Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dark Stormy Sunday: Night of Dark Shadows (1971)



**/*****

Night of Dark Shadows definitely removes itself from the vampire Barnabas and all that seems to have made the show Dark Shadows such a famous soap with legs still yielding fans today. This film deals with Angelique and her lover Charles Collins, their tawdry history (including her hanging and Charles’ entombment) re-awakened in the memory and dreams of ancestor Quentin (David Selby) after he and his new wife (played by introduced Charlie Angels vet, Kate Jackson) move in to the Collinwood estate. Charles Collins was sleeping with his brother’s wife, and their affair would bring out the worst in the local body living at Collinwood and its surroundings. Brother against brother, and how Angelique came between them are called to remembrance in Quentin’s thoughts. Before long Charles becomes a strong influence over Quentin. Re-incarnation and “ghosts from the past” are what this film is primarily about. Lara Parker’s presence in the film as Angelique replaces the missing Frid (so iconic to the soap that made Barnabas such a household name), but relying on her just doesn’t quite lend this particular film what it needs to have us forget about what made Dark Shadows so successful and endearing.

I did like the fact that Dan Curtis uses cast members from Dark Shadows, even though they occupy different roles than they are known for in the series. Nancy Barrett (a gorgeous woman that had one of the best parts in the previous Dark Shadows movie, House of Dark Shadows) and John Karlen (thankfully getting to actually portray a heroic character for a change) are friends of Selby and Jackson, broke and living in a cottage nearby Collinwood. Grayson Hall has a fun part as this enigmatic caretaker with an aura of mystery about her as if she knows a lot and has secrets (and ulterior motives) but won’t share them until due time. Curtis does get some fine darkened shots of Collinwood (and when the score doesn’t go all orchestral in its elegance of piano, it hits those unnerving strings that are so identifiable to a Dan Curtis production) and evocates a nice bit of spookshow atmosphere at times, but sadly, I have to admit, I found this second Dark Shadows film sometimes a bore. The ending, going for the tragic, with the typed “obituary” left much to be desired, although I understood the point that you can’t always run from the past…even if you yourself wasn’t involved with what the ancestors were participating in. What I thought was rather desperate about the ending is how Curtis has to get the lead couple back into the tower (where Charles would paint and sculpt, and the same place Quentin would work as well) after all they had already been through. Seriously, after all the nonsense with Angelique and how Hall supposedly “kept the spirit alive” threatened them, I had a hard time believing Quentin would dare return to Collinwood particularly considering everything needed to leave had been packed up. With obvious dialogue from Kate saying, “And all this time I thought it was you keeping the spirit alive…” the set up of the down ending was firmly planted ahead of time to the viewer. Obvious foreshadowing rather leaves me discontented.

“For it’s your love keeping him alive.”

While hung as a witch (a deed put together by Charles’ brother (Angelique’s husband), and wife, and the local reverend), Angelique seemed to have powers, planting a spell on a little girl that was devoted to her (the little girl is currently “inhabiting” Hall) in order to keep her spirit alive so that one day she could be “re-united” with the man she loved, Charles (supposedly kept alive by Quentin). All this re-incarnation plot allows the spirits of the dead to re-emerge in present day 70s Collinwood, 150 years in the making. Grayson Hall gets to quietly mock Kate Jackson about how her husband is acting, now back in that damned tower, Charles having control and ordering his wife not to come near him or his workplace. Meanwhile a caretaker needs assistance from a groundskeeper and the two of them try to make sure Angelique’s 150 year old plan comes to fruition. It will take Karlen, Barrett, and Jackson (and Selby’s resistance of Charles) to thwart the spirits of the dead and their plans to begin anew.
As a Dark Shadows fan, I absolutely loved Lara Parker as Barnabas' chief nemesis during the soap's finest period on television, so I was a bit disappointed Curtis didn't do a time period piece featuring her more prominently. He provides her with a mystique, and she's got the looks of a traditional Hammer beauty, but ultimately I think her use is too sparing for my tastes. Night just didn't really do much for me, I must attest. That's too bad. I consider this Curtis' most disappointing film and his worst.

Dark Stormy Sunday: From Beyond the Grave (1974)


****/*****
What better time to watch the underrated Amicus tale, From Beyond the Grave, than during a Thunderstorm Sunday. I purchased the VHS of this film several years ago on Amazon and watched it with great delight. It provides Peter Cushing with yet another novelty "host" part as this creepy antique salesman with customers who either pay him a low payment or outright steal from his shop (a shop located out of sight in a darkened spot away from passing eyes); this is the kind of shop that you would have to stumble upon in order to find it.

One of my favorite tales of the movie is the deliciously macabre "The Gatecrasher" starring David Warner (one of the reasons I was giddy upon my first viewing of this) as the owner of a flat (with nice antiques he has obviously tricked others into selling him cheap) who thinks he fools Cushing into believing an ancient mirror is a knock-off. Well, what this dolt doesn't expect is the spectre living behind the mirror, re-awakened by a séance Warner holds with a group of friends. So the spectre, quite powerful and "hungry", needs "blood" in order to gain access to our world and walk in the flesh again so Warner will be his slave with a butcher knife, sent forth to goad "ladies of the night" to his flat as victims to bleed and feed. Before you know it there's blood all over Warner's flat and furniture (and him), and his "hammering and jostling" is disturbing a neighbor downstairs in the apartment complex. It will take a number of sacrifices on Warner's part to supplement the ghoul behind the mirror's needs. One woman, out of the selected victims, is spared (a close associate of Warner's), but the number needed to allow the spectre to get what he so wishes will be met. A sacrifice on Warner's mortal part will also be requested, a "small gesture" on the spectre's part to assure him the same "freedom" some day. Warner's deterioration and the ghoulish nature of the violent acts needed to benefit the spectre make this tale a nasty bit of fun.

The second tale stars the great talents of Ian Bannen and Donald Pleasence (and a plum role for Donald's daughter, Angela) as a clerk and war veteran street peddler respectively meeting daily due to the walk to the office. Ian is miserable mainly because his insufferable wife (played with talons sharpened and embedded with force by Diana Dors) likes to remind him of how inadequate and insufficient he is in career and as a man. What Ian doesn't realize is that Donald and Angela are equipped with a type of "gift" that can "grant" people wishes based on simply asking. Well, Donald allows Angela to "work her magic" and Ian believes his life will be spared of years of future misery, but there's a little hitch...the misery of his son. With black magic (voodoo) and a weird look and performance by Angela (Donald has that way of showing a faux smile that fades into a look of disdain that perfectly exposes his true feelings for Bannen while supposedly seeming to truly like and appreciate him), as well as, a fun performance from Bannen as a cuckolded charlatan (he lies to Donald, telling him is was in the service, even stealing a medal from Cushing's shop as a device to cater to that falsity!), this tale is a pleasure. I especially enjoyed a nightmare sequence where Dors envisions Angela as a type of death angel, night visiting her with a dagger. The cast is pure gold here.

My least favorite of the tales was still a hoot. It isn't has chilling, playing more for wacky laughter. Ian Carmichael switches the price tags of cigarette cases in order to purchase a highly valuable one at the price of a cheap one. Later, onboard a train, he is told by a kooky clairvoyant (played to the hilt by Margaret Leighton, with glasses that pop her eyes large) that he has a monstrous, odorous "elemental", violent and in demand for a more permanent access to our existence. So this elemental makes his life a living hell, particularly drawn to his wife (Nyree Dawn Porter), and so the clairvoyant's talents are in desperate need. So comes the cleansing of the elemental from Carmichael's shoulder, but the clairvoyant's job is to free it from him...sending it back to hell might not have been quite so successful. Carmichael is that stuffy aristocratic type who bargains down as much as possible (even after he switches tags he still "persuades" Cushing to decrease a pound!) and sees to it that he is always on the benefit of a receiving end regardless of what it is in front of him. Whether it is a cheap cig box or elemental causing him problems, Carmichael looks to see that he is successful. Well, this tale doesn't let him off. Leighton is the real star of this tale, though, just as hilariously batty and so off-the-center that her clairvoyant fits perfectly within the story of a demon wreaking havoc on a British couple, turning their house inside out.

I think the final tale is a doozy. It concerns a "magic door". This door is sold to a nice, young, upper class couple played by Ian Ogilvy and the beautiful Leslie-Anne Down who are in for quite a surprise. Refreshing from the previous customers who swindled Cushing, Ogilvy actually pays him what he has for the door so perhaps his fate may result a bit better than the others prior to him. The door, thanks to an evil derived from its owner's human sacrifices to earn a return to our existence, sometimes opens to a totally different place, the elaborate living quarters of a devious aristocrat who wrote in a diary read by Ogilvy about how he created the door and contributed to its magic. This has a level of suspense because the devilish aristocrat will seek souls to get back life he covets, and the door's opening allows him the possible chance of doing so...at the cost of Ogilvy and Down's lives can he do so! I loved the angle involving how the door is key to the aristocrat's survival and damage to it could ruin him. The whole idea behind a door (like the mirror in the first tale) granting access to another plane of existence is fascinating to me. Here it is used to describe how evil can provide such a place a time to lie dormant for just the right victims to give it back its life. I also liked how this anthology "rewards" Ogilvy for not following in the same missteps of the previous customers whose "love of money (a root of evil)" led to their tragedies.

The wraparound does show an obvious burglar waiting for just the right time to rob Cushing's shop, but his use of weapons may prove fatal...for him.

I just love the look of Cushing in From Beyond the Grave. The makeup and the way he almost blends in with the spooky mannequins and antique surroundings that clutter and fill his shop adds to his character's mystique. He can pop up anywhere, and I think there's never a time in the movie where customers' thievery of him isn't realized by Cushing. To be honest, I just dig the wraparound device being set in an antique shop. While the cemetery doesn't factor at all in the film itself, I just totally dug the camera's travel throughout it during the opening credits.

I think this might be a bit overshadowed by the likes of Asylum, Tales from the Crypt, and (my favorite) House That Dripped Blood, From Beyond the Grave does seem to have one of the studio Amicus' best budgets and Cushing's use in it is exemplary. A good time to be had here, folks, if you like Amicus anthologies, methinks.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Haute Tension



Haute Tension has that mixed reputation where some viewers like me found the twist frustrating despite acknowledging its visceral power and blunt force violent punches. The concrete saw scene at the end was one of those moments that makes sense in terms of the “imaginary” killer wielding it while us expecting the “real” killer, Cécile de France, to be able to hurriedly, without haste, come speeding from a forest carrying it while it runs is too much for me to accept realistically. There’s this opening introduction to the imaginary killer where he is giving himself a blow job with the decapitated head of a woman…what does this have to do with the real killer? It does tell us that the killer (before the twist) is a sick bastard, but is this the real killer’s fantasy?

I kind of get a general idea as to the manifestation of evil: that filthy, grotesque, ugly, monstrous, consciousless, cold-blooded, dark beast that most of us are successful in keeping caged, with the key far removed. There’s too much evidence throughout time that this beast is often freed and allowed to claim victims, innocent and vulnerable. In Haute Tension, we are led to believe that this portly, trashy, dumpy creep driving a decrepit van has killed the family associated with de France. Cécile de France is unable to save them from this beast incarnate, and she hitches a ride with her best friend (whose family was terminated), played by Maïwenn in the back of the imaginary killer’s van.

I can only surmise that this part of the film tells us that a part of her—the good part—remains with Maïwenn while her more dominate personality is driving the van that holds “them” (technically Maïwenn) captive. While Maïwenn is bound and gagged in the van, Cécile does battle with herself, and the dark beast is winning. A security camera watched by law enforcement indicts visually Cécile of the ax murder of a store clerk…this indicates the dark half of her personality is in command while the good part can only watch from a distance as bloodshed ensues. I guess this also goes for the family annihilation at the beginning of the film.

All of this leaves me a bit unsatisfied. I think you really have to suspend disbelief as credibility in the twist is stretched to the max. Some fans of the film are fine with it, actually considering it refreshing as it toys with slasher convention, warping it into something ghoulish. But if you want lots of bang for your buck as a slasher fan craving lots of gushing blood, Haute Tension is the ideal candidate for a fun evening. That concrete saw scene where a motorist is just torn apart in the driver’s seat of his car is a good example of overkill. The scene where a book case is pressed into the head of a trapped victim (whose neck in penned into the bones of his staircase) features another gusher as the open wound of the neck absent what was attached sprays blood onward as if a pipe burst. There’s the neck slashing that has the open cut just spewing blood while the film’s supposed heroine (the film seems, now that I look back during revisits, to show that Cécile spends all her time in hiding instead of offering to protect; this indication tells us that her good part is simply too afraid to confront her dark half) hides in a closet.

I mentioned the overkill in the graphic violence. With the sound effects and onscreen cruelty, there’s just so much emphasis on pure psychopathic overkill. There is this moment that is clear to us with the twist as the mother of Maïwenn’s husband asks Cécile, “Why me?” This makes sense in the context that she is actually asking her killer why this punishing fate was visited upon her. Obsession and love unrequited are a constant in stalker/predatory films where a psychopathic response to affection denied results in disturbing actions perpetrated by the person “rejected”. There’s a scene where the real killer repeatedly confirms her delusion that no one or nothing will keep her from her desired mate…telling herself this in a holding cell as the one she desires looks on behind the glass.

I had a hard time accepting that a crow bar stabbed completely through a significant area of the killer’s body would allow her to survive, but in order to have that final scene, this is necessary. Unbelievable to me, but this does seem to divide. Many actually find all of the twist rather neat, but I think it simply cannot withstand close scrutiny. However, there's a scene just prior to the revelation of who the real killer actually is that indicates the good half seeming to vanquish the dark half (by way of a razor-wired fence-post) only for this to be temporary as a stabbing in the stomach re-awakens it from its slumber. Speaking of the stomach stabbing...how does one survive both a crowbar and knife stabbing to different parts of the body? Far-fetched? Just a bit.
If there was a scene that left a bad taste it was the cornfield camera pan showing the dead body of a cute little boy. The slight sight of a gun blast firing from within the cornfield is all we really needed, yet the filmmakers just can't seem to resist going one step further by showing the body itself. Why? Is this necessary? We got the point with the cornfield and a bright flare. The kid was killed. I didn't think we needed to place any more emphasis on this sickening act of violence.

This is a film that seemed to be a forerunner in the "French Xtreme" uprising of bloody films with over-the-top violence that got horror fans giddy about the future of European horror. Others came right after and bested Haute Tension (Frontier(s), Inside, Martyrs to name three) in such honors, but this film is still quite accepted as motivating the French movement of viscera into the 2000s. I would attest to its gleeful splurge onscreen and open wounds are preferred and embellished.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Shutter


 
A photographer and his college buddies are re-visited by a spirit with a reason for returning from beyond the grave. Will the photographer and his university girlfriend be able to find out who this spirit is and what she wants? Better yet, can they be rid of her and find out why she's restless?

***/*****

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Quiet Earth


A scientist awakens in bed to find everywhere he goes without a single human being, wondering what has happened to the human race. He might just realize that the very research plant he works could be responsible. Will he crack if no human contact is possible?

***½ / *****

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Violent Kind


There are times where a film so frustrates and irritates me, writing much about it seems a chore. Here's a film with "bikers" that are part of a gang that would be eaten alive if confronted with those hellraisers you see on Sons of Anarchy. They are a new generation of kids who wind up not being as tough as they might have thought. The film's hero, Cody, spends so much time getting pummeled, it is hard to take him ever seriously as part of a respected biker gang. Megan is one of those soft cuties who just so happens to have a sister involved in biker gangs, having been raised in the lifestyle. Megan, however, went a different way while her sister (played by a game Tiffany Shepis, who, you guessed it, gets naked for us by film's end; she even goes full frontal) has always been the broad draped around a biker. Cody and Michelle were once an item, but she is now with another biker dude. Shepis winds up possessed by some sort of dark force that comes from a dark void or some shit. Out of the blue, a group of "possessed" humans (call them aliens or demons, I gave up trying to figure them out) in the bodies of 50s hot-rodders from the era of James Dean. Vernon, the hyperactive leader of these weirdos, loves to punish the kidnapped (Megan, Cody, Cody's buddy in the gang, Q, and Cody's cousin, Shade (Shade is Q's squeeze) for kicks. The aliens spend their time onscreen mocking the film's leads. At the opening there was a party for the mother of one of the biker gang, and after most of them leave, the terror of those who remain begins. Something evil invades Michelle and her beau. Another member of the biker gang who happened to also remain for a minor spell was Elroy. Elroy and Michelle's beau are also invaded by "them", but they eventually transform into "human mush" as this light of some kind soon overtakes them. Basically the final thirty or so minutes concerns whether or not Cody and Megan can defend themselves against and escape from the "violent kind". The plot left much to be desired. It is just a mess. The villains acting like a bunch of hopped-up speed-freaks doesn't help matters. The characters in trouble don't exactly ingratiate themselves to the audience, either. The flesh wounds (particularly on Elroy after he's attacked by Michelle while attempting to feel her up while she's unconscious) and lots of blood (especially all over Shepis) give horror fans something to enjoy, but this story, its performances, and characters fail to capitalize on the limited positives there are. The Butcher Bros (I flat hated their April Fool's Day) are 0-2 with me. The Violent Kind has plenty of Shepis so my attention was diverted by her, and I loved how into the character she is once "it" has taken Michelle's body to "incubate" in (your guess is as good as mine regarding the whole "incubation" subplot is concerned).

Monday, April 14, 2014

House on Straw Hill




A haughty novelist, with a desire to be free from hangers-on that might want to leech off his supposed fame, hires a typist to help him put his thoughts to paper, unaware she harbors a secret that might just pose him harm.

***/*****

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In Fear




 
“We’re not lost. We’re in a fucking maze.”

Kilairney House Hotel is the location desired by a young couple, Lucy and Tom (Alice Englert & Iain De Caestecker) who were supposed to meet up with friends camping. Instead they wind up driving around in circles, caught in a wilderness labyrinthine hell as a creeper spies on them from within the woods, soon to show up as a “victim” named Max (Allen Leach), supposedly assaulted by the masked assailant who almost carried off Lucy when the couple was at one point stopped. So trapped in a backwoods maze and soon to contend with a cat-and-mouse struggle thanks to a psycho in their midst, Lucy and Tom are suffering that old punishment of “wrong place, wrong time.”

**/½ / *****

The Defilers


Two young men of privilege turn out to be sexual deviants no longer satisfied with voluntary sex, as beach babes where they live freely offer themselves, and take the next step by kidnapping an unwilling victim, holding her hostage, taking advantage of her over a prolonged time.

***/*****

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Savaged



A deaf mute, beautiful and independent, heads to California to be with her beloved, but her plans were curtailed by a depraved group, known for killing Apache due to a generational hatred between ancestors on both sides, who not only sexually abuse her but plan to kill her. But what this group doesn't expect is for her to be inhabited by a vengeful spirit with an ax to grind!

**½ / *****

Friday, April 11, 2014

poster for the film Savaged (2013)

Sometimes we as horror fans (exploitation/rape revenge, etc.) just stumble on films, and they turn out to be a lot of fun. While I plan to write a review for this film tonight, I just had to mention this movie here on the blog and give it my endorsement. Savaged (2013) is able to produce a supernatural rape-revenge flick which is able to not only have a rape victim return to destroy those who tormented her, but this go-around, she is dead and brought back from beyond the grave thanks to a Native American spirit. What this does is allow the heroine to get stabbed or run over by a truck and still keep coming at those hick scumbags. If you can suspend disbelief, this could be an entertaining, gory roller coaster. I'll just say that the heroine kills one dude with a broken piece of pool stick in like two seconds flat.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Return of the Living Dead Part II



In sleepy suburbia, toxins from a canister are released by two punk kids in the neighborhood unleashing the dead from their graves in a nearby cemetery, while also making a few characters (one of those two bullies and two graverobbers) sick through breathing the fumes in (soon turning them into the walking dead as well). Will those still in the area not infected be safe or can they find an exit strategy even though military has removed most of the locals and quarantined the town?

**½ / *****
Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)

"Damn kids got no respect for the dead."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vampyres (1974)


Those critical of Vampyres in regards to it being “soft core porn” I can’t quite argue against. Sapphic erotica, Euro-trash, and vampire smut: there are quite a few labels certain to grace Vampyres. Two gorgeous lesbian (or “bisexual”, perhaps, although I think men are mostly victims to supply that other craving they desire: blood) vampyres live in a chateau and hunt male prey that happen to drive into the countryside near their current abode. Because of their seductive qualities, few men are willing to give up what appears to be a night of great sex. They do not know, however, that the women are blood-lusting vamps, so the hunting is mighty happy for these two ladies of the night. I had mentioned that a male “victim” named Murray Brown has this “vampire bite” that, to me, resembled a vagina on his arm. The way the ladies take to the mark with a relish, it was equal parts creepy and yet strangely alluring.
 


 
The film’s lady stars—Marianne Morris and Anulka—have remained the vision that burns bright to this day when one regards Vampyres. Their sexual abandon, swept up in their lust during their time in sensual embrace, is a token the director José Ramón Larraz was fortunate enough to have cast in his film. Without them, and the willingness to forgo any inhibition/suppression during their time naked and all over each other, I highly doubt Vampyres would have stood the test of time.
All the Colors of the Dark (1972)


It isn't until a re-evaluation that certain things sometimes hit me overwhelmingly. I had just watched Case of the Bloody Iris not too long ago, writing a review for it on the blog. But there's just something about Edwige Fenech in All the Colors of the Dark (my favorite role and performance of Fenech) that, for me, stands out among the giallo that featured her. There are times where a woman has the kind of beauty that simply casts a spell on and bewitches me. That's Fenech in Colors for me.

Some pics...




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Lizard in a Woman's Skin


 
A lawyer's wife (and the daughter of an affluent family, with a father quite established in the rule of law) finds herself under suspicion thanks to the murder of a neighbor known for throwing wild parties often featuring lots of booze, sex, nudity, and drugs. As Johnny Law seems nipping at her heels, is this woman innocent with another person the actual killer? Or is she actually the one responsible?
*****/*****

Monday, April 7, 2014

Movie blogger that I am, sometimes I go through that exhaustive period where I have a tendency to alternate between several films at one time. Mini-reviews written in Word 2007, with lots of screen caps. I have Fulci's Lizard in a Woman's Skin, Larraz's Vampyres, and this new film with Jigsaw as a warrior against dark forces residing within a certain "hellish abode", Dark House all with half-written thoughts, jotted in paragraphs needing some sort of cohesion. Yeah, those of us who enjoy putting these reviews together I imagine go through this from time to time. Instead of just focusing on one movie at a time, we can't seem to get our acts together. Maybe you will see each film pop up on here eventually. My mind just drifts in waves, with one movie keeping interest just long enough to brush across the shore, whipping back, with another film lifting into a tidal on its way down.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Unnamable


A college bet and overnight stay concurrently in a notorious house near a college campus place various collegians in a world of harm as the savage and primal creature inside is ready to unleash the beast on anyone she sees.

*** / *****

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mutants



A horrifying mutation has started to take effect on humans with a handful not yet infected trying to deal with the crisis as it ensues. But will anyone be able to escape?

**½ / *****

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Day 2008



I kind of knew quite quickly as the film got started, I would fucking despise this “remake” (in name only) of April Fool’s Day (1986). We are introduced to rich pricks/bitches holding a “debutante ball” (for Rob Zombie’s Halloween lead, Scout Taylor-Compton), when a former member of the privileged few “beautiful people” returns to see everyone and warn the “belle of the ball” that she should not fall into this class of “misguided wealthy” and lose herself. When someone drugs Milan (Sabrina Aldridge), and she accidentally falls over a railing, crushing into a table on a lower floor below, it produces a scandal that lands the infamous Cartier brother and sister (John Henderson and Taylor Cole; both looking as if they just stepped off the runway of a fashion shoot, and all that is needed is a perfume/cologne to accompany them) in a rather unpleasant light. Those involved in the prank that resulted in the death of Milan on April 1st are invited to her grave one year later. Desiree (Cole) keeps seeing Milan (guilty conscience? Really this bitch can actually feel something other than envy and jealousy?), and the invite concerns her a great deal. Des gains control of her family’s trust as a result of Blaine’s (Henderson) presence near a disrobed Milan, and the rest of this film plays like a rehashed “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (there were three of those…did we need another one?). The cast also includes Joe Egender as videographer Ryan, Samuel Child as self-involved politician Peter (although his interest in politics is very little beyond how he looks in the press), Jennifer Newsom as Peter’s pageant-obsessed wife, Barbie, and Joseph McKelheer as all-smiles, cheery, cheeky homosexual novelist who basks in the joys of documenting the notorious exploits of the affluent for profit and success. The film follows Des as she pursues the one supposedly responsible for killing her “friends” and provoking her fear of being a target readymade for just the right moment when she least expects it. If you don’t see the “twist” coming a mile away, then you are easy prey, plain and simple. What an absolute bore. This is a yawner that doesn’t even have the luxury of a fun cast (like the far superior ’86 film does). Sure seeing Des in constant fear makes the heart grow fonder (I think that was the point…seeing this bitch put through the ringer), but when certain other characters deserving just as much shit as she receives think themselves all high and mighty because she happened to place the roofie in the drink to get her brother in trouble and Milan killed didn’t give an iota of satisfaction. I wanted just one character I could like a little and that was Scout’s Z-movie actress since she had nothing to do with the initial prank, but even her character winds up used to progress the wealthy avarice of someone looking for revenge against Des. The tragedy (if that’s what you want to call it) at the very end when a “misplaced” bullet in a gun (that should’ve been a blank cartridge) goes off while pointed at a character allowing a scumbag to retrieve moneys to allow him to continue wallowing in his greed was the icing on the cake. If this movie can only fade from memory as quickly as possible I will be quite a happy man.

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The Boogens - Intro

While I must admit that as a monster movie, The Boogens (1981) doesn’t quite measure up (its monsters aren’t particularly menacing ...