Friday, 29 June 2012

Man With The Iron Fists Teaser

As soon as I heard Eli Roth was co-writing a movie with my musical hero, the RZA of Wu Tang Clan (who is also directing) I just couldn't contain my excitement.  RZA, as well as the rest of Wu Tang Clan, are massive genre movie fans, in particular kung fu movies (their knowledge is encyclopedic) so I have faith that this is going to be a treat.  Furthermore, the cast is amazing.

This is going to be the ultimate popcorn movie.  The trailer is so OTT and ridiculous.  I can't wait.

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Raid (2012)

This is one movie I was dying to see ever since watching the trailer.  The hype for this one has been massive.  So did it live up?


The Raid is without doubt one of the best action movies I've seen in a long time.  In terms of action it's probably one of the best ever.  The fight scenes for a start are simply awe inspiring and brutal, each bullet and melee attack is effective and and the physicality of the movie never lets you down.  It's fast, brutal, edge of your seat, gung ho awesomeness.

The premise is simple - a SWAT team go on a seek and destroy mission into a tower block to take down a mobster and his goons.  So there's not much in terms of story and character development, etc. However, with a movie like this you want action and that's where it delivers.

The action here is out of this world and adopts the martial art style of Pencan Silak, along with guns, axes, swords and knives.  This is a must see for any action fan and is surely going to go down as a classic on par with John Woo's Hard Boiled and other movies like this.  Gareth Evans has planned a trilogy and the sequel sounds even more awesome, with car chases planned to be thrown into the mix. Hollywood have already planned their remake of The Raid which I'm actually looking forward to as the same choreographers are being brought in.  Hopefully it's a huge success and opens the floodgates to extreme action movies on the big screen in future.

Top of the Food Chain (1999)

Top of the Food Chain is a funny, bizarre spoof on alien invasion B movies that all fans of horror comedy, spoofs, strange movies and laughs need to see.

A small town in Canada has been facing its fair share of problems, but things get worse when aliens are feasting on the townsfolk and it's up to socially awkward scientist Dr. Lamonte to save the day.  As the movie progresses he becomes less geek and more cliched action hero.

This is straight up wacky, deadpan, strange and bizarre.  Not one character would fit into a normal society.  They're all unique to say the least.  The acting is intentionally cheesy, as are the special effects.  It parodies classic 1950's alien invasion movies, but out of love for them rather than mocking and the end result is an entertaining, quotable, silly piece of cinema that you'll want to watch again and again.

The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985)

So this was made for kids?

Pretty dark and also hilarious.

Monsters (2010)

I remember when this came out and I added it to my list of things to see.  However, as the months went on I forgot about it until recently when it crept its way back into my attention span.  Now I regret not watching it right away, because quite frankly it's stunning.

After discovering the possibility of an alien life form, NASA sends a probe into space.  However, on its return things go awfully wrong and the probe breaks up over Mexico.  Six years later, 'Infected Zones' are quarantined and the military do regular bombing and seek and destroy missions to take out the aliens.  The movie focuses on the characters Andrew and Samantha, a photographer and a tourist who are trying to get back to the safety of America from Mexico, but have to make their way through the quarantined alien danger zones because of Andrew making a tequila caused mistake and losing their passports.

This movie was made on a shoestring budget, but it looks so much larger.  One of the main strengths of Monsters is its use of visuals - beautiful scenery, shots and well used CGI make this a treat on the eye.  The atmosphere throughout is also great.  It's constantly suspenseful and it captures that feeling of a post-Apocalyptic world in a realistic manner, as society is still surviving, but there's a constant threat and everything is bleak.

Monsters does have its critics, and I can see why people would be put off it.  For instance, it's not very action packed, it's slow and it focuses more on the relationship of the two main characters more than anything else.  However, in my opinion these criticisms are the reasons the movies worked so well.  The characters are likable, the dialogue is fascinating and the growing relationship as the film progresses makes this a love story set in a world where everything else is bleak.  The movie is very documentary like at times, but it still has a story and feels very realistic.

We've seen the alien movies with the amazing action sequences, explosions, creatures and all sorts before.  I think Monsters is great because it's different.  It's a smart, captivating movie made by a filmmaker who looks very promising indeed.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Paranorman Trailer (2012)

Horror doesn't need to be made for teens and adults.  I believe there should be kid friendly horror to ensure future generations of horror fans.  Of course, us adult horror fans can still enjoy a kids movie too and this one looks amazing.  It's influenced by The Goonies, Scooby Doo, Ghostbusters, Poltergeist and E.T. so it's surely going to be a fun treat that the whole family will enjoy.  The big kid in me is excited because it looks friggin' awesome.

Also, if you're interested here's an interview with the creators:

What makes me even more excited is that it's been described by the creators as John Carpenter meets John Hughes.  On paper that's my dream coming true.  The film also contains references to horror classics such as the Evil Dead (in my opinion that featured some of the best stop motion I've ever seen).  I can't wait.  A horror animation for kids made by guys who love both horror movies and kids movies.  Fantastic.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Good Horror Date Movies

So I've been seeing a girl lately and she tells me she loves scary movies.  However, telling this to a guy like me is an invitation to truly show her the joys of horror.  She also loves John Hughes movies although she doesn't know who John Hughes is.  But horror + John Hughes + Love Actually x boobs = a girl after my heart.  These are the scary movies that have been useful so far, and the ones I have planned for the future that I would recommend.  These recs come from personal experience, friends experiences and Eli Roth's opinion.

Now, she's a normal a girl and if you're watching a scary movie when romance is on the cards, you don't exactly want to be throwing Cannibal Holocaust into the DVD player.  Or Fetus (for the record I hope I never see this one).  You need to start off light, but you can still show some cool movies she might not even have heard of before.  Then again, you're not really going to be watching the movie - but you don't want a boring film either.

Insidious is a good one because it ticks all the boxes.  Creepy house, creepy kid and ghosties.  It's the classic kinda horror movie couples have been first dating on for decades.  It's also the kind of movie that you don't really care about missing and have playing in the background and going back to between make out sessions.

Hopefully she watches this and relates to the main character.  This will make her want to spend the night at your house.

She might not have seen it, but she's maybe heard of it and if she's heard of it then one of her friends has seen it probably.  Sex, nudity, laughs and the 'fingering' scene is ideal for a date.  This is the type of movie that helps the nerves settle, inappropriate jokes to be made and get you a little hot under the collar.  Basically, Cabin Fever after all is said and done should get you laid.  Eli Roth made it for this purpose.

Just take the risk.  Everyone needs to see Pieces.

Horror movies are always the best date movies.  Start her off with one of these, seal the deal then watch Sleepless In Seattle.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Last Starfightter (1984)

I grew up in the wrong era.  I wish more than anything that I grew up as a kid in the 80's.  The 80's is just the best period ever for everything.  I mean, for a start you had John Hughes movies.  In my opinion, John Hughes is the ultimate.  Then you have the countless amazing horror movies.  It was also the best period for kids films.  The type of kid films that you love even in adulthood.  The Last Starfighter is one of these childhood classics that never gets old.

The film is about a guy called Alex, who lives in a trailer park and dreams of a better life.  His main form of escapism comes in a video game, which he just happens to be exceptional at.  Alex meets Centauri, an alien who recruits him to defend the galaxy from a real life alien invasion and the rest is one of the best adventures any teenage boy could ever dream of.

The Last Starfighter has amazing special effects.  Sure, some people may think they're cheesy but I love them.  However, it's packed with heart, fun and adventure that makes your inner child gleeful and joyous.  The score is fantastic, the performances are amazing and the movie just has a great feel throughout.  No matter how many times I watch it I can't help but get engrossed.  It takes you on a fun adventure, it's feel good and extremely charming.  A gem of the 80's that still looks great today... if you like your effects with a little bit of cheese anyway.

A sequel has been written and there's also talk of a remake.  A sequel would be amazing.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011)

If there's a Godfather of exploitation movies then surely it's Roger Corman.  The ultimate Hollywood rebel and quite possibly the cheapest man who's ever lived, this is a fascinating and utterly compelling documentary featuring interviews with some of the most prolific filmmakers and actors to grace cinema, as well as the great man himself.

The world of cinema will always have a special place in its heart for Roger Corman, and if this documentary shows us anything it's how fondly thought of he is by his peers, without any sugar coating his flaws.  Stories of how cheap he is are laugh out loud funny, yet very insightful.  This is a celebration of Corman's life, work and who he is as a person.  What is truly amazing is that true legends of cinema like Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorcese take time to pay tribute to a man who was very influential on their own careers.  I mean, if there's 3 people you can aptly call a legend, it's those guys.

Corman is in many ways a genius.  For instance, his ability to see the change in the times and move with them back in his day was amazing.  He probably won't ever get the credit he truly deserves for his social commentary either, dealing with issues such as teenage rebellion and racism in America.  He certainly knew how to piss people off even though he was merely trying to make people aware of injustices.  He truly does deserve the tag of 'rebel'.

This is a must see documentary.  Even if you're not a fan of his work... or seen it for that matter, Corman has a fascinating legacy and if you ask me, he deserves all the plaudits thrown at him.  He's unparalleled in the history of cinema in terms of his influence.  There's only one Roger Corman and after all of these years he has the drive and passion of a man a quarter of his age.  Bravo.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Night of the Creeps (1986)

An alien experiment is accidentally let loose from a spaceship and it falls down to Earth unleashing slug-like alien parasites that turn their hosts to zombies and it's up to some teenagers and a detective played the excellent Tom Atkins to save the night.  

Fred Dekker has only directed 3 movies to date.  Two of which are regarded are cult classics with Night of the Creeps and one of my all time favorite movies, Monster Squad.  The last movie he directed was the heavily panned Robocop 3, but if you want my opinion, I think Robocop 3 is a lot of fun.  Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is Dekker needs to write and direct more movies pronto.  Night of the Creeps was written in a mere seven days and has continued to find an audience for over 25 years, despite it's limited release when it first came out and also not getting a DVD release until 2009 in the States (some countries are still waiting).

According to Dekker himself, Creeps is a pastiche of movies that inspired him, ranging from 1950's sci-fi and horror, to the zombies created by Romero and even the 80's high school comedies of John Hughes.  The characters in the movie are even named after horror directors such as Romero, Cronenberg and Hooper.  If any movie celebrates its influences it's Creeps, but it's a damn fine flick in its own right, with plenty witty and memorable dialogue, lovable characters, an amazing look and a spirit that captures both the 80's and the 50's.  There's even a zombie cat... and dog.  In terms of horror it's brilliantly suspenseful.  The performances are terrific, especially Tom Atkins, who plays a tortured detective out for revenge.

Night of the Creeps is a horror comedy classic with just the right amount of laughs, cheese, suspense, blood and horror.  A must see masterpiece.

Monster Brawl (2011)

If there's one thing I love as much of horror movies and classic monsters it's wrestling.  So when a movie puts classic monsters against each other in a Mortal Kombat-style wrestling tournament then you know it's up my street.

8 monsters (Cyclops, Witch Bitch, The Mummy, Lady Vampire, Werewolf, Swamp Gut, Zombie Man & Frankenstein) fight to the death in a wrestling tournament set in an abandoned and cursed graveyard. Jimmy Hart is the ring announcer, there's roles for Kevin Nash, Dave Foley and Robert Maillet and Lance Henriksen does the voice of God, Mortal Kombat-style.  What's not to love?

This has been criticised for having no story or plot.  Well that's not the purpose of this movie.  It's deliberately set up like a wrestling show, with commentary, back story, promos and one on one competition.  For me, that's one of the reasons I loved this movie.  It was presented like a pay per view.  The graveyard and the monsters pays homage to old school horror, which according to writer/director Jesse Cook was the intention, because in the current horror climate where many movies aim to outdo the last in terms of gore and shock, it's nice to see a movie that takes the opposite route.  That's what's great about this.  This is one you can watch with your kids, despite the odd naughty word and odd bit of blood, it's more or less macho family fun.

Monster Brawl does exactly what it sets out to do and the results are an entertaining hour and a half that can be enjoyed by wrestling and horror fans alike.  Over time this will surely become a cult classic, because if there's two things that have devout cult audiences it's horror and wrestling.  There's potential for some sequels here and I really hope they happen.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Monster Man (2003)

How the hell did it take me 9 years to become aware of this film?  It's the type of movie I'd have tripped on during my teens and still love to this day.  In addition, it's from the same director of Shoot 'Em Up, a true classic in its own right.  I finally purchased Monster Man after stumbling across it on Amazon and I've never been happier.

Before Monster Man and Shoot 'Em Up, director Michael Davis was making romantic comedies.  Quite the transition, huh?  Or maybe not, at least not with Monster Man.  But before we get into all of that, I'll tell you what the film is about.  Adam and Harley are two buddies on a road trip who pick up the uber perfect woman and hitchhiker Sarah, but they get more than they bargained for when they encounter a monster driving a monster truck.

Like Davis' previous efforts, this is about guys who just want to get laid and meet women, except this has the addition of a monster and a big ass truck.  It was an ambitious step forward for the director and a nice stepping stone from a movie like Girl Fever to his following effort Shoot 'Em Up.  Michael Davis is the type of writer/director who wants to make you laugh and have fun during your movie experience and he certainly delivers with Monster Man.   It's laugh out loud, glorious over-the-top gory fun turned up to 100 mph.

Adam is the nice guy in love with a girl he stands no chance with, and Hurley is the sleazy, slightly chubby sidekick who's moronic yet lovable.  They're on a road trip so Adam can declare his love for the girl he's been whipped over for years before she gets married.  On the trip they pick up Sarah and they become the prey of a deformed creature driving a monster truck.  It's part Road Trip, Bubble Boy, Duel, TCM & Jeepers Creepers.  It works.

Another great thing about Monster Man is the setting.  I'm a sucker for highway movies.  In addition, the chemistry between the leads is great, who actually carpooled in the making of the feature to get to know each other.  As the majority of the film is set in a car, it definitely paid off.  You gorehounds won't be disappointed either and will be pleased to know 21 galleons of blood were used.  This is one of those features where everyone is just excited to be a prt of it due to never been in a feature similar before, so they've just went all out.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Final Destination 5 Music Video

I liked the movie but the promotional music video is something special.  The video is hilarious but the song is AMAZING.  It's so catchy.

If you just heard this song for the first time because of me then you're welcome.  I bet it gets stuck in your head all day and over the next coming months it'll keep creeping back in and you'll be rushing home to listen to it.  Take my advice and put it on a portable music advice asap.  I had to leave a class and listen to it one day because I needed my fix.  One of the best songs ever recorded.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Pieces (1982)

Before I review this, I'm just going to have a typing orgasm about it for a lil bit and throw some trivia on y'all.  Pieces is an awesome exploitation movie and I love it for many reasons.  This was Christopher George's (of The Exterminator fames) second last movie.  If you ask me he went out on a high (although I've yet to see his last ever movie).    The director also gave us classics such as Slugs - The Movie and Supersonic Man, but this was by far his 'masterpiece.'  To add to the sleaziness, one of the writers was the guy who wrote Emanuelle (she meant the world to me when I was 13).  Pieces never stood a chance of being tasteful.  It's also so beautifully random, and has a memorable moment with Bruce Lee's best imitator, Bruce Le who provides the most pointless yet glorious kung fu for the viewers delight.  Also, this is Eli Roth's favorite movie of all time and he's been spreading it around the Hollywood A list and brought a new fan on board in Brad Pitt.  I like to think Brad will bestow this movie upon his children one day.  Pieces is my 'sickbed movie.'  I watch it every time I'm not feeling good and this weekend I just happen to have flu, so obviously I was returning to this little twisted love of my life.

One day a little boy is caught by his mother building his naked lady jigsaw, so like any responsible parent of a young child would do, she got mad and took it away.  The kid didn't respond well though and instead of begging for forgiveness he chopped her up with an axe.  Fast forward in time and a college campus has fallen pray to a killer and they're all part of the grand jigsaw.

Pieces is trashy, sleazy and nasty.  But it's lots of fun.  This is where I differ from the general consensus though, because it's often placed in the 'so bad it's good' category.  Sure, it is, but I think it's one of the most original slashers.  When you see this, it stands out.  It's one of my all time favorite movies because I can watch it so much.  This will please the gorehounds, those who want to laugh and those who just love slashers.  This is one of the best slashers of the 80's, and the 80's owns all decades when it comes to slashers.  The killer is fantastic and the new jigsaw is a necrophiliacs dream.  This movie is held in the same regards as Citizen Kane, The Godfather and Baby's Day Out.  You'd be foolish not to watch it.

Seriously though, watch Pieces.  It's the most fun you'll have have.  Grab some beers, get a pizza and if you're on a date and she/he likes it, marry them on the spot, because that my friend is a keeper.

High Tension (2003)

I like Alexander Aja's remakes, so why did it take me so long to get around to watch an original feature?  I blame the pile of unwatched DVD's I own.  There's many classics waiting to be viewed for the first time in that pile that never stops growing, but damn I wish I watched this sooner.

High Tension (or Hate Tension or Switchblade Romance) is about 2 college friends, Marie and Alexa, who go away to Alexa's parents home in the secluded countryside for some study time but fall victim to a mysterious killer.

I'm just going to come out and say it.  This is a MASTERPIECE.  The premise may sound like a typical slasher movie, but this is more than a typical 'pick 'em off' type of movie.  It's a true experiment in terror and it pays off.  From the very beginning it presents itself as a hard hitting horror film.  There's no sweet build up, there's no laughs, there's no annoying teens.  From the very start you know very dark and nasty things are going to happening.  We're introduced to the killer early on, and even though we don't get a clear look at him, it's pretty clear where he's going.... but when he arrives... oh boy.

The kills here aren't ''cool.''  They're flat out nasty and realistic.  The killer starts killing as soon as he enters the house and doesn't stop until the whole family are dead, with the exception of the two main ladies - one of whom (Alexa) is tied up and the other (Marie) who is constantly evading the killer.  Once it gets going it never lets up.  When there isn't a brutal murder happening the movie is constantly intense.  It keeps the balance between gore and suspense and because of this it's constantly effective.  Too much of either is fine, but when you get the balance right you create something special.

It's also a very beautifully shot movie, especially at the start.  The scenery was so beautiful in many ways, but it only added to the terror. The French countryside is wonderful, but it's also secluded.  Definitely not the best place to avoid a psychopath, particularly one so damn nasty who not only kills every living thing he sees, but he doesn't even wash his hands after he does the toilet.

And before I wrap this up.... all is not what it seems in this film.  Enjoy.


Aja, I know you're probably reading this right now, but please stop remaking.  I enjoyed all of them, but when you have ideas this good then you can't let them go to waste.  You're a good man and I love you though.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Nightmare Beach (1989)

AKA - Welcome To Spring Break

It's Spring Break and there's a motorcycle riding killer on the loose picking off a naughty biker gang.  The kills are pretty fun, the soundtrack is incredible, it's incredibly cheesy, the haircuts are out of this world and it stars Michael Parks in a bit part role (it's like he's just been bit part in everything for most of his career and he's one of the most gifted character actors on the planet).

What sets this apart from other slashers is the death by electricity concept.  I thought that was cool and a couple of the deaths are very awesome indeed, although many other slashers have much cooler deaths.  This did contain  a spark plug to the mouth and a pretty nasty burning however.  Other than that it's just your typical slasher, with some above average acting.  There's boobs, a rockin' soundtrack, laughs and enough fun to be had all round.  I recommend this with pizza and beer.  It's easy going and one slasher fans should enjoy.

Ravenous (1999)

You know how everyone has movies they discover as a kid and love their entire lives?  Well this was one of mine.  I was 10 years old when I seen this darkly comic, cannibalistic treat and it's held a special place in my heart ever since.

Ravenous is a period piece set during the American - Mexican War and stars the regularly impressive Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle.  Pearce plays Captain John Boyd, a cowardly soldier who receives a ''promotion'' as a ''reward'' for beating the enemy, but really he was just playing dead to save his own skin.  Soon he encounters a mysterious stranger, found dying and heavily frostbitten,  who tells a story of how they had to resort to cannibalism to survive and the dark turn it took into murder and uncontrollable hunger.  He does a fair job of convincing them he had no other choice, but it turns out the stranger may just have been the worst of them all.

Cannibalism in movies certainly isn't for everyone.  There's even a lot of cannibal movies I'm not even interested in watching, but Ravenous is more than a mere madman eats flesh movie.  It's a compelling story that keeps you watching until the end, no matter how horrifying it may turn.  It's a dark movie but it's got a lot of humor underneath, albeit the blackest of black comedy.  It also explores the myths of cannibalism, particularly in Native American culture, where tribes used to report feeling new leases of life and energy after consuming a human being.  In Ravenous, ''the different kind of hunger'' is explored in great depth, with Guy Pearce struggling to keep his humanity after his first taste of the people meat.

Ravenous is a horrific, dark drama with an engaging story.  Please do not dismiss this as just another cannibal movie, because it has much more going for it and is one of the underrated gems that all horror fans should sink their teeth into.  Nom nom nom.

Osombie (2012)

So earlier I was sifting through the DVD aisle of my Asda when I came across this on the shelf...

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES (btw, this is a wrestling reference I like to do when I'm excited).  I'd watched the trailer for this and to find it in my Asda, I was psyched.  A movie about a zombie Osama Bin Laden and zombie terrorists?  YES YES YES YES!!!  But... meh.

This was watchable and somewhat entertaining but it just lacked.  If it was a Syfy movie then I'd say they'd outdone themselves, but it wasn't.  The action was decent, the zombie make up was okay, the acting was good and the concept was excellent, but the payoff wasn't.  I just expected more from this, and perhaps it's my fault for building it up as highly, but what let this down is that it just isn't all that much fun.  There's some good sword scenes and enough action to keep you entertained, but in all honesty, it's just a little bland.

Overall, worth a watch but nothing special.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Red Eagle (2010)

The future is rarely ever an appealing place to live in the world of cinema, is it?  Humanity is going to fester away and become corrupt.  At least that's what the movies tell us, but hey, all stories gotta come from somewhere, right?  Yes, in the future politicians will become more devious and the only hope for mankind is going to be vigilante superheroes.  The Red Eagle is another movie that provides us with a negative outlook of future society.  This feature from Thai director Wisit Sasanatieng, based on a TV series from the 1960's is a vigilante/superhero movie about a futuristic Bangkok in the year 2016, where politicians are corrupt and criminals pollute the streets.  The people need a hero and that is what they get in the form of 'Red Eagle.'

An unfair comparison I'll start off with is The Dark Knight.  Now, by no means is this the Dark Knight, but a lot of it is set out the same way with the combination of long dialogue pieces that are quite politically themed and action sequences.  However, they are still totally different movies and where Dark Knight is superior with story and depth, Red Eagle wins with more exciting action sequences.  This depends on personal taste however, as the action here is over the top and comic book style, with some gore thrown in.  I dig that more.  As I watched this I thought of Kill Bill a couple times.  Bare in mind though this is totally different than the movies I just compared it too.  It shares aspects, but this is very different.

There are a few flaws here.  For instance, it's a very long movie that went through a spell near the end where it felt dragging, but an action packed finale made up for that.  Another flaw... well for me there wasn't.  It delivered exactly what I wanted from it - amazing action sequences at the right points and on top of that it was an interesting story exploring the corruption in a futuristic Bangkok, with seedy politicians and violent criminals, all under the control of a mysterious Illuminati-like group known as 'Matulee,'  who wore expensive suits and creepy masks.  However, Red Eagle is cutting his way through their goons to reach them and they do all they can to stop him.  This leads to them calling in 'Black Devil,' a creepy, hooded masked assassin, equipped by sword and AK-47.  And thank GOD they called him in because it leads to a 20 minute action sequence that takes place on buildings, billboards and finishes on an elevator.  It was truly spectacular, as was every action scene in this film.

Overall, I recommend this one to those of you who enjoy action.  It was fun, over the top and had enough story to give it depth.  Maybe it could have been shorter, but who cares?  It delivered enough awesome moments to please me and I'll watch it again.

Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)

Sukiyaki Western Django is Takeshi Miike's homage to Spaghetti Westerns.  It employs the classic themes of a Western, it has all the fun things you want in a Western and it's unique because the cast is almost entirely Japanese.  The movie has a cameo from Quentin Tarantino, which is fitting because it's a very Tarantino-esque movie.  By that I mean it wears its influences on its sleeve proudly and has fun while it does it.  It's the type of movie a director would make for himself but genre fans will appreciate.  A nod to Sergio Leonne but done with the pzazz of Takeshi, Sukiyaki Western Django is a beautiful movie, done with style.

The story is a classic Spaghetti Western - a mysterious gunslinger rolls into a town which has been ravaged under the control of two warring gangs looking for a hidden treasure.  We've seen it before but we haven't seen it like this.  Sukiyaka uses all the Western themes and concepts, but splices them with Samurai influences and a little bit of steampunk to create an action packed, dramatic, humorous and ultra-stylish treat.

The movie does a great job of balancing character development and action, the visuals are fantastic and the soundtrack is out of this world.  An interesting movie that pays tribute to classic Spaghetti Westerns while adding a whole new spin to them.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Clive Barker's Nightbreed (1990)

Clive Barker is one of the reason I love horror so much.  I'm not much of a reader, but when a Clive Barker story makes it's way to the screen I have to see it.  Clive Barker stories are unique and wonderful.  Nightbreed is one of those unique and wonderful stories that reflects upon the evil of the human race.  It's also just a fun movie where the monsters are the good guys for a change.... sort of.

Nightbreed is about a hidden society of monsters who live in the underground world of Midian, hiding from human society.  However, the evil Dr. Decker (played excellently by David Cronenberg) is out to destroy them and he's bringing the law with him.  This is a modern take on classic monster movies, where the villagers would go with torches and pitchforks to kill the monster.  Here, the pitchforks have been replaced with more modern and deadlier weaponry.

This is a truly fascinating movie with so much depth.  It's more than a monster movie, it's also a love story.  There's also an apparent commentary which suggests the evils of the human race and the monsters, as a vile as they are, are put in place to highlight how bad humans are.  This movie has a moral that society is too quick to judge those who are different, something Barker himself has had to deal with personally at times.

The special effects, the monsters and the score are all very impressive.  The acting isn't the strongest point of the movie, but everyone is passable, with the exception of Cronenberg who shines.  However, the acting is dramatic and in a movie like this, it's exactly right for it.

Nightbreed is a gem of a movie that all horror fans should see.

The Violent Kind (2010)

As some of you may remember, in 2006 a little indie movie known as The Hamiltons garnered itself a little bit of buzz on the festival circuit but seemed to split the opinion of horror fans.  The Hamitons was an interesting movie, as it told a coming of age story about a young family fending for themselves with no parents around.  This wasn't your typical family though.  This family certainly had its dark secrets.  In my opinion, The Hamiltons was a fresh movie with a nice twist.  However, as the years passed I forgot about the duo who directed this little gem (how could I forget a name like
The Butcher Brothers).  Anyway, I recently picked up a DVD after discovering it was from the same directors and I figured it was worth a chance.  I was also sold by the, 'Sons of Anarchy meets The Exorcist' comparison.  Anyway, I finally got around to watching it and....


The movie starts out like an episode of Sons of Anarchy with 2 friends hanging out while their other friend is getting frisky with his lady friend.  A few minutes later they're giving a poor soul a beat down and then they head off to a party.  So far - bikes, booze, violence, sex, drugs and bad asses.  However, when the party ends the night truly begins.  A couple of grisly murders by some mysterious strangers occur, the sky begins to turn weird and one of the murder victims is possessed by something and crawling up the walls.  Then comes the mysterious strangers - a 50's 'Rockabilly' gang, who show up to the party and mess with the survivors.  Now we have a hostage movie on our hands reminiscent of The Strangers.  The new misfits, equipped with dancing skills and an odd sense of humor want whatever is living inside the possessed lady.  And they want it for something BIG!!!


This is one of those movies you really need to see.  It's definitely not for everyone but if you like ambitious movies made on a shoestring budget with lots of unexpected turns then watch it right now.  Go on... watch it right now.  It's surreal, dark, violent, sometimes comical and a breath of fresh air.  The Butcher Brothers idolise film makers such as David Lynch and David Cronenberg, and you can see the influences shine in their efforts so far, but these 2 may just give way to a whole new generation of cool and surreal horror films.  The Violent Kind is a vast improvement on their impressive debut.  It's one of the best films I can recall from the past couple of years.  Watching this, I was utterly impressed and captivated throughout.

Butcher Brothers, I will never forget about you ever again.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Progeny (1998)

The 90's tends to be regarded as somewhat of a sour patch for horror.  In my opinion, it's definitely not the strongest decade but there was still some excellent movies.  One of the guys who shone in the 90's was Brian Yuzna who released a string of good movies - Return of the Living Dead Part 3, Necronomicon, The Dentist 1 & 2, Bride of Re-Animator  and of course, Progeny.

Progeny is another good collaboration between Stuart Gordon (writer) and Brian Yuzna (director).  When these 2 team up it's always great.  With this movie they tried their hand at the alien sub genre and was described by Variety as ''a cross between 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'Alien' with a pinch of 'ER' thrown in.''  I'd say this is a pretty good way to describe it if you're looking for comparisons.

Progeny focuses on a couple who have been abducted by aliens and the woman is pregnant as a result.  The husband is adamant his wife is carrying alien offspring but she refuses to believe it and does her all to keep her baby safe.  During this battle of the spouses, we're treated to some abduction flashbacks with cheesy aliens.  Unlike other Yuzna movies, this tends to focus heavily on the psychological aspects rather than visceral body horror and gore.  There still is enough gore to satisfy your needs though if that's what you're looking for.

Overall, it's a smart movie that plays to its strengths.  The budget was small so much of the movie places emphasis on character development and emotions.  The effects do look cheap but they're good considering the budget and plus, it adds to the charm of the movie.  This is a little gem that horror fans should check out,

Necronomicon (1993)

Necronomicon  is an anthology featuring segments from Brian Yuzna, Christophe Gans and Shusuke Kaneko.  Each segment is a segment from the 'Book of the Dead' and the stories are read through the eyes of one H.P. Lovecraft, played by the legendary human being Jeffrey Combs, who is using the book to steal some ideas for himself.  Sly devil.

The first segment, directed by Gans, is called 'The Drowned' and if you ask me it's the best segment.  This story focuses on a man who resurrects his dead family with help from the book, only to take his own life, but not before leaving his confessions in a suicide note.  The man who finds the note then finds the book and has to deal with his own terrible past.  This is my favourite story of the entire anthology.  I love the stormy, seaside setting, the haunting building on the rocks and the best moment of the entire movie occurs here when we see a water beast deliver the evil book to the first victim of the movie.  It reminded me of a much darker Muppet Treasure Island when Billy Connelly received the Black Spot.  This was the funnest segment from an anthology where every segment was more or less perfect in my opinion.

The second tale is entitled 'The Cold' and it focuses on a woman confessing a stroy to a reporter about a string of murders from 20 years before.  The story involves a slightly mad scientist striving for immortality, an obsessed tenant and a young naive flute player who's runaway from home to start a new life in the big city, away from her abusive stepfather.  This is another great tale and it has some pretty demented moments.  The melting scene was another highlight of this movie.

The third segment is directed by a hero of mine - Brian Yuzna and is called 'Whispers.'  The story follows a policewoman, pregnant with child, into an abandoned building on the trail of a criminal known as 'The Butcher.'  There she meets two very strange characters who help her on her pursuit and inform her the villain is actually an alien.  This has a Brian Yuzna feel all over it and is definitely the darkest and most disgusting.  It also has that classic 'don't trust anyone' feel along with some neat body horror, both qualities Yuzna has mastered in his movies over the years.

This is one of my all time favorite horror movies and I can't recommend it enough.  It's a very unique movie and deserves more recognition.  It's dark, bizarre, unhinged, demented, funny and disgusting.  I think Lovecraft himself would be proud of this adaptation of his work.

Desperation (2006)

I'm only just baby steps into my Stephen King quest, in which I plan to watch everything put to screen that he's ever written, and already I'm questioning this decision.  So far I've enjoyed everything but if there's going to be a lot like Desperation then I'm in for the horror equivalent of a Machine Head concert - enjoyable for so long but then I just want to go home and watch something else.

Desperation stars Ron Perlman as Collie Etragian, a sheriff who picks up travelers on hsi highway and takes them to jail in the isolated town of the title of the movie tells us.  He's a bad cop and there's something not quite right about him and evil is afoot.

This wasn't a bad movie by any means.  In fact, it started off with a lot of promise and was captivating for awhile.  The scenery was beautiful and worth watching alone, but it did enough to engage me for an hour.  However, just when I was expecting the payoff I started feeling letdown.  This was just a case of a film that shows potential and then falls a little flat.  It began to feel like it was dragging on and became somewhat of a chore to watch.  I had high hopes but came away feeling unfulfilled (now I know how every girl I've ever had relations with must feel... sorry ladies).  I'd say recommend this if it was on TV, or maybe even give it a rental or pick it up cheap.  There's enough here to enjoy, but there's even more to leave you feeling underwhelmed.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Mark of the Devil (1970)

Okay, so the plot of this is pretty funny.  Udo Kier plays Count Christian Von Meruh, an apprentice to witch hunter Lord Cumberland, played by Herbert Lom.  Count Christian begins to lose faith in his mentor and the church that he used to strongly adhere to after catching his master strangling Albino (Reggie Nalder) for calling him impotent.  Soon Christian discovers that the witch hunting is a scam and Christian is captured by the townspeople.  Sounds pretty funny, doesn't it?

This isn't a comedy, and with cheesy dubbing an exception, it isn't a funny movie.  Or shouldn't be anyway, but I must admit I had some giggles at certain parts but that's due to my own depraved sense of humor.  Mostly though, this is a pretty nasty exploitation sleazesfest in terms of themes, but comes out pretty tame in execution, and due to the changing of the times and movies that have happened since, you might be like me and find it mostly ineffective.  That's not to say it doesn't have it's sinister moments though - tongues being ripped and nun rape for instance.

However, despite it being tamer than it's reputation may lead you to belive (bare in mind this was made in 1970 and was probably hard hitting then), it is a good movie.  I'd check it out if you're a fan of exploitation movies or movies of historical significance (apparently it's based on real documents).... or if you like seeing people being whipped and children locked in cells.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Waxwork (1988)

This is the type of movie for horror fans who are secretly big kids at heart.  Sure, this film has naughty words, a little violence and is definitely for a mature audience, but it's also the type of movie that has you grinning like a big kid all the way through.  It's the kind of film that grins along with you.  I used to write stories like this as a child and I think that's partly why I love this as much.  It's a ''tree house movie'' in the sense that it just makes you want to go and adventure through a fun nightmare.

Waxwork is about a group of teenagers who get a little more than they bargained for when they visit a wax museum one night.  The mannequins all come to life and transport them into their own little nightmare.  We have all sorts of cool things going on here - vampires, mummies, werewolves and even swashbuckling.  It's classic monsters presented in a classic way, albeit very cheesy and funny. This movie isn't trying to innovate, it isn't trying to make you think in anyway - it's all about  having some fun and I dare say even the whole family could enjoy this, despite the odd naughty part.

There's a creepy little atmosphere present throughout.  I mean, a wax museum at night would be pretty scary I imagine.  The museum owner and his little friend are such obvious villains as well.  You almost find it unforgivable the heroes didn't run off at first contact with them.  The movie hits a climax with a battle more epic than Return of the King, minus elves, trees and Viggo Mortensen's.  This isn't a film for gorehounds, but there is some tongue in cheek blood.  Don't expect Braindead in that department, but expect equal amounts of fun.

Fun, 80's gem that every fan of horror comedy needs to own.

Piranha 3DD (2012)

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile will probably have noticed that I love lots of silly horror comedies.  I love all horror, but a fun, silly horror tends to be the type I watch most often.  I have a tendency to say things like, ''leave your mind at the door'' or ''sit back and take it for what it is.''  This, my dear readers, will be one of those reviews.

The sequel is set a year after the events from the first movie, where the prehistoric piranha at their way through the Spring Break party in Lake Victoria.  Now they've made their way to the Big Wet water park and they're feeling a little peckish for frisky teenagers and anyone else that they can sink their teeth into.  And there's lots of boobs, blood and just a little severed genitalia to boot.

I laughed out loud so much during this.  I mean, ''Josh cut his penis off because something came out of my vagina'' is a line you can take to the bank.  How it all came about is a magical moment in cinema history that I will not spoil for you, but trust me, it steals the show.  Piranha 3DD is full of cheesy dialogue, gore and nudity.  It's a comedy with lots of violence and nudity, so please leave your head at the door.  This is B movie awesomeness and made for a night with buddies, some beer and some pizza.  Just don't get the anchovies if you're easily out off your food.

John Gulager has made another fun, gore-filled comedy.  Anyone who enjoys his Feast series will get a kick out of this.  It's mindless and entertaining, so if you have a wicked twisted sense of humor and find flesh eating fish to be a laughing matter then this is for you.  It's definitely for me.