Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween Weekend Horror Marathon


This started on Friday evening and I have watched quite a few films since then but I’ve getting the films watched more than getting them reviewed so there will be a bit of a backlog of reviews

Friday I watched  Halloween 5; Lord of Illusions; Prince of Darkness

On Saturday I watched Tales of Terror;The Sentinel; The Resurrected; In The Mouth of Madness: Hellbound –Hellraiser 2; The Howling: Nightmare on Elm Street 3:

I’ve still got a bit to go but I’ll try to get the reviews up as fast as I can but I still have a backlog from the rest of October to work through too:- Grave Misdemeanors; Cirque Du Freak – The Vampires’s Assistant;  The Monster Club; Vampire in Vegas; The Fly (1986); Nightmare on Elm Street (1984); The Fog (1980); Alien; The Caller; I Madman; Episode 50; Army of Darkness; Scanners; Lawnmower Man; Dracula(1931); The Wolf Man (1941) 

I’ve had great time watching these films old and new and I hope you are having a great spooky season to

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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Film


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Review: Night of the Demons (1988)

October Horror

Night of the Demons DVD 001I saw the remake of this film recently and thought it was a cheesy fun film but I hadn’t seen the original Night of the Demons since it was released on VHS. It really didn’t stick in my mind and I hadn’t realised it had developed a cult following until I saw it mentioned regularly on IMDb message boards. The film is a cheesy fun Halloween story and has the usual cast of high school students going to a remote place to party and stumble upon a supernatural evil that wants to kill them and possess their souls. While not a very original story there’s is a bit of twisted originality in the execution

It’s Halloween and a group of high school students are going to a party held by Angela (Amelia Kinkade) at an abandoned funeral parlour called Hull House, scene brutal murders in its past. Rodger (Alvin Alexis) and Helen (Allison Barron) are riding with Stooge (Hal Havins) in his beat up old car. As they pass a grumpy old man Stooge climbs out of the window and moons him. Another teenager Sal (Billy Gallo) startles the man with a rubber rat, causing him to drop his groceries. When Judy (Cathy Podewell) stops to offer help to old man she gets a mouthful of abuse instead. This nasty old man is so evil that later we see him putting razor blades in the apples his wife bought to give to the kids

Judy goes home to get ready for her high school Halloween party and while getting changed she gets a call from her date Jay (Lance Fenton) who wants to take her to Angela’s party instead of high school. Judy is not too sure but Jay insists. When Judy opens her closet her little brother Billy jumps out wearing a monster mask and he takes the chance to perve on his sister before she chases him out of her room. Downstairs he answer the door to Sal who is Judy’s sort of ex-boyfriend. Billy enjoys telling Sal that Judy’s already got a date but Sal manages to bribe Billy to tell him where they are going. Jay picks Judy then drives to pick their friends Max (Philip Tanzini) and Frannie (Jill Terashita).

Angela is at the grocery store with her friend Suzanne (Linnea Quigley) who is dressed up as a slutty little girl and our first sight of her she is bent right over giving the store clerks and the audience a view of her arse barely covered in skimpy panties. The clerks are so distracted by Suzanne’s arse that they are oblivious to Angela filling a sack with party snacks.

Judy, Jay, Max and Frannie get to Hull House first and it’s an abandoned mess with coffins left lying around. They see another car coming and Jay suggests getting in the coffins to scare whoever it is. When he opens a coffin Sal is already there and he leaps out scaring the crap out of Jay. Jay is pissed at Sal and wantds to start trouble but Judy points out that Sal only did what was Jay planning to do. Angela and Suzanne arrive with the party supplies and then Rodger and Stooge arrive with Sal’s cooler of beer and a large ghetto-blaster. The party gets started with roaring fire in the fireplace and candles to light the place up. Everyone gets dancing to some nice 80s rock and someone switches on a strobe light. Just as the party is getting going the ghetto-blaster cuts out

As a party game they decide to play mirror seance where they all sit in front of mirror and wait for it to go black. I’m sure it was mean to be trick but the lights come on by themselves and they all start bickering at each other and miss the image of a rubber demon. Helen looks in the mirror and sees the demon and sees a vision of herself dying and freaks out. Everyone is wondering what happened. In the cellar something escapes and we see a POV shot as it leaves the cellar and comes up to the room where they are and we see it enter Suzanne.

Now its time for the fun to start with the party splitting up to make them easier to kill. Helen and Rodger just want to leave because Helen got really freaked out by the mirror stunt and Rodger is scared, Jay, Judy, Max and Frannie go exploring the house. Suzanne passes the demonic infection onto Angela with a long deep kiss then she leaves with Stooge to look for a toilet.

Sal starts getting freaked as Angela starts moving and jumping and writhing around. Music starts playing on the ghetto-blaster Stigmata Martyr by Bauhaus and Angela dances to it then the strobe strsts and Angela’s dancing really starts getting bizzare. Sal thinks Angela’s acting weird and things are getting too strange so he leaves the room. Just then Stooge comes back without Suzanne who disappeared in the toilet. Angela kisses Stooge and bites off his tongue with her sharp demon teeth.

Max and Annie leave Judy and Jay on their own to look for somewhere private. Jay tries coming on to Judy but she is just too freaked out and scared by the house. She then finds out Jay is just a creep who is dating Judy because he mistakenly thought she was easy because she dated Sal. He storms off in a huff slamming the door behind him and this jams the door tight so Judy can’t get out.

Helen and Rodger are also having problem getting out. They can’t find the gate in the wall around the house and  as Rodger desperately tries to find it Helen disappears. Rodger gets into Angela’s car  to wait and eventually  falls asleep. Upstairs in the house Sal finds Suzanne sitting in a room playing with her lipstick and she has drawn over herself like a clown. Salthinks she’s tripping and he has had enough wierdness and wants to leave. When he’s gone Suzanne take the lipstick and pushes right inside her nipple where it vanishes .

Back outside Rodger is wakened by the car shaking and he gets out thinking it’s Stooge messing with him and discovers Helen’s body on the top of the car. He runs back into the house where he narrowly avoids Angela and runs into Sal.

Jay has come across Suzanne and he is feeling horny. They have sex but Suzanne goes all evil face and pokes her finger into Jay’s eyes. Evil Stooge  is wandering the halls and he tries the door to the room Judy is stuck in but he can’t get it open so he wanders off. Max and Frannie are trying to have sex in a coffin but are finding it better in theory than in practice. Stooge comes in and snaps Frannie’s neck. Max tries to get up but Stooge slams the lid down on him trapping Max’s arm. Stooge keeps slamming down the lid till Max’s arm breaks off and Max somehow dies.

Sal and Rodger find Judy and Sal breaks the door down. Evil Angela is cruising the hallways and Rodger flees so Sal and Judy duck into another room. Unfortunately evil Suzanne is in there with Jay’s head in her lap and his eyes gouged out. Rodger Sal and Judy get chased around the house by the their demoniacally possessed friends. Rodger manages to get out of the house but while saving Judy from Angela Sal falls to his death.Judy reckons that they have to climb the wall to escape, meanwhile all their dead friends are coming after them. Rodger manages to get over then he helps Judy over too.

There’s as a nice little touch in an extra scene at the end when the grumpy old man from the start of the film gets given an apple pie his wife made from the apples he bought for kids for Halloween and he gets killed by the razor blades he put in the apples

This film is very cheesy and is just a fun film made for Halloween. It even has a cheesy Halloween animated title sequence. I thought the music was very well done and it is a nice choice of Bauhaus for the creepy music during Angela’s dance. It was nice to see some different characters from the usual and the story moves the plot along without relying too much on characters acting stupid except for Stooge who was already established as brash and stupid.

Rating 7.0/10

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: The Ward

A new John Carpenter was something I was mildly excited about but it was edged with note of caution because I had not heard much praise for this film

A young woman Kirsten (Amber Heard) is picked up by police next to an abandoned farm-house she has set fire to. Kristen gets taken to the North Bend psychiatric hospital and placed in the care of Dr Stringer (Jared Harris) assisted by Nurse Lundt (Susanna Burney) and two men Roy (D.R. Anderson) and Jimmy (Sean Cook) I’m not sure what the two men’s official job title is but they definitely seem to do the jobs reserved in real hospitals for nurses but in Hollywood they seem to get called orderlies who do not do the things these guys do. You can tell the way this is going to go.

Kristen meets the other patients on the ward, the studious artistic Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca), condescending and flirtatious Sarah (Danielle Panabaker), aggressive Emily (Mamie Gummer) and shy, infantile Zoey (Laura-Leigh).

Kristen insists that there is nothing wrong with her with her but seems confused about why she is there and she gets angry when Dr Stringer asks her try to remember why she burnt down that particular house.

Kristen notices strange things happening at night and is attacked by a dead woman in the showers. She learns that the ward is haunted by another patient Alice and sees signs that she has already killed a patient Tammy who occupied the same room as she does.

I really should stop saying anything more about the story until after the break about the plot because there is a twist to story and those who have never seen story about people with psychiatric condition may well be surprised by it. For everyone one else it will be one of long line of movie scripts that seems have an inaccurate grasp of psychiatry that allows the script to play games with the audience. John Carpenter‘s direction is great but I fear even ho could not do much raise this above the level of an unoriginal script.

Rating 6/10

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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Film


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Review: Evil Dead II

Sam Raimi got to make a sequel a with a bigger budget to his gross-out cult film Evil Dead and this time he really lets loose with the slapstick comedy and yet still delivers an effective horror film.

The opening has been a cause of confusion because it seems to be a recap of the first film only this time with just Ash and Linda at the cabin. This suggests a remake but it’s because they couldn’t get permission to use the footage of the first film so they re-shot it while cutting out the characters who not were not appearing in the sequel anyway.

Ash (Bruce Campbell) and Linda (Denise Bixler) go to the remote cabin in the woods and they have romantic night together, Ash plays the piano while Linda dances. Ash gives Linda a little silver magnifying glass pendant (sort of the size of a monocle). There’s a large tape recorder in the main room next to an old leather-bound book. Ash switches it on and the voice of  archaeologist Professor Raymond Knowby (John Peakes) talks about his discovery of the Necronomicon at his dig at the site of an ancient Sumerian civilisation. He talks about returning to his cabin with his wife Henrietta to start translating the book.He then starts reading the passages phonetically

Outside some thing stirs, the trees groan and mist rises.SamCam, the POV camera monster awakens. It rushes through the woods and smashes right into the cabin window in the side room where Linda is. Ash rushes in but there’s no sign of Linda. He goes outside to look for her but she’s been possessed by the evil force and attacks him. Ash gets knocked down and evil Linda leaps at him. Ash protects himself with spade lying nearby and it slices Linda’s head off. Ash buries Linda’s body

This is the point where sequel really starts. The SamCam monster rushes through woods, crashes through the cabin and seizes Ash, driving him through the trees and dumping him face down in a puddle. When he comes up he’s possessed by the evil. Then it’s dawn and the sun drives the evil out of Ash. He gets in his car a tries to get away but the bridge has been torn up. The sun sets only about five minutes after rising and Ash has to race back the cabin chased by the SamCam monster. He crashes the car ans thrown through the windscreen and runs for the cabin. The SamCam monster crashes through cabin looking for him but it doesn’t find him hiding in the cellar and it retreats again.

Professor Knowby’s daughter has arrived at a small airfield nearby and is met by her boyfriend Ed (Richard Domeier). She has the rest of the pages of the Necronomicon and they are going to the Professor’s cabin.  It makes me wonder what Ash and Linda were doing making themselves at home in a cabin that is clearly occupied.

Ash hears the piano playing by itself. He looks outside and sees Linda’s corpse is dancing to the music and playing with the head . As he watches she vanishes. Ash tries looking through the door for her but she appears right at the door and grabs him through the gaps in the planks of crudely nailed across the door. Then Ash wakes up still sitting in his chair.

As he recovers from the dream Linda’s head drops into his lap and bites him in the crotch. He gets her of his crotch but she has a firm grip on his fingers. He tries to smash her off against walls then he remembers that there’s a tool shed. He sticks the head into a vice and frees his fingers. He looks for a tool and sees the chainsaw is missing. Linda’s boy run into the tool shed waving the chainsaw but Ash fights back and the chainsaw ends up stuck into Linda’s body. Ash chops the body and head up with the chainsaw.

Ash goes back to cabin and has a little run in with his reflection in the mirror. The his right hand turns evil and starts attacking him. This is pure slapstick and Bruce shows a great knack for physical comedy. His hand hits him punches him tries to poker him in the eye and throws him around the room before smashing him with half the kitchen. It knocks him out with a bottle then spots a meat cleaver and drags his unconscious body across the floor. But Bruce is just faking and he pins the hand to the floor with a knife than cackles insanely as he chops the hand off.

Annie and Ed have got to the bridge and found they way blocked by the bridge being torn up. A local man, Jake (Dan Hicks) and his daughter Bobby Joe (Kassie Wesley DePaiva) offer to show them a way up on foot. Jake offers to take Annie’s luggage, thinking she only has a small bag  but finds himself carrying a huge heavy trunk.

Ash’s hand escapes and Ash shoots at it with a shotgun, seemingly hitting it. this results in gallons of blood and  green stuff jetting out the walls drenching Ash then it just vanishs . Everything in the room starts Laughing at Ash then Ash joins in too until his laughter edges into madness. He hears an noise at the door and shoots at it. He has a look outside and gets jumped by Jake and Ed. Jake is especially pissed because he winged Bobby Jo with the shotgun. Then Annie starts on him too wanting to know what he’s done to her parents. Ash pleads it was just a mistake but they dump him in the cellar and lock it down with chains.

Annie turns on the tape recorder. Professor Knowby  is now saying it was a mistake to read out the spell for raising demons since it raised a demon that possessed his wife Henrietta and tried to kill him, forcing him to kill her. Then he says he couldn’t bear to dismember her so he buried her in the cellar. Right on cue Henrietta (Ted Raimi) rises from her grave. Ash naturally freaks and begs to be let out as Henrietta gets closer. they do eventually get the door open and Ash gets away, but Henrietta follows. Ed tries to attack he but he gets knocked out leaving it to Jake and Ash to drive her back down into the cellar. As they slam the door on her head her eyeball pops out and goes right down Bobby Joe’s throat.

Henrietta turns human an begs Annie to let her out but Ash stops for such a blatantly obvious trick. Ed pops up and he’s possessed now and he attacks Hicks. He floats up to Bobby and bites a chunk out of her hair. Ash fetches and axe and he chops Ed to bits.

Things get quiet for a moment but then there are unearthly banging noises coming from all around them. There is a light flickering in the side room. Ash goes to investigate and Annie comes with him. Bobby Jo and Jake soon follow too. The ghostly face of Annie’s father appears tells them he is trapped between dimensions. They need to read spells from the Necronomicon to save themselves.

Bobby Jo complains that Jake is gripping her too tight, but it’s the evil hand. She throws it off and runs screaming out of the cabin and into the woods. The evil woods. The trees grab hold of her and wrap around her, branches peiece through her skin then she is dragged off at high speed straight into a large tree.

In the cabin Annie and Ash are talking about the spells to drive out the evil, Annie says there are two spells, the first cause the evil to physically manifest itself, the second opens a rift to another dimension and sends the evil there. Jake is worried about  Bobby Jo and he uses the shotgun to force Annie and Ash outside to help look for her. He snatches the pages from Annie and throws them down into the cellar.

Outside the woods are hostile and the SamCam monster comes after them. Ash gets possessed and attacks Jake. Annie runs away back into the cabin and waits armed with an evil looking dagger for Ash to come for her. She waits while the door is being and stabs poor Jake in the stomach. She has to pull Jake away from the door then to close it again. She removes the knife and drags him into the main room. For some reason she leaves him lying on the floor next to cellar door. not hard to see what happens next. Henrietta drags Jake down into the cellar and his death is marked by a geyser of blood

Deadite Ash in Evil Dead II

Image via Wikipedia

Ash gets into the cabin is going to attack Annie when he sees a  pendant just like the one he gave to Linda. Somehow this lets Ash drive the evil out (why did this not happen for Linda, Ed and Henrietta?) Annie use this chance to attack Ash but Ash insist he is all right. She attacks him again because, well would you believe him?

Ash has to go down into the cellar to get the pages of Necronomicon that Jake dumped down there. Henrietta cackles with glee. Ash heads out to the tool shed and makes a device to hold the chainsaw on his arm in place of his severed hand in his other hand he holds a shotgun when he saws the end of of it with his chainsaw. He expresses satisfaction with his work with the simple cheesy line “Groovy”

Ash goes down to the cellar and finds the pages (behind a door?). He tosses them up to Annie but when climbs the stir to leave Henrietta attacks. She follows him up the stairs and her neck elongates grotesquely. She has Ash pinned to the floor but Ash gets his chainsaw to her neck and her head goes flying. Ash pins the head to the floor and blasts it with the shotgun .

Annie recites the first spell and the trees start attacking the cabin. After she complete it the evil manifests it itself as a his red face screaming at them. She starts to recite the second spell but before she can complete it she is stabbed in the back by ash’s evil hand clutching the evil knife. A swirling portal opens sucking in everything. With her last dying breath Annie completes the spell and the evil gets sucked into the portal. But so does Ash and his car

Ash falls through the portal and lands in the middle of a dry barren landscape surrounded by medieval knights> The knight suspect he is a demon but they lose their interest in capturing Ash when a demon comes flying at them. Ash thinks quickly and blast it dead with his shotgun.  Now the Knights all start praising him as the Chosen One prophesied in their legends to defeat the evil. Ash gives it a big ” NOOO” and the film ends on that sequel bait.

This is a really great film but it is different from the first one in many ways. Horror films don’t often have much slapstick but this film has a lot of it right up to the point when he shoots Bobby Jo and the mood changes to more of a horror film much like the first film. The special effects are the main benefit of the greater budget Raimi had to work with and while they undeniably better they are also less stomach churning.

Rating 9/10

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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Film


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Review: From Beyond the Grave

Rough draft

This classic horror anthology film from Amicus Productions is such a treat. I like the format of the four short stories wrapped  up in a larger story and I think this is one of the better ones. The stories all start at an antique shop called Temptations Limited run by an old pipe smoking Proprietor (Peter Cushing).

The first customer is Edward Charlton (David Warner) one those wealthy trendy young men that feature so much in films of this era. He haggles with the Proprietor over a mirror priced at £250, arguing it’s not worth very much and he’s doing him a favour paying him £25 for it. The Proprietor reluctantly accepts Charlton’s price. This leads to first story Gate Crasher.

Charlton shows off the mirror and boasts to his posh young friends about how he cheated the old man out the of the right price for it. He hangs it over the fireplace in his dining room. One of his friends, Pamela, thinks it looks like something that would hang in a medium’s room which leads to the idea they should have a seance. Charlton puts a candle on the table and they all sit around and join hands. They don’t see a face appear in the mirror, with grey dead looking flesh. The candle flares and burns blue as Charlton asks if there’s anybody there. Suddenly Charlton finds he’s in some weird mist-covered place. He sees a cloaked figure come towards him and he screams and comes to still sitting by the table.

That night when he’s alone he hears a voice calling him then he see the face in the mirror. It tells him he must feed it. That’s all, no threat, no promises? Charlton goes out and picks up a prostitute and though we don’t see it he butchers her because he wakes up in clothes covered in blood. The mirror freak is demanding more and Charlton refuses so the mirror freak gives him a headache and it only stops when he agrees to get more food.

Charlton goes to a swinging groovy 70s nightclub and picks up a dumb easy lay. This time we actually get see him killing her. The mirror freak is noticeably healthier looking and has some colour in his cheeks now. Charlton wants to know when it will be over. He is looking a lot less healthy. His friend Pamela calls up worried about not seeing him and he tries to put her off coming round until the mirror freak appears at which point he tells her to come over. This, as well the earlier scene, suggests that the mirror freak can control Charlton like a puppet.

When Pamela comes to his door Charlton has enough self-control to send her away but the mirror freak wants another murder. Mr Jeffries from the flat beneath his comes up to complain about a red liquid dripping through his ceiling. Charlton butchers him. The mirror freak appears in the room in the flesh, looking fresh and alive. Charlton gets his reward for bringing him back to life, a knife right in the guts as the mirror freak skips off happily to join his friends in high places and bring violence and chaos to the world, just for giggles.

This segment ends with time passing in the flat and tenants coming and going, until years later and another group of young trendy rich idiots decide to have a seance and up pops Charlton as the new mirror freak

Back to shop and Christopher Lowe (Ian Bannen) is eyeing up a medal the in the window but doesn’t buy it there and then. This is the second story Act of Kindness

Lowe stops at a street trader selling laces and matches next to the train station. He pay far too much for pair of laces and chats to the trader Jim Underwood (Donald Pleasance) who is an army veteran. Lowe is an insecure man working in lower management who wants to impress this poor man on the street and when Underwood asks him if he was decorated in the war Lowe lies that he was.

Lowe goes back home to wife Mabel (Diana Dors) and son. Mabel thinks Lowe is a useless weak badly paid clerk and she is is always criticising him. She takes the laces he brought and examines, breaking one easily and slagging him off for being such a sap. Dinner that night is a dull meal of sausages

Next day on the way home from work Lowe goes into Temptations limited and asks about buying the medal. The Proprietor won’t sell it to him with the certificate to prove he earned it. The Proprietor then goes away to a back room and while he’s away Lowe steals the medal. Lowe goes back to Underwood the match seller and buys matches he doesn’t want just so he can’t show him the medal he didn’t earn and fool a poor little man into thinking that’s he more interesting and special then he is. Underwood invites Lowe to his home fpr tea to meet his daughter Emily. Lowe agrees to avoid disappointing Underwood.

When Lowe meets Emily she is strange young woman. Underwood has her demonstrate the big words she has learned from reading. They have some of Emily delicious home-made cake and Lowe finds a sympathetic ear in Emily for his complaints about his wife Mabel. When Underwood asks if he could come back for dinner Lowe accepts the invitation eagerly

Lowe eats with Underwoods every night enjoying Emily’s home-cooked food and skills such a sewing that Mabel shows no interest in. He tells Mabel that he has to work late at the office and Mabel sneers when he says he won’t get overtime since he is management.

One night Underwood leaves for an army reunion and makes a point of saying he won’t be back until after midnight leaving Emily and Lowe alone. After Lowe eats his dinner Emily tell Lowe how she only wants to sevre him and tell Lowe to ask anything of her. Of course this leads to sex.

Afterwards Emily goes into the sitting room and sits a black candle on the table and next to an object covered in a cloth. Lowe watches as she lights the candle and uncovers a small doll, a crude insulting replica of Mabel. She heats a long needle and asks Lowe if it’s what he wants. Lowe knows it’s witchcraft and is reluctant but Emily insists it must be his will and coaxes an agreement from him. She takes the doll and presses the needle into its neck. Blood appears on the doll’s mouth and Lowe panics. He rushes back home telling himself that it’s just nonsense but when he gets home he finds son huddled beside Mabel’s body.

With indecent haste Lowe marries Emily. After the wedding Emily and Lowe are celebrating with Underwood and Lowe’s son. Emily takes a knife and before she cuts into the wedding cake she asks “Do you want me to? Do really want me too?” and  Lowe says yes. Emily the cuts straight through the groom in the cake decoration and Lowe head starts bleeding and he falls dead across the table. Underwood says to the smiling boy “We always grant the wishes of children,”

Back at Temptations Limited Reggie Warren (Ian Carmichael) has come in for a look around. He wears the black suit and bowler hat that served as a standard uniform of the upper middle class men who worked in the financial sector in London. The Proprietor is nowhere to be seen so Reggie has a look at a snuff box he like the look of. The prices is a bit too high for him so he swaps its price tag with a cheaper plainer one. Just then the Proprietor steps out from behind a mask where he was probably watching Warren in action. Nevertheless he sells the snuff box to him and even allows Reggie to haggle the price down even lower. As Reggie leaves the Proprietor says ” I hope you enjoy snuffing it,”  This leads to the humorous tale The Elemental

Reggie is on his way home on the train and is reading his newspaper. An eccentric old woman (Margaret Leighton) sitting across from Reggie pokes him with her umbrella and tells him he has an elemental on his shoulder. Reggie doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but she presses on and explains that elementals are parasitic invisible nature spirits and the one that’s attached to Reggie is homicidal. Fortunately for Warren his stop is coming up but before he leaves the woman introduces herself as Madam Orloff, medium and psychic and gives Reggie her business card.

At home Warren starts noticing strange things happening around him. First his dog won’t come near him and just barks at him. Then while talking with his wife Susan (Nyree Dawn Porter) she complains about Reggie hitting her when he didn’t. That night in bed it gets even worse. Susan feels a hand grasping hers but it’s not Reggie’s. Then a pair of invisible hands grab Susan’s throat and starts choking her and Reggie has to get out of bed away from her to stop it. Reggie calls Madame Orloff who promises to be there as soon as she can.

Madame Orloff’s exorcism routine is the highlight of the is story and a stand-out part of this film. She presses on the top of Reggie’s head she commands, insults and threatens the elemental using mixture of her normal plummy accent and a much cruder working class accent. This leads to general chaos and destruction of the room around them as glasses shatter, things explode and throw themselves around the room. It is building to a climax until it all stops. Orloff declares it’s over and he’s gone. Reggie literally feels like a great weight has been lifted from his shoulders. He is so grateful he agrees to pay Orloff’s fee happily.

Reggie and Susan settle down and relax and then their dog comes back and greets Reggie, confirmation that the elemental is gone. Then there’s a noise from upstairs. Reggie goes to investigate and gets thrown down the stairs and lies unconscious in the hall. When he comes to Susan is standing over him possesed by the elemental which is very angry with him for ruining his chances of a life. Susan brings out a poker and smacks down hard on Reggie’s head.

The next customer at Temptations Limited is William Seaton (Ian Ogilvy) a struggling author. He likes the look of an elaborately carved wooden door but he genuinely doesn’t have enough money so the Proprietor agrees to sell it for £10 less. He leaves to get Seaton a receipt, leaving the money lying out in an open cash drawer. After Seaton has gone he starts counting the money and the final story The Door begins

Seaton takes delivery of the door. His wife Elizabeth (Lesley-Ann Down) wants know what he’s going to do with it and Seaton tells her he’s going replace the door of his stationery cupboard with it. Elizabeth thinks it a bit grand for a stationery cupboard but that’s kind of the point. Seaton asks her what kind of room she thinks would be behind it. Elizabeth touches the door and she gives a very close description that agrees with what the Proprietor told Seaton about it, blue.

Seaton is relaxing in his study and he sees a strange blue glow around the wooden face carving on the door. He opens the door and find a large grand room decorated blue all covered in years of dust and cobwebs instead of a cupboard. Seaton has a look around the room sees a portrait of a an 17th century English nobleman dressed in period clothing and a long curly wig. Seaton craps himself when he hears footsteps approaching the room’s second door and he flees back to his study. Elizabeth doesn’t believe him about the room and when he tries to show her the cupboard is back.

Next night Seaton is sitting working at his desk when the door opens by itself.  The blue room is back. Seaton finds a journal on the desk written by Sir Ian Sinclair (Jack Watson) which outlines an experiment he is conducting to increase his lifespan by creating a ghost room using dark magic and human sacrifices that would capture people in the future to feed him with their life energy. He expresses a preference for the greater energy of women for his vile purpose. The key to his scheme is the door which is steeped in human blood and cursed by magic.

There’s a noise of feet behind the second door and this time it opens and Sinclair enters, looking at lot closer to death than his portrait. Seaton runs right out of there back to his own house and right into Elizabeth. He tells her they have to leave right away. The front door won’t open so Seaton tries to call for help but the line is dead. Elizabeth is in the study and seems to entranced, drawn to the door. She opens it and Sinclair is standing there.

Seaton hears Elizabeth cry out and runs into the study just in time to see Sinclair carrying her into the ghost room. He beckons Seaton to follow saying two lives are better than one. Seaton follows all right but he brings an axe. He doesn’t waste time attacking Sinclair but just starts hacking chunks out of the door. Each blow causes Sinclair pain and the room starts falling apart.

Sinclair drops Elizabeth and Seaton goes to help her out of the reach of Sinclair but Sinclair seizes him by the throat and chokes him (choking again). Elizabeth takes the axe and takes her turn at hacking at the door. Sinclair and room are struck by each blow and until the sorcerer is too weak to keep hold of Seaton. Seatoin takes back th axe and aims his blows at the hinges holding the door in place. These are the blows that finish Sinclair. He falls to floor and crumbles to dust as the room fades away. Seaton get out of the room then somehow close the original plain door. When it is re-opened the cupboard is back again.

The Proprietor is reaching the end of counting the money and it is all there which explain how Seaton is the only customer that survived. The films finishes with end of the thief who has been waiting for his chance while there’s no-one else about. He can’t believe his luck when the Proprietor hands him two loaded antique pistols, thinking he’s a customer. He tries demanding money but the Proprietor just shakes his head sadly and moves toward him. He shoots both guns but still the Proprietor comes, totally unhurt. The thief back aways and falls backward into a large wooden box lying open, then the lid with huge black metal spikes slams shut on him.

This is a fun film that manages to keep up the interest without sex and gore. Everything from set design to costumes and accent goes to get as much information across about the characters as possible in the short time they have to tell the stories. The stories are uneven and even though the performances from Pleasance and Bannen are great the second story Act of Kindness is one that I most often forget is in this film. My personal favourite is The Door perhaps because it has the best ending. If all characters were like William Seaton horror films would all be a lot shorter.

Rating 7/10

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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Entertainment, Film


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Review : The Omen (1976)

The Omen is Richard Donner‘s 1976 film that brought us the Antichrist. With a top drawer cast, international locations and really fantastic soundtrack it is just as much an action thriller as it is a straight horror film

Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck)  a US diplomat in Rome is being driven to hospital where his pregnant wife Kathy (Lee Remick) is giving birth.  Once there Father Spilletto tells Thorn their baby is dead. Thorn is worried about Kathy’s mental state. Spilletto mentions an alternative. A baby was born in hospital whose mother died in childbirth. The woman had no relatives. If they tell Kathy that the child is hers no-one would ever know

Soon after Robert is made US Ambassador to Great Britain and they move into a huge mansion outside of London somewhere and we get a montage of happy family times with Damien to fast forward us through to the time of action

There’s a big 5th birthday party of the spoilt little brat. There’s some kids and cake a fairground rides but is a big occasion for Thorn and not so much for Damien. It’s full of diplomats and press photographers including Keith Jennings (David Warner). There’s also a big black rottweiler prowling around on the grounds.

Damien’s nanny is on a ledge and calls out “It’s all for you Damien,” before jumping off with a noose around her neck. There are screams and panic and children’s faces being hidden from the horror while the paparazzi photograph the scene of the latest scandal.

At his office Thorn gets a visit from Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton). Brennan is a bit crazed and going on about a prophesy

When the Jews return to Zion
And a comet rips the sky
And the Holy Roman Empire rises,
Then You and I must die.
From the eternal sea he rises,
Creating armies on either shore,
Turning man against his brother
‘Til man exists no more.

allegedly from the Book of Revelations except it really isn’t. This was written by the screenwriter and I think he’s going for a Nostradamus feel. Thorn calls security but tells them to wait when Brennan says he was at Damien’s birth. Brennan knows Damien is not really their child but when he says his mother was a jackal Thorn just thinks he’s crazy and brings in the guards to toss him out. Jennings sees Brennan leaving and snaps a few photographs. When he develops them he sees a smudge like a shadow of a straight line above Brennan.

Mrs Blaylock (Billie Whitelaw) appears to replace the dead nanny. Neither of Thorns had arranged for a replacement but she claims that the agency arranged it when they heard the news of their previous nanny. Katherine is not certain but she seems very good with Damien and he seems to like her.

The Thorns are attending a wedding. Blaylock doesn’t think it’s a good idea to take Damien but Kathy insists. Damien gets nervous as the car approaches the church and when they get there he has a violent panic attack, screaming, punching and kicking so the Thorns have to leave. Thorn wonders about getting Damien looked at by a doctor. Kathy asks why since he is perfectly healthy and Thorn thinks about that and comments that it is strange Damien has never been sick at all

Thorn sees Damien and Blaylock playing with the big black rottweiler. Blaylock is happy about and thinks it will be a good guard dog but Thorn insists it has to go.

Kathy takes Damien to a safari park. The animals freak in presence of Damien, especially the baboons, attacking their car as they drive through their enclosure. I am thinking now that we must have the  Antichrist in our family since always attacked our car when we went.

Thorn is watching rugby match so he can be freely accosted by nutcases. Jennings is there taking photographs. It must be such a fascinating newspaper he works for with all those pictures of Thorn and his family. Brennan is also there because he’s been stalking Thorn and he approaches him. He warns him that Katherine is in danger and asks Thorn to meet him in park later. Jennings snap of fmore pictures of Brennan

Jennings develops photos and yet again there’s a dark shadow hanging above Brennan, this time it is actually contacting his body. Jennings starts examining his other recent photographs

In the park Brennan is still going on about prophesies in the Book of Revelations. Thorn wants to know how Katherine is in danger. Brennan says that she is pregnant which is news to Thorn. He says Damien will kill the baby and his wife. Thorn thinks he is insane and leaves. Brennan calls after him tells him he has to see Bugenhagen in Meggido but neither name means anything to Thorn.

A storm comes out of nowhere. Brennan seems to sense danger and makes his way the church next to the park. Lightning strikes a lightning rod on the church tower. It breaks off and as it falls it spears Brennan to the ground killing him immediately but holding his body upright.

Thorn goes to see Kathy’s psychiatrist at his office. He tells Thorn that Kathy is pregnant but she seems to have the ‘irrational’ idea that Damien is not hers and she wants an abortion and the doctor agrees. Thorn  is shaken to hear that the priest was right and refuses permission for the abortion.

At home Kathy is watering the plants that are in baskets hanging above a large gallery. She uses a table to climb up and reach them instead of getting a stepladder or even a member of staff. There is rarely any sign of other staff in the house of this important diplomat. Blaylock unleashes Damien on his little tricycle and he hurtles around the hallways and smacks right into the table Kathy is on, knocking it over and sending Kathy flying over the balcony. She manages to grab on to the balcony and calls for help but no-one comes and she loses her grip and falls about 20 feet to the floor below.

At hospital a surgeon tells Thorn Kathy will be okay but the baby is dead. Thorn goes home and is looking around Damien’s room. He gets a call from Jennings who wants to show him some photographs. He shows him the photographs of the shadow line that seem to foreshadow the priest’s death. Then he shows him a photo he took of Damien’s original nanny which has flaw that looks a nose around the woman’ neck, another prescient photograph. Thorn wonders why any of this is Jenning’s problem then Jennings shows him a photograph he took of himself in a mirror. He has a shadow around his neck. His death is coming too.

Thorn and Jennings go to Brennan’s quarters in a church. Thorn got permission from the police who also told him about a strange birthmark on the priest’s body in the shape of three sixes. This is the film that raised the profile of the idea of an Antichrist and especially the mark of the Beast. It is interesting to see how much these fictitious ideas have taken hold of the religious imagination all these years later. The room is completely papered with pages of the bible and crudely drawn crosses. In a journal he reads Brennan’s notes about Damien’s birth. There was a comet is the sky on the night of his birth on June 6th at 6 am, of course. Thorn says that is when his child died – he has no idea whose child he is raising.

Thorn and Jennings go to Italy to try and find who Damien’s parents are. Their taxi driver takes them to the hospital but it’s a new modern building.The original hospital was destroyed in a fire and all the records were destroyed too. They find out that Father Spilletto survived and is now in a remote monastery.

At the monastery the abbot tells him that Spilletto is badly injured and can’t talk. Thorn still wants to see him. Thorn asks him about Damien’s mother. Spilletto writes the name Gerrete on a slate. The abbot tells them it’s an old cemetery.

When Jennings and Thorn get there it is decrepit and most of the graves and tombs are very old. They find the grave of Damien’s mother who is supposedly buried with her child. Lifting the stone they see a dog skeleton next to a human baby. The baby has clearly not died of natural causes with a large hole in the side of its skull. Thorn realises his child didn’t just die at birth but was murdered. Then several vicious big black dogs appear and attack them and they just about manage to escape.

Thorn calls Kathy in the hospital and warns her that she has to get out of London. Kathy get herself dressed Blaylock comes in to help her. While she trying to get her jumper on Blaylock grabs her and throws her out of the window several floors to concrete below.

Thorn gets the news and it breaks him. Jennings comes in to tell him what he’s found out about Bugenhagen and Meggido. It is an archaeological site and Bugenhagen is in charge of the dig. He then sees how upset Thorn looks. Thorn tells him quietly that Kathy is dead and says he wants Damien to die too.

Meggido is a large sprawling dig siet with wooden walkways used for access. Bugenhagen (Leo McKern) greets them and takes them into a tent. He gets Jennings to leave so he can talk to Thorn alone. Then he unrolls a pack with seven knives and he shows Thorn how they must placed to kill Damien. This detail is putting doubts into Thorn’s head and he asks what proof there is that Damien is the Antichrist. Bugenhagen tells him about the mark of the Beast but Thorn knows Damien intimately and has never seen it. Bugenhagen says it must be there and might be above his hairline out of sight.

When Thorn leaves Bugenhagen he is disgusted by the idea of what he was planning to do and he throws the knives way. Jennings goes to retrieve them and a sheet of glass on the back of a truck breaks free and decapitates him. Thorn picks up the knives, his doubts silenced by Jenning’s death

Thorn returns to England. At the house he tricks the dog into the cellar and traps it there. He goes to Damien’s room and checks the sleeping boy, using scissors to cut away some of his hair. There he sees the birthmark three sixes just as Bugenhagen said.

He lifts Damien who starts to struggle. Then Blaylock leaps out of nowhere and attacks him. They struggle but Thorn kills her with a screwdriver into the neck. Thorn races away in his car with Damien beside him. The police start chasing after him when he speeds past them.

Thorn gets to a church. He lays Damien down on the floor and takes the knives out. He is just about to kill the boy when the police burst in and tell to drop the knife. Thorn doesn’t and he is shot several times.

The film finishes at funeral for Thorn and Kathy. Damien is there with the President of the US and he turns and give the camera a little smirk.

This is a pretty important film. It certainly wasn’t the first to deal with idea of a child of the Devil but this really fleshed out the idea. I don’t know if anyone was talking about the Antichrist and 666 before The Omen but this film for better or worse made these concepts well-known to popular culture.

This is a good film, but I get the feeling that film is bit rushed from halfway point after Brennan dies and Thorn and Jennings start racing around investigating things. Horror films tend to be isolated at a particular location but this has the characters zip around like in a Bond film. The cast is amazing. Gregory Peck really lends a lot gravitas to his role as a diplomat and Billie Whitelaw is believably evil as Blaylock literally the nanny from Hell.

Rating 7/10


Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Entertainment, Film


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Review : The Lost Boys

Corey Haim.

Corey Haim

The Lost Boys is a classic 80s vampire film that it is always a real pleasure to watch. It is funny and scary and has a really excellent soundtrack. This film takes the vampire myths and drags them into the 80s and it fully embraces and celebrates the 80s culture that birthed it with music and clothing that gives a great sense of a film set in a real time in real place.

The film opens at night with a POV vamp-cam flying across the sea down to a boardwalk fairground. It’s all bright lights and people having fun but there a lot of punks hanging out. Two different groups start having at go at each other. One group is a bunch of surf nazi all tattoos and shaven head. The other group are all like member of an 80s metal band with long dark coats and big hair. These are our antagonists we see much more of them later but they are led by David (Kiefer Sutherland). A security guard breaks them up before the trouble escalates. Later we see the security guard making his way across an empty car-park to his car but were seeing it from the vamp-cam and a snatch of theme music is playing. The guard look up at the sky and  he is scared by what he sees. He runs for his car but doesn’t make it

Next day Lucy Emerson (Dianne West) is arriving in Santa Carla with her two teenage sons Sam (Corey Haim who tragically died last year. That really came a total shock to me) and Michael (Jason Patric). Santa Carla is is a Californian beach resort town whose glory days are long past. It is busting with the remnants of decades of counterculture,  hippies, punks and surf nazis crowding the streets as Echo and the Bunnymen sing People are Strange. They pass and old tatty “Welcome to Santa Carla” sign and on the back is graffiti  that says “Murder Capital of the World”

Sam is not happy about the move to Santa Carla and the sign is not very reassuring, but clearly Lucy has no choice. They arrive at her father’s house to find him lying his porch looking dead. Sam asks “If he’s dead, can we go back to Phoenix?” at which point Grandpa (Barnard Hughes) gets up, laughing at his own joke. Grandpa is an eccentric character and he’s sporting a Willlie Nelson look. The house is packed with deer antlers and stuffed animals. After Sam has a quick look around he is horrified to find no sign of a TV. While Grandpa is laying down his house rules he says no-one is touch his TV guide when its delivered. Sam ask hopefully if Grandpa has TV and is shattered when Grandpa says “Read the TV guide you don’t need a TV”

That night Sam and Michael go to the board-walk in town. There’s a band playing there, with a big muscular saxophone player Tom Capello singing I Still Believe. Michael catches sight of an attractive young woman Star (Jami Gertz) who is watching him. She leaves and gives Michael a little glance back to see if he is following. Michael does and Sam complains about being at the mercy of his sex glands and goes off to do is his own thing.

Lucy is also on the boardwalk we see there are lots of notices for missing people plastered all over the place, many of them fresh, including one for the security guard from the start of the film. The sheer number is a bit unsettling. Lucy sees a young boy on his own outside a video store and finds he is lost. She takes him into the store and asks the owner Max (Edward Herrman) for helping in finding the boy’s mother. The mother appears seconds later happy to find her son safe and takes him away. Lucy reveal she is looking for a job and indicate Max’s “help wanted” sign in the window.

Sam has spotted a comic book store and despite his way-out trendy clothing  he is a major comic book nerd. Sam really does stand out amongst the freaks, hippies and punks of Santa Carla.and this gets a comment from one the two boys who are working in the store. Sam demonstrates his nerd credentials by criticising the placement of various comic books. The boys introduces themselves as Edgar and Alan Frogg (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) That is just a fantastic pair of the names and Edgar delivers it so straight and its always followed by the unspoken thought “seriously?”  by whoever he’s talking to as they mentally adjust their reality accommodate the Frogg Brothers. The brothers both talk with put-on deep voices under the very mistaken impression that it makes them sound tough so when Edgar presses a vampire comic into his hands and warns him it may save his life he really doesn’t take them seriously.

Michael is still following Star but is disappointed when he finally catches up with her and she leaves with David and his gang on the back of David’s motorcycle. As they drive off she looks regretfully back at Michael. Later we see a couple punks reading comics they stole from the Froggs’ store. Without warning the roof of their car is ripped off and they get dragged off into the air.

Next day Grandpa winds Sam up again by asking if he wants to go to town. In the garage he has a mint condition classic car and Sam is impressed and eager for the run into town, but Grandpa just turns the engine over for a minute then turns it off again “That’s about as close as I like to get to town” and gets out again. Sam burned again.

That night at the board-walk. Sam goes to talk to the Frogg brothers again and they try and convince him that they are vampire hunters and that Santa Carla is a haven for the undead. Once more they press a vampire comic into his hand Edgar shows him their number on the back  Edgar says “pray you never need to call us,” and Sam replies sincerely “I pray I never need to call you” with a brilliant expression on his face

Michael has met up with Star and again she’s about to leave with David and the gang. This time David invites Michael to follow on his bike to the bluff. They race along the beach in the dark and it is very misty all of a sudden. At last minute on instinct Micheal swerves to stop just in time to stop going over a cliff. He’s not happy but David and friends are laughing about it and they invite Michael down to their hideout. They are in an old hotel that fell intoa fault during the large San Francisco earthquake and is now a well furnished cave.

David’s gang are Marko (Alex Winter), Paul (Brooke McCarter),  Dwayne (Billy Wirth), a nine-year-old boy called Laddie for some reason and of course Star. David Gives Michael rice from takeaway someone has brought tin. He starts to eat when David ask how he likes his maggots. David looks down to see the container crawling with maggots and he spits out what he ate. Moments later the container is just full of rice again. David also seems to make Michael see a tub of noodles as a tub of worms.

Now that Michael has been softened up David offers him a drink from an ornate bottle. The atmosphere has changed and now instead of laughing they are hungrily willing Michael on to accept the drink, all except for Star who tries to warn that the drink is blood, but thinks it is another trick and takes a drink and feels a rush going through him s he is changed.

They all ride out to a railway bridge and cross over to the middle. Michael is shocked when each of the gang seems to just leap off to their deaths until he hears them call him from under the bridge where they are hanging. Michael joins them and then a train comes over the bridge shaking it. One by one the gang lose their grip on the bridge and fall off in the misty valley below. Soon Michael is hanging there alone and just before he loses his grip he once more hears the voices of the gang below him. He falls too and lands back in his own bed.

Next day Sam wakes Michael with call from their mother. She wants to Michael stay home and take care of Sam while she goes out for dinner with Max. Michael is looking really rough. Later on in the evening Grandpa is heading out on a date himself and douses himself in window cleaner as a substitute for cologne.

Not long after Grandpa  leaves there there are sounds and lights like a bunch of motorcycles are driving round the house. When Michael opens the door the noises stop and there is no sign of anyone there. Sam goes upstairs and has a bath. He has it full of foam and is listening to music, some old blues duet and he’s singing along to both parts while playing with the suds. His dog /wolf Nanook is sitting at the side of the bath. Downstairs Michael takes a drink of milk from the carton and has a violent vamp-spasm. He looks up and his eyes are glowing yellow instead of bright blue. Hungry for blood he goes up to the bathroom and as he opens the door Sam ducks under the water to rinse himself off and Nanook sees the danger and attacks Michael.

Later Sam comes out of the bathroom confused looking for Micheal and finds him downstairs bleeding from a vicious bite on his hand from Nanook. He tells Sam Nanook was just trying to protect Sam from Michael. Sam then sees Michael’s reflection in a mirror and it is faded and ghostly. Sam freaks, runs upstairs and locks himself in his room. He calls the Froggs and Edgar confirms that is looks like his brother is vampire. His only advice “Kill your brother, you’ll feel better,”  is just not something Sam is ready to do

Michael is having trouble lying down to sleep. His problem is not the sleeping part, but he can’t stop floating off his bed and it gets so bad he ends up floating out of his window. Next door Sam answers a call from Lucy and is reassuring her that everything is fine when suddenly he sees Michael floating outside his window and he just freaks out screaming for help. Michael tries to reassure her on the other extension but she leaves for home right away.

After Sam calms down he lets Michael in and they promise to tell Lucy nothing and try to sort it out together. Sam tries to claim he was just having a nightmare after reading a scary comic and Lucy is exasperated because she knows it’s BS and no-one is telling her anything. Michael goes out to the bluff to see Star who confirms that he is a vampire and that drink really was blood just like she said. The scene turns to sex fairly quickly.

Next day Lucy tries to get some information from Michael but he just slips off to bed. She takes Sam along to Max’s while she drops of a bottle wine to apologise for leaving dinner early. She goes in the gate to leave it on the doorstep and sees Max’s dog Thornn who turns savage and chases her off. Thornn was previously a normal friendly dog that Lucy had already met. Sam connects the dog’s behaviour to hell-hounds used by vampires to protect them in the daytime and calls the Froggs. Sam finds out from Edgar that Michael may still be saved. If he hasn’t killed anyone he is only half-vampire and if the head vampire whose blood he drank is killed then he’ll recover and be human again.

Lucy tells the boys that Max is coming over for dinner to make up for the previous night. Michael is of course going out. Sam sees his chance and calls the Froggs to help him test Max to see if he is the head vampire. Michael is just leaving as Max arrives and Max makes of point of being invited in by David (vamp-alarm beeping). Then Sam shows up with his guests for dinner, the Frogg brothers. Dinner is disaster thanks to the boys attempts to test Max, first with raw garlic instead of parmesan. This merely serves to upset Lucy and leaves them thinking that Max is a normal human.

Michael is gone down at the beach with David and the gang  sitting in a tree. nearby a group of surf nazi are having a beach party drinking and dancing around a bonfire. David has brought Michael here to show him what he is. The gang all fly out of the tree and attack the party group slaughtering them all and tossing their bodies on the fire. Michael is disgusted and successfully battles his own blood-lust. David says to him “You’ll never grow old, never die but you must feed,” and they leave him.

Michael goes back home and ask for Sam’s help. Star appears floating outside Sam’s window and Sam dives under his blanket in fear. Star asks for Michael’s help for herself and Laddie who are also both half vampires. David had in fact intended Michael to be Star’s first kill but clearly that plan was changed when she didn’t do it. Sam tells them he has contacts and as Star flies off again Sam tells her to make sure she doesn’t kill anyone.

Sam calls the Frogg brothers to come round and they all head for the vampire nest in Grandpa’s classic car. Michael takes care of getting Laddie and Star out to car. Sam and the Froggs head off to hunt for the sleeping vampires. When they find them they are shocked to find that they sleep while hanging by their big ugly demon feet from the roof of their cave. They don’t know which one is the head vampire. Edgar suggests killing them all smallest one first. He climbs up a stakes Marko right through the chest. Marko dies but it is a noisy bloody mess and the other vampires all wake up. “You’re dead meat,” David growls at them and chases after them as they run for the exit. He manages to grab Sam but the Froggs pull Sam out into the daylight which burns David and he has to let them go for now.

They race home to get ready David’s retribution that night. Grandpa watches carrying Star and Laddie into the house but he merely asks if they knew the rule about filling the car with gas when they take it without permission. Lucy is going on another date with Max which gets her out of the way. Sam tells Grandpa about widow Johnston expecting him that night. I think you can see Grandpa is just pretending to believe Sam, just like he pretended he didn’t notice them carrying sleeping vampires into the house.

The vampires attack and Nanook kills one in a bath of holy water, saving the Frogg brothers. Sam shoots another one with an arrow right into the stereo system. That leaves David who goes into a flying hand to hand battle with Michael. Michael defeats David but he’s still a vampire because David was not the head vampire.

Lucy returns home with Max and is looking over the mess and trying to understand it. Sam and the Froggs try to explain but then Max takes over because he is really the head vampire. Their tests were useless because Max was invited in by Michael. Max wanted them to all be vampires and be one big happy family to which Edgar quips ” Great, The bloodsucking Brady Bunch,”

Max seizes Sam and threaten to kill him if Lucy does not agree to join him. Just then Grandpa’s truck horn sounds and it crashes through the wall staking Max with a big fence post and killing him.  Michael, Star and Laddie are human again. Grandpa gets out of the truck and just says “One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires.”

Rating 9/10


Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: Dead Heat (1988)

This low-budget film has the look of something made for television about it. I thought I was in the mood for something light and fluffy but this film is far too lightweight for me. Right off I’ll just say that anyone  wh is looking for horror, gore or scares move on. This is a very lightweight action comedy

Roger Mortis (Treat Williams) and Doug Bigelow (Joe Piscopo) are a pair of cops, Roger is the smart one and Doug is the crude horny man-child. They go to a jewellery robbery and wait outside the jewellers for the thieves to emerge with along half of the city’s police force, all with their gun trained the door. When the thieves come out shooting they get shot several times but they don’t go down and keeping shooting back. Lots of cops are getting shot and there is widespread property damage. Naturally it’s up to the buddy cops to save the day. Roger does something really risky with a car that I really can’t remember and Doug shoot a grenade out one of the crook’s hands. Lieutenant Doctor from Star Trek Voyager (Robert Picardo) shouts at them for stopping the crooks before they had killed enough cops and blown up a large bit of the city.

Back at the police station they get shouted at for doing their job by their Captain who admits he’s only doing it to keep the Lieutenant happy and  really because it has to be done in every buddy cop movie and the writer could not be bothered giving him a real reason. Then he puts them in charge of investigating these violent high risk robberies by what has been nicknamed the “Cash and Dash gang”. Their first stop is the morgue to speak to hot pathologist Dr Rebecca Smythers (Clare Kirkconnell). She seems to have expected something from Roger and I got the feeling I must have missed an earlier episode, the same one where an eleven year old boy’s brain was transplanted into Doug’s body. Rebecca tells them that she found that the bodies have autopsy scars and she did the autopsies. Dr McNab (Darren McGavin) the coroner walks in and he claims that she must have made a mistake (seriously!?).

Rebecca tells them she found some sulfathiazole in the bodies. Apparently in Los Angeles this common old-fashioned anti-microbial agent is rare and most of it is used by Dante Pharmaceuticals. They go there and get met by Randi James (Lindsay Frost) [credit for the character name] who is in charge of PR. She shows them around the labs and makes a point of showing them a chamber they use for killing animals and you know this is going to be important later.

Doug dodges off with that old toilet excuse and takes a look around at things not on the official tour. He finds a secret door into a big science fiction machine with body lying in it. He gets attacked by thing on the machine which has a head that is just wrong. I think it only had two eyes but it had three noses and the mouth was like two mouths joined together. There’s an extended fight scene which takes them back to Roger and Randi out in the corridor. Somehow in the confusion Roger gets pushed and locked in the death chamber and while Doug fights big monster- face Roger dies. On no! The star of the film is dead what are they going to do? Leave us with Joe Piscopo for the rest of the film? Fortunately there’s an insane solution. Rebecca has just turned up with a bunch of cops. She puts Roger’s body into the machine that she knows nothing about and turns it on. Sparks fly and the body spasms then when the machine stops Roger wakes up.

Nobody seems to be all that excited about the fact they have a machine that can resurrect the dead but then they under-react to everything in this film. Rebecca gives Roger an examination and can’t find a heartbeat. McNab is there (for some reason) and he also tries to find a heartbeat and can’t. I don’t remember what feeble excuse he gives but everybody knows it means Roger is dead. Rebecca gives him even worse news by telling him he is decaying and will melt into a puddle of goo in 12 hours.

After Roger has put on make-up and lipstick to cover up his deathly pallor they go to Randi’s giant expensive house and catch her packing to get out-of-town. The place gets shot up by a couple of zombies who then attack them, but Roger and Doug manage to stop them in the swimming pool. They find a video from Laudermilk (Vincent Price) the recently dead boss of Dante and she’s now claiming to be his daughter. She tells them about some connection to  Mr Thule, owner of a butcher’s shop in the Chinatown area of the city. They insist Randi comes with them to see Mr Thule.

The scene at the  butcher’s shop isn’t any less stupid than anything else in the film but it is almost the only part that might be a little disturbing for young kids. They get to the shop and want to see Mr Thule. Soon Mr Thule appears but all he does is switch on a smaller resurrection machine hidden in his chandelier. All the meat in shop come to life and starts attacking Doug and Roger while Mr Thule and his butcher escape. I really don’t what is more ridiculous, Roger being attacked by flying livers or by a huge cow carcass that bursts dramatically from the freezer. Doug manages to finally shoot the machine and it all dies down again.

Anyway there’s a lot of going places and finding things and listening to Joe Piscopo’s anti-jokes. Eventually Roger takes Randi to check out her father Laudermilk’s grave. In his tomb Roger sees numbers written on a lampshade? Roger figures that it is a clue but who is supposed to have left it? It is some of code he hasn’t figured out yet. They drive back to Randi’s where they had left Doug. The TV is on and the 1950 classic D.O.A. is on just in case you don’t recognise the influence. Randi admits she met Laudermilk at hospital and is not his daughter. They also find Doug dead, drowned in a fish tank.

Next scene is another one of the film’s more disturbing ones. Randi goes to take a shower and when Roger goes to check on her she reveals that she was resurrected by the machine too. Laudermilk promised her it was permanent but he lied. She starts to decay and the process is very rapid. She falls apart and crumbles into bones and goo. Roger freaks out. Then he figures out what the code meant

He rushes to the morgue and confronts the coroner McNab, the evil mastermind behind everything. He denies it and keeps Roger talking long enough for a zombie to grab him. He gets shoved into an ambulance with body of Rebecca [poor, quickly forgotten Rebecca] and cuffed to trolley she is on. They reckon he’ll soon be rotting away and  just leave him to die again. Roger manages to release the brakes with his foot and the ambulance free-wheels down the hill into the traffic before crashing in flames. An emergency crew turns up to clear up the mess, but get a shock when the still smouldering body of Roger gets out of his body bag.  He flashes his badge at a terrified cop and takes his gun and motorcycle and rides off to the film’s big climax.

At Dante Pharmaceuticals McNab is giving a presentation to select group of very rich coffin dodgers, saying that he can give them immortality. They are sceptical and so he introduces Laudermilk who is not dead (but is he really resurrected? or was he never really dead?) He takes over the sales speech and it is nice to see the old ham in action even in a cheesy film like this.

Meanwhile Roger is slaughtering his way through Dante’s security and he gets up to the room with the machine. Bullets start flying everywhere and guards shoot at him and he fires back while the rich people run away and Laudermilk hides in the corner. McNab realises it’s just him and Roger left and turns on the machine.

It resurrects Doug but he’s a mindless zombie obedient to McNab who tells him to kill Roger. He repeats the order over and over again while attacking Roger and I’m sure that bit has been stolen from an Abbott and Costello sketch or a Warner Brothers cartoon. Roger reminds Doug that he’s always been stupid and mindless which magically breaks McNab’s spell over him and they both turn on McNab .

McNab panics and shoots himself before they can get to him. Doug is disappointed but Roger has really obvious idea. They put McNab on the machine and resurrect him then give a double dose he blows up, spraying chunks everywhere.

This is just one of those dumb cocky films that thinks it a lot funnier than it is. It is crude and callous and I feel sorry for the real actors who appeared in it like Darren McGavin, Treat Williams and especially Vincent Price. I don’t recommend this to anyone as a failed comedy is one of the worst types of film to sit through.

Rating 4/10


Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: Anguish (original title Angustia)

This 1987 film Spanish director Bigas Luna is one of the rare finds, an intelligent and disturbing well-made horror that I had never heard of. I really think if you have not seen this film you should before you read any reviews of it since it such an easy film to spoil but it seems a hopeless task since even Amazon give it away the twist in their product description  My advice if you think you might want to see this film don’t read any more about it anywhere, don’t read product descriptions or websites or anything just get it and watch it.

Okay I’ll do a small spoiler free synopsis and put in a page break. We get a warning  “During the film you are about to see you will be subject to subliminal messages and mild hypnosis. This will cause you no physical harm or lasting effect, but if for any reason you lose control or feel your mind is leaving your body – leave the auditorium immediately. I know it’s a schocky old stunt but it makes sense later.

John Pressman (Michael Lerner) lives with his mother Alice (the late Zelda Rubenstein) in her flat. John keeps pigeons while his mother keeps snails. John is an orderly at an ophthalmic hospital who maintains a large collection of eye samples. While helping a patient put in her new contacts she complains that they are causing pain. She needs them taken out again but John insists they will feel better in a minute and runs away upset while the patient shouts for the doctor. There’s quick cut to Alice at home listening to what’s happening at the hospital in large porcelain snail shell. The nurse apologises but the patient insists on seeing the doctor next time. Alice swears she will make the woman pay

John is at home slobbering down his dinner while pathetically asking for Alice for praise and reassurance but Alice is delusional and believes John is a surgeon not just an orderly. She hypnotises John and the film really shows a lot of the process there with a thudding heartbeat and the image of the spiral on the turntable all while Zelda’s weird whisper reaches out into the listener’s brain.

John appears at the the house of the contact lens patient while she is getting ready to go out to a party with her husband. John tells them she was right about the lenses at the hospital, they were the wrong ones and he has the correct ones with him. She is still angry with him but she agrees to let him put these lenses in for her. She’s pretty happy with new lenses and while John is apologising again and thanking her for not complaining about him to Dr Murphy he pulls a scalpel out of his bag and slices her throat open. Then he goes to work cutting out her eyes (implied not shown).

Her husband comes up to see what’s taking so long and sees her body on the floor. John chases him through house and kills him Then John hears a phone ringing. It is his mother’s phone and he can hear it through their mental link. A woman has called from the hospital to talk about John but before she gets to say anything his mother has quit for him and is boasting John is the best surgeon they’ve got and they’ll be sorry. In her paranoid delusion she drives to John to carve out his victim’s eyes for her.

spoilers from now on

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Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Film


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Review: Day of the Dead

The third film in George Romero‘s original dead trilogy is the only one I got to see in the cinema. It was not popular at the time but I really liked it from that first viewing.

A woman stands alone in an empty room with only one feature, a calender on the wall with most of the days of October crossed off. She approaches it and crosses of another day when arms burst through the wall to grab her and she suddenly wakes up. Sarah (Lori Cardille) is in a helicopter with soldier Miguel (Anthony Dileo Jr.), electronics expert Bill McDermott (Jarlath Conroy) and pilot John (Terry Alexander). They are flying around a city looking for any sign of living people amongst the hordes of walking dead. They don’t find any living people but they do find out that Miguel is cracking up with the stress.

They go back go the base, an underground government storage facility in a disused mine that has been adapted into lab to investigate the zombie problem and trying to find a cure or some other solution to the problem. Sarah is one of scientific team and they have small squad of soldiers to keep them secure. While they were gone the base commander Major Cooper was killed and now Captain Rhodes (Joseph Pilato) is in charge. Steel (Gary Howard Klar) and Rickles (Ralph Marrero) need Miguel’s help to get zombie specimens from the holding pen. Sarah tries to tell them that Miguel is too tired but they are short-staffed and he’s needed. She offers to help instead but Steel doesn’t want a woman involved. Sure enough when Miguel has a zombie held secure by a noose on a pole he drops the pole and the zombie almost manages to attack Rickles but Sarah steps in and grabs the pole. Steel grabs Miguel by the throat and holds him over the zombie pen threatening to kill him for his carelessness until Sarah uses her machine gun to make him stop.

Sarah takes Miguel back to their shared quarters (he is porking her and the other men hate him just for that). She sedates him then goes to talk with Fisher (John Amplas), another scientist, about what happened while they were gone. He is arguing with Rhodes about the poor conditions they have to work in. Rhodes argues back that his men take all the risks and there’s been no progress to show for it. He can see that the scientists need the military but he can’t see what the military need the scientists for.

In Logan’s (Richard Liberty) lab he has dead bodies everywhere. His research is gruesome and very wasteful. He has a zombie on a bench with most of the head removed and only a brain-stem left. Apparently a similar operation can pacify other zombies. Logan seem oblivious to how obscene it is and Sarah is even more upset to discover that the body is Major Cooper’s.

Rhodes has called a meeting of everyone so he can shout them all at once and show them how Captain Stick-up-the-arse is going to run things. Bill reports that he can’t find anyone on the radio which might mean there’s no-one else out there, at least not in range, or that their radio equipment is knackered. Logan hasn’t appeared so Rhodes abuses Sarah about his absence and the lack progress. He raises the subject of Miguel and how their relationship is threat to discipline. When he threatens to have Miguel removed out of the way so they can all ‘get a go’ Sarah had enough and starts to leave. Rhodes orders her to sit back down or he’ll have her shot.

There are some who argue that Rhodes was not really the villain of the film but this point is clearly where he does become the villain with his implied rape threat against Sarah to try to intimidate her. Since Sarah has still not sat down he then orders Steel to shoot her. Steel thinks this a joke and makes a gun with his finger makes a shooting noise. Rhodes flips out and pulls his gun on Steel and orders him again to shoot Sarah. John, Bill and Fisher beg Sarah to sit down and she does, to Steel’s relief.

Rhodes launches into a “why you all suck” speech, talks about packing up the whole operation and that’s when Logan appears apologising for being late and looking for food. Logan bluntly points out there is nowhere else to go so there nothing else to do but keep looking for an answer. He’s quick to rubbish Sarah’s search for cure and boasts of the progress he’s made and has bold predictions of how long it will take him. Sarah interrupts, clearly remembering the charnel house lab and Major Cooper’s body, she says its hard to say how long results will take. Rhodes agrees to give it more time but he threatens them all that he will execute anyone who challenges his command. The meeting breaks up and John warns Sarah to be careful, that Rhodes is seriously dangerous, especially to her and Fisher.

Later Logan shows Sarah and Fisher his progress with Bub (Sherman Howard), his prize specimen, demonstrating that the zombies still retain some memory of their old lives by giving a razor, a brush and a book. Fisher remains unimpressed but Sarah notices how calm Bub is around Logan. Rhodes appears with Steel and Logan continues the demonstration for his benefit. He gives Bub a telephone a prompts him to say “hello Aunt Alicia”. Bub makes a mumbling attempt to speak then he sees Rhodes and salutes him and this only succeeds in freaking out Rhodes. Oblivious, Logan caries on with the demonstration by giving Bub an empty gun. Bub demonstrates how much he knows about guns by pointing it at Rhodes and pulling the trigger. Logan has  to jump in front of Rhodes’ gun to stop him from shooting Bub. The demonstration has only confirmed to Rhodes his view that they are just wasting their time.

The soldiers are catching another two zombies and Miguel screws it up again, one zombie bites a soldier in the neck  and his gun goes off and kills a second soldier. The other zombie gets free and bites a chunk out of Miguel’s arm and Miguel runs off. The soldier that was bitten begs Steel to kill him and he does then goes off after Miguel to do the same to him. Sarah has caught Miguel at Bill and Jon’s quarters. She quickly amputates the arm above where he was bitten. The soldiers arrive and there is stand-off with John and Bill armed and ready to defend Miguel. Rhodes backs down since he doesn’t care about Miguel if they want to keep him but it is clear that battle-lines have been drawn.

Bill and Sarah return to the lab to get morphine for Miguel. There they find tape-recorded notes that record Logan’s descent into madness. They also see the animated head one of the recently dead soldiers. Logan is training Bub to operate a tape recorder and they see him rewarding Bub with something for doing well. Zombies only eat one thing – human flesh. Sure enough in the freezer is a headless corpse of a recently dead soldier that Logan has been using to reward his specimens. Rhodes and his men come in and see all this and Rhodes shoots Logan several times, killing him. They disarm Bill and Sarah and with Fisher force them to John and Bill’s quarters. Rhodes threatens to kill them if John does not agree to fly him and his men out of there. He shoots Fisher dead to prove he’s serious then gets his men throw Sarah and Bill into the Zombie pen. Having thrown away all his bargaining chips Rhodes still can’t get John to agree to fly them so gets Rickles and Steel to beat him.

While all this was going on Miguel has gone totally crazy. He takes the elevator up to ground level then opens the gates of the compound and lies down on the elevator while zombies rip him apart and he operates the control to take the elevator back down. This crazy behaviour is just what the film needed to bring about a climax of zombies over-running the compound. The sirens that went off when the elevator is operated had interrupted John’s beating as Rickles and Steel leave to investigate. John easily overcomes Rhodes and Torrez and takes their guns. Then he jumps into the zombie pen to rescue Bill and Sarah.

The zombies run amok around the compound and Rhodes flees and abandons his men. They get taken down by zombies one at time. In the lab area Rhodes gets chased by an armed Bub who shoots him and then as he falls into the hands of a mob of zombies Bub salutes him and leaves.

The film ends with Sarah, Bill and John flying away and relaxing on a beach of an isolated island. It is a low key ending but it fits.

I think the acting is really great but the best has to be Sherman Howard’s Bub. The scene where he’s trying to talk into a telephone seemed quite startling because I had totally bought in to Romero’s reality, where zombies don’t talk. The climax did seem a little bit forced with Miguel’s mad turn and Rhodes’ sudden yellow streak coming more from story demand rather that character developments

Rating  8/10


Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Film


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