Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Child's Play (1988)

I finally did it, broke down and let the kids watch Child's Play. I swear, every time I put on Netflix, the whining and pleading began, one can only take so much. Honestly, I was about their age when I saw Friday the 13th in the theatre, and I am quite normal.

Plot Young Andy Barclay gets the doll he wanted. However, he did not know it was alive!

I remember when this came out in theatres, what a blast. At the time, it was different and definitely took a different route with a serial killer. The were some decent chills, although, they lost some of their mustard now that I have seen it a few time. The cinematography, direction and acting are all solid and there was just enough violence and gore to make it interesting. Wow, I haven’t even mentioned Chucky yet, what a great character he is! Is it a perfect movie? No way, but it is an extremely entertaining flick that is a must see for horror fans.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Carriers (2009)

It was scary movie afternoon with my daughter Jillian, so she picked the movie for the afternoon (something PG/PG-13). Her choice, 2009s Thriller/Drama/Horror pandemic entry Carriers.

Plot/ Four friends fleeing a viral pandemic soon learn they are more dangerous than any virus.

This was definitely better than I expected. Yes, it is more of a thriller/drama than horror flick, but it did serve its purpose this afternoon (watching with my 8-year old daughter). Overall, the movie is not a classic, suffering from poor pacing and at times sluggish acting. However, the production value, scripting, and use of blood were quite refreshing for this entry. Sure, it could have used a touch of gore, but it is a good film that flew relatively unnoticed. To me, it is a must see as a thriller/drama (especially for fans of biological terror), but hardcore horror fans may not quite feel the same.

King of the Zombies (1941)

I was talking with my wife about the dunk tank for the Zombie Beach Party being thrown by the guys at Bad Zombie in May when I stumbled upon the gem from the 1940s. While not modern zombies, the classic voodoo zombies always make good entertainment, and 1941s King of the Zombies is no different.

Plot/ During World War 2, a small plane off the south coast of America is low on fuel and blown off course by a storm. Guided by a faint radio signal, they crashland on an island. The passenger, his manservant and the pilot take refuge in a mansion owned by a doctor. The easily-spooked manservant soon becomes convinced the mansion is haunted by zombies and ghosts.

This is definitely an often overlooked and underappreciated flick from the 1940's. While it does have some flaws due to the low production values and social overtones of the time, the direction more than makes up for that. The film boasts some sound pacing and acting that worked well within the storyline. Yes, the effects are hilarious (the model plane at the beginning), but for what it is, it works. This is really a great Saturday afternoon classic voodoo zombie romp, and should be enjoyed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

I was going through Netflix today and stumbled upon the 1975 Godzilla entry The Terror of Mechagodzilla. For me, this was truly a blast from the past because every Saturday morning the great Horror Host, Super Host, used to always show these classic “B” Movies on the weekend.

Plot/ Godzilla comes to the rescue when an alien race rebuilds Mechagodzilla to destroy Earth's cities. A traitorous scientist gives them a second weapon: Titanosaurus.

Let me start by saying that while this is the last original Godzilla flick, the famed monster is not in this one as much as he should be. All-in-all, the monsters are pretty good and the fight scenes are done rather well (considering). The acting is solid and actually, the storyline is interesting (albeit not much different from the series model). To me, this is one of the more underrated Godzilla films and if you liked Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla then you should love this one. Yes, the dubbing is bad and there are the typical issues that seem to plague these lower budgeted schlockfests, but that is part of the fun. In the end, if you love the classic Godzilla flicks, you should see this one. It is a fun trip into the crazy creature features that made Saturday mornings fun. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Boogens (1981)

After spending some time in a mortuary, it was nice to head into something a bit darker, an abandoned mine shaft. My choice for that adventure 1981s The Boogens.

Plot/ Scaly monsters are released from an abandoned, boarded-up silver mine in Colorado and proceed to do away with character after character.

I was surprised, this is actually a lot better than I expected. As a flick from my youth, it definitely was not what I expected either. The direction is solid, creating a very creepy atmosphere with the mine shafts and old buildings. The acting and storyline are both better than most and the effects are pretty decent. Sure, the Boogens are a bit laughable when they are finally revealed, but that is close to the end and has little impact on the overall make-up of the film. All-in-all, this is not a great film, but it is far from the worst of the era. Check it out if you get a chance during the overnight hours, it is a good way to pass the late night hours.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Phantasm II (1988)

After watching Phantasm III, I could not help but to jump into another entry from that franchise, with the second installment of one of my favorite horror series, Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm II from 1988.

Plot/ Mike, now released from a psychiatric hospital, continues his journey to stop the evil Tall Man from his grim work.

This installment of the Phantasm series was a very important film from my youth. I had seen the original as a kid and was disturbed by the imagery, but for the life of me could not remember the name of it. That was until the trailer, and those words, the ball is back. Yes, to me, this one could never have the power of the first flick, but it is still a good film in its own right. While it did lack the creepiness, it did add some more action and better special effects than in the first film. The acting (although raplacing A. Michael Baldwin was noticible) and story were solid and as usual Angus Scrimm was terrific. In the end, this is not a spectacular film, but it is really enjoyable. Different from the original, absolutely, but still a tremendous effort in its own right!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994)

Continuing to watch movies that have shaped me and starring some of the people I met at Monster-Mania, like A. Michael Baldwin. With that in mind, I decided to dive into the third installment of one of my favorite horror franchises, Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead from 1994.

Plot/ The Tall Man, that imposing menace from Morningside Mortuary, is back and once again haunting the thoughts of the now-adult Mike and his friend, ex-Ice Cream vendor Reggie. The two continue their hunt for the mysterious figure and in his path of destruction encounter a variety of dangerous situations, friends and enemies. They also must contend with the resurrected dead plus a growing number of the infamous and deadly silver spheres which aid the Tall Man as he sets his sights on indoctrinating Mike and finishing the fight begun so many years ago.

If you are like me and enjoy this series, you should enjoy this installment. Yes, it is again a bit different than the previous installments, but it does a great job at keeping true to the original idea. It is definitely a gory and exciting entry in this creative horror fantasy. Again, the scenery, acting and plot are solid. The scripting is inventive, mixing the darkness and story of the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) with a slight dose of dark humor. Is it a perfect flick, No! But, it is definitely fun and a movie that should be enjoyed by fans of horror and the Phantasm series.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jason X (2001)

After meeting Kane Hodder this past weekend at Monster-Mania, I decided to watch some of his action as my favorite horror character. Last night, I stumbled onto Jason X, the outer space, end of the Earth gorefest.

Plot/ Jason Voorhees returns with a new look, a new machete, and his same murderous attitude as he is awakened on a spaceship in the 25th century.

Jason X, I think the title speaks for itself! If you have not seen this and watch it expecting something even close to the classic original, you should definitely think again. This is not a horror film, it lacks suspense, the acting is uneven to bad, and really the plot is poor even for one of the last Friday the 13th installments (come on outer space, really?). However, what it lacks with all of those flaws, it makes up for it with sheer brutal death and gore. This is just a fun escape from the misery of the surrounding society and pretty laughable (especially the hologram scene at the end). In the end, this is NO classic, but it is a fun way to pass 90 minutes when there is nothing else to do!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ghost Writer (2010)

While I am still a bit worn out from the cold that brought me down, I am at least functioning again. However, that functioning has taken away from my movie watching as I am getting caught up on all of the items I pushed aside. To get back in the swing of things, I caught 2010s The Ghost Writer.

Plot/ A ghostwriter hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy.

This is a tremendous effort by famed director Roman Polanski  that created a very stylish thriller. The script is very engaging, full of twists and turns, with a variety of interesting characters. The acting is solid, and adds tension to the heavy atmosphere. Really, I was just engrossed by the flick, it was that good. To me, it reminded me of a Hitchcock film, more atmosphere and intrique to garner suspence than violence. This one is definitely worth watching, check it out!