Monday, November 19, 2012

Review – The American Scream

Yet again a documentary team turns an eye on yet another subculture of obsessives. This time around it’s the folks who turn their yards into haunted houses for Halloween. We get a mix of three protagonists – the nerd, the good ol’ boy and the mildly mentally ill guy – with different approaches to their craft. But all of them have two things in common: too much time on their hands and too much space available to store their set pieces and props for the other 11 months of the year. Still, their creations are interesting, occasionally bordering on artistic. As obsessions go, this beats spelling bees or crossword puzzles. Mildly amusing

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review – Coma (2012)

I’m not sure a reboot or remake or bootmake of the original movie was strictly necessary, but here it is anyway. As not exactly unusual with miniseries plots, this story seems to have a lot of unnecessary filler (not to mention fading big-name stars in supporting roles). Still, the basic story is the same: a doctor discovers that a center for coma patients is secretly using them as an organ donation bank (among other things). The new version packs a lot more “thrilling” chase crap, and it lacks the simple creepiness of bodies suspended in midair by thin wires. In other words, this isn’t terrible but the first one was better. Mildly amusing

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review – Dark House

The old evil-possessed house shtick gets a cyber twist (and yes, I meant to use a term as trite as “cyber”). A neurotic acting student seeks an excuse to return to the title location, where she had a bad experience as a child. Fortunately (or ultimately unfortunately) for her, a professional haunted house attraction designer needs actors to escort a couple of critics through the hologram-intensive show he constructed in the eponymous spot. Do I even have to tell you that the terror scenes eventually go from computer-generated illusion to deadly reality? See if desperate

Friday, November 2, 2012

Review – The Evil One

I came here for the premise: the evil spirit of Herman Mudgett (better known to the world as H.H. Holmes, creator of the notorious “murder castle”) haunts Englewood, his old Chicago neighborhood, now largely lower-class African American. The set-up provided all kinds of potential to explore Holmes’s psychosis or at least make some points about racial inequality. Instead, incompetence smothers any chance this picture has of doing anything other than wasting nearly two hours of the audience’s time. See if desperate

Review – Albert Fish

For an exploitation documentary about a perverted killer, this isn’t half bad. Most of what I’ve read about the notorious child murderer focuses on his most famous crime: the kidnapping, slaying and eating of Grace Budd, the deeds that seated him in the electric chair. But this production delves deeper into the rest of his criminal career and some possible explanations for his behavior. Though I could have gone for the whole rest of the day without gazing upon the visage of Joe Coleman, I found the rest of the picture professional and informative. Mildly amusing