Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hack! (2007)

While I was finishing upstairs today, I stumbled onto the DVD Gritty Horror Tales. The first one on the list was the 2007 entry Hack!

Plot/ Wanting to raise their grades, a handful of college kids are randomly selected for a field trip to study wildlife, but don't get the chance as cliché horror film-style murders occur.

Wow, talk about cliché! This movie took that to the extreme. Funny, but I actually like the storyline (although it is flawed and full of holes). Unfortunately, while there is a lot of potential in this film, it does not come close to achieving that potential. The plot moved in strange and incoherent ways that really never gelled. The acting was uneven, there was really no characterization and the scripting and dialogue left a lot to be desired (which detracted from the decent cast and acting). As a spoof, there are some elements that do work, there is gore and some of it is so bad it is funny, but other than that there really is not much to add. In the end, this could have been much better and in this state it is only worth watching if you truly have no other alternatives.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Midnight Horror Collection Volume 1

After viewing all eight movies on this set, it was definitely worth the $5.00 I spent on it at WalMart. Yes, there were some down moments, but in the end, there were more winners than losers. My only major complaint is that there was no true theme to group the films together, but then again for 5 bucks does that even matter? The best films on the Midnight Horror Collection Volume 1 set are:

Demonic Toys
Prom Night (1980)
I Am Omega
The Legend of Sorrow Creek
and yes, Evil Bong!

Decadent Evil (2005)

As I creep closer to getting out of New Jersey, I decided to finish the Midnight Horror Collection Volume 1, before I dive into some classic Black & White horror. The last entry is the 2005 Decadent Evil.

Plot/ A fallen foot tall Homunculus called Marvin (a part human/part reptile creature) is imprisoned in a birdcage by a vengeful lover who is bidding to become the world's most powerful vampire.

Now let me start by saying, I am a fan of Charles Band and Full Moon Entertainment, while low budget their movies always seem to make me laugh a bit. This one, sure it is not the best that he has released (from Wizard Entertainment), has a few moments inside the story that at least made it interesting. Shot in six days (which is evident), the flick is flawed. The acting is rigid, the effects so-so, the cinematography OK and the plot has more than a few holes  even the sex and nudity are not on par with some of his other entries.  In the end, this is really not worth watching (even if the ending is hilarious).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shock (1946)

With my appetite for mindless exploitation complete, I decided to dive into something totally different with some classic cinema film noir. My selection for the evening, the 1946 entry, Shock!

Plot/ A psychologically distraught woman is committed to a private sanitarium by the man whom she witnessed commit a murder.

This early Price Thriller is a far cry from the movies that made him a Horror Icon. As usual, Price delivers a solid performance throughout this rather lackluster affair. While the premise is sound (possibly a bit cliché today), the cinematography (even for that time) leaves a bit to be desired, almost trying to imitate the great Alfred Hitchcock’s mastery and wasting an opportunity to create a tremendously dark and atmospheric film. In fact, the flick just seems to plod along even though it featured a great score which did what it could to enhance the mood.  In the end, Prices’ performance is for not in this run-of-the-mill thriller. If you are a fan of the great Vincent Price, check it out once to see young Vincent in action, everyone else, save your 70 minutes for something else.

Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)

Well I actually accomplished quite a bit today and I am well on my way to meeting my schedule to get this place finished and everything moved to Uniontown. With that in mind, I decided to venture into the 1970s for an entertaining romp with Sci-Fi / Horror / Exploitation with the classic boobfest Invasion of the Bee Girls.

Plot/ In the small town in California, many men are dying from excessive effort during sex. When a scientist from the Brandt research laboratory is found dead in a motel, the government sends an agent to investigate the mysterious deaths.

Let me start by saying 99 percent of this movie is absolutely terrible. The cinematography is dark and horrible, the direction poor, the acting all over the place, and the script and dialogue are even worse. However, this movie does boast some hilarious moments (come on a naked chick on a motorcycle is classic) and there are more than enough beautiful naked women running around to at least offset the flaws for one viewing. Sure this 1970s combination Sci-Fi / Horror exploitation is not for everyone, but if you like cheesy and trashy movies with a lot of nudity, this one is definitely for you (at least once)!  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Demonic Toys (1992)

Two rooms are totally complete with cleaning and removing the last remnants of the past three years here in New Jersey, and it was time to sit down for a few and cool off. While sitting here, I decided to try and catch up on some of the movies I have watched over the past couple of weeks. This entry, the 1992 Satan needs reborn flick, Demonic Toys.

Plot/ A botched bust on a pair of arms dealers inadvertently leads to the raising of a sixty-six-year-old demon with the power to bring toys to life as his personal minions. The demon is looking for a body to inhabit so he can increase his powers, and it just so happens that one of the police officers is pregnant with the ideal host. As the murderous toys close in on their victims, the officer must not only fight for her life, but for the soul of her unborn child.

To me, this is one of the best and most entertaining low-budget offerings from Charles Band and Full Moon Entertainment. Yes, the acting is uneven, the plot has some holes and there is not much gore, but it is 90 minutes of entertainment that runs from hilarious to violent. The soundtrack works creating a dark and atmospheric mood, and while special effects are not great (although some are interesting), what horror fan could not LOVE the demonic toys, they are awesome! Sure, like all of the flicks from Full Moon, this one is not for everyone. But, fans of cheesy horror should get a kick out of it!  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Prom Night (1980)

As I continue to move through the Midnight Horror Collection (Volume 1), I decided to finally watch the 1980 slasher Prom Night. As a kid growing up, this was one of those films that left an impression on me, and one that I remember to this day.

Plot/ For six long years, Hamilton High School seniors Kelly, Jude, Wendy, and Nick have been hiding the truth of what happened to ten-year-old Robin Hammond the day her broken body was discovered near an old abandoned convent. The foursome kept secret how they taunted Robin - backed her into a corner until, frightened, she stood on a window ledge... and fell to her death. Though an accident, the then-twelve-year-olds feared they'd be held responsible and vowed never to tell. But someone else was there that day... watching. And now, that someone is ready to exact murderous revenge-on prom night.

I remember this from when it came out in 1980; I will never forget watching the head roll down the stage. This is not to mention Jamie Lee Curtis cementing her position as the Scream Queen of the day.  While, this is the typical slasher, full of cliché moments and trappings, this one succeeds where some others fail. It boasts some good characterization, solid acting, and a perfect soundtrack that creates a dark and eerie atmosphere throughout. Plus, the plot actually creates a decent mystery that builds and holds you from start to finish. Yes, there are some flaws such as lighting and uneven effects (not to mention disco, wow, I do remember those days). However, this is a much better film than the modern incarnation and one that can be found on the cheap. A must watch for slasher fans or true fans of 1980s horror.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In A Kingdom By The Sea...

As I sit here counting days until I can get back to Uniontown and Brenda and the girls, I was doing some light reading from my favorite writer Edgar Allan Poe. As a writer, I get so much inspiration from his words, his stories and the deep love he shares in a majority of his works. While reading, I was reminded of a great and haunting song that was inspired by his classic Annabel Lee, the song is simply, Annabelle Lee by Sarah Jarosz. If you have not heard it, check it out! It is one of the best songs I have heard in a long time.


Annabel Lee
By Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Evil Bong (2006)

I decided to stray from my normal movie selections and venture into the horror / comedy arena. My selection was Full Moon Pictures Evil Bong from 2006 from Charles Band.

Plot/ Straight-laced nerd Alistair moves into a college dorm with hardcore marijuana users Brett, Larnell, and Bachman. Larnell orders an old giant bong that proves to have strange magical powers. When smoked said bong sends a person to a bizarre drugged-out alternate realm from which there is no easy escape.

This was actually funnier than I expected. True that is not saying much, but there were a few laughable moments (especially when Tommy Chong shows up). Do not get me wrong, this flick is far from great, full of stupidity, plot holes, subpar effects, uneven acting and stereotypical undeveloped characters. However, it is actually entertaining and has enough eye candy to make every man smile. More sitcom than horror, but if you are looking to waste a couple hours with mindless stoner humor, check it out!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Below (2002)

Early yesterday, I decided to sit back and enjoy the WWII Navy mystery / thriller / horror flick Below from 2002.

Plot/ In the dark silence of the sea during World War II, the submarine USS Tiger Shark prowls on what should be a routine rescue mission. But for the shell-shocked crew, trapped together in the sub's narrow corridors and constricted spaces, this is about to become a journey into the sensory delusions, mental deceptions and runaway fear that lurk just below the surface of the ocean and deep inside the human psyche.

As a Navy Sailor, it is always fun to find horror movies that deal with the Navy, and stumbling onto this flick was a treat. Below is an intricate and interesting storyline that is full of twists and turns. Actually, there is not much wrong with this one and it is a great example of what can be accomplished when you focus on story, mood and atmosphere. The cinematography, effects and acting are all solid and the movie truly delivers some chilling moments. Yes, there are some flaws in character development and pacing, but those are easily overlooked. If you find this one, it is definitely worth checking out (especially as part of the $5 buck Midnight Horror Collection).

BreadCrumbs (2011)

After enjoying Saw 3D: The Final Chapter last night, I decided to venture back into bargain horror with another entry from the Backwoods Butchers Collection, my choice the 2011 Fairy Tale, Bread Crumbs.

Plot/ A group of Porn Filmmakers are systematically attacked by 2 children on the set of a remote shoot.

Let me start off by saying that this is far from a perfect movie. However, there is something here that just makes this twisted fairy tale interesting and creepy. The atmosphere is solid and heavy, the soundtrack fits, the storyline appealing and the violence definitely jumps out. Yes, I would have enjoyed more gore, a crisper plot (there were some holes),  some better character development (especially with the kids), and yes, the acting was uneven, but there is definitely something here that could have been a lot better with a larger budget. Fortunately, the filmmakers did pretty good job with what they had and created enough tension to make this enjoyable. Sure, like many films I watch it is not for everyone, but this is a decent chiller and is worth watching (especially out in a cabin in the woods).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)

I will admit that next to Jason and the Friday the 13th franchise, Jigsaw and the Saw come in a close second. Honestly, in some ways, they are even better. After all, they do provide inspirational quotes and positive thoughts to everyone involved. I ask you, what is the main theme? To live or die, the choice is yours, is what always comes to mind when I think of the movies. How could you get more positive than that? With those thoughts in mind, I decided to start my Saw reviews with the last installment tonight Saw 3D: The Final Chapter.

Plot/ As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw's brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror.

I remember the uproar when this came out about how it wasn’t close to what it could have (should have) been, and I agree that the film definitely feels rushed. However, the pacing, gore and even storyline work well within these confines and produces an entertaining little flick. The acting is uneven, and even some of the traps become laughable or over-played, but that does not ruin the flick. Honestly, I was saddened to see the franchise come to an end, but that end was well overdue. This groundbreaking franchise opened a lot of eyes, and created such a stir that it deserved a better ending. While far from the best sequel in the series, I did not find it the worst and actually enjoyed quite a bit of it. In the end, I think Saw fans should watch it just to see how some of the storyline comes together, it may not be the perfect send-off, but there are some interesting elements that answered a lot of questions.  

Spare Parts (aka Fleisch -1979)

After taking some time enjoying some great backwoods bloodbaths, I decided to take a break and enjoy some more of the Drive-In Classics box set, next up the 1979 German cult classic Spare Parts (AKA Fleisch).

Plot/ A new married couple spent their honeymoon in the southwestern of the United States. Suddenly, the unbelievable happens: the husband is kidnapped and assaulted by paramedics in an ambulance. The wife escaped at the last minute, it is taken up by a truck driver. Together they embark on the search for the kidnapped husband; they encounter a dangerous and perfectly organized syndicate that supplies the world's wealthy customers in organs of young, healthy people

This Drive-In Classics box set has been so hit or miss when it comes to the movies contained in it. This flick seems to fall into the hit category (not great but decent).  This German made-for-television medical harvesting thriller is actually pretty good with an atmosphere that kept me on edge throughout. The acting was solid, the story intriguing, the script average, the cinematography sound and a score that helped maintain the score. Yes, there are some dubbing issues and the sound quality varies, and the plot seems to have gaping holes from time-to-time, but it all works and everything ties together in the end.  Although a bit cliché, with an overall idea that has been copied many times, this flick is interesting and definitely worth watching if you get a chance.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mother's Day Massacre (2007)

After a trip down memory lane with a low-budget creature feature, I decided to jump forward a few decades with something closer to home based here in New Jersey. From the Backwoods Butchers Collection it was Mother’s Day Massacre from 2007.

Plot/ Jim Cavanaugh is a shy suburban New Jersey teenager. His mom left when he was a child and his father is an ass. The unrelenting psychotic domination of his redneck dad forces Jim to search out his long lost mother. His quest takes him to the backwoods of Jersey where he encounters semi-retarded hillbillies who have a taste for DIY circumcisions and Peterbilt trucks. Nobody escapes the bloodletting in this heartwarming tale of a family reunited.

I am glad that I was not expecting much, because I got less than that. This 77 minute flick is bad, really bad. The only thing that kept me a lit bit interested was the fact that it dealt with the Pine Barrens and the freaks that are rumored to call that beautiful land home. The direct, script and pacing just seem to plod along in an incoherent way. The acting is uneven, the characters unbelievable, the soundtrack off and there is a total lack of atmosphere or tension. I really cannot figure out if they were trying to make a comedy or not with some of the perverse humor or over-the-top violent outbursts the pop up from time-to-time. While I will not watch this one again, I at least laughed a little. This strange and almost pointless flick is really not worth watching unless you have nothing else to choose from.