Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Mist (2007)

Title: The Mist
Director: Frank Darabont
Writer: Frank Darabont, Stephen King
Starring: Thomas Jane, Andre Braugher, Laurie Holden, Amin Joseph, Marcia Gay Harden, Toby Jones
Studio: Dimension Films

I was extremely happy with the adaptation of 1408 earlier this year and The Mist was just as well done. I've been a Stephen King fan (or an "constant reader" as King himself calls us) since I was old enough to read a full novel. I read The Mist long ago as a novella in the Skeleton Crew short story collection. I remembered the basic story, but I didn't recall the details, so seeing the movie really brought back some great memories.

The movie opens with the main character drawing a movie poster of The Gunslinger from King's Dark Tower series. That's enough to get a movie dork like me excited, but this scene is followed by another two hours of great film. The interactions between the people trapped in the grocery story as the mist envelopes the town is just amazing. The dialogue is believable and it really makes some serious comments on society and religion. A horror movie with meaning, who would have thought?

This movie offers up both cheap scares and a thought provoking story. The ending is incredible and for those of you that have read the novella, the conclusion of the film expands on the written version's ending and it doesn't leave you hanging. Special effects could have been better for a big budget film, but I'm not really complaining. The scares are still there, and the story is classic King. This is a smart horror film that will bridge the generation gap, bring your parents, they'll like it too.

Favorite Quote:

Mrs. Carmody: I'll tell you what. The day I need a friend like you, I'll just have myself a little squat and shit one out.

RATING: 8/10

Saturday, November 17, 2007

P2 (2007)

Title: P2
Director: Franck Khalfoun
Writer: Franck Khalfoun, Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasse
Starring: Wes Bentley, Rachel Nichols
Studio: Summit Entertainment

From the opening title sequence this movie pulled me in. P2 is a tale of a beautiful, successful, young, single woman named Angela who is working late on Christmas Eve and is rushing to get out to spend time with her family. She works in a big building in New York City and it is closing down for the next three days for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Once she gets to her car, which of course is on Parking Level 2 (P2), she finds that it doesn't start. Frustrated, she searches for the lone security guard on duty over the holiday weekend, and asks to be let back in the building so she can wait for a taxi. The security guard is pleasant, but the viewer does notice a little something strange about him. As it turns out he has actually been stalking Angela for a long period of time and is fanatically obsessed with her. Soon Angela finds herself stuck in the parking garage with this madman with no one to help and three days until the building re-opens for business.

P2 is a genuinely creepy movie. It's an all too real story, and that makes it much more scary than any bogeyman or mythical creature. Out of all the horror movies that have the pretty young girl pull out her cell phone to call for help only to find that it doesn't work, this is the single movie that it is actually believable for that to happen. Cell phones never work in parking garages, we all know that. The only problem I had with this movie is the ending. It is by no means a bad ending, but I would have written it differently. Don't let that stop you from seeing this film, I still highly recommend it and the ending is not a let down. All in all, P2 should satisfy the non-supernatural loving horror fans. There aren't a ton of gore scenes, but when there is it's impressive stuff. I suggest you do not watch any of the scenes floating around the Internet for this movie, it will only take away from your enjoyment if you know what is coming up. In fact, you shouldn't even have read this review.

Favorite Quote:

Angela: Merry Christmas, Tom.

RATING: 8/10

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Burning (1982)

Title: The Burning
Director: Tony Maylam
Writer: Tony Maylam, Harvey Weinstein
Starring: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Jason Alexander
Studio: Genius Entertainment

Alright boys and girls, I've found a real gem here. The Burning is the best horror film you've never heard of. It's quite surprising that this movie has flown under the radar for so long. It's a classic "Friday the Thirteenth" tale about kids being killed at a summer camp, but (dare I say it), The Burning is better than Friday the Thirteenth.

The story is about a camp counselor named Cropsy who is badly burned all over his body when some kids play a prank on him. Once he gets out of the hospital, horribly disfigured, he exacts some revenge. The killer in this film is just as fun to watch as Michael, Freddy, Jason, or Leatherface, but for some reason he doesn't have ten sequels to prove it.

This movie is interesting to me for a few reasons. It's an overlooked diamond of slasher films. It was shot in upstate New York, where I live. I am less than an hour away from the filming locations (exciting for me, not so much for you). Also, this is Jason Alexander's first feature film. Yes, that's right Jason Alexander of Seinfeld. And ladies, this movie offers up what we know you've all been waiting for... a young George Costanza's naked ass. All kidding aside The Burning is a fantastic horror experience. It contains all the horror essentials: gorgeous naked girls, a memorable killer, gore galore, and hilarious antics. This is a must own for any horror fan. I am willing to bet that none of your friends have ever seen, let alone heard of this fantastic movie.

Favorite Quote:

Dave: "Size never stopped Woody before, he's the Bantam Weight Jerk-Off Champion."

RATING: 9/10

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Feast (2005)

Title: Feast
Director: John Gulager
Writers: Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton
Starring: Navi Rawat, Krista Allen, Balthazar Getty, Judah Friedlander, Jenny Wade, Duane Whitaker, Josh Zuckerman, Eileen Ryan, Clu Gulager, Diane Goldner, Jason Mewes
Studio: Dimension Films

Feast tells the story of a group of people trapped in a bar and forced to fight a bunch of monsters. That's the long and short of it. There is no more, or no less to this movie.

First off let me just say this: Feast is stupid. Stupid funny, not stupid dumb. It's actually a comedy/horror that pokes fun at the whole genre, and it works. This film is hilarious. Any fan of horror will love this movie. It takes all the horror movie stereotypes and plays on them. When each character is introduced in the beginning of the film a little bio is displayed on the screen, and it even lists a "Life Expectancy." This movie at no point takes itself seriously, but the gore is there in spades and the monsters are pretty cool. This is just a fun movie to watch with friends on a rainy night. You will find yourself cracking up about every ten seconds, it never lets up with the humor. If you are looking for a break from the same old horror movie remakes and rehashes, then you will enjoy this movie.

Favorite Quote:

Beer Guy: "I think were gonna be okay, guys. Yeah, I think were gonna be alright. You know, this is just some leaky barrel, radiation, toxic dump waste, enviro-crap, freak-beast accident that crawled out of the sewer, man. That's all this is."

RATING: 8/10

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Creep (2004)

Title: Creep
Director: Christopher Smith
Writer: Christopher Smith
Starring: Franka Potente, Sean Harris, Vas Blackwood, Ken Campbell, Jeremy Sheffield, Paul Rattray, Kelly Scott, Craig Fackrell
Studio: Lions Gate

Creep is a pretty good movie, that could have been so much better. I loved the villain in this film. He's terrifying, and you get a generally creepy feeling every time he is on screen. The plot concerns a woman who finds herself trapped in a subway station after it has closed. For some reason she meets a co-worker who is also trapped (it's never explained why, I mean is it that common to be trapped in a subway?) and he tries to rape her in the empty subway train. Well, something drags him away before he has his way with her and the woman spends the rest of the film running away from this "creep" that lives in the subway. She gets some help for a homeless man who lives in the tunnels. It's curious why this man hasn't ever encountered the "creep" before if he's been living there for such a long time.

The story really lacks in details, and nothing is explained... ever. But Creep does excel in being frightening. All in all it's an OK film, but the story really should have been fleshed out more. I suggest a rental for this one. There's a good amount of gore, but nothing over the top, and nothing we haven't seen before. Not a horror classic, but a decent film none-the-less.

Favorite Quote:

Kate: "I don't know what to say. It's like a penis...just smaller."

RATING: 6/10

Friday, November 9, 2007

Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)

Title: Flower of Flesh and Blood
Director: Hideshi Hino
Writer: Hideshi Hino
Starring: Kirara Yugao
Studio: Guinea Pig

This is one disturbing movie! Flower of Flesh and Blood is a Japanese horror flick that tells the story of a woman who is walking home alone at night and is kidnapped by one really sick motherfucker. This guy takes her back to his basement where he gives her a powerful drug that renders her in a state of semi-consciousness. The madman then proceeds to dismember her while she is still alive.

Flower of Flesh and Blood is only for those who pride themselves on never turning away from the screen during the frightening parts. This whole film (it's really only 42 minutes) is all one big frightening part. Like I said, it's not for everyone, but the gore hounds will absolutely love it. The special effects in this movie are beyond belief. In fact, when Charlie Sheen was given a copy of this movie, he went straight to the police after seeing it and reported that it was a real snuff film. This is not true however, but the director was asked to produce the actress who was killed in the film, which he of course did. He also showed how he achieved some of the amazing (read: sickening) effects in the movie, and I'm glad he did, because it made for some very interesting extras on the DVD.

The horror movies coming out of Japan have always been phenomenal. American film makers should take note, the slasher film has been done to death, take a tip from Japan and go with something original like Flower of Flesh and Blood or any other Asian horror film out there. This film is insane, I didn't move the whole time I watched it. I don't think I even blinked. This movie really sent chills down my spine, even if the killer's helmet looks like a Darth Vader mask (watch it and you'll see what I mean).

Favorite Quote:

Killer: "Now I am going to present my collection to you."

RATING: 8/10

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Shadow Walkers (2006)

Title: The Shadow Walkers
Director: Marvin Steven Grove
Writer: Dave Hodel
Starring: Jason Coviello, Jennifer Summers, Clay Adams, Cortni Mullin, Rebecca Gibel, Joseph McCambridge, Tierza Scaccia, Trygve Lode
Studio: Mostly Films

With the tag line "Pray they only kill you" I had high hopes for this movie. Alas, it falls prey to the worst acting I've ever seen in my life. That's too bad, because the story had real promise. When I read the synopsis I felt excited to see this film.

The Shadow Walkers is a highly suspenseful story of a group of lab technicians and military personnel who awaken in a subterranean laboratory with no memory of who they are. They quickly discover that they are sealed in, with only one way to get out alive. Desperate to escape, they struggle through the darkness where they uncover a hive of genetically mutated creatures that stalk them from the shadows. Bred for combat, these monsters are endowed with razor sharp talons and rows of jagged teeth capable of ripping a man apart. While avoiding danger at every turn, they begin to regain their memories, discovering the origin of the deadly creatures and the part they played in their creation.

You see? Sounds interesting, doesn't it? While the story is intriguing, the only thing scary about this film is the acting. It is hardly even watchable, let alone enjoyable. Shadow Walkers doesn't even fall into the "so bad it's good" category (which I thoroughly enjoy). Stay away from this one at all costs. Only way I would watch this movie again is if I was being subjected to some kind of bizarre torture where I was forced to watch this piece of trash because my eyelids were held open by toothpicks.

Favorite Quote:

None. Only the silence as the film ended made me smile.

RATING: .5/10

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hostel (2005) and Hostel: Part II (2007)

Title: Hostel and Hostel: Part II
Director: Eli Roth
Writer: Eli Roth
Starring: Part I: Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson, Barbara Nedeljakova, Jana Kaderabkova, Jan Vlasák, Jennifer Lim, Lubomir Silhavecky, Paula Wild, Lubomir Bukovy, Petr Janis, Jana Havlickova, Vanessa Jungova, Part II: Jay Hernandez, Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, Vera Jordanova, Roger Bart, Richard Burgi, Milan Knazko, Stanislav Ianevski, Ruggero Deodato
Studio: Lionsgate

I decided to post a dual review tonight, because these movies are so similar. I actually enjoyed the second film slightly more than it's predecessor, for the sole reason that the torture scenes are much more unique. The stories are exactly the same in both movies, except the first film follows a group of American boys backpacking across Europe and the sequel follows a group of American girls studying abroad. Both groups in both movies get lured into an underground torture ring where the wealthy pay to torture and kill innocent people. Of course, Americans fetch the highest price, so there are some seriously sick fucks just salivating to get their hands on some fresh meat imported from the United States.

The story is unique, and genuinely terrifying. Eli Roth has said that the idea for this story came from rumors that this exact thing is actually happening in parts of Slovakia. I suggest seeing both movies back to back if at all possible. Both films offer up a great movie night, so have some friends over, get the snacks ready and these two movies will seriously creep you out. More than likely you will hear the phrase, "Oh my God!" squealed more than a few times by your guests. Guaranteed you will be talking about these movies long after the credits are done rolling.

Favorite Quote:

Part I:

The American Client: "I've been all over the world. You know, I've been everywhere and the bottom line is: Pussy is pussy. You know, every strip club, every whore house, every... It's all the same shit. You know, I just fucked a girl two days ago and I don't even remember the color of her tits. But this... This is something you never forget, right? RIGHT?"

Part II:

Drunk Italian: "I knew you were a tease you fucking cunt."

Beth: "What the fuck did you call me?"

Drunk Italian: "I called you stupid fucking American cunt!"

Beth: "Fuck you!"

Drunk Italian: "The train to fucking Prague is long you bitch! We'll come see you."

RATING: Part I: 8/10 Part II: 8/10

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cigarette Burns (2005)

Title: Cigarette Burns
Director: John Carpenter
Writers: Drew McWeeny, Scott Swan, Mick Garris
Starring: Norman Reedus, Udo Kier, Gary Hetherington, Christopher Britton, Zara Taylor, Colin Foo, Gwynyth Walsh, Christopher Redman
Studio: IDT Entertainment

John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns is another hour long film that is part of the Master's of Horror series. Carpenter's entry is my favorite of all the Master's of Horror offerings. The story is quite unique and deals with a collector of rare films who hires a bankrupt theater owner to track down the most obscure movie ever made, titled "Le Fin Absolue du Monde" (translates to The Absolute End of the World). The movie was only shown once, and the audience that viewed it instantly went insane and attack each other.

Along his journey the main character, who is searching for the lost film, encounters all sorts of strange people who are connected in some way with the picture. Eventually he meets with the director's wife and obtains a copy of the movie. The film collector then watches it and... Well, you'll have to see for yourself!

The term "cigarette burns" is used to describe the black dots you see flash for a moment on the screen when viewing a film in theaters. This black dot tells the projectionist to switch over to the next film reel. Just a little trivia for you there, but back to the review... Cigarette Burns is genuinely scary, it's concept is somewhat similar to The Ring, but for my money, I enjoyed this film even more. The cursed movie itself is the most disturbing "movie within a movie" that I have ever seen. It depicts an actual "real" Angel having it's wings torn off, among other horrible things. If you want to get started in the Masters of Horror series I highly suggest you begin with this episode.

Favorite Quote:

Meyers: We trust filmmakers. We sit in the dark, daring them to affect us, secure in the knowledge that they won't go too far...

RATING: 10/10

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Incident On And Off A Mountain Road (2005)

Title: Incident On And Off A Mountain Road
Director: Don Coscarelli
Writers: Don Coscarelli, Stephen Romano, Joe R. Lansdale
Starring: Bree Turner, Angus Scrimm, John Desantis, Ethan Embry, Heather Fenney
Studio: IDT Entertainment

Incident On And Off A Mountain Road is one of the episodes of Showtime's amazing series Masters of Horror. Being made for t.v. as an adaption of a Joe R. Lansdale short story, it clocks in at just under an hour. So, a full length feature film it is not, but it is still worth a viewing. The Masters of Horror series has produced a few gems (more reviews to follow), this being one of them.

The story opens on a dark mountain road, where a lone woman, who is running from her survival fanatic husband, crashes into a car stopped in the road. Her back story is told in a series of flashbacks, while the main story unfolds. Eventually both stories converge to create a very satisfying ending. After the accident the woman awakes in her car only to find the car she has hit is empty and a blood trail leading into the woods. She follows it asking if someone needs help. This is followed by the best introduction to a movie villain that I have ever seen. The rest of the movie follows the woman as she try's to escape this mad man. She uses the survival techniques taught to her by her husband to try and outsmart the killer, who's nickname is Moonface, due to his pale skin.

This movie does a great job of moving the story along with no downtime. I'm actually glad this film is only an hour long, because if it was a more lengthy effort it probably wouldn't have been as fun to watch. Overall this is a great little time killer if you don't have a full two hours to spend, plus the ending is to die for.

Favorite Quote:

Ellen: Hell of a night, huh Moonface?

RATING: 8/10

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Hamiltons (2006)

Title: The Hamiltons
Director: Butcher Brothers (Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores)
Writer: Butcher Brothers (Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores)
Starring: Cory Knauf, Samuel Child, Joseph McKelheer, Mackenzie Firgens
Studio: Lionsgate

At first glance the Hamilton's seem to be an ordinary American family dealing with the problems of everyday life. They have begun adjusting to the untimely death of their parents, and are beginning to move on. David Hamilton, the oldest, has taken it upon his shoulders to pick up the responsibility for the orphaned family. Twins, Wendell and Darlene are darker than the other two siblings and have become more conniving in the past few months. The youngest of the family is Francis, who recently found his parents old video camera and has started using it to work on a school project about his family. It's through Francis' eyes that we soon learn more about the Hamilton family and realize that something is not quite right.

The Hamiltons is the kind of movie that doesn't really offer scares, but it is disturbing. You get a weird feeling in your stomach when you watch it and you think to yourself, what are they doing!? That being said, I really enjoyed this movie. The story moves along at a good pace and it kept me interested straight through. The ending is fantastic and I never saw it coming. It's one of those endings that makes you want to go back and watch the movie again as soon as you are finished viewing it for the first time. It's hard to say anything more about this film without ruining a portion of the storyline. That might make for a boring review, but you will thank me once you watch the movie.

Favorite Quote:

Darlene: "Shut up, before I gut you myself!"

RATING: 7.5/10

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Unrest (2006)

Title: Unrest
Director: Jason Todd Ipson
Writer: Jason Todd Ipson

Starring: Corri English, Scot Davis, Joshua Alba, Jay Jablonski, Marisa Petroro, Derrick O'Connor
Studio: Lionsgate

Unrest follows a first year medical student named Alison who is just beginning her Gross Anatomy class. She is paired up with three other students and they are introduced to their cadaver. Alison immediately senses something odd about the dead body. Soon people start coming up missing, and dying under strange circumstances. Alison is sure the corpse has something to do with it, so she researches where it came from, and how it arrived at the hospital. But can she put the enraged soul to rest before it's too late?

To tell you the truth, I really couldn't care less. This movie was OK, but I was never really scared, or in suspense. Everything that happened was predictable, there were no twists or really anything at all to keep me interested in the story. The one good thing this film has going for it is the amazing special effects work. The blood and gore are extremely realistic, but that wears thin pretty quickly when the narrative is seriously lacking. Unrest is not that bad of a film, but it just didn't offer up enough scares to be worth the hour and a half of my time I spent watching it.

Favorite Quote:

Alison Blanchard: "I think there's something wrong with my corpse."

RATING: 2/10

Monday, October 29, 2007

Penny Dreadful (2006)

Title: Penny Dreadful
Director: Richard Brandes
Writers: Diane Doniol-Valcroze, Arthur Flam and Richard Bra
Starring: Rachel Miner, Mimi Rogers, Michael Berryman, Mickey Jones
Studio: Lionsgate

Penny Dreadful is a breath of fresh air. Instead of the flood of supernatural killers, ghosts and what-have-you, Penny opts for a story than can actually happen, which makes it much, much more scary.

Penny is a young girl who was in a car accident in which both her parents died, leaving her the only survivor. Since that day Penny has been terrified of cars, but her and her Doctor set out to face her fears and take a trip into the mountains to build a snowman (Penny has never seen snow). Along the way the Doctor, who is driving the car, almost hits a hitchhiker, and as a show of good faith, gives the person a ride. Well, the hitcher ends up acting way beyond creepy, so eventually they drop him off. And that's when it all goes downhill. The car gets a flat tire and the doctor goes missing. Penny soon finds herself trapped in the car, lodged between two trees. And that's were the rest of the movie takes place. A whole 90 minute movie taking place inside a BMW might not sound too exciting, but take it from me, this movie scared me more than anything in recent memory. Rachel Miner, who plays Penny, does a phenomenal job of bringing to life the terror that Penny feels throughout the movie. As each second passes, you feel like you are stuck in the car with Penny, not knowing what is going to happen next. I'm going to go as far as to say that this is the best movie I've seen all year. Buy it, rent it, I don't care, just watch it ASAP!

Favorite Quote:

Eddie: "Probably somebody didn't like her meatloaf." (laughs)
Alvin: "That's not funny Eddie."
Eddie: "No, I guess it's not."

RATING: 9.5/10

The Woods (2006)

Title: The Woods
Director: Lucky McKee
Writer: David Ross
Starring: Patricia Clarkson, Agnes Bruckner, Bruce Campbell, Lauren Birkell, Jane Gilchrist, Emma Campbell, Gordon Currie, Rachel Nichols
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

OK, let me just say one thing about this movie right off the bat... It creeped me the hell out! This film has a lot of good things going for it, one of which is Bruce Campbell (don't get too excited though, he doesn't have a big part). Campbell is really only onscreen at the end, but it's classic Bruce, guaranteed to make you laugh.

The story takes place in 1965 at an all-girls boarding school in the middle of the woods where a young girl is dropped off by her mom and dad. Heather is a troubled young lady who doesn't do too well with authority figures. She soon has a few run-ins with some teachers as well as a few students. As if things couldn’t get any worse she starts having nightmares and students begin to disappear. Soon enough Heather starts investigating and finds out there’s something wrong with her teachers and the woods surrounding the secluded school.

The movie is well written and well acted. The tension throughout the film builds nicely and the scare scenes are done so well that I caught myself gripping the arms of my chair a little too tightly on more than one occasion. Overall this movie contains a lot of scares as well as a lot of laughs, and it should please just about everyone who watches it. It may not be the best flick out there right now, but it sure is a few rungs above most of what has been released in the past couple of years.

Favorite Quote:

Samantha: [Walks up to the table] Heard you been saying stuff behind my back, fire-crotch.

Heather: Now, Samantha, all I said was your breath smells like you've been drinking out of Ms. Mackinaw's douche bag, that's all.

RATING: 8/10

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Abominable (2006)

Title: Abominable
Director: Ryan Schifrin
Writer: Ryan Schifrin
Starring: Jeffery Combs, Matt McCoy, Haley Joel, Karin Anna Cheung, Natalie Compagno, Michael Deak, Paul Gleason, Ashley Hartman, Rex Linn, Phil Morris, Tiffany Shepis, Chad Smith, Christien Tinsley, Dee Wallace-Stone, Lance Henriksen
Studio: Anchor Bay

Abominable is a low budget horror movie that is so bad it's good. I personally love to watch these types of pictures because it is great fun to laugh at it in all of it's low budget glory. And that is the only reason I would recommend this film to anyone.

Because this is a straight to DVD B-movie, it does have it's up sides. The monster is hilarious, the acting is bad (except for the main character), and the kills will have you rolling on the floor holding your stomach. Those might not sound like positive things, but trust me, if you are only looking for a good way to burn an hour and a half, then this entertaining movie will do the trick. There is a face biting scene that I laughed about hours after the movie was over.

The general plot has to do with a man who is going back to living in his cabin in the mountains after he lost his wife, as well as the use of his legs, in a mountain climbing accident. A group of girls rent the cabin across from him and he can only watch as this big hairy Sasquatch kills them one by one. He attempts to warn the police multiple times, but they don't believe him, so he plans to take on the monster himself. I must admit that for the low budget-ness of it all, the story isn't presented half bad. My favorite thing about this movie is how this man who is confined to a wheelchair can only watch through his binoculars as these girls are slaughtered, but he is helpless to do anything about it. It's reminiscent of Hitchcock's Rear Window.

Horror B-movie staple Lance Henriksen makes a great cameo as a fearless hunter who has heard the legend of the Sasquatch and has come up to the mountains because, as he says, he "likes to kill stuff."

This movie is not all bad, in fact it's quite good when you consider it for what it is, a fun way to kill some time. If it's on the Sci-Fi channel I suggest you give it a viewing, but don't waste your hard earned cash on a rental.

Favorite Quote:

Ziegler Dane: "Oh God, that is gross!"

RATING: 4/10

30 Days of Night (2007)

Title: 30 Days of Night
Director: David Slade
Writer: Steve Niles
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Manu Bennett
Studio: Colombia Pictures

I have been excited about this movie since I first saw the trailer on youtube last month. I have always loved vampire lore, and I have read Bram Stoker's Dracula three times. But the vampires in this movie are quite a bit more brutal than Stoker's Count. This film is chock full of some good old fashioned horror ultra-violence.

The vampires in this film are not great seducers as they have commonly been portrayed over the years, but rather they are killing machines, with absolutely no emotion what-so-ever. This makes for a very fun viewing experience. Director David Slade has done a fantastic job creating a non-stop action thrill ride from start to finish, while staying true to Steve Niles original graphic novel that the movie is based on. I can honestly say I loved every second of this film.

The synopsis goes like this:

The movie is set in Barrow, Alaska, where the residents experience alternating periods of light and dark every thirty days. The story begins at the end of the last day of sun. Most of the population is leaving town because the next month will be darkness until the sun rises again. The local sheriff, played by Josh Hartnett, finds a pile of cell phones burnt in a fire, a man's sled dogs have all been slaughtered, as well as other acts of violence and vandalism. He links the crimes to a suspicious stranger who has just arrived in town. When he arrests the stranger for an outburst in the town restaurant he finds out that he must deal with much more than just one troublemaker from out of town. Something is cutting off the town's remaining ties to the rest of the world. Something is getting ready to feed...

It is the vampires themselves who are the true stars of this great film. They are terrifying, fast moving, cunning, and truly evil creatures. They even have their own horrendous sounding spoken language. Not to mention their high pitched screams, I shudder just thinking about those sounds. Once they begin their rampage on the town you will be squirming in your seat as you try to take in all the throat ripping action on screen.

As I write this I can't stop thinking about seeing this movie again as soon as possible. Here's hoping for a quick release of the DVD!

Favorite Quote:

Eben: "Hell of a day."
The Stranger: "Just you wait."

RATING: 9/10

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spider Baby (1968)

Title: Spider Baby or The Maddest Story Ever Told
Director: Jack Hill
Writer: Jack Hill
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Carol Ohmart, Quinn K. Redeker, Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner
Studio: Dark Sky Films

Spider Baby is an old black and white horror film that really surprised me when I saw it. The high tech visuals and gore of the 21st century have made me so jaded that I normally can't sit through an old time horror picture. Spider Baby is different though. The story is so strange that it grabs your attention from the beginning. Without giving too much away here is the basic plot.

The Merrye family suffers from a syndrome, caused by years of inbreeding, that results in each family member mentally regressing back into childhood once they reach puberty. This is odd in itself, but in addition the afflicted also exhibit homicidal tendencies once they reach their childlike state of mind. There are two teenage girls living in the house along with their older brother. The brother is played by Sid Haig (who most recently played Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects). Haig's performance is unforgettable, and it really kept me interested in the movie. Even though he plays the older brother to the two girls, he is older in appearance only, because the older the members of this family get, the younger their minds become, so Haig spends the whole of the movie acting like an infant. It is hysterical at times and adds some much needed comic relief to this disturbing movie.

The name Spider Baby comes from Jill Banner's character, Virgina. Virgina is one of the teenage sisters and she loves to play a game she calls "Spider," where she traps unsuspecting visitors to the house in nets then proceeds to "sting" them with knives.

The family obviously can't take care of themselves, with the parents in a worse off condition than their children on account of the syndrome, so the family chauffeur Bruno (played by Lon Chaney Jr.) has been watching over the household for the past few years and only he knows the truth about this strange family and it's secrets. This movie is extremely hard to classify or explain and I feel that if I write anymore that I will reveal too much. As with most movies, this one is best viewed knowing as little as possible.

Favorite Quote:

Bruno, the Chauffeur: "Just because something isn't good doesn't mean it's bad."

RATING: 7/10