January 22, 2017

Movie Review: Absurd

When you see a movie called Absurd, you should know that you are in for something, well, absurd. This Italian production was known by a number of different titles, but Absurd seems to fit the best. However, if that title doesn’t ring a bell, how about Horrible, Zombie 6, Monster Hunter, Grim Reaper 2, Anthropophagus 2, or, as the title on this print called it, Rosso Sangue (Blood Red)? I think there may be a few more variations as well, but I always go with Absurd. Of course, you could just call it “Someone Saw Halloween and Tried to make it Their Own.” it’s a mouthful, but that is what it amounts to.

January 21, 2017

Movie Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Movies that come with a considerable amount of hype always run the risk of disappointing, of letting someone down after the buildup. It is always a fear of mine, I may listen to some of it, but I try not to get too wrapped up in said hype for fear of letting it sway my actual feelings about any given film. The Autopsy of Jane Doe is the latest film to arrive with a lot of hype and positive buzz around it. Friends messaged me asking if I’d seen it, positive comments on social media, even Stephen King is singing its praises. So, while I was anxious to see it, I went in trying to keep myself in check, just in case.

Movie Review: The Bye Bye Man

You know, there are movies every year that I know I should not see. Movies that look terrible and do not deserve to be seen. Sometimes I am successful at avoiding the temptation, but other times I am not so good at staying away. In the case of The Bye Bye Man, I saw the trailer and immediately put it on the avoid list. I have to be honest, it looked horrible, suffers from a terrible title, and what looked to be a ridiculous premise. Somehow, I found myself with some time to kill and that movie fitting right into the time available. Can you guess what I did? Of course you can. I sat by myself in a theater being bored for 90-minutes.

January 19, 2017

Blu-ray Review: Train to Busan

This past summer, I had the opportunity to check out a new zombie film from South Korea, it had been garnering a lot of buzz and I was curious to see if it would live up to the hype. The movie is called Train to Busan and it more than lives up to the hype. The film turned out to be an amazingly executed zombie film that delivers the action and also carries a strong emotional hook. It ramps up a little slowly, but it gives us characters, characters that are interesting and make us invested in their survival, or lack thereof.

January 18, 2017

Movie Review: Underworld - Blood Wars

Hard to believe the Underworld franchise has been chugging along for more than a decade and is looking at at least one more sequel before all is said and done. I actually used to enjoy this franchise, led by a latex-clad Kate Beckinsale. There is plenty of potential in an epic tale of a war between vampires and werewolves. I used to anticipate each new episode in the series to see just what was going to happen, even when they replaced Beckinsale with Rhona Mitra and took us into the past to see early monster altercations. Now, I look at a new Underworld movie and think “Another one?” It doesn’t help that I revisited the franchise recently and found them to be kind of dull. Stylish, but dull.

January 17, 2017

Movie Review: Sleepless (2017)

It’s January again. You know, that time of year when expanding Oscar-bait movies fight for theaters against a wave of cheap and/or low expectation titles at the local cinema. It is a feast or famine month, depending on your point of view. I decided to take a shot with an early 2017 release that has a little star power in its favor, with Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, and Dermot Mulroney on the cast listing. The movie is called Sleepless, and, to be honest, when I first saw the trailer, it felt like a lot of movies that have come before it. With that said, I was pretty sure what to expect going in, and I was not disappointed. Well, maybe I was.

January 16, 2017

2016: Favorite Movies of the Year

For 2016, my overall viewing was down, but I was still able to see a lot of really good movies. I would go so far as to say that I saw more excellent movies than I was expecting to. Of course, there are always those that I miss and I have to say that the late year crop of Oscar-type movies have not really excited me. Whether my lack of interest is due to the change in my viewing habits or taste, or that it is a weaker than usual Oscar class, I do not know. In the end, I don’t think it matters. The fact remains, I saw 19 movies that racked four stars or higher over the year. Below are said movies, all of which were seen in a theater.

January 3, 2017

2016: Worst Movies of the Year

The past year has given us more than a few stinkers. Try as I might to avoid them, I always manage to suffer through a few of them. I did manage to avoid some obvious junk like Nine Lives, Norm of the North, and Dirty Grandpa. Unfortunately, I did find myself sitting through the list below. I do not recommend wasting time with these movies, but far be it for me to dissuade you from seeing anything. Heck, for all I know, you may enjoy some of these. I feel pretty certain that I will not be seeing them again. Note: This list is compiled exclusively from films seen theatrically.

December 11, 2016

Blu-ray Review: Phantasm

In the late 1970's the slasher film was getting ready to explode, riding on the shoulders of movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, and the genre defining Halloween. There was also the growing zombie world with Dawn of the Dead, the man versus nature of Jaws, and sci-fi monsters of Alien. Then there was Phantasm, released in 1979 and not really being like anything that had come before it. While it may not be a personal favorite, it is, indeed an original horror film made on a tight budget that has withstood the test of time, has grown on me, and is still, to this day, straight up creepy. It also has to be said that this newly remastered Blu-ray is gorgeous and the best the movie has ever looked.

"If this one doesn't scare you.... You're already dead."

December 5, 2016

Festival Recap: Hudson Horror Show 14 has Ended

Seven years in and going stronger than ever. It is amazing watching this force of cinema exert its will on an audience and watching them all eat it up. Beginning as a small, unassuming screening of some horror movies, some local, independently made shorts, and a few vendors, it has grown into a colossal beast, an entity known far and wide, able to sell out theaters in minutes. One of the biggest changes was when they expanded into a second theater last year. Even the threat of losing the venue a few years back was not enough to get them down. The Hudson Horror Show has become an institution and easily among the best genre related events of the year.

Movie Review: Christmas Evil

As the Christmas season rolls around each year, there are a few certain films that always get watched. I always visit seasonal classics such as Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Elf, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Then there are the action regulars, most notably Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, and Lethal Weapon. Those are all well and good, but being a horror movie fan, there are the darker holiday films that need to have some time spent with them, this includes the likes of Black Christmas and Silent Night, Deadly Night. In recent years a new film has come to my attention and has quickly risen through the ranks, Christmas Evil.----- Read the rest at Shit Movie Fest as part of annual 25 Days of Shitmas.

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December 1, 2016

Movie Review: Pigs (1972)

Pigs. Yes, the movie is called Pigs. Sure, it has gone by many names over the years, from The 13th Pig to Menu for Murder, to Daddy’s Deadly Darling, to Love Exorcism. It is one of those movies where when mentioned to mainstream loving friends will be received with a cocked eyebrow and a clueless stare. Rest assured, it is their loss for not knowing it and another notch in your belt for seeking out and watching obscure oddities. Yes, Pigs can and should be considered an obscure oddity. It is also another winning release from Vinegar Syndrome, plus it has some pretty snazzy reversible cover art by Chris at Quiltface Studios.

November 28, 2016

Movie Review: Psychic Killer

Here is another 70’s era exploitation feature that has come to my attention by way of a Vinegar Syndrome release. Psychic Killer is a fun, pulpy romp that is not as serious as it wants to be, nor as in depth as it could be. It is a movie that you really have to accept on its own terms. I found that the minute you begin to question it, is the same time your interest will begin to waver. It is buoyed by some decent performances, but even as I was entertained, I wonder what it could have been had it been given another rewrite or two.

Movie Review: Luther the Geek

Genre movie fans owe a debt of gratitude to boutique distributors such as Vinegar Syndrome. Thanks to them, some truly bizarre films are being preserved and made available to the public. In some cases this is their first ever home video release and in other cases it is in a beautifully restored version, where the movie looks as if it were brand new. The movie at hand today is called Luther the Geek. It is a truly odd feature from 1988 that features a clucking killer who never says a word, and some truly unsettling atmosphere. No, it is not the best film, but it is surprisingly effective and certainly worth the effort to watch.