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Showing posts from January, 2013

Firestarter

LOT-6 was created by scientists, tested on human guinea pigs, and as a result, some of their test subjects gain mental powers. The Shop is a defense department behind the project. The Shop has assassins on their payroll. One couple, both successful test subjects, have a daughter born with "pyrokinesis", an ability to mentally set whatever she desires (including cinder block) on fire. The Shop want to test how far she can go with her ability...her parents, however, are considered a liability. It is believed by some in The Shop that this girl could be a danger if her father-protector is disposed of. One of The Shop's assassins, John Rainbird, has plans for the girl once the department's testing is done. Can the girl and her father escape Rainbird and The Shop?
***½

House at the End of the Street

Coming from noisy, violent Chicago, a mother and her daughter rest in an idyllic (well in a Brothers Grimm sort of way) suburban woodsy area, in one of those incredibly expansive, fancy houses seemingly built for a six-person family (the kitchen alone is as big as most of my house). Getting it cheap because the real estate market reflects badly when a mother and father were hammer-killed by their brain-damaged daughter, a night shift nurse, Sarah (Elizabeth Shue), and her aspiring rock chic, daughter, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) try to adjust to their surroundings.  *½

Gutterballs

A heinous, savage rape, lengthy and repulsive, including physical abuse (these evil bastards demean her in laughter, kick her, throw her onto the floor, punch her in the face, hold her down, grope her, slap her on the ass, gleefully curse at each other while she crawls in pain in some weakened attempt to get away, as members of Steven’s sick gang take turns banging her, forcing her on pool table and the finale has them sodomizing her with a bowling pin) will be the catalyst in a night of slaughter as a killer takes out members of two bowling teams playing against each other.
**½

Regardless of how I might feel about the overall movie, the opening in the asylum that gave birth to the bastard son of 100 maniacs is really solid.

Fatal Games

Boy, was Fatal Games tough sledding tonight. Not sure if it was the score that repeatedly rattles and tremors, the characters and their difficulties emotionally and physically with the demands of being athletes with a chance to not only attend Nationals but go to the Olympics, and the subplot with the teachers coping with their students lack of initiative and drive (because of all the rigors of training and the hours and hours expected of them to train) while the head of gymnastics school expects his nurse to illegally load the kids with steroids so they can compete with the Russians.
**

Stake Land

Bleak, somber apocalyptic vampire tale shows America in ruin, having fallen to a bloodsucker plague that has scattered human survivors trying to eke out their own existence/path as civilized society is a distant memory. With the melancholy score and tone—dialogue by the kid waxing poetic about the darkness of the situation going forward—StakeLand lays it on thick with heavy a hand. The American Beauty score is all-encompassing and roads and towns travelled through (that aren’t “protected” by tough guys) show the horrors of “the plague” (along with burned corpses of vampires, trash, and the wreckage of destruction and chaos that resulted from vampires and their need to replenish their bloodthirst). When dialogue has “…sometimes hope is all you got…” you know there’s a conscientious effort to comment on how to cope with dire straits.  ***

The Cabin in the Woods

"I'm so sorry I almost shot you. I probably wouldn't have."-Dana"Hey, shh, no. I totally get it. I'm sorry I let you get attacked by a werewolf and then ended the world."--Marty
**½

The Devil Inside

Kind of getting this out of the way; ultimately looking past the found footage, “shot in reality” technique of The Devil Inside, this is about a daughter’s desire to free her mother from the spiritual and emotional (not to mention, physical if you think about what the possessive spirit has over the human host organism being used) hell. I think any one of us would have a heart’s desire to see our mother free and happy from the prison such a demonic possession creates. We see early recordings of the mother, in her Rome, Italy institutional cell, slamming her head against a wall. When the evil within is enraged, those in orbit of her, in arm’s reach, have a potential likelihood of pure suffering only a Cenobite could further dish out. While the results of a daughter’s influence on a young priest to help her remove “the devil” (or whatever you want to call it), with help from another young man attending school to become a man of God, are never in doubt (come on, did you not expect she’d …

Parasite

A little bit of plot. A scientist who specializes in parasitic pathology is on the run from Los Angeles, carrying not only a parasitic specimen in a canister but one inside his body and knows his time is drawing short while he attempts to study for a way to kill them, encountering a gang of young hooligans and locals of a California desert stop. On his tail is a calculatingly determined member of an evil corporation that wants to find him, perhaps for the very specimens currently in the scientist’s possession.
**
He really doesn't like liars. If you want to keep your hand, don't lie to this guy!

The Final Terror

A couple on a motorcycle crash in an area of wilderness. The driver has a badly damaged leg while his girlfriend tries to locate help. What (or who) are they hurriedly fleeing from? The guy hangs upside down from a tree (the “trap door” effect so iconic in Friday the 13th films where a victim seems to fall from someplace (trees mostly) on cue to frighten a running young woman) in front of her as she terrifyingly runs in the opposite direction eventually heading right into a trap that has branches carrying paper plates and barbwire whipping at her, leaving us to believe the gal’s dead. Who killed them and why?
**

The House of the Devil

 Samantha really badly wants to get a house that would lead to escaping her current predicament of sharing a dorm room with a slob. A babysitting gig just might be the trick, but what she doesn't realize is the ulterior motives covertly planned by those who posted the advertisements. A night in the house leads to unimaginable horrors.
***

Ah, yes, there's nothing like a couple slices of pizza and a BIG FAT COKE


Part of the Product Placement in Horror screen caps series to show up here often.

Deadly Eyes

Pretty early into Deadly Eyes, director Robert Clouse (yeah, the director of Enter the Dragon) establishes that the rats of his film are a danger to everyone. A baby in a high-chair, his toys and baby food in a bowl, just happy-go-lucky, is pulled down. The rats drag this child off while his sister is bidding adieu to her high school friends who are off to get burgers. The sister re-enters her house, sees a blood smear trail leading into the basement, a massive, fugly rodent flashing towards her as the scene ends.
*

The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus

Holfen is a village with a notoriety for young girls winding up dead. A supposed curse, a ghost of the nearest Baron Von Klaus supposedly returning to possess his descendents into murdering these girls because of an atrocity towards his own daughter, is a myth that spreads from the lips of the locals in Holfen. Some shoo away such a myth, while others—like two vagrants who work odd jobs and roam around the parts—consider it credible. Karl, a skirt-chaser, is sent on assignment from his paper to write about the story.
***½

Fright Night (2011)

Welcome to Fright Night.
Charley is just your typical American high school student who lives in your typical suburban neighborhood on the outskirts of the big city (Las Vegas), burdened with having to deal with a not-so-typical situation--he has a vampire living next door, a major threat to his mother and girlfriend. He'll try to recruit help from a Las Vegas showman, proclaimed vampire hunter, Peter Vincent. ***
There are some movies that overwhelm you. Whether it be some images or a performer lensed so beautifully, even perhaps a magnetism in locations or those moments that have such life to them. I remember feeling not altogether satisfied with Hanna, but just the same it had so many moments that thrive magically in a visual sense I won't soon forget. I want to write about it, but I fear this review would be insanely loaded with words and screen caps; no one would want to endure such a novel.

Robot Wars

The MRAS II (Mega Robotic Assault System, second model), a scorpion-styled passenger robotic travel vehicle, will be captured by a supposed ally of the Northern Hemi Operations Center (played by a familiar face to Karate Kid Part II fans, Danny Kamekona, the rival brother of Mr. Miyagi, along with second in command (who also starred in KK Part 2 as the rival of Ralph Macchio), Yuki Okumoto), actually behind renegade attacks conducted by a group of terrorists called Centros. Centros have always been basic annoyances, never before equipped with the kind of firepower needed to take down the sophisticated and powerful type robots like MRAS II. But when the head chief of North Hemi, Rooney (Peter Haskell, while a mainstay in television during his career, this actor might be best remembered for being the CEO of the toy company in the Child’s Play sequels) gives General Wa-Lee (Kamekona) and members of his entourage a ride in the MRAS II, they commandeer the robot and take the passenger man…

Silver Bullet

While this might not be my favorite werewolf film—or even my favorite of those Stephen King films of this decade—I have always had an affinity for Silver Bullet. While my enjoyment for it never wavers, I have to admit that when I watch Silver Bullet a heavy heart exists because of Haim’s tragic end, the outcome of a life struggling with self-abuse through self-destructive means, and it just looms during the film to me. With films like Silver Bullet, Lucas, and The Lost Boys, we see Haim before the fame opened doors for his eventual demise. He’s a sympathetic character here because of his crippled fate, confined to a wheelchair because of his paralytic legs. Haim’s Marty has a kind heart and does not try to milk his condition, although because of his handicap, sister Jane is burdened by how his parents demand her to help look after him (to fetch him while off playing with friend, Brady, or help him when  he needs to move in and out of his chair) and give so much attention to the kid. …

Dark Secrets

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Word of warning, content of an adult nature.
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 *½

Sorority Row

So Audrina Patridge of The Hills (I’ve never watched the show; I just know she’s featured heavily in People magazine a lot) has a cameo as the sorority victim who gets it in the chest when a prank involving her cheating boyfriend, Garrett (Matt O’Leary), tricking him into believing a roofie he slipped into her drink had caused her to die, ends in tragedy. The sorority sisters of Megan’s try to conceal the accidental death (he used a tire iron as to puncture her chest so her body would float, a suggestion by one of the sisters he thought would work; Garrett doesn’t know she’s still alive, and that he’s being punked).
**½

Xtro II: The Second Encounter

The Nexus Program, behind the idea of transportation through parallel universes, is what we are introduced to. A scientific research facility is visited by a bureaucrat who believes after “the fiasco in Texas” that the Nexus Program maybe shouldn’t be wasting tax payers’ money. The Defense Secretary might just shut the program down if he isn’t impressed with what the scientists have to offer. A breakthrough is promised him, but a *slight snag* occurs when three volunteers “teleport” to a coordinates, encounter “something”, don’t return to the “embark location”, and seem lost at the parallel universe transported to. So who do you call when a rescue operation is necessary? Dr. Ron Shepherd (Jan-Michael Vincent), of course.


Bad Dreams

Our love will never die.
A crazy Svengali (Richard Lynch), during the 70s, a type of Jim Jones cult leader, who claims that leaving the life state will lead to a state of bliss once you cross over after death, is able to convince a group of followers to obediently set fire to themselves. Cynthia (Jennifer Ruben) was able to survive this, awakening from a coma 13 years later. She is admitted to a psychiatric hospital in the hopes of being rehabilitated; her first face upon awakening was Dr. Berrisford (Harris Yulin), and he is the one who admitted her to his hospital because, it seems, she needs preparation for the real world of the 80s.
**½

Return to Atlanta--Walking Dead

Tell It to the Frogs

Sometimes script writers are prone for reaching into their bag of stereotypes in order to cause blood to boil and poke the bear as to get an emotional response from members of the audience. Merle Dixon was an easy choice on the second episode while the third features the basic groan-inducing wife-beater who looks for reasons to beat on his wife and doesn’t take too kindly to an independent voice from Andrea confronting him vocally about his abusive nature. It leads to Shane—already upset because he’s become reduced in the camp from main leader to sort-of leader because of Rick’s return (including losing the luxury of making love to his wife and playing substitute father to Carl)—beating the holy hog snot out of Ed. I’m pretty sure many were rising from their love seats, couches, and easy chairs in applause for seeing Ed get pummeled repeatedly for hitting his wife. It is goading the viewer manipulatively because Ed isn’t even human but a monster with no redeeming …

V/H/S

The found footage genre gets an anthology format, having a group of vandals (one of them knows a guy with a videotape that can be used to blackmail someone for some money)  enters the home of a supposed dead owner, his body sitting motionless in an easy chair, a series of monitors, tapes, and a VCR in his den. While scanning the videotapes in the dead man's possession, two go into the basement to try and secure a blackmail tape, instead encountering totally unexpected horrors. A twist involving the dead owner and "someone in the basement" along with footage on several videotapes (each making up a tale in this movie) are what we get to see, loosely compiled in a near 2 hour running time.

**½

Killer Joe

"Dottie, do you trust me?"--Killer Joe "Not quite."--Dottie "Good."--Killer Joe.
I’m guessing that if you’ve heard anything about Killer Joe from those who have seen it, “fellatio on a chicken leg from K-Fry-C” is almost the first thing that will probably come out as will Matthew McConaughey’s smoothly-essayed, controlled, and quietly fierce performance as detective-by-day/hitman-by-night, Joe.   ****

I Know Who Killed Me

She knew a trick. She knew how to turn her life into a movie and watch things happen. 
Oh how dialogue in a film can be so indicative of the actress performing the character saying it.

***½
Let me just tell you, I can now check mark another movie from my cinematic bucket list as I went and watched Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in the theater Wednesday night. It was exhilarating to say the least. It really was a movie that must be seen in the theater to totally understand how amazing an experience it can be. I plan to set up a top ten of my favorite moments in the theater from the film tomorrow. The scenes on the moon and the alignment of the planets once Dave reaches Jupiter as the monolith travels in place, both just blew me away. Oh, and the Stargate; oh my goodness how rewarding it was. It was a good time to be had. I hadn't realized until the viewing just how much was shot (particularly when Hal "started to malfunction") without music; because the film gained a rep for its use of music, I was equally impressed with how beneficial certain scenes were in quiet with just the sound of breathing. Just awesome.

Working hard for the money, so hard for the money...
This is called royally screwed.
Rudolph Junkins: The kid's dead Arnie, they had to scrape his legs up with a shovel.
Arnie Cunningham: Well, isn't that what you're supposed to do with shit? Scrape it up with a little shovel?

The Big Surprise

The Big Surprise is one of those small segments nestled quietly within a batch of tales featured during the second season of Night Gallery. I don’t really consider it any worse than a lot of other five-ten minute segments, but is it that particularly distinguished? Maybe not.

***

Walking Dead--In and Out of Atlanta

Guts

Give me the ax…we need more guts.
Ah, yes, the second episode of Walking Dead opens with the further salacious activities of Rick’s wife and his best friend; it’s nice to know Rick’s safety and well being are of such concern to both of them. Ugh.

***