Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gone (2012)

What a long weekend, between softball and hanging out with the daughters it seemed to drag on. Of course, it would help if I felt better, as something has popped up making me feel quite ill. Sure, it sucks when this happens, but then again, it allows me to watch some interesting flicks as I recover. The next flick up is the 2012 thriller, Gone.

Plot/ A woman is convinced her kidnapper has returned when her sister goes missing.

This was an interesting little flick and one that I am glad to have watched. While far from perfect, this was an entertaining thriller that features a tremendous performance from Amanda Seyfried in the lead. In fact, Seyfried is everything to this movie, as the characters that surround her are not developed at all. The scripting is good, the atmosphere solid, the storyline interesting and the most important facet may be that is was believable. Every part of it is believable on some levels. Sure, there may be a bit too many red herrings thrown out there, and it lacked in depth characterizations, but that would be its only flaws. In the end, it could have been better, but what was produced works. If you like middle of the road thrillers, you should enjoy this one. Check it out!  

The Omega Man (1971)

Last night, I was trying to decide what to watch after Army of Darkness and I was struggling. Sometimes, I cannot get into the right mindset for anything in particular and struggle deciding on what genre I want to venture into. That is when I stumbled onto the classic Sci-Fi flick The Omega Man from 1971, a movie I have not seen in years.

Plot/ Robert Neville, a doctor, due to an experimental vaccine, is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war waged with biological weapons. The plague caused by the war has killed everyone else except for a few hundred deformed, nocturnal people calling themselves The Family.

Richard Matheson is one of the greatest Sci-Fi writers ever and one of his all-time best works is the classic I Am Legend. While there have been many adaptations of this classic on the big screen spanning multiple decades and generations, the storyline stands tall. In this adaptation, film icon Charlton Heston takes the lead and runs with it with a great performance. While I will admit, I am more a fan of Vincent Price and Last Man on Earth, this interpretation holds its own. While there are some flaws in this flick, which appears dated and full of the signature camp of the 1970s, it is engaging. Overall, the performances are solid, the soundtrack works and the post apocalyptic atmosphere is realistic. Of course, the change in the vampiric nature of the creatures is still a bit hard to accept, one of the reasons I think I am drawn to the Price version, but it is still entertaining. In the end, this adaptation is a classic piece of 1970s Sci-Fi and must be seen. Sure, it has some flaws, but it remains one of Heston’s better performances and a trip into a dark time.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Army of Darkness (1992)

Tonight as I have been finishing up my Friday article for Steelers 101, I decided to throw something on that I have not watched in some time. Of course, with boxes of DVDs here at the house, I have a ton of choices. In the end, I decided on something with some comedy sprinkled in (that can match the Steelers performances). I decided to watch the 1992 classic Army of Darkness.

Plot/ A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home.

The Evil Dead franchise is one of my favorites. Thee is so much depth ad variety in play throughout the series that it has a life all its own. In Evil Dead Parts One and Two, the gore is there and the dark comedy is developing, yet with Army of Darkness the series turned a direction that cemented its cult status. This flick is hilarious, with great dialogue, perfect performances and a true classic B-Movie creature feature feel. Sure, there are some cheesy moments, but those definitely seemed intentional to create the campy atmosphere (watch the skeleton armies close if you do not know what I mean). In the end, this is a great movie, which is both disturbing and fun. If you have not seen it, check it out, you will not be disappointed unless you are looking for a gorefest.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I present a journey deep into the bowels of history, back to a time when man was new and the snake still called the garden home. This vile daemon swept through the night into unsuspecting men’s dreams, tearing a deep gash into their hearts and looking to steal the souls of young children, a price most willing. Who is she, you ask?

The myth of our lovely Lilith was said to derive from “The alphabet of Ben Sira,” a book so filled with out of character notions that many concluded it was a satire of Judaism and Christianity. However, traces of her can be found in many different tales.

According to Hebrew legend, our lovely Lilith was the first wife to Adam, being created by God before Eve, from filth and sediment instead of pure dust, only after Adam grew tired of fornicating with the animals. Adam’s desires were destroyed when his wife refused to come together in the missionary position because being created from the same materials made her Adam’s equal and she did not want to lie beneath him. For this, she was cast from the beauty of Eden, damned for eternity.

Once removed from the garden, Lilith changed into an evil Daemon. (female Demon) Androgynous in appearance, she is reportedly half woman and half reptilian. It has been passed down that this creature drank Abel’s blood after he was slain by his brother Cain, which gave her an insatiable thirst for blood, many say this became the root of modern-day Vampyrism.

The myths continue that Lilith would appear in men’s dreams to copulate, stealing their seed to give birth to her many spawn. Liliths’ daughters, called Succubae, are also said to appear in the dreams of men, where they overtake the man’s heart, ruining him for mortal women everywhere.

Was Lilith a first thought to early feminism or was she an angel fallen from God’s grace?  The answers lurk quietly buried in her dark madness. So gentlemen, I warn you to be careful when you sleep, lovely Lilith may have set her eyes on you. Sleep tight!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jack the Reaper (2011)

After watching the Ninth Gate over the weekend, I decided it was time to get back to some of the flicks that I picked up at Family Video. While I did not rent anything groundbreaking, I did pick up a couple of interesting looking titles. The first one I watched in the 2011 slasher, Jack the Reaper.

Plot/ A group of unsuspecting teens face a railroad reaper in his desert carnival.

This movie is one of those rare no-budget indie flicks that is both original and cliché at the same time. While that is the case and there is really nothing new here, there is a lot of stuff to like about it. The killer is awesome visually, the effects are solid, and the director actually succeeds at creating an atmosphere and does not cheapen the flick by using a ton of CGI. Sure, the acting is so-so, Tony Todd is wasted in his cameo and some of the dialogue does not work, but that is somewhat acceptable due to the budgetary restraints. In the end, it is not an overwhelming flick by any means, but it is also not the worst of its kind. If you like off-beat slashers, you will likely enjoy this one.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Ninth Gate (1999)

So I did watch a SyFy Channel original creature feature in Killer Mountain, but did not feel it was even review worthy, trust me, there was a lot not to like. Trust me, it was bad! After that, I kicked back and decided to watch one of my favorite flicks from the 1990s, the 1999 thriller The Ninth Gate.

Plot/ A rare book dealer, while seeking out the last two copies of a demon text, gets drawn into a conspiracy with supernatural overtones.

This is definitely one of those films that is so layered, that you pick up new things every time you watch it. There was so much to like about this flick. The acting is solid, the cast starting with Johnny Depp works, the storyline detailed and spot on and the atmosphere is tremendous. Director Roman Polanski created one of his best, and possibly darkest works. Of course, this psychological thriller / mystery is not for everyone, as the story driven work lacks a ton of action and does have some slow moments, but that adds to the atmosphere. In the end, this is an often-overlooked piece of cinema and a brilliant film. Yes, some people will hate it, but if you can handle a detailed and intricate storyline, you should love it as well.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Morning Mystery (2012)

After watching something tame on Friday night with the enjoyable Now You See Me (2013), I decided to venture into something potentially darker. As a child I loved Scooby Doo, so anytime I see any type of new Scooby Doo movie or even parody, I am game. That led me to this pick, the low budget indie flick, Saturday Morning Mystery.  

Plot/ A dark and bloody parody about a Scooby-Doo-like team of paranormal investigators and their devoted dog. With the crew nearing bankruptcy, they are hired to get to the bottom of a series of spooky events at the remote Kyser mansion, an old religious school plagued by rumors of satanism and ritualistic murder. 

Also known as Saturday Morning Massacre, this flick jumped out to me when I saw it at Family Video. Yes, I expected a Scooby Doo parody, but what I did not expect was how much would be added to thee typical parody scenario. In fact, it is so much more than what one would expect in a film of that type, as the parody was only used to set-up the back-story. From there, a dark story developed that was chalked full of violence and gore. The story is interesting, the script works, and the cinematography creates a solid atmosphere throughout. Sure, the acting is not top shelf and some of the comedic moments fall flat, but that does nothing to take away from the overall feel of this low budget sleeper. In the end, it is not your typical parody and trends more toward an indie slasher, and one that is quite entertaining. If you have not seen it, try it, you will be surprised.  

Now You See Me (2013)

One thing that sometime gets to me is the inability to venture out to see movies in the cinema. Do not get me wrong, I could, but with the over-exurbanite price of everything, I prefer to head to the drive-in, where it is more cost effective. In doing that, there are often movies I miss on the big screen, and I am forced to wait for their release. Now You See Me (2013) was one of those movies.

Plot/ An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.

Now that I have seen this, I understand why I heard so many differing opinions at work. While visually stimulating and an interest premise, the potential was here for so much more. The acting was solid, the idea was strong, and the execution was used to create an entertaining movie. However, the lack of characterization, the invisibility of the tremendous cast as a whole, and the overwhelming clichéd ending will in the end keep this from being all that it could have been. Yes, the characters are interesting, but there was no definitive back story, just some disconnected elements that were hinted at throughout. In the end, this one is entertaining and fun, with enough visual to keep you interested the first time through, after that it may be a challenge. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lizzie (2013)

Now I am all for low budget cinema, and I believe that quality films can be made on any budget. Of course, some disappointing films also come from that same cloth, so it is a challenge to continually watch them. In many ways, tonight’s selection, Lizzie (2013) fit into that realm.

Plot/ Lizzie Allen suffers from an extreme case of childhood amnesia which not only lays dark her childhood memories but also her relationships. As she begins to settle to a new house, she starts to get a glimpse of her childhood memories along with clues as to what really happened in the Borden household in 1892.

So, my streak of decent horror flicks came to an abrupt end tonight. This low budget entry had a decent idea, but in no way lived up to that on the screen. The acting was stale, the cinematography so-so and the overall storyline was disconnected and never developed any type of atmosphere. Honestly, there is nothing here to wrap your head around; it was quite disappointing. In the end, this flick really bored me and left me frustrated. Yes, the premise was decent, but there was nothing there to pull it together. Stay away! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

After kicking back with the rage filled zombies and spending most of Sunday at the softball field, it was time to find something to watch. With my mind still full of the visual experience that was Lords of Salem, I decided to continue down the Rob Zombie spiral with the 2003 entry House of 1000 Corpses.

Plot/ Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.

Having watched Lords of Salem over the weekend, I ended up being in a Rob Zombie mood. Zombie is definitely a polarizing figure in horror, some hate him and some love him. Personally, I love what he has created on the screen and it all started with this flick. While this was not the typical movie of the day, it definitely struck a cord with fans of exploitation horror of the 1970s. The cinematography in this film is awesome, as the art house influences, and divergent characteristics really work. More importantly, this created a world that true horror fans would understand and enjoy full of blood, effects and a disturbing storyline. Yes, it may lack some character depth and the acting is not perfect, but those were the same problems that haunted most of the exploitation craze in the 1970s. In the end, this movie does more than pay homage to some horror classics; it opened the door for many of the more twisted entries of the past decade. If you have not watched it, check it out!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Demented (2013)

Zombies are always great fun, especially when you get into the debate on whether they should be the slow, Romero mythos version or the 28 Days later, rage infused creatures. For me, I definitely fall on the Romero side, but really zombies are just awesome! Last night, I decided to kick back with some low budget rage infused zombies in the 2013 entry, The Demented.  

Plot/ Six college friends unite for a weekend getaway where they find themselves fighting for their lives after a terrorist attack turns the local residents into rage infused zombies.

After watching The Lords of Salem Friday night, my Saturday watching was destined to suffer and it did. The demented is not a terrible flick by any means, in fact, it had a lot going for it with a decent cast, some solid acting and an interesting premise. Unfortunately, it also did not offer anything new to the rage zombie genre. Yes, it did have some tense moments and some decent chases, but it was on such a small scale that it could not drive the film. To top it off, the low budget flick featured almost zero gore and most of the make-up effects did nothing to create an atmospheric zombie. The real killer was the ending can you say head scratcher? All in all, this was not a terrible low budget zombie flick, but it was not great either. For me, it was a bit too tame and could have went so much further. 

The Lords of Salem (2012)

Friday the 13th is always a great day to watch horror flicks. While I usually try to watch some type of slasher, likely featuring Jason Voorhees or another classic serial killer, I decided to change things up this week. One reason is my frustration with the brakes on my car, which decided to go out during my 40-mile drive home, what fun! After the stressful drive, I decided to venture into something new that I have not watched yet, the 2012 Rob Zombie flick The Lords of Salem!

Plot/ Heidi, a radio DJ, is sent a box containing a record -- a "gift from the Lords." The sounds within the grooves trigger flashbacks of her town's violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the Lords back to take revenge on Salem, Massachusetts?

This movie will be a very polarizing flick for horror fans. Written and directed by Rob Zombie, this may be one of the most incoherent and psychedelic flicks I have seen in some time. Yet, even with the non-linear structure, there is so much to love about this tremendously visual flick.  The storyline, the soundtrack, the cast, the artistic interpretation; really everything worked. Yes, there was a lack of detailed characterization and some of the back-story was only touched on, but that does not matter. Unfortunately, this one will definitely not be for everyone, as the combination of Devil-worshiping witchcraft and art-house feel will turn some off, especially if they are searching for a gorefest. In the end, I feel this one is a movie that must be seen as it is not the typical flick created by Zombie. In fact, next to The Devils Rejects, this may be his best work. That being said, it is also understandable for people, even some Rob Zombie fans, to hate this flick; it is definitely an independent film that will divide opinions.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Triskaidekaphobia - For Friday the 13th


Such a dark day in the world
Leaders defiled
The protectors destroyed in your name
Not by the masses that follow
But, from the hypocrisy of medieval royalty
For what - your secrets?
Jealousy? Fear?
Maybe it was just their shame from following the false prophet
The sinner who hid behind his disciples
And worse, women and children
Spouting lies of redemption
Preaching abstinence instead of indulgence
Creating turmoil in the perfect world
.. ..
Through it all, you stood tall
These destroyers of forged faith were blind
Failing to harness the power of your minions
By creating a day of homage of their transgressions
They granted you eternal life
History crying tears of truths in your name
You will never be forgotten
You Baphomet, will live forever
Like the Templar’s, your followers will bleed for you
Carrying on the traditions past down by the strong
Your enigma, a mystery to most
A companion to some
A day of fear to the meek
That day is today, Friday the 13th
.. ..

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hellraiser (1987)

Every now and then, I enjoy taking a trip back to my teenage years to re-watch some of the flicks that shaped my interest in horror, both in literature and on the big screen. While I intended to look deeper at the Friday the 13th franchise this week, I could not pass up the fact that the Clive Barker classic Hellraiser debuted in the UK today in 1987. Couple that with the fact that Barker has finally finished the much anticipated Scarlet Gospels and my interest to visit Pinhead was complete.

Plot/ An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover, who's being chased by demons after he escaped from their sado-masochistic Hell.

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft and I spent most of my teenage years in the 1980s searching for an author that could take me on a journey into some of the dark depths that those two masters could. That search ended when I saw Hellraiser and discovered Clive Barker. In the era of the slasher, this was a cinematic trip that challenged ones mind. Complete with a tremendous mix of gore, storyline and atmosphere, this was so much more than the typical horror of the decade. Yes, some of the characterizations were off and the acting was so-so, but that was a small flaw in a horror masterpiece. In the end, Hellraiser was a groundbreaking horror flick that influenced a generation and opened my eyes to horror maestro Clive Barker. If you have not see this one, shame on you. It is a must for every horror fan. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

8MM (1999)

Having the day to watch one of the daughters who was home sick, I decided to check out some flicks that have been piling up on me. While I was going to focus on Friday the 13th and the franchise this week, I had to take a break from it. With that decision in hand, I went toward a thriller, the 1999 flick 8MM.

Plot/ A private investigator is hired to discover if a "snuff film" is authentic or not.

It had been a while since I had watched this flick. However, after a conversation with a computer wiz I know about the depths and levels of unseen internet, I decided to watch it again. This is one of the better thrillers I have seen and has enough suspense to draw you in. The acting is solid, the atmosphere tense, and there is a realism that makes it even more dark and disturbing. Sure, some of the characters are cliché and there are some holes in the storyline, but those are easily overlooked. In the end, this is an awesome flick that must be watched. Yes, it is not for everyone as the premise is unsettling and real. If you have not watched it and get a chance, check it out!