Friday, September 30, 2011

Prince Of Darkness (1987)

Genre: Supernatural

Source: Netflix Instant Que

Grade: C

To bad I had such high hopes for this movie, its considered by some people to be among his best, i`ve even heard one person state that it was the last "real" John Carpenter movie(I viciously oppose that statement though because I thought 1988s They Live was a awesome movie and one of Carpenters all time best) . Then trailer looked awesome, and it even had Donald Pleasence as one of the main characters. I mean what could possible go wrong?! Well unfortunately a lot, first off I felt the whole movie was a bit sluggish in pace and yet didn't really cover some things that thoroughly. Then I didn't feel the atmosphere was as good as some of his other work. Though I do give it to Mr.Carpenter the soundtrack he composed for this movie was very good, it was eerie and just all around a perfect score.

         Now the films plot is very intriguing and smart; thus the main reason I was super excited to finally watch this movie. The story's about a research team who has to investigate a mysterious cylinder that`s kept in a church and if opened could mean the end of the world, cause like the son of Satan is being kept prisoner there. Sadly I just don't feel they lived up to the awesome plot, instead it felt either to rushed or to slow.Though I will say there were a couple redeeming factors in the movie, like some very gross kills, and all the creepy homeless people that pretty much siege the church, plus I will admit the ending was quite climatic. But overall despite 2 or 3 scary sequences this movie failed to be anywhere nearly as scary as some of Carpenters other work.

      I did like the assembled cast especially Donald Pleasence, whose role was the priest appointed by Vatican to guard the evil cylinder. His performance was quite memorable to say the least. Then Victor Wong (who`d previously been in Carpenters Big Trouble In Little China) was surprisingly great as the intellectual and skeptical Prof.Howard Birack. The only weird cast decision for me was Jameson Parker who i`m guessing was supposed to be like a young hip collage student but honestly to me he looked more like a one of those 40 year old`s who still hangs around the community collage. Not that i`m complaining about his performance he was great in that sense.
I think i`d have to say though the best thing in this movie overall was the soundtrack that John Carpenter composed himself for this movie. It sounded like something he`d compose but way more eerie then some of his other stuff. The soundtrack was just simply a perfect fit for the movie.

        Prince Of Darkness is not a bad movie, but to me its just not his best and far inferior to a lot of his other work. Other than an excellent soundtrack, a pretty cool plot, and a awesome performance from Donald Pleasence. I just can`t think of any other really pressing reasons to recommend this movie to anyone other then John Carpenter fans. Because this movies simply just average.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yeti (2008)

Genre: Horror, Monster

Source: TV (Syfy Channel)

Grade: C+

       How is Yeti compared to Syfy channels other earlier Bigfoot/Yeti Horror movie Abominable, you might ask? Well the answers is Yeti is a far inferior movie in just about every way. Now on the other hand when you compare this to other Syfy channel movies, this one is really not to bad.
         The movies story isn't to bad either, its basically about this plane carrying a collage football team to Japan ends up crashing in the middle of the Himalayas, forcing the survivors to fight off both starvation and a very mean Yeti. Now honestly the thing that bothered me most about this movie was the Yeti was treated as more of a subplot and the main plot being the group of collage kids constantly arguing about everything. Seriously though the Yeti doesn't make a full on attack till around the last 20 minutes of the movie. The rest is mainly the stereotypical teen horror characters all just arguing about everything from what to eat, were to get food, how to find help, etc. Ah it seriously did get a bit tiresome, at least though the climatic ending was both thrilling as well as bloody, mixed in with a few plot surprises.

         The Yeti looked OK, it didn't look horrible but I just cant get myself to say it looked awesome. Though I really truly do appreciate the fact that the Yeti was done through make-up and not CGI, though there are a few noticeable scenes were the Yeti`s either jumping or running that were done in CGI but that's about it. Which brings me to the point of why did they give the yeti the ability to like jump a mile in one leap? It looked ridiculous and completely ruined the moment for me! But when the Yeti actually kills somebody its pretty bloody, though when the Yeti rips off this one guys arm and starts beating him with it was a little too over the top in my opinion.  In regards to the cast, for a low budget Syfy Channel original movie the acting was half bad. Only thing was they all acted like stereotypical horror movie teens, which also means that character development was pretty much nonexistent.

         Overall this Syfy channel original movie is one of the few which lands smack in the middle. Its not anywhere as bad some of the crap i`ve seen on Syfy Channel like Mongolian Death Worms and The Beast Of Bray Road, but on the other hand its not on par with some of the really good stuff Syfy Channels released like Abominable, Kaw, and Hammer Of The Gods. Now in comparison to other Bigfoot/Yeti movies i`d rank  this one as one of the better ones of them. Bottom line if your into these types of Horror movies by all means check it out, other wise you will probably not appreciate it very much.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Wasp Woman (1959)

Genre: Horror, Mad Scientist, Monster

Source: My Own Collection

Grade: B-

I went into watching this movie with very low expectations, I thought it was going to be another slow moving, cheap monster movie were the monster doesn't even show up till the last 5 mins of the movie. Thankfully though that wasn't the case with The Wasp Women. Instead this movie turned out to be a decent monster movie, and another worthy effort from Roger Corman.
     Of course this is not one of Corman`s top movie`s, but it is very far from being one of his worst. Its story is pretty straight forward, were a once beautiful owner of a cosmetics company is aging and becoming not as beautiful as she once was. So naturally she enlists the help of a washed up old scientist played by Michael Mark, who has found a way to persevere youth through a formula based upon queen bee secretions. Unfortunately though when he try's this on her she transforms into a human wasp that preys upon its victims at night (an unfortunate side effect).
         Though unlike what its poster leads you to believe, the monster isn't a wasp with a human its actual the opposite she has a human body but a wasp head and "hands", to make something like that in the poster would have required a lot of money that they did not have.  When she does kill people its pretty cool and they actually had more blood then I thought they were going to have. But that's not saying a lot cause I didn't think there was going to be any blood. Then there was cast, which was actually very well assembled with the beautiful Susan Cabot as the wasp woman, unfortunately this was to be her last role in a movie. From what I read she went through some abuse in this movie! Of course it was all unintended but still getting hit in the head with a glass bottle, almost suffocating  in her mask when someone put too much liquid smoke on it, and then she even got some skin on her face ripped off when they took the mask off too fast! Oh well despite all that she put in a very good performance. As for everyone else they were pretty good and played all there roles straight.

     Well overall The Wasp Woman is a good little late 50s "mad scientist creates a monster by accident" type movie. One interesting fact I found out after I watched this was one of my favorite directors Jack Hill did a uncredited directing job on this movie, he directed the films prologue were Michael Marks character gets fired from the scientific community and I guess that part was filmed after the movie was released to. Then I guess there's a remake of this that came out in 1995, i`d be curious to check it out except I have my doubts as to how much resemblance it bears to this movie and all the negative things i`ve read on the remake don`t help either. Regardless of all that, this movie is cool movie that I can definitely recommend to Roger Corman fans as well as classic horror movie fans and even if you don`t end up liking it its only 73 mins long so it`s not like you wasted a lot of your time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hands of the Ripper (1971)

Genre: Horror, Serial Killer

Source: Netflix Instant View

Grade: B+

Ever since I first heard about the Jack the Ripper cases I have been completely fascinated by it and have made a point of watching ever movie and documentary about him. As well as reading ever book I can get my hands on about him. Anyway`s that being said Hands of the Ripper is not truly a straight up account of Jack The Ripper like I thought it was going to be, but rather he`s more of a subplot. This movie is actually much more about Jacks daughter who at a very young age witnessed her mother get brutally murdered by her father Jack The Ripper, now fifteen years later she`s an extremely emotionally disturbed girl whose seemingly possessed now by her father which causes her now to do these brutal murders while in a trance.
     As you can see they took a unique spin on Jack the Ripper and to my relief it turned out very good. One thing I noticed that really impressed me was how they took this one cliché and made like they were going to follow this cliché but then to my surprise they went in a totally opposite direction ending the movie in a way I wasn't expecting. I would tell you what happened but it would completely spoil a few things, so your just going to have to go see it your self.
          Another thing I truly loved was the very authentic looking set design. It thoroughly looks like grimy gloomy Victorian era London. Which in my personal opinion is one of the best settings for a horror movie. Also this is also due to the great direction of Peter Sasdy, whose by far one of my favourite directors from Hammer Studio. He definitely captured the right atmosphere and mood for this movie. One thing though about this movie though is since it was rated R but there wasn't as much nudity or violence as I thought there would be. Infact I don`t remember any nudity at all, but even though there's not a lot of violence but when there is violence its very graphic and gross, (example; a prostitute trys to cover her eyes with her hand but the killer put`s the needles straight into her eyes with gross sound effects and plenty of blood)

          Overall I very much enjoyed this little lesser known Hammer horror movie from the early 70s. It had a great cast who all played there roles very well, especially Eric Porter who played the psychiatrist. It was very well directed and the violence was very satisfying, especially since they didn't go to over the top with it. So i`d definitely recommend this to any fans of Hammer Horror who haven`t seen this movie already or to someone looking for a unique twist on Jack The Ripper. The only ones I can`t really recommend this to are people who hate sad endings, cause this movie has anything but a happy ending.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Abominable (2005)

Genre: Horror,Monster

Source: My Own Collection

Grade: A+

Without a doubt this the greatest Syfy channel original movie I have ever seen. As well as being one of the best Bigfoot/Yeti horror movie`s ever made. But what's just really great about this movie was is just how everything is so well done for a low-budget horror film, and you can just tell everone had a great time making this movie. Which in the end result really makes a difference quality wise.

    Beginning with the movie`s story, the best way to really describe it is its Hitchcocks Rear Window except with Bigfoot. The story also flows at a good pace and is never slow or boring. As for the characters there's quite a few unique and interesting characters that we get to follow. Such as our main character who`s a paraplegic mountain climber (hence one of the reasons why I compare this to Rear Window), then there's his dick headed male nurse who`s anything but comforting for our main character, and then it there's this odd store-owner who`s on oxygen yet at the same time he`s a chain smoker, his character is pretty much the bigfoot expert of the movie to. As well as providing much of the comic relief.
          Now the monster was awesome! They made this bigfoot incredibly ugly and nasty looking. But best of all the bigfoot is the traditional guy in the costume, not some awful CGI abomination! Which I tell you what makes all the difference in quality alone. Then the way the bigfoot goes about killing everyone was brutal and very bloody. I think my favourite kill was when this one guy gets his face bitten clean off, that was grotesque. There  are of course plenty of other great kills in this movie, which let me put it this way, proves that this movie was well deserving of its R rating.
         The films cast was also really good to. There were some pretty notable cult icons in this movie such as Dee Wallace who had role at the very beginning of the movie, Gance Henriksen who has a funny role as the town sheriff, and Jeffrey Combs  from Re-Animator even has a role. The actors who I wasn`t familiar with were also very good. There was just none of that uninterested and awful acting that's usually associated with Syfy channel original movie`s.

       In all this is just an outstanding horror movie that succeeds in providing both genuine scary`s and suspense as well having some hilarious humour occasionally thrown in there.The special features were great and very fun to watch, the making-of feature was very interesting and informative to watch, and of course the bloopers, deleted scenes, and story board gallery were all fun to watch. Then there was this superb short film in the features called Shadows, this was a surprisingly remarkable little movie that was very well made. Anyway`s yes I have to say i`d highly recommend this little horror film to any horror movie fan and it currently holds position as my all time favourite Syfy channel original horror movie, (KAW is a close second though).
Now before I end this review I feel obligated to thank my friend Matt for convincing me to buy this DVD at Big Lots for three dollars, by far the best three dollars i`ve spent in quite sometime.