Saturday, April 30, 2011

Halloween 4-6

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Dr. Loomis is in this movie, but he's the only one that returns from the previous movies.  And, unless I'm mistaken, they never really talk about how he escaped the explosion in the hospital from the second movie.  Sure, he has some burns, but nothing major.
Anyway, in this movie, Michael returns to Haddonfield to kill his seven year-old niece, Jamie.  Laurie (her mother) is gone...apparently presumed dead (although they never say why).  She is living with her step family. Her step sister is babysitting her, Michael Myers shows up, lots of people die, but a handful (including Jamie, her step sister, and her adoptive mother) escape.  There's kind of a twist at the end, but it wasn't anything major, and it felt pretty forced.
This was pretty boring...nowhere near as good as the first two.

Rating: 2 stars

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

This takes place a year after the events of Halloween 4.  Jamie is traumatized...she doesn't talk, and she is in a children's mental institution.  She seems to be channeling Michael Myers (by that I mean she draws the things that he is seeing, and she goes into convulsions when he kills).
Basically, this movie is like the fourth one.  Michael comes back to kill his niece.  He stalks and kills her step sister and her friends.  There ends up being a confrontation between Michael and Jamie and Dr. Loomis in the Myers house.  It's hard to keep these two movies straight, but I'm pretty sure there's a scene in this one where Jamie calls Michael "Uncle Michael", and he starts to cry.  It's fairly ridiculous.
Also, there's some weird love story going on with Jamie and her institutionalized friend.  It's very strange.
This is basically the same movie as Halloween 4.

Fun fact: the actress who played Jamie is named Danielle Harris.  She went on to play Marybeth in Hatchet II, and Annie in Rob Zombie's Halloween 1 & 2.

Rating: 2 stars

Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

This one takes place 6 years after the events of Halloween 5.  Dr. Loomis is retired, and Jamie is pregnant.  At the beginning of the movie we see that she has been kidnapped by a group of druids who are helping Michael.  Or something.  Anyway, she escapes and gives birth to the baby...and then she gets killed by Michael.  The baby is found by Tommy Doyle.  In case you don't remember, Tommy is the boy that Laurie was babysitting in the first Halloween.  Now he's older, and he's kind of a freak.  He is also played by Paul Rudd, so that was pretty fun.
Anyway, Tommy lives across from the Myers house, which is now inhabited by the Strodes (Laurie's adoptive parents).  Michael comes back to town looking for the baby (the last of his blood line), and he does what he always does: he kills lots of people.  Tommy - with the help of one of the Strodes - tries to keep the baby safe.  And, of course, Loomis shows up to help.
In the end, we find out that the druids have been controlling Michael all this time, and they've been the ones that have made him kill.  Or something.
In case you couldn't tell, this movie was no better than the last two.

Rating: 2 stars

Here's what I learned about the Halloween movies: if there's no Jamie Lee Curtis, it's not a good movie.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Prom Night, Dog Soldiers, Halloween

Prom Night

Yet another one of those movies that I had heard about, but had never seen.  This was as good a time as any to check it out.
It came out 2 years after Halloween, but it seemed much more dated.  Maybe it was the clothes.  Maybe it was the hair.  Or maybe - just maybe - it was the insanely long prom scene with a ton of loud disco.  Yeah, that was probably it.
I could see what they were going for, and I can see how a lot of modern movies were influenced by this.  As opposed to Halloween, you weren't sure who the killer was (although it was fairly easy to figure it out).  
It was fairly entertaining, but not a great movie.  Nowhere near on the level of Halloween.  However, there are bonus points for the guy who played Lou...the "bad boy" in the movies, and one of the more hideous people I've ever seen.  

Rating: 3 stars

Dog Soldiers

I tend to like monster movies, which means I also tend to like werewolf movies.  I had heard good things about this movie, so I thought I'd check it out.  There were werewolves.  There was blood.  There was a man with his guts held in by hot glue.  There was lots of shooting.  Honestly, this is a problem I have with werewolf movies.  Even after the characters realize that nothing short of silver bullets will kill the werewolf, they still keep shooting them.  I realize that it kind of knocks them back a little, but it does no real damage, and it most cases it does little in the way of slowing them down.  It's not just this's a lot of werewolf movies.
Anyway, this movie was violent and bloody, and ended with a bunch of guys in an old house, shooting at werewolves.  
I liked it, but I didn't love it.  From everything that I had heard about it, I was expecting to love it.  It was enjoyable, but it didn't blow me away.  Maybe I needed to be in the right mood for it, but, for now, I'll give it a "Liked It".

Rating: 3 stars


It's really not fair to review this along with Prom Night and Dog Soldiers.  Those movies were decent.  This movie is amazing.  I've seen it a handful of times, and it only gets better with each viewing.  I would have to rank this movie among my top 5 horror movies of all time (somewhere behind Psycho and Night of the Living Dead).  First of all, it just looks amazing.  The cinematography is terrific.  The soundtrack is perfect.  The character of Michael Myers is terrifying in that he has no back story.  We don't know exactly why he kills...we don't know how or why he got to that point.  We just know that he kills, and that he's relentless in his pursuit, and brutal in his murders.  There's the supernatural aspect to the end (how is he still alive?).  There's the camera itself: sometimes acting as the eyes of Myers...but not always, so it keeps you on your toes.
It's hard to describe all the reasons why I love this movie.  I just know that I do, and I love it more every time.

Rating: 5 stars

After watching Halloween, I realized I had not yet watched the entire series.  So I'm doing that now.  I'm skipping 2 (which I had recently watched) and 3 (because Michael Myers is not in it, and because it's awful). I doubt my reviews of these will be much past, "Stabbing stabbing stabbing," but we'll see.

Zombie Prom Update: The prom will be taking place at the Danville Community Arts Center on May 21, starting at 8pm.  You can visit the page (and buy tickets) here, and you can request songs through the Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scream Series

Over the past week, I have watched all 4 of the Scream movies.


Pretty much everyone has seen this movie, so I won't talk too much about it.  Watching it now, it's still really good.  It doesn't really feel dated or anything.  Just a good, smart slasher movie.  For better or worse, this really did help to reinvent the genre.

Rating: 5 stars

Scream 2

Great opening (featuring Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett-Smith)...even if that opening involves people acting in a movie theater in a way in which people would never act in a movie theater: people running around in Ghostface masks, fake stabbing people.  People chasing each other around.  It was a theater experience that I have never seen, and it begs the question of whether Wes Craven has ever actually set foot inside of a theater.  Other than that, I really liked it.
This pretty much carries on the same tradition of the first one.  The main characters are still there, and they're dealing with a copycat killer (or killers).  Randy is still around to spell out the rules for a sequel.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn't as good as the original.  It's still smart, but there are times when it seems like they're trying to make it too smart...which is a trend that carries forward to the next two movies.

Rating: 4 stars

Unexpected actor sighting: Aside from Epps and Pinkett-Smith, this movie also has Sarah Michelle-Gellar, Timothy Olyphant, Joshua Jackson, Heather Graham, Luke Wilson, Portia de Rossi (Lindsey Bluth!) and Rebecca Gayheart.

Scream 3

This one takes place on the set of one of the Stab movies.  Sidney is off in hiding somewhere, but, of course, Ghostface tracks her down and she is forced to rejoin the world.  She finds herself smack dab in the middle of more murders, and this time they're taking place on the set of a Stab movie...and the set looks exactly like Woodsboro, complete with a recreation of Sidney's house.  People start dying in the same order as the script.  The only problem is the fact that there are at least 4 different copies of the script running around, so no one knows who the next victim is.
It's good.  And even if Randy's ominous line of, "Anyone, including the main character, can die.  This means you, Sid.  I'm sorry," never really leads to anything, it's still a darn good movie.

Rating: 4 stars

Unexpected actor sighting: Parker Posey (always one of my favorites), Emily Mortimer, Scott Foley, Lance Henriksen, Jenny McCarthy, Carrie Fisher and Jay & Silent Bob.

Scream 4

We went and saw this last Friday, which was kind of fun, because there was a tornado warning while we were in the theater, which led to thoughts of, "We might die while watching Scream 4."  It was a risk I'm glad we took.
The openings of these movies are always fantastic (Drew Barrymore in the first, Epps/Pinkett-Smith in the second, and Cotton Weary in the third), and this one was more of the same.  I loved the opening.  This movie is almost worth seeing just for the opening alone.
Thankfully, the rest of the movie was good, too.  It had been 10 years (and 7 Stab movies) since the events of the third movie, and Sidney is back in Woodsboro to promote her new self-help book (her agent is played by the terrific Alison Brie, which I loved).  Of course, Ghostface shows up and begins killing.  Dewey and Gale are still there....married, but facing some issues.  There is also an influx of high school kids, including Sidney's cousin.
There are moments where it seems like it's trying to be a bit too smart, but it's never really too distracting.  Also, as I covered before, you kind of knew what you were going to be getting with this movie.  When a new movie in a series comes out 10 years after the last one, red flags are (naturally) raised.  Luckily, there is no cause for concern in this case.  While none of the sequels quite measure up to the original, they're all still darn good movies, and this is the same.  A good solid slasher movie.  Sometimes, that's all you need.

Rating: 4 stars

Unexpected actor sighting: Kristin Bell (love her), Anna Paquin, Rory Culkin, Adam Brody and Anthony Anderson.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

House of 1,000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects, Event Horizon

I enjoyed Rob Zombie's Halloween movies, so I thought I'd give his first couple a shot.

House of 1,000 Corpses

This follows two couples traveling through America in search of odd roadside attractions (the two guys - Rainn Wilson being one of them - are writing a book about these attractions).  They find a place run by a large man dressed as a clown who goes by the name of Captain Spaulding who has a "death tour", where they learn about a local serial killer by the name of Doctor Satan, who was (allegedly) killed.  In their attempt to find the tree of Doctor Satan (where he was hung), they get a flat tire, and end up at the house of the Firefly family.  When they arrive, we already see one of the family members (Otis) torturing a group of cheerleaders.
It's all downhill from here.
The couples are - of course - terrorized and tortured at the hands of this sadistic family.  There are Satanic rituals, and a ton of references to past serial killers (in one particularly rough scene, we see Otis skin someone and wear their skin, a la Ed Gein).
It's a rough movie to get through.  There were a ton of very graphic and disturbing scenes.
It was kind of a boring movie at points, with the main plot seeming to be, "family tortures people for a couple hours."  And the family themselves didn't seem to have any personality beyond, "murderous."  It wasn't a bad movie, but there wasn't much to it.

Rating: 3 stars

The Devil's Rejects

This is the sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses.  It follows the same family...but they seemed to have gained a personality.  Otis isn't just a murderous psychopath...he actually has a sense of humor.  Sure...he's still a terrible person, but at least he was kind of funny about it.
This movie follows the family on the run.  The cops raid the family home, and they spend the rest of the movie holed up in a hotel with a traveling band.  They mess around with them...a little murder, a little torture, etc.  It's the Firefly family way.
More characters are introduced here, too.  We see the cop who is hunting them down...the brother of a cop murdered in the first movie.  We see his morals begin deteriorating throughout the course of the movie, in his tireless attempt to bring the family to justice.
There's more going on in this movie.  More of a plot.  More action.  Less senseless butchering.  And, like I said, the family (especially Otis) gained a personality.
Because of this, I liked this movie a lot more than House of 1,000 Corpses.  In fact, I think I loved it.

Rating: 5 stars

Event Horizon

I remember watching this movie a long time ago, but I didn't remember much about it.
It follows a rescue team (and a scientist) boarding the Event Horizon...a ship that had gone missing 7 years prior.  Everyone on the ship was dead, but there seemed to be something else on board.  The rescue team starts seeing things...bloody bodies, suffering relatives, etc.  There are some pretty creepy scenes.
I can't really say much more without giving away a ton of the movie.
I liked it, but it wasn't as scary as I had heard.  Like I said, there were some pretty creepy scenes, but nothing that came close to the stuff in House of 1,000 Corpses.  Overall, it was an enjoyable sci-fi horror movie.

Rating: 3 stars

Friday, April 15, 2011


I saw a preview for this a while ago, and I thought it looked pretty cool.  After the debacle that was The Horde, I was a little wary about watching this one.  Another low-budget zombie movie?  I decided to give it a shot, anyway.
This isn't your typical zombie movie.  First of all, they're not actually zombies (it's really more mind control than anything else), but they do act like zombies, so it gets thrown into that category.  Second of all, you really don't see many zombies.  There are a couple of scenes towards the end, but the majority of this movie takes place in a radio station, with just 3 characters.
They managed to take those three characters (a washed-up radio shock-jock DJ doing local news, his producer, and his technical manager) in that limited setting and make a tense and frightening thriller.  It starts slow...there are unconfirmed reports of a riot.  Their "chopper reporter" calls in to keep them abreast of the situation, and eventually starts giving reports of murder and cannibalism.  You can probably guess where it goes from there.
The ending wasn't great, but the rest of the movie was fantastic.  I was surprised by how much I liked this movie.

Rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Horde

I can't remember where I heard about this movie, but just look at that cover.  It looks fantastic, right?  Well, as The Zombie Diaries showed, you can't judge a low-budget zombie movie by its cover.
Really, this should have been a great movie.  It follows a group of police officers who decide to avenge their fallen comrade by killing the people who killed him.  Once they get to the building, the dead start coming back to life.  These aren't Romero's zombies.  They're undead, but they run, and they have superhuman strength.  The cops team up with the criminals in an attempt to survive.
Sounds good, right?
There are some decent scenes, but this movie just kind of annoyed me.  There wasn't much logic to the character's actions.  Their entire plan was to get out of the building...but they saw that the streets were filled with zombies. get out of the building.  Then what?  They never thought about that.  In one scene towards the end, the zombies apparently don't realize that they can climb on top of a car, which leads to a ton of zombies standing around getting shot and butchered (in a scene very close to this one, we actually see a zombie jumping over a pile of bodies to reach its prey).
And the characters were awful.  One of them seems to change midway through the movie, for no apparent reason.  None of them were likable.
The dialogue was terrible.  The acting might have been worse.
I didn't hate it, but I was pretty bored for most of the movie.
I was having such good luck with movies so far, it was about time I didn't like one.

Rating: 2 stars

Tonight is Pontypool, and I'm not sure where I'm going from there.  I was thinking of watching the original Halloween series...but I'm also thinking about watching the first couple Rob Zombie movies (House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects).  If anyone is actually reading this blog, I'd love to hear any thoughts.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

DIEner, Dead End

DIEner (Get it?)

Netflix thought I would give this movie 4 stars.  And, since it was instant watch, I thought I would give it a shot.  I was immediately turned off by the title.'s actually called DIEner (Get It?).  They gave their movie a somewhat clever name, then ruined it by pointing out how clever they thought it was.  Thankfully I was able to get past the title and watch the movie for what it was.
What it is is a low-budget zombie movie revolving around two unhappily married people, a serial killer, and a handful of zombies.  The movie starts with the serial killer killing the cook and waitress in a lonely diner.  Before he can leave, the unhappily married couple comes in, and he pretends to be their waiter as he plans to kill them.  His plans are thwarted by a cop...but things take a turn when the dead cook comes wandering out of the kitchen.  Before too long, there's a full-blown zombie-outbreak.  The serial killer and the couple (now knowing who he is) try to hold off the zombies, and the couple tries to find a way to get away from the serial killer.
It's not a terrible movie.  Overall, I enjoyed it.  I did have a few problems with it, though.  The serial killer character was the biggest one.  He was pretty funny, and genuinely likable most of the time...but there are times when they tried to make him too funny...too clever.  It got a little old after a while.  The movie was only 76 minutes long, which was a good length.  Much longer and it would've gotten really old.  As it was, it was an enjoyable movie.  Good, but not great.

Rating: 3 stars

Dead End

This is a movie that was suggested to me by a couple of friends.  Beyond the fact that it starred Ray Wise, I knew nothing about this movie.
Short synopsis: a family traveling to visit relatives during Christmas.  The father decides to take a "scenic route" to the relative's house, and ends up on a seemingly endless stretch of road.  They come across a woman in a white dress, holding a baby, and they pick her up.  Soon after that, people start dying.
The family was trapped on this road, and a series of horrific deaths kept taking place, picking off the family one-by-one.  Every time a family member died, a hearse drove by with that person in the back of the hearse.
Basically, it was a haunted house movie...only instead of being trapped in a house, they were trapped on an unending road.
I liked it.  It was done extremely well, and they mixed in a healthy amount of dark humor.  The only downside was the fact that there was a twist at the end...but I could see it coming from a mile away.  I'll deduct a star for that...but that was really the only thing I didn't like about the movie.  This is definitely worth a watch.

Rating: 4 stars

I had another idea for a DJ name.  DJ Samedi, after Baron Samedi in Sugar Hill.  Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Creature from the Black Lagoon, Aaaah! Zombies!!

Creature from the Black Lagoon

Yet another classic horror movie I had never seen.  There's really not much to say about it.  The creature was in a rubber suit.  The female scientist wore skimpy (for her time) bathing suits and swam in water that they knew housed a fish-man.  For some reason, the scientists traveled with a big game hunter, who wanted to kill the creature.
It was a terrible movie, but it was a highly enjoyable movie.  Like Galaxy Invader, but in black-and-white.

Rating: 3 stars

Aaah!  Zombies!!

I have seen a number of low budget zombie comedies.  From what I've seen of them, they're fairly hit-and-miss.  In fact, for the most part, they're usually more bad than good.  So, when I started this one, I did not have high hopes.  It was clear that this was a very low budget movie.  It was also clear that the acting looked to be terrible.  It started off like a normal zombie movie: the government had accidentally developed a formula that would turn humans into zombies.  A barrel ended up outside of a bowling alley, where it leaked into some milk, with which our main characters made ice cream (or "Ale Cream", since they mixed it with beer) with.  They turned into zombies.
From here the movie took a turn.
The movie was shot in black-and-white and in color.  The scenes in color showed the characters as they saw each other...but the scenes in black-and-white showed the reality.  In color, they saw themselves as normal...but everyone else was moving fast (and talking fast).  We would see the characters in color, and they would be talking to each other like normal.  In one scene, we see them trying to hail someone who is down in alley.  From their point of view, they were like regular people: raising their hands and saying, "Hey man...come here for a second."  Then it would switch to black-and-white, and we'd see them as they really were: zombies growling and snarling and reaching out.  It was a funny gag...but it did seem to get old after a while.
Anyway, we watched the characters shamble through their lives.  Trying to survive.  Trying to find love.  All the while they're losing body parts and getting shot and everything else zombies endure.  While it was the same general concept as Colin (seeing things from the zombie's point of view), it was a completely different movie.  Where Colin was touching and raw, this movie was funny.
I wouldn't say it was amazing, but it was pretty funny, and definitely better than your average low budget zombie comedy.

Rating: 4 stars