Friday, October 31, 2008

My Little Monsters

I hope that everyone had a Safe & Happy Halloween!
Here are some pics of my brood. . .

A Dead Bride

A Lady Dragon (so not interested in having her picture taken!)

Mr. Scary, er Skeleton Man

Jason

A Tale for Halloween

Author Joseph D'Lacey (Meat and the upcoming The Garbage Man) has given us a special treat this Halloween. . .

Visit his Blog at http://horrorreanimated.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/a-tale-for-halloween-by-jdl/ to read his new short story: Lights Out

It Rocks!

Jason

P.S. Happy Halloween!!! :-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising

Genre - Fantasy/Comedy
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 105 minutes
Directed by Matt Vancil (The Gamers)
Written by Matt Vancil (The Gamers)
Cast Includes:
Nathan Rice (The Gamers)
Brian Lewis, Carol Roscoe, Christian Doyle, Scott C. Brown, Jennifer Page, and Geoff Gibbs

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
When a group of fantasy role-playing friends can't get their characters into any action beyond seducing tavern wenches and tormenting villagers, the Dungeon Master introduces a girl, who also plays a sexy character, into their game.
Now the adventurers must pull it together, both at the table and inside the game, to defeat the necromancer Mort Kennon and save their beloved gaming group.

Review:
I knew going into this movie, that it was a sequel to the 2002 film The Gamers, however I have been unable to find that one on DVD. Also, my understanding is that the 1st movie was basically a short film (under an hour in length) and that there is no need to see it, before this one. . .

If you are at all familiar with role-playing games (particularly Dungeons & Dragons) then you will love this movie! It is chock-full of RPG terminology. I was laughing out loud at so many parts, specifically when the Dungeon Master argues with the players that "the story trumps the rules" or the argument regarding "player knowledge vs character knowledge" or "this is a 'human only' campaign". This movie was just too funny!

Also, when a girl is introduced into the player's group, she chooses to be a Fighter. When the guys discover that she chose higher Charisma - over Strength - they began trying to make her change her character's attributes - they then tell her that her character is just going to die! At this point, she claims that she spent 2 hours creating the character - don't we all know that so well! :-)

Another player decides to play a Bard. (he had previously only played Fighters) When the DM questions his choice, he replies, "how different can they be?" His Bard character is absolutely hysterical, adding the majority of the comedy to the film.

Another player/character, right off the bat, uses a 4th level spell on a 0 level peasant (his character's alignment is Chaotic Neutral) - and he wants to know how much experience he will get! He (though his character is a female) also has sporadic, or wild magic, so when he casts a spell that doesn't go off for another 2 rounds - hilarity ensues!

This movie definitely brought back some fond memories, especially all of the cans of Mountain Dew sitting around the table, and when the group had no idea how much time had passed. . .

Great movie! [I would even go so far as to say that even if you are not familiar with D & D, you will still enjoy this entertaining parody!]
I know that I will continue to keep my eye out for the 1st film!

Enjoy the trailer:


While we are on the subject of Wizard's etc, I thought that I would include this humorous picture:


Jason

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Red

Genre - Drama
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 98 minutes
Directed by Trygve Allister Diesen (?) and Lucky McKee (May and Masters of Horror's Sick Girl)
Written by Jack Ketchum (The Girl Next Door, The Lost, and coming in 2010 - Off Season, and in 2011 - Right to Life) and Stephen Susco (who wrote the screenplays for the terrible American versions of The Grudge 1 & 2 - nothing against Stephen - I didn't like the Japanese versions either)
Cast Includes:
Brian Cox (the 1st actor to portray Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter - in Manhunt, he also played Stryker - the man who created Wolverine, in X-Men 2 - he was also in Braveheart & Troy)
Noel Fisher
Kyle Gallner (Flash, from TV's Smallville)
Shilo Fernandez

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Avery Ludlow is a simple, affable man driven to extremes when a group of teenage miscreants kill his beloved dog, Red.
When it becomes obvious that the boys won't be held accountable for their senseless act, Ludlow takes matters into his own hands.

Review:
As with any book, it is extremely difficult to translate raw emotions into film, however the last three movies to be released, based on Jack Ketchum's novels (The Girl Next Door, The Lost, and now Red) have all come pretty darn close!

If you have read Jack's novel (Red) then you will understand, right away, that Brian Cox is perfectly cast! He made this movie what it is! When Avery recalls one of the most tragic events from the novel, you are completely enraptured - Cox is so powerful that you may just cry!

As for other casting - Tom Sizemore (Point Break, True Romance, Natural Born Killers, Saving Private Ryan) and Ashley Laurence (Kirsty from Hellraiser 1 & 2) as Danny and Harold's parents. Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger, 2001 Maniacs, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer) and Amanda Plummer (So I Married an Axe Murderer, Pulp Fiction, The Prophecy, Satan's Little Helper) as Pete's parents. What great choices! Being that Lucky McKee was involved in this movie, I am surprised that Angela Bettis did not make an appearance though! (However, there was a scene where there is an animated show on the television, and it looks just like the show that Lucky imagined, in Bettis' Roman - I could be wrong on that though. . .)
Also, Jack Ketchum's cameo as the bartender - very cool, but I digress. . . :-)

Right away, you will literally hate the character of Danny! You will hate him with a passion, while at the same time, feeling extremely sorry for Avery.
All Avery wants, is justice to be served - this movie's moral is that no matter the actions you choose (whether good or bad) all will have a consequence, and those consequences may sometimes end in tragedy. Another moral is, no matter what the case - always tell the truth!


Jason

Monday, October 27, 2008

Music Box Massacre 4 - Movie Reviews

In case you haven't read my earlier blog - I attended this event as a guest, for Hacker's Source magazine. I will be writing a more in-depth article that will appear in issue #26 of the magazine.
[I will let you know when that issue comes out]
In the meantime, be sure to visit their webpage: http://eveblaackpub.com/hackerssource/

Being that I am going to be discussing 13 films in this blog, I am going to fore-go my usual format of pictures, cast, plot summary, etc. Rather, I will just rate the movies and give small blurbs.
[They are reviewed in the order in which I watched them]

The Haunted House (Rating: 5 Skulls)
This one is a (slightly less than 30 minutes) silent film from 1921, starring Buster Keaton, and it is absolutely hysterical. Buster plays a bank clerk. Glue ends up getting spilled, which ends up getting all over the money, and hilarity ensues.
You may be asking yourself, why was this being shown at a horror marathon. Well, any good movie, about a bank, is going to have bank robbers. In this one, it just so happens that the bank robber's hideout is a supposedly haunted house (in which was featured some great skeleton costumes - I must say!) Also - the ending - Fantastic! This film is a Must-See!

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Rating: 4 Skulls)
Another silent film, this one from 1920, starring John Barrymore as Jekyll & Hyde.
[I just wanted to mention that both The Haunted House and this movie had live organ accompaniment, which was very, very cool]
John Barrymore was Superb in this movie! I do not think that it would have been as good, had another actor from that time period portrayed the title characters.

The Old Dark House (Rating: 3 Skulls)
Before watching this movie, we were treated to the vintage trailer of Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
[I have always been aware of this movie - having seen the trailer, I will definitely be checking it out!]

From 1932 - The Old Dark House features Boris Karloff, and is directed by James Whale, who also directed Karloff in the classic (1931) Frankenstein, as well as its sequel, the (1935) Bride of Frankenstein.

After a severe rainstorm, which causes flooding and landslides, makes it impossible to travel on the roads, several folks happen upon "the old dark house" where Karloff is the butler. The couple who owns the house (a brother & sister) keep their 102 year old father (played by a woman!) upstairs, and their psychotic pyromaniac brother locked up. After Karloff gets drunk and sets the brother free, chaos erupts. A classic film that can be enjoyed by the entire family. :-)

Eyes Without a Face (Rating: 4 Skulls)
This one is a French film from 1959. I think that I was expecting more from it - however, that doesn't mean that it was not good. In fact, for 1959, the movie was pretty intense!
[what is funny about this movie is the fact that the director of this film was approached to make a horror film - without the horror! Okay. . .] :-) This movie predates Herschell Gordon Lewis' Blood Feast by about three years. The reason that I mention this is because I've always heard that Blood Feast was the 1st true "gore film" I don't know ~ the story behind this movie is a surgeon's daughter's face is tragically disfigured in a car accident. He feels at fault, and in order to ease his guilt, he, with help from his assistant, begins kidnapping women and surgically removing their faces to transplant/graft onto his daughter's face! Obviously, this fails to work. I have to say that the gore effects in the facial surgeries were pretty gory & graphic. When you 1st see the doctor lift the face from a women - Wow!
On another note, there was a scene, towards the end of the film, where a bunch of doves were released. This reminded me of John Woo, and I got to thinking that he hasn't directed anything in quite a while. . . :-(
[I'm all over the place, I know - I'll try to shorten these up a little bit!] :-)

May (Rating: 5 Skulls)
This movie was already a 5 Skull movie in my book. Watching it with a crowd of 700+ people solidified that fact even more! It is just such a FUN movie!! If you have not yet seen May, then you need to do so! Angela Bettis is perfect as the title character!

Unfortunately, the director, Lucky McKee, was unable to attend the event, as planned.
[you can read more about that in my article that will be appearing in Hacker's Source]

The Midnight Meat Train (Rating: 5 Skulls)
Before this film started, we were treated to Rodrigo Gudino's [the Founder/Publisher of Rue Morgue magazine] 6-minute short film The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow - Very Interesting and Well Shot Short!!

If you know me at all, then you know that I have been pushing Midnight Meat Train since I first saw it, back in August! In my opinion, this movie is, hands-down, the Best Horror Film of 2008, and having Clive Barker (who wrote the short story that the film is based upon) there in attendance, introducing the film and doing a Q & A afterwards, made the film even that much more enjoyable!
Not to mention the fact that the 1st time I saw this movie, there were only 4 people (including myself) in the theatre. The 2nd time that I saw it in the theatre, there were only 2 people (again, including myself) This time however, there were 700+ people!! Now this is the way this movie is meant to be seen! :-)

I found it ironic that of all 13 films that were being shown, this is the only one that I had seen on the big screen, yet the majority of the 700+ people in attendance had not seen it at all, (due to the whole Lionsgate scandal) much less on the big screen!
[More on the scandal, as well as full coverage of Barker's Q & A will appear in issue #26 of Hacker's Source! If you are a Barker fan, you will definitely be interested in what he talked about afterwards!]

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Rating: 4 Skulls)
The trailers shown before this film were Weird Al Yankovic's UHF and David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch.

Director Joseph Zito made it very clear, in his introduction of this movie, that Paramount, at the time, had sworn that this was indeed going to be the final Friday the 13th film!
He, along with everyone else, thought this was indeed the truth.
However, he just made too good of a flick! :-) I mean c'mon, you have Corey Feldman & Crispin Glover as well as all of the other campy goodness that this film has to offer up! :-)
[Joseph also did a Q & A afterwards, which will be discussed in issue #26 of Hacker's Source]


Okay, before I continue on, keep in mind that it is now after midnight - these next few films are perfect for the wee morning hours! :-)
Next up is Peter Jackson's gore-fest Dead Alive, but before I get there, I just have to post the trailer that was shown beforehand:
Behold - Wheelchair Werewolf (This trailer ROCKS!)


I do not know if this is an actual movie (if it is, then I must see it!) or just a spoof trailer.

If you know, please let me know! :-)

On to the remainder of the reviews:

Dead Alive (Rating: 5 Skulls)

There is nothing to say about this one, other than the fact that it is one of the goriest movies ever made!!! If you have never seen this early work of Peter Jackson (The Frighteners and Lord of the Rings Trilogy) you are missing out. . .

Phantom of the Paradise (Rating: 5 Skulls)
Before this film started, we saw trailer for Mad Max and its sequel The Road Warrior

This film is from 1974 and portrays the iconic seventies in all their glory! It is directed by Brian De Palma) and very well may be my favorite De Palma film!) I had never seen it before, but I loved it!! [keep in mind, it is now around 3:00 in the morning, and I have been awake for almost 24 hours already!] This movie is extremely bizarre, yet I cannot deny its goodness! :-)

It is basically a Rock version of Phantom of the Opera, mixed with the story of Faust.
I don't know what it is about this movie, it's just something! If you have never seen it, I definitely recommend it!

Black Sabbath (Rating: ? Skulls)
This is the 1963 Italian film directed by Mario Bava. It is actually a trilogy of tales, hosted by Boris Karloff.

The reason that there is a ? before the actual rating, is that I actually started to fade in and out while watching this movie, [it has nothing to do with the movie - again remember, it is after 4:00 in the morning!] so, I do not feel comfortable rating it, being that I only remember bits & pieces.

I know that the 1st story was about a ghost, and I remember thinking that the old woman looked a lot like Willem Dafoe! :-)

From what I remember, the movie is at least 3 Skulls, and I may give it more, once I have watched the film again, wide-awake.

Pieces (Rating: 5 Skulls)
The tagline for this movie is: "You don't have to go to Texas for a Chainsaw Massacre"
[once you have seen this film, you will understand] :-)
The movie was released in 1982, and was written by Joe D'Amato (you exploitation fans should recognize that name)
As I stated above, in Black Sabbath, by this point I was pretty tired, however as soon as this movie started, I was instantly wide awake! (there is a pretty intense scene of butchery, in the 1st five minutes of the film!) This movie is chock full of cheesy goodness! There is a brief kung-fu scene in this movie that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and the ending of this film will have you saying WHAT?!?

My understanding is that this movie is going to e released, on DVD, tomorrow! Trust me on this one and just go and buy it!! (I will be) You will not be disappointed!

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (Rating: 5 Skulls)
While the majority of the crowd did not seem to like this one as much as I did (I thought it was great!) there is no denying that it is one of the better movies released this year. The effects in this movie are all old-school, make-up & masks, etc, which is great to see, after all of the over-use of CGI out there lately.
I thought that not only were the effects great, the acting was not half-bad either, and Robert Englund was fantastic, as always!
The movie does not have the fastest pace out there, though my understanding of this is that this movie's plot is all a build-up for a bigger budget, allowing for a more action-packed sequel.
Either way, this one is definitely worth watching in my book!

The Exorcist (Rating: 5 Skulls)
Before this film started, trailers were shown for Necromancy: Life to the Dead and Death to the Living (starring Orson Welles!) and also Brain of Blood.

Do I really need to say anything about this movie? I thought not.
Simply one of the scariest/creepiest horror films ever made - I found it to be even more disturbing, now that my oldest daughter is 8 - close to the age of Linda Blair's character Regan.


Well, those were the films that I watched - all within a 24-Hour period. :-)


Let me leave you with a few pictures from the event. (of course, there will be more pictures in the article in Hacker's Source, taken by a professional photographer - none other than Independent Filmmaker Christopher Kahler - did I mention that the magazine let me borrow him for the event? :-)
These pictures, however, were taken by me:

This was part of the line, one hour before the event started!

This is a horrible picture of me, along with Director Joseph Zito (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Missing in Action, Invasion U.S.A.)
What is Joe holding? Why nothing other than the magazine that I write for ~ Hacker's Source (Issue #25)

This is Clive Barker, signing a hand drawn portrait of Pinhead (Clive drew this, that afternoon, specifically for the event - it was then auctioned off for a charity.
The gentleman leaning over is the lucky purchaser of that drawing - to find out how much he paid, you'll have to read the article in Hacker's Source! :-)

This was taken 24 hours later - everyone (those who survived anyway) leaving the event.
Jason

I'm an Uncle :-)

Today, at 5:18pm (EST) my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy (pictures forthcoming)

He weighs 7 pounds and 13 and three-quarter ounces (so precise!) and is 20 inches long.

I am very excited, as this is my 1st time being an Uncle, and now my 4 children have a cousin! :-)

Jason

I Survived Chicago's Music Box Massacre 4

Yes, I survived the Massacre!!! 13 Films, in 24 Hours, back-to-back, and what a Blast it was!!!

On Friday, I received a call from my Managing Editor, at Hacker's Source Magazine, asking if I was still planning on attending the event. I told him yes, and he told me that when I got there, I was to meet with Rusty Nails (the promoter of the event) and that I would be on the Guest List, courtesy of the magazine. So, I will be writing an article on the event itself. When that issue comes out, I will be sure to let everyone know! :-)

In the meantime, stay tuned for my reviews of the 13 Films that were shown on the Big Screen!!

Jason

Friday, October 24, 2008

Saw V

Genre - Horror
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 88 minutes
Rated R (for grisly, bloody violence, torture, and language)
Directed by David Hackl (his directorial debut - though he was 2nd unit director on Saw III & IV)
Written by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan (both of whom wrote Saw IV, as well as Feast 1, 2, and 3 - they also wrote the upcoming Re-make of Clive Barker's Hellraiser)
Cast Includes:
Tobin Bell (Saw I - IV)
Costas Mandylor (Saw III & IV - he was also in Virtuosity)
Scott Patterson (Saw IV)
Julie Benz (Darla from the Buffy the Vampire TV series, currently Dexter's girlfriend on Showtime's Dexter series, she was also in last year's Rambo and will be in the upcoming Punisher: War Zone)
Betsy Russell (Saw III & IV)

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:

When Hoffman learns that his secret connection to Jigsaw will be exposed, the forensics detective embarks on a hunt to eradicate everything that links him to the serial killer Jigsaw.

Review:

I'll be honest with you - I almost did not see this movie.
While I love the Saw series, I just feel that it's gone on a bit long. I doubt that James Wan & Leigh Whannell ever expected Saw to turn into what it has. Granted, I am a sucker, and I continue to go back to every sequel that they have made since, even if I do not want to. :-)

To me, no sequel will ever surpass how I felt after the 1st film. As for the 2nd one - I can take or leave that one. The 3rd however, I thought was great and allowed for the perfect end to the trilogy. Then along came number 4. . . I will admit that I liked it, mainly for the autopsy scene, and it did tie up some loose endings.

Now, we have Saw V. Is it really necessary? The answer is No. Is it good? Yeah, though it isn't worth the money that it will generate in the theatre. [I know, I know - I too am at fault, for attending - on opening day even - I just can't help myself! ;-) As for the tagline: You won't believe how it ends?!? What's up with that?!? Part 6 has already been announced. . . Is there ever going to be an end to this series? You may not believe the end, but you will definitely see it coming, as I felt this movie was much more predictable than the others.

Still, why do we go to see the Saw films?
I actually enjoy the depth of the story, however I know that we all want to see the latest torture traps, and you will get plenty of them in this film.

Well, those are my thoughts. I will let you see the movie for yourselves (though there is no need to see it in the theatre - if you can wait for the DVD, you know that you will get an extended, uncut, version of the film)

Let me leave you with the best part of the movie [this trailer]

I so cannot wait for this movie!!!

Also, do you remember My Bloody Valentine?
(Yeah, the movie from 1981)
Well, the Re-make is coming, in January - My Bloody Valentine 3-D
It actually looks pretty good - take a gander:

I told you. . . I'm a sucker for these things! :-)

Jason

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pathology

Genre - Crime Thriller
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 93 minutes
Directed by Marc Schoelermann
Written by Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor (both of whom wrote Crank 1 & 2, as well as Jonah Hex - coming in 2010)
Cast Includes:
Milo Ventimiglia (Peter from Heroes - he was also in Dirty Deeds & Cursed)
Michael Weston
Lauren Lee Smith (who we will also see in Michael Doughtery's Trick 'r Treat, whenever that is finally released!)
Johnny Whitworth
Keiro O'Donnell
Mei Melancon (Psylocke in X-Men III: The Last Stand)
John de Lancie (Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Alyssa Milano (Commando, Embrace of the Vampire, as well as the TV show Charmed)

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
After recent med school grad Ted lands an internship at a prestigious pathology unit in a Philadelphia hospital, he soon finds his new colleagues have some pathological tendencies themselves.
Seems his fellow interns have designed a gruesome contest to commit the perfect untraceable murder, while also competing to see who can determine the cause of death.

Review:
If you had asked me, around the age of 15 or so, what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer may very well have been a Pathologist. There's just something about it. . .
This movie opens with someone mouthing the mouths of corpses, in mock conversation, so right away you know you're in for a twisted ride.
At the beginning, we learn that the main character Ted (Milo Ventimiglia) solved a murder, when he was younger, and was almost recruited by the FBI, rather than attending med school. The reason that we learn this is to realize how brilliant Ted's mind really is, when it comes to diagnosing a cause of death.
This is how Ted becomes involved in the game mentioned in the plot summary. . .
While I thought that this movie was very good, I still found it hard to believe that these medical interns, who are surrounded by death, day in and day out, would be so reckless (careless driving, drugs, murder!)
Still, the movie moved along nicely, and then bam! the latter third rocked!
And what a Great ending!
The Hippocratic Oath sure didn't mean much to these folks!
I will tell you this as well. When I was younger, I had a crush on Alyssa Milano, and I was excited to find out that she was in this movie. However, next to Lauren Lee Smith, I barely noticed Alyssa...

Rather than just putting the trailer for this movie on here, I thought I would up it one further and put the hard-hitting autopsy scene on here instead.
[while not as good as the autopsy scene in Saw IV, it is still pretty killer!]
Be warned: this scene is extremely graphic and contains nudity!

Jason

Triple Feature: Anaconda 1, 2, and 3

With the release of Anaconda 3, this past Tuesday, I realized that I had never seen the 2nd one, even after having enjoyed the 1st one.
[what can I say? I'm a sucker for giant snake, croc, shark, whatever kind of creature movies!] :-)
With that said, I decided to re-watch the 1st one, and then 2 and 3, back-to-back.
Below are my thoughts:

Genre - Horror

Year Released:
Anaconda 1 - 1997
Anaconda 2 - 2004
Anaconda 3 - 2008
Running Time:
Anaconda 1 - 89 minutes
Anaconda 2 - 96 minutes
Anaconda 3 - 91 minutes

Directed by:
Anaconda 1 - Luis Llosa (who also directed Sniper)
Anaconda 2 - Dwight H. Little (who also directed Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers)
Anaconda 3 - Don E. Faunt LeRoy (who also directed Anaconda 4: Trail of Blood which isn't out yet)

Written by:
Anaconda 1 and Anaconda 2 - Hans Bauer & Jim Cash (Hans previously wrote Titan A. E. and Jim also wrote Top Gun, Turner & Hooch, and Dick Tracy)
Anaconda 3 - Nicholas Davidoff & David C. Olson (both of whom also wrote Anaconda 4)

Cast of Anaconda:
Jennifer Lopez (Enough, The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan, Jersey Girl)
Ice Cube (Boyz in the Hood, Trespass, Are We There Yet? It is also rumored that he will be playing the part of B. A. Baracus, in next year's adaptation of The A-Team ~ hopefully that remains just a rumor)
Jon Voight (Father of the beautiful Angelina Jolie He was also in Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, and National Treasure 1 & 2)
Eric Stoltz (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Pulp Fiction, Killing Zoe, The Prophecy)
Owen Wilson (Armageddon, I Spy, Shanghai Noon & Shanghai Knights, Drillbit Taylor)

Cast of Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
Johnny Messner (Running Scared and Believers)
Matthew Marsden (Rambo)
Nicholas Gonzalez Spun)
KaDee Strickland
Eugene Byrd

Cast of Anaconda 3: The Offspring
David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider - from the 80's, he also played Nick Fury, in the TV movie Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Crystal Allen (Maid in Manhattan)
John Rhys-Davies (Gimli in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Ferryman, the professor from the TV show Sliders, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark & The Last Crusade)

Plot Summary for Anaconda:
Jon Voight gives an over-the-top performance as Paul Sarone, an ex-Jesuit turned insane snake hunter who tricks a camera crew into helping him track down a gigantic anaconda.
The crew soon finds itself up the river without a paddle, as people become breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the enormous reptile.

Review for Anaconda:
Danny Trejo (Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Devil's Rejects, Spy Kids 1, 2, and 3) gives an all too short performance as an anaconda poacher at the beginning of the movie.
We also see an anaconda take down a black panther, which shows us just how dangerous these snakes can be.

There are some decent CGI snake attacks - the one where Jonathan Hyde (Jumanji) falls down the waterfall is probably my favorite, and there is also some nice animatronic effects as well.

The real reason to watch this movie though, is Jon Voight - he steals the show!

Rating for Anaconda: 3 Skulls

Trailer for Anaconda:



Plot Summary for Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
The Blood Orchid is a rare flower, found only in Borneo, and legend has it that anyone who can find it and keep it is sure to stay alive much longer than is presently possible.
Eager to determine what gives the plant its power, a team of scientists, led by the steely Cole Burns, set out for the jungle.
But what they don't know is that the Blood Orchid is protected by anacondas made even stronger and deadlier by the mysterious plant.

Review for Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
When the scientists first explain to their CEO that the Blood Orchid is the pharmaceutical equivalent of the Fountain of Youth, he replies that it will be even bigger than Viagra. [I just thought that was pretty funny.] :-)

After discovering that the Blood Orchid lies dormant for 7 years and only blooms for 6 months, the team of scientists realize that they only have a few weeks left in which to procure the flower.
When they arrive in Borneo they find out that it is rainy season, and they are unable to obtain a boat, to take them upriver.
Enter Captain Bill (Johnny Messner) who agrees to take them, for the price of $50,000.00

The movie is a little slow going. It is probably a good 40 minutes before the 1st anaconda attack, though their is a croc attack beforehand, as well as a couple of other (failed) "jump moments"

The toilet on the boat is just a seat, open to the water below - as soon as I saw it, I was expecting there to be an anaconda attack, from below, while someone was sitting on the toilet, alas that never happened. . .
After the boat falls off a waterfall (in a huge c'mon! moment) everyone is forced to travel by foot, encountering leeches, poisonous spiders, etc along the way.

Around this time, they discover that there are several giant anacondas roaming about, due to it being mating season!

I have to tell you though that having several snakes, rather than just a few did not work as well for me.

Still, while not as good as the 1st one, this movie was enjoyable and it had a decent premise.

Rating for Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid 3 Skulls

Trailer for Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid





















Plot Summary for Anaconda 3: Offspring
Believing that an elusive anaconda may hold the cure for a life-threatening disease, an enigmatic billionaire hires a mercenary, named Hammett, to track down and capture the reptile.
But the snake has other ideas, and soon Hammett and his team find themselves in a battle for their lives against the giant serpent.

Review for Anaconda 3: Offspring
While the 1st & 2nd movies were both shown in the theatre, the 3rd one was made for TV, with a direct-to-DVD release. Funny thing there is that the 1st & 2nd one were both PG-13, while the 3rd one (being made for Sci-Fi) is rated R?!? Go figure!

Where the 2nd one was slow to start, this 3rd one has an anaconda attack in the 1st minute!
We then find out that a pharmaceutical company has been genetically engineering a new strain of anaconda to neutralize the gene that accepts the extract from the Blood Orchid (it works for anacondas, however it is fatal in humans)

When the CEO (John Rhys-Davies) stops by to look into things, he tells the supervisor of the project that if he screws things up, "the only thing that he will be supervising is a proctologist removing his boot from his rectum" HA! :-)

Shortly afterwards, the 60 foot long (!) genetically modified anaconda escapes from the lab. During the escape, we realize that part of the genetic mutation has caused a very lethal spike to grow at the end of the anaconda's tail, enabling it to impale its victims on its tail. [Stupid!]

The CGI in this movie is absolutely horrible! And the size of the anaconda is just hokey looking!
Still, being R-rated, allowed for some decent gore effects. There is one scene where there is a nice fountain of blood spraying out of the neck of a decapitated body.
However, this in no way makes for an enjoyable movie though. In fact, this one was quite lame.

The thing about these movies is that you don't really care about the characters. You're just waiting for the next person to get eaten.

Rating for Anaconda 3: Offspring 2 Skulls

Trailer for Anaconda 3: The Offspring






















On the disc for the 3rd movie, there is also a trailer for the 4th movie in the series - Trail of Blood - so, I am sure that I will be suckered into seeing that one as well, though I will probably just wait and catch it on Sci-Fi as I am sure it will not be any better than the 3rd one.
Jason

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

RetarDEAD

Genre - Horror/Comedy
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 100 minutes
Directed by Rick Popko & Dan West (who both directed the previous installment Monsturd)
Written by Rick Popko & Dan West (both of whom also wrote Monsturd)
Cast Includes about 95% of the same cast from Monsturd [even those that died, in Monsturd, return as different characters in this one] :-) Those characters remaining the same:
Hannah Stangel as the young girl who narrates portions of the story
Dan Burr as the evil Dr. Stern
Paul Weiner as the local town Sheriff
Dan West & Rick Popko - the directors - as the idiotic sheriff's deputies
Beth West as the FBI agent

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:

Evil has come to the Butte County Institute of Special Education, and its students will never be the same. After surviving a ferocious battle with his own monstrous creation, Dr. Stern returns to continue his horrible research, in this blood-drenched sequel to the cult hit "Monsturd"
Armed with a fatal hyper-intelligence serum, the mad doctor transforms a quiet community into an army of flesh-eating zombies.
It's a showdown of limb-chopping, head-bursting proportions as Stern's nemesis, FBI agent Susan Hannigan and the local Sheriff's department, take on the zombie plague in the ultimate battle royale.


Review:

For those of you who may not have read the Interview that I conducted with Director's Rick Popko & Dan West - http://www.horrordecor.net/scarsinterviews.htm#monsturd - RetarDEAD took 5 years to make. (3 years to shoot and 2 years to edit) The movie was completely self-financed, and has over 200 people in it! This movie may be low-budget, but it is still a lot of fun!

The movie opens a'la Grindhouse with Herschell Gordon Lewis (the "godfather of gore" himself) explaining the hysterical 'theatre regulations'. The movie even has that 1970's feel to it with that scratchy, skipping, grainy look.
We are then treated to a couple of Coming Attractions:
Frankenstein and the Bloody Beast of Ghastly Terror and Dracula vs. Jack the Ripper
These trailers are hilarious in themselves - add to the fact the absolutely horrible dubbing, and I was laughing out loud! Immediately, I knew that I was in for a good time. :-)

RetarDEAD starts off the exact same way that Monsturd did, with the young girl waking up in the middle of the night, after a nightmare. Her father (played by Paul Weiner, who also plays the Sheriff) immediately comes in to check on her. The girl tells her father that she had another nightmare. The father then replies, "I thought that the 'poopy man' was dead." If you have not yet seen Monsturd, then you will not get the joke. Too Funny! [While you do not need to see Monsturd first, I would suggest it] The young girl then explains to her father that Dr. Stern survived his encounter with the "poop man". . .

Meanwhile, there is some odd side-story-line having to do with a masturbating perpetrator known as the "weenie wagger" aka Herbert the Pervert. [*Note: This movie is not for children, so watch this one after their bedtime, like I did. As you can already tell, it has sexual humor, a lot of language, and graphic violence] One of my favorite lines about this character was when (I think) Deputy Dan informed Deputy Rick that the perp left some pecker-snot on a window. hahahaha :-)

Once again, my favorite part of this movie is Rick & Dan's portrayal of the town's deputies.
To show you just how idiotic these characters are, there is a scene where we learn about a prior bust of an LSD Ring, in an Elementary School! Later on in the movie, Deputy Rick, comes out complaining that his stamps are not sticking to his envelope. The Sheriff asks where he got the stamps, and Rick replies "out of the evidence locker" You guessed it - the stamps were the LSD from the drug bust! HA! :-)

I also love how these guys (the real Rick & Dan) pay tribute to other films that they love. After Deputies Rick & Dan catch "the weenie wagger" a scene of intense police brutality ensues, after which Deputy Dan asks Deputy Rick - "you about done there, L.A. Confidential?" In the interrogation scene, Deputy Dan also calls Deputy Rick 'Bad Lieutenant' There is also a scene with a graphic gunshot to the head, that takes place in a vehicle, and Deputy Dan comments that "he feels like he is trapped in a Quentin Tarantino movie." There is also a vomit scene reminiscent of that Monty Python movie - was it The Life of Brian maybe? I forget.

I also love the way that Rick & Dan go through exactly what they ask their actor's too, and the fact they they stick with "practical" F/X, rather than using CGI - very cool! [there is a fantastic scene where a head is ripped off of the body, with the spine still attached!]
Also, keep an eye out for original props that were used in Monsturd. [such as Dr. Stern's gun and Donnie the Doper] :-)

Some other things that I wanted to mention - Mark Pirro returns as the sketch artist from Monsturd, in which he had a hilarious scene. In this one, he is just as funny, and you are just waiting for the punchline - "Did he look like this?" [He has the uncanny ability to portray the villain with dead-on accuracy, even though there is no way that he could know!] :-)

David F. Friedman (producer of Two Thousand Maniacs and Blood Feast) makes a cameo appearance, as does Jello Biafra (the former Dead Kennedy front-man) as the town's Mayor, giving a completely ridiculous speech.
The Living Dead Girlz (an actual zombie dance troupe) also make an appearance, in what I felt was just a little bit too much.

All in all, another enjoyable movie by Popko & West! The pay-off at the end of this one is absolutely hysterical! This is one of those movies where you will want to watch it again, with friends! I am looking forward to seeing their next film! [which, according to my interview may just be a screwball slapstick comedy!] :-)



One more thing, and this is Awesome! RetarDEAD actually comes with an 80-minute CD of the soundtrack to the film (which again, includes a hilarious end-credits song) It even includes the end-credits song to Monsturd. The DVD also includes absolutely hysterical deleted scenes and outtakes (there is an on-going gag about the size of the Sheriff's penis that is just too funny!) There is also a Make-Up Effects special feature, though there is No Commentary!! :-(
Maybe one day. . .

Be sure to visit Rick & Dan's webpage - http://www.4321films.com/ - for more information on their films.

Jason

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Spike TV's 3rd Annual Scream Awards - 2008 - Re-Cap


In case you may have missed it. . .

The lovely Kate Beckinsale opened the evening by awarding Sir Anthony Hopkins with the Scream Legend Award.

Kevin Smith & Seth Rogen, with absolutely hysterical banter beforehand, then presented the Best Fantasy Movie Award.
Nominees were:
Hancock
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Wanted
The movie that took home the award - Hellboy II: The Golden Army [Well Deserved]

Kristen Bell & Stan Lee then presented the Best Comic Book Award.
Nominees were:
The Astonishing X-Men
Hack/Slash
The Umbrella Academy
The Walking Dead
Y: The Last Man
The comic that took home the award - Y: The Last Man
[This one surprised me. Though I do have to say that I am not familiar with Y - I just assumed that The Walking Dead was the best among the list. Granted, I have not read an issue in the last year or so, in my travels, so it may no longer be as good as it started out]

Cam Gigandet (James in Twilight) then presented everyone with a World Premiere look at Twilight, hitting theatres on November 21st! [It looks Great!]

Gary Oldman then presented the Best Fantasy Actor and the Best Villain Awards - both of which went to Heath Ledger (as Joker in The Dark Knight) which was Awesome!!!

The Osbourne Family then presented the award for the Best TV Show.
Nominees were:
Battlestar Galactica
Dexter
Heroes
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
The TV show that took home the award - Dexter
[I am glad that Dexter won, though I would have been just as pleased had it been Battlestar Galactica!] :-)

Rob Zombie then presented the Best Sci-Fi Actress Award.
Nominees were:
Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil: Extinction)
The actress that took home the award - Milla Jovovich
[Whom I love, though she made such a dim-witted comment, thinking that the "Spike" - the actual award - was a microphone?!? And even though I love Tricia Helfer as well, I would have liked to see Katee Sackhoff - "Starbuck" nominated]

Summer Glau & Thomas Dekker then presented a musical performance by Kerli [who I have never heard of and will likely forget]

Sean William Scott then presented the Best Supporting Performance Award.
Nominees were:
Michael Caine (The Dark Knight)
Doug Jones (Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
Shia LaBeouf (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
The Supporting Actor that took home the award - Gary Oldman [one of my faves!]

Winona Ryder then awarded Tim Burton with the Scream Immortal Award.

Frank Miller, along with Jaime King and another actress that I did not know then presented the Best Sci-Fi Movie Award.
Nominees were:
Cloverfield [why in the world was this even nominated?!?]
Wall-E
I am Legend
Iron Man
The movie that took home the award - Iron Man - Jon Favreau (the director) accepted the award and dedicated it to Stan Winston, which I thought was really cool!

Robert Downey Jr. then gladly accepted his Best Sci-Fi Actor Award from the set of Sherlock Holmes.

Jared Padalecki and an actress [I didn't catch her name] from the Re-Make of Friday the 13th then presented everyone with a World Premiere look at Friday the 13th, hitting theatres on February 13th, 2009 [It looks okay - I have hopes for it, as Marcus Nispel is directing]

Neve Campbell then awarded Wes Craven with the Mastermind Award.

Marilyn Manson then presented the award for the Most Memorable Mutilation.
Nominees were:
Hellboy II: The Golden Army - "the tooth fairies scene"
The Ruins - "the leg amputation scene"
Saw IV - "the autopsy"
Teeth - "the penis bitten off by a vagina scene" [which I thought hilarious!]
The award for the Most Memorable Mutilation scene went to: Teeth's infamous scene [while they were all very good scenes, I would have given it to the autopsy scene in Saw IV, but that's just me - I still think it hilarious that Teeth actually won the award though!] :-)

Julie Benz then presented the Best Director Award.
Nominees were:
Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)
The director that took home the award - Christopher Nolan [Well Deserved!]

Christopher Nolan (and his brother, Jonathan) also won the Best Screenplay Award (for The Dark Knight)

Ron Perlman then presented the Best Horror Actress Award.
Nominees were:
Julie Benz (Dexter)
Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
Jena Malone (The Ruins)
Liv Tyler (The Strangers)
The actress that took home the award - Liv Tyler
[I was hoping that she would win, as her performance in the movie was fantastic!]

Darren Lynn Bousman & AnnaLynne McCord [hot!] then presented a musical performance by Smashing Pumpkins

Gerard Way (Frontman for My Chemical Romance and the Creator of The Umbrella Academy Comic) brought out Zack Snyder and some of the cast from Watchmen to present everyone with a World Premiere look at Watchmen, hitting theatres on March 6th, 2009 [this movie looks so cool!]

Rosario Dawson then presented The Ultimate Scream Award [aka Best Picture]
Nominees were:
Cloverfield [What?!? Best Picture?!?]
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Iron Man
And the winner (drum roll please) The Dark Knight [Well Deserved]

Samuel L. Jackson then closed the evening by presenting the Comic-Con Icon Award to George Lucas [who even thanked Star Trek!!] :-)


All in all, a fun evening to be had, as these are my kinds of awards!
As much as I love Science Fiction and Comic Books, I would still like to see an award show devoted strictly to Horror, but hey, I'll take what I can get! :-)

Jason

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mongul

Foreign Film from Russia (aka Mongul: The Rise to Power of Genghis Khan)
Language - Mongolian
Subtitles are in English
Genre - Adventure/Drama/Semi-Historical Biography
Year Released - 2007
Running Time - 125 minutes
Directed by Sergei Bodrov
Written by Sergei Bodrov & Arif Aliyev
Cast Includes:
Tadanobou Asano as Termudjin - who becomes Genghis Khan
Odnyam Odsuren as the young Termudjin
Khulan Chuluun as the wife of Termudjin
Honglei Sun as Jamukha - the Blood-Brother of Termudjin
Rating: 5 Skulls
Plot Summary:

In the 12th, an orphaned young slave named Termudjin escapes from his captors and begins the journey that will lead him to become one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever known.

This is the 1st in a Trilogy that will span the life story of Genghis Khan

Review:

I saw a trailer for this movie, when I was in Seattle, and was hoping to see it on the big screen. Alas, it did not make it into the theatre while I was there, so I had to wait, impatiently for the DVD.

The movie begins, in the year 1171, when Termudjin (who will eventually become Genghis Khan himself) is only 9 years old. At the age of nine, Termudjin is on his way to the Merkit Clan to choose his wife! Once he chooses his wife, he informs her that he will return, in five years, to take her to his home, as his bride.

On his way back home, his father (the Khan/Ruler of his Clan) is poisoned. The clan then erupts into chaos, without a leader, and Termudjin - who is to become Khan is threatened and left alone to survive on his own. (Those who threatened him swear to return, when he is older, to kill him then, rather as a child)

After being orphaned, Termudjin is eventually hunted, imprisoned, and enslaved. He is then subjected to starvation and humiliation, until he escapes, with the help of another, who then becomes his blood-brother. Termudjin then returns to the Merkit Clan to claim his wife.

I do not know how accurate this movie is to the actual life of Termudjin, but it is different than I would have thought. This movie shows a strong, compassionate side to the Genghis Khan that History tells us about.

The cinematography is this movie is absolutely amazing! It is one of those movies where, watching it, it is as if you are looking out through a window.

I do not want to tell you the entire movie, just know that it is indeed a sprawling epic. This movie is just setting the stage, for what is to come. If the 2nd and 3rd movies in this planned trilogy are even half as good as this one. . . I can't even imagine. . .

Tadanobou Asano is the Perfect Genghis Khan!


After Termudjin leaves his blood-brother's clan, to start his own, some of his blood brother's clan decides to leave with Termudjin, which causes just a little animosity between the two. When the actual brother of Jamukha (Termudjin's blood-brother) is accidentally killed by one of Termudjin's men, it starts a war between the two clans.

It is around this time (I believe the year was around 1196) when Termudjin realizes that all Monguls need laws - even if he has to kill half of the Monguls to enforce them! He creates simple laws: Do not kill women or children. Do not forget your debts. Fight your enemy to the end. Never betray your Khan. Termudjin plans to unite all of the Monguls, to make them strong, by becoming Khan of the Mongul Empire. Though his blood-brother's army is larger, Termudjin uses strategy. . .

Greatness comes to those who take it!

This movie ends, in the year 1206, with Termudjin becoming Khan of all of the Monguls - forever known as Genghis Khan. I so cannot wait for the other two movies in this trilogy!!

Let me leave you with a Mongolian Proverb:

Do not scorn a weak cub.
He may become the brutal tiger.

Jason