Another movie that took part of the early 80s 3D craze, Amityville 3-D (like the formerly reviewed Silent Madness) has since then seen a Blu-Ray release in good old 2D. Excluding the overall blurriness towards the edges of the screen, and the few awkward scenes obviously set up with 3D in mind, the movie luckily does not suffer from its 3D origins much.
And as the case was with Silent Madness, this third installation in the Amityville series is actually quite potent horror movie, contrary to all the expectations.
Apparently a cult classic of some sort due to its inventive use of horror FX, the effects are nice (even great) – but pretty much all of what Spookies has to offer.
More precisely, it’s the better than expected effects that make the other, below the average aspects of the movie look quite bad in comparison: the werewolf like creature roaming the forest for example, laughable. The 300-year old owner of the house, plain bad. There are a group of quests constantly branching off to different sections of the mansion to make themselves easier targets for the evil, quite uninspired.
On the other hand the birthday party, farting mud monsters and the possessed lady: all pretty cool, with the rest of the segments falling somewhere in between.
Spookies is more of a theme park right than an actual movie, which makes recommending it without urging to jump to the juicy bits – and skipping the boring – quite hard.
Ahem, so okay.. Apparently there’s a Necromancer living in this suburban garage who then helps one girl to take revenge on a gang of fellow high school students that raped her.
Necromancer is an exceptionally bad and credibility look into supernatural mumbo-jumbo, coupled with some piss poor special effects. And I’m being polite here.
I just skimmed through the movie once again before rating it to see if it would have any redeeming qualities to mention. But no – the movie starts ok but just keeps getting gradually worse and worse towards the end.
Let’s start off with a piece of trivia: this movie was at first called King Cobra, but later changed to Jaws of Satan in an attempt to try and piggyback on the Jaws movie series’ success.
In the movie Satan has taken the form of a snake, and after a small killing spree starts tormenting Father Tom. In other words, this is one of those scary movies that relies leans heavily on the religious, supernatural themes.
There isn’t much good to be said about the movie itself as it’s really quite uninspired, other than that Fritz Weaver does a performs well as the flawed man of spirit. The fans of Christina Applegate might be also interesting to her debuting in the movie.
Preceding Blair Witch Project ten years, The McPherson Tape took that same home video approach to create a ”lost” tape, an evidence that documents the scary moments unfolding before our eyes.
The approach is powerful as it effectively makes the viewer one of the few eye witnesses to the incident, and also give the footage certain mythical and forbidden flavour. While McPherson Tape nails the home video look & feel and the overall flow of the tableside conversations feel genuine, the actual interesting content of the movie is just about two or three minutes out of the 62 minute running time.
More interesting the the movie content (it’s not very interesting) or its scariness (not very scary) is the viral aspect that McPherson Tape managed to gain: the movie got spread around as VHS copies for years, with people who were sure this was the official proof for extraterrestrial life. The actual, official truth only came out years later as the official release, long time after VHS was no more.
Here’s another slasher I’ve mixed up with many similarly named slashers – Bloody Birthday, Happy Birthday to Me 15 and to name a few.
Sweet 16 draws its inspiration (quite loosely) from native Americans, mixes in some weak mythology and puts them up against racist rednecks and watches them clash. Everyone bad gets what’s coming to them and then it’s up to the viewer to start the guesswork who was the actual killer, and watch through to the totally expected last minute jump scare attempt.
The movie is not exceptional in any sense, and was going for a passable rating. But here’s the thing: I really hate the exploitative sexual angle in the marketing of this movie that has nothing to do with the theme (or the actual content) of the movie – and loathe it even more for it targeting 16-year olds.
Cheap trash, this one.
You’ve seen the beginning of Star Crystal before: starship crew on a expedition on a remote planet (well not too remote, Mars) brings into the ship something containing an alien life form that gets quite unhappy with the humen aboard.
After a few goofy deaths with passable FX the movie seems to be all out of crew to sacrifice to the creature. But here is where the movie actually genre blends into an exploration of the inner life of the alien, who is now busy absorbing all the information of the humankind (good and bad) stored on the starship’s mainframe computer.
The change is unexpected and not without problems – the action totally plateaus just when you expect it to go into the next gear. But even if the movie turns into close encounters of the boring kind, I do applaud the film crew’s courage of wandering off the beaten path and trying something new.
It is the very only reason why the movie left any lasting impression.
It was usually the Italian film production companies that migrated to Miami to shoot their films with American actors, so Headhunter with its South-African film crew is bit of an anomaly in this aspect.
That is not all the movie has in common with its Italian counterparts; it is visually quite apt (special effects notwithstanding) and on the surface level it feels as a quite passable small horror movie where an evil spirit is chopping off heads for their personal collection.
The idea of the bad entity works, but then the movie gets unfocused with tribal African mumbo jumbo, and other similar aspects like the cop’s domestic affairs that just had me snooze off. Movie gets once again mildly more interesting towards the end as the evil becomes a shape shifter and things get almost hilariously (but not quite enough!) overboard.
The Carrier depicts a small rural town where after being attacked by a creature, a local boy becomes a carrier of a strange disease that charges everything he touches with flesh eating powers invisible to the naked eye.
What happens after the town folk find out about the disease spread by an unknown culprit is where The Carrier really gets interesting. A wave of panic and paranoia ensues; people try to cover up with whatever plastic bags they can find, turning the town into kind of a current day version of Mad Max. The disease is horrible – but even more frightening is the way it turns people against each other, not tearing through, but completely wiping out the fabric of the society overnight.
The Carrier was a truly pleasant surprise that successfully plans together horror and social commentary (not forgetting the very obvious comedy aspect). This is the unexpected sleeper 80s hit of this Halloween.
Bo Svenson became the unexpected antagonist star of this Halloween. His hard boiled detective character levelled up Night Warning, and in Primal Rage he plays a scientist that whips up a virus that causes people becoming berserk killers.
Primal Rage is an Italian production shot in Miami, but it does not show at all, and the production quality is right up there with similar Hollywood movies. As a movie it’s bit off an uphill and downhill ride: the title and the video cover are great, and the movie shows a lot of promise, but does not quite redeem any of its promises.
The last 20 minutes of the movie is actually pretty entertaining (including a totally hilarious ending), and redeem a lot of its earlier shortcomings.
Movies can be like a hand of poker. The bluff you in with an alluring poster, interesting premise and a strong beginning, but as the story progresses, it becomes quite clear that they’re playing with an empty hand.
With The Power the directors Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Obrow have an ace-high. The plot of a evil Aztec doll giving people great power but destroying them in exchange is a spinoff of a classic Faust pact-with-a-devil tale, but instead of expanding or taking the concept to the next level The Power seems to just lose the very essence of the classic story in translation.
The very movie-like atmosphere and special effects in a good tradition of 80s horror cinema manage to partially redeem the movie, but in the end it’s just too little, too late.
Something extraordinary weird happened in 1989: a staggering five production companies released an underwater scifi movie back to back. The best known out of these five is naturally The Abyss, while the fate of the four others remains to be always compared to the James Cameron’s masterpiece.
Lords of the Deep does unfortunately not fare well in the comparison with any of its competitors, ending up the weakest one of the bunch by margin. The movie reminds more of a low budget TV series (think underwater Star Trek), but despite the shortcomings of the set design and costumes the movie manages to sell the idea of an underwater base – if only barely. The same does not apply for alien lifeform, and it would require quite a bit more imagination than what I have to buy the silly storyline.
As with Star Trek, there’s something strangely endearing about the clumsiness and silly costumes though, and in an alternate universe Lords of the Deep might’ve had a somewhat potent one or two season TV series in it.
Somebody is wasting people inside a small gym. And instead of closing it down, the gym is kept running while mutilated bodies fall out of every locker room and broom closet. Because, why not?
Aerobicide is light weight entertainment with light weight slasher elements in it. The movie never manages to be quite scary and the writer/director David A. Prior does not seem to have any elementary clue of how to build up suspense; the movie just moves from one killing to the next, and they viewer could not care less who’s next one to go. The same shallowness worked well in Prior’s Deadly Prey, but here everything just feels far too fluffy.
I did like the theme although Aerobicide does not do much with it. I mean, what could be more 80s than aerobics, sweat bands and leg warmers? Plus it seems to act as a quite potent padding material, filling up many precious minutes out of the movie’s measly running time of just 79 minutes.
If something, Troma is never boring. It can be bad, and it can be totally tasteless – but never boring.
Cue in Girls School Screamers that right off the bat feels quite a different kind of Troma movie, like if they were really making a big push for the main stream cinema. The production quality is on a quite different level, and Girls School Screamers doesn’t look amateurish at all, but the movie is totally uneventful, and downright dull, which is truly a shame after that movie’s superb starting with a boy wandering into the old abandoned house. In fact, the starting scene feels like .. almost like from a different movie.
There’s a reason for that. Girls School Screamers actually started out as a haunter house movie called The Portrait shot in the 1985. Troma then picked up the project, added a few gory scenes in the movie and changed its title.
And it’s these hilariously gory small inserts that end up the only thing really working in this snoozefest.
Don’t let the (relatively) nice poster fool you: I Was a Teenage Zombie is a shoelace budgeted, amateurish horror movie that has nothing to offer but horrible production quality and bad makeup.
And it’s not even the teenage main character that gets turned into a zombie but a 70s style hispanic pimp (read: falls into a river and climbs up with his face mucked with green body paint). Then, he then goes around humping people. I kid you not.
You have to wait until the one hour mark for anything interesting to happen to the actual teenager, and even after that it’s not too interesting. He gets body painted in a similar fashion and walks around cluelessly until he fights the pimp, and the end credits roll.
It’s not every day that one comes across something this inadequate.
First movie of this Halloween with them creepy kids, Bloody Birthday presents us the concept of three kids being born during an evil solar eclipse that plants a seed if evil in them that activates ten years later, effectively turning them into little psychopaths who plot to act sweet and kill everybody in their path.
The concept works and all three actually make for pretty credible killers that seem to ooze evil, especially the sweet little Elizabeth Hoy in the role of Debbie. Typical shortcomings of slashers plague Bloody Birthday as well but I did like the way the kids weren’t staged as your typical unerring evil masterminds: they work their little brains to no end trying to find out how to kill people, often failing miserably.
Bloody Birthday should not be mixed up with Happy Birthday To Me, another similarly named (but very different) slasher from 1981.