Archive for December, 2009
A crazed killer, using a weird voice changer, calls a TV disco DJ presenter just prior to one of the 3 (international time zones) New Years Eves in the USA claiming to kill someone at midnight. Basic interesting concept. Dreadful film. There isn’t much I have to say about this flick as I feel I’ve just wasted 90 minutes of my life. Acting is awful, direction is dreadful and there are too many musical moments with live acts on stage with songs dragging on for far too long.
The script is quite fun though. One scene has the killer asking a woman to smell a plastic bag containing dope, as he swiftly slips the bag over her head, death by suffocation. ‘Here, smell this?’ There is also quite an interesting comparison between disco punks at a club, cut with a mental hospital with patients hugging and bobbing about. The killer also records the murders to audio tape as evidence to play back during his next phone call to the DJ using a huge ghetto blaster type player, hitting the play and record buttons. Quite nostalgic!
I’m clutching at straws though. It’s a New Years Eve movie. Surely there has to be something better in the horror genre, related to New Years than this?
The guys behind the stunning reworking of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are back, this time tackling the Friday the 13th franchise, not an easy task as we are currently some 10 or 11 films deep. Rather than a straight remake, they’ve opted to pick up after the first and make a sleeker film with a bigger budget than the rest. Strange as the opportunity was there to recreate the back story which has been manipulated after the success of the first film.
The film starts with a slight few moments of the original, Jason’s mother on a killing spree to avenge the death of her son. In the original, the spirit of Jason is seen taking out the sole survivor into a watery grave. After box office success, a sequel was planned with Jason being the killing machine, who was actually not really dead all along. This remake would have made much more sense repairing this issue. None the less, they didn’t take this route, so therefore we have another killing spree, easier on the eye due to the amazing vision of Choreographer Dan Pearl and commitment to the horror scene from Marcus Nispel as Director. The cast have been hand picked for looks more than anything but notable performances from Padalecki and Travis Van Winkle; Aaron Yoo adds some light hearted moments. Willa Ford, Julianna Guill and Danielle Panabaker add to the ranks of scream queens.
It’s another bloodbath of teen woodland frolicking. It’s all fun and games, booze and sex until Jason swings his machete. It’s all been done before but never with such a fine eye and smooth production. More ingenious ways to die are created and a beautiful Savini-esq machete to the head can be seen, some 10 mins in: stunning effect. Equally impressive is a girl burning alive in a sleeping bag whilst her boyfriend watches, leg clamped to the floor. The problems I have is the creation of Jason’s lair, a maze of tunnels between buildings through the forest which, I suppose the invitation of how Jason spends his days when he’s not hacking and slashing is interesting, but becoming a miner and expert structural engineer seems a little out of his reach. Never the less, I think we all knew what this film would be like prior to viewing, but I was a little surprised at how enjoyable it was. The question now is, does this tempt me back to watch more as previously, I’ve only seen the first four.
New comer Jaume Collet-Serra (Director) enters the horror arena with this re-imagining of the classic Vincent Price movie. Taking the basic plot and building a whole new world in which to entice, entertain and slaughter unknowing travellers, unsurprisingly and mainly made up of glamorous beautiful people, obviously for the aesthetic of the film. He actually does a fine job. The plot is a little crazy, but nothing over the top for the style and environment of the film and there are actually some really good set pieces and promising talent from the young cast made up from a strong TV stock including Jared Padalecki, Chad Michael Murry, Elisha Cuthbert and Paris Hilton.
Cuthbert is the main protagonist here and it’s a shame she doesn’t seem to take the film more seriously, never really looking overly scared and seemingly always in control, but this, I’d say is down to first time direction. Paris offers an impressive and very surprisingly good performance and when she gets it, boy is it impressive. (The highlight of the film) Fine gory effects, a good score and a crazy huge ending all make for a very enjoyable film.
It’s strange, as I was expecting this to be good, but I wasn’t expecting it to be ‘that good’. After all, it is Sam Raimi, back to basics, back to what he does best: slap stick horror. There are loads of smacks to the face, sick in the mouth, pokes in the eye kinda things which always raise an emotion. Camera panning from room to room, swinging all over the place as a ghostly spirit haunts Christine (Alison Lohman) after being cursed by an old gypsy woman, Mrs Ganush (Lorna Raver who is terrifyingly amazing).
There are loads of great moments in this film, loads of ‘scares’ that make you jump and gore which is cartoon in style and childlike in execution. Only Raimi has the power to create a film with such a great yet simple plot which has shocking grizzly gore and some beautiful, magical moments with possessions and characters floating in the air. Saying that, it’s all been done before by Raimi. Watching this has the very same effect as watching The Evil Dead (Raimi’s first horror outing, 30 years ago) but it’s great. I could watch any Raimi, over and over. This has all the same gags, the same shifting camera and unnerving atmosphere but with a bigger budget and a real nice glossy look. Delightful. Impressive still is his dedication to horror, reinforced with a stunning last scene of the film, which also tips it’s hat to Jacques Tourneur’s ‘Night of the Demon.’
This is a pretty standard affair when it comes to teen horror. It’s got all the blessings of the Scream generation but has something missing. It’s a very basic idea. A crazed killer is knocking off teen virgins at the local school. Simple M.O. The plot delves a little deeper and we find an old secret which has been hushed up, now that secret is back after 25 years and looking for vengeance. It all goes a bit wrong and seems to lose it’s way. The killer is a wild old woman which makes a difference, but she ends up killing anyone rather than sticking to her agenda.
It’s a shame it doesn’t build to anything better, as the talent on the screen is great, with Brittany Murphy and Michael Biehn dominating in screen presence and charisma. Some great moments and a very shiny axe looks great in the later part of the film. The Lose Your Cherry party offers some light comedy, especially the Marx Bros moment when loads of teens are trying to get down a staircase.
It’s a fun 90 mins, better than you could expect to be honest, mainly down to the acting rather than the plot.
So, many mince pies later, Christmas has come, but not yet gone with our double Boxing Day situation. The Christmas movie week has been stunning for so many reasons, but mainly due to me not expecting any of them to be any good at all. How surprising!
Anyway, lets start this week with another Homage, this time to the 32 year old Brittany Murphy who passed last Sunday. Shocking. Too young.
- Cherry Falls
- Drag Me To Hell
- House of Wax
- Friday 13th
- New Year’s Evil
- Messiah of Evil
- Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
I’ll be adding updates for this weeks schedule as and when i know what i’m watching, as over the festive holiday, i’ll be visiting friends and family and will put recommendations in their hands, and the mercy of their DVD collection. Wish me luck!
This is a fine old classic, something which I was not expecting when I drew up my list of festive films to watch and it’s remarkably good. It’s old and creepy looking, centring around an old house, used for an asylum, inheritance and the deeds that took place many years before and the return of an occupant over the Christmas celebrations. The use of flash backs is superbly executed with sepia which looks ancient. The house itself is enough to send a shiver down the spine, but the atmosphere which is created with odd camera angles, interesting and peculiar characters and a great script all bundle to make a real nice gem of a film.
It’s great to find a film of this calibre and looking at the cast and crew who all do a fantastic job, I cannot believe that nothing became of any of them, and this film isn’t really recognised or mentioned at all!
The initial murder is shockingly gory and looks about as real as it gets, considering this is 1973, it’s shocking. The later scenes of the house being used as an asylum are also disturbing and harsh. This is really what nightmares are made of, but the whole thing is made with some finely crafted art vision. It’s beautiful to watch and experience.
For the first 45 minutes of this film, we see the childhood of Billy Chapman (Robert Brian Wilson) which has numerous character changing moments, far too many for any believable situation and all pointing towards the hatred of Santa. Many of these could have been cut and allowed the film to flow a bit quicker and get to the meaty part of the flick, getting down to some gory slashing business.
The crazy Grandfather, although a good fun scenario was really a waste of time. The slaying of the parents would have been enough to set this film up with and allow enough psychological damage to promote a spree of Santa-goria. The business at the orphanage also seemed like a total waste of time, although giving some slight reason for a murderous return later on in the film. When the massacre does begin, we see a whole run of ingenious ways to kill, Christmas style. From the initial strangulation using Christmas tree lights, to the deer horn impailing of Linnea Quigley who here certainly shows her talent in this, one of her early movies. The massacre continues at random picking people who have been naughty as his main victim. A young girl who has been nice gets given a blood stained Stanley Knife. Nice touch. There’s also a very good ski slay decapitation.
The back story is far too long but the plot is virtually the same as Halloween. One point. What happened to the younger sister in the early massacre? Is this part of the sequels, of which there are no less that 5 in the series! With the plot out of the way, lets home the others roll a bit better as when this gets moving, it’s damn good fun.
They don’t make ‘em like this anymore, and it’s a damn shame. Shot in London with a host of TV actors from Bergerac, The Sweeny, Juliet Bravo and Dick Turpin, the calibre is pure quality. A cheap British flick from the 80’s, looks great, with lots of experimental fast moving camerawork and fast editing. A fine script and a great plot, although it does take the first ten minutes to get over the initial Monty Python type sketch, Police officers talking seriously about ‘another Santa’s been murdered’.
So that’s the plot. A bloke with very little Christmas spirit decides to slay as many Santa impersonators as is possible on the streets on London. Simple genius and engrossing. I can’t actually believe how enjoyable this film is. It’s fun, pacy and well made with some really nice touches. The flashback to Giles (Alan Lake) 70’s Christmas is incredible, powerful and beautiful and the hightlight of the film, especially when he starts making jabbing movements with his Swiss army knife. The acting is great too, notable performances from Belinda Mayne, Alan Lake (how does a great Dave Hess impersonation), and Edmund Purdom, (who also Directs) with Pat Astley putting on a great show, Gerry Sundquist has real presence, especially with that hair cut and Mark Jones offering a solid, stunning performance and an electric death scene. A guest appearance from Caroline Munroe is always a good thing too. Mayne is no stranger to 80’s horror, featuring in Alien Terror, Nightkill and Dead End. It’s such a shame that many of the rest of these actors didn’t amount to much, which was probably the reason for Sundquist’s demise under a London tube some years later.
If you like a bit of Minder and Sweeney. If you love a bit of cockney dialogue and some English titillation, you can’t go far wrong. If you only watch one horror film this Christmas, make this one be it.
Haunted by his past with shocking memories of seeing Santa with his Mother, and the revelation from his older brother that Santa does not exist, Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart) struggles with reality as he is abused and mistreated by co-workers at a toy factory. In a moment of madness, Harry takes control, dressing as Santa and stealing toys and deciding who has need naughty or nice.
It works on several levels, but for most it’s slow starting and hard work, mainly due to the plot which drags for the majority of the film. Maggart’s acting is the one fine point, which is over the top for the most part. Cheap 70’s TV style doesn’t help but the film falls due to leaving a single actor to carry such a simple obvious plot. Highlights include some unbelievers murdered on the steps of a church with children’s toys, a fine lance to the eye is memorable and a hatchet to the head. The huge witch hunt through the streets at the end is good fun though; complete with burning lanterns and the final scene is cinema magic.