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Shaky Cam Movie Week Movie 4–Diary of the Dead (2007)

DiaryofDeadGeorge A. Romero revolutionized the Zombie in films. He wasn’t the first to portray Zombies in a movie – not by a long shot. No, he was the one that brought the Zombie into the mainstream and kept it there.

Diary of the Dead is another movie in the “The Dead” series (starting with the iconic “Night of the Living Dead”). While not a direct sequel to any of the movies, it takes place in the same…ummm… Universe. A group of art students are in the woods, filming a scene for a mummy horror film when the zombie outbreak starts. Hearing reports on the radio, at first they are sceptical (some more than others). As the night progresses and more reports start coming in, the students realize that maybe something it actually up. The group gathers together in an RV and head out of the city, attempting to escaper the carnage (and possibly get to their own homes in order check on family members). All the while they are capturing everything on film to document what is happening. Encounters with Zombie Doctors in hospitals and being attacked by siblings as well as being robbed by rogue military are all situations that add to the action and to the feeling of desperation. Characters you like get killed, and characters you don’t like also get killed (for a bit…and then again – Zombies, you know). Just when they think they’re safe… well, you know. Hey, why not head out the rich friend’s place where he’s got a panic room and all the amenities you could wish for… That all work out right? Um, this is a Zombie movie – a Romero Zombie film. The film has a quick pace that doesn’t allow you to get bored. As well, I think Romero did a great job “re-jigging” the Dead series for the modern era. Is this better than the original Night of the Living Dead? Of course not. Is it good? I’d say so

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Shaky Cam Week Movie 2 – The Blair Witch Project (1999) – Still Creepy

Blair_Witch_ProjectWhile not the first to do it, The Blair Witch Project was the first movie to really bring the “found footage” style of movie to the masses. Telling the tale of three student filmmakers (stole that line from Wikipedia), who went out to make a documentary about the Blair Witch, a legendary figure, and never came back.

The film starts out with a message stating tat the movie was put together from the footage found in the cameras after the three film students had disappeared. The three, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams had headed out to make a documentary about an evil witch, or spirit that is rumoured to haunt the woods outside of Burkittsville, Maryland (formerly known as “Blair”). They talk to locals who tell them the tales they heard as children growing up in Burkittsville, and how the witch tale was used to keep kids in line. They also hear the tail of a tragedy that happened in the 1940s with the disappearance of several local children, as well as several men from the community. Well, the three decide to head off into the woods in search of the Witch, or at lease evidence of such. Soon they find themselves hopelessly lost and it seems the focus of some weird nocturnal activities. They hear weird sounds at night and fins strange constructs of twigs and wood as well as neatly stacked rocks around their tent in the morning. As time passes and they become more and more loss, the individuals start really showing their stress in the way they interact with each other. The weird sounds and such continue and increase, adding to the stress of the group. When one member of the group disappears in the night, and fails to return, it just gets worse. You know things are just not likely to work out for our little group of film makers.

The Blair Witch Project did a great job of capturing the initial enthusiasm of the three, as well as there slide to desperation , and breakdown of the three main characters. They manage to remain believable (for the most part), and while you may grow frustrated with them at times, it’s at times where youy as a watcher are supposed to get frustrated with them. Is this a good movie? Damn straight.

Check out the trailer below, and if you haven’t seen it yet, go out and get yourself a copy.


Escape From L.A. (1996) – Snake Plissken Is Back In A Parody Of His Own, Old Adventure

Escape_From_LAEscape From LA is the 1996 unnecessary sequel to the classic 1981 action film, Escape from New York. In Escape From New York, Snake Plissken (played by Kurt Russell), is enlisted to rescue the President, who’s plane has crashed in New York. New York, once a bustling metropolis, has been turned into a giant prison without guards, and run by different factions of criminals. Plissken goes in, and against all odds, rescues the President. In the 1996 sequel, Snake is back (and still being played by Kurt Russell). This time he is expected to retrieve a control for a space based nuclear weapons platform that was stolen by the new, President for Life’s daughter in an act of defiance, and brought to LA, now also a prison, separated from the rest of the continental United States by an earthquake, and given to Cuervo Jones (Georges Corraface), an ex Peruvian Shining Path rebel, and leader of the most powerful faction of criminals in L.A. Snake originally turns down the job… that is until he finds out he has no real choice in the matter, and only has about a day to complete the task…or else. Once in L.A., Plissken goes about the task of locating the President’s daughter and Cuervo. At first it seems like he may get some help from "Map to the Stars" Eddie (Steve Buscemi), but maybe…. just maybe Eddie has his own plans.

Anyway, Plissken gets captured, gets loose, gets into some fights (with and without weapons), and of course, gets the job done. But with almost all movies, things just aren’t that simple. Who is the true bad guy?

This is a silly, parody o the original Escape From New York. I could see some true fans of the original possibly hating this movie, but if you watch it with the mindset similar to mine, where you were looking for some silly action entertainment, then you might like it. Just don’t go in expecting a serious, action movie and you should be okay.

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 Movie 1 – Gojira (1954) – Godzilla Makes It’s Debut And Japan Is Screwed

Gojira_1954_Japanese_poster1954’s Gojira (the Japanese name for Godzilla, and not some cheap knock off of the Godzilla licence) if the first appearance of Godzilla in film, and it’s a good one.

A Japanese film, through and through, Gojira tells the tale of an ancient beast, a creature of legends, that has been released from it’s lair beneath the ocean when it’s home is destroyed by atomic tests being conducted in the Pacific ocean (this is the early to mid-1950s, after all). At first a few boats go missing with no clues. When a few survivors are found, they speak seemingly gibberish about the ocean exploding. Seems only an old and grumpy man, knows what’s happening when he starts talking about the old legends of a giant lizard beast that would emerge and wreak havoc, and how they used to appease the beast by setting the occasional girl adrift on a raft for the creature’s snacking pleasure. Finally enough sightings and reports of the creature start coming through that a scientific research team is put together to study the beast. Once they discover that Godzilla is real, it’s then up to the military to destroy Godilla, who is now working it’s way towards Tokyo. As usual, (though not “as usual” for the audiences of 1954), traditional tactics do nothing but piss the monster off, and just causes more destruction. It’s not until a physically and emotionally scarred scientist is convinced to use his discovery, a device that destroys oxygen and liquefies living flesh, that Japan has even a slim hope of surviving the monster’s attack.

Gojira is as good as an introduction to a movie beast as any I’ve seen. The creature design has proven solid, as this 1954 Godzilla still looks like the same Godzilla that you would find in the 60’s,70’s and beyond (except for that crappy American Godzilla movie). Also, the creatures iconic roar is there, right from the start. It’s also interesting to watch this film with the knowledge that this was made in a Japan that is very different from today’s Japan. This is a Japan that was still healing from a World War that almost decimated them. The war is mentioned, and the testing of nuclear weapons are highlighted as a bad thing. If you like Godzilla, then you have to watch this film. If you are unsure if you like Godzilla, then you have to watch this and a number of other Godzilla movies if you really want to decide if you are a fan or not. I know I am.

Check out the trailer below: