BARE BONES: OXYGEN (2021)

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OXYGEN (2021)

Oxygen finds a woman (Mélanie Laurent) awaking in a cryogenic sleep chamber with her oxygen fast depleting, due to an unknown malfunction, and no idea who she is and how she got there. With time running out and only the unit’s computer MILO (voiced by Mathieu Amalric) to assist her, she starts a journey to find out her identity, how she into this predicament and if she can somehow escape before her air runs out.

French language flick is tensely directed by Alexandre Aja (Crawl) from a script by Christie LeBlanc. It’s part mystery, part thriller and part science fiction, as the trapped young woman desperately tries to find all the answers and a way out of her predicament before she suffocates. It’s a taunt and suspenseful journey made even more intense by way of being set completely within the confines of the claustrophobic cryogenic sleep chamber. Mélanie Laurent makes a likable and resilient heroine and we slowly find out what the real story is here, through flashbacks and reveals, as she finds out the facts herself. It’s an entertaining film and a solid mystery thriller from a filmmaker yet to disappoint. Flick is available to stream on Netflix.

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: GRAVE ROBBERS (1989)

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GRAVE ROBBERS aka LADRONES DE TUMBAS (1989)

Another Mexican horror from Rubén Galindo Jr. This one opens in Mexico at the time of the inquisition. The church’s executioner (Agustín Bernal) has turned against God to worship Satan and himself is killed by his own axe before he enacts a sinister ritual. With his last breath, he proclaims that some day he will return and finish what he started. In modern (well…1989 Mexico) times, a group of youths are robbing graves and stumble upon the treasure filled crypt of the monks and the executioner. They remove the axe from his chest and soon he is walking the earth once again, slaughtering anyone in his path, while searching for a virgin to complete his ritual. The only one standing in his way is local police captain Lopez (Fernando Almada), a descendant of the archbishop who originally slew the executioner, whose virginal daughter Olivia (Edna Bolkan) is exactly the maiden the fiend is looking for.

Fun and gory horror is directed by Rubén Galindo Jr. from a script with Carlos Valdemar. Much like their Cemetery of Terror collaboration, this flick is atmospheric, very bloody and very 80s. Galindo knows his tropes well and we get creepy old graveyards, cobweb filled crypts, fog shrouded churches and an abundance of well rendered gore. The plot is a bit loopy, with an axe wielding walking corpse looking for a maiden to knock up in Old Scratch’s name, but Galindo directs it seriously…but not too serious…and simply knows how to present the horror traditions well. The 80s fashions and electronic score give the film some fun 80s nostalgia, and even if it gets a bit silly, it is visually atmospheric and does have some very spooky moments, along with some gruesome kills. The undead executioner makes for a solid fiend/villain complete with supernatural powers and the cast are all fine for this type of horror hi-jinx.

Grave Robbers might a bit goofy at times and it’s story might be more silly than scary, but it’s the skilled direction of Ruben Galindo Jr that keeps it spooky and bloody fun. He is very aware of the classic horror film traditions and knows how to use those elements very well. The film takes itself seriously, but not too serious to not have a good time. The film is visually impressive and atmospheric, the cast just fine for what they have to do and the gore effects are abundant and well done. Another solid Mexican horror from Ruben Galindo Jr and another obscure title available on Blu-ray from the awesome folks at Vinegar Syndrome.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) axes!

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MARVEL’S BLACK WIDOW GETS NEW CHARACTER POSTERS!

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MARVEL’S BLACK WIDOW GETS NEW CHARACTER POSTERS!

On 7/9/21 we are finally getting a solo adventure for Natasha Romanoff and the latest trailer has anticipations high. Black Widow is directed by Cate Shortland from a script by Jac Schaeffer, David Hayter and Ned Benson. The flick stars Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov aka Red Guardian and William Hurt returning as Thaddeus Ross. What took you so long, Marvel!?

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…and in case you haven’t seen the first trailer…

-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Instagram/Marvel

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES MAY 7-9

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES MAY 7-9

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Wrath of Man” $8.1 Million

2. “Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train” $3 Million

3. “Mortal Kombat” $2.4 Million

4. “Godzilla vs Kong” $1.9 Million

5. “Raya and the Last Dragon” $1.8 Million

6. “Separation” $1 Million

7. “Here Today” $900,000

8. “Nobody” $760,000

9. “The Unholy” $ 730,000

10. “Tom and Jerry” $426,000

source: Box Office Mojo

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BARE BONES: INITIATION (2020)

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INITIATION (2020)

Initiation is another horror with a message about inappropriate sexual behavior towards women. The slasher focuses on a college campus where girls thought to be promiscuous are marked in texts with exclamation points by predatory males. Pretty Kylie (Isabella Gomez) finds herself waking up in a male student’s bedroom after passing out during a homecoming party and not sure of what happened to her. Soon, one of the boys possibly involved, star student Wes Scott (Froy Gutierrez), is brutally murdered. While Kylie struggles with what happened to her and Wes’ sister Ellery (Lindsay LaVanchy) struggles with the murder of her brother and what he’s accused of, a mirror masked killer begins stalking and murdering students.

Flick is stylishly directed by John Berardo from his script with Brian Frager and star LaVanchy. It finds inspiration not only from contemporary themes from the #metoo era, but classic slashers like Scream, and it’s visual style, with it’s mirror masked face killer and bold neon colors, hinting Berardo may have been a fan of Dario Argento, as well. The kills are quite vicious and there is some graphic bloodshed, as the stalker uses various tools to savagely kill his or her victims. It’s a very somber slasher for it’s first hour with it’s gruesome kills few and spaced out, while focusing on the emotional turmoil of both Kylie and Ellery. It cranks up the intensity for it’s climax, where we get a reveal which works in context of the story, though isn’t a complete surprise, as, at this point, there are not too many suspects left. Overall, this is an effective and stylish slasher with a more moderate pace, until the last act, which deftly applies some very topical themes with it’s subtext of young women being taken advantage of and more concern show for the victimizer than the victim. Worth a watch on streaming outlets like Amazon Prime and has a good cast that also stars veteran actress Yancy Butler, as a police detective and horror vet Lochlyn Munro (Freddy vs. Jason), as the university chancellor, who may be more concerned with reputations than justice.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: CEMETERY OF TERROR (1985)

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CEMETERY OF TERROR aka CEMENTERIO DEL TERROR (1985)

Mexican horror takes place on Halloween night with a group of youths going to an abandoned house to party. In the house they find a book of occult rituals and spells and as a prank, decide to steal a body from the morgue and try to raise it from the dead at a local cemetery. What could go wrong? Of course, the teens pick the body of Satan worshipping serial killer, Devlon (José Gómez Parcero) and soon Devlon is back from the dead and slaughtering the partiers back at the abandoned house. The only person who stands in the way, as a group of young trick or treaters finds themselves in the undead killer’s path, too, is Dr. Cardan (Hugo Stieglitz), a professor who knows all about Devlon’s powers and might be able to stop him.

Flick is directed by Rubén Galindo Jr. from his script with Carlos Valdemar and while it is a hodge-podge of films we’ve seen before, it is spooky fun. Galindo knows the trappings of a horror flick, especially one set on Halloween, and fills the flick with creepy trees, fog, spooky old houses, tombstone filled graveyards and plenty of gore. There is a lot of blood and the FX are well rendered and Devlon is a scary enough villain along with his horde of zombies, which burst out of their graves in the last act. It’s nothing new, but is a lot of fun and is also very 80s. Part Spookies and part Halloween, this is an entertaining horror for All Hallows Eve, as long as you don’t mind subtitles and that the switch of focus from teens to kids, in the last act, makes the film more kid-centric for it’s finale.

Cemetery of Terror might evoke some flicks you’ve seen before, but is made by a filmmaker who knows how to have a good time with the familiar tropes and use the familiar story elements well. Dumb, sex crazed teenagers, reanimated killers, zombies, gore and graveyards are all put to good use in this tale of horrors on Halloween night. We have both kids and teens in peril and the Mexican version of Dr. Loomis racing to the rescue. It’s a good time Halloween horror from South of the Border that fits in nicely with any All Hallows Eve flick. Available on Blu-ray from the awesome folks at Vinegar Syndrome.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) jack o lanterns!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 MEXICAN HORROR FILMS TO WATCH ON CINCO DE MAYO!!!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 MEXICAN HORROR FILMS TO WATCH ON CINCO DE MAYO!!!

The annual celebration of the fifth of May reminds us of all the wonderful things that come from Mexican culture…including some great horror films! So, without further ado, here are 10 Mexican horror films to watch on Cinco de Mayo!

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A ghostly boy from Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone

-MonsterZero NJ

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR (1985)

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NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR (1985)

Actually saw this awful anthology in a theater back in 1985 when it was first released. It finds God (Ferdy Mayne) and The Devil (Tony Giorgio) on a train fated to crash at dawn, competing for the souls of three individuals. This sets up three stories that determines who gets their souls. The first is The Case of Harry Billings which finds Harry (John Phillip Law) taken to a sinister insane asylum where he is made to lure beautiful women there for nefarious purposes. The second is The Case of Greta Connors which tells the tale of a wannabe actress, Greta (Meredith Haze), who is rescued from life as a porn star by a young man (J. Martin Sellers), only to find herself and her lover in a death cult. Final tale is The Case of  Claire Hansen, which finds devout Catholic Claire (Faith Clift) getting mixed up in apocalyptic evil doings along with her atheist, author husband (Richard Moll). Framing segments also feature a band performing the same song over and over on the ill-fated train, for whatever reason.

Flick is culled together from three separate full length movies, and with the framing segments, has five directors credited to it…,Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, John Carr, Phillip Marshak, Tom McGowan and Gregg C. Tallas. Ironically, all three films were written by Philip Yordan and he receives sole writing credit for this one, too. While it might not be fair to speak for the films this is edited down from, unless you’ve seen them, but what we do see of them isn’t good. As for Night Train, it is a terrible movie from the acting to the FX and sometimes hilariously so, though not enough to make it fun. It can also be tedious at only 98 minutes, the stories barely follow a narrative structure and even some veteran actors, like Cameron Mitchell and John Philip Law deliver terrible performances. When surrounded by friends, it was a hoot to watch it in it’s awfulness back in the day, but revisiting it from the couch streaming on Tubi, not so much. It’s simply a bad movie in every way and most likely someone’s attempt to get back money spent on the three turkeys it’s edited down from. It has gained some cult status, over the years, but not sure it deserves it. It’s really just that bad.

In conclusion, Night Train To Terror might have some 80s nostalgia and some personal nostalgia, too, but it is simply an awful anthology cut together from what appears to be three equally terrible movies. The FX, dialogue, sets and acting are almost all bargain basement and only Ferdy Mayne and Tony Giorgio as God and The Devil, respectively, offer anything noteworthy to the audience, as the two actors do play their parts effectively well. At least the dialogue between them was interesting and fairly well written. A simply dreadful anthology and not in a good way.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 1 and 1/2 (out of 4) train signals!

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES APRIL 30-MAY 2

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES APRIL 30-MAY 2

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train” $6.4 Million

2. “Mortal Kombat” $6.52 Million

3. “Godzilla vs Kong” $2.7 Million

4. “Separation” $1.8 Million

5. “Raya and the Last Dragon” $1.3 Million

6. “Nobody” $1.3 Million

7. “The Unholy” $1 Million

8. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” $720,000

9. “Tom and Jerry” $515,000

10. “Together Together” $313,051

source: Box Office Mojo

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY TO FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY TO FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!

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Five years after the events of Friday the 13th, a new group of camp counselors line up for the slaughter!

40 years ago this weekend, 4/30/81 to be exact, Friday the 13th Part 2 was released in theaters and a classic horror icon was born! Jason arrived to avenge his mother, in this installment, and thus his iconic character first came to life! HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!

MZNJ PERSONAL NOTE: Saw F13P2 opening night at the Hackensack Drive-In Little Ferry, N.J.

Screen-Shot-2016-04-26-at-8.55.19-PMJason arrives to avenge his mom and horror history is made!

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Life lessons to be learned in F13P2! Fun-loving Ted (Stuart Charno) survives the movie by staying at the bar and continuing to get drunk!

-MonsterZero NJ

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