January 30, 2012

MALEVOLENCE / BEREAVEMENT

MALEVOLENCE

German Title:
Malevolence - Niemand kommt hier lebend raus

USA, 2004
Director: Steven Mena

7/10







"Malevolence" totally took me by surprise: I expected this to be some kinda torture-porn gorefest but it actually is a pretty suspenseful and thrilling homage to classic oldschool slashers.

The acting is so-so and the first half is often a bit too slow - but apart from that, I had a great time watching it. It has a well-written script and a quite nice "Satan's Blade"-like plot. Camera work and photography are absolutely excellent with many highly atmospheric shots of all the beautiful-looking abandoned houses.
The soundtrack is incredibly creepy but also quite fun, mainly because of many "Halloween" and "Psycho" references. It's packed with loads of breathtakingly tense edge-of-seat-scenes and scary shots, the kills are all very neat and the masked killer (an obvious tribute to the eerie guy from "The Town That Dreaded Sundown") looks just stunning, especially because many of his movements remind me of the great Michael Myers.

 
A fabulous little indie-horror-flick, sadly way too underrated.
(Review from 01/2011)

Wiki ~ Imdb



BEREAVEMENT
(Prequel)

Alternate Title:
Slaughter House


German Title:
Bereavement - In den Händen des Bösen

USA, 2010/2011
Director: Steven Mena

9/10



Ladies & Gentlemen, I proudly present the very first amazing horror highlight in 2012: "Bereavement", the epic prequel to Steven Mena's debut flick from 2004.

"Bereavement" is a major improvement over "Malevolence": it's darker, grittier and way more compelling. The story of how the completely insane Graham Sutter (an incredible Brett Rickaby) turns the insensitive boy Martin Bristol (amazing newcomer Spencer List) into a cold-blooded killer is told in a fascinating and intriguing way, thanks to Steven Mena's striking script and tight direction.


The powerful cinematography is mesmerizing and all the creepy images of bleak landscapes and abandones buildings are unsettling an overwhelming at the same time. The cast is great, the characters are all highly believable (especially the gorgeous Alexandra Daddario), the soundtrack is astonishingly intense and often gave me goosebumps, and it's packed with extremely suspenseful moments (the girl from the diner), nail-biting scenes (Allison in the basement) and some shocking, brutal and unpredictable violence (knife through hand, girl in the oven).

A highly impressive and visually stuning little masterpiece.
I can't hardly wait for Part 3!

Wiki ~ Imdb

Awesome: HORROR MOVIE DIARY quoted in official "MEMORY LANE" TRAILER and official POSTER!!!

Last year in autumn I had the exclusive chance to see and review Shawn Holmes' cool ultra-low-budget sci-fi/thriller "MEMORY LANE".
This year the movie made its first official deals: In September it will be distributed in UK & Ireland. It will be also be in Berlin in February at the BERLINALE, one of the world's largest Film Festivals.

Here's the Berlin trailer. Take a look at 0:45... OMG YES It's a quote from my "Memory Lane"-Review"!!!!!!!!!!


Seriously, this is the most awesome thing in the history of the Horror Movie Diary and I'm still shocked... stunned... surprised... speechless. Wowza!



And I'm also on the Poster!!!



January 29, 2012

Project Terrible - EXORCISM: THE POSSESSION OF GAIL BOWERS

Whoops, another terrible film from Michele which actually isn't that terrible. I'm deeply sorry for giving her the abysmal "Don't Go Near The Park"...

EXORCISM: THE POSSESSION OF GAIL BOWERS

German Title:
Exorcism - Die Besessenheit der Gail Bowers

USA, 2006
Director: Leigh Scott

4/10





Quite a surprise: this low-budget rip-off of "The Exorcist" and "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose" is far better than I expected. It's not a good horror movie but it sure is one of the better Asylum-flicks I've seen so far.

 
I enjoyed...
...that the whole movie is pretty atmospheric, especially in the first half.
...that the movie is consistently entertaining without getting boring.
...the 3-4 unexpected scares that really made me jump.
...the supercool blind sunglasses-exorcist, the neat-looking make-up effects, all the nudity and all the hilarious possessed-Gail-talks-dirty dialogue
("Come on Clark, lemme suck your cock." / "He said that you won't let him fuck in the ass... that you tried once and it hurt." / "Fuck me, Clark! Fuck my tight pussy!" / "Clark has a hard cock. Last night I could feel his hard cock on me." etc. etc.)
.

I disenjoyed...
...the acting which ranges from mediocre to horrendously bad.
...all the scenes where they shamelessly ripped off "Poltergeist" (face peeling, girl watches static on TV), "Stigmata" (girl has stigmata) and of course "The Exorcist" (girl levitates to the ceiling, spider walk).
...how incredibly cheap the whole movie looks and sounds (poor photography, poor sound quality, unimaginative camera work, lame soundtrack).
...the so-so direction and the incredibly predictable script.


Overall, a fairly ok exorcism movie. I've seen worse.

A LONELY PLACE TO DIE

A LONELY PLACE TO DIE

German Title:
A Lonely Place To Die - Todesfalle Highlands

UK, 2011
Director: Julian Gilbey

5/10







Another Scottish horror-related film, another letdown. "A Lonely Place To Die" is as disappointing as "Outcast" or "Kill List", movies that start out brilliant but end up dissatisfying.

The first 40 minutes are excellent: a stunning "High Lane"-like opening scene, lots of fantastic suspense, many "Deliverance"-like scenes, a tremendous amount of gorgeous and very well filmed mountains and landscapes, a powerful score, good acting performances and a few surprising shocks.


Then a major plot twist kicks in and turns the movie from tense survival-horror to mediocre kidnap-action-thriller that looks like a bland version of "Shoot To Kill". Ok, we get introduced to 2 impressively cold-blooded villains, and we get to see a few fabulously filmed kills - but the damage was already done and I just couldn't get into the film anymore. Especially the last 20-25 minutes and the pointless ending completely sucked.

When it's done right, I have no problem with a movie that mixes various genres together - but when it's done wrong... oh boy, that can really piss me off
Hell, I wanted a kick-ass survival-horror, just like the trailer suggested - but all I got was a beautiful, but completely unconvincing and forgettable b-thriller. *sigh* Next!

Wiki ~ Imdb

January 27, 2012

Project Terrible: "THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY"

Yay! PROJECT TERRIBLE is back, bitches!!
Thanx to Mondo for giving me another obscure and hyperboring yawnfest. As a punishment, I already bored him to death with "Ring Around The Rosie" :-)

THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY

Original Title:
La momia azteca contra el robot humano


Alternate Titles:
Aztec Mummy vs. The Human Robot / Robot vs. Aztec Mummy


Mexico, 1958
Director: Rafael Portillo

2/10


Gosh, what a title, what film! "The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy" is the third entry in a weird Mexican exploitation-franchise about an Aztec Mummy (sic!), though it's not really a sequel, it's rather a Best... err, Worst Of because for the greater part it consists of flashback scenes from its predecessors "The Aztec Mummy" and "The Curse Of The Aztec Mummy".


Most of the time, this lamefest it boooooring as hell: shitloads of tedious and tiresome dialogue scenes, horrendous pacing, absolutely no tension, no suspense, no atmosphere at all.

The few times when it's not boring, it's just plain laughable: one of the most ridiculous robots I've seen since "Robot Monster", the Azetc Mummy that looks like a bum and constantly howls like a wounded dog, cheap-looking settings, terrible overacting, silly dialogue, a silly plot and one of the silliest end fights I've ever seen.


1 point for a few cheesy moments that made me chuckle.
1 point for the fact that it's only 65 minutes long.

Press Release - "ACID HEAD: THE BUZZARD NUTS COUNTY SLAUGHTER"

The latest movie from Tony 'Tex' Watt "ACID HEAD: THE BUZZARD NUTS COUNTY SLAUGHTER" is finding it's way to availability in the very near future. Watt's recent work as a director includes "Vixen Highway 2006" and "Frankenpimp". The movie features the director Tony 'Tex' Watt himself, and his preferred heroin and frequent workpartner Vivita playing the lead as Pheromone Labonza and Acid Head. Others starring are Lewis Mercer, Lana Tailor, Elvin Domenic, Paul Nicholls, Adam Schickedanz and many others, and in a cunning cameo as the sneaky reporter Biff Bangs, the only European actor in the film; Kim Sønderholm.

On using the latter, director Tony 'Tex' Watt said: 
"When our movie about a killer goth-girl needed a main greek chorus-type performer [the character who tells the viewer what is going on], to embody the form of news anchor: Biff Bangs... I, as the Writer/Director needed an internationally appealing actor who was both authoritative and able to carry some of the comedic hyperbole, with dry humor [As Sean Connery did in the early 007 movies]. Versatile actor/filmmaker Kim Sønderholm came to mind as the first choice, as I admired his acting prowess in such films as "Craig", "Tour de Force", "Bleed with Me"; as well as his comedic turn in the 2011 TV series "Goodbye Light". Sønderholm embodied to myself, a brilliant character actor, who was very hard working and tenacious. Working with him, showed me that this charismatic and popular performer was exactly what I perceived, as well as being very humorous and humble."

January 26, 2012

THE TASK

THE TASK

USA, 2011
Director: Alex Orwell

6,5/10











"The Task" is a cool and entertaining little low-budget horror flick, best described as a mix of "April Fool's Day", "Saw", "Witchtrap" and the legendary MTV reality-show "Fear". Despite lots of negative reviews and my low expectations, I ended up surprisingly satisfied.


Ok, the script is quite a mess, the pacing is weak, there's hardly any gore and the main villain looks far too tame and unscary - but aside from that, I really, really enjoyed it.
It's witty and diverting, but also incredibly atmospheric, thrilling and scary. The scenes in the chapel and in the gas chamber creeped the shit out of me! Camera work and editing are terrific, we get to see a few well made split screen sequences and some black-and-white footage, many of the settings look quite haunting and the eerie soundtrack is highly effective.

Highlights - an excellent and completely unpredictable twist ending, many really likable characters (especially Texas Battle as Dixon and Marc Pickering as Randall) and a bunch of hilarious one-liners.
"My favorite book is OK Magazine." / "I have the IQ of Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Put together. / "You know, people used to say I look like Will Smith. Now they say Barack Obama... okay!"


 Call me nuts, but I really like this movie. It's not perfect but it passes the time pleasantly!

THE PERFECT HOUSE

THE PERFECT HOUSE

USA, 2010/2011
Directors: Kris Hulbert & Randy Kent

4/10











"The Perfect House", the world's first indie feature film exclusively released on Facebook, is an underwhelming little low-budget anthology flick about a strange house with a horrific past.

The first segment (2 kids hacking up their parents) is pretty cool due to a few gorgeous visuals, some creepy atmosphere, an effective soundtrack and some cool gore.
The second segment (some guy rapes, tortures and kills various people in his cellar) is just stupid, damn boring and incredibly gross, incl. some horrible acting, awful dialogue and many painfully cheap-looking CGI effects.



The last segment (guy gruesomely tortures his neighbours) isn't much better, however: it has at least a few memorable death scenes (kid stabs his brother to death, death by weed whacker).
The framing segments are neat, but the epilogue sucks.

Extreme gore-hounds and torture-porn fans may like it. Everyone else: stay away!

Thanks to producer Andrea Vahl for sending me a copy of the Limited 2DVD Edition because I helped her on an issue with the
Perfect House Facebook Page.

January 24, 2012

"TERROR IN THE JUNGLE" (Pure Terror 50 Movies Pack, #37)

TERROR IN THE JUNGLE

German Titles:
Verdammt in grüner Hölle / Flug 413 nach Rio meldet sich nicht

USA, 1968
Directors: Tom DeSimone (Plane sequence),
Andy Janzack (Jungle sequence) & Alex Graton (Temple sequence)

LOL/10


Omfg, what was that? Seriously, this is the stupidest and silliest movie I've seen since "Troll 2", I shit you not!
The movie was never released on VHS and is widely unknown, but according to the Imdb user reviews, the few that have seen it, had the same fun as I had.

The movie (which btw is an adventure movie and has nothing to do with horror) is unbelievably cheap-looking and so full of unintenionally hilarious scenes, I just couldn't stop laughing.


There's this plane full of nutty characters like the members of the 'rock' band who all look like drunken road sweepers wearing wigs and spontaneously start singing songs about 'Soft Lips', and there's also 3 old nuns, one of them dead in a coffin, one who falls out of the plane and one who screams her lungs out.


The plane (a crappy-looking model aeroplane) crashes down and kills off half of the passengers. The other half flees out of the plane into a river where they all get eaten by crocodiles - so after half an hour, the entire cast is dead, except for a blonde little boy and his stuffed animal who float down the river in the dead nun's coffin - a scene which has to be seen to be believed.

 
The rest of the films consists of huge amounts of stock footage (monkeys, snakes, iguanas, crocs etc.) and annoying natives who think the boy (who constantly cries for his Daddy) is the son of their god INTI (because his hair shine like the sun - another scene thas to be seen to be believed).

 
In the end (one more scene that has to be seen to be believed) the stuffed animal suddenly becomes alive (for whatever reason), the natives kill each other and the boy falls into some kinda quicksand. Did i mention the horrible El-Condor-Pasa-like soundtrack and the half-assed editing? Oh, and don't believe the poster - suspense and terror my ass!


Final words: this movie is amazing and deserves to be rediscovered for bad-movie-nights. Best watched in a triple feature together with "Troll 2" and "Don't Go Near The Park" :-D


January 23, 2012

THE CODE

THE CODE
(6minute short)

USA, 2011
Director: Mark Blitch

8/10











"The Code" is a pretty hilarious and highly entertaining little horror-comedy short that I really, really enjoyed. Imagine a movie about a first date on a cemetery and some issues with the Google Calendar, throw in a couple of zombies, a masked serial killer, a vampire, a bigfoot/gorilla-monster and vampire huntress 'Vanna Helsing', and you get the idea :-)


There's lots of fantastic-looking make-up and cool gore, many uber-funny dialogue lines and a bunch of really nice actors (most notably Taylor James Brandt as internet-savvy zombie Shaun). The pacing is right, the soundtrack is cool, and camera work / lighting / editing are neat.
Highly recommended!

January 22, 2012

TEDDY: HE'S BEARY SCARY

TEDDY: HE'S BEARY SCARY
(11minute short)

Alternate Title:
Teddy: It's Gonna Be A Bear

USA, 2011
Director: Steve Goltz

7/10







"Teddy" is a wonderfully entertaining little homage to classic 80s slashers about a few teens on a camping trip and Teddy, a mentally retarded killer (equipped with a balaclava and a teddy bear) that reminded me a bit of Charlie from "The Night Brings Charlie".

The acting could have been a bit better at times and the plot is a bit too unoriginal - apart from that, I highly enjoyed it. It's tense, atmospheric and diverting from the first to the last minute. Cinematography and camera work are beautiful, the editing is excellent and the chilling score is powerful and effective. Teddy is an impressive-looking villain and his kills are all hilariously gruesome (anal tiki torch, axe in face, shovel through head).

 
Highlights: Mike Goltz as asshole Clay, a hilarious character who constantly burps and drinks beer, and the super-funny 'Papa Bear' sex scene.

Overall, a cool and well-made debut short. I'm already excited for Steve Goltz and script writer Kevin Sommerfield's upcoming "Popularity Killer"
(check out the Press Release)
.


Imdb

January 20, 2012

THE POSSESSED (1975)

THE POSSESSED

Original Title:
La Endemoniada

Alternate Title:
Demon Witch Child

German Title:
Der Exorzist und die Kindhexe

Spain, 1975
Director: Amando de Ossorio

5,5/10


"The Possessed" is definitely one of the better 70s "Exorcist"-ripoffs, compared to schlock like "Beyond The Door" and "The Eerie Midnight Horror Show".
Amando de Ossorio, the creator of "The Blind Dead" and one of the hardest-working Spanish exploitation-directors, delivers a quite decent little b-movie about a young girl who gets possessed by the evil ghost of an old hag.

 
For the greater part, it's a blatant and obvious imitation of William Friedkin's classic: the possessed girl levitates to the ceiling, twists her head 360°, crawls around like an insect, brings furniture to move around and swears like a sailor - not very original, but surprisingly entertaining due to Marián Salgado's amusing performance and her effective witch make-up.

The shoestring budget makes the movie look cheap and many of the special effects are pretty poor. The pacing is dull, the acting is so-so and the dialogue is mostly rubbish.
Fortunately, Ossorio is able to create a fair amount of atmosphere, the bizarre score is quite cool and there are a few highly memorable scenes (a baby stabbed to death, a castration, moving furniture, supercool climax).


No must-see but worth a look; recommended to fans of Spanish 60s/70s horror.

January 18, 2012

David Fincher's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
(Re-Interpretation)

German Title:
Verblendung

USA / Sweden / UK, 2011
Director: David Fincher

6/10







I'm a huuuge fan of David Fincher. He's one of the greatest directors of the last 20 years and IMO everything he made after "Alien 3" was just amazing - unfortunately, his re-interpretation of Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is his weakest movie since "Alien 3".
No, not because it's a remake/re-interpretation, not because of the fact that it's basically as unnecessary as "Let Me In", or the fact that it was made / came out too early - it's because of the following reasons:


~ In the original series, Lisbeth Salander is a fascinating, interesting and mesmerizing character, a strong and almost fearless misfit with a horrible backstory. In here, she's a cool, but incredibly bland and uninteresting character with no depth; a goth chick with some problems. No offense, Rooney Mara is a very good actress and delivers a great performance, but it was absolutely impossible for me to like / to relate to her version of Salander in any kind of way.

~ There are some serious pacing-problems in the middle where the movie often becomes way too tedious, and boring. Same for the overlong epilogue-ending that just drags on and on.

~ Steven Zaillian' script is plain mediocre (unappealing and/or pointless scenes, too many unimportant an completely uninteresting characters, too much Blomkvist, not enough Salander) and 
Fincher wasn't able to give the movie the kind of gripping flow that made his previous works so amazing.

~ The 'May I Kill him?' scene... no comment.


 Now for the good:

~ The cast is impressive. I'm not a big fan of Daniel Craig, but here he's just awesome. Stellan Skarsgard is incredible, Christopher Plummer's performance is highly amusing and Steven Berkoff is just cool.

~ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' intense and atmospheric soundtrack is mindblowingly awesome and IMO even better than what they composed for "The Social Network".

~ The movie looks just beautiful, thanks to Jeff Cronenweth's ("One Hour Photo") impressive cinematography and all the wonderful Swedish settings.

~ The most amazing-looking non-3D opening credits I've seen in a very long time (Karen O/Trent Reznor cover of "Immigrant Song", weird but stunning visuals).

Overall, a good but disappointing movie that didn't fulfill my expectations.
I recommend the Swedish version. Why? Because it's simply better.


Wiki ~ Imdb

SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE

SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE

USA, 2011
Director: Steven C. Miller

3/10











Not much to say about "Scream Of The Banshee", an After Dark / Syfy-produced low-budget nonsense about a resurrected Banshee that terrorizes a few anthropology students.

The direction is weak and frequent c-movie writer Anthony Ferrante's script is a muddled and extremely predictable mess. The whole movie looks and feels cheap due to many lame-looking settings and some horrid CGI effects. The cast ranges from mediocre (Lauren Holly, Lance Henriksen) to incredibly bad (Todd Haberkorn, Marcelle Baer).


The Banshee looks cool, the gore is nice and there are some quite cool practical effects, but overall it's rather uninteresting and forgettable.

January 16, 2012

Press Release - "NECRONOS: TOWER OF DOOM"

After venturing a couple of European film festivals in 2011 such as Weekend of Fear and Indigo Film Fest in Germany and BUT (B-Movie Underground and Trash) Film Festival in Holland, 
German filmmaker Marc Rohnstock's very raunchy "NECRONOS" finally went out on DVD although so far only in the German speaking countries via the DVD label Laser Paradise which is widely known for releasing unrated and uncensored films that no other labels in Germany dare touch.

Written and directed by Marc Rohnstock while produced by Lars Rohnstock, they surround themselves with an impressing cast presenting the top of the crop in European Independent Horror Cinema: 
Manoush, Timo Fuchs, Thomas Sender, Mario Zimmerschitt, Thomas Kercmar, Tanja Karius, Timo Rose, Marcel Walz, Kim Sønderholm, Timo Fuchs, Annika Strauss, Chris Vazquez, Nadine Trautwein, Andreas Schnaas, Jochen Taubert, Martin Hentschel, Andreas Pape, Rod Usher, hardcore porn star Luna B. and many, many others.

January 15, 2012

The MILLENNIUM Trilogy

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Original Title:
Män som hatar kvinnor

German Title:
Verblendung

Sweden / Denmark / Germany / Norway, 2009
Director: Niels Arden Oplev

10/10





Omfg, now THAT was stunning! I don't exaggerate when I say that "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is one of the greatest thrillers I've ever seen (next to the works of David Fincher, Martin Scorsese or Alfred Hitchcock).

The movie is breathtakingly tense, highly compelling, thought-provoking and pretty disturbing. There are almost as many scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat, as there are scenes that are immensely shocking or disturbing (f.e. one of the most brutal rape scene I've ever seen and, of course, the fantastic 'sadistic pig'-tattoo sequence).


Oplev's direction is fantastic and the script is near perfection. The cinematography is mesmerizing, the strong and memorable score is just overwhelming and the film's absorbing atmosphere reminds me of dark thrillers like "Zodiac" and "Smilla's Sense Of Snow".

Best of all: the acting. Lots of incredible performances from Michael Nyqist, Sven-Bertil Taube, Peter Haber and of course, Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander, one of the coolest and most interesting characters I've ever seen. I admit, I completely fell in love with her.


A masterpiece; next to "The Celebration (Festen)" and "Let The Right One In" the best Scandinavian movie I've ever seen.

Wiki ~ Imdb



THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE

Original Title:
Flickan som lekte med elden

German Title:
Verdammnis

Sweden / Denmark / Germany, 2009
Director: Daniel Alfredson

8/10





"The Girl Who Played With Fire" is obviously not as great as Part 1, mainly because of  its TV-movie-look/feel and a not-so-enthralling plot. Aside from that, I enjoyed it about as much as its predecessor.

 
It's also extremely thrilling and suspenseful, packed with stunningly tense scenes (the burning barn, Lisbeth's 'resurrection'), lots of action and violence, many shocking details of Lisbeth's past, loads of well-written and compelling dialogue scenes, and one tremendously hot sex scene.

Alfredson's direction is different from Oplev's - more fast-paced and action-packed, less sinister.
The acting is once again absolutely fantastic: more stunning performances from Rapace and Nyqist, cool and interesting performances from Yasmine Garbi, Georgi Staykov, Mikael Spreitz and boxer Paolo Roberto.

 
Very good continuation of a deep and complex story that leads perfectly to the awesome grand finale.

Wiki ~ Imdb



THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST

Original Title:
Luftslottet som sprängdes

German Title:
Vergebung

Sweden / Denmark / Germany, 2009
Director: Daniel Alfredson

9,5/10





Wow, wow, wow - awesome! "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" is not only far better than the 2nd one, it's also almost as great as the 1st one!

 
Director Alfredson really improved on his directorial skills and created a magnificent movie which is about as tense, atmospheric and enthralling as "Tattoo". There's a tremendous amount of absolutely breathtaking suspense, loads of incredibly thrilling scenes and a few extremely nerve-wracking emotional moments. When the credits rolled, I was a complete wreck.

The acting is as amazing as expected (Rapace's best performance in the whole trilogy), the script is near perfection, cinematography and soundtrack are excellent, and scenes like Salander's punky appearance at court, the stunning climax or the very last Blomkvist/Salander-meeting are just unforgettable.


An absolutely excellent and fully satisfying conclusion to one of the greatest and most impressive movie-trilogies in history.

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