Saturday, August 31, 2002

Review – Campfire Stories

Okay, campers. Once again. What’s the worst crime a horror movie can ever commit? That’s right: boring. And this one’s guilty beyond reasonable doubt of boring in the first degree. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure that this is going to be a compilation of three short stories of the teen-oriented slasher variety (obnoxious jocks killed by janitor, obnoxious hoodlums done in by stereotypical Indian, game of Truth or Dare takes a turn for the deadly). But then again, it didn’t take much imagination to write the script for this stinker. Nor was it a big mental leap to get something this cliché-ridden onto the screen. Indeed, the only thing I can’t quite imagine is why David Johansen needs money badly enough to play host to this crap. See if desperate

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Review – The Brood

Our buddy Frank has trouble. His wife is crazy. She’s been institutionalized in the clutches of a cult psychotherapist, played to a smarmy T by Oliver Reed. His daughter has been abused, probably by his wife. If that was the sum of his worries, he’d probably make it through. Unfortunately for him, the mad doctor has figured out how to make his wife’s irrational rage externalize and become homicidal little creatures that vaguely resemble his kid (particularly when they’re stuffed into snow suits). As one might expect from a David Cronenberg movie (especially one from the eerie, atmospheric period early in his career), things go downhill from there. The concept’s cool enough to place this a cut above your average slasher flick, and particularly later in the movie there’s some good gore and a couple of solid scares. Mildly amusing

Review – The Dunwich Horror (1969)

Somehow I suspect a considerably better movie might be made from the source story. Of course, it isn’t too hard to imagine a considerably better movie being made from just about any source story, let alone one of H.P. Lovecraft’s more widely-admired works. The nicest thing I have to say about this production is that the supporting cast isn’t too terrible. The leads, on the other hand … well, let’s just say Sandra Dee is the love interest and Dean Stockwell (sporting a coif and moustache that make him look like Long John Holmes) plays sinister anti-hero Wilbur Whately. The whole production is so thoroughly infected with American International Pictures circa 1970 day-glo sexuality that it’s hard to tell if Stockwell is following the original scheme of summoning elder gods from beyond the stars or merely doing it all for the nookie. Then there’s the climax, which is a strong contender for most unintentionally funny moment ever included in a horror movie. Maybe I should just be grateful I’m not sitting through Die, Monster, Die! again. See if desperate

Review – Blade Runner

I can’t review this movie. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and the emotional ties run too deep for me to give you anything even vaguely resembling an objective opinion about it. So suffice it to say that this is one of the greatest triumphs the art direction department ever had in the world of cinema. Some of the acting’s a little stiff, but if you seek out the director’s cut you can at least avoid the hackneyed, pseudo-noir voice-overs. Though you may have an entirely different experience from mine when you watch this one, I still highly recommend that you at least give it a try. Buy the disc

Friday, August 9, 2002

Review – The Attic Expeditions

Unless you’re a big fan of nothing-is-real-everything-is-insane crap spectacles (or you find Satanic ritual nudity especially amusing), you’re unlikely to take much pleasure from this particular expedition. The most entertainment I managed to derive from this muddled mess was the challenge of remembering where I’d seen the actors before; the ensemble was mostly veterans of other horror flicks ranging from The Re-Animator to Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4 to Helter Skelter. Other than that this is a lot of boring nonsense about a lunatic who may or may not possess the secrets of evil magic sought by the mad psychiatrist who is torturing him. See if desperate

Thursday, August 8, 2002

Review – Dagon

In many ways this is as close as anyone’s ever come to producing a feature-length movie that’s really, genuinely based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. Of course the story in question is “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” rather than “Dagon,” and there are still a fair number of liberties taken with the tale. As usual with Stuart Gordon productions, the plot’s pretty hard on the female characters. That notwithstanding, it does my heart good to see someone (even Gordon) make a serious attempt to adapt Lovecraft for the screen. Some of it even manages to border on genuinely unsettling (particularly the noises made by the zombie-fish-esque townspeople, not to mention the skinning-alive sequence). Worth seeing

Review – Dark Descent

This isn’t a low-budget, empty-headed, underwater rip-off of Outland. Nah. This is a low-budget, empty-headed, underwater homage to Outland. And the “homage” is close, really close. Federal marshal. Mining operation. Illegal, work-stimulating drugs that produce psychotic behavior. Killers coming on the next ship to kill our intrepid hero. The closest this movie ever comes to actual entertainment value is if one chooses to follow it closely enough to note when it manages to “borrow” even more closely from High Noon than its sci fi predecessor did. Wish I’d skipped it

Review – American Psycho 2

Wow. Who would ever have thought that it would be physically possible to make a movie even dumber than American Psycho? There’s a minor touch of novelty here in that the serial killer is a teenage girl rather than a slayer of teenage girls. Otherwise this is just another witless slasher flick, lacking even the pseudo-intellectual stamp of connection to Bret Easton Ellis (unless you count the weak tie to Patrick Bateman’s crimes from the original; our cute little killer is supposedly the only person who ever survived a Bateman attack). I confess this movie lost most of my good will early on when psycho-babe put a cat in a microwave, and it didn’t do much past then to worm its way back into my good graces. Extra added bonus: William Shatner. Wish I’d skipped it