October 22, 2014

Movie Review: The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976)

The Town that Dreaded Sundown is one of those titles that just sticks in the brain, even if you know nothing else about the movie. That is pretty much my entrance into this relatively obscure film. It is a movie I had often heard mention of by those in the know, but it was never anything more than a passing reference. Of course, the title is probably at an all time high now, with the impending remake and the recent Blu-ray release (it's first since a VHS release back in the day). It is a movie that has a title that inspires dread and an iconic image of it's antagonist, a hulking man wearing a burlap sack for a mask.

October 20, 2014

Movie Review: The Terminator is a Horror Movie

With Halloween bearing down on us, I have been having some fun watching horror movies, many of which I had not seen before. While I enjoy horror at any time of the year, there is something about the chill in the air, the dying of the leaves, and Halloween that just amplify the effects. With that said, tonight's movie is a little off the beaten path. It is a movie that you do not normally see listed with horror films, but if you stop and think about it, there are a lot of similarities and you will how well it fits in. The movie is none other than The Terminator. I sense some of you are giving the screen your quizzical face. I get it.

October 19, 2014

Blu-ray Review: Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer is an endlessly fascinating film that does something that many other big action type films forget to do, and that is be entertaining as well as intelligent. These things are not mutually exclusive. This is why we need to celebrate it when we find it. Snowpiercer is a big, explosive, crowd pleasing science fiction/action film, but it is also smart and has a lot to say. It is a movie that tries hard to not necessarily be believable, but simply be believed. That is all this movie needs to be. It is not a literally believable movie, but it is easy to be believed within its own creation. It is endlessly fascinating and allows for as much or as little to be read into it as you want.

Movie Review: Who Can Kill a Child?

So, this past weekend some friends put on a horror marathon at a local drive-in, digital projections of some classic and not so classic horror films. It was an eclectic mix of titles, with only one likely known by mainstream audiences (that being Prom Night), filled with movies I had never sen before, for better or worse. One of those movies, while far from being the most outlandish, had an interesting effect on my mind. As it ended, I walked over to my promoter friends and said “What the F--- did you just make me watch?” I was serious too, the movie was really rather demented and effective. It is the sort of movie you may wonder what sparked the idea (or the novel, in this case).

October 18, 2014

Movie Review: Death Smiles on a Murderer

In my research into cult, exploitation, and horror films of the past (well, not so much on purpose, but all that I happen to come across), I have found a few prolific directors whose work is a distinct learned taste. They are not directors you are going to love right away, but if you give them time you will find something to really grab onto. Good examples of this sort of director are Jean Rollin, Jess Franco, and the director of the movie in question here, Joe D'Amato. These guys all made a lot of movies, some are good, and some are really, really bad. The movie that stands accused is Death Smiles on a Murderer. Rather evocative title isn't it?

Movie Review: The Psychic (1977)

Over the few years I have been getting into the deeper cuts of horror, Lucio Fulci has stepped up and fast become one of my favorite directors. With that said, I have not seen nearly enough of his films and that is something that really needs to be rectified. The good thing is that this Halloween season has been kind to me and I have been able to scratch a couple more titles of the list. One of the newly seen is the lackluster, but not terrible, Aenigma. The other is the movie at hand, The Psychic, also known as Sette note in nero. I saw it projected at a drive in (DVD, sadly not 35mm, but was still fun) and really enjoyed it.

October 16, 2014

Movie Review: Eaten Alive! (1980)

In recent years there are few areas of film that I have fallen for more than Italian horror. There is just so much to love, they are the movies that keep on giving. Now, my knowledge of them is not always the best, but it is growing all the time. What is fun is watching a movie you think you had seen, only to realize you haven't. The movie in question is Eaten Alive! and is not to be confused with Tobe Hooper's movie of the same name, sans exclamation point. This one, from Umberto Lenzi, has more man eating cannibals and less man eating alligator. Still, I would have sworn I had seen it before, but I think I just saw other movies that were related to it.

October 15, 2014

Movie Review: Mansion of the Doomed

Just like the other day I had a movie that was on and off my radar a few times over a number of years finally get watched, I now have another previously mentioned movie that had until now escaped my eyes. The movie is called Mansion of the Doomed, and unlike Intruder, I expect even fewer people to know what this movie is. The DVD of it was given to me a year or two ago, but never got watched, now I see it up on Full Moon Streaming, and what do I do? I stream it, despite having the DVD not five feet from where I sit. Now, it is not a great movie, but it is one certainly better than I was expecting.

October 14, 2014

Movie Review: Intruder (1989)

Every movie fans has lists of movies. There are lists for movies they love, movies the hate, movies they love but don't want anyone else to know about, favorite horror movies, favorite comedies, you name it, they have (or can have at a moments notice) a list for it. The most basic of these lists are the movies they have seen and the movies they haven't seen. The movies on the not seen list can be there for any number of reasons and likely run the gamut from all-time classics to obscurities you heard mention of in some long forgotten conversation, some are just titles you see on a shelf and just shove to the side. Intruder is one of those shoved to the side movies. It has also now migrated to the movies I've seen list.

October 12, 2014

Movie Review: Candyman

In my estimation, he does not get the same respect that other horror killers do. He may not have the notoriety of a Freddy, or a Jason, or a Michael, or a Pinhead, but he should not be forgotten or underestimated. He should stand as an iconic killer of the 1990's, not to be overshadowed by the likes of Ghostface. Seriously, if you match them up, the all too human Ghostface would be gutted from groin to gullet. Of course, I am talking about none other than Candyman, the movie and character that would put Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen on the map. It is a movie that mesmerizes, haunts and terrifies. It holds up to this day and should not be forgotten.

October 11, 2014

Movie Review: The Judge

The trailer for The Judge made it look like an interesting look into the relationship of an estranged father and son, a dissection of what makes them tick, what drove them apart, and ultimately what will bring them back together. Well, that might be a little bit more ambitious than what we actually get, but it sounds good, right? Frankly, this movie left me tired and uninspired when it comes to actually writing about. Besides having a solid cast, there is not a lot going in this movies favor. It is over-dramatic, sentimental, and hardly entertaining. The end result of this movie feels like an experiment showing Robert Downey, Jr. playing it straight outside of his Iron and Sherlock performances of late.

Movie Review: Dracula Untold should have been left that way.

Dracula Untold is a story that would have been best left untold. While, I think there are some good ideas to be found in here, there is a lot not to like. The entire project feels lackluster at best and it never really picks up energy. I kept watching, waiting, hoping, for something to flip the switch and really take off and give me something really good, but it never happened. I guess at some point I actually did have some hopes somewhere along the line. I shouldn't have. There was a time when vampires were monsters, when they were scary, when you would be terrified to know there was a vampire around. There is a bit too much romanticizing of the vampire going on these days.

Movie Review: Cannibals

Italian filmmakers in the 1970s and 1980s would see something becoming popular in another country and then attempt to replicate it by jumping on the bandwagon and then making some absolutely insane movie that is somewhat but not really related and make it quite entertaining. Think about what Fulci did with Zombie (or rather, Zombi 2). It seems that at this time there were other countries looking to get in on the fun as well. The Italians hit it big with cannibal movies like Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, and Last Cannibal World that others wanted in on the fun. Enter French producers who enlisted Jess Franco to make his mark on the flesh eaters. The result was the lackluster Cannibals.

October 9, 2014

Movie Review: Yakuza Weapon

It has been awhile since I watched one, but over the years, I have come to really enjoy Japanese splatter films. You know, moves like Machine Girl, Frankenstein Girl vs. Vampire Girl, Helldriver, all sorts of stuff like that. As it turns out, I had a related title about to expire in my Netflix queue. I know this is October and I should be watching horror movies, but this feels close enough, like the relationship between cult horror and exploitation. The movie in question is Yakuza Weapon, a wildly over the top science fiction (well, maybe not) and action, blended with the crime film. It stars Tak Sakaguchi of Versus fame (there is another movie you should check out).