BARE BONES: BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006) and SILENT NIGHT (2012)

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BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006)

Remake, of sorts, of the holiday slasher classic finds a group of bitchy sorority sisters under siege by a demented serial killer and his sister. William Lenz (Robert Mann) escapes from a mental hospital and heads to his former home which is now a sorority. He is joined by his equally psychotic sister Agnes (Dean Friss) to stalk such cuties as Lacey Chabert, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Buffy alumni Michelle Trachtenberg and Katie Cassidy. Blood and body parts fly as they decimate the sorority sisters, one by one.

Flick is written and directed by X-Files writer Glen Morgan and turns what was a stylish and mysterious slasher into a blunt and over-the-top one. Bob Clark’s original was simple, had it’s bloody kills and never let us know who the killer really was, adding an eerie quality. Here we are introduced to our psychos right away with continual flashbacks and we get some really gory death’s and some very drunk and bitchy sorority girls to inflict them on. There is little or no suspense, though the action is fast paced, there is some entertainment to be had and the gore is well rendered. The girls are certainly Christmas eye candy and Katie Cassidy does make a good final girl even if Morgan’s script gets silly at times. Worth a look, but hardly a classic.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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SILENT NIGHT (2012)

This remake of the 1984 Silent Night, Deadly Night, barely qualifies as such, as it takes half the title and a few scenes and primarily does it’s own thing. Here Christmas is approaching and a pretty deputy (Jaime King) is hunting a sadistic murderer in a Santa suit and mask, who is killing the bad folks of Cryer, Wisconsin in ho ho ho-rrible ways.

Flick is directed by Steven C. Miller from a script by Jayson Rothwell and takes all the fun out of the holiday themed slasher concept. It’s an ugly and sleazy flick that has it’s homicidal Santa killing, bad kids, lecherous priests, drug dealers, porn film makers and their scantily clad actresses. It makes this small town look like quite the sleaze pit and gives us few to root for as the victims are all unlikable for the most part and we meet them like three minutes before they die. They’re just Santa fodder and not characters we care about. At least in the original the characters were only questionably bad, regular people and not societies dregs which evoke little sympathy. Also stars Malcolm McDowell as the town sheriff, Zombeaver’s Cortney Palm, and Scott Pilgrim’s Ellen Wong as the police station receptionist. An ugly and boring movie.

-MonsterZero NJ

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REVIEW: UNDER THE BED (2013)

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UNDER THE BED (2013)

Director Steven C. Miller’s low budget horror about two brothers (Jonny Weston and Gattlin Griffith) literally battling a monster beneath the bed, has some potential but, is sunk by a really badly written script by Eric Stolze and some terrible acting by Terry Hausman and Musetta Vander as the boys’ dad and step-mom. That and the fact that nothing much really happens in this plot hole ridden film until the last 10 minutes and despite a cool creature and some good gore, the fact that the story doesn’t seem to be following any sort of constructive narrative keeps it from being the least bit suspenseful or scary. What is going on and why? The creature seems to follow no real detectable pattern of behavior and it’s actions are constantly contradictory. A perfect example is that it scares step-mom, Angela (Vander) in the garage and then again later for no apparent reason as it’s biggest advantage is that the parents don’t believe in it, so, why reveal itself to the parents when the kids seem to be what it wants to begin with and it’s existence remained hidden. We are never given a reason for it’s being in the house or it’s targeting of the brothers and the resolution of the conflict is simply befuddling. If there was some sort of message or metaphor here, it’s buried under the inconsistent story and illogical activities of the characters and creature. If it was supposed to have something to do with the boys’ mom’s death 2 years earlier in the fire set by older brother Neal (Weston), that makes no sense as he set it battling the creature so it was already there before she died. Neal was having problems with ‘it’ long before the fire. And since the creature does claim victims, it’s obviously not a figment of unresolved guilt and is real within the context of the film. Others in the film see it too and fall victim to it. Again, the story makes no sense and the script defeats any attempt to make sense of it. Too bad, the kids perform very convincing, the creature and gore FX are good and with a better script, tighter direction and better actors as the adults, this might have been a somewhat entertaining low budget monster flick. As it is, there is little to recommend.

2 hot dogs… which has nothing to do with the movie but, since the movie makes no sense, my rating doesn’t have to either!

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