Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Hills Have Eyes Series

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Wes Craven's original is regarded as a classic among the horror community, and rightfully so.  It's a very nasty little exploitation movie.  This was way before my time, but I imagine watching this back in the 70's would have been a more rewarding experience for me.  I do thoroughly enjoy it though.  I love most Craven flicks.

I really dig how gritty and bleak this is.  This movie has a black little heart and it only wants to get nasty.  The desert setting is an ideal horror setting; the victims are trapped with nowhere to go and are under constant danger.  This doesn't need a night time climate to let the real horror unravel.

As much as I enjoy this movie, it's not one I regard as a classic but I can see why others do.  Still, damn impressive, eh?

The Hills Have Eyes 2 (1985)

You won't read a lot of good reviews for this on the internet.  Even Craven himself has disowned it.  My question is ''WHY?''  This sequel is a lot of fun, it's trashy, cheap and sometimes cheesy.  This is why horror is so good: I love it when cheesy sequels follow classics.  It's part of the charm of horror.  

This sequel has some decent kills, some nice atmosphere and some truly ridiculous moments.  I consider these strong points.  Sure, this had the potential to be a good, solid sequel but Craven really didn't have his heart in it and instead gave us an unintentionally fun piece of crap with a dog that has flashbacks.  That's a cinematic breakthrough that should be praised.

I'm in the minority, but I like it.  Recommended with beer.

Mind Ripper (1995)

AKA ''The Outpost'' AKA ''The Hills Have Eyes 3''

This doesn't have anything to do with the first two movies, but it was marketed as a sequel and contains.  Craven (who produced this) pulled the plug on naming it in the ''Hills'' series to rename it The Outpost but it's sort of a sequel so we'll count it this time.

The plot: a science experiment goes wrong and a mutant is created, going on a rampage and only Lance Henriksen can stop him.

This isn't a masterpiece, but it's a lot of fun.  I really recommend it if you want some good cheesy fun.  However, if the second one angers you due to love for the first then avoid.  If you like fun cheese then you'll have a hoot with this.

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

This was one of a few remakes in the 2000's that surpassed the original for me (others include Dawn of the Dead, TCM & The Ring).  When it comes to remakes, I can take a little comfort if Aja is attached because so far he's made them better than their respective originals in my opinion (also note Piranha & Mirrors).  Sorry for the blasphemy but it's just my taste.  Maybe it's my ungrateful generation with our MTV and fetish porn?

Aja doesn't stray far from the original storyline at all but what he does do is provide better characters who are likable, a steady build up filled with tension,  nastier looking mutants, stunning cinematography and what us horror fans crave, graphic violence.  I think this remake hit all the right spots to become a modern horror classic and not just an acceptable remake.  I love it.

The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007)

Once again, I'm probably in the minority of those who actually enjoyed this movie, even if it wasn't for the same reasons I enjoyed the original sequel.  This is watchable but not spectacular.  However, even though it lacks the tension and suspense of Aja's remake, it does deliver in terms of kills, gore and body count.

Martin Weisz delivered a solid sequel with some decent actors, gore and some nice ideas, but in the end it wasn't as good as it could have been.  Definitely worth a watch from time to time, but don't go in with high expectations.  As I said, I'm in the minority who enjoyed it.  

So there it is, I like them all but I'm not exactly Roger Ebert.  I found entertainment in the lot of them and that's what matters to me.  If you know what you're getting from each of them then you might enjoy them as well.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Season of the Witch (2011)

How can anyone not love Nic Cage?  Add Ron Perlman to the mix and who knows what you're getting, but it's interesting anyway.  These are 2 legends who tend to venture between the awesome and the awful, and as I'm a fan of both awesome and awful movies, everything they do interests me.  In fact, I'd even call Nic Cage one of my favorite actors.  Season of the Witch is neither awesome or awful, but it's pretty damn entertaining.

It stars Cage and Perlman as shamed knights who have been returned from the Crusades after abandoning their comrades to find the lands devastated by the Black Plague.  The Church believe this to be the work of a witch and they charge the knights with a mission to escort her across mystical wilderness to receive trial.  On their journey, they are faced with more problems than privileges to say the least.  You get the idea.

Season of the Witch is an action/adventure fantasy with some horror elements thrown into the mix.  We've seen it before so we know what to expect.  It offers nothing particularly new but it is entertaining.  It is, however, without flaws; the premise on paper is excellent but the execution of it is above average.  Furthermore, the performances lack strong emotion but are adequate nonetheless.  Also, some of the CGI isn't exactly perfect.  However, considering this was a January movie (in other words crap that the studio wanted rid of), it's a very enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes.  Watching this, I was drawn into the story and I wanted to see how it ended.  The adventure was fun and I enjoyed being a part of it.  One thing that was good about the film was the battle scenes.  They would have been so much better with a little blood and severed limbs, but it was PG-13.  Some of the dialogue was good and cheesy and there was a good sense of fun from the actors, who looked like they were having a good time.  Cage and Perlman had some nice chemistry together and it would be nice to see them work together in  future.

Crtiics and the internet panned this one, but don't listen to them, listen to me - the small minority.  This is entertaining fun and nothing more.  It could have been so much better but it could have been a far lot worse.  I'm proud to have it in my collection for the £3 I spent on it.  If you see it going for cheap then pick it up.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us Trailer (2012)

Universal's follow up (of sorts) to Joe Johnston's remake of The Wolfman will go straight to disc on October 9th.  I for one am a huge fan of the remake and can't wait for this sequel.  Check out the trailer and see for yourself how great it looks.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Vampires (1998), Vampires: Los Muertos (2002) & Vampires: The Turning (2005)

It puzzles me that horror Westerns aren't popular.  The Old West is an ideal setting for a horror movie and should be utilised more, with decent budgets to execute the concept.  There has been a few entertaining horror Westerns so far, but they've had to work with what they've had and even though some little entertaining gems have come through, they could have been so much more with a little more financial faith.  John Carpenter adapted both genres into his 1998 movie, Vampires and even though it's set in modern day times, it's still a nice amalgamation of the genres.  Actually, if you want my opinion this movie is a classic.

James Woods plays Jack Crow, a vampire hunter who kills the bloodthirsty fiends for the Catholic church.  However, after a job where they clear out a nest, the master vampire Valek comes along and wipes out the whole crew with the exception of Crow and his buddy Montoya, and a bitten hooker with telepathic visions played by the insatiable Sheryl Lee.  They use her visions to hunt down Valek before he gets an ancient amulet that would really spell disaster for the world.

The first thing noticeable in Vampires is the amazing cinematography and setting, which really helps capture the Southwest.  It's the ideal backdrop for a modern Western.  Another strength is the gore.  It's probably his bloodiest film to date, which was probably out of laziness by Carpenter as during this period he felt burn out.  However, even a burnt out Carpenter can deliver a classic and you can tell there was still some enthusiasm put into this.  His casting was great here and I'm glad he gave James Woods the chance to be a bad ass action hero.  Woods delivers here with some amazing lines that are hilarious.  It's a popcorn movie, but it's also a fresh take on the vampire genre.  If this came out today it'd be regarded as fresh.

A fun sequel starring (soft) rock legend Jon Bon Jovi as Derek Bliss, a vampire hunter who needs to stop a vampire princess from getting her hands on the amulet from the first movie.  He's joined by a group of vampire hunters who help feed the hungry vampires with a slice of STAKE!!!

Bon Jovi was surprisingly good in the lead role.  I really enjoyed his performance.  The movie also had some great gore.  Overall, this isn't as good as the first movie but it's a solid, fun sequel that has rewatch value.  Tommy Lee Wallace, who directed this, also directed Fright Night 2 if that helps.  I think he's a good director.  He's not directed a movie since this one though.

Another entertaining sequel that blends kung fu and horror.  It's terrifically paced, action packed and lots of fun.  Considering it's direct-to-video and an obvious cash-in, it still delivers in entertainment value and has an interesting story to go along with it,  I liked it.

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Burning (1981)

A janitor at a summer camp is burned after a prank goes wrong and becomes disfigured.  After being released from hospital, he returns to the camp to take out his frustrations on some pesky teenagers with a pair of hedge clippers.

This is heralded as a classic among slasher fans, and even though I really enjoy it, I think there was much better slashers in the 80's.  There is one moment though that is out of this world amazing where the deranged killer chops up the teenagers on a raft.

I really don't have much to say about this.  For me, it's just a run-of-the-mill slasher that's enjoyable but not spectacular.  It is worth a watch though and has some nice kills.

The Collector (2009)

I need to stop avoiding movies that are advertised as ''From the creators of Saw'' because I might miss out on gems like this (plus the first 2 Saws were good).  A lot of negative reviews also put this film low on my to do list, but finally I bit the bullet and loved the taste of the lead.

The Collector is similar to the Saw franchise in some ways, but it takes what is good about them and crafts a unique movie with a terrific villain.  To start with, the traps used to kill people in this are similar to Jigsaw's from the Saw movies.  However, Saw can always be praised as being a series for gruesome, violent deaths.  The Collector most certainly has gruesome, violent deaths but it doesn't rely on them.  Instead, they're an additional treat in a cat and mouse movie that is full of atmosphere and suspense.  Really it has all the ingredients of a great horror movie about a maniacal murderer; an interesting villain with unique killing methods, a lead character to root for and great kills thrown in the mix.  Furthermore, in addition to the atmosphere and suspense, the film is dark and claustrophobic and isn't apologetic for being so either.  All of these elements are aided by intentionally dirty cinematography that makes it reminiscent of an 80's exploitation film and an in-your-face score that fucks with your mind.  Another great thing about this film is that despite it's unforgiving, relentless horror, it's a fun flick.  If you're not a fan of horror then you're probably going to hate it, but it's the type of film made for the love of horror.  Call it a slasher, call it torture porn, but to me, it's just a fantastic horror movie.

The sequel is out later this year and I for one cannot wait to see it.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Mist (2007)

Why did it take me so long to watch this?  I'll admit, I'm not one to ever watch things right away, but I'm trying to change and become more regular at it.  But nearly 5 years for The Mist.  I'm a fool.  I always knew I would get to it, and 5 years later I have.  One of the reasons I put it off was a couple of my friends telling me how great it was.  Those friends are pussies when it comes to horror, so I didn't believe them.  Maybe I should get my head out my arse and listen to more recommendations.

As you may know, I'm trying to watch every single Stephen King penned story adapted to the screen. I thought I'd play it safe tonight and go with one I felt I'd enjoy.

Once again Frank Darabont directs a Stephen King story, and rightly so, because he's the best at it (I mean, he did give us one of the best films ever with The Shawshank Redemption) and with the material to work with here, he's brought another classic.  And let me stress the word ''classic'' because it's a modern horror masterpiece.

The premise is simple - a man, his son and their neighbour head into town the morning after a thunderstorm, only to be hauled up in a supermarket with a mysterious mist outside with something even more mysterious lurking in it.  And it's totally different from The Fog.

Everything about this screams generic.  For a start, the title just reminds you of Carpenter's classic I mentioned in the previous paragraph.  In addition, the premise isn't even the most exciting Stephen King story on paper.  However, what is contained within these false assumptions is something special.  The atmosphere is amazing throughout, with a constant feeling of threat and claustrophobia.  Furthermore, the performances are fantastic but that's no surprise considering it stars Thomas Jane and William Sadler., but it's Marica Harden who truly shines. It maintains constant suspense and climaxes with an unforgettable ending.


Body Bags (1993)

Since I started my blog a few months ago, I've only covered movies that I've watched this year, whether it be first time watches or repeat viewings.  However, I've been a film fan my entire life and fell in love with horror when I was just a bairn (that's Scottish for child) and spent countless number of hours in front of a screen.  I think it's about time I start covering the classics, the gems and the rubbish that I've watched over the years as opposed to just what I'm watching this year.

Anywho, a hero of mine, like he is to many horror fans, is John Carpenter.  He's not only one of my favorite horror directors, but he's one of my favorite film directors of all time.  I'm going to cover all of his movies eventually, but I thought I'd start with the made for TV anthology from 1993, Body Bags.  In this one, the great man not only directs the 2 best segments, but he also serves as a narrator zombie and introduces each one (kinda like the Cryptkeeper but uglier and more rock 'n' roll looking).  Tobe Hooper directs a segment, and the stars include many icons us horror fans adore.

90's horror to many horror fans was a dark period, but I think it's pretty great.  I was a kid in the 90's though and wasn't exactly up to date on my horror films, but looking at my collection, I have many great flicks from that decade.  Sure, it's not the heyday of the 80's or the resurgence of the 2000's, but I think the 90's is okay, especially for producing fun made for TV and straight to video little numbers like Body Bags, an example of one of many 90's horrors that will never win any accolades, but will still entertain.  This is ideal ''rainy night'' horror.

Stephen King Challenge Update

So, many of you may remember that a few months ago I set myself a challenge - to watch everything put to celluloid that was written by Stephen King.  Fear not, the challenge is still ongoing, but after watching Desperation I decided to slow down, because quite frankly, it sucked.  However, I fully intend to get back on the saddle shortly and ride through much more garbage and hopefully dicover some gems in the process.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Haunting of Whaley House (2012)

If your inner child no longer lives inside you then I suggest you stop reading.  If you're 10 years old then read on because you're going to grow up with this and you're going to see boobs.  If you like fun, cheese and terrible acting then step into the Whaley House.

TAG LINE: ''Just because you don't believe in ghosts, doesn't mean they don't believe in you.''

This is the latest feature from the infamous Asylum, the company for responsible for countless garbage mockumentaries, a few classic mockumentaries, unique creature features and a few legit good movies.  As good as good movies are though, we do love a bad movie around here.  The Haunting of Whaley House isn't the worst movie in terms of acting and script, but it's pretty damn enjoyable, filled with heart, has some excellent cheap effects and fun, albeit, cartoon-ish gore.

So the script is so bad it's hilarious and the performances won't be getting Brando comparisons any time soon, but the film creates a great little atmosphere reminiscent of old school haunted house stories, Scary Movie 2 (but cheaper and much funnier) and Goiosebumps - but with blood and tits thrown into the mix.  The ghosts look quite cool, the gore is fun and the score is fantastic.

A fun movie that would make popcorn Halloween viewing.  Everyone involved looked like they were having a blast, it doesn't try to be a serious film and the comedy, although goofy and immature, is actually pretty funny.  I got a kick out of this.

Falling Down (1993)

Joel Schumacher directed this movie.  Yes, the same man who brought us the ridiculous Batman & Robin.  Sorry, I had to make a joke about that travesty, but Joel is a pretty good director who has given the world classics like A Time To Kill and 8MM, as well as popcorn fun like Phone Booth and Town Creek and unfortunately, the previously mentioned disaster with the caped crusader.  Falling Down though is a fantastic movie.

Michael Douglas plays Bill, a down on his luck average Joe who loses the plot and goes on a rampage against a society he sees as unfit.  However, his main objective is to get to his daughters birthday party despite a restraining order.  On his trail is Detective Pendergast, played by Robert Duvall.  It's his last day before retirement and his main concern is getting home to his wife alive.

Bill is a strange character; he has no problem terrorising and assaulting, but he does have a problem with stealing.  For instance, the scene where the shop owner won't give him a discount on his Coca Cola because it would leave him without change to make a phone call.  In order to get his discount, he beats the store owner and trashes his shop, but he doesn't steal the drink.  Because that would be wrong.  Michael Douglas is excellent as the deranged man, and delivers a performance that ranges from psychotic to terrifying to cold to even amusing at times.

Detective Pendergast, on his day of retirement, is assigned to get this maniac off the streets.  He's planning on moving away someplace quiet with his wife and his main concern is surviving the day, all the while Bill is rampaging through the streets in order to get home to his family that want nothing to do with him.

This is a good movie that's worth a watch.

God Bless America (2012)

Bobcat Goldthwait is a director I'm falling in love with.  He blew me away with the dark comedy Worlds Greatest Dad and now he comes along with this twisted little gem.  God Bless America is comedy at its blackest, but it's also a social commentary and criticism of modern society.  Sure, it's dark.  Yep, it is twisted.  But it's also a smart movie that excellently portrays its themes in entertaining fashion.

The story revolves around Frank, a lonely man with no family, a daughter who reflects everything he hates and to top it all off - a tumor.  One night, after losing his job, Frank has a few beers and decides he's had enough, so he goes on a killing spree to rid society of the citizens he hates.  Along for the ride is Roxy, an alienated 16 year old girl with an awful home life.

At his core, Frank is moralistic and believes in values from the days of yore.  Frank isn't portrayed as a demented psycho, but he's trigger happy towards anyone who's rude.  However, the films killing spree is more of a metaphorical attack on society; it's a statement against everything from reality television to talking in the cinema.

Roxy on the other hand is an upset teenager who just wants to be understood.  Frank is the father figure she craves and she is the daughter he wants.  Together, they form a companionship that they've been looking for their entire lives.  In the eyes of society though, Frank looks like a pedophile, but really it's just a friendship between a middle aged man and a teenage girl.

God Bless America is satire at its best.  Sure, it's comedy for the blackest of humor, but it's a reflection on modern society that some of you might agree with.  On top of that it's a very funny movie with a dark little heart, in the same vein as Falling Down.

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Backwater Gospel (2011)


Yeah, I mean... WOW!!!

The Backwater Gospel is set in a small desert town that looks part Gothic/part Old West.  The town is ruled by a God fearing Minister who tries to turn the town against the anti-religious Tramp.  The town is visited by a mysterious bicycle riding Undertaker, and whenever he comes it only means one thing - death.  The town is gripped by fear upon his visits which eventually causes mass hysteria to say the least.

This is one of the coolest animated shorts I've ever seen and now the prospect of a future full length feature has me drooling.  I'd love to see a longer version of this.  Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Hell Ride (2008)

Any movie with the words, ''QUENTIN TARANTINO PRESENTS:'' on the front cover is going to be in my collection.  As soon as I came across Hell Ride I had to get it.  Sure, I wasn't expecting Pulp Fiction, but with the cast and the concept I had high hopes.  And it delivered.  Sort of.

The second directorial effort from Larry Bishop also casts him as the lead character, Pistolero, leader of the Victors motorcycle gang, who is accompanied by his faithful sidekicks The Gent (Michael Madsen|) and Commanche (Eric Balfour).  It is a revenge tale, stemming from the murder of Pistol's ex girlfriend at the hand of rival motorcycle gang, the Six-Six-Sixers.  There is tension in the camp of the Victor's also, and it's hard to trust anyone.

Hell Ride is an homage to the free spirit motorcycle movies from the 60's, as well as revenge flicks and all things Grindhouse.  It's gritty, violent and at times, trippy.  For me, that's what makes it a cool movie.  It also has that Tarantino influence, and I feel if he had written and directed this movie it would have been a masterpiece.  But he did produce it, and the end result is an enjoyable B movie with some flaws, however, they aren't distracting and some even add to the charm.

So these flaws, you ask?  For a start Larry Bishop isn't a convincing bad ass here and some of his acting is laughably bad.  However, good performances from the supporting cast carry him fine.  Another flaw is some pretty terrible dialogue from time to time, but there's enough good dialogue to keep it interesting.  It is a film that's a little rough around the edges, and it tries to be a little more cooler than it actually is, but it's still cool enough to get the old Grindhouse fire burning.

It really is a fun film though.  To start with the cast really has that cool factor going on - Madsen, Jones, Hopper, Carradine and Balfour is a cool ensemble.  The visuals are also stunning if you dig the whole Grindhouse look, and the desert settings really give it a bad ass biker movie feel.  At times, it may seem like a pastiche of influences being interwoven, but overall it's worth a watch and it's one that I throw on when I can't sleep.

What I really dug was the Six-Six-Sixers.  Huge compliments to Larry Bishop for the concept because they really are cool, especially Vinnie Jones' character, Billy Wings.  In addition to that there's hot chicks, boobs, great music, motorcycles and lots of violence.  Check it out for nothing more and nothing less.  Realistically, many of you will hate this.  I get a kick out of it.

Pathology (2008)

Neveldine/Taylor are directors who definitely have their haters.  As writers, they tend to split opinion as well.  Personally, I love them and if their name is attached to anything then I'll check it out.  Pathology wasn't directed by Neveldine/Taylor and it doesn't look like a movie they'd direct either.  It was written by them however, and if you didn't already know it was them who wrote it then you wouldn't think it was their work.  It's a smart movie, which focuses on story and the development of characters, exploring humans darkest desires, as opposed to their usual ridiculous fun action movies.  To think they got the idea for this when they were drunk as well...

Pathology follows a group of medical students, who have come up with a little game to pass the nights - committing the perfect murder.  Ted Grey (Milo Ventimiglia) is new to the class, and finds himself drawn into the murderous fun escapades.

I seen this in an empty theatre on a Tuesday afternoon with 2 friends back in 2008.  We were blwon away by it and it's become one of our favorites ever since.  It's a dark, twisted thriller full of sex and murder but don't let that put you off (not that it would I'm guessing), because it's a very intelligent movie.  It's immoral, mean spirited and nasty.  That's why I love it.

Violent fun that exceeds expectations of another mindless, fun popcorn movie.  It's a wonderful thriller with a black little heart.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

My Other Blog

Hey guys, I have a new blog that I will also be updating regularly.  Fear not though, I won't be leaving my baby The Funhouse, but I'll be using my other blog to talk about and review the types of movies I don't cover here.  What inspired me to do this you ask?  There could be only 2 men...


If you're interested in reading it then here's the link:


Movies I'm Looking Forward To...

Here are some future movies I'm very excited about.  As this list is running off the top of my head the list is not in order of anticipation of excitement, it's just me writing down nonsense as it comes to me.  Hope you enjoy.

1. Bubba Nosferatu
I'm one of the many people who adores Bruce Campbell and rates Bubba Hotep as a timeless masterpiece.  I also adore the work of Don Coscarelli.  Ever since this project was first discussed I've been praying that one day it would come into fruition - well it's announced finally and appears to be Coscarelli's next project.  Good news - FINALLY.  Bad news - Bruce won't be reprising the role of Elvis.  Paul Giamatti is involved though and I'm going to give it a chance anyway.  Bruce would be the icing on an already delicious cake, but if it ain't to be then so be it.  Rumor has it Ron Perlman will star.

2.  Frankenstein's Army
Another Nazi horror about zombies.  We've seen them before but another one won't hurt anyone.  Another thing that excites me about this is that it's the first feature length from Richard Raaphorst, who has worked with Brian Yuzna and Stuart Gordon in the past.  For that reason alone I'd watch it but after seeing the trailer I'm very excited.

3. Dredd
I thought Stallone's Judge Dredd was a fun, entertaining cheesy movie, but I'm in the minority.  However, this new one does look awesome.  I mean, it looks a lot like The Raid in some aspects, but if the fight scenes and action are even half as good as The Raid  then we're on to a winner.

4. Berandal
Gareth Evans sequel to The Raid.  According to interviews the action is only going to get more gung ho, with car chases and all sorts being added to the mix.  I can't wait!

5. Zombie A-Hole
Dustin Wayde Mills is a young director who will gain cult status one day.  Mark my words.  He's the the psycho that brought us Puppet Monster Massacre and he's a cool guy on top of that.  I have the luxury of knowing him on Facebook and we've chatted movies.  We more or less share tastes.  He's told me about some of his future projects if his current features made on no money budgets take off and they sound amazing.  He reminds of an early Peter Jackson - making disgusting and hilarious movies with friends just for the fun of it.  Zombie A-Hole looks tonnes of fun and should be a blast.

6. Corpus Christi
Any movie written, directed or both by Richard Kelly excites me.  If I had a gun to my head and made to pick my all time favorite movie, there's a 1/5 chance that I'm going to say Donnie Darko.  All of his movies to date have kicked ass and he's one of Hollywood's most exciting writers and directors.  I have no idea what to expect from Corpus Christi and I'm going to leave it that way and be surprised when it finally hits screens.

7.  Machete Kills
I can wait for the sequel to Sin City if it means a Machete sequel.  Especially one with a cast consisting of Trejo, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Amber Heard, other hot chicks, Tom Savini and possibly, Tony Jaa.  Hell yes!

8. Django Unchained
This is my most anticipated movie.  When I hear of a new Tarantino project I obsess.  He's my all time favorite writer and director and I adore every single movie he's ever made.  He just makes cool genre pictures that appeal to the masses.  I'm expecting a pastiche of film influences as per usual, but that's why I love QT.

9.  Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For
It's been in the works for so long I don't expect to see it any time soon.  However, it is certain to happen one day.  We might all be dead by then though.  Anyway, I can't wait for it as the first movie is a masterpiece.  Every time I watch it I'm blown away.

10. How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack
Not to take anything away from this project as it does look awesome and from the same dude who brought the world the excellent kiddy horror, Monster House, but I feel the concept of killer garden gnomes should be used more in horror.  The only time I've seen killer garden gnomes was in an anthology movie.  Point I'm trying to make?  MORE GARDEN GNOMES IN HORROR.  R.L. Stine should write scripts because he saw the potential in garden gnomes when writing Goosebumps novels.

11. Tyrannosaurus Rex
I like Rob Zombie's films but I still think he's capable of better.  He does have great ideas however, and this one is his best.  He says it's a movie he really wants to make, yet he's held it off to make a hockey movie first and that's after the release of Lords of Salem and a new album and inevitable tour.  We'll be waiting awhile, but until then dream and look at this awesome poster:

12. Hemlock Grove
This is a  mini series for Netflix directed by Eli Roth based on a graphic novel with the same name.  I can't wait for this.  It's a who-dun-it story about the murder of a young girl set in a small town (Twin Peaks, anyone?).  However, there's a lot more going on and to be honest, I don't know what to expect. It really does sound interesting and bizarre.

13. The Green Inferno
I'm just so happy that Eli Roth is directing again.  You know for a fact it's going to get a worldwide release and will be R Rated.  His gross should allow him creative freedom to make a really disgusting movie for the masses.  The Green Inferno is a cannibal movie based on the fake sequel to Cannibal Holocaust, so I suspect it'll be bloody.  I love Eli Roth.  He has his haters but I'll defend him to the grave.

14. Thanksgiving
Please just hurry the fuck up already...

15. Return of the Killer Klowns From Outer Space
It's a crime that this isn't the 25th sequel to the original classic.  They should just have kept churning them out.  Killer Klowns is godlike.

16. Clown
This was originally a fake trailer with Eli Roth's name attached, but it was really by a guy named Jon Watts.  It got such a positive response that it's now been given the green light and is expected next year.  The premise is fantastic and I think it has the makings of a horror classic.

17. Jack Brooks Monster Slayer 2
This is another one we may need to wait some time for.  According to Jon Knautz, his next movie will be a dysfunctional dark comedy about a family.  I can't wait for that either.  It's good to see a little genre switch up and experimentation by a young filmmaker.  But I want to see Jack Brooks kicking monster ass again in the near future.  If you haven't seen the first then check it out right now.

18. The Fast & The Furious 6
Fast Five was an excellent slice of testosterone cinema and an excellent progression of the series.  It was probably the best installment yet and the final chase scene was out of this world.  I can't wait for the next movie and I hope for more of the same - fast cars, macho action heroes, awesome action, hot women and witty banter.

19. I, Frankenstein
Warring clans? Frankenstein?  Bill Nighy and Aaron Eckhart?  Yep, I'm sold.  A funny story about this one too.  One day, my friend Andy and myself went to Glasgow shopping and had a few beers.  We picked up a couple of comics and I, Frankenstein was one of them.  Anyway, we ended up drunk, I was sick on the train on the way home all over the carriage and we had to bolt before we got caught.  I left my I, Frankenstein behind and regret it to this day.  Hopefully the movie will make up for it.

20. Twisted Metal
Based on a video game based on vehicular combat. homicidal maniacs and directed by the Brian Taylor half of Neveldine/Taylor, a directing duo who are prepared to put their own safety on the line to get the magic shots.  A movie based on this game is perfect for one of these guys and I'm 110% sure it's going to be out of this world awesome, action packed, violent and full of adrenaline.

There's a lot more and I could go on, but twenty's plenty for now.  What are you all looking forward to?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Hobo With A Shotgun (2011)

The winner of the Grindhouse trailer competition and the best of the fake trailers to be adapted so far (I have high hopes for Thanksgiving though).  Hobo With A Shotgun is the debut feature from Jason Eisener (who also directed the excellent short Treevenge) and it's a fun, violent, blast (literally) that delivers justice... ONE SHELL AT A TIME!

Hobo With A Shotgun is a genre fans wet dream.  It's not only a tribute to the exploitation films of the 70's and 80's - it's exploitation at it's most exploitation-y and it's a helluva lot of fun.  It stars genre favorite Rutger Hauer as a hobo who decides to go all vigilante and clean up the streets of ''SCUM TOWN'' with a shotgun.

You get a good feel for what the movie is going to be like near the beginning.  It starts off very beautiful with the Hobo entering the city on the train.  It's a bright opening and we get an immediate feeling that the Hobo is a nomad, just looking for a place to start a better life.  But he's chosen the wrong city and when he arrives there's brawls, bum fights and a pretty inventive decapitation, where we get introduced to villain The Drake and his two brats Slik and Ivan.  The blood rains and never stops pouring from then on out and we're treated to some beautifully nasty shit throughout.  This isn't a basic vigilante movie though and it hits us with some nice surprises, namely, The Plague - demon assassins responsible for the death of Christ and Abe Lincoln, and the new cult heroes of exploitation cinema.

Aside from the violence and laughs, there is a lot of sweet moments here between the Hobo and Abby (a prostitute with a heart of gold).  In the midst of all the carnage, this gives the film a little something more.  Furthermore, it's a visually stunning piece of work with a kick ass synth soundtrack reminiscent of 80's John Carpenter.

An instant cult classic and an exciting debut for a young director with a bright future.  It's an insanely fun, violent ride from start to finish.  One for the beer and pizza nights.  This is the type of film you'll want to show all your friends and then they'll go show their friends.  Some will love it, others will be repulsed by it but no one will ever forget it.

American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho is without doubt, one of the greatest movies ever to grace the universe of cinema.  Based on the excellent (and even more shocking novel) by Brett Easton Ellis, it stars Christian Bale (in his greatest performance to date) as Patrick Bateman, a wealthy executive banker who's obsession with materialism and desire to be better than his peers is only outweighed by his thirst for blood.  It's dark, it's chilling and it's laugh out loud hilarious.

American Psycho is more than just your basic movie about a deranged killer; it's a satirical take on the New York Yuppie culture of the 80's, as well as social structure and societies obsession with materialism.  Bateman represents a man wanting to fit in, a man who feels the need to outdo his peers and a man who needs to fill the emptiness inside him by committing atrocities.  And when he doesn't get what he wants he throws hissy fits of extreme proportions.

Everything in the film is representative of something - materialism, commercialism, megalomania, social status, the state of society.... There's a lot of depth here and it's presented to us in a violent and very funny way.  If you don't want to read too much into its themes then you can still enjoy a hilarious dark comedy full of memorable scenes, dialogue and a performance by a terrific actor who embodies the character so well you forget it's acting.  Christian Bale was Patrick Bateman and he made Patrick Bateman one of the coolest, most lovable characters in the history of cinema.

Contrary to what you might think, this film isn't all that violent.  There is blood and some maniacal scenes, but it has just the right balance of violence, funny, chilling and thrilling.  It's a modern masterpiece that deserves to be held in the same esteem as Psycho (because it's much better than Hitchcock's classic).  For me, this is one of the best movies of all time.  I love Patrick Bateman.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Versus (2000)

Do you like your movies a little on the nuts side?  Does a zombie movie set in a supernatural forest with Yakuza, martial arts, swords and ULTRA-violence interest you?  Then look no further than the cult classic by Ryuhei Kitamura - VERSUS.

Versus is hard to describe because it's so friggin' nuts.  Basically, zombies vs Yakuza, an evil spirit of an old Samurai.  Another review I read described it as Night of the Living Dead, Mortal Kombat & Highlander with elements of early Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi.  I can see all of these influences.  It's a genre bending, pastiche that favors style over character development and deep story.  It's full of good humored violence, funny characters and constant action.  The plot is thin but it's so entertaining it doesn't need one.

Versus is a blast.  I mean, zombies, ancient spirits, Yakuza, shoot outs, sword slicing, martial arts, splat and a kick ass soundtrack, set in a forest... What's not to love?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Castle Freak (1995)

Stuart Gordon once again makes an underrated gem starring Jefferey Combs.  Story of that mans life...

Those familiar with Stuart Gordon will know he's no stranger to bringing Lovecraftian horror to the screen.  Castle Freak is one of a couple of excellent adaptations by Gordon.  The movie is about a troubled couple and their blind daughter who inherit a creepy castle in Italy.  However, there's something lurking the castle and it's got a taste for killing.

Castle Freak is a Gothic horror mystery, with an excellent creepy atmosphere,.  The castle is an ideal setting, as it's eerie and sinister.  The monster looks disgusting and makes for an interesting villain we can sympathise with as well as be repulsed by.  The performance by Jefferey Combs is his best since Re-Animator.  The movie isn't scary, but it's sick and twisted, with a great sense of humor.

There's some wonderful sinister moments here too - a boob being eaten to name one - and it doesn't let down when it comes to making weak stomachs squeamish and hardened gore hounds feel satisfied.  This is another underrated gem from Stuart Gordon and one of the best horrors from the 1990's.  It wasn't a bad decade at all.

The Innkeepers (2011)

After seeing House of the Devil, like many horror fans, I was immediately excited about the next Ti West project.  He's a director who is standing out for me and one my current favorites not only in horror, but film in general.  I waited months on this coming to DVD in the UK and when it finally arrived I watched it first chance I got, with extremely high expectations?  So did it live up, exceed or let down?

First off, I really did enjoy The Innkeepers.  It was a good movie, but I think it's a better hang out movie than it is horror.  It's a slow burner, which is Ti West's ''thing'' and it does work well.  We get to know the main characters, we get to like them and when nothing is really happening, they do enough to keep us interested just by watching them goof around and slack off.  It really captures the feeling of a slow night and 2 employees trying to pass the time.  On this level, The Innkeepers works extremely well.

It stars Sarah Paxton and Pat Healy as 2 employees of the Yankee Peddlar Inn, doing one last shift before the hotel closes for good.  It's a slow night and there aren't many guests, so the pair decide to pass the time by doing a little ghost hunting as the hotel is rumored to be haunted.

The performances from both are perfect and I can't think of a criticism.  They made their characters extremely likable, even Pat who was a bit of a dick.  A funny dick though.  The kept the movie progressing along nicely despite the lack of goings on.  The slow burning didn't get boring either and worked for the most part before the final crescendo of chaos and terror.  However, the atmosphere could have been a little eerier because at times it felt a little tame.  That's really my only criticism.  The Innkeepers was tame, and despite a decent final act, it would have been better if they turned the volume up to truly demented and let it deafen us.  It was nice, there was some cool ghostly moments but it could have been longer and a whole lot more crazier.

Overall, it was a great throwback to classic ghost movies and fresh in the current horror climate.  I'm still a huge fan of Ti West after seeing it and it didn't let me down.  Sure, it could have been better in some parts but that doesn't mean to say it wasn't still a fine effort.  Bring on V/H/S and The Side Effect.

Personal Thought: Ti West should make a slacker comedy in the vein of Clerks and Dazed & Confused.  I think he'd do a great job.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Ink (2009)

Ink is a difficult movie to define.  It's one of those indie flicks that comes along every so often and just defies expectations.  It's unique, ambitious, creative and intelligent and despite being low budget, it's more ambitious than movies made for mutli-millions of dollars.

The story is about a little girl whose soul is taken by a creature known as Ink, who hopes to use it in order to join a group of supernatural creatures known as Incubi, who are responsible for creating nightmares.  The Storytellers, who are the group responsible for creating good dreams, follow Ink through reality and the dream world.  In addition, the little girls father, a man looking for overcome his own troubles, is wrenched into the nightmare.

That's all you're getting, because there's too much going on here and I don't want to spoil it.  You really need to watch it because it's one of a kind.  There's a lot more going on with Ink than would appear on the surface, and I suspect it's going to take repeated viewings to appreciate it in its entirety, but I guess that's what's so great about it.  It's one of those movies that you'll probably get something new from each time you watch it.

A truly beautiful, bizarre and mesmerising movie that needs to bee seen.

The Puppet Monster Massacre (2010)

I have Kevin Matthews to thank for this one, as I do many movies I add to my watchlist.  However, as my watchlist is the size of a small continent, it takes me a little while to getting around to watching them.  However, this was just staring in my pile of DVD's tonight begging to be watched, and just like all girls who have agreed to sleep with me, I took pity and caved.  


Now, I knew this would be good, but I thought it would be the kind of good I'd need to wait until I was wasted to enjoy.  Well, I was wrong, because it's genius - it's fresh, warped,  probably offensive to normal human beings and has called Raimi Campbell who sounds like Shelly from South Park.  In the words of the great Charlie Sheen, this is WINNING.

The premise - a group of teenage puppets are invited by a mad Nazi scientist to spend the night in his mansion for a lot of money.  But as you know, it's never that simple with mad Nazi scientist puppets...

I don't know how to describe this really.  Imagine Troma, Meet the Feebles, South Park & Sesame Street mating with each other and this being the lovechild that was produced.  It's hilarious and splatty.  If you're offended easily then don't watch it, but if you are offended easily then a horror film about puppets is maybe something you'd avoid in the first place.  The puppets are adorable, and the characters of Raimi and Gramps are hilarious.  The mad scientist is a typical stereotype and like most Nazi madmen, his sidekick is a penguin.  Are you not in love this yet?  If you're still reading waiting for a selling point then I'm afraid I've failed you.  The director set out to make a goofy, fun puppet movie with blood, sex and jokes and that's exactly what he achieved.  

Here's the review that sold me on the film.  I recommend you read this guys stuff:

Here's an interview with director Dustin Wayde Mills that's a good read.  He's a likable dude and I have no doubt if we met we'd be friends.  He loves fun movies and his favorite is Monster Squad.  I'm sold on him:

300 (2006)

Every few months I revisit Zack Snyder's masterpiece 300.  In my opinion, this is one of the best movies ever made.  I wish more blockbusters would be like this because it doesn't hold back.  It's violent, emotional, powerful, occasional funny, visually stunning, has amazing camera work, has amazing battle sequences and is epic in every sense of the word.

Zack Snyder is a controversial director.  For a start his debut feature was a remake of Dawn of the Dead (I think the remake is better in this case).    And of course he would go on to bring beloved graphic novel Watchmen to the screen, and as we all know, comic book movies always piss off a lot of people.  Then there's Sucker Punch, which I enjoyed personally but it does have critics.  I'm definitely a Snyder fan.  I dig his style and if anyone can bring a comic book to life it's him.  300 is his masterpiece and he did the perfect job bringing the pages of Frank Miller's graphic novel to the big screen.

300 is a fictional take on the Battle of Thermopylae, in which 300 Spartan warriors went to war against over 1 million Persian soldiers led by Xerxes, a self-proclaimed god.  The battle lasts for 3 days and the Spartans are only beaten because they are betrayed by Gollum-like Ephialtes.  While they fight, the Queen remains in Sparta trying to rally support for her husband against a council whose essential figurehead is a traitor out to satisfy his own gain.

So what makes this one of my favorite movies of all time?  Well, for a start it never fails to amaze me and light a fire inside that burns with passion.  Our heroic 300 Spartans are characters to truly get behind and root for.  The speeches are inspirational, their efforts are beyond admirable and they leave you feeling emotional.  The performances are all amazing, especially Gerard Butler as King Leonidas.  To this day it's his best performance (and I like him in everything I've seen).  The anger in his eyes, the fury in his voice and the way he conducts himself really sell him as a warrior fighting for his people.  There's some great actors on board here, like Michael Fassbender and Stephen McHattie.  Vincent Regan and David Wenham stand out in particular.  In addition to engaging characters and amazing performances, the battle scenes are breathtaking - amazingly choreographed, bloody, entertaining and visually stunning.  The entire movie is visually stunning with amazing cinematography.  It looks like the pages from the graphic come to life.  The camera work is stunning, the score is beautiful and when all of these elements are combined, a piece of cinematic brilliance is captured.

300 isn't entirely historically accurate but for me that's not important.  When I watch a movie I just want to watch something that engages me. There's many things in 300 that take it into the fantasy genre anyway, so it's not trying to present itself as true to life. This does just that and much more.  Of course, it's been criticised for inaccuracy and portrayal of Persians, but really who cares?  It wasn't out to harm or offend or provide any kind of social commentary.  Some people need to relax and chill out.  It's just a film at the end of the day, based on a graphic novel.  It's definitely not for everyone, but the box office gross and DVD sales would suggest that enough people enjoy it for being a harmless bit of entertainment.

Fortress (1993)

Stuart Gordon is one of the best directors on the planet in my opinion.  His movies all kick ass.  For me, he's one of the best at making movies with highly ambitious concepts on small budgets.  Sure, his movies look very ''B'' but that's what's so good about them.  Fortress, like most Gordon movies, is an underrated gem with a great cast that includes Christopher Lambert (The Highlander), Kurtwood Smith (Robocop & That 70's Show) and Jefferey Combs (Re-Animator and the underrated Necronomicon).

Fortress is one of many great movies that makes the future look like a corrupt, unforgiving place.  In this future, population control has been put in place and if you break the rules then you get sent to Fortress, a prison run by the sadistic Poe (Smith) who treats the prisoners like guinea pigs for mind control experiments and kills anyone who gets out of line.  Christopher Lambert plays Brennick, sent to prison for trying to escape the country along with his wife to evade population control.  The film is the classic escape from prison movie tale only set in the future.

Originally, Fortress was set to star Arnold Schwarzenegger as the lead and because of Arnie's star power, Gordon was going to receive a 60 million budget.  However, when Arnie pulled out the budget was lowered to 12 million.  Gordon is no stranger to a small budget though and like all of his movies, he made the most of it.  The cast has some B movie favorites and for me.  Christopher Lambert is great as the lead.  Lambert has never been the greatest actor ever, but he's capable and cool.  I love Christopher Lambert.  Kurtwood Smith is a great villain and does a terrific job as the prison director.  He's emotionless, sadistic and his only entertainment comes through dastardly deeds.  His performance is so cold and emotionless it's almost robotic (but not in the bad way like Channing Tatum).  Jefferey Combs is an awkward, mumbling, paranoid hippie and is one of the most memorable characters in the film.  Most of the supporting cast do a great job.

Fortress is a sci fi movie with brains, however, there is some blood here to quench the thirst (my favorite part is the prison brawl and the climatic chest explosion).  There's a fine balance between action, psychology and story and it's perfectly paced.  Fortress is an intelligent B movie with action and intelligence.  It has some great underlying themes such as the corruption of government and the fast growth of technology, as well as a bleak view on the future.  I love Fortress and if you give it a chance, I'm sure you will too.

Lockout (2012)

''Escape From New York in space'' is the most common description used to describe this movie so far, and even though you can see why, for me it was more like Die Hard...in space, but not as Die Hard in space as Assault on Dome 4.  Anyway, that's not relevant, because when a movie is described as either one of those then you know what to expect - a mindless, fun popcorn movie with lots of action and terrific dialogue from our hero, Snow (played by Guy Pearce, who is particularly amazing in this type of role and should do more films like this).

Lockout is about a man called Snow, sent in to space to rescue the President's daughter from a prison outbreak - or face the alternative option of a 30 year prison sentence for a crime he did not commit.  The prison contains some of the most notorious criminals in the universe and they are also being experimented on and turning even crazier as a result.

The performance of Guy Pearce is the best thing about this.  He does a great job as the action hero and should do these kind of roles more often.  He's a great actor, but this is definitely one of his more fun roles.  His sarcasm and the way he carried himself was great fun to watch.  The villains were good enough also, particularly the rapist played by Joseph Gilgun.  Vincent Regan was just cool and bad ass as the lead villain also.  The action was good and the f/x were nice on the eye.  Sure there was a few weaknesses, but all in all Lockout is great popcorn entertainment and perfect if you just want to sit back, relax and watch some good wholesome fun.