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Every once in a while the curiosity gets to you. There?s a film sitting there, taunting you. You know it?s bad. You?ve heard all bad things. It?s a sequel to a film that was bad. But something about it draws you closer. Could be the cover? Could be the hope of redemption? Or it could be the same morbid curiosity that slows people down as they drive past accidents.
BLOOD FEAST 2: ALL YOU CAN EAT is the film that I had to see. I despised the first one, but was all but forced to buy the second. The devil works in mysterious ways. The story is simple. The Grandson of the crazy caterer from the first one has inherited the family business. He has a mindset to do a good job but the evil statue that his grandpa left in the storage room thinks otherwise. Next thing you know, the new caterer is thinking that maybe cannibalism does have its good points. Sounds like another blood feast is in the cards.
?Bloody? is the best way to describe this movie. It is exclusively made for the gorehounds as no normal person could casually watch and enjoy this. Herschell Gordon Lewis has been called the Godfather of Gore and the title is apt. All of the deaths, which include meat grinders, knives, and even melonballers, are extremely bloody and while they look very fake, the actual craftsmanship on the guts themselves is great. I didn?t look but I wouldn?t be surprised if real animal organs were used. The story is basically a cheap excuse to set up the next victim and yet another close-up of bloody goodness. Much like other exploitation movies, you?ll be hungry to see just how far the movie will go in its attempt to disgust.
The big difference between this film and its predecessor is that this film doesn?t take itself seriously at all. There is plenty of humor and pointless nudity. And even though all the nudity is great (all girls like to throw a lingerie party and dyke it out occasionally, right?) the humor is sub-Troma. Each character has a silly quirk and all are terribly overacted. But, since we?re not looking for serious, the hammy acting merely adds to the comedic factor. While I can?t imagine anybody to recommend this to, I can say that if you and the guys are getting stupid drunk one night and want to revel in bloody boobies. Then this might be the perfect film. Rent at your own risk.
Hiding on the horror shelf of your local video store is a hidden gem. It was never released in theaters but this film will still go down in history as one of the creepiest serial killer stories ever made.
THE UGLY is the story of a kid who was driven insane by an overprotective mother. As the child grows he begins to lash out and slaughter the women he meets. After his capture, he is interviewed by a hungry attorney that is determined to find out his true motivation and discover who the ?Ugly? is that he blames the murders on. Is the Ugly a ghost, a demon or just the dark side that we all possess?
Having almost no expectations going in, I was really pleasantly surprised. Although the story of a killer relating his story, as we are drawn into a world of flashbacks, is hardly new, this film is able to not only keep your attention but it quickly surpasses it?s predecessors. The flashbacks are done in a unique way as that multiple times and activities are presented at the same time. For instance, we see a murder take place at the same time as we see the police inspecting the area the next morning. Or we?ll see the interviewer walking around and commenting from within his memories. It?s a very cool and probably inexpensive effect. The use of lighting, tone, and ?jump? scares increase as the story gets more intense and the appearance of the ?Ugly? is sure to stay with the viewer for a while. In an almost Hitchcockian type of move, only black blood is used in the film. This subtle difference lessons the gore impact while creating a more surreal portrayal of the violence we?re seeing; it fits in with the mood and style of the film easily.
The acting in this film ranges from painful to very good, fortunately the main character is also the best acted. When the film begins we?re pumped full of info on all the horrible things the killer has done and then we meet him and immediately sympathize with how sweet he is and feel sorry when his guards (the bad actors) abuse him. Of course his persona gradually changes with the film and it?s done so subtly that we don?t want to accept the monster until it?s starring us in the face. Very nicely done and almost too real. The interviewer is decent but you can easily see that she studied Jodie Foster?s performance in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS before filming began. The mother character is also shown very well in her over-the-top portrayal and I?d like to meet the person that doesn?t hate her by the end. The blending of mystery and gore into the serial killer field is nothing new but always fun to see. The ?Ugly? manages to add a few spins to keep it fresh and the result is a very satisfying and sometimes horrifying thriller. If you ever wanted to take a trip into the mind of a killer but felt unsatisfied by docu-films like HENRY, you should feel right at home here.
While routing through the $6.99 and less bin at my local Media Play store I struck gold. You?d be surprised just how cheap good horror goes for these days.
HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is the second Fulci film I?ve seen (the first being ZOMBIE) and by comparison it is the better of the two. This film is about a family that buys a new house with a terrible secret. The house once belonged to a madman with the hilarious name of Dr. Freudstein. The good doctor has managed to survive in the basement of the house and will occasionally emerge to claim a victim. But what?s the most horrible isn?t that he kills people but what he does with the bodies. Only the family?s dim-witted child, who has the help of a ghost, can stop the carnage from continuing.
Probably one of the more interesting and compelling films from its time, HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY has stood the test of time pretty well. The atmosphere is creepy, the use of the painting and the vision of the mannequin were done very well. The acting for the most part was serviceable but not memorable. The dubbing on the little boy was just awful and really needs to be redone in the case of a future re-release. The kills are very gory and, in true Fulci style, are drawn out painfully long. An example would be that Fulci couldn?t just have a quick slice across a throat. He has to have a series of cuts followed by the removal of the head. Would the plot be affected if it were just one slice? No, but I sure as hell remember it better due to the mere shock value. Cool Stuff.
Now for my big beef: I?ve seen two Fulci movies and he does this in both of them and I hate it. Why, for the love of god, do his characters just stand and scream. Freudstein moves at about an inch per hour. The whole family could easily live their lives in the house and ignore him because there is no way he should be able to catch him. The climax of the film takes forever because the monster has to stop, think, stop, take a step, stop, etc? and the guys just stand there and take the hit. I was just yelling, ?MOVE! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!? The fact that this problem is so stupid and easy to avoid and so completely and utterly unnecessary and that it almost ruins a perfectly good movie is a crime. Nothing is worse then building up the horror of a villain only to find out its as dangerous as a 90 year old blind man trying to spit on you. Grrrrrr? And then you let the spit hit you?!? Despite the lackluster performance by the Doctor, the film was enjoyable and had moments of intense fright. I?d say that most any horror film fan will find something to like and at the very least it?s fun to do MST3K during the Doctor?s big scene.
I went to see this Australian import the other day right after I walked out of CHICAGO... big mistake. If there is any movie depressing enough to knock you off your booze and jazz this is it.
The basic plot of this TRUE story is the kidnapping of a trio of young aborigines. Because they are mixed breed or half white, they are taken from their homes and forced into a "Learn how to be white" camp. The hope of the government is to mix them into white society and by the third generation the Aborigine blood wouldn't be visible. Kind of protecting the white half while killing the native half. They are merely savages after all.:rolleyes: Anyway, the three little girls decide to escape and head home. Fortunately Austraila has giant fences that stretch across the entire country. They are designed to keep non native rabbits from reaching farmland, but they serve more as a guide here. I'll stop now because I don't want to give anymore away but the chase/journey home is wrought with hardship and trials.
This is not a great movie. It has simple acting (the kids at the camp are awful), many shots that depend more on showing off the countryside then the characters, and much of the time the story is slow and you want to slap the girls for making poor decisions. But the power of the film isn't about it's production values, it's about the story and the events it's based on. This makes the film an important one. The idea that there was still such oppression on the natives of Austraila all the way up to the 70s and the awful fate of the characters after the film stopped will make your heart sob. I think that everyone who has ever loved a parent or a child should see this movie and take it's lessons to heart. But if you're a simple teen just hoping to see some topless natives... this isn't your film.
As usual, the treat of being able to see a new Jackie Chan movie brought me to an early showing last night. Even though this was a sequel, the hope that Owen Wilson being more original then Chris Tucker had me anticipating good things... and I was almost right.
Shanghai Knights is the continuing story of two cowboy wannabes trying to find there place in the world. As the story opens we find that although they ended the last movie with a box of gold and two way-hotties things change and once again the characters are unhappily poor and off the track they want to follow. Jackie is cut off from his family and Owen is pimping himself to make ends meet. When news comes that there was a murder in Jackie's family and a royal treasure has been stolen the pair make their way to a late 19th century Britian and meet up with Jackie's sister who also takes the case. Mayhem of course insues after that.
I'll start by saying that although there are many problems with the film I did enjoy myself and I found it to be worthy of a sequel (Since I don't think it would've been good as a stand alone film). The good things in this movie include some rather great lines from Owen, a few very talented fight scenes and a female lead that makes Lucy Liu look like Bea Arthur. The overall story is typical and predictable with all the things you'd expect from a follow-up: new local, more heroes in the group, worse villians with a grander scheme, etc. The audiance will still laugh at the jokes and 'oooh' at Chan's fabulous work. The problems start with the writing in this one. It's obvious that the writing team watches a lot of movies because everytime they run out of steam they decide to rip another movie off (especially Indiana Jones) or rehash a joke from the first movie (characters named Conan Arthur Doyle and Charlie Chapman). The comedy aspect is also very uneven in that it will vary between downright clever and brain poundingly stupid. It's like you had the writer's jokes and Wilson's jokes and neither were going to bend to the others style. Another thing that has been occuring lately in Chan's films is the need for hollywood to interfere in his choreography. What do I mean? Well... most people like Chan's stunts and fights because they used regular household objects and were very hard to predict. It seems that lately there are more absurd things (spinning fireplaces, people flying unnaturally) that make it look more like a Universal Studios stunt show or even... the last Charlie's Angels movie. Chan doesn't need wires, he doesn't need actors hamming up the fights, just let him do what he does best. There I've vented. As I said before, the movie still provides a good time but It lacks the originality of the original (heh) and will probably disappear the same as Operation Condor 2 or Rush Hour 2. Hopefully Jackie will break out of the cliche soon and get some real films behind him. I'll definitely be there to see it.