22 November 2015



Alternate / Working Title:
Killing Mrs. Tingle

German Titles:
Tötet Mrs. Tingle! / Rettet Mrs. Tingle

USA, 1999
Director: Kevin Williamson


(All screenshots stolen/borrowed from the wonderful site www.moviescreenshots.blogspot.com!)

For a short time in the late 90s, screenwriter Kevin Williamson became some kind of a 'superstar' among horror fans, thanks to his excellent scripts for horror-blockbusters "Scream", "Scream 2", "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "The Faculty" - and for a similarly short time, I was a huge fan of him. I saw all 4 movies in the theater, and I loved / still love them all. I remember reading a few raving articles about him in various German movie magazines, and I also remember how pumped I was for his very first directorial effort, a movie called "Killing Mrs. Tingle".

Williamson wrote the script for this movie in the early 90s, following three teenagers who accidentally have to tie their vindictive history teacher to a bed in her own house while trying to prove their innocence to her. According to Wikipedia, it "was bought by a production company in 1995 and put on the shelf". After he suddenly became a 'star', someone (probably the Weinsteins) put it off the shelf and advised him to turn it into a full feature, and so he did.

Originally, the movie was supposed to be released in April 1999, but then the Columbine Highschool Massacre occurred, and so the release date was delayed, the movie was retitled "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" and finally released in August 1999. It bombed at the box office (8$ million domestic against a 13$ million budget) and was torn to shreds by critics. Result? Williamson never directed another movie, and eventually became a hugely successful TV writer / producer ("Dawson's Creek", "The Vampire Diaries", "The Following").

So, is it good? Is it bad? Well, it's an okay flick, but nothing special. Wasn't a big fan back then, and I'm still not that keen about it. "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" is really weird. Moments of wit and genius interact with moments of ridiculousness and utter stupidity for about 90 minutes. There are many scenes that make me laugh or keep me on the edge of my seat, but there are also about as many scenes that are dumb or moronic, expendable or cringeworthy.

Williamson just didn't get the balance right between teen-comedy and teen-thriller, and although I wouldn't call his direction bad, it's crystal clear that he is a far better writer. Actually, I can see a revised Mrs. Tingle script being directed by some other filmmaker, like Wes Craven or John McNaughton who could have given it that extra-kick it needed, but in Williamson's hands, it became a solidly entertaining, yet easily forgettable flick.

Undoubtedly the best thing about is Helen Mirren who gives a stellar performance as wonderfully unlikable bitch who knows how to play the teens off each other, and delivers a couple of absolutely amazing lines ("Your work, Mr. Churner,
is very reminiscent of a young man who sat in that same chair some 20 years ago. He, too, had the words "No future" printed on his forehead... Do give your father my best.).

Katie Holmes is solid (though her whiny face can sometimes be pretty annoying). Marisa Coughlan is solid (though her Linda Blair impersonation is absolutely awful). Barry Watson is solid (though his supposed coolness is rather unintentionally amusing). What else? The college-rock soundtrack is quite lame. The whole 'blind & drunk seduction' scene is more embarrassing than amusing. The ending starts out badass and ends up poor. Some okay cameos by Vivica A. Fox and Molly Ringwald.

Overall, neat but forgettable. Recommended to fans of Williamson
and die-hard 90s-buffs only.

Wiki ~ Imdb

19 November 2015

The TREMORS Pentalogy: Original / Aftershocks / Back to Perfection / The Legend Begins / Bloodlines


German Title:
Tremors 5 - Blutlinien

USA / South Africa, 2015
Director: Don Michael Paul


It was a long, long wait for us "Tremors"-fans. Almost too long. There were tons of rumours and news updates about possible new "Tremors" films, sequels, reboots, the long-discussed but ultimately cancelled Australian-based installment "Tremors 5: Thunder from Down Under", and what not. Now, 11 years after the last "Tremors" movie ("Tremors 4" - see below), we FINALLY got a new one, and thank god, it's fucking great!

"Tremors 5: Bloodlines" takes place in South Africa where our favorite monster hunter Burt Gummer, who apparently became a star in his very own survival TV series over the years, and his new cameraman Travis Welker have to fight against a new armada of Graboids and Ass Blasters, both bigger and more aggressive than the creatures back home in Perfection Valley.

Although none of the original writers/creators/producers (S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Nancy Roberts) were involved, part 5 still turned out to be far better than expected, mainly because "Tremors"-newbies director Don Michael Paul ("Lake Placid 4") and the 3(!) screenwriters M.A. Deuce, C.J. Strebor & William Truesmith did a fucking terrific job on giving the classic "Tremors" trademarks / style / humor a new coat of white wash that should satisfy oldschool fans as well as peeps who are new to this wonderful franchise.

Ok, the amount of practical effects is rather low, but hey: we get shitloads of surprisingly ace-looking CGI (that makes you forget about some of the shoddier effects in the later installments / TV series), as well as many really badass action scenes that are louder, wilder and more impressive than we've ever seen in any of the previous movies, incl. lots of superb-looking slow-motion sequences, a tense kitchen scene that pays massive tribute to "Jurassic Park", a super-suspenseful cave scene that slightly reminded me of "The Descent" and 2-3 brilliantly grim Assblaster-lifts-off scenes that have a sweet "Jeepers Creepers"-touch.

Acting-wise, everyone delivers a top-notch performance, most notably Michael Gross who gives his strongest and most impressive performance in the history of "Tremors", delivering a surprisingly wide range of emotions, a high amount of I-don't-need-no-stuntman scenes and, of course, shitloads of hilarious one-liners:
"Fly right into my crosshairs, you fire-farting son of a bitch." / "I stuffed his blazing butt!" - "You're like freakin' Rambo." - "Let's boogie!" / "Mr. Gummer, I think you'll find this useful." - "There is a God! R5. Full Banana clip." - "I zeroed the scope myself." - "Where'd you get this?" - "You don't wanna know." - "I like your style. A-frickin'-men." / "Phosphorus! I'm lovin' it."

Similarly great is Jamie Kennedy ("Scream 1-3") as new and super-funny Gummer-sidekick Travis Welker: "Hey, gummy bears wait up."/ "Chop-chop, Pops." - "Stop calling me Pops!" - "Got you. Old man." / "That's a yummer from the Gummer!" / "The fact that you're out here in Who-The-Hell-Cares, Nevada, smokin' Rattlesnake says something." / "Yo, what happened to your dome, man? You binge watch 'Breaking Bad', again? You trying to appeal to a younger demographic, get a little Pitbull on us?"

Also great: the outstandingly gorgeous Natalie Becker ("Death Race: Inferno"), Ian Roberts ("Cyborg Cop III") as super-funny airman, Daniel Janks ("Northmen") as seemingly sympathetic asshole and Zak Hendrikz as baddie who reminded me of Die Antwoord's Ninja, though he's obviously much, much cooler than Ninja.

Final verdict: a wonderfully entertaining and excellent return of one of my most beloved movie franchises, far better than expected and Tremor-rific from start to finish. Fingers crossed that there will be more sequels in the near future. I need more Gummer in my life!!!

Oh, and never forget: "If you've got Assblasters, then you've got Graboids."


German Titles:
Im Land der Raketen-Würmer / Tremors - Im Land der Raketen-Würmer

USA, 1990
Director: Ron Underwood


In a 2013 interview, Kevin Bacon said that after a long string of box office flops like "She's Having A Baby" or "Quicksilver", "Tremors" was a massive career low for him: "One afternoon in New York, on the corner of 86th and Broadway, I broke down and fell to the sidewalk, screaming to my pregnant wife, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing a movie about underground worms!’" Oh Kevin, if only you had known at that time that this would become one of the most popular films of your career, at least among horror and monster buffs... :-)

"Tremors" is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most entertaining creature features of the last 30 years or so. A blast of a movie, directed by Ron Underwood ("City Slickers"), written by S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock [who both wrote the screenplays for all 4 "Tremors" films, and also directed/produced/second-unit-directed the three sequels, as well as several episodes of the "Tremors" TV series], following Val & Earl, two handymen who live and work in the 14-residents-community Perfection, Nevada, an isolated ex-mining settlement where all hell breaks loose when suddenly a horde of fleshhungry huge underground sand worms - named "Graboids" - emerge...

By transcending the limitations of the genre with a shrewd concept, a super-fun screenplay, hilarious dialogue and wonderfully likable oddball characters, "Tremors" established itself as a really excellent fun-for-everyone flick that works as a modern re-interpretation of the well-trodden creature feature, as well as homage to classic monster movies of the 50s. It would be grossly overstated to call it a "genre revolution", but... well, considering the fact which kind of horror films dominated the 80s, this was definitely a bit revolutionary. It brought monsters back to the big screeen, and in some weird kinda way, it was the one movie that somehow led to a surprising monster movie revival in the 90s, with "Jurassic Park 1+2", the American "Godzilla" remake, several new Japanese "Godzilla", "Mothra" and "Gamera" flicks, "The Relic", "Anaconda", "Deep Rising" etc. etc.

Every single worm was excellently constructed and every single special effect looks just awesome. Seeing the Graboids with their snake-like tentacle-tongues popping out of the underground, dragging down people and cars... hell, it's just bonkers-brilliant! The cast is fucking perfect, every performance and every character is spot-on, especially Kevin Bacon & Fred Ward as rock-paper-scissors-playing handyman heroes, Finn Carter as super-cute seismologist (where is she now?), Michael Gross as badass weapon junkie Burt Gummer, Reba McEntire as his similarly badass wife, genre legend Victor Wong ("Big Trouble in Little China, "Prince of Darkness") as eccentric shop owner, and Robert Jayne as ridiculously obnoxious teenager. Also worth mentioning: the bombastic score by Ernest Troost ("Munchies") and the fabulous cinematography by Alexander Gruszynski ("Bad Dreams").

Some hilarious dialogue for shits and giggles:
"Good luck, shithead." - "Don't worry about me, jerkoff."
"Dammit, Valentine! You never go for any girl unless she fits that stupid list of yours from top to bottom. (...) They're all the same: dead weight. 'Ooh, I broke a nail!' Ugh! Makes my skin crawl." - "Yeah, well, I'm a victim of circumstance." - "I thought you called it your pecker."
"STAMPEDE! Stampede, Earl! Get out of the way, get out of the way!" - "You dumb shit. I was in a stampede once. Five hundred head, all hell-bent for the horizon." - "Now, exactly how many cattle are required for a stampede, Earl? Is it three or more? Is there a minimum to 'pede?" - "I wish they'd stampede
up your ass."
"Damn it Valentine, you never plan ahead, you never take the long view, I mean here it is Monday and I'm already thinking of Wednesday... It is Monday right?"

Summarizing, "Tremors" is trem(or)endous fun!


German Title:
Tremors 2 - Die Rückkehr der Raketenwürmer

USA, 1996
Director: S.S. Wilson


"Tremors 2: Aftershocks" is one of the few sequels that are almost as good as its predecessor, even though at first sight, I expected it to be a trainwreck, due to the almost-too-long gap between the first and the second one, a budget of only 4 million dollars (the first one had a budget of 11 million), and NO KEVIN BACON!!! However, writer and first-time feature director S.S. Wilson perfectly achieved to keep up everything that made the first part so great, and also managed to expand the two recurring characters (Fred Ward & Michael Gross), added new cool characters (that make you forgrt about Bacon's absence) and introduced the next stage in the Graboids' lifecycle: "Shriekers", asexual and super-hungry pack hunters that look like little dinosaurs and live/hunt on the surface
to eat and reproduce.

The sequel takes place at an oil refinery in Mexico where Earl, his new partner Grady and weapon junkie Burt Gummer try to gain control over a new Graboid-outbreak that eventually becomes a hard-to-beat Shrieker-invasion. Considering how disappointing sequels can be, "Tremors 2" is actually shockingly good and almost as entertaining as the first one, full of tension, action and fun, full of new and super-cool ideas and gimmicks (the Graboid arcade game, hunting Graboids with remote-controlled toy cars, the explosion-protecting umbrellas...), and full of hilarious scenes and sequences (hiding behind doors, the nightly Shrieker-triple-attack, covered in fire extinguisher foam, Burt hiding in the excavator shovel, the "Radio Graboid", the uber-funny scene with the broomstick...).

It's very well written and directed, excellently paced, never dull or boring. Fred Ward and his new partner, played by Chris Gartin, make for a really great team, almost on a par with Ward/Bacon, Ward's lovely love interest Helen Shaver is just awesome, and Michael Gross gives another highly amusing performance. The practical effects look badass, the few CGI effects look better than most of today's crap-ass CGI, I love the look of the incredibly green Mexican landscapes. Also, superb music by Jay Ferguson ("Elm Street 5").

An incredible sequel that unfairly got thown to Video, even though it really deserved a theatrical release. Yes, it's that great!


German Title:
Tremors 3 - Die neue Brut

USA, 2001
Director: Brent Maddock


After another pretty long time gap (5 years!), "Tremors" fans got lucky by receiving yet another direct-to-video sequel, this time directed by writer and one-time director Brent Maddock. "Tremors 3: Back to Perfection" (wonderful title!) following Burt Gummer who returns to Perfection, Nevada, where he meets old companions, has to deal with obnoxious "Graboid Safari" tour-operators, crooked land developers and another massive "Graboid" outbreak.

Just like its predecessor, "Tremors 3" is able to fully keep up the Tremors-typical humor and entertainment, gives us an armada of fun characters (lots of familiar faces from the first part, as well as some cool new additions), expands on its basic concept without rehashing previous installments, and it also delivers yet another stage in the Graboids' life cycle: the "Ass Blaster"(!!), a Shrieker with wings and the ability to rocket itself into the air by producing inflammable chemicals. Sounds hilarious - is hilarious.

Admittably, Part 3 has some problems: there's way too much CGI and not enough practical effects (the CGI looks rather neat, but it's rather unpleasant to see computer-generated Graboids), story and screenplay are okay but both could have been so much stronger, and the climax... well, it's action-packed and diverting, but it's too long and a tad too shiftless.

Aside from that, I still highly enjoyed it. Michael Gross is excellent-as-always as the mighty Burt Gummer, perfectly carrying the movie, and together with shopkeeper Jodi (played by Susan Chuang) and tour operator Desert Jack (played by Shawn Christian), he manages to kick some fucking Assblaster-butt. There's once again shitloads of remarkable scenes (the Graboid Safari incl. fake attacks and lots of dust / fence shenanigans, the "Shrieker" opening, Burt getting "eaten" by a Graboid, hinding under mattress......) and many, many cool new gimmicks (Graboid / Shrieker comics, plush Graboids, Potato gun...).

Not as fun as its predecessors, but still very worth checking out!


German Title: 
Tremors 4 - Wie alles begann

USA, 2004
Director: S.S. Wilson


2003 and 2004 were obviously the greatest years for true "Tremors" fans: not only did they get a 13-episode TV series (review soon), the also got yet another film: "Tremors 4: The Legend Begins", a prequel to the first 3 parts, set in 1889 in the town of "Rejection Valley" (the origins of "Perfection Valley") where Hiram Gummer (great-grandfather of Burt Gummer, owner of a nearby Silver mine) and the founders of Rejection try to defend against an invasion of graboids.

At first glance, "Tremors 4" seems to be different from its predecessors, more in the vein of horror-themed Western films like "Ghost Town (1990)" or "The Burrowers". Yet, even though its set in a different time and place, it's still a true "Tremors" flick, thanks to the quality work of S.S. Wilson & Brent Maddock who once again deliver huge amounts of Tremors-esque humor and atmosphere, an original story, charming characters + more practical effects than in the 3rd part and ONE MORE stage in the Graboids' life cycle: Baby-Graboids a.k.a "Shooters" or "Dirt Dragons"!

Next to lots of cool Graboid-Action (Punt gun fun / campfire 'massacre' / Silver mine horror...) and more fun dialogue, the best thing about Part 4 is Michael Gross whose performance as snobby businessman is simply amazing. Hell, what an underrated actor he is! Also great: Billy Drago as Roland-like gunslinger Black Hand Kelly, Sara Botsford as charming hotel owner and Lydia Look as grouchy Chinese saleswoman.

A few scenes felt either too long or rather unnecessary and the pacing is often a tad too slow. Despite these trifles, "Tremors 4" is about as enjoyable as every other "Tremors" flick!

The "Tremors" TV series will be reviewed very soon!

16 November 2015



Chile / USA, 2013/2015
Director: Eli Roth


"Eli Roth is the fucking Adam Sandler of Horror movie directors.
His movies are Adam Sandler movies with blood and guts. (...) Think of the characters from 'Grown Ups'. (...) They're doin' their douchy things around town, and then halfway through end up in a torture hostel. BAM!
That is literally an Eli Roth film."

That's not my words, that's what Brad "The Cinema Snob" Jones said in his "Knock Knock" review (see here), and of course, I 100% agree with him. Just like Sandler who started out with really funny flicks like "Happy Madison" or "The Waterboy" before he ended up bombarding cinemas with the shittiest humor imaginable and utter crap like "Grown Ups", "That's My Boy" or "Jack and Jill",
Eli Roth kickstarted his career with cool, entertaining flicks ("Cabin Fever", "Hostel") and fun acting performances ("Inglourious Basterds"), before he quickly became the #1 poster boy for uber-grisly violence, douchey humor and annoyingly dumb characters ("Hostel 1+2", "Knock Knock", "Aftershock"). Though, while Sandler is at least pretty productive and is also still able to churn out something watchable like "Click" or "Funny People" now and then, Roth is a lazy bastard who only directed 5 features over the last 15 years, and even over such a long period, his movies gradually became worse and worse

Originally, "The Green Inferno" was supposed to come out in 2013 (back then, it was actually screened at various festivals), but due to some financial difficulties with the production company, the release date was pushed back, back, back until it was finally officially released last September. It's supposed to be an homage to the cannibal films of the the 70s and 80s, especially to Ruggero Deodato's amazing and infamous "Cannibal Holocaust" and Umberto Lenzi's not-as-awesome-but-still-okay "Cannibal Ferox" ("The Green Inferno" was actually the working title of "Cannibal Holocaust") - but, obviously, it's far from being as good as both these classics. Actually, in some kinda way, it's even worse than the worst of that genre, like "Cannibal Terror" or "Paradiso Infernale"...

...because Roth simply wasn't able to get anything right. A bunch of douchebags travel to South America to save the rain forest and end up getting eaten by a tribe of cannibals. So far, so good, but... no, it isn't good. The tone is way too goofy, way too silly, botching up any possible eerie atmosphere, any bit of scariness. Brutal meant-to-be-disturbing gore'n'violence scenes lose its impact because they're mostly followed by aggravatingly daft scenes, like the one where a young woman suddenly has a diarrhea attack and starts to defecate, or the one where the movie's most unlikable character (caught in a cage after witnessing his 'friends' getting killed and eaten) suddenly starts to wank(!) in order to relieve stress(!!!)... are you fucking kidding me??

He and almost every character is as unlikable as Donald Trump, and the only one who's mildly sympathetic (played by Roth's wife Lorenza Izzo), later makes a batshit stupid decision which immediately turns her from nice girl into freaking nutcase. I was constantly rooting for the cannibals and cheered whenever they killed and/or ate some of these idiots. There's some horrific 'female circumcision', but it is only in it to having something oh-so-shocking in it, and obviously serves no purpose. Same for other plot points and elements about environmentalism, culture clash or corruption. At first, you think Roth wants to tell us something important, but then you realize it's only in it to be "in it", if you understand what I mean. It's stupid, it sucks and it makes you wish that someone with a bit more intelligence wrote/directed it. Did I mention that the screenplay was co-written by Guillermo Amoedo who co-wrote the awful "Aftershock" and the god-awful "Knock Knock"? Ugh.
Worst of all: the entire ahahaha-NOT-FUNNY-AT-ALL scenes with the cannibal tribe high on weed, and the entire epilogue incl. one of the absolute worst jump scares of 2015 and one of the worst sequel-bait twist endings I have ever,
ever, ever seen.

Okay, like in every Eli Roth film, there's at least some good stuff in it. Here, it's some cool cinematography in the first half (that almost makes you forget about the super-shoddy shaky cam in the second half... almost!), the silly-but-fun scene where some girl slits her own throat, and the horribly brutal, surprisingly realistic scene where some black guy gets dismembered, cooked and eaten. The only scene that carries a remote/distinct "Cannibal Holocaust"-like flavor.
As for the rest... nah. I don't like this. It's not as bad as "Hostel 2" or "Knock Knock", and it's also not as bad as I expected, but it's once again Eli Roth at its worst, once again proving that he is the biggest hack in horror business, the "Adam Sandler of Horror".
Where's my "Cabin Fever" DVD? I need something good now.

15 November 2015

BUNNY THE KILLER THING (/Slash Filmfestival 2015)


Finland, 2015
Director: Joonas Makkonen


Somewhere in Finland, a group of 7 peeps is heading to a cabin in the woods for a fun weekend packed with alcohol and drugs and sex, not knowing that a dangerous creature is roaming the area, a creature half man, half rabbit, super-horny and blood-thirsty and it constantly screams "PUSSY!!" or "DIRTY PUSSY!!" because it's super-obsessed with female genitals.

I like Finnish humor, I like Finnish movies and over the years, I've seen/admired my fair share of brilliant Finnish flicks from Ari Kaurismäki ("Leningrad Cowboys"), Antti-Jussi Attila ("Sauna"), Jalmari Helander ("Rare Exports") or Timo Vuorensola ("Iron Sky"), that's why I can wholeheartedly claim that this is the absolute worst Finnish movie I've ever seen.

This is a movie that can only be watched being completely shit-faced, as it is 90 minutes of the stupidest and unfunniest jokes that only drunkards and prepubertal boys find funny. Fart jokes and dick jokes and vagina jokes and nigger jokes and rape jokes. People talking about tits, wanking like crazy, sniffing on panties, vomiting, ejaculating prematurely. A squirrel gets trampled to death. Oh-so-funny shenanigans with vagina shirts. Lots of ahaha-hilarious dialogue between a drunk Fin and an Afro-American calling each other Mr. Black and Mr. White. And a super-fucked, super-annoying, erm, re-interpretation of the Were-Rabbit from the Wallace & Gromit movie.

A movie for idiots. Yes, a 1/10 is exactly what this piece of rabbit-shit deserves. Watch the "Bunnyman"-flicks instead.

12 November 2015

"THE GALAXY INVADER" (Chilling 20 Movies Pack, #19)


Alternate Title:
Galaxy Invader

USA, 1985
Director: Don Dohler


"The Galaxy Invader"... the title is bland and totally doesn't reveal what an outrageously bonkers piece of schlockiness this movie is. With lots of beer and a budget of next to nothing, z-grade filmmaker Don Dohler ("Nightbeast") rounded up his friends to roam the forests of Baltimore in order to shoot a 'movie' about an alien (which looks like a retarded crossbreed of the "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Swamp Thing") that crashlands on Earth
in some kinda, erm, Meteor (???). Before the alien even realizes where it is and what is going on, it gets hunted by a gang of yokels who think the creature will earn them some moolah...

Holy spaceship, this movie is stupid. At times it's actually mildly amusing, but most of the time, it's just batshit stupid. After a somewhat decent opening that slightly reminded me of "The Blob", the movie goes downhill completely when we get introduced to the Montagues, a family of backward hicks with a 'patriarch' who constantly wears an incredibly badly ripped shirt, spending his days bitching about his kids, or trying to shoot his eldest daughter.

Things get hectic when the Galaxy Invader arrives, a man wearing an unbelievably laughable rubber suit and a rather harmless-looking weapon that gets activated via some ultra-cheap-looking glowing toy ball. The hicks go hunting and the alien goes hiding. When they finally encounter each other, the hicks start to holler and to drink and to shoot - and the alien shoots back with what looks like fireworks. There's also some shenanigans with a teenage boy and a teacher-slash-UFO-expert, some more hicks, some more shooting, and in the end, the alien gets killed and Mama Montague throws her husband over a cliff. Fin.

The acting is god-awful and most of the dialogue is just bad. Every single special effect looks either embarrassing or just dilettante, the story is non-existent, the editing is amateurish and the repetitive synth score is unbelievably unnerving. Some decent night shots, a few unintentionally amusing Invader-tries-to-look-oh-so-dangerous scenes, and the cliff finale is so ludicrous, I laughed my ass off. Other than that, "The Galaxy Invader" is crap.

Wiki ~ Imdb

10 November 2015



Australia, 2014
Directors: The Spierig Brothers
(Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig)


Based on the few things I knew about this movie beforehand (poster artwork & synopsis), I expected this to be more or less a run-of-the-mill time-travel flick, maybe a bit in the vein of "Looper" or something like that. Little did I know that this would actually turn out to be sooooo much more, sooooo much better than I would have ever expected. It's not just one of the best time-travel-themed films I've ever seen, I'd even place it on the same level with masterpieces like "Inception", "Primer" or "Donnie Darko", at least in terms of complexity, quality writing and general sophistication.

"Predestination", the latest film of Australian whizz kids Michael & Peter Spierig ("Daybreakers", "Undead"), starts out with a time-traveling Temporal Agent who tries to stop an infamous terrorist called "Fizzle Bomber" from killing hundreds of people in New York via a massive bomb attack - but... erm, that's NOT what the movie is about, because after a really explosive opening (in the truest sense of the word), the movie takes a massive turn and spends almost 45 minutes in a bar where a mysterious seemingly transexual stranger tells the barkeeper the bizarre story of his life - before taking another and much more massive turn and transforming itself into one of the biggest mindfucks in movie history.

Throughout the last half hour, especially during the last 10-15 minutes, I was sitting in the front of the screen, eyes and mouth wide open, goosebumps all over my body, because I was simply flabbergasted and gobsmacked by all the twisted things that turned my brain into a fucking bretzel. Whenever you think you know into what direction it goes... WHAM!! BAM!! Another plot twist comes along and changes everything. It's astounding what the Spierigs achieved with this movie. Based on Robert A. Heinlein's short story "All You Zombies", they created an unbelievable mindblower of a movie, fantastically written and stunningly directed, tense and gripping from start to finish, and packed with a wide array of rather deep topics like gender politics, space travel, time paradoxes, terrorism, education
and love.

Ethan Hawke makes you forget about his lame performances in "The Purge" and "Getaway", and shines as complicated, eclectic and deeply fascinating character, though he gets completely outshined by newcomer Sarah Snook ("These Final Hours") as gender bender, delivering a performance so unbelievably powerful, it's beyond belief. [Shower her with awards!] Production design and art direction are terrific, Ben Nott's ("Daybreakers") cinematography is staggering and the music (composed by Peter Spierig himself) is just excellent.

This is the time-travel movie to end all time-travel movies. Mind-bending, mind-boggling, mind-blowing. A cinematic monolith!



Working Titles:
Welcome to Yesterday / Almanac
/ Cinema One

USA, 2015
Director: Dean Israelite


When I first heard about "Project Almanac", I was intrigued by the movie's cool concept which promised to be something like "Chronicle" or "+1", but with time-travelling [A couple of teenagers construct a time machine that actually works. They use it to their benefit, unaware of the disastrous ripple effects their actions cause. When of them tries to make things right, things get even worse]. Unfortunately, "Project Almanac" was one of this year's biggest disappointments, a terribly written and terribly directed film that makes you wish someone would have offered THIS movie to Josh Trank, and not "Fant4stic".

The screenwriters, Jason Pagan & Andrew Deutschman (who also wrote the 6th entry in the "Paranormal Activity" saga), were obviously influenced and inspired by movies like "The Butterfly Effect", "Primer" or "Back to the Future" - but instead of getting the best out of the inspirational sources, they came up with a dreadfully stupid screenplay that is so packed with crappy dialogue, unlikable characters, gaping plot holes and horrible time paradoxes, it's outrageous.

The acting is neat, but all of the characters are so fucking dumb, you don't care for any of them and only wish the worst to them. The found footage angle is completely unnecessary and the camera work is often so annoyingly shaky and over-the-top, I ran out of patience for this rubbish early on. There are a couple of neat twists and even a couple of mildly tense scenes, but they get overshadowed by the film's unbelievable stupidity. I won't go into detail, but... well, there is a scene in the second half where a girl gets erased entirely from the timeline after seeing her past self. So far so good - but in the first half, we get to see one of the boys painting a smiley on his sleeping past self... and the only thing that happens to him is that the smiley simultaneously appears on his very own neck (which itself is clearly illogical, but that's a different story). He doesn't disappear... he doesn't get erased... he is still alive and kicking for watever reson - and that is only one of thousands of super-annoying paradoxes in this garbage.

Watch "Chronicle", the other above-mentioned movies and/or every other time-travel-themed film instead. You won't regret.

08 November 2015


*sigh* Yet another horror legend has left us in this horrible, horrible 2015. This time: Iceland-born American actor GUNNAR HANSEN who died yesterday from Pancreatic cancer at the of 68.

Hansen is obviously best known for being the very first LEATHERFACE in Tobe Hooper's groundbreaking 1974 classic "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre". He never got the chance to repeat his performance in any of the seven follow-ups/remakes/prequels in this immortal franchise (aside from a small cameo in "Texas Chainsaw 3D"), but hey: none of the other Leatherfaces became as famous as him, and his Leatherface will always be considered as the best and most intense one.

After his second acting performance in "Demon Lover" (1977), he decided to stop acting and started writing books and writing/editing for magazines, before he returned to acting in 1988 in Fred Olen Ray's slasher spoof "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers".

The rest of his acting career consisted of performances in trashy horror flicks, such as "Campfire Tales" (1991), "Mosquito" (1995), "Hellblock 13" (1999), "Chainsaw Sally" (2004), "Murder-Set-Pieces" (2004), "Brutal Massacre: A Comedy" (2007) or "Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre" (2009).
He also published the books "Islands at the Edge of Time: A Journey to America's Barrier Islands" (1993) and "Chainsaw Confidential" (2013).

Rest in Peace, Gunnar Hansen
1947 - 2015

05 November 2015

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (Original / Remake / Sequel / Threequel / Savage Vengeance)

- The Threequel -


Alternate Titles:
I Spit On Your Grave: Vengeance Is Mine / I Spit On Your Grave 3

USA, 2015
Director: R.D. Braunstein


I wish I could say something nice about the third entry in the "I Spit On Your Grave 2.0"-franchise, but... alas, it's very, very difficult because contrary to my expectations, and contrary to what it could have been, "I Spit On Your Grave III: Vengeance Is Mine" turned out to be an atrocious threequel that doesn't get anything right. The 2,5/10 rating is almost too high, but, well, the kills are good and it's nice to have Sarah Butler back (who starred in the 2010 remake)... but that's actually where the problems start.

But first things first. Part 3 largely ignores the 2nd part and continues the storyline of the 2010 remake, following rape victim Jennifer Hills who is still tormented by the brutal sexual assaults. She changes cities and identities, joins a support group for rape victims and tries to start a new life, but suddenly her past catches up with her and turns everything upside down.

I so would have loved if "Vengeance is Mine" would have been about Jennifer Hills (part 1) and Katie Carter (part 2) teaming up and creating some kinda "rape squad", just like in that 70s exploitation classic of the same name. I also think that it could have worked to a) make another variation of the classic ISOYG-storyline with a new character, or b) if Hills simply gets to do another rape'n'revenge ordeal.
Unfortunately, not-so-experienced director R.D. Braunstein ("100° Below Zero") and first-time script writer Daniel Gilboy (producer of TV crap like "Komodo vs. Cobra" or "Shockwave") decided to go into a completely different direction that could be described as "Death Wish" for idiots, turning the strong Hills-character into a laughable psycho-bitch who runs amuck and kills every male who's remotely a rapist asshole.

I think Braunstein and Gilboy wanted to give this movie a more realistic approach which is basically applaudable, but they did it in such a stupid and abhorrent way, you just want to beat them up. The motivations for the women in the previous movies were clear as a bell, but here, there's almost no motivation. It's just Ms. Hills going bananas because her past traumatic experiences made her crazy...
I guess? There's no real explanation for why she's doing what she's doing. She's simply going batshit insane and kills/tortures everyone who looks like a potential rapist. Someone tells her that someone is/might be a rapist = she goes out and kills this person. This could have worked if Steven R. Monroe would have directed it - but Braunstein and Gilboy show no respect for this once-so-admirable character, and simply turned her into a one-dimensional and unbearably unlikable killer machine who is almost as sympathetic as her victims. Needless to say that her victims are all as one-dimensional as her, and almost every male is either an idiot or just a piece of shit. The rapists in the previous movies were human garbage too, but they all felt like human beings. Here, they're just lazily written, lazily portrayed cardboard cut-outs.

Aside from the poor direction and the awful writing, the movie is also boring, tedious and terribly paced, there's no tension, no suspense, way too many dialogue scenes that go on and on and *yawn*. The movie looks cheap, the low budget is very obvious, camera work and music aren't any special. Most of the acting is either mediocre, wooden or ludicrously bad. Surprisingly, Sarah Butler's performance is pretty lame too. You can clearly spot how fantastic she was under Monroe's direction, and how embarrasingly over-the-top her performance under Braunstein's direction is. Pretty much the only one who gives a top-notch performance is Jennifer Landon. [SPOILER] Sadly, her character gets killed after the first half hour... :-(

The kills are great. One guy gets his dick peeled like a banana, one guy gets assfucked with a metal pipe, other guys get electrocuted or get their throat slashed in really brutal ways. Unfortunately, that's simply not enough for a movie that somehow tries to be a part of the most notorious rape'n'revenge exploitation franchise in movie history. In fact, it's just a shitty threequel that annoyed the crap outta me. If you're a fan of these flicks, I recommend to skip this and watch this year's "Avenged" or the completely overlooked 2012 gem "Girls Against Boys". Both these movies are more ISOYG than this lamefest.

Wiki ~ Imdb

- The Sequel -


USA, 2013
Director: Steven R.Monroe


The necessity of a sequel to one of the most controversial films of the last years is obviously questionable. Even me, a fan of the original and the remake, wasn't too keen on getting another 1-girl-and-a-bunch-of-bad-guys rape'n'revenge flick under the "I Spit On Your Grave" banner - but you know what? Goddammit, it works!

Of course, "I Spit On Your Grave 2" is not as good as its predecessor, but nevertheless, it fully managed to rock and shock my little world, to disturb and disgust me, and to drag me to a dark and sinister place where there's only good and evil, life and death [Stop me if you think I'm getting too dramatic ;)]

Steven R. Monroe returned to the director's chair and once again proves that he's a damn great filmmaker who knows how to handle the simplicity and brutality of the story in a way that should "satisfy" fans and "curious non-fans" of extreme horror. Story and screenplay by Thomas Fenton ("Saw IV") and Neil Elman ("Sea Beast") aren't exactly original and at times a bit predictable, but as a whole, they're pretty solid and totally deliver the goods. Also, I loved that they moved from America to Bulgaria during the film, not just for budget reasons, but because the villains are Bulgarians and regularly kidnap women and bring them to Sofia.

The rape scenes are once again really horrifying, at times even more gruesome and repulsive than in its predecessors. Aside from having a somewhat annoying voice, Jemma Dallender delivers a freaking fantastic performance. Not often do you get to see someone suffering and screaming in such an intense way, like she does here. Also, after the ordeal, she slowly transforms into an incredible avenging angel who tortures its victims with ruthless and merciless, but also fabulously imaginative and effective methods. Adore the scene where she aggressively screams "You think that hurts? YOU JUST WAIT!!"

One of the rapists gets drowned in piss and shit (super-disgusting scene), one gets electrocuted in a stunningly vile and extremely painful way (forget "Taken"), one gets tied to a wall, cut and sliced all over his body and fecal matters smeared into the wounds (gross, gross, gross) and - the absolute highlight - one gets his testicles crushed with a bench vise (OUCH!!).

An obvious must-see for everyone who is sick enough to get a kick out of movies like that. I recommend a nice cup of Orange Pekoe Tea while watching. It will soothe your temper and make you relax, as far as that is possible during such a movie.

Wiki ~ Imdb

Thanks to my buddy Joel (Porkhead's Horror Review Hole) who sold me his copy of the movie because he fucking hated it ;-)

- The Remake -


USA, 2010
Director: Steven R. Monroe


This was announced and finally released at a time when I was already so pissed with all the polished money-remakes of classic horror films, that I almost didn't bother checking it out - but due to the recommendation of an ex-fellow blogger, I gave it a chance... and ended up completely blown away.

I've said it before and I say it again: the 2010 remake of "I Spit On Your Grave" is a fucking masterpiece. Steven R. Monroe, director of weird made-for-TV shit like "Sasquatch Mountain" or "Mongolian Death Worm", was able to create one of the absolute best horror remakes in history, not by simply remaking, but by rebooting the original and/or upgrading it to a higher level of shockingness and unsettling intensity.

It's actually way more disturbing, way more violent and brutal than the original due to tons of gobsmacking scenes and sequences, but it's also way more suspenseful and atmospheric, thanks to Monroe's stunning direction and the captivating cinematography of Neil Lisk ("War Wolves").
The first act is dark, uncanny and incredibly thrilling. The middle is vile, and upsetting, packed with uncomfortable and frightening moments. The third act is the painful revenge act, packed with shitloads of brutal torture, gruesome kills and gore galore.

Sarah Butler's performance is amazing, better and even more powerful than Keaton's. Same for the villains, especially the incredible Andrew "Blood River" Howard as Sheriff slash 'ass-man'.
There isn't as much rape as in the original, still, the few scenes where we get to Jennifer violated by 5 men... geez, they are simply horrible and unbelievably painful to watch. There's also a lot more pre-torturing and humiliation.

Gladly, the revenge... the revenge... THE REVENGE!!! Holy shit, now this is what I call revenge, and this is where the remake clearly exceeds the original. One gets his lids forced upon with fishing wire tied to a tree; later crows peck out his eyes. One gets his face corroded off with acid, one gets his teeth pulled out and his dick cut off, and the 'ass man' gets his ass raped with a shotgun.

At the end, you just sit there in front of the screen, shivering, goosebumpy and shocked to the core, but happy because it's nice to see that there are still a few filmmakers out there who got the balls to make something like that. Bravo!

Wiki ~ Imdb

- The Original -


Alternate Titles:
Day of the Woman / The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hills / I hate your Guts / Horror Weekend / Day of the Woman: I Spit on your Grave

German Titles:
Ich spuck auf dein Grab / Blood Angel

USA, 1978
Director: Meir Zarchi


Meir Zarchi's directorial debut "I Spit On Your Grave" is one of the most notorious and most controversial, but also one of the absolute best and most brutal rape-and-revenge movies ever made. It got widely panned when it came out in 1978 (Roger Ebert called it "a vile bag of garbage"), but over the years, it became a cult classic and favorite among fans of extreme horror. Various critics and writers nowadays even call it a misunderstood Feminist film.

"I Spit On Your Grave" tells the story of a female writer who gets her revenge on 4 men who raped and humiliated her. It's hard to describe what this movie really is. A glorification of violence? Pure exploitation? Possible, although the director claims that it wasn't meant to be exploitative and that it was necessary to tell the story in such a violent way.
Feminist? Again, possible, but... well, the movie is as misandristic as it is misogynistic, which makes a proper classification very difficult.

In the end, it doesn't matter. It's a perfect example of a love-it-or-hate-it-movie, aimed at an audience with a strong stomach. If you love/despise films like "Irreversible" or "Last House on the Left", you wil love/despise this one too. The rape / violence scenes where main character Jennifer Hills gets treated like shit (fantastically played by Camille Keaton) are unbelievably disgusting and disturbing, very uncomfortable to watch. The entire first half is very, very tough to watch.

Gladly, things get more "pleasant" when tables turn and Jennifer gets her revenge on the men: one gets hung, one gets axed, one gets disemboweled by a boat engine, and - best of all - one gets his dick cut off in a bathtub, a long but wonderful and extremely effective scene, especially when Jennifer leaves the bathrom and closes it, goes downstairs, puts a record on and sits down in a rocking chair, while her victim screams and screams above.

Script and direction are both very solid, the cinematography is solid, the editing is neat, and I love how they didn't use any musical score. Just one character's harmonica, a Puccini record and a church organ. Almost like in a Dogme film ;)
The acting isn't great, but good enough, and the characters, as despicable as they are, they're all believable - okay, aside from Matthew who's just mildly retarded. The scene where he's saying "I can't come! You're interrupting my concentration!" is giggleworthy. Inappropriate, I know, but I can't help it.
Only thing to criticise: the revenge is a bit too tame considering what the men
did to her.

No, it's not a beautiful film, and no, it's far from being enjoyable, but I can't help it: I love extreme stuff like that!

Wiki ~ Imdb

- Bonus Crap: The Unofficial Sequel -


Alternate Titles:
I Spit On Your Grave 2: Savage Vengeance / I Will Dance On Your Grave: Savage Vengeance / I Will Dance On Your Grave

Working Title:
Return To The Grave

USA, 1988/1993
Director: Donald Farmer


Shot in 1988 on video (or should I say shitteo?) as a sequel to "I Spit On Your Grave", but not released until 1993 because Meir Zarchi sued the shit out of Donald Farmer [director of crap like "Cannibal Hookers" or "Vampire Cop"], and so they had to release it with no relation to the original.

"Savage Vengeance" is pure garbage, and actually one of the worst movies I'ever seen. Only 65 minutes long, but as dull and slow as a slug race. Awfully written and directed, shot at the ugliest and most uninteresting forest/cabin locations I've seen in a long time.

None of the actors is actually acting, with the exception of Camille Keaton (yes, the star of the original!) who just appears and tries to put up a brave front, but fails miserably due to her terrible character and the whole shity production. She refused and still refuses to talk about the film. The reasons are unknown, but after seeing this piece of shit, it's understandable.

The music is so fucking over-the-top, it's unbearable. Camera work and editing are amateurish as hell. The blood looks terrible and the gore / make-up effects are laughable. Worst: the embarrasingly laughable rape scenes. All of the rapists and the victims are fully clothed, which makes it look like forced dry humping.

Almost unwatchable.

Wiki ~ Imdb

Oh btw, the mispronounced the title in the title screen... xDDD

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