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Alien Horror Week – Movie 5: Deadly Spawn (1983)

ThedeadlyspawnIt was a toss up as to whether or not we were going to watch Alien or Deadly Spawn. My buddy made the argument for Deadly Spawn as it is a much less known movie, and I went along.

So, a small town is invaded by a life form from space that looks a lot like a giant multiple headed lamprey with a penchant for making slug like babies (lots of them), and eating the locals. A group of four geeky science nerd teens and a young boy do their best to save the town (and most likely the world) from this infestation. It’s kind of weird that three of our movies had similar themes and creatures (Slither, Night of the Creeps and Deadly Spawn), not in that they are alien infestation movies (it’s kind of the theme), but the fact that the three creatures in the mentioned movies all propagate by releasing slug like grubs, liked to enter through the mouth id possible, and the main “mother” creature found someplace out of the way to grow and develop. Well, if they copied each other, this is the progenitor of all of ‘em.  A silly movie, Deadly Spawn stays entertaining, and cheezy which is perfect for me. Lots of campiness to go around, and some really questionable actions by it’s characters may make you moan at times…but don’;t let that stop you from enjoying the movie. A true representative of it’s time, the early 1980’s, it still stands out as a fun, throwback to the creature features of the 50’s and 60’s…

Watch this film, my friends!


Alien Horror Week – Movie 2: Night of Creeps (1986)–Simply Awesome

NightofthecreepsposterHaving just watched Slither (again),last night and remembering the outcry from a lot of fans of the classic 1986 Night of the Creeps due to the many similarities between the two movies, I just had to watch Night of the Creeps (again), tonight.

Night of the Creeps is a neat Horror/Sci-Fi/Comedy about an infestation of alien slug like creatures when they are released on the unsuspecting Earth during the 1950s, landing  in a town/city in the states. Initially infecting an escaped lunatic, and a young man on a date with his girl, resulting in a couple of deaths. Cut to the 1980’s where a couple of friends, Chris Romero and J.C.are new to college and trying to fit in. Chris has a crush on a hot girl, Cynthia Cronenberg. Cynthia, though has a meathead boyfriend who is in charge of the frat house that the two want to join (so Chris can hopefully impress Cynthia). In order to join, the two are given the task of stealing a cadaver and leave it on the steps of a rival frat house. While the two manage to enter a lab where they think they will find a corpse, they actually manage to stumble upon a body in cryogenic suspension,. They decide one body is as good as another, and try to take this one. When the corpse opens it’s eyes and grabs a hold of one of the two, they take off “screaming like banshees” (you’ll know why I put that in quotes when you watch the film). Well, turns out this is the corpse of the guy that was infected by the alien life form way back in 1959. So, now we have a reanimated corpse, under the control of an alien life form… The corpse, a sort of alien zombie kills a scientist in the lab and heads out…on the town, eventually ending up on the steps of a girl’s frat (the same one Cynthia calls home). Cynthia sees the zombie and sees his head explode, releasing a bunch of those alien worms… and they spread out. Soon a crap load of the town is infected, including the dead, which rise (hence the Zombie word), animated by there worms. J.C. himself falls prey to the creatures also, but not before he learns the secrets to the destruction of the worms…

Of course everything ramps up to a big good versus bad scene, but I have told you more than enough of the story. You should watch this movie, as it is damned fun. Definitely an homage to the sci-fi creature flicks of the 50’s and 60’s, if you enjoy sci-fi, horror and comedy then you have to see this one, folks. Check out the trailer below:


Alien Horror Week – Movie 1: Slither (2006)–A Great Sci-Fi Horror With a Lot Of Humour

Slithermovieposter2006’s Slither does something very difficult: it manages to mix horror with Science Fiction (Sci-Fi), and adding a large dose of comedy…and gets it all right. I’ve reviewed the move in the past (here is the original, tiny write up: Slither 2006). It was so good, that I decided we should watch it again, and maybe put a little more effort in the write up this time.

Starring Canada’s own (hell,we were in the same high school at the same time), Nathan Fillion (Firefly anyone?), as Chief of Police of the town of Wheelsy, South Carolina, where a meteorite crashed to earth, carrying an alien life form. Shortly after it crashes to earth, local, well to do guy, Grant Grant (played by Michael Rooker), gets taken over by the creature after poking at the gelatinous, pulsing mass in the nearby woods (after almost, but not quite cheating on his wife). Soon Grant starts craving fresh, raw meat, and also starts mutating. When Grant’s lovely wife, Starla (Elizabeth Banks), see’s a misshapen Grant, he explains he had a reaction to a bee sting. Well, soon other things start happening, including the disappearance of neighbourhood pets, as well as Barbara, a local drinkin’ floozy…

Well, you see, Grant is now the host of an alien intelligence who spreads through taking over individuals, either through assimilation or through infection via a parasitic worm/slug like form. The creature can also use a life form as a host to breed the aforementioned worms/slugs…and it does – boy does it ever. Of course this turns in to a battle of a few against a lot, and is tense and action packed… as well as a lot of always cool grossness. The creature design is fantastic, and the whole cast does a great job in creating what feels like a heartfelt homage to the alien invasion/creature films of the 1950’s and 1960’s. This is a great Sci-Fi/Horror/comedy that I strongly suggest you check out.

Here is the trailer:


Eastwood Week Movie 3 – Any Which Way You Can (1980)–Clint’s Great Follow Up To Every Which Way But Loose

Any_which_way_you_canIf you read my review of Every Which Way But Loose, then you know I like that movie. Well, this is the sequel to that movie, and you know what? I like this one too.

Any Which Way You Can is the 1980 follow up to the block buster comedy, Every Which Way But Loose, and it is damned funny. Clint Eastwood returns as the Truck Driver/prize fighter, Orangutan owning Philo Beddle, as well as Geoffrey Lewis as Orville Boggs as Philo’s best human buddy, and Manis the Ape as Clyde, Philo’s best non human buddy. Also returning is Ruth Gordon as Philo’s cantankerous mother and Sandra Locke as Philo’s love interest, Lynn Halsey-Taylor. In this movie, we find Philo has continued his side line as a tough son of a bitch prize fighter. Only he’s decided to retire, having noticed he was starting to enjoy the pain. Unfortunately, the Mafia wants to setup a match between Philo and Jack Wilson, a new style of fighter that mixes boxing and martial arts together, and has managed to kill three opponents and scramble the brains of a fourth victim. Approached by the Mafia, hoping to setup this fight, Philo initially says no, but when the mob ups it to $50,000, win or lose, Philo changes his mind and accepts the fight. When Philo and Jack actually meet, it turns out that they actually get a long. They decide there is no real reason for the fight and mutually decide to call it off. The Mafia, seeing that they are about to lose the biggest grossing illegal prize fight ever, decide to kidnap Lynn Halsey-Taylor, Philo’s returning (and redeemed), love interest in order to force the fight. Frank and Philo take care of that situation, but both realize that they can’t leave the question of who would have won the fight open, so they decide to battle it out. Oh! Also returning the is Black Widows: a comical outlaw biker gang that really have it in for Philo, despite the fact that when ever they come into conflict with him, he ends up kicking their ass and they end up with less bikes. This time though, things end on a high note for them and their relationship with Philo.

This is such a fun movie, and watched back to back with Every Which Way But Loose would make for a great evening of movie watching. I heartily recommend this film and it’s predecessor. Check out the trailer below:


Eastwood Week Movie 2 – Every Which Way But Loose (1978) – Clint’s a Prize Fighting, Orangutan Owner With A Big Heart and Bigger Fists

EverywhichwaybutloosemovieposterDamn this is a fun movie. I saw this one back in 1978 when my Uncle Andre brought me to see it with him. I was eight, going on nine and I had a freakin’ field day. I loved the movie then, and I love the movie now.

Clint Eastwood plays Philo Beddoe, a truck driver who sidelines as a prize fighter to supplement his income. Philo is also the owner of Clyde, an Orang-utan that he won in a fight. Philo’s best buddy is Orville Bogg. Philo falls for a tiny blonde country singer by the name of Lynn Halsey-Taylor (Sandra Locke), who he pusues (though she doesn’t try to get away). Lynn tells Philo of her abusive, controlling  boyfriend who doesn’t mind is she sees guys on the side. She paints a bleak picture of a controlling jerk. Philo falls for this and her story of wanting to save up for a Country music club of her own, needing only $7000 (and unsure of how much she has as the jerk boyfriend controls all the cash). Philo, feeling for her, offers to take care of that boyfriend – something she declines. Instead, he starts giving her cash to get her toward that goal of getting her club. Well, one day Philo goes to the hotel where she was staying to find she and the abuser have left, leaving little or no trace. Philo decides he should follow/find her (thinking she may be in trouble). Orville and Clyde come along for the ride, quickly picking up a very cute Beverly D’Angelo who was working at a side of the road fruit stand – Orville charmed her and she decided to joining the search for Lynn. Philo take a couple of fights along the way to raise some cash. At one fight, after winning, the guys in charge of the betting try to screw them out of their winnings, only to be put in their place by an up until then quiet Beverly D’Angelo. Very funny. Of course the seach for Lynn doesn’t end particularly happy. Feeling bad for himself, Philo takes a fight against Tank Murdock, the king of the illegal fights. A great fight ends the movie, with a little bit of a twist…

Damn this is a good, funny movie. I strongly suggest you see this one. Check out the trailer below:


Godzilla Week Movie 3 – Godzilla Vs. Hedorah (1971) – Godzilla Takes Out The Trash!!!

Godzilla_vs_Hedorah_1971Most people in North America would know this movie as Godzilla Versus the Smog Monster, though it’s original release title is Godzilla Versus Hedorah. That said, they are both the same movie.

In 1971’s Godzilla Vs. Hedorah , Japan has a new enemy: a new creature that has evolved to live on the pollutants of our modern society. Not only that, but it is producing deadly pollution itself, incapacitating and humans that may get close. This is a disaster!!! Oh, and guess what? Godzilla doesn’t like to see other monsters on it’s own turf. Yeah, Godzilla and Hedorah are heading for a showdown. I pity the Japanese that get caught in the middle!

So, this is a time when the Godzilla character was transitioning from a bad guy who seemed to get kicks from beating the crap out of Tokyo and other Japanese cities, to a protector of the Japanese people. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be injured or killed if you get too close: Godzilla is a Big Picture kind of monster, and may stomp the occasional person or building on the sidelines. Heck – you might even get drowned in a big piece of polluted monster if you are not careful – should have stayed away from Godzilla, idiot…

Godzilla Vs Hedorah is actually one of my favourite Godzilla movies, and I really like the three stage design of the Hedorah – pretty cool, and add a neat, cheezy transition effect between the stages and you’ve got gold. Add to that the hippiness of the movie – lots of trippy music and psychedelic gels, and some trippy animated series really reminds you of when this movie was made – and that in my opinion is a very good and neat thing. Without a doubt, I would say that this is the most unique Godzilla movie that I have watched (so far, at least). Should you watch it? You should watch ALL Godzilla movies (with the exception of the Mathew Broderick version), but you should especially watch this Godzilla movie.

Check out the trailer below:


Godzilla Week Movie 2 – King Kong Versus Godzilla (1963) Gorilla Versus Lizard Madness

King_Kong_vs_Godzilla_1962I am so damned glad we are doing Godzilla Week because I am getting to relive some great childhood memories along the way.

1963’s King Kong vs Godzilla is a movie that I saw as a very young child and I tell you, it stuck with me through the years. Heck, I thought this movie was in black and white – turns out I watched it on a black and white TV back in the day! Well, this movie is in glorious colour.

So, a Godzilla has escaped from a frozen chunk of an iceberg, and recently King Kong has been discovered to be a real thing. Okay, he’s a bit of a lush (or junkie), having become addicted to a narcotic berry juice that the locals on the the south Pacific island that Kong calls home. Back to Godzilla: Of course Godzilla is bent of some big time Japanese destruction. From their previous encounters with Godzilla, the Japanese know they are in trouble. Why not play Godzilla off against Kong and maybe the two monsters will destroy each other and Japan can go back to it’s daily normal schedule? Well that is just what is done, in this epic meeting of two iconic movie monsters.

King Kong Versus Godzilla is a fun monster mash of Japanese destruction, tied together with and interesting concept: The action is being described and reported (between scenes), by what appear to be reporters working for the United Nations. Fun stuff!

So, check out this amazing monster movie!

Here is the trailer:


Godzilla Week!!!!

Godzilla_'54_design

You read that right: This week of movie watching is dedicated to everybody’s favourite, reptilian destroyer of Japanese cities, Godzilla (a.k.a. Gojira).

Why Godzilla? Well, it started after watching Dragonslayer – I was talking to my buddy and thought that perhaps a week dedicated to movies about Dragons might be a cool idea… Until I started searching out movies about Dragons – there aren’t many, and for the most part, the ones that do exist I am not interested in. Except one thing: I consider Godzilla to be a Dragon, and there are a lot of Godzilla movies to choose from, and I just happen to like Godzilla. I think this is what is known as a Win/Win situation folks. Over the next week I will write up the Godzilla movies I watch and share them with you, as usual. But take note: I will not be watching the travesty of a Godzilla movie that starred Mathew Broderick – to me that is not a true Godzilla movie.

So… Welcome to Godzilla Week my Internet friends!


Reflections on Last Week’s Vampire Week (And Your Input is Requested)

Well, I think I should do a quick post regarding last week’s Vampire week as I have received a few emails regarding it and the choices…

I have received over 100 emails asking why I did not include the classic 1931 Universal film, Dracula, with Bela Lugosi, or even the Spanish version filmed at the same time on the same cast. Well, I have reviewed both in the not too distant past (favourable, I might add), and I thought that with the sheer number of Vampire movies, this would be a great opportunity to showcase some different films I have not seen yet (aside from Love at First Bite). And you know what? I am glad I did, as I was able to watch 7 great, and different vampire movies. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I watched seven days worth of good films with a connected theme (aside from Tarantino week). The whole vampire myth has generated so many films that I was tempted to turn this into two weeks of Vampire films. I’m convinced that even with an additional week of movies, I would have managed to avoid watching a turkey of a movie. Yes, with this many movies to choose from, there would be no reason to watch Twilight, or anything like it.

Hell, I think a second Vampire Week should be planned! In fact, why don’t you send me your suggestions (good or crappy) for the next Vampire Week.

Send those suggestions by clicking HERE


Tarantino Week–Movie 4–Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp_Fiction_cover1994’s epic movie, Pulp Fiction, is a crazy, head spinning movie that just doesn’t give you a chance to take a breath. Like almost all Tarantino movies, it has a cast that is virtually a who’ who of Hollywood (as of 1994).

Pulp Fiction is a homage to the crazy B-Movies of the 60’s and 70’s, right down to the out of order timeline of events in the film. You’ve got a couple of thugs, or muscle for a Mobster by the name of Marcel, Vincent Vega (John Travolta), and Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson), who among other jobs, are sent to collect a briefcase with…something in it, from some young guys, who apparently believe Marcel is a bitch (watch the movie…). Things go wrong and things get messy.

We also have a sub story about a boxer, Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), who’s been paid heavily by none other than non-bitch Marcel, to take a dive in his upcoming fight.. yeah, things go wrong, and Butch and his weird and annoying French girlfriend are on the run.  Later, Butch and Marcel end up captives to some hillbilly homosexual sadist rapists. Things get crazy again. Release the Gimp. and in another segment, Butch surprises Vincent… with deadly results.

We also have Vincent, charged with keeping Marcel’s wife, Mia (Uma Thurman), entertained while Marcel is away. The two end up at a cool, over the top, 50’s style diner. There’s some talk of a $5 milk shake and a great dance off… and then later, back at Marcel’s and Mia’s things get crazy, Mia ends up almost dead, rushed to Vincent’s heroin dealer’s house with a syringe of adrenalin sticking out of her chest.

Somewhere in the middle, a crazy criminal couple (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) decide they want to rob the restaurant where Vincent and Jules are chilling out in. Things get intese this time, with Jules and holding a gun to Roth’s neck and explaining the deal to him…

Damn this movie is cool – awesome and out of sight. Some people (my wonderful wife included), do not like the fact that the story line is not linear, but I think that’s part of what makes the movie as great as it is. Should you watch this film? Yes, many times.

Check out the trailer below:


Tarantino Week–Movie 1: Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

barneymiller-29-2cQuentin Tarantino’s 2003 movie, Kill Bill Volume 1 tells the story of “The Bride” (played by Uma Thurman), a former member of an assassination team known as the Deadly Vipers, and her journey of revenge against her former fellow assassins, and Bill, her former master and leader of the Deadly Vipers, for attacking and massacring her wedding party and leaving her for dead during a wedding rehearsal.

Thurman’s character, in this iteration of the Kill Bill Saga is known simply as the Bride. Waking from a coma, four years after Bill left her for dead on the floor of a church, he Bride takes little time to start her path of vengeance… starting right there in the hospital,taking out the redneck that paid a greaseball orderly to have sex with her… Oh, and she takes out that orderly, quickly. also… and takes off with his ridiculous, bright yellow truck, labeled “The Pussy Wagon”. First stop. after the killing in the hospital is to the home of Vernita Green (played by Vivica A. Fox). The two do epic battle with a short break in the middle when Vernita’s young daughter comes home. Soon the action restarts, and ends with The Bride heading to her next destination/victim, O-Ren Ishii (played by Lucy Liu), a former Viper and now leader of a consortium of Yakuza families. A flashback shows us just how she won the respect and fear of the male dominated Yakuza families. When The Bride shows up in Japan, she defeats what seems to be an almost endless number of minions, known as the Crazy 88s. The scene ends with a very stylistically shot scene with The Bride and Oren in a samurai sword battle. Pretty evenly matched… but you know who is going to win, and she does so in a spectacular fashion. Upon leaving, she leaves one former member of the Deadly Vipers alive: Sophie Fatale, (played by Julie Dreyfus), is left alive, albeit minus one arm, to send the message that The Bride is coming for him. Mixed up in the story ids a sub story, where the Bride travels to the island of Okinawa, and convinces the esteemed, but now retired sword smith, Hattori Hanzō (played by the awesome Sonny Chiba), to craft her a samurai sword. At first he declines… that is until she tells him the sword is to be used to Kill Bill. Now he’s in…
Kill Bill Vol. 1 is a little disjointed. Like Tarantino’s other masterpiece, Pulp Fiction, it has a disjointed timeline – the scenes are just not in linear order. I believe this may be in homage to the cheezy B-Movies of the past where projectionists would sometimes play the reels out of order, either due to mis-labeling or just carelessness. Either way, I like it.

Watch Kill Bill Volume 1… and if you’ve seen it, watch it again.

Check out the trailer below:


Star Trek Movie #2: The Wrath of Khan (1982)–More Than Making Up For The First Movie

wrathofkhanOkay, after Star Trek – The Motion Picture, I believe that hopes for the second Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan were a little muted: who wants to set themselves up for disappointment. Well, little did we (Star Trek fans), know that we were in for a treat.

Wrath of Khan, the second movie in the Star Trek series of movies, revisits an episode from the original series, “Space Seed” where the enterprise encounters an ancient ship containing the cryogenically frozen bodies of a group of genetically enhanced “Supermen,” banished from Earth in the late 1990s for their crimes against humanity. Doctor McCoy revives the survivors. The e leader of the group of exiled people, Khan Noonien Singh, is a most charming man, and soon attempts to capture Kirk’s ship. Failing, Khan and his crew are exiled to a garden Planet, Ceti Alpha V.

In Wrath of Khan, Khan is encountered accidentally when original series character, Chekov (played by Walter Koenig) beams down with his current captain, Clark Terrell (Paul Winfield) of the  USS Reliant, to a planet they believe is Ceti Alpha 6, to investigate some life readings on a planet they believed to be uninhabited. The planet itself was being investigated as a possible test bed for the Genesis device – a device that can transform a dead world into a thriving, living world in almost no time. Shortly after arriving on the planet, Chekov discovers that they are on the scene of what is left of the Botany Bay – the ship,minus the drive components, that was used to exile Khan and his crew years ago. Soon they encounter Khan, who explains that they are actually on Ceti Alpha V, and that Ceti Alpha VI exploded shortly after their being exiled, and that the planet was forced from it’s orbit and had been changed from a garden to the inhospitable wreck that it is now. Khan, finding out that Kirk is still alive, has decided to exact revenge on him for the marooning (and subsequent deaths of many of his original  crew), by taking the Reliant and fooling him into a trap. There is some really good space ship to space ship combat. Actually, some of best space combat that I’ve ever seen. You also get to learn a little bit more about Captain Kirk’s life… I won’t tell you anything about that in case there’s a chance you haven’t seen this movie yet.  Oh My Gawd…. This movie has it all for a Sci-Fi fan: the acting is better than almost any Trek story, and Khan, played by the late, great Ricardo Montalbán, revising his role from the Original series episode is deliciously over the top. The humour that was missing from the first film is here, and there are some pretty emotional scenes, too. The movie is pretty deep for a Sci-Fi film. Another thing that stands out to me at least, is the orchestral score during the space battles- really awesome stuff. This movie is just good. This is the Star Trek movie I play for friends who don’t understand why I like Star Trek.

If you’ve never watched this film, you should, and if you have why not watch it again. Check out the trailer below:


Harold’s Going Stiff (2011)–A Fun, Fresh Zombie Film of Sorts

hgsHarold’s Going Stiff popped up as a suggested watch. I had not heard about the film before last night, and boy was I pleasantly surprised.

Harold’s Gone Stiff is filmed in a documentary style and follows the progress of Harold, the earliest known sufferer of a disease, called Early Rigor that mimics a Zombie outbreak. Harold is getting physical therapy from a nurse, Penny. The film shows Harold’s progress, fighting the stiffening that happens with this disease, It also follows the evolving relationship, from a working to a friendship, between Harold and Penny. Along with there story, we are also shown a small group of three friends, one who is himself suffering from early onset of the Rigor disease, and their hunting of victims of said disease.

Harold’s Going Stiff does something that is rare: it shows the Zombies as victims of a terrible disease. I found myself feeling for the Zombies, and loathing the group of zombie killers. And the movie also creates a touching feeling regarding Penny and Harold. This can’t be easy to do with a subject matter like this,but in my opinion the film makers succeed. If you’ve seen the movie, American Zombie, you might see a bit of a resemblance in the fact that both are pseudo-documentaries, painting the Zombies as people who are sick. Both movies are good, but I liked this one better.

Do yourself a favour and watch this movie. Check out the trailer below:


Evil Dead Fan Film!

So, I was this posted over at the reddit.com horror sub-reddit: an Evil Dead Fan Film… Very funny stuff!!!


The Dead Mile (2013)–Flawed But Very Fun Independent Zombie Film… And It’s Canadian!

DeadmileSo, I just watched a Zombie movie that was filmed in my home city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was a low budget film, and it lacked polish and there was some questionable performances. You know what? Who cares – this was a fun, silly Zombie film.

The Dead Mile is a truly Canadian movie that combines hockey, a Zombie Walk and real Zombies to create an end of society, Zombie outbreak movie that delivers on the fun and the gore. A group of friends are preparing for an annual Zombie Walk when an actual, cow transmitted Zombie virus hits the city. The Zombie Walk participants are actually turning into Zombies, and our little group of friends need to find a way to survive. One of our characters, Tyler, works for a dick, Kevin Wong, who owns a comic shop, who is hosting a a signing event for a couple of horror stars to coincide with the Zombie Walk. Well these two get wrapped up in the whole Zombie outbreak and join forces with Kevin and his friends. They are soon joined by two simple, hockey obsessed guys, who suggest they make a break for the hockey/ice rink – a fortress according to them. Of course, like in all Zombie films, the fortress is never quite as… fortressy (yes, I know that’s not a real word – but it’s my blog so nananana-boo-boo), as they hope. One by one the group is diminished as members fall prey to the Zombie hordes. You know, like in a Zombie movie.

This movie is low budget and flawed, but really, who cares: most Zombie movies are. At least this movie delivers on the humour, and for a low budget film, it manages to look pretty good (and thank you for not finding it necessary to make the film look grungy and 70’s like – that works when for 70’s films only – you deserve kudos for not doing that). They also deliver on the gore, like a true Zombie movie should. I say this is worth a watch, especially if you are Canadian, and even more so if you are from Calgary. The movie’s writer/Director , K.J. Kleefeld and his crew did an admirable job. The film it self is available to rent online at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thedeadmile for $4.99 – I though it was a little steep for a rental of an independent film, but I said “What the Hell,” I’m supporting a small film maker” (who just happens to be local – GO CANADA!!!). Check out the trailer below, and then go spend $4.99, you cheap bastard, and help some independent film makers.


Remake Week Movie #2 – Dawn of The Dead (2004)

DawnoftheDead2004One could easily argue that  George A. Romero’s 1973 film, Dawn of the Dead was good enough and didn’t need a remake. Well, that can be said about almost all remakes – I mean, why would you bother remaking a movie that sucked in the first place? At least in this case the remake doesn’t suck.

A sequel to Romero’s genre defining film Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead tells the story of a group of survivors of a Zombie outbreak, forced together through necessity that have found refuge inside a shopping mall.Initially encountering a hostile group of armed mall security guards that reluctantly allow them to stay in the man, but only after relinquishing their weapons. These guards, run by a twitchy nervous asshole by the name of CJ soon have the tables turned on them. The group hangs out in the mall for as long as possible, with one couple expecting a baby at any time. Soon it’s revealed that a couple member so f the group had been bitten – They have to be dealt with. Not to spoils anything, but the birth scene and following events is awesome. Add to this a new group of people that arrive via a delivery van (a soon to be Zombie amongst them).

Lot’s of action and death and destruction, a few explosions and more than a few zombies and then a cool escape…this is a very good remake of a very good original film.

Filmed primarily in Canada, I saw a lot of familiar actors that you don’t see in many American productions, I thought this was a neat addition (hint: I’m Canadian),Is this better than the original? I don’t think so, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. Very watchable, I know more than a few people that consider this their favourite Zombie movie, and it’s easy to see why.

Check out Dawn of the Dead, you won’t be disappointed .

Here’s the trailer:


A Fist Full of Dollars (1964)–A Man With No Name Brings the Spaghetti Western to The Masses

A_Fistful_of_Dollars_posterSergio Leone’s 1964 movie, A Fist Full of Dollars, took a little known American TV actor, put him in the roll of a Man With No Name, and propelled him to stardom as well as taking a waning genre, the Western, and with a twist, giving it a new lease on life. That actor? Clint Eastwood.

Joe, or “The Man With No Name, played by the then up and coming Clint Eastwood, arrives the the tiny Mexican town of San Miguel. Quickly proving himself quiet and a loner, and more importantly a really quick draw. Soon he realizes that there are two factions, the Rojo Brothers and the family of the town’s sheriff, John Baxter, both fighting for control of the town. Seeing an opportunity for profit, he works at getting the two sides to fight each other.

Witnessing a massacre of Mexican Soldiers by Rojo’s men, dressed as American Soldiers, Joe takes two of the bodies, planting them at at the local cemetery and sells information to both sides – both groups rush to the cemetery – one side to get information, the other side to silence the information before it gets out. Soon we can add kidnapping and murder to the pile of crimes both sides commit. Joe, or The Man With No Name eventually let’s his own motives shine through…

This movie is actually a retelling of the Japanese classic, Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa and it is a wonderful, dark film that should be watched and watched often. This is the first of three “Dollars” or “Man With No Name” films to be released. The other two being For a Few Dollars More and the pinnacle of the Spaghetti Western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. All three are amazing testaments to the genre and deserve their places in the annals of movie history. Watch them soon and watch them often.

Check out the trailer below:


Midnight Movie (2008)–Better than Average

midnightmovieSo Netflix has been suggesting this movie for quite a while and I finally decided to watch it. The viewer reviews were positive (generally) , but that doesn’t mean much: people are raving about Safety Not Guaranteed  and that movie SUCKED!!!

Well, this time the reviews were right: this movie is pretty good for it’s genre. A 70s horror movie is being played at a run down movie house – the first time the film has been released since it;s director killed a munch of people as the main character and then disappeared. Two police officers that arrived on the scene are on hand for the movie just in case the director shows up.

Also, there’s a biker and his woman, a couple of cute girls, one who is managing the theatre, and her friend and both their boyfriends, the managers little brother and another guy they know but don’t care for a lot.

Well  the movie starts and weird thing happen – it takes a little while for the audience to figure out that some scenes are actually taking place in the theatre that they are in. Thinking that it’s a practical joke when the one guy that they don’t like much shows up in a scene after he goes to the washroom.

Well, eventually they figure out that they are being picked off one at a time by the killer that appears ion the film.

This movie isn’t perfect, but most horror movies aren’t. What it is is entertaining. Should you watch it? Well, if your looking  for a simple little horror movie that harkens back to the 80s then I say yes.

Check out the trailer here:


The Re-Animator Series

Reanimator_posterThe Re-Animator Series, so far consisting of three films, is an example of a series of horror movies done right.

Starting in 1985 with the Re-Animator, and consisting of three films, though the door seems to be left open for more. All three star Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West, the Re-animator himself. West is a driven, mad scientist that developed the “Re-Agent”: a neon green liquid that brings life (or at least re-animates) the dead. This is West’s life’s work and he allows nothing to come between him and it.

Starting with the RE-Animator in 1985, we’re introduced to  West in a quick but disturbing scene at the University of Zurich Institute of Medicine, where he is found hunched over the convulsing body of Dr. Gruber. Accused of killing Gruber, West shouts “I gave him life!”

Next we see West arriving at Miskatonic University in New England to continue his studies. Immediately he is at odds with Dr. Carl Hill, the university’s resident Brain specialist, and primary grant gatherer, when he states that Hill’s work is derivative and basically stolen from the late Dr. Gruber. Immediately in Dr. Hill’s bad books, West’s further behaviour does nothing to rectify this.

Soon, answering an add posted on a bulletin board for a room for rent, West moves in with Dan Cain, another med student. Dan, we learn is dating the Dean’s daughter, Megan Halsey (played by Barbara Crampton). Megan, from the start, does not like West, and shortly after his arrival, accuses him of killing Dan’s cat when she enters West’s room against his wishes and finds the cat’s body in his fridge. West denies killing the cat and claims he found it dead and put the body in his fridge until he could inform Dan of the event. Very quickly, West draws Dan into his world and has him working on the Re- Agent with him – all it took was finding West in his basement lab being attacked by the newly re-animated cat of Dan’s.

Once sucked in, Dan becomes in effect West’s version of Igor. Disgusted by West’s lack of care for fellow humans, but driven by the work he does, he becomes VERY subservient to the ever more singularly focused West. Also, along the way West draws him into a web of crimes that leave Dan no choice but to stay by West’s side.

Everyone around Dan and West’ are in danger due to West’s lack of care for fellow humans. All that matters to him is the development of his RE-Agent. Anyone that gets in his way becomes victims. Dr. Hill, after trying to take West’s discovery and life’s work from him though blackmail becomes nothing more than an animated head, though with the ability to control others that West has animated – causing West much more trouble than one would think a solitary head could. Most that are re-animated via West’s RE-Agent, come back violent and almost mindless. Eventually all hell breaks loose and Megan becomes an accidental victim to West’s experiments…

Bride_of_Re-AnimatorThe second movie, Bride of the Re-Animator, was released in 1989 and starts off with West and Dan, working in a war zone tent hospital – West is his normal, driven maniacal self and Dan his normal, subservient wimpish self. We see them apply the Re-Agent to a dead soldier, just as an attractive female soldier enters, Francesca Danelli (played by Fabiana Udenio) – the patient – violent as usual, is shot by West, and this is witnessed by the Francesca. Other than a “What are you people doing here” and a “we have to bug out as we are being over-run” type of discussion (and a hint that Dan and Francesca may have a thing for each other), this scene is over fast.

Next we find that West and Dan have returned to New England and their jobs at Mikatonic University Hospital, where they also continue work on the Re-Agent. A new development shows West that Re-Agent can also reanimate individual body parts as well as entire organisms. He starts taking individual body parts home to continue his experiments. It’s the theft of these parts that puts police officer Lt. Chapham on the trail of West and Dan. That, and the fact that Chaphman has it out for them already as the only ones to survive, unchanged from the events of the first movie. Soon we find out that Chapham has a more intimate and personal reason to be interested in the case (watch the damned movie to find out what it is). Chaphman’s pressure on West and Dan leads to mistakes being made, and individuals being reanimated – in short, things fall to shit. Add to all this that West’s original nemesis from the first move, the head of Dr. Carl Hill is controlling these reanimated jerks. All the while, West is attempting to create life from individual body parts. Using a terminal patient that Dan has fallen in love with as the face and head, in order to get Dan onboard, eventually West creates his parted out monster – a jealous giant of a woman-beast. A big fight breaks out and shit goes to hell again.

Beyond_Re-animatorThe third (and last so far), movie was released in 2003 and titled, Beyond RE-Animator.

13 years have passed since crap went down at the hospital. West has spent that time in prison after Dan turned State’s Witness. West has managed to continue his experiments, albeit on a much smaller scale, working on rats in his cell.

The prison hospital gets a new, young head doctor who quickly takes an interest in West and his past work. Dr. Howard Phillips arranges with the crazy, asshole Warden to have West put on work detail in the hospital, using the excuse that the hospital is understaffed and West’s medical background would help things. The Warden agrees, but lets his dislike of West be known to Phillips. Phillip soon informs West that he is aware of his work with re-animation of the dead and explains how his sister was killed by one of the zombies that was created in the event that sent West to prison. He was a kid at the time and one of the un-dead created with West’s Re-Agent broke into their house and killed his sister. He saw the police take West away in a police car. He learned of West’s work and made it his goal to work with him and learn the secret of RE-Agent. Soon West draws him into his world after they reanimate a recently deceased prisoner with a 13 year old sample of RE-Agent that Phillips found back when his sister was killed. The prisoner wakes from the dead in a state of confusion and violence, just as the Warden was touring through the prison’s hospital with attractive reporter Laura Olney. The Warden freaks out about the whole ruckus and puts everybody on lockdown and cancel the rest of the tour of the prison/interview, but not before Laura and Dr. Phillips manage to make oggly eyes at each other and make some kinda’ love connection… because all of a sudden these two are an item.

Like all these movies, West draws his side kick, usually Dan but now Dr. Phillips deeper into his twisted world of mad science and reanimating of the dead. West’s experiments during his years in lockup led him to discover Neo-Plasmic Energy (or NPE for short). NPE is harvested from a donor and consists of an electrical like energy which when administered right after Re-Agent, creates a way more life like reanimated subject. Instead of your crazed, mindless homicidal reanimated subject, when NPE is applied, the subject doesn’t decay and seems to keep their humanity. A strange and funny transformation occurs when West reanimates the Warden and applies the NPE gathered from a rat – it’s awesome.

Like all these movies, things get out of hand, and eventually it’s hard to tell who’s been reanimated and who hasn’t been. There’s a riot in the prison and the prisoner’s take over. Laura, who was killed by the Warden then reanimated by West and his new NPE process gets killed again. Phillips is left, mind bone and looking like a psycho-killer.  He’s arrested for the murder or Laura. West, posing as Dr. Phillips (after taking his identity card) escapes in to the night.

Whew…

These movies are excellent and deserve to be watched. Jeffrey Combs is masterful in the role of Doctor Herbert West. They have a very unique feel to them that I think only Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna can create. My descriptions of these movies did them a dis-service and I really strongly suggest you watch them.


Castle Freak (1995)–Stuart Gordon Strikes Again With a Lovecraft Inspired Tale

CastleFreakposterOver the last week or so I’ve come to a conclusion: Stuart Gordon, the Director behind Society, From Beyond, The Re-Animator and MANY more films is just awesome at what he does: making weirdly compelling and original horror movies. Castle Freak is no exception.

Gordon brings together some of his favourite actors, Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton who play John and Susan Riley, a troubled married couple who along with their blind daughter travel to Italy to visit the 12th century castle that John has inherited from a recently deceased Duchess.

The couple plan on selling the estate once a proper inventory of the estates assets is compiled. While completing this task  the family plans on staying in the castle.

Almost immediately they hear strange noises. The daughter decides to follow a cat and some sounds and believes she has heard another person in the house. Being blind, she can only describe what she hears… Her mother believes that she is imagining things. The weird noises continue, and the seemingly spontaneous breaking of a large mirror gets John thinking that there might be more going on here than just the normal noises of a very old castle.

Soon we find out why the couple is having troubles, when a flashback shows an incident where John was driving his daughter and son home one night, drunk, and gets into an accident. The accident kills their son and blinds their daughter. Asking his wife if she’ll ever forgive him, she says no, and admits that it’s her plan to make him keep suffering for the incident. Upset and enrages, John heads to town where he gets drunk and pick up an attractive hooker. He takes her back to the castle and they have sex. When he is done he tells her to go. Little does John know that the source of the sounds is actually a horribly disfigured man that had been held in one of the castle’s dungeons, and that he has escaped his captivity (by biting off his thumb in order to escape manacles. This man capture’s the prostitute and sexually mutilates her. John is considered the prime suspect ands is taken into custody by the local police when the body of the prostitute and his maid are found.

John, in the meantime has figured out that the one causing the issues is actually the son of the duchess, who despite being reported as dead, was kept in the dungeon and beaten. No one believes him though. HE tries to convince the police who will have none of that. Eventually escaping and heading back to the castle to save his family, John and the creature fight on the roof with tragic consequences.

There’s quite a twist thrown in somewhere past the middle of the film regarding John’s relationship with the beast and the Duchess that I won’t reveal here. This film feels like a Stuart Gordon film and definitely is getting recommended by me.

Watch this film and check out the trailer below:


From Beyond (1986) Lovecraftian Weirdness in the Late 1980s

FrombeyondposterFrom Beyond is a wild, weird film based (loosely) on an HP Lovecraft tale of the same name. It tells the tale of a genius scientist and his assistant, who built s resonating machine that stimulates the pineal glands in one’s mind, opening one up to another dimension od creatures, and making one visible to them also.

There’s just one problem: the other dimension is full of danger and a pure evil, brain eating creature – that’s all.

From Stuart Gordon, creator of the excellent Re-Animator as well as the recently watched and reviewed Society, he has created another masterpiece of dark weirdness that makes me ask why it’s taken so damned long to watch them. Staring Jeffrey Combs (you might remember him from The Re-Animator and various Star Trek gigs), as Crawford Tillinghast, assistant to Dr. Edward Pretorius (played by Ted Sorel). Crawford has been wrongfully accused of the murder of Dr. Pretorius, after one of their sessions with the resonator left Dr. Pretorius a headless body. With no evidence other than a body and a very agitated Crawford, leaves only one credible suspect. Never mind that he’s claiming he’s innocent and that a creature from another dimension killed Pretorius – I mean, that’s crazy… right?

Yeah, he’s so worked up that they put him in a mental hospital where a Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton) takes over his case. When a brain scan shows that Crawford had an enlarged pineal gland, she is convinced that there may be something to his story, and that perhaps he’s not a murderer after all. Getting permission to leave the hospital with Crawford, and an escort from Detective Bubba Brownlee (played by the always great Ken Foree). Once there, McMichaels gets Crawford, against his better judgment, to rebuild the resonator. Acivating the device they all see the creatures Crawford described. Despite his warnings, they all act like jerks and don’t take any precautions that Crawford insists on. Bubba get bit by a nasty alternate dimensional jellyfish like creature.

The experience seems to drive McMichaels who is compelled to run the machine again, thinking she can control the experience. Crawford had seen this compulsion before, in Dr. Pretorius – the compulsion that got his head bitten off. Against both Crawford and Bubba’s advice, McMichaels starts the resonator again, and this time meets the creature that ate Pretorius. Apparently, by eating the brain of a victim, it/he absorbs their memories and experiences – and he craves more. At the same time, the extended exposure to the resonator is changing Crawford, who’s pineal gland is growing like crazy – so much so that it pops out of the center of his forehead. Another thing that grows in him is a hunger… a hunger for human brains.

Oh there’s more… And I think you should watch this movie.

This was a very cool movie that I highly recommend. Look for it and watch it – it’s worth it.

Check out the trailer below:


Dead and Breakfast (2004)–If David Carradine Is Running The Bed And Breakfast, Sleep In Your Car

dnbHoly smokes, I’ve seen two original Zombie movies in two days – Things are good.

2004’s Dead and Breakfast tells the story of a group of young adults driving to a friend’s wedding, when the end up getting lost and taking refuge for the night at a bed and breakfast in a small, hick town. The Bed and Breakfast (BnB), suggested by the gas pump jockey who is also the singer for a band, and sings the segues between scenes, making this a semi musical (don’t worry: I hate musicals and loved this movie). When they get to the BnB they are first greeted by the chef, Henri (played by Diedrich Bader of The Drew Carey show), who snottily introduces them to the owner of the BnB, Mr Wise (played by David Carradine). Mr Wise extends his hospitality to the group and has them shown to their rooms.

Shortly after their arrival at the BnB, Chef Henri somehow ends up dead and the local sheriff shows up (a hick in his own right), letting everyone know they are NOT free to leave while his investigation is on.

Soon the Sheriff takes a drifter in (one who had bumped into one of the group at the gas station that had stopped at at the beginning of the film). Believing the drifter to be the murderer, he is taken into custody and held. Soon they figure out that the drifter may be more than he appears when his notebook has drawings of an interesting  looking Asiatic box. We learn soon that the box holds the spirit of Wise’s infant son, and a terrible force will be released if the seal is broken. Guess what happens? Yeah, the meekest one of the group accidentally releases the spirit and is immediately transformed into a powerful, evil spirit that kills and then controls the bodies (like zombies) of the ones he just killed. Soon there is a hoard of evils beasts that must be destroyed.

This is another fun and original take on the Zombie genre that I heartily suggest you watch. I had a great time watching this movie.

Check out the trailer here:


Aaah! Zombies!! (2007)–Wow, An Original Zombie Movie!

Aaah ZombiesThe creators of Aaah! Zombies!! (a.k.a. Wasting Away), managed to do something very difficult: they created a Zombie movie that is actually original.

Those of you who read this blog with any kind of regularity have most likely figured out that for the most part, I like Zombie movies. Even so, I’ll be the first to admit that most of them are rehashes of ideas and situations that have been put down on film before. So, creating something original in this genre is difficulty and I think that’s one of the reasons I liked this film as much as I did.

A covert government mission to pollute a bay to get rid of the whales that environmentalists goes wrong when the truck carrying the toxic payload crashes and spills the chemicals on the streets, short of the intended target. Somehow the chemical ends up contaminating the base for some soft serve ice cream. Enter out main group of young adults who eat the ice cream at the local bowling alley. After feeling VERY ill for a few minutes, they seem to get better. Almost immediately they encounter a mysterious guy claiming to be a member of of the U.S. Special Forces and he takes control of the group, explaining that the city is infected with the toxin, and that they (their group) will be turning into Super Soldiers (due to the fact that the chemical was mixed with dairy), but everyone else is sick and must be stopped. Reasonably soon you see that things are not as our protagonists believe and in fact things might be the opposite of what they’ve come to believe.

Throw in a government conspiracy/cover up, a Zombie love affair (including some Zombie make out action), some truly funny moments and some reasonable good acting (for the genre…for the genre), and you have what I consider a fresh, fun Zombie movie that I heartily suggest you watch.

Check out the trailer here: