Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hackers (1995)

After going back into the world of the slasher, I decided to venture into another type of wormhole. While all of my work lately has been rather serious, I decided I needed something more comedic to help change my mindset. After some debate, I decided to dive back into the 1990s with the 1995 cyberpunk entry, Hackers.

Plot/ A young boy is arrested by the U.S. Secret Service for writing a computer virus and is banned from using a computer until his 18th birthday. Years later, he and his new-found friends discover a plot to unleash a dangerous computer virus, but they must use their computer skills to find the evidence while being pursued by the Secret Service and the evil computer genius behind the virus.

It had been a long time since I entered this world and I forgot how entertaining and funny Hackers is. As a movie, there is a lot to like, with cool cyberpunk attitudes mixed with non-stop schlock and over-the-top performances all-around. The storyline and plot, while unbelievable, are both interesting and work well (especially as a flashback toward the authenticity of the 1990s), the soundtrack is awesome, the cast and performances are solid, and the characters are hilarious. Yes, you must suspend all you know of computers and reality, plus, remember the crazy style and wardrobes of the 1990s, and if you do that, you should have some fun with this one. In the end, this may be a schlockfest and one of the most unrealistic and unbelievable films of the era, but it is also a fun way to pass some time inside a fun time warp. If you have not seen it, check it out!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

I needed to take a break from the Sci-Fi and classic horror that has become commonplace throughout this Thanksgiving vacation. With college papers still due and a website needing built; I decided it was time to head back into a classic franchise for some motivational moments. My selection last night (and my next review) is the 1995 slasher Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.

Plot/ Six years after Michael Myers last terrorized Haddonfield, he returns there in pursuit of his niece, Jamie Lloyd, who has escaped with her newborn child, for which Michael and a mysterious cult have sinister plans.

I will be honest; I have pretty much stayed clear of the original Halloween series for some time. While I loved the first two back in my youth, it became a little overwhelming to see so many sequels come out. However, after suffering through San Andreas the other day, I decided that I want to venture back into this world and I was surprised by what I found. This movie was definitely interesting and not at all what I expected when I turned it on (I LOVE the cult aspect). The storyline is intriguing, the cast is one of the better ones for a sequel, as usual, the soundtrack was amazing, and the kills were enjoyable. Yes, there were some uneven moments and some of the dialog feels dated, but those do little to totally ruin the film. While not the best movie in the series, it is one of the more underrated sequels in the Halloween franchise, and a movie that definitely helped me get the miserable thoughts of San Andreas out of my head. In the end, this many not be a perfect Halloween movie, but it is better than some. If you enjoy the tales of Michael Myers, give it a shot—you could definitely do much worse.

Friday, November 27, 2015

San Andreas (2015)

Thanksgiving came and went, and it was fun to hang out and just chill. Yes, I did work on some homework building my writing website, but that was fun. I also sat back and finally watched one of those blockbuster disaster flicks., 2015s San Andreas. Unfortunately, it did nothing but remind me on why I stay away from them,

Plot/ In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

Disaster movies are one of my soft spots, as when I was a youth, they would seem to pop up all the time. Unfortunately, in many ways, those movies from the 1970s are much better than the ones that come out today. San Andreas is another example of rehashed storyline with massive CGI effects. In fact, this one may be one of the worse, with too many storylines intersecting and unbearable dialog and plot distractions. Couple those issues with the fact that it is extremely predictable, and you have the latest Hollywood blockbuster disaster flick. In the end, if you want a disaster flick, check out Earthquake from 1974, it is much better and more entertaining.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Big Ass Spider! (2013)

Sometimes, one just needs some mindless horror/science fiction action to help pass some time. That is actually, where I have been recently, as I have been trying to clear the children’s writing stuff from my mind. To help me with the mindless horror, I decided to finally break down and watch the 2013 low budget flick Big Ass Spider!

Plot/ A giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampage the city of Los Angeles. When a massive military strike fails, it is up to a team of scientists and one clever exterminator to kill the creature before the city is destroyed.

I was actually surprised by this creature feature. Yes, it was a typical unbelievable monster on a rampage flick, there were actually a lot of moments that were better than I could have imagined at the start, with a solid mixture of action and comedy. Sure, the scripting is uneven; the acting/performances about the same, and the effects are so outlandish they are awesome. In the end, if you are looking for a mindless flick that can give you a modern take on the classic 1950s creature features, give this one a shot. It has enough schlock and action to at least make you crack a smile.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Terror in the Haunted House (1958)

As I creep forward transitioning from children’s writing into some of the intricacies of creative writing industry, I decided to kick back and watch something from a much simpler time. After some searching, I decided on Terror in the Haunted House  (AKA My World Dies Screaming) from 1958.

Plot/ A newlywed is terrified when her husband brings her to live in the old house that figures in her recurring nightmare.

As many know, I love going back in time and watching some of the movies that helped shape horror cinema today. While this is not truly a horror movie (yes, it does have the Psycho Rama Subliminal Messages), it is an interesting movie to watch. The acting is solid (especially for the era), the storyline is entertaining, and the soundtrack fits in perfectly. Sure, it is not scary in any way and is quite tame by today’s standards, but it is an entertaining way to revisit some of the B-movies that made the genre great. In the end, if you are searching for something to pass a few moments and love the movies of the 1950s, give it a shot. You could definitely do much worse.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

King Kong (1976)

Last night, I was finally able to finish my children’s writing assignment, as well as, American Horror Story Asylum. Needing some type of mindless horror to help pass the afternoon, I decided to watch something from my childhood. Plus, seeing Jessica Lange in a more relaxed role was cool. My selection for the evening was the 1976 creature feature, King Kong.

Plot/ A petroleum exploration expedition comes to an isolated island and encounters a colossal giant gorilla.

It had been a long time since I had visited this edition of King Kong. For me, it was my introduction into the mythos when I was young, but looking at it now, I can see that the hype with the marketing was much better than the movie itself. While not a terrible movie by any means, it definitely suffers from many flaws once Kong arrives and the effects take over. Over all, the movie has some solid performances, some comedic moments, and an outstanding cast. Unfortunately, between the rough effects, some head scratching dialog, and uneven chemistry, the movie never quite reaches its potential. In the end, it was a nice change of pace to sit back and revisit something from my youth. While it may not have held up as well as some movies, it is also better than most of the creature features being pushed out today. If you are in the mood for a creature feature, give it a shot. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Manson Family Vacation (2015)

After spending last night immersed in the conspiracy surrounding the tragic death of Kurt Cobain with the documentary Soaked in Bleach, I decided t venture into something different before heading to bed. After some thought, I decided to venture into the mind of something different with the 2015 independent flick Manson Family Vacation.

Plot/ Two brothers tour Charles Manson murder sites. One is a devoted family man. One is devoted to The Family.

While this movie was not quite, what I expected, it was entertaining and actually, an interesting trip into something that many can relate to. Funded partly by a kickstarter campaign, there are some uneven production and scripting aspects, but those are easily overlooked because of the limited budget involved (as any fan of true indie films should understand). More of a drama than dark comedy or thriller, this one has some solid performances, some interesting thoughts, and a subject matter that is still extremely polarizing. Not truly, about Charles Manson, the ideas that were put on display or alluded to are definitely not for everyone. In the end, this was a nice change of pace from my usual viewing selections and an entertaining way to spend 90 minutes. If you are searching for something, you could do a lot worse than this one.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Soaked in Bleach (2015)

This week has been a bit of a challenge, between a parade and softball batting practice, it has been a busy one. Plus, I had to finish off my journey into American Horror Story Coven (another amazing entry). Now that I have some time to relax as I prepare to work on one of my final assignments for class, I decided to find some type of thought provoking movie. After some searching, I found an interesting documentary, the 2015 docudrama Soaked in Bleach.

Plot/ Tom Grant, a private investigator once hired by Courtney Love, reveals his take on the death of Kurt Cobain.

I can still remember hearing the news about Kurt Cobain’s suicide and I could not believe it. Even after all these years, there is something that just doesn’t make sense about the death and I honestly do not believe that he committed suicide. This documentary was an amazing journey into that case, and again shows enough evidence to prompt a new investigation into the tragic death of a rock icon. There was so much to like about this documentary, as everything seemed to flow in a logical manner. A combination of reenactments and playbacks of the actual audio recordings taken by private investigator Tom Grant during the investigation, the information presented was powerful and definitely presents the suicide in a different light. In the end, there is no doubt that this case muse be reopened, as there are too many flaws in the reported storyline. If, like me, you were a fan of Nirvana and can remember where you were when this tragedy was reported, you have to watch this documentary. It is a must see, and one of the best documentaries I have seen in some time.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stung (2015)

Needing to pass some time while doing homework and waiting for the kids to get to bed so I can watch the final episode of American Horror Story Coven, I wanted something mindless to help get me through. In searching for something mindless, I decided upon the 2015 horror/comedy Stung.

Plot/ A fancy garden party turns into upper class prey when a colony of killer wasps mutates into seven foot tall predators.

When I saw this one, I figured it would be the perfect mindless creature feature that I could use to bridge the gap until I put on the final episode of American Horror Story Coven. When I got inside that is what I found. Sure, it was not quite as funny as I expected it to be, but it had enough over the top moments, unbelievable action, and goo to add at least a little humor. The performances are uneven bur cult icon, Lance Henriksen, more than fills his role. The effects and cinematography are solid, the storyline ridiculous but funny, and some of the effects are decent. In the end, this may not be the greatest horror comedy or creature feature to come out, but it is a decent flick to watch with just enough bloodshed to help pass time. If you have some time and need to watch something, give it shot.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Pyramid (2014)

It is funny; I often watch some movies that I know are going to bad. Unfortunately, there are also times when movies I am excited about, fall into this same type category. When that happens, it frustrates me to no end. One of those movies is my next flick up for review, the 214 creature feature The Pyramid.

Plot/ An archaeological team attempts to unlock the secrets of a lost pyramid only to find themselves hunted by an insidious creature.

Being a huge fan of archaeology, and often immersing myself in research of ancient civilizations, I was looking forward to this film when I saw the previews. Unfortunately, what I found when finally entering the world was nowhere near, what I expected (or hoped for). While this movie appeared to have a tremendous amount of potential, it fell short of achieving all that it could. Between uneven performances, flat characters, subpar CGI, and a script riddled with clich├ęd moments, it was actually hard to watch. At times, I felt like I should just shut it off, as that would have been a better outcome. Even the creature came off as just plain bad, destroying any hope of a satisfactory ending. In the end, this was a very disappointing film and one that I should have ignored. Stay away; there are much better options out there.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday the 13th (1980)

It is Friday the 13th, and honestly, it feels like it. The weather here in Pennsylvania was chilly and overcast most of the day. This was followed by the tragic news of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the Earthquake in Japan. It really makes you wonder what is taking place out there. But, do not worry; Al Gore says the climate change summit is on schedule… With that all weighing on my mind, I decided that I wanted to watch something mindless. After some thought, I decided on the classic 1980 slasher that rejuvenated the horror genre, Friday the 13th (perfect choice, right?).

Plot/ A group of camp counselors is stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child's drowning.

Honestly, it is hard to review this flick, as it left an imprint on me (and society) when it came out in 1980. That imprint is still felt today with the modern slasher flicks that often pay homage to this classic. Technically, there was nothing incredible about this low budget horror flick; save for the memorable effects, soundtrack, and ending, but it has to be one of the best examples of how low budget cinema can influence generations. Once you get past those aspects, everything else is uneven at best. The storyline is somewhat predictable; the acting is all over from decent to bad, and the cinematography and direction never meet the potential that existed inside picturesque setting. However, even with those flaws, the original Friday the 13th may be one of the most influential movies in history and is still fun to watch after all these years (yes, my parents took me to see it in a theater when I was a kid). In the end, while I am sure every horror fan has seen it, and most of society knows who Jason Voorhees is, but that does not matter. If you are bored and looking for something to watch, why not grab it and revisit a classic. It is definitely worth watching again!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Angels of Darkness (2014)

After spending much of the past few days immersed in American Horror Story: Freakshow, I decided that I needed something different before starting Coven. After some debate with the voices in my head, I decided on the 2014 entry, Angels of Darkness (AKA Styria).

Plot/ When local girls are found dead from apparent suicides, Lara wonders if Carmilla is to blame or is there a darker secret behind the mass hysteria destroying the town.

Sometimes there are movies that eat at me before I watch them, and that was the case with this one. For months, I had debated on whether or not I wanted to rent it at Family Video, after finally pulling the trigger, I am glad that I did. Yes, this is not a perfect film, but there are many interesting elements that made it work. Personally, I love gothic style horror, and this movie creates a dark atmosphere with some amazing cinematography, direction, and solid performances. Unfortunately, some of the characters fall flat and the modern adaptation of the classic novel does not totally translate within the storyline. In the end, this one was a solid entry and a movie that quenched my need for gothic horror after dealing with some exorcism videos over the past few days. While it is not a perfect flick, it is not bad and has enough solid moments to make it interesting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It Follows (2015)

As the year starts to wind down, it is definitely nice to be back in the swing of watching horror and blogging again. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the interaction of the softball season, but I missed writing and watching movies. As I continue to dive into all that I missed, it was nice find a solid array of low budget entries. One of the better movies from 2015 is It Follows.

Plot/ For nineteen-year-old Jay, autumn should be about school, boys, and weekends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horrors, which seem to be only a few steps behind.

It has been some time since a movie came out that truly inspired memory of the classic horror films of the 1970s and 1980s. This flick is definitely one that embraced the psychological horror of that time and created something awesome out of an extremely simple construct. There is so much to like in this one between the outstanding cinematography, the heavy atmosphere, and detailed characters that fit together within the confines of the storyline. Yes, there were some uneven moments and even a few jump scared thrown in, but those were definitely easy to overlook when you are immersed in the darkness of the film. In the end, this one is an outstanding example of low budget horror and one of the better movies of 2015. If you have not seen it, you are seriously missing out. Check it out!