Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Scream Review (1996)

Holy shit! Thank God that this film came out when it did. For those of you who don't know, during the mid 80's to about the mid 90's, the bussiness of horror movies was in a big slump. The horror film economy was like our economy right now. The films were still getting made, but no one was buying them, and no one was seeing them. Then in 1995, Kevin Williamson, (a genius) wrote the screenplay for Scream. When it was realesed a year later, Scream took audiences by storm, with an ensemble cast that included: Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and Jamie Kennedy, and what promised to be a very original script. And it was. Flocking to theatres, Scream revitalized the genre, and introduced the world to Kevin Williamson, and told all them youngsters about Wes Craven.

Simply stated Scream probably has the most original story, and that being said, you've seen this story a hundred times, masked kill stalking teens, there's your story. But what makes it different is the characters, not the story. The characters are self aware that they are in a horror movie, and that's what makes Scream such a... no, After two fellow students are killed, the city orders all school to be canceled, and issue a curfew of nine-o-clock. But of course, with a killer on the loose, who wants to go home at nine?! So they have a party complete with booze, drugs and movies. Jamie Kennedy works at a video store, and is a horror professional like the all of us, so him, along with his friends no how a horror movie (and therefore their own enviorment) work, and what to do, and how to survive. Filled with enough in refrences that you'll have trouble keeping up, Scream is good for both a newbie, and the addict.

Scream is what launched the success of Kevin Williamson, who went on to write the screenplays for the next two films to come after this, along with the first I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cursed, and The Faculty, none of these were as successful, or good (opinion). Scream also launched the infamous Ghostface, and re-enstated Wes Craven as the suspense master that he truly is. Before Scream, the last big thing Craven had done of Nightmare On Elm Street, was New Nightmare.

Speaking of suspense, Scream has a ton of it. And I loved every minute of it. The first time I saw this film, the tension was so fucking great, it was killing me. Craven does a great job of making a really good film, as he shown numerous times before, as in everything he has ever possibly made. But directing is only one part of what makes a great film. Another great part goes to Williamson, but I've already talked about that enough. Now usually as a horror film, one either takes the gore route, or hit the tension with an iron fist. Scream does an excellent job at keeping both very prominent, and having a great sense of balance and timing between the two.

The blood here isn't extreme. It did have nice gore, and a good gore factor, but its not somthing that will make you sick to your stomach. The worst kill (as in bloodiest kill) actually is the first one that you ever see. You know that one where the guy gets his guts wripped out and are hanging from his stomach to his ankles. The rest of the film includes, beatings, stabbings, hangings and brutal beatings, but it truly wasn't extreme, trust me, I can handle a lot or gore, and I don't really mind it. But I also don't care if there is gore. Anyway, I'm rambling. But the blood within Scream, was used well, looked good. It was kind of like the musical episode of an old ninetys sitcom, every sitcom has one, but it really just doesn't need to be there. But you watch it anyway. And this isn't referring to the movie as a whole, but to the blood.

All of the acting in this movie was awesome. Every single actor and actress in this film seemed to be perfectly cast, and knew what they were doing. Neve was perfect as the lead, Courntey Cox was taken perfectly from her then comedy standard. While the film clearly advertised Drew Barrymoore as a main character. They were funny, serious, scary, and they seemed to get the source material, which was great.

Overall, as it's probably easy to tell, I really, really, really liked Scream, it was scary, fun, well acted, funny and amazingly put together from a techinal standpoint, the lighting, and production looked and felt very nice and real. The only problem was the lack of blood, which is okay, and the fact that the film was nearly two hours long. But again, I really, really, really liked it. So yeah. Scream gets Four zombi's out of Five.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Slither Review (2006)

Slither, is a little horror/comedy film that was realesed about three years ago, the film went widley unnoticed though, and was a financial failure, with a budget of thirty million dollars, and making only thirteen million. It was written and directed by James Gunn, he was the writer of the remake of Dawn of The Dead, which was more successful. That's not saying much. While it didn't do well money wise, Slither was universally enjoyed by fans and critics with few exceptions. It was a throwback to the classic b-movies of the 70's and 80's, which really stuck a nerve with the audience.

The film opens with two bumbling idiot cops, sitting in a car, patrolling a highway or something like that, in the background a giant meteor falls from the sky and crashes in the woods behind them. Meanwhile a man who is busy cheating on his wife, he finds a whore in a bar, and they go into the woods for some fun. They find the meteor and feel the need to investigate. Something shoots out of the large space rock and impales the man in the heart. This man slowly starts turning into a horrible monster, that REALLY craves meat. Later the entire town goes to a party to celebrate the start of the hunting season, meanwhile, he is infecting another woman with his alien disease. Later, after the police officers find out about what has been goin' down, they track the infected woman to an old barn, where they find that she has become extremely fat. She keeps growing, and growing, until she eventually explodes realesing a massive group of small leaches, and as it turns out, if you get bitten by these leaches they infect you as well. Damn, that would suck.

As interesting as this film it, it's only as good as its worst scene. The movie tends to drag a little bit in the beggining, but as soon as the fat lady explodes things move along fast enough. The movie is gory enough, funny enough, and entertaining enough to warrant both horror, and comedy fans should give it a looksee. Nathan Fillion, (of firefly fame) stars as one of the many cops who rampage throughout the film with guns ablazing. Elizabeth Banks (shes from scrubs) stars as the women whos husband was infected in the beggining. The film is especially fun if you know the material. If you were a child of he 70's and 80's drive in, you will really enjoy this films commitment. The only thing this movie is missing from that genre is the nudity. None is here. Oh, well. But, if your a fan of Quentin Tarantino you'll know what I mean when I say this film is a piece of genre cinema.

Thank God for whoever did the special effects for this film. I hope that whoever it may be, they get paid very highly. The effects are great because they are not practicul effects, not CGI. The fake blood is really there, its not digitally added later. The monsters look like they were created for Gremlins, they don't look like Gremlins, but the movements are very similair. While the gore factor in this film isn't extreme, it's enough to give non-horror fans a queasy stomach. Scenes in which a monster/man/squid thing are shown are very nice, with classic make-up effects from a very smart crew. Whenever a monster or creature is on the screen, awesomeness was infused into every frame.

The acting in this movie was decent enough, I enjoyed the main characters, and the side characters enough to where I didn't notice if they were good or bad. All were funny when they needed to be, but serious also, and pulled of the change rather well. What people forget by looking at the case is that this is a comedy. It had some great running jokes, as well as some perfect one-liners. Nathan Fillion did a great job with the comedy stuff, as did Elizabeth Banks, and it seemed as if they knew that this film was a genre, not a movie. One of the background cops was also very funny as well, he was an older man, and I can't seem to find the actors name which is a shame, I think that if you see this movie you'll know who I mean.

This film was one of the kind that was hopping back and forth between genres. At the beggining it wanted to be a 50's sci-fi classic, and about halfway through, it finds that it wants to be a 50's creature feature, but then it thinks it wants to be a 70's explotation flick, things would have run a lot smoother if this had been figured out in the beggining. Also dull at moments Slither comes up just under perfect, but still an amazing flick for fans of any genre. And I'm telling you this is a COMEDY too.

Little Kid: What's a Gina?
Guy: It's a country, it's where...Ginese people come from.

Overall, Slither gets Four zombi's out of Five.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Stephen King's Cat's Eye Review (1985)

Stephen King's Cat's Eye, is quite simply an anthology story written by Stephen King. What differs this from films such as Creepshow is the fact that all the storys are slightly interconnected with each other, rather than having a small interlude with some sort of Cryptkeeper. Here we have three stories, each running about half an hour long. This film is however famous for it being one of the few that was written specifically for the screen. Some of which are good, and others not so much.

Our first story stars James Woods, as a chain smoker who wants to kick the habit, so he enlists the help of Quitters Inc., who claim they can make it all happen. As he approaches the offices, he nearly runs over a fat little fuck of cat. He reaches Quitters Inc. to find out that they really are willing to do whatever it takes to get you to quit. Anything. Kiddnapping your wife. No problem. Cutting off your pinkey. No problem. Everything few and far between. No problem, just so long as you quit the habit. The acting here is solid with the few roles that there are. James Woods does a good job of going crazy from his fequent nicotene fits, and he really convinced me that he REALLY wanted that cigarette. While this story wasn't necisarilly scary, it was definatly tense, and had its moments. We catch up with that little cat as he hops aboard a ship and makes his way to the big city.

The second story is rather uneventful, and the least successful of the group. It involves a man who has a very bad gambeling problem. What's up with all the addiction stuff Stephen? He is then given a bet to walk around the ledge of very tall building. Much mayhem ensues and we see a few gunshots. It is one of the few storys to feature gore as a head roles across the floor. Eh, this one was pretty boring. The little bastard kittie runs in to a little quaint neighborhood and tries to join a forces with...

Drew Barrymoore, who is currently having nightmares about strange creatures. Our little cat (who Drew coins General) is the only one along with her who sees or belives in these creatures. Her mother tries to convince out of keeping the cat because Drew already has a bird, and they obviously doesn't get along. So they throw him out on the street. But, late into the night, Drew starts getting attacked by strange troll like gremlins that steal your breath. This one was nice and fun, as the creatures look a lot like Gremlins, and it really had a nice 80's feel and quality to it. Plus one of the creatures gets tossed into a fan and chopped to pieces, who doesn't enjoy that.

Overall, Cat's Eye was a fun little watch, that you won't gain or lose anything from watching. It's not the best Stephen King film ever, not by far, but with some of his recent failings, it is a little higher on the list than most.I give Stephen King's Cat's Eye, Three zombi heads, out of Five.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Friday The 13th Part II Review (1981)

Aha! Mrs. Voorhees is back again...wait, thats not Jason is back once again! Wait no. Jason is...starting? I guess so. In the second installment of the Friday series, another group of unsuspecting teenagers are slaughtered by a vicious killer. However in Part II, five years after the events of the original, a group of young camp counselors set out on endeavour for training, but not at Camp Crystal Lake, one across the lake, but still in the same forest. Jason apparently was more that an imagination, as he saw his mothers decapitation from the last film, and has grown up and is ready to exact his revenge. On more horny teenagers. However, Jason is a little different than you expect him to be. How you ask. Guess what, no hockey mask. Thats a trait that didn't get picked up until the third movie. First the killer wasn't Jason, and now no hockey mask. This series is just full of surprises, just like this sequel, they are mostly good.

We open just three months after the events of Part I, with Adrienne King breifly reprising her role of Alice from the first film. She lasts about fifthteen minutes before meeting her own shocking demise. Driving down the road in an old beat up truck, we find the next two of Jason's victims trying to find there way to a camp not far from the infamous camp blood. Not very many people decided t0 come back for this sequel, Adrienne King and Walt Gorny as Ralph, as well as Betsy Palmer. The new campers are not much different from the last, infact, I swear one of them looked exactly like Kevin Bacon. The new lead is a young blond named Ginny, not Jenny, but Ginny, played by Amy Steel. She was one of my least favorite characters in the movie, and I found her acting to be very annoying. Needless to say I enjoyed Anrienne King as our "Final Girl" a lot more. The rest of the acting in this movie is what you've come to expect from a horror film. Where in any other genre it would be trash, but for a horror film, its passable.

Made after the major, and unexpected success of the first film, Friday The 13th Part II, was made the following year, while still having a meager production, this one was slightly higher, with about one-million dollars on their hands rather than five-hundred-thousand. Originally the story was suppose to end with the third, each Friday The 13th they would put out a new, unrelated film, and turn the movies into some sort of anthology story, much like the Creepshow franchise. However, after each film just kept on raking in the dough, Paramount decided that Jason was enough, and the anthology would just have to wait. Besides, when you try to do a series without the many villian, and turn it into an anthology story, things don't go so well, Just look at Halloween III. Yeah, thats what I thought.

While 1981 was a popular year for the then young franchise, having the films first sequel come and all, and a bigger budget to do it with, you'd think that the special effects would knock the ones from the first one out of the park. No. They didn't. Infact they were about the same. While this films death sequences were a lot more creative, they weren't quite as bloody. The worlds only true Gore-Hound, Tom Savini, decided to skip out on doing the effects for Part II, to work on a film called The Burning. The Burning was one of the Friday The 13th clones that came out directly after the first, granted its also one of the better copy-cat films, its obviously not as popular as the Friday films. It didn't have any sequels. At all. Of course with a series like Friday where you have at films that all come out within the same decade, its kind of hard to compete. While I did kind of bitch about the films lack of blood, this is patially due to the MPAA cutting out 48 seconds of footage, which included much more blood letting during the famous double impalment scene, and since they have not realesed an uncut version of this film, there was no way for me to have seen it.

This film lacks the natural tension and creepiness that the original had, and that I loved so much. This film is much more straightforward, with no fancy twist ending, no special mystery killer, it is your average stalk and slash summercamp film. I also think the original had an advantage of having Betsy Palmer, who did a great job with her role of playing a mentally unstable woman, who is doing bad things but for good reasons, so in some ways, you feel sympathetic for her. I honestly thought that it was a tough role, for a very complex character, that unfourtanetly didn't get enough screentime for explanation. However, what this films lacks in tension and atmosphere, it makes up for with unique kills, and a fair about of gore. While you have classic stabs, and slashers, you also get temple crushes, machete heads, and the personal favorite, the all time favorite double impalment scene.

he plot for this film isn't mindblowingly complex, but you probably didn't expect it to be, so its really not that big of a deal. But I do give new Friday writer Ron Kurz some respect of during the plot device of Jason, into an actual story, and tying up some loose ends with the films continuity, and making things move along briskly. But not too brisky considering the film is only eighty-seven minutes long, and it allows for some story to develope, but have the kills frequently enough to not bore the audience. I also give the writer credit for having the balls to have Jason kill a dog, and then make a joke about. I thought the joke was genuinly funny and well placed.

Overall, this movie is definatly a worthy sequel, and better than most that follow it. The kills are better, bloody, and more fun this time over, Jason is finally brought into the picture to keep things fresh this time around. The plot was more or less the same, but kept itself in perspective enough to make it feel real. But it lacked the creepy atmoshphere the original carried perfectly, and while the acting wasn't much better last time around, and least last time, the main character was at least decent. Plus, I do indeed miss the cult classic quote, "killer mommy, kill her, nowhere to run, kill her mommy" Friday The 13th Part II gets Four zombi heads out of Five.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday The 13th Review (1980)

Friday The 13th. The cream of the crop. The essential slasher film. Everything rolled into one big bundle. My precursor of words have all been said about the precursor film. It was, and still possibly is the greatest slasher film of all time. It has defined decades of teenage moviegoers, as to what they come to expect from the horror film. And, films in general. It was the mother and father of too many sequels to count, which all made most of the Jason fans jaded over the past few years. BUT, earlier this year a remake of the original Friday The 13th was created. It met mixed reviews from fans and moviegoers alike. But even the quintessential Friday fans agreed, it was much better than the last few offerings. But the original! Its the original top notch film that set the bar for all horror movies to follow it. Not really. Infact many people claim that this film was just riding off of the success of a great horror film that came a year earlier. The original Halloween. Also to note the producers of this film have come clean saying the my previous statement was true. However, each seires began to make a name for themselves when they turned out to be the subject of way to many sequels, prequels, and remakes. But no matter how much you love, hate, or love to hate Jason, (and his mother) you have to agree that this film was part in the re-creation, or one of films most popular genres.

Friday The 13th opens twenty years before the films main story. The classic plot device of horny teenagers create the stage for the drowining of a young boy while at summer camp. An angry (and unknown camp counselor) confronts these two young lovers with more than they expected. A large butcher knife. Thats right all you young horror fans, Jason wasn't the killer. He was dead. (Sorry if this was to spoil anything for you but brute honesty hurts.) And if two dead teenagers wasn't enough to fill your appateit, the killer does what killers do best. Creates a very long night at camp blood. (If you get that refrence you are in a league of great people.) Pick-up about twenty years later. We first see a young girl hitch-hiking her way to Camp Crystal Lake for a summer job. The camp has been closed down, rightfully so, because of the tragic events that happened eariler, including drowning, murder, fire, and toxic water. She stops at a restraunt to get directions, when someone decides to giver her a lift. Upon leaving, they come across a man named Ralph who warns that "Camp Blood" carries a death curse. It turns out, he's right. So a new group of horny teenagers begins to try to re-open the camp during the summer. But, someone is lurking in the woods, stalking the youngsters. Getting ready to avenge a young boys death. Getting ready to kill them all off. One. By. One.

This is a classic horror film and you have to admit it. This film redefined the genre. As a brainchild of the 1980's, this film has all the trademarks of an 80's slasherfest. Teenagers. Revenge. Eerie lighting. A storm. And lots and lots of POV shots. While this was one of the first films for a then young Kevin Bacon, it marked the start of a downward slope for Betsy Palmer, who was a seasoned stage actress. Many critcs and fans panned her role in this film, and she later stated that she only did it for the money. Claiming that she needed a new car, and they offered to pay her one-thousand dollars a day. She said the first time she read the script she thought "it was a piece of shit!" However, despite some actors not liking their likenesss attached to the film it is. Others in the film include, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartham, Mark Nelson, Jennine Taylor, and Robbi Morgan. Now lets be honest this film was not about acting. And it shows.

While most of the cast does a good job with a lack-luster script, others seem to fall flat. Kevin Bacon, Betsy Palmer, and Adrienne King, all did an alright job with what they had. The others though were your run-of-the-mill teenagers. Not good. Not bad. Just somewhere in-between. They are nearly always dull, or over-acting, but what can I say, a low budget film, a low budget cast, except of course Betsy Palmer. Lucky.

Special effects master Tom Savini is the grandaddy of these special effects, and it shows his keen ability to make the horrifying, gratifying. With a body count of ten, all dying in their own special and grusome way, it leaves lots of space for unique kills. Decapitaion. Arrow to the throat. Stab wounds, its all here, and Tom Savini makes it happen. While that may seem like a lot, and it probably was back in the day, lots of the shots don't last very long, or cut away before you can see much. They recently realesed and unrated cut of these films, which I have yet to see. I re-watched it for this review on an old VHS tape. But, even with these new extended additions, the film is only ten seconds longer. I know, lame right.

While nothing is truly original in this world, and this is a horror film, the script and plot wasn't that great. This may seem like a nit-pik, a horror movie is suppose to be about blood right? But I like originality in my script. Sorry if you think they're suppose to be simple, I wish I could live that way, but alas, I cannot. The greatest part of this movie is the ending. And even though I love this part of the film, it wasn't in the script, and the idea was thought of by Tom Savini. Its shocking, scary, gross and unexpected. My favorite part of the movie infact, and the scariest. But however many complaints I come up with for this film, I always find something new to enjoy about it.

Overall, this film is great fun to watch. No matter how many times you've seen it, or if you just saw it when you were a teenager, its definatly time to give this one another view. Its a classic in every sense of the word. One of the key American films of the century, and in the highest ranks of the horror classics, Friday The 13th is nothing short of astonishing. Blood, guts, violence, and even some funny moments, this film will make you feel young again. It desrves a spot on the shelf of all horror fans, and on the shelf of all those who grew up in the 80's. Friday The 13th gets Four zombi heads, out of Five.