Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

As I sit here tonight re-watching V for Vendetta with the daughters, I am excited about the fact that the judges at the Fayette County Fair actually got my zombie entries. That is right, I actually pulled in four Blue Ribbons (first place) and two White Ribbons (third place) for my entry’s. Honestly, that is so much better than I could have expected. It also gave me time to review a flick I watched the other night with working on those, the 1990 classic Jacob’s Ladder.

Plot/ Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam vet attempts to discover his past while suffering from a severe case of disassociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusion, and perception of death.

Even after all these years, Jacob’s Ladder remains a great atmospheric tale that continues to leave its mark on your mind. Yes, some of it may be a touch incoherent and not make sense, but to me, it just adds to its mystery. This film has everything you should want it a flick. It has some awesome visual effects, it has some great acting within the outstanding script, and the mood and atmosphere is dark, dreary and perfect for the movie. This is one of the better films of any genre to come out in the 1990s and a movie that must be seen. Sure, it may leave a lasting impression, but that is what a flick is supposed to do. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Eye See You (2002)

With another week in the books, it was time to kick back and watch something dark. Lately, it seems like I have been caught up in the 2010s, with the majority of my viewing selections centered in 2012 or 2013. This time, I went a different direction, with the 2002 flick, Eye See You (AKA D-Tox).

Plot/ A FBI Agent hits rock bottom and is forced into a secluded rehab clinic that specializes in treating law enforcement officials. Soon, he discovers patients are being picked off one-by-one.  

This flick was nothing close to what I expected. Starring Sylvester Stallone, my mind automatically shifted toward some type of action flick. Instead, this is a solid mystery with a dark and heavy atmosphere. While it did have some flaws, uneven editing and possibly too many characters, it was much better than one would expect. In fact, it had a solid mix of graphic violence, suspense, scenery, and a sound storyline that created a decent mystery. In the end, the atmospheric flick delivered a lot more than the majority of Stallone’s non-action flicks and is rather entertaining. Since it is making its rounds on Showtime, give it a shot. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Zombie Items Created for the 2013 Fayette County Fair

Every year the County Fair comes around and it is always an awesome treat to enter some items to be judged in the different categories. This year was a special treat, as the Fayette County Fair where we live has an extensive Halloween Section. With that being my favorite holiday, I decided to try my hand at a battery of zombie themed items for this year. Here are some pictures of the items I submitted in the different Halloween categories. 

Halloween Centerpiece

Halloween Decorative Item

Halloween Statue

Functional Halloween Item

I also created a Halloween themed wreath out of tree branches and a stuffed Raven, for the Halloween category but failed to take a picture of it before submission. We will be there tomorrow to see how the items fared, and I cannot wait. Hopefully, my zombie ideas were not too much for this small rural county. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Heebie Jeebies (2013)

Now that I have finished some blockbusters and some low budget flicks, it was time to finish the last flick that I grabbed walking through Family Video over the weekend. Yes, this is nowhere close to the other movies I have reviewed in recent days; that movie is Heebie Jeebies from 2013.

Plot/ After a haunted gold mine is reopened, a terrifying creature is released starting a rampage of vengeance against the town and forcing the local policeman and a healer to find a way of bringing killing to an end.

This is another low budget CGI fest that came to life on the SyFy Channel. Of course, that was easy to figure out with the signature uneven storyline filled with cliché, an extremely predictable plot with flat characterization and some uneven CGI effects including one of the most hideous monsters I have seen them create. Honestly, 1950s Sci-Fi would be proud.  On a positive note, the creature was at least an original design and some of the acting was solid, but it was definitely nothing to write home about. In the end, there is really nothing new here and it definitely was not worth sitting through without commercials. There are definitely better options at Family Video, steer clear.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hayride (2012)

I have been spoiled over the past few days watching some bigger budget horror and Sci-Fi flicks, but if you read my blog, which is not always what I enjoy. As you may know, I love low budget movies, I believe that there is a lot more freedom in those and you can see some interesting things. The next flick I watched took me into that world, from Midnight Releasing 2012s Hayride.

Plot/ A college student returning home for Halloween is forced to face his childhood fears when an escaped killer takes refuge in his family's Haunted Hayride.

After watching some bigger budgeted movies, it felt nice to get back into the low-budget indie flicks that truly make horror what it is. This one was interesting and had a lot to like for an indie slasher. Sure, it did suffer through some scripting issues with dialogue, uneven editing and some of the effects mirrored the budget, but there was a lot to like. The storyline attempted to create a full-circle mythos, the pacing was solid, and the was an outstanding atmosphere. While this was far from a perfect film, its an entertaining flick that was better than their budget would usually indicate. Yes, it is not for everyone, but if you love no-budget slashers, give it a whirl, you could do much worse. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pacific Rim (2013)

The trip to the drive-in Friday night was awesome. Not since watching The Amityville Horror and Sin City together did I find a more enjoyable double feature. While The Conjuring was all that I imagined, I was truly impressed by a movie outside my normal viewing cycle, the blockbuster creature feature Pacific Rim.

Plot/ As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

Growing up, I loved to watch creature features on Saturdays with Super Host. I can remember being amazed that Godzilla could pull off a drop kick… After some time, I lost interest in these flicks, as they became repetitive and anticlimactic. Pacific Rim may be the best creature feature I have seen. This blockbuster had it all, action, monsters, suspense, really, everything you need for a great Sci-Fi flick. More importantly, it featured solid acting, superb visuals, a detailed storyline that featured a remarkable amount of characterization and some tremendous CGI action sequences that created an amazing atmosphere. Sure, there were some minor pacing issues, but overall it was one of the better blockbusters I have seen. It also should go a long way at solidifying Guillermo Del Toro as one of the best filmmakers of the generation, as this is another one of his visual epics.  In the end, this was a bit outside my norm, but I thoroughly enjoyed it (although, I like The Conjuring more) and believe this is a movie that must be seen. Check it out!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Evil Dead (2013)

As usual, I am playing catch up. After Friday night at the drive-in and a Saturday filled with creating some Halloween Decorations for the County Fair, I wanted to get back to a movie I watched last week. That flick may not be as scary as The Conjuring, but it was decent. That flick was the 2013 remake of Evil Dead.

Plot/ Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.

I am really not a fan of the remakes and re-interpretations of classic horror flicks that has populated the Hollywood landscape in recent years. Yes, there are times where these new efforts are not terrible (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but usually they are terrible (Friday the 13th). When I saw they were remaking Evil Dead, I cringed, but after some thought, I was excited. Evil Dead is truly the picture of a perfect remake, after all, that is how it was born. In this case, there was mixed emotions after watching it. The gore, the pacing, and some of the effects were perfect. Even some of the storyline and characterization changes worked. There were some down times as some of the acting seemed flat and some of the props laughable (the updated Necronomicon), but those were smaller issues. Of course, if you are looking for this to be Bruce Campbellesque and mirror the original you may be disappointed. In the end, I found this truly entertaining and a decent horror flick and one that should be watched.

The Conjuring (2013)

After a fun first-week back teaching after my two-week break, I started my weekend by going to the drive-in. There is nothing better than to experience a horror or Sci-Fi flick outside in elements, where the wind through the trees, the moonlight, the fireflies, all ad something to the atmosphere. This double feature was awesome, which makes it even better. The first flick on the docket, the classic supernatural true story, The Conjuring.

Plot/ Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.

I rarely tell people to run out and see a movie in the theater, but that is exactly what I am going to do with this one. Go see it! I was lucky enough to have some added atmosphere by seeing it in the drive-in, but this film did not need it. The storyline is awesome, the realism incredible and the solid cast works perfectly and keeps you drawn in throughout the movie. More importantly, cinematography creates an eerie atmosphere, which adds to the fact that this is based on a true story, and legendary paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren sit at the heart of this film, making the scares even more alive and realistic. There are some uneven moments, but those are rare. In the end, this may be the best paranormal themed movie to hit the screen in some time and will likely have the same effect on viewers today as The Shining had on me when I saw it at the drive-in so many years ago. Check it out!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dark Feed (2013)

The list of interesting horror flicks seems to continually dwindle. What makes it worse is the fact that films that often look like they have potential are nothing more than typical fare. One flick that seemed interesting on the surface was the 2013 horror flick Dark Feed. The big question is, what category did this fall into.

Plot/ When a film crew moves into an abandoned psychiatric hospital with a shadowy past to shoot a low budget horror film, they get more than they bargained for. The late nights and lack of sleep begin to take a toll, and the longer this crew works, the more the leaky, wet building seems to be coming back to life, feeding off its new inhabitants.

When I saw that this was written by the writers of The Ward, I was excited. Unfortunately, this is no where near The Ward. Yes, there is a lot of potential with this one and some interesting parts with the scenery, lighting and scripting. The problem was everything stopped right there. The storyline as a whole is tired and played out, the acting was all over the place and there was really no payoff as an ending. In the end, this movie fell short of what it could have been and became just another low budget horror flick in the landscape of movies that fell flat. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)

Having children, it is hard for them to sometimes pick-up the television references I occasionally throw out there, especially if it comes from one of my favorite shows. That is why, I always try to get them to watch those shows. One of my favorites was the great Fox series the X-Files. While watching the series has been difficult for them, I decided to go a different route, to the 2008 movie X-Files: I Want to Believe.

Plot/ Mulder and Scully are called back to duty by the FBI when a former priest claims to be receiving psychic visions pertaining to a kidnapped agent.

When I first watched this flick when it came out, I was a bit disappointed. However, now five-years later, I find it an extremely entertaining and thought provoking film. Not only do they touch on some very deep and dark subject matters, they did a great job at expanding the X-Files mythos. Yes, there are things that could have been done differently, but this movie kept the characters at the heart and used the mysterious elements as a backdrop. The acting is solid, the scripting decent, and the idea is sound. Sure, the storyline could have been tighter, some of the side characters expanded, but the real flaw is the lack of a true back storyline. Yes, fans will know the X-Files series, but this was well removed and some may have this as an initial introduction.  In the end, this was a entertaining movie and one that is much better today than when released. Give it a chance. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lord of Darkness (2012)

Last night, I decided to sit back and watch something a lot more graphic than usual. Having the daughters around, I try to keep my viewing rather tame while they are awake. Unfortunately, thanks to that Illuminati Princess Taylor Swift, my viewing window has been pushed later in the evening, as their schedule has been screwed since the concert last weekend. Lat night, I decided to was the 2012 flick Lord of Darkness.

Plot/ Scottish cannibal Sawney Bean and his murderous, inbred family are responsible for over a thousand murders over the centuries.

I am always drawn to flicks that concern legends, especially generational legend. This movie, originally called Sawney: Flesh of Man, is an interesting flick. Inspired by one of the most well known serial killers of all time, this movie is not for the faint of heart, as it does not lack in the blood and gore department. While the movie was entertaining and decently shot; the storyline and plot were inconsistent bordering on incoherent at times. One of the biggest downfalls was the fact that it left much of the legend up to the viewers imagination, instead of filling in some of that storyline to make it an easier watch. In the end, this was a mindless gorefest that could have been so much more. Yes, I found it entertaining at times, but I would not seek it out to watch again or recommend it to anyone who is not a total gore fanatic. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Untraceable (2008)

I was at Family Video the other night as some storms were rolling into the town. I figured that once the power came back on, it would be awesome to watch something up my alley. While there, I decided to hit the older section, to see if anything caught my eye. In the end, one of the flicks I decided on was Untraceable from 2008.

Plot/ FBI agent Jennifer Marsh is tasked with hunting down a seemingly untraceable serial killer who posts live videos of his victims on the Internet. As time runs out, the cat and mouse chase becomes more personal.

This was one that I missed when it came out and I am glad I stumbled upon it. This was a solid thriller, that featured the right mix of fast pacing, great action and some twisted deaths. The acting was believable with the scripting and the story itself was a lot more realistic than some would believe. Yes, some of it was a touch predictable and it did come off the rails a few times, but other than that the flaws were minor. In the end, this was an entertaining flick that may be more relevant today than when it was originally released, as the technology improvements in society has caught up to that vision. If you see it on, check it out, you could do much worse.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Bay (2012)

I am all about finding movies with an interesting synopsis and giving them a shot. Yes, even if they are found footage mockumentaries. However, at times, these movies can be something much different that what is advertised. In some ways, that is the case with this selection, The Bay.

Plot/ Chaos breaks out in a small Maryland town after an ecological disaster occurs. When people start turning up dead, fear turns to panic and the town is shut down. This is what occurred.

I am not the biggest fan of found footage movies, but when done correctly they can offer something entertaining. The Bay does this and is decently entertaining. Unfortunately, it is less of a horror / thriller and more of an environmentalist themed piece. Yes, there are some graphic shots and some horror elements are used, but it is more about pollution and how the government handles a situation. While the acting is somewhat believable, it is the use of multiple styles of camera’s  from multiple perspectives that make it interesting. It really could be what a situation like this would appear to be in today’s technological society.  For me, it was entertaining, but the overriding environmental storyline screamed Global Warming, and that is one hoax that I cannot believe is still getting traction. If you are looking for a horror flick, you may want to grab something else and leave this to the environmental purists.