Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Purge Review

The premise that was brought with The Purge was incredible. The marketing and the ideas at first were insane, and showed a lot of footage of humanity being as awful as Raas Al Ghul said it was in Batman Begins. The idea of this movie is that all crime is legal for one full 12 hour period. That’s right, all is fair, including killing, stealing, and jaywalking. With that in mind, Rod Serling most likely was spinning in his grave, as this feels a lot like the twists and turns that would make The Twilight Zone a spectacular showcase of fear.

In fact, the whole marketing campaign felt like a lead in for one of the classic episodes from that show. If you recall them, they were all about how the suspension of crime would be handled. I didn't get to see it in theaters, but my sister did and she thought it was cool at first. She told me the ending sucked, but I didn't want to believe, and well, unfortunately, she was right for once. Just so you know, she's never right!

The Purge Starts Well Enough, But Falls Off A Cliff In The End

The start of this movie is classic, with an obvious twist that is coming and is revealed in the second act. It’s also there that we are introduced to a dilemma. A stranger shows up and then all hell breaks loose. Within the first and second act, death comes to an otherwise secure stronghold, as a security system salesman and his family are targeted for being nice to a homeless man.

This movie really starts to go off the rails in the third act, where the terrorizing group jumps and breaks through the secured home and starts to seriously cause havoc. You think everything has gone to hell and there is no hope, as each person is systematically picked off by the father (Ethan Hawke). The movie feels harder than any other movie I’ve seen in a long time. There are some dimwitted moments, but not before a lot of revenge happens. I’m sure gun nuts will love this, as it has self-defense written all over it.

The Purge is a good enough movie, through the first few acts. Then it starts to falter, and eventually comes to a halt with a twist ending that you see coming a mile away. I didn’t care for how it turned out, and really didn’t like the way it all gets sewn up in a way that a sequel is all but ready. It’s not a great movie, it has its faults, but I will say that this is not a soft movie. It’s hard, and it blows away the pg-13 crap that has been floating around the genre for some time.

I loved the premise, and I liked the way it began, but I can’t seem to find greatness in the ending. I didn’t like it, but I still think this is a strong horror, revenge flick. It reminds me of the Kevin Bacon movie where he gets revenge for the murder of his son. Perhaps The Purge on Blu Ray features better supplemental footage. Check that out and see if it’s worth your time.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Invasion of The Body Snatchers Review

The year was 1956, and before most of my constituents were born a movie was unleashed on the general public that would serve as a propaganda piece and illustration for communism, religious takeovers, and just about anything you wanted to portray as a dichotomy. Invasion of the Body Snatchers has some of the coolest posters in promotion of the film and has been remade time and time again. It’s one of the classics of horror, and it’s perhaps one that hasn’t aged very well at all. You know things are bad when you remember watching the movie in high school during History 101.

This edition of the film was directed by Don Siegel and it has some gripping moments. Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter do a fine job in Superscope here, but the pacing is just awful. It’s definitely not meant for our modern minds, or perhaps we’ve been replaced?

The plot is familiar to those that like horror and it is all about a community that has found that something has gone severely wrong with their loved ones. While investigate, a doctor takes note that something is in fact going on, and like a twist out of the Twilight Zone uncovers the fact that everyone is being replaced by creatures from another dimension. Pods are found and escape is futile.

The monsters are interesting on both sides of the coin here. The family members that are scared and the pod people as well. The pods are definitely a soap box of sorts, pushing the ideas and boundaries into political arenas but I like to think of this as nothing more than a science fiction classic.

Yes, it’s classic, and far from scary, but it’s an example or even a holding place for cinema of the past. We have come a long way, and despite my gripes with the pacing and the fact that it’s used as an educational tool in History/Humanities classes, it still holds up on the premise that you may never truly know that special someone in your life. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is not going to be watched over and over again in my house, and if it is, I know the aliens have taken over. Lord knows that the idiots have already taken over, but that’s another story for another time. I’m not sure what else to say, this is classic, this is a review, and this is me trying to keep the pirate ship afloat, so buy something already. Until next time, I’m going to write about kung fu on another site.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Black Sheep Review

black sheep new zealand
Black Sheep is a movie that came out to a lot fanfare. In fact, I saw a lot of ads in horror publications small and large. I didn’t get around to watching it, until recently, which means that I’m far behind on my movie reviews. This came out in 2006, and it really is the best thing to come out of New Zealand since the last time I remember writing about a movie like this. I honestly, don’t remember.

The movie revolves around what you may think, killer sheep! That’s right, move over “Silence of the Lambs” here comes something that trumps you in a very annoying way. The movie is a classic tale of a young man that leaves his home for the big city, only to return to the farm and find out that something seriously wrong has occurred. In this time, Henry (main character) returns to a farm that he thought he would never come back. While he was gone his brother has been working on creating a Frankenstein of sorts, and it has gone all wrong.

Take the insanity of “Planet Terror” mix in sheep, and then throw a little Jaws in 3-D and you have a mix of movies and genres that completely obliterate your senses with pure terror. Black Sheep does a good job of punching you in the nuts, or ovaries, and doesn’t let go. It’s a fast moving horror film that doesn’t make sense, but most certainly combines shock value with incredibly stupid scenarios. Common sense gets completely trampled like a father getting a toy for his kid during a black Friday rush….I’m reaching here, my apologies.

All the classic foils that you would expect in horror are here, only done to a comedic level. From fart jokes, to insane zombie moments, you get everything you could want from a cheeseball horror movie and a little bit of levity to throw you off. By the time you realize that there is hope, something goes wrong yet again and you have our heroes fighting to save their dog, save the farm, and stop an onslaught of sheep.

Mary may have had a little lamb, but she didn’t expect this! I think the cheese has melted into my psyche by this point in the review. Overall Black Sheep is an insane movie, one with some slow moments, but it is ok, the frenetic pacing in the third act and the giant explosions that ensue from the same gag that “Beavis and Butthead Do America” had, is well worth your time. I liked it, it’s not my favorite, but it’s better than most foreign movies that I’ve seen in recent months. So check this out and see what the hype is about. It very well may be the best movie with Sheep in the title, that is not a porno.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Curse of Chucky Review

chucky is back
When they announced a new Chucky movie, I was definitely excited. Then I heard it got thrown into a nightmare world of movies. The ones that don’t end up getting a lot of fanfare at the theaters, and end up on dvd and streaming. I didn’t catch this on a streaming account, because I do not subscribe to the internet options. Instead, I had to wait for the real thing to arrive and I have to admit it caught me by surprise. This somewhat linear sequel jumps across a lot of the plots you’ve heard before, but lands somewhere in the lore of the world of Child’s Play. Remember, the original movie was NOT called Chucky, but rather a Christmas tale about a killer and a doll. Curse of Chucky pushes a lot of buttons, but may not be the excellent option that you remember.

In this movie you will find that a young woman and her mother are stalked by a killer doll. That doll is an updated version of our favorite friend, and I’m not a fan. The over polished look and feel was not great, but the movie does a good job in revealing why, but I won’t say more to that effect. Aside from that, the movie has our little buddy sounding a lot like Brad Dourif, because he’s in it! The movie moves forward with your traditional plot of murdering family members in a house, and you aren’t sure why.

By the third act you are revealed another backstory, and one that kind of makes sense. The buildup is tense, and right when you think this one is going to be over, it kicks off into overdrive. A woman in a wheelchair becomes our hero, and she is badass, until taking one hell of a spill, in which the doll we thought was real, isn’t real at all. Curse of Chucky plays with the emotions of longtime fans, and then drops them into a cornfield, and drives away. That may not make a lot of sense, because that’s how I feel about the movie. It tries too hard to make something new, when I already have 5 movies of remembering the characters.

Perhaps the best thing about the movie, and subsequently the worst thing about the movie is the ending that ties things together past, present, and future into a new world. One where the last movie is made insignificant, but then again, so what? Right?

Curse of Chucky is a far cry from the original Childs Play, but it’s not half bad. There are some logical moments, and a lesbian subplot that I swore needed boobs, but other than that, this isn’t half bad. I found it tense, and in the tradition of the original series, but with a new twist. I didn’t like the ending, nor did I really know where it was going, but overall, it’s a fun entry. One that I would probably see again, just not necessarily soon. Check it out, it’s kind of cool to see our little friend back in action.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

The 5 Best Damn Horror Movies For Christmas

In 2010, when I was still writing like a mad man and trying to get myself out of another bout with depression I wrote about the Top 5 Christmas horror movies, and it was received well enough. People thought I was wrong and people thought I was right. You could read that post right here, but today is not about the past it’s about the present and the future. It’s with that in mind that I’m going to drop a bomb today, and no I do not mean another bowel movement.

Today, for your consideration, like an episode of “Are You Afraid of the Dark” is none other than the best damn horror movies for Christmas. Of course these are not for children, and no they aren’t pornographic although Dracula XXX comes highly recommended by me and Ron Jeremy. I think he was in it, I haven't seen it in a long time, not that I'm advocating pornography directly.

So here you go, all 2 of you that still read this site, my picks for the best of the best. If you agree, disagree, or have some comments, let me know what's up.

5. Santa’s Slay

Bill Goldberg plays one hell of a character here. It doesn’t end very well and it takes on a laughable premise, but for the most part, this horror Christmas entry is one that is well worth looking at. I must also admit that the best bit of performance art was had by this former NFL and WCW powerhouse. His match with DDP at WCW’s Halloween Havoc in 1998 is still one of the most impressive feats of professional wrestling, fake or not, they danced in a very grand way. Now that I’ve lost my readers, I can say that this movie is one of the best examples of a movie that wasn’t meant for theaters and still manages to deliver a high production value. The gore is ramped up at times, and the opening sequence alone is star studded and brings out some fun. Santa’s Slay may not be a serious movie, but it most certainly delivers on the horror aspect. It’s fun, not scary, so don’t give me slack.

4. To All A Good Night

The 1970s were a hell of a time for movies. There seemed to be a willingness to be uncensored, and work with the ratings in a much harder way. There was also a great deal of creativity thrown to the box covers of videos. To All A Good Night is one of those movies that slips by a lot of people, but is worth scoping out. It is the story of a group of teenagers that are partying and are being slowly picked off by a maniac in a Santa Claus suit. Pretty basic, and quite a throwback, even if the pacing is a bit on the slow side. But hey, a killer Santa Claus nearly 10 years before the other famed one? Yep.The 1970s produced some sick movies, and this may not be the sickest of all the releases, but it is definitely a good one that many people move over in favor of Christmas Evil, Black Christmas, and even some older options that are just boring as ever.

3. Chopping Mall

Chopping Mall is insane. It has one of my favorite movie posters and really is one of the coolest concepts. A mall closes down and to protect the place, a killer robot is dispatched. This may not be a 100% Christmas tale, but it’s all about shopping or rather Chopping! It features an incredible head explosion before CG started to be everywhere. It’s a good entry into this list and one that is well worth your time to seek out. The next time you’re at the mall, just think about this movie and how you could be next! Remember the Simpsons episode? That was good. I remember the first time I saw this, it was a double feature for me with Sleepaway Camp. The horror movie video boxes were 100 times more intriguing than anything that is seen now. I am definitely a big fan of these things, and wax nostalgic about it too much, or not enough.

2. Gremlins

Horror comedy that isn’t scary? Well Gremlins pushes on a lot of comedic elements, but still maintains a good creep factor that gives you enough of a treat. This is not an all-out onslaught of the senses, and it is not a slasher, but the horror elements, hard drinking, smoking and more makes this one quite compelling. Gremlins fans will be upset that I didn’t put this at #1 but come on, it’s more comedy than it is straight laced horror, right? Whatever. A small town gets hit with crude Gremlins! What’s not to love? This movie is definitely the better of the two releases that bear the name Gremlins. Also, don't confuse this for Critters or Ghoulies. I love Ghoulies though, and remember that one time that they went to college? There's a lot of Critters movies too, they had cool posters.

1. Black Xmas (remake)

There are going to be a lot of people upset about this. No, Silent Night Deadly Night doesn’t get start treatment here. Why? Because Black Xmas came out swinging and completely obliterates the 5 movies that were just awful. The first one had a Santa Claus rape and murder sequence, so it loses on the premise of just being horrendous. Ok, it’s a favorite of mine, but still, this one ramps up the brutality, production, and sound design. A group of sorority girls get stalked by a psycho around Christmas. The ending is brutal as ever, and the sound design makes this one my top pick. It’s a good watch, and eliminates the need to watch many others. If you don't like this one, then it's most likely because it's too brutal. I admit, it  has some moments that will make you cringe, but like Wes Craven reminds, it's only a movie, it's only a movie.

There you have it, Scary Film Reviews best of Christmas. Oh and if you think I’m a hack, I spent 3 consecutive years reviewing only Holiday Horror movies in the month of December, so go back into the archives and see why they aren’t on this list here. Ok, I admit, I am a hack. Pick these up with the appropriate links below and help a brotha out, it’s Christmas!

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Grizzly Review

Grizzly horror movie
One of my favorite shirts from Rotten Cotton is their iconic silk screen of this movie’s poster. Grizzly was released in 1976 and another entry in the PG era, which is insanity. I can’t believe these were horror movie releases with such tame ratings, and yet today, we can’t come up with a good movie that is in the same genre with the same kind of iconic punch. Whatever the case is, this is not an epic, it’s not going to win awards and most people will find this to be just like the reviewers stated in the past, “Jaws” on the land. Yeah, that is a fitting tribute, but it’s a bit worse than the mighty shark film, even if LJN didn’t make a video game after this one.

The movie follows a group of campers that are just chilling and not dealing with any of your normal traps. Even though the opening showcases a good bear attack, it won’t haunt your dreams, that’s for sure. As campers are killed, you have a chief ranger that is set on closing things down and trying to set up a party that will take out the 18 foot beast. Of course, no story would be good without a good sense of danger, scares, and jump scenes, right? Well you get it all in this schlock fest of a film from the 1970s.

The story components are all the same that you would expect from a giant monster film, and nothing is really done that well here. Sure, there are some strong story elements, but in the full frame of things you are going to get a lot of slow down and ramp up for a bear that is laughable at best. Sure, it’s better than some of the ones that I’ve seen in recent years even though some were passable.

Perhaps the best thing about Grizzly is that it’s not a man in a bear suit, it’s a real bear. Yes, a real bear is used through the film and it’s not half bad. Mix a serial killer movie, with nature and you may start to see this one develop before your very eyes. The whole natural killing elements, camp sequences, and screaming will definitely have you smiling, but it’s far from “classic”.

Grizzly does have some good scenes, and the filmmakers didn’t completely botch this one. I don’t hate it, but I feel that it hasn’t stood the test of time. It’s definitely something to put on during your Halloween season of watching horror films, but repeated viewings? Well, only diehards will want to get Grizzly and watch it over and over. Not me, but I’m not really a measuring stick.

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Vampires Rage Kickstarter and Movie Opportunity

There are a lot of up and coming directors, writers, and projects that you need to be aware of in the horror world. One of the good ones that I recently was informed of is that of Vampires Rage. It brings together the lore and fright of vampirism with a hip hop twist. It could be so much more with the support of horror fans just like you. This is a chance to get behind up and coming horror stories, and actually change the industry from the inside out. You can check out the Kickstarter for Vampires Rage here.

Destiny Changes Everything

The story of a hip hop dancer that comes face to face with fate is one of iconic terror. Imagine your whole life changing at the drop of a hat. That’s the crux of Vampires Rage, which is currently a short film, with a great deal of possibilities. A young dreamer is turned into a Vampire, the undead, creature of the night and must realize that life can carry you into some odd places.

The trailer showcases true potential, creating an iconic twist to the classic lore and tales that you get from previous entries into the Vampire mythos. Taking cues from a lot of different places, this movie could very well be the next big in horror. Supporting independent film is definitely worthwhile in this actioner that features some of the best elements of the past, and creates a whole new future.

Support the Film

Supporting the production and release of this film can be as easy as donating $1. If you have that much to spare, you will find yourself helping one of the coolest new entries into the world of action, horror films. It has all the elements to being a classic, and definitely something that could easily fit into the purchasing power that Lionsgate Films has been doing in for direct to dvd releases and more.

If you are a horror fan of any level, you will want to jump on board and support the production and release of Vampires Rage, as it will help go directly to horror movies, which is what unites this site.

Check out the trailer below:

Support Vampires Rage by going HERE for the Kickstarter page and get this funded!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jaws Review

jaws blu ray
Jaws came out in June of 1975 and when it was released the world had already been used to schlock. However, Steven Spielberg changed everything by taking what was only played at midnight in crappy theaters and made something unique, that was then subsequently ripped off by every single director in the world. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but when you have 40 or 50 killer shark movies, including one recent one that had a tornado of sharks hitting the Los Angeles, Californian area, you know something is awesome. Not only that, they remade this movie a few more times, and one was in full 3-D! How awful a legacy, or better yet, how awesome a legacy!

This movie is rated PG, and perhaps another thing that people don’t really remember about it. Even though the rating didn’t have an insane amount of influence, it is still one of those classics moments in movie history. It scared the hell out of people that were vacationing, going to the beach and just swimming anywhere. Heck, it even inspired a scene in “Clerks”, wait, that was salsa? Nevermind.

The opening, a woman swimming for a buoy and then getting ripped to shreds is insanity. It is something that gets copied a lot, and it’s not just in Jaws rip offs, it’s in other films. I recall seeing it in “Creepshow 2” for instance, but that wasn’t the start of the film, so that gets a pass. The endangered swimmer cliché is here, but it was here that it was invented, right?

Jaws is not a great film, looking back. It’s not a favorite of mine, however it is an iconic piece of horror movie history. I can see why it was scary when it was released, and there are moments that I still find compelling. I hate being on the Ocean, so if this were to occur in real life, I’m out. Heck, I was out in Key West and gave up on trying to fish for Mahi Mahi. So perhaps this movie is worth more than my discredit, so I will digress and say that it’s far better.

If you haven’t picked up Jaws on Blu Ray, than the time is now to get it. It is not full of gore, it doesn’t have a lot of nude scenes, it isn’t going to scare most, but it’s definitely a good example of a simple plot turned into a full scale production. It has some gusto, and the shark is definitely one for the ages. So maybe I’m changing my mind mid review and saying that this is a standard for a lot of movies. Check this mess out and see just why you may need a bigger boat.

Remember to check out my previous post that included a nifty throwback to this movie. LJN Jaws is part of the worst movie games on the Nintendo and I wrote it here, a few months back, so read it.

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Apple's Shocking iPhone

Now this is too good, check it out:

Introducing the Apple's Newest Shocking iPhone. No apps, no buttons, just simple Pure Communication. This Apple's iPhone promo spoof is yet to shock the world.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Birds Review

50th anniversary the birds blu ray
The Birds is a classic to anyone that loves horror. It was released in 1963, which makes this film older than most of my readers and even myself. This movie starred Rod Taylor and Jessica Tandy, and it is still one of those movies that gets a lot of chatter on top 10 lists, and a lot of television programs. Alfred Hitchcock directed this masterpieces and perhaps the most compelling of it all is that it was only rated PG! That’s right, it wasn’t even rated R and yet it appears on a lot of lists as one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

The movie follows a couple that is moving to a new locale, one with a lot of nature, including birds. When they attack our leading lady, Melanie Daniels, things start to start to boil over. As the plot progresses, we see a couple transitioning into love. This change of pace is definitely going to rub some people the wrong way because it’s very slow. The pacing will get most people bored fast, but if you’re a fan of suspense, you will love this boiling water of a film. The Birds start to prove to be suicidal and start to appear evil, as they try and get the young lovers.

This film is an example of how Alfred Hitchcock was able to frame suspense and horror into such a simple manner. The birds that are attack should not be something that scares the average person, but the way he frames it, makes it quite interesting. From first person shots, to a frenzied pace of real feathers and so much more, this movie captures that scary momentum that many experience on a daily basis. Ever been attacked by a black bird? I have, and it’s scary.

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds may not be your immediate favorite, but if you go back and watch it, you’ll be treated with a good overall horror tale, spun in classic format that only a master of suspense could create. You’ll find that the anticipation for the climax is worth your wait, even when things are getting a bit slow. If you haven’t picked this up yet, you owe it to yourself to look for it. It’s well worth the price of admission, even if you find it streaming. It’s a stiff, slow moving, powder keg that explodes in the third act and doesn’t let up with frenzy. I love it, and you will too, so what are you waiting for?

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Time Tunnel Should Have More Fans

Recently I rediscovered a show that I saw as a child, and it made me think about how much people miss out on this show. This classic featured a loveable cast of characters, all of which predate the movie “Stargate” in terms of time traveling, sinister portals and even time jumping. In a hybrid of styles, this showcase of time and space should have a lot more fans, and it just doesn’t. I’m not sure why it doesn’t, but it’s got so many different cool points.

For instance, in the first episode two men jump into the Titanic and have to warn of impending doom. Of course, they can’t change history, but they sure try. Then they jump to another time, and are trapped in a cycle of molecular time shifts. Much like other time traveling shows and movies, the point of change is interesting enough that many people may want to check out the show.

I can see why some people may not like it, as there are moments of boredom throughout the clips, and it apparently didn’t do well in the ratings after some time. It has a feeling of “The Twilight Zone” at times, but the Time Tunnel suffers from something wrong, and I can’t put my finger on it. I do think that it deserves more fans. You can get the collection on dvd here, or you can sign up for one of the many streaming services and catch up on the show as you wish.

The show featured one awesome actress, Lee Meriweather, and Batman fans will remember her greatly.

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