Willard Moulton III's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Severance (2006)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Severence (2006)

Directed by: Christopher Smith
Produced by: Steve Christian, Michael Kuhn
Written by: James Moran, Christopher Smith

Cinematography: Ed Wild
Editing: Stuart Gazzard
Soundtrack: Christian Henson

Actors: Toby Stephens, Claudie Blakley, Andy Nyman, Babou Ceesay, Tim McInnerney


Goldilocks and the Three Bears, meet Christopher Smith. Christopher Smith, meet Stanley Kubrick. Stanley Kubrick, meet the B-Movie horror genre. B-Movies, let?s introduce you to the new millenium.

When Saw came out, I wasn?t the least bit surprised that the industry of horror films had struck so low a point as to take the gore/special effects sequences of our favorite classic slasher flicks and throw them together and call them the film?s ?gimmick?. It was definitely American B-Movies that inspired the latest craze in filmmaking to be splurges of blood-drenched scenes, and it is certainly not overlooked by critics such as myself who have actually taken the time to enjoy the cult-cinema of the 60?s, through really the 80?s, when lower budget constraints lead to more buckets of paint rather than a stronger selection of screenwriting. However, while in the ?old days?, when a B-Movie was billed next to an A-Movie and a short, in today?s world, most of the B-Movies that are released are given short runs in select theaters before going directly to video. These are the cherished winners, the shining light on the film schools of America that had done during the 90?s an incredible amount of output of marginally disposable horror films. Scream Trilogy, anyone?

Interestingly, the new era of filmmaking is doing a fantastic job mimicking the ways of the older cinema/nickelodeon. The direct-to-video horror genre propelled by horror festivals and the pressures some of these young directors must feel from student loans has lead to quite a surplus of incredibly grotesque underground movies.

Severance is now the one, though. The film by Christopher Smith borrows heavily on the Saw premise of nonstop surprises and successfully takes it a step further out into the realm of, yes that?s right I?m drawing a parrallel to classics with this thrilling piece of entertainment, Stanley Kubrick. I think Mr. Smith would be proud of that distinction, but he earned it, and if Kubrick was still alive I think he?d get a kick out of this.

The plot is far from vague, and for this reason we find ourselves literally engrossed in the action throughout the film. By keeping up with the times while putting a hand right on the pressure of changing world political systems, the film plays right onto our daily phobias and paranoias.

It stars a group of weapons manufacurers from Great Britain. They work for a global conglomerate responsible for supplying guns and ammunition to (of course,) armed forces, national security, as well as terrorists. But as we all know, one of those three bears is sure to bite the hand that feeds it. However, while the group is out on a team-building resort getaway in Romania, the question is simple: ?How well does a group of weapons specialists fare when their weapons are stripped and they are left completely abondoned in the middle of nowhere??

It might not sound spooky yet, and believe me, they don?t have much to be scared of in the real world, so don?t expect them to act like the Sorority Girl Massacre girls that we?re so used to in even big-budget horrorfilms of today. They seem, especially at first, fairly impervious to fright or even the creepiness of the vacant, run down, low-ceiling and bug-infested house they land themselves in. As an audience, though, we can tell the trouble is brewing just by the dramatic and excellent soundtrack. The guy in the woods with the briefcase may be a big hint as well, but as that the movie plays it safe with the supplemental humor shots, we are constantly brought further into the movie?s suspenseful clamber until by the end we are gasping for breath.

The horror movie genre is still running strong, but a sidestep from the normal zombie-fare is currently especially juicy, so grab a bag of popcorn and dim the lights, but don?t pop the mushroom bag open like poor Steve. No, we don?t want you to actually survive this movie. And we won?t pay your severance.


Almost Heroes
Almost Heroes (1998)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Top Three Films of all time.


Heartstopper (2006)
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Heartstopper (2006) 10/10

***WARNING*** Explicit language Possible spoilers...

"You have the right to shut the f*ck up!"

Directed Bob Keen, best known for working on Dog Soldiers, Event Horizon, & Hellraiser, directs his best in Heartstopper, a supernatural horror slasher starring Robert Englund, Meredith Henderson, James Binkley, & Nathan Stephenson.

Heartstopper was one of the best movies I've seen in a while. But at first glance, it was just a normal slasher rehash of Jason and the Friday the 13th series. Possibly Robert Englund's best movie or career move since the Nightmare On Elm Street series, this movie almost certainly eclipses in that popularly acclaimed title if you even go by the standards of cinematics such as believability, cinematography (for the most part excellently handled by David Mitchell), and acting. The plot is similar, and heavy in it's dutiful commitment to the unoriginality of yet another supernatural serial killer in the already over-saturated market. Let's face it though, there's quite a high bar for Heartstopper to meet. To say that it over-qualifies is an understatement.

In this movie, we begin with the obvious necessities in horror, the threat of extreme danger in the form of an inmate who has killed quote; "A gazillion" people. It's fairly obvious by the casting of Robert Englund as the sheriff in charge of his execution, the danger is going to be more extreme than we might be ready for. There is a man who we normally fear in charge now, and we feel safe. Seeing the killer, Chambers, in the electric chair is an early satisfaction that this movie will make up for in short time.

Next, the character development happens so rapidly, we are almost rooting for the villain for a while. But surely as we get to the scene where the killer's power is revealed, we soon understand that his obsession for human hearts is more than a superficiality or gimmick, it's his superpower. But more than that, it's a metaphor for the wrath of the epitomized sin of humanity, exhibited in the killer's own admittance of motivation, as well as his supposed hidden motive of self-disgust.

The camera stays active, although trapped in the halls of an old insane asylum for the duration of the film. But it seems like most of the camera work is done off-screen, where our imaginations are oft lead to go astray in confused assumptive attempts to make sense of what literally seems like at first to be hell on earth.

The characters who seem weak, are the ones left at the end, and by now they are strengthened to their maximum giving the heartfelt acting towards the end an extra charge of imminent importance in the wake of the extra-excessive gore effects used in absence of a substantial need for an exaggerated plot. It's simple, it works, and it's scary.

As for that old scare factor, though, less attention is put on it than normal for this type of fare. Most of the times that I jumped out of my seat were actually from just the raising tension when I was suspending myself in midair ready to shout "NO! DON'T GO AROUND THAT CORNER!" Thankfully this was a DVD release, and I wasn't blocking anybody's view behind me in a theater.

Get your budget dollars ready next time you visit the DVD store. Looking for a showstopper? Get Heartstopper. Your guaranteed to miss at least a beat.

"Well, most would call it the stuff of nightmares, I'm afraid."

Heartstopper (2006) 10/10

36th Chamber of Shaolin (Shao Lin san shi liu fang)
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

SHAO LIN SAN SHI LIU FANG (Master Killer) Director: Chia-Liang Liu Writer: Kuang Ni "For one's country, one takes risk." Here in America, the people walk through their daily lives as if mandatory cogs in the wheel of social and economic progression. We take risks, if necessary, but otherwise lead completely safe lives under the wing of democracy and police surveillance. A lot is taken for granted, and not all of us ever would have stepped into the World Trade Center as it crumbled to the Earth, but the donations were all left with neat and tidy care packages as the firemen walked around in a glass haze of destruction. There is not much that America holds onto as far as risks.

China, has always been a mainstay of American idolism, with the aspects of Kung-Fu, science, and Buddhism that trickle in across the oceans that separate us. Needless to say, there are many sharp contrasts between our cultures even in today's modern age. For one, the Chinese adhere to Communism, whereas our government only takes advantage of the loopholes to create an illusion of Republic.

"I should have learned kung fu, instead of ethics. If I could fight, I could've stopped them!" Kung-Fu, another mainstay of cinematic culture in America had its beginnings in the ancient days of Buddhism, when teachers at select schools of thought allowed their students to take up boxing. It began as Karate, and quickly evolved to contain a more fluid motion and movement in fighting style. Buddhists were not allowed to actually hurt other people, so the reason for their training remained mysterious until the Wu-Tang or Southern revolution that caused the burning of the main temple in Shaolin.

Master Killer, or "The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin", is based on the legends that stirred around after the Southern farming lands of China reclaimed their unity across China. The ideas that were based in Shaolin at the time were based on a 35 Chamber training session that culminated in a mastering of physical movement to ultimately understand all of the major forms of fighting that could be used in battle. As we see in the film, this was not at all constrained to the average stuff that is taught today at modern Kung-Fu schools in America. In fact, many of their practices would be made illegal if introduced these days in America.

Gordon Liu, by far one of the most underlooked and best Kung-Fu actors in the business shines like a star in this film. From the opening credits' grunting display of superior Kung-Fu, to the humbleness of his approach to the temple, we see a young man struggling against the oppression of China's police state known as Manchu. This was the idea of the film, no doubt, to show that even a young apprentice with limited expertise could ideally become one of the grand masters in a trade. Nonetheless, the end sequence is so moving that we feel as though the American "Rocky" series owes more to it than anything ever done in American boxing.

This is the greatest training film ever made, surpassing anything I've ever seen in the way of showing how a young man can be transformed over time to an archetypical master of trade. Martial arts films were at one time real, as this demonstrates for us, and not whimsical art-fests of CGI graphics. The results are stunning, amazing, awestriking, and worth the time of every view. The direction is superb, and the writing is hard-hitting to the point of sublime reaction.

"After all, those who are in charge must be very humble" MASTER KILLER (1978): 10/10 Actors: Chia Hui Liu, Lieh Lo, Chia Yung Liu, Norman Chu, Yang Yu Producer: Mona Fong, Run Run Shaw, Chia-Hsi Huang Cinematographer: Huang Yeh-Tai Music: Yung-Yu Chen Editor: Hing Lung Gueng, Yen Hae Li