CULT CLASSIC CUTIES: CAROLINE WILLIAMS as STRETCH in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2!

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Cult Classic Cuties are characters from some of our favorite cult classics and midnight movies who captured our hearts and/or actresses who got our attention, but sadly never returned to these type of flicks, or whose sexy stars shined only briefly not quite achieving scream queen status. And this installment’s cutie is…

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CAROLINE WILLIAMS as STRETCH in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986)!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 is Tobe Hooper and Cannon Pictures’ 1986 sequel to the 1974 horror masterpiece. It features the Sawyer family continuing their murderous, cannibalistic ways, now peddling their secret ingredient in an award winning chili. When Leatherface (Bill Johnson) and brother Chop Top (Bill Mosley) get recorded on a radio talk show carving up a couple of yuppies, leggy DJ Vanita ‘Stretch’ Brock becomes the family’s next target…and the object of Leatherface’s gruesome affection.
Who better to portray a sexy Texas radio DJ than sexy Texas born actress Caroline Williams!  Williams had appeared in a few film and TV roles before being cast in this slasher sequel, but this was her first lead role and she definitely caught the attention of horror film fans everywhere. Her sassy, spunky and resilient Stretch is quite the capable final girl and despite finding herself in the Sawyer family’s clutches, she proves that you should never mess with a girl from Texas…or wear their friend’s faces. Despite a strong and memorable performance, this was the only time Williams would do final girl duty despite appearing in a few more fright flicks over her long career.

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(click on the poster for a full review)

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Long-legged, Daisy Duke wearing Stretch is a texas girl through and through!

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The sexy DJ attracts the wrong attention when she records a murder over the radio!

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Now she finds herself at the wrong end of Leatherface’s attention…and chainsaw!

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…though maybe the cannibalistic Sawyer family picked the wrong Texas cutie to pick on!

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Never piss-off a girl from Texas!

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The actress has kept busy after her altercation with Drayton Sawyer (Jim Siedow) and his demented kin. She continues working in movies and TV and has even has done a few more horror flicks, including an appearance in the Sweet Tooth segment in last year’s ghoulishly fun Halloween anthology, Tales Of Halloween. But it is her one final girl film appearance that captured our hearts, kicking cannibal ass with a sexy smile, long legs and a pair of Daisy Dukes and that certainly earns her the title Cult Classic Cutie!

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Still a beauty 30 years after teaching the Sawyers she can handle a chainsaw just as good, or better, than the good ole boys!

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Be sure to check out our Cult Classic Cuties (click right here on the link) section to see more crush worthy ladies from cult films and midnight movies!

-MonsterZero NJ

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES SEPT 23-25

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

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

1. “The Magnificent Seven” $35 Million

2. “Storks” $21.8 Million

3. “Sully” $13.8 Million

4. “Bridget Jones’s Baby” $4.5 Million

5. “Snowden” $4.1 million

6. “Blair Witch” $3.95 Million

7. “Don’t Breathe” $3.8 Million

8. “Suicide Squad” $3.1 Million

9. “When The Bough Breaks” $2.5 Million

10. “Kubo and the Two Strings” $1.1 Million

source: Box Office Mojo

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: ABATTOIR (2016)

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ABATTOIR (2016)

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

Pretty reporter Julia (Jessica Lowndes) has recently suffered a tragedy when a random psychopath murders her sister and family in their own home. Before she even has time to get over her grief, she finds her sister’s house has been bought by a mysterious individual and the crime scene room completely removed. Julia begins to investigate along with her cop love interest, Grady (Joe Anderson) and finds that there is a history of homes bought after tragedies and in each case, the room containing the deaths has been completely removed. Her investigation leads to a small dying town called New English, a town she has personal connections to, and a enigmatic individual by the name of Jebediah Crone (Dayton Callie) who is collecting places that hosted horrific events…but why?

Flick is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman from a script by Christopher Monfette based on a graphic novel. While it has some interesting ideas and the concept of someone building a house made out of crime scene rooms is quite intriguing, the details surrounding our villain’s actions are a bit cloudy…especially as to how this is going to accomplish his proposed goals. There are some questions that seem only vaguely answered, such as what did Crone promise the citizens of New English that they would so easily kill, and of their own blood to get it and why does his house made of the ghosts of the horribly slain need a ‘fresh’ tragedy to be finished? Also, what is Crone? Demon? Ghost? We are never quite sure why he walks the earth now, after apparently meeting his demise years earlier and where he gets his power from. Some weak dialog throughout also doesn’t help matters, either and it seems there are some good ideas here that could have been better developed or conveyed more effectively to the audience. Bousman does direct this stylishly and with a lot of atmosphere, especially in the second half after a bit of a stale start. He makes great use of the Louisiana locations and despite the overloaded story, the last half hour set in Crone’s house of horrors is spooky and effective, even if we aren’t all that clear on where exactly all this is leading. Crone states his purpose but nothing indicating why he believes so. Bousman gives the movie a film noir flavor and it works with the supernatural subject matter very well. There is some violence, but it is done with restraint and not as prevalent as some of Bousman’s past films. The cinematography by Michael Fimognari is loaded with atmosphere as is the score by Mark Sayfritz which helps give the film a chill factory despite it’s flaws.

Even if Bousman and Monfette are being purposely a bit ambiguous on the ultimate point of all that occurs, it also doesn’t help that the film is also dragged down a bit by some sadly sub-par performances by some of it’s leads. Jessica Lowndes is beautiful and has the look of a film noir character, but isn’t much of an actress and it hurts as she is our main character. She’s not terrible, but far too wooden and limited in range to really pull this off. Anderson growls all his dialog and is simply weak as the love interest/cop Grady. Dayton Callie is creepy and mysterious as Jebediah Crone and it helps make the enigmatic nature of the character work, even though we’d like a clearer picture as to who he is and why he has the power to do what he does. Rounding out is the always delightful Lin Shaye as Allie, one of the few citizens of New English that is receptive to Julia…but one with a secret, too.

An interesting if not totally successful flick. On one hand the dialog is weak and the story is a bit convoluted. We are never completely clear on who our antagonist really is and how what he does is going to accomplish what he desires…and where is he getting his power to do it? On the other hand, the film is atmospheric and despite being a bit ambiguous, is quite spooky in it’s last act. The house Crone assembles from the tragedies of others is quite impressive and imaginative and works even if we are not totally convinced of it’s purpose. And while our leads are weak, Callie presents a creepy mystery man in his Jebediah Crone that makes this work as well as it does. Worth a look as it has some original and spooky ideas.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1/2 Crones.

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BARE BONES: SMILEY FACE

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SMILEY FACE (2007)

One-note stoner comedy tells the story of continually high Jane (Anna Faris). Jane’s day gets even more complicated when she accidentally eats pot-laced cupcakes and must now accomplish a series of errands and tasks even more stoned than usual.

Comedy from indie filmmaker Gregg Araki is basically a three minute Saturday Night Live type skit stretched out over 80 minutes from Dylan Haggerty’s script. Despite a cute and funny performance from Faris, as the perpetually-in-a-fog Jane and some funny bits, the film and it’s scenario wear out it’s welcome long before we reach the amusement park-set finale. Araki has a buoyant and colorful style, but there just isn’t enough laughs or story to make it worth sitting through almost 90 minutes of Jane’s weed induced hi-jinxs. Also stars Adam Brody, Jane Lynch, John Krasinski and with narration by Roscoe Lee Brown.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 star rating

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FIRST TRAILER FOR SCI-FI EPIC PASSENGERS!

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Big fan of both Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, as well as Sci-fi flicks, so this 12/21/2016 release has my attention…and now it has a trailer too! Film is written by Jon Spaihts and directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).

Source: Youtube

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES SEPT 16-18

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

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

1. “Sully” $22 Million

2. “Blair Witch” $9.65 Million

3. “Bridget Jones’s Baby” $8.2 Million

4. “Snowden” $8 million

5. “Don’t Breathe” $5.6 Million

6. “When The Bough Breaks” $5.5 Million

7. “Suicide Squad” $4.7 Million

8. “The Wild Life” $2.65 Million

9. “Kubo and the Two Strings” $2.5 Million

10. “Pete’s Dragon” $2 Million

source: Box Office Mojo

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: ROB ZOMBIE’S 31 (2016)

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ROB ZOMBIE’S 31 (2016)

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

With The Lords Of Salem, Rob Zombie delivered his best film and one where he showed a lot of growth as a filmmaker. He also showed he was capable of writing outside his grind house influences and even some maturity in the writing of his characters. With 31 Zombie unfortunately takes quite a few steps back with this dull, vulgar flick that is simply a series of brutal vignettes where a group of uninteresting characters are beset upon by a group of equally mundane villains. Story takes place on Halloween in 1976 where five carnival workers (Kevin Jackson, Meg Foster, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Sheri Moon Zombie) are kidnaped by a group of rich weirdos (Malcolm McDowell, Judy Geeson and Jane Carr) who force them to play a sick game called “31”. The rules are simple…the five have twelve hours to survive against a group of hired killer clowns, Sick-Head (Pancho Moler), Psycho-Head (Lew Temple), Schizo-Head (David Ury), Sex-Head (E.G. Daily), Death-Head (Torsten Voges) and the worst of them all, Doom-Head (Richard Brake). Locked in an abandoned factory, they must kill or be killed as their aristocratic hosts watch and wager on their survival.

If it sounds interesting, it isn’t. It’s basically yet another version of The Most Dangerous Game with innocents being hunted by killers while the haves cheer the deaths of the have-nots. Zombie directs from his own script and it’s one of his more uninspired stories, that lacks even the fun, homage heavy atmosphere of his first flick, House of 1,000 CorpsesSalem showed a lot of progress in his dialog and characters and with this mundane flick we’re back to obscenity spouting, two-dimensional characters that aren’t endearing or particularly likable…and those are the good guys. We just don’t care what happens to this bunch. The only person that earns our sympathy is Daniel Roebuck’s pre-credits scene preacher. The villains are all bland and generic loonies with only Brake’s Doom-Head projecting any menace, because he is the only one who doesn’t go over-the-top turning his killer-for-hire into a cartoon character that loses their threat factor. Zombie does still have a good visual eye and gives us interesting things to look at, despite the simple setting and crowd-funded budget. The violence once again returns to that of his earlier films and once again we are bludgeoned with so much brutality that we become numb to it long before the film’s 102 minutes are over. The movie does have a few moments, such as when our protagonists decide to go on the offensive against Psycho-Head and his brother Schizo-Head, but the overall effect is that the heroes become as vicious as the killers and it becomes hard to side with them as they match brutality with brutality. After a few more bloody battles, the film just ends suddenly with a sort of “That’s it, thanks for coming”. On a production level it is well made for a low budget flick and Zombie does pepper the soundtrack with some great tunes, like he always does. It’s just a sad disappointment that the maturing filmmaker that made the intriguing Lords Of Salem turned back into a horny 13 year-old who thinks endless vulgarity and gallons of spurting blood is all you need to be entertaining. Even his first feature, House of 1,000 Corpses was more interesting and a more solid movie.

The cast also seems to have regressed. Both Phillips and Zombie’s wife Sheri Moon were really good in Salem and here they are given very little to work with and don’t seem to really be into this flick. Their characters are bland, lifeless and have nothing all that interesting to say between curse words, sexual banter and violent death. We never really get to know them enough to care. Veteran Foster gives her Venus some gusto when under attack and Brake does give Doom-Head some real menace, but the rest of the cast seem to be operating on a paycheck level, not that they have much to work with from what might be Zombie’s weakest script.

In conclusion, this film was a major disappointment from a filmmaker who has been progressing from film to film. Even his much maligned Halloween II had some brilliant imagery and had the guts to do it’s own thing with a classic character and franchise. 31 has a minimal plot, that pits a group of cardboard good guys against some generic, vulgar and violent villains for another group of sadistic aristocrats. Nothing we haven’t seen often before. All the vulgarity and violence would be fine if there was some genuine wit, intensity or suspense here, but there isn’t…it’s just a series of increasingly violent interludes. It’s a dull and brutal movie that wears out it’s welcome long before the first hour is up and shows you all it has to offer in even less time. Would much rather have seen Zombie make his canceled Broad Street Bullies hockey flick than this dull regression.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 very disappointing butcher knives.

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: BLAIR WITCH (2016)

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BLAIR WITCH (2016)

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

Flick is a disappointing and scare-less sequel to the classic found footage horror The Blair Witch Project. It’s a true sequel this time, unlike the wonky Book Of Shadows which focused on the mania caused by the movie and was not a continuation of the film’s story. Found footage follow-up takes place twenty years later with Heather’s brother James (James Allen McCune) deciding to re-enter the Burkittsville woods after seeing footage posted on Youtube that he believes reveals his long lost sister. His trek to find his sibling is being documented by love interest Lisa (Callie Hernandez) along with two friends (Corbin Reid and Brandon Scott) and the two locals (Valorie Curry and Wes Robinson) who posted the footage that sparked this new expedition. Of course things start to go bump in the night in the Black Hill Woods.

First problem with Adam (The GuestYou’re Next) Wingard’s surprise sequel…it was secretly filmed under the pseudonym The Woods…is that never once did it feel like found footage. The cast all appear to be actors and not real people and the dialog, unlike the first flick, never seems anything but scripted…as by Simon Barrett. The first movie presented unknowns who improvised much of their dialog and it fooled a lot of people. Here these youths, with model good looks, never fool us for a minute that their trailer is just a few feet away and lost they are not. Second big problem is that not only is the film never tense or scary, but it actually was kinda dull for it’s brief 89 minutes.  It may be a sequel, but it’s more like a tepid remake that rolls out the Blair Witch tropes mechanically from noises in the woods, to characters running through the trees screaming, to twig stick figures popping up regularly. Things pick up somewhat in the last few minutes, set in a familiar old house, but even that goes on for too long and doesn’t really go anywhere the first film hadn’t already gone. There is a little bit more blood and violence in this once and there is some newer technology, like ear cameras and drones, but Wingard and Barrett never do anything interesting with it. The drone is taken out of the picture soon after it launches. Done. There were a few claustrophobic moments in some tunnels towards the climax, but honestly, the film evoked last year’s Nightlight far more than recaptured any of the tension and fear of the classic film that it’s a continuation of…especially in the house set last act.

This is a sadly dull and repetitive sequel that only has a few original moments and relied far more on way too many jump scares than actual fear. Wingard builds no tension or suspense and the flick is too polished and over-produced to ever feel like it’s actual footage. Whether James finds Heather, or we actually see the Blair Witch this time, is up to you to decide if it’s worth finding out. Some will say this is at least an improvement over 2000’s Blair Witch 2, but at least that film failed while trying to be original and interesting. This one is just a retread and a very generic and assembly-line one at that.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 stick figures that are all too familiar.

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BARE BONES: THE APPARITION and THE CHILDREN

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THE APPARITION (2012)

Put equal parts Paranormal Activity, The Ring and Poltergeist in a blender and the result would be The Apparition, a routine supernatural thriller about a young couple battling a supernatural entity. Kelly (Ashley Greene) and Ben (Sebastian Stan) move into her parent’s future retirement home to maintain it and soon start to experience strange occurrences. Before long it is clear there is a malevolent entity in the home and an experiment Ben was involved in might be why.

Director and writer Todd Lincoln helms this very familiar tale pretty much by the numbers, although he does achieve some effective scenes early on before the story starts to get more involved and thus sillier and more convoluted. It would have been better off if it stuck with being a routine haunting flick, but once Ben’s friend, Patrick (Tom Felton), the author of the experiment, shows up and tries to play ghostbuster, things just fall part with all the Star Trek meets Ghost Hunters mumbo jumbo about rifts and predatory entities from other dimensions. Fortunately, the film is barely over 80 minutes, so it moves quickly toward it’s stale climax. At least leading lady Greene is charming enough to allow us to like her character, even when she isn’t parading around wearing only half her clothes. Now only if she had a much better movie built around her scantily clad heroine, it might have been more of an enjoyable guilty pleasure.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 star rating

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THE CHILDREN (2008)

Kids can be creepy enough as it is, but this chilling and sometimes brutal British horror takes it to a whole new level. Writer/director Tom Shankland’s flick is a very effective and disturbing tale of a Christmas vacation get-together that becomes a nightmare when the children start to exhibit increasingly strange and soon violent behavior. What begins as a possible cold spreading from child to child, soon starts to take on some aggressive then violent characteristics. The young couples are soon faced with a parent’s worst nightmare, as it appears their kids want to kill them.

That’s what makes this horror flick work so well, despite some flaws, is the simple questions it poses… what would YOU do if you had to fight for your life against your own child? Could you? The parents in this film are confronted with that exact dilemma, as their own children become homicidal, with nowhere to run in their secluded country house. A disturbing and well made horror flick from Tom Shankland. Stars Hannah Toiton, Eva Birthistle (Wake Wood) and Jeremy Sheffield.

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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