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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Carnosaur (1993) - Adam Simon & Darren Moloney

Carnosaur is a really weird Science-Fiction Horror film produced by Roger Corman and Co-Directed by Adam Simon and Darren Moloney. John Carl Buechler created the models and effects for the film. It stars Diane Ladd as a weird Mad Scientist. It's bloody, it's trashy, it's a Corman picture. Surprisingly enough, this film was very loosely based on a book that was released in 1984. 

I was expecting a Jurassic Park rip-off but didn't get one. Instead I got a really creative movie with obvious budgeting flaws. A Mad Scientist wants to release a virus on the world that will wipe out the humans and make way for her re-created Dinosaurs to live free again. However, one of the Carnosaurs breaks free from the facility that it was created in and wreaks havoc on the near-by small town.

I never had very high expectations for this one. But it's impressive. The effects weren't as cheesy as I thought they would have been. I had presumed a lot before actually watching this movie. I had seen it in the video store for years and never picked it up. I wrote it off as a trash picture and didn't think twice. I had no plan to watch it until I chose it by random. I am pretty glad that I did. This movie may be cheap but it has it where it counts. 

Carnosaur has a decent amount of gore and some really cool effects. It was shot fairly quickly but the models for the Dinosaurs were made over a longer process. It has some interesting facts to help propel the draw of this movie. For example Diane Ladd stars in this movie, while her daughter stars in Jurassic Park. The latter being released only two months after this film. Essentially mother and daughter are in competing roles. You get some nice cameos too. The most recognizable being Clint Howard, Ned Bellamy, and Frank Novak. 

I recommend this film. Do not just pass it up in the video isle (do they even have those anymore?) Make sure you pick it up. It's entertaining. It's bloody. It's got Clint Howard. What more could you ask for? It's not horribly cheesy but just cheesy enough. 

Directors: Adam Simon and Darren Moloney
Country: USA
Year: 1993
Company: New Horizons 

Did ya know...

The T-Rex skin took five weeks to create and fabricate. It was shot in eighteen days. This movie implemented practical effects like puppets and mechanics. It was all thanks to Horror Legend Jean Carl Buechler. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) - Bernard L. Kowalski

This movie looks much older than it rightfully should. It didn't hold up very well at all. The copy that I had watched was the Mystery Science Theater copy. It made it all the more bearable. It even came with a neat little short. 

A yokel spots some weird creatures in a swamp nearby town. Of course no one believes him but his tales are real. Turns out giant Leech creatures are abducting people from the nearby town, dragging them into a cave, imprisoning them, and leeching on their blood! Eventually the town sends the Game Warden out to investigate and they contemplate how to find the missing people and destroy the Giant Leeches. 

It's explained that the Giant Leeches are products of radiation from the nearby Cape Canaveral. Nuclear Radiation is a usual plot devise for movies from this time. Some think that it was playing on the real fears that people had during the Cold War. Nuclear War fear mongering. However, underneath the veil of propaganda is a Giant Monster Horror movie and that's what we try to focus on. 

This movie is really bad. The creatures themselves are neat, if you like cheap costumes and bumbling acting. But that is really the only saving grace for this picture. That and Yevette Vickers make up the only parts of this movie that are worth watching. Everything else just seems like a chore. The acting and writing is flat but if you can watch it as a Mystery Science Theater copy then you might just make it through. 

These movie are a dime a dozen and as I near closer to the fifties, I will only end up watching more of them. This one seems to be pretty horrible and maybe that is due to it being from late in the Drive-In era. Hopefully this is as bad as Drive In movies get. 

Country: USA

Did ya know...

According to director Bernard L. Kowalski, producer Gene Corman didn't want to pay the technicians the extra money for pushing the camera raft while they were filming in the Pasadena Arboretum in the water, so he put on a bathing suit and did it himself. 

The giant leeches are played by actors in sack-like suits made of thin black plastic and complete with fake "suckers" sewn on.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Beyond (1981) - Lucio Fulci

The Beyond has everything that every vintage Italian horror movie has; horrible audio, poorly dubbed voices, messy scenes, strange music provided by some Italian art group, and a really intriguing story. Lucio Fulci brings us yet another Giallo splatter-fest. If you know me, you know that gore is the quickest way to my heart. And this movie has gore everywhere. It's really quite impressive. 

An angry mob murders a warlock back in the twenties in the cellar of an old hotel. This event opens a door to a dimension full of gruesome zombies. Liza Merril, a young woman, inherits the hotel and wants to renovate it. However, while doing so, she falls victim to some horrible events. Some rather unpleasant and horrific events. 

This movie is brash and violent. Some of the scenes are really brutal but effective in the horror sense. They really like the face melting element. They use it a lot. They do really well with it too. They get really detailed. Fulci gets right up into the thick-of-it with his masterful use of the zoom. The zombies featured are really bloody too. This movie is gore from beginning to end. 

Some people may look at this movie in a negative light. It might not hold up to other, modern horror movies of our times. However, this movie shocked audiences in it's day. Lucio Fulci brought hyper brutality and mixed it with hyper sexuality. He, as well as others, created this sub-genre of horror that fits perfectly in the Grindhouse theaters of yesteryear. I recommend this movie to those that are a little more experienced with Italian horror. Perhaps, start with something like Zombie 2 or City of the Living Dead. Nevertheless, keep a pin in this one. It's worth it. 

Director: Lucio Fulci
Country: Italy
Style: Giallo Horror

Did ya know...
This movie is also known as The Seven Doors of Death. During the final scene in the Beyond's abyss, the sand-covered bodies lying on the ground were actually stark naked street derelicts, who were "paid" in alcohol.

Friday, June 05, 2015

The Knights of Badassdom (2014) - Joe Lynch

The Knights of Badassdom is a low budget comedy horror set in the world of Live Action Role Playing or LARP. Previously made famous in the extra-medium buddy comedy Role Models. It feels very loose and has vague motives for its plot developments. While it serves as a passable movie for a group viewing. It falls short of the target it was aiming for. 

The film is about a group of thirty-something friends (Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn, and Peter Dinklage) that live in a castle, play black/sludge/doom metal, and live-action role play. While attending a large LARP'ing convention, they get in over their heads. They accidentally conjure up a Succubus from hell in the form of an ex-girlfriend. They do this using a strange book found on eBay. Now they have to save the world and send this succubus back to hell!

It was painfully obvious that the money for this movie was spent more on the cameos, than it was on the actual production. This movie could be really well done. However, it comes off as a bit cheap and unfunny. I found a couple of good scenes but everything really just leads up to the ending. I will say that this movie has a pretty sweet fight scene with Dinklage. The satanic rituals and imagery is really low grade. It is the main anchor keeping this feature down. They should have sacrificed some of the cameos for better effects. It would have worked. 

I would recommend this movie to teenagers and young adults. It's fun, cheap, and some scenes could be considered "badass". The cameos aren't the greatest but they could drag people in. You have Jimmi Simpson, Summer Glau, Danny Pudi, Sean Cook, and a few other. Check it out if your going to have a party. It might get some laughs. 

Director: Joe Lynch
Country: USA

Did ya know...
The main cast went through Live Action Role Playing sessions before filming and Peter Dinklage was declared the most successful out of everyone.
Disowned by director Joe Lynch after the film was delayed and re-edited by IndieVest.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

John Dies at the End (2012) - Don Coscarelli

This is a fun, original, and adventurous film and book. Don Coscarelli is a veteran horror movie director that is known for creating the Phantasm series. It's apparent that he is a fan of the base material, as he does his best to include as much as possible without getting it too full. It is definitely a future cult horror movie but one to be enjoyed by as many as possible. 

Best buddies John and David are modern day Hardy Boys with some next-dimensional shit going on. They both experiment with a strange drug that some Jamaican guy gives them at a party. It allows for these realistic hallucinations that allow them to drift through dimensions. Next thing you know crazy flying worms and exploding faces are everywhere. It's nuts. Reality is flipped upside down and it's looking like these two are going to have to save the world. 

I was really impressed with this movie. I had read the book a few months prior to the film's release and couldn't put it down. Since the movie's release I had viewed it several times. I am a fan of it. If you are a horror movie fan then you will love it. Coscarelli's elements are all there and they mix so well with the source. 

If you liked Phantasm then you will be pleased to know that Angus Scrimm makes an appearance. The cast is all fantastic. Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes do a great job as the leads. Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, and even Doug Jones round out the cast admirably. It is really well done for having a small budget. 

Director: Don Coscarelli
Country: USA
Did ya know: John's full name, John Cheese, is a reference to comedy writer John Cheese (real name Mack Leighty) who co-wrote "John Dies at the End" and the sequel "This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It" with David Wong (real name Jason Pargin). In the end of "This Book is Full of Spiders," David Wong claims that John demands "at least one scene per book in which he 'ramps something,' along with a flat payment for each time I [Wong] use the name in print." The onscreen title for this movie at the beginning was CGI "ink". The rest of the shot was actual inkblots filmed in a fish tank.