Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Crazies (2010)

The Crazies (2010) Dir. by Breck Eisner

I got the chance to see this movie today with my good friend The Mike (From Midnight With Love), and a couple of other good friends, and I must say I was presently surprised. Having seen the original, I was a little worried going into this one. It had essentially the same plot as the first one. Town goes crazy, finds out it is biological, army quarantine, and then people are forced to try and escape. As amazing as I feel the first one was, it did have many holes in not only it's plot but the characters as well. I didn't feel that way about this one. It starts off with a bang and keeps going, filling in the holes with random acts of violence and sometimes funny dialogue. With the plot being almost exactly the same, I felt the movie had some room to play with it. They showed more of the towns people killing other people, and I thought that really brought up the fear factor of the movie. Yes the movie is semi-predictable, but is that really all that bad. This movie wasn't out to win an Oscar, it was out to please. In my book, it did just that.

The character development in this movie is what really drives it. The original was extremely lacking in that department, and I felt like it was a much needed focus for the remake. I finally got to feel for the characters, especially the town's people. I could have went without the unnecessary romance between a couple of unimportant characters, but I can see how they were just trying to build emotion to the film. I do think they could have filmed the scene a little less cheesy, and I would have asked for a little better acting, but I let it slide. I really had a chance to feel for the main couple. Baby on board, it was a chance to feel they were a real couple, defending a real problem, not just for themselves but for their child as well. Judy and David Dutton ( Radha Mitchell and Tymothy Olyphant) were definitely still the main focus of the film, as well they should be. The story follows them as they try to leave the town along with the Deputy Russell Clank (Joe Anderson) and Becca Darling (Danielle Panabaker). Giving the Deputy more character in this film is something I thought was an excellent touch. When Joe Anderson was on the screen, I couldn't stop watching. He has only been acting for six years, and I already feel he is only going to get stronger. I'm guessing he may become a well established actor in the near future. Sure this isn't a real killer of a role for him, but I think people will start to see his talent, and the emotions he puts into each character. I enjoyed him in the Ruins as well. Not being shy to scary movies herself (Pitch Black, Silent Hill, Rogue) Radha Mitch once again gives an amazing job. At times it felt like she might have been overacting a bit, but it seemed to fit right in. I look forward to her dabbling more in the realm of Horror. Last, I just want to say great job to the supporting cast, without the Crazies we would have no movie.

Breck Eisner, what am I supposed to say about Breck Eisner. He hasn't directed that many films so far, and they are usually hit or miss. Technically, I would view him as a nobody. Invisible the the rest of the movie industry. Thoughtcrimes (2003) was insanely boring, and Sahara (2005) was mildly entertaining at best. His direction of T.V. episodes was definitely his strong suit, having done an episode of "Taken" for Steven Spielberg. The one big thing that bothers me about him is he produced perhaps the worst short story science fiction adaption in history when he produced the atrocity Sound of Thunder in 2005. With all that considered, I do think he might have made his mark among filmmakers. If anyone out there is as nerdy as me to pay attention to camera angles, rotation, lighting, and editing, they should have seen the excellent work Eisner did on The Crazies. I hope I'm not spoiling anything when I say the shot of the plane discovering is one of the best I have seen in a long time. The use of aerial shot was magnificent, used often, but not too much. The film was bathed in seas of perfect dim lighting. It really added to the atmosphere of the film. Combined with a simple, yet effective score, this film was a pleasure to my eyes and ears.

Now that it seems like I am praising this film, there were some problems with it as well. It tried to use the same choppy editing and almost time traveling speed the original movie managed to make use of, but fell short on this film. There were moments where I felt there needed to be a little more to the conversation in progress, and it cut away to the next scene. These new scenes at times where sometimes hours ahead. It really put a choke hold on my ability to imagine the things that might have happened between then. At times, the death sequences were beyond the acceptable cheesiness. I can't say that I didn't crack at least the slightest grin when they happened, but they could have been toned down a bit. The movie was filled with laughable moments, and I can't deny that. I just want to make it a point to educated people before they go to see this movie. There are semi-scary moments, times you might jump, times you might laugh, maybe even feel sorrow, but do not go into this movie expecting an award winning film, and you will not be let down.
The military's involvement in the film was actually it's downfall, compared to the original (which it was it's strength). The military rushes into a town of over 1300 people in the middle of the night and sets up a giant quarantine area in the middle of the town's football field. I think someone would have noticed that. There is absolutely no character development with any of the military members at all. This displeased me very much, especially since some of the best characters of the original were part of the military. The make them seem like more of an enemy than the crazies themselves. They appear to be mindless, servants of a higher power, which might as well be a crack at the military in real life, and that I can understand. That is all followed up with an ending that shocked me a bit, and excited me as much as it let me down. With some of the movie clearly displaying landscape not actually located in Iowa (yes i understand it was essential to the plot), I felt a little let down. Not to mention, I know for sure The Mike is going to take a crack at destroying the Iowa Hawkeyes or something, haha.

All things aside, I loved the movie, and I can't wait to see it again. My thoughts for the future are as follows- I really dislike it when filmmakers make a footprint in the business with a remake, but this was acceptable, and with Breck Eisner's upcoming remake of The Brood, and remake of Flash Gordon, I really hope he doesn't upset my friend The Mike. To Mr. Eisner- No one has ever made that many remakes in a row and managed to keep their pay grade above poverty, so best of luck to you.

Entertainment Value: 9 Pitchforks out of 10

Cinematic Value: 7 Pitchforks out of 10

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Razorback (1984) Dir. By Russell Mulcahy

Having grown up watching Razorback, I feel like it is one of my favorite horror movies from the 80’s. Unfortunately, others don’t agree, and it goes as one of the most unappreciated horror movies of the 80’s. When producers for Razorback saw the music video for Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf”, they knew they had found their director. That director was Russell Mulcahy, and from a B-movie stand-point, he filled those shoes perfectly. For being his first feature film, Mulcahy did a marvelous job creating a creature and environment that should scare any person. He did have quite a bit of help considering the special effects guys brought us Mad Max, Dead End Drive In, Pitch Black, and many, many more. They even spent $250,000 on a fully animatronic boar, that is only seen in the movie for just over one second. That’s overkill and worth it!

The movie starts off with a little back story of Jake Cullen (Bill Kerr) losing his grandson due to an attack by the giant boar. It shoots ahead two years to an American journalist taking a job in Australia, some piece on how workers there are grinding up kangaroo meat and putting it in their dog food. We run into Jake again and he now hunts boars full-time, and has been since the incident. No one in town believes him about the boar, and they even tried a trial to convict him of murdering his own grandson. He was let off due to lack of evidence. The American journalist Beth Winters (Judy Morris) doesn’t last long, as she goes missing, and that prompts her husband, Carl Winters (Gregory Harrison) to come looking for her. From there, it is a race to stop the beast before it can kill anyone else.

There are stories from around the world of people being killed by wild boars. This just adds to the story, and surrounded by the desolate land of Australia, it really brings everything together. Sure the boar looks like it is built like a rhino, but you barely see it, and the fear of the unknown kicks in. There are a few subplots, but they are not overwhelming, and almost add to the terror. The subplots have action as well, and when you are getting all excited about what is happening, then that boar comes bursting back into the movie. Plenty of blood fills the screen, and the ending is one that will stay in your mind forever. A sharp and beautiful way to end the movie.

First time film director Russell Mulcahy hit the nail on the head with this one. In one attempt, he did better than some do their whole careers. That’s probably why he went on to make such amazing movies as: Highlander, Highlander 2, The Shadow, 4 episodes of Tales From The Crypt, and Resident Evil: Extinction. Ok, Resident Evil wasn’t that great, but it was better than the second one. I decided to revisit this movie when I heard his upcoming movie, Bait, was going to be his return to true horror. It features people stranded in a flooded Australian supermarket, being attacked by tiger sharks! If it has any of the beautiful elements that made Razorback great, I’m sure I will enjoy it. In Razorback, you can see what makes him a great Music Video Director. His transitions are so beautiful and flawless. Each scene flows smoothly into the next. He showed just enough of the beast to make it a creature feature great, but not too much to keep it semi-believable. Great job to everyone involved in this film, and I hope some day it gets the credit it deserves.

Entertainment Value: 8 little piglets out of 10
Cinematic Value: 7 little piglets out of 10

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Its a Debate!!!

What is the worst Horror movie ever?! I want to know what everyone thinks is the one movie to stay away from.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Blob

The Blob (1988) Dir. By Chuck Russell

My original intentions were actually to watch the original, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. My next acceptable move was to watch the remake. Just like the original, it had been over a decade since I last saw the movie. I enjoyed it back then, but I might view it a little differently now. That actually wasn’t the case. I viewed it as even better than the first time I watched it. The Blob (1988) is a great movie in so many ways, although in many ways, it owes all of it’s credit to Kevin Dillon’s hair. It should have got best supporting actor. Since I didn’t get to watch the original again yet, I’m not going to do any comparisons to it.

After watching a meteor crash down into the forest, a homeless guy travels to see what it was. What he finds is a purple goo that latches on to his hand. After consuming the rest of the man, the blob gets bigger and starts its path of destruction on the rest of the town. Only two kids, Brain Flagg (Kevin Dillon) and Meg Penny (Shawnee Smith) know about The Blob, but nobody will believe them. It is up to the to warn the whole town before the unstoppable Blob swallows them all.

With a Director like Chuck Russell, I remembered why I liked this movie in the first place. This is the same guy that brought us amazing movies like The Mask, Eraser, and Nightmare on Elm Street 3! His approach to directing is awkward, unorganized, and really, really works. Thanks to Chuck, we have an extremely good remake which essentially does fit into my rule- you can only remake movies that are 30 years old. If you watch this movie, you will understand why I say this had to be the inspiration for Ghostbusters II. The Blob must be the identical twin to the River of Ooze. The Blob is supposed to be an organism from outer space, but if you ask me it has Viggo written all over it. On a more serious note, this movie as all sorts of good things going for it. It has a strong storyline, the fear of the unknown, and the fear of the government. The acting is good enough to carry the story. There isn’t too much over acting, and I really appreciate that. The biggest downfall of The Blob is Paul McCrane, who always overacts. I can’t think of a time I have ever enjoyed watching the guy. From Robocop to The Shawshank Redemption to E.R., I have pretty much despised him. His most enjoyable moment came on the small screen. That was on E.R. when a helicopter crashed and happened to land directly on top of him as he was outside the building. That was an absolutely awesome ending to his character, which was an ass anyways, he always is. Paul’s portrayal of Deputy Bill Briggs wasn’t enough to bring the movie down.

The real winners of this film are the special effects people. They did an amazing job with the Blob and really made it extremely scary. The way it devours people is always awesome. It makes me want to watch the original even more. All parts of the movie put together like the actors are the glue. This movie is actually extremely good, and I still find it very entertaining.

Entertainment Value: 8 Stick Poking Hobos out of 10
Cinematic Value: 8 Stick Poking Hobos out of 10

Monday, February 22, 2010

50 Pack Horror Classics- Disk 2- Side A

Black Dragons (1942) Dir. By William Nigh

Prior to the beginning of World War II, the Nazis, at the request of Japan's Black Dragon Society, sends Doctor Melcher to Japan to transform six Japanese into identical likenesses of six prominent Americans. The Americans are done away with and Melcher, on the orders of High Dragon Yakhamea, is imprisoned so his secret will die with him. In his cell, Melcher switches places with the soon-to-be-released Colomb and, when he is freed, follows the six Japanese to America, where they have assumed the positions of the industrialists and are causing sabotage in the Monogram defense plants that didn't exist yet as the war hadn't started. One by one Melcher kills the impostors, despite the fact they are performing for-free work for his employer Adolph, and dumps their bodies on the steps of the Japanese Embassy, which still existed as the war hadn't started. FBI Chief Colton and agent Dick Martin finally piece together what the five murdered men had in common---aha, a visit to Japan---and stake out the sixth man as bait for Melcher. Written by Les Adams {}

It seems to me that a lot of these Horror Classics really aren’t horror at all. I’m not saying they aren’t good movies, just not horror. Black Dragons is more of a drama. The only scary part of the movie is how Bela Lugosi is a scary good actor. I can see how this movie may have played off the fears of the 1940’s. The fear of the Nazis, the Japanese, imposters, and murderers. This movie has the most complex plot I have ever seen in an hour long movie. Sometimes it is a little hard to follow. I caught up about midway through the movie. Had the supporting cast been anything more than mediocre I might have enjoyed this movie a little more. Lugosi is really the only strong point of the film. The movie gets progressively better as the movie goes along, but it wasn’t enough to keep me terribly interested. The Story was choppy and riddled with holes. Editing was atrocious and lacked anything reminiscent of a decent transition. A few amazing camera shots and a slight amount of action keep it from becoming a snooze fest.

After some interesting plot twists, and a hilariously unnecessary flashback, I’d say that Black Dragons is watchable, but I can’t say I would care to see it more than once. I would actually nominate it to be remade though.

Entertainment Value: 5 Jap Daggers out of 10
Cinematic Value: 5 Jap Daggers out of 10

Invisible Ghost (1941) Dir. By Joseph H. Lewis

Bela Lugosi stars as Charles Kessler, a man turned to homicidal maniac due to desertion by his wife. Old western extraordinaire Joseph H. Lewis does an excellent job directing this tense thriller.

The movie starts off by giving you almost all the facts off the bat, and allows you to put them together yourself. Ernie Adams ( of 1932’s Freaks) gives a strong but short performance as the man hiding Mrs. Kessler. The extremely inventive direction by Lewis is as breathtaking as the dignified treatment of the black Evans the Butler (played by Clarence Muse). Then there is Bela, and his amazing ability to play two different sides of the same character, the vicious killer, and the respectable town citizen. He is the glue that holds this movie together. Sound recorder Glen Glenn adds to the tension with a good music background, very subtle and not too overused. Lewis uses one of my favorite Hitchcock style lighting schemes. The half light, half dark lighting portrayed when Lugosi is on the screen implies the collide of his good and evil side. The ending really makes the story all come together, and really leaves you thinking about the events that lead up to the dramatic finish.

All in all, great written story, good acting, and nearly perfect execution make this an amazing movie, and truly a classic.

Entertainment Value: 9 Burning Candles out of 10
Cinematic Value: 10 Burning Candles out of 10

Friday, February 19, 2010

DVD of the Week! - Zombieland

Zombieland (2009) Dir. Ruben Fleischer

It's not far off when people say this is America's answer to Shaun of the Dead. Two men, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), find themselves in a zombie filled post apocalyptic world, and decide to ride together for a short amount of time. After running into two girls, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), the four carry on together doing whatever it takes to survive. Showing itself as not just a horror comedy, but an emotional ride through action filled character driven scenes. I saw this movie in the theater when it came out and watching it a second and third time(with commentary), it never looses it appeal. I could sit here and rattle on about how amazing this movie is, but most people already know. Then again, this isn't a movie review, this is a DVD review.

First off, is the commentary. The commentary on this movie comes from Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Ruben Fleischer, Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick, and not only is is extremely hilarious, but it is also extremely insightful. When they are talking, you actually feel like you are there making the movie with them. You learn so much about the film through them discussing it scene by scene. One of the best commentaries I have ever seen.

In Search of Zombieland- this documentary short about making Zombieland starts of with an amazing montage of zombie kills with heavy metal music in the background. It has essential interviews as to how Zombieland came to be. It started off as a T.V. show that never got picked up, and the writers discuss the process to making it into a feature film. Then it takes off with a discussion about each individual character and how the creators feel then have the ultimate cast for a zombie film. Then they throw in interviews with a zombie that just cracked me up. Everyone does seem a little obsessed with Emma Stone, but then again who wouldn't be? The zombie auditions are outstanding! It is the first time I have ever really seen a DVD dive into the zombie auditions.

Zombieland Is Your Land- is more of how the movie was made, but shows more of a behind the scenes theme. A real focus is on the environment, or the sets. The showing of the fake supermarket is amazing. They show how they made the grocery store scene without actually filling the store with real groceries! Then they talk about the theme park itself in great depth.

Deleted scenes- It really sucks that these clips didn't make it into the movie. Most of these clips are amazing, but I can also see how they might have slowed the movie down a little bit. It always pisses me off when I get a DVD that doesn't have any special features, because I live for them. This DVD did not disappoint. Even the deleted scenes are not some short three second clips that really add nothing to the film. These clips are deep with emotion and story, but couldn't be kept in because they slowed the movie too much.

Visual Effects Progressions. This just shows how they developed a couple of the huge visual effects scenes of the movie. Slow and boring, but kind of interesting to see how they were developed step by step.

Woke Up Dead Episode- An episode about a guy who wakes up dead, played by Jon Heder. I looked it up, and apparently its a TV series that has had one season. I wasn't really impressed by the show, and it's small implications that it was about a zombie were almost insulting, but it still doesn't bring down the value of the DVD.

All in all, this movie is essential to every one's collection, whether you like zombie movies or comedies. I give this DVD a big ol'

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Moon (2009) Dir. by Duncan Jones (Zowie Bowie)

I just going to go ahead and say this is the best movie I have seen in maybe the last five years. The movie starts off on the far side of the Earth's moon, where one man named Sam (Sam Rockwell), and one robot GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), are in charge of harvesting material under the moon's surface, and relocating it back to Earth to be used as a means of energy.

I was hoping not to get too hyped up about this moving going into it. Everyone kept telling me how good it was,and that I needed to see it. So I waited til the hype had settled, and I could focus on the movie and not what others were saying. Some people might not think of this movie as a horror movie, but I do. Who says you have to have monsters, blood and guts, or some psycho killer to be titled as a horror movie? This movie prays on more simple fears. The fear of being somewhere so desolate and alone. The fear of where technology is going today. The fear of not having control over where your life is going, and most importantly, the fear of the unknown. I'm not going to elaborate on the unknown just because it has so much to do with the plot of the story, but when you watch it, think real hard about what you would do if you were put in that situation.

Ive never really been that big of a fan of Sam Rockwell, but after viewing this movie, I think he deserves an Oscar for Best Actor this year. I have not seen such a strong emotional performance like the one he conveys in an extremely long time. I felt for his character. I almost felt like I was there, wishing I could help him. He hits on every emotion in the human feelings guide book. I almost cried at one point in the movie. Kevin Spacey only adds to fear and to the story. His voice, although never changing tone or volume, can sound scary and soothing at the same time. I feel like I could write a hundred page review on this movie, but I'm trying to hold back.

Now on to Duncan Jones. Changing his name, in my guess, to avoid living in the shadow of his father David Bowie, was the smartest move he could have ever done. If a friend of mine had not mentioned it, I probably wouldn't have known until I looked him up on IMDB. He has made only one other movie besides Moon, and I shall be watching it as quickly as possible. Duncan started his career in special effects, which is extremely apparent in this movie. The movie was completed on a $5 million budget. You can't tell one bit, that it cost so cheap. He made sure it was filmed in 33 days. He filmed it all in one studio in London. He had the smallest cast he could afford to have. To top it off, he utilized special effects people who were out of a job, due to the writer's strike, and put money in their pockets to help him. I'm sure it didn't hurt that he already knew all the cheap tricks to special effects to begin with. I foresee a strong career in his future, and if Moon is any indication, he may be up there with the greats.

Strongly paced, great build in character, well written story, and extremely strong acting directly add to what Duncan wanted to accomplish. He wanted to make a movie to go along with his favorites, 2001:A Space Odyssey, Outland, Silent Running, and Alien. I think he accomplished that, and perhaps surpassed them all. All parts of the story colliding to a bitter sweet ending. This movie will remain in my top ten for a very long time.

Entertainment Value: 10 Talking Robots out of 10
Cinematic Value: 10 Talking Robots out of 10

Top Five Sci-fi Horror Flicks in Space!

As a prelude to my soon to be published review of Moon, I have decided to get everyone pumped by a list of my top five sci-fi horror movies prior to Moon. I won't say it will change after, but we will see.

5. Screamers (1995) Dir. by Christian Dunguay

(SIRIUS 6B, Year 2078) On a distant mining planet ravaged by a decade of war, scientists have created the perfect weapon: a blade-wielding, self-replicating race of killing devices known as Screamers designed for one purpose only -- to hunt down and destroy all enemy life forms But man's greatest weapon has continued to evolve without any human guidance, and now it has devised a new mission: to obliterate all life. Col. Hendricksson (Peter Weller) is commander of a handful of Alliance soldiers still alive on Sirius 6B. Betrayed by his own political leaders and disgusted by the atrocities of this never-ending war, Hendricksson decides he must negotiate a separate peace with the New Economic Bloc's decimated forces. But to do so, he will have to cross a treacherous wasteland where the deadliest threat comes from the very weapons he helped to create. Written by Nicolas LeBlanc {}

Greatly under appreciated scifi/horror that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the years.

4. Pitch Black (2000) Dir. by David Twohy

A transport space-shuttle lands on a planet where the light is seemingly always shining. Under the planet is a hoard of vicious creatures who are hurt by the light and need dark. The passengers on the ship think they are safe...until they find out there's going to be an eclipse. Written by Skip4591

I know what you are thinking. Vin Diesel? Really? The answer is yes! This movie is absolutely amazing. Simple plot filmed in a simple manner, with a small cast, good special effects, and it works. This is back when I respected Vin. I will stand by it, and I hope he returns to good movies someday soon.

3. Aliens (1986) Dir. by James Cameron

After colonist, Ellen Ripley survived her disastrous ordeal. Nobody believed her story about the "Aliens" being on the planet LV-426. However, approximately 50 years later, the colony on LV-426 was completely destroyed. The government has decided to send Ripley out of cryostasis and to aid a team of tough, rugged space marines into the desolate planet to find out if there are aliens, or survivors. But, what Ripley will begin to realize that her worst nightmare is about to come true. Written by John Wiggins

Why not Alien? It is because the second one has more action, more aliens, moves at a faster pace, and kept me interested. Yes, sometimes I like it when stuff blows up and people shoot guns.

2. Event Horizon (1997) Dir. by Paul W. S. Anderson

In the year 2047 a group of astronauts are sent to investigate and salvage the long lost starship "Event Horizon". The ship disappeared mysteriously 7 years before on its maiden voyage and with its return comes even more mystery as the crew of the "Lewis and Clark" discover the real truth behind its disappearance and something even more terrifying. Written by Losman {}

I don't get scared very often, but I remember watching this movie when it first came out, and I was absolutely terrified. Paul doesn't do a lot of things well, but this one is definitely well done.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Dir. by Stanley Kubrick

"2001" is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon's surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be. Written by Larry Cousins

Kubrick was an outstanding director, and whenever I think of him, this is always the first movie that comes to mind.

This isn't Horror, just funny

I don't know if anyone else likes Mystery Science Theater 3000 or not, but I love it. My favorite is The Final Sacrifice, so I had to post my Zap Rowsdower montage.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Crazies (1973)

The Crazies (1973) Dir. By George A. Romero

Finally had a chance to sit down and watch this before the remake comes out into theaters. I thought I had seen it before when I was really young, but watching it today didn’t strike anything in my memory. Either way it’s a pretty good movie.

The plot goes as follows: A biological weapon gone awry is only the start of problems in the little town of Evan's City, Pennsylvania. Bouts of insanity in the populace are leading to murder and rioting, until the US Army turns up - and things really start going to hell. Written by David Carroll {}
The actual story is split into to sections which I thoroughly enjoyed. There is the side of the towns people, which is filled with anger, confusion, and general survival instinct. Then there is the side of the military, which is filled with unnecessary procedures, lack of caring, and overall overreaction to the problem. That is usually pretty apparent in any Romero film. The film itself wasn’t actually created by Romero. It was thought up by a man named Paul McCollough, and originally titled “The Mad People.” The script was passed on to a production company which thought it needed to have a little more story to it, and a little more involvement with the military. They asked Romero to do a rewrite on it, and he gladly obliged. Though dubbed a horror movie, I feel it makes it a little misleading. While the film might have been scary back in the middle of the Cold War (1951-1991), it lacks a bit transferring over into today’s time. Back then, biological warfare was at a strong point. Threats to the United States were known by all, and everyone was frightened. Bomb shelters were being built, and stocked with food. This movie must have been terrifying in the early seventies. That’s only if you view it as a horror. If you view it as a political military thriller it might be a bit more appealing today.
While Lynn Lowry, who played Kathy, is currently the only actor from this movie still active in film (including her cameo in the upcoming remake of The Crazies), the others all gave moderate performances, and due help to carry the story along. The lead female Judy, played by Lane Carrol, is who I feel is the strong point of the movie. She is really the only character who gets to be on both sides of the story at one point of the movie or another. Sadly, The Crazies was Lane’s last movie. I would have really enjoyed to see her evolve as an actress. The real focus is how the survivors deal with being quarantined. They are forced to hide, or even fight back in sort of a Red Dawn meets Outbreak sort of way. The special effects are mediocre but don’t take away from the movie. Tension built through not knowing who is infected, or who might get infected is what truly makes this movie strong. Constantly wondering why the military is making the decision they are, is quite interesting as well. Just when you think the problem is going to be solved, and everyone is going to be ok. The military screws it up.

This movie runs at a steady pace, and never really slows down. At least not enough for you to notice it. Some of the characters are loveable and laughable with memorable quotes. When you watch the movie, you will know which ones I’m talking about. I don’t want to spoil anything.

As the movie travels along is violence driven path, it collides when the two parts of the story really come together in sort of a dilettante climax of an ending. Stuff happened that I really wasn’t expecting to happen, and in definitely a pleasant surprise way. I’m excited to see what they are doing with the remake, although it doesn’t like so much military as much as crazy town people in the new one. I guess I will just have to wait and see. As for The Crazies(1973), I recommend that every watches it, but the purchase is not for everyone.

Entertainment Value: 8 Syringes out of 10
Cinematic Value: 6 Syringes out of 10

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Descent

The Descent (2005) Dir. by Neil Marshall

I had seen The Descent when it came out back in 2005, and my reviews were brutal. I couldn't help but feel like it was because The Cave. That movie ruined my 2005, and I think I took it out on The Descent. I feel like if I would have seen The Descent first I might have thought more highly of it. I feel like I owe Neil Marshall and The Mike an apology. They have been telling me how good this movie is, and like an ass, I have been denying it. I decided to view it today for a second time. The movie was much better recieved this time. While I still feel that it isn't as good as Dog Soldiers, I decided it is probably better than Marshall's Doomsday.

I'm not going to say a whole lot on this one. It is a good claustrophobic horror with suprising elements that generally did still suprise me even though I had seen it before. There is action a plenty, and the crawlers are actually pretty frightening. The movie still makes me a little queezy, but just because I'm not a huge fan of tight places like caves. There are a few jump suprises that still managed to startle me, but my favorite part about the film is the lighting. Had it not been for the lighting, I think this movie would probably be garbage. It really adds to the atmosphere. The girls are all not terribly great actors, but it works because the movie never really focuses on theme for more than a minute or two. The only time it reflects on them is when they have to make a tough decision or when they do something you don't think they would do. It is a good movie to just show you what people are capable of doing when they think they are going to die. For people who have seen the movie, my favorite part is still part of a climbing axe accident. You know what I'm talking about, awesome!

While I did bump this movie up from some of the worst movies I have seen, I still feel like it didn't really warrant a sequel. I can't say I'm in much of a rush to watch it, but I did give this one another chance and it payed off. Maybe I will take on the second one someday.

Entertainment Value: 7 Fading Flares out of 10
Cinematic Value: 6 Fading Flares out of 10

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Look Back to a Classic, to Prepare for Hopefully a New Classic

The Wolf Man (1941) Dir. By George Waggner

With The Wolfman coming out tonight, I decided to go back and watch the original again. It is always nice to return to when epic movies didn’t have to average two and a half hours long. Coming in at a runtime of seventy-one minutes, this movie still amazes me every time I watch it. The camera work done exceeds most the stuff I’ve seen up into the 70’s. Transitions are flawless, unlike anything you ever see of the early 40’s. The casting for that movie in 1941 rivals the stuffing of great actors done in such movies as, Ocean’s Eleven, or any stupid comic book movie or romantic comedies these days. It stars Lon Chaney Jr. (The Mummy’s Tomb, and many Universal monster movies) as Lawrence Stewart Talbot / The Wolf Man. He returns home to Talbot Castle, after his brother passes away in a fatal hunting accident, to be with his father Sir John Talbot played by Claude Rains (The Invisible Man). In one of my favorite scenes for camera work and transitioning, he spots Gwen Conliffe played by the beautiful Evelyn Ankers (The Invisible Man’s Revenge). She informs him about the legend behind the werewolf, and he passes it off only to get bit by one, transformed from a gypsie Bela , played by the legendary Bela Lugosi (AKA Dracula (1931)). Aside from the insanely talented stars of the film, they are accompanied by an amazing supporting cast. To me, led by an understated Warren William as Doctor Lloyd. Warren having been the most outstanding man to play The Lone Wolf in the Lone Wolf series that lasted thirty years. Unfortunately Warren fell to a premature death in 1948 due to a still uncurable form of bone marrow cancer.

The film flows so smoothly from beginning to end that it almost feels like a short film. Granted it is only a seventy-one minute movie, but it covers everything you need to see or hear to get the point across. There is no slow part of the movie. The smooth, cocky but confident ways of Lawrence Talbot are fun to watch as he attempts to woo the already engaged Gwen Conliffe. He doesn’t lose his appeal when he becomes The Wolf Man. The make-up isn’t extremely overboard, yet not exactly simple. It doesn’t take away anything from the film, and keeps him almost human-like, almost as if its just a part of his personality he can just turn on. Sure he doesn’t really enjoy killing people, but everyone has a dark side. What do you do to quench the urge to do bad things? Never do I get the feeling that he would actually harm Gwen, but it leads it on like he could, and leaves you wonder if he will. It makes for great tension, and general fear for Gwen’s life. I can see why people back then may have actually been scared of this movie. I think the interaction between characters is actually what drives this movie. Larry’s relationship with his father, or Gwen, or the female gypsie , or how he reacts to Gwen’s fiancĂ©, of the information he gets from Doctor Lloyd. Everyone’s perspective of what is happening to Larry slowly pieces together the story and builds to an exploding climax. The climax comes at the end of the film, which is something missing from films today. I don’t want to sit through an twenty minute fall after the climax.

All in all, this has to be one of my favorite movies of all time. An infinite replay value, and manageable running time, make this a movie to pop in any day of the week, any time you have free time. It will forever be a classic.

Entertainment Value: 10 Wolf Head Canes out of 10
Cinematic Value: 10 Wolf Head Canes out of 10

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Real Apocalypse Sounds Enjoyable

A wise Mr. Dunlay once said something I couldn't bring myself to believe. He said Legion sucks. I was thinking "how is that possible?" It has everything you could ask for in a comic book movie. It has an amazing cast: Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, the absolutely visually stunning Adrianne Palicki, Charles S. Dutton, Kevin Durand, Willa Holland, Kate Walsh, Dennis Quaid, and the amazing Doug Jones! That is an all-star cast if I have every seen one. This movie was an outstanding piece of art(sarcasm). Im sorry if this is a spoiler, but Doug Jones is in it for like three minutes! Probably the best actor in the film, is in it for three minutes! The first twenty minutes of the movie are pretty cool though. Then, the next fourty-five are about as intertaining as watching paint dry. It felt like a rip off of The Prophecy, only boring. By the time I got to the last tweny minutes of the movie, I wasn't at all interested in it. Sure it picked up a bit again, but the damage was already done. Yes, Paul Bettany and Kevin Durand were awesome badasses in the film, but that couldn't save it.

Scott Stewarts first attempt at an action flick was a failed one. I thought, "He should never do another action movie again." Then I remembered, oh yeah, he is doing the comic adaption of Priest, and he is going to have Paul Bettany as the main actor again. I'll let it go for now, but only because the comic is pretty amazing. If he fails again, I'm going to throw him into the Uwe Boll catagory thats only reserved for the absolutely worst filmakers ever. I wouldn't recomment this movie to the people who have a snow day, and the cable is out.

Entertainment Value: 3.5 unborn babies out of 10
Cinematic Value: 3 unborn babies out of 10

Monday, February 8, 2010

Favorite Gory Scenes!

I want to know everyone's favorite gory scene! Please leave a comment listing your favorite gory scene of all time.

Mine is the lawnmower scene from Dead Alive! hands down winner!

50 Pack Disk 1/ Side B

Creature From The Haunted Sea (1961) Dir. By Roger Corman

American crook Renzo Capetto sees a chance to make a bundle when a Caribbean island has a revolution. He plans to help loyalists (and the national treasury) escape on his boat, then kill the men and blame their deaths on a mythical sea monster. Trouble ensues when the _real_ monster shows up! Written by Paul White {}

Before I start, I want to take a paragraph to confess my love for Roger Corman. Not only is he an amazing director, but he is probably the best producer to ever take on the movie business. He has produced 388 of the finest crappy movies of all time. This guy deserves a medal, and might get one rightfully so, but not until after he dies. Yes, he is still living. The man is 86 years old and still pumping out movies like Dinoshark, coming out this year. Just to name a few, he is behind: The Monster from the Ocean Floor (1954), Beast with a Million Eyes (1955), Day the World Ended (1955), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), Night of the Blood Beast (1958), The Brain Eaters (1958), Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959), Little Shop of Horrors (1960), EAP’s The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), EAP’s Tales of Terror (1962), EAP’s The Raven (1963), The Terror (1963), Both Death Race movies, and sweet jesus, just look at his profile. 388 amazing frickin movies! He has to have reached Godlike status in my book. This guy is a legend! Ok, rant over now. Moving on.

This movie Roger Corman teams up again with writer Charles B. Griffith who he has worked with many times in his career, and many times before this movie was made. Starting this movie off, they dive right into the mob theme, by killing a shoeshiner. The thing I don’t get is why are they trying to give beards such a bad rap. The bad guys all have huge beards. A nice chase scene on foot ensues. No dialogue so far, but not necessarily a bad thing. The pace is fast, and I like that. The main character Agent XK150, puts on sunglasses and a fake mustache to hide his real identity as Sparks Moran, and heads to the spot to meet with another agent. Some casual flirting follows and then he exits.

The backstory/history is illustrated as cheesy cartoons, then continues back to live action. On a Carribean Island, dark shadows hide Renzo Capetto (Antony Carbone). They are planning something big, amidst a revolutionary war. Between gunfights and car chases, Sparks Moran manages to work his way into the gang. The comedy is mild, but affective. At times, it almost seems like a satire of gangster movies. Renzo looks like a Magnum P.I. decades before Magnum P.I. It is wonderful. He plans to kill the men and blame it on a sea monster. Its really not a complex story, but the movie is only 70 min long, so there isn’t a lot of time. The movie stays moving, and never slows down. I find myself thoroughly enjoying it. It feels like Mary-Belle Monahan ( Betsy Jones-Moreland) doesn’t actually serve a purpose in this movie. She is supposed to be Renzo’s lover/right hand girl, but she just seems like eye candy. Without her it’s a sausagefest. Perfectly written, and perfectly executed. The actual monster shows up, and all hell breaks loose. Renzo thinks his plan is working perfectly, but he doesn’t realize there is a real monster. Ok, its actually way more comedy than I had expected, but I still love it. The out of place musical number could have been left out, but it served a small purpose to the storyline. I don’t know if I would consider this a horror movie. Forty minutes into a seventy minute movie, and I have only seen the creature once. The monster is back, and it kind of looks like a cross between a couple of Yo Gabba Gabba characters, Munno and Brobee maybe. A hilarious moment of animal sound making just happened! I’m not going to say anything, it just has to be watched on your own. Renzo’s plan continues to go all wrong, but still barely any monster. Things get a little more interesting when the guys have to get into the water to search for a box that had sunk to the bottom. The lack of monster is filled with small little side plots, that actually don’t seem to take away from the story itself. The ending wasn’t exactly climactic, but it got the job done. There was nothing spectacular about this film, and I would hardly call it a horror. I had a lot of fun watching it, but I think it would do better on a Action/Comedy list rather than a horror classics collection.

Entertainment Value: 9 Bug-Eyes out of 10
Cinematic Value: 3 Bug-Eyes out of 10

Nightmare Castle (Amanti d'oltretomba) (1965) Dir. By Mario Caiano ( as Allen Grunewald)

A sadistic count tortures and murders his unfaithful wife and her lover, then removes their hearts from their bodies. Years later, the count remarries and the new wife experiences nightmares and hauntings. The ghosts of the slain return to exact their bloody revenge, until their hearts are destroyed. Written by io

Erie organ music! Yay! A good start. Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith ( Paul Muller, Paul Miller in this movie) is an evil scientist, and married to Muriel Arrowsmith (Barbara Steele, also in a double role as Jenny Arrowsmith). Barbara Steele also played Dr. Mengers in Piranha. Muriel is caught with her lover David (Rick Battaglia), and the two are tortured by Stephen. An excellent score from Ennio Morricone really highlights this gothic torture flick. Extremely creative torture, I might add. The movie plays out a lot like an afternoon soap opera. People dying, people coming back, people marrying their former wife’s sister, because she looks just like his first wife did. A little confusing at first, but It definitely keeps the first twenty minutes of the movie moving strong. The beautiful Barbara Steele is outstanding in her dual role as the sisters. Amazing camera work, and strong lighting litter the movie. Dr. Arrowsmith with the help of Solange (Helga Line), plot to kill Jenny and Dr. Dereck Joyce ( Laurance Clift) before they find out the secret. The story is well written and plays out as a great ghost story/revenge/possession movie. The build to climax is extremely gradual and it makes the movie extremely slow in the middle. With all things aside, I viewed the slightly dull middle as a build up of characters, and it helped me view them as people. I actually felt for them. There seemed to be many subplots in there, but they didn’t take away from the story itself, just added to it. The last ten minutes are intense, as all parts of the story start to come together, and everything is revealed. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed Nightmare Castle.

Entertainment Value: 8 Non-beating Hearts out of 10
Cinematic Value: 7 Non-beating Hearts out of 10

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The 50 Pack- Disk1/Side A

Carnival of Souls (1962) Dir. by Herk Harvey

While driving her car with two girlfriends, the driver is challenge to a drag race and falls off a bridge over a river. When it seems that the girls have drowned and there are no survivors, Mary Henry surprisingly get's out of the water. A couple of days later, she drives to another town to work as organist in a church despite not being religious. While driving, she has visions of weird people. When she arrives, she moves into a room of the house owned by Mrs. Thomas. However Mary is haunted by spirits and is frequently drawn to a nearby abandoned carnival, where she discloses a dark secret. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Starting this movie off I was a little suprised about the lack of build up in suspense. Something just happens then they move on. The great organ oriented score got me back in the mood. A very creepy score. I picked up on the constant use of reflections, and felt like maybe that was the directors way of portraying her guilt over her surviving and her friends not. A unique use of shadows made it fell almost Hitchcockish, carrying themes of the film based on how the scene is lighted. Most of the movie Mary is either running, walking, or driving. It fails to use dialogue to build the story, and the lack of interection between characters made it hard for me to truely feel for the characters. A strong performance from Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) and clever filmwork are the only things that keep this movie afloat.

Entertainment Value: 4 out of 10 Carnies
Cinematic Value: 8 out of 10 Carnies

Atom Age Vampire (Seddok, l'erede di Satana) (1960)

A stripper is horribly disfigured in a car accident. A brilliant scientist develops a treatment that restores her beauty and falls in love with her. To preserve her appearance the doctor must give her additional treatments using glands taken from murdered women. His unexplained ability to turn into a hideous monster helps with this problem but does nothing to win her love. The doctor's woes multiply as the police and the girl's boyfriend begin to close in on him. Written by D.A. Kellough {}

Thank you Germany! First off, This movie starts off with a hilarious car accident that Micheal Bay would shed a tear at, haha. The movie's main character is a stripper! Respectable disfigured make-up jobs and outstanding special effects litter this movie. I was pleasantly suprised to find such a strong cast of female characters for an early 60's film, but then again, its Germany, not the United States. It has a unique love square story, multilayered to keep it from being a one demensional film. The Beauty and the Beast style story transfers well into today's society, making it easy for anyone to watch. It is all about what people will do for love and beauty. The pace of the film never slows down, and keeps the excitement coming. My only bone to pic with the film is I'd almost rather have subtitles. The dub over into english is horrible and sometimes hard to watch, but the beautiful Susanne Loret keeps your eye on the screen. Alberto Lupo steals the show, both as the Professor and the Beast. I highly recommend this movie to everyone.

Entertainment Value: 9 out of 10 Disfigured People
Cinematic Value: 9 out of 10 Disfigured People

Well, with two movies down and 48 more to go it looks like I'll have my work cut out for me for sure. I just hope I can give people and insight into some films they might never have considered watch. Hope you all enjoy!

The Invasion has started!

Go to this link

The invasion of giant squid has started. Its straight out of a horror movie. Thousands of giant squid have stormed the beaches in southern california. Ok, so they weigh like 60 lbs max, but I found it so funny I had to say something about it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Taking on the 50 Pack

This week im going to break into the 50 Horror Classics movie pack that I haven't opened yet. I'm not going to stop until I am all through them, and I should be posting reviews of every movie as I go along, so stay tuned.

The Top 10 Horror for Last Decade, and the Top 10 Horror/Comedies

It has been a rough couple of years for me, meaning I haven't seen as many movies as I have wanted to. I have managed to compose a couple of lists of the movies I have seen, and I have a couple of Top 10 lists. The first one is for the Top 10 of my favorite Horror movies from the last decade. Here they are:

10. Silent Hill (2006) Dir. by Christophe Gans

I still think this is one of the best video game adaptions ever made. Dim lighting, dark theme, perfectly scored, and above par acting from Radha Mitchell and Sean Bean drive this well directed movie.

9. Bug (2006) Dir. by William Friedkin

I don't know if this is horror so much as erie thriller, but I felt it deserved to be on the list. Michael Shannon gives another strong performance, with support from Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr.. This movie creeped me out on a whole new level. It showed how one persons mental illness could be projected on someone else with equally disastrous results.

8. Undead (2003) Dir. by Michael Spierig Peter Spierig

This might be one of my guilty pleasures, but this movie has infinite rewatch value. I can't get enough of it. It is one of the most original zombie movies I have ever seen, and amazingly filmed on such a low budget.

7. Dog Soldiers (2002) Dir. by Neil Marshall

An extremely original Werewolf movie from the guy who later on brought us The Descent and Doomsday. Strong acting from Kevin McKidd and Sean Pertwee, and a great filming location really drive this movie.

6. The Signal (2007) Dir. by David Bruckner Dan Bush

First time Director David Bruckner gets some help from Dan Bush to put together this strong story. It takes some similar themes from movies like Pulse, and books like Stephen King's Cell, and puts new twists to make it a solid story. Believable acting acts as a glue to hold together the story, which is told from three very different perspectives.

5. Drag Me To Hell (2009) Dir. by Sam Raimi

Excellent movie I watched this past month. It was pretty much flawless and generally creeped me out. I couldn't put it higher on the list because I haven't been able to watch it multiple times. A unique demon story for sure.

4. The Feast Trilogy (2005, 2008, 2009) Dir. by John Gulager

I know what you are thinking, really? Number 4? I am going to stand by it, because what these movies lack in quality acting, they make up for in being almost completely unpredictable. The shock value is insanely high, and I find them extremely entertaining. Perfectly written and cleverly directed.

3. 28 Days Later/ 28 Weeks Later (2002, 2007) Dir. by Danny Boyle and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Almost creating a whole new class of zombies, and yes I said zombies. The Rage Virus is insane. The first movie starts off a little slow but that is about it. These movies are so emotionally charged, I found it very easy to feel for each character.

2. American Psycho (2000) Dir. by Mary Harron

Will forever be one of my favorites. This movie is so original and well written thanks to a strong book from Bret Easton Ellis. Christian Bale is amazing, with a strong supporting cast. It kept me on the edge of my seat, yet kept things from being too heavy by adding some comedy.

1. The Mist (2007) Dir. by Frank Darabont

Frank Darabont has proven time and time again how amazing he is as a film maker. Writing the script for The Blob (1988). He has gained much of his success writing and directing material from his good friend Stephen King. If there is anyone that is worthy of making a Stephen King film it is Frank. He has wrote 2 episodes for Tales from the Crypt (1990,1992), and directed Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999). The Mist is just as solid. The story and emotion put in to it keep this movie solid. Not once while watching it did I think about how the creatures weren't believable. I was focused too much on the characters and how they interacted with each other. He shows just enough of the creatures to sustain the fear within the story. Then he tops it off by writing his own ending to a Stephen King short story that didn't really have one before. The twist it throws in there left me breathless. This movie should remain high up on my lists for eternity.

Ok, now I just want to leave you with my list of 10 Horror/Comedies of the last decade:

10. Dead & Breakfast (2004)
9. Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
8. The Tripper (2006)
7. Idle Hands (2000)
6. Black Sheep (2006)
5. Fido (2006)
4. My Name Is Bruce (2007)
3. Slither (2006)
2. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
1. Zombieland (2009)