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Sunday, May 31, 2015

eXistenZ (1999) - David Cronenberg



David Cronenberg never fails to entertain me with the direction he takes. His movies have always come as a recommendation and with really good reason. Body Horror is very unique. Only a handful of Directors can actually pull them off. Cronenberg mastered the genre. He gave a face to the genre and created the path for it. This movie is a continuation of that path. It is a very strange affair. Quite possibly the strangest representative of Cronenberg's work. It's neck and neck with Velodrome. 

In the near future a video game designer is the target of a terrorist plot. She had created this biotech that plugs directly into your spine. The biotech is a virtual reality video game that feels like reality. However, everything is curious and you start to lose control of your actions. You do things that the game wants you to do. It gets worse the further you go.



 The designer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and her reluctant "Body guard" (Jude Law) are constantly under pressure. They run for their lives through most of the movie. Weapons are being constructed with misused biotech. Guns more specifically. Guns that shoot teeth. It's bizarre. But that's the rules of the game.  

They jump from "reality" to "reality" and it becomes a bit confusing. However, the strangeness keeps you intrigued. The mystery surrounding the games with-in games. It's very modern noir at times. Some parts of the movie are really well shot. But others feel a bit forced. Somethings start off being creepy and scary. They end up being peculiar and offbeat. 



I recommend this movie to people looking for interesting movies from the 90's. There aren't very many of them. Cronenberg never fails to make you feel something with his movies. He is a master at controlling his audiences psychologically. He wants you to sit down and say, "what the hell did I just watch?" In this area he succeeds. However, this outing seemed like an extreme what the hell.

Director: David Cronenberg
Country: Canada

Did ya know...
Jennifer Jason Leigh had already finished shooting her role in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) when she took on this role. When her scenes in that film required re-shooting, the schedule required for it interfered with this one. Leigh chose to stay on this film and her role in Eyes Wide Shut was re-cast.
David Cronenberg claimed his inspiration for the film was the fatwa declared on author Salman Rushdie following the publication of his book "The Satanic Verses".

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Invisible Man Returns (1940) - Joe May

This movie has an awesome opening title sequence. I have been looking for this movie for quite sometime and finally caught it. Really excited for the combination of Vincent Price, Universal Studios, and H.G. Wells. 

Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe, played by Vincent Price, is given the invisibility drug by the brother of the Invisible Man. He means to help Radcliff escape his fate after being wrongfully accused of murder. As the Invisible Man, Radcliff alludes the police but slowly succumbs to that horrible side-effect: Madness. It's funny that Vincent Price is actually just a voice for most of the movie. 
















Vincent Price does a really good job early-on as the "new" Invisible Man. He adds a great deal of depth to the character. Of course Universal took this opportunity to really showcase their special effects. They did a really good job. Also, Universal makes sure to turn out quality films. This is really well shot, lit, written, and acted.

Universal Monster pictures are really good. They are usually always a quality product. They tend to lean more toward the dramatic. But they do not skimp when it comes to the horror. The best part is that most of these movies are appropriate for all ages. It adds to it when you can share these with young ones around Halloween time. If any films should survive and continue to be respected, it should be these Universal ones. 

Director: Joe May
Country: USA
Style: Mad Scientist Revenge Horror


Did ya know...
Shooting lasted from October to December, 1939, released January 15, 1940. Vincent Price made this film right after James Whale's Green Hell (1940), which saw release one day before, on January 14.


Part of the original Shock Theater package of 52 Universal titles released to television in 1957, followed a year later with Son of shock, which added 20 more features.



Humanoids From the Deep (1980) - Barbara Peeters and Jimmy T. Murakami


This is your standard old drive-in Creature Feature that has tons of gore and boobs. It's great if your in for a cheap thrill. This film goes right up along side any Roger Corman produced picture from the eighties. It's rumored that Joe Dante was approached to direct this movie but he turned it down. Humanoids from the Deep, also known as Monster, is a strange but forgettable piece of exploitation that failed to make it's notch in history. Don't let that detour you though. This is a really fun little film that doesn't fail to be entertaining. 

A small sea town in California is terrorized by some mutated creatures from the deep. They look like some sort of mutated fish, merman-thing. They seem to have one goal in mind and that is raping and impregnating the females of the town. Also the town is being taken for a ride by a shifty businessman and his new corporate cannery. Could this evil cannery corporation be responsible for the Extreme Creatures of the Black Lagoon? 


This movie is all that you would expect from a Corman production. Apparently, the Director Barbara Peeters was unaware of the amount of skin that would be shown. But critics have touted it as necessary. I have to disagree. The film could have been just as good without the copious amounts of breasts, but then what would set it aside? It has its place in the eighties as a Grindhouse picture and serves that reputation well. The acting is far below par. Even from veterans like Doug McClure and Vic Marrow. Except, you don't watch movies like this for the acting do you? 

A decent amount of gore. Tons of graphic content. This movie is not a kid's picture. The plot may seem a bit immature but believe me, it isn't for children. Think of it as an adult Creature from the Black Lagoon. I recommend it to those that are curious. If you have seen most eighties horror movies, there is a good chance that you haven't seen this. 

Check it out and share what you think!

Country: USA


Did ya know...
There are only three Humanoid creatures seen together on-screen in the same frame throughout the movie. The production really only had one fully functioning Humanoid costume and two others that could only be shot from certain angles because they weren't as convincing. Use of such angles, as well as the editing, would help to create the illusion that there were much more Humanoids than just three for the climactic carnival massacre. Actress Ann Turkel once said why she chose to do this film: "It was an intelligent suspenseful science-fiction story with a basis in fact and no sex". However, with the filming of additional footage, the sex content changed.


Monday, May 25, 2015

The Ghost Breakers (1940) - George Marshall



This movie really showcases the comedic talent that Bob Hope has. It's more than just another Old Dark House type movie. It isn't that flat. However, it suffers from being a product of its time. It has a charm. A certain quality that seems unmatched. It is one of the more well-preserved films from the time. My copy was excellent.


Paulette Goddard inherits a small island near Cuba, with an old plantation. Bob Hope is a loudmouth radio crime reporter that literally gets mixed up with the mafia and has to run for his life. He ends up stowing away in Goddard's luggage as she has decided to travel to the island to gather her inheritance. However, she is confronted with Zombies and Ghosts. She suspects someone is just trying to scare her away from the treasure, err... inheritance. 




Horror movies during this period didn't really have a lot of depth. They all followed a similar plot and had very similar characters. The most obviously used is the Old Dark House storyline. The Ghost Breakers appeared be another, factory run horror movie. Reusing the same old tropes. Only, this proved better. Bob Hope is in top form. Paulette Goddard is a looker. You get Ghosts, Zombies, Voodoo, and yes... an Old Dark House. But it's done so well! It's based on a play Paul Dickey. 

It's a fun movie that I recommend to the hardcore horror fans. It's a chore to get casual horror fans enjoy a movie as dated as this one. However, if you can appreciate the fast talking and quick wit of Bob Hope then I think you will like this one. Watch this with your grandparents. They might like it. 

Director: George Marshall
Country: USA

Did ya know...
The play, "The Ghost Breaker," by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard, was filmed twice as a silent film, in 1914 (directed by Cecil B. DeMille), and in 1922. Both silent versions are considered lost. The play was filmed a final time as Scared Stiff (1953), starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Bob Hope made a cameo appearance in the film
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.






Friday, May 22, 2015

Slime City (1988) - Greg Lamberson



When i first heard of Slime City I got really excited. My enjoyment grew with the amazing opening synth theme. I came into it knowing that it would be low budget but that didn't even cross my mind. I just sort of... took it in and enjoied it for what it is. A cult classic from the eighties. A rare gem that prefers to stay hidden from the masses. 

The characters are likable enough to become invested. Alex is an art student that gets an apartment to "seal the deal" with his girlfriend Lori. The apartment building he moves into has some real upstanding characters. However, a Nick Cave wannabe and a biker skank seem to be the main culprits. The mucky biker chick seems to concoct this thick sticky ooze that the other tenants eat. They love it. It's pretty foul. 


The ooze is weird. It has odd effects. Although the initial effects are temporary, they could last for a lifetime. It makes your skin turn into a gelatinous substance and sends you into a murderous rage. At least that's what happens to Alex. He tries just a bit of the slime and is instantly hooked. It's very crack adjace. Kids, Don't do drugs. 

The tepid lighting and flaccid sound are enough to turn any casual viewer away. However, under the surface Slime City actually has something going for it. Now I haven't seen Street Trash at the time of this viewing. However, I intend to at some point and come back to this and make a follow-up. Many people have drawn comparisons between the two films.


Upon my viewing this time though I found this movie to be pretty fun and original. This isn't a quality movie but it certainty is entertaining. It's a very punk rock movie. I love the gritty-ness and hardcore feel. It's a breath of fresh air in this climate of family friendly PG-13 "horror" flicks. 

Slime City is most certainty gory. It is your usual bloody mess movie, verging on ridiculousness. It goes so far and beyond that it becomes revolting. It does a fine jobe of that. It encompasses the spirit of classic horror movies but delivers in a way that would make Lloyd Kaufman proud. I fully recommend Slime City. 


Director: Greg Lamberson
Country: USA


Did ya know...


A soundtrack album feature 40 minutes of instrumental music by Robert Tomaro was released for the 20th anniversary of the movie. It feature the bonus track The Slime City Tribute Song by Holy Mary Motor Club.Lamberson is the author of the horror novels Johnny Gruesome and Personal Demons, published by Medallion Press, and the filmmaking book Cheap Scares! Low Budget Horror Filmmakers Share Their Secrets. He also created the popular horror entertainment website www.FearZone.com. His personal website is www.slimeguy.com.


Forbidden World (1982) - Allan Holzman


An Alien rip-off directed by Allan Holzman and produced by Roger Corman. What would you expect? This isn't a movie for everyone and certainly is not for the younger viewers. It's gritty and gruesome. It's a cheap eighties schlock picture and it's beautiful.

Pretty cheap space battles. Pretty cheap special effects. The sound keeps fluctuating. It's a cult movie from the eighties and it's part of what made that era great. An interstellar Law man visits a Research Facility where a crazy Mutant has gotten loose. The mutant loves "restructuring" DNA and pretty much melts its victims into a puddle of gelatinous goop. Insert a Mad Scientist and two girls that can't seem to keep any clothes on and you have this.


This being a Roger Corman movie, is most definitely full of innuendo and sex. That's a Corman staple. Which isn't a bad thing. It just makes the horror sleazier. It's fun. It has a terrible soundtrack, bad editing, and trashy effects. But something keeps drawing me in. If I have to say something about this movie, it's interesting.

The movie tries to force it's characters to be intellectuals and that is a major problem. All of the characters present the most obvious and basic solutions to the problems that arise. Not that I was watching this movie for quality. However, I would have liked someone to have consulted some real doctors before making this. This movie has loads of gore too. The gelatinous disintegrating bodies are really disgusting and pretty cool. The main monster is really lame but the gore more than makes up for it.

I recommend this movie to those that want a good cheap Sci-Fi adventure. If you aren't too bashful and can stand some graphic content then this is right up your alley. No prudish types need view. This wouldn't be for you. Corman is a legend in cinema. The films he produces may not be the greatest but they are definitely worth the watch.  

Director: Allan Holzman
Country: USA

Did ya know...

Dawn Dunlap's character was originally going to be played by a much older woman, an ex-Playboy Bunny. When Dunlap walked in to audition for the role a day before principal photography was to begin, director Allan Holzman pleaded with the producers to sign her for the part. They very reluctantly made a new contract for her.

This project was originally envisioned as an outer-space version of Lawrence of Arabia (1962) by Allan Holzman. Roger Corman told him that the budget would be far too high, so Holzman eventually decided he wanted to do an Alien (1979) ripoff. Corman agreed to that.

During the monster's death scene, it vomits up a viscous pink fluid. This vomit was made up of a material that burns skin on contact. The fearful FX technicians and the second unit director decided to build a wall made of garbage bags to protect themselves, and then stuck a camera through to film the monster's death.




Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Willies (1990) - Brian Peck


First off this movie would never have the ability to qualify for a PG-13 rating now-a-days. It is frightening. It's like a Nickelodeon horror movie. It has some really adult size horror, but can't shake that safe feeling that children's programming provides. This is an Anthology horror film that features a couple of different tales. These are always fun as they tend to provide some much needed variety. 


The film is about a group of kids, camping out and telling scary stories around the fire. They make reference to The Goonies and apparently Sean Astin is playing the same character that he was in that movie. Or at least that is what the rumor mill was saying. The kid's give us a lot of quick, short stories to kick it off. Surprisingly this is all part of a cold open that seems to take forever. 


They finally delve into some really bizarre tales. The first is about a scrawny, kid that has a problem with getting bullied at school. He discovers some strange, gargoyle-like monster hiding in the Boys Room. He also discovers that this monster has ripped the head off of his favorite janitor. He tries to find help, but one by one the Monster kills every intruder. It's actually kind of neat. 


The second feature is about this ass-hat of a kid named Gordy Belcher, that is obsessed with flies. Especially if they are dead flies. He puts the flies in a tiny diorama that he has in his basement. The flies are all set-up in these everyday life poses. It's kind of lame. He pisses everyone in town off with his dickish behavior, and kicks up a rivalry with a mad scientist of sorts

This movie isn't hurting for star power. Sean Austin, Jeremy Miller, James Karen, Kathleen Freeman, Michael Bower, Bill Erwin, Dana Ashbrook, Kirk Cameron, and even Doug Benson have a part in it. The writing and acting are all television quality but that doesn't take away from anything. The weirdest thing is the cold open. It's strange. And the individual scenes seem to go on for way too long and the plot just gets muddy.

The nostalgic factor really played a part with me here. I think I may have seen this when I was a child. It seems so familiar. I didn't expect much and I felt okay with what I had gotten. Others seem to really hate this movie, but I don't understand the hate. It's not the best so don't go into this expecting anything. Just watch it for what it is. A really weird early 90's kids horror movie. 

Director: Brian Peck
Country: USA

Did ya know...

This movie is directed by Brian Peck who played Slag in Return of the Living Dead. James Karen was also featured in the Return... movies. Somehow, Kirk Cameron and Tracey Gold from Growing Pains have a cameo in this movie. They reprise their roles from that show. Jeremy Miller also starred in Growing Pains
Gordy Belcher's school lunch consists of all the essentials for a nutritious Ghostbusters lunch: Hi-C Ecto-Cooler (a tie-in with The Real Ghostbusters (1986) animated series), Doritos (featured in the 2009 Ghostbusters (2009) video game), and Twinkies (featured in the Ghostbusters (1984) 1984 movie). - IMDB



Sunday, May 03, 2015

American Psycho (2000) - Mary Harron



This movie is the PSYCHO of the modern world. Showing that anyone can be a psychotic ax-wielding maniac. A world of excess and vices. A perfect little picture of the fast lifestyles of the wealthy "Wolves of Wall Street." Lot's of drugs, lot's of women, lot's of reservations, and lot's of business cards. Patrick Bateman is a fantastic character. This movie is based on the book American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. It is an amazing read. Check it out if you haven't. 



This movie is about Patrick. Patrick is an investment banker that has grown incredibly bored of his everyday lifestyle. His joys in life come in very few forms. He is very organized. Down to very fine details. He loves music. He loves sex. And, he loves murder. This film follows Patrick as he spirals further and further out of control. Everyone around him is in danger. 


We follow him through his everyday life encountering friends and victims along the way. The movie has a very unique tone, that holds all the way through. The best word I can think of to describe it would be, creepy. It's dark and brooding. However, some scenes are really funny. It walks a really thin line but it does it so well. The soundtrack is phenomenal. Tons of great eighties music with a period inspired soundtrack.




The cast in this film is great! Christian Bale does an amazing job as Patrick Bateman. He is really creepy and brings out his inner Tom Cruise. William Dafoe appears as a really creepy detective. That guy is a great creepy guy. Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, ChloĆ« Sevigny, and Reese Witherspoon all make appearances in this already star studded flick. 

It is really well done. I recommend this movie to anyone that just doesn't want to read the book. It's not as good as the book. But movies rarely are. This movie is extremely graphic and really brutal. It's not one to watch with the young kids. Sex, Blood, and Pop Rock are the themes here.

Director: Mary Harron

Country: USA
Style: Psychotic Slasher Horror

Did ya know...

The soundtrack for the film was scored by John Cale, with artists such as David Bowie, The Cure, and New Order. The Huey Lewis and the News song "Hip to Be Square" appears in the film and was initially intended to be on the soundtrack album, but was removed from the album due to lack of publishing rights. As a result, Koch Records was forced to recall approximately 100,000 copies of the album which were destroyed. Koch Records president Bob Frank said, "As a result of the violent nature of the film, Huey Lewis's management decided not to give the soundtrack clearance". Lewis' manager Bob Brown claimed that the musician had not seen the film and that "we knew nothing about a soundtrack album. They just went ahead and put the cut on there. I think what they're trying to do is drum up publicity for themselves". In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Lewis stated that the violence in the movie played no part in the decision not to allow the song to be included on the soundtrack. He reiterated Bob Brown's earlier denial stating "It was in the USA Today and everywhere else. It said, "Huey Lewis saw the movie and it was so violent that he pulled his tune from the soundtrack." It was completely made up."In addition, prior to the start of principal photography, Whitney Houston refused to allow the use of her performance of the song "The Greatest Love of All" in the film and was replaced by an easy-listening orchestrated version. - FROM WIKIPEDIA



Saturday, May 02, 2015

Psychomania (1971) - Don Sharp


Psychomania is a product of it's time. A film that was created by a troupe of hippies that wanted it to be incredibly bad-ass. Only, the hippie culture and the outlaw biker culture always seem to run into this awkward wall. Scenes of light brutality are sprinkled with happy dancing and frolicking. It makes the picture odd. The pacing seems off a bit. Or maybe it was just suffering from an identity crisis.


This film is about a group of ne'er-do-well's that form the biker club known as The Living Dead. The leader Thomas seems to be a little odd. Apparently his folks know the secret to immortality. He learns that he must die and then he can come back as an unstoppable force. A force that knocks groceries out of old ladies hands, pushes strollers with their motorcycles, steals petrol, and shoplifts!



Thomas is killed, buried (lol), and comes back from the dead. So if it works for him it has to work for his mates, right? What kind of danger is this going to spell for the tiny town? Needless to say, his cohorts all kill themselves and then rove about as a destructive force out stealing gas and causing some mediocre crimes. Truly it is a strange plot. I would be lying if I didn't say it wasn't original.


The film is neat. It has it's moments and can pull you in. However, it looks really dated. If that kind of thing doesn't detour you from watching then you might be pleasantly surprised. Psychomania's main problem is it's indecisiveness when pertaining to it's theme. It should either be a gritty, grimy biker horror feature. Or a hippie dippy action romp. However, that appears to be my only real gripe.

When you watch this you have to take it all as it comes. It is corny. It is cheap. It's independent as hell but it makes up for it with creative charm. I recommend this to anyone looking for something different. If rare movies excite you than this might be right up your alley. 

Director: Don Sharp
Country: United Kingdom
Style: Outlaw Biker Horror


Did ya know...

The London Times said that this movie was only fit to be played at an SS Reunion Ceremony.