Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Collection

Yep, it's here, the sequel no one was waiting for. 

I'll say one thing for "The Collection", it really ups the ante.  This movie is so ridiculously over the top it's almost funny, almost.

This is how I picture most raves anyhow

In the opening scene the Collector manages to kill at least 150 people.  He kills the entire rave full of people, with a giant lawn mower machine.  I won't even get into the logistics of hard this would be to set up.  We'll just assume he's a rich, psychopathic, mechanical genius, and able to walk around unnoticed wearing a leather mask.  Okay, to be fair at the rave the mask thing really wouldn't be an issue. 

The place wasn't much cleaner before. 
He does of course keep one person alive, so that he can put her in another deathtrap laden warehouse.  Which is always the downfall of evil geniuses.  Their goal is almost complete and instead of just killing the hero, they toss him/her in the deathtrap and walk away.

One of the biggest problems with this movie and the original is the Collector himself.

 He doesn't have anything distinctive about him.  He's just a guy dressed in black, wearing a mask.  There's no attempt to give him any personality either.  He needs a more distinctive look and personality to make him unique.  You also don't get any hint of why he's doing this until the very end of the movie. 

I really think this movie was just a montage of leftover ideas from the "SAW" series.  Writer/director Marcus Dunstan and co-writer Patrick Melton were responsible for the last four "SAW" movies, so this isn't surprising. 

 I will give the movie credit for something original.  The ending was absolutely not what I was expecting.  I won't give it away, but it certainly defied convention.  

I can only hope there won't be a part three. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Evil Dead Remake

The first poster for the "Evil Dead" remake is here.  After watching the trailer I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Mystery Solved

I just realized that on “Good Times” the family lived in the Cabrini Green Housing Projects in Chicago.

Which just happens to be the setting for the movie “Candyman”.

I guess that explains what happened to James Evans. The Candyman got him.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Paddle faster!
"DeathShip" is being released on Blu-Ray/DVD on 12/18/12 by Scream Factory.  I never got to see this and I always wanted to.  I saw it on the video store shelves for years as a kid, but my parents wouldn't rent it.  When I was old enough to rent it myself, all the copies were long gone.  Scream Factory has done a great job with other releases so I know this one will be excellent too. 

It will be good to finally see this. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Horror Movie Marathons Part Two

Even though it's past Halloween, the true horror fans keep the spirit alive all year.  So here is another theme for your marathons.  This time it's "Remakes that are as good or better than the original". 

  5. "My Bloody Valentine 3D" (2006)
Odd that both stars of "Supernatural" were in horror remakes. 

This one managed to beat out the original in every sense.  It had a better cast, better effects and story.  The "whodunnit" angle is one that worked well in this movie.  I also submit that Tom Atkins presence in a movie automatically adds two stars. 

4."The Omen" (2006)
Just a creepy kid in a swing, nothing to see here.  
This movie gets a lot of undeserved hate.  The performances are all strong, and very little was changed from the original.  I can get that a remake wasn't necessary, but at least they did it well.  It was also great fun seeing this in the theaters on 06/06/06. 

3. "Night of the Living Dead" (1990)

If the zombies are coming, I want Tony Todd on my team. 
Again, not much was changed and that's a good thing.  Savini simply had a better budget and more resources on this than he did on the original. The cast on this version was amazing.  Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Bill Moseley, and Tom Towles are all horror royalty now. 

2. "The Thing" (2011)
Not really a remake but a prequel to the classic 1982 film of the same name.  Very well done and it fit into established continuity very well.  I still want sequel to wrap things up. 

1. "Dawn of the Dead" (2004)

A powerhouse cast, top notch script, and excellent effects really make this one stand out from the original.  It was nice to see the original cast get cameos as well.  The success of this film critically and commercially is what really started the horror remake trend.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Walking Dead season three premiere

Wow, the new season is off to an amazing start.  I think this image sums it up best.

Great to see T-Dog finally get some lines.  Carl is proving to be a useful member of the group at last.  Everything is right, now bring on the Governor. 

Dredd 3D

If your only exposure to Judge Dredd is the 1995 version with Sylvester Stallone, then you're in for a real shock with "Dredd 3D".
This version abandons all the giant robots and flying motorcycles and brings Dredd to a grittier more realistic world.  Admittedly, still not quite the same as the comics.  The comics were really a mix of both Dredd movies.  This version is about as close as you can get without starting to look like "Blade Runner".

Olivia Thirlby is better than Rob Schneider in every way. 
The plot is very simple Dredd and Judge trainee Anderson go to the Peachtree apartment complex to investigate a murder.  While there they bust a drug operation run by Ma-Ma played by Lena Headey. 

Seriously, don't fuck with her. 
 Ma-Ma locks down the building, all 250 floors of it, and announces it won't be opened until the Judges are both dead.  Dredd and Anderson have to escape Ma-Ma's goons and the apartment residents who want them dead. 
Removing the wild science fiction elements helped make Dredd more accessible, but it also made it more generic.  The plot was so simple that you could put just about any set of  characters into it.   This could have easily been a Robocop film, or a Jason Statham film. 

While "Dredd 3D" is a great action film, it just doesn't do much to distinguish its self from other action movies. 

and no, he never takes off the helmet. 


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Halloween Movie Marathons, Part 1

This time of year I enjoy getting getting a group of friends together for a horror movie marathon.  In the case of me and my friends, more than one.  This year we're doing themes to each marathon.  The first theme is cold weather horror movies.  Here's our list of movies for a "chilling" good time.

 1. "30 Days of Night"
This movie was not approved by the Alaska tourism board. 
There's an old saying that the nights are six months long in Alaska.  That's not quite true, but if you had to deal with a vampire invasion for a solid month, you might think they were.  This movie has a very simple plot, but it's well executed and insanely scary.  Always great to see vampires being bloodsucking monsters instead of angsty teens. 

 2. "The Shining"
Here's Johnny.  

A horror classic that really needs no introduction.  This film has been terrifying people for decades and rightfully so.  The part that scares me more than Nicholson is the isolation.  I like to be close to civilization, I need modern conveniences. 

3. "Misery"
Why don't people go to warm places to write?

A creepy, very personal horror movie.  Worse than having a slasher try to kill you is being helpless and having to live with one. 

4. "The Thing"
No one gets paid enough to deal with this.
  Another horror classic that's a must for any good scare-fest.   One question about this movie though, why is Wilford Brimley one of the few guys without a beard?

5.  "Let Me In"
A great film with inspired performances from ChloĆ« Grace Moretz and Richard Jenkins.  Before anyone says anything, yes I know this is a remake.  I like this version better, thanks. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Cabin In The Woods

The symbols are clues

This review will be short.  Not because I don't have a lot to say about the movie, but because I don't want to spoil it. 
"The Cabin In The Woods" is simultaneously the greatest homage and indictment of horror movies.  Until this movie I wouldn't have thought it possible to celebrate a genre, while pointing out it's flaws. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard pull it off with amazing results though.  Part of the fun of this movie is watching it again (and again) looking for the references to other horror movies. 

My only complaint is that the nature of the story doesn't allow you tell very much without spoiling the movie.  I've watched a fair share of horror movies, and I didn't see this twist coming.  The same way "Scream" was a breath of fresh air in the 90's, this movie really changes how you look at horror movies. 

Go watch this tonight, and then watch it again once you know the secret.   You will not be disappointed. 

I want this job. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Apparition (2012)

 The Story: A couple are haunted by a supernatural presence that is unleashed during a college experiment.

My Thoughts: I had high hopes going to see this.  Ghost hunters that not only found a ghost, but it comes after them for revenge, sounds like a great concept.  It turned out to be just another by the numbers horror flick.  I can picture the studio executives at the meeting to green light this. 

Soulless Executive #1: We need a cheap horror movie, what's popular right now that we can exploit?
Yes Man: Well, ghost hunting is pretty popular how about that?
Soulless Executive #1: I like that, lots of POV shots, shaky cams, and super dark scenes where you can't see anything.
Yes Man: Exactly, and we'll only have six or seven people in the whole thing, so we can save salaries.
Soulless Executive #1: We're going to want to keep it PG-13 though, we need the "Twilight" crowd to flock to this.
Yes Man: Good call, and I think we can get an actress from that series as well.
Soulless Executive #1:  Kristen Stewart would be willing to do this?
Yes Man: I said an actress, lol. 
Soulless Executive #1:  My bad, sorry. 
Yes Man: If we keep it PG-13 we won't be able to have any nudity or sex scenes, those always go over big in horror movies. 
Soulless Executive #1:  Hmm, well throw in a shower scene but don't have any actual nudity.  Let them use their imagination, and then have her run around in some lingerie for a bit. 
Yes Man: Works for me.  

Never get dressed when you think demons are out to murder you.  

Soulless Executive #1:  That Harry Potter kid is doing horror now, can we get him?
Yes Man: No, but we can get Tom Felton, he played Draco Malfoy in the Potter films.
Soulless Executive #1:  Will anyone know that?
Yes Man: Yes and this will bring in the people who hate "Twilight". 
Soulless Executive #1:  Okay, but dress him so he looks a little like the Potter kid OK?  Oh and since "The Avengers" made a billion dollars grab someone connected to that movie too. 
Yes Man: Got it.

I sound smarter than the others because I have an English accent. 
Soulless Executive #1:  Now let's add in a creepy child scene for no reason, have everyone do incredibly stupid things, and tack on a weirdly ambiguous scare ending.
Yes Man: We'll have it ready in a month.  

That pretty much sums up the movie.   Lots of other little things bothered me too.  Kelly (Ashley Greene) takes a heat sensing camera out of storage.  The camera has been there for years, yet the batteries are 100%.  Patrick (Tom Felton) makes a safe room to hide from the ghost.  It has food, bottled water and two beds, but no toilet. 

My verdict: Wait for the DVD, I wish I had. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Beastmaster

The Beastmaster (1982)
Directed by Don Coscarelli
Marc Singer ... Dar
Tanya Roberts ... Kiri
Rip Torn ... Maax
John Amos ... Seth

The Plot:
King Zed is betrayed by his high priest Maax (not a typo they spell it with two A's) is overthrown and has his unborn son stolen from him. Maax has a witch magically transfer Zed's son from the womb of his wife to that of a cow. The witch then takes the cow into the woods and cuts the baby from it and is about to kill him, when a peasant farmer stops her. Taking the boy home he names him Dar and raises him as his own son. They later discover that because of the way Dar was born he can control animals.
When a barbarian horde attacks the village, Dar goes on a quest for revenge.

Apparently peasant farmers have access to great gym equipment.

My thoughts:
I love this movie, I really do. Let's just talk characters for a minute.

Rip Torn is the evil priest Maax who looks like he just missed being in "the Road Warrior". Where exactly did he get the tiny skulls for his dreads? He also liked "arrr" sounds.

John Amos, plays Seth one of the king's bodyguards who survived the rebellion that Maax started. It was really a shock to see the dad from "Good Times" in some of the outfits he wore in this movie.

That outfit is dynamite!

I'm not going to comment on the obvious sexual nature of this photo.

Tanya Roberts played Kiri, the slave girl who is more than she appears to be. Yes there was a gratuitous boob scene with her and I didn't mind a bit. The movie was rated PG, which meant HBO showed it in the afternoon and I got to see boobs, another reason this is a classic.

The movie is filled with things that don't make sense. Bat people (or bird people) that appear to be cannibals, but help the heroes out. Glow worms that make people crazy, barbarian hordes that don't fit in with the rest of the plot, they're all there.

To me the whole movie was a teenagers D&D game brought to life. It had just enough plot to keep it moving, the rest was half naked people fighting and casting spells.

This is the type of movie that when I saw it at age 11, I thought it was a masterpiece. Later viewings showed me how I may have misjudged the quality. Now I look at this as one of those movies I will always watch when it's on late night cable. The nostalgia overpowers the bad writing and acting in the end.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Collector

The Collector

Desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, an ex-con plots a heist at his new employer's country home, unaware that a second criminal has also targeted the property, and rigged it with a series of deadly traps.

This is the worst horror movie I've seen a long time. The plot was so full of holes it was ridiculous. I'm not worried about spoiling anything because I wouldn't let anyone I consider a friend waste money or time on this movie. So you've read the basic plot above, here's what it leaves out. Yes the ex-con (Arkin) breaks into the house and finds it rigged with traps, but why is it rigged? The "Collector" has the husband and wife hostage in the basement, and wants to keep them there to torture them. He had no idea Arkin was coming. So what was the point of the traps?

The time line is very muddled as well. They show Arkin leave the house at 5pm and there are still lots of people around. Assuming the other workers were all gone by 6pm, and the families teenage daughter was gone by 6:30pm (she wasn't kidnapped) so he would have got them between 6:30 and 7pm. Arkin returns at 11:30pm, somehow this "collector" managed to subdue the family and rig up dozens of traps in just a few hours.

The traps are ridiculous as well. The only person who could set up a room full of bear traps, glue and various snares in such a short time is this guy:

Maybe "the Collector" was a disgruntled ACME employee.

Another plot hole, when Arkin arrived he picked the lock to the back door to get in. Later they show him unable to leave through the back door because it's locked with eight deadbolts that require keys to open from the inside. How did he get in by picking only one lock then?

The piece de resistance of this movie came when the teenage daughter arrived home. She gets home with her boyfriend and they have the most gratuitous kitchen sex scene ever. The whole time they're getting it on the "collector" is watching and licking his tongue out of his mask. It was like bad fetish porn.

If Arkin had just brought a cell phone, the movie would have been over in ten minutes. 
One final question/comment, why was he "The Collector" they said he "always saves one", WHY?

This is another movie trying to cash in on the torture porn genre, and it fails.

Friday, July 06, 2012

John Dies at the End

It's a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't.

This is the horror movie I am most looking forward to this year.  Based on the novel by David Wong it looks to be the best horror/comedy since "Army of Darkness".  If you haven't read the book yet, go get it and read it. 
If the movie can manage to be half as simultaneously funny/scary/weird as the book it will be and instant classic.  I trust Don Coscarelli and since he was able to pull off "Bubba Ho-Tep" I think he will do a great job here.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Babysitter Wanted

The Story: In a small college town, a young girl working on a babysitting job in a rural farm is terrorized throughout the night.

My Thoughts: If you're thinking the plot of this movie sounds familiar, it is very similar to "House of The Devil". The movies are very close in plot and pacing, until roughly the 45 minute mark in "Babysitter Wanted". It's there that that movie takes a twist. Now any genre fan worth their salt will have seen the twist coming a mile away. It's what the movie does with the twist that separates it from other films. This movie doesn't end with the twist, it seems to relax and have fun with it. I was honestly a little bored with it, and the shift in style got me more interested.

Sarah Thompson does a great job as Angie. He character is a very devout Catholic, and you can see her having to wrestle with some of the choices she's forced to make. It was different to see a character portrayed as very religious, and they weren't there to be a sacrificial virgin or loose their virginity and immediately die.

I liked this movie a lot, but be warned it does drag a bit at the beginning.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Burning

The Plot:
A janitor at a summer camp is accidentally burned severely from a prank. Years later, he is released from an institute, and returns to the camp with a pair of hedge clippers to take revenge on the campers.

The Cast:
Most of the cast are people you never heard of before or since, but there are a few exceptions.
Brian Baker
Jason Alexander
Holly Hunter
Fisher Stevens
Ned Eisenberg

My Thoughts:
This is the perfect example of the early 80's slasher movie. You take people who are obviously too old to be in summer camp and mix them with a few real kids and pretend like it's all cool. I never heard of a summer camp where you could smoke and read penthouse while you played cards. Camp Stonebrook has a pretty liberal co-ed policy as well. Since most of the campers appear to be about 25, I guess that would make sense.

The acting in this is horrible. It never even achieves porno quality, at least the porno people look like they are enjoying themselves. Tom Savini did the make-up and "horror sequences" according to the credits, and has a great interview on the DVD about the movie.

The killer in this is really clever, he can manage to hid himself inside a sleeping bag with another person AND NO ONE NOTICES!!

I love Tom Savini, but even the effects were not enough to save this movie.

The clip below is a good illustration of how cheesy/bad this movie is.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

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Before I go any further I should say something. I liked the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". I thought it was a great horror movie, I even liked it better than the original. That said, I wasn't very fond of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning".

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 "My name is Gunnery Sgt. Hartman" is all I can think when I see this.

R. Lee Ermey was great in the remake, but in this he seemed to be more evil than Leatherface. It was sad to see this guy be scarier than the giant chainsaw wielding mutant.

Jordana Brewster while cute, was not as appealing as Jessica Biel or as good an actress sadly. Her character was almost a copy of Biel's from the remake. She and Mathew Bomer even have the same "just about to get engaged" plot as Biel and Mike Vogel from the remake.

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This might have been the photo that got Diora Baird the part in the movie.

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There were plenty of uncomfortable scenes in this movie, but the one after this one was just boring. Watching R. Lee Ermey yell at someone and hit them while they do push-ups was great in "Full Metal Jacket" but just silly here.

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This part allowed for Brewster to escape, make it to another town and bring in the cavalry. She didn't do that, she instead relied on the scary biker guy to save the day. Never depend on a biker to save the day, unless he's in "The Sons of Anarchy".

Another disappointing thing about this movie was the way Leatherface was presented. In the remake and the original, Leatherface was like a force of nature. He chased you down and dismembered you, old school murder at it's finest. In this one he did that Jason Voorhees teleportation trick. He's running behind the person, then BAM he's in front of them. Now, there was no way to get around them that we could see, yet somehow he managed.

The background of the family was a little to neat as well.  It made it seem that the whole murder spree could be explained by just one bad day. 

I would have much rather seen a sequel to the remake than a prequel to it.  They could have explored what happened to Leatherface after he lost his arm, maybe showed Biel's character go back for revenge.  I'm not opposed to remakes, but prequels to remakes are never a good idea.