30 July 2012

"A BELL FROM HELL" (Chilling Classics 50 Movies Pack, #6)

A BELL FROM HELL

Original Title:
La campana del infierno

Alternate Titles:
Bell From Hell / The Bell Of Hell / The Bells

German Titles:
Ein Toter lacht als Letzter / Ab in die Hölle / Die Brut des Satans

Spain / France, 1973
Director: Claudio Guérin,
Juan Antonio Bardem (uncredited)

8/10


Wow, this movie pack is starting to get really, really awesome! "A Bell From Hell" is another excellent, but sadly completely forgotten Spanish horror flick (like "The Murder Mansion" or "The House That Screamed").
It's a bizarre and totally unique blend of Arthouse Drama and Gothic Horror; gripping, visually stunning and slightly disturbing.

The plot revolves around a greedy aunt and her 3 daughters who try to drive a young man insane for money reasons - but the young man knows to fight back and plans revenge.


I'm not hugely familiar with the history of Spain during Franco's dictatorship (1939 - 1975), but according to many articles and reviews on the web, the movie is some kinda portrayal of that harsh era - and yeah, the movie is full of scenes that show an unsettled, almost disturbed and fairly ruthless nation, especially the unpleasant sequence where a few men try to rape a young girl.

The movie is pretty slow, but at no time boring, thanks to the powerful direction, the fabulous build-up of the plot, the mesmerizing cinematography, the expressive imagery, and the fact that there's nearly no music playing in the background. Only a few intriguing string / organ parts and the recurring use of a haunting version of "Frère Jacques".


Highlights: the awesome acting [stand-outs: Renaud Verley ("The Blood Of Others") and Viveca Lindfors ("Creepshow", "The Exorcist III")], the hilarious hoaxes (fake eyes, faked rape, fake arm cast...), the bee swarm, the basement and the nerve-wracking finale.
Overall, a magnificent piece of 70s Euro cinema - highly recommended to oldschool horror buffs!

By the way, "A Bell From Hell" was the last film of director Claudio Guérin who sadly died on the last day of shooting. He fell (or jumped) from the bell tower which was constructed for the film.


 

BLOOD FARE

BLOOD FARE

USA, 2012
Director: J.A. Steel

5/10











Again, my hopes for a real good Civil War horror-movie were dashed. Ok, J.A. Steel's fourth feature film "Blood Fare" is obviously far from being as crappy as desasters like "The Supernaturals" or "Curse Of The Cannibal Confederates" - unfortunately, it's also far from being the kick-ass indie flick I actually expected.


I love the pretty original storyline which revolves around the legendary ferryman Charon, a haunted State Park, a dead Corporal who's doomed to walk the earth because he refused to pay his fare, and the Corporal's fifth generation grandchildren who do some research on an early, forgotten Civil War skirmish.

The direction isn't exactly inspired and the script is quite mediocre due to some major pacing issues in the first half. Fortunately, there are many interesting plot points and unexpected twists that keep you entertained from beginning to end.


- Thumbs Up -
Cool performances from Brandi Lynn Anderson (gorgeous!), Bridget McManus (what a hottie!), Michelle Wolff (cool!) and "Buck Rogers" Gil Gerard; great camera work, a cool soundtrack, some superb gore, nice use of Civil War re-enactment stock footage and the undead Corporal's eerie theme tune.

- Thumbs Down -
The incredibly awful performance of Savannah Ostler (overacting to the max), many bland and cliché-ridden characters, an underwhelming Charon (uncreepy look, laughable voice), many annoyingly stupid dialogue lines, the overlong end credits (9 minutes!!) and some weak CGI (though I've definitely seen worse).

Overall, a good but disappointing indie flick. Potential wasted.

Imdb

Big thanks to director J.A. Steel and screenwriter Christian Koch for providing me with an early screener of the movie!

28 July 2012

Horror Blog Of The Month: SON OF CELLULOID

I like people who call themselves "your average everyday eccentric horror movie junkie" :)


This month's HBOTM is "SON OF CELLULOID", the fabulous blog from Nathan Hamilton, a cool guy from Georgia who's completely addicted to everything horror.

Although he's a pretty active longtime-member of the FB Film Geek Circle (like me), I haven't checked his blog until 2 or 3 months ago when I finally delved into Nathan's celluloidical abyss - and I liked what I found there.

The Son Of Celluloid has a very interesting, entertaining and intriguing style of writing which I would call "Intelligent Subjective Objectiveness" which sounds terribly highfalutin and makes me look like a dork, so I guess it's better to check his blog for yourself. Maybe after reading his reviews for "The Devil Inside" or "Hostel Part 3", you may understand what I mean :-)




Maynard:
Hey Nathan! Who are and why do you blog?

Nathan:
My name is Nathan Hamilton, aka the Son of Celluloid.  I’m 32 years old and live just outside of Atlanta, Ga.  I have a degree in film studies, I’m a writer with aspirations to make my living in the Horror Business (with a side pipedream of actually getting involved in filmmaking), and I have been hopelessly addicted to and absolutely obsessed with horror movies for about 20 years now.  I love to watch them, collect them, surround myself with them, and yes, talk about them.  That’s why I blog, because I love to talk about horror movies. I actually started the blog when I was laid up after a major surgery and going through some rough times to have something to direct my energy to and something positive to focus on.  In the year and a half that I’ve been doing Son of Celluloid, it’s become a great way to see and find out about movies I might not have known about otherwise, meet a lot of like minded horror freaks including some amazing writers, filmmakers, and artists, and immerse myself in the horror scene.  A lot of great opportunities have arisen out of blogging, but just getting to bullshit about horror movies with other horror geeks is the best part.  Oh, and screeners.  Gotta love free movies.

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


When I was 12 years old I had an old ass black and white TV that my Grandmother had given me.  Late one early October night I was flipping through the 5 or 6 channels it would pick and came across "Night of the Living Dead", and in that moment my life was forever changed.
It was almost like an epiphany or a religious conversion.  It was my first experience with fear as entertainment since horror movies weren’t a part of my childhood (my family was very religious), and all I knew is that I wanted more.  That was what planted the seed, then in 1994 Monstervision with Joe Bob Briggs hit the airwaves and my horror education really began.  Night of the Living Dead started it all, and Monstervision fed my obsession until it ended up more or less defining me.

Who is your favorite horror director (and why)?

I always have a lot of trouble with “favorite” questions.  Rarely can I actually pick one.  There is a group of directors that I have always referred to as “The Holy Trinity.”  They are Alfred Hitchcock, Dario Argento, and George Romero.  I could never choose between the three.
Hitchcock was the undisputed master of suspense, but was also a master and innovator of the art of filmmaking itself.  I dare say there is no director in the game today who has not been directly or indirectly influenced by him in some way.
George Romero, in addition to making the first horror movie I ever saw, was the first time I saw someone make horror very organic, like they exist in the same world you do. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.  Hmmm, where have I heard that before?
Anyway, Argento is, in my mind, the epitome of the marriage of beautiful and grotesque.  His combination of artistic, painting like visuals and brutal violence blows me away no matter how many times I see one of his flicks.

Your alltime horror movie favorites are...


…too numerous to list.  Here’s a few:
The Living Dead Trilogy, Hellraiser 1 & 2, TCM 1 & 2, Phantasm 1&2, Return of the Living Dead 1-3, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Sharktopus, Motel Hell, Last House on the Left, From Beyond, The Devil’s Rejects, Anything Fulci, The Corman/Price Poe flicks, Pumpkinhead, Freaks, Basket Case, Black Sunday, Videodrome, Wizard of Gore, Blood Sucking Freaks, Ilsa She Wolf of the SS, Galaxy of Terror, Jess Franco’s Dracula, Serbian Film, Nightbreed, Ebola Syndrome, Private Parts, I Drink Your Blood, Anything Coffin Joe, Zombies of Mora Tao, Burial Ground, Flower of Flesh and Blood, Spider Baby, Maniac, the Universal Frankenstein movies, and the list could go on and on and on.  This is why I hate doing favorites lists, because there are so many flicks that I love just as much as these that slip my mind at the moment.

What's the worst horror movie you've ever seen?


The thing is, I like a lot of bad movies.  They can be just as entertaining as the good ones.  I find something I like in just about every horror movie I see, but if I absolutely had to pick the one I’ve hated most, and I know this is beating a dead horse, it would have to be the Nightmare on Elm Street remake.
Sweet mother of hell was that awful!  The bad CGI, the bad acting, over 100 cheap jump scares, the makeup that made Freddy look like a rubber frog with down syndrome, it was just a trainwreck.

I have always said, however, that I can love a movie for being good, I can love a movie for being bad, but there is one thing I can never forgive a movie for being…boring.  A flick I saw recently called Cold Creepy Feeling took that prize.
It was my first “two severed thumbs down” review.

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

A lot of my long time friends like horror films, but not to the extent that I do.  I’m still the “horror guy” of the group most of the time.  I’ll start going off about some movie and will get blank looks and think “I’ll just save it for the blog.”  However, since I moved back from Savannah two years ago and got back into the ATL horror scene, there has been a definite influx of hardcore horror geekery in my circle.  Then there are all of the killer people in the online horror community that I’ve met through Son of Celluloid, so I guess my friends are becoming more horror centric.

Choose:
Michael? Leatherface? Jason? Freddy? Other?


Just like with the favorite horror movie question, it would be hard to pick one.  I love Pinhead’s cold, regal air.  I love Jason just being a force of nature.  I love Captain Spaulding because we have similar senses of humor and I want to be him when I grow up.  If you put a gun to my head and made me choose however, I would have to say Leatherface.  For years I was Netherworld’s (one of America’s largest haunted attractions) resident chainsaw wielding maniac, and the saw IS family, so technically, he’s not just another horror icon, he’s my brother!

Choose:
US Horror? European Horror? Asian Horror? Other?
 

Being an American, I’m gonna have to say American horror.  Most of what I see is American, most of what I grew up on is American, and most of my favorites are American.  Italian horror would be a close second.

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


In the theater.  I still believe that a movie theater is a magical place.  I don’t care what anyone says about how big their screen is, how good their surround sound is, or how blu their ray is, no home theater can give you the same experience as sitting down in a dark theater with sticky floors in front of the silver screen with your popcorn and insanely huge soda to experience a flick.  The only thing as good is the drive-in, which we’re lucky enough to still have one of in Atlanta.  Furthermore, movies are meant to be shot and projected on film, not digitally, but that’s a whole other rant.

I do understand why a lot of people would trade the theater experience for watching at home however.  Actually, two reasons.

1. Most of the stuff I’d want to see never gets a theatrical release.  Good point and fair enough.  Watch the local independent theaters for the good stuff.
2. People have lost respect for the moviegoing experience.  You’re damn right they have!  That prick who won’t shut up and that chick who won’t put her phone away can ruin a movie.  Do what I do, go to a matinee or late night show on a weekday when it isn’t crowded, and whatever you do, never go on opening weekend.

What music do you like?

Honestly, there’s not really anything coming out in the mainstream currently that I dig.  I’m not trying to sound cool by saying that, but it’s true.  Pretty much all of the stuff I listen to is underground or old.  I have a pretty eclectic taste.  Mainly it’s horrorpunk, psychobilly, and metal.  I love 70’s soul, I like some old country, 90’s west coast rap, pop from the 50s and 60s, classic rock, gothrock, blues, whatever.  My favorite band of all time is The Misfits, followed closely by Slayer and Johnny Cash.

What do you read?

Twilight!  No, I’m just kidding.  My favorite author of all time is Edgar Allan Poe, and my favorite current authors are Jack Ketchum and Edward Lee.  I’m into hardcore horror and splatterpunk.  I love Clive Barker’s more horror oriented stuff, Poppy Z Brite’s older work, Richard Laymon, J.R. Gonzalez, Douglass Clegg, James Wrath White, stuff like that.  I have to go back and read The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy now and then.  Joe Bob Goes To The Drive-In holds the highest place of honor a book can attain, permanent residence in the bathroom.  I read a lot of books about movie history. I also have a weakness for pro wrestling and rock star autobiographies.

Tell me the first three things that come to your mind when you think about Austria (not Australia):

  1. One of my all time favorite bands, The Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space, are from Austria.
  2. There’s an Austrian flick called ANGST that’s been on my “movies to track down” list for years, and I’ve never come across it.
  3. I’m sure everyone says Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I’m gonna go with Glocks instead.
Anything else you wanna tell us?

Support independent horror!  The true innovators, the true talented filmmakers, and the true heart of the art of horror cinema isn’t in the major studio releases these days, it’s in the independent horror flicks.  Seek out regional filmmakers.  Seek out low budget filmmakers.  Find the obscure titles.  They’re the ones made out of love, not market research.  You can complain about the endless remakes, neutered PG-13 horror, and lack of original ideas coming out of Hollywood all you want, but if you keep going to see them, they’re going to keep making them.  Don’t pay to see crap.  Vote with your dollars and use the money you would use on the latest soulless retread at the theater and go to an independent theater and take in a small release flick or take a chance and buy a DVD from a young, hungry director.  Trust me, more often than not, you’ll be glad you did.  Oh, and if you’re gonna pirate movies, steal from the big guys, not the small, self financed releases.

Very well said. Big thanks, Nathan! 


http://sonofcelluloid1.blogspot.com/


27 July 2012

R.I.P SUSANNE LOTHAR

SUSANNE LOTHAR, one of the most celebrated German character-actors of her generation, has died on Wednesday at the age of 51. She was best known for her roles in Michael Haneke's highly acclaimed masterpieces "Funny Games", "The Piano Teacher", "The White Ribbon" and "The Castle".

In a press release, lawyer Christian Schetz said, the family would give no details of the actress' death "for understandable reasons". Susanne and her husband Ulrich Mühe ("Funny Games", "The Lives Of Others"), who died in 2007, had two children.

I will miss her.
Rest in peace, Susanne.
1960 - 2012


26 July 2012

THE THEATRE BIZARRE

THE THEATRE BIZARRE

USA / France / Canada, 2011
Directors: Jeremy Kasten, Richard Stanley,
Buddy Giovinazzo, Tom Savini, Douglas Buck, Karim Hussain & David Gregory

8/10







I haven't seen a good horror anthology in a long time, and although I didn't expect this to be as shitty as "Creepshow 3", I still thought that this would be a stinker, especially considering the huge amount of mediocre reviews all over the internets - far from it!!
"The Theatre Bizarre" is actually an absolutely excellent horror movie that really impressed me a lot! I caught myself with my mouth open a couple of times.

THEATRE GUIGNOL - framing segments,
directed by Jeremy Kasten ("The Wizard Of Gore - Remake")
A funny, marionette-like Udo Kier lures a young woman into a magnificently designed old theatre to introduce her to six tales of the truly bizarre.


THE MOTHER OF TOADS, directed by Richard Stanley ("Hardware")
Tense and stunningly atmospheric episode about a lustful, amphibian witch, including elements of the H.P. Loveraft universe, classic 70s European horror cinema and Stephen King's "Rainy Season". There are many creepy settings (old forests, foggy swamps), awesome make-up effects and some gorgeous nudity. The characters are bland but the acting is neat. Oh, and the soundtrack is cool.


I LOVE YOU, directed by Buddy Giovinazzo ("Combat Shock")
Intense and gripping little chiller about the cruel ending of a tormented couple's relationship. Suzan Anbeh and André Hennicke deliver fantastic performances, their troubled characters are incredbly believable, script and direction are excellent, there's some fabulous-looking gore, and lines like "Your penis and my vagina never liked each other." are hilariously ingenious.


WET DREAMS, directed by Tom Savini ("Night Of The Living Dead - Remake")
Gruesome and insane brain-twister about a man caught between horrible nightmares and bland reality. Brilliantly written, directed and edited, including lots of eye-popping violence, terrifying castrations, Lovecraftian vaginas and many brutal amputations, plus: some funny acting (Tom Savini as amusing shrink) and some gorgeous nudity.


THE ACCIDENT, directed by Douglas Buck ("Sisters - Remake")
Quite a combo breaker as it is completely different from the other episodes - still, I enjoyed this philosophical tale about a widowed mother and her daughter (witness to a motorcycle accident) who talk about life and death. Lots of intense scenes, haunting images, intense visuals and fabulous slow motion. The acting is great and the music is excellent. Only flaw: the annoyingly abrupt ending.


VISION STAINS, directed by Karim Hussain ("Subconscious Cruelty")
Undoubtedly the best episode of the whole anthology. The powerful and deeply fascinating story of a strange woman who kills suicidal people to steal her memories by extracting fluid from their eyeballs and injecting it into her own eyes. Fantastic performance of the beautiful Kaniehtiio Horn, lots of brutal eye-gouging madness (not for the squeamish), a moody soundtrack and great cinematography. Outstanding, I freakin' loved it!


SWEETS, directed by David Gregory ("Plague Town")
Second-best episode. The amazing-looking, highly entertaining and slightly disgusting piece of insanity about a dysfunctional food-fetish couple. A feast of impressive visuals, stunning images and wonderful colours, incl. terrific gore, superb acting (Lindsay Goranson, Jessica Remmers, Lynn Lowry), a marvellous soundtrack and a high amount of gross and ghastly scenes (cannibalism, vomiting, gluttony...). I loved it.


Screw the haters, I think "The Theatre Bizarre" is just brilliant!

Wiki ~Imdb

Btw, I've won a DVD of "The Theatre Bizarre" from the fabulous movie-blog "Son Of Celluloid". Thanks to Nathan Hamilton for sending it to me :-)


25 July 2012

LITTLE BIG BOY: THE DEATH STALKER MURDERS

LITTLE BIG BOY: THE DEATH STALKER MURDERS

Alternate Title:
Little Big Boy: The Rise And Fall Of Jimmy Duncan

UK / Denmark, 2011/2012
Director: Kim Sønderholm

5,5/10







"Little Big Boy", the third directorial feature film of prolific Danish actor Kim Sønderholm, is a very strange low-budget mockumentary about horror-film director Jimmy Duncan who works on his latest film "Death Stalker", loses his mind and becomes a brutal women-killer.

It could have been a pretty rad flick if made as a trashy horror-comedy. Unfortunately,
Sønderholm just couldn't decide between fun slasher, dark thriller, weird erotica and docu-drama. The end result is a muddled and pretty disappointing mess.


- The Positive -
Next to an ace soundtrack and some neat editing, there's lots of cool and fun acting here. Nice performances from gorgeous girls like April Monique Burril ("Chainsaw Sally"), Monique "Tha Original Gata" Dupree ("Satan Hates You"), Manoush ("Necronos") or Rachel Grubb ("The Horror Vault"),
lots of gorgeous NAKED girls like Katrine Poulsen ("The Horror Vault 3"), Maria Van Huisstede ("Klown") or Mette Løvendahl ("Bleed With Me"),
a highly amusing cameo from Paul Kelleher ("Night Of The Demon") as archconversative US Film Commissioner ["Mr. Duncan is to the film industry what that crossdressing Marilyn Manson is to the music industry (...) and both of them are supporters of the satanic church."], an an absolutely hilarious performance of the great Lloyd Kaufman ["One day he took a DVD of this movie and he mixed it together with a Danish pastry and shoved it right up his brown hole."]

 


- The Negative -
The whole movie is a huge, flawed mess, caught between genres, missing points. The story is nuts and far from being believable, the characters are either annoyingly one-dimensional or just plain unlikable, the pacing is lame and the direction feels lackluster.
I also hated the high amount of scenes that are way, WAY too long, e.g. the tedious and unfunny casting sequence, or the boring and tiresome jail interview


- Final Verdict -
Not good, not bad. Just an ok but forgettable little fun flick.



Imdb

Thanks to Apotheosis PR for providing me with a screener.

24 July 2012

CRY OF A PROSTITUTE

CRY OF A PROSTITUTE

Original Title:
Quelli che contano

Alternate Title:
Guns Of The Big Shots


German Title:
Die Rache des Paten

Italy, 1974
Director: Andrea Bianchi

7/10


HUGE THANKS to my blog buddy Brian Bankston, the man behind the awesome movie-blog "COOL ASS CINEMA", who provided me with a copy of this forgotten Italo-classic.


"Cry Of A Prostitute" (shitty title btw) was one the very first movies of the quite prolific 70s/80s exploitation director Andrea Bianchi, best known for horror classics like "The Night Child" (1972), "Strip Nude For Your Killer" (1975) and "Burial Ground" (1981).

 
It's a tense and pretty brutal mafia-film, far from being a "Godfather"-ripoff or something like that, but rather a highly atmospheric thriller-drama, a bit in the vein of classic Western movies like "Django" or "A Fistful Of Dollars", with a fascinating main character: Tony Aniante, a hard-boiled and ruthless loner, excellently played by the great Henry Silva ("The Boss", "Alligator").

Brutal scenes of gory violence and harsh torture alternate with intense and gripping suspense-sequences. There's the almost Fulci-esque opening incl. decapitation and the sewed up body of a child which is filled with smuggled heroin, tons of bloody gunfights and a few extremely unsettling rape scenes (doggystyle on a slaughtered cow / beaten to pulp with a belt, then raped).
But there's also a high amount of beautifully photographed and super-intense scenes (thrilling pursuits, breathtaking showdowns, stunning slow-motion), all taking place in the picturesque region of Liguria.


The acting is great (Fausto Tozzi, Vittorio Sanipoli and the wonderful Barbara Bouchet), the soundtrack is amazing, the direction is decent and the script is well-developed.
The story isn't that original, there are a few quite tedious scenes and the ending is a bit underwhelming, but aside from that I totally enjoyed it. Bravissimo!

Imdb

22 July 2012

The Ultimate PIRANHA Overload - Original / Sequel / Remake / 3D Reboot / 3D Sequel / Some Other Stuff

The official PIRANHA franchise: 

PIRANHA

German Title:
Piranhas

USA, 1978
Director: Joe Dante

7,5/10








Undoubtedly the best of all the countless "Jaws" ripoffs: Joe Dante's first full feature film "Piranha", written by John Sayles ("Alligator", "The Howling"), produced by b-movie godfather Roger Corman. Not perfect, but definitely a clever, thrilling and wonderfully entertaining little killerfish-flick.


"Piranha" has nearly everything I want in a killer-animal horror film: a nasty and bloodhungry creature (in this case thousands of ravenous Piranhas), lots of gruesome kills, lots of gore (the water park massacre), a decent amount of tension / suspense (e.g. opening, raft scene, summer camp swimming marathon), a gripping and memorable score (Pino Donaggio, you underrated genius!) and some gorgeous nudity.

The acting is great (awesome and believable chemistry between grumpy Bradford Dillmann and gorgeous Heather Menzies-Urich, a superb Dick Miller, cool appearance from horror-legend Barbara Steele), the dialogue is funny ("The Piranhas..." - "What about the goddamn Piranhas?" - "They're eating the guests, sir."), editing and camera work are well done.


Could have been more tense, more action-packed in the middle, but aside from that, it's a fabulous and timeless 70s classic.





PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING

Alternate Titles:
Piranha 2: Flying Killers

German Titles:
Piranha II - Fliegende Killer

USA / Italy / Netherlands, 1981
Director: James Cameron;
Ovidio G. Assonitis (uncredited)

3,5/10



"Piranha II" is a terrible movie by all means. It's cheaply made, it has nothing to do with the original, it just can't decide between horror and comedy (would have been way better if it was straight comedy) and worst of all: it's about flying Piranhas, one of the most laughable creatures in animal-horror-history.


Yes, the great James Cameron did some directing on "Piranha II" but it's obvious that this isn't a Cameron film, but rather another dumbfest from producer/writer/director Ovidio G. Assonitis who's responsible for rubbish like the Exorcist-ripoff "Beyond The Door" or the Jaws cash-in "Tentacles".

For the greater part, the movie is incredibly tedious, incredibly boring. The plot is stupid and makes hardly any sense. Most of the special effects look crappy. The acting is weak. Nearly every character is annoying as hell, especially all the supposed-to-be-funny pricks. The acting is mostly weak.


At least, the great Lance Henriksen and the strangely gorgeous Tricia O'Neill give decent performances, the score is nice, there's lots of great gore and lots of tits.
Yet, overall, this non-sequel is a spawn of crap.


PIRANHA
(Remake)

German Title:
Die Rückkehr der Piranhas

USA, 1995
Director: Scott P. Levy

5,5/10







This 1995 version of "Piranha" is a totally superfluous but somewhat decent quasi-1:1-remake, produced by Roger Corman for the Showtime TV Network. Apart from the fact that it's "darker" and not as funny as Joe Dante's classic, it adds absolutely NOTHING to the original and has NOTHING new to offer. Still, I pretty much enjoyed it.


The characters are shallow and forgettable, the chemistry between the 2 main actors is nonexistent, and most of the acting is rather lame, especially Alexandra Paul's wooden performance. It's packed with scenes lazily reused from the original (Piranha attacks, waterpark) and the fact that the screenplay is almost identical to the one from 1978 is extremely annoying.

However, I was surprised how well-paced, action-packed and tense the whole thing is. The summer camp scene and the waterpark showdown were done very well, and the raft scenes are on a par with the original.
I was also surprised at the high amount great-looking gore (considering that this is made-for-TV), the Piranhas look solid, Christopher Lennertz' score ("The Horde", "Quantum Of Solace") is gripping and Christopher Baffa's ("Suicide Kings") cinematography is just gorgeous.


Overall, a needless but entertaining little remake, definitely worth a watch.




PIRANHA 3D
(Reboot)

Alternate Title:
Piranha

USA, 2010
Director: Alexandre Aja

7,5/10







IMO Alexandre Aja's 3D reboot of "Piranha" is undoubtedly his best film since "High Tension". Um, that probably doesn't say much considering how much I ADORE his gripping debut slasher - but hey, it's way better than the lame "Mirrors" & the disappointing "Hills Have Eyes" remake, and to my surprise, it also surpassed my low expectations immensely.


Aja created a visually stunning and excellently entertaining summer-gorefest, packed with an absolutely insane amount of gore (there's tons of mutilated bodies and gallons of blood in the fantastic Spring Break massacre sequence), loads of gorgeous girls (Jessica Szohr, what a hottie!), loads of gorgeous NUDE girls (Highlight: the hilarious underwater naked swimming dance scene), and many, many super-funny lines ("You boys take one more step, you'll be pissing lightning bolts into next week!" / "When I say 'Tit', you say 'E's'..." / "The sheriff has declared an emergency!" - "Don't worry, we got beer over here.").

The acting is pretty ok, especially Jerry O'Connell as highly amusing porn director and the cameos from Richard Dreyfuss (reprising his "Jaws" role), Christopher Lloyd (over-the-top scientist) and Ving Rhames (badass Deputy).
John R. Leonetti's ("Insidious") cinematography perfectly captures all the beautiful lake locations, the editing is great, the pumping dance soundtrack is ace and the 3D effects are fun - yay for 3D vomit :-)


A few tedious moments in the first third and a few mediocre-looking CGI effects - aside from that; I enjoyed it about as much as the original.

PIRANHA 3DD

German Title:
Piranha 2


USA, 2012
Director: John Gulager

4/10








John Gulager's utterly needless Piranha-sequel is his best film since the hilarious monsterfest "Feast". Ok, that doesn't say anything because the 2 ATROCIOUS "Feast" sequels proved that Gulager is actually just an untalented one-hit-wonder.
"Piranha 3DD" is basically also as atrocious, but due to some great cameos and a few ok scenes, I enjoyed it a bit more than expected.


The movie is badly paced and unbelievably boring, thanks to the lousy direction and the awful script. It's only about 70 minutes long, but it felt much longer. The acting is pretty bad and nearly all characters are one-dimensional and unlikable. The plot sucks, the punk/rock soundtrack doesn't fit in, the camera work is disappointing and the CGI effects all look horrid.
 Worst of all: the super-lame and horribly underwhelming climax.

Fortunately, the guest stars are great: The Hoff is simply awesome as 'celebrity lifeguard' ("Welcome to rock bottom." / "Little ginger moron."), machine-gun-legged Ving Rhames is hilarious ("I'm not afraid of some punk ass water."), David Koechner is just brilliant ("Remember: Double Ds swims free!"), plus: cool guest performances from Gary Busey and Christopher Lloyd.
There's also loads of hot naked girls, a kick-ass decapitation, a fun "Elm Street"-bath-scene-spoof and one of the greatest lines I heard in a long time: "Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina!"


Watchable trash but far from being a must-see.




More PIRANHA stuff:

PIRANHA

Alternate Title:
Piranha, Piranha


German Title:
Piranha - Der Fluß des Todes

USA / Venezuela, 1972
Director: William Gibson

3/10






Yep, you read right. There already was a "Piranha"-titled movie six years before Joe Dante's debut: the horribly dull "Piranha", a tedious adventure film from one-time director William Gibson and one-time screenwriter Richard Finder.


The movie has nothing to do with Piranhas or similar killerfish. There's a close-up of a Piranha in the opening credits (see above) and one time one of the characters mentions something about Piranhas in the river - aside from that, there's NO Piranha whatsoever.

 
The "plot" revolves around a few characters who go to Venezuela for photographing, motorcycling, sightseeing etc. The acting is ok (Ahna Capri), the cinematography looks cool and the ending is pretty nice (rape, revenge, fist fights, gunshots) - everything else is bad. Nothing tense or thrilling, just endless boredom. Weak soundtrack, annoying characters, stupid dialogue, horrid direction, horrid script and way too much animal stock-footage - bleh.

Imdb




KILLER FISH

Alternate Titles:
Killerfish

German Titles:
Piranhas II - Die Rache der Killerfische / Killerfisch

Italy / Brazil / UK / USA, 1979
Director: Antonio Margheriti (as Anthony M. Dawson)

5,5/10




Ripoff-meister Antonio Margheriti's "Killer Fish" surprisingly isn't a real "Piranha" or "Jaws" ripoff (although it was marketed as one; in Germany they even marketed is as sequel to Joe Dante's original!) - it's actually more of a gangster/heist-movie with some Piranhas thrown in.


"Killer Fish" has its good moments and its bad moments: the opening scene with the jewel heist and tons of explosions is simply cool, there's some more great action scenes, lots of gory Piranha attacks and a great quasi-twist ending.
Unfortunately, there's also lots of dreadfully boring scenes, an awful lot of scenes that are way too long, plenty of silly, laughable dialogue and a few crappy special effects.

Next to a horribly annoying Roy Brocksmith and a somewhat wooden Lee Majors, the acting is mostly solid (Karen Black, James Franciscus, Margaux Hemingway). The Oliver Onions-composed disco soundtrack is fabulous and the title song from Amii Stewart is awesome. Overall, a quite satisfying piece of Italo-cheese.



MEGA PIRANHA

Alternate Title:
Megapiranha

USA, 2010
Director: Eric Forsberg

3/10









The Asylum
at its... um, best: "Mega Piranha", one of countless lowest-budget made-for-TV mockbusters about some abnormally big, abnormally hungry, abnormally destructive killer animals, in this case a pack of genetically mutated Mega Piranhas jumping out of rivers, landing on/in buildings and explode.


Everything about the plot, script, direction is bad. The movie is boring and tedious, the acting is horrid (Tiffany, Paul Logan... nuff said), every single characterts is a douchebag, nearly all of the dialogue is tremendously silly, and the CGI effects are as crappy as in any other Asylum production:
At least the Piranha scenes are all fun; loads of  Piranha attacking and eating ships, jumping out of the water, attacking and eating helicopters, etc.




PIRANHACONDA

USA, 2011
Director: Jim Wynorski

3/10











*Yawn* "Piranhaconda" is just another cheap lamefest based on the stale SyFy-combines-2-animals formula, directed by crap-filmer Jim Wynorski ("Dinocroc vs Supergator", "Camel Spiders"), produced by Roger Corman. There is absolutely nothing interesting or remotely surprising about it, nothing we haven't seen before.


The body count is high but the kills all look the same and the gore is your average CGI crap. Most of the acting is awful (yes, even Michael Madsen who delivers a super-lame performance), the characters are all douchebags, there's hardly any tension, nothing scary, nothing unpredictable, directiopn and pacing suck, camera work and soundtrack are tiresome. Some funny scenes and a hilarious-looking CGI creature, but overall completely forgettable.



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