RETURN TO HORROR HIGH (1987)
(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)
Ho hum horror/comedy is most notable for having future A-lister George Clooney in a small role and being a good example of how silly and self aware a lot of horror flicks got at this point in the decade. (for more on that subject click HERE). Flick tells the story of a film crew filming a movie about a series of murders that occurred a few years earlier at the now abandoned Crippen High School. They are filming at the actual site of the murders, despite that the killer was never found and now someone stalks the cast and crew, killing them off in gruesome ways.
Directed by Bill Froehlich from a script by he and three other writers. It’s understandable that to be a parody of slashers you kind of have to basically be one but this flick fails at both. It’s fractured narrative doesn’t help, going back and forth between the aftermath of the murders and back to the killings as they happen, letting us know right off the bat who survived and who didn’t, eliminating any suspense, if they were even attempting any. The deaths are bloody, yet nothing really special and the comedy mostly falls flat. Even the 80s nostalgia can’t really help other than seeing a very young Clooney and The Brady Bunch’s Maureen McCormick, as a female police officer who seems to love her job a bit too much. The acting overall is deliberately over-the-top and even the big multiple reveals at the end don’t really shock or surprise. It’s hard to tell just how much it was supposed to be horror and how much it was supposed to be a parody as the mix is uneven and it goes back and forth between the stale jibes at traditional slasher film tropes and it’s attempts to actually be one. All that criticism aside, it’s also simply kinda dull and predominately unfunny.
As much as I love 80s slasher/horror/sci-fi flicks, this one did little for me. Clooney doesn’t last long enough to really make it worth sitting through and the jokes fail far more often than not. The attempts at being a real slasher mix unevenly along with the satire and aside from abundant bloodshed and a multiple reveal ending, Return To Horror High is a horror/comedy which one may not feel the need to return to, even with the 80s nostalgia. Also features a small role from 80s flick babe Darcy DeMoss as…no surprise here…a cheerleader.
Gravity isn’t just a good film, it is a great film. I have been watching movies for well over 4 decades and this might have been one of the most emotionally harrowing film experiences I have ever had. I rarely use the word masterpiece but, if this isn’t one, it’s damn close and as close to a perfect movie as I’ve seen in a long time. Gravity’s story is simple, a crew of 5 astronauts in the space shuttle Explorer are working on additions to the Hubble Telescope. Mid-mission they receive news that the Russians have destroyed one of their own satellites with a missile test and debris has been sent rocketing close to their proximity… news which becomes a dire warning as the satellite debris has impacted other satellites and now a cloud of wreckage is heading right for them at an increasing velocity and they have moments to abort their mission and get out of harm’s way. Despite their efforts to get out of danger, the debris hits them full on and only Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who is on his last mission, are left alive tethered together with with Kowalski’s jet propulsion pack running out of power and Stone running out of air. Can they reach the International Space Station and before the cloud of debris orbits Earth and returns? And if they do, are they even safe there? Co-written (with Jonás Cuarón) and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity is 90 minutes of one of the most emotionally gripping and suspenseful movie going experiences you’re likely to have as he quickly establishes two very likable human beings who are put in one of the most frightening scenarios one can imagine. Cuarón not only gives us two people to root and care for but, his masterful camera work and the flawless SPFX create a vast and frightening void that is as beautiful as it is intimidating. One false move and you can be lost in the vast empty coldness and with no air and no one coming to your rescue. Cuarón uses a lot of POV and stunning camera shots to put us in space right there with our two stranded astronauts and we experience what they do and feel their fear every step of the way. Not to mention that the Children Of Men filmmaker gets two Oscar worthy performances out of Clooney and Bullock and these veteran actors create two very endearing three dimensional characters we embrace all the way and are right along with them in experiencing every heartbreaking setback and grasping every glimmer of hope. The film is truly an emotional roller coaster ride that most movies promise but, few can actually deliver. All enhanced by Steven Price’s perfect score. By the time the credits rolled I felt I had been through everything the characters had and thanks to Cuarón’s skillful directing and wonderful script, I had. An exhilarating, harrowing and wonderfully suspenseful movie that is more then just a film, it’s an experience. A must see film! Best film of year for me and doubt I will see anything as powerful for some time.
4 free floating astronauts!