31 August 2010

HIDDEN

HIDDEN

Original Title:
Skjult

Norway, 2009
Director: Pål Øye

8/10








Next to France, Norway is currently one of the noteworthiest horror-movie-producing countries of Europe: the hilarious "Dead Snow", the fabulous "Cold Prey 1 and 2", a few others I haven't seen yet, and now "Hidden", another fine example of Norwegian cinematic art.
It's a weird but highly impressing blend of psychological thriller, backwoods slasher and arthouse film, extremely suspenseful, atmospheric and scary (the first third is often so incredibly scary, it's hard to take). It's brilliantly shot, showing beautiful landscapes, eerie settings and stylish pictures. The actors all deliver great performances (most notably Kristoffer Joner and Karin Park), the score is beautiful and the pacing is just right. Best of all I liked the story which is baffling and a bit inscrutable but overall pretty intelligent and highly gripping.
A very, very interesting film. Would love to see more in that vein.

Wiki ~ Imdb
Horrorfest 2009

THE GRAVES



USA, 2009
Director: Brian Pulido

1/10










This supernatural/survival/whatever-rubbish is undoubtedly the worst movie I've seen this year so far. Everything after the first 5 minutes (which are quite enjoyable) is pure crap.

All acting performances - lousy (even Bill Moseley's).
Dialogue - most of the time horrid.
Special/make-up/gore effects - totally lousy.
Story - uninteresting and pointless.
Camera work, editing - lame.
Soundtrack - meh.
Suspense, tension - none.
Entertainment - none.

Overall, an absolute disaster of a movie. Avoid this piece of shit at all cost.

29 August 2010

SLEEPY HOLLOW



Alternate German Title:
Sleepy Hollow - Köpfe werden rollen

USA / Germany, 1999
Director: Tim Burton

8/10







Ah yes, exactly what I needed. "Sleepy Hollow" is the perfect Sunday evening entertainment. Not a perfect movie, but an amusing and wholly entertaining one.
It's suspenseful and thrilling, but also pretty funny, full of creepy moments and packed with action. The cast is just marvellous with a hilariously brilliant Johnny Depp, a decent Christina Ricci and great cameos from Christopher Lee and Christopher Walken. Visually it's absolutely stunning with magnificent-looking settings, fantastic cinematography, wonderful lighting and beautiful colouring. Musically it's Danny Elfman at its best with a rousing score.
The story is interesting, the script very well written, the dialogue are mostly quite jokey. The special /make-up effects are terrific, the headless horseman's appearances are all highly impressive and the beheadings are all fun.
A super-enjoyable flick of first-class Tim Burton quality!

BLADE



USA, 1998
Director: Stephen Norrington

6/10











I saw this in 2001 when I was in uniform and as far as I remember I didn't like it. Ok, I admit: at that time I totally hated vampires and I also was a bit drunk while watching it.
Now 9 years later I rewatched it, sober and more tolerant towards vampires - still, it didn't do much to me. It is an entertaining film but it's sadly nothing special (and IMO horribly overrated).

There are many things that I really like about "Blade":
the entertaining cast, Wesley Snipes' outfit, the cool soundtrack, a decent plot, some terrific special effects and a couple of remarkable and unforgettable scenes (disco bloodbath, burnt vampire resurrection, end fight...).
But there are also many things I completely dislike about it:
many boring and tedious scenes (especially in the middle), unnecessary and lengthy dialogue, some terrible overacting from Snipes, some stupid over-the-top-action, horrible CGI blood and hardly any tension or suspense.

I'm not too keen on the sequels but I'm sure I'll watch them in the next months - and I hope they are at least a little better.

DARK COUNTRY



USA, 2009
Director: Thomas Jane

7/10











An interesting and quite impressive film-noir/msytery-thriller, the directorial debut from the underrated actor Thomas Jane. A bit too slow-paced in the first half, the story is a little too messedf up - but apart from that it's really splendid.
Visually it's highly appealing with wonderful-looking and atmospheric landscapes, great camera work, some unique shots and a brilliant comic-book-look. It's pretty tense and suspenseful (especially in the last third), the cast is simply superb (Jane himself, Lauren German, Ron Perlman), the jazzy soundtrack is extremely cool and the final plot-twist is excellent (plus: the ice-cube-scene, one of the most erotic things I've seen in a long time).
A very satisfactory debut film.

27 August 2010

Look, what I have here...

Yay, I've won a [REC]2-poster over at Bloody Disgusting (thanx to Brad Miska)!!!

Ok, I admit, I'm not a big fan of [REC]2 but hey:
the artwork looks great
AND it's signed by the directors Paco Plaza & Jaume Balagueró who also did the first [REC],
IMO one of the greatest horror movies of the last 10 years.

What more could one want?

26 August 2010

BODY COUNT

BODY COUNT

Original Title:
Camping del terrore

Alternate Title:
Bodycount

German Title:
Body Count - Die Mathematik des Schreckens

Italy / USA, 1987
Director: Ruggero Deodato

3/10


One of the most popular horror genres in the 80s was the camp-slasher, you know: stuff like "Friday the 13th" or "Sleepaway Camp". Ruggero Deodato realized the popularity (a bit too late) of these movies and probably thought 'I can do that too!'
Sadly, he failed badly. "Body Count" is just a lame and unexciting little Italo-slasher. The kills are all pretty gory and fun, the score is quite creepy and the abandoned settings look creepy. As for the rest, there's virtually nothing of worth in here: the story is terribly bad, the dialogue is horrible and nearly all actors/characters are lame or annoying (even David Hess' performance is disappointing). Hardly any suspense or atmosphere, many predictable scenes and an extremely underwhelming ending.
If you wanna see a good Deodato-film, then avoid this one and watch "House on The Edge Of The Park" or "Cannibal Holocaust" instead.

25 August 2010

A CAT IN THE BRAIN



Original Title:
Un gatto nel cervello

Alternate Titles:
Cat In The Brain / Nightmare Concert

Italy, 1990
Director: Lucio Fulci

8/10




I haven't seen yet all movies from grandmaster Fulci but I'm pretty sure that this is his weirdest but also his most entertaining one. A hilariously brilliant self-reflexive 'quasi-self-parody', largely cut together from previous lesser known Fulci-directed/produced flicks.
The cast is extremely funny with Fulci playing himself delivering a terrific performance, and a super-freaky slasher-psychiatrist. The gore amount is very high and extremely insane (lots of violent decapitations, slit throats, stabbings, ripped out body parts, melted heads, crushed bodies...). The story is quite interesting, the camera work is mostly nice. It's tense, amusing, a bit shocking and it never gets boring. Thumbs up!

btw, Fulci used footage from the following movies:
(I'll try to track them all down in the next months. I must see them all!)

24 August 2010

SALVAGE


SALVAGE

German Title:
Salvage - Die Epidemie

UK, 2009
Director: Lawrence Gough

6/10








A pretty ok British low budget horror in the vein of "The Crazies".
Many things about "Salvage" are absolutely great:
terrific acting, interesting character development, believable characters, a charming soundtrack (pretty similar to the "One Hour Photo" score), some neat gore and, a few jump scares and a brilliant script full of unexpected twists and turns.
Sadly there are also many disappointing things:
the poor story (starts out interesting but ends up pretty lame), lots of unanswered questions, an extremely dissatisfying ending, boring-looking settings and some dull and uninteresting scenes.
I'd say it's worth checking out, but don't expect a masterpiece.

23 August 2010

SKINWALKERS

SKINWALKERS

Alternate Title:
Skin Walkers

Canada / USA / Germany, 2006
Director: James Isaac

2/10








Oh, I just recognized that now I have seen all movies from James Isaac (um, all 4...).
Why? I don't know. I'm definitely no fan of his work. "Jason X" is fun but mediocre, "House 3" is lame, "Pig Hunt" is stupid - and "Skinwalkers"... well, it's undoubtedly the low-point of his career so far.
A tedious and stale kinda-werewolf flick with a completely ridiculous plot, a lousy script full of flaws and holes, laughably bad acting, laughably bad dialogue and a bunch of totally lame-looking wolfmen. 1 point for some nice camera work and 1 point for the fabulous cover artwork, that's it.

22 August 2010

OPEN HOUSE (2010)


OPEN HOUSE

USA, 2010
Director: Andrew Paquin

5/10











This "Open House" has (thankfully) nothing to do with the 80s "Open House". Nevertheless it's just a mediocre psycho thriller that tries tries to be different but eventually ends up as nothing special.

Pros:
* The acting - Brian Geraghty's performance is mindblowingly awesome, Tricia Helfer and Rachel Blanchard are also pretty great.
* The plot - pretty interesting and a bit thought-provoking.
* The camera work - beautiful and stylish.
* The kills - quite brutal and entertaining.

Cons:
* The script - badly paced, badly written, predictable, not enough tension or suspense.
* The direction - unsatisfactory and lackluster. It's filled with scenes and moments that try to shock or impress the viewer, but unfortunately totally fail in doing so.
* The blood - looks way too unreal.

Overall, an ok but disappointing film.

OPEN HOUSE (1987)


OPEN HOUSE

German Titles:
Open House - Trautes Heim kann tödlich sein / Sold House Woman Killer

USA, 1987
Director: Jag Mundhra

3/10







...and the oscar for the silliest plotline in a late-80s slasher
goes to (drum roll) "Open House"!!
Seriously: a homeless guy goes apeshit and kills off real estate agents because their properties are overpriced??? Come on, this is really stupid. What was 'genius" Mundhra thinking?
Apart from that the movie sucks most of the time. It's horribly, HORRIBLY boring and extremely slow, most of the actors are incredibly annoying (sole exception: Adrienne Barbeau), the dialogue is horrid and the super-cheesy casio-soundtrack is just laughable. At least most of the kills are pretty ok and the killer himself is quite hilarious.

21 August 2010

TOOTH AND NAIL


TOOTH AND NAIL

Alternate Title:
Tooth & Nail

USA, 2007
Director: Mark Young

4/10







Lame little post-apocalyptic survival-indie horror-flick that promises way more than it actually delivers. The story is interesting, but due to an awful script, the whole thing turns out to be boring, lame and completely implausible.

The main cast is ok but nothing special - at least, there's some cool cameo appearances from Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones.

There's hardly any tension or atmosphere (2 or 3 scenes were so fuckin' slow, I nearly fell asleep), the settings all look poor and the soundtrack is just disappointing. At least it's full of gruesome and gory kills.

10 August 2010

The Fabulous "TROLL 3" Double Feature

Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi, the masterminds behind the infamous mega-schlock "Troll 2", are reported to work on a sequel called 'Troll 2: Part 2'.
The title may sound shit but... well, it's pretty
pointless to title it 'Troll 3' as there are already 2 (!) Troll 3's. Um, ok, these Troll 3s are not really sequels, they're just 2 bad movies which both were marketed as Troll 3 (amongst other titles) although they both have nearly no connection to "Troll 2".
Nevertheless I've decided to watch and review both in a row - which was no good decision because this was really one helluva bad movie-watching-experience.





THE CRAWLERS
a.k.a. TROLL 3

Alternate Titles:
Contamination .7 / Creepers / Contamination 7 / Troll III: Contamination Point 7 / The Crawlers: Troll III

Italy / Canada, 1990
Directors: Fabrizio Laurenti & Joe D'Amato

2/10





Connection to "Troll": according to Wikipedia there was an early script with the original cast in mind.
Connection to "Troll 2": produced by Joe D'Amato's schlock company 'Filmirage',
involving costume design by porn actress Laura Gemser.

This film is not about trolls or goblins - it's about radioactive-polluted trees and its murderous roots, and guess what? Right, it's a really bad movie. Not as bad as "Troll 2", but still pretty bad.
The scenes with the roots are all quite entertaining (nice POV shots, a whole lotta strangulations and at least one supergory killing), unfortunately everything else just sucks. The actors are all awfully bad, the characters are all annoying (especially the uber-stupid sheriff and the drunken kinda-retard), the dialogue is simply horrible, the effects are mostly poor (including a funny helicopter crash involving a lousy-looking plastic helicopter), the soundtrack is a tremendous pain in the ass and the script is just laughable (illogical and flawed, no tension, no suspense, crap ending).
If you want a good killer-plants-movie, watch "The Ruins" or "The Guardian" instead.





QUEST FOR THE MIGHTY SWORD
a.k.a. TROLL 3

Alternate Titles:
Ator III: The Hobgoblin / The Hobgoblin / The Lord Of Akili

German Titles:
Troll Teil 3 / Troll - Das Schwert der Macht / Ator - Das Schwert der Macht

Italy, 1990
Director: Joe D'Amato (as David Hills)

0/10



Connections to "Troll": none.
Connections to "Troll 2": some of Laura Gemser's Goblin-costumes are reused in here,
produced by 'Filmirage'.

Actually this movie is a part of the Joe D'Amato-created "Ator"-franchise (a cheesy "Conan" rip-off) including the movies "Ator 1", "Ator 2" & "Iron Warrior".
D'amato directed 1 & 2 but not 3 which was directed by some guy called Alfonso Brescia.
D'Amato was dissastisfied with Part 3 and so he made his own Part 3 (this one) - which is actually a remake of "Ator 1"! (wtf?)
In here they reused a couple of costumes from "Troll 2" which made the German distribution company think that this is a good reason to attach it to the Troll-franchise - and so they called it 'Troll 3' (note: "The Crawlers" was never officially released in German-speaking countries).
Confused? Well, so am I.

I am not a fan of sword-and-sorcery-flicks like "Conan" or "Beastmaster"and I also haven't seen any of the other "Ator" movies - and now after watching this pile of shit (which I only watched because it's "Part of the 'Troll-franchise'") I'm 100% sure I'll never watch anything from this genre again.
Oh my goodness, this one is sooo incredibly awful. Nothing in this film is any fun or makes any sense. The acting is shit (Eric Allan Kramer's performance is so terrible, it hurts), the special / make-up effects are all terrible (ridiculous siamese-twin robots, a tiny rubber godzilla, ugly lizard masks and, of course, the laughable goblins from "Troll 2"), the soundtrack's causing ear cancer and the settings look cheap and cheesy (plastic caves and boring autumn landscapes).
The plot is tremendously horrible, every single element of the story is stupid and totally pointless, there's absolutely no tension, suspense or atmosphere in it, and the dialogue... well, some of the lines are so bad, it just makes you vomit.
If "Troll 2" is the 'best worst movie', then "Quest Of The Mighty Sword" is undoubtedly the 'worst worst movie' - and it actually is the first movie since "Manos" that gets a 0/10 rating from me.

Wiki ~ Imdb







bw: These reviews were inspired by the fabulous video reviews
from The Cinema Snob & Phelous.

BEYOND DARKNESS

BEYOND DARKNESS

Original Title:
La Casa 5

Alternate Titles:
House 5

German Title:
Horror House 2

Italy, 1990
Director: Claudio Fragasso (as Clyde Anderson)

3/10


Another cheesy Italo-schlock from the 'master of disaster' Claudio Fragasso.
The plot is a lousy mix of "Poltergeist", "Amityville Horror" & "The Exorcist", the acting is lame, the dialogue too, the effects are often extremely bad and the pacing is mostly way too slow and tedious. At least there are a couple of atmospheric scenes, some cool-looking zombie-witches and (a must-see for "Troll 2" fans!) Michael Stephenson in his first role.

Btw: despite all the different titles, this has absolutely nothing to do with "La Casa 1 & 2 (Evil Dead)", "La Casa 3", "La Casa 4", "Beyond The Darkness", "Horror House (House 3)" or "House 5"...

JOY RIDE 1 & 2

JOY RIDE

Alternate Titles:
Joyride / Roadkill / Radio Killer

German Title:
Joy Ride - Spritztour

USA, 2001
Director: John Dahl

7/10





"Joy Ride" is no "Hush" and, of course, no "Duel", but at least it's a fairly entertaining and highly thrilling psychotic-truck-driver horror/thriller. There are a couple of unnecessary plot holes and unbelievable scenes in it, yet despite these flaws, it's absolutely top notch with terrific acting (Paul Walker, Steve Zahn...), highly enjoyable dialogue with many hilarious one-liners ("Just remind yourself that in a 100 years you're gonna be dead. It's the closest thing I've got to a philosophy."), lots of action, lots of tension and some excellently intense and suspenseful edge-of-seat-scenes.

Wiki ~ Imdb



JOY RIDE 2: DEAD AHEAD

Alternate Titles:
Roadkill 2: Dead Ahead / Radio Killer 2

USA / Canada, 2008
Director: Louis Morneau

2/10







A pointless, superfluous and unnecessarily brutal sequel that feels like a lame "Saw" on wheels. The plot is a poor rehash of the original. The script is lame-paced, there's hardly any tension or suspense in it, the characters are all completely unlikable douchebags and it's packed with unbelievably dumb and annoying scenes that made me shake my head in disbelief.
At least some of the gore was quite ok.

09 August 2010

GRAPES OF DEATH

GRAPES OF DEATH

Original Title:
Les Raisins de la mort

Alternate Titles:
The Raisins Of Death / Pesticide / The Grapes Of Death

German Titles:
Foltermühle der gefangenen Frauen / Pestizide - Stadt der Zombies / Pestizide - Grapes Of Death / Zombis - geschändete Frauen / The Village Of The Living Dead

France, 1978
Director: Jean Rollin

8/10


Wow, this one was a big surprise: despise the silly title (and a bunch of even sillier German titles that all refer to zombies and tortured women), this is an absolutely wonderful epidemic/infection flick in the vein of Romero's "Crazies", but, of course, way better.
The film takes place somewhere in the French countryside on rural settings (vineyards, farmhouses...) that look just beautiful, but also pretty eerie. The sinister and claustrophobic atmosphere throughout the movie is breathtakingly brilliant and definitely something you don't see every day.
The script is perfectly paced with a slow but effective build-up, the acting is decent, the soundtrack is extremely interesting (some kind of minimalistic synth score) and the camera work is just stunning. The film's only flaw is the make-up of the infected which often looks quite tacky, yet it's still pretty effective.
Overall a really terrific 70s Euro-horror-movie, highly recommended!

ROAD TRAIN

ROAD TRAIN

Alternate Title:
Road Kill

Australia, 2010
Director: Dean Francis

3/10








I remember when I first saw the "Road Train" trailer and how it blew me away because it looked really great and interesting. Unfortunately it totally does not live up to my expectations:
1 point for the Duel-like opening, 1 point for some decent atmosphere in the first half and 1 point for the brilliant-looking truck -that's it, everything else just sucks.
The acting is quite lame, every single character is a horribly annoying pain in the ass. The plot is extremely stupid and the script is so full of holes, it's incredible (some of the largest holes I've seen in a long time). The dialogue is lousy and the musical score a messed up sound tangle.
Forgettable.

08 August 2010

PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE

PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE

Alternate Title:
Grave Robbers From Outer Space

German Title:
Plan 9 aus dem Weltall

USA, 1959
Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.

1/10




It's not the worst movie of all time, but it comes pretty close (the worst movie is of course "Manos"). Plan 9 is such a laughable and ridiculous mess of a sci-fi/horror/whatever-movie, it's amazing. None, I repeat, NONE of the actors are any good. The script is horrid, the plot is horrible, the dialogue horrendous. The editing is so awfully bad, the settings look so unbelievably poor, the special effects are so ludicrously tacky - yet, it's all so bad, it's actually entertaining.
A really, really terrible and crappy film, but in a fun way!

WITCHERY


WITCHERY

Original Title:
La casa 4

Alternate Titles:
Ghosthouse 2 / Witchcraft / Witchcraft (Evil Encounters) / The Haunted House

German Titles:
Witchcraft - Das Böse lebt / Hexenbrut

Italy / USA, 1988
Director: Fabrizio Laurenti

3/10


Lame and laughable witchcraft-cheese that has incidentally nothing to do with either "La Casa" (Italian title for "Evil Dead") or "Ghosthouse".
The cast is absolutely hilarious, I mean, when do you get the chance to see David Hasselhoff, Linda Blair and Hildegard Knef in one movie? Sadly their appearances are all rather dull, and the rest of the cast is also disappointing (especially Catherine Hickland who acts as if she's on valium).
Script and story are quite bad, the cheap synth score is tiresome and most of the special effects look shoddy. At least, most of the killing and torture scenes are pretty gory and gruesome (burning in chimney, sewn-up mouths, stabbings...).

07 August 2010

HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD

HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD

Original Title:
Virus - L'inferno dei morti viventi

Alternate Titles:
Virus / Night Of The Zombies / Zombie Creeping Flesh / Hell Of The Living Death

German Title:
Die Hölle der lebenden Toten

Italy / Spain, 1980
Directors: Bruno Mattei (as Vincent Dawn) and Claudio Fragasso (additional direction)

4/10


A pretty cheesy Italian zombie-schlock in the vein of "Dawn Of The Dead" and "Zombi 2". It's clearly one of the most unoriginal and unimaginative from that decade (large parts of the "Dawn Of The Dead"-soundtrack and lots of stock footage from "La Vallée" were used in here), but surprisingly it's still pretty fun.
The acting is quite poor, many of the characters are annoying as hell, the dialogue is awfully bad, the script is badly paced/written and the story is crap. Yet, it's full of really glorious gore (eyeball gouging, loads of gut-eating and ripping off extremities), decent zombies and nice atmosphere, plus: the 'stolen' score fits in perfectly.

03 August 2010

THE ATTIC

THE ATTIC

German Title:
13 Stufen zum Terror

USA, 1980
Director: George Edwards

8/10








Absolutely terrific psychological thriller-drama, sadly extremely unknown nowadays. I saw this for the first time in my childhood and I remember how fascinated I was by the movie, especially because of the mindblowing ending which had a similar shocking effect to me like the ending of "The Vanishing" had.
It's a slow movie, but in a great way. Tension and suspense are slowly built up, turning the film from drama to thriller, from thriller to shocker. The story is superbly intelligent, the script is perfectly paced and well-written. Yet, the true highlight is the cast: Carrie Snodgress' and Ray Milland's emotional performances are so unbelievably outstanding and believable, it's incredible.

NIGHTMARE MAN


NIGHTMARE MAN

USA, 2006
Director: Rolfe Kanefsky

7/10











According to many user reviews on BD & Imdb I'm in the minority of people who like this movie - which I don't fully understand. Of course it has its flaws: the camera work is lame, the lighting is rather poor and it often looks pretty cheap, yet it's easy to overlook these flaws because the whole movie is so effing entertaining.
"Nightmare Man" is a great supernatural indie-slasher that feels a bit like an 80s b-movie (including many scenes that are a bit reminiscent to "Evil Dead" and the "Friday The 13th" films). It's tense and suspenseful, full of neat atmosphere and nice jump-scares. The cast is nothing special but at least decent. The make-up/special effects are great and the killer looks pretty cool (especially his mask). Highlight of the movie is the script which is brilliantly paced and full of surprising twists, jumps and shocks.
I admit: I totally enjoyed this flick! It's no masterpiece but it's definitely a gorgeous little horror gem.

EXAM

EXAM

UK, 2009/2010
Director: Stuart Hazeldine

8/10











If you are into movies like "The Killing Room" or "Cube" (like me), then you sure will love this one too. 'Exam' is a stunningly excellent psychological low-budget mystery-thriller, very tense and thrilling, but also very brain-stimulating and thought-provoking.
The story is highly intelligent, the subtle script is unbelievably perfectly written. It's terrifically paced and never, really never gets boring. The no-name cast plays its roles astonishingly great, the 1-room-setting looks cool, the cinematography is just beautiful and the score is very fitting.
Like to get thrilled? Like guessing games? Well then, this is your film!

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