Friday, October 24, 2014

Hobgoblins Review – Elvira’s 13 Nights of Horror Edition

Hulu is running 13 Nights of Elvira in classic slapstick horror glory. I didn’t see anyone else reviewing these, so I decided to take it upon myself to deliver on the promise of good old fashioned reviews. We start with the first movie I saw from this series and it’s Hobgoblins!

First, let me start by saying that I love Elvira. I always have, and used to stay up late when I was a kid to watch the scary movies on channel 13 here in Los Angeles. Back then it was called KCOP and it was the only channel that played late night horror schlock and I loved it. Her show and subsequent airings of “Tales From The Crypt” were awesome, as well as “Twilight Zone”. This time around, she seems a bit older (because she is) but her iconic slapstick humor and timing is all there, alongside with her breasts that just make you want to motorboat, even though it’s probably unbecoming of us civilized gents, right?


To the movie!

This one is a rip off of the movie “Gremlins” and it shows. Released in 1988, this horror movie is really bad, and not in a good way. There are some moments that are somewhat compelling, but you’re going to be banging your head against the wall when most of this plays out. The story is simple, a night watchman and warns the new guys on the crew not to open a vault, and they go ahead and do that. When they do, outcome the Hobgoblins and they make everyone feel as though their dreams are coming true, and that only poses major issue.

The majority of the movie involves characters that are not even B-movie quality running around with slapstick sex jokes, and trying to play straight for the camera. The goblins run around and terrorize, and it all culminates in one man becoming the hero of the day.

Intertwined with the movie is Elvira’s jokes and random moments, mostly in the moments where you’re going to fall asleep. There’s some good humor here, but without the commercial breaks where she talks, it’s a bit forced.

As for the movie itself, there’s only one major awesome moment and that’s when a band plays one song before chaos reigns in the night club that the young people find themselves in. The band reminded me of The Cramps, but alas, it was not the band.

Overall, Hobgoblins is a bad movie. Bad enough to be honored by Elvira and Hulu this time around. However, if you really want to get this movie in all the glory it was meant to be seen in, get the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Edition of this movie. Otherwise, get yourself on Hulu and watch it with Elvira’s two cents thrown in for good measure. I found it to be a nice change of pace from the normal crap I have to watch. You’ll love it, if you like Elvira, otherwise you’re not missing much with this one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Most Underrated Horror Movie Series Ever

As a horror fan, I've seen many horror movies go unwatched, untouched, and generally panned by critics and so called "fans" alike. These movies are not as bad as people think they are, and they are generally below the radar, and/or mistaken for something else. This is exactly the case with a series of films from the 1980's that rivaled any camp movie out there to date. The series in mind is none other than the infamous: Sleepaway Camp series!

First and foremost, the original film can be a little annoying, with its slow pacing, and its lack of clear cut gore or explanation for some of the dream sequences. The film follows a hard line of boredom, until after the turning point that is marked surprisingly enough by a long winded game of baseball! That's right, in the middle of the film, to mark the turning point, the director decided to have a full three or four innings of baseball! This was a bad idea, but it did make the movie a little longer, and therefore a full length release at the time of showcase. The movie followed along a mysterious plot of killings in the camp grounds, and it all came down to a shocker of an ending that is still talked about to this day. The reason why this film didn't make it to most homes and horror fans is because it was panned as a knockoff of a similar film at the time: Friday the 13th, which also featured a killer in the midst of a camp setting. It also boasted a young Kevin Bacon, and that doesn't seem to hurt.

The second film, had a grown up serial killer that was played by Pamela Springsteen, in another romp through the campgrounds. This time around, more people seemed to take notice, but the comparisons to similar films was rampant at time of release. The vhs cover featured the Freddy glove, and the Jason Mask, so the film makers and distributors saw a potential revival on vhs, and it did quite well in video rental circles.

The third installment of the film featured some cleavage on the cover, and a more distinct artist rendering that took horror fans by surprise, considering that by the time of its release more established brands had already begun to use full character models for their covers. One might make the argument that there was a saturation of horror sequels flooding the market in the late 80's and this one fell by the wayside in the midst of more prominent, household names. The film quality on the third one was surprisingly good, but the story and plot were so thin that the gore made up for any sort of length problems.

Underrated films exist in all genres. This is just one series that seems to be seeing a lot of recent press, but more on the lines of a remake and restructuring of the original story. We have seen this done recently by Rob Zombie and the Halloween franchise, and it's a winning formula in many senses. The most underrated films in my opinion usually revolve around similar stories in the genre. Sleepaway Camp could not get away from the constant comparisons to Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, even if the series was making a good attempt at breaking ground with a woman as the main killer. It just didn't sit well with the over saturated market. Underrated films usually don't get much attention until years and years after the release.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

5 Must Have Items For Zombie Apocalypse

It’s coming, you know it’s coming, the zombie uprising is going to happen and when it does you could either be ready or you can be lunch. I’m a huge Walking Dead fan, and when I caught wind that Man Crates was coming up with a zombie survival box right around the time the new season of the big show was starting, I had to take a look. They have some good stuff, but I got to thinking about my own box. What would Scary Film Review’s box of insanity contain? I need 5 definite items.

Item #1: Military Helmet

Why a helmet? Simple, you can’t eat brains through a helmet. I can charge forward and at least get a good push in before I attack a zombie. Of course they can try to grab me and reach for other parts, but if I’m head-butting people with my helmet and knocking zombies over like bowling pins, things are looking good for the bad guy (that’s me).

Item #2: Machete

I don’t need a gun. Guns run out of ammo. I need a strong machete, and I am going for gusto with one. Henry Rollins was right, “This thing doesn’t run out of ammo”, and that’s what I’m going to have going for me. It’s light, it’s easy to use, and it can go straight through a neck and give me an edge moving forward.

Item #3: Duct Tape

Why duct tape? Simple. I am going to need to tape my sleeves, gloves and any exposed area of skin that I can. I want to be able to traverse areas of blood without having to worry about anything getting on me, and that’s where the duct tape comes in handy. I guess I could use waiters, but that’s hard to run through. Duct tape will help, and it will give me leverage and grip for some sweet brass knuckles or makeshift bats if I find them. I know, this seems too obvious, but honestly, it's one of the best things you can have with you. You never know when you'll need to tape your fists and go for the ultimate in zombie payback.

Item #4: Backpack

A back back is going to be key to moving forward. It will hold my granola bars, water bottles, and med kit. Those things are of course part of this bigger package, but it’s important. I need alcohol too, just in case I need to disinfect a cut or a stiff drink.

Item #5: BMX

What’s this? A kickass ride? That’s right, nothing is more versatile than a BMX. Sure, you could have a car or a truck but when that runs out of gas, you’re a lame duck. A bike of this size can be easy to carry, easy to fix, and can get me flying, jumping, and tearing through all sorts of terrain. It’s light weight enough to chuck if I need to, and I can customize it to allow for some protection if I get hit by a swarm.

Of course, this is all conjecture, as I don’t know if the zombies will be fast, thinkers, or slow. Whatever the case is, I have a weapon, backpack, sweet ride, and tape ready for action. Until then, Man Crates has a good set up going.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Top 5 Japanese Monster Movies of All Time

Japanese monster movies have a life of their own. They are not just one sided, and they are not just based on Godzilla. Some are laughable, some are grand but no matter how you want to label them, you’ll find that the influence they have made on Hollywood is extraordinary. You may find that even today, the thrill of the mega monster movie is alive and well, and that’s not just because Godzilla just pulled $93 million at the box office over the weekend. Compiling this list was not easy, but hey, someone’s got to do it right? It’s with that in mind that I present to you the top 5 Japanese Monster Movies of all time! You can purchase these by visiting Amazon HERE, otherwise miss out on the biggest and the best.

King Kong Escapes (1967)

Dr. Who has created a mechanized monster that looks exactly like King Kong and is looking for Element X. It is found deep in the caverns of the North Pole, and fails due to the cold. At that point the mad scientist goes to Mondo Island to capture the beast known as Kong. The plot thickens and it’s like a poorly constructed version of the 1933 movie, only with robotic Kong as the villain and the Tokyo Tower playing as the backdrop for an epic battle. This one had me laughing, and I love the parody, even if it wasn’t intentional. This was just cool, I don’t know what else to say about it, and even the poster is cool. Watching Kong take on a metal counterfeit is pretty cool, and this one has a lot more appeal than just the poster, so watch out for it. I should've positioned it higher on my list, now that I think about it.

Matango (1963)

I saw this when I was a kid, thanks in large part to VHS and it’s awesome. A shipwreck lands a group of people on a far off island, and there they find wild mushrooms, but that’s not all, they discover Mushroom People! This iconic horror film is more comedic in nature, and on par with “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. There are some bleak tones, and themes that are beyond the imagination of average horror and fantasy movies. The weird science fiction elements play well with the mad scientist idea that comes at the beginning. This may not be the pinnacle of monster movies, nor is it going to sit well with many, but I think it’s a fine monster flick from Japan.

Goke (1968)

Goke is also known as Body Snatcher From Hell and other titles in the United States. The movie features a mix of vampire lore, and monster movie moments. Some people compare the movie to “Lost” but I find it more on par with a vampiristic type of horror movie. The survivors here face a fate worse than death, as they must fight to live amidst what very well maybe the best vampires coming out of Japan. There’s a lot of little things that make this one a classic, more than I can really talk about in a quick blurb here. Over time it has become one of the cult classics that has seen numerous releases, and lots of praise from more fans than just my pesky list.

Gamera 3 (1999)

I was in high school when I got a bootleg copy of this movie and it’s one fine monster movie. Gamera returns from the edges of lackluster film, and brings about one of the best comebacks ever. So much so that the critics and most fan boys agree that the special effects and story found in this one is top notch. Some critics even noted that the movie plays on an “X-Files” note, and it really does do more for the genre than most other movies that mimicked the success of Godzilla and the original Gamera. Some people don’t like this monster, but I’ve always liked the notion, perhaps it’s because I like turtles. Gamera is badass in this movie, just simply badass!

Godzilla (1954)

The mother of them all, right? Godzilla’s initial movie came out in 1954 and sparked incredible interest from all over the world. The movie presents a lot of science fiction tones, and can be seen as funny at times, but it’s quite the accomplishment for movie making. The plot involves a giant monster that ravages Tokyo with heavy devastation not unlike World War II. The special effects were top notch, the critical reception was grand, and it has changed the face of the monster movie in a lot of ways. Sure, King Kong from the 30s was grand, but compared to the rampage that Godzilla brings out, Kong is outmatched. This is the #1 monster movie from Japan, hands down.

There you have it, 5 of the best monster movies that have come out of Japan ever. If you are going to go back and see these iconic pieces of cinema, please purchase the dvd or stream them from Amazon here. It will help me get this site more reviews and possibly get a prize for you 3 or so readers still interested in what I do here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cockneys vs Zombies Review

Not another zombie movie, I thought to myself when my girlfriend decided to play this the other night. I’m a jaded horror movie fan, and it’s been a while since anything has caught my eye. Then the movie progressed, and I was hooked. Cockneys vs Zombies is not your traditional zombie movie, although there are a few things that you will definitely catch in the same light that you will from other movies. I found the beginning to be somewhat ok, but it’s the sum of the parts that really bring this movie to the top of my list of zombie creations in the recent years.

Some construction workers unearth a seal that brings about an outbreak in the East London area, and things really go south from there. Meanwhile, a group of young adults hatch a plan to rob a bank and save their grandparents from uncertain doom that will befall them when their retirement home closes down. That’s when we are introduced to Ray, the former gangster and one of the most badass characters ever concocted in zombie movie lore. Ray is awesome and I hope to be as badass as that character when I am an old dude. Sadly, I’ll probably be a stain on the underwear of old dudes, rather than some badass granddad. Heck, I don’t even have children.

The movie goes back and forth between the robbery, the group of friends, and the retirement home. Equal parts “Shaun of the Dead” and “Day of the Dead” this movie picks up fast, and doesn’t let you go. There’s some light hearted moments, and there are some harsh moments. The gore is amped up, the sequences are suspenseful, and there’s plenty of zombie madness to enjoy throughout this British horror film.

I found the movie to be entertaining, fast flowing, and definitely worth your time. I didn’t think it was the best production, but the characters were enough to hook me, especially the character of Ray and his old friends. I loved the nuances found between hardcore gore and CG effects which were done really well at times. For this being a lower budget film, it really did take on the best of the mainstream, and I enjoyed it greatly.

I highly recommend Cockneys vs Zombies, as it is a fun romp. It’s comedic at times, it’s predictable at others, and it is just overall an entertaining horror comedy. I can’t say enough about it. It’s the first movie I’ve seen in a while that really grabbed me, and that’s a great thing. Pick up the movie by going to amazon here, or whatever it is you do to see movies. I don’t know.