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Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Black Cat (1941) - Albert S. Rogell

Another survival/comedy horror movie that has the Old Dark House motif. It is loosely based on the Edgar Allan Poe tale and more closely resembles The Cat and the Canary. To make things complicated. Bela Lugosi stars in a 1934 classic The Black Cat. These two are not related in any way. Aside from Lugosi. It's only saving graces are that the production quality is there and at least its a Universal Picture. 

A group of fortune seeking relatives descend on the residence of an old woman that is dying. Henrietta Winslow had lived with her servants and cats for years. Now, after her passing away during the night. The relatives are left to survive thunder claps, the dark and cats. Usual fare for yet another old dark house tale brought to you by Edgar Allen Poe.

This movie is really well made and has a fantastic aura. However, it's boring and predictable. The only saving graces are the shallow characters and creepy overtones. Also, it's criminal that Bela Lugosi isn't in the picture more. However, the cast that was assembled would be better utilized in an original setting. This old dark house style has run it's course. This movie is appropriate for all ages, but I cannot stress how boring and unoriginal it is. 

Director: Albert S. Rogell
Producer: Burt Kelly
Writer: Robert Lees, Robert Neville
Starring: Basil Rathbone, Hugh Herbert, Broderick Crawford and Bela Lugosi
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release date: May 2, 1941
Country: USA
Did ya know: Broderick Crawford's line "He thinks he's Sherlock Holmes" is a gag. At the time this was made, Basil Rathbone had already played in two Holmes films, "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes."

Friday, July 29, 2016

Blood Surf (2000) - James D.R. Hickox

From the beginning, you will note that Blood Surf is not the classic that the box makes it out to be. The opening font and stock footage opening credits can't hide the meager budget. This movie was straight to video during the twilight of videocassette. It was the last of the dying breed and it followed the stereotypes at every corner. 

A group of stupid adrenaline junkies go on a surfing trip to some shark infested island. Of course things go horribly wrong when the surfers get frazzled by the meat-eating sharks that are literally nipping at them as they surf. The group soon learns that it's not the sharks that they have to worry about. It's something much worse.

This is a horrible movie. A bad story with a stupid screenplay. At least we get Matthew Borlenghi. That''s a plus. The surfing is also cool. But everything else is just dumb. The effects were laughable. CGI used in the worst way. The movie could be fun to watch with friends. It would even be passable to have playing in the background at a party. It would be more entertaining to make fun of this rather than be scared by it. It's almost Sharknado worthy. 

Check out Blood Surf if you really want too. But it's just safer to stay away from these straight-to-video releases from this time. They rarely had any hidden gems and were mostly garbage. Throw away pictures that were used to turn a quick buck for someone. 

Director: James D.R. Hickox
Writers: Sam Bernard and Robert L. Levy
Starring: Dax Miller, Kate Fischer, Duncan Regehr and Matthew Borlenghi
Studio: Tapestry Pictures and Trimark Pictures
Release: December 4, 2000
Country: USA
Did ya know: During the surfing scenes the boat is absolutely still, as is the water when the guys jump in. Yet suddenly they are up and surfing....on what?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Contamination (1980) - Luigi Cozzi

I've been loving the cover art for this Italian Sci-Fi/Horror movie for quite some time. It's really reminiscent of the old Drive-In Creature Features of the fifties. The gore on the back of the VHS box doesn't hurt it's chances of being watched either. I couldn't wait to get into it. I am watching a US VHS copy of Alien Contamination the tracking is pretty terrible and the sound is a bit off. But that just makes it better right? 

A group of doctors boards a ghost ship that is docked in quarantine. They find all sorts of weird stuff along with a group of green pulsing eggs and mutilated bodies. Unluckily for the doctors the eggs explode in their faces and destroy their bodies. It's pretty gruesome. However, some of the eggs are recovered and taken back to a lab for testing. They find out that the eggs are coming from South America. Upon further investigation, they find a one eyed martian that is creating these seeds. 

The movie feels like a mix of Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. You have a hokey alien that is distributing these eggs as an invasion technique? I don't know. Does it matter. The gore and suspense make up for the fact that it is poorly dubbed over in English and has soap opera quality lines. Scenes tend to take a lot longer than they should only to be capped off by terrible editing. I understand what Cozzi was going for. He was very limited by the technology in 1980 and he was going for an independent thing. It wasn't pulled off very well.

Everything about this movie is low-budget and underwhelming. However, the music is superb. It was provided by legendary giallo horror group, Goblin. I suggest checking out the soundtrack. If you like that kind of music. Other than that, the move fell a bit short. It wasn't that entertaining and it was really over the top. Most times that isn't a bad thing, but this just wasn't the best. Sometimes I found myself getting bored. 

If you wan't to expand your knowledge of Italian Horror then this is a good pick-up for you. It's not a terrible movie. I have seen so much worse. This movie is just not entertaining on the level that other Italian Giallo pictures are. It's fun for your friends and can act alright as a date movie. But it's not a repeatable watch. Check it out. Have fun. Watch more horror!

Director: Luigi Cozzi
Producer: Claudio Mancini
Writer: Luigi Cozzi
Starring: Ian McCulloch, Louise Marleau, Marino Masé, and Siegfried Rauch
Music: Goblin
Studio: Alex Cinematographica S.r.l. and Barthonia-Film
Released: May 9, 1980 
Country: Germany/Italy
Did ya know: According to director Luigi Cozzi, the alien cyclops shown towards the end was supposed to be much more animated, but this was not shown due to problems with the mechanics. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Breeders (1986) - Tom Kincade

This was on my list out of nostalgia. I had seen this movie, late night on some show like MonsterVision or USA Up All Night and have been looking for it ever since. It's garbage. It barely follows a plot. The film is literally nothing but naked girls running around killing people or getting killed. The television version was laughable, but the movie in general is just pathetic. 

Something is running around New York, brutally attacking and raping women. Leaving them pregnant with a strange substance that makes them turn into brainless murdering freaks. Two cops start following up on these strange crimes and fall into a bizarre investigation.

In the same vein as Slime City and Street Trash, Breeders tends to focus on the more shocking aspects of horror. Namely sleaze. A formula that worked really well in the seventies and eighties to turn a quick dollar. Boobs, Blood and Gore are the resources needed for these flicks and they were churned out a lot. 

This isn't a movie for the little ones. Keep them out of the room and possibly away from the house. This is NC-17 worthy but ended up dragging away an R rating. It even managed to be distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer. 

Director: Tim Kincaid
Producer: Cynthia De Paula
Writer: Tim Kincaid
Starring: Teresa Farley, Lance Lewman, Frances Raines and Natalie O'Connell
Music: Don Great
Release date: May, 1986
Studio: Empire Films
Country: USA
Did ya know: Shot right along side Mutant Hunt

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Terror Within (1989) - Thierry Notz

This has been on my IMDB queue for a year or two now and I had finally gotten around to watching it. George Kennedy had recently passed away and I wanted to watch something relevant to the genre that starred him. Unfortunately the first film that I pulled up was The Terror Within. A low-budget sci-fi/horror flop produced by the Rat-King himself, Roger Corman

In a post-apocalyptic world, a small group of human scientists are surviving in an underground complex. Meanwhile the surface of the planet is plagued by monsters called The Gargoyles. The inhabitants of this underground bunker have lost radio contact with another group of survivors not far from where they are. Two members go out to see if the other group is okay. They aren't. Everyone outside of the bunker is dead, except for one girl named Karen. And she's having a baby! A half Gargoyle half Human baby to be exact. One that gets loose and starts terrorizing this underground bunker à la Alien, and these monsters reproduce quickly by raping human women and impregnating them.

This is by no means a quality picture. The acting is half-assed and the story is just as inspired. It's crazy to sit back sometimes and just see how much they ripped off other movies. And not just good movies either. B-Movies. Schlock films. It has it's moments, sure. It's definitely a midnight creature feature. However, it sacrifices good old fashioned exploitation for just lazy film-making. Can you blame it? Everyone has to get paid somehow and these movies were being pressed out a lot.

A few moments into this picture and you can start to see the low-budget sleaze oozing through the cracks. The jokes and innuendos are all reminiscent of a Corman Picture. The corner-cutting in editing and sub-par audio are all present too. Not to say that it isn't entertaining. Movies like this usually are. This just isn't a movie that's fit for everyone. You have to be in the mood. 

Director: Thierry Notz
Producer: Roger Corman
Writer: Thomas M. Cleaver
Starring: George Kennedy, Andrew Stevens, Starr Andreeff, Terri Treas and John LaFayette
Studio: Concorde Pictures
Country: USA
Did ya know: The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by Concorde Pictures in January 1989. It grossed $858,591 at the box office. The movie launched a long running collaboration between Corman and Andy Stevens. Yay.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Forest (2016) - Jason Zada

For some reason I had a real strong desire to see this movie. It just seemed like it would be something interesting and entertaining. However, I couldn't figure out why. The promotion and presentation isn't that amazing. In fact it looks cheap. But something just peaks my interest. Perhaps it's the whole haunted forest thing. 

The film is about Sara, a girl that travels to Japan to save her identical twin sister Jess. Jess apparently had some issues and wandered into the famous Aokigahara forest. Otherwise known as The Suicide Forest. Sara knows that Jess is still alive. She just seems to know it. She meets Aiden, an American that is living in Tokyo. He is actually going into the forest to write about it. Aiden says he is pretty familiar but still doesn't go without a guide. Sara manages to tag along and they all trek into the haunted forest together. It doesn't take long for things to degrade. The terror starts almost instantly as they enter the forest. Will they make it out again? 

The film is full of jump scares. Pretty cheap ones too. The problem is that they start to become obvious and boring. The movie can drag and the storyline is pretty shotty too. The only reason we are even on this adventure into the Suicide Forest is because of this supposed psychic link that Sara has with her sister. It's lame. Also, while this movie takes place in Japan, we seem to have a great shortage of Japanese people. Weird. It's like this western mainstream horror movie is exploiting the Japanese culture, badly. 

Overall, this movie is pretty horrible. It is boring and starts to wander on its own plot! The characters are frustrating to watch and make it almost unbearable. I am happy that I watched this finally, but it sucks that it was so bad. Looking back, it's pretty terrible to use the Suicide Forest as a prop. Japan is trying to rehash it. 

Directed by: Jason Zada
Produced by: Tory Metzger, David S. Goyer, David Linde
Written by: Ben Ketai, Sarah Cornwell, Nick Antosca
Starring: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Eoin Macken
Screenplay: Nick Antosca, Ben Ketai, Sarah Cornwell
Initial release: January 7, 2016
Did you know: Natalie Dormer actually went to the Suicide Forest with her Japanese driver for research. She ventured five meters off the path to take photos and her Japanese driver would not step half an inch over the path.