Tag Archives: Serial killer

Review: Twixt

The DVD Pile

Twixt DVD 001This film seems to have just appeared out of nowhere with no publicity despite being directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The film is more of a supernatural mystery thriller than a straight horror film but the story seems to be just a series of things happening with no real sense of urgency to tie them together or have them make sense.

Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) is a struggling horror writer touring around the country trying to publicise his latest book and he gets to small town where the locals seem completely uninterested. The local sheriff Bobby LaGrange (Bruce Dern) fancies himself as a writer and wants Hall to co-write a book based on an idea has based on series of murders. He offers to show Hall the body of the latest victim, a young girl with a large wooden stake stuck into her chest.

There was a terrible murder in the town in an old hotel where a paranoid religious freak that cared for bunch of young orphans murdered all the children to save their souls from corruption because he thought one boy had run away to join the vampires who live across the lake.

That night Hall has a dream that seems to have been inspired by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. He meets a young girl called V (Elle Fanning) which is short for both Virginia the girl’s given name and Vampirella the girl’s nickname. He also goes to hotel which isn’t empty and abandoned like it is in the real world but has two people a strange old man who insists on fixing a clock and a woman who wants to serve him breakfast before picking up a guitar and singing Big Rock Candy Mountain.

V appears at the window and the woman tries to sneak out to catch her but V bites her and gets away. Hall starts following her but when he turns back to hotel he sees a dozen young children emerge from the hotel basement with a man who plays with them. V tells Hall that they are the dead kids so clearly that means the man is their murderer. Hall follows V in to the woods but she vanishes. Edgar Allen Poe (Ben Chaplin) appears so Hall asks him for help writing his story but that’s when Hall wakes up in his motel room.

The dream sequences are highly stylized with everything in subdued monochrome but there are splashes of red while V and the other children seem to be more brightly lit. Hal goes into this same dreamland a few more times, mostly to talk to Poe for advice on writing his next book.

Hall’s wife is desperate for money so Hall gets in touch with his publisher to beg for an advance which the publisher agrees to but only if Hall sends an outline with a fully fleshed-out ending. Hall’s search for a decent story with an ending is the main driving force of the plot and the murders really seem to only be a subplot.

Hall is so desperate for a story that he actually takes the idea from the outline LaGrange gave him and agrees to co-author the book with him. This is a strange decision because even if Hall is desperate LaGrange seems a bit unstable and even has model of a vampire execution machine that he has thought up for his story inspired by the stake murders.

It is a strange film that kind of wanders around feeling a bit disjointed before settling down to a bizarre ending that didn’t really wrap things up. I liked the dream sequences but the film did have a lot of them. The film features red quite a lot in the dream sequences and there are clocks all over the place which I’m sure is very symbolic.

Rating 5.5/10

Related Articles

1 Comment

Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Review: The Wrong Road

DVD Review

The Wrong Road DVD 001

Strangely it only has a 15 rating on the BBFC website

At least that’s what it says on the DVD box but on IMDb it turns out that it was originally called Munger Road. I won’t be surprised if the new name is an attempt the cash in on the similarity to the Wrong Turn backwoods slasher films but this film really does not share anything in common in with those. It does have a group of stupid college kids getting chased by some unseen killer but the kills, if they happen at all, are off-screen and more time is spent with the police investigating an escaped killer. Overall it felt like the first half of a TV miniseries and this includes a very unsatisfyingly abrupt ending.

A pair of college boys Scott (Hallock Beals) and Corey (Trevor Morgan) take their girlfriends Joe (Brooke Peoples) and Rachael (Lauren Storm) on a late night drive to a quiet railway crossing to show them the truth of the spooky local stories that it is haunted. Joe and Rachael are hoping that it is just a pathetic excuse to go there and make out but the boys are taking it too seriously.

The legend is that if a car is stopped on the tracks and out into neutral the car will be slowly pushed off the track and sometimes a pair of small hand-prints is found on the bumper. Corey has brought talcum powder to spread on the bumper and sure enough when they try for themselves there are hand-prints on the bumper. Rachael and Joe don’t believe it for a second and insist it must be a set-up. Joe demands they drive them back to town but when Corey tries to drive them back home his engine goes dead leaving them stuck miles from town and of course they find out they have no signals on their phones

Back in town Police Chief Kirkhoven (Bruce Davison) is concerned about the escape of a notorious cannibal serial killer who killed several local children before he was caught. He was the local priest and no-one suspected him before his crimes were revealed. Kirkhoven is determined to catch the killer and with Deputy Hendricks (Randall Batinkoff) they investigate the places he lived and worked in case he makes his way back there. He also has to worry about the four college kids whose parents have reported them missing.

The college kids in the car get creeped-out by sounds from outside the car that they can’t identify but sounds like some sort of animal. There’s some banging on the car and they try to stay quiet and wait for whatever it is to go away. Once whatever it is goes away Joe is wanting to walk up the road to get a phone signal but Corey says he will go instead. This the start of the process of isolating the victims so that they can be picked-off one by one and we learn who the main protagonist is going to be and in this film it’s Joe.

The film does manage to create a creepy atmosphere at times during the scenes in the car but there’s a lot of camcorder footage and scenes shot in the dark which gave me eye-strain trying to make out what was happening. The story does not appear to be very original but that is hard to judge since we only get half a story. That is the main problem with this film: it finishes without ending. We don’t learn who has lived or died and don’t see the story resolved, just a promise that it will be finished in the sequel. It is infuriating when it happens in a TV show but  seeing it in a film made my jaw drop at the ‘To be continued’ message. There was of course no warning about this on the DVD box. As a result I’m going to give film a half score.

Rating 3.0/10

Related Articles

1 Comment

Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , , ,

Review: Sightseers

DVD Review

Sightseers DVD 001This is a low-budget independent British film that I had heard about last year when Mark Kermode reviewed it so I was glad to see it finally came out on DVD. It is a dark comedic tale of jealousy, murder and caravanning.

Chris (Steve Oram) is taking Tina (Alice Lowe) on a caravanning holiday around the English Peak District and Yorkshire Dales to visit various tourist attractions. The only thing stopping them from enjoying their holiday are different people they come across but they find a bit of murder helps to restore their peace. Their first problem is Tina’s mother Carol (Eileen Davies) who hates Chris and doesn’t want Tina to go with him trying to use emotional blackmail over her upset at the recent death of her dog Poppy to try to guilt Tina into staying.

The first stop on their trip is the National Tramway Museum in Crich. While they are enjoying a tram ride on one of the elegant old trams Chris sees another visitor (Tony Way) wolfing down an ice cream and casually tossing the wrapper on the floor of the tram. Chris politely tells the man that he’s dropped his wrapper and the man just gives him the finger. This leaves Chris raging at the man’s callous disrespect of the museum but they don’t create a scene. After they have had cup of tea they leave but Chris doesn’t see the same man walking behind the caravan stuffing his face again. Chris runs the man over killing him. Everyone is very upset especially the man’s family but a sly grin plays over Chris’s face making me wonder how much of an accident it was.

Before the accident Tina got a phone call from her mother who had made up some emergency to make her come home but after the accident that is forgotten. It does seem to have made them very horny and they pull into lay-by and have sex in the caravan while a crew of road workers watch in amusement as the caravan rocks about.

The next stop is a caravan site next to somewhere called Dingley Dell. There are only two berths left and Chris races another caravan to get the one that’s not next to the toilets. The blood from the accident is still on the side of the van so they clean it up. Later Chris goes to talk to guy he raced to the berth and tries to talk to him about his caravan but you can tell that Ian (Jonathan Aris) and his wife Janice (Monica Dolan) feel awkward talking to Ian. Tina comes over to join them and Ian tells that he’s a writer travelling and doing research for a book. Chris wants to take a look inside and Tina spots that they have a dog the same breed as Poppy but he’s called Bruno. She tries to give him a potato crisp but Janice panics and screams that he’s not to get junk food. That upsets Tina so out of spite Chris knock plate off a counter and it smashes on the floor.

This incident puts Chris in a funny mood. He’s jealous of Ian and angry at his attitude. At dawn he gets up quietly and sneaks out then he follows Ian as he takes his dog for walk. Ian is standing on a rocky outcrop at the top of a hill taking pictures with his expensive camera and Chris comes up behind him and smashes his head in with a rock, killing him.

Chris returns to the caravan where Tina is awake and is watching a pagan festival taking place across the field. He’s got Ian’s camera now but all Tina notices is the blood on his hands. Chris explains it away by saying that the pagans were sacrificing chickens when he passed them. Tina accepts this since she’s not very observant. She also doesn’t question Chris when he says that he wants to pack up and move on. On the way out of the site they find Bruno running around loose and Tina wants to keep him because not getting junk food is cruel so they take him into the car.

Tina does eventually catch on that Chris murdered Ian but she’s not that worried about it and after seeing Chris beat a posh rambler (Richard Lumsden) to death at a stone circle she gets excited about the idea of being outlaw lovers on the run and she tries her hand at murder too.

This film is a dark comedy with a pair of completely unexpected killers. Tina is a naïve and awkward and dominated by life with her mother. Chris is a quiet guy that has seen more pushy less pleasant people getting on better than him and he feels angry and marginalised. They are so much more normal than the usual killers in films and a lot of the comedy is seeing the disproportionate violence that they inflict. The landscape that they travel through is a fantastic combination of nature and human creation and is really well shot. Comedy is very subjective and this comedy is more the sort to elicit a wry smile than the laugh out loud type with a joke every ten minutes.

Rating 7.5/10

Related Articles

1 Comment

Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , , , ,

Review: Maniac (2012)

Cinema Review

maniacThis is my first visit to the cinema this year after the usual New Year slump in half decent films being released. As is typical with adult rated horror it hasn’t been given a wide general release so I had to travel quite far to a cinema that was actually showing it. I know that this film is a remake but if I have seen the original it is long forgotten so I won’t have any way of judging this against the original which will be probably in this film’s favour. This is a very tense violent thriller and it is almost completely shown from the point of view of the killer. This gives Elijah Wood surprisingly little screen time but there is always a strong sense of him being there and the audience being with him.

The film starts with Frank (Elijah Wood) stalking a victim as she leaves a night club with a friend. We also hear his mumbled thoughts as he follows her and sees her leave her friend and get hassled by a lech before she spots Frank watching her and she runs away while Frank mutters that he knows where she lives and he drives off. Frank gets to her apartment building first and cuts the power to the lights on her floor which allows him the chance to sneak up on her while she opens her door. She turns to see him and is about to scream but he shoves a kitchen knife through her throat, into her mouth and up into her brain. She seems to die right away then Frank cuts off her scalp with unrealistic haste. He takes the scalp back to his home in a shop that sells and restores old shop mannequins and staples the scalp onto the head of one of the mannequins. In his madness this turns the mannequin into the woman he just killed.

His next victim is a woman called Lucie (Megan Duffy) he meets through an online dating service and rather than stalking her through the city they have date and he takes her back to her apartment and she gives him oral sex. Frank kills her right away regrets it seeming to blame his actions on some other part of his mind and giving us a glimpse of a nice guy trapped in the mind of a maniac who cannot control his impulse to kill women and cut of their scalps. Of course her scalp goes onto a mannequin too and we see him interacting with the mannequins as if the first one is jealous of the latest one. We also start to get hints of Frank having serious mummy issues.

This would purely be dreary tale of gory madness if we didn’t have someone to care about and that comes in the form of a photographer Anna (Nora Arnezeder) who is taking photographs of mannequins instead of models. Anna is fascinated by his mannequins with their different styles. This is when we learn that the shop belonged to his mother who died the year before. Anna has an idea of renting some of his mannequins to use to complement her photographs at her gallery exhibition. This means that Frank get to see Anna see quite a bit and starts to develop hopes of a relationship that does not end in a brutal murder.

This is a very tense film and I think the gimmick of showing everything through the eyes of Frank really works at sticking us in his head with a sense of being helpless to stop the atrocities that happen. This lets us empathise with the feeling of lack of control that Frank expresses after the second murder. There are hints that a lot of Frank’s problems come from his anger at his relationship with his mother and this comes through in flash backs and Frank’s attacks of blinding pain whenever she is brought up. This film is very well shot and the acting is pretty convincing.  It has an interesting electronic soundtrack that I think refers back to the time of the original film. It’s not a film to watch for good feelings or happy endings but if you want a gory tale of madness this is a  good film.

Rating 7.0/10

Related Articles

1 Comment

Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , , , , ,

Review: Dark Mirror

DVD Review

Dark Mirror DVD 001This comes from the pile of cheap DVDs I bought at various places and I can’t even remember half the time what made me buy them. It is another mystery ghost story that ticks all the usual boxes and doesn’t really offer anything new to the genre but it does it adequately I suppose from I can recall since even after two days I can’t remember much more than the basics.

A couple Deborah (Lisa Vidal) and Jim (David Chisum) Martin move into new house with their young son Ian (Joshua Pelegrin). They moved house because Jim got a job as software engineer. Deborah is a photographer so she’s searching for new job. The house is a fairly normal suburban family house but the estate agent told them it was owned by a famous artist. The house is full of old mirrors and the windows are all special glass imported from Italy.

The creepy things start happening when Deborah takes a photograph of the bathroom mirror. Actually it really starts when she takes a picture of a hall mirror which is one of a pair set opposite each other so there are endless reflections receding into the distance. The flash from her camera comes out of several mirrors including the one in the bathroom.

There’s an old Japanese woman living in the house across the road who is always watching the house and next door is a young actress Tammy (Christine Lakin) who is between jobs at the moment but she’s very happy to talk to Deborah. She tells Deborah some essential plot background about her house and why the old Japanese woman constantly watches them. Apparently the artist who lived in the house disappeared without a trace along with his family and the Japanese woman was their housekeeper. She constantly watches the house to try to find out what happened.

Deborah starts noticing strange things about the mirrors and windows in the house but neither Jim nor Ian see anything. She talks about her thoughts with her mother Grace (Lupe Ontiveros) who says she will help her investigate the house’s history. It is Grace who mentions prisms being used to keep spirits out and Deborah realises that’s what different about the window and they are the key to what has been happening.

Deborah starts having visions and then people she has photographed start disappearing. She desperately tries to get some help but Jim thinks something is wrong with her and the film certainly sets that up as a possibility with Deborah’s blackouts and visions.

This film was okay but it really didn’t do anything special. None of the characters were very convincing and Jim in particular seemed to go from loving and supportive to obstinate and suspicious as the plot needed to leave Deborah emotionally isolated. He also has a large amount of plot convenient overtime that he has to work which adds to Deborah’s isolation at key points in the story. I know there were other characters like police investigating the disappearances but they all left so little impression on me. When it got the big reveal at the end it wasn’t much of a surprise. It’s like a fairly forgettable TV movie and most of the deaths happening off-screen so it isn’t very gory or horrific.

Rating 5.0/10

Related Articles


Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , , , ,

Review: The Abominable Dr Phibes

October Horror Month

Rough draft

I love Vincent Price and this is one of my favourites, a tale of grossly dispropionate vengeance carried out by a monster with a twisted imagination and a great sense of style and humour.

An organ plays and it rises out of the floor of the stage and we see a figure in a hooded robe his arms waving wildly as he plays. The figure is Dr Anton Phibes (Vincent Price). He goes to his mechanical clockwork jazz band and switches them and they begin playing music. A tall attractive woman Vulnavia (Virginia North) appears framed in a doorway wearing a fancy white dress with feathers and art deco head gear. This fits in well with the art deco design of the ballroom. Phibes and Vulnavia dance for a while to the music. A bird cage covered in black velvet is lowered into a vintage car. Phibes gets in the back and the side windows have profile photographs of Phibes on them hiding him. Vulnavia has changed her costume to a skirt and blouse and a large fur hat and she gets in the driver seat.

Dr Dunwoody is in his bed sleeping. The velvet covered cage gets lowered into the room through a skylight ad the cover removed and the empty cage is pulled back up through the skylight. There’s a sound of fluttering wings and Dunwoody wakes to find a cute little fruit bat crawling up his chest dazed by drugs, sorry about that, it is a vicious bat that attacks and rips his face into shreds He is found dead the next morning by his butler. Phibes returns home and the clockwork jazz band a play a jaunty happy tune. He switches them off and plays the organ which takes down the lower level. He removes a golden amulet he wore around his neck and places it over a wax bust of Dunwoody then he melts the bust with a blowtorch. We can see that he has several other busts.

The police are baffled by what happened to Dunwoody. They found several bats and identified as them as a species of vampire bat from West Africa. Inspector Trout (Peter Jeffrey) says he’s never seen anything like it. Sergeant Schenley (Norman Jones) says it reminds of a recent death of another surgeon who was stung to death by bees so it looked like he was covered in boils which is a strange thing to say.

Phibes puts on his face and gets ready to go out to a masquerade. A man at the party introduces himself as Dr Hargreaves and adds that he’s a psychiatrist or a headshrinker he adds as a joke. He asks for help with his frog mask which has a complicated catch mechanism. Phibes helps and Hargreaves heads up the stairs. But that catch mechanism is very complicated indeed and every second a gear turns and the mask shrinks crushing his skull and the mask fills with blood and he falls down the stairs dead. Phibes melts a bust of Hargreaves in his basement

Inspector Trout think that deaths of three doctors killed in elaborate ways is pattern worth investigating but his boss Crow doesn’t think so and he certainly doesn’t want him saying anything to the press about a maniac targeting doctors

Dr Longstreet (Terry Thomas) is in his home and his housekeeper has prepared his dinner before leaving for the night. Longstreet is impatient for her to leave because he’s received a can of film in the post and wants to watch it. In private nudge nudge wink wink. Once she’s gone he tacks up a white sheet to use as a screen and put the film into his hand-cranked projector while he enjoys a drink and watches a woman dancing around with a snake. He get interrupted by hi housekeeper who pops her head in before she leaves. She’s a bit puzzled by Longstreet’s projector set-up but she doesn’t really ask too many questions. After she has gone Longstreet settles back to watch his slightly dirty movie. His projector breaks down and when it startsup again the image is projected on the screen with Vulnavia above it and it looks like the body is Vulnavia’s for a moment. She removes the sheet and he doesn’t fight her as she ties him up to a chair. Longstreet is looking forward to something strange and kinky but he’s only half right. Phibes enters Longstreet gets worried as Phibes put needle into his vein and drain all of his blood into bottles left on a side table. It is a slow process and Longstreet remains conscious for most of it. Vulnavia plays a violin as Phibes fills the last bottle and cleans up. Back home Phibes melts the bust of Longstreet.

Sgt Schenley has found a connection between the victims to an eminent surgeon Dr Vesalius so Trout goes to speak to him and meets his teenage son Lem () who lets him because Vesalius (Joseph Cotten) is busy with his train set. Vesalius can’t think of connection between the men that is a motive for murder. Trout gets a call from station to tell him that Longstreet has been found dead. Trout heads down there and the elaborate nature of the death leaves him in no doubt that it’s the same killer. He talks to Longstreet’s housekeeper who remembers hearing a violin and car door closing. The police also found an amulet Phibes left behind.

Phibese doesn’t worry too much about the missing  amulet and just goes ahead with his ritual of melting the wax bust of Longstreet. There’s a jeweller’s mark on the amulet so Trout goes to talk to the jeweller who said he made it for an attractive young woman who ordered a set of ten with different symbol on each and she paid for them in cash. Trout asks if he knows what the symbol is and he says it is the Hebrew symbol for blood. Trout talks to a rabbi (Hugh Griffith) who said the symbols are in the Tanach where it talks of the ten plagues of Egypt. The plagues are boils, bats, frogs, blood, rats, hail , beasts, locusts, death of the first born and finally darkness to end forever the sleep of man. The list is not quite the same as the ones I learned but it’s not like this is actual history.

Vesalius tells Trout he has worked through his records and he has found that he only worked with all of the victims on just one case, that of Victoria Regina Phibes. Trout wonders if there is a husband or relative that might be seeking vengeance but Vesalius tells him that her husband was burned to death in car crash rushing to be at her side.

Phibes has designed an elaborate speaking apparatus which he plugs into the side of his neck and his voice comes from speaker cone of a gramophone cone. He talks to shrine dedicated to his wife and speaks of his plan to avenge her death. He says, “9 killed you, 9 shall die, 9 eternities in doom.“

Now Trout knows about the link between the victims he can work out who is at risk and have them put under police protection. Schenley tells him that they know where the others are except for Dr Kitaj and Dr Hedgepath.

Phibes is in his car parked at the side of road while Vulnavia stand by the car with dog on a lead and looks she’s looking for help with her car. Doctor Hedgepath’s car drives past and Hedgepath has his driver stop and go to help Vulnavia. When the driver bends over to examine the engine Phibes uses a Vulcan nerve pinchon him and knocks the man out. Vulnavia put a musical clockwork figure into Hedgepath’s car then Phibes puts in strange device. When the police find the doctor’s car the doctor has dead, frozen to death by hailstones created by Phibes’ machine.

While Vesalius is talking to his son the boy mentions the name Phibes and shows him old posters he bought from an old music collector called Darrow. Trout and Vesalius go to talk to Darrow who thinks Phibes is still alive. The police have more information on Phibes. Phibes has several degrees including both music and theology. He also left his entire estate to a mysterious young woman.

Trout and Vesalius go to the Phibes family tomb. Inside Phibes’ coffin they find ashes, which are only to be expected but as Trout says that only proves that someone burned to death in the car, not that it was Phibes. They open Victoria’s coffin and find her body is missing.

Police superintendent Waverley (John Cater) has been facing questions from the press who have found out about the maniac killing off surgeons (and a psychiatrist). Waverley demands that they get busy stopping any more murders. Schenley knows where Kitaj is and jumps in a car to get to him before Phibes does.

Phibes is on a hill with Vulnavia overlooking an airfield and they have a brass telescope on a tripod. The young sporty Dr Kitaj gets into his two-seater plane and taxis onto the runway. Schenley gets to airfield before Kitaj takes off but Kitaj’s plane is already picking up speed and he takes off. Phibes watches the plane soaring through the air while Vulnavia plays her violin. Rats appear in the cockpit, crawling all over Kitaj and biting him in the neck and face. His plane swoops this way and that and Kitaj screams as he loses control and the plane crashes.

Back hi shouse Phibes and Vulnavia drink have a drink to celebrate being so close to the completion of his plans. Because Phibes doesn’t have a working mouth he pours his drink through the side of his neck. The clockwork jazz band play music and they dance.

There only three people left of Phibes’ kill list. Nurse Allen is being closely guarded by the police at the hospital where she is on duty. Dr Whitcomb is in his private gentleman’s club and Trout and Schenley are there to escort to somewhere more secure. As they head for the door out of nowhere a brass unicorn hits Whitcomb in the chest and the horn goes right through his body killing him instantly. There a scene of very dark humour where they police are having to unscrew Whitcomb’s body from the wall and are discussing whether it has a left or a right-handed thread.

Superintendent Waverley is not happy that the police failed to prevent any of the murder even when get there before the killer. Trout is confident that they can protect Nurse Allen though he realises with the twisted genius of Phibes there no way to even know what form the attack will take.

It is an interesting problem Phibes faces, how to make plant-eating locusts into something that will kill a person. First he makes a sprout soup. He goes to the hospital dressed as a member of the kitchen staff. They pay so little attention that Phibes even travels in same lift as Trout as he escorts Nurse Allen to her bedroom in the hospital. She sees Vesalius and asks him if this is necessary and Vesalius tells her that her life is danger. He recommends that she takes a sleeping pill. Trout is confident that this time they will catch Phibes and says all criminals get caught out by their mistakes and Vesalius point out Phibes hasn’t made any.

In the room above Nurse Allen’s Phibes put plan of her body the floor to use as guide to choosing to where to drill and he drills a hole directly above her head. Phibes attaches a pipe to his jar of green soup and puts the other end of the pipe down hole over Allan’s head. Her head and face is covered in green goo yet she never woke up. Phibes now takes another pipe and attaches it to a jar of locusts and he sends locusts down another pipe.

Vesalius tells Trout that he’s sure Phibes is leaving him for last and he tries to work out what Phibes might mean by a plague of darkness. Vesalius has dismissed the death of the first-born applying to him since he has an older brother. Trout points out the obvious fact that it might not be Vesalius who is the target but his first-born son Lem. Trout sends men to check and the boy has already been taken. Trout goes to check on Nurse Allen and they find her covered in locusts that have eaten all her flesh.

Trout takes Vesalius back to his house and Phibes calls and tells Vesalius to come to Phibe’s house alone but Trout won’t let him go alone so Vesalius knocks him out and goes to Phibes’ house. Vesalius gets to Phibes’ place and plugs in to the speaker to greet him. Phibes tells Vesalius that his son will have a powerful acid drip on his face disfiguring and probably killing him. The operating table is held in place by a chain attached to halter padlocked across Lem’s neck and the key to the padlock has been surgically implanted next to Lem’s heart. While Vesalius operates to remove the key Phibes rants and taunts him. He rips off his mask to reveal how badly disfigured he is.

Phibes tells Vulnavia to destroy everything he has created. And she gets busy with an axe. Phibes then goes to his organ, descends to the lower level where the body of his wife waits in a coffin built for two and it even has telephone. Phibes a puts needle in his arm and his blood gets replaced with embalming as the coffin lid closes Vesalius manages to get the key out in time and unlocks the padlock, getting his son to safety. Vulnavia re-enters the room backwards followed by the two policemen. He is directly under the acid when it starts dripping out of the tubes and we don’t see the after effects.

Trout and Schenley go to the organ and press the keys until it takes them down to the lower level. The lights go out on the coffin lid and this is somehow the curse of darkness. Trout thinks Phibes has escaped them and the film ends to tune Somewhere Over Rainbow.

Rating 9.0/10

Related Articles

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , , , ,

Review: Creep Van


I found this in the bargain DVD section of the local supermarket. I thought it was going to be a killer van plot sort of like Christine but it is actually a B-Movie horror about a serial killer who uses his van to kill. It features several inventive kill scenes, padded out with scenes of varying relevance that barely make a plot.

There a serial killing Creep (Mike Butler) who owns an old van that he has modified to be as lethal as he can make it and he uses it to kill people. At the start of the film, after the van has been denied the chance to slaughter a small child, it kills a couple of teenage car thieves, slicing one in half in its window then chasing and leaping onto the second one, crushing him flat. There are nice practical effects in use in these death scenes which is something that runs through the whole film.

Campbell Jackson (Brian Kolodziej) has a really crap job working at a car valeting company and he is sick of not having a car and having travel to work by bus. He’s sure it’s getting in the way of his love life. He is also forced to stay with a friend because he can’t afford his own place. Since his friend Bob (Justin Kolodziej) is into kinky sex with his girlfriend Danni (Veronica Adkinson) who walks around topless insulting Campbell all the time it is difficult to bring anyone back to his place.

At work a wealthy hippy customer Swami Ted (Collin Bernsen) leaves a bag behind and Campbell sticks it into the lost property. Two stoners who work there too nick the bag and find it’s full of top quality marijuana. Naturally Swami Ted really wants his bag back and he calls Amy (Amy Wehrell) at the office giving her shit so Amy wants Campbell to find out what happened to the bag. Amy and Campbell like each other so I guess she’s the love interest.

What about the Creep and his van? After killing a biker he leaves it in the street with a “For Sale” sign. Campbell spots it and takes a note of the number and calls, leaving a message. He tries calling again later but all he gets is the dying screams of a woman who also spotted the “For Sale” and who is getting sliced open with a seatbelt so he decides to just leave it. Unfortunately for Campbell the Creep has plans for him.

This film is very mixed and is full of bizarre unlikely characters like domineering Danni and her naked breasts and Kaufmann the garage boss who insists on having an embarrassing talk with Campbell about a new improved version of Viagra. Lloyd Kaufman one of the founders of Troma Entertainment has a cameo as an annoying customer for some reason. It introduces characters only to brutally kill them off a few minutes later. I’m not sure if there was a script because sometimes there are small scenes that seem reasonably well-acted then others than seem to be rambling amateur improvisation. This film is really all about the van and the kills and what could be called a plot was just padding around the kill scenes. I know this all sounds negative but I kind of liked it because it was cheesy but the kill scenes are well done. If you like B-Movie horror like Hatchet you’ll probably like this film.

Rating 6/10

Related Articles


1 Comment

Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , ,

Review: Cassadaga

There’s a lack of good films coming out on DVD so I’ve been shopping for bargains in the hope of catching something that I haven’t heard about and I bought this one knowing nothing other than that it had been one the films at the After Dark festival. This is a fairly straightforward supernatural mystery thriller given an extra edge by a twisted serial killer who turns his victims into marionettes.

Lily (Kelen Coleman) a young art teacher gets a scholarship at Cassadaga University and moves in to luxurious rooms in a large Florida country house which are part of the scholarship provided by the wealthy heiress Claire (Louise Fletcher). Lily is trying to get on with her life after the recent tragic death of her little sister Michelle.

Lily is completely deaf but she can lip read and talk and he teaches art to schoolchildren. One of the children she teaches art to introduces Lily to her divorced paramedic father Mike (Kevin Alejandro) and persuades him to pay for additional art lessons. This leads to Mike inviting Lily out for a drink with his work buddies. His friends are having a friendly heated discussion about psychics. One is a total sceptic while the other gives the old line about how most psychics are fake but there is core of reality to it that can’t explained by science. It’s one those stock phrases used by people who think fuzzy thoughts about how nice it would be if there was an afterlife and wishes could come true so that they can pose as an open-minded free-thinker unshackled science’s quest for evidence. For a laugh the sceptic dares the believer to show them their best example of a genuine psychic.

They all go out to visit a medium but are put off by the price which is bit steep for a laugh. Lily says she will pay, wanting to use the chance, however slim, to speak to her little sister again. The medium uses an old gramophone player, getting Lily to touch the stylus while she tries to contact Michelle. This works for a few moments and Lilly talks to Michelle then another presence interrupts the contact causing Lily to pass out from the pain. Lily and her companions rush out with Mike rejecting the medium’s assistant’s offer of help for Lily to deal with any aftermath of the spirit contact because he thinks it’s a scam for more money.

Of course the Lily is having problems with the spirit that interrupted the séance, the vengeful ghost of Jennifer, a woman who was recently murdered and who gives Lily confusing random images and with more crippling pain. There is a sick serial killer in Cassadaga. We saw him as a little boy at the start of the film being told off by his mother for wearing a dress. The boy then goes to his room the blade from a broken pair of scissors and castrates himself. Now as an adult he takes women into a basement when he cuts off their limbs and reassembles them as twisted marionettes. This is some extreme perversion for a film that is otherwise so low-key.

The film follows the well-trodden path of plenty of other supernatural mystery thrillers and it is a fairly interesting story with Lilly trying to discover what happened to Jennifer. My only complaint is that the ending was all over bit too quickly and the killer really didn’t get any development other than the hint that he was just born bad because he liked to dress in dresses as a child. I’m not sure how well those graphic scenes with the killer fit in with mood of the rest of the film but they were certainly well-shot and had an appropriately nasty grungy feel to them. It’s not a very original film and I’ll probably forget about it fairly quickly but it was interesting enough to watch while it is on.

Rating 6.5/10

Related Articles

1 Comment

Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Review: My Soul to Take

I have read people claiming this is a terrible film and one of the worst films ever made so when I watched this it was with low expectations. While this not a brilliant film I thought it was entertaining with an interesting concept and characters that were likable and fairly engaging. Director Wes Craven is perhaps suffering from a reaction to his films based on higher expectations than those by which most other B-movie horror is judged.

The small town of Riverton is being terrorised by a serial killer call the ‘Riverton Ripper’. A TV news programme has an expert talking about what they know and he says the killer has multiple personality disorder and probably doesn’t know who he is as he lives his normal everyday life. Abel Plenkov is watching the TV as he works on building a rocking horse for the child his wife is pregnant with. Security camera footage shown on-screen reveals the weapon used by the Ripper. To his shock Abel finds the same knife in his hand and his hand is showing some skill at opening and closing the knife. A voice in his head then demands his cooperation or his family will be killed. It turns out that Abel is possessed by multiple personalities and one of them is the Ripper. Abel refuses to cooperate and discovers his wife has been killed by the Ripper. The Ripper then goes after his young daughter but the police arrive and shoot him. They have to take him down several times and as he struggles on the way to the hospital the ambulance he is in crashes and burns. Meanwhile the police discover that the baby is still alive inside his dead mother. Someone makes mention of the miracle of seven children all being born on that night in that small town.

Sixteen years later those seven children and all their friends from school are gathered for an annual ritual at the burned out wreckage of the ambulance. One of the seven must face someone in a scary costume that is supposed to represent Abel Plenkov who local legends says is still alive and will one year come back for the seven . This year it’s the turn of Adam, normally called Bug (Max Thieriot) to drive Abel Plenkov back and keep them safe. Even though it’s clearly just a costume Bug freaks out but before he wets his pants a police siren interrupts them and everybody starts running away, including the guy in the costume.

Jay (Jeremy Chu) an Asian student and one of the seven is making his way home alone and as he crosses a bridge a figure wearing the Ripper costume chases him and kills him on the bridge then tosses his body into the river below. It really isn’t a very scary scene and it is all over so quickly so there was no real build-up of tension. This first death scene is unfortunately the standard of the subsequent death scenes as the Ripper goes after each of the seven.

It turns out that Abel Plenkov suffered from multiple personality disorder but someone’s granny apparently used to say that it’s not multiple personalities but multiple souls and since that is just crazy that means since it’s a horror film it’s true. So when Abel died all his souls were reincarnated in the seven children born that night and one of them is the reincarnation of the Ripper.

Just want add a bit about some the other characters I haven’t mentioned. Penelope (Zena Grey) the fundamental Christian was a pretty strong character good at using just enough crazy to undermine the school bully Brandon (Nick Lashaway) with what she knows about him. Brandon is the muscle for Fang (Emily Meade) the heartless manipulative Queen Bee of the school and Bug’s big sister. Alex is Bug’s best friend and main target for punishment beatings from Brandon under orders from Fang. Bug fancies pretty blonde Brittany (Paulina Olszynski) but she’s under strict orders from Fang to keep away from him. Oh yeah and incidentally there’s another character Jerome (Denzel Whitaker) a blind black kid who gets about 20 minutes screen time. He’s one of the seven so you can take a guess at his odds of seeing it to end of the film.

A reincarnated killer is hardly the most original of concepts but I thought this film carried it off quite well for most of the film but it seemed there a bit too much rushing about in the climax and I don’t think it was very clear about what had happened. I liked the cast especially Max Theriot who is pretty good as Bug. The killings were a bit bland and for some reason CGI blood was used. The story mainly relies on the whodunit aspect of trying to figure out who the Ripper is rather than lingering on the students’ deaths and features a few false leads and twists before the not very surprising reveal at the end

Overall it is an engaging enough film and if you can forget about the legend of director Wes Craven you may also find this film is not as bad as reviewers have said.

Rating 6.5/10


Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , , , ,

Review – Cornered

I like shopping for DVDs and I have ended up with several films I’ve not got around to watching and then they get lost in the pile and I forget what interested me when I bought them. I have no idea how long this languished in that pile but I finally watched it and like of most the films I recently dragged out of the pile this is a pretty good watch. It is a slasher film but without the pretty teens that make up the usual victims who have instead been replaced with cast that can act a bit.

At a run-down convenience store one of the workers Donny (Peter Story) is outside trying help a local prostitute Jess (Elizabeth Nicole) who is having trouble with a customer and the cheery chirpy delivery man Morty (Steve Guttenberg) comes to the rescue but the shop’s front door gets smashed in. Since it’s nearly closing time Donny secures the door by nailing wood across it and blocking it off. Morty chats with Steve the store owner and the other two employees Mona (Ellia English) and Steve’s nephew Jimmy (James Duval).

The big news they are talking about is the serial killer that is slaughtering convenience store workers across the city and the reward being offered of $500,000. They first talk about what they would do with the reward money, then talk about what they would do to the killer before the police got there. Steve, Jimmy and Mona really get into creating a sadistic fantasy, but Jess doesn’t like it. No-one notices another customer who is hiding in the shadows and runs off when he gets spotted by Steve who chases him off with a baseball bat.

After Morty leaves Steve locks the door and everyone goes to the apartment above the store to play poker and we get to more about the characters. Jimmy is a drug addict who is just out of rehab and has been caught earlier by Steve calling his dealer. Steve tells Jimmy he’s going to be staying all night so Steve can keep an eye on him. Mona has another job operating a sex chat-line from her mobile phone and she has several calls as they play. Donny sits all night shoving doughnuts into his face while lusting after Jess, Steve downs beer after beer and Jimmy gets increasingly strung out and certain that the cockroaches are after him.

Introductions over its finally time for the killing to begin. The killer gets two of them before anyone realises what’s going on. I thought the killings were okay but there is not really very much shown directly on screen. To be honest this film actually does better at setting up the characters than it does killing them off.

Rating 6/10

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: