Ian Button's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Christine (1983)
7 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I think it was a safe bet that combining the talents of John Carpenter and Stephen King was always going to deliver something memorable. Christine may not be Carpenter's best film, but it's aged incredibly well and remains one of the better King adaptations. The film works because Carpenter understands the psychological aspects of the novel and uses them to draw the viewer in, despite the fact we all know how the story will unfold. He builds the suspense and tension slowly until the shit inevitably hits the fan. All the performances are impressive, but it's Keith Gordon who carries the movie. His character's transformation from high school nerd to possessed madman is a believable one, whereas a lesser actor would've taken it over-the-top. Carpenter fills the movie with plenty of atmosphere, some wonderful cinematography, and his electronic score sets the mood perfectly. Another wise choice was to give the film a sense of humour, as the idea of a 'killer car' is a tough one to take seriously. Christine is more of a suspenseful character study than an all-out horror movie, but it remains a highlight in both Carpenter and King's careers.

Reazione a catena (A Bay of Blood) (Twitch of the Death Nerve)
27 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Another classic Italian giallo/slasher from the great Mario Bava...and one that shows just how ahead of his time this man was when it came to the genre. A Bay of Blood (aka, its much cooler alternate title 'Twitch of the Death Nerve') is considered one of the first true body count flicks, and with good cause. Bava fills the movie with plenty of atmosphere and shocks, but really this is just about watching people get killed-off in gruesome ways. The story is needlessly convoluted, and you'll probably find yourself going 'huh?' more than a few times, but it's easy to see why Friday the 13th and so many others ripped this movie off. Of course, what sets this apart from the endless wave of 80's slashers is Mario Bava. Even if the script is a bit of a mess, the movie itself is extremely stylish, with some truly impressive cinematography and camerawork. A Bay of Blood may be nearing it's 50th anniversary, but it still holds up as a hugely enjoyable and influential piece of Italian horror cinema.

Phantasm: Ravager
27 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

As a life-long Phantasm fan, this is an extremely depressing review to write. Like all fans of the franchise, I was surprised and excited when a new sequel was finally announced (it's been 18 years since the last one), but I was a little skeptical when it was revealed series creator Don Coscarelli wouldn't be returning to direct. I kept my expectations in check after the somewhat disappointing fourth entry, but I never saw this train wreck coming. Ravager is a cheap looking, horribly written and directed mess with some of the worst effects I've ever laid eyes on. This feels more like a fan-made film, shot over the weekend on someone's iPhone, rather than a true Coscarelli sequel. The only highlight the film has to offer is seeing the original cast back. Unfortunately, even they don't have much to do this time around, except Reggie Bannister, who's become the driving force behind these movies. It was bittersweet seeing Angus Scrimm play the Tall Man one last time, and his few brief scenes are really the only reason to watch this mess of a sequel. I know the Phantasm films have traditionally not made much sense, but it's like they weren't even trying this time. Since this is probably the last Phantasm flick we'll ever see, it's extremely frustrating that it doesn't even attempt to answer any of the series' long-lingering questions. It's a shame such a fun and original franchise had to go out on this sour note. The fans, and these characters, deserved better.

Stephen King's It
30 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This made for TV adaptation of Stephen King's novel aired almost 30 years ago, but I vividly remember tuning in when it first premiered and being absolutely terrified. When you mention scary clowns, there's an entire generation out there that will immediately point to Tim Curry's Pennywise. Having watched it recently I can unfortunately say it's not as scary as you may remember. However, one of the benefits of this being a miniseries is that it allows much more of the book to be included than we'd see in a theatrical release. On the flip side, being made for TV is also its biggest downfall. Even at three hours long this is an extremely stripped down version of the story, and almost all of the book's more horrific elements have either been toned down or completely removed. Sadly, this makes IT a laughably tame horror flick by todays standards. Director Tommy Lee Wallace creates as much suspense and horror as he can under the circumstances, and screenwriter Lawrence Cohen (who also adapted 'Carrie' for Brian DePalma) manages to fit in a surprising amount of character development, while staying quite faithful to King's massive novel. But let's be honest, it's Tim Curry who steals the show and is really what makes IT worth watching. The first two hours hold-up quite well, but it all goes downhill quickly after that, cumulating in a ridiculously lame finale. Those who grew up with IT will still find a lot to love, but for those without the nostalgia factor, this may be a bit of a bore.

Ghost Story
Ghost Story (1981)
43 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Based on Peter Straub's novel, Ghost Story is a decent supernatural thriller that unfortunately suffers from lack or originality, and that fact that it's just not very scary. I've never read Straub's novel (although I intend to fix that), and that's probably why I enjoyed the movie more than most. The story is fairly routine...four friends cover up a crime from their past that literally comes back to haunt them. That's about it. I'm sure the novel is far more complex, but Lawrence Cohen's screenplay strips it down to the bare essentials. The movie's main strength is the casting of Hollywood legends Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. They bring some much needed believability to an otherwise average script. Although it's Alice Krige, as the ghostly apparition, who nearly steals the show with her eerily hypnotic performance (she never blinks!). Sadly, you get the feeling the movie could've been so much more under someone familiar with the genre. Director John Irvin never really manages to conjure up any scares or suspense, and the slow pace of the film is a major issue. It's also disappointing that makeup effects masters Dick Smith and Rick Baker's work is barely given any screen time. Ghost Story has its moments, but this is actually one horror film that could use a remake.