Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Marky Mark and Denzel Are Bros

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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Hatchets And Mommy Issues

Post by MadMan » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:16 am

undinum wrote:Definitely check out Brian Yuzna's indelibly grotesque Society if you haven't already
I think I saw that movie mentioned on a horror movie list on some website over the last couple of weeks. Its going on the "To View" list.

PS: 200th post. And this thread is now on page 5. Dear God...

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972, Bob Clark)

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Now that is a film title. I saw the trailer for this movie on YouTube and I knew I had to watch this movie. And despite being a low-budget movie with the limitations that such films have it's a really good movie. One that fits in well with other 70s zombie films, containing that sense of doom and being gory and creepy at the same time. Plus it offers a running commentary on show business that is still relevant today.

Alan is an outlandish and semi sadistic film director who attempts a joke that ends up resulting in a cruel punchline. He drags his film making cast and crew to island full of secrets. Naturally the dead come into play and the film by the end embodies its title. Bob Clark was a master of different film styles and with "Children" he gives us an early look into his horror style before making the classic Black Christmas.

This film differs from that one: "Children" contains bleak humor and is at times funny in a wonderfully awful way. There is a weird sense of atmosphere that I really liked and the ending is well...something. Oh and it happens to be rather creepy and quite eerie, although the island location really helps. I miss these kind of horror movies-B films that had a kind of class and energy to them. Too many horror movies lack that nowadays.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Stay Away From Dead Things Kids

Post by Kayden Kross » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:39 pm

I love the trailer for that movie.
yours truly,
kayden kross.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Stay Away From Dead Things Kids

Post by MadMan » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:39 am

It is pretty awesome:

[youtube]Hm8elaYH7c4[/youtube]

Forbidden World (1982, Allen Holzman)

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Space is a dangerous and scary place. Full of wonders and dangers lurking around every asteroid and moon. At least that's the case in Forbidden World which is an Alien ripoff that I actually enjoyed. Even with the low-budget special effects and the hilariously bad opening space battle. We can thank the legendary Roger Corman for producing this entertaining piece of sci-fi horror schlock.

I can't even recall the space fodder....I mean, characters...names. They aren't terribly important and neither is the plot which involves genetics and some ugly monstrous creature. This film has it all: tons of nudity gore and horrific death scenes. Not to mention amusingly cheesy moments and a cool android. That's always a plus. Don't forget that random shower scene either. The creature itself has great big shiny teeth and appears to be a cross between a spider and god knows what else.

A film like this could only exist in the past when cheesy low-budget films were easy to make. Today this film would fail to straddle the fine line between entertaining goofy camp and outright dumb parody. Someone like Roger Corman was always able to walk that line as a director and as a producer.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Forbidden World Big Spider Monster

Post by MadMan » Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:28 am

V/H/S (2012, Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence)

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Horror anthologies are often fun to watch but annoying to review since you have to look at each individual segment and then look at the big picture. Not to mention thinking about the wrap around story-the whole reason for the single stories happening in the first place. V/H/S is good yet I felt a little disappointed at the final product. This could have worked better as a shorter movie or a TV series.

However some of the stories were really good and one was actually great. There was one bad one and I wasn't really impressed with the wrap around tale although that one had some creepy moments. The film also operates on nightmare fuel-particularly in the segment "Amateur Night." What surprised me is that "Second Honeymoon", the one Ti West directed was the worst of the bunch. Maybe he works best in a longer format, as he builds up atmosphere and slowly creeps out the viewer.

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I also really dug "Tuesday the 17th" although I'm a sucker for slasher films and I thought it was a cool twist on the genre. "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger" was solid-creepy but with a weak ending. The use of Skype on that episode was rather original and clever. Also the films ends on a strong note with the rather freaky and mysterious "10/32/98," which is fitting considering that story is set on Halloween in a horror movie.

I did like that the main story, titled "Tape 56" was never fully explained. The questions left unanswered makes what transpired a tad unnerving even if the story itself is a bit lacking overall. Despite its flaws V/H/S still works as a semi-effective anthology. I am looking forward to viewing the sequel, which based on the trailer I saw appears to be more intense and crazier.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: V/H/S Now Available EVERYWHERE

Post by MadMan » Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:09 am

Stake Land (2010, Jim Mickle)

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Everyone wonders if they would survive the collapse of civilization. Stake Land addresses the reactions of a group of people to their world falling apart and how devastation brings certain people together in a despite bid for survival. Mister is a loner taking care of Martin, a kid he rescued while killing vampires. However the undead is the least of their worries in a terror-stricken American wasteland.

I was surprised at how slow this film moves at times and its attempts to be sadly lyrical. Sister, Belle and Willie fill out the remainder of a band of people willing to do whatever it takes to stay human. Their goal is to reach New Eden, a place that is supposed to be vampire free. It's a shared dream of a sane paradise in a world gone mad.

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Some have bashed the film for having Christian radicals as villains. I don't think it really matters because there are crazy people in every religion and it would be another religion if it was set in a different country. Although I am once again amused and saddened by the idea that it's the truly awful who usually live. In a terrible place full of violence the good-hearted often don't stand a chance.

I actually liked the ending which has been criticized by some. It's a bit abrupt and I was a little surprised by what happened. This was a rather good film and I'm glad I finally got to see it. Even if it wasn't really scary it was a well made vampire film with a good cast and a nice amount of style.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Stake Land USA

Post by MadMan » Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:53 am

Someday I'll finish my backlog. Probably never. I might just kill this thread after I wrap up last year's reviews. We'll see. You all might not be so lucky.

[Rec] (2007, Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza)

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Alright so found footage horror movies might be my weakness seeing as I've liked every one I've viewed so far. However most of them have been easy to defend and in the case this 2007 zombie film that was quickly remade only a year or two later what we have here is a great and scary film. Its been a while since a zombie movie has scared me and this due to the last couple of them being more focused on parody and comedy.

The film's short run time works in its favor as the movie is intense and goes from being slow to rapid and terrifying. The firefighting crew sent to investigate with a reporter and cameraman in tow quickly discover the awful situation they are trapped in. Things only get worse from there, as the truth emerges and the tenants of the apartment complex begin to panic.

[Rec] has some flaws, sure-I wasn't a huge fan of some of the last act-yet it is still a great film. It properly utilizes its format and sticks to the found footage style of film making without fail. Also its incredibly frightening to the point where I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue. Few horror movies have ever done that to me. I'm amused that they not only remade this film but that both the original and the remake have sequels. I doubt any of them live up to the original yet I still want to check them out regardless.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: [Rec] Death Recorded

Post by MadMan » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:46 am

Kill List (2011, Ben Wheatley)

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A strong feeling of harsh gloom lingers, as gray clouds overcast the sky. That feeling that something terrible is about to happen enters your mind like a parasite burrowing its way into your brain. There is no escape, only fear and loathing, misery and slow loss of sanity. Strange men have given you and your partner a job-a "Kill List"-which must be completed at all costs. Regret over agreeing to murder for profit again begins to quietly wash over you, damaging the mind and the body. Only when the two of you encounter the truth do you realize the true horror of the situation. Darkness has taken over and revealed to thyself thy true form. Monster is thee.

Sinister purposes, odd symbols and rituals and the thought that none of this makes sense pervade this tale of murder and gore-crimes committed by well dressed men in tailored suits. Is what happens to Jay and Gal fate? Cosmic karma? Even with the final, haunting frame we the viewer are never quite sure. I have questions and I admire the film as it does not give any easy answers. Jay and Gal embody lies that obscure the truth. They pretend to be gentlemen when they are really professional thugs. Jay carries on the false pretense that he is a family man. Its odd and funny how easily we adopt falsehoods, especially when they serve our own twisted ends. Yet we never question the why. Even when its too late and the bloody answer was starring us right in the face.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Kill List Murder Inc.

Post by MadMan » Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:32 am

Critters 2: The Main Course (1988, Mick Garris)

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Sometimes a goofy horror movie is just what you need. Critters 2 fits that bill, managing to be even more outrageous than the first film. Even though it takes a while to get going as it fills us in on what's taken place since the Browns last had to fight off the Crites on their farm. Young Brad has returned to see his grandma and the townspeople are not happy to see him.

They would rather forget about what happened, right up to even voting in a new sheriff. When the Crites return they are forced to turn to the old sheriff and even Brad to try and survive. In wonderfully entertaining fashion of course. Like many 80s films its created to be goofy fun although for the sequel Mick Garris and company decided to up the amount of death and gore.

Not to mention a moment that is hilarious and crazy. I don't want to spoil it but when you end up seeing it you will either laugh in amazement or groan. I did the former for the record because I like a movie like this one that manages to combine dark humor with monster moments. Even though its decent at best as far as many horror sequels go this one is better than most. Now to view the rest of the series.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Critters 2: The Critters Roll

Post by MadMan » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:27 am

I'm just going to keep posting these despite no further replies. FULL SPEED AHEAD. Fuck it.

Ghoulies II (1988, Albert Band)

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Unfortunately like many horror sequels this one is bad. I don't even know why Ghoulies is a franchise in the first place seeing as the original was decent at best and it's a pale Gremlins knockoff. Joe Dante ended his series while he was still ahead-too bad the creators of Ghoulies did not. Still there are some good moments in this movie and I'll probably end up finishing the series up anyways just to be a completist. I must be a gluten for punishment.

I will say that the film has a pretty good setting: a down on its luck carnival under threat from the son of its owner. My problem with the main human villain is that he's just not evil or sleazy enough for most of the movie. At first he just seems like someone trying to do his job until he goes all the mayor from Jaws and refuses to close the park after the danger becomes widespread. Most of the characters in this movie are thinly developed although that could be said of many movies that are still good. This film bounces from unfunny awful jokes to brutal not very scary violence.

Really though the biggest problem is the Ghoulies. I spent the entire movie wanting to squish some of them with lots of tissues, and calling an exterminator for the rest. The Gremlins have distinctive personalities and the Crites are wonderfully gruesome but the Ghoulies are boring. The first movie was enjoyable despite their presence. Skip this movie and watch a better creature feature.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: The Ghoulies II: This Sequel Sucks

Post by MadMan » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:13 am

Immortality/The Wisdom of Crocodiles (1998, Po Chih Leong)

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Made before Jude Law became famous, Immortality is a film that I decided to watch after looking through the horror selection of Netflix Instant Viewing and deciding "Hey this looks interesting." This is as much a monster movie as it is a vampire film, although Law's seemingly normal doctor kills his prey in the manner of the vampire so it counts. He has a strange disorder that requires not just blood but also the emotions of his victims; therefore he fests only on women who he meets by pretending to being a charming stranger. The problem he encounters is that he finds a woman that he likes from the beginning: in turn he starts to experience feelings of love that complicate his ability to feed and survive. If a vampire falling in love with a human and not killing her sounds familiar, well that forms the basis of the Twilight series. While I'm not sure that a series I really despise ripped off this movie, it wouldn't shock me. Anyways Innocent Blood from 1992 really did the whole "Vampire and human fall in love bit" even earlier, and I'm sure there is another film that also covered a similar subject.

However in this case Law's Steven has bigger problems: the police are on to him after a couple previous "girlfriends" died mysteriously, and there happens to also be a menacing gang of street toughs. He is forced to protect Anne from such thugs in a scene that is funny yet also kind of cool. Apparently being a vampire means you know how to fight, although perhaps Steven like most vampires has enhanced powers. Still that's not even the highlight of the film-I much prefer the scene where Steven and the cop pursing him, Inspector Healey (Timothy Spall) discuss the nature of evil and what it takes for someone to lie to people, to be a truly horrible person. A moment like makes this film more above the typical level of a vampire film, and not enough of them properly flesh out or even dare to humanize their main vampire characters.

Tragic, romantic, and actually creepy, Immortality was a pleasant surprise during my Horrorfest viewing. Elina Löwensohn is a natural as Anne, a woman clearly in over her head yet refusing to give up Steven despite her judgment telling her otherwise. This film has a sense of both style and grace that is intoxicating and engaging, mediating upon the nature of the beast and the beast's interactions with others. I also much prefer the other title The Wisdom of Crocodiles because it fits the movie better and is a more accurate representation of what the film is truly about. Particularly since at times Steven has the manner and habits of the crocodile, a great watery reptile that lurks in the reeds, waiting to pick off its dinner at the most opportune moment.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Immortality With Crocodiles

Post by MadMan » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:15 am

Nomads (1986, John McTiernan)

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Man what a mess of a film. McTiernan is capable of giving us good movies and has done so, however I've heard that when he fails he does so in spectacular fashion. Which is probably one of the reasons he is no longer making movies in Hollywood, although I am aware of his legal troubles too. Sad considering that this is the man that gave us some really good and even great films. Nomads had a good movie in there somewhere, and in the second half I saw a couple of things that I really liked. However this is still a ridiculous movie and not in a good way-I actually started laughing by the end of the film, and that's not what you want in a movie that is supposed to be a horror thriller where the comedy is not intentional. Yikes.

The entire cast deserved better, and I'm guessing that Pierce Brosnan did this while he was still wrapped up in Remington Steele on TV. Lesley-Anne Down is given very little to do except act crazy, and therefore didn't even need to be in this movie. Nomads needed more second half chase and weird goings on excitement, and less pointless current events drama. In fact I would have just dropped the format and gone with straight flashbacks instead, building up to when the past converges with the present. I'm not saying it would have resulted in a better movie, but its a decision that would have improved some of the film at least.

Oh and the nomads themselves aren't creepy at all or even interesting, acting like rejects from a Mad Max film. I actually did enjoy the last shot, but it belonged in a much better film and one that wasn't so damn stupid. Roger Ebert God rest his soul was right about this movie, yet its all the more fun to visit a film he hated and discover for yourself just how awful it really is. Well sometimes.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Nomads Wandering Around

Post by MadMan » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:00 am

The Bay (2012, Barry Levinson)

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Despite heavy handed narration and some weak acting Barry Levinsons' first ever horror movie is freaky and disturbing. Slowly unfolding over innocent Fourth of July festivities in a small Maryland town, The Bay works as a found footage movie that gives insight into the terrible events that happened. Lives end up being lost, a cover-up continues and people are left haunted forever.

Oh and this movie is not for the weak of heart. I've seen plenty of bloody movies and even that didn't prepare me for the level of gore found here. Parasites also terrify me so I was terrified for most of the film. I even was fooled by a well placed jump scare in one scene. However the most chilling part was when you couldn't see anything. You just heard the sounds of the damned and the reactions of two cops faced with a nightmarish situation. The hospital scenes are gory and tragic, illustrating the town's inability to handle the overwhelming horror of the crisis.

Even though the ending is a bit anticlimactic this is a really good film. Its disgusting and violent but also serves as an outlandish environmental warning. Although I'm not sure the science is plausible enough. Or maybe I'm just hoping something like this could never happen. Um...
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Don't Go Swimming In The Bay...

Post by MadMan » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:29 am

Resident Evil (2002, Paul W.S. Anderson)

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Despite how the rest of the series is the first film is rather solid and creepy. Anderson does a fine job of building up the film's atmosphere and not revealing the monsters until later. There is a strong feeling of doom and menace surrounding a covert team sent into an underground lair to deal with a terrible situation. Only until its too late do they realize the serious danger they are wrapped up in.

This movie is also really entertaining although Anderson is a bit obsessed with slow motion. I did like the action scenes, as all of them are well executed and even a bit outrageous at times. The zombie dogs were cool and I laughed when Alice roundhouse kicked one in the face. Oh and there is a twist, flashbacks and your typical gigantic ugly creature. It would have looked better if less bad CGI would have been involved. But I did think the zombies were freaky looking.

The ending merely serves as setup for the rest of the series, and its clear that this is the origins film where Alice develops into unstoppable badass. I did like the train sequence and I imagine this movie is one of those films you can watch again on a bad weather day. I will check out the rest of the series even though looking them up I'm disappointed that Anderson didn't direct them all. He has a campy feel and a distinctive visual style that fits these kinds of movies really well. Although I do wish George A. Romero would have directed this for obvious reasons.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Video Game Adaption #99197-RE 2002

Post by wichares » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:39 am

The Bay is indeed one of the squirmiest movies I've watched. After a certain point it's just non-stop ughhhhh. Much too plausible depiction that it really gets under the skin.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Video Game Adaption #99197-RE 2002

Post by MadMan » Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:32 am

Once they showed the parasites burrowing under people's bodies I almost felt like throwing up. Its pretty nasty and gross.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Video Game Adaption #99197-RE 2002

Post by MadMan » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:47 am

Killing Season (2013, Mark Steven Johnson)

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Despite this movie having John Travolta and Robert Di Niro I was still mostly bored by what happened. The events play out and yet they don't quite work, the ending is meaningless and the violence that happens really doesn't cause me to think anything or feel anything. Some of the film's moments work and make it better than terrible, yet I'm left with a mediocre product that was for some reason disappointing. I have no idea why I was let down by a film that I only heard of thanks to RedBox, and a friend of mine rented this so I didn't even have to pay to watch it. Hurray, I guess. Some movies are not worth a lengthy review, and this is easily one of those. I already forgot about this movie so a review is hard to pen anyways. Killing Season also had the misfortune to be watched during my annual Horrorfest, and as such it made for a poor detour from the scheduled viewings.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Video Game Adaption #99197-RE 2002

Post by MadMan » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:53 am

Pumpkinhead (1988, Stan Winston)

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Special effects wizard Stan Wizard unfortunately only directed a few films, chief among them being Pumpkinhead. Its dated as most 80s movies are, yet its also rather well made and rather creepy. The monster itself is beyond ugly and murders its victims in a horribly gruesome and violent manner, operating on the orders of people who have summoned it for revenge. However as real life and many films attest to, revenge is not a clean and easy matter. Usually it possesses people, turning them into primitive beasts hellbent on getting retribution at all costs. Lance Henriksen's farmer, a simple man who makes his living off the land, witnessed the unholy creature Pumpkinhead at an early age, and after suffering a fate worse than death proceeds to go to an evil woman and force her to bring forth the beast to get him justice.

The problem is though that what happened was an accident, and only too late does Henriksen's Ed Harley understand why others warned him against bringing to life an undead and foul monstrosity. Although the creature effects are old school 80s style, Pumpkinhead itself still looks fantastic and disgusting, inspiring fear and terror. Considering how the movie ended I'm surprised there were sequels, although it seems that the horror genre creates franchises out of just about everything. This is more like one of the darker 80s films instead of the usual entertaining horror ones, and it benefits from playing the material straight.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Pumpkinheaded Monster

Post by MadMan » Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:16 am

The People Under The Stairs (1991, Wes Craven)

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Young Brandon (Fool as he's called) has a massive problem: his family is in danger of being evicted from their crappy apartment in the ghetto. Also his mother has cancer and his sister cannot provide for the family, so Fool goes along with Leroy's (Ving Rhames in a typical quality and humorous performance) plan to rob the slumlord of the building. Rumor has it the man lives with his sister and they have gold coins, coins that would pay for Fool's mom's operation and also prevent the family from becoming homeless. So Fool desperately goes along with the plan, not knowing that it will lead to him becoming trapped inside a house of horrors, forced to try to survive in a hostile environment. After all there are People Under The Stairs.

Wes Craven's second 90s movie is very 80s, particularly since it covers 80s America: its class and race divisions, the fact that white people were moving into the suburbs to avoid minorities. I liked this film even though Craven, like many other horror and non-horror directors doesn't bother with being subtitle, as the film's social, economical and political commentary is really obvious. Everett McGill and Wendy Robie's creepy brother and sister slumlord duo are religious fundamentalists who hate minorities, the police, and anyone else they feel are not God fearing people. That includes the poor, who they are trying to drive out while still exploiting them to stay wealthy. Not to mention the fact that what they have trapped in the basement are, well...I won't say but it's not pretty.

Even though the last act is a bit heavy-handed (mobs sure pop up really quickly in movies) People Under The Stairs combines campy bleak humor with an eerie and freaky atmosphere. Also Roach is a weird yet also sympathetic character, someone who shows up in plenty of horror movies. McGill and Robie steal the film yet I was surprised that Brandon Quintin Adams was really good in this, as too many films have featured bad child acting. I found this to be one of Craven's better movies, and I'm a fan of his because his movies never seem to be boring at least.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: People Under The Stairs Oh Shit...

Post by MadMan » Sat Jul 26, 2014 4:45 am

Mimic (1997, Guillermo del Toro)

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Despite years of camping experience and being out in the wilderness, bugs still creep me out. Insects are different from humans, and they truly rule this world for they far outnumber us mammals. Mimic starts out with scientists desperately creating a new bug to wipe out a child killing plague ravaging New York City. In the process they unleash a monster that only presents itself years later, coming back to haunt the scientist couple that was responsible for its existence in the first place. Dr. Susan Tyler and Dr. Peter Mann begin to realize that the the so called "Judas Bug" has mutated into something bigger, something truly frightening. After all, the characters along with Leonard, a local transit cop, are forced to journey deep into the underground beyond and beneath the subway in an attempt to prevent the bugs, which can now mimic human behavior, from emerging to take over the city.

The creature effects are fantastic, and this movie is really entertaining. Particularly when the film moves to below the city, as the humans end up becoming prey for gigantic bug creatures. del Toro utilizes the damp, dark setting to create an eerie atmosphere while also playing with genre conventions. Although this film does have cliches such as the noble cop who proves handy in the end, the scientist partner who is sarcastic and ends up as bug food, and the adorable little boy raised by the kind old man that may be the key to what is really going on. Still thanks to del Toro's direction and the really good script such elements fit the movie well, although it helps that the film itself is a really good monster film.

Although on further research it seems that del Toro has disowned the film and was not happy with the finished product. I can't say I blame him since it was his movie, but I still liked Mimic all the same. I wonder if the film could not have been truly great instead of merely good however had they allowed del Toro to fulfill his vision. I would like to see the Director's Cut, and there was supposed to be a different ending according to IMDB.com's trivia section-an ending that sounds creepy and fantastic to me. Too bad it didn't happen, although I guess there have been many films butchered or altered by film studios over the years.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Mimic Monsters And Men

Post by MadMan » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:52 am

Bloody Birthday (1981, Ed Hunt)

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Made when the slasher genre was still at its peak Bloody Birthday is a weird and twisted film. A trio of children born on the same day proceed to go on an epic murder spree, realizing that since they are children no one will think they are capable of killing people. One of them even helps the other two murder her own father in a scene that is both disturbing and comical at the same time. The film is clearly low budget and is just another one of the many slasher films that existed in the 1980s, and yet I was entertained and couldn't believe what I was watching. I'm not sure if this film was supposed to be serious or a semi-parody take on the genre. Either way its not as bad as I thought it was going to be, although the last act dives into what are now typical slasher and horror film cliches.

Oh and the one older girl that suspects the trio is branded crazy midway through the film, so her and her brother are in endless danger after a birthday party that teases the possibility of the child trio poisoning kids. Not to mention a handful of crazy and outrageous kills that I won't reveal here. Bloody Birthday walks a fine line between humor and being truly awful, and although its limited by both its strict adherence to the slasher sub-genre and a lack of money its still a decent film. It would have been great if this movie had resulted in a series, but we are left with only the first one to enjoy.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: A Very Bloody Birthday Indeed

Post by MadMan » Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:46 am

The Prophecy 3: The Ascent (2000, Patrick Lussier)

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While the first film was really good and the second one a disappointment the third movie is somewhere in-between. Its an enjoyable film sure, and I liked it more than the second one, yet it has its limitations. Christopher Walken returned as Gabriel, who is now human and in search of redemption. In fact the film's title is directed at him and not the main character, Danyael, who is the son of Valerie from the second movie, although its also concerning Danyael's destiny. For Danyael must battle Zophael and Pyriel, who are bent on destroying humanity. One of the things I liked about this movie is how it brings the overlying arc full circle, only this time Gabriel is on the side of humanity since he was forced to live among them.

This aspect makes the film more interesting, and of course there are angel fights and the fate of mankind hangs in the balance as usual. Maggie is Danyael's girlfriend and becomes forced by Zophael to go after Danyael. There is multiple jokes about driving once again, which is a staple of the series, and I liked that all three films have the same morgue attendant: poor Joseph at this point seems wary of angels, and is ready for his problems to end. I also liked that Gabriel ends up at the same dinner that he stopped at during the first film, and the final battle is outlandish, having been proceeded by freaky nightmares that Danyael has throughout the film.

Oh and this movie has some thoughts on God and religion, although they are very Hollywood in nature and therefore only scratch the surface of religious discussion. I liked how this one ended, and overall I have enjoyed the three films. There is a forth film yet due to Christopher Walken not being involved I don't really consider it part of the series. I might still watch it but I'll have low expectations. Sometimes trilogies work best.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: The Prophecy 3-Walken Rises Ag

Post by MadMan » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:24 am

Anyone here? ECHOOOOOO ECHOOOO!

Cemetery Man (1994, Michele Soavi)

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The dead won't stay dead, that pretty girl you met loves someone else and the mayor won't listen to you. At least you have a mentally challenged fat man and your best friend for company. Otherwise you would take that pistol you use to silence the dead and off yourself. Life feels empty and pointless. Being in charge of a cemetery doesn't really help matters either.

Dellamorte, the film's protagonist decides to shoot other people instead. He goes on a violent rampage that accomplishes nothing. He falls in love with a girl twice only to lose her multiple times (the same woman each being played by the gorgeous Anna Falchi). Each of the ways he loses her are cruel, existing as if they are nasty cosmic jokes being played upon poor Dellamorte. A nice old lady calls him the Engineer, a title he rejects even if it is true. This film alternates between comedy and drama, all contained within a bleak horror movie featuring plenty of ghoulish moments.

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Chief among them is a bus crash resulting in dead old people and children. In a scene that is both horrific and really funny Dellamorte sits in his chair drinking wine, talking on the phone and blasting each and every one of the bus crash victims. Death comes to us all without warning and yet in this universe it is far from being the ending. Oh and it occurs to all, even those who are important and also feel important.

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I love the interactions between the dour Dellamorte (Rupert Everett in an inspired and career making performance) and Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro, who is really quite funny and likable). The two have a natural rapport that makes the film work, and what happens to them forms most of the film's darkest and most humorous moments. This film is what you get when a man-in this case Michele Soavi-spent plenty of time working with two excellent directors in Dario Argento and Terry Gilliam. I feel that this film is kind of a mix of those two's styles, although I sense more Gilliam and less Argento.

Events continue in a circular motion and only too late does Dellamorte realize he cannot escape his fate. Or is it destiny? I'm not sure. But the ending blew my mind and I think this is a truly marvelous film. Man believes he is master of his world until someone or something proves him wrong otherwise.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Dellamorte Dellamore Kills Aga

Post by MadMan » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:30 pm

Graveyard Shift (1990, Ralph S. Singleton)

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Based on the short story of the same title from the Stephen King classic anthology Night Shift this 1990 film is a decent adaptation. It fleshes out the short and builds up the anticipation of finding out what horrors are lurking down below in the basement dungeon of the old mill. That mill is the lifeblood of a small rural town and it is on danger of being shutdown. Warwick, the asshole in charge will do whatever it takes to keep the mill running. Even if he has to sacrifice people to do it.

A drifter named John comes into town desperate for work. Getting hired at the mill he ends up becoming ensnared in what is happening at the mill, pitting himself unintentionally against his new boss. However he has an ally in a coworker, Jane, who is the only friend he's got in a town where most of the people don't like him. But hey at least people are easier to deal with than the rat infestation that has overtaken the mill. Much easier.

Brad Dourif is great in his unfortunately limited role as The Exterminator and this film does create a fairly solid atmosphere. I likef Dourif's really eerie monologue about why he hates rats and Warwick is a really sinister villain. The creature effects are good for an early 1990s movie and I was entertained even if this film isn't all that scary. I wouldn't mind a remake of this movie, although bad CGI would probably be involved and too many awful horror remakes exist already. Sometimes its best to be satisfied with what you ready have.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Graveyard Shift The Rats Are B

Post by Das » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:04 am

Is that the one with giant bat or giant rats?
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Graveyard Shift The Rats Are B

Post by MadMan » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:41 am

Giant rats, although there is a giant rat bat creature thing, too.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Graveyard Shift The Rats Are B

Post by MadMan » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:13 am

Sisters (1973, Brian De Palma)

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Midway through Sisters I realized that this was one bizarre horror film. Brian De Palma pays homage to Psycho and also Rear Window in his own odd way, even going so far as to hire Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Hitchcock's old composer, to do the film's score. I loved the use of split screen later on in the film, particularly since it ups the tension and is a relatively unique technique. De Palma also utilizes flashbacks and home video in a scene that is rather disturbing and eerie, taking the viewer deeper into the film and acting as a strange and really vivid fantasy that happens to be actually happening to the film's protagonist, Grace, the neighbor of one Danielle, played by Margot Kidder. The truth of the entire matter surrounding a murder that Grace claims to have witnessed but yet no one can find a trace of is not even the craziest thing about this entire movie.

Nope instead its the fact that Danielle is not who she seems, and that her past hides a dangerous secret that leads to even more intrigue. I was fascinated by how well constructed this movie is, although I am well aware of De Palma's reputation for creating smart thrillers. In a way Sisters is a fine dress rehearsal for De Palma's 1976 horror classic Carrie, another movie about a disturbed woman who ends up committing violent acts. I found the murder scene to be rather shocking and graphic, and the use of red blood in a white room is a brilliant contrast of visually striking colors is fantastic and another hallmark of De Palma's work.

Well that and the film also has the charming performance of Charles Durning, who plays an obsessive private eye hired by Grace to get to the bottom of the mystery. Even though its low budget aspects hurt the film a little Sisters is a really good, maybe even great, horror film that stands out from some of the early 70s horror thrillers. I would love to purchase it on Criterion at some point, although I'm not sure if its not out of print or not. The current sale going on is as good a time as any to find out.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Sisters Forever And Ever...

Post by MadMan » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:28 am

Village of the Damned (1960, Wolf Rilla)

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One thing I enjoy about British horror and sci-fi is how fact of the matter everything is. Oh sure the village is experiencing a weird event where everyone falls asleep, resulting in bizarre pregnancies? Okay we'll figure it out after tea and crumpets. George Sanders plays the unflappable professor who is faced with the harsh reality that his young son might be an alien; that's a crushing blow for any parent, but damnit he's British so he thinks the world of his kid anyways. These children are super creepy-in fact some of them give Damien from The Omen a run for his money. If you anger any of them, the entire collective group will use their super mind powers to kill you in an inventive and horrible way that would make a slasher film screenwriter smile. I loved how smartly made this movie was, how it slowly builds up the creepy atmosphere, and its interesting that this came from MGM and not Hammer Studios, as feels more like a Hammer film instead.

The death scenes are few but they quite stand out: one man is forced to kill himself with his other gun. Another has his own torch turned against him for leading an angry mob against the children. Sanders' professor and the military are forced to decide what they must do, and this leads to an action that is equally tragic and haunting. Village of the Damned is a 60s classic, showcasing the best of horror and sci-fi, molding together the two genres and giving rise to a near great film. I would like to view both the sequel, Children of the Damned, and the remake, but I doubt either one is as well crafted or as engaging as the original.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Village of The Alien Children

Post by MadMan » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:14 am

Terror Train (1980, Roger Spottiswoode)

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Made at the height of the slasher film craze Terror Train is an effective and semi creepy killer thriller. It features many of the genre’s famous cliches, and yet the setting is unique. While there have been mystery films with killings taking place on trains most slasher films are set in the woods or in deserted locations. The murderer may or may not be someone from a group of friend’s past as they gruesomely kill their victims.

Jamie Lee Curtis choose to make another horror film despite the risk of being type cast as a scream queen. She is the sympathetic final girl forced to deal with a terrible situation. Unfortunately for everyone the train is in the middle of nowhere, putting the slasher theme of people isolated and trapped in a lonely place with no way to get help. This only ups the tension further.

With some brutal kills and an entertaining finale Terror Train is one of the best of the 80s slasher films. From my experience a lot of the quality slasher films over the decades have been stand alone, films without sequels. I was amused that Ben Johnson starred in this movie after making so many westerns. That was a nice touch.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Death On The Rails

Post by wichares » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:01 pm

Village of the Damned freaked me out so much. What a bunch of scary little turds.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Death On The Rails

Post by MadMan » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:24 am

Gotta love freaky evil children. In this case they were from space.

TerrorVision (1986, Ted Nicolaou)

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You can't help but love TerrorVision's theme song. It's as deliciously campy as the actual film it is, and yet it doesn't give away the film's darker side, hinting at what will possibly happen later on in an eerie fashion. This is a horror sci-fi movie that also utilizes satire, although not to as great effect as I would like. Still this is a solid and reliable comedy with some nasty moments.

What I like about 80s horror is that it takes the harsh and brutal style of 70s horror and adds its own brand of dark comedy to the bleak horror elements. TerrorVision pokes fun at the nuclear family, war, TV (of course) and man's stupidity. Plus even E.T. as the vapid Valley Girl daughter and her idiot boyfriend fail to realize how dangerous the alien creature is, greedily thinking of ways to exploit the monster. The parents are sex crazed money obsessed swingers; the son brainwashed by his nutjob grandpa into thinking war is fun.

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Throw a vain and dumb T.V. star into the mix and you have the ingredients for an unlikable bunch of characters, which is something not found in most movies in general. What that means I'm not sure, although I guess it does feed into the film's harsh view of the 80s. The Idiot Box summons mankind's doom and results in a hilariously nasty moment and an unexpected conclusion. Despite being rather low budget and having some poor acting I rather enjoyed TerrorVision. Thanks goes out to my public library for enabling me to view this camp classic.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Aliens Invade From Your TV!

Post by MadMan » Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:05 am

The Video Dead (1987, Robert Scott)

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Released around the same time as Sam Rami's classic The Evil Dead II, Scott's The Video Dead is a low budget zombie film in a long line of low budget zombie films. What I dig about his movie is that its gory, raw, creepy and entertaining despite its clear limitations and the poor acting. I can admire the level of dedication it takes to get a movie like this made and how hard it was to achieve a pure vision without the proper funds. This is one movie that could have been a classic with just the right budget. Although I guess that never stopped George A. Romero or Sam Rami. Still Scott had an original idea, one that I rather like.

Zombies emerging from a cursed TV set is both fantastic and rather eerie. The hapless brother and sister duo that are faced with an nameless ancient evil must battle the undead horde that is terrorizing their neighborhood. I liked most of the kills, with one murder being properly gruesome. The zombies themselves are decaying and ugly, appearing as if they did truly emerge from their graves to prey upon the living. That's some quality makeup work for a film that took a year to make due to lack of funding.

The DVD copy I found of this film was a two pack, with The Video Dead being partnered with another solid underrated cult horror film, Terrorvision.-thanks to Scream Factory, a division of Shout! Factory. Which is a cool double bill, one I would love to see on the big screen. The Video Dead also has a bone chilling ending and is a reliable addition to the zombie sub-genre. I realize it's funny how every time I think I'm getting tired of zombie films I find another one that surprises me in a good way.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Zombie TV

Post by MadMan » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:06 pm

City of the Living Dead (1980, Lucio Fulci)

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Hungry for the flesh of the living, they emerge from the earth to prey upon the living and devour them whole. Ravenous and unrelenting, they are the undead: zombies, creatures of the night, unholy terrors that lurk beneath the pretty facade of normal everyday life. Lucio Fulci doesn't just shoot his 1980 film City of the Living Dead in the darkness because its a low budget movie. No its because he is choosing to lay bare the terrors that await us when the sun goes down and the light fades away.

Light is peace and a refuge from what nasty beasts lie in wait for man and woman as they stumble around in the empty black of nighttime. There is no telling what may lay around the corner, and usually its something that is very hungry and has plenty of teeth. Although I guess these zombies are decaying and lack teeth so they make due by tearing your flesh apart. Quite chilling, really. That's not even without touching upon the horrific and famous death by drill scene that occurs in the movie as well, and is rather bloody.

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Despite the low budget limitations that plagued his entire career Fulci always managed to create films that were pure experiences in terror and City of the Living Dead does not fail in that area. I liked the scene where a child discovers a zombie dwelling in their closet and makes the mistake of opening the door. Its a truly creepy moment in a movie that depends heavily on atmosphere, and in that regard Fulci was in touch with his fellow horror filmmakers Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

All three were gifted at ignoring plot conventions and simply making horror films that struck at the nerve of the viewer, although Bava and Argento were more talented than Fulci. Still I rather enjoyed City of the Living Dead. Its kind of dumb, and yet it has a nasty charm that can be admired. Besides that opener is perfect: a nice day in a cemetery shattered by the suicide of a priest that happens to release the Gates of Hell. That's truly something.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: A Dead City

Post by MadMan » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:57 am

Leprechaun 2 (1994, Rodman Flender)

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Made not too long after the first film, Leprechaun 2 is one of those rare horror movie sequels that actually manages to live up to the original. In this case I actually prefer the sequel-it ups the hilarious elements and also has some really nasty kills. Plus there is the fact that the stakes are much higher here, as the evil Leprechaun desires a human bride in revenge for being denied a bride centuries earlier. So there is that whole “Race against time” aspect that adds a layer of suspense to the proceedings. For now I find the series really entertaining, and I look forward to watching Leprechaun 3, 4, and 5. But I heard that the 6th one is quite awful, and there was supposed to be a remake in the works. How a remake would not fail to copy the rest of the series makes me wonder, and I doubt I’ll find out anytime soon.

A young man and his drunk uncle have the misfortune to encounter the angry Leprechaun, who has been brought back by the usual stupid people. After randomly murdering a few people the Leprechaun sets his eyes upon the youth’s pretty lass of a girlfriend, proceeding to kidnap her. He doesn’t even have the good sense to leave a ransom note. Nasty bugger that one. The uncle falls prey to greed, leaving the young man to desperately attempt to spring his girlfriend and prevent her from becoming the ugly wife of a horrible little green man. Its really tough for a young man who is faced with endless rivals and burdened with taking care of his lush of an uncle, but now he’s dealing with a homicidal ancient Irish folk creature. That’s rough.

Even cheesier than the first one and having more crazy kills (although none of them match the pogo stick death from the original), Leprechaun 2 is pretty enjoyable for what it is, choosing to not reinvent the wheel or deviate from what worked in the first place. The series has its own brand of deranged bleak humor that is easy to laugh at, and I would still love a Chucky vs. Leprechaun film. Too bad it will never happen.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: The Leprechaun Strikes Back

Post by MadMan » Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:38 pm

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986, John McNaughton)

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Made before found footage movies became standard, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is almost a found footage film. It has some of the characteristics: a first person look at the characters, acting rather biographical and up front and personal. Henry is a mass murdering psychopath who happens to hook up with Otis and his sister, two people who really have no idea who he is or what he is doing. Slowly though Otis uncovers the truth, and instead of running away chooses to become Henry's disciple and engage in killing and mayhem.

Few horror films have ever been, to quote the great horror critic Bleeding Critic, "Damaging," not to mention absolutely brutal and unrelenting. In fact my one criticism of this film is that by the end you so numb to what happened that the damage has already been done, that the film is spinning its wheels by the final shot. That's rather disturbing, although that criticism was my same issue with another cult horror film/drama classic, Man Bites Dog, which came along later and was probably in many ways influenced by Henry. In the case of Henry the film is helped greatly by Michael Rooker's disturbing and stark, brilliant and unflinching performance which is the dark heart of this film.

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Still there are plenty of nasty and brutal scenes to be found, chief among them the murder of a family that Otis chooses to document, a moment that is defiantly found footage style material. The worst part about that entire scene though is that Otis not only captured every horrible detail, but that he chooses to rewind and watch all of what him and Henry did all over again. That is beyond the pale-two men who have no conscience, no remorse for what they have done. Since both Henry and Otis were real people its quite chilling to think about if your next door neighbor is really a homicidal manic who will kill you and those you love without even thinking twice.

Could elements of this movie have been pure fiction? Sure, as Hollywood has a legacy of bending facts for dramatic impact. What cannot be denied though is that Henry did murder endless numbers of people, and that Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a window into his black soul. Henry can be seen as a shark, a creature of habit that killed for no reason, moving from place to place, staying ahead of the authorities hunting him. Films like this one cover real life monsters that get the viewer too close, like being able to wander into the lion cage at the zoo or being in a shark cage in the shark tank as a great white circles past.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: The Fucked Up Adventures of He

Post by MadMan » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:38 am

The Funhouse (1981, Tobe Hooper)

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Part well made scare marathon, part funny and cheesy homage to previous 50s and 60s horror films, Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse (1981) is another example of his gift at making entertaining horror movies. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was absolutely terrifying and captivating, while Lifeforce is pure cheesy goodness on an epic scale. The Funhouse works almost as a bottle episode stretched out as a full length feature movie: a bunch of kids are trapped in a carnival funhouse, stalked and hunted by carnival freaks. One of them is even more freak than man, a monstrous evil that might be inhuman. At the same time Hooper can't help but conform to slasher genre conventions, which both helps and hurts this movie.

Chief among those conventions being the need for a "Survival Girl," a woman who is considered pure although in this case she is more just slightly aware of what is going on. This girl keeps thinking that going deeper into the carnival is a bad idea, that maybe something terrible is going to happen. Of course she ends up being right, yet by the time the rest of the group she goes in with figures it out the murders begin to happen. Violence is responded to with more violence, and by the end of the long gory night people will never be the same. Especially that poor young lady who should have remained at home and kept her sanity.

At times Hooper gets too cheesy, and there are a few scenes that are rather downright predictable. The Funhouse almost wears out its welcome, and yet its still a really good horror film, a movie that presents the carnival scene, warts glory and all. Not to mention a really creepy and memorizing performance from Kevin Conway, who does a great job being two different people. Underneath the bright lights, past the freak acts and the cheap parlor games, lies a darker world that only some are aware of. Those who dare to enter must pay the fee, and the fee is rather high. Rather high indeed.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: The Funhouse Isn't Fun After A

Post by MadMan » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:57 am

This is the first review of the three Mario Bava movies I watched on Halloween night last year.

5 Dolls For An August Moon (1970, Mario Bava)

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In some ways I’m not even sure that 5 Dolls For An August Moon is a horror film, as most of the movie is a murder mystery/suspense drama with plenty of bodies to go around. Still its a loose slasher film/giallo crafted by the legendary Mario Bava, and I loved its ghoulish sense of humor. There is some amusement to be found in how this film unwinds, and there is a scene that possibly violates logic yet in this film’s loose and wild narrative its a scene that makes absolute sense. Oh and this film could have been subtitled “Rich people behaving badly. Really badly.”

A group of industrialists throw a party on a secluded island, with several of them attempting to pay off a scientist for his discovery of a formula that could be revolutionary. From early on when someone is horribly murdered to the group’s horrible way of dealing with the murders going on in their midst, 5 Dolls operates as a slasher comedy, with the characters rapidly dropping like flies. Like so many other slasher movies this film quickly becomes a guessing game, where the murder hides in plain sight and no one can be trusted. Its a nice level of paranoia that works fairly well in the best slasher movies.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending, and while I really liked this movie I think its one of Bava’s most uninteresting in terms of what happens. Yet I loved the pure style of the proceedings, and the final shot is in some regards a wonderful joke. Dead people haven’t been this funny or interesting in quite some time, I think.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: 5 Dolls Dripping in Blood

Post by MadMan » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:27 pm

Hatchet For Honeymoon (1970, Mario Bava)

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In some ways the great looking yet sinister manic John, the main character of Hatchet For The Honeymoon, reminds me of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Both are rich psychopaths who hide their murder lusts behind perfectly constructed facades, carefully wooing lovely beauties and then killing them. However Bateman wasn't a mother's boy, and he was too smart to be locked into a loveless marriage of connivance like John was. Poor John, much like Patrick, can barely keep it together: his world is a house of cards, and he is a lunatic bordering on absolute madness. This is Mario Bava's masterwork, a film that takes us inside the world of a madman and achieves the tricky part of making us care if he can actually stay one step ahead of the law, that he escapes fate.

Not to mention the fact that midway through the movie loses itself completely in the tricky confines of John's psychotic world view, operating as crazy as John does the rest of the way. The title by the way is a complete misnomer, as John doesn't actually murder anyone with a hatchet, choosing instead to use a meat clever to nasty effect. The killings are gorgeous, constructed perfectly and therefore shockingly up close. You can almost feel and sense the fear of his victims and pity them even as John covers his awful behavior with the lies of a gentleman of leisure.

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I cannot reveal here one of the film's best aspects, nor can I say more about the ending, which is bone chillingly eerie. What I can note is that Hatchet For The Honeymoon is a classy giallo with plenty of surprises up its sleeve. So far the only other Bava I find that comes close to matching this film is Blood and Black Lace, another nasty piece of work that is another fine contribution to the slasher sub genre of horror movie making.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Hatchets And Mommy Issues

Post by MadMan » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:02 pm

Last entry from the Halloween night of Bava viewing:

Twitch Of The Death Nerve/A Bay Of Blood (1971, Mario Bava)

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Okay so I can see why everyone feels that Friday the 13th: Part 2 ripped off Twitch of the Death Nerve, also known as A Bay of Blood. In fact its painfully obvious, and yet I like both movies-even though A Bay of Blood is the superior of the two. Mario Bava was really good at depicting horrible mayhem occurring onscreen to the point where its no surprise that the Americans decided to rip off his kills. Especially the famous "Spear through the two lovers" death scene that was so graphic the filmmakers of Friday the 13th were forced to cut parts of the scene just to avoid the dreaded "X" rating. Bava apparently did not have that problem in Italy, although I'm sure even the censors over there were strict to a certain degree.

Another thing I love about this film is that the killers are mostly revealed-there is little secret as to who is murdering who, and the body count is rather high. Since the lake front property is worth a great fortune a greedy brood has descended upon the area, desperately killing off one another to try and take control. In some ways this movie has the feel of a gory soap opera where someone is screwing someone else, another person has murdered someone else, and everyone seems to be in on some type of demented conspiracy. Its almost difficult to keep up with the machinations of the entire situation.

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By the end of this movie I was a bit exhausted, although that was more so from having spent the entire Halloween night watching Bava movies on Netflix Instant Viewing. A Bay of Blood is gory, bloody (of course) and yet manages to keep that trademark dark humor that Bava featured in some of his later movies. I smiled at how the film ended, and I realize that the Friday the 13th series would have benefited from more dark humor in the series and maybe some nicely tuned irony.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Twitching Death Nerves

Post by MadMan » Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:21 am

Thus ends Horrorfest 2013. Wahoo, I guess? Eh fuck it no one is reading/commenting anyways. Onwards damnit.

The Blob (1988, Chuck Russell)

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In the 1980s there were a surprisingly high number of quality remakes: John Carpenter's The Thing, David Cronenberg's The Fly, and Chuck Russell's The Blob. The Blob was a sharp contrast to its 1950s original, a cheesy sci-fi/horror movie that launched the career of Steve McQueen. In the original the government aids the town in fighting the alien menace, showing that government could be helpful and protective. By the 1980s the government was seen as the problem, and not just because of Reagan America: Watergate, the Vietnam War and the Kennedy murders had soured the American public's opinion of their public officials. The military that once helped the people in the old film now posed a big threat in the 1980s remake, choosing to cover up the deaths caused by a monster from beyond.

The creature effects are pretty good in this movie too, and of course the death toll gets drastically upped as well. When the Blob gets you it horribly eats you in the grossest, nastiest way possible. This is creepy and ups the tension, adding to the film's modern take on sci-fi and horror. One of my favorite parts is when a pair of kids become trapped down in the sewers as they attempt to flee from the Blob. For some reason kids being put in serious and terrifying danger has been a staple of modern horror, although in older films such as Night of the Hunter children being threatened was prominent as well. I'm also reminded of Jurassic Park's kitchen scene, with the dreaded raptors hunting the two kids as they desperately tried to avoid becoming lunch.

Although at times the movie is really cheesy, I still like the film's cast and how the movie plays out. Its an entertaining thrill ride, a dated 80s movie where Kevin Dillion's street tough motor bike riding outcast is the hero and Shawnee Smith is the pretty heroine in distress who proves more to be more than just that. I loved the ending despite it being the type of ending that we see in horror movies these days, and how they defeat the Blob is just as great as it was in the 1950s original. We need more good, solid horror remakes like this (or great horror remakes such as The Thing and The Fly), ones that build upon the original and do something different, offering up their own twist on previous material. I would rather have those than another bland sequel.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Twitching Death Nerves

Post by Hank » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:21 pm

MadMan wrote:Thus ends Horrorfest 2013. Wahoo, I guess? Eh fuck it no one is reading/commenting anyways. Onwards damnit.
.
Eh, while I can't speak for others... I have been reading all along and enjoying the thread. I often struggle with a Lurking Disorder. It's symptoms include reading threads daily but not commenting on anything for weeks on end. Not because I don't like or have opinions on things... I just get doubts that my opinions are worth typing. Keep up the good work as far as I'm concerned. I know it can be hard to plow through something when getting little feedback, so I'll try to speak up more if I've seen the film. :)
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Re: Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Blob Devouring You 80s Sty

Post by Hank » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:26 pm

Speaking of "if I've seen the film"... The Blob is the only on of the 3 films mentioned in your latest post I have not seen. I crossed The Fly off my to see list a couple years ago and I think The Thing was last year- and I watched it twice. I have seen the original The Blob and enjoyed it somewhat, but was suspicious that I'd like the 80's version better. I just haven't gotten to it yet.
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Re: Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Blob Devouring You 80s Sty

Post by MadMan » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:15 am

Hank wrote: Eh, while I can't speak for others... I have been reading all along and enjoying the thread. I often struggle with a Lurking Disorder. It's symptoms include reading threads daily but not commenting on anything for weeks on end. Not because I don't like or have opinions on things... I just get doubts that my opinions are worth typing. Keep up the good work as far as I'm concerned. I know it can be hard to plow through something when getting little feedback, so I'll try to speak up more if I've seen the film. :)
Oh yeah don't worry about it. Thanks for the post. I was just drunk last night and some low self-esteem/self doubt/bad attempt at sparking attention went through. I always welcome comments and other opinions.
Hank wrote:Speaking of "if I've seen the film"... The Blob is the only on of the 3 films mentioned in your latest post I have not seen. I crossed The Fly off my to see list a couple years ago and I think The Thing was last year- and I watched it twice. I have seen the original The Blob and enjoyed it somewhat, but was suspicious that I'd like the 80's version better. I just haven't gotten to it yet.
The Fly is great and so is The Thing. I'm that guy who doesn't care for the original Blob that much while everyone else likes it. Let me know what you think of the 80s remake when you finally see it.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Blob Devouring You 80s Style

Post by MadMan » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:56 am

The Thin Man (1934, W.S. Van Dyke)

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Witty dialogue, sharp humor, and an entertaining plot drive this classic, centered around William Powell and Myrna Loy as a married couple who solve crimes and have an adorable dog, too. The one-liners are quick and really funny, and I realize that I don't actually remember or care about the murder case that drives the movie forward. In fact this movie is at its best when its just Powell and Loy clowning around, hanging out and bantering with each other as if they really were an actual married couple in real life, not "Reel" life. There's not much else to say about this movie except that they don't make films like this anymore, ones that have class and grace.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: The Thin Man And Woman

Post by MadMan » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:58 am

Only God Forgives (2013, Nicholas Winding Refn)

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Skillfully deconstructing Ryan Gosling's badass persona from Drive, Refn creates a movie that is brutal, ugly, a journey into the depths of hell and which emerges with raw power and strength. The critics didn't get this movie and I'm not surprised because Refn was not channeling Drive here but instead was going for more along the lines of one of his best films, Valhalla Rising, and also Bronson, which is equal to Only God Forgives. I'm still fascinated by this movie, which was rather hard to watch, especially considering the darkness that is present here and which is the film's main source of energy. What you have here is a film that despite whatever flaws it may have (I was left unsatisfied at times even though I really liked this movie, haters be damned) is one that is almost indescribable. Also I didn't particularly care about the perceived "Mommy Issues" that Gosling's brooding, mysterious character Julian was supposed to have. If anything the film makes it more clear that towards the end his problems stem from his father, the source of Julian's violent nature and why he is in a foreign land, among people he does not really understand, in the first place.

Not to mention the brilliant undercurrent of colonialism and foreigners running up against the native people, who they fail to understand until its too late. Vithaya Pansringarm's excellent Lt. Chang is both a monster and a saint, an agent of lawful good yet also lawful evil, operating by the sword literally and executing his own style of justice which is harrowing to witness. The dreams that plague Julian are merely windows to his future, and his fight with Chang is badass and difficult to watch as it is really one skilled and determined man against a man who lacks conviction. However it is Kristin Scott Thomas, as Crystal, Julian's witch of a mother, who steals the movie and who I did not even recognize at first. Crystal is the source of all the problems that happen in the film, and she makes Norman Bates' mother appear saintly by comparison.

Looking at Wikipedia its interesting that Refn says there is a connection between Drive and Only God Forgives. I can see that in some ways, yet in the end Only God Forgives is much harsher, a reflection of a state of nature where outbreaks of carnage and bloodshed almost occur on a daily basis. Man is cruel to man, and in a film where a person is horribly tortured in a manner benefiting of a horror film real life style violence is far more disturbing, not to mention more powerful. Its a shame that this movie was bashed, and I wonder if maybe the critics like their films less stylized and more direct, less harder to read and happier, almost. I'm also amused that Richard Roeper of all people gave this film a good review. Funny how life and the movies turn out.

PS: I loved the colors used in this film. Sure Drive was better and so was Valhalla Rising yet Only God Forgives was visually stunning and the cinematography really brought this film to life. Some of the shots were outright gorgeous.
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Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Want to Fight?

Post by Gort » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:41 pm

I've popped a few of the flicks from this page into my Netflix instant queue. Thanks for the recommendations.
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Re: Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Want to Fight?

Post by MadMan » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:43 am

Sweet, Gort. Which ones are you checking out? I hope you enjoy them.
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Re: Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Want to Fight?

Post by Hank » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:00 pm

Only God Forgives has moments that have stayed with me... which doesn't always happen with films. I like the film's rhythm... and it's visual palette has a certain flow to it. I haven't seen Bronson or the last of the Pusher films from Refn.
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Re: Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Want to Fight?

Post by MadMan » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:31 pm

Hank wrote:Only God Forgives has moments that have stayed with me... which doesn't always happen with films. I like the film's rhythm... and it's visual palette has a certain flow to it. I haven't seen Bronson or the last of the Pusher films from Refn.
His Pusher films are the last ones I really need to see from him, plus Fear X. Bronson is really near great.
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Re: Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Want to Fight?

Post by Gort » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:24 am

MadMan wrote:Sweet, Gort. Which ones are you checking out? I hope you enjoy them.
Just finished "A Bay of Blood," which certainly has the comparisons that you drew to the first few of the Fri 13th films. I got tired of Bava's zoom lever manipulation. I began to see that he used zooming both in and out to structure the film, but it isn't all that pleasant. The story, on the other hand, was clever.
It does no good to try to figure out who "the murderer" is!
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Re: Re: MadMan's Awful Movie Log: Want to Fight?

Post by MadMan » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:49 am

Gort wrote: Just finished "A Bay of Blood," which certainly has the comparisons that you drew to the first few of the Fri 13th films. I got tired of Bava's zoom lever manipulation. I began to see that he used zooming both in and out to structure the film, but it isn't all that pleasant. The story, on the other hand, was clever.
It does no good to try to figure out who "the murderer" is!
Glad you watched it. Bava was never big on story, but man could he film a movie and make sure it looked damn gorgeous.

Last November 2013 I started viewing Hammer Studios movies. This is the first one I watched:

X: The Unknown (1956, Leslie Norman)

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Around the time that Hammer Studios began to venture into sci-fi and horror they released in 1957 a fairly decent gem called X: The Unknown. This movie, directed by Leslie Norman, was created in the horror/sci-fi style that was popular back in the 1950s, and it properly reflected fears of nuclear radiation. Not to mention mankind worrying about nuclear destruction and death caused by a science that many did not understand. The creature effects are entertaining although a bit cheesy, and yet the movie is well crafted and never becomes silly.

One of my favorite moments is when two kids stumble onto the blob, which ends up leading to a scene that is both horrific and tragic. The scientists of course must race against time to come up with a solution, and the film’s climax although typical of most horror/sci-fi from that era is still enjoyable to watch. X: The Unknown is a reliable introduction to Hammer Films, and it was followed up by the studio’s masterwork, The Curse of Frankenstein, released the next year.
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