Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
I hope you made a lot of money on this, Joe Bob!
Joe Bob Briggs is one of the legendary horror hosts along with Zacherle and Elvira. He used to host Monstervision and Drive-In theatre back in the day. He has enjoyed a resurgence after a 24 hour marathon done in July 2018. He has also acted in a few movies most notably in Martin Scorsese's Casino and Mick Garris' TV adaptation of The Stand. As per Joe Bob, he was broke and had to do this "gem".
A group of news crew go to shoot footage about a huge hog (The titular Hogzilla). They are encountered by Joe Bob who warns them to leave since he lost his kid to the hog a few years ago and has been living in the woods ever since. The crew expectedly ignores the harbinger of doom and starts getting picked off one by one by the pig or at least a violently shaking camera.
Hogzilla is a terrible movie. Its budget was reportedly one million which seems false because those folks at Troma do more in 20% of that budget. Joe Bob is there for all of 15 minutes in the entire movie. Unsurprisingly, he is the best part of the movie. The others are all terrible. The background score is completely incongruous to what is going on in the movie. The make-up effects are non-existent and the film has a cheap look despite considering it was made in 2007 and never released till 2020 just in time for Joe Bob's new show The Last Drive-in where this movie was premiered to Joe Bob's complete shock.
I would suggest watching the last drive-in episode of this as Joe Bob is fantastic along with his mail girl Darcy who has a fun banter going with him. If you have a group of friends to make fun of this movie, watch this one with them else let this hogzilla stay dead and buried.
Blood Rage (1987)
Brutality with late night shenanigans and NO cranberry sauce
Maddy has a pair of twins who witness her in a drive-in making out with her boyfriend. One of the twins snaps and commits a vicious murder and frames the other twin who is in shock. The twin gets wrongfully put in an asylum. 10 years later, on thanksgiving night, the institutionalized twin escapes while the actually insane twin goes on a rampage.
Blood Rage clocks in at a lean 82 minutes but it feels longer because of annoyingly dragged out scenes of Maddy (Louise Lasser) undergoing a steady nervous breakdown which is portrayed via such exciting scenes as her binging food at night, drinking a lot of wine, and cleaning up her room and the oven. The slasher section is more successful with a shocking (For late-80s) amount of gore. Mark Soper does a fine job differentiating between the twins. He is shown a bit too much as a slasher villain. There was never any attempt at portraying a mystery killer but I appreciate it if a killer is kept in the shadows rather than showing him too much.
After a sagging middle, Blood Rage picks up a lot towards the end with a great conclusion where Louise Lasser goes into full meltdown mode and it works because it finally serves the story. On the whole, Blood Rage is an entertaining slasher with a good story, great kills, and a wonderful soundtrack by Richard Einhorn. But beware of the Nightmare at Shadow Woods version which has almost all the gore edited out. Watch the uncut version titled Slasher.
Worth a watch!
A GLOW-rious beginning
GLOW is loosely based on the actual GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) TV show which was a cheesy but charming women's wrestling show which ran for four seasons in the late 80s.
This is a really funny, heartwarming and sometimes exciting show. It is a very good combination of characters and wrestling. As a lifelong pro wrestling fan, the show successfully shows wrestling for being fun without making fun of it. I could have appreciated more insight into how hard it is to be a wrestler especially taking bumps which take a toll on the body. That being said, it does a very good job showing the people and getting us behind them. They are flawed people but likable and ultimately, you root for their success.
The performances are uniformly excellent. Alison Brie is a capable lead who keeps the movie centered. Marc Maron, as the frustrated but deep down decent cokehead director does a fabulous job. Betty Gilpin as the slightly arrogant former soap opera star is brilliant especially since she has a lot of emotional scenes. I loved the wrestler cameos which I will keep a secret.
To conclude, the show is a wonderful love letter to wrestling fans. It would have been convenient to mock wrestling as stupid and dumb but the show avoids that pitfall. For new fans, it would serve as a good conduit into the crazy world of wrestling and for wrestling fans, it shows a simpler era where we were not smarks who picked apart every booking decision. Highly recommended!
Warning: Watching this can be hazardous for your health
I like refrigerator movies. Hitchcock called the serviceable thrillers that because while they were very entertaining to watch, after you go home and are going through the refrigerator, you start to pick apart the plot. In case of Misconduct, you might as well carry a portable refrigerator because you start picking the plot apart while watching it!
Some good direction and clever plotting can help cover a deeply flawed movie to an extent. This movie however is extremely tone deaf. There is no sense of directorial style. There is an insulting use of non- linear chronology which serves no purpose other than to hide the fact that the plot is paper thin. It goes without saying that Al Pacino and Sir Anthony Hopkins are legends. They can make Troll 3 at this point and their legacy won't be hurt. Well maybe a little bit, but they are still legends. But this movie wastes their talents especially Hopkins who seems like he is waiting to cash in his check. Pacino gets a scene to go bombastic but you just don't care and just feel sad for the guy. Josh Duhamel tries but the ridiculous script defeats him. The standout is Alice Eve who gives the worst performance I have ever seen in a big budget movie. There is emotionally distant and there is whatever the hell Eve was going for.
I was in a flight and looking for a quick movie to kill the time but this movie despite a promising start, completely goes off the rails and ends up being a waste.
There is a scene about 70% into the movie where Hopkins and Pacino are on-screen, for the first time EVER...and you just don't give a damn! That is all you need to know about this junk.
Zombi 2 (1979)
One of Fulci's best movies!
Lucio Fulci was never the star of the show. He made very good films in the 70s and they are now renowned as some quality murder mysteries(The Psychic, Don't Torture a Duckling). But he was overshadowed by Argento. He then made Zombie Flesh Eaters, reportedly written before Romero's Dawn of the Dead (AKA Zombi in Italy). But Fulci's work was released as Zombi 2, despite no relation to Romero's classic. Poor Fulci was overshadowed again.
It is sad because this is one of Fulci's most focused efforts. There is some cheese(Well this is an Italian splatter film) but it's surprisingly good in terms of suspense and some decent acting. Much of the film's decent acting comes from Richard Johnson who adds a lot of gravitas and sadness to his "mad" scientist role. This scientist is just fed up from all the mayhem and wants to rest. Johnson conveys that brilliantly with his eyes. He gets some ripe lines but he says them like Shakespeare. My second favorite character is Al Cliver's Brian who is a legit bad ass with an amazing beard.
There is some nudity. The kills are gruesome and excellent. There is a shark vs zombie scene which is surprisingly suspenseful. On the whole, this is a classic. One of Fulci's best efforts before he cemented his legacy with the 'Gates of Hell' trilogy.
Heralds the arrival of the next (potential) master of horror
I will begin by mentioning that I am a big fan of Oculus. It is one of those horror movies which is very evenly paced and takes a potentially silly premise and turns it into some wonderful psychological horror. What I liked about Mike Flanagan's work was that he created characters we root for and want to make it out alive. He is not interested in making cookie cutter slashers where we want the killer to get creative. That is a good trait in a horror filmmaker and Flanagan is definitely very good.
Hush touches upon a premise which is a personal favorite. The home invasion story, if done properly (The Strangers, Black Christmas, When a Stranger Calls, Halloween), can be very compelling. Add Hush to the list. It takes an overdone premise and adds twists in it which you do not see coming. The character of Maddie might seem like a cheap story device but Kate Siegel does a wonderful job of getting us on her side. At the same time, the dangerous but smug antagonist is essayed very well. We want to see Maddie live and the killer die a horrible, painful death. The amount of stupid decisions made by the protagonists is kept to a minimum and ultimately, it makes for really satisfying viewing.
To conclude, Hush is a must watch if you like intelligent and visceral horror movies. You cannot help but think that you might just be watching the work of the next big thing in Horror.
Buio Omega (1979)
Oh Joe, is that you?
Joe D'Amato is regarded as a rather greedy hack by most people acquainted with horror. Now that's not too far from the truth. But before D'Amato started cranking out movies with an inverse relation between quantity and quality, he made this startling horror movie. Startling in the sense that it's actually GOOD!
Don't get me wrong. Just because it's good doesn't mean it's not exploitation. It has truly gory scenes such as a taxidermy which doesn't leave much to the imagination, nails being ripped off, some implied necrophilia and a particular scene of a "stew" being munched on with an extreme close-up which made my stomach do a somersault. Well done Joe for that! However, these gore scenes are spread out and in between them, there is some attempt to build suspense. There is some good acting particularly by the very creepy but oddly sexy Franca Stoppi(RIP) who plays the caretaker from hell, Iris. The cinematography (by Joe himself) is gorgeous in spite of all the carnage around. It doesn't seem like a cheap B-movie. The music by Goblin is as expected, superb.
That said, the movie is not perfect. It stagnates from time to time. There is absolutely no humour (except some unintentional stuff but you will be too busy gagging to notice) to lighten the relentlessly downbeat tone. Also, the lead actor can be too over-the-top sometimes.
That said, I am shocked that this is a film by Joe D'Amato. It would seem he actually had talent. It's tragic that he was so caught up in making money that he didn't fulfill it. The horror aficionado missed out on a few more quality horror movies.
We Are Still Here (2015)
Good horror is still here
I am admittedly not a big fan of Lucio Fulci AKA The Godfather of Gore. He made some good films(Zombi 2 and City of the living Dead) but I am not a fan of his House by the Cemetery. I still liked his way of developing atmosphere although he torpedoed it himself by putting gratuitous gore and illogical sequences though it was part of his charm. So, when I heard of We Are Still Here and how it's a tribute to Fulci's films, I was intrigued if not too hopeful. Fortunately, it turned out to be a wonderful surprise.
The best part about this movie apart from the creepy atmosphere and the beautiful ice-covered New England scenery is the very good performances by nearly everyone in the cast, especially Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig and the extremely creepy Monte Markham. Larry Fessenden is on hand to provide a bit of ham which he does with glee. The film much like Fulci's post-Zombi 2 films, ultimately explodes in a gore-drenched frenzy though this one still keeps sight of it's central characters. It is also surprisingly well-paced and doesn't sag in the middle like others of it's genre.
It's true that the story isn't original but the acting, direction and effects are so strong that they make up for it. I will even be audacious enough to say that this might be a better horror film than It Follows which despite stronger scares, stagnated in the middle. The director, Geoghegan seems very promising and I will eagerly await his next feature.
Let Us Prey (2014)
Let Us Prey features a police station in a ghost town. Literally. You cannot find any people in this town making you wonder what these idiots are policing. Regardless, a stranger played by Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos from Game of Thrones) appears in the police station and sets off a chain of events which results in everyone in the station confronting/unleashing (mostly the latter) their inner demons.
And boy are those demons nasty or what! The film is not that scary but it is quite fun and has a good sense of humor. It also has good performances from Cunningham and Pollyanna McIntosh as a likable rookie named Rachel. Also in the mix are a gallery of interesting, if not likable characters such as a really creepy sergeant, his two vengeful subordinates alongside Rachel, a (not so) slightly unstable doctor, a grammar Nazi wife-beater and a drunk-driving teen.
Overall, the movie is quite fun with a delightfully nutty climax. The 5.9 rating is a bit too low. Do give it a look!
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Horror movie heaven
Tobe Hooper's 1974 misunderstood masterpiece includes road trip, bickering couples, annoying slobs in wheelchairs, creepy hitchhikers, ramblings about astrology, cannibalism and the melodious sounds of a chainsaw in 80 minutes of mayhem. Phew!
What it doesn't have is a bucketful of blood, despite some older reviews mentioning it. Instead it relies upon a feeling of hopelessness, aided by the stifling heat and the unfriendly surroundings, not to mention some really dark humor.
Hooper never came close to unleashing the same brand of horror again though he has some good films on his resume like Poltergeist and The Funhouse.
For that matter, no movie in the original series or even the remake came even remotely close to matching this one's power.
Do yourself a favor and watch this classic!
V/H/S Viral (2014)
Faint echoes of what the series used to be
The V/H/S series has reduced the amount of segments with each entry in the series. Excluding the wraparounds, the first had 5, the second had 4 and this one has 3. This one actually had 4 but the mystery behind Todd Lincoln's segment Gorgeous Vortex is approaching Jimmy Hoffa proportions.
It is a weird symbolism of the diminishing returns. The segments are decent but the wraparound is just terrible.
Here is a short review of each of the wraparound and segments.
Vicious Circles AKA The Wraparound (dir:Marcel Sarmiento): A couple gets embroiled in a wild chase between an ambulance and the cops. Showing the worst of the shaky cam, this one starts out okay but ends with a whimper.
Dante the Great (dir:Gregg Bishop): A loser magician gets his hands on a cloak belonging to Houdini and becomes a star but the cloak has a dark side. A very fun segment with some seriously cool effects.
Parallel Monsters (dir:Nacho Vigalondo): A man discovers a parallel universe with a machine where he finds his counterpart and both decide to do a fun experiment which goes horribly wrong. The best segment of the film, this one is funny, unpredictable and not to mention, genuinely creepy.
Bonestorm (dir:Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson): A group of slackers go into Tijuana for drugs and partying but run into trouble. They decide to fight back. A good start to a segment which lasts way too long. Becomes incoherent and irritating after a point.
Overall, V/H/S: Viral is quite disappointing. Nothing in this comes close to Safe Haven from 2 or even Amateur Night from 1. Watch it if you want to finish the series but keep expectations low.
Z Nation (2014)
Life in the fast zombie lane
Z Nation is a Syfy production along with Asylum which automatically plummets expectations. Then again, I am a person who has gorged on Troll 2, The Room and Birdemic. The pilot however is pretty good. Obviously in terms of effects, acting, tension and dramatic elements, The Walking Dead is light years ahead. But Z Nation is high on action and camp and can be given a chance for those eagerly awaiting Season 5 of TWD.
The pilot has a few aces up it's sleeve and works very well if considered as a horror comedy with some real WTF scenes especially towards the end. There is a sense of unpredictability as characters could get killed anytime. Harold Perrineau and Thomas Everett Scott do the best they can with some dubious material. There is DJ Qualls as well so there is something for everyone.
Speaking of the zombies, they actually say ZOMBIE here. Also, the zombies are rather spry in this. I guess Romero won't be too happy. Anyway, the show has begun pretty decently for me and I will be giving it a chance at least till the real king comes back to take it's zombie-filled throne.
Fulci closes the Gates of Hell
The concluding chapter of the Gates of Hell/Death/Zombie trilogy though there are no gates of hell to be found. There are two zombies though there is plenty of death. Plus, there is MacColl who would rather be somewhere else. This movie is more of a slasher film with supernatural overtones than the apocalyptic vision seen in City and The Beyond.
Again, Fulci lets this movie meander after a good beginning. There is plenty of gore but not as much as City or The Beyond and I am pretty sure I saw the uncut version. The film however is bogged down by characters acting like they have undergone lobotomy. In order to serve the purpose of red herrings, they act suspicious for no reason. People see trails of blood in their house and act as if nothing is wrong. In addition to that, the dubbing, as has been covered a million times, is awful. In this case, it turns Bob who as it is looks annoying into a truly detestable boy, way more than Kevin from Home Alone.
After the killer is unveiled, the movie picks up pace for the last 15 minutes ultimately concluding with a deliberately obtuse though not incomprehensible ending. Fabio Frizzi's absence is sorely felt as despite The Beyond being quite dull, his score lifted things quite a bit. The acting is pretty mediocre with MacColl looking bored. The gorgeous Ania Pieroni is utterly wasted. Fulci could have at least sneaked in a nude scene for old time's sake! Paolo Malco looks disinterested as well and he did much better in The New York Ripper.
Overall, the film is pretty mediocre despite Fulci showing some spark for the first 10 minutes and the last 15 minutes. I still think City is the best film of this overrated series. Watch if you like Fulci but otherwise do not enter this house.
Fulci drags us through hell
The Beyond is the middle chapter of Fulci's 'Death' trilogy (AKA 'Gates of Hell' trilogy). As I started watching this, I knew what to expect: Gallons of gore, lack of a coherent plot and a deeply cynical, downbeat tone. The movie is pretty much this and a wee bit more. What I didn't expect to see was a stunningly good cold open. Shot in rich sepia tone and with dazzling visual artistry, the scene showed Fulci could be every bit as artistic and flashy as Argento and Bava if he wanted to.
Unfortunately, the movie went off the deep end with a lot of meandering punctuated with some brutal gore sequences. Fulci really likes to show us close-ups of his gore effects. During a scene of tarantulas biting off a man's face, I could almost taste the latex and fake blood. That said, the movie picks up during the last 15 minutes with a well-shot (pun unintended) zombie action sequence ultimately concluding with a brilliant display of the hell/purgatory/whatever-the-hell-it-was.
MacColl is better here than in City of the Living Dead primarily because she is given more stuff to do. The male lead, David Warbeck lacks the class of Christopher George but makes up for it by looking the part of a doctor who is a crack-shot with a handgun. It was disappointing to not see Daniela Doria or Giovanni Lombardo Radice turn up after their wacky antics in City. Though we do get Mater Tenebrarum in an appropriately creepy role.
Ultimately, at least to me, The Beyond, while watchable, is not the magnum opus of Dr. Lucio Fulci. Ah if only if the rest of the movie had been as good as the beginning...
Fulci opens The Gates of Hell
This is the first film of Fulci's 'Gates of Hell' trilogy, all three starring the stunning Catriona MacColl. Anybody who knows Fulci knows he doesn't like to let trivial things like plot structure get in his way. It's all about atmosphere, mood, maggots and gore. Oh yes how can I forget the red stuff? Fulci has two nasty set-pieces as his main course in addition to the tasty tidbits he adds around them. The thing I liked most about this movie was that there was a genuine effort to generate suspense. The use of fog and Fabio Frizzi's amazing score create a truly unnerving atmosphere without ever needing cheesy jump scares. I would have given the movie an 8 if it hadn't been for a truly unnecessary tacked-on ending which is an example of lazy writing.
The acting is par for the course with Christopher George adding a level of class to the proceedings. MacColl is okay enough though some ghastly writing lets her down. I must mention Daniela Doria who is part of one of the two nasty set-pieces and easily the most horrifying. Poor girl's career is littered with scenes in which Fulci has her do terrible things, none as ghastly as this one. Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron got an Oscar for making themselves "ugly". What about this scene then?
Overall, the film is a bit slow and meanders along but the gore and suspense make up for it. The disastrous ending doesn't kill the movie but does take away much of the bite. But this is still a very good horror film by Fulci though it was the beginning of his "Bizarro" phase.
Do enter these Gates of Hell!
Cold in July (2014)
A very pleasant surprise
I had watched Jim Mickle's Stake Land and that was a wonderful film about apocalypse by vampire zombies. It used familiar tropes but subverted them and so, the end result was very compelling. Mickle continues this trait in his new thriller Cold in July which seemingly starts out as a revenge saga but evolves into something radically different.
It starts off about an ordinary man (Michael C. Hall) who shoots an intruder in his house and has the intruder's father (Sam Shepard) come looking for revenge.
The performances are uniformly excellent. Michael C. Hall sheds his Dexter persona and dons a more ordinary one with great effect. Sam Shepard is brilliant as the angry old man initially looking for revenge. Don Johnson steals the show as a deadpan but astute private detective who dresses like a cowboy, drives a cool red convertible and provides majority of the film's comic moments. Even Vinessa Shaw (who always looks stunning) is very good in a somewhat underwritten role as Hall's supportive wife.
Ultimately, Cold in July is a very intelligent and unpredictable thriller that deserves more recognition. It keeps the viewer guessing where it's gonna go and that's a wonderful quality in a thriller.
Almost Human (2013)
Almost Human comes across as a patchwork quilt of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Terminator, Alien and most notably the works of the legend John Carpenter. Unfortunately, the movie is not good enough to rise above these influences and become an entity of it's own. It has some amazing sequences of gore and violence with practical effects being used in place of horrible CGI. There is also some genuine suspense and dread which shows the director has some skill and could come up with some gems in the future.
However, the movie is badly hampered by some terrible acting and writing. Maybe if Begos had a better writer on board, he could have made a much better film. The actors swear for no reason and it comes across as stilted. They are okay when they are acting scared but when it comes to the dramatic stuff, they are found wanting. Begos has quite a lot of dramatic stuff for a slasher sci-fi flick and so this flaw is magnified that much.
Another thing this movie lacks is a sense of humour which Carpenter's films had. The movie plays it's premise too straight without a hint of satire. Sometimes, it comes off but in this case ,the bad writing and acting sticks out like a sore thumb.
All in all, Almost Human is a halfway-decent stab(*he he*) at a Slasher flick. Begos evidences some directorial talent and with his next film, he will hopefully improve his writing skills and come up with a very good film.
The Sacrament (2013)
Dazzling portrayal of humanity's propensity to commit evil
I have only watched Ti West's The House of the Devil which I liked. So, I went in expecting good stuff and was not disappointed. This is a movie with much more finesse and skill based on the Jonestown Massacre. West builds up tension very slowly and steadily and then lets it all explode. It requires a lot of suspension of disbelief as is typical of found footage movies but West makes it work.
However, the movie would not have been as effective as it is without a stunning performance from Gene Jones. He is there on screen for barely twenty minutes or so but makes it seem much longer. AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg do a fine job as the protagonists with Bowen being the intrepid one and Swanberg the voice of reason. Amy Seimetz shows genuine talent as the brainwashed sister. It's believable without being hammy.
The last half hour of The Sacrament is a harrowing look at how evil humans can become. The starting intentions may have been noble but they morphed into something ugly. There are at least two gut-wrenching sequences etched into my mind. At it's best, the movie recalls the raw, brutal terror possessed by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, my pick for the greatest horror movie ever. The movie even downplays the religious aspect of the cult.
Overall, The Sacrament is a brilliant horror movie. The horror in this is not from supernatural monsters or ghosts but from the darkest recesses of humanity which is funnily enough much much scarier.
You're Next (2011)
A great horror comedy
As a serious horror film, You're Next is mediocre with gore substituting for suspense for the most part. However, as a satire of slashers and home invasion thrillers, it's pitch perfect and hits the mark more often than not. Filled with irony and self-awareness, the movie is a perfect companion piece to The Cabin in the Woods.
The story consists of a dysfunctional family gathering at the farmhouse for dinner where they start arguing and are ambushed by a trio of masked maniacs out to kill 'em one by one. However, the girlfriend of one of the sons of the family turns out to be a feisty little thing and here is where the fun starts.
Sharni Vinson is brilliant as the spunky and courageous female protagonist. She is careful to make Erin badass but likable. Joe Swanberg is hilarious as the annoying brother who still cares for his family and simply won't die. Also, it's really cool to see Barbara Crampton back and she is as lovely as ever.
Ultimately, You're Next is one of the most underrated movies out there with a healthy mix of horror, humour and gore. Do give it a shot. You won't regret it.
Brilliant Lovecraftian Horror
Clive Barker's Hellraiser takes everything you find icky, disgusting, disturbing and puts it into a nicely wrapped package complete with a bow on top of it. However, it has some crucial ingredients that other violent movies mostly do not-intelligence and a respect for the audience. It's a deceptively smart movie which doesn't spoon-feed information to it's audience. Barker was involved in another such horror movie-Candyman which is equally superb.
The film also has a very good final girl who actually does stuff to get herself out of trouble. Regardless of whether it works or not, at least this girl did something rather than stand like a prop being completely useless. This film even had the first appearance of an iconic horror villain-Pinhead who has a pretty short role and doesn't get to do much here but is no less menacing.
The Cenobites could easily belong to whatever dimension Cthulhu crawled out of. The inspirations from Lovecraft and Poe are evident and Barker makes sure that the movie sticks to it's vision to the bitter end. The special effects for the most part are excellent, especially the gore effects although some effects towards the end are a bit tacky courtesy an ultra low budget.
Regardless, Hellraiser is a true horror classic - scary, strange, horrifying. It also retains it's power to shock 20+ years later.
Hatchet III (2013)
Hatchet III is better than Hatchet II which took itself way too seriously. Hatchet I had a great first half and an equally underwhelming second half. Part III actually is funnier than Part I but the gore scenes run out of creativity towards the end. Still, the first half hour features a great mix of gags and gore including a glorious cameo from Adam Green himself.
The cast is a smörgåsbord of actors from horror movies which we watched before and loved. Zach Gilligan is hilarious as a sheriff who is given absolutely no respect. Derek Mears kicks ass and I was chuffed to see Old Jason vs New Jason. Caroline Williams could probably be termed as a supporting protagonist considering the impact she has on the story although her lion's share of screen time is spent in service of a subplot which could be considered as padding. Then there is Danielle Harris who manages to kick ass in a glorified cameo. Kane Hodder is a total beast who owns pretty much everything in his way. Sid Haig has an unnecessary cameo but is pretty funny. There are other funny cameos which I won't spoil.
Overall, this is a watchable movie. It's still not great but it's entertaining and a decent way to spend 1.5 hours.
Cosa avete fatto a Solange? (1972)
Overlooked and Underrated
I love Giallos. They laid the blueprint for the 1980s slasher films. Since I absolutely love slashers, by extension, I am a big fan of Giallos. Apart from Giallos by such top class directors as Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Sergio Martino, "What have you done to Solange?" is a brilliant and sadly overlooked Giallo by Massimo Dallamano.
A horny married P.E. instructor(our Hero folks!!), in Catholic Girls' School, Enrico is educating a hot girl, Elizabeth in the ways of love while they are in a boat. Elizabeth sees a vicious murder but Enrico thinks she is playing hard-to-get. But then the body count starts piling up and he finds himself a suspect.
The movie's strongest asset apart from the sure-handed direction is the superb score by Ennio Morricone. There is always an air of menace and unease even in well-lit scenes. The film is not as gory as some other Giallos such as Torso, Twitch of the death Nerve, Deep Red but it is no less effective as the "your imagination fills in the blanks" approach works wonders here. There is a lot of nudity though and the manner of murder is pretty disturbing.
The film also throws in some swerves which make you uneasy as to whether Enrico and Elizabeth will make it out of the film alive or not. The ending is effective and solves the mystery satisfactorily. The police also do their job really well and are not there to act as Spanner in the works for our protagonists.
The film is not perfect. The acting is cheesy and the dubbing is pretty bad especially when you can see the movie is in English. However, if you get past that, you can enjoy the movie for what it is: A superbly crafted murder mystery with a fantastic score and some great cinematography.
A vicious little gem
Maniac is a hard movie to like. It's ugly, brutal, grimy, slow paced and has scenes which make you feel really dirty. But it has the "B-movie" feel which helps a lot. The gritty realism given by director William Lustig(Maniac Cop) is effective. Tom Savini's gore is perfect and as realistic as it could get. But the star of the movie is Joe Spinell(RIP) who wrote this movie and played the "hero", Frank.
Frank is an amazingly damaged individual. He is a vicious, remorseless killer but apparently has the emotional maturity of a child. Joe Spinell must have gone into some really dark and disturbing area for researching this role because it's a fantastic performance. I daresay, it's Oscar worthy. But because of the low-budget nature of the film and the fact that there was too much gore, Spinell didn't even get a Golden Globe Nod.
It's so uncomfortable to watch Frank's horrible apartment and his pathetic living that it's a welcome sight to see beautiful, sweet Caroline Munro. The film has a remarkable scene(apart from the exploding head scene) where a nurse is stalked in a subway station. It's a masterpiece of escalating suspense and tension. The conclusion is foregone but the way the conclusion is reached is fantastic.
Ultimately, the movie is not perfect with some dull, repetitive scenes and unnecessary scenes which are obvious padding. But there is one perfect thing about this movie and it is Joe Spinell. Do watch it if you like Grindhouse-style movies and like your horror "in-your-face".
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Silent Night, Deadly Night starts out very strongly. the early scenes contain a certain raw power. also billy's gradual descent into madness is well-shown. of course it all falls apart when it becomes a cookie cutter slasher movie.
The performances were very good especially Lilyan Chauvin, as the despicable but grudgingly admirable(When she shields the little girl from the deranged Billy) Mother Superior.
A real shame on mob-mentality parents and critics who denounced this movie without watching it. Its horror. its supposed to push boundaries. If there can be movies humanizing pedophiles, serial killers and other monsters why not show the dark side of festival atmosphere?
Not a great movie but too much good in this one to be ignored.
Hatchet II (2010)
a step down
My review of Hatchet(if you had enough time to glance at it, if yes, then you truly are a slacker) stated that "I think green has genuine passion for horror genre. he doesn't seem like one of those guys who looks to make a 'Quick buck'." After watching hatchet 2 my opinion hasn't changed. However, that doesn't mean i will be generous to hatchet II.
Hatchet II immediately starts after Hatchet ended. i wont state the synopsis as you can read it from the IMDb page. hatchet 2 surprisingly shows Kane Hodder can act. its not give-him-an-Oscar-pronto acting job not even a golden globe worthy job. but its not a horrendous job unlike some a-listers(*cough* Megan Fox *cough*).
There are plenty of gory kills. the characters like in all horror movies(including part 1) do silly things to get chopped off. unlike part 1, there is genuine suspense this time around. the pay-off however after ratcheting up the suspense isn't as good as you would expect. there is a nice little reference to Braindead-a superb Peter Jackson sick-comedy.
However the film is very tedious. the humor isn't funny. there are no hot babes making out with each other(my guilty pleasure...). there are no likable characters. on the other hand, it was nice to see horror veterans John Carl Buechler, tom Holland and tony Todd in a movie together. Danielle Harris, despite looking ultra-hot isn't good as she was in h2.
On the whole, despite (VERY) inventive kills and suspense, isn't good enough to be memorable. its not that it is bad it is just uninteresting.