Out of all the good movies I have watched since my last review in August of 2012, I would’ve never imagined my next one would be a horror comedy about a clown that has risen from the grave to kill the kids responsible for his death. But out of all the crappy horror I have watched recently, I felt STITCHES deserved some more attention for being surprisingly fun and successfully delivering some imaginative gore.
Here’s the official synopsis from the official site: Jaded Richard Grindle is the sleaziest clown working the children’s party circuit in Ireland. Arriving late to one birthday, his timing is off, the bratty kids a nightmare and a prank goes horribly wrong – he falls on a kitchen knife and goes to that Big Top in the sky. Years later the same nasty kids attend another more grown up bash. Little do they know, thanks to a black magic clown cult, Stitches will be the uninvited guest of honour seeking revenge on those responsible for his untimely death.…Continue Reading
I know we deal with some nasty crimes, so watching a film depicting a violent home invasion in a realistic manner may not be something you’re inclined to watch while escaping the crap you read on here. But if you’re a glutton for punishment, boy do I have a film for you.
Kidnapped is a Spanish home invasion film directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas that echoes a bit of the original Funny Games, The Strangers, or more recently, Cherry Tree Lane. But unlike those films, Vivas seems to abandon any form of social commentary or cheap scares, simply turning those who choose to watch into a neutered witness to a horrific crime.
Jaime (Fernando Cayo), his wife Marta (Ana Wagener) and their teenage daughter Isa (Manuela Vellés) have just moved into their new home located in a gated community when, on their first night there, three masked men break in and hold them hostage.
Their motive is money. and they plan on getting it by forcing Jaime to accompany the gang’s leader around town and empty out his bank accounts at various ATMs.…Continue Reading
In 1996, a horror film came out that represented a paradigm shift in horror films. That film was SCREAM, directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. Prior to this, horror films were the domain of un-killable maniacs in hockey masks or sporting bladed gloves, and the un-killable maniac well was running dry.
Attempts had been made to revitalize it — Jason Voorhees visited New York City, while Wes Craven played with the metaphysical and meta-fictional nature of Freddy Krueger with NEW NIGHTMARE. However, it was SCREAM that changed the game — with it’s idea of “Rules” of horror films, and it’s quirky post-modern self-referential nature.
A group of teenagers — Skinny Nick and his strong-willed girlfriend Stacy; big dumb jock Jim and his excruciatingly blonde and hysterical girlfriend Doreen; nerdy David and his foreign exchange girlfriend Janet, who comes from a country that doesn’t have bras; and sarcastic, single, horror nerd Mike — head out into the woods, to the four-bedroom secluded house owned by Nick’s parents, right on the shore of a pond that screams “Skinny dip in me!”, to spend Spring Break partying.…Continue Reading
Where life had no value, Death sometimes had its price. — Sergio Leone
With these immortal words from FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (for my money, the best of the DOLLARS trilogy), the film BIG TITS ZOMBIE (aka THE BIG TITS DRAGON, original title KYONYÛ DORAGON: ONSEN ZONBI VS SUTORIPPÂ 5) begins. The film follows stripper Lena Jodo (Japanese adult actress Sora Aoi) as she returns home from Mexico. She takes a brief dancing gig in a rundown strip club in a mostly-deserted suburb. With little to do, she and her fellow dancers — Ginko, Maria, Nene, and Darna — mostly squabble and lay around. A stray draft leads them to a hidden door in their dressing room, which they soon discover leads to the club’s basement. And what just happens to be stored in this basement? Why, a copy of the Book of the Dead, of course!
Reading aloud from the Book of the Dead results in all Hell breaking loose as the dead rise from their graves, hungry for the flesh of the living. Now it’s up to Lena and her friends to arm themselves in any way possible — chainsaws, katanas, lengths of pipe, etc.…Continue Reading
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, current European horror makes contemporary American horror look shameful. The films coming out of European countries — Spain, Italy, and, especially, France — are keeping the genre alive. I’m not saying all American horror is bad; that’s not the case at all, but the work coming out of the states, more often than not, pales in comparison. Where we seem to have embraced the audience aspect of horror (jump scares, gross out factor), the Europeans are crafting films that are terrifying in their intimacy. HIGH LANE, produced by French company Gaumont, is one of the more recent examples of this, and the results are exceptional. You can check out the spoiler-filled trailer if you want, but be warned, it really ruins a lot of the tension.
HIGH LANE begins with four friends going on a nature-filled adventure in the Balkan mountains. But this isn’t a “nature’s revenge” film like THE LAST WEEKEND; it’s more an “off the beaten path” flick like WRONG TURN.…Continue Reading
Before directing the 2008 horror film QUARINTINE, the decent, shot-for-shot remake of the Spanish film REC (our review), the Dowdle brothers directed another “found footage” movie titled THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES. The film had an interesting premise regarding police finding boxes of VHS tapes left behind by a serial killer. These tapes contained hundreds of hours of footage recorded by a killer who’d been operating undetected for years, filming the abductions, torture and disposal of his victims.
I saw the trailer to this film when I watched THE MIST in the theaters, and even remember the movie poster hanging up in the lobby. It definitely got my hopes up for another film done in the spirit of cinéma vérité, but then, nothing. No more trailers, the movie posters disappeared and the film seemed to have been shelved.
While I am not sure what happened, there is a story about the 2007 Butt-Numb-A-Thon film festival put on by AICN.com. THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES was shown there with the Dowdle brothers in attendance and scheduled to take part in a Q&A after the movie.…Continue Reading
After reviewing John Landis’s BURKE AND HARE (our review), a failed attempt at turning the tale of two real-life serial killers into a black comedy, I felt I owed it to myself, and to you, to re-watch THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS starring Peter Cushing and the great Donald Pleasence. This is a good film about William Burke and William Hare, the vile men responsible for Edinburgh, Scotland’s notorious West Port murders.
Back when religion had a stronger grip on medical practices, researchers could only dissect the bodies of criminals who met their demise at the end of a rope. When supply couldn’t keep up with demand, two Irish immigrants stumbled upon a way to fill the demand for fresh bodies after selling a fairly fresh corpse to local anatomist Dr. Knox. The pair felt corpse selling could be a lot more lucrative if they sped up the dying process a bit, so Burke and Hare began murdering the weak and downtrodden that populated their social circle, selling the bodies to the good doctor before the corpses even had time to cool.…Continue Reading
CHAIN LETTER is yet another movie that has languished in the sort of release hell that only a select group of films enjoy (THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES and ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE being two others of recent note that still have yet to see a decent release). The production was completed in 2007, it saw a very limited theatrical release in 2010, and it hit the home entertainment market just this year.
CHAIN LETTER is a basic slasher flick in which a group of kids are slaughtered one-by-one by a hulking disfigured killer. Where the movie falls apart is in its attempt to trying to work in a socially relevant message about our obsession with technology, such as the Internet and cell phones. No one has any privacy any more, we’re all connected 24/7, and so on, and this is the basic premise. One of the kids receives an anonymous chain letter on his computer that implies that if he doesn’t forward it to five friends someone will die.…Continue Reading
You know damn well when you sit down to watch a film titled CHOOSE (which boasts taglines like “Time to Decide” and “He Makes the Rules, You Make the Choice”) that you’re not about to behold a stunning piece of artwork. In all honesty, I doubt the filmmakers ever intended to make such work, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have at least tried to make a decent genre flick. Reading the taglines alone, you may suspect that this is a SAW rip-off, and, for the most part, you’d be absolutely correct.
CHOOSE is as basic a slasher entry as you’re going to get. It has everything: an introverted, disturbed, seemingly aggressive female protagonist; her overprotective father; her idiotic friends; a nameless killer who lurks in the shadows; and, of course, the obligatory death scenes. That’s it. You know exactly what you’ll get before you even press “Play.” At least CHOOSE tries to be clever in the way it goes about ripping off the SAW films (basically, the victims choose the way they are maimed/killed), but it’s a far cry from being able to be considered torture porn.…Continue Reading
It’s been 12 years since John Landis directed a movie and about two decades since he directed a good one. But now he’s back with BURKE AND HARE, a black comedy about two real-life serial killers from Ireland who operated in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 1800s, selling their victims’ bodies to the local medical college for dissection. So how does Landis do? Pretty friggin’ bad. Lets check out the “hilarious” trailer, which is almost as bad as the movie. Almost.
The crimes of William Burke and William Hare have already been adapted for the big screen about five times, from The Body Snatcher (1945) to The Doctor and the Devils (1985), all to varying degrees of success. And why wouldn’t someone want to adapt this nasty bit of history? It’s a morbidly fascinating tale that doesn’t need to be embellished or altered to make a compelling film. That’s why I have no clue why Landis decided to make a black comedy in which Burke (Simon Pegg) and Hare (Andy Serkis) are made out to be two aloof scoundrels who simply stumbled into their ghoulish profession and continued committing their heinous crimes for justifiable reasons.…Continue Reading
Let me start this review by first stating that yes, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is a remake of the 1978 movie of the same name (also known as DAY OF THE WOMAN) and no, this will not be a comparison piece. If it (or any movie) needed to be remade or not is debatable, but this is a review of the movie on its own merits.
Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) is a young novelist working on a new novel who leaves the big city to work in the peace and quiet offered by a remote cabin she’s rented in the country. Unfortunately for her, some of the locals bumpkins have a little too much free time on their hands and want to show Jennifer a good time. Too bad their idea of a good time is to put Jennifer through a truly humiliating ordeal of torture and gang-rape. She is able to escape their intended coup de grâce, resulting in Jennifer exacting some violent acts of retribution against her attackers that have to be seen to be believed.…Continue Reading
First off, let me state for the record that I’m a fan of Oren Peli‘s PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (our review) even if I did feel it barely survived the crushing weight of the hype that was heaped upon it. A lot of this had to do with the fact that I had watched the version that made the rounds at film festivals years a couple years before it made it to the theaters. I thought the minimalistic approach was extremely effective and achieved at giving me goosebumps on a couple occasions. The rest is history after a successful marketing campaign that got the film into theaters and asses in the seats, leading to a film with a budget of $11,000 making $194 million worldwide and becoming an entry into the annals of pop culture history. One of my issues with the film was the re-vamped ending that led to the possibilities of a sequel, something that wasn’t possible with the original version. So when it was officially announced that there was going to be a follow-up, I honestly had no hopes for it, envisioning a slightly better PARANORMAL ENTITY.…Continue Reading
Okay, I’ve reviewed two crappy horror films, so here’s one to make up for that and then some. I had read a bit about this Australian horror film last year when it was making the rounds at all the film festivals I’m not worthy of being invited to. I heard it was a mix of old and new horror that was a tad similar to Peter Jackson’s splatter days before LORD OF THE RINGS. “That’s great,” I thought, but I didn’t really get my interest piqued until EFX Magazine described THE LOVED ONES as WOLF CREEK meets PRETTY IN PINK. Now, I still don’t know who the hell EFX Magazine is, but you have to admit that the combination of those two films is pretty interesting. Well, almost a year after all those other sites got to see the film, I was finally able to watch THE LOVED ONES the other night, and, yeah, EFX Magazine’s description is a pretty accurate one and I loved it. Check out the trailer that reveals a tad too much and then my thoughts on this sometimes intense, occasionally sick flick whose humor is consistently dark as pitch.…Continue Reading
More blasts from the past as I clear out a backlog of reviews of films you probably shouldn’t waste your time watching unless you are like me and just like watching bad films. Today’s film is SLASHERS, a direct-to-video horror flick reportedly made on an $150,000 budget. In the film, the most watched show in Japan is a live reality show titled “Slashers” where viewers watch as contestants are voluntarily placed in a funhouse type maze they must navigate for a cash prize. Hindering their progress are characters called Slashers that pursue the contestants ensuring they are not able to collect their winnings by making them suffer bloody, violent deaths to the delight of the viewing audience. SLASHERS takes place at the beginning of the show’s very first all-American edition and to help celebrate this special occasion the producers are populating the maze with two of the nastiest Slashers in their arsenal, Chainsaw Charlie and Dr. Ripper, while also introducing a brand new Slasher called The Preacherman. Will any of the contestants survive this special episode by outwitting the Slashers and collect the $12 million prize?…Continue Reading
I’ve got a backlog of horror movie reviews written up that I need to get out of our queue, so why not start with a forgotten, ultra low-budget slasher oddity from the UK. It involves a group of stage actors held captive by two psychopaths during the last night of their play, MURDER IN THE DARK. The turnout during the run of the play has been disappointing, continuously being performed in front of a mostly empty house but tonight’s attendance should fair better as it’s the final show with friends and family expected to be there for a birthday party being held after the show. Just before the show begins, two psychopaths on the run after breaking out of a maximum security facility have decided to take refuge in the theater. While there they hold the cast and crew hostage forcing them to play a sadistic game. They threaten to kill their friends off stage if the actors on stage do not go on with the show.…Continue Reading
HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. — Early Tuesday morning, police were called out to the home of retired OB/GYNs, Margaret and Terje Buggeland. One of their sons had come home to find them dead. “My mom and dad are laying on the floor in my dad’s room and my brother’s gone,” Steven Buggeland told the 911 dispatcher (listen to call here). The missing brother is the couple’s live-in son. His name is Erik Buggeland and he is a 35-year-old, 6-foot tall, 375-pound paranoid schizophrenic. Police would really like to talk with him. His brother feels that intruders killed his parents and have abducted Erik, but police have not stated that nor have they named Erik as a suspect. They are asking the public to call them if you see Erik or the couple’s missing 2003 gold four-door Honda Accord with Kentucky license place 009-EDC. Police have the autopsy reports back but are keeping their mouths shut at this point. Here’s a story involving dead parents and their 6-foot tall, 375-pound crazy son right out of JUST BEFORE DAWN, with the last name of Buggeland.…Continue Reading
What a pleasant surprise — two horror films I wasn’t really looking forward to but walked out of the theater satisfied after watching them. The first being PIRANHA 3D, the second being Daniel Stamm’s THE LAST EXORCISM. Even though we haven’t had a good straight-up exorcism movie in awhile — THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE felt more like an episode of LAW AND ORDER than a horror movie — the previews for this one just weren’t selling me. Seemed like another PG-13 horror film full of quick-edits and lame jump scares aimed at teens. Boy, was I wrong. THE LAST EXORCISM delivers some decent chills with a story a bit more layered than just small-town-preacher-meets-potentially-demon-possessed-young-girl. It’s also a story with some fairly heavy themes, such as morality, the belief in a God, and blind faith. Check out the trailer after the break, even though it really doesn’t accurately reflect the movie (and gives away a bit too much in the process) and then my heavily edited, spoiler-free thoughts.…Continue Reading
I was perusing some of Netflix’s latest Instant Watch selections when I came across a title that surprisingly, I had never heard of. The film is about a group of bored high-schoolers who during one week in June, decide to take a camera along to document themselves as they pull pranks on the residents of a neighboring town. In between harassing the locals, the group also investigate the small town’s local legends. Its all fun and games until they start pissing off more and more locals, and their boredom-fueled antics turn deadly. The ratings for the movie weren’t that high, and some of the comments on the film’s IMDB page didn’t leave me too hyped up to watch it, aside for one detail…the film is of the “found footage” variety ala THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT — a film this one undoubtedly (and rightfully) will be compared to. I love this style of film when done correctly, and in the case of JUNE 9, they did alright. Check out the trailer for the film, and then check out my thoughts if you’re up to it.…Continue Reading
For any of you who had reservations on this remake of the Roger Corman classic, or who saw some of the trailers and said to yourself “that looks really retarded,” let me cast some of your fears aside as I join the others who watched this film and gave it a resounding seal of approval. It’s stupid, it’s over-the-top, and it’s a trashy good time chock full of gratuitous nudity and buckets of blood. Luckily the film knows exactly what it is and what fans of the original (and more so the sequels) expected. At no point did it seem that anyone was attempting to make high-brow cinema – from the director Alexandre Aja to the ensemble of movie veterans that made up PIRANHA’S cast. The film begins after a minor earthquake bridges a gap between a subterranean cavern allowing thousands of prehistoric piranha to spill into the popular Lake Victoria where their annual Spring Break celebrations are already well under way. Now a band of strangers must blah, blah, blah…who cares?…Continue Reading
Tired of watching thrillers re-hashing the same old story? Well here’s a movie with a story so ludicrous that it alone was the reason why I bothered to watch in the first place. Get this: A girl is trapped inside her boarded up home with her severely autistic brother while a hurricane rages outside. But their chances would fare much better out there because inside the home they are being stalked…by a psychotic circus tiger! I shit you not. So now not only does the girl have to find a way out of the house without being eaten, she can’t even touch her little brother or kink up his schedule without him revealing their location when he goes all Frank and Beans while hitting himself in the head. It’s original, it’s absurd, it leaves me wishing i had whatever they where smoking when they came up with the story for BURNING BRIGHT. But please don’t let the absurd sounding plot keep you from checking this film out as surprisingly, it works beautifully.…Continue Reading