproven so far. To get around this, Universal would sometimes film the same movie twice. Once for the American market, and other English speaking countries, and once for whatever other language was also wanted. In the case of Dracula, we got the English and Spanish versions. As the English version would wrap up for the day, the Spanish crew would then come in and film through the night. The Spanish crew was able to see what the American crew shot for the day, and felt they could do better. In some cases, they did.
If you watch both versions, you will see some changes. Some are subtle, while others are very noticeable. The fact that the Spanish version runs nearly a half hour longer, should tell you something with that alone. Fans of films from this era say that the Spanish version ran too long. This version feels more like what you will find today. What is considered too much padding by some, felt like more characterization to me. This version of the film was shot with a bit more flare. For example, in the American version, they simply showed the coffin opening, and then Dracula standing next to it. The Spanish show the coffin opening along with smoke, or a fog I guess, coming out. When the smoke clears, we see Dracula. While there are more scenes that were shot differently, I felt the biggest changes were in the script. Both films used the same script, but in the Spanish version of the film, the characters felt a little bit more fleshed out. More importantly, there was more closure for some of the characters. As far as the film itself, I felt the Spanish version was the better of the two.
The American version did a better job with the acting though. Carlos Villarías does a good job in the lead role of Dracula. Some of his expressions can look silly at times, which I think is the main reason people say that Bela ended up being the better of the two. To me though, Bela learned to be more subtle in his actions as Dracula. Carlos was maybe trying a little too hard to be scary at times. Sometimes less is more, as they say. Pablo Álvarez Rubio covers the Renfield role. I felt that he did a good job with this role, but again, it was Dwight Frye I have to go with. Pablo had the wild laughter and crazy look, while Dwight used a more mechanical laugh with the wild crazy look. Dwight came across as much more creepy because of that. The role of Van Helsing, played by Eduardo Arozamena here, was almost a tie to me. The romantic roles, played by Lupita Tovar and Barry Norton, may have been slightly better.
The ending, which I was under the impression was very different, isn't so different after all. But two small changes made all the difference. Van Helsing gives more of a reason for staying behind this time around. The end shot is the same, almost. In the American version, we see two people walking away (trying not to spoil things too much just in case), and that is the end. It is the same in the Spanish version, but this time we also see Van Helsing standing over a body. I know I said earlier that less is more, but sometimes more is better. Some of the changes made helped explain things just a little more. Interesting enough, director George Melford didn't understand Spanish at all, but still managed to film a slightly better film. It isn't better by leaps and bounds, but I think the style will appeal to today's movie goers more. Oh, before I forget to bring it up, bite marks! While death was still never shown on screen, we do get a couple of bite marks this time around. You have my thanks for being that brave!
3 out of 5 I guess Dracula doesn't need to be invited into a house?
Saturday, January 10, 2009
One version starts with Herbert Lyutak (Mickey Hargitay) in the Vietnam war. Herbert is badly injured and is being taken somewhere so he can be better treated. On the way, he sees a nurse, who is transformed into an image that we later will realize is his wife. Fade to a tavern, which is where the other version starts the story. A women is on the phone, talking to her boyfriend, trying to figure out where some club is. Herbert is pretty much undressing her with his eyes, and he decides to offer her his help in finding the club. On the drive to the club, Herbert takes her out to the middle of nowhere, and starts to try and get his hand between her legs. Eventually, after much begging, Herbert lets the woman out, only to chase after her. Herbert catches up to her, and kills her. This is latest in killings that the police haven't been able to figure out. Marcia (Rita Calderoni), Herbert's wife, is the first to figure things out, when she finds a shirt with blood on it. This happens around the same time the police bring Herbert in for questioning, because they have discovered that he gave the newest victim a ride. While there at the station, another murder happens with the same M.O., so it can't be Herbert, right? Is it the doorman at the club, like Herbert says it is? Is it his wife? Or could it be someone else?
Even though I didn't say which version starts with which sequence, I'm sure it is east for everyone to figure out. Mickey Hargitay takes at least some of the credit for coming up with the Vietnam angle for the American version of the film, while Renato Polselli simply says that someone made that suggestion. This is the only difference between the two versions. The International version is a little hard to follow, plot wise, at times. It seems like just about everyone, except maybe the police, are off their rockers. This version is a little hard to follow because of the subtitles I think. Sometimes what the subtitles would say, didn't make a lot of sense compared to what was going on with the story at the time. At least one character comes out of left field, when the character starts to flip out as well. In a way I understood, but at the same time, I was left wondering where the hell that all came from. The dream sequences, I guess I should call them that anyway, are also very wild. It ends up trying too hard to throw us off of what we already know since the start of the film, that Herbert is a killer.
In the American version, which is dubbed, not only is the Vietnam war sequences added, but some of the deaths have either been changed, removed completely, or they added some. This not only changes the tone of the movie, but it also changes the plot some. The basic plot that I described above is still the same, but they show Herbert as more of a killer. To my surprise, the American version is shorter than the International one, by seventeen minutes. I guess this surprised me since scenes were added. I guess more stuff was taken out than added though. A lot of the nudity is taken out, which I sort of expected. Even though it seems like fans of Delirium like that International film better, I ended up liking the American version more. The plot felt tighter, and made more sense to me. Gone is the confusion, which is trying to make you forget that Herbert killed someone at the start of the film. The character coming out of left field had more of a reason to do so in this version. Maybe it felt like a better film, since I had watched the other version first, but I don't really think so. The American version made sure that we knew Herbert was in fact killing women, since he seemingly can't get excited sexually unless he is hurting the woman. He does it more often here. The only question that remains then, is who is the other killer?
Even though there are a lot of deaths, only one comes away in a somewhat graphic manner. Very little effects, but the way most of the killings are done, strangulation, you don't need effects for that. I do think this film would be good for goofy faces of death though. Some looked pretty funny at times. The acting felt over the top at times. Given the subject matter though, I guess that is probably a good thing. Rita Calderoni looks as good as she ever did, and of course has a few nude scenes. It is easy to see why Cattleworks likes her so much, she is a very beautiful woman. Hopefully, for Cattleworks' sake, someone will put more of her movies on DVD. I know the Hargitay name for some reason, but I have no idea why. Maybe one of you can explain it for me.
Neither version of the film made the film out to be great. To my surprise, I ended up liking the American version more, which I wasn't even planning on watching at first. If you find it interesting, the story that is, then I guess I would suggest giving it a watch. I think I had more fun comparing the two films, more than the films themselves. My next film will be out of the Dracula set, but first I will be heading to the theaters to see a film. I want to watch at least one movie there, even if it isn't the ones I wanted to go see. You all can find that review over at Top Horror Movies Club, which will be my first actual post there. Maybe see you all there!
2 out of 5 For those crazy people in Italy
3 out of 5 For those crazy people from Italy, but Americanized
Friday, January 09, 2009
Dracula starts off with Renfield (Dwight Frye) traveling through Transylvania to meet Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi). Renfield doesn't take notice when the locals cross themselves, and shake in fear whenever he says the name Dracula. After a carriage ride, where there seems to be no driver, he ends up at the castle where the Count lives. Renfield has some papers for the Count, papers for buying a place in London. Renfield has already taken care of all the travel arrangements for the Count. During the night, Dracula puts Renfield under his control. After this, we see them traveling by ship to London. A big storm has hit the ship, but the crew seems to have things under control. When the ship arrives in London though, all the crew is dead. Only Renfield is still alive, and he seems to have gone completely insane. Dracula, who wasn't counted among the living because he is a vampire, is now on the prowl in London. He eventually meets Mina (Helen Chandler) at an opera, and decides to turn her into a vampire as well. Only thing is, Dracula soon finds an enemy in Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan), who seems to know a whole lot about vampires.
The history behind the film was fun to listen to. There is a documentary on the disk exploring what came before the film, and about the film itself. Dracula was one of the first films that Universal considered making when the studio was first getting started. It wasn't until ten years later though, that the studio started to get serious about it. When it was decided to make a film out of Dracula, Lon Chaney was given the role of the Count. However, Lon Chaney passed away from cancer before filming began. Eventually, after fighting to get the role, it was given to Bela Lugosi. Bela felt it should have been his from the start, since he had played the role over two hundred times in the Broadway play. Universal had planned on making Dracula more like the book, but with the stock market crash, and the start of the great depression looming over everyone, the studio decided to cut back on the budget, and go with the Broadway play script instead.
I had watched plenty of clips from this film, but this is the first time I have actually watched it. I had been told many times that Dracula might be the hardest for me to get into, and I think those people were right. It's not that I thought the film was bad, I just wasn't getting into it much. It felt like they were afraid to show anything in this film. Every death was cut away from, along with every bite. Not even a simple thing like bite marks are shown at any time. We are just told about them is all. I know leaving my mind to fill in the blanks is more scary, which is why I ended up loving The Blair Witch Project, but at the same time, would it be too much trouble to show small bite marks? Even the stake through the heart was cut away from. I know they couldn't show it actually going into a body, but they could have shot it in a way that gave more of an impression of actually being driven into the body. I guess that is what I didn't like the most, that death seems to be a big taboo that couldn't be shown. I don't recall the horror movies made around this time being the same way. What Dracula does have in common with some of them though, was the abrupt ending. This has been a complaint of mine in a couple of the other Universal classics, and it holds true here as well.
The acting was, to me, the real gem of this film. A lot of film buffs claim that when people think of the character of Dracula, Bela Lugosi is who comes to mind. Even though he is a vampire, he plays the character as a gentleman, all the same. His accent also helps bring the character to life. I liked Bela Lugosi, but I loved Dwight Frye. What started out as a forgettable character, was transformed into one that is impossible to forget. Frye manages to steal the scenes he shows up in with ease. While some people didn't care for the female part of the romantic lead, Helen Chandler, I thought she did a fine job of it. Some of the acting, by her and others, was a little stiff at times. Over all though, I still think the acting is the main reason to see this version of Dracula.
I really wanted to love this film, since just about everyone I know thinks so highly of it. I can't do it though. I did like it though. I guess this version of the Dracula film is a little too old fashion for me. It really bugs me that every death scene is cut away from. For all I know, Dracula was interrupted when going in for the kill, but since we don't get to see what happens, we will never know. Whatever happened to his three vampire women from the start of the film? They just disappear, never to be seen or heard from again. What a shame. I gave it a chance, and came away with just an ok feeling about it all. I will go ahead and watch the other films in this set, my mind demands in after all.
3 out of 5 Give me a love bite baby
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Make A Wish starts off with a murder straight away. Michelle (Nora Stein) is trying to find her way to an outing with a bunch of her friends, but is having trouble with the directions one of them gave to her. Eventually she discovers that she has a flat, and gets the owners manual out to see what to do. While she is doing this, she is attacked by someone and killed. The next day we are introduced to all kinds of characters. Let me see if I can get them straight. There is Susan (Moynan King), the birthday girl, and also the one that has planned everything out. Dawn (Hollace Starr), Susan's current ex-girlfriend, who is into the witchy stuff. Linda (Melenie Freedom Flynn), the only one with a boyfriend. Chloe (Lava Alapai), who is a very serious vegetarian. Monica (Virginia Baeta), who shows up with her current girlfriend Andrea (Amanda Spain). There is also Steve (Eric Vichi), who is the jealous boyfriend. Zeke (Bob Peterson), a hunter who is around the same area as all the women, and seems to have a thing for Susan. And last, but not least, we have a private detective, CK McFarland (Neil Wilson), who is looking for someone that has escaped a mental hospital. Do we have everyone straight now? Good, because it took me a while to figure it all out. Susan has invited them all, except for the guys, to camp out with her, and help celebrate her birthday. Of course almost all of the women have slept with her, at some point in time. So they all settle in for a fun weekend of bickering, and stabbing each other in the back (not literaly). Fun times isn't it? When they start to disappear one by one though, it is up to us to figure out who is doing the killing.
Make A Wish is hailed as the first lesbian slasher film. It was directed by Sharon Ferranti, and written by Lauren Johnson. I wanted to at least like this film going into it. Not because it has a bunch of characters that are supposed to be lesbians, but because it is a project by women. Just don't see many horror films by women. As much as I hate too say this, Make A Wish doesn't work to well. I watched this movie over the net, via Netflix, so I didn't get the extras. I did read about them in another review though. There is a commentary track by Sharon included on the DVD. At times she refers to Make A Wish as a B-horror movie, which is what it probably should have been. Then at other times, she refers to it as a parody. There in is the problem with Make A Wish, it doesn't know for sure what it wants to be. We get a somewhat good horror moment, which is then countered by something that would make me ask "what" out loud. I mean when the detective wakes up to someone yelling, that is obviously a woman who is in trouble. When he rolls over and goes back to sleep, once the yelling has stopped, that is a very silly moment to me.
The characters are something else that ends up hurting the film some. Susan is always playing jokes on everyone, Andrea more than anyone, since she is new to camping. Susan also has to have everything her way. Since everyone, except for Andrea, has slept with Susan at some point, there is tension through everyone because of that. Monica is currently with Andrea, but makes eyes with Susan, and then gets mad at Susan when they kiss. Monica also seems to have a thing for Linda, even though Linda swears to her boyfriend she is straight now, which she proves not to be the case fairly quickly. So about half of the women on this trip seems ready and willing to sleep with any woman that shows any interest in them. Maybe there are some lesbians like that, but you don't have to include so many into one film. There are a couple of sex scenes. This surprised me, but it didn't at the same time. While the scenes are hardly graphic, it still felt soft porn to me. I guess that had to do with the music that was playing over the scenes. Also something that points to the film not knowing what it wants to be.
The acting was good, but could have been better at times. Each actor showed that they could act, and act well. It could have been because of the characters, that the acting felt bad at times. The characters, for the most part, are hard to get into. When that happens, it is also hard to get into the acting as well. The effects aren't much. There are a couple, but none of them are all that special. A cut throat, a burnt body, and a couple of people getting shot by either a gun or arrow. Almost all of the effects are done after the fact. We see the arrow flying towards its target, and then it is sticking out of the target type effect.
I guess I could have picked a better film to review for today. I noticed the birthday theme in this one, and went with it. Thus is the life of a horror movie fan though, you just never know what you will get. As for Make A Wish, it wasn't all bad. I know I made fun of the music some earlier, but there were times that it did really help the film. It is great that women tried their best to make this film. I just felt that it would have worked better as a straight slasher film. By films end, I wasn't sure if I agreed with who they showed as the killer. There were times in the film that who the killer turned out to be, just didn't make a lot of sense to me. By the very end of the movie though, it doesn't matter since the whole film may, or may not, have happened. Maybe this explains away why I thought the reveal of the killer didn't work out.
2 out of 5 Stick with Susan Adriensen, she is the bomb!
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
13 - Fear Is Real is a reality horror TV show. I was wondering how this will work. If you missed it, which I missed most episodes, Scream Queens was another reality horror show, but in a different way. They had actresses competing for a job. The winner would get a role in Saw 6. I only managed to come across a couple of episodes, the last one happened to be one of the few I managed to watch. That show was on VH1. I'm hoping it did well enough for them to bring it back next year. 13 - Fear Is Real is a different type of reality TV. It is more along the lines of the winner getting money, instead of a job. Thirteen people that signed up, wish I could have, were sent out into a remote wooded area. The first thing they find is this small cabin, where they will all be staying. Their first challenge, if you will, is just to find a phone that is ringing. Once they have found it, a person calling himself the Mastermind, who is using his best Jigsaw voice, issues the first challenge. One person is to stay behind, while everyone else splits into pairs. One person from the pair is supposed to walk into the woods, where the Mastermind's minions are waiting. These people are thoroughly tied and gaged to a chair. Then their partners are sent out into the woods where they find a dummy that is also tied to a chair, along with instructions. They each have a video camera to take, and they are to find their partner and rescue them. They can only rescue their partner though, who is somewhere in the miles of swamp and woods. Once rescued, they are to return to the dummy. The last team to do this will be up for execution.
Everyone does return, but the team is of course the last. The next day they are all doing whatever they can to take their minds off things. The Mastermind has other ideas though. In a small locked cage is a box. The Mastermind tells the group that whoever has the box will be "the killer." I won't go into what that means, unless it is wanted, since the episode will air again soon enough. I will fill you in on that at the end of this post. One of the women sneaks over and takes the book, but chickens out and puts it back later. That night, the losing team is told to go out into the woods near a road, where they will find some blindfolds. They are told to put them on. They are also told there is a couple of cameras they can use to record their last words. Once they have done that and blindfolded themselves, the minions lead them to a graveyard. They soon discover where they are, and that they are standing in front of a wooden coffin, with an empty hole near by. They are told that they will be buried alive. The losing team was a pair of women, who are both leery about getting into their coffins. They eventually do though. They are lowered into their grave, and dirt is thrown over them until they are buried. After about a minute, the Mastermind informs them that the first one to escape lives to see another day. The person that won got to play the last words of the person that lost.
There isn't much out there just yet about what people thought of this show. Before it aired, people were worried it will be a very fake show. They worry that because the people on the show knows it is all fake, they will ham it up just to ham it up. They worry that the producers will take everyone to the side, and instruct them to play off being scared. I want to give the show a chance. I'm sure that the people trying to win the money know that camera people, and others, will be somewhat near by. It wouldn't do to be miles away if someone got hurt. They know that what they will have to go through, like being buried alive, will have its limits and they won't stay that way forever. All the same though, even if I knew I would be dug up after so long, it would still be scary to me. Maybe some of the things will be hammed up, as others like to put it, but I think most of the feelings there will be real. Only time will tell though. The first episode will be aired once again this Friday at 9pm EST.
Let me know if you watched it, and what you think of it. Also let me know about posting on each episode, this way I can plan ahead just a little.
Messiah Of Evil starts off with Arletty (Marianna Hill) telling us about her father. He lives in a different town, and she has been getting some rather strange letters from him lately. Arletty decides to go to Point Dune to find out what is going on. When we first see Arletty, she has stopped for gas, and directions. The guy working at the gas station can't figure out why anyone would want to visit Point Dune. She tries to explain why she is going there, but is interrupted when a truck pulls in. This guy looks very weird, and draws the attendant away from Arletty right away. He doesn't even try and take payment for the gas. While Arletty and this new guy stare at each other, the attendant has a look under a tarp in the back of the truck, and discovers some bodies. When Arletty tries to pay for the gas again, the attendant tells her to forget about it and to leave. Arletty then goes to her father's house, where she finds no one. She does find a journal of her father's though, which talks of strange goings on in Point Dune. She goes into town to ask around about her father, and learns that three other people have been doing the same thing. She finds out where these people are, and pays them a visit. She meets Thom (Michael Greer), and his two lady friends, Toni (Joy Bang) and Laura (Anitra Ford). When she finds them, they are talking to the town drunk (Elisha Cook Jr.) who is talking about an event that happened in Point Dune one hundred years ago. Thom has been looking for Arletty's father, because Thom believes he knows more about the event that happened all those years ago. A dark stranger came to town all those years ago, and partly ate a hunter he came across. When the townsfolk found the hunter, the hunter told them of the dark stranger who did this to him and disappeared into the sea, and claiming that he would return one hundred years later. Guess who is coming back home for dinner?
Even though the story points at the new title of the film, Dead People describes the movie in a better way. The Messiah Of Evil is a title that is taken from the film as well, but it is more of a sub plot than anything else. The story we are more involved with is Arletty and Thom discovering the truth about what is going on in Point Dune. Throughout the film, we have narrations by Arletty, filling in things that we don't see. Things like how she is feeling, and points like that. I liked this aspect of the film, but it does give away the ending in a way. Since Arletty's narration in done in the past tense, it is easy to assume that she lives through the story. Her father's journal is another narration that occurs throughout the film. With each new entry that we hear, we often see something that happens in the film that was talked about in the entry. It was an interesting way to tell the story over the course of the film, instead of having one long scene where everything is explained at once.
The effects in Messiah Of Evil aren't very good. The few times we see an on screen death, it is edited in a way that saves the effects. A person is being attacked, we see this and then it cuts away to a shot looking away. A quick shot of the person being attacked, back to a shot looking away, and so on. In this way we know what is happening, but no effects by having it edited in this way. The one time an effect was badly needed is when Thom gets his neck bitten. After he gets away, all we see is a smear of blood where the bite was to have taken place. His shirt rubs most of that off, so we see there is no bite, or anything else, that would have caused the blood to be there. The acting was actually better than what I was expecting it to be. There were times I thought it could have been better, by all the actors, but I was still impressed by it. Considering that this film is on a budget pack, possibly more than one at that, Messiah Of Evil was a nice surprise.
Messiah Of Evil does suffer from a bad print. It is very snowy, and some scenes are darker than they probably need to be. Messiah Of Evil is not one of the great films out there, mostly because it is easy to see it is a low budget offering. That being said, I think this film does have some things to offer to horror fans. It manages to be a little creepy at times. Like when Toni is at the theater watching a Western of all things, the theater slowly fills up behind her, one person at a time, without her knowing it until a couple of people sit close to her. Arletty gets sick in one scene, and when the camera looks into the sink after she raises up, we see a lizard and a bunch of bugs. It was scenes like these, and the narration of the story, that manages to keep the film interesting. It is a little slow, but not as bad as some other films I have watched. If you have never heard of this one, I suggest giving it a shot. You might just be surprised by it like I was.
3 out of 5 I hate it when someone gets sick!