Flick from writer/directors Matthew Kennedy and Adam Brooks is a tribute to the italian horror/Giallo films of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci that succeeds in certain areas, but fails in others. The film tells the story of legendary film editor, Rey Cisco (also Adam Brooks) who is currently working on a bloody murder mystery film, when he becomes embroiled in one in real life. The case is being investigated by hot shot detective Peter Porfiry, (also Matthew Kennedy) who thinks Rey is the prime suspect.
The film, co-written with co-star Conor Sweeney, creates the look and feel of the Italian chillers of the 70s and early 80s excellently, with some dead-on camera angles, shots and lighting, along with a perfectly fitting electronic score. There is also a bevy of lovely ladies with very generous amounts of nudity and excessive gore. Where the film goes wrong is that not only is it tedious and dull, with it’s gimmick wearing out it’s welcome early, but it also is played for laughs where a straightforward recreation probably would have been far more entertaining. The homages to Argento, Bava and Fulci are certainly well intended…thought there are also nods to Cronenberg’s Videodrome and Nakata’s Ringu that seem a bit out of place…but as a movie in itself it’s gets boring after the first half hour with the story awkwardly changing focus from Rey to Detective Porfiry and losing it’s grip. Too bad, the flicks heart is definitely in the right place.
Overall, while the tribute is certainly heartfelt and Kennedy and Brooks know their subjects well, the film they have created from that admiration fails to entertain like it’s influences. Also stars Nurse 3D‘s Paz de la Huerta, American Mary‘s Tristan Risk and the legendary Udo Kier.
(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)
Written and directed by S. Craig Zahler, this is a brooding and methodically paced western that switches gears into a full-blown horror for its last act. The story has Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell), who presides over the small western town of Bright Hope, heading into hostile territory to rescue a young wife (Lili Simmons) and his own deputy (Evan Jonigkeit) from a tribe of cave dwelling cannibals, that even the local Native Americans are afraid of. Along with him are his friend and back-up Chicory (Richard Jenkins), an aristocratic gunslinger (Matthew Fox) and the woman’s crippled husband, Arthur (Patrick Wilson).
Zahler takes a good 90 minutes letting us get to know his slightly eccentric characters before throwing them into a meat grinder…almost literally…when they finally encounter the vicious tribe. A good portion of the film is the journey where the moderate pace lets us really become familiar with Hunt and his party and it lulls us into a sort of sense of security, which we are then shocked out of when the would-be rescuers reach their grim destination. It works very well as when we finally get into the mountain lair of these brutal ‘troglodytes’, we are shocked at the gruesome brutality we are forced to witness after the more laid back first 90 minutes. The last act is a bloodbath and as we know these characters so well by now, it makes us feel for them. It’s a cruel and intense and makes the long wait definitely worth the while.
There are some really intriguing characters here and the entire cast does really solid work bringing them to life. To single anyone out would be unfair, though obviously Russell is great as always.
Sure, it’s a very slow burn and maybe we would have liked to know more about this ‘tribe’, but it is still a very satisfying and unique movie that is a refreshing change from a lot of the cookie cutter horror that we have seen over the last few years. It can be quite brutal at times, but Zahler gives us a well scripted thriller especially when it comes to his eclectic cast of characters and a real nail-biting finale. Recommended.
Horror comedy finds a group of summer school teachers under siege from a horde of students turned into flesh eating zombies by some rancid chicken nuggets. Written by Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan, this flick gives us nothing fresh or new in the zombie sub-genre, whether it be comedy or straight horror. It’s all been done before. The direction by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion is very by-the-numbers and none of the humor is really all that funny. There is some abundant gore and the cast, including Elijah Wood, Alison Pil and Rainn Wilson seem to be having a fun time, but not much of that really translates to the audience…unless you think simply seeing students kill their parents and teachers, or teachers killing their students, is funny. The film’s attempts to be clever are far too obvious to be successful, like the town being called ‘Fort Chicken’ and Elijah Wood’s Mr. Hadson being compared to a Hobbit by Rain Wilson’s cliché redneck. That’s pretty much the level this flick is on. Overall, it’s kinda dull even at less than 90 minutes. The students-turned-zombies Halloween episode of Community was a lot funnier with a similar plot.
(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)
Sequel takes place a few years later in NYC where Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) and now fiancé, Kate (Pheobe Cates) have gone to work at the high-tech Clamp Tower owned by billionaire entrepreneur Daniel Clamp (John Glover). At the same time, Gizmo’s keeper Wing (Keye Luke) dies and Clamp seizes the Chinatown property for a development project. The Mogwai is brought to Clamp Tower’s genetics lab where they are quite unaware of the rules…which are again broken, unleashing an army of gremlins inside the skyscraper who are awaiting nightfall to spread out into the Big Apple.
Written this time by Charles S. Haas and Looney Tunes creator Chuck Jones, Gremlins 2 takes on a lighter and more cartoonish tone with the previous film’s darker and more violent elements all but gone. Director Joe Dante still gives us a good time and the new setting and expanded budget freshen things up a bit and give us creatures with far more individual personality, especially when they hit the Splice Of Life genetics lab and start experimenting on themselves. Flying gremlins, spider-gremlins and even a gremlin with a genius IQ (voiced by NYC acting legend Tony Randall). It may be a lot goofier in tone, but Dante and his writers find new ways for the gremlins to cause havoc and amuse us. There are still a lot of clever bits, even if it has lost a good deal of it’s edge and while I prefer the darker tone of the first, there is still enough of a devious sense of humor to keep it fun. Obviously, there are a ton of movie references and in-jokes for movie fans to giggle and veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith returns to score, as does frequent Dante cinematographer John Hora return to lens.
Dante again has assembled a good cast. The returning Galligan and Cates reprise their roles complete with plenty of charm. John Glover is very funny as the goofball, eccentric billionaire Clamp. His almost oblivious reaction to everything is constantly amusing. Haviland Morris is fun, sexy and seductive as Billy’s boss who has plans for him that extend beyond the office. There are a lot of fun cameos from some Dante regulars with Dick Miller returning as Mr. Futterman and Dante regular Robert Picardo as a jerk of a security chief. There are also small parts from character actor Robert Prosky as a horror show host, a hilarious Christopher Lee as the head of the genetics lab, Dr. Catheter and wrestler/actor Hulk Hogan cameoing as himself.
Gremlins 2 may not be quite as good or unique as the first flick, but is still a lot of fun and Dante brings the chaos and anarchy with a devious smile…though with far less dark a tone. The cast are all having a blast and the FX people really take advantage of a much larger budget to deliver a horde of various versions of the title creatures. Not quite an equal, but a fun sequel that sadly underperformed at the box office and ended the series till talk of a Gremlins 3 started up again recently.
Well, if I am going to have a Halloween Hottie Of The Year then it’s only fair that we select a hero! This year that selection is easy, as Canadian actor Keir Gilchrist was in, not one, but three horror flicks seen this year, two that will most certainly be on MonsterZero NJ’s best horrors of 2015 list!
It Followssaw Gilchrist as Paul, loyal friend of the film’s heroine Jay, whose feelings for her brings out the hero in the normally mild mannered youth.
Dark Summer has Keir playing Daniel Austin, a young man on house arrest for stalking a classmate, who has since committed suicide. This leaves the boy trapped in the house with a vengeful spirit who has a horrifying agenda of her own. Also stars Some Kind Of Hate‘s Maestro Harrell, who obviously came in a close second for Gilchrist’s title.
October’s fun anthology flick Tales Of Halloween found the young actor starring in Paul Solet’s Spaghetti Western slanted revenge segment The Weak and the Wicked. Here Gilchrist’s stranger summons a demon to avenge the acts of three vicious hoodlums.
Three horror flicks and three roles that make it easy to choose the vesitile Keir Gilchrist as our Horror Hero of 2015!
Doing things a bit differently this year. I liked a lot of stuff and decided not to limit myself to just a top ten and simply list what I really liked and want to share. So with honorable mentions included, we have a solid list of 20 horrors. Without further ado, here are MonsterZero NJ’s favorite horrors of 2015!
(There are a few titles here initially released in 2014 at festivals or limited theatrical release, but I did not catch up to them till VOD or home media in 2015 and felt it unfair not to include them.)
(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews!)
Full review links for the top 15 and honorable mention titles!
That “other” holiday season is here, the one that doesn’t involve jack-o-lanterns, witches and goblins, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some chills and thrills. I tried to add some variety here, so not all of them are classics and not all strictly horrors…though A Christmas Carol IS a ghost story after all. Here are ten flicks to add some chills and thrills to your ho ho holidays!
(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews!)