28 February 2011

HIDE AND GO SHRIEK

HIDE AND GO SHRIEK

Alternate Title:
Close Your Eyes And Pray

USA, 1988
Director: Skip Schoolnik

4,5/10







An average little 80s slasher, on the one hand quite entertaining, on the other hand way too flawed to be called a classic.
I pretty much enjoyed the first hour which is filled with all our favorite ingredients: a couple of goofy and horny teenagers (fortunately, not too annoying), some silly dialogue, some gorgeous nudity, a creepy location (a dark furniture warehouse packed with eerie-looking mannequins), an interesting killer (who loves to hide in the dark and to imitate his victims) and a few decent kills.
Unfortunately, the movie collapses completely in the last half hour: loads of terribly boring and tedious scenes, some outrageously bad over-acting, the script becomes more and more shiftless, the climax is lame, the plot twist is horrendously stupid and the killer (who finally turns out to be some loony kinda-transvestite) sucks so incredibly hard, it's difficult to comprehend.
For die-hard 80s fans only!

27 February 2011

THE RESURRECTION OF MICHAEL MYERS 1 & 2

THE RESURRECTION OF MICHAEL MYERS
(25minute short)

Sweden, 1987
Directors: Mike Beck, Richard Holm & Henrik Wadling

5/10


A completely wacko and decently entertaining lowest-budget "Halloween"-spoof from Sweden, on the one hand hilarious and original, on the other hand way too flawed and unfocused.

Pros:
It's full of surprinsingly good-looking and suspenseful tracking shots. The cast is quite fun, the settings are well-chosen and the kills are all supergory and fun. I laughed my ass off at the Freddy Krueger 'cameo' and the karate zombie.

Cons:
It's horribly annoying that it constantly switches between serious-suspense-slasher and splatter-slapstick, the re-use of all the music and the footage from Halloween 1 & 2 totally doesn't fit in and Michael Myers just looks shit.





THE RESURRECTION OF MICHAEL MYERS PART2
(25minute short)

Sweden, 1989
Directors: Richard Holm & Henrik Wadling

8/10








Absolutely badass sequel that totally supasses the original. This time they fortunately skipped any suspense-attempts and ended up with a hysterical slasher-comedy that extremely entertained me.
It's packed with inventive kills and brilliant gore. The cast is fun; nearly every acting performance is outrageously over-the top (most notably the clumsy guy who survived part 1).
Michael Myers looks terrific, has more screen-time and is allowed to do a few marvellously funny things (drinking alcohol, interacting wih his victims...). On top of this, he gets 'company' from Leatherface (!), Jason Voorhees (!) and a zombie that looks like a remnant from "Return Of The Living Dead".
Furthermore, the soundtrack is utterly excellent (including a gorgeous "Resurrection Rap"), the camera work is great again, and the lack of any Halloween-footage is just praisable.

26 February 2011

SHATTER

SHATTER
(short)

USA, 2009
Director: David Prokopec

7/10




An interesting and really well-made 12minute horror-thriller-drama. It has a few flaws (mediocre acting, mediocre script) but apart from that, I totally enjoyed it. It's tense and highly atmospheric, camera work and lighting are just awesome, the make-up effects look great, the soundtrack is quite rousing and there are 2-3 scenes that totally scared the shit out of me. Good work!

By the way: on director Prokopec's vimeo-account, there's also a 14minute Director's Cut which is just as great as the 12minute version.

23 February 2011

THE OBJECTIVE

THE OBJECTIVE

German Title:
Operation Desert - Die verschwundene Einheit

USA / Morocco, 2008
Director: Daniel Myrick

5/10







A weird blend of horror, science fiction and war movie from "Blair Witch" director Myrick. The first half starts out very promising with some great atmosphere and a few highly suspenseful scenes - unfortunately, it gets boring and extremely confusing in the second half, due to a poor script full of unnecessarily tedious scenes, unanswered questions and large plot holes.
The acting is so-so, the characters are all rather charmless and there's absolutely nothing special or remarkable about the dialogue. Furthermore, the fact that nearly every cool suspense-scene (the impressive non-helicopter scene, the bright light in the night, the 2 large objects in the desert, the first appearance of the triangle-thing...) is followed by a dull and/or unsuspenseful scene is quite unappealing, plus: the crude WTF?-ending is just plain stupid.
At least, the Dead Can Dance-like soundtrack is pretty nice, the camera work is very good and the settings all look great.
Nevertheless, I recommend to watch the similar but way better "Djinns" instead.

THEY DON'T CUT THE GRASS ANYMORE

THEY DON'T CUT THE GRASS ANYMORE

USA, 1985
Director: Nathan Schiff

0/10










Hey, this is now the 3rd movie that gets a 0/10 on this blog (you can find the 2 other ones here and here), and believe me: this horrendous no-budget slasher-crapfest totally deserves that rating.
Nothing in here is satisfying, absolutely NOTHING! Every single actor is plain awful and untalented. Every single dialogue line is absolutely annoying. There's no plot, nothing tense or thrilling, the camera work is terrible, the soundtrack is unbearable, and the gore mostly looks like a mishmash of stale meat, rope and old pizza.
Avoid this piece of shit!!

20 February 2011

MY SOUL TO TAKE

MY SOUL TO TAKE

Alternate Title:
25/8 (working title) / My Soul To Take 3D

USA, 2010
Director: Wes Craven

4/10







What a weird and confusing movie. I'm not exactly sure what Craven wanted to express with this kinda-supernatural-slasher. Hell, I'd say that he himself probably had no clue what this is all about, or even what this is meant to be.
I enjoyed the first 40 minutes: it starts out with a fast-paced and thoroughly rousing opening, followed by the cool ritual in the woods, the haunting kill on the bridge and the amusing bird-vomit-scene in the school. We get introduced to a few nice teen actors, the Riverton Ripper looks awesome and the basic premise of the plot is at least quite interesting.

Unfortunately, after the first 40 minutes it goes completely downhill with loads of abstruse and/or tedious dialogue, so full of "important" information, it's annoying. There are also many totally ridiculous plot points and even a few horrendous plot holes. Worst of all: the super-complicated twist ending, an ending so unbelievably confusing and puzzling, you wanna smack Craven's head against the wall. What the hell was he thinking when he wrote that crappy script???
Furthermore, the lack of suspense and scariness is quite underwhelming, the other kills all look extremely disappointing, 
there are far too many scenes that are unnecessarily similar too previous Craven-works ("Elm Street", "People Under The Stairs"...) and there are also far too many things and scenes that really vexed me (the unbearable over-use of the lame "Thanks, felt good."-phrase / the stupid scene where Fang beats up Bug / the silly mirror scenes / the unnerving religious girl / the very last shots / nicknames like Fang or Bug...).

This could have been so much better with a different scriptwriter (f.e. Kevin Williamson) and a different director (Carpenter, Coscarelli or Chuck Russell. Or even Rob Reiner).

19 February 2011

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (Original & Remake)


I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE

Alternate Titles:
Day Of The Woman / The Rape And Revenge Of Jennifer Hill / Horror Weekend


German Titles:
Ich spuck auf dein Grab / Blood Angel

USA, 1978
Director: Meir Zarchi

8/10


Unbelievably disturbing, incredibly unpleasant and highly controversial rape-and-revenge cult classic that really fucked me up. If you couldn't stand watching "Irreversible"... well, then don't even think of watching this! Every single rape scene in here is extremely nasty and very tough to watch, the villains are horribly unbearable and the revenge scenes are gory and super-shocking (especially the infamous bath scene... Ouch!!)
Yet, it's still really brilliant movie, very realistic and original, very well written and paced, with a neat cast (especially Camille Keaton's performance is just awesome), lots of superb tension, some wonderful camera work and a shitload of extremely frightful scenes you definitely will never ever forget. Bravo!
(review from 05/2010)


I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE
(Remake)

USA, 2010
Director: Steven R. Monroe

10/10










Ok, call me impressed. This remake truly is a fucking masterpiece. I know that many people will not agree on my opinion, but I just can't help it. 
I mean, I love these kind of movies. I love unsettling stuff like "Martyrs", "Cannibal Holocaust" or "Irreversible" and I also love rape-and-revenge flicks; 
I love the original "I Spit..." and, hell yeah, I love the remake even more!

I daresay that this is one of the best remakes ever made. It's almost perfect, mainly because it doesn't feel like a remake, but like an upgrade of the original's spirit.
It's way, waaay more disturbing and unsettling, way more violent and brutal, but also way more suspenseful and atmospheric. The first third contains many incredibly thrilling edge-of-seat-scenes, the second third is mostly extremely upsetting and the last third is a painful but awesome gorefest/torture-orgy.

The acting is just great: Sarah Butler is undoubtedly on a par with Camille Keaton, and the villains are all really, really horrific (most notably the amazing Andrew Howard as the newly added Sheriff).
Also, thanks to Stuart Morse who did a great job on the character development and on the script.

There are not so many rape scenes, but they are all dreadfully intense and highly uncomfortable to watch. I also couldn't stand all the pre-torturing (throwing matches on her, make her perform oral sex on a revolver etc.).
Highlights are of course the victim's revenge actions. I don't want to forestall anything but... shit, the eyelids- and the penis-scene made me cringe, and when the one villain's teeth got pulled out, I had to hide behind my hands.

A mindblowingly impressive and stunning film I really didn't expect to be that awesome. Excellent!

TREEVENGE

TREEVENGE
(short)

Canada, 2008
Director: Jason Eisener

9/10










Super-gory and ultra-hilarious 16minute splatter-comedy short about an armada of christmas trees who wreak revenge on mankind.
Jason Eisener did a terrific job on directing and writing this wonderful little horror spoof, mainly because of the impressively negative tone, showing humans as gruesome and daft, and fir trees as poor and helpless creatures, but only until they finally turn the tables.
The gore is amazing, especially because of one awesome Fulci-esque eye-gouging scene and one of the most shocking head-crushes I've ever seen.
Furthermore, the camera work is very neat, the settings all look nice, the soundtrack is quite fitting and the acting is gorgeous.
The perfect film for horror fans, christmas haters and environmentalists :-)

Amando De Ossorio: The Last Templar / Unearthing The Blind Dead

In my recently bought "Blind Dead" Box there's a pretty neat Bonus DVD
which contains a documentary about director Amando de Ossorio,
and also an interview with him.


AMANDO DE OSSORIO: THE LAST TEMPLAR
(documentary, 25 min.)

Original Titles:
Amando de Ossorio: o último templario / Amando de Ossorio: el último templario

Spain, 2001
Director: Xosé Zapata

9/10

A highly interesting, fascinating and kinda insightful look on life and career of one of Spain's most famous exploitation directors, including scenes and stills from his early and rather unknown pre-horror films, and interview snippets with himself, a few of his actors and others.
It's nice to see Lone Fleming talking about her uncomfortable lesbian scene but it's also quite sad seeing de Ossorio talking about all the disappointing filming experiences regarding lack of budget, time pressure and unbearable producers.




UNEARTHING THE BLIND DEAD
(interview, 11 min)

Spain, 2001
Director: Xosé Zapata

8/10





Great but way too short interview with de Ossorio, talking about what he thinks of each "Blind Dead" film, containing many informative but also many pretty negative anecdotes.

Don't forget to read about the Blind Dead quadrilogy!!

BOOB

BOOB
(short)

USA, 2009
Director: Honest

8/10


Only 3 minutes long but worth every second: BOOB, a wonderful horror spoof about a Boob which goes on a killing spree after it accidentally was brought to life.
Wonderfully filmed, directed, written and paced, full of gorgeous shots of the living tit, some cool gore, a few funny acting performances and many, many hilarious laughs. A must-see!

16 February 2011

SKYLINE

SKYLINE

USA, 2010
Director: Colin Strause & Greg Strause

4/10










My gosh, that movie sucks! If it wasn't for the amazing special and visual effects, I would have easily given it a 1. It's beyond me why this wasn't sent straight to video.

Well... like I mentioned, the effects are mindblowingly awesome. For only 10 million bucks the Strause Brothers created a terrific-looking armada of flying robot-aliens and "District 9"-like spaceships, many absolutely striking images (the opening scene, the arrival of the spaceships, the scene where all the people were sucked into the spaceships...) and a whole load of fast-paced and action-packed scenes with lots of great-looking CGI explosions. Also, the soundtrack is very effective and the camera work is quite ok.

Sadly, everything else about this Independence Day/War Of The Worlds rip-off is just bad, HORRIBLY bad: the acting ranges from lame to completely untalented, every single character is totally unlikable and the dialogue is entirely poor.
Furthermore, there's hardly any tension or suspense, it's full of things and scenes that are illogical or just don't make any sense (f.e. nuclear explosions that cause nearly no harm, that guy in the street who shoots around with a machine gun...), and the really, REALLY awful script is just crammed with terrible plot holes, absurd plot points and unanswered questions (hardly any useful background information about the characters, hardly any explanation for the alien's purpose...).
Worst of all: the outstandingly shitty ending. Me and the rest of the audience laughed our asses off because the ending is so incredibly silly and so indescribably pointless, it's hard to believe.

Watch it only if you wanna see some great special effects.
Don't watch it if you wanna see a good sci-fi flick.

14 February 2011

HYDRA (a.k.a. "The Sea Serpent")

HYDRA

Original Title:
Serpiente de mar

Alternate Titles:
The Sea Serpent / Hydra, Monster Of The Deep

German Title:
Hydra - Die Ausgeburt der Hölle

Spain / USA, 1984
Director: Amando de Ossorio

3/10


My goodness, what a laughable and ridiculous piece of trash! Amando de Ossorio, the man who created the iconic "Blind Dead" quadrilogy, totally failed with this super-shoddy monster movie.

Most of the time it's horribly slow and boring. Even when there are scenes which are meant to be tense, it's still boring. The story totally sucks, nothing here makes any sense. The dialogue is bad, the acting is mostly pretty lame and what the hell was Ray Milland doing in here? Did he really need the money that much?
Of course, the worst thing about this lowest-budget lamefest are the rubbish effects: jeez, that sea serpent is undoubtedly one of the silliest things I've seen in my whole life! A huge sock puppet with goggle eyes, which constantly screams like a hysterical old hag - I laughed my ass off! :-D


Furthermore, all the miniature lighthouses, boats, bridges and trains look very tacky, and, most annoying, nearly everthing the sea serpent does is just terribly illogical (especially the attacking and destroying of huge buildings for absolutely no apparent reason).

1 point for some mildly and/or unintentionally funny scenes, 1 point for the nice Jaws-like soundtrack and 1 point for the sock puppet :-D

Fun fact:
Not only Ray Milland's last movie (unfortunately),
but also Amando de Ossorio's last movie (fortunately).

Imdb

13 February 2011

THE STAY AWAKE

THE STAY AWAKE

German Title:
Stay Awake - Nacht des Grauens

South Africa, 1987
Director: John Bernard

4/10







I expected this South African supernatural-slasher/creature-feature/whatever to be really terrible, especially because of all the incredibly negative reviews on Imdb - yet, to my surprise I quite enjoyed it. Not as much as f.e. "Final Exam" or "The Slayer", two 80s flicks which no one likes either (except me), but, well... I definitely had a great time watching it.

Cons:
The story is stupid, nothing really makes sense in here, most notably that annoying serial killer who was executed in America and resurrected somewhere in Europe where he haunts a girls school in the form of a green giant-rat-like monster!! *shakes head*
There are also many scenes that just bored the crap out of me, the acting is rather mediocre, large parts of the dialogue are just lousy and the abrupt ending is totally underwhelming.

Pros:
The monster, as cheesy as it is, looks absolutely fabulous. The kills are all quite entertaining (especially the fire hose strangulation and the 'gorilla head' decapitation). The girls school looks pretty haunting and I adore all the scenes where the camera slides to its dark corridors. Last but not least, the soundtrack is really cool, especially those rousing strings at the one hour mark.

Overall, an underappreciated little film that definitely deserves to be rediscovered.

PLAGUE

 PLAGUE
(short)

Australia, 2009
Directors: Matt Simpson & Joseph Luke Avery

10/10








Saw this sometimes last year, totally loved it but for some reason I forgot about it. Just yesterday after watching "The Walking Dead" I remembered it and immediately rewatched it, and... well, it's even more amazing than I remembered it to be!

It may be only a 17minute horror short, but IMO it's one of the most impressive zombie/infection movies ever made, I'm serious. It's incredibly suspenseful and atmospheric, but also extremely depressing and unsettling. It gets me everytime I watch it, especially the stunning donwbeat ending.


Main actor Joseph Avery (who's also the co-director) delivers a very strong and believable performance, Costa Ronin's narration is powerfully haunting, camera work and editing are great, settings and locations look awesome (especially the shabby country house), the zombies look awesome and the gore effects are fantastic.

Mindblowing short film - highly, HIGHLY recommended!

Random Thoughts

Why is it that "The Exorcist III" gets even better and better with every watch? Only recently I've put the rating from 8/10 up to 9/10...


Nice to see that there are various visitors who click on my adsense ads. I hope one day you'll make me a millionaire :-) 


Omg, so many horror movies, so little time...


I miss good old Michael Myers. And Norman Bates. And Leatherface.


When will Don Coscarelli finally make Phantasm V???


I finally have to deal with short horror movies. So many horror shorts, so little time...


12 February 2011

THE WALKING DEAD

THE WALKING DEAD
(TV Series)

created, written and produced by Frank Darabont
USA 2010











Just when you thought the zombie genre was dead, Frank Darabont comes along and 'revives' it with "The Walking Dead", a wonderful TV-series (based on the comic book series of the same name) which feels like a blend of oldschool Romero stuff and "28 Days/Weeks Later".
Actually I planned on watching one episode a day - but eventually I ended up watching all 6 episodes in a row :-)




Episode 1:
DAYS GONE BYE

German Title:
Gute alte Zeit

USA, 2010
Director: Frank Darabont

10/10

Amazing! Although this is 'only' the pilot to a TV series, I daresay that this is one of the most impressive zombie flicks I've ever seen. Darabont's teleplay and direction are simply excellent, especially because of an intelligent and interesting plot, brilliantly written characters, a few tremendously suspenseful scenes (f.e. when the sheriff leaves the hospital and when he enters Altlanta) and a few unexpectedly emotional moments (the outstanding scene where the black guy tries to shoot his zombie wife). The acting is superb, camera work and soundtrack are just beautiful, and, most important, the zombies look so incredibly stunning, it's hard to believe.
What a kick-off!





Episode 2:
GUTS

German Title:
Gefangene der Toten

USA, 2010
Director: Michelle MacLaren

9/10


Almost as great as the first episode. We get introduced to a whole load of new characters, not all likeable, but at least, all believable and well-written.
It's extremely fast-paced, highly suspenseful and pretty atmospheric, there are a few cool nods to "Dawn Of The Dead" and some terrific gore, the 'dropping of the key' is just hilarious and the scene where the debuty and the Korean guy cover themselves with guts is just outstanding.





Episode 3:
TELL IT TO THE FROGS

German Title:
Tag der Frösche

USA, 2010
Director: Gwyneth Horder-Payton

6/10

Clearly the weakest episode. There's way too much family / drama / love stuff and hardly any zombie action. Still, there are some really great emotional moments, the opening is cool and the scene where fat guy gets beaten up is just wonderful

Episode 4:
VATOS

USA, 2010
Director: Johan Renck

8/10




Gladly way better than its predecessing episode. Better pacing, more action, more suspense and more zombies. I totally love all the Latino gang stuff, the scene where the one guy digs graves is pretty unsettling and the final zombie night attack is just awesome.

Episode 5:
WILDFIRE

German Title:
Tag 194

USA, 2010
Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

8/10



Another really great episode. At times a bit too tedious and unspectacular, but eventually pretty awesome because of 3 adorably intense scenes: when they leave the bitten guy behind, the absolutely fabulous zombie girl awakening and the terrifically interesting last 10 minutes about the CDC building.





Episode 6:
TS-19

USA, 2010
Director: Guy Ferland

9/10




A really excellent and interesting grand finale, powerful and thrilling. We get to know a lotta nice facts about the zombie transformations, the opening scene is just stunning and the whole countdown stuff is extremely rousing and tense and totally kept me on the edge of my seat.





 Overall, a brilliantly entertaining and highly addicting series that should satisfy every zombie fan. Can't hardly wait for the next season!

8/10

Wiki ~ Imdb

THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE

THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE

German Title:
Tanz der Totenköpfe

UK, 1973
Director: John Hough

6/10






 
An interesting but quite flawed and horribly overrated haunted house flick. Starts out creepy and suspenseful in the first half but sadly, it gets quite tedious and unspectacular in the second half. The plot is silly and the script is badly written, mainly because of various silly plot lines and a super-disappointing ending. Large parts of the dialogue are annoying (especially the over-use of the term 'Belasco's son') and I totally hate the constant time-and-date inserts.
The acting is quite good, especially Roddy McDowall, Pamela Franklin and Roland Culver's performances. The Hell House (not to confuse with the 'Hill House' from "The Haunting") looks terrifically creepy, most of the camera work and the soundtrack are cool and effective, and the scary scenes are all just amazing, most notably the fabulous dinner scene with the brutal Poltergeist attack, the very first sitting with the possessed girl and the awesome scene with the dead cat in the shower, a scene that could have been from some Italian giallo.
Overall, an ok 70s horror flick. No more, no less.

BAD BIOLOGY

BAD BIOLOGY

Alternate Title:
Sex Addict

USA, 2008
Director: Frank Henenlotter

6/10








IMO Frank Henenlotter is one of the craziest and most entertaining exploitation directors of all time. Between 1982 - 1992 he only shot 5 movies, but they are all absolutely brilliant (Frankenhooker, Brain Damage and the 3 Basket Case flicks).
After 16 years of absence he finally made his comeback in 2008 with  "Bad Biology", a kinda Porn-Horror-Comedy, and... yeah, I enjoyed it. It's sadly not as great as most of his 80s/90s works but it's still a typical Henenlotter-movie, hilarious and trashy.
The script is weakly written with many tedious scenes and a quite disappointing ending. Most of the acting is rather lame and the CGI effects look pretty poor. Aside from that, it's just brilliant: a woman with 7 clits who gives birth to mutant babies 2 hours after every intercourse, a guy with a monster-penis which has a mind of its own, lots of gorgeous nudity, some cool gore, the 'fuck faces' photo collection, the 'vagina face' photo shoot, the fuck machine, the scene where the 3 teens talk about John Holmes' penis etc. etc.
If you're a fan of Henenlotter or if you enjoyed movies like "Human Centipede" or "Teeth", then you'll probably enjoy this one too.

10 February 2011

THE FACULTY

THE FACULTY

German Title:
Faculty - Trau keinem Lehrer

USA, 1998
Director: Robert Rodriguez

8/10








Highly entertaining teen-version of the "Bodysnatchers"-flicks (including a few nice "The Thing" references). Rodriguez' direction is superb and Kevin "Scream" Williamson's screenplay is brillianty written and paced. It's mostly quite suspenseful and fast-paced (only a few slow scenes in the first half). 
The cast is absolutely top notch, especially because of some neat and fun acting performances from Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood and Piper Laurie. I love all the special effects (the queen alien, lots of great-looking transformations, the tentacle-head...), I love the kills (the violent opening, the disintegrating old lady...), there are many super-funny dialogue lines 
("I'm allergic!" - "Yeah, and I'm Portuguese." / "Casey, when did you become Sigourney Weaver?" / "You're that geeky Stephen King kid - there's one of you in every school.") and I totally enjoyed the cool soundtrack with some fab tunes from Garbage, Oasis and The Offspring.
Simply a marvellous flick!

09 February 2011

GRAVEYARD SHIFT

GRAVEYARD SHIFT

German Title:
Nachtschicht

USA, 1990
Director: Ralph S. Singleton

4/10








"Graveyard Shift" is one of my alltime favorite short stories from grandmaster Stephen King; a dark and thrilling suspense-fest with a sinister ending.
Sadly, the big screen adaptation is the exact opposite: a dull and tedious creature feature with an underwhelming happy ending.
It's badly written and badly paced, extremely predictable and hardly tense or scary. Most of the characters are just annoying, large parts of the dialogue are quite stupid and/or ridiculous, and it's a real bother that more than half of the movie has absolutely nothing in common with the original story.
At least the old textile mill looks fabulous, the kills are all pretty cool and  the acting performances from Brad Dourif and Stephen Macht are stunningly brilliant  - nevertheless, I recommend to avoid this flick and read the story instead.

Wiki ~ Imdb

DJINNS

DJINNS

Alternate Title:
Stranded

German Title:
Djinn - Dämonen der Wüste

France / Morocco, 2010
Directors: Hugues Martin and Sandra Martin

7/10




"Djinns" is a highly atmospheric and quite suspenseful little war/horror movie (slightly in the vein of "The Keep") that fully came up to my expectations.
It may be a bit too long and it's also a bit too tedious in the middle, but aside from that I totally enjoyed it. It's brilliantly written and intensely paced, full of superb twists, interesting plot elements, unpredictable surprises (f.e. the ending!), and there's even a major 'Ronin'-like suitcase-MacGuffin in here. The acting is quite powerful and the dialogue is neat.
Highlight: the CGI Djinns which look terrifically creepy, especially the one who appears during the sandstorm. Also worthy of note: the wonderful oriental soundtrack, awesome camera work and a few really excellent settings (most notably the outstanding-looking desert village).
Recommended!

Wiki ~ Imdb

The BLIND DEAD Quadrilogy

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD

Original Title:
La noche del terror ciego

Alternate Titles:
The Blind Dead / Night Of The Blind Dead / Crypt Of The Blind Dead / Revenge From Planet Ape

German Title:
Die Nacht der reitenden Leichen

Spain / Portugal, 1971
Director: Amando de Ossorio

8/10


Part 1 of Amando de Ossorio's "Blind Dead" quadrilogy: an absolutely terrific and unique euro-horror-classic, and definitely one of the 70s' most interesting takes on the zombie genre - though it's definitely not your typical zombie gorefest, but rather an incredibly atmospheric suspense-movie about a couple of undead templars who rise from their graves to seek revenge.
I admit that the acting is pretty so-so and the story/script is fairly mediocre - however, these flaws totally don't matter because of 4 things that make this film as great as it is:

~ The Blind Dead: a whole load of undead templars on undead horses. They look stunningly creepy, mainly because of their rotten faces and impressive slow-motion movements.
~ The soundtrack: a haunting score consisting of sinister piano music, weird noises and awesome monk choirs.
~ The settings: wonderfully chosen desert locations and a beautiful abandoned town:
~ The atmosphere: it's hard to find a movie which is so intensely atmospheric as this one. There are many slow scenes where not much happens - still, it never gets boring because the atmosphere seems to hypnotize you.

Furthermore I have to make mention of 4 absolutely unforgettable scenes: the first rising of the dead, the thrilling scene in the morgue, the even more thrilling scene in the mannequin manufacture and the amazing ending.





 RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD

Original Title:
El ataque de los muertos sin ojos

Alternate Titles:
Return Of The Evil Dead

German Title:
Die Rückkehr der reitenden Leichen

Spain, 1973
Director: Amando de Ossorio

5/10


A disappointing quasi-sequel, nowhere near as great as "Tombs...".
The story is lame and quite unoriginal (incl. a few pointless "Night Of The Living Dead" elements), many of the characters are horribly annoying (f.e. the mayor and the local idiot) and there's far too little suspense and atmosphere in here. Plus: I totally hate it that they unnecessarily re-used many scenes from the first part, and I also hate all the mildly funny dialogue because it's just completely out of place.
Still, it's at least quite entertaining: the templars look even creepier than in part 1 and they also appear more often throughout the movie. The brutal and gory flashbacks are just terrific; settings, soundtrack and cinematography are again just brilliant.
Remarkable scenes: the opening, the fabulous scene with the little girl walking past the waiting undead and the excellent and super-thrilling climax.

THE GHOST GALLEON

Original Title:
El buque maldito

Alternate Titles:
Ship Of Zombies / Zombie Flesh Eater / Ship Of Zombies: The Blind Dead III / Horror Of The Zombies / Ghost Ships Of The Blind Dead

German Titles:
Das Geisterschiff der schwimmenden Leichen / Das Geisterschiff der reitenden Leichen

Spain, 1974
Director: Amando de Ossorio

4/10


"Ghost Galleon" is not the weakest but undoubtedly the silliest entry in the 'Blind Dead' series. It's silly, lame and extremely cheap-looking - and except for a bunch of undead kinda-templars, it has nothing to do with its predecessors.
The story is terribly stupid and makes not much sense, the script is badly written and huge amounts of the dialogue are so horribly bad, I wanted to turn down the volume more than once. The acting is also pretty below-average, it's hardly ever tense or suspenseful and the galleon (obviously a model) looks very unrealistic.
At least, the undead look great as always, the soundtrack sounds great as always, there's some decent gore and all the atmospheric fog-scenes gave me a neat John-Carpenter-feeling.

NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS

Original Title:
La noche de las gaviotas

Alternate Titles:
The Night Of The Sea Gulls / Don't Go Out At Night / Night Of The Blood Cult / Night Of The Death Cult / Terror Beach

German Titles:
Das Blutgericht der reitenden Leichen / The Bloodfeast Of The Blind Dead

Spain, 1975
Director: Amando de Ossorio

3/10


The final part in the 'Blind Dead' saga is definitely the weakest. Again, it has nearly nothing to do with its predecessors, again, de Ossorio's fails to create any suspense or tension, again, there are scenes re-used from part 1. The story is implausible and quite ridiculous, the acting is mediocre and the soundtrack just bored me. Hell, even the templar's appearances are boring and unspectacular.
At least, there are once again well-chosen settings and locations, the camera work is neat and there are also a few great gore scenes - but apart from that, it's just forgettable.

06 February 2011

Horror Blog Of The Month: I LIKE HORROR MOVIES

Yay, it's that time again!

May I introduce to you:


I LIKE HORROR MOVIES, an absolutely terrific and enormous blog, created by a nice guy called Carl.
When I first began the foray into the world of horror blogging, this was one of the first blogs that caught my attention - and it also inspired me to do my very own blog.




Maynard:
Hi Carl! Who are you and why do you blog?

Carl:
My name is Carl Manes, and I run an Independent Horror website called I Like Horror Movies. I have been a huge Horror fan for as long as I can remember, but I have only been writing about film for about three years now. I originally started the site to expose new Horror fans to the widest range of new movies as possible from all aspects of the genre in the same way that many other Horror sites had helped me.

My dad really shaped my love of Horror, since he used to rent out one of the JAWS or PIRANHA films every single weekend for us when we were kids. Mom hates the movies more than anything else in life, so her oppressive religious values have served as an even bigger inspiration to continue watching. My tastes were pretty mainstream up until college, when I first began my DVD collection and began expanding my Horror-o-scope. I spent countless hours searching the web to find new films that I had never heard of, and that search continues to this day.

Horror blogs are one of the greatest resources any Horror fan could ever hope for, as it is the Independent news and review sites that are truly keeping the genre alive. Horror fans are always laughed aside for their morbid curiosities, but I have always found Horror enthusiasts to be the most critical and thoughtful reviewers on the web. We simply love the genre! Blogging has been a tremendous experience for me, since I have been able to link up with many other like-minded fans in order to create lasting friendships.

Which movie made you a horror fan (and why)?

Ironically, one of the worst sequels of all time had the greatest impact on me as a kid. JAWS: THE REVENGE was always my favorite sequel growing up. I loved Lance Guest in the role of Michael Brody, and it was always the scariest film in the series to me. Looking back at it now, it is by all rights a terrible film, but I loved it. I used to go swimming in the pool and have panic attacks when I would go underwater because I was certain that the shark was going to come out of the light in the deep end and eat me. I'm still not entirely convinced that it isn't at this point. It wouldn't be until years later when I would discover AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, which was a long time favorite, but now, I would have to say that THE WICKER MAN has become by all-time favorite film.

Who is your favorite horror director (and why)?

It has become so cliche to claim Argento as your favorite director in Horror, but when I first discovered him, I was immediately blown away. I love Carpenter, and John Landis has always cracked me up, but the bold use of color combined with the insane amounts of gore and electric music that Argento provides is just an assault on the senses. Now, I find myself watching more of Mario Bava's work, who is much more deserving of the title. 
Of the more recent directors, I think that Neil Marshall, Ti West, Lucky McKee, Michael Doughtery, and Glenn McQuaid are turning out some amazing films, and on the extreme Indie scene, PLAGA ZOMBIE's Pable Pares and Hernan Saez as well as The Soska Sisters who directed DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK will be the next names to look out for.

Your all-time horror movie favorites are... 

This is such a loaded question, and nearly impossible to answer in short form. As a Horror fan, you can't just answer JAWS or THE EXORCIST and be taken seriously. The problem is, those really are the films that define the genre, and they top my list. Since the only specification was to list more than 5, here are a quick 79 films that come to mind:
1. ALIENS
2. AMERICAN PSYCHO
3. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
4. AT MIDNIGHT I'LL TAKE YOUR SOUL
5. BATTLE ROYALE
6. BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON
7. BLACK CHRISTMAS
8. BLOOD DINER
9. BLOOD MOON
10. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST
11. CASTLE FREAK
12. CAT PEOPLE
13. CITY OF THE DEAD
14. THE COMPANY OF WOLVES
15. DAGON
16. DARK CITY
17. DARK WATERS
18. DEAD ALIVE
19. DEATH RACE 2000
20. DEMONS
21. THE DESCENT
22. THE DEVIL'S REJECTS
23. EVIL DEAD 2
24. THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE
25. THE EXORCIST
26. THE EXORCIST 3
27. THE FLY
28. FRIDAY THE 13TH: PART VII
29. FUNNY GAMES
30. GAMERA 3: THE REVENGE OF IRIS
31. GINGER SNAPS
32. GOJIRA
33. HALLOWEEN
34. THE HITCHER
35. HOSTEL
36. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE
37. INTRUDER
38. JASON X
39. JAWS
40. KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE
41. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
42. LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH
43. MAN BITES DOG
44. MARTIN
45. MAY
46. MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D
47. NIGHT OF THE CREEPS
48. NIGHT OF THE LEPUS
49. NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF
50. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3
51. OLDBOY
52. OPERA
53. PEEPING TOM
54. PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
55. PLAGA ZOMBIE: ZONA MUTANTE
56. PSYCHO
57. PUMPKINHEAD
58. RE-ANIMATOR
59. REPULSION
60. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD
61. RIKI-OH
62. THE RING
63. SHAUN OF THE DEAD
64. SHOGUN ASSASSIN
65. SPIDER BABY
66. SUSPIRIA
67. A TALE OF TWO SISTERS
68. TEEN WOLF
69. TENEBRE
70. TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
71. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
72. THE THING
73. TROLL 2
74. THE VANISHING
75. VIDEODROME
76. WHO CAN KILL A CHILD
77. THE WICKER MAN
78. NIGHT OF THE DEMON
79. BLACK SUNDAY

Oh my goooooood, what a list :)
-
What's the worst horror movie you've seen so far?

There are so many awful films out there, it is almost harder to choose which are the worst than which are my favorite! I have found many of the holiday Horror films to rank amongst the absolute worst movies out there. The only film I have ever given a 1/10 rating to was for the poor excuse of a film called PSYCHO SANTA. It fails on ever single level imaginable, and can't even pull off some decent nudity or gore to make up for the director's complete lack of ability.

Most of my friends don't like horror films. How about your friends?

I would say about a fourth of them tolerate it, but very few actually enjoy it. I have had the pleasure of meeting up with some great new people over the last year thanks to some of the local Horror festivals, so our numbers are growing steadily!

Choose: Freddy? Jason? Leatherface? Michael? The Tall Man? Other?

Leatherface has always been misunderstood, the poor guy. I have never been a fan of Freddy. I occasionally enjoy his one-liners, but the series as a whole was always way too over-the-top for my tastes (with the exception of Dream Warriors and New Nightmare). Jason has been a long time favorite because he is always given the best kill scenes. Not necessarily the most creative, but always the most brutal and bloodiest. Who can beat the sleeping bag gag? Michael is so haunting and effective because his rage is pure and unadulterated. Unlike any of the other villains, he is simply evil incarnate, and his blank mask is reflective of his soulessness. My new favorite, however, has to be Leslie Vernon. BEHIND THE MASK is a brilliant deconstruction of the Slasher genre at large, and Nathan Baesel's performance as the character is both witty and chilling.

Choose: US horror? European horror? Asian horror? Other?

I am a child of the 80's, so as stupid and repetitive as the Slasher era was, it will always hold a special place in my heart. American Horror may also be the most diversified, but that is also due to the fact that we have churned out hundreds of more films than any other country around the world. 
The Italians have produced some of the goriest and most shocking entries in the genre, but before films like DEMONS or CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, they were also introducing fantastic Gothic Horror films and the colorfully demented Giallo murder mysteries. Across the channel, Hammer and Amicus were also delivering some of the most brilliant Gothic Horror films as well, so the European tradition in Horror has had the largest growing impact on my recent viewing habits. 
I am a huge giant monster movie fan, so my Asian tastes typically gravitate towards Godzilla, Mothra and friends, and although I enjoy the ghost pictures like JU-ON and RINGU out of Japan, I have been most impressed with the recent releases coming out of Korea lately. A TALE OF TWO SISTERS and THE VENGEANCE TRILOGY are some of the greatest achievements in any genre over the past decade, and they just happen to be Horror films. 
Choosing a favorite out of the three is difficult, but as much as I love international Horror, I watch American Horror at least 2:1 in my daily viewing.

Do you prefer watching horror at home or at the theater?

I rarely go to the movies unless it is to see something in 3D. I love gimmicks. The ticket prices are way too expensive, and getting a baby sitter on top of that brings the cost to see one lousy flick up to $40 when a DVD can be scored for under $10 online. There is nothing quite like experiencing a film with a theater audience, and many times the reactions of those around you can completely change your outlook on a film. It can be a great experience, but more often than not, I end up in audiences with a bunch of loud, obnoxious people that remind me why I never go to the theaters in the first place.

What kind of music do you like?

I didn't realize that there were any other options besides Rock. I can't stand the new music kids are listening to these days. Garbage. I stick with my Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Megadeth, and any like-sounding bands. My some of my favorite songs are Soul to Squeeze, Nutshell, Plush, Outshined, Touch Peel and Stand, and Midnight Rider.

What do you read?

The first answer that comes to mind is nothing. I am a poor reader, it is just so hard to sit down with a book with so little time in the day, and by the time I do pick up a book before bed, I can't get two pages in without falling asleep. I do spend a few hours reading Horror blogs every weekend and catching up on all of the great new films I may have missed. The most recent books I have completed were The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies, Going to Pieces, Werewolves, and Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In, and I have The Unofficial Biography of Godzilla, Understanding Movies, and a handful of other film review books piled up for a rainy day. Horror mags are just too expensive to continue purchasing when they tend to focus on more recent and mainstream Horror movies and when there is so much excellent content available for free online.

Tell me the first 3 things that come to your mind when you think about Austria.

Franz Ferdinand, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and "Why are Austria and Australia so similarly named?".

Anything else you wanna tell us?

I would just like to welcome everyone to the site, and one thing that I rarely receive is recommendations, so if anyone ever has any films that they either think that I would like or films that they would like an opinion on, I welcome feedback and requests from everyone! I Like Horror Movies also makes it out to as many Southern Californian film festivals and events as possible, so be sure to look for us at Monster Island Resort's Horrible Imaginings Film Festival in San Diego, the monthly BleedFest Film Festivals in Sherman Oaks, and Creation Entertainment's Weekend of Horrors!

Thank you, Carl!

http://www.ilikehorrormovies.com/


THE HAUNTING (Original & Remake)

THE HAUNTING

German Titles:
Bis das Blut gefriert / Vor Schreck gebannt

UK / USA, 1963
Director: Robert Wise

7/10







"The Haunting" is considered as one of the greatest and scariest movies of all time. Well, I enjoyed it pretty much but IMO it's definitely not as great and scary as I expected it to be. It's too long, there are too many boring and tediously slow-paced scenes and Julie Harris' character is often extremely annoying.
Aside from that, it's still a fabulous haunted-house-flick, well-written and well-paced. The Hill House with all its unsettling rooms and haunting corridors looks just excellent. The camera work is mostly amazing and the soundtrack quite effective.
Apart from the adorable performances from Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson and Rosalie Crutchley ("In the night... in the dark."), the highlights of "The Haunting" are of course the scares and the creepy scenes: the hammering and the scene with the face on the wall totally kept me on the edge of my seat. The 'breathing door' was frightening and the trap door nearly gave me a heart attack.
Overall, an overrated but nevertheless highly entertaining horror classic.





THE HAUNTING
(US Remake)

German Title:
Das Geisterschloß

USA, 1999
Director: Jan De Bont

4/10







A rather lame and disappointing remake that tries way too hard to impress the audience with bombastic special effects instead of creating suspense or scariness.

Pros:
~ The 'new' Hill House looks just stunning: loads of creepy-looking interior decoration, lush rooms, halls and corridors; love the mirror/carousel room and the double spiral staircase.
~ Lili Taylor delivers an excellent performance, and Liam Neeson... well, I just love him.
~ The first third is quite atmospheric and tense.

Cons:
~ Everything after the first third is completely dissatisfying: it's dull, unsuspenseful and alas, completely uncreepy. 
~ It's overstuffed with unnecessary special effects and CGI scenes. Seriously, in the last third there are so many over-the-top effects, it's ridiculous.
~ The whole 'new' story is cliché-ridden and annoyingly stupid, the awful ending almost unbearable.
~ Owen Wilson - I hate him. He's an unfunny and untalented mess of an actor. Gladly his character gets decapitated.
~ Catherine Zeta-Jones - usually I like her but here she was just wasted.

Whether you've seen the original or not: skip this and watch "The Innocents" or "The Changeling" instead.

05 February 2011

NIGHT WARNING

NIGHT WARNING

Alternate Titles:
Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker / Nightmare Maker / The Evil Protege / Thrilled To Death

German Title:
Mrs. Lynch

USA, 1983
Director: William Asher

9/10



Seriously, I'm stunned.
"Night Warning" is not only one of the most overlooked and underrated horror flicks of the 80s, it's also one of the most interesting and intelligent ones; a fabulous blend of psycho-thriller, detective movie and slasher, highly suspenseful and terrifically thrilling with many outstanding edge-of-seat-scenes, and what's more, it's tremendously written and paced. There are so many plot twists and turns in the story, it's almost incredible. I also love the fact that it deals with many difficult subjects like incest, insanity or homosexuality.
The acting is quite great, especially because of the batshit insane performance from Susan Tyrrell (one of the maddest villains I've ever seen). I also dig Bo Svenson and Jimmy McNichol's performances.
Aside from a well composed score, nice camera work and some amusing dialogue
("Miss Roberts, you married? "- "No." - "Divorced?" - "No." - "Widowed?" - "No." - "Do you have boyfriends?" - "No." - "Do you like girls?" - "God, you're a pig."), I totally have to accentuate the excellent opening with one of movie history's most shocking decapitations, and the nerve-wracking finale which is just amazing.
Check this film out ASAP!

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