Monthly Archives: December 2012

Review: Silent Night Deadly Night

Christmas Horror

Silent Night Deadly Night 001The Christmas season is here so I decided that it was a good time to re-visit this violent seasonal horror from the 80s. It has a fake Hollywood psychology going on with it all laid out simplistically as the killer takes on the persona of the thing he fears the most, the Santa who punishes those who have been naughty. The cast are all pretty good especially Robert Brian Wilson playing the older Billy but the most convincing was Lilyan Chauvin as the arrogant Mother Superior. It has nudity and scenes of sexual violence and caused a controversy when it came out and I read that it was advertised at a time when families were watching television leaving children scared and with a lot of questions. As you can see it’s perfect material for a remake and I think one has just been released in the US so it’ll probably appear on DVD in January

This film is a classic slasher film in the vein of Halloween but is closer to Rob Zombie’s remake in that the focus is almost always on the killer and we get to see the events in his life that scarred him mentally. It all starts naturally enough in Christmas Eve and 8-year-old Billy is travelling with his family to visit his grandfather in a mental hospital. Billy is very excited about Christmas and his mother promises that Santa will be bringing him something really special. At the hospital the old man is apparently catatonic and just stares blankly into space. Billy’s parents try talking to him but he doesn’t respond. The doctor wants them to deal with his paperwork so they go with him to his office and leave Billy with his grandfather. This is a really bad idea because the old man is faking it and he tells Billy the other part of the Santa legend his parents kept from him, that Santa only brings gifts for the good children but he punishes the children who have been bad. He asks Billy if he’s been bad and after a moments thought Billy admits he has. His grandfather starts cackling madly and tells Billy that if he sees Santa he better run. Billy’s parents return with the Doctor and the old man goes back into his catatonic pose, ignoring his son saying goodbye.

On the drive back home Billy is anxious about Santa but instead of being worried about Santa missing him now he’s frightened about Santa coming to punish him. His parents want to know where heard that and he tells them. His father says he will call the hospital later to get them to check on the old man.

As they drive on it gets dark. They see a car has broken down by the side of the road and the driver dressed in a Santa outfit waves them down. Billy is terrified and pleads with them to keep going but his father stops. This is a very bad idea because we saw this guy earlier robbing a shop and murdering the owner. The psycho Santa pulls out his gun and Billy’s father floor the gas and tries to get them out of there. The man shoots at the car and hits Billy’s father, killing him and the car goes off the road. Billy runs off and hides while the killer Santa drags his mother out of the car and is going to sexually assault her but she resists. He gets angry and cuts her throat killing her. This leaves Billy hiding at the side of the road and Billy’s baby brother Richard still in the car screaming his head off.

Three years later and the two boys are residents of an orphanage run by the Catholic Church and in particular by the Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin) who has very fixed views on child-rearing that I wish were an exaggeration but I have heard of much worse than what Billy goes through. It’s Christmas Eve and Billy’s class have been told to draw pictures of Santa. Billy turns in a picture of Santa stabbed to death with several knives and Rudolph beheaded. This earns Billy a trip to the Mother Superior for discipline. Sister Margaret (Gilmer McCormick) is in the office too and she is concerned that the trauma of seeing his parents killed is clearly still affecting him at this time of year. She asks the Mother Superior to get him professional help but the Mother Superior is sure of her own abilities to the point of arrogance. She sends Billy to his room and tells him to stay there.

Later Sister Margaret goes to Billy’s room and tells him that he can go outside and play with the other children so he puts on his coat, hat and scarf and heads out of his room. He hears a curious noise and goes looking for it. The sound is coming from behind a door and he peeks through the keyhole and sees a couple having sex. This gives him a flashback of the killer Santa stripping his mother before killing her. Suddenly the Mother Superior appears behind him and pushes him out of the way. She enters the room and closes the door then takes a thick leather belt and we hear her beating the couple with it. Billy runs outside and the Mother Superior follows. Sister Margaret tries to intervene and tell her that she told Billy he could come outside. The Mother Superior asks him what he saw and he tells her that he didn’t see anything. She tells him that they were being very bad and they had to be punished, that punishment is good, punishment is necessary. Then she takes him up to his room and beats him with her belt for leaving the room, despite being told he could leave by Sister Margaret.

That night Billy has a nightmare of his parent’s death and he wakes screaming and runs out of the room straight into the Mother Superior. She ties him into his bed while he screams and struggles and Sister Margaret watches this inhuman treatment of a deeply distressed child. The Mother Superior is certain that this abuse is all it will take to cure him and she will be proved right the next day when the children have their visit from Santa and Billy will sit on his knee and thank Santa for his gift. It’s clear from the expression on Sister Margaret’s face that she has very strong doubts. As it turns out Sister Margaret was right to have her doubts as Billy is carried kicking and screaming to sit on Santa’s knee. Billy is terrified and he punches Santa’s in the face and runs off to cower in his room sobbing that he’s sorry.

Now we have seen the story of the damage done the story skips forward ten years and Sister Margaret is trying to get Mr Simms (Britt Leach) the owner of a toy shop to take on one of the orphans, specifically Billy. Simms is reluctant since he’s only got a job in the store room and it’s too physical for a kid. Sister Margaret insists on introducing Billy anyway and he’s very fit looking attractive young man and is clearly up to a physically demanding job. Simms changes his mind and hires him right away.

Fans of 80s film will be pleased to see Billy settling into his job with a cheesy montage where we see his supervisor is a lazy dipshit called Andy (Randy Stumpf) who lets Billy do all the work but Billy is happy, friendly and very hard working. He falls for a co-worker Pamela (Toni Nero) and it looks like she’s interested in him too and who can blame her. This montage even has the uplifting cheesy music so typical of 80s sitcoms.

Of course the madness has to start and as the months pass Christmas gets closer. Billy’s Santa-phobia is starting to get to him and because it’s a toy shop it has Christmas dialled up to eleven. In his room at night he is having a dream of having sex with Pamela but is interrupted by the killer Santa who stabs him and he wakes up screaming.

Next day is Christmas Eve and the shop’s Santa has broken his ankle and can’t make it in to work.Simms is desperate to avoid having to put on the suit himself so decides to get Billy to dress up as Santa. None of them seem to sense how terrified Billy is. It all seems to go okay and Billy handles playing Santa for a bunch of kids pretty well but this is because he promises punishment to the naughty children, scaring them into behaving. Sister Margaret calls the store room to talk to Billy but Andy tells her about him playing Santa and Sister Margaret has a very bad feeling

Anyway closing time comes and Simms breaks out the booze and has a Christmas drink with the staff including Andy, Pamela and an older woman Mrs Randall (Nancy Borgenicht). Simms gives Billy a drink too which is probably not a good idea. Everyone gets drunker and Andy invites Pamela to the store room claiming he has a present for her. Billy is jealous and Simms notices he’s gone quiet. Billy says he was thinking of his parents and Simms thinks that’s great but Billy reminds him that they are dead. Simms apologises then starts making stupid jokes treating Billy as if he really is Santa and that it about time he got started on his rounds.

Billy goes into the store room and he sees Andy about to rape Pamela and his mind finally breaks. Now he is Santa the punisher of all naughty children and first up for punishment is Andy who he chokes to death with a string of Christmas lights. Next he slices Pamela open with a box cutter. Simms is still drinking with Mrs Randall and thinks he heard a noise so he goes into the store room and Billy puts a hammer into his head. Mrs Randall goes looking for everyone and sees Simms’ body so she runs and Billy chases her through the store. She manages to get to the door only to discover it’s still locked and Billy kills her with an arrow through her chest then he calmly unlocks the door and leaves.

I expected the film to show what Sister Elizabeth is up to but that doesn’t happen and I suspect some scenes have been cut. Instead we see a semi-naked couple kissing on a pool table who gets interrupted by the young girl the woman (Linnea Quigley) is supposed to babysitting. She sends the girl back to her bed with the threat that Santa won’t come if she’s awake. Once that’s dealt with they get back to kissing when they hear the sound of bells. The woman thinks it’s the cat but back at the store when he was chasing Mrs Randall we heard that Billy’s outfit has bells sewn into the cuffs. The cat comes in but so does Billy and he kills her by impaling her on the antlers of a deer mounted on the wall. When the man comes up to look for her he struggles with Billy before being thrown through and killed by the glass. This is notable because it so rare for film to show being tossed through window as fatal. As Billy is leaving the little girl comes out to see Santa. Billy ask s if she been good as he takes box-cutter from his pocket. The girl says she has and just as you think he’s going to do something terrible he gives her the box-cutter and leaves

A couple of cops are patrolling in their car and they get the message to look out for a killer in a Santa outfit which leads to them invading a house to stop a man in a Santa outfit climbing in the window of a house but it’s just the father of the children in the house playing Santa.

A couple of teenage kids are out in the snow playing with their sledges. Two bullies nick their sledges and as the second one sledges down the hill Billy jumps out from behind a bush and chops the bully’s head off and the other bully at the bottom of the hill sees his headless body come down the hill on the sledge followed by his head.

Sister Margaret is napping on a bench seat at the police station and Captain Richards (H.E.D. Redford) wakes her up. She’s clearly been there all night. Richards tells her that there have been three more deaths and it’s clear that they know about the deaths at the store and that it’s Billy who is the killer which is why I’m sure a scene has been cut. Richards wants to try to anticipate his next move so he asks Sister Elizabeth and she realises that Billy will probably head back to the orphanage. She tries to call them to warn them but a young girl at the orphanage was playing with the phone and left it off the hook so she can’t get through so Richards decides he’ll drive her up there.

A cop (Max Robinson) has been told to keep an eye on the school and as he drives past he sees a figure dressed as Santa approaching the children playing outside in the snow. With his gun drawn he shouts at the figure to stop but he keeps walking and the cop puts three rounds in his back, killing him in front of the horrified children. Later they discover that man he killed was a priest who was playing Santa this year for the children and he didn’t hear the cop call to him because he’s deaf. This means Billy is still on the loose and probably headed for the orphanage. The cop warns the Mother Superior to keep the children inside and not let anyone in. She’s now in a wheelchair but the Mother Superior has not mellowed and she gives the cop a well-earned scolding.

The cop goes outside to check out the grounds. He thinks he saw something at the door to a disused boiler room underground and goes to check it out. There’s nothing there so he heads back up the stairs. Suddenly Billy appears at the doorway and puts an axe in the cop’s head.

In the orphanage the children are upset about what’s going on so the Mother Superior gets the children to sing Christmas songs. While they are singing Billy appears at the door and waves to a boy to let him in and the boy is excited to see Santa and runs to the door. It’s a fire door so it’s easy to open. The Mother Superior sees him run past and when she sees Billy at the door tries to call out and stop him but it’s too late, Billy is inside. His face is full of hate as he comes towards the Mother Superior. She tries to get through to him by telling him Santa isn’t real but Billy’s too far gone and he judges her to be naughty and raises his axe and gets shot in the back by Captain Richards.

As Billy lies dying at the feet of his younger brother Richie he gasps to the shocked children that they are safe now, Santa is dead and dies on cue. After lingering on Billy the camera pans up to Richie who has a very angry scowl on his face and he looks towards the Mother Superior and just says “Naughty.”

Rating 7/10

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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: Vamp

80s Horror

Vamp dvd 001This 80s vampire film is less well-known than some other the other from the same time and I hadn’t seen it or thought much about it since I saw it on VHS. It’s a horror comedy that is a lot more comedy than horror and it has certainly dated a lot more than some of those other films. It features the Jamaican singer Grace Jones as a vampire which  is probably the only reason anyone remembers it today

We see a goup of robed figures leading two young men into room where they are face death by hanging while a booming voice tell them they face death as their initiation. But it’s a fake frateernity prank and pledge AJ (Robert Rusler) calls them out on their infantile pantomime. He promises that he can get anything they want for their frat party, while  fellow pledge Keith (Chris Makepeace) tries to object him committing both of them to anything. This leads to AJ promising to get the a stripper.

The university is miles away from the nearest large city where they might find strippers so they go to see about powering a car from Duncan (Gedde Watanabe), a very wealthy Asian/American student who uses his money to buy academic success. He is exuberant but lonely and agrees to help if they both pretend to be his friends and he comes with them.

They get to a city and look for a strip club they saw advertised in a newspaper. Suddenly the car goes out of control spinning round and round before it finally comes to a stop in a run-down deserted looking part of the city. It is like they have been transported into a strange other world and this is commented on by Keith.

The club is not due to open until they very unspecific time of after dark so they go to a café to pass the time. The sun sets and the café owner wants to close and is dressing himself up like a priest and putting on crosses and rosary beads. They are just waiting on Duncan finishing in the toilet so they can leave. Two women and a scary looking albino man come in ignoring the protest by the owner that he’s closing and they order six coffees to take away. One of the women is gives Keith a seductive look while sensuously sucking on red liquorice. Keith keeps watching her while AJ tries to warn him to stop. When she opens her mouth and Keith sees her hideous teeth he is obviously startled and repulsed which really annoys her and she tells the albino man. The three of them surround Keith and the man called Snow (Billy Drago) tries to intimidate him. Keith looks to AJ for some help but he’s letting Keith suffer the consequences of being a horny idiot for now. Duncan comes out of the toilet and quickly retreats back in as soon as he sees trouble. AJ tries to reason with Snow but he gets nowhere and Snow spills coffee on AJ’s shirt. AJ s a bright and laid back person but he’s also very vain and damaging hi clothes is what pushes his button and he and Keith fight and knock out the three gang members. Keith fetches Duncan from the toilet while AJ cleans his shirt. When Duncan comes out and sees the gang lying on the floor he starts with the bravado.

They leave and go to the strip club. Duncan is eager to go inside but the plan was for AJ to go in alone and he tells Keith and Duncan to wait in the car. AJ has barely gone inside when Duncan decides that since he came all this way he’s going inside so Keith has no choice but to follow him. At the door is Vic (Sandy Baron), the clubs MC, who asks the boys for their IDs and Duncan pulls out his wallet. Vic grabs it out of his hand, finds it full of cash and credit cards and he’s happy to let the boys inside. Of course Duncan is overexcited by the women on display, especially the one stripping on stage and he tells the waitress he wants a ringside seat. AJ is at the bar and is not happy to see them inside but Keith shrugs his shoulders and indicates Duncan.

A waitress called Amaretto (Dedee Pfeiffer) recognises Keith and waves at him and gives her a confused, uneasy smile. She tries to clue him in by spinning a bottle but he’s still confused so she comes over and asks if he remembers her and Keith really doesn’t. She is being watched by her boss so she takes their drink order. Duncan is amazed that Keith doesn’t remember her. When she comes back with their drinks, she doesn’t stick around because the main act is about to start.

The lights dim and the spotlight comes on and Katrina (Grace Jones) is sitting at the feet of a sculpture with a human shape and a chair like pose. It has a very Australian Aboriginal art look about it. Katrina has white face paint and a pink wig with as geisha look that is completed with her red silk kimono. The music playing is of course by Grace Jones and it has a very percussive electronic sound. She strips for them while clawing at the air like an animal. Under her kimono she is wearing metal spirals over her breasts and genitals and the spiral motif is continued in white body paint. She gives them a raunchier more intense performance you’d expect in a cheap strip joint and when she finishes the low class audience are sitting stunned silence for a moment before they applaud. AJ mimes to Keith that he’s going try to hire her for their frat party.

AJ talks to a waitress and she takes him backstage to Katrina’s room. AJ tries to act cool as he compliments Katrina’s act and asks her if she’s interested in another performance. Katrina never says a word instead she lays him down on her bed and strips off his shirt, kissing and licking him over his body. Then she raises her head and her face turns demonic and long claws come out of her fingers and toes. She bites down on his throat with her fangs and drains his blood leaving him lying lifeless.

Keith is getting is restless and wanders around looking for any sign of AJ coming out. He wanders over to Vic’s counter while he is dealing with an unconscious “drunk” in the back of the club. He helps himself to the bowl of nut on the counter but realises very quickly that what he just ate was a live cockroach and the bowl is full of them. He spits it out and tells Duncan that they are going to leave. He goes to the waitress that AJ talked to but she denies taking anyone backstage but there’s a worried look on her face. Just then Amaretto comes to talk to him and when he mentions AJ going backstage she is really excited that AJ is there and sure he will remember her. Amaretto takes Keith backstage to look for AJ and they don’t find him. She has an idea and asks if one of the strippers called Candi has left. She thinks that AJ may have left with her to go to the hotel where she is staying. Amaretto is also staying there and tells Keith to wait outside by the back door while she gets changed.

While this is happening the waitress who brought AJ to Katrina is in Katrina’s room apologising to her and Vic for bringing AJ back without making sure he was alone. Vic is furious since they keep a low profile by only choosing victims that have not told anyone that they came here. Now the will have to kill his friends too so they don’t blow their cover. The waitress is terrified of what Vic wants to do to her but Katrina comforts her and just when thinks she’s okay Katrina punches her through her chest and tears her heart out.

Outside Keith waits at the back of the club and he sees Vlad (Brad Logan) the bouncer carry out heavy garbage sacks and dump them in a dumpster. Then a truck comes to take away the dumpster and Vlad hands the driver a load of wallets. Vlad turns and grins at Keith who is suddenly nervous and looks away. Just then Amaretto comes out of the back door and Keith is glad that they are leaving. They talk and Amaretto is already assuming what Keith is thinking before he says anything and answering questions he hasn’t asked. She still doesn’t answer his main questions of who she is and how she knows him.

At the hotel they get in the lift and there’s an ancient operator with a terrible toupee humming along to the muzak while Keith and Amaretto try to stifle their laughter. The lift stops and Keith gets out but Amaretto says in not the right floor but the door closes before he can get back in. He goes down the corridor to use the stairs when the lift reappears. He goes back to the lift but when he tries to get in the door slams on him trapping him in the door. As he tries to get free the lift starts going up and now he struggling for his life. He manages to jam a fire extinguisher in to stop the lift and give him time to get free.

Keith gets outside and he runs into Snow and his gang including the three large angry albinos that all start chasing him through the empty streets. He manages to get down into the sewers and thinks he’s got away from them but they know where he went and they have fun getting to all his possible exits before he does. He sees one of the men approaching a little girl who turns out to be a vampire who attacks the man biting his arm and he desperately tries to shake off. They disappear from view for a moment and Keith hears the man cry out and fall down lifeless in the street. Keith climbs out of the sewer and the gang start chasing him again so he runs down into an alley and climbs into a dumpster where he waits until he hears the gang leave. As he goes to climb out he sees AJ’s corpse.

Keith goes to a phone box and calls the police then he starts making his way back to the club. He runs into Amaretto who was heading back to try and find him when they got separated at the hotel. He tells her about what’s happening. They get back to the club and when Keith talks to Vic about finding AJ dead. Vic had Vlad bring AJ’s body back in when the attempt to kill Keith at the hotel failed and he takes Keith and Amaretto back stage to a room where they find AJ alive and well. He recognises Amaretto right away and calls her by her real name Allison. AJ claims he was pulling a joke on Keith and that he wasn’t dead. Vic wants Keith to talk to police that came in response to his call. They are not happy about being called out to this part of town and leave.

Keith tells Allison to go see about Duncan while he stays with AJ. Once they are alone AJ reveals that he has been turned into a vampire and only their friendship has stopped AJ from attacking Keith. He’s not happy about being a vampire and he asks Keith to kill him and gives him a broken table leg to tap him through the heart. Keith just can’t kill best his friend so AJ lifts his Keith hand with the table leg and impales himself on it and Keith has to watch helplessly as his friend dies.

Out in the bar Keith wants to collect Allison and Duncan and leave but Vic tells him bluntly that there’s no way they’ll be leaving alive and Keith realises they are surrounded by vampires. It seems hopeless but Keith has an idea. Vic is obsessed with Las Vegas and has made several mention of his dream of moving there with Katrina but Keith knows Vic has never been there. He convinces Vic that mobster in Vegas buy their victims a last drink before killing them and Vic thinks that shows class so he agrees. Keith orders three large brandies and for good measure takes the rest of the bottles. Giving two of the glasses to Allison they spread the booze all around the bar and Keith lights up the alcohol which rapidly engulfs the whole club in flames. Keith, Duncan and Allison escapes in the confusion. Vic just sits there feeling sorry for himself and allows himself to be engulfed by the flames while enjoying his first alcoholic drink in decades.

Keith, Allison and Duncan get into the car and drive off and they get chased by a truck and large lorry driven by more vampires but manage to get away. Duncan complains about feeling hungry from the back seat. He is turning into a vampire this distracts them enough so that they get hit by the truck. The impact damages the fuel tank and of course the car catches fire. Keith gets out and manages to get Allison out. Duncan is trapped and they don’t try very hard to get him out before the car explodes and crispy fries him.

They start running but vampires start appearing chasing them just. As they run a car pulls up in front of them. Snow and his gang get out just a load of vampires arrive and the gang are attacked and killed by the vampires.

Keith breaks into a hardware shop to get the some weapons and he gives Allison a gun while he gets chooses a longbow. He takes Allison down into the sewer to get away and this is when Allison reveals that they were in grade school together and somehow she got to kiss him in a game of spin the bottle. It’s not really relevant and really not the time to talk about it. They find a wall with a large hole but it turns out to be the cellar of the club and it is full of coffins including a n Egyptian sarcophagus with the face of Katrina. They hide when a load of vampires arrive and get into the coffins. The room has a couple of large barrels of flammable oil and which is very handy so Keith knocks over the barrels and sets fire to the cellar killing more vampires.

Back in the cellar they get confronted by Katrina who manages to get a hold of Allison. Katrina’s about to put the bite on her but Keith shoots an arrow into her mouth. The sun has risen and Keith is able knock away planks on the roof of the sewer? He traps her between the beams of sunlight before knocking away the last plank and killing her. They then face Vlad who is angry that they killed everyone else. Just as he is about to kill them he is killed by someone pushing a stake into him from behind. It turns out to be AJ who wasn’t killed by the table leg because it was formica not wood.

Keith and Allison climb up to the surface, with Keith worried about Allison being a vampire to but other than being dazzled a by the light she’s okay and they walk off together with AJ following beneath them.

This is a very 80s film and the story has so many typical elements. There is of course Grace Jones who was at the peak of her fame in the 80s. It was the first that had the idea of a strip club being used by vampires as a honey trap, and idea used in From Dusk till Dawn. It has very garish colours with a lot pink, green and orange light. Personally I think this film was never as good the other 80s vampire films such as Fright Night or Lost Boys which though they were comedic also had a lot of tension and real scares. This one is pure 80s cheese so it will appeal to those with a nostalgia for the films of this time.

Rating 7.0/10


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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: Mortuary

DVD Review

Mortuary DVD 001I had never heard of this Lovecraft-inspired horror film directed by Tobe Hooper, director of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’m a sucker for Lovecraft stuff and this story has elements from the stories such as The Colour out of Space. It starts all right building up the characters and the location enough but the story kind of got messy towards the end and although I did enjoy it it’s not very memorable.

Leslie Doyle (Denise Crosby) gets a job at a run-down mortuary and moves in with her children 7-year-old Jamie and teenager Jonathan (Dan Byrd). Her husband died recently and this move was necessary to get on with her life and provide for her family. They get shown around the place by a local councilman Eliiot Cook and the place looks grubby and neglected. He tells Leslie that with a nursing home and a large interstate road nearby there is plenty of potential business. When Jamie sees coffins on display she rushes to touch one saying “Daddy?” Leslie takes her out and closes the door making her promise not to go in there. The embalming room is filthy mess with some sort of fungal growth

Jonathan takes a look around the rooms upstairs and makes his way to attic which has windows over-looking the cemetery. The cemetery soil is grey and dead with nothing growing in it. Jonathan sees the name Bobby F carved into windowsill. He goes downstairs to the embalming room where Jamie and Leslie have done a good job cleaning the place up. Jonathan asks Leslie if he can have the attic room then says he’s going into town to get a burger. Leslie gives him the car keys and asks him to pick some things for the house. She cuts her finger on the sharp edge of one of the keys of the mortuary, a strange star-shaped key. No-one notices veiny growths of greenish black fungus come out of the vein to absorb the drops of blood.

In town Jonathan goes into a diner but Rita (Lee Garlington) the owner tells him the kitchen is closed but she still has some turkey sandwiches. Jonathan applies for a job that was advertised in the window and Rita likes him and tells him to start the following day. Jonathan tries to introduce himself to some young people sitting at a table but they turn out to be completely obnoxious assholes which tends to a compulsory element of any horror film involving protagonists moving into a new town

Later that night Jonathan is standing out porch smoking and he sees a figure running in cemetery. He has a look around but can’t see whoever it is but he finds a necklace lying on the ground. He tells Leslie about seeing someone in the cemetery and gives her the necklace. She finds a strange hatch at the bottom of a wall but it just leads to a long passage that you’d have to crawl through so they don’t bother looking into it anymore

Next day Jonathan starts at the diner and meets Liz (Alexandra Adi), Rita’s niece who also works at the diner and he barely disguise his lust at first sight. He also fails to cover his crashing disappointment when her friend Grady (Rocky Marquette) comes and she eagerly welcomes him with hugs and kisses. The three assholes are back and they make some reference to Bobby Fowler and somehow this leads to a senseless fight between Jonathan and the male asshole called Cal. Rita chucks out the assholes

Leslie has a look around the cemetery while Jamie runs around putting red liquorice twist on each grave stone in case the people in the graves get hungry. Leslie finds a crypt with its door open and looks inside. It looks undisturbed with several coffins on shelves. There are also stairs going down underground and at the bottom there is a metal door with a plaque saying, “That which is dead can eternal Lie with strange eons even death may die,” which is a direct quote from H.P. Lovecraft. The door has a star-shaped lock so she unlocks it with matching star-shaped key but before she open the door she hears Jamie calling.

Sheriff Howell (Michael Shamus Wiles) has come round to welcome Leslie to the town. Leslie tells him about Jonathan seeing someone in cemetery at night and Howell reckons it is probably kids. He thinks that the boys like to pretend to brave and bring girls her and their heightened emotions leads to the inevitable and Howell promises that together that can help stamp out graveyard babies which would be a great name for a rock band

At the diner Jonathan gets told story of Bobby Fowler by Elizabeth and Grady. The local legend is that Fowler land was poisoned by something that fell out of space. Any crop planted just withered and the cattle rotted in the fields so the original ancestral Fowler became a mortician and turned his land into a cemetery. The family was wealthy but strange and very insular and there was a lot of incest until the most recent generation produced Bobby Fowler who was born so deformed that his family locked him away in the attic. No-one takes Rita seriously when she says Bobby Fowler is still alive.

The film was a very mixed bag  The Lovecraft elements are okay but there is not much of the cosmic terror about the film. Many things get brought up but just get dropped as the story goes on.The cast are pretty good but the characters are a bit undeveloped with traits that suit the narrative rather than feeling like real people. The asshole characters are perfect examples of this, existing just as antagonists to the main character and doing stupid things to ensure the hideous evil gets unleashed Jamie. The film has some humour but it could probably have done with more. Overall I’d say this film is unoriginal but entertaining even if gets bit messy towards the end.

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: Don’t Look Up

DVD Review

Don't Look Now dvd 001The cover of this film has Eli Roth’s name featured very prominently on the cover which is a strange decision because Roth’s only connection to this film is a small acting part. This film is a fairly standard ghost story and there isn’t very much in the way of graphic gore. It is another remake of a Japanese horror film so I’m not sure how much of the atmosphere of the originals has been lost in adaptation.

The film opens with an exposition dump that could have been shown in flashbacks but instead it’s a text dump with voiceover reading it and it suggests to me that the film has been cut This tell us a that a gypsy women did a deal with the devil so that she would marry a powerful man. The price of this deal is the woman’s first child. When the child Matya is born she has a birthmark. When she is older the superstitious locals say is a devil’s mark and they kill her. The voice-over continues to tell us about a film director Bela Olt (Eli Roth) who went to Romania in the 1920s to make a film about the story with actress Lila Kis playing Matya’s mother. We get some clips of that film and are told that the crew and director disappeared.

Now another crew wants to tell the story and already I feel like I’m watching David Lynch’s Inland Empire but once the film gets started this film takes a more conventional direction. The director of this latest attempt is Marcus Reed (Reshad Strik) and he is prone to having visions. Because he uses these visions to create profitable films his friend and producer Josh Petri (Henry Thomas) is very tolerant of his psychosis. Less tolerant is his ex-girlfriend Claire’s (Alyssa Sutherland) brother when he goes to visit her before leaving

They go to Romania, and are taken to the original 1920s film set by a local man called Grigore (Lothaire Bluteau). Marcus wants to go inside and have a look right away even though Grigore advises him to wait until morning when the rest of the crew gets there with lights. Inside the set Marcus hear a sound like wailing coming from above and rushes upstairs followed Grigore. The place has a nasty smell and Marcus suggests they split up and look around for the source. Grigore finds a door with a loud buzzing sound coming from behind it but he doesn’t look behind it because Marcus wants to go back downstairs again. They don’t see a figure watching all that’s going on chuckling quietly from the shadows

Next day the rest of the crew turns up and they all get set up for a scene. Things start going wrong right away such as the power cutting out. The electrician Davis (Kevin Corrigan) is up in the gallery with his assistant and he tells Josh and Marcus that the power supply is not good enough for what they want and Davis indulges in a few choice comments about Romania. Grigore speaks up to defend the place and Davis calls him Igor and tells him to shut up. Grigore then shows how Romania is a part of the modern world by revealing himself to be horror film nerd and correcting the insult on the grounds that Frankenstein’s assistant was called Fritz and he was Swiss not Romanian.

They manage to get the power fixed and film the scene which is just basically the lead actress entering a large hall and being frightened by something she sees. Up in the gallery the electrician’s assistant hears a noise and goes to investigate. The cameraman gets startled by something strange he sees through the viewfinder and Marcus has a fit so Josh has to call cut. He asks for the house lights to be turned on and here’s suddenly a scream from the gallery and it was the electrician’s assistant whose eyes have been damaged in some sort of fire involving flies and an electrical junction box. They get him in a car to drive him to a hospital in nearest large city and Josh sends the film to get processed too which is a bad taste move that really gets to Davis but Josh calms him down by telling the driver to take the man to hospital first.

This is the first of several incidents as the set seems to be haunted by the spirits of both Matya and Lila Kis. There are more deaths followed by a muddled ending that just leaves the story hanging as if the film producers hoped for a sequel. At first the film was okay but I think the story got a bit lost. Eli Roth is in this but it has more in common with the ghost stories from Japan than anything he has directed or written so I think it is misleading to feature his name so prominently on the cover. Overall I‘d say the film is okay but easily forgotten

Rating 5.0/10

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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


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