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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Drag Me to Hell (2009)



Searching for new and interesting horror is often a challenge. Lately, the movie industry (especially in the horror genre) has fallen into an uninventive cycle full of remakes and sequels. However, sometimes even mainstream filmmakers can hit a home run. To me, one such film is Drag Me to Hell from 2009.


Plot/ A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try to save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.


The first time I watched this I liked it. The second time, I liked it even more. Yes, the storyline was a bit cliché, but it had just the right mixture of the basic premise with some innovative twists to make it quite enjoyable. The acting was solid, the atmosphere creepy and the effects were memorable (even the CGI was decent).  Sure, there were some bump here and there, but those are easily overlooked. In the end, this is one of the better movies from the decade and reminds me why Sam Raimi is one of the legends of the horror genre. Check it out!



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Beetlejuice (1988)



On Thanksgiving, I had to chance to watch a flick with my brother, Matt. With the kids around, it had to be something mild, so in the end, we settled on the 1988 Tim Burton dark comedy Beetlejuice! Just in time as I have read that, Beetlejuice 2 has a green light for production!

 
Plot/ A couple of recently deceased ghosts contract the services of a "bio-exorcist" in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house.


This Tim Burton entry may possibly be his best and most memorable work. This twisted look at the afterlife is fun and has just the right mixture of darkness and comedy to make it both enjoyable and memorable. The characters are sound, the all-star cast works great together, the storyline is solid and the acting works (it should with Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and Winona Ryder). Sure, some of the stop-motion effects may seem a bit dated today, but overall it holds up well. Yes, some will say the plot is anti-climactic (and it may be), but that is easily overlooked. In the end, it is classic from the 1980s and should be seen!

Vintage Marvel Trading Cards and More



Now that things have calmed down some and we have got a lot more stuff into our small Scarlet Circus Side Show booth in one of the local antique stores, I have had a chance to start looking into get my stuff back up and running. Couple that with the excitement from tonight's Backyard Brawl (Let's Go Mountaineers) and I have some time on my hands with everyone asleep. Since, I have finally been able to complete some unpacking in the new man cave and have broke out some stuff that I have decided to part with, it was time to fire up the Ebay account and list some items including some vintage Marvel Comic trading cards from 1966 and some vintage Halloween and Christmas Decorations. If you are in the mood check out our auctions at the Blue Yonder Vintage Ebay Account.






Thursday, November 24, 2011

Boggy Creek: The Legend is True (2010)



Thanksgiving is a great time, food to make me feel bloated, football and enough time to watch some good movies. One movie that my brother Matt and I talked about tonight was the original Legend of Boggy Creek, an amazing flick. I love Bigfoot movies (almost as much as I enjoy searching for the legendary creature) and I cannot wait until the weather gets better so I can get out in the field with some of my Bigfoot researching friends. Until then, I will have to rely on movies like Boggy Creek: The Legend is True (2010) to keep me company.


Plot/ When Jennifer's father dies in a horrific accident, she finds herself drawn to his small cabin in Boggy Creek, Texas. She brings a few friends for a week-long stay, but their vacation soon turns deadly. They are warned of an evil that has lurked near the water for three decades, a terrifying creature that murders men and abducts women. While camping, Jennifer and her friends encounter this evil, finding themselves on the feeding grounds of a giant beast. What began as a journey of self discovery becomes a desperate fight for survival along Boggy Creek.


Let me start by saying that I am definitely a sucker for any and all Bigfoot related movies and when I saw this, I just had to watch it. What I found was a little twist and departure from the normal Bigfoot entry, focusing on characterization and storyline development more than straight creature feature, gore-driven or docu-drama. To me, this was a refreshing change from the norm (although, there seemed to be some story holes). Yes, it will definitely turn off most horror fans in it for the gore, but that’s OK. All-in-all, the script was solid, the acting decent and the special effects awesome! When the creature shows up, he was amazing and the kills were great (sure, there could have been more of both). In the end, it does have some flaws and it is not for everyone, but if you love Bigfoot (and especially the original Legend of Boggy Creek) you should enjoy this one. Like I said, it is not straightforward horror, but there enough moments to make it worth renting (and I thought the ending rocked more than the movie itself – loved it!)


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Night of the Blood Beast (1958)



After some time away from it, I decided to jump back into the Pure Terror Collection. After all, what’s better on a rainy evening than some great early Roger Corman schlock? My selection for the evening is the often overlooked 1958 Sci-Fi entry, Night of the Blood Beast.


Plot/ An astronaut is killed on re-entry to Earth, but his body is seeded with rapidly-gestating aliens.


This should be the centerpiece of classic 1950s Sci-Fi ultra low-budget campiness. While, like most movies from this era it suffers from the usual faults, uneven acting, poor lighting and horrible creature effects, those are easily overlooked in this entertaining piece of schlock. In fact, this Corman entry may be one of his best (although it is often overlooked), featuring a sound plot and a decent amount of characterization. In the end, this is a great example of the flicks that made the 1950s the greatest age of Sci-Fi matinee camp, if you get a chance, check it out!



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)



I was doing some reading the other day about a movie and I discovered something that I never remembered seeing. Kane Hodder (the best Jason ever) played Freddy Krueger’s arm in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. I really do not remember that (although it has been almost 20-years since I saw this movie). So, what is any horror fan (especially Friday the 13th fan) to do? Go back and watch the flick to see where / when it happens, absolutely… That is exactly what I did with the unrated directors cut of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday from 1993.


Plot/ The secret of Jason's evil is revealed. It is up to the last remaining descendant of the Voorhees family to stop Jason before he becomes immortal and unstoppable.


It had been years since I had watched this one and really I had very little memory of it. What I found when turning it on again was both graphic and somewhat hilarious. Honestly, I feel that this was misplaced as a Friday the 13th entry, and the director should have created a new character for the lead. If that would have happened, I doubt it would have been panned as much as it has been.  For all of the flaws like poor soundtrack, crazy storyline (biting a heart, really?) and way too many subtle horror references, this one actually has a lot of finer points that are often overlooked. The special effects are graphic (and possibly some of the best in the series), the acting is decent and there is a hint of character background and development. In the end, this one is entertaining in its own way and would have been better if it was a stand-alone or start of its own franchise. Unfortunately, as part of the Friday the 13th franchise, it fails miserably when holding it next to the early entries that started the entries.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Ward (2010)



One of the things that I have learned over the years is that if you want to truly watch and enjoy (and possibly review) a film, it is better to look past all of the packages and histories of the project, writers or directors. To me, often movies are unfairly graded and reviewed due to who starred in it, or who directed it. By looking past that data and watching the flick (regardless of who worked on it) you should be able to truly get a better read than if you let that info cloud judgment. Look at the movie My Soul To Take by Wes Craven, it was terrible with or without his name on it, but did it get bashed even more because it did not live up to his previous masterpieces? Probably… With that in mind, I am watching and reviewing The Ward, who cares if it was done by the great John Carpenter.


Plot/ a young institutionalized woman is haunted by a mysterious and deadly ghost. As danger creeps closer, she comes to realize that this ghost might be darker than anything she ever could have imagined


Honestly, I had heard very little about this flick, and if I saw something, I pretty much ignored it, as I had no idea what to expect. What I found when I finally put it on was an interesting and entertaining movie. Yes, there were a lot of cliché moments with the characterization and storyline, but that was not much of a deal breaker. For the most part the acting was solid, the effects decent and the soundtrack was decently creepy (although, it was no way a classic Carpenteresque soundtrack).  Yes it has its flaws as this movie was nothing new, the pacing seemed a bit off and there was really no gore. However, in the end, I found it a creepy and enjoyable semi-supernatural, semi-slasher, complete with some decently tense moments (even if the ending was a bit blah). Sure it is not Carpenter’s best work, but if you watch it without thinking about previous John Carpenter works, you should at least enjoy it for what it is.



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Save the Chapel Benefit Auctions



As I blogged last month, the chapel at the Evans City Cemetery is in dire need of repair and the Save the Chapel movement has been started to assist in funding and coordinating the repairs to the piece of Horror Cinematic History. After some time, the organization has got their website up and running, complete with details on the chapel, upcoming events and everything you can imagine concerning this tremendous  movement.  Please  check  out  this  site at www.fixthechapel.com and help save this iconic piece of horror history. One of the great events that this organization is behind is benefit auctions on Ebay to support this cause, follow this link, Save the Chapel Benefit Ebay Auctions to discover some great OOAK Artwork.
 

 

Closed for the Season (2010)



After taking an evening off from blogging trying to organize the 21 boxes of fabric and vintage clothing that we picked up the other day, I decided to write-up another find from the local Family Video Store. This entry is the 2010 thriller Closed for the Season.


Plot/ Trapped in a forgotten amusement park, a young woman finds herself terrorized by the living memories of the park. She must break free from the park's grasp before she becomes its next victim.


 As a fan of the old carnival and amusement park feel, I found this decently entertaining, showing a nice mixture of before and after amusement park scenes. Unfortunately, that days-gone-by atmosphere is truly the finest part of this flick. Somewhere or somehow this low-budget independent movie seemed to lose focus and flair, never truly embracing to the finer points of the story and allowing it to breathe. More surreal reflection or fantasy than horror or thriller, this film suffers from very uneven pacing and the CGI effects (and some of the costuming) really drag this one down. The acting is OK, and the storyline is solid, but that can do nothing to overcome the laughable effects. If you are looking for a straight horror movie, stay away from this one.



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grave Encounters (2011)



I honestly miss the times I spent investigating the paranormal and unexplained (not to mention writing about it). Hopefully, once I finally get settled into Pennsylvania, I will find an organization close to my home that I can become involved with that will allow me to get back in the field (of course, I imagine Bigfoot hunting will come first with the head quarters of the PA Bigfoot Association just down the road). Luckily, I have stumbled upon a few ghost hunting related flicks at the local Family Video Store. One of those, Grave Encounters, may be one of the best paranormal themed movies I have seen in some time.


Plot/ Lance Preston and the crew of "Grave Encounters", a ghost-hunting reality television show, are shooting an episode inside the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, where unexplained phenomena has been reported for years. All in the name of good television, they voluntarily lock themselves inside the building for the night and begin a paranormal investigation, capturing everything on camera. They quickly realize that the building is more than just haunted - it is alive - and it has no intention of ever letting them leave. They find themselves lost in a labyrinth maze of endless hallways and corridors, terrorized by the ghosts of the former patients. They soon begin to question their own sanity, slipping deeper and deeper into the depths of madness, ultimately discovering the truth behind the hospital's dark past...and taping what turns out to be their final episode.


Let me start by saying that there is nothing new in this movie, and that cliché is the primary downfall of the flick. However, I honestly never really expect anything truly groundbreaking anymore and never let that influence what I watch. The great thing about this movie is that those parts are easily overlooked between the great and creepy atmosphere, ghost hunting realism and perfect pacing with scares and thrills at just the right moments allowing tension to build throughout. Yes, the acting is uneven (except the psychic, who is awesome) and there are a few head-scratching plot elements that just seem out of place, but those flaws are rather minor. In the end, this is one of the best hand-cam paranormal horror flicks that I have seen, and I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Atrocious (2010)



One thing that I discovered recently was the virtual untapped treasure trove of horror at the local Family Video store. I remember growing up during the 1980s and the role these stores played in developing my horror tastes, allowing me a chance to see things I had never heard of and take chances on the unknown and strange. Luckily for me, that while these local stores are dying a slow death, we still have one. My first selection from the store this week is the 2010 entry Atrocious.


Plot/ On April 4th of 2010, Quintanilla family was found murdered in their country side house. Police reported the existence of 37 hours of recorded evidence. "Atrocious" shows the real images of such evidence. Quintanilla family traveled to their old farm house in Sitges, where Christian and July investigated about the Legend of the Girl in the Garraf woods. Both of them used to record all day whatever they did. On the fifth day of their arrival they were found dead under strange circumstances.


I always like good supernatural stories. Unfortunately, ever since the Blair Witch Project, the ones shot with hand-cam, first person cinematography have been a mixed bag. This Spanish entry is no different, combining an interesting story with that filming technique. While the direction and scripting create a very eerie and creepy atmosphere, there are some moments where the pacing just does not match that atmosphere. The storyline is awesome, one that actually keeps you wondering and interested throughout (yes, even through the uneven pacing) with just the right ending.  Sure, the acting was so-so, the dialogue OK (dubbing a bit off – but that was expected) and most of the violence was off-screen (although, that did add to the tension). In the end, this was a decent entry in the ever-growing hand camera arena. If you like that type of thing, you should enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Soul To Take (2010)



While searching the television for something to watch, I stumbled on My Soul To Take (2010) on one of my cable channels. With my choices slim, I decided to break down and watch it, even though, the previews I remembered did nothing to excite me.


Plot/ A serial killer returns to his hometown to stalk seven children who share the same birthday as the date he was allegedly put to rest.


In some ways, I was very surprised that this flick was all done by Wes Craven. Yes, the idea and back-story provided within the first 10 minutes was awesome, but things toiled out of control after that and it definitely failed on many levels. The acting was so-so, the characterization just OK, and the combination of dialogue and predictability were laughable (including the ending I saw a mile away). Yes, some of the cinematography featured cool scenery, some of the costuming and effects were good, and some of the bloodshed awesome, but those few elements can do nothing to save the viewer from this overall mess of a movie. For me, unless you are a diehard Craven fan, STAY AWAY!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Evil Brain From Outer Space (1965)



After a weekend full of action and zombie-like creatures inside the Resident Evil series, I decided to head a different direction last night as I was working in the man cave. My selection for the evening is from the Pure Terror Collection, in the 1965 made for television entry Evil Brain from Outer Space.  


Plot/ A monstrous evil brain from outer space leads his minions on a crusade to conquer the universe, and unleashes hideous monsters on Earth that spread deadly diseases. Superhero Starman must rescue Earth from the menace of the evil brain while battling armies of monsters the brain sends against him.


When I put this on last night, I had no idea what to expect and I honestly did not expect what I found on the screen. Technically, this film suffers tremendously, featuring overacting, ridiculous fight scenes, bad audio dubbing with some of the corniest dialogue and some of the most hilarious costuming ever (even from the early Sci-Fi era). Yet, that truly just added something to the overall fun and entertaining side of the movie. Plus, there were actually some very strange monsters and creatures that fit in perfectly.  Do not take this the wrong way, while entertaining and laughable, this is a BAD movie. However, if you are a fan of the great Godzilla films of the past, and loved the foreign Sci-Fi flicks with terrible dubbing at the classic Saturday afternoon spook shows, this film is worth watching, (but please, watch it with an open mind).