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Hatchet III

The DVD Shelf

hatchet 3 dvd 001I really enjoy horror films made by those who are fans of the genre so make the type of horror films that they enjoy. This is the third of director/writer Adam Green’s Hatchet series which his tribute to slasher horrors of the 80s such the Friday 13th series. These films don’t have symbolism or character: they just have victims and an excuse to get them into the kill box and I have great time watching and seeing all the new ways the special effects guys can kill them off.

Danielle Harris is back as Marybeth a young woman who was looking for her father and brother in the first film and looking vengeance for their deaths in the second film.  This one starts with her killing the deformed undead maniac Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) even though he was already dead she actually kills him twice in very gory manners and thinks she’s finished him for good but that is unlikely since this the start of the film and this film is not told in flashback.

Marybeth drags herself to police station where the gore plastered all over her and the shotgun causes a full-scale panic. Sheriff Fowler (Zach Galligan) wants to know what happened and sends a patrol car to check it out while he interviews Marybeth who basically summarizes the events of the first two films. I like a film that can laugh at itself and when Fowler describes her story as ridiculous and contrived he’s talking about those films. Of course he doesn’t believe her story and locks her in cell.

Fowler gets a call from the deputy on the scene and is told about the grotesque collections of body parts everywhere. Fowler tells the deputy to call in cops, paramedics and fire crew to assist finding all the bits and it isn’t difficult to figure how that is going to turn out.  The emergency crews start appearing and one is a paramedics called Andrew (Parry Shen) who is played by the same actor that played two brothers that died in the earlier films. When someone comments on a body looking like him he remarks on the casual racism but it’s actually a reference to the brothers.

Back the station Fowler leaves Deputy Winslow (Robert Diago DoQui) in charge as he heads out to the scene narrowly avoiding having to deal with his ex-wife Amanda (Caroline Williams) who has heard all about the murders over police radio frequency and has connected them to Victor Crowley. She is a reporter whose obsession with the Crowley legend has made her a laughing-stock. Now Amanda has a chance prove she is right. Winslow is soon bullied into letting Amanda talk to Marybeth and telling her that she knows how to kill Crowley permanently.

At the swamp they have Crowley’s body ready for examination by a paramedic in an ambulance boat and the scene is reminiscent of so many slasher films where they have a killer’s body about to undergo an autopsy but he comes back to life. The film doesn’t bother giving us much detail of the symphony of blood and pain Crowley plays with these background characters but we get the picture. Fortunately the deputy gets a call in to alert Fowler and Winslow before he gets cut off.

The report from the swamp convinces Marybeth that Crowley is still active but doesn’t persuade her to go back even if Amanda insists that she’s essential. Winslow just cuffs her and puts her in back of his patrol car. Amanda needs to make a stop at the house of Abbot McMullen (Sid Haig) a crazy old racist who keeps insulting Winslow. It is an amusing scene but I just wanted to get back to action in the swamp which is fortunately where Amada and Winslow are going with Marybeth as their prisoner.

Sheriff Fowler gets to the swamp with his deputies and the place is covered in fresh remains of the first team. A SWAT team has also arrived led by Tyler Hawes  (Derek Mearswho is a patronising arrogant tool and he puts himself in charge. Among the deputies is Schneiderman (Cody Blue Snider) a young deputy who is crapping himself because he totally believes in Victor Crowley and he’s brought a bag full of big guns. He is freaking out at the slaughter around him but the sight of testicles hanging from a tree puts him over the edge and he wants to walk off the job even when total prick Hawes has him against a tree. They get distracted by discovering Andrew who seems to be the only survivor and like Scheiderman he is appalled by the suicidal recklessness of Hawes. Now all the significant characters are in the swamp the films goes the same way as the others with all living flesh just meat for the grinder as Crowley chops, tears and rips his way through the cast until the he is ended for this film by the plot device.

I really enjoyed this film just as did the others. They are self-consciously contrived and ridiculous just like the Sherriff said with an incredible body count brought about by killer and a variety of weapons. The make-up and special effects used are the old style physical effects so the blood looks real and injuries look painful but the whole thing is pushed to cartoonish extremes reminiscent of Evil Dead or Brain Dead.  Though the cast play it straight there is a strong streak of dark humour through film. This film is strongly recommended to those who enjoy old-school slasher films and strong keep away for anyone who likes more grounded cerebral horror.

Rating 7.5/10

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: Stake Land

Martin (Connor Paolo) travels with Mister (Nick Damici) across an American landscape devastated by a vampire plague. Government has fallen, the cities are infested and the survivors are left to defend themselves against the bestial vampires that come out every night. Teenage Martin was living with his parents when the plague started and his father was trying to get his truck fixed to get them away from the vampires but one comes into the garage while Martin is outside and kills his family. Mister appears and kills the vampire then takes Martin along with him, sure the boy will not survive alone. They travel north away from the worse affected areas and take time out so that Mister can train Martin how to fight vampires. North is a place called New Eden that is supposed to be vampire free and they are headed there to see. The vampires in this film are like those from I Am Legend attacking with no sign of intelligence, they just attack like wild animals.

Most nights they have to find themselves a secure place but they also sometimes stay at small towns that successfully barricaded themselves against the vampires and which exist on the economics of bartering essential supplies and where there is still some element of normalcy. Between these places the countryside is dangerous and not just because of vampires. On the road they see a nun (Kelly McGillis) being chased by two men dressed in rags and furs. Mister kills both of them and they take the Sister with them since there really nowhere safe for her to go. She says they claimed to Christian and could help her but instead they tried to rape her.

As they travel they hear a cult preacher on the radio preaching about the vampires being sent from God. They call themselves the Brotherhood and seem to determined to make things much worse for everyone attacking barricades to allow vampires to invade the fragile sanctuaries of civilisation still left. Worse for Mister is that one of he men he killed rescuing the Sister is the son of their leader Jebediah Loven (Michael Cerveris)

This is great film thanks to the believable performances from the leads and script that keeps a tight focus on Martin’s story without wandering off into subplots. The narrow focus means we only gets hints of a bigger picture which is a good way of leaving it open for a sequel, as is the open ending. I think it draws the viewer into the story when you know as much the characters do and have to stick with them to find out more. It is a vampire film but there’s no glamour to these so the Twihards can bog off and the rest of us can relax and enjoy it.

Rating 8/10

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Posted by on August 7, 2011 in Entertainment, Film


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Film Review: Hatchet II

Synopsis: Spoiler Alert – any discussion of this film’s story cannot avoid a major spoiler of the first movie so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want the plot spoiled then go see it first.
Now that they’re gone let’s be frank, this film gleefully follows the formula of the slasher film so closely that it’s hardly much of a surprise that there is only one survivor from the boat trip in the Louisiana swamps in the first film and this last girl standing, Marybeth (Danielle Harris) is out for revenge on Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) – the vengeful ghostly deformed mutant from the first film. She enlists the help of Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd ) who assembles a team of victims a group of hunters to go back into the swamp to kill Victor Crowley.

In a gory slasher film the plot is just an excuse to set-up a series of grisly physical effects death scenes. This film does it with such a deliberate knowingness that it teeters on the edge between pastiche and parody (and crosses right into parody in a scene involving an unfeasibly long chainsaw). Each pair of characters get their bit of a set-up before being slaughtered in some bloody gruesome way.

There is a lot of humour in this film and that really is what carries it through. Kane Hodder does his job well but it’s Tony Todd who really stands out here as a great big ham. I enjoyed the ride even if there was little in the way of scares, just gore and gore and more gore and of course a few gratuitous naked titties.  I just wish the market for naked dick shots was a strong as the one for naked titties.

Rating comedy horror  7/10

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Posted by on June 19, 2011 in Entertainment, Film


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