Posted on 4/09/11 04:34 PM
Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker is an Exploitation Horror movie from 1983 and part of the Video Nasty catalog. You see, in England at the end of the seventies and into the early eighties there was this Video Nasty movement that banned certain movies from seeing the light of day. Since VHS was the only way to get your hands on one of these gems, they were being passed around like hotcakes. Illegal hotcakes. People actually spent time in prison. What a waste of time and money.
These movies aren't all wonderful, some of them are downright horrible. That is the appeal here though, when your mom tells you that you can't have something you always want it more. You always want what you can't have. So true.
Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (or Night Warning) is a strange Oedipus journey that deals with obsession, anti-homosexual views, and gruesome murder. The movie has copious amounts of blood supplemented with a late 70's soap opera storyline. The movie is cheesy and offensive and at sometimes is a bit suspect.
The movie is about a boy that loses his parents to one of the funniest car wrecks ever put on celluloid. He is raised by his aunt who continuously tries to sleep with him. She kills a gay handyman and covers it up by claiming rape. Throw in a homophobic cop (That has secret homosexual fantasies himself), a head in a jar, a decomposing body, and an insanely intriguing killer aunt and you have one hell of a cheap ass ride.
The movie deals with some pretty heavy issues, I suppose that's why this is a exploitation film. There are anti-homosexual remarks at every turn. I guess it was a sign of the times. The movie also really jumps around from bizarre storyline to bizarre storyline.
The special effects are nothing to write home about, in fact there aren't really any amazing special effects. The movie mostly focus on shocking you with its storyline content. There are scenes that made me ask "What the hell! How did they put this to screen?" Of course this movie is full of holes, but no Video Nasty would be complete without them so who cares?
"Phil Brody, remember him? The man who got wasted here? Well he was a fag, and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a fag to be raping your aunt, unless you're one. Are you a fag?" - Detective Joe Carlson (What the hell sense does that make?)
Rating: 5 of 10
Posted on 4/01/11 09:07 AM
Directed by Rob Reiner (Misery, This is Spinal Tap) and starring the knock-out, beautiful Meg Ryan (City of Angles) and the hilarious Billy Crystal. When Harry Met Sally is the greatest romantic comedy of all time. This movie has Billy Crystal in the one role that he was born to play; forget City Slickers, Analyze This/That, and Mr. Saturday Night. When Harry Met Sally gives Crystal all of the lines and hilarity that he was born to play. The dynamic between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal should go down in history as one of the best; there was no point in the movie in which I was not rooting for them to make it.
The movie is about this one thing... "men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way". Harry (Crystal) says that in the beginning of the film and the entire movie follows this one thesis. Of course the movie follows the same romantic comedy dynamic that every romantic comedy does, this one however delivers on the goods. This is the greatest Woody Allen movie that had nothing to do with Woody Allen.
The film hits almost every mark on the checklist of romcom troupes: scene with a taxi going over a bridge with the New York City skyline as the backdrop... Check. Winter skating at Rockefeller plaza... Check. Slow walks through central park with the leaves changing colors on all of the trees... Check. New York City shown in the way that I always envision it, Pre-Mayor Bloomberg... Check. The antagonistic beginnings of the titular character's relationship eventually blooming into the ninth inning, bases loaded, out-of-the-park brand of love...Check Check. This movie has it all. Why wouldn't I watch it.
Deli Scene... there I referenced it. Oh and that Wagon Wheel table is awesome.
"Yes. They had the days of the week on them, and I thought they were sort of funny. And then one day Sheldon says to me, "You never wear Sunday." It was all suspicious. Where was Sunday? Where had I left Sunday? And I told him, and he didn't believe me." - Sally (Best conversation in the movie)
Rating: 9 of 10
Posted on 3/24/11 05:25 PM
Quintessential 80's horror classic crap movie. Those are the best 80's movies anyway right? Guys in blazers with the sleeves pushed up, collar's popped to the ceiling, girls wearing some sort of Madonna/Pat Benatar/Debbie Harry crossbreed of fashion; the movie acts as the perfect parody of what everyone left behind in the eighties. I couldn't take any of the characters seriously; they all act as caricatures of the stereotypical heroes and heroines from other eighties classics. It was fun.
The movie is about a group of friends who get invited to "tour" an old Wax Museum late one evening. There is something off about this museum though. Could it be the fact that the group of friends were invited off of the street and they were told to come alone? Could it be that the owner has an extremely large butler named Lurch and an extremely small butler named Hans? Could it be that this Wax Museum is an obviously evil place with an obviously evil owner? Could it? While inside the museum the kids start dropping off, falling victim to many of the creatures on display including but not limited too: The Mummy, Zombies, Hatchet Killers, Killer Babies, Werewolves, Dracula, A Voodoo Priest, Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, and the Marquis De Sade. Its like a pop culture overload!
The movie is in no way great in the strictest sense of the word; it has plot holes and gaps in the narrative and whole sections that are boring just like any other bargain bin VHS; however, even through all of that what stands out here is the fun feeling that you get from watching it. Well that and the make-up and special effect design. Bob Keen was the designer and he did an amazing job. I tried watching the movie by myself a couple times and could only make it a quarter of the way through. I needed a group to watch this movie and it made it that much more enjoyable.
The only way I can recommend this film is if you are going to experience it with a group because it might bore you to death if you watch it by yourself. Grab a couple of beers and get together with your besties and toss this in the old VCR. It makes for fun times.
"Q: What's happening tonight, guys? A: Nothing. I gave up drinking."
Rating: 5 of 10
Posted on 3/18/11 08:51 PM
Bob Clark (A Christmas Story & Porky's) wanted to try his hand at the newly budding zombie movie craze that George Romero started with Night of the Living Dead. The result was nothing more than disastrous. Hey, at least the guy tried.
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things is an early seventies gore film, that deals with zombies without actually ever muttering the zed word. For an early horror movie they hit all of the main points. However, this movie suffers from being poorly written and horribly acted. The make-up is fair, but at times really lags and serves as the catalyst for most of the cheapness. In other words this movie is truly independent.
The film is about a theater troupe that comes to a remote cemetery island to perform rituals to raise the dead. Things go awry when the dead actually does raise up and come after the group. The movie is really ridiculous. It is hard for me to put into words just what I actually think, but I know that I was unamused the entire film. It seemed stale even though this was at the beginning of the craze. How did they accomplish that?
The scares in the movie are few and far between, it is rare that you actually jump. I think that the cold opening is the only really scary part of the film, and that's just because of the loudness. The movie really wains at times. There are long drawn out pieces to this movie that just keep going. This movie is perfect for hardcore zombie fans, but it is going to be incredibly dull for casual horror movie watchers.
I peed in my pants! - Jeff
Rating: 4 of 10
Posted on 3/05/11 04:23 PM
Kongo is a brutal and disturbing movie that pushes the limits of film from the thirties; it is a wonder that MGM allowed a movie with this kind of content to be released. By today's standards this movie is pretty tame, but in the context of the time in which it was made the images are shocking. The movie deals with all sorts of topics ranging from racism to drug abuse and the brutality of the death scenes stick with you.
The movie is about a deranged and tyrannical man who runs a village in Africa with an iron fist from the security of his wheelchair. He keeps all those around him paralyzed with fear which he perpetuates by performing "magic tricks" like decapitating women and reanimating their bodies. He kidnaps the daughter of his rival, and then terrorizes her and a stranded doctor for most of the film.
The treatment of race is a big issue here too which may be a reason why this movie is difficult to find on DVD or VHS. The maniacal madman constantly berates the natives and constantly presumes that "whites" are smarter than "blacks".
The movie is a remake of the Lon Chaney drama West of Zanzibar; the difference here being the horror inserted into Kongo's plot. I was completely surprised by this movie; what I expected was another standard 1930's horror flick, but what I received was a compelling movie that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning looking up the history of the film. I highly recommend this movie.
"I wouldn't waste Gin on that tribesman, that's kerosene!"
Rating: 7 of 10
Posted on 3/05/11 01:05 AM
The Phantom follows in the tradition of films like Old Dark House and The Bat Whispers, but it comes up short when compared with the two. The film has horrible dialog and even worse acting. It could hardly hold my interest for the hour long running time.
The film revolves around a small group of people that are being terrorized by an escaped masked killer known as the Phantom. Thats it. There is nothing more to the story. In the beginning of the movie you get to watch the daring escape from the prison, which proves to be the most action packed part of the movie. It is one of the wort prison escape scenes ever.
Skip this one. Its not worth your time. This movie should stay on some shelf in a studio somewhere collecting dust.
Rating: 1 of 10
Posted on 2/24/11 11:07 PM
In 1990 Steven King and Tommy Lee Wallace created an entire generation of kids who would grow up being afraid of clowns. This fear is referred to as coulrophobia, and I'm sure there are several people that could cite this movie as the root of their fear.
Originally aired on ABC as a 2 part mini-series, IT continues to be one of the best to film adaptations of King's work, however, the movie does suffer the same Handicaps as Langoliers and Rose Red; they all run about 45 minuets too long. IT could actually benefit from being re-edited or remade, but the case of the latter you wouldn't be able to get John Ritter so what would be the point?
Let's talk about the cast for a moment. If you aren't familiar with Tim Curry's work then I suggest you pick up this movie along with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Legend; he is absolutely terrifying as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The way he delivers his lines are scary enough but having him dressed as a weird killer clown is absolutely terrifying. I noticed his make-up is very similar to Ronald McDonald's. I wonder if that was on purpose.
Other cast members include Night Court's Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, the late Jonathan Brandis, Robot Chicken's Seth Green, and none other than Three's Company's John Ritter; and all of their performances are questionable to say the least and suffer from over-acting and poor delivery. There are parts that are acted very well but it seems as if the director sacrificed the opportunity for good acting in place of more storyline. A lot of that back-story just isn't needed and its absence would make the movie seem less... stuffy.
The movie has been referred to many times as one of the scariest movies made for television, and Pennywise is right up there as one of the scariest horror movie villains of all time. The way he is portrayed by Curry and the way he seduces children into his grasp is horrifying. The quick shots of Pennywise and his rows of razor sharp teeth are stuck in my mind for good. The effects leave a lot to be desired, but it is understandable (this is a "made for TV" movie). With a decent budget this movie could possibly have been the next Exorcist.
Favorite Quote: "When you're down here with us, you'll float too!" - Pennywise the Dancing Clown
6 of 10
Posted on 2/14/11 12:59 AM
Valentine owes everything it has to the 80's slasher film formula; this movie follows the exact same path as the countless others that set out before it. That wouldn't be such a bad thing had the movie been half way decent, but everything about this movie just seems so temporary on the pop culture scale. A lot of the people that I talk to about horror movies forgot that this film even exists. Has the memory of Valentine been swept away with the newer generations? The movie didn't come out that long ago. It's really bizarre.
Talking about forgotten generations, the soundtrack to the movie is the first thing I noticed. Listen to this line-up: Orgy, Linkin Park, Disturbed, Static-X, Rob Zombie, and Marilyn Manson. Let the soundtrack serve as the catalyst for the movie.
Like I said above the movie uses the 80's slasher premise to get its point across, and as it is executed here it is awfully predictable and a tad bit confusing. You have a kid who gets bullied in school by the bitchiest group of girls ever known to mankind. 15 years later or so, the girls start dropping off one by one. David Boreanaz, gives a bad performance as a recovering alcoholic boyfriend to the main character, and here is a spoiler for ya... he slips off the wagon. Oh, and a young, chubby, Katherine Heigl is in about 7 minuets of the movie.
Forgettable, poorly acted, horribly written, and overly predictable, this movie couldn't possibly be saved by anything, could it? Well the killer was pretty fun looking and brutal to boot, but that's about it; far from salvaged. I can't give this movie a score over 4 and feel like a decent human being so that's what it's getting.
Suggested viewing: Hatchet (2008) - Adam Green (This movie uses the same premise with a better coating. It also has Katherine Heigl in it.)
Rating: 4 of 10
Favorite Quote: You look great, Kate. How about a date, Kate? You could be my mate, Kate.
Posted on 2/03/11 09:25 PM
Torture Ship is torture to watch... yes I just said that. Yes, I am THAT guy. I barely got through this movie and it is hard to interpret and even harder to enjoy. The movie starts off with little explanation and leaves you with tons of questions and yawns. The acting is laughable and the storyline is ludicrous. I was on such a hot streak too: The Ape, then Sweeney Todd but now this failure of a film.
This movie is a B-Movie through and through. It was obvious from the first five minuets of the film that it was going to be cheap and boring. From what I could piece together the plot is about a group of prisoners who are stuck on a ship with a doctor running experiments on them. What experiments? Who knows. How did they all get there? I don't know. Why did they even spend time making this movie? I don't know.
The movie is short in the way of scares and very heavy in the way of "comedy". At least what they try to pass off as comedy. The whole thing is all unoriginal and trite. There is only one scene in the entire film that I enjoyed and it involves the character Harry "The Carver" Bogard in which he has been asked to give a shave to Dirk, the spineless comedic relief character. The whole scene is pretty genuine. It is the only bit of acting in the whole movie. I am going to caution you here: Do not watch this movie unless you are ready for bed as it will make you fall asleep faster than Queen of the Damned.
Favorite Quote: "Doctor, is it true that through your experiments in endocrine glands you can cure crime?"
Suggested Viewing: Ghost Ship (2002) - Steve Beck
Rating: 1 of 10
Posted on 2/02/11 08:43 AM
I am hitting a streak of really good old movies here. Sweeney Todd from 1936 is a really fantastic little film. My only experience with Sweeney Todd is Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl and Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp. I didn't really care for the Tim Burton version though. This movie is about a barber in England who kills his clients by launching them into his dungeon-like basement. I guess they break their necks or something like that. It is hinted that his victims end up in pies that are baked by his neighboring business partner, but never explicitly displayed. The two seem to be getting away with it until jealousy rears its ugly head and the relationship starts to strain. The movie doesn't do a really good job of establishing a connection between the pie maker lady and ol' Todd, however, you get the point.
The thing that I liked most about this movie would be the way that Tod Slaughter (what a name right?) portrays a really imposing figure as the titular character; he
is like the Leatherface of jolly old England. You don't get to see what he does to his victims but throughout the film you get the idea that he slit's his victims throats. He is always talking about how beautiful his straight razor looks against the victim's neck, its really creepy. Other great performances come from little Johnny Singer and Stella Rho both of whom play their parts to a T.
If you are looking for a musical or fun dance-ish version of Sweeney Todd you are going to have to look elsewhere. This is a straight forward horror movie with no frills and the intro and outro are amazing. The movie has little hangups but in short it ranks right up there with Bride of Frankenstein as being one of the greatest horror movies of the 1930's.
Suggested viewing: Sweeney Todd (2007) - Tim Burton (just watch this one for the storyline)
Rating: 8 of 10
Favorite Quote: "May I polish you off sir?"