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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Prime Evil (1988)



After taking a few days off in my attempt to watch all of the movies on the Undead Vampire Collection, I was back at it. Tonights entry was Prime Evil, the 1988 Satanic Sacrifice flick that unfortunately continues of the missing vampire trend in this set. Not to my surprise, I can see why I had never hear of this film before.


Plot/A sect of evil monks led by a sinister priest in modern day New York (at least 1980s) sacrifice virgins every thirteen years in order to appease Lucifer and remain immortal. Everything has gone as planned for generations, until they decide to sacrifice a repressed social worker and a brave nun infiltrates the cult to rid the world of these vile beings once and for all.


Honestly, I have no idea where to begin, this movie is just THAT bad. The acting is terrible at best, the script has holes that the disappearing building in Fringe could flow through and some of the effects (especially Satan) are utterly putrid. To me, there is nothing worth watching in this film and I could never wish it upon my worst enemy. To be honest, I understand that many of the slasher films of the 1980s were sub par, but still they deserve an Oscar compared to what may be the worst film of that decade.
 



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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974)

 

After spending the last few weeks living in the realm of vampires and more recently killer dolls, it was time to fall back into my comfort zone, Zombies. With that in mind, I decided to go back a few years to the 1974 classic, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (AKA Let Sleeping Corpses Lie). A film, like Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead that helped shape my love of zombies during my formidable years.


Plot/ Brought about by the use of a new, radiation emitting device intended to destroy insect's nervous systems, the dead are brought back to life due to the jump start the radiation provides to their nervous systems. After the murder of a woman's estranged husband, police suspect the woman, her sister and a relative stranger (who was only along because the sister had run into his motorcycle only hours prior) of involvement in the murder, and as the bodies begin to accumulate the police chief becomes more and more convinced of their involvement.


To me, Director Jorge Grau created an underrated masterpiece with this film. Yes, at times the pacing is a bit slow, but the atmosphere more than makes up for that. The acting is solid top-to-bottom and the script does a great job at developing the characters. For some, the lack of zombies could cause some dislike, yet, the zombies created are much more detailed and provide a tremendous amount of believability. There are some great moments and some outstanding effects, and it is clear to me that it helped shaped the zombie genre as we know it today. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is an enjoyable and entertaining film and one that is a MUST see for horror and zombie fans everywhere!



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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dolly Dearest (1992)



After a long day of cleaning and suffering though the two NCAA games to figure out which team my West Virginia Mountaineers will face next weekend in the final four, it was time to settle down for the evening. What a better way than to continue what I started last night, watching some killer doll movies. Tonights entry the 1991 film, Dolly Dearest.


Plot/ In Mexico, an archaeologist releases the evil spirit of a devil child from a tomb of an ancient tribe called Sanzia that worshiped Satan on Earth and dies in an accident. Immediately after, an American family with two children arrives to live and reactivate a factory of dolls in a site nearby the archaeological field. Elliot Read invested the savings of his family in this business to manufacture dolls. He finds many dolls left by the previous owners of the factory, and gives one of them, which is possessed by the fiend, to his daughter Jessica Read. The girl changes her behavior, speaks an ancient language and the maid tells to the mother Marilyn Read. Meanwhile, the archaeologist Karl Resnick arrives to investigate the finding of his colleague. However, the demon has been already released, threatening the locals and the Read family.


Set against the beautiful background of Mexico, much of the plot of this movie was involved with an ancient black magic curse associated with a pre-Mayan civilization, a subject that remains tantalizing on many levels. While the movie starts slow, you are rewarded with an outstanding film if you can stand the opening mnutes. Dolly is creepy and at times pretty scary, definitely on par with the much more famous Chucky from Childs Play. The characterization does a great job developing most of the characters, with the huge exception of the mother who seems out of touch despite being extremely paranoid. However, the script is definitely mediocre at best playing on the typical elements in many horror films.


At the end of the day, this is the decent little movie that offered more than I expected. YesI would have enjoyed more blood and gore, but you can't win them all. If you enjoyed Childs Play and Pinocchio's Revenge (last nights blog), you will enjoy this.



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Pinnochio's Revenge (1996)



Vampires and zombies, it seems as if that is all I have been watching lately as I attempt to make it through and review the entire Undead collection. That had to change though; I just could not take it any more this week. That’s when I found Pinocchio's Revenge on FearNet onDemand. This 1996 film definitely sticks with the undead theme, but takes it in a very different direction.


Plot/ An accused child murderer has been arrested five years ago, his lawyer, believes he's innocent as he may think that the Pinocchio puppet he made for his son told him to kill other children. She could not stop his execution in time, however she accidentally brings home with her the Pinocchio doll from the office, her daughter is having a birthday party as she mistakes it as a gift. The next few days she seems to act strange as she begins to develop a relationship with the puppet as bizarre accidents occur. Her mother begins to become concerned about her, and begins to seek out what is behind these accidents. As she is seeking the answer, both her boyfriend and nanny are killed. It concludes with a struggle between the lawyer and Pinocchio, who is revealed to actually be her daughter.


Going into the film, I had no idea what to expect and actually expected the worst. However, what I found was a very entertaining low budget movie. The script is sound and actually quite clever, the acting was above average and the plot is well thought out and executed. While I would view this as more of a thriller than horror film, the mystery that takes place at the core of the film is well done and while I had a good idea of who was killing people, I was not certain until the end!


In the end, the movie may be full of cliché’s and lack in blood and gore, but the good points definitely outweigh the bad, making this a very interesting killer doll film. It may not be Childs Play or have Chucky, but if you give Pinocchio a chance, I think you will find it worth watching!



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Friday, March 26, 2010

New Sideshow Addition

The other night I was bored and finished the first Zombie Clown to add to my sideshow at the house. In all, my collection of weird items has started coming together nicely over the last three months and looks to continue growing.

The Zombie Clown (with a zombie hand)


The Mutant Fetus


The Mummy Scene

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Can I be invited to a Vampire Happening?


After taking an evening off from the realm of horror, I was back at it with Vampire Happening, a 1971 entry to Undead: the Vampire collection that was rather entertaining. Ironically, the tagline says it all for this movie, The Adult Vampire Sex Comedy! Hell, even my wife enjoyed watching it…



Plot/ An American actress inherits a castle in Transylvania. What she doesn't know is that her ancestor, the Baroness Catali, was in actuality a vampire countess, and emerges from her tomb to ravage the nearby village and Catholic seminary.


Yes, this movie is FAR from perfect. In fact, the acting, the script, the filming and some of the Cheese make it one of the worst technical movies I have ever seen. However, the film was quite entertaining. In many ways, it was so outlandish and unbelievable that it had me rolling almost like an early horror attempt at Airplane before there was an Airplane. If you have not seen it, let me warn you, there is nothing thought provoking in this movie, but there is a lot of satirical sex driven jokes, some interesting attempts at characterization and yes, a TON of nudity.


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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nightmare Castle (1965)




After taking a break from the Undead Collection that I have been struggling through for a couple of weeks to enjoy some great George Romero zombie flicks, I figured it was time to get back to it. While still not in the mood to see anything vampire related, I knew that I would be in luck with this set because over half of the movies I have screened so far have absolutely nothing to do with vampires. I was right again and spotted one of my favorites, the Italian Gothic Thriller, Nightmare Castle starring the beautiful Barbara Steele.


Plot/ 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.


Nightmare Castle is an excellent film with a great story that provides the viewer with plenty of mystery and atmosphere. Steele, one of my all-time favorite and arguably the most beautiful Scream Queen of all, plays a duel role as an unfaithful wife, who is tortured and murdered by her scientist husband and the wife's mentally fragile sister. This remains a great example of what the supernatural thriller can be. Add in a solid overall cast, stylish cinematography and an above average musical score and you have all of the elements needed to create a movie that will stand the test of time.



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