Directed by Brad Anderson
Written by Brad Anderson and Stephen Gevedon
Starring: David Caruso, Peter Mullan, Stephan Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas, Brendon Sexton III
IMDb 6.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes 63% Metacritic 58/100
I finally got to watch this the other morning. Unfortunately, I was out of sugar so I didn’t get to have my morning coffee while I watched it. That would have been quite the excellent morning wake up for that particular day. I just happened to catch this as it started on one of the cable movie channels, Starz I think. It got my attention right away.
I have always been fascinated by abandoned places, how nature just takes over when we leave structures to her devices. These places tend to look grim, dark, eerie, even sinister at times. (At least in my opinion.) Many times it looks as if time just stood still. And sometimes, these places look like time has forgotten about the area altogether. You can find tons of images online of these places…abandoned houses with furniture still in place and clothes neatly hanging in closets, dishes on tables and detergents in cabinets, toys on the floor. There’s abandoned malls with empty display cases and clothes racks still standing, sometimes a sale sign is still visible through the snow that has fallen through the broken skylights, remnants of escalators and stairs, metal trim hanging from rails, bent chairs from the food court overturned and rusted. There’s houses full of sand out in the middle of the desert, abandoned Olympic venues like cross country running tracks, swimming pools and bobsled tracks, theme parks and tourist attractions and tons of empty parking structures related to these locations. And then there’s abandoned mental hospitals, those places the state would send a person when it was decided that they were not mentally capable of functioning in any other place and most certainly not on their own without supervision, therapy, treatment or medication of some sort.
Abandoned hospitals have always held a certain place in modern horror. It’s always been somewhat lore or urban legend that the tortured souls of the mentally ill patients that were once treated at these facilities (and possibly some staff who died while working there) remain in these structures long after any sign of life has left the premises.
In this film, we follow five guys, well…four guys and a newbie, as they remove asbestos from an abandoned asylum, Danvers State Hospital. We have Gordon (Mullan), who is the owner of the small asbestos removal company that’s been hired to do the work. He is married and is a proud new papa of a baby girl but, times are hard and money is tight. Gordon is feeling the stress both at home and at work. He really needed this gig and in order to get it, he said they could complete the job in a week instead of the two weeks (minimum) his buddy Phil (Caruso) first stated it would take to finish. While surveying the work to be done Gordon actually hears a voice coming from somewhere in the hospital but, he brushes it off and moves on. Phil is in kind of an awkward spot in life himself. He recently lost his girlfriend to his co-worker Hank (Josh Lucas) and takes his mind off of it by smoking weed in secret so no one knows. Out in the open, Phil harasses Hank every chance he gets. It’s obvious Phil has been around longer than Hank and is definitely closer to Gordon and Phil seems to use this to his advantage to get over on Hank as much as he can. Then there’s Mike. Mike is a law school dropout. He’s incredibly smart and seems to be rethinking his rebellion against the white-collar path of his father. He also seems to be questioning a lot of the decisions he’s made and where he’s ended up, almost like a mid-life crisis but, before 30. Also, Mike finds some recordings of therapy sessions that he gets very interested in but, I’ll get to that in a minute. Finally, we have Jeff. Jeff is Gordon’s nephew. He’s young, inexperienced, a newbie at…well…everything (sometimes it seems like even breathing is a new concept to this kid). I do think the kid has a brain in there somewhere because he throws out some smarts every once in a while. However, I think his brain gets jumbled and his smarts get lost and he comes off very stupid. I don’t know for sure how old he’s supposed to be but he’s late teens, early twenties. I’m gonna say nineteen. And he acts it. But then again, so does Hank, so…
Back to Mike and the recordings…
Mike knows quite a bit about the hospital. He knows about what kind of treatment practices went on at the time it was a fully functioning facility…ECT (basically electro-shock therapy), hydrotherapy, lobotomies, a number of things. Now like I said before, while they are working Mike finds some recordings of some therapy sessions of a former patient, Mary Hobbes who was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder). He finds these tapes when he goes downstairs to check a tripped breaker that made his machine stop running. He finds nine sessions to be exact, seemingly one per box and labeled per session. Initially, he starts listening to just to see what they are. But as he gets further and further into the sessions, he gets so much more involved. He starts taking notes on the case, making notes about Mary and each of her identities.
While they work this job a number of strange things happen. Tensions continue to rise and stress gets so thick and heavy you could cut it with a knife. Eventually, everything gets out of hand and people get hurt.
But, that’s all I’m going to say. Because I liked the movie a lot and I don’t want to spoil anything.
Like I said in my opening, I have always had a fascination with abandoned places. I can spend hours looking at photos online from urban explorers and professional photographers that have captured these forgotten places on film. And it IS true that mental hospitals, psych wards and such, are by far the creepiest of all the places I’ve looked at. One of the coolest things about this film is that Danvers State Hospital does actually exist and they filmed the majority of the movie there, on site. A lot of the building is said to have been unsafe for filming however, they were able to use a small area and I think that it was executed very well. They didn’t even need many props or anything because, having been a fully functioning asylum fifteen years prior to filming, there were numerous items still left behind, like the wheelchair we see in a hallway or the bathtubs in the hydrotherapy room (wicked scene, this is obviously a treatment that would have made any SANE person feel trapped, I can only imagine how someone who was perhaps deeply disturbed would have felt about it or reacted to it). Plus, I’ve seen many photos online of abandoned asylum building where there are old files on the floors or old file cabinets with papers and folders still inside them. So, to me, it’s not far out that Mike would find such things in the asylum while on this clean up job. I’d probably be more surprised if he didn’t find anything.
I thought the movie was good. I liked the actors. I think they did their parts justice. I also think that if one of those big time major production houses had picked up this film instead of these guys having to go the indie route that it would have been a much more successful venture for them. It wasn’t weird for me to see David Caruso (a lot of people recognize his character Horatio Cane from CSI: Miami) smoking weed either. I’ve seen him in another movie with Nicholas Cage called Kiss of Death (1995). Not the best movie in the world but, certainly not the worst. Anyways, Caruso is no angel in that movie. He’s no villain but, no angel either…that’s for sure. And I think the writers (one of them is the guy who plays Mike by the way) really tried to think their plot through. However, I also think they wanted something a little more mind probing and thought provoking, rather than just hand you every little thing about the movie on a silver platter. Sometimes, the writer or director (or both) like to make you think a little bit, stimulate your brain cells, make you think things through and try to apply reason and logic to a situation where such things do not exist. It’s more fun that way.
UPDATE: Here is the Danvers State Hospital website. They have some fantastic images of the hospital on here. www.danversstateinsaneasylum.com
Directed and Written by
Based on the novella by Stephen King
IMDb 6.1/10 Rotten Tomatoes 50% Metacritic NO DATA
Okay guys, this is a three-hour flick. If you can get through it, it’s a good movie. Most Stephen King stories make good movies. But, it IS long and it DOES take some time to develop. They ask the same questions of each other over and over again when the audience has it figured out in a matter of seconds. If you can stomach that, you’ll be fine.
The story is about eleven people. Eleven people on a red-eye American Pride flight. Flight #29, destination…Boston. But they soon have to make a detour into…The Twilight Zone. No, I’m kidding, I couldn’t resist. They experience issues in flight that make them have to land in Bangor, Maine. And here’s why.
During the flight, they hit something “like” turbulence but NOT turbulence and all the passengers, except those sleeping, disappear. I’m talking the passengers, the flight attendants (back then they were called stewardesses), the pilots, everyone not sleeping. When they disappeared, anything not biological remained either in their seat on the plane or on the floor near where they were sitting. It’s an eerie sight.
And then there’s the sound when they land in Bangor. It’s very faint at first but, it grows closer and louder as time goes on. Dinah is the first to hear it. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, they find the airport they land at, a usually bustling place, to be completely bare and deserted. The whole place is without a soul to be found. It looks like a ghost town. There’s also no power. When they get to a food vendor and taste the food, it’s flavorless and awful to eat. They also discover that they can’t light matches that they find in the airport and that the soda (or pop, if you prefer, depending on where you’re from) doesn’t have any carbonation and is flat. (We ALL know THAT tastes horrible.)
Oh, then there’s Mr. Craig Toomy. Narcissistic, in a hurry and delusional. What a perfect freakin’ combination!!!! Toomy, getting more and more unstable the longer he is forced to wait in the empty airport, finds a gun there and takes a hostage, trying to force take off. Now, Captain Brian has theorized that since the matches and all that are “lifeless”, the fuel there will be too. He believes that the turbulence they experienced was caused by passing through an aurora borealis, entering a time rift that sent them a few minutes into the past, thus making them out of sync with everything and everyone else.
So, when Toomy tries to shoot Albert, who chooses to play hero, the bullet merely bounces off of him and falls to the floor. This allows the capture of Toomy and Nick ties him up.
Meanwhile, they also discover that inside the plane is the present. So, it’s like the plane is a jar and everything inside the jar is “the present” and everything outside the jar is “the past’. Inside the plane all the food is delicious, the matches from the plane work (See how long ago this was made people? They used to give out matches on planes and in airports). Because the plane is still “the present” anything brought on the plane, like matches from the airport, will “catch up” to them and then be in great condition. SO, the matches from the airport WILL work, it just takes a little time. Brian suspects the same will be true about the fuel.
While they are preparing to take off, Toomy escapes and kills Don and fatally wounds Dinah in the process. Still, they refuel the plane and Dinah warns them against hurting Toomy, claiming he is needed.
As they board the plane, the sound they were hearing is loud and very near. It soon breaches the horizon and these creatures appear. Mr. Jenkins refers to them as Langoliers, creatures that feed on the time that has past. Mr. Craig Toomy believes they are creatures that have come to eat him because he’s been bad and has been a lazy worker and person. (Interesting theory. It’s what he was told growing up by his father. Nice bedtime story huh?)
Finally, as they get ready to take off, Toomy comes running out of the airport in a panicked stupor. As the Langoliers get closer, they target Toomy, allowing the rest of the passengers on the plane to escape and take off.
Once in flight, however, it occurs to Jenkins that the only reason they survived the first pass through the time rift was because they were all asleep. Quickly they have to figure out a plan to knock themselves out in a safe way in order to sleep through passing through the rift but still be able to wake afterward.
Captain Engle suggests that they lower the air pressure in the cabin to where they pass out. The only drawback is that one person has to stay awake to up the pressure right before they enter the time rift…or they’ll all die.
So, because of his history, Nick decides that he’s going to do one good thing with his miserable life and he’s the one that stays awake, flips the switch and saves the day. And it works.
Like I said, I like this film. It was originally a TV mini-series that played over a two-night span, I believe. I don’t remember for sure. I’d have to look it up. But, it’s a fun story of Stephen King’s. I mean, creatures that chomp away at time just a few minutes after it’s passed us by? What kind of a crazy idea is that?! What’s even crazier is they do a fantastic job putting that into perspective in the movie particularly when they are leaving the Bangor airport. You actually see, well, what’s left of the past get eaten away. It’s almost surreal.
Each character seems to play a part also. Although each may not be as influential or as important as another. For instance, Bob Jenkins is very influential in putting all the pieces together however Albert, who seems like a nobody and frankly, a weakling, saves Bethany from Toomy. So everybody seems to do their part. King has a way of intertwining characters so that they are needed for the story, no matter how insignificant they may be at the time. Laurel becomes Dinah’s caretaker after her aunt disappears in the flight. See what I mean?
So, if you get the chance, this movie may be what many of you might consider old (I laugh and assure you it’s not, movies from the 30s are old, this is mid 90s so, cut us some slack) but it is definitely worth watching. Who knows, you may even like it enough to want to watch it again. The thing about King stories, you almost never catch EVERYTHING the FIRST time you watch.
Directed by William Lustig
Written by C.A. Rosenberg, Joe Spinell
Joe Spinell as Frank Zito
Caroline Munro as Anna
IMDb 6.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes 39% Metacritic NO DATA
I have had my eye on this film for quite some time. It was highly controversial when it came out, which was at the height of the 80s slasher film craze. 1980 was a crazy year for the slasher film. So many films were trying to stretch into new realms of the horror genre. Originally released unrated, it was specifically marketed to people over the age of 17. Eventually, it received an R rating BUT, went through a small period of being banned in the UK.
The story takes place in New York City. A grown man, Frank Zito, murders and scalps young women, taking them home and adding their scalps and/or corpses to his mannequin collection. He has very apparent mommy issues and a real insecurity with women. Frank was abused by his mother, who was a prostitute. This sprouted a hated for women in him and as he grew older it grew into a violent and hateful contempt.
First off, let me say that I’ve seen Joe Spinell in a few movies and he always looks old, he always looks the same and he always looks like a serial killer. The guy is like the poster boy for serial killer central, as far as looks go. (I’ve been watching true crime for 20 years. I’ve seen serial killers of all kinds. Spinell is “aces” in the “creepo” department.
But, his actual ability to convey the behavior of a serial killer…eh. There’s a point in the film where Frank is supposed to be crying or sobbing himself to sleep and honestly, it’s one of the worst and most annoying sounds ever. It couldn’t sound anymore forced or fake.
I suppose the idea behind the plot is a fairly good one. I mean, while the research shows that most serial killers were abused as children, the fact is that the majority of the victimized DO NOT grow up to be victimizers themselves. So, it’s not a stretch that an abused boy with a fractured psyche might not be able to handle his emotions in a healthy and productive manner.
However, the big controversy of the film was the violence. I love a good splatter movie any day. This would qualify…if I had turned the sound off. What little dialogue there was, wasn’t very good. I read that the film had a $350,000 budget and was basically filmed on the fly, with no filming permits, with little props (using what’s on hand and available) and filming in real locations on a whim. It shows. Interestingly, the film grossed $10 million at the box office in spite of the flat plot, skeletal dialogue and basic filming.
The bonus of the film was we get a fairly decent kill scene with the one and only Tom Savini as a victim. That’s actually the scene that sticks out the most to me. Unfortunately, the film really didn’t have a lot of substance. You know, like Halloween (1978) kind of set the bar and the formula for the ideal slasher flick. The plot was basic but, there was enough that went on that you didn’t lose your target audience, the audience didn’t get bored. This film just seemed to be a camera following an ugly guy around while he tried to get up the nerve to make it with a hot chick and when he got the opportunity, he failed miserably and got all pissy and killed her. (That’s actually more common in real life than you might think...among psychos at least.)
This film was re-made in 2012 starring Elijah Wood. I have that version too. I’m hoping it is better. This one was just okay. I thought being a classic slasher film that it would have been better. My hopes were sadly dashed by the harsh reality of Joe Spinell and the fact that not only is he not the best serial killer actor he’s not the best horror writer either.
Directed by Marc Meyers
Starring: Ross Lynch, Alex Wolff, Dallas Roberts, Anne Heche
IMDb 6.3/10 Rotten Tomatoes 86% Metacritic 68/100
I wanted to see this film because it is based off of the graphic novel I did a review on of the same name, My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf. You can read that review HERE.
This film was surprisingly good. Not only did it follow the graphic novel extremely well, the few things they seemed to add for dramatic effect were done just right.
In this film, we get a close up and personal look at what Jeffrey Dahmer was like as a teenager. He seemed to just live in a lost and miserable existence, unsure of his place in his home, his school, society and the world. It’s obvious that Jeff’s parents are clueless about what is going on in his daily life and completely in denial about what was in his head.
Jeff seemed to walk around in a pitiful, depressed posture, drawing the attention of the typical high school bullies. The first brush at a chance of a friendship he got was quickly batted down when the bullies targeted the other kid in an even worse way than they did Dahmer. My guess is, while he wanted a friend, he didn’t want to be friends with someone ELSE that got hammered on a daily basis and just took it.
His parent’s marriage was completely and utterly dysfunctional. Jeff’s mother was, in some way, ill. I don’t know if it was a mental illness or if it was the drug and alcohol abuse by itself but, she was very hard to handle and it made life difficult for everyone, especially Lionel, Jeff’s father. By senior year, Jeff’s parents were getting divorced, his father had moved into an apartment and his mother moved to his grandmother’s with his little brother, leaving him in the family home all alone to do as he pleased when he pleased, answering to no one.
Senior year was also when things seemed to somewhat turn around for Dahmer. He started acting out at school, having these “spaz” attacks and making people laugh. He then realized that the class clown doesn’t get bullied near as much as the class nerd or class nobody. This led to a small group of boys becoming what they would name “the Dahmer Fan Club”. This would also be the closest semblance to friendship he would ever have in his life.
Throughout all of his high school years Dahmer collected and dissected roadkill. He tried soaking the dead animals in acid to rid the carcasses of the flesh. He even had a hut in the woods where he had a number of dead animals covered in liquid and stored in jars.
Though he had his fan club and they hung out at school, Jeff didn’t have anyone outside of school and he didn’t have anyone at home. This bitter loneliness coupled with the anger pent up inside over years of bullying, dysfunction and feelings of inadequacy, led him to start drinking…and heavily. Soon, all he was known for was the smell of liquor that trailed behind him everywhere he went and loomed over him when he was stationary.
It’s easy, when watching this film, to see Dahmer as a human being instead of a monster, as a misunderstood kid, as an ignored and neglected son. It’s very simple to see why he was so depressed, why he felt out of place, why he just didn’t ever seem to fit in.
On the other hand, the feelings he got from having friends and making people laugh, it’s a little difficult to understand why he didn’t make friends easier and why he wasn’t more social. Once that door opened, he seemed to do well with it, under the class clown guise. Couldn’t he have done the same by toning down the goofiness a little and talking to some people after he started being liked a bit?
Anyways, I thought this film was very well done with respect to the book. I also think it gives excellent insight to what people actually knew at the time versus what shows up in hindsight.
While in hindsight the signs are always very apparent, it’s easy to see how no one person was able to put everything together at the time. If you want some insight beyond the “monster” image, then this is a good film to watch.
Ralph S. Singleton
David Andrews as John Hall
(the drifter, on cleanup crew)
Stephen Macht as Warwick
(the mill foreman)
Kelly Fox as Jane Wisconsky
(tough chick, foreman has thing for her, cleanup crew)
Brad Dourif as Tucker Cleveland
(the wacky exterminator)
Vic Pilizos as Brogan
(a schmuck that likes to bully fellow workers, on cleanup crew)
Jimmy Woodward as Charlie Carmichael
(young, quiet rookie on cleanup crew)
Susan Lowden as Daisy May
(bossman’s latest fling, on cleanup crew to her dismay)
Ilona Margolis as Nordello
Minor Rootes as Stevenson
(fellow schmuck and bully, on cleanup crew)
Andrew Divoff as Danson
(another schmucko that likes to bully workers)
IMDb 4.8/10 Rotten Tomatoes 13% Metacritic 28%
It took overnight for this movie to really sink in and make sense. To me, there are a lot of holes in the story. The basic plot-line is this:
A mill that had been closed down for some time has recently been reopened. It’s a cotton mill. The problem is that due to lack of care during abandonment and severe weather and rat infestation damage, the basement needs to be completely cleared out and cleaned up to make space for offices to be set up down there.
The rat infestation is out of control. They definitely seem to think they are in control of this mill and not human beings. Speaking of human beings, most of the men in this movie barely qualify for that title. They are more like pigs are dogs, definitely animals.
Anyways, a number of people are assigned to the cleanup crew, after all, it pays double-time. But, a few people are not thrilled that they have been picked for the daunting task. Most of all, Daisy May, the foreman’s latest worktime squeeze. I guess she figured she had earned no cleanup…on her back. However, it seems that Warwick, the foreman, doesn’t mix business and pleasure in THAT way and she receives NO special treatment.
As they start the cleanup, which must be done on the graveyard shift so the mill can run during the day, strange things begin to happen…and people start to get scared…and killed.
Now, this guy Warwick is a real sleaze. He’s the epitome of a list of DON’Ts for being in management. The guy could be the poster boy for employee abuse, sexual harassment and male chauvinism. A real winner, let me tell ya.
Our drifter, John Hall, he’s a normal kind of guy. A little quiet and withdrawn at first, he soon opens up to Jane. Now, even though Warwick is already sleeping with Daisy May he has no issues with trying to get Jane into the sack. Jane obviously loathes him but, apparently has agreed to an arrangement that if she sleeps with Warwick a few times a week she gets better hours, pay, treatment. And he treats her like crap so, I can only imagine how he’d be if he wasn’t getting some from her. Total jerk.
So, while they are all downstairs in this dark, dank, disgusting basement some are sorting through boxes of files, some are piling up damaged furniture and one guy is trying eradicate the rats with a firehose. (That seems so counterproductive since the plan is too CLEAN UP the basement, not flood it. But hey, moving on…)
So, throughout their cleaning and spraying the hell out of rats, they discover that a boatload of crap isn’t the only thing downstairs. There’s some kind of monster, killing people, eating them.
Who is going to make it out alive? You’ll have to watch to find out.
I thought this movie was okay. I felt like there were a lot of open ended things that they could have wrapped up better. I’ve not read the actual short story so I don’t know what was included or omitted. But, we get almost no background on this mill, no information as to what this monster thing is, no information about any of the characters. Everything was just kind of thrown together in this mill and people die. I was disappointed in the special effects. Just a few blood splatters and a tiny bit of the monsters. I expected more gore.
Since this IS a Stephen King story I can’t hate it too much but, this isn’t one of the better movies made from King’s works. Probably worth watching at least the one time.
Directed by Jonathan Lynn
Starring: Tim Curry, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, Michael McKean, Colleen Camp, Lee Ving
IMDb 7.3/10 Rotten Tomatoes 59% Metacritic 36%
Some scenes depicted in this trailer do NOT appear in final release of film.
So, imagine my surprise when I saw online that some places consider CLUE a horror movie! Now, I love this movie. I mean, ever since I was a little kid I have loved this movie. In fact, I’ll give you the quick story of the memory attached to it. Here goes:
I was a small child when this came out, just five years old. A few years later, it happened to be on TV the night my parents were getting ready to go to my Dad’s father’s funeral, my GrandDad. My parents thought my brother and I were too young to attend a Catholic funeral at that age. To Mom, the idea of an open casket at about eight years old and the heavy emotional environment and surroundings, well, she thought that just might be too much for such a young kid. Dad, well, I know Dad agreed with that but, I think it was more he didn’t want me to see two specific things. 1. He didn’t want me to remember my GrandDad that way and 2. He didn’t want me to see him cry.
My brother and I were in the living room watching this film as Mom and Dad are getting dressed for the funeral. Keep in mind, I’m only like eight years old at the time. The movie ends and I go downstairs to the basement to our rec-room for something. I had already told my brother, who was three years older, that I was a little creeped out because of the movie. (I don’t know why! I think because, at that age, all the death and the “whodunit” aspect spooked me. Plus, a lot of the movie the characters are without lights, so that added to the creepiness. I was also creeped out by our basement. My childhood home was the original farmhouse in the neighborhood, built in 1901. So, the basement seemed to just hurl evil and scream monsters and death at me as a kid.
So, I grab my little stuffed Christmas dog to protect me and I headed downstairs. I crept down the staircase one step at a time, slowly, carefully, looking down into the dank, darkness just waiting for something to rush me and grab me. Halfway down the stairs, whatever I went down to the rec-room for was no longer important and all I wanted was to turn around and bolt up the stairs. I turn to take my first step up and “BOO!!!!” There’s my brother, nose to nose with me, yelling “Boo” at me and scaring the bejeezes out of me. I got so mad I ran up the stairs, past him laughing hysterically for “getting me good” and I run straight to my Dad and told him what happened. By this time, I am bawling as if someone just ran over my favorite pet and that infuriated Dad. Not to mention that my brother was pulling this kind of crap while they are getting ready to go bury Dad’s father.
Yes, my brother got in trouble. Major…trouble.
Later, I watched the movie again and I found it hilarious. I couldn’t figure out why it had creeped me out (I still think it was the combination of the all over circumstances) but, I wasn’t creeped out anymore. I laughed almost all the way through. After that, I watched it so many times over the years I now know every line by heart, even without the film running.
What happens is very simple premise yet, (insert chuckle here) it’s anything but simple. Seven different people are invited to a dinner party. We have Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White and Mr. Green. The seventh and last guest to arrive is Mr. Boddy. Throughout the awkward chitchat of strangers at a dinner table, they discover that they all received similar letters requesting their presence, all the letters refer to a financial liability, they all earn their living from the government and they are all being blackmailed…by Mr. Boddy. From that point on, it is a race against time to see if they can figure out which one of them is the killer before they all die.
I absolutely, totally 100% dig this movie. I think it’s a great classic type murder mystery and I think it’s got great comedic value. Don’t be put off by the fact that it was made in 1985. It’s still a good flick. Plus, the movie has three different endings! When they do it right, multiple endings can really work. And here it does. The writers went to great lengths to try to be consistent all the way through the movie no matter what the ending. I think they did a pretty good job. I’d recommend this to anyone who like to laugh and likes mysteries.
Directed by Emmett Alston
Starring: Kip Niven, Roz Kelly, Chris Wallace
IMDb 4.8/10 Rotten Tomatoes 14% Metacritic NO DATA
This film is definitely a horror film. But for many more reasons than just pure blood and gore. Let’s just start with the basics. We have a female rock ‘n’ roll shock jock who looks like she should have retired ten or fifteen years ago. She’s way over done it with the make-up and the clothes, looking like something that made out with a clown and then raided someone’s old 80s version disco clothes. She’s doing a live radio show for New Year’s, celebrating as each time zone strikes midnight across the United States. And as all shock jocks do, she takes calls from her listeners.
One particular caller disguises his voice and informs her, on the air, that he will commit a murder at each stroke of midnight as each of the time zones ring in the new year. Obviously, at first, she (and everybody else) thinks it’s some kind of hoax. But, as the caller continues to call and taunt the party hostess, he plays audio recordings of each murder, on the air.
But, the real horror of this movie, the real terror driven images and sounds that I cannot release from my mind, the music and dancing that takes place through the majority of the film. Dear lord, it was like Saturday Night Fever threw up in techno and neon. And the dancing, oh my goodness, can we even call it that??? Just horrific. I mean, this stuff, this film has truly scarred me for life.
I think the actual story line, if done now, would work but, the visual aspect of the movie is so off-putting it’s like purposely making your eyes bleed. I don’t know about any of you but, I don’t want my eyes to bleed. It was truly painful to watch.
And let’s talk about the music for a minute. I get that the whole end of the year bash radio show requires music. But, there’s ONE band and they SUCK. Royally suck. I don’t know who told these people they had talent but, they were outrageously and cruelly lied to.
As I write this I keep trying to figure out something good about the movie and all I can say is that the plot isn’t that bad. Other than that, I got nothing.
Directed by Kevin Smith, Gary Shore, Matt Johnson, Scott Stewart, Nicholas McCarthy, Dennis Widmyer, Kevin Kolsch, Sarah Adina Smith, Anthony Scott Burns
Seth Green, Clare Grant, Kalos Cluff, John C. Johnson, Shawn Parsons, Michael Sun Lee, Wes Robertson, Karina Noelle, Scott Stewart and Richard DiLorenzo
IMDb 5.1/10 Rotten Tomatoes 54% Metacritic 50/100
This was a fantastic holiday horror anthology. There are many short stories about holidays from New Year’s to Christmas. This is like a reboot (I hate that term but, this time, it fits.) of Creepshow. There are more stories and they are shorter than in Creepshow but it really has that kind of feel to it. It also got pretty good reviews and once again, the rarity of me agreeing with (or somewhat agreeing with) the Rotten Tomatoes people.
And some of these stories are pretty out there. There’s a Twilight Zone kind of edge to some of them. The idea that you think you know what is going to happen and you may even be partially or completely right, but there’s going to be something more for you…something different that you weren’t really expecting.
There’s a crazy story about the Easter Bunny, a poor woman who has issues with her pregnancy, the legend behind St. Patrick’s Day and no it’s not just about getting falling down drunk, surprisingly enough. There’s an almost “Carrie” like short with a high school girl dealing with locker room bullies and a major crush on her swim coach. There’s a very, shall we say, interesting take on a Halloween story involving webcam chicks, their boss and revenge with superglue and a car battery…and a vibrator. And we have a creepy tale of a set of VR type glasses and the cost of such toys PLUS, there’s a story about internet hookups and how they can go awry.
This was definitely worth seeing and I will, in fact, be watching it again. Finally, a NEW Creepshow type film for those of us who loved King’s short stories and Romero’s way of telling them. This is truly a gem buried in the rubble of so many unoriginal movies. You won’t want to miss this one.
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
Jamie Lee Curtis, David Copperfield, Ben Johnson, Hart Bochner, Derek McKinnon, Sandee Currie, Timothy Webber
IMDb 5.9/10 Rotten Tomatoes 33% Metacritic NO DATA
This is another classic horror movie from the start of the slasher genre era. Jamie Lee Curtis, though she hates slasher films and isn’t into horror at all, took full advantage of the opportunities horror films afforded her and she capitalized on it.
In this film, she is enlisted to help play a prank on a fellow college student. He’s not one of the jocks or popular kids at all and while pledging a fraternity, the brothers take great enjoyment in humiliating this pledge, along with many others.
The joke is supposed to be a simple (yet disgusting) prank. On New Year’s Eve, the upperclassmen in the frat put a corpse in a bed, a rotting corpse, mind you. Then, Alana (played by Curtis) is supposed to hide behind the bed and entice Kenny (McKinnon) to kiss her…HER being the corpse. Now, Alana doesn’t know that a dead body is in the bed. She thinks it’s another college student or a mannequin or something.
The ones perpetrating this horrible joke are Mo and Doc. Mo and Alana are somewhat dating; I think they have different views of what their relationship really is. Doc is dating a girl named Michelle but, everyone calls her Mitchy and Doc seems less than committed, as does Mitchy. I guess they have an understanding about their relationship. Mitchy and Alana are best friends. Doc is an asshole. He doesn’t think much of anyone, except himself. Mo is quite the putz too, if I do say so myself.
The prank goes the way they intended and then goes horribly wrong. Kenny is so distraught afterwards, he is committed to a psychiatric facility. The rest of them just go on with their lives.
Three years later, they have another party for New Year’s. This one is on a train. They’ve got the whole train to themselves and are all geared up for a fabulous evening of costumes, drinking, sex and partying. Sounds like typical college kids, right?
Well, while they are on the train, those involved in the prank start to die. The killer has snuck onto the train and with each kill grows more and more brazen. He even changes costumes a couple of times, taking the costumes of his victims, in order to be able to glide through the crowd with no questions asked.
Eventually, Mo is dead, along with Mitchy and some others. Doc and Alana think they figure out who the killer is…the random magician that they didn’t hire who conveniently showed up on the train and did a few shows. They also figure out that the magician may very well be Kenny. With this realization Alana informs Doc that she went to see him after he was hospitalized. She says the staff wouldn’t let her see him and that he killed someone…all due to their ridiculous prank. While searching for the magician (Copperfield) and his assistant, Doc tries to hide by locking himself in a room. Unfortunately, the killer is in the room and he soon kills Doc.
Soon, Alana and the killer come face to face. It is confirmed that it’s Kenny and well, Kenny is holding a grudge. He gets ahold of Alana and during a short conversation, she tries to tell him how sorry she is for what happened with the prank. He doesn’t believe her and angrily forces her to kiss him. When she reluctantly does, it causes Kenny to relive the horrifying experience of the prank and it sends him into a psychotic downward spiral. At this time, one of the train workers comes into the room and beats Kenny down with a shovel (I’m assuming a coal shovel). Kenny loses balance and falls off the train into icy water below the bridge they are traveling over, presumably to his death.
I really enjoyed this movie. Although the story seemed somewhat jutted and choppy, it still came together with a great reveal moment, that I didn’t unveil here in the review. I truly just summed up this time, as there are things I didn’t want to spoil for you.
I am a huge Jamie Lee Curtis fan. I do call her The Scream Queen. She’s just perfect for horror movies, no matter how much she doesn’t like them. And they have made her millions. And rightfully so. She does a great job in this film although, she is not as innocent and clueless as she seemed to be in Halloween. By this time, she’d already made Halloween, Prom Night and The Fog.
The true horror of this film is that douchebags like Mo and Doc actually exist. These two really are pieces of work…or crap…whichever way you want to put it. They both seem to like the idea of having a permanent girlfriend but, also both seem to think that as long as “girlfriend” isn’t in the room, they can do whatever they want…and whoever they want. I can’t say that Mitchy is a fantastic friend either. I mean, at one point she’s consoling Alana about Mo and then later in the movie, she’s sneaking off to a sleeper cabin to have sex with him. (Quick thought: Do NONE of these kids think about all the fluid transfer that is going on here? After all, STD’s and such DID exist in 1980 and WERE known about. Yet these kids are boarding a train with a one-way ticket to a f*%#fest. Yikes! And honestly, it’s not like they are hot, good looking young folks here. You look at Alana and then at Mo and you can’t help but wonder, is she REALLY attracted to this guy??? Him???
Anyways, I can see why this film would get a lot of viewers. It’s a good 1980s slasher flick. I expected a little more blood but, I was still satisfied with what I got. I couldn’t help but notice that Jamie Lee Curtis’ character had a slightly different feel, more experienced maybe…definitely not as much of the perfect virgin like she is portrayed in Halloween. But, still she absolutely has an innocence about her in this film that can’t be denied.
I think this is worth watching at least once. Seeing as how it was made at the height of the slasher era it’s worth seeing once. It is, after all, one of the more iconic early slasher films.
Directed and Written by Craig Anderson
Starring: Dee Wallace, Geoff Morrell, Sarah Bishop, David Collins, Janis McGavin, Sam Campbell
IMDb 4.4/10 Rotten Tomatoes 47% Metacritic 52/100
Okay, so, this was probably the most depressing horror movie I have ever seen in my life. The whole idea behind the story is sad to me. Plus, it’s like this film was one big political statement. I’ll start at the beginning but, I’ll be as brief as possible.
A woman is having her children to the family home for the last Christmas in the house before she sells it. Now that her husband, their father, is dead, the mother is going to go on the trip she and her husband always talked about and were supposed to take. The children aren’t thrilled with the whole idea of selling the house but, mother states it’s not their choice. As a lot of parents feel once their children are grown and out of the house, this mother feels that she has put everyone first for long enough and now it’s her turn to think of herself for a change.
Now, let’s go through a quick rundown of who is in the house for Christmas. We have Diane, the mother. There are four kids; Jerry, Hope, Suzy and Ginny. Suzy is married to a pastor named Peter. They have been trying to conceive for six years with no success. Then, there’s Ginny’s man, Scott. These two are regular poster children for the old trailer park stereotype. (Please do NOT take that as I subscribe to societal stereotypes. I pay attention to individuals, not stereotypes.) Ginny is pregnant, seems to be due any day. Jerry is the gem of the family. He’s a lovely young man with down syndrome. He’s bright, funny, articulate and has a heart of gold. Suzy is very uptight and rigid, the kind of person that makes other people feel like they did something wrong even when they’ve just met and didn’t do anything. And there’s Joe, Diane’s brother.
Because Diane is selling the house where she and Jerry reside, Jerry will be going to live in an assisted living facility while his mother goes on her trip. Jerry is totally fine with this but, some of the siblings are finding everything hard to deal with.
On this last Christmas in the family home, Diane is hoping for a joyous and heartfelt occasion. Although it starts out relatively close to that, it doesn’t last long. Ginny and her husband/boyfriend/whatever are having sex in the laundry room. Suzy’s pastor husband walks by and hears them and decides to take a peek and gets caught by Joe. Suzy and Ginny are constantly bickering, with Hope throwing her two cents in every so often. Joe is just chocked full of sarcasm and it seems the only one with ANY positivity is Jerry.
That’s when a surprise and uninvited guest shows up ringing their doorbell. It’s a man, named Cletus, who is covered head to toe in bandages and is wearing a cloak type of garb. He speaks with a muffled distortion and his timing of words and emphasis, his syntax and speech patterns are all a little off.
They graciously invite him in and after a short time in the house, he wants to read a letter to his mother out loud to them. At first, they are patient and try to listen but then he references something, an event, in his letter that enrages Diane and she tells him, forces him, to leave.
What set her off is his reference to an abortion clinic being bombed many years ago. While this particular clinic was being bombed, SHE was there and in the midst of having her procedure to terminate the pregnancy done. She had become pregnant, her husband got very sick with cancer, tests showed the baby had Down Syndrome and since she already had one child with special needs, she chose to terminate the pregnancy.
It had to have been a late term abortion because the baby was alive when removed from the womb. He was rescued by a man who raised him and took care of him his whole life. When that man died, Cletus went to search for his birth mother. Diane.
Now that he has found her, he goes to great lengths to make his existence known, to kill
Diane’s children and to get the words of motherly devotion he’s always dreamed of, “I love you”.
I found this movie to be very depressing. Not only that but, it felt like a horribly timed political statement being crammed down my throat. I recognized Dee Wallace. She plays the mother in the movie Cujo. But I didn’t recognize anyone else.
I thought the best part of the whole movie was Jerry’s character. He is by far the bravest and sincerest and most thoughtful person out of all of them. It killed me when he heard the story of his mother’s abortion and then felt like she didn’t want him, love him and possibly thought of aborting him too. He was crushed. And he’s the best kid she’s got!!! He’s the only one with a positive attitude, the one who loves everyone, who is just full of good things. And to see him hurt was heartbreaking.
Not to mention that the idea of what Cletus was feeling and went through. Granted that doesn’t warrant murdering an entire family but he obviously didn’t have an easy life. I can’t help it if I’m an empathetic person at times.
But, all the emotional stuff aside, I still thought that the story wasn’t all that great either. The acting was good enough and the filming, well, it’s from 2016 and actually looks good image-wise. But, I just thought the story line could have been done better. I mean, it’s hard for me to believe she was able to terminate the pregnancy at a stage late enough that the baby was viable outside of the womb. If she had the baby then, she gave him up. Not aborted. I think the abortion aspect is used to fuel discord and uncomfortable feelings within viewers. Abortion is always a touchy subject.
Yet, I didn’t think it was possible for a horror movie to depress me and this one did. I will not be recommending this or watching it again.