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Happy Hell Night (1992)
Not so 'happy' about it...
This one had a decent premise going for it but it's plagued with a marginal directorial effort, stale performances, and no suspense whatsoever. The characters are uninspiring and when the movie is over, your eyes will hurt after rolling them for an hour and a half. It's one of those slashers that I could've shut off and not cared how it ended. Poor Darin McGavin, Kolchack hit a low with this one. It's fun seeing Sam Rockwell and Jorja Fox in their 5 minute roles but this one is about as fun as a bad case of hemorrhoids on the Tour de France. Happy Hell Night isn't even worth the effort for die hard slasher aficionados. Maybe Anchor Bay will do something better with their money by obtaining the rights to titles such as Just Before Dawn, The Burning, or Popcorn for their next horror outing.
Significant Others (2004)
THIS is must see TV...
Being that there are only two comments (now three) for the insanely, original, uproarious show, Significant Others, it's obvious there aren't enough people watching. I usually comment about horror and cult films on imdb, but the word needs to come out about Significant Others. When watching the show, the viewer knows this is improvised because the acting and chemistry is unbelievably natural. For the people that have wasted their time with Good Morning Miami, Emeril, Happy Family, Coupling (strangely all NBC shows as is Significant Others), spend your efforts wisely and invest in Significant Others. The situations are hilarious. The acting flawless. It's near perfect. From the bickering sisters, spilling dirty secrets as they wait for their mother to pass on to the side splitting dinner scene when Ethan's wife instigates him to question his brother's sexuality, Significant Others must be watched by anyone waiting for next best thing.
And yet my hearts remains in my throat...
after Ju-On: The Grudge has been over for atleast 20 minutes. I couldn't even give you a rough estimate of how many horror films I have seen in my life, but tonight I have come to the conclusion that Ju-On: The Grudge is one of THE most, unrelenting, jolting horror films ever. It's not to say it is one of the best, however. If you view this film and end up scratching your head (with your quivering hand, mind you) and wonder where the plot was, it's understandable. As one user pointed out, you must see the first two films which set up the backstory. I haven't seen the films so I reserve that judgment. Even with that criticism in mind, the great Dario Argento said, the fantastic does not have to make sense. Hauntings are a part of the supernatural which isn't supposed be sensible. Just about every movie has SOME flaws. Ju-On has several. For instance, the actors could use some make-up touches here and there between scenes and some of the acting is weak and many characters are simply flat and uninteresting (this could be because they don't have much screen time to develop). When you watch Ju-On: The Grudge, just enjoy it and don't think too hard about cliches or non-sensible plotlines. This movie will basically fry your nerves.
Stylish and Grim...
Before seeing remakes, I always try to seek out the original before going into the new thing. This was not the case for Willard. I've been trying to seek out the original for years now but the online auction sites haven't been kind to me. Therefore, I went into Willard with good knowledge of the original, but without seeing the original.
The opening credits set the tone for a stylish and grim psychodrama. Immediately I knew this wasn't going to be some typical, point and shoot, exploitave gore-a-thon. I won't go and reiterate the plot because it's been said before. What I enjoyed so much about Willard was that the film did not have to be filled with rats popping out of people's eye sockets (as one user suggested). Aside from the rats, what made the film grotesque were the characters in the film. They were basically human monsters. The three characters, Willard, Mrs. Stiles, and Mr. Martin receive no sympathy from the viewers. While Willard should have possessed some sympathetic qualities, it leaves the viewer siding between Willard or Ben. As bizarre as it seems, Willard and Socrates' relationship has to be one of the most convincing and heart-felt in years. The sets are dark and gloomy which adds to the ghastly atmosphere. Crispin Glover is wonderful as Willard and R Lee Emery as Mr. Martin steals the movie. There should have been more character development for Laura Elena Harring's character,Catherine, though. What also works so well for the movie is the use of real rats in almost all of the scenes. There were a few CG scenes that were noticeable but still very well done. The animatronic work for Ben makes him one of the creepiest villians to grace the screen in a long time. There are several memorable scenes but the most disturbing is the literal game of cat and mouse, or in this case, cat and rats, as Michael Jackson's "Ben" plays in the background.
Willard is definitely not for those seeking cheap thrills and a screen full of rats chewing into people like blocks of cheese. It will be too dreary for all those kiddies 13 and up also. I recommend Willard to anyone seeking out a stylish and creepy psychological drama.
New Year's Evil (1980)
"This is Eviiilll!"
This is one of my favorite bad 80's slasher flicks with bad acting and an even worse script. Diane Sullivan, aka Blaze, a television vj hosts a New Year's Eve rock concert. When she isn't working her middle aged, unattractive self onstage, a psycho is calling her everytime he kills someone when New Year's strikes in each US time zone. The director has no desire to hide the killer's face, it's his motive for killing that's the mystery here. If you can't figure out who he really is, you'll be kicking yourself for not figuring it out earlier or because you actually sat through New Year's Evil in its entirety. The average viewer will hate this movie because it is inept, not scary, or bloody or exciting. Lovers of bad 80's slashers can sit back and enjoy this silly horror flick which boasts bad acting, non-believable situations (killer vs. bike gang), and an array of ugly, comical characters (Grant Cramer of Killer Klowns as one of them). If anything, its most redeeming feature is a typical 80's heavy metal theme song that you can rock out to at least three times during the film! (e-mail me if you know where I can find it!)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
How Could They Destroy Movie History???
All of you who are claiming to be huge fans of the Halloween series and who are raving about this movie need to stop. Any serious fan of Halloween knows Laurie Strode is one of the most popular horror characters in history and probably the most popular horror heroine ever. So how could Laurie's death in this film not annoy the heck out of you? In every Halloween movie there has been some sort of a human connection to Michael Myers. Of course, his sister Laurie, the psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis, his niece Jamie, and neighborhood boy Tommy. The three most vital of those characters are now dead and we were left with Bustah Rhymes to duel with Michael Myers??? GIVE ME A BREAK! The writers and producers of this wretched film have slapped all of the true Halloween fans across the face. They seriously messed with horror history here in favor for Bustah Rhymes and all the other dreadful actors/characters in this film. Halloween: Resurrection was not made for the fans, it was made for the studio. And while that's the treatment that most horror films get nowadays, it's truely pathetic that they have destroyed this franchise with this piece of garbage. Amd shame on Rick Rosenthal and Jamie Lee Curtis for agreeing to sign on and kill off Laurie Strode. Let's just hope the producers pull another quick one and save Laurie to bring her on to kill Michael Myers once and for all...and this series.
Cut Above The Rest...
When people ask me what are some of the best things in life, I being a horror guru reply, a good direct-to-video horror flick. Straight on the heels of above average (or well above average) direct-to-video horror movie such as, Cube, Ginger Snaps, Cut, and The Truth About Demons, comes the latest DTV installment, Ripper: Letter From Hell. While one may find the premise to be undeniably cliched (it is), the film comes off stylish and ultimately becomes engaging as the body count increases in a most elaborate fashion.
Now for that all-too-familiar premise: Molly Cook, young woman who survives the attack of a sadistic killer now finds herself in a college course studying serial killer theories. When the people around her begin to die, she believes a new serial killer is hunting them down, imitating the slayings of Jack the Ripper.
The killings in Ripper: Letter From Hell, are much more extensive than the average slasher film. Horror fans are used to seeing the killer show up, swing his weapon of choice, and then the scene is cut, going back to the more boring part of the movie. In Ripper, the killer spends more time with his victims, making them scream in agony, stabbing them to death, and then heaving them through a window, or ramming them off a cliff and leaving them to hang onto a rock before finishing them off.
The direction by John Eyers keeps the film moving along at a brisk pace. While the editing tends to be a little MTV-ish at times, it is not overdone. The fast action editing actually works well and adds to the brutality of the killings in the movie. The beginning comes off as a Brothers Grim-like fairy tale with the serial killer's pursuit of Molly through a dark, rainy, forest. The scene in the club where the camera follows the trail of blood from the ceiling and onto the dance floor, is one of the most stylish murder scenes I have seen in a while and dare I say it, reminded me of those elegant murder scenes from the Italian giallos of yesteryear.
There are some major set backs in the film such as a highly unlikeable cast of characters. A.J. Cook (Molly) holds her own and is a convincing lead character. She gets support from veteran actor Bruce Payne. The script has more than a dozen ridiculous lines as one user pointed out, "Shut up!"..."No! You shut up!" However, dialogue in the class lecture scenes about Jack the Ripper are impressive and well researched.
The ending is a grand showdown as the killings become even more graphic and intense. The handful of suspects begin to wind down, and although you may have it figured out who the killer is, you'll be flip-flopping back and forth until the final scene. It's a beautiful scene, without giving anything away, as we are given a glimpse of 1800 London. It's an ending you will either love or hate or just not grasp entirely.
Ripper: Letter From Hell is a stylish, well orchestrated effort and deserves a spot with the recent array of worthy direct-to-video horror movies.
Fun and Frightening...
This is one of the best horror films of the 90's. Not only does it carry one of the best tag-lines ever, it's a fun, creepy, intriguing flick headed by a likeable, vivacious young cast and a few film veterans. The film itself is just very engergetic with a great plotline that should bring a smile to any fan of William Castle. Jill Schoelen (horror royalty in the late 80's and 90's) once again plays the heroine convincingly and gets wonderful support from Tom Villard. Popcorn usually gets mixed reviews from critics and the bad usually outweighs the good in their cases. Their problem with the movie is the contrived ending and I agree. It all boils down to a far-fetched soap opera-esque finale that is, pardon the pun, corny. However, don't let it discourage you from seeing this movie; it's too enjoyable to pass up.
You Better Watch Out (1980)
A Holiday Horror Treat!
Christmas Evil is not the typical homicidal maniac in a Santa suit film. There's something ODDLY enduring about this movie. Perhaps it is the gentleness of the main character, despite him being a raving lunatic. Or maybe it is the fondness he holds for the good children in town. The scene where he dances a little jig with a little girl is absolutely precious! Or it could be the Frankenstein-esque ending and the adorable fact that the kids are rooting for the killer Santa. And then there is the final scene which will have you moaning at it's idiocy or laughing uproariously at that same idiocy. This film is just different. There are not that many killings which should not add to the enjoyment but for some reason it does. I guess it is the unpredictability of the film that makes it appealing. One going in would think that it will be a typical holiday splatter film but it's not. Now this is not masterpeice theater. It's DEFINITELY not one of the best horror films of all time either. It's a BAD horror film that has an undeniably odd charm to it. My friends and I have made it a tradition to have Christmas Evil Night during the holiday season every year. I'm sure the film won't have the same effect on you to start your annual Christmas Evil Night, but gather your friends together, drink some egg nog, cozy up for Christmas Evil and enjoy!
Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)
Yeeehaw! Oh Herschell has risen again!
I love this film! Words cannot express how close I hold this film to my heart. Good ole Herschell followed up Blood Feast with this highly enjoyable flim that should entertain any fan of the campy drive-in horror films. While not as good as Blood Feast, Maniacs is one of his best.
Blood Feast (1963)
One of my favorite films...
I love Herschell Gordon Lewis. He's one of my favorite directors of all time. Now, I would definetly not want to follow any directing techniques he uses because his direction is awful. However, it is his ambition that I most admire. Blood Feast is the lowest of low budget films with campy dialogue, tons of fake gore, and acting that is beyond amateurish. But this is one horror movie I watch with a huge smile stretched across my face throughout the entire picture. Not because of it's outrageous campiness but because it is just so enjoyable.I love Lewis for the fact that he dished out these movies in a matter of weeks and they all made tons of money! It was his ambition and love of the new found splatter genre that kept him going and going. I believe he made, what, 6 movies in 1967? Don't see Blood Feast if you want to see award winning material. Don't even see it if you are in the mood to laugh at a horror film. See it because Lewis is a true innovator and is one to be admired, no matter how bad his films are.
The Dead Hate the Living! (2000)
A surprisingly good horror flick!
This is a surprisingly good horror flick which can be sort of viewed as an updated version of the Evil Dead. While the film doesn't really hold a candle to the Evil Dead it's a fairly good time. The Dead Hate the Living does have many flaws such as cheap visual effects, a not so threatening Rob Zombie - like clone villain, and the background plot of the film isn't completely clear, but remember this is a low budget horror film. An attractive cast, decent acting, and unendless references towards various horror films and celebrities keep the momentum going. It's quite clear that the film makers are huge horror buffs (The end is an obvious ode to Fulci's The Beyond) and any serious horror guru should at least appreciate the film for that.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
The mouse wasn't the only thing stirring when it was released...
This film caused quite a stir amongst parents who bashed the film for depiciting the beloved childhood character Santa Clause as a crazed ax wielding killer. Who cares about the way jolly old Saint Nick is portrayed in this film, it's so bad it's good! This film breaks all boundaries especially the scene where the nun is getting it on! Everything is sloppy about this film(acting, the script itself, the special effects) so just sit back and have fun and have yourself a not so SCARY little Christmas! For a more intelligent and frightening holiday chiller see one of the best horror films ever made, Black Christmas.
The best good bad taste movie of the year!
Has Todd Solondz finally reached that fine line between bad bad taste and good bad taste? With Happiness he proves he can definitely pull off good bad taste. This is a truly awful movie that will leave the viewer either scarred for life or will keep them coming back for more! I am the second kind of viewer. Happiness had me laughing out loud to myself with it's twisted dialogue and cringing in disgust at many lewd and vulgar scenes. The movie holds humor throughout every offense and stomach churning frame. A great piece of work. Mr. Solondz, please give us more.
Terror Train (1980)
One of the best slasher films of the 80's!
Proves that you don't need blood and guts to have a successful horror flick. Good acting and suspense plus an ending that will knock your socks off!
Pink Flamingos (1972)
Ambition doesn't get any better than this,neither does bad taste!
For all viewers out there who have slammed John Waters for creating a film like Pink Flamingos, just stop. It's getting you nowhere. Has anyone ever cared to stop and think about the ambition and dedication Mr.Waters possesses. To gather your best friends up and to create a movie just to gross out thousands of viewers all over shows this man has a great deal of ambition inside himself. Just read his biography Shock Value. It discusses the lengths he went through to get this film finished. Maybe it wasn't just the fact that John made this film to gross people out, it was to prove that there can be something such as good bad taste>