Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Resurrected (1992)

After spending the day at the New Jersey Zombie Walk and Zombie-Con, I needed something quiet to help me unwind. My choice, the 1992 Lovecraft inspired film, The Resurrected.

Plot / Charles Dexter Ward's wife enlists the help of a private detective to find out what her husband is up to in a remote cabin owned by his family for centuries. The husband is a chemical engineer, and the smells from his experiments (and the delivery of what appear to be human remains at all hours) are beginning to arouse the attention of neighbors and local law enforcement officials. When the detective and wife find a diary of the husband's ancestor from 1771, and reports of gruesome murders in the area begin to surface, they begin to suspect that some very unnatural experiments are being conducted in the old house. Based on an H.P. Lovecraft story.

Like Edgar Allan Poe, revisiting tales by Lovecraft are often difficult, however, this one sort of works. While not chalked full of suspense, there is nice mix of mystery and intrigue. With a combination of storytelling, pacing, decent effects and a tasty amount of blood and gore, this film is actually one of the better entries from the 1990s. While the acting is a bit stiff at times, the atmosphere and the story more than make up for that. True this is not a great film, it is definitely worth watching if you get the chance!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Daughters of Satan (1972)

While finishing some stuff for tomorrow’s zombie walk and zombiecon in Asbury Park, I decided to see what popped into my WII. My movie selection for the evening, Daughters of Satan, the 1972 Tom Selleck voyage into the world of the occult.

Plot / James Robertson buys a painting depicting witches being burned at the stake, one of whom bears an uncanny resemblance to his wife, Chris. Chris, gradually taken over by the personality of the witch in the painting that she resembles, allies herself with two other reincarnated witches to plan James' death, as he proves to be a descendant of the man responsible for the witches' fate.

I went into this not expecting very much and that is exactly what I got. For the most part this is a snoozer, with very little elements that make it attractive. The pacing is slow, the soundtrack is odd (not in a good way odd), and the acting is not very good. However, a few scenes that are worth watching and at least add to the creepiness factor. It is a shame that the film did not keep up the pace from the opening scene, which may have been the highlight. The occult elements make it interesting, but not enough to save it. While it is not terrible, it is far from being good. Watch at your own risk.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Alive (1974)

As I sat last night working on packaging some vintage Creepy Magazines for the upcoming New Jersey Zombie Walk and Zombicon, I decided to fill my mind with some classic 1970s horror. My choice for the evening was the hungry mutant baby minor classic It's Alive from 1974.

Plot/ Heavily pregnant Lenore Davis tells her husband, Frank, that she is in labor. They leave their eleven year-old son Chris with their friend Charley and they head to the Community Hospital. Lenore feels that something is wrong and delivers a monster that kills the team in the delivery room and escapes through a skylight. Lieutenant Perkins comes to the hospital to investigate the murder and the press divulges the identity of the parents. Frank discovers a dark secret about Lenore and the baby.

This was a pretty good low-budget exploitation horror flick that is A LOT better that the redux. While it features a simple idea and storyline, the execution of the film as an entirety is what sets it apart. The make-up effects (especially the mutant baby by Rick Baker), the creepy atmosphere that focused on sound effects and shadows vice straight gore, the pacing, and the solid acting performances come together perfectly and demonstrate how a small budget film can work if done properly. I will admit that I did not like the shaky double vision film work that came from the baby’s perspective, although the majority of the cinematography was top notch. While not a proverbial classic, this is a very entertaining horror flick that definitely deserves its due. This is definitely a movie that is a must see for fans of 1970s horror or horror in general.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tales of Terror (1962)

As I was thinking of what to do for Vincent Price Day, I couldn’t help but think of his great work in the 1950s and 1960s with Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. So, in honor of Vincent, my review todays is Tales of Terror from 1962.

Plot/ Three stories adapted from the work of Edgar Allan Poe. A man and his daughter are reunited, but the blame for the death of his wife hangs over them, unresolved. A derelict challenges the local wine-tasting champion to a competition, but finds the man's attention to his wife worthy of more dramatic action. A man dying and in great pain agrees to be hypnotized at the moment of death, with unexpected consequences.

This entry of the Corman/Price/Poe adaptations features small variations of the tales, Morella, The Black Cat and The (Facts in the) Case of M. Valdemar. While these very short versions of each lack the feel of the earlier Price/Corman collaborations, feeling uneven and unpaced at times, they do remain as a quality anthology of Poe’s works. There are liberties taken, as all of Poe’s works are difficult to get onto the screen as written, but that is to be expected. Price, who stars in all three segments, does a masterful job playing three diverse characters with the flair and camp humor only he could master. The film also features some tremendous special effects that really added to the development and direction of the movie. Yes, at times the mood lightens a bit too much and it seems too happy of a tone, but it is a movie that is worth watching and a definite must see for fans of Poe, Price and Corman!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

ETSY Find of the Week - Jezebel

Here in the Sideshow, we believe that everyone has a right to hangout with the undead. With that in mind, we have created OOAK Zombie dolls to keep you company when it is cold outside, or to keep you in the mood in between zombie walks.

Each doll that is used has been recycled from misc dolls we have picked up during our travels. From there, they are transformed into members of our sideshow where they will stand until someone comes along and opens their arms to embrace these beautiful creatures.

Tonight, Jezebel stands staring outward from her cage waiting to overtake the world with her beauty. Pick her up today!

Death of a Ghost Hunter (2007)

After watching The Church (La Chiesa), I figured it was time to get back to something a little more in tune with the season. With the enjoyable turn with last nights, The Skeptic, I decided to stick with the paranormal and take a chance on 2007s Death of a Ghost Hunter.

Plot / Renowned "ghost hunter", Carter Simms is paid to conduct a paranormal investigation of a supposedly haunted house. Along with a cameraman, a reporter, and a spiritual advocate, she embarks on a three night journey into terror.

I have to say that this was actually a rather original film. Yes, the acting is not great, however the storyline, cinematography, the effects and the overall idea of the film is done well. The plot is captivating and definitely has a few twists. But to me, it is the special effects and cinematography used to create the ghosts that steals the show, some of those scenes were extremely creepy and made watching film more than just a little worthwhile. Is this a great movie? No, but it is an entertaining movie in the world of the paranormal, and one that is a lot better than some of the larger budget films that are ruining the genre.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Church (1989)

After my meeting about the New Jersey Zombie Walk, it was time to venture back into the world of horror. Tonight I decided on the 1989 Satanic / Demonic Italian horror entry The Church (La Chiesa).

Plot / A church is built during medieval times on top of a pile of dead bodies that were considered possessed. Hundreds of years later a young librarian unleashes the evil within, by removing a rock in the catacombs. Series of events occur meanwhile, everybody just does not seem to be the same. Father Gus is the only one not possessed, he must save the city from becoming a pandemonium, he must find the ancient secret of the church so it can crumble to pieces.

To me, this is a great little Gothic horror film! Based on a screenplay by horror maestro Dario Argento, director Michele Soavi created a film with a tremendously creepy atmosphere aided by a awesome soundtrack. While visually striking and packing a nice mix of violence and gore, the story seems a bit incoherent at times. It almost seems like the surreal aspects actually made the story a bit more confusing than it had to be. Still this remains an awesome flick that is a must-see for fans of Italian horror or goat-masked demons spreading their seed on an altar!