Saturday, September 30, 2017

Charlotte (2017)

I debated this evening whether I was going to finish September off with a review or not. Spending all day at the softball field in barely 60-degree weather took more out of me than I expected. After some thought, I decided on the 2017 flick Charlotte.

Plot/ A teenage girl is babysitting at a new house when she is accosted by a vicious doll. In bondage, she is forced to watch terrifying stories on the television magically controlled by the unfriendly toy, each story graver than the next.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this one out the other day on one of my streaming services, but what I can say is that this is nowhere near, what I thought it would be. This horror (Actually closer to comedy) anthology is nothing close that a killer doll movie and honestly that is what I figured it would be. While that was a nice surprise, my overall joy did not last long as many of the elements were average at best and really felt incoherent throughout. Yes, there were some entertaining moments and there was some blood, but that only seemed to fill in the disjointed feel. The pacing was off; the head-scratching moments were plentiful, and the performances were uneven (although that was somewhat expected). In the end, there is really nothing much that I can about this one and there is no way I can recommend it to anyone. Stay away.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hell House LLC (2015)

Last night after a couple of episodes of season two of Salem, I decided that I wanted to see something based in a different style. After searching my streaming services, I settled on the 2015 entry Hell House LLC.

Plot/ Five years after an unexplained malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour, a documentary crew travels back to the scene of the tragedy to find out what really happened.

When I saw this one on Amazon Prime it seemed like something different and the premise seemed interesting, so I gave it a shot. I am glad that I did, as this was one of the better found-footage/mockumentaries that I have seen in some time. This one stands out in that overcrowded genre featuring some solid performances, a strong and interesting storyline that mixes the found footage and documentary styles seamlessly, decent pacing, and enough added scared to make it feel right and not forced. Of course, it is not a perfect flick having a few dialog hiccups and the tension never seems to reach its full potential, but those issues are easy to overlook. In the end, this was definitely one of the best movies to come out in the genre and a movie that must be seen. If you have not watched it yet, give it a shot.

National Poetry Day - Darkest Night

In the distance, the moon comes to life
Waking the souls of forgotten
Midnight calls
I cannot close my eyes
The dread
The fear
Emotions consume the senses
These voices are real, I know they are
They have to be
Everywhere I look, I can hear them
Their heavy breathing, their fervent moans
In the closet, under the bed, in my head
I cannot find them, but I know they are near
They have to be, I am not crazy
Not insane
Yet, the sounds of wickedness plague me
Tormenting everything that is; everything that was
Life, deeds, misdeeds
Their laughter fuels the tension, I must close my eyes
I cannot survive another waking moment
My heartbeats grow louder
Pounding through my chest as I am in their sway
Paralyzed, I lay
My body shrouded by black
Scarlet spots line the walls
The lurid voices grow louder
Pulse quickens
This could be my last breath
Please, let me go...

In the distance, the sun stirs the echoes
Waking my forgotten soul
Reminding me of my destiny
And the pain I must face

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cabin 28 (2017)

Having suffered through a snoozer on Monday night, I had hoped that one of the new releases at Family Video would have helped put that out of my mind. After walking through, I finally settled on the 2017 true crime thriller Cabin 28.

Plot/ Based on one of the most infamous unsolved murder cases in American history, this film follows a family who is terrorized at an isolated cabin by mysterious assailants.

I love movies based on true stories and I did like this story when I watched it in The Strangers, but in this one, there was something missing. While I do realize that this was made with a low budget, there were definitely some issues that should have been avoided regardless of the budget. Sure, the storyline is interesting and really disturbing considering the nature of the true crime story, but even with that, this one doesn’t build upon that in any way. The performances were uneven, the scripting has some mixed dialog and the decisions put on display make little to no sense, the soundtrack did not help set the mood or help build tension in any way, the costuming was more laughable than disturbing, and the worst part was that the film did a terrible job capturing the 1980s feel that should have been connected to it. Having grown up in the 1980s, there wasn’t even a piece of nostalgic gold for me to grasp. In the end, although I made it through the movie and found the source material intriguing, I cannot really remember any part of this film that stood out. Watch The Strangers or find the documentary, those would both be better options.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Released Today --> After the Static

Finally, finally, I can’t believe it. After years of work, the horrid atrocities brought forth upon our nation by those vile merciless traitors at the United Nations will finally be brought to light. I really can’t believe it. The document I had spent so much time dissecting, organizing and writing has finally been released. 

Yes, yes, this book caused me much pain and loss as I had to endure the torturous screams and voices tormenting me every day. But, I swear, all of that will be worth it if I can enlighten one person about the carnage left in our great city. Please help spread the word about this nightmare by picking up a copy today in either paperback or digital download. 

Here is the synopsis I came up with when working with the cover designer:

Years after a strange infestation swept through Southwestern Pennsylvania and released a wave of cannibalistic fiends across the land, a tormented survivor, Malachi Isaacs, remains haunted by the depravity he witnessed during the ordeal. Overwhelmed inside a never-ending living nightmare filled with visions of bloodstained streets and the constant sounds of the voices and screams of the fallen, he sets out on a quest for discovery aimed at unmasking those responsible for unleashing the vile plague on humanity. Armed with personal memories of love and loss as well as a myriad of first-hand accounts from different victims he found during his research, Malachi tells their stories, and in time, discovers that the truth behind the undead may be worse than he ever could have fathomed.

Grab yours today! 

The Drowning (2016)

After spending most of the past couple days putting the finishing touches on a couple book projects, I needed a break from horror and wanted something a little more thought-provoking. After some searching on Netflix, I settled on the 2016 thriller The Drowning.

Plot/ A psychiatrist faces his past, present, and future when he finds himself involved in the treatment of a young man recently released from prison for a murder committed when the boy was just 11 years old.

I was in the mood for a thriller tonight, so I picked this one. Unfortunately, this one did not hit the mark at all. In fact, this cliché riddled mystery/thriller lacks any tension and there is no real atmosphere to speak of. The cast is an interesting mix and the performances and cinematography are solid, but those are the only positive elements that I could find. Between the played-out storyline that has been redone a million times over, the stereotyping littered throughout the characters, and the scripted dialog drowning every conversation with monotony, this one does not deliver in any way. In the end, while I had hoped for a darker mystery/thriller, I actually found a movie that honestly may be in the running for the least memorable film of all time. Yes, it is THAT bad; I am just happy that I did not pay to see it.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Mummy (2017)

I definitely needed something different today to watch. After spending so much time in Salem, and then following that up last night with Sleepy Hollow, I decided that I wanted something with a modern flair. After some debate, I decided on the 2017 entry The Mummy.

Plot/ An ancient Egyptian princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

I had heard so many mixed things about this movie since its release and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Honestly, I am quite sorry I made the trip to rent it at Family Video. Set as the first film the Universal Studios Dark Universe, this was a huge miss and really offers little hope for what type of travesties await us with the other entries. While the casting was impressive, there was no substance behind the performances and everything (even the fight scenes) felt flat. Sure, this film was able to distance itself from the majority of the last Mummy trilogy (I did like the first one), it did not do enough and ended up taking the overall storyline in a direction that was not as entertaining and/or as memorable as it could have been. Yes, the visuals work, and the cast is what it is (although Tom Cruise again proves he is nothing more than a name at this stage), but those are the only real positives that I can pull from the time I spent watching it. The effects were average, the characters are all unlikable and do not leave any type of lasting impression, the action sequences are a mess, and again, the best scenes are in the trailer. In the end, this is a bad movie and one that should not even share a name with the classic Universal Studios take on The Mummy. If you haven’t wasted your money yet, don’t it is not worth it at all.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Salem - Season One (2014)

Period pieces have always been one of the things that I like to take in when attempting to find something to watch. After spending multiple hours in the colonial period at Friendship Hill, I decided to change some things up today. It has been a while since I have reviewed any type of true television show. But now, after finishing season one of Salem (2014), I figured I would give it a shot once again.

Plot/ Season One follows Mary Sibley, a witch conspiring with other witches to bring forth the Grand Rite, as she brings forth hysteria among the Puritans of Salem. Her former flame, John Alden, returns after years of absence, complicating her wicked plan.

While I did bypass this when it first premiered, after finishing season one, I have to ask myself why. For me, this interesting mixture of historical fact and pure fiction has turned out to be one of the most entertaining series that I have watched in some time and I look forward to starting season two later tonight. For fans of dark and violent shows on television, this one should sit near the top of your list. Between the action scenes, witch tortures, and executions, there is enough blood to go around. Couple that with some gratuitous sexual situations, it is clear that this a show for adults. The characters are interesting, the storyline may not be authentic, but it is intriguing, and the cinematography and effects are outstanding. Yes, there are a ton of historical inaccuracies with both the setting and the characters, the performances are uneven, and the dialog lacks an authentic time period feel, but those did not hurt the overall feel of season one.

For some, this show will not resonate in the same manner as it has with me, and that is understandable. However, the network and writers should be applauded for the way they take on the subject manner without fearing a backlash. Sure, season one was not perfect, but it definitely should have opened some eyes on the hypocritical nature of some religious practices that still take place in the world today. If you have not got into this one, give it a shot; just don’t expect to find a watered-down trip back to Salem.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Witchboard (1986)

Today was a long day. Between one daughter at taking a walk back in time to the colonial era at FestiFall and another one at softball practice, it felt like I never sat down. When I did finally find time to relax, I decided to venture into the 1980s for my next flick, the 1986 classic Witchboard.

Plot/ At a party, a guest brings out an Ouija board, and they attempt to contact a spirit he knows. The spirit does appear, but it becomes apparent to the one who brought the Ouija board that this is an evil spirit that is impersonating his spirit.

This was one of my favorites back in the 1980s and I have seen it many times and it never fails to entertain. Yes, it does feel a touch dated when I watch it today, but that is only a minor flaw in the film. This one is great for the Halloween season and one that adds to the lore of the Ouija Board. The performances are solid, the soundtrack does a great job promoting the mood, the cinematography is outstanding, and the scripting and overall storyline is both entertaining and interesting. Sure, there are a few parts of the film that feels a little underdeveloped and the ending may feel a touch forced, but those areas do nothing to hurt the movie. In the end, this one is well worth watching and is a great example of what horror could be without the crazy gore that was quite popular during the decade. If you have not seen it, check it out on Shudder, you too should enjoy it.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Invasion (2007)

The other day I went through a few movies before I started binge-watching Salem. The next movie I will review is the 2007 semi-reboot The Invasion.

Plot/ As a Washington psychiatrist unearths the origin of an alien epidemic, she also discovers her son might be the only way it can be stopped.

I had never watched this one and went into the movie not knowing what to expect. While this is not the worst body snatchers retooling, it is far from the best.  While the cast featuring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig are solid and their performances are decent, they really cannot do anything to save this film from spiraling out of control. The character development is non-existent, the film lacks atmosphere, for the most part, the film lacked originality, and there was an overall lack of action and effects. On top of that, the overt addition of political and social ideologies felt out of place and forced. Yes, there were some decent elements and there was some potential out there, but it in no way was able to reach that potential and it feels uninspired. In the end, while there were some decent visuals with the cinematography, the movie does not really ever create tension or give the viewer a reason to keep watching it. If you have not seen it, you aren’t missing anything at all.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Chopping Mall (1986)

Last night, I sat back and decided to venture into the world of alien documentaries and that is what I reviewed. Tonight, I am going back to a film I watched early in the week, Chopping Mall from 1986.

Plot/ Eight teenagers are trapped after hours in a high-tech shopping mall and pursued by three murderous security robots out of control.

I remember the disappointment I had when this one came out and I discovered it wasn’t the slasher film that I expected. While I am not saying that this one is terrible, I am just pointing out the disconnect that exists between the cover art, title, and the actual film. That is not to say that this is not a fun and entertaining trip into 1980s low-budget cheese. This horror/sci-fi mixture comes complete with all the elements that made movies of the era what they were. There are some boobs, blood, and a strange storyline that was so ridiculous that the impossibilities made it ripe for mindless schlock. Plus, some of the effects, robots, performances, and direction were not bad considering the subject matter and budget. Yes, some of the kills are a touch absurd, most of it is unrealistic, and there are definitely times where you wonder why you are watching, but that is part of the fun. In the end, this is in no way a perfect flick, but it is one that shows the lasting importance of low budget horror. If you have not seen it, be warned this one is more sci-fi than slasher, but that means little. Find it and check it out.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Unacknowledged (2017)

After taking the night off to watch a competitive softball game last night, I decided that I wanted to watch something different. It has been some time since I ventured into a documentary and this one seemed perfect for my mood. This documentary is the 2017 entry Unacknowledged.

Plot/ Unacknowledged focuses on the historic files of the Disclosure Project and how UFO secrecy has been ruthlessly enforced, and why. The best evidence for extraterrestrial contact, dating back decades, is presented with direct top-secret witness testimony, documents and UFO footage, 80% of which has never been revealed anywhere else.

If you have read my works on here that deal with the UFO phenomena, you already know that I feel that the government has been lying to the populace for decades about the alien presence that exists here on Earth right now. This documentary does a great job at presenting a combination of evidence and witnesses, as well as outlining the level of secrecy that is maintained on the subject. For me, that area resonated and can be tied directly to the news if you truly pay attention. The government knows more than they will ever say, because they allow billions of dollars to disappear every year right in front of us, and they never touch on it. No matter what party affiliation you are, think back to the news about the missing State Department money that was brought up during the election and then look back at the other times you heard this. Black Ops (including the study of aliens/UFOs) eats that money.

This documentary is well made with a nice mixture of pictorial and video evidence and interviews, the theories presented connecting it to our atomic, or nuclear testing facilities are interesting, the material is set in a logical manner that creates a compelling and coherent storyline, and the depth and variety of the witness creates an argument that can be used against the many skeptics that have digested all of the Kool-Aid. Yes, there are some issues with the editing that make some of the material hard to make out and some of the witnesses are hard to research on your own, but those issues are minor. In the end, this is a great documentary that helps expose the elites, mainstream media, and government officials that continue to run Psychological Warfare Initiatives against the people and spread lies on the subject. Much like the deceptions of 9-11, other government-backed operations, and the disinformation that is all around us, the alien/UFO phenomenon has become another piece of history that has been developed to divide the country. Stand up and say enough already and become a champion for disclosure. Unacknowledged is an entertaining documentary and a movie for both believers and skeptics. Watch this one, it needs to be seen.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)

With Death Note being a bit of a downer, I decided that I would venture into something completely different. After searching my streaming services, I decided on the 1987 supernatural sequel Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II.

Plot/ Thirty years after her accidental death at her 1957 senior prom, the tortured spirit of prom queen Mary Lou Maloney returns to seek revenge.

I remember seeing this when it came out. As a fan of the original Prom Night with Jamie Lee Curtis, I was somewhat disappointed in the change of direction with the sequel. However, after watching it again, I found it a decent flashback to the classic 1980s cheese that seemed to become more prevalent as the decade wore on. While this one had almost zero connection to the original and was a complete mixture of multiple supernatural classics (The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Carrie for a start), this one was fun and mindless. Most importantly, it was not afraid of pushing the boundaries or limits of the rating system (something it seems like no films will do today). Sure, the looks are dated, the performances were uneven, it lacked the tension from the slasher craze, the storyline was unoriginal, and it was rather predictable, but there was a decent amount of blood and it created an interesting departure from what many would have expected. In the end, this is in no way a great movie and it is quite mindless, but it can serve its purpose as background fodder on a slow afternoon. Give it a shot; you could do worse.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Death Note (2017)

After last nights trip to the theater to see IT, I decided to do some relaxing before the Steelers game today. To accomplish that, I chose the 2017 anime adaption Death Note from Netflix to help pass some time.

Plot/ A high school student named, Light Turner, discovers a mysterious notebook that has the power to kill anyone whose name is written within its pages and launches a secret crusade to rid the world of criminals.

Having not watched the original anime series, I went into this one somewhat blind on what to expect. I usually take this as a positive, however; in this case, I am not sure. From the outset, the characters felt disconnected to the story and somewhat underdeveloped, the scripting seemed a bit flat and empty, and the special effects and CGI seemed to be underwhelming and at times laughable. The performances were not bad and the cast seemed solid enough, but those elements did nothing to make this memorable in any way. In the end, I should have followed my student's advice and moved past this one when it popped up. They said this was terrible and I would be better off watching the anime series. They were right; this one did nothing for me in any way. Stay away, especially if you are a fan of the series; you will be disappointed.